Archives for posts with tag: Central Coast
Canned wine on the beach in Grover Beach
Golden Hour at Grover Beach, California

Over one long weekend, I sipped and tasted my way through the terroir of San Luis Obispo County’s agriculturally-rich, coastal towns and valleys. The area is known for its sommelier-approved wines and excellent farmers markets, but the artisanal spirits distilled by local vintners and winemakers were news to me. And if you don’t live in the area, it’s probably news to you too.

Below are some photos from the central coast, including its burgeoning distillery trail, as well as Farmstead ED––a series of fun, educational workshops and events hosted by local farmers and purveyors. The beauty of local makers getting organized? Easy access to handy resources to point you in various directions on your next trip, especially if you’re into where your food comes from (I am!) Plus, a few makers I talked to during my visit mentioned locals are still discovering all of the bounty available to them at home, so before everyone else catches on, consider yourself an insider 🙂

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Landscape of Central Coast, California
Photo stop in the Central Coast, California

Weekend Reads is a weekly-ish series of new and old articles I’ve enjoyed reading around the web about travel, food, and wellness. For more brain snacks, read past Weekend Reads posts.

While researching a possible story about Reiki, the ancient Japanese practice of healing touch, I skirted down many adjacent rabbit holes reading the following stories. While it took me off my research track for a bit, maybe I wasn’t that far off.

The Law of Least Effort

“Conventional wisdom tells you not to give up—ever, no matter what. But people tell you all the time that good things tend to happen when you stop trying so hard to make them happen.” I’ve heard this piece of advice in many ways and by different people within my circle and not, and lately, it has helped to keep me motivated as I attempt to create a sustainable career out of this freelance writing thing. This entire article, published on Medium*, is packed with insights, and will challenge you to define for yourself the difference between giving up and persevering. As the author writes, “The law of least effort is more than a productivity hack.”

Forest Bathing and Mindfulness

At women’s health and lifestyle magazine Self, one writer pens her personal experience of Shinrin-yoku, otherwise known as forest bathing. Like Reiki** (healing touch, to be super brief), the Japanese practice connected to ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices has only recently entered the Western wellness psyche. By my interpretation, it’s rooted in mindfulness and exploring nature with all of the senses, which is supposed to be good for our wellbeing. Maybe you’re aware that nature’s benefits have been scientifically backed, which isn’t particularly groundbreaking in my opinion (or maybe, if you haven’t been exposed to the outdoors much?)

For instance, haven’t we all at some point felt stuck or anxious and thought, “I just need to get some fresh air,” or, “I need to take a walk,”? So you do, and you feel much better afterward? These days, I’ve been ultra-receptive to practices, products, and activities that help me break away from my computer or iPhone to recalibrate my perspective, and even pause to eat something (believe it or not, it is possible for this food writer to forget when I’m jamming away on an assignment, or furiously chasing after one.) Whether or not the cold, hard science is there, I’m immediately intrigued if I read about credible, emerging science sounds promising. That said, it’s interesting to read how others approach similar novelties with a discerning eye.

Can Napping Be Bad For You?

Over on Quartzy, global business publication Quartz’s lifestyle site, five experts weigh in on the pros and cons of napping during the day. Spoiler: most experts say an afternoon nap is a good idea, to an extent. For example, while napping does help improve alertness, mood, and memory, napping it out does not make up for an overall sleep poor hygiene. Read on for the full expert breakdown, including why one expert says you don’t need a daytime nap.

Landscape of an olive grove farm in Paso Robles, California.

Not quite a forest, but I wouldn’t mind wandering through this olive grove for some R&R.

Photo: Kiler Ridge Farms, Paso Robles, California

*I’m published on Medium too. Read my beginner’s guide to visiting an art museum, or as I like to call it, creative stimulation.

**To be clear, Reiki was developed in the 1920s (compared to Shinrin-yoku, which the Japanese government designated “a thing” in the 1980s). And according to the International Association of Reiki Professionals, the practice was not meant to be affiliated with any one religion.

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If you’ve been following the blog for a bit, you will know that I enjoy a good brunch, and that’s just me being modest. One could say that I live for leisurely weekends and brunch was invented for just that.

Throughout my brunchventures (brunch + adventures) I have found it difficult to find a dish that combines sweet and savory on one plate. You could argue that I just order two plates (which I have) or to just pick a side, which I have also done. The former can get expensive, especially if I am ordering an a.m. cocktail, which I usually am while the latter leaves me full yet incomplete.

During a recent day-trip to Santa Barbara, I was pleasantly surprised to find the brunch dish I’ve been searching for at Scarlett Begonia, a charming restaurant tucked into the Victoria Court shopping center just off that main drag downtown (State St.).

The sweet and savory came in the form of the Pork Belly Bourbon French Toast; maple-glazed pork belly served with almonds, fresh fruit – blueberries, strawberries – and a poached egg to pair with the thick-cut piece of brioche French toast. The pork belly was generous as well, which I like to see. What a well-balanced meal; definitely not from a nutrition perspective, but we’re not talking about nutrition.

Unfortunately, there were leftovers even after stuffing myself to capacity. I opted not to take the leftovers with us. A meal this good never tastes the same after you’ve nuked it outside of the restaurant.

On the other hand, I’ll make my way back North next weekend to catch the tail end of the Music Academy of the West Festival. You’ll know where to find me in the likely hours of 11 – 2.

We sat outside. I'm a sucker for ambiance. Photo credit: Scarlett Begonia

We sat outside. I’m a sucker for ambiance. Photo credit: Scarlett Begonia

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