Discoveries

Why is Christmas Still on My Mind? The Magic of it All @usfg @talktoSantalive

Posted on January 9th, 2015 by & filed under Be Inspired, Discoveries, Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe

Here Comes Santa Claus! Here Comes Santa Claus!

Wait a minute, that was last month. We sang Christmas Carols and listened to Holiday music all through November and December. Why am I writing about Santa Claus coming to town? Isn’t he on vacation in the Bahamas right about now? (Disclosure)

Getty Image

Santa Surfing (Getty Image)

 

Okay, okay. Hold on to your reindeer! Or hold your horses, whatever.

I am Not One to Name Drop, But I Really Do Know Santa Claus, He is a Friend of Mine.

Why is Christmas Still on My Mind? The Magic of it All

by Melissa Reyes, January 2, 2015

Our Sparkling and Happy Christmas Tree

Our Sparkling and Happy Christmas Tree

I want to share with you my feelings about the Magic of Christmas and why it had such an impact on me this year. Christmas is a tough time for lots of people. Even me. Christmas has never been the same for me since my parents passed away. It has always been my favorite holiday, but the last five years or so, I may have been just going through the motions. I suffer from minor depression and I get very stressed out at the end of the year with the hustle and bustle, time crunch, and financial pressures. Yet, I have always believed in the Magic of Christmas. I believe in miracles, big and small. I believe in Santa Claus.

This year, I was given an opportunity by TalktoSanta.com to have a conversation with the Big Man himself – a visit, an interview, a face to face – yep, me and Santa! Having the chance to talk to Santa ignited the Magic of Christmas in my heart in a way that I thought had been lost forever. I was once again excited about the holiday. I could hardly wait to have my chance to talk to Santa.

Lorenzo_Lamas

Lorenzo Lamas, 1989 My Mom had a picture of herself with him!

My Mom always said that she knew Santa personally. She said she had photos to prove it. She also said she knew Lorenzo Lamas. But that is another story.

Even when she was a Grandma she loved to get her picture taken with Santa. The following year she would show the little kids that picture and say, “See? Grandma really knows Santa! He is a personal friend of mine.”

My Mom with Santa, Dec. 1997

My Mom with Santa, Dec. 1997

We are a religious, faith filled, and mostly traditional family. One of the traditions that my mother maintained, (that I also do) was keeping a youthful spirit alive by proclaiming our belief in the unknown, the unproven, and somewhat mystical ways of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I feel like that is a way of teaching our children that it is okay to act like a kid and enjoy the fun, light, and magical celebrations as well as that you do not have to have proof to believe in things. After all, that is the cornerstone of our faith – believing in the miraculous.

It is no wonder then, when I doubted my faith and when I was depressed and grieving the loss of my loved ones, that it was difficult for me to entertain, enjoy, and engage in the fun and spiritual traditions of the holidays. If you are familiar with the story of The Polar Express, you will know what I mean when I say that for that time in my life, I could not hear the sound of Jingle Bells.

My time of grief may be over, or I may just be in a better place, but since I got the news that I could actually talk to Santa via video cam on my laptop – I have not stopped hearing the Christmas Bells ringing! I have been joyful and excited. I enjoyed singing and listening to the Holiday music, shopping, wrapping, cooking, sending cards, hosting parties, all of it. And I still feel good.

I have video proof that I know Santa personally. My mother would be so proud!

Roman and Me Getting Ready for our Chat with Santa

Roman and Me Getting Ready for our Chat with Santa

I shared this experience with my son, Roman. He is the youngest and most willing candidate in my family. He is theatrical and often helps me with my blogging ventures, especially the ones relating to entertainment. He is also the one who has always been the most skeptical about Santa’s existence and when he was little he stopped at nothing to prove that my husband and I were the ones who left the gifts under the tree. He has always needed a little coaxing to believe that which he cannot see, or prove. As much as I appreciate his scientific nature, he challenged me when it came to explaining why, at 46 years old, I still believe in Santa. I may have finally convinced him. After talking to Santa online, I think he gets it. Yet, he may never understand, and I may never be able to explain to him, why I needed to believe.

t2s_300x100_bnnrTalking to Santa was easy and anyone can do it. First, just going to Santa’s website is amazing! There are fun things to do and see. Children of all ages can interact with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There you can schedule your own personalized online chat with Santa or watch other videos to see what it is like. Just before Christmas Eve, you can even see where in the world Santa is delivering gifts.

After scheduling the online chat and filling in a little information about myself and Roman, I received a confirmation letter from Santa. When the big day came, we were prepared with a few questions to ask and we even got a little nervous about what Santa might ask us. It was so much fun and very easy. Now we will both have that video forever and I will definitely be showing it to my grandchildren someday. Roman and I also had a nice experience together, which as he gets older, I value very much.

Not long after our talk with Santa, and before Christmas, Roman and I each received a certificate stating that we were both officially on Santa’s nice list. It sure was nice for Roman to have that guarantee! Just kidding, I know he is a very good boy. I am pretty sure we both got what we wanted for Christmas.

Next year, add this to your list, for $20 you can get a video with your child talking to Santa. What could be better than that?

I want to thank TalktoSanta.com and the U.S. Family Guide for giving me this opportunity. I received the chat with Santa free of charge for the purpose of reviewing the service. Please see my Disclosure for more details on why I write articles like this. All opinions are my own. This is a true story, written from my heart. It is my intention that it warms your heart. All photos are my own, unless otherwise noted.

All Adventurers Should Have a Good Flashlight @DorcyDirect #Review

Posted on January 6th, 2015 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, Product Reviews

I think all adventurers should have a good flashlight.

This is a product review. Disclosure

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Photo from 123RTF.com

I have always loved flashlights. Holding a beam of light in your hand and shining it brightly, illuminating the path in front of you, it is a powerful feeling. Didn’t you always want to be the one to hold the flashlight? I sure did.

I haven’t lost my adventurous spirit. I still like to explore. Even though I don’t go on nature walks and camping very often, like I did when I was younger, I still like to have the best equipment to take with me on trips. I also like to be prepared in the case of an emergency.

I have had some pretty cool flashlights over the years. My Dad always made sure I had a big flood light in my car. My mother-in-law always made sure we carried flashing emergency lights with us on family trips. My husband keeps a big Maglite in the hall closet. I have had various smaller versions for my purse throughout the years. But now, I have the chance to have the real deal. Now, I have a flashlight that is worthy of a true adventuress…I have the Dorcy Metal Gear XLM flashlight.

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_anyka'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Photo from 123RTF.com

If you are wondering what $80 bucks will get you in the flashlight Universe, let me tell you. Comparable to a Maglite ML300L in price as well as number of lumens (more on that later) the Dorcy Metal Gear XLM flashlight is sleek, stylish, durable, and quite powerful. It uses Double A batteries instead of D Cells, so for that reason alone, I like it better if comparing it to the Maglite. For me, I have always found the Maglite to be too heavy and more like a weapon, dare I say “billy” club, intimidation tool, than the ray of light I like to shine ahead of me on a dark evening stroll! So, the Dorcy with it’s smaller, sleeker design, attractive and functional wriststrap, and dual settings of brightness from dim to an intense high beam is the one for me!

I keep my flashlight on my desk at the ready for my next adventure!

photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2014 http://mizmeliz.com

“Every Adventuress Needs a Good Flashlight!” photo by M. Reyes

The Dorcy Metal Gear XLM Extreme 618 Lumen LED flashlight, retails at $79.99 and is excellent in quality and style. Read the specific deatils below, this is the part about the lumens. (I like saying that! Say it outloud…loooomeeennnss. Lumens. Lol!)

438_1_“The new Dorcy Metal Gear XLM (Extreme Lumens) flashlight produces 618 lumens of light from a single LED chip. Utilizing the Cree XM-L LED module which allows Dorcy to drive the chip with 6 alkaline batteries to produce an intense beam of light. With beam distances over 300 meters (1100 feet) the 41-0435 utilizes Dorcy’s TrueSpot® Optimized Reflector System. The aluminum Construction, Side Mounted Push button switch and convenient lanyard make this light a must. Powered by 6 AA batteries the 41-0435 with run over 5 hours and give you plenty of light. The light offers two light settings that will allow the light to run in a dimmer light setting which will run over 25 hours. The 41-0435 has been tested to the new ANSI flashlight standards.”

Everything about this product is high tech, but what matters to me is it’s durability, quality, and usefulness. You cannot go wrong with this flashlight!

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Vector via 123rtf.com

 For the times I would like to ride my bike around the neighborhood instead of walk in the wilderness…I am equipped with the Dorcy LED Bicycle Light, which retails at $55. That may seem high for a bike accessory, but this is quality stuff that should last and last. When I opened the package the light looked seriously “space age” to me. In fact, I kept it out of sight from my husband and sons for awhile because I knew that they would want it for themselves. It just looks like that kind of gadget that every man/boy/adventurer must have.

Compared to many similar lights available on Amazon which vary in price from $10 to $100, I think the Dorcy LED Bicycle Light is by far a superior product. It has a heavy duty casing which is durable and can be used as a flashlight when released from it’s mount. It’s design is well thought out for the rider and quite useful as well as being super cool looking. This combined with the Dorcy Tail Light (below) would make the perfect gift for any cycling enthusiast. (Or, for any casual rider/walker/adventurer like me!)

594_2_“The Dorcy LED bicycle light and personal light produces a Wide Angle Uniform Light pattern for better and safer biking visibility. The Wide Angle Lens spreads the light only horizontally, not up in the trees or sky where you don’t need it. This keeps the brightness up and lights the full width of the road or trail in front of you. In addition to providing more lighting area for the rider, it will not blind oncoming pedestrians. With the patented “Quick Release” for easy removal of the light when you are not using the bike you can use the Flashlight for personal use. The lights are made from Durable Aerospace-grade Aluminum Alloy, corrosion resistant and with excellent Lumen output, and Battery run time. Water resistant to IPX-6 Standards, the weatherproof switch has three positions – Constant on/Flashing mode/Off. The flashing mode is ideal for increased safety awareness. With the Patented Battery Cartridge Holder for either end orientation it is easy to change the batteries. Clamps are tool free, and will fit any bike in the North American market and comes packaged with alkaline batteries included.”

 I love this Dorcy Bicycle Tail Light and actually take it with me sometimes on walks. It is very dark where I live and I worry that the cars passing by won’t see me. I feel safe when I turn on those flashing red lights! At $13.99 it is definitely a good buy and a must to have for your bike.

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“The new Dorcy bicycle tail light is constructed with a ABS body and shatter-resistant Polycarbonate cover. The 3 bright LED’s can be see from over 200 meters away and with the Patented 90 degrees two-direction, adjustable, quick- release, and tool-free bracket, mounting is easy. The new particular light diffuse of refractive reflector design produces a high brightness light pattern and operation lasting for 100/200 hours in constant/flashing modes(0~100% light). This light is an essential part of any bicycle safety program.”

 I am so glad I had the opportunity to try these great products out and share my experiences with you. Why wait for your next adventure? Be prepared and get your flashlight ready. Check out all the products at Dorcy.com and let me know which model you get.

Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive free Dorcy Products for review purposes. All quotes and stock photos are from the Dorcy website unless otherwise indicated. All thoughts and opinions are my own. See my Disclosure for details on why I do reviews on my blog.

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_zirconicusso'> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
“Benefits of Cycling” Infographic Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

Goals Bingo Wrap Up #14in2014

Posted on January 5th, 2015 by & filed under Discoveries, Everything Miz Meliz

I am Scoring High in the Goals Bingo Game!

I am breaking out of the shell where I hide. I have Big Plans!

I am breaking out of the shell where I hide sometimes.

 

I realized something these past few weeks as 2014 came to an end and 2015 began.

When you make your focus to discover new things, you might stray off track so much that you end up creating new roads as you go along.

~Melissa Reyes, Jan. 5, 2015

 

 

Creating New Roads Along the Way. That is what happened to me in 2014. It was a good thing. Getting off track and making a new path for myself was a very good thing, for me. I did discover something. I discovered some things that are new and I also re-discovered some things about myself.

I learned that I am not as passionate about reading as I am about writing. I love to read, but challenging myself to read a few books a month did not help me to complete more books. It just made me feel badly when I didn’t reach this goal. I would rather enjoy reading a book for the pleasure of it than pressuring myself in that way.

I learned that I have abilities that I love and thrive at that I had buried deep down inside of me since, well, like forever. Yeah. That. (Yes, I said it that way. I used some high school slang. That shows how long and how stupid I was being.) I am really good at connecting with people. I am really good at interviewing, asking questions, relating, and making people feel comfortable, comforted, and I am able to complement them with genuine care and admiration.

I discovered that I love, really love, the whole process of video podcasting: interviewing people, recording videos, editing and producing them and broadcasting them on the internet. I did not invent it or stumble upon something new. Not at all. I found a place where I belong. I feel comfortable with this (new to me) community and I look forward to seeing how I can marry my blogging/social media world with my broadcast/interview world. I won’t be the first one and I won’t be the last. It is an opportunity to grow. It brings out the best in me and gives me a way to shine.

My Family Always Comes First. They are at my heart, my soul, my everything.

My Family Always Comes First. They are at my heart, my soul, my everything.

Here are some of the things I love doing that I want to continue to do and to develop in 2015:

  • blogging
  • video podcasting
  • travelling
  • meeting people and building relationships through common interests
  • writing and publishing more books, articles and posts
  • crafting and creating artwork for relaxation and to exercise creativity
  • growing my social media community
  • throwing parties and entertaining at home
  • life coaching by using my unique abilities to guide people on their own path
  • helping people to discover their passion and live their purpose
  • spending time with my family
  • going on date nights with my husband
  • learning by engaging in activities as well as attending conferences, workshops, and classes
  • practicing making positive self care lifestyle choices
  • following a healthy diet and exercise routine to enrich my mind, body, and soul
  • making my home beautiful and comfortable for myself and my family to enjoy
My Focus Words: 2012 - Experience 2013 - Ta-da! 2014 - Discover 2015 - Intention

My Focus Words:
2012 – Experience
2013 – Ta-da!
2014 – Discover
2015 – Intention

I made a bingo card for my goals in 2014. It was fun to track my accomplishments in that way. I checked it quarterly. You can see the results here: 2014 Goals Bingo, Spring Check InSummer Check In, and Fall Check In.)

I hesitate to look at my Goals Bingo Card now, because I have a feeling that once I began doing video podcasts, I stopped doing everything else I hoped to achieve. But, I want to follow through. So, here it goes…I am going to look at it right now.

Goals Bingo Final

Well, it isn’t that bad! I decided to give myself a break and put a star on every box that I did at least one time. So, for the year – I got two Bingos! Yay Me!! My focus word was Discover, and I did try a lot of new things and discovered so much about myself.

Let Your Heart Shine!

Let Your Heart Shine!

2014 was a difficult year for me and many of my close friends because we suffered the loss of quite a number of people from our group. High school friends and special people in our lives passed away. It was a shock to go through this and collectively discover that we have reached our middle age. The good news is, we discovered this together and as a group, we are stronger and closer than I ever thought we would be at this point in our lives. That is what is important to remember. That discovery alone makes it a special year for me. We are not alone. A little effort goes a long way in brightening a friend’s day.

Even Santa needs some self-care!

Even Santa needs some self-care!

I won’t do another Bingo Goals Card this time. I will simply look at my list when I want to see if I am on track. It’s a good list of all the things that I am passionate about. These are the things that I believe I am meant to be doing. I will work at honing my skills. That will be my goal for 2015.

This Year My Motto will Be: Dream Big!

This Year My Motto will Be:
Dream Big!

I always choose one word to remind myself of my goals. It is called a focus word. The word I have chosen to focus on for 2015 is intention. Not only do I intend to follow through on doing the things that I am most passionate about, I will do those things with the intent to be my best self, to forge ahead and continue to make my own way.

“Action is the seed of change stirring within you,

coaxed by the nutrients that encourage it’s growth.”

~ Raam Dev

Ideas give action hope

Vision gives action direction

Intention gives action focus

Inspiration gives action strength

Thoughts give action structure

Experience gives action validation.

Instead of doing stuff, just do.

Instead of trying to become someone, just be.

Instead of cultivating, cultivate.

Instead of living, live.

Forge action.

I love being a woman of action. I love adventure. I love my life!

What do you love? Think of a few things that you truly love doing, being, going…

These are your passions.

In 2015 I will do the things that I love. I will forge action. I will do all things with the intention of being my best self and helping others with the best of my abilities. I will Dream Big and Shine! I will Smile and Blog On! These are my goals. This is my focus.

Live.

Be.

Do.

My best wishes of love and grace to you in the new year my friends!

Happy New Year!

Make 2015 the best one yet!

Love,

Miz Meliz

Meet the 1D Boys at Madame Tussauds this Christmas #1DMT @TussaudsLA @USFG

Posted on December 12th, 2014 by & filed under Blog Venture, Discoveries

Located next door to the World Famous Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussauds is Hollywood’s newest must-see attraction where you can see, touch and take photos with all of your favorite celebrities! (Disclosure)

ONE DIRECTION is the latest attraction at Madame Tussauds on their stop in Hollywood while on their ‘world tour’!

This Christmas, you can meet Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis – or at least their wax figures – at Madame Tussauds Hollywood!

We had a blast when we went to see the new Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie this summer.

photo courtesy of Madam Tussauds Hollywood

Photo courtesy of Madam Tussauds Hollywood

It is a thrill to stand up next to your favorite celebrities and snap a photo, they look so realistic on camera. I was glad I had an opportunity to “meet” some of my favorite heartthrobs…

Miz Meliz with Antonio Banderas...a dream come true!

Miz Meliz with Antonio Banderas…a dream come true!

See more photos of me with my favorite stalker – – he follows me everywhereIron Man, in my post about Madame T’s.

I can’t believe one of our all time favorite comedians and beloved actors is gone! I never got to meet him IRL – but I do have this…

I will never forget this special "moment" with 'Robin Williams'

I will never forget this special “moment” with ‘Robin Williams’

Now you can get the perfect Facebook profile photo… with the 1D boys!

mt tile_madametussauds-hollywoodKIDS GO FREE – Madame Tussauds Hollywood w/ Adult admission.

 

 

Madame Tussauds London treated the One Direction boys to a sneak peek of their finished wax figures at a secret viewing on 18th April 2013, before their gig in Nottingham. The boys were stunned by the likeness as they came face-to-face with their amazingly lifelike wax figures for the first time. The figures were then unveiled to fans at Madame Tussauds London, where guests visited them before they embarked on a ‘world tour’. They are currently in Hollywood, CA and you can see them through December 31st.

One Direction pose with their wax figures at Madame Tussauds

One Direction pose with their wax figures at Madame Tussauds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see exclusive photos, videos and other 1DMT content  here: CHECK IT OUT!

Follow updates on Twitter, and join in with #1DMT

 

It was a Slam Dunk at Sky Zone! @USFG @SkyZone

Posted on December 11th, 2014 by & filed under Discoveries, Events, Everything Miz Meliz, Uncategorized

We experienced the Jump Around Birthday Party at Sky Zone and it was a Slam Dunk! (Disclosure)

 

The JUMP AROUND BIRTHDAY PARTY PACKAGE includes:

Admission for up to 10 jumpers with 1 HOUR OF JUMP TIME

Three Medium pizzas

Unlimited soft drinks during room time

40 min in a private room after jump time

with a party coordinator who takes care of everything

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

You know how sometimes, maybe most of the time, you work so hard to make everything perfect for your family, friends, or boss – and they don’t seem to appreciate it or at least aren’t as wowed as you’d hoped they would be? I will admit it, that has been my “m.o.” for a long time. Now that my kids are older, I don’t  work as hard to please everyone. And guess what! They are just as happy and appreciative as ever. It truly is the thought that counts. You don’t have to work yourself to the bone to make everything turn out great. My favorite people pleaser is when I can order dinner and everyone loves it. Yeah, that was soo hard, I slaved away making that phone call…my finger is a little sore. But it was worth it!

Okay, I digress. You are wondering what all this has to do with slam dunks and sky jumps about now.

My son’s birthday is in December, just before Christmas and in the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle. Every year, I struggle with how much I can do for him, and how much I can get away with not doing, and when the guilt sets in, I have over compensated with expensive gifts and unfulfilled promises. Well, his guardian angel was looking out for him this time!

When I found out that there is an indoor trampoline park where they have parties that come complete with a host, pizza, drinks, party supplies, decorations, cake, and a gift – and jumping around a super fun arena – and all I had to do was make a phone call – I was overjoyed! It was too easy. I just called and set the date. My son invited his friends. We all met at the Sky Jump in Van Nuys. That was it. It was fun! It was incredibly easy. My son and his friends had a blast. I went home feeling relaxed and super happy. My son was super appreciative. And now, I can’t wait to go back. What? Wait. Okay, yes, I think I might want to have my big 50 party there. Why not?

The pictures below will tell the story – and yes, I did make a slam dunk, in more ways than one!

Double Your Jump Time! At Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Parks

Tired of the same old birthday party? Tired of having to do all the set up and clean up? Let the team members at Sky Zone take care of everything for you as your party SOARS above all others on our patented, all-trampoline, walled playing courts.

Maximize your FUN and create a truly memorable experience with an out-of-this-world party package:

Double Your Jump Time! – For a limited time only, book your child’s birthday party with us and receive double the jump time!

That’s 2 hours of Wall-to-Wall fun!

Call to reserve your party time today!

Special Offer

Available at the Riverside, Van Nuys and Covina locations!

 

 

Photo credit: Lito Reyes Dec. 2014

The moral of the story is you can make a slam dunk in many ways. By planning a fun party, baking an amazing cake, and even by making a phone call. (Oh yeah, and by jumping on a trampoline in bright orange socks at Sky Zone!)

Call Sky Zone, book a party, and let me know how it goes!

#IdRatherBe @SkyZone

 

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