san francisco

The Summer of Fun

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My dear husband has been working his tail off for many, many, many years.  We’ve got a small break in between this and more hard work to come and so we are taking a little bit of a sabbatical between jobs.  Two whole months of family time.  I couldn’t BE more excited.  As we’ve been planning for this time (there’s so much to do and so much lost time to make up for!) we have lovingly dubbed it “The Summer of Fun.”  We may or may not even have a calendar of upcoming events for the Summer of Fun.  (Hey, if you don’t plan, there’s no way to get it all done!)  We’ve got a lot on our San Francisco “bucket list” and we’re going to do our best to knock out as many of them as we can. (more…)

Smitten Ice Cream

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San Francisco is a city of invention.  The city breeds new ideas pretty much nonstop.  The people who live in it are ambitious and are game-changers.  They create new apps, new technology and new social services.  They write books, start companies and create art.  And the people of San Francisco are always cultivating change with new ideas – even in ice cream. (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

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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?

Stephanie Larson Guest Post

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Seriously, how cute is my friend Stephanie (above?)  I love this girl.  She is absolutely just as sweet as she is cute.  And she’s just as amazing at throwing parties as she is sweet. Stephanie runs Stephanie Larson Events, an event planning business here in San Francisco.  Her company provides boutique wedding planning & coordination services in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few parties that Stephanie planned and let me just tell you, it was like a Pinterest board came to life.  This girl has talent!  One such event was our friends Brian and Mina’s wedding.  It was held at Rome Valley Vineyards in Garden Valley, California and it was spectacular (not to mention a TON of fun.)  Brian and Mina incorporated so many fun things into their special day, as you can tell from the gorgeous photos on Stephanie’s blog post.  (Sidenote – the photographer is also a friend of mine and you’ll be meeting him in a few weeks as well!) (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…)

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…)

Living in a Vacation Spot

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This is not an uncommon occurrence in my life right now…

This morning, I was driving downtown for a hair appointment.  Sidenote:  I absolutely LOVE hair day, don’t you?  It’s one of my very favorite days.  Someone washes your hair while giving you a scalp massage. (Melt!)  Then, they style it and as you leave, you just feel far more put together than you did when you went in.  As a mom of little ones, I appreciate this ritual even more than I did before I had kids, because it is a precious few hours where I get to fully focus on myself and I come out looking halfway decent.  In the midst of a life usually spent with hair in a ponytail (that may or may not have dried avocado/oatmeal/spit up in it) this is a serious treat.  Okay, now back to my point… (more…)