Labor Day Weekend in San Diego

I have to preface this post by telling you I am a Serial Vacation Overplanner.  It all happens very fast.  One moment, I am dreaming of all the fun we’ll have and the next, I am picking the exact restaurant we’ll go to after checking into our Airbnb at an exact time and scrutinizing the menu to pick the exact meal I’ll eat.  Before I know it, my brain has wrapped itself around this plan so tight and any delineation from that plan sends me into a complete tail spin.  It ain’t pretty.  And it’s also a lot of work making and sticking to this plan, so often times vacations can leave me feeling more exhausted than refreshed.

When we started dreaming up this vacation, I decided I wasn’t doing any of that planning.  The thought of waking up in the morning and just then deciding what we’d do that day sounded thrilling.  So that’s what we did!  We had a few things decided — Rockies game, meeting up with Fletcher and Josh, maaaaybe driving to Disneyland — but that was it and now that I’m on the other side of that more-spontaneous-than-usual vacation, I feel GREAT.

Ran into Food Network Star alum Matthew Grunwald not once, not twice but THREE times, including once at Whole Foods after we grabbed lunchtime tacos at Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill.  He was incredibly nice and those tacos were incredibly good.  Posted up at the beach while we waited to be able to check into our Ocean Beach Airbnb.

Got checked in and semi-unpacked before walking just a couple of blocks up to the Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market which was HOPPIN’ and even though we bought the prettiest bouquet from the friendliest vendor and the teensy squash were too cute for words, it was all a little much for me.

My girl Jessie lived in SD for four years so she hit us with her best food/coffee recommendations and we picked One Door North for dinner.  It is totally decked out in camping/adventuring/outdoorsy stuff — think tents, lanterns, wooden tables and antler chandeliers — and we couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t busy inside.  What a VIBE.


Woke up the next morning and had toast and coffee before hitting the road for Disneyland!  Because the first thing you do when you get to San Diego is drive two hours to Anaheim, right??  We debated going for many months then rented that car the night before we left and I don’t regret it for a single second because we had the best time!  Joey does not even love rides but he rode them all for me and Disneyland has not lost a single bit of magic since the first time I went as a kid.

Slept in the next day and did some casual beach strolling and deck reading before grabbing lunch at Wonderland Ocean Pub, which was just at the end of our street.  It had an upper deck with giant windows opening out to the beach and probably a spectacular sunset view, but we got a good view of a homeless man dancing in the grass instead 🙂

Met Fletcher and Josh and Josh’s sister Mia and her fiancé James at the Del Mar racetrack for a thrilling afternoon of horse betting, or just losing all our money.  I did learn some betting lingo though.  Headed back to Encinitas (where Fletcher grew up) for burritos at Rico’s Taco Shop.  I ordered a HEFTY “Justin Burrito” that I sadly did not even come close to finishing, followed by an epic game of Jenga at Beachside Bar & Grill.

Saturday morning, we took those public scooters (so fast, but so fun!) up to Sunset Cliffs for a run overlooking the ocean.  Not our fastest but the view was lovely.  Afterward, we headed to Better Buzz and abuzz it was!  Took so so long to get Joey’s iced coffee (a drink that requires very little work) and it was far too loud in there but this avocado toast was divine.

Took the trolley downtown for the game that night but stopped first at Duck Foot Brewing where we attempted to order off their Grand Opening menu before learning they were only serving a portion of it??  Still makes no sense to me.  Then secondly to Harvest by The Patio, which was so-so, but after Joey ate those wings, I proceeded to eat all the fried bits and herbs that had fallen off and that turned out to be a very good decision.  All smiles at the game because we had front row seats, Charlie Blackmon threw Joey a ball and WE WON!

Sunday was my favorite day!  We woke up and scootered over to Jake & Eggs, which was the cutest breakfast pop-up with the biggest mugs of coffee and then we found a rental place in Mission Beach so we could get chairs, an umbrella and boogie board for Joey.  Spent a few hours at the beach before walking over to O.B. Smoothie Bar & Subs and grabbing lunch to go, then read on the deck for the rest of the afternoon.  Cleaned ourselves up and made our way to Belmont Park to see the sunset and experience sensory overload in the arcade before a late dinner at BO-beau kitchen + bar.  It was all the very best ♥

On our very last day, we finally had açai bowls a couple blocks over at The Lazy Hummingbird and look, I’m all for eating it, but can we stop pretending a smoothie topped with granola and more peanut butter than even I can condone is healthy?  Anyway, after we packed up and checked out, we drove over to Coronado Island.  The beach looked nice, the Hotel del Coronado was cool to see and the houses there are BREATHTAKING but there’s only so many shops you can walk into before all the stationary, candles and beach decor start to blur together.  One last meal at Liberty Public Market and even though it was crowded and loud, I LOVED it there!  Specifically the Mess Hall, where you could get different size pours of beers on tap.  Sitting outside with a lobster roll, fries and a brut IPA, I felt like my happiest self.

And thus ended a most perfectly spontaneous or spontaneously perfect vacation to San Diego.

Family Vacation to Oregon: Depoe Bay

Last summer, my parents took a trip to the Oregon Coast and returned a week later with whale sighting reports, pictures of beautiful beaches and a deep desire to return the following summer, but this time, with the entire family!

I’m so used to travelling places and feeling all go-go-go to see all the “must see” spots, so when my parents warned that there wouldn’t be a ton to do and lots of down time, I was so absolutely THRILLED.  If the whole point of vacationing from your normal workaday life is to return feeling rested and rejuvenated, you sometimes just need a vacation without an agenda, ya know?


Before leaving Portland, we hit the grocery store and piled our rental cars full of fresh food for the week.  I’m all about hitting up new restaurants when we travel but staying somewhere with a fully stocked kitchen and people who wanted to cook made my heart so happy.  It was like I didn’t realize what was missing from my vacations was home-cooked food until I had it.

Also, my parents weren’t kidding when they said the ocean was right outside the window.  Wow, wow, wow!  We whale watched for a bit then Joey and I were on dinner duty and cooked up some crab cakes for everyone.  We maybe didn’t realize there might be shells in there so they had a little added crunch but whatever 🙂  Maybe also retreated to our room to watch Game of Thrones afterwards (LOOT TRAIN!) and remember when GoT was still on?  Those were the days.


The Oregon Coast does NOT mess around with the fog, you guys!  It was eerie in the best possible way.  On our second day, we took a little drive to Newport for lunch and then we took off our shoes and walked around on the beach.  I was so surprised by how warm and soft the sand was!  I wonder if people who live near the ocean ever tire of seeing it?  I don’t think I would.

We did margs, guac and tacos for dinner that night and whoa, Oregon, whatcha doin with those teensy shrimp?  I’ve never seen such a thing!


Hit the other side of Newport the next day — after the Dorsey Girls made a beautiful chicken Caesar salad for everyone, of course — and these sea lions were ornery!  They were not about sharing space or having their nap disrupted by another sea lion moving around.  It got a little heated between them at times.  Highly entertaining though!

Afterwards, we headed back to our condo for a little happy hour action and my sister and Wayne made wings for everyone!  Afterwards, I was like, “WHY DON’T I EAT WINGS MORE OFTEN??”  And then we watched The Matrix like a good little 90’s family and look, if I’m living in The Matrix right now, please leave me here because I am not cut out for that bleak real world of bald heads and rag clothing.  Let me get a blue pill over here!


We hit up Tillamook for the County Fair the next day and I was so excited at the prospect of eating a really legit grilled cheese and then there wasn’t any.  Sad times!  But we DID watch a horse race (thrilling!), pet a baby cow (aka a calf) and saw a bunch of pigs that really grossed me out.  We were so close to the actual Tillamook Factory that we couldn’t not go, so we stopped in long enough for my mom, Joey and I to eat several cheese samples (CHEESE CURDS, FTW!), for me to realize I should have just held out for a grilled cheese from the factory and for Joey to discover he also has multiple stomachs and is maybe part cow?

For dinner, Joey and I made everyone our favorite spinach goat cheese turkey burgers (plus waffle fries, roasted broccoli and margaritas!) and tried not to be sad that we were leaving early the next morning while everyone else stayed for a couple more days.  Family vacations are a dicey business and even though my sister was making side bets on which family members would be the first to fight, this trip was so fun and so easy going and now I’m plotting our next vacation destination 🙂

Thanks for this trip, Mom and Dad! ♥♥♥