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Experiencing San Francisco Bay Area

This is part of a series of travel articles composed by myself and travel expert Kendra Thornton, former Orbitz Director, about our favorite things to do in our home towns.

As I just relocated from NYC to the San Francisco Bay Area, I am sharing the top 5 things I am most excited about doing in and around the Bay!

Experiencing city life the San Franciscan way

  • Such an iconic San Fran experience are riding the trolleys (ding, ding)!  Excited to hop on a cable car and ride the 7 hill tops and watch our west coast peeps hike the city’s steep hills (NY may be a city of walkers but the San Franciscans have the calves!).
  • With the yearly moderate temps a bike ride through Golden Gate Park (20% larger than Central Park) is a must.  Can’t wait to bike through the Japanese Tea Garden (where the first fortune cookies were supposedly made) and stop at the coastal end of the park to play in the sand with the kids.
  • After living in a city with some of the greatest restaurants and chef’s in the world, my eager taste buds are ready to dine at the trendy Gary Danko’s in North Beach and RN74 in South Beach.  The food is suppose to be delicious and the atmosphere noteworthy.

Home to the 49ers and Giants!

  • Such iconic California teams in the Bay.  Where else can you catch an out-of-the-park home run ball by boat but at the AT&T Park.  In my opinion, one of the best places to watch a baseball game.  And, the red and gold spirit on the peninsula is contagious.  We may be a true Green Bay Packers family (I’m a drafted fan due to marriage, ha!) but when the Packers are not playing we will definitely be rooting for our new home team at Candlestick Park (soon Levi’s Stadium), go 49ers  –  “Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!”

Biking, Hiking, and Surfing

  • The Bay Area has such a diverse amount of outdoor activities.  A couple things I am most pumped about are hiking along the gorgeous beach lined coastal hills, and then in the winter, watching the world’s bravest surfers at Mavericks Beach shredding waves.  So California.  Then at the nearby Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay grabbing a drink on the beach during sunset.  Can’t wait!

World Class Wineries

  • If there is anything more notable in the North Bay it’s the Napa wineries!  I am eagerly awaiting a day trip of wine tasting, touring the vineyards, having lunch at the Culinary Institute of America and ending the day drinking a local wine watching the sunset at one of the amazing spas in Sonoma County.

America’s Cup

  • A spectacular event on the Bay is watching the America’s Cup!  The catamarans make the show exciting to watch and the 2013 event was voted the most ‘fan-friendly’ AC ever.  Rumor has it that the 2016 AC event could, once again, be held in the San Francisco Bay.  I hope so!

With so much culture, diversity and beauty throughout the bay, there is something for everyone.  I hope some of my favorite things to experience inspire you to take a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.

What is something you enjoy doing in your home city?  Would love to hear about it.

My Little City Girl

I did really good in gymnastics and mommy promised me my favorite chocolate milk in Union Square.  Come join me on my subway ride!

subway 1a

The L Train!  Here we go.  My favorite way to get around the city.

subway 2a

Which subway stop is it again?

subway 3a

Just missed my train.  Oh well, I’ll rest my feet a little.

Subway 4a

Better hold tight.  This train ride can be a bit bumpy.

subway 5a

Looks like it’s morning rush hour.  Hope they see me down here!

subway 6a

More stairs!!  One of my favorite reasons to ride the subway.

subway 7a

Uh oh, I’m a slow walker and it looks like the next subway is here.  Those NY subway-goers walk fast!  I better pick up the pace.

subway 9a

Getting excited.  Almost there.

subway 10a

I forgot how many steps there are at this subway stop…whew, almost at street level.

subway 11a

I found it!  I found it!

subway 12a

aaaahhhh…..nothing like my favorite NY chocolate milk in USQ Park and watching the squirrels.

subway 13a

Better head home…I’m missing Cade…

subway 14a

Being short has its advantages.

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Another great day on the subway.

What is your favorite way to get around your town…bike, skates, scooter, ect?  Would love to hear about it.

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The Closet & The Nursery

tiny space

 

We all know how tiny some NYC apartments can be!  All of us New Yorkers probably have a story or two, either a great deal we found on a cramped one bedroom converted to two, or that 6 story walk up studio only liveable if you don’t plan on having guests, or that party at a friend’s where all 5 people were elbow to elbow, or that dinner gathering where everyone had to walk through the bedroom, then the guest bedroom, then the bathroom to get to the kitchen.  All this may sound unappealing to some, but there is nothing like looking out your apartment window and seeing the lights, hearing the sounds and feeling the energy of the city.  New York City is definitely one of the greatest cities in the world and there are many lengths one may go through to call a piece of the Big Apple home.  Even myself.

My first NYC apartment I climbed 6 flights of stairs to my little piece of the Apple.  The living room had a small 2 seater couch and if you crossed your legs you had to be careful not to hit the TV in front of you.  It was a duplex and my bedroom was upstairs with a sliding glass door that led to my private balcony, a fire escape.  Oh how I loved my “terrace”!  I would sit in a small chair and read a book, while listening to the energy of my fellow New Yorkers hustle and bustle below on East 86th Street.  It was my minuscule piece of the Big Apple.  And I loved it.

So now, its 9 years later, I’m married with two children living in a 2 bedroom condo.  It has been quite spacious for the 3 of us, however three months ago we had a sweet baby boy and wanted to give him his own space.  So we thought, ‘where in the world do we put him?’  Our NY design instincts set in!  We were both thinking it, but didn’t want to say it…we had to surrender our precious walk-in closet to our new precious.  We turned our closet into a nursery AND had a blast doing it.  Here’s what our tiny space, turned nursery, came out like…

Nursery 1

Phase 1 – We painted the walls with Pottery Barn grey by Benjamin Moore.  Found a small dresser and Monte bassinet.

Nursery 7

Next we decided on a nautical theme using light grey, light blue, white and a touch of navy.  I gravitate towards soft colored nurseries – feels sweet and innocent just like a baby.

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Then we added this cute whale, a few boats and seashells to our tiny nautical space.

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Always looking for more storage, these personalized Pottery Barn baskets worked perfect.

Nursery 4

A nursery is never complete without precious newborn photos.  We chose black and white.

Nursery 8

Added a glow-in-the-dark star chandelier and VOILA!  A small space with perfect bliss for baby!

Have you been creative in adding space in your home?  Would love to hear about it.

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Our Newest Member

Hi All!  We’ve been a little busy around here the last few months – busy in a good, good way.  I’m proud to introduce our newest family member, Caden Brooklyn.  Our precious baby boy arrived 3 months ago (wow already 3 months!) and has melted into our hearts and family, just as our Maddie did 2 years ago.  Our lives, once again, have turned upside down.  You always hear about how things will be different – life with one versus life with two.  Well it’s true.  A little more crazy, a little more hectic, a little more patience needed AND life with two… has never been more fulfilling and more enjoyable.  Caden’s first sweet smiles and his first occasional coos transpire a feeling that nothing in life can bring.  I was trying to think of a word that describes this feeling, but I can’t think of just one.  It’s a mixture of sweetness, innocence, love, dependency on mommy, the miracle feeling of knowing he was formed inside of me and when I gaze into his big beautiful brown, or hazel, or grey, or I really can’t tell yet, eyes, I’m looking at a part of myself and my husband.  My husband always says, our children are the best of both of us.  Now lets hope we don’t mess things up over the next 18 years! Ha!

Here’s to introducing you to the little guy who has stolen a piece of our hearts…

 

 

Caden23BW

 Photos by Abby Cope Photography

What has entered your life recently and has brought happiness into your world?  I would love to hear about it.

Honoring Veterans

Veterans Day was Sunday and many of us are taking today off in honor of veterans - those who have put their lives on the line for our country.  Most of us know a veteran, our father, brother, family member or friend, and we hear their stories and can’t possibly relate to what they have experienced for us.  Then there’s those who have lost their lives or have lost a loved one for OUR freedom and for OUR future.

How do we teach this to our children?  How do we help them understand the purpose of Veteran’s Day?  To them it’s a parade of soldiers and waving flags and BBQ’s with family.  How do we teach them that it is a day of Gratitude?  A day of honoring and saying thank you to those for putting their lives on the line for us.  There are stories that are told and pictures in albums, but what better way to help a children learn than by reading.

Here are a few of my favorite military children’s books, with short excerpts, to help young readers understand the purpose of Veteran’s Day.  Great classroom books and stories for home.  Click on the book if you’re interested in ordering.

Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, tells a story through a child’s eyes of what family life is like when a parent is at war across the world.

Written by the son of a career officer, this book explores the branches of the Armed Services and speaks from the heart about the honor, privileges and sacrifices of military families everywhere.  With an underlying message of courage and commitment that every child can relate to, the book will be especially meaningful to those whose parents, siblings or other relatives serving in the Armed Forces.

A letter from Dad, who is deployed in the Middle East, prompts the young narrator to muse on what his father is going through and how he represents a better breed of superhero.

Amanda understands her dad is making the world a better place, but it doesn’t make his deployment any easier.  As Amanda wishes for her dad to enjoy good meals, make new friends, and return safely, the little tree comes to life with yellow ribbons of hope.

Chris Demarest’s dynamic alphabet book honors the men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in our armed forces — and will thoroughly engage young readers and adults.

We ordered Alpha Bravo Charlie and Maddie’s grandpa can’t wait to have her sit on his lap, read to her, and tell his stories of being in the Air Force during Vietnam, when we visit him in CA next month.

God Bless the Military for all they have done and continue to do! May we remember all those who fought in wars today and always, so that we may stay safe and be a country with freedom!

Do you have a family member who has served in the military or has been drafted?  How do you teach your children the importance of Veteran’s Day?  Would love to hear about it and hear your personal story.

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