Oscar’s homeware line is quite nice.
It’s around 400-500 steps and once you get past this first part, it rises straight up through gardens and neighborhoods and literally right to people’s front doors. The steps are lined with quirky homes with amazing views of the bay. The steps were originally built for fishermen to be able to walk from their jobs on the docks to their homes in North Beach.
The steps are a workout, but worth doing for the views and you can make a day of it if you circle back through North Beach to the Embarcadero again. Or you could always call Uber to get back.
There are steps in the sidewalk in case you need them. An elementary school was right here and my boys were wondering how kids biked up this hill!
Once you hit North Beach you will find a park, and so many restaurants, shops and little cappuccino stops. We decided to make like locals and grab a slice of famous Tony’s Pizza Napletano, complete with crooked table on a very sloped street. Seriously was the best pizza I’ve had maybe ever. I still want to go back. The crust and the sauce were amazing. You can wait for an inside table at the restaurant, but we opted to grab a slice at the kiosk next to it and keep on truckin’.
One iconic spot is City Lights Bookstore, famous hangout of the Beat generation.
Its’ still perfectly crumbly and grungy and filled with a fabulous collection of books.
It’s a great stroll down this very long street. Kids will especially enjoy all the tiny stores filled with candy from Japan, small tokens, and toys. Beautiful silks are all over as well.
I still wanted to show some of the fun here in Northern Cal during winter break…So what the heck! Better late than never! (Okay if your done with holiday posts feel free to click over to something more relevant and exciting. I won’t be offended. 🙂
It’s still warm! We are loving it, but feeling bit guilty about it.
We Californians are probably all going to hell! (Hope not!)
I did get out for a day with my favorite guy. My husband patiently shopped with me and we shared a lunch outside on of my favorite days of our break. He and I did quite a few walks and little dinner dates and coffee runs. One of the perks of staying home was more downtime together for all of us.
We also drove to Half Moon Bay to walk the beach a little and grab clam chowder and lobster rolls at Sam’s Chowder House.
The boys built the Lonely Mountain from the Hobbit.
We saw that and the Mr Banks movie on our break. I loved Mr Banks!! Highly recommend that one.
We walked to Macy’s to see the pets up for adoption in the windows. The boys love that.
Inside the mechanical toys and Santa’s from all over the world charmed us. We were all fascinated!
Picked up a darling modern Christmas tray and more at Crate & Barrel. Always love everything there.
We spent a fair amount of time just chilling like my neighbor cat does here in my yard…Is that cat yoga or what??
Here’s to 2014!
If you’re still reading, happy weekend!
Last Thursday I was invited up to San Francisco to visit Brit + Co. with my buddy Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget) and we checked out their digs. During the holiday season Brit+co. is running a pop-up Make Shop at their darling offices on Sutter Street, near Union Square. The front garden entry ( I told you it was cute), is decorated with faux snow and benches piled with sweaters pillows and the like.
Inside, hip employees wearing knit hats and cozy scarves are there to help you choose one of the $19 Brit Kits they sell. They were also selling cool handmade jewelry, scarves, towels and more like you might see at Whole Foods. The atmosphere was festive with movie Elf playing on the wall, as they led us back to their bright kitchen.
Brit came from Texas, as a student intern at Apple and worked her way over to Google. Through her connections, she has gotten the support to for this venture, which is pretty huge for a 28 year old. Some are even calling her the Martha Stewart of the younger generation.
Her website is filled with DIY projects and home and wardrobe fixes that are fun and quick. Some are her own, some from other sites. She even has an app available for your phone as well. It’s very Martha, with ideas for better living.
Brit and her team invited the Wilton company in to give a cookie decorating class. Hey, I actually learned a few things! Adrienne and I struggled a bit at first with the piping tubes, but got the hang of it after a bit. ( At no time did the free wine from the hotel social hour figure into this, I swear!) I didn’t know you need to hold your fingers in an “okay” shape as you are bearing down on the cookie, to prevent the frosting from squeezing out the top.
We also learned to use their thicker frosting that comes in Wilton’s Elmer glue-like bottles to line a cookie, then flood the center.. To make this pretty look you draw a circle in the center with green and then four teardrop shapes around it, then drag down with a toothpick to the edges until you get this effect. It was actually easy and even my boys said they were cool before they snarfed them…
Brit herself got up to thank us for coming and then sat next to Adrienne and I. She seems nice and had issues with decorating her own cookies! We chatted with a few other folks and were sent home with a box of goodies from Wilton. I am definitely trying some of these techniques at home when my kids and I make our annual sugar cookies for the neighbors and family.
I have to say I am impressed with the offices and the concept this young woman has. I do think there is something about learning to make things on your own, not buy them. It builds a confidence and gives you a sense of accomplishment. You also appreciate when someone spent some time creating an item specially made for you. For me Pinterest and Etsy has been a treasure trove of these kind of ideas. Perhaps Brit+co. will be something of the same for those who want to create at home, but don’t have the time or energy to find ideas and source materials.
It definitely aimed at a younger professional crowd. They seem to have a need for it. We really don’t have the same lives our grandmothers, but we can still preserve a little of the past traditions by taking pride in projects done by hand, even if they are small!
Adrienne and I decided to stay in the city another night since the Brit+Co. party was in the evening and we both have long drives home. This time we tried another Kimpton Hotel, The Sir Francis Drake. I hadn’t been there in years and it has been totally overhauled and is classically pretty. We paid for our room, but were lucky to get a lovely one with a corner window on the 15th floor. Talk about a view! Wow. They absolutely have one of the best looking at one side toward the bay and the other over festive Union Square.
I also love their location on Powell Street where the cable car stop right in front of the hotel! You can also see then go up and down the hills from your hotel window. It’s a pretty fab local and like the Hotel Monaco which is just 2 blocks away, it’s close to everything you want to do in San Francisco.
When we got there, Adrienne suggested lunch at one of her favorite spots, Le Central. This French Bistro is a San Francisco institution. It’s charming and filled with SF peeps. Willie Brown has lunch there daily and we caught him while we sipped champagne at the bar.
I love the asparagus soup and their goat cheese salad is to die for!! It’s a very fun stop if you are near the Drake or in the Union Square vicinity. It’s right across from the China Town gates. You can also just pop in for a cappuccino and people watch!
Of course we shopped! The holiday windows are wonderful right now. Union Square has ice-skating rink open. All the Kimpton hotels have a complimentary wine hour with hand-picked selections so we popped in the Drake’s mezzanine and had some wine.
I loved the decor’s nod to Sir Francis Drake and the Elizabethan age.
After our Brit + Co. adventure, hit Scala’s bistro in the hotel, for a late night bite. It’s really quite fun and had a buzz about it.
In the morning, we walked back towards the square and The Daily Grill for breakfast. We did lunch here before. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are near the theatre and shopping area. The food is delicious and unique, and I love the cozy here. It’s like a 1940’s diner. The Greyhounds are very good here-( but not for breakfast! 😀 )
I wanted to include these little tips on the off chance you get up to San Francisco during this holiday time. I think it’s worth a trip with the family or as a couple. Do not miss Macy’s windows with their SPCA adoption animals, Gumps and also the Wilkes-Bashford’s!
|Macy’s Tout Sweet Patisserie on the 3rd floor- overlooking the Union Square.
A nice little spot to have a cup of tea and rest your feet.
|We bought gloves! It was sooo cold in San Francisco.
I’m loving these leopard print with touch screen enabled finger tips from Macy’s.
Hope you are getting to enjoy the holidays a little!
Stay warm if you are in the states. It’s cold everywhere right now!
I’m off to tackle more cards, shopping and life. . .
|Buche de Noel cakes at Le Boulange, another stop I love on Sutter Street.
(I stop there before I grab my car at the Sutter St garage usually. They have great ice tea and breads too.)
It seemed like our girl’s trip was over way too fast. I really had fun with these funny, smart and kind women. It was great to see Adrienne again and get to know Heather better! I also feel lucky to have connected with them through blogging. It’s something I never expected when I began this journey and it has been the nicest part of all.
|Cute Adrienne. We were so excited with our makeup goodies from Neimans.|
The day is finally here and tomorrow I’m off on a little adventure to spend a night in the city with Adrienne and we are bringing the darling Heather from StyleMindChic along to join in the fun! I’m so excited to meet Heather finally in person as well. Shopping, cocktails, and all that are on the agenda. Best part though will be the girl time with these two sweet ladies.
I thought a lot about what I am packing, mais bien sûr! I am taking a small Tumi weekend bag that I am stealing from my husband. I thought it might be nice to make a list in case you are getting away to this unique and beautiful spot!
This is basics for a weekend in San Francisco:
-skinny legging jean
-J Crew khaki skinnies
–boyfriend jeans (wearing)
-silk Equipment print blouse
-leopard print sweater (wearing)
-Free People long V-neck sweater
–sleeveless silk shell for layering or evening
–2 scarves a two-tone blue one for day and a filmy raw silk cream one for night
-Free People long fluffy sweater coat for night
-camel wool coat
-black moto jacket
-black and light tan (I got them!) ankle booties
-Tom’s chevron print wedge sandals for evening if we take cabs. (You don’t even want to try to navigate the hills in SF with heels! Serious about that. You will walk barefoot!)
-a pair of black peep-toe wedges
-House of Harlow star necklace. (Just bought it at Nordstrom’s sale here for $34 and it makes everything look good.)
– two leather cuff bracelets in black/silver and tan/gold
-one pair of fab big earrings for night that are tan/gold chandelier style (Thanks Jen!)
-J Crew wool track pants (for lounging around the hotel and possibly breakfast.)
-cotton grey v-neck slouchy sweater
-a soft long-sleeve T for sleep or layering or lounging
– a lovely necklace that’s silver, gold and rose gold a recent gift from girlfriends
–sunglasses. I’m bringing my tortoiseshell Ray-Bans this time.
– sequin converse for kicking around
– a cross body bag. This one is a few season’s old Tory Burch that I use a ton on trips.
-Don’t forget warm PJs (Target had the softest toile ones I just got here. You have to click on the color Polar Bear to see them…Apparently Target folks don’t know what toile is…Love them though!)
–warm socks and the usual toiletries, underpinnings
–hair spray (I do not use hair spray regularly, but because of the fog layer there any hair style can be gone in about 10 minutes in the outdoors! Bring it.)
– a great book or magazine!
I am bringing my hobo style leather bag from Italy. It’s teal and it holds a ton and stays on my shoulder all day without bothering me. A must for shopping! A tote is another great alternative. I love a bag I can throw things into and not use a lot of shopping bags.
Wondering now if this is all going to get into the Tumi bag. I’m guessing not!
I cannot believe I’m going to have a room all to myself! I may even chill a bit. I think we have a lot on our agenda though..
To be honest I’m just beyond thrilled because, well it’s been ages since I did a girl’s getaway. I don’t even want to admit how long. If that wasn’t enough the glamorous Hotel Monaco is sponsoring our stay in their newly remodeled hotel! I pretty excited to check it out. Always have loved their lovely eclectic decor…
I also will do some small posts via my Facebook Page too, so if you haven’t liked it, this is a good time!
Hope I have some fun to share with you this weekend. I plan on taking a lot of photos. Thanks everyone for the good wishes. You all are so sweet!
SF Images via my Pinterest Board, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Yesterday I had the most fun day I have had in a long time. I trekked up to San Francisco to meet Adrienne from The Rich Life on a Budget. Adrienne, is also a Northern California girl who lives in wine country. San Francisco is the halfway point between our homes. Luckily, it was a gorgeous day in the city! Fall is the best time to visit SF.
|Inside the gorgeous Rotunda which is at the top of the store. It’s glass dome is from the original City of Paris store from the early 1900s. You can read more about it here. It’s lovely to behold at the holidays with it’s huge tree!|
If you are shopping in Union Square, this is a fun place for lunch, tea or a cocktail. The view overlooking Union Square is fantastic too. I haven’t mentioned the monster popovers that come with strawberry butter and consume’ with baby puff pastry that everyone is served…That, a friend and a glass of champagne at lunch and I’m in girl heaven. Add to that cute male models popping by the table, giggling and I need nothing else.
My loot. The beauty department is having a leopard bag as a gift with purchase right now filled with goodies.
Love the Equipment blouse. This is me. I do have a Pinterest board titled Floral & Leopard!
|Beach combing in Davenport.|
Wow, this week has flown by and I hardly have had time to catch my breath. I’ve had no blogging time or been able visiting my pals in the blogosphere either. I am trying to catch up!
Hey and what about those Olympics? What a wonderful time suck. I’m crazy for London, so I am loving seeing all of that and of course the sports. Synchro diving? Wow. Even loved dressage and kayaking. I don’t mind suffering through so much men’s swimming. 😉 So fun to watch it all. It would be a blast to be there. I’m like a zombie each night dragging my self to bed after NBC (don’t even get me started on them) strings me along for those medal ceremonies until the bitter end of the broadcast at midnight or later! In the morning I’ve got TV hangover and can’t get up. No wonder nothing is getting done!
My oldest has been away a tennis camp in Carmel Valley. This requires two weekends of trips down to Monterey Bay. Not so horrible actually, but driving and making little stops has taken lots of our week. I never went to Summer camp as a kid and neither did Max, and I was determined my sons might have that special experience of camp. Carmel Valley Tennis Camp has been around forever has the feel of a real old-fashioned camp with tennis. Jackson went last year at age 12. I was sooo nervous about it. However, when he came back he wrote me a note saying,” Thanks mom for letting me go to camp. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”
|Jackson last year at camp.|
I was thrilled he had fun, especially since he went on his own without a friend. He is at the same camp this year and I highly recommend it if you have a child who is into tennis. Love this place!
Anyhow, I am still working on the second installment of my trip behind the redwood curtain, but I wanted to share some fun things we did this week in case you want to head out of town.
|Small Griffin at Small Paul.|
My younger son Griffin is really good about getting me out to do things and the two of us took a little trip up to San Francisco to get a few new school clothes and have lunch together. We usually don’t get to spend a whole day with just the two of us. One of our first stops was checking out the Small Paul store, and then to Zara for the boy’s section. He has been wanting some colored jeans and I knew Zara, which is Spain’s version of the Gap, would have them and they did. I always love checking out Zara for myself too. I first fell in love with this store in France and England. I was so happy when they finally came to America. One thing I love is their coats and jackets. They always have a fantastic selection that are very current and fashionable without costing a ton. This time I bought a black and white zebra inspired scarf. I think San Francisco is the only Northern Cal outpost of Zara, so it’s worth a trip.
When we were up there we cruised between Post St and Maiden Lane and the general Union Square area. Love the windows at the new Prada store.
Dreaming of Checking out the latest bags..
And at Kate Spade. What’s not to love in that store? I always have a wish list running in my mind when I visit there. Alas I had a small boy with me so, on to lunch..
We ate lunch at my very favorite new find, La Boulange! This French bakery is just so good. Have I said that before about bakeries? The quality here is unmatched. The breads are heaven and very affordable. Baguettes are $2.00! Well, I had a Croque Monsieur that was as good (or better actually, now that I think of it), than any served in France and healthy quinoa as my side. Grif had a hotdog in a croissant. Do not miss their home made potato chips. Yes, I ate those too!
After Grif and I spied a darling little sweet shop that we popped in. Fiona’s Sweet Shoppe is a real discovery and unlike any candy shops around. It was opened by a Scottish doctor who came here and missed the treats from back home. They specialize in candies from the England and Scotland. They generously let us sample all kinds of unusual candies we had never known before. I am now in love with something called brown sugar cubes, which is soft black licorice covered in brown sugar. Griffin found a few new favorites too and we left with a bag for about $4.00! Another wonderful stop if you are up here for the day!
Okay one other fun idea for you this week.. Have you been berry picking lately? I haven’t in many years. My friend Kim and her daughter Abby asked us to go strawberry picking in Davenport, near Santa Cruz. It’s a quick 35 minute trip to Swanton Berry Farm where you can pick your own organic berries. They had a very cute farm with a pie shop, jams and other goodies too. It’s on the honor system, so bring cash. You weigh it yourself, mark it, and leave your money. The kids loved picking their own. The day we went it was only us and two other families. I had forgotten what a blast this is and the strawberries are SO good.
After that we toodled back to Davenport, to check out the tide pools. I had no idea they even had a good beach there. I hate to even share this, but if you go down Davenport Landing Road, you will hit a very small parking spot and a very huge beach with tide pools to the left and right of the beach. Make sure you come at low tide and I recommend bringing a lunch. Not many good food options this way. Great spot for a lunch picnic here on the beach. Fabulous beach! Now, don’t tell anyone…
After, on the way back to highways 1 and 17, you can make a stop in Downtown Santa Cruz for a treat. I am just getting reacquainted with this town again and loving spending time downtown. It’s really become very hip and less hippy, if you get my drift. Kim and I grabbed coffee at the very cool Verve coffee house. We both agreed her cappuccino and my latte were the best coffee we have ever had. Seriously. Oh, and they make those cute hearts and stuff on your foam. Extra points for that!! Love the decor too. The finale to all this was a stop at The Penny Ice Creamery a very special local ice creamery with flavors like Earl of Grey, Strawberry Pink Peppercorn, and Burnt Cinnamon. They use only organic eggs, milk and sugar of course. The Penny Ice Creamery is pretty famous around here as they were invited to be Michelle Obama’s guest at a State of the Union address last year, since they were able to open their business thanks to Obama’s SBA Recovery Act. That act allowed them to get a loan for $250,000, which let them build and open the shop and eventually employ 11. Unbelievably cute shop where you can see them making the ice cream and totally deserving of a special trip. Abby had vanilla bean and Grif has plum sorbet. I am counting the days until I can go back and bring the rest of my family. It was a perfect Summer day trip if you are in these parts!