Vino and Vinyasa- Practice Yoga at a Local Winery then Drink Wine…For Free

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I did something really cool, yesterday. I practiced yoga at a local SLO winery, and I then got to drink wine after the class, for free. Dreams really do come true.

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Sound too good to be real? It’s not! This activity is organized by Lululemon SLO and is held every Thursday in September from 5pm-7pm at¬†Clairborne & Churchill Winery in San Luis Obispo.

Starting at 5:15, Lululemon ambassador and experienced yogi Niccola Nelson instructs a refreshing Vinyasa class on the grass outside this beautiful winery. As you practice your balance and appreciate the energy of the yogi’s around you, you also experience a sort of spiritual connection with the Earth. You watch the sun set below the background of rolling hills, illuminating the space around the trees of surrounding vineyards.

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Spots in these classes are pretty limited because there’s only a limited amount of space on the patio outside, so be sure to sign up on Eventbrite before you go. Taryn and I didn’t know we were supposed to sign up, so we waited for space to open up and were given spots in the class after a few people didn’t make it.

It was a powerful experience to feel the warm sun on your skin and breathe in the fresh air all while looking forward to enjoying wine afterward.

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Immediately following the class is complimentary wine tasting on the patio courtesy of Clairborne and Churchill. You can try for your favorite taste, and buy a bottle to enjoy later. There are also local food venders rotating weekly, such as The Neighborhood Acai and Juice, selling yummy treats to refuel you and give you the chance to treat yoself after the workout.

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It’s a really great opportunity to get your sweat on with a friend, meet other yogis who also share your appreciation for wine, and enjoy the last bits of the Summer sunshine here on the Central Coast. So, invite a friend and come join us next week… I know that I’ll be there! ūüėČ

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The Libertine Coffee Bar

Two of my favorite things in the world: coffee and Kelly. Well, Kelly and I are back on the coffee grind (Get it?! Even if you think my pun is bad please keep reading…)! The Libertine Coffee Bar in downtown SLO is my¬†latest and greatest fulfilling conquest in the¬†never ending hunt¬†for the enjoyment my¬†very favorite caffeinated beverage.

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Located on Broad Street right next door to the Libertine Brewing company, it’s open from 6am-6pm and features drip coffee, espresso, kombucha, and a variety of tea. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! SLODOCO has even hopped on this coffee train and is making donuts for the Libertine Coffee bar alongside other local chef’s treats.

I asked the barista for her what her recommendation on their most popular drink would be and she suggested the Bullet Proof coffee. It’s¬†a drip coffee which features¬†a teaspoon of coconut oil and butter (yes, butter…) blended¬†in a magic bullet blender making the concoction creamy mix of froth with just the right amount coffee¬†bite to it. It was filling, too. I only got a 12 ounce but was very satisfied.

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This shop features outdoor seating on the corner of Broad and Pacific. It¬†has an ambiance which makes you feel like you’re at a new and chic modern coffee shop with the rustic authenticity of a spot¬†that¬†has been well loved and established.

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There are many items on the menu which can be personalized like¬†the Liber-tea which is¬†any of their many kinds of special tea’s poured with¬†steamed milk. ¬†Each tea is special, so ask your barista about the many types of teas and¬†the unique backstory on each one.

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I can confidently say I will be visiting their shop many more times to thoroughly experience and explore the many other distinct menu items such as their Vanilla Chocolate cold brew and the Liber-tea.

Go check it out! And hit me up always if you want an espresso buddy…

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Behind the Scenes of Traveling for a Week Straight: What I learned on my Spring Break

Life is about traveling outside of your comfort zone. If you’re not feeling a bit uncomfortable, then you’re not growing. Growing requires discomfort. In order to grow, you need to leave your comfort zone and be vulnerable in the open. Only there, can you accept new ideas openly.

This Spring Break Conner and I traveled down the Southern Coast of California for a week straight stopping in Santa Barbara, Ventura, the Santa Cruz Island, Huntington Beach, Venice Beach, and San Diego. We took the Pacific Coast Highway and sailed along the water which was straight out of a daydream, but with daydreams come nightmares. There were a lot of challenges we faced by traveling a week straight on the trip. Traveling has¬†its high’s¬†and low’s¬†and¬†you have to have the face low’s¬†to get to appreciate the high’s.¬†

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When we got to where we were staying on the first night away from our sheltered Central Coast city of San Luis Obispo, we were both certainly uncomfortable, but also very excited. It sounds a bit dramatic, but we’re definitely not the same people we were when we left. We learned a lot about ourselves, and the world.

The lessons we learned on our trip are as follows:

Traveling for a week straight can be pretty exhausting.¬†We had nowhere to be during the day to just have a place to rest, because we stayed in a different hostel each night. I left my winter jacket (the bane of my existence, I get cold a lot…) in a hostel in Venice Beach. It was the fourth day of our trip and¬†I was very sleep deprived so¬†I got much more upset about it than I should’ve when I realized it was gone. I was angry at myself for being so irresponsible…but people make mistakes. And usually these kind of small mistakes are very fixable with a little help. This leads me to my next lesson. People usually want to help you out.¬†

People in many parts of the world are generally good, so have faith. It is important to remember to look out for yourself in unfamiliar places but it is also important to trust and to have confidence in the humans around you. My jacket was in the lost and found at the hostel. No one had stolen it and it was right where I had left it in the storage room. I was so cynical believing that there was no chance I would get it back and that certainly someone has spotted this expensive jacket and decided it was theirs, but we called the hostel and the woman working put it aside for us to pick up on our way home the next day.

Another representation of a time we practiced trust was in La Jolla when I was trying to fit my car into a parking spot inches to small for even my tiny car, and a dad with his two kids saw me struggling among the flow of busy traffic to parallel park my car. He knocked on the window and asked if we needed a hand. I was skeptical and almost declined his offer, but he looked like a good guy. He handed his coffee and hat to his kids next to him and proceeded to do the best parallel parking job I have ever seen. There are a lot of bad people in the world but also a lot of good.

You don’t have to know where you’re going to have a successfully good time. There’s a difference between having no idea what’s happening/where you’re going, and having the desire to explore the world with no plan. We did plan out most of our trip to ensure a safe and successful vacation, but some of the best parts of the trip were the parts where we didn’t have a particular destination in mind. On Santa Cruz Island we picked a hike in a direction that looked nice because Conner doesn’t like maps or recipes (which is odd because he’s a straight forward thinking engineer) and it was a beautiful hike along the plateau of the island that ended in a secluded beach which the bluest water I’ve ever seen. When we were in Venice Beach we wandered along the boardwalk and came upon a street show with the Calypso Tumblers and watched them backflip over a dude who was six feet tall. In the Gas Lamp Quarter of San Diego we wandered along the main drag and came upon a restaurant called Cafe 21 and watched a woman flamenco dance and shared¬†the best chocolate crepe cake of my life. Life is about the journey and not always the destination, so enjoy the ride.¬†

Let yourself let loose every once in a while! I’m not great at napping or at sleeping in general but in Santa Barbara we went to the Salt Caves and did a meditation session which included me falling asleep and waking up feeling more refreshed than I would have after a full night’s rest. Shortly after we went on a hike to inspiration point where I ate back all the calories I had burned on the hike by sharing (and finishing) a whole bag of jelly beans with Conner at the summit. I indulged in an ice cream at Salt and Straw, I devoured the tiramasu french toast at Brockton Villa in La Jolla, and decided to donate money to a very wise young monk in Balboa Park (using a¬†card reader on his own iPhone…? He says they’re wealthy La Jolla monks…). He then gave me a book on “the human purpose” and his blessing at which point, I’m totally serious, the sun came out for the first time that day. Thank you, buddhist sun God.¬†

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The world is a very big place with a lot of adventures still to be had, so do not have fear. We met a variety of people from a variety of cultures in the world in our hostels who taught us about where they were from and gave us advice for our future travels. Turns out, even European kids like a good game of beer pong in the States. If you’re afraid of falling, then you can never¬†fly, and you will not make it to the end of the Ho Chi Minh trail in La Jolla on the edge of a cliff. You will not make it to the edge of potato chip rock at the top of Mt. Woodsen. You won’t make a new Australian friend who spent the last three months surfing his way through Mexico.

There’s a lot to learn about the world around that you can’t learn reading¬†a book or online, but simply¬†by exploring. We learned about the difference between sea lions and seals up close, what roads to take in LA traffic (and how to deal with the angry LA commuters). We learned about a¬†difference in safety between exploring Venice at night vs the Gas Lamp Quarter in San Diego at night, and how the entire fire department of San Diego will send seven fire trucks to your hostel at 3am if one person smells smoke in the laundry room (which is good to know how prepared they are). We learned about the difference between many¬†character types of hostels in terms of their particular¬†essences such as¬†how social they are, what amenities they have, and what stories their inhabitants tell.¬†

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Even though it was only a 6 day trip it was an amazing Spring Break. We hit 8 different beaches in the six different days and traveled over 600 miles meeting people from many diverse¬†countries to find out that the world is a big place which is meant to be explored if only you’re brave enough to get out of your comfort zone.

 

Cerro Cabrillo Hike in Morro Bay

My parents just visited me in San Luis Obispo! Naturally I wanted to show them an exciting new hike, and my favorite hikes are ones with ocean views. In the past, we have gone to Avila Ridge or Montana de Oro to hike but this time we went and climbed Cerro Cabrillo in Morro Bay.

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Cerro Cabrillo means “Cabrillo Hill” in Spanish. It is an out and back trail¬†and despite and only being the 6th tallest of the nine sisters at 900 feet, it’s a moderately strenuous hike. The last 500 feet are an extremely ¬†steep ascent involving¬†rock scrambling.

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The turn into the¬†parking¬†lot is off of South Bay Boulevard and when you’re driving, it comes up fast. It¬†can be a hard turn to see from the road, once you are in the parking lot there is lots of room to park your car.

Begin your hike on the Quarry Trail which starts right at the parking lot. This trail will lead you most of the way toward the top, and is straight and flat for the most part at the beginning.

Travel along the Quarry Trail for a while, and when you reach the Live Oak trail junction, still keep on going straight.

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Continue¬†going straight until you see the trail start to curve left and up the hill toward the tiki head. If you hit the Park Ridge Trail junction you’ve gone too far.

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Twinsies

The trail starts to get steeper here, but keep going because the view from the top is worth it.

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Hi, Tiki head!

The naturally formed tiki head can be seen in the face of the rocks on the side of the hill. You’ll be hiking up past him.¬†This starts to be the part of the path which¬†is not maintained by the park, and you’ll have to do some scrambling in order to reach the peak.

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Right before turning left to make the final ascent

The final ascent is a steep 500 feet toward the top in 4 tenths of a mile on a path which is less well-traveled. Be sure to look out for poison oak as you climb in between the rocks.

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Hi mom! Featuring Hollister Peak in the background

As you ascend, you can see Hollister Peak, one of the other nine sisters off in the distance. Hiking shoes or sneakers with a good grip is helpful on this section¬†of the hike. The sharp¬†slope¬†tested the traction of my dad’s shoes at times… most of the time the hill was the winner¬†and my dad/his shoes¬†lost.

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When you complete the boulder scrambling and shoe traction testing ascent, get ready to feast your eyes on 360 degree views of the central coast including Morro Bay and Morro Rock to the North West, Montana de Oro to the South West, and the Santa Lucia Mountains to the East. YAS.

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Mom, dad, and me with Morro Rock in the background

Below is a link to the parking lot at the trailhead.

The address for the trailhead is South Bay Boulevard, Morro Bay, CA 93442.

Hike to Serenity Swing from Poly Canyon Village

I remember the first time I hiked serenity swing ¬†it was the first quarter of my freshman year on a Monday Night, in the dark, with my new friend I had just made in the Poly Escapes program. We hiked serenity swing for the first time on this random Monday night in darkness because there was supposed to be a meteor shower. You couldn’t see much of Poly or SLO in the dark… but it was still fun. And a much¬†fun that very first time was, every time I have hike it since then still seems to get better.

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Silly freshman Molly doing hikes in the pitch dark

Over the years the serenity swing has changed. People have added a second swing next to the current one, and broken the existing one only to have it be replaced for a seat with what is consistently in my opinion one of the best views in SLO.

This hike is around 4 miles long (depending on which path you take) and has about 950 feet of elevation gain.

From the top you can see Morro Rock north of SLO as well as¬†down south of SLO the Pacific Ocean near Avila. You can see Bishops Peak between the hills of Poly Canyon, the Architecture Graveyard, and the majestic campus of Cal Poly. It’s a beautiful sight.

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Two pretty sights

This trail has a strenuous climb toward the end. It will have you climbing up what personally I think has to be about a 70-75 degree slope while at the same time wind is trying to gust you away. But trust me, in the end the view and the feeling you get when you reach the top makes it worthwhile.

When I did this hike for the blog, we parked in the intramural fields by Poly Canyon Village and trekked up the trail paralleling Poly Canyon Road toward architecture graveyard called Brizzolara Creek Trail. This is why the route in the map I embedded may look slightly different than if you were to just walk along Poly Canyon Road. Ultimately as long as you find your way to the entrance to the Arch Graveyard, you can find your way the rest of the way up the trail.

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The map at the entrance to Arch Graveyard

When you reach Architecture Graveyard, don’t take a left¬†toward it,¬†but instead turn right and walk up the path with a slight hill which will¬†eventually lead you to¬†a house and barn on your right. This path will lead you to the first gate which you can easily open and pass¬†through.

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Gate #1

Walk beyond the gate for a few tenths of a mile to come to a second gate. There’s usually some mud around this area shortly after is rains, so watch your shoes!

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Gate #2

Once you get past the second gate keep right on the lesser steep path. You’ll be on this path for a while. If you have any confusion as to which turns to make, follow my trail¬†on the map embedded at the bottom of the post.

Eventually you’ll reach another gate. This is the last gate you’ll¬†go through before beginning the final¬†ascent to the top of the hill. Turn left.

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Sophia after passing through the third gate

There are two paths to climb to get to the top of the hill where serenity swing is. Both are extremely steep, so¬†it’s best to pick the one that doesn’t have people already on it at the moment (I’m not saying you’re going to fall, but just in case someone else does it’s best to have extra room).

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Both ways lead to the top

For this hike, we took the path which is shown to the left on the way up, and the path on the right on the way down.

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Good thing there are footholds in the ground?

When you reach the top of the climb, go left toward the big tree. It’s the only tree in near sight and the one with the swing hanging from it. Then, go take some basic pictures. Post them to Instagram and revel in the likes. You’ve earned it.

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Basicness

Have another way up to serenity swing you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!

#43 The Cambria Christmas Market: A Winter Wonderland

When I was little, I always wanted to go to the North Pole to¬†see Santa’s castle, and meet all of the elves. Now that I’m older I can go to the Cambria Christmas Market instead!

This extravaganza of lights is located only 30 minutes outside of San Luis Obispo and is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.

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The Cambria Christmas Market is a celebration of vendors, lights, music, and food in the style of Germany’s Christmas markets, but right here in our own backyard on the Central Coast. This year 2016 it’s open from November 25th-December 23rd from 5pm-9pm. Tickets run between only $5-$15. When we went on a Thursday night it was only $5 and well worth every penny in my opinion.

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Parking is free at The Brambles, and East Village in downtown Cambria as well as at Coast Union High school, where we parked. There are shuttles from the parking lots which drop you off at the entrance to the Christmas market, and the last shuttle leaves each parking lot at 8pm.

The market closes at 9pm and ticket sales halt at 8:15, but the walk through and vendor experience takes at least a couple hours to enjoy, so make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy everything!

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Be sure to get¬†a hot chocolate when you arrive, because it was one of the best hot chocolates that I’ve tasted in my life. Check out the variety of other¬†vendors including the yummy baked goods, and cute holiday gifts for sale. Santa is even in the house, too! You can visit him to let him know what you’re dreaming about having him bring you this Christmas.

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#Squad

The walk to enjoy the light arrangements takes about half an hour, with a seemingly never endless stream of twinkling and creative displays. Open fire pits are scattered throughout the walk and Christmas music is playing along the way to add to the jolly atmosphere.

View the slideshow below for photos of my favorite light displays….

After the walk of lights, you will cross the street and come out to a nursery/garden area featuring all sorts of fun trinkets and plants. This is where the shuttle will pick you up to bring you back to the parking areas.

The Christmas Market is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy some time with your friends and loved ones spreading Christmas cheer. I will definitely be back next year, and you should check it out too!

Scout Coffee

It’s national coffee day and you know what that means… Time to enjoy the aroma of the espresso beans and the creamy texture of a well pulled latte with whatever syrup combination your heart desires. Mmmm. Dreamy.

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Both the coffee and Kelly are lookin’ dreamy.

Both Americanos and black coffee are great too but they’re not as fun to daydream about… anyway if you’re looking for a prime spot to visit for this celebration of a day of all days, NATIONAL COFFEE DAY YAAAAS¬†check out Scout Coffee on either Foothill Plaza or Downtown SLO on Garden Street.

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The OG Scout on Garden Street downtown has been around¬†since early 2014. The pictures in this blog post are from the newest Scout which just opened up in August of 2016 on Foothill (because it’s right next to where I live and where I will now be spending the majority of my free time and money…). But the owners Jon and Sara Peterson are extremely accomplished in the ways of coffee roasting, marketing, business owning and barista-ing.

According to their website, “Scout is truly a community place, where the products, service, people and space just can‚Äôt be beat.”

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Each batch of coffee is roasted locally at their sister company right in here SLO, HoneyCo.¬†If you’re not into coffee (I respectfully disagree with you ūüėČ ) Scout also has tea, house made sodas made with local produce, seasonal milkshakes, house-made almond milk, and fresh made baked goods (of which I personally recommend their legendary cookies).

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There’s space to study and socialize, to read a book and to enjoy your drink. Be forewarned however that there are not many power outlets at either location, which is not necessarily a bad thing… It just means you need to actually talk to people around you or stay off electronics for a little while. If you’re looking for a place to study for long periods of time this might not be the right place.

The decor is refreshing and homey, the espresso delicious and the ambiance cheery and full of life.

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The almond milk mocha is one of the greatest things I have ever tasted in my life, and special because the almond milk is home made in house. Anything you order, however, will not disappoint.

Check out either location of Scout Coffee, today, and thank me later. Maybe by buying me one of those almond milk mocha’s…. ūüėČ

Foothill Location:

Garden Street Location: