826 Valencia

I meant to put this post up before I left SF, but didn't, so here it is belatedly. I wanted to share some pictures from my trip to the famous 826 Valencia Pirate Store. In case you haven't heard the story... Dave Eggers co-founded this fabulous writing center, with locations around the country. Each location has its own unique storefront (I used to live near Boston's Bigfoot Research Institute). I'd always wanted to see the Pirate Store in San Francisco and it was well worth the trip. Below are some photos from my adventure there.

There were lots of great activities for kids:

A wall full of drawers that you could pull out and spy inside:

Treasure maps of course:

A wall of mustaches on mirrors:

Lots of pirate paraphernalia:

And these great signs posted here and there (click to enlarge and read):

This is the writing center in the back of the store:

I would have loved to visit a place like this when I was a kid! Wouldn't you?

A Blue Rose visit

This week we had our last visitor before heading back east, fellow Blue Rose Girl Grace came out to meet baby Tilda and do a little business. She remembered to take many more pictures than I did (I've got some serious mama brain), but here are a few highlights.

On Monday we went into Chronicle Books. I am a fan of their books, stationary, and journals so it was a thrill to see where they are made (our baby book came from them and we adore it so).

We met with the lovely Melissa Manlove, who chatted with us about upcoming projects and gave us a tour of the incredible offices there (Melissa and Grace below).

The first floor has several retail spaces where you can check out their new titles (that is me trying to restrain myself from buying mountains of books for Tilly).

I wish I got a picture of the clever way they displayed many of the books... they used reclaimed wood beams that looked like they were from nearby piers, turned on their ends, with books set on top. Maybe Grace got a picture? So cool. The offices were so modern and hip, it looked like a really fun place to go to work every day. They actually had a construction room with a sewing machine and other tools... it was sort of like an art school studio.

There were also celebrities just hanging out in some of the editor's cubes (can you spot Johnny Depp below?).

Then we packed up the baby and headed to Chinatown.

We wandered through alleyways looking for a fortune cookie factory Grace read about (she'll have better pictures here too).

After a lovely lunch (not just fortune cookies, though they were delicious), we meandered into an amazing tea shop, filled floor to ceiling with a million kinds of tea.

We sat at the bar and were treated to samples of many exotic flavors by our host, who seemed to know everything there is to know about every tea in existence. We tried Chrysanthemum seed, Lychee, Jasmine Pearl, Ginseng, Coconut, and a sweet buttery tea that smelled like popcorn.

They even had a rose tea brewed using the entire blossom.

Though the fanciest of all was called Cloudy Mist Iron Goddess, it was $800 a pound! Personally I liked the Lychee better. But then I know nothing about tea.

Once we were nice and caffeinated, we headed over to the Embarcadero to the TCHO Chocolate factory. There we tried a "chocolate shot", it is something like drinking chocolate lava. YUM.

All in all a lovely, rejuvenating visit. Every time we have a new guest we get to be tourists in this town we've been staying in and see something new.

More western adventures

On Sunday we spent the day hiking around Lincoln Park, China Beach, and Sutro Heights. Here is a view of the bay through one of the very beautiful houses perched on a clifftop on our way down to the water:

And this is China Beach, at the bottom of a long, long hill, where we sat and ate lunch.

Then we hiked back up the hill and through a winding path along the cliffs facing Golden Gate Bridge, leading us towards the Pacific.

And these are our first views of the Pacific since we arrived. It was breathtaking and lovely.

Well worth the huffing and puffing up hills. Well I was huffing and puffing, Bruno was patiently walking at a snail's pace beside me while I waddled along at 31 weeks pregnant. I earned a cream puff for sure.

September in San Francisco

Finally after weeks of using Bruno's laptop I have my mac up and running again, with many pictures to upload of our adventures over the past few weeks. Here are some highlights:

This is the view from our hilltop apartment in Pacific Heights. We'll be moving again shortly, but its been nice to take in the view each day.

George likes to take it in too. Most of the time when we come home we see our cats sitting in the window, looking out over the city.

This is what our street looks like, lots of beautiful big Edwardians.

One day a couple weeks in we hiked up the hilly streets in our neighborhood towards the Marina, this is the view from the top of a hill so steep it had to have stairs. I love that you can glimpse the ocean from so many places in this city.

Bougainvillea is all over the place.

And the architecture around here is just so amazing.

So are the cream puffs. These are from a nearby bakery called Pacific Puffs. Mmmm. I would like one right now please.