Desert Bloom | Anza-Borrego Springs

The heavy rains in southern California produced what news stations are referring to as a super bloom. You can best believe that I had to get in on some of this wild flower action. Desert Bloom is what we’re calling it, and Anza-Borrego Springs was the place to be these first few weeks of spring.

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Desert Bloom

My go-to adventure buddies are my mom and sister as they’re always down to go on these “crazy” escapades with me. So, we hopped in the car before sunrise to make the 2-hour car journey to the desert. I almost forgot how hot the desert can get. To be fair, I also almost forgot that I grew up in Las Vegas. But that’s another story. By the time we reached our destination, it was 10AM and already 80 degrees!

After a quick bite to eat and chat with the state park volunteers, we drove to the wildflowers and were treated to quite the sight. And I’m not just talking about the yellow and purple flowers… We weren’t the only visitors that weekend, thousands of caterpillars were admiring the fields as well! There aren’t any photos here because it gives me the heebie jeebies just looking at them. But trust me when I say that there were a lot, and they were EVERYWHERE!!!!

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Anza-Borrego Springs

After visiting Joshua Tree for the first time a week before, I was actually happy to be surrounded by cacti again. I personally found the cacti to be more photogenic than the wildflowers, and was most excited to see these tall, spiny things! I’ve become such a sucker for desert vibes, or maybe it’s just because it reminds me so much of Coachella. (Kinda bummed to not be attending this year, but happy that I’ve already experienced it for myself!!)

While we didn’t enjoy the heat, I can say that being surrounded by nature was a sweet treat. I think it’s really good to visit national parks. And more importantly, to respect them!

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Views from the Six | Toronto

Every Toronto local I crossed paths with seemed surprised when I’d list every place I saw in the Six in the short span I was there. Each day’s list would be an upwards of 4 city attractions, which I guess is a lot. What can I say, I don’t play. Especially when it comes to exploring.

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The city of Toronto is small despite being geographically large. It’s also pretty walkable, but I totally understand the need to take transit. It helped knowing I had TTC tokens once my feet started to hurt. I just needed it for this purpose twice, and it was only because it was also raining.

During my three days in Toronto, I found myself all over the city. I like to believe that is plenty of time for all the must-see’s, especially during Canada’s cooler seasons. Aside from much colder temps than I’m used to, I’d say I came right when the weather was still manageable. Layers really helped.

Day 1

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For my first day in Toronto, the universe conspired to give me the most perfect and beautiful autumn day to explore in. It also happened to be the one day that a good exchange friend of mine, Sudiksha, took off work (and that was before I told her I was coming!) How it all worked out amazes me. We started off in the northern part of Toronto at Kensington Market and worked our way south. We braved Chinatown in the daytime, walked through Graffiti Alley, took Queen Street West all the way to Toronto City Hall, and ended our day at the iconic CN Tower.

Day 2

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The second day of my Canada visit brought the clouds and rain. Not wanting to get wet, this is the day I also braved the TTC subway on my own. My destination was way up north again – the Royal Ontario Museum. I spent a good chunk of my day walking around the exhibits before a brief stroll along all the posh shops in Yorkville. Realising that I didn’t want to shop yet, I decided to jump back onto the subway and head towards west Toronto. This part of the city is much more residential, so I spent the rest of the day admiring the cute and charming homes before venturing back to Kensington and home.

Day 3

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I was whisked away to Ottawa and Niagara for the weekend, so the third day in Toronto was also my last day. I dedicated it to shopping and all the tourist stops I missed earlier in the week. Beginning in St. Lawrence Market, I was sent by Amanda to Paddington Pump to partake in a Torontonian staple, the Peameal Sandwich. Needing to walk it off, I headed over to the Distillery District before making my way over to the Eaton Centre. This shopping centre is insane! I spent a good 2 hours in there before treating myself to a BeaverTail.

Toronto aka The 6ix

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The city of Drake treated this California girl very well. I loved exploring a new city and always have to pinch myself that this is real life. Feeling really grateful for these opportunities! Thanks again, Toronto!



Oh Canada!

A couple of months ago, I had this crazy idea to visit our great neighbor up north – Canada. The reasoning behind it was because of two long-overdue goals: to see the changing colors of fall and to visit some exchange friends after 2 years. And just like every trip, it crept up on me and ended too fast. So, in more ways than one, “Oh Canada!” is the perfect title for this post.

For one whole week in October, I decided to leave my warm California sunshine to experience a real autumn. I’m talking changing colors, chilly air, and falling leaves. We aren’t so lucky in that department here in so Cal. But little did it occur to me just how cold my destination would be. We’re so spoiled here, and I was going to our great neighbor up north, of course.

Toronto, Ontario

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Starting off in Toronto, its much milder climate was perfect to try and get me acclimated to Canadian weather. When I first arrived, the 6ix was so humid that I was perspiring! The next day? I just wore a long-sleeved shirt and sported a scarf when the sun went down. This was the kind of fall weather I’ve been used to. And it was perfect weather to get my bearings in Toronto. The next day brought the cold and rain, but I didn’t let this ruin my exploring. Read more about this in my last post here.

Parc Gatineau, Quebec

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After our little road trip up to Ottawa, Amanda then drove us over the province border into Quebec – into Parc Gatineau, more specifically. We were met with rain all day, which is such a shame! That’s what I get for visiting Canada during a season other than summer. Or that’s what I was reminded of during the whole weekend. It rained the whole time. But LOOK AT THOSE COLORS! We don’t get that in southern California.

Ottawa, Ontario

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The capital of Canada, Ottawa is home to PM Justin Trudeau, world diplomats, and Amanda’s family + friends. It’s a super cute town that again would probably be 100x cuter in the sunshine and warmth. It was wonderful regardless and I genuinely enjoyed meeting all of my host’s childhood and university friends. I experienced the famous Canadian hospitality and it’s something I will forever cherish. Thank you again Amanda for everything.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

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And finally, the grand and majestic Niagara Falls. No trip to the eastern part of Canada would be complete without a visit to the Falls. It was probably the highlight of my trip to Canada (aside from seeing my exchange friends, of course!). If you are ever in Ontario, you owe it to yourself to experience this natural wonder of the world. I caved in and took the Hornblower cruise that brings you and a whole bunch of other tourists face-to-face with Horseshoe Falls. It was a bonding moment for us all as we were pummeled by the mist.

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The sights, the people, the BeaverTails – Canada was amazing. I loved my first taste of Canada and I look forward to visiting more of it in 2017! Vancouver, I’m coming for you!



Bad Owl Coffee | A Harry Potter Café

Potterheads come one, come all to the cutest Harry Potter café in the Las Vegas valley! I was finally able to check out Bad Owl Coffee during Fourth of July weekend. After hearing about this new place opening up in the city I grew up in, I knew I’d have to pay a visit the next time I was in town.

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Bad Owl Coffee – Henderson, Nevada

We arrived to the magical café at 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. All the tables (each adorned with different HP expressions and quotes) were taken when we first walked in. However, by the time we ordered, the “Everyday I’m Mugglin’” table cleared up, which stood across their own Platform 9 ¾.

As we waited for our drinks and dessert, I sat fascinated with the number of customers that this café brings in. Every table sat a customer, and there was constantly someone giving their order. For such a small shop, they seemed to be doing quite well. Big kudos to all of them for supporting local businesses!

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The Menu

For being a small coffee shop, Bad Owl has a great selection of coffees, teas, and foods. Going in, I knew that I wanted to try the most Harry Potter-esque drink, in addition to their new waffles.

  • Butterbrew latte – my friend Angela and I both ordered this Hogsmeade classic, and were pleasantly surprised with their rendition. Had it iced, without the optional espresso shot. Wasn’t overpoweringly sweet like some Butterscotch flavoring can be. I would definitely recommend this drink.
  • Matcha latte – my sister ordered this and said that it was very creamy (from the milk presumably) but also very sweet.
  • Toffee coffee – my mom opted for an iced coffee, and really enjoyed the flavor.
  • Matcha waffle – this was as perfect as a waffle could be: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with maple syrup, matcha sauce, butter, and Thrifty’s vanilla bean ice cream. Best sweet treat, ever.

 

A Harry Potter Café in Las Vegas

You don’t have to be a wizard to understand that J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series has become something bigger than itself. With successful film adaptations and a Wizarding World of Harry Potter on either side of the country, it’s no wonder that Potterheads are finding new ways to keep it alive! There’s now Bad Owl Coffee.

Next time you find yourself in Sin City, make sure to venture away from the Strip and check out this Harry Potter café!



6 Disneyland Must Do’s From an AP Holder

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The past year has seen an upwards of 10 trips to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure for myself, and it’s all thanks to this bad boy: my Annual Passport. But fortunately, my 6 Disneyland Must Do’s don’t require the expensive Annual Pass – just the standard Disney ticket. Before you head out for your next Disneyland trip, check out this list!

1. Get a FastPass for Space Mountain

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My number one tip for anyone who loves rides (but hates waiting in long lines) is to get the FastPass. It’s honestly one of the greatest concepts; it lets you skip the lines and gives you more time to enjoy the park. Most of, if not all, the popular rides issue their respective FastPass – including (Hyper)Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, California Screamin’, Tower of Terror, and Radiator Springs Racers! Noticeably missing is Matterhorn, but they do have single rider passes for those keen on getting in and out quickly.

You are limited on how many FastPass tickets you can have at a time though, so plan accordingly. If tackling Disneyland, I recommend getting a FastPass for Space Mountain first. California Adventure? Definitely Radiator Springs Racers. Though, they do have a separate line for single riders.

2. Order the Pomme Frites

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Don’t get me started on the food. One of the best parts of Disneyland, if not the best part, is the food. They have something to meet everyone’s dietary needs and wants. We’re talking turkey legs for meat-eaters, veggie burgers for vegans, and delicious snacks for even the pickiest of kids.

There’s an Instagram account completely dedicated to the food, and I suggest following @foodsofdisneyland before your trip to the Magic Kingdom. I’m craving the pomme frites at Café Orleans right now; and dream about those Disneyland pickles on the daily.

3. Enjoy drinks by the Pier

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If you’re of age, you should know that all your adult beverages will be found in California Adventure. The only alcohol in Disneyland is in Club 33 and probably with Jack Sparrow and crew on the Pirates’ ride (*disclaimer: the latter part is a joke).

Check out Cove Bar to enjoy drinks, appetizers, and the view of Paradise Pier. Funnily enough, as I write about alcoholic drinks, I elected for the non-alcoholic Cotton Candy lemonade.

4. Rub noses with Winnie 

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Some of the older guests are quick to dismiss meeting the characters as child’s play, but it really is part of the magic that Disney is known for. What better place to be a kid than at the Magic Kingdom?

I’ve seen everything from babies crying in fear to grown adults crying of happiness when meeting their favorite Disney characters. The overall sentiment, though, is always one of awe. I like to believe that Disney was one of the first places where people were able to meet characters they read in books and saw in films. My personal favorites (and where to find them) are Princess Jasmine at Aladdin’s Oasis, Peter Pan in Fantasyland, the main Mouse himself basically everywhere, and of course Pooh bear in Critter County. Bonus points for cute poses!

5. Learn how to draw Minnie Mouse

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Learn to draw your favorite classic animated characters! I took my first drawing class with Animation Academy during my last couple of months as an AP holder, and I wish I discovered it sooner. You follow step-by-step instructions from a Disney artist to draw either Mickey or one of his friends. It is a lot of fun, and as I said, I wish I had checked it out sooner. I’ve drawn Winnie the Pooh, Pluto, and Minnie (as seen above).

6. Take the Cliché Photo-Op

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The typical Disneyland picture is one with the castle. If you don’t take a picture with Sleeping Beauty’s castle, did you even go to Disneyland? Some may argue otherwise, but it’s definitely something that needs to be done. My favorite spot is off to the side of the castle; it’s in a little nook on the way to Snow White’s wishing well.

Disneyland Must Do’s 

I am heartbroken to say that my annual pass expired back in May, and I have no plans to visit the parks in the near future. But this past year as an AP holder has been one of the most fun. Should you be heading to the Anaheim parks soon, I do hope you keep these in mind! They were a MUST every visit I took.



5 Must-Visit San Francisco Eateries

For my recent trip to San Francisco, I took to my favorite iPhone apps (Pinterest, Instagram, and Yelp) for restaurant recommendations. Hands down, one of the best parts about traveling to a new city is checking out the local food scene. We managed to visit all my bookmarked places, which I’m sharing with you today. Here’s 5 Must-Visit San Francisco Eateries!

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse – Lower Nob Hill

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Now, when it comes to choosing somewhere to eat, I admit that I am a complete sucker for the aesthetically pleasing. You know, places that just scream Instagram. (I’m keen to pursue a career in social media, forgive me.) Mr. Holmes’ Bakehouse is exactly that.

I came across the trendy Mr. Holmes Bakeshop on the @breakfastinsf and @sfbucketlist Instagram accounts. Their claim to fame is their croissant muffin hybrid, or more fondly known as the cruffin. You’re encouraged to get there early because those are always the first to sell-out. Unfortunately, Diana and I missed out on these legendary cruffins BUT we were able to walk out with half a dozen other baked goods. Including this Mint Chip donut, mm.

Shanghai Dumpling King – Outer Richmond

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Trusting overwhelming positive Yelp reviews, we ventured out to the Outer Richmond area for dim sum. Reviews of China Town eateries were all over the place, citing food safety issues. We weren’t feeling adventurous in that sense. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to see another part of San Francisco. We can appreciate efficiency.

Ever since I started eating a more plant-based diet, I have felt anxious traveling to different cities and eating out in general. Though, being the thorough researcher I am, I realised that there’s nothing to worry about. Shanghai Dumpling King had plenty veg-friendly items on their menu; we enjoyed vegetable dumplings and potstickers.

Plentea – China Town

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We did end up checking out China Town, however for their boba drinks. Diana, the Boba Queen, discovered this spot and treated us to the yummy beverage. She had Thai Tea with boba, and I had their Ice Milk with brown sugar + boba.

This place was very cute. They serve their drinks in these glass bottles with “Plentea” embossed on the side, which you can take home. It is actually quite amazing. We walked out with nice souvenirs and post-boba smiles.

Gott’s Roadside – Ferry Building

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On our first full day of exploration, 5 PM quickly turned into 9PM as we quickly learned that SF isn’t a 24-hour town. We arrived at the Embarcadero to closed stores and closing restaurants. After a walk-through the Ferry Building, we were losing hope. Then, as we were walking out we came across Gott’s Roadside. Your typical casual dining joint but with a San Franciscan touch.

I loved every bit of its ambience, from the neon letters spelling ‘EAT’ to the industrial-style lighting fixtures. I was thrilled to see they had a veggie burger as I was craving one, but mostly a side of fries. Happy to say that we didn’t go to bed starving that night.

Café UB – Castro District

Café UB was another @breakfastinsf recommendation, and it brought us to this cute little café near Dolores Park. I had a veggie breakfast sandwich and English breakfast tea.

I’m gutted to say that my photo proof has been lost in the digital space, but thankfully I traveled with a fellow blogger. Check out Diana’s post for another take on San Francisco dining and let her know I sent you!

Foodies in San Francisco

I’ve mentioned this already, but I am following a more plant-based diet. I have only recently switched over to this vegetarian (technically pescatarian) diet, and with that comes new challenges. Traveling can make it pretty tricky, but it isn’t impossible. I’ve seen it done many times before and I think it just comes down to how much research you’re willing to do.

Thankfully, in all the hustle-and-bustle of San Francisco, eateries are realising the demand for good vegetarian food. It is, after all, a foodie paradise. But honestly, if I can recommend anything, it’s to do your homework and research ahead. Google is your friend! As am I (and this blog!)

If you’re heading out to San Francisco anytime soon, I do hope you check out these places!



Wine + Cheese Pairing Tour | Castello di Amorosa

During our visit to Castello di Amorosa, Diana and I partook in the Wine + Cheese Pairing tour and it was an experience that we’ll never forget. For 60 USD, we got to pair 5 different cheeses with 9 Castello wines; we also received a private tour of the castle and wine cellars, as well as a barrel tasting. I felt that we definitely got our money’s worth, and would recommend this Wine + Cheese Pairing tour for anyone paying a visit to the Castello.

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I’ve come quite a long way since my first sip of wine and have even graduated to having a preference for smooth whites. However, if you were to ask me which grape provides that, I’d politely direct you to Google or someone with adjectives other than dry and smooth in their arsenal. Give me another 5 years or so, I’ll be speaking in wine enthusiasts’ vernacular.

Castello di Amorosa

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We arrived at the Castello half an hour before our 10:45AM tour, which allowed us some time to check in and walk a bit of the castle. I immediately was filled with so much nostalgia of my European adventures. It’s so wonderful to have that taste of Europe without the expensive plane ticket to get there.

When I first discovered that there was an actual castle in the Napa area, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I texted Diana straight away and practically made the reservation then and there. After looking at the available tour options, we agreed that the Wine + Cheese Pairing tour was right up our alley and booked it a week prior to our trip. Reservations are encouraged. We went on a Sunday, so crowds were inevitable.

Wine + Cheese Pairing Tour

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Our tour began with an introduction to Castello di Amorosa and its history by our tour guide, Steve. We learned that the 13th-century Tuscan style castle is actually much younger than it seems. Seeing the castle yourself, you wouldn’t believe that it opened to the public in 2007! Dario Sattui, the owner and mastermind of the Castello, spent 14 years of his life building the castle. He researched medieval architecture, hired European craftsmen and artisans, and scouted all of Europe for all the furnishing/brick/stone you will find in the castle. You have to commend the man for his attention to detail and the authenticity of it all! We did not have the opportunity to meet him since he was back home in Italy, but according to Steve, he is quite the man.

We then made our way to the main courtyard and continued on to our tour of the castle grounds. The castle itself has a chapel, courtyard, guard towers, and an apartment on the top level. On the winery side of things, it has dozens of metal fermentation chambers, oak-barrel aging facilities, and underground storage areas where the wine can continue the aging process. It’s fairly impressive, as the older wine connoisseurs on our tour made clear with their fascinated “ohhhs” and “ahhhs.”

We also participated in a barrel tasting in the same room where annual dinners for the Cinquecento Cavalieri and other special events take place. It was quite the experience.

Followed by more touring of the Castello, we finally ended up at the Il Passito Room above the Courtyard for our Wine + Cheese Pairing experience.

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As you can see with my cheat sheet above, we tried a selection of red and white wines, which also included some of the Castello’s   special reserve ones. It got a little interesting once the buzz started to kick in; there’s clearly stains from the wine pouring, but it’s all part of the experience. It’s funny how a couple sips of wine can turn a table of strangers into the best of friends, if only for the moment. My favorite was the Pinot Bianco, which was paired with Brie. The other coveted smiley face (not entirely sure why I went with smiley faces instead of 10/10 ratings) went to the last wine we tried, a dessert wine called La Fantasia. Apparently it’s nicknamed the “Baby-maker,” but surprisingly has a lower alcohol content than the rest.

After the Buzz

The entire tour and tasting was approximately two hours. And following this wine pairing, we were all understandably a little bit tipsy, a little more giggly, and a lot more happy. We went into the Castello di Amorosa gift shop and Diana purchased some wine for her family. Once the buzz was gone, we walked around the outside of the castle trying to find the onsite peacock but instead settled for the chickens and goats.

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My experience at the Castello di Amorosa was a great one, and if I’m ever in the Napa area again, I will definitely pay another visit. What an enchanting and romantic place.

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Grazie mille, Castello! Until next time.



Wine Country Weekend

When we were in the planning stages of our stay in San Francisco, we had this crazy idea to rent a car and drive up to beautiful Wine Country for the weekend. Flash forward months later, this dream was made a reality.

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Wine Country

An hour and a half drive north of San Francisco, Wine Country is home to more than 400 wineries. Composed of the Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, this region is quite the weekend getaway for wine aficionados and the like. And by that I mean novices like myself and Diana. I developed the affinity for wine during my semester abroad in France, but I am by no means an expert. I can only describe wine as dry or smooth, and can you actually impress people with such a limited vocabulary? The answer is no.

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Castello di Amorosa – Calistoga

We began our weekend in Wine Country with a visit was to Castello di Amorosa (that’s Castle of Love in Italian.) Located off of the CA-29 highway, between the towns of St. Helena and Calistoga, this winery/castle is in the northern part of Napa County. This 13th century Tuscan-style castle and winery is quite the beauty, but its backstory is much more impressive. It was actually completed in 2007!

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I won’t spoil the magic for anyone who wants to visit the castle themselves, but it definitely served some medieval realness and had me aching for my impeding return to Europe. You need to check this place out for yourself. And I definitely recommend the Wine and Cheese Pairing tour! I talk more about that experience here.

Robert Mondavi Winery – Napa

After the buzz of our wine tasting at the Castello wore off, we headed over to another highly recommended spot in the Napa Valley – Robert Mondavi Winery.

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We didn’t try any of the wines here, unfortunately. From what I could tell after walking the grounds, it’s an extremely reputable winery and a tasting reservation should be made. After Mondavi, we hopped in the car and made the drive back to Vallejo. Along the way, we stopped in Yountville and downtown Napa for a late lunch.

Cline Cellars – Sonoma

The following day we decided to visit Napa Valley’s more modest twin sister, Sonoma. We began our day at Cline Family Cellars, where we each had a free tasting of five wines. Diana and I have a preference for white wines, so we stuck to their Chardonnays, Roussannes, and Viogniers. Fortunately we got in our tasting before a huge tour of older adults filled up the room. We saw this as our opportunity to walk the grounds and meet their two donkeys.

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As a self-proclaimed city girl, I actually really enjoyed the small town charm of Sonoma. The people are so friendly and the town itself is so alluring. We drove over to their downtown, and I fell in love with the tiny town. Did you know that Sonoma is the birthplace of the California state flag?!

Sweet Scoops Ice Cream – Downtown Sonoma

While exploring the tiny town center, we came across this sweet little ice cream shop called Sweet Scoops. When you first walk in, you can smell the freshly made waffle cones.

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This shop is an Instagrammer’s dream, and the ice cream is pretty good as well. Who am I kidding? The ice cream is amazing! It’s all homemade, and there are vegan options as well. They use coconut milk base for those. I went for mint oreo – mint and cookies n’ cream make the best combo.

Cornerstone – Sonoma

Our last stop was Cornerstone Sonoma – a blogger favorite for its gardens. We were amazed at the nine different gardens which were designed by international and local architects. I think our favorite was the Wishing Garden, where each visitor can write a wish on a single piece of tape.

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And with that, our Wine Country weekend came to an end. We left early the next day to catch a ferry back to San Francisco, then headed over to the airport to catch our flights back to San Diego and Las Vegas.

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I’m extremely fortunate to have spent time exploring Northern California with my best friend, getting lost in the City and getting buzzed in Wine Country. Thanks for having us, NorCal!



The Princess Diaries | San Francisco Locations

If you’re a fan of the Princess Diaries like me, you understand why I couldn’t leave San Francisco without visiting those on-set locations. It just wouldn’t be right. It’d be like going to Disneyland and not taking a picture of the castle. I take things like this very seriously. Thankfully though, my travel buddy is just as big a fan as I am so I didn’t feel too silly going around the city asking myself “What Would Princess Mia do?”

The Princess Diaries in San Francisco

Upon doing my research for these Princess Diaries locations, I was a bit disappointed to learn that a lot of the film locations were actually a lot closer to home – in LA of all places! ;) But there are several spots in this glorious Northern Californian city that were good enough to make it into the movie.

Thermopolis Residence

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In the Excelsior District, you will find the firehouse-turned-Thermopolis home at 724 Brazil Avenue. It was actually only half a mile walk away from our AirBnB, but we only made it out there on our last full day in SF. We were just two random girls outside the house in the late afternoon, the neighbors surely get us movie fanatics every now and then. A little history on the house: it was originally a firehouse built in 1911 before becoming a residential property.

Musée Mécanique

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You know the scene where Mia and Queen Clarisse go to the arcade, arm wrestle the muscle man, and take photo booth pictures? You can find those machines at the Musée Mécanique at Fisherman’s Wharf on Pier 45. It is free admission, but costs to play the arcade games.

Anthony R. Grove High School

The infamous high school. Infamous because my friend and I could not find the building. First, we had the wrong address. Then, when we had the correct address, it was at least a 10 block-uphill hike. Asked Maps if there was an alternate route, but it ended up taking us to BFE and away from the actual destination. Keep in mind that we were chasing the sun since we wanted to watch the sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge. Sadly, I have no photo of Grove High School, but don’t let that deter you from finding it yourself. I hear it’s quite the beauty. The address is: 2601 Lyon Street in Marina District.

Rose and Branch

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When the ‘stang and the cable car had their run-in at the intersection of Rose and Branch, it was really the corner of Taylor Street and Broadway. You’ll find this in the north of the city, and you can tell Bernice* all about it. (*movie reference)

As you might have learned through this post, I’m quite the movie nerd, especially when it comes to Disney movies. I can easily quote the Princess Diaries from start to finish; and every time I watch it, I’m filled with so much childhood nostalgia. It’s one of those movies that will never get old to me, and I’m so happy to have scoped out these locations for myself when I was in San Francisco.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention another two childhood shows that are set in San Francisco: Full House and That’s So Raven. You best believe we found those houses as well.

The Full House house

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I read an article just yesterday that the Full House house recently hit the market for $4.15 million!! Have mercy! The previous owners of 1709 Broderick Street definitely didn’t want Full House fans knocking on their door looking for Uncle Jesse because they had their steps gated off and trees right in front. It has also been repainted, which explains why we thought the house next door was the house. It isn’t.

Baxter Residence

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Ending with another Disney Channel classic, here’s the Baxter residence from That’s So Raven. Located at the corner of Ashbury and Page, you’ll find the house that was used for the exterior shots of the Baxter home.

Check out all these places next time you find yourself in San Francisco!



City by the Bay

It has been years since my last trip to San Francisco, so one could say that this visit was long overdue. My friend Diana and I booked our roundtrip flights way back in December, so when the day finally arrived, we were pretty excited to re-explore the City by the Bay.

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We landed at SFO on a Tuesday afternoon with our bulky travel backpacks, an AirBnB reservation, and several days for city ‘sploring. To get us started, we purchased the Muni Passport. Designed for visitors to SF, the passport gets you unlimited rides on Muni, Muni Metro, streetcars and cablecars for 1, 3, or 7 consecutive days. I highly recommend this pass, even if the idea of getting around via public transport is daunting to you. Unfortunately though, the passport does not include the BART, which is the only transport (aside from taxis, Ubers, and rental cars) out of SFO.

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After checking in to our AirBnB, we decided to venture downtown for dinner. We ended up at the top of Macy’s at the Cheesecake Factory. Not our best decision, but when you haven’t eaten all day and aren’t exactly in a 24-hour town, a restaurant chain is your best bet. We did a better job researching the following days.

Day 1

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According to our weather apps, our first full day was also going to be the sunniest day of our trip. With this in mind, we decided to do Twin Peaks, Alamo Square, and the Golden Gate Bridge. One thing we quickly learned, however, was that sun and warmth aren’t synonymous in NorCal. Now I love crisp Autumn-like weather, which SF gave me 100%! I think I just really underestimated the wind chill because it was way more than “a bit nippy.”

Day 2

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Our second day was more of a “foodie” day, which I’ll dedicate another post to. But feeling a lot more comfortable with Muni, we saved many steps and racked up those bus miles. We began our day at Mr. Holmes Bakeshop in Nob Hill, found our way back to Union Square, took the Powell-Hyde cable car to Lombard Street, made it out to Ocean Beach, followed by the mosaic steps on 16th Avenue, then finally back to the Financial District. That’s pretty impressive for two girls who couldn’t even find some bus stops just the day before.

Day 3

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Our final day in SF, which just so happened to be game day! We started off in the Castro district after enjoying breakfast near Dolores Park. We spent a lot of time walking around the neighborhoods around this area before heading back to our AirBnB to freshen up before the ballgame. We were also determined to cram in what we considered must-sees this day, which included some Princess Diaries’ film locations.

To end our time in San Francisco, we went to watch the SF Giants play the Chicago Cubs. The Giants were my first MLB game all those years ago, so it was only right that Diana’s be the Giants too. Sadly, the one game they lost to the Cubs in that series was the game we attended, but it was still fun to be there with my bestie. We had many laughs once the pesky seagulls started arriving for the clean-up shift following the game.

The City by the Bay

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The perfect farewell was seeing the famous sea lions of Pier 39 before jumping on our ferry to Vallejo. Once we got to our second AirBnB, we took the longest nap. San Francisco was tiring and a lot of fun, evidently.