On the outskirts of town: Two Vegas Adventures

Visiting a city you’ve been to 20+ times? Try exploring the outskirts of town. I did just this on a recent road trip to Vegas and had the absolute best time!

SEVEN MAGIC MOUNTAINS

Desert … desert … desert … HOLY SMOKES COLOR EXPLOSION! That’s how it feels when you’re approaching Seven Magic Mountains, a large-scale colorful boulder artwork by Ugo Rondinone. Located about 10 miles from Las Vegas off Interstate 15, visiting this artwork is an easy and fun addition to any road trip that instantly makes you smile with the rainbow of neon colors.

Promise to always live boldly! // Seven Magic Mountains // Last Vegas, Nevada, June 2017
A rainbow of neon joy in the desert // Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 2017

Plan your trip: http://sevenmagicmountains.com/

Find more large scale artworks sponsored by the Art Production Fund: http://www.artproductionfund.org/projects/curtis-kulig-at-the-street

MOUNT CHARLESTON

Twenty miles from the highway and the climate slowly changes from Joshua trees and Mojave yucca plants to pine trees and snow capped mountains. That’s pretty incredible for June in Las Vegas! We parked at the Mount Charleston Lodge and had a delightful lunch outside on the patio. This was our home base for the day, as afterwards we went to a nearby trailhead and hiked Little Falls (and then came back again for patio drinks!).

Perfect spot for our post hike patio drinks // Mount Charleston, Nevada, June 2017

Little Falls trail splits off of Cathedral Rock, and has a slow incline up to a creek bed and ends in a three tier waterfall. Total mileage is just under 2 miles and is pretty perfect way to spend an hour without wearing any kind of significant hiking gear. The U.S. Forest Service has a large visitor center on the way to the Lodge and can direct you to this hike and many many others on Mount Charleston.

Snow in June… Nevada? You’ve gotta be kidding me! // Mount Charleston, Nevada June 2017

Don’t listen to TLC, always chase those waterfalls // Mount Charleston, Nevada June 2017

Plan your trip: http://mtcharlestonlodge.com/

Pick your hikes: https://www.alltrails.com/lists/mount-charleston

 

What are your favorite adventures outside of Las Vegas? Tell me in the comments section below.

 

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Exploring Secret Supper Clubs in San Diego

This weekend was all about local eats and treats, ending with a bang on Sunday night.  Friday, we snacked on Phil’s BBQ at the Padres Game. Saturday, we ate our way through the Junior League of San Diego’s Food & Wine Festival in La Jolla. Wrapping up our feast of a weekend, on Sunday we joined Cellar Door’s supper club for their Cinco De Mayo dinner series.

Table set for ten at Cellar Door’s exclusive supper club // Picture from Cellar Door’s FB page before all the guests arrived

Cellar Door is a supper club in Normal Heights, San Diego that hosts exclusive dinner parties about once a month.  The duo behind the club, Logan and Gary, create a unique theme for each event that inspires the menu and drink pairings. Themes, times and location are announced via their email lists, and you must sign up in advance. Typically the meal is 4-6 courses and is posted via Facebook a few hours before meal service. Competitive to say the least, this dinner club sells out lightening fast, and I was beyond pumped to snag spots for me and my husband.

This experience did not disappoint! Located in a funky hip dining room, with treats for the eyes everywhere you look (polar bear head, funny book titles, picture frames and more), we were two of ten guests at the last of four dinners occurring over the weekend. From this Cinco de Mayo themed dinner, our favorite courses were the pozole verde, a tangy spicy soup with chicken and hominy and the juiciest prawn taco I’ve ever had for the third course. We also loved their refreshing paloma and the dessert cocktail, Oporto Real, a blend of Mezcal, Tawny Port and Amaro Montenegro topped with a Luxardo Cherry.

Spicy fruit salad paired with tequila and sangrita, such a light and fun way to start the meal // Picture from Cellar Door’s FB page
Juicy prawn tacos featured on Cellar Door’s Cinco de Mayo supper club menu // May, 2017
Cellar Door’s Dessert Cocktail, a mix of Mezcal, Amaro Montenegro and Tawny Port // this pic is from Cellar Door’s FB Page, as mine was sipped away too soon!

We’ll definitely be back and are looking forward to more dinners this summer! Join Cellar Door’s email list here to be in the know — just promise not to take our spots! 🙂

Here are some insider tips for the best experience:

CELLAR DOOR SUPPER CLUB: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • Cellar Door is hip, tasty and in demand; so spots at the table go fast! Be sure to respond ASAP after receiving their newsletter in order to secure your spot.
  • Bring your appetite and take a ride sharing service if you plan on drinking — our menu was 5 courses, each with a drink pairing.
  • This is a donation based dinner club, and $$ cash is king $$.
  • Chat with your fellow dinner guests! Meeting new people and chatting about food, travel and unique experiences is part of the fun.
  • Come with an open mind. Cellar Door often uses unique ingredients. Goat meat was featured this weekend and a friend mentioned she tried an exotic meat pâté in the past.
  • At this time, gluten free and vegetarian options don’t exist. But, if you have allergies notify them ASAP!
  • Couldn’t make the dinner? Check their Facebook page to drool over all the deliciousness from afar.

WANT MORE BUT DON’T LIVE IN SAN DIEGO?

Supper clubs range in menu focus, format and price. Google and Yelp will be your best resource in finding a supper club near you, otherwise you can try joining a Foodie group on Facebook or Meetup and ask around, because everyone knows foodies loooooove giving recommendations. 😉

Hope your weekend was just as delectable! Be sure to comment below if you love Cellar Door or have any other dinner club recommendations, as this is only our second in San Diego (we’ve been to Cow by Bear a few times for steak and shenanigans).

*Note: I was too busy enjoying myself to be on my phone taking pictures during the meal! Given that, some of the pictures in this post are from Cellar Door’s Facebook Page and have been marked accordingly in the captions.

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Whale of a good time

This week I caught the tail end (pun intended!) of gray whale season in San Diego by hopping on one of Flagship San Diego’s whale watching tours.

Ready to board and see some whales! // Flagship Whale Watching Tour, March 2017
Taking off from Broadway Pier // San Diego, California, March 2017

Flagship has a fleet of ships for whale watching and offers weekday and weekend tours. A naturalist and handful of volunteers from the Birch Aquarium are on board to answer any questions and provide lots of fun facts on the San Diego Bay itself, wildlife that exists there and even had samples of baleen from the whales to pass around.

On our tour, we pulled out of the dock, we toured the San Diego Bay and then headed out to open waters for prime dolphin and whale watching. It was a pretty neat view of the city, with views of the downtown skyline, Coronado and Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma.

Soaking in the view of America’s Finest City // San Diego, California, March 2017

Once we left the Bay, there were tons of playful dolphins escorting us to deeper waters to find the whales.  This is called bow riding and essentially the dolphins are catching a ride as the waves from the boat push them forward.

Take us to the whales! Loved having our dolphin escort while whale watching // March 2017
Naturalists from Birch Aquarium help you spot the whales, dolphins, seals and other wildlife on the tour // San Diego, March 2017

Next we went searching for gray whales! Gray whales migrate annually from the Baja Peninsula to Arctic waters. There are 3 lagoons they hang out in Baja to breed and mate, and scientists estimate that there are 22-23,000 individuals comprising the eastern Pacific gray whale population.

Although gray whales are 45 ft in length fully grown, they can be hard to spot! We were very lucky to see two gray whales, lots of blow hole spotting, a few fins and one playful whale sticking it’s head out of the water. Our naturalist explained that usually this occurs when whales want to get a better view of their surroundings. I see you, gray whale! 😉

Blues on blues // Flagship Whale Watching Tour, San Diego, March 2017

Here are some insider tips for the best experience:

WHALE WATCHING TOURS IN SAN DIEGO: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • Each whale watching trip is different. Try to schedule yours during peak season for the most opportunities to view the whales.
  • Keep your eyes on the horizon — you can see blowholes from 1 mile or more away!
  • Grab a seat on the sides of the boat or in the front for the best views.
  • Whales are hard to photograph from afar. So don’t get down, just focus on the experience!
  • There is a snack bar on board or you can bring on coffee, drinks and lunch (at the dock, the Green Rose Cart has coffee, smoothies and breakfast breads).
  • It’s breezy and can be quite sunny so wear layers, sunscreen, a hat.
  • To help with seasickness, keep ginger chews and menthol throat lozenges on hand and take Dramamine® 1 hr before leaving the dock (disclaimer: always check with a doctor first).
  • Don’t stress, there’s easy parking next to the dock at the USS Midway, $10 for 12 hours.
  • Flagship takes your picture at the beginning and you can purchase the glossy photos later for $10 – $20.

Have you been whale watching in San Diego before? I’d love to hear about your experience and any suggestions you have below!

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Hoppy Yoga at Green Flash Brewery

My mat is my happy place. Or in this case… my hoppy place? This morning my girlfriends and I joined a class of Hoppy Yoga at Green Flash Brewing and had so much fun practicing and tasting the day away.

Ready for Sunday Funday! // February 2017
Hoppy Yoga at Green Flash  // February 2017

Hoppy Yoga curates weekend yoga classes at local brewery favorites like Green Flash, OB Brewery, Stone and more.  Typically the classes start between 10-11am (before the breweries open) and end in a beer tasting or celebratory pint, all included in the price of the class. You can view the schedule online to check out all the locations and instructors and pre-book your spot.

Today’s class was all levels, and there was a great mix of age, sex and ability amongst the attendees.  The instructor, Erika, provided easy to understand cues and chatted with us all after class, making it a warm environment. As for the beer and Green Flash Brewing, everything was top notch! My favorites were Green Flash’s Cosmic Ristretto Black Lager and the Passion Fruit Kicker.

Savasana before Drink-asana // Hoppy Yoga at Green Flash, February 2017
Post yoga beer flight at Green Flash // February 2017

We had such a great time at Hoppy Yoga, and I know my husband and a couple of our friends will join me there again soon. Here are a few know before you go tips:

HOPPY YOGA: KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • Hoppy Yoga classes are BYOM (bring your own MAT), so don’t forget yours.
  • The floors at breweries are often concrete, so be kind to your body and fold your mat in half for any postures that you need extra cushioning. This could be anytime you’re on your knees or are playing around with inversions and arm balances.
  • As with all yoga classes, put your phone and watches on mute or airplane mode.
  • Breweries can be chilly places — be sure to bring a long sleeve in case you want to layer up.
  • Classes are all levels, so bring friends and family members who might not take class regularly (beer is a good way to get them there!).
  • Try new beers you can only get at the brewery (drink responsibly, of course) and tip your bartenders!

Have you ever done Hoppy Yoga in San Diego or something similar in other cities? Share your experience and leave all your suggestions below!

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Same palms, different day

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel. Right after the new year I snap booked a trip to Bali for a yoga retreat with Escape Haven Retreats.  Based in Australia and Bali, Escape Haven specializes in surf, yoga and luxury spa experiences. The trip was incredible and blew away all my expectations. My full Bali trip report will be posted soon and believe me, you’ll want to soak up every detail of the fun.

Canggu, Bali, Indonesia // January 2017

Following Bali, I quickly napped, showered and hit the road with my girlfriends for a friend’s birthday weekend in Palm Springs. We packed a ton into a few days and filled the weekend with catching up by the pool, shopping, hikes and tasty bites about town.

Palm Springs, California, USA// January 2017

Now, I’m catching up on life back in San Diego (there are even more palm trees there too — are you sensing a theme or what?) and am planning out all my spring trips. Stay tuned, because I can’t wait to share everything with you!

Hope you’ve been taking risks, planning trips and laughing a ton in the new year.

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Hello 2017!

2016 ended with a bang, celebrating at my good friends’ wedding in Pittsburgh. It was so fun being surrounded by friends and ringing in the new year together, with the theme of love.

Looking back, in 2016 I moved into a new house, added a new puppy to the mix, finished the #52HikeChallenge2016, went on my first yoga retreat, visited 4 new countries and had countless fun adventures with friends and family. I also started AdventureAppeal with the aim of documenting and sharing adventures big and small — trips, hikes, yoga challenges, new neighborhoods explored — along the way to live life to the fullest.

I’m so excited about where 2017 is headed. Here are some of my goals for the year ahead:

  • Visit two new countries (I’ve had this goal now for years and I love completing it!)
  • Go on my 2nd yoga retreat and work towards a hand stand
  • Complete the 52 Hike Challenge for 2017 : Adventure Series
  • Develop AdventureAppeal and let it grow as my passion project
  • Be a good wife & dog mom… and in general just a good human being!

I can’t wait to work towards these goals and have y’all along for the ride! What are your goals for 2017? Any new places to explore or adventures you’re dying to take?

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Off the Mountain: 7 Non-Ski Activities in Breckenridge

 

I love skiing and snowshoeing but there’s something so great about spending a day in town during a ski vacation. Whether it’s bad weather or sore muscles that keep you in town, here are my top 7 non-ski activities in Breckenridge, Colorado:

Stretch and get zen at 9600ft

What a view during class, right? Pinch me. 

After our road trip to Breckenridge from San Diego, my muscles were craving yoga. I tried in incorporate it every other day and went solo, brought girlfriends and even my husband joined.  Meta Yoga had a great selection of classes and teachers and I was lucky to bounce between advanced and more meditative classes.  118 S Ridge St #5, Breckenridge, CO 80424

Caffeinate with a handcrafted latte

Insider Tip: order the dirty chai, my favorite!

Each morning before hopping on the gondola or en route to our next adventure, we stopped by Kavabreck for delicious lattes and breakfast wraps.  The syrups are all made in house and if you want to splurge, their bag of donuts is to die for.

The staff are also complete sweethearts, making it such an inviting stop.  Kavabreck, 209 N. Main St. Breckenridge, CO 80424 

 Go shopping!

Breckenridge’s Main Street by Night

Main Street has a slew of boutiques and souvenir shops.

Narrow down the best of the best by checking out my top 5 list here for our favorite gear store, cute clothing boutiques, a great photography studio and more.

Order off the secret menu… Shhhh!

Thanks to some inside information from the staff at Carvers, we became addicted to the $ Dollar Burger $ at The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern.  This off the menu burger was my husband’s favorite and honestly, who doesn’t love feeling like an insider? They also have great plates to share and bowls for gluten free options if anyone in your party isn’t craving the beef.  The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern, 208 N Main St, Breckenridge, CO 80424

Take a Hike (or Walk)  

With the dog in tow, my girlfriends and I loved catching up while trotting down the Blue River Bikeway. Another friend braved the snowy steps of the Carter Park path to catch some beautiful view of the mountain. Both options are accessible from downtown, so no worries about using the car! More info and trail leads can be found on Best of Breck’s These Winter Boots were made for Hiking.

Beat your Friends at Jenga (and  Mancala and Apples to Apples)

We loved the craft cocktails and plentiful games at Après Handcrafted Libations. They have a lengthly list of cocktails, hot toddies and 30+ beers on tap.  Our favorites were the walnut old fashion and the teddy grahams toddy.  Après’ long high top tables let us take over small sections and have marathon games of Apples to Apples and Jenga.  Lastly, they also have fun events, so check their website to see if one of them overlaps with your trip to Breck.  Après Handcrafted Libations, 130 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO, 80424

Indulge in a Spa Day

Long ski days and cramping from high altitude make a spa day a must do in Breckenridge.  There are several options to choose from located downtown, and the Spa at Breckenridge also has a lovely facility with day pass access to their pool and outdoor hot tub.  I loved my deep tissue massage and can’t wait to try more treatments next visit.

Hope these top 7 non-ski activities fill your time with relaxation and everyday adventures.  Comment below with your favorite non-ski activities at Breck.

 

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Ugly Sweater Boating & Santa Loves Travel Accessories

Happy Holidays! I wanted to share a little fun happening around here…

Ugly Sweater Boat Captain reporting for duty

My family and I kicked off our annual Christmas festivities by adding in an ugly sweater boating trip around the San Diego Bay and Coronado Bridge. We piled on our santa hats, festive attire and antler ears to take in the sights. It was a great way for out of towners to experience the city plus a fun way to add everyday adventures into a family visit.

Taking in the San Diego skyline from the harbor

Santa also loves travel and active-life accessories, and I was lucky enough to receive presents to increase my adventure presence. 😉

Travel essentials from Santa

I’m especially pumped about my new Canon Digital SLR and can’t wait to bring it on all my adventures in 2017.

What gifts did you most love to give or receive? Hope you and yours celebrated with love, laughter and champagne.

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Make Adventure a Lifestyle

Welcome to Adventure Appeal!

I have a crazy passion for adventure — whether that’s traveling the globe, hiking new trails or experiencing small adventures in everyday life — and I want to share it with you.

The travel bug hit me early as an exchange student in high school and I have been to six continents, am on my way to completing the 52 Hike Challenge for 2016 and absolutely love trying new things. Adventures are the spice of life and by adding them in big and small ways they keep me active and with a fresh perspective.

Follow all my adventures and join the community of living life to the fullest by making everyday an adventure!  @adventureappeal #adventureappeal.

Happy adventuring! ❤️

 

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