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Dia de los Muertos by Sonia Kang | November 03 2019, 0 Comments

Each year I learn more about the beautiful cultural tradition of Dia de los Muertos.

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, occurs on November 1 and 2. 

A holiday steeped in tradition and culture originating thousands of years ago by the Aztecas. 

It's when the living celebrate and honor those loved ones who have passed on.

A day rife with symbolism, Dia de los Muertos allows you to be creative and make something you and your family can build on year after year. 

This year I was invited by Chevy to experience Dia de los Muertos in a new, beautiful and creative way. So let's get going!

The Chevy Silverado arrived just in time to start my day. On this day I was going to start to prepare my Dia de los Muertos altar. The altar is central to Dia de los Muertos. It's where you place your ofrenda (offering) to the loved ones you are celebrating.

For the Day of the Dead ofrenda (altar) you will need:

Marigolds, papel picado, glass of water, salt, food, pan de muerto bread, sugar skulls and clacas, candles, incense, photos and/or items of the person you're honoring.

 

I hopped in the Silverado and prepared to hit Downtown Los Angeles.

First stop: The Flower District for marigolds and baby's breath. 

These flowers are part of Dia de los Muertos. Marigolds and their scent help direct our loved ones on their journey. Baby's breath can be used if children have passed on.  

The bed of the pickup was so easy. Imagine my surprise when I had my hands full of flowers, I just clicked the innovative feature of the power-up/down tailgate button and the tailgate came down!  

Now if you have ever been Downtown, you know that parking is limited and if there is metered parking, good luck squeezing in.

Now imagine you're in the Chevy Silverado. A beautiful, yet huge, truck so when I was lucky to find a prime spot in front of the Flower Mart, I thought, "great, how am I going to maneuver this beautiful beast back into the parking spot?" 

Yes, most new vehicles come with back up cameras but the Chevy Silverado comes with 15 camera views. 15!! Sure the cameras are excellent for towing trailers, but this mama didn't care, I needed it to help me get into this parking spot!

I used the the surround view which provided a much needed bird's-eye of the truck and cars in front and in back of me.

The driver seat also vibrated on whichever side if I was getting close to something. It was as if it was saying, "ya mujer, scoot over or stop."  

I wish it could have videotaped me parking because it was a thing of beauty. Smooth! 

 

Once parked, a reminder on the display told me to check my back seat.

I didn't have infants in carseats in the back but if I did, this would be an amazing safety feature. Everyone thinks how could you forget littles ones in the back seat or that it would never happen to them. They wonder how one could forget a child in the back seat but, tragically, it does happen.

As a RN and mom of 4, I think this is a very thoughtful feature and kudos to an automotive brand trying to do their part in decreasing even one child from being hurt.  

Leaving Downtown L.A in my rear view, I headed over the 1st street bridge.

Next up was checking out the iconic Self Help Graphics & Art.

From their website: 

"Self Help Graphics & Art fosters the creation and advancement of new art works by Chicana/o and Latinx artists through experimental and innovative printmaking techniques and other visual art forms."

 

"...are an organization rooted in community; and since 1973, have been at the intersection of arts and social justice, providing a home that fosters the creativity and development of local artists. We establish international collaborations and partnerships nation-wide and create world-wide cultural exchanges."

Self Help Graphics & Art inspires youth and adults by supporting learning. They assist in building a solid foundation. 

The classic Silverado frame and grill is part of the solid foundation of the ever recognizable Chevy icon. It adds to the tough allure of this truck.

Self Help Graphics & Art is known for its popular and free Annual Día de los Muertos celebration and many other culturally relevant events that draws over 10,000 people.

Chevy invited me to this experience at Self Help Graphics & Art. I attended a workshop that attracted folks of all levels to work in a variety of mediums as we prepared our Dia de los Muertos altars.

Beautiful and vibrant papel for paper flowers or papel picado.

Papel Picado on the altars symbolize wind and the fragility of life.

Kids enjoyed coloring the calaveras that could be used as masks. Masks are not meant to be scary but a form of connecting with the souls of our loved ones.

Outside was an area to create large calaveras.

Molded papier mache skulls were ready to be formed and decorated.

The finished products were stunning.

Dia de los Muertos is many things and has many components but what it is not is Mexican Halloween. Although it has skulls and bones, it is not anything to be afraid of. It's continuing the memory of loved ones in a beautiful way. 

Once the calaveras were dried, we are able to place them securely into the truck bed.

was worried about them being in the trunk with these big alloy wheels but the Silverado had good suspension that gave the truck a smooth ride. It's like they're laughing at any potholes on the street.

With the sun setting and my errands complete, I'm off home.

Tomorrow is a big day at Chiqui Social to bring all the ofrenda items I collected and made today and create the altar with my little friends.

Stay tuned.

 

To learn more about the Chevy Silverado and please join me in donating to Self Help Graphics & Art

 

 


GABBY DURAN AND THE UNSITTABLES by Sonia Kang | October 07 2019, 0 Comments

 Thank you to Disney for the invitation to the “Gabby Duran & The Unsittables” Press Event. 

My family and I were excited to see the new Disney Channel show starring multi-talented actress and music artist Kylie Cantrall.

"Gabby Duran & The Unsittables" is a live-action comedy series about Gabby Duran, a courageous and resourceful girl who constantly feels like she's living in the shadows of her uber-polished, successful mother Dina and whip-smart younger sister Olivia.

Watch  “Gabby Duran & The Unsittables” EPK featurette  here

                                

Sitting in the Lincoln Theatre, we got a chance to finally see Gabby find her moment to shine when she inadvertently lands an out-of-this-world job to babysit an unruly group of very important extraterrestrial children who are hiding out on earth with their families, disguised as everyday kids.

 

                                     

My kids laughed and were definitely entertained watching Gabby step up to the challenge to protect these youngsters and their secret identities, and prove she's the best babysitter in the galaxy. "Gabby Duran & The Unsittables" stars newcomer Kylie Cantrall as the title character, Nathan Lovejoy ("The Code") as Principal Swift, Coco Christo ("We Take the Low Road") as Olivia, Maxwell Acee Donovan ("Good Kids") as Wesley, Callan Farris ("Kings") as Jeremy and Valery Ortiz ("Switched at Birth") as Dina.

Writers Mike Alber and Gabe Snyder ("Kirby Buckets") serve as executive producers alongside Joe Nussbaum ("Just Add Magic"). "Gabby Duran & the Unsittables" is a production of Gabby Productions, Ltd., a subsidiary of Omnifilm Entertainment, Ltd.

 

"Gabby Duran & The Unsittables" premieres FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 (9pm ET/PT) on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW.

 

#GabbyDuran & The Unsittables

Images provided by Disney


Tall Girl on Netflix by Sonia Kang | September 13 2019, 0 Comments

Ahhh high school! It was the best of times and the worst of times. 

For me it was a continuation of trying to find myself and fit it. I was this African-American and Mexican-American mixed girl who wasn't Black enough for the Black crowd or Mexican enough for the Mexican crowd.

It was so hard trying to fit in. 

Where was this Netflix Tall Girl film when I was growing up? 

Tall Girl stars: Ava Michelle, Griffin Gluck, Luke Eisner, Anjelika Washington, Sabrina Carpenter, Clara Wilsey, Paris Berelc, Rico Paris, Steve Zahn, and Angela Kinsey.

I was excited to be part of the media and participate in the press junket for this film and learning that Jodi (Ava Michelle) has always been the tallest girl in school — and she's always been uncomfortable with it.

After slouching her way through life for 16 years and being made fun of by classmates, Jodi meets Stig (Luke Eisner), a seemingly perfect Swedish foreign exchange student who's even taller than she is.

Jodi's new crush turns her world upside down and throws her into a surprising love triangle, but with the help of her two best friends (Griffin Gluck, Anjelika Washington) as well as her beauty queen sister Harper (Sabrina Carpenter), Jodi comes to realize that she's far more than her insecurities about her appearance have led her to believe. 

 

The press junket and fun rolled on as we headed to Duff's Cake Mix to meet one of the film's stars, Angela Kinsey.

You may know her from a lil' show called The Office but did you know her and her husband bake and have a Youtube show called Baking with Josh & Ange?

I got a chance to decorate a Duff's cake and chat with the talented actress about her work.

 

 

Director Nzingha Stewart’s first feature film, is a heartfelt and hilarious coming-of-age story about finding the confidence to stop slouching and stand tall.

I loved TALL GIRL and I this sweet way of telling the story of loving yourself...all of what makes you you.

 

 

Directed by: Nzingha Stewart

Written by: Sam Wolfson

Produced by: McG, Mary Viola, and Corey Marsh

www.netflix.com/tallgirl 

 

 

FOLLOW TALL GIRL:

@Netflix #tallgirl

 

 

 


Your Family Adventure Awaits at Riviera Nayarit by Sonia Kang | June 30 2019, 1 Comment

Do you and your family want to experience one of the best vacations?

Of course you do!

Well, look no further than our neighbors to the South.

I'm so excited to share my latest travels with you so buckle up and let's check out Riviera Nayarit.

 

Just a few hours from LAX, the Riviera Nayarit is just minutes north of Puerto Vallarta’s International Airport, and it's "Mexico’s newest beach destination with 200 miles of pristine pacific coastline dotted with dozens of seaside coastal towns and pueblos boasting lush rugged mountain peaks, nature sanctuaries, golden sand, palm-fringed beaches, and luxurious resorts."

After a short drive from the airport, we arrived to our home for the week, Marival Distinct Luxury Residences. When I tell you this place is more than an all-inclusive, I am not exaggerating.

 

Resort and Suites

From the moment we arrived and greeted with a cool drink of choice, the elegant atmosphere.

And one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen it is no wonder why Marival Resorts have a well-deserved reputation for amazing service, maximum luxury and all the comforts of home at this exclusive 4-diamond award-winning resort.

 

Our two-bedroom residence had a living room, dining room, kitchen, washer and dryer, fully equipped refrigerator and ocean view terrace. 

 

 

Grounds

For a moment, close your eyes and imagine this seaside resort surrounded by rich green beautiful foliage, mountains, white sand, and deep blue water.

 

Now imagine you're floating in an infinity pool overlooking the beauty of the beach. The teals and blues of the waves calling your name, and you've just floated up to the swim-up bar, where your favorite drink is just seconds away.

 

Pools, hot tubs, water features, you name it, Marival Armory has it.

 

Entertainment

So many choices but with exclusive concierge service, you can choose activities your family will love.

 

There’s lots of nightlife choices as well.

Just talk to the concierge and they can help you pick a truly personalized experience.

 

 

Fitness/Spa

I lost over 50 pounds but when I travel, I don’t want to miss out on the local foods so I loved having a fitness center with ample facilities with a wide-range of fitness equipment.

 

Attire

Resort wear is whatever you want it to be. I lived in fun vibrant sundresses and

shorts outfits.

Bring your bathing suit, cute hats and sunglasses and you’re all set.

 

Dining

with ample choices for alternative dining, multiple dining venues, four expansive outdoor deck areas (1.7 acres!),

Cuisine

Check out all the culinary awards at the different restaurant options.

Tons of gourmet dining options.

The wait staff are personable and executed excellent service.

 

 

What can you say about a resort that offers various dining options, including room service, with a wonderful selection of breakfast items.

Save room for the exquisite pastries and desserts.

 

Activities

If you need time to reflect on the beauty of Riviera Nayarit, just walk out on your balcony or down to the beach and look to the horizon. There's hues of heavenly blues and lush greens all around. 

Memories to bring home can be found on the ocean or on ATV's like at Vallarta Adventures. 

 

Connecting families

I encourage you to head to Riviera Nayarit and make it one vacation your family will remember forever.

At Marival Armony, your kiddos can play in the sand or hit the kid scene. There's also a Teen area.

 

Their programs for younger visitors are exemplary, they'll want to return night after night.

 

I had a great time and will definitely go back. You should consider Riviera Nayarit and Marival Resorts...because your family deserves the best!

 

Disclosure: This was a hosted media event sponsored by Riviera Nayarit. All opinions are my own.


I'm a Member: The Network Niche by Sonia Kang | May 15 2019, 0 Comments

Sample text to write in
The Network Niche

Second Act by Sonia Kang | December 19 2018, 0 Comments

Second Act starring Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini

Culture + Friendship Festival with Ford by Sonia Kang | December 10 2018, 0 Comments

                  

When Ford Latino agreed to be a partner at our Friendship + Family Festival we were thrilled. 

Producing an event of this scale is no easy feat. From all the driving and loading of supplies, the Ford F-150 was perfect in every way.

       pc: @frankfarmer

The new F-150 earned the 2018 Motor Trend Truck of the Year for the fifth time to score back-to-back wins for Ford F-Series on the heels of the all-new Super Duty capturing top honors for 2017.

 

                   

We drove the F-150 back and forth to our venue, The Riveter. We were happy to learn that it's even smarter, more capable and features best-in-class fuel economy and towing. Perfect for everything we needed to pack up, load and bring with us to the venue for the event.

Did I mention all the class-exclusive technologies? All this plus new 'Built Ford Tough' exterior design and freshened interiors had my whole family wanting to join me as I drove it around town.

Mixed Chicks was one of our sponsors and we loaded up boxes of their hair care product line. There were major exterior freshening across the lineup including new grilles, bumpers, headlights, tail lamps, tailgate outers, wheels and more. 

                 

There were other wonderful sponsors like Milk and Eggs and we loaded all the totes into the back of the F-150 excited to learn they were chosen best-in-class. Their payload capacity which was 3,270 pounds.

                   

On the day of the big day, hundreds of attendees gathered at The Riveter for a day of friendship and culture. We had fun with The Black Santa Company, then little models graced our runway wearing Mixed Up Clothing and two gifted singers performed for us. 

       

Speaking of performance, the F-150 is a show-stopper. Motor Trend editors evaluated 2018 F-150 XL, Lariat, Platinum and Raptor trucks against the latest competitive offerings for design, engineering excellence, safety, value, efficiency and performance.

       

The F-150 truck had tons of power and we loved learning about the advanced security pack.

The F-150 is tougher, smarter and even more capable. They feature best-in-class fuel economy and towing, class-exclusive technologies, plus new Built Ford Tough exterior design and freshened interiors=win, win!

All kids are precious cargo and Ford knows exactly how to keep precious cargo safe. They have a safety program that is called “Abrochate por Amor,” which means “Buckle-up for Safety.” This is a wonderful program we definitely stand behind and support. 

The new Ford F-150 further advances the light-duty pickup truck market with segment-first and class-exclusive technologies that improve productivity, efficiency and driver confidence, while keeping occupants connected to the world around them. Technologies include:

  • New segment-first enhanced adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality is available to allow drivers to set a cruising speed. The system then uses radar and camera technology to monitor traffic ahead to maintain a set distance between vehicles – even following a vehicle down to a complete stop
  • New segment-first Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection is available to help drivers avoid or mitigate collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians
  • An available new embedded 4G LTE modem with Wi-Fi hotspot enables customers to connect up to 10 mobile devices at one time, virtually anywhere
  • New B&O PLAY audio system is available, offering high-end speakers, sound and tuning for a richer, more engaging listening experience

Thank you, Ford and Ford Latino!

#AbrochateporAmor and #FordLatino


Visit Palm Spring: A Review of the Volkswagen Tiguan by Sonia Kang | December 10 2018, 0 Comments

Newly designed for 2019, the Volkswagen Tiguan is an ideal compact SUV with more room than ever. It has a simple but stylistic design is appealing. Test driving the 2019 Tiguan was a joy as well.

The seats in the front and 2nd row are very comfortable. The ride was smooth. As a bonus unlike other crossovers in its class the Tiguan offers optional third row seating. Although it compromises some cargo space I could see it coming in handy when driving all my son's baseball teammates around.

Inside I like that the infotainment system is a touchscreen. Less buttons to push. It also comes with Apple carplay and Android auto so you can connect your phone to the car's system. Music sounded great out of the car's speakers.

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It was really a joy test driving the 2019 Tiguan. It looks and drives great. I always thought of the Beetle when I think of Volkswagen but they produce some great vehicles today. Go check out the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan at your nearest dealer.


Visit Palm Springs: The BMW Experience by Sonia Kang | December 07 2018, 0 Comments

On a recent media tour through the greater Palm Springs area, I got a chance to visit The BMW Performance Driving School. This experience was unlike any other. Upon arrival, our group had breakfast and then we were ushered into a beautiful state of the art classroom setting where a professional instructor taught us about the vehicles we would be driving as well as vehicle safety. Following in-class instruction, we were seprated into groups and led onto the extensive track area.

There were several tracks we drove including a multi-configuration course with hairpin turns, high-speed straights and a 300’ polished concrete skidpad.

During the 1-Day Car Control and action-packed Driving Experiences, I got my heart pumping and adrenaline going.I learned a great deal at M School like how to manage sophisticated vehicle dynamics and serious seat time in multiple high-performance M cars.

Not only did I learn theory, The Advanced M School provided professional level road course experience.

As we ended the day and all I could think of was how and when I was going to makeit back to Thermal, CA.

Whether you’re on vacation in Palm Springs or looking for a unique heart-racing experience check out and experience the adventure of being at The BMW Performance Driving School.

Visit bmwperformancecenter.com for full program listings and calendar.

Call 888-345-4BMW today to make reservations for the BMW Performance Driving School at either our original South Carolina location or brand new facility near Palm Springs, California.

 

 


Visit Palm Springs: Review of Lexus RX by Sonia Kang | December 03 2018, 0 Comments

I got a chance to test drive the 2019 Lexus RX Crossover. Lexus has come such a long way with this model. We own a 2010 RX 450h and it was exciting to see how much this model has evolved.

The styling is a bit more aggressive than my 2010 version. Sharp angular lines make the RX look more sporty and I love it. Lexus has been synonymous with luxury and the interior does not disappoint. You just melt into the soft leather seats. With all the driving I do I really appreciate comfortable seats.

The drive was amazing. You barely feel bumps in the road. What is also amazing is that you hear no outside noise in the cabin. The infotainment system has a large screen which I always appreciate. The controller is like a laptop touchpad. It is a little different than the joystick in the 2010 model but I had no problems using it. Sound was just amazing from the Mark Levinson sound system. I had the whole car dancing with some Prince blaring from the speakers.

I was so happy to have had a chance to test drive the 2019 Lexus RX. Lexus again proves why it is a leader in the luxury car world. The 2019 model comes in a long version with a third row of seats that I always appreciate considering all the baseball and softball players I drive around. I highly recommend the 2019 Lexus RX whether it is the standard or hybrid version. Go check them out at your local Lexus dealer.