11 April 2014


Sunset Trail at Joaquin Miller
Starting a new job and moving across the country while in the midst of wedding planning may not be the most intelligent decision - but some decisions cannot be postponed. I've been in California for just over two months now, and finally, finally have been able to dust off the fat tires and go exploring on dirt.

Oh - and did I mention - I don't even have to drive to find adventure?


Barely 3 miles from my house - there is a nice mix of singletrack and some dirt/fire roads that climb up and then throw you down a white-knuckle descent to a redwood-lined canyon. You turn a corner and re granted views of Mt. Diablo the the other coastal hills. You feel out in the wilds, when in reality you're less than 15 miles from downtown San Francisco. This is my new after-work guilty pleasure. This is my playground.

I was almost speechless when I was able to dip off of Skyline and into a network of well-maintained trails - starting in a cool pine grove and then opening into a hillside meadow. I had ridden through Redwood Regional Park to discover Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland where there's a number of great trails for exploring the "Big Trees" and "Sunsets" of East Bay. So excited. Mountain biking is what puts an "8 year old on Christmas morning" grin on my face and makes all the worries of the world disappear. And now I have a network of trails a 10 minute ride from home? Unreal. California -- the Bay Area -- East Bay -- it's kind of an awesome place.
MTB Singletrack Selfie!

Here's to more adventures and soon!

26 March 2014

Making my Garden Grow!

While it may still be snowy back in Virginia - it is more than full swing into spring in the Bay Area. I took advantage of the sunshine this weekend (and the Canadian's need for a new power drill....) to pick up some plants and start work on my garden!

I was pretty excited to find a section of "drought resistant plants" - given the climate of Northern California and the nasty drought, while I love having a little garden, I didn't want to do anything that would take up a ton of water resources. So I loaded up on African Poinsettia, ice plant and some other species that don't need a lot of water.

And what is more "NorCal" than having actual wine barrels as your planters?! Then thanks to a friend in San Francisco - I  am the quite excited owner of some awesome new planters that have a slight red-wine oak-y goodness smell, and will hold all my  new plants. Time to turn this backyard patio into a little green oasis!


More to come on this front and my slightly sub-urban jungle :-) It's the little things, like having plants that start to turn a house into a home :-)

11 March 2014

The New "Normal"

Tuesday night. Daylight savings in effect, what do we do? We ride bicycles! This is normal. This is something I'm used to and love. This is who I am. Typically it's the Arlington Loop or a spin through the hills of Arlington along Military Road, but Arlington is 3,000 miles away. What's a girl to do?

Tuesday night bicycle ride now goes across an "International Orange" bridge, up toward Land's End at Marin Headlands, back across the bridge and around a curve to catch the sunset at Ocean Beach before venturing into the Castro only to discover it's $2 Taco Tuesday.

This is now "normal" this is my Tuesday ride. Every day here is an adventure and I still can't quite wrap my head around the seemingly endless possibilities - but I hope that never does end and normal is now adventuring :-)

02 March 2014

Welcome Home!

Drum-roll please ..... we finally have a place to call HOME in the Bay Area!! After what seemed like a never-ending search, we found what I might consider a practically perfect apartment in the Oakland Hills. And what I mean by perfect -- well I'll let the view from the living room do the talking:

Great tree - right!? Hahaha. But look beyond our fabulous fir tree and you can also catch some 'normal' sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and San Francisco! Feels wonderful to finally have a place of our own, and a place to really start making this move to California feel like a reality.

Plus - there's a guest bedroom - so come on out and visit!

22 February 2014

Ice Cream Cookie Monster

Apartment hunting continues ... but we were distracted today by C.R.E.A.M. in Berkeley. That's right Cookies Rule Everything Around Me is my new obsession. For a mere $2 (cash price...) you can create your own ice-cream-cookie sandwich. Mind. Blown. I have a minor obsession with ice cream sandwiches - and yes, partly "blame" my Dad as I have many a fond memory of him buying them for Matt and I in Disney World when we were little. Nine-times out of ten I ended up with more ice cream and cookie on my face or the front of my shirt than in my stomach, but umpteen years later, ice cream sandwiches are still a source of great excitement.
I've got ice cream and cookies!!

And now enter CREAM, where you can choose your ice cream poison. Today's treat was the turtle cookie (chocolate cookie with peanuts and caramel) stuffed with salted caramel ice cream. Highly recommend it :-)