AKA: A Jolly Gorge-Fest
But first: I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on The Real Life! I love my job, but work demands a lot of my energy. Blogging is a little too similar to my job sometimes, and as my goals and responsibilities grow at work I’ve felt like the last thing I want to do is more posting. Sorry, guys! I’ve also been prioritizing my mental health and listening to my inner guidance system. When blogging stopped being fun and turned into an obligation (and a way for me to impose perfectionism onto myself) I knew I needed to take a break.
Speaking of breaks… I’m so excited to share a recap of our lovely Spring Break vacation to La Jolla! The Man booked this trip for my 31st birthday, and it was worth the wait.
Quality Time with Mom
The week before our vacay, Nick’s mom Barbara came to visit us in Denver. We had a great time indulging in delicious meals (a theme this month) and looking at houses together (yes, we’re trying to buy a home in one of the country’s toughest markets… wish us luck!)
Harper used this opportunity to learn her manners around exciting new house guests. 🙂 While she’s gotten bigger, she’s still very much a puppy at heart. Also: Nick in this photo is proof that house-hunting is exhausting. He was definitely due for a vacation.
We took Barbara to see our wedding venue, the Montclair Civic Center. Wedding plans are starting to solidify!
A Spring Stitch Fix
I’ve had a couple Stitch Fix boxes roll in these last few months, and my favorite keeps are these jean shorts and striped button-up top, which I wore to the beach on our trip.
Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of everything in this last Stitch Fix box, but I kept it all! I particularly love this cute little navy dress, perfect for warm weather. I had a whopping $300 in Stitch Fix referral credit, so I didn’t pay a dime for all five items: jean shorts, striped top, navy dress, floral maxi dress, and white flowy top. Like a boss.
Wheels Down in San Diego
We left on Tuesday, March 27. Funnily enough, this trip fell right on my three-year anniversary with the magazines! What better way to celebrate your hard work than with a vacation, am I right? 🙂 Upon landing, we had a couple hours to kill before checking into our Airbnb (a little studio apartment in La Jolla). The guy sitting next to us on the plane suggested a nearby modern Mexican restaurant on Harbor Island called Coasterra. We ordered skinny martinis, noshed on chips and guac, indulged in the most fresh, delicious ceviche, and watched the birds dive for fish in the water. It was a great kickoff to three days of beach bliss.
After our lunch, we headed to our Airbnb and dropped off our bags. Our room was two blocks from the beach, which was perfect. We set out to explore the area and visit the seals and sea lions in the cove… but not before stopping to admire all the amazing plant life and landscaping. The amount of flowers, exotic foliage, and subsequent sweet fragrances was out of this world. La Jolla is a gardener’s paradise! And anyone else’s, too.
La Jolla cove was full of seals and sea lions sunning themselves to rest and stay warm. It was also seal pupping season, which means we got to see a lot of cuteness in three days!
I know the San Diego Zoo is a good one, but nothing beats getting to see wildlife in its natural habitat. These mama seals earned their lazy time, as they spend hours trying to get their pups to take a break from expending so much energy! It was so much fun to watch.
We also watched adorable ground squirrels and tons of marine birds in the cove and along the beach. The pelicans were particularly gorgeous. You can see one soaring just above the rock in this photo.
Our first day was a tired one. We had enough energy to walk along the coast for a few hours before indulging in incredible burgers at The Public House and then watching TV in bed. But not before visiting a nearby gelateria…
We hoped to do nothing but relax and eat, and that’s what we did. Not a bad way to end our first day!
24 Thousand Steps
Wednesday was walk (and run) day. We started the morning with a 4-mile run along Fay Avenue Bike Path, a beautiful little trail between houses, with enough elevation to see the ocean.
After our run, we walked to the Brick & Bell Cafe for a bagel breakfast.
Nick was on a mission to eat as much seafood as possible, so he got an everything bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese, a la our Moe’s Bagels days. I was in the mood for something a little sweeter, so I opted for a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.
After breakfast, we walked back to our room to get changed for the beach!
I tried my best to even out my runner’s tan (see those dark legs??) but alas, all the walking and running we did just made my runner’s tan more defined. Oh well!
Lying out on the beach is my favorite thing to do.
After a couple hours on the beach in La Jolla, we decided to grab an Uber to Pacific Beach, less than 10 miles away. This was the only time we drove anywhere on our entire stay (minus to and from the airport, of course).
Pacific Beach is a little less hoity-toity than La Jolla, and it was nice to explore it, too. Our goal was to drink a Corona and find a delicious fish taco. Mission accomplished!
Right next to our beer spot was Tacos El Gordo, which looked like the perfect place to grab lunch.
We wanted to get the most bang for our buck, so we ordered the grilled fish burrito instead of tacos, and split it. Let me tell you: That burrito was absolutely amazing. The only thing that rivals it is the Spicy Curry Fish Burrito we had in Steamboat. Yum!
Don’t let all this lying around and eating fool you… we logged 24,000 steps (and 12 miles) before the day was done! We were in that ballpark on Thursday, too.
An Authentic Japanese Dinner
One of the highlights of the trip was Wednesday’s dinner at Himitsu. We knew we wanted high-quality sushi. We didn’t know we were getting the best and most authentic sushi of our lives thus far!
After we ordered our sake, the waitress brought us a tray filled with sake cups to choose from, which we thought was really cool. Here are our choices, above (Nick’s on the left, mine on the right).
We ate so many things, and I was so engrossed in it all that I barely took any photos…
We started with the Wasabi Caesar Salad, which was awesome.
Here’s tuna and sea urchin! I wasn’t a huge fan of the urchin, but now I can say I’ve tried it.
We ordered sashimi and sushi until we were full, and it was all heavenly. The most noteworthy order of the night was the California Roll! Turns out real, fresh crab makes the difference.
Since we’d had such a lovely experience at the Gelateria Frizzante the night before, we figured it only made sense to return for the second night in a row. 🙂
Another Beach Day
On Thursday, after another 4 miles on the trail, we decided to try out the Parakeet Cafe‘s breakfast, which did not disappoint. Nick ordered scrambled eggs and beet-cured smoked salmon, and I got the Organic Greens Scramble, which included kale, asparagus, avocado, labneh, and toast. It was so good (and very Californian)!
We hit the beach again before returning to The Public House for another burger. At this point, vacation indulgence fatigue was starting to hit us… but we ain’t pansies! 🙂 We still had a delicious Italian dinner to partake in, but not before watching the sunset.
It was definitely a special experience watching the sun retreat behind the horizon and the water rise into the tide pools. I’ve seen a lot of east coast sunrises, but it’s nice to skip the early morning wakeup call and see a west coast sunset!
For our last dinner in La Jolla, we headed to Piazza 1909 for some Italian deliciousness. We dined on the patio under twinkling lights, which was quite romantic.
We started with wine and the appropriately named Insalata Deliziosa (baby spinach, pear, goat cheese, walnuts, and raisins in an orange and champagne vinaigrette).
Then we ordered the Pappardelle di Mare, which was more scrumptious than this photo looks. We just couldn’t help ourselves with the seafood!
And, of course, no Italian meal would be complete without Tiramisu. This one was the best I’ve ever had.
Our Last Hurrah
On our last morning, we skipped the run and decided to watch TV in bed for a few hours… the relaxation state of mind had fully sunk in! When “hunger” finally struck, we headed on over to the Sugar & Scribe Bakery, which we may or may not have taste-tested the afternoon before (okay so we rounded off our burgers with a brownie, like you do).
We sat at a lovely table outside and took a look at the menu. At this point, our overfed vacation brains weren’t really able to make rational food decisions. On top of our cappuccinos, we ordered not one, not two, but THREE dishes for BREAKFAST: The Brioche French Toast (above), Kensington Benedict (with smoked salmon for Nick again), and the Sligo Scramble… which I could barely make a dent in. We were a little ambitious! I do have to say that the french toast was outstanding.
After breakfast I think we both felt like we never wanted to eat again! We decided to spend the three hours we had left moving our bodies as much as possible to help digest the food. While we didn’t near 24,000 steps like the other two days, we did get a great workout hiking the La Jolla’s Historic Coast Walk Trail.
We saw a handful of hummingbirds and even caught a mama hummingbird sitting in her tiny nest!
Isn’t she cute??
After our hike, we said goodbye to La Jolla and headed for the airport. While it was a short (and sweet!) trip, it’s the longest vacation we’ve taken together (minus holiday trips) and was the perfect balance of adventure, laziness, and indulgence. 🙂 Speaking of lazy…
Our plane landed late last night, so we picked Harper up from City Bark this morning at 7:30 am. It’s 1:30 pm as I write this, and the pup has been out cold and hasn’t left her spot on the couch since we got home! I think her vacation was more fun and less relaxing than ours! By the way, she turned 1 year old last week… can you believe it?
Phew! Thanks for hanging in there with me, friends. I’m hoping to post more often this spring and summer.
How’ve you all been??