Best local San Diego Fourth of July Ideas, Activities and Fireworks views

Marshmallow fights, fun on the sea, 16 passenger bicycles…

in San Diego the possiblities are endless.

Here are some good unique ideas from a San Diego local:

1) Join the largest Marshmallow fight in the West.

It’s an Ocean Beach tradition that after the Fireworks display on Fourth of July, a huge display of hurtling marshmallows follows by the OB pier. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since 1985 which started with two rival families who hosted 4th of July parties. One year one of the families decided to take the marshmallows they were about to roast over the BBQ and go Rambo on the other family’s party. The next year, the other family got revenge and every year afterwards its become a huger and huger marshmallow fight.

Read more about the origins of the fight…

2) Rent a boat.

The best fireworks show I ever saw was the year my family and I decided to rent a 12 passenger boat for four hours to watch the fireworks. We paid probably around $50 each. You don’t need any special license to drive it, just a drivers license. We picked up the boat from Seaport Village around 4pm and cruised around the bay for awhile and ate the pizza and drinks we brought on board. Around 9pm, the sky lit up around us with a 360 degree view of fireworks since we were simultaneously watching fireworks from the San Diego Harbor to the east, Coronado to the west, Imperial Beach in the South and SeaWorld from the North. It was spectacular! We tuned in our portable radio to FM channel 105.7 to catch the patriotic music synchronized to the Big Bay Boom Fireworks show.

You can also rent boats at Mission Bay, Coronado and La Jolla Shores.


Book now.

Bring food onboard. Driver of boat cannot drink alcohol. It is considered a DUI.

Dress warmly.

Mind the wake zones (we didn’t know what they were and we sped by making large waves and people on the houseboats got really mad at us..)

Park away from Seaport Village and take the trolley in.

Get there early. The area is jammed with people, parking is difficult and public transportation is packed.

3) Take a Cruise / (Booze) Cruise

There are several cruises around town. Some with alcohol and some without.

  • The Hornblower hosts the “Rock the Boat Independence Day Cruise” which is pretty pricey but includes:

– Open Bar
– Complimentary Champagne
– Complimentary snacks
– A gorgeous sunset
– Top 40/House music DJ
– Dance floor
– Impeccable view of Firework show
– Perfect for Couples or friends alike.

  • My favorite is the Bahia Belle Sternwheeler on Mission Bay. It costs $15 and you can get on and off at it’s two ports at either the Bahia Hotel near Mission Beach or the Catamaran near Pacific Beach. From the top deck, you get an amazing view of the Sea World fireworks. There’s a bar and live music on the second deck. All ages welcome except on the second floor…
  • At the Bahia Hotel, there is a more formal cruise aboard the William D Evans sternwheeler kicking off at 8 p.m and ends at midnight. $30 will get you 2 DJs, cash bars, two dance floors, and three decks from which to view the night’s fireworks. 21+ only. Living social has a deal right now for half off.

4) Rent a bike

Social Cycle San Diego  has really cool 16 passenger bikes where you can do a bike tour and drink beer together. Read the next blog entry for a better idea of  what the social cycle is like..

5) Find a great view:

  • Porto Vista Hotel’s rooftop and also their restaurant The Glass Door have great views of the Harbor.
  • Fiesta Island
  • All along Crown Point are great views of Mission Bay fireworks
  • Bird Rock Park
  • All the hotels around Seaport Village and Gaslamp are good bets: Hard Rock, IVY, Stingaree all have rooftop areas. The Hyatt and Marriott Convention Center also have good viewing.
  • Tidelands Park Coronado
  • Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Point Loma, Spanish Landing, Embarcadero Marina Parks North and South,with free shuttles to and from parking lots

Most crowded places:

All the Beaches, Seaport Village, Coronado.

San Diego Fourth of July Fireworks schedule and locations:


Family Friendly activities|62|64|68|70/july-4th-celebration-in-pioneer-park.html

Old Town $5 Family Jazz BBQ

Don’t forget:

No alcohol is permitted on any beaches. Don’t try to hide them in other containers, the police have a scanner that they can use to detect if there is alcohol in the container.

Have a great time with your loved ones celebrating our freedom!!

Where to take your Dad for Father’s Day? How about a Chocolate Bar?

I usually give a couple of recommendations for Father’s Day but I need you to understand how divine this place is so I am only talking about Eclipse Chocolat today.

Tucked away in North Park San Diego, is a cozy little hole in the wall looking place until you open the door to the chocolate bar and see how pretty it is inside. Specializing in chocolate desserts and pastries, drinks, truffles and caramel/vanilla or chocolate infused food, Eclipse Chocolat is a gem. They are a tiny shop with a small dedicated staff that takes chocolate to the level of art. I tried their Lavendar sea salt truffle and the minute that salty sweetness touched my tongue I became a lifelong fan.

On Sat. June 16th, they’ll have a Dad’s Day BBQ where everything is infused with either vanilla, chocolate or caramel. Here’s the menu for $30/person:

BBQ pulled pork nachos with sundried tomato guacamole

Heirloom tomato, basil & strawberry caprese with white chocolate balsamic drizzle

Cinnamon brown sugar braised beef short ribs or black bean eggplant burger served with cheesy twice baked potato and panko-vanilla bean crust

Frozen milk chocolate peanut butter mousse with salted brownie crumb crust.

If you want to go on the actual Father’s Day Sunday, they have a chocolate brunch every Sunday from 9am-2pm for $14 including two plates. Choices include Cocoa-glazed bacon, chocolate bacon waffle, strawberry rhubarb-stuffed french toast, dark chocolate salted croissant, Cheesy tamales with cocoa mole and many more.

This place has a good vegan offerings and also serve pastries, coffee, wine, cupcakes, etc. They have great options for party favors.

Related articles:

Top 5 Outdoor Bachelorette Parties in San Diego

The sun is shining and the smell of summer is in the why not do a non-traditional affair for the bride’s last hurrah?

Here are the top five Bachelorette Party ideas for a bride who likes the outdoors…

1.  A Day on the Waves

Don’t be fooled. The hottest guys are out on the waves.

Pictures by Beach Shoot San Diego

Imagine a day of bonding, laughing and mastering the surfboard. There’s a cool little Women’s Surf School in beautiful La Jolla, CA called Surf Diva that offers a day of surf or paddle board lessons, professional photos on picturesque La Jolla Shores, and a mouth-watering picnic right on the beach after your fun on the waves. All skill levels are welcome and you can request women surf instructors if you like.You can glam it up and also request private cabanas w/private cabana boy serving up delectable chocolates and chilled drinks.

This is a great idea for a co-ed bachelor/bachelorette activity too! Mention BFF and get free party favors for your group…

Afterwards, you can rent a room at the La Jolla Shores hotel right on the beach and jump right into their jacuzzi to rest up before a night on the town. Party bus anyone?

2. Sunset Kayaking

Photo by Beach Shoot San Diego

I would highly recommend the… (Bride’s don’t read this * Spoiler alert* )… ok now that it’s safe.. Message in a Bottle package through Beach Shoot San Diego. They take you out for an unforgettable sunset kayak ride (you don’t need to have experience kayaking.)

They take you through the sea caves (weather permitting) and you get to see amazing wildlife. Then the photographer will strategically toss a message in a bottle onto the waves for the bride to find. The message will be from you and the other bridesmaids, of course, full of tear evoking well wishes. The photographer captures it all on photo and video. It’s a pretty awesome keepsake which can be played at the wedding.

3.  Moonlight Horseback Riding and BBQ Dinner

A day of hiking, camping or moonlight horseback riding may just be up her alley if the bride is stressed out and really wants to get away. Check out Happy Trails San Diego

4. Sports, competitive or teambuilding games

How about a day playing Dodgeball, Sloshball or Kickball or renting tandem bikes? San Diego also has tons of charity events like the San Diego Mud Run or the ROC Race (Ridiculous Obstacle Course-Think WipeOut). Give back to the community while bonding and doing something healthy and fun!

5. Boating, Boating or more Boating

The best part of San Diego is the beautiful ocean. Renting a boat is relatively inexpensive and you don’t need any special license if it’s a small boat. Just a drivers license! We took a boat out on Fourth of July to get a 360 degree view of the fireworks in the San Diego Bay and it was the best fireworks show I have experienced in my life. We each paid about $30 and brought on board some pizza and drinks-the driver of course can’t have any alcohol ;) In Mission Bay you can also rent jet ski’s etc.

It’s a barbecue, a picnic table, and a boat all in one… it’s the BBQ Donut!

If you want to do it a bit more upscale you can rent a small yacht which includes a personal sushi chef from Sushi on a Roll who can cater or even give you a Sushi cooking class while you enjoy sake or wine. Or you can take a traditional dinner cruise.

The best of the boat experiences has to be renting a private Gondola. They can seat up to 16 passengers and a sunset cruise can include wine, cheese, chocolates and even massages :) Wow!

Mention BFFbridesmaid or contact us to see if we can get you any discounts for any of these bachelorette party ideas!

Remember to feel blessed..

Ever have one of those weeks when everything seems to go wrong?

Today was a low point for me, my family and I have been hit pretty hard financially the past few years. Our student loans kicked in and suddenly, ends weren’t meeting anymore.

With the arrival of my son a year ago, I wasn’t able to work full time since daycare costs simply made it impossible. With finances tight, my car breaking down this week and my son accidentally sending the vacuum right through the TV, I had already been about to throw my hands in the air and just give up. Especially since we’re about to lose our home to the bank on the 28th.

Things just couldn’t seem to be any worse.

Then God reminded me that despite all of this, I am blessed.

On my way to work, I drove past the same homeless guy at the freeway off-ramp that I always see every morning. I usually don’t stop but today, he looked really bad. His face was full of ugly bruises and purple scrapes and as he leaned over his cane, he literally looked like he was going to pass out at any moment.

I rolled down my window and asked if I could help take him to a hospital or a rescue center. He said he’d just spent the night at the hospital after being beat up by the police. He didn’t want to be taken anywhere so I gave him whatever I could and told him I’d say a prayer for him.

All that time, he’d been looking down at the ground while we talked but when I said that, he looked up at me and I noticed his blue piercing eyes filled with tears. I told him that God loved him and he said, “I’m not so sure.”

That’s when it hit me. Despite all I’m facing, despite my worries, I am not alone like this man is. No family, no home, not even someone to pray to. The only thing that comforts me is my faith. I can’t imagine ever feeling that utterly alone and uncared for.

Remember when all you have to worry about is going to work, making sure your wedding is perfect, paying your bills, making sure you’re house is clean, etc. there are so many others worrying about whether they’ll survive the cold tonight. Worrying for their safety. Wondering when they’ll be able to have another meal.

We are blessed. Truly.



Interesting Wedding customs from around the World: The Korean Squid Facemask

No you’re not imagining things. He is wearing a dried squid on his face.

I’ve been blessed to have taught English internationally and that for the past 9 years I’ve taught at a local San Diego international ESL school. I’m always amazed at the awesome, kirky and sometimes, downright hilarious customs that my students have shared with me over the years.

The Haam ceremony in Korea takes the cake for the best photo ops.

The Groom and his male family, close friends and/or groomsmen get dressed up in their best suits and strap on dried squid masks to their faces. They form a procession to the brides home to announce the grooms intention to marry her through the gift of the ham or gift box with important symbolic items inside like silk and jewelry. The ham or gift box can never touch the floor and must be carried by one of the participants, called the hamjinabi, on their back.

The group would shout merrily and jokingly through the streets to highlight the Groom’s approach, “Buy some Ham” or “Ham for sale.” Some traditions state that money was thrown at their feet in the path of the brides home to encourage them to keep walking

One tradition states that the brides’ family must pay money to the group per step, sing a song for them upon arrival or do a favor for the group members in return for their travel. Then they must be treated to a feast or dinner where the brides’ family will open the ham and examine the gifts.

It’s Shower and Bachelorette Party Time

Not to freak you out or anything but it’s Mid-May.

and the clock is ticking…

Some of you Maid of Honors who will be in weddings this summer have maybe been putting off the shower and/or bachelorette party planning and I’m here to tell you- It’s Time.

Don’t believe those bachelorette/bachelor party images you see on TV where people are partying the night before the wedding. In reality, this seldom happens. Hello, rehearsal dinner? Remember, the early morning wake up call to get your hair and makeup done?

Most people have the bridal shower at least 1-3 months before the wedding and the bachelorette party 2 weeks to 2 months before the wedding.

Believe me, the month of the wedding is jam packed for the bride with last minute arrangements, stress, and events like the bridesmaids luncheon, rehearsal dinner and final bridal fittings. The last thing she wants to do is worry about going to a bachelorette party.

Make sure you ask the bride, but it may work out better to have it more than a few weeks before the wedding. Even just for safety’s sake. It may take time for her to recover from your Girls Night Out. What if the tan she gets from the tanning/spa day you’ve arranged goes awry? She’ll need a few weeks to get rid of the color (think Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars).  Or heaven forbid, she gets injured rocking out in high heels at the bar. Give plenty of buffer space between the party and her wedding.


Check out for great ideas on bachelorette parties and party packages.

Weekday Wedding Workshops: Money Saving Tips and WeddingTax Deductions

Our first informational workshop was a night of delicious food, fun games, great info and of course, sushi rolling..

One of our great couples enjoying a sushi bonding experience!Sushi on a Roll graciously hosted our free event for a very small group of brides, grooms and members of the wedding party. It was intimate and we all enjoyed lots of conversation, advice, commiserating and games.

Our guest speaker, Wedding Planner Carmin from, was her usual bubbly self and gave us awesome tips on how to save money and get tax deductions on wedding expenses. The brides really appreciated the one one one Q + A with her and all the free advice, tips and tricks she gave. She stayed well past our end time to answer all questions and to give one particular couple lots of design advice since she is not only a planner but a florist by trade.

Jeff from Sushi on a Roll and Andy from served up some serious sushi, braised short ribs and more. Jeff offered our workshop attendents 15% off of his already affordable catering service or venue booking. Sushi on a Roll is not a restaurant, but a private event venue which is awesome because there aren’t any restrictions like at a normal restaurant. So, you can have your bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner here and it’s completely private with private parking even. You can customize your menu, bring in a cigar bar and even set up the Wii and/or karaoke for the kids so they can enjoy too.

Bachelor Party? They can even get the “Sushi Models” to serve sushi on.

My friend had her bridesmaid/groomsmen luncheon (a thank you to their bridal party) on their yacht which you can rent along with a sushi chef for a day out on the ocean. They can even do the sushi-cooking class on board for you.

SD Street Eats gourmet food truck gave us great ideas for bringing in a private food truck for bachelor parties, for the very end of weddings when everyone who liquored up needs some food in their bellies before going home. They will pretty much travel anywhere and come at all hours of the night. They customize your menu and can do as casual as street tacos to as gourmet as lobster.

Our big prize winner of the night, Khristina, won a beautiful necklace by our sponsor Cocoon Jewelry.Their Facebook contest ends tomorrow May 15th. The winner will receive a customized set of jewelry in the brides wedding colors for the bridal party and cufflinks for the groomsmen.

Enter at

I’m so thankful to our wonderful sponsors and our guest speaker. I had a great time meeting each couple personally and being able to answer all of the questions that have been plaguing them. I cannot recommend Sushi on a Roll enough as a venue. They are such an unknown gem in San Diego.

I’m going to bring my husband there for a sushi rolling class for Father’s Day.. I heard there is a GroupOn for it. Shhh!You didn’t hear that!

In the end.. it’s all about Love

I’ve stepped back a bit from posting and BFFbridesmaid duties in the past few weeks to spend more time with my 3 kids and my husband. Things were getting very off-balance and a very good friend of mine reminded me where my priorities should be and how important it is to make time to make memories, to make sure the family and friends you have know how much you love them and enjoy each day instead of cramming in tasks that ultimately don’t really matter much.

My friend lost his own father and his boss / father figure, Junior Seau in the same month. It was and still is a heavy loss for him.

It made me really think.

Sometimes our day to day lives sweep us away like a great flood of appointments, parties, work, vegging out on the couch, hobbies, sports and we forget to just stop and take account of who and what is around us. We forget to say “I love you” to the dearest ones around us until it is Mother’s day or Christmas. We look ahead towards the future waiting for life to begin when life is already happening all around us.

Especially with wedding planning, I see so many brides get so wrapped up in such small details of the wedding and so stressed out with the bridal party and even their fiancee that they forget that the essence of what they are doing is all… about… love…

Most weddings will not be perfect.

The wedding is only happening if you and your fiancee make it to that day. So be kind and patient and loving to one another.

Bridesmaids, the bride chose you because you are that special.. that important in her life. That is an honor despite whatever little dramas are happening. Never let bridal drama destroy your friendships.

For my friend, today’s reality involves playing over and over in his head his last words and last memories with his loved ones. If, God forbid, the last thing you did or said to a loved one ended up being the very last exchange you had with them. Would you regret your actions/words? Would you be asking yourself if they knew how much you cared about and loved them?

You, unlike my friend, have time to change that.