Embrace, Enhance, Explore
Posted on January 1, 2019
Now is the time to seize the opportunity for a fresh start that comes with the beginning of a new year. We’re looking head-on into the biggest trends, tips, and to-do items to help you live your best life in 2019.
Our experts offer insight that will help you tackle the tough projects that have been weighing on you, as well as those resolutions that somehow don’t seem to survive past January 31. Building on a solid foundation and making positive changes is the key to enhancing — and enjoying — every day.
Of course, it’s not all work and no play! With advice on how to explore and enjoy everything from indulgent spa getaways to international travel, this handy guide will keep you on track in almost every facet of your life.
By Deanna Murphy, Andrea Naversen & Mia S. Park
Kick It Off Fit
Year after year, health and fitness goals top the list of most popular New Year’s resolutions. You’ve probably heard it before but it’s true: it’s far easier to stick to your personal fitness goal when you choose something you enjoy doing to help you get there. Fortunately, with so many different types of workouts, classes, and facilities available locally, there’s something for just about everyone.
Fitness expert Kim Kelly has recently opened Kim Kelly Fit in Del Mar Plaza, offering a range of classes that include vinyasa flow yoga for early birds and her signature Fit Factor class which works everything, along with Beach Bar, Booty Burn, and Drop & Give Me 50 (a 50-minute class during lunch hour). Also popular is the HIT Happy Hour, a circuit training and interval class to get you ready for the evening as well as Tighten, Tone & Toast on Friday evening before you link up with friends, and monthly wellness workshops. Prices range from single sessions for $30, ten-packs for $250, and an annual pass for $1,320. Through January 31, take advantage of unlimited monthly classes for a special rate of $99.
Yoga teacher and founder of Yoganamastacy.com Stacy McCarthy presents her seasonal “Day of Namaste” retreat on January 19 from 9am to 5pm at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, an opportunity to take control of our bodies, minds, and overall health after the demands of the holidays. The day includes yoga, a Superfood Cleanse from Beaming, and a talk by Dr. Kate Dow, a self-mastery business coach who combines her mind-body psychology background, spiritual wellness, and embodiment teachings. Dow will share her wisdom on managing anxiety and her new book Fear-Less: The Art of Using Your Anxiety to Your Advantage.
An Epicurean Edit
You aren’t the only one with a greater health focus in 2019. Everything from what’s on your plate to what’s in your glass is making a change for the better (and better for you). According to Matt Gordon, chef/owner of Urban Solace Restaurant Group, an ongoing trend is a deeper exploration into the world of ancient grains. “There’s a variety of grains out there that people aren’t accustomed to seeing, and they all fall into that ‘superfood’ category,” says Gordon. While some, like quinoa, have gained popularity and familiarity, other lesser-knowns like Job’s tears, freekeh, and amaranth will soon see their day. These unhybridized ancient grains “feature a purer form of amino acids and other vitamins that have been bred out of modern, commercially-produced wheat and other grains,” Gordon explains. He features freekeh at his Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, where it’s prepared like a risotto and accompanies his locally famous Crispy Duck Confit.
Gordon also says that while French methods remain a pervasive influence in the culinary world, prepare to see chefs replacing butter with healthier fats like avocado and other oils more frequently, and using vinegar and lemon juice to brighten flavors — an easy update to also try at home.
It doesn’t stop at your fork. Even your adult beverages are getting makeovers. Low-ABV cocktails are enjoying growing popularity, while the beer scene is wild for brut IPAs, which, thanks to a specific enzyme, have little to no residual sugar, making for a drier beer. To sample a local version, Ranch & Coast dining contributor and beer expert Brandon Hernández recommends Resident Brewing Co.’s Low Life Brut IPA.
Cultivate Love & Purpose
There’s no time like the present to reflect on our personal relationships with family and friends, as well as our role in the world around us. By evaluating how we can best be present in our daily lives, we’re able to give ourselves to both our loved ones and the causes we hold dear.
“When we feel good about ourselves, we are better able to show up in our relationships as a spouse, parent, friend, and so forth, and share the best of ourselves,” says Susan Kim, LJFT, of Kim Marriage and Family Therapy in Carmel Valley. “When we feel depleted, this is difficult to do. This is the reason that self-care is vital to our relational health.” Taking time to slow down and reaffirm or place value on what’s truly important in our lives will pave the way for a successful year ahead.
As for how to get there, Kim suggests, “The New Year can feel like a good time to start fresh with endeavors such as shedding a habit that no longer satisfies you. Remember that habits often have served a purpose; perhaps they were ways to manage stress or cope with anxiety.” But don’t go cold turkey. “Replacing, rather than solely eliminating, these behaviors with other more fitting ones,” she says, “can reduce the likelihood of us reaching back to those original habits in times of stress or anxiety, and help us to shed more successfully.”
When it comes to plugging ourselves into our community, it is often said that “to give is to receive,” as generosity, volunteerism, and philanthropy can lead to physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Helping those in need rewards the giver with a sense of purpose while lifting up and empowering those less fortunate, ultimately leading to a safer, stronger, and more vibrant community.
With an abundance of worthy causes and nonprofits in San Diego spanning everything from at-risk children, animals, and those with special needs to education, our military, the elderly, and those facing hunger and/or homelessness, there are myriad ways to get involved. Those passionate about supporting arts and education programming should save the dates of April 5-7, when La Jolla Music Society presents a three-night gala to celebrate the highly-anticipated grand opening weekend of The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center. Featuring inaugural performances in The Conrad’s Baker-Baum Concert Hall and The JAI, the community is invited to support Opening Weekend chairs Peggy Preuss and Sue Wagener; Jubilee chairs Susan Hoehn, Sheryl Scarano, and Debbie Turner; and honorary chairs Brenda Baker and Steve Baum, and Joan and Irwin Jacobs for a music-filled extravaganza that will support LJMS’s mission “to enhance the vitality and deepen the cultural life of San Diego by presenting and producing a dynamic range of performing arts for our increasingly diverse community.”
Your Financial House, and Your Actual House
The New Year gives us an opportunity to dedicate time for self-reflection, and when it comes to our financial life this makes even more sense. According to Elaine Becerra, Wealth Director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management in Carmel Valley, there are three steps to taking stock of your financial health, whether you’re fresh out of college, post-retirement, or somewhere in-between.
First, it’s a great idea to review your personal income and expenses. “Looking at actual numbers is the best way to truly assess your financial situation and understand where you are,” says Becerra. Look at your bank statements and your credit card’s year-end summaries to help you get a better idea of where you are spending most of your money. Create a list of your assets and liabilities. Are you accumulating more wealth or more debt? How does it compare to the prior year?
Then, create and update your plan. Does your current financial situation align with your one-, five-, and ten-year goals? Do those goals still make sense given your situation or should they be updated? Use your personal financial information to create or update your financial objectives.
Finally, take action. “If your plan isn’t executed, it won’t help you get anywhere,” emphasizes Becerra. “There are many resources available to help you build and implement a plan. Just make sure you surround yourself with high-quality professionals who can help you get there faster!”
Despite mixed opinions about financial markets following a bit of a bumpy 2018, all signs indicate that 2019 will continue to be a strong year for luxury real estate sales. “If you are planning on listing your home for sale in 2019, I would suggest you contact a real estate professional early on so you can work with them to get your property ‘show ready,’” says Linda Sansone of Linda Sansone & Associates, Willis Allen Real Estate. “I always remind my clients that you only have one chance to present your property to the market and you want that presentation to be the best it can be. This upfront effort will result in ultimately a stronger sales price and a shorter market time.” Sansone advises sellers to embrace the concept of “less is more.” “Buyers today are looking for a cleaner, fresher look with a more neutral color palette,” she says. “Depersonalizing your home, while difficult to do, is also important as you want to give a new homebuyer the chance to visualize living in your surroundings. Most real estate professionals today are working with home stagers and designers to work hand-in-hand in this initial prep process. This may cost a little up front, but it will pay off in the long run.”
Re-evaluate, Recycle, Replenish
No doubt many of us will be taking advantage of after-Christmas sales. But how about taking stock of already over-stuffed closets and cluttered spaces? Consider enlisting the aid of a pro to help weed out the old and make way for the new. A consultant can edit clothing and help decide what should be repaired or tailored, donated, or consigned. When it comes to “stuff,” Tracy Paye, professional organizer and owner of Miss Organized, says, “The main reason why most people call me for help is because they’re overwhelmed. Unanswered questions like ‘should I keep it or let it go?’ will overwhelm the brain and can lead to clutter. It’s a vicious cycle. Most questions about stuff have to deal with people, money, or time. Get clear with the questions you have about your stuff and your decision-making will become easier and your clutter and disorganization woes will begin to disappear.”
Consignment is a great way to put a little back in your pocket before making updates. Parting with no-longer-needed furniture is a little sweeter at shops like Ark Antiques and The Country Friends Consignment Shop, where sales at both support charitable efforts. My Sister’s Attic in Encinitas is an exciting new branch of the already popular clothing consignment spot, My Sister’s Closet. Additional resources for consigning gently-worn designer pieces abound. At Edit in the Del Rayo Village Shopping Center, owner Angel O’Brien takes in premium labels from Chanel to Tory Burch. Melanie Giokaris recently opened MeLD consignment boutique in the Cedros Design District, where you’ll find resale pieces as well as designs by local artisans. When it comes to designer handbags, you can buy, sell, or consign coveted carryalls through Carlsbad-based Fashionphile.com.
After the closet pare-down comes the fun part. Shopping centers can connect you with stylists, and major department stores have personal shoppers to help. For example, South Coast Plaza’s Stylist Program aims to provide the “best fit” for its customers with a vetted team of wardrobe and lifestyle experts. The center pairs clients with fashion professionals based on style needs, budget, and other factors. Fashion Valley also now offers a dream team of personal shoppers including personal stylist and image consultant Mahjuba Levine, certified stylist Jennifer Rosson of the popular Style Your Life blog, and Sandra Veum of Mariposa Style, a personal wardrobe styling service and style blog — each with more than 20 years of industry experience. Through a comprehensive assessment and with budget parameters, the customer will be paired with Levine, Rosson, or Veum, who will tailor the perfect style recommendations to each shopper’s needs. Their services are available year-round, and the first two hours are complimentary.
“It’s all about what the client is comfortable in, and what looks amazing on them,” says Rosson. “Most people are surprised by how easy the process is, and think ‘why didn’t I do this before?’” To book, text ADVICE49 to 74666 or email Arianne Cousin, Fashion Valley’s marketing director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relax & Unwind
We love the holidays as much as everyone, but admittedly, the season comes with its share of stress. A commitment to taking better care of yourself includes de-stressing from time to time. For that task, what better place than the newly-minted Forbes Five Star Spa at Rancho Valencia? Packages include “You Had Me at Spa Day,” a great way for a group of friends (four-person minimum) to relax and recharge with a 60-minute massage, 30-minute bath soak, lunch at The Spa, and a glass of Cava. Booking a treatment also includes access to the resort’s fitness classes and Yoga Pavilion where a new class is “gentle yoga with sound healing.”
For another luxuriously rejuvenating experience, The Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s Forbes Five Star spa is launching a new spa menu in the New Year including “Natural Facelift,” a facial therapy that provides dramatic results instantaneously. The relaxing, contouring facial tightens and revitalizes the skin while gently stimulating the natural production of collagen. The Grand Day Spa Retreat package is the perfect way to renew and decompress with a full body therapeutic massage, personalized Portrait facial, and poolside lunch. The Grand Spa Getaway also includes overnight accommodations.
Ocean Pearl Spa at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa offers marine-based treatments that pay homage to its seaside setting. The Mermaid Facial uses an algae and seaweed masque to re-mineralize skin for cellular repair and rejuvenation, the California Pearl Polish uses citrus, fine sea salt, and seaweed to leave skin smooth and glowing, and the Coastal Renewal incorporates marine-rich clay and a body wrap to detox and exfoliate. Or, try the signature Vitamin Sea Massage to improve circulation and reduce stress.
If travel is on your 2019 agenda, advance planning is key to successful experiences. Ranch & Coast Travel Editor Elizabeth Hansen advises to research airfares first, then plan the rest of the trip. You might save significantly by adjusting your dates by just a few days. “Talk to people who have already been to your destination, look online, or pick-up a guidebook to learn about weather, holidays, and seasonal events that could impact your plans,” says Hansen, who’s penned multiple books for the renowned Frommer’s series of travel guides. “It’s also really helpful to read a book or watch movies set in your destination.”
One aspect of travel that is growing ever more challenging is passport restrictions. For international excursions, make sure your passport is valid for the required amount of time (some countries require validity for six months after you plan to return) and apply for any necessary visas. If you have urgent passport problems, contact San Diego Passport Agency. Also, Hansen recommends applying for Global Entry or TSA Pre√ if you haven’t already. And believe it or not, your health comes into play with these New Year’s goals too. It’s critically important to get in shape for walking, hiking, biking, or other activities if they’re part of your experience, and schedule relevant travel vaccinations well before your departure.
Armed with advice, insight, and ambition, it’s your time to shine in 2019!