The Nolen

12.08.2015








For a city with such perfect year-round weather, you would think we'd have a lot more rooftop bars. And you would be kind of wrong. Sure, San Diego loves its patio bars and restaurants, but actual rooftop cocktail lounges are few and far between.

The Nolen is here to try and change that.

Last week, Ryan and I were able to check out the newest addition to the Gaslamp inside the newly constructed Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Gaslamp / Convention Center hotel. Entering The Nolen through an entrance separate from the hotel on 6th Ave, thirsty people will ride an elevator to the 14th floor where The Nolen is perched. From there, visitors are free to enjoy cocktails at the bar, around a firepit or at any of the cozy tables and booths in the 2500-square foot space.

We tried a number of their yummy cocktails that night like the dangerous Shirley Temple of Doom, with mezcal, absinthe, tequila, grenandine, lemon and soda, and the Darjeeling Nikki, with tea infused gin and apple brandy. Ryan enjoyed a couple of their super strong Old Fashioned's, while one of my favorites was the 13th Floor, a draft cocktail with tequila, lime, orgeat, peach liqueur and prosecco.

I have to say, the drinks were impressive, but the bartenders were almost more so: watching truly talented bartenders make craft cocktails is one thing, but watching them made to perfection with speed and without sacrificing a smile is another. Our bartender Ian was slaying the cocktail game all night... if you see him, have him help you select a drink!

With unobstructed views of the skyline, The Nolen is now one of the prettiest places to grab a fancy cocktail and watch the sun set over the city. In fact, The Nolen may now be the most perfect place to start or finish a special night downtown.

The Nolen
456 6th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 237-0678

Ocean Beach Holiday Parade

12.07.2015


There are many, many reasons why I love my little neighborhood of Ocean Beach in San Diego: our proximity to the beach, the sense of community, how dog-friendly it is, Taco Tuesdays, the farmer's market... the list goes on and on. 

And the annual Holiday Parade is definitely on that list. 

Last year, Ryan and I and our friends Ian, Desiree and Rob wandered over to the parade for the first time. Hundreds of people were lined up on both sides of the street, all the way down Newport Ave, the main drag in OB. We watched as dozens of random floats and groups paraded down the street, many of them with seemingly no affiliation to any organization: they were just in it to have fun. 

That's when we realized: anybody can be in the Ocean Beach Holiday Parade. 

That night, several drinks later, we decided that we would be "anybody" the following year. 

As far as drunken ideas go? This was one of our best ones. 

Reading Down The Days

11.23.2015


2015 is over in 38 days.

38 days. 

With a little over a month left in the year, this is typically about the time that I start to exhibit a panicked recommittment to my annual reading goal.

A goal I have not met once in the three years that I've been attempting it.

Every year since I started this blog I have attempted to squeeze 50 books in before New Year's Day. And for the past two years I have failed miserably. This year though, with the help of an audiobook subscription, several long flights to and from east coast weddings, and so many great new books out, I've already beaten my previous record.

Over the past four months I've tackled the good, the mediocre, the practical and the books that I couldn't wait to be done with. Like, as in I literally increased the reading speed of audiobooks to almost 2x their recorded pace so that I could get through them faster. And it was still too long.

But I digress... here's my take on what I've been reading (and listening to) lately.

Sayulita Mermaid Yogis Retreat: Part IV

11.16.2015


And just like that, a whole year has passed since I took off on a yoga retreat with a group of girls I'd never met before. A year ago yesterday, I was on a flight back to San Diego from Puerto Vallarta, smiling to myself as I thought about the amazing week I'd just spent in Sayulita.

Today, as we get further and further into the fall season, I'm already trying to figure out my next trip back to Mexico. But before I do, I want to wrap up the recap from the trip I already took. Writing the recaps from the trip have let me hold onto it beyond that final plane ride home. Over the past year, I've found myself inspired to write them on rainy days, when I need a little dose of sunshine in my life.

It's not raining today but after a night of howling winds and a blustery morning, I could not have been craving Sayulita's sunny skies and warm waters any more than I am now.


Think About It

11.04.2015


Rebekah Steen of GoldfishKiss.com is my blogger idol. 

She's also my fashion idol, art idol, etc. etc. (The list really does go on). 

Last year when I had my blogger identity crisis, I took some cues from Rebekah and decided that the sole guiding principle for each and every post I write should be to make sure that it makes someone feel good, even if that person is just me, getting out something that I need to write about. 

Now, for the first time, I want to repost one of Rebekah's recent posts because I think this is a message that needs to reach as many people as possible. This post hit me. It's exactly what I've needed to hear/read for some time.  

In the week since she shared it, I've given this to co-workers and friends, I've linked to it for bloggers who need to read it too, and most importantly, I've printed it out for myself and stuck it in multiple places where I can see it as a reminder. It only makes sense that I stick it here as well. 

Everyone should be reading Rebekah's blog. Every. Day. She's a good, beautiful soul, inside and out. 

I can't thank her enough for these words, right when I needed them. Here's to hoping they help someone else the way they helped me. 

Brunch at La Jolla's Catania

11.03.2015


If you follow San Diego's food scene at all, you don't have much of an excuse for not knowing about Catania, the latest concept opened by WhisknLadle's hospitality group. For the past 8 months it has attracted rave reviews praising everything from its food to its craft cocktails to its prime sunset-viewing location on the top floor of the La Plaza La Jolla. 

Its primary focus? Italian coastal cuisine. And now? Brunch. 

About three months ago, Catania started serving brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm, offering gorgeous views of the Pacific as you sip your mimosas. And about three weeks ago, they invited local food writers and bloggers (that's me!!) to check out the new menu. 

Motivation Monday: Shape Magazine Meet & Tweet

11.02.2015



Trust me: I am not one to start talking about Christmas the week after Halloween. I firmly believe in taking it one holiday at a time. Christmas, real Christmas celebrations should not start until the day after Thanksgiving.

But Blogger Christmas? Well, that happened last Wednesday.

Last week I was stoked beyond all stoke to attend Shape Magazine's West Coast Blogger Meet & Tweet event in Santa Monica. Fitness Magazine had hosted what was essentially the same event back in 2013 and it was AMAZING. Panels with celebrity speakers and bloggers covered everything from exercise to diet to beauty to branding. And then.... there was the swag.

It was definitely the best blog-related event I've had the honor of attending. So when Shape took it over this year and invited me back, I couldn't RSVP fast enough.

Besides... what kind of celebrity-obsessed psycho fitness blogger turns down an opportunity to meet Karena and Katrina? Not this one, that's for sure.


The Blue Lagoon

11.01.2015


In my not so humble opinion, there is no better way to end a winter getaway to Iceland than with a stop at The Blue Lagoon. Emphasis on the "end." Because first of all? If I'm going to spend the next 10 hours on planes, a nice three hour soak in a magical geothermal spa sounds like the best way to prepare. But more importantly:

The Blue Lagoon is always open.

Well, almost. For the most part though, Iceland's insane weather doesn't have any impact on this Icelandic essential. The Blue Lagoon is open every day of the year, rain, sun, and snow... and it's on the way to the airport anyway. Along our travels we met several people who regretted spending earlier, nicer days in their vacation on The Blue Lagoon, only to have other activities snowed out later on.

They learned the hard way. Whereas we? Well... we did this totally by accident, but still. I reserve the right to be cocky about it.

So, on our last morning in Iceland we packed our bags, hopped on a shuttle and headed to one of National Geographic's 25 Wonders of the World.

Tent Camping in Big Sur

10.12.2015


Big Sur is a pretty special place. 

When we first went to Big Sur for a wedding in 2012, I was in awe the entire time. Dramatic cliff sides, giant redwoods, turquoise waters, dappled light, and purple sand. Every vista was breathtaking, every moment was special. And ever since then I've been wanting to go back. 

Not willing to let another year go by, I added a tent camping trip to my 30 Before 30 list, hoping that would help me make a trip back to Big Sur a priority. And it did. A few months after I made that list I suggested to Ryan that we celebrate our four year dating anniversary up there with the dogs and a couple of weeks ago we bought a tent, packed the car, and headed out on the 8 hour drive from San Diego to Big Sur. 

Motivation Monday: Hiking Big Sur

10.05.2015




No less than two days after I proudly declared that I was going to start logging legit running miles each week...

I took a vacation.

Last Wednesday, Ryan and I drove up the coast for five days of camping in beautiful Big Sur to celebrate four years together. And while I had the best intentions of going on some trail runs while I was there, there is a motto in Big Sur that I had no choice but to respect: "Do nothing."

But seriously, yeah I did pretty close to nothing the whole time I was there. Nothing active that is.

Not that I didn't want to! There were plenty of cool, challenging hikes that we really wanted to take, but unfortunately, Big Sur trails are pretty much closed off to dog-faced wonders. Two of which we happened to have with us.

We did find one hike that was dog-friendly, so we threw the dogs in the car and drove up to the trailhead inside the parking lot at the Big Sur Ranger Station. The trail, Pine Ridge Trail, is a 10 mile hike full of redwoods and waterfalls that ends at Sykes Natural Hot Springs.

10. Freaking. Miles. And we hiked every last inch of it.

Motivation Monday: Two Truths and a Lie

9.28.2015


In my Instagram bio, I list that I am a runner, writer, and yogi. And for the past year, one of those things has been a big, fat lie.

I've mentioned before that SanBriego essentially started out as a running blog, way back in 2013 when I was training for my first marathon. But after the marathon was over, so were regular running posts. Instead, for the next year or so, I stuck to sporadic Motivation Monday updates and half marathon race recaps.

Except I ran and recapped my last half in March 2014. I posted my last Motivation Monday eight months later. And even that was almost a year ago. Running and I have had a tough time this year and I don't really have a good reason for it. Work, school, the humidity, blah blah blah. They're all excuses and not even good ones.

Three weeks ago I decided to start running again. Which went great... for about 5 days. Then it was two more weeks of pizza and beer and a little bit of yoga. In the form of savasanas... in my bed... in the AC. That counts right?

Needless to say, I am in the absolute worst shape of my life and I have decided that I'm basically over it. I will not gain another pound. I will not let 2015 go by without running a single half. I will not claim to be a runner when my sneakers are literally hidden under cobwebs (gross and terrifying). That ends today. And it starts with accountability. Because posting my weekly workout recaps here on the blog is extremely motivating to me and a good record of my running progress.

So here's to new running clothes and miles and regular Motivation Monday posts again. See you on the pavement (anddddd right here, same time, next week)!

9/7/15-9/13/15 Fitness Log: 
  • ran 4 days for a total of 12.1 miles 
9/14/15-9/20/15 Fitness Log: 
  • ran 0 days 
9/21/15-9/27/15 Fitness Log: 
  • ran 0 days 

Road Tripping to Seljalandsfoss

9.25.2015


Yeah. I don't know how to pronounce it either.

But that's Iceland for you! The land of positively unpronounceable towns, people and waterfalls. The last of which happened to be the destination of my Icelandic road trip across the South Shore: the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. 

Hint: you know it's a waterfall if it ends in "-foss." 

When our day trip across the southern coast to the Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon was cancelled due to an insane and sudden blizzard that whited out the Ring Road, I was supremely bummed. I had wanted to see two of Iceland's most famous waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, and the lesser known Gljúfrabúi waterfall. I had wanted to look for the semi-hidden plane wreckage, see the basalt columns on Reynisfjara's black sand beaches, then visit the little town of Vik. And most importantly, I had wanted to hike the ice caves of Svartifoss.

As it turns out, Iceland had other plans and we spent the day getting drunk instead. The next day we went and had an amazing time snorkeling Silfra. And when we got back, we still had our rental car and three hours until sunset. 

"Three hours," I said to an exhausted Ryan. "Hey, that's just enough time to drive to Seljalandsfoss and back!"

Ryan didn't buy it. 

Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure

9.19.2015


If there is one thing I can confidently say that I thought I would never do, not in a million lifetimes, snorkeling in water that is just barely above freezing temperatures would be that thing.

Granted, two years ago I never thought I would go snorkeling at all on account of the fact that I couldn't swim, but even that wouldn't have mattered in Iceland's 35°F waters where special dry suits keep you impossibly buoyant. 

Still, swimming capabilities or not, who voluntarily jumps into water that cold... in the middle of winter? 

Crazy people, that's who. And, well, me. Because when you have the opportunity to snorkel in the fissure between two tectonic plates, in some of the clearest water in the world, you take it. 

Wine Tasting in Ramona

9.07.2015


Ryan and I have an ongoing joke about Ramona.... that maybe isn't even a joke (I'm still trying to figure out if he's kidding or not). But every time we are confronted with the painful reality of the price of houses in San Diego, Ryan says we're moving to Ramona.

Ramona is about 30-40 minutes east of where we live and is ideal if you want to build a big house on lots of land for a fraction of the cost of living in or around the city. And apparently it's also ideal if you have ever had a secret fantasy about growing your own vineyard and starting a winery.

Prior to this weekend, I had no idea that there are over 20 wineries hidden in the vast expanse of Ramona. Even more of a plus for us, many of the tasting rooms are dog friendly. So when our friend Jason planned a Labor Day weekend camping and wine tasting trip there, we loaded up the dogs and hit the highway.

Ramona, we're coming for ya...

Cool As Ever

9.02.2015


One of the first events that means it's actually, really, finally summer in San Diego is Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack. And one of the signs that this summer has flown by too quickly is that I'm just now getting around to sharing this year's Opening Day pics... and it's only a few days before the season ends.

Roaming Around Reykjavik

8.27.2015


I'm not going to lie: our second day in Iceland started out as a major disappointment.

The itinerary for Day Two was supposed to include an early morning road trip along the South Coast, with stops at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skógafoss waterfall and Reynisfjara's black sand beach. Our final destination was Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where we would meet our guide to go hiking in an ice cave in Svartifoss.

Hiking the ice cave was one of the activities I was most excited about during our trip to Iceland. So when our guide emailed us the night before to say he was cancelling tours the following day due to inclement weather, I couldn't help but take a trip down the Denial river. 

Denial is not a river in Iceland.

Despite the hike getting cancelled, I still woke us up early, figuring we could at least take our road trip. I then proceeded to ignore the gentle warnings of the many locals who suggested that we not try to road trip the South Coast in a whiteout blizzard, packed up our bags, and hit the road. 

Note: I am a moron. 

The Lebowski Bar

8.25.2015


A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying a drink at my former neighborhood bar, Aero Club, with my best friend Bonnie when I pointed out a postcard taped up on the fridge. It was a postcard that Ryan and I had sent to Aero during our trip to Iceland. Because who doesn't send their favorite bar postcards every time they travel?

On the front was a picture of His Dudeness and the logo for The Lebowski Bar, a Big Lebowski-themed bar in Reykjavik that Ryan and I frequented during our stay. Apparently I had never told Bonnie about this bar and it was then that I realized I never blogged about it either.

I decided I needed to do something about this glaring omission because... well... you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.

More importantly? Because The Lebowski Bar is a pretty wonderful addition to any Icelandic itinerary.

Sayulita Mermaid Yogis Retreat: Part III

8.10.2015


Where did August even come from?

I'm pretty sure that yesterday I was stoked about kicking off summer on Memorial Day weekend and somehow here we are, at the beginning of the end of my favorite season.

Sure, in San Diego it seems like we have an endless summer... and we sorta do. But I have 20+ years of East Coast seasons baked into my circadian rhythm. I can't help but feel like August is an endcap. Actually, I just saw a perfect description on Instagram this morning: August is like the Sunday of summer.

As of right now, I have yet to plan any end of summer activities and it's making me antsy. The only thing I have decided to do this month is participate in the #MermaidYogas yoga challenge on Instagram, even though I have a lot of catching up to do already! One of the prizes is the gorgeous Glide Lotus SUP Board... I'd say winning one of those puppies would be a pretty epic way to round out summer.

But in the meantime, the challenge is a nice way to stay connected with a fantastic group of merbabes who I first got acquainted with last November, when I went on a retreat with the founders of the Mermaid Yogis movement: Amelia of Stoked Yogi, Mandy of Zen Girl Chronicles and Janalyn of Horizon Light Productions.

Starting the challenge and seeing a bunch of these chicas at the One Love Movement yoga event on Saturday made me miss our adventures in Sayu and I remembered for the millionth time that I really needed to finish recapping our retreat on this blog. Plus, all of these wonderful women have just announced different retreats coming up this fall. So if you're thinking about going on your first yoga retreat, take this as a glowing endorsement for some of my favorite mermaids around!

Taco Bout a Dream Come True

7.29.2015


Secretly? This little blog is really an exercise in manifesting. Call it Secret-ing, call it bhavanizing, whatever you call it, I'm doing it with every post I write. All with the hippie belief that by putting good energy out there, I will welcome more of the same back into my life.

I mean, at the end of the day that's why I write... to connect, to attract people and places and moments into my life that add meaning and beauty and adventure.

But of all the amazing things this blog has manifested so far (and there have been a lot), last Wednesday night took the cake.

A decade ago, I was 19, driving around backroads in Connecticut, listening to this new CD I'd just bought by a singer songwriter named Tristan Prettyman and daydreaming about what my life would be like if I lived in San Diego.

And last Wednesday? Oh, I just casually had dinner with Tristan at Puesto downtown at The Headquarters. No big deal.

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

7.21.2015


When I'm disastrously hungover there's only one thing in the entire world that I want to do and that is to hike 4+ miles... uphill... in the unrelenting heat of the blazing sun. But, you know, like only if my other favorite activities such as moving houses or doing backbreaking yard work are off the table.

As my ever-so-patient boyfriend can attest, when we travel (and sometimes when we don't) I have a knack for packing in activities that require peak physical abilities the day after a night that required peak drinking abilities. And our recent Hollywood getaway was no exception. The day after we marathon drank for seven hours at the Magic Castle, I had a lowkey little hike planned for us to the Hollywood Sign.

Only it wasn't exactly lowkey or little...

A Magical Evening at the Magic Castle

7.14.2015



A couple of years ago, two of our friends told us about their amazing visit to The Magic Castle in Los Angeles. At the the time, their mention of the Castle was like a record screeching: the Magic what!?

I had never heard of the Castle, but they explained that it's the private clubhouse for over 5,000 magicians who are a part of the Academy of Magical Arts. It's where they take master classes to learn new effects, practice their magic informally in front of guests at the bar, and attend lectures. There was only one problem: it's invitation only.

This, obviously, only made me very determined to get in.

I added a visit to The Magic Castle to my 30 Before 30 bucket list earlier this year and spent the following months trying to score an invite. I'm sure if you live in LA and know people who know people, it's infinitely easier, but for me, getting into The Magic Castle required some work. I followed everyone who hashtagged or geotagged the Castle on Twitter and Instagram, in hopes that they would share their methods. I followed dozens of magicians who lived in LA. And then I started getting smarter about my strategies.

Restaurant Review: The Baked Bear, Pacific Beach

7.10.2015


Duh.

That's all I could think when I was first invited to The Baked Bear, the ice cream cookie sandwich chain that was started by two San Diegans in Pacific Beach.

Ice cream? Check. Cookies? Check. Delicious toppings? Check. Ability to customize your ice cream cookie sandwich to your heart's content? Check.

Why didn't I think of this!?

Restaurant Review: Kitchen 4140, Clairemont

6.27.2015


Brunch saves lives relationships.

Seriously. I mean, relationships are about compromise and what is brunch if not the definition of compromise? Thanks to brunch, all the people out there like me who prefer a blissfully savory lunch can peacefully coexist with their egg-loving, bacon-craving, breakfast-eating better halves!

The only trouble with such a perfect meal is finding a restaurant that does it justice, both in food quality and in atmosphere. Because let's be honest: brunch demands atmosphere. It is meant to be eaten outside, surrounded by leafy greens and sunshine. Lucky for us San Diegans, Kitchen 4140 in Clairemont meets both these requirements with their adorable garden patio and delicious menu created by Chef Kurt Metzger.

Aerial Yoga at Trilogy Sanctuary

6.07.2015


While I was hanging upside down this morning, my aerial yoga instructor at Trilogy Sanctuary talked about stories, namely the ones we tell ourselves. Stories like "I could never do that" and "I'm not ___ enough." She reiterated a message that's really become a mantra for me this year: stories that we tell ourselves are just that. They're just stories.

I've spent a lot of time disproving my stories over the past few months. Stories like, "I can't swim" or "I'm not good enough at yoga to go on a yoga retreat." In fact, I created a whole list of stuff that I wanted to do before my 30th birthday next year, many of which are attempting to rewrite my stories.

One of which was a little story that went something like: "I could never do aerial yoga."

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

6.04.2015


If you're an urban Millennial, chances are that you have crossed paths with a Nathaniel P. at some point.

And if you're really, really unlucky... you've dated him.

Iceland's Golden Circle

6.03.2015



When I began planning our winter trip to Iceland, I knew that there was only one thing I would want to do after a seven hour flight that was taking us seven hours into the future: start exploring. 

With only four days in the arctic, I didn't want to waste any time when we touched down. And it seemed to me that the most obvious way to kick off our Icelandic adventures was with a tour of the Golden Circle, a drive through three of the country's most famous attractions: Geysir, the location of the eponymous but mostly dormant Geysir and the very active Strokkur geyser; Gullfoss, one of Iceland's most impressive waterfalls, and Þingvellir National Park, the site of every major historic event in Iceland's history... and also, a filming location for Game of Thrones. (Priorities.)

Not That Kind Of Girl

5.25.2015


I have a love/hate relationship with Lena Dunham.

This, apparently, seems to be the general consensus when it comes to Dunham and my theory is that your feelings about her (if you have any) are based on where you fall on the spectrum of being able to relate to her. For a lot of girls, Dunham grew up in a different world. For me, not so much.

Dunham and I are the exact same age, give or take 30 days. We both have an unhealthy obsession with pop culture, are raging liberals and hypochondriacs, and we fell in love with writing at a young age. We grew up in (her) or adjacent to (me) a world of affluence, where people with graduate degrees from liberal arts colleges and an appreciation for highbrow culture were a dime a dozen. We both lived in New York City in our early twenties, she still does. We have similar stories about shitty guys we've dated and shittier men we've worked with. Most tragically, we both thought people would want to read a book of our self-absorbed essays about all of these topics.

The biggest difference? Well, Dunham actually published hers.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

5.14.2015


To be honest, I rarely get visitors from out of town. Which blows my mind considering how warm and beautiful San Diego is and how not San Diego-y the hometowns of my friends and family are. Come on people! I live beachfront now!

I digress.

Unfortunately, when I am lucky enough to have visitors in town, I go completely blank on the tour guide front. Embarrassing right, since I blog about San Diego and all? Gahhh. 

During Mare's visit back in March I was determined not to have this happen again. And the easiest way to avoid it was to pretend that I was visiting San Diego for the first time too. It was time to play tourist in my own city. So what were some cool, unique sites that I hadn't been to before?

Wanderlust 108 San Diego: A Mindful Triathalon

5.13.2015


I'm not going to lie: I've loved telling people that I did a triathalon this weekend. This "joke" is extremely troubling to me because it means that I have inherited my dad's sense of humor and that is just terrible (sorry, Dad).

If you know me, you know this is my idea of funny because I only started learning how to swim last year and the last time I tried to ride a bike I crashed it into a telephone pole. True story. So, no it wasn't a triathalon in the standard sense. This was what they call "a mindful triathalon": a 5K, 90 minutes of yoga and a 15 minute meditation. These are things I can do without injuring myself or dying.

Sayulita Mermaid Yogis Retreat: Part II

5.12.2015


For most of the country, May is a welcome reprieve from months of horrendous weather. But in San Diego, it's actually the start of our cloudy season. May Gray and June Gloom are aptly titled after the marine layer that typically descends upon us right when most people are celebrating the start of summer.

I know right? Boo hoo, we get a month or two of partly cloudy weather. Poor San Diego.

But I'm not one to shy away from complaining about the weather. It's part of the reason I moved here: I was unbearable to listen to when I lived on the east coast.

During the first week of May, I tried to suck it up, but it's legit bumming me out now. The morning that I started this post was no different: clouds, wind and rain. I wore a sweater and my winter jacket to work. Sweater weather? It just sends me tearing for photos and memories of warmer times with far lighter (and fewer) clothes.

Which is what prompted me to write the second part of my Sayulita yoga retreat recap oh... only six or seven months after it happened. Ironically enough, I left off right when things were getting not-so-sunny in Mexico. But rainy Sayulita is still blissfully tropical... and I'll take warm and rainy over cold and cloudy any day.

Shopped: Road Runner Sports, Kearny Mesa

4.16.2015


It's time.

After months of stress fractures and stress eating and just plain old stress, it's no surprise that I have returned to my pre-FMD bod, my pre-marathon motivation, and my pre-San Diego happiness levels. Something is way, way off and if I had to put my finger on it, there's a 110% chance that it's because I'm not running.

Believe it or not, back in the day the main focus of this blog was running. And after spending the first half of 2014 recovering from stress fractures, I finally rejoined the world of runners when we moved to Ocean Beach in the fall. It felt great! But thennnnn daylight savings time happened, which makes it really hard for me find time to run and even though that's come and gone, I never started running again. I needed some motivation... something to make it fun...

It's pretty easy to see where I'm going with this: new shoes.

Restaurant Review: Union Kitchen & Tap, Gaslamp

4.06.2015


Fun fact: I have at least a dozen favorite restaurants in San Diego. So for me? The only difficult thing about having visitors in town is deciding where to take them out for food. 

It's even more difficult when it's one of your best friends from back home and this is her first time in San Diego and you're planning on using food as your secret weapon in convincing her to move here. 

That's a lot of pressure. 

For Marianna's visit last week, I had 4 dinners to plan and in the end, whatever neighborhood we were touring that day more or less narrowed it down. Until her final day when I had the biggest challenge of all: deciding on a dinner spot in the Gaslamp. 

We needed a place that had outdoor seating with a decent view, fun cocktails, a solid wine list, a tasty charcuterie board, nice ambiance (preferably with live music), and of course, great food. 

Solution: Union Tap & Kitchen

Coachella 2015 Lineup Listening Party: Volume Four

4.02.2015



Coachella is one week away. ONE WEEK.

I may or may not be totally unprepared. There may or may not be a lot of Coachella-related posts in the next seven days as I rush to wrap up this listening party and share my festival essentials for this year. Like my adorable new Sakroots convertible backpack pictured above.. obsessed.

Coachella-centric or not, I think any new posts are a good thing at this point... it's an understatement to say that I took a little break last month. Which was essentially horrendous timing since I was ready to unveil my new logo and had about 2349835 blogging commitments to write about. Awesome.

Alas, timing has really not been in this blog's favor for a while and the last month was no different: I spent the 3 weeks after Iceland sick as a dog, first with bronchitis and a double ear infection, immediately followed by a killer flu. Then we spent the past two weeks moving.

Yes, moving. Again. For the second time in seven months.

More on that to come, but for now, it's crunch time for this lineup review. Without further adieu, here's what Saturday morning in Indio will look like:


Coachella 2015 Lineup Listening Party: Volume Three

3.09.2015


Wristbands are here! Wristbands are here!

After spending the weekend listening to the final third of Friday's lineup, I could not have been any happier (or more relieved) to find our wristbands waiting for me in the mailroom at work today. The warmer weather and longer days make Coachella feel closer than ever and the arrival of wristbands made me that much more motivated to make my way through this lineup review.

In Volume III, I finally tackle some headliners after working my way up through Friday's earlier acts in Volume I and Volume II. I also had to come to terms with the fact that the higher I get on each day's list of bands, the more discography there is for larger acts, hence, the longer it takes to sift through everything. But in the process, I'm discovering so many songs that I can't get enough of.

How many songs exactly? Well, at the end of Day One, the playlist is at 10 hours long and counting...

A San Diegan's Guide to Packing for Winter In Iceland

3.04.2015


There are two types of people in this world: those who grew up with snow and those who did not.

When it came to packing for Iceland, I am the former and my "I had Surf PE in high school" San Diego boyfriend, Ryan is the latter. Needless to say, it was up to me to figure out what each of us would need to get through several days of winter weather. But still... it's been 5 years since I've experienced "cold," let alone lived in it. In fact, I've actively tried to mentally block out all of those childhood winters. The warmest thing I own these days is a lightweight fleece jacket. So when we decided to visit Iceland in February, I realized that there's a hidden cost for any Iceland tourists who hail from warmer weather climates: winter gear. 

For us, with the exception of me forgetting a hat, I feel like we did pretty good. We packed light and smart. We did our homework and learned all about all the non-clothing items we'd need to make it through our stay. And most importantly, we stayed warm and dry. 

Which is why, in my (biased) opinion? This guide to packing for a few days in Iceland is as good as it gets!

Restaurant Review: barleymash, Gaslamp

2.26.2015


Real talk: picking out a great restaurant for dinner in the Gaslamp is probably as overwhelming for San Diegans as it is for visitors. Most of the time I can barely pick out a place when I need to for myself, let alone make recommendations. And it definitely doesn't help that restaurants downtown sometimes seem to disappear overnight.

This was exactly the predicament one of my best friends, Bonnie, and I found ourselves in a couple of weeks ago, when we were looking for a dinner spot before having a Scandal night back at Bonnie's place. Then we were invited to try out barleymash's menu... problem solved!

I was familiar with barleymash because, how could you miss it? I've walked and driven past its prime corner location on 5th and Market a billion times. Still, I'd never eaten there because while it had always seemed like a fun spot to drink, honestly I just expected the food to be your typical semi-decent barfare, similar to the other large, corner bars on 4th and 5th Ave.

Which is a shame, because I was completely wrong.

Happy-U Namaste Yoga Studio

2.18.2015


It took me a few minutes to figure out how to start this post about Happy-U Namaste Yoga Studio in Ocean Beach. Because, I mean, if we were face-to-face? I would probably start off with a big, happy sigh. A sigh of relief really. Because I think I finally found the place where I am most comfortable practicing yoga.

Sayulita Life: Zip Lining Through the Mexican Jungle

2.14.2015


Of all the ways Ryan and I have spent Valentine's Day, last year will always be one of my favorites. Valentine's Day fell on our last full day in Sayulita after a amazing week of sunsets, cervezas and relaxation. And while I wasn't sure how I expected to spend the holiday in Mexico, I don't think I expected it to include strapping myself to a cable and flying above the jungle at 30mph...

30 Before 30

2.09.2015


My 20s have been good great to me.

For starters? I've seen my writing in print. I've crowd surfed at music festivals, climbed on stage at the MTV VMAs, flirted my way onto a band's tour bus, and lied my way into a fancy album release party. I've run half-marathons. I've run a full marathon. I've even walked 60 miles for charity. I lived in New York City for two years and in London for three weeks. I've lived alone, dined alone, traveled alone, gone to the movies alone, gone to concerts alone...  I even went to Coachella alone. I conquered my biggest fear and finally learned how to swim. I've zip lined through the jungle in Mexico, stood in ancient ruins in Rome, and watched the lights twinkle in Paris from the Eiffel Tower. I've waited tables, sold Apple computers, researched story lines for a novelist, and edited a magazine. I've drunkenly bear-hugged Bill Murray and I've soberly called John Mayer a moron to his face. I got a tattoo.. then another.. and another.

I've hosted and cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal for my family. I've run through the South of France in the rain with fresh baguettes and stood on Gaudi's rooftops in Barcelona. I finished my bachelor's degree then my (first) master's degree while working full-time during five very caffeinated years. I've skinny dipped in the Pacific Ocean and strolled through Central Park. I took a gondola ride through Venice, explored the Vatican, and toured the Palace of Versailles. I've been on the top of the Empire State Building at 1am, gambled the night away in Vegas and watched the sun set over the Grand Canyon. I packed up everything I owned and moved to California, with no job prospects in sight. I met a boy, I fell in love, and we adopted two rescue dogs.

I found out what made me happy and I am grateful every day.

And don't get me wrong, my 20s still feel far from over. Unfortunately, regardless of how I "feel," it doesn't change the fact that in 15 months, I'll be entering my next decade.

Honestly? I'm not scared to turn 30, I'm not dreading it like I'm apparently supposed to. Not one little bit. How can I with all the wonderful stuff I got to experience during my 20s? In fact, I'm really excited for my 30s, for focusing more on the people and activities that I love and less on the things that I don't, for being done with school, for settling down... but... I mean...

There's still time to make my 20s go out with a bang.

A Pineapple A Day

2.03.2015


Every morning I wake up to the sound of screaming parrots.

I mean, it's out of control at this point. I don't know where they came from or when they got here, but they're here now. Dozens and dozens of green parrots screeching from the trees as if something is attacking them. Some of our neighbors in Ocean Beach told us they live here during the winter and they'll be gone again soon, but for me? It's not soon enough.

Which is funny because for a long time I dreamed of living in a tropical paradise, one where I  could wake up in some boho beach shack to the sound of tropical birds and waves crashing, walk out of my front door onto the sand and eat fresh fruit every morning for breakfast.  While San Diego is not quite the tropics, with the recent appearance of these birds, it would seem that a version of that dream has come true.

For instance, until the planes start flying overhead each morning, I can in fact hear the waves crashing onto the beach, 500 feet away. Our little casita is almost as boho as I envisioned, minus the palapa roof that I imagine wouldn't hold up so well here. And most mornings, I do try to start my day with some fruit, sometimes fresh, sometimes frozen.

Because you know what they say: a pineapple a day keeps the worries away.


Iceland Is Always A Good Idea

pc: Flickr

The flights are booked and I could not be any more excited about our upcoming island vacation. Four whole days of black sand beaches, snorkeling in crystal clear water, breathtaking waterfalls, stretches of totally secluded coastline...

And ice caves.

Here is where I should also mention how that black sand comes from volcanoes, that crystal clear water will be just above freezing, and those stretches of totally secluded coastline could (and probably will) be completely covered in snow while we're there. Because the island that we're going to? Yeah, it's freakin' Iceland.

ICELAND!

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