The California Questionnaire: Annie Lawless VC_Questionnaire_AnnieLawless_01_Annie_Lawless_0363_COMP_alt_466_PeggySirota_1280x640
Photograph by Peggy Sirota

The California Questionnaire: Annie Lawless

The California Questionnaire: Annie Lawless
The Suja Juice co-founder, yoga instructor, and wellness aficionado is passionate about her Southern California home

As one of the founders of the nation’s leading organic juice brand, Annie Lawless knows a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. She abandoned law school to pursue her dream of creating the San Diego–based Suja Juice in 2012, and the decision proved to be a smart one: The company has made Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies” list twice, it was recently valued at $300 Million (Coca-Cola is a partner), and Lawless herself made the Forbes “30 under 30” list in 2016.

The SoCal lifestyle suits Lawless’s ethos of living holistically—which she writes about on her blog, Blawnde.com—and here, she explains why she feels most at home near the beach in San Diego County.

Where do you live? La Jolla, California.

Why there?  When I moved to San Diego for law school, my first apartment was in La Jolla. The minute I moved there something just clicked, and I haven’t left since. I spend time in lots of other parts of San Diego—like Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, and Encinitas—but La Jolla makes me feel cozy and it will always be my home. It has the most lovely mile-long beach, with beautiful sand, walkable restaurants, beautiful sunsets, and great energy. I plan to be here until the day I die!

Who or what is your greatest California love? The Pacific Coast! There is absolutely nothing like living in California, right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. No matter where I am in the state, when I see the water, I feel a huge wave of comfort and peace wash over me because I know I am home.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? That we are so laid back. We definitely know how to relax and enjoy life, but there are so many amazing entrepreneurs and extremely successful start-ups based in California. Californians have a certain passion for life and living it to the fullest, which also translates to being ambitious and doing really cool things in the world.

What is the stereotype that most holds true? That we can’t handle real weather. We actually can’t. While Northern California can get much chillier, Southern California is pretty dreamy year-round. When it drops below 65 degrees we don’t really know how to handle the situation. And storms? We don’t really understand what those are.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? A nine-course meal at The French Laundry in Yountville by Chef Thomas Keller. Lots of indulgent food, lots of delicious wine, and lots of well-spent money… Need I say more?

Time for a road trip—where are you going? Every year around my birthday, we plan a California coast road trip from San Diego up to Napa. We stop for two nights in Santa Barbara, two nights in Big Sur, and three nights in Napa. Each place is so unique and different from the last, which is the beauty of California. Seeing the coast over the course of a few days and driving through such amazing scenery that varies from sun-soaked beaches to lush forests is pretty amazing and unlike anything else in the world.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Fish tacos from a local spot near the beach, like El Pescador in La Jolla. The fish taco embodies all of the great things about California’s location. The fish is fresh, the accouterments are authentically Mexican in flavor, the price is right, and it’s a casual surfer meal to grab and eat at the beach. There is nothing pretentious or fussy about the fish taco. It’s just really damn good, and if you come to California you have to try it at least once.

Best California song? Hotel California” by the Eagles and “California Girls” by the Beach Boys.

How would your California dream day unfold? This is going to sound very simple, but that’s why California is pure magic. You don’t need to do much to have an absolute dream of a day when you’re here. Growing up without an ocean nearby has always made me gravitate to spending the majority of my free time at the beach. I would wake up early—because the sun coming up over the water is one of my favorite visions—and do yoga on the sand. Then, I would walk with my boyfriend on the beach for breakfast at a local café, sitting outside. After that, we would hit the farmers’ market for some of the most fresh, beautiful produce in the world. Then, I would throw on a bikini and jean shorts to head to the beach for a day of stand-up paddling, reading, napping, people-watching, and sunning. In the late afternoon, we would pack up and head home to grill some delicious fresh fish and veggies from the farmers’ market earlier that day. We would have dinner with our friends on our deck with good music, great drinks, an ocean view, and no worries in the world! During the summer there are lots of days like these, and they are my absolute favorite California moments. 

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Explore California Luxury
Wellness expert Annie Lawless shares her favorite spots for shopping, relaxing, and getting pampered in the Golden State.
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Myles McGuinness

Discover San Diego County

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December
Average (°F)
Dec - Feb
65°
High
49°
Low
Mar - May
67°
High
56°
Low
June - Aug
74°
High
65°
Low
Sept - Nov
73°
High
60°
Low

Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean, and a year-round daily forecast of 70°F, and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of the state is all about outdoor fun. Discover top theme parks and attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and LEGOLAND California.

The first European explorer to land in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, came ashore in San Diego in 1542.

Relax at legendary retreats like Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in San Diego and surrounding cities like luxurious La Jolla, and enjoy world-class golf at Torrey Pines, and enjoy culture and diversity, all at the edge of a sparkling blue sea.

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Del Mar

This San Diego County beach town is home to blissful ocean views—but it also knows how to throw a party

Despite Del Mar’s idyllic oceanfront setting, this little town just north of San Diego was, in many ways, born around horses. The...

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Chula Vista

San Diego County’s second largest city boasts authentic Mexican food, a burgeoning craft beer scene, and outdoor activities galore

About seven miles from downtown San Diego in one direction and the Mexican border in another, Chula Vista is quickly developing its own strong...

Escondido
George Ostertag/Alamy

Escondido

Explore the craft breweries, culinary scene, and adventurous outdoors of this unique San Diego city

About 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Escondido is the best little...

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Courtesy of Cohn Restaurant Group

Coasterra

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Book a table at this San Diego waterfront knockout

Got a boat? That’s the only way you’ll get a better view of San Diego’s waterfront skyline and twinkling bridges than the panorama you get from...

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Where to Watch a La Jolla Sunset

Want to nail your sunset shot? Our expert has six sensational recommendations to match any mood

As a San Diego concierge for more than a decade, Brett Hamblen is well versed in sunset recommendations. For his role as the chief concierge at...

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Stretching 1,942 feet, the historic Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the Pacific Ocean.
This San Diego music festival combines A-list acts with local flavor and upscale beach culture

You don’t need a high tolerance for open fields, concession-stand dining, or possibly mud to enjoy K...

KAABOO Del Mar
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John Bahu

Spotlight: San Diego

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California dreamers, endless coastline & sunshine

As if all that sunshine isn’t enough, here’s a waterfront city brushed by perfect breezes, the light just right, the beer perfectly hoppy after a...

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Courtesy of San Diego Zoo

Spotlight: San Diego Zoo

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See rare and endangered species

Visiting this expansive zoo in San Diego’s Balboa Park is more than a chance to see animals from all over the world: it’s a chance to see one of...

Too darned pretty. Everywhere you look out there, everything's just too danged pretty! I'm usually the prettiest thing!
musician Little Richard on San Diego
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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

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Famous for their giant sequoias, soaring mountains, deep canyons, and roaring rivers, this tandem set of parks have plenty to see, even though they are less well known than Yosemite, roughly 75 miles/120 kilometers north. Within the borders of Sequoia & Kings Canyon are Mount Whitney, the...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of the Golden State’s most appealing destinations....

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Where to eat, what to drink

Endless Sun, Oceanfront Dining & Craft Breweries

With its endless sun and oceanfront location, as well as strong influences from Mexico, San Diego offers plenty of dining options—from flaky fish...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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Lucas Himovitz
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The historic 101 Café in Oceanside is the oldest continuously-operating restaurant on historic Highway 101.
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Alexa Miller

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Find out where the wild things are

Like a journey to Africa, a day at this spectacular park lets you see some of the world’s most magnificent—and endangered—animals at close range...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Thanks be to God, I arrived here...at this Port of San Diego. It is beautiful to behold, and does not belie its reputation.
Father Junipero Serra
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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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From north to south, beer is booming in California

With nearly 500 breweries statewide (and probably more by the time you read this), it’s safe to say that the craft beer movement isn’t just booming in California, it’s BOOMING—capital letters...

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Mission & San Diego Bays

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Visit waterfront parks for boating, biking, and coaster rides

Mission Bay and San Diego Bay trim the edge of the city like sparkling gems. Dozens of outfitters can get you out amidst the blue via every...

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Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
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Start in one of California’s sunniest destinations, not just in terms of the weather, but also in attitude. In the heart of the city, shop in Horton Plaza, or catch a baseball game at Petco Park. See the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo. Next, explore one of the city’s diverse neighborhoods,...

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Finish your trip in one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to visit “the City by the Bay” park your car and explore by foot, bike, and unique public transportation. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then explore the lush Presidio, a former military base that’s now a...

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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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San Diego Golf

Get your daily dose of greens at oceanfront courses

Perfect weather, challenging course, and incredible settings make San Diego County a golfer’s dream destination. It’s not surprising that many of...

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Julian

Visit a surprising mountain town that’s as American as apple pie

Poised between the desert and the coast, a little more than an hour’s drive east of San Diego, this surprising mountain town makes a great day...

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau