Category Archives: World In My Eyes

One More Day to Get Your Photo With Santa at Fashion Valley!

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Can you believe Christmas is already this weekend?  I received the last package today to complete our son’s Christmas present, in addition to finally sending out all of our holiday cards.  One last thing we also took care of this week was Dominic’s traditional photo with Santa at Fashion Valley’s Santa Photo Experience.  If you still need to take care of some last-minute shopping or get that photo with Santa, Fashion Valley will be open on Christmas Eve from 8am to 6pm.  Fashion Valley always look beautiful during the holiday season.  I’ve included some pictures of when Dominic and I attended their tree lighting ceremony last month.

Cheers and I wish you all a wonderful, healthy and safe holiday!

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Dominic gets a kick out of taking pictures with any cast of characters.  He was excited to learn that The Grinch knew about his favorite game, Fallout!

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There’s always wonderful free snacks available at Fashion Valley’s Tree Lighting event!

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Dominic thought long and hard about what he wanted to ask Santa for Christmas!

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Santa helped to countdown the lighting of the tree!

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After the tree was lit, everyone was invited for cookies and crafts!

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Wishing you a Happy Holidays!

Absolutely Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide 2016: The Carlsbad Edition!

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For the third year running, I humbly present again my last-minute holiday gift guide!  I am notorious for waiting until the last-minute, so for those of you who suffer from the same affliction, this is the guide for you.  For this year’s gift guide, I thought I would put a local spin on things and give those of you in the San Diego area places to actually go and grab some great last-minute holiday presents from some of my favorite shops in the Carlsbad area.

Happy Shopping!


Wysh Boutique

Wysh Boutique is one of my favorite boutiques in Carlsbad.   Located in the Village Faire at Carlsbad, they not only have fashionable clothing and accessories, but great gift ideas and gift certificates!

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Gaia Gelato

Also located at the Village Faire, Gaia Gelato has gift cards, but I wouldn’t mind getting gifted a box of their yummy French macarons!

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Sock District

Sock District is new to the Village Faire, so I welcomed them by immediately purchasing a couple of pairs to gift to my sister.  If you visit their site (link above), you can purchase electronic gift cards for your friends and family to shop in their store or online!

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The Beat Clothing

Another one of my Carlsbad favorites, The Beat Clothing has everything you could want for your edgy fashionista friends.  Astrid Montalvo is their on-site stylist and she can help you find the perfect outfit for that concert-goer in your life, or give the gift of rock inspired clothing, shoes and accessories through a gift certificate!

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Spin Records

Of course I need to include a place where you can give the gift of music, and my favorite place to do some digging in Carlsbad is at Spin Records.  I was just there and purchased a white vinyl 7-inch single of Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around with his cover of Personal Jesus (pictured below).  They also have t-shirts, buttons, patches and gift certificates for that crate digger in your life!

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Note:  This is not a sponsored post.  Although I mention specific shops, all suggestions are strictly my own. 

The Latest From LEGOLAND®: The 14th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony!

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At the end of November, I took my sister, my niece and my son to celebrate the kick off of Holidays at LEGOLAND® California Resort with their 14th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony!   Along with General Manager of LEGOLAND® California, Peter Ronchetti, Santa Claus and Lego Brick Santa, Stana Katic from the hit TV series Castle and her niece, Sophia, joined in the festivities and pulled the switch to set off the amazing fireworks display right before lighting of the amazing Lego Brick tree.  To the delight of all of the children present, the ceremony concluded with snow falling over the crowd!

Holidays at LEGOLAND® California run from November 25, 2016 to January 1, 2017 and include events such as a holiday show at Heartlake City, special holiday treats (churros con chocolate, holiday cookies, peppermint milkshakes, apple cider and hot chocolate) and the opportunity to take your holiday photos with Lego Brick Santa and his reindeer.  Click here to get your tickets!

Legoland Holiday Tree lighting ceremony on Monday, November 28, 2016 in Calsbad, CA.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Legoland)

Official Legoland Picture (Legoland Holiday Tree lighting ceremony on Monday, November 28, 2016 in Calsbad, CA. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Legoland)

Prior to the tree lighting, LEGOLAND® California Resort donated $10,000 on Stana Katic’s behalf to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  

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“The LEGO Christmas tree stands 30-foot tall, is created out of more than 245,000 green DUPLO® bricks, features more than 400 LEGO ornaments and sparkles with more than 11,000 LED lights. In honor of the new Castle Hotel breaking ground in January, Master Model Builders created 15 new LEGO castle ornaments that hung from the enormous LEGO Christmas tree.”  – from the LEGOLAND® California Press Release

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Stana Katic with her niece Sophia

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Me with my sister, Rholnna, her daughter Mei-Lin and my son Dominic (taken by Suzanne Bartole).

(All photos by Rholnna Jiao except where otherwise noted)

Lunch With the Girls at Oggi’s in Rancho Carmel Plaza

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It’s not everyday that I get the chance to go out and spend an afternoon with my sister, Rholnna, and my niece, Mei-Lin, so it’s wonderful when that opportunity happens.  Since my sister’s family lives in Rancho Bernardo, I headed north a couple of weeks ago and we decided to eat at Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co., located in Rancho Carmel Plaza in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area.  Oggi’s is a family spot that my husband, son and I like to frequent because of their delicious menu and sports bar surroundings.  I’ve watched quite a few San Diego Chargers games at Oggi’s!

I’ve always had their pizza, sticking with favorites like The Works or The Heavy Weight.  For this outing, I decided on the Prosciutto Mac & Cheese because I have this secret goal to try a “mac & cheese” dish at every restaurant that offers it!  I’m glad I strayed from my norm because this version was absolutely delicious.  The three-cheese blend elbow pasta, baked with crispy prosciutto, broccoli and crushed red peppers looked great in the menu description, and was even better on my plate.  I guess I’ve met my new favorite! My sister and niece both felt like pizza for lunch, but had different tastes in which ones they wanted, so it’s great that Oggi’s offers several sizes, including a personal size.  We had a fantastic time, but it’s easy when there’s great food in a fun atmosphere!

Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. is located at Rancho Carmel Plaza, 10155-10195 Rancho Carmel Drive, San Diego, CA 92128.

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Prosciutto Mac & Cheese

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Personal Size “Create Your Own” Pizza

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Kids’ Mini Cheese Pizza

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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.

(Photos by Rholnna Jiao and myself)

Blogsgiving 2016

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Our family Thanksgiving happens annually in Las Vegas and it was filled with fun and food, and of course a little shopping.  But prior to our family gathering, I celebrated “Blogsgiving” with a few blogger friends at Hotel La Jolla where we previewed the new fall menu at CUSP Restaurant by Chef Ingrid Funes.

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Our table was dressed with gorgeous flowers by Melissa from Madmade Designs and Louie from 656 Photography documented the entire evening!

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I was in superb company with these beautiful bloggers!

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Above: Tiffany of Glitz & Glam By Tiff, Moi & Paulina of Lil Bits of Chic

Below: Maria of Savvynista, Kali of In-Spades, and Jenna of Lucky Little Mustard Seed

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Bloggers doing what we do best!

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This is the Fall menu for Cusp Restaurant, and we pretty much sampled a bit of everything!  But I’ll feature what I ate that evening, which was simply amazing!

My appetizer was the Crab Cake with sweet and sour bell pepper relish & green goddess sauce (above, in front of the Crispy Pork Belly).  My main dish was the Lobster Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Kale as my side dish.  Both dishes were savory and absolutely delicious!

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I closed the evening with a Sweet Potato Tartlet with cinnamon ice cream.  I think heavenly would be the appropriate way to describe this delectable dessert!

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Chef Ingrid Funes came to meet with us during our dinner.

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We had a blast all through the evening, sharing stories and laughing (a lot)!

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After dinner, Louie from 656 Photography captured more pictures, including this one we’re all calling our “Real Housewives of San Diego” pose.  Maybe someone can come up with a bloggers version for reality TV?

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Our lovely co-hosts for the evening, Jenna and Paulina!

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 Many thanks to Hotel La JollaCUSP Restaurant, their staff and Chef Ingrid Funes for the delicious dinner.  Thank you again to Melissa from Madmade Designs for the lovely floral table setting and to Louie from 656 Photography for the amazing photography.

Special thanks to Jenna, Paulina, Maria, Tiffany and Kali, who I’ve come to know and love as my friends.  It was a great evening filled with laughter and I was glad to have spent it with all of you!

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Kick Out the Style, Bring Back the Jam

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I’m so excited that it’s finally Fall, and I can wear sweaters, coats, boots and more importantly: LAYERS!  Although the weather was a bit up and down throughout October, I still wore a sweater to see one of my favorite bands from the 80’s, Tears for Fears.  My sister and I have been waiting for them to tour again, because we just seem to keep missing them.  Thank goodness they decided to end their tour with two dates in the San Diego area, and we were lucky to get tickets to their sold out Saturday October 8th show at Pechanga Theater.

I have been wearing more and more comfortable clothing to concerts because it just makes the night so much easier to handle, especially since I really like to stay standing and dance my heart out!  Overall, this is a very basic outfit consisting of a sweater, leggings and sneakers.  The criss-cross on the sweater meant I didn’t need a necklace, but I still added a few other details to keep my outfit stylish, like a fedora, bold ring and cute purse.  Although comfy, I still like to feel dressed up enough because you never know who you’ll meet…like maybe one of the band members after the show!

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Outfit:  Lush sweater & ring (c/o) from Wysh Boutique (original post here); Girlfriend Collective leggings; Rebecca Minkoff purse; Stan Smith by Adidas with cork soles from Size.co.uk; Lookmatic glasses; Unknown brand fedora

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Yes, that would be me, my sister and Rob, all meeting Curt Smith after the show!  He autographed my records (below).  Unfortunately, we did not get that same chance with Roland Orzabal.  Maybe next time?

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“Head Over Heels”

(Outfit photos by Rholnna Jiao.  All other photos & video by me.  Post title: Lyrics from “Sowing The Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears)

The Latest From LEGOLAND®: Spooktacular Fun at Brick-or-Treat 2016!

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Halloween is just around the corner, and this is your last weekend to get in on all of the festivities at LEGOLAND® California!  We went last weekend, and it’s amazing how they transform LEGOLAND® into the hauntingly happiest place to be!  To really turn up the fun, come in costume, like Dominic did!

If you want to attend Brick-or-Treat, you’ll have to purchase tickets at the park because pre-book online tickets have sold out.  If you can’t make it out, my husband and I captured lots of pictures of our spooktacular night.  Cheers and Happy Halloween!

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I think my bracelet matches the decor, no?

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We started off at the Heartlake City Fall Festival!

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There were Treat Stations EVERYWHERE with 1 million pieces of candy total!

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I think Dominic found some creepy-crawlies lurking about Miniland USA!

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There were so many photo opportunities with cool backdrops and fabulous costumed characters throughout LEGOLAND®!

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Hubble Bubble’s Dance Party!

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Believe it or not, LEGOLAND® got even better as it got darker!

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Dominic and daddy taking a much-needed snack break!

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One of Dominic’s favorite pastimes: LEGO® building!

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So, I had to post this picture because I failed so miserably the first time we rode NINJAGO The Ride, putting up only 3,000 points (post here)!  Now I can safely say that I redeemed myself at 129,550 points, securing the 3rd best score of the entire day!