Dog-friendly Bodie {#TruLoveIs}

Around California, Partners, The Animals

This post is sponsored by PetSmart® & Wellness® Natural Pet Food and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Wellness TruFood®, but [Super Duper Fantastic] only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Wellness Natural Pet Food is not responsible for the content of this article.


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Dog-Friendly Bodie

#TruLoveIs feeding your dog the very best food, so they can stay vibrant and happy on their adventures with you. TruFood recipes contain grain free fibers, such as chickpeas, flax seed, and lentils, pumpkin, ginger, turmeric, and live yogurt cultures to help support a healthy digestive system. Powerful superfoods such as beets, blueberries, and cranberries also help maintain a healthy weight and support the immune system. Follow Petsmart on Twitter to learn more about the benefits of feeding natural, living nutrition, and Wellness TruFood.

#TruLoveIs planning trips where we can be dog-inclusive! Not only do we get to spend more time with our pup, we also save money on doggie daycare. However, it’s more for the first reason than the second because many hotels charge an additional fee for pets, so money isn’t really the issue at that point.

While reading up on Bodie State Historic Park earlier in the year, we saw that leashed dogs are welcome so we included our pup in our trip planning!

Fresca enjoying the views near the campground

We picked out Paradise Shores, a dog-friendly campground {doggie shower and play area included!} in nearby Bridgeport. They love dogs and don’t charge extra for them!

The elevation must have gotten to Fresca because when we were trying to set up our tent in super windy conditions, she just sat there patiently waiting rather than getting all up in our business. The elevation only bothered me on our second day as we were on our way home.

Once we were all set up and finished with traipsing through Bodie at night, she crossed “spend a night in a tent” off her bucket list {because of course she would have one}!

Dog-friendly Bodie

Dogs are welcome at Bodie State Historic Park as long as they are on leash and their owners pick up after them. There are a few buildings that they are not allowed to enter, such as the museum and the stamp mill, but that’s fewer than a handful. It makes sense since there are artifacts on display and interiors in “arrested decay” being preserved.

Fresca enjoyed the sights and smells and didn’t seem turned off by the ghosts. A few wild animals did catch her nose a few times, and she was tempted to run after what was rustling in the shrubs. Thankfully, she was mostly well-behaved and cooperated with us on our photo shoots.

Dog-friendly Bodie
Chilling in front of the museum

Dog-friendly Bodie

#TruLoveIs maintaining your pup’s routines, even when on the road. We are incredibly blessed that Fresca is flexible in terms of being able to travel with us. She adjusts and adapts to new environments because we take the time to familiarize her with new surroundings. We also try to bring some comforts of home along, like a favorite blanket, toy, and of course, her favorite – food and snacks!

Dog-friendly Bodie

Can’t wait for our next adventure together!


Thanks to Petsmart and Wellness TruFood for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.


Dog-friendly Carmel-by-the-Sea

Around California, The Animals

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a tiny one square mile town with a reputation for being one of the most dog-friendly places in the country. Located on the coast off Highway 1 just south of Monterey, it makes a great weekend getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area, especially for those who want to bring their pooches along.

We drove down to Carmel for a birthday weekend for Ryan. One of his “wishes” was to spend time with the pup, so he got to spend time with her AND enjoy time away from home.

Where To Sleep

We stayed at the dog-friendly Hofsas House Hotel during our Carmel-by-the-Sea trip. For more than six decades, the Theis family has treated guests to their Bavarian-inspired rooms and hospitality. Each room is spacious and uniquely decorated. We also loved that Hofsas House is so conveniently located – just steps from the main drag of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Hofsas House
Outside of the Hofsas House office

Fresca also appreciated the warm welcome. For those interested in bringing their pups with them to Hofsas House, there is a small pet fee.

Hofsas House
Doggie welcome package!

Where To Eat

Upon check-in, we were provided with a few maps of the area. On both, dog-friendly spots are marked, so you know where you’re welcome. While we didn’t invite Fresca along for every meal over the weekend, she got to tag along when we had dinner at Tarpy’s in Monterey. They have a dog menu (printed, laminated, the works!), so we ordered Fresca her very own dinner – a grilled “Doggie Delight Burger.”

Where’s my food?

She was pretty excited about that and beat us in the dinner gobbling race.

Ready to gobble!

Where To Drink

Carmel’s tasting rooms are all within a few blocks of each other and are all dog-friendly. Some are right on the street while others are tucked away in hidden courtyards. Many participate in the Carmel Wine Walk-by-the-Sea Wine Tasting Passport program, which is a self-paced, self-guided stroll to the tasting rooms. By purchasing the passport, you gain access to nine tastings at the fourteen participating wineries.

Wine Tasting in dog-friendly Carmel

During our weekend, we shared tastings and stopped by Alexander-Smith, Dawn’s Dream, De Tierra Vineyards, Galante Vineyards, and Scheid Wines. Chardonnay and Pinot is the specialty of the area since the grapes are grown in nearby Santa Lucia Highlands, Carmel Valley, and the Monterey and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Dog-friendly Carmel
Fresca made herself at home at each of the tasting rooms we visited

Passports can either be purchased online, at the Carmel Visitor Center, or even through some of the accommodations in the area. Since the passport does not expire, we have a few more tastings to enjoy the next time we are in the area.

Where To Explore

Dog-friendly Carmel
Fresca intrigued by the sights and sounds of Mission Trail Park

Mission Trail Nature Preserve and Park is a fantastic spot for an easy hike. It is Carmel’s largest park spanning 35 acres with five miles of trails for exploring. We parked at the Mountain View Avenue entrance and walked all the way to the Carmel Mission on the other side of the park. Fresca enjoyed taking a peek at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo from the outside.

Dog-friendly Carmel
Outside of the Carmel Mission

And as always, Carmel Beach City Park is a favorite.

Dog-friendly Carmel
Fresca exploring the tidepools

Disclosure: Thanks to Hofsas House Hotel for hosting our weekend in dog-friendly Carmel-by-the-Sea. All opinions expressed here are my own.


See Bodie : Ghost Town at Night

Around California, Travel

Bodie at Night

Bodie State Historic Park has been on my list of places to visit for quite some time. I think the first time I heard about it was from a news article that Ryan shared with me about a ranger who spent the winter months in this isolated place. While the state historic park is open in the winter, the high elevation and unpredictable weather makes it a less than desirable place to visit during that time. So like most visitors, we made a trip during a warmer month (low 50s, high 40s at night).

Bodie at Night

For three nights in the year, Bodie State Historic Park is open to the public until 10pm in the evening. The Bodie Foundation offers a special program for the evening – a walking ghost tour of the town, a ghost tour of the Old Stamp Mill, and star stories with an astronomer. The park’s normal operating hours are 9am to 6pm, which means we get four extra hours to explore the ghost town and take photos.

Ryan recently bought me a new camera with a fancy lens, timing his purchase for right before our Bodie trip, so I took the opportunity to refresh my memory on aperture, ISO, and shutter speed concepts. I’d taken a few newbie DSLR photography classes (several because I would forget to use the newly acquired skills), so it was time to take that camera out of automatic mode.

Bodie at Night

Bodie at Night

Bodie at Night

Bodie at Night

Definitely needs practice, but I’m pleased with what I was able to capture. I’m most proud of that last photo there. 10pm rolled around fairly quickly, so I took some more practice shots of the night sky back at our campsite.

Even though only 10% remains of the town that was booming back in the late 1800s, we didn’t make it to all of the buildings. Bodie at night is beautiful, and I’m hoping to visit again!


Currently – v.06 {2015}

Being Suki

Loving friendships forged through blogging. I was recently invited to attend the media preview of Pinot’s Palette in Alameda. It takes the painting and drinking wine concept a step further by hosting these events in an established location with featured wineries rotating in.

Since it was in her neck of the woods, I invited Lori of Fake Food Free to attend as my guest. Sadly, it won’t be her neighborhood for much longer, so we took the opportunity of wining and painting to hang out before her move.

Loathing all the bad news out there. Just this morning – there were reports of a second bombing in Bangkok within 24 hours. That’s only the tip of the iceberg though.

Watching my Pets budget this month! Fresca’s pet insurance is due at the end of the month, and in order to take advantage of a small discount, I have to make the payment all at once. While I’m grateful she hasn’t gotten into too much trouble this past year, having the insurance puts my mind at ease even further should anything happen. We didn’t get any insurance for Sergio since he’s almost 10 years old, but we did put in a cat door for him recently.

Feeling exhausted, but happy from the past weekend. Ryan and I went to the Taylor Swift concert on Friday, then hopped onto a plane on Saturday morning for Southern California for his cousin’s wedding. We, of course, along with his brothers helped close the party down by dancing until the very end. On Sunday, we took our flight back to the Bay Area, only to be stuck on the plane for an extra hour because there was a fire alarm going off in our terminal.

When we finally got off the plane, I had to hightail it down to the Palace of Fine Arts because I’d gathered a group of friends together for an escape room experience with Palace Games. More on that in another post!

Working on a plan to start coding again. It fell to the backburner for a bit, but I’m ramping back up again.

Wishing for more hours in a day. Instead, I should learn to make the most of the same set of hours everyone has. :)

Looking forward to a weekend in Bodie, a ghost town east of the Sierras. It’s been on my list to visit for some time. Several evenings in the year, the state historic park is open to the public, so we planned our trip to coincide with one of those evenings. So excited!

What are you currently up to?


Eat SF : Omakase


Omakase is a Japanese phrase that means “I’ll leave it to you.” Essentially, you’re ordering the chef’s choice when using this term at a Japanese restaurant. We were recently invited to dine at Omakase, a traditional Edomae-style sushi bar in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood, where rather than selecting items from a menu, guests have three pricing options to choose from. The team of chefs led by Chef Jackson Yu serve a series of items based on what guests choose to spend.

Much of the fish served is flown in several times a week from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, so you’re getting ingredients you would find in a restaurant in Japan!

With a total of 14 seats, no matter if one chooses the early or later seating, the dining experience is intimate and special. We certainly felt like special guests when we arrived.

Our belongings were tucked away under our seats in baskets that were likely custom produced by Japanese artisans for the restaurant. Most of their dishware and pottery is, at least. The quality of the wood, ceramic and porcelain is apparent, and if you want to hear the story behind each piece, your server will be more than happy to explain. The quality of the ingredients and tabletop accessories make the dining experience at Omakase like no other in the Bay Area.

Omakase - sake
Nishida Kikuizumi Ginjo Sake from Aomori prefecture

Omakase - sake Omakase - sake
Akitabare Suirakuten Daiginjo Sake from Akita prefecture – enjoyed out of tin Mt Fuji sake cups!

The dining experience reminded me of the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, where piece after piece of fish is presented for consumption. It was less intense, of course. I didn’t keep track of the timing of our meal, but it was a much more relaxed pace.

Omakase - Lobster Snow Crab Salad
Lobster Snow Crab Salad (left) and Ball Sushi with Fresh Ginger (right)

Omakase - Uni Fish Cake over Kombu
Uni Fish Cake over Kombu (edible kelp)

Omakase - Sashimi
Live Octopus, Ocean Trout with 24k gold flakes, Trout Belly, Bluefin Tuna, Black Sea Bream

Omakase - Sashimi
Close-up of the Sashimi

After the sashimi course of the meal came the nigiri. We were encouraged to use our hands and to enjoy them as the chef prepared them without adding soy sauce of our own. I didn’t mention my aversion towards wasabi, but the small amounts used didn’t bother me too much.

Omakase Omakase
Shima Aji (Striped Jack) and Blue Fin Tuna

Omakase Omakase
Isaki (Grunt Fish) and Torched Butterfish

Omakase - Sashimi
Chef Jackson torching it up

Omakase Omakase
Saba (Japanese Mackerel) and Spanish Mackerel

Omakase Omakase
Hamo (Daggertooth Pike Conger/Eel) and a small break from all the nigiri – Grilled Sea Bass over an English Pea Puree

Omakase Omakase
Hobo (Sea Robin) and Braided Kohada (Gizzard Shad)

Omakase Omakase
Anago (conger eel) and Kinmedai (Golden Eye Snapper)

Omakase Omakase
Bluefin Toro and Uni with Roe

Omakase Omakase Omakase
Final courses: Toro with Pickled Radish in Torched Seaweed, Egg sushi, and Red Miso Soup with Manila Clam and Mirugai

If either of us had a different appetite, we could have requested more or less rice with each nigiri. We were pleasantly stuffed at the end of the meal, so no adjustments were necessary. There are benefits to reserving the later seating. We arrived at 7:30pm, and there was no worry of having to eat as fast as we could because there wouldn’t be another seating after us.

Since Japanese cuisine is at the top of my list, I am excited for future visits to Omakase for another seafood experience!

Disclosure: Our dinner at Omakase was complimentary. Thanks to Omakase for hosting us! All opinions expressed here are my own.

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