Archives for March 2018

5 Things every camper needs to sleep outdoors

Outdoor camping is an exciting activity. Time spent outdoors, especially around nature, is beneficial to your health. You get clean and fresh air, healthy and unadulterated sunshine, and you’re taken away from the stress and toxicity of the city. Sleeping outdoors may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and every camper needs to be prepared for it. If you’re planning for a camping trip to relax and unwind, take note of the following tips and must-haves in order to enjoy your sleep:


  1. Choose the right tent

Picking the right tent is important in ensuring you’re properly sheltered throughout your camping trip. There are many considerations in choosing the right tent. The most important is to check the capacity. How many of you are going to share the same tent? Are you sharing with your siblings who toss and turn at night? Do you have a companion that’s claustrophobic? The size of your tent is vital in ensuring you’re allocated enough space for you to sleep properly. Planet Camping offers some of the best brands when it comes to tents such as Easy Camp, Outwell, and Robens. Make sure to research well before buying. You want a tent that fits you and your companions comfortably, and at the same time is easy to set up and lightweight enough to carry during a hike.


  1. Invest in comfortable bedding

Sleeping in a tent is generally inconvenient. At the cost of being closer to nature you have to endure sleeping on the cold hard ground, with hardly any cushioning to give you a good night’s sleep. But don’t worry, the right bedding will solve that problem for you. Get a sleeping pad for your tent. You can get either a self-inflating one, an air pad, or a foam mattress. That’s the first layer. Then you can cozy in on your chosen sleeping bag for a good night’s sleep. Make sure that you got a sleeping bag that fits you right and has the correct temperature rating for your campsite destination.


  1. Bring appropriate clothes

Depending on the current weather on your campsite, the appropriate type of clothing may vary. But generally, make sure to have trekking boots or shoes, pants, shorts, t-shirts, and extra socks.  Extra underwear is a must. You may also want to bring a hat or a bandana, and rain gear in case the weather changes. Your sleeping clothes should be comfortable and light so that you can easily get warmed up inside your sleeping bag. And of course, for all the clothes you’re using up, pack them properly with a laundry bag.


  1. Don’t forget the food

Food is definitely important in any outdoor activity. Depends on the length of your adventure you may want to bring a portable stove for cooking. Fire starters such as matches and newspapers are essential as well. Don’t forget to bring your thermos too for a good ‘ol cup of hot chocolate. Water jugs, coolers, and plasticware for eating are also a must. And with all the food preparation you’re going to do, no doubt you’re going to leave a mess, so never ever forget to bring trash bags and take it along with you when you leave.


  1. Bring only the absolute essentials

It’s easy to get excited when adventure awaits, but don’t take your excitement to your luggage unless you want to end up slowing the team down due to your heavy bags. Stick to the absolute essentials when packing. Check your camping gear. Make sure you have a tent, sleeping bag, and all the tools you need to set up your shelter is present. Check your food and kitchen items – stove, matches, food, coolers, and water jugs. Try to delegate some items to some people to divide the load. Your personal items should be complete as well – clothes, toiletries, and first aid kit.

National Burrito Day is next Thursday, April 5th! Celebrate at Rubio’s! To celebrate this tasty holiday, Rubio’s Coastal Grill will offer any burrito on the menu for $5 all day long (with purchase of a drink).

Enjoy Globally Inspired Dishes with Popular Chimichurri Two Taco Plate, New Chipotle Chicken Ranch Burrito and More!

 Rubio’s® Restaurants, the brand known for its delicious coastal cuisine and popularizing the fish taco, is bringing back its Chimichurri Tacos with added variety and flavor, now available with Wild Alaska Coho Salmon, all natural steak and all natural chicken. The Coastal Grill chain is also expanding its craveable burrito line with Rubio’s new Chipotle Chicken Ranch Burrito. The new dishes will be available beginning April 4 for a limited time.

The Chimichurri Tacos feature Rubio’s chimichurri sauce – a savory blend of basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil – fire-roasted corn, Rubio’s signature white sauce, red chiles and mixed greens. Served atop flour tortillas, the Chimichurri Two Taco Plate is available with sustainable Wild Alaska Coho Salmon, all natural steak or all natural chicken. Guests looking for more variety also have the option to mix and match any two.

Rubio’s new Chipotle Ranch Chicken Burrito is loaded with all natural chicken, fire-roasted corn, Mexican rice, black beans, crispy tortilla strips for a craveable crunch and creamy chipotle ranch sauce all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla with melted cheese.

“Our culinary team creates recipes with global flavors that will resonate with our guests locally,” said Ralph Rubio, co-founder of Rubio’s Coastal Grill. “Inspired by traditional Argentinian flavors and spices, the Chimichurri Two Taco Plate with All Natural Steak and Chipotle Chicken Ranch Burrito feature bold, savory flavors that complement our land-based side of the menu.”

As part of the company’s “Made With a Mission”® commitment – to serve coastal food that not only tastes great, but that its guests can feel great about eating – Rubio’s is also introducing fresh greens drizzled with lemon agave vinaigrette as a new side option. Guests can now choose between the fresh greens or no-fried™ pinto beans and sea salted tortilla chips with any two taco plate or burrito.

For more information about Rubio’s Coastal Grill, visit Guests can also join the conversation on Facebook at, Twitter at and Instagram at

Credit: Rubio’s. Images and information were provided. Some form of compensation may have been received and I will be reviewing again soon! SoCal City Kids loves Rubio’s! 


The Queen Mary Inaugural Queensway 5K was a blast!

The Queen Mary’s inaugural Queensway 5K invited Long Beach to lace up their high-top sneakers and walk, run, or jog through the Queen Mary’s Events Park and Long Beach harbor on Thursday, March 29th, 2018. The course took participants across the Queensway Bridge for breathtaking views of the Long Beach city skyline, finishing at the Queen Mary Events Park for the post-race celebrations. The first-year festival is a new, family-friendly event, providing an opportunity to celebrate the Long Beach community, local businesses and organizations, all at the iconic Queen Mary.


The Queensway 5K kicked off at 3 p.m. with on-site registration, music, and organized stretches. The 5K run began at 5:15 p.m.  All participants were expected to be finished by 6:30 p.m. Along the 3.1-mile course, participants saw Queen Mary signature characters and icons as they walked, ran, or jogged through a year of events offered at the legendary Queen Mary.

My son and I participated and had so much fun! We didn’t quite run but we did walk at a fast pace and finished at 6 p.m. What was so much fun was seeing the different Queen Mary signature characters. I loved that the Dark Harbor characters were giving high fives! They weren’t quite as scary as they are at Dark Harbor!


It was a beautiful sunny day and I loved seeing the beautiful sights in Long Beach!

This was quite an impressive and a really fun event! I’m hoping that The Queen Mary has another 5K next year! If so, my son and I will be there!


Self Disclosure: I attended the event as Media. Images are my own.

Wildflowers Bloom at Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm Experience 24 Hours of Wildflowers online April 3 and register for programs to see blooms this spring

Irvine Ranch Conservancy invites the community to enjoy wildflower season on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by registering for a public program at the Native Seed Farm and across the open spaces. Nature lovers can also experience the sprouts and blooms of spring through a virtual wildflower tour on Tuesday, April 3 beginning at 6 a.m.

Due to recent rains, several types of local wildflowers are blooming at the Native Seed Farm on the Irvine Open Space Preserve. The Native Seed Farm produces thousands of seeds annually that help sustain the habitat on the Landmarks, and the field is blooming with wildflowers including purple owl’s clover (Castilleja exserta), California bush sunflower (Encelia Californica), and longleaf lupine (Lupinus longifolius).  Beyond the Native Seed Farm, wildflowers including School Bells (Dichelostemma capitatum) and California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are sprouting across the Landmarks in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve and throughout the Irvine Open Space Preserve.

To celebrate wildflower season, Irvine Ranch Conservancy is launching its 3rd annual “3…2…1…Bloom: 24 Hours of Wildflowers” virtual tour. The virtual tour will feature 24 hours of wildflowers and showcase a photo of a different bloom posted every hour to the Landmarks’ FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages. Each post during the virtual tour will include a picture of a native wildflower, information on the species, and links to programs on the Landmarks where nature lovers can see these flowers firsthand. Join the virtual tour by “liking” the Landmarks’ Facebook page at, following us on Twitter (@IRLandmarks) or Instagram (@OCMountainstoSea).

“The Native Seed Farm is home to more than 50 species of plants and wildflowers. Conservancy staff and volunteers wrapped up planting in late February, and now we get to enjoy blooms across 14 acres of land on the Farm,” commented Native Seed Farm Stewardship Coordinator, Rachel Lambert. “Whether volunteering at the Native Seed Farm to help harvest and plant wildflowers or following along with the virtual tour on April 3, there are beautiful blooms to enjoy on the Landmarks.”

Connect with the local lands and spot blooming wildflowers on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by registering for programs in the City of Irvine, City of Newport Beach, and OC Parks. All programs on the Landmarks are free with required pre-registration, which closes 4 p.m. the day prior to each activity. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Click the activities below to register for a free program and experience the blooms of wildflower season.

  • It’s Harvest Time! Collect Wildflower Seeds at the Native Seed Farm is a reoccurring program at the Native Seed Farm. Volunteers can give back to the land and harvest native spring flowers like California Poppies and Arroyo Lupines. Children as young as 8 years old can take this opportunity to help nurture and restore the wildlands within the Landmarks.
  • The Self-Paced Fitness Hike on Hicks Haul Road is a reoccurring program where fitness enthusiasts can enjoy a walk, jog, or run to scenic Loma Ridge. Every Thursday from 6 – 7:30 p.m., participants and their families can spot California Poppies, Bush Mallows, and Paint Brushes while enjoying the beautiful vistas of Loma Ridge at dusk.
  •  Wilderness Access Day: Limestone Canyon on Saturday, April 7 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. invites hikers, bikers, and equestrians, to start their weekend off in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Visitors can explore over 15 miles of open space at their own pace and enjoy the sights and smells of wildflowers along the way.
  • Mid Week Hike: Quail Hill on Wednesday, April 11 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the City of Irvine’s scenic Quail Hill allows hikers to enjoy the fresh air, sprawling views, and wildflowers while covering 12 miles of single-track trails. Visitors can use this time on the land to connect with nature in Irvine’s beautiful Southern Preserve.
  • Mid-Week Hike: Agua Chinon and The Sinks on Wednesday, April 25 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. encourages hikers to recharge their batteries during a refreshing mid-week hike through the Agua Chinon Wash in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve where they can spot California Poppies, School Bells, and Lupine.
  • Shhh…Hike, Look and Listen on April 26 from 5 – 7 p.m. in OC Parks’ Baker Canyon in Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park encourages visitors to take a slow and tranquil stroll through the open space while learning about the canyon and its plant life and wildlife.

Irvine Ranch Conservancy offers free, docent-led, and self-guided programs that include hiking, mountain bike rides, horseback riding, habitat restoration and special events for nature enthusiasts of all ages and fitness skill levels. For more information on activities or to register visit 


Irvine Ranch Conservancy is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization created in 2005 to help preserve and support the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, enhancing the public’s connection to the land while helping partners and landowners with all aspects of stewardship. The Conservancy offers a variety of free, guided outdoor programs for all nature enthusiasts including hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding and much more. For more information, visit

March is National Nutrition Month! Celebrate with Cascade Ice Sparkling Water!

Looking for a couple of great Drink ideas for the Spring and maybe even for Easter? How about going with something a little healthier since March is Nutrition Month!

Cascade Ice Sparkling Water has you covered!

Energize your family with our Grapefruit Sparkler! Per serving, mix 6 oz of Cascade Ice zero-calorie Pink Grapefruit with 3 oz of club soda. Squeeze in some lime wedges for a zesty twist! Garnish with small grapefruit wedges and you’re ready to serve!

I actually received samples and tried this one and it is very tasty!

To incorporate more fruit into your diet, try a Berry Pomegranate Cooler. Start with a cup of fresh strawberries, 1/2 cup of ice cubes and 5 oz of Cascade Ice zero-calorie Cranberry Pomegranate. Blend all the ingredients together and garnish with a couple of pomegranate seeds.

And….by the way..Cascade Ice Sparkling water is delicious all by itself too!

Happy Spring and Happy Nutrition Month!


Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Images and recipe ideas were also provided.  Photo credit to  Anastasia Tsarskaya for the Berry Pomegranate Cooler image.

Sgt Stubby: An American Hero Family Movie Giveaway Opportunity!

As documented in history books but largely forgotten today, the heartwarming CG-animated feature Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero from Fun Academy Studios, based on the incredible true story of the unbreakable bond between a young Soldier and a stray dog, is coming to theatres across the U.S. on April 13!

Opening April 13 on approximately 3,000 screens across the U.S. and Canada and coinciding with the year-long 100th commemoration of the United States’ role in the “War to End All Wars, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero tells the story of Army “doughboy” Robert Conroy (Logan Lerman) whose life is forever changed when a little stray dog with a stubby tail wanders into a training camp in New Haven, Conn.  Conroy gives his new friend a meal, a name, a family and the chance to embark on an adventure that would define a century.

Narrated by Robert’s sister Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter), Stubby and his new best friend quickly find themselves in the trenches of France. Befriended by French poilu Soldier Gaston Baptiste (Gérard Dépardieu), Stubby accompanies the duo along their epic journey through harsh conditions and incredible acts of courage.

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero was directed by award-winning documentarian Richard Lanni in his feature film debut and stars Logan Lerman (Fury, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Percy Jackson & The Olympians), Helena Bonham Carter (the upcoming Ocean’s 8, the Harry Potter films, The King’s SpeechSweeney Todd) and Gérard Depardieu (Life of PiCyrano De Bergerac, The Man in the Iron Mask, Green Card).

Featuring an original score by Patrick Doyle (BraveThorCinderella, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Sgt. Stubby is produced and distributed by Fun Academy Motion Pictures with animation by Mikros Animation, a Technicolor company.  Screenwriters are Richard Lanni and Mike Stokey II (Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Alexander, Born on the Fourth of July), with editing by Mark Solomon (Frankenweenie, Chicken Run, Shark Tale, the upcoming Sherlock Gnomes). Produced by Laurent Rodon and Emily Cantrill; and executive produced by Frank Lumpkin IIITom Sheehan and Richard Lanni.

Genre:  Animated, Family, Adventure, History.  Running Time:  90 Minutes.  Anticipated MPAA Rating:  PG.

And don’t forget to check out the book Stubby the Dog Soldier: World War I Hero from Capstone for readers ages 5-7 by Blake Hoena and Illustrated by Oliver Hurst – a 2015 Notable Social Studies Trades Book for Young People selection from the National Council for the Social Studies & the Children’s Book Council.

Plus, check out the fun FREE ACTIVITY PACK at for more fun facts about Stubby plus some exciting activities, including making your own origami Stubby, a maze, coloring sheets and more!

Visit us online:

Like us: /

Follow us: /

We have also teamed up for a Special Giveaway! One winner will win an adorable free Stubby plush (value $20); a Stubby Kuzi(valu$5); Stubby drawstring bag (value $12); and a copy of the hardcover book Stubby the Dog Soldier: World War I Hero from Capstone for ages 5-7 (value $14.95). A value of over $50!

To enter, leave a comment below! One winner will randomly be selected! Deadline to enter is April 3rd, 2018 at noon PST. 

Self Disclosure: I was unable to review this movie but am planning to go see it when it comes out. I will also be receiving a prize package. Images and information were provided. 

Yogurtland Expands Ice Cream Offering with New Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream and Mint OREO® Cookies & Creme Ice Cream

Industry-leading, ever popular Yogurtland, whose successful ice cream introduction last summer gave self-serve dessert fans more to love, today announces two new scratch-made ice cream flavors.  Mint OREO® Cookies & Creme Ice Cream and Strawberries & Cream ice cream are available now through the end of March at all Yogurtland locations.

A delicious, undeniable treat, the new Mint OREO Cookies & Crème Ice Cream combines real OREO chocolate cookies and mint for a perfectly rich and creamy ice cream.

Yogurtland’s Strawberries and Cream ice cream brings together the tart and juicy flavor qualities of California strawberries with the fruitiness and jam-like quality of Northwest strawberries to create the perfect strawberry and cream balance.

My son and I enjoyed the new flavors at Yogurtland the other day and our favorite is the Mint OREO® Cookies & Creme Ice Cream! We rarely like the same flavor but this one is a hit! You just have to try it before it’s gone!


Yogurtland’s flavorologists are continually creating craveable flavors that keep fans loving their frozen dessert experience. Yogurtland owns its own dairy, and by controlling the frozen yogurt making process, the company can deliver the highest quality flavors, setting new standards for millions of fans.

Yogurtland features non-fat and low-fat yogurt flavors, ice cream, and non-dairy and no sugar added choices while using milk that does not contain antibiotics or added hormones. Fruit flavors are fortified with Vitamin C for an extra boost.

Presently Yogurtland has more than 320 locations across the U.S., Australia, Dubai, Guam, Korea, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Venezuela. Flavors are always subject to creative change and popular demand. For more information, visit or

Self Disclosure: I received a gift card to try out the delicious new flavors and facilitate this post. Images are my own.

OREO and the OREO Wafer Design are registered trademarks of Mondelēz International group, used under license.

More Than Brunch: Easter Sunday @ The Queen Mary!

Easter Sunday at The Queen Mary is more than just brunch! Hop aboard to enjoy a legendary Easter brunch and a day of family-friendly activities! From 11 Am to 3 PM complimentary fun includes a petting zoo of bunnies and other animal friends, egg hunt, face painting, balloon art, games PLUS a free screening of the Easter-themed animated movie, HOP!  The Easter Bunny himself will be in attendance for a special family photo-opportunity! Don’t forget to make reservations for Easter Sunday Champagne Brunch featuring gourmet dishes from around the globe along with a special Easter Candy that’ll satisfy any sweet tooth. On April 1 Easter activities are free for guests visiting the Queen Mary for dining, hotel, tour or exhibit.  For More Info:


The Queen Mary’s Easter Egg Hunt: (1-2PM in the historic Queen Salon) Search for Easter Eggs filled with toys, candy and tour tickets! Plus, the hunt is on for one of ten eggs containing a Golden Ticket redeemable for a very special Queen Mary Easter Basket!

Balloon Twisting: Visit our talented balloon artist and watch as they create the craziest balloon designs at your request.

Easter Petting Zoo: Spend a few minutes with real Easter animals including bunnies, chickens, guinea pigs, sheep and a mini pig!

Easter Bunny Face Painting & Airbrush Tattoos:  Everyone can be a bunny this Easter after a stop at our Easter Bunny face-painting & airbrush tattoo stations.

Games: Try your hand at corn hole, ring toss and more! Perhaps you will walk away with a prize!

Movie: Head down to the Queen Salon and watch a free showing of the featured movie HOP at 3:00 PM (Click the poster below to watch the trailer)


Special Easter Hours: April 1st,  9:00AM -3:30PM
Restaurant Validated Parking: Self-parking is $8 with restaurant validation and valet parking is $15 with restaurant validation (up to 3 hours).
Flat Rate Parking: $18 flat rate on Easter Sunday
Prices: $69.95 General Admission, $24.95 children (4-11) Tax and gratuity is additional.
Reservations: Highly recommended (call 562-499-1606 or CLICK HERE or

If you are attending the Easter Brunch your admission to the ship is included along with access to the Engine Room and the Ship Model Gallery.   There is a nominal fee for tours, exhibits and the 4-D Theater from $6.00 to $10.00 per person. Visit the Tour Center on Promenade Deck for discounted prices. TOUR INFORMATION

Credit: The Queen Mary.