Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Wonderland, Tree Lighting, & Ice Skating: East L.A. Civic Center

Thursday, November 20, 3pm-9pm
Friday, November 21, 3pm-9pm
Saturday, November 22, 10am-8pm
Sunday, November 23, 10am-8pm

ICE SKATING ($7 admission, $2 rental)
Monday, November 24, Noon-8pm
Tuesday, November 25, Noon-8pm
Wednesday, November 26, Noon-8pm
Thursday, November 27, Noon-8pm
Friday, November 28, Noon-8pm
Saturday, November 29, Noon-8pm
Sunday, November 30, Noon-8pm

Jersey Mike's PTA Fundraiser

 For each coupon redeemed, Schurr High School PTA receives $3!
Must present hard-copy coupon at purchase, print out image below.

Christmas Parade: Uptown Whittier


Holiday Sonata: Uptown Whittier


Spay, Neuter, & Vaccination Clinic: Pico Park, Pico Rivera

A special thanks to reader, Tiffany Espinoza, for sharing this event.
Thanks Tiffany!

"Fall in Love" Adoption Event: Seaaca, Downey

A special thanks to reader, Tiffany Espinoza for sharing this event.  
Thanks Tiffany!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas Tree Lighting: Rosemead


Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips

I've been Black Friday shopping for over 10 years. As an experienced shopper I'd like to offer some tips and advice to novice Black Friday shoppers who plan to brave the cold and crowds on the greatest shopping day of the year!

The Whittier Daily News has reported that this year stores are opening earlier than ever before, it's no longer a Black Friday, but a Black Thursday. Many stores are open early on Thanksgiving day, so gobble down that turkey and get in line!
  1. Buy two newspapers on Thanksgiving morning. Sometimes one paper doesn't have all the ads, so buy a copy of the L.A. Times and the Whittier Daily News to cover all the stores. If you normally get the Sunday paper for the ads/coupons, the newspaper distributors know this and deliver a paper on Thanksgiving to distribute the Black Friday ads. If you don't find one of your porch, go out early and buy it. They sell out fast!  If you are hosting Thanksgiving, you may want to buy two copies of each paper so others can look at the ads as well. You can also look up the ads online now, type in a search with the keywords "Black Friday 2014", you'll find numerous websites that post links to ads that have been leaked or are available online.

  2. Make a plan. Figure out which stores you want to visit and rate them according to bargain priority. If a certain item is on sale for a limited number of hours you want to make sure you hit that store with enough time to park, find the item in the store, and pay. If a store is giving out a free item to the first few hundred customers, but there is nothing pressing that you want to buy there you can wait in line, get the free item and go with plans to return later on to redeem the coupon, voucher, or certificate. If a store is offering price matching, know that the price will only be matched during the same time restrictions as the store in the advertisement.
  3. Leave the little kids at home. A store crowded with bargain hungry people is no place for a young child.
  4. Take the Black Friday ad with you. Occasionally an item won't scan for the advertised price, you can't find an item in the store, or there are varieties of the same item but only one is on sale. It helps to have the ad with you to clarify any misunderstandings.
  5. Bring a friend. It helps to have someone to tag team with. In 2010, the line to check-out at Toys R Us snaked the whole way around the store and zigzagged through the aisles so far back that no one really knew if it was the line or not. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, one person can hold a place in the check out line and the other can shop, then trade places. At Kohls on Black Friday the line to check out throughout the day was over an hour long. A friend also comes in handy in cold weather. One year sister came out to wait with me. We took turns holding our spot in line, getting warm in the car, and going to the bathroom.
  6. Know the layout of the store. Try to stick with stores that you are familiar. If you've never visited the store before it may be difficult to find a clerk to help you find something in the advertisement.
  7. Line up early.  A few years ago I went to a large retail store and was a few minutes late for the opening. I saw the line to enter curve around the building into the darkness. Instead of going to the end of the line I waited in the car for the end to come to the front of the store. BIG MISTAKE! I saw people who arrived at the same time as I did enter the store 15 minutes before me. There were so many people arriving that the end kept growing and growing. Even if the item you want isn't the big TV, get in line early.  One year at Toys R Us, the store limited the amount of people in the store at once. The store opened at 9pm, and line to enter lasted until 3am!
  8.  Skip the shopping cart. Some stores are so packed that it is impossible to navigate the aisles with a cart. You'll have to leave your cart at the end of the aisle and risk someone picking through it, or abandon it altogether. If possible carry everything in your hands. If you must have a cart opt to bring a stroller instead. A stroller is smaller and narrower than a cart and it's easier to get through the crowds. However, if you absolutely have to have a shopping cart bring one in from the parking lot, many times the store does not have the staff to round up the carts and bring them inside, all the available carts are in the lot.
  9. Get your car ready. Fill up the gas tank. I don't know how many gas stations are open after midnight, but I'm sure you don't want to find out. Clean out the trunk. You'll need space for all the bargains you will bring home. You don't want to leave packages in the passenger area, it's too tempting for a would be thief.
  10. It's okay to leave. If it gets too intense, the wait gets too long, people are starting to get angry, or you are tired, it's okay to go home empty handed. You can't win them all.

 BONUS TIP #1: If you want to avoid the first major rush of crowds and most of the lines, head out around midnight. This would work well if the items you want are not any of the main doorbusters or a limited quantity items and you were looking to simply get the discount available to all early shoppers. If shopping for clothes and the size you want isn't available, take home the exact item in a different size and return to the store in a week when the stock is replenished to exchange the item.
BONUS TIP #2: Make sure Black Friday sale prices are significantly better than regular sale prices. Use your knowledge of sales throughout the year to compare the Black Friday price to regular sales throughout the year. If it's not a significant discount do not make that store a priority. I remember one year the Children's Place offered 30% off everything in the store for Black Friday. I can usually get a 20% off coupon and use my Children's Place credit card to get an additional 10% off which is pretty close to the Black Friday sale the store was running. At the mall a store was offering $10 off of jeans, but my sister said that $10 off of jeans sale is pretty common. In 2011 I waited six hours in line at Sears to get 55% off of a washer/dryer set. Throughout the following year I scanned the Sears ads and the lowest sales price at any other time was 37% off, so I know I bought it at a good price.

Black Friday Shopping at the Shops at Montebello: Free Mickey Toy!

"Promotion is valid November 28th from 6:00am to 11:59pm. Visit Guest Services and present your receipts for November 29, 2014 only to receive a plush toy. Limit one plush toy per customer, while supplies last. Rules and regulations apply. See Guest Services for complete details."


Thanks again to the Shops at Montebello for sponsoring this Black Friday shopping trip!

Lego Event: Toys R Us

Events occur at all regular Toys R Us locations; they do not occur at Express or Outlet stores.

The Toys R Us website reads: "Event intended for children, ages 3-up. Parental supervision required at all times. All giveaways and event materials distributed to participating children only. Limit one per child. Quantities limited; no rain checks."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day Ceremony: Monterey Park City Hall, 11/11

The city of Monterey Park and American Legion Post 397 will honor local veterans at an annual
Veterans' Day Ceremony
Tuesday, November 11
City Hall
320 W. Newmark Avenue
Monterey Park
Music, speeches, & wreath presentation.

Veteran's Day Ceremony: Montebello City Park, 11/11, 11am

Veteran's Day Ceremony
Tuesday, November 11
Montebello City Park
1401 W. Whittier Blvd

In 2013 there were speeches, presentations, & a local high school band performed.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tree Lighting Ceremony: Citadel Outlets, Commerce

Saturday, November 8
5:00PM - 7:00PM
Citadel Outlets
100 Citadel Drive, Los Angeles
The holiday season is officially kicking off at Citadel Outlets on Saturday, November 8, with the much-anticipated 13th Annual Tree Lighting Concert.  Over 20 thousand attendees are expected to attend the lighting of the World's Tallest Live Cut Christmas Tree (115-ft), see the World's Largest Bow atop the Citadel wall and enjoy the free, outdoor concert headlined by country star Jana Kramer, The Voice's Christina Grimmie, YouTube sensation Cimorelli, pop boy band After Romeo and X Factor's Josh Levi. Event attendees are encouraged to bring gift donations for Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taco Mambo 5K: Schurr High School

Visit to register.
Registration is $25-30.
Groups of 10+ pay only $10 per person!

Swim Lessons: Montebello-Commerce YMCA

YMCA Swim Lesson
Registration is now open for swim lessons, swim club, wet ball, and splash ball.

Swim lessons are paid for the full month and the cost comes out to $5 per lesson for YMCA members, or $10 per lesson for non-members.

To register visit the Montebello-Commerce YMCA or call for more information.

2000 W. Beverly Blvd. Montebello, CA
323 887 9622


Haunted House & Movies: Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
820 North Garfield Avenue, Montebello, California 90640
(323) 725-7578

Friday, October 24, 2014


I took the family to the LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat party night last week. It was our first time attending a Halloween-themed event at an amusement park and it was fun, fun, fun!

We arrived at the resort around noon and our first stop was LEGOLAND's Sea Life Aquarium.

My kids, ages 6-11, found the aquarium to be pretty amazing, but they were anxious to get to the main LEGOLAND park and get in as many rides as possible.

Sea Life Aquarium.
We spent about 45 minutes inside the aquarium taking photos with sharks, walking through tunnels, picking up a brick-or-treat snack, making friends with starfish, and playing with Legos before making our way to the main gates.

Once inside LEGOLAND we received Brick-or-Treat wristbands that would allow us to remain in the park after 5pm.

In the time we had the park we visited the Lego Movie set, went on three rides, toured the Lego Factory building, and traded about 10 Lego mini-figures with employees before half of the park shut down for Brick-or-Treat.

The Lego Movie Experience was nothing short of awesome!

 Volvo Driving School. By far my kid's favorite ride!

At 5pm we went to the car, ate our picnic dinner, and the kids changed into their Halloween costumes.

Only half of the park is open for Brick-or-Treat and it quickly became very crowded with kids of all ages dressed in costumes.

My girls wanted to enter the costume contest where the 1st prize winner in each category wins 4 annual passes to LEGOLAND.

Costume Contest for best Lego Theme. Our favorite was UniKitty and two kids who were a Minecraft Cow made out of cardboard boxes.
I took the girls, and we enjoyed watching the parade of costumes on stage. While we were relaxing my husband and son checked out Miniland USA and the trick-or-treating lines.

My husband came back to report that the stations were giving out everything from apples, to chips, to full size boxes of Legos! However, the Brick-or-Treat lines were 45 minutes to an hour long throughout the park. Ouch!

Miniland USA line. One mom I spoke with said she spent 25 minutes in the line to reach the first of two brick-or-treat stations.

The reason why the Brick-or-Treat lines have a long wait.  Only one person passing out treats at each station. Makes for nice quality time for each child, but it takes a while to get everyone through.

After the costume contest we went on the Dune Raiders ride and the kids played in Pharaoh's Revenge.

By 8pm the brick-or-treat lines outside of Miniland USA were only five minutes long. Yippee! 

We breezed through seven stations in no time at all and had plenty of time to catch some entertainment, watch the firework show, and browse The Big Shop before heading home.

There are lots of Halloween elements throughout the park. There was a strolling juggler, stage shows, dancers, stilt walkers, and even a real life fortune teller!

The Lego Master Builders also added elements such as spider webs, zombies, ghosts, and skeletons to nearly every model in Miniland USA to make sure the minfigures were in the Halloween spirit.

Bring your good camera to Brick-or-Treat. There are lots of photo opportunities with hay bales and pumpkins; and your whole family can fit in a giant Lego pumpkin at the main entrance.

There were 12 treat stations throughout LEGOLAND and Sea Life Aquarium. Some stations were clustered together along a path, so the one line was for two or three brick-or-treat stations. We didn't trick-or-treat until 8pm, when most of the lines were only a few minutes long.

One of my kid's loot from visiting eight Brick-or-Treat stations. Include a full size Chima Speeder, retail value, $10.50.

Overall we had a great time. There are so many activities at LEGOLAND's Brick-or-Treat night that it is impossible to see and do everything in one visit.

One thing that I liked was that it was very family friendly, even during the day the only guests in the park were families. With the crowds and somewhat long lines every visitor was polite and patient. It was truly remarkable.

LEGOLAND offers two types of tickets for Brick-or-Treat nights. Tickets for the Brick-or-Treat event only, valid from 5pm-9pm are $40. Brick-or-Treat plus full day admission, valid from 10am-9pm, are $65-$75. Ages 2 and under are free.

The last days to experience LEGOLAND's Brick-or-Treat 2014 is Friday, October 25 & Saturday, October 26.


Double Decker Couch. Awesome!

Keep in mind that LEGOLAND is an hour and half drive from the Los Angels area. Here are some tips for visiting LEGOLAND for the distant traveler.
  1. Plan to stay all day. This includes, arriving early and staying late. The parking lot opens an hour prior to the park opening. Save time by arriving earlier than park opening time to get a good parking spot and avoid waiting in lines to pay for parking. The main LEGOLAND store remains open for one hour past closing time. Use this time to browse for souvenirs after closing time and use the open hours to play in the park.
  2. Bring your own food. Pack snacks to take with you inside LEGOLAND, but also pack a lunch & dinner to cut down on costs. For reference the Sea Life Aquarium CafĂ© has kids meals for $8.25, and adult meals range from $7 to $11.
  3. Pay the extra money for preferred parking. The LEGOLAND preferred parking lot is less than a hundred feet from the entrance. If you pack lunch and dinner it's easy for the whole family to head back to the car to relax a bit. Parking close to the entrance means you don't have to try to cram everything into the stroller, it's easy for an adult to make a quick trip back to the car for something.
  4. Pack pajamas for the kids. If you stay late, there is a good chance the kids will fall asleep on the way home. To avoid lugging dirty sleepy kids into the house, give the kids a quick sponge bath with a wet washcloth, and have them change into pajamas before you leave the parking lot.