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Palm Springs- Ace Hotel

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If I took an educated guess id say most of the guests escaped from OC and LA to have a desert pool party. The ACE is trendy as hell. It came recommend to me by two people as a funky, artsy hotel/ swim club.

I was enjoying a drink and reading my magazine when the DJs got pumping poolside. Frank Sinatra was doing it for me until banging electronica started at 11 a.m. 20140621-161754-58674211.jpg

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If you’re here for lunch get the kale salad with quinoa. For a drink, don’t do the Maneater, the Dr. Gonzo is perfectly tropical.

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Weekly Inspiration – June 27

i haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

Ask any frequent traveler what their list is and they know without thinking. They’ve spent hours budgeting, planning activities, and day dreaming about where their next adventure will take them. I’ve done my fair share of exploring, but have so much left to cover.

My top five as of today (in order):

1. African safari – preferably South Africa or Tanzania

2. New Zealand-  bungee jump

3. Maldives- scuba dive

4. Hawaii – eat spam sushi and hike a volcano

5. Costa Rica- relax, surf, yoga

My sister's wedding - Aug '13, North Carolina
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About me

Unsatisfied with my living situation and job in northern Florida, I moved my cat and all my belongings across the country to California. I’ve heard for years from friends that I I would love the West Coast; it would fit my personality. Seeing photos and hearing about healthy lifestyles I decided they were probably right. Plus, my little sister moved to San Diego a few months before and I knew I’d have one friend. Six moves had already taken place since 2005, so what was one more?

I contracted a severe case of wanderlust on my first trip to France at age 16. I love charting new territories, exploring parts of the world my eyes haven’t yet seen and my taste buds haven’t yet experienced. Moving to another coast didn’t seem like a big leap after moving to Germany and Belgium.

However, California is not just one of the 50 states. No, it is its own land- the Bear Republic. A state divided between pot-selling northerns and unemployed southern surfers. Minus a weekend trip up to San Francisco, I’ve remained in SoCal for six months.I have learned a few things so far: Santa Ana winds and marine layers are real things,surfing isn’t as easy as it looks, eating a taco from a hole-in-the wall joint isn’t only safe, it’s delicious, craft IPA’s are King, grown adults use skateboards as methods of transportation, traffic is no joke, and smog makes me sneeze A LOT.

I’m based in Long Beach, but am gone almost every weekend exploring a new restaurant, beach, hike, brewery, or vineyard. Come join me!

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San Diego Beer Scene

Rumor has it brewery tours can double as bachelor parties and San Diego has the most craft  breweries per county in the US.  It didn’t take me long to decide I had to go visit some of these breweries and tasting rooms. A perfect opportunity arose when my best friend came in town from D.C. What better way to introduce her to SoCal than to day drink craft beers in San Diego?

Monkey Paw is a small brewery located in downtown San Diego.

Monkey Paw is a small brewery located in downtown San Diego.

Monkey Paw was the first stop on our tour. This wasn’t actually part of my exhaustive research. A friend recommended it the night before. He said it was going to be the “IT” brewery.

I’m not one for fads, but if you tell me that craft brews, especially IPA’s are trendy, then go ahead and call me a hipster. Ballast Point is home to my favorite IPA. Seriously, drink it. It is everywhere in SoCal and bound to come to the east coast soon. They also had guacamole and Indian( curry and saffron) flavored beers on tap. The tasting room is a decent size and just opened downtown in Little Italy.

Mike Hess Brewing

This tasting room located in the trendy neighborhood of North Park( think: five yoga studios on one corner, overflowing brunch scene, and boutiques) is as family friendly an alcoholic establishment as I’ve ever seen. The owners brewed out of their home until friends convinced them to make it a permanent business venture. Their kids play downstairs. The Fiesta and Jucindus are a must. Quite a local following here.

Lynda Hess gave my parents a tour during a Saturday event.

“Lynda Hess gave my parents a tour during a Saturday event..

Located in North Park area of San Diego

Located in North Park area of San Diego

Mission Brewery

So nice, I did it twice. If you can hang, I recommend Mission, which is located in a seriously dodgy part of town ( you’ll pass homeless tents). Food trucks park right outside the front door and wait for you to crawl out. It is not only dog friendly, but a bar cat will greet you at the door!

Trader Joe’s is my jam. I talk about it all the time. I’m pretty much obsessed and even petitioned to have one opened in Jacksonville, Fla.  I came across Mission and grabbed a six pack because it was from California and seemed exotic. I asummed it was Trader Joe’s brand beer. Ever had the Trader Giotto’s or Trader Jose’s products? Yeah, I thought TJ’s brewed their own beer and it was called Mission.

 

Mission Brewery-downtown San Diego

this dog is a little badass

very dog-friendly with food trucks outside

Family and dog friendly

 

 

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Laguna

My first two thoughts: where are Marissa and Ryan and will I’ll spot Lauren Conrad? My references to Orange County (OC) are all based on TV shows and none of them portray it in a favorable light. The Housewives are vicious, the cars are all imported and the money never stops flowing.

Laguna is a place I could seriously hang. It does collect throngs of tourists, which is understandable with the seaside cliff views. It is charming, and not as ritzy as I imagined. Boutiques, art galleries, cafes, and quaint B&B’s line the streets. But people are here for the beaches, and if you’re not smart you’ll go to the main one off PCH.

If you want a drink at sunset, go to The Cliff for an incredible view and over-priced drinks (see the photo above and below).
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If you have local intel, like I thankfully did, you’ll go to one of the coves. It will feel like you’re parking in someone’s driveway and then you walk to the stairs. These are no ordinary stairs to a beach. These could be anywhere up to 1000 steps depending on the beach. Being from the east coast where beaches equal flat land this was shocking. I grumbled and hauled my beach chair down the stairs. Once I made it to the bottom I looked up to see the face of a cliff jutting out of sand shooting up. It was worth it!  The coves feel secluded since you’re blocked on both sides and cozy because the cliff is blocking you from the traffic above.

We weren’t the only people down there however, it felt like a family secret.  I’m convinced walking up those stairs weeds out the weaklings. Survival of the beach fittest and all that.

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Below is Woods Cove

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Did I mention there’s an arts festival (Pageant of the Masters) where historic paintings are performed live?!