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Where the City Meets the Sea

Senn & Sons

We met over bongo drums.  In a loud room with crazy music and a symphony of voices singing loudly, as we sat in a circle banging on drums, we smiled at one another.  It was one of those knowing smiles that mothers give one another as they are doing something for their kid’s sake – something like Music Together.  Oh, it’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a bit of a sacrifice as well some mornings when you’re over tired and feigning a smile through yet another rendition of “Tingalayo.”  Kim is absolutely precious, though, and so is her son Hugo (this kid is going to be SUCH a lady-killer!) and we became fast friends.  Kim is an artist, though at the time, she hadn’t really taken her business full-scale.  We had many chats over coffee about life with a toddler, navigating San Francisco as a mom and being an entrepreneur.  Every single time I left Kim’s presence, I felt sunnier in spirit and more optimistic and upbeat than I had going into the conversation. (more…)

Carmel Valley Ranch: Part 2

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On our first morning during our visit to Carmel Valley Ranch we relaxed in our luxurious room (complete with a fireplace!) and enjoyed the enormous balcony overlooking the mountains and vineyards.  The hubs and I relaxed on the comfy chairs and watched the littles blow bubbles to their hearts’ content. It was such a nice, relaxing morning.

The food at Carmel Valley Ranch is outstanding.  We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at the resort over the course of our stay and all were delish.  And the restaurant is so kid friendly.  It was really nice to have a nice meal, but also have our littles be more than welcome there.  In fact, at one point, our oldest boy (who is just under three) started to get a bit fidgety and the next thing I knew, the hostess was bringing him a cool little magnet game to play with to entertain him. (more…)

Carmel Valley Ranch

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This weekend, during our Summer of Fun, we took a mini-vacation to Carmel Valley Ranch.  What an incredible place!  Seriously.  This place is absolutely amazing.  Set in the Santa Lucia mountains.  The resorts boasts amazing golf, gorgeous hiking trails, a vineyard, tennis, two beautiful pools, a splash pad for the littles, a bocce ball court, yoga and many activity options. And that is to say nothing of the incredibly luxurious accomodations.  They are simply divine!  Nestled in the mountains, you absolutely cannot find a bad view in this place.  Lavender and vineyards abound, making this a wonderful place to relax…and play.  And did I mention the food?  Yum. (more…)

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?

Happy Fourth of July!

IndependenceBanner

We hope your 4th of July is filled with fun, family and fireworks.  And to keep you sparkling for the holiday weekend, we’re celebrating with 35% off our entire website!  Shop early for the best deals because quantities are highly limited.  Use coupon code FLAG at checkout for the savings!

Thanks for all of your support over the years.  We really appreciate our amazing customers.  You guys simply rock!  We wish you a safe and sparkly Independence Day as we celebrate the rich heritage of our great country.

Au Revoir, Google Reader

LaBoulange

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…)