We round up the best beach accessories and beach gear from tote bags to games to make a day on the sand easier and much more fun.
We bought our house in La Jolla while we were expats living in Hong Kong (FYI — I don’t recommend buying a house and remodeling it while living overseas). That was nearly 20 years ago. We’ve raised two dogs and one teenager in it.
It’s chaotic, and I don’t intend to pretend otherwise! So, you won’t find anything too Martha Stewart or Marie Kondo, but rather it’s stuff we like, from beach gear to outdoor games. This is also where some holiday content lives, as do the articles I’ve written about our goofy rescued pitbulls that have helped tens of thousands of people over the years (really).
It’s Real Life Here
I run a business and have a kid in elite sports so it’s busy in our house.
The stories and pet tips featured here are thanks to our two rescue dogs. Our first, a pit bull named Scooby, was beloved by brands (and people on my Instagram feed) for the needy look he always had on his oversized face. He tested Barkboxes, San Diego restaurant patios, and more.
Sadly, he also went through TPLO surgery and hemangiosarcoma. I wouldn’t wish either on anyone, but I chronicled what recovery (or lack thereof for the latter) was because I was personally searching for these details. Turns out, I’m not alone. After a few months of severe grief, along came Ruby, another big, goofy, white rescued pit bull. She’s less needy but hilarious in her own way.
We do love holidays in our house, from Chinese New Year to Christmas to Halloween. Many of the CNY posts were written when it was difficult to find Mandarin trees for your decor and crafts, at least where we live, but it’s easier now.
Advice for Making San Diego Your Home
Many people have been asking lately about the pros and cons of calling San Diego home. We love it, of course, which is why we’re here but there’s plenty to know.
Let’s start with the biggest issue. Housing, especially in coastal San Diego, is more expensive than in most parts of the country. What you pay for what is considered a modest home in La Jolla and other neighborhoods would buy you a mansion elsewhere. This is a real tradeoff that people need to be comfortable with. Plus, California income taxes, property taxes (they just go up every year), and the cost of living are all higher than other parts of the nation — significantly higher in some cases. The Sunshine Tax is real and a reason why people leave California.
That being said, if all of the above is okay with you, San Diego is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. Between the culinary scene, beaches, outdoor activities, sunshine, and laid-back vibe, we love it. The only thing to complain about is the cost (a good Malaysian restaurant would be nice, too) and lack of public transportation though improvements have been made over the last few decades in this department.
You do need a car. And, if you’re a two-person driving household, you probably can’t survive with just one. The exception is for college students, but as a UC San Diego graduate, I can tell you that most students in my day had one, and that’s still the case.
If you have kids or will have kids, I recommend choosing your neighborhood based on the school you’d like your kids to attend. We have a lot of fantastic public schools, but you also may want to be closer to your chosen private school. Traffic in San Diego is real (but avoidable), and you can’t always choice in to a public school outside of the district you live in.
Aesthetically, you’ll find that landscapes are more water-wise than grass-heavy. Our neighborhood has Spanish-style, Mid-century modern, California craftsman, contemporary, and some homes that have been the same on the inside and out for 50 years. The cost and location will drive the style of home you purchase, but one thing is for sure… expect to be living outdoors a lot.
And I want you to know what happened because hemangiosarcoma, a dog cancer, is very common and often shows no symptoms until it’s too late.
A list of common indoor house plants that can take full or partial shade including ferns, orchids, palm trees, ivy and more.
Lean the significance of red envelopes is during Chinese New Year and other special occasions.
Three ways to use natural Christmas decorations and why a real Christmas Tree is best, written with tips from The Nature Conservancy.
It’s thought they guide spirits of the dead back to altars created by the living.
Find out which best outdoor games to buy for the most fun backyard ever that will delight kids and be the envy of your neighbors.
After the wedding, plant the succulents from the bouquet for a memento that can potentially last a lifetime.
Try these toddler Halloween games and activities at your next play date or party. Each one is inexpensive and simple for kids to create.
If your dog destroys toys, he or she needs a BarkBox membership stat.
Learn how to keep your iPhone safe from sand, water and sunlight at the beach, written in partnership with Tech21.
A recap of my dog’s TPLO surgery day and the following eight weeks of rehabilitation including changes we made after that.