Category Archives: Travel

Getting it Together on the Road: Los Angeles Travel Guide

A Los Angeles Travel Guide that focuses on the healthier side of LA.

As we all know, late last October I had a twinge-y Achilles that I ignored and kept running on until I couldn’t do a squat, let alone walk, because of it. I spent two-ish months in physical therapy, still aiming towards being able to run the LA Marathon. Finally, when I still wasn’t able to run in early December, I scrapped my plans and just focused on getting my Achilles healthy again.

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Part of the allure of running the LA Marathon was that the Olympic Trials were the day before. I thought it would feel really historic and cool to run the same course (spoiler alert: not the same course) as a lot of the elite and professional runners I admire. Emily and I decided that while I was no longer running the marathon, it would still be cool to spend a weekend in LA and watch the Olympic Trials — it felt like a shame for them to be so close to SF and to not go.

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It was totally the perfect weekend of running (including my first double-digit run in months), relaxing, napping, drinking a lot of coffee, eating delicious food and girl time we both needed. I actually already have a trip planned with Kristine and Jane to head back down next month for another wellness weekend in Santa Monica (think SoulCycle, more brunches and laying by the pool).

Eat
GjelinaIf you’re going to splurge on one meal (dollar-wise, not so much calorie wise) in LA, definitely hit up Gjelina on Abbot-Kinney in Venice. They’re famous for their pizzas, veggie-centric dishes and mushroom toast. Em and I were having a “wellness weekend” so we ordered a couple veggies (Brussels sprouts and grilled kobucha squash) and two meats (seared scallops and a wild boar  sausage with homemade sauerkraut and mustard). I’m definitely looking forward to going again and trying more of the menu next time I’m in LA.

CassiaOn a whim we decided to go here on Saturday night after seeing it on Eater LA’s Essential 38 list. This space is huge (something we’re not really used to in SF), absolutely stunning and they have Scribe Sylvaner on their wine list — done. They serve up Southeast Asian fare, going a little heavy on the French influence — think pates, oysters, the most amazing beef curry I’ve ever had, jellyfish salad (as far as I know, I had never had jellyfish before) and delicious grilled Chinese broccoli with fish sauce.

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Sage: There’s three outposts of this vegan bistro (Echo Park, Pasadena and Culver City) and even if you’re not vegan, this place is a must-try. They have nourishing bowls, salads, sandwiches and tacos and have a ton of gluten-free options. I recommend the Brazilian Bowl — fried plantains, black beans, quinoa, guac, mushrooms and leeks.

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Eggslut: Living in SF, we’re accustomed to waiting in line for things (Bi-Rite, The Mill… that time we waited two and a half hours for brunch at Plow…) but I don’t think we expected the hour wait on Valentine’s Day at Eggslut. Located in the Grand Central Market it Downtown LA, the line for breakfast sandwiches and the famous Eggslut (eggs coddled in a potato puree and topped with cheese and chives, served with crusty baguette) wrapped around the building. A bacon, egg and cheese with avocado was much appreciated after SoulCycle.

Coffee

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Alfred CoffeeYou know when decor makes a place almost more famous than the food does (Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, anyone?) — well, I think that’s the case at Alfred. Their coffee is great (Is any place that serves Stumptown not great?) and they also have a $10 latte, which is just Pressed Juicery Almond Milk over espresso. The guy was cool enough to give us a sip of their kombucha on tap too, which was a beet flavored one. There’s locations in Brentwood, Santa Monica and Silver Lake.

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Woodcat Coffee BarBecause I was originally going to LA to actually run the marathon I wanted to stay near the start at Dodgers Stadium so I booked a place in Echo Park. Emily and I obviously needed coffee the day we arrived after we ran and ate some lunch at Sage. (Fun fact: in three days we made at least six coffee stops.) Their beans are from Wrecking Ball in SF which is probably a half-mile from my apartment.

Shopping

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Compartes Chocolatiers: We all know I’m obsessed with Compartes (there actually is a photo of me with like 8 different Compartes bars at my kitchen table). If you’re in LA stop by their Brentwood store and stock up on the best chocolate ever.

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Shout & AboutI literally wanted to buy everything in this store. If you need a gift or just a fun pick me up, head to this Echo Park store.

BurroBefore dinner at Gjelina, we popped into Burro to shop for things we didn’t need but everyone wants — pricey candles, beautiful paper foods, Pendleton blankets, cookbooks, pillows and a bazillion other things I wanted.

Chat with me:
Have you been to LA? What are your favorite places? What spots should I hit up when I go back next month?

The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part Two: Restaurants

Your Guide to San Francisco Restaurants, just in time for your trip to the city for the Super Bowl or vacation.

This is the second part in the Ultimate Guide to San Francisco series. I’m teaming up with my friend Kristine (who has lived here her entire life, so she’s an expert) where she’s telling you where to work up an appetite (spoiler alert: SoulCycle).

It’s no secret I love to eat, consider myself a foodie and love giving restaurant recommendations and/or judging you based on where you eat while you’re in SF. Unless you’re lame and go to like, Rainforest Cafe (I swear there is actually one in the city), it’s hard to have a bad meal in San Francisco.

I could talk about food all day and where to eat in the city but since you’re here for a limited amount of time, I’ll cut to the heavy hitters and can’t miss spots. This list is by no means comprehensive. And if you’ve missed it before, here are the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco and the best coffee shops in San Francisco.

The Marina
My stomping grounds!

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Blue Barn Gourmet
Home of the $20 salad (I swear they’re worth it… and only $20 if you get ahi tuna but you need to get the ahi tuna), they have chef-created salads or Make Your Own. They also have soup and sandwiches if you don’t want to eat a bowl of veggies.

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Delarosa
Because man cannot live on salad alone when visiting SF, there’s pizza that involves burrata cheese.

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Rose’s Cafe
This is where you want to brunch in the Marina because breakfast pizza is a thing.

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NOPA
Stands for North of Panhandle, right by the Full House House.

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NOPA
My favorite restaurant in the city, duh. Go for brunch or dinner but make reservations or eat at the bar. I love eating at the bar though sooooo…

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Nopalito
NOPA’s Mexican little sister, go early if you want in. Last weekend I went with three people at 8:30 and was told they weren’t taking parties bigger than two any longer!
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The Mill
If you haven’t heard, San Francisco invented fancy toast. Pony up the $4 for a delicious piece of Josey Baker Bread with all the spreads. Better yet, take a friend and get all the breads and all the spreads.

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Little Chihuahua
If you don’t want to blow your entire paycheck on a meal, head to Little Chihuahua for a burrito, tacos or some of their crack salsa verde (it’s seriously that good).

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Pacific Heights
Elevation gains, beautiful houses and even better views.

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The Progress
This place won a James Beard award and I think maybe has a Michelin star. Anyway, make reservations because that’s the only way you’ll get in, unless you date one of their chefs for a hot minute, not that I know about that or anything.

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State Bird Provisions
If you can get in I totally respect you and you win at San Francisco. I still haven’t been but you should go so I can eat vicariously through you.

Basik
The best acai in SF – and also on the Big Island in Hawaii at their original location, where I fell in love with them. You’ll wait in line so go for broke and get a large when you finally get to order.

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The Mission and Portero Hill
Everything that’s right about SF as far as food and wrong as in everything else.


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Craftsman and Wolves
Just go get a Rebel Within and call it a day. It’s a soft-boiled egg baked into an asiago and sausage muffin.

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Farmhouse Thai Kitchen
There’s a ton of well-known Thai places (Les Rois, Kin Khao, Hawker Fare) and trust me, I’ve tried most of them, but this place is my jam. They have blue rice!

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Bi-Rite Creamery
The best ice cream in the city, duh.

Plow
Because you want to wait in line for brunch for two hours.

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The Tenderloin and Hayes Valley
Also known as the Trendyloin also known as not a place I frequent (well, Hayes Valley is super nice).

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Souvla
How do I not have photos of Souvla on my phone? Legit one of my favorite places in the city. Fast-caual Greek food — order at the counter and choose from veggie, lamb, chicken or pork in a salad or a wrap. Leave room for their frozen Greek yogurt for dessert. They also have a solid and affordable wine list.

Huxley
If you’re determined to eat avocado toast while you’re here, go to Huxley because theirs has uni on it.

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Chat with me:
Do you want to visit any of these restaurants? Where do you want to eat in SF? What other places here do you love?

The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part One: Logistics

Traveling to San Francisco for the Super Bowl, work or a vacation? This is the first part in a series of my Ultimate Guide to San Francisco.

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I’m alive! I know, you’re as surprised as I am. When you have a new job and your old job and a packed social schedule and freelance projects and workouts and life sometimes blogging falls to the wayside. But I missed you guys!

This is the first part in a series of posts about San Francisco in which I capitalize SEO search terms for the Super Bowl. That ish is about to shut the city down. I am only bike commuting/walking from now until whenever the hell the city is open again. Lola is tuned up and parked and I might drive her around the parking garage to be sure she gets some exercise.

ANYWAY, so in the next couple of weeks my friend Kristine and I will tell you where you should eat, drink and sweat in San Francisco. Be sure to check back on both of our blogs for the next round of tips — and special deals while you’re here!

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Things You Should Know Before You Go:

  • Please don’t call it San Fran.
    Please please please. It’s San Francisco. Or SF. Never Frisco. NEVER San Fran. I don’t know who made the rule but my uncle told me that before I ever moved here (he travels a lot here for work). San Fran just sounds kind of brash once you think about it, doesn’t it? Like, I love you if you’ve said it… and I won’t correct you. But you will definitely stand out as a tourist if you call it San Fran while you’re here.
  • California is not 80 degrees and sunny every day.
    San Francisco is honestly usually between 60-70 degrees year round and either foggy or sunny. Except during El Niño when it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. You’ll need closed-toed shoes, at least a light jacket at all times and pants.
  • You are not going to wear a bikini at the beach.
    Or lay out. You probably need a parka at the beach even in the summer. Actually, especially in the summer because that’s when it’s the coldest here.

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Getting Around

  • Uber/Lyft
    Ride-sharing was started here. If Uber or Lyft are expensive in your city, they’re pretty much a $5-$6 ride anywhere in the city if you do Uber Pool or Lyft Line. Yeah, it’s like kind of strange the first time getting in a car with strangers but also… it’s still a lot better than riding the bus.
  • MUNI/Bus/BART
    I don’t know how these work. Sometimes I ride MUNI if I have an appointment downtown or I need to go somewhere on the other side of the city and don’t want to pay for a bazillion dollar Uber ride and don’t want to drive. AKA sometimes when I run across the city and need to get home. You’ll need cash ($2.25) or a Clipper card (you can buy these at Walgreens) for a ride and if you have the Google Maps app, just open it up and choose transit and it will tell you how to get there. I still don’t know where to find bus stops though.
  • Walk
    Yeah there are hills but the city is infamously walkable. Just walk fast if you’re in a sketchy part of the city (aka The Tenderloin/Civic Center/Parts of the Mission and SoMa). Google Maps/Apple Maps will tell you how to walk places. I walked the city to find my neighborhood so you’ll never know where you’ll end up.
  • Drive
    I wouldn’t recommend renting a car. Parking is awful and expensive — even more so if you’re staying in a hotel (aka like $50+ dollars a night). If you want to go out to wine country or something, rent a car for the day or hire a driver.
  • Bike
    There’s bike-rentals and public bike shares throughout the city. Bike lanes are also pretty plentiful. I beg you though — if you’re renting a bike, please pay attention to people walking and running, especially on Marina Blvd (you’ll ride this if you’re riding to Golden Gate Bridge). I have to basically avoid walking or running that way from 9 a.m. onwards on the weekend lest I get run over by a tourist on a bicycle who is using a selfie stick to Snapchat his ride or something.

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Where to Stay

  • Airbnb
    Without a doubt, I suggest staying in an Airbnb. Hotels here are not in desirable parts of the city. Look in the Marina District, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights or Russian Hill. But also I’m like super particular about where I am located.

What to Pack

  • Practical shoes for walking
    I never wear heels anymore, unless I’m going out and I’m going via Uber/Lyft. Just pack athletic shoes/flat booties/whatever has some support because you’ll do a lot of walking.
  • A jacket
    60 degrees in San Francisco is a lot colder than 60 degrees anywhere else.
  • Workout clothes
    Even if you don’t plan to workout you’ll probably get here and get so wrapped up in the culture that is SF that you’ll want to go on a hike. You can go to Lululemon and buy something of course but our sales tax is like… 10%. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Chat with me:
Do you have any logistical tips for a trip to San Francisco? What else do you want to know about visiting SF? What are your favorite things if you’ve been here before?

Getting it Together on the Road: Sayulita, Mexico

Let’s talk about my trip to Mexico that I didn’t tell anyone I was going on over four months after I’ve returned!

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I’ve been kind of vocal to my therapist friends that 2015 wasn’t my year. I started this year with such high hopes. Everything was working out! I had everything I wanted! I had goals! Then shit doesn’t go according to plan as things are apt to do in life and I was forced to re-evaluate everything.

March and April were pretty dark months in my life if we’re being honest. I had never been broken-up with for someone else before (to my knowledge) and when you’re already dealing with self-confidence issues, it really screws with your head. (What screws with your head even more is when said ex-boyfriend who lives across the country SHOWS UP AT YOUR APARTMENT THE DAY AFTER YOU GET BACK FROM MEXICO. I can’t make up the shit that does down in my life sometimes but that’s what happens when you date a kid who went to film school.)

So… back to Mexico. After the dark miles of 15-18 in my marathon in May, I was admittedly feeling a lot better about my life but just didn’t feel like myself quite yet. I had wanted to go to Sayulita for a while, I had some flight credit and I was working with my therapist to figure out how to be okay on my own and make decisions for myself. The opportunity to go surfing for a few days in Sayulita came up so I just kind of didn’t tell anyone and went.

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I’m honestly admittedly sometimes a shady person in the fact I like to just do things and not tell anyone about it. It’s how I deal with not wanting to feel judged for my decisions, not that I should be judged for going on vacation but if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I put way too much importance on what people think.

Okay, so I’ve been way too open and candid on this post so far so let me tell you what to do in Sayulita and more importantly, where to eat.

Where to Eat

  • Yeikame Traditional Mexican
    This is Pre-Hispanic Mexican food. I think I ate here twice during my stay in Sayulita. I got the vegetarian blue corn sopes with a bazillion salsas the first time and then I got fish tacos before I headed to the airport to come back to SF. You get popcorn before your meal which is interesting. They also have a neighboring ice cream shop that is traditional Mexican ice cream but it was a little icy for my taste.sayulita - 33

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  • Orangy
    If you’re looking for a healthier breakfast, snack or lunch in Sayulita, this is your place. They have smoothie bowls (but not acai, as the owner told me acai is insanely expensive to buy in Mexico), yogurt bowls, smoothies and fresh pressed juices. They also have a bunch of vegan and gluten-free treats as well.

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  • Mary’s Tacos
    Maybe the best fish tacos I’ve ever had, minus the hatch chile ones my dad and I made. But those were made with love so that’s probably why they tasted so good. Literally nothing is as delicious as anything my dad makes. ANYWAY, this place is great. They also have all the salsas which is my type of jam. I ate here twice as well during my stay. I also got the veggie tacos one night and they were the bomb. Super big portions and super cheap but it’s Mexico so that’s obvious.

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  • Naty’s Cocina
    Nata’s was right across the street from my bungalow but I never seemed to be around when they were open until my last day there. Each taco is less than $1 (!!!) and they do breakfast and lunch. The tacos are super huge and it’s basically just Sayulita’s version of Chipotle as far as toppings go (you pick whatever you want) except you don’t have to pay extra for guac.
  • Chocobanana
    If you want gringo breakfast food that isn’t as good as any gringo food you would get in the US, go here. But if you need a sweet and cold snack after surfing all day, you should go here and get a chocolate covered banana.

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  • Wakika Heladeria
    Clearly it was my goal to eat every ice cream-type concoction in the entire town of Sayulita while I was there. Wakika is known for their paletas (ice cream popsicle things) but they also have gelato and chocolate-covered bananas. I had a pistachio one after surfing one day and I was super impressed. And I am an ice cream connoisseur if you’ve ever looked at my Twitter profile so I feel qualified to make decisions as far as ice cream goes.

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  • El Fortin
    Of course I started craving acai while I was in Sayulita. This is the only place I found it. I ordered a large because I was starved and feeling aggressive about acai. They were nice enough to add a packet of Vega One Protein Powder for me too because I knew I wasn’t getting enough veggies or protein during my trip. Clearly I was not the first person to ask for this because the girl smiled and nodded when I handed her the packet. They also have the best Americano in all of Sayulita and I bought a bag of their beans for my dad.

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  • El Itacate
    These were the best steak tacos of the trip. They also came with pickled beans and grilled onions which were a tasty touch.

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What to Do

  • Surf
    Duh. That’s like the whole reason Sayulita is a town. The break is pretty gentle and consistent which is perfect for beginners or people who want to tune up. And the water is WARM! After surfing in cold water the entirety of the year before this trip, it was nice to only have to wear a bikini and a rash guard and not a wet suit and booties.If you’re looking to rent equipment or take a lesson, I suggest Lunazul. Everyone there is beyond amazing, knowledgeable and so, so nice. They also made a comment that a lot of single girls from San Francisco end up in Sayulita so clearly I’m not original in my escapism.

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  • Stand-Up Paddle Board
    I’ve admittedly been stand-up paddle boarding for a couple years now but I’ve never done it in the ocean. It’s kind of hard to get out into the ocean (you have to paddle out like you’re on a surf board then try and stand up and not get knocked over by a wave in the process) but it’s so fun and relaxing. I would just paddle around when the surf was flat. There’s some hidden beaches you can get to from the main beach of Sayulita. Allegedly Kim and Kanye West rent a house on one of them every now and again. You can rent a paddle board at any beach stand or at Lunazul.
  • Shop
    I basically went to Mexico with my only goal being to surf and buy a pair of huaraches but unfortunately only one of those came true. Despite the fact I didn’t get new beautiful handmade sandals and somehow ruined my existing ones with some sort of oil, there are a ton of boutiques with beautiful handmade jewelry, gifts and clothes. I want to go back and buy a painted skull to hang above my couch so if I’m watching TV and there’s an earthquake I get impaled (joking about getting impaled, but I do want a painted long-horn bull skull for my apartment).

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Where to Stay

  • Aurinko Bungalows
    My bungalow was basically bigger than my apartment, had a hammock (!) and was like $50-some dollars a night. It was clean, super safe and two blocks from the beach. It’s kind of loud at night but it’s Mexico so what are you going to do? You can also see large lizards on other rooftops which are scary if you’re me.

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Where to Drink

  • Sayulita Wine Store
    Mexico’s wine scene is just starting out, really. They’re more known for tequila (obviously) but if you want some wine — and to try Mexican wine — stop by this store.

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  • Le Zouave de Hafa
    This place is super hipster and has real sexy vibes. Come for a margarita made from fresh pressed juice.

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Chat with me:
Have you ever traveled to escape all the feelings? Am I the shadiest human ever? Have you been to Sayulita — did I miss anything in my guide?

Getting it Together on the Road: Big Sur Travel Guide

Big Sur Travel Guide | Almost Getting it Together

Have you ever been somewhere so beautiful or amazing that you can’t get it out of your head when you lay down to go to sleep? Before 4th of July weekend, that list was somewhat short – Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Versailles in Paris, an active volcano in Hawaii and now, Big Sur. I’ve been very fortunate to see a lot in my short 26 years and I’m even more fortunate that one of these is in my back yard.

Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together Big Sur Travel Guide | Almost Getting it Together Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Big Sur was absolutely magical and just the weekend I needed. My friend Chrissy and I road tripped from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo, spending Friday and Sunday in Big Sur proper. There wasn’t cell reception. I got a sunburn. We ate an entire bucket of shellfish (and no allergic reaction to Dungeness Crab, which was a relief after I had one a couple months ago). I could finally detach from all of the stress from work and life and blogging.

Do

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McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

  • Hike Julia Pfieffer State Park
    You know those idyllic photos of a waterfall on a white sandy beach going into the ocean? Yeah, that’s here. That hike is like a quarter mile and a total joke but if you go around the parking lot and take the Canyon Trail you’ll go up into the Ewoldsen loop. From there, you can take the water trail and see – you guessed it – water from the Pacific Ocean. It’s super epic. We were going to keep going to the Tin House Trail and onto a vista point but we saw a dismembered skunk skull and animal droppings and decided we should probably turn around and not turn into a bear’s lunch. Plus, it was foggy.
Andrew Molera State Park Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

We stumbled upon this private beach on our hike.

  • Hike Andrew Molera State Park
    We did this hike on Friday and it was a great start to the trip – and a great way to get me to sleep nine hours straight (much needed). We went the wrong direction (we wanted to end at the ocean instead of starting there) but it was okay because it was pretty foggy (surprise, surprise). There was a ton of elevation gain and if you are willing to scramble over a pile of driftwood you will find a private beach.
Andrew Molera State Park Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

No words.

  • Stop at Vista Points
    There are plenty of places to stop for photo ops on the drive. Definitely get on the road early before it’s overrun by tourists (except I was one too, I guess?). Channel your inner-Ben Gibbard and take a photo at Bixby Canyon Bridge.
Bixby Canyon Bridge Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Bixby Canyon Bridge

Bixby Canyon Bridge Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Bixby Canyon Bridge

Eat

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Nepenthe in Big Sur

The View from Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

The View from Nepenthe

  • Nepenthe
    You’ll feel like you just stepped back into the 1970s at this place but man, are the views worth it. I had just finished an eight-ish mile hike with a lot of elevation change and very little breakfast but I still think this place was great. We split a burger and got two salads – the Caprese and the beet salad (and a half-bottle of Rose because #roseseason). The burger came with a bean salad too and you know with my current bean obsession I was all over that.
Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Eating all the food and taking all the terrible photos.

Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Incase there was any doubt I’ve ever eaten a burger on bread – here is proof.

Nepenthe in Big Sur | Almost Getting it Together

Beet salad.

  • Big Sur Bakery
    I struggle slightly with putting this on the list. The food is great but the service can be hit or miss. We stopped for a post-hike lunch on Friday and I got a salad with chicken salad and bread because I lost all abandon for basically a week and ate all the gluten (then hated seeing myself in a bikini until the last day in Mexico, hence total lack of bikini photos).We went back for breakfast pre-hike on Sunday only to be told they weren’t really serving breakfast for another hour and a half. Our only choices were pastries and a joke of a yogurt parfait (aka trifle). When I asked for more yogurt the waitress who was channeling Adam Driver’s sister from Girls with her eyebrow grooming choices told me they had fruit with yogurt for breakfast… at 10:30. Okay, cool. You don’t have to turn on a stove to spoon some more yogurt in a bowl and then take like $10 for it because it’s over-priced but you’re in the middle of the California coast and you have three options and each are 10 miles apart. As you can tell, I’m slightly bitter – but honestly it’s good (albeit pricer than even what I pay for meals in SF) and maybe that one girl just sucked.
Big Sur Bakery | Almost Getting it Together

Big Sur Bakery

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Big Sur Bakery – Greens Salad with added chicken salad.

Pack

  • Hiking Boots
    Now that I’m a real life California resident who goes on adventures and stuff, I need to make a trip to REI and buy hiking boots. I could have totally used them on our hikes.
  • Snacks
    You can check out my Healthy Hiking Snacks post for ideas but I love Picky Bars because they actually make me feel satiated. I also love Vega One Bars because they are meal replacement bars with a ton of protein, fiber and even some Omega 3s and a serving of greens. I’m also a major fan of Kind Bars. I kind of rotate through all three of those.
  • Shower Pill Athletic Wipes
    A lot of these trails were SO dusty. I wore shorts one day and was just covered in dust and grime – super attractive to picture, I know (but I ran cross-country in high school, so I’ve been accustomed to getting dirty outside for a long time). You probably still have a couple hours in the car post-hike unless you’re staying somewhere in Big Sur proper so it’s nice to feel clean.

Chat with me:
Have you been to Big Sur? Any places I missed? What place have you been that made you lay awake thinking about because it was so beautiful?

The Best Coffee Shops in San Francisco

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My favorite types of people are those who require as much caffeine as I do to function. I track my sleep via my Fitbit (PSA – It’s on sale for $80 right now from Amazon?!) and I’m assuming the six hours of sleep I average a night is cause for that. It isn’t for lack of trying… I just wake up between 5:30-6:00 a.m. no matter what.

Getting an afternoon coffee is basically my favorite ritual of the day. I actually stopped drinking coffee for about two years in college and my first year out of school. I gave it up because of the milk and sugar calories and then because I do things like stop sleeping to hang out with boys, started again a little over three years ago because I was trying to get through the work day. I missed the ritual of getting coffee so much. It isn’t the same with tea. I loved going into a coffee shop, carrying my little paper cup… the whole thing.

I don’t enjoy Starbucks coffee. Their coffee is burned and just awful, but in a pinch, I’ll get a tea or an iced coffee there. Also, how are they the only place left on the planet that doesn’t have almond milk? And their coconut milk is full of fillers and preservatives… yuck.

Luckily this isn’t Pittsburgh with sub-par coffee (that thinks it is good) and a lack of almond milk. San Francisco takes its coffee seriously. Actually, it takes most things seriously and actually gives a shit about doing stuff the best.

On a trip to Kona with my dad two years ago, I started drinking my coffee black. Kona coffee is the best coffee – and if you want to drink your coffee black, it’s usually pretty milk so this is a great bean to start weaning yourself off of sugar and cream. So what I’m saying is this is a list of coffee places that have actual amazing coffee since I don’t junk mine up.

The Best Coffee Shops in San Francisco

Tiny Warrior (18th and Mission)
I wish I hadn’t planned on eating Bi-Rite the day I went to Tiny Warrior. They have fancy iced coffees (a Moroccan one with cardamom, cinnamon and clove syrup, for example) and CHOCOLATE ICE CUBES. Yes, that’s a thing.

Sightglass Coffee (7th and Folsom, Divisadero and Page and 20th and Florida)
Sightglass is my favorite SF coffee brand. I totally trust any coffee shop that brews Sightglass. Their flagship space in SoMa is gorgeous and has lots of treats. They also have an affogato bar that I am determined to try one day post-long run with SALT AND STRAW ICE CREAM. Get out of town! Grab a vanilla iced coffee with almond milk and think of me.

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Okay this photo is from the Mill but…. #toast.

Trouble Coffee (Judah and 25th)
Another coffee aficionado that is no longer mentioned on this blog said what I was thinking when we were here – these guys are kind of jerks but this is maybe the best coffee ever. They don’t have a menu so basically know what you want or read the Yelp reviews. Basically you’re supposed to get a coconut and a cinnamon toast when you’re here… I got an iced-coffee because it was post Lands End-Ocean Beach run. I’ll be back for you, coconut and cinnamon toast.

Andytown Coffee Roasters (Lawton and 43rd)
Post-long run at Ocean Beach I needed a coffee and quickly. A quick yelp search brought me to Andytown. Then there were warm gluten free strawberry corn muffins fresh out of the oven and I promptly ordered one with my coffee, which is something I don’t do often… and don’t regret. Their known-for coffee is the Snowy Plover which is San Pellegrino and whipped cream in coffee… what?!

Blue Bottle Coffee (locations throughout the city)
Basically SF is known for Blue Bottle Coffee and their Vietnamese Iced Coffee which is made with condensed milk. You can even buy it in cute little milk cartons now. I would go by Blue Bottle pretty much every day when I was on a photo shoot in NYC a couple years ago and wistfully wish I were in SF… and now I am! Anyway, they take their coffee seriously and it’s always amazing and just… go.

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This latte at Jane on Fillmore turned out not to be mine… whoops.

Jane on Fillmore (Fillmore and California)
When I’m feeling ambitious I’ll walk up to Jane. It’s about a mile and a half from my apartment… uphill. Fillmore is no joke, but one of my favorite streets in the city. They have Stumptown coffee (!!!) and amazing house-made chai. They also do a lot of gluten free and vegan baked goods and salads and brunch things like that. Their spot is super cute and has an awesome playlist and I’m obsessed.

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MINT MOJITO ICED COFFEE!!!!

Philz Coffee (locations throughout the city… and a truck in the Marina on the weekends!)
I’m basically trying to drink my way through Philz menu. They have probably 30 different blends of beans and you tell them how you take your coffee (milk, almond milk, sugar, etc.) and they make it for you. Each cup is poured to order and then they shake it with all your goodies in a martini shaker. The Mint Mojito Iced Coffee lasts me approximately 30 seconds. Going to the Philz Truck at some point on the weekend is must-do for me.

Peet’s (locations throughout the city)
If I have to throw in a national chain, I’m going to pick one that started across the Bay in Berkeley. There is a Peet’s “flagship” in the Marina that my dad and I frequented every afternoon when we were apartment hunting. If I need to get work done and don’t feel like leaving the neighborhood, I head down to Peet’s.

Places I want to try: Equator Coffee, David Rho Chai Bar, Matching Half, 20th Century Cafe, Home Coffee, Blue Fig

Chat with me:
What is your go-to coffee order? Have you been to any of these coffee shops? What is a habit that you really enjoy in people?

Field Trip: SF Crabbing Crew

Have you ever met a person who doesn’t like crab? I’ve met people who don’t like lobsters (I forget who, maybe it was a chef or a boy or both) but I haven’t met a person who is like, “You know what isn’t delicious? Crab.” Well, I suppose people who keep kosher and have shellfish allergies don’t like crab, but you get the picture.

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Crab nets with bait.

When I was home in May, I received an e-mail from the awesome crew at SF Crabbing Crew asking if I would like to come crabbing one afternoon. Uh, yes please!

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My friend Mai pulling in a crab cage.

So long story short, two guys had been taking their friends out crabbing for a few years then realized they had a pretty solid business model in place – bring lots of snacks and drinks, post up on a wharf overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, throw some crabbing cages out, cook said crabs and repeat. I know a lot about being a good hostess and good customer service and I’m going to say they have it down – making sure everyone is happy, refilling drinks – even catering to their guests who are vegan and don’t eat crabs but want to come hang out. And all of this is only $40 for 3-4 hours!

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A group later was coming for a birthday… so they brought a crab cupcake!

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Catching my own lunch is so #paleo.

If you’re a local or just visiting SF, this is a great way to spend the afternoon. You get a little buzz going, eat seriously amazing crab, watch seals swim by and have tourists take photos of you holding crabs. It’s just like being back in Asia!

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This seal is the honey badger of the Bay.

I’m going to let the photos tell the story. If you have any questions, be sure to visit their website or leave me a question in the comments.

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They bring lots of snacks and libations – Bloody Marys are basically required for crabbing, right?

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Lunch.

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If a crab isn’t bigger than four inches – or is a Dungeness Crab – you have to throw him back.

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A bit of the East Coast in California.

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There’s nothing like your lunch being alive 10 minutes before.

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Quintessential NorCal BBQ.

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Look at this guy!!!! (insert emoji with hearts for eyes)

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Worth the cold and wind.

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The butter sauce the crabs were cooked in – so good!

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Karl taking over. (Yes, the fog has a name.)

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The city lookin’ good.

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The baguette fell in the window so I threw it to a seal that had been hanging around.

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Perfection.

Chat with me:
Have you ever been crabbing? How cute is my mermaid hat? What do you want to do if you visit SF?

Summer Camping Essentials

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I’m as shocked as you by the title of this post. I am not a camping expert. I went to Girl Scout camp when I was younger and probably hated every second of it, except for the part where you ate banana boats (you cook a banana in aluminum foil stuffed with chocolate chips and other treats on the campfire) and flirting with the boys who worked the fishing and canoeing stations or whatever.

Moving to California has made me way more outdoorsy. Emily and I joked that only in California would a park over-flow on a weekend and not let any more people enter until others left. Now I’m getting peer pressured into going camping and things like that so I’ll fit in better. (#glamping forever.) My friends asked me while I was home if I was going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail because I mentioned I watched Wild one night. Who am I becoming?

REI has designed a new line of camping gear with people like me in mind – girls who are too lazy and blonde to set up a tent and think wine is a hiking essential. It’s called evrgrn and it puts the West Elm back into camping, basically.

I was lucky enough to hang out with the awesome folks from REI last week and check out some of the new gear. Check out some of my photos below for my summer camping essentials. The line launches online and in-stores today, so check it out!

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Indoor camping – my kind of camping.

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The Starry Night Tent pops up pretty foul-proof without stakes!

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Grab your air mattress and favorite pillows and comforter for a super-luxe camping experience.

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This table is super-light and pops up – and can fit into the 24-pack cooler.

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I think I can get over my fear of the grass with this awesome picnic mat.

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Don’t worry about having to sit on the ground with this rocking camping chair.

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Beer and wine are summer camping essentials, right?

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Upgrade your s’mores with granola bars.

Chat with me:
Do you enjoy camping? What do you hate/love about it? Do you have any good camping stories? Am I completely losing it?

Field Trip: Hiking Mount Tamalpais State Park

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When I hear “Mt Tam” I think “Mt Tam Triple Creme” from Cowgirl Creamery. My favorite thing about California is cheese. And wine. And sunshine. The first two are why I need to detox. I also just looked up the nutritional info of Mt Tam and died a lot little inside.

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Mt Tam moments.

But I digress. If this is your first time ever reading this blog or you’ve been living under a rock, I love being active. I love being outside. I love having an excuse to eat ice cream. So I love hiking. Hiking is such a first world thing if you think about it – “Hey guys, let’s go walk through the woods and up a mountain to go Instagram some views”.

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Ang modeling.

When anyone comes to visit me, they are subjected to at least one hike that I have wanted to do. This hike I did with Angela is actually my favorite one that I have done so far. I had never thought of hiking Mount Tamalpais – I guess I had been on it before in some form or another visiting Muir Woods a few years ago – but I’m so glad I did. The drive to Stinson Beach is really windy and is what I imagine Ireland to be like.

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Right before drinking wine and giving up on going any further because of the fog.

What: Mount Tamalpais State Park
Where: Stinson Beach, California.
Get there: Type 32 Belvedere Ave, Stinson Beach, CA 94970 into your GPS. Park on the street near the community center or if there isn’t any street parking, park at Stinson Beach State Park. There is a sign that marks the trail. Just walk to the end, turn around and come back!
What to bring:
Water, snacks, toliet paper/tissues, wine (if you’re smart)
What to wear: 
Hiking clothes – yoga pants, running tights, leggings, a tank and bring a sweatshirt in case it gets cold. Also wear good walking shoes.
How to get there:
 1 hour drive from San Francisco (maybe 90 minutes from downtown)
How much: Free!
Tips: Bake in some extra time because the drive is gorgeous. Also, there are allegedly coyotes on the trail. I warned you. If you’re looking for food on the way back to SF, I recommend Tamalpie Pizza in Mill Valley.

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A good hike to cross off all your Northern California outdoor things: waterfalls, redwoods and ocean.

The hike is pretty mild – lots of stairs at first and uphill (obviously) but the trail is well marked and well-maintained. We only ran into one or two other hikers on our Monday afternoon hike. It got a little cold at the top of the mountain, especially with the fog rolling in. Angela and I had Kind Bars and drank some (terrible) wine then headed back to eat our weight in pizza and beet salad at Tamalpie then ice cream at Bi-Rite because San Francisco.

Chat with me:
Do you like to go hiking? What is something you make all your visitors do? Do you hike with wine?

Field Trip: Scribe Winery

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I had the chance to visit Scribe Winery twice in one week a few weeks ago. I heard about Scribe initially from Davida who went during her trip to SF over Thanksgiving. I read about Scribe again somewhere else (it’s escaping me where exactly) and knew I had to go when Angela was in town.

Scribe has THE BEST branding. The inner-marketing nerd in me is about to come out, sorry about that. They had a firm out of Brooklyn come and do everything from the designing the labeling to decorating the tasting room. As soon as A walked in the door I basically threw the bottle of chardonnay I had bought on Saturday at him and he asked, “why don’t we go up tomorrow?” I knew I liked him for a reason. I e-mailed and they luckily had a tasting open that afternoon because you know, most people go to jobs on Thursday afternoons.

What: Scribe Winery
Where: Sonoma, California 
What to bring: 
Camera, designated driver
What to wear: 
Cute clothes – nice jeans and a sweater, sunglasses
How to get there:
 1 hour drive from San Francisco (maybe 90 minutes from downtown)
How much: $20 for a tasting of four wines
Tips: Make a reservation a few weeks in advance – they book up quickly!

I had two different experiences and they were both great – the girl friend experience with Ang, Kay and Gina and then the boyfriend experience with A. In case we forgot, I took an entire course on wine in college, so I’m somewhat of a wine nerd/snob. You wouldn’t catch me dead drinking Barefoot Wine. (#sorryimnotsorry)

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The upstairs of Scribe’s tasting room.

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Looking off the porch.

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Wine fermenting.

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This girl = <3

It’s basically a requirement for wine countries to be gorgeous. Scribe is just everything you imagine wine country to be: small, intimate and perfect for Instagramming photos. The owners come from a family of almond farmers and reclaimed the former vineyard land that was a turkey farm after Prohibition. This was actually where Riesling was introduced to California soil and despite not being a fan of Riesling normally because it is so sweet – they have a dry riesling that was crisp and amazing.

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Scribe Winery is basically a Pinterest girl’s dream.

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A taking some film shots.

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You get a cracker, olive, cheese and nut plate with your tasting. Also the cutest mini citrus fruits.

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Vineyard vibes.

If you want a small, intimate tasting experience away from those awful mega-bus wine tours, make a reservation and head up to Scribe. Their wine is artisanal and I was REALLY tempted to join their wine club… I can’t commit just yet to one winery nor drinking 3 bottles in three months. I know, I’m as shocked about that as you are.

There is also seriously nothing better than a Thursday afternoon wine tasting. Imagining everyone else at work while you’re getting drinking wine with your boyfriend and remembering how cold and miserable the East Coast is really puts things into perspective, i.e. how much you love California.

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Transport Tote cameo.

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Putting my Horticulture 350 course to good use. (I don’t know if that was the number but it was HORT-something.)

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This kiddo.

Chat with me:
Have you ever been to a winery? What is your favorite wine? What place do you want to see next on my Field Trip series?