Dog Friendly Adventures with Sally the Bernedoodle in San Diego!

So, we have a dog named Sally… that we’re mildly obsessed with. A goal of ours since the beginning has been to focus on more dog friendly trips, since leaving her can be SO HARD. (Those of you with dogs can relate!) While international trips are pretty much impossible with a 60-pound Bernedoodle, we’ve found that taking her on road trips and staycations is the way to go. She’s great in the car, loves exploring new places, and it’s relatively easy for us to transport her! We recently did a little weekend trip to San Diego with Sally (her first time in a big city!) and it was a BLAST. Here are a few of our favorite dog friendly spots:




The Manchester Grand Hyatt is one of our absolute favorite places to stay in San Diego, and it just so happens to be extremely dog friendly! The location is clutch - right on the water next to Seaport Village, across the street from The Gaslamp, and walking distance to just about everything. 

Upon check-in we were greeted with water and food bowls for Sally, a bright red ball, and doggy treats in our room. Talk about royal puppy treatment!! Sally experienced her first elevator (she was a little confused at first, but learned to love it) and her first time admiring the view from 48 floors up! But let’s be real… she could’ve cared less about the view - all homegirl wanted was that ball!

The rooms are spacious, modern, and oh goodness… that bed. We’ve come to find that all Hyatt’s have the most plush and comfy beds. Even Sally agreed! 



If you’re a foodie like us, you know that the dining options in San Diego are endless. Every time we come back to the city we hear of new “it” places to eat, and so far nothing has disappointed! And while there are a lot of dog friendly spots, it helps to do your research beforehand. Here’s a few of our (and Sally’s) highlights!


SALLY’S FISH HOUSE :: Seaport Village

Yep, you read that right. The Manchester Grand Hyatt has a dog friendly restaurant named Sally’s Fish House, located right on the water. The views are amazing, the food is fresh and delicious (definitely consider the fish and chips!), and the doggy treatment is top notch. Not only do they have an extensive dog menu, they have custom bowls for the pups (they let us keep one!). They even had doggy popsicles for desert! We’ve never seen Sally so happy at a restaurant before. If we’re being honest, this meal was the highlight of our trip. HIGHLY recommend for all dog lovers!!



This Kiwi-inspired restaurant is not only incredibly Instagammable, but the food is insane. Their outdoor patio is perfect for dogs, and the servers even come around with gift wrapped dog treats! We recommend getting here early, as it fills up quick - and if you can, try to score a seat by the fire. Oh, and come hungry. The portions are huge!

LOFTY COFFEE :: Little Italy

Located right across from Queenstown Public House, Lofty Coffee is one of our favorite San Diego based coffee shops. We recommend ordering a couple pour-overs from different regions and sharing. It’s the perfect spot to sit outside with your pup, sip your coffee, and people watch. 


PUESTO :: The Headquarters

The Headquarters is a new dining and shopping experience just down the street from the Manchester Grand Hyatt. It’s a great place to explore with dogs, and most of the restaurants have outdoor patios. Our favorite spot is a Mexican restaurant called Puesto, that’s known for their innovative tacos and margaritas. It’s a really fun vibe, and great for dogs. Sally actually fell asleep while we were there, allowing us to eat our dinner in peace - which NEVER happens!




Like we said, everything is super walkable from the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Most of our weekend was spent walking around different locations and neighborhoods around downtown San Diego. A few of our favorites are:

  • Seaport Village: Tons of shops and restaurants all along the waterfront. You could easily spend an afternoon walking around the village and having a drink at one of their many restaurants. Also, it’s a great place to watch the sunset!

  • Little Italy: Every time we go down to San Diego we find ourselves back in Little Italy. It’s charming, constantly evolving, and a blast to explore. Some of our favorite Italian food (and gelato!) is there, and it seems like everyone that lives in Little Italy has a dog. Our kind of place!

  • Coronado Island: Just across the bay from the Manchester Grand Hyatt is Coronado Island, one of our favorite places to explore! We parked near the Hotel Del and spent a morning walking along the beach, around the historic Hotel Del, and up and down the quaint streets.

This quick weekend getaway was just what we (and Sally) needed. It definitely got us excited for more dog friendly trips, and for the next time we can return to San Diego with our pup in tow. If any of you have any favorite dog-friendly locations or doggy travel tips, leave us a comment! We’d love to hear!


How to See (and Photograph) the Northern Lights on a Weekend Trip to Fairbanks, Alaska

Note... this is a guide on how to give yourself the best possibility to see and photograph the Northern Lights. We can't guarantee you will. The phenomenon that is the Aurora Borealis is fickle, and it does what it wants. We had the privilege to visit Fairbanks, Alaska in March, one of the best months for Aurora viewing. During our trip we saw just enough of the Northern Lights to feel extremely lucky... but we definitely came away craving more! The following is a guide to prepare you for your upcoming trip to Alaska, and how to make the most out of chasing the Aurora Borealis. 


For how to get there, get around, and where to sleep, check out this more comprehensive blog on our trip... Here we're specifically talking Aurora Borealis. 


Seeing the Northern Lights - For the Non-Photographer

Okay if you are just there to view, then you should probably go on a tour or get a guide. We'll recommend two: Fairbanks Snow Sleighers and SkyFire In Focus Tours. Snow Sleighers may be the better choice, because you can do a snowmobile tour in search of the northern lights. On our next trip you will ABSOLUTELY find us here! SkyFire in Focus Tours is a great option too, because they will pick you up at your hotel, provide camera equipment if you'd like, and hot drinks to keep you warm while you're viewing. 


Seeing the Northern Lights - For the Photographer

We encourage you to stay in one of the epic spots above and still go on a tour (because locals will take you to the best spots), but here is some information on what you need to take photos once you're lucky enough to see the northern lights.


  • Make sure you have the right cold-weather gear. Standing out in sub-zero temperatures while waiting for your shot can be miserable if you aren't prepared. 
  • A high quality-camera and lens (renting is okay if you know how to use it) is a must. More specifically, you want a camera that can provide good image quality at high ISOs. Full-frame DSLRs or mirrorless cameras (Sony and Fuji) are solid. 
  • When it comes to lenses, you want a fast lens with an aperture >f 4.0. A lower aperture will allow for your images to have less noise and better quality. 
  • Invest in a tripod. You need something strong and sturdy that will stand up (hehe) to all types of weather. Make sure it has a solid ball-head so it can quickly maneuver to wherever the aurora may be. 
  • Don't plan on getting a good picture with your iPhone. 

Before you go out

  • Charge your batteries and bring extras. Extreme cold can drain your batteries quick, so keep them somewhere insulated (inner coat pocket). 
  • Check that your memory card has plenty of space on it, and bring a back-up.
  • Pack your extra lenses, your tripod, a shutter release, a headlamp, flashlight, snacks, water, extra layers, and anything else you might need. 

Getting the epic shot

  • Be patient. 
  • Shoot in RAW so you can have more flexibility when editing the photos later. 
  • Prepare to shoot in manual mode.
  • Set your aperture to the widest setting possible setting, or one stop down - around f 2.0. 
  • If you are going to do manual focus, then get any objects in the foreground really sharp and in focus. 
  • In terms of ISO, try not to shoot above 3200. We prefer to be in between ISO 800 and ISO 1600. 
  • For shutter speed, we used between 5-30 seconds. Check out your image, and adjust accordingly. 

These are some things that worked for us. Adjust based on your experience and let us know what you think!

Lastly - Pray, cross your fingers, clinch your lucky penny, or do whatever superstitious thing you think will help you... we hope that you get a spectacular show while you are there! Good luck!

5 Things to do during a Weekender on Catalina Island

Those of you that follow us closely know that we’re right in the thick of the hustle. 

Balancing our full-time jobs, moonlighting as content creators, doing our best as puppy paw-rents, and still finding ways to fill our social calendar… it can be exhausting!! Weekend trips are one of the ways we decompress, spend quality time together, and enjoy a new destination. As Southern California natives, we normally think of Catalina Island as a quick day trip and nothing more. But after spending a weekend there recently, we’ve realized the PARADISE we’ve been overlooking. Catalina Island is probably the best weekend getaway for So-Cal residents. It’s easy to get to, beautifully tropical, and boasts some incredible restaurants. Here’s our “Top 5” must-do’s on a weekend trip to Catalina:


1. East End Adventure

This was a thrill in every sense of the word - and arguably the BEST way to see the island! Think the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland meets Soaring Over California. You’re off-roading with views so magnificent you feel as though you’re flying! The East End Adventure team takes groups daily on a Hummer tour around Catalina. You scale mountains you didn’t even know you could climb! We saw wildlife, stunning viewpoints, and at one point we could even see both sides of the island at once!


2. Lunch at Mt. Ada

This might possibly be the best-kept secret of Catalina Island. The famous Mt. Ada (formerly the Wrigley mansion) is known for their historic B&B and picture-perfect views of the island… but what many people don’t know, is that they offer a 3-course lunch that the public can enjoy! Included in the price is beer, wine, and the most epic view of Catalina. Not to mention the food is delicious! Reservations are required, so keep that in mind as you plan your weekend. 


3. Catalina Aerial Adventure

We’ll be honest, Alli did everything she could to try and get out of this. We’re both afraid of heights, and the aerial adventure seemed absolutely daunting. But, being the adventurers that we are, we did it. And we survived. And it might just be our favorite memory of the trip!! The adventure staff encouraged us through every challenge, and towards the end we REALLY felt like we’d bonded with them. We ended up doing 3 courses, two of which were level 2 (out of 3)! 


4. Island Spa Catalina

After our Aerial Adventure tour, nothing sounded better than a morning at the spa! The Island Spa Catalina is brand new, located inside the historic El Encanto building and has luxurious lounge spaces, soaking pools, and a vista deck where you can take in the view of the coast. We indulged in a couples massage and then spoiled ourselves with champagne and snacks while enjoying the views. It was one of our highlights of the trip! 


5. Twilight at the Casino Tour

Raise your hand if you’ve traveled to Catalina Island several times, but have never gone inside the world-famous Casino! Us too! This charming tour is a MUST in our book, and here’s why. It’s led by a man named "Frankie from Avalon" (look him up, he’s famous on Trip Advisor!), and he might very well be the most precious man we’ve ever met. Frankie grew up on the island and created this tour himself. His knowledge of the casino’s history, the musicians and celebrities that have graced the stage, the events that have taken place, etc., is incredible. After he’s whisked you around the casino, through the dressing rooms, and hidden passageways, he’ll bring you to the dance floor on the top level. There you’re served wine and given the chance to learn to swing dance with him!

So, there’s our top five must-do’s on a weekend trip to Catalina. Other important details to mention:


Getting There: Hop aboard the Catalina Express. With ports in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point, there are plenty of options for all SoCal natives. It takes about 60 minutes, is a smooth ride, and beautiful views at sunset. We opted to spend the extra $15 to upgrade to the Commodore's Lounge, where you have priority boarding, more comfortable seating, and a complimentary beverage with packaged snacks. It was a great experience! 


Stay: Book a room at the Pavilion Hotel - you won’t regret it. The hotel has comfortable rooms, a delicious complimentary hot breakfast, and prime location. The rooms face an expertly manicured tropical garden that will instantly set your watch to island time (hehe). Spend the afternoon relaxing in a chaise lounge, watch the sun set over the ocean during their complimentary wine and cheese reception each day, or sit around the fire pit and make new friends. 


Our Favorite Eats: Mt. Ada, Avalon Grille, Descanso Beach Club, the Lobster Trap (local favorite!), and Blue Water Grill.


All that to say, Catalina is the real deal. The Pavilion is rejuvenating, the food is delicious, and there are all kinds of adventures to be had. We will be sure to hustle back. 

Thank you to Visit Catalina Island for sponsoring this post!

The Traveling Newlyweds Guide to Mammoth Mountain

So, you can say we’re Mammoth newbies.

This past month we ventured out to Mammoth Mountain for the first time. Which is pretty unheard of if you’re born and raised in Southern California like us! We grew up hearing about our friends “making the trek” to Mammoth Mountain, but that usually consisted of a 5+ hour drive, in traffic, and that’s just not our jam. Then we found out that Alaska Airlines, (our favorite), offers a quick one-hour flight from LAX to Mammoth Mountain - and we booked the next flight. Literally.

In the couple of days before we left, we did some hardcore Mammoth research. Where to eat, where to stay, what to do, etc… And we’re pretty confident in what we ended up accomplishing on our short trip. Here’s our “round up” for all that we did in this charming mountain town, and we hope it convinces YOU to book a flight as well!

First things first, the flight. It was easy. Painless, really. We were up in the air for just enough time to enjoy the views and a glass of wine (for Alli) and a beer (for Bobby)... and then we made our descent! As always, the Alaska Airlines team was top-notch. They made sure we were comfortable, told jokes, fed us our weight in cheez-its (also our favorite), and ensured every need was met. We've grown to love these smaller flights, because you really get to know the staff. It feels like a family affair - causing us to wish the flight was longer! 

Also - did you know that if you fly Alaska, you can ski free? Alaska Airlines has a promotion that allows you to show your boarding pass, and get a lift ticket! The details vary on the resort and airport you are coming from, but it is definitely worth looking into!

The Mammoth Airport is adorable. There’s only one terminal, one baggage claim, and only a handful of flights a day. We got our bags in about .5 seconds and were on a cozy bus to the town before we knew it! Here begins our guide:




The Mammoth Mountain Inn

We booked this little inn on a whim, and we’re so glad we did. It’s the PERFECT location if you’re a skier or snowboarder, as it’s nestled right next to the lifts. Most mornings Bobby would go do a couple of runs around the mountain before Alli would even wake up! The rooms are quaint and “lodge-like”, and the lobby is complete with oversized fireplaces and a fun restaurant/bar. It’s about a 15 minute drive (or bus ride) to town, so that’s something to keep in mind as well. If you aren’t planning to ski or snowboard like we did, you might want to stay somewhere a little closer to the village. If you’re coming for the mountain sports, the Mammoth Mountain Inn really is the most ideal. It all depends on what you’re looking to do!




The Yodler

This German Bavarian-style restaurant is right at the base of the slopes, and an easy walk from the Mammoth Mountain Inn. It is EVERYTHING you’d want and more after a cold day on the slopes… Delicious drinks, hearty soups and entrees, and the biggest (and most delicious) pretzel you’ll ever have. Honestly, we’d make the trip back to Mammoth just to get this pretzel again! And you’ll be proud to know that we finished it!

The Melt House

Only accessible by the slopes at the base of Chair 14, the Melt House is another spot that delivers epic comfort food in a picture-perfect location. Great music, an expansive sundeck, and a scrumptious menu. Who doesn’t want a tasty grilled cheese and a craft beer in between runs down the mountain?


Woodfire pizzas, seasonal ingredients, and craft cocktails… Campo has all of our favorite things! Located in the heart of the Village, it’s a great date night spot. We came here on our first night in town, and couldn’t have been more pleased. We're still dreaming about their pizzas! (Take our advice and order your own - don't share. They're that good!)

The Stove

If you love breakfast like we do, this place is a must. Heck- even if you don’t love breakfast, you’ll love the Stove! It’s been a Mammoth Mountain institution for years, and for good reason. It’s country cookin’ at its finest, and everything on the menu is delicious. We highly recommend the french toast and the breakfast burrito… But like we said, you can’t go wrong! (And the earlier you get there, the better. The Stove fills up quick!)




Mammoth Brewing Company

This is another one of those places that’s a “no-brainer” when you’re in Mammoth. Their beer is world-famous, and the ambiance is a blast. Get the Original Tasting, it’s only $9 and you get to try 7 of their most well-known ales. They also serve food, and it looked pretty tasty - so that’s definitely something we’ll try next time!

Stellar Brew

We came to Stellar Brew one afternoon to get a hot beverage and escape the cold. We ended up spending a few hours in the eclectic little coffee shop, playing cards and chit-chatting with locals. Their coffee and tea selection is extensive, and they have a lot of great healthy dining options as well. Get the Yerba Matte Latte if you’re looking to try something new… it’s delicious!

We stepped into Black Velvet Coffee and instantly felt like we were transported back to a hipster coffee shop in LA! The coffee is smooth and strong, and their coffee knowledge is impressive. We can see why "BVC" has a cult-like following. 



Where do we even start? Mammoth Mountain has a never-ending list of activities, for all ages and all personalities! From skiing and snowboarding, to tubing and snowmobiling, to snowcat tours and scenic gondola rides... the options are endless. And that's only in the winter! If you love the outdoors, fresh mountain air, and beautiful scenery... Mammoth will definitely be up your alley. And if your idea of a good time is more simple; good book, glass of wine, delicious food and fun shopping -- they have all that and more! Oh, and Mammoth is extremely dog friendly - so bring your pooch! We'll be bringing ours this Summer! :)

Like we said, we're relative "newbies" to this mountain town, and we can't wait to return and discover more hidden gems. So until then, leave a comment and let us know what we're missing from this list! And we'll be sure to add to it this Summer, when we bring our pup. :) Already counting down the days!  

Monterey Beyond the Aquarium: Whales, Wine, and More!

One thing we love about travel is the ability to visit familiar spots and experience something new. We recently spent a weekend in Monterey, somewhere we have visited several times, and decided to change it up a bit (we normally head to the aquarium). We ended up having the BEST time and discovered a newfound love and appreciation for this part of the California Coast. Here's some of the new things we did that we would HIGHLY recommend!

Whale Watching

This area is a mecca for whale watchers, no matter what time of year! (mid December - April for blue whales, mid April through mid December for Humpbacks) We went with Discovery Whale Watch Tour and they took us on a two-hour tour that brought us close to 6 different whales! It was AMAZING!! We also saw tons of sea otters, seals, and jellyfish (the jellies were a bit terrifying). The boat can be rocky, so if you get seasick definitely prepare yourself. But the experience is 100% worth it!

John Steinbeck Center

John Steinbeck fans? This is something you DEFINITELY don't want to miss! Located in Salinas, just outside of Monterey, you can visit the center that is dedicated to John and his literature. The museum is incredibly well-done (and fun!), and you could easily spend a whole day learning about the man behind all the classics. Whether you're taking a quick break or wrapping up your time at the center, just a mile away Steinbeck's home that's now a restaurant! While we didn't have time to eat there, we heard the food is awesome! And how cute is his home?


Wine Tasting in Monterey Wine Country

Did you know they made wine in the Monterey area? We didn't. Apparently the warm sun, cool fog, good soil, and the topography of the surrounding land and sea have combined to create a vintner's paradise. With over 60 tasting rooms, it's a fantastic spot to spend your day (or just a couple of hours)! Known for their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Riesling, each winery has an amazing selection. We drove along the River Road Wine Trail one afternoon, where we indulged in the Odonata, Scheid, and Hahn wineries. Go out and explore for yourself, as Monterey County has some great wines!

Exploring Cannery Row and Nearby Treasures

While we've been to Monterey several times, we've never actually just walked around the surrounding area! Weird, right? Our favorite walk was from the wharf to Cannery Row, and here's what we recommend that you do. Park at the wharf, and turn left. Take the trail along the water and you'll walk past fun shops, restaurants, along the historic Cannery Row, and even the aquarium (You can easily spend a whole day there - it's incredible)! We walked to First Awakenings for breakfast and back, and it was the perfect way to start the day! If you have a bike, this would be an AWESOME spot to bike ride!

These are just a few of our favorites activities that took our trip to Monterey to the next level. If you have anything to add, let us know! We're looking for new spots to visit next time!

This post was sponsored by Monterey CountyAll opinions expressed here are our own.