Friday, April 29, 2016

San Francisco iphone shots

The last of our San Francisco pictures! Yay! Then I can go back to blogging about our crazy life. By the way--these pictures are not in chronological order!

Have I mentioned how much I love the houses there? ;) Seriously. I stopped so many times to take pictures of houses every time we walked or drove anywhere. But I won't bore you with all of them...just a few of my favorites.

1) Don entered into the "man bag" world for this trip and it was great having someone else to lug around camera stuff part time! He loves that I call it his purse ;) 2) The Full House house!! 3) and 4) Those famous painted ladies!!

1) and 2) I mentioned in my last post about an amazing bakery that we went to. It's called Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. They serve cruffins (croissant + muffin) every day in a limited quantity. We got there wayyyy too early. They roll out at 9am and we expected a line to form pretty early based on what I had heard. We got there around 7:30, grabbed a life changing chocolate croissant and a donut and just hung out until we started the line around 8:40. I would suggest getting there around 8:45 and not super early (at least for a weekday.) The flavor that day was supposed to be brownie walnut but for some reason they were serving key lime pie. I'm definitely not a lime fan but the cruffin itself was amazing and I would DEFINITELY put it on my list of recommendations. And while you're there, get some chocolate croissants!

3) We also tried Bi-rite Creamery which was supposedly a big deal there. To me, it was nothing special but I do love salted caramel and chocolate ice cream together. 4) Ghirardelli was connected to our hotel so we grabbed these amazing chocolate dipped waffle cones with Ghirardelli chocolate ice cream. Now THAT was good ice cream.

I had to make this collage of the back of my head because it totally cracks me up. 1) Painted Ladies 2) Muir Woods 3) Golden Gate Bridge 4) Twin Peaks

FOOD! 3 of the 4 burger places we had while we were there. 1) Super Duper Burger--it was pretty good but nothing too amazing. 2) hotel breakfast 3) In-n-Out 4) Causwells (not our favorite!)

1) generic flight shot. 2) pretty blooms and color combo! 3) flamingo graffiti 4) love seeing palm trees!!

1) 15 weeks belly shot in front of a pretty house that I matched. 2) and one at Muir Woods. 3) Self timer at Muir Woods. Nailed it! 4) Lombard Street

Now the back of Don's head get its turn in the spotlight at Muir Woods and Twin Peaks. The other shots are the pretty views from Alcatraz.

And that's a wrap! Now we can get back to normal life. 
If you're interested in the other posts here's Part One, Part Two, and Part Three!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

San Francisco (Part Three)

So it probably isn't wise to start out my post saying how lame I got about taking pictures with the DSLR on our last two days in San Francisco. Really draws in the reader, eh?

One of the big things I wanted to do while we were in San Francisco was to visit Alcatraz. For some reason, I have been really intrigued about the island's history. I think part of it had something to do with Jorge Garcia's short lived series called Alcatraz. But I've read up on the island and the attempted escapes and have wanted to visit ever since.

We scheduled our trip there for the morning, allowing a ton of time to find parking, and we were able to make it on an earlier cruise...which I'm very thankful for because it gets pretty crowded as the day goes on (though they sell a limited amount of tickets for each time slot.) 
I don't think you can do anything in San Francisco without walking a ton, and Alcatraz is no exception. After dragging your body up the huge hill to the prison, you are given an audio device and headphones to begin the tour. It walks you through the prison and gives history on the different parts. It was pretty neat to be walking through this empty prison, full of so much history, especially after seeing a lot of it on TV. I didn't take a single picture inside with the DSLR. Not because you aren't allowed to, but because I just thought pictures would get pretty old and repetitive. Just thank me now haha.

But I did snap this one of San Francisco from the island. Can you imagine feeling so close to freedom, but unable to do anything about it? 
Oh, and just in case you're wondering--it IS possible to swim from the island to the mainland, under the right conditions. They hold a triathlon there every year and said a 7 year old has even made the swim! There's no way I'd throw Liam in that water and let him swim, no matter how long he trained.

and a little reverse view of the island from the mainland
After we got back from the island, we walked over to In-n-Out for lunch. I had been there before but Don hadn't. And my opinion remains the same--just another fast food burger. BUT it was better than our hipster burgers from the day before so it's all good. I looked up Lombard Street--you know, famously known as "the crookedest street in the world" and saw it was about a mile walk. (Which feels like 10 miles when your legs and feet are on fire from all the walking!) So we walked instead of driving and attempting to find parking!

I feel like it's so hard to tell where the street is in these pictures because of all the greenery but you can kind of see the tops of cars zig-zagging through the middle.

There are stairs on either side so you can walk to the top. We were rewarded with this view!

We didn't ride on the trolley but I did snap this picture and the proceeded to make it look like a cheap postcard you'd find in one of the souvenir shops. 

palm tree!

We came across this fun vine wall along our walk so we had to snap a few pictures
We spent the rest of our time walking around Fisherman's Wharf, which has a super fun atmosphere. But my legs were hurting so bad at this point that we didn't stay too terribly long. We did swing by Pier 39 to see the sea lions that hang out there.

We were wiped out by the time we got back to the hotel. We found a random pizza place and walked (again, ouch!) there and back and decided to use the rest of our $100 food voucher on some room service dessert. We were cracking up with the fact that this is what we got with our remaining $40 so I had to take a picture. But hey! I didn't have to walk anywhere to get it.
Our last day started out at an amazing bakery, which I'll share a bit more about on my next post. And then we just tried to find a few things to do to kill time before our flight. I ended up seeing this place on the map and I'm so happy I did. It's called Twin Peaks and the view was amazing, looking out over all of San Francisco.

Thanks for sticking around and reading! Honestly I'm more excited about my iphone post, coming up next! And if you have any questions about what I thought was and wasn't worth our time, I'd be happy to answer!

Part One--HERE
Part Two--HERE

Friday, April 22, 2016

San Francisco (Part Two)

It's so crazy to think that we have already been back to reality for over a week now. Time really is a funny thing. Counting down to something can seem so slow but then it zips by when you don't want it to. I know I say that often but it's true! 

I'm back to share some more about our time in San Francisco. And in case you missed it, here is part one.

Our hotel, if you remember, was pretty fancy. As a part of our package, we were given coupons for free breakfast at the hotel's restaurant every morning. I had to laugh at the whole situation as we walked up to the hostess showing her our coupons while the waiter (in a suit) whisked us away to be seated. One look around the room and I noticed everyone else was dressed in business suits while we were dressed in....well, not business attire. You could tell we were out of our element but the staff was always so very kind to us and did not make us feel stupid. 
While looking up things to do in San Francisco, I came across a place called Muir Woods. From a blog post that I read, it was suggested to arrive when they open at 8am to beat the crowds. We arrived around 9:30-9:45 and I really would suggest arriving no later than that. By the time we left a few hours later, the parking lots were full. Also note that there is a fee to enter the park. We didn't know this when we arrived so we just walked right in haha. I didn't realize until later that we were actually supposed to pay. But the way it is set up made it easy to slip by without even realizing. 

Muir Woods was probably one of my favorite parts of our trip. The redwoods were gorgeous. I was at a really good point in my pregnancy for this trip (15 weeks) so we were able to do a hike that was around 3 miles. 

The worst part about Muir Woods? The drive to and from it. The road was extremely curvy and on the side of a cliff. Don was having too much fun whipping around those curves and I about had an anxiety attack. And then I got extremely carsick on the way back. But the part of the drive that was really worth it? Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. 

I have seen this bridge so many times in pictures, movies, and tv shows. But I never expected it to be that amazing to see in person. I mean, c'mon, a bridge? But seriously, it was so neat. We went to a few lookout points to take some pictures and we were going to walk across at least a part of it. But we were so worn out from walking at that point and weren't sure where to park to get there. So we opted to just skip out. 
We did go to the very windy, chilly beach by the bridge--Baker's Beach--to take a few pictures as well!
After that we drove through Golden Gate Park. I wasn't really sure where to go once we were there but I did see they had a Dutch windmill with a Tulip Garden so we headed there...only to realize there were no tulips in the tulip garden. At least not that I saw. It reminded me a bit of Forest Park in St. Louis but instead of a lot of free things to do, there were multiple things that you had to pay to do. So we just drove by the random field of bison (yes, for some reason they have bison at the park) and then we headed back to our hotel.

The rest of these pictures are just a few things that caught my eye as we walked through the city.

We were so kindly given a $100 voucher to spend on food and beverages at our hotel so we went down to the bar and grill and stuffed ourselves on the most filling burgers and fries. Actually, it was our second burger of the day and our third on the trip already. I love burgers, lay off me! I actually could eat them every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of them. But our lunch stop, Causwells, I would definitely not recommend. Their burgers looked amazing on instagram but as soon as we walked in, I realized that this was a hipster place. Which basically means that they overcharge you for a junky looking atmosphere because it's trendy and serve you things like water WITH NO ICE (like, who does that?) and their homemade ketchup (give me heinz, please.) Their burgers were nothing special, they serve mixed greens instead of fries (again, who does that?) and the service wasn't great. So if you're ever in the area, I do not recommend going...unless you're into that kind of stuff. (Although they had very high ratings on yelp)

But the most hilarious thing happened after dinner. As we walked back into our room, I noticed right away that our curtains had been closed. Then I heard the smooth jazz being played on the radio and the reading lights turned on. Our bed was fixed again (we had moved a couple of pillows before we left for dinner) and there were chocolates on the bed. I guess it was a kind gesture from the hotel, however, whatever mood they were aiming for, I don't think that it was the one they got. I made Don check the shower, the closet, and behind the curtains. I was almost certain that someone was about to kill us. (Paranoid much?)
Anyway, this turned into a much wordier post that I had intended. So if you made it this far, you are amazing! Thanks for following along. Part three will be up as soon as I get the chance!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

San Francisco Getaway (Part One)

For those who missed it, Don and I were able to visit San Francisco this past week (without any kids!) Of course there's much to share but I'll try not to go overboard. Surprisingly, we didn't take quite as many pictures as I would have expected so that should help!

The best thing about this entire trip? It was completely free! Back in the fall, I entered an Instagram contest sponsored by a San Francisco based coffee company, Hills Bro Coffee, and was so very fortunate to win! They paid for our airfare, our hotel, rental car, and I also received a $600 Visa gift card that covered the cost of all our food and activities while we were there. 

So first of all, this was my first flight since our honeymoon, over 8 years ago. I had flown multiple times before that and never had a single issue, I even kind of enjoyed it. But for some reason (maybe watching the whole LOST series a bazillion times or maybe it was the fear of never seeing my kids again) I had anxiety the entire flight there and back. Every single bump or every time the engine made a different sound, I was convinced we were about to die. We hit about a 20-30 minute patch of turbulence on the way out there and I just knew that was it. And let's not talk about the motion sickness that seems to arrive during pregnancy! But thankfully we survived and I won't have to do that again for a long time!

The first thing that stuck out to me about San Francisco (and I couldn't get over the entire trip) was the houses. Not only are there so many, but there are so many unique ones all over the place. My eyes were instantly drawn to all the pink or mint/turquoise houses but there were just so many good colors everywhere. It took so much self control to not photograph and share every single house that I loved. But I will share a few!

The first (and most important) stop on the agenda was a trip to see the Painted Ladies, the row of houses that are famously featured on the opening credits of Full House (and many other places.) And because I am very cool and not a dork at all, I wanted to re-enact the picnic that the Tanners have on those credits. 

A little fun fact for anyone who is not as clued in (or doesn't really care) about Full House facts: the house that is featured throughout the show--the white house with the red door...portrayed as the Tanner's house--is not actually on the famous row of Painted Ladies. It's about a mile away and has been repainted by the new owner. I would have never, ever recognized it without my handy-dandy pal, Siri (and her mapping abilities.) 
If you go to San Francisco, be prepared to spend a lot of time searching for a parking spot. Thankfully most places that we parked had 2 hour parking for free (that was plenty of time for the stops we had.) But you should also be prepared to walk...a lot...up and down lots of hills. It was rare that we would find a parking spot right next to where we were going. And a half mile walk to a restaurant felt like a lot longer with all the hills. My legs and feet have never been so sore as they were after this trip. Let's ignore the fact that I'm totally out of shape.

After a few hours of exploring, we checked into our hotel, The Palace. I should have been better about taking pictures of the place because it was gorgeous! And apparently the movie, "The Game" was filmed here, though I've never seen the movie. We spent the rest of the evening eating burgers, ice cream, and exploring the downtown area. 

(a snap from my phone of the amazing lobby!)

We wandered over to Chinatown, just to see it, but didn't go into any shops. It's pretty fun to just quickly walk through a section but it gets repetitive pretty fast. 

That was the end of our first day and it's where I'll end part one. I will have a couple other posts coming up as well as an iphone roundup of our trip. 
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