weekend reads

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8.1.14

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These days the news (and my Facebook feed) seems more like a barrage of sad and disappointing news from the Middle East and beyond. I’m not here to provide political analysis, but I am here to provide respite. Here are a few things that’ll hopefully make you laugh and serve as an escape.

Have a good weekend!

I’m a huge fan of New York Magazine‘s celebrity diet diaries, where a writer—usually the hilarious and talented Rebecca Harrington—spends a week living like an A-lister (her Gwyneth one is the best). This time Maggie Lange spends a week at a wolf refuge to live like Shailene Woodley. (New York Magazine)

Go, San Diego! A modern live-work space in the city’s Barrio Logan ‘hood houses nine units, each of which range from 450 to 595 square feet. It’s a great lesson in micro-living. (Dwell)

Apparently seven hours of sleep is the golden number that results in the best cognitive and health performance. Huzzah! That’s what I usually get. (The Wall Street Journal)

I just can’t come to terms with these Beyonce and Jay-Z break up rumors. Say it ain’t so. Also, just think of the headline possibilities! “Not So Crazy in Love” and “Shouldn’t Have Put a Ring On It” and of course “Everything You Own in a Box to the Left.” (The New York Daily News)

Research for a story I’m working on led me to this super interesting article about the coconut water turf wars that erupted in 2004 between Vita Coco and Zico. Sh– got ugly. (The New York Times)

Is there a love more pure than the one between a dog and its owner? This video of a schnauzer who passed out after being reunited with its owner who was away for two years is concrete evidence. Watch, cry—and keep the volume down because that dog’s squeal is as high-pitched as a dog whistle:

 Photo via 

apartment update: new gallery wall

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7.30.14

gallery wall // My SoCal'd Life

We traveled. We saw. We photographed.

We have about 15,000 photos from our 13-month backpacking trip, and we always knew we would enlarge and frame some of our favorites. We just didn’t know it would take us so long.

Last August we bought six large IKEA frames and this past weekend we finally assembled our second gallery wall. Huzzah! I’m really thrilled with the results. (I’m also thrilled that we enlarged the photos at Sam’s Club for about $6 each.) It’s a nice contrast—both in frame shape and arrangements—to the more freestyle gallery we have in the living room and has a huge impact when you walk through the front door.

That said, picking the photos was like choosing a favorite child (or dog), and that was really what prolonged the process. We just weren’t ready to commit! In the end, we covered a different country in each—not all of the ones we traveled to, but at least ones that meant a lot to us.

Here’s more info on each:

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weekend recap

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7.28.14

A look at the weekend from my iPhone’s point of view…

Trolly Barn concert, San Diego // via My SoCal'd LifeTrolly Barn concert, San Diego // via My SoCal'd Life

On Friday night we went to the Trolley Barn Park’s Summer in the Park concert series. The free event, held Friday evenings through August 1 in the cozy University Heights park, hosts different musical stylings each week, and this past Friday we were serenaded to some old school funk from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. This is definitely a family-focused event, but that’s not to take anything away from it. Everyone picnics with friends, dogs, kids, whomever, and there’s even a little area in front where people get down. Some woman in the front looks like she’s doing a yoga chaturanga, and I don’t hate her for it.

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a meditation garden in encinitas

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7.25.14

Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, CA via My SoCal'd Life

I had heard about the Meditation Gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas but knew little about it except that it was, simply put, pretty. SRF is a spiritual organization that espouses yoga, meditation, and the teachings of its founder Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian guru, to gain a stronger spiritual connection to god. I’m not religious at all — I’m not even sure what “god” is and I’m more of the mindset “be a good person” — but I knew this garden sounded like it would be worth a visit. (Spoiler alert: It was.)

Open to the public, the Meditation Gardens are a sanctuary with vibrant flowers, blooming succulents, a charming koi pond, ocean views, and of course meditations benches, many of which are tucked in the greens for the ultimate one-with-nature feeling. I sat with my eyes closed for about 15 minutes, and let me tell you, there’s a different breed of quiet here. It’s more about stillness, and it gave me deja vu to the days we had on the road backpacking, when we didn’t have smartphones and life was a whole lot simpler.

Don’t let the spiritual overtones intimidate you; there are a mix of people who visit the Gardens, from devout meditators to tourists to people like me who fall somewhere in between. No matter your religious leanings, it’s a fantastic place for anyone to check out and check in with yourself. Take a look:

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from front door to DIY headboard

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7.23.14

How to make a door headboard via My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

About 1,000 years ago on Instagram, I teased that Eaman and I were making a headboard out of an old door. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the big reveal or perhaps you totally forgot about it (how could you?!), but now I can finally share the end result! The blue beauty now lives in our bedroom, and while I don’t think a headboard is all that necessary, I like that we made one so cheaply.

We spread out the project over a few weeks — starting with the cleaning, sanding and sawing outside in our complex’s parking lot and ending with painting and installing in our bedroom. As expected, Eaman handled the more mechanical work, like sawing and drilling, while I oversaw the painting. Through the whole process, all I could think was: How do DIY bloggers do this? Work on a project, photograph the steps beautifully and look flawless throughout? I was a hot mess.

But I digress. I dig the final look, and even better, I love that we used our creativity — and took a much-needed break from our computer screens — to make something out of virtually nothing.

Here’s how we did it:

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