Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park

Cherry Blossoms in #SanDiego #explore #travel

Balboa Park really is as massive as everyone says! We planned an afternoon of Balboaing and only made it to the Japanese Friendship Garden & Tea Pavilion  and art museum. First we ordered some delicious hot tea, orange blossom oolong for me and coconut creme oolong for Paul, because despite popular belief it does get chilly in San Diego. We paid our $8 admission ($7 for me because I’m a student) and slowly started walking.

We paused every few steps to admire a shrub. The path leads to a peaceful wooden veranda and a small waterfall. the pond holds gorgeous Koi, some orange some red some golden. After a few minutes I thought, “This was great, let’s go.” But my love pointed out a little sign that said “lower garden this way.”

We walked down a winding path, admiring the beauty and appreciating the silence.

And of course snapping some pictures.
Then it happens.



The cherry blossoms were in full bloom! Turns out we had just missed the festival the day before but I was just ecstatic to be in this field of pink. It truly feels like you’re walking through a Dr. Seuss book! And the whole time I kept thinking about how close I was to turning back. How many times have I done this in life? Accepted something was good enough, and didn’t go for something greater? Here’s to open eyes and open hearts!


Have you ever frolicked in Cherry Blossoms? Would you enjoy and tea & garden date?

How to do San Diego on a Budget

What to do in #SanDiego on a budget. || #travel #explore

San Diego is one of those cities that begs you to get out and about. Whether that be chugging beers at a local brewery or doing yoga on a SUP, San Diego has a lil something for everyone. Enjoy everything the city has to offer without breaking your budget, every day of the week.


Monday – Muscle Up at Wonderland

With full windows overlooking Ocean Beach (and the pier), Wonderland Ocean Pub is one of the best spots at any time, day or night. Enjoy their happy hour until 6 nightly, and then gorge yourself on their half-priced mussels and oysters until 10:00 p.m. Did I mention live music?


Tuesday- Take in the Marine Life at La Jolla Cove

A little different than the beaches; you actually walk down into a cove, which ends up combating the wind when it gets too strong. Look above and you’ll see tall, thin palm trees swaying, below you’ll see seals sunbathing and splashing in the water. The best things in life really are free.


Wednesday – Wander Around Balboa Park

Everyone’s secret pride and joy. As one of the biggest parks in the country, it’s a good place to go when you want to get a lost in this little city. Immaculate Spanish architecture and bubbling fountains lead into the Japanese Tea Garden. Don’t miss the free Botanical Building with innumerable orchids and other exquisite blossoms.


Thursday – Three Miles Later…

You’ll be so happy hiked to the highest point in the city, Cowles Mountain. The distance is perfect for a morning or sunset hike, and should be hiked with caution during the heat of the day (12:00-2:00). Dogs are permitted, and Smokey had a great time. Bring water, nuts, and fruit to enjoy at the top. Once you get up there, you won’t be able leave.


Friday –  Free Your Mind

With a mediation class at House of Yogi San Diego. Friday evenings at 7:15, join like-minded individuals find relaxation. Not to mention, when a class normally costs $18 for a drop-in, I don’t feel guilty for doing a $5-$10 donation class. Especially when the studio is as adorable as this one is AND the results are phenomenal.


Saturday – Shop Like a Local

The Little Italy neighborhood is a treat 24/7 but Saturday is when the show is really on. Vendors line about 8 city blocks from 8:00 a.m-2:00 p.m. selling everything from live uni, to flowers, to handmade jewelry. Don’t feel bad about taking the free samples, you probably won’t be able to walk away! Find the details here.


Sunday – Say Goodbye to the Day at Sunset Cliffs

San Diego has plenty of little tucked away beaches, but Sunset Cliffs is the one you really can’t afford to miss. Bring two blankets- one to sit on and one to wrap around you as the sun goes down. The most beautiful colors tend to appear about 20-40 minutes after sundown, so stick around! *Recently, there had been an issue with cracks appearing on the cliff, the sure to avoid any areas that are marked off.* 

What is your favorite city to visit on a budget? Should I have included happy hours?

Hiking Cowles Mountain & Some Sentimentality

If you have time in San Diego…

Make it over to the highest point in the city, Cowles Mountain! It’s an easy enough hike, 3 miles round trip and provides the highest panoramic views of the city. The best part? It’s dog friendly. Oh and they have bathrooms at the bottom of the trail ☺️

Because I am a complete and utter prepare for the worst type of gal, I brought my camelbak, pumpkin seeds, a granola bar, and sunscreen. The only thing that was really needed was the camelbak which the three of us shared.

If you go after 3:30 or so, be sure to bring a light coat! It gets very windy at the top and chilly when the sun starts to set. You’ll see in the pictures when temperatures started to drop by our clothing.

Although it doesn’t start getting green till about 3/4 of a mile up, the scenery is gorgeous with orange clay and desert flowers.

cowels mountain trail #sandiego

Oh, they are also in a nature restoration project so there are little baby cactuses planted everywhere! Next time I’ll put my hand next to them so you can see how tiny they are 😊 you live and you learn.

Smokey, who is a medium to high energy dog (think lab, not husky) was loving every second of it and we finally just let him explore around dragging his little purple leash behind him.

*please note if you are bringing a dog to check the weather! Only a month ago someone’s poor doggy got heat stroke and passed away. Better safe than sorry!*

We must have gone at the perfect interval time (3:30-5:30 pm) because a ton of people were coming down when we went up and even more came up when we were going down. I would say if you enjoy your solitude to avoid to trail at dusk.

Cowels Mountain Trail #sandiego || a tipsy gypsy life #explore

It is definitely a great spot to do a personal workout, walk with a friend, or take your pooch for a walk.. I even saw one amazing mom with 4 kids under 10 and a dog! #superhero.

The view from the top was life-changing for me and way too sentimental.

This was the last time I went hiking at Camelback in 2011. I was 19, and unconsciously still mending my heart from a loss I dealt with two years earlier. I was happy for the week and ecstatic in the moment; I was fit, working hard, and with my best friend in her hometown. I thought I had finally made it. Silly girl, little did I know about the wild roller coaster ride I was about to put myself on.

Hiking Cowles trail in #sandiego | a tipsy gypsy life #travel

Yesterday, almost three years later to the date, I stood upon the highest peak looking over my new home with the loves of my life, loving life. How did I get so lucky?

Don’t demand happiness from yourself before you are ready because believe me, your heart will find a way to fill whatever hole you have.

I’m going to repeat and reword that because I didn’t come up with that, a very very smart person told me this and changed my friggin life.

Whatever you are missing, you will find a way to fill it.

It’s like when you’re craving a food like chocolate. Your body is telling you it needs something, so you grab the first thing that looks right (the chocolates) when your body really wants magnesium (nuts, seeds, leafy greens). Being aware is the first step to a healthy, happy life! Follow your natural urges, your soul tends to know what’s best.