San Diego Museum Month February 2015

By Nicole Hughes

Museum Month

This February is Museum Month in San Diego! San Diegans will have a chance to discover what’s new at 45 area museums with incredible savings.   Macy’s Museum Month was created in 1989 and since then has grown every year.  This year will have the most museums participating than ever before.  It is a great way to promote awareness of our amazing museums.  Perfect for field trips for children’s classes or just a day out with children.

If you wish to participate you may pick up a free Macy’s Museum Month Pass at any local Macy’s store to enjoy half-off admission to all of the participating museums through the entire month of February.

“This community program is special for us as every year—our customers and employees plan their calendars around Museum Month. We’re thrilled to officially be part of the title, marking the significance of our long-term partnership with the San Diego Museum Council,” said John Gorham.

SVP, Macy’s Regional Director of Stores – Southwest Region. “Macy’s Museum Month extends our reach in the community and we are proud to support a variety of new exhibitions and favorite museums and make them more accessible with a discounted admission.”

Museum Month passes may be picked up at any of Macy’s 15 locations in the San Diego area, including Temecula and Imperial Valley.  Guests with a pass may bring up to three people to participating museums to receive half-off admission for the entire party. Additional fees may apply for special exhibitions at participating museums.

Each pass also features an exclusive $10 coupon off any purchase of $30 or more at Macy’s, which may be my favorite part!

Participating museum’s include:

  • Adobe Chapel
  • Barona Cultural Center & Museum
  • Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • Bonita Museum & Cultural Center
  • California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum
  • California Surf Museum
  • Coronado Museum of History & Art
  • Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum
  • Gaslamp Museum at William Heath Davis House
  • Heritage of the Americas Museum
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Junipero Serra Museum
  • La Jolla Historical Society
  • Living Coast Discovery Center
  • Lux Art Institute
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Marston House Museum & Gardens
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Downtown
  • Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla
  • Museum of Making Music
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Oceanside Museum of Art
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum
  • San Diego Archaeological Center
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Botanic Garden
  • San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
  • San Diego Chinese Historical Museum
  • San Diego History Center
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Santa Ysabel Store
  • The New Children’s Museum
  • The San Diego Museum of Art
  • Tijuana Estuary Visitors Center
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • USS Midway Museum
  • Veterans  Museum & Memorial Center
  • Visions Art Museum
  • Warner-Carillo Ranch House & Museum
  • Water Conservation Garden
  • Whaley House Museum
  • Women’s Museum of California

Museum Month is generously sponsored in part by:

macys logo


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Try uber for free now to Feb 16, up to $30!

By Nicole Hughes


By now you have at least heard of Uber, even if you have yet to take a ride with Uber.  If you have not and are wondering what is Uber?  Uber is a taxi, private car or ride share just a touch away with your mobile phone. Uber connects you with a driver in minutes. Download the FREE app in cities around the world.  You can request a ride with the push of a button and track your driver’s progress to your location.  Plus, they will notify you once your driver arrives so you can wait comfortably indoors.

We are teaming up with them!  The best part? If you sign up using my invite link below, Uber will credit your account for $30 off your first ride:  (please note this is a referral link, you will need to use it to receive $30 off your first Uber ride, regardless of where you are in the world).

With the super bowl tomorrow it may be the perfect time to try Uber.  There will be a lot of DUI check points this weekend because of the big game.  Please be safe and if you are going to drink do not drive, contact Uber your first ride is FREE!  We love Uber because they make it so easy for you, when you are ready to go you just find a driver near you and wait a few minutes for them to arrive.  You are not charged per person as with some driver services.  The quotes are very reasonable, rates depend on time of day and demand.

I hope you enjoy your first ride! Let me know if you have any questions or see if you have any questions about how it all works.  It is so simple and easy, I promise once you Uber you won’t ever go back!


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Join us at the leading Lifestyle Conference 2015

By Nicole Hughes

Social Media Influencers The Nation’s Leading Lifestyle Bloggers Conference hits LA Feb. 19-22, 2015!


SoCal Savvy Mom is attending the fifth annual Lifestyle Bloggers conference next month and I would love for you to join us!  The Fifth Annual Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference will inspire and educate bloggers through training, celebrity workshops and more.  We were lucky enough to attend last year’s conference as well, and I can NOT say enough great things about it!  Because you are a SoCal Savvy Mom reader we have a special VIP code which will cut the cost of the conference in half! *Details on this may be found at the bottom of this post.

The 2015 Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference (#LBNC15) is a multi-day, boutique blogger conference and is focused on providing the necessary training and instruments needed for professional bloggers to properly elevate their creative vision, transforming their blogs into polished digital publications and valued content sources.

From the founder:

“This conference was inspired by the overwhelming need among lifestyle bloggers for tools and training to help them take their craft to the next level,” said Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco, Founder & Creative Director of #LBNC15. “We’ve been working hard to make sure this year’s event is bigger and better than ever, and we couldn’t be more excited to share our wonderful speakers and programs with the blogging community.”

Why you should attend:

  • VIP reception Feb. 19 at the Citadel Outlets – luxe setting replete with delicious appetizers and libations
  • Leading brands including Ford Motor Company, OPI, Corner Bakery, Citadel Outlets, Fresh Brothers Pizza, Maker City LA, and Oubly
  • Blogger Junket, with nationally recognized lifestyle and business experts
  • Celebrity Keynotes with:
  • Cisco Pinedo, Founder of Cisco Home
  • Effie Weiss, Cupcake Wars winner Author and self-made Millionaire
  • Daisy Teh, Founder of the Award-Winning Multimedia Blog “The It Mom”
  • Matt Kovacs, President of BLAZE PR and 2014 PR News Award Finalist
  • Pauline Campos, Latina Magazine “Dimelo” Columnist and Award-Winning Blogger

Tickets for the two-day event range from $149.99 for a one-day pass, to $199.99 for a two-day VIP pass.  *Enter VIP code NICOLEVIP at checkout and the ticket price will drop from $199.99 to only $99!  

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit Lifestyle Blogger National Conference and join the conversation on Facebook  and Twitter. Limited sponsorship & partnership opportunities are available by contacting:

Pictured:  Havi Goffan the CEO of Target Latina, Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco Founder & Creative Director of #LBNC15, and Nicole Hughes SoCal Savvy Mom at last year’s Lifestyle Bloggers National Conference 2014.

Havi, Ana, Nicole

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Organic no oil Carrot Zucchini Bread

By Nicole Hughes

This is my favorite recipe for carrot zucchini bread, I made this today using all organic ingredients and it was great!  I knew I had to share it for my fellow organic loving readers.  I am always trying to make anything healthier, especially if it already contains sugar.  One of the reasons this bread is a perfect healthier option is due to no oil.  Vegetable oil for this recipe would normally be around a cup, which would amount to nearly 2,000 calories and 220 grams of fat!  Apple sauce (especially organic) is an amazing substitute for oil while baking, saving calories and fat.

The next item we switch for a healthier version is whole wheat flour, while whole wheat flour and regular flower have the same calories the whole wheat is much better option.  During the process of making white flour most of the nutrients and fiber naturally found in flour are lost.  Sometimes the nutrients are added back into white flour but not in its natural form, which is another reason white flour is so over processed. Below are the ingredients and directions to our delicious Organic no oil Carrot Zucchini Bread.

Buying organic ingredients does cost a little bit more depending on where you shop, but it is the best choice you can make for your family.  If a food label does not bear the USDA Organic label, it could still have organic ingredients but not enough to be approved for the seal.  What the seal means is that it is produced and processed according to the USDA standards. The seal is voluntary, but many organic producers use it to prove that it is indeed organic.

Most food items that are completely organic — such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100 percent organic and can carry the USDA seal.
Illustration of the USDA organic seal
  • 100 percent organic. To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
  • Organic. Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term.
  • Made with organic ingredients.  Products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients may say “made with organic ingredients” on the label, but may not use the seal.
  • Less than 70%.  Foods containing less than 70% organic ingredients can’t use the seal or the word “organic” on their product labels, even if it does include organic ingredients.

Below are the ingredients and directions to our delicious Organic no oil Carrot Zucchini Bread.

  • 1 1/2 cups Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Organic Unbleached White Flour
  • 1 ts Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 ts Organic Baking Powder
  • 1 ts Organic Baking Soda
  • 2 ts Organic Cinnamon
  • 1 ts Organic Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Organic Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 3 Free Range Eggs
  • 1 cup Organic Apple Sauce
  • 1 cup Grated Organic Carrot
  • 1 cup Grated Organic Zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups Chopped Organic Walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together, whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a Kitchen Aid mixer or mixing bowl and mix.  Next add the sugar, eggs and apple sauce and mix together.  Last add the carrots, zucchini and walnuts and mix.

Next put into greased (we used coconut oil spray from Traders) and put into bread pan, or into cupcake pan.  Let bake for about 50 min. or until it is cooked throughout the center of the bread.

Organic carrot bread

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Ruby’s Diner Ruby Burger $2.35 on 1/28

By Nicole Hughes

Visit Ruby’s Diner tomorrow, January 28th to celebrate their 32nd Anniversary!  Need a milkshake?  What about a delicious Ruby burger?  French Fries?  Ruby’s has you covered tomorrow! To help celebrate #RubyTurns32 there is a deal-icious offer!  Rally your friends and family over to a Ruby’s Diner location.  You can steal the Classic #RubyBurger for its original price of only $2.35!  French Fries will also be lowered to only $1!  You will not want to miss this and don’t forget to tag #RubysDiner with all those snaps of your awesome burgers!  Ruby’s wants to see all of your photos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Healthier Option

My mom and I visited the Ruby’s at the end of the pier in Oceanside today to try out the Ruby burger.  We opted for no buns on ours and iced tea instead of milkshakes.  My mom was living on the edge and ordered french fries with hers, but she need the extra fat the day after chemo!  Visit Ruby’s today and order the Ruby burger for the special price of only $2.35, it was delicious!


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Oceanside’s Best Fish House – Hello Betty

By Nicole Hughes

Located just steps away from the Oceanside Pier, Hello Betty is perfect for locals or for those visiting the area.  Hello Betty is one of my favorite restaurants, since it opened we have had my birthday there, my mother’s birthday and my best friend also had her birthday celebration there!  It is one of those places you take anyone who is visiting from out-of-town, and how could you not with the view?

Oside View

With daily drink specials from 4-6 it is the perfect place to stop on your way home from work, you will not find a better view on the coast.    During the summer the best place cool off with a drink is the roof top deck, which hosts drinks and light appetizers.  For my birthday I invited around a dozen friends to join me on the roof top deck for drinks and tacos.  Because Hello Betty had just opened a few months prior no one had visited before and everyone was blown away!  My friends couldn’t believe the incredible view and the exquisite tacos put it right over the top for a great birthday.  The hardest decision will be which taco to choose, with Mahi Mahi, Shrimp, Carne Asada, Veggie or a huge list of different types of fish tacos you will want to try them all.

Hello Betty Roof Top Deck

Hello Betty’s menu is not limited to just fish, the Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwich (garlic mayo, chopped lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickled jalapeño, jack cheese all on a brioche bun) is the best in all of North San Diego County!  Last week I tried the Herb marinated Chicken Breast which is mesquite grilled and is accompanied by roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  The dish was so heavenly from beginning to end, I may have found a new favorite on the menu.  My mother in law was visiting from Florida and she LOVED the Steamed Mussels with chorizo, tomato, chilis, garlic and dos equis amber she said they were the best mussels she had ever had.

Shrimp Taco

The decor in Hello Betty is spot on, with the surf theme touches throughout the restaurant.  The picture below is the hallway leading to the restrooms made out of surfboards.  You may even watch surfing movies while at the restaurant as it is usually playing on the many TV’s located in the bar area.  If there is a big game on they will of course put a game on for you if you would prefer.  A huge BONUS for dining with children is the little mini arcade located on the first level of the restaurant.  It is perfect as you can see your children playing video games (think old school ones) from your table.  The kids are close enough to see but not so close you have to listen to the sound of video games.  All of the games are only a quarter or two, not like some sports bars that charge upwards of $1 for one turn on a video game, this is a highlight if you are dining with children.

Hello Betty Surf Boards

When you visit Hello Betty be sure to sign up for their loyalty card, I just saw this last time I was there and couldn’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner.  Reservations are not required it is walk in’s only, even if there is a small wait you will not be bothered by it as you sit outside on the patio with a drink while waiting for a table.  Did I mention the view?  For more information or for the full menu click here.  Let us know after you visit and tell us what you think, but really what is better than a fish taco and a margarita…nothing, visit Hello Betty today and thank me tomorrow!

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Easy, Fun Valentine’s Treats with kids

By Nicole Hughes

Valentine’s Day treats are so fun to make, especially with little ones, my son and his friend helped make these treats.  Items needed for these treats are:

  • 1 box Oreos (we used Trader Joe’s) Traders has a gluten-free option for these cookies as well
  • 2 bags of Candy Melts
  • 2 to 3 different Valentine’s sprinkles
  • 30 Lollipop sticks
  • Wrappers  and ties if you are giving them out

candy valentine

Candy melts made by Wilton are great for making tons of different types of candy.  The most important part of this recipe is to not over cook the candy in the microwave, it we be ruined if you over cook or melt rather.

  1. Microwave for 1 minute on  50% power
  2. Remove from microwave and stir (which will be minimal at this point)
  3. Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power
  4. Remove from microwave and stir
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until tit is smooth

valentine treats

  1. Carefully remove one half of the cookie
  2. Use stick to remove some of filling so stick will lay flat in the filling
  3. Add melted chocolate over the stick and filling to reconnect cookie
  4. Let cookies set for 10 minutes so the chocolate and cookie are reconnected completely otherwise cookie will fall apart

valentine treats

  1. Dip both sides of the cookies so completely covered in chocolate
  2. Wipe excess off of the one side (not the side you are going to use sprinkles on)
  3. Dip into sprinkles
  4. Set aside on wax paper for an hour or two until firm to the touch

valentine's treats

valentine's day treat unwrapped

If you are planning on passing these out in your child’s class I would recommend using the treat bags and twist ties.  Very inexpensive the 50 treat bags cost $1.99 and the twist ties $.99 both from Michael’s.  The chocolates were on sale from $3.99 to $1.99 this week also at Michael’s, the sprinkles I got at Target for a few dollars.

treats and bags valentines

The finished treats!  Since it is before Valentine’s Day I brought these into my mom’s chemo nurses’ today and they loved them, I plan on making them again and bringing to my son’s class.  Something to note Traders has a gluten-free option for these cookies, which is great because my son’s class has a couple of children who need this option.  I love that Trader’s has made it that much easier to make these treats for everyone in his class.

valentine's day treats finished

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“Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families”

By Robyn Lass

It’s inevitable; your children will embarrass you in public. You know it’s Karma right? We’re all expecting it to happen since, of course, we embarrassed our own parents. But when it happens, you still can’t help but wish that invisibility power you’ve always hoped for would magically kick in.

The two most embarassing moments of my parental life have both been when, standing in line to board an airplane, my son ask in a not so quiet voice, why I’m divorced. Larry David couldn’t have scripted a more precise setup to evoke the pinnacle of awkwardness.

Whether it was the “Mommy, why don’t you have a husband?” as we stood wedged in between two male passengers, or the plain old “Mommy, why did you divorce from daddy?” as we handed our boarding passes to the attendant. Yep, that actually happened. Whichever way you slice it I realized he needed some answers.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 8.43.35 PMFirst thing to note, I did my research back in the early days when my ex and I split up. My son was two and a half, so I was relieved to find that many therapists do NOT recommend sitting down with a young child and having some big, overwhelming “we’re getting divorced” talk. I learned it is much easier on young children to share the information in terms they understand at their current age, and then grow the concept and the language used to them understand their changing family environment, as they grow older. As questions arise (a. la. the airport) I could answer them at the appropriate time.

I’m not claiming to be a child psychologist so please, if you are going through a divorce do your own research and find a therapist you trust to help you and your kids through this transition. You don’t want to create fear, regret, or even self-destructive behavior due to lack of understanding. Kids need to know both parents love them, and that the divorce is not about them.

This leads me to the real point of this post. My own therapist recommended a book called “Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide For Changing Families,” by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown. It’s simple, has interesting pictures, and can help shed some light on the changes they’re experiencing both externally and internally. It has been an amazing resource for me. So when my son asks me “Mommy, don’t you like daddy?” I can lean on this book to help guide the conversation (or steer it away from unproductive ideas) and ensure that my own grown up feelings don’t mistakenly rear themselves in a way that might hurt my relationship with my son.

I did a little searching recently and found there are plenty of other age-appropriate books out there that can help kids through the transition of divorce. Do a quick search on Amazon of your own to find one that might help with the challenges facing your changing family. Plus, it’s always nice to let someone else do the talking, and books are perfect for that!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup in a Crock Pot

By Nicole Hughes

It is a little chilly today in Southern California (the low 60’s, haha) so I wanted to make something delicious to warm us up.  My house smells so good right now because of this soup!  I don’t cook a lot with my crock pot, however this recipe is so easy and delicious I had to share.  All of the ingredients I purchased are from Trader Joe’s so some of the items are kind of specific.  I always buy organic when I have the option but some items at Trader’s are not available in organic yet, like the corn.

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 30 oz. Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 Organic Green Onions chopped
  • 1 Small Can Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Small Can Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles
  • 1 Can Whole Kernel Corn
  • 1 Can Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Organic Black Beans
  • 1 Package Trader Joe’s Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Trader Joe’s Crushed Garlic

Combine all ingredients into your crock pot (except the black beans, add the beans when only 2 hours left)  Set the cook time on low for 6-7 hours, after 3-4 hours shred the chicken.  Once completely cooked add cilantro, avocado, tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sour cream.  Add a lime for garnish and enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla

San Elijo Lagoon Center – Wings Over Wetlands

By Nicole Hughes

WINGS OVER WETLANDS at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center is FREE on January 24 & 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Celebrate the arrival of the feathered friends during the winter bird migration!

  • Meet live raptors in special presentations
  • Tour the loop trail and discover interactive wildlife stations
  • Make binoculars with recycled products
  • And more

Fun Fact: Approximately 40% of all North American bird species have been observed in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.

Bird-themed crafts, face painting, and nature activities are planned for families. Conservancy naturalists will have spotting scopes and binoculars for use along the Loop Trail that overlooks San Elijo Lagoon, with excellent birding views. Kids will enjoy learning about bird migrations and how to recognize common birds.

Winter is peak migration time with birds resting and foraging at one of the few salt marshes remaining along the Pacific Flyway. Winter shorebirds and ducks are here to spend the season, many of which come from the High Arctic. The stout Bufflehead may be seen diving in the channels. Dowitchers have a feeding characteristic described like the rhythm of a sewing machine.

Learn more about birds you’ll see with the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy Animal Guide.

To reach staff or volunteers at the Nature Center, please call: (760) 634-3026. Family Discovery Days occurs rain or shine.  Directions

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