Pismo Beach

Summer Tour: TX & CA

I am so excited to tell you all about my trip! Last week I traveled to Dallas, TX and then to San Francisco, CA to visit two different friends and had such a great time with both of them.

First, I left for Dallas very early on Tuesday morning and was picked up by my lovely friend, Julie, who I first met in a small group through our church in Chicago. Julie and her husband are both originally from Dallas and moved back home a couple years ago. She has two ADORABLE little boys and it was so fun to just hang out with her and her family and get to know the two little guys.

After getting in, we went to lunch at HG Supply Co (I got the poke bowl and it was delicious!) and then walked around the little shopping area. There were so many cute shops! That evening, we went to dinner at Meso Maya where I tried their signature Avocado Margarita (not sold…) and had some delicious tacos. Then it was off to see Aladdin the Musical at the Music Hall at Fair Park. I don’t get to go to many musicals so I don’t have much to compare it to, but this was SO GOOD! The dancing and the costumes and the music were amazing. My favorite part was the song “A Whole New World.” While not actually my favorite song, how they did the set was so beautiful and magical. I also loved “Friend Like Me.” The dancing and costumes were spectacular and the song went on for at least six minutes! Haha quite a show.

On Wednesday, we went to the Dallas Arboretum in the morning. It’s close to their house and they have a season pass, which I’m so jealous of because it was such a beautiful place to visit and walk around in the morning and she mentioned they have concerts and events there fairly often as well. Then I got a taste of mom life with a trip to one of her son’s one-year doctors appointment. The poor kid was NOT happy about being there and getting his shots! But he’s so cute, even crying. Honestly, I just loved hanging out with Julie and doing her “normal” life with her. That evening we had dinner at her house and just hung out talking.

On Thursday morning, I was up and out the door for my 7-mile long run! I was very hesitant to do my run in Dallas since it is so hot and humid there but I made it! I took several water breaks and ran slowly and was able to make it all seven miles. I did most of my run around the SMU campus, which was so pretty and all the people were very distracting (key to a long run alone…).

We went out to lunch after that (and a shower…) and then we went to the pool with the boys. Then it was off to the airport and on to my next adventure! Honestly, when I was packing up I couldn’t believe almost three days had gone by. I miss you, Julie!!

My flight landed in San Francisco and I took the BART through the city and to Oakland where my friend picked me up and we went to her apartment in Berkeley for some GF pizza (she’s also gluten free!) and catching up. I hadn’t seen Caroline since Christmas and we had a lot to talk about but good thing we had a couple days of road tripping in front of us to do so.

We were up Friday morning and ready for adventure! We drove to Santa Cruz and from there took Highway 1 down the coast. I had always wanted to drive along Highway 1 so it was very neat to be able to do so and see so much of the coastline.

We also stopped a couple times (once in Carmel - so cute, I would love to stay there!) and made fun of ourselves with some Instagram photo shoots… we’re such good models.


One of our destinations during Friday’s trip was the restaurant Nepenthe, which is on the top of a hill right out on the edge of a cliff. The views were absolutely beautiful and it was so nice to sit outside overlooking the coast. Even at 2 pm it was crowded but we were seated fairly quickly at some bar seats overlooking the view. As you’ll see below, we had to put up a barrier of menus since a bird jumped onto our table and snagged a french fry. Zero fear! Our hilarious waiter suggested we put up another since they tend to like the walnuts that were on our salad! We thought it was absolutely hilarious and had a great time. I highly recommend going here if you’re in the area.

We continued our way down the coast after lunch stopping only for the elephant seal beach. We saw a crowd of people and figured that must be a great place to stop! It was a very cool sight to see. Once we made it to our final destination, Pismo Beach, we checked into the Cottage Inn By The Sea and then went to explore the town. Of course, we had frozen yogurt for dinner…

On Saturday morning, it was time for the one activity I was most looking forward to: surfing!!! I went surfing last year in March when I was in La Jolla and absolutely LOVED IT. I knew I could not go to California without surfing again and thankfully convinced Caroline to join me. We signed up for a group lesson through Sandbar Surf School but apparently we were the only ones crazy enough to want the 7:30 am class. Caroline actually did very well (she’s a natural!) and I didn’t get as many rides as I’d hoped but it was quite a workout. I was actually very proud of myself because twice I made it out past the surf which was VERY hard on that big board. Once you get out there, it’s so calm and peaceful. 100% worth the effort and I even caught a wave from out there!

After our lesson, we rushed back to the hotel and got ready to head out to our next destination, Hearst Castle! We almost missed our tour time but after some great driving by Miss Caroline and running across the parking lot, we were on the bus just in time.

Hearst Castle is a massive home built up on a hill overlooking the ocean. It was built in the 1920s and a location for many of the family’s friends, as well as celebrities and politicians, to visit and enjoy the pools, tennis courts, movie theater, zoo (yes, he had a zoo!) and beautiful art. Honestly, I was BLOWN AWAY by the art we saw in the Upstairs Suites tour. I mean, these pieces should be in a museum and I can’t even imagine how much they’re worth. When the tour was over, we did a little exploring and wandered the grounds.

After Hearst Castle, we headed towards Paso Robles and stopped at a couple wineries on our way for tastings. The second one was highly entertaining as it was family run and one of the family members was outgoing yet awkward. And there was a serious Instagram photo shoot happening with another group of friends who were sitting outside.

Once we made it back to San Francisco we had a late dinner and watched a movie. For my last day we went to a rose garden, got some gluten free breakfast at Mariposa (LOVED being able to go to a bakery and pick anything I wanted!), walked around some shops and then got a tour of a nicer neighborhood in Oakland by my lovely tour guide, Caroline. Then it was back on the BART and back to Denver!

My first summer trip was definitely a success and it was so nice to see my friends as well as have a nice mix of relaxing and adventures.

Are you going on any trips this summer?

Have you ever been to Dallas or Northern/Central California?