Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On a San Francisco High

Chapin and I just returned from five wonderful days in San Francisco. It was our first time in this magical city, and our trip was filled with laughter, adventure... and a great deal of eating and drinking. You could definitely say we fell in love with this beautiful city, and hope to go back again soon. There is so much to do there, it's hard to fit it all in one trip!

Our Hotel: We spent our stay in San Francisco at The Clift Hotel in the heart of Union Square. It was a great place to call home base during our time on the West Coast - very modern and plush, although the bathroom was a little on the small size.

Day 1: We arrived in San Francisco around noon on Wednesday, and after collecting our luggage, went immediately to our hotel. I was disappointed that we didn't get to see the magnificent Golden Gate bridge during our ride, but there was enough to see just taking in the city for the first time. I was immediately enthralled.

As we realized soon after departing, Chapin and I had left behind some items we absolutely needed for our trip. I forgot all my makeup brushes, and Chapin left the white dress shirt he wears with his suit at the cleaners. So, after having a tummy-loving lunch of calamari and mushroom pizza at Postrio, we headed to the Union Square shopping district. Chapin and I both ended up at Macy's, where he chose a light blue dress shirt from Hugo Boss, and I went to the Clinique counter for my brushes and free gift, a special bonus that included a great little eye shadow compact.

Later, we stopped at Cako's Bakery to pick up some cupcakes, as we realized we were too full from lunch to go out for dinner. We went back to the hotel bar, and sat for awhile with some drinks and our sweet desserts. It was bliss to just sit back and relax!

Day 2: We were up early for our day in Napa Valley to visit some local wineries. After a stop at Starbucks, we were on our way. We rented a town car with a driver for the day to take us around to all the best sites, and it was worth every penny. I can't imagine drinking all that wine and having to drive, too! Our winery visits included:

We took a tour at the Beringer Vinyards, and learned the film A Walk in the Clouds (with Keanu Reeves) was filmed there.

After resting for a bit, and recovering from all that drinking, we changed and headed out to the rehearsal dinner for my cousin Jeff, and his fiance, Kristen. The dinner was held at Bocce Cafe. Unfortunately, in the cab ride over, we left our camera behind, so our pictures from Napa Valley are lost forever.

Here I am in our hotel room, posing in my outfit for the rehearsal dinner. The dress is Black Halo (a gift from Chapin) and the shoes are BCBGMaxAzria Women's Maetis T-Strap Sandals in Lead Satin. I love this dress for its rich color, and the cut hugs the curves just right. It is, however, somewhat risque, and it wrinkles very easily because it is silk, but overall it's a fabulous cocktail dress.

Day 3: We did a lot of walking on our third day in San Francisco. We started off with a quick breakfast and a trip to Radio Shack to purchase a new camera. Here I am posing in the store. I thought I would include it because it makes me smile, and you can see me in a more casual outfit. My coat is the Old Navy Wool-Blend Ruffle Coat, and has been seen on a few celebrities like Kristin Cavallari! It comes in a few other colors (black and blue), but I love the red and have been wanting a red coat for awhile.

Our day included a trip to Alcatraz. Our ferry left at 10:30 a.m., and we spent about two and a half hours there walking around the grounds and taking the audio tour of the prison. It was extremely interesting, and I discovered things I never knew, including the infamous "dummy head escape." Three prisoners got out, but were never found. Many believe they drowned.

Here is a good shot of Chapin on the island with San Francisco in the background. As you can, we were not having the best weather! We also got to see a seal while we were on the island, as well as on the ferry ride back to San Francisco. They are so cute!

After we got back to the city, we walked to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiardelli Square, where we had lunch and picked up some desserts, including fudge and cupcakes from Kara's Cupcakes. Can you tell I love cupcakes?

Later that evening, we headed out for an Italian dinner at a local restaurant Jeff and Kristen recommended: Franchino. The restaurant was small but overflowing with atmosphere, from the Italian grandmother who stopped by our table to recommend a wine to the grandfather in complete "mob" get-up manning the door. And, of course, the food was amazing. I had the manicotti while Chapin tried the gnocchi!

Here I am in my outfit for dinner: Allegra lace cocktail dress from Cynthia Steffe and L.A.M.B. Women's Dakota Woven Sandals.

Day 4: The wedding day finally arrived, and we decided not to do too much, as we knew we would be up late. We slept in and had a late brunch at a wonderful little placed called Zazie that Jeff and Kristen mentioned on their wedding website. The food was amazing! I had the French Toast Tahiti, which is challah stuffed with caramelized bananas and walnuts, and Chapin had the special omelet of the day. My meal was to die for, and I didn't need to eat again all day!

Since Zazie was close to Golden Gate Park, we walked around the park after brunch to try to burn off some of those calories. Fortunately, it wasn't raining, but it was very overcast and chilly, so we didn't take any pictures on the walk.

Once we got back to the hotel, Chapin went off to a sports bar to watch the Auburn game, while I relaxed in the hotel room. Chapin came back to the hotel a few hours later, and not empty handed. He surprised me with a pair of new shoes I'd been admiring earlier that day in the BCBG store. These BCBGMaxAzria sparkly Savannah pumps perfectly matched the Betsey Johnson dress I was planning to wear to the wedding that night. He earned major "husband points" for that generous gift!

Finally, after Auburn's win over LSU, we set off for the wedding. Although it was raining, the ceremony and reception were beautiful, and Chapin and I had so much fun spending time with my extended family and eating the wonderful food.

Here is a great picture of us with the bride and groom.

Jeff and Kristen love good food, and the wedding day menu definitely reflected that. Kristen and I have bonded in the past over pugs and cupcakes, so it was no surprise to see the cupcake cake. Here I am taking a big bite out of a red velvet cupcake. You can also see the carrot cupcake I demolished soon afterward.

After attending the after party, where we got to spend more time with our family, we headed back to the hotel to grab a few hours of sleep before our flight. We left San Francisco early on Sunday to head home to Atlanta. My parents met us at the airport with George, whom were so excited to see after five days apart. We went home and pretty much went back to bed catch up on all our sleep before going back to work.

Although I could write more about our trip, these are the highlights, and as you can, we had a fabulous time. Thank you to Jeff and Kristen for giving us an excuse to visit this wonderful city.