Out & About

Getting My Zen On

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Golden Gate Park is filled with “must-see” places.  It holds the California Academy of Science, the deYoung Museum, Conservatory of Flowers, Botanical Gardens, Stowe Lake, Koret Playground with the carousel and a host of other hidden treasures amid this green sanctuary within a bustling city.  Today, we visited another one of these spots – the Japanese Tea Garden.

The Japanese Tea Garden has a rich history in San Francisco.   It was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for an international exhibition in 1894.  After the fair closed, the creator of the garden moved onto the property to become its caretaker.  He poured all of his personal wealth, passion and talents into creating a garden of utmost perfection and lived there with his family until 1942, when they were forced to evacuate their home (along with many Japanese Americans) to move into internment camps.  Sadly, they were not allowed to return to their home there even after the war ended. (more…)

The Unsung Accessory

AM Paris Scarf

Here in San Francisco, I wear a scarf pretty much every day.  Even if I don’t leave the house wearing one, I always throw one in my bag.  The weather can vary SO much here from hour to hour – and from neighborhood to neighborhood.  If you’re going to be out for the day or are trekking around the city, you definitely need layers.  You never know what you’ll encounter out there and since it is such a walking city,  you’re bound to be out in the elements a lot.  I find a scarf really warms you up when you’re chilly and is easy to take off if you get too hot.  Plus, it is easy to stuff in your purse, which can’t be said for a coat!  I always take one with me when I travel as well.  They’re fantastic for the plane, a random chilly restaurant or a blustery day.  Scarves are one of my very favorite accessories! (more…)

Woodhouse Fish Co.

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Yum.  Yum.  Yum!  Today, hubs and I had a very rare mid-afternoon date.  We had lunch at Woodhouse Fish Co. on Fillmore and it was absolutely delicious!  Their clam chowder is amazing and their lobster roll sandwich is incredible.  The ambiance is adorable, filled with boating gear and television flat screens that show silent videos of various boats skimming along the water, shot from interesting angles.  The restaurant looks much like a New England fish house and gives a fun taste (both literally and figuratively) of the East Coast right here on the West. This hotspot is both cute and tasty – what more could you want?  Check it out!

What’s your favorite casual spot for seafood in San Francisco?

Au Revoir, Google Reader

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I love reading blogs.  They’re such a fun way to connect with other people and learn about new things. They can be educational, hilarious or just plain fun.  And often, they’re just so lovely, too!  Pure inspiration.

It used to be that to keep up with blogs, you had to either bookmark them and remember to check the bookmarks to keep up to date.  It’s safe to say that doesn’t work for me – I have a hard time remembering far more critical things on my to do list.  Another option was signing up for email updates every time a blog you like is updated.   (more…)

Domaine Carneros

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For four years now, every time we drive to the wine country, as we are cruising down 12 on our way to Sonoma or Napa, I point out the grand chateau that sits prominently on the side of the road.  I always marvel at the architecture of it and tell hubs that we need to stop there “sometime soon.”  He always agrees.  Yet, we’re usually headed somewhere specific and by the time we are driving back by it on the way home, either we are tired or the kids are asleep in the car. . . or both.

Recently, however, we made a point to stop in and we are SO glad that we did.  What a neat spot!  The chateau is the home of Domaine Carneros Winery, which is owned by the Taittinger family.  It’s not the small, offbeat vineyard that we usually love visiting or a quaint family-run one that feels like you’ve been to a friend’s home, but it is still a really great visit, nonetheless. (more…)

French Blue

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In the heart of St. Helena on the quaint little Main Street lies one of the cutest restaurants I’ve ever visited.  We discovered it nearly a year ago, just after it opened, and French Blue has quickly become a favorite spot of ours.  The ambiance is serene and inviting, the tables (and banquets!) are beyond comfortable, the space is cozy, complete with a fireplace, and the staff is incredibly friendly.  They are always so kind to us even as we traipse in with two kids aged two and under.  The maitre d’ is the nicest man and always offers to take our kids for a few moments and show them the kitchen and walk them around the restaurant to give us “a quick twenty minute date” (in his words.)  I mean, are you kidding me?  What a treasure this man is! (And our kiddos love him…well, that and parading around the restaurant with patrons fawning all over them!)  When we walk in, several of the staff recognize us and come to say hello.  That is more a testament to how sweet they are than to how often we frequent the place.  We have taken several friends (and their little ones!) to the restaurant and every one of them has told us that it will now be a regular spot for them.  It’s that good – and that cute. (more…)

From Marsh to Market

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Do you have one of those impossibly chic friends?  You know the one I’m talking about.  Every time you see her, she looks incredibly well put together, but amazingly with almost no effort at all?  She just exudes that Parisian chic that we all drool over – she radiates effortless elegance.  She’s the girl that you’d love to hate if she weren’t so sweet.  Well, I have a few of those friends and one of them is Alexandra Knight.  We were introduced by a mutual friend (who, incidentally, is also darling and also someone you need to know!) and hit it off right away.  We had an immediate connection as female entrepreneurs and not only because I was, of course, drooling over her luxury handbags. They. Are. Exquisite! (more…)

Inn at Spanish Bay

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For Father’s Day, we drove down to Pebble Beach with my brother and sister-in-law who were in town visiting us before heading down to Carmel for a little vacation.  Pebble Beach was my father’s favorite spot, so it was really special to spend Father’s Day there with my brother and with my precious husband who is an amazing father to our two boys.  I am blessed, indeed.

We’ve been to Carmel a number of times, but had yet to hear the famous bagpiper at the Inn at Spanish Bay.  We finally made it there on this trip.  It was absolutely surreal and I highly recommend it if you’re in the area.  The bagpiper starts playing around 5.30pm on the 1st hole on the golf course to put the golf course to sleep, in Scottish tradition.  Then, he slowly walks towards the lodge, ending up there around 6pm and playing for around 30 minutes with a set that includes Amazing Grace. (more…)

Because Justice Matters

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Today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Ruthie.  I’ll start by telling you how I met Ruthie about three years ago.  (*Disclaimer:  This is a rather long post, but it’s an important topic, so I wanted to do it justice – no pun intended.)

I guess, technically, I met Ruthie before this encounter, since we attended the same then small (now rather large, by SF standards) church, Reality SF.  I know that we had talked, since we both had young children (mine was a newborn, hers was a year older) but we hadn’t really connected on that deeper level yet.  One night, we were out to celebrate a mutual friend’s birthday at Cafe Divine in North Beach.  Ruthie and I were seated next to one another and I casually asked her what she did (work-wise.)  I was in no way prepared for the answer that I got that night. (more…)

There’s a Paris, Texas?

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One of my friends I’ll be introducing you to in a few weeks is Paul Hotze, who co-founded the fabulous Paris Texas Apparel Co with his brother, Patrick.  I’ve known Paul pretty much my entire life (like, I literally cannot remember not knowing him) and one thing is consistent about him (other than the fact that he’s a really nice guy) – he can always make you laugh.  He’s got a real talent for it…and apparently, also for designing cool ties.

We’ll chat more with Paul on our blog soon, because he is definitely a friend that you should know, but for now, I didn’t want you to miss this super cute video he made.  Paul is the jogger in the video and no, he doesn’t always dress like that (but it’s also not entirely out of the ordinary, either…) (more…)