Proud to Be A California Girl

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Salt Creek Beach – Monarch Beach, CA

 

T.S. Eliot once wrote, “Home is where one starts from.”

Last week, I ventured out to the West Coast to visit my first home in sunny California: South Orange County. I had been away from OC for nearly three years, so it was past due to pay my hometown area a visit.

Southern California will always be my first home. Having spent the bulk of my childhood in Orange County, one summer in Santa Barbara, and three years in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, I had a well-rounded SoCal experience spanning 21 years. But like every wide-eyed, ambitious young American out there, I realized I had to leave OC behind to realize my full potential. Now I call the Washington, D.C., metro area my home.

“Back Home” by Andy Grammer is largely the inspiration behind this blog post about my trip back to Orange County, CA.

These lyrics resonate with me the most:

See, we won’t forget where we came from
The city won’t change us
We beat to the same drum

And no matter where we go

We always find our way back home

I found my way back home, but only for a brief visit. Nevertheless, I’m still proud to hail from Southern California.

 

First and foremost, no trip back home is complete without a visit to In-N-Out Burger.

In-N-Out Cheeseburger with Animal-Style Fries. Yum!

In-N-Out Cheeseburger with Animal-Style Fries. Yum!

Thought I’ve eaten Five Guys on numerous occasions, it will never compare to an In-N-Out Cheeseburger and Animal-Style French fries. It was great to bask in this deliciousness with my childhood friends. Proud to be friends with future dentists, chemical scientists, and academics!

I also paid a visit to Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Laguna Beach with some friends to eat some quality Mexican-Asian-Brazilian cuisine. (If you haven’t eaten at Wahoo’s, go!)

Afterwards, I paid a visit to Pearl Street Beach and snapped this view. Gorgeous, right?

IMG_6264I had plenty of opportunities to snap pictures of the surrounding beaches in Dana Point and Laguna Beach.

Marveling in one of my old stomping grounds, Salt Creek Beach!

Marveling one of my old stomping grounds, Salt Creek Beach!

We also met up with some of our relatives in Dana Point. We walked around the harbor and reminisced about good times.

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Statue of Richard Henry Dana – Boston, MA politician, sailor, and intellectual who founded Dana Point, CA

Admittedly, this visit to my first home was surreal. Perhaps I’ve been aware for too long or have successfully acclimated to East Coast living. SoCal felt slightly different since my departure in September 2012. The political climate and social scene are still the same–now more assuredly Democrat and superficial, respectively. Barren, dry landscapes  were more readily apparent  thanks to the Sacramento-created drought. The same whiff of snobbery I loathed was still omnipresent. And yet, the tranquility that emanated from the Pacific Ocean (ironic, I know) temporarily washed my qualms about California away. It was a perfect week-long getaway!

California was once touted as the Promise Land. Alas, the Golden State is slowly but surely losing its golden hue. Full Democrat-rule in Sacramento, big government policies, Hollywood, among many things, have adversely impacted my home state–causing her natives to seek refuge elsewhere. It pains me to see California fall from greatness.

As a native Californian happily displaced in the Washington, D.C., metro area for three years now, I felt like an outsider from the inside. Everything was simultaneously familiar and distant. (I bet many of you have had ambiguous thoughts about returning to your hometowns.) While I enjoyed my time back home, it made me appreciate applying my California roots to a higher purpose here in DC today.

Yes, there are a lot of negative stereotypes about my home state, especially SoCal. Rich, privileged, spoiled, affluent — all adjectives come to mind about SoCal. However, it had many redeeming qualities. Thanks for expanding my food palate, molding me into a beach bum, and making be a rebel with a cause, California!

For those of  you who haven’t trekked out West before, listen to these songs to get a feel for California:

“California” by Kenny Chesney

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry

We don’t wear Daisy Dukes with bikinis on top, but we California girls are pretty unique. The Beach Boys did a great job of drawing everyone’s attention to that.

“Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

RHCP is arguably one of the best bands to hail from California, and this song is reflective of SoCal in so many ways.

“Hella Good” by No Doubt

No Doubt was formed in Anaheim, CA. It’s one of the best bands to hail from SoCal–especially from Orange County. For those of us from California, hella is slang for “good,” “hell of a lot,” or “very.” Though its origins are from Northern California, many of us from SoCal have adopted the term into our vernacular too.

“Holiday From Real” by Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew McMahon, lead singer of Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate, spent a great deal of time in Orange County. His music is quintessentially Californian.

“California” by Phantom Planet

This song was popularized by the hit TV show, The OC. Though I never watched the show – I didn’t need a show to remind me about my hometown – the song stood out to me.

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

How can you be from California and not like this song? It’s a classic!

In Travels With Charley: In Search of America, John Steinbeck wrote“The Pacific is my home ocean; I knew it first, grew up on its shore, collected marine animals along the coast. I know its moods, its color, its nature.”

 Though I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, California – especially Orange County – will be my first home.  It taught me to value the finer things in life and to aspire to be successful in the future. It taught me to appreciate nature by facilitating my love of fishing and good beaches. It taught me to appreciate quality food–especially food of the Mexican variety. Most of all, it molded me into the easy going, spirited, independent conservative chick I am today.
Love you, California. Hope to see you again in the future!

New Counter Cultured Article: UCSD Professor Makes Students Strip for Final Exam

I’ve penned a new article at Counter Cultured today about the latest controversy transpiring at my alma mater involving a leftist professor. Here’s more about it:

UC-San Diego professor Ricardo Dominguez is coming under fire for requiring his students to strip for a final exam.

Dominguez, an associate professor of visual arts at our alma mater, is being rightfully criticized for subjecting his students to partaking in erotic behavior. Dominguez has taught a course called Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self for nearly 11 years. Additionally, he was hired by UCSD in 2005 and awarded tenure in 2009. According to the class syllabus, students are required to perform eight gestures including  “a gesture that traces, outlines or speaks about your ‘erotic self(s).’ ” One student’s mother – who wishes to remain anonymous – helped bring this class to light according to 10News:

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

Dear L.A.: Leave San Diego Alone!

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San Diego, a.k.a. America’s Finest City, will always have a special place in my heart. I spent three years there during my time at UC-San Diego. Though I moved out of California several years ago, I fondly look back on my time in S.D.

I recently learned that UT-San Diego, formerly the San Diego Union Tribune (SDUT), was bought by the parent company of the L.A. Times. (Ugh.) Here’s more about the recent merger:

The day after the announcement of an agreement to sell the U-T San Diego to the parent company of the Los Angeles Times, the reaction among a variety of civic leaders struck a welcoming tone to the new owner, tempered with a cautious note of wait-and-see about possible changes in a newspaper that traces its lineage back 146 years.

SDUT always had decent commentary, especially with its conservative/libertarian-leaning editorial board. Its reporting is far superior to that of LAT’s “reporting,” in my humble opinion. (LAT is notoriously leftist.) I suspect UTSDo will adopt a more leftist bent following this deal. Truly sad.

This is not the only attempt to subvert San Diego or nearby counties to the whims of L.A. There is immense chatter about transferring Qualcomm Stadium in downtown San Diego up to Carson in L.A. (The Chargers would potentially share their stadium with the Oakland Raiders.) Additionally, the renaming of the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was perhaps the most idiotic move imaginable. (I don’t even follow sports that closely but found this move to be nonsensical since L.A. already boasts the L.A. Dodgers.) Again, L.A. has an encroachment problem.

Here’s more about the rivalry:

“There is a great rivalry going back to the late 19th century in terms of who would be the great Southern California metropolis, San Diego or Los Angeles,” said UC San Diego political science professor Steve Erie. “But then L.A. ended up getting the Southern Pacific railroad in 1873 because they were willing to pay more, and about a quarter of the San Diego business community high-tailed it up to L.A. believing that is where destiny smiles. In a sense, we have been in L.A.’s shadow ever since.”

Now don’t get me wrong–I don’t hate Los Angeles; I just prefer San Diego.

Growing up in Orange County, which is situated between these two metropolises, I had the luxury of traveling to both cities as a child, teenager, and college student. The L.A.-S.D. rivalry was widely apparent, and I always sided with San Diego. I always loved San Diego and knew deep down in my heart that I’d attend college there.

Suffice to say that L.A. is not an entirely horrible place; it’s just so overcrowded, leftist, and superficial. Several relatives live or have lived in L.A., so there were always frequent visits up to Santa Monica or Marina del Rey.  (Thank you Hollywood and decades’ long leftist policies in place for tainting this once-great city!) There are many wonderful things in L.A.–the food, the beach, great art museums, etc.–just not many attractive things available to convince me to move to the City of Angels. (Thankfully I’m out of California entirely.) However, here are just some of my observations as to why S.D. is more superior than L.A.:

  • Fewer, much nicer people – S.D. is home to friendlier people. It must be due to less traffic, proximity to beaches, and better standard of living.
  • Rich military history–Just about every branch of the military is housed in S.D. Navy SEALs are trained here. Plus, there’s the U.S.S. Midway.
  • Fewer taxes, more politically sane – The current mayor is a Republican, though he could benefit from being more conservative. It’s the eighth largest city in the U.S. and is more prosperous than L.A.
  • Nice beaches–Coronado, La Jolla, Encinitas, Carlsbad–need I say more??
  • Great brews, good food–S.D. is known for its variety of food and libations, especially its authentic Mexican food and craft beers.
  • Oldest city in California–S.D. was founded in 1769 and is known as the birthplace of California. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stumbled upon it about 200 years before its establishment. Top that, L.A.!

To my fellow California natives still residing in the once Golden State or residing elsewhere: what do you think? Do you think L.A. has an encroachment problem? Weigh in below!

New Counter Cultured Article: Glad UCSD is Evicting Ché Cafe From Campus

This is one of the rare times I offer some praise to my alma mater, UCSD. Kudos to the administration for following through with the Che Cafe’s eviction from campus. You can read about it at Counter Cultured today. Below is an excerpt:

On Tuesday, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) allowed the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to seize the Ché Cafe. The co-op was handed an eviction notice on March 17, 2015, after more than a decade of back-and-forth over the building’s decrepit state.

The controversial cafe- which pays homage to communist Ché Guevara and is a backronym for “Cheap Healthy Eats” – first opened in 1980 and is considered a “hip” concert venue among UCSD students. However, not all of us who attended UCSD hold that same view.

When I attended UCSD from 2009 to 2012, I viewed that place as a worn-out, shabby communist compound. Many campus leftists had congregated there. Admittedly, it was a scary place to stumble upon (especially at night). More importantly, few of my classmates questioned its very name and corresponding tribute to communist thug Ché Guevara.

The proposed eviction, which was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, has generated a lot of attention. Though outrage has been placed on the eviction, it’s greatly misplaced. Students and community members should be outraged by what the Ché Cafe stands for.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

Support Igor Birman’s Bid for Congress

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Last night, my sister and I attended Liberty Karaoke here in Arlington, VA to support Igor Birman’s Congressional bid in California’s 7th District.

Normally I don’t go out of my way to support every Republican candidate because many fail to uphold conservative principles. However, Igor Birman is not your usual candidate. He escaped the Soviet Union at age 12 alongside his family and came here in 1994. He’s both fiscally and socially conservative. He’s anti-establishment.

Igor is a candidate who can help pivot California in the right direction.

As a child of Soviet immigrants myself, I can greatly relate to Igor. He understands the problems inset in big government policies. He gets the importance of never taking our freedoms for granted. He holds no punches and is a fighter. And of course I would be partial to a fellow California conservative. Who wouldn’t be?

If you need any more reason to vote for or support Igor, check out his campaign video:

Like what you see? Donate to his campaign: http://www.igorbirman.com. He faces two Republicans and incumbent Democrat Ami Berra in the jungle primary on June 3rd, 2014.

I’ve donated to his campaign, and I hope you join me in doing so. Ultimately all members of Congress represent ALL of us, not solely their constituents. There’s no better person to represent us in Congress than a man who saw firsthand how destructive big government policies were in the former Soviet Union.

Follow Igor on Twitter, LIKE his Facebook page, and check out his campaign website.

 

 

CPAC 2014: #MakeDCListen Style

Yesterday concluded the 41st annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C.

The lavish  Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor played host for a second year in a row. Unlike most D.C. area residents, I took immense joy in the 10-minute drive across the Potomac. This year marked my third CPAC conference, and the second time I attended on behalf of the company I work for.

The rush and heyday of these political conferences certainly give us seasoned political junkies a natural high. High-profile speakers, cool swag, a nice location, and plenty of events/parties leave attendees satisfied. It’s interesting how much CPAC has changed in the last few years…

Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on this year’s conference:

The Good

Big reunion – CPAC is a great event for reunions with activist friends. I certainly enjoyed seeing hundreds of people I know from  D.C. and outside the D.C. area. Given how busy life is, people rarely get the chance to be around so many like-minded people. CPAC is perfect for reuniting with new and old friends.

Unparalleled networking – If you come to CPAC, expect to network with big wigs and get your name out there. This is a great opportunity to land an internship or job in the D.C. area. Don’t take it for granted.

Blog Bash – Hands down, Blog Bash is the best party at CPAC every year. I’ve had the pleasure of attending it since 2012. One can’t go wrong with a piano bar! Definitely attend one if you haven’t already.

The Bad

Recycled, uninspiring speakers –  Apart from Senators Cruz, Lee, Paul, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and a few others, I–along with countless others–found much of the speakers lineup to be  unexciting. This led many of us to jokingly (and seriously) classify the conference as “Squishfest.” Establishment Republicans aren’t going to lure in new people to the cause. Fresh conservative faces will.

Media everywhere – It’s an election year, and the general election is roughly two years away. The horse race is about to commence–brace yourselves.

Hypersexualizing CPAC – Apparently, the hook-up scene is the most newsworthy topic from CPAC to write about. Really?! Media outlets – especially one in particular – need to stop sensationalizing this. (What happened to maintaining personal responsibility?) DC is a morally bankrupt place — ask those of us who live here and abstain from such. Stop reporting on this crap and focus on important issues, like, saving the country from impending financial collapse.

What are some personal highlights from this year’s CPAC?

Hanging out with the lovely Dana Loesch:

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Meeting Senator Rand Paul (R-KY):

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And ensuring that all conservatives #MakeDCListen:

Having fun at the Jobs Growth booth. #MakeDCListen

Until next year, CPAC? We shall see.

Attend Maryland Conservative Action Network’s “Turning the Tides” Conference- January 12, 2013

TTT2013All conservatives and libertarians in the DC metro should attend Maryland Conservative Action Network’s “Turning the Tides” conference in Annapolis, MD.

Here’s what will transpire on January 12, 2013:

Join us for frank discussion about where we go from here. Topics will include what to expect from both Washington, DC and Annapolis, improving our ground game, national security, the left’s war on the suburbs, how “green energy” schemes are hurting our national and state economy, and more.

Yours truly will be a youth panelist. I will give a talk about my activism coupled with my family history. Hope you come and hear from me and countless other speakers:

  • Dan Bongino
  • Brad Botwin
  • Brandon Cooper
  • Myron Ebell
  • Pamela Geller
  • Gabby Hoffman
  • Stanley Kurtz
  • Steve Milloy
  • Mark Newgent
  • Neil Parrott
  • Richard Rothschild
  • Jim Rutledge
  • Ken Timmerman
  • Blaine Young
  • and more.

Registration details:

Sponsorship opportunities and vendor tables are available. Please contact tonya@mdconservatives.com for details.

If interested in media/blogger credentials (space is limited), please contact jjamitis@mdconservatives.com.

The DoubleTree Hotel has set aside overnight rooms at a special conference rate of $99/night for Friday and/or Saturday.If you would like to book a room, please call 1.800.222.8733, and ask for the Conservative Action Network block (group code: CAN).

Online registration is being handled through ShowClix.

Register by December 12 and get the discounted early bird rate of $50!

After December 12 the regular price of $75 takes effect and walk-in registration on January 12 will be $100.

A student rate of $25 is available for anyone with a current high school or college ID!

Visit http://www.mdconservatives.com/ for more details.