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San Diego is ‘beautiful and inspirational,’ Jan Arnold says.

Joanne DiBona

Beauty executive Jan Arnold, a lifelong Southern California girl, grew up in the coastal city of San Diego. "It's healthy, beautiful and inspirational," says the co-founder of Creative Nail Design, inventors of CND Shellac and Vinylux. "The consistently blue sky inspires a pep in your step and the beauty of the many natural resources makes you feel alive with energy. The dolphins dance and the sunsets are colourful and breathtaking." What more could you ask for? Here is where Arnold likes to kick back, relax and commune with nature.

Pacific Coast Grill

"Pacific Coast Grill is a beachy but elegant bar/resto right on the beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a cool community in Encinitas. The atmosphere is California casual and the cocktails and food are spectacular. This is a great place for a leisurely drink with friends while watching the surfers hang 10 and the sun drop into the Pacific Ocean." (2526 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff; pacificcoastgrill.com)

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San Diego Zoo

"You simply cannot miss a trip to the San Diego Zoo, and that's coming from someone who is difficult to impress. There's so much to see and do at the zoo you'll be spellbound … It's fascinating to see the animal habitats. You completely forget you're in one of California's biggest cities." (2920 Zoo Drive, zoo.sandiegozoo.org)

Market Restaurant + Bar

"Market is a local high-end favourite and with good reason. The food, especially the fish, is so fresh you can't believe it! They've perfected the wine pairing and the service is warm, but impeccable. Make reservations well in advance." (3702 Via de la Valle, Del Mar; marketdelmar.com)

Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa

"Staying at Rancho Valencia is such a treat. It has scrumptious suites and private villas with pools scattered throughout the property. The resort also has a gorgeous spa with parts of it outside, tucked into the foliage or floating on a natural pool. It's a really special, restorative place." (5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, ranchovalencia.com)

SoLo

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"I love the home design store SoLo in the Cedros Design District. It always has the perfect hostess gift, design book or fabulous vase, and they sell beautiful artisanal cards and stationery. If you want to take home a piece of San Diego, you'll find it at SoLo." (309 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, solocedros.co)

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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