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in SoCal Trends, Things To Do

A Conversation With Jen Bilik– CEO, Author, and Lover of L.A.

Interview/Written By: Maria Vital   Jen Bilik, 49, is the author of This Is (Not) L.A.: An Insider’s Take On The Real L.A.,’ a book that gives you the real inside scoop on Los Angeles. While flipping through the pages, you’ll be shocked at how Bilik casually debunks all the myths you thought about L.A. By the end, you’ll have new insight on the city you thought you knew so well. I sat down with the CEO of the Who’s There Group to discuss life in L.A., and got her tips on the best way to show your out-of-town friends the ropes. Get to know the Berkeley native turned L.A. aficionado below: Maria Vital: Since you’re from Berkeley, what would you say is the main difference you’ve seen between SoCal and NorCal? Your book says that NorCal has some issues with SoCal… Jen Bilik: “We [Northern Californians] just held ourselves in such a remarkably high esteem in comparison to SoCal. It was a real shock to me when I did finally discover that Southern California was really great and interesting and a fantastic place to live for a variety of reasons, and that this was a one-way rivalry. “Southern California…

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in Things To Do

Driving Down PCH

By: Maria Vital What better way to drive down SoCal’s iconic Pacific Coast Highway than in a brand new Lexus LS500? The Western Area Lexus Team organized a lovely drive down PCH that includes views, bites, and history. Starting at the luxurious, waterfront Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, the Lexus LS500 awaits with extraordinary GPS navigation that will take you on the most efficient route. An added bonus: if you get too caught up in the views you’re driving past, state-of-the-art technology will keep you and your Lexus in your lane at all times.  Safe and sleek– two things everyone should want in a car. With the engine running, the first stop on the drive down PCH is Top of the World in Laguna Beach. During this drive, you’ll pass stunning views of the Pacific and downtown Laguna areas where locals and tourists alike shop around art galleries and sit out in the sun. Top of the World is also known as Alta Laguna Park. Here, you can see stunning views of the city and the beach. It is the perfect place to appreciate SoCal’s true beauty. People can drive by for a quick stop, or they can hike…

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in Destinations & Landmarks

Top Ten Places to Visit in Southern California

By Kasey Hamilton   Our vast community is filled with so much to see and do that the choices can be overwhelming — there are countless places to visit, but here are our top ten SoCal destinations.   Griffith Observatory The Griffith Observatory is one of California’s most cosmic getaways. For those interested in astronomy, the observatory has a planetarium, public telescopes, and other planetary exhibits. It also offers one of the top vantage points for viewing the iconic Hollywood sign. The observatory is also a featured location in many movies and television shows including the recent Oscar winner “La La Land.” 2800 E. Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, 90027 213-473-0800 www.griffithobservatory.org   Stearn’s Wharf Stearn’s Wharf, located at the end of the famous State Street in Santa Barbara, is the oldest wooden wharf still in use in California. It is home to 17 shops and restaurants, along with two museums. Water taxis as well as cruise ships use the wharf as a port for picking up passengers. 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, 93101 (805) 564-5530 www.stearnswharf.org   The Vineland Drive-In This drive-in theater opened 62 years ago with only one screen, and it has been going strong since then. The theater is open seven…

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in Food & Drinks

5 Most Heavenly Cupcake Shops on Earth

Cupcakes come in all colors, sizes and calorie counts. You see glorious cupcake displays at weddings, birthdays and lining bakery shelves. If you’re going to eat the whole thing, it’s probably best if it’s a cupcake rather than the three-tiered alternative. Here are five of the Southland’s best to tempt the palate and keep you relatively guilt-free.   Enjoy Cupcakes in Santa Barbara & Los Olivos Established in 2009 in Los Olivos and Santa Barbara in 2014, Enjoy Cupcake has so far created more than 650 Wine Cupcake recipes.  Baker Amber Joy Vander VlietI produces six flavors each week with input from chief executive taster/partner Kevin Vander Vliet. Creations include their signature Chocolate Blackberry Syrah — syrah-infused cake with dark chocolate fudge topped with blackberry frosting and a wine-soaked blackberry rolled in sugar crystals; Blueberry Lemon Chardonnay — chardonnay cake with creamy Meyer lemon filling topped with blueberry cream cheese frosting and wine-soaked blueberry; and Chunky Chocolate Salted Peanut Butter Caramel — chocolate chunk cake oozing with peanut butter mousse, topped with peanut butter chocolate chip frosting, caramel and pinch of salt. enjoycupcakes.com | 805.451.0284     Georgetown Cupcake in Beverly Hills In 2008, co-founders Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne…

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in Food & Drinks, Things To Do

Sweet and Savory in SoCal: National Waffle Day

By Maria del Cisne Vital   Waffles are a tasty treat so dynamic that they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Whether you like your waffles drenched in syrup, topped with berries, or served alongside fried chicken, Southern California has you covered in the waffle department. Enjoy today, National Waffle Day, with a delicious meal! Check out these places for unique twists on the traditional waffle:   The Waffle Spot — San Diego The name speaks for itself. The Waffle Spot in San Diego is the hot spot for all things waffle! They have “specialties” like apple cinnamon, toasted pecan, and churro waffles. If you want something more classic then you can opt for a plain waffle with your choice of fruit toppings or whipped cream. Savory is also an option with their Eggs Waffle Benedict— two mini waffles topped with Canadian bacon and 2 poached eggs covered with fresh Hollandaise sauce. 1333 Hotel Cir S, San Diego, CA 92108  |  (619) 297-2231 wafflespotsandiego.com/   Shaky Alibi — Los Angeles The Shaky Alibi is a “wafflerie” founded on authenticity. Their Liege waffles are handcrafted to your taste and served fresh off the waffle iron. Sweet and savory…

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in Pets & Wildlife, Things To Do

Get Up-Close and (Somewhat) Personal with Leopard Sharks

Every year, thousands of leopard sharks swarm the La Jolla waters in the largest annual leopard shark aggregation in the world. And, while the word ‘shark’ may elicit some form of panic, there’s no need worry. In fact, leopard sharks are known as the “friendly sharks” of the ocean. Their calm demeanor and beautiful spotted backs make them an intriguing site to witness whether you’re swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or diving. Biologists say that roughly 97% of these leopard sharks that come to La Jolla annually are female, and many of them are pregnant. They choose the calm, shallow and warm waters of La Jolla Shores to incubate and stay protected. July through September are the peak months to see these bottom dwellers, and below are three way to get up close and somewhat personal to these gentle and stunning creatures: Kayak + Snorkel One great way to encounter these leopard sharks is by getting out in the water in a non-motorized vessel, such as a kayak or standup paddleboard. La Jolla-based adventure and apparel company Everyday California, for instance, is famous for its 90-minute kayak tours that give paddlers a first-hand look at leopard sharks – which, by the way,…

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