The best things I ate, saw, and did in July:1. 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
1. The Everygirl. I wrote my first piece for the wonderful women’s lifestyle site The Everygirl, and it was all about my favorite things—the outdoors and food. If you’re visiting San Diego, these are 10 of my absolute favorite spots in the city. It’s a best of the best, in my humble opinion. read more
April was a blur in more ways than one. I went to Ojai, celebrated my nine-year dating anniversary, turned 30, visited Laguna Beach, and hosted one of my best friends in San Diego. It was also the two-year anniversary of bringing Teddy home. So many amazing things to celebrate, and I felt so lucky to have them all combined into one month. Those were all good.
But at the same time, I’ve also been working harder than ever before, filling in for an editor at San Diego Magazine on essentially a full-time basis by day and freelancing and blogging at night. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed or burned out with my routine totally thrown out of whack. But I’m finding solace in something my friend told me last year. She said some chapters of your life are dedicated to certain causes, whether they be a relationship, work, health, etc. For me, right now it’s about work, keeping my head down, and chugging along. So here I go!
Like I said, there was plenty to smile about in April. Here are 5 moments that stuck out:
The 5 best things I saw, ate, and did last month…
1. A trip to San Felipe, Mexico: These two days in Baja were much needed. Even though I was there on work terms, scoping out the tourist scene, the trip was pretty laid-back, thanks in large part to the chill seaside town. We ate fish tacos, gazed at the Sea of Cortez, and saw the most amazing 2,000-year-old cacti.
2. Dinner at Venga Venta Cantina & Tequila Bar: For a taste of Mexico closer to home, Venga Venga in Chula Vista is my new favorite spot. Tucked in the Otay Ranch Town Center mall, this lounge-like restaurant has energy, great decor, a charming patio, and tasty, thoughtful menu. I was invited to try the Guadalajara-inspired menu, a part of the restaurant’s new Destination menu series, and I was blown away. Authentic flautas, infused tequilas, a Mexican take on caprese salad—the chef clearly had fun making the menu, and I’m happy to eat the fruits of his labor. FYI, the Guadalajara menu runs through September 30 before switching to a new region of Mexico.
3. My SoCal’d Life makeover: The logo! The template! The colors! I feel so much more re-energized to blog now that it has a new look.
4. Nomad Donuts: The artisanal donuterie (my word) has really found its footing since it opened a few months ago. Wacky flavors are the m.o, and I loved the lavender sugar donut holes (not pictured) most of all. One of my closest girlfriends from college came to visit that weekend, and it was the perfect way to introduce her to San Diego’s sweet side.
5. Days like these: I’m so thankful to live in a beautiful place like San Diego and for beautiful photo opps like a colorful umbrella positioned perfectly at the Coronado dog beach.
The five best things I saw, did, and ate in February…
1. Teddy turned 2. In my more than 20 years of wishing for a golden retriever, Teddy is everything I could’ve hoped for and then some. Anyone who’s met this spunky guy can attest to his vibrant personality, playfulness, affectionate nature, unwavering love for both human and animals, and his never-ending desire for belly rubs. I’m pretty maternal by nature, so it gives me a lot of joy to take care of him, but considering the stresses that Eaman and I face as business owners who both work from home, he takes care of us a whole lot, too. He makes us laugh, gets us exercising, and is generally just a really funny dog. I’ll be the first to admit that he was a bit of a nightmare during his puppy and teenage months, but now at age 2, he’s all love—and licks.
January was a really off month for me. I had a lot of anxiety about work, my finances, and life. Oh, and I also scratched our car, thanks in part to Mercury Freaking Retrograde. Though you might not have been able to tell via this blog or Instagram, the struggle was real. I may or may not have have ordered Domino’s Pizza and nearly cried to my girlfriends about it. But that’s why this blog is so therapeutic for me; it reminds me to focus on all the things I have to be thankful for.
Here are the five best things I saw, ate, and did last month…
1. Being featured on Apartment Therapy. I’ll be honest, I’ve always, always, always wanted to be featured on this shelter site. Just as cool was seeing how excited my friends were for me. I felt so loved!
Better late than never—here are 5 great things I ate, saw and did last month:
2. Friendsgiving as our Thanksgiving.
3. Moderating Creative Connection’s women entrepreneurs panel. I was honored to be asked to host a panel for Creative Connection, a San Diego women’s networking group, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. The event brought together Bridget of Badunkachunk, graphic designer/blogger Mrs. Lilien and designer/event planner Melissa of Pow Wow Design Studio to speak about their experiences as business owners to an audience of eager, inquisitive professionals. The three women spoke so candidly and openly with all of us that—I have to admit—I almost got a little choked up. Part of that was because I connected so much to what they were talking about and the other part was that I was giddy moderating my first panel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so thanks to Creative Connection for making that happen. We all left that event feeling a little extra inspired.
4. Wow Wow Waffle—ooh, I’m still thinking about how much I love this hidden North Park waffle shop.
5. Going back East for a week. Being at home with my family and seeing friends in New York and Boston during a random, non-holiday week in November was one of the most relaxing times I’ve had in a while. (It helped that I didn’t have much work.) I didn’t blog or Instagram about my trip all that much, but maybe that’s why it was so relaxing. I truly love documenting my adventures and sharing recommendations, but it was so nice to go out to eat or meet a friend and not take a photo of a pretty sign or adorable dessert. OK, I did take that above picture of Central Park, but wouldn’t you want to savor those fall colors, too?
Five wonderful things I saw and did last month…
1. See that? You’re looking at the San Diego Humane Society‘s newest Canine Ambassador! Teddy and I began volunteering with the non-profit a few weeks ago, and the title is pretty spectacular, no? Think of the position like a notch below a certified therapy dog. Unlike the latter, a canine ambassador doesn’t go through a Canine Good Citizen exam but does have a brief test during which the coordinators make sure he/she sits, comes when called, doesn’t freak out if I leave, is OK with being hugged and is generally loving. Anyone who has met my dog knows that he’s pretty much the most ideal candidate for this position. And it’s good prep for the CGC test because I do want him to be certified to cheer people up in hospitals and nursing homes in a few years when he’s less spazzy.
The opportunities range from weekly Fur Fix events, when locals can stop by the Humane Society’s campus to pet dogs and kittens, to visiting classrooms to teach kids about loyalty, learning and how to meet a dog. So far we’ve done a few Fur Fixes, and let me just say, animals are powerful creatures. Sure, some kids pet the animals and run off, but it’s the adults, particularly the older set, who reap so much joy from their brief interactions with Teddy. Last week I met an old man who has been wanting another golden retriever for quite some time and was nearly in tears when he saw Teddy. That expression of sheer happiness on his face when Teddy sidled up to him is more than enough to keep me going back every week. I almost feel a little silly calling it volunteering since it’s fun for Teddy and me, but I guess that’s how I know I’ve picked a way to give back that’s right for me. The only problem is everyone asks about adopting him. Sorry, folks, he’s mine, but I’m happy to lend him out for this.