Monday, May 22, 2017

San Diego Botanical Gardens

San Diego Botanical Gardens

A Place for All Ages


Last month, my boyfriend and I visited the San Diego Botanical Gardens.  I have been there a number of times over the years, but this was his first time there.

The botanical gardens are located at 230 Quail Gardens Drive, in Encinitas, right off the Encinitas Blvd. exit from I-5. They are open daily from 9a.m. to 5p.m. and the cost is $14 for adults, $10 for seniors, students, and active military, and $8 for children 3-12. Members and children under 2 are free. Parking is $2.

On the first Tuesday of the month, San Diego County residents get in free but still must pay the $2 parking fee. The parking fee is waived if you have 4 or more people in your car. 





I would advise bringing a hat or wearing sunscreen, especially on those hot days. Also, bring snacks and water as there is only one kiosk near the visitor's center and gift shop (yes, they do sell plants). There are a limited number of picnic tables available and you are welcome to bring a picnic. There are no restaurants on site but plenty in the surrounding Encinitas area. The botanical gardens cover 37 acres and most of it is easy walking. Of course, different times of the year, you will see different plants in bloom. 






 You may even catch sight of a smiling dragonfly.



There are a number of gardens containing plants from around the world. There is even a bamboo garden where bamboo is harvested by San Diego Zoo staff for their pandas. The cacti all over the area were in full bloom and flowers were abundant so this is a great time of year to visit. There is also a children's garden that has an edible plant garden and lots of interactive activities for the kids, including some climbing structures.




There is also a garden area that has sculptures made out of plants.



There are certain places within the gardens where you can see the ocean. There is also an area that has a fairly tall waterfall. There were lots of different kinds of butterflies and birds flying around. There are great places to just sit and relax and enjoy the scenery. Many of the plants don't look so exciting on the outside, but if you lean over and look inside, they are magical.



There are plenty of docents and volunteers around to answer questions or show you special plants. We had a volunteer show us a cucumber thistle. They were trying to get rid of a lot of them as it is an invasive plant, but she let us hold one and look inside and touch one of the seeds. It was very cool. 



All in all, a very interesting place to visit any time of the year.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stay away from Escondido Hyundai

Stay away from Escondido Hyundai

Trips to This Dealership Are Always Frustrating!!!



My husband bought me a Hyundai Tucson from Escondido Hyundai in August of 2015 as a birthday present. So far the car has been pretty nice. However, our interaction with the dealership has be a constant source of disenchantment.

Here is my review of my latest service call for routine service and a rattling tailgate: 

 

When I made my appointment and again I when dropped off my Hyundai at 8: 30 for my 8:45 a.m. appointment; I explained both times that I need to have my car by 11:00 a.m. because I had a work appointment at 11:30 a.m. which was located a half-hour away from the dealership. I emphasized that being late for this appointment could cost me my job. If the car would not be ready, I could still arrange for transportation to my appointment.

I was assured by Ruben that the services would only take an hour to an hour and a half. At 10:15 a.m., I checked with Ruben as to the status of my car. I told him that if it would not be ready I could still call for a ride to make my appointment. Ruben informed that all was well – nevertheless I made him promise to check on the status of my vehicle.

When I still was not contacted in the waiting room by 10:50 a.m., I went back to the service desk and asked Ruben how my car was doing. He looked dazed and started tapping on the keyboard of his computer. “Oh it looks like they are have a problem with your tailgate,” he reported. I told him that I needed to leave in five minutes – at 11 a.m. or I could lose my job. ‘Oh’ he exclaimed like that had been the first time he heard that bit of information.

Ruben then jumped up and grabbed a set of keys (not mine) and ran outside as he stated that he had to help another lady. He handed the keys to a lady in the parking lot and then jumped into another car and drove away.

I was left in the service trailer with no explanation and now late!

Just then Steve (the manager) stepped into the trailer. “How’s it going,” he asked. I proceed to outline how it was going for me. Steve was very nice and browsed his computer. He worked hard and quickly; I received my car at 11:08 a.m. I never did see Ruben again. And yes, I was late to my appointment (but did not lose my job).

When Paul and I bought the car, we were promised a free car wash with every service. However, this trip, I was informed that since the dealership changed ownership that promise was on longer valid . . . . bad to worse.

That night, my husband opened the engine compartment of the Hyundai and was immediately covered in old oil. No one had even bothered to clean up after the service work.

Gosh I hate going to Escondido Hyundai. Mayhap it is time for this family to try the North County Hyundai of Carlsbad dealership.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food Event

Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food Event

Saturday, April 22 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. 

 
Oma and Opa at the Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food Event


Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food EventYesterday, my husband Paul and I were honored to be included in the Valley View Casino VIP Wine and Food Event. This experience was ‘By Invitation Only.’ However, I won our participation through a contest presented by KFM-BFM .

Check–in at 5:00 p.m. went smoothly and quickly. We were given purple wristbands that allowed us entry into this very special wine and food gathering. During this exclusive VIP Event, we sampled numerous varieties of wine from BK Cellars Urban Winery while indulging in delicious ‘made-from-scratch’ food pairings.

 

Wine / Food Pairings

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (South Coast) paired with chocolate fountain-dipped strawberries, petit fours and truffles.
  • Grenache / Syrah / Mourvedre (El Pomar District) paired with cheese, crudite, dried fruit, nuts, olives, grapes, crostini/crackers and bread with spreads (Hummus, White Bean, Olive Tapenade).
  • Le Melange Blanc (California) paired with chilled lobster, grapefruit, fennel, pickled red onion and arugula with citrus vinaigrette.
  • Merlot (Temecula Valley) paired with lamb sliders
  • Syrah (San Pasqual Valley) paired with braised beef short ribs and potato puree



The Valley View Chefs did an excellent job with all the food.BK Cellars is one of San Diego County’s newest urban wineries. They make wine in the historic Escondido Vineyard District. This urban winery is a functional winery making wine on-site from California grapes and serving their tantalizing white and red wines in a tasting lounge with a cosmopolitan flare.

Both the food and wine was available and free for the whole four hours. While the portions were small; you could have as much as you wanted. My wine of choice was the San Pasqual Valley Syrah. The Valley View Chefs did an excellent job with all the food; however the chocolate fountain-dipped strawberries definitely proved to be my downfall.


Live music was presented throughout the evening by a trio named 'Tres.'


Live music was presented throughout the evening by a trio named 'Tres.'  I was amazed at how many of my favorites they covered. I loved their closing performance of 'I Don't Know Why' by Norah Jones.

Brett Winterble expertly served as the event master of ceremonies.

Brett Winterble expertly served as the event master of ceremonies. He proficiently kept the appreciative attendees excited and engaged. A free bottle of BK Cellars Wine was given away every 15 minutes until the Grand Prize drawing at 8:30 p.m. The Grand Prize consisted of an all-inclusive Napa Valley Get-Away for two including airfare, couples massage, wine tasting, and a $1,000 spending cash.


Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food Event

Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food Event

Although we did not win anything at the wine tasting event itself, both Paul and I had abnormally good luck at the slots. We actually returned home with an extra One Hundred and Fifteen Dollars ($115) in our pockets.

The only con of this VIP affair was a lack of adequate seating.

The only con of this VIP affair was a lack of adequate seating. There were plenty of older patrons forced to stand for long periods. Nevertheless, both Paul and I thoroughly enjoyed making history by attending this first-ever Valley View Casino – VIP Wine and Food Event. If you ever receive an invite, I recommend that you go.


A post shared by Missy Smith (@zwriter1) on

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pink Women’s Leather Analog Quartz Watch Campaign #Aposon

Pink Women’s Leather Analog Quartz Watch Campaign #Aposon
Pink Women’s Leather Analog Quartz Watch Campaign #Aposon
Oma found this scratch resistant Watch absolutely cute and stylish. The large face with hearts, rhinestones and Arabic numerals make this watch modern yet sophisticated. More importantly, the comfortable leather band makes it easy to wear all day. The Imported Quartz Movement keeps time accurately.

Further, I love that this Analog Quartz Watch is waterproof; perfect for wear in the rain, while sweating and when washing one’s hands. A warm wet cloth will keep this fashionable accessory clean.

Specification:

  • Dial Case Diameter: 1.50 inch / 3.8 cm
  • Dial Case Thickness: 0.47 inch / 1.2 cm
  • Band Color: Blue
  • Band Width: 0.75 inch / 1.9 cm
  • Band Length: 9.06 inch / 23 cm
  • Max Fit Wrist: 8.07 inch / 20.5 cm
  • Min Fit Wrist: 6.30 inch / 16 cm
  • Band Clasp Type: Double Locking Fold Over Clasp
  • Watch Weight: 1.48 oz / 42 g
  • Battery Code: SR626SW



Product Description



  • - SPECIAL DIAL DESIGN WITH HEARTS AND CUTE ARABIC NUMERALS. FASHION AND CASUAL, AN IDAEL COMPANION FOR YOU. Elegant leather band strap, bring you classic and casual simplicity fashion. Beautiful and stylish zinc alloy shell, along with the little square shinning rhinestones makes you the high-profile star in all occasions.
  • - PRECISE TIME KEEPING and KEY SCRATCH RESISTANT WATCH FACE. Imported Original Quartz Movement provides precise and accurate time keeping. No more key scratches with the high hardness mineral glass watch face.
  • - WATERPROOF FOR DAILY USE: 98 FT waterproof (30 M) - 3ATM. Perfect for all kind of business, casual, indoor activities and daily use. Hand wash, rain day, sweating, no problem! NOTE: Please DO NOT pull out the button under the water. Too much water contact or usage in extreme Hot or Cold temperature will damage leather band and shorter watch life.
    Pink Women’s Leather Analog Quartz Watch Campaign #Aposon
  • - COMFORTABLE GENUINE LEATHER BAND STRAP and DURABLE STAINLESS STEEL CASE COVER. High quality leather watch band strap provide comfortable wearing experience. Stainless steel water proof case cover make it super durable and not easy to fade.
  • - PERFECT WATCH FOR BESTIES AND GIRLFRIEND EVER! ELEGANT AND GIRLISH, PRACTICAL AND FASHIONABLE. Slim and pink outlook, beautiful and shinning dial design, full of elegant and lively elements. For the cost of a cheap meal, this is the most meaningful thing to get for surprise gift to besties and girlfriend! WHAT IS IN THE PACKAGE: Women Leather Band Business Casual Dress Watch x 1







Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Smart Fitness Activity Band Heart Rate Blood Pressure Calorie Step Distance Counter Sleep Quality Recorder MSG Call Push USB Charger Sedentary Remind Smart Sports Bracelet IPX7 #Alisten

Smart Fitness Activity Band Heart Rate Blood Pressure Calorie Step Distance Counter Sleep Quality Recorder MSG Call Push USB Charger Sedentary Remind Smart Sports Bracelet IPX7 #Alisten Oma received a really nice FitBit Surge for Christmas 2016. Sadly the thing broke January of 2017; just a few days out of warranty. I called the tech support, but there is no way to fix it. Oma does not have another $250 to replace it with a new one; especially if it is only going to last just a single year!

Therefore visualize my glee when the opportunity arose to review this Smart Fitness Activity Band which sells for just $35.00. 




My monitor arrived well packaged and protected in a hard cardboard gift box. The box contained the wristband and an easy to understand user manual. Before I could begin testing, it was necessary to charge the unit and download the ‘H Band’ app. Both tasks were stress-free to complete. 




For testing, I wore my new Smart Fitness Activity Band alongside my old old fitbit. They are close to the same price with the #Alisten a tad cheaper. I found the #Alisten and the H band app very easy to set-up. It did everything I wanted in a step PLUS tracker. It was also easier to read and the app kept track of more data. The #Alisten worked much better than the regular Fitbit and mimicked the expensive Fitbit Surge closely.




Most importantly, the #Alisten Watch is very comfortable to wear and looks very stylish.

A big positive for me is that you do not have to worry when you get the #Alisten Activity Unit wet. With my other monitors, I would take it off to shower or do the dishes. Then, of course, I would forget to put it back on and miss recording the day’s activities. This smart watch is IPX7 water-resistant. Swimming, hand-wash, and showering are no problem! 

The only con I found is that I miss all the fitbit friends I have made over the years.

Dimension:

  • Band Length: 8.27 in / 21 cm
  • Band Width: 0.59 in / 1.5 cm
  • Max Fit Wrist Diameter: 2.76 in / 7 cm
  • Min Fit Wrist Diameter: 2.09 in / 5.3 cm
  • Product Weight: 0.74 OZ / 21 G




Product Description



  • MEASURE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISE. With the intelligent chip, Bluetooth 4.0 and smart "H Band" APP, this device is super easy to be connected and upgraded with the OTA technology. Intelligently detect your blood pressure with our stylish industry-leading Smart Wristband!
  • STEPS, DISTANCE, CALORIES COUNTER. EASY-TO-READ 0.87'' OLED SCREEN with HIGH SENSITIVE TOUCH SENSOR. TIME, DATE, WEEK and NEVER MISS CALLS OR MESSAGES BY VIBRATIVE NOTIFICATIONS. Clearly and easily see your steps, heart rate, calories, distance, sleep time and sleep quality, sedentary reminder, caller ID, latest messages by tapping the bottom screen. For the cost of a meal, enjoy your life when motivated. Isn't that worth it, alone?
  • IPX7 WATER RESISTANT FOR SWEATING, HAND-WASH ,LIGHT WATER CONTACT, COMFORTABLE TPU BAND WITH SUPER LIGHT WEIGHT SLIM DESIGN, WHAT A GREAT VALUE! Silent vibrate and smart alarm will wake you up once you set the right time. Sync wirelessly and automatically to your Smart Phone every time with the app. Search and download "H Band" in APP Store (See User Manual) to unlock all these amazing features. *** IOS 8.0 or Android 4.4 and above required***
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE, HEALTHY LIVING, EASY TO USE BY GESTURE CONTROL. Charge the battery for about 1.5 hour from the USB connection and use the HRM for 2-4 days standby time. Just pull it out and plug in. Gesture control for just tapping on the bottom screen. Perfect companion will be with you everywhere you go and looks good on you no matter what you're wearing! What are you waiting for?
  • FREELY CHANGE BETWEEN VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL DISPLAY MODE. Simply by long pressing the touch area for 5 seconds, you will change the display mode from vertical to horizontal or vice versa. It meets users' preferences and offers maximum user experience! WHAT IS IN THE PACKAGE: Heart Rate Monitoring Wrist Band x 1, User Manual x 1










Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe would be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

by Stacey Kuhns


Even Features a Paved Trail to Accommodate Wheelchairs!


Mission Trails Regional Park is 7,220 acres of adventure and discovery for the entire family. It is located at 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail in San Diego, CA, 92119. This park represents a San Diego prior to the landing of Cabrillo in San Diego Bay in 1542. It is one of the largest urban parks in San Diego and now is the best time to visit. There are handicap accessible areas and even a long, gorgeous paved trail to accommodate wheelchairs! No one needs to miss out on this amazing park.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


My boyfriend, my service dog Henson, and I, have been to the park on several occasions and each one is a different experience depending on the time of year. My boyfriend hikes there regularly, but due to my disabilities, I am unable to do the climbs he does there.

No matter, I am able to enjoy miles of trails throughout the park. We visited there about 4 months ago. It was a good hike, but the landscape was mostly brush and all the stream beds were dry. We visited there last weekend and it was like another world! I was amazed and had the most wonderful day. It was still hot (so bring plenty of water if you go), but it was lush, flowers were blooming everywhere, and the streams were flowing quite well. Gorgeous.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


We started at the East Fortuna Staging Area. There are mostly flat, easy trails until you get towards the hills. You can choose a variety of trails to take and can spend a few hours hiking or hike all day. We mostly had the place to ourselves (got there around 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning). We spent hours there just walking around, enjoying the greenery, resting in the shade when needed, and Henson loved playing in the streams (on leash at all times). There are marsh areas with water birds (courtesy of the recent rains). We did run into a few areas, unexpected, where we had to cross over water to continue on the trail (again, courtesy of the rains), so you may want to wear boots just for that reason. I was in tennis shoes and did fine, but needed help crossing some areas just because of my disabilities.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


The grasses were so long and beautiful. It just felt like our own slice of paradise. We saw more flowers here and more of a variety than we did in Anza Borrego the weekend before. (Click Here for That Story)

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


The most popular area is the Old Mission Dam. There is a small parking lot very close to the dam. The history is fascinating; love this area. Old Mission Dam. History: When the population of San Diego de Alcala Mission grew during the late 18th century, so did its demand for water. The Spanish colonists solved the water shortage problem by building what is likely the first major colonial irrigation-engineering project on the Pacific Coast.

Known today as Old Mission Dam or Padre Dam, this National Historic Landmark collected water near the head of Mission Gorge on the San Diego River, and its five-mile-long aqueduct provided the mission with water for American Indians and Spanish colonists. Though damaged by floods, earthquakes, and human activity, the dam's stonewall continues to hold water. This impressive colonial ruin is a public site that visitors can enjoy within San Diego’s Mission Trails Regional Park.

The mission community started work on the dam after the drought in 1803 and completed construction of the larger irrigation system by 1817. When the laborers finished, the dam was 220 feet long, 12 feet high, and 13 feet thick. The laborers used cobblestones, bricks, and cement for the dam wall, and they laid tiles on the bed of the long aqueduct to keep water from seeping into the sandy ground. The aqueduct, which ran from the dam to the mission, was two feet wide and five miles long.

The community used the water to support its people, agriculture, and herds of cattle and sheep. After the secularization of the California missions in the 1830s, which followed Mexican independence, the dam fell into disrepair. By 1867, the dam and aqueduct were in ruins. In the 1870s, residents of the mission valley restored the dam. The historic dam still disrupts the flow of water in the San Diego River. There is fishing allowed here and there were families with their kids fishing.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


The dam area is always a bit more crowded but there is shade to relax in, you can sit on the walls and just watch the water, or there are picnic tables for a snack or lunch break.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


Further down the trail from the dam is a bridge and then a number of trails to explore.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


Water was flowing quite swiftly under the bridge which was amazing to see. Lovely areas to walk along the water (but they are not trails so you do have to move some tree branches out of the way and step over uneven rocks and things to get there). I was able to do it with help so it is not that difficult.

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


After spending most of the day hiking around, we decided to drive the Father Junipero Serra Trail through the park. There are many, many more trails to hike along this trail and this is where the paved area is for wheelchairs, bikes, strollers, etc. It is also accessible from the dam trail area. The drive is so beautiful, we did it twice!

There are many flowers growing along the rocks and you can see patches of flowers all the way up the hills and mountains. There is also a stream that runs alongside the paved area, but there is very little parking and just a few pullouts (also, there is a warning of rock slides if taking a chance of parking on the sides of the road).


Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips

Mission Trails - Worth Multiple Trips


Mission Trails Regional Park is worth a visit, or a few visits. And best of all, it is free! If you get down there, spend the day, and want to take a lunch break, there is not much in the area. There is a large convenience store (appears to be independently owned). Inside the store is a Subway, open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. A great place to pick up items to take into the park for a picnic. The store and Subway are located at 7757 Mission Gorge Road, Santee, 92071. Very friendly, good service, and clean.

I hope you visit the park and let me know your thoughts about your visit. I personally prefer this time of the year as opposed to summer when it is too hot and things are dry, but my boyfriend loves the summers there.

Enjoy exploring San Diego!