My FIRST VIDEO!! A Different Way To Celebrate Thanksgiving…visit to Julian

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am excited to share my first video with you! I wanted to start recording videos for the blog a few years ago, but was busy with other projects and becoming a mom! Finally, I did it, my first vblog! I know it may not seem like a huge accomplishment to some, but this has been on my list of “goals” for a while. I recorded it myself and learned how to edit on my own. It took me several hours to edit but here is my first video. I recorded other videos, just need to find the time to edit and upload them. This is a start of what will hopefully be more videos in the future.

At the television station, Continue reading

Easy Way to Cut Calories From Holiday Parties & Everyday

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The holidays are in full swing, we still have New Year’s Eve and Dia de Reyes (Three Wise Men Day) parties coming up. It is fun to indulge in our favorite meals and drinks during the holidays, but after a month of parties and dinners, all those calories can add up. An easy way to cut a few calories from Continue reading

#GivingTuesday: You Can Donate & Meet Your Favorite Media Personalities

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(Volunteering as Red Kettle Bell Ringers in the Gaslamp on November 19: with Robert Santos, ABC/10News, and Luis Cruz, The San Diego Union-Tribune)

There is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, they all involve sales & shopping. Did you know there is also Giving Tuesday? This year it is Continue reading

Dia De Reyes Tradition to End the Holidays

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Hard to believe it is already January 13! The Dia de Reyes (Three Wise Men Day) party on January 6 usually marks the end of the holiday celebrations in our family. This year it fell on a Tuesday and what seemed closer to the New Year’s Eve weekend, so we celebrated it on January 10, which was the Saturday that followed. It is a fun gathering, with the traditional meal, cutting of rosca, piñata, children running around playing, and our own family tradition of passing out the Christmas stockings. It is a tradition my aunt started a few years ago and has grown to be the highlight of the party! All the grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a personalized stocking with our name which is hung on the wall to form a Christmas tree. Each year the family grows and we add more stockings to the wall. We take turns taking our stocking off the wall, from the eldest grandchild to the youngest, making jokes, bowing or saying a few words, and taking pictures as we collect our stockings. The younger children use a ladder decorated for the holidays to reach their stocking on the top of the tree (wall). We all take the candy filled stocking home & store them until the party next year when we bring them back (some stockings have been replaced over the years). There is a prize for the first grandchild to bring back the stocking during the holidays in preparation for the Dia de Reyes party.

This year, I didn’t take too many pictures because I was enjoying the moment and spending time with family, being present. It is bitter sweet to end the holidays….but other festivities follow in the coming months. With the large size of our family, we always have festivities to look forward to! As I have said many times, one of the biggest blessings in my life is the family I was born into! I am grateful for their unconditional love, it is priceless! Special thanks to my grandmother, the head of our family, who keeps us all united and organizes these gatherings! These family gatherings aren’t just about having fun, they are also about forming traditions and good memories of wonderful moments of happiness with family!

How do you end the Christmas holiday celebrations? Do you celebrate Dia de Reyes and cut a rosca?

Hugs,

Paola

PS – Picture from our Dia de Reyes party and the family holiday tradition I started.

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Preparing for the piñata!

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My stocking hangs at the bottom of the wall since I am the eldest granddaughter. My older brother is the first one to get a stocking, as he is the eldest grandchild. I have stored my stocking along with our holiday decorations for many years, this way I ensure I don’t misplace it. I bring it back for the Dia de Reyes party every year!

Holidays: The Joy of Having a Day Off

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Hi friends,

Hope you had a nice Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday holiday weekend! It was a holiday I  was looking forward to because we (the stations where I work) sponsored the YMCA’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Dignity Awards Breakfast. It is a wonderful event, with more than 1,200 attendees and the speakers are always moving. On Sunday, my hubby and I were working on what I call our “if the world comes to an end” backpacks (more on this in a later post). He refers to it as our “emergency” packages.  We had been out and about at Home Depot and The Container Store buying items we needed  (I snuck in some quick shopping at Macy’s while my hubby shopped at The Container Store). That afternoon, we were assembling some racks when I realized the next day was a holiday and I did not have to go to work! All of  sudden, I had  a huge smile and feeling of excitement. Don’t take me wrong, I like my job, I am one of those people that really likes my career and job. But, I also enjoy holidays! My feeling of excitement made me wonder why we like holidays so much (apart from the obvious of not having to go to work) and how the federal holidays got started. Have you ever wondered about this?

So, I started to do some research. Before I share the facts about holidays, I’ll share my thoughts. We all work so much and it seems now more than ever before, we are all doing more at work with less people. So, when we have the opportunity to take a day off because it is a holiday, we cherish & enjoy it!  Some holidays also have special events tied to them, which we look forward to, such as family time on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving, fireworks on the Fourth of July, barbecues, parades, time with family and friends, and many more reasons. Some of us also look forward to a day to relax or to completing a project at home. My hubby and I often plan weekend getaways on holidays (except Christmas Day or Thanksgiving, those are spent with family). So, for me, that is another reason why I look forward to holidays, it is a long weekend and we get to travel – we both enjoy that! They say that having events or plans you are looking forward to, such as a trip or party, adds to your happiness in life! I agree!

This past holiday weekend we had things to do, so we stayed in town, but we did manage to go to Mexicali to visit my mom, grandmother, and aunt on Monday! It was a quick day trip and I really enjoyed spending time with them! Plus, road trips with my hubby are always fun. He always has interesting stories to share and we never seem to run out of things to talk about. It is one-on-one time, which I cherish! Our good conversations, are one of the reasons why I fell in love with him!

What is your favorite holiday? Do you have traditions you follow on holidays – such as time with family, barbecues, playing board games, going to the beach, visiting family out of town?

If you are interested on the facts about how federal holidays got started – here’s my abbreviated version (source Congressional Research Service). The first federal holidays were established by law in 1870. It started with Congress passing five holidays: New Year’s Day, George Washington’s Birthday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. These holidays were first granted as paid time off only for federal employees in the District of Columbia. In 1885, Congress extended some of the holidays to all federal employees. According to the information I found, the whole suggestion to start federal holidays came in response to a memo drafted by local bankers and business men. Currently, there are eleven permanent federal holidays established by law. To learn more about federal holidays, how they get created, and the list of the eleven federal holidays, see the link to the document I listed above.

Even now, federal holidays are legally only applicable for federal employees. I knew this because it came up in a conversation years ago. I mentioned it to friends and colleagues recently, some thought legally their employer had to give them those days off (even though they don’t work for the federal government). I explained that they were actually paid holidays for federal employees.

Did you know that federal holidays were not legally applicable for non-federal employees?

The next holiday I get off is Memorial Day at the end of May…looking forward to it. Which is the next holiday you get off?

Below are some pictures from past holidays, hope you like them! Share your holiday pictures!

Hugs,

Paola

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Last year, on the Labor Day holiday, we went to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway (pictured with my friend Rosy).

sfgoldengateaerialpic2013We have a second home in San Francisco, so we visit the city often on holiday weekends. On one of those weekends, we took an aerial flight, beautiful!

fourth july paola monique boys pic 2 july 4 2013 fourth of july 2013 firewor 2 redWe have spent the past few Fourth of July holidays with my sister’s family! It is fun to see the fireworks with my nephews!

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Last year, for the Martin Luther King’s Birthday holiday, we went to Palm Springs.

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On another holiday weekend getaway, we went to the Grand Canyon with our friends Rosy & Chris.

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We visited a national park on holiday weekend getaway, the trees were amazing!

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My hubby likes to golf and I am starting to learn, so we also spend holiday weekend getaways on the golf course (this one is in Northern California, the view was breathtaking).

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And, every some often, we get up to Sonoma and Napa (pictured), for some wine tasting and delicious meals with friends – on holiday weekends!

Weekend Getaway: Fairmont Newport Beach

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Hi friends, during the weeks leading to Christmas our schedules got very busy with work and the normal holiday commitments, so we decided to go out of town for a weekend getaway. We went to the Fairmont Newport Beach. I’ve stayed at other Fairmont resorts Continue reading

My Week in Photos – Last Days of the Year

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Hi friends, hope you are having a nice holiday season! I worked through the Christmas holiday, but did take Christmas day off and we went out of town to spend Christmas Eve and day with family! I was back to work December 26. We hadn’t been to San Francisco for a few months, so I took a few days off during the last week of December to go to San Fran with my hubby. We were back in town for New Year’s Eve, to welcome the new year with family!

The weeks before Christmas were packed with work, hosting interviews, writing scripts, production, planning for 2014, a phone bank for the Month of a Million meals campaign, completing goals…oh and a visit from a very famous Mouse & his friend Donald Duck….and this was just at work. In my personal life, it was the normal holiday busyness, shopping for gifts, preparing for Christmas, and the pleasant side – spending time with family and friends! It was a packed few weeks, but tons of fun!!! How did you prepare for the holidays?

Hugs,

Paola

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One of the favorite (& most fun) parts of my job is hosting interviews – particularly when my friends from Disneyland come to the stations! They were doing a media tour regarding the Holidays at Disneyland Resort. This was the Hispanic marketing team – I hosted & produced the interview for Azteca. This year Mariachi Divas joined the holiday team, it was a special treat to meet these Grammy Award winning musicians!  Donald Duck danced to the holiday music performed by Mariachi Divas!  So cute, an unforgettable moment 🙂


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I purchased a “veladora,” votive candle, for the Virgin Mary’s Saint Day (Santo). I’ve been pretty good about turning it on to pray every day (when at home), even if just for a few minutes, and being thankful for all my blessings!  azteca en la comunidad paola liz landa barbara jimenes interview set MMM 2013

We shot the mid-campiagn interview for the Month of A Million Meals campaign.

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Later in the week, Mickey Mouse stopped by the station with the Disneyland Resort general market team. I hosted and produced an interview for ABC10 regarding the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort. Even though I have been producing and hosting these interviews for years now, I always feel giddy when I see Mickey Mouse! How lucky am I to get to interview Mickey Mouse at work?

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My hubby and  I went to Newport Beach and stayed at the Fairmont Hotel for a little weekend getaway. They had beautiful Christmas decorations and this amazing gingerbread house! It was nice to get away during the hectic-ness of the holidays and have a relaxing breakfast….and sip my coffee calmly.

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While in Newport Beach we had dinner at an Italian restaurant. I enjoyed the best seafood risotto ever! It was so good that I brought the leftovers home and had it for lunch the next day, ha!

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We did some Christmas shopping at Fashion Island (in Newport Beach). There was an amazing Christmas tree (super tall, compare it to the palm trees in this pic) & beautiful holiday decorations.

DSCN6630It was my niece’s birthday and we went to her party at Lazer Journey! Love this little girl! It’s a pleasure and honor to be her aunt, and see her grow up!

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The Donation Day Phone Bank we organized for Month of a Million Meals on ABC10 & Azteca San Diego was successful! Chopper the Biker Dog joined us for part of the Phone Bank, such a cute doggie!

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I watched my nephews on a Saturday and we decorated a gingerbread house – it has become a holiday tradition! It was fun to spend the day with them!

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My hubby started the fireplace on one of the weekends and I enjoyed it while sipping my morning coffee!

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The weekend before Christmas, I spent a few hours wrapping the final batch of gifts.

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We shot the last interview for the Month of a Million Meals campaign – a last push to ask for donations, we were close to reaching the goal and still had a week to continue fundraising!

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The day before Christmas Eve, we shot a series of promo commercials with my nieces at my home. The promos are for the Community Calendar segments I host on Azteca San Diego 15. My nieces appeared in them, so we scheduled the shoot at a time when they were on break from school. Thanks to the wonderful team of producers and videographers I work with the spots look excellent! It was a fun shoot – I’m so proud of my nieces, such talented young girls!

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Took a few days off from work before New Year’s Eve to go to San Francisco with my hubby.

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Went to South Coast Plaza in Orange County for some after Christmas “sales” shopping. This is one of my favorite shopping centers. The holiday decorations were beautiful.

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Welcomed the New Year in San Diego with my hubby and family! We went to dinner at my brother & sister-in-law’s home, it was delicious & fun! We all stayed up past midnight (nieces included) and welcomed 2014 with joyous celebration!

Trick I Use to Not Eat Too Many Halloween Treats

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Tis’ the Season! For me, Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season! At this point of the year, I am happy enough to maintain my weight, to try to lose weight would be very, very challenging, haha! In addition to all the fun parties and outings, there is shopping for gifts and for food for special events, putting up decorations, wrapping gifts, and lots more to do. This leads to changes in my routine, in particular less time to exercise. I enjoy the holidays and like to also enjoy the special meals served this time of the year! It is all about moderation. For Halloween, I have tricks use to avoid eating too many treats!

1) Buy Candy I Won’t Want to Eat: I try not to buy chocolates because they are my guilty pleasure, so I know I will want to eat them! I usually buy hard candy, such as lollipops, or Starburst to give out. This way, I am not tempted to have some of it because I don’t really like these types of candy.

2) Don’t Open the Bag: If I don’t open the bag until Halloween night, I won’t eat any before that night.

3) Give Away Left Over Candy: As much as I love chocolate, any chocolates we don’t give out will be taken to my office or my husband’s office, to share with co-workers. If we don’t have it in the house, we won’t eat it. If we keep it at home, we will eat it, all of it, even if over a few weeks, that is lots of additional calories and fat!

This year my hubby bought the candy we will give out. Yesterday, he came home with all these chocolates! What? This is not a good strategy for me! This does not follow my tricks to not eat too many treats! It is like torture for me, haha! I had two pieces last night and four today! Yes, four! I didn’t open the bag of Twix to ensure I don’t eat any of those! I usually keep chocolate at home, but buy chocolate covered almonds or malt balls, so if I have a craving for chocolate I’ll just have a few small pieces, not an entire candy bar.

Ironically, I had just gotten home from a Zumba class at the gym before I took this picture! And yes, I ate some chocolate. It’s so hard to resist!

Happy Halloween everyone! Enjoy the treats, just don’t have too many! And if you do eat too many, exercise more or watch your calorie intake in other meals for a few days. Or, if you want to avoid eating too many treats, try the tricks I listed above….and don’t let your husband buy candy you will want to eat!

What is your favorite Halloween treat?

Hugs,

Paola

I LOVE CHOCOLATE!

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Darn…I want one! The temptation! To taste the sweetness melting in my mouth!

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And, I just had to have one!

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Or two!  DSCN5646

Yikes, look it all the calories and fat in three pieces!

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And…the calories in two pieces of these! DSCN5649Note to self: Tell hubby to please not buy chocolates for Halloween next year! Or at least not chocolates I like! I didn’t open the large bag because I don’t really love the chocolates in that package!

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My Weekend in Photos

What did you do this 4th of July weekend?

This weekend was a whirlwind….with lots of fun, most were unplanned activities!

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Celebrated the 4th with family, which is always a fun time, creating beautiful memories!

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I worked Friday and ended up going to a meet & greet event for the Xolos soccer team. Thankfully I never dress too casual for work, not even on casual Friday’s, so I am always ready to go to a work function, meeting, or to appear in a TV commercial or segment at a drop of a dime (these have all happened to me in the past). So, even though it wasn’t on my schedule, I was able to go to the event and had fun!

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Friday night, I went to the Fleetwood Mac concert with my hubby. When he invited me to the concert two weeks ago, I asked him what songs the group was known for, he started singing “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” to which I replied, “I remember, that is the song Bill Clinton used as his campaign song!” Haha, we both had a laugh about it. We had a fun time at the concert, it is always nice to see my hubby smiling. I even knew about 4 songs and now know more about this amazing band!

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Saturday, I planned to work on my blog. But, destiny had other plans. My hubby asked me to join him for the day in Beverly Hills, he had to buy something up there and was driving there for the day. I went with him – we had a delicious lunch, did some shopping, and enjoyed Rodeo Drive. Most of all, I always enjoy road trips with my hubby, time spent with him is always nice!

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Today, my hubby had a video shoot in the early morning. After his shoot, he called to ask if I wanted to go to brunch – I dashed to get ready. Instead of going to the typical breakfast places, we went to a new, cute, local restaurant that our friend Elsa recommended. All I need to say is “delicious food & super friendly staff!” It was nice to go to a small, local place, and  we plan to return. Plus, they serve salads in a bowl! I LOVE, LOVE salads served in a bowl! Remember Elaine in Seinfeld and her salad in a bowl, that’s how much I love salads in a bowl!

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We are considering that I should get another car…so, my hubby wanted me to test drive the car he is suggesting. I am not as enthusiastic as he is about getting a new car, but agreed. I really like my current car (lots!), so I feel like I need time to adjust to the idea of another car & letting go of this one. My current car is in great conditions, but I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s a large SUV, and no longer under maintenance coverage. It will cost me a pretty penny every time it needs maintenance. My hubby is German (& knows lots about cars), my car is British, let’s just say he’s not a big fan of British cars, haha! He’s right though. In the long run, it will be better. So, we went to Carlsbad, a 30 minute drive, for the test drive. They didn’t have the exact car I want, but the dealer will contact us when a match comes along. I am in no rush, it will give me time to adjust to the change.

Since we were in Carlsbad, we had to stop by the Carlsbad Fashion Outlets (of course!). I am not one to go to the mall every weekend. But, when I go shopping, I become a power shopper, haha. My friends have seen it – I scan the store, see what I like, try on quite a bit of pieces, and do some power shopping. I went to three of my favorite stores and found some nice items, which will be fun to wear them this summer! I’ll share more about my shopping experience later on in a post….and did I tell you, everything was on sale – the entire stores were on sale! Love it! The best part, I got to spend the day with my hubby!

So, sometimes the best times occur when we least expect it…..or plan it! Has this happened to you before – that you had a blast and it was spontaneous?

Best wishes for a great week everyone!

Hugs,
Paola

Happy Fourth of July!

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Happy Fourth of July! Have a wonderful holiday with your friends & family! I am thankful to live in this wonderful country, where we enjoy freedom! Thanks to all of our military members for their service to our country!

Hugs,

Paola

Español – Feliz 4 de julio! Que tengan un excelente día festivo en compania de sus amigos y familia! Yo estoy agradecida de vivir en este país, donde disfrutamos de libertad! Gracias todos nuestros miembros militares por su servicio al país!

Un abrazo,

Paola