<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/the-scene/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:31:33 -0800 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:31:33 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Touching Moments Amid Firestorm]]> Thu, 22 May 2014 19:27:50 -0800 several wildfires left a path of destruction and devastation throughout the county. However, as this happened dozens of touching stories came to light.]]> several wildfires left a path of destruction and devastation throughout the county. However, as this happened dozens of touching stories came to light.]]> http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cocos+Fire+San+Marcos+taken+from+corner+of+Iron+Horse+Dr+and+Mendocino+-+photo+credit+Edgar+Herrera.jpg As San Diegans dealt with the loss and devastation caused by a string of major wildfires, there was an outpouring of touching stories that reminded us of the good that comes out of tragedy.

Photo Credit: Edgar Herrera]]>
<![CDATA[Win a Weekend in Vegas to See the Roots!]]> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:34:01 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/The-Roots-hi-res-copy.jpg

And you thought the party was ending on New Year’s Eve.

How silly you were, because 2015 is the Year of the Dog -- hair of the dog, that is! -- and you and seven (count 'em, SEVEN) of your bestest friends are chasing it to Las Vegas to see the Roots from the "Tonight Show" perform at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on Saturday, Jan. 3!


Enter HERE for your chance to win EIGHT tickets to see the Roots perform at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas in Las Vegas, two nights at the Linq Hotel, $400 in gift cards and a private bowling lane during the show!


But wait, there's more! There will be four rooms at the brand-spanking-new Linq Hotel waiting for you and your friends (all seven of 'em) for two nights -- check out of the real world and check in to the Linq on Friday, Jan. 2, and don’t you come out until Sunday, Jan. 4. Except for the show, of course, which you'll want to attend, because it's the Roots, dude. And you have eight tickets to see the neo-soul icons! Jimmy Fallon's house band?! Questlove?!? THE ROOTS!!!

But hold up. The lucky winner also scores one of only 32 coveted private bowling lanes during the show PLUS four $100 gift cards good for food and drink at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas.

Yes, yes, this is a whole lotta exciting numberage to digest. Here's the breakdown:

  • A block of four rooms for two nights at the Linq Hotel (Jan. 2-4)
  • One private bowling lane for up to eight people at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on Jan. 3 during the Roots show
  • Four $100 gift cards good toward food and beverage at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
  • Four pairs of tickets (eight total) to see the Roots at the Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 3

In all, it's a package worth more than $3,500. Not a bad way to ring in the New Year -- just use the buddy system to avoid any incidents, a la "The Hangover."

The contest ends on Dec. 26 at noon, and you can't win if you don't enter -- so do it here and do it now!


Enter HERE for your chance to win EIGHT tickets to see the Roots perform at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas in Las Vegas, two nights at the Linq Hotel, $400 in gift cards and a private bowling lane during the show!

]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Holiday Lights 2012]]> Tue, 18 Dec 2012 13:28:11 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Parade-of--Lights-1217.jpg Have you seen some good holiday lights in San Diego? Send your photos to isee@nbcsandiego.com to be featured in our slideshow! Keep watching for some of the best light displays in America's Finest City.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Top Chefs to Offer Fine Dining for Great Cause]]> Fri, 02 May 2014 10:34:18 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gourmet-Food-Generic_0925.jpg

Fine food and a great cause are on the menu for an annual culinary event featuring some of San Diego’s top chefs.

Teaming up to create a foodie’s dream event is Meet the Chefs and non-profit Casa de Amparo where top chefs from across San Diego prepare some of the best dishes the city has to offer.

In total, 19 of San Diego’s top chefs from 18 restaurants are going to donate their time and food for the event, which will happen on Sunday May 4 from 12:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego.

For 18 years Meet the Chefs has transformed to become one of San Diego’s top culinary events.

Along with fine wine and food, organizers say guests at Meet the Chefs are doing their part to support Casa de Amparo’s mission to be a safe haven for abused and neglected children, teens, and young adults.

Casa de Amparo, which translates to home of protection, serves over 850 children, teens, and young adults each year at its locations in Oceanside and San Marcos, according to staff. Along with that, the non-profit helps as many as 675 families with its programs.

“I’ve been part of Casa de Amparo’s spectacular cause and the startup of Meet the Chefs since its inception in 1996,” said Pamplemousse Grille Chef and Owner Jeffrey Strauss. “To see the event’s growth and development with the support of committed staff, donors, and businesses for nearly two decades is nothing short of a miracle.”

For more information on the event, and to purchase tickets, check this website.

]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday Events in San Diego]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 17:00:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Seaworld-Christmas-Lights.jpg There's plenty of yuletide festivities for the whole family to enjoy this holiday season.

Photo Credit: SeaWorld San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Volunteers Build Homes for Service Members in Lakeside]]> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 10:09:59 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/H4H-Lakeside.jpg

Dozens of volunteers with local non-profit group San Diego Habitat for Humanity gathered on Saturday to build homes for disabled veterans and their families in Lakeside.

Volunteers of SDHFH's Building for the Brave program took part in building four town homes from the ground up in the 12000 block of Lakeshore Drive.

SDHFH organizers said Building for the Brave aims to provide housing for wounded warriors who want to own a home but are unable to do so.

All four of the Lakeside town homes will be given to families who are able to demonstrate a need for improved housing due to undesirable living conditions and their financial situation.

The project has been in the works since March 2013 when ground was first broken.

Construction on Saturday began at around 8 a.m. with donated tools and more than 30 volunteers were expected to be on-site throughout the day.

Each of the units are 1,500 square feet, as well as handicap accessible.

The Building for the Brave initiative was made possible with sponsorship from Bank of America, The Home Depot Foundation, TD Ameritrade, SAIC, and Cox Communications, among others.

Families will be able to start moving into the homes around the end of May, when the project is scheduled to be completed.

As part of the program, the families will be asked that they participate in homeowner education workshops, be active members of the homeowner’s association, and complete between 250 and 500 hours of what organizers called “sweat equity.”

Since 1988, the San Diego-Tijuana Habit for Humanity, later shortened to SDHFH, has helped to build nearly 200 homes for people in need throughout San Diego and across the border in Mexico.

]]>
<![CDATA[$4M Home Raffled Off for $150]]> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 14:53:24 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ronaldhouse11.jpg

A nearly 8,000-square-foot , $4 million home is being raffled off for a $150 ticket next month as part of a local charity event.

For the past ten years the Dream House Raffle has been giving away multi-million dollar homes located in pricey zip codes across the county.

As a grand prize this year, someone will win a 7,685 square foot home that sits atop 0.65 acres in Rancho Santa Fe.

The five bedroom home was built in 2002 and features 5.5 bathrooms, a pool, spa, and a theater that sits nine people.

Proceeds from tickets bought in the raffle will go toward the Ronald McDonald House Charities which provides services to families with critically ill or injured children being treated at local hospitals.

Tickets for the raffle are available online. The grand prize raffle will take place on May 17.

Ticket information and additional photos can be found at sdraffle.com.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Actor Gary Sinise Celebrates Troops with SD Festival]]> Sun, 16 Feb 2014 11:58:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/219*120/0911-sinise.jpg

Academy Award-nominated actor Gary Sinise’s connection to the military didn't stop with his scene-stealing role as Lieutenant Dan in "Forrest Gump.”

Helping wounded service members – like the double amputee he played in 1994 critically acclaimed film – has become a lifelong passion for Sinise, even as his career turned to other projects like “CSI: NY.”

His efforts have often turned toward San Diego, as they did Saturday at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

There, the Gary Sinise Foundation hosted the day-long “Invincible Spirit Festival.”

The goal: To honor and celebrate wounded, ill and injured service members, as well as their families and medical caregivers.

Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band grabbed their instruments and played their hearts out alongside a barbecue cookout by British celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, known as his turn on Food Network shows “Dinner: Impossible,” “Restaurant: Impossible” and more.

Families were also treated to a rock climbing wall, bounce houses, face painting and giveaways.

Sinise's band has eclectic tastes, covering hits from Stevie Wonder to Adele, the Zac Brown Band and more. The more unlikely the songs, the more entertaining the performance as members hope to boost morale on military bases both in the states and overseas.

For his active involvement with wounded troops and the USO, Sinise has often earned the nickname “The New Bob Hope.”

His foundation’s work encompasses programs for service members, veterans, first responders and families.

]]>
<![CDATA[Send Your Pic: Chargers Faithful]]> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 09:37:55 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*160/5a4004403b7511e2b7ab22000a1f90e77.jpg Win or Lose, they're blue and gold. Bolts fans show their support for the SD Chargers. Send your pictures to isee@nbcsandiego.com.

Photo Credit: mili619/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[SDSU Student Crowned Miss California 2014]]> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 07:00:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/misscalisdsukunze.jpg

A San Diego State University student has been crowned the new Miss California USA.

Beverly Hills resident, 20-year-old Cassandra Kunze, was crowned last night in Long Beach.

Kunze previously served as Miss Teen San Diego County and Miss Teenage California in 2012.

Along with attending SDSU, Kunze is a 2011 graduate of Grossmont High School and has worked as a ballet instructor in the past, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

(Video via PROJECT13MAGAZINE on Youtube)



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday Events Ring in the Season Across SD]]> Sat, 07 Dec 2013 17:04:45 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/December+Nights+Resized.jpeg

Holiday cheer is in full swing across San Diego, as several events celebrated the season on Saturday.

Thousands were expected to gather in Balboa Park beginning at 11 a.m. for the second day of December Nights. The annual San Diego tradition, once known as Christmas on the Prado, kicked off Friday and will last through midnight Saturday.

View our 2013 December Nights guide

Around 300 third graders spent the day with local law enforcement during the annual Shop with a Cop event. This year the kids were treated to a private show at SeaWorld San Diego and then went on $100 shopping spree with officers at a nearby Target store.

Also on Saturday, locals got the chance to travel with Santa Claus and his elves in the North County for the eighth annual Coaster Holiday Express, a 90-minute train ride from Oceanside to Sorrento Valley. The event, put on by the North County Transit District, began at 10 a.m. and ended around 12:30 p.m.

A few parades were also scheduled for the day.

At 10 a.m., the North Park Toyland Festival and Parade kicked off along University Avenue. At around 5 p.m. the 34th annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade and the Encinitas Holiday Parade were scheduled to take place.

The Little Italy Association held its annual tree lighting and Christmas Village along W. Date Street, between India and State streets, at around 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, also at 4 p.m., Marine Band San Diego was set to perform a free holiday concert for the public at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Loma Portal.

In Lakeside, the 15th annual Spirit of Christmas was scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. on Maine Avenue, between Woodside and Laurel, in Lakeside’s downtown area. A tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa, vendors, food, music, and more were planned for the free community event which lasts until 9 p.m.

Locals who didn't head out today are in luck as a few holiday events are planned for Sunday as well.

Families that have children with special needs are encouraged to visit Fashion Valley Mall and take a photo with Santa during the mall's Caring Santa event. The special photo sessions will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. in Center Court which will be transformed to better support the children’s sensory, physical and other developmental needs.

You might score the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at Holiday Hit List at Liberty Station where local crafters will be selling their unique creations. The shopping event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2875 Dewey Rd.

At around 2 p.m. the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Festival will be held at the La Jolla Recreation Center located at 615 Prospect St.

Finally, snow is going to fall in Eastlake for Magic Snow at the Village Walk shopping center. The snowing will take place at both 6 and 7 p.m. at 878 Eastlake Pkwy.

Did we miss your holiday event? Let us know in the comments!

]]>
<![CDATA[Men Accused of Stealing Paul Walker Crash Wreckage Plead Not Guilty]]> Fri, 03 Jan 2014 10:53:25 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Paul+Walker+1.jpg

Two men accused of stealing the roof panel from a badly wrecked red Porsche GT in which actor Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas died pleaded not guilty in court Friday morning.

Jameson Brooks Witty and Anthony Edward Janow  each face one felony count of grand theft of personal property, and two misdemeanor counts each of destroying evidence and resisting, obstructing and delaying a peace officer, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities arrested Witty on Dec. 5 at his home in Los Angeles and held on $20,000 bail. Janow, a friend of Witty, surrendered to Los Angeles authorities about one week later.

Massive Crowds Gather at Unofficial Walker, Rodas Memorial

Witnesses told investigators that a vehicle was following the tow truck transporting the wrecked Porsche. When the tow truck was at a stoplight, someone got out of the vehicle, grabbed a part from the wrecked Porsche and then drove away.

The tow truck driver reported the theft, authorities said.

Private Funeral Held for Paul Walker

Authorities identified Witty and Janow as suspects and later served a search warrant at a home in Canyon Country and found a red T-top roof panel from the Porsche, sheriff's officials said. What led investigators to the two men was not released by authorities.

Walker and Rodas were killed when a Porsche that Rodas was driving slammed into a light pole and tree and then caught fire. The crashed happened while Walker and Rodas had taken what was expected to be a brief drive away from a charity fundraiser and toy drive at Rodas' custom car shop in Valencia.
 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vavi Mud Run Returns]]> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 11:36:11 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mudrun.jpg Runners of all sorts participated in VAVi's Del Mar Mud Run 2013 over the weekend. Check out a clip of the fun, mud-filled event here.]]> <![CDATA[Could George Clooney Film in Coronado?]]> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:55:05 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Coronado-Bridge-0318.jpg Multiple entertainment websites are reporting George Clooney is very interested in a storyline that happened in Coronado.]]> <![CDATA[Ugly Sweater Run: Mustaches, Mistletoe Highly Recommended]]> Sat, 30 Nov 2013 18:31:30 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ugly+sweater+fun+run+1130.jpg

A fun run that requires participants to “don they now their ugliest apparel” swept through San Diego Saturday.

The Ugly Sweater Run invited runners, walkers, kids and pets to the world’s ugliest 5k at Liberty Station’s NTC Park.

A “What to Wear” list was followed to the letter as runners suited up in flannel long johns, mustaches, knitted caps, mistletoe and of course, the most dreaded of holiday clothing.

Every mile, hot chocolate aid stations replenished the participants’ depleting electrolytes, and those who were 21 and up were welcomed across the finish line with two free beers or hard ciders.

The Ugly Sweater Run has horrified fashion police across the nation for three years now, but today’s jaunt was the first time it has come to San Diego. Runs were also held simultaneously Saturday in Boston, the Twin Cities and Dallas.

While they raised awareness about terrible holiday clothing, organizers supported a true cause by encouraging runners to donate a gift to Toys For Tots.



Photo Credit: The Ugly Sweater Run Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Comic-Con: The Enduring Appeal of Peanuts]]> Fri, 19 Jul 2013 20:01:18 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Peanuts+gang.jpg

Superman, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

Some of these things are not like the others.

Navigating the crowds of Comic-Con en route to the "Snoopy: A Retrospective" panel Friday afternoon, I pass Wolverines, assorted Doctor Whos, zombies, scantily-clad warrior princesses rubbing shoulders with Disney princesses, and even a President Obama look-a-like replete with secret service detail.

The juxtaposition of the Peanuts Gang among the super-beings celebrated so grandly in San Diego this weekend is at first jarring. Created by Charles M. Schulz in 1950, Peanuts focuses on a group of children who hail from Minnesota and struggle with everyday issues of anxiety, friendship and pitching a perfect game.

Hardly the stuff of superhero legend.

But when you look at the enduring love and success the franchise continues to enjoy, perhaps Charlie Brown and the gang are the ones most deserving of the "super" descriptor.

"I personally don't know of any character property where the characters so fully inhabit their issues. They are so honest about anxiety or insecurity," Paige Braddock, executive vice president and creative director of the Peanuts brand, says. "It's very nice to see the vulnerability of the characters. They are not perfect, know-it-all smart-alecks."

What they are is just like us. And audiences can't seem to get enough of their funny, touching and what sometimes appears old-fashioned antics.

Over 45 million people read a Peanuts comic strip everyday. In 2012, "A Charlie Brown Christmas Special" was the highest ranked special among adults 18-49. That same year Peanuts had more than 475 million social media impressions. One in five Hallmark cards sold is a Peanuts card. Snoopy has almost two million Facebook fans, 140,000 Twitter followers and 75,000 Instagram followers. Even Woodstock has 38,000 Twitter followers without the benefit of being able to converse in speech.

When Schulz passed away in 2000, many fans fretted it would mark the end for Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy. With the aid of Schulz's family and a group of dedicated artists and business people, the franchise has not only survived but continues to go from strength to strength.

At the core of this success? An emotional attachment for audiences that dates back to their childhood and a method of storytelling that has translated seamlessly from newsprint to the technological platforms that inhabit the modern world.

According to Peanuts managing director Leigh Anne Brodsky, it's the simple wit and wisdom of the property that draws you in, and the lucid way it is displayed. "It's bite sized media," she proclaims proudly. "The four panels really tell a story in a quick, concise and pithy way with great art, great dialogue and it works really well on social media."

For Tweeny Kau, 36, of Santa Monica CA., attending the Snoopy panel at Comic-Con was something she was most looking forward to during the four-day event. "I just liked [Snoopy] because he was a dog and he was cute and he was funny," says Kau, whose first recollection of the beagle was at around four years of age. "Now I get the humor more."

The continuity of the franchise also appeals to Kau.

While other stalwarts of the funny pages such as Archie have added modern-day characters and placed their protagonists in 21st century situations, Peanuts maintains an unchanging cast of characters struggling with everyday, timeless issues.

So popular is the franchise right now that Braddock and her team oversee between 2,000 and 4,000 product submissions a month. Some requiring more scrutiny than others to ensure the Peanuts legacy remains true to Schulz's vision.

"We do a lot of trend t-shirt licenses for example, but we also have a new game in development," Braddock explains. "So game development is one submission but is a very intense project that will go on for months. We try to pay really close attention to the projects that have heavier content: games or books or APPs."

How about Thanksgiving Day Balloons and movies?

Beginning in 1968, Snoopy has made more appearances in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade than any other character. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of his debut and the 40th anniversary of the accompanying holiday special "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," a brand new balloon design will make its debut on November 28.

Braddock's team worked on the concept sketches for the design, which incorporates a flying Snoopy along with his best feathered friend Woodstock.

Add to that the recently announced return to the big screen of the gang in 2015, a year that will mark the 65th anniversary of Peanuts debut and the 50th anniversary of "A Charlie Brown Christmas Special." 

Shulz's son Craig is currently writing the screenplay and Steve Martino ("Ice Age: Continental Drift") is directing, though it's still too early to reveal whether or not the iconic Vince Guaraldi piano-jazz score will be incorporated.

"It's a big emotional tie in," Braddock acknowledges of the score. "People have a real emotional connection to that music. And the voices, we've always used children to provide the voices - there are certain things that people really associate with Peanuts."

So recognisable are certain of the franchise's hallmarks, that the music and Charlie Brown's signature sad-sack walk were even featured in the cult comedy series "Arrested Development."

There's also new monthly comic books, anthology publications and even a Vine campaign created by celebrated viral artist Khoa Phan (see below).

"I don't want to say we modernized it, but we're definitely using modern technology to enhance the content that we had and getting it on different platforms where kids could get to it," Braddock explains of the approach to keeping Peanuts fresh.

And as many comic book franchises lean toward the dark and violent, keeping brands such as Peanuts kid- and adult-friendly remains a priority.

"We don't want to lose kids, we don't want to miss a generation of kids with Peanuts because if you read the stories when you are ten, like most of us did, the stories resonate in a different way," Braddock says. "Snoopy is a dog who doesn't know he is a dog. So for kids, he may appear powerless but he can be powerful through his imagination."

 



Photo Credit: Peanuts]]>
<![CDATA[Comic-Con 2013 Survival Guide]]> Thu, 18 Jul 2013 05:18:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/148245104.jpg

If you’re planning on attending Comic-Con 2013, you’ll probably need nerves of steel to tolerate the over 100,000 people trying to all get into the same panels, get the same autographs, buy the same collectors items and see celebrities as you.

And if you know that going in, you’ll no doubt have a blast.

But one thing you need to know right now is this: preparation is the key to enjoying this event. The more prepared you are, the more you’ll enjoy it. The Comic-Con staff has put a lot of time and effort for you to enjoy the show, but you’ll have to do your part by making sure you’re ready.

So here are some quick tips for you to have the best time possible.

The biggest tip I have for you is this: Dress in layers. You’re going to be going into several temperatures. Freezing (if you make it into Hall H), Cold (if you’re up before dawn waiting in the lines to get into Hall H or Ballroom 20), Warm (When the sun comes up and it’s not quite entry time) Hot, if you’re unlucky not to make into Hall H on the first go-round and have to wait in line for people to leave so you can get in. And stuffy, especially in Ballroom 20 where the circulation isn’t always the best.

Next, your shoes are important. Those strappy sandals may look cute with your costume but if you’re going to be standing for hours, it may not be the best choice. Neither are those flip flops because you’ll be walking a LOT and hopefully going from panel to panel. Plus, your feet WILL be stepped on while you’re walking the convention floor, so it’s best to stick with sneakers, flats or any other covered shoe you deem comfortable.

Third: pack snacks. It’s no secret that the food at the convention center is pricey. And it you’re going to be sitting in Hall H from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. you may want to eat. Fruit, granola bars or any other snack that doesn’t smell is a great choice. You’ll be sitting beside some folks who will assault your senses with body odor and nachos, no need for you to contribute.

Water, water, water. I cannot tell you the number of people who have that glassy-eyed look because they are dehydrated. Buy water at the grocery store (there’s one a few blocks from the convention center) and pack it in your bag.

Plan ahead. Realistically you cannot be in two places at the same time. So look at the schedule and make decision about where you want to be when. And allow yourself time to walk to that place and be able to stand in line to get in. If you’re going to attempt to go into Hall H, be prepared to sacrifice sleep because each year the line to get in starts earlier and earlier. Last year, some people were in line DAYS ahead to get into a panel. If you’re anywhere around the convention center, you’ll probably get in, but if you’re in Seaport Village where lines stretched to last year, you can forget it.

Rest. Comic-Con is four days of nonstop panels, parties, costumes and fun. But to enjoy it all, you need to get a full eight hours of sleep. Decide on a bed time and stick to it. You don’t want to snooze off during a crucial moment.

Use social media. If you can’t make it to a panel, someone is probably Tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking or Vining about it. Let that help you enjoy the panels you can’t make it to.

Don’t forget your chargers. With social media now a huge part of this event, you’re going to go through power pretty quickly and there are very few unspoken chargers in the rooms, so you may want to make sure you’re fully charged and turn off any unneeded applications including Bluetooth and location services which drain batteries pretty quickly.

Go off the beaten path. Everybody will try to get into Hall H for the film panels, or Ballroom 20 for the TV stuff and some B-list movies. And the Convention floor will be super crowded on Preview Night and Saturday. So look at that schedule for other things you might enjoy that may not be as crowded or hard to get into.

Make friends with the people you’re standing in line with. People are fascinating and have fascinating stories to tell when you have hours to stand in a line. I made four new friends whom I’ve kept in touch with for the past year. And at some point, you’ll need a bathroom break and those people are usually kind enough to hold your seat or watch your stuff.

Finally, breathe. It can be overwhelming, but with the right choices, you’ll be able to look back at an experience to remember. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Lionsgate]]>
<![CDATA[Surprises Await at SD County Fair]]> Sun, 09 Jun 2013 10:16:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDFairSurprises_722x406_32928323888.jpg At the San Diego County Fair, sometimes it's best to just expect the unexpected. NBC 7's Brandi Powell reports from opening day at the fair, and encounters a few fun surprises.]]> <![CDATA[2013 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon]]> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 10:05:57 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RRMarathon1.JPG Thousands upon thousands of runners took part in the 2013 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Nina Martensson]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Turn Out for 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon]]> Sun, 02 Jun 2013 20:56:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RRMarathon11.jpg

Thousands upon thousands of runners and spectators turned out for the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon Sunday morning as music, cheering and sounds of sneakers on the pavement filled the air.

The 16th annual 26.2-mile race began at 6:15 a.m. at 6th Avenue and Quince Street near Balboa Park.

The course then headed through University Avenue and Park Boulevard before moving into downtown San Diego, passing through B Street, 11th Avenue and Broadway, among other streets.

Mile six took runners to Kettner Boulevard, then India Street and San Diego Avenue through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. By mile 11.4, runners were on Mission Bay Drive, followed by Clairemont Drive, Morena Boulevard and Friars Road, among many other markers.

Mile 19.4 took runners on northbound SR-163 down to 10th Avenue, Robinson Avenue and other surrounding streets.

The highly-anticipated finish line was set up downhill at 13th Street and K Street in downtown San Diego, near Petco Park. See a full map of the 2013 course here.

As runners triumphantly charged downhill towards that finish line, thousands of spectators – some holding enthusiastic signs – cheered loudly from the sidelines.

The endorphins, and emotions, were high.

“It was awesome. I feel so good,” one runner from England told NBC 7 at the finish line.

“It was really good downhill,” said another excited runner.

Pacific Beach resident Ashten Wolfe told NBC 7 she was elated to cross the finish line.

“It was great. I’m dead, but I finished. It’s awesome; it’s an adrenaline rush,” said Wolfe.

Like many participants, Wolfe said she couldn’t help but think of those who took part in the Boston
Marathon nearly two months ago as she ran in San Diego on Sunday.

“My prayers and thoughts go out to all those injured and who passed away in Boston,” said Wolfe. “I hope I can be in Boston one day to remember all those who were injured. I’m sorry that happened to all the families and hope that everyone is recovering and doing well.”

Runner Jason Swingler, 43, traveled to San Diego from Phoenix to participate in the marathon for the first time.

“Being 43, I was just glad to finish. I really love San Diego,” Swingler told NBC 7.

He too said he thought of Boston often during Sunday’s run.

“Boston comes to mind. I’m really glad that there were no incidents today. It’s a great day to run and everyone is having a great time. And that’s the way it should be, right here,” said Swingler.

Local runner Mark Rodriguez said seeing all the spectators on the sidelines made his marathon run a little easier to finish.

“At 10 miles is where I started to cramp up and it was a wrap, but one hour and 42 minutes and a 7:37 pace? I can dig it! It’s okay,” said Rodriguez. “Coming across that finish line and seeing all these people out here, it’s awesome.”

Scroll through a photo gallery of the 2013 marathon here.

A husband and wife visiting from Mexico City crossed the half marathon finish line together and said the event was a success.

“It’s a pleasure to be here in San Diego. It’s a good race,” said one runner from Mexico City. “It’s the first time that we’ve run a half marathon.”

Local marathon runner and 2012 Olympian Meb Keflezighi also crossed the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon finish line on Sunday and told NBC 7 he was happy to be back in his hometown, running alongside fellow San Diegans.

Fans waited for him at the finish line, including one of his former high school teachers who greeted him with a big hug.

“It’s overwhelmingly great to be back in San Diego. The course was tough, but it’s a great show. This is a great day for San Diego,” said Keflezighi at the finish line.

The Olympian said he ran the half marathon faster this year than he has in the past two years, so he was pleased with his time of 1:02:11. He said he’s actively conditioning every day and will run the New York City Marathon this November.

Keflezighi told NBC 7 his favorite part of the race was running through his old neighborhood and past San Diego High School, the school he graduated from in 1994. He said Arizona Street brought back memories of his first apartment in San Diego.

He said he and his family are planning on moving back to San Diego for good next week.

Keflezighi also couldn’t help but think of Boston during his run.

The Olympic marathon runner was actually in Boston on April 15 cheering for Boston Marathon runners from the grand stand for hours before two bombs exploded near the finish line. He left the area about five minutes before the bombs went off, he told NBC 7 in an interview back in April.

NBC 7's news reporter and anchor Artie Ojeda also competed in Sunday's race, giving a thumbs up at the finish line (photo below).



Photo Credit: Chris Chan]]>
<![CDATA[Gloriously Unhealthy Fair Foods ]]> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 08:35:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/121008+Corn+Dog+Kidnapping.jpg Our homage to the fabulously fried food we'll enjoy at this year's fair.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Navy’s 27th Annual Bay Bridge Run/Walk Hits Coronado]]> Thu, 16 May 2013 13:47:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Coronado-Bridge-0318.jpg

Thousands of runners and walkers will take over the Coronado Bay Bridge on Sunday for the Navy’s 27th annual Bay Bridge Run/Walk.

The four-mile walk and run starts at 8 a.m. Participants begin their route from the Hilton San Diego Bayfront over the Coronado Bay Bridge to Tidelands Park located at One Park Blvd. in Coronado.

After the event, which includes live entertainment and prize drawings at the park, a bus or ferry will transport participants back to San Diego from Coronado.

The annual event acts as a fundraiser for the Navy’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs.
MWR “Quality of Life” programs provide fitness and recreation opportunities to more than 500,000 active duty and retired military, reservists, their families and civilian employees in San Diego County.

Registration for this year’s event has already sold out, but details on the run/walk can still be found here. For a map of the route, see below.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Jack Rocks the Midway]]> Mon, 15 Apr 2013 09:27:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Midway+0152.jpg San Diegans set sail on the Midway on Sunday night on a lineup of music sponsored by Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.

Photo Credit: John Audley]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Belgian Beer Sold in San Diego]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:04:24 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Westvleteren.jpg

A few lucky beer connoisseurs snagged a rare brew in San Diego Wednesday.

Surprisingly, it’s not a local beer. It’s Westvleteren 12, which is brewed by monks at a Belgian monastery and is considered one of the best beers in the world.

Until recently, this elusive brew was only available abroad. But the beer was released to the U.S. for a limited time, since the abbey needs a new roof. So the monks decided to raise funds by sending some cases to the U.S. It was released on 12/12/12 nationwide to a handful of stores.

Only three shops in San Diego managed to obtain Westvleteren – Bine & Vine in Normal Heights, Best Damn Beer Shop in downtown and Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido.

But the day the beer was available, it sold out.

A line formed at Bine & Vine Wednesday afternoon, where only 40 six-packs were available. Each pack was sold for $85 and also included two glasses with the Westvleteren logo.

“The phone keeps on ringing,” said Mike, who works at Bine & Vine. He said they were able to get the elusive beer because of their good relationship with the Westvleteren brewery.

It was a similar situation at Holiday Wine Cellar.

“Before we opened we had a line around the building,” said James, manager of the store.

Best Damn Beer Shop tweeted that they, too, had sold out the shortly after it hit the shelves.

If you can’t get your hands on any Westvleteren, don’t worry. We hear San Diego has some pretty good beers, too.

Melani Gordon, founder of the popular beer website Tap Hunter, said San Marcos-based Lost Abbey makes beers comparable to the monk-made brew.

For those who couldn’t get their hands on the beer, Gordon recommends trying St. Bernardus Abt 12. The strong Belgian ale is available on tap at a few San Diego bars, including Neighborhood and Hamilton’s, and can also be bought in bottles at BevMo.

Gordon says she’s not surprised San Diegans lined up for Westvleteren.

“It’s something fun for people to believe in within the beer community,” she said. “It’s a cool thing to get your hands on this beer.”

Gordon, who tried the beer on her last trip to Europe, described the beer as a Belgian-style quadruple at 10 percent alcohol by volume. She said the dark beer tastes fruity and almost plum-like.

“It’s super special. Year after year it’s been rated as the best beer in the world,” she said. “It’s a delicious, tasty beer.”

Would you buy a $85 six-pack of beer? Tell us in the comments below.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best After-Show Grub?]]> Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:07:07 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/240*120/Lucha.jpg

It’s hard not to work up a sizable appetite after a long night out on the town. Luckily, San Diego has more than a few prime spots to help satisfy your insufferable post-show cravings. For your consideration, SoundDiego has selected 13 standout possibilities for some late-night grub (in alphabetical order).

  • Blind Lady Ale House: This trendy beer bar also happens to serve some of the most appetizing craft pizza in town. Its location in Normal Heights makes it a great option for pre-gaming nearby venues like Soda Bar & the Void or finishing off an early night in a fashionably laid-back atmosphere. 
  • El Zarape: This is one of the brightest hidden gems tucked away in University Heights. Locals flock to El Zarape for its vast menu of specialty burritos and 99 cent fish tacos. 
  • In-n-Out Burger: It’s true -- you can’t really go wrong with a Double Double and a side of fries. With a handful of locations strewn across San Diego, In-n-Out provides a consistently delicious snack for weary concertgoers. 
  • Jimmy Wong’s Golden Dragon Asian Bistro: This spot is one of Hillcrest’s most popular late-night food destinations. It’s open until 3 a.m. and right down the street from the Ruby Room.
  • Lucha Libre: Masked luchadores have become the face of San Diego’s gourmet Mexican food, thanks to the efforts of Lucha Libre in Mission Hills. Its surf and turf burrito is considered by many to be some of the best grub in town. 
  • Luigi’s Pizza: Visit either the North Park or Golden Hill locations to see why they have such a devoted clientele. Great pizza and down-to-earth personalities reel in many of San Diego’s most dedicated music aficionados. 
  • Red Fox Room: Finish off your evening with a dueling-piano show at one of the Boulevard’s most enduring landmarks. Stepping into the dimly lit interior clad is to conjure a lost alternate reality. 
  • Rudford’s Restaurant: If you’re looking for the quintessential 24/7 diner, Rudford’s is your best bet. No matter how late, this spot offers solid breakfast plates and unlimited coffee refills for all those in need. 
  • Saguaro’s: This 24-hour North Park fixture is just one of the countless authentic Mexican food options strewn across SD. Similar dining experiences can be found almost everywhere you look, including Hillcrest’s La Posta (great for after a Casbah show), Miramar’s Rigoberto’s and Clairemont’s Vallarta Express.
  • Studio Diner: Rudford’s isn’t the only classic diner worth checking out in San Diego. If you find yourself in Kearney Mesa on the other side of midnight, try jumping into the cinema-themed time machine that is the Studio Diner. 
  • Turf Supper Club: Cook up your own steak and enjoy additional low-key live entertainment at this Golden Hill bar/club. 
  • West Coast Tavern: End the night in style at North Park’s West Coast Tavern. A highly diverse and high-quality menu paired with the chic bar aesthetic will keep you occupied until last call. 
Do you have a go-to grub hub in San Diego? We want to hear what’s up on our Facebook
]]>
<![CDATA[Wine and Dine on New Year’s Eve]]> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 15:09:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nyetoast.jpg

This Dec. 31 why not treat yourself to the best meal of 2012? After all, it’s customary to celebrate the end of a year with a full stomach.

New Year’s Eve is a time for gluttony – resolutions begin Jan. 1. See below what San Diego restaurants are serving up delightful holiday dishes.

Anthology

1337 India St., prices very
Rock out to 2013 at one of San Diego’s best concert venues. The hybrid eatery/arena has a three-course menu that will certainly leave you feeling groovy.

Bertrand at Mr. A’s
2550 5th Ave., $115
Wasn’t your 2012 resolution to see all of San Diego? Knock it off the list by dining with a view of the city at Bertrand at Mr. A’s. 

Cafe Japengo
8960 University Center Lane, $59
There’s nothing more California than grabbing some sushi on a holiday. Head to La Jolla for a spectacular selection of rolls and Asian fusion to toast in the New Year.

Craft & Commerce
675 West Beech St., $75-90
One of Little Italy’s hippest restaurants is throwing a “something sorta fancy” soiree at 6 and 9 p.m. The prixe-fixe menu has everything from cured meats to a chocolate bar.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
380 K St., prices vary
Holiday cocktails and a "celebration menu" offer luxe options this New Year's Eve. Bites include roasted lobster tail and Italian bacon mac & cheese.

Marina Kitchen
333 W Harbor, prices vary
If you've got an appetite, this is the place to go on New Year's Eve. There's the choice of either a three-course or six-course meal, which you can pair with any of the kitchen's premiere wines.

Pacifica Del Mar
1555 Camino del Mar, $92
Savor a four-course meal in Del Mar on Dec. 31, featuring hand-craft wines and tunes provided by DJ White.

Solace & the Moonlight Lounge
25 East E St., prices vary
A special menu of natural foods and cocktails will delight Encinitas residents, complete with tantalizing desserts such as pear gelato or a pine nut cookie. Sweet!

Truluck’s
8990 University Center Lane , $125
Enjoy a surf and turf menu at one of San Diego’s most luxurious steakhouses. Where else can you get crabclaws alongside prime ribeye?

Via Lago Trattoria

866 Eastlake Pkwy., prices vary
Via Lago Trattoria will have a menu full of its best 2012 plates on Dec. 31 plus a DJ spinning tunes into the New Year. Complimentary champagne will be provided at midnight.

Westgate
1055 Second Ave., $169
Welcome in the New Year with the Great Gatsby party downtown, easily one of the coolest dinner parties going on in San Diego. Tickets get you a five-course meal with wine, dancing, champagne and special midnight surprise.

Wine Vault and Bistro
2731 India St., $70-110
Early birds or latecomers can enjoy a prixe-fixe overflowing with food and wine this New Year’s Eve. Seatings at 5 and 9 p.m. ensure you’ll be watching the ball drop at midnight.

Where are you spending New Year's Eve? Tell us in the comments below.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SD Zoo’s New Koalas Get Check-Up]]> Thu, 07 Mar 2013 06:49:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/KoalaExam_003_Web.jpg

It was a busy day for bears – koala bears, specifically – at the San Diego Zoo Wednesday.

Zoo officials said three Queensland koalas that are new to the zoo were given their initial veterinary exams at the Jennings Center for Zoological Medicine.

The koalas, two males named Bradlee and Simba and a female named Beejay, received thorough check-ups that included overall body measurements, ear and eye exams, assessment of their teeth and radiographs of their hips and shoulders to check bone health.

Vets also took tissue swabs and blood to assess the bears' general health, zoo officials said.

Bradlee, Simba and Beejay arrived at the San Diego Zoo last month from Dreamworld in Australia.

The trio will soon join the zoo’s larger koala breeding colony.

Eventually, the zoo’s “Conrad Prebys Australian Outback” exhibit will become home to all of the zoo’s koalas.

The exhibit opens on May 24 and will also feature other marsupials from Australia including wallabies and wombats. Australian Outback will boast aviaries of native Australian birds including the kookaburra and bowerbird, too.

The San Diego Zoo is known to have the largest breeding colony of Queensland koalas outside of Australia. Researchers are studying koala populations at both the zoo and in the wild to better understand the  complex species and educate others on the threats facing native koala populations.

To learn more about the Australian Outback exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, visit this website.



Photo Credit: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Carlsbad Hotel Ranked Top Family-Friendly Spot]]> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 19:35:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WestInn_0306.jpg

A hotel in Carlsbad has been ranked one of the top family-friendly hotels in the United States, according to a list released by TripAdvisor.

The West Inn and Suites located at 4970 Avenida Encinas in Carlsbad was ranked No. 4 on the round-up of the best hotels in the nation for families.

TripAdvisor says the hotels that made the cut were the most highly-rated on their website based on millions of reviews by users who traveled with family.

According to the West Inn’s website, the hotel is located five minutes from LEGOLAND and guests get complimentary milk and cookies at bedtime. Seriously, what kid wouldn’t love that?

Most of the other hotels that made the family-approved list are in Orlando, Fla., with many near the famously family-friendly Walt Disney World Resort.

The top 10 resorts and hotels that made the cut include: Marriott’s Harbour Lake in Orlando, Fla.; Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa in Orlando; Village at Indian Point in Brandon, Mo.; Disney’s Beach Club Resort in Orlando; Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando; Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway, N.H.; WorldQuest Orlando Resort in Orlando, Fla.; Woodloch Pines Resort in Hawley, Penn.

The No. 1 spot was given to the Floridays Resort in Orlando.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Dozens Line Up for Rare Sneakers]]> Sun, 03 Mar 2013 13:00:03 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/corksshoes.jpg

More than 100 people lined up on a downtown street, for a chance to buy a pair of Nike Lebron "Corks."

The specially-released shoe was for sale at shoe shop The Attic on 5th Street on Thursday afternoon.

Only nine pairs were available for purchase, so store manager Eric Bates had the crowd participate in a lottery system to pay for the limited-edition shoes. Nine lucky winners were able to buy the cork-made sneakers for $329.40 (including tax).

The cork is supposed to symbolize celebration, similar to basketball players opening a bottle of champagne after a victory.

Some people wanted the shoes to wear themselves, and others wanted them to resell for a higher price -- up to $1,500 on sites like eBay. But this particular shoe release drew out a large crowd of people who call themselves "Sneakerheads."

"You have people that have love for sneakers, you have people who, that's the cool thing that's what they want," said Karama "K.P." Croom, who didn't get a chance to buy the shoes. "You have people that see an opportunity to make money, so they get a pair so they can turn around and sell, so  you have all those things converging at the same time, and you get this."

]]>
<![CDATA[Padres' FanFest Hits Homerun]]> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 10:06:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Padres-Fans-Generic-2013.jpg The San Diego Padres held their annual FanFest Saturday at from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Petco Park. Padres fans got up close and personal with their favorite players at the free event and even got to check out Petco Park’s baseball field close-up.]]> <![CDATA[Farmers’ Market Headed to El Cajon]]> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:29:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TomatoesGeneric_0923.jpg

A brand new farmers’ market will soon set up shop in downtown El Cajon, city officials confirmed.

The El Cajon Farmers’ Market – which was unanimously approved by El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis and the city council last month – is slated to open on March 21 in the Prescott Promenade located on East Main Street, between Magnolia and Claydelle Avenues.

The farmers market will take place every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., year-round.

Vendor stands will boast a variety of fresh, locally-grown produce as well as fresh-baked breads and other specialty foods, El Cajon city officials said.

The weekly outdoor market will also offer hot food prepared by chefs and vendors as well as live entertainment, including musical performances, on the main stage.

El Cajon is the latest San Diego County community to host a farmers’ market, following in the footsteps of La Mesa, Pacific Beach, Hillcrest, North Park and Little Italy which all host their own markets week after week.

For more information on the new Downtown El Cajon Farmers’ Market visit this website.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Reality TV Casting Call Headed to San Diego]]> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 11:14:45 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/television_generic.jpg

Reality TV junkies, take note: a casting call for a reality television show featuring affluent local ladies living the fabulous life is headed to San Diego.

Asylum Entertainment is pairing up with a major TV network to find the next hot cast of a reality show all about women living the good life in and around America’s Finest City.

Casting agents are looking for outgoing, strong, focused women who live in the area and want to share their lives on TV.

Women wishing to audition should be lively and energetic, with strong opinions. They should also lead busy lives filled with a very active social calendar, have strong work ethic and be involved with the community.

The women, significant others and their families must be willing to open up and share their experiences with producers and the TV audience.

Anyone who’s interested in this casting call should email their name, age, some fun facts about themselves, current photos and contact phone number to Alex@alexshaw.tv.

Good luck!
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Snow Deals]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 13:47:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/snowski.jpg

Now that the winter chill has settled in to Southern California, it’s time to take advantage of snow at local mountains.

Thankfully San Diegans don’t have to drive far to experience snow – or pay a lot of money. There are plenty of places nearby to experience a winter wonderland for cheap.

Mount Laguna

Just one hour east of downtown San Diego is one of the few places to see snow in the county. The Laguna Mountain Lodge typically has online-only specials that let you spend some quality time in the snow. Kids will love this family-friendly snow spot as many hills are good for sledding.

Big Bear
One of Southern California’s biggest mountains is a popular destination for SoCal skiers and snowboarders. With every purchase of a discounted midweek adult lift ticket ($69) guests can receive a free child ticket. You can also get a good deal when combining lift tickets and lodging.

Mount Baldy
Take a break from work and go tubing at Mt. Baldy east of Los Angeles. Kids less than 3-foot-6 tall can tube for $5 and adults are $15. Beat the crowds by getting there by 9 a.m. when the mountain opens.

Where do you go to get your snow fix? Tell us in the comments below.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trade in Gift Cards for Cash]]> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 15:14:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/giftcardgeneric.jpg

Now that Christmas is over, many people are lining their wallets with one of the most popular presents this year: Gift cards.

More than 50 percent of consumers purchased gift cards for the holiday season, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

But not everyone is happy with this particular present – which is when websites such as Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Granny come in handy.

Gift card exchange sites can make it easy for the disgruntled gift receiver to trade in their unwanted cards for cash, or swap it out for another store.

It works like this: Users can log on to the sites, enter their gift card information for verification, and then receive up to 92 percent of the value for their card.

This way the gift cards might be used by people who genuinely like that store. Turns out a lot of gift cards go to waste: Experts predict that each year thousands of gift cards are unused.
   
As with any online transaction, watch out for scams. A few sites that are particularly reliable are Plastic Jungle, Gift Card Granny and Card Hub.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What To Do This Weekend]]> Sat, 29 Dec 2012 09:23:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/weekendgeneric1.jpg

With the end of the year just around the corner, celebrate some of the last bits of holiday events this weekend.

Friday, Dec. 28

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
5 p.m. at The Old Globe
Catch one of the last showings of this holiday favorite at Balboa Park, before the Grinch hibernates until next season.

Saturday, Dec. 29

Holiday Lights
5:30-10:30 p.m. at Del Mar Fairgrounds
Enjoy the largest light display on the West Coast for a few more days. There are more than 400 displays to see, including the charming elf volleyball. Tickets start at $15.

Cavalia
7:30 p.m. at 1020 Imperial Ave.
It’s one of the finals viewings of this extraordinary horse show, featuring acrobatics and aw-inspiring aerial stunts. Tickets start at $49.

Sunday, Dec. 30

Art Mart
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Balboa Park
Spend some of your holiday cash supporting local artists at this weekend craft gathering. It’s free to browse, but we bet you’ll want to buy some of the unique items for sale!

International Auto Show
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at San Diego Convention Center
Car enthusiasts won’t want to miss this event featuring vehicles from across the globe. Tickets cost between $8-12.

Looking for other happenings in the area? Check out our events page.

]]>
<![CDATA[Things to Do This Weekend]]> Sat, 22 Dec 2012 09:38:30 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Snowman1_1221.jpg

It’s the last weekend before Christmas and there are plenty of jolly, festive things happening around San Diego. So, finish your shopping, wrap your gifts and hit the town for some last-minute holiday happenings:

Cider and Fruit Cake at the Lodge at Torrey Pines – Saturday, Dec. 22:
Enjoy a cup of hot spiced apple cider and fruit cake in the AR Valentien Lounge at the Lodge at Torrey Pines from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. As you’re noshing on the winter treats, holiday carolers will sing from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. It doesn’t get more festive than that.

Chesnut Roasting on the Aria Lawn – Saturday, Dec. 22:
Nothing says Christmas quite like chesnuts roasting on an open fire. Take the family to The Grand Del Mar on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for chesnut roasting at the resort’s decked out Aria Lawn ($5 per ½ dozen chesnuts; $9 per dozen)

Coronado Holiday Bike Tour – Saturday, Dec. 22:
Need to work off some those holiday treats? Take a 30-minute holiday bike tour around Hotel del Coronado and the surrounding area, which is all decorated for the season. Guests even get to ride on holiday-themed surrey bikes. The tour is available on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. and 7p.m. ($10 per person).

Skating by the Sea – Through January 1:
Looking for a unique San Diego ice skating experience? Hit the “Skating by the Sea” rink at the Hotel del Coronado, an outdoor rink overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This weekend, the rink is open for “matinee” skating from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Prices range from $15 for kids, $20 for adults during the two-hour matinee session to $20 for kids, $25 for adults during the three hour afternoon and night sessions).

Garden of Lights – Dec. 22 & 23:
Visit the San Diego Botanic Garden’s dazzling winter wonderland this weekend from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The garden boasts more than 100,000 sparkling holiday lights and live music from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday will feature Jazz musician Jimmer Bolden and on Sunday, Raggle Taggle will perform a Celtic holiday tribute. Kiddies can roast marshmallows at the Lawn Garden Campfire and chat with Santa Claus. (Admission: $6 for members, $12 for non-members, $4 for kids 3-12, children 2 and under free).

Twelve Days of Christmas at Old Town San Diego – Dec. 22 & 23:
Old Town San Diego’s “Twelve Days of Christmas” celebration wraps up this weekend with two live performances at the Mormon Battalion Historical Site at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the SD Stake Spanish Choir and singers Matt and Heather Young will take the stage. On Sunday, Sister Riggs & Missionary Ensembles will perform.

Story Time with Santa -- Sunday, Dec. 23:
Grab the kids and head to The Grand Del Mar on Sunday at 4 p.m. for special story time with Santa Claus. Jolly Ol' St. Nick will be reading the Christmas classic, "The Night Before Christmas," by the festive tree at the Aria Pavilion.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Get Gorgeous Hair for the Holidays]]> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:38:09 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/drybarsd2.jpg

Looking to feel a little extra polished when making the rounds at holiday parties? Then maybe it’s time to treat your tresses to a professional blow dry.

It might sound strange, but salons that exclusively dry and style hair have popped up in throughout San Diego County. The idea is simple: Walk in, pick a style and get their hair washed and dried for a flat fee. In most cases, customers are out of the salon in less than 45 minutes. Each salon has a variety of styles to select, ranging from curly to stick-straight.

San Diegans have a few choices when picking a place to get a blowout.  There’s Drybar in Del Mar, which is part of the ever-expanding empire by hair guru Alli Webb. And this year, Blow Pop Dry Bar in downtown and Naturale in La Jolla also opened their doors to the public -- growing proof that the blow dry only salons are gaining in popularity.

Drybar and Naturale charge $35 for blowouts, and Blow Pop set its price at $30. They all take online reservations, so perfect hair is only a click away. Plus all three are open on New Year’s Eve -- meaning your mane will look luxurious for the ball drop.

So if you’ve got a few dollars to spare this holiday season, it might be worth a visit. You’ll be able to hold your professionally-styled head high for any festivity.

Would you pay to get your hair professionally blow dried? Why or why not?



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Drybar]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Skate Competition Benefits Make a Wish]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 14:53:47 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ice-skating-frisco.jpg

Want to see some of San Diego’s best journalists ice skate? Then go to the Hotel Del Coronado rink on Wednesday to see NBC 7 reporter Lea Sutton and anchor Christine Haas on the ice to raise money for charity.

Haas and Sutton will compete in the “So You Wish You Could Skate” contest for the Make a Wish Foundation. They will be joined by other local celebrities for the special holiday event. The event goal is to raise awareness for the “Season of Wishes” campaign, which encourages the spread of hope and joy this season.

The competition goes from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the Hotel Del Coronado’s Ice Rink. It is free to watch the event, and Make A Wish families are invited to ice skate with their families following the competition.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Nutcracker Performed by California Ballet]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:17:58 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nutcracker_noon_SD.jpg The Nutcracker is the perfect way to introduce your family to the power and beauty of classical dance. It will be performed by the California Ballet at the Civic Theater. For ticket information, visit their website, californiaballet.org. ]]> <![CDATA[OB's Only Supermarket to Close]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 17:48:06 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/appletree1.jpg

An Ocean Beach grocery store is shutting its doors at the end of the month.

Independently owned and operated Apple Tree Supermarket will be emptied out after 25 years of serving the Ocean Beach community, according to the store owners.

The reason? Owners Saad and Bob Hirmez said their rent has increased to the point they can no longer afford it.

“We lost the lease and we couldn’t negotiate with the landlord -- he has asked for an arm and a leg,” said Bob.

Elliot Megdal & Associates, a Los Angeles-based commercial developing company, owns the building and placed the Hirmez brothers on a month-to-month contract earlier this year after increasing the price of the lease. Megdal did not respond to NBC 7 San Diego to comment on this story.

Megdal initially told the brothers they had to leave on Nov. 27. But they received an extension. They now have to be out by Dec. 31, even though a replacement has not been secured -- meaning the building will be empty until Megdal finds a new business to take over the space.

The Hirmez brothers asked to stay and continue paying the same price until a new tenant moves in, but they said Megdal declined.

“It’s pretty depressing,” Saad said.

The store is centrally located at 4949 Santa Monica Ave. has ample parking (a rarity in OB) and is less than five blocks away from the beach.

Executive director Denny Knox of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association wrote a letter to Megdal supporting their business.

“We said how important it is to have a community grocery store, we’d hate to see it turn into something else,” she said.

Knox also voiced concerns to Megdal of the large vacant building potentially getting vandalized. She said in a conversation she had with Megdal that he would fence off the area. But that also includes the parking lot, which people currently pay to use.

“We would hope that he would work hard not to leave it empty,” Knox said. “It’s bad for a small community. Really bad.”

There are no other supermarkets in the area, and Knox said residents without cars will have a hard time getting what they need. She said she hopes Megdal will place another grocer in the space.

OB residents will have to rely on smaller stores, such as OB People’s Organic Food Market and The Olive Tree, starting in 2013. Until then, Apple Tree Market is emptying its shelves during the holiday season.

Saad said they plan to open a new, smaller store on Newport Avenue in the next four to six months.

“We’ll give the community a store back,” he said. “We will continue to serve them as best we can.”

In the meantime, Saad said the empty building will serves as a reminder that people have fewer options for groceries.

“We love our customers,” he sighed. “But what can we do?”

]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurants to Try in December]]> Mon, 24 Dec 2012 14:15:27 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cocktailsgen.jpg

If you want to take out-of-town visitors to some swanky new eateries in San Diego, you’re in luck. This month plenty of new places opened up just in time for the holidays.

The following restaurants and breweries are sure to impress any guests, so check them out before they get crowded.

Thorn Street Brewery
3174 Thorn St., North Park
Touting itself as “North Park’s First Brewery” Thorn Street Brewery is a perfect addition to the neighborhood’s thriving craft beer scene. Located just a few blocks away from 30th Street, this brewery is geared toward the locals who simply want a tasting room they can walk to. There’s currently six beers on tap daily, and they even offer home brewing classes for those hoping to make their own beers.

GANG Kitchen
345 6th Ave., Downtown
The genius behind URBN Coal Fire Pizza and BASIC in East Village decided to take his talents a few blocks away with GANG Kitchen. (notice a theme there?) Jon Mangini is hoping to open his latest spot by the second week of December, complete with a mixed-Asian cuisine menu. It’s a little different from the pizza joints, but the fresh fish is sure to be a hit with San Diego’s devoted seafood crowd.

The Patio
4445 Lamont St., Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach isn’t exactly known for its fine dining, but this farm-to-table spot in the seaside town might just encourage foodies to journey out to the bar-heavy neighborhood. With affordable cocktails and dozens of menu options, The Patio has something for everyone – even the picky eaters. The rustic interior is inviting and warm, and the owners even allow dogs inside. So put your pooch on a leash and walk over to  try one of its many dishes.

Helm’s Brewing Co.
5640 Kearny Mesa Rd., Kearny Mesa
Joining more than 130 other San Diego breweries, Helm’s Brewing Co. recently opened its tasting room to the public. It’s currently open four days a week, but is worth a visit for its seasonal brew: Samuin Harvest. The seasonal beer is like sipping winter and Christmas in a single beer.

Are there any places you want to try? Tell us in the comments below.

]]>
<![CDATA[December Nights 2012]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 07:20:29 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DecemberNights2012_4.jpg Images from December Nights at Balboa Park Dec 7 - 8, 2012.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Lights Grand Menorah for Hanukkah]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 06:41:16 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Menorah-Lighting-1210.jpg

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner helped to light the Grand Menorah in San Diego Sunday night.

A ceremonial lighting at Belmont Park, led by the Chabad of Pacific Beach, helped mark the beginning of Hanukkah.

“This is a very important holiday in the Jewish tradition,” Mayor Filner said.

“I think it’s important we celebrate all of our religious traditions in the city and I wanted to be here tonight to recognize this tradition also,” he said.

“We’re a city of great diversity. We are built in our diversity and we get strength from our diversity.”

The Hanukkah lights are lit in the evenings preceding each of the eight days of Hanukkah, beginning Saturday night.

The festival of lights commemorates the Jewish uprising over the Syrian Empire.

Organizers of the event say the menorah lighting helps spread the universal message of religious freedom.

Find basic information on how to take part in the lighting of a menorah and why the candles are lighted in this guide from the Chabad of Pacific Beach.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Events to Look Forward to in 2013]]> Mon, 31 Dec 2012 09:38:33 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/San+Diego+skyline+generic+0302.jpg Mark your calendars, San Diego, because it's going to be a big year. See which events we're looking forward to in 2013.]]> <![CDATA[Most Amazing Gingerbread Houses]]> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:12:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gingerbread-78241347.jpg Images of some of the most amazing gingerbread houses ever created.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[After Surviving Cancer, Couple Hopes for New Years Kiss]]> Mon, 10 Dec 2012 13:35:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WEB_newyearskiss_722x406_11912771943.jpg Ashley Bay and Evan Campbell are finalists in NIVEA's "Kiss of the Year" contest. They told NBC 7 anchor Mari Payton their love story and their survival story. ]]> <![CDATA[Hottest New Year's Eve Parties]]> Mon, 31 Dec 2012 11:44:05 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Barleycorn_NYE_2011_06.jpg New Year's Eve might be on a Monday this year, but San Diego is still going all out to ring in 2013. Check out which hotspots throughout the county are having parties to welcome the New Year.

Photo Credit: Ken Steele ]]>
<![CDATA[Justin Bieber Begins Tour in San Diego]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:41:21 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/justin-bieber-amas1.jpg

Justin Bieber will begin his 2013 "Believe" tour in San Diego this summer, according to live entertainment company AEG Live.

The group announced that the teen superstar will begin his summer shows on June 22 at Valley View Casino Center in Midway.

Tickets will go on sale beginning Friday, Dec. 14 on the AEG Live website and Bieber's website. It is unknown what starting prices will be for the show, though $1 per ticket will be donated to an educational charity Pencils of Promise.

VIP tickets will also be available for the upcoming tour, and could include a meet and greet with the teen star.

Will you buy tickets for Bieber's tour? Tell us in the comments below!



Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Merry Meltdowns on Santa's Lap]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 12:56:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Meltdown_Santa-Picture.jpg A trip to sit on Santa's lap can often end in tears -- lots and lots of tears. Here are some of the best "Merry Meltdowns" captured on camera and submitted by NBC 7 fans. Happy Holidays!]]> <![CDATA[Parade Of Lights Returns]]> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 14:41:13 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WEB_USSSANTA3PIC_0.jpg The 41st San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is to return to the Embarcadero and Shelter Island - Bay Bridge this December. Boats will be decked with holiday lighting, this year's theme is USS Santa Claus. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m.]]>