Monica Ramirez is a professional dancer from Yuma, Arizona. She began dancing at the age of 7 where she studied classical ballet under a full scholarship at Yuma Ballet Academy. At the age of 13, she hung up her ballet sippers and began training in jazz, modern, and hip hop.
In New York you truly never know what you’re going to get. That was certainly true as I was looking out the window of the car in the Baychester part of the Bronx. What did I see? A house that was definitely in the Christmas spirit. Not yet lit up, I spotted all the decorations from a distance. I immediately asked for a detour because I had to see this house closer.
I got really excited once we parked the car. There was so much to see and take in. There were a ton of mannequins outside, many covered in plastic. There was even a white Steinway piano. On the roof was a huge nativity scene. As I walked the perimeter of the house I noticed more displays including Superman on the roof holding Lois Lane. A few people started to walk around the house in awe.
Next thing I know a man comes outside and begins to take the plastic off the mannequins. I knew I had to stay to watch it all comes to life. He then began to bring more mannequins outside and turn them on. Many either began to dance or move their heads. A woman also came out and began helping set everything up. Music began to come threw the speakers and the lights came on as it got darker outside. The crowd was growing bigger and bigger.
Typically this is something you see on the news, so I thought this had to be on the internet somewhere. I sat in the car to warm up while they set everything up. I began to look up information on this house and of course I found it. Turns out this house is the Garabedian house. They started decorating their house in the 70s. From Thanksgiving till Jan. 6th, the Epiphany, they bring out all the figurines and put on a show right in front of their house, weather permitting of course.
It is obvious they put a lot of love and detail into the display. The costumes are elaborate and they are always adding to the collection. I even spotted a few celebrity figures that included Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and Audrey Hepburn. For those that love cartoons, I spotted Belle and the Beast dancing, The Chipmunks, and even Donald Duck, who was hanging out on the roof.
What I realized was that not only do they set this display up every day during the holidays, but they also have to take it down every night! It is not just placing mannequins and turning on some lights it is much more labor intensive then that! I saw the gentleman with a power tool making sure they were all stable. The lady cleaning off the mannequins and plugging them in. They were also adding amazing pieces to their outfits.
After warming up and finding out information I began to walk around the house once again! The crowd got very big. Traffic began to form in front of the house from those driving down Pelham Parkway. If you look down on the red carpet you will notice money all around. I found out that the money actually goes to charity. Not only does this family share the Christmas Spirit on their dime and time for all, but they donate the money. Of course I took some money out to be slipped through the fence. I got a lot of enjoyment and happiness out of their hard work!
So if you get the opportunity, go by the Garabedian house during the holidays. It is an amazing sight to see. They are located at 1605 Pelham Parkway North. You won’t be disappointed! This place truly is an amazing Christmas house!
Christmas is almost here. There are probably a bunch of kids you know wondering where he is and when he is stopping by their house. It is pretty cool to be able to show them on a site called Norad Santa Tracker. Even I had a kick at looking at this site.
Not only do kids get to see where Santa is, was, and headed to next, but they get the opportunity to learn more about the countries he is visiting. This tradition began in the 1950s when children would call the Continental Air Defense Command, thinking there were calling Santa due to an ads phone number misprint. The Director in charge would have his staff check Santa’s location for every child that called.
If any kids wonder how they go about tracking Santa, now you can tell them. According to their site, they use the same satellites that are used in detecting any possible missile attacks on North America as soon as their radar informs them Santa has taken off. That is honestly just the beginning and if you want to find out more visit their website! There are also a ton of other FAQs kids may want to know about Santa, that they have answered. They have even gone as far as to let you know The Sleigh’s details. This will also give you another way to enjoy the story of Santa with the kids in your life.
There is a lot more you can do on their site and they have an app you can download. Keep in mind the kids can’t track Santa till he leaves the North Pole which is very soon! Don’t forget while he is stopping at different countries click on them and learn some stuff about those places. Inspire the wanderlust in your children.
Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and enjoy tracking Santa! Check out Norad Santa Tracker
I love going to the movies, which isn’t much of a surprise if you know me or read my About Holly section. I will even go to the movies while traveling sometimes. Usually it is when I am staying with friends and family. I have been to a lot of different theaters in different states, but one small chain has stuck out to me, iPic Theaters.
There are many movie theaters popping up with comfortable lazy boy seats and full menu meals, but iPic Theaters does this extremely well! It is a small chain that is growing across the United States. They can be found in Scottsdale, AZ, Pasadena, CA, Bethesda, MD, Austin and Houston, TX and more. Imagine having this kind of experience in your own home, through somewhere like this Home Theater Installers in the UK, that would be amazing, wouldn’t it?
iPic is a very luxe theater and the prices range from locations, times, and if you are a member or non-member. The last time I went I paid $28 at the Pasadena location. I know your jaw dropped, yes I spent that much on a movie ticket. My ticket allowed me to sit in a very comfortable lazy boy. It came with a blanket and a pillow so I could feel right at home. I was also given unlimited popcorn. Every time I wanted more popcorn I would press a button for someone to bring me more. No getting up!
There is a table in the middle between you and another person at this location where you can order food or a drink as well. Although they are setting up every theater different, the one in Pasadena had limited seating to allow for space. It really felt like I was at home relaxing, but with the beauty of a huge screen and amazing sound. This got me thinking that I needed to upgrade some of our cinema system at home. As soon as I got home, I got online at RM Projectors.com and started shopping!
iPic Theaters also has the Salt Lounge where you can relax, have a drink, and talk with your friends. There is also Tanzy Express where you can buy chef prepared food, beer, martinis, wine, and more. Best part is you can take it all into the theater with you! Some locations also have Tanzy Restaurant, which also includes a full service bar. They have made an entire experience out of going to see a movie. They have thought of ways to please their customers before, during, and after the movie.
If you are hanging out with friends or family, see if there is an iPic Theater in the vicinity. It is definitely an experience you will enjoy. You can find one close to you here Locations.
If you have ever been some where and tried to figure out what to eat, but wasn’t sure, Urbanspoon is the app for you! This app does a lot of great things and is free! There is also a website. At the moment Urbanspoon can be used in the United States, Canadian cities, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and Ireland. Here are some of the great things this app does:
1. There is a SHAKE area of the app, which is what I use the most. It helps you find or choose the type of food you are looking for, in a certain area, and price range. Or if you are indecisive and none of that matters you can allow it to choose for you. There are little locks you can tap to lock and unlock the city, type of food, and price range. So if you happen to want to stay in a certain area and keep a certain price range, but aren’t sure of the food you want, it will help you. There are a ton of combinations to help you pick out a place to eat.
2. You have the ability to see reviews for restaurants, photos, and even menus. You are also able to post that information for others to see as well. With that it also shows the establishments hours, a website if they have one, and directions.
3. You have the opportunity to make reservations. The app lets you know which restaurants take reservations and how much they have left open to accept one. This is done through OpenTable.
4. If you are looking for a particular type of food, the app can show you everywhere in the city you are in where that type of food is. Or you can just look by neighborhood.
This is a great app for any foodie or if you just want to find a place to eat. It is also great when you and the person you are with are having a hard time narrowing down where you would like to eat. The SHAKE area of the app can help greatly with that.
Just in case you weren’t aware the DMV stands for D.C, Maryland, and Virginia. Many people are now commonly referring to it as the DMV. So no, I didn’t spend an entire weekend at the Department of Motor Vehicles haha.
I actually used to live in Silver Spring, Maryland for a few years when I was younger. I have pretty much been to every monument and museum. Silver Spring is extremely close to D.C. so if you are looking for cheaper accommodations this is a great option.
Silver Spring has certainly come along way from when I used to live there. They have built it up tremendously. There are a lot of big companies in the heart of it such as the Discovery Channel offices. Although the City Place mall looks deserted when you step inside, the outside area is great! It was fun to walk around and not only reminisce, but see all the new things around.
I picked the Hampton Inn in Silver Spring to stay at. Valet parking is $15 or you can park in a lot which I was told was around the corner. Also if you decide to Valet, keep in mind to call at least 15-20 minutes ahead of time if you want your car. The hotel staff was very nice and lobby looked inviting. They also served free breakfast in the mornings with a variety of food. It was really good and you were able to make your own waffles!
The room was very nice. Had a couch and a really nice comfortable bed. Although there were a few times were I could hear other people flushing the toilet. They could afford to sound proof the rooms a bit better. Hearing people in the hallway while you’re trying to sleep wasn’t that great either. There was also a really nice pool that I enjoyed and a fitness room. The best part of the hotel was being able to walk and have a ton of options of restaurants. It it also about a 10 minute walk to the Metro. I would certainly stay here again and recommend the hotel.
Speaking of the Metro, every person I encountered that worked there were extremely rude. This was not great because I had questions and they really didn’t want to answer them. A few tips about their Metro:
1. Everyone needs their own separate Metro Card.
2. The amount you spend on your ride, depends on how far you go. You need money on your card to get out of the station.
3. The trains run so slow and sometimes stop for long periods of time, so plan accordingly if you are on a time schedule.
Other than that the Metro is the way to go. Taking a cab, especially into D.C. is going to cost you a pretty penny. Mainly due to the traffic.
Although we missed the boat we were originally supposed to get on due to traffic, a very nice gentleman allowed us on another boat where we were able to ride up and down the Potomac River. It was a party boat, pretty much a club on water. I had a lot of fun enjoying the sights and people watching.
The day we decided to go sightseeing happened to be the day it wanted to on and off pour rain. Despite the rain it was an amazing day. It was fun seeing the Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and The World War II Memorial. The rain hindered a few other sightseeing and food options, but was still a ton of fun.
While walking we stopped a couple of people to ask where they thought was a good place to eat. They told us they just came from a restaurant, Elephant and Castle Pub and Restaurant. If you are into London delicacies like fish and chips this is the place to go. They also have American food. The food was good and the atmosphere was nice.
We also headed over to Rockville, MD were they are building up as well and it is really nice. Restaurants and a movie theater it felt very quaint. It was also fun heading over to the National Harbor outlet mall. It was a beautiful drive and a lot of great stores for me to do a little shopping. I also noticed they are getting ready to build an MGM Casino there.
All in all it was an amazing and fun weekend!