Tag Archives: Palo Alto

Decorating our very own mini house just in time for the holidays



My family was back decorating gingerbread houses at the Four Seasons this past Sunday. What a blast we had!

The best part about the experience was to witness the fun, intensity, and maturity my kids developed since their last experience, a year ago. They were so excited about decorating, that they were strategizing for weeks what candy they would use for different parts of their houses. My eleven-year-old was especially excited since he has developed the tradition of bringing his decorated gingerbread house to his classroom. This year he decided to go a step further and personalized it with his school’s name. My daughter, on the other hand, wanted to create something that she and her siblings can snack on until, well it’s gone.

Unfortunately, this year Stew was not able to join us since he had to leave town on a business trip to the East Coast, but nonetheless, we had fun.The kids brought a friend and, my dear friend and photog Charu, joined us with her daughter. We had a great group.



This year the crowd was definitely bigger. There was an ecliptic mix of people and interesting teams. There were the girlfriends, the co-workers, the neighbors, the older couples, a fraternity of men with beards, many young families, I even ran into a few families from my younger son’s school. Everyone was just excited as we were to attend this amazing workshop.



Once again, Executive Pastry Chef Eric Keppler did not disappoint with his step by step tutorial, on how to decorate your Quattro Perfect House: on creating the roof, icicles and hardscape for the gingerbread house. Then he went around giving feedback to each table. He starts preparing for this event right after summer, to make sure that he leaves no stones unturned to create a memorable experience for all.




With the help of a design team, the team at Quattro created a very festive atmosphere. This year the candy bar was circular with miniature houses and a winterscape in the center, and this layout created more of an intimate feel while the snacks and drinks were on an adjacent table. The bar this year was in the same room.


The Four Seasons Quattro restaurant team was there every step of the way to guide folks and to supply extra icing, drinks, or to extend compliments to everyone while they worked on their masterpieces. What a fantastic experience!

My children would not allow me to skip this event next year, so again we will be decorating our very own mini Palo Alto house just in time for the Holidays.

15 Amazing family-friendly Holiday events in the Palo Alto Area




There is no doubt that December is one of the most cherished months of the year – by both young and old. The reasons are quite obvious for everyone: fun-filled Holiday activities, religious traditions, family and friend togetherness, tolerance, generosity and goodwill. As every year, the Palo Alto community puts on its festive clothes and invites everyone to enjoy the seasonal merriness. So are you ready for some traditional wintery fun? Here 15 amazing family-friendly Holiday events in the Palo Alto Area that you can definitely enjoy with your beloved ones.

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Announcing Lemonade Restaurant Palo Alto opening this Friday



Lemonade Palo Alto


Great news Palo Alto, Lemonade Restaurant is set to open this Friday, June 24, at the newly redesigned 151 University Avenue location.


This will be Lemonade’s second of 6 planned locations in the Bay Area. The first opened two months ago in the Buena Yerba area in San Francisco, and more locations to open in Walnut Creek, Burlingame, Sunset and West Portal.  With  22 other locations in Southern California –  Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, Lemonade is now heading North to share its highly popular restaurant concept with our Bay Area residents.

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Our first encounter with Palo Alto Police Department

agent green palo alto police
Agent DuJuan Green


A few weeks ago some Palo Alto schools enforced code blue lockdown, due to a manhunt for a suspect. The students had received training or drills on code blue and code red, and staff and students knew exactly what to do in either circumstance. For code blue, all doors in and out of the classrooms and school are locked, and teaching continues in the classrooms.  Students are encouraged to continue with what they are doing until it was safe for them to go outside. Code red is a bit more serious, and children are directed to hide in their classrooms, curtains and blinds closed, lights out, all doors are locked and listen to instructions on when it is safe or free from active danger.


During the recent code blue lockdown, it seems that everyone at my children’s school were very composed and kept calm, except maybe for one little girl who was crying quietly at her desk, hearing police sirens and helicopters and she thought that whoever was near may soon come to her classroom.  That little girl was my dear 8 year old daughter. She would later tell me how scared she felt and she thought that she was in danger.  My heart sank to my feet. The principal had sent an email on the incident so we knew some of the details. I still felt helpless as I tried to reassure her that whoever the officers were looking for, was now in police custody and that she had nothing to fear.


The next day she refused to go to school and nothing I said would convince her to go. I attempted to put her at ease by saying that this was an isolated incident and that everything would be fine when she goes back to school and that her teacher who was away would be back. She still insisted that she was not going.  So after trying to negotiate to no avail, I told her that I had alerted her teacher that she would not be coming in for the day, and I would try to take her out and get her mind off the incident.


I was thinking on a whim and trying to figure out what to do to get her back to school soon, before too much time went by, and she would develop a fear of school. My plan for the day was also to reach out to the Palo Alto Police Department and see if they would allow her come by and speak to one of the officers, who can let her know that the suspect was caught, he is not a threat to our community and that if there was something more serious at school they would have implemented a code red.


So I called the Police Department and a lovely lady answered the phone. I told her about my unusual request to come by and she tried to transfer my call, but the officer that she was putting me through to was not at his/her desk, so she indicated that she will have someone contact me.  Within 5 minutes, an officer identified himself as Agent Green; that he is a School Resource Officer; and works with the schools during code drills and other community outreach programs, and he was here to listen to my request and see how he could help.


I went through the story with him, he listened.  He had the most comforting voice. He also gave me a briefing on code blue procedures, mentioned that they could be used for any eminent danger that needed to be contained, including gas leaks, a bob cat on the run, a very serious accident near school, etc.


It felt remarkably outstanding that this officer was taking his time to explain how I should handle the situation: how I should talk to my daughter, what I should say to her. It was a trying moment for me, as I wanted to be sensitive to the way she felt, at the same time I did not want her to dislike her home away from home.  Agent Green also gave me his direct mobile contact and said that I can contact him if I needed more help with the situation, or if there is anything he can do to help, please reach out.


I put on my brave mommy face, met my daughter in the playroom and did just as Agent Green indicated.  She was very attentive, and her attitude changed immediately. After a brief moment, she said that she would go to school under one circumstance.  So when she requested that Agent Green meet her at school, I did not know how the request would have been received, but Agent Green happily obliged, and we drove into the school together just before lunch. He met with her for a brief moment, she smiled because she recognized him from her drills.  He gave her a badge for being a very brave girl, a few stickers and reassured her that everything will be ok. He would later contact me to find out how her day went and was pleased to hear that she was happy to be back at school again.


I was just blown away by how compassionate and considerate Agent Green was, and how he helped me with a very challenging situation, taking time away from his busy schedule.  With all the recent negativity that surrounds police departments within the US, it was so amazing to attest that our experience with Palo Alto Police Department and Agent Green in particular has been exceptional.   It is obvious that Agent Green’s training and personality and the culture that surrounds our Police Department allowed him to use his judgement and make a great effort to show empathy, compassion and a great sense of community.  Thank you Agent Green, for taking the time to help make a difference in our lives.

Summer camps hosted at Palo Alto public schools


Summer camps hosted at Palo Alto public schools


It always seems to be a challenge choosing the right summer camp for our children. With so many options, it is even more challenging knowing where to start.  This year we tried to identify some of the camps that are going to be hosted at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) locations to make the decision a bit easier.  Some people are set on their favorites camps no matter where they are located, but for those of you having a hard time deciding,  hopefully the benefits can help you make up your mind.

There are several benefits in choosing a camp at your child’s school: your child may know someone who is also attending the camp (a best friend or classmate) or it may be closer to home, (a neighborhood school). In addition, familiarity with the location takes out the stress of camp anxiety in your child. Some camps may even offer discounts to local families or they may offer the possibility to negotiate a group discount.

We researched the camps, and here is a list of camps located in PAUSD schools:

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Tava Kitchen in Palo Alto unveils its new look and a fresh new menu

Tava Kitchen Palo Alto
Photo credit Brenda Austin



Tava Kitchen in Palo Alto unveils its new look and a fresh new menu

Wednesday evening, I was very delighted to experience the unveiling of the new Tava Kitchen. Tava Kitchen is part the fine restaurants and eateries located at Town and Country Village. What makes Tava Kitchen unique is its visually pleasing and equally great tasting, bespoke food, for a very reasonable price.

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Getting my daughter’s ears pierced



Getting my daughter’s ears pierced


Though many people take the opportunity to pierce their daughter’s ears when they are babies, my husband and I have always thought that we should wait till ours is old enough to help us make that decision. And yes, we have been under pressure from family members who wanted to know why we had not pierced our daughter’s ears. We felt that there was truly no need for it, especially since we were not culturally or religiously obligated to do it. We grappled with the idea and felt that, if she truly wanted it when she was past the age of 8, we would guide her through the process.


Our lovely princess, sandwiched between the two boys, had developed this fascination with earrings: I wear them, her aunties wear them, her friends wear them, and, as the only granddaughter, her grandma wanted her to have hers when she passed away. So she really felt that she was missing out on something. We certainly did not want to be the ones to force it on her.


When she turned 8, she became persistent. So I decided to show her videos of girls getting their ears pierced to try to see if she would be deterred. But it only fueled her curiosity. I myself had not gotten my ears pierced until I was 13, and so I felt that she should wait maybe a little longer, just as I did.


She had become more persistent over the last few months. So this past weekend, I researched areas around Palo Alto where you can get children’s ears pierced, and was thus introduced to Claire’s, a few tattoo places and salons, and Piercing Padoga, which by the way was just what we were looking for. The closest one is in Milpitas, at Great Mall of the Bay Area (238 Great Mall Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035). She and I ventured out and got their in about 30 minutes.


I had prepared her on what to expect, and, when we got there, the lovely sales associates made it seem so easy.


There is a slight process we had to go through:

  1. She chose the earrings that she wanted (she chose a crown). Piercing is free with the purchase of an earring.
  2. I had to sign some legal documents.
  3. Clean the earlobes with sterilized wipes.
  4. Mark the spot for the hole with a narrow marker.
  5. They use a piercing system which loads and snaps the earrings into place. Two people worked on her at the same time to make it easier for her.
  6. The area was dabbed with a sterilizing solution.


daughter's ear pierced palo alto


She was so pleased! It was over in a few seconds. She said that she only felt a burning sensation for a few minutes and then it was all gone. I use a swab and liquid solution every morning and evening and she has not complained since she got it done.


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Afterwards, we celebrated with pizza and Cinnabon. I think that our experience was fantastic, especially since she not only understood the whole process, but she was also an active participant, and indeed a great mother and daughter bonding moment.