neighborhood watch: la jolla



La Jolla murals // My SoCall'd Life (photo by PHILIPP SCHOLZ RITTERMANN)

When you think San Diego, there’s a good chance that the upscale beach community of La Jolla is what comes to mind. A cobalt coastline, impressive bluffs, well-manicured green space, chi-chi boutiques, and real estate porn as far as the eye can see—this is La Jolla on the surface. There’s also a longstanding seafood hole-in-the-wall, a contemporary art museum, my favorite French toast of all time, and a series of murals dotted throughout La Jolla Village.

For all my picks, check out my Neighborhood Guide in the latest issue of San Diego Magazine.

Happy Friday!

Photo: Philipp Scholz Rittermann

featured on apartment therapy!



Bedside table styling // My SoCal'd Life // Photo by Found Creative Studio

What a pleasant surprise to wake up Monday morning and see that our apartment was featured on Apartment Therapy! My friends Jenny and Becca of Found Creative Studio had come over last month right before my family visited—so the apartment would be in the best possible shape—and snapped a bunch of photos for us. Now looking at this post, it’s so satisfying to share the progress we’ve made in two years. As one reader so flatly commented on Apartment Therapy, it looks like a “first apartment,” and I’m OK with that. It’s the first time we’ve cared about, curated, and collected pieces that are important to us, and I’m excited to see where we go from here.

And the timing couldn’t have been better. Seeing our wee abode on a site I love so much was a treat during an otherwise weird, anxious, bummed-out spell I’m currently experiencing. I blame Mercury retrograde! (If you seem extra loopy, incoherent, irritable, and altogether lost, blame the planet of Mercury, which is in retrograde starting today until February 11.) Why bring this up? So you know that even though these pictures make everything look perfect, rest assured that things are not always perfect, a disclaimer that I think most bloggers don’t say enough. (For instance, we cleaned for nearly a whole day to get our apartment to look this clean.)

Astrological mood shifts aside, you can read the full feature on Apartment Therapy. Plus, I’ve got more photos after the jump:


hiking at los penasquitos canyon preserve



los penasquitos canyon preserve // hiking in san diego via My SoCal'd Life

Coming from the East Coast, where summers are humid and rainy season is no joke, I still sometimes find it surprising that I landed in this desert city of San Diego. The coast and beaches certainly help me forget that, but drive a little east, where most of the harder hiking trails are located, and you’re in legitimate cacti country. That also means dry, dusty hikes that—I’ll be honest—I’m not incredibly fond of.

But that’s why it was such a pleasant surprise to find the lush and verdant scenery at Los Penasquitos (“Little Cliffs”) Canyon Preserve, situated between Ranchos Penasquitos and Sorrento Hills. Sometimes the greens were so bright that it was almost like someone cranked up the saturation levels. And minus a few times when you see houses or the highway, you feel secluded à la Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Wild. OK, Los Penasquitos is a totally flat course, so not at all on par with the difficulty of Cheryl’s journey, but that same palpable feeling of being away from it all is there.

The nearly 4,000-acre preserve includes more than 10 miles of trails—a mix of shaded and non-shaded areas—that accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians, as well as a historic adobe ranch house and event space for weddings. Along the trails you’ll find sycamores, cacti, and even bobcats and coyotes, one of which I spotted the first time I walked this trail.

The most popular route is a six-mile loop that brings you to the waterfall—it’s pretty, but “waterfall” is a generous term—at Lopez Canyon before either rounding back the way you came or completing the loop, which involves crossing the creek to get to the other side. Since the trail is all walking and can get a wee bit monotonous, we definitely wanted to cross the creek and finish the loop on the opposite side of the trail. It takes some delicate hopping-over-stones footwork but is very much doable. Eaman even did it while holding Teddy by the leash! You’ll see people stop at the canyon to sun on the rocks, take pictures, picnic, or even read a book. And more than a few dogs will eagerly pull toward the water desperately wanting a quick dip in the cold water.

Tired, sore, and fueled with enough Vitamin D for a good month, you’ll likely want copious Mexican food after. At least that’s how we felt.

Take a look at scenes from Los Penasquitos:


7 questions with food blogger holly haines




A culinary ode to Beyonce is what first caught my eye. An appreciation for food that’s equal parts beautiful and ooey-gooey comfort was the other. I stumbled upon both in Holly Haines’ Instagram feed, and that’s how I knew this was a gal I should be following.

Holly is a self-proclaimed “foodmaker” who shares her recipes on FMITK (From My Impossibly Tiny Kitchen) and has been featured on, thanks in part to her wildly popular Pretzky Bun recipe (a pretzel meets a sticky bun). If that shouldn’t give you a clue about her creative twist on things, then take a look at this Beyonce-themed dinner party she cooked up. Drunk in Rub chicken wings, anyone?

Today Holly talks about why feeding people is so special and people-watching…among other things.

Name: Holly Haines
Age: 32
Neighborhood: University Heights, San Diego
Job: Foodmaker @

What did you eat for breakfast today?
Coffee. I’m horrible at eating breakfast, but it’s something I’m trying to work on this year.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Experimenting with different flavors and spices, then getting to share those experiments with the people I love. Feeding people is my higher vibration.

The worst?
The food fails. Nothing hurts more than looking forward to a dish and having it turn out horribly.

How do you tackle a creative block?
I usually meditate. Or try to focus on something completely different—that’s when a spark of inspiration usually happens.

What are you currently reading?
The Professional Chef—it’s the textbook used at the Culinary Institute of America. There are so many technical terms I have yet to learn!

What’s your favorite spot in San Diego and why?
My favorite spot is anywhere with delicious coffee and people-watching.

What was the most awesome thing about today?
Waking up and breathing. The day exists, and so do I… that’s awesome enough for me.

Thanks, Holly! You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Mikee Catacutan

life at the moment




A little peek at life in real time:

Currently I’m…

Doing: Three fun writing assignments and finding the confidence to pitch ideas to new outlets.

Practicing: Yoga at night. I used to be really strict about going only in the mornings because I consider it a great day-starter, but there’s something to be said for winding down with a good stretch. I’ve also been feeling like come 6 p.m., my mind is bouncing around like an over-stimulated pinball, and evening yoga has been the only way to dial it down a few (hundred) notches.


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