San Diego Botanical Garden of Lights

By Nicole Hughes


San Diego Botanical Gardens in Encinitas is beautiful and this year they are adding over 100,000 sparkling lights to celebrate the season!  One of my best friends was married at the Botanical Garden and it was such a beautiful wedding.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like with the lights.  After the sun goes down in December, the Garden is transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights illuminating the Garden for a magical holiday experience!

There is fun for the whole family including visiting with Santa!  There is live music nightly which changes, but the full activity list may be found here.  I know my son is going to love the marshmallow roasting, and the fun holiday crafts for children.  Not to be missed is the horse-drawn wagon rides for the whole family.  On some nights at the San Diego Botanical Garden of Lights there will even be snow, how fun is that!

If you get hungry while on your stroll through the garden stop by the Divine Fresh food area.  With delicious Greek selections like Falafel, Gyros, Kebabs, and soups & sweets there will be something you will want to sink your teeth into.  Other traditional items are also available hot cocoa, spiced cider, coffee, hot dogs and s’mores.  Mulled wine will also be available for purchase $2 for 4 oz or $4 for 8 oz.

Children’s Crafts
Crafts are available each night in the Ecke Building – free – $1.00

Visits with Santa
Available each night through December 23 – free

Marshmallow Roasting
Available each night in the Lawn area – free

Horse & Wagon Rides: $3.00 each

Take the whole family out to the San Diego Botanical Garden of Lights for a fun night everyone will enjoy! Hope to see you there, we will be attending this Saturday and can’t wait.

Cost: Members $8; seniors, active military, and students $10; Non-members $14. Children ages 3–12, $6. There will be additional fees for some activities.  
For a discounted ticket visit the North County Deals page adults are only $10, for more information click here.
sd botanic garden lights
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San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

By Nicole Hughes

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition brought to San Diego by the boating community. The parade will be on Sunday December 21st begining at 5:30 p.m. for the annual Parade on San Diego Bay, with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated according to a new theme each year. The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is held two consecutive Sundays each year in  December. The Parade  proceeds from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport  Village, and Ferry Landing in Coronado. 

The parade takes approximately one  hour to one and a half hours to pass any given point along the parade route.  The approximate arrival time of the parade at various locations are:

  • Shelter Island (start of parade)       5:30 p.m.
  • Harbor Island                                 6:00 p.m.
  • The Embarcadero                          6:30 p.m.
  • Seaport Village                              7:00 p.m.
  • Ferry Landing on Coronado             7:30 p.m.

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights  is seen by approximately 80,000 people every year. As a result, parking will be  limited in and around the Bay.  Attendees to the event are  encouraged to utilize San Diego Public Transit, such as the San Diego Trolley.  All three trolley lines and several Bus lines serve Stations with parking lots that provide convenient service to the North  Embarcadero area include Fashion Valley, Old Town and America Plaza.

To get within a short walk of Harbor Drive, take the Green Line to the Santa Fe Depot, or the Orange or Blue Line to the American Plaza stop. On Sundays, two children ages 12 and under ride free on MTS Trolley and Bus with each paid adult, and an Adult Day Pass fare is only $5 on a Compass Card.  For more  information go to

Another Alternative is to park  downtown and utilize San Diego Pedicab service for transportation to the  Embarcadero. Fares run about $1 per minute.

Metered spaces along Harbor Drive Metered – 7 Days a week
Allright Parking (Broadway &  Harbor Dr.) Paid
Seaport Village Paid (Two hours free with purchase)
Parking Lot in front of Fish Market Restaurant north of Seaport Village Metered
Harbor Island Free but limited
Shelter Island Free


One of the best places to view the  Parade is from the water! A good area for boaters wishing to view the Parade is where the Parade turns west for Coronado, near the 10th Street  Terminal.

For landlubber viewers, the north  and south ends of the Embarcadero are great areas for viewing, as well as the  pathway along Coronado as these areas tend to be less crowed. Another excellent  viewing point is the park behind Seaport Village.

If you plan on viewing the parade  from Harbor Island, get there early and be aware that parking is at a premium.

Parade of Lights



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Yummy Mum-Mums, perfect for baby

By Lauren Moisant

Mum-Mums are perfect for babies just beginning to eat solid food, and for babies already eating solid foods!  When my baby started to show interest in food, I wasn’t sure what to give him.  There are so many different items to choose from, he was 6 moths and practically toothless! A friend of mine suggested Mum-Mums rice rusk. After trying so many baby snacks, Mum-Mums were perfect for us!  They are non-gmo, they have organic varieties, and many different flavors. Banana was a favorite for my baby, he couldn’t get enough of them.  I love how easy and convenient they are.  They come two crackers to a package and are totally mess free, which is what I love as a mom it makes my life a lot easier.

Now that baby is getting older, and growing more teeth, he is almost ready for Mum-Mum toddlers snacks.  I know he can’t wait to try new flavors, and knowing that’s it’s a healthy snack, I am more than happy to give it to him.  For more information on these yummy snacks perfect for your baby you may visit their website here.



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Shop local this Christmas with Moxxie Skincare

By Robyn Lass

Christmas is coming!  We wanted to make sure you had this awesome Southern California company called Moxxie on your radar this season! I loved the inspirational name and thought the idea of natural, handcrafted skincare was worth exploring.

Something I’ve found in the past is all-natural products smell great but they can tend to dissolve quickly or crumble after just a few uses. I realize it’s because they are made without all the bad-for-you-chemicals and gunk, but it’s still annoying when after two washes your soap disintegrates.

Aside from just smelling good, the products I tried, Lotsa Lavender + Oatmeal bar soap and the Solid Sugar Scrub Cubes held up nicely and made my skin feel soft. Even my son liked the “bumby soap,” which is what he called the oatmeal chunks in the Lotsa Lavendar bar.

If you’re interested in trying something new for yourself or a gift for a loved one, check out their website at (Remember to add the word “soap” to the URL, otherwise you’ll end up in the completely wrong place!).  Merry Christmas!


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iTunes GC at 15% off + $250 iTunes Giveaway!

By Nicole Hughes

Happy Holidays!  Christmas is only 13 days away, let that sink in thirteen days!  Another mom in my workout class told me last week she was completely done with Christmas shopping.  I just looked at her like she was from another planet, did I mention she has a new-born baby too?  Okay super-mom powers aside Christmas is right around the corner and iTunes gift cards are the perfect gift for anyone!

Last year my mother bought my son a $50 iTunes gift card thinking this will last him a while.  My child went through that gift card so fast it was kind of scary.  I am almost positive he will be asking for another iTunes giftcard this year for Christmas as well.

Safeway has a special offer right now purchase $30 or more- up to $500 in iTunes variable value gift cards AND get %15 off your purchase immediately!  In order to receive this offer you must use your Safeway club card when you make your purchase.  This is an in-store promotion only, be sure to see the store for details

What an easy way to load up on gift cards and get 15% back for yourself. Hurry though, this offer ends soon.

Remember, this offer is in Safeway stores only, but if you’re not near a Safeway store browse GiftCardMall online and shop for hundreds of gift cards!  This offer is valid now through December 23, 2014 so hurry and get yours now!

How much would you love $250 in iTunes gift cards?  For yourself or for a family or friend for the holidays?  We are offering a iTunes gift card giveaway. The giveaway will run from now until December 20, 2014, and the winner will be contacted within 48 hours at the end of the contest.  Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for $250 in iTunes giftcards.


This is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Christmas in the Valley at Bate’s Nut Farm

By Nicole Hughes

Christmas in the Valley at Bate’s Nut Farm is a fun 2 day event for the whole family.  Families can start a new Christmas tradition at Bates Nut Farm with the 4th annual “Christmas in the Valley”.  The event kicks off Friday evening, December 12th at 4:00.  The evening’s highlight will be the arrival of Santa by fire truck at 5:30.  There will be live entertainment, storytelling, Christmas carols and a Polar Express Hay Ride to visit Santa, all free of charge.  Enjoy Christmas shopping at Bates, Farmer’s Daughter, and with the vendors who will set up for the 2-day event.  With over 25 vendors there will be plenty of unique gifts for each person on your gift list!

Friday Highlights: 4:00 – 7:30 Gingerbread House crafts, 5:00 VCHS Marching Band, 5:30 Santa arrives by fire truck & Tree Lighting, 5:30 – 7:30 Polar Express Hayride to see Santa, 6:45 VCHS Choir and enjoy at 7:30 the Carolers.

Saturday you will not want to miss the arrival of Santa by HELICOPTER at 12:15!  Saturday there is a full line up of fun activities for children and adults alike.  beginning at 10:00 a.m. with gingerbread crafts and at 12:30 p.m. the gingerbread house contest winners will be announced.

Christmas in the Valley will be on Friday December 12th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday December 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

gingerbread house

GINGERBREAD HOUSE COMPETITION RULES One Gingerbread House per participant/group. Group entries are allowed. NO Gingerbread House kits are allowed in competition. All houses must be placed on a board base not exceeding 18×18”. We suggest using ½ or ¾ inch plywood as your base. Cardboard bases will not be accepted. Please include your name and Gingerbread House title on the bottom of the base. All Gingerbreads must be in the form of a house. No artificial interior materials, such as Styrofoam, are to be used to construct or decorate the house. All Gingerbreads must be 100% edible, except the base board. Non-edible decorations, like paint, ribbon, figurines, etc. may be used.

Bring your completed Gingerbread House and completed Registration Form, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 12th or 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 13th.


Holiday Events This weekend in San Diego

By Nicole Hughes

There is so much to love about Christmas time in San Diego, my favorite is all the fun family activities.  Plus because we are in San Diego we don’t have to put on snow gear to go outside!  This weekend December 5th to the 7th there are a lot of events going on throughout the County of San Diego.    Have a great weekend in our beautiful city, and as always stay classy San Diego.

Friday, December 5th 

December Nights Balboa Park from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Coronado Holiday Parade and open house from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Christmas Concert at the Mission from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 6th

Holiday Coaster Express ride the train with Santa two trains 10 a.m. and 12 noon

December Nights Balboa Park from noon to 11 p.m.

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Encinitas Holiday Parade and tree lighting beginning at 5 p.m.

Holiday at the Rancho from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 7th

Holiday Wonderland at Petco Park from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

December nights

Coronado Christmas Parade & Open House

By Nicole Hughes

The 39th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade and Open House Celebration is fun for all ages!  On Friday December 5th from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. there will be snow at the ferry landing by the recreation department. Santa arrives by ferry at the Coronado Ferry Landing at 3:20 p.m.  From 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. there will be merchants open house on Orange Avenue for all to enjoy.

The 39th Annual Coronado Christmas Parade will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. down Orange Avenue.  Next Santa will light the Rotary Park 75-foot Christmas tree with the community band playing holiday music in the park.  Fun holiday family event, free for all to attend.  Get a picture with Santa and enjoy the holiday music.  

For more information you may visit the event website here.

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Oceanside Christmas Tree Lighting 12/4

By Nicole Hughes

Hope you are enjoying December in San Diego as much as we are!  There are so many fun activities it is hard for us to share all of them!  We wrote a few weeks ago about everything Oceanside has to offer this season and we wanted to remind you of the tree lighting tonight.  It is Thursday, December 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Oceanside will kick off the holiday season with a grand Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at Regal Center Plaza at 401 Mission Ave. in downtown Oceanside.

This family-friendly event will be filled with activities for the whole family. Children can visit with Santa Claus, create a craft, enjoy the zip-line, tree climb, bounce houses, and games or take a ride to the pier in the horse-drawn carriage. After the tree lighting ceremony, visitors can head over to the Sunset Market for all their holiday gift needs, plus music, and a children’s activity area.

Christmas tree lighting

Also this Friday, December 5 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. is the 4th Annual Christmas Concert at Mission San Luis Rey – The historic church at Mission San Luis Rey is a majestic, spiritual setting for listening to traditional Christmas carols.   Holiday carols are performed by Premier Brass and singers from the San Diego Opera Chorus. The concert will be followed by a delicious dessert reception in the Sacred Garden surrounded by thousands of holiday lights. Tickets range in price from $40 to $60 per person and proceeds benefit preservation and maintenance of the church. Register online by clicking here or call (760)757-3651, ext. 161. The mission is located at 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside.

missionDon’t forget about the “12 Days of Christmas” including giveaways and rewards for “buying local” with the California Welcome Center of Oceanside!  Whether you are visiting Oceanside or live here stop by the welcome center (located at 928 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054) anytime between now and December 18th to enter to win.

For more events happening in Oceanside check out our full post about it here.  Enjoy!

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December Nights at Balboa Park

By Nicole Hughes

December Nights at Balboa Park is a fun family event and it is free for the whole family to enjoy.  There will be dancers, carolers, and other live entertainment throughout the event.  Friday December 5th the event will run from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday December 6th from noon to 11 p.m.  

A wonderful part of the December Nights is participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 pm both evenings!  Yes, the museums will be open for free for all to enter and explore on both nights.  Some of the museums included are the Reuben H. Fleet Science CenterSan Diego Air & Space MuseumSan Diego Automotive MuseumSan Diego Hall of Champions Sports MuseumSan Diego History CenterSan Diego Museum of ManThe San Diego Museum of ArttheNAT: San Diego Natural History Museum, and more.  This year more than 350,000 visitors are expected to experience the joy of San Diego’s largest free community festival. Those who attend will participate in a truly multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world.

Revelers can watch top-notch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious and diverse food choices and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.

Getting there:

With more than 350,000 people attending December Nights and extremely limited parking at Balboa Park, it is encouraged to use the FREE off-site shuttles or take public transportation. Avoid the 163 southbound during the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., as this highway will be very congested. Use alternate routes to get to the Park and the shuttle stops. FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE – The December Nights Shuttles at PETCO Park and City College run on Friday from 3:00-midnight and on Saturday from 11:30 until midnight in all locations. The last shuttle leaves all sites at 8:00 pm so plan to arrive at shuttle location BEFORE 7pm!  The last shuttle from the park is at 11:45pm.

  1. PETCO Park Shuttle at  Park Blvd. and Imperial Ave: There are more than 2,000 parking spaces in this area. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Shuttle takes less than 10 minutes and drops off at 6th & Laurel Streets. To get to PETCO use I-5 and exit at Imperial Ave.
  2. City College Lots between 16th and “B and C” Streets: Parking is free and there are more than 1,000 parking spaces. This year a SECOND lot has been added.  Shuttle drops off at 6th & Laurel Streets. The Park is approximately 1/4 mile from City College, so walking is an option. To get to the City College lots use I-5 and exit at “B” Street.


December Nights Balboa Park


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