First Off- It's Been a While.
It’s been 5 long months since I last published a blog post and I’ve missed it so much! Last semester was insane, but well worth the sweat, tears, and late nights because I attained my goal of getting straight A's! I originally intended on writing one blog post per month during the semester, but between endless reading and extensive writing, I didn't have much mental capacity left for creative writing. Instead of adding more pressure on myself to do elaborate blog posts, I focused on taking photos for Instagram, began Fun Fact Friday Live videos weekly, and funneled those videos through my new YouTube channel which helped me grow and continue engagement. After an intense year at school, going on vacation was MUCH needed. My goal during this trip was to decompress, have fun, and create a lot of content before I potentially go on hiatus again.
Ending 2017 and starting the New Year in New York was great and I am so excited to share my travel diary with you. I am eager to knock out this travel series within the next few weeks because school starts on January 18th. It is imperative that I get as much done as I can before my schedule becomes jam packed again in the spring semester.
This post is in collaboration with Sutro Footwear (ad).
Our trip started with a 4:00 AM wake-up call and 7:00 AM direct flight to JFK Airport on Thursday, December 28th. Once we arrived at the airport, we took a yellow cab to our AirBnb apartment in Chinatown, Manhattan. (However, I would not recommend taking a cab because it was way more expensive than a ride-share app would have been and I think our driver even over charged us. In New York, a cab ride from the airport is a flat rate which Mario was aware of, but we later learned it is usually $45 and we were charged $52 prior to adding tip.) After we settled in and relaxed a bit, we met up with friends for an Italian dinner at Pellegrino's, then decided to call it a night so we could begin planning for our first full day!
We decided to venture out to the Brooklyn Bridge early the next morning which was about a twenty-minute walk from where we were staying. During our entire trip, the weather averaged from 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit and I did not realize how much colder it would feel by the water. We walked from both ends and I felt frozen, brittle, and numb by the end even though I was wearing several layers top to bottom! I took a gamble by taking off my coat and braved the frigid temps for some portraits. This was truly one of the hardest photo shoots we have ever done because it was SO COLD. I kept telling myself it was "mind over matter," but I eventually had to face the fact that it was beyond that. I am from San Francisco and had never experienced weather that cold before. At the end of the bridge I even shed a few tears because I was scared I was going to feel the same level of discomfort for the duration of the trip.
About the Boots
Although I nearly froze, it was important that I got some good shots on the bridge in my new boots! Before we left town, Mario and I were brainstorming what brands would tell our story best and Sutro Footwear was the first that came to mind. The leather shoe company is San Francisco based and was one of the first brands we worked with as a couple.
(View the original post from August 2016 here.) We wanted to bring a special piece of San Francisco with us as we made memories in a new city. I have the Sharon HI Chelsea boots in black from last season and they are so versatile that I decided to get them in honey for Spring!
After the Brooklyn Bridge, we walked to Bluestone Lane Coffee to defrost. It was the first cafe I had ever been to that is credit card only and does not accept cash, so be sure to come prepared. In addition to some hot beverages, we indulged in sweet potato/turmeric toast and avocado toast.
We spent the rest of the day shopping and wandering the area before heading back to our AirBnb. More details coming in the next post!
I hope you are having a wonderful 2018 and that you enjoyed my first travel series post. Several more are coming soon!
Before logging off, be sure to check out our friends at Sutro Footwear!
I've visited Gualala aka Sea Ranch, in Sonoma County, with my family two summers in a row and felt it was a good time to expand a travel section now that I know more about the area. When I told people I was going out of town, the first question was always, "Where?!" I found that most people didn't know where Gualala is or what to expect while visiting. I would describe the area as very low key with a country vibe. I decided to make a list of my top suggestions on how to properly prepare and enjoy your time during a trip to this rural town in Northern California. This place is perfect if you love the outdoors and lots of down time. The weather is also similar to San Francisco in the sense that it is along the coast so it can be sunny and foggy within the same day/week- be sure to check ahead of time.
1. Prepare to Drive:
Gualala is located up North, about 3-4 hours away from San Francisco, CA. Aside from being a decent drive, during my stay there, I noticed there was no Uber or Lyft service available. There are some taxi services, but I would recommend preparing to drive to your destinations within the area because relying on taxi services in rural areas can be expensive and time consuming considering they may have a smaller staff.
2. Prepare for Downtime
It's ironic to say "prepare" for downtime, considering we should be able to just- relax. But, we are so used to the hustle and bustle that sometimes we forget how to put our mind to rest. While packing, think about what you like to do to get your mind off of social media and work. I recommend bringing a good book, a deck of cards, and a portable speaker. There are also a plethora of therapeutic massages available in the area.
3. Bring Groceries in a Cooler :
There are two supermarkets in the small town. The Gualala Supermarket and the Surf Market. The food at the Surf Market has organic options, but is sooo expensive; a block of cheese and carton of eggs can be as steep as $7 each. The Supermarket is less expensive than the Surf Market, but doesn't have nearly as many organic options. I recommend bringing as much food as possible if you plan to stay for a weekend or more. Be sure to pack a cooler with plenty of ice to keep your perishables fresh during the drive.
4. Allergies :
Last year I didn't experience irregular allergies, but this year was so intense! I heard the pollen count was very high, but I was also allergic to something in the house we stayed in. I even broke out into hives one night. Prepare ahead of time to avoid the suffering I experienced just in case.
5. Bring Your Hiking Shoes :
There are several hiking trails in short driving distance from Gualala. However, be sure to prepare your destination ahead of time and bring a physical map or written directions, if possible. Cell phone service is very unreliable in the area and you want to be equipt ahead of time in order to avoid getting lost.
I've attached the "Best Hiking Trails" according to Yelp here.
6. Bring Your Bathing Suit :
There are many small beaches and swimming pools in the area. Bring your suit so you can enjoy the water and bask in the sun!
7. Watch the Seals:
Emphasis on "watch." There are strict rules and regulations to protect the habitat along the coastline. It's fun to see the seals sunbathe and baby seals play in the ocean, but please refrain from scaring or approaching the animals.
More information on the seals available here
8. Go Wine Tasting :
Sea Ranch is located in Sonoma County aka wine country and there are a few wine tasting locations in the area. I've linked the "Best 10 Wineries" in the area according to Yelp here.
9. Visit the Animal Shelter :
The animal shelter is open from 12-3 Friday through Sunday. We are all animal lovers so every year my family and I visit the cats and dogs. The staff is very friendly and their front yard has a beautiful floral walkway. If you decide to visit, and fall in love, it is $75 to adopt a cat and $100 to adopt a dog.
More information on the Redwood Coast Humane Center
10. Go to the Farmers Market :
Support the locals by purchasing homemade organic jam, honey, coffee, and more
Photo by Aleks Gamzin