san francisco

Twin Peaks

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If you’ve never been up to it, Twin Peaks is worth a visit.  For the twisting, winding road up and the slightly confusing directions to get there, you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the city.  (Above is a photo of me at the top with my beautiful cousins visiting from Atlanta.)  Foggy or not, the views are stunning at 922 feet above sea level.  From the top, you can see Market Street as it bisects the city, ending at the Ferry Building.  You can see the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and countless beautiful churches and buildings. (more…)

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Samovar Tea Lounge

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San Francisco is known for coffee.  I loved coffee before we moved there, but during our time in SF, I became even more of a coffee snob and so did my hubs.  San Francisco has no shortage of incredible coffee shops.  Blue Bottle, Ritual, Four Barrel, Sightglass, Philz – they all come up in conversations about the best coffee in the city.  But, true to its health-conscious reputation, tea is a pretty big deal in the city by the Bay as well.  One fabulous example of this is the Samovar Tea Lounge.  With locations in the Castro, Hayes Valley, Yerba Buena and now the Mission, this hotspot is well worth the hype.  Featuring artisan teas from around the world served by a staff that is well-trained in the art of tea, Samovar is the real deal.   (more…)

Grgich Winery

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On our recent trip back to San Francisco, we made a little time for a day in the wine country.  (No surprise for those of you who know us well!)  We hit two vineyards that were new to us and the first one was Grgich Hills Estate Winery.

Mike Grgich (pronounced Gur-gitch) made history back in 1976 when his chardonnay was chosen in the now-famous “Paris Tasting.”  Then, he was with Chateau Montelena (another fun winery to visit) and they literally put Napa on the map, causing people to start taking California wines seriously.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should definitely read Judgement of Paris or watch the movie Bottle Shock, which I found highly entertaining. (more…)

Sam’s Anchor Cafe

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After a super fun day hiking in Muir Woods, hubs and I drove over to Tiburon to hit Sam’s Anchor Cafe, where we enjoyed a few cold beers and some seafood fare while soaking up the sun (the redwood canopy in Muir Woods keeps it shady, cool and often foggy) and noshing on some seafood.  While I can’t say that the food was anything outstanding, it tasted great to us after a full day of hiking.  Honestly, you go to Sam’s more for the views – and they are totally worth it!  Our afternoon felt like a mini-vacation and this stop made us feel like we’d taken a detour to Key West (well, without the Jimmy Buffet and partying craziness – just the relaxed oceanside atmosphere part.)  If you’re in the area and are looking for a little relax time with a cold beer and gorgeous views, this place is absolutely worth a visit! (more…)

Muir Woods

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California is famous for its redwood trees.  Until you’ve experienced them in person, however, you cannot fully appreciate how incredible they really are.  This Summer, as part of our Summer of Fun adventure, hubs and I had a date day and went hiking in Muir Woods.  Muir Woods is located near Mt. Tam in Marin County, just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from the city.  The national park offers absolutely stunning views and is a gorgeous hike.  The Main Trail in the park is pretty easy and is generally pretty packed with tourists and cameras.  It is a really amazing place where you can soak up nature’s peacefulness and beauty. (more…)

San Francisco Bound!

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Today, we are packed up and headed to San Francisco (where I definitely left my heart in September!) We haven’t been back since we moved to Texas and we are SO excited to see dear friends there – and to visit some of our favorite haunts (read:  eat really good food and drink delicious lattes!)  I have two jewelry shows in two different cities on back-to-back days there, so I’m sure to be a busy gal, but I promise to blog about our trip as I’m able, so you’ll know all about some of our favorite hotspots for your next visit to Fog City.  One of the shows is a private home trunk show on Friday morning – if you’re interested in that, email us here.  The second is the Junior League of Palo Alto Home Tour show on Saturday.  For more information about that, click here.

See you soon, SF friends!

Insider Tips on Great Photo Sessions

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Look at that precious little face above!  Isn’t he darling?  That’s my friend Gus’ son and he is just as precious in person as he is in that adorable photograph.  He’s a lucky little boy because his dad is an expert photographer, so he’s going to have loads of photos that are just as cute as this one.  What a well-documented life this little guy will have!  Gus is a dear friend of ours from our church in San Francisco, Reality, and has photographed our family numerous times – from baby photos of our first son to the birth of our second son to birthday parties and holiday cards in between, we LOVE having Gus photograph our family.  In fact, you’ll see some of the ones he has taken of us in the full post!  I’m always a little overwhelmed by the process of coordinating outfits for all four of us that blend well in color, but aren’t too matchy-matchy and in picking a cool location for our photos and getting the littles’ naps and meals coordinated just right so that he has happy and well-rested subjects to shoot.   (more…)

b. patisserie

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Oh, dear.  I’ve discovered yet another adorable coffee shop in San Francisco and this one’s got amazingly delicious pastries.  And worse, its right in our neighborhood – just a few short blocks from my house.  Yikes!

The other day, we walked over to b. patisserie on California and Divisadero with the kids.  The shop was opened by quite a pair.  Belinda Leong was formerly the pastry chef at Gary Danko (one of my favorites!) and Michel Suas, a native of France, started his career as a pastry chef in Paris.  Not only is this place gorgeous inside, but it is filled with a delicious aroma and equally tasty treats!  They serve Four Barrel coffee and espresso and it is delish as well!  This is a fabulous place to sit, take a breath and contemplate life or to catch up with friends over a steaming latte.  The setting is crisp and serene and the food may have you heading back through the line more than once! (more…)

Gorilla BBQ

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Being a Texas gal, BBQ is definitely something that I miss here in California.  There’s nothing quite like sitting outside on the patio at Goode Company with old school country music playing, Shiner in hand, enjoying one of their chopped brisket sandwiches on jalapeño bread with extra sauce for dipping.  Seriously.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Pure Texas.

So when my friend Dave Lomas told me that there is good BBQ within driving distance of SF, we had to check it out.  Down in Pacifica, there’s a place called Gorilla BBQ.  It’s basically located in an old trailer on the side of the highway and they sell their BBQ until they run out.  And then they close.  The first time we tried to go (around 4pm on a Saturday after the kids’ naps,) they were sold out.  Bummer.  (Don’t feel too badly for us – we made the most of it with a sunset picnic on the beach down in Pacifica.) (more…)

I Scream, You Scream…

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…we all scream for ice cream!  What to do on a Saturday night in Summer…grab a cone, of course!  Even though it it officially “Fogust” here in San Francisco, the fifty-degree weather didn’t stop us from a little frozen indulgence tonight.  We packed up the kids and headed over to the original location of the Bi-Rite Creamery.  If you haven’t yet tried this local spot, you owe it a visit.  Their ice cream is handmade and their dedication to detail is apparent in every bite.  They’ve got fabulous unique flavors and I have yet to try one that I don’t like. (more…)