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!