Category Archives: Hiking

Three Sisters Waterfall Hike + An Afternoon of Wine in Temecula {Weekend Recap}

Hi friends!

Hope that your week is off to a nice start! Did you have Monday off of work for Presidents Day? I had off from my publicist job, and actually didn’t do work for any of my jobs whatsoever. I think I only answered one email the entire day, which was nice! My long weekend was a great one, so today I’m rewinding it back a few days.

On Saturday while my hubby studied for an MBA exam all day, I took care of a lot of freelance & blogging stuff. I also ran a couple of errands, including a trip to Michaels to pick up a frame for a new addition to my travel-themed workout room.

The artist of this San Diego Modern Map Art was nice enough to send me a print, and I think it goes perfectly in my workout room. The room is full of canvas art and memorabilia of my travels, and now I have art in there of my current beloved city, San Diego!

Sunday first thing, I took my pup for a long walk along the coast on what was a misty morning. Afterwards, I got ready for the day & prepped some food for a picnic we were planning on having in Temecula wine country. I made Greek pasta salad and packed some healthy snacks, including hummus with carrots, apple and chickpea crackers.

We headed out to Temecula to meet up with my cousin Michelle and her boyfriend. Michelle’s birthday is coming up, so we had a celebratory afternoon together sipping wine and hanging out. First up, we stopped at Weins Cellars. Known for their big reds, Weins has a great outdoor area to picnic at, so after we tasted there, we nabbed a bottle and ate outside.

Afterwards, we headed over to Lorimar Winery, where my cousin is a wine member. I’ve been to Lorimar a few times recently, and they seem to always have interesting red blends on their tasting menu. Lorimar also has a great outdoor space for hanging out, along with a food truck if you’re hungry & live music on the weekends.

We had a lot of fun relaxing in Temecula, but then again I always enjoy myself in wine country. I mean what’s not to love? Even during this time of the year when the vineyards are looking scarce and the weather can be on the chillier side, Temecula always proves to be a great time.

Hydrating with pHenOH 7.4

After a laid-back, wine-filled Sunday, my Monday off went in a different direction. After taking my pup to the dog park for some playtime, Adam and I headed out to the California countryside to the town of Descansco for a hike to Three Sisters Waterfalls.

This was only my second time doing this hike. The other time I did it was almost exactly four years ago, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The other time I visited Three Sisters, the San Diego area was in a serious drought, whereas this time, we’ve gotten a ton of rain lately. I had high hopes for raging waterfalls, and I was not disappointed!

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Thanksgiving Weekend 2016: Hiking, Relaxing & Feeling Grateful!

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” – D. Waitley

If you’re in America or Canada, I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I also hope that your weekends were full of fun and relaxation like mine was! Today I’m backing it up to the start of my glorious 4-day weekend.

We decided to stay in town for the long weekend. My hubby had off for the week from his MBA schooling, so with little work on our agendas, we were free to do whatever we wanted!


On Thanksgiving I love to do an outdoor workout with my little family before the holiday festivities. By going hiking, we all get a workout in and get to enjoy the outdoors together! This year we elected to head to Iron Mountain in Escondido.


I didn’t even realize it until looking at my Thanksgiving 2015 post, but we hiked Iron Mountain last Thanksgiving too… It must be our go-to holiday hike!


We’ve done the hike a couple of times before, and knew it’d be a good workout without being exhausting. It was a great day weather-wise, and while lots of people were out and about around the trail, it thinned out once we started the hike up the mountain.

Processed with Snapseed.

Thanksgiving happened to fall on another occasion — Harley’s 6th birthday! She was born (on or around) Thursday, so she was spoiled with a new toy and a big treat.


I feel like it’s crazy that we’ve had Harley since she was 4 months old and she’s now 6 years old, but at the same time, I don’t remember what life was like before we had her. Since we rescued her, she’s been this woman’s best friend, and I love having her as my hiking partner, foot warmer, velcro dog while I’m cooking (I’m messy and tend to drop a lot of food!) and so much more. She’s as rambunctious and energetic as ever, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!


She hates posing for photos. 


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Hiking Cuyamaca Peak

Happy Friday guys!

I’m sure you all are looking forward to the weekend! And speaking of days off, whenever I have a long weekend, I like to do spend part of it doing something fun and new. For 4th of July weekend, this was no exception.

4th of July pancakes

My festive pancakes over the holiday weekend

We had a party at our friends’ on the agenda, which I made my very first red, white & blue cake {angel food cake with cream cheese frosting & a fruit flag} + caprese pasta salad for. We also had some house stuff to do (homeowners, do you also feel like the work is never-ending?!), but that was pretty much it… so, we had some time to go on adventure!

4th of July cake

I decided that a new area hiking spot was to be explored, and the weather was perfect for doing so. A lot of hiking trails in San Diego County are inland, and inland areas can get HOT in the summer, but last weekend, temperatures in the 80s meant decent summertime hiking. After doing some research – when I realized that I’ve done the vast majority of hikes within a 2-hour radius! – I found one called Cuyamaca Peak.

Cuyamaca Peak-12b

What intrigued me about this hike is that it’s the 2nd highest point in San Diego County. The summit sits at 6,512′ and the hike comes in at a little under 6 miles with a 1,700’+ elevation gain.  The trail is located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park – which I didn’t realize that we’d been to until after doing the hike, coming home and checking my blog post about our camping trip there years ago because I thought the park sounded familiar (Got to love that, right fellow bloggers?). 

Cuyamaca Peak-1

From what I’ve read, dogs are allowed on this trail (and I believe it’s the only trail in the park that allows pups), but we decided to leave Harley home. Between the decently long drive and the summertime weather, we figured it’d be easier to leave her napping cozy in her bed under a ceiling fan.

Cuyamaca Peak-5

To get to the trail, we parked in the Paso Pichacho campground area, and walked through the campsites to get to the trailhead in the back.

Cuyamaca Peak-2

Another thing that seemed interesting about this trail is that it’s home to sugar pine trees – something you don’t see too often in Southern Cali. I was also curious about the destruction that could still be seen from the massive fire that I had heard about, which in 2003, incinerated the areas and its beautiful forests.

Cuyamaca Peak-4

Right away, you can tell that there was an enormous fire in the park. While lots of beautiful green can still be seen on the trail, much of the area is a reminder of that fire 13 years ago that swept through 240,000+ acres. Trees caught in the fire still stand high – but leaf-less, blackened and burnt.

Cuyamaca Peak-10

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Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail

Hi everyone!

Hope that you had a fun, rejuvenating weekend. My weekend was pretty low-key, and one of the highlights was hiking a new local trail called Bernardo Mountain with my little family.

Bernardo Mt-12

Located in the town of Escondido within the 55-mile-long San Dieguito River Park along Lake Hodges, Bernardo Mountain is a dog-friendly trail that offers pretty views of San Diego County – and of the many mansions in the area.

Bernardo Mt-13

Bernardo Mountain is an out-and-back hike that’s about 7.2 miles roundtrip. It was easy for us to get to the park from North County by driving east on Rt 78, hopping on I-15, and parking at the end of Sunset Drive.

The trail starts off as a concrete walkway, where you walk underneath I-15 and find yourself next to Lake Hodges. I imagine that the reservoir was once much more full and roaring. Oh California drought. 

Bernardo Mt-2

The hike started off kind of slow as we walked on the concrete path and around the lake for a good 1.5 miles or so before hitting the trailhead. Once we hit the Bernardo Mountain trail, it was a nice slow ascend up. We never were out of breath climbing, but it was a nice slow burn.

Bernardo Mt-4

We passed some people walking around the lake, but once we started to ascend up the mountain, they weren’t many hikers around for a Saturday afternoon. We did see a good amount of mountain bikers. I think that A and I may return back to go biking soon, as it seemed like a good trail to try out on our bikes.

Bernardo Mt-10

A couple of notable things along the trail were how green the scenery was and how many gorgeous homes were around. We definitely enjoyed checking out the luxurious houses throughout the hike.

Towards the end of the hike, we passed the odd trail scenery of a huge water tank surrounded by barbed wire fence. This is the part of the hike that seemed most strenuous, with deeper ascends than the rest of the hike. It’s nothing too crazy, but it gets your heart pumping a bit.

Bernardo Mt-6

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Dating Myself This Valentine’s Day Weekend

Hi friends!

Well, last weekend marked 2016’s holiday of love… and while I love any excuse to celebrate my relationship with my husband, I also like taking time around each Valentine’s Day to show myself some love.

Self-love is a topic I’ve written about probably a dozen times, and it’s a subject that I like to chat about with you guys because it is so important. You can’t have a truly healthy life without having a healthy, positive self-relationship.

love yourself first

Sometimes we’re all so busy running around handling our business and taking care of everyone else in our life, that we forget that we deserve to be taken care of too. We need to love ourselves first, because a healthy self-relationship forms the backbone of all of the other relationships you have in your life.

The concept of “dating yourself” is unique to you as an individual. The idea is simply that you take time out of your busy schedule to treat yourself to something that makes you happy – something that you don’t do all the time and that feels a bit special. The only requirement is that it’s something that feeds your soul, makes you feel good, and is beneficial to your health – mentally, physically, emotionally.

Carlsbad sunset-Feb 16

The sunset in Carlsbad last Friday

What do you do when you go on a typical date? You do something fun that you’re interested in. You do something relaxing that makes you feel more centered and happy. You have great conversation with the person you’re on a date with. You find out more about the other person. The same things go for dating yourself. I usually do things that I find calming and fun; I treat myself; I give myself an opportunity to think more about the person I want to be and to celebrate the woman that I am; I practice mindfulness.

Last weekend was the perfect opportunity for me to treat myself and have some “me” time. My hubby was away for Marine Corps training, and with it being V Day, the idea of love was all around me. Here are some of the ways that I dated myself:

Carlsbad sunset-Feb 16-2

I even got Harley to lay down and check out the sunset for about 30 seconds before she got antsy!

I took my dog for a long sunset walk along the coast. It was relaxing, meditative, and a great way to start my weekend… plus how pretty was the sunset?!

Candles & Moscow Mule Mugs

Check me out in the reflection of the mugs 🙂

I went shopping. I’m not a huge shopper and hadn’t done my Christmas gift returns yet, so I headed to the mall for some exchanging. I wound up getting some cute clothes from my favorite clothing store, Express, and also popped into Bed, Bath & Beyond for some home goods.

New Baking Pans

I wound up getting a couple of new candles (I’m always burning candles in the house!) and Moscow Mule mugs that I totally didn’t need, but have had my eye on for awhile. I also nabbed two new baking sheets since my current baking sheets were old and dingy. I’m going to be able to bake a ton of cookies on that huge pan!

Newport Beach Hike-2

I went hiking. I met up with my cousin Michelle to hit a trail in Newport Beach on Saturday. We had planned on doing a 2-hour hike, but wound up getting kind of turned around on the trails and hiking for 4+ hours & over 10 miles!

Hiking with Michelle-Feb 16

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My 2015 Favorites

With 2015 drawing to a close, I love looking back at the year and thinking about all of my favorite travels and adventures, as well as my most memorable recipes and workouts of the year. I thought it’d be fun today to take a look back and highlight those memories. Let’s get to it!

My Favorite Adventures & Travel…

Miami-and-Santa Ynez-Collage copy


August in Northeast '15 Collage

Solvang-Collage copy


My Favorite Recipes….

Thin Mint Smoothie-5

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Hiking Boat Canyon at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Happy Friday!

Any fun plans for the weekend? Speaking of the weekend, today I want to back it up to last weekend and talk about my latest hiking adventure – which took me up to the Laguna Beach area. Boat Canyon-5

With my hubby working for the Marine Corps all weekend and no plans on my agenda, I declared last Saturday a hiking day! I invited my cousin Michelle to meet me for an outdoor workout together. She lives in Long Beach, and I live in Northern San Diego County, so we decided to try to meet up somewhere in between us. The Laguna Coast Wilderness Park seemed like a perfect halfway point, with it being 45-60 minutes from each of us.
Boat Canyon-1

We decided on hiking a trail called Boat Canyon – which is described as a strenuous workout by local hiking websites. I wanted to get a real workout in, and this trail did not disappoint as a heart pounding sweat session! We parked on Dartmoor Street and began at the trailhead at the end of the road.

Boat Canyon-2

Boat Canyon-4

Immediately I was in awe of the beautiful views! We had the Pacific as our backdrop for most of the hike, and it was a perfect day for hiking weather-wise – in the low 70s and mostly sunny.

Boat Canyon-3

I drove up to Laguna Beach along the coast, and when I got into the area, I was struck by its beauty right away. Southern California as a whole is just so gorgeous, and I feel blessed that my life has taken me to this wonderful area.

Boat Canyon-12

There were a good amount of people out and about hiking and running the trail, but nothing too crazy. Neither of us brought our pups because they aren’t allowed at the park, but it worked out because the 8+ mile hike probably would have been too much for both of our dogs.

Boat Canyon-6

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My Favorite Fall Things + Weekend Recap

Hi friends!

Hope that you had a nice weekend. Last weekend was the first time in I think 5 weeks that my hubby and I were both home for all of it, so getting to spend a few days together was nice! Before I recap it, two things to share…

1.) Don’t forget to enter my Aurorae yoga mat towel giveaway! It ends Wednesday.

2.) I’ll be sending out a new health coaching newsletter soon, so sign up below if you’d like to receive it!


Anywho, we kicked off our Friday night with an inaugural trip to a local wine bar called Relm. We had a few glasses of wine, noshed on some hummus, and listened to the live blues band that was playing. It was a fun and relaxing way to start the weekend!

Vino Game Strong

Another weekend highlight was going for a Saturday morning hike with our pup at Elfin Forest. I hadn’t hiked there since the beginning of the summer since it’s been hot and Harley doesn’t appreciate 90 degree hikes.

Elfin forest hiking-Oct 15-2

Since it was around 80 degrees, we took advantage of the more moderate temp and journeyed over there for some outdoor exercise together. It was cloudy out too, so our little maniac had no problem keeping up her energy and running around like a crazy dingo.

Harley at Elfin-Oct 15

While Southern California doesn’t have a drastic temperature change through the seasons, it does typically change from 75-90 degrees in the summer to 60-75 in the fall and winter during the day. We’ll see what happens with this El Nino year – since it has been uncharacteristically hot and supposedly we’re going to get a lot of rain in the wintertime (also not usual) – but this weekend started to finally feel like autumn a bit! I got to thinking about my favorite things this time of the year, and here’s what I came up with:

1.) More hiking adventures. This is the time of the year when I start to explore more around hiking spots in the area. Mild weather is great for hiking, and there’s usually less people around hiking than in the summertime.

Elfin forest lake

2.) Pumpkin picking & carving. Last weekend we visited a nearby pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins for our annual carving contest. It’s become a fun tradition with my hubby!

3.) Pumpkin eating. Okay, I finally bit the pumpkin bullet at TJ’s last week. They have just many pumpkin products….and I think I bought about half of them:

TJs pumpkin buys

4.) Apples. This is a fruit favorite in my house, and we eat through apples like it’s our job pretty much all year round… but I love apple season! Even though we couldn’t go apple picking around here this year because of the drought (How sad right? None of the family farms could produce enough fruit for U-Pick), expect some apple recipes to come within the next few months!

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Weekend Escape to Big Bear Lake

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny space you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

With my hubby and I both home last weekend with nothing on the agenda, we decided to  take a road trip to a place we’d never visited before: Big Bear Lake. Located in the San Bernardino Mountains about 2 1/2 hours away from our house in San Diego’s North County, Big Bear Lake is a popular destination known for its winter ski slopes as well as summertime water sports.  
Big Bear-4

My hubby had brought up the idea of camping in the area mid-last week. However, all of the campsites at the lakeside campground I wanted to stay at were already reserved. Plus fires aren’t currently allowed there because of the extremely dry conditions and high fire danger, and that’s kind of my favorite part of camping, so we decided to leave the pup home and go for a long day trip to Big Bear instead. We headed out bright and early on Saturday morning, with breakfast on-the-go:

Big Bear snacks-1

Road trip breakfast: Siggi’s yogurt, Van’s cocoa cereal, blueberries, Blue Diamond almonds and dried bananas

Like much of California, the trip to Big Bear was a gorgeous ride. The town is named after the Grizzly bears that inhabit the area, which I was kind of hoping to spot while we were there (within a safe distance), but no such luck!
Big Bear grizzly bear

Once we got into the area, we popped into the Big Bear Discovery Center to obtain a parking pass and get further info about the trail we wanted to hike: Cougar Crest – Bertha Peak. After researching the trails in the Big Bear area, this one seemed to be the best half-day hike for us. The hike is about 7 miles from the trailhead, and pretty soon after you start hiking, the views are beautiful: lots of trees and green, and a nice view of Big Bear Lake and surrounding mountains!  Big Bear-2The hike had a nice steady incline a lot of the time. We were happy that it wasn’t too steep because both A and I felt a little short of breath from the elevation, which we aren’t used to! Big Bear Lake sits at around 7,000 feet in elevation.Big Bear-1

The Cougar Crest Trail ends at the juncture of the world-famous Pacific Crest Trail, known as the PCT. This was kind of cool for us because we watched the movie Wild recently, the non-fiction movie starring Reese Witherspoon about a woman who hikes 1,100 miles of the PCT in hopes of finding herself and getting a fresh start. The movie itself was just okay, but being a hiker, I was intrigued at the movie’s concept. The PCT runs all the way down from Mexico up to Canada!

PCT sign

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My Workouts Lately {Muscle Tweaks Can’t Hold Me Down!}

Hey friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was wonderful and included lots of fun with my little family! Check out Harley licking her lips at the sangria carafes I brought to a friend’s on the 4th of July: sangria carafes

I can’t blame her, sangria is one of my favorite summer drinks!

Today I thought it’d be fun to talk about my workouts as of late. As usual I’ve been super active, but lately I’ve had a few not so fun muscular tweaks happening. I’m thankful to be strong and healthy, but does anyone else ever feel like their body is just out of whack and giving out on them in an aches and pains kind of way?!

The first tweak was a couple of weeks ago when I hurt my neck doing a Jillian Michaels’ DVD that I’ve done a million times. It felt like a nerve pinched in my neck down through my shoulder blade, and I immediately felt a tingling sensation. It felt annoying but just kind of weird during that day, and developed into a crazy painful tweak that night. For a bunch of days I couldn’t turn my neck easily, and so I was obviously very careful with my movements. I applied my heating pad to it like crazy and begged my hubby to give me lots of neck rubs until it subsided.

Xtend barre HRM

My heart rate stats after an Xtend Barre bootcamp class

Once my neck felt more normal again, I started a 2-week unlimited class Groupon at Xtend Barre Encinitas. I’m going to talk more about it in another post, but I’m now a fan of Xtend Barre workouts and enjoyed this barre workout’s focus on more cardio. I took 5 classes in 2 weeks, and even though each class was different, by the last few classes, I felt like I had a decent grasp on Xtend Barre moves.

The last weekend in June, when my hubby and I awoke to gloomy skies and cool temperatures, we decided to spend the morning hiking with our pup. This type of weather is ideal for summer hiking, and we headed to Poway’s Iron Mountain.  Iron Mt

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