Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sea Cliff Musings | SF, CA

One of my most favorite things I like to do is wander neighborhoods laced with gorgeous homes and fantasize about living there. It's as fun as it is disheartening because it's so easy to envision yourself nestled into the couch with a cup of joe in the decadent living rooms you see ... and just as easy to snap back to reality. However, manicured lawns and to die for views are always lovely peripherals so we often seek out these types of locations for slower, longer weekend dog walking.
We have meant to visit Sea Cliff since we moved down here (like I said here, there are a ton of MUST SEE things to do in SF and we are steadily crossing them off our list at a leisurely pace). We had long heard of this neighborhood mainly due to its phenomenal homes which are seated on the cliffs overlooking the sea (ahhhhh, now it all makes sense!). It's the reclusive, separated from the herd 'hood which is the rumored home to many of the area CEOs and one very notable former resident, Robin Williams. 
Due to its off-the-beaten-path, hilly location outside the scope of public transit, we had to drive our car to the area and were pleasantly surprised to find easy parking on numerous side streets. With SF being such a tourist destination and major city, anything worth seeing here generally means a ton of crowds and no parking (which is why we generally do not drive anywhere -ever, except to get out of town). But because this place is a quiet, sleepy neighborhood it was an exception to that norm. 
Upon exiting the car, we found ourselves right in front of Robin Williams' former home (video of it at bottom of this post). It was big, quite pink and had such pretty views of GG from the backdrop. I like Robin Williams in many things but really, "Mrs. Doubtfire" still is just the crème de la crème for me when it comes to him (which is kinda funny that movie fared so well, when you think about it, it's really weird). I thought the movie was a funny treat as a kid but it took on new meaning after my parents' divorce when I found myself saddled with the grief of that hardship. Granted, my Dad never donned a grey wig and a blue skirt during that time but it did aide a bit in seeing a family coming to terms with the new normal. I still think the very last scene in that movie (right here) is phenomenal in its summary of divorce through a kid's eyes. So anyway, to live right by the Hillards' home now and then see where the actual RW lived, just felt very cool.
^Robin Williams' house right there with GG backdrop
^Casa de Williams
Following that, we moseyed up and down through the streets and admired every gated courtyard, every snippet of view we saw between the homes and all of the variation in these NorCal mansions. It was not a bad date with my camera.

^Love these two so much. Look at Chandler's happy face.

Without even trying to, we stumbled on the edge of the neighborhood which turned into a full on hiking trail leading away from the man made affluent homes to the naturally captivating ocean view woods and all the way down to the Cliff House restaurant (post on that restaurant here). We delighted in this surprise hike and visually binged on the endless Pacific Ocean as our feet crunched into the earthy terrain.
As far as weekend dog walks go (which we like to be longer, slower and more relaxed than their weekday counterparts ever allow), it was a dang near perfect one. We've now tucked that experience into the folder of "potential things to do when someone comes and visits". If you have 2 minutes to spare, here's a little video of the hike/RW house. Those views though!
^Poor Jay outed in his doggy speak on video. We call dogs "schtinks" and then sometimes use baby talk when we're talking around the dog on accident... #TheMoreYouKnow
I hope you're getting back into the swing of things after the long weekend!
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Things I'm Kinda, Sorta, Totally Not Into

DIY
I love the idea of it. I really do. And I'm down with painting furniture and walls, etc. But when it comes to bedazzling shoes or glue-gunning beads on a blouse - am I that into something that takes twice as long to make and turns out half as good as the purchased product? Nah...

Couch / Dooney & Bourke Bags
Just not my style. I feel like they didn't get the memo that it's no longer early 2000s and we don't generally love items anymore that splash the brand's name in repeat pattern across the entire product (Maybe that's because I'm still bitter at all the free advertising I did for Gap as a walking billboard in 1999. My generation knew not what we did.).

Concerts
Go ahead and take away some cool points from me. I deserve it. And yes, I do like some concerts. Some. But most of the time, I think they're boring. The charade is so tiresome. Waiting. Opening acts IDGAF about. Waiting more. Headliner- yes, finally! They play a bit then leave. Back to waiting for the encore, fighting crowds after, etc. Blah. I can think of a lot better ways to spend my nights.

Pizza for Dinner
This is not because I don't like pizza. But as my full dinner, it's just over so quickly! Like 5 bites and dinner is done! Where's the fun in that? 

Believing that people can't eat gluten all of a sudden
If you own that you're doing a gluten-free diet for whatever reason, sure. More power to you.  We all have a right to eat how we'd like. And if you're celiac, then of course- don't have gluten! But if you've eaten it your whole life and then two years ago suddenly became  "100% OMGINTOLERANT", I don't believe you. The only reason this bothers me is because people have gotten really rude about it. I can't tell you how many houses I've been to where the host kindly serves an amazing spread they clearly took forever on and were happy to share with guests. Then like clockwork, someone who ate pizza up until 4 months ago suddenly can't touch any of it and the host scrambles to come up with a stressful plan B all in the name of someone masquerading a food choice as a medical issue. Hurrumph. Manners over fake allergies.
Living your entire life around football season
I like to cheer on all "my" teams and curl up on the couch with some queso and chips to root for a win! But if something else amazing is going on at the time of the game now and again, I'm probably okay to skip the TV for real life. On the other hand, my husband missing a U of O game is not even an option. Can't a girl just go to an antiques fair with her husband in September anymoreeee?

People who use being blunt as an excuse to be just plain rude
If you tell me with sincerity that you think I'm in a bad relationship or that I'm being too harsh on a fellow friend, congrats- you are a blunt person and that is a cherished, noble quality. If you tell people that "they look weird" or that you're bored at their shindig or that you hate their permanent tattoo, you're rude. It's easy to be rude. There is a huge difference between the two.

Wall Decals
I just really can't imagine why anyone likes to put cheesy, huge stickers on their walls. No frames, no mats, just cheap looking text ... SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN (exception for kids because their rooms are always full of whimsy). Like, I can't explain how much I hate this.

Narrating videos that don't need narration
Okay, as I sat here on the couch and asked Jay for an idea of something that he knows bugs me, he immediately brought this one up. And he's SO right about that. Bear with me while I explain: Funny video or clip has been making its rounds on the interwebs. You search the video to watch it and see one that looks like it populate. You open said video and instead of the video you sought playing, you are face to face with some "host" explaining what the video is with accompanying stills without ever playing the video. Like, I don't need you to explain the video to me (also: Who are you?) ... just PLAY the video itself and I can figure it out. Does anyone know what I'm talking about!?!? Here's hoping...

Shirts that state things such as "DIVA" or "A LITTLE BIT SPOILED"
No explanation needed I hope.

My iPhone's storage
Every day I'm told I have to delete more data to make room. Every day. Every GD day.

What's something you're kinda, sorta, totally not into?

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Space Between

One thing I'm really good at is finding inspired interior decor online. I truly have the best eye for pieces for the home when I'm behind the Google machine. Girrrrl, you don't even know the skills I have. I'm also fabulous at talking about home decor to people and all the things I want, the color palettes I'm into and how I plan to implement soon. Soon, soon, soon!

Guess what I'm awful at? Actually buying any of said things and/or carving out time to change my interior space. And it's for one main reason: Because I always feel like the next home we live in will be where the magic happens, not the current one. Since we've never lived somewhere we thought we'd be at too long, I've never felt much of a desire to spend my limited weekend time pain-stakingly dredging out old furniture while I replace it with expensive pieces (that doesn't even mean every piece would be expensive per se, just the fact that redoing an entire room is always expensive, no matter what)

But I realized that I told myself when we lived in our last place in Portland (which was super cute but verrrry tiny) that when we moved to San Francisco and had a bigger city spot, that I would then throw the money at interiors. Then we lugged our lives down here to SF and knew the place we picked (our current homein our quick pre-moving trip would be a place we'd call home for ONLY a year max. And now, here I am telling myself that our next home will be where we throw the money.
^So many pieces I would love to see on my walls when I came home from work each day. Like all of the above. Gasp, love it all.

The funny thing is that I think I'm actually right this time. I do think our future abode will be a place we settle in for 2-3 years and that it will be worth the investment of time and money. I do think I'll actually feel really motivated to get rid of the old and in with the new. However, I still feel annoyed at myself for constantly putting off something that I could definitely start to work on in little ways now. Why can't I grab some new throw pillows? Or a duvet? Or actually frame some beautiful shots that I'm really proud of taking against large mats to display on my bare walls. Why am I continually telling myself that things in my home will change tomorrow, not today.

I know this seems like I'm putting a lot of emphasis on 'stuff'. But I'm more so using this example as a frustration with myself. In some ways I'm great at taking the leap to things that would make me happier. But in others, I continually tell myself that I'll do it eventually. Not now, but just eventually. And then eventually turns into ... ?? This is something I've decided to make a tiny dent in this Memorial Day Weekend. A small goal but an overdue one.

[Throwback: If you'd like to see pictures of my first ever city studio - and all its extremely girly flair... check out my post from when I moved out HERE.]

What annoys you about yourself?
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

MARENGO | COW HOLLOW | SF, CA

I'm a creature of habit and repetition suits me just fine.
If I love a meal, I could eat it every day, no problem.
If I like a song, I'll listen to it on repeat. 
And if I find a place I love, I'll spend more time there than Bill Murray does in Puxatawney, PA. 

And boy did we find a place we love in Marengo on Union.

This fantastic eatery is located in the Cow Hollow neighborhood in SF. A place that I had no idea existed until we came down here but that I've come to find is nestled between the vertical sidewalks of Pacific Heights and the windy streets of the Marina. Union Street serves as the backbone of the neighborhood and enchants us always with its enormity of shops, bars, restaurants, coffee houses, theaters and gyms. Parading the streets in a leisurely fashion is an utter delight and cements my reasoning to continue living in claustrophobic spaces in a big city. This life is what I love. Carless, vibrant, enticing and artistic. Yo ho, yo ho, a city life for me.

Last Fall, on a date night out wandering on Union, we came upon Marengo and were drawn in by its swanky interiors and gorgeous glass ceiling, illuminating the entire restaurant with the symphony of the moon. Since that moment, we've been back again and again (took Jordan to visit it here, enjoyed brunch at it in upper left pic here, etc.) and we'll be back many more times in the future. 

But let me show you what it looked like last Saturday.
^Passed these to get to it. How sweet and pretty.

Saturday morning started with the usual cast of characters: Steaming hot coffee, morning TV, relaxed yawns and puppy snuggles. We had a slow start to our day which felt spectacular and we were able to get ourselves mostly together by the time that Jay's brother, Logan, arrived at our place to hang out. In an effort to not have an overly packed agenda and enjoy a casual Saturday, we decided to just head to Cow Hollow (a hop away from us), meander and, at some point, eat a long weekend lunch at Marengo. And we did just that.
^Starting the day! Me, my BIL, Jay. It's always fun hanging out with him - especially when it involves eating. The 3 of us ate at KONG in Paris on my blog here.

We had originally planned to putz around a bit BEFORE we started eating but soon nixed that and decided to go right for the mothership first, then wander. So we couldn't scurry up the stairs fast enough into the restaurant to begin this weekend treat.
^If I had one tip for this beloved place, it would be to change the sign. I just don't think it does justice to the vibrancy of the interiors.
^Scoping the scene out at the bar in the back.
^Seated in the restaurant and ready to eat.
^Marengo is known for their sliders and from what you can see on the menu, I think you can take an educated guess as to why.
^Tableside pretties
^We started with tots & queso for the table. I was on a diet but then Bran from "Game of Thrones" warged into me and ordered and ate these as himself in my body- there was nothing I could do. D*mnit Bran, that's two really crappy things you did this week.
^Bam! I got the Crispy Chick Salad (bottom) and it was to die for. Logan ordered the Jerk Chicken Salad (above) and loved it as well. Posted this on my Instagram.
^How stunningly gorgeous is this?
^These are the kind of amazing pictures you get when you ask your husband to photograph you while he's mid bite and couldn't care less about helping you take a nice photo for your blog. 
^Speaking of Jay, he ordered sliders and let's pretend that I DIDN'T accidentally erase the good pictures I got of his food. Ugh. Anyway, he was muttering to himself and praising God with every bite so I'm sure that means they were utterly to die for.

After a lot of eating, moaning, clutching our stomachs and paying the bill we went on our way through Cow Hollow. We looked at furniture, sipped some coffee and I stumbled on a sidewalk sale which made my life complete (see the hat? Post coming). But after a few hours of antiquing, boutiquing and clothes shopping, we found ourselves back near Marengo just in time for happy hour and in the spirit of deciding to basically move into this place, we thought it would be nice to pop back in for a celebratory weekend cheers.
^It's always popping in the back and generally standing room only.

After a little toast, we made our way back home to give the dog some deserved attention and watch a movie as day turned into night. One thing I was really excited for in moving down here was having a chance to spend more time with my bay area BIL and it really has been just as nice as I had hoped being around the two brothers. My own siblings are such a joy in my life that I knew it was important to spend lots of times with Jay's one and only sib. And it's all the better to enjoy each other's company in a space you loveMarengo repeatedly provides that.

MARENGO - SAN FRANCISCO 
Located in Cow Hollow on Union Street.
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