Archive for September, 2013

Kids Eat, Play and Travel For Free In San Diego In October

| September 26, 2013


During the entire month of October in San Diego, kids get to eat, play and even travel by train for free. You read that right: FREE. It’s all thanks to the San Diego Tourism Authority.

There are over 100 businesses in San Diego offering some kind of free deal for the youths. To help you narrow down your options, I’ve highlighted the most appealing deals below.

Just remember to review the actual deal from the participating business closely when you click through using the provided links. For instance, a deal for kids “12 and under” applies to 12-year-olds; a deal for kids “under the age of 12″ does not. There are also limits to the number of kids a deal can apply to during one visit. When in doubt, call the participating business for clarification.

Now to the deals that caught my eye…


Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. One child ages 2-15 rides free with each paid adult fare on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner traveling to either Oceanside, San Diego Old Town or Santa Fe Downtown station.

North County Transit District’s COASTER. One child between the ages 6 and 12 rides free on North County Transit District’s COASTER with a paid adult ticket. Children 5 and younger always ride free.


LEGOLAND® California and SEA LIFE® Carlsbad Aquarium. Free Child Hopper ticket to LEGOLAND® California and SEA LIFE® Carlsbad Aquarium with the purchase of an Adult Hopper ticket using the promo code provided in the link.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Previously known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, children 11 and younger are free per paid adult.

San Diego Zoo. Children 11 and younger are free per paid adult.

SeaWorld San Diego. There are three deals offered by SeaWorld San Diego: One child ages 3-9 gets free admission into the park with a paid adult; one child ages 3-9 gets to Dine with Shamu for free when an adult pays for a a Dine with Shamu reservation; and one child ages 10-13 can enroll in a Dolphin or Beluga Interaction Program when an adult pays to participate in a Dolphin or Beluga Interaction Program.

Surf Diva Surf School. One child ages 5-12 gets a free surf lesson per paid adult lesson with Surf Diva.


Close to 40 San Diego Museums are offering free admission for up to two kids ages 12 and under with each paid adult during October 2013. Make sure to download the coupon from the San Diego Museum Council’s promotional page to get the deal!

I think these museums would be of equal interest to parents and kiddos (only because I’ve been to them all before and had a great time):

  • Birch Aquarium in La Jolla
  • Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma
  • Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park
  • USS Midway Museum in Downtown San Diego

For the full list of participating museums, visit the the San Diego Museum Council’s promotional page.


Hard Rock Cafe San Diego. One child aged 12 or under gets a free entree with the purchase of an adult entree.

Spike Africa’s Fresh Fish Grill & Bar. Get one free kids meal with each adult entree ordered.


For the full list of promotions, including a list of hotels that are offering free kids meals for guests, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website.

(”Join the Kidvasion” image from the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website. | This promotion is subject to change without my knowledge. To get the latest information, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website.)

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Sweet Shots of Succulents

| September 20, 2013


When you don’t know where to start, it’s best to start small.

My husband and I purchased our first “home” home–complete with a garage, front yard and backyard–near the Mission Valley area of San Diego this past April. After months of fixing it up, it’s finally at a point where we can focus on adding those little details that give it character.

That’s how these voluptuous little silver-green succulents known as Silver Sedum entered the scene. We scored them as a 4-pack at the Lowe’s in Mission Valley that, on biased memory, couldn’t have cost more than $2. Adamant as I was to find small white pots to plant them in, we walked over to Lowe’s neighbor–Ikea–and happened on these darling white espresso cups.

I’m proud to say that I planted each bulbous babe myself (with a little coaching from my husband, the true green thumb of our duo).


Since the espresso cups don’t have holes in them for drainage, I keep the succulents from the cusp of starving by feeding them drops of water every other day. I dip one end of a straw into a dish of water and trap water in it by plugging the opposite end with the tip of my finger. When the straw is over the potted soil, I simply remove my fingertip from the dry end to release the trapped water droplets.


Now, when I don’t have them soaking up sun on the windowsill in our dining room, they brighten up our guest bathroom on a glass shelf set just above the sink.


My inner hipster is so happy, it actually broke out a non-sarcastic smile.

(4-pack of Sedum treleasei, aka Silver Sedum, from Lowe’s. | Ikea 365+ Espresso Cup in white (with saucer), $2.99 each. | All photos taken by Christine Pasalo. If you use them in your own post or publication, please credit me and link back to this post.)

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When Your Dad Has a Sense of Humor and a Camera…

| September 13, 2013


Toyokazu-2-v1 You star in a Flickr album featuring tom-foolery worthy of going viral. “I believe laughter has a depth and universality that transcends generations,” photographer Toyokazu Nagano shared in an interview with Japan Times. “And laughter has the effect of livening things up instantaneously.”

Toyokazu started taking pictures in 2008 when a photographer friend he admired gave him a used DSLR. “It was right at the time my second daughter, Kanna, was born, so my two daughters made handy subjects and I photographed their daily lives,” he told Japan Times.

In 2010, he upped the ante when he got himself a Pentax 67 medium-format SLR. With such a sophisticated camera, he assumed that the moments he’d capture would have more meaning. He soon realized, though, that those insignificant-yet-touching moments would slip by during the time he spent manually adjusting the camera’s focus and shutter speed.

So Toyokazu changed his focus. “It occurred to me, ‘If I can’t nail the moment, I could just take their picture when they’re not moving!’” he explained in the interview. “Instead of pictures where I captured a wondrous moment or lovely daily-life scene, shots with creative elements that make you burst out laughing in spite of their triviality, became my, and our children’s, standard.”

The photos I’ve featured in this post are part of Toyokazu’s “Magic Road” series in which he strives to answer the question, “‘What’s the simplest way to make people laugh?’” They star his second daughter, Kanna, and are taken on a farm road that runs in front of their home.

“Magic Road” is just one of several collections he features on his Flickr album and Facebook page. Some of my favorites include the series “Road To My Dream” which is made up of hilarious self-portraits, including one of him sitting on the toilet; the “Photogenic” series which includes portraits of both of his daughters, wife, family and friends; a photo diary simply titled by dates like “20121007” and mimic grade-school assignments in which one is asked to draw a picture of a day in one’s life; and “Kiss Me, Please,” a series that illustrates Toyokazu’s theory of the best way to end conflicts, which captures Kanna kissing a panda statue, a construction sign, and other inanimate objects.

With each photograph he shares, Toyokazu reminds me that days needn’t be filled with so much doom and gloom, anxiety and argument. But what I find most touching about Toyokazu is his current vision for these portraits of his daughters. “I can’t help but look forward to seeing how the kids will react when they get bigger and, as adults, see the pictures,” he said. “I mean, just imagine: A wedding reception full of these photos, all our friends and relatives bursting out laughing at them, the nervous laughter of the groom, the embarrassed smile of the bride.”


(All photos courtesy of Toyokazu Nagano from his Flickr album. | (1) “Photogenic Bowling #1: Head Pin.” (2) “Photogenic Bowling #2: 7-10 split.” (3) “Jaws.” (4) “Graceful Japanese Woman.” (5) “The Samurai Spirit.” | To read his full interview with Japan Times, click here.)

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