Winter Holiday Fun

If it feels like the year is coming to an end all too quickly and you haven’t had the chance to check out the festivities around town, don’t worry, there is still time. If you are in town this holiday season, here are some local festive events happening in the area that you definitely don’t want to miss.

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For the Christmas spirit, check out festive lights on Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena. Recognized as the largest oldest large-scale outdoor Christmas lights display in the world, the “Mile of Christmas Trees” are strung with over 10,000 lights. Christmas Tree Lane is located on Santa Rosa Avenue between Woodbury Avenue and Altadena Drive.   Take a drive with the family or park nearby and take a stroll along the trees to view the colorful lights.

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If you’re looking for more festive viewings of bright and colorful lights in the evening, there is also the Moonlight Forest at the Los Angeles Arboretum and the Enchanted: Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens, both of which are still going on until January 6th. The Moonlight Forest offers lantern art in shapes of lively animals, shimmering flowering, and fantasy creatures such as dragons.  Check out their website for more information. 

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The Enchanted: Forest of Light at the Descanso Gardens is another spectacular display of lights and visual art to experience. Each year during the holidays, the Descanso Garden is transformed into an enchanted forest with whimsical lighting installations. A one-mile path, intended for nighttime viewing, is also filled with interactive exhibitions for everyone in the family to enjoy.  Check out their website for more information.

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If you’re looking for festive activities during the day, consider visiting the Kidspace Museum.  They will have Snow Days from Wednesday, December 26th to Sunday, December 30th.  But what is a snow day you ask?  Kidspace offers you a chance to play in snow, to make a snowman, snowballs, snow angels and more.  Tons of snow are trucked in for this annual event, so bring your scarf, hat and gloves for a real winter experience.

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Additionally, for those of your who have little ones, the museum will have a special Noon Year’s Eve event on Monday, December 31st from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Join in on the “almost” new year celebration with live music, dancing, party hats and a massive ballon drop at noon. Here is a link to their website for more information.

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As for New Year’s Day festivities, don’t miss Pasadena’s 130th Annual Tournament of Roses on January 1, 2019. While the Tournament of Roses encompasses several events, the two most popular events are the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game.

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The Rose Parade is set to start on January 1st at 8:00am. The parade route is 5.5 miles (9 km) and begins at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard. The parade travels north on Orange Grove Boulevard and then turns east onto Colorado Boulevard. Near the end of the route, the parade turns north onto Sierra Madre Boulevard and concludes at Villa Street.  The event lasts about two hours, and there are grandstand seating and free curbside seating throughout the parade route. 

Prior to the parade, be mindful that road closures take effect by 10:00pm the night prior on Monday, December 31st, and will remain closed until 2:00pm on Tuesday January 1st of 2019. Click here for more information on road closures. Post parade, the floats are parked along Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards for you to get an up close look. There, the intricately decorated floats span over two miles for viewing from Tuesday, January 1st starting at 1:00pm to Wednesday, January 2nd.

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The Rose Bowl Game starts shortly after the Rose Parade at 1:00pm. This year marks the 105th year of the game, and will feature a traditional matchup of teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12, Ohio State Buckeyes vs Washington Huskies. Will you be going to the game?  Which team will you root for?

Posted on December 23, 2018 at 12:09 am
Christine Navarro | Category: Holiday

Healthy Holiday Eating

According to a Stanford study, despite the myth, the average American only puts on a pound or two during the holidays.  However, unless you succeed at loosing the weight gained after the holidays, accumulating the extra pound year over year will add up.  So here are some tips for healthy holiday eating to keep weight loss off the New Year’s resolution list.

Holiday Tips For Healthy Eating

Tip 1: Be prepare and plan ahead. 

Just as grocery shopping on an empty stomach is a bad idea, so is going to a holiday gathering or potluck famished. You are more likely to overeat and give into temptations. So curb the hunger by having a healthy snack beforehand. A quick and simple banana smoothies should do the trick.

Tip 2: Eat foods high in fiber.

Fiber is not only good for digestive wellness, it also helps make you feel full. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient rich and naturally high in fiber.Fresh fruits and vegetables in vibrant colors are the most nutrient dense. But don’t forgo the convenient frozen fruits and vegetables, they are picked at peak ripeness and flash frozen so their nutritional value is retained. Consider adding frozen peas or spinach the next time you make soup.

Tip 3: Don’t skip breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t skip it. Having a hearty breakfast will keep your hunger leveled and helps to avoid over-eating later in the day.  Consider prepping breakfast in advance to save you time.  Oats soaked in your preferred diary or non-diary milk, with fresh or frozen fruit and some nuts make for a quick and no brainer meal in the morning.

Tip 4: Watch the liquid calories.

Be mindful of the serving size of holiday drinks, cocktails, and alcohol. Consider lower calorie non-diary milks, such as almond or soy, for traditional diary drinks such as hot chocolate. And be mindful of the amount of sugar in holiday drinks. Try asking for a quarter or half the sweetness. 

Tip 5: Avoid the binge-now and restrict-later mentality.

You are what you eat, and consistency is the key. So strive to eat healthy throughout the year to avoid the binge-now and restrict-later mentality. But always allow the occasional indulgence to warm our body and spirit. 

Hope these tips will help you this holiday season.  Do you have any go-to holiday tips to share?

Wishing you all happiness and good health!

Posted on November 16, 2018 at 6:13 am
Christine Navarro | Category: Holiday

What to do with your leftover Halloween Candy

The National Confectioners Association says that Americans will buy more than 600 million pounds of chocolates during the month of October.  If you are a fan of Halloween and always end up with tons of leftover candies the day after, here are some ideas on what to do with the candies besides eating them all in one sitting.

Idea #1: Freeze it for usage at a later time

Frozen chocolate candy bars can be sprinkled over ice cream, blended into milkshakes, folded into Rice Krispy treats, and baked into cookies. Hard shell candies can be mixed in with granola or trail mix for a snack. Colorful hard or soft candies can be used for decorating gingerbread houses during Christmas.

Idea #2: Sell it to a participating dentist

Photo courtesy of Halloween Candy Buy Back

Check out the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program website to find a participating dentist near you who will accept unopened candies in exchange for toothbrushes, coupons, and sometimes cash.

Idea #3: Send it to our Troops

Photo courtesy of Soldiers’ Angels

Organizations such as Operation Gratitude, Soldiers’ Angels, and Operation Shoebox are all accepting leftover Halloween candy donations. In addition to care packages, these organizations that will take your unopened candies and send them to U.S. Troops stationed overseas and first responders stateside. The website linked above contains shipping info and some may have drop-off locations.

Idea #4: Donate it to a local non-profit

Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House

Many soup kitchen, homeless shelter food pantry, and retirement and nursing home will take unopened candies for residents and guests. Trying contacting a local non-profit to find out if they are taking donations.

What do you usually do with your leftover Halloween candies? Which of the ideas above would you most likely try this year? Have a happy and spooky Halloween!

Posted on October 23, 2018 at 7:49 am
Christine Navarro | Category: Holiday