Exploring the Unexpected

Welcome to 2016!

I hope your New Year’s Eve and Day were fun and safe. How did you celebrate it? I had a nice evening with friends, one of whom hosted a hot pot. It was a newer experience for me. I like quiet dinner parties for New Year’s. I’m certainly not brave enough to face the crowds.

The new year, of course, brings up talks of resolutions and goals for the coming months. I learned a long time ago that I’m not great with keeping to goals that are based on calendar months. It’s so arbitrary. Having a goal to loose weight in 2016, for example, is difficult because it’s so vague and holds you to very little action. Your goal could be something more active like go to the gym every day, but even then you’re likely to hit a plateau or have a bad day and the goal to become unattainable.

Instead, I like making challenges for myself that are action oriented, but are more fun. I want it to be something I look forward to, not just do because it’s a typical goal to achieve. Last year, I went on a hike every 20150227_100731weekend. Sometimes they were short – only an hour or so – other times they were grand, all-day adventures. I went by myself, with friends, family, or my dog. I’m proud to say I mostly achieved this challenge. There were a few weekends were it was miserably hot, and I did something else active like kayak. But 90% of the weekends, I was out there hiking. I hope to continue exploring the outdoors, but this year, my challenge is:

Go somewhere new every week.

This is a little more open ended – I might go on a new hiking trail, find a place to eat, visit a new state (or even country), or try a new activity! There’s so much to explore, I’m sure it will be easy to find things to do.

I grew up in the bay area, and except for 6 years of schools in various cities and states, have lived here my whole life. Yet, I recently moved to a whole new area of the bay, and discovered just how little I’ve explored of it.

So my first adventure: travel to Mill Valley (north of the Golden Gate Bridge) to a restaurant I’ve heard about but never eaten.

It was the best decision! My friend, C, and I went for brunch at Kitchen Sunnyside. It is a cute little place, tucked into a gorgeous, old-town-feeling, brick shopping center. I wish I had pictures to show you, but we were so excited by the food, we completely forgot to take photos. Sometimes it’s important to be in the moment.

With so many great choices, we decided to split both the Citron (French Toast) and the Morning Tacos. So, so good. If you like breakfast burritos, you should definitely try the tacos. They are superior. Honestly, even if you don’t like burritos, you should try the tacos. They’ve got eggs, avocado, sausage, bacon, cheese, and an aioli. What more do you need? The Citron was also good. They serve it sprinkled with cinnamon, powdered sugar, and fresh berries (thank goodness for California produce!). It’s also not terribly expensive. I think the most costly item on the menu was $18 and that was because it had crab in it.

Once we finished our delicious meal, we were both in need of some exercise, so we decided to walk around for a bit. Neither of us had been to Mill Valley before, though, I’ve driven though/by it many times. There were lots of adorable shops, each more elegant (and unfortunately for us more expensive) than the last. It was certainly an hour or two of dreaming of a different life! We both fell in love with the little brick shopping center, though. It has an adorable courtyard outside an old-fashioned restaurant with stain glass windowpanes. There’s a little balcony overlooking the courtyard that reminds me of Juliet’s balcony in Verona. We both decided it would be the cutest place to have a small, intimate wedding. You could give spending money at the stores nearby as your party favor. Then we discovered there was an apartment up there! Noisy, but still pretty cute.

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As we wondered around the city some more, we found this beautiful house up on the hill. It’s painted green so you don’t notice it at first as it blends into the redwoods surrounding it. But they’ve cleared a space so they can see down into the city. I wouldn’t mind living there!

Mill Valley is quite small, so after we explored for a bit, we were off again. We decide to stop in Sausalito on our way home, as C hadn’t been in years. We walked through the stores, chatting with the owners and workers who, as always, were delighted to have natives visiting. We even told a couple about Kitchen Sunnyside, including one woman who lived in Mill Valley 2016-01-04 11.54.32and had never been. Our best stop of the day (besides fudge at Munchies) was the sock shop, Soxalito (Don’t you just love that name?). We bought animal socks. C bought raccoons, and I got owls. So we match, but not really. I’m wearing mine as I type this. They’re so soft and warm!

All in all, it was a great first stab at my challenge. It’s truly amazing that you can live somewhere your whole life and still find unexpected treasures. Stay turned for more fun adventures!

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