Local’s Guide to the Best Fish Tacos in San Diego

Fish tacos and San Diego go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you’re visiting San Diego you must eat fish tacos at least once to do your trip justice and ensure you experience that beachy, laid back essence of SoCal (#vibes). To help make the decision of where to go for the best, I’ve shared my top picks as well as one wild card pick from Ollie. Happy eating (and remember: having them served on corn tortillas is the authentic way to go)!

Where to find the best fish tacos in San Diego: The Fish Shop

The Fish Shop is one of my absolute favorite places to eat in San Diego in general, but it’s their amazing fish tacos that initially pulled me in. With two locations to choose from (Pacific Beach and Encinitas–both are great places to spend a day if you ask me), getting to The Fish Shop might be your most convenient option out of all these recommendations. Ordering here is super fun–you choose the type of fish you want then pick from many different marinades & plate styles. I also really love how the decor embodies that SoCal vibe perfectly. You will definitely leave with a smile on your face!

The Fish Shop Encinitas 

Where to find the best fish tacos in Cardiff: Las Olas

Eating at a restaurant right across the street from the beach will never get old to me. Then give me a pina colada & delicious fish tacos and I might call it heaven. That’s what you’ll get at Las Olas–the vibe (and food) is always on point.

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Where to find the best fish tacos in Del Mar: The Brig

This is our favorite place to get happy hour tacos and enjoy a fancier restaurant at a lower price. We love these fish tacos because they are a classic recipe done right. Local’s tip: spend some time across the street at Del Mar Dog Beach before or after you go. Few things are better than watching happy doggies play in the ocean.

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Where to find the best fish tacos in La Jolla: Puesto

Go here for more of a foodie/craft taco experience. Puesto is one of those places that puts a lot of thought and effort into each bite. The menu is interesting in the best possible way, the space is really fun, and they serve wines from Mexico’s nearby Valle de Guadalupe. The experience we had eating at Puesto was worth the slightly higher price.

Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen and Bar

Ollie’s Pick for the best fish taco in San Diego: SALUD in Logan Heights

This trendy yet authentic place blew us away. We didn’t come for fish tacos, but Ollie ended up ordering two and falling in love with them. They also serve bottled Coco Cola from Mexico (a.k.a. it’s made with real cane sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup). Local’s tip: Nearby Chicano Park is worth strolling through to admire all the Mexican-American/ Mexican-immigrant street art under the highway.

SALUD

 

You might also like: 3 Unique Spots for Your Next San Diego Brunch

What Traveling Somewhere You Don’t Like Can Teach You

As I scroll through Instagram everyday, I’m bombarded with photos of places I’ve been lucky enough to travel to already–London, NYC, Australia, Nicaragua to name a few. I find myself saying: “London is everything”… then I scroll to a picture of New York: “NYC is the best city ever”… I see a photo of Australia: “nowhere is better than Australia”… a picture of Nicaragua comes next: “Nica has my whole heart.” I feel so strongly about all the places I’ve been able to travel to. These locations will be special to me forever.

After realizing I’m head over heels in love with basically everywhere I’ve traveled to, I started to wonder if I’ve been somewhere I didn’t like. I racked my brain for a couple minutes–I was drawing blanks and even had to ask my husband if he could think of anywhere. I finally remembered that I’ve never been particularly fond of LA. It feels a bit fake to me and it’s smoggy and its trash seems to be everywhere. For whatever reason I don’t mind the trash in NYC, but I can’t stand seeing it in LA. I think overall LA is such a scene that I just don’t vibe with. I did, however, really like Griffith Park, and I’m hoping to go back a couple more times to give other areas a shot for redemption. But it got me thinking about what we learn when we travel somewhere that we don’t connect with. Is it pointless to return? Is precious time being wasted while there? What gems of wisdom can we learn from traveling somewhere we don’t like?

Be open minded even when you feel like you can’t.

I had been to LA multiple times before this past visit and was disappointed each time. If there’s a place you don’t particularly like, it could be because it’s sooo different from what you’re used to. Living outside your comfort zone is definitely not a bad thing. Keeping an open mind and trying to find out for yourself why others find a place beautiful will almost always end on a positive note.

Enjoy the little things.

Whenever I go to LA, even if I’m not completely feeling it, I still try to be present in the moment. Simply recognizing that I’m free from responsibilities and have time to explore is enough to make me happy. It’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted no matter where you are- your favorite place in the world or somewhere that’s just alright in your mind.

Take time grappling with what you don’t like to further understand what you do value.

I really had to take the time to think through what I didn’t like about LA. It doesn’t make you mature or gracious to dismiss a place without articulation. Being able to work through why I wasn’t feeling LA actually allowed me to accept it for what it is and enjoy my time there anyways.

Embracing what a place is known for can be fun regardless.

For example, twirling around like a wannabe model in front of a pink wall surrounded by groups of other people vainly doing the same thing was actually fun. All I had to do was let down my guard down and stop judging and just get into it.

Giving somewhere more than one chance is a good thing.

I don’t want to be the type of person who writes a place off because life is much more complicated than that, and there are always more layers to uncover. Getting time to better discover a place and more of ourselves is the greatest gift.

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Getting our acai bowl on @ Backyard Bowls
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Pink wall twirls in Melrose, Los Angeles
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HoLlYwOoD!

Have you ever been somewhere you didn’t like? What did you take away from that? And would you return?

My 2 Year Blogiversary!

I’ve officially been blogging for 2 years! My how time flies. I did a recap last year after 1 year of blogging  and thought I’d continue the tradition. It’s a great way for me to take stock of what I accomplished over the year and to set some new goals.

First off I thought it’d be interesting to see which of my posts were the most popular, and I’m not surprised to say that both of the ones I wrote via interviewing my husband did the best. People prefer hearing from him more than me on my own blog! hahaha 🙂 That’s ok though: this blog always has been and always will be for me even if no one else looks at it, but I really do appreciate all of you who stop by to read every week.

That being said here are the links to his posts in case you missed them or want to revisit:

Ollie O’Loughlin’s Guide to Airport Beers

A Nightmare in Paradise: Ollie Remembers Fiji

The post written exclusively by me that’s done the best was the outfit guide I wrote for the Great Barrier Reef. Turns out that sort of practical information gets a decent amount of traffic, and I hope it helped a few people out there plan for that bucket list paradise!

As far as what I accomplished this year, once again I initially thought it wasn’t much. But between having a full time job with a 2 hour daily commute and traveling as much as we do, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made this year. For starters, I bought a travel blogging course that’s given me a lot of technical advice for running a blog. Through that course, I learned how to purchase my domain name (no more .wordpress.com in my website link), set up the correct security and backup features I need, and get everything switched over to a self-hosted platform. It was a bit of a pain to do since I have no IT background, but I’m so happy I figured it all out… I may have paid to have people figure it out for me when I got stuck 😉 but that still counts!

Secondly, it was really important to me to post more consistently here and on Instagram this year, and I’m proud of myself for doing so. I’ve managed to get a new blog or YouTube video up almost every Monday, and I post on Instagram every Mon, Wed, and Fri. Through the blogging course, I also realized that I wanted to work harder to improve my writing and tell better stories, so I’ve been trying really hard to do so and to come up with catchier titles for my posts.

Trying to post more consistently, trying to tell better stories, and trying to improve my photography skills to portray moments and feelings that may inspire others has been the most welcome challenge. As lame as it sounds, having this space to express myself has had such a positive impact on my overall wellness. I’m proud that I’ve continued to push myself creatively and can’t wait to see what I’m inspired by in the year to come.

This next year, I would like to focus more on the look of my blog. I need to get a better design that makes more sense to me, feels more like me, and is easier to browse. I also REALLY want to have a logo designed. (Any graphic designers out there?) Another thing I want to improve on is my Pinterest presence. I feel like that platform is a great place to browse for travel inspo and could be a prime way to get viewers to my site. I have a couple references for how to do so, I just need to take the time to read and give it a try.

That’s all I wanted to document about 2 years of blogging 🙂 I am curious to know if there’s anything in particular you’d be interested in seeing more of here? Don’t hesitate to let me know. One of my favorite posts was an idea my cousin sparked, so I’m open to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks again to Emily Alyssa Photography for the candid capture of me being mesmerized by the ocean as per usual. hehe 🙂

Happy daydreaming friends!

 

 

Practical Ways to Quickly Restore Equilibrium Post Travel

Travel is exhilarating and exciting, but for most of us, even a short trip can greatly put us off balance. It has sometimes taken me more time than how long the actual trip lasted to get back on track with my normal life routine. Do you know that feeling? You were gone for 4 days and then it takes you two weeks to return to how you felt before you left, whether that be in regards to weight, energy, skin, etc. I’ve been doing a lot of shorter trips lately since I have a full time job, and through my own experience I have narrowed down my go-to essentials to help me cleanse post-travel and more quickly return to “real life” equilibrium.

  1. Body: I use Nature’s Secret fiber cleanse and, along with lots of water, this combo helps to detox my stomach and get me back to my pre-trip weight.
  2. Skin: I use Mojo Spa’s Ultimate Detox Deep Cleansing Facial Powder. It’s basically a charcoal scrub that cleans away all my travel grime and leaves my skin feeling super soft.
  3. Mind: Doing a couple sessions of yoga always helps me mentally reset and boosts energy as well.

Bonus worth trying but I’ve only done it once: a juice cleanse… because I felt the fiber cleanse wouldn’t be hardcore enough to handle the job at hand. I had just returned from a long weekend in Austin, Texas. I over indulged as one does while traveling and consumed brisket at least once a day. It was heavenly to the point where I almost cried actual tears while eating because it was THAT GOOD. At the same time, I could feel my arteries clogging, and when I got back from that trip I felt like a steaming pile of poop. I wanted to try something a bit more extreme than my typical fiber cleanse. I opted for the 3 day juice cleanse from Jus by Julie. It was expensive but the juices were delicious. I will admit that I felt pretty darn good afterwards, but I’m not sure if I would do it again purely due to cost. If it’s something you’re thinking about trying and can afford it, I would say it’s definitely cool to try and will make you feel better.

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What are your post-travel cleanse essentials??

Street Art Spotlight: Reykjavik

Those of you who know me know that I’m a sucker for street art, so it comes as no surprise that one of the things I was most excited to do in Reykjavik was hunt down theirs. And this city brings it. Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and the world’s most northern capitol, is such a great city to explore because it’s small and walkable without being boring. When I went in early May they had even set up a display on the main road showcasing artwork from local kindergarteners–they start them young and value creativity, and after seeing that, everything in the city made more sense to me. From photography, pottery, and design stores to concert halls and colorful rooftops, art feels like it’s literally everywhere in Reykjavik! Wandering around this city brought me so much joy, so I wanted to share some snaps with you 🙂 I’ve also uploaded a 3 minute vlog to YouTube if you’d like to see more of what we got up to!

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What city do you love for its street art??

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Why I Don’t Want to Tell You Where We Stayed in Big Bear

Ollie and I visited Big Bear to celebrate our wedding anniversary in early April. We couldn’t believe it took us almost 2 years of living in Socal to make it up–we had THE BEST time. We left feeling like we found a whole other world (even though it’s only 2.5 hours from San Diego) and daydreamed about whether or not we could ever see ourselves living in the mountains.

Skiing was the main reason we chose to visit Big Bear–something we both had never tried but on our “Make Happen ASAP” list. Our anniversary was the perfect excuse to escape for the weekend, experience something new, and splurge just a little bit on accommodation.

I don’t want to spill the beans on where we stayed because we loved it so much and don’t want word to get out but… if you scroll through this post you’ll see pictures of the property that will give it away 😉 Less than 24 hours into our stay we were already planning a return visit.

What made this bed and breakfast so great? To start, it was really charming and dreamily surrounded by pine trees. There was a jacuzzi tub and homemade bath salts as well as a fireplace, which added up to total relaxation and coziness. The highlight of this place, however, was definitely the food. The owners are a husband-wife power duo. Just to give some background: Johann is a former CEO who left the corporate world to pursue his passions including cooking. We were treated each morning to the tastiest homemade breakfast ever, and the daily happy hour included South African wines and impressive hors d’oeuvres. I could go into a lot more detail about the owners, the food, their future plans for the property, and the conversation, but it’s something you should definitely experience for yourself. Just don’t tell too many people so they don’t jack the prices up 😉

Despite how much we loved our accommodation, we did manage to get out and explore a bit. We had a blast skiing for the first time at Snow Summit. We drank craft beers at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company. We ate at 752 Social and Fire Rock Burgers and Brew. We went on a hike and breathed in fresh mountain air while admiring gorgeous views of the lake. In general, we got a chance to slow down (except when we were speeding down the slopes hehe), relax, and enjoy each others company.

Big Bear, you stole our hearts and we can’t wait to see you again! Here are my favorite photos from the weekend (see more on Instagram: @thedaydreamernextdoor)

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Have you been inspired to visit Big Bear and stay at our “secret” bed and breakfast?

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Summer vs. Winter: NYC Edition

I was lucky enough to visit NYC twice in 2016, experiencing both its summer and winter. I realized there were similarities between both trips, the slight difference being the levels of foliage and layers of clothing. 😉 If you are trying to decide between a summer or winter holiday in the city that never sleeps, I hope the following comparison will help you decide!

Summer version: rooftop bar hopping

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Featured bars: Le Bain and Wythe Hotel. Nothing shouts summer like drinking outdoors.

Winter version: Stone Street bar hopping

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Featured Bars: Fraunces Tavern and random lovely bars of Stone Street. This was a highlight of my winter trip and might need its own dedicated post. I mean I drank at the same place George Washington did back in the day (and got a selfie with him hehe)! Nothing feels better in winter than drinking alcohol in cozy settings.

Summer version: views from the top of the Freedom Tower

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Winter version: views from an office building in Times Square

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You can’t visit NYC, arguably the most impressive city in the world, without marveling at its skyline from above. Doesn’t matter when you visit, it’s breathtaking every time and I love finding new viewpoints to take it all in.

Summer version: exploring the High Line

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Winter version: exploring the festive streets around Fifth Ave

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The energy in NYC is undeniable. There’s always something going on no matter how hot or cold it is–from markets to window displays to public art–it’s all worth exploring!

Summer version: picnics in Central Park

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Winter version: walking past the frozen lakes and twiggy trees of Central Park as you make cover for somewhere warmer to eat

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Central Park is quintessential NYC and is an important part of any summer or winter itinerary.

You might be wondering what made the cut on both trips?… Brunch at Jacob’s Pickle and drinks at Pier A overlooking the Statue of Liberty. Because some things do not change despite the weather–and that’s our love of carbs and freedom.

Summer Version:

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Winter Version:

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Moral of the story…NYC is amazing year round and you will be impressed any time you decide to visit! So book that ticket sooner rather than later 🙂

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