Roadtrip to Southern California and goals

After spending several days exploring some beautiful parts of California, it was a bit of a rough entry for Dave and me as we drove back into San Francisco yesterday afternoon. The path to our apartment from the freeway goes through some of the less-than-pretty neighborhoods, and we were welcomed by honking horns, crowded streets and foggy skies. But once we walked back into our little apartment, we quickly got reacquainted with our urban existence and are back up-and-running in the real world.

As I always do, as soon as we got home, I unpacked, caught up on my some emails, ordered our groceries for the week, prepped some overnight oats, paid our rent, checked the mail, and began learning the choreography I was planning to teach at BODYATTACK last night. Next thing you know, I was off to teach, had a great turnout in my class and was home foam rolling and preparing a healthy dinner by nightfall. Just like that, we were done with our vacation and into our routine. It felt pretty good to have a decent sweat session and a healthy home-cooked meal in me after several days of true indulgence and rest.

It’s safe to say that Dave and I had a truly fabulous few days away. We slept a lot, we ate a lot, we spent a lot of time with family, and we saw some new areas of the state. But of course, it went by way too fast. The good news is that we have less than three weeks until we leave for Florida, which will be a trip full of seeing friends, hanging out with my parents and brother and doing a lot more relaxing.

Now let’s back up and recap some of the fun from the past few days, and then I’ll get to my December plan and goals …

Exploring Coronado over Thanksgiving weekend

On Wednesday morning, Dave and I drove to San Diego from San Francisco. We hit some major traffic on the way down around L.A. and so it took about 11 hours door-to-door, with a couple of potty breaks and a lunch stop. We’ve been told that there is always traffic in L.A., and we experienced it on the way there and back at totally different times of day, so I guess we were told right. Nonetheless, we arrived at Dave’s parent’s house on Coronado, which is an island off San Diego, just in time for dinner. Three of Dave’s four sisters were already there when we arrived, so we had a full house from the outset.

Dave and Ashley on ThanksgivingDo you know how many bad photos it took to get this one semi-decent one? A whole lot.

On Thanksgiving morning, we ran a crowded, but fun Turkey Trot, which I fully described here, and I was really happy with my race time under 24 minutes. The rest of Thursday was spent hanging out at home, chatting with some guests, feasting, going on a night-time walk, playing charades and indulging in some major dessert. 

Thanksgiving foodA look at the spread of food we dined on, all labeled with hand-written note cards.

Ashley at Thanksgiving plateThat’s me proudly holding my first helping. My favorite thing on that plate? The roasted sweet potatoes for sure. But the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce were also exceptional.

Group at ThanksgivingOur group sitting down to dinner on the back patio. This shot was taken with a self-timer on an iPhone, so I’d say it’ turned out pretty good.

On Friday, Dave and I went on a very short little jog to the beach and then explored the Hotel del Coronado and downtown Coronado. We walked through the gift stores, grabbed a beverage at Starbucks and then went home to hang out some more, and I took a little nap. The best part about Coronado, outside of the nice weather and views of San Diego and the Bay, is that the entire area is walk-able. We really liked looking at all the lovely homes lining the streets as we made our way back to his parent’s house on foot.

Pitts on the beachDuring our stop at the beach, Dave and I participated in a family video project. Shown above is Dave’s younger sister Gwena filming the guys in one of their segments. Believe me, I’ll share the finished product, because it’s going to be good.

In the afternoon, we went with Dave’s Dad to lay by the pool at the Loews Hotel, which is where Dave’s parents keep their boat, so we had access to all the amenities. The pool area was super relaxing, and we even took a dip in the hot tub.

During the day on Friday, two of Dave’s sisters left, so by the time dinner rolled around, there were only five of us. That night we went to Miguel’s Cocina for a nice Mexican dinner. After dinner, we stopped for dessert and went home to watch some hilarious home movies of Dave and his sisters when they were growing up in Maine. I laughed so hard my face hurt. It was such a good time seeing Dave as a little kid and watching how he interacted with his house full of sisters as the only boy. (Yes, growing up this way has made him as patient as a saint and given him many other admirable qualities!)

On Saturday, one of the few Saturday mornings in the past year and-a-half when I didn’t have to get up to teach a class, we took full advantage and went to brunch. Sadly, I had a very disappointing salmon and egg scramble that morning, but it was still nice to be out for the first meal of the day. After brunch, I went on a little stroll with Dave’s Mom and sister and we ended up at the Coronado Ferry Landing area.

View of San DiegoA view of San Diego from the Ferry Landing in Coronado.

The rest of the afternoon, we laid around watching some football and relaxing. Before we left for L.A., we made one final stop in Coronado, which was in search of an acai bowl. I had mentioned several times that I was dying to try an acai bowl and knew that San Diego had them allover. We stopped at Clayton’s for my bowl, and it was not quite what I expected. In fact, it was food fail numero dos of Saturday.

Acai bowlAn acai bowl, covered in bananas, granola, honey, strawberries and coconut.

Yes, it looks lovely. But I thought it would be more of a smoothie bowl, with a yogurt consistency. Not so much. This one was actually more of a frozen-yogurt sundae with rice krispy granola on top. It was not exactly the healthy parfait I had envisioned. Still, I ate it all, and it filled me up for the drive. Once I finished, we said goodbye to Dave’s Dad and hit the road to head north to L.A. for the next leg of our journey.

A quick overnight stay in the City of Angels

Our drive to L.A. was pretty easy, apart from some traffic, and we ended up at Dave’s sister Jess’s apartment around 6 p.m. Jess has lived in L.A. for three years and owns a very cute one-bedroom condo in a neighborhood of L.A. I had never really been to the area before (outside of a trip to Anaheim when I worked at Disney), and was very impressed with all the different restaurants and look and feel of it all. We went out to dinner at a trendy spot called Mohawk Bend just a couple minutes from her place, and the scene was good. I mean, the beautiful people were dining at this place. In fact, the restaurant was full of all young people with no kids, much like dining out in San Francisco. Although the scene was superb, our meal was not so wonderful. We had a fairly tasty beet tartare, a super-delicious kale salad, but our pizza was just eh. We shared all three items and all agreed the pizza was not up to par. Lately, Dave and I have been worrying that we’ve become a bit food-snobby due to all the good eats we have in San Francisco. I can’t really confirm or deny that, but I do know I encountered some less-than-fabulous meals during this trip. Yet, I also encountered some great food too.

Dave and Ashley in LADave and I enjoying our first dinner out in L.A.

Not to worry though, because the night was saved. We ended up stopping by Alcove Cafe and Bakery for one of the highlights of my trip — a slice of blue velvet cake, which I ate all by myself after we got back to Jess’s place. I made it a point to have a hearty and decadent dessert every night we were away, and this was my favorite one, which you may have seen when I shared a shot of it on Instagram on Sunday morning.

Blue Velvet CakeI will dream about this most-amazing thing for a very long time.

We went to bed pretty early that night, so we could head out early the next day. On Sunday, Dave and I made the five-hour trip to Carmel, which I’ll give you the full low-down on later this week. But that’s the story on our weekend happenings up until we arrived in Carmel.

Switching gears, because it’s the start of the last month of the year, I thought I’d talk about some of the big things ahead for me and my goals for this month.

What’s coming up in December and my goals for the month

Here’s what is ahead for me for December …

  • Teaching a bunch of group fitness classes each week and making some big decisions about my next fitness opportunity.
  • Starting to look for our next little place to call home, since our lease ends in early 2015.
  • Attending a few Christmas parties, some for Dave’s work and some with friends.
  • Traveling to Florida for a whole week around Christmas so that I can spend my birthday at home in Port Charlotte with my family.
  • A couple of fun blogging projects.

And here are some things that I want to focus on this month …

  • Take a yoga class at least once a week. I’ve been pretty good about this lately. But with all the extra classes, workouts and things I’ve got going on, I’m really going to need to commit to get this done.
  • Spend more time foam rolling, stretching and doing my mobility exercises. I’ve been slacking a little bit in this department and need to get back on it.
  • Do something festive to get in the Christmas spirit, like send out Christmas cards or donate to a charity.
  • Be reasonable with buying Christmas gifts and stick to a budget. I tend to spend too much and buy too many things for Dave and my family, and this year, we’re all pulling back a bit. It’s hard, because I love to get things for my close people.
  • Worry less and focus on enjoying the day-to-day. Much easier said than done!

I think I can do these, guys. But this month is going to fly by, so I better get started on all of the above. And in honor of all the treating I did over the past few days, I’m linking up with Becky for “Treat Yourself Tuesday.”

That’s all I’ve got for you today, friends. Have a fabulous Tuesday, and I’ll see you soon.

Questions of the day

Do you have any goals for December? What are you looking forward to this month? Have you ever visited Southern California? What was your experience?

Ashley signature

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48 Comments

  1. Looks like you had a great vacay! I love your gold monogram, necklace.

    My goal for December is to enjoy the holidays and all the fun and food that comes along with it but still get in my workouts I enjoy so much everyday πŸ™‚

  2. Where is that blue dress from?? It’s so adorable! Glad you enjoyed So Cal, it’s a lot of fun once you actually get there and aren’t sitting in traffic!!

  3. Sounds like you and Dave had a wonderful holiday. I’ve never heard of Coronado before, but from your photos it looks like a gorgeous place to live/visit. Like you, i love that you can walk to everything. I find towns like those have the most active & fit people.

  4. Looks like a fabulous weekend! I love southern California. San Diego is just beautiful and nothing beats the laid back vibe. My main goal for December? Graduating with my Masters! It’s been such a long time coming and feels very surreal πŸ™‚

  5. I loveeee southern Cali! My husband used to travel there often for work so I’ve been 4 or 5 times and could seriously picture myself there. We actually considered moving there before we chose Florida but I wouldn’t totally count it out πŸ˜‰ It looks like you had a great weekend exploring!

  6. Glad to hear you had a great holiday, but bummed to hear you had some not so great eats in San Diego (especially when I know there are so many great places). I’ve actually never had an acai bowl, I figure if I’m going to have yogurt I’ll have it at home because it’s something I could make myself. πŸ™‚

    1. That’s a good point, but I’ve heard there are some excellent acai bowls. Maybe I’ll find one in the Bay Area some day. And I had a great time, in spite of a few sub-par meals. I walked away a major fan of SD! πŸ™‚

  7. Yay for a SoCal Thanksgiving! I spent mine in LA and Orange County catching up with friends… hoping to do a recap tonight! πŸ™‚ I also had my first acai bowl in LA. It was good, but I was a bit underwhelmed for $10 – glad you felt the same. Looks like you had a lovely Thanksgiving =)

    1. Hi Emily! Well I know we both had some nice warm weather over Thanksgiving. Maybe we both expected too much of the acai bowl? I’d like to try another for sure, and mine cost $9 I believe. Geez. Looking forward to your recap!

    1. I know! Well, we’ve figured out that you and I have some similarities, and apparently this is just another one of those things. Let’s be better about it!! It’s just so hard. πŸ™‚

  8. I love trip recaps!! And I’m kind of dying over the idea of blue velvet cake — unreal. Sorry that SF welcomed you back with pretty disgusting weather, but I’m sure it’s great to be home (I, too, love getting back into a routine more than anything!)

    1. Hi Kelly! It was great, and we all need a little more face-hurting laughter in our lives. πŸ™‚ Especially on a dreary and rainy day like today.

  9. Dying to go to Coronado now! Looks like such a gorgeous place! Gosh, even though I feel like I’ve traveled most of California, I am constantly reminded how many great places I still need to visit!

    Have fun with you fitness projects- I still need to take one of your classes! I’ll be in SF for a quick meeting this Friday- any chance you are teaching? πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Alex!! Yes!! I am teaching BODYPUMP this Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. at 24 Hour Fitness Marathon Plaza — 2nd and Folsom. Come take my class! πŸ™‚

  10. Looks like you had a lovely weekend, and so cool that you all were able to have Thanksgiving outside on the patio, it’s way to cold here in KC for that.

    My December goals are similar to yours, reign in the Christmas spending and continue to make mobility work a priority. My whole family is going to Jamaica in January, so I’m using that as motivation not to eat too many cookies this season ;).

  11. I just had a flashback to the acai bowl conversation during the Lululemon event we met at. I think I agree with you: I want something more like a yogurt and fruit bowl.

    Next time you go to L.A., let me know if you’ll be anywhere near West Hollywood, Venice, or Malibu because I have a ton of recommendations that can impress even San Franciscans! Excited to hear more about your upcoming changes… and just SEEING 2015 on your list gave me a little chill (in a good way I think).

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