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Equestrian Expectation vs Reality

Equestrian Expectation vs Reality

Written By: Lorenza Gil-Kabande
Instagram: @lorenzasophiaa

As a young girl, I adored riding horses and going to see the Del Mar races. In fact, when my dad bought me my first horse, it was the happiest day of my life. I remember going to our farm to visit him every once in a while but as the years passed, we would go less and less. Although I always rode for pleasure, I had always dreamt of being an equestrian. Luckily, I was able to interview two women who have taken up equestrianism- Vanessa Hernandez and Arantxa Otañez- and were more than happy to share some insight on how their lives revolve around horse riding.

At what age did you start riding and how long did it take you to master riding?

Hernandez: “Ever since I was a little girl, I loved horses and was always interested. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old that I jumped straight into competing. I would always get so nervous! ...It took me around 6 months to a year [to master riding] because I started from scratch”

Otañez: “I’ve been riding since I was 5 years old and it took me about 2 years [to feel comfortable enough] to ride by myself”

What motivated you to take up horseback riding?

Hernandez: “I’ve always wanted to be an Escaramuza because I’ve always been interested in horses but I became an equestrian instead.”

Otañez: “I was 2 years old when my dad first put me on a horse and I remember that when it was time to go, I cried because I never wanted to get off the horse. That hasn’t changed in me… I found my place in this world.”

Do you think it’s important to have a connection with your horse? If yes, what steps do you take to strengthen that bond?

Hernandez: “It’s very important because you need to be connected. They feel everything you’re feeling; if you’re nervous or scared they’ll feel it. They’re very intelligent so you need to be confident that you will have a good class or contest.” In relation to what steps she takes to strengthen the bond with her horse, she replied, “It’s not just about being with your horse… you need to be there daily and give him love and affection. I wash, feed, brush, and walk my own horse. And everytime he did something right, I would let him know right away by talking to him and petting him.”

Otañez: “Definitely! Physical contact such as petting, hugging, walking, saddling and unsaddling and verbal communication with your horse strengthens [your bond with them]. I would talk to my horse a lot in a relaxing tone, look him in the eyes… I swear our souls connected! With body, energy, and vision you see your trajectory and communicate them step by step until we see it and do it together.

How does competing make you feel?

Hernandez: “Being in class is the absolute best but when I was competing I would get super nervous. You need to learn the obstacle course and remember it… one time I forgot!” She laughed.

Otañez: “I would always place in first in San Diego and I would feel a lot more satisfied. But when I moved to Tijuana, it was more challenging- the horses were younger, the jumps were higher, and I would fall a lot more- but I started to get better. Then I got a six year old racing horse straight from the tracks and trained him from scratch until I mastered him. That’s when I felt like I could do anything… it's a spectacular animal and a sport that causes me ecstasy.”

What words of advice would you give someone who wants to start riding horses or competing?

Hernandez: “Horses are the best. It’s a sport that requires dedication, concentration, and exercise. Horses are actually used for equine therapy!”

Otañez: “...If you want to compete to deliver passion, I would say that [you need] patience, perseverance, humility, and respect towards yourself, towards the animal, coach, and sport.  That’s what will make you get the most out of it… enjoy every second of it because you never know how long it will last and know that you will fall! You have to get back up right away and overcome the challenge. Beginners are afraid to fall but the pros have fallen a thousand times; it’s part of the sport.”

I completely agree, horses are magnificent animals and I believe that having a horse is just as beautiful as owning a pet; you just get to ride them! There are a number of places around San Diego, such as the Dove Hollow Dressage Center, the Belvedere Stables, and the Suncoast Farms, where you can keep your horse in a comfortable environment if you do not have a field or equestrian facility in mind! If you aren’t too interested in riding competitively, I highly recommend riding for pleasure as it has many health benefits!

San Diego Beach Volleyball

San Diego Beach Volleyball

Written By: Lorenza Gil-Kabande 

If your summer in San Diego doesn’t consist of playing some good old fashioned beach volleyball with your friends, you’re missing a key component to the perfect summer. Just as San Diego has a wide variety of beaches, so does its beach volleyball courts. Personally, one of my favorite activities at the beach beside learning to surf is playing volleyball. I usually go to the beach with a couple friends and even if you can’t find a court, simply having a ball and one friend makes for a great game.


There are a couple beaches in San Diego that provide a volleyball net for their guests’ enjoyment. One of them includes Mission Beach. These nets are located at S. Mission beach and are even the go-to hosts for a club called Mission Beach Volleyball which hosts tournaments and friendly games. This beach is well known for its oceanfront amusement park and is the perfect cherry-on-top after a beach day at the volleyball court.

Another beach in San Diego that has a great volleyball court is Ocean Beach. Located north of the Ocean Beach Park, you have a great view of the surfers riding the waves while you enjoy a nice game. These courts are home to many locals who wish to enjoy a friendly game without the overcrowding of tourists. I suggest you also bring your furry friend to the beach because it is a short walk from the Dog Beach! Ride up with friends or meet new ones where there is always friendly locals who are eager to play!


Known as one of San Diego’s most famous beach for its premium hotel, Coronado beach has much more to offer than a relaxing and luxurious beach day. Coronado has volleyball courts about halfway from the hotel and the bonfire pits. Here, you can challenge your friends to a game just steps away from the beach and then head over to the Hotel Del for some fine dining. 


One of the most evident benefits of playing volleyball is that it simultaneously burns calories and tones your whole body. Harvard Medical School’s studies show that even 30 minutes of non-competitive volleyball burns up to 90 to 133 calories. Due to the exercise you get while playing, it also lowers your risk of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. In conjunction with burning calories and taking care of your body’s overall well-being, the movements made in the typical volleyball game tones your upper and lower body, arms, and shoulders. A sport as fun and competitive as volleyball not only gives you benefits you can see but also those beyond the physical ones.

If the physical benefits don't intrigue you to take up volleyball, consider the emotional ones! Since volleyball is a team effort, the best way to play is with a bigger group of people! If you’re looking for friends to play volleyball with, there is a website called Meetup where you can find people with similar interests as you to hang out with! There is even a page titled “San Diego (Mostly) Beach Volleyball” for you to indulge in some volleyball and cross it off your summer bucket list! If you’re looking for a more competitive route, VAVI is a website that sets up sports leagues in the San Diego area. Here, you can register to be a part of a league and play against other teams!

Volleyball is one of the many sports where you can play with friends and even make new ones along the way! Playing with others not only boosts your mood but it also increases your interpersonal skills. In order to score points and coordinate with your team, each member must learn to be cooperative and communicative. This constant communication and encouragement within one game increase your drive to succeed because the fate of the game boils down to each member’s skills and ability to synchronize with the team. Studies show that being with friends encourages you to avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, boosts your happiness, and your self-worth.

Whether you decide to cross off beach volleyball off your San Diego summer bucket list or to register for a team, always make sure to protect yourself from the sun. The beach is always a fun idea but being overexposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays is not. Take preventative care of your skin in order to maintain healthy looking skin and avoid early signs of aging or skin cancer. Stella Wearables advises wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and taking some breaks from the game under the shade in order to protect you and your friends from the sun’s damaging rays. Take the leap this summer and enjoy your beach day with some volleyball and new friends!

Take Care Of Your Skin Now For Your Skin Tomorrow

Take Care Of Your Skin Now For Your Skin Tomorrow

Written By: Lorenza Gil-Kabande 
Instagram: @lorenzasophiaa 

Ever since I was young I watched my grandma put on her face and eye creams, but had no idea why. I questioned why she spent so much money on eye creams and why she put them in a certain way. I also didn’t understand why she always told me to put sunscreen on under my makeup. I did it anyway, because “grandma knows best” and I wouldn't dare contradict that. I dove into why she took so much care of her skin and wanted me to create that same habit at a young age. I then found out that skincare goes way beyond making your skin look flawless.

There are a lot of popular misconceptions about what skin care is and what it entails. The most common topics include sunscreen and smooth skin; While they may be right, there is a deeper purpose as to why we should wear sunscreen, and why you should take care of your skin in order to make it look good. It all goes back to preventative care and it isn’t just about creams… it also includes the responsible actions you take to protecting yourself.

Choosing to wear sunscreen not only protects you from getting a nasty tan but it also blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays, thus preventing early signs of aging and melanoma. Other than wearing sunscreen and reapplying, preventative care also demands that your actions complement the sunscreen. Some examples of things you can do are wear hats, sunglasses, staying in the shade, and limiting your UV ray exposure. Another common mistake that many people do not realize they are making is tanning- whether it is on a tanning bed or outside. Any form of UV ray exposure is harmful and can lead to serious consequences, even at a young age. While all these actions may seem small at the time, the benefits are long-term and your skin will thank you for taking care of it.

Josh Blaylock, also known as @mancrediblebeauty on Instagram, has amazing skin care tips and product reviews from a male point of view. As someone who is devoted to skincare, I took into account some of his skin care tips and product recommendations. For example, he has tips on how to properly apply eye cream, because what a lot of people don’t know is that the under-eye area is very sensitive and pulling it too much can cause early signs of wrinkles. His other posts feature products that include SPF, which can be incorporated into your daily routines such as a primer or an acne-prone skin sunblock. From using products with SPF to using face masks, he has a wide variety of recommendations for skin care that work and are more natural.

I enjoy taking care of my skin, and one way I like to keep my skin refreshed is with face masks. A natural mask I like to make at home is the Matcha Green Tea and Honey mask, which gives me that natural glow I so desperately yearn for. The only two ingredients involved are matcha powder and natural honey, but the outcome is spectacular! Another positive thing about this homemade face mask is that it is pretty easy to avoid a disaster or a screw up while making it. If you aren’t familiar with matcha, it’s a “powdered tea” that has a greater source of nutrients (compared to regular green tea), due to the way the plant is harvested. Some benefits of matcha green tea include the treatment of inflammation, treating all skin types, diminishing the signs of aging, and improving your overall complexion. The second ingredient, raw honey, also has many benefits for the skin such as being a moisturizer, brightener, acne fighter, lightener, and is even useful on sunburns! Making the face mask is not complicated nor is all that time consuming; I recommend making extra for future use! Simply mix one part honey and one part matcha powder and mix until you create a thick paste. Despite how much you want to make, you still combine the two ingredients in equal parts. Leave it on for about 15 to 20 minutes and rinse with warm water. You’ll immediately feel your face thanking you for trying this mask out!

For those of you who still want the benefits of an all-natural mask but don’t have the time to make them, I urge you all to check out Lush products! Their products range from grooming products to shampoos and conditioners, face masks, and all the way to make up! The products are all natural-based and handmade by real people who care about what goes into each product. In addition to their large variety of products, each face mask serves its own purpose. For example, to exfoliate my skin, I buy the ‘Mask of Magnaminty’ because it has fresh ingredients that deeply cleanse my skin leaving it smooth and refreshed. Another product I love from Lush is the ‘Cup O’ Coffee’ because of the invigorating smell of coffee and cocoa, stimulates my skin and leaves it feeling super smooth and glowy. One of the last products that one of my friends swears by is the ‘Dirty’ shaving cream. He claims that it gives him a fresh, close shave and that it’s so gentle that it can be used on your body or face. Whether you decide to try out the products I recommended or choose to find the product that benefits you most, I highly believe that the more natural a product is the more benefits you will receive.  

Skin care isn’t just about making yourself look flawless now- it’s about maintaining healthy skin throughout the years. Pay attention to what is in each product you buy and monitor what you do to your skin because even though some products give you immediate results, they can be harmful to you in the long-run. My grandma has always said, “It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on treatments and creams- if you don’t take care of your skin the right way, the damages you make will outweigh the benefits.” Please make sure to take care of your body- it’s the only one you get.