Oct 112012

When Mike and I visited SF last month, we decided to be tourists and enjoy the city on an amazingly beautiful clear weekend.  We didn’t know the next chance we would get to visit the city since when we come back to the States, it will likely be to either LA or Chicago, where our families live.  I wanted to get some good shots of the city view and we both had never been to the famous Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks is located smack dab in the middle of the city if you look on a map and there’s a famous figure eight driveway at the top.  You can get a nice view of downtown, Alcatraz, Bay Bridge, and on a clear day, you can also see the Golden Gate Bridge.  I always think SF city views are unique since all the buildings seem to be white and with the hills it creates a lot of fun lines.  There was plenty of parking when we went up in the afternoon and the view was great!  Highlight of our weekend in SF.

Beautiful, Clear Day from Twin Peaks

Golden Gate Peeking Out From the Fog

Figure Eight Between Twin Peaks, Looking from the Top of One to the Other

I had to climb down the hill to get this straight shot down Market St towards the clock tower on top of the Ferry Building, built in 1898.

View of Ferry Building Clock Tower down Market St.

Sep 142012

I loved going to Cal.  My experience and the friendships I made there completely shaped the person I am today.  The energy of campus and the Berkeley streets is something I associated with college campuses so imagine my surprise when I showed up to Northwestern for grad school and it felt like a ghost town in comparison!  Over Labor Day weekend, Mike and I went up to the Bay to celebrate the wedding of his old coworker and we spent a few days being tourists and visiting friends.

I hadn’t visited campus after graduating many times since living in Chicago and then New York meant that any time I was in California, it was usually spent in LA with family.  Magically, my good friend Cristina (who was also the officiant at our wedding)  just moved back to the Bay and we got to spend the day in Berkeley and walked around campus.  First stop?  Zachary’s Chicago Pizza on College Ave.  I wanted Mike to try it since he’s from Chicago and I love Zachary’s (well, loved in college, which sometimes can be misleading when you’re remembering Top Dog hot links consumed at 2am to be the best thing on Earth).  The verdict: Chicago pizza is denser and cheesier in Chicago but Zachary’s has a fresher taste since it has more tomatoes and you can eat more than 1 slice without feeling like you’re going to explode.  So Chicago still wins.

Next, we walked around Berkeley and reminisced like geeks while Mike and Will had to endure our “remember this?” ramblings.  We got coffee at Cafe Strada (where I once overheard a conversation in Latin) and made our way in a loop on campus.

Count them…9! In Front of the Physics Building

As we rounded the corner to Memorial Glade, we paused and looked at each other.  Is that what we think it is??  Yes, yes, in fact, it IS a game of Quidditch about the start.  We struck up a conversation with one of the students and then what took place was probably the most hilarious conversation around Quidditch.  “Well, we can’t fly, obviously, so we just run around with brooms in between our legs.  It’s uncomfortable at first but you get used to it.”  The Snitch, which is a flying gold ball in the book, takes the form of a player wearing special yellow Snitch shorts with a contraption velcroed to the back that looks like a flag football flag with a ball at the end of it.  So that player runs around campus while getting chased until the opposing team pulls off the velcroed ball.  You can get the shorts from the International Quidditch Association.  Pretty incredible.  All the hoops where handmade from PVC pipes and what looked like hula hoops.  Only in Berkeley…

Apparently There’s An International Quidditch League

After that we came up on Lower Sproul Plaza, where we found a dance group holding auditions for the semester.  AND, it was our old dance group, Danceworx!!  Woohoo!  Now, Cristina and I totally geeked out and started trying to follow along to the tap routine that was being taught.  One student runs over to us and starts to tell us more about the group but we explain that I was President and Cristina was Treasurer back in the day!  So we head over and meet the current officers and they tell us about their Facebook and YouTube pages.  Now there are a ton more officers whereas we only had 3.  It made us feel old when we mentioned we used to have old videos of our performances…but they were on VHS tapes.  Wah wah.  They were like wowww, 2003, that’s a long time ago, we don’t know anyone from back then.  Ha!   Meanwhile, Will strikes up a conversation with the strange man watching the auditions: “they’re goddesses!”

Checking Out the Danceworx Auditions

Berkeley Sather Gate

Remembering the Good Ol Days

It was such a nice day out in Berkeley but we had an inkling that the city was going to be covered in fog.  The original plan was to head over to Golden Gate Bridge but once we checked the traffic, it was a no go.  Instead, we drove over to Indian Rock in North Berkeley and got a gorgeous view of the entire Bay with the fog rolling in.  Indian Rock is this huge boulder formation in the middle of a residential neighborhood and a great place to check out the view.

Berkeley Indian Rock View

View of the Fog Rolling In Over the Bay from Indian Rock


Berkeley Indian Rock

Sunny at Indian Rock, Foggy in the City

It was such a beautiful day and so nice to spend it with our good friends.  I will miss this!

Jul 302012

Before heading to Chicago for 3 weeks, Mike and I did a whirlwind visit to the Bay Area to see some friends over a long weekend.  We drove up on Thursday and came back down on Monday.  It was fun seeing friends and two of them were new first time homeowners!  Feels like everyone around us is buying.  I couldn’t believe how ridiculously expensive the Bay Area real estate market is!   It’s funny how a few years ago our visit would definitely be centrally based in the city and now everyone’s moved towards the South Bay and we only went up to the city once.

Well the one day we went up to the city, we lucked out with an absolutely gorgeous day.  Sunny blue skies and warm!  Not the norm for a San Francisco summer day.  We walked around Haight and Alamo Square before heading to Sunday Streets in Dogpatch (funny name for a neighborhood right?).

Beautiful Day in Alamo Square

My favorite thing about walking around Haight is exploring all the cool little shops and fun architecture and street art.  I’ve always wanted to live around there if I ever lived in SF.

Colorful Apartments on Haight

Graffiti Van

It was a quick visit, so we didn’t get to do much sightseeing, but we’re planning on going back up for longer over Labor Day weekend since we have a wedding in wine country to attend.  Definitely excited for that!