As a co-founder of one of the nation’s leading organic juice brands, 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, earns roughly 100M annually in revenue (Coca-Cola is a partner), and Lawless herself has made the Forbes “30 under 30” list.
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.