1st day in San Diego

We are back from a long weekend in San Diego!! It was an adults only trip, no kids.

Ivan would be mad/embarrassed if I brag too much about him, so I won’t get into many details about this part, but he actually won a “high performers trip” to San Diego from work. It is REALLY hard to earn these trips. Over the course of the weekend, the head honchos in attendance repeatedly said that the select few who earned a spot on this trip are the “best of the best” in the whole company. It’s a very prestigious honor! So, I am very, very proud of him. I am also grateful to him for choosing me as his +1. 😁

The weekend was so great. We stayed at a beautiful resort in Coronado, right on the water along a marina, and I feel like the event organizers did a fabulous job. No expense was spared, and we were wined and dined and treated so well. They even gave us pre-paid credit cards to spend out and about, and a sizable hotel credit to spend. So generous!

We had several company dinners and events to attend, and I actually enjoyed the chance to dress up and act like a semi-fancy adult for a change. (Instead of a legging-wearing work-from-home mom.) Ha.

I got a pedicure before we left home and I did my nails and got a spray tan and packed nice dresses and everything. 🙂 (I am not a person who gets pedicures and does her nails, really, ever. So this made me feel quite glamorous. Lol!! 😆)

We still also had a good amount of free time to do a little exploring and relaxing on our own, too.

Here’s a recap of our first day!! This was our first time ever visiting San Diego. A long weekend isn’t enough time to really even scratch the surface of everything there is to see and do in San Diego, so we will definitely need to return. (Hopefully with the boys!! San Diego would make a PERFECT family trip destination.)

Departure from Madison:

I’ll go ahead and start with the big negative of the day: our flight was super early, at 6:51 a.m.

This obviously meant we had to be to the airport by around 5-5:30 a.m, which meant a ~4:20 am wake up for me. (Really wanted to shower/look presentable… being a work trip and all…). FORTUNATELY, we flew out of Madison (airport is only like 20 minutes from our house).

My parents arrived Wednesday night to stay with the boys. With Ivan and I both working Monday- Wednesday, plus trying to pack, plus I wanted to do my nails, plus wrap up some things around the house, etc., it all felt really rushed. It was too much to fit into one evening.

I really should have just taken Wednesday off, but was trying to save vacation days…Anyway, it all felt chaotic and I didn’t go to bed until around 11:30 pm., meaning <5 hours of sleep for the night.

I felt soooo groggy Thursday most of the day while traveling!! Ugh. I can be pretty hit or miss anyway on feeling super great while flying- I often get a little queasy or headachy, even on a good day. The lack of sleep and early flight did me no favors and I just didn’t really feel the best all morning. (No illness symptoms at all, just that kind of gross/ tired/dehydrated/ sort of motion sickness feeling.)

We took a Lyft to the airport Thursday morning (it was so early; didn’t want to make family get up to drive us), and then flew from Madison to Chicago, and then Chicago – San Diego. The flight from Madison to Chicago is laughably short- I think we were in the air for less than 30 minutes!!! Definitely spent more time boarding and taxiing than flying. Ha. But at least we didn’t have to drive to Chicago. (All flights were arranged by his company.)

Took this cool shot just after take off from Madison. Beautiful Wisconsin!

And the obligatory airport shots:

Arrival to San Diego

Flights were good otherwise and on time, luckily. With all the recent issues and cancellations, I was a little nervous.

They had transport waiting for us at the airport- another nice treat. (I’m usually the one figuring out airport-hotel transport options when we travel, so I enjoyed not having to think about it.)

Driving over the bridge from San Diego to Coronado! This bridge was crazy big!

At the hotel we waited in a short line for checkin, and they brought us vodka lemonade drinks to sip on. 🙂 The lobby was very pretty and had big sweeping views out to the water. We had to stop and pick up the welcome bag and get some info from the company travel reps as well.

The nice thing about the early flight (plus being on Pacific time) was getting there nice and early. I think we checked in by 12:30 pm? And another good thing – our room was actually ready that early! (Other people’s weren’t.)

View from our room’s patio

Lunch/pool afternoon

Our itinerary showed that we had a Welcome Cocktail Hour/Reception from 5:30-7:30, so we didn’t have that much free time. We opted to just get lunch and lounge around the lovely pool area for the afternoon.

I was feeling MUCH better and back to normal after getting out of the moving plane. More awake, too, after napping some on the flight. But it felt nice to have a slow afternoon. We just relaxed for a couple hours and then went in the hot tub after the sun shifted and the air cooled off a bit.

Cocktail hour

We got ready for the “casual” cocktail hour and headed there by 5:30. (I was really glad they sent us a whole breakdown of expected attire for each of the weekend’s events- just took the confusion factor out of that! No one wants to be severely underdressed- or overdressed.)

Pretty view from a hotel window

The cocktail hour was held on this beautiful 2 story patio overlooking the water:

We tried to take a timer shot of ourselves before leaving the room … haha. Not the best, but you get the idea.

We didn’t know anyone there, really, besides Ivan’s boss’ boss. Such few people from each market earn these trips, that Ivan was really the only guy from our direct region. It was a little awkward at first? But it worked out. Some of the national level leaders mingled around and stopped to meet us. A couple of other regular attendee couples stopped by to chat as well, so we only had a short time standing at a table awkwardly by ourselves. 😆

Coronado Ferry

After having a glass of Rosé, half of a beer and some hors d’ourves, we left to take advantage of our “free night”. (The other two nights had required dinners, but Thursday was open.)

We took the hotel shuttle into the town of Coronado and then made our way to the ferry landing. Our plan was to take the ferry over to Downtown San Diego to have dinner in the historic Gaslamp Quarter.

View from the hotel entrance:

Another couple took our picture:

Coronado is very cute! Technically an island, connected to land by that huge bridge.

The ferry landing area is very pretty, with shops and restaurants and lots of palm trees. I bought ferry tickets on my phone ($7 each one way). The sun was just setting, so although we could have just taken an Uber over there, I wanted the experience of riding on the boat!!

Looking back on Coronado side- ferry landing area

The San Diego skyline was beautiful!! It was a short ride and very pleasant.

On the San Diego side, walking from the dock to the Gaslamp Quarter:

After the excitement of the pretty views/ferry ride wore off, my wheels started to fall off a little bit. I started fading FAST. It was only around 8:30 pm, but with the time change, it felt like 10:30 for us. And remember, I was already really tired from the early morning and lack of sleep.

Gaslamp Quarter

We snapped a few pics of the famous Gaslamp sign:

Me, still hanging on at this point


This whole area is mostly bars and restaurants- an entertainment scene. We wandered around for a bit, checking it all out.

Meanwhile, I was slowly developing a bit of a headache. I wasn’t sure if it was the tiredness, or the glasses of Rosé (I never drink Rosé- maybe it doesn’t like me??) or what. Wine and I have a complicated relationship in general. Always tends to give me headaches… but yet I like it.

We picked a lively Mexican restaurant that had a fun vibe and a funny name and sat outside. (I regretted this- it really wasn’t that warm out, which surprised me- isn’t Southern California hot?? I guess not as hot as I’d expected.)

With this headache looming, I didn’t want to drink any more alcohol. I am a real lightweight, so I don’t know if the vodka drink in the afternoon + the wine (mixed with a beer? Rookie mistake…) did me in, but I passed on any more booze. Soda didn’t even sound good- I had that at lunch. So, I had water and we shared a taco plate.

Smiling and enjoying the atmosphere, but very tired.

I honestly felt ZONKED during this whole dinner!! 😦 For my body’s time zone (CST), it was pushing midnight. 😴

I enjoyed seeing this area of the city- it was really neat!- and the ferry ride was great. LOVED the sunset + skyline. But I was a pretty boring dinner partner for Ivan this time. Hahaha. We kept it short and as soon as we were done, we took an Uber back to the hotel- I was nodding off in the backseat!

I was so happy to crawl into bed when we got back. 🙂

More to come on day 2! Overall I really enjoyed this first day! San Diego is beautiful. And the afternoon at the pool was perfect. I just really wish I had gotten more sleep the night before.

11 thoughts on “1st day in San Diego”

  1. Wow! What a lovely time away. It sounds like you really had the travel genie working for you to get you good luck with the room ready and the flights on time! I have always found that I never pack enough layers when I go to the West Coast – it’s always just a tiny bit cooler than I think it will be. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip.


    1. I had only ever been to San Francisco, which is most definitely chilly, but I was caught off guard by San Diego!! It wasn’t actually cold- temps were in the 70s everyday, so it was very nice. But I was just thinking being so close to Mexico it would be like, HOT! But it wasn’t. My husband said the temps were perfect for his taste. Your trip to Grand Rapids looked great too! I was actually reading your recap posts when I was away, on my phone. 🙂


  2. Congrats to Ivan! I qualified for a trip when I worked at Wells Fargo, but we went to the Gaylord Texan resort in the DFW area. It was fine but other years the trips were a cruise or Mexico or Miami, etc. So middle of Texas was a little meh? But still nice to get a free trip, especially since I was a cash-strapped 20-something at that time. But we had a TON of things we were expected to attend so there wasn’t much downtime to relax/enjoy the area – but I don’t know what I would have done had I had downtown in that area? So it was fine!

    We went to San Diego pre-kids for a weekend getaway. We stayed further north in a beachy area. But it ended up being cool when we were there, too. I know they can get “June gloom” – that’s how people described the weather when we were there in February as it was very very overcast! But it was better than what we left behind in Minnesota in Feb!

    I would have been exhausted if I was you, too! That is an early start to the day and then a long day!


    1. We had sun the first two days, and then slightly cloudy/foggy type mornings the next two days. It did clear up later in the afternoons, but was overcast for our visit to La Jolla which I was bummed about. It was actually more like “partly sunny”, but we didn’t have the nice blue skies for pictures along the ocean. It was very comfortable and warm during the day, though, and no rain, so I can’t complain 🙂


      1. Oh, and that’s funny about the trip you won! I would be a little sad if the previous year was a Caribbean cruise and I just went to Dallas. haha. Next year the trip would be to Austin, TX, if he manages to win another one. Not quite the same wow factor to me as San Diego, but I’ve heard cool things about Austin, too!


      2. Well Austin would be pretty cool! That is a really fun city and it’s pretty since it’s in hill country. My good friend lived there for several years and I visited her twice.

        Check out the photos from our visit – it was so foggy! We did a hike in Torrey Pines and could barely see the ocean from the overlook area. We did have the trials to ourselves, though, so that was kind of nice and the beach is still beautiful even in the fog – maybe even more so in a way? It was funny because the day was super clear at the start!


  3. My best friend is from San Diego and just got back last week from a 4-week trip to see her parents. It sounds like an absolutely gorgeous place to visit and she raves about it!
    I would have been zonked, too! Kudos to you for making it so late. And it’s amazing what some sleep can do; sounds like overall the first day was great.

    Also – having someone do all the planning for travel sounds AMAZING (that and the all-expenses paid part, as well!).


  4. Oh, I love San Diego… and I love that you got to go. What a nice job perk. (I should consider switching jobs – the government doesn’t fly you anywhere on their dime LOL). I am excited to hear more. I haven’t been to San Diego in a few years.
    Southern California can get hot, but esp. San Diego has perfect moderate temperatures year-round (which means, yes, the evenings can be chilly).


  5. Wow, what a wonderful honor for Ivan! I’m glad you were the +1, too! And San Diego, ohh, I have a soft spot for it after spending a summer there in the early 2000s. Trust me when I say that *inland*, it definitely gets hot! (That is where I lived and worked.) But the city truly worked its way into my heart. 🙂 I can’t wait to read the rest of the recap(s)!


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