a season of travel

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9.29.14

Travel inspiration // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

Minneapolis, Arizona, Mexico, New Jersey, New York, and Boston—that’s how the rest of this year is shaping up. The itinerary, which is spread out from literally today through the end of November, includes a work trip for Eaman, a few work trips for me and some much needed time back on the East Coast to see friends and family (I haven’t been back since last June!). Most of this summer was spent zipping around for weddings, so I’m excited to get more personal traveling time this fall.

Right now Eaman and I are in Minneapolis for a conference he’s attending, and even though there won’t be much free time between helping him and getting my own work done, I’m jazzed to explore as much as I can. Thanks to Minneapolitan-turned-San Diegan Annie, I already have a list of musts and will be sure to report back with some of my favorites.

All this travel also got me thinking about this year’s work, goals and frustrations. We’re in a unique position in that Eaman and I are both working for ourselves, both starting from scratch and both working from home. It’s fun and flexible, but that also means there’s this fog of stress in the apartment that’s just hard to shake. When one of us is down, we have to boost the other up, and if both of us are down—well, you’ll probably find us eating a burrito outside El Zarape. There’s an emotional toll with this be-your-own-boss thing—assignments fall through, people don’t care about your idea, it takes forever to get paid, etc.—and many days I find myself exhausted and zombie-like not because I’ve been running around, but because I’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions.

The hardest part is trying to juggle everything: my work, helping him with his work, doing house work and taking care of Teddy*. It can be a lot and not all your friends will understand that, no, you can’t hang out as much and yes, you’d rather be alone to watch Real Housewives while eating gummy bears. The other challenge is not knowing when it’ll end. Of course I have faith that we’re both doing what we’re supposed to be doing, but this isn’t like finals week when you cram with an end in sight. We’re pretty much cramming all the time. (God, sometimes I miss those days working in an office when you’d get paid no matter what, even if you surfed Facebook most of the day.)

The good news is that I’m gaining a lot more stability in my career this year. I finally have a focus and drive that was totally absent last year and am crossing some big goals off my bucket list. I’ve been able to write for some dream magazines, and perhaps even better, I’m establishing a rhythm. That whole floating-question-mark feeling? Yeah, I did not like that. My career path has evolved into one of a city explorer, and I love that a huge part of my work involves getting the scoop on events, trying new restaurants and meeting small business owners. And thank goodness for it, because if you work from home, you understand: It’s imperative to get out and talk to other people! (I know it looks like I’m just so everywhere on Instagram, but let me tell you, it’s part of my job, too.)

So all that to say, no, life is not perfect, but I’m pretty darn grateful for the positive things that’ve come my way this year. The stress will always be there in some form—it just means we care—and having that connection to our work, that’s pretty much all we could’ve asked for in this new city of ours.

*I’m the first to admit that last year puppy Teddy was a source of stress. This year, older Teddy is a reliever of stress. Seriously don’t know what we’d do without him.

Photo via

my rituals: erin pechtel of boutonné

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9.26.14

Erin-petchel-boutonne-san-diego

No, not everyone who is gusty enough to take a risk and pursue his or her dreams makes it out on top, but thank goodness for those that do because they  give us faith to keep on keepin’ on. That’s how I feel about Erin Pechtel, a San Diego native with a visual design background who has been making leather goods since 2012 and just opened her first flagship location in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade.

With her line boutonné, which is sold across the country as well as in Australia, the UK and Singapore, you’ll find minimalist leather products, from totes to iPad cases, and because she knows all about small business support, she also includes jewelry from local brands in her new store.

Let’s get to know her and how she finds some R&R, shall we?

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welcoming fall at suzie’s farm

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9.24.14

Suzie's Farm, San Diego // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

Well, Saturday evening was just magical.

It was the night of Suzie’s Farm‘s fourth annual autumnal equinox dinner, a celebration of the new season with a communal dinner under garden lights on the farm property. The dinner incorporated produce from Suzie’s—my favorite farmers market vendor—as well as meats and seafood from local vendors, and was prepared by the team behind La Jolla’s Whisknladle.

The space was set up like the most simple, charming and rustic wedding—it really felt that way with all the celebrating and reveling—and used color as this year’s theme. While jars of various dyed colors were peppered around the farm, at each place setting was a handkerchief hand-dyed by the farm owners Lucila and Robin and their daughters Sylvie and Inez. The real wow factor? The handkerchiefs were dyed with plants around the farm. I got a pale green napkin made from kale, while my friend visiting from New York City got a golden brown version made from basil.

Some of the highlights included the amazing pizzettes and zucchini fritters served during cocktail hour and the salad made of watermelon, compressed melon, cucumber granita, charred radishes and local cheese. I’m not even a melon person, but Suzie’s makes me a believer. For dessert, we left our communal seats for three different dessert stations, including pumpkin hand pies, chocolate chip cookies and mini ice creams made from beet, sweet potato and mint. (My tablemate who blogs at Look for Pinky got a great shot of these.)

The night ended with Lucila demanding that we dance, and so, the band played on. Take a look:

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weekend recap

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9.22.14

Cafe Madeleine, South Park, San Diego // via My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

Saturday mornings at Cafe Madeleine. Eaman and I typically work six days a week, so Saturdays are reserved for chillin’ out, maxin’ and relaxin’. For us, the most peaceful place to de-clutter our brains is this South Park cafe.

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my rituals: jewelry and graphic designer desi mckinnon

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9.19.14

Desi McKinnon, jewelry designer // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

I’ve seen Desi McKinnon’s jewelry pieces on quite a few women since moving to San Diego. They’re understated and delicate, but eye-catching and outfit-making at the same time. Take these horseshoe earrings, for instance. I love how they’re simple enough to wear throughout the day, but the unique shape begs the question, “Where’d ya get those?” I asked someone that myself recently, and she told me it was a piece by her friend, Desi, a San Diego-based designer with a line of jewelry called Modernist.

Desi also happens to be a blogger, aroma enthusiast and kombucha brewer, too. And today she’s talking about all that and sharing her recipe for “Hindu lemonade.” Take a look:

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