My California Dream Part I

Well, well, well my dream road trip finally became a reality. For real though, this has been on my goals list for the past 8 years and every year I was able to make an excuse not to do it ... "I don't have the time", "I need to save money", etc. After my father passing last August I started to truly understand the saying life is too short - it is, and had I kept making those excuses perhaps this trip would never have happened (this year at least).

To be truthful, there's something about California that reminds me of my dad. My dad was an only-child but has cousins that have lived in San Francisco all their lives, so as a kid, we would venture to the West Coast to visit them (and did a 3-week road trip as a family one year). Aside from his family, I can't tell you how many episodes of Diner's, Drive-Inn's and Dives we watched together of places in California and we told each other that we'd plan a road trip one day to eat at all these places. Unfortunately, that specific road trip can't happen anymore so I took upon myself to plan my own epic road trip with my big sister Tiff.

Though our path is a little healthier than the road trip my dad and I would've done, I know he's here with us and I know there's a reason I finally made it happen this year. This trip is so much more than healthy food spots, sweaty workouts, and exploring - I'm finally giving myself time to process, grieve and feel what's gone on in the past year of my life, something I didn't give myself the time for in the past months.

So, as I lay here in bed in Oceanside, California I will recap Week 1's adventures and healthy finds while it's still fresh in my mind ...

San Francisco

Explore: Chestnut St. (shopping and great restaurants), Golden Gate Bridge (you gotta drive it once), Lombard St. (the most crooked street), the Marina, the Painted Ladies (Full House houses)

Sweating: Crunch Fitness, outdoor gym along the bike path in the Marina

Food: Project Juice, Blue Barn, Sotto Mare, Cha Cha Cha's

Coastal Drive

Santa Cruz: Cafe Gratitude

Monterrey: the VIEWS

Pismo Beach:beautiful little beach scene

Pasadena

Explore: W Colorado Blvd.

Sweating: Rose Bowl Stadium run (you can run a 5km loop around the stadium/ golf course)

Food: Eat. Drink. Vegan Food Festival, True Food Kitchen, Paradis Ice Cream (unreal non-dairy flavours)

West Hollywood

Explore: Melrose Place, Farmer's Market

Sweating: Runyon Canyon (we hiked up one of the less busy peaks - it's steep, but such a good challenge for a hike)

Food: Crossroads, Alfred (Coffee)

Costa Mesa

Explore: Newport Beach, 17th Street, Fashion Island

Sweating: The 12 Movement, 24 Fitness, biking the beach path

Food: Cafe Gratitude, Jan's Health Bar, Coffee Dose, Pressed Juiciery, Kit Coffee, Porrovita, Outpost Kitchen

Oceanside

Explore: Pier, Coastal Hwy (runs right through it), Carlsbad

Sweating: Running the beach path, stairs at the Pier Amphitheatre

Food: Revolution Roaster's Coffee, Pokewan (Carlsbad)

BONUS

Favourite snacks only available in the USA (Whole Foods or other health food markets)

  • RX Bars (dark chocolate sea salt & mint chocolate are my go-tos)

  • Perfect Bar (these are super good & filling)

  • Eating Evolved Chocolate (the coconut butter cups are BOMB)

  • Hu Kitchen Chocolate (the best "healthy" chocolate I've ever had)

  • Healthade Kombucha (pomegranate, pink lady apple & blood orange-carrot-ginger are my favourite flavours)

  • Spindrift Sparkling Water (perfect for a hot day or to mix with some dry white wine to make a seltzer)

  • Simple Mills Crackers (sea salt & the rosemary flavours are awesome)

  • Siete Chips (lime is my favourite flavour)

  • KiteHill Yogurt (go for the plain and add your own flavour)

Well, there ya have it. Week 1's adventures, healthy food spots and must-see views. Now it's time to get off the computer and go enjoy the beach!

Sending lots of love from the West Coast :)

-Alena