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Dream Big, Princess: Becoming a Storyteller

This post is sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.

I am still processing everything that happened a week and half ago. I was selected as one of 6 storytellers for the #WeAllGrow Summit by the ‘Dream Big, Princess’ campaign by Disney. The #WeAllGrow Summit is a latina bloggers conference and there is a special portion of the conference where the storytellers come up on stage and get to share their story. As a storyteller, I was also able to bring a blogging bestie with me, Jeni from thymeandlove.com. It truly was one of the most memorable experiences of my life!

The conference started with a field trip to the Disney Studios in Burbank, CA. I had never been to the Disney Studios and it was a true treat. We were able to pre-screen The Beauty and the Beast live action film, have lunch in the executive lunch room, visit the Disney Studio Store, and had a sneak peek and a Q & A with the creators of Tangled Before Ever After. My favorite part was the pre-screening of The Beauty and the Beast. Never in my wildest little girl dreams would I have imagined that one of my favorite animated films could be brought to life so beautifully. The special effects, the costumes, the singing, all of it was a perfect interpretation of the original movie. I thought Emma Watson was a great Belle, and I kind of developed a crush on Luke Evans as Gaston. I especially liked the way Belle was portrayed as different from the rest of the town, because she has a voice of her own, she refuses to settle for the norm, and she’s not afraid to stand-up for what she believes in. The beast was very realistic and scary, so I will probably wait to take my 2 and 7 yr. old to see it, but I can’t wait until they can enjoy it too! The day ended with a Frida themed #AlasparaVolar cocktail party, which included lots of dancing, pictures, and yummy food.

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The second day of the conference was busy and exciting. As part of winning a spot as a storyteller my bestie and I were able to stay in the Hotel Maya for 4 nights in a gorgeous room with a view of the marina. The day started bright and early with breakfast, keynote speakers, and conferences. I gave a conference of my own: Generating Income by Self-Publishing an Ebook. I was worried that I was going to bore everyone, because some of the steps to self-publishing are frankly quite boring, but everyone seemed really interested and eager to learn. Once that was done I was able to focus and practice for the big storyteller night.

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In the month before the conference I was able to receive advice and mentorship from Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica, she is an experienced storyteller, and she guided me through the whole process. It was all quite nerve wrecking. The funny thing is, as we were going through what parts of the story to keep, and which to cut out I discovered some wonderful things about myself and my relationship to Princess Tiana. I had always been drawn to Princess Tiana, because she wanted to open her own restaurant and it was easy to identify with that, but as we dug deeper into the story I began to see myself truly reflected in the Princess and the Frog, and Tiana’s journey. We nailed down the story a couple of days before the conference, and now all I had to do was get up in front of 400 people and tell it.

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The last day of the conference I was a ball of nerves. I kept going over my story in my head. I was really worried that half way through the speech I was just going to go blank and stare at the audience. After getting ready and all dolled up, we headed over to do a short interview on camera for the ‘Dream Big, Princess‘ campaign. (Being a part of this campaign was very important to me because I have a 2 yr. old daughter, and I want her to grow up like I did with the Disney princesses. I want her to be a part of the new fairytales, where the princesses are strong, decided, courageous, and aren’t afraid to stand-up in what they believe in.) After going over our slideshows and doing a sound check, it was finally time! I was the third storyteller to go up on stage. I could go on and on about my story, but instead why don’t I show you the official video of it.

Dream Big Princess: Princess Tiana and Me

All of these years I have been trying to build something of this blog, so I can contribute to our household, and fulfill my aspiration as a professional woman and mother. There have been many discouraging moments along the way, moments where I wanted to give up, where it seemed that all of this work was for nothing, but that night standing on that stage it suddenly became clear that all the tears, and late nights have not been in vain. There is still a long way to go, and much more work to do, but I hope that that night I was able to inspire at least one stay-at-home mom or one little girl to keep dreaming, to keep fighting, and to never lose sight of what’s important. #dreambigprincess

storytellers-6Image by Robson Muzel

This post is sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.

#WeAllGrow Summit StoryTeller

This is the week!! The week of the #WeAllGrowSummit. I attended last year and had a total blast. This year is a little bit different though. I was selected as one of the Storytellers of the conference which is sponsored by Disney’s campaign Dream Big, Princess.

#weallgrow summit storytellerImage courtesy of princess.disney.com

As a Storyteller I will be sharing my story in front of the whole conference. (I’m beginning to get really nervous! ) As part of the campaign we had to choose a princess that inspired us and relate her to our story. I chose princess Tiana and the life lesson making your dreams a reality.

Screen-Shot-2017-03-01-at-9.59.16-AMImage courtesy of princess.disney.com

I chose princess Tiana, not only because of the similarities of wanting to open up my own restaurant and facing many challenges, but because it takes Tiana a little while to realize what’s most important. It has also taken me quite a while to realize what’s most important, and it has taken me more than a while to find a way to balance my personal aspirations with the demands of being a wife and mom of two ( now almost 3).

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I am very thankful to Disney and the #WeAllGrow team for this wonderful opportunity to share my story and hopefully inspire many more moms like me to keep dreaming, fighting, hoping, and living the lives they truly want to live.

I will be sharing pictures, and using Instagram stories to keep you posted on what goes on in the conference. You will be able to see me tell my story on Saturday March 4th, around 6:00pm (PT ) Facebook Live through my page Dora’s Table.

10 Things to Do in Orange County with Teens

I have two beautiful teenage nieces that live in Texas, right on the border with Mexico and they’ve spent the last two weeks here. We had such a blast that I thought I could share with you what you can do in Orange County with a couple of teens.

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

 

1. The Beach

There are so many good beaches in OC that you should visit all of them. Our favorite is Crystal Cove. It is a state park, so it is well taken care of, there is a lot of open space and natural seashore. We also enjoy, Aliso Creek Beach, mostly because the access to beach is right by the parking lot, but it is also a gorgeous beach and it even has a few fire pits. Last but not least is Doheny. Doheny is also a state beach, but not as beautifully preserved as Crystal Cove, it does however have a large number of fire pits.

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

 

2. Hiking

Ok, so maybe some of the teenagers won’t be on board for hiking, but it is worth it. There are many hiking trails in OC with amazing views and they range from easy to difficult. We hiked locally in Laguna Niguel but there are so many other options out there.

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

 

3. Free Concerts and Movies at the Park

During the summer weekends all over OC you can find parks that offer free movies or concerts. All you need to do is bring a blanket, a couple of chairs, and a snack. We spent some time in Newport Dunes which on Fridays shows a family friendly movie right on the beach.

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

 

4. Los Angeles

Technically this is not OC, but the girls really enjoyed a day trip to LA. We started by visiting the Griffith Observatory to get a good look at the hollywood sign, then we went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We ended our trip at the Santa Monica Pier, where we enjoyed lunch and some time on the beach. Parking wasn’t too bad, but we got stuck in rush hour on the way back.

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

 

5. Bonfire at the Beach

Ending a day at the beach with a bonfire is the perfect way to watch the sunset and eat some sweets. Our favorite beach for this is Doheny. We spend the whole day there, cook dinner on the fire pit and end with some s’mores.

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

 

6. Fancy Dinner

This was one my favorite activities, we took the girls out for a fancy dinner. We wanted to give them their first fine dining experience, you know, white table cloth, more silverware than you know what to do what to do with, and fancy drinks. I decided on Red O a Rick Bayless restaurant, I was hoping because it was something familiar they would try more things. You should’ve seen their faces after I told them they had just eaten raw tuna!

Have a blast with these 10 things to do in Orange County with teens. Go to the beach, hiking, surfing, dining, OC Fair, Sawdust Festival……...

There were a couple of things we didn’t get to do, but I’m still including them on the list.

7. Art Festival Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach throws a huge art festival during the summer. The one we were planning to attend is the Sawdust Art Festival, with over 200 featured artists and their works, interactive classes, food and live music, you can’t go wrong. There’s also the Pageant of the Masters where works of art are brought to life as living pictures.

8. OC Fair

A humongous fair with rides, concerts, competitions, good food, wine tastings and more. Located in Costa Mesa at the OC fairgrounds.

9. Disneyland

Of course we couldn’t leave out Disneyland. This year is their Diamond Celebration, 60 years, and they are 3 new nighttime spectaculars to enjoy.

10. Surf Lessons

You can’t visit California and not take surf lessons! Here is a list of the best surf schools around.

My nieces left on Monday and I was a pile of tears. It was a rare gift to have them all to myself for those two weeks. Living away from family can be hard sometimes, so when the opportunity presented itself for them to come I couldn’t wait. Even after doing all these fun things in OC, my favorite part of the whole trip was getting to know them better. I learned that you can never take too many selfies, that I should laugh until my tummy hurts more often, and that I should be grateful for my family, no matter how far away they are.

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The Lowcountry

We have arrived in Bluffton, SC (also known as the Lowcountry). It is beautiful here, in a swampy-I’m getting eaten alive by mosquitoes- kind of way. No really, it is beautiful, yet so different from Cali. I have to say It’s kind of strange to live in a small town again. Everybody knows each other and actually talks to each other in public places. I like that most of the businesses are mom-and-pop shops. Also, it is so quiet around here, and nobody seems to be rushing around trying to get somewhere else.

The Lowcountry is beautiful, with it's moss covered trees, twinkling lights, rocking chairs in every porch, and southern architecture.

 

There have been some adjustments like remembering to spray yourself with repellent, the clawing humidity, the bursts of rain that last 10 min and go away just as quickly as they came, and the lack of my favorite stores like Trader Joes and Sprouts. On the other hand there is so much to do like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, going to the beach, crabbing, and shrimping.

The Lowcountry Alligators

 

 

Of course there’s also the alligators. I was trying to be cool about it when my hubby said there were alligators in the lake on property at the resort. I even suggested we should take our little one for a ride in a canoe. Yeah, that did not work out so great. We got into the canoe, but only he could row because I was holding the munchkin, so it was a little slow and wobbly. When suddenly he calmly says,” Look, I think that’s an alligator. Can you see it?” I did see it, and I freaked out! I could not control myself. ” Turn around, turn around!! “, I screamed. He thought it was hilarious and proceeded to get closer! I thought my heart was going to burst. I don’t know why I got so scared. We eventually made it out of the lake without being eaten by alligators. Mmm…It might be a while before I’m comfortable with that.

 

The Lowcountry is beautiful, with it's moss covered trees, twinkling lights, rocking chairs in every porch, and southern architecture.

I don’t know why, but this time this move really feels like an adventure. Maybe because neither of us had lived in the South before and everything seems new and different. It seems like there’s a lot to learn, eat, an explore. Now, if only I could figure out what to do with my hair!

The Lowcountry is beautiful, with it's moss covered trees, twinkling lights, rocking chairs in every porch, and southern architecture.

The Lowcountry is beautiful, with it's moss covered trees, twinkling lights, rocking chairs in every porch, and southern architecture.

 

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Road trip to Ensenada & Rosarito

My sister just left, and as I try to hold back the sadness that threatens to engulf me I realize I’m just really glad she came. She got here about a week ago, but instead of spending a whole week in OC, we met her in Tijuana for a quick road trip to Ensenada and Rosarito, Baja Califorinia, MX. The hubby and I have been wanting to go there for a while, since we live so close, but we had never made the time.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

We walked across the border, where my sister and her boyfriend picked us up. We decided to skip Tijuana and went on to Rosarito, we stopped for breakfast at Los Pelicanos Restaurante. The restaurant is supplied by their own farm where they raise quail, deer, and lamb. In season you can find these items on the menu cooked over an oak and mezquite wood fired grill, served with warm tortillas, and homemade jams. After a a breakfast of crispy chilaquiles, fried quail eggs, and refried beans we drove off to Ensenada.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

We decided to take a detour and visit el Valle de Guadalupe, which is Mexico’s wine country. We only visited one winery, L.A Cetto. We had a wine tasting led by a Chef Iker, who shared his knowledge of the local wines and gave us some recommendations on where to eat. Honestly, we weren’t too impressed with the wines or the winery, but we did just come back from a trip to Napa, so it’s not really fair to compare.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

While driving back to Ensenada, on a last minute whim, we decided to go to ” La Bufadora”. “La Bufadora” is the site of one of North Americas largest blowholes, and one of the many tourist attractions in Ensenada. The site is surrounded by shops selling all kinds of hand crafts and souvenirs. There are also small food stands offering fresh seafood and cold drinks to quench the summer heat.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.On our return to Ensenada we stopped for tacos before checking into the hotel. Did you now fish tacos are said to have originated in Ensenada? So naturally I just had to have some. I can’t seem to remember the name of where we ate, I’ll have to get back to you in that one. The tacos were simple: battered and fried fish, a chile ‘guero’ stuffed with smoked marlin, topped with pickled onions, cabbage, and salsa verde. Quite unique and delicious.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

Finally we arrived at Hotel Coral and Marina and spent the rest of the day at the pool. In the evening my sister watched the munchkin so we could go out for a drink. Well at least that was the plan, but after a whole day of travel and activity all we could muster was to stop by the hotel bar. I like Mexican hotel bars. They have plenty of tequila, and are generally “old school”. The bartender was an older gentleman dressed in a classic waiter’s uniform, bow tie and all. We had margaritas, no sour mix (thank goodness!), and peanuts.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

The next day, the guys went deep sea fishing while we walked around the center of town, stopped at Sanborns for some caldo Tlalpeño (spicy chicken soup), and paid a visit to the Mercado Negro (local fish market).  On the drive back to Tijuana we stopped at Puerto Nuevo to feast on their famous lobster dish: broiled lobster, refried beans, hand-made flour tortillas, and Mexican rice. All in all, for such a short trip we had a wonderful time. With our bellies full and our hearts content, we walked across the border pondering how two worlds so different can be so close, and yet the wall that claims to separate them cannot keep them from blending into each other.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

An amazing road trip to Ensenada and Rosario with the family. Great food and friends made the trip one to remember.

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Road Trip to Napa

Our daily routine is back in place, the familiar faces and places of Orange County surrounding our thoughts and our lives. Yet, the sweet memories of our road trip to Napa still flood my days.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

That’s what vacations are for right? To get away from our lives even if it is momentarily. So here are the best pictures of our trip, the places we visited and where we ate, just in case you were thinking of planning a trip to Napa.

Road Trip to Napa: The Pictures

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

 

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

 

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

This road trip to Napa has created so many sweet memories for our family. Dinner at the French Laundry, wineries, a dinner with friends.

Note: I promise this is the last post on Napa. The next one will have a recipe for sure!!

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Lunch at Chez Panisse

Waking up at 3:30 am was not what I had in mind for the start of our vacation, but if we wanted to make our reservation for lunch at Chez Panisse, we had to.

Chez Panisse is a restaurant in Berkeley, CA. It was founded by Alice Waters in 1971. It is said to be the birthplace of the farm to table,-organic-sustainable-California cuisine movement that has now swept the country. But back then it was a small house turned into an improvised restaurant, run by a couple of college graduates with hardly any experience in the industry.

The reason why Chez Panisse is so important and why we wanted to visit, is the fact that it has played such an important role in making American cuisine what it is today and forged a path in establishing a relationship with the farmers that grow our food.

At Chez Panisse the menu changes daily with the seasons and the ingredients are local and organic. We are fortunate enough that spring is in full bloom right now, so the menu included tender peas, buttery fava beans, and baby artichokes. The food was simple, unpretentious, and well executed, oh, and did I mention delicious. The ambiance and the decor was not what I expected. I though we were going to literally walk into an old house filled with a couple of tables, but instead we walked into a rustic house decorated with elegant and modern touches.

I didn’t take any pictures of the food because I find it to be an interruption to the dining experience as a whole, so sorry if you were expecting a detailed description of our lunch. The next stop on our vacation is Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and a lot more wine drinking. Thankfully, after lunch at Chez Panisse waking up so early doesn’t seem like it was a hardship at all.

Lunch at Chez Panisse, the food was simple, unpretentious, and well executed, oh, and did I mention delicious.

Lunch at Chez Panisse, the food was simple, unpretentious, and well executed, oh, and did I mention delicious.

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The Beauty of Mexico

I can’t seem to find the right words or pictures to share. I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I’m not talking about the beautiful Mexican resorts, beach or even the natural resources of Oaxaca. I’m talking about the raw beauty of a small border town, so different from the manicured lawns and pristine streets of Orange County.

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I’ve been here for about a week now and I’ve been enjoying it so much, but somehow it´s always bittersweet. I delight in the fact that my parents have lived in the same house for over thirty years, so I can literally come home. I love that I can eat my favorite foods at our family restaurant, and that there´s people around me who actually want to take care of the munchkin for a little while. Oh and that he actually has someone to play with!

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

At the same time ever since this “drug war” started, Acuña has gone from one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico to almost a ghost town. Businesses are closing because Americans have stopped crossing the border to eat and drink, and the fees imposed by the cartels are too large. In the past two years there has been an increase in poverty in Mexico, with the numbers climbing to 46.2% of the entire population. This means that there´s practically no middle class, just disgustingly rich, poor and extremely poor. All of these things remind me why many Mexicans have chosen to leave their home country legally or illegally.

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I guess what I should be telling you are the little details that make Mexico unique. For example, at the movies we don´t pour butter on our popcorn, there´s hot sauce readily available in a dispenser. Also, Mexicans are not afraid of color and it shows in store displays, houses, and even the supermarket. The food here is so good, usually not processed, and full flavor. Honestly, I think blandness doesn´t exist here. One of the best features of Mexico are the people, the people are warm,  honest, joyful, well most of them are. They certainly know how to throw a party and enjoy one, but most of all they know how to make the best out of what they have.

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I want to show you the beauty of Mexico, but I'm not talking about the beautiful resorts, beaches or natural resources. The real beauty

I will be here for two more weeks, so there will be more to tell. In the mean time have a Happy New Year!