The past few years my friends and I have chosen to get outside for New Years Eve. Instead of the usual midnight toast, we prefer to be dancing around a fire swigging champs.
This MUG deserves its own post! Created by my truly talented bestie Ceramics Life For Me. We hiked Whitney this year and she gifted this mug to me at Christmas – can you believe it?!
In the past, we have gone to Joshua Tree. It is freeeezing in the desert in Winter – who knew? If you go be prepared so you don’t freeze your bunz ( like I did). The following year we did an epic road trip to the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion. It was epically amazing and a truly special way to start the New Year. This year we stayed a little closer to home and went to Yosemite. The first time I went to Yosemite was in 8th grade for Science camp and have been consistently going back since. Yosemite is beautiful in every season and has activities whenever you can go. Rafting in the summer, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter, hiking, and backpacking. No matter how many times you have been, each time is a new and fun experience.
We had planned to cross country ski to the Glacier Point Hut, but since there was no snow our trip got canceled. I still REALLY want to do that at some time but lucky for us we ended up doing something equally beautiful and grueling, Clouds Rest.
I have thought about doing Clouds Rest before but in the summer permits can be a challenge. A lot of people do it in a day, in fact most of the reviews you will read talk about doing it in a day but my friends and I decided to do an overnight backpack which turned out to be a great idea. Still challenging…have you hiked the mist trail… glad we took two days to cover the trail.
Jessica the most amazing navigator… how many more miles??!! ARE WE THERE YET?
Wait… I have to get up around this? HOW?
View of Half Dome – such a beauty and terror all rolled into one!
Sometimes going down is just as scary as going up… Where is the trail?
This is me at the top – insane, scary tiring but all around awesome!
Always enjoying a summit beer!
Little Yosemite Valley backpackers camp was pretty desolate on Jan 1 and we had the campfire to ourselves where we sipped whiskey with sweet and spicy tea … don’t knock it till you’ve tried it and Chelsea built the most epic fire!
It is amazing to be able to share these experiences with some of the most important people in my life. Thanks to them for encouraging me and waiting for me to make sure I don’t lose the trail – I am so blessed! Happy New Year and Cheers to all that 2018 brings!
With so many places to eat in San Francisco, I felt that the fact I had been to West of Pecos twice in the last month was reason enough to do a little post up here of it for others to become aware of ( if you weren’t already ) and enjoy!
First time we went was on a Friday night where we sat at the bar and ordered food. Quick friendly service and fast.
We ordered the vegetarian puffy tacos and the artichoke – both amazing!
The cocktail options are plentiful … I love a nice mezcal drink but their marg/sangria slushy is a must try… they run out often so ask about it.
The food is fresh and feels light and healthy while still being authenticly tex-mex… does that even make sense?
Bottom line its DELISH. and bonus if you go on Tuesday they have yummy tacos for 2.50, talk about a deal!
The shishito peppers were a great app for the table to share!
Side Note : This is a great spot for dinner if you are going to a show at the Chapel.
I plan to go back many times and often for their amazing combo of cocktails and great food.
Here are a few of my favorite things from this past week!
SO lucky that I get to view this every day as I workout! Wake up an hour early to live an hour more!
What is better on a Monday night than copious amounts of Gin…?! LOL
With a friend visiting from out of town you tend to get out a little more and this is how I found myself enjoying Gin cocktails this past Monday at Whitechapel on Polk in SF. I am through and through a beer girl but I happened to pick two cocktails that were surprisingly great!
Lunch at Firebrand… SO GOOD. I want to live in this Bakery, so delectable.
Planning a SLO trip with my bestie! Filled with the very best things… blading, hikes, camping, breweries! YAY
One of the most amazing Mochas in all the land… at Blue Bottle Cafe. Go and enjoy!
My all time fav backyard hike… not literally backyard but 10 minutes from my house. It is an amazing challenge with bay views and it never gets old to me!
Always trying to have no/less screen time once I get home from work… tried my hand at some watercolor painting and had a blast! I won’t be quitting my day job any time soon but its fun to try my hand at different hobbies!
It is almost that time of the year again…beer lovers across the bay unite for some of the most unique beer events.
The SF Beer Week list can be daunting, so I have a few tips for you to overcome FOMO ( fear of missing out).
If you can get this beer regularly, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it during beer week. Save your beer week belly for unique brews that you can’t get normally.
DO support local business and friends when you can. My friends band is playing at SF Beer Week’s Battle of the Bands Kickoff Festival – so naturally I am being supportive and going… I would however, normally try and steer clear of all you can drink events.
My last tip is to seek out opportunities that are outside of the norm or more rare. Beer Week is a great time to try new beers, meet brewers and other beer lovas and have a great time doing it!
….When you aren’t drinking beer during these next couple weeks I reccomend planning a few workouts, drinking plenty of water and throwing in some greens every few days!
Generally speaking when I am going to plan a vacation, I like to pick a place where I can eat good food, drink good drinks, be active ( in some capacity) and maybe throw in some time by the fire or on a hammock!
Palm Springs is a place that I had not been to since becoming an adult and as a Northern California dweller it takes a bit more to get there than from LA or SD. So when one of my Best Friends suggested we take a trip there for her birthday I very enthusiastically said , “YES”!
There was one caveat though… we were going in SUMMER! You might be thinking who in their right mind goes to the desert in the summer? Well people who love a good deal, and in the summer, Palm Springs has amazing lodging deals.
We took off from foggy San Francisco in the morning and landed in Palm Springs at potentially the hottest part of the day… walking off the plane was a rude awakening to say the least.
We assumed (wrongly) that we would be able to get a rental car since its summer… no one is in the desert right? Well without a rental car to our names we would have to uber/lyft/taxi/shuttle all around town.. which turned out to be a good option. The shuttle is great! Highly reccomend looking into it when you are there as a form of transportation.
We stayed at the Saguaro. If you aren’t living under a rock you have already seen its brightly colored, palm tree laden grounds all over instagram.
I would reccomend staying at this hotel if you LOVE to party all day and into the night… the pool parties are very popular here but also extremely annoying if that isn’t your steeze.
If I were to go back I would potentially stay at the Parkeror The Ace.
Once settled at our hotel we took a car service to Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway . We had booked a tour prior to arriving which I reccomend if you are interested. I haven’t made it to Graceland yet, so being somewhere that The King lived was a magical experience. It is hard to believe that this home is owned by a couple ( who are selling btw). To me, it seems like this house should be a museum. It is amazing though how little has been updated. The home maintains its original charm and finishes.
After our tour we were famished and in need of a bite to eat! Another note about Summer is that places close in the middle of the day/ or for the season so be prepared to not get to try all the places you have dreamed about on yelp/instagram.
Ready for day two! We started the day off with a breakfast reservation at Norma’s at the Parker ( ohh lala! ) Another summer tip – wake up early and nap during the hottest part of the day! Not rocket science!… but I thought I would share all the same!
After an amazing breakfast we strolled around the Parker grounds. Beautiful!
Next stop! Saturday morning Famers Market! and look what we found … Beer Tasting! I love to try some good local beer on all my trips so when we found Coachella Valley Brewing Co – I was stoked! Purchased a few beers for back at the hotel where we were headed for some R & R.
For dinner we headed to Birba. We went before the dinner rush and were able to be seated without a reservation.
Our meal and drinks were beyond! I highly, highly reccomend.
Then onto Tropicale, at this point of the night the air is balmy but cool enough for outside sitting and walking.
One final drink and some live music at the Amigo Room.
Day 3! Ready to indulge … yet again.
Elmer’s is a chain.. but a highly recommended chain so off we went to try it out!
After our filling breakfast we went to Moorten Botanical Garden. We thought it would be early enough to beat the heat… but we weren’t. We thought we were going to pass out after walking around, but it was beautiful!
After lounging pool side for the majority of the afternoon we got ready for dinner and drinks!
We went to The Purple Palm for drinks, I tried the Rio Rita with Ghost Pepper! Delish!
For our last lunch we hit Sherman’s Deli in Palm Springs – what a delight! It was so delicious.
After our meal we headed back to our hotel and off we flew back to the Bay! I had an amazing time in Palm Springs – the aesthetic, the food, I loved it all! I will definelty be back… would I go again in the Summer… tbd.
Looking for a quick weekend get away from the Bay Area? Look no further than Calaveras Big Trees State Park area.
At only 2.5 hours from Oakland.. its as easy to get to as Santa Cruz and definelty worth the drive!
The higher you climb the more snow you see! For a coastal gal like me snow is really exciting and my inner child gets really excited… even if it is a light coating on the side of the road.
We lucked out last minute and were able to reserve a cabin for week of… always great to check and see if there have been any late cancelations!
Enjoying a milk stout after unloading the car… very tiring. ha
Quick hike before sundown! Really beautiful to see the sun go down through the trees.
Wood stove fire place… perfect place for S’MORES! Don’t think I have ever stuffed my face with more s’mores. Here are a few trail options that you will probably want to check out before heading out! As always with State Parks and National Parks I love asking the rangers for their personal tips and tricks!
After a day of snow-hiking a brewski is much needed! AND everyone thinks so… Snowshoe was packed! Staff is friendly but be prepared to wait with a big group or for dinner! You can get beer to go in a growler or bottles. Not the best beer I have ever had.. but I am a beer snob. I will say that it def helped hit the spot after a day of ‘hard work’.
Our little cabin had a full kitchen so we were able to make dinner and breakfast which was awesome!
On our last morning, my Friends made probably the most amazing French Toast I have ever had with their homemade sourdough bread. How can food bring such joy and then sadness when you realize you can’t have it everyday!
I also was able to do a lot of weaving over the weekend which was really nice! It was great to sit by the fire and all have our individual tasks going.
One more hike before the short but windy road home!
Such a cool weekend! Really glad we were able to take a last minute trip into the Mountains for some snow play and R&R. Winter is steadily becoming one of my FAV seasons.
A little more information about visiting Calaveras in the snow.
The Warming Hut – Open weekends and holidays from Thanksgiving through late March 12 pm—4 pm. Get your hot chocolate or warm up by the fire. Pretty crowded but cute idea.
Snowshoe Tours – Offered on Saturdays and some holidays at 1 pm. Bring your own showshoes or borrow a pair of ours. Meet at Warming Hut.
On Your Own – Snow play is allowed in the North Grove area. Build a snow person, ride a sled, or simply marvel at the beauty. Bring your own cross-country skis or snowshoes and travel the North Grove trail or the 3.5 mile loop out the park road and back through the campground.
On Saturdays at 1:00pm we offer a guided hike through the North Grove area of the park. Come enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the park while learning about why this place is so special. The hike is approximately 1.5 hours long and is open to all family members (except dogs).
In the event we have enough snow in the park the hike will be a snowshoe hike. Some snowshoes are available for use on a first come, first served basis. Snowshoes are available for rent in the town of Arnold located three miles west on Highway 4.
The cost of the hike is free with paid admission to the park; meet at the Visitor Center and wear appropriate footwear. For more information, please call the Visitor Center at (209) 795-3840 or (209) 795-7980.