Loving LUZIA! Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA: A Waking Dream of Mexico

Recently my boys and I got a complimentary preview of Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA: A Waking Dream of Mexico, at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.


Like all Cirque shows, LUZIA is a treat for the senses. There are multiple performers from trapeze artists to high climbers to a contortionist. This show is told with music, movement, and even, water!

LUZIA’s look and feel blends old-world Mexico with modern times, as well as some mythical animals and imagery. The music is lovely and varies throughout the show to match the different scenes.


The colorful backdrop mirrors the show’s theme: a sensory treat as if you’re dreaming in Mexico, where the big stars are the “luz” meaning light and the “lluvia” or rain.


As if stunning choreography and aerobatics weren’t enough, LUZIA ups the ante. That’s because throughout the show, water is integrated into the acts. It’s impressive to watch as an aerialist – suspended from a trapeze – twist and turn in the middle of this “rain.”

Water also plays a comical role, with the gimmick being the lead character is thirsty throughout the show. He never seems to have water and when he finds it, it’s elusive to catch. My kids and I, as well as everyone in attendance, giggled as the character struggled to get a sip throughout the show.


LUZIA is consistently entertaining.


There’s suspense and excitement in many acts showcasing balancing, hoop diving and even stunts while moving on treadmills. Check out the juggling…

Watch below for even more nerves and fun as performers jump from swing to swing!

The show runs through March 25. Check it out. It’s fun for the whole family.



Valentine’s Day Date Tips for Couples & Families

Valentine’s Day is coming up! Stumped on what to do? I’ve got some great ideas on how to spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart.

Since I’m a writer for San Diego Family Magazine, I had the opportunity today to share some Valentine’s Day date tips for couples and families with Renee Nelson at ABC 10News during a FacebookLive. We talked about specific places to go in San Diego; things to do on a budget and to splurge; ways to keep love sizzling, and more.

Get more Valentine’s Day ideas in the February issue of San Diego Family Magazine, which is available for free at Albertsons, Ralphs, Party City and local libraries, as well as online.

Here are some behind the scenes photos from the shoot.

With Renee Nelson, 10News reporter
L-R Michelle Hancock, Marketing Director for San Diego Family Magazine; San Diego Family Magazine writer Kristen Castillo, and 10News reporter Renee Nelson.
February issue of San Diego Family Magazine
February issue of San Diego Family Magazine
With 10News reporter Renee Nelson

Put a Ring On It!

As a wedding editor and writer, I’m always following wedding trends. One of those trends is wedding jewelry.

There’s nothing traditional about wedding rings these days.  Like never before, there are more colors, styles and metal choices for women and men.

According to The Knot, in 2016, couples said they spent over $6000 on engagement rings. There’s another jewelry expense – wedding rings for both spouses, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.


The next consideration is style. Gold, silver, titanium, tungsten and more metals, as well as colors and looks like simple bands, beveled designs and adding diamonds of other stones.

IMG_2157While brides often know what they want their wedding band to look like, men can be frustrated by the process. And even fashionable guys, can have a tough time finding a ring that fits their personal style.


That’s why I was eager to check out Manly Bands, which promise to fit different personalities and budgets, all while being sophisticated.

Manly Bands sent me a few complimentary bands: The Gentleman, (below) a polished band made with tungsten carbide, 18K rose gold plated; and The Surfer, a modern ring made with tungsten carbide featuring dark Koa wood and genuine turquoise.

My husband tried both rings and modeled them. His fave? The Surfer (below) for its bold color and how it popped against his skin tone. This ring is very hip and a fit for his lifestyle. After all, my husband is a California native.

The rings, available in sizes five to 17, are all under $200. Wedding or not, some of these rings (like The Surfer my husband likes) can be worn as an everyday accessory.

Falling in Love With Fall Fashion

Ready for fall? Now’s the time to get your autumn wardrobe together.

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I recently had the opportunity to attend a few Neiman Marcus Fall fashion shows at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego. This season has lots of stylish trends that are easy to incorporate into your attire. Here’s what to expect for ladies:

 Red is the “it” color this fall.

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All shades of red are in vogue but bold shades and burgundies are particularly hot.

The 90’s are back! “This is the look of the season,” says Alex Yanez, stylist for Neiman Marcus, who explains the 90’s style of graphic makeup including heavy eyeliner is in vogue again.

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Many fall styles are punk and grunge inspired, blending feminine and masculine looks. Yanez describes this style as having a “Courtney Love 90’s feel.”

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Bulky boots are making a return too. One black pair featured in the fashion show had a floral pattern, showcasing that mix of feminine and masculine.

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Suited Up. Modern suiting for women is very sleek and totally inspired by menswear.

Check out Dior’s take on menswear below:

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Covered Legs. Another throwback that’s in fashion this fall? Hosiery. Models wore stylish patterned tights and fishnets with booties and heels. A very polished look!

Cozy up to velvet. This season’s in-demand texture, velvet is smooth and soft. It’s making its mark on jackets, tops and accessories, including shoes and purses. One model demonstrated this trend with a velvet hobo bag. Others showed off velvet pants, paired with velvet shoes.

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Velvet works for night and day. It’s “less seasonal than it has been in the past,” says Yanez.

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Leather jackets can add a little edge to a lot of looks. For example, when paired with a soft dress, a leather jacket can toughen up the attire.

Embellishments. Ruffles and fridge are making their mark on the runway and in real life.  The shows featured ruffled skirts and dresses, as well as fringe and embrodiery on accessories like purses.



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Not to ignore the guys, here’s what’s in fashion for men this season:

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Men are rocking red too.

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They’re also looking very seasonally chic in plaid jackets and plaid shirts. Camouflage is also fashionable.

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The velvet trend looks great on guys too. Dark denim, a strong choice for men, pairs well with so many ensembles.

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The big footwear trend for men? Runners, a fashionable and functional shoe.

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What’s fall fashions do you plan to try?

A Marvelous Treat! Checking Out Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes 

IMG_7279What a fun night! My boys and I were invited to attend media night for Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes, which was opening night in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center.


You don’t even have to be a superhero fan to appreciate this performance! The lights, smoke, music and video screens propel this live action show, which lasts nearly two hours.


Here’s the premise: bad guys, Green Goblin, Loki and Nebula are causing trouble so Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy come to the rescue.  That means we got to see all our favorite good guys in action, including Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Panther and Black Widow.

The show’s opening is impressive. The entire arena is in darkness, with stars dotting the crowd. On the stage? A dramatic introduction to all the exciting superheroes you’ll meet during the show.


Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes blends live action dare devil skills like aerial skills, flips, fights, motorcycle stunts with stunning choreography.


The video projection sets the scene throughout the show, moving the story from fantastical Savage Land to New York City and Asia and beyond. There’s never a dull moment in this show – kids and adults will be impressed.


The show runs through this Sunday, August 27. To find out tour dates, locations and buy tickets, go to MarvelUniverseLIVE.com.


Blast off! Fun at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

My boys have always loved airplanes. They enjoy going on flights when we travel and they’re enthralled to watch planes take off and land at the airport. Every time we drive through San Diego and pass the airport, they’re fascinated.


My oldest recently did a school biography report on aviation pioneers, the Wright Brothers.

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My son’s report on the Wright Brothers.

So it’s not a surprise that they had a blast visiting the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park.


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This helicopter is the Bell AH-1E Cobra.

They “flew” missions in helicopters and planes.

Young Pilots

Then they dreamed of being astronauts, spending an hour at the #BeTheAstronaut exhibit.

Checking out the “Be the Astronaut” exhibit.
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This is the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.


What an educational and fun day during summer break!


I recently attended the “Mix.Mingle.Schmooze” magazine release party for San Diego Style Weddings – the wedding magazine for which I’m the editor.

The latest issue of San Diego Style Weddings.

The party, held at Mission Brewery, featured great food, beer and wine, and of course wedding inspiration.


Another awesome party hosted by San Diego Style Weddings’ publisher Dena Nolen-Malasek.

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Posing with SDSW’s publisher, Dena-Nolen Malasek. Photo credit: Paul Barnett Photography.

Some of the highlights included:

  • The amazing paper flower backdrop created by Esmeralda Luxury Paper Flowers. What a colorful backdrop for photos!
  • I’m a sucker for photo booths and Captured Photos Booths didn’t disappoint!


  • Yummy milk and cookies from the Cravory. I especially liked the chocolate truffle and lemon bar cookies.
  • Comfy and stylish seating from Lounge Appeal
  • The “Idaho Nachos” (create your own potato ship nachos) from caterer Feast on This were great – a perfect late night snack at any wedding or event.
  • Cool caricature drawings from Caricatures by Dave.
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With my husband – does the caricature match us?   Photo credit: Eisenhower Photography

  • Tasty mini donuts and deep fried Oreos from Sensational Treats.
  • Pretty floral arrangements from local florists like Studio Flourish and Haydee’s Creative Flowers.


Fun fact: Mission Brewery is located inside a former Wonder Bread factory in downtown San Diego. The building has lots of open space, exposed brick and great city views.


Check out the latest issue of San Diego Style Weddings online and in local stores.


Photos are my own, unless noted.

Art + Science = Fun!

Getting kids interested in science can be challenging. Keeping them interested as they grow older can be even tougher. But exhibits like The Art of Science Learning at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center keep kids fascinated about science.


The exhibit very practically explains real world problems, like drought and pollution. Kids and adults ponder the possible solutions using STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning.



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The Art of Science Learning is designed as a call to action to find solutions to local and global science challenges. The curators say adding art to the science solutions help bring people together to collaborate and create.

Using foam, pipe cleaners, paper, tape and glue, my kids explored science through crafts.

They also enjoyed the “Epic Water Game,” a computer game where players had to research a science problem. In this case, the problem was deciding where to build a water desalination plant. The game involved learning the pros and cons of the project and balancing the project needs including environmental concerns and the impact on the local residents and businesses.


We also loved the “Taping Shape” experience! Made of hundreds of rolls of packing tape, the art installation is also an “exploratory space” for kids and adults. That means my kids and I were able to walk, climb and slide through this cool exhibit of passageways.

It was hard to believe the whole pathway is made of clear packing tape! You just take your shoes off and have fun! Lots of fun! I lost track how of many times we went through Taping Shape.

Taping Shape exhibition runs through June 12, 2016, in the Fleet Rotunda and Discovery Galleries at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. It’s included in the price of Fleet admission.