Our Christmas newsletter 2016

Every year I write out a family newsletter to include with our holiday cards, and every year I go back and forth about sending it out. Is it really worth the time, effort, printer ink, and paper? Is it too braggy? Too swaggy? Does anyone really read it?  This year I decided to write the newsletter but only share it with immediate family. I'm truly the worst at calling and emailing my siblings and parents, so this newsletter really does keep them updated. Unfortunately, I've been extraordinarily absent-minded this holiday season (for the first time ever I found myself scrambling to buy presents for the kids on December 24!), so I forgot to send out the newsletter. Fortunately, I still have this blog, so my work isn't going to waste. 

Celebrate the holidays with Disney's Viva Navidad street party

 Disney's California Adventure Viva Navidad street party

Parades are one of the most popular attractions at the Disneyland Resort. Every day, people line the sidewalks of Disneyland Park's Main Street USA to stake out good viewing spots. It's not unheard of for people to get settled 60-90 minutes before the parade begins, taking turns with family members to get food or go to the restroom. We've done this many times, but now that the kids are older, they prefer to take advantage of decreased attraction wait times during parades. Besides, they've seen all the current parades anyway... or so we thought. At our most recent Disneyland visit, we discovered one of the resort's best-kept secrets: Disney California Adventure's Viva Navidad Street Party. It's festive and fun, and you can arrive with just five minutes to spare and still get a great viewing spot!

Saying goodbye to the Hollywood Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has always been my favorite ride at the Disneyland Hotel. No matter how many times I ride it, I always come out with my hands shaking and my throat raw from screaming. So I had mixed feelings when Disney Parks announced that the ride would be getting a Guardians of the Galaxy makeover in 2017. They'll be keeping the elevator-drop mechanism, but completely redoing the exterior as well as the ride visuals and sound effects. I've been through enough ride closures and openings to know that whatever they come up with will be nothing short of Marvel-ous, but I do feel a twinge of sadness at the loss of my favorite ride.

Date Night at Bowlero

Now that the kids are older, date night with Alfie is easier than ever. And yet, somehow, date night is still a rarity. I know all the magazines and relationship experts tell you to schedule regular date nights to keep the romance alive, but honestly, we're happy just vegging out on the couch together when The Pea is at dance and the boys are at soccer practice. It's a lot cheaper and takes up far less energy!

Make your own Mickey Mouse t-shirt with fabric transfers

Who doesn't love a Mickey Mouse t-shirt?  I'm a big Disney fan, so I'll wear a Mickey tee any day of the year, even when I'm not at a Disney Park! Disney tees at the Disney Store or Disney Park tend to be expensive ($25 and up), but fortunately you can find Disney tees for as little as $10-$15 at stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Old Navy, and UNIQLO.

Many people like to make their own Disney shirts, not just to save money but to have something that's truly one-of-a-kind. Mickey is notoriously difficult to draw properly, so most DIY Mickey shirts involve printing a design on iron-on transfer paper. In my opinion, unless you have a really good laser printer, your iron-on design tshirt is still going to look homemade. I would far rather hand paint or screen paint a shirt -- check out my post with instructions for painting a tshirt with freezer paper stencils!

Another great alternative to ironing on a Mickey printout is to iron on a fabric Mickey applique. It's so easy to do, and the result looks great. Watch the video I made to find out how:

A roller coaster of emotions

Two weeks ago, I mailed in my ballot. I was excited. The world was full of hope and change. The past 18 months had been a nightmare of homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny. My mood rose and fell with Hilary Clinton's standing in the polls, but on the whole I felt confident. I meticulously researched every candidate and measure on the ballot because I wanted to do my civic duty. I was indifferent to a few measure and unsure of others, but I had no doubt that I was on the right side of history with my choice for president.

Halloween Costume Watch 2016

Halloween this year has been a low key -- possibly even no key -- affair. How odd is that? Halloween is my favorite holiday, and for the past 15 years I've decorated the house to the hilt, baked and crafted up a storm, and documented every single bit of it. I just wasn't feeling it this year. Maybe it's because our weekends have been extra busy, maybe it's because the kids are older, maybe it's because I'm older. Whatever the reason, I've ended up taking a break from Halloween. Our only decorations this year were five pumpkins (actually there are only 3 left because we carved 2 of them too early and they rotted. That's why I'm featuring Marissa Mayer's giant pumpkin on this post instead of ours). The only thing I baked this month was a pan of brownies for The Pea's advisory class (they had Halloween sprinkles on them, so plus 3 points for me).

That doesn't mean we're not dressing up for Trick or Treating tonight (hey, I'm uninspired, not dead). The kids must have caught my mood, because they weren't too excited about Halloween costumes... that is, until there were just 2 days left. All of a sudden they came up with all kinds of ideas, so we spent the weekend augmenting their costumes and crafting up a storm. Their costumes turned out great, and all our efforts seem to have reawakened our Halloween cheer!

Haunted Halloween for Scaredy Cats

Haunted Halloween

It's October again, and for teens and pre-teens in the Bay Area, that means Great America's Halloween Haunt is back! We visited Halloween Haunt for the first time last year, and we enjoyed ourselves so much that I bought Gold Season Passes (which offers unlimited Halloween Haunt admission) this year. There just isn't enough time to see all 8 haunted mazes in a single visit, so we have been looking forward to going multiple times this year so we can enjoy each and every one.

The only problem? The Pea doesn't like haunted mazes. She hates getting startled when costumed actors come out of nowhere. The Dia de los Muertos maze, which is more is more artsy than scary, was all she could handle last year.
Haunted Halloween

How to make a candy lollipop centerpiece

candy lollipop centerpiece

Halloween is my favorite holiday, and part of the fun is gathering insane amounts of candy that I would never let the kids have any other time of the year. Over the years, the kids have graduated from cute little treat bags to gigantic pillowcases, and those longer legs meant greater stamina for collecting candy on Halloween night. So we've ended up with far more candy that even I would let them have.  The solution? Candy crafts to the rescue! We've used candy for gingerbread houses (which no one eats), candy wreaths, and candy centerpieces like the one in the photo.

Lollipop trees make great holiday table centerpieces. They're also a great way to display the candy given out at the doctor's office or school front office! You'll need a 3- inch styrofoam ball, a 4-inch decorative flower pot, and a LOT of lollipops.

Simply stick the lollipops into the styrofoam ball, all the way around. If your styrofoam ball is dense, don't use the lollipop sticks to poke holes into the ball, because the sticks will bend. Use a metal skewer instead. You don't have to stick the lollipops all the way in; just an inch or so will do. Try not to leave any space between lollipop heads. When you've covered about three-quarters of the styrofoam ball, rest the ball on top of your flower pot.

candy lollipop centerpiece

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Printable spice bottle labels

spice bottle labels

I'm the first to admit I'm not the tidiest of people; let's just say I can tolerate a decent amount of disorganization and mess. So I surprised myself today by deciding to do something I'd normally associate with moderate OCD: I organized my spices! In my defense, my spice cupboard is set up in such a way that the best way to utilize the space inside is to store my spice bottles lying down.  It's not my fault that most spice makers have neglected to add labels to the tops of the bottles!

FLONASE®: Living Life Beyond Allergies

FLONASE® compensated me in connection with statements made in this post.
We are now moving into fall and as the weather starts to cool down a bit, we try to get ready for our allergy season. In October, the leaves begin to fall. Our driveway turns yellow with pollen produced by nearby pine trees. Without fail, my whole family begins to look like we've been watching marathon sessions of sad movies! All of our eyes get watery and itchy. Seasonal allergies affect all of us in a big way. My sons and daughter sport perpetually runny noses and my husband gets nasal congestion.
I wish we could just all stay indoors and hide -- but my kids bike to school, I walk to work, and my sons practice soccer 3 times a week. On the weekends, they play in tournaments and we all go out to cheer them on... but it's kind of hard to celebrate a goal when you're sneezing throughout the game! Obviously we can't let allergies stop us from going outdoors and doing the things we need to do. We're way too busy, and life is too short! We've figured out ways to manage our allergy symptoms so we can seize the moment and live our lives. Here are five things that have worked for us:

Take a shower. We all take frequent showers to wash away pollen that might have settled on our hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, or skin.

Wash your clothes. Pollen can settle on clothes, so during allergy season we never wear anything, not even jeans, more than once without washing. I also launder throw pillows, blankets, bed sheets and pillowcases more often than usual to wash away any stray pollen.

Use a hepa air filter. We have hepa air filters in all of our rooms, and our vacuum cleaner has a hepa filter to keep the air in our house as allergen-free as possible.

Use allergy-resistant pillow covers and mattress covers. If you or your kids are allergic to dust mites, invest in allergen pillow covers and mattress covers, which feature tightly woven fabric so that dust mites cannot survive in the pillows or mattresses.

Use a nasal allergy spray. Before they started using a nasal allergy spray, my boys would absolutely dread playing soccer on grass. Once their doctor prescribed a nasal allergy spray, the problem went away -- but I've found that I prefer the convenience of over-the-counter sprays like FLONASE® Allergy Relief, because it is full prescription strength and I can get it at our local pharmacy, without a prescription first. It is the first and only OTC nasal spray indicated to relive both nasal congestion & itchy watery eyes. FLONASE® has really helped relieve the worst of our allergy symptoms -- the runny nose, nasal congestion, and watery, itchy eyes. While most over the counter allergy pills only act on histamine, FLONASE® helps act on 6 different inflammatory substances, not just the one.*

*Mechanism vs. most OTC allergy pills. FLONASE® acts on multiple inflammatory substances (histamine, prostaglandins, cytokines, tryptases, chemokines and leukotrienes). The exact number and precise mechanism are unknown.

My boys use the Children's FLONASE® Allergy Relief for kids ages 4+ so they can stop focusing on their allergies and start focusing on their game. And out on the sidelines, my husband, daughter and I can stop focusing on our allergies and start focusing on supporting our soccer players!

Just follow the label and remember that consistent usage is key. For adults and children 12 years of age and older, ask your doctor if you can keep using after 6 months of daily use .
For Children’s FLONASE® Allergy Relief, consistent usage is key.  For children 4-11 years of age, talk to your child's doctor if your child needs to use for longer than 2 months a year.

Join FLONASE® Greater Rewards

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How do you help your family manage seasonal allergies? Tell me in the comments and you will be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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Les Signes de Toilettes de Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris restroom signs

If you want evidence of Disney's attention to detail, look no further than their theme park restroom signs. Their restroom signs are always clever and witty, and they always match the theme or decor of their surroundings. It has been a while since I've posted photos of Disney restroom signs, because I think I've posted all of the ones around the Disneyland Resort, and I haven't been to any other Disney Park in a while.

We recently visited Disneyland Paris for the first time, so I got to experience the pleasure of finding and photographing new restroom signs all over the park (much to the chagrin of my family, and to the confusion of the other park visitors!). We only had 1 day in each of DLP's 2 theme parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park), and I wanted to spend most of it on rides, not on finding restrooms, so this list is by no means complete. However, I think I've got enough samples to convince me that the tradition of beautiful and clever restroom signs is alive and well at Disneyland Paris. Check out the photos below and see if you agree with me!

Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate: UK vs US

One of the things we enjoy most about visiting England is eating chocolate! While I do love an occasional (okay, frequent) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey's Kiss or and M&M's, they pale in comparison to a Galaxy, Aero, or Cadbury Dairy Milk bar. British chocolates are just so much creamier and chocolaty-er than US chocolate! It's not just my imagination; the minimum percentage of cocoa content required in the US to be labeled as "chocolate" is 10%, while in the UK and Ireland the minimum percentage is 20%. While our true chocolate loyalties lie with Belgian chocolate (minimum 35% cocoa content), as far as chocolate candy bars are concerned we are diehard Cadbury fans.

However, if you live in the US, don't be fooled by the Cadbury bars you see being sold in drugstores and grocery stores. Those aren't made by the UK-based Cadbury company; they are actually manufactured by The Hershey Company in Hershey, PA! Hershey won the rights to manufacture and sell Cadbury chocolate to the US market in 1988. They import the Cadbury chocolate "base" -- a mixture of powdered cocoa, milk, and sugar known as "crumb" -- from the UK, but the end formulation is slightly different. Can you taste the difference? The answer is a resounding YES.

Trading pins at Disneyland Paris

One of my favorite things to do at a Disney park is trade pins. They're the perfect souvenir because they're small, inexpensive, and long-lasting. They're a lot of fun to trade, even for casual traders like me. My pins would be of no interest to the serious pin trader who owns dozens of binders of rare pins worth thousands of dollars, but many Disney park cast members wear lanyards filled with pins, and they are happy to trade any pin you want with them, up to two pins per day. Most of the pins sold in the parks are sold in all parks, but there are some pins that are exclusive to each park. So when we planned our first-ever visit to Disneyland Paris, I was determined to carve out some time to browse, buy, and trade pins.

12 ways Disneyland Paris differs from Disneyland California

Disneyland Paris

Disney has six theme parks around the world -- Florida, California, Japan, Paris, Hong Kong, and now Shanghai. Disney parks are not a "once-you've-seen-one-you've-seen-them-all" kind of thing. All parks stay true to the Disney brand, and many experiences will be the same. The Disney characters are the same, many of the rides are the same, even whole areas are the same. In all parks, you'll enjoy immaculate surroundings, friendly cast members, an immersive experience, and attention to detail. But each park has quite a few things unique to the park, and to the culture of the host country, so each park will give visitors a unique experience. That's why I want to visit all the Disney Parks around the world before I die!

Getting to Hogwarts: Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station

Every Harry Potter fan longs to attend Hogwarts, the most magical school in the world. But before you can board the Hogwarts Express, you have to get on to Platform 9 3/4. Do you have what it takes to cross the magical barrier and enter the wizarding world? We visited Platform 9 3/4 to find out! Platform 9 3/4 is located at King's Cross Station in London. King's Cross is both a railway station and a London Underground (Tube) stop, so if you are taking the Tube to King's Cross, you will have to exit the Tube to get to the railway station portion.

Boot Sale Bargains

Whether you live in Marlborough, UK or Menlo Park, CA, summer is the season for garage sales. The only difference between the garage sales in the US and the ones in England is that the sun doesn't shine on the ones in England, and they're called car boot sales. Instead of holding the sales on their front yards, people pack their stuff up in a car and gather at a common ground.

Pupusas with lettuce and beef (aka Pupusalad)

I very rarely buy frozen foods, and when I do, it's usually only one of five dishes: quiche, chicken curry, teriyaki meatballs, Filipino lumpia, or chicken tamales. All but the lumpia come from Costco (the lumpia comes Goldilocks!). The chicken tamales were the result of a blogger partnership with Del Real Foods; they sent us some of their prepared Mexican dishes, and we've loved them ever since. Whenever I see Del Real's chicken tamales at Costco, I can't help stocking up on a pack or two to stash in the freezer!

Easy veggie lasagna

Pasta dishes are a dinner staple at our house, but one item that hardly ever makes it onto our menu is lasagna. I think it's because I always associate making lasagna with a lot of WORK. I have to make the meat sauce, make the white sauce, cook the noodles, then layer everything, then bake. That's a lot of pans and a lot of time, especially for someone who usually starts thinking about what to make for dinner 30 minutes before dinnertime!

A few weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and make a lasagna. When planning the ingredients, I decided to use Trader Joe's canned marinara sauce, and that turned out to be the shortcut that turned lasagna into a dreaded time-suck into a dish that I can make as easily as a stir-fry. What I've come to realize is that lasagna is as labor-intensive as you want it to be. You can easily substitute prepared foods for some or all of the ingredients like the white sauce and the red sauce, so all you really have to do is layer the dish.

Celebrating Philippine Independence Day

Today marks the 118th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day. On June 12, 1898, the revolutionary armies of the Philippines, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the armies and first president of the Philippines, declared the Philippine's independence from Spain.

Northern California has such a large Filipino community, so it's a given that there would be Independence Day celebrations in the area. It has been a while since I've been to one of them, so I decided to take the family up to San Francisco to participate. Other than occasional trips to Goldilocks and Asian groceries for Filipino meals and snacks, I don't live the Filipino lifestyle that much. The kids are always eager for a chance to chow down on lumpia and pork barbecue, so they happily came along.

Free form apple tart

apple tart

My favorite summertime dessert is fresh fruit, and my second-favorite summertime dessert is baked fruit with some kind of dough. We love fruit pies, fruit tarts, and fruit crumbles - especially when topped with vanilla ice cream! While we do buy them occasionally, I prefer making and baking them, especially when all the fresh, sweet summertime fruit arrives at our local farmer's market. I'm not very good at making pie crusts, but crumb toppings are easy-peasy, and I have a go-to sweet pastry dough from food blogger Jennie Perillo, so I can whip up a fruit crumble or tart whenever the whim strikes me.

Frozen Live at the Hyperion -- experiencing Frozen in a new way

Being a parent has many benefits; one of the more unexpected ones is having a convenient excuse for watching Disney's Frozen more times that I can remember. To be honest, I may have watched the movie more times than the kids have! What can I say? Elsa's coming-of-age story, the power of sisterly love, and Anna-Kristoff's sweet, goofy romance really resonated with me.

After watching Frozen half a dozen times in the movie theater and countless more on tv and DVD, I thought I had finally gotten the Frozen Fever out of my system. Then Disney had to go and come up with a stage version for the Disneyland Resort and invite me to the premiere performance.... and now I find myself obsessed with Frozen all over again!  Frozen: Live at the Hyperion opened at Disney California Adventure on May 27, and it has given Frozen lovers like me a chance to relive the Frozen story in a totally different way.

10 Reasons to Fly out of San Jose Mineta Airport.

Remember the days when you could show up at the airport 10 minutes before your flight left and still make it on board? 9/11 put an end to those days forever, but lately it seems like we're being asked to get to the airport earlier and earlier.

For weeks we've been hearing horror stories about long TSA lines at airports causing travelers to miss their flights. Airports have been updating their websites,masking passengers to allow extra time to check in. So when I began planning a business trip to LA, I decided to err on the side of caution.  I planned to arrive at the airport 2.5 hours before my flight departure time -- for a 1-hour flight! 

I shouldn't have worried -- I was flying out of San Jose. The security line took me only 15 minutes to get through! I was much too early, but at least I spent most of my time relaxing in a comfy chair instead of stressing out in line.

Any time I have a choice, I fly out of San Jose Mineta Airport (SJC). I like it so much better than the Bay Area's major airport, San Francisco airport (SFO)! For one thing, it's closer to us than the San Francisco airport is. Also. Alfie's office is a 3-minute walk from the airport, so we can park in his office garage and save on parking fees. Obviously these don't apply to most people, but there are many other reasons to choose SJC over SFO. Here are ten of them:

1) It's a smaller airport, so it takes less time to get to your gate.

2) Less people fly through SJC so it means thinner crowds and shorter lines.

3) All the seats in their waiting lounges have outlets,Mao you don't have to crouch on the floor or fight to gain access to the only outlet in some obscure corner.

4) They have comfy seats with wide armrests for your coffee, along with power outlets and USB charging ports.

5) They even have a business lounge that any traveler can use. In addition to the usual chairs with outlets, the lounge has tables and cubicles so people don't have to balance their laptops on their laps.

6)  They have a water bottle refill station. Way to go green, SJC!

7) Their restroom stalls have enough space for parents and kids to be in the same stall.

8) There's even enough space in the stalls for luggage!

9) They have nursing rooms so moms who don't feel comfortable nursing in public don't have to feed their baby in a toilet stall.

10) Last but definitely not least, they have a Smashburger!! 'Nuff said!

The only disadvantage I can see is that fewer flights go out of SJC, especially international flights -- but British Airways has just begun a new service from SJC to Heathrow, so that's half of our international flights taken care of! If only they had flights to the Philippines as well... At least the smaller number of flights means that I can still enjoy SJC as the undiscovered gem that it is.

Preparing for the teenage years and underage drinking

Don't worry, dear reader; that's sparkling apple juice in the kids'  champagne flutes!

One of the most wonderful things about seeing kids grow is seeing how they change their minds. That ability to adapt is how they end up discovering favorite new foods, taking up new hobbies, and making new friends.  Of course, that ability to adapt can also be challenging for parents as kids get exposed to ideas and habits that clash with the values that we as parents are trying to instill.

Take drinking, for instance. The Pea is 15, and she tells me, "Mom, I hate the taste of alcohol! You don't ever have to worry about me drinking!".  That could well be true, but given her recent turnarounds, I'm not going to take that as gospel truth:

Two years ago: I hate jeans. I can't move in them and I can't breathe in them.
Two days ago: I need more jeans. They're all I wear!

Two years ago: I can't drive an Autopia car without crashing into the rails! I'm a terrible driver and I'm never driving, ever.
Two weeks ago: I'll be old enough to get my driver's permit in 6 months! I can't wait!

Two weeks ago: Mom, I hate the taste of alcohol! You don't ever have to worry about me drinking!
Two years from now: ????

She's a freshman, and already some of the parties that her friends have been invited to have featured alcohol. What's it going to be like when she goes to prom in just a few years?  I think it's never too early to start talking to your kids about topics like alcohol, underage drinking, or drinking and driving.  Want some tips to get your conversation started? Check out the Prom Drinking Guide that I wrote in partnership with SheKnows and Anheuser-Busch, and check out Anheuser-Busch's Family Talk About Drinking initiative on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Disclosure: this is a compensated post.

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Packing list for a Color Run

Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

I've been wanting to go on a fun run with 3Po and Jammy for a while now, A color run -- fun runs inspired by the Indian celebration of Holi, where runners are showered in color -- seemed like the perfect way to start. With their crazy soccer schedule, however, it always seemed like they had a soccer game conflicting with a run I was interested in, so it took a long time before the stars finally aligned and we were able to find a free weekend that coincided with Color Me Rad in San Jose. To our delight, Alfie and The Pea decided to join us, so the run turned into a family affair.

We had an amazing time (head over to Bonggamom Finds for a detailed description of the Color Me Rad race). 3Po and Jammy ran the 5k with hardly any effort whatsoever (probably not surprising since they're training 3 times per week on a competitive soccer team), and we ran at an easy pace. Volunteers plastered us with color at 4 stations along the way and at the finish line. To make things even messier, it had been raining every day for a week, so parts of the course turned into a "bonus" Mud Run!

By the time we finished the race, we were covered in colored powder, colored gel, mud, sweat, and rain. Fortunately, I put on my planning hat ahead of time and figured out ways to minimize the amount of mess we brought home with us. Here are 10 things I recommend for everyone to have (some things need to be with you during the run and other should be left in your car) for any color run:

The right attitude

Many runners get annoyed when they're forced to slow down, so set your expectations of what this run is all about.  This is not a race where you're likely to achieve a personal record. There will be lots of walkers and lots of kids, so be prepared to dodge a lot of slow-goers and even a stroller or two. The operative word is "fun", so focus on enjoying the moment and getting covered in color!
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

White tshirt

Color shows up better on a white tshirt! Wear a white tshirt that you don't care about, because the color may not wash off completely. The shirts may not come out of the wash completely white; they might end up stained a very light pink or orange. For some reason, the free tshirt included in the Color Me Rad registration packet was grey, not white, so we decided to bring the grey shirts and keep them in the car, to change into after the race.  Alfie, The Pea, and I wore old white shirts we no longer cared about, and for the boys, I bought a 4-pack of Hanes white tees at HomeGoods for just $5!
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

Plastic garbage bag cover-up

A friend taught me this trick a long time ago -- if you don't want to wear a long-sleeved jacked to your race but are concerned about feeling cold at the beginning, wear a garbage bag to stay warm! Tear out neck and arm holes, and wear it like a t-shirt. Once you start feeling warm, you can tear the garbage bag off and stuff it in the nearest trash can!
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose


None of us wanted colored powder in our eyes, so we all wore cheap plastic shades while running. Color Me Rad sells plastic sunglasses at packet pick-up and on race day. They cost just $5, so it's worth buying a pair and sparing your nice designer shades from getting doused in dye.
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose


Unlike sunglasses, I think caps are entirely optional, but worth mentioning. Whether you want to wear a cap or not depends on whether you're okay with getting your hair covered in color. The Pea wanted her hair colored, so she didn't wear a cap. I've read reports of people with light hair having more trouble washing the color out of their hair, but The Pea (who is blond) didn't have that problem.
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose


The dyed cornstarch powder used to coat the participants in color is non-toxic, and it's supposed to be safe when inhaled in small amounts -- but when you're running and gasping for air, the last thing you want is to breathe in a whole lot of powder! Many people bring bandanas and pull them up over their mouths and noses as they run or walk through the color stations. If you don't have a bandana, try holding your breath as you run or walk through the color stations.
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

Baby wipes

After the run, you are sure to be covered in color, both powder and liquid. We had color literally running down our faces, necks, arms, legs, and clothing. You're going to want to wipe at least some of that color off before you get into your car! The race venues will probably have hand washing stations near the porta-potty area, or maybe even actual restrooms, but in case you don't have access to a lot of running water and paper towels, it's a good idea to have a large pack of baby wipes in the car.
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

Extra tshirts

After the run, your shirt is sure to be saturated in wet, slimy, or powdery color. If it's a cold day, the last thing you want is to drive home feeling cold and clammy, so don't forget to have an extra shirt on hand in the car. There's nothing like changing into a clean, dry shirt!
Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

Plastic bags

You'll need a bag to dump all the layers that you peel off! You can pack an extra garbage bag in your car, or even better, pack a reusable cloth bag -- you can throw the bag into your washing machine along with all your other stained clothes.


Even after peeling off your tshirts and jackets and caps, even after you've wiped off your face and your hands, there's still a good chance that parts of your body will be stained with color -- I'm talking shoes, socks, legs, arms, hair, neck, shorts, pants, etc.. Bring 1 towel for each person to sit on for the ride home, so the color doesn't stain your car seats!

Color Me Rad color run in San Jose

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Tips for making the perfect Lebanese Garlic Sauce

photo: KCET Los Angeles
Lately, we've been obsessed with toum, or Lebanese Garlic Sauce. I found a recipe video online (actually, it found me; it just appeared on my Facebook feed one day). The instructions seemed really simple: mince garlic in a food processor, then slowly add oil and lemon juice until the mixture reaches a fluffy consistency.

Our first batch ended up an oily, soupy mess. It turns out that there's more to making toum than just throwing things together (my preferred method of making just about anything). to making sure this sauce emulsifies properly (i.e. doesn't separate into oils and solids).