7 questions with stylist/designer dani colombatto




I mostly use Instagram for inspiration—and posting pictures of Teddy—and Dani Colombatto’s feed is a favorite of mine, thanks to her use of color, pattern and food. The Oceanside-based stylist and jewelry designer, whose line with Arielle Vey launches next April, has a knack for making beautiful vignettes, so I wanted her to share her own vignette about working in the creative world.

Today she dishes on eggs benedict and chopping garlic to clear a mental block…among other things.


a sick day




I spent pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday on the couch or in bed, drinking something warm or passed out in a Benadryl haze. It was an attack of changing seasons—not that there’s much of a change between summer and fall in San Diego—and some nasty allergies. So excuse me for the lack of posting today. I needed a couple of sick days, which I realize people in office jobs are entitled to, but when you work for yourself, you don’t think about those kinds of things.

Some news that perked me up in my drowsiness? My Travel + Leisure article was finally published! I wrote bout the 5 best things to do and eat outdoors in San Diego for their annual America’s Favorite Cities feature. San Diego won for Best Quality of Life and People, and I’d say the magazine is pretty spot on about that.

And now that I’ve taken some much needed time off, I’m already feeling oodles better, so see you on Friday!

Photo via

a trip to sedona, arizona



Sedona travel guide // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

One of the greatest things about living in California is being close to such diverse landscapes that are just a hop, skip and—in the case of Sedona—a short flight away.

If you’ve heard of Sedona, then you know that it’s considered a sacred place, one revered by New Age thinkers and lambasted by skeptics. The former believe the town has a unique cosmic energy, a certain electromagnetic force that stirs up something in most people—if you’re open to it. I am open to it, so when I visited Sedona on a recent work trip, I was all ears…and eyes…and heart.

I may not have had any earth-shattering realizations or resolved latent emotional issues, but Sedona did make an impression on me. There’s a different brand of silence and stillness there, and it forces you to be a little extra introspective. My mind chilled out and meditating all of a sudden seemed less like a challenge. The place just lends itself to looking inward.

Self-fulfilling prophecy or not, the place undoubtedly makes for a dynamite getaway.

Along with three other journalists, I stayed at the gorgeous L’Auberge de Sedona, a luxury resort situated on Oak Creek. (Yes, even amidst all the desert in Arizona, there’s a flowing gorge running from Flagstaff to Sedona.) We spent most of our time at the resort—in sprawling luxury cottages with two TVs, three different showers and a fireplace—and got a taste of all the cool stuff Sedona is famous for, like spa treatments, hiking and those famous Pink Jeep tours.

Here are some scenes from my trip:


7 questions with chantal pasag



Photographer Chantal Pasag, San Diego

My Rituals has left the building. It’s gone. Done. G’bye! To be honest, it was fun and very interesting to get into the minds of different creatives, but I recently I started thinking about asking different people the same questions to see what kind of answers I’d get. And so I now present to you the weekly series, 7 Questions With. Think of it like a My Rituals 2.0. With 7QW, I’m focusing more on West Coast creatives and asking each seven specific questions—some mundane, some serious—inspired by great series like NYMag’s 21 Questions and the fantastic blog So, How Was Your Day?

We’re kicking it off with the very cool, very talented San Diego-based photographer Chantal Pasag. Today, she dishes on trash rap and a secret San Diego spot…among other things.

Name: Chantal Pasag
Age: not 30 yet
Neighborhood: North Park, San Diego
Professional title: Photographer


What did you eat for breakfast today?
Cafe Au Lait (soy) + le croissant.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Being able to connect with people—strangers, friends, acquaintances. I love the challenge of trying to get people to feel completely comfortable around me so that their photos turn out the best—candid, real and fun.

The worst?
Editing. Sometimes. Only when there’s thousands of images to sift through. When the best are picked out then it gets fun again.

How do you tackle a creative block?
An ice-frothy Manhattan or maybe a gin martini. Sometimes “trash rap,” my guilty pleasure. Or I avoid tackling a creative block at all costs by cleaning the house.

What are you currently reading?
A stack of Time magazines (free subscription that keeps showing up at our house. Not sure why, but I’ll take it) and Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

What’s your favorite spot in the city and why?
There’s a spot downtown that I cherish, because it doesn’t look or feel like you’re in San Diego. It’s architecture is minimal and modern—it feels very Japanese. It’s also very peaceful on a Sunday evening. It’s my “secret spot” where I go to reflect, and be alone.


What was the most awesome thing about today?
Friday Morning Coffee Times. Every Friday morning I meet with my friend (and tribes woman) Holly Haines, founder and cook for FMITK. Check her out. We do a word jumble over coffee. Sometimes other friends crash our morning coffee times, too. We love it! I don’t do well conforming to any sort of routine, but this is one of the very few things that I make an exception for.

Thanks, Chantal! You can also check out her work on her portfolio site pasagraphy.com.

piacere mio in south park



Piacere Mio in San Diego // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

South Park is hands-down my favorite area of San Diego not just because it has a sense of community where everyone knows each other and a great dog park and almost all small businesses, but also because it has one of everything I need. There’s my pizza place (Buona Forchetta), my coffee shop (Cafe Madeleine), my work coffee shop (Rebecca’s), my ice cream spot (Daily Scoop), a home decor/gift shop (Progress) and a handful of other useful, fun shops. But it now also has something I didn’t realize I needed: a quaint, date-night-ready restaurant.

Piacere Mio recently transformed from a casual gelateria and coffee shop to an intimate, romantically lit Italian trattoria. There are meat dishes and a smattering of typical appetizers, like bruschetta, beef carpaccio and sauteed mussels, but the highlight is the homemade pasta. Servings are seriously huge—enough to serve 3-4—and well priced at $12-15, and I love the mix-and-match option, where you can choose a sauce and pasta style to go with it. Considering how rich and carb-heavy pasta can be, though, if you’re a party of two, I’d suggest ordering one pasta dish (the pesto sauce is phenomenal) and one vegetable or meat.

But it’s delightful even beyond mamma-mia-good pasta. The setting is charming—check out the beautiful pendant lamps and snug bar space—and feels like the kind of place Eaman and I would go to for weeknight dinners during the cold New York City winters. It’s warm, cozy and very fitting as San Diego starts to turn towards “fall.” Check it out:


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