Category Archive: parks

Exploring Berkeley

This was our first time exploring Berkeley since we moved up here and we had a great time with Thomas. We first drove through some beautiful neighborhoods with homes that I wish were ours!! Then we ended up at the Berkeley Rose Garden which was such a nice little paradise in the middle of the city.

Gotta remember to stop and smell the roses!

Across the street is Cordonices Park which is an amazing little spot to hike in and explore. We took funny posed photos in trees and climbed up ivy covered hills–needless the say this park is a great spot! We’d love to come back to have a big picnic sometime.

One of our funny posed photos…Kevin had to hightail it to climb the tree and pose in time!

Looks like they’re on the set of “LOST”

This was taken just seconds before Kevin fell in ๐Ÿ˜‰

A little video of Kevin and Thomas…there’s no denying that they’re brothers.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon driving through UC Berkeley campus–such a gorgeous campus for those of you who haven’t visited yet.

Had a great time with Thomas! We miss him a lot and it was great to spend some time with him.

Mt. Diablo

On 7/17 we decided to take a day trip (since it was a rare Saturday that Kevin actually had off!) and meet up with our friends Terri and Scott who were camping in Mt. Diablo State Park. We had never been there before and thought it’d be a great day full of sun (lots and lots of sun actually) and doggie play time for Lola with Madeira and Ihna.

We took a few walks throughout the day–it was blistering hot (I had almost forgotten what it was like to sweat!) so lots of water and shade breaks were in order.

Madeira and Lola sneaking in some water from Kevin

These pups found shade just about everywhere we went...

…even under the cars in the parking lot!

We then took a drive to Rock City to explore the rock formations and caves.

After a day of exploring we spent the rest of the afternoon at their campsite hanging out and…eating yummy bbq ๐Ÿ™‚

Proof that Ihna likes Kevin! She’s a pup who’s had a rough life (she was adopted from the streets of Taiwan) and so has a hard time trusting new people.

Madeira out for the night!

The moon out at sunset

Kevin took this shot at sunset, so pretty!

Beautiful, beautiful sunset…one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. A wonderful way to end a great day with friends.

Carleigh’s bday at Dolores Park

Scott wanted to celebrate Carleigh’s big day with a surprise gathering at Dolores Park on 7/29 so Jessie, Lola and I joined them and had a great few hours enjoying the sunshine and some beer (of course).

Carleigh, Connor and Kathy
Connor, Kathy and Jess
Carleigh and her buddy Lola
Scott and his buddy Bailey

Things we’ve been up to…

On Sat. 5/22 Jessie and I were invited to brunch at our friends Carleigh & Scott’s place. It was Lola’s lucky day because she was invited along as well! She and Bailey spent no time getting reacquainted and ran through their apartment the entire time we were there! Thanks so much Carleigh for the amazing brunch!

The next day, Sun. 6/23, was a very sad day indeed…it was the series finale of the tv show LOST! Kevin and I have been watching the show religiously since season 2 (we used to watch it at my mom’s house every week with my mom and our friend Kim and we even got two of my mom’s exchange students hooked on it!) Since living in SF we’ve joined Jessie’s LOST fan group and have really enjoyed our weekly get togethers. Last year we had a dress-up day where everyone came dressed up as their favorite LOST character. I would’ve loved to have come dressed as Desmond as he’s my absolute favorite character, but I didn’t have enough time/money to make it look good. So for that party I dressed up as Ana Lucia who I think I most resemble. So for the series finale Jessie wanted to host another themed dress-up party but didn’t want to repeat the same character theme–so this time it was funeral-themed! Everyone came dressed in their best funeral get-up to mourn the loss of our favorite show. Jessie was extremely cute in her outfit (as always!) and since I didn’t have any cute black clothes, I just wore a simple black top and smeared my mascara and eye liner to make it look like I had been crying!

A photo shoot with Jessie’s cat Mars before the show…

Me and Jess mourning the loss of LOST (that’s mascara around my eyes, no I didn’t get two black eyes!)

Almost the whole group, there were a ton of people there! 11 people total

With Kevin’s new work/school schedule, we don’t get to see each other too often ๐Ÿ™ He works 5 days a week, generally 6:30-3:30 (including every Saturday and Sunday). Then when he’s in school, he has class from 4:30-10:30 each night Monday through Friday! For a few weeks he’s got a break before his summer class begins, so it’s been really nice having him home at night so we can actually enjoy dinner together. But even with that, it feels like we never have any actual daylight hours to hang out and go places like we used to basically every weekend. Last Mon. 5/24 I went to work in the afternoon so we had an entire morning together, so we took full advantage of it and had a little day trip! We drove out to Mount Davidson which is the highest point in the city of SF and it’s a gorgeous hike.

Lola’s become quite the passenger in the car these days (she’s improved by leaps and bounds since we first got her when she would get carsick every time we got in the car!)

A fallen tree on the hike

On the top of Mt. Davidson there is a HUGE white cross which is on property not owned by the city. I had always figured it was just a religious group’s doing, but the plaque next to it stated that it is there in memory of the 1.5 million people killed during the Armenian genocide.

Kevin’s standing at the bottom of the cross, you can just barely see his head and shoulders…now you see how freaking HUGE it is??

It was a great, easy hike on a beautiful crisp morning

Family portrait

Girl Scout weekend

The time had finally come for my niece’s 5th grade Girl Scout Junior troop to come up and visit San Francisco! We have been looking forward to this trip for over a year when I was still their troop leader and we all had a fantastic time together!

Judith (my sis-in-law), Dorothy (my mama-in-law), Katelyn (my niece) and 8 other Girl Scouts and their moms arrived to San Francisco Airport on the morning of Friday 5/7. I met them at the airport and we then BARTed our way to their hostel (a super cute place if anyone’s interested in staying in a hostel in the city) to drop off luggage.

The girls in front of their hostel

We then rushed off to eat some lunch at Mel’s Diner (a well-known diner in SF that had so-so food) and then made our way to Golden Gate Park

Milkshakes at 10am? Sure!

The group really wanted to go to the California Academy of Sciences so that’s where we spent the afternoon.

Golden Gate Park
K. and the frog having a face-off
My favorite part of the CAS: the 4-story rain forest

These frogs cracked me up! They seemed to be such characters, kind of reminded me of little Buddhas ๐Ÿ˜‰

V. and the beautiful jellyfish
This sea star seemed to be laying out on a beach sunbathing
The awesome albino alligator!
V., K. and Katelyn messing around (it’s what they do best!) This beast of a display was for their “Extreme Mammals” exhibit

I have to admit, I was a little worried about being their tour guide since Kevin’s usually the tour guide when visitors come out and we generally don’t take public transportation with visitors–so though I’m super confident when it comes to the route I take everyday for work (2 buses + BART) it was a little worrisome to make sure we got on the right bus (and made sure all 18 of us got on/off at the same time!) But the first day went super smoooooth and I was pretty proud of myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some funny moments riding the bus with the group–the girls absolutely LOVED riding the bus and were sad when we told them to sit down because the bus was getting full (they loved hanging onto the poles and swinging around); some young guys decided to sit down amongst the 9 girls and after they figured out who they were sitting next to (a bunch of giggling girls) it was funny to watch their facial expressions change.

They even enjoyed waiting for the buses at the bus stops…

A bunch of little monkeys!
Good friends V. and A.
This photo shows their level of excitement really well…bunch of nerds! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For dinner we went to a real local treat…Chevy’s Mexican restaurant (can you hear the sarcasm in my typing voice? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) We called it an early night because we had a loooong day ahead of us!

On Saturday morning I made my way to the hostel to meet the group so we could make our way to the Golden Gate Bridge for the Girl Scouts’ annual Bridging event! When girls in GS graduate from one level to the next they call it “bridging” so the Northern California GS organize a huge event so that girls from all over can “bridge” across the Golden Gate Bridge. Our girls graduated from GS Juniors to GS Cadettes (6th-8th grade). This event attracts over 4,000 girl members (that’s just girls we’re talking about!) and is put together really well. The GS hired shuttle buses to take troops across the bridge into Marin County and then we all hiked our way back across the bridge back into SF.

Excited for yet another bus ride (driving across the Golden Gate Bridge)
The gorgeous ladies of Troop 3933!
It sure makes you think when you’re crossing that bridge and only have the water below and the huge metal structures surrounding you and the wind is blowing like crazy!
It sure doesn’t look like 4,000 Girl Scouts were crossing the bridge but believe me they were!
My beautiful niece, happy to be bridging to Cadettes!

I made an announcement as we approached the end of the bridge, that once they crossed the line they would no longer be Girl Scout Juniors but instead become Girl Scout Cadettes, so I took a few photos of them as they crossed:

B., Katelyn and K. running across the “finish line”!
V. & A. crossing in style
J., S. and M. crossing as a unit
Say hello to the newest Girl Scout Cadette troop in Long Beach!

After our trek across the bridge we were greeted with a festival for the girls–tons of booths with activities for the girls to participate in.

B. & K. with a vintage GS uniform

Katelyn & Judith taking a break
A GS tradition is making “swaps” that represent your troop and “swapping” them with other troop’s to create a collection. This is Katelyn’s hat decorated with her swaps (that was probably on 1/3 of them!)

After the event it seemed my luck with being the tour guide started to run down–I didn’t know how the heck to get us back to the hostel! Our misadventure included–walking up a huge staircase and then finding out that we had to go back down the stairs (oops!), stalking a park ranger and waiting for him outside the restroom so that we could ask for directions (awkward!), then walking a mile and a half to get to the darn bus. My excuse was that I never come to this part of town! Oh well, at least we eventually made it back safe and sound.

That night we met up with Kevin and ate at the Cheesecake Factory on top of the Macy’s building in Union Square. The group was so huge we had to get split up but it ended up being really nice spending time with Kevin and his mom Dorothy for an evening.

Overlooking Union Square: Judith, J., M., S. and B.

Sunday morning Dorothy and I made our way to the hostel to meet up with the group for their last day in the city. We went downtown to wait in a 20 minute line to take the famous trolley (I hadn’t done that since living here so it was nice to do).

The girls and the trolley
The blue skies in downtown
A group of men from Dockers pants were walking through the area with roses for all the moms out there in celebration of Mother’s Day (how cute!) So here’s a photo of all the moms with their roses.
Dorothy and me on the trolley (proof that I was there that weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
Some of the girls got to ride on the outside, this is M. en route to Ghirardelli Square

The trolley took us right to Ghirardelli Square where the group split up for a bit and our little group enjoyed some delicious Ghirardelli ice cream treats (yes even at 10 in the morning!)

Katelyn getting ready to enjoy their sundae
Dorothy and my sundae (amazing!!)
The happy tourists ๐Ÿ˜‰

We then walked to Fisherman’s Wharf (have I told you how much I love that place? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and I am happy to announce that I finally saw the bushman!

The troop spent their last afternoon on a bay cruise and since I didn’t see the point in forking over $25 for me to do something I could day any ol’ time, I said my goodbyes at Fisherman’s Wharf.

It was so so so so nice spending a weekend with my family and with those crazy 5th grade Girl Scouts…I really miss spending time with them every other week at our troop meetings. Those girls mean a lot to me after being their troop leader for two years and it was so great to feel connected to them with this trip.

Dog beach and Indian pizza=The best Saturday!

This weekend was Kevin’s first weekend working (which is going to be a very regular thing from now on!) so Lola and I were on our own for the first part of Saturday. What better way to spend a warm, sunny Saturday than a day at the dog beach! We visited Crissy Fields a time or two before and I knew that this was the best place to wear Lola out. ๐Ÿ™‚

On our way to Crissy Fields

Lola and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance

She isn’t much of a fan of the waves but she sure loves water so was happy when we found this shallow, calm spot.

Wet dog!

Happy dog!

An exhausted pup

After Kevin’s long day at work we decided to try out a new place to eat: Zante’s Pizza! I had tried their Indian Special Pizza a few months ago at a get-together and have been raving about it ever since to Kevin, so we thought it was a great night to check it out.

Hands-down the BEST pizza ever!

Kevin’s fancy coke

The best pizza EVER! Indian special pizza included: spinach, cauliflower, eggplant, green onions, curry, tandoori chicken, lamb and prawns. Amazing!

Whoever the next lucky visitor to SF is can request to come here and we will GLADLY take you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Run, Lisa, Run!

Alright, blog world, I’ve got an important announcement to make…are you ready? Okay, here it goes…I’m going to run my first half-marathon this year!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kimberly, a friend who I used to work with at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and I have decided to train together for the Long Beach Half-Marathon in October (on 10/17 to be exact)! She’s still living in Long Beach so we’re going to be training long-distance together. We’ve already been at it for a few weeks, so I thought it was about time I made the official announcement on here. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re both avid bloggers (one of her other blogs about her adorable sons can be found here) and so we decided to make a blog together about our journey! We’re working on updating it more, so right now it might look a little bare in terms of posts. But hopefully you’ll all become followers over there too!

I’ve been running with Lola three days a week and this past Friday I asked Kevin to go along with me and to my surprise he said yes! We went to Golden Gate Park to run along the trail.

I gotta get him in workout clothes more often! ๐Ÿ™‚

Two sweaty, happy folks

We decided to reward ourselves with a DELICIOUS lunch at San Francisco Meats & Delicatessen. We’d been there once before and remembered how freaking good their sandwiches are so made the drive from GG Park to Ocean Avenue just to get our hands on a couple of their sammies…and boy were we happy we did!

I got the smoked turkey on Dutch Crunch bread with everything on it…mmm…

Kevin got the hot salami with pickles, lettuce and mayo on a sourdough roll

At least we worked out before eating there, I guess it’s better than us just driving over there without working out all day…right?? ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday night we were invited to a housewarming party for some new friends of ours. Terri and Scott are friends of Mika and Matt who we met through our friend Cynthia from Long Beach (Phew! That was a mouthful) They recently bought a new home in Concord (just past Walnut Creek) and we had a great time at their shindig. I didn’t take any pictures at the party, but Mika, Kevin and I took a quick trip to Baskin Robbins (Mika’s pregnant, so she was our excuse, haha) and lo-and-behold what do I find….?

Lisa’s Hot Dogs & Burritos shop!

Now that’s an interesting combination…

Anyone interested in trying my house-dog?

Their reviews look pretty good on Yelp, so maybe next time we go visit Terri & Scott we can have lunch at my hot dog shop. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Spring is here!

We have been thoroughly enjoying the delightful spring weather (well, up until yesterday that is!)

Last week we took care of some gardening. The weeds were overgrown and taking over! We showed them who’s boss…

And we even found a cute little critter (we think it was a salamander!)

On Friday 4/9 we made the most of my furlough day and took a trip to Fort Funston, which is basically dog heaven.

Lola enjoying the views off the cliff

Let’s just say we kept our eyes on the sky

The extremely steep climb down the cliff to the beach! It was kind of comical watching the dog walkers trying to walk 5+ dogs on leash down this hill (or back up the hill).

Lola is a huge fan of the water, even the cold SF ocean water!

Lola’s one happy pup!

And then we had to climb back UP the hill…

A very satisfied Lola (she rarely sleeps in the car, so we knew we did a job well done)

On Saturday 4/10 Jessie hosted her first-ever Game Night (right up our alley!)

It was a potluck and we feasted that night!

We brought just a few of our many games–Balderdash, Taboo and Apples to Apples.

Cathy trying to get Team Intuition to guess her word, and Josh ready to “zap” her if she said one of the off-limits words.

Kevin, Jessie P. and Lisa R.

Jessie working hard to get her team to guess her word! And can you tell I loved being the “zapper”? ๐Ÿ˜‰

A reenactment of some fun Taboo moments

Jessie’s game night was a total success! Good games, good food and good company. ๐Ÿ™‚

Momโ€™s visit

My mom and her boyfriend Steve came up to visit Thursday 4/1 – Monday 4/5 and we had a really great time. It was the first time my mom had come up to see our new place in SF and it was a great chance to get to know Steve better as well. They drove up on Thursday and that afternoon after hanging out with Kevin and me for a little bit, Kevin had to go to school so the three of us went out exploring the city.

We drove through Bernal Heights (a really cute neighborhood near our apartment) then drove through Diamond Heights and stopped to get a gorgeous view of downtown.

Kevin’s usually the tour guide for our visitors, so it was interesting being put in the driver’s seat and when I asked them “So what do you want to see?” they replied “Whatever you want to show us!” I know one of my favorite places in the city is Golden Gate Park, so that’s where we went!

We took a stroll around Stow Lake (one of my favorite spots in GG Park)…

The local sun-bathin’ turtles
Me and mom near the waterfall on Strawberry Hill
Mom and Steve in the Golden Gate Pavillion, a Chinese pagoda on Stow Lake

After our romp through the park, we decided to indulge in some delicious Peruvian food in the Mission at Mi Lindo Peru. My mom and I had actually been to this same restaurant years before when we came up to visit Jessie (long before Kevin and I had even considered moving to SF!)

This is a fantastic restaurant with extremely good food. My good friend Claudia (who visited me last summer) inspired in me a great love for Peruvian food. Our visit to this restaurant reminded me that I need to ask her for some of her recipes to make some at home! ๐Ÿ™‚

My mom got Inca Kola (kind of like cream soda)
I got Aji de Gallina (chili chicken in a cream sauce)…I really need to learn to make this at home so I can have it whenever I please! ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday through Sunday Steve was out visiting his niece’s family in San Ramon, so my mom stayed with me and Kevin those nights. On Friday I was able to get out of work early to spend some time with mom and Jess that evening. We hung out and talked for a couple of hours then vegged out and watched about 5 episodes of “Modern Family” (have you seen that show?? It’s HILARIOUS!) It was just like old times, the three of us cracking up so hard we could barely breathe kind of moments. That night when Kevin got home from class we went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants, CaliPhoNia (Vietnamese)…sooooo good!!

On Saturday afternoon, the four of us ventured out of the city and drove down to Santa Cruz. Jessie’s the only one who had been there before, and it was such a cute little beach town (definitely reminded us of Long Beach and Seal Beach).

Jess and mom doing the tango in our backyard

We had a little photo shoot on one of the cliffs overlooking the beach…

America’s Next Top Model, Jessie

We then drove down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

My mom treated us to a ride on the Giant Dipper (the 6th oldest roller coaster in the US, by the way!)…

We had an AWESOME time on the roller coaster (can’t you tell by the photo? haha).

After braving the roller coaster we treated ourselves to some typical carnival food–Jessie got garlic fries, Kevin got cotton candy, mom got funnel cake and I got a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone…YUM!!

Those are some satisfied carnies! haha
My childhood favorite: chocolate-dipped ice cream cone

Kevin ate so much cotton candy his tongue turned into sugar!
The cone says it all…

On Easter Sunday we drove out to San Ramon to meet Steve and his niece Michelle’s family (her husband Steve and their kids Morgan and Melissa).

Spring is here!
Morgan (6 yrs. old) showing off his magic tricks (he was good too!)
Melissa came out in her princess gown and quickly got tangled up in some balloons and her tiara, in true princess fashion ๐Ÿ˜‰
And then she proceeded to tattoo herself up with Easter stickers

To celebrate in true Easter-style we ended our evening at The Mint, a karaoke bar in SF, and the sushi bar next door, Sushi Delight. The Delmar girls all love karaoke, so Kevin and Steve just cheered us on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A few of the songs that were sung that evening…

Apparently, I really get into it. Me singing John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good” (my signature karaoke song, haha)
Mom singing “Can’t Take my Eyes off of You”

Jess singing “Angel Baby”

Jess and Mom dancing along to Dean Martin’s “Luna Mezzo Mare”

My mom will be back in town for my sister’s graduation from SF State so we’re looking forward to some more adventures next month!

Dorothy & Judy’s visit

Kevin’s mom (Dorothy) and a family friend (Judy) came up for a visit this past weekend and we had a blast! They drove down on Thursday 3/25 and stayed until Sunday 3/28 morning. Thursday night we took them to Goood Frikin Chicken (ummm, can you tell we love that place?) and Friday morning we got out of the city for the day…destination: Point Reyes Lighthouse!

Friday, 3/26

First stop: Muir Beach overlook

They were filming a music video (I think) which was kind of neat to see…except we didn’t get down to the very edge of the cliff! ๐Ÿ™
Me, Dorothy and Kevin (Judy took this from the other side of the cliff)
Dorothy, Kevin and Judy…and the gorgeous ocean!

The Visitor Center was in an old farm house…gorgeous!
Dorothy keeping the walrus in check, haha
Yum, picnic lunch!

Final stop: Point Reyes Lighthouse

Dorothy and Judy taking a break from the hike to the lighthouse

They were in LOVE with that beach…but can you really blame them??

The fact that there was a Caution sign about the walk back up from the lighthouse should have made us nervous…they weren’t kidding about the strenuous part! But we lived to tell about it.
All 308 steep steps up from the lighthouse…but totally worth it!
Breath-taking view.

On the way home we drove through the town of Inverness (very cute, by the way…we’d love to check out some of the adorable bed and breakfasts there!) There was this cool old boat on the shore that I had to get out and take a photo of.

Overall, a superb day in Marin County!

Saturday, 3/27

On Saturday we stayed local and spent most of the day in Golden Gate Park.

Cherry blossoms outside of the Japanese Gardens (we didn’t feel like paying the fee to get in…)

The main attraction of the day: The California Academy of Sciences! Kevin and I had visited there when Jessie first moved up to SF (about 6 years ago!) and the museum had gone through a major renovation and reopened in 2008 so we hadn’t gotten a chance to check out the new place. It is a FANTASTIC museum and we really enjoyed ourselves.

The indoors rainforest: A 4-story rainforest complete with butterflies, macaws, frogs, and sweat (it was super humid in there!)

Kevin got this shot of this butterfly…beautiful!
Fish ‘n lily pads

Kevin also captured this awesome photo when this gecko was looking right at him and seconds before he jumped straight towards him!

We got tickets to the 3pm Planetarium show (included in admission price, score!) and it was fantastic. The video was narrated by Whoopi Goldberg (who doesn’t love Whoopi??) and it was extremely informational and awe-inspiring. Plus we learned that each of us has about a teaspoon’s worth of star particles in our bodies…oooooh!

The CAS boasts of its “Living Roof” which we really enjoyed checking out…

Another picnic lunch, this time in Golden Gate Park…

Kevin juggling oranges and me goofing around.

Our only group picture from the trip:

We had SO much fun with those two and can’t wait for another adventure in the near future!