around san diego

The Top Dog-Friendly Spots in San Diego

August 27, 2015

Top Dog-Friendly Spots in San Diego // My SoCal'd Life

I wanted a dog for 20+ years. I dreamed about having a dog, cried about not having one, studied dog encyclopedias, read training manuals. In short, I was obsessed. But I also knew to wait until the right time and right city before making that dream happen. More power to the people who can manage big dogs in New York City, but it didn’t seem feasible to me. Then when we landed in San Diego, I didn’t waste any time. Three months after pulling up to our new home, we went to look at litters and found our sweet Teddy boy.

Though initially we were exhausted puppy parents who failed at bringing him out with us—do it; it’s amazing socialization for them—we now take him almost everywhere. And lucky for him, San Diego is a doggy wonderland. There are tons of dogs parks, three dog beaches within a 20-minute drive, cafes that welcome pooches, ice cream specifically prepared for them, shop owners who keep treats on hand for four-legged visitors, and more. Teddy is one spoiled pooch.

So in celebration of yesterday’s National Dog Day, here’s a round-up of our favorite dog-friendly spots in the city: read more


life at the moment

August 25, 2015

Imperial Beach, San Diego // My SoCal'd Life

A little peek at life in real time:

Currently I’m…

Reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s amazing. AMAZING! Adichie is such a skilled writer who can balance pain, laughs, insight, and quick wit. (No wonder Beyonce sampled her TEDx Talk in “Flawless.”) Given how much people have hyped this book, my expectations were high, but all the praise is warranted. My copy is due back to the library this weekend, so now it’s a race to the finish the last 100 or so pages. Pretty sure I’ll be sad to be done with this one.

Traveling to: L.A. this weekend for work/play, New Orleans next week for a blog trip (!), Malibu at the end of September for a wedding, and likely Catalina in early October. After a relatively quiet August, the travel ramps up yet again. Woot!

Eating: At home more. I went through a few weeks of constantly eating out, partly because I was too tired to cook and partly because I was wholly uninspired. This Martha Stewart blistered eggplant dish was a particularly memorable meal and perfect for summer.

Watching: The Wire. One episode in, I’m not totally won over yet but am curious to see why people call it the best show in the history of television. I’m also watching my Real Housewives (of Orange County and New York) because there’s no better mindless entertainment after a long, hard day.

Exercising: Differently. As much as I loved going to a yoga studio, with the amount I eat out for work-related events and meetings, I wasn’t getting the burn I needed to balance out all the calories. It wasn’t about weight; I simply felt unhealthy and sluggish. So I joined Fit, an admittedly fancy gym that offers spinning, weight classes, yoga, barre classes, and more (I get a discount rate through work). I swore off gyms after OD-ing in New York City and also because San Diego is such an outdoor activity kind of town, but I needed efficient workouts. I like doing my weekday morning classes and then adding in long walks and hikes with Teddy on weekday evenings and weekends. #balance

Working on: Purging. It’s funny that for two years of working from home, our one-bedroom apartment (which is a decent 600 square feet) seemed like the right amount of space for me, Eaman, and Teddy. Now being home only on weekday evenings and weekends thanks to a full-time office job, I find the space totally claustrophobic. Maybe it’s because the novelty has worn off. Maybe it’s because I can finally separate work from home, and really need home to be an uncluttered sanctuary. Either way, I’m getting a lot of satisfaction out of walking around the apartment and tossing (into a bag for Goodwill) items we don’t need or hardly ever use. Decluttering my space has done wonders for decluttering my mind. I also plan to check out Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Have you heard of it? It seems like a bible for minimalists and manual for hoarders.

around san diego

Best of San Diego by 5 Neighborhoods

August 20, 2015

La Jolla, San Diego // photo via San Diego Magazine

For this month’s issue of San Diego Magazine, the annual Best of San Diego package, which highlights the best of the city’s food, drink, shopping, and more, I rounded up five of my favorite neighborhoods and the top restaurant, bar, and classic fave in each. There’s the Italian eatery Catania in La Jolla, a cool brewery in Barrio Logan, my favorite home boutique Pigment in North Park, and other goodies. You can read the full story here.

And tomorrow the magazine will be throwing its annual Best of San Diego party at Liberty Station’s NTC Promenade. I was on the news yesterday to talk about a few of the vendors that’ll be there—you can watch the clip here—and I must’ve done a pretty bang-up job because tickets are now sold out. (I kid.) If you’re local, I hope you got your tickets—see you Friday!

Photo via 

around san diego - Food

How to Pack the Perfect Picnic

August 18, 2015

How to pack the perfect picnic // My SoCal'd Life

We’re spoiled in Southern California with al fresco weather nearly year-round, but that distinct summer vibe—think flip-flops, beach towels, late sunsets, and barbecues—is hard to replicate in the others seasons. That’s why I’ve been fighting my laziness and making sure I tick off all the summer goals I made mental note of in June. Things like heading to Sunset Cliffs to watch golden hour on a weeknight or hanging out in Imperial Beach on a Friday evening when the farmers market turns the pier area into one big block party. And also picnics, tons and tons of picnics.

There’s no shortage of good picnic spots in San Diego, from Balboa Park and Mission Hills’ Pioneer Park to Windansea Beach and even the area outside our baseball stadium, Petco Park, but my favorite is Kate Sessions Memorial Park in Pacific Beach. The wide, grassy space (on a sloping hill) has trees, ocean vistas, skyline views, and a very lax policy on keeping dogs leashed (you didn’t hear it from me). It’s also where I chose to ring in the big 3-0. It’s a really special, really beautiful spot.Kate Sessions Park, San Diego via My SoCal'd LifeSo with the spirit of summer in mind, here are six steps to to plan your next picnic party: read more

around san diego - Food

brunch at the new breakfast republic

August 13, 2015

Breakfast Republic in North Park // My SoCal'd LifeA place for a quiet cup of tea and petit, crustless sandwiches this is not. Breakfast Republic, the new North Park eatery dedicated to morning fuel, is bold, brazen, and a little in-your-face. The front patio is a mix of wood, steel, brick, and chalk. The interior palette consists of red, greens, and yellows. And the rooster motif? Let’s just say they weren’t afraid to play up the “cock” pun. In sum, it’s barnyard chic-meets-North Park hipster.

And Breakfast Republic’s menu is equally flamboyant, with pancakes in flavors like Oreo, churro, and mint chocolate chip (choose three different varieties to make the very awesome pancake flight), veggie tostadas, jambalaya, S’mores French toast, and a beer and sausage sampler amongst other items. There’s also Cafe Moto coffee and 20 beers on tap, along with a chance to buy some Breakfast paraphernalia, like tees and their very cute coffee mugs.

Take a look: read more


weekend recap

August 11, 2015

A glimpse at the weekend that was…Verve Coffee, L.A. Verve Coffee, L.A.I headed up to L.A. with some friends for Unique LA, a pop-up market hosted by Unique USA, an organization that brings locally designed and crafted goods to various cities in the form of tradeshow-style shopping events.

But first…coffee! Though my caffeine headache was looming throughout our morning drive, I held out for quality coffee that I knew I could find in the newly happening downtown LA area, where Unique LA took place. Enter: Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters. This location was elegantly minimalist, save for the lush plant walls by the patio, and shared a space with Juice Served Here. I’m so glad I waited; the latte and croissant were certainly worth the caffeine withdrawal. read more

around san diego

A Hipster’s Guide to 24 Hours in San Diego

August 6, 2015

A Hipster's Guide to San Diego // My SoCal'd LifeToday marks the end of what’s been a really fun exercise in creating diverse and entertaining day-long itineraries for you. I spotlighted the design lover, the urbanite, the Zen seeker, the off-the-beaten-path foodie, and today I’m focusing on the hipster, that single origin coffee-drinking, suspender-sporting, vintage glasses-wearing, underground party-hopping millenial who loves to stay on top of his/her new fiction reading but also spends an obscene amount of time perfecting an Instagram shot.

And lest you think I’m turning my nose up at hipsters, it’s actually quite the opposite. Hipsters favor all things cool and trendy with a flair for the non-mainstream. And let’s be clear: I’m a hipster. And here are all my favorite hipster spots. Go on and enjoy the anti-establishmentarianism:
read more

around san diego - monthly favorites

5 July favorites

August 4, 2015

The best things I ate, saw, and did in July:san-diego-magazine-archana1. Started a full-time job. After 2.5 years of freelancing, I’ve re-joined the 9-5 crew with a job as a staff writer at San Diego Magazine. I’ve been working very closely with the magazine since moving to San Diego in 2013, from freelancing to filling in for editors on maternity leave, so the transition has been pretty seamless. (I even have my very own office!) I’m excited to be working alongside people who geek out over magazines as much as I do and writing about my city. I said for a long time that my ideal job would be working for a city magazine because of the variety it lends, so I’m thankful to have the right position pop up at the right time. But just so you know, I’ll still be blogging and freelancing. The balance has been tough, but discipline, such as making Sundays a work day, is key. Each of these jobs is important to me, and I don’t want to let any of them go. read more