my rituals: floral designer alexis foster of leaf it to lexi



Leaf It To Lexi floral designer // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

The penny trick: You can remedy droopy blooms by tossing a couple of pennies into the vase. The copper reacts to the plants, and just like that, the stems start to straighten out. I owe this bit of flower power to Lexi Foster of Leaf it to Lexi, who hosted a class on florals and building terrariums at my local West Elm just a couple of weeks after I had moved here. She was sweet, knowledgeable, and incredibly welcoming, which was very much needed for my new-to-San-Diego excitement/nerves.

Since then, I’ve followed her work from weddings—check out this sustainable kumquat tree centerpiece!—to magazine covers to features on sites like Style Me Pretty and 100 Layer Cake. She has a knack for color and incorporating non-flower elements, so it’s no wonder that pretty much every arrangement of hers is Pinterest-worthy.

And between daughters who surf and parents who make and sell their own jam—it’s clear that she surrounds herself with a lot inspiration. Today she talks about her favorite book, cooking ruts, and the bliss of laundry day.


a hillcrest nook




Near our apartment is a gorgeous canyon that leads to an even more gorgeous solitary street lined with lush greenery, charming Sapnish colonial architecture, and interesting details, like a mini library and some sort of Asian script etched on a huge stone. It’s one of my favorite places to walk in the evenings when the whole area is bathed in yellow light. Here are some snaps from yesterday’s stroll:


weekend recap: birthday edition




For most 20- and 30-somethings, having your birthday fall on a Saturday is the perfect opportunity for a crazy night out. For me it meant brunch, a picnic, Mexican food, and falling asleep before 11 p.m. It was my idea of perfect.

At the start of the weekend, I had given myself one goal: Do not think about work, errands, exercise, or fussing over the dog. Lately I’ve had more trouble focusing on enjoying the moment, and it often feels like I’m moving from one errand to the next, without absorbing a thing. My mission was to live in the present, forget about to-do’s, and remind myself that all those “pressing” things could wait.

But even on my own birthday I couldn’t relax! I woke up knowing the dog needed adequate exercise before being crated throughout the afternoon. And then, “I should really go to yoga tomorrow,” followed by “We should really finish that DIY project by Monday.” Ugh, I couldn’t even sit still on the day where I have full license to be a waste of space. Ay carumba. I struggle with this ADD and guilty feelings more and more lately, and I know it’s something I need to work on. Maybe I should start taking baths or meditating or something. Ideas are certainly welcome.

But I am happy to say that, whether I finally made good on my goal or the previous day’s calorie assault did me in, I was quite the couch potato on Sunday. I watched maybe five episodes of Locked Up Abroad and ate Tex-Mex leftovers for breakfast. Gross-sounding in retrospect but quite delicious on a lazy Sunday.

Here are some scenes from turning 29:


my rituals: food justice fellow and blogger anabelle harari




A San Diego newbie reached out to me recently after seeing my 22 San Diego Musts post. Being new to the area, she wanted to meet a fellow transplant and try one of the coffee spots on my list. (We actually ended up at my new favorite place, Young Hickory.) I thought I’d be imparting whatever lessons, tips, and tricks I’ve gathered from my 1+ year in this city, but as it turns out, I was way more excited to hear her story.

Her name is Anabelle Harari, a food justice fellow and world traveller. After graduating from college in 2011, Harari knew she wanted to travel. Backpacking in Europe? No. Trekking in South America? No. She instead volunteered in Nepal, working in a Kathmandu slum for four months, teaching about environmental issues at a local school, and launching a school gardening program. She also educated local women on health and basic nutrition. Harari then traveled all over India, worked on her blog, got to know farmers, villagers, and NGOs, and spent time in a Kerala ashram.

THEN, she spent a summer teaching gardening and social justice in Canada before moving to Jerusalem, where she worked at a Jewish-Arab school, running their community garden. This past September a fellowship opportunity brought her back to the States and into the beach community of Encinitas, just north of San Diego. There she lives on a 67.5-acre property, developing sustainable agriculture systems and working on state policies for the Hunger Advocacy Network.

OK, are you as impressed as I am? Read on to learn more about Harari and how this nomad is settling into a life of staying put (for now):


cafe 976 in pacific beach



Cafe 976, Pacific Beach // My SoCal'd Life

After basking in some morning sunshine in Pacific Beach this past weekend, starved and adequately toasty, we stumbled upon the charming Cafe 976, located a few blocks from the beach. Set in what used to be a 1920′s home then a school then an antique store (!), this restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, smoothies, coffee, and plentiful workspace. Seriously, nearly half the patrons were pounding away on their MacBooks.

This place is definitely a hidden gem, but I can’t decide what I love more: the rose-filled garden outdoor seating or the fact that their vegetarian sandwich actually contains so many veggies. Hey, other restaurants, lettuce and tomatoes does not a veg sandwich make.

Here are some snaps from Sunday lunch:


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