Blonde Ambition: The New Starbucks Flavor Sensation at Rancho Carmel Plaza!

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My weekends have been quite interesting lately, especially with my husband!  I finally got the chance to hang out with him for a full game of golf last weekend, which was actually quite fun.  But our weekends have lately been filled with “The Hunt”, as we’ve come to name the all consuming search for Funko Pop! vinyl figures.  On the way to Barnes & Noble in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area, we dropped by Rancho Carmel Plaza, a little strip mall usually frequented by me and my sister.  I wanted to try the new coffee flavor sensation, Starbucks Blonde Espresso.

I do have to say that this is one of my favorite Starbucks locations because of this very seating area (below).  It looks more like a comfy living room rather than a coffee shop, and if you placed an ottoman in front of me with my favorite movie playing in the distance with a nice cup or coffee or tea, I swear I could sit there for hours.

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On to the coffee: I really loved it!  It is a light roasted espresso, and is supposed to be creamy with hints of lemon and orange.  I was told by the barista that the Blonde Espresso would be smooth and sweet, and I would have to agree.  I had the Blonde Espresso Latte and I drank it straight without adding any type of sweetener.  After that kind of first impression, I am anxious to try all of their Blonde Espresso offerings:  the Blonde Vanilla Latte, the Iced Blonde Caffe Americano, the Blonde Cappuccino, and the Blonde Flat White.  But I think I will also ask if they will do a shot of Blonde Espresso on its own, just so I can get the full taste of the espresso and see if I can taste those citrus notes at its purest.

Starbucks is located at 10195 Rancho Carmel Drive, San Diego, CA 92128 and they can be reached at (858) 613-7754.  They are open Monday to Saturday from 5:00 am to 8:30 pm and Sunday from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Cheers and here’s to one smooth cup of (Blonde) ambition!

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FTC Disclosure:  I received compensation to patronize a business at Rancho Carmel Plaza.  Although I did receive compensation, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

The Latest From LEGOLAND®: LEGO NINJAGO Days Jan. 13 & 14

The Latest From Legoland

Where did the time go?  It’s 2018 already, and we’re starting off with a bang at LEGOLAND® California Resort!  It’s Ninjago Days this weekend to celebrate the opening of the new 4D movie, LEGO®NINJAGO® – Master of the 4th Dimension!

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We attended the media preview last night, but in all honesty, we missed the movie!  After picking up my son and then my niece, we hit more traffic than anticipated and arrived after the last showing.  We still caught some of the fun of the evening, and we’ll definitely come back to watch it.  But YOU can still catch it this weekend!  Check out all of the information below, mixed in with some pictures from the event last night.

I’ve also included pictures from when we attended Ninjago Days last year in celebration of The Ninjago Movie and the new video game back in September 2017.  Cheers!

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WHAT:

The LEGO® NINJAGO® phenomenon continues at LEGOLAND® California Resort during LEGO NINJAGO Days Jan. 13 & 14 to celebrate the opening of the new 4D film, LEGO®NINJAGO® – Master of the 4th Dimension, playing exclusively at LEGOLAND Parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers nationwide. Guests are invited to join in the LEGO NINJAGO fun at the family theme park and meet some of their favorite “The LEGO® NINJAGO® Movie” characters including Lloyd, Sensei Wu, Kai, Jay and Nya. Guests can also participate in activities such as completing a scavenger hunt in Miniland U.S.A. and put their ninja gaming skills to the test with the brand new “The LEGO® NINJAGO® Movie” video game. All activities are included with the price of admission into LEGOLAND California Resort.

WHEN:

January 13 & 14, 2018

WHERE:

LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad, CA

ACTIVITIES:

LEGO® NINJAGO® – Master of the 4th Dimension

Become part of the 4D action as you join the NINJAGO heroes at a very special training session in the 4th Dimension in this exciting 12 minute movie

THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™ Character Meet & Greets

Meet the stars of the “The LEGO® NINJAGO® Movie™” in LEGO® NINJAGO® World!

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Miniland Scavenger Hunt

Find the ninjas in Miniland U.S.A. and complete your entry form for a chance to win a LEGO®NINJAGO® prize pack!

WB Family GameSpace featuring THE LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™ Video Game

Master new skills and upgrade your weapons in your training to find your inner ninja in this brand new video game.

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Images from the Ninjago Days Blogger Event – September 2017

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Dominic was masked and ready to go!

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Brian Austin , Manager, Brand Marketing Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. He was explaining the game and movie tie-in, in addition to answering questions.  He was so nice!

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Dominic and Mei-Lin playing The Ninjago Movie video game in the Warner Bros Family Game Space.

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The Ninjago Movie tie-ins at Ninjago World

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Had to grab my favorite meal, the Bao Buns from The Ninja Kitchen, of course!

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Goodies from the blogger event, including a Ninjago Movie video game for Dominic for the XBOX One, and a PS4 version for Mei-Lin!

Cave Tools Burger Press Review: Patties Made Easy!

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I love a great burger, especially homemade ones.  My husband makes fantastic burgers, filled with onions and other secret ingredients to make it savory and mouth-watering.  One tool my husband didn’t have in his arsenal of cooking utensils was a way to make the perfectly portioned burger patty.  So earlier this week, he tried the Burger Press Patty Maker by Cave Tools and found a new favorite!

My husband said that using this Burger Press Patty Maker cut his prep time in half, getting these delicious patties to the grill in no time flat!

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This Burger Press Patty Maker comes with 200 non-stick patty papers!

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To purchase your own Cave Tools Burger Press, click the links below AND, you can get 15% off with the following code!

Burger Press 15% Off: BURGER15

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074ZKMCY9/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&sr=8- 2&keywords=burger+press&m=A3IEEDMWTA8OSP&tag=hyacinth14-20

Cave Tools: https://cavetools.com/products/burger-press-patty-maker

FTC Disclosure:  I received the product in exchange for a product review.  Although I did receive product, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

Happy Holidays 2017

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I hope this season finds you and your families happy, healthy and full of cheer!

In the grand tradition of my blog during the Christmas holiday, I’ve included Dominic’s annual Santa picture.  This year, Dominic went with Dad back to Las Vegas to visit the family while he’s on winter break.  I had to stay home because of my new job, but Grandma took him to Bass Pro Shops and got this great picture of Dominic hanging out with Santa rather than the standard one where he’s perched on Santa’s lap.

Merry Christmas everyone, and please enjoy my Christmas Mixtape on Spotify!

Have Tacos Any Day at Senior Taquero!

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Rather than Tuesday, Dominic and I had tacos on a Sunday!  While out and about just before the Thanksgiving holiday, we had lunch at Senior Taquero in Sabre Springs Plaza.  The menu is very straightforward, with so many items to choose from!  But we stuck to our favorites: rolled and street tacos.  I had the shredded beef rolled tacos topped with lettuce, salsa fresca, guacamole and cheese.  Dominic came a little bit out of his comfort zone by having birria tacos (shredded beef short ribs), which comes with salsa fresca and guacamole, much to his delight!

We can always count on our 8-year old to be open and honest about what he likes; not only did he order an additional two more tacos, but he gleefully said, “Mom, we have to come back here, my tacos were so good!”  There you have it, out of the mouths of babes, Senior Taquero is a must for tacos anytime!

Senior Taquero is located at 11385 Poway Rd San Diego, CA 92128 and they can be reached at (858) 668 -2467.  They are open seven days a week from 8am to 10pm, and you can skip the line by ordering ahead online at their site here.

Cheers!

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Shredded Beef Rolled Tacos with lettuce, salsa fresca, guacamole and cheese

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Birria Tacos with salsa fresca and guacamole

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Dominic approved!

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FTC Disclosure:  I received compensation to patronize a business at Sabre Springs Plaza.  Although I did receive compensation, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

Record Store Day Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

The Thanksgiving weekend is always bustling with family, good friends and even better food, but it also means some kind of sale is going on.  Typically, we’re in Las Vegas and my mother-in-law and I head out in the extreme early morning to take advantage of doorbusters at places like Target or Walmart.  This year, we’re here in San Diego, and last night, my husband and I actually went out after dinner and braved our local mall.  He wanted to take advantage of some Funko Pop exclusives at Game Stop and it was just as busy as if it were a regular weekend.  It was a bit much, and we headed home after just a round at the mall.

Although I won’t be giving into the craziness that is Black Friday, something we definitely have taken advantage of is Record Store Day’s version of this shopping holiday and participating in Small Business Saturday.


RECORD STORE DAY BLACK FRIDAY 2017

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Just like the Record Store Day listing that is put out annually in April, here is this year’s listing for RSD Black Friday 2017:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/recordstoreday/2017/2017_BLACK_FRIDAY_PUBLIC.pdf

Here’s a list of some of my favorite record stores in San Diego.  Share some of your finds in the comments below!

Record City

M-Theory Music

Lou’s Records


SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY 2017

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I am such an advocate of shopping locally and showing the businesses in my local community love and support.  You can do the same by shopping small on Saturday and giving back to the community we live in by participating in Small Business Saturday.

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/

Here are links to a few of my favorite local businesses in San Diego, which have been featured frequently here on my blog.  Show them some love on Small Business Saturday!

Vocabulary Boutique

Wysh Boutique

Carlsbad Village Faire

Bubbles Boutique

Sabre Springs Plaza

Poway Valley Center

Rancho Carmel Plaza

Liberty Public Market

Seaport Village

Poway Valley Center Renovation Update!

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In the blink of an eye, the renovations at Poway Valley Center have made some incredible progress!  Along with the top picture, this is the blog post from just three months ago here.  Compare them to the pictures below that my sister snapped this weekend.  What a difference a few months make!

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All photos by Rholnna Jiao