Sunday, October 1, 2017

Starting off Filipino American Heritage Month with the FABNetwork!


With Filipino Americans being the second-largest population of Asian Americans in the United States, the purpose of the FABNetwork is to be a collective organization made up of Filipino-American digital influencers that brands can access to hear our unique voice, utilize our consumer power and exponential publicity of their products or events. We hope the Filipino American Blogger Network,FABNetwork, will be THE resource for brands and public relations firms to reach out to the Filipino American communities across our country.


Founded in 2016, our mission is two-fold: to create connections within the Filipino American influencer community and to be a Public Relations powerhouse that connects brands with the global online community.

Our first goal for the FABNetwork is to connect with other bloggers and social media influencers. If you haven’t already, please join our private influencer Facebook group where you will be able to interact and network with our FABNetwork team of influencers and grow our network together: This group page will be a way for us to learn from one another, as well as share resources to increase our social media presence.

Feel free to use this image and invite others to join our team! Here is a quick pitch you can use:
We'd love for you to be a part of the #FABNetwork!  We're just getting started and we think you be a great addition to our network of influencers.


As we build our FABNetwork, another goal is to increase our social media presence. To encourage the FABNetwork to support each other’s social media posts, please tag @_FABNetwork_ and use the hashtag #FABNetwork. Let’s support each other and show some social media love with FOLLOWS, LIKES, and COMMENTS.  

Again, we hope the FABNetwork will be a useful resource for brands and public relations firms to reach out to the Filipino American communities across our country. If you already have an established relationship with a particular brand(s) that would benefit from working with the FABNetwork, please encourage them to fill out this form! We can start pitching to these companies!

Again, come join us at the FABNetwork! We look forward to “meeting you” online!

Lora Bumatay Lysabeth Luansing-Garcia
@LoraSaysSo @LovelyLysa      

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trade Winds Tavern - Fresh. Eclectic. Delicious!

With two restaurants under her belt, owner Sylvia Le is a veteran restaurateur!  It was a pleasure to meet her and learn about the development story of Tradewind Taverns, a new neighborhood eatery on the Balboa Block of the Convoy area. Sylvia owns SipZ, two vegetarian restaurant locations, so opening a tavern serving Asian fusion tapas was a new venture for her.  Members of the San Diego Filipino Blogger Network recently attended a tasting and interview with Sylvia.
Owner Sylvia Le is third from left.
Our conversation ebbed and flowed as we talked about her experience in the industry and her wanting to fuel others' passion, especially her brother's as he is the Executive Chef  of Trade Winds Tavern and a Culinary Institute of America graduate! The creation of the menu has been a joint collaboration over the past few months with the chefs experimenting with new flavors.  She said you'll find the veterans mentoring the newbies until a dish is just right. With that, it was apparent to me that Sylvia wants to have the type of place where customers AND staff are happy and content.  I was impressed that for only being opened since March 2017, she already greeted some of her customers by name.

One of the new options is Trade Winds' brunch menu featuring $12 bottomless mimosas available on both Saturday and Sunday. This mascarpone stuffed french toast dribbled with a caramel / vanilla sauce and topped with berries is on the brunch menu. It was like a savory dessert and had enough crispiness to make each bite pop through the sweet sauces. So good!

This cocktail flight is also available and includes a Bloody Mary shot, a Strawberry Lemon Drop shot, a Mega Mule shot and a Creamy Soju shot! Soju! I love Soju!
Another one of their brunch specials is chicken skin chicharrones, Filipino style! Oh my! I could have eaten these like a bag of salty chips! They were light and melted in the heat of your mouth!
Staying in the category of Philippine cuisine, Chef Marvin Elauria took us to the province with his take on Bicol Express, using mussels! I could eat that silky coconut milk broth on its own any rainy day!
We also tasted the popular salted pepper chicken wings.  Let me tell you, these rival any found in the Chinese restos in National City / South Bay area! Go see and taste what I'm talking about!
Next, these Japanese-inspired mushroom gyoza with shisito peppers are a vegetarian option!  I liked that they used mushroom in lieu of pork or shrimp!
Another Chinese dish were the pork belly bao buns.  The fried jalapenos gave each bite a robust punch of heat!
From Hawaii, we got a taste of local onos with their version of Loco Moco served over fried rice with Chinese sausage.  The Chinese broccoli and bacon stayed crunchy and perfectly balanced the texture of the soft egg and meat patty. My husband would LOVE this!
Not really from Asia, ... let's say the land of the free, the Messy Burger served with taro chips!
Another bar food favorite of customers is their dirty fries! They can make their filthier if you want by adding a fried egg on top! This was the talk of our table.  The pork and sauce mixed up with creme freshe and some fries, Five Star Bar Food!
To wash this deliciousness down, we sipped on a lychee mint spritzer,
a strawberry sojutini,
and my favorite, plum wine!
In addition to serving drinks and food, Trade Winds holds Trivia Nights on Wednesdays, a recent one dedicated to Game of Thrones! In addition, there are game nights and also an Instagram contest with the prize being a Golden Ticket, the ability to purchase unlimited beers for $3 for the next three months!
Our group ate, (but first took pictures of the food, hahaha), drank, interviewed Sylvia and it was an amazing time!

The food was not what I would expect from a place with Tavern in the name. It felt like we ate carefully thought out meals cooked from a dear friend who knew what we would enjoy.  Sylvia made us feel so welcome in her new place.  Please go visit Trade Winds Tavern soon!
A few members of our SD blogger group!
I was treated to a tasting menu in exchange for this blog post. All opinion are my own.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ten Tips if You're Planning a Trip to Great Wolf Lodge!

1.  There are so many promo codes out there, don't ever pay full price! We used a code for 40% off sixty days in advance and paid  $417 for two nights! I think the deposit was non-refundable but even the check-in guy said, "How'd you get that price? Some people pay that for one night!" After your initial stay, you will receive offers via email to come back at even more discounted prices. Depending on the season, they may have extra activities. We went in Fall, Howloween time! Tip: Do some research for offers before you book your stay.

2. Let's face it, eating out on vacation can really put a dent in your wallet. A donut from Dunkin' donuts, which is there on site, is more than a dollar.  We got a half-dozen from a place up the street for less than $5. McDonald's is right across the street too. That was our breakfast place. Lee's Sandwiches is also next door in the strip mall. Banh mi for days at $3-4 dollars a sandwich. You can't beat a freshly baked hot baguette for a buck and some butter chips!  We went there twice! I heard someone say that Garden Grove is the mecca for Vietnamese food. We had pho at Saigon 9, in the same strip mall. We enjoyed huge bowls of savory soup for less than $7 per bowl.  I also saw a mercado there in the mall as well, but didn't go in.  I paid $12 for 3 street-sized shrimp tacos and fries at Great Wolf Lodge. I'm sure that's a whole meal with rice and beans in that store. They do have a sit-down restaurant and a buffet, but we didn't eat there. Tip: If you are on a budget or want other food than the usual amusement park food, go out of Great Wolf Lodge to eat!

3.  The Nickel Nickel Arcade next door was so fun! Just a hop, skip, and jump from the wolf lodge!  $2 admission price per person but a yelp check in gets you a dollar off. Group of six or more gets you in for  $1.25. Then you buy bags of nickels from $3 to $10. They have a good range of games from Free to six nickels! I played my childhood games, Frogger and Centipede for free! Open until 11 pm. Tip: For a change of pace, get your arcade game on at Nickel Nickel! 

4.  Great Wolf Lodge also has a convention center upstairs.  Ralphs sponsored their floral holiday training there. They had the whole second floor and then booked the buffet to feed the employees.  Tip: Great Wolf is not just a water park and hotel, host your next company event there!
5. They were so considerate!  There is a little welcome basket with candy, coffee, and I forgot what else in the room.  Even some deep conditioner for pool hair! Nice touch Great Wolf! Tip: I don't really have one, but isn't this nice?

6. It's like a sauna in the water park and the chlorine hits you in the eyes and nose! Just be prepared. The slides are long and topsy turvy too! I enjoyed the non-slide areas much better as I had a headache after each session of being in there. Tip: Bring some pain reliever meds and hydrate often!

7. They have a fridge and microwave in each room.  This was great for keeping drinks cold and heating up popcorn or leftovers from meals! They do check your bag when you enter the water park. I wasn't sure if they allow non-park food because they asked me about some candy I had. I just told them I needed it to keep my sugar level in check. Tip: Bring some disposable paper goods if you want to bring food from outside or home but you probably need to eat in the room or in the common areas.

8. They have packages which include Disneyland tickets! I think that's really smart of them.  Don't have the budget for Disneyland tickets? Tip:  Downtown Disney is not too far if you need a Disney fix and it's free! Well parking you may need to pay for.  Go watch the fireworks in the area outside the entrance! It is still spectacular!
Photo from
9.  The parking gate makes you tap in and out with the bracelet. We went out of the structure quite often, to go to the store or eat. We even explored Huntington Beach on one of our days there! Tip: Wear the bracelet on the left wrist if you're the driver.  This just makes it so much easier when you are coming and going.

10.  Although check out time is at 11 am, you can still enjoy the water park and kid activities until closing on the day you check out, typically 8 pm. Tip: Pack a day bag with extra clothes and shower supplies (towels are provided) to maximize your stay!

Hope these tips helped! Have one I didn't share? Please comment below!
High Paw for a Howling Good Time at Great Wolf Lodge! AAAWOOOOOOO!


It’s ninja time! LEGOLAND® California Resort celebrates the opening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly anticipated big-screen animated adventure “THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE,” in theaters nationwide on September 22, with LEGO NINJAGO Days on September 23 & 24. Guests are invited to come join in some LEGO NINJAGO fun at the family theme park and meet some of their favorite LEGO NINJAGO characters, including Kai, Jay and Nya. Guests can also participate in activities such as building a LEGO mystery mosaic, completing a scavenger hunt in Miniland U.S.A. and be one of the first to play “THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE” video game. All activities are included with the price of admission into LEGOLAND California Resort.

September 23 & 24, 2017
LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad, CA
Please call if interested in covering the event

THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™ Character Meet & Greets
Meet characters from the movie in LEGO NINJAGO World!
10 a.m., 1 1a.m.12 p.m.1 p.m.2 p.m.3 p.m.4 p.m.
Mystery Mosaic LEGO® Build
First come, first serve! Work together to build a LEGO mosaic and check out our FB page to see it completed!
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Miniland U.S.A Scavenger Hunt
Find the ninjas in Miniland U.S.A. and complete your entry form for a chance to win a LEGO NINJAGO prize pack!
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
WB Family GameSpace, featuring THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE Video Game
Master new skills and upgrade your weapons in your training to find your inner ninja in this new video game.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Get your Ninja on this weekend!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

San Diego College Campus Tours!

Fall Break is right around the corner for those of us who have children in the South San Diego area. What a great time to take the kids to see our local campuses! This is something we always did whenever we took a trip to another city.  We included a stop at the local university and a trip to the bookstore for a souvenir t-shirt.  It's never too early to start thinking about college!

There are many satellite campuses. This is the main one:
900 Otay Lakes Rd. Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 421-6700
Prospective Student Center 5500 Campanile Dr. San Diego, CA 92182
(619) 594 6336
Campus Tours You can also register for a group tour!

333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-4830

9500 Gilman Dr. La Jolla, CA 92093
(858) 822-4750

  • Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Dr. San Diego, CA 92093
(619) 849-2200

5998 Alcala Park San DIego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4506

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Force Friday II!

Find the Force, a global augmented reality (AR) event rolling out on Force Friday II (September 1)  commemorates the worldwide launch of new products inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The pop-up AR treasure hunt aims to unite fans around the world in the battle against the dark side in a unique three-day event at over 20,000 retail locations across 30 countries. As fans turn up to take home new The Last Jedi products, they will have the opportunity to activate a unique augmented reality experience featuring Star Wars characters, including fan-favorites and new surprise additions from the film.

“Force Friday II is a major milestone in the countdown to Star Wars: The Last JediStar Wars has always championed new technology, and we are excited that augmented reality will allow fans to experience the universe in a whole new way,” says Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm.

From September 1-3, retailers around the world will invite fans to Find the Force by taking part in an AR treasure hunt. Here’s how it works: first, download the Star Wars App, which is your one-stop-shop for all things Star Wars (those who already have the app will need to download the latest version). Then, visit any one of 20,000 participating retail locations to find a graphic that contains the Find the Force logo. When you scan the graphic using the Star Wars App, you’ll reveal a character, who through augmented reality, will appear in the room with you. You can then take photos, record videos, and share the experience on social media. Come back each day to reveal new characters
(15 in total across the program’s three-day run). Click here for more information:  

“Force Friday II puts fans right at the center of the action using augmented reality to bring our characters to life like never before. The technology theme continues in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi product line, which is our most innovative yet - we can’t wait for fans to see what’s in store.” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media.

Fans can download the latest version of the Star Wars App (v. 2.3 or higher) beginning Aug. 24 for an early look at the new Porg characters in AR before the AR treasure hunt goes live at retail.  

By sharing photos or videos featuring the in-store AR characters on Twitter or Instagram using #FindtheForce and #Sweepstakes throughout Force Friday II weekend, fans in select global markets can participate in a sweepstakes for the chance to win the ultimate fan experience: tickets to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere in December.

No Purchase Necessary. Enter sweepstakes between August 31, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time (“PT”)/3:00 p.m. British Summer Time (“BST”) and September 4, 2017 at 2:59 a.m. PT/10:59 a.m. BST. Open to legal residents in 50 U.S. + D.C., Canada (excluding Quebec), Australia, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France, South Korea and Chile who are 18+ or the age of majority in their place of residence, whichever is older. Limit 15 entries per person. There is 1 Grand Prize available to be won (ARV: US $4,500). Grand Prize winner must travel to Los Angeles, California USA on or about December 12, 2017. Visit for Official Rules including details on how to enter, additional eligibility requirements, prize descriptions and limitations. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty. Limited, Level 5, Chapel Street, South Yarra, Victoria 3141, Australia.

More information about Find the Force and a how-to video is available at

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in U.S. theaters on December 15, 2017.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Parent to Parent: Tips for your Child's Senior Year of High School!

So your kid is now a High School Senior! First of all, congrats!   Having had two kids graduate from high school and college, I thought I would share some tips from one parent to another on what to expect and how to save some money!
  • First there are those Senior Pictures that students will probably take during the summer.  Yes, the sitting fee is free, but to purchase them is another story.  If you want to add blemish removal, use an outdoor setting, do multiple change of outfits, etc...there is extra cost that can run you into hundreds of dollars. A saving tip, there are photographers in abundance that you can find on the internet, some on Groupon (you can even use Groupon coupons sometimes!) or other social media sites where you can pay one price and get the pictures digitally.  Another tip, have your child's makeup done at one of the department stores. You will probably spend some money on makeup products but it is worth it. Let them know that the session is for pictures and they will apply the necessary amount of makeup for your child to be camera ready. Your child can take the obligatory senior picture with the school selected photographer and then utilize your hired professional photographer the same day to do your own shoot. Your choice of setting and you can use props too!
  • Other costs like the yearbook and graduation announcements, etc...are often sold as a special package from the school, at discounted prices. What I did to enhance their senior year was use sites like,, or and made my own custom yearbook for each of my girls, to capture their last year.  I also utilized these websites for custom graduation party announcements at the end of the year!
  • For parents of girls who want to attend Homecoming or other formal dances, shopping for dresses can get quite expensive!  There are programs like The Princess Project, or sites like Rent the Runway to get dresses for free or a nominal fee. Or you can do a clothing swap with other moms and daughters that have gently used dresses. Also, instead of spending a lot of money at a fancy restaurant for meals, parents can pitch in for an appetizer/ hor d'oeuvres hour for picture taking at a picturesque spot. And finally, with YouTube tutorials these days, girls can do each other's hair and makeup!

  • How else can you save some money during your child's Senior Year? Turn in that national school lunch application form if your child attends a public school.  If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, your child will also be eligible for waived or reduced fees for SAT / ACT tests, college application fees and reduced rates or no cost to take Advance Placement tests.
  • Aside from the finances that may stress you out,  more important is your child's well-being. Your child will be stressed out in October and November as they work on their college applications while trying to maintain their probably already over-scheduled life. Pay attention I mean, give extra attention to them. Be flexible about their chores and cut them some slack during these high-pressure months. Be instrumental in making sure they exercise self-care, i.e. they eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep, help them keep organized with deadlines, especially with scholarship deadlines. 
  • Your children will be stressed out again in February/March as they wait for those emails to come in from the universities they applied to. This is an important time for your parental support to help them deal with anxiety and possible rejection.  The best thing to do is be available to LISTEN. Feed them often, and hug them a lot.
  • On to scholarships, here are some tips. 
Tip 1) Don't wait otherwise you may miss deadlines. Bookmark your high school's scholarship bulletin and also your county's education office's scholarship bulletin.
Tip 2) Use the internet to search other scholarships available on other high schools' sites, nationwide and locally.  Civic and community groups like the Kiwanis, the Rotary Club, the Elks Lodge, etc... often sponsor scholarships as well. Connect with them to see what they offer.  All colleges and universities also offer their own scholarships. Check with the schools your child is interested in.
Tip 3) Scholarship applications can be quite lengthy, especially if they require an essay. Encourage your child to have one standard essay about themselves and their special talents, activities, achievements, extraordinary experiences, etc... Oftentimes this one essay can then be revised to suit the particular scholarship essay question. The basis will already be there. 
Tip 4) Have your child ask for letters of recommendations for scholarships EARLY and make multiple copies so you have them ready for submission!  
Tip 5) Call me a Tiger Mom, but I had 3-ring binders with a spreadsheet of all the scholarships my daughters applied for, dated with when they were sent in and what the result was and the amount won. My girls received quite a bit of money for college from scholarships alone. It is worth your time and effort to help them with this.
  • In addition to scholarships, The Free Applications For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will also be available as early as October for you to complete online for the following year. Funding is limited, so the earlier you submit the FAFSA, the better. There is a special tool in the application to import all of your tax information to make filling out the form easier.  But of course, you do have to have your previous year's taxes filed on time for this tool to work. 
  • Another tip for senior year is preparing your child to live on his/her own if that is within their plans after senior year. Teach them how to cook simple meals, how to do laundry, and how to save money!  Some of them may be living with other people in dorms or apartments next year when they are use to having their own space. Talk to them about compromise, how to get along, and how best to communicate to avoid unnecessary drama with roommates. Talk to them about how to manage their time and find balance between studying and enjoying life! 
  • Even though your child may be a senior this year, he/she still needs you. This is a time when they may be negotiating boundaries with you, them being young adults and all and wanting to make their own decisions.  If you've been consistent with your parenting all these years, then be confident that they will make the best decisions for themselves.  Tell them that you trust them. Check in with them often and reassure them that you're there for them always. 
Graduation time will be here as soon as you know it.  If you are serious about these tips I've shared, senior year will be a busy time for YOU as a parent as well! Enjoy the school year ahead, each and every day. Thanks for reading! Find my other posts about preparing for college here.

Have a great tip for your child's senior year that should be mentioned? Please comment below!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Save Even More with Groupon Coupons!

Do you love a good deal?  I do! I kinda get a high off of it! I'm not an extreme couponer or anything, but I do love saving money! With three kids, two of which recently graduated from college within the last two years, saving money whenever we could was definitely in our family plans.

Over the last year or two, I've been getting more comfortable with online shopping. Groupon is one of those sites where I shop frequently because they have some great deals! In addition, they also have coupons available to save you even more money! The best part is that these coupons are free!

With school back in full swing, but also still some summer left, saving money is a priority! Check out the links below to stores where I shop!

Nordstrom Rack
Office Depot
Barnes and Noble
My M&Ms

Hope you get some really great deals! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Luib Health Center- A Holistic Approach to Health!

I have always wanted to learn more about Chinese medicine and holistic approaches to health. Now that I am in my mid-forties, I am definitely feeling the aches and pains of just growing older! I was eager to spend some time at the Luib Health Center with Dr. Catherine Sy Luib to learn more about her services and her approach to a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Cat, as her patients affectionately call her, is a licensed chiropractor and acupuncturist.  She holds many different school degrees and one can tell she is definitely very knowledgeable about what she does and how the body works!  Dr. Cat intertwines Traditional Chinese Medicine with nutrition based treatment.  She believes in aligning the mind, body, and spirit, back into harmony.

On my initial visit, I received a biomat treatment along with sound therapy and thought that my mom would really benefit from this.  She has trouble sleeping and relaxing in general. I took both my parents to Dr. Cat the next week.  Here is Dr. Cat preparing my mom for her treatment. The mat that my mom is laying on contains amethyst crystals that help redirect your body's energy.  In addition it is heated to soothe muscles.  Dr. Cat provides an audio of a guided relaxation session.  It is not uncommon for someone to fall asleep during this session, which is what my mom did!  Afterwards, my mom said the 30 minute session made her feel more relaxed and energetic.
I also brought my Dad in to see Dr. Cat, due to numerous issues.  The major one being that he is in a constant state of pain.  He suffered a stroke 3 years ago and his left arm/shoulder area is pretty much flaccid. Dr. Cat administered Tuina massage along with cupping.
She also integrated sound therapy using ancient Tibetan bowls into his sessions. The sound is meant to "tune" my dad's body back into harmony.  The tuning was peaceful, meditative, and restorative.
My dad really responded to this and wanted to come back for another session!

Dr. Cat also prescribed recipes for food-based therapy.  She gave us a recipe for smoothies that would detox my dad's liver because of all the medications he is on and referred my mom to take some herb and vitamin supplements to get them both healthier. As I get older and my parents continue to grow into their golden years, I prefer seeking out these kinds of treatments instead of adding more medications.  I only wish that Dr. Cat's office was closer. I think we would be visiting her more often as a family!
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