A Stylist’s Love Affair with San Diego’s Fashion Valley Shopping Center!

Fashion Valley Shopping Center
Fashion Valley Shopping Center

Fashion Valley Shopping Center

What does a Personal Wardrobe Stylist love to do on her off time? Shop of course! Most stylists consider it an actual sport. As a Personal Stylist one of my favorite one-stop-shopping places to accomplish all goals related to fashion is Fashion Valley Shopping Center, located in the central Mission Valley area. Fashion Valley has been the hub of San Diego’s retail scene for over 40 years. With an abundance of store options and convenient complimentary parking, my goals are easily met.

This outdoor two-level super regional shopping center offers a superior tenant mix of over 200 specialty stores, including an abundance of luxury shopping. With anchor entities such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and JCPenney, it truly is a shopping haven! Catering to 18 million annual shopper visits, more than three times higher than the national average, this shopping center will truly create a memorable shopping experience for all!

Fashion Valley Stores including Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Max Studio

Fashion Valley Stores including Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Max Studio

They’ve just completed a multi-million dollar renovation and I love the new contemporary and comfortable soft seating throughout the walkways. The seating areas now have a “living room” feel to them which is great to either rest your weary feet or, for me personally, to have an intimate place to sit with my clients and discuss their shopping needs. The sustainable new water features offer a zen-like atmosphere while enjoying either a Pinkberry yogurt or a personalized coffee drink. The newly designed food court has a polished updated look reflecting the fashion forward retailers. This is a great area to host larger groups or just to stop by for a quick bite to refuel for your next shopping stop. Did I mention the 18-Plex AMC Theatre right by the food court? This is a great outlet for those who may not consider shopping a sport or are traveling with the family in tow!

Fashion Valley Stores including Banana Republic, Emporio Armani and Forever 21

Fashion Valley Stores including Banana Republic, Emporio Armani and Forever 21

A typical shopping day for me would be to stop by the new two-story location of Forever 21 or the ever popular H&M store to check out the latest fashion trends at affordable prices. I make it a point to visit Michael Kors to see the latest statement purses and watches. To make sure I am on top of the classic fashions for the essential wardrobe pieces, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and J. Crew have been spot on. When it comes to more whimsical fashions I love perusing in Kate Spade and Anthropologie. San Diego is known for dressing in layers so when visiting Max Studio and BCBGMAXAZRIA I always find new pieces to add to my wardrobe. I am absolutely loving some of the most recent additions like Emporio Armani, which is the first ever in San Diego! Here you will find the ever-classic, beautifully tailored ensembles for both men and women. Ted Baker is another first for our city and is known for its unique stand-out fashions for both men and women. Last, but certainly not least, I am super excited for the Spanish retailer, ZARA, to be heading our way in the Fall of 2012! Keep in mind that this is just one day for me since the next day would be another list of fabulous seasonal-solution stores to visit.

Hopefully, with all of this shopping intelligence I hope you take up the sport of shopping and experience Fashion Valley Shopping Center in the very near future!

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Star-spangled Fun in Coronado!

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Let your patriotic colors fly this 4th of July – and all weekend long – in Coronado, just across the bridge from downtown San Diego.

Coronado’s Independence Day bash is the most popular in San Diego County. The prominent Navy presence on the island is a big reason why. There’s NAS North Island, aircraft carriers like the famous USS Carl Vinson which just returned from the Middle East, and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado where the elite Navy SEALs train. (Did you know: Coronado traces its rich military roots back to 1911 when the first navy plane flew from its shores)

A jam-packed day of July 4th fun includes a 5K/15K run/walk, rough-water swim at North Beach and a two-hour parade down Orange Avenue, Coronado’s quintessential “main street USA,” complete with military bands, floats and Navy aircraft. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life with families of locals and visitors alike lining the route donned in red, white & blue and waving flags. There’s also “Art-in-the-Park” and a music concert in Spreckels Park, and at night, catch the spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay.

Before, during and after the festivities, following are Five Fun Places to Try along Orange Avenue:

The Music Man at Lamb's Players Theatre.

  1. Guaranteed to have audiences humming “76 Trombones” all weekend long, the musical classic “The Music Man” takes center stage at the Lamb’s Players Theatre on July 2-3. Great way to launch into the 4th and set the celebratory mood.
  2. Catch a movie at the all-new Village Theatre, a polished cinematic gem at 820 Orange Ave. The dazzling Art Deco design and 3-D color murals are eye-candy for the kids – adults too! Bargain matinee shows before 6pm are only $8.50. Current flick: Pixar’s “Cars 2.”
  3. Sample handmade candies like “Coronado Crunch” (white or milk chocolate with peanut butter, marshmallows and rice krispies, drizzled in more chocolate!). at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory at 1126 Orange Ave. Other tempting sweets: caramel, fudge, turtles and several varieties of caramel apples.

    Elvis (and a cow!) greet ice cream fans at Moo Time.

  4. Another sweet place to “chill” is MooTime Creamery at 1025 Orange Ave., famous for their fresh made-to-order ice cream creations and hand rolled waffle cones with totally cool flavors like girl scout mint, apple pie and “silly vanilly.” There’s a Moo Time at the Hotel del Coronado too!

    One of Artist Navarro Montllor's amazing seascapes!

  5. Take home a slice of paradise at the Art & Frames by Wood Gallery at 936 Orange Ave. Their just launched exhibit of fantastic seascape paintings by world-renowned artist Navarro Montllor are so realistic you can almost hear the waves crashing through the frames!

Have a fantastic 4th of July weekend!

Robert Arends

Puttin’ on the Glitz at Coronado’s Classic Movie Theater

San Diego Magazine recently spotlighted the remarkable transformation of Coronado’s historic Village Theatre (located on Orange Ave.) in their March issue. It’s well worth a read!

Rendering of the new Village Theatre.


Originally built in 1947 and then closed in 2000, this magical main street movie house from yesteryear is being lovingly renovated by Vintage Cinemas into a modern, Art Deco-inspired three-screen cinema. I’ve got to say, these designers are the best in the business at capturing the glitz and glamour of the silver screen. Locals and visitors alike are in for a Hollywood-style treat!

Puttin' on the glitz! Mural I spotted in the lobby.

The theatre is expanding to three screens – a spacious 200-seat big screen and two 45-seat screens – and incorporating the latest technology; two screens will have 3D projection capabilities.

The 200-seat main screen BEFORE.

I had the privilege of meeting with Lance Alspaugh, Vintage’s owner/partner, who gave me a sneak peek at the progress being made inside. It’s admittedly still rough around the edges, but they’re on target to open in May just in time to entertain summer beachgoers and day trippers to Coronado island.

I’ll stop in again this spring to take some more photos before they officially roll out the red carpet to the public.

200-seat main screen AFTER…San Diego-inspired - check out the Balboa Park silhouettes!