Loving Life as a SoCal Latina Lifestyle Blogger

Capture the Little Moments with a DIY Photo Keychain #ShareYourMiracles

DIY, EntertainmentCynthia DuarteComment

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

I am such a sucker for tearjerker movies. I got to see Miracles From Heaven back in February at a screening and I could not wait to share it with everyone. I could just picture it: myself with all the women and Moms in my life, jumping in a bus, heading to a movie theater, passing around tissue boxes and just bawling our eyes out. Time flew right by because now you can bring home Miracles From Heaven on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital. Which is almost better, because you can go ahead and let your ugly-cry out while watching in the comfort of your own home.

The best thing about these kinds of movies, is that they bless you with reminders. This film, is a reminder that, 1. it's okay to be a warrior for your children and 2. it's so important to not only keep your faith but also hold the little moments close to your heart. Miracles From Heaven tells the true story of the Beam family and is full of love, faith, family and spirit. 

It's so easy to let the little every day things pass you by. But the truth is, it can all be gone in a split second. So, today I am sharing an idea that will help you to hold onto the little every day memories. 

It's no secret that I LOVE to take photos of my family. They know it and you know it. Recently I was given the Instax Mini 70 camera and it's become one of my favorite items to carry around with me.  I love being able to capture moments and have them in my hand right away. So that got me thinking, how can I turn these into a keepsake? Keep reading to see how I turned these little photos of every day moments into a key chain. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • Photos (Any kind really, I just really like the Instax Mini 70 camera phots)
  • Laminator and Laminator sheets
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Washi Tape
  • Key Ring

First, you'll need to figure out which photos you want to take with you. Next, you'll need to line them up and laminate them. I have talked about this laminator several times before, I kinda love it.

Once you are done laminating, you can cut them out and decorate them however you like, like I did here, with the washi tape.

Last all you need to do is get your hole puncher and punch a hole in the corner of each picture and put a key ring through it. Simple as that, now you have a keepsake of some of the fun every day moments that you can take along with you wherever you go. 

It's so easy to let those every day moments pass you by, Miracles From Heaven is a great reminder that you should never take these moments for granted. Did you know that when you buy Miracles From Heaven DVD, $1 of your purchase will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network?

Tell me, have you seen Miracles From Heaven yet? Next time you are shopping at Walmart, pick up the DVD and have yourself an in home sob fest. You'll feel better letting your feelings flow and being reminded about the important things in life. 

The Perfect Summer Pair- Sutter Home Merlot and S'mores Dip

RecipeCynthia Duarte1 Comment

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

This Summer, pretty much everything that we are doing is outdoors. We are hanging out outdoors, cooking outdoors, and having our drinks and desserts outdoors too. I think it's the Latina part of me that likes to spend so much time outside. As a kid, it seems like all I ever heard my abuelita yell was for us to go afuera or outside. Now it's my turn, while the sun sets and the kids run around, I like to pour myself a glass of wine to unwind from the day. And before you know it the inevitable question arises, "Can we have dessert?" 

As much as I love that our heladero or ice cream man makes daily stops in our neighborhood, sometimes I'm in the mood for something different.  My first piece of advice that I received when it came to drinking wine was that red wines go really well with chocolate and with s'mores being the unofficial Summer dessert, I thought S'mores on the grill would be a less messy way of getting your s'mores fix.  

S'mores on the grill are a really easy way to pair a sweet dessert with your Sutter Home Merlot. Here is what you will need:

  • A bottle of Sutter Home Merlot
  • Grill
  • Cast iron skillet 
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate
  • Graham crackers

It really is as simple as 1-2-3.

  1. Heat up the grill and place your cast iron skillet to heat on Medium/High heat.
  2. Add chocolate to the bottom of the pan and top with a layer of marshmallows. 
  3. Watch as the chocolate melts and marshmallows heat and expand. 

That's it. Take it off the grill, pour yourself a glass of Sutter Home Merlot and start dipping your graham crackers. Enjoy.  

Yum! Look at the ooey gooey mess of deliciousness. Don't be afraid to treat yourself to more than just a glass of wine, give it something sweet to go with it. Sutter Home is the definite go to wine for all of my summer entertaining needs. It helps to make the day-to-day a little more special and I can't deny that I especially like that Sutter Home is affordable. For everything you see here, I spent less than $15. You can find Sutter Home pretty much anywhere and always for a good price, so next time you are out shopping for Summer meals, pick up a bottle and pair it with something sweet.

Check out these other great Sutter Home recipes and pairing ideas. 

Homemade Chicken Fajitas Pocket #FlatoutLove

RecipeCynthia Duarte7 Comments

Fajitas are one of my husbands favorite meals, and for some reason, I never ever ever make it for him. I usually just leave it for our date nights and let the restaurants take care of fulfilling his love for fajitas. There's just something mouth watering about watching a sizzling comal come out of the kitchen and placed right in front of you. Today I partnered with Society Culinaria and Flatout Flatbread to bring you a new way to eat a favorite dish, Homemade Chicken Fajitas Pocket in a Flatout Foldit.

The best part of living in Southern California is being able to cook pretty much everything outdoors on the grill for most of the year. We have the most perfect weather for cooking outdoors and I love coming up with new ways to cook our favorites.

Tip: I like to do as little prep as necessary inside the house and everything possible, outside in the fresh air. So, for this dish, I rinsed and sliced my chicken first and set it aside in the refrigerator while I took my chopping board, knife and clean veggies outside to chop. 

Here is what you will need to make a delicious Chicken Fajitas Pocket.

Yield: 2 Chicken Fajita Pockets
Prep time: 5 minutes of chopping, 30 minutes to chill
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes


  • 1-2 Flatout Foldit Artisan Flatbread
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 White Onion
  • 1 Chicken Breast Fillet
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp Oil Salt & Pepper


  1. Rinse and slice the chicken breast fillets length wise to about 3/4 inch thick. 
  2. Chop the peppers and onions to about 1/2 inch thick slices.
  3. Place chicken slices, chopped peppers, onions and sliced garlic in a bowl. Toss with oil, juice from two limes, salt and pepper until evenly coated. 
  4. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 
  5. After the chicken and peppers have marinated for at least 30 minutes. It's time to prep the grill. 
  6. Place the comal on the grill over medium-high heat with a tbsp of oil and wait for the oil to heat up. 
  7. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken, peppers and onion mix to the comal. Heat through until the chicken has cooked and the peppers are cooked and softened, about 7 minutes total.

Last, place your Flatout Foldit on the top grill until it warms and toasts slightly, about a minute on each side. Now, you're ready to take the fajitas off the comal and into a warmed, slightly toasted Flatout Foldit, ready to enjoy! 

Yum! As delicious as these are on their own, my husband reminded me that fajitas are usually served with a side of rice and beans. So, I served this with a side of avocado, mixed grain wild rice, and freshly made Peruvian beans. 

I love having Flatout Flatbread options on hand in my house it's like having a healthy option for a blank canvas. Especially for those days when it seems like you've been cooking the same things on loop, Flatout Flatbreads kinda force you to think of something new to cook, they're also low-fat, low-carb and a good source of fiber. So you can feel good about what you're eating. You can see some other delicious ways I used Flatout Flatbreads here. Have you seen them in your local grocery store? You can usually find them in the deli area, basically asking you to bring them home and make something delicious. 

Go ahead and check here for a store near you. 

Ice Age: Collision Course Hits Theaters Just in Time for Summer!

SoCal, EntertainmentCynthia DuarteComment

Are you ready for the exciting new installment in the Ice Age series? Ice Age: Collision Course is out in theaters July 22 and it may just be the funniest one yet.

All of your favorite characters are back as Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World.  To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, traveling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters.

I sat down to interview some of the stars of Ice Age: Collision Course and got some inside info from the actors behind the voices themselves. After Ray Romano joked with us a bit and Queen Latifah sat down to join us, we got to hear how they felt about taking part in the 5th (for Ray) and 4th installment (for Queen) of the Ice Age series. Romano mentioned how much he enjoys revisiting the films every few years because he recognizes a correlation between Manny's life and his own. In this film, Ice Age: Collision Course- one of the challenges that Manny faces is dealing with his daughter Peaches leaving the herd. As a Father himself, Romano can definitely relate to Manny. 

Latifah mentioned how much she enjoys the quieter scenes that take place between Manny and Ellie. Latifah says,"... Moms can relate. After you have worked a day, put the kids to bed, the house is asleep, and you all can just have a moment to just be human again and just lock in with each other.  I like those moments in this film..." 

John Leguizamo and Wanda Sykes reprise their roles as Sid and Granny Sloths. Leguizamo has been with the series since day one and when asked what message he hopes the audience will take away from the film, he said:

"What I’ve always loved about the series, especially being a Latin man and person of color, was the different species coming together and accepting each other and working together.  We saved a planet.  I love that message always and I always found it very strong, and it was something I loved my children to hear and see.  So, I’ve always loved it.  It’s not blood, it’s loyalty and acceptance."

As you prepare for the upcoming release of Ice Age: Collision Course. Get your facts ready and learn more about our history and the real Ice Age at one of LA's best museums the La Brea Tar Pits. We recently had the opportunity to sit down and watch Titans of the Ice Age 3D. A new 3D film experience that shares theories into what really happened during the last Ice Age.  

The La Brea Tar Pits also has Ice Age Encounters, a multimedia experience that uncovers the mysteries of some of the extinct creatures that roamed Los Angeles over 10,000 years ago. This dynamic, 15-minute show features a life-size adult Saber-toothed Cat puppet and film projections that bring the distant past to life.

What's cool about The La Brea Tar Pits is that it is an active Ice Age dig site and Museum. As you walk the beautiful outdoor perimeter of the Tar Pits, you can watch as the employees make daily discoveries.  When you have finished exploring the tar pits, you can check out the Museum to see what has been found right here in Los Angeles.  Inside is also where you can buy your timed tickets for the Titans of the Ice Age 3D movie and Ice Age Encounters. 

Before you take the kids to see Ice Age: Collision Course this Summer, plan a visit to the La Brea Tar Pits and have the kids learn a little history about the real Ice Age that took place right here. 

Catch the trailer for Ice Age: Collision Course below and just for fun, you can follow Scrat on Facebook too. 

Disclosure: Thank you to 20th Century Fox for hosting me and my girls for the screening, a trip to the La Brea Tar Pits and the cast interviews in order to help facilitate this post. 

Pterosaurs- New Exhibit open this Summer at NHMLA!

SoCal, Entertainment, KidsCynthia DuarteComment

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has a brand new exhibit just in time for a fun Family Summer visit. Pterosaurs: Flight of the Age of Dinosaurs is open Now through October 3 and gives us all a peek into the prehistoric era of a variety of flying reptiles. 

What is a Pterosaur?
Pterosaurs are neither birds nor bats, but flying reptiles that lived from about 220 to 66 million years ago. They are close cousins of dinosaurs, but evolved on a separate branch of the reptile family tree.  Pterosaurs were the first animals after insects to evolve powered flight-- not just leaping or gliding, but flapping their wings to generate lift and travel through the air. They evolved into dozens of species: Some were as large as an F-16 fighter jet, and others as small as paper airplane. 

The best part about this and most exhibits, is that it is immersive and interactive. 

It was fun for the kids to take part in the "Fly Like a Pterosaur Exhibit," where visitors can "pilot" a flying pterosaur over a prehistoric landscape in a whole-body interactive exhibit that uses motion-sensing technology. If you flap your wings, you fly and when you stop, you dive down and on one screen you even hunt and catch fish. 

The best way for an educational experience to last is to make it memorable. This simulator definitely helps make the learning experience a fun learning experience. 

This Cretaceous Sea Diorama is all kinds of beautiful. It's artistic and lit up and shows two Thalassodromeus pterosaurs with impressive 14-foot wingspans. The Thalassodromeus are swooping down to catch a Rhacolepis fish in their tootheless jaws. This large diorama shows a detailed re-creation of a dramatic Cretaceous seascape located at the present-day Araripe Basin in northeast Brazil. 

I love when exhibits conclude with a gift shop that is specific to the exhibit. And you will find everything Pterosaurs and Dino here. We especially loved the Dino hand puppets and puzzles but that's just us. 

I recommend that you reserve your timed tickets in advance to guarantee entry to the exhibition and to skip the line to see Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs.

General Admission

  • Adult Admission $12.00
  • Senior Admission (Guests 62+) $9.00
  • Student Admission *Youths 13-17 or College Students with Valid ID$9.00
  • Child Admission (Ages 3-12) $5.00
  • Children 2 and Under are admitted FREE of charge!


General Admission plus Pterosaurs

  • Adult GA plus Pterosaurs $22.00
  • Senior GA plus Pterosaurs (Guests 62+) $19.00
  • Student GA plus Pterosaurs (Ages 13-17) $19.00
  • Child GA plus Pterosaurs (Ages 3-12) $10.00
  • Child GA plus Pterosaurs (Ages 2 and Under) FREE

Disney's The BFG Now in Theaters

Entertainment, KidsCynthia DuarteComment

There is nothing better than watching your kids get lost in a good story. Some of my favorite stories to get lost in when I was a kid were Roald Dahl classics like Matilda and James and the Giant Peach. Many of his classic stories have been adapted for the screen including The WitchesMatilda and probably his best known story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now we can add The BFG to that wonderful list. Thanks to Disney and Director Steven Spielberg, Roald Dahl's story about Giants and one brave little girl has been brought to life in an extraordinary way. 

“It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” - Director, Steven Spielberg

The BFG tells the story of a young orphan girl named Sophie who, while awake at a very late hour happens upon a Giant. When the giant notices that he has been seen, he grabs Sophie and takes her away to his home, in Giant Country. Sophie soon realizes the giant who kidnapped her is a friendly giant, in fact she refers to him as The Big Friendly Giant or The BFG. 

I don't want to give away the rest of the story. Especially if you have not read the book yet, the movie is too magical to put into words. The colors and animation are incredible and you can definitely hear Director Steven Spielberg's influence in the triumphant music.

Before you take the kids to the theater, get them ready with some printable coloring and activity sheets below. 

Have you read Roald Dahl's The BFG? What is your favorite Roald Dahl story? I'd love to hear in the comments below. 

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.