5 Ways to Enjoy the All-New Chevy Silverado Without Having to Leave your Driveway

#FindNewRoads

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 A Truckin’ Good Time!

Friends, I recently received another Chevrolet car loan! 

I did not think this experience would beat my last adventure with the Chevy Bolt EV, when I had a chance to finally get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle. But I’ll just say driving a big, powerful truck was a lot of fun and equally empowering (read about my trip to Palm Springs here)!

Further, having the gorgeous red hot truck sitting in our driveway was way too inviting—we just had to create additional memories.

Here are five ways we enjoyed the All-New Chevy Silverado without having to leave our driveway. Feel free to try these at home, friends:

 

1.     A Spontaneous Puppet Show (organized by the kids)

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Because who can resist sitting down on the driveway below and watching their children improvise silly acts that involve hysterical laughs and many references to the word “fart”?

The bed of the truck is super ample and climbing it is easy with CornerStep on the rear bumper.

 

2.     A Morning Yoga Session

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Open the tailgate door on the back of the All-New Chevy Silverado, place a few mats and pillows and get your zen on. It may not be the obvious destination for Downward dog, but it’s definitely fun. If the neighbors look at you funny, just assume the Warrior pose.

 

3.     An Impromptu Beverage Bar After Yoga

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I poured some Agua de Jamaica (fresh hibiscus drink) for Paul, Toby and I after the yoga experience on the bed of the truck. Benny was already at school so he missed out what turned out to be a colorful, flower-decorated beverage bar. The only thing missing were actual bar stools but it gave the truck a pretty sight.

 

4.     CPR Training Class

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My husband Paul is a certified CPR instructor and when he saw the bed of the Chevy Silverado so ample and clean, he transferred his CPR class materials there which gave me an idea—honey, why don’t you teach your classes atop the Chevy Silverado? He wasn’t ready for that proposal but he agreed it would work exceptionally well in transporting many of his CPR dummies.

 

5.     Bonafide Make-up station

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The All-New Chevy Silverado

has plenty of compartments on the front passenger side. There’s one that opens in an upward position, located above the regular glove compartment. Next to the compartments there’s a power outlet where you can connect hot tools to dry, straighten or curl your hair. And if you care about strategic placement, you can place a mirror on the dash board and hang your chandelier earrings while they wait… lol. Then you put on some lipstick to match your red hot truck and everything is Fire.

There are clearly many other things the truck can help you accomplish—

It can serve as campsite stage, a ball pit (Toby’s idea) or an arcade (Benny’s idea). Whatever it is, this truck is super legit and we fell in love with it. That is all.

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Thank you, Chevrolet.

I hope we continue crossing paths and finding new roads together again! 

And thanks for reading, friends!

Xoxo,

-Anabel M.

I received a Chevy vehicle loan in exchange for a blog review. All Opinions are my own.

Anabel Marquez
Museum 2.0 Opens for a Limited Time in San Francisco

I Scream for Ice Cream

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A New Ice Cream Experience

Museum of Ice Cream 2.0 launched recently in San Francisco, friends!

After welcoming 1.3 million guests across five locations and selling out for 12 months straight, Museum of Ice Cream made San Francisco its first permanent location in Fall 2018 and I couldn’t help but take the boys to check it out back then:

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Now MOIC San Francisco

is introducing the next generation product, MOIC 2.0 featuring a newly reimagined experience including their largest Sprinkle Pool to date (4x the size), new installations, limited-run shows, brand new ice cream tastings, and a free and publicly accessible cafe and shop that will make foodies melt!!

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What Museum of Ice Cream Has Accomplished:

  • Built a Movement

    • The MOIC movement has spread across the globe. Having employed over 1,000 millennials, their #TEAMMOIC, experiences, products, and mission have reached every city in America and touched over 80 countries. 

    • Since launching in 2016, ice cream has remained the power force behind uniting communities, fulfilling the real meaning of MOIC: "Movement Of Imagination and Connection." They are on a mission to unite the world through its universal love of ice cream. 

  • Created Unprecedented Demand

    • In New York City, Museum of Ice Cream faced a 200,000 person waitlist after its initial 2016 run. In Los Angeles, only 1 in 10 inquiries were able to secure tickets during its ten-month residency. Museum of Ice Cream then expanded to Miami Beach before arriving at its iconic, permanent home in San Francisco, in the heart of downtown San Francisco and right by Union Square.

  • "Offline" Innovation

    • Museum of Ice Cream has sought to reignite innovation in the offline world, spurning entertainment and brand concepts to rethink a personal approach to retail, hospitality, and entertainment. 

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Why San Francisco?, You ask.

  • Well, let’s just say it sold 500,000 tickets over its first year. MOIC decided that its iconic location in the historic bank building in downtown San Francisco would be its first permanent flagship.

  • According to the company, its presence there provides an alternative narrative to the tech conversation in San Francisco— “that social media or mobile technology can never replace or surpass human to human connection… or even compete with a delicious ice cream sundae with rainbow sprinkles.”

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A first ever, limited-run immersive experience "Sprinkle Spectacular" is running now through May 27, their new characters will lead guests on an adventure through the Museum, ending in the world's largest sprinkle pool party!

See you at MOIC San Francisco?

I’m really thinking about returning for more photo sessions before the boys grow up and refuse to be dressed in pink and mint colors!

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
21 Favorite Moments From our Trip to San Francisco

A Pop of Color & Good Times!

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Yay to Bread Bowls, Balloons and Beignets!

Sometimes it’s better to show good times than to write about them, right friends? For that, I thank the mighty iPhone camera which captured many awesome memories from our February 2019 trip to San Francisco.

We actually didn’t overbook ourselves with museum outings and exploration journeys. Instead we thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring few locations. Those included Chinatown, Fishermen’s Wharf and the Shipyard area of the city where my sister Irene’s fabulous apartment is located. Here are our 21 favorite moments from our most recent trip to the city.

1. Mad about having to take pictures in front of a Bruce Lee Mural in Chinatown

I mean, how can you enjoy shopping for fireworks and swords at the many shops in San Francisco’s Chinatown when you have to pose for pictures in front of a ginormous mural of Bruce Lee!? Benny wasn’t having it:

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2. But happy to do a Michael Jackson dance in front of a Dragon Mural

Because after shopping for toys, fireworks and swords the world is a better place so now posing in front of a Chinatown mural isn’t enough, it takes dancing in front of a Chinatown Mural to show your happiness:

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3. Ruining the perfect photo opportunity in front of a Trolley to look at Chinese Lanterns (which were located all over the place)

Toby simply would not turn to smile at the camera. Meanwhile, his fabulous auntie Irene kept a perfect pose…even after the Trolley left. Yasssss, queen:

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4. Finding small outdoor chairs to take in the sun.

There’s a small convenience store in the Shipyard area of San Francisco where my sister lives. Outside of the store there are kid size tables and benches, which were quickly spotted and adequately used by these two to take in some sun in chilly weather:

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5. Meeting two questionable characters

When Paul saw these two upon arriving at Fishermen’s Wharf, he jumped at the opportunity to pose for a picture… even if the suggested tip was $40 (ugh!). I was overall annoyed. Plus, I thought the character with the blonde hair should’ve been much taller and neither of them should ever be spotted in SF but weird things happen sometimes…

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6. Letting the kids enjoy ice cream before lunchtime in very cold weather

The only condition was that they smile for the camera in front of the signature Ben & Jerry’s Cow logo (because it included a picture of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge). We ended up sharing a single scoop of their Cherry Garcia flavor.

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7. Buying the kids extra-large balloon figures

Toby wanted Cookie Monster. Benny wanted an Octopus with pink tentacles. Both boys won the affection of the balloon maker and got free green swords in addition to their large balloons.

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8. Refusing to leave the bench after winning a sword fight.

The boys had many balloon sword fights that often ended in passers-by getting a bit annoyed. Then we decided it was time to go but Toby didn’t want to step down from his pedestal. The balloons turned into the biggest inconvenience of the day. And every time cookie monster lost a limb, Toby would cry harder.

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9. Discovering the Franciscan Crab House

This super cool restaurant is located across the street from the world-famous Boudin. But crossing the street to stand in a long line with two boys and four large balloons was a bit much so we opted for convenience and ate at the Franciscan Crab House. No regrets there.

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10. The Franciscan Crab House’s Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl

This was honestly soooo delish. The boys didn’t eat fish (Benny has a shellfish allergy), we ordered “Chicken & Chips” for them which were very good.

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11. The Beignets with powdered sugar and vanilla cream dip

Ok. Maybe they overdid it with the powdered sugar. But these were awesome. We shared an order of three beignets and enjoyed them a lot.

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12. Discovering the Musée Mécanique

Just think of a huge arcade with nothing but antique games (which are all coin operated). This was probably more enjoyable for Paul and I but the boys had a blast… See below to learn why.

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13. A big clown lady sings for only $0.25

This is kinda freaky and kind of amazing all at once. The puppet lady (left) moves and sings a haunting tune which probably would give me chills and nightmares in the dark.

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14. Arm wrestling with a vintage luchador machine

Benny didn’t quite grasp the concept but he tried winning the match. It was too fun to watch.

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15. Being declared a “LOVABLE” person after paying $0.50 to sit on the Throne of Love.

I mean, I coulda’ told you that about me (lol)…. but it’s always nice when a mysterious chair says it. Perhaps, the heavier the person, the nicer the results?

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16. The Thimble Theater Dancing Men

The music, the dance moves, the craftsmanship to create these puppets… it’s all too great.

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17. Peppy the Singing and Dancing Clown…That You Control

Patrons who pay a quarter can actually control the clown’s moves by pushing buttons to move its hands and legs. Its quite fantastic:

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18. Visiting Spark Food Truck Park

This place has plenty of food trucks, a booze booth, games for the kids and an area to reserve your own swinging chairs around a bonfire where you’re provided with all the ingredients to make a one-of-a-kind S’mores creation.

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19. When Benny asked a couple for marshmallows at Spark

The couple who had reserved the private area to enjoy swinging chairs around a bonfire said yes to letting Benny have a marshmallow. In turn, Benny invited his newfound friends to enjoy marshmallows too. He assumed of course, that if the couple had allowed him to eat, they would be okay having an additional three kids mooch off their sweet treats.

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20. Toby deciding he didn’t want to sit with us.

Instead, he spent time crawling in and out of a tented table area. And interrupting us frequently so we could wave back at him.

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21. Leaving San Francisco after the boys destroyed my sister’s apartment

She was so gracious about it. True story— in a span of three days, the boys slid down one of her living room walls, jumped on top of her microwave (don’t ask), one of the boys threw up on her gorgeous bed throw (it happens), they ate all her snacks, marked greasy hand prints on her dining room chairs and well, many more things… Thanks for being a great host, Irenee! Love you.

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We were really tired

by the time we returned home from our trip. But it was worth it. Here’s a blog post where I explain why it’s worth the hassle to travel with little kids.

Thanks for reading friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M

Anabel Marquez
The Thing About Traveling With Little Ones...

Golden Memories

Benny & Toby boarding a plane in Burbank!

Benny & Toby boarding a plane in Burbank!

It’s worth the Stress!

Selfie with my little Toby

Selfie with my little Toby

Let me keep it real, friends— A weekend getaway with my family generally means a lot of chasing after boys, messy and hyper hotel nights, running late to reservations plus a major test to our patience.

That’s because when we’re on ‘travel mode’ Paul and I have to manage the stress that comes with crises such as losing a toddler shoe and realizing it only after getting through airport security or managing fights that started because the younger kid got more M&Ms, or fixing diaper blowouts in a dirty public restroom in a shady part of an unfamiliar town, or the inevitable interruption of routine that includes a lack of necessary naps and downtime for the boys. Our Presidents Day weekend trip to San Francisco was no different. Traveling with kids is SO. MUCH. WORK!

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But The thing about traveling with little ones

is that somewhere along the dreaded experience of getting through long lines at the airport and figuring out dinner for hungry and picky little palates, we really bond as a family unit. While we’re suddenly immersed in a world of unknowns one thing we do know is that we have each other no matter where we are— which is a very powerful energy to carry around, friends! The unique feeling of as-long-as-we’re-together-everything-will-be-okay, reaches level 1,000,000 and that’s when you realize Family. Is. Everything.

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The unforgettable experiences we shared,

the hilarious things that happened and laughs we had are very much part of our memories now. Plus, the diversity of cultures, people, food and experiences we encountered in San Francisco helped our kids learn more about the world we live in.

Colorful buildings can be appreciated in San Francisco’s Chinatown

Colorful buildings can be appreciated in San Francisco’s Chinatown

While staying home and avoiding a disruption

to what’s comfortable, familiar and safe is always easier, it’s also good to take a leap of faith in the name of giving our kids new things to learn, experience and enjoy. That’s not saying I could handle doing this several times a month or anything like that— my goodness, just the packing and unpacking alone is a humongous task. What I’m saying is that traveling with kids can be a lot fun. Remember that in these days of fast communications and problem solving technology— there’s nothing you can’t fix while out of town. Yes, you’ll be tired and perhaps a little grouchy at the end of each day… but not without having seen your kids laugh and thrive in an environment that’s not their own. That’s my two cents.

Benny enjoys a tour of the cockpit with a special opportunity to take the Captain’s seat.

Benny enjoys a tour of the cockpit with a special opportunity to take the Captain’s seat.

The captain even lent his hat for a photo-op!

The captain even lent his hat for a photo-op!

Thanks for reading, friends!

Click here for funny stories and good memories of our February 2019 trip to San Francisco.

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Our Second Day in Mexico City

A First Class Adventure (Part 3 of 3)

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To Teotihuacan (Place of the Gods)…

A Trip to Mexico City certainly wouldn’t have been complete without our fix of magical Indigenous history.

Our dear cousin Gabi, aunt Rosi, uncle Mace and goddaughter Monse picked us up and drove us to Teotihuacan, land of the Majestic Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. Teotihuacan is located about 30 miles Northeast of Mexico City.

For this journey, we booked a tour guide who walked us through some of the ancient history and shared incredible stories that helped us begin to understand how a civilization without technology as we know it today— could have built such a sophisticated system with urban and economic structures.

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We learned the Valley of Teotihuacan was built by hand

by a civilization of people that ultimately abandoned it. Nobody really knows why the Teotihuacanos left such an incredible place they had created from scratch. All we know is that 1,000 years later, the Aztecs discovered this ancient city and basically moved in!

They turned it into the powerful Aztec Empire we’ve heard about and admired…A place where people thrived and also where many spiritual ceremonies of worship and sacrifice took place.

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We tried climbing the Pyramid of the Sun but

it was a Sunday afternoon which meant it was an extremely busy day. Locals get in free on Sundays, the weather was warm and inviting and dozens of tourist buses could be seen lining up near the entrance. Our wait time to climb to the top of the pyramid was two hours.

We decided to only climb halfway. That would give us time to explore more areas and enjoy a nice local meal.

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After our Pyramid quest,

we headed to a nearby restaurant where we savored the likes of enchiladas, tostadas and Ranchera BBQ cuts with sides of rice, beans and salsa. My uncle also ordered a speciality dish called Escamoles. These are ant larvae (eggs). To be honest, I wasn’t feeling the dish but I also didn’t want to feel like I skipped on an opportunity to taste a local delicacy. So I went for it.

I’ll just say I probably won’t order Escamoles on my next trip to Mexico City but at least they’re off the bucket list!

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The morning after visiting the Pyramids,

we woke up with MAJOR sunburns. Nobody warned us that the bright sun shining down over Teotihuacan would be so powerful… wow! Note to self: Don’t forget the suncreen next time. Fortunately, we were in Mexico so getting a hold of some fresh aloe vera was not a problem.

The time had arrived to head to the airport and return home. But we managed to take one last stroll around the Roma neighborhood and captured numerous colorful murals and artwork. Many of the works were created as part of a campaign to motivate the community after Mexico’s powerful 2018 earthquake. The following are some of my faves #VaPorLaRoma

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Overall, our Mexico City trip was fantastic.

Ok, I may have gained a few pounds (again) but every culinary, cultural, musical and life experience in Mexico City was well worth it!

This trip only happened because I attended the 2018 We All Grow Latina Summit where Delta Airlines was a sponsor offering first-class rountrip airfare as raffle prizes.

Por sus atenciones y productos, oportunidades, muchísimas gracias We All Grow Latina Network y Gracias Delta Airlines.

Por tu magia y encantadora historia y cultura, ¡gracias México!

And to my sissy who’s become one heck of a badass travel buddy—

thanks for joining me, hermanita!

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Thanks for following along our first class adventure and travel journey, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

P.S. For Part One of our First Class Adventure Click Here

For Part Two of our First Class Adventure Click Here

Anabel Marquez
Our First Day in Mexico City - (January 2019 Sister Trip)

A First Class Adventure (Part 2 of 3)

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How we did A LOT in a Single Day in Mexico City

On our first day in Mexico City (my sister Frances and I enjoyed a free trip thanks to a Delta Airlines raffle I won last year), we managed to do a whole lot of stuff. I think this had to do with several factors:

a) We used Uber for all our transportation needs, which was very affordable and convenient.

b) We stayed at an AirBnB in a very safe area called Roma Norte that was located near many great restaurants and bars

c) We did NOT have small children to watch (the kids stayed home with Paul).

Small shrines in honor of Mexico’s Patron Saint, The Virgin Mary of Guadalupe can be found throughout Mexico City’s neighborhoods, regardless of the  colonia’s  socioeconomic status.

Small shrines in honor of Mexico’s Patron Saint, The Virgin Mary of Guadalupe can be found throughout Mexico City’s neighborhoods, regardless of the colonia’s socioeconomic status.

This is how we enjoyed our Saturday:

We started off with a light breakfast at super fun restaurant called Lalo! Think of a hipster, colorful and crowded cafeteria style place with Mexican food options for breakfast like chilaquiles and huevos rancheros or simple a la carte selections like pastries and coffee (which is what we did).

After Lalo!, we headed out to the Museo de la Mujer,

It’s located in Downtown Mexico City (centro). The Museum of Women is rather small (a two-story historic building with about half a dozen small exhibit rooms) but it does a great job explaining how the women’s civil rights movement came to fruition in Mexico. For this museum, I recommend a lot of time to read through the many historical descriptions. There aren’t many photo ops at this museum and there’s definitely more to read than see. Still, a fantastic opportunity to enrich your Mexican girl power knowledge.

After the museum, we visited Mercado La Ciudadela

The Mercado Artesanal La Ciudadela is an arts and crafts market that’s very safe, clean and features beautiful Mexican gifts and mementos— from handmade copper jewelry and Luchador masks, to furniture, pottery and leather goods. It’s really incredible.

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Around the corner from La Ciudadela, we noticed a park…

The park seemed to be hosting a type of outdoor ballroom dancing event. We walked towards it and discovered a full-blown dancing fest. Turns out, every Saturday hundreds gather at La Plaza de a Ciudadela to dance to the tunes of Danzón, a genre of music from Cuba made popular in Mexico in the 30s and 40s. It that has hints of Rumba, Son and Cha-cha-cha. As you could imagine, the music got me and before I knew it, I was dancing with a friendly 80-year old man!

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The good energy from the Danzón, got us hungry…

We headed to el Mercado de San Juan Gourmet for a bite or two. But upon discovering this ginormous market, we decided we wouldn’t eat there, but rather explore the many offerings each vendor presented. We found skinned rabbits, chocolate covered scorpions, deer meat, crocodile sausage and a bunch of other rare foods. We limited our palates to trying fruit from several stands— mmmm, the figs and berries were the best!

From there we decided to finally have lunch

We headed back to the area where we were staying and decided to explore Mercado Roma.

At Mercado Roma, we found an indoor gourmet food court with amazing options. Still, we couldn’t escape our craving for tacos. We went for tacos and beer. Our order came with three tacos and a Coronita… yum!

Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious churro from El Moro, which has been a landmark in the Roma area since 1935.

We were so stuffed from the tacos that we decided to walk home

We arrived back at our AirBnB apartment, took some time to relax and headed out to Mexico’s historic center for a drink at a bar called Xamán.

Since Frances and I have a history of discovering unique bars and ordering one-of-a-kind beverages (I’ll share our Hong Kong story later), we knew we had to keep the tradition alive. We ordered a drink that turned out to be a ginormous beverage that hung from the ceiling. The Cayuco drink was made with Havana 7 Rum, Mandarin Napoleon, Hibiscus Nectar, Lime Juice, Mandarin Juice, Quince Fruit Compote and Mineral Water. The way I would describe the taste is similar to that of a refreshing smoked Mai Tai:

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After our fantastic drink at Xamán Bar, we headed out to Coyoacan

Coyoacan is a popular area of Mexico City mostly known for being the home of famed artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. At the center of Coyoacan is a popular plaza with restaurants, bars and live entertainment. There is also a two-story marketplace with Mexican crafts, clothing, toys and candy. To end the night, we dined at Cantina La Coyoacana. The restaurant offers a Mexican menu, an impressive tequila menu and a lively mariachi on weekends. Warning: The wait to dine here can be long. We waited for about an hour before getting seated… but it was totally worth it! The Molcajete we ordered arrived with plenty of cuts, chicharrón, cheese, grilled onions, hot sauce and tortillas to make it a most unforgettable dinner….

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And that’s how we concluded Day One of our Mexico City Adventures!

Thanks for reading friends!

Kindly CLICK HERE to read about our Day Two adventures!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
A Fun Mexico City Weekend Getaway thanks to Delta Airlines & We All Grow Latina Summit

A First Class Adventure! (Part 1 of 3)

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Our First Night in Mexico City

Friends, every now and then I get lucky with amazing opportunities. I blame it the law of universal attraction and maybe a little bit of pixie dust.

Last Spring, I attended the incredible We All Grow Summit, a conference created by Bossmom Ana Flores for Latina influencers and content creators (currently listed as one of the best conferences for women by Forbes).

A Keynote speaker at the 2018 We All Grow Latina Summit

A Keynote speaker at the 2018 We All Grow Latina Summit

Delta Airlines was a sponsor at We All Grow Summit

and they had a really cool activation where conference attendees were able to learn more about the airline, its many flight features and even network with the airline’s PR reps. Before leaving the suite, guests had a chance to win a number of prizes by spinning a fun prize wheel.

When my sister Frances spun the wheel, she got a free Starbucks gift card (she was happy).

When I spun the wheel, I learned I would be entered into a separate raffle for a chance to win first-class, round trip tickets to one of many destinations.

Low and behold, a few weeks later, I received news that I’d won the raffle prize trip to Mexico City!

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Fast forward to January 2019

and we arrived at LAX ready to embark on an adventure to Mexico City, a place we hold dear to our hearts because that’s where my mom is from. We’ve been visiting the Mexican Capitol (previously known as ‘El D.F.’) since we were little girls and there’s always so much to do and see!

To start the journey, we learned that with our First-class tickets, we’d have access to Delta Airline’s Sky Club, located on the 4th floor of Terminal 2 at LAX.

The selfie game turns up a notch when I’m on vacay mode!!!

The selfie game turns up a notch when I’m on vacay mode!!!

The Delta Sky Club is an exclusive lounge

for Sky Priority Members (generally first class passengers and folks who’ve racked up a lot of Delta Sky points).

The Sky Club is a great place to work, rest, wine and dine!

Passengers can enjoy this area before it’s time to board the plane at their respective gates.

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Offerings at the Delta Sky Club include:

Hot and cold food buffets, snacks, free publications like the L.A. Times and an open bar. Cheers, friends!

Once aboard the plane (we actually flew on an Aeromexico flight operated by Delta), we were thrilled to be seated at the very front row!

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First class passengers get

very ample seats, a really nice meal and a wide selection of drinks (including alcoholic beverages).

Even though WiFi was not included on this particular flight, the airline’s internet service, GoGoFlight was very reasonably priced.

Overall, the 3-hour flight was smooth, except for maybe about 15 minutes of turbulence. I took a short nap and before I knew it, we were descending!

Our First Class lunch on Aeromexico operated by Delta

Our First Class lunch on Aeromexico operated by Delta

Upon arriving at the Benito Juarez International Airport,

getting to our luggage was easy since it was marked with a yellow “priority” tag. For this trip, we ordered a private car company to pick us up from the airport. We figured, if Delta had given us this unique opportunity to fly first class, might as well make it an all-around first-class adventure!

The Mexico City Airport has these huge colorful pots decorating many of the general areas!

The Mexico City Airport has these huge colorful pots decorating many of the general areas!

For the next part of our Mexico City journey

which includes photos of our excursions, meals, tours, friends, art and cultural experiences, CLICK HERE!

Thanks for reading friends and thank you, Delta and We All Grow Latina for allowing these Latina sisters to visit our mami’s hometown!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
A Trip to Puerto Vallarta with my Boyfriend

Fun Times at the Vidanta Resort

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Hello November in Mexico!

Friends, I went on a mini vacation with my husband and upon arriving, the man I’ve been married to for eleven years suddenly became my boyfriend again… Awwww.

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 Paul and I were due for a getaway.

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We needed to take a few days to reconnect and escape the many stressful factors that accompany demanding jobs, small children, general adult responsibilities and the ridiculously fast-paced Los Angeles life.

My sister and parents agreed to take care of the boys and off we went.

When we found ourselves inside a gorgeous tropical paradise with piña coladas awaiting— after having sat next to each other, laughed and flirted a little on the plane — we knew we had made the right decision to leave everything on hold and focus on each other. It took a little adjusting because, let’s face it, we’re used to disagreeing here and there, but once we arrived, I felt like his girlfriend again… it was so perfect!

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Our friends Connie and Ricardo

own a timeshare at the Vidanta Resort in Puerto Vallarta and they invited us to travel and enjoy the many indulgences of this extraordinary complex of hotels, restaurants, shops, bars and swimming attractions. We stayed at the Grand Mayan Hotel within the Vidanta Resort.

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We had a one-bedroom suite with a

soaking pool in our private terrace, a huge bathtub and a spacious kitchenette. Not too far was a fantastic “Shark” Bar; a Cantina-style restaurant that served steak Chicharrones (to die for) and held a nightly water show. In our building we had an arts & crafts room where guests could learn to make Mexican artwork (or pose for pictures like me…lol).

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We met face-to-face with iguanas,

raccoons and hawks in a tropical jungle setting that featured a lazy river, numerous beautifully designed pools with a view of the ocean, gorgeous shows and lively nightly entertainment.

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The food was great,

the ambiance was perfect and even though we missed our boys on Halloween night, we enjoyed taking the time to remind each other why we got married to begin with… he’s my better half!

Getting away from everything was necessary and something I recommend to all married couples.

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The Vidanta Resort is beautiful, friends.

Reservations for non-members start at approximately $700/night for a one-bedroom suite at the Grand Mayan.

A brand-new, state-of-the-art Cirque du Soleil Theme Park is currently under construction and the first phase will be inaugurated in 2020…. I can’t wait to return!

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 Thanks Connie & Ricardo…

We had a blast. Love you guys!

Thanks for reading, friends!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
Lovin' Life at Laughlin During Labor Day Weekend!

Fun in the Desert Sun!

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Laughlin, Nevada for the Win

Nothing beats getting away for a weekend without going too far.

What I mean by that is–– while we'd be thrilled to visit Tokyo and Sao Paolo and Oahu, a vacation with kids is, well, hardly a vacation for mom and dad. It's a lot of work and stress and round-the-clock snack requests and bathroom trips and while seeing the little smiles on their faces makes it all worth it, returning home usually calls for another vacation just to give us a chance to decompress! We've ventured on several international trips with Benny but when Toby arrived we decided to keep things muuuuuuuch simpler and hassle-free.

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These days,

a dream vacation means a road trip to San Francisco, where we make multiple stops along the way; or a train ride to San Diego where we end up at the Marina and enjoy arcade time and ice cream cones. Most recently, we were invited to hang out in Laughlin, Nevada, with some good friends who own a home & a boat near the Colorado River.

Our friend   Laurie   who's been enjoying the Mohave Lake since childhood!

Our friend Laurie who's been enjoying the Mohave Lake since childhood!

It sounded like a perfect destination:

close enough to drive back home if an emergency occurred, but far away to feel the joy of being on family vacation-mode. The trip was so, so fun.

We hung out at Lake Mohave for two straight days-- cruising on our friends' boat, swimming for hours, enjoying adult beverages and letting the kids eat all the chips, snacks and juice they wanted (we actually had sandwiches, fruit and veggies too).

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There's something about venturing off into the water

that is very relaxing. For one, there's no internet service in the lake, located in the middle of the desert.  That completely removes you from the tendency to check your phone every few minutes.

Fact: I still don't know how to swim! But life jackets are plentiful. There are even loaners for guests to use before heading out to the lake.

Fact: I still don't know how to swim! But life jackets are plentiful. There are even loaners for guests to use before heading out to the lake.

The desert heat is a whole other level of hot,

which makes you want to stay cool in the water and hug your kids in their adorable little floaties. Toby decided to throw rocks into the lake for about 30 minutes. He laughed every time a rock would hit the water.

Benny decided to play good guys v. bad guys using small water guns and exchanged water attacks with his new buddy Andrew. Then he hopped out of the water and joyfully acted as if he lived in, and owned the boat while we hung out in the water.

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Lake Mohave offers

237 miles of shoreline and nearly 200 sandy beach cove areas that can only be accessed by boat. It's really fun to scope out the different beaches and decide where your crew will settle for the day.

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Once you find a spot that everyone agrees on,

you basically mark your territory by parking the boat and setting up your fun zone, which usually includes tents, beach chairs, tables, coolers, water games and water toys. Those seeking bigger water thrills take their Jet Skis and Sea-Doo's.

A quick stop in front of this fun mural at a Jerky shop along Route 66 on our way home from Laughlin.

A quick stop in front of this fun mural at a Jerky shop along Route 66 on our way home from Laughlin.

By the time you wrap up for the day

and arrive at your accommodations (we stayed at our friends' super comfy house), you've had plenty of fun in the sun and the only thing left to do is rest and relax some more.

Then if you have time the next morning, you can head over to Casino drive, enjoy a breakfast buffet and try your luck at a slot machine or Blackjack table before returning to Los Angeles.

It's exactly what we did and drove home $30 richer. Lol. It was an overall wonderful escape.

Thanks Alex and Laurie! We can't wait to hang out again!

Xo,

-Anabel M.

Anabel Marquez
The Dim Sum Experience in Hong Kong

Gimme Some Dim Sum!

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Don’t we all love small bites?

I knew my first Dim Sum experience would be awesome because I love appetizers and finger foods. They make me feel as though I’m not eating a lot when in reality, I probably end up eating more than a regular meal.

But I digress.

Dim Sum is a Chinese cuisine where foods are prepared in small bite-sized portions. They generally consist of fried dumplings, steamed buns, rice rolls and sesame balls, each containing a filling, which can range from meat and veggies to sweet cream and fruit sauce. There are also cakes, puddings and tea to complement the Dim Sum Experience.

In Los Angeles, there are plenty of Chinese Restaurants that offer Dim Sum. However, it had never really appealed to me. I probably never gave it enough attention and always associated it with pork dumplings which I’m not too crazy about.

But over the summer, I visited Hong Kong with my little sister.

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There was no avoiding it. If I was ever thinking of giving Dim Sum a try, then I’d better do it in China, the very country that invented it.

We went to Yum Cha (which stands for “Drink Tea” in Cantonese). It’s a fabulously chic and modern Dim Sum café known for its playful, cartoon-themed take on Dim Sum. I wanted to order everything from the menu but opted for only a few items and here’s a little about the experience:

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The set-up was beautiful—

Neutral-toned decor with pastel colored china. Everything about the place was gorgeous. No wonder it’s one of the most instagrammed cafés in Hong Kong! The Dim Sum arrives in individual steamer baskets and small plates.

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The BBQ Pork Buns

were delicious.

These are steamed buns (decorated to look like Piggies) filled with BBQ Pork. It tasted really good.

Dim Sum is not to be eaten, say, like sushi.

You don’t necessarily stick an entire food portion in your mouth at once. Taking small bites and savoring each dish is particularly fun and oftentimes encouraged.

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The BBQ Pork Buns were almost too cute to eat though.

I felt like one of the buns was going to start squealing before I ate it. And, I must add, the buns are actually quite filling. I ate one and-a-half which was perfect to make room for tea and dessert.

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The Hot Custard Buns

had a sweet mango custard filling.

They were heavenly. But it soon became apparent that we had ordered items to appease our sweet tooth rather than to fuel our long hike so we didn’t finish all of them, especially since we were still waiting on drum roll please…..

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The Coconut Red Bean Cup and Cotton Cloud!

This was the dessert that gave us the ultimate sugar rush. Still, we carried on, eating a good portion of the red bean and coconut pudding (which you can hardly see because the cotton candy cloud is so large)… Yum!

So there you have it friends! My first Dim Sum in experience in Hong Kong, was delicious.

Stay tuned for more random posts of my summer Asia adventures!

Thanks for reading,

Xo,

-Anabel M.