Run! Don’t Walk, to go See McFarland, USA! #McFarlandUSA

Run! Don’t Walk, to go See McFarland, USA!

By Erin

Disney’s newest film McFarland, USA has hit the ground running today. Mcfarland, USA is the true story of how a cross country coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) rounded up a very unlikely group of Latino teens with uncertain futures and made them into true champions. McFarland is in California and is a predominantly Hispanic farming town where residents worked in the fields as “pickers.” With the odds stacked against them, this high school cross country team has a heart of gold and the determination of a tiger, they would not give up. With obstacles such as a non-existent budget, widespread prejudice, and the boys families needing them to help out in the fields everyday, White was able to show that “champions can come from anywhere.” The team became state champions in 1987. This film is truly an enjoyable one filled with many inspirational and motivating messages. You can do anything your heart desires, if you are willing to put in the time, dedication, and heart to make it happen.


The scenic and awe inspiring beauty of California is highlighted by Director Niki Caro, creatively making use of the cross country courses, from the urban landscape of McFarland, including the state prison right next door, to the surreal surroundings of the cross country meets that winded through hills, lush trees and other greenery.   The production took the cast and crew to some of the most beautiful spots in Southern and Central California, from Lake Castaic to Malibu to the Griffith Park Observatory, in addition to the fields and neighborhoods of Bakersfield and McFarland.


Here are a few more interesting facts to note about McFarland, USA as you run out to go see this inspiring film.

  • Coach Jim White is retired now, but if you go to McFarland, chances are you will see him out there on his bike, keeping up with the kids every evening with a lot of his original team running alongside as well. White retired in 2002 after teaching in McFarland schools for 40 years and coaching for 25 years.
  • Many of the original runners on the championship 1987 cross-country team have returned to or have stayed in their hometown to give back to the town that gave so much to them. A lot of these boys have become educators in the McFarland school district. The former teammates are not only working in their hometown, but also raising their families there and actively supporting the cross-country teams of today by coaching, helping out with the meets and practices and donating goods or money so the teams have what they need.

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Taking a Stroll Through the Capitol State Park

Taking a Stroll Through the Capitol State Park

By Erin

A few weeks ago I went up to Sacramento for a total steak lovers media trip. More to come on that soon! 😉 On my last morning there, I had a couple of hours to kill before a fancy car was being sent to take us all back to the airport to start our journeys back home. The State Capitol of California was only a short block or two away from the hotel I was staying at, so I decided to explore the grounds surrounding the beautiful Capitol at the Capitol Park, the 40-acre grounds of the Sacramento Capitol, that includes trees and shrubs from around the world. There are approximately 1140 trees in the park, representing over 200 types of trees. Also featured on the grounds is approximately 155 memorials to significant events and people involving California and other points-of-interest.

I always enjoy my time up in Northern California, it’s so beautiful and different than it is down here in Southern California. Take a look for yourself. Isn’t it gorgeous? I could totally go for a morning walk here any day!


The path leading up to the capitol, and my first view of it.

Capitol Park

There are all kinds of interesting statues and monuments to be found around the park. Here is a statue honoring those who served in the Spanish-American War and a reproduction of the Liberty Bell.

Capitol Park 1014

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Do You Know the Way to San Jose? @TeamSanJose #SanJoseUnplugged

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

By Erin

*Disclosure: I participated in a media tour to San Jose; all thoughts and opinions are my own*

San JoseLast month I ventured up to San Jose for a very fun and exciting FAM trip. Normally you might just pass on through San Jose not giving it a second thought as you move on to other destinations such as San Francisco or Napa Valley, but there is so much you are missing out on! I will be doing a series of posts this month all about some of the things to see, do, stay at and eat out at in this wonderful city. There is still so much for me to explore myself in San Jose, I hope to be able to return again soon! San Jose truly is a city for any foodies out there. The food alone makes me want to go back, NOW! 😉

Here is some information about San Jose and what I look forward to sharing more with you about shortly as we make our way through San Jose.

Why would you want to come to San Jose? San Jose is rich in history, culture, the arts, and more.

*San Jose is the oldest civilian settlement in California, founded in 1777.

*The site of the first state capital.

*Silicon Valley is very pet friendly—San Jose has approximately 20 dog parks or dog friendly parks.

*It is Northern California’s Largest city with a population of 945,942 (2010 census).

*The third largest city in California and the tenth largest city in the nation.

*The sun shines an average of 300 days a year in San Jose.

*Average daily temperatures range from January’s 50’s to July’s 70’s

Here is a little bit of what I experienced and will share about in my San Jose series.


San Jose FoodieIt was one decadent meal after another. You could wine and dine in San Jose for days and keep finding new places that you love. I found so many places that I’d love to go back to and saw others I’d love to try. The San Pedro Market below has enough options alone that I’m sure you could have something different every day of the year.San Pedro Market

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