Best Aquariums – Sea World San Diego

For many kids, the best part about visiting aquariums is getting hands-on with the creatures. We’ve been long-time visitors at SeaWorld San Diego and appreciate that there are so many wonderful touch pools at this beautiful park. Rides and fun shows aside, Sea World San Diego is a perfect place for sea life interaction and learning.

Welcome to the next stop on Magical Blogorail Peach. Today we are discussing aquariums that your family needs to visit.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

SeaWorld San Diego Touch Pool Tips

One thing you’ll notice about all my Sea World San Diego touch pool images is that my son always has his hands in the water. He’s definitely my adventure seeker! I’m not fond of putting my hand in the cold water or touching the fish myself but I can still learn without touching.

My enthusiastic son and his squeamish cousin at SeaWorld San Diego, many years ago!

  • There are many touch pools at SeaWorld San Diego. If you aren’t sure if you can reach in, always ask one of the “Animal Care Ambassadors” first.
  • Never lift an ocean creature OUT of the water. Some of the sea life shouldn’t be picked up at all. The Animal Care Ambassadors will offer handling instructions.
  • If you’re concerned that your little one may not be gentle, don’t allow them to touch. I once saw a toddler throw a sea star back in the water!
  • Ask the Ambassadors any question and they are always more than generous with their responses.
  • There is also always a good amount of info posted around the park about each creature that lives there.
  • During peak season, the touch pool areas will get very congested. Arrive early to allow plenty of time at the touch pools.
  • There are hand-washing stations located near each of the touch pools so you can wash and dry after having your hands in the water.

For more information about SeaWorld San Diego click through to read my guide.

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Get Hands on at Explorer’s Reef

Explorer’s Reef is SeaWorld’s newest touch pool exhibit. It’s located right up at the front entrance so guests can literally dive right in! Explorer’s Reef features four touch-pools including bamboo sharks and horseshoe crabs. Don’t forget the “cleaner fish” that tickle your fingers!

This area has plenty of shade. My kids always spend lots of time here touching the sea life and it can be hard to move them through to the rest of the Park! Consider setting a time limit to spend at each pool so you can make sure to visit them all.

Hands on fun & learning in the touch pools at Sea World San Diego

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Aquaria Touch Pool

At the Aquaria touch pool, guests can hold a sea star or a spiky sea urchin under the water. Kids are fascinated to feel the sea star curve its arms to fit in the palm of their hand. This has been a favorite area for us at Sea World San Diego for many years. Handlers will remind guests not to lift the creatures out of the water but you can hold them just under the surface.

In the last few years there have been fewer sea stars. We were told by the Ambassador that a mysterious syndrome had killed many of them. The species are now rebounding but it’s a cautious reminder to be very careful with these precious creatures.

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego


Bat Rays

“Pet” the bat rays as they slide across the water but watch out for errant fins, you could really get soaked! All of these rays have had their stingers removed so they are completely safe to touch.

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Dolphins, Penguins and Beluga Whales

If you want more animals to touch, consider Dolphin Encounter. Guests can purchase a trainer-led, poolside encounter with the bottle-nosed dolphins. Or the Penguins Up-Close Tour, which allows petting and a behind-the-scenes educational tour.

For more in-depth learning and interaction, guests can purchase the opportunity to get into the water with these creatures. During these up-close encounters, guests can touch, feed and will learn communication techniques. Guests can purchase these packages on the SeaWorld website.

Find out where you can touch and interact with sea life at SeaWorld San Diego including special tours that get you into the water. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure : Aquariums


ENTER TO WIN! – Jamberry Giveaway

As someone who is “Saving up for Disney”, I try to earn extra money in all sorts of different ways. I work full-time out of the home. I sew and sell appliqued clothing under the name Painted Butterfly Studio on Etsy. I teach tumbling at a local rec center. I use Ebates for all my online shopping. And now, I am also an Independent Consultant for Jamberry!

ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway

I tried Jamberry nail wraps in October of last year and my nails haven’t gone without a Jam on them ever since! I started off with French manicure white tips and they looked so polished and professional that I just had to buy more.

I have streamlined the application process and it takes me less than 45 minutes from start to finish to apply my Jamberry nail wraps. There is no waiting for them to dry which means I’m done and ready to go on with my life immediately! And the Jamberry wraps last for up to two weeks which never happens for me with polished nails. I’m usually a chipped mess with polish after just a few days, but my Jamberry wraps still look great.

ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway  ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway  ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway

What’s a Jamberry?

Jamberry is a heat-activated adhesive nail wrap. They come in fun and colorful designs. I change mine out every 10 days usually because my nails start growing out. There are handy video application tutorials on the Jamberry website. You can also find countless images and advice links for Jamberry on Pinterest on learning how to apply the wraps. I have found that after the heat application, trimming my wrap closely to the nail edge and using the “plastic baggie” method works perfectly for me!

This was my Minnie-inspired Jamberry mani for my recent Walt Disney World trip!

ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry GiveawayENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway

I tried Jamberry wraps on my toes as well and they lasted an astonishing 5 weeks! In fact I only had to take them off because my toenails had grown so much. Simply rub with coconut oil and use a cuticle stick to break the seal to remove.

One regular sheet of nail wraps can be used for two manicure applications and two pedicures. You’ll also have a few nail wraps left to use as accent nails. Jamberry wraps are longer lasting and less expensive than nails done at the salon, so they are extremely budget friendly. You can also mix and match coordinating wraps to create your own unique style!

ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway

Jamberry Mani-pedi

The Prize!

This giveaway includes a Jamberry mini-heater which makes the application process so easy. There is also a Jamberry application kit which includes everything you’ll need to apply your Jamberry wraps.  A bottle of Jamberry cuticle oil keeps cuticles looking their best during your manicure. Last but not least, I’ve included three half-sheets of Jamberry wraps to get the addiction started!

ENTER TO WIN! - Jamberry Giveaway

If you place an order through this link, you’ll receive one FREE wrap for each three that are purchased (custom, collegiate and sorority wraps excluded).

Stop by my Facebook page for more games, giveaways and fun! Feel free to invite friends you think might be interesting in trying Jamberry and considering hosting your own party. Or perhaps you’re looking for a way to “save up for Disney” too and becoming a Jamberry consultant is a great way to pad your vacation bank (ask me how!)

And while you wait for your Jamberry order to arrive, please enter below for this amazing Jamberry giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Open to US/Canada, only
  • Entries will be verified
  • Prize will ship directly from me

This post includes affiliate links



Amusement Park Rentals – City Mini GT Stroller Review

On our recent visit to Walt Disney World, we had the opportunity to use a City Mini GT stroller from Amusement Park Rentals. Even though my three-year old son seems to have boundless energy he often looses steam mid-day and takes a nap. Having a stroller is a must when little legs tire out!

Amusement Park Rentals - City Mini GT Stroller Review

I met James of Amusement Park Rentals on our arrival day. We set up (via email) a pre-designated time and he called me when he arrived at my resort entrance. He had the City Mini GT stroller with him, along with a complimentary case of water bottles that came in handy on the warm days. James showed me how the stroller operated. I especially loved the easy fold –  Simply pull the strap in the center of the seat and the stroller folded up quickly and compactly!

The City Mini GT stroller was perfect for my three-year old (and would be appropriate for any child up to 65 lbs). There was an expanding canopy to block out the sun and a generous basket underneath for water bottles, snacks and souvenirs. The handle quickly adjusted up or down depending upon the height of the adult pushing the stroller. A parent console held two water bottles.

Amusement Park Rentals - City Mini GT Stroller Review

My favorite feature was how smoothly the City Mini GT rolled. Designed like a jogging stroller, the front wheel rotated around for quick moves in thick crowds. My son eschewed the straps and buckle but would hop in and out of the City Mini GT stroller himself between attractions. The hand-operated brake worked great (and was so much better than the traditional stroller brake that you operate with your foot – they never work when you’re wearing sandals!)

At the end of our 4 day visit the City Mini GT had frankly, been put to the test by my rambunctious preschooler. There was an unfortunate chocolate spot in the seat and my son had taken apart the buckle. James at Amusement Park Rentals assured me that each stroller goes through a rigorous cleaning process that includes eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products combined with commercial grade steam cleaning to disinfect and sanitize. The rental City Mini GT that I’d been handed at the beginning our vacation would be cleaned thoroughly before being delivered to the next lucky family.

Amusement Park Rentals - City Mini GT Stroller Review

As you can see the City Mini GT stroller from Amusement Park Rentals was a success! My son was able to rest and nap mid-day while the rest of our family carried on. It was also great to have at the end of the day on the long walk back to our resort hotel from the bus stop.

Amusement Park Rentals offers a wide variety of other vacation travel items including motorized scooters and wheelchairs. Baby necessities like high chairs and bouncy seats are also available to rent. Headed for the beach? You can even rent beach chairs or a volleyball set!

After having the chance to use the City Mini GT stroller from Amusement Park Rentals and work directly with them on this trip, I can highly recommend their services. They were on time for drop off and pick up, the product was in like-new condition and the service I received was perfect!

I received complimentary use of the City Mini GT Stroller from Amusement Park Rentals during my vacation. This post includes affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

I just returned last night from my first Walt Disney World trip! It was a whirlwind vacation, that’s for sure. I was visiting during a writer’s conference with Traveling Mom. I was able to invite three guests and brought along my mom, brother and three-year old son (my husband and older kids all were in school). My family and I padded the visit with extra days on the front and back end of the retreat. I would have rather stretched the trip out twice as long so as to have had time to relax and truly be in the moment. 4 days just wasn’t enough, but it was amazing all the same!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

These are the 11 things that were most wonderful, magical (and patience-testing) on my first Walt Disney World trip-

1. The Walt Disney World resorts are beautiful. From the brilliant green lawns, to the thick tree lined roads everything is well-maintained. Just as we’ve become accustomed to the cleanliness of the Disneyland resort, so is WDW. I never saw errant trash or anything out of place. There is a resort employee or cast member there whenever you need one.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Lush, green and humid! The Walt Disney World Resorts are so pretty.

2. Magic Bands…wow! I don’t know if anything like this could happen at Disneyland (since so many of the Guests there are annual passholders or day trippers) but Magic Bands really are amazing. This little rubber bracelet holds all the information for your trip including your room key, credit card, park tickets and FastPass+ reservations. When we dined at Be Our Guest Restaurant, we’d already placed our order online several days earlier so we seated ourselves in the dining area when we arrived. Within a few minutes our food was magically delivered to our table (aka: GPS signals found where we were seated).

3. And with technology, sometimes you hit a snag. Once we arrived at the Coronado Springs Resort (our hotel for the first three days) the check-in process was slowed by the fact that we’d not received Magic Bands in the mail. Tickets, credit cards and room were assigned to the bands but it was a laborious process that took over 45 minutes.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Coronado Springs Resort

4. Huge resorts = Lots of walking. I’m used to Disneyland, where Disney California Adventure Park is literally feet away. And Downtown Disney and the Resort hotels are all reasonably close. At Walt Disney World, everything is so BIG and spread out so it definitely takes some getting used to. Fortunately there is a wonderful shuttle transport system that is free to resort guests so getting around to the parks and back to our hotel was never a problem.

5. We were at Walt Disney World and running on adrenaline so it was easy to brush off the fact that some things just weren’t going smoothly. It wasn’t Disney’s fault, we’ll blame this one on the airline. By the time we arrived at the hotel, ate dinner and got into our room, it had been over 3 1/2 hours since we’d gotten off the plane. Yet our luggage was not in the room (we’d been told it would take about 2 hours). I called to the bell desk but was told that unfortunately our luggage was not in Resort possession yet.

It was late and we were exhausted. We fell asleep in our clothes, without pajamas, toothbrushes or hairbrushes. I wasn’t until the next day that we found out our checked bags had not made the plane transfer in Dallas. It would be a full 24 hours until we had the bags in our possession again. I received a call in the afternoon from bell services letting me know when my bags had been found, which I truly appreciated.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Beaming with excitement!

6. Definitely pack your good attitude and patience in your carry on bag! I’d brought a change of clothes for both me and my little one on the plane but my mom & brother had only checked their bags and had nothing with them. But Disney couldn’t wait and we just did what we had to do. We finger combed our hair and hopped on the transport bus to the Magic Kingdom!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

A Mickey Bar fixes all problems, right?

7. It’s similar. It’s familiar. But it’s definitely not the same. I’m referring to the Magic Kingdom, which I’d heard is just the “same as Disneyland”. It’s not. Yes, some rides have the same name (like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean) but they are not identical. And we loved visiting old classics like Country Bear Jamboree and the Carousel of Progress that closed at Disneyland years ago. Cinderella Castle is enormous. And we enjoyed the song and dance number that opens the Park and wish they did that at rope drop for Disneyland!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Opening Ceremonies at Magic Kingdom

8. Epcot is as beautiful as the pictures. This was such an amazing park, with added beauty from the incredible topiaries and gardens spread around for the Flower & Garden Festival. I really liked the sharp contrasts of Future World and the World Showcase, made harmonious by the lovely flowers. We sampled at the outdoor kitchens and ended the night with a viewing of Illuminations. There was a lightning storm that entertained us through the dark clouds before the show began.

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

9. I was brave. I rode roller coasters that I might have normally balked at (Expedition: Everest!) I tattled on my brother at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and told our waitress that my brother didn’t finish his vegetables! I broke out of my comfort zone and chatted with the Traveling Moms during the conference despite that I’m usually reserved around new people. It was a chance for new opportunities.

10. We kept ourselves open to surprise throughout the trip. My three-year old was delighted by the speed of Test Track but refused to ride on Peter Pan’s Flight and burst into tears! Our room for the final night of our stay was at the Port Orleans: Riverside. What a lovely surprise to see our room theme in an intricate princess design that included a special light-up feature in the headboard!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

Disney’s Magical Express takes you to and from the airport

11. The final surprise came when we were preparing to leave for the airport and we were refused passage on the Magical Express bus. Imagine my facial expression when I found out that we were supposed to have received paperwork on our door informing us about the time for our bus transfer to the airport…we didn’t and I was unaware of how the process worked. I thought you just showed up and they took you to the airport, I didn’t realize it required a reservation! Unfortunately we were too late to ride the Magical Express bus back to the airport and had to spring for a taxi. And now we know! It was a lesson learned and I should have done more research on the topic instead of assuming how the process worked.

Despite the challenges, we had an amazing trip. Traveling with a three-year had it’s own set of rules but we just went with the flow and didn’t over think things too much. Next time we’ll stay longer to allow for more relaxation and poolside lounging!

11 Wonderful, Magical and Patience-Testing Experiences on my First Walt Disney World Trip

All smiles at the end of our adventure!

Portions of this trip were compensated. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


This SoCal Traveling Mom is headed to Walt Disney World! #TMOM

When you read this post I’ll be flying to Orlando and Walt Disney World for the very first time! I’m over-the-moon excited. This is a writer’s retreat with Traveling Mom so we’ll be covering some of the exciting things happening at Walt Disney World. Follow along with us April 16-18th on Twitter with the hashtag #TMOMDisney.

Coronado Springs Resort 

Image from

I can’t wait to take a dip in this amazing pool! My 3-yr old swims like a fish, he’s going to love it.

My family & I have dinner planned for the night we arrive at the Maya Grill. We’ll see how Tex-Mex compares to authentic South-of-the-Border SoCal Mexican food! I appreciate having the menus online so I can plan ahead. I’m debating between the Maya Grill’s Signature Fajita Skillet or the Shrimp Tacos…any opinions?

Image from

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

After reading online about all the fabulous treats available during the Festival (Frushi!), I plan on eating my way through the World, while admiring the amazing topiaries and gardens. I’ve wanted to visit Epcot since I was a little girl so this Park visit will certainly fulfill a dream. The added beauty of the garden displays is the icing on the cake!

Image from


Character Experiences

My 3-yr old adores the character meet ‘n greets, as do I! Walt Disney World seems to have so many more than are at Disneyland, so we’re both really excited about that. We’ll be bringing the camera, for sure! And taking advantage of the Disney Visa private character greeting and free photo.

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Be Our Guest Restaurant

Though most Disney guests book their Advanced Dining Reservations 180 days in advance, I lucked out and was able to book a highly-coveted lunch for this restaurant on Thursday afternoon!! I’m pretty sure I’ve narrowed down my dining choice to the Croque Monsieur and French Onion Soup so the only question remains is “Where will we be seated?” Will it be the Grand Ballroom, The Castle Gallery or the West Wing? No matter to me, I’m just happy to have gotten a reservation!


Image from

Make sure you’re following along with me and Traveling Mom on our grand adventure this week! This trip is a huge check off my Disney bucket list, I can’t wait to share all that I see!



I will be receiving a complimentary stay and park tickets. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

Only 4 more days until my son and I leave for Walt Disney World for the first time. I will admit, this week has been a bit of a frenzy. I’m a planner, in a big way. I make lists. And then I revise my lists. And then I print my lists and check mark things off as I go.

Seriously, planning a dream vacation to Walt Disney World in ten days was enough to send me into a tizzy! (Read about how this vacation is a big check off my Disney bucket list). Going on this trip with Traveling Mom is a life-changer for me, so I’m doing what needs to be done to make this a smooth vacation.

Here’s how I’ve been staying organized and (somewhat) calm while planning my Disney trip:

Use My Disney Experience

I’ve never flown to a Disney resort before. We live just 90 minutes from Disneyland so most of my “trips” are done in one day. My longest Disney trip is two consecutive days. I am thrilled that I’ll be spending 5 days and 4 nights at Walt Disney World! Our first 3 nights, we’ll be staying at the Coronado Springs Resort. The last night we’ll be moving over to the Port Orleans Riverside. I would have changed hotels every night if I’d had the chance because I want to experience everything!

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

Coronado Springs Resort – Image from Disney

Keeping track of the reservations is easy with My Disney Experience. One of the nights I booked directly through the Disney website but another night I booked through Orbitz. I was able to plug in my Orbitz reservation number and it immediately linked all my room reservations into My Disney Experience.

Because of the quick vacation plans, Disney is going to have our Magic Bands waiting for us at the hotel on the first night but generally they are delivered to your home in advance.  My Disney Experience sent me an email notification letting me know!

Book Dining Reservations

You’ll be able to link park tickets as well as make dining reservations in My Disney Experience. Dining reservations isn’t really something we “do” very often at Disneyland (except for maybe very popular Character Dining meals during a busy season). But apparently it’s a must at WDW.

I’m finding out that trying to book meals 10 days out for any decent dining times can be tricky. Not impossible though. I have Liberty Tree Tavern booked for the rest of my family while I’m in conferences and 50’s Prime Time Cafe with my family when I’m done with the Traveling Moms for the day. I’m still stalking the dining reservations for a few more meals as some guests will cancel and leave open spots for me to hopefully nab!

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

50’s Prime Time Cafe – Image from Disney

I also appreciate that the Disney website lists the menus for each restaurant. It truly makes it that much easier for the planner in me to decide what I’d like to eat ahead of time and also to budget my meals. I definitely suggest figuring out ahead of time what you want to order to make things more streamlined when you’re at the restaurant. I printed the menus out and will share them with my brother & mom on the plane so they can make their meal decisions ahead of time.


I had been reading the book The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World purely for fun before this trip was planned. Now of course with a trip in the near future, I’m reading it more for research. I’m also scouring the internet for helpful tips about traveling with my preschooler and keeping him occupied on the nearly 7 hour plane trip.

I have found great help on Pinterest and the website Trips with Tykes. Of course Traveling Mom also has a large section of reviews and advice about Disney on their site. And don’t forget about the Disney Parks Moms Panel! There have been so many questions answered on the site, you’re sure to find just what you need to know before your trip…and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask the Panel and you’ll receive a personalized answer!

(images from left to right: Amazon affiliate link, Tourist Blog, Trips with Tykes)

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip                          4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip


Oh yes, daydreaming for sure! Since my only knowledge of the place is via the internet, books and photos there is still so much unknown that it leaves it open to my imagination. How do the topiaries look in person at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival? Is Finding Nemo – The Musical as beautiful as it looks in photos? And will my son still hold a fascination for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train even after he rides it for the first time?

4 Quick Tips on Planning Your Disney Trip

Mickey & Minnie topiary – Image from Disney

I can’t wait to make my daydreams a reality…4 more days!



Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos

Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos -Recipe on the Cheap!

I have fond memories of weekends in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.I’d camp in a tent on the sand, shop in the outdoor markets and eat fish tacos at a tiny stand. Those tacos were stuffed with freshly caught battered fish, chopped cabbage, a creamy white sauce and a pico de gallo salsa. And they literally cost about 50 cents each!

What’s better than cheap fish tacos? How about practically free? I love when my husband goes out fishing and comes home with dinner!


Even if you don’t have a fisherman in the family, you can still serve up a tasty fish dinner like we have in SoCal. Choose a firm white fish (I like cod or yellowtail). If the fish is fresh, it won’t have any odor.


  • Since my husband catches our dinner fresh I’m not sure what size or amount you’ll need to buy, but we usually have 4 very large filets. You’ll want to cut them down a bit, so perhaps into a total of 8 pieces.
  • Rinse off your fish, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt & pepper.
  • Heat cooking oil in a deep pan on the stove. You can use your favorite oil; we usually cook with vegetable oil though we’ve also used canola and coconut with good success.


  • Combine into a bowl, 1 cup flour, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 2 tsp salt & 2 tsp ground black pepper. As a substitute for the seasonings you could also add 4 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning.
  • Amazon affiliate link

    Beat one egg and then add to the dry mixture.

  • 1 oz bottle of beer; slowly add and mix in until a thin batter is created.
  • Dip each filet into the batter, allowing excess to drip off and then carefully submerge into the hot oil.
  • Cook until golden brown then flip over.
  • Drain filet on paper towels and serve immediately.


Or as my son calls it, “special sauce”. I mix equal parts plain Greek yogurt with mayonnaise, about 1/2 cup each. Stir in 1 heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic, 1 tsp of Lawry’s seasoned salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos


  • Chopped cabbage, lime wedges and pico de gallo or salsa. My husband whips up his own with fresh tomatoes, cilantro leaves, white onion, finely chopped jalapeno, salt and lemon juice.

Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos -recipe


Skip the tortillas at the supermarket. If you have a tortilleria or Mexican restaurant in your area, pick them up fresh. I warm my corn tortillas two at a time directly over an open flame on the stove top with a pair of tongs. Wrap them in a tea towel to keep them warm.

Now it’s time to make your tacos and dig in! We make fish tacos year-round but they are especially good after a long day of swimming. And a cold beer goes perfectly!



Have you ever tried making fish tacos at home? It’s really a tasty and fresh dinner that goes together quickly. Add a side of brown rice and black beans and you have a well-rounded meal that doesn’t break the bank!

Fresh SoCal Style Fish Tacos -recipe




Checking Something BIG off my Disney Bucket List

Every Disney fan has a list of things they’d like to see, do and experience in their lifetime. For instance, something on your Disney bucket list could be to eat a Dole Whip at Aulani. Or maybe it’s to race runDisney? For some it could be as simple as giving Mickey Mouse a hug!

For me, it’s always been at the top of my list to visit Walt Disney World.

Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

11 years ago we were planning a trip. Then my dad got sick and we cancelled the plans and went on with life. Last year when my dad passed away after his long illness, I knew that I was ready to start something new. Something that he would be proud of, so I started this blog. He enjoyed my writing and he loved Disney, so it was a natural combination for me. I wrote this post early on about how Disney Helped Me Deal with the Loss of my Father.


Right away, new doors were opening up. I was writing every day, something I’d been pushing to the back burner…and it was cathartic. I reached out to The Blogorail and was accepted as a “junior pilot”. I made new friends online and joined groups. My family and I were invited to a special Family Media Day, which was such an amazing event in the Parks. I was honored to be there. I pushed myself further and tried out for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Imagine my shock to reach the final round on my first try!

In developing friendships through the online Disney community (can I just say, they are the best!), I was encouraged to apply as a writer for the website Traveling Mom. I submitted a few guest articles and then was accepted on as their “SoCal Traveling Mom”. What a thrill! I love living in San Diego and enjoying all that we have to offer here so writing and sharing my experiences already come naturally.

Enjoying the beach in San Diego

Our beautiful San Diego beaches

Last week I was asked if I’d like to join the Traveling Moms on their annual writers retreat…wait for it, wait for it…at WALT DISNEY WORLD! I might have paused only 3.2 seconds to consider it before starting to book my flight! Actually my husband and I discussed it all first and decided that with the cost of Spring Break airfare, we simply could not afford to take our entire family of five (which would also require the cost of a second room). However I will be traveling with my 3-yr old son (the one who is so obsessed with the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, despite his only experience of it being YouTube videos!) Also coming with us are my equally-Disney crazy mom and brother. They couldn’t be more excited!

Though I’ve never been to Walt Disney World before, it’s sort of my “job” to learn about all things Disney so I already know an inordinate amount about the Parks and Resorts. My mom and brother were totally enthralled with all things as I explained about the Magical Express, Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+.

My three-year old at his “Mine Train” themed birthday party

10 days notice for a Walt Disney World vacation? You might think I’m crazy, until I tell you that I planned my entire wedding start to finish in 3 weeks (yes, including dress shopping, fitting, cake tasting and venue choosing!) Last notice doesn’t rattle me a bit. In fact with less time to think about it I am forced to focus on the big picture and just get done what needs to get done! Like making sure I have decent walking shoes.

So there it is…soon to be a BIG CHECKMARK next to Walt Disney World on my Disney bucket list!

We leave in one week from today and will be staying four nights. I can’t wait to take my little one on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train… for real, this time!

I will be posting my trip details and adventures here on my blog, as well as my experiences and reviews on Traveling Mom. Please follow along with me (starting April 15th) when I travel to Orlando for the first time.

Disney Bucket List

Quack! Here we go on our next adventure!



I’m a Traveling Mom! #TMOM

La Jolla, CA

I’m so fortunate to live in a tourist paradise, sunny Southern California! As a San Diego native I have had the privilege to explore so many beautiful places just outside my front door. But there are many more that I’ve yet to experience! It’s my goal to try new and exciting things in my own area and share the reviews with you all. If there is anything I like to do, it’s to brag about my lovely hometown. And what better place than at!

I have been so blessed to have been invited to post as a permanent author on Traveling Mom. I recently had three guest author articles listed and have several more in the works, all with a SoCal spin.

SoCal Traveling Mom, Julie Bigboy

The motto of Traveling Mom is “We’ve Been There”. You’ll find articles and reviews for locations around the World. Before your next trip, check the Traveling Mom site because chances are, one of the writers has a review about it!

Traveling Mom, We've Been There!

Thank you to Traveling Mom for accepting me into the flock. I can’t wait to post my SoCal experiences and share them with the world! Please consider following along with me and posting a comment on my articles at





One Easy Way to Save Cash on Disney Vacations!

Save cash on Disney vacations? Yes, this one easy trick can save you a good amount & give you cash back on your Disney vacation booking!

We all want to save money on our Disney vacations, right? What if I told you that you could get back a good percentage of your travel costs just by shopping online? Seriously! That frees up cash for park tickets, souvenirs, food – Whatever you want! I earned back over 10% booking my last Disney vacation online this one easy way. See how you can save cash on Disney, too!

This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through and signing up for Ebates you help me in a small financial way, thank you!

Save Cash on Disney – And Hundreds of Other Things

I love to shop online and I definitely have my favorite shops. I buy new swimsuits for the family each year from Lands’ End. Work shirts for my husband from Hanes. Gently used clothing from ThredUp. Summer sandals from Crocs. And this is nothing to say of all the travel booking I make from flights to hotels for my Disney travels.

I’d say that 75% of my shopping is done online. I like to be able to see a total cost in my shopping cart, to virtually add and remove items and you usually can’t beat the coupon savings! I find that when I shop online my purchases are intentional and less of an impulse-buy than when I’m in the store.

Save cash on Disney vacations? Yes, this one easy trick can save you a good amount & give you cash back on your Disney vacation booking!

Walt Disney World- Disney’s Hollywood Studios

My One Easy Trick to Save Cash on Disney

What is Ebates? I have seen a bit about Ebates here and there but didn’t really know what it was or how it works. Turns out it couldn’t be more simple and I should have signed up a LONG time ago! All this time I could have been earning cash back. Keep reading how I’ve earned back over $100 just by shopping online like I normally do.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Does Ebates Work?

Image from – How Ebates Works

Quick Shopping

When you sign up for Ebates, you can click to “heart” your favorite shops and Ebates stores the list in your dashboard for quick shopping links. Take a look at my list of favorite shops and see where it shows a percentage and “cash back”?

Ebates sends you what they call a “Big Fat Check” every three months based on purchases you made through the Ebates website. Easy as that!

What is Ebates...and can you really get cash back?

Image from – Screenshot of my Favorite Shops

Coupons Too!

Whenever I shop online, I always do a search for coupons first but with Ebates I won’t have to do a separate search anymore. Click on the shop and a list of very usable coupons appear! I was able to get free shipping on a recent order from Gymboree.

What is Ebates...and can you really get cash back?

I also booked three nights hotel at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans – Riverside via Travelocity and there was a coupon code for $75 off – sweet!

Find out how I received 10% cash back and $75 my hotel stay at Port Orleans Riverside Walt Disney World! You can save cash on Disney vacations too, with this one easy trick!

Ebates Cash Back Button

You don’t even have to remember to go through the Ebates link to grab the great savings. By installing the Ebates Cash Back Button, simply shop online as usual and if you are in an online shop that allows an Ebates rebate, the button will pop up in your browser reminding you to click and get cash back.

Simply click the button and Ebates will connect to that site and keep track of your cash back. How easy is that?! And the button will pop up at stores you didn’t even know had an Ebates rebate, like Sur le Table, Coach and Sephora.

Are Your Favorite Shops on Ebates?

Think about all the things you buy online from Amazon, Ebay, or Zulily. Then look at Ebates and know that you can get cash back from those stores just by shopping through the Ebates link.  You can even find local Groupons with a cash back to you of 6%.

I love a good bargain, especially if I don’t have to go out of my way to take advantage of it and this just couldn’t be easier. I’m so glad I finally stopped and read what Ebates is all about because it’s a can’t lose!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

How Would YOU Save with Ebates? Tell me which store you’d shop at!