Life Update + Our New Abode

It's been awhile hasn't it?! Life has definitely been a little crazy for us these last two months with new jobs, a new apartment and generally everything new around us! We've been trying to navigate our way through SF, especially our new 'hood, to become familiar with our surroundings.

Paul and I finally have our favorite grocery stores we like to go to; Trader Joe's for weekend trips when we need a lot of things, Le Beau Market for quality and specialty items (fruit and veggies etc.), Belcampo for meat, and Flatiron for wine. We have SO many good restaurants around us, but we try to cook at home at least 4 times a week, leaving us a few times to eat out (can you blame us?)

My job was located in the Mission, but we just recently moved offices closer to our apartment. Before, I was leaving our apartment at 7:45 a.m. every morning to get to work by 9 a.m. I would get off at 5:30 p.m and wouldn't get home until 6:30 p.m. My commute included about nearly an hour of walking every day and an hour of bus every day (2 hours total commute everyday). Now, it should only take me 20 minutes to walk to work, which really excites me! It takes Paul about 20-30 minutes to walk to work as well, so hopefully him and I have extraordinary calves, butts, and/or abs in the near future. 

Paul and I just recently joined a co-ed soccer team too! We have already played a couple of games, and let me tell you, the weather for soccer here compared to Texas is really incomparable. I do not miss that Texas heat (but I do miss other things including queso, bbq, and a handful of people). 

We have been living in our apartment for a month now (crazy!) and we finally feel like it has come together. We still need a few things, and still want to update some pieces of furniture in the future, but overall it feels like home. Here are some photos of our place for your viewing pleasure - I will also link some of our items so you know where we purchased them. 

Zhori Bar Cart from Wayfair 

Zhori Bar Cart from Wayfair 

DSC_4570.JPG
Pillow from Etsy 

Pillow from Etsy 

Zona 75" Etagere Bookcase from Wayfair

Zona 75" Etagere Bookcase from Wayfair

DSC_4606.JPG
Ottis Lianne Red Area Rug from Wayfair 

Ottis Lianne Red Area Rug from Wayfair 

Freestanding Wood Coat Stand from Wayfair

Freestanding Wood Coat Stand from Wayfair

DSC_4620.JPG
Banner from Matriarch Handmade

Banner from Matriarch Handmade

Pascal Dining Chair from Wayfair

Pascal Dining Chair from Wayfair

Regina in stuffed animal form

Regina in stuffed animal form

All the closet space!

All the closet space!

Ilkley map from Uncommon Objects

Ilkley map from Uncommon Objects

Hallway views

Hallway views

DSC_4663.JPG
Table from Stuff

Table from Stuff

Apron from Hedley and Bennett
Life currently

Life currently

Golden Gate to the left (even though I didn't get it in the picture)

Golden Gate to the left (even though I didn't get it in the picture)

Coit Tower to the right

Coit Tower to the right

And that's a wrap! Thanks for reading and scrolling through. I can't tell you what my next post will be, but it will have something to do with baking, traveling, or more updates on life in SF.

-Halee 

Artifact Uprising Prints

I have been a huge Artifact Uprising fan for years, ever since I got my first instagram book made by them. I believe my collection so far equals to 3 books, and now some 5x7 prints, that I am super excited about. 

Why am I excited you ask? Well, we will be moving into our new apartment in (hopefully) 3 weeks time, and I can't wait to showcase these photos throughout our new home. I plan on framing some of them and using holders for some of them too (check out these wood block holders on Artifact Uprising's site here). Of course I will be displaying the photo-books I have already, which I did at our old house, but I am excited to see how it all comes together in our new place. 

If you aren't familiar with Artifact Uprising, they are a team of individuals who decided that photos on our phones and laptops should be transferred to books or pictures that we can display in our home and therefore can never get deleted or lost. They truly believe in people and our ability to do great things. If you want to learn more about how they started as a business and become a fan like myself, you can read about them here

If you guys are interested in Artifact Uprising and ordering some prints, use code PRINT25TGS! This will get you a set of everyday prints (seen here), not including shipping. You can choose any size and the code is good until August 11th. Hope some of you get your hands on some prints! Leave me any questions or comments below.

Until next time,

Halee

First Week in San Francisco

This past week has been nothing but exhilarating. We started our journey to San Francisco by driving from San Antonio to Austin. Mind you, we had our cat Regina with us. I was given a sedative by the vet for her, but she was trying her hardest to fight it. The drive was nearly 2 hours with traffic. We arrived and had to check our 4 large bags full of clothes we brought, and then go through security. They wanted me to take Regina out of the bag so that they could scan it, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing that, especially when I overheard the TSA agents joking about how a cat got loose once and everyone was running around trying to find it. I had the option of going into a private room to hold her while they took the bag to be scanned. They should always give you this option and my advice is to take it, especially if you have a cat. Just make sure to get to the airport with plenty of time…because it takes time. Overall, the TSA agents were nice and accommodating. During the flight Regina did relatively okay and I think she just didn’t understand what was going on. We arrived in SF and we quickly dropped our bags off where we were staying and then headed to drop Regina off to where she was staying. My friend Emma Morris hooked me up with a friend of a friend of a friend, who was willing to temporarily take Regina in while we found a place. My option before Emma made this connection for me was unfortunately boarding her, so I was SO SO grateful. I’m happy to say that she's doing well and I get updates and pictures all the time.

Thursday and Friday consisted of interviews for both Paul and I. Thursday, Paul was up at 4:30am and left at 5:00am to catch a flight to Portland where he had an interview. My first interview was at 11:00am. It was with a sunglasses company based in SF and I was interviewing for a social media position. I was freakingggggg out, especially since Paul wasn’t here to go through the motions with me. But, after the interview, I thought it went pretty well and I was feeling good about everything. Friday I had 2 interviews and Paul had another one as well. My interviews were pretty much back to back; 12:00pm and 2:00pm. The first was for a PR firm doing social media and the second was for a clothing company doing social media as well. I thought I did terrible this round of interviews. The first interview was one that I was really looking forward to and really excited about, and I think I psyched myself out a bit. Then that feeling just escalated going from the first to the second interview. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Friday at this point. The weekend approached and we decided to go look at areas around SF that we were considering living. We spent nearly our whole Saturday going from one area to the next, seeing and figuring out what felt right. Also, we got ourselves Clipper cards so that we could ride the bus and Bart more easily (aka we are slowly becoming locals, right?) On Sunday we went to check out a couple Farmers Markets and just explored a little more.

THEN, WE GOT SOME NEWS. We were back at the house, and Paul got an email. He got a job offer from the company he had an interview with in Portland!!! He will be a Management Consultant with this company. We were so ecstatic! We decided to go for dinner and drinks to celebrate. Side note: Usually in order to rent a place here in SF, you need to have good credit and at least a job offer, if not an actual job. Before this amazing news, we didn’t have any job offers so it was kind of hard to actually look at places because we probably wouldn’t be considered. So Paul getting this offer made things so much easier for us. We immediately called a realty agent we had been communicating with and set up some viewings for Tuesday. We couldn’t wait to view some places. Monday rolls around and we didn’t have much planned. We tried to go to De Young Museum since we didn’t get to see it when we visited in June, but it is closed on Mondays. Womp womp. We continued to walk around and take everything in. We were walking in Golden Gate Park when I looked down at my phone to check my email.

I GOT A JOB OFFER TOO! I received a job offer as a Digital Assistant Account Executive for the company I was crossing my fingers for all along.  I seriously couldn’t believe it! I showed Paul and we just couldn’t stop laughing with excitement. We decided to go back to our place to make carbonara and then to go out for drinks later that night to celebrate again. Tuesday is here and we go look at places. We don’t start until noon, but from noon to about 5:30pm, we view 9 or 10 places. There was one that stood out right away and we filled out an application for it. The tenants were still living there and wouldn’t be out until August 15th. There was already someone that was interested so we weren’t sure what our odds were and continued looking.

A few hours later our agent called us telling us WE GOT APPROVED FOR THE APARTMENT! I again, couldn’t believe this was happening. This place is nearly perfect and ticked almost every box. We cannot believe how well things have gone for us, and we are trying to just go with the flow. Surely things don’t go this smoothly when moving to one of the most expensive cities in the US, do they? Wednesday was a bit trickier for us, as we were to meet with the building manager and sign the lease. We needed to bring 1st month’s rent, deposit, and a cleaning fee. The building manager wanted a money order or cashiers check and we were told it would be easy to get. “Try a bank or a western union, that should work” he told us. Considering we don’t have a bank account here yet (because you need an address to set up an account and we don’t have a permanent address because we don’t have an apartment, which makes everything tricky), we were having trouble. After trying 4 banks and a Western Union, we went to the USPS and they accepted cards-except when we tried to make the money order purchase, it didn't go through because of the amount. After 4 phone calls later and our card being denied left and right, it finally worked. We were able to secure the apartment and we will hopefully be moving in at the end of August.

I feel so lucky and privileged to be in this position and to be in such a creative and unique city, and I can’t wait to officially call this place home in a few weeks. Stay tuned because I will definitely be doing a tour of our place once we get the keys! As always, thanks for reading guys.

Until next time!

Halee

Sandgrens Clogs

Lately, I have been more into shoes than I have ever been. I've always been the girl that wears Birks in the summer and Docs in the winter. But, I have been wanting to expand my shoe collection for some time now, and make my outfits a little more fun. 

I collaborated with Sandgrens Clogs, a Swedish shoe company founded in the 19th century, to showcase my new clogs and talk about my experience wearing them. 

As you can tell from the pictures, I practically wore my clogs everywhere since I got them. I tried to coordinate them with every outfit. When we visited San Francisco, I wore them almost everyday; even days that we walked over 10 miles! They really are the cutest shoes I own, and very comfortable too! You can wear them with jeans to make a casual outfit have a bit more flare, or you can wear them with a dress if it's date night. They really are versatile. 

If you are interested in the same shoe that I received, here is the link: https://sandgrensclogs.com/for-women/brights/madrid-low/.

Until next time, 

Halee

San Fran, Here We Come!

Some people might say we're crazy or stupid or irrational, but I say to hell with them. Sometimes you have to do what feels right. Sometimes you have to take a risk and put all of your cards on the table. Sometimes you have to do what most people won't.

It all started when we visited SF a month ago. I knew I would love the city but I wasn't sure how Paul would feel. One of the first things he said to me when we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, pulled into Enterprise, dropped the car off, and waited for an uber was, "I love it here already". I couldn't stop ooing and aaing at every building we passed and every street we went by. We dropped our bags off, spoke with who we were staying with, and off we went to explore. 

Roaming the streets of San Francisco made me feel a certain way I can't quite describe, and that I haven't felt since England. There is definitely a unique energy exuding from San Francisco that pulls you in and I'm under the impression its some kind of spell. Either way, I was hooked and so was Paul. After day one we started doing research to see if this was even possible. "Are we being mental?" we asked ourselves. After little thought and enough research to put our minds at ease, we decided after day 1, we should move there. 

We spent the rest of our trip seeing as much as we could see, checking out different areas, even making a trip to Oakland (since that was a possible option for us at first). 

Once we got home the first thing we did was call our Realtor. He came around the very next day and we told him the news. We asked him what we needed to do to put the house on the market and how long he projected it would take. Fast forward almost 4 weeks and here we are. 

Why are we doing this you ask? Why would we sell our 4 bedroom home with loads of space do you ask? Why would we move to the most expensive city in the US you ask? Why would you not take your time and think about all of this you ask?

Well, for starters, we are doing this because...why not? Why should we stay in San Antonio for the rest of our lives? I honestly have never done anything this crazy (since moving to England), but I can't even begin to explain the feeling I get from it all. I would rather risk everything we have to move to SF and try, rather than staying in SA and always wondering and wishing and dreaming.

Another exciting part about this big move is that we both have never lived in a new city together. We lived in England (where Paul is from) for the first 2 years of our marriage and we have lived in SA for the last 2 years (where I'm from). I also plan to try and focus on social media as a career and do baking as a hobby or side gig, which will be another first for me. But we shall see!

There is so much to say about this whole situation and I have so much on my mind, but I think the message is don't settle. After visiting and seeing San Francisco, I knew if we stayed in San Antonio it would be because we were scared, comfortable, and playing it safe. There is nothing wrong with doing so, but for us, this seems well worth the risk. 

I hope some of you follow our journey and see what happens to us in San Francisco as we work, eat, sleep, travel, explore, and play. I hope I have also shared a little insight for any of those who are wanting to do the same, or have thought about moving somewhere but uncertain about the risks. 

As for the future? We are unsure of it at the moment. San Francisco could be a temporary location for us or it could be more permanent. We've talked about possibly moving back to England after this move, or somewhere in Europe-who knows! But that's life right? Just go with it, follow your heart, trust your instinct and your partner, have fun, take risks, and be brave. 

Signing out,

Halee

Cinnamon Shore, Mustang Island TX

My friend Kat & I recently had the opportunity to visit Cinnamon Shore, located on Mustang Island in Port Aransas Texas. The first thing that popped into my head when I thought of "Cinnamon Shore" is, this place has to be filled with all the sweetest things since it has a name like that! I honestly didn't know much about this place, since the last time I went to Port A was probably almost 10 years ago (Spring Break baby!) I did my research and immediately got super excited about this place. The property is beautiful and very well maintained, and they offer plenty of amenities to guests during their stay. 

We arrived around 2:30pm on a Saturday and we stayed both Saturday and Sunday night, giving us one full day to get a feel for this glorious place. Our first stop was reception to get our room key. We went to our room first to drop everything off and check it out. We fell in love. It was decorated perfectly and everything in it was top-notch. We needed to make our reservations for dinner so we made our way over to the Real Estate office. All the ladies were very helpful, and from there we hopped on a tour of the property with LT. She told us many things about Cinnamon shore, including how many people are actual owners and how many are renters. I was also curious about how long Cinnamon shore had been around, and she answered 10 years! I couldn't believe that I had never heard about this place! 

Town Center 

Town Center 

Once we were done with the tour, we headed back to our room to freshen up. On the tour LT had invited us to check out the Texas Monthly Gulf Coast Show Home, where they were having a happy hour. Did you say wine and a tour of a beautiful home? I'm in. We went to check out Lake Colby first though.

Take 1

Take 1

Take 2

Take 2

Lake Colby

Lake Colby

Texas Monthly Show Home

Texas Monthly Show Home

Master Bath Floors

Master Bath Floors

Loft bedroom on the 3rd floor

Loft bedroom on the 3rd floor

I could get ready every day in this 3rd floor loft 

I could get ready every day in this 3rd floor loft 

View from the 3rd floor balcony 

View from the 3rd floor balcony 

<3

<3

After the tour we went back to our room to change and get ready for dinner. We had 7pm reservations (this place gets booked fast and they aren't open on Sundays). We were super pumped to have some fresh seafood at Lisabella's. Kat got seafood enchiladas that were smothered in this creamy sauce with a hint of heat and it was absolutely delicious. Of course I went with pasta and got shrimp linguine in a butter sauce with tomatoes, basil, pancetta, and parmesan on top. SO GOOD. We decided to quickly go back to the room and make some drinks, grab the blanket, our cameras, some strawberries, and make our way back to the Town Center where a band was setting up to play some live music. We watched for an hour or 2 before heading back to our room for some needed R&R. 

Inside of Lisabellas

Inside of Lisabellas

Shrimp Linguine with tomatoes, pancetta, basil and parmesan

Shrimp Linguine with tomatoes, pancetta, basil and parmesan

Golden Hour feat. Kat in Town Center

Golden Hour feat. Kat in Town Center

Before

Before

After

After

The next morning we got up bright and early to try and see the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy that morning so it didn't really work out, but A for effort! We headed back to the room and I made some pancakes for us (thanks Guenther House!). We then got ready for our big day! We first went to the Infinity pool, which opened at 9am. We wanted to beat the crowd of kids so that we could take an insta-worthy pictures :) Then we went back to the room (notice how we keep going back and forth from and to the room?!) to grab some drinks and made our way to the other pool onsite, which is BYOB (the infinity pool doesn't allow outside drinks since it has a bar onsite). There was only one person there so we took some more pictures and then acted like maniacs with the GoPro. We were being so silly but it was so much fun. We laid out for a bit and then headed to the beach. You can have the front desk reserve beach chairs for you and they will set it all up and have it ready for you by whatever time you request. We only stayed out at the beach for an hour or 2 before heading back to the property. We were getting hungry so we went to the Seaside Cafe at Kiera Pool. Apparently their fish tacos were all the rage so I had to get them and OH MY GOSH THEY WERE SO GOOD. 

Morning vibes

Morning vibes

This view never got old

This view never got old

Kiera Pool 

Kiera Pool 

Dune Pool (BYOB)

Dune Pool (BYOB)

Kat @ Dune Pool 

Kat @ Dune Pool 

Kat @ Dune Pool pt. 2!

Kat @ Dune Pool pt. 2!

On our way to the beach!

On our way to the beach!

Fish tacos at Seaside Cafe

Fish tacos at Seaside Cafe

We were getting exhausted from our day and it was soooooo hot outside so we decided to take a break from the heat. We went back to our room and starting watching Sweet Home Oklahoma on Bravo. We-could-not-stop-watching. If you are a fan of trash tv aka anything on Bravo, I highly recommend this show. We pulled our butts off the comfortable couch and made some drinks and made our way to the Town Center to watch sunset. We walked around through the streets of Cinnamon shore and stopped by Lake Colby. Sunset at Lake Colby was phenomenal and we were probably there a good 20 minutes just taking it all in. We walked back to the room and showered, I made eggs for dinner (the kitchen in our room was to die for by the way), and plopped our butts back on the couch to finish watching Sweet Home Oklahoma (laugh out loud). 

Waiting for sunset

Waiting for sunset

Town Center

Town Center

Sundown at Lake Colby

Sundown at Lake Colby

The next morning, we packed all of our stuff and said goodbye to Cinnamon Shore. It was such a fun 2 days and I can totally see myself going back. Cinnamon Shore plans to have a grocery store, pizza shop, liquor store, and more by Spring Break of 2018. Their whole idea is to have as much as possible available to you so you basically never have to leave. I can completely support this idea. 

Recap on Cinnamon Shore and the amenities on site:

  • Dune Pool (9am-10pm everyday-BYOB)
  • CBar Cafe 
  • Dune Park
  • Kiera Pool (9am-10pm everyday)
  • Seaside Cafe (Open 11am-8pm)
  • Fitness Center located at Kiera Pool
  • Lake Gavin (Catch & release fishing is available)
  • Lake Colby 
  • Great Lawn (Where Smore's night is held)
  • Butterfly Park
  • Hummingbird Park
  • Lisabellas Bistro & Bar (Open Monday-Saturdays 5:30-9pm)
  • Wifi
  • Golf cart shuttle/ equipment rental- Rentals such as golf carts, beach chairs and umbrellas, bikes, and fishing poles with tackle boxes are available to rent through Cinnamon Shore. 
  • Pet-friendly units

Cinnamon Shore also has a calendar of events, which showcases the events going on at that time. For instance during the summer on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday they do Yoga on the beach at 8am. They also offer surf lessons, sand castle lessons, Kid's Camp, Smore's night, Live music, and Movie night. Make sure to ask for the calendar of events so you know what's going on while you visit!

Thanks for the hospitality Cinnamon Shore, hope to see you soon!

xo, Halee

The French Laundry vs. Saison

I'm going to be completely honest, I don't know if I can say which restaurant I liked better out of TFL & Saison. My husband, Paul, has a definitive answer but I do not. 

Let's start with a breakdown of our evening at TFL, located in Yountville. 

"Happy Anniversary Halee and Paul"-the attention to detail was impeccable. 

"Happy Anniversary Halee and Paul"-the attention to detail was impeccable. 

Course 1-Salmon Tartare Cornet

Course 1-Salmon Tartare Cornet

Course 2-"Oysters and Pearls"

Course 2-"Oysters and Pearls"

Course 3-Chilled Garden Carrot Soup

Course 3-Chilled Garden Carrot Soup

Course 4-Slow Cooked Fillet of Wild Scottish Sea Trout

Course 4-Slow Cooked Fillet of Wild Scottish Sea Trout

Course 5-Alaskan King Crab "Poelee"

Course 5-Alaskan King Crab "Poelee"

Course 6-Bread and Butter

Course 6-Bread and Butter

Course 7-Thomas Farm Squab "Roti a la Broche"-FAVORITE

Course 7-Thomas Farm Squab "Roti a la Broche"-FAVORITE

Course 8-Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu

Course 8-Charcoal Grilled Japanese Wagyu

Course 9-"Chateaubriand" of Marcho Farms Nature Fed Veal

Course 9-"Chateaubriand" of Marcho Farms Nature Fed Veal

Does all the wine count as a course?!

Does all the wine count as a course?!

Course 10-Assortment of Desserts

Course 10-Assortment of Desserts

Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil

Raspberry, Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil

Assortment of Truffles for us to choose from

Assortment of Truffles for us to choose from

Handmade Hershey Kisses with another nice touch

Handmade Hershey Kisses with another nice touch

Checking out the Wine Cellar onsite

Checking out the Wine Cellar onsite

Kitchen tour pt. 1

Kitchen tour pt. 1

Kitchen tour pt. 2

Kitchen tour pt. 2

My experience at TFL was one that I will never forget. I definitely enjoyed every minute of it and they really do make you feel special when visiting. From showing us the kitchen and the cellar, to changing our tablecloth when Paul spilt carrot soup on it (while we were away looking at the kitchen). From personalized messages on our menu and in our chocolate kisses to complimentary glasses of champagne to celebrate our anniversary. The big question: would I go back to TFL? Probably not. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that both Paul and I can tick off our bucket list, but I don't think there is any need to go back and experience all of it all over again (and definitely not at that hefty price). 

Next, I will breakdown our evening at Saison, located in San Francisco.

Look at this handsome man!

Look at this handsome man!

Dining area

Dining area

Open kitchen

Open kitchen

Course 1-Saison Private Batch Caviar

Course 1-Saison Private Batch Caviar

Course 2-Diamond Turbot with Edible Flowers 

Course 2-Diamond Turbot with Edible Flowers 

Course 3-Ground Turbot on the bone

Course 3-Ground Turbot on the bone

Course 4-Box Crab

Course 4-Box Crab

Course 5-Uni on Sourdough Bread

Course 5-Uni on Sourdough Bread

Course 6-Artichoke

Course 6-Artichoke

Course 7-Barbecued Quail

Course 7-Barbecued Quail

Which knife did I choose??!

Which knife did I choose??!

Course 8-Pronghorn Antelope (from somewhere in TX!)

Course 8-Pronghorn Antelope (from somewhere in TX!)

Course 9-A broth made of Grilled Bones

Course 9-A broth made of Grilled Bones

Course 10-Ice cream & Caramel with all the fixings 

Course 10-Ice cream & Caramel with all the fixings 

Course 11-Fruit & Tea

Course 11-Fruit & Tea

1970 Sauternes dessert wine

1970 Sauternes dessert wine

Whatever the hell Paul ordered 

Whatever the hell Paul ordered 

Take home Tea!

Take home Tea!

My experience at Saison was extraordinary. From the knowledgable and friendly staff, to the exciting and unique food. We started off with a glass of complimentary champagne. Then, the plates started coming. They had plenty of waiters/waitresses and staff that they would interchange for delivering each meal and explaining it. We then finally got to meet the infamous Mike Hoe, one of the Somms at Saison. Backstory: When we were visiting Mayacamas and met Kassandra, the daughter of McPherson Wines, we mentioned we were going to Saison when we got to SF. She then told us she knew the Somm and Paul said "Mike Hoe?!" and she said yes! She ended up sending him an email letting him know about us and how we were coming in. He was seriously the best, along with all the other staff, and made the evening 10x better. Being able to see the kitchen at Saison is probably the number one thing that sets it apart from the FL for me. I really did enjoy both meals and both experiences, but the kitchen part was set Saison slightly ahead. 

Overall, for me, both win. They both were roughly the same price after all was said and done, they both offered very interesting and appetizing meals, and they both had excellent service. If you are looking for that old school fancy dinner with a reputation to back it up and it takes months to get a reservation, then TFL is the place for you. BUT, if you are looking to eat at one of the best restaurants in the world (currently ranked at 37, whereas TFL is no longer ranked), then that alone should tell you Saison is your place to dine. 

I am glad both Paul and I got to experience both of these wonderful restaurants and I definitely feel privileged to be able to do so. Now it's back to homemade pizzas and spaghetti & meatballs :)

Thanks for reading! See ya soon.

-Halee  

All Things San Francisco

Where do I even start?! San Francisco is full of so many places to eat, drink, visit, and explore. Here is a little guide I've put together from when we visited recently for nearly 5 days. We tried to hit up every spot on our list possible, and even though there were a few places we couldn't make, I think we did a pretty good job. 

1. Golden Gate Bridge

See the Golden Gate Bridge, somehow, some way. Whether you drive over it or see it from the distance, it is worth seeing. 

2. Explore the Different Neighborhoods

There are SO many areas and neighborhoods in SF that are worth exploring. The homes are full of unique characteristics and details, and some are super vibrant and colorful. It was hard NOT to take a picture of every house we walked past. Some areas we walked through that I recommend are, The Castro, The Mission, Hayes Valley, Dolores Heights, Fillmore District, Presidio Heights, Japantown, Chinatown, Western Addition, Marina District, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Potrero Hill. Basically all of San Francisco, ha!

3. Clarion Alley

If you're a fan of murals and street art, Clarion Alley is a must see. The alley is maintained by the Clarion Alley Mural Project, who support over 500 artists, receive 200, 000 visitors annually, and have created over 700 murals since 1992. The organization also collaborates with many community neighbors and partners, and work in support of social, economic, and environmental justice. It is located between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets.

4. Twin Peaks

If you are looking for a stunning view directly in the center of San Francisco, Twin Peaks is for you. You can hike up or drive/uber. We decided to uber since we were running low on time, but we walked all the way down and back to our airbnb. I recommend walking part of the way so you can walk through Dolores Heights/The Castro (depending on which way you're headed), or Noe Valley, Cole Valley, or Vista Del Monte.

5. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is full of so many things to do and see. We decided not to do everything within the park because we probably would have spent loads of money, but I would advise choosing a few things that sound appealing and doing them. One thing that I had to see (and was free) was the Bison Paddock. You can learn more about the history of this part of the park here. We visited the Conservatory of Flowers, which is also located in the park. And, we walked the entire park until it ends at the beach. 

6. Conservatory of Flowers

Within Golden Gate Park, the COF is a must see if you are a fan of plants and flowers. TIP: It's also a nice place to warm up if it's cold outside.

7. Go to the beach

You might as well! If you are already in Golden Gate Park and heading towards the Bison Paddock, Ocean beach isn't much further. Once you get to Ocean beach, Sutro Baths is nearby as well. Just get your pen out to mark a ton of things off your list!

8. Sutro Baths

To learn more about Sutro Bath, click here.

9. Mission Dolores Park

All of the yes! Not going to Mission Dolores Park, especially on a sunny day, is basically sacrilege. It is another spot in the city that offers a great view. It's also a wonderful place to have a picnic, play tennis, basketball and/or soccer, play with your dog, relax, or even take a nap under the trees. 

10. Drink all the Coffee & Eat all the Pastries

The Mill

11. Eat a Burrito

There are plenty of burrito joints to go to, especially in the Mission. We ended up going to Pancho Villa and it ended up being the best damn burrito I can ever remember having. I also got watermelon agua frescas which went perfectly with the flavor of the burrito; match made in heaven I tell you!

12. Eat Oysters

Like burritos, there are plenty of places to get oysters. For instance Swan Depot, which has been around for over 100 years, and Hog Island Oyster Co. located in the Ferry Building, are two well known places. But, after doing some research, I knew I had to go to Leo's. It is probably the most beautifully decorated place we went, and the oysters were just as good. I tried hot oysters for the first time; flavors carbonara and hot wings. YAS. It was a little pricey but we did have some bubbles with our oysters (because why not?), and we had to the get the fries which were recommended by my friend Nanette :) 

13. Go to a Museum

San Francisco is a hub for tech, food, and art. There are plenty of museums to go to while visiting. For instance de Young, SFMOMA, California Academy of Sciences, AAMSF, and SO MANY MORE. We decided to go to SFMOMA. I have never been to a MOMA and heard this one was good. It is $25 each to enter, whereas de Young is $30 each. I did really want to go to  de Young but we decided to just pick one and spend more money on food ;) We also missed seeing Matisse by ONE day. Darn.

14. Bi-rite Creamery...

...is a must. There are actually a lot of ice cream shops in SF currently and I was bummed we only made it to one, but Bi-rite didn't disappoint. I got honey lavender and balsamic strawberry and it was seriously perfection. The two flavors went so well together. Some others that I'd like to visit in the future are Smitten, Salt a & Straw, and Humphry Slocombe

15. Eat a Nice Meal

There is SO much good food in San Francisco, including some Michelin star restaurants. If that is something that you're into, you should take advantage of it in SF. We dined at Saison (3 Michelin star, which I will talk about in my next post), Aster (1 Michelin star), and The Progress (1 Michelin star). There are a total of six 3-Michelin restaurants in SF giving them a total of 54 stars. New York has 75, so they aren't too far behind. Another Michelin restaurant (2 star) that we really want to go to is Atelier Crenn , which is Dominique Crenn's restaurant from Chef's Table.

The Progress

Aster

16. Eat Sushi

Find a sushi restaurant, sit at the bar, and order the "chef's choice". You'll thank me later ;) We ate at a place called Ebisu recommended to us by our friends Todd and Craig. We went for lunch and loved it. They do bento box lunch specials and I almost got one but I was feeling soup and sushi :)

17. Day trip to Oakland

We decided to see what all this Oakland fuss was about. The BART near/in the Mission all the way to DT Oakland only took about 20 minutes. We got off DT and grabbed a coffee nearby. We walked towards Uptown, where a couple places we wanted to check out were located. First stop was Homeroom for some mac n' cheese. I was basically in some kind of heaven. Homeroom has about 12 different mac options, but your can create your own mac as well (probably should have done that)! Paul wanted pizza, so we went to Slicer for a slice! Then we walked off the macaroni and pizza and made our way back to the DT area where Sweet Belly was. SB was by far my favorite part of Oakland. The ice cream/donut combo I got was only $5.50, which included ice cream, topping, donut, and drizzle. They also make the donuts on the spot so when you get it its piping hot! SO GOOD.    

18. Palace of Fine Arts

To learn more about the Palace of Fine Arts, click here. 

Lucasfilm is also located near the Palace of Fine Arts, so that was something we had to see (especially Paul). But how could we NOT take a picture of yoda??

If you're in the Marina District, find this house.

19. Pier 39

The one and only one reason you should ever go to Fisherman's Wharf is to see the sea lions (if you're into that sort of thing, like me). 

20. See the Damn Painted Ladies!

You have to, you just HAVE to. There are certain things you have to do and see while visiting SF and I personally think this is one of them, especially if you've never seen them before. 

Here is a video recap of our trip made by Paul!

And that concludes my "guide" to SF, and everything we were able to do in 4-5 days. I kind of feel like I am missing a thing or two but to be honest, it's a bit longer than I was expecting. Be on the lookout for my next post, where I will compare my meal at The French Laundry vs. Saison. Thanks for reading!

-Halee 

Napa + Muir Woods

Our week long vacation started in Napa. We arrived in SF at about 8:15am, went to pick up our car, and on to Napa we went! Our first stop was Bouchon for some pastries where I finally met up with the infamous Emma K. Morris

After Bouchon, we went to The French Laundry (where we would be having dinner that night!), to check out the garden onsite. They try to use as much as they can from their garden in dishes, and at times they are using 95% of what they grow. 

We then had to hurry off to make our first tour & tasting at Schramsberg, which has been served at official state functions by every U.S. President since 1972. Bravo! 

After Schramsberg, we had to rush back to check into our Airbnb, get ready, and head over to The French Laundry for our reservation. I will posting a different blog post talking about my experience at TFL compared to my experience at Saison in San Francisco (both 3 Michelin stars). Stay tuned for that!

The next day we had two more tour & tastings booked, but we had to get one more meal in with Emma, before setting off. We met at this amazing local place called Alexis Baking Company or "ABC". I ordered the chilaquiles, which was amazing and such a large portion! Their iced chai was pretty spot on as well. We still had a bit of time before needing to leave, so we walked over to Oxbow Market after breakfast. 

Oh yeah! Before we went to Oxbow, Emma took us to this authentic Italian shop that only does to-go orders and the man that runs it is 95 years old and still working there (pictured talking to Emma). He created "malfatti" years ago, which is a cheese, spinach, and herb dumpling. Wish we had the time to stay and eat some of his delicious food, but off to Oxbow we went. 

IMG_7350.JPG
Malfatti

Malfatti

Next, we were on our way to Mayacamas Vineyards for our first tour/tasting of the day. When we arrived, I seriously and literally was in awe. The property was so beautiful and private. We were introduced to Cassandra, who gave us the tour, and who happens to be the daughter of McPherson Wine. Once we knew who she was and her being from Texas and all, we instantly bonded with her. The 3 of us hopped on an ATV and Cassandra showed us the land. She mentioned that Mayacamas owns roughly 475 acres and 50 or so is used for wine. The tour was breathtaking. We got to see so many different areas where they are making wine, learn about the struggles they have gone through and are still going through, and see so much beauty and nature. This was by far my favorite experience in Napa. 

Next stop, Cade! This place was stunning as well. The view was unbelievable and the tour in their "cave" was pretty impressive. We really did our homework when we picked these places. Both vineyards were relatively quiet and away from all the packed touristy vineyards like Cakebread and Lewis.   

After Cade, we headed to Gott's Roadside before making our way to Mill Valley for the night. Now this burger was off the chain. I will forever put a fried egg on my burger if I have the opportunity. Oh, and I can't forget about that Horchata milkshake! 

Okay, treehouse here we come!

This house FTW!

This house FTW!

We woke up bright and early after a quiet night in the woods. We grabbed some coffee for the road and headed to the Muir Woods. We were told to get there before 8am because it starts to get busy after that. 

Hello Muir Woods!

After ending our 2-3 hour hike, we noticed tour bus after tour bus as we headed to the parking lot. We really did go at the right time!

And that's a wrap for Napa + Muir Woods! Next blog post will be all about San Francisco, and the one to follow will be my experience at TFL vs. Saison! Stay tuned guys, and thanks for reading :)

 

-Halee