happy (early) thanksgiving!

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11.26.14

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My boyfriend and I start (or try to start) every day by telling each other three things we’re thankful for. It’s amazing how that kind of simple daily reminder can get me out of my head when I’m sweating the small stuff.

Expanding this to a whole week of giving thanks, and I’m reminded that I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Let me count the ways. After feeling like a wandering soul last year, I’ve figured out exactly what I want to do for a career—food and travel freelance writing with a side of blogging—and have gotten to work on some amazing assignments. I’ve solidified some fun and meaningful friendships here. I’ve finally adjusted to my San Diego life and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Overall I’m just a lot more confident and comfortable with who I am. (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!“)

There are the macro things I’m thankful for (my health, my supportive family, my boyfriend, my funny dog), but I like celebrating the little things, too. Things like finding a yoga studio I love and finally committing to it as a workout and practice, or enjoying a cup of Industrial Grind Coffee. Or living somewhere that’s going to be 80 degrees on Thanksgiving (I honestly don’t miss the cold at all).

We’ll be hosting a few friends at our place tomorrow night, potlucking most of the affair save for the prepared turkey we pre-ordered from Bristol Farms. No one wanted to deal with cooking that beast!

See you back here on Monday. Have a great holiday weekend!

Photo via

day trip to laguna and newport beach

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11.24.14

Laguna Beach, CA / My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

The road trip possibilities were one huge draw to moving to California. We’ve already (hastily) covered the PCH, drove to Julian for hiking and apple pie, done a handful of trips to L.A. and on Saturday finally made the short 1.5-hour drive up the coast to Laguna Beach.

We had visited the artist town on the beach back in 2010 as part of that fateful San Diego visit that encouraged us to move West, and it’s kind of insane that it took us this long to go back considering its proximity. Just 80ish miles up Highway 1, and you’ll find the glossy and well-manicured city of galleries, extensive hiking trails and our favorite Heisler Park that wraps around the coast. You may even come across Laguna Beach High School, like we did, and break into that Hillary Duff song. Yes, Laguna can feel touristy, but it’s just so darn pretty that I almost don’t care.

This time around, we also made pit-stops in Costa Mesa (for donuts) and Newport Beach (for the beach), and even though San Diego has a very similar landscape, this part of Orange County feels more like a vacation spot, and I was quite literally basking in the sunshine after feeling all cold and covered up in the East Coast the previous week.

Here are a few snaps from the day:

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7 questions with kim praocam of LoveBirdsLA

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11.21.14

LoveBirds LA founder Kim

Growing up with a mom who still has two closets full of colorful, textured, patterned saris, it’s no surprise that I look for those same qualities in my clothes and accessories. The more color, the better, I say. So when I spotted the rich hues and prints of the handmade accessories from Kim Praocam’s LoveBirdsLA, it was like meeting my kindred textile spirit. Most of her fabrics are sourced from abroad and take me back to our time backpacking in South America and Asia. In fact, one of her now-sold-out clutches is the exact print of pillowcases I bought at the Chiang Mai market in Thailand! Like I said, kindred textile spirits.

Today Praocam talks baby wipes and training to be a Pilates instructor…among other things.

Name: Kim Praocam
Age: 34
Neighborhood: Los Angeles
Job: Mom/owner of LoveBirdsLA

What did you eat for breakfast today?
Coffee and a banana—my usual go-to in the morning!

What’s the best thing about your job?
I love being a mom and I am completely grateful that I can stay at home with him and work on LoveBirdsLA at the same time. LoveBirdsLA allows me to have a creative outlet. I get to surround myself in color and prints all day (along with diapers and baby wipes).

The worst?
The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is that you are working/thinking about your business continuously. There’s not much downtime so work/life balance can be challenging.

How do you tackle a creative block?
I always try and revisit my library of fabrics to see if anything jumps out and grabs my attention, something always does.

What are you currently reading?
Do children’s books count?

What’s your favorite spot in L.A. and why?
The Pilates studio. I’m currently training to be a Pilates instructor, and this is the only time I can fully concentrate on myself.

What was the most awesome thing about today?
I decided to turn my phone off today for a couple hours, and it was THE BEST!

You can also find LoveBirdsLA on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

industrial grind coffee

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11.19.14

Industrial Grind coffee in Hillcrest, San Diego // My SoCal'd Life, a lifestyle blog

San Diego’s coffee game has stepped up big time recently, and though I moved here only two-ish years ago, friends who’ve lived in San Diego their whole lives have noticed a change, too. The major players include Coffee & Tea Collective, Cafe Moto and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, but there’s one hole-in-the-wall cafe worth adding to the list.

Meet Industrial Grind Coffee, a small-batch artisan roaster on Park Boulevard in Hillcrest. Owned by partners in work and life (and retired members of the Navy) Kathy and Barb, the cafe has an open-air layout with a front patio, cool back patio that’s designed with sauna-style wooden benches in stadium seating and fun details like benches decorated by each barista. Though that particular address on Park has operated as a coffee shop for about a decade, it wasn’t until four years ago when Kathy and Barb found it on Craigslist and—inspired by L.A.’s Intelligentsia—transformed it into its current form.

Since it’s just a 5-minute walk from my apartment, you’ll often find me there with Teddy (it’s a very dog-friendly cafe) and a cup of the Bettie blend, my favorite brew in the whole city. (I love that they offer an 8 oz. cup for just $1!) Customers also love their huge selection of gluten-free breads, but that’s not the only reason we all keep coming back. Industrial Grind feels like a home or someone’s backyard, and the staff is made up of some of the friendliest people in the city.

Take a look:

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6 recipes for cold weather

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11.17.14

Fall is upon us here in San Diego, and even though it hardly feels like it in the middle of the day when it’s 75 degrees (not that I’m complaining), the early mornings and nights are decidedly cooler. So between the temperature dipping and my recent trip to the East Coast, where it’s actually fall-transitioning-quickly-into-winter, cozy, comforting meals are top of mind. Here are a few I’ve been scheming to make:

Vegetarian pho // via My SoCal'd Life

A vegetarian pho that takes just 30 minutes to make (via Oh My Veggies)

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