Wednesday, April 29, 2015

San Francisco Ferry Building

One of my favorite things to do around my neighborhood is visiting the Ferry Building. Its about a 15 minute walk and I absolutely visiting during the day or evening.  On Saturdays it hosts the local farmers market...(p.s. - Its also where I spotted Joe Montana!)

Here's a little background on the building according to the website and wikipedia:

Opening in 1898 on the site of the 1875 wooden Ferry House, the Ferry Building became the transportation focal point for anyone arriving by train from the East, as well as from all the East Bay and Marin residents who worked in the city.  From the Gold Rush until the 1930s, arrival by ferryboat became the only way travelers and commuters—except those coming from the Peninsula—could reach the city.

With decreased use after bridges were constructed across the bay to carry railroad traffic, in the 1950s, the building was adapted for office use and its public spaces were broken up in an unsympathetic manner. In 2002, a restoration and renovation were undertaken to redevelop the entire complex. The 660-foot long Great Nave was restored, together with its height and materials. A marketplace was created for the ground floor, the former baggage handling area. The second and third floors were adapted for office and Port Commission use. During daylight, on every full and half-hour, the clock bell chimes portions of the Westminster Quarters. The ferry terminal is a designated San Francisco landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

When I get bored working from home, I go to the Ferry Building and this is my view!!! Not a bad spot to hang out and people watch. The only bad thing is that 1. there is no wifi and 2. there are no plugs for my computer...wtf is up with that?!?!?!

Also, you can catch the Ferry to Larkspur or Alameda and may other places!  There are 46 different stalls or merchants in the building on the first floor, its also where I ate a Pepples Donut and drank an amazing Rose at the Ferry Merchant Wine Bar.

And as part of the 100 year celebration of the world fair in San Francisco, the ferry clock tower is outfitted in the year 1915!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Starks Visit San Francisco!

This past weekend, our Cabo friends the Starks, came to San Francisco!  While they missed B Man by a mere 3 days, I was happy to play host to my wonderful city!  They live in Santa Monica and I can't wait to go and visit them as well soon!  Thankfully they brought the warm LA sun and weather because goodness we had some pretty freaking cold weather recently. We had a blast sightseeing in the city and checking out a few new bars in the area.

Of course, if I have any visitors, I take them to The View, at the top of the Marquee Marriot because you can't beat this view....especially at sun set time and you get to see the sun, it setting, and then the city lights after dark.   

While bar hoping, I discovered this gem that has been under my nose the whole time!  We stopped at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and found a few delightful things. Mostly, this AMAZING French Rose, now I normally don't care for Rose, but MAN WAS THIS GOOD!!  This 2014 Chateau Maupague Saint Victoire Rose was light, crisp and refreshing!

And of course we had to get some nibbles and it was SO FREAKING TASTEY!!! The best cheese ever, the Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery and the Salumi meat plate and the most fresh bread from Acme Bread company. All of these stores are at the Ferry Building, which is only 15 minutes from my house!

And let me close out this post with an epic selfie!

Friday, April 24, 2015

This Day in History v.39: Harrods

What's more well known in the world as one of the top London landmark than Harrods?  I ran across a blog the other day about little known facts about Harrods and it made me remember all the times I walked the streets outside of Harrods and how much anxiety I had when I actually entered the doors.  To say it is "busy" is an under statement....SO MANY PEOPLE.  Anyways, Charles Henry Harrod opened Harrods in 1834 in Knightsbridge when he was only 25 years old...holy cow, what a feat!

Here are some of the facts that blew me away:
  • All the customers: On an average day, approximately 100,000 people come to shop at Harrods. On peak days, especially during the Christmas season, this number can jump up to 300,000.
  • Everything you want: The store has 330 departments and is 5 acres in size!
  • Bright lights: At night, Harrods is lit up by 12,000 light bulbs on the store’s fa├žade and 300 bulbs have to be changed every day. This began with its Christmas lights in 1959 when 1,100 bulbs were used for the decorations.
  • It's motto: The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus UbiqueAll Things for All People, Everywhere

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On My Own Again

Well today is the day. I'm on my own again, I shipped the B Man off on his boat and said See You Later Alligator...for 4 months to be exact.  Hey, at least enough things were broken on his boat that he was supposed to leave a month ago, so at least there's that.  But living on borrowed time and not knowing when exactly you're going to leave is a bit frustrating.  But oh well, time to get over it.  I was lucky enough to be able to walk down to the peer and wave adios (not like he could actually see me since his boat was so far away but still), its the thought that counts.

Time to get my big girl panties on again and deal with life on my own again...hey if any one reading wants to come and visit me, I have a really comfy new couch you can crash on!!

In typical SF fashion, it was cloudy and slightly sprinkling rain coming down so the weather looked like the photo above.  I took the below 2 photos and tried playing around with photo editing software...what do you think?

Cupid Span

Bay Bridge and my little birdie friend

Monday, April 20, 2015

1 Year Anniversary

Welp....today officially marks my 1 year anniversary in San Francisco and living with the B Man. Good news...I haven't offed him yet! I fall more in love with this city every day and I truly LOVE living here!  It was a big change, but you only live once and I'd do it all over again.

In honor of my year anniversary of living here in SF, enjoy some amazing views of our iconic Golden Gate Bridge!  This view is from the north side of the bridge, overlooking the city in the background.

Every time this view blows my breath away.

View from the dashboard. 

I'm very happy with my decision!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hosting my First Easter Brunch and a Big Wheel Race

B Man and I finally hosted a small party at our place!  We finally got a really awesome new couch and a nice living room set up so we could actually have people over!  We decided at 21st Amendment on Friday that we'd be celebrating Easter at our apartment on Sunday with a brunch.  Cue the FREAK OUT.  I had 4 bottles of champagne at the house...so that part wasn't the part of the problem, but what was the problem is that we only owned 2 champagne glasses and only 4 plates!! YIKES!!! This called for a scramble in the purchasing department!! But it gave me a great reason to buy new things and have uses for things I've already purchased!!

What did I make? Good question! You can see some of the things in the picture above, let's see....I made deviled eggs, these adorable pancake/strawberry/banana/nutella skewers, cantaloupe/prosciutto bites, breakfast potatoes, scrambled eggs and a cute little peep wreath! And 4 bottles of Domaine Carneros champagne!!!

I got to use my California shaped cutting board I purchased drunkenly one night (drinks and Etsy or amazon should never be mixed!!) from Etsy. These would make such a cute gift for a housewarming gift!  The company will even put a house or a heart where they live on the state. We have a house printed where San Francisco is. I also go to use my new green bar cart from The Container Store and my teal mason jar vase from World Market.

After a boozy brunch we all headed to Potrero Hill to find the Big Wheel Race!!!!  You read that right, adults in a big wheel race! You know like those little plastic big wheels you used to ride as a kid. Its the 15th year that this is in existence in San Francisco and everyone races down the ACTUAL windiest street in San Francisco (no, not Lombard street).

Gearing up for the race, yes that's Mario and Luigi!

How did this race come about you ask?  According to their website:

The race was conceived in the mind of a mad man named Jon Brumit. As legend has it, in 2000 Jon happened across a big wheel. He wondered what he should do with it and much like the apple that fell on Newton’s head, Jon had the vision of riding his newly found plastic toy down Lombard Street.

So, having passed out a few hundred fliers to invite anyone interested in joining him to partake, he chose Easter Sunday to ride down the 2nd curvious street in the world. (That’s right, SECOND.)
On that day in 2000 Jon was the only brave sole to embark down the hill. Under the watchful gave of thirteen spectators, he’d wait for the street car to pause at the top, clearing Lombard Street below so that he could ride freely without being run over.

And so Jon continued this tradition for the next six years, accumulating other riders and friends that decided to partake over the years. By 2006, thirty brave souls would join him to bravely brave that curvy street. A few hundred would watch in anticipation as these collective genius’s skidded their way down the history street.

A video was posted to YouTube and for the next year, it accumulated hit after hit. And so in 2007, riders swelled to hundreds while audience swelled to thousands.  The neighbors didn't like this and wanted the race to end. So what was Jon to do? The race was in peril! Jon himself was moving out of town and if Lombard was not available, what street could possibly be used?!?!? And then, someone had a totally non-peyote induced Google map-a-thon search to find a replacement for the fabled Lombard Street… VERMONT STREET!

Yes this most excellent of roads was actually designed by the same architect! And it was curvier! After a little testing, a decision was made that in 2008 we would descend upon this road for what might possibly be the last year of BYOBW. Out of fear of being tossed from yet another site, Jon and his BYOBW Crew took to the streets for what we believed might be our last event. But low and behold?!?!? The residents of Vermont Street (most of them) were pleased to have our race in their neighborhood? Could this be true? Could BYOBW have found a home? Verily, it was true! BYOBW has lived at Vermont street since 2008 and is still continuing strong!

Kind of epic when the website says in big letters: ABSOLUTELY NO METAL FRAMED TRIKES WILL BE ALLOWED.

Already going down the hill!

Green body suit? Big wheel? CHECK.

Check out the video!!

You can hear them going down the street before you can actually see anything.

Even Elmo came out to play!

And the crowds were insane! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

California Academy of Sciences

I dragged the B-Man to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park last weekend.  It was supposed to be his last weekend in town (gotta LOVE the 'hurry up and wait' mentality of the military) and it happened to be the free weekend for our zip code. The Academy of Sciences has free admission for neighborhoods, you just have to find which one is yours! All it takes is to bring a photo ID and a piece of mail to prove your address. SCORE!!! Otherwise you'd be shelling out $35 per adult, so we saved $70!!!!!  Forking over that much would only be worth it if you had children and spent the whole day there.

We got up early and took the N line to the park and walked in around 10am.  Getting there early is THE WAY TO GO.  The place was quiet and there were hardly any children...and no screaming children in sight (hey, there's a reason I don't have a kid yet). We also scored our free ticket to the planetarium at noon.  These sell out quickly, so if you're going...get there early!

If you didn't know, Golden Gate Park is H-U-G-E!  This is the whole park and everything in it.

We started off on the first floor and saw the sting rays near the planetarium.

Then went into the African Hall.  Hey...is that Sir Fidel below?!?!?!

And then on to the Penguins...there was even a daily feeding of these little fellows and a show!  But B-Man had a short attention span and didn't want to stand around listening to the children.

And then we walked around to the back to the pendulum.

Pretty cool if you've never seen one of these!  This proves that the Earth spins. The pendulum swings and moves ever so slightly, every 30 minutes the pendulum swings and knocks down another peg. We happened to walk up right as it knocked down the net peg....SCORE!!!

I should have taken a better picture of this albino alligator. It was SO still when we were above that I couldn't tell if it was real or not. I didn't think so, but M-Man disagreed.  It was SO SO SO still that I didn't catch it move until we were down stairs. I could have sworn he was fake but then it gave me the heeby-geebies!!!

And then we moved over and checked out this pretty bad-ass floor to ceiling aquarium as part of the California Coast exhibit. Wow, this part was SO COOL!  All the colorful fish to be seen in this 100,000 gallon tank!

And then we checked out the coral reefs

Just look at this creepy guy!

How beautiful are these colors in the Philippine Coral Reef exhibit?

I snuck this picture in this crawl hole and this was pretty much his face the whole time.  I don't blame him because I was pretty much the same.

Next up was the Osher Rainforest!!! More than 1,600 species live in the rainforest here, including 250 butterflies that were flying around and landing on people

Spotted one!

This being California, of course there was an Earthquake exhibit! Pretty cool to see the globe with the fault lines that cause earthquakes.

Yep, the Bay Area Faults.  Always causing those earth quakes around here.

The Naturalist Center lets you get up close and personal with animal artifacts. 

Then we headed up to the Living Roof! Their website says: The Living Roof provides excellent insulation (reducing energy needs for heating and cooling), captures 100% of excess storm water (preventing runoff from carrying pollutants into the ecosystem), and transforms carbon dioxide into oxygen—just for starters.  Weather stations on the roof monitor wind, rain, and changes in temperature to help inform the building's automated systems and skylights, keeping rainforest temps just right, the interior piazza cool and comfortable, and natural light streaming to the exhibits below.

So technically that's the rainforest right under those sky lights! Can you scroll back in this blog and find what this looks like from the inside?
The Academy is the world’s first Double Platinum LEED-certified museum, and the largest Double Platinum building on the planet.

So, there you have it! Our trip to the California Sciences Building.  Get yourself there and get there early to avoid the crowds!!  We saw all of the exhibits but not all are pictured here, such as the Morison Planetarium....only the COOLEST part of the place.  From their website:  The 75-foot dome displays one of the most accurate—and immersive—digital Universes ever created.  Plunge below the ocean’s surface to explore the dynamic relationships found in deep ocean ecosystems; dig beneath the forest floor to see how Earth’s tallest trees rely on tiny fungi to survive; and soar to new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks.