Gold panthers and (kinda) free beer

Although we’ve lived in California for almost a year, Toby and I still feel like newbies. Sure, we have our favorite restaurants and I’m on a first-name basis with employees at both local Kate Spade stores, but the only time we really attempted to “go out” was kind of a disaster. We are definitely not cool kids.

It was with all of this in mind that I bought us tickets to San Diego Magazine’s annual Best of North County party. I figured we could have a good time, sample lots of food and adult beverages and maybe meet some new people.


We didn’t really meet any new people, and there wasn’t a ton of food there for me to eat, but we definitely had a great time. And there was no shortage of things to drink.

champagne dress lady

The party was at the over-the-top gorgeous Park Hyatt Aviara, and we were greeted by this champagne dress cage situation.

noco dress toby beer

San Diego is the craft beer capital of the world, and the breweries were out in full force. And Stella Artois was one of the sponsors, which Toby was not at all mad about.

stella stella glasses

The dress code was “California cocktail,” which apparently ranged from bandage dresses and stripper heels to jeans and tennis shoes, but I went with this sparkly panther dress, which I love, and some peep-toe gold leopard-print wedges — heels are treacherous in grass, y’all. Toby wore a nice shirt and jacket with jeans and boots; I think he’s more California than me, and I was born here!

jen noco shoes

Besides all the beverages, there were tons of restaurants with samples. But, the food seemed to be mainly desserts (cupcakes and mini-pies!) and seafood. One Italian restaurant was serving tiny portions of gnocchi (my favorite), but the line was wicked long so we didn’t go back for seconds.

noco selfie

We left a little early, so we missed the fire dancers, sadly. But it was definitely a great party, and it made us feel like cool kids, at least for a few hours.


On me: Dress: Anthropologie (old, similar styles here and here), Shoes: Lilly Pulitzer (old, similar), Earrings: LimboBag: Kate Spade (old, similar), Bow ring: Kate Spade (old, similar)

On Toby: Jacket: Brooks Brothers (old), ShirtBrooks Brothers, JeansLucky, Boots: To Boot New York


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