Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays... in the Snow!!

We hope that everyone has enjoyed the last few days with family, friends and peace in your home and heart! Our Christmas was lovely at home, and in the mountains just east of San Diego we lived out the spirit of a winter wonderland in the snow :)

Check out the photo above -- snow in Julian CA! Just one hour from our house. We knew the storms that brought so much rain to San Diego had to have dropped some snow in the mountains, but we had no idea how much snow, how light, dry and fun it would be, and how easy it was to get there (click here for a current Julian snow and weather report).

We drove into the small town of Julian last Saturday morning, and had brunch at the Julian Cafe (40 minute wait - so the kids slushed around in the snow on the sidewalks while we walked around and waited). The apple cider was delicious, Buffalo Bill and other dressed up characters around town stopped by! (below is Alec hanging out and watching snow melt, dogs and horses pass by...)

There was no need for chains on the tires for the snow, but there was a moment of drama when my dad's car was stuck because the tire could not get traction to back up and pull out from his parking spot on a steep hill. A shopkeeper gave us cardboard to put under the icy tire, a bunch of helpful men helped push the car to gain traction and we were off to go sledding...

We had so much fun playing in the snow that we are going back again tomorrow; hope to see many of you there!! It is such a perfect family day -- we went with my parents, and grandma, aunts, cousin and niece who are visiting. As we watched Alec eat snow, Evan and Sophie sledding down the hill after making snow angels atop a gorgeous, silent hill looking into the woods, my cousin (who usually prefers Bloomingdales and Bebe) exclaimed -- "wow, and you get to enjoy all of this for free!"

THE TIP: As we were driving out of Julian (at 2 pm) there was a huge line of cars backed up on the road into town.... so we advise you get there early as it seems the town gets very crowded for lunch and afterward.

Also, you will be tempted to pull over and play in the snow as soon as you see it on the ground -- hang tight and drive another few miles to where it is less crowded and the show is REALLY deep and fresh :)

See below - can you believe how much snow there was?!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Radio Interviews

I was interviewed by SignOnSanDiego radio and Savvy Parent Radio, audio clips below:

Click on the MP3 segments
See the Nov 20th clip, "Neworking Mothers"

Now you know why they call me "Gaby" - I hate hearing media interviews after the fact, but there should be some interesting tidbits in there for you!

I'm including this post in the "Resaturants" label because the SignOn interview was with Alicia, owner of Java Mama (yummy food, great coffee and fun for the little ones).

THE TIP: You can get so much great advice, in real time, via radio shows. My favorite call-in shows are the George Chamberlin "Buckets of Money" show, Dr. Laura for relationship / parenting advice and "Editor's Roundtable" on KPBS / NPR! What are yours?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

WOW!! Peter Schiff had it SO down pat!

FAVORITE FIND: Not sure if we have made a person a favorite find before, but here's a guy that knew what he was talking about...

Check out the link abve for a compilation of news segments from as early as 2006 where all of the news "gurus" are laughing and making fun of the warnings Peter Schiff was giving. Fox News analysts were touting "boom" and what bargains Goldman Sachs, WAMU and Merryl Lynch stock were (bankrupt firms now!!) while Schiff pretty much predicted "bust" via the housing bubble, recession, sub-prime collapse and current credit crisis...

I'm going to research this guy further, he is so on target (or WAS so on target) by saying that all wealth in the past years was purely on paper and the only way to get out from this awful recession is to SAVE and PRODUCE.

I am disgusted by the slick commentator laughing at Schiff, and telling him "I have NO idea where you are getting this... what artifical lending standard are you talking about??!!" Please tell me these other guys are no longer given ANY air time, as a courtesy to the nation!

THE TIP: You can probably believe in 1% of the "advice" you hear on mainstream news (and I used to work at CNN guys, remember?)

And for good measure, below is what Schiff has to say of late, Nov 2008:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Track Santa!

How cute is this website that allows you to track Santa as he makes his way to our homes this year!

Thank you to friend Joelle for sharing the website, along with the complete press release for how this all started in 1955!!

THE TIP: There are many schools of thought on the topic of Santa, but we say live the fantasy as long as you can! We love listening out the window with our boys (Alec may not know what he's listening for exactly) and have even added to the Christmas lore by also having the Christmas Mouse that visit us every December :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tis the Season... To Learn!

As we all know, this is bound to be a holiday season like no other given the troubling economic downturn and reality check that home prices and lost jobs are providing.

But don't forget that ultimately we create our own realities, and instead of going through the holidays with some added pounds from feasts and new sweaters to store in the closet, you can give and seek the gift of knowledge thereby creating for yourself the kind of life you want for 2009.

I am so inspired by the moms in my playgroups that decided to turn their love for photography into blooming businesses. You never know where following your passion could take you, just as I never could have guessed that our first photography class "
Little Snaps: Photography With Your Toddler" would go from a fellow mom teaching me, my friends and our toddlers at Old Poway Park, to a class now being offered at the New Children's Museum.

Check out the link below featuring my littl guy Evan on the museum website - we've come a long way from when "Little Snaps" was first offered at a local park!

The link above has all the info for the Museum's Open House, Saturday Dec 6th where you can try the "Little Snaps" class for free and sign up for this and other wonderful classes offered at the museum starting January 2009. (At just $15 per class for museum members taking "Little Snaps" you will not find a better value anywhere for a quality class in these tough economic times).

And the learning this season can be fun photo-taking, or much needed parent-improving, especially with the holidays and family functions. Join me and Steve for the parenting class "
From Terrible Toddlers to Terrific Tots" at Java Mama, Dec 9th and stay tuned for the next "How to Babyproof Your Relationship" taught by the same instructor, Carrie of Baby Maven. We also have our 9th CPR class in the works for January 2009, an absolute must for everyone.

But if it is pure "me time" that you need, don't miss the opportunity to take control of how we all spend the majority of our time - working! Join us at our next Career Workshop, Dec 13th in La Jolla and learn from Career Coach guru, Marcy Morrison, how to combine your passion with a plan for an awesome 2009.

THE TIP: We have gift certificates available, which make great gifts and can be applied toward any class. Call us at (858) 673-3973 and don't be shy to ask for a class as a gift as we often get your emails that you are saving up for the next Chef Marcela class or looking forward to our next CPR class or wine tasting ;)

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Hello Friends,

We're writing from somewhere off the coast of Baja California (family cruise, photo below) and getting such a unique perspective on what we have to be thankful for.

Each other, our boys, extended family, health, and so many amazing friends... everything else is truly a luxury above these most important life elements. And as we talk with people from other parts of the world, visit Mexican ports and see what is happening overseas today we are reminded what it means to be so blessed as Americans, in troubling but also inspiring times.

How can we not be inspired, when all of you jumped in to support fire victims last year, supported Habitat's 100th home this year and in all raised over $3,600 through the Family Fair. In just the past weeks, you helped our friend Ilyse gather more than 100 pairs of shoes for children in Africa
. Next week, join our friend Patrick in supporting the great event below at Stingaree; another opportunity to help and have fun during the holidays!

We can't wait to return and see you at the following classes & events -- and get back to work adding more to the catalog :)

- Dec 6th: New Children's Museum Open House (try our "Little Snaps" photography class for free and register for all 2009 classes at the museum

- Dec 9th: "From Terrible Toddlers to Terrific Tots" parenting class at Java Mama

- Dec 11th: Stingaree Nightclub benefit party, 7 pm downtown

- Dec 13th: Back by demand, "Career Workshop" in La Jolla

See you all again soon!
Gabriela & Steve

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Toys for Tots at Stingaree Nightclub

FAVORITE FIND: Thank you Patrick Giblin of 451 Degrees for letting us know about this great event!

Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 7:00pm
Stingaree Nightclub
454 Sixth Avenue
San Diego, CA

Cocktail Attire REQUIRED. No Jeans.

With all the tough times we all have faced it makes this year's event even more important. Please come join in the party that a few friends and I have hosted 15 years!

This year we have brought in some of the greatest Downtown Promoters to add new faces to this crowd. This has ALWAYS been a GREAT EVENT with lots of fun people. Married or single, young or old, in town or out of town...this IS the Holiday Party!! No stuffy office party just good fun.

In fact, some people MAKE this their office party and if you want VIP treatment for your staff contact me and we will get you what you need to make it the best. RSVP's are important. To RSVP or for questions, email Patrick at

Feel free to pass along the invitation to those that may have slipped through. This has always been a very fun event that allows us to give back a little bit. Bring one nice unwrapped toy (per person $25) to be donated. Couples please bring one boy & one girl toy (ages 1-16). All of the toys are donated to needy children around San Diego on December 24th as a way to give back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ameriprise Planner Sharing Tips on TV

Congratulations to Elizabeth Dang-Samuel of Ameriprise for a great appearance on Channel 6 Monday. As a columnist for San Diego Bargain Mama, Liz shares great tips on family finances and she did such a nice job sharing tips on the show "San Diego Living."

Liz has also set up a terrific seminar to help us all make sense of the how the declining housing market should or should not affect our overall portflio. The seminar is FREE and takes place Thursday, Nov 20th in La Jolla. CLICK HERE for directions and details.

THE TIP: Click here to read Liz's tips on her monthly SDBM column and click here to read all of the columns, including those by Friends With Class!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tom Friedman Presentation - A Favorite (and Fascinating) Find

I saw Thomas Friedman speak yesterday at the National League of Cities conference in Orlando. He is a New York Times columnist and his book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" helped to shape my worldview. I am looking forward to reading his new book "Hot, Flat and Crowded."

Friedman's presentation outlined the challenges the US and the world face today. The stories from his world travels and statistics on energy and globalization are stunning and he shares this trip around the globe and into the past and future in a way that is easy to understand.

CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE THE PRESENTATION, move the bar to fast forward to the middle, Friedman is after the speech by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, which is also very good. to view on your computer directly
or to see in the NLC viewer

In his opening, Friedman describes a billboard promoting a car overseas that read: "German Engineering, Swiss Innovation, American Nothing" as an example of how we need to regain our leadership position in the world, not just politically but also in the competitive, capitalistic markets. And he sees that we will regain this leadership position by dominating the alternative energy revolution.

THE TIP: Friedman sees the American marketplace as the place where the solutions for the global climate and energy crisis will be found and this wil happen via a fixed, durable price signal. So look for incentives, tax breaks and pilot programs to come that will be smart for us to adopt.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday Open House - FREE in Poway!

Meet us at the 4th annual Open House that a fellow cooking instructor is hosting at her home on November 15th from 1 to 4 pm (13021 Solera Way - Poway 92064).

The following vendors will help us get a jump start on our holiday gift giving list - it's going to be great!!



Homemade Fudge by Chris

Homemade Gourmet

Pampered Chef

Felted purses by Donna

Chair Massage by Tara

Creative Memories

Goodies by Heather & Nanny

Party Lite Candles

Purses & Pashminas

Handmade soaps

Bring a friend or two and pass the word on!

Happy Cooking!

THE TIP: How creative is it that Chrissy has set up a "kid's shopping" room for school ages kids to shop for the loved ones in their family without mom to spoil the surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FREE Snapfish Album - As Seen on Oprah, and Tested by a Friend!

Did you all catch the "Clean Up Your Messy Home" segment on Oprah yesterday? (I didn't as I was in Orlando... but THANK YOU to our friend Mickey who passed this along...)

Oprah promoted a FREE photo book being offered through Snapfish, A $29.99 value!
Go to, click on yesterday’s show, and follow the links for the free photo book with 20 pages (8 ½ X 11). But you have to hurry – this offer expires Friday, November 14th, at 11:59 p.m.

***You have to get your coupon by end of Friday, you have until Sunday to finish your book and place the order***

Or click and go from there (as Mickey pointed out, the Oprah website does not point out that you need to use an online coupon code - so use the freebook2008 Snapfish coupon code if needed to get your free book.

I'm doing a book for our Germany trip, what a treat :)

THE TIP: Anytime you work with Snapfish, be sure to organize all your photos on your desktop first to make it easy to import into Snapfish vs grabbing photos one at a time from your computer.

All the legal details below for good measure...

* This offer is only good for one standard 20-page 8" x 11" custom-cover photo book per household. Coupon dispersal ends at 11:59 p.m. PST Friday, November 14, 2008. Free photo book must be redeemed by 11:59 p.m. PST Sunday, November 16, 2008. Offer does not include customary shipping and handling changes or additional pages. Offer applies only to mail-order delivery to U.S. customers. Offer cannot be combined with other coupon codes. Coupon cannot be resold or otherwise transferred and is void on the earlier of redemption or the offer end date. Due to heavy demand, you may experience some slowness navigating to the website. Please be patient and try again later.

Monday, November 10, 2008

OMG - How Cute Is This Baby?

My sister Alejandra sent this photo of her six-month old baby Eva and I could not stop staring at how cute this little bunchkin is!!

I know I'm the auntie so it's my job to show off my niece, but seriously -- how beautiful is she :)

THE TIP: Handi (our nickname for my sis) was at the mall and stopped by the "Picture People" where she and her other friend did a quick photo session with the babies.

There is no sitting fee and she captured this amazing photo. So I think I'll have to try it out next time I'm at the mall...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Financial Tips From a Savvy Planner

On October 1st we hosted a Financial Planning seminar, which was literally days after the infamous financial collapse we are all experiencing now. We started planning the session after meeting savvy planner Alexandra Kinander (above left) at a Scripps Parent Connection luncheon in April, and had the date set since the summer. What perfect timing for people to have questions answered from inside pros.

More than 25 friends ended up joining us for a great evening at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club -- beautiful location -- where Alex and her colleague David Brenner (who has over 20 years of experience) delivered a great presentation and answered all of our questions.
Click here to see more photos of the event...

Stay tuned for a future financial seminar, and likely one on the housing situation. If you are interested in contacting Alex, her info is below:

Alexandra Cabral Kinander
LPL Financial Consultant
CA Insurance License #0F80681
227 N. El Camino Real, Suite 205
Encinitas, CA , 92024-5822
Office: (760) 632-5002
Cel.: (858) 354-1230
Fax: (760) 632-5257

Securities Offered Through LPL Financial

THE TIP: Your portfolio should change if the premises change (time horizon, goals or risk tolerance) and not only if market conditions change.

Dandelion Dreams - Great Photos!

You've got to check out our friend Melissa's website: Dandelion Dreams Photo. She is a great photographer, such a sweetheart and her rates are very reasonable.

Melissa took photos for one of my playgroups on Halloween, and I have no idea how she got such great shots -- my kids were all sweaty from the playground and not very cooperative. But the shots came out beautifully. I wish I had combed their hair, but nonetheless I am ordering all of the photos she took!

We will also be at her Santa event Dec 1st or 13th -- book her now for your holiday photos as you can still get a session, but she is sure to have the weekends fill up quickly!

THE TIP: You don't need direct sunlight for great shots. Melissa took these photos under an awning and while it seemed a little dark at the time the lighting was perfect!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Free Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's, etc for voters!

We're assuming (of course!) that all of our friends are voting. So here is a little extra perk for performing such an important civic duty. The following stores are offering the following incentives (we'll call them rewards!) for voters today:

Starbucks – Get a free tall 12-oz. cup of brewed coffee. Limit one per customer. If you live in an area that does not provide proof of voting, stores will operate on the honor system.

Krispy Kreme – Get a free star-shaped donut with red, white, and blue sprinkles when you show them your “I voted” sticker. Participating stores only, so you may want to call ahead.

Ben & Jerry’s – Get a free scoop of ice cream from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Limit one per customer.

THE TIP: Sometimes there is no good deed that goes unpunished... the
Sacramento Business Journal reports that the Starbucks' giveaway might violate state and federal laws because it specifically targets voters.

Despite the alleged election law problem, a spokesman for the Washington state attorney general said the office didn't plan to press charges, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Channel 10 News...

We had a terrific Career Workshop on Saturday; in fact our instructor Marcy Morrison was featured on ABC 10 News as a result of the great feedback from the class. See the news clip at

Marcy did a great job of navigating the Friends With Class website during the segment for those that want to join us for her next Career Workshop on December 13th (
click here for details and to register).

If you missed the news, you can always visit the
News page on our website to see media coverage.

THE TIP: For our instructors, you never know how far your tips will reach! Marcy reached an unbelievable audience on the 6pm news the night before a historic election.

She also shared info on her speaking engagement at the Career Expo on Wednesday 11/5 at 12:15pm at the San Diego Convention Center. This is a FREE event for the public!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Simple Way to Help Children in Africa

**Update! As of Nov 27th Ilyse has gathered more than 100 pairs of shoes! Stay tuned for info on a meeting place we might set up for a final drop of where you can still donate. Thanks!! **

A mom from our playgroup, Ilyse Collett, was moved by the message a friend of her cousin's sent following a recent trip to Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate is 231 million percent and children live without the most basic needs like shoes.

As she wrote: "Throughout the many countries and schools that we visited, we noticed that the majority of the children do not wear shoes because their families simply cannot afford to buy them. We also learned that the lack of shoes severely impacts children's lives in many ways. Under the hot sun, shoes allow children to walk long distances (sometimes 1 -2 hours) to school while those without shoes must remain at home. Shoes protect their feet from cuts that not only are the source of infectious diseases but more severe health problems such as HIV and Aids. What we take for granted can make the difference between a child benefiting from an education or falling victim to poverty or illness. "

So Ilyse decided to gather new or used children's shoes from ANYONE willing to donate to this cause. As long as they are still in good shape, they will be greatly appreciated. You can email her at and she will send you her Carlsbad address where you can drop the shoes off -- I'm taking some of my boys shoes there this weekend.

THE TIP: The photo below is from a Habitat trip I took to South Africa in 1998 and it was stunning to see how families could survive with so little... the family that I stayed with only had one lighbulb in their tiny house. They unscrewed the bulb from the sitting area to give me light in my room when I needed to get ready for bed.

Look around your home and try to imagine raising your family only being able to afford one lightbulb, or not being able to afford even shoes for your little ones. I hope that you will all help in this simple but important way!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Congratulations Ali & Brian!

Our closest friends Ali and Brian were married this weekend in San Diego - it was a truly "urban wedding" extravaganza filled with love, laughter and a tear here and there!

I also love the photo below, which is from their engagement party in August. We got them co-captain shirts to commemorate Brian's love of sports and their pending union. We love knowing that they are just starting on the most amazing path in life... congrats!!

THE TIP: "Expect Miracles"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Family Updates

Happy B-Day Evan - 4 years old!

The theme for the party started as "outer space" but once the invites went out
Evan wanted a "Praying Mantis" theme - his favorite bug.
So we ended up with "Bugs from Outer Space" - love how that just made sense to all the kids!!

The Astronaut (i.e. Steve) arrives.. upon opening the door there were horrified screams from the youngest guests but all of the kiddos thought it was amazing -- we had to keep them from running out front to see the space ship that surely was in the driveway! And Evan was just sad that Daddy didn't meet the astronaut ;)

The astronaut gave prizes to the kids and held a contest with Mommy to see who could blow up the biggest balloon (see the parents cracking up at this entertainment!)

Water balloons out back and a piƱata topped off the party... So much fun, we watched the sun go down and kids running around with sticky faces, soaking clothes and big grins!!

Before his party, Evan was at a karate tournament with his best pal Ryan. He won a trophy and was SO PROUD! (How do these kids have SO much energy??!!)

Other than our crazy Saturday, we have been keeping up with the cousins... Yoly and Ethan, he is 3 months old now and growing so fast :)

Nicolas ("Nico") was born just one month after Ethan to my other sister (Alejandra - "Handi") and his big sister Eva is the darling princess among her boy cousins! Eva will actually be the name of Mark's new restaurant

Cousin Ponchin also came to visit earlier this month, had a great time at the beach and Disneyland. And on July 15th we went with Poncho and Alicia to see the most amazing Coldplay concert (floor tickets - the most fun Steve and I have had in a while!)

Oh yeah - we also tok a roadtrip to Palm Springs in June, what could be more fun to our little guys than playing fort in the hotel room and jumping their little hearts out on the hotel bed?!

Much love from us and we hope to see you all soon,
Gaby, Steve, Evan & Alec

Monday, October 20, 2008

When Life Takes Us in a New Direction...

Last Fall while I was on maternity leave with my second baby, I experienced a difficult period of restlessness and isolation that led to more fun and inspiration than I could have imagined.

When my first son was born over three years ago, I committed to part-time work from home so that I only engaged in work activities when the baby was napping or with grandma. The time with Evan was blissful, but admittedly for a Type A personality like me, being in the house all day was a bit isolating. And I felt there was room for an additional project as long as my baby could be a part of it...

By creating
Friends With Class as a forum for unique classes I could not find elsewhere ("Photography With Your Toddler," and an affordable and not day-long CPR / Infant CPR / First Aid class), I also created an outlet for the professional drive I still had stirring within.

Unexpectedly, I also found some amazing people with whom we enjoy playdates as well as business meetings! Some of our most popular classes have been taught by moms in our playgroups. And whereas I felt somewhat isolated from the professional world, I now have a terrific network of professionals that teach our business classes.

Two classes that I want to highlight are being offered in November and are directly tied to taking steps in a new direction. Our November 1st
Career Workshop is taught by author Marcy Morrison of Careers With Wings and geared toward not just finding a new job but determining how to turn your passion into a career.

And our Nov 8th class
"A Tale of Two Websites" features how San Diego Bargain Mama founder, Stacey Ross, found success running an online business in just ine year along with the success San Diego Travel Tips founder, Julie, Gelfat, also found -- both on a shoestring budget.

I'm taking the class just to learn how the heck Stacey and Julie got their sites to rank so high on Google -- especially Julie for the keywords "San Diego travel" against sites like the SD Convention and Visitor's bureau, long-established San Diego hotesl, all sorts of SD tourism, etc.

See you there, as we all seek to chart a path onto an exciting direction :)

THE TIP: I'll post a tip from each of the classes once they take place, but for now, the best advice I can offer for anyone else who feels they are ready to take on a new career direction or even start a business is to just GET OUT THERE! You won't go anywhere sitting behind your computer.

Take the ideas and resolve that you have in your mind, put them out there and just get started. I networked with other moms that were running businesses, attended business classes and met so many interesting people that are now teaching classes me and my friends enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hilton Head, SC

We took a week off in Hilton Head, SC last week at a beach house with Steve's college buddy John, his wife Becky and their adorable little girl. It rained for most of the week, but it was still warm outside -- even warmer in the pool and jacuzzi -- so while we didn't get too many beach days we still splashed around with the kids most of the time.

And being that we never get rain in San Diego, it was actually really nice having lazy days riding bikes on the beach with a drizzle or staying in to to hear the rain fall on the deck and have mid-day playtime and stories!

I have to admit, it was a bit surreal being in this stunning home (we were guests of another Villanova pal) while watching the equally stunning news of the crash on Wall Street. But we focused on collecting seashells and not checking the historic news too often...

THE TIP: As TV images showed the world "crashing," we realized nothing is more precious than just having time with those you love. And you don't need to be on vacation -- or in an up or down economy -- to find time to take walks, read stories together or enjoy jokes around the breakfast table!

Below is what my darling boys looked like in the morning watching the sun rise over the ocean and preparing for another day with no plans other than to be together :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

San Diego Family Fair is a Hit!

The San Diego Family Fair was held Sunday, October 5th at the Bernardo Winery and was just wonderful :)

The picture of Steve holding Evan up below is dark, but perfect for what I hoped to create when I agreed through a playgroup to take this on -- we wanted an event where kids would have a great time running around in open space, playing in a jumper, riding ponies and dancing to music while the community browsed tables of mom-run and family-friendly businesses to raise money for San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

Well, we raised over $650 with well over 100 families at the fair - our goal, as we were celebrating Habitat's 100th home in San Diego and giving 100% of the event proceeds to this great organization. Close to 30 businesses participated to make this a success, and the KidsKorp volunteers were fantastic -- everyone came together to make this a terrific event!

Click here to see photos from the fair and stay tuned for next year...

THE TIP: In addition to Friends With Class who coordinated the Fair, please support all of the wonderful businesses below that helped make it a success!

1. Lisa Leete of

2. Jeannine LaChance - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - (858) 442-3179

3. The Picasso Kid - (760)942-4276


5. Janice O'Sullivan - Private Quarters, Silver Jewelry and & Jockey - - (858) 336-1052

6. Kristen Wright - Stretch-n-Grow of San Diego (619) 980-9552

7. Boutique for the Soul - Cristen Lebsack – - (877) 752.4463 -

8. Wanda Bass - Arbonne International - - - (619) 390-8696

9. Cookie Lee Jewelry - - (858) 212-3694

10. Discovery Toys - Michelle Adam (858) 449-5106,

11. Cradle2College Educational Resources, an Usborne Books at Home & School Consultant - Diana R~Rutz - 619-857-2821 -

12. Finders Key Purse - Christina Smith (760) 271-7441

13. Melaleuca - The Wellness Company - JaNell Robins (858) 673-7753

14. AmeriPlan - Mari Perez (760) 687-4973

15. Law Office of Daniel K. Printz - (858) 740-4370

16. Budget $ense - Chris Norita - (760)715-0452

17. Essential Baby Planner - Carrie Furet - (858) 405-1913

18. Caps for Kids - Rhonda and Ethan Epstein

19. Stacey Ross of San Diego Bargain Mama -

20. Superstars Photo Balls - Nancy Sticka (760) 519-2896

21. The Tea Cart - 619.659.5096

22. Elizabeth X Dang-Samuel - Ameriprise - (858) 795-2337

23. LaVonne Edwards - (760) 420-4512

26. Party Ponies Express (Pony rides) - (858) 486-1990

27. Abbie & TJ Productions (Jumper rental) - (858) 613-3989

28. Patty Hall's Jumpin Up Songs -

29. Semisi and the Fula Bula Band -

30. Bernardo Winery

Thank You to Kids Korps ( for wonderful volunteers and Vertical Print and Graphics ( 760-334-2004) for all of the event flyers!
And best of all San Diego Habitat for Humanity for the great work they do to help provide affordable housing for families in need (I was on their board for 8 years and can attest to what an outstanding affiliate we have here in San Diego!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Friends With Class Live on Channel 6 "San Diego Living" Covering the Family Fair to Benefit Habitat for Humanity

We were on live TV news yesterday, Channel 6 "San Diego Living" program with host Joe Bauer, and it was so much fun!

Evan and Alec were there with me, Evan and grandpa on camera, along with some terrific people who are all participating in the San Diego Family Fair that we are putting on for the second year at the Bernardo Winery.

We were joined by Ken Kosman from Habitat for Humanity, Ethan the awesome 12 year old that started "Caps for Kids," the ladies from "The Picasso Kid" with Gabrielle's adorable 4-yr old little girl and Christina from "Finders Key Purse." Even Semisi and his son Keli from their band "Fula Bula" were there playing music to get ready for tomorrow :)

Click here to see photos from the TV interview, I'm trying to figure out how to upload the video so stay tuned for that... it was a 5-minute segment so a rather large file... (UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE...) The Channel 6 staff was awesome -- they even gave Ethan a peek at the studio afterward. Thanks San Diego Living!

We want to also thank Jeff Frank, North County Times columnist, who did such an awesome job covering the fair last year and writing about it again in his Friday column to help get the word out (click here to see Jeff's Oct 3rd column). And we'll see you all tomorrow at the Fair!

THE TIP: I tried to draw upon my days working for CNN and KCBS to get ready for the live shoot yesterday, but I found it is actually a lot less stressful to be in front of the camera vs. behind the scenes making it all happen!

So the best advice I can give to anyone that is going to be on TV is to have your info well-prepared for the producer ahead of time and then just have fun with it once the cameras roll!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Great Deal at THE Hotel Las Vegas

Next week (after putting on the San Diego Family Fair), we head off to Hilton Head, SC. And since my mom is helping me with the kids almost every day this week, Steve and I decided to send my parents on a little get-away of their own... the swanky "THE Hotel," part of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas!

Check out the amazing deals we found on Travelzoo: THE Hotel for $110/night (usually $300/night for a suite) with free transport to the airport, free upgrade to a 600 or 750 sq ft suite, 2 for 1 spa access, 10% off meals and 2 for 1 breakfast at the House of Blues. I think you have to book the hotel by Sept 30th to get the suite upgrade. Airfare was $230 roundtrip on Southwest, about what you'd pay for gas each way there!

THE TIP: Always check these two websites when making travel plans: for the best deals and for candid reviews and photos from other travelers.