San Diego

Best Italian Restaurants in San Diego

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You can’t go to Cucina Urbana without ordering the squash blossoms

I’ve been lucky enough to have eaten and drank my way through Italy a couple of times, and when I’m looking for a taste of Italy here in San Diego, these are my fav Italian restos in town (no passport necessary):

  1. Bice:  If you’re looking for a more upscale Italian dining experience, this is the spot for you. Must eat: a sample from their killer cheese and salami bar
  2. Cucina Urbana:  Italian food with a fresh, California twist is what sets this apart from the rest.  Must eat: stuffed fried squash blossoms
  3. Buona Forcetta:  With a pizza oven imported straight from Italy and a staff consisting of mostly Italians, this is as close to the real Italian experience as you’re going to get in San Diego.  Must eat: any of their pizzas

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    Pizza heaven at Buona Forchetta

  4. Alexander’s:  I’m a sucker for all-white candlelit restaurants, and if you couple that with some amazing Italian food, you’ve got a winning combo in my book.  Must have: baked vodka bolognese
  5. Davanti Enoteca:  Rustic comfort food at it’s finest.  Must eat:  ragu of the day

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    Polenta so good you’ll want to lick the board it’s served on

  6. Bottega Americano:  Although it’s the newest Italian restaurant to pop up in San Diego, chances are it’s probably going to be your favorite.  Must eat:  lamb osso bucco

Boy’s Baby Shower in San Diego

With my baby boy due next month, I was lucky enough to be showered with so much love at my baby shower last week!!  Surrounded by family and friends, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day and felt so blessed to have the love and support of so many people that are close to me, and I can’t wait for Enzo to arrive next month to meet them all!!

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I didn’t want a “theme” for my shower per se, so everything was kept really simple and elegant, with little touches of blue everywhere!

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The table decorations were simple and elegant and all the guest got to take home these cute mugs filled with chocolates and a blue Christmas ornament!

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Guests were able to choose between a soup and a salad to start with, followed by a variety of entree options which ranged from different pastas, chicken, fish and more, but we all started out with margherita pizzas…my fav!

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Why have just one cake when you can have two??  The cake above is the black and white cake from Michele Coulon is a rich and indulgent combo of vanilla and chocolate, while the cake below is the Passion Fruit Ricotta cake from Extraordinary Desserts which is an amazing light option for fruit lovers.

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So thankful for my besties for planning such a beautiful shower for me!

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With a view like this as a backdrop, it really doesn’t get much better than this!

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Me and my baby daddy!

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Location:  Il Fornaio, Del Mar 

Cakes:  Michelle Coulon Dessertier and Extraordinary Desserts

Dress:  Halston Heritage (on sale now!!)

Hair: Drybar

American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life

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I’m so honored to be be featured in my local magazine for my volunteer work with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event!  I’ve been involved in the downtown San Diego Relay for Life since it’s inception in some way or another, and I’ve seen it grow from an event that had around 100 participants and $8,000.00 raised in that first year, to the largest Relay in all of San Diego county, and one of the top 20 Relays in the entire state of California, with thousands of participants that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, and through the Relay for Life we can join together to celebrate those who have won their battle, remember those who have not, and fight back against this terrible disease. This really is a life-changing event and there are Relays going on year-round all around the country and the world!! Check out www.relayforlife.org for more information about this amazing event and how you can get involved.

Top 5 Hiking Trails in San Diego

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It’s views like this that put Torrey Pines at the top of my list

As a San Diego native, I can go on and on about how amazing SD is and all that it has to offer, but I’ll save all of that for another time and just focus on one thing today:  hiking trails.

I mean, they don’t call it America’s Finest City for nothing, and one of the finest things about this city is the fact that we have nearly perfect year-round weather and countless ways to get out and enjoy it.  One of the best ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors, get some fresh air and workup a good sweat is through a hike.  Solo or with friends, it’s def one of my fav workouts and I try to get a good hike in at least a couple times a month.

There are a ton of trails all around SD, but these are my top 5:

  1. Torrey Pines Um, just  look at the photo above as to why Torrey Pines is at the top of my list.  With plenty of trails to choose from and stunning ocean views, this is simply the best that SD hiking has to offer.
  2. Cowles Mountain  This is definitely one of, if not the most popular trails in the county.  With a challenging climb and panoramic views, it’s no wonder why.
  3. Iron Mountain  Located in Poway, this is a great North County option that offers a moderately challenging climb, with great views, all under 6 miles.
  4. Balboa Park I’m sure you’re pretty shocked this made my list because it’s far from your traditional hiking trails, but it’s still awesome. With over 65 miles of trails located smack dab in the middle of the city, you can still find some remote paths while still getting an amazing tour and views of the museums, city and Balboa Park itself.
  5. Three Sisters Not only is it challenging to get there, but the trail itself is definitely one of the most challenging in San Diego and you need to be prepared to not just walk but drop, climb, crawl, and slide along the way.  However, once you make it to the waterfalls, it’ll definitely make all the blood, sweat and tears it took you to get there worth it.

Benefits of Pilates

“In 10 sessions you will fee the difference;
in 20 sessions you will see the difference,
and in 30 sessions you will have a new body”

– Joseph Pilates

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I tried my first Pilates reformer class about 7 years ago, and have been hooked ever since.  I didn’t play sports growing up, don’t have the best coordination, nor am I a gym rat, so finding a form of exercise that I really enjoy, challenges me, and has me seeing results can been difficult to find. And since I’m kind of a short fry I tend to bulk up easily with certain workouts, but Pilates helped to get my body really lean, and elongated my muscles in a way I never thought possible.

There are a lot of benefits to practicing Pilates. Not only does it help raise your own body awareness, it helps to lengthen and strengthen your muscles without adding any bulk, creates a strong core (abs and back), helps improve posture, aids in weight loss, increases flexibility, decreases neck and back pain, and basically it just makes your body look amazing!  I’ve even been taking classes about twice a week during my pregnancy (with modifications) and it’s seriously kept me super lean and toned throughout my whole body.

Honestly, I’ve found that Pilates matt classes at gyms and at-home videos are super boring, not that challenging for me, and I never really saw the same results that I did as reformer classes so I def reccomend classes over anything else if you can.  I’ve been to over a dozen different Pilates studios in San Diego, and these are my top three:

Club Pilates: This is definitely my favorite studio in San Diego. There are locations all around the county (and even popping up around the country!!), the classes are really affordable (and they always have amazing specials through Groupon, Living Social and their website), and they offer a ton of variety because they use the reformer, spring board, ballet bar, EXO chair and more in the classes. http://clubpilatesstudio.com

The Pilates Room: This is where I first tried and fell in love with pilates. They have a variety of great non-traditional classes like power classes, abs/buns or arms/abs classes and much more, and have locations popping up all around. http://thepilatesroomonline.com

Core 40: Not your traditional pilates class, this is a 40 minute faster, higher intensity routine that’s also great for men looking for an added challenge. http://www.core40.com

If you don’t live in San Diego, ask around to see what studios people you know are going to, or what I like to do is go to one of the deal websites like Groupon or Living Social to see what Pilates studios are offering good packages and then see what their ratings are on yelp or other websites and check out their feedback.  I love trying out new studios or workouts through these sites because not only are you getting a huge discount, but if you don’t like it then you don’t feel as bad as you would if you were paying full price.