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!”


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!


Sea Cave Tour with Everyday California

Everyday California was once again – the bomb diggity.

This time around we signed up for a Snorkel and Kayak tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous steaming-hot day of 95 degrees. I had convinced myself that my new super spiffy rash guard would be enough to snorkel in the Pacific Ocean. For background – the only other place I have snorkeled is Cayman. And I figured – I’m from Michigan! I can go swimming in cold water! Well, Charlie pulled the husband card, insisted we rent wetsuits and I am SO GLAD that we did. I don’t care if you like to go swimming in your skivvies in Antarctica. The Pacific Ocean is COLD. C.O.L.D. I took the opportunity all day to thank him for his wiseness and repeat those priceless marital words “You were right!” over-and-over again.


Anyway – enough on wetsuits. We headed out into the ocean with a group of about fifteen other people… To be honest, I figured with it being a Sea Cave Tour – we would actually be going into the caves – but we didn’t! I’m not sure if that was because of tide, or if we’re never allowed. Instead we pulled up next to the caves, docked, and then jumped in the water to do some snorkeling.


We saw lots of Garibadli (State Marine Fish of California/Giant Goldfish/Dr. Seuss character) as well as some sea lions sun-bathing on the rocks.


Charlie and Tim saw a leopard shark, but I was back in the boat at that time. I was so bummed! Leopard sharks are totally harmless, their mouth is the size of a quarter, and they’re more likely to give you a hickey than a chomp.


It was such a beautiful day and so much fun to be out on the water. I was a little bummed we didn’t have our ridiculous aquatic dolphin-bonding experience like the time before, but that may have just been beginners luck! Still love Everyday California – had awesome guides (again) and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a water-based tour in La Jolla. (For more “tips” see this post.)

Side note – one of the fun things about getting “film” developed is realizing how magical digital cameras are. At the same time – it is so fun to be surprised by what pictures we “caught”! Even though the instant gratification of a digital camera is fun – it was exciting to have a little throwback to our disposable camera days! (No filter needed. The film is literally a filter…) Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Food, Life, The Manimals, Travel

Little Brother Visits/Brewery Tour (SD Bucket List #7)

Family is the best. This past weekend Charlie’s brother came out to visit us in SD. We had a jam packed schedule all weekend, and I am only slightly recovered. Tim got to meet his nephew, Tucker. He was already familiar with his other ornery nephew, Walter. And we got the opportunity to really show off our “home” in San Diego!

Tim arrived late Thursday night and had a Monday afternoon departure, which left us with all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday to cram as much SoCal as we could. If our sleep deprivation is any proof, we succeeded.


I had to work… LAME. But I was kept up to date with Snapchats and texts as Charlie and Tim headed out to explore SD. After breakfast at the casa they headed to Fiesta Island/Dog Island so Tucker had a chance to show off his talents. Then they, of course, headed to In-N-Out for a classic animal-style lunch. (Digression – Does anyone else not really like In-N-Out? Not a huge fan. Apologies to the West Coast.) They then headed to the brew store to pick up some brewing equipment as well as the ingredients for a Honey Dunkelweizen (NOMS! Amanda Beer!) I arrived back at the apartment from work to a steaming hot apartment, beer debris everywhere, and two very happy productive men.

After they finished their liquid gold, we headed to Hodad’s for dinner. Hodad’s being what I believe is the best burger place in SD. After a brief line we headed in to the beautiful license plated dining area and ordered our food. I conquered a milkshake for six people, and we all felt terrible about ourselves afterward. (Terrible meaning – absolutely satisfied with no regrets.)



We had a JAM PACKED Saturday, which required a very early morning alarm and a rush out the door to get to a Farmer’s Market where no one was ready for us. (Whoops!) Must have been Daylight Savings Time hangover from last week – the merchants at the Little Italy Market were moving sloooowly. We ordered up some Papalecco coffee drinks and patiently waited for our favorite stands to kick it into gear. We had some delicious Crepes courtesy of La Creperie – the boys feasted on the California Surfer while I returned to the Green Gobbler. With time running out, I headed to pick up our CSA from JR Organics while the boys perused our other favorite stands – including Vonda Lee’s California Cheesecakes – YUM!

We raced home and changed into our sea-adventure clothing and headed out to kayak! We got to La Jolla just in time and wet-suited up to prepare ourselves for a deep sea adventure of snorkeling and kayaking. We brought waterproof cameras, and learned afterwards that no one does one-day film photo anymore? It has to be sent away – so pictures and a recap will come next week.

When our time with mermaids had come to an end, we showered, and changed to go to breweries! We started at Intergalactic. Oh. My. Nerdfest. I say that in the best endearing way possible. Classic Star Wars posters, hilarious beer names, amazing people – definitely a new favorite for this girl.

After Intergalactic we set out for Greenflash – a consistently awesome brewery that is extremely popular in San Diego. Apparently it had been a while since we had gone, because they did a COMPLETE overhaul of the place. It’s beautiful! There is even a fancy Greenflash food truck with meat and cheese plates. And parmesan garlic fries. We were so impressed with the new set-up, and can’t wait to spend some cash in the gift store. When we have cash.

We then set out to Rough Draft, another brewery we had been before, where we played a tantalizing game of Connect Four and drank more beer. (Are you sensing a pattern? A beer pattern?)

To finish off the day we stopped at St. Archer, or the Mockingjay Brewing Company. See the similarity? Credit to Tim. I loved the set-up of St. Archer – they had a great patio with lots of space and some nice lighting that came on as the sun set.

We decided Tucker had probably had enough stimulation for the day and headed home to drop him off before going to dinner. He basically crated himself and waited for us to leave, we must be such a bother to him. We decided the best way to finish a day of total debauchery was pizza – so we headed to Pizza Port. An OB staple that is a must on our visitor checklist. Good beer. Great pizza. Awesome people watching. At this point all of us were completely exhausted, and two of us had definitely been over-served. (Spoiler Alert – it wasn’t me. I was driving).


After a VERY long lazy sleep we woke up and crafted some breakfast burritos. They took a long time, but the end result was worth it and delicious. I’ll more purposefully make the recipe again so I can post it on here.

I sent the boys to go to Torrey Pines and told them I would walk Tucker while they were gone, but instead I took a nap… It was 90+ degrees out, so when I did wake up and try to get Tucker to go outside, we made it about a block before he turned me around. In that he dragged me across the street towards home and wouldn’t walk any farther. Dogs are hysterical.

When the boys returned home we cooled off in the pool for a bit and then headed to the ultimate SD spot – Bluewater Grille. We had originally tried to go Friday but it was SO CRAZY. They were basically out of every kind of fish. Sunday was just as insane! They hadn’t run out of quite as much fish though. After about 45-minutes we made it to the cash register to put in our order. I can tell you indisputably, no matter how long you have to wait for Bluewater. It is worth the wait. I will do an entire Bluewater Ode eventually. But here is a preview of what deliciousness is waiting for you if you head our way…

Because we felt that our stomachs still may not be stretched to their absolute maximum capacity, we stopped at a new favorite Baked Bear. To give you an idea of how the gluttony had finally taken a toll on me – I didn’t finish my ice cream sandwich cookie. That’s a really big deal.


We then all collapsed on the floor at home, praying to the digestion gods that they would move quickly so we could all feel back to normal.


I again had to work – STILL LAME. So Charlie and Tim headed to Dog Island and Lucha Libre! Ugh – taking away my bucket list items before I even get the chance to go! Not fair. They said it was delicious, and I am making Charlie take me back sometime soon. After that Tim went back to the cold east coast and Charlie and I slept for a day straight.

(Please note the sleeping comment is wishful thinking… we’re still trying to get off the struggle bus.)