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.
San Diego’s beloved for its beaches and tacos and sunsets, but one area of expertise we don’t get a lot of credit for is our cafes. There are so many established, innovative, design-minded spots in the city — Coffee & Tea Collective and Cafe Moto come to mind — and this summer has brought so many more to the roster. There’s the new Influx in North Park, The Curious Fork in Solana Beach, Lofty’s new Encinitas Roasting Works, and most recently, Cafe Cantata in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade.
The space was designed by the talented Betsy Ginn of Smid, an interior design consulting studio based in San Diego. After growing up in South Carolina, living in New York City, and settling down in Southern California, Betsy’s background is clearly eclectic, and that aesthetic is reflected in her work. At Cafe Cantata, you’ll find mismatched furniture, an eggplant-colored Chesterfield couch, a bike used as lettering, handwriting by the talented Taryn Sutherland, and plants galore. (There’s actually an old school metal desk with drawers filled with plants.) The whole space is inviting and light-filled, a bit like a European cafe set in a garden.
Truth be told, the latte I had wasn’t all that, but with decor that fun and charming, I’d happily come back…and back…and back. Check out Cafe Cantata and get ready to drool:
When it rains it pours, and this week felt like a monsoon. Not that I’m complaining! We freelancers have to take the ebbs with the flows, and having too much work is certainly not a bad situation. So I don’t have much to say except that I have some fun weekend plans involving the beach, a new coffee shop, and finally doing an outdoor yoga class. Oh, and work. There will be lots of that, too.
Xerox after xerox after xerox. That’s what I remember when I think of Orangette blogger Molly Wizenberg’s part-memoir, part-cookbook A Homemade Life. I read the book years ago, but I revisit it from time to time via the many, many photocopies I made of all the amazing recipes in the book. In A Homemade Life, Molly talks about family matters, her blog reader-turned-boyfriend-turned-husband, and all the meals in between that made those relationships meaningful. It’s thoughtful, sincere, and hunger-inducing.
I remember being so enamored with the recipes that I wanted to hold on to them all. I guess I should’ve just bought the book, but I was cheap and gave the book back to the library after Xerox-ing the recipes for free at my office job.
But why bring this up now? Because it’s apricot season! And the summer fruit just happens to be the focal point of one of my favorite recipes from the book: pistachio cake with honeyed apricots*. It’s a moist, light cake with a slightly nutty flavor, thanks to the pistachios (duh) and the nutmeg (though I used cinnamon). For all times outside of apricot season, nectarines have worked just as well.
And just so you know, it has won over all my friends—from those with a sweet tooth to those who swear they hate cake. So there you go, your next crowd-pleasing dish. Check it out:
There are plenty of places in San Diego that pride themselves on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, but Whisknladle Hospitality has made something of a name for themselves between their upscale Whisknladle restaurant (in La Jolla) and more casual Prepkitchen (in Little Italy, Del Mar, and La Jolla). For me, Whisknladle was my introduction to California’s year-round fresh produce bounty; it was the first legitimate meal out we had upon moving to San Diego. (I’m assuming frozen Trader Joe’s pizza on the night we arrived doesn’t quite count.)
Prepkitchen recently celebrated its 5-year anniversary, and it just so happened to coincide with the La Jolla location’s brand spanking new patio. It’s a warm and inviting space, and a great al fresco option in an area of La Jolla without many. (Price-wise, it falls somewhere in between fancy-schmancy and your cheap neighborhood taco joint.)
Here’s a look at the expanded space and what you should order. Tempura, chocolate budino, and more ahead!
my SoCal'd life is a lifestyle blog devoted to all things delicious, adventurous and stylish in Southern California. I moved to San Diego in January 2013 after traveling the world for a year and am excited to set roots, take road trips and eat fish tacos. I post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.