Loving Life as a SoCal Latina Lifestyle Blogger

DreamWorks' TROLLS Brightens up Theaters November 4th!

Entertainment, FamilyCynthia DuarteComment

First of all, big shout out to 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Animation for inviting me to this press event for the super cool and colorful film, DreamWorks' TROLLS. I was lucky enough to not only see several clips from the upcoming animated film, but also sit in the same room, roughly 10 feet away from Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake.  *fans self*

DreamWorks' TROLLS hits theaters later this year and both kids and adults are going to love this colorful, music-filled comedy. Director Mike Mitchell, who also directed DreamWorks' SHREK, explained that this film, much like SHREK has the kind of magic where both parents and kids find themselves laughing at the same parts of the movie and sharing a love for both new and classic songs.

The super talented (and incredibly handsome) Justin Timberlake not only voices one of the main characters but also takes on the role as Executive Music Producer. When asked about his new role, JT said,

"My job for that was hopefully to put our own spin on it, make it sound unique, make it sound like it belonged in the scene, much like a musical theater..." "So then I wrote four original songs, one of them that you may or may not have heard, which is in the movie as well, and specifically written for the movie. I've never done anything like that as well."

The song he is talking about is of course the huge Summer hit, Can't Stop the Feeling.

The multi-talented Anna Kendrick voices Poppy, the fun, hug-loving TROLL and brings her singing talents to the new original songs written for the film as well as some of the classic songs that you already know and love. Check out the rest of the voice talents above and get ready to fall in love with each one of these hilarious, overly-optimistic, happy little TROLLS.  

Check out the brand new Official Trailer for DreamWorks' TROLLS

DreamWorks' TROLLS will be brightening up the world and theaters everywhere on November 4th.  Follow along with #DreamWorksTrolls on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Same Delicious Food Brand New Look! Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant- Now Open!

SoCal, Family, EntertainmentCynthia Duarte6 Comments

For more than 75 years families in Southern California have been lucky enough to enjoy Mrs. Knott's Famous Chicken Dinner Restaurant. What many people don't realize is that Mrs. Knott's restaurant actually opened before Knott's Berry Farm, the amusement park. Walter Knott started building old western themed houses as a way to entertain the very long line of guests waiting to eat Cordelia Knott's famous fried chicken. And just like that, Knott's Berry Farm Ghost Town was born. 

I first visited Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant 2 years ago, after spending the day at Knott's Merry Farm. It was the perfect way to end the day. The food was DELICIOUS! It definitely lived up to the hype, it was everything that everyone said it was but In my opinion the restaurant itself was a bit outdated. So when I heard that Mrs. Knott's was going to be re-modeled, I could not wait to see the changes. And now, you can too! 

Don't worry the food has remained the same. The fried chicken is still perfectly crispy and juicy and the biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy are all still their classic delicious. Oh and that Chicken slider right there, was so good. I could fill up a plate just with those sliders and I would be happy. Well, with a side of Berry Punch of course. 

Photo courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm

Photo courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm

So as far as the remodel goes, get ready to be blown away! I was. I walked through the entire restaurant and could not believe that this was the same restaurant from just 1 year ago. If I had to put a label on the style of the decor, I would say, Modern Country. Above, you can see my favorite new part of Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. The new outdoor patio! Oh it's beautiful! Fresh air, delicious food and an amazing atmosphere.  

As for the inside, the four dining rooms have all been redesigned but still hold true to the classic themes of the restaurant. This sign, along with huge beautiful sliding barn doors welcome you into the barn dining room, inspired by western farmhouse. 

The light in this room is just gorgeous and also features a full service bar. A bar that serves signature boysenberry cocktails including boysenberry margaritas and beer. The décor in this room pays homage to the Garden Dining Room from before the renovations and it's a perfect blend of green and browns. With succulents lining the room and ladders with mason jars for lighting, it's a perfect room to enjoy your dinner. 

This is what you can expect upon entering, along with a new waiting area, you can glance at walls lined with history. The Tea Room is filled with booths that overlook the Knott's Marketplace and the large dining room, inspired by Mrs. Knott's kitchen pantry is ready to welcome families and large parties. 

I know, I should have shared a photo of the classic Mrs. Knott's Boysenberry pie. But, this slice of carrot cake was heavenly. It's just one of the several options available for dessert, so even though it's hard to do. Make sure you leave room for dessert. 

On this day, I was lucky enough to also get a sampling of the delicious brunch buffet offered by Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. No, this is not available every day, but keep an eye out for those special events like Mother's Day when you can get a taste of that delicious cinnamon/raisin french toast.  

So, plan your visit soon! This Summer's 75th Anniversary celebrations are in full swing. You can read more about all of that fun here

Follow Knott's on facebook, instagram and twitter for updates. 

LG Fam-To-Table Supports #NoKidHungry at this years Taste of the Nation LA

SoCal, FamilyCynthia DuarteComment

On June 5th, No Kid Hungry, the organization whose mission is to end childhood hunger in America, hosted its “Taste of the Nation” fundraiser, bringing together LA’s 50+ chefs, mixologists and sommeliers for an unforgettable experience of amazing food and drink. I pretty much eat the best out of the whole year while at Taste of The Nation.

I got to see the new LG Black Stainless Steel Series kitchen appliances with a warmer, satin-smooth and fingerprint-resistant black stainless steel finish – a true alternative to traditional stainless steel. 

LG has partnered with No Kid Hungry by bringing families together in the kitchen and making it easy to put healthy and delicious meals on the table, working to ensure that every child in the country has access to healthy food. In case you may not be aware, 16 million children (1 in 5) struggle with hunger.  But they aren’t hungry because of a lack of food or programs – they are often hungry because of a lack of access to food.


Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Salsa Verde, Pickled Pearl Onions, Ricotta Salata and Corn Salad

Next generation foodies right here, they LOVED trying new flavors and styles of food at the event.


The Hot Chick: Chicken Fontina Sausage, Tomato, Avocado, Crispy Onion and Sriracha Ranch

Border Grill

Black Bean & Corn Esquite: Baby Bibb Lettuce Cups, Chipotle Aioli, Corn Tortilla strips, Seared Cacique Panela and Avocado

The Bellwether

Heirloom Tomatoes, Greek Sausage Vinaigarette, Pita Crumble

This, I could eat every day all day! 

And I can't forget to mention the wines. I LOVE Stella Rosa black. Yum!

The Larchmont

Pork belly pastrami, Dill, Peanut and Sesame crunch, Pickled Serrano

Eagle Rock Brewery

Cherrywood Smoked Pulled Pork, Cornmeal Pancakes, Stonefruit Maple Mostarda

Check out my Snaps from my day at Taste of the Naiton's #NoKidHungry event.

Summer Fun with DIY Tetris

DIY, FamilyCynthia Duarte1 Comment

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweeterTogether #CollectiveBias

Usually the thought of the kids being home during the Summer scares me, but I think I finally got it all figured out. Each morning the kids do math worksheets and reading before they can watch any TV or play games and the minute they hint at being bored... I bring out the art projects! Of course a major part of a successful Summer day is always having ice cream on hand because let's face it, Ice Cream makes everything better.

This Summer I really wanted to create some fun games that we could play together as a family and since we spend so much of our time outdoors it had to be outdoor friendly. What would be a better boredom buster than DIY TETRIS? TETRIS was my FAVORITE game when I was a kid, I would play for hours on my Gameboy. This DIY version is fun to make and you could play again and again and again. 

To make your own DIY Tetris here's what you'll need. 

  • Wood Blocks (these are measured at 3/4" but go bigger if you want)
  • Acrylic paints in various colors (Orange, Green, Yellow, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Purple, Red and Yellow)
  • Wood Glue

I bought all of these supplies at my local Hobby Lobby and all for under $10. I'm sure you can find similar products and prices at your local hobby or craft store. 

First you'll notice that each TETRIS piece uses four blocks. You can see the shapes above. 

Once you've figured out all of your shapes, get gluing. You only need a dab of the glue and although the instructions on the glue say to let sit for 6 hours, mine bonded after a few minutes. 

Next step is deciding which shape will be which color, then you get to paint. The kids will have fun with this part. 

I was so excited as I watched the pieces come together. Once the paint is dry, they are ready for playing! This TETRIS game is obviously different than the video game. It ended up being a sort of Jenga type of game for the kids, but I was teaching them to try and make the pieces fit to make a perfect block. They had the most fun just building until it toppled over, but it went on for quite some time. For me, that's a win. 

Have you noticed that when the kids are home for the Summer you make more Walmart trips than usual? The ice cream aisle is definitely frequented more often too. I know I'm not the only one who loves Ice cream shopping. You've got to mix it up and try something new. This time we got DREYER’S Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and DREYER’S BabyRuth Ice Cream, because how could I say no to that?

See, hot Summer days are just more fun with games and ice cream. Whether the kids are bored or need a game to play while the food is cooking, this DIY TETRIS game is perfect. 

Okay go ahead and look at that ice cream right there, that is the DREYER’S Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and it is delicious! DREYER’S totally got it right by adding flavors inspired by your favorite candies like Nestlé Butterfinger® Peanut Butter Cups and Baby Ruth®, I love adding mix-ins to my ice cream, but I don't have to do that with these new ice cream flavors. DREYER’S also proudly makes their ice cream with fresh milk and cream and with no rBST (milk production hormone), artificial flavors or colors. SOLD!
This right here is what Summer is all about, togetherness. Ice cream and games is what brings everyone together during the hot Summer days. So stay cool! Check out this list to see if a Walmart near you is having a DREYER'S demo! and check out the fun video below.

Celebrate Ghost Town 75th Anniversary by Coming to Life! #GhostTown75

SoCalCynthia DuarteComment

Have you heard what's going on at Knott's Berry Farm? Ghost Town is coming ALIVE! Not in a scary way, but in a super fun way. I have always enjoyed wandering through Ghost Town, looking at all of the buildings and feeling like you are taking a step back in time. Well, now the doors to the buildings that we've admired for so many years are not only open, but you can go in and experience the fun. 

Now through September 5, Knott's Berry Farm’s Ghost Town is celebrating its 75th anniversary with the new interactive entertainment experience, Ghost Town Alive!, Guests can play a role in the stories and adventures unfolding daily in the old west town of Calico. 

On June 11th, the new and improved GhostRider opened with new coaster trains zooming over 4,500 feet of new track. GhostRider first opened in 1998 and has been giving white-knuckle rides to riders of all ages since then. It looms over Ghost Town as the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast. GhostRider has been under renovations for the past 9 months and riders are definitely loving the smoother ride. 

Our first stop before entering Ghost Town was to Pan for Gold at it's new/old location. The classic Pan for Gold area that families have loved for many years has moved back to it's original location- right next to the GhostRider entrance. To Pan for Gold you will need to put $10 on a Knott's Game Card that you can use at the various game stops though out the park as well as the arcade.  Once you've worked up a sweat while panning for Gold, you get to take some gold flakes home as a souvenir. 

TIP: Don't forget to bring your flakes back with you on your next visit, you can add more each time you come back. 

This (handsome) young man who goes by the name Looking Glass Thurmond, was my first encounter with the characters that come alive in Ghost Town. As soon as we entered into Ghost Town territory he stopped us and asked if he could take a photo of us for the Calico Gazette. After chatting for a few minutes, he asked if we would mind dropping a letter to Miss Sierra Mist, the school teacher over at the old school house. We said yes of course. This is where the fun interactive part began for us. 

We continued to stroll through Ghost Town and everyone welcomed us in to their shops and houses. As I passed the Barber Shop, the Barber invited us in to look around and told us he would gladly add a mustache of our choosing. We passed on that, but the kids would love it! You can pick from several types of mustache styles, check out my snapchat video below to see what you can look forward to. 

Doesn't everyone love this game? Get some bullseye practice in when you can, I always say. Haha!

The Calico Saloon is such a classic part of Ghost Town. I especially love that on a hot day at Knott's the Calico Saloon offers a brief relief from the heat. Oh and don't forget to grab some Boysenberry Beer on tap.

If you recall, I mentioned earlier that we were asked to delver a letter to the School Teacher Miss Sierra Mist, so our next stop was the school house. There is so much history in that tiny red schoolhouse and the teacher, Miss Sierra Mist was very excited to receive her letter and read it out loud to everyone. She also read one of her favorite poems for everyone. It's so cool to feel like a part of the town and everyone is so nice too! 

As you wander, you get sucked in more and more. At one point I was handed a note and asked to deliver it to the inmate. But before I could deliver the note, it was intercepted by the Sheriff. He told me to watch out for the bad guys around town and to not get mixed up with them. Well, sounds like good advice to me. 

At the Sherrif's Office, guests can join in on an ongoing card game, help the Sheriff by drawing wanted posters for criminals on file, and participate in catching outlaws as a part of the Sheriff’s posse.

There are so many more things for you to see and do while touring Ghost Town Alive! so make sure you take some time to really immerse yourself into the spirit of Ghost Town. The games and stories are fun but keep an eye on the show schedule too and try to stop and enjoy them. My favorite is the Ice Show- Blockbuster Beagle (also another way to get out of heat for a bit).

Check out my Snap Story from my visit at Knott's that day and stay tuned for another post coming soon talking all about the beautiful new renovations at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant.  Same delicious food, but with an updated modern country style. 

Will you be visiting Knott's soon? Now's the time, don't miss all the fun! 

Bring the Tropics to Your Summer Memories

DIY, KidsCynthia Duarte1 Comment

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BringTheTropicsHome #CollectiveBias

I am not one of those parents that dread the Summer months. When Summer approaches all I can think about is filling our days with fun and colorful projects. The way I see it, my kids don't do nearly enough Art in school, which means, the Summer is our time to be creative! I love being able to spend all day outdoors, playing, getting dirty and making memories.   

The thing about kids though, is that nothing keeps their attention for as long as you hope. So, after 20 rounds of Loteria, which also doubles as a Spanish lesson, they are ready to move on to another activity. 

I have been wanting to do some tie-dye projects with my girls for a while now. Well, two days into Summer Break sounds like the perfect time to me. I used our Loteria game as a jumping off point for what we were doing next. I kept talking to them about the vibrant colors on the Loteria cards and when I brought out the tie-dye projects they were thrilled! They loved the idea of designing and creating their own Summer shirt. 

Here's what you'll need to create these awesome Summer Tie-Dye tops! 

  • White T-shirts
  • Fabric dye
  • Rubberbands
  • plastic wrap
  •  all® Fresh Tropical Mist™

This project is pretty simple and definitely messy, just how I like them. If you purchase the fabric dye, tie-dye kit like me then you will have your own directions to follow. If not, it's still really simple and I'll break it down for you. 

  1. Pre-wash your shirt with all® Fresh Tropical Mist™ and get ready to make a mess. Lay out an old tablecloth or paper that you won't mind ruining. Also, wear gloves if you have them to protect your fingers and have a lot of paper towels or napkins on hand for any accidental spills. 
  2. Figure out the kind of pattern you would like to create with the tie-dye. My daughter wanted a burst from the center of the shirt. So we laid the shirt out flat, and gathered from the center.
  3. Use rubber bands to separate the shirt by sections. 
  4. Add the dye to the section that you want colored. Note: Be careful with the dye, you want to keep the colors as separate as possible so work slowly. 
  5. Wrap the shirt in plastic wrap and set aside for 6-8 hours; Longer for brighter colors. 
  6. When you are ready to rinse, fill a bucket or sink with water and rinse slowly. Once you've completed your first rinse, add a small amount of all® Fresh Tropical Mist™ to the water and rinse again. 
  7. Dry and wear.

My girls wanted to make the shirts their own, so we searched on pinterest for ideas and I helped them to finish the looks. 

My absolute favorite scent is the smell of clean laundry. I decided to make things a little more interesting and switched to a new scent for the Summer, all®’s newest Fresh tropical scent. You can bring the freshness of the tropics home with the trusted cleaning power of all®. Of course, as messy as we all plan on getting this summer I need all®’s trusted stain fighting power to fight the toughest kid stains like grass, mud, and grape juice. It's also nice that all® costs 30% less than the leading brand.

Once we were done dying, washing, drying and cutting our new shirts. We had to try them on! As you can see, they loved the way they looked and smelled! Part of making memories includes the smells that surround you and I know that when they think back to the time they got their hands dirty while making their own tie-dye shirts, the fresh tropical scent will go along with it. 

To find NEW fresh tropical mist in store near you, visit all®'s website and don't forget to grab your coupon!

Stay Cool with this Watermelon Vino Fresca!

RecipeCynthia DuarteComment

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerVino #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

The temperature is heating up and Summer is starting to peek in on us and that means it's time to prepare to cool down. In this house like most Latino households, you can always count on us having two things on hand; sandia and vino (or watermelon and wine). Especially during the Summer, you can guarantee that at any given time there will be at least a half watermelon chopped up and ready for snacking in my refrigerator.

How do you eat your watermelon? There are two ways that my family eats watermelon; 1. chopped up and topped with salt and lemon and 2. blended with ice and sugar. The blended drinks will always remind me of my grandpa. He always made the best drinks, with just the right amount of sugar. 

I have not always been a wine drinker, in fact for a while I didn't drink much at all outside of the occasional glass at a party. But lately I have really enjoyed the relaxation that goes along with a glass of wine. So with Summer quickly approaching I decided to combine my two favorite Summer time treats wine and watermelon and came up with Watermelon Vino Fresca. Kinda like an agua fresca, but with wine.

What I liked most about this refreshing drink is that the flavors are not overwhelming. This is not a fruity drink, because Watermelon is not a super sweet fruit. And when I paired it with a sweet wine like Sutter Home Moscato, there was a good balance. I also liked the different elements, as you take a drink, you first taste the sugar on the rim, then the watermelon and last the wine comes through at the very end.

This delicious and refreshing drink is incredibly easy to make. You only need 4 ingredients:
  • Sutter Home Moscato
  • Watermelon, about 4 cups chopped
  • 2 cups of ice
  • Sugar, enough to cover the rim of the glass

My first step was to chop the watermelon. I find chopping watermelon to be really relaxing, maybe because I have a refreshing snack to look forward to, I don't know. But I could chop watermelons all day long! 

The next step is to take a piece of watermelon and rub it along the rim of the wine glass. Once the rim is wet, you can dip the glass into a plate of sugar. Note: Make sure to cut a few pieces of watermelon into tiny little slices like I did above, because garnishes make everything better. 

Next, add about 2 cups of ice to the blender and top with the chopped watermelon.

Last, add the Sutter Home Moscato wine and blend. Pour into your sugar rimmed glass, top with your watermelon garnish and ENJOY! 

I remember my Mom buying Sutter Home Wine when I was young, it has a familiar tradition attached to it. And rightfully so, Sutter Home has been around for 65 years as an award winning California wine that's affordable and reliable, since you can find at almost any retailer. 

Sutter Home has such a variety, in fact, next month I will share another recipe that goes really well with another favorite Sutter Home wine, so stay tuned for that. In fact, if you are looking for more fun recipes and ideas for Sutter Home, check out

Ah, there is nothing better to cool you off than a little sandia and vino on a warm Summer evening.  I hope you enjoy my Watermelon Vino Fresca recipe. If you try it, I'd love to hear your thoughts by leaving me a comment below. 

Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass- Now in Theaters!

Entertainment, FamilyCynthia DuarteComment

Last week we were invited to screen Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass in 3D and IMAX. If you get the chance to see it this way, I would highly recommend it, it turned the film into a magical experience. I LOVED being able to see it with my family. I kept looking over at my girls to see their reactions during the funny parts, the sad parts, and the kinda-sorta scary parts. Here are my top three reason why you should go see Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass:

  1. Alice is an incredible role-model for young girls. The Wonderland stories take place in an era when women had little to no rights and the headstrong Alice does not abide by societies rules. With two little girls of my own, I am always up for a strong female lead for my daughters to watch on the big screen.  
  2. The Characters. These characters are fun and funny and they make you want to look through the looking glass to join them. Time, as a character is really interesting and full of insights that you can take home. Personally, I like when movies make me contemplate life, Time did that. 
  3. Majestic. Wonderland has always been fun and inviting. I don't know if it's because I'm an adult now and long for the innocence of believing in magic, but I enjoyed being transported into another land. A land full of magic, bright colors, fun characters and endless possibilities.

The film is fun and magical and the cast does such a great job of bringing these characters and their stories to life. The one thing that drove me crazy was the flighty movements of The White Queen's hands. You'll see what I mean. 

About the Film

Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) has spent the past three years living her dream and sailing the high seas as captain of her own ship. Upon her return to London, she finds that, while much has changed in her absence, the antiquated views as to women’s role in society still remain and the future she envisioned for herself may no longer be possible. While attending a reception at the home of Lord Ascot, Alice causes a scene and flees to the parlour, where she spots Absolem (Alan Rickman), who is now a blue Monarch butterfly, and follows him to a magical looking glass, through which she is able to return to the fantastical realm of Underland. There, she is reunited with her friends the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), the dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the March Hare (Paul Whitehouse), Tweedledee and Tweedledum (Matt Lucas) and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), who, unfortunately, is not himself. Or as the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) says, “The Hatter’s the matter.”

I just love P!nk and her new song "Just Like Fire" for the film. Check out the video below. 



Visit the official ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS site here:

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is now playing in theatres everywhere!

Voodoo Doughnut Sweetens Up Universal CityWalk - Opening Fall 2016

SoCalCynthia DuarteComment

Earlier this week my family and I took a trip to Universal CityWalk to have dinner at our favorite family restaurant, Johnny Rockets and to check out an early screening of Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass. It was so much fun seeing my girl's faces as they saw all the fun and bright stuff that City Walk offers. If you follow me on Snapchat (Kindasillymommy) then you may have seen this Snap. 

Yes, world famous Voodoo Doughnut is expanding to its first-ever California location at Universal CityWalk™, located adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

“We are beyond thrilled to open Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk and share our menu of fabulous, unconventional doughnuts with the world at the top entertainment destination in Los Angeles,” said Voodoo Doughnut owner, Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson. “Our signature and one-of- a-kind doughnuts are the perfect complement to CityWalk’s over-the- top vibrancy.”

The new Voodoo Doughnut shop will find its sweet spot at the inimitable Universal CityWalk, located near the “5 Towers” outdoor concert stage and adjacent to the Universal Cinemas, currently under renovation and also slated to debut this fall.


The Pogson-Shannon team raised the bar in doughnut creation in 2003 by experimenting with an array of unusual ingredient combinations to create a broad selection of exquisite doughnuts that range from Bacon Maple Bar doughnut to the Grape Ape doughnut and the Mango Tango.

I can't wait to try some of these amazing flavors that everyone keeps talking about and I'm so glad that I don't have to jump on a plane to try them.  Universal City Walk is the perfect home for Voodoo Doughnut, the bright vibrant colors and flavors will fit right in. 

More information about Universal CityWalk is available at
Regular updates also can be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook page Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA.