Thursday, May 28, 2015

TRAVEL THURSDAY : YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA

There's nothing better than being deep in the nature and of course we had to visit at least one national park while in California. Yosemite National Park celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and is best known for its waterfalls, deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias and over 400 species of animals. 
We didn't run into any of them expect squirrels and birds but Yosemite is a home to bobcat, mule deer, black bear, gray fox, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and red fox, mountain kingsnake, brown creeper, spotted owl, and a wide variety of bat species, rubber boa, western fence lizard, and alligator lizard. That Rubber Boa existence kind of scared me at first but then I read that Rubber Boas are known to never strike at or bite a human under any circumstances. They will only release a potent musk from their vent if they feel threatened. Whew! I can come back to camp overnight!

SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA

Another fun day trip to do while in San Francisco is Santa Cruz. It's just about a 90 minute drive to pretty beaches, surfers, amusement park fun and relaxed beach town vibe. We played some games at the park, which by the way was founded in 1907 making it California's oldest surviving amusement park, and then just walked around the beautiful parks by the ocean.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TRIP OVER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE : SAUSALITO

Just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge is the charming waterfront community of Sausalito. Home to about 7000 people it is a nice mix of boutique shops, art studios and galleries, restaurants, outdoor cafes and bistros, many with stunning views back across the bay to the city. We were invited to visit one of the eclectic Floating Home communities, as locals prefer calling them. See few photos below.
One of our favorite things to do is explore natural food stores (you always find some really cool local products!) and we found Driver's Market on our walk around Sausalito. Driver's Market is a neighborhood grocery store focusing on local and natural products, with an organic juice bar and deli. It was just the perfect size (I cannot stand big supermarkets!) with friendly service and awesome products.

GRACE'S TABLE DOWNTOWN NAPA

We are big lovers of the farm-to-table movement and when traveling we often just Google "farm-to-table restaurants near me" to find the best spots. After doing two wine tasting in different vineyards and getting very  hungry, we found Grace's Table just a short drive from the last winery to downtown Napa. Grace's Table serves global cuisine and gets their produce from the nearby farms. They are vegan- and vegetarian friendly, airy and friendly spot that's terrific for after-wine munchies. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WINING IN NAPA VALLEY

I knew I would love Napa Valley and it certainly did not disappoint. Peaceful farmland as far as you can see, little winding roads and all that wine. It was also so much warmer than San Francisco. Two wineries was all we could do (I can't drink that much wine and I'm certainly not spitting it in a bucket!) and that fulfilled my Napa experience. I know we'll be back here. Until next time, Napa!

Monday, May 25, 2015

MY FUTURE DREAM NEIGHBORHOOD : HAIGHT-ASHBURY


This colorful and eclectic part of town was one of my favorite places in San Francisco. It would be a dream to live here one day. When I first heard about the history of Haight Ashbury I immediately imagined hippies, drugs, peace and love. There's so many stores to buy tie-dye gear, pipes and other flower-power stuff, but also beautiful high-end vintage and second-hand shops, hip cafes and restaurants (that all seem to cater to veg heads as well!).

What I noticed during my quiet early morning coffee pick-up-walks by myself (I love exploring new places alone) is that everyone just seems to get along. No hostile vibes anywhere where the vagabonds camp, families with small kids eat alongside them and talk about the weather or food or whatever is relevant. Everyone lives together in harmony. There are a lot of homeless people (or as my husband prefers to call them, "travelers") at the entrance to the Golden Gate Park and strolling the Haight Street, but most of them won't even bother you with requests for change.
Another beautiful thing about this neighborhood: it's just a short walk to the humongous Golden Gate Park. I love it! Gorgeous park with so many things to see and do. Sorry Central Park, you lost your number one spot!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

VIRGIL'S ROOTBEER FLOAT (FOR THOSE OF YOU NOT DETOXING)

The easy yet delicious way to serve dessert for a bunch of people is to make a soda float. I would suggest an upgraded one made with "gourmet" soda. No high fructose corn syrup, aspartame or dairy here. We use Virgil's Rootbeer and So Delicious almond milk ice cream (soy-free, gluten-free, and Non-GMO Project Verified) to make our rootbeer floats. Virgil’s Rootbeer is a blend of spices and herbs such as anise, licorice, vanilla (bourbon), cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, sweet birch, molasses, nutmeg, pimento berry oil, balsam oil and cassia oil. It contains no preservatives, no caffeine, no GMO’s, and no artificial anything. 
To make: Place 1 scoop of ice cream into tall glass (I use mason jars). Pour root beer carefully over the ice cream. Add another scoop and repeat. If possible, repeat again. Top with cherries.
I didn't have any...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ONE DAY IF I GO TO HEAVEN... I'LL LOOK AROUND AND SAY, IT AIN'T BAD BUT IT AIN'T SAN FRANCISCO

"Money lives in New York, power sits in Washington, freedom sips cappuccino in a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco". That quote just got me. I have dreamed about going to San Francisco since 2004 and always said to people that one day I'll live there. No, I still don't, but I feel like I'm closer to the dream. I'm not rushing or pushing. I trust that everything happens when it's time for it to happen. Recently we took a trip to San Francisco(if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have seen some photos I posted) and it was everything I dreamed of, but way colder than expected :). We rented a little second floor apartment in this cute house (pictured above) in the Upper Haight neighborhood, just a short walk to Haight Ashbury neighborhood.
The view from our patio was quite powerful. I just loved it. It was sunny every single day so I would sit out here drinking green juice and manifesting some serious power moves to our lives. How inspiring is this?! Few things I noted about SF: people love to ride their bicycles everywhere, there's healthy foods everywhere (even kombucha at the liquor store), much more eco-consciousness going on than in the Tri-State area (bio-waste containers for households, fee for plastic bags in stores), so many homeless people (or "travelers" as hubs calls them), but they live in harmony with the rest of the population, and you must dress in layers because of the microclimates (one moment you're freezing, next you're sweating, and no, it wasn't me having hot flashes!). Also, there's so much nature here. Living in New York-NJ area for the past 10 years has made me miss nature and over in the Bay Area it is just stunning. Can't wait to go back really soon! Any readers in the area? Would love to connect!

"One day if I go to heaven ... I'll look around and say, 'It ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco.'" - Herb Caen