Tag Archives: travel

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)

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!

KAABOO 2016 Day 2 Recap

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As I mentioned in a previous post (here), Angi and I won single day passes to KAABOO.  Sadly, Angi couldn’t make it due to a work/travel assignment.  Although she tried her hardest to make it happen, alas, it just wasn’t cost effective for her to create time for a break from her out-of-town commitment.  Luckily, my best friend Janice was free and jumped at the chance to see one of her favorite artists live: Lenny Kravitz.  I was anxious to see Gin Blossoms, Collective Soul, Third Eye Blind and Aerosmith, which is already quite the line-up!  For the most part, it is difficult knowing you may not see all of the acts you want to because of the way the shows are scheduled, but because it’s known as “The KAABOO MIX-PERIENCE”, it should be understood that you just have to get to what you can, when you can and you just have to get creative to ensure the best use of your time.

I want to also express wholeheartedly that I had a phenomenal time.  This was my second festival ever (my first was The Rewind Festival, post here), and it was amazing!  I’ve read some negative reviews this year because of what happened after The Chainsmokers set was completed.  Apparently, due to noise ordinances, the “Encore” portion was scheduled to take place indoors.  Because of the limited accommodations, many of the people who wanted to see Ludacris followed by Steve Aoki couldn’t get in, and a near riot happened.  I also read that a lot of people couldn’t get in to see Sarah Silverman as a part of their “Humor Me” comedy club.  I remember the line was pretty insane as we were leaving the Aerosmith show.  Because we chose to make the most of this experience by purchasing a parking pass and arriving incredibly early (12:30 pm), we enjoyed a leisurely tour of KAABOO prior to it becoming crazed and crowded.  We also decided that Aerosmith would be the last act we would see before heading home, where we took the back-way and completely avoided any traffic.  This is why we were so surprised to hear about how insane the night had become just after we left.

Overall, the food was wonderful, the mix of artists was fantastic because I don’t think I would have ever been able to see any of the bands I did in such a short amount of time, and for us, everything went without a hitch.  There was plenty of areas to chill out between the shows, and I liked the “Hydration Stations” throughout to provide much-needed water at an outdoor event, along with several areas to charge any portable communication device (phones and tablets).  I had gone to the San Diego County Fair earlier this year, and the Del Mar Racetrack was completely transformed into a hip alternate universe, which I’m sure was the whole point!  I would love to attend KAABOO again next year, and maybe upgrade myself to the VIP experience.

To make the most of documenting my experience, I broke up this post into three parts:  The Food, The Music, and Everything Else.  I hope you enjoy my recap!

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THE FOOD

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I should have taken pictures of the inside of “Posh Nosh” because not only were there seated areas with tables, but comfy cushions to really get that lounge experience.  Arriving early in the day allowed us time to walk around and get to know all of the food choices.

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Of the food inside “Posh Nosh”, we opted for one of my favorite restaurants, Sausage & Meat.  I’m not the biggest fan of slaw, but add bacon to it and I’m sold!  This was the “2 Eggs, 3 Balls, Slaw” combo meal and it was definitely the heartiness we needed before tackling the day.

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Outside of “Posh Nosh”, there are many places to grab a bite to eat.  After seeing the Gin Blossoms and during Third Eye Blind, we decided on the Lob Mac at Wicked Maine Lobster.  I swear, that’s an entire lobster tail in there!  It was better than I can describe, so shall I say it was wicked good?!

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I ended my KAABOO food experience with a Cinnamon Toast Crunch milkshake from The Milk Bar.  Not only was it absolutely delicious, the crew was so much fun!


THE MUSIC

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GIN BLOSSOMS

I have always wanted to see Gin Blossoms because one of my all time favorite songs is “Hey Jealousy”.  By sheer coincidence of scheduling, they were moved to Saturday and I feel that the universe was aligned for this moment, and it was everything I hoped it would be.  “Til I Hear It From You” and “Found Out About You” were also great live, and they are a fun band to watch.  Check off another one from my concert bucket list!

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THIRD EYE BLIND

I think the picture above should give an indication of just how crowded it got right around 4pm.  As we ate our Lob Mac, we enjoyed the many hits of Third Eye Blind.  I think this picture was taken during “Never Let You Go”, and I was so happy that I also got to hear “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life” live.

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COLLECTIVE SOUL

Truth be told, I’m a novice when it comes to Collective Soul.  That did not stop me from wanting to see them, so this is where Janice and I split-up.  She wanted to catch all of Lenny Kravitz’s show, and I got to witness live the only two Collective Soul songs I know: “Shine” and “Better Now”.  I’m infinitely glad I did, and my hubby was a bit jealous that I caught their show.  “Shine” is even better live!

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LENNY KRAVITZ

Even after arriving a little late, I still got to catch songs like “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, “Fly Away” and “American Woman”.  Great set!

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AEROSMITH

It’s not often you get to witness greatness, and one should acknowledge when that happens.  Aerosmith are rock legends, and it had been over a year since they played live.  There are moments where you need to make a choice, and although The Chainsmokers are wonderful in their own right, there was just no contest when it came closing out KAABOO for us.  “Walk This Way” was worth the price of admission alone, and everything was icing on the cake.  I am truly not worthy.

Janice and I roamed around KAABOO prior to it getting uber-crowded, and took advantage of everything they had to offer in terms of sampling food, photo ops and areas to chill.  One of our favorites was an area called “Indulgences”.  Inside, they offered spa services, retail mini-boutiques, and places to relax and not only recharge your body, but your phone as well!  Between shows, we stayed there to cool off and hydrate.  During a gap after seeing Third Eye Blind and before seeing Collective Soul, I went back on my own before joining Janice at Lenny Kravitz.
 
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There were several areas for fun photo opportunities.  No one ever accused us of being shy!
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 Outside of the music, prominent everywhere was the art.  This was one of my favorites by artist Lauren YS called “Feed Your Head”, which was her take on “Alice in Wonderland”.  Simply breathtaking, especially due to its sheer size.
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 Another favorite rest area outside of “Indulgences” was the Cox Live Lounge.  There was a non-alcohol refreshment bar, plenty of seats and a place to charge up our phones.  We made our mark on their Gigablast mural.
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Our final stop was at the FM 949 booth.  I wanted to capture a picture of us with a KAABOO sign, and after signing the banner, we closed out our night.
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Many, many thanks to Discover SD and Delicious Buzz for the opportunity to win passes to attend KAABOO.  Until next year!

Fashionably Late: June & July 2016 Events!

Catching Up Any Second Now

Yes I know, it’s me again, LATE as usual!  It has been very crazy lately with lots of work events, dealing with exterminators and the newest addition to the family: Joey, who we adopted from Clear The Shelters!  This “Catching Up” post will cover June and July, then I’ll get through August in another post.

Have a great weekend, cheers!


“LIVING IN STYLE” AT POTTERY BARN, FASHION VALLEY – 6/12/16

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In June, I attended the “Living in Style” event hosted by stylist Dean Hall and Autumn Ajirotutu of WAGS (who also has a blog, Temptasteious), at Pottery Barn at Fashion Valley.  She is the wife of Seyi Ajirotutu, who was formerly with the San Diego Chargers and most recently of the Philadelphia Eagles, but is now a free agent.  They both styled some fantastic tables in-store, and Autumn baked delicious treats, which Dominic very much enjoyed!


SAN DIEGO COUNTY FAIR – 6/18/16

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Yes, that is Chicken & Waffles on a Stick and it was everything I hoped it would be!

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I think my hubby wants that Steelers neon sign, what do you think?

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Our brave boy, always ready to try something new, like holding a frog as big as his head!

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I don’t think I documented our adventures at The San Diego County Fair last year on the blog, but I always do everything in real-time if you follow me on my Instagram.  In addition to the Chicken & Waffles on a Stick, I also dove into the French Toast Bacon Bombs head first because it’s what you do at a fair!


COMIC CON INTERNATIONAL – 7/23/16

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Power Puff Girls IRL (sort of)!

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Adventures in South Park:  Not sure what my husband is doing in the picture below, but I think it has to do with Santa Claus?!

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As we did last year, we ventured around outside the world-famous Comic Con because tickets are not as easy to get as they were, once upon a time!  But we still had fun because they’re just so much to do and look at all around the San Diego Convention Center and we were pretty exhausted by the time we got around to it all.

Just for fun, here are my passes from previous years, when you could walk up to the box office and purchase them on the day of the Comic Con.  Those were the days!

Old Comic Con Passes


CLEAR THE SHELTERS – 7/23/16

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For new adoptive pet parents, wonderful free services are offered from their first vet visit to their first grooming session.  We took Joey to Preen 2 Pristine and he got an adorable little bandana after he was groomed fresh and clean!

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Right after the Comic Con, we decided to adopt our newest family member from the Clear the Shelters event.  Meet Joey, our 1.5 year old Chihuahua mix!  He is amazing and we didn’t even have to “potty” train him, so someone must have taken good care of him when he was a puppy.  The description on his cage stated he was good for kids 8 and older, so the handler allowed us to play with Joey prior to making the decision, and so she could see if Dominic would be compatible with him.  Joey and Dominic played well together, and now Joey is a part of our family!

We absolutely love him and we’re so glad we adopted!


MEETING ERICA STOLMAN OF FASHION LUSH AT UNO DE 50, FASHION VALLEY – 7/30/16

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Free gifts with my purchase below!

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At the end of July, I stopped by to meet Erica of the blog Fashion Lush at her Uno de 50 event at Fashion Valley, who is absolutely adorable and sweet in person!

This was my first time really getting a look at the Uno de 50 jewelry up close, and they have a lot of very cool silver pieces.  I liked the skull bracelet I purchased because the leather was brown, and I got a few cool “gifts with purchase” like a shirt, Godiva gift card and another bracelet!

The Latest From LEGOLAND®: Hot Summer Offers!

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Here are some great deals from #LEGOLANDCA that will carry you through the rest of the summer, cheers!


KIDS GO FREE FROM MCDONALD’S

Purchase at LEGOLAND.com/LLCMcDonalds and enter promo code 16023.


SEALIFE CONTEST

Share your best fishy pun for a chance to win a Behind-the-Scenes VIP Animal Encounter + tickets to #SEALIFECA and #LEGOLANDCA.

VIEW CONTEST PAGE


GIFT WITH PURCHASE

LEGO® NEXO Knights gift w/ purchase of $50 or more! While supplies last until 8/13.

LEGOLAND SHOPPING

The Latest From LEGOLAND®: Strike a Ninja Pose!

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In celebration of the new Ninjago World and Ninjago The Ride at LEGOLAND®, you can win a Family 4-Pack of tickets simply by striking a Ninja pose!

Here’s how to enter, and remember, be creative and show everyone your inner-Ninja!

Facebook: Login to Facebook and use our Photo Submission App on our Page to share your photo.  Or compose a new Facebook Timeline post on the LEGOLAND California Page and include the hashtags #LEGOLANDCA and #NINJAGOWorld with your photo.

Twitter/Instagram: Post your photo on Twitter or Instagram that the hashtags #LEGOLANDCA and #NINJAGOWorld