Road Trip Upon Road Trip…Heading North Pt 2


Heading north from LA was harder than expected.  We started our morning off at Abbot Kinney.  Our intent was to hit the road and head out from LA Monday afternoon around 1pm or so.  None of us seemed to be in too terrible of a rush, as at 6pm, we still found ourselves in LA.  Obviously we weren’t getting very far that night.  The second lesson learned on this trip:  don’t hold tightly to expectations.  We were hitting the road with no plan (other than being in San Fran by Thursday night).  We had no reservations.  Only a tent in the trunk and high hopes of camping along the way.  Hopes that we soon realized were sorely unrealistic in California in the summer.  Our plan was to start looking for a place around 7pm and to stop by 8pm.  That never happened.  Our average stop time was around 11pm.  And we never found camping.  So, needless to say, we ended up bringing a tent on the plane and all the way to California, along with three sleeping bags, to never use them.  Hotels and motels and crashing at a friend’s house it was for us girls.  All of which added to the adventure.  The motel was up there in the top five worst places I have spent the night (complete with a sink and toilet that didn’t work).  Camping would have been so much better.  Needless to say, we hit the road bright and early the next morning.  Lesson three learned:  finding a decent hotel on the road is not as easy as it is overseas.


Highway 1



We had one golden rule.  If at any point, someone wanted to pull over and check something out, they just had to say the word.  And each and every stop was totally worth it.  Those were the best.  The ones that were unexpected.  Like the sea lions sunbathing on the beach.  The hidden beach across the railroad tracks.  The organic strawberry farm where you could wash your berries in a sink and eat them right then and there.  The little town of Davenport.  The list goes on and on.




Places to Stop Along the Route:

Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you if I wanted to.  We didn’t make note or pay too much attention to where we were.  I think that was the beauty and the adventure.  It was just happening upon things.  The delight was in the unexpected.  In nature.  In the drive.  In each other’s company.  We didn’t listen to music.  We just talked and drove.  And probably said oh my gosh a trillion times.  The nature was breathtaking.  It kept getting better and better.  It was what made my heart burst with excitement and emotion.  It was almost too much.

But, there were a couple of places of note that are worth a stop if you happen to see them.

First, any and all fruit stands!  With prices as low as 10 grapefruit for $1, how can you not.  Lesson learned.  We should have lived off of fresh produce.  Why we didn’t I don’t know.

Pezzini Produce Stand:

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We made a pit stop here without even realizing what it was…an artichoke farm.  I have tried to grow artichokes for the past couple of years (and quite unsuccessfully) so I was pretty darn excited to see an actual farm.  Plus, we had to try the artichoke cupcake and the food truck selling steamed, fried, or grilled artichokes.  Too tempting not to.

Fambrini’s Farm Fresh Produce:


I wish we had more empty bellies and a larger car.  We could have gone crazy here.  So sweet and so quaint.  And hint…near the beach by the railroad tracks on the way to Davenport.

Big Sur:

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You will know when you hit it.  We were waiting for this the whole drive.  It was like nothing else.  Make sure to save some serious time here.  And if tons of cars are seemingly pulled over at an overlook, chances are it is worth stopping too.

…and then finally we crossed over into San Francisco, where we walked the streets for the next four days.

San Francisco:

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San Francisco Places to Eat:

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Seed + Salt:  After eating whatever we happened to find on the road, this felt perfect.  I don’t know if our mouths or bodies were happier.  So good.  Definite recommendation:  zucchini spaghetti w/ buckeye veggie balls and fresh tomato sauce

Jane:  An excellent recommendation from my uncle.  One of my sisters voted it the best latte she had in San Francisco (I was too tempted by other drinks to try their coffee).  The perfect start to the morning and our time in San Francisco.  Definite recommendation:  the turmeric tonic.

Four Barrel Coffee:  So California lattes took some getting used to.  Super creamy and not too strong.  Not bad.  Just not what we have become accustomed to.  Four Barrel Coffee definitely had the best hands down.  Plus, anyone who roasts their own always gets brownie points from me.

Sight Glass Coffee:  Another great coffee shop.  And they just happen to roast their own beans too.

San Francisco Things to Do: 

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  • Sunset ride across the golden gate bridge
  • Explore the Ferry Building farmers market

As our trip came to a close, all we wanted was for another trip to California.  Little did we know it would only be weeks away…



Road Trip Upon Road Trip…West Coast Style PT 1

It was not planned. But yet it was.  Sometimes life takes a turn, and you just follow the path laid out. I planned on spending this year traveling as much as I could possibly fit in. Turns out it meant hitting the road quite literally. Two back to back road trips in Cali to be exact.

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I have always wanted to do a massive road trip, but just never made it a priority. I have had so many trips and travels that of late, I just jump for the ones that present themselves, rather than pursue the ones of my dreams. But then, sometimes, life and dreams fall into place and become one.

My sisters and I had a week to spend in Cali so what better use of ones time than a slow meandering up the coast from LA to San Fran?  We figured four days to drive would be plenty of time. How we underestimated the time we could have spent.  But we had to be in San Francisco by Thursday night.  First lesson I have learned this summer.  Although deadlines inhibit, they also help.  From a girl that prefers freedom always and avoids commitments, structure even amidst complete freedom and flexibility can be a beautiful thing.

So first up, LA.  A bit gritty at first, but the city quickly woes one with its vibrancy, and at the same time, its laid back and easy going vibe.  We all arrived into LA on a Thursday and staying through Monday.  Scattered arrivals meant I pretty much spent my entire day at the airport, but I was sitting in sunny California, so it couldn’t be that bad.  Even though sunny California was actually quite freezing and had been up since who knows when with only a couple hours of sleep.  How does one always forget (even after living in a place for three years) that California is not life on the beach and bathing suits?

LA Places to Eat:

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Dinette:  This has become a fav spot of ours.  I think I have had their vegan waffle three times now this summer.  (Pictured there on the right with coconut cream and flax seeds.  Oh my gosh so good.)  Definite recommendation:  Fig and Balsamic Vinegar Soda, Omega Waffle (vegan).  But pretty much everything we had was killer good.  Hard to go wrong.  And the perfect place to get a feel of LA life.  Sitting on the sidewalk enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food and people watching.


Ostrich Farm:  Just down the street from Dinnete (Echo Park was our go to place for eating first time around in LA), oh my gosh.  Such the right vibe.  Beautiful aesthetically, so hospitable, relaxed vibe, and delicious food.  As per traveling with my sisters, we tend to order a couple items and then just share.  We went a little overboard here though.  Our picks:

  • lamb meatballs with romesco sauce and yogurt
  • peach and burrata flatbread
  • brussel sprouts with bacon
  • salmon (can’t remember what it was served with shockingly…)

And for dessert…

  • Lemon curd, merengue, and cream with berries
  • profiteroles with lemon rosemary, chocolate grand marnier, and one other flavor that is escaping me
  • Cappuccinos


In-N-Out Burger:  So, as this is a bit of an institution (albeit fast food), we felt it obligatory to partake.  And I will be honest, it hit the spot pretty perfectly.  And as sisters go, we all ordered different burgers and taste tested.  Ironically, I think we all were pleased with our individual choices.


Red Window Coffee: Hands down our favorite spot in LA for a coffee.  No competition here.  Such the cutest spot, plus delightful owners and staff.  Highly recommend the salted caramel monkey bread.  Two times and neither disappointed.

Kreation:  Rustic Persian Cuisine and Modern Healthy Classics…need I say more.  Even though this is a chain, it was the perfect spot.  We felt like we had been living on lattes, cappuccinos, and sweet treats (oh and juice), so we all wanted some seriously healthy food.  My pick, the Ash soup, which consisted of Spinach, Parsley, Cilantro, Leeks, Mint, Quinoa, Barley, Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, and a touch of Yogurt.  Seriously perfect.  Just what I wanted and what my body was calling for.


Other recommendations:  Intelligentsia (like In-N-Out Burger, this is a bit of institution in my mind when it comes to the West Coast and is a go to once kind of place), Grand Central Market (home to a million – not quite – food vendors…you can find anything and everything here)

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Next time:  Mennoti’s for coffee, Café Stella for French food which is always a weakness, street vendors (I can’t believe we have been twice in a month and still have not gotten food off street vendors) specifically a hot dog wrapped in bacon (because it is apparently the rave), and a million other places we passed but didn’t take note of…until next time

LA Things to Do:

IMG_3595Griffith Park:  So there is the observatory, which is beautiful and worth a visit in its own right, but then the vast amount of trails and hills to be explored.  Oh, this is the kind of place that makes my heart sore with joy and excitement.  So contented.



10932451_842997569081942_536817088_nSilly me, I forgot hiking shoes and had to spend four hours in backless sandals.  Thankfully no snakes spotted.  And we avoided two trails that would maybe have been a bit difficult.  But there is always next time.


And, if you care to get a close up look at the infamous Hollywood sign, this is the place to do it.


Abbot Kinney Blvd:  Definitely the place to hit for some shopping.  Our favorites on the street:  Buck Mason, Urbanic Paper Boutique, and Ilan Dei Venice

Neighborhoods still to explore:  Highland Park specifically York Street, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Downtown LA…pretty much all of them.  Even though we stopped at various spots in each area, we didn’t even dent them.

Next Time in LA:  The Getty, Hollywood Forever Cementary for a movie night, LACMA

LA Places to Stay:  Okay…so, even though there are probably a million great boutique hotels in LA, my sisters and I travel on a budget to say the least.  So, airbnb it is for us.  Our awesome find…loved the aesthetic and such the sweetest host.  Just wish we had more time to enjoy the place, but we pretty much just crashed there at night.  Too bad.

And now for the road trip…which will just have to wait for another post…

In love with: the sun

I have never loved the heat of summer or laying out or Florida.  It is not that I don’t like them.  I just don’t love them.  They are good every now and then – but mostly in little doses.  However, I do love feeling my skin soak up the sun.  When I started thinking of the sun as a blessing due to its health benefits (Vitamin D, which is needed in absorbing other vitamins), I started to enjoy being in the sun and the heat.  I am not by any means recommending laying out all day, but a little sun each day can help to keep the doctor away (by building up essential vitamins)!  Just make sure to be responsible.

So, as I was falling in love with the sun for its healthy benefit to my body, I also fell in love with it for making tea!  Who knew!  It might not sound like a big revelation, but I felt like it was.  Not only is it amazing how much the water does warm up over the day and really steep the tea, but it is fun too!  I don’t know why, but it gives me immense pleasure to make sun tea.  Maybe how simple and natural it feels (and a little like a science experiment).  Nothing but a mason jar, water, some tea, and the sun.

Sun tea:

Step 1:  Fill a mason jar with fresh cold water.

Step 2:  Pick a tea.  (Today I decided to try a rosehip & honey tea my aunt brought from South America.)

Step 3:  Add the tea bags to the jar.



Step 4:  Leave in the sun to brew all day, or until your liking.  It really depends on the weather.

Step 5:  Remove tea bags and enjoy!

Simplified version:  fill a jar with water, add tea bags, and leave it outside all day.

Tip: Cucumber Water

I hate to waste a delicious cucumber, especially with only a couple left on the vine in my garden, but it is for a good cause!  A newly learned bit of information – put cucumber in water and my mother will drink it all day long.  She loves coffee (and juice) and it is a bit hard to encourage her to drink water.  Water is so important, especially during these summer days (even though Tennessee’s temperature has been surprisingly fabulous).  Since I have started eating primarily raw at home, I tend to find that I don’t drink as much water either.  Our solution – keeping a pitcher of cucumber water in the fridge at all times.  So simple.  Just slice a cucumber and put in a pitcher then fill with water.  Leave it in the fridge and refill when it runs low.  The cucumber will last for a couple of days depending on how many times you need to refill.  So drink and enjoy!  And don’t forget it is in there.




My Raw Food Pantry

So I have come to find that I tend to use the same ingredients over and over, just in different ways, depending on what is in my CSA or at the Farmers Market.  Here is a list of my MUST haves for my raw food pantry/fridge.  I really use these almost every day.


  • Cardamom
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Ginger, root and ground
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla, both extract and beans
  • Sea salt

Oils & Vinegars:

  • Olive oil, extra virgin cold pressed
  • Untoasted Sesame oil
  • Red wine vinegar, raw, unpasteurized
  • Apple Cider vinegar, raw, unpasteurized
  • Nama Shoyu


  • Honey, raw, local
  • Medjool dates
  • Maple syrup
  • Raisins


  • Kale chips
  • Greek olives
  • Two Mom’s granola bars

Fruit & Vegetables (in addition to what is local and in season):

  • Bananas
  • Gala Apples
  • Avocados
  • Lemons


  • Almonds (mostly to make almond milk)
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Coconut, unsweetened, shredded


  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds

Other Foods (these are not a daily necessity but I use them maybe once a week):

  • Cacao butter
  • Cacao nibs
  • Cacao powder
  • Sprouted lentils
  • Steel cut oats


  • Blender
  • Whisk
  • Knife
  • Colander
  • Cheesecloth
  • Hand juicer
  • Mason jar (for making sun tea and storing my almond milk)
  • Vegetable peeler

From this list, I pretty much can make all the raw food recipes I love.  There are a couple of other things in my pantry, but they don’t get used as often.  I just purchased some Ume vinegar and Coconut oil, neither which I have used yet.  I also have some buckwheat groats, goji berries, hemp seeds, millet, and oat groats that I have not gotten around to using yet.  Some of the other things I like to keep on hand but don’t use as frequently are:  cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and a coconut (both for the water and the meat).  For supplies, I occasionally use a Benriner Cook Helper Slicer for spiraling vegetables.  I still have not bought a dehydrator and do not feel like it has been an issue.

As with all my food, I try to source my fresh produce locally if possible and to make sure it is raised naturally and organically.  However, if it cannot be sourced locally, I try to make sure that it is organic and grown in the United States.

My goal for this week:  to start sprouting seeds.