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Hot Dogs - My Guilty Pleasure!

08. August 2013

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of counting carbs, calories and fat grams. I’m as concerned about my health as the next guy, but once in awhile, I’d rather not know if what I’m eating has enough protein, antioxidants or dietary fiber. Frankly, when it comes to food, many of us have gotten just a little uptight. Sometimes, I just want to relax and enjoy something that tastes good!

I don’t know about you, but my guilty pleasures include hot sourdough bread with butter, dark chocolate-covered cranberries and homemade vanilla milkshakes topped with whipped cream.

And I absolutely love hot dogs. But not just any dog will do. It wasn’t easy finding a great hot dog in the San Diego area. But it was worth the effort. Tom and I finally found the most fabulous franks at a friendly Coronado eatery called Delux Gourmet Hot Dogs.

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Tom Ham's Lighthouse - Renovated, Re-opened and Better than Ever

29. July 2013

How’d you like to turn your next boring business lunch into a mini-vacation? Then do what my friend, Paula and I did recently – head to Harbor Island and go over those financial reports at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant.

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Coronados Fabulous Flowers

10. June 2013

Do you love lilies, lilac and lavender? Are you fond of fresia, foxgloves and fuchsia? If sunflowers and snapdragons make you smile and pots of pansies and peonies bring you joy then you simply must plan a trip to Coronado soon!

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15. April  2013

I love my in-laws. Seriously. I realize that’s anathema for many of you. I know. I’ve heard the horror stories. It’s just not my story. When I married Tom, I hit the jackpot. Along with finding the love of my life, I became part of a most remarkable family.

Last month, nearly every branch of the Hamilton family tree was represented at a reunion of sorts in Destin, Fla. Since most of the clan hail from the eastern and mid-Atlantic states, a little time in the sunshine along Florida’s Gulf Coast was a welcome break from the late winter’s wrath.

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Have you seen "The SDSU Show?"

10. February 2013

Have you seen a San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball game lately? And I don’t mean on TV but up close and personal inside the Viejas Arena? OH MY GOSH! I haven’t been to something so fun and entertaining since the Rolling Stones performed at the “Q” back n the 90’s!

I confess, I hadn’t been to an Aztecs game in years. And it’s my loss. I had no idea what I’d been missing as the Aztecs men’s basketball program has grown in recent years.

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Local Swimmers Recognized by La Jolla Cove Swim Club

04. January 2013

Local Swimmers Recognized by La Jolla Cove Swim Club

As one who loves open water swimming I can attest to the fact that La Jolla Cove and the bay between the Cove and La Jolla Shores is one of the best places in the world for ocean swimming.

Making the experience even more enjoyable, hundreds of us water buffs smitten with the breathtakingly beautiful underwater park belong to the iconic La Jolla Cove Swim Club (LJCSC) – an fun outlet for swimmers of all ages, shapes, sizes and skill levels who want to share the joy with others who love open water swimming.

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Managing Your Holiday Shopping Stress

10. December 2012

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Many of us agree with the sentiment of the familiar Christmas song and eagerly anticipate the excitement, joy and spirit of the holiday season.

But let’s be honest. The holidays can also cause significant stress.

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My First Introduction to the Batiquitos Lagoon

09. November 2012

Staying in touch with old friends and co-workers is important to me.   But coordinating busy schedules to meet for a leisurely lunch can sometimes be a challenge.

My good pal, and former 10 News colleague, Janine Nakama and I have come up with a way to stay connected by skipping a lengthy lunch.  These days, we multiply our time by combining our monthly gabfest with a workout…in our case, a nice long walk.

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One for the “Gipper”

My First Visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

09. October 2012

Mindlessly sorting through a pile of mail one day, a postcard awash in red, white and blue caught my eye.  On the front was the smiling face of our country’s newest president, Ronald Reagan.  On the back was a brief message penned by my Dad.

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How to Pack for a Trip

07. September 2012

I have a confession to make.   I hate to travel.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love visiting friends, family and new places.  It’s the “getting ready” partthat drives me bonkers.  I’m 58 years old and I still don’t know how to pack for a trip.

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California Cuisine in a Car Dealership?

03. September 2012

OK.  So I’m a little late to the party! 

The spectacular, new and hugely popular Vintana Wine and Dine restaurant in Escondido opened in May.  Finally, last week, I got to see for myself what all the excitement is about.

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Party at Palomar!!

20. August 2012

What if you threw a party and 15,000 people showed up?!  That’s exactly what happened Saturday, July 28, when Palomar Health welcomed the community to celebrate the opening of the magnificent, new Palomar Medical Center.

It was a sight to behold as thousands of guests lined up to take a tour of the facility while thousands more enjoyed the grand opening bash on the grounds surrounding the hospital!

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My Tour of the New Palomar Medical Center!

20. July 2012

With its majestic almost surreal presence – North County’s new Palomar Medical Center has been on the rise since early 2008.  At last, the technical architectural wonder is ready for business and you can be among the first to see it!

The Community Celebration is Saturday, July 28, from 4 – 9 p.m. and you don’t want to miss out…because if you think the 11-story edifice glistening in the sun atop a hill in Escondido is awesome on the outside – wait till you step inside!

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Spend Your Next Movie Night at the Vintage Village Theater!

12. April 2012

Tom and I just saw the movie, “Act of Valor” and my heart is still racing!  The film’s producers call it an “adrenaline-filled, edge-of-the-seat journey” and let me assure you, that’s not an understatement!

The film is a blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking – sure to be up for many awards.  “Act of Valor” stars a group of active duty U.S. Navy SEALS…a fictionalized account of real-life SEAL operations.

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Who knew? Sacramento is  home to North America's largest railroad museum!

13. February 2012

On a recent trip to Sacramento, I connected with an old college pal. I was in the State capital for a speaking engagement, after which Julie and I enjoyed a couple of “girl’s” days – shopping, lunching and re-living some of the escapades that defined our time at the University of Northern Iowa and cemented our friendship for a lifetime. 

These days Julie lives in the Denver area, but she lived much of the 90’s in the Sacramento area and was eager to show me around her old “stomping grounds.”   The State capital building, Vietnam War Memorial and Sacramento River front were all on our itinerary, but Julie is a big history buff, so she wasn’t going to let me out of town without also stopping at Old Sacramento State Historic Park.   

Following a brief walking tour of quaint, Old Sacramento, Julie gushed, “Now I want to show you the California State Railroad Museum!” I looked at her, dumfounded. A railroad museum? You’ve got to be kidding?! On my Top 10 list of “un-fun” things to do, I would probably rank a trip to a railroad museum right up there with a monster truck competition! Not really my cup of tea. But Julie was insistent.    

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The "Green Flash" Lives!

05. January 2012

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was a “green flash” denier for years.  Oh, I’d heard tales of the optical phenomenon…the brilliant flash of green that occurs as the sun sets over the ocean since moving to San Diego in 1981. 

Many confirmed reports and trusted friends have testified to the existence of the green flash. Even Wikipedia believes…calling the atmospheric event “a green spot visible for no more than a second or two just above the sun as it sets.” It’s just that I’d never seen the green for myself.   

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52nd National Girl Scout Convention

05. December 2011

As I boarded a plane bound for Houston, Texas recently, I could not have imagined that a four-day visit to the Lone Star state would have so profound an impact on my life. No, it wasn’t the barbecue (though it was awful good!) 

It’s the “high” I’m still enjoying from the four turbo-charged days I spent at the 52ndNational Girl Scout Convention. I was privileged to be part of the 24-member San Diego Girl Scout Council delegation that met with women, girls (and a few brave men!) from 112 other councils from the United States and beyond! 

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Fall Foliage

03. November 2011

I love living in San Diego. Perfect weather. Beautiful beaches. The world-famous Zoo.

But every year when fall rolls around, I get a case of the blues. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the bright, sunny days and comfortably warm evenings. I just miss the change of seasons. I don’t mean to complain, but autumn in the southland is, well, barely discernable. Oh, a handful of liquid amber trees are kind enough to change color and drop their leaves. But for this Midwestern transplant, it’s just not enough. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I long for the cacophony of color that adorns the tree-lined streets where I grew up.

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Surprise in Lake Havasu

02. October 2011

You know what’s great about retirement? You finally have time. Time to sleep. Time to read. Time for friends. And my very favorite – time to do something new and different. In fact, since leaving my day-to-day duties as a news anchor and reporter at San Diego’s 10 News, life has gone from being tightly scheduled to wildly unpredictable!

Since my “new” job with Palomar Health allows for a little more flexibility, I’m slowly learning the art of spontaneity. So, a few months ago, when a wonderful woman named Carlene called and invited me to be a guest speaker for her women’s group in Lake Havasu City, I said “sure, why not?” Then I looked at a map.

Located in the high desert of Mohave County, Lake Havasu City is a six-hour drive from San Diego through a rather bleak and desolate corner of Arizona. Road trips of any distance typically include Tom. There’s nothing my husband loves more than “road behind him!” But Tom had work commitments, so I was on my own for this trip.

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Newport Beach 

12. August 2011

If you love the beach, but have already explored all that San Diego’s local coastline has to offer, there’s a lot more to see just up the road!

As a Master’s rough water swimmer, I’ve had the joy of competing off Coronado and Oceanside, Catalina and Alcatraz, Oahu and Maui. But I think my very favorite ocean swim is in the waters off Orange County.

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Alaskan Adventure

24. June 2011

Tom and I returned from a wedding in May. And you say, “big deal,” right? Well, THIS wedding was a big deal … and the celebration continued for an entire week … aboard a cruise liner bound for Alaska!

We’d been looking forward to Adrienne and Jeff’s wedding for months. Adrienne’s Dad is Tom’s cousin. Growing up together in West Virginia, Rob and Tom were more than cousins – they were best friends. And the marriage of Rob’s oldest daughter was reason to celebrate. Little did we know, the nuptials would be part of the trip of a lifetime!

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Royal Slumber Party 

06. May 2011

Did you know I was invited to the royal wedding? It’s true. The official-looking invite arrived in a timely fashion, about a month prior to the much-anticipated nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton. But alas, I was not being summoned to Westminster Abbey. (The local postmark should have been my first clue!) It was not a royal wedding to which I was invited. It was a royal “slumber party… in Alpine!

While I may not have been in the company of Elton John and the Queen Mum as Kate and William took their vows, my dear friend Maggie – lover of all things royal – threw a wedding viewing party and sleepover at her home fit for a queen!

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25. April 2011

In March of 1981, I was 26 years old and had never traveled outside the Midwest. That was about to change. I’d just accepted a job offer at Channel 10 News in San Diego. Excited about the career move, I was also scared to death about making the move all alone. Fortunately, my best friend, Julie, offered to help drive me AND my stuff halfway across the country. We packed up my Oldsmobile Omega in Peoria, Illinois and headed west. It was a fabulous trip that cemented our friendship for a lifetime.

Through marriage, children, careers and crisis, Julie has always been there… just not geographically. We’ve had plenty of “visits” over the years, but hadn’t hit the road together for nearly three decades. We decided it was finally time for a girl-friend getaway… our 30-year anniversary “road trip!”

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Naval Aviation

03. March 2011

Saturday, February 12 was one of those “Chamber of Commerce” Days in San Diego. The sun shone brightly across crystal blue skies… not a cloud in sight. Perfect conditions for the air show to end all air shows in the “birthplace of Naval aviation!”

Tens of thousands of us converged on San Diego Bay and Coronado for the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CONA) to honor the pilots and air personnel from the last 100 years from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Tom and I were among the throngs who caused the population of Coronado to nearly triple for several hours that day. And that didn’t include the mass of humanity on board the USS Midway… the wall of people lined along both sides of San Diego Bay, and those spectators forced to watch from their cars, stuck in a massive traffic jam on the Coronado Bay Bridge.

My heart swelled with pride as each aircraft in the 189-plane flyover roared overhead. We viewed the awesome air display from NAS North Island… where Tom was stationed for much of his Navy career. Tom is a retired Naval aviator. He was a carrier landing instructor and flew the S-3 Viking throughout his 20-years of service to our country. (You bet I’m proud!)

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Road Trip

03. February 2010

I like to travel, but have to admit, going by air is not as much fun as it used to be. Planes are packed full. Security checks are beyond annoying and you can’t even carry a decent-sized bottle of shampoo on board. These days I’d rather take a “road trip!” And there’s no better place to travel on a tank of gas than Southern California.

Early last year, when I accepted an invitation to be guest speaker for a women’s group in Indio I had no idea a vacation get-away was in store… just a couple of hours down the road. The “East Valley Women’s Connection” meets monthly at a beautiful country club in the heart of the Coachella Valley. Tom and I decided to hit the road together and make a long weekend of it.

We were pooped from an unusually busy holiday schedule. So we booked a few nights at the Marriott Desert Springs… gassed up the car and headed north on 1-15 on a Thursday afternoon in January.

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Lowry Theater

January 2011

My husband, Tom and I recently celebrated 26 years of wedded bliss. There’s no doubt I got the better end of the deal. Tom’s put up with a lot. As the wife of a long-time TV newscaster, Tom simply got used to being called “Mr. LeBeau.” (That’s my maiden name, by the way!) He knows who he is and that’s enough. I suppose it has something to do with his military training. After 20 years as a Navy pilot, Tom (Thomas Dunlap Hamilton) retired as a Commander some years ago. He’s had two careers since, but I must say I’m awfully proud of his service to our country as an S-3 pilot and flight instructor. To this day, Tom will tell you there are three things worth fighting for. Family. God. Country. You see what I mean about the “better end of the deal?” And to make the deal even “sweeter,” as Tom’s wife and military dependant, I have privileges on the local bases. I can shop at the commissary, work out at the gym and take in a movie at the most wonderful old theater in the United States. I recently took my nephews for their first visit to the fabulous Lowry Theater on NAS North Island (Naval Base Coronado.) While the theater may not be a household name most locals are familiar with the base situated at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay. It’s homeport to several US Navy aircraft carriers.

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Hawaii...The Big Island

09. December 2010

When I signed up for the San Diego Master’s swim program more than 25 years ago, I had no idea just what an adventure I was in for.

I am NOT a risk-taker by nature, but when a group of gals invited me to join their relay team for a race around Coronado I had to give it a try. I got my first open water “rush” stroking alongside the mammoth supports underneath the Coronado Bay Bridge. From that moment, I was hooked!

Over the years, my swim pals and I have competed in rough water races from Coronado and La Jolla to Oceanside, Newport, Lake Tahoe and Alcatraz. We’ve even braved the wind chop and chilly temps in the Catalina, English and Maui channels. (OK. The water off Maui is warm. But the swells were seven to ten feet!)

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Lamb's Players

08. November  2010

After 34 years working the night shift as a TV news anchor and reporter it’s wonderful being home in the evenings with Tom. You can find us most nights, TV trays on our laps, watching the news, followed by the “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.” (Mr. and Mrs. Excitement!)

But to celebrate our wedding anniversary recently, I wanted to do something special. Tom agreed. Warmed-up meatloaf with Alex Trebek is no way to mark 26 years of marital bliss.

We agreed on dinner and the theater. We’d heard rave reviews about the new Lamb’s Players production called “mixTape… A Musical Journey Through the 80’s.” It sounded fun. “mixTape is playing at the downtown Horton Grand Theater at 4th and Island. (www.lambsplayers.org). My plan was to get reservations at a restaurant nearby.

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Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

25. October 2010

I think it was on the 4th day of our trip to Israel it hit me. We were on a peaceful boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. The jet lag was finally gone and I found myself overwhelmed by emotion. I really was in the Holy Land.

We’d arrive in Tel Aviv three days earlier. Since then, we’d visited Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. There we saw the church of the Annunciation, where it’s believed the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. We continued to Mt. Carmel. That’s where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal.

The next day, we traveled to Capernaum… the town used as a base by Jesus during his ministry… then to the ancient city of Jericho and the mountain on which Jesus was tempted. We even made a stop in Caesarea Philippi where Peter’s faith was challenged by Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”

The following day… staring out at the Sea of Galilee, the Bible came alive! The people and places I’d read about since childhood Sunday school were real! I could almost see Jesus walking across the gentle waves. Christians like me believe the Sea of Galilee was host to many of Jesus’ miracles and teachings.

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06. September 2010

Just months before her death in 1980, my mother was able to live out her lifelong dream of traveling to Ireland. I still have the photo of Mom’s joy-filled face as she kissed the Blarney Stone. While touring Ireland recently, I too performed the ancient Irish ritual. As I bent over backward to “properly” kiss the famous stone, a wave of emotion overtook me. After more than 30 years, I was able to share a special moment with my Mom.

Born and baptized Dorothy Marie Gallagher, Mom made sure my (French Canadian!) dad, my sister, brother and I appreciated her Irish heritage. From Irish Beleek china in the living room curio cabinet to our annual St. Patrick’s Day party at “O’LeBeau’s” in Davenport, Iowa... my family was “goin’ green” long before it was fashionable!

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Coast Bistro & Catering

27. August 2010

Although I’ve sometimes been a bidder at auctions, I’ve never actually been an auction item! But there I was on the silent auction table at the Palomar Health Night of Nights Gala.

“Lunch with Carol LeBeau at one of Escondido’s top restaurants!”

As the evening wore on, I began to panic. What if no one bid on #122?! I tried to get my husband to bid on me. No luck. “I can eat lunch with you whenever I want,” Tom reasoned. “That’s not the point,” I hissed! “What if no one makes a bid? My reputation’s at stake!”

Then, as I hovered nervously near the auction table, a smiling woman stopped at item #122… filled out the bidder form and saved the day!

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Rancho La Puerta

21. July 2010

It’s been a year since I retired from full-time work as a TV newscaster. For 28 years I also covered health and fitness news… the best “beat” in the biz! Fortunately, I still get to promote good health and well being as a health champion here at Palomar Health… and as a motivational speaker. So I was thrilled to be invited recently to speak at Rancho La Puerta. But I never dreamed accepting their invitation meant I’d also be staying at the world famous health spa!

My trip to the “Ranch” was a pleasant 40-minute drive from San Diego across the border into Tecate, Mexico. The quaint Mexican border town is home to the world’s first destination resort and spa. The sense of peace and tranquility filled me as I drove through the gate at Rancho La Puerta. In the coming days, I was to experience first-hand why the “Door of the Ranch” is the“favorite spa in north America,” according to SpaFinder.com.

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Cinema Under the Stars

19. June 2010

Got any plans this weekend? How about a movie? Better yet, how ‘bout a movie UNDER THE STARS? Surprise someone you care about and head to Mission Hills and “Cinema Under the Stars,” San Diego’s unique open-air movie theater. Tom and I have been enjoying this unique cinema experience for years. We want you to know about one of San Diego’s best-kept entertainment secrets.

The weather’s getting warmer, but even if it’s cool, you won’t care. The intimate outdoor venue tucked away in Mission Hills has a fantastic heating system and cozy throws to keep you warm. But watch out, you may just drift off during the opening cartoon in your super-comfy zero-gravity recliner.

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Claire's on Cedros

10. May 2010

Have you been to “Claire’s on Cedros” yet? You gotta check out this charming café in Solana Beach. My friend, Dana, has been raving about the popular eatery since it opened less than a year ago. Now I know why! Lunch at Claire’s is an adventure in good eating and going “green!”

The lunch crowd had not yet thinned as Dana and I entered the restaurant… still bustling with activity. Hostess Eva welcomed us with a bright smile and ushered us through the dining area decorated with bits of whimsy… onto the patio so well designed and landscaped, we soon forgot busy North Cedros was only feet away!

The food was clean and delicious (even the coffee is organic!). Chef Claire uses nothing but the best natural ingredients. And she doesn’t have to go far. The restaurant’s landscape is also a one-of-a-kind edible garden! It’s not only beautiful… the eco-“greenscape” supplies herbs, fruits and vegetables for the restaurant’s kitchen.

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Destination: Coronado!
A "Slice" of Orange Ave.

08. April 2010

Coronado is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and why not? The view from the bay bridge alone is breathtaking. Everyone loves a trip to the fun-filled Ferry Landing, the Hotel Del Coronado and one of the most beautiful beaches on earth! But the “Crown” city offers so much more! Dig a little deeper and you’ll find there’s something fun to do and see in every corner of this small beach community. Tom and I recently enjoyed an incredible day in Coronado, and never left the 11 hundred block of Orange Ave.

Orange, of course, is the main drag through the delightful village of Coronado, home to both the historic Hotel Del and popular pub, “Danny’s,” (known for its famous “Slam Burger!”)

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One Step at a Time

03. February 2010

February is Heart Health month – a great time to get going! Only one month into the New Year and not too late to make good on that resolution to move more… one step at a time! It’s easy. Nothing fancy. No equipment needed. Just a good pair of walking or running shoes. Here’s how you make it fun. Get out there a couple of days a week on your own, then book one “destination” walk or run every weekend. Alone or with a friend… in San Diego, your options are endless.

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The Best Kept Secret

25. December 2009

Winter doldrums got you down? Granted, it’s hard to complain living in southern California…but it is January and the short days and chilly temperatures can bring on the blues.

I have a suggestion. It may not technically be beach weather….but I guarantee a trip to La Jolla Cove will lift your spirits. My friend Pam and I just celebrated her birthday with lunch and a stroll along the Cove. Listen, winter at the beach may just be the best-kept secret around!

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Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.