by Karen Vazquez, Owner & Senior Editor of LoSoCal
My new column “Babe on a Budget” is something that I have wanted to write for sometime now. I am not just referring to myself here. This column and the concept behind it is meant to be a funny, interesting and interactive series of blog posts that can speak to all of the “babes” (or fellas) out there in SoCal who have had to find ways to live a great lifestyle on a budget. Budget??? I know that word sounds icky lol. Yes. Budget. SoCal is expensive, peeps. It’s just a fact! I remember years ago it was not so expensive, but things have changed. For example, my parents told me that back in the day, they bought a condo in La Costa that was on the golf course, and they paid 110 thousand dollars for that place. Holy smokes. I shake my head. I also cringe a bit. They have admitted on more than one occasion that they regret selling that condo. They didn’t know. They didn’t anticipate that SoCal would ever be what it is today. I remember that condo. It was beautiful. I think it is worth over a million dollars these days. That’s just one example of change that I have experienced and witnessed in Southern California within my lifetime.
Los Angeles has pretty much always been “Los Angeles- the City of Angels” and Santa Barbara and San Diego fall just behind LA with their own explosive growth and changes over the years. North San Diego County has recently become a destination spot and that is where I live and have lived for over thirty years. Essentially, what I have noticed is that the overall SoCal region is growing so rapidly with our population skyrocketing here, and now we have a complex, melting pot of all sorts of people with different stories, backgrounds, aspirations, reasons for relocating to SoCal, etc.
That being said, it’s mind blowing to me how much SoCal has evolved into a group of people that are actively involved in the community and culture here, and yet a great deal of our local businesses and artists are struggling and failing. I am not going to elaborate too much on the topic of real estate in SoCal in my first post. That is another article within this column for another day, but that issue is also frustrating and devastating for many SoCal residents. In my first post for “Babe on a Budget” I wanted to highlight my main area of interest.
I am seriously affected, bothered and just generally “bummed out” by the ongoing hardships among SoCal small business owners and artists. I cannot tell you how many times I have visited a local brick and mortar or followed a local artisan or band to find out at a later time that they gave up their entrepreneurial or creative dreams. Why? The bottom line is this; it is usually about money. It is a simple issue of what it takes to SURVIVE in our SoCal communities and this economy. Many of these local businesses struggle to make ends meet in order to pay for overhead costs with expensive rents, California minimum wage and healthcare requirements, marketing efforts (which cost money) and the drowning list goes on and on. Furthermore, many corporations have infiltrated our neighborhood villages selling practically everything “on the cheap” with little regard for their impact on the surrounding local shops and restaurants.
As for the artists, they struggle as well. In my opinion, they struggle because many people in our modern society are more engaged with and enamored by the dramas of high profile celebrities and the “superstars” rather than taking their focus down a few notches to their local musicians, artists, and personalities right outside their door. I am not demonizing anyone here. I get it. We do the best we can and oftentimes we place our focus on what is right in front of us.
I know that we cannot avoid the corporations and celebrities of this world. I love some of these businesses and people too. They are beneficial to our modern American society in some ways. We need some of these companies and people to create balance in our culture and to provide us with inspiration and many basic necessities that are a part of our everyday lives. We have to buy toilet paper somewhere and we need to get gas at the nearest gas station. Certain products simply aren’t available on a local level. There are things we cannot control. I understand. I lose sleep sometimes over this. I am just being honest on that note. I genuinely comprehend the full spectrum from local to global enterprises within our American culture.
Here is where I want to point to a really awesome and empowering FACT. Guess what??? There are certain things we CAN control. BOOYA! With a little more awareness and conscious (instead of autopilot) consumerism, we can create balance and be more SELECTIVE about where we spend our hard earned dollars. It is that simple. I am not against capitalism. Hey. That’s kind of our thing in America, right? Ha! Damn straight. That is one reason why our country has succeeded over the years. On many levels, we live in the land of opportunity and yes, we have the liberty to pursue our dreams. Big dreams. Freaking huge dreams. Remember however, there is the cut throat, competitive twist here that we are also aware of that basically says you better be tenacious AS HELL! And oh, by the way “it is sink or swim,” so get to work like… yesterday on that business idea before someone else does it first and does it better.
I hate to say it, but it has gotten a little out of hand. Some of it is conditioning with mass media. Some of it is autopilot because it is easier. Some of it is just habit. Hey. I am also guilty and constantly have to remind myself “take that extra moment to hit up a local spot.” “Go somewhere local even if it is a few cents more. They need it.” And finally, my biggest mantra is “do it on a budget” and that has worked for me.
Ooops. Here I go again with that dirty word. Budget. Yep. Let’s be honest. It is somewhat of an art form to live in SoCal and live a fun, healthy and affordable lifestyle.
I am actually really proud of a ton of our local SoCal residents. Some of you are extremely savvy and thrifty and I love every one of you!!!! Maybe, if you fall into this category, you could reach out and share some of your personal stories and suggestions from your own arsenal of frugality- what has worked for you and what hasn’t? Like I said, this is meant to be funny, interesting AND interactive.
Many of us here in Southern California are knowledgeable and competitive in the real estate market watching trends and saving our precious pennies so we can transition from renting to buying. Others are invested in living a healthier lifestyle that focuses on organic food with a farm to table approach, farmers markets, outdoor activities, and health and wellness in general. Some people are not only savvy in these areas, but also the areas of fashion, the arts, the political climate of SoCal and more! Keep in mind, most of us are doing this ALL on a budget. That dreaded word. But, it’s a word we have needed to embrace and implement into our lives in order to THRIVE! Some of us would probably rather not talk about this, but I say “WHY NOT???”
Let’s get real here. Let’s talk about this dirty word and this topic. I want to do all that I can to support our local Southern California culture and community. Please start this journey with me and let’s learn together.
I grew up in North San Diego County and like I mentioned before, I have noticed several changes here over the years. I have noticed dramatic growth here anywhere from Santa Barbara to San Diego and all of the small towns in between.
This column will be about a wide variety of topics within the overall lifestyle category. Some of it will be fun and funny. Some of it will be a bit more serious. Some of it will be interesting and eye opening for me as I dig deeper with research, and YOU as my reader as I share. I will write about the cost of living here, basic real estate trends and changes, local charities and non-profits that I love, shops with my favorite specials, my “how to shop” tips that I use at local grocery stores or farmers markets, my favorite local happy hour spots, boutiques, thrift stores and MORE! I plan on writing this column for years to come and my goal via this project is to become an expert in many areas that relate to our local SoCal Lifestyle.
Thanks for reading! I am the owner of LoSoCal and I am very passionate about our SoCal culture and community. I consider myself an advocate for our local small business owners and artists.
Shop local. Eat local. Spend local. Be mindful and creative with your everyday lifestyle choices. Find the community here in Southern California. Build the culture.
It can be so easy friends. It just takes a little extra effort.
Some of my future posts will be MUCH shorter, but this first one needed a bit more back story. Thanks so much for your time. Please comment below if you have any feedback.
...find us on Instagram @LoSoCal @LoSoCalStyle
Owner, Lead Blogger
Hello, my name is Karen Vazquez. I have lived in Southern California for over thirty years. I realized about four years ago that it was time for me to give back to this wonderful community by supporting local SoCal businesses, performers, restaurants, spas, boutiques, fitness studios, farmers markets and more. My support shines through here by highlighting these fabulous local SoCal spots. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, PInterest and LinkedIn. I will be featuring many local destinations in the area that have been my personal favorites for years and am currently recruiting guest bloggers to expand the voice of LoSoCal. I have had guest bloggers in the past, but aim to incorporate local SoCal bloggers on a regular basis as a fun, creative and collaborative way to connect with the community here. Essentially, LoSoCal is a community blog, and it is meant to be resource to locals in this area and visitors from around the world. Please like or follow LoSoCal on the social media business pages and tell your contacts about the blog. Thanks for stopping by...
©️2020 LoSoCal and Local SoCal Lifestyle. All rights reserved.
LoSoCal and Local SoCal Lifestyle TM