Feeling Restless

wanderlust

Last week I was a puddle of emotions. Crocodile tears spilling out with very little coaxing. I read a story online about a dog at a shelter and was ugly crying because I couldn’t handle thinking about how sad he must be. Yes, seriously. I chocked it up to a death in the family while feeling sick, having to adult instead of being able to wallow in my emotions and possibly some out of whack hormones.

This morning I was grateful to not feel like I could burst in to tears at any moment, but now I’m feeling super restless. It was a snowball effect that started with a trip to World Market. I remembered that they sell the Pocket Coffee that was all the rage with us Americans when we were in Italy last year (I’m pretty sure our obsession with Pocket Coffee also started with a stop at an Autogrill). Then as you stroll around the store you see pieces from lots of different cultures, which led me to then start reminiscing about our trip to France a few years ago. My next stop was The Fresh Market, where while perusing the aisles, I found a Mozart Chocolate bar (the same brand that our German exchange student gave us when she arrived!).

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When I got home I slipped on my new Tieks (recent purchase that reminded me of Italy because they’re made of Italian leather) and ate a Pocket Coffee while flipping through the photo book I put together from our France trip.

Then I was mad at myself because I haven’t made an album from our trip to Italy. Putting on the to-do list now! With a deadline or it will never get done!

I have a love/hate relationship with traveling. I love going to new places, trying new things and having new experiences, but I wouldn’t say I really love the act of traveling or being away from familiarity. I usually get the brunt of the planning duties, I have horrible anxiety leading up to the trip, and if we’re flying I have to keep myself doped up on Dramamine the entire flight and STILL hope to have a relatively tame journey or I’ll get sick anyways despite the meds. Even with all of that though, I think it’s time to start planning the next journey. I’m longing for somewhere new and fresh. I’m yearning to explore new places, ignore reality for a few days and get lost in making memories.

New York, Chicago, Seattle, Yellowstone Nat’l Park, Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon (I’ve been, but the rest of the fam has not) are all on my short list. Of course I’d love to travel abroad again, but that’s a much bigger trek and I need something that scratches my itch sooner rather than later. What’s on your short list? If you could take a trip somewhere in the next year, where would you go?

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The countdown is on! In 27 days, the teen and I will be driving to Orlando to start our journey to ITALY!!!!  I’m so freaking excited! But also, in true Katie fashion, I’m getting really anxious too. I’ve already had a few traveling dreams where things go horribly wrong and I know I’m crazy, but I’ve already started my packing list and gathering my list of what I need to take other than clothes. Obviously, I need a chill pill sumthin’ serious! That or yoga. I should really make yoga a priority in these next few weeks. I always feel so zen when I go regularly.

Since I haven’t been to Italy yet, here’s a throwback pic to that time when the teen and I went to France (2013).

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I’m always looking for better/easier/less stressful ways to travel…What’s your best travel tip?

 

Save Me, San Francisco (part 2)

What’s that, you say?  You want more Golden Gate pictures?  Sure thing!

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Okay, that miiiight be all of them.  Who am I kidding…I still have more, but I think that might be all of the ones I’m going to post.  Those last two photos are from the sand staircase at Baker Beach.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s was a killer!  Especially after our long hike at Muir Woods the previous day!

Speaking of Muir Woods…it was only our 2nd day in San Fran, but it was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a little while.  The trees were ginormous and it was so quiet and peaceful (up on the hiking trail, not on the touristy main strip), we even spotted a couple of deer thanks to my hubs’ super sonic hearing!  We followed a trail that we knew would take us up, but omg, at one point I thought my heart might explode.  And then an older guy and an older couple came up and I suddenly got a burst of energy.  😉  I don’t super love hiking (bugs & dirt aren’t really my thang), but my hubby does, so like the ever so sweet wife I am, I participate to make him happy.  I’m so glad we got there early though because when we were leaving around lunch time, that place was cuh-razy!!

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I didn’t have many touristy things planned during our trip, but I did have several ideas of where I wanted to eat/drink.  Some of them didn’t pan out (maybe next time!), but the ones we made it to, did not disappoint!

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The Slanted Door won the James Beard award for most outstanding restaurant so of course, we had to eat there.  Thankfully when I realized I needed to make reservations, there were still a couple of times available.  Our reservation wasn’t until 5:30pm (the perfect time IMO since that’s when they open back up for dinner), but I’m glad we got there early because a line starts to form at the hostess stand and you have to wait in line whether you have reservations or not.  Our meal was delicious, the restaurant was beautiful and the service was great!  The waiter was really helpful with what items were gluten free or could be made gluten free.  We ordered the spring rolls, organic chicken, caramelized wild gulf shrimp (NOT gluten free according to our waiter even though I’d read differently online, but I ate them anyway, hubs did not), cellophane noodles and jasmine rice.

Blue Bottle Coffee was another place I had to visit.  I even knew what I wanted to order…the New Orleans.  Coincidentally, they were 1 block from our hotel!  Score!  I never had a problem with a long line, but I tried to go at off times.

Susie Cakes wasn’t one I had read about, but we ended up eating lunch at Blackwood with some friends and SusieCakes was across the street.  Both were  unexpected, but both were equally delicious!  I’m lying…while Blackwood was really delicious, my cupcake was beyond yummy.  I’m pretty sure I did the whole, bite and moan thing.   I tried taking a photo of the cupcake, but I ate it too fast.  😛

Other eating places worth mentioning…zpizza (I think they’re a chain, but they were right around the corner from our hotel and they offered organic ingredients as well as a gluten free crust!) and our last night in town, our friends treated us to a great dinner at Epic Roasthouse.  If you want a steak, that is definitely the place to go.  My hubs said it was the best meal our whole trip!

K, I feel like I left important things out, but if so, I’ll just have to make a [part 3].  After a day in San Francisco, I was saying I could totally live there and my hubby was thinking the opposite.  lol.  Oh well, it was fun to visit!  I’ll definitely be going back and will likely take the kids to all the touristy things we missed this time.

Save Me, San Francisco (part 1)

We dropped the dog and kids with my mom, packed up the car and headed out.  We drove about 30 minutes south and then stopped for dinner before it got too late.

With a full belly of yummy mexican food, I kicked off my shoes, pulled my feet into the seat and settled in for our 2 hr drive.

I had my iphone set to shuffle and I was singing along as usual, when the words suddenly hit me.  “Hey!” I exclaimed, “How awesome is that?!” as I pointed to the dash.

IMG_7946Pretty fitting, considering we were about to hop on a plane to that very place!

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We’ve taken plenty of trips as a family, individually, trips with one kid/one parent (hello France!), but it’s been 7 long years since the hubby and I took a real trip without the kids.  The last one was to Hawaii in 2005!

I have been dying to go to San Francisco for years.  I wanted to fit it into our Cali trip we took a few years ago, but it didn’t happen.  Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to be checking it off my bucket list.  We picked a super rad hotel called Hotel Zetta for our stay.  It’s only been open about a year and from what I read online, it sounded right up our alley.  (*check out my review at the end)  These shots are a little glimpse of what it was like inside…

2014-06-18_0005I’m kicking myself, because I didn’t get many shots of our actual room.  It was small, but very modern and nice with wood flooring and modern/minimalistic furniture (actually it looked pretty close to this one, but arranged differently).  The hotel had a meeting area downstairs in the lobby with a huge couch to lounge on, some tables & chairs and a full service bar.  There was also a huge game room on the second level that had shuffle board, a pool table, a large plinko game and plenty of other games to entertain you!

I wasn’t too excited about the weather being chilly, but I finally understood how all the fashion bloggers wear all those cute layers of clothing 365 days a year!  I bought this utility jacket and some TOMS booties in preparation for our trip and I can honestly say they were the PERFECT purchases!  Pretty much my San Fran uniform.

2014-06-18_0003I also bought the above scarf from lululemon before the trip.  (funny story – Eric didn’t really pay attention to what I bought until I was actually wearing it and after he saw the different ways I was using it, he started calling it a “thneed“. You know, from the movie, The Lorax. Now the stupid name has stuck though and I keep calling it a thneed! lol)  I probably used this thing at least half of the trip and it especially came in handy the last night we were in town when I went out to make a City Target run and grab dessert at 9pm.  Brrrrrr!  It was also particularly useful on the plane!

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Of course, the Golden Gate Bridge was one of my must-do’s for the trip.  We took photos on three different days because it looked different each day (thank you fog) and from several different viewpoints.

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So many pictures of the same bridge.  You’d think this was it, but no…there’s more…

But, you’re going to have to wait until the next post!

**Hotel Zetta Review – Where oh where to start?!  I already told you about the awesome game room and lounge area downstairs.  Our room itself was on the small side, but that’s to be expected in the middle of the city! We didn’t have a problem with the size at all. Being that the hotel is sandwiched between two other buildings, if you’re looking for a scenic view, this isn’t the hotel for you.  I, personally, quite liked the close buildings.  It reminded me of NY or something.  I don’t know.  It felt cozy.  We did have to be careful when and if we chose to open the blinds though.  😉  The whole hotel is modern/minimalistic in it’s design and interior decor…which we loved!  Our room had a king bed with a large wood/leather headboard, two small side tables, a minimalistic desk area with a stocked  fridge (so don’t plan on using it for leftovers!), a tv on a small minimalistic tv stand, a modern sitting chair and wood flooring throughout.  The bathroom was gorgeous!  No tub, only a glassed in shower.  As far as the service, I don’t have many complaints.  The one thing I read over and over again was that the staff was very friendly and helpful and I would definitely agree with that.  The only thing that was a little “eh” was that I was expecting our room to have been cleaned/replenished by 2pm when we returned back the first day, but she was just getting to our room.  They offer a small incentive if you choose to forego the daily maid service, but we had a couple of things that we wanted them to take care of.  I would probably say the only real “con” to the hotel would be the parking.  They don’t have their own lot you can self park (although there are a couple close, but they aren’t much cheaper and they aren’t really meant for taking your car in/out daily) and to valet it’s a whopping $50 a day!  Ouch.  On the plus side, it was super nice to just call down to the front desk when we were getting ready to leave and have our car waiting for us outside!  I loved the location of the hotel and even though we had a car, there were plenty of places nearby to walk to.  Some of my favorites were Blue Bottle Coffee, Dottie’s, zpizza, Peet’s coffee, City Target…not to mention all kinds of other restaurants, it’s literally RIGHT next door to the Westfield Centre shopping mall, and there is a cable car stop only a block and a half away!  This hotel isn’t for everyone, but I’d definitely recommend it if you don’t mind the few things I mentioned.  

The Happy Wanderer

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I’m kinda jealous of the people who have wanderlust coursing through their veins.

I have to admit…I have the happy-where-i’m-safe-and-comfortable-lust coursing through mine.

But, then I think about getting to the end of my days without traveling, seeing new places, trying new foods, having new experiences and I know that I don’t want that for myself.  Maybe if I wasn’t with someone who pushes me out of my comfort zones, I wouldn’t be aware of that fact, but I am.

So, while I may an anxious wanderer…a scared wanderer…a sometimes reluctant wanderer…a happy-to-be-home-at-the-end-of-the-day wanderer…

I WILL be a wanderer dangit!

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The Daily Post asked this question today…
What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

I’d say I’m in between these two extremes.  I do like to know where I’m going, what kind of options we have once we get there and plan a few things.  But while I like to have a few things planned, I don’t like having every single minute of my trip accounted for.  I like to leave room to hang out and explore the area without somewhere specific to be.

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When we went to Maui a few years ago, I planned something for every day we were there, but that something may have just been a luau for dinner so we had the rest of the day to do whatever we liked.  My husband is an adventurer so he was quite disappointed that we weren’t having an amazing adventure everyday, but I was content to hang out by the pool or just drive around the island and explore.  Which we did and it was amazing!

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I’m usually pretty excited to travel and try new things.  For the most part, I do really enjoy being somewhere new for a little while and would definitely say I’m a happy wanderer.  

Even if I’m also happy at the end of the trip to come back home.  

(except when I was in France. I missed my husband and son, but I wasn’t ready to come home after only 8 days!  There was so much more I wanted to see and do!)

 

copyright freckled latte 2017
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