Life, Travel

Surfing (SD Bucket List #1)

It goes to say that one of the first questions people ask after finding out we live in San Diego is “Do you surf!?” Well before last week the answer was “Nope!” and now after last week the answer is still “Nope!”

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Not because we didn’t have an excellent instructor – we truly did. Doug at Surf Sessions was the absolute bomb diggity. 

Our lesson started by getting fitted in our wetsuits. Heads up – if you go with Surf Sessions, they are operated out of a tent on the beach across from the beach’s paid parking. The tent is green and to the left when you reach the beach, right underneath the grassy part. That took us a while to figure out. After we got into our suits we grabbed some boards and headed down to the beach.

All I could think of was this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. One of my favorite movies of ALL time. Doug went over our “footing” (spoiler alert: Jason Segel is NOT doing his footing correctly) and a little soon for my taste – we were out on the water! 

My first impression was that the waves were much MUCH bigger than I anticipated. I think I envisioned kiddie pool waves. But these things were mammoth. At least to me. Doug would assist by holding onto the board as a wave approached in order to steady during our jump up. Not shocking at all was that Charlie was better than me. He got the hang of it pretty quickly and graduated from Doug’s assistance. I, on the other hand, insisted on jumping into warrior position – as opposed to surfing position. I blame yoga.

Doug kept yelling “YOU’RE A SURFER! NOT A WARRIOR!” as I would topple into the water. My best “ride” or “wave” I almost hit some children. That was exciting. 

I wouldn’t say surfing is addicting – the taste of saltwater remained in my mouth for a bit longer than I liked – but I definitely want to try again.

Now we're official. We're throwing signs. We belong.
Now we’re official. We’re throwing signs. We belong.


Afterwards, Charlie immediately claimed soreness – I said “Oh! I’m not sore at all, I’m totally fine!” After a ten minute nap I woke up and could barely move – surfing is HARD work. Though I think in my case the soreness was more related to falling than surfing.

We finished our evening with TOSTADAS of course.

I’m so glad we finally checked this off of our SD Bucket List – and I truly can’t wait to get out on the water again!

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Life

Torrey Pines

Along with the weather, San Diego has some of the most beautiful views in the world. Disclaimer being that I have only seen a small percentage of the world, but there really does seem to be a consensus that San Diego is ridiculously beautiful.

One of the benefits of this “beautifulness” is the opportunity to easily view it – such as Torrey Pines. You may know Torrey Pines from the famous (public) golf course, I (duh) haven’t golfed it, but I hear it is a great course! Torrey Pines is also an amazing State Park with free access (as long as you are not parking in the park). Pre-Tucker we hiked it probably every other weekend, but since it isn’t dog friendly we haven’t been going nearly as much.

A tip on parking – park on S21/N Torrey Pines Road. There is always street parking! It adds a little bit on to your hike, but aren’t you there to do something good for your body anyway?? Or show off where you live. Either way…

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Whenever anyone visits from out of town, we insist on bringing them here. It is an easy hike and the views outweigh any minor physical discomfort getting to the top of the mountain/hill. Last weekend my girlfriend Taylor came in from Chicago, she left -13 degree wind chill, which is a nice reminder that San Diego really is better than Chicago… at least in terms of weather! We did the “Broken Hill” trail. It is a little longer, but not necessarily harder. One time I was hiking with my Mom and someone had just seen a rattlesnake on the trail! (We have those in San Diego… point Chicago).

Anyway, I got to play a little bit with our fancy new camera. Clearly still have a lot to learn – but in the meantime… enjoy!!! (Click for larger views!)

xx

Amanda

Life, Material, Travel

Sea Kayaking with Everyday California (SD Bucket List #9)

Save the time I called 911 to report that our family cat was missing, I like to think I can handle high-pressure situations pretty well. Apparently in the Amanda Book of Life, high-pressure situations do not include being surrounded by dolphins… which is exactly what happened last weekend during our Everyday California Whale Watching Tour.

First let’s address what Everyday California is… Formerly OEX, it is based out of La Jolla, CA and run by ridiculously good-looking ex-Abercrombie models. (Really – every employee was beautiful.). These are the cool kids, and they want to take you on the water and show you their world. Our guides were Sam and Draper. They were both high-energy, excited, and gave thunderous high-fives. The check-in process for our tour was a bit chaotic, but somehow we all ended up exactly where we were meant to be. There were about 17 of us (8 pairs and my girlfriend Taylor), lots of different familial pairings. We headed down to the beach at about a quarter to 2 PM (our tour time), to get situated in our kayaks before heading out into The Great Unknown. Charlie and I were in a kayak, and Taylor rocked the single. We were given the opportunity to rent wet suits, but I was in full Lulu, and we figured being Midwesterners, we would be fine.

My immediate thought when we were pushed into the water, was “I’m so glad I don’t have my phone/camera/tablet/any electronics.” You get wet on this adventure. Soaking. Kudos to Lulu for making unintentionally amphibious workout gear. (For reference I was in the Run Inspire Crop, Run Swiftly Tech Crew, and the Forme Jacket.) We started paddling out to Sea (about 2 Nautical Miles!) from La Jolla Cove, and I just couldn’t believe this was the first time we were doing something like this since moving to SD. The ocean was breathtaking and peaceful. On our way out to the “Whale Zone” we ran into some friendly seals and sea lions who stopped by to say hello. We also ate kelp, because apparently that is what the cool kids do.

After arriving at the “Whale Zone” we parked for a bit, waiting for some social whales to stop on by. We spotted a dolphin coming in from the distance – and I got so excited! A dolphin! A wild dolphin! Well apparently this dolphin was a scout for its pod, because soon after its arrival about fifteen dolphins showed up. They were jumping in the air, swimming together, flying under the water. It was absolutely unbelievable. At one point they zeroed in on our kayak and there were six swimming underneath and jumping in front of and to the side of our kayak. This is apparently where I lost my cool and just kept saying “THIS IS AMAZING!” over and over again. And asking Charlie if he saw the dolphins, to which he replied “I’m right here! Of course I see them!” Truly one of the few times I wished we had a GoPro, other than to strap it on to Tucker’s head. But I honestly don’t even think I could have worked a camera at that point. I was so awe-struck at the beauty of NATURE.

After some time with our dolphin friends, we headed back into the cove. To be honest, the only time I felt cold was getting OUT of the water, and walking back to EC. Other than that I was fine in my garments. But I can see why you may want a wetsuit if you’re not from Northern Michigan.

Another bonus of Everyday California is their merchandise! I am not one for buying “tourist-y” things – but their logo is just too cute to pass up. Trust me on this. I ended up buying a sweatshirt and leaving with it on. Because I was freezing.

Charlie and I are definitely planning to do a trip with Everyday California again – in fact we’ve already booked a Sea Cave and Snorkeling Tour when Charlie’s brother is here!

Tips for Everyday California:

  1. Call for great pricing. They do have Groupons pretty often, but if you call they give you a pretty comparable price. Plus it feels good to be directly supporting a local business.
  2. Parking can be tricky – arrive 45 minutes ahead of time to give yourself parking AND check-in time. They like to be on the water at your scheduled time. (There is also a super cute restaurant next door we want to check out next time – Shorehouse Kitchen)
  3. Bring CASH for tips – This is your Guide’s livelihood. We didn’t realize that and only had minimal cash on hand. We’ll plan better next time.
  4. Bring any waterproof cameras you may have – we plan on buying these before our next adventure.
  5. Equipment is included – except for a wetsuit. If you get cold easily, plan on renting one. (They’re not expensive to rent – maybe $10.)
  6. Be prepared to wear a helmet and life vest. This is for your safety, and the safety of people around you. Deal with it and prepare your hair ahead of time.
  7. Try not to black out when you see nature. You may think you’re better than that – but you’re not.

Since we also have surfing lessons planned for March, we decided to invest in some Rash Guards and Swim Pants/Trunks. Here is what we ended up with. Try not to be blinded by our stylishness. (All via Lands’ End)

Water Gear

Happy Swimming!

XX

Amanda

P.S. Since I failed to provide any cool live-dolphin photos, please accept this Lisa Frank Dolphin as a substitute.

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Life, The Manimals

Fiesta Island (SD Bucket List #19)

Charlie and I often say that we wish we loved anything as much as Tucker loves everything. And we mean it. There is not a happier dog in the world, and his ultra-extreme-happiness mode can be found at a HIGH LEVEL at Fiesta Island. For those non-San Diegans, Fiesta Island is a man-made island (read – technically trash) on Mission Bay. Part of the island is a fenced off dog-park that has 2-3 beaches and SO MANY BIRDS. If you haven’t caught on via Instagram, we have a Brittany… and Brittanies LOVE birds. They literally cannot handle their own love for birds. Our dear friend refers to the island as “Dog Island” and we couldn’t agree more.

Our favorite part about the island is that there is enough space for all types of dogs. Dogs like Tucker who need to run-run-run, water dogs, fetching dogs, playing dogs, really ALL dogs. It is amazing. We try to bring Tucker there twice a week to give him his bird fix.

We got a new fancy camera for the honeymoon, so far I’m just using it for food and animal pictures…

(Click for bigger viewing.)

xx

A

Food, Life, Travel

San Diego Bucket List

We recently hit our 2-Year Anniversary of living in SoCal. I can’t believe it! We arrived via Subaru Forrester, boyfriend and girlfriend, with an ornery cat, and not a couch to our name. Two years, one puppy, a marriage, and a lot of Ikea trips later we are starting to build our “home” in San Diego.

I think one of the biggest mistakes one can make is not being a tourist in your own backyard. So Charlie and I have decided to start a San Diego Bucket List/Repeat List! You must tell us if you can think of anything we’re missing from the list… For those who think we are missing the zoo, we went a TON pre-puppy, so we aren’t including it on the list. (But we agree, baby pandas are awesome.)

So far we have:

  1. Surfing (scheduled!!!)
  2. Camping
  3. Coronado (The day in…)
  4. Catalina Island
  5. Paddle Boarding
  6. Potato Chip (The hike… We eat enough potato chips on our own.)
  7. A Brewery Tour
  8. George’s at the Cove/Day in La Jolla
  9. Sea Kayaking
  10. Del Mar (Again, the day in…)
  11. Sunset at La Jolla Cove/Torrey Pines (We’ve already done this… but it is too beautiful to not do again!)
  12. Shady Taco Place (I can’t remember for the life of me the name of it – but it apparently has the BEST tacos in SD. Which is a big deal.)
  13. Man v. Food Locations
    1. Lucha Libre
    2. Phil’s BBQ
    3. Broken Yolk
  14. Balboa Park and Museums (Again)
  15. The Pearl “Dive-In”
  16. Little Italy Farmer’s Market (Our obsession…)
  17. Bluewater (The BEST food in San Diego. At least we think so…)
  18. Fish Market
  19. Fiesta Island/Dog Island (Again…)
  20. Hillcrest Farmer’s Market

I cannot wait to get going on this list… and adding more items to it!

xx