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Friday, January 31, 2014

Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Welcoming the Year of the Horse

Happy New Year! Wishing everyone good health, happiness, luck and prosperity in the new year. I'm so excited for tet this year. We have Parker's outfit all picked out. The house is clean. I stuffed new money into my red envelopes yesterday. I can't wait to nosh on some delicious traditional Vietnamese food and treats with family and friends this weekend. Stay tuned for photos from all the festivities!
 
 
 
[Spotted on Pinterest]

Thursday, January 30, 2014

February is San Diego Museum Month

Museum Month is back for the 25th year in San Diego County. Presented by Macy's this popular event allows participants to enjoy half-off entry fees at 44 San Diego Museum Council membership museums.
 
Museum Month Passes may be picked up beginning February 1, 2014 at any of Macy's fourteen locations in the San Diego Area, Temecula and Imperial Valley. The passes are free to obtain while supplies last. With a pass, up to four visitors can gain admission to any of the 44 participating museums for half-price. Plus, you can use the pass all month long!
Museum Month, created by the San Diego Museum Council in 1989, draws tens of thousands of visitors to the region's museums, historical sites, educational institutions and cultural centers. The savings encourages locals and visitors to explore the rich variety of arts, culture and science-oriented destinations. From the Oceanside Museum of Art down to the Tijuana Estuary, there are ample opportunities for edutainment, creating memories and fun for the whole family.
 

This is a great opportunity to visit some of our favorite places for half off! Here is my short list of baby friendly musuems to visit.
 
-Birch Aquarium at Scripps
-Cabrillo National Monument (I didn't think it could get any cheaper!)
-San Diego Children's Discovery Museum
-San Diego Model Railroad Museum
-San Diego Natural History Museum
-The Water Conservation Garden
 
 
 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Running Around Liberty Station

Remember how I said a few posts ago that I wanted to go back to Liberty Station just to run around? After Parker's haircut on Sunday, we had the chance to do just that. We had breakfast at Con Pane, wandered over to the Yellow Brick Road bookstore and then ran around behind Stone Brewery where there is a big, grassy courtyard. There was hardly a soul around even though it was 11 AM. These flat grassy areas are perfect for inexperienced walkers like Parker. There is very little he can trip on!
 

 
[Found a leaf]

 
[Dropped his leaf]

 
[Carrying Parker around in our new Tula baby carrier. So happy we bought his super comfy carrier.]

 
[Shirt: Zara, Pants: H&M, Shoes: Toms]
 


[Little man had a giggly good time running after me. Sometimes I still can't believe how mobile he is now.]
 



 
[Right as we were about to leave, a man showed up with his two dogs. Parker walked right up to the little one to say hello. No fear.]

Monday, January 27, 2014

Parker's First Haircut & A Review of Pigtails and Crewcuts - Point Loma

After much deliberation, we finally took Parker for his first haircut yesterday. With Tet and his 1st birthday coming up, Tuan and I want his hair situation under control. At the recommendation of my friend Christina, we took him to Pigtails & Crewcuts at Liberty Station. We arrived right when they opened to avoid having to wait (they don't take appointments and I have been told that the wait can get long later in the day). I love how the salon is decorated with its bright walls and great natural light. Each station is outfitted with a little car or airplane that the kids can sit in. I love that it was very clean and they use baby safe hair products. Our stylist Laura was really nice and patient with Parker. He was so distracted by the steering wheel on the airplane that he did not fuss at all during his haircut. And yes, we were those obnoxious people who showed up with a big camera and snapped away the whole time. I'm sure it happens all the time because Laura didn't seem to care at all. We paid for the First Haircut Package which comes with a photo and lock of hair in a keepsake card. Total cost was $25.00 but we received $4 off with a coupon from The Bump magazine. We will definitely be back when it's time for another haircut. Thanks to Laura & the staff for making Parker's first haircut a fun and untraumatizing experience!
 
Pigtails & Crew Cuts - Liberty Station
2816 Historic Decatur Road, Ste 100
San Diego, CA 92106
619-501-2375
 

[Checking out his ride]


[The first snip]
 


 
[Laura having a chat with Parker]



[Adding the finishing touches and some styling balm]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Celebrating Chinese New Year in SoCal

It's hard to imagine that this time last year I was hugely pregnant doing everything I could to get Parker out of me. As soon as we realized he wasn't planning to come naturally, we scheduled my c-section for February 8, two days before Tet (Lunar New Year) so that Parker would be a golden dragon.

Technically, this year will be Parker's second time experiencing Tet but the first time he will kinda know what is going on. My little sister Cathy bought him a little red brocade suit similar to this one that he will be wearing when he collects his red envelopes. I'm looking forward to feasting on my MIL's thit kho, gambling and all the traditional desserts and sweets that are only available during this time of year. Between Tet, the Super Bowl (GO DENVER!) and Parker's birthday extravaganza I'm going to be one busy mama.

 
[Year of the Horse and Broncos in the Super Bowl? This is no coincidence people! Go Manning!]


This year Tet lands on a Friday so the celebrations are going to be bigger than usual. Here is a list of Tet/Lunar New Year celebrations that will be happening in SoCal. Hope to see some of you out and about celebrating the Year of the Horse!

Lunar New Year Festival (This is the one I would go to)
Where: Qualcomm Stadium
9449 Friars Road
San Diego, CA 92108
When: Jan 31- Feb 2. Times vary by day.
How much: $4/kid and $5/adult
Website: http://www.lunarnewyearfestival.org/

Tet Festival (This is the one I would go to if I lived in OC)
Where: OC Fair & Event Center
When: Feb 7-9
How much: Children 4 and under FREE/General Admission $5
Website: http://www.tetfestival.org/

9th Annual Mira Mesa Tet Festival
Where: Mira Mesa Community Park
8575 New Salem Street
San Diego, CA 92126
When: Jan 31 - Feb 2. Times vary by day.
How much: FREE
Website: http://www.sdtet.com/about.php

Chinese New Year Food & Cultural Fair
Where: Downtown San Diego
Third Ave & J Street
When: Feb 8 & 9 from 9 AM - 5 PM
How much: FREE
Website: http://sdcny.weebly.com/

Chinese New Year at Pretend City - Irvine
Where: Pretend City Irvine
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
When: Jan 31 from 10 AM - 3 PM
How much: $12.50/person
Website: http://pretendcity.org/ai1ec_event/celebrate-chinese-new-year/?instance_id=429






Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Review of Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe

I could have combined this with the tidepool post since we went here the same day but Con Pane really deserves a post of it's own. My co worker and I have been talking about this place for a while but it's too far from work to pop over for lunch. Also, driving in and out of Point Loma is a PITA. So when Tuan and I decided that we were going tidepooling I said, "I know where we should have lunch!"

Con Pane is located in Liberty Station, one of my favorite places to spend a lazy day. After parking on the street, we stepped in the cafe and were greeted by loaf upon loaf of delicious smelling bread. Heaven! The cafe was crowded but I didn't expect any less since it was Saturday. I noticed a lot of people in work out gear (there is a dance studio, open grassy areas and places to bike nearby). The line went fast, tables cleared quickly and we were able to snag a table out on the sunny patio. There were a lot of families with young kids out on the patio so we fit right in. After a few minutes of enjoying the sun our food arrived. Tuan ordered the italian sandwich and a mocha and I ordered the almost grilled cheese and an iced latte. Total damage: just under $25. That's a steal considering the quality of the food was excellent. A meal at Panera would probably cost just as much and not be as delicious. Tuan declared that his sandwich was "pretty damn good" and promptly ate the whole thing. I shared my grilled cheese on rosemary bread with Parker and he loved the gorgonzola and brie that oozed out of it. What a great way to fill our bellies before tidepooling!

We will definitely be back.  There are so many things I want to try (brioche cinnamon rolls, scones, bread plate, etc). There is also a place that make artisan chocolates across the street that I would not mind visiting. Also, word on the street is there is a great children's bookstore at Liberty Station. We may have to spend an afternoon just wandering around discovering new places because the place is huge!

Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe
2750 Dewey Road Suite 105
San Diego, CA 92106


[Pro at dining out now]


[The sun made my hair look extra shiny. Win!]


[Italian sandwich and a yummy mocha/churro hybrid]


[The mocha was so good I stole some from Tuan]

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cabrillo National Monument 27th Annual Whale Watching Weekend and Inter-Tidal Life Festival - Jan 11-12, 2014

On Saturday, we took Parker to the the Cabrillo National Monument for their 27th Annual Whale Watching Weekend and Inter-Tidal Life Festival. I'm really glad we were looking forward to visiting the tidepools instead of trying to spot some whales because the fog was so thick that you would have needed x-ray vision to spot anything at all. In preparation for our trip to the beach, I made Tuan go with me to find water shoes.
 
Me: We need water shoes to go tidepooling.
T: Why? We can just wear flip flops.
Me: What if you slip and drop the baby??
T: I'm not gonna drop the baby.
Me: You might drop the baby.
T:...you just want another pair of shoes.
Me: :)
 
And that is how we both ended up with new ugly-as-sin but very practical water shoes. I LOVE them.
 
I hope these photos inspire you to get outdoors and spend some time exploring our beautiful coast. Make sure check when low tide is and arrive early because parking is very limited. We spotted hermit crabs, fish, seaweed, seagrass and anemones among the tidepools. I put Parker down and he was so curious about the textures of the rocks and seaweed. He wriggled his toes in the sand and splashed in the water. The highlight of the day was when he picked up a hermit crab and popped it into his mouth! I quickly fished it out and realized my son is not afraid of anything...which is exactly how I want him to be. For $5/day ($15 for an annual pass) you could not find a better deal. Hopefully next time we go it won't be so foggy. You never know, we might spot a grey whale!
 
 
[Walking to the tidepools wishing we had packed our baby carrier.]

 
[The shrubs, and everything else, were covered in thick fog]






[Barnacles]
 







[So many hermit crabs]



[Splashing in the water]
 

 
[Not worried about getting into the water because I have my water shoes on!]
 
Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 557-5450


 

 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Birthday Outfit for Parker

Three more weeks! Can you believe it? In three short weeks Parker is turning one! I feel like my whole body is buzzing with excitement for him. The party we have planned is going to be a colorful, "simple" and (hopefully) fun. I've been working on a lot of DIY projects and still have so much to do. The one thing I do need some help with is Parker's birthday out. We've already ordered the "birthday boy" shirt from Etsy. Now the question is, which pants would you pair with the shirt? I'm leaning towards #2. What do you think?



Friday, January 10, 2014

Mini Me Look - Scotch & Soda

It's been a while since I've put one of these mini me looks together. To be honest, a lot of what I am been seeing in kids fashion lately has been uninspiring. However, there is something about this look titled "Striped Souvenirs" from Soda & Scotch's Amsterdam Blauw FW13 collection that begs to re created. I'm calling it "hobo fisherman chic". Perfect for this weird mix of winter and summer we are currently experiencing in socal.
 
 
[Striped Souvenirs by Soda & Scotch]
 
 


Alternative options for black baby oxfords: this pair from Cole Haan Kids and this pair from Robeez. Happy shopping!

French Cuisine at Bleu Boheme

Years ago Tuan and I went to Paris and fell in love with French cuisine. There was something magical about that trip that we are reminded of everytime we go to a French restuarant. Bleu Boheme in Kensington is one of our favorites in San Diego and has become a special place for us. We came here for our last date before Parker was born and for our 2nd anniversary. Let me start by saying that the food is delicious. Our favorites are the boeuf bourguignon, mussels with roasted garlic shallots which come with a basket of fragrant lavender fries and the onion soup. If you go for brunch, I highly recommend the creme brulee waffle as a dessert, or entree if you are feeling indulgent. In the evening, the restuarant is dimly light and each table is adorned with long white taper candles whose hours of melted wax have formed eye watching shapes. For brunch, the dining room is bright and inviting. I've spied other diners sipping on lavender mimosas that look very tempting.  We have received excellent service everytime we've come to dine and the waitresses are always very accomodating of Parker. I can't wait to go back again and eat more of their fantastic crusty bread. If any of my readers have recommendations for other good French places in San Diego, please leave a comment!
 
Bleu Boheme
4090 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
 




[Tartine de Steak Hache. Just an example of how generous the portions are at Bleu Boheme.]


[Gauffre Creme Brulee. A belgian waffle, topped with bananas, covered in vanilla custard and crusted with brown sugar. Need I say more? The surface of the waffle is so big you can crack the sugar at least 3 times.]

 
[I would love to visit Paris again once Parker is older. This giant coloring page map of Paris would be a fun way to get him excited about the city of lights.]

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hot Chocolate Run San Diego 2014

 
Step one in motivating myself to get running again: commit money and publicly announce that will be running a 5K on March 23, 2014. I just signed up for the hot chocolate run! Tuan and I ran this race a couple of years ago and it was short and fun. The course takes you around downtown and ends in a big parking lot by Petco Park where racers get to nosh on chocolate fondue. This year I'll be running solo since strollers aren't allowed and one of us needs to watch Parker. Come join me! I'll be the slow one huffing and puffing up the hill.
 
For more info, visit the race site at http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/sandiego/.
 
[Kind of defeats the purpose right? I'm not complaing though!]
 

 
 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Birthday Celebration at SeaWorld San Diego

Last Thursday we celebrated my birthday by spending a day at SeaWorld. The highlight of my day was having breakfast with Shamu. While we ate breakfast, Ulysses the killer whale performed a private show full of jumps, waves and water splashing. Parker loved it! After breakfast we visited the  dolphins, watched the Shamu show and walked around while Parker napped in the stroller. We have invested in annual passes so I'm sure we will be back to SeaWorld soon. Parking was easy, everything is stroller and kid friendly and Parker loves fish! There are no hills like at the San Diego Zoo.  FYI, I'm so glad SeaWorld is breastfeeding friendly. I saw no less than 3 nursing rooms while we walked around the park. The rooms made it really convenient for me to feed Parker throughout the day. On our way out, we bought Parks a stuffed toy penguin whom we've named "Macaroni".

After SeaWorld, we went home for a family nap and then headed to Extraordinary Desserts for dinner and cake with a few of our friends. I want to say a special thank you to Tuan for planning a fun day for me!

 
[Wearing my new gap always skinny jeans. First pair of jeans that I did not have the hem. It's a short person miracle!]

 
[A daddy and Parker moment]


[I'm not sure who was more excited about the whale. I'm pretty sure it was Tuan.]
 

[Our seats at breakfast with Shamu were amazing. Good job, husband!]
 

[Nursing Parker behind a closed cafe. This was before we learned that there were lactation rooms located throughout the park.]
 

 
[I was almost attacked by a seagull while feeding the sea lions. Good thing my ninja skills kicked in and I avoided getting fish jacked.]

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