Sanders Family in LA

For the second half of our California vacation, we headed to Long Beach / LA for my cousin Sarah’s wedding.  We were staying at a beach house with my famil: my mom & dad, sister Elise & her husband Mike, and sister Gilli and her boyfriend Kyle.  It would be the first time the whole family plus significant others would be together (my maiden name is Sanders).  We didn’t get a family photo, but I think this video made by my talented sister Elise sums up how much fun we had!

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San Diego Long Weekend 2014

Hey Everyone!  It’s been awhile, I know, but; I was pretty happy to be unplugged while on vacation.  And since then… life happened and we’ve just been busy catching up at work and at home.  So I’m excited to finally capture our 10-day SoCal vacation on the blog!  Not including TriMarni camp and a day off I took for Ironman Texas, this was our first “real” vacation of the year.  We were more than excited to get to see so much of our family. (On the training front, Marni and I decided it would not be too big of a deal to go with unstructured training while I was on vacation and just enjoy my time doing active things with family). 

Our first stop in California was to visit Laura & Bryan (David’s sister and her husband) that recently relocated to the San Diego area.  I am so proud of them for taking this big risk, changing jobs, and moving across the country to such an amazing area.  It is definitely worth it!  I LOVED San Diego and Carmel Valley where we spent much of the time.  Every day we got up and wondered ‘what should we do today? hiking, mountain biking, surfing?’ and the list goes on.  The landscape with lots of canyons, hills, and beaches was breathtaking, the food was fresh, and the people were so nice (of course, why wouldn’t you be if you lived there? Winking smile).

Our itinerary – though not planned – was jam packed with lots of options and things to do.  We didn’t spend much time at all in downtown San Diego, but really enjoyed a lot of the beaches and surrounding areas.

Friday: Our first stop was a visit San Diego’s Safari Park (though the SD Zoo is amazing and very popular, this is an awesome alternative which I preferred to a zoo – the animals had so much space to roam and it was much happier to see them this way).  Followed by a stop at Stone Brewery for a beer and appetizer (I highly recommend their jalapeno-cucumber beer), then a dip in the pool.  Luxurious!

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Saturday:  We headed to La Jolla for some snorkeling.  The snorkeling was okay, but poor visibility and a bit wavy and cold.  The highlight was swimming with the seal lions, though I didn’t want to swim with them too long, as you know what likes to eat sea lions… Plus Bryan and I started feeling motion sickness from the waves.  So after our quick snorkel, we dried off and had a picnic in the sun to warm up.  While walking back to the car we randomly stopped into a Peter Lik art gallery with the most amazing (and SUPER expensive) wall art.  It was fun to see and be inspired by all the spectacular photos.

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And since one activity was not enough, we decided to add a hike to the schedule that day.  We picked Lake Mirmar since it was close by.  There was no elevation, so maybe it was more of a walk.  For some reason, we thought it would be just 1hr, but it took a little longer than expected and our legs were very tired at the end.  Phoebe (their dog) was pretty worn out afterwards too!  Luckily, we had motivation to come home to: margaritas and guacamole (fajita night!).  This guacamole mortar & pestle they had was awesome!  I think we ate at least a whole avocado’s worth of guac each… so delicious.

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Sunday: We took a lot of time to sleep in every day this vacation (or as much as we could).  I got up and did a quick 40-minute run out of the apartment complex onto a beautiful trail system – San Diego’s hike and bike trails are just amazing!!  I loved it.  And it was so cool in the morning, such a treat.  After I got back, we rented mountain bikes to use on the Penasquitos Canyon trail system.  It took me about an hour to feel comfortable on the mountain bike (I am most certainly a road biker at heart!), but I was enjoying myself after I got the feel for it.  Bryan and Laura have gotten really good on their mountain bikes and I was very impressed.  The trails were quite hard and there was a lot of walking my bike involved though.  Near the end of the 2-hr challenging bike, I fish-tailed down a steep hill and almost ate it really badly.  But I saved it, so it was the highlight of my ride.  I don’t like getting hurt, but I am a little bit of an adrenaline junkie hidden in me somewhere.

Monday: Laura & Bryan had to work, so we took the opportunity to use the mountain bikes a little more, then return them and catch some waves at Solana Beach.  Had to wear my Betty Designs gear! We had planned to rent surfboards, but the waves were so small that we just took out the boogie boards (sorry, Dad, for being a “sponger”).  We also purchased some outstanding olive oil from Temecula Valley Olive Oil company while in Solana Beach – the Fresh Basil Olive Oil is the best, I’ve never tasted an infused olive oil this good.

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Tuesday: For our last full day in SD, I had requested a hike – how could we not hike in an area with so many trails?  We decided on Mt. Woodson; David had already done this hike on a previous trip, but it had great views and the famous “Potato Chip” rock, so we thought it would be fun..  I think we got in around 3 hours of hiking, then ate our packed lunches at a nice park near the trailhead. 

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We also couldn’t leave L+B without a pizza night.  They make homemade pizza which is out of this world.  David and I have been into Margarita pizza lately, so we made ours with lots of basil & tomato. 

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Sadly it was time to leave on Wednesday, but I was so happy we got to see what life was like for Laura and Bryan in their new area.  Seeing L+B also always inspires me and reminds me to enjoy the process.  I’m the first to admit I will rush to get things done, but I feel like Laura and Bryan take their time and really enjoy the moment, whether it is pizza making, walking their dog together, or just playing around.  Thanks guys for an awesome visit!  Next up: LA for my cousin Sarah’s wedding.

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