When was the last time you were in Northern California? Or have you yet to visit?
My family and I were there earlier this month and can I just say that it’s the most beautiful place in this country and I’m hoping to move there really soon! The hills, trees, ocean, weather, energy– everything about Northern CA yells, “Heather come back! Come back! I’m calling you.” There’s a feeling of freedom and vivaciousness I get when I step outside and the air is clean and there's no humidity. It may sound weird, but I truly believe that your environment plays a huge role in how you perform on a daily basis. When I lived in Reno, NV I was able to visit SF and surrounding areas quite often because it was only 3 hours away. I also have a chunk of my family that resides in the area as well. The older I get, the more I realize that you need to go where your heart is, and my heart is in Northern CA!
Anyways, back to our vacation! It was AMAZING! Not only was I traveling with the loves of my life – Isaac and Zared, we traveled to my favorite part of the country while visiting friends and family! We flew directly into San Francisco, picked up our rental hatch back, and drove north to Humboldt, Co. where we hung out with friends and walked amongst some big beautiful trees. Drove down the PCH and then off to Santa Rose for a family reunion camping trip where we kayaked, swam, hiked, hit some trail workouts, and had the BEST Filipino BBQ. We stopped in Sonoma for lunch, light shopping, and a bit of wine tasting. And then drove off to Folsom Lake in Granite Bay, CA, where my sister lives, for more swimming, paddle boarding, and fun in the sun with the fam! We had a blast!! The last leg of a trip was spent back in SF for some touristy fun! We hit up the aquarium at Fisherman’s Wharf and toured the city by renting go-karts! The go-karts were a great way to see the city! Our GPS guide took us by the marina and through a heavy portion of the city. We even got to drive down SF’s infamous curvy Lombard Street that of course was packed with tourists. My go-kart was a little rickety and loud, but sure enough we made it through!
After our tour we drove to my cousin’s house in Cole Valley, which is just south of Golden Gate Park. We found a parking spot just a block from their house so we left our stuff in the car and walked over to their place. Can I just say that they literally had the most gorgeous home San Francisco had to offer!? It was basically out of a magazine. Anyways, upon arrival my cousin’s husband Andrew told us to go back to the car to get our stuff otherwise it would get broken into. He clearly stateds, “If anything, make sure to get the valuables out.” Isaac went back to the car to grab our stuff. We stayed in that night to enjoy award-winning Thai food from a local restaurant, and watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones! If you’re a GOT fan, you know how important this premiere is considering it premiered 3 months after it’s normal start date.
We got up early the next morning to hit up The California Academy of Sciences and The Japanese Tea Gardens at Golden Gate Park. We had a flight back to San Antonio that afternoon, so we had to go straight to the airport right after the park. We said our goodbyes to my cousins, packed up our car, and headed to Golden Gate to finish off our trip. We found the perfect parking spot, which was just a 5-minute walk to the Academy of Sciences! How lucky were we? I honestly didn’t think we’d find a spot that easily! We spent 4 hours in the science museum reading every piece of information at every exhibit! We LOVED it. We saw stuffed pre-historic birds, experienced a faux earthquake, watched a movie at the planetarium, and walked amongst butterflies in the tropical rain forest, it was epic! We had about 30 minutes to kill before we had to go to the airport so we stopped in the Japanese Tea Gardens for a quick stroll. Again, it was epic! I played Japanese music on my phone while we explored it (I know, I’m a dork).
By then we were set to head to the airport. As we walked back to the car we reflected on our incredible 7-day vacation that was relaxing, fun-filled, and just perfect! As I reached for my door, Zared yelled, “What is this?” I looked towards him, shattered glass everywhere! Someone busted our car window! We panicked! We opened the door, looked in the back of the hatch, and sure enough, some of our stuff got stolen! They grabbed whatever small bags they could and left the big luggage. Unfortunately, in those backpacks we had a tablet, a Surface Pro, glasses, beats wireless headphones, and a very expensive watch I bought for Isaac! DARN! We got robbed! Maybe it was the excitement of going to go to Golden Gate Park, or the stress of catching our flight, but we completely forgot to get our backpacks out of the car, even though my cousin warned us! NO, SAN FRANCISCO! WE LOVE YOU! DON’T HATE! We were so bummed! At the same time, we couldn’t help but feel like idiots because we were warned. We filed a police report and headed to the airport.
There was really nothing we could do because no matter what, we still had a plane to catch. We had insurance on the rental car, so luckily we didn’t have to pay for damages, but when we arrived at the car rental terminal to return it, we found out that we were the 4th car that was returned with a busted window! 4 other families were robbed that day- that we know of - and it was only 2 pm in the afternoon! SAN FRANCISCO! YOU’RE SUCH A GREAT PLACE! DON’T HATE! Ugh! It is what it is! What is the moral of the story? Always keep your valuables on you when you travel! Or, when you rent a car, make sure you have insurance on it, and make sure it has a trunk! No hatchbacks or Suv’s!
Here is a quick and easy snack recipe I made at my sister’s house at Folsom Lake. It’s also a perfect snack you can take on the road so you don’t feel tempted to hit up the drive-thru!
Sassy Paleo Guacamole Eggs with Pickled Red Onion
1/2 of a red onion, sliced thin
¼ -1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of real maple syrup (optional)
One small avocado, peeled and pitted
1 clove of garlic, minced
Zest of one lime
2 tablespoons cilantro
¼ teaspoon each of cumin and black pepper
½ teaspoon of Himalayan Salt
1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
Pastry bag or gallon-sized plastic bag
Prep/Cook: 25 min Yields: 7-8 Servings
1. Place your thinly sliced onions in a bowl and submerge them in ¼ cup of water vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the maple syrup if you’d like to add a little bit of sweetness to the onion. Note: it’s optional to add the maple syrup, however it’s a nice addition to the completed product because it offsets the smokiness of the smoked paprika and the tanginess of the eggs. Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
2. Place eggs in a large pot submerged in water. Place pot over high heat. Bring water to a rolling boil. Take pot off the heat and cover pot with a loose fitting lid. Set the timer for 11 minutes. After the 11 minutes are up, drain the eggs and run cold water over them. Fill the pot with cold water and peel the hard-boiled eggs one at a time. The shells should come right off. Slice the eggs in half length-wise and place the yolks in a large bowl.
3. Place avocado, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, lime zest, and cider
vinegar into the bowl with the egg yolks, and smash and combined until well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste as needed.
4. Spoon the guacamole mixture into a gallon sized zip lock bag. Line up egg whites on cutting board and squeeze a generous amount (about a half inch high) of guacamole into each egg white.
5. Take the bowl of red onions out of the fridge and place 2-3 onion slices on top of each deviled egg.
6. Sprinkle smoked paprika on top of eggs.
7. Refrigerate until serving time.