Discovering the Mendocino Coast

Sunset over the Mendocino coast

Sometimes you just have to push the pause button on your work life and remember how humbling it is to stare into the vastness of the ocean. Or recognize how extraordinary it is to feel really tiny standing among and being swallowed up by a bunch of gigantic trees.

Fortunately, I was able to enjoy this splendid feeling recently as I celebrated my boyfriend Michel’s birthday with a two-day trip to Mendocino, a tiny, charming coastal town in California about three hours north of San Francisco.

Celebrating Michel's birthday along the Mendocino coast

The drive up to and through Mendocino boasts some of the most beautiful stretch of coastline I’ve seen. If you’re looking to get away from the Bay Area bustle for a day or two for some R&R or quality time with Mother Nature, I couldn’t recommend it more.

There are so many things to do in Mendocino and the nearby area. For the active types, there is hiking, kayaking, and tons of trails to run along, and for the gourmands in the house, there is some truly delicious food available here. Plus, sunsets. Everyone needs to stop moving and just sit on the beach and watch the sunset every now and again.

Here are some of my favorite recommendations for spending a couple days in Mendocino.

Eating breakfast tacos and a burger at Circa '62 restaurant in Mendocino County


We enjoyed breakfast as Circa ’62 at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek, which is just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino. And when I say “enjoyed,” I mean enjoyed. I had the Mexican tacos, which included pork carnitas, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions and jalapenos, a cherry tomato salsa, and cojita, served with corn tortillas and spicy papas bravas. Michel had the breakfast burger, which is the largest burger I’ve ever seen. And by biggest burger, I mean it was taller than his head. The ingredients were fresh and the flavor was hard to beat.

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Holiday Exercise Tips | How to Stay in Shape While Traveling

Whether you’re going home for the holidays, or evading the end-of-year craziness by taking off on a December getaway trip, you don’t have to give up exercising just because you’re traveling.

Cook Slow Run Fast Running Around Washington DC and standing in front of the Washington Memorial
Exploring the National Mall in Washington D.C. last winter
If you’re like me, you love to be in new places and/or visit family, but you still want to keep your fitness routine going while not near your home gym. I’m one of those people who after missing more than three two days of working out finds it extremely hard to hop back on the gym train. So fitting in workouts when I’m traveling is a must-do, especially because my travel planslike any good food loveralways include partaking in the many delicious eats and drinks of a new place and/or home.


Here are some of my favorite ways to workout and stay active while traveling:


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Labor Day Trip to Oregon

Even when you don’t have a full-time job, a 3-day weekend is a gift from God.

For Labor Day, Michel and I took a road trip up to Oregon to visit my mom and spend some time in Portland. I was supposed to run 14 miles on Saturday (my longest run ever), but somehow that just didn’t fit in with beer and coffee drinking, burger eating, and family time. Oops…

I did, however, buy two new pairs of running shoes (hello, sales tax-free Oregon!) and Haruki Murakami’s memoir on writing and running, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.


My new kicks - Nikes and Sauconys
My new kicks – Nikes and Sauconys
worn out and new Nikes
I can’t believe I wore my first Nikes out so badly!

I seriously needed new shoes, and now is the perfect time to break them in before next month’s half marathon. Plus, I had to get two pairs, because my mom taught me to never turn down a BOGO shoe sale.

Besides shopping for shoes and books, my mini-getaway was amazing, naturally. I spent time with my mom and family dog, Angus, explored Portland with Michel, and enjoyed so many delicious calories.

Portland, Oregon Sign


My mom and dog, Angus
My mom and Angus. (I swear we only made him wear that red hat for the photo.)
Me and Michel
Michel and I hanging out at Bella Organic Farm

Oh yeah, and Michel got to hold puppies and this teensy kitten.

The cutest thing we’ve ever seen

Taking days off is sometimes necessary not just for physical health, but for mental and emotion health. Stepping away from my routine to spend time with loved ones in a new setting reinvigorated my spirit and allowed me to recharge for this month. I feel rejuvenated now that we’re back and ready to tackle this week’s work and running plan, as well as my monthly and long-term goals.