San Francisco, Palo Alto

on saturday, we headed back up to san francisco again for more christmas activities, followed by an evening in downtown palo alto for classic movies at the stanford! it was the perfect crisp and sunny day..
so if you’re going to visit sf or the bay area…there are a few suggestions throughout this post, so fyi to the enth degree!!
we strolled around the city, hit up the new nespresso cafe which we love and has a seriously good bathroom! it’s a wonderful people watching place because they have huge windows that stretch to the 25 foot ceiling and super comfy euro modern seating areas! i think our waitress was parisian.
you must also check out britex fabrics if you have any excitement from huge walls full of cool fabrics. and i mean duh, why wouldn’t you!
we also checked out urban picnic for lunch, which was a great inexpensive find (yay!). there are lots of little gems in the financial district too, but urban picnic was the find of the day! i had a great wrap and they had fresh juices, delicious salads + curry to boot. check em out!
i also go to skip down my favorite little promenade pictured above (maiden lane)! it’s a little cutie + straight outta europe!
you have to wander into gump’s during christmastime! they give out the most amazing buttery cookies, and everything you could want for christmas anything..and probably really good quality (read a wee little expensive). but it’s there my friend..it’s there.
here’s a baby photoshoot with our godson micah 🙂
and then it was time to go to the stanford…one of my most favorite theatres in the whole world, people! …is audrey hepburn your gal? maybe you’re a ginger rodgers fan.. or maybe you can’t get enough of jimmy stewart? i tell you my dear friends, you can see ’em all here!! and that’s why i love the stanford. scootch in next to the worlds most sweet {and elderly} audience ever for a double feature. it’s like taking a trip back in time.
 
we grabbed some pizza before—hello have you tried fig + bacon at pizza my heart aka figgy piggy?! you must!!—and loved our double feature feat deanna durbin!
 
a little silliness..
we headed to the palo alto creamery after for malts, milkshakes and pie! you have to try one of their malts or pie. they also serve a giant cookie! we always make a point of dancing to the jukebox—they have lots of oldies + goodies 🙂
 
and voila!
happy christmastime my friends 🙂

San Francisco

we went to san francisco land yesterday; and according to frank sinatra, the magical place where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars…
 
i agree, frank..i agree 🙂 i love san francisco during the holidays. everything is decked out, lights are everywhere, even the little cable car poles are wrapped in ribbon and garland. the stink that rises out of the man holes is covered over with the scent of peppermint lattes and pine undertones and everything just gets a little magical. it’s wonderful.
 
we were up in the city yesterday with some dear friends shopping, eating, making friends with the anthro employees and taking an unholy amount of union square tree pictures (it’s just so darn beautiful). for your continued enjoyment of this post, i’ve abstained from including all of the christmas tree photos (there were many more).
 
handsomest hubby award slash gap plug
grande christmas trees are a big deal in my book. two years ago it was disney’s main street tree (that was the year of the annual pass…sigh, good days people, good days). last year was the capitola village tree lighting and this year, i couldn’t wait to see this little babe in union square. and it was worth the wait, my friends…as were the macy’s wreaths and tree.
ps did ya know doc martens are in style again? ..wish i hadn’t tossed my pair from 2001 (ps i’m lying, they make my feet look like awkward giant brick feet over which i constantly trip!).
and off we went to the oh so classic daily grill! we highly recommend the mac and cheese *and* the chicken pot pie! just look at those things—ah mazing. i had a filet mignon with a bleu cheese herb crust. one word..incredible. what’s great about the daily grill is you do not need reservations (typically) while every other shpot on union square is booked. they are a hidden little gem!
hey everybody in these pictures..i heart you.
and here is my collection of blurry on purpose or also known as casey trying not to look obnoxious trying to get more pictures of the tree!
happy shopping and dress up days, my friends!! what about you—do you have any shopping in the city trips planned this christmas season??

Southern California

because i could divy up this our mini-vacay into a thousand more posts,
here’s just a taste of our time with the fam…can we go back already?
we miss them! {see the rest of our trip here and here}
highlights:
+late night board games
+slater’s 50/50 burger trip- yum!
+watching kendall & newport mesa win their softball game!
+sibling photo shoots (oh dear, hilarious)
+james whooping a special somebody at ping-pong
+running on the back bay
+james taking niece kendall/friends to school
+lots of laughing
+too many pumpkin candies
+halibut cooked by brother-in-law chad (yum)
on our way to slater’s 50/50, who are famous for their bacon/beef patties. whoa.
crazy times in the car and tyler attempting to ruin our photoshoot 🙂
sibling photo! baby brother with older sisters jess and sessy
chad + sessy with us. we miss them!
nephew tyler
of course niece kendall’s team won! our little slugger.

kendall’s a whiz at fishtail braids, while we wait for the dolphins game to end.
we love you, fam!

A wedding

last saturday, we attended a sweet little wedding for james roommate of three-and-a-half years {from back in the day}! nathan and melinda married at the sweetest little stone-adorned (with arches inside)  chapel in orange, ca—it reminded me of the church my cousin + his wife married in when i was in junior high…swoon. 

it was so fun to see old friends, meet new ones and witness such a joyful & beautiful couple tie the knot (yay married friends!). the reception was held at a private residence in the hills with *the* kogi korean bbq truck, amongst other delicacies—grilled cheese and tomato soup Hors d’oeuvres. and yes, the waitress and i were on a first name basis for that one.

side note.. james took me by his old high school (which was strangely wide open for us to visit!).. we also drove by his old house & drove down main street in little old town orange (which is so cute). memory lane can be so fun..and strange. but it was cool to put a setting to all his stories.

james and his good buddy gabe & some very addictive pumpkin candies #shoot
ahhh happy moments! and a gorgeous dress..
tassles, people! love this creative dessert table.
just typical behavior 🙂


the gorgeous first dance. you’ll notice the bride & groom looking at me taking this picture. that’s because james & i were on the sidelines like two obsessive parents taking pictures & videos w/ our iphones.

so that’s nathan and melinda giggling at us. oh gawsh.

hooray for love
and congrats to our friends!

Newport Beach

over our little weekend away, we spent a morning with sister vanessa walking around newport beach, playing in the water, basking in the especially warm weather, catching up, chomping some delicious food and adhering to scary warnings from the lifeguard**.
my legs were literally blinding me at times. #northerncaliforniaproblems
since i spent a few of my college years in newport beach/irvine area, i have so many fun memories down here (not to mention the many that james has from growing up here- more on that later). especially with james’ sister vanessa, since my sr year of school i lived in a condo down the street from her and her wonderful family (can we say lifesaver!).
i found out our niece kendall jumped off the nb pier during jr. guards! she rocks.
**life tip from an old lifeguard to our beach lifeguard- you don’t tell a man’s older sister & wife that the most spinal injuries occur in this section of the beach but that you hoped you didn’t scare us away..we got outta there fast!

San Francisco 49ers!

on friday, james was in football heaven! a sweet couple in our church gave us tickets to the preseason opener 49er game!! (amazing seats, too)
it was a huge surprise and such a fun kick-off to james birthday 🙂
he is, after all, a huge sports fan. huge i tell you!
around the third quarter, the fog started to pour into candlestick.
i just love the fog after a nice hot day! i find it quite romantic/dreamy.
and then we ate nachos and had a photoshoot.
isn’t it awesome when somebody goes out of their way just to bless you and give you something awesome? couldn’t be more thankful for fun gifts like that!
we ♥ football surprises on birthday weekends!

The Great Pumpkin

Saturday was our day full with pumpkin-patch scouring, lunchtime beach explorations and a good ol fashioned pumpkin carving contest. James and I love the youth that we get to work with and days like this just reminds us of the little family we’ve become. These are just a few shots of our day.
We were here, then here, and finally back to the church for a big bowl of turkey chili and Swiss chocolates (YUM). And I am so. so. so. happy to say that I used our crockpot for. the. first. time. ever. in my life and it was a hit!
I used a super simple recipe from here so it was pree-much as “surefire” as you could get, but for a 30-person dinner, first time jitters were abundant! For anybody who is respectfully afraid of their crockpot, use this recipe I tried and your fears will be replaced with an appropriately saucy confidence.

Point Lobos, Carmel

We spent the day with our amazing/fabulous faraway friends (they’re from Switzerland) and had some much-needed time together hiking along the cliffs at Point Lobos in Carmel, scurrying up and down the rocks and through the tide pools…it was gorgeous! Then made it back up the coast for dinner and shopping! Aren’t they wonderful?
Homemade baby carrier (thanks to Mirjam’s African travels)