Tag Archives: Christmas

From Dominic's Holiday Reading List: "My Twins' First Christmas"


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This is quite a fun year for Dominic because he’s really starting to enjoy books.  We read a book every night, and this is his newest addition to his reading list.  My Twins’ First Christmas is from the “My Friend Paris” book series by Jackie Singer.  In this holiday tale, Paris has new twin sisters, Liberty and Victoria, and she shares their adventures learning about the different ways people can celebrate Christmas.  Dominic said he really enjoyed this book and loved the colorful pictures.  His favorite parts of the book were when Paris and her family donated their extra cookies to charity and when their mommy read them a bedtime story because it’s like when we read him stories at bedtime.  Dominic said that although he loves it when I read books to him, he’s excited to learn to read about Paris and her Christmas adventures on his own next year!

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide!

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If you’re like me, you’ve waited until the absolute last-minute to get your gift list together for the Christmas Holiday.  I do it every year, and I don’t know if I’ll ever learn to be proactive and do it earlier.

So what I’ve done is found some really cool gift ideas that are a bit outside of the norm, and only one requires actual gift wrap.  Cheers and happy shopping!


 Caffeine Crawl 2015 Tickets

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The Caffeine Crawl takes place January 23-24 2015, and showcases 16 different coffee houses in San Diego.  Tickets range from $23-30 per route, but it looks like you get some goodies along with your tickets.  This is a great gift for the coffee lover in your life!

Tickets include an event packet with Crawl goodies and souvenirs, admittance to all stops on your selected route which includes a drink or chocolate sample provided and determined by each shop, and short, educational presentation.


 Afternoon Tea at Mary’s English Kitchen

Marys English Kitchen from YelpI had such a wonderful time during my own afternoon tea experience at Harrods (original post here), so I have been looking for another experience to match it.  When Katie from the blog La Jolla Mom mentioned Mary’s English Kitchen in La Jolla, I thought about getting that as a gift for me and my girlfriends as a great afternoon out.  If you want to do the same, you can call them at (858) 263-4614 to inquire about gift certificates or to make a reservation.

(Photo courtesy of Yelp!)


ClassPass Gift Cards

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Recently, I was able to take part in a month membership to ClassPass (post here), where one month’s membership gets you unlimited access to participating exercise studios in the San Diego area.  If you have someone in your life who would like to do the same, gift cards are available for one class, a one month membership or three-month membership.  Click on the link for details! ClassPass Gifting


 Duty Free City Gift Certificates

IMG_3506 (2) (1280x1280)After I won my Furla bag from Duty Free City and attended their grand opening (posts here and here), I truly feel it’s a wonderful place to spend a day with family or friends because it’s not just about the shopping, but the experience.  Gift certificates are available to give that experience to someone you love by calling (619) 621-2600.


The Sand Cloud Beach Towel

DSC04225 (2) (1280x1280)Finally, the only gift in my little gift guide that may need actual wrapping paper: The Sand Cloud beach towel.  When I first posted about this fantastic little beach blanket/towel (post here), it was merely a start-up.  Now they have a full-blown shop where you can purchase one for $32.50 and they come in six cool colors.  I have two of them myself: one in Ocean Blue and the Mint Green one pictured above.  Stay tuned…I may have a surprise in the new year for you regarding Sand Cloud!

See Santa by Appointment at The Simon Photo Experience at Fashion Valley!

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Over the weekend, my hubby and I took Dominic to the Fashion Valley Mall to have lunch, make a stop at the Lego store (we always go there first), and to take in the sites of the season.  It’s that time of year when places like Fashion Valley Mall are completely decked out in their holiday finest and seeing such gorgeous seasonal décor makes for a lovely shopping experience.  There’s so much to look at and I know Dominic loves it as much as we do.

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As we made our way to have Dominic’s traditional Christmas photo taken with Santa, we found the line had grown!  I guess we took a little too long enjoying the walk around the mall.  Thank goodness there is a new feature at the Simon® Santa Photo Experience where you can now make an appointment and avoid the line.  Click on http://simon.noerrsanta.com, and you can reserve your magical moment with St. Nick (I set our new appointment for Dominic for this coming Saturday)!  I’ll be sure to post our boy’s picture with Santa later this month.

Check out another fun feature through Noerr Programs:

The Noerr Programs, providers of the Simon Santa Photo Experience, will be sharing the heart of Santa online this holiday season through  “BeMerrySanta®”, where families can keep up with Santa’s daily musings on his Facebook page at facebook.com/BeMerrySanta, on Twitter @BeMerrySanta or Instagram at BeMerrySanta. Parents can also share their child’s good deed with Santa by going to his Magical Badge Generator at simon.bemerrysanta.com. After their child creates their badge, they can show Santa on a mobile device or print out their child’s customized badge. He will merrily reward each child for their kind act with a very special chocolate treat from Lindt, while supplies last.

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Want to make a date with Santa for your little one?  Here are the remaining dates and times for Santa’s appearances at Fashion Valley.  Keep in mind, Santa does take occasional breaks throughout his stay:

12/10/2014, 10:00am – 8:30pm

12/11/2014, 10:00am – 8:30pm

12/12/2014, 10:00am – 9:00pm

12/13/2014, 10:00am – 9:00pm

12/14/2014, 11:00am – 8:00pm

12/15/2014, 10:00am – 9:00pm

12/16/2014, 10:00am – 9:00pm

12/17/2014, 10:00am – 9:00pm

12/18/2014, 10:00am – 9:00pm

12/19/2014, 9:00am – 9:00pm

12/20/2014, 9:00am – 9:00pm

12/21/2014, 9:00 – 8:00pm

12/22/2014, 9:00am – 9:00pm

12/23/2014, 9:00am – 9:00pm

12/24/2014, 8:00am – 6:00pm

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For your shopping convenience, here are the special holiday hours for Fashion Valley:

12/08 – 12/13/2014:  10am – 10pm (Holiday Hours)

12/14/2014:  11am – 8pm (Holiday Hours)

12/15 – 12/23/2014:  8am – 10pm (Holiday Hours)

12/24/2014:  8am – 6pm (Christmas Eve)

12/25/2014:  Closed (Christmas Day)

12/26/2014:  8am – 9pm (Holiday Hours)

12/31/2014:  10am – 6pm (New Year’s Eve)

FTC Disclosure:  I received a gift card as a courtesy to enjoy the Simon® Santa Photo Experience, but not as compensation for this post.  Although I did receive a gift card, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

Give Thanks, With a Grateful Heart

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The holiday season is always a wonderful time to give thanks for all the blessings you have.  I’m thankful every waking moment for a wonderful and loving family, from my immediate nuclear family to my extended family of friends and relatives, and also to my blogging and social media friends.  I’m blessed to be gainfully employed, which I wasn’t last year at this time.  I’m also blessed for myself and my family to be relatively healthy (although we do have history of diabetes and asthma).

Heather Thankful Blog Post 2013

Heather Von St. James is a mesothelioma cancer survivor, who was originally given only 15 months to live prior to her treatment.  She is now an 8 year survivor and has asked me and other bloggers to think about what we are thankful for, and to share her story to spread hope and awareness for others who are going through the same thing.  You can read her amazing story here.  Thank you Heather for reaching out to me, and I would like to wish you, your family, and everyone a wonderful Christmas!

Smile for Santa!

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Each Christmas season, we take Dominic for his annual photo with Santa Claus.  This year, we decided to try out the Simon® Santa Photo Experience at Fashion Valley.  From the crowd gathered outside of Santa’s quarters, it seems to be quite the popular photo spot!  Although there was a bit of a wait, the results were well worth it.  My favorite is where Santa’s helpers directed Dominic to have a chat with Santa, which ended up being an Iron Man wish list. 

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Below you’ll find the remaining dates and hours of Santa’s stay at Fashion Valley, before he takes flight on Christmas Day:

12/13/13 Friday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/14/13 Saturday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/15/13 Sunday 11:00 AM 8:00 PM
12/16/13 Monday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/17/13 Tuesday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/18/13 Wednesday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/19/13 Thursday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/20/13 Friday 9:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/21/13 Saturday 9:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/22/13 Sunday 9:00 AM 8:00 PM
12/23/13 Monday 9:00 AM 9:00 PM
12/24/13 Tuesday 8:00 AM 6:00 PM

(Santa typically breaks from 1-1:45pm and 4-4:45pm daily. Hours and break times are subject to change.)

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FTC Disclosure:  I received a gift card as a courtesy to enjoy the Simon® Santa Photo Experience, but not as compensation for this post.  Although I did receive a gift card, the opinions in this post are strictly my own.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like the Holidays!

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It’s that time of year where my family travels to Las Vegas to spend Thanksgiving with our in-laws.  We will be en route as this posts, so here are a few pictures from when the boys and I attended the tree lighting at Fashion Valley last Saturday to kick off this holiday season.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving, cheers!

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Dominic digging his holiday hat!

Images of Christmas 2012

DSC00045 (2) (1280x1279)I can’t believe that Christmas has already come and gone!  Christmas Eve was celebrated at our house this year, which meant a lot of baking, cooking and preparing the house to receive dozens of our relatives.  My husband played Santa this year, and Dominic asked why.  Deon’s explanation was a very good one: Santa asks parents to help him because he gets so busy during Christmas Eve with all of the deliveries he must make before the morning.  After the party and the clean up Dominic and I prepared milk and cookies for Santa’s arrival.  He woke to find all of his wishes were answered: a train, a helicopter, and a Lightning McQueen Hawk.  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well, and here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!

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Eggnog Cookies (recipe here) and Bibingka (made by my mom)

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Mini-pies and mini-cupcakes

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What do you think: Facebooking or Tweeting?

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Deon – I mean Santa – getting ready to give out gifts to good boys and girls!

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Everyone patiently waiting for their turns…sort of!

DSC00042 (2) (1280x1280)I think Dominic got what he wanted

DSC00048 (2) (1280x1280)My sister and her family

DSC00051 (2) (1280x1280)My cousin’s husband, Absame and their son, Makai

DSC00063 (2) (1280x1280)The next morning, Santa brought over everthing that Dominic asked for!

DSC00069 (2) (1280x1280)Deon and Dominic flying his new helicopter.  I think daddy loves it just as much as Dominic!