Category Archives: San Diego

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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Appreciating Family Time in San Diego {Weekend Recap}

Hi there!

I haven’t done a fun little weekend recap in awhile, and since I had a great weekend a couple days back, it seems like a good idea to share what I was up to with you guys.

Taught yoga on Friday with this view!

After having a great day of meetings and health coaching sessions on Friday, I kicked off my weekend with a long walk at the park with my pup, then made some veggie orzo soup (my favorite lately!) to enjoy with my hubby. It was the kind of day that feels productive and busy, yet fun at the same time.

After taking care of some work and cleaning my entire house on Saturday, the family-filled part of my weekend began!

My cousin Michelle, who lives a few hours north in Long Beach, drove down to spend the night at my house. I made homemade pizza and farro Greek salad, and we drank wine, caught up, and watched crime shows. We both are into murder mysteries, which she refers to as “murder porn.” My husband is always rolling his eyes at my TV and movie picks – but can’t stop, won’t stop!

Sunday morning, we headed into Del Mar to meet up with my cousin Noelle and her friend Courtney. Noelle and I grew up together in Jersey, and she recently moved to the San Francisco area. She flew down for a long weekend, and I was happy to get to finally see her! We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas 2015.

We first grabbed brunch at Snooze, where I had the most indulgent pancakes. They were sweet potato pancakes topped with homemade caramel, candied pecans and ginger butter. I only ate one pancake out of fear of a serious sugar coma, but they were OUT OF THIS WORLD MY FRIENDS! Snooze had a lot of other dessert-ish pancakes that sounded heavenly, including one that had some sort of chocolate ganache topping.

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Potato Black Bean Soup [vegan + gluten free]

Lately the weather in the San Diego area has been nuts. Rain, rain, and more rain for the past month! This is usually the “rainy” season – though I use that term loosely – but this has been more rain than I’ve seen in my 7+ years in California.

For the state, this is good news! California’s reservoirs are swelling for the first time in half a decade, and the drought we’ve been in for years might be over if Mother Nature keeps it up.

With all of the rain lately, a few things have been happening in my world.

For one, my dog has been super whiny and energetic. She literally does sprints around the house when it’s raining out, and cries at the door yet doesn’t want to go outside and get wet… not that I blame her, I’ve been missing our outdoor workouts too.

Secondly, my backyard has been getting a little out of control. A few of my trees were close to falling over last week due to flooded soil and strong winds, and we did our best to temporarily secure them. My pool looks like it may overflow with a few more big rain storms, and I have about an entire tree’s worth of leaves in there. There are also a ton of oranges that have fallen off my front yard tree and gotten smushed in my driveway. Now you guys know a few of the things on my to-do list to take care of this weekend! 

And third, I’ve been obsessed with eating soup. There’s nothing better on a chilly, rainy day than a big bowl of healthy, hearty soup with a hunk of fresh bread. Add a fire crackling + hit play on a good movie, and that’s my idea of a perfect night in.

I realized that I haven’t posted any soup recipes this winter yet, and knew that had to change this month.

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My Workouts Lately [Nov & Dec ’16]

Hi friends!

Is it just me, or is January flying by?!

Today I want to rewind a bit and look back at my workouts of November and December ’16. I capped off my year with many awesome sweat sessions!

Harley photobombing my headstand, as per usual!

I kept up with doing an at-home yoga practice most mornings, though I feel like I stuck more to the basics and didn’t challenge myself with new/deepening asanas all that much.

Well okay, this pose is a pretty tough one! 

Class-wise, November was fun because I got to experience spin classes at a new studio in downtown San Diego called Pure Indoor Cycling.

The folks at the studio kindly gave me a complimentary membership to try out their classes, and you guys, I had so much fun taking spin classes there! Pure offers the club-esque type of cycling classes that are becoming so popular in many cities — complete with loud, energizing music and lighting effects.

I love breaking up the day with a lunchtime ride, and I burned mega calories at Pure classes. I have my bike trainer at home that I use all the time, but I definitely pushed myself more in the classes. I left every Pure class feeling awesome, with lots of endorphins flowing!

One thing that I dig about Pure Studio? The classes are a bit more reasonably priced than you’d find at comparable cycling studios. And San Diego locals, the first class at Pure is free! I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

The only bummer for me? I wish I lived closed to the Pure studio!

Next up with my studio class workouts throughout November & December was going to more yoga sculpt classes at Fortis & YOGALUX in Carlsbad. I’ve become such a fan of yoga sculpt classes!

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The Best of 2016: Favorite Recipes, Workouts, Adventures & More

Happy New Year!

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I hope that 2017 is off to a great start for you. I’m back in California after a week and a half on the east coast for holiday vacation, and ready to see what wonderful things this year has in store for me. Since I love to reflect on the positives of the year at the start of a new one, today we’re looking back at my 2016 favorites!

Recipes. When I think about favorite recipe posts, what pops into my mind are the recipes that I shared with loved ones, made numerous times and couldn’t get enough of! My top 5 recipes of 2016 that were popular on the blog are…

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Mini Pretzel Twists with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. I had a thing for soft pretzels in 2016! 

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Mediterranean Feta & Lemon Hummus Dip. After creating this dip for a health coaching event, I made it several more times throughout the year. I love Mediterranean ingredients like artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes & feta cheese! 

Moving onto the sweeter side of things, these were my favorite healthy snacks/desserts of the year (all vegan + gluten free!):

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Squares. I like to think of these as a more wholesome, adult version of those blue wrapper rice crispy treats we’re all familiar with!  

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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. Because the chocolate + peanut butter combo has my heart every year. 

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Peppermint Chocolate Chip Snack Bites. I‘ve been obsessed with all things peppermint this winter! 

Travel. I got to do some awesome traveling in 2016! Here are my favorite adventures of the year:

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Visiting Ireland was definitely a check off of my bucket list, and it also marked the first time that I ever spent time in Europe with my family. I met them in Ireland and got to experience the country with my parents, sister, grandma, aunts, uncle, cousin, and brother during the whirlwind trip. I had the chance to visit the Cliffs of Moher, experience some awesome Irish pub nights, and ate lots of yummy vegetarian food.

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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
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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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She hates posing for photos. 

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My Workouts Lately // Sept & Oct

Happy Halloween!

If you trick-or-treat at my house tonight, you’ll be greeted by a barking Batpuppy:

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I celebrated Halloween yesterday by carving pumpkins and watching scary movies with my hubby, and making jack-o-lantern stuffed peppers for dinner.

Are you celebrating the holiday with some treats? If you’re looking for a way to offset those extra candy calories today, try this at-home Halloween workout: at-home-halloween-workout

And speaking of workouts, today I’m sharing what I’ve been up to lately on the fitness front!

I had a bit of an injury scare about a week and a half ago, when I spent a few days thinking that I might have broken my middle toe after tripping at my door when walking inside from my backyard. Total klutz move! I was totally sober, but I was going to open wine, so I may have been a teeny bit excited and gotten ahead of myself. Oops. At first it was really painful but luckily, after a couple of days the throbbing subsided, and I think it was just a bad bone bruise.

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Because of my poor little toe, I took it pretty easy last week with my exercise routine. It was painful putting on sneakers for a bunch of days, so I mostly did easy walks with my pup in sandals and did some upper body strength training and limited yoga. Luckily I’m almost good as new now and back to regular workouts!

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My beach walk spot: Carlsbad Cliffs

Backing it up to last month’s workouts, I had some fitness studio fun in September – especially when a heatwave hit and I wanted to get out of my warm house for my sweat sessions as much as possible. Having no A/C is no joke when it hits 100 degrees outside!

One studio that I took classes at was Fortis & YOGALUX in Carlsbad. What I love about this gym is that they offer a nice variety of classes, from yoga and barre to boxing and TRX. It’s also close to my house, which makes it nice and convenient to take classes at any time that I can fit a workout in – regardless of rush hour traffic.

Triple digits is pretty unheard of here in SoCal!

Triple digits is pretty unheard of here in San Diego

Two classes that I took there in September were Agility Barre and LUX HIIT. Created by one of the Fortis instructors, Lauren, Agility Barre reminded me a lot of Xtend Barre in that it’s more cardio-focused than other barre styles. You use a weighted bar for some of the moves, and it incorporates some yoga elements. I liked the fast pace of the class, and as usual with barre, it incorporated a lot of great toning exercises.

The LUX HIIT class marked my return to a HIIT class after a 6 months hiatus. HIIT is one of my favorite kind of workouts, but I took a break from it after my foot injury earlier this year. I’ve still been limiting plyometric training and really high-impact workouts because I find that they make my foot and calf injuries flair up, but I was curious as to what LUX HIIT was all about….

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My calorie burn from LUX HIIT

…and it was such a great workout! It was a tough cardiovascular class, and holy calves! They were so sore for days after since they aren’t used to me jumping up and down on them too much nowadays. Leaving this class super sweaty high on exercise endorphins, I was reminded why I love HIIT so much.

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Life Lately: A Wedding Extravaganza East Coast Trip

Hi there!

Long time no talk. I have been crazy busy lately! An anniversary, 2 weddings, a bachelorette party & visiting family on the east coast have all taken place… and today I thought I’d back it up a few weeks to share with you guys just what I’ve been up to!
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At the beginning of the month, my hubby and I celebrated 7 years of marriage! I was traveling to the east coast two days later, so we elected to celebrate lucky #7 locally.

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First up, we went to a San Diego Chargers game. They played the Saints and the game was so much fun….until the Chargers totally blew their 13-point lead in the last 4 minutes and lost the game. Whomp whomp. 

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Let’s just say that there were many die-hard fans that were not too pleased after the game. Even we were bummed out about it, and we are both really fans of other teams (the Giants for me, the Eagles for him).

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After the game, we headed down to Coronado to have dinner at Il Fornaio. It’s an Italian restaurant I’ve mentioned on the blog before that offers great views of downtown San Diego. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat outside to enjoy our meal.

downtown-sd-view {Pasta pomodoro for me for dinner}

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{And gelato + a boozy coffee to split for dessert}

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It was such a fun day together! I especially appreciated it since I knew we’d be apart for a few weeks, and since A has been so insanely busy with work & school lately.

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A few days later, I headed cross country to NJ. Even though I was just in my home state of NJ over the summer, this east coast trip came up when I found out that two of my friends were getting married in the same weekend. One of my close friends works for JetBlue and was able to hook me up with free flights, which was awesome!

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complimentary snacks on my JetBlue flights = a happy traveling me

It was actually the first time I’ve ever flown JetBlue (they don’t fly a lot of routes that I do… yet!) and I absolutely loved them. Free wi-fi, free TV, free snacks, enough space to sit so that I don’t feel completely claustrophobic… it’s the little complimentary things that make me a happy traveler! I was able to work the entire flight out with easy wi-fi access, and the 6-hour flights flew by (pun intended!) both ways.

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The first wedding was for the friend that I’ve had the longest in the world. Ashley and I started cheerleading together at age 7 and were carpooling buddies our senior year of high school, and now as adults, we keep in touch & meet up whenever I’m in the area. She looked so happy and stunning at her wedding!

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Sans my hubby, my friend Danielle was my date for the night. It was fun to get to catch up with her the whole night and crash at a hotel together!

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Why I Yoga

“Every moment you are on this planet, every moment that your heart is beating and your breath is flowing, is an opportunity to celebrate. So many wonderful blessings come into our life, and when we’re present, we see them. When we’re strong and disciplined we push away the garbage, and when we’re bold we make the big choice to light up the world around us, to celebrate…”

– Outlaw Yoga 

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Happy Friday & last day of September!

Speaking of September, it’s deemed National Yoga Month by the Department of Health & Human Services. It’s the month where the worldwide yoga community celebrates the practice. As a yogi, I think that every month is yoga month, but this month I’ve definitely been thinking about my motivations for getting my Om on most days.

Lately I’ve popped into a few yoga classes at CorePower in Encinitas to sweat it out in their heated classes. To commemorate National Yoga Month, the yoga chain launched a campaign called #WhyIYoga – which encourages yogis everywhere to share why they practice.

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So what are the reasons that I keep coming back to my yoga mat? 

One motivation is to find balance. I find that the practice of yoga gives me balance not only in the physical sense when I’m standing on my head and trying out more progressive asanas, but also mentally and emotionally. Yoga gives me perspective and centers my mind, body and soul.

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It gives me the space to practice mindfulness. I can have so much going on, but when I hit my mat, I’m focusing my energy on the present moment. Even if I at first am not in the mood for yoga – which certainly is the case sometimes – after a couple of minutes of flowing through some poses, I notice that I’m more at-ease and relaxed. The stresses of life melt away a bit, and I always feel better after I’ve practiced. I never regret a yoga session!

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“Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga.” – Baron Baptiste

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Pumpkin Apple Banana Muffins {vegan}

Packed with apple, pumpkin, banana and cinnamon, and free of refined sugar, these healthy vegan muffins make for a great autumn snack, small breakfast, or guilt-free dessert!
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One of my favorite September activities is apple picking. But since it’s pretty warm and summery feeling in San Diego in September, sometimes I forget that the apple orchards are ready to be visited. A few years we’ve been too late in the apple picking game and either a.) go when the orchards are pretty picked over, or b.) miss apple picking all together (like last year!). BUT NOT THIS YEAR!

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Nope, in 2016 I was on high apple picking alert! In the San Diego area, the best area to visit for apple picking is Julian – a cute little town I’ve talked about before. It’s about a 75-minute drive from my house, and it’s like a whole different world there.

It’s known for its farming, apple pies and boutique vineyards. It’s the kind of place where some of the local establishments don’t have websites. It’s country living still close to the wonderful city of San Diego, and it’s a fun little getaway spot.

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So even though it seemed early for autumn to already be here, off we went to Julian last weekend for some local apples.

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For all of you locals, the orchard I chose is called MJ Ranch – mainly because they’re organic growers, had their opening day last weekend so I knew they’d be stocked with fruit, and because they’re dog-friendly and I wanted to bring my pup along. The Visit Julian website has a good list of U-Pick orchards listed here.

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It turned out to be the best year yet that we’ve had with apple picking! The trees were lush with a variety of apples, and the farm also grows pears as well.

As you can see in the picture above, Harley made some friends at the orchard and enjoyed eating fruit from the ground (and this little girl had Harley lick the apple she was actually eating – not too sure about that!). There were lots of people there with dogs, which was fun.

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We came home with two full bags of apples ready to be eaten. It’s funny comparing local, organic apples to typical store-bought ones. They’re smaller, flawed and not perfectly shaped – just how apples were meant to be I think!

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Naturally, I had to do some sort of baking with a couple of the apples that very day.

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I had been thinking of making pumpkin banana muffins, so instead, I added some chopped apple to the mix to make it a very autumn-ish muffin recipe – using just a food processor as my mixing bowl!

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