roadtrip

What I'm Into Wednesday - LA is in Retrograde

Ok, so some of you who are tuned into the more spiritual side of things (and Instagram) might know this already, but Mercury is in retrograde from now until the end of the year. Yay. (That's sarcasm.)

Mercury in retrograde lends the universe to feeling a little more chaotic. Technology tends to quit working like it should. Communication definitely breaks down. And you have more of those "WTF are people doing/thinking" moments.

BUT Mercury in retrograde is also a great time for things like creativity, dreaming, brainstorming, and creating in general. So there's that.

Last Thursday I took a day trip to LA and man, was Mercury felt. It started with a plan going completely awry thanks to the serious (and crazy) wildfires and the day ended with me showing up to take a yoga class (that I was super excited about) at Wanderlust Hollywood - only to find out they had cancelled all of that afternoon/evening's classes to hold an event (without emailing or telling anyone - major communication breakdown). 

All of that being said. I still managed to have a great day in LA - so here are some of my favorites. 

SEE

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One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was go on a mini architecture tour. Little known fact, I wanted to be an architect for a very long time and I have a small fascination with architecture. So when I realized that there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the middle of a park in LA that I had never been to, that went on the list. And that quickly led me to wanting to visit one of his son's houses as well. 

I made my way to Barnsdall Park and got to see the Hollyhock House. Even thought it is fenced off and currently being renovated - it was beautiful. 

From there I took a drive into the Los Feliz hills to search out the Ennis House. This one is much tougher to get to. The drive is windy, narrow, and steep - and surrounded with beautiful, giant mansions the whole way (so fun to look at) and then you turn this corner and BAM the Ennis House is staring out at you. It literally took my breath away. There wasn't a great way to park and get a better look (you could if you walked or biked) but man, was that drive worth it.

Lastly, I sought out the Sowden House (by Lloyd Wright - Frank's son). This was literally on a normal street. You could park and walk right up to the gate.

This whole architecture adventure reinvigorated my love for architecture itself. Now accepting applications of other cool places to see. 

DO

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The major win and surprise of the day came in the form of beautiful gardens at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. In my quest for cool architecture, I came across Greystone and was stoked to discover that the surrounding landscape and gardens are open to the public (even though the mansion itself isn't). It was the perfect oasis in the middle of LA. A beautiful, large open space with gardens, fountains, statues, a koi pond and so many small hidden paths. Beautiful views of both the house and the city were aplenty - and on a Thursday afternoon it was almost empty. 

Do yourself a favor and go. It was so perfect and peaceful. 

SMELL

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The other part of my day trip excitement was food (duh) and one of the main stops on my list was the newly opened Eataly. A few things - 1. I totally forgot I've been to the Eataly in Boston (I'm an idiot). 2. I definitely didn't know Eataly in LA was in a mall - until I had to park there. 3. Wow. Overwhelming.

The Eataly in Boston was set up so much more smartly - spread out, easy to navigate, easy to meander through. I felt like Eataly LA was kind of the opposite. Tall ceilings but a warehouse-y feel that was loud, crowded, and difficult to take your time moving through. It felt rushed and like people were impatient. So I guess it felt like LA.

Either way, it's a fun experience if you do go. And yes, some of the food is amazing.

TASTE

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SALT AND STRAW. SALT AND STRAW. They saved my evening after finding out the yoga class was cancelled. I took myself over to the location on Larchmont and indulged. 

Their December flavors are ridiculous - peppermint hot cocoa, a grapefruit eggnog, gingerbread cookie dough, and apple brandy pecan pie to name a few. The clear winner was apple brandy pecan pie. And to my surprise (and delight) they still had sweet potato casserole on the menu from Thanksgiving!

Also to my delight - the lovely guy told me that the Little Italy San Diego location should be open BEFORE CHRISTMAS! There is a Santa after all.

HEAR

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Long drives call for good podcasts. It was tough to pick just one... but this week goes out to:

Radiolab for their episode titled Super Cool.

I won't ruin it for you. Just listen. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - Travel November, Pt. 1

November shaped up to be a month of travelling, starting with the very first day. Angelo had to head up to Ventura for some nuun related business so Arlo and I decided to hop on the trip and turn it into a little day roadtrip.

We headed up to Ojai on Halloween, checked into a cute AirBnb, took Arlo adventuring on some local trails, and proceeded to enjoy the small town for the evening. The next day was all business - taking the drive to Ventura to pick up some stuff for nuun, shuttling it to Long Beach, and then heading home.

I love roadtrips and love that even work related road trips can turn into a quick night away.

More about what I loved on this two day adventure below!

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SEE

One of the stops on our trip was a hike (of course). The hike was described as having a few creek crossings, but that was really all we knew (see below for more). When we parked the car at the trailhead, we realized you had to walk through some private land to get to the actual trail. That land happened to be a nature preserve - complete with goats, sheep, horses, and lots of birds. The bird area held chickens, roosters, and peacocks! They were absolutely gorgeous, and just feet away from us as we walked through. I had never seen a peacock with his feathers on full display (with the exception of maybe a zoo visit?) and we got to witness it here. Stunningly gorgeous. 

DO

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The hike itself was amazing as well. It's called the North Fork Matilija Trail. It weaves through forest, crosses a stream 5-6 times, has boulders and rocks and soft trail, and was the perfect fall feeling adventure. Arlo had an absolute blast crossing the stream (both swimming and jumping from rock to rock) and we enjoyed playing as well. The total hike is somewhere between 5-6 miles round trip. I'd love to go back and do the whole thing. We got through about 4 miles before running out of time. I highly recommend this trail!

SMELL

Our Airbnb was just outside of Ojai and was surrounded by active ranches. It's not that I particularly like the smell of horses, but I do love the immediate feeling that you get when you smell them. You feel removed, away, and in the country. That was exactly the relaxing vibe we were hoping for when we booked the Airbnb. Living in a city lacks nature smells, so whether it's farm, or horse, or trees, or water - I welcome them.

TASTE

For our one evening in Ojai we rounded up a few restaurant recommendations and ended up checking out Farmer and the Cook. This adorable organic, vegetarian/vegan friendly grocery store-meets-restaurant was perfect. The ambiance was hippie, the food hit the spot (the sweet potato lentil soup was bomb), and the people watching was perfect. Plus, dogs were allowed on the patio (always a win). But the true star of the night was dessert. They had a day old molasses cookie in the bakery case for $1 and Angelo and I took a chance. Holy cow, it was delish. Soft, chewy, rich tasting. Legit blew us away and overshadowed everything else. 

HEAR

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Roadtrips mean podcast time. One of the podcasts I listened to on our drive was an episode of This American Life titled "In the Shadow of the City 2017". It was a fascinating collection of stories about interesting things that happen in the odd, far reaching, and dark corners of big cities - often right under the noses of residents, who never know. Give it a whirl. 

 

What I'm Into Wednesday - I'm A Planner

A little behind the scenes info - I write this blog post on Mondays (usually). So that means that as of the writing of this week's post I haven't yet gone on my solo day. Spoiler alert: next week will probably be centered around my adventure.

But here's one of the cool things about planning adventure. Often, just the planning is fun! I'm a planner by nature so deciding what cool stuff to do with an entire day off has been a blast. More on that later. Anywho...

 

Hear

I mentioned last week that I've been on a podcast list. So of course, this week's hear is another podcast recommendation. This week I enjoyed a This American Life episode entitled "A Not-So-Simple Majority." It was an in depth look at an interesting case of a school district battle in New York that, of course, was indicative of much deeper cultural issues. What brought them to the surface was a large population of ultra conservative Jewish people in the district, who don't send their kids to public schools, taking over the public school board. It was fascinating, gripping, sometimes sad, very frustrating, and eye opening to an example of the battle that takes place in different ways around this country every day. Give it a listen.

Smell

One of my biggest worries getting a dog was that our house would start to smell like dog. Enter the magic of Saje once again. Their diffusers solve all of my worries. I have two different assortments of scents and having the ability to pick, choose, and decide how I want my air to smell (and therefore my house to feel) is amazing. Plus, did you know they help purify your air? Over time the collect dust and other particles from the air, trap them, and let them fall to the ground. Sweet!!

Taste

When I go to the farmer's market I love to make the rounds and see what looks good that day, but I definitely have my favorites. And one is the hummus guy! You know the one - he sells both hummus and garlic spread. And while the garlic spread is to die for, it's the hummus I'm obsessed with today! If you've never tried the Almond Date flavor of Majestic Sprouted Hummus you've been missing out. It's sweet - which sounds like it would be weird (but isn't) - and has the best texture. I try to catch him either at the Little Italy farmer's market on Saturdays or in Hillcrest on Sunday!

Do

This week is all about planning! Even just for a little day trip, I love sitting down at my computer, looking at a map, planning a route, researching fun (and off the beaten path) things to do, deciding where to have coffee, where to eat, and picking people's brains for suggestions. This week's adventures will take me to Orange County. And by the time this is up, I will already be back. I can't wait to recap the adventures and finds next week!

See

Speaking of finding fun things to do, I have to include my favorite website of all time. I'm obsessed with Atlas Obscura when it comes to finding weird, creepy, unique, fun, and unusual things to do in cities that I'm visiting (or even in SD). They have the best curated sights, museums, landmarks, and otherwise non-touristy stuff. Check it out, but be ready to spend hours perusing their site!

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Roadtrip Edition

When I was a kid I loved flying places. The entire adventure, from airport to airport, was a blast. But as the flight industry has changed (and I've gotten older) I don't look forward to flying quite as much.

And in exchange, I've found a deeper love for roadtrips! There's something special about the time spent in a car with your loved ones, seeing the small town sights outside your window, and having the opportunity to stop and check them out when and wherever.

So for our third anniversary (and a belated birthday gift to Angelo) we hopped in the car last Thursday and headed north! Our destination? Scott's Valley (just outside of Santa Cruz) for some redwood exploration for a few days and then meandering our way back to San Diego.

Here's what I loved.

xoxo

LP

Do

I am a huge proponent of AirBnb. Many of the coolest places I've stayed and people I've met while travelling have been through AirBnb stays. This time was no different. We stayed in an Airstream trailer with an addition and deck built onto it. It was adorable, perfectly sized, on a great property, and owned by some fantastic hosts. The property also had baby goats (!), a rooster, chickens and baby chicks, ducks, a goose, and wild deer. We loved it and Arlo was fascinated by the animals. Yup, it was dog friendly too!

See

The drive down the 1 along the Central Coast and through Big Sur is one of my all time favorite sights. Unfortunately a series of landslides, planned bridge renovations, and other weather related deterioration has caused the 1 to be indefinitely closed. So we took an alternate route back down from Scott's Valley. It took us through farm land, beautiful mountains, and vineyards. It wasn't the jaw dropping coastal view but it was pretty damn beautiful.

Smell

I don't care that this is essentially a repeat of last week's smell category. The forest. Standing among beautiful, giant, old Redwoods and looking over a river enhances the amazing scent of the forest. Get out. Smell dirt.

Taste

 While in new towns, one must always explore and find the best of the best of a few things. In our case its: donuts, ice cream, and carrot cake (hence why we run so much). The absolute, hands down winner of this trip was carrot cake from Rosine's in Monterey. Some good (and foodie) friends insisted we stop there on our drive back down and holy shit, I'm glad we did. Top two carrot cakes of my life (the other is TRUST here in SD). Giant, dense, and delicious.

Hear

I'm kind of cheating and using hear as another way to talk about food. But this is my blog, so deal. The best ice cream of the trip winner goes to The Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz. But it wasn't the actual ice cream that did it, it was what went on top. Caramelized, flame broiled, homemade marshmallow fluff. Whaaaaaa. And the sound of that torch getting the perfect amount of color and flavor on that fluff was a wonderful thing.