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Got Strawberries?

Oh Strawberries! You are luscious, sweet, soft and juicy. There’s NOTHING that can keep us away from you! Not even an over heated car beeping for us to pull over…

This past Friday evening, Mary & I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by the California Strawberry Commission that was held in Newport Beach at TrueFood Kitchen, a restaurant I have long wanted to check out since I heard rave reviews about this place when it first opened from a friend. Mary and I both agreed, that we cannot WAIT to return to one of their locations (in Santa Monica, Newport, San Diego or in Arizona). There is something for everyone on the menu; whether you’re Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan or carnivore they are sure to have something that will tickle your fancy. BUT before we could enjoy all this strawberry and fresh amazing food fun, we had to get there first!!

Of all the times for a radiator hose to decide to pop off & cause Mary’s car to overheat & throw poor Mary into a huge scare, it HAD to be on our way to the strawberry fun?! Apparently, it did! But, we kept our cool and tried to make light of the situation and hope for the best that we would make it (since we had a scare that the radiator had either blown or the hose was leaking, which meant we would have had to been towed somewhere!) Luckily all it took was some coolant, water and a hose to be put back on and then we were on our way again an hour later! Thank goodness for social media, I was able to notify through my iPhone on Facebook, e-mail and twitter to a few who were attending and in charge of the event our whereabouts and dilemma. Everyone was so welcoming & gracious to us despite our major delay.

As we arrived we were greeted with food & drinks galore, opting for the Strawberry Mojito as it WAS a strawberry event!! It was delicious. I love any fruity drink, so this one was right up my alley. The appetizers were all amazing as well, with many strawberry goodies. Besides strawberries galore, there were several items from the TrueFood starter menu we got to enjoy including the; Shitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups (very light, crisp and refreshing with a zangy sauce that I loved), Thai Spicy Shrimp Dumplings (which we could have eaten all day given the chance), a Kale Salad that was marinated in lemon juice and wasn’t overcooked and soggy nor was it too hard and chewy. It was just right! There was also pizza that was fresh right out of the oven that really hit the spot. My favorite though has to be the steak tacos! Freshly baked tortillas with tender steak and topped with a generous amount of avocado (another favorite of mine!), tomato, cabbage, with spices and sauce. They were breath-taking. I loved every morsel of those things!

While we were munching & mingling, we had the pleasure to listen to a great lecture on the health benefits of strawberries from Illinois-based Nutrition Expert & Author, Mr. David Grotto. He explained the many benefits of a healthy diet in a fun and humorous way as he mentioned the 2 most important staples: Alcohol & Dessert! (In moderation of course). He then went on to explain the true meaning of “WTF?” for us: Where’s The Fiber? With year-round availability, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy every day that are PACKED with fiber.

Being a total book nerd I was excited that in our “swag bags” we were all given copies of his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, which covers many of the ailments we deal with day in & day out; many of which can be reversed by simple changes in your diet and/or lifestyle. Diets that can help us treat each of these troubles as well as recipes to go with them are discussed in great detail. Here is a picture of me with David Grotto, the author of this life-changing book.

Here are some fun facts I learned about Strawberries!!

*A serving of strawberries is equal to about eight whole strawberries.

* A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber.

*Are naturally low in sugar- one serving has only eight grams

*Strwaberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight some types of cancer and lower blood pressure!

That’s one powerful super fruit if you ask me!! 😉

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What about DESSERT?? You may be thinking? Of COURSE! What kind of strawberry event would that be without some strawberry desserts? 😉 They had strawberry cupcakes, strawberry rhubarb a la mode (my favorite!), and a choclate pudding with strawberries.

So to put it lightly, Strawberries have it going on! Along with David’s book, we were also treated to a yummy recipe book with beautiful photos of each dish. I never knew that there were so many amazing things you could make with the strawberry, but this book will give you countless ideas that will make your mouth water just looking at the pictures. What are some of your favorite recipes that call for strawberries as one of the main ingredients? I’d love for you to share them here! 🙂

Even my cat MOE approves of strawberries!! He gives them 2 paws up!!! 😉

*Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at this event hosted by CA Strawberries. All food & drink I had the pleasure of sampling was complimentary, as well as the gift bag provided to me. All opinions are my own & I had a wonderful time!

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

If you have not yet been to Disney California Adventure Park, then you should make sure to put that on your list of things to do the next time you are in the Orange County or Los Angeles area. If you are an annual pass holder like myself, then what are you waiting for?? If you are sadly blocked out for the summer, then make sure to go the first day you are able to! It is well worth it. Disney got it right and did a marvelous job designing this land, tailoring it so that there is something for everyone here. It’s NOT just for kids…. 😉

This was my first time to California Adventure since they finished construction on the park and opened up Cars Land, so I still have much left to explore and see myself. This is a list of my “Must-Do’s” and “Must-Sees” thus far while you are in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. FAST PASS/RIDES– if you get to the park early enough in the day, as soon as you enter the park make sure to get a Fast Pass for the Radiator Springs Racers ride! Otherwise if you get there later in the day like we did around 6:30pm, go eat dinner first. The line will die down a little bit and it will save you at least an hour or so! The line for that ride was 195 minutes when we got there. After we had some dinner and drinks and looked around a little, the line had died down to 120 minutes! Notice the wait time listed on the right tire! LOL 😉 *Radiator Springs Racers is an AWESOME ride, so make sure to hit up that ride! It’s especially awesome when your car wins like ours did! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. FOOD & DRINKS– Be sure to try some of the amazing food and drinks offered in Cars Land! We ate at Flo’s for dinner and then grabbed some treats at the Cozy Cone for the long line awaiting us at Radiator Springs Racers. I had a vegetarian potato bake with pasta salad. It was very light and refreshing for a warm evening. My friend had some Sangria (they have a few wine choices at Flo’s to choose from), which I had a taste of. It was pretty good! My FAVORITE drink I found though was at the Chili Cone Queso at the Cozy Cone! They have a Vodka Pomegranate Limeade drink, can you say YUM!!!!??? You MUST try it. The Chili Cone Queso was good too, and I am not even a Chili person. So that says a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. LIGHTS AT NIGHT– Be sure to stick around until the sun goes down to see how awesome Cars Land is at night when it lights up! It is sure to awe you, and will give you tons of photo ops for you photographers out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. DJ Dance Party– Perfect for kids, or if you just want to listen to the music, people watch and enjoy a drink outside by Flo’s it’s fun for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. STARBUCKS– You can use your pass holder discount AND your Starbucks card to get your Starbucks fix at California Adventure. The mark up on price isn’t too horrible either. There was about a 32 cent difference between what my Grande Mocha Frap would cost me at the local Starbucks near my house and what it cost at Disney.

6. TREATS– You MUST try some of the delectable treats offered in the shops on Buena Vista Street, the main street when you first walk into California Adventure. Chocolate Covered Brownie Truffle Micky Ears? Don’t mind if I do!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a tiny glimps of what Dinsey California Adventure has to offer. I hope to add more to this list as I get a chance to explore the place more in depth. Will you be making a trip to Cars Land anytime soon? Or maybe you have gone already? I’d love to hear all about it!

LA Girl In Minnesota… Guest Post from Jamie–> Minnesota Girl In LA

I had also asked Jamie, over at Minnesota Girl in LA  to write-up a post for me since I am visiting her home state of Minnesota right now! Here is her wonderful post about fun things to do and see if you are ever in the state of 10,000 lakes… Minnesota!! 🙂

Erin asked me to write about my favorite Minnesota places since she’s out visiting there right now.  Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to sit down and think about some of my favorite places from the state I grew up in.

I grew up in the Twin Cities area, to be more specific, the southern suburbs.  Think Lakeville, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville area, or south of St. Paul.  
Some of my all-time favorite places in Minnesota were:

  1. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Just being able to walk along these gardens during the winter or even the spring time to see what artists would create, or more so, try to pin point what they were thinking was enjoyable for me.  And of course, the iconic Cherry in the Spoon Picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry and the Spoon

  1. Lake Calhoun

I loved to rollerblade, and often, during the summer I would go to one of the popular Minnesota lakes to rollerblade around.  Lake Calhoun became my favorite the year before I decided to move away, but Lake Nokomis was another favorite of mine.

 

  1. Cosetta’s Italian Deli

I love Italian, and one of my favorite restaurants to visit in Downtown St. Paul was Cosetta’s.  It was a very well-known restaurant and deli, and no matter what time of the day it was there was line for their food.  They also had a shop where you could take home some of your favorites.  

 

  1. My favorite museums included the St. Paul History museum, The Science Museum, and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

 

 

  1. Mall of America

The biggest mall in the United States was the Mall of America.  This mall even had an indoor amusement park inside, what isn’t there to love about it?  I use to take the bus after school to just hang out at the mall.  Most likely I was a huge part of the reason why a curfew time of 7pm was given to children under 16 years old of age every Friday and Saturday evening.  

 

  1. St. Anthony Falls

It was just a truly beautiful area along Minneapolis to walk along, and of course see the hydraulic falls in action.

 

  1. Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling Area

These places were pretty close to one another although they were usually different visits.  The Minnehaha Falls area is a very beautiful area, and of course I loved driving around the houses in the area because they were a sign of the times, and the houses had a ton of character.  

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Snelling Area

  1. Grand Ave.

This place had some pretty great shops and boutiques to walk through with some great eateries.   You can’t go there without stopping in the Grand Ole Creamery.  Amazing ice cream served up for you.

 

  1. Uptown

Another fun little area with shops and boutiques to walk and browse through.  

   10. The North Shore

During the weekends, if I could, I would love taking the 3 hour drive up north to head to Duluth, MN.  I loved looking out at Lake Superior, and of course driving even further north along the north shore.  This was truly my zen place of Minnesota.  I didn’t get up there often, but anytime I did I was instantly relaxed, and my stress disappeared.  These were just some of my favorite things to do in Minnesota, the place I grew up in.

 

 

 

 

 

North Shore

Guest Post from Mary @ Along Comes Mary!! “Happiness is…. Snoopy (on Ice!)

Since I’m away from the “office” right now in Minnesota visiting relatives and such, I had asked two of my good friends to do a guest post for me! So here is the 1st one from Mary at Along Comes Mary, so be sure to click on her link and check out her place for some great posts on Gluten-Free recipes and events going on around Southern California!!  Here she posted about a fun summer event that you can go to in SoCal! ❤
 
Wanna know a secret? I wish I was an ice skater. Ever since I was young, it has secretly fascinated me. I remember being mesmorized by The Winter Olympics & would judge the skaters & their routines….then, in the middle of wanting to be just like all the girls when I grew up…Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan happened….I was crushed something so horrible would happen, especially between 2 gorgeous, accomplished, talented women!!:-( I think thats when I re-thought my dream sport, but in recent years, I have loved watching it again…& have very badily ice skated here & there! 😉
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, you can imagine my excitement when on one of my afternoon jogs around Knotts Berry Farm with my Mom, that they had just unveiled a new ice show for summer, Happiness is…Snoopy! We went into the Charles M. Schultz Theatre thinking it would be…good. With the Peanuts dressed up & dancing…but we got so much more than we bargained for! This is a full production a la “The Ice Capades”; with a huge cast of professional ice skaters, including 1 couple who blew our minds!! It begins with an amazing western round up, then from there we are treated to Charlie Brown & friends at the beach, on a road trip, hitting up the party scene (even with a great cover of Get The party Started…I love that song), On a rainy day, Lucy looking to draw with her crayons (with the skaters in adorable crayon outfits) and…even….just for the girls…Justin Beagle!!!;-) With the cast doing an adorable number to the Biebs’ Baby, Baby.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you will be headed out to Knotts in Buena Park this Summer, this is truly a must-see & makes Knotts even more of a top destination visit. The theatre is HUGE, easily 3,000 seats. We were lucky to get in the 5th row but keep in mind the seats are just like at any other kind of theatre, so little ones might struggle a bit to see unless they’re on a grown ups lap or maybe bring a booster seat of some kind. It runs afew times each day with the exception of 2 days a week (You can call Knotts to find out & confirm). Its also a great chanch to rest in the very cold a/c if its a hot day out there! It would surprise me if anything in the show scared the kiddos, but you never know; some parts the lights go extra down (In the ‘Stormy’ sequence was one part). Its a very up-beat, happy show with something to see no matter where you are looking, & the solo acts the lead dancers get to do were remarkable!:-)

Day 30– Food

The last day of that photo challenge. FOOD! Who doesn’t like food? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken tacos from the skinnylicous menu at  Cheesecake Factory. YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon & Carmalized Onion Scramble from one of my favorite diners in Long Beach! Starling Diner. 🙂

 

Day 29-Love–A Day Late, a Dollar Short, Better Late than Never! ;-)

I know I’ve been a bit MIA these past few days, so I missed the last 2 posts for June! It’s been a very busy weekend, and will be pretty busy until I leave next week for “vacation” to see family,  go to a few weddings, the Minnesota version of my grandparents 65th Wedding Anniversary and 90th Birthday celebration. I am DETERMINED though to catch up with all my posts before I leave (this would include posts for days 29 & 30 for the photo challenge, 2 movie reviews, 1 restraunt review, 1 food item review, and the conclusion and results of the #IWillRockThis Challenge that just concluded this past weekend!) Whew! I WILL GET THIS DONE!!!  There are others I’d like to get completed, but those are the ones I feel I HAVE to get finished as they are somewhat time sensitive. So here is Day 29– LOVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made with Love, in Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends ❤ Roadtrips to the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowboys at the river 😉

Day 28- Home

If you have not noticed by now, I LOVE the outdoors… when I’m at home is no different. I am constantly in either the front yard or backyard watering or trimming the flowers, roses, and fruit trees in the gardens. Here is my little helper that likes to oversee what I am doing. He will follow me around where ever I am;  if I’m in the front he’ll be somewhere around watching me from a safe distance (since heaven forbid he get wet!), then when I go inside to go to the backyard,  there he’ll be, under a tree or sitting back relaxing on one of the lounge chairs just chilling while I work! lol So here’s Moe, on a lazy summer morning.  😉