southern california

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 - Sore Muscles, Full Hearts

Do you ever come off of a good weekend on a serious high and someone asks you why your weekend was so good and you can't really articulate it? Nothing was extra-ordinary about this weekend but it was exactly what I wanted/needed it to be. And here I find myself in a brand new week with sore muscles and a full heart - just the way I like it.

See

A few months ago we were lucky enough to have gotten some serious (for SoCal) rain in San Diego. And that led to a blooming of wildflowers like nothing I've ever seen here. Places like Tecolote and Mission Trails transformed into bright yellow fields. Trail running was magnificent. And now we're back in more of a normal climate and those wildflowers have died off... but it's left something unique in its place. These chest height reminders sparked a conversation about the life cycle of plants - and how special it is that these plants (that are no longer serving a visual purpose of beauty) will soon fall and decompose to provide nutrients to the plants that will grow in their place. Nature, man. It's special.

Smell

The weekend started on Friday afternoon with a dinner par-tay of sorts with some of my favorite humans. Our friends, Lou and Amanda and Napoli, hosted Puerto Rican night at their house. It was part to just spend time together and part to christen their brand new (and beautiful) picnic table (that was built by my brother in law!). It started with homemade sourdough bread (thanks to the bread queen, Allie) and chorizo and tostones (fried plantains) and then moved to pork shoulder and a rice dish and finished with pineapple rum upside down cake. All deliciousness was washed down with a rum and passionfruit cocktail. To say the house smelled good would be a very serious understatement. And the vibes were perfect for kicking off a weekend!

Taste

This is one of those weeks where I couldn't be happier that smell and taste are under two categories - because I kind of get to double dip. Here's a dirty little secret about me - I LOVE Souplantation. And I love it even more because my trail running friends love it too. From giant salads to chili and cornbread to the gluten free coconut muffins, I'm in heaven. It's extraordinarily mediocre, and there's something special about that. Our NPSUMMIT house reunion on Sunday consisted of Tecolote trail runs for breakfast and Souplantation for lunch and it was bomb diggity. 

Hear

If you've ever taken a yoga class with me, you know I love me some Sylvan Esso. A while ago I was introduced to a new song of theirs, but kind of forgot that with new songs eventually (usually) comes new albums. So I was pretty pumped to come across their 2017 album last night. Give it a listen.

Do

Less. Do less. Plan less. Go with the flow more. While I did have some specific things planned for the weekend (workouts, classes, etc.) I largely left this weekend unplanned. And that was part of what made it so perfect. It left time for wandering, exploring, hitting snooze, chatting a little longer with friends, cracking more jokes, eating extra food, and just generally choosing activities based on what I wanted to do, not what I had to do. So when you can, do less and experience more.