DUOLINGO

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!!

JUST AN HOUR NORTH OF SAN FRANCISCO...

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. :)

DREAMING OF PARIS

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!

SUMMER ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS

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??

DREAMING OF PERU

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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



WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR AUGUST TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO

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!) 

NEXT UP: A WEEKEND IN VENICE

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]
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