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All Things University City: Season of Giving, Shopping and Eating

University City...more than a neighborhood. We explore what lies within the borders of the "Golden Triangle" and look into UC's residents, schools, shopping, dining, activities, issues, and more.

One thing I have learned about University City, since I moved here over 13 years ago, is that the community as a whole is very giving. And during the holiday season in particular we are always reaching out to find out who could use a little extra something. Sometimes we want to help, but don’t know where to look.

With this in mind, here’s a few suggestions:

UCHS JROTC - is collecting for both the Toys for Tots program and the Annual Food Drive for the San Diego Food Bank. Bins for collection of unwrapped toys are located at the front office, and both unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items can be brought to room B-21 through December 18.

EdUCate! - is having their annual Book Drive at the Barnes & Noble/Bookstar located at the Costa Verde shopping center. The five schools in the UC Cluster have posted their wish lists. The book drive runs through the end of the year and the goal is to reach 1,000 books donated. EdUCate! is also running the Honor A Teacher (HAT) program. Honor the teachers who give so much to their students by making a contribution in their name. Go to uc-educate.org.

Local schools - they can always use help. Donate to the local school parent organizations (Curie PTA, Doyle PTA, Spreckels PTA, Standley PTSA, UCHS PTSA, and the Centurion Foundation) whose funds directly help the school programs.

Since these days I am more in tune to what happens at UCHS, let me know of what your school, pre-school, scout troops, churches, clubs, and other volunteer organizations are doing to give back to others. Send me details and photos, and I will post in my next blog post. And if you are already done with your holiday programs, tell me what you have accomplished.

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Don’t forget to look around you - neighbors, friends, colleagues. Someone in front of your eyes may need help - it’s okay to ask, and for those that do need - it’s okay to receive.

Asking is how I eventually found out that there are several families/students who could use some extra holiday cheer this holiday season. If anyone would like to help, send me an email at jemmasamala@gmail.com.

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We all know the season of giving also translates to a season of shopping. I’m actually not a big shopper, but if I was I would be hanging out at the newly renovated Westfield UTC every day. All I can say is that it looks really cool. Whoever was the designer, can you please come to my house?

The outdoor furnishing are so inviting, you just want to grab a book, get a hot chocolate from Starbucks, some treats from See’s (yes, more chocolate) and spend the afternoon relaxing under the warm sun. Even the food court has a whole assortment of comfy dining furniture - you know all the high school kids will be hanging out there after the half days.

And the shopping. Yes, if you are so inclined, there’s a new Tiffany’s, J.Crew, Rolex, Kiehl’s, Oakley, and Vans. Plus all the renovated stores that were already there. Did I mention the new Tiffany’s?

There are some great new dining choices too, such as Tender Greens at the central court, Corner Bakery by Sears, and right across from it is the new Season 52 restaurant. Yes, I have been to all of them. Loved the salt & pepper chicken and golden mashed potatoes at Tender Greens, homemade chicken soup and chocolate chip cookies at Corner Bakery, and everything at Seasons 52.

Seasons 52 has multiple locations, the one at UTC being the first in San Diego County. The tasty dishes are all 475 calories or less, but you can’t tell because everything is so flavorful. Try the Lemongrass Salmon Salad, Caramelized Grilled Sea Scallops, or the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon. (I’m going to try the rainbow Trout next time.) My downfall, as usual, is the desserts all served in single-sized shot glasses. Deliciously tempting I have to order three! (There goes the point of it being 475 calories.) Nine sweet treats are offered, and I especially loved the chocolate peanut butter mousse. Think of it as a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup in mousse form.

For the wine drinkers, Seasons 52 has an extensive selection of wines with 65 choices by the glass. The piano bar schedules a rotation of talented artists starting at 5:00 pm every night playing soul, jazz, and pop. Seasons 52 is a wonderful place to take a break during your shopping errands. Hang out, munch on some flatbread along with your glass of wine, and enjoy the holiday season with your company of friends.

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Some additional community events to remember:
The UCCA meeting this Wednesday, Dec. 12, 6-8pm at the UC Library is an important one. The low-flying distressed incident last month will be discussed, as well as the Rose Creek Plant Removal and Control Program, which will remove about 1,000 invasive trees and plants around the UCHS area.
Community Tree Lighting is Friday, Dec. 14, 6pm at Standley Rec Center.
Breakfast with Santa is Saturday, Dec. 15, 9-11am at Standley Rec Center.

Now, don’t forget your homework assignment: let me know of any holiday happenings, send details and photos. Enjoy this season of giving, and don’t forget to think about giving a little to yourself too.

Hope you enjoyed the All Things UC Blog for LaJolla Patch. Feel free to send me anything UC related at jemmasamala@gmail.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marie Byrd December 11, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I always look forward to your postings, Jemma. Great pictures, too! Thank you for keeping us in the loop with all thing UC. :)

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