My fav mocha…. and I am not even a mocha person, but the mocha at Blue Bottle is made with tcho and is ohhh so good. Pair it with a waffle and you have a decadently sweet breakfast.
My love affair with Firebrand continues. Not just a bakery – they serve up amazing breakfast and lunch fare… They also recently started serving beer and wine in the evenings. Need to check it out soon.
Another place I love every time I go but I just don’t go enough is Drake’s Dealership. Went here for lunch and may have had a little too much to drink, but the beers were SO good.
If you love German food head to Gaumenkitzel in Berkeley. This is my second time there and I LOVED it both times. Great for vegetarians and meat lovers alike with an extensive beer and wine menu.
Branching out from the East Bay for this last one! The Jug Shop on Polk in the City has an AMAZING selection of beer, liquor, and wine. They also put on wonderful tastings. My friend and I went there for a sour tasting and we were blown away by how extensive and delicious it was. As you can see I went home with quite a bit!!
Our next morning started out at a newer SLO fav, Scout Coffee. They now have two locations in San Luis and we went to the shop on Foothill Foothill. The decor is on point and their homemade almond milk will make you sing.
I tried the scone with scallions and goat cheese which was delicious. The vibe was LOUD… I don’t know how someone could study there but maybe on a weekday it would be less rambunctious.
After our coffee and pastries, we headed to Avila to hike the Ridge Trail. This time we parked closer to Pirates Cove… off Cave Landing.
We started at the hill of doom, much better going up than down.
Once we caught our breaths… well once I caught my breath we selfied 🙂
SO amazingly beautiful and vast. Once we were leaving we noticed that it had gotten a lot more crowded. We were lucky that we had so much alone trail time.
Once in Avila, we stopped for lunch and brews and then headed back on the trail to finish our 5 mile round trip blade sesh.
Saturday Night, we had plans to camp at Montana de Oro State Park. This is probably one of the most beautiful places you will ever go in your life.
Is this real life??? Views and Brews?!! On this somewhat stormy Saturday Night Libertine Pub in Morro Bay was pretty empty but a live band came on at eight that brought in more of a crowd. We enjoyed dinner and a few brewskies.
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.
Our first full day in Zion and we needed some fuel so we stopped at Cafe Soleil . I ordered the breakfast burrito and dirty soy chai latte ( chai latte with shot of espresso! ). Very filling and great.
Next we headed to Zion Outfitter to inquire about hiking the Narrows the following day. How much for gear rental, weather conditions etc. This place was recommended to us by our bartender the night before as having the best equipment for the Narrows. I don’t have anything to compare it to but I had a great experience with everyone who worked here. I highly suggest purchasing your crampons beforehand ( much cheaper!) but they also had the good crampons not just yak tracks.
Finally headed into the park, lines get longer the later it gets. Loved this ‘RL GOOD’ license plate! After stopping at the visitor center and getting information about trail closures etc… we decided to start hiking at Lower Emerald Pool Trail and see how we were feeling. We had NO.. I repeat NO intention of hiking to Angel’s Landing. The park ranger specified how dangerous it was and that if we were to fall there would be no rescue party – yowzaaaa so we decided we would just build our own hike and see where it would take us.
From Lower Emerald Pool Trail to The Grotto Trail and Kayenta Trail then finally towards Angel’s Landing Trail itself. Once we were there we decided to just see how far we could go.. we all had crampons and hiking poles which made ALL the difference. People were hiking without but I don’t know why you would.
MADE IT TO THE TOP! WOOHOO – Amazing feeling, can not begin to describe! Don’t think I would do it again but it was invigorating. I almost feel that in the winter it might be better… this is because with the crampon you really dig into the snow instead of just climbing on rock.
I would definelty reccomend Angel’s Landing in winter but you 100% should have crampons and hiking poles!
Someone even took the time to make a snowman!
Heading back down – on the way up this trail was full of people… now it is deserted.
SO many switchbacks! I don’t know how I would have survived this without my poles or crampons.. I will keep saying it.. they were lifesavers!!
You may not believe this but until this trip I hadn’t been to Vegas… it just isn’t my steeze and after going to Vegas I can safely say I don’t need to go back. The drive from LA to Vegas is rather beautiful. Lots of snow capped mountains and even some cool art instillations.
We all love Food Network and thought it would be fun to check out Giada’s restaurant. Her menu looks great with lots of smaller dishes to try and share. My favorite was probably the side of broccolini… delish! I also enjoyed the Tangerine / Tequila drink.
Really amazing parmesan crackers. Can I get those to go?
I have been to NYC twice and still haven’t made it to Serendipity so when in Vegas we finally had a frozen hot chocolate! I reccomend sharing with friends as it is extremely rich and sweet.
I was beside myself when I saw this Dolly slot machine. If I was a gambling lady I think this machine would have brought me luck!
The Bellagio botanical garden was decked out for Christmas and while it was extremely crowded it was also really beautiful.
This Joker was a little creepsville.
We then hit the Chandelier Bar in The Cosmo. Ironically, my friend, Chelsea, had been telling me about a drink she tried with a flower that made her mouth numb…say what? Then, our waitress told us about a drink they have with this same flower. It was a really crazy feeling. I did a little research and the flower is called, Acmella oleracea. Super fascinating and I highly reccomend trying this flower if you get a chance.
Not your typical Christmas Day but it was fun to see the strip lit up (more than usual) and the fun Christmas decor.
I love a good adventure so when two of my friends asked if I was interested in a road trip to Zion/Bryce for New Years I gave a whole hearted yes. This is our second year doing a road/camping trip for NYE. Last year we went to Joshua Tree and it was amazing but this year we decided to do something a little more exploratory!
Check out our map below and feel free to add and use as you please!
We began our trip on Christmas Day, December 25 and made it home January 2.
I can’t quite fathom the beauty that we were able to experience but I am excited to share with you what we did so that it might encourage and spur you on to take your own trip. These places are magical in the winter, still fairly crowded, but if you go far enough on a trail you will find that it is much more desolate than the rim or valley.
Here are a few pics to wet your appetite and get you ready for the posts to come. I plan on breaking down each day so you can get an idea of our road trip itinerary and how we made our trip awesome.
A little planning and lot of ‘be here now’ moments made for a trip that has impacted my life and also has encouraged me to live life outside more this year. My mind, body and soul crave the outdoors and I feel so fueled and ready to kick start my 2017.