happy holidays



happy holidays

When you have a blog or are active on social media, there’s often this feeling of having to feed the beast constantly. Take a break? Take vacation? Hardly!

But actually, this time, I’m going to take that break. I’m going to take some time off from the blog until the new year (or maybe New Year’s Eve). Part of that time will be spent working, while the rest will be spent engaging in some G-rated fun, like watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, baking, hiking, long coffee dates, and more. Eaman and I were in San Diego last year during the holidays, and having that time in a fairly empty city felt like a staycation. We were forced to not think about work because no one was around. So even though we have to parse out some of that time for our to-do list (#selfemployment), we’re hoping to recreate some of last year’s fun and actually take a break.

Enjoy your holidays, safe travels, and happy holidays. I’ll still be around on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and I guarantee I’ll be spending more than a couple hours throughout the holidays on Pinterest with some gummy bears by my side. That’s my kind of holiday vacation.

image via

freekeh salad with shallots, chickpeas, and yogurt



Freekeh with caramelized shallots, chickpeas, and yogurt // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

My family was in town last week and when we get together, we’re not, how you say, a very active people. My parents aren’t the hiking type, they’re not much for the beach, and they’d rather eat out than “trouble me” with having to cook for them. (My mom saves the cooking for herself when I go back to New Jersey.) Paired with last Friday’s surprising (and welcome) downpour, we ate out four days straight. The closest we got to eating at home was picking up takeout. And as much as I loved my meals at Puesto, Cafe 21, Amarin Thai, Hanna’s Gourmet, Grill House Cafe, Cafe 976, and Extraordinary Desserts, this week is all about recalibrating with healthy food.

Yesterday I made one of my new favorites, a freekeh “salad” with caramelized shallots, chickpeas, and yogurt, a recipe that I spotted in a recent Martha Stewart Living issue. What is freekeh, you ask? It’s an ancient grain derived from the Middle East that’s packed with protein and fiber and sold at speciality grocerers like Whole Foods, where I got mine, and online. It reminds me a bit of bulgar and barley, so if you can’t find freekeh, I think it’s safe to sub one of those two and adjust cooking times. (FYI, I used cracked freekeh, which worked just fine.) This recipe also incorporates pomegranate for a nice dose of seasonality and sweetness.

The great vegetarian food blog Cookie and Kate has a great note about cooking freekeh. I’ve tried both of her techniques—letting it cook long enough to absorb its moisture and yield a risotto-type consistency as well as cooking until tender and then letting the freekeh steam for 5 minutes to get a fluffier texture—and I prefer the latter method, which I used this time around.

Take a look:


5 november favorites



Better late than never—here are 5 great things I ate, saw and did last month:

Orange County road trip

1. Newport/Laguna beach day trip.


2. Friendsgiving as our Thanksgiving.

Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 11.00.46 PM0

3. Moderating Creative Connection’s women entrepreneurs panel. I was honored to be asked to host a panel for Creative Connection, a San Diego women’s networking group, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. The event brought together Bridget of Badunkachunk, graphic designer/blogger Mrs. Lilien and designer/event planner Melissa of Pow Wow Design Studio to speak about their experiences as business owners to an audience of eager, inquisitive professionals. The three women spoke so candidly and openly with all of us that—I have to admit—I almost got a little choked up. Part of that was because I connected so much to what they were talking about and the other part was that I was giddy moderating my first panel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so thanks to Creative Connection for making that happen. We all left that event feeling a little extra inspired.

Wow Wow Waffle // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

4. Wow Wow Waffle—ooh, I’m still thinking about how much I love this hidden North Park waffle shop.

Central Park // via My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

5. Going back East for a week. Being at home with my family and seeing friends in New York and Boston during a random, non-holiday week in November was one of the most relaxing times I’ve had in a while. (It helped that I didn’t have much work.) I didn’t blog or Instagram about my trip all that much, but maybe that’s why it was so relaxing. I truly love documenting my adventures and sharing recommendations, but it was so nice to go out to eat or meet a friend and not take a photo of a pretty sign or adorable dessert. OK, I did take that above picture of Central Park, but wouldn’t you want to savor those fall colors, too?



7 questions with beverage director terri wedell




Terri Wedell has a job most people fantasize about, serving as a marketing coordinator for a fine foods cafe/catering business while sipping and sampling wine all day as the brand’s beverage director. I’m so used to seeing men dominate the restaurant and wine scene that it’s so refreshing to see a woman running things. And as I soon learned after meeting her a few months ago, Terri’s also fun, smart and charming to boot.

Today she chats about drinking champagne in bed and social media addiction…among other things.

Name: Terri Wedell
Age: 28
Neighborhood: Golden Hill/South Park
Job: Beverage Director & Marketing Coordinator at Waters Fine Catering

What did you eat for breakfast today?
Organic eggs and green tea. I am definitely not a morning person, so I need a very strict breakfast routine in order to make it out of the door in time. Although if today were Saturday morning, I would be sipping a glass of champagne… in bed!

What’s the best thing about your job?
Without a doubt the people that I work with at Waters, and all the people I have met in this industry over the years. There is such a camaraderie between the people that work in restaurants. I think it’s really hard to completely understand all that we do and the mindset behind it, unless you have experienced it for yourself.

The worst?
That the wine cellar at Waters isn’t my own personal sipping cup?!? It’s pretty drool-worthy to say the least.

How do you tackle a creative block?
Instagram & Pinterest! I love scrolling around throughout the day, even if it’s just looking at things that are completely unrelated to what I am working on. I feel like I always come away inspired. #SocialMediaAddict

What are you currently reading?
Gone Girl. Yeah, yeah, I know I am a couple years behind on this one, but I am completely addicted! I even read it while I am stopped at red lights.

What’s your favorite spot in San Diego and why?
Without a doubt Torrey Pines. I grew up right across the lagoon and it reminds me so much of my childhood. Busting out a morning workout while breathing in that view is so refreshing.

What was the most awesome thing about today?
The aromas wafting from our kitchen doing some heavy holiday prep! It’s a combination of everything festive you can imagine… Brioche Bread Pudding, Fresh Cranberry Compote, Roast Turkey & Gravy, Salted Caramel Valrhona Brownies, I could go on and on. It’s a pretty dangerous place to work and stay in shape!

Thanks, Terri! You can also find her on Instagram and Pinterest, and Waters on Twitter.

rare form + fairweather in the east village



Rare Form San Diego // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

San Diego’s East Village is where all the magic is happening. It’s where cool food ventures and innovative public projects meet, and it’s where I go if I want a dose of real city living. And the restaurants by CH Projects, the team behind Polite Provisions, Underbelly and many other uber-cool venues, is where I go when I want a dose of city eating.

This June CH opened the stylish East Village deli, Rare Form, followed by Fairweather, a rooftop bar with a penchant for tropical drinks two months later. The former is a dim, library-like space with banker’s lamps, Baroque-style paintings and religious undertones; my mind is still processing how or why those elements go together. That said, the sandwiches are well-made—the namesake Rare Form sandwich is a gigantic pastrami-filled ode to New York—and the fries are dynamite. They also make fresh lemonade, and though I can tell the ingredients are natural, it was neither here nor there. Out of everything we chowed down, the soft pretzel and dipping sauces were tops.

I liked Rare Form, sure. But I love Fairweather. I love the blue and white tiles on the front bar, the view atop Petco Park, the cozy banquettes, the Shazam-worthy salsa playlist, the intimate atmosphere and the bartenders, who hand you a menu and then throw in that they can actually make anything you want. Local cocktail king Anthony Schmidt gave Eaman a tropical play on a negroni, and for me, the best mocktail I’ve ever had. It was mixed with their house-made passionfruit syrup, and when I asked him about the recipe, it was refreshing to hear how much thought he put into a non-alcoholic drink. Let me tell you, that’s a rare thing.

Here’s a closer look at the deli-bar combo:


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