We had the good fortune of connecting with Reina Le and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Reina, how do you think about risk?
In 2016, I decided to move to the United States to pursue my graduate studies. It was a big risk for me at that time because I did not have any family or know anybody living here in San Diego. Moving here gave me the opportunity to pursue a passion of mine which is photography. If I did not take the risk of moving, I would not be able to experience witnessing the most beautiful sceneries in San Diego.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Although my passion is photography, I’m an analyst for an energy company. So on the weekdays, I work on a regular job and then weekdays is when go check out new spots to take photos. I also had just started an Instagram page for interior design and organization tips! I think what sets me apart from others is my international work and life experience. I am most proud of the fact that I was able to complete my graduate studies despite how difficult it was to be away from my family. The journey that got me to where I am today was not an easy one because it was hard being away from home as well as in a new and unfamiliar environment. I was able to overcome these challenges by video calling home to see my family and exploring San Diego. The challenges I faced on this journey have taught me that working hard, staying organized, determined, and passionate will help you overcome any obstacle. The things that I have learned is what inspires me to continue posting my photography to my Instagram pages.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is actually a funny question because I always have the same itinerary for my friends visiting! In fact, I have a blog entry drafted right now for my website on “Exploring San Diego in a week” So here it is! People always say save the best for last but in San Diego, there’s no better or worse because everything is literally the best! DAY ONE – Coronado Island: AM: If you are an early bird, watch your first sunrise in Tidelands Park, Coronado! It’s one of the best views of the city in the morning! Brunch at Queenstown Public House (make sure you try their Pacific Shrimp and Shrimp and Grits!!) PM: Ride a ferry to Coronado and explore the island. Check out Hotel del Coronado and get some interesting flavored gelato from Sundae’s at the Del. For some relaxation, I always lounge at the grassy area in front of Serea and watch the ocean while eating my gelato. Dinner: It is a must to go to The Henry in Orange Ave. Their Peanut Butter Molten Cake is to die for! After dinner, make sure to drop by Centennial Park and watch the San Diego skyline. You will be left speechless. DAY TWO – Beaches: If you’re in San Diego during the summertime, make sure to spend at least one full day at the beach. Brunch: Baja Beach Cafe in Pacific Beach and try their fajitas!! Oh and did I mention margaritas that are served in fish bowls!? You can spend your whole day in Pacific Beach or Mission Beach. Enjoy the sun! Get some drinks at the Beach House! Their Mai Tais are amazing! Dinner: Cannonball has some awesome sushi. DAY THREE – La Jolla Brunch: Duke’s La Jolla really has some great food and drinks! And let’s not forget, the view is spectacular! Check out the sea lions and seagulls in La Jolla Cove. Make sure to also check Scripp’s Pier. You can route yourself to MESOM Laboratory and use the stairs to watch the sunset. You’ll thank me later 🙂 If you have extra time, Visit the Birch Aquarum and go to the La Jolla Swings. You can just park your car at Birch Aquarium lot. Dinner: Head to UTC La Jolla and have dinner at Javier’s. This is probably one of my top five restaurants here in San Diego. Oh, AND they have the best ceviche ever. DAY FOUR – Ocean Beach Brunch: OB Wonderland Spend your day at Ocean Beach and explore this charming part of San Diego. You’ll see farmer markets, cute little shops and adorable cafes. They also have a dog Beach, so if you have a dog, this is a must to visit! Then you can go to Sunset Cliffs and spend your day in the little sandy beaches. They are very secluded so picnics are a good idea too!! After a whole day of fun, you must stay for the sunset because I mean, it’s called Sunset Cliffs – it’s named that for a reason. DAY FIVE – Point Loma and Downtown San Diego Wake up early and head to Shelter Island and do some Pedal Boating with EcoBoat Rentals! Brunch: Head out to Bali Hai Restaurant for some amazing Polynesian cuisine for brunch. You’re on vacation, it’s never too early for drinks. They also have the strongest Mai Tais!! After, make sure to check out the Cabrillo National Park and see the Point Loma Tide Pools. In heading back, before stopping by Liberty Station, drop by Better Buzz coffee in Rosecrans Street for some midday pick me up! Once you’re in Liberty Station, check out Liberty Public Market and make sure to check out – Mama Made Thai, Chris Ono Grinds, West Bean Coffee and Bao Bar! Dinner: You can go to Coasterra or Island Prime for some sweeping views of the city. DAY SIX – Little Italy Oh Little Italy! I mean, this is probably my favorite spot in San Diego, which is probably why I live here 😅 Brunch: MORNING GLORY. Enough said. Saturdays are for Little Italy Mercato which is probably the biggest Farmer’s Market in San Diego! You will probably spend an hour or two here because all the stalls are just very interesting and not to mention has great diversity of products! From relish dips to succulents!! PM: Balboa Park is pretty much close to Little Italy so you can take a stroll and check out the museums. Dinner: After a long day, you can go back to Little Italy area and check out Portside Pier. My favorite place there is Miguel’s. Make sure to stop by Waterfront Park and see the City Hall light up! DAY SEVEN – San Diego On your last day, make sure to check out Mission Basilica San Diego – it is California’s first mission. You will be in awe of how charming this church is. Go grab some brunch from The Great Maple in Hillcrest. While you’re there, drop by the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market! That’s pretty much it for a week in San Diego!! You can always re-arrange the places you wanna go to first but this for me I think works best because you get to explore different places everyday!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give my shoutout to my family, especially my parents who supported me with my decision in moving more than 8,000 miles away from home. And of course to my husband for taking me to locations to shoot and for supporting my crazy ventures!
Other: I also have my decor and organization page at www.instagram.com/atouchofrein
All photos are own by me, Reina Le.