SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular plus Kids Free in October

Whoever said Halloween is only a night of fright hasn’t celebrated this boootiful holiday at SeaWorld San Diego®! SeaWorld announces its Halloween Spooktacular®, San Diego’s premiere not-too- spooky family-fun extravaganza (geared for kids 12 years and under). This must-see fangtastic experience kicks off Sept. 24–25 and runs every weekend in October.

And how’s this for the ultimate treat without a trick: SeaWorld is offering one child, aged 3 to 9, free admission with one full-paid adult admission through October, making this fun-filled day at the park an even greater value! Thanks to SeaWorld for inviting my family out to check out the festivities and take part in the fun this year! 

New this year for Spooktacular will be a family-friendly celebration of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos. Large, beautifully dressed Catrina statues will welcome guests as they discover ofrendas (offerings) of mementos and flowers honoring loved ones who have left us.

Children 12 and under are encouraged to dress up in their finest Halloween costumes for a howling good time at this year’s festivities that includes free candy at 12 underwater-themed trick-or- treating stations. Guests can also creep over to the Clyde & Seamore’s Big Halloween Bash performance at the park’s Sea Lion and Otter Stadium, where those prank-loving sea lions, Clyde® and Seamore® , and the always-mischievous O.P. Otter® get their Halloween on. 

Plus, Mission Bay Theater will be the ghostly home for Sesame Street’s Who Said Boo?, starring Elmo and his friends as they sing, dance and romp their way through Count’s Castle. Monsters of all sizes can do the mash at the Spooktacular dance party! DJ Cotton Candy will spin sweet beats that will set the bewitching vibe for the ghoulishly fun costume party! On the dance floor, guests can mingle with candy-inspired characters such as Colonel Candy Corn, Lolly Pop N’ Lockit, and Goody Gumdrop, the King of Candy, plus new this year, Tabitha Taffy and Timothy Toffee.

Youngsters can also let their creative Halloween juices run wild while decorating cookies, painting pumpkins, and, at the kinetic sand bar, building sandy masterpieces.

In addition to taking advantage of SeaWorld’s free single-day child ticket with one full-paid adult admission, dads and mummies can unwrap the same offer at Dine With Shamu ® where each child dines free with the purchase of a full-paid adult, all at poolside tables near SeaWorld’s family of killer whales. Plus, a child age 10 to 12 can participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Interaction Program or Beluga Interaction Program with one full-priced adult participant per interaction (children must be at least 4 feet tall to participate).

What are your kids dressing up as for Halloween?

Visit www.SeaWorldSanDiego.com or call (800) 257-4268 for hours and information.

Ways to Save at the San Diego County Fair

Ways to Save at the San Diego County Fair

The fair opens next week, Friday June 3rd and runs until Monday, July 4th and my family couldn’t be happier to once again attend the fair and make awesome memories. But with so many things going on right now, and so many other activities happening, we have to be frugal when we think of the activities we’re doing over the summer. And that means looking for some great deals and ways to save at the San Diego County Fair.

Luckily I’m a pro at this by now with experiences from past fairs since having kids. And I’ve gotten a little savvy on ways to save and maximize my fair-going experience without shelling out big bucks. Here are a few great ways to save at the San Diego County Fair without skimping out on the fun stuff… or the food!

San Diego County Fair Carousel 2013

Ways to Save at the San Diego County Fair

Buy a Costco Fair Pack

For around $60 we picked up a San Diego County Fair package. It included the following:

  • 4 admission tickets
  • 1 free Passport to Savings book coupon
  • 1 parking pass
  • 4 drink coupons
  • 50 ride tickets

We always purchase one of these so that we can go to the fair on a weekend – crazy busy! – or one of my husband’s off Friday’s and not have to worry about taking the bus in or spending a whole lot on food because we have the coupons. It also gives the kids just enough ride tickets to satiate their need for carnival attractions while distracting them from the carnies who try to lure them into tossing rings or darts in an attempt to get a 25 cent stuffed animal.

Some years we do purchase additional tickets there because 2 kids go through 50 tickets quite quickly! Most rides average between 3-6 tickets each. And that includes adults as well if you have to ride with your child.

Get the Best Pass Ever!

You know you can’t see everything at the Fair in just one day, so here’s your opportunity for big savings with the Best Pass Ever! Just $26 buys one person admission to all 26 days of the Fair; regularly $16 each day (adult admission). On sale online, now through July 3 (one day before the Fair ends). You also can buy the Best Pass Ever at San Diego County Albertsons and Vons stores, now through June 3. For more info see the Best Pass Ever page.

Kids Free Tuesdays at the San Diego County Fair - Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair
Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair selfie sticks

Take Advantage of Kids Free Tuesdays

Children 5 and younger are admitted free every day and do not require tickets. However, if you have kids older than 5, Tuesday, June 27 is Kids’ Day; children 12 and younger are admitted free. (Admission for ages 6-12 other days is $11.)

Free Kids Tickets for Reading Logs
Children 12 and younger who read 10 or more books, verified by a teacher or librarian, get free admission any day of the Fair. (Regular child’s admission is $11.) Download your Reading Certificate [PDF] before school gets out!

Discount tickets at Albertsons and Vons

Albertsons | Vons $5 Fair Days — Come to the Fair for just $5.00 on Friday, June 2; Saturday, June 3; and Wednesday, June 7, 2016. These tickets are available only at San Diego County Albertsons and Vons stores with a $10 minimum purchase. They are not sold at the Fairgrounds.

Save on 20% adult admission tickets: Discount adult admission tickets for $15 (save $3.00 off the regular adult admission price) are available at Albertsons and Vons stores. Albertsons and Vons also will have regular-price senior ($11.00; 62 and older) and children’s ($11.00, ages 6-12) tickets.

The nearest stores to the Fairgrounds are Vons at 2606 Del Mar Heights Road (one exit south of the Fairgrounds) and Vons at 931 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach (one exit north).  And remember – there is a $10.00 minimum purchase required.

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - save money on food at the fair with Taste of the Fair Tuesdays
Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - kids meal deals

Save Money On Food

Taste of The Fair Thursdays

On Thursdays, from 12noon until 5:00PM, you can buy $3.00 taste-sized portions of some of your favorite Fair foods, such as corn dogs, fudge, fish tacos and cinnamon rolls, on Taste of the Fair Thursdays. So many choices! You guys… it’s the PERFECT way to sample everything you love in little bites. Especially if you’re like me and your husband won’t share 5 different dishes at one time and suggests you choose only 1-2 treats.

Kids Meal Deals
Look for the Kids’ Meal Deal signs throughout the Fair at participating food booths. The meal includes an entrée, side dish and drink, plus a free child’s admission, with paid adult admission, to 10 local attractions, for only $5.99.

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - ride tickets packages and other discounts

Get Bussed In or Take Mass Transit!

Save On Parking And Transportation

You can find free parking at the off-site lots and then get bussed into the fair to save money on parking. Find out more information in the Transportation section of the website.

Get a discount on Fair admission if you’re a regular transit rider. Find out more information in the Transportation section of the website.

Ride the train, take the bus, save money!: During the Fair, shuttles transport bus and train passengers from the Solana Beach train station to the Fair’s West Gate (you must present a train or bus ticket to board the shuttle). You can buy the Fair Tripper, a Fair admission-and-public-transportation-fare package; or present a same-day transit ticket or monthly pass at the West Gate window for an admission discount on adult, senior or child admission.

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - teachers and educators discount

Are you a Teacher/Educator?

School Staff Appreciation Days presented by Mission Federal Credit Union
Everyone who helps to educate the next generation are all VIPs in our book, so we want to reward your dedication with a discount day at the San Diego County Fair.

Head to any San Diego County Mission Federal Credit Union branch (starting June 1), present your school employment ID, teaching credentials or pay stub, and receive four $5.00 admission vouchers to the Fair. These vouchers enable you to buy admission tickets on School Staff Appreciation Days, valid for any age, for $5.00.

School Staff Appreciation Days

Friday, June 16
Friday, June 23
Friday, June 30

Tickets are available ONLY at the 27 Mission Federal branches, while supplies last. These tickets will not be available at the Fairgrounds. Find the Mission Federal branch closest to you

Plan to attend Teacher Appreciation Receptions. Teachers and Educators: Please join in for an evening of networking and idea-sharing in the student exhibits, where you can meet the exhibit coordinators and learn how to highlight your students and their work at the San Diego County Fair.

  • K-6 teachers: 4:00-7:00PM in the Best of K-6 Schools Exhibit, Creative Youth Tent, Family Funville
  • 7th grade to community college teachers: 4:00-6:00PM in the Student Showcase Exhibit, 1st Floor, West Grandstand

Saving on Multiple Trips

Free Return Ticket 
Every year we’ve been able to receive a free return ticket back to the Fair just by completing a survey while there. You also get a free return ticket in your Passport to Savings book. So here’s what we do! I go for the Albertson’s $5 day with the kids. Then I turn in my coupon from the Costco pack for the Passport to Savings when I’m there and I take the survey.

That means I have a return ticket for me and the coupon for a return ticket in the Passport to Savings. Then I have my kids’ teachers sign off on his Reading Log to get free admission so everyone in the family can go again before we even use our Costco passes! That’s 3 trips to the fair in one season. Pretty awesome deal!

There are also a few other ways to save that you can find on the Fair’s website here

Ways to Save At the San Diego County Fair - enjoying the fair skyline

Are you going to the fair this year?

5 Reasons to Check Out The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Days at Legoland California

The bat-signal is out – will LEGO® Batman™ save the weekend? On Friday, tundreds of children and LEGO® Batman fans raised placards creating a human bat-signal at LEGOLAND® California Resort officially kicking off The LEGO® Batman™ Movie Days on February 18-19 and 25-26. The signal was a success as LEGO Batman made an appearance surprising guests in attendance.

Our family was invited to check out the festivities and boy did we have fun! With guest appearances from their favorite movie characters, to fun activities and more, checking out the LEGO Batman Movie Days at Legoland California was the highlight of our weekend. 

5 Reasons to Check Out LEGO® BATMAN™ Movie Days at Legoland California

During The LEGO Batman Movie Days, guests will get a chance to: 

  1. Meet LEGO Batman
  2. Search for villains during a scavenger hunt in Miniland U.S.A.
  3. Build their own batmobile to race against other guests
  4. Test their inner model builder skills by helping create a life-size LEGO Batman and LEGO Robin 
  5. Help build a special mystery mosaic mural inspired by the film

The LEGO Batman Movie Days activities are included in the price of admission to LEGOLAND California Resort on the weekends of February 18-19 & 25-26.

Legoland Batman stunt at Legoland California on Friday, February 17, 2017.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Legoland

Who’s your favorite LEGO Batman Movie character?

Monster Jam Returns to Crush Through Petco Park!

Celebrating 25 years of car-crushing, dirt-flying action, the infamous 2,000 horsepower engines are revving up again and ready to roar full throttle back into SoCal as Monster Jam(r), the most adrenaline charged motorsports experience for families on the planet, returns to San Diego for two high-octane weekend events at Petco Park on Saturday, February 18th.

Fans will witness the world’s best monster trucks battle it out in the ultimate event of intense speed, racing, freestyle stunts and demolition with a massive collection of 10,000 lb. metal beasts, including several World Finals champion powerhouses Grave Digger(r), Max D(tm), El Toro Loco(r), Metal Mulisha and Bounty Hunter; plus the San Diego debut truck appearances of the Soldier Fortune(tm) Black Ops, Alien Invasion(tm), Storm Damage, Hurricane Force and more.  Plus 2017 marks the most ever female professional drivers assembled in the history of Monster Jam – with four female drivers (including the youngest female driver ever 19-year old Rosalee Ramer) competing for the San Diego champion title!

In addition to the world-class racing and freestyle competition action, die-hard fans can come to the stadium early on Saturday to enjoy the Monster Jam Pit Party pre-show experience (located in the Lexus Lot) – which gives fans unparalleled access to view their favorite trucks up-close, meet the star drivers for autograph and take photos!

Moster Jam

WHERE: Petco Park – 100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101

WHEN: Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Pit Party open from 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (Event ticket & Pit Pass required for entry; located in the Lexus Lot)

FEATURED TRUCKS:  Grave Digger(r) driven by Charlie Pauken; El Toro Loco(r) driven by TBD; Metal Mulisha driven by Todd LeDuc; Alien Invasion(tm) driven by Chad Tingler; New Earth Authority (N.E.A.)(tm) driven by TBD; Dragon driven by Scott Liddycoat; Scooby-Doo(tm) driven by TBD; VP Racing Fuel(r)’s Mad Scientist driven by Lee O’Donnell; Storm Damage driven by Tim Mente; Hurricane Force driven by Steven Thompson; Big Kahuna driven by Shane England; Fatal Attraction driven by Jeff Murphy – and more trucks to be announced soon!  (truck line-up subject to change)

TICKETS: Tickets start at just $15 each!

Pit Passes available to purchase for $10 each – FREE Pit Passes can be picked up at participating San Diego County Ford Dealers starting late December (while supplies last). 

Tickets now on sale – all seats are reserved; Tickets & Pit Passes are available for purchase online at Tickets.com, charge by phone at 619-795-5555 or in-person at the Petco Park Box Office. 
**ticket prices subject to change – venue/ticketing fees may apply.

Follow Monster Jam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join in on the fun!

For specific information on the San Diego events go HERE!

Who are you excited to see at Monster Jam? 

Kids Eat Free Wednesdays at St. Tropez Bistro

A few weeks ago we were invited up to Encinitas to check out St. Tropez Bistro in celebration of a new offer they’re providing to guests. St. Tropez is introducing Kids Eat Free Wednesdays, where up to two kids can order free kids menu dishes, with the purchase of an adult entree and drink (cannot be combined with other offers or discounts). 

One thing I love is a restaurant that caters to kids. When my husband and I first had kids, we were always nervous to check out new places for fear that others would give us glances or stares when our kids started getting “too loud” for the type of restaurant we were at. So when we find a good family-friendly place, we like to share it with everyone! 

The second thing I love? When the kids menu includes breakfast items all day. Because there’s not much my kids love more than a stack of pancakes and some whipped cream. 

The Atmosphere

As soon as we found parking (boy is that hard to do on a busy day!) we made our way into the small courtyard where Saint Tropez is located. There’s a nice water fountain and little shops all around the courtyard. We found a table outside near the fountain and settled the kids in before heading inside to order. 

Having the option to sit outside with the kids is always a good thing. Especially when it’s a nice day out and the weather is enjoyable. We don’t have to limit them to sitting at the table for the whole meal when they’ve eaten what’s on their plates. 

The Menu

As I mentioned before, the kids love breakfast foods for lunch and dinner. So when they saw pancakes on the menu, they jumped at the chance to order some. But my youngest decided to be a little different and went for the mac and cheese. Each kids meal came with a small bowl of fruit. 

I took quite a while to decide what I wanted to eat because I just wasn’t sure what to try. There were savory crepes, quiches, salads and sandwiches. With a slight nip in the air I wanted something warm. So I went with the Menton panini: roast beef, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and garlic aioli. With the paninis you can opt for a cup of fruit or soup for a small up charge. I chose the french onion soup to pair with my panini. The sandwiches also come with a side salad leaving me very satisfied and full when I was done eating. 

My husband went for his go-to hot sandwich: the tuna melt. And while he wanted to love it, it was a little too dry for his liking. He did enjoy his side salad as well. 

Dessert

One thing you notice as soon as you walk into St. Tropez Bistro are the desserts. Oh the desserts! As soon as we asked the kids if they wanted to try one, their faces lit up. Each of them chose something different: my son chose a chocolate dipped heart sugar cookie, my older daughter chose a brownie (so her!), and the littlest wanted the sprinkle tree sugar cookie. 

But I couldn’t choose something from the display window. I needed to try one of their delicious crepes from the menu! I narrowed it down to the Caramel Apple crepes or the Strawberry Nutella crepes and the strawberry nutella crepes won out. They were served warm and wrapped like little burritos then covered with a drizzle of nutella and good helping of whipped cream. I may or may not have wanted to lick the plate…


St. Tropez has also signed on with UberEATS. Download the app and order from St. Tropez at your convenience, delivered right to your door. And in celebration of National Croissant Day, on Monday, Jan. 30 you can get a free coffee with purchase of a croissant.

They are located at 947 S Coast Hwy 101 (Encinitas, 92024). For more information, please visit www.StTropezEncinitas.com

What is your kids go to menu item when eating out? 

Greystone Steakhouse | San Diego Restaurant Week January 15th – 22nd 2017

 

One of the best things about date night in San Diego, besides the weather, is the plethora of dinner options downtown after we head out of the theater. This past weekend our season tickets to Broadway SD took us to see Rent. It was my first time and I loved it. Why hadn’t I seen it before? I have friends who’ve seen it over 5 times (at various theaters)! After the musical, we were invited to try out the delicious sounding Restaurant Week menu at Greystone Steakhouse on 5th Avenue. Neither my husband or I had ever been there but the menu online was quite intriguing. Certified waygu beef straight from the source? Delicious surf and turf options? Yes please! 

Greystone Steakhouse | San Diego Gaslamp

We were able to walk to the restaurant from the civic theater in less than 10 minutes. The perfect distance to take in the city but not feel out of breath getting from one place to another. And once we walked up we were greeted by a host at their outdoor patio. We walked in and went through the bar and up to an intimate seating area. There was another seating area downstairs from where we were that mirrored the same layout. 

Greystone Steakhouse | The Food

To start we ordered the kale cesar salad. It was the perfect ratio of lettuce to cheese to dressing and the crunch of the romaine fit in perfectly with the earthiness of the kale. Shortly after enjoying our salads we were asked if we’d like to try a few of their other options. The wildboar sausage and big eye tuna tartar were brought out for us to sample. I could not get enough of either however my husband preferred the wildboar sausage. Sweet and savory all on one plate! But to be fair, he’s not much of a raw fish person. 

Then our entrees came out. My husband is a huge steak fan and ordered the petite filet where I wanted to try something a little different. Now I know chicken may not sound different but I hadn’t ordered a chicken dish in so long. And the smoked butter-basted chicken breast with leeks, artichokes, and mushrooms sounded too good not to try. I was also pleasantly surprised to find saffron cauliflower mash. Since I’m following a low carb diet, this meal was right up my alley! And for those who are gluten free, almost the entire menu is gluten free as well! There are also select dishes that are dairy free also. What a great find, right? Another delicious side that was brought out for us to try were the bacon fig brussel sprouts. I thought they were a bit too sweet for my taste but my husband enjoyed one or two alongside is mashed potatoes. 

When dessert came, my husband couldn’t decide between the chocolate lava cake (they flambe it!) or the lemoncello sponge cake so our kind waiter talked him into getting both. The tableside flambe really was a treat! And the lemoncello cake came with a shot of lemoncello. I know a few people who would LOVE this dessert. Since I’m not eating sweets right now, we had plenty left over for the kids to help dig into. And boy did they like that. 

Greystone Steakhouse | Restaurant Week Highlights

For San Diego Restaurant Week, Greystone Steakhouse offers 3 different selections for dinner options with them. a $40 person menu, a $50 person menu, and a $60 person menu. You can find all of the selections offered in each menu here

And as I mentioned previously, this restaurant is perfect for those who are gluten free or dairy free and have such a large array of options to fit any dietary needs. The saffron cauliflower mash was amazing and paired perfectly with my chicken (or my husband’s filet). And the food was so full of layered flavor. Definitely a treat for date night! 

San Diego Restaurant Week | January 15th – 22nd 2017

The 13th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, January 15th through Sunday, January 22nd for an edible extravaganza to ring in the New Year! With over 180 participating restaurants offering prix-fixe menu options throughout San Diego County, you’re sure to find the perfect place to satisfy any craving. San Diego Restaurant Week is proud to announce a very delicious partnership for January 2017 as many of the San Diego Restaurant Week restaurants team up with local Girl Scouts to celebrate the arrival of Girl Scouting in San Diego 100 years ago, as well as the 100th anniversary of delectable, scrumptious, delicious Girl Scout Cookies! To celebrate, chefs are getting creative with America’s favorite cookies to dish out special offerings for SDRW diners.

Over 180 participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $20, $30, $40 or $50 per person and/or two-course prix-fixe lunch menus for $10, $15 or $20 per person. The participating restaurants span across the county from the South Bay to East County and to the borders of Oceanside and Fallbrook to the North.

Satisfy your cookie cravings early by dining out at participating restaurants offering sweet and savory menu items before Girl Scout Cookie Season begins! Enjoy dishes featuring Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, Trefoils, Samoas, Tagalongs, and Savannah Smiles used in recipes that are sure to surprise you. Naturally, you can expect decadent desserts featuring these beloved cookies – but our restaurants are taking Girl Scout cookies to the next level with dishes like Samoas Crusted Fried Shrimp, Do-si-dos Peanut Thai Chicken, salads featuring toasted Trefoil croutons, and more!

Now is your time to dine with over 150,000 fellow diners to celebrate San Diego’s thriving culinary scene. Tickets are not necessary for this delectable week of discounted dining, but reservations are recommended! Visit SanDiegoRestaurantWeek.com for more information, including a list of participating restaurants, or to make your reservations in advance!

What restaurant are you looking forward to trying?

Here are a few we’ve tried in the past: 

Double Standard

SHIMBASHI Izakaya

The Hake Restaurant & Bar

Grant Grill

Oceanaire Seafood Room

 

Find Your Tasty Moment at Taste Of Downtown San Diego | September 15th 5-9pm

taste_web_2016_600x600

Downtown San Diego is fast becoming known for its incredible food, bustling nightlife, and diverse culture. With so many options for your next meal out, it can be daunting to pick just one – but on Thursday, September 15th, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., you don’t have to! 

The Taste of Downtown, sponsored by Makers Quarter, offers you the chance to sample bites from 40 different restaurants throughout the Gaslamp Quarter, East Village, and the Downtown Core. For those 21 and up, Blue Chair Bay Rum will be shaking up cocktails at several restaurants to accompany their tasty offerings. Taste of Downtown tickets can be purchased in advance for just $30, or $35 the day of the event.

s52-lobster-blt-lettuce-wraps

Taste Of Downtown San Diego | September 15th 5-9pm

WHEN: Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

WHERE: Will call will be located at Rustic Root at 672 Fifth Avenue, 535 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101. Participating restaurants are located in the neighborhoods of the Gaslamp Quarter, East Village, Downtown Core District, and Headquarters.

SHUTTLE: Old Town Trolley will be available throughout the evening to transport tasters to each area and neighborhood of the Taste of Downtown.

HOW MUCH: Tickets for this savory stroll are just $30 in advance and $35 the day-of the event, and all proceeds will benefit the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Get your ticket early, as this year will most definitely sell out! For tickets and further information visit www.downtownsandiego.org/events/annual-taste-of-downtown/

cute-cakes

Restaurants Participating

With more restaurants added daily, below is a list of participating Taste of Downtown restaurants. Restaurants with an asterisk are featuring cocktails for those 21 and up!

Gaslamp
 AD Night Club
 Analog *
 BiCE Ristorante San Diego *
 Blush Ice Bar + East West Kitchen *
 Ciro’s Pizzeria and Beerhouse
 Coyote Ugly Saloon
 Don Chido *
 Gourmet India *
 Henry’s Pub and Restaurant *
 Le Parfait Paris
 Ocean Pacific Grille
 Rei Do Gado Brazilian Steakhouse
 Rockin’ Baja Lobster *
 Royal India
 Rustic Root *
 Searsucker San Diego
 The Field Irish Pub *
 Tin Roof
 Whiskey Girl

Headquarters
 Gelato Paradiso
 Seasons 52

The Core
 BIGA
 Carne Asada Bravo
 Dobson’s Bar and Restaurant *
 Parq Restaurant *
 San Diego Donut Bar *
 Sixth Avenue Bistro
 Tender Greens
 Time Out Sports Tavern *

East Village
 Bondar’s Coffee and Sweets
 Bub’s @ the Ballpark
 Chillbox Greek Frozen Yogurt
 Cute Cakes
 East Village Tavern + Bowl
 Knotty Barrel Gastro Pub
 Lotus Thai Cuisine Downtown
 Salvucci’s
 Social Tap
 The Blind Burro
 The Deck at Moonshine Flats
 Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery

find-your-tasty-moment-at-taste-of-downtown-san-diego

Check out San Diego’s thriving downtown dining scene! The Downtown San Diego Partnership invites you to treat yourself and go guilt free. This tasty evening out will give attendees the opportunity to enjoy a tasting tour of Downtown’s favorite restaurants and new additions.

What restaurant are you most looking forward to trying out? 

I’ll be giving away a pair of tickets on Facebook this afternoon so keep your eye out! 

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science at theNAT

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People exhibit Dragons Lair Couch

Last Saturday marked the grand opening of Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science, a brand-new, permanent exhibition at theNAT. The kids and I were invited to check it out a bit early though so we headed over to the museum last Friday to take a peek. As soon as we walked in one kid went one while while the other headed the other way. And boy were they excited to find that not only were there cool items on display, there was also a little book nook upstairs just for them in the Dragon’s Den. 

Located in the new Eleanor and Jerome Navarra Special Collections Gallery, Extraordinary Ideas was developed from the ground up by the Museum’s exhibits staff. The exhibition features approximately 70 rare books, works of art, and photographs from the Research Library’s 56,000-volume collection that demonstrate how everyone can participate in science. Exhibits will also include plant and animal specimens, touchscreen interactives, and touchable models (perfect for little hands).

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People touch and see for kids

A Little History (of course)

TheNAT was founded in 1874 as the San Diego Society of Natural History by a small group of citizen scientists who had a passion for the natural world. They dedicated countless hours to documenting their observations of the flora and fauna in San Diego County. Extraordinary Ideas helps tell their stories by featuring exhibits that showcase works that resulted from their devotion to the natural world.

For example, Laurence Klauber, who is featured in the exhibition, is a locally known amateur naturalist who was the chairman and CEO of SDG&E, and in his off time focused on studying reptiles. In the field of herpetology, he left his mark as the world’s leading authority on rattlesnakes. Klauber donated 36,000 reptile and amphibian specimens to theNAT, including the most comprehensive collection of rattlesnakes in the world.

More To See

In addition to the main exhibition, there is an upper mezzanine featuring two smaller galleries. The first gallery showcases exquisite original watercolors of California wildflowers by renowned artist A.R. Valentien. The A.R. Valentien gallery will display approximately 10 paintings at one time from the 1,094 pieces the Museum has in its collection. The second gallery is named the Dragon’s Den and houses a fantasy book nook designed specifically for children with comfortable seating and antiquarian books depicting dragons and other mythical creatures.

“Very few people have seen the objects that are featured in Extraordinary Ideas and its accompanying galleries,” said Margaret “Margi” Dykens, curator of Extraordinary Ideas and longtime director of the Research Library at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “The objects and rare books on display, some dating back to the 1500s, convey the impact citizen science has had not only on our organization, but the world at large. It’s a great honor to be able to share these items with the public for the first time.”

A Stunning View

The exhibition is on Level 3 of the Museum, and the entryway is clearly marked by a dramatic pediment featuring a griffin, a mythical beast whose image is found in many early natural history encyclopedias. As visitors approach, they will notice larger-than-life natural history books, replicas of 10 books in the Museum’s collection. Once visitors enter the space, they are greeted by wallpaper murals of marbled end papers, a design detail included in many of the Museum’s rare books. To preserve the condition of the featured objects, each gallery is climate- and light-controlled.

Other exhibition highlights include:

  • An extremely rare copy of the gigantic Double Elephant Folio of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The folio, one of only a few intact copies in existence, depicts life-size renditions of a wide variety of North America’s birds.
  • Gorgeous, oversized murals featuring illustrations from rare books, including a Reddish Egret from the aforementioned Birds of America as well as a stunning mural fromHistoria Naturalis Ranarum, a book from 1758 about the natural history of frogs.
  • Exhibits on naturalists—both past and present—featuring rare books alongside specimens from the Museum’s research collections, touchable objects, and multimedia experiences that allow deeper access to the works on display.
  • The top of the Foucault pendulum, which was installed in the 1950s and has been restored and adorned with a new, modern casing.
  • Exposed skylights and other stunning architectural elements from the original 1930s building.

Finding Inspiration 

“Early citizen scientists helped develop our understanding of the natural world, and today they broaden and amplify the work of professional scientists,” said Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “Extraordinary Ideas allows us to show how amateur naturalists began our beloved institution and how they continue to provide vital support for our research projects. Our hope is that visitors will walk away knowing that their observations help make a difference in the world of science and, more specifically, the natural history of our region.”

Extraordinary Ideas will show visitors how they can contribute to the Museum’s research efforts by submitting information on various digital platforms, one such platform being theAmphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California, a binational effort to understand the biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles from southern California and Baja California.

The Research Library’s resources that are not on view in the exhibition continue to remain available for research purposes. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit theNAT’s website or call 877.946.7797.

Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People exhibit A.R. Valentin Mural

When was your last visit to theNAT? 

The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit sdnat.org. Follow theNAT on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on Facebook.

Making Friends In Your Thirties: The Hard Truth No One Told Me About

Making Friends In Your Thirties The Hard Truth No One Told Me About

I’ve always been somewhat outgoing. I’ve always been able to easily strike up a conversation or find something I could relate to the other person. My my has stories of me making friends with other kids on the McDonalds playground or just about anywhere else we went. As I went through school and into my 20s, I had no problems finding friends and people to hang out with. But I didn’t realize how different it’d be once I hit thirty. 

The biggest thing, I think, was the realization that it’s SO much harder to find a solid tribe as you get older. 

One thing I’ve learned, after the many friendships I’ve held, is that I have become more selective in who I bring into my tribe. Sure I have a lot of acquaintances but there are few I let into my life. And even though I’m more selective, I’ve found that the friendships I make are stronger and easier. On a recent trip I was invited on courtesy of Kia, I was able to strengthen some of those friendships I hold dearest to me. The unexpected ones. 

Making Friends In Your Thirties - girl time

I packed my new luggage up with cute outfits and a band t-shirt – Sublime of course – and headed down to the Hardrock Hotel San Diego to spend a few days with Kia and a few girlfriends – old and new. Now I thought I was just heading down to learn more about Kia and their brand, but what I also learned was how important I hold these relationships I’ve forged online. And how much girl time really means when you work full time and care for kids full time. Those two days saved my sanity when I needed it most. 

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Even though we hardly ever see each other in person – sometimes only every few years – each time we meet up it’s as if we’ve never been apart. I don’t have to censor myself, I don’t have to think about what I’m going to say next. Because these friends I’ve formed bonds with get me. They get my world. 

Finding friendship in my thirties has been hard but it’s also been the most rewarding.

So as I headed out to tour my dear city in a Kia Sedona with friend and fellow blogger, Heather Reese, I got to enjoy the smooth ride, adaptive cruise control, and heightened visibility while we talked about everything from our childhoods to our futures. We were able to simply relax and be ourselves even when we were sharing in a brand experience. Because that’s Kia. Down to earth, easy, and fun. Not to mention very, very comfortable. I may or may not have seen myself as a converted minivan mom. Can’t wait to see how the carseats fit in the back! 

Making Friends In Your Thirties - Kia bringing us together

Making Friends In Your Thirties - new adventures

Making Friends In Your Thirties - Horton Plaza Park

When we arrived back to the hotel after driving around and experiencing a bit of everything San Diego has to offer – from sea to mountains to desert – we spent a little more time with Kia. We enjoyed the Harman Kardon sound system as we rocked out and watched the talent that was around us. Live band karaoke and amazing videos created by the influencers as they cruised around in the various Kia vehicles available to us to test drive. 

If there’s one thing that can bring friends together, it’s music. We belted out tunes together and enjoyed the talent of those around us who took to the mic. I may or may not have also stepped up on stage. After, we were able to chat more into the night and simply enjoy time together as friends. And it was exactly what I needed. 

I know how important it is to carve out time for friendships. To continue growing those friendships and focusing on the good people around me. While I don’t have as many friends as I once did in my teens and twenties, I know that the friendships I do have are stronger than ever. And I’m already planning my next girls night…

Making Friends In Your Thirties - firsts in singing karaoke

Have you found it difficult to make friends as you get older? What are the changes you’ve seen? 

While at The New Kia event we were introduced to two new vehicles from Kia to hit the market soon. The new Kia Niro and Kia Cadenza. The Kia Niro is a hybrid utility vehicle – the first of it’s kind and the first Kia to be built from the ground up as a hybrid. We cannot wait to test drive it once it hit’s the market. This is exactly what my husband’s been looking for! 

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Thanks again to Kia for inviting me to The New Kia event! 

MLB All-Star FanFest Coming To San Diego!

Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

The largest interactive baseball theme park in the world is coming to San Diego from July 8th through July 12th. MLB All-Star FanFest is a baseball fan’s dream come true – with chances to meet your favorite players, watch legendary games and participate in many events and activities surrounding the All-Star Game.

More than 40 legends of Major League Baseball and the San Diego Padres will make appearances at MLB All-Star FanFest at the San Diego Convention Center. Fans will have the opportunity to receive free autographs and participate in question-and-answer sessions and clinics led by the former players, all included with the price of MLB All-Star FanFest admission.

Live Radio Autograph Stages

MLB All-Star FanFest Coming To San Diego

For five days, baseball fans will have the opportunity to:

  • Meet MLB Legends and get free autographs
  • Participate in baseball training drills and test out their batting skills in the All-Star batting cages
  • View hometown memorabilia and artifacts from Padres’ history, along with a collection of official awards and trophies of Major League Baseball including the World Series, Home Run Derby and All-Star Game MVP
  • Get their photo taken with the World’s Largest Baseball signed by Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays and others
Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

Major League Baseball Fan Fest during All Star weekend, Friday, July 10, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by J.Geil / MLB Photos)

Again, here are the details:

What: MLB All-Star FanFest
Where: San Diego Convention Center
When: July 8th through July 12th
Tickets: Purchase here (or enter to win a family 4 pack below!)

7 lanes for running 2

Another activity surrounding FanFest is Play Ball Park. Located in front of the Hilton Bayfront, the inaugural PLAY BALL Park will be a nearly 80,000 square foot outdoor location that will operate Thursday, July 7th through Tuesday, July 12th. This baseball diamond will provide fun, engaging and educational activities for youth baseball and softball players and their families.

And don’t forget to sign up for yoga and the All-Star 5k! More details here.

Since FanFest is fast approaching, we don’t want you to miss out on the fun!

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to this awesome event below!

MLB All-Star FanFest San Diego Family 4-Pack



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