Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guide to Norcal Weekend Getaway: Santa Rosa - Ukiah - Mendocino

I've been wanting to document my recent trips around North California but was too lazy to do it and today has been kind of slow and chilly.. a perfect day to stay home and finally got a work around posting these late posts, so here goes..

Brunch! The trick to having a good getaway is to start with an awesome brunch. We picked this farm-to-table gem nested in the town of Santa Rosa called The Naked Pig and boy did they not disappoint. We ordered their porchetta sandwich and bacon battered waffles -- regretted right away for not ordering more because they are delicious.

Our first stop was Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve. The entrance was hard to spot so make sure to keep an eye for a small parking lot. There isn't a grand entrance like other more popular state parks but this park is definitely worth a stop of you're looking for some nature therapy deep in the redwoods.

We stayed a night in Ukiah and stumbled upon this place called Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery which was an interesting addition to our trip.

After a fully rested night, we drove to Russian Gulch State Park for a 3 hours hike and it literally felt like we're hiking in fairy tale:

When we could no longer feel our legs, we ended the day with a beautiful sunset along the Mendocino coast.. 

So.. here's a summary to this weekend getaway:
Brunch at The Naked Pig, Santa Rosa - short hike at Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve - Stay a night in Ukiah - Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery - Russian Gulch State Park - Mendocino Coast.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On traveling solo: finding self 75 miles away from home

I fantasize about travelling solo all the time but never really had the time to do it. The desire to travel solo has grown stronger lately especially with all the stress at school and life in general - but let's not go there. A couple of weeks ago, I finally messaged a friend of mine telling her: "I just booked a room for spring break! I'm really doing it this time!" and here I am right now, writing this post in a beautiful inn right across the Pacific Ocean ran by a sweet innkeeper, Jeff. 

I wasn’t planning to make this trip a spiritual one but God works in wonder and I knew for sure that it wasn’t by coincidence the topic of my bible study (that typically looks like this) for the past couple of days is something along the line of how to reconnect with God (and to hear His voice). My sweet Ahjuma, Danialle, recommended a book by Henry Cloud to bring for my trip, she also sent me a couple of questionnaires that I have to fill out during the trip and a one-day schedule that I have to follow. God bless her heart.

So where should I begin? (This is gonna be a long post, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.)

Day 01: San Francisco – Half Moon Bay
After grabbing a couple of my favorite snacks from SF, I was ready to head down to Highway One and enjoy the beautiful ride to Half Moon Bay.

My plucky sidekick that has been through so much! Say hi to Lil' Sebastian!

My very first stop was the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail – it’s also where the fancy Ritz Carlton hotel is located.

Oh the ocean!!! Standing beside the ocean always reminds me how small my problems are – don’t you feel that too?

Made a couple of new friends today.

I continued to drive alongside the coast and every time I found a cozy lookout, I stopped and read in the car. Total bliss.

I took a stroll down the Main St of Half Moon Bay and was amazed by how quaint and charming this little neighborhood is.

Highlight of my downtown tour was this one-room jailhouse that was built in 1911.

Ended the day by taking a stroll down the Miramar Beach. First day of the trip is perfect already.

Day 02: Half Moon Bay – Pescadero - Capitola - Santa Cruz
This morning, I was greeted by this amazing egg benedict thoughtfully prepared by Jeff, who gave me so many different kind of maps around the area to explore and who also insisted me to get the artichoke garlic herb bread from Pescadero's Arcangeli Grocery Co. I will definitely stop by tomorrow to get some of those bread on my way back home, Jeff!

After feeling well fed, I was ready to hit the road again. Next on the itinerary is Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Lighthouses are always fascinating to me so when I knew that Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the most famous lighthouses in Norcal, I had to check it out myself.

.. and it did not disappoint. I mean, would you look at that! How majestic. After gazing upon it for quite some time, I decided it was time to leave so I drove a little further to the north for some coffee at Pescadero.. and I stumbled upon this coffeeshop that serves good latte and sells vintage goodies. They even have this tiny room at the corner showing old movies!

After getting pumped by caffeine, I was ready to drive south to the city of Capitola.. and the only highlight of this little surfing town was the Venetian Hotel with interesting exterior.

I didn't really feel like exploring this city because it is filled with people in bathing suits and tanned skins. The main purpose of this trip is to get away from humans as humanly as possible so I decided to call it a day and check in at the inn I'm staying tonight. Why isn't that the best decision ever cos my inn IS PERFECT. I spent my afternoon in this cozy library working on the questionnaires and even sneaked a peek at my thesis (ughh my unrequited love) just to make sure it's still working.

Day 03: Santa Cruz – Pescadero - Montara - San Francisco
Last day of my solo trip! How did time go by so fast? This morning after leaving a quick thank you message on Adobe on Green's guestbook, I packed my bag, left the key in the mini suitcase by the door as instructed, and then head down to Verve Coffee for some caffeine boost before I hit the road again.

Next thing on my itinerary is Swanton Berry Farm that is located 10 miles north from Santa Cruz.

.. I think I've gained plenty of happiness from this trip alone :) Next, Pie Ranch!

What a charming place to stop by! Got their Lemon Buttermilk Pie for the road and the lady who works there recommended checking out the little farm behind the barn so I did and met these two cuties..

I promised Jeff to get those artichoke bread from Pescadero so I stopped by Arcangeli Grocery Co to grab two loafs for my dear friends back in SF.

Before finally driving back to San Francisco, I have one last stop on the itinerary - Point Montara Lighthouse.

All in all, it was a great and fulfilling trip. Henry Cloud's book has also helped me a lot in discovering self and growing more mature in God. I have decided to make this a yearly tradition and I look forward to my next trip already. I'm gonna end this super long post with verse from the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) that I stumbled upon while reading Changes That Heals:
       There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:
       A time to be born and a time to die,
       A time to plant and a time to uproot,
       A time to kill and a time to heal, 
       A time to tear down and a time to build,
       A time to weep and a time to laugh,
       A time to mourn and a time to dance,
       A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
       A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
       A time to search and a time to give up,
       A time to keep and a time to throw away,
       A time to tear and a time to mend,
       A time to be silent and a time to speak,
       A time to love and a time to hate,
       A time for war and a time for peace.

Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a great spring break like my horsey friend does :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Twenty Fifteen so far..

Moi lovely homies gave me a surprise (belated) birthday cake during our NYE party <3

Cos it's the "New Year New Me" moment, I'm gonna pretend to give blogging another go! The year started with a little "medical" trip to Penang, a town I love to hate, hate to love, with both of my parents. Thank God we all came back healthier than ever! During the trip, I managed to take a little solo adventure in Georgetown to hunt for those infamous hidden murals by Zacharevic. Unlike many other big cities, Penang is not the best (safest) place to walk around but tracking down those murals in Georgetown sure was a fun idea cos they're all so well hidden and it almost felt like treasure hunting.

Can't believe that it's only a few days left before I go back to San Francisco. One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to get back into photography so I ordered myself a Pentax K1000 on Amazon and it should be there by the time I'm back :') Can't wait to get my hands dirty on it. In the mean time, I'm gonna enjoy the rest of the time with my family and stuff some more food into my face. I hope you all have a wonderful start of 2015!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bye twenty fourteen!

This quote by Warsan Shire perfectly sums up my year of twenty fourteen. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Twenty Fifteen

Inspired by, here are my words for Twenty Fifteen :) What about yours?