Bay Area Exploring: The Presidio

I was long overdue for an explore day around the Bay Area, and for this edition, I headed out to the Presidio neighborhood of San Francisco. We parked right around Sacramento and Laurel Streets and were confronted with the most stunning houses I have ever seen. Ever. Period.

If you’re a fan of the HGTV show House Hunters, then you’ll understand when I say that I could have spent all day long in this neighborhood, attempting to peek inside the windows. Home goals right here.

SFO –> ABQ

New Mexico has been high on our bucket list for a while now, and I’m so happy that we were able to make it happen this summer. In just one long weekend, we were able to explore Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos, and discovered so many gems along the way. Keep reading to find out what we did and where we ate each day.

Day 1: As soon as we hopped in our rental car at the Albuquerque airport, we headed straight for the Tent Rocks National Monument. It was about an hour drive from the airport, but I promise it’s worth the trek. The formations were absolutely stunning—no photos could do it justice. Next time around, I’ll prepare a bit better with an extra water bottle and hiking boots (some of the rocks are pretty hard to climb!).

From there, we drove another hour to our hotel in Santa Fe, the Don Gaspar Inn. The people who run it are super nice and accommodating, plus it’s a short 15 minute walk to the central plaza. After freshening up (it felt so good to shower after that hike in the blazing heat), we walked all around the plaza before our dinner reservation. We visited the San Miguel Mission, which is the oldest known church in the country!!, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Because it was still 85 degrees at 7 PM and our legs were tired from all of the walking we had done, we dipped into The Dragon Room for guacamole and margaritas before our dinner reservation at La Plazuela. I’d highly recommend both spots!

Day 2: Our second day kicked off bright and early as we made our way to Abiquiu for a tour of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home. This may very well have been my favorite moment of the trip—her house was seriously breathtaking and had Will and I second guessing every single item in our own house. I wasn’t able to take photos (I managed to just sneak the one of her studio room), but trust me when I tell you that her pantry organization was next level.

We learned on the tour that Georgia O’Keeffe was really inspired by Plaza Blanca, and that it was a short drive from her house, so we headed there before making our way to Taos. It was crazy hot outside, hence why I changed into a loose crop top, so we just admired it from the parking look out spot. Definitely still worth it!

Next, we made our way to Taos. On the way, we stopped at the 7th highest bridge in the country, the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. We didn’t just drive across it though, but parked and walked too. Well, we attempted walking but quickly headed back to the car because one word: heights.

The weather in Taos was spotty, one minute the sun would be shining and the next it was pouring rain. We did our best to not let it get in the way of our day though because we only had a few hours in town. We grabbed a quick bite at Guadalajara Grill and oh my goodness, the shrimp tacos were out.of.this.world. I’d say it was the best meal we had in all of New Mexico. After lunch, we walked all around the Taos Pueblo, meeting the people who live and work there, selling their beautiful handmade goods. We spent about two hours at the Pueblo, which left just enough time to pop into a couple cute shops in the plaza: Chocolate & Cashmere and Common Thread. We wrapped up the day trip with dinner at the very quaint Love Apple.

As we made our way back to Santa Fe, I got a patch of strong cell reception (warning: the cell service is super spotty everywhere) and looked up fun night activities. Across the board, Meow Wolf was the most mentioned and without even knowing much about it, we navigated straight there. Turns out, people are traveling to Santa Fe from all over just for this “exhibit,” if you can even call it that. We learned that the creator of Game of Thrones funded the production of it and partnered with tons of artists to bring it to life. It’s pretty difficult to explain, but it’s sort of a cross between an escape room and an interactive art exhibit. If you’re in town, I’d highly recommend checking it out to see what all the buzz is about.

Day 3: Our last full day was filled with a lot of shopping and eating in Santa Fe. We started the morning with breakfast at Café Pasquals, a place that had come highly regarded to us and had a wait even at 9 AM. From there, we decided we hadn’t had enough of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art and went to her museum. While I’m happy we saw it and love the souvenirs I bought from the gift shop, it was a pretty small museum with a surprisingly few number of pieces.

The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping. We actually didn’t really buy anything on this trip—we usually buy a few home decor pieces when on vacation and even packed an extra duffle bag in preparation for this trip, but alas, we came home nearly empty-handed. Even though we didn’t score on an original Navajo blanket, we still loved walking through the plaza and admiring all of the art and jewelry. In case you only have time for one shop, don’t miss Shiprock whatever you do.

Once we had circled the plaza a couple times, we made our way over to Canyon Road. We popped in and out of a few art galleries and cute shops before getting drinks at The Teahouse. We ended our last night in Santa Fe with yet another round of drinks at Fire & Hops, followed by a deliciously authentic dinner at The Shed.

Day 4: With only a few hours to play with before our flight home, we grabbed breakfast at Modern General. I was in loooove with the decor here, and the green chile shortcakes for that matter, but the service was pretty poor. Be prepared to wait 30 minutes for your food if you go. We then decided to drive the hour to Albuquerque to be closer to the airport for our afternoon flight. Our last stop of the trip was Los Poblanos Inn, which was so so gorgeous. It reminded me of something straight out of Fixer Upper, which is basically the key to my heart. After stocking up on lavender skin care products, we sadly had to say goodbye to New Mexico.

While I wish we could have stayed longer, this was a good introduction to New Mexico and I know we’ll be back. After all, we’ll need to make up for our lack of shopping success eventually.

Sweet Tooth: Coconut Blueberry Pancakes

My boyfriend and I are big breakfast people. As soon as the weekend rolls around, we whip up breakfasts easily mistaken for feasts with scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast, and sides of berries and avocado. I told you it was a feast.

A few weekends ago, I woke up pretty early and decided to switch up our breakfast routine. After all, who can say no to pancakes?

I followed your run-of-the-mill pancake recipe, but added coconut flakes and blueberries for an added twist. I loved how the coconut flakes were just light enough to detect another flavor, but not overpowering in the slightest. As for the blueberries, they were a great–and healthier!–alternative to chocolate chips.

A Mid-Summer Toast

I can’t believe it’s already the fourth of July! This Summer seems to be flying by, and I’m doing my best to savor every second of it.

My boyfriend and I have an upcoming trip to New Mexico to look forward to, but I’m planning to sit down this weekend and book some other getaways. There’s just something about getting a trip on the books that makes it feel like Summer is never-ending. And in that very spirit, I thought I’d share some links to past travel blog posts to give you some inspiration to do the same.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday, and happy traveling!

New York City

Seattle

The Bay Area

Big Sur

Israel

Wine Country

Mexico

Texas

Thailand