A Rancho Bernardo Inn Staycation

July 29, 2015

A Hotel Stay at the Rancho Bernardo Inn // My SoCal'd LifeI used to think the best kind of San Diego staycation would involve a coastal location and view of the water. But then two weeks ago I stayed at Rancho Bernardo Inn, a resort located about 15 miles east of the water, and I realized that not once did I think about missing the beach.

That’s because RBI has created a SoCal oasis, one with lush, verdant landscaping (olive trees! tangerine trees! roses!), a gorgeous spa pool, and dreamy Spanish-style architecture. They’ve done something that’s hard to achieve: instill a sort of laid-back comfort to a space so decidedly luxe. Relaxed but regal, and very SoCal.

I was invited to a stay at Rancho Bernardo Inn as part of their INNfluencer program, and though last weekend’s crazy torrential rainstorm dampened things a bit on Saturday, the rain actually made the greenery smell that much better. #glasshalffull

Here, four reasons Rancho Bernardo Inn is oh so magical: read more

around san diego

A Zen Seeker’s Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego

July 23, 2015

A Zen Seeker's Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego // My SoCal'd LifeYou love yoga, vegetarian/vegan eats, prefer nature over city blocks, and are well-acquainted with Whole Foods’ holistic supplement shelves. Whatever you want to call yourself—Zen seeker, hippie, yogi—this guide’s for you: read more


A Weekend Getaway to Northern California’s Tri-Valley

July 21, 2015

A Weekend Getaway to California's Tri-Valley  // My SoCal'd LifeThey call it “the sunny side of the Bay.” The area more commonly known as Tri-Valley—located 45 minutes east of the Golden Gate Bridge and comprised of the towns of Danville, Pleasanton, Dublin, and Livermore in Northern California—is a laid-back alternative to the more expensive wine country experiences further north in Napa. Prices are lower, crowds are smaller, dogs are welcome almost everywhere, and nothing feels commercial. It’s a slice of charming, pastoral Americana.

A few weeks ago, the team at Visit Tri-Valley invited me to check out the area for a weekend getaway. Along with my friend Cindy, we scoped out each hamlet-like town, toured the quaint downtowns, sipped wine amongst the vineyards, spotted cows along each drive, dined on farm-fresh eats, and even made our own bottle of vino to take home. All of that in 30 hours, and it was still a supremely relaxing trip.

Here’s where to go, what to do, and how to plan your getaway:

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around san diego

An Urbanite’s Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego

July 16, 2015

An Urbanite's Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego // My SoCal'd LifeLast week we met the design lover. This week’s installment of my five-part city guide series is for the lover of all things downtown, urban, and skyline-dotted. From a waterfront park marked by the San Diego cityscape to a hip Italian eatery that feels straight out of Milan, here are eight ways to dine, drink, and play like a city slicker:

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How to Make a Perfect Cheese Platter

July 14, 2015

Classic or Adventurous: How to Make Two Party-Perfect Cheese Platters // My SoCal'd Life (photography by Pasagraphy)When my best friend turned 30, I got her a set of these West Elm cheese knives with this slate cheese board. Unbeknownst to me, she had already gotten me a huge package of fromage varieties from New York’s famous Murray’s Cheese for my own 30th a few weeks later. I realized that this cheese plate thing is like an entryway to adulthood.

Maybe it’s because—and I speak for myself and many of my 30-something friends—we prefer quiet nights in versus ragers, dinner parties versus bottle service. And when we entertain, we want to entertain at our best, and a sophisticated cheese platter is at the top of the list.

So I turned to the beautiful new Little Italy fromagerie The Cheese Store of San Diego for some advice on how to create a chic, design-minded spread. Together we created two options to suit every cheese lover: one classic platter, one adventurous platter. Read ahead for helpful serving and pairing tips from owners Aaron, Marci, and the whole Cheese Store gang, along with photos by my talented friend Chantal Pasag of Pasagraphy.

It’s party season—time to get your cheese on:
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around san diego

A Design Lover’s Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego

July 9, 2015

A Design Lover's Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego // My SoCal'd Life

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions from visitors and recent transplants about San Diego—where to eat, what to see, where to go outdoors. And I must say, I’m honored. In the mere 2.5 years I’ve lived here, my day job as a food and travel magazine writer has forced me to get a firm handle on this city in a short amount of time, and now I can confidently recommend wonderful parks to visit, restaurants to try, and shops to peruse through.

So I wanted to launch a series of San Diego guides that pay homage to the never-ending joy I get out of giving people recommendations. Here, the first of five guides for how to spend 24 hours in San Diego. (I know what it’s like to zip around this city in one day, so I was very realistic with how many things to do during those non-dormant 24 hours. At the end of each post, I’ll offer more options for the ambitious tourist.)

If you love mid-century design, art museums, Instagram-worthy cacti, and the like, you’re in luck. Today, I’m tipping my tour guide hat to the Design Lover.

Take a look:

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around san diego - San Diego eats + drinks

Neighborhood Watch: Cardiff-by-the-Sea

July 7, 2015

Acai bowl // My SoCal'd LifeWith a name like Cardiff-by-the-Sea, can’t you just picture a quaint beach community of surfers and free spirits? That’s at least some of what’s on tap in this North County neighborhood, and in the latest issue of San Diego Magazine, I rounded up eight more food, drink, and outdoor Cardiff picks.

You can read the full story here.

Photo by Sam Wells