5 Reasons you need a KIA Sorento #DriveKIA Pics

Last month, KIA was kind enough to loan us a KIA Sorento so that we could drive it around town to pick up donations (used clothes and beads) for the kids we support.  I have driven a KIA before but this time around I was so impressed that I must share 5 reasons why you should experience KIA too:

  1. KIA ExperienceIt’s the perfect luxury-feel getaway vehicle

I drove around feeling like I was the House Wives of Hawthorne, too far? Well it made me feel fancy while picking up donations. It’s sleek, it’s has a sculpted exterior and exudes sophistication! The Sorento is one highly stylized, modern utility vehicle, redesigned to have elegantly sculpted surfaces, a lot of cabin space, and a wraparound dashboard that made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to touch it – like a painting at the museum feeling. The stitching on the beautiful seats makes you feel like this care was handmade just for you to fit like a glove.

Luxury style without the luxury price!

  1. It’s probably Optimus Prime’s cousin

The way this vehicle is able to change and adapt makes you feel like you are riding a Transformer! The second-row sliding seats can completely move to give rear passengers easy third-row access and the Remote Release lets you conveniently fold down the second row while standing at the rear of the vehicle—giving you more room as you pack in your cargo.

And how about predicting your needs?

  • The hands-free Smart Power Liftgate opens when it senses your smart key—with no hands or feet required.
  • The liftgate can be adjusted to your height preference, making closing the hatch even more convenient.
  • It warns you of unexpected obstacles with the Blind-Spot Detection (BSD) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)

Talk about looking out for you! Creepy and genius all in one!

KIA Sun Roof

  1. It basically turns into a sled

During the holiday season we had the pleasure of test driving the KIA Sorento to pick up donations from around Los Angeles county.  And because we live in L.A. we enjoyed the incredible Panoramic Sunroof – made us feel like we were driving a fancy, modern and stylish sled. Santa Claus ain’t got anything on this vehicle!

Through this drive experience, we also enjoyed an all-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system and a smooth drive on all the weird L.A. streets. Even though it has a strong engine we did NOT fill-up the tank in a week! We only used a full tank of gas after driving it daily and making over 10 stops throughout the city.

  1. KIA DogKeeps your family and fur-babies safe

Once you are inside the Sorento, you will be surprised with the very spacious interior cabin, enough for your family or furbabies and for those that have an active lifestyle! It has enhanced control with advanced active safety systems:

  • Precise handling with Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Brake support with Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Continuously tracks and adapts to the driving conditions

Keeping your family sage at all times!

Bonus: Heated and Ventilated Seats, Nappa Leather seat trim to the quality soft-touch materials and premium comfort everywhere you go.

2016 Sorento, awarded an NHTSA Overall 5-Star Safety Rating and named a 2015 IIHS Top Safety Pick

  1. KIA StyleIt can be your office

The 2016 Sorento is equipped with up to eight outlets, including four 12v outlets, two available USB rapid-charging ports, one available 110v inverter, and one AUX/USB port. So that you and your passengers never have to worry about losing power while on the road. Don’t worry about taking your office on the road. Thanks to the easy way it drives, you can maneuver in and out of tight spaces with ease with the Surround View Monitor (SVM) controls four mounted cameras, giving you a birds-eye view of your vehicle.

Take your calls via Bluetooth using the Infinity® Surround Audio System for a rich, clear sound and enjoy the ten-speaker Infinity® Surround Audio System—which includes a center speaker, sub-woofer, amplifier, and surround sound—and you’ve got one stunning in-cabin sound experience.

Irresistible

Joe KIAThe best part of our drive experience is that we got to share it with those we love the most and are a big part of our life. The youth pastor at our church, Mission Ebenezer Family Church, loved the Sorento and now drives his family safely and in style. For a family as active as Pastor Joe’s and because he is also tech specialist, the Sorento was the best option for him because of style, technology and feel. Congrats Pastor Joe an Jessica!

 

 

Risky Apps for Tweens and Teens

Dangerous AppsSNAPCHAT: Don’t take me wrong, this is a fun and great app that connects friends and provides endless entertainment! Unfortunately it’s becoming one of the most popular apps for sexting among teens. Many teens feel confident that their sexts will automatically be deleted but there is always the strong possibility of someone taking a screenshot of images or even record videos with another device and share them. According to A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat, there’s no research showing that this is true  but—like any media-sharing service—Snapchat can be used for sexting, harassment, etc.

KIK MESSENGER: Tweens and teens also Kik to send sexts. Because Kik Messanger is not only for your friend in your contact lists but instead combine texting with a social network, predators can contact your child via Kik and send unsolicited sexts. The Cyber Safety Lady provides great tips on how to get your kids off dangerous apps.

TINDER: It’s intended to be used as a dating app for adults but it is also known for facilitating hookups and last-minute dates among those in their 20s and 30s – like a from a bar scene. However, to enter a bar one must be 21; the age of admission to Tinder is just 13! And with no age verification, your child could be matched with an adult or even worse a predator. Can it get scarier? Yes, Tinder has had security breaches that exposed user data and location.

BLENDR: There are no age requirements for this dating app, allowing adults to contact children. Similar to Tinder, it has GPS features that can reveal the location of your child to diligent predators.

DOWN: Lets a user sort Facebook friends they are “down” to hook up with. It perpetuates “hookup” culture among young teens because it’s “the secret way to get down with friends and more.” It has options for users interested in just hooking up and a different level for those interested in actually dating. The fact that it is sold by a company named Bang With Friends, Inc. tells parents a lot!

POOF: Hides other apps on your phone. You select which apps you would like to hide and their icons will no longer show up on your smartphone screen. If children have apps that they want to keep hidden from their parents, all they have to do is download this app and “poof,” their screen is clear of any questionable apps. So, if you see the poof app on their phone, you may want to ask them what they are hiding.

All I want for Christmas is a Goat! #GiveHeifer

HeiferLogo_WB

I can’t think of anything I want for Christmas, all the material things just don’t fill me and I’ve been blessed where all my needs have been met (plus more!). The ONLY thing I want for Christmas is a goat… or a flock of chicks… or maybe even some honey bees!

If you want this Christmas to be a blessed-fill season, you have to bless others too and Heifer International is for you!

Rather than just providing a meal (a handout) which after it is consumed is the end of it, they help bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. For example, instead of giving an egg, they give a flock of chicks that produces eggs that they not only consume for nourishment but also are able to trade in the market or other families. The animals provide communities with both food and reliable income through the production of milk, eggs and honey that can be traded or sold at market. This model has the mission of ending world hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.

This season, check out Heifer International Gift Catalog and select a gift, sample gifts include:

PASSING ON THE GIFT

Davide Iradukunda, 6, with the family's goats, which they were able to buy with money from milk sales.

Davide Iradukunda, 6, with the family’s goats, which they were able to buy with money from milk sales.

When these families receive these gifts, they also receive the training. These families share then share training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. Talk about the gift of that keep on giving! This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.

The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self-reliance. We do this by providing them the tools they need to sustain themselves, and it’s thanks to the generosity of donors like you.

You have the power to give a hungry family the training it takes to feed themselves and their children; to give a young girl a chance at an education; to empower a woman to have a voice in her community. Together, we can change the world, one family, one community, at a time. And it all starts with a gift.

Snap a Pic and Use it to Donate to Save The Children! #SoMuchMore

This is compensated campaign in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect but my passion for #SocialGood and thoughts are my own – D.Montalvan

As we celebrated #GivingTuesday and move into the final stretch of the holiday season, remember to pause and say thank you to your family and friends, and to the organizations whose work you appreciate!  But also remember that #GivingTuesday does NOT end on December 1st, giving should be an ongoing thing and a way of life.

You may be thinking that, although you have all the desire and good intention to help, you just don’t have the time to volunteer, donate or put on the cape to save the world. I’m here to tell you that it’s SO MUCH EASIER to help than what you think.

This holiday season, JOHNSON’S® and Save the Children are igniting a social movement to support early childhood development. Watch this touching video and see how Save the Children families benefit from early childhood development programs:

This year JOHNSON’S® is tripling their donations to Save the Children for the Holiday Season but needs your help to continue spreading the love and raising awareness.

Every day, millions of babies may miss opportunities critical to growth and development due to poverty, lack of early stimulation,poor health/nutrition, and lack of early education.

Through these programs, Save the Children provides support to 300,000 U.S children in need, and JOHNSON’S® shares in this mission to make a positive impact on baby’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. As a longstanding partner of Save the Children, JOHNSON’S® has been creating  quality programs and models that invests in childhood every day, in times of crisis and for the future.

Donate a PhotoTo demonstrate their mutual commitment, JOHNSON’S® and Save the Children are bringing awareness to the importance of early childhood development (ECD) programs, so that every child can reach their full potential!

YOU can join in and show how they and their family stand up for children who need access to critical education programs. Here is how you can help:

  • Watch JOHNSON’S® YouTube video to hear more about Save the Children’s early childhood development programs and the families who are benefiting from them. Help us share the stories of families whose lives were changed forever when their children were given an equal start in life.
  • Johnson’s believes every child deserves a fair shot at a vibrant future. So this holiday season, if you select Save the Children® through the Donate a Photo app, JOHNSON’S® will triple its donation in support of early childhood education programs.

I really can’t get easier than this. What’s stopping you from snapping a picture right now! GO and download the app and tag us!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and Latina Bloggers Connect. The opinions and text are all mine.

Follow Me To The Market of Survivor-Made Goods #AHeartForSurvivors

TTM SewingYes it’s the holidays and everyone has shopping in mind and all the stores claim to have the best sales and yada yada yada… My hope is that each year, more and more people are more thoughtful when gift-giving and shop with meaning and from a store just like To The Market.


TTM WalletTo The Market (TTM) features survivor-made Goods combining the power of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous
survivor populations because resilience is more powerful than suffering.

TTM showcases handmade goods made exclusively by proud and passionate artisans who have overcome the perils of abuse, conflict, and disease. By assisting local partners around the world in bringing these goods “to the market,” TTM takes an active role in equipping the survivors they employ with economic independence, while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.
Meaningful gifts start at $5.95 to over $100, from apparel to accessories to home goods and gift cards, TTM has something for everyone! The wonderful site allows you to shop in support of a specific cause:

While you shop, you can be inspired by the survivor stories and the people that change their lives like Shannon Keith and her husband did for a village in India. After quitting their corporate jobs, they founded Sudara and made “PUNJAMMIES™” to help many of the women that had been tricked or coerced into the sex industry, falsely promised a jobworking as a nanny or a hotel employee.TTM

Happy Shopping With Meaning!

 

Spend Quality Family Moments at Knott’s Merry Farm!

Boy on shoulders

 

We are all about making family memories and giving children the best childhood they could possibly have.

People.com posted an Adele (the best artist ever!) quote: “I feel like I’ve spent my whole life so far wishing it away. Always wishing I was older, wishing I was somewhere else, wishing I could remember and wishing I could forget, too.”

We can relate to that feeling, right? So when I think about children being adults sooner than we hope, I think about what they are going to look back to. They still have the chance to build great family memories so when they look back, the only wish they have is to do it all again.

You see us at Knott’s Berry Farm throughout the year and we promote all their different themes and events. We do it because we genuinely believe Knott’s is a place to make real family memories; memories of amazing food, of fun activities for the entire family including shows and fun rides. Other parks claim to be the happiest place on earth and although great parks, memories include long lines, extreme crowds and overpriced everything – but how realistic is it for a normal wage earning family to visit these parks without going broke? (Season Pass is 6 easy payments of $13.50 ONLY – that’s a deal!)

Joy is in season at Knott’s Merry Farm and you can start making those wonderful hassle free memories now! Snoopy and a cast of world class ice skaters perform Merry Christmas, Snoopy!, a whimsical ice show bursting with characters and remarkable skating. In Santa’s Christmas Cabin, guests can share their wish lists with jolly ol’ St. Nick and savor some of Knott’s world famous holiday treats.

You can also take a trip back in time and celebrate Christmas in the Old West town of Calico. Climb aboard the Calico Railroad for Christmas on Engine 41 and meet Ghost Town residents eager to share their holiday plans with you. Those looking for great gift ideas can shop Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village, a shopping wonderland where local artisans demonstrate their craft and sell their unique gifts.

In the evening, join Snoopy as he lights up the night in the Snoopy’s Merriest Tree Lighting show, then take a stroll through Ghost Town where snow gently falls while thousands of sparkling lights dance to the beat of holiday music.

Make fun part of your holiday tradition at Knott’s Merry Farm November 21-January 3.

Merry Farm Logo

Walk with us back to the REAL Thanksgiving Tradition – Free Cal State Park Passes

Present your pass at the visitor center for 5 percent off visitor center merchandise on November 27, 2015, only, courtesy of the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association

Present your pass at the visitor center for 5 percent off visitor center merchandise on November 27, 2015, only, courtesy of the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association (Photo credit: Flicker Scrubhiker (USCdyer)

#OptOutside and walk #IntoTheRedwoods

Thanksgiving is a great American tradition that united families and welcomed new friends. Over time it become more about the sales, the food gorging and then the cyber Monday. This year we encourage you to celebrate Thanksgiving by taking your family or gathering a group of friends and go for a walk. Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks wants to make it even better! They want to encourage us to start a new tradition and instead of running to the stores for Black Friday, they are calling for us to run out to the great outdoors! To take a walk through the woods of majestic redwood trees FOR FREE!

The alternative Black Friday movement started with outdoor retailer REI, which in October decided to close its 143 stores nationwide on that day and encourage Americans to #optoutside. – Good for them!

So on November 27, 2015, the day after Thanksgiving, take your families to a redwood state park. Retailers will always be there, offering sales, closeouts and absolutely the cheapest possible deals (yeah right!).

This movement reminds us that Thanksgiving is about sharing time with family and appreciating our many shared blessings. When did it become about the shopping? Come back to the origin of this holiday and hang out with nature and if you absolutely still need some sort of deal, well… the League will cover the day-use cost for anyone who visits a participating redwood state park on the day after Thanksgiving – that’s the best bargain you’re going to find this Black Friday!

Please note that one pass per email address; voucher is good for one pass per vehicle for participating California State Parks on November 27, 2015. You must print your pass and present it to state parks staff at the entry gate. If no state parks employee is on duty, the pass must be displayed on your vehicle’s dashboard.

 

Buy Beans and Build Dreams! Goya Creates an Easy Way To Help Build an Orphanage in Mexico

Calling all my frijoleros! (I say it with love and respect as I honestly do love beans and consider myself a frijolera!) For every can of GOYA® Refried Beans sold during the month of October 2015, Goya will donate fifteen cents to help build the Casa Hogar Alegria Orphanage in Toluca, Mexico!

Beans are not only among my favorite foods, it is a staple in Latin American cuisine and essential for the nutrition of all our kids at ALL the orphanages we support. It’s an affordable food that provides good nutrients, without it, we wouldn’t know how our kids would survive. So imagine our delight to see Goya Foods create a social good campaign that will help not only help feed children but build a home for them!

Goya Foods“The support that Goya Foods has provided throughout the years has been admirable and valuable to the organization,” says famous artist, Marc Anthony. “Without the support from partners like Goya, it would be very difficult for Maestro Cares to accomplish all that it has in such a short period of time. We are grateful for all the support we have received from Goya Foods. They are valuable partners that have committed their time and heart to the organization.”

Goya has been a supporter of the Maestro Cares Foundation since the construction of their first orphanage in La Romana, Dominican Republic in 2013 and in Barranquilla, Colombia in 2014.  Over the years, Goya has provided financial support, donated over 100,000 pounds of food to feed the children and established a mentorship program with a select group of Goya employees that will help support and guide the children through their school years. “We are so proud to work with a foundation like Maestro Cares which shares our dedication and commitment to bringing aid to the children in Latin American communities who need it the most,” said Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods.

The Toluca, Mexico facility, set to open in early 2016, will serve 70 girls in the area, providing shelter and schooling to orphans who previously had access to neither. It is the third orphanage opened by Maestro Cares since the start of the foundation in 2012.

Make a difference in the lives of children in need by walking into participating stores and purchasing your can of GOYA® Refried Beans during the month of October.  Show your support online by using #LetsGivetoKids and tag @GoyaFoods @MaestroCares.  For more information about the campaign and how you can help, please visit www.goya.com/letsgive

GOYA will make a donation to Global Impact, a 501 ( c ) 3 donor advised fund, to support Marc Anthony’s Maestro Cares Foundation in building the Casa Hogar Alegria Orphanage.

Fighting Childhood Malnutrition With The #PowerOf5 Campaign

NutriliteIn Guatemala we experienced first hand the crisis that the country is going through provoked by several reasons; politics, lack of education, traditions that people are not willing to change, no jobs and so many other reasons that I’m not getting into. What’s upsetting is that the most affected in Guatemala are the children. The Orphaned Earring’s missions is not to change a country, it is to feed, heal and love so many children that are victims of country’s messed up system.

We feed over 80 children daily in Guatemala with a formula called Incaparina, it looks like powder sugar but when cooked it’s a thick and nutritious drink. For a time now we’ve known that Amway also provides a substance that is as nutritious as Incaparina but they’ve been able to reach so many corners of the world with the #PowerOf5 campaign.

Although malnutrition is a widespread and growing problem, it is preventable and, as a leader in nutrition, Amway is in an ideal position to help. They have developed a micronutrient supplement, Nutrilite™ Little Bits™, that provides 15 essential vitamins and nutrients to children ages 6 months to 5 years old. When given with food once daily, Nutrilite™ Little Bits™ can help children’s brains and bodies develop properly so they can survive, thrive and achieve their potential. Amway has launched the Nutrilite™ Power of 5 Campaign to raise awareness of childhood malnutrition as they work with Amway Business Owners, employees and the public toward a global solution. In support of the multi-year campaign, Amway has implemented programs intended to improve awareness and understanding of this global issue, generate funds to grow the distribution program, encourage ongoing participation, and ultimately help more children and families live better lives.

Learn. Share. Give.

Learn more about the issue of Malnutritionchildhood malnutrition and the Nutrilite™ Power of 5 Campaign. Share the campaign story with friends, family, colleagues and others who want to participate in a program that’s making a difference for thousands of malnourished children around the world. Use #powerof5 in social media. Give what you can, whether that’s time, talent or treasure to help children survive, thrive and reach a healthier adulthood. All money raised will go to CARE and local humanitarian organizations to support the distribution of Nutrilite™ Little Bits™ to families and children.

See more at: http://powerof5.nutrilite.com/about-power-of-5#sthash.rwSx4KX7.dpuf

Flu Shot: Myths and Facts

Flu Myths and FactsDisclosure: this is not a paid post but the author does work with Kaiser Permanente.

As harsh as this seems, abuelita is not always right about everything, especially about how standing in front of a fan will give you the flu. Overtime we pick up unfounded beliefs and practices, either inherited or we “read it on Facebook” but when it comes to your health you can’t take risks or live by chance.

Our friends at Kaiser Permanente say that a flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal influenza and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. Now is the time to protect yourself and your family. Everyone six months and older should get an influenza vaccination each year. Here are a few Myths and Facts about the flu shot and how to stay healthy.

There are plenty of reasons people do not get the flu shot. Let’s take a look at some of the myths and facts:

Myth: Getting a flu vaccine can cause the flu.

Fact: You can’t get the flu from a flu vaccination. However, when your body is building its defenses, you may experience a minor reaction after getting the shot, like body aches or a mild fever for a day or two. You may coincidentally experience symptoms from other viruses that mimic flu-like symptoms.

Myth: The flu isn’t serious.

Fact: On average, 36,000 Americans die each year of the flu. Most flu-related deaths could be prevented by immunization.

Myth: You can die from a flu shot.

Fact: It’s rare to have a dangerous reaction to the flu shot. Consult with your doctor before getting a flu shot if you have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome or if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or a previous dose of flu vaccine.

Myth: You can wait and see if an epidemic breaks out, then get a flu shot.

Fact: It takes from two weeks or longer to develop immunity. That’s why you need to get your shot before the flu season begins.

Myth: Flu shots are for old people.

Fact: All adults and children should get a flu shot. Even healthy adults and children can catch the flu. Find out why you should get a flu shot.

Myth: You don’t need a flu shot if you got one last year.

Fact: Immunity to the strains of influenza virus in the flu vaccine wears off within a year. And the strains of influenza which cause illness vary from year to year. If you’re not immunized against this year’s expected virus strains, you and those around you are at risk for getting the flu. Get your flu shot soon, so you will be protected before the flu season begins.

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, here are some suggestions on how to protect yourself and others:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleanser, especially after you sneeze or cough.

Maria Wright, MD, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center