Fav Things in the Bay

This past weekend I had a couple friends visit, last minute, in the middle of the week… which can be the best kind of visits… the best places are way less crowded on a Thursday!

The weather had been rainy all week but we were lucky to have sunny skies over us on the day they were visiting.

First Stop… Beauty’s Bagels! Yes, it is a bit hipstery ( whatever that means…) but it isgenuinelyy delicious and one of my favorite places in Oakland for breakfreast.

I always take people here who are visiting and they always love it. I love the Veggie bagel but this particular day I tried the fried chicken and let me tell you… it was some of the best friend chicken I have ever had.IMG_4411

After fueling up, we headed to Tenessee Valley for a hike!  This is a leisure hike that you can make more challenging or longer as you see fit for you and your group.

Always layer!FullSizeRenderIMG_4416756FF0A7-DC46-484F-A84C-7CD04E432AE9IMG_4418IMG_4422

Next stop! One of my ALL TIME fav mexican restaurants I have ever been to, The Sausalito Taco Shop. The crema, the micheladas, the seafood… yes PLEASE!IMG_4445

After lunch, it was time for some beer! We headed back across the Richmond Bridge for one of my fav breweries ( are you sensing a theme? Of course I would take my friends to do my favorite things! ), Fieldwork in Berkeley.

I am NEVER disappointed here and I always take home a crowler, growler or apparel! … I just love it!IMG_4447IMG_4449

Next stop, Rare Barrel… If you LOVE Sours…where have you been??? Get to The Rare Barrel. The server asked if we were on Spring Break… We took it as a compliment… life should be one long spring break!IMG_4456IMG_4454IMG_4457

After heading home to clean up we hit my neighborhood brewery, Temescal.IMG_4488IMG_4494

Love the beer garden here… dreaming of Summer already!IMG_4502IMG_4495

SO glad that these two came and visited me! It allowed me to visit my favorite places with two of the funniest people I know!

Come back anytime!IMG_4510

We then headed to one of my fav Korean spots, Bowl’d BBQIMG_4512

After that, we hit one last brewery, Woods in Uptown Oakland. Love the fire pit vibes they set up!IMG_4513IMG_4514

Additionally, if you want to dance on a Thursday night, head to Era Art Bar… always a fun time!

And… there you have it! A few of my favorite things… in the BAY!

Hike, Blade and Beach

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. scoutcoffeeimg_3454scoutcoffeeimg_3456

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.hillofdeathavilaridgetrail

Once we caught our breaths… well once I caught my breath we selfied 🙂bestiesavilaridgetrail

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.avilaridgetrailwildflowersofavilaridgetrailavilaridgetrailpeace

After our hike, we put on our blades and rolled down the Bob Jones Trailbobjonesbladeseash

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.midbladelunchatcustomhouseavila

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. mdomdosunsetmdoimg_9237montanamdoimg_3499sunsetbestiesmdosunsetatmdoyummysunsetatmdo

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. libertinepub

What a fulfilling day!

My top favs in Indonesia

I am finally getting ready to share my Indonesia and Malaysia trip here and going through the photos and my journal from the trip are really stoking my need for adventure and travel.

Here are a few top memories from the trip…

All packed up and ready to go! One carry on for three weeks. The truth of the matter is I probably had too much.indoorbust-3weeksina-carryon

Our first meal in Indonesia, and quite possibly the best meal of the entire trip. This simple and cheap meal still lingers in my dreams.

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Epic sunset wavesbatubolongbeach

The most amazing iced coffee from Crate Cafe in Canggu.cratecafecanggu

When GoogleMaps takes you to a remote village and an Indonesia man takes you into the rice fields…ricefieldsindo

A cool, not so secret waterfall, Tegenungan Waterfall in Ubud.

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Dicing and Slicing our way to Balinese Cuisine Cooking Professionals!

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We drove all night to see this crater at Sunrise.kawahijenjavaindo

Just a casual gecko joining us for lunch.madenewfriendsongili

Lowest of low tides on Gili Air.lowtideislandlife

Beach art on Gili Air – coral and Bintang bottles.giliairartbintang

You don’t see a goat… or any animal on the back of a motorbike often.justgoatforit

My Birthday! Which included a street side serenade – magical!kutabeachbirthday

A little oasis on the side of the road. kutabeachlombok

A few friends at the beach in Kuta Lombokbisononthebeachlombok

Sometimes the best views take a few (hundred) wrong turns. Getting to Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfall was an adventure.

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Drop Inn Cafe … when you are done dropping in on waves you can drop in for a sweet treat. dropinncafelombok

Ratu Boko Temple in Yogya. It was an adventure getting there… but Sunset did not disappoint.yogyakartaindo

At 1/15 coffee I tried an interesting combo of espresso, lime and sparkly water coffewithseltzerandlime-indo

A flip flop hike to watch the sun go down.sflipfliphikelombokindo

A few of my fav moments … get ready for the breakdown in the next couple weeks.

Zion – The Narrows in Winter

You may be going into this post thinking… The Narrows in the Winter?? It must be freezing and well you might be right… It would be cold without the proper gear.

We were recommended Zion Outfitter by a local for having the best Narrows Gear. Like I mentioned in my previous post – the staff is super friendly here, they fixed a crampon that I didn’t even buy from their store! Great service.

Another important tid bit is that you need to start as early as possible… I know its hards but it will make your experience so much better! Towards the end of our hike icicles were dropping which is terrifying.

The park ranger told us that a man got a perma dent in his head from an icicle falling on him. So set your alarm, get your booties in gear and get in the water early. You will also see way less people. We saw maybe 10 total while we were in the Narrows and a whole slew of people were coming in as we were leaving.

Falling icicles, no thanks…Get an early start – no melting ice!

Also… an amazing resource was a post from Just a Colorado Gal about her experience hiking The Narrows in the Winter. Great inspiration!

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We found this map super helpful … well super helpfulish. I think we were walking faster than it guestimated. At any rate helpful to have!img_2901img_2902zionnationalparkpuxg5473zionnationalparkwhiw6512

All geared up! So cute and so dry!zionnationalparkoskk4427zionnationalparklwjd8993zionnationalparkimg_8415zionnationalparkimg_8414zionnationalparkrzvt0001zionnationalparkimg_8392zionnationalparkimg_8393zionnationalparkimg_8391zionnationalparkimg_7825zionnationalparkimg_8428zionnationalparkwvzm6915

I wasn’t expecting how much walking there would be outside of the water… many areas you could walk on dry ground.zionnationalparkimg_7836zionnationalparkimg_7838zionnationalparkimg_7837zionnationalparkimg_8448zionnationalparkimg_8445zionnationalparkimg_8452zionnationalparkimg_7840

Another potentially helpful tip would be to bring extra gloves… I fell in within the first 5 minutes so one of my gloves were wet the entire time. Actually, not terrible but if this would be a deal breaker for you… and you are falling prone than bring extra gloves. I think I fell a total of 3 times … maybe 4. hahazionnationalparkimg_7839zionnationalparkimg_7843zionnationalparkvyak6145zionnationalparkimg_7865zionnationalparkimg_7867

The views were truly unlike anything I have seen before. It was outer-wordly. zionnationalparkimg_7860

They say the camera adds 10 pounds… but I might say 20 lbs in this photo!zionnationalparkimg_8459

The best hydro sneaks – kept our feet SO dry!zionnationalparktaxt8745zionnationalparkimg_8454zionnationalparkimg_7886

Beautiful!zionnationalparkimg_7888zionnationalparkimg_7895zionnationalparkimg_7892zionnationalparkimg_7891zionnationalparkimg_7890

If you prepare for The Narrows in Winter you will have an amazing experience. This will be an experiencing I remember for the rest of my life.

Zion – Angel’s Landing in Winter

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. zionnationalparkimg_2227

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. zionnationalparkimg_2230

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PC : John Thomas

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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.zionnationalparkimg_2243zionnationalparkimg_2249zionnationalparkimg_2254zionnationalparkimg_7679zionnationalparkimg_7681

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! zionnationalparkimg_7682zionnationalparkimg_7686zionnationalparkimg_7689

Someone even took the time to make a snowman!

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PC : Chelsea Thomas
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PC : Chelsea Thomas

Heading back down – on the way up this trail was full of people… now it is deserted.

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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!! zionnationalparkimg_7698zionnationalparkimg_7703zionnationalparkimg_8293

Felling really amazing after this hike!zionnationalparkimg_8298

Spotted some wildlife!zionnationalparkimg_2255

Now headed to Zion Mountain Ranch… our home for the next two days! Time to relax. zionnationalparkimg_2389

Grand Canyon to Horseshoe Bend

Sunrise in the Canyon! One of the most special sunrises I have ever experienced. Very few people out on the rim and for good reason… it was an icy tundra out there. Our phones kept turning off because they were so cold, we kept trying to warm them up so we could take some photos! grandcanyonthumb_img_1724_1024grandcanyonthumb_img_1727_1024grandcanyonthumb_img_1733_1024

Don’t mind my sweatpants… we literally jumped out of our sleeping bags, packed up the car and bounced.grandcanyonthumb_img_1737_1024

Photo Cred to the random foreigner smoking a cigarette. Thanks.grandcanyonthumb_img_1739_1024

It is so hard to capture in a picture the shadows and shifts in light and color. It is such a unique and beautiful experience.grandcanyonthumb_img_1743_1024

Naturalist John Muir described Grand Canyon: ” In the supreme flaming glory of sunset (Can I impose… sunrise?!) the whole canyon is transfigured as if the life and light of centuries of sunshine stored up in the rocks was now being poured forth as from one glorious fountain, flooding both earth and sky.”

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P.C. : Chelsea Thomas

I look very bundled and it was cold but probably not that cold!grandcanyonthumb_img_7285_1024

Once you leave the Park at Desert View you enter into Navajo Land. You will see many road side stands and also paths for lookouts and paths. Get off the road and explore – another adventure awaits!

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P.C. : Chelsea Thomas
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P.C. : Chelsea Thomas

Stopped in Cameron. Basically, a couple buildings one of which was a massive gift shop with a fine dinning restaurant in the back… since that looked like the only place to get coffee we asked if we could sit at a table and write our post cards. They obliged and we spent a lovely time in their beautiful dinning room. Great view of the surrounding landscape.

We set our GPS for Antelope Canyon to check out and see what all the hype is about. From our online research it appeared that you had to pay a fee to take a tour to the slot canyons at Antelope both Upper and Lower.

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Information at one tour company.

We are not tour people so we knew we weren’t really interested in that but we were hopeful that we might be able to pay to go onto the Navajo land but make our own tour!

If you are a professional photographer OR fancy yourself one maybe it would be worth it for you to go, but for myself it just wasn’t worth it. There are a few different companies but a gentleman working at Kens Tours told us about ‘Waterholes Canyon’. Two miles south of Horseshoe Bend – if you have gone over the bridge you have gone too far. There is a fence with opening and it is likely you will see other cars parked to the side of the road.

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There were maybe 5/6 other people milling about so we were able to see where to head down into the canyon. We spent about an hour walking through the canyon – SO awesome! Very few people around which made for a cool, meditative experience.

About thirty minutes before sunset we headed back over to Horseshoe Bend. Woah! What a difference – a ton of people were surrounding the famed bend. We guesstimated a couple hundred. The sign at the front specifies that no drones are allowed but of course a few people had them out buzzing around.

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Amazing!

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A photo of Laura taking a photo of Scott! 

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Despite the buzzing of the drones and women taking glamor shots on the edge it was still a must see and I would go back 100 times over. It is so amazing to see how water has shaped the landscape. I think if you tried to hit it at sunrise you would luck out with less people, just because people like sleeping in!

After sunset, we drove about 45 mins closer towards the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to a campground called White House Trailhead and Campground in Kanab, UT. We got there at dark, turned off the highway and drove two miles on a dirt road. Five dollars a night per spot – what a deal!  We set up camp in the dark, with only the stars and headlamps as our guide. We decided to tent camp tonight because it was pretty nice out ( 39 degrees). Chelsea built an amazing fire and we enjoyed some time together looking at the stars and drinking a beer.

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We planned to get up early in the morning to drive the rest of the way, another 45 minutes, to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to see about getting a wave permit for the following day.

 

Despite the cold temps overnight we were warm and toasty! Well rested for a day of adventures.

From LA to Vegas

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. lasvegasthumb_img_1559_1024

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. lasvegasthumb_img_1565_1024lasvegasthumb_img_1566_1024lasvegasthumb_img_1567_1024

Really amazing parmesan crackers. Can I get those to go?lasvegasthumb_img_1568_1024lasvegasthumb_img_1570_1024

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. lasvegasthumb_img_1572_1024

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!lasvegasthumb_img_1573_1024

The Bellagio botanical garden was decked out for Christmas and while it was extremely crowded it was also really beautiful.lasvegasthumb_img_1574_1024lasvegasthumb_img_1576_1024lasvegasthumb_img_1577_1024

This Joker was a little creepsville. lasvegasthumb_img_1578_1024

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. lasvegasthumb_img_1579_1024

Not your typical Christmas Day but it was fun to see the strip lit up (more than usual) and the fun Christmas decor. lasvegasthumb_img_1581_1024

Off to the outdoors bright and early.