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4 Days in London

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A few people have been asking about our recent trip to Europe. So, I thought I'd consolidate all of our travel notes into one place... and my poor, neglected blog seems like the perfect spot. I can't believe it's already been a month since Zach and I met our friends Jana & Shawn in Heathrow Airport. Together, we had 4 days to explore the city - and we crammed them full of everything we could possibly fit in.

None of us slept on our flights, so we were all pretty exhausted on that first night. After settling into this Airbnb apartment in the Shoreditch neighborhood (which kind of reminded me of The Mission in SF or Venice in LA), we explored the area and grabbed dinner at Poppies. Supposedly, it has the best fish & chips in the city. But honestly, I don't even remember if it was good. We were so hungry and tired, we just devoured everything in sight.

The next day, we started at the Tower of London where we saw the crown jewels (and diamonds the size of baseballs.) We'd also heard from multiple friends that we needed to take the Yeoman Tour while there: it definitely didn't disappoint. During the tour, you basically follow the path the dead bodies took after they were executed (fun, right!?) But, no - it was really interesting to hear about all the crazy stuff that went down in the tower.

After that, we took a water taxi to the London Eye and Big Ben. We wandered around the West End, saw Buckingham Palace and St. John's Park, had lunch in Covent Garden and hot chocolate in Soho.

On Saturday nights, the Tate Modern is open late so we made sure to take advantage of the extended hours. They have a full room full of the most beautiful Rothkos. Zach and I probably spent 30 minutes in that room alone debating which one we'd prefer above our bed. For dinner, we attempted to have dinner at Dishoom, but a crazy wait time forced us across the street to Albion for meat pies.

On Sunday morning, Zach and I woke up early and headed to the Museum of London... which might have been my favorite activity the whole weekend. Basically, you walk through the entire history of the city - from when cavemen lived along the Thames to the Roman conquest to the Black Plague to World War 2 to today. It was totally fascinating to see how the city has evolved over time. I wish every city had a museum like this. We probably could've spent all day there, but we cut ourselves off after 3 hours so we could visit Camden Market and Camden Lock.

We wandered around the market stalls until we hit the canals. We followed those around Regent's Park to Baker Street (and a plethora of Sherlock Holmes paraphernalia.)

At this point, we were starving (and grumpy) so we stopped at The Providores for a snack. Holy cow - it was amazing! I wish I could eat there every day. Zach and I shared salmon eggs benedict and Turkish eggs (which were unlike anything I've ever tried before. These 2 beautiful poached eggs sat swimming in creamy sauce that you dipped toast into... I can't even. SO GOOD.)

That evening, we met Jana & Shawn for dinner at 100 Hoxton then headed to a fun speakeasy-themed bar called Nightjar.

On our final full day in London, the four of us headed to Notting Hill and I relived all my childhood fantasies of bumping into Hugh Grant. (Poor Zach.) Then, we attempted to ride bikes through Hyde Park - but there had been a storm the night before, and the park was closed for repairs (boo.) Instead, we wandered through Chelsea, got caught in the rain, and ducked into a little pub for cider, roast beef, and parsnip soup.

That evening, we met Jana and Shawn at Kopapa for dinner. It's owned by the same people as the The Providores (so, of course it was amazing.) Afterwards, we got to see Les Miserables at the Queen's theater on the West End. It was amazing.... and the perfect way to spend our last evening.

The next morning, we caught a train to Paris... but that's another story for another day. :)


Monday, September 30, 2013

On a recent adventure in Berkeley, Zach and I stumbled into a book shop for a break. We eventually found ourselves in the "San Francisco" section where I started flipping through Lonely Planet's guide to the city. I'm usually skeptical about guidebooks, but this one was particularly awesome. I was super impressed with their top picks - they kept mentioning restaurants, bars, and spots that Zach and I love and would totally recommend to our friends. So, I feel like they have a good pulse on our city. Needless to say, I ended up buying three of their guidebooks (the San Francisco one and, of course, London and Paris.) And, I've officially now read them all cover-to-cover. I'm obsessed.

What about you? Do you have a favorite guidebook series?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

You guys, there are only 5 more weeks until we head to Europe! So, I've been getting into the mood by re-watching some of my favorite movies based in London:

And Paris:

Am I missing any? I'd love to hear your recommendations!!


Monday, September 23, 2013

It seems like I've taken a lot of red eye flights this year. I think we can all agree that red eyes are from hell, but I've found that if I bring a few key supplies my experience is one million times better.

1. Sleep Mask: This seriously helps - especially if you have a neighbor who keeps messing around with the overhead light.
2. Neck Pillow: I know I've talked about this pillow before. But it's the best. And I will continue to sing it's praises from the rooftops.
3. Ear Plugs: Block out the sound of all those crying babies. (And random cockpit announcements about turbulence.)
4. Hand Sanitizing Wipes: Airplanes are super germy. Sanitizing your hands - and the area around you can cut down your risk of getting sick (especially when your body is sleep deprived.) And don't touch any of these.
5. Warm Socks: Getting cozy always helps me sleep.
6. A Window Seat: Unless you're a frequenting pee-er, camp out next to a window. It's way easier to sleep when your head has a resting place.
7. Scarf: I always bring a big one that can double as a blanket.
8. Eye Drops: I already have dry eyes, and airplanes make them even worse. On red eye flights, I don't wear my contacts and use eye drops whenever I feel my eyes getting itchy. This also helps to prevent literal red eyes when you disembark.
9. Breath Mints: Prevent yucky morning breath until you can brush those pearly whites. I recently read that Smint is the best (although I haven't yet tried them.)

I have friends that bring other stuff (headphones, sleeping pills, water) but for me, those things don't necessarily help. (I guzzle a bunch of water after we land to stay hydrated. Otherwise, I'm climbing over people to get to the restroom throughout the night.)

What about you? What do you bring on red eye flights?

TRAVEL NECESSITIES: Carry-Ons & Weekenders

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

 I feel like such an adult! Zach and I just bought some new luggage for a few upcoming trips - meaning we finally get to throw away the hand-me-downs that we've been using for (seriously) a decade. So far, we're really happy with our purchases.

I used the weekender bag (2) this past weekend for a 36-hour jaunt up to Portland and it was perfect. It slips easily over my shoulder, I could hide it under my seat when the overhead bins filled up, and it was the perfect size for the 3 outfits I brought. I haven't used the carry-on yet (I'll be breaking it in next weekend) but so far I love the quality and style.

Both are highly recommended!

1. Herschel Supply Co 'Parcel' Rolling Suitcase
2. Everlane Weekender 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Have you guys heard of Duolingo? It's a free, language education site that Zach and I have been using to practice our French before heading to Paris. We've been using it for almost a month, and I feel like we've already learned so much. We like it because it feels like a game (not homework.) Zach and I can track each other's progress and compete for points. He's winning right now because he practices (out loud, I might add) on the bus to and from work.

I've heard it's easier to get around in Paris if you know some French words. So I'm really excited that we found a way to learn a little before we go. They also have programs for German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian. If you've been wanting to try learning a new language, I highly recommend it!!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

... is Tomales Bay Oyster Company. It's a magical place where you can sit at a table overlooking the water, buy a bag of fresh oysters, and spend the afternoon grilling them up. And that's exactly what Zach, Arden (my brother), and I did this past Saturday.

If you go, make sure you arrive before 11am to beat the crowds. Things get crazy around noon, and it's hard to find a picnic table/barbecue after that.

Bring charcoal, lighter fluid, a lighter, and anything else you might need to fire up the provided barbecue. Make sure you bring drinks and sides too. Oysters are good, but sometimes it's nice to give yourself a break with a bite of potato salad.

Before you go, you might want to practice your Oyster shucking skills... although, they're a lot easier to open once they're grilled.

Wear clothing that can get dirty. I lost count of how many times Oyster juice splattered all over me. Bring lots and lots and lots of paper towels. You'll need them all.

Have you ever grilled fresh Oysters? They're so good! I can't wait to go back and eat more. :)


Monday, August 12, 2013

I looked at my calendar last night and realized that in less than 3 months we'll be in Paris! I need to step up my French lessons so I can say more than "Bonjour. Ca va bien? L'homme et la femme lisent un journal. J'aime le chat. Tu manges du pain et du vin." (Although for 3 weeks of online lessons, that's pretty good right? I mean, I'm conjugating verbs!)

I'm getting really excited about eating lots of macarons, and crepes, and cheese, and wine and bread. Oh, so much bread. (By the way, did you read this article? Thanks for the link Joanna!) Anyway, I've been scouring the internet for the best things to do in The City of Lights. And lucky for me, my boss lived there for a year. But if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them. Merci beaucoup et salut!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What do you bring on your summer road trips? Zach and I have been on a million mini road trips since we started dating, so we've got our staples down to a science:

1. Cherries: When I road tripped with my family as a kid, I remember that my dad always used to buy these from roadside stands. They're pure summer and there's nothing better than eating them with your feet up on the dash.

2. Kettle Chips: You guys, these are just the best. I hate all other chips (well, except for Sun Chips.)

3. Water Bottle (or 2): I always bring lots of water to keep us hydrated in the heat. In the past, we've always stocked plastic bottles but I'm trying to be better about our waste footprint. Now, I really like bkr bottles (and the philosophy behind them.) Plus: they're pretty.

4. A Good Book on Tape: Around hour #4, I get really annoying and try to fill the dead space with stupid questions ("So, if you were a cheese, what kind would you be?") Books on tape help to keep us entertained so this doesn't happen. This summer, I think The Fault In Our Stars would be a good option that both Zach and I would like.

5. Summer Jams: Zach and I are obsessed with the new Capital Cities album. I know ever word to Farrah Fawcett Hair, so it's perfect for a car dancing sesh.

6. Sunglasses: No explanation needed.

7. Instant Camera: These are so fun to have during pit stops along the way. Gas stations and rest stops are prettier in Polaroid.

8. First Aid Kit: I'm a paranoid person, and just having this in the trunk makes me feel a little more at ease. I mean, safety first right?

9. Baby Wipes: The one time we didn't bring any of these, I spilled guacamole down the front of my pants and had to sit in it until we found the next rest stop. Needless to say: now we never leave home without them.

10. Mexican Blankets: These are surprisingly versatile. They keep me warm when Zach and I are having an AC war, and they double as awesome picnic blankets.

11. Neck Pillow: Before a red eye flight last year, we got talked into buying these at an airport Brookstone. I'm so glad we did... they are the best I've tried. They're kind of bulky to drag around, but they make awkward sleeping arrangements so much easier.

12. Garbage Receptacle: Because I don't like things to be messy when I'm stuck in the same spot for hours on end.

That's it for us. Did I miss anything??


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Last night, Zach and I started planning a hike up Machu Picchu. I mean... right? 


Monday, August 5, 2013

Coming to SF this August? Don't be fooled. Yes, it's summer. And yes, it's California. But no, it's not warm. In fact, it's downright freezing. So don't even think about putting those cute new shorts into your suitcase... trust me, you won't wear them.

Thank goodness that you have me. I've picked out a few things that you should definitely bring along in your carry-on instead. (Because you really don't want to be one of those shivering tourists at SFO.)

A hat and a jacket: Why? It's windy and cold. You'll need layers to keep in the heat.

A scarf: By the way, it's really windy and cold.

Sunglasses: Even though it's chilly, the sun still comes out every once in a while. When it does, you'll be prepared.

Boots: I like these because they easily transition from day to night - and they'll keep your feet protected from the elements. Leave the flip flops at home. Even if you're blessed with a warm day, your bare feet really shouldn't be exposed to our streets.

Socks: Everyone is happier when their feet are warm.

An umbrella: Just in case. (Plus, this polka dotted one is so cute!)

(PS - I can't find the source for the top photo. If anyone knows what it is, let me know and I'll make sure the link gets updated. Thanks!) 


Friday, August 2, 2013

So, here's the thing about living in San Francisco: you don't get a summer. The locals keep assuring me it's coming ("September and October are beautiful!") But, yesterday I wore a coat and a scarf all day (did I mention it's August?), so there's that.

I told Zach that I needed to go somewhere warm for my birthday. After weighing all the options, we decided to head down to Venice. Venice is a strong contender for my favorite neighborhood in LA. It's a fun combination of quirky and cool. It feels like a beachy surf town, but with a little LA glam thrown in. I love it.

We've already got a few plans for the weekend:

Let me know if there's anything else we can't miss. Zach and I lived in the LA area for 6 years, but I still feel like we have so much to learn!

[photos: 1, 2, 3, 4]

First Stop: London

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We just booked our flights to London in October, and I couldn't be more excited. We're staying near Shoreditch, which I've heard is an awesome. Although I grew up reading Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes, I've never been to England - so I'm pretty stoked to spend 4 days in a city I've only read about. This will also be the first time Zach and I are vacationing with friends! My old roommate, Jana, and her husband Shawn will be accompanying us on this adventure.

Zach and I spent this past weekend watching reruns of No Reservations and The Layover. So, we have a solid list of places we want to visit while there. But if you have any suggestions, PLEASE send them my way. Also, we're trying to decide if it's worth it to save up our pennies and eat at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey (Once in a lifetime? Or, overrated? I'm not sure...)

More on our second stop (Paris!) later.

photo via airbnb


Friday, May 24, 2013

Lani just might be my favorite person to follow on Pinterest. She and I met while we were both working at, and let me tell you - this girl's got some serious style. So if your Pinterest feed needs a little more sparkle (trust me, it does), you should probably visit her page and click "Follow All."

All images via Lani's Pinterest


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Last week I asked my boss when the SF weather would start to warm up. She just laughed at me and said "Oh, honey..." So far, summer here in The City has been downright chilly. And, from what I can deduce (thanks, Jordan) - it's going to stay that way until September. While I couldn't deny myself a pretty pair of sandals, it doesn't look like there will be any shorts or tank tops on my wishlist anytime soon.

one. military coat | two. white watch | three. red nail polish | four. striped sailor shirt | five. leather sandals

Hey, Weekend.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Are you as ready for the weekend as I am? For the next few days, I'm planning on doing a whole lot of:

hiking     //      watching     //      eating


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This past weekend, Zach and I took a quick trip to LA for my friend's baby shower. Lindsay was one of the first people I met when I moved to LA all those years ago, and she'll always have a special place in my heart. I knew I couldn't miss her special day.

My friend Angi was the main party-thrower, but I volunteered to make the decorations. The party was held at Tranquil Tea in Fullerton where we weren't allowed to hang anything from the walls or ceiling. That just meant we had to get a little creative with the decor.

We decided to add color to the room in two ways: 1) through a large centerpiece (with lots of color and height) and 2) through party hats.

For the centerpiece, I was really inspired by Oh Happy Day's Painted Paper Flower Tree and Brittany Watson Jepsen's Rose Branch Candelabra. I made a bazillion mini crepe paper flowers (well, more like 30) and hot glued most to a manzanita branch that I got from the SF Flower Mart.

For cake toppers, I glued 3 paper flowers to wooden skewers. Any extra flowers were placed around the table.

For the party hats, I just used Oh Happy Day's Giant Paper Flower Party Hat tutorial. From the moment I saw them on Jordan's blog, I was obsessed. I was surprised that everyone at the party loved them as much as I did! Most people left them on for the entire party.

Angi made 2 cakes (one diaper, one chocolate) that flanked the manzanita branch on each side of the table. She also made personalized spoons with everyone's name on them (they make the perfect tea bag holders!) During the party, they held our Earl Grey flavored macarons.

Overall, I think the party was a success! Lindsay, I'm so excited to meet your little girl. I know she'll be just as beautiful as you are!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Since we moved to San Francisco, we've noticed one stark contrast from LA. In Los Angeles, every (literally every) conversation goes back to film. You could start by discussing the beets you just bought at the Farmers Market with a neighbor, and end up laughing together about some scene in an obscure movie that you've both seen. It was weird. But we got used to it, and we forgot that the rest of the world isn't as obsessed with "the industry" as those Southern Californians.

Up here though, people are equally as obsessed... but with food. In every conversation, there's always some discussion about such-and-such restaurant that you just have to try. It's a huge part of the culture, and Zach I have embraced this new lifestyle with open arms (Much to the dismay of my pant size. You'd think walking up and down all these hills would help, right? WRONG.)  We've tasted so many yummy restaurants in the past few months, but I haven't been good at keeping track of our favorites.

However, my in-laws were in town this past weekend. And that gave us the perfect excuse to revisit some amazing spots (and try a few new ones.) I thought it would be fun to start recording the best restaurants we try so that if you ever visit SF (or already live here) you'll have some ideas of where to snack. So, without further ado, here's where we've been eating lately:

Pizzeria Delfina: This is seriously the best pizza I've ever had. (And, I've had a lot of pizza.) The first time we visited, Zach and I finished a whole pizza together... then ordered another one and finished that too. Get the margarita for sure, and their specials never disappoint.
Galette 88: I'm really picky about my savory crepes, and Galette is one of the few places that does them right. Get the Goat-Getter.

Pressed Juicery: Ok, yeah. They're in LA too... but their beet juice is soooo good. And it deserves a spot on the list. 
Range: I don't even know what to say. We went here on Friday night, and I'm still dreaming about the food. If they have it, definitely get the pork shoulder. 

Bi-Rite Creamery: BEST. ICE CREAM. EVER. (And, again... I've had my fair share of ice cream.) The line is always long, so we try to get here early in the morning or right before it closes. The brown sugar flavor is insane. INSANE. 
Contraband: Really great coffee. (They've won awards and stuff.) And they're really close to our place. So, yeah I'm here a lot. 

Olea: I get snotty about the restaurants in Nob Hill (where we live). Most aren't very good. Olea is different though. They use only organic products and test out fun flavor combinations. Their menu changes constantly, but the french toast is consistently excellent. 
Bar Tartine: Order one of everything. And makes sure they bring you a bread basket. 

Hey Kara and Tim - we had so much fun with you this weekend! Thanks for coming to visit our new home!

Photo Credits: Pizzeria Delfina, Range, Bar Tartine, all others via my Instagram

EXPLORING SF // The Conservatory of Flowers

Monday, April 8, 2013

This weekend, we crossed off another thing on our SF to-do list. My friend Kelli has been raving about the Conservatory of Flowers since we moved here. So even though Saturday was a little rainy and overcast, we still marched ourselves out of the house and down to Golden Gate Park.

 I was super-excited about seeing the building up close. Not only is it beautiful, but it's also the oldest wood+glass conservatory in North America. Inside, it houses a variety of tropical plants and flowers including orchids, coffee, cocoa, rice. I couldn't pull Zach away from the Nepenthes. (You know, the carnivorous plants that eat bugs, spiders, small animals... no big deal.)

Honestly, I've been working from home a lot these past few weeks, so if nothing else it was good for me to put on something other than sweatpants and to pull a brush through my hair. C'mon, all you work-from-home folks. Amiright?

Other than that, we didn't do much this weekend. We mostly stayed inside and cooked for each other (Zach makes a mean pot of Spaghetti and my enchiladas are pretty incredible.) We caught up on our favorite shows. We cleaned. We worked. I, being a freakishly fast reader, started and finished 2 novels. (It's a curse - I literally can't start a book and not finish it.) And... that's about it. It was pretty low key.

So, what about you? What were you up to this weekend?

Life Via Instagram

Monday, April 1, 2013

Have you ever had a day/week/month/year where you just felt super unmotivated? I'm in one of those phases right now. For whatever reason, at the end of each day I find myself wanting to relax and paint my nails instead of blog. Hello Lately just hasn't been getting much TLC lately. Honestly, it's been a nice break... and it'll probably continue that way for a little while longer. I started this blog for fun, and I want it to stay that way. So, I'm taking the pressure off myself a little and just letting myself enjoy life. It's been quite nice.

In the mean time, I've been trying to stay more active on Instagram. Have you followed me yet?  


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

San Francisco has amazing food. And over the last 3 months, Zach and I have been taking serious advantage of it's deliciousness. (Although, I still haven't food a good noodle place. What gives, SF?) We've gorged on sandwiches from Rhea's Deli,  the fish tacos from Tacolicious, Indian street food from Curry Up Now, the pizza from Delfina,  and the ice cream - oh, the ice cream!! - from Bi-Rite. Needless to say, this reckless eating seems to have caught up to us. And besides buying a jumbo pack of Tums, this week we decided it was time to give our bodies a break.

Enter the cleanse. I've had some bad experiences with juice cleanses (meaning, they've ended in failure) so this time I decided to go with Whole Living's Detox Action Plan instead. It feels a little more doable because you actually get to eat food. Still, you're cutting out all dairy, meats, carbs, coffee, and anything processed. Basically, you're eating a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies.

Currently we're on day #2, and I'm kind of a mess. They warn that your body might have a hard time detoxing (headaches, fatigue, etc.) but wow... this is some serious discomfort.  I seriously hope my liver is happy for this vacation, because he certainly owes me one. (Yes, apparently by liver is male.)

Have you ever done a detox? Did you like it? Was it worth it? Did it give the results you wanted? I'm super curious... And I'd love to know!


Monday, March 25, 2013

When we moved from to San Francisco earlier this year, we got rid of a ton of furniture. Some of it was crappy to begin with, so it was easy to say goodbye. But other things (like our beloved, vintage coffee table) were just too big for our city apartment. They found new homes via Craigslist.

For the last 3 months then, our house has felt like it did when we were first married: no couch, boxes in the living room, blank walls, etc. But, we've since saved up some extra money to finally purchase all those missing items. And, I'm excited for our little place to feel more like home.

Here's what's coming:

I'll take pictures once it's all here and in place. But, I think we're off to a good start! Now, all that's left is all the little accessories and details. (Please tell me it always takes this long to feel settled...)

A. Everett Upholstered Loveseat | B. Olin Grey Rug | C. Living Wall Planter | D. Metal Coat Rack | E. Rainbow Rag Rug | F. Jute Boucle Rug | G. Martini Side Table | H. Farmstead Stool


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Last Tuesday, Zach and I celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. It was sort of anti-climactic. In all honesty, we forgot all about it until a few nights before when some friends asked what we were doing to celebrate... "Um, nothing yet. Oops!"

We're still talking about taking a little weekend trip to officially celebrate soon. But on the 12th, we ended up at Nopa drinking Riesling, eating olives, and reminiscing about these past 2 years. We both picked out our favorite memories - which ended up being the most mundane things. It's funny that those little things can somehow be the most special.

I found a few old photos when I was going through my old computer, and they made me laugh. Six years ago, Zach and I were just buddies. Who would've ever thought we'd come this far?

(Engagement photo by Sunburst Photography. Wedding photo by Bryan Rupp. Los Angeles photo by Max Wanger.) 

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