Monthly Archives: April 2011

Heather & Gabriel’s visit

So in my hastiness to update the blog with two months worth of happenings and visits I completely forgot to write about our visit from Heather and Gabriel!  I didn’t take any photos while they were here so I blame that for my negligence.  😉  I used to work with Heather at the OC Girl Scouts and we’ve been close friends ever since.  These two knuckleheads were in town for WonderCon 2011 and paid a visit to us on April 3rd.

Since I didn’t take any photos I had to improvise…

We took them out to one of our favorite places in the city: Goood Frikin Chicken in the Mission


Gabriel & Heather enjoying a delicious dinner (hahah, sorry Gabriel that I put your head on an old woman’s body! It was the best I could come up with 😉 )

Basically what some of our plates looked like (except mine was sans chicken, duh)

Then we walked a few blocks to one of my favorite ice cream shops in the city: Mitchell’s Ice Cream

Basically what it looked like that night, except add about 25 more people outside waiting in line

H & G patiently waiting in line (did you notice Gabriel’s amazing ability to turn his head 180 degrees?? He’s pretty talented)

Just replace that cone with a giant milkshake that took 20 minutes to make for Gabriel 😉

It took ’em almost two years to come up and see us 😉 but we’re so glad they did!

Dad & Mysty’s visit

The evening of the same day that we said bye to Thomas and Ashley, we welcomed my dad and his pup Mysty for a few days!  They drove out from Las Vegas and got in around 8:30 pm on Wednesday April 20th.  After catching up for a bit we hit the sack because we were all feeling pretty tired and Kevin and I had work the next morning.

Mysty was a little suspicious of us at first, haha!

While Kevin and I were at work on Thursday, my dad and Mysty made a trip down to San Jose to visit with my sister Jess and check out her apartment and her wine bar.  That night the three of us went to dinner at our favorite Salvadoran restaurant Balompie.  It was my dad’s second time having pupusas (but only the first time eating them at a restaurant) and I think we made a fan out of him!  After stuffing ourselves silly we made our way up the street to El Rico Pan, a Salvadoran bakery, for some goodies and coffee.  The pound cake was TO DIE FOR as well as the churro that Kevin swears by now so we’ll definitely have to make a trip (or two) back here.

All the yummy goodness within El Rico Pan bakery

Me and my dad with our pound cake!

On Friday while I was at work for a half day, Kevin and my dad took the pups to McLaren Park in our neighborhood to get the girls some exercise.  They then made their way to Pier 39 and walked around a bit while I finished up things at the office.  Once I was able to tear myself away, I jumped in the back of the car with the pups and we made our way to Golden Gate Park!

Me with barely enough room to sit with those two doggies in the backseat!

We made our way to (you guessed it!) Strawberry Hill and Stow Lake to take in the scenery and give ourselves and the dogs some exercise.  Lots of nature to be seen…

Ducks, seagulls and a turtle

Two ducks and a whole group of tiny ducklings!

Lola was a thirsty dog by the end of the hike!

A super random little character tied up in the tree.  Not sure what to make of it but felt the need to take a photo!

That night we took it easy, ordered in pizza from Pizzeria Sophia (it was our first time ordering from them…holy moly, such good pizza!) and watched some of the Laker game.  It had been a couple of years since I saw my dad (and a few for Kevin) so it was great spending a few days with him.  Hopefully a visit to Vegas is in the cards for Kevin and I in the near future!  🙂

Thomas & Ashley’s visit

Right on the heels of my trip to Napa with Jess, Kevin’s brother Thomas and his girlfriend Ashley came up for a 2-day visit!  They were here early the morning of Monday 4/18 and left super early Wednesday morning (ahem, 4:30am wake up call!) but it was an adventurous two days to say the least.  This was Ashley’s first time visiting SF so we pulled out all the stops for her visit.  🙂

We spent the afternoon enjoying the concrete Seward slides (see our first visit to the slides here) in the Castro.  At first we only had a few scrap pieces of cardboard to slide down and they weren’t too useful when the slides were dewy so we were actually on our way back to the car when we spotted a brand-spankin’ new computer monitor box in all its glory just calling out our names.  So after some slick maneuvering by Thomas (who, in essence, rummaged through this random person’s trash for our sliding enjoyment) we were on our way back to the slides to get some extreme sliding in.

Thomas and me

Kevin and Thomas (check out Kevin’s signature arm placement in this and the next photo, haha!)

Kevin and Ashley

The sliding was so extreme that on one ride down Thomas was propelled to his feet and then flat on his face!  The craziest part was that none of us even noticed Thomas flying through the air and all we saw were his arms and legs flailing up while on his back as the end result.  I’m still not quite sure how it happened.

There’s Thomas lying down in the slide!  “Help me, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”

Me and Kevin

Awesome action shot of Thomas mid-slide

We then took a drive to our favorite part of Golden Gate Park, Stow Lake and Strawberry Hill.  It was a bit drizzly and foggy but we made the most of it with a walk around the lake and a hike up the hill.

Thomas and Ashley sitting on the bridge over the lake (this was taken with a “miniature” mode on our camera, so cool!)

The green, green lake and its surroundings

Well hello Mr. Squirrel!  He was anxious for some treats, too bad I tricked him and only wanted to take his photo.

Ashley & Thomas

Me & Kevin

Kooky brothers


Thomas and the waterfall

Bluebird amongst the fire red leaves

We then made our way through the Presidio and ended up exploring some of the abandoned bunkers on the coast.

Great view of the Golden Gate Bridge in all its foggy glory

So apparently our camera also has a fish-eye lens mode–didn’t realize Kevin took this photo in that mode until later, hilarious!

Ashley, Thomas and the GGB

See how drizzly it was?  Water was covering Kevin’s glasses.

We had a lovely evening introducing Ashley to the world of Indian Pizza at Zante Pizza.  YUM!!!

The following day while I was at work the three amigos went to explore the Marin Headlands.  They were trying to find the entrance to an underground bunker that apparently hasn’t been sealed shut and only a handful of people have been successful finding but, unfortunately (or fortunately?) they didn’t find it.  Kevin is determined to find the thing.

Green, green everywhere in Marin!

One of the bunkers they explored

They met up with me at work and we went to dinner on Pier 39 at Wipeout Bar & Grill (just “okay” food, nothing to write home about…luckily I get a discount there because I work so close to the pier).  We then had a nice long walk along the piers and made our way to Ghirardelli Square so that Ashley and I could share a super delicious chocolate fudge/peanut butter sundae.  Mmm, mmm!

Thomas had to get an obligatory sourdough bowl and clam chowder; Kevin in front of the Chowder Hut

The “Penny Mist” boat docked near Fisherman’s Wharf

Two old(ish) men playing checkers on the corner of Beach & Hyde

We had to drop those two knuckleheads off at the airport at 4:30 in the morning the following day (yikes!) but we wish they could’ve spent at least another day or two exploring the city with us!  Until next time (hint, hint!)  🙂

Weekend in Napa for Jessie’s birthday

My sister Jess celebrated her birthday in style in Napa and I was lucky enough to be the one she invited to tag along!  🙂  This was my first trip to Napa (Kevin and I visited Sonoma last year) so I was excited to see what the fuss was all about!

We made our first stop to Chappelet Winery which her friend Daniel works at.  We spent a few wonderful hours there, sipping on some super yummy wines, taking in the amazing scenery, and enjoying each other’s company!  My favorite wine we tasted was the Chenin Blanc and Jessie was in love with the Signature Cabernet.

The entrance to Chappelet

Jess sipping on the first of many wines we tasted

I love being in the dark, cool wineries surrounded by barrels and barrels of wine!

Our private tasting area!

Me and the barrels

We eventually joined in with a group that was tasting and touring the facility (Jessie’s friend Daniel is the one in the middle pouring)

Wine from the 1970’s

Jess on the tour

What a view!

Sister, sister!

After a few hours at Chappelet we were starving so made our way to Rutherford Grill.  The food was super tasty but the company was even greater!  🙂

After stuffing ourselves silly we made our way to the hotel (which Jessie had won through a contest at work)–the Silverado Country Club.  It was so fancy, we had to follow a guy in a golf cart to get to our room, ha!

That night we got out and explored downtown Napa at the Oxbow Public Market.  It reminded us a lot of the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco with a lot of similar stores.  Jess enjoyed a cup of joe from Ritual Coffee and we shared a super yummy tiramisu.

The next morning I woke up bright and early and am happy to report that I went for a 3 mile run while on vacation!  You sure can’t beat the terrain–it was so gorgeous at 8 in the morning and it was such a treat being able to enjoy the views on foot instead of zooming down the road by car.

On the way back home we had some breakfast at Gillwoods Cafe which just hit the spot (yummy granola pancakes!)

Thank you Jessie for inviting me along to enjoy your birthday weekend with you!  We’ve never taken a sisters trip before and we know we have to make this a regular thing!

Sarah’s visit

Kevin’s sister Sarah came up for a shotgun trip on April 10 and it was so good seeing her even if it was for only a few hours!  We met up with her and her friend Dave who lives in SF at Toad Hall bar in the Castro for some drinks (and a few new friends as well).

Beautiful flower on our stroll to the bar

After throwing down a few drinks on such a lovely Sunday afternoon we took a quick cab ride to Chilango (yes, the same Mexican restaurant Kevin and I had gone to just the week before with my mom and Steve–it’s THAT good!)

Dave and Sarah

Me and Kev

D & S

We ended the evening afternoon at Blackbird bar for some final swigs.  🙂

Beautiful mural on our walk back to the car

Even though the trip was short and sweet, we had a blast catching up with Sarah since her move back to LA from New Orleans!

McLaren Park & Ocean Beach

Lola got her share of outdoor adventures in early April with visits to McLaren Park and Ocean Beach within days of each other.

Sometimes we forget that in our funky little neighborhood is a gem such as McLaren Park.  On April 4 we took Lola for a 10 minute walk and ended up in a beautiful open space to play catch and work her out.

Lola’s glamour shot

Me looking over Lola’s shoulder

I love this girl (can’t you tell?)

And so does Kevin 🙂

On April 9 we were craving donuts like nobody’s business so made a trip to Donut World in the Inner Sunset to satisfy that craving.  I hadn’t had donuts since we moved here almost two years ago and boy was that first bite of the chocolate old-fashioned donut (a favorite for both of us!) like pure heaven.

We then made a drive out to Ocean Beach in the Outer Richmond for some beach time.  It was super windy that day but the skies were clear and the beach was pretty empty so we enjoyed a nice walk along the beach.


Lola in action

Such a beautiful beach (if it wasn’t always so chilly!)

Sandy trails

Lola in action take 2

Me and Lola (and my hair, yet again, looks terrible. Thanks Kevin for having my back!)

The funniest thing was that Kevin taught Lola to be obsessed with birds on this walk.  We wanted to get a photo of her running through the birds but she’s never been much of a bird lover so weren’t sure we could do it.  Kevin kept encouraging her “Go get the birdies, go get the birdies!” and after a few attempts she got the hang of it and quickly became obsessed with chasing them.  At one point she even ran through so many groups of birds so far down the beach that we couldn’t even call her anymore, we had to chase her down the beach!

We didn’t quite get the shot we wanted but I guess that just means we’ve gotta try it a few more times (and I’m sure Lola won’t argue with that!)

Mom & Steve’s visit

My mom and her boyfriend Steve came up for another visit (see their past visits here and here) from April 1st-3rd and we had a nice time.

Friday night I joined them in Los Gatos at Jessie’s work, Enoteca La Storia (a super cute wine bar) for some champagne and cheese (a lovely combination 😉 ).

Jess hard at work and me hard at drinking 😉

Jess nommin’ on some goodies

The spread (or what was left of it)

Mom & Steve (in shadows, wah!)

The only scraps we left on the cutting board

Mom, me and Steve through the window

After Jessie’s shift ended we ventured to another wine bar in downtown Los Gatos, Cin-Cin, for dinner.  The restaurant offered small plates and they were fantastic!  We then took a stroll down the main strip and landed at the Dolce Spazio Dessert Cafe for some gelato. Mmm, mmm, mmm!

Beautiful blue sky on the drive to SJ

Afterwards we drove back to San Jose to check out an art walk that happens on the first Friday of every month in downtown San Jose called South First Fridays.  Only a couple of galleries peaked our interest: the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and another gallery that I didn’t catch the name of that featured pieces about size (from microscopic to ginormous).

Me and Jess in front of some beautiful quilts

One of my favorite pieces.  If you look closely…

…you’ll notice that the artist carved the alphabet out of the tips of these pencils.  Incredible!

I felt like I walked straight into a Dr. Seuss book with these funky tree sculptures.


On Saturday, mom and Steve came out to SF for some exploring.  Our first stop was lunch at Chilango Mexican restaurant.  Now I’ve always been a fan of Mexican food (I mean hello, I’m half Mexican) but I have never fallen so deeply in love with a Mexican restaurant as I did with Chilango.  Their food is in traditional Mexico, D.F. (the capital) style and it is SO AMAZING!  A little pricey but holy hell it’s worth it.

Okay, I’m done drooling now.

My mom and I giving Chilango two thumbs up!

We then took a nice drive through the Castro, starting out at the Seward slides (see a video of me and Kevin going down the slides here, with Kevin’s crazy drop straight on his rear at the bottom of the slide), then winding our way up through the beautiful neighborhood and finally ending at Corona Heights park.  Mom, Kevin and I went for a brief hike up to the top of the rock formations and really enjoyed the views of the city.

Beautiful colored rocks against a bright blue sky.

A random little “village” we came across.  These little houses were maybe 6 inches tall, so cute!

Me and Kev at the top of Corona Heights

For dinner we shared our love of Ethiopian food with mom and Steve and they quickly became fans!  We went to Cafe Ethiopia in the Mission which we had tried before and definitely loved (except for one of the waiters telling us, at the end of our meal, that “there are people waiting to eat”, we got the hint!)

Dig in!!

We had a really nice visit (and lots of yummy food to boot!) with mom and Steve.  Looking forward to their next visit!

Lake Merced & Earth Hour 2011

Mar 26–Lake Merced

Kevin and I spent an afternoon walking around part of the huge Lake Merced in the southern part of the city.  I discovered it with a friend when we decided to do a 3 mile loop run a few weeks prior and wanted to take Kevin and Lola there.

I know, we’re terrible doggy parents, always making Lola pose in front of the weirdest statues (this one, if you can’t tell, is of three penguins).

Kevin & Lola at the end of the path surrounded by strawberry bushes.

I know my hair looks terrible.  Unfortunately, Kevin didn’t think to tell me before he snapped this photo!  Hahah.

Mar 26–Earth Hour 2011

The first time I heard about Earth Hour was when we were in Australia in 2008 and although I had never participated in it I thought it might be fun to do it this year.  So at 8pm on the 26th we shut off the lights and hung out by candlelight.

But of course we couldn’t just sit there and stare at each other in the dim light.  We had to do something.  And do something we did!  We spent a couple of hours messing around with flashlights, lasers and the camera to take some cool photos.  Kevin was the genius photographer behind all this and I “wrote” in the air with the light.

The first one was written with me facing the camera so I had to write backwards and in cursive–not the easiest thing, let me tell you!  But I think it turned out pretty good.

This second one we used a laser pointer and I wrote Lola’s name facing her.  The hard part was getting Lola’s body to be lit up so after I finished writing her name, Kevin flashed a flashlight on her for just a second so that her body could be captured in light (otherwise she would’ve been too dark to see).

I’ve determined that we should honor Earth Hour more often so that it will get us off our rears and do something fun like this!  🙂

Dog sleepover, etc. in March

So it’s been a while since I last updated the blog, oops!  I think that can only mean that we’ve been having a good ol’ time up here, right?  🙂

Here’s a bit of a recap:

Mar 16-18–Lola’s first sleepover with Bailey!

While Carleigh was out gallivanting in Israel & Jordan (!) and Scott was at a work conference, we had the opportunity to dog-sit for Bailey and Lola couldn’t have been happier!

They spent lots of time together…


…chewing on chew toys…

…eating (but only when they could be within sight of each other)…


…and more sleeping (notice how they only switched sides of the couch)…

…more sleeping…

…and yet more sleeping…

Before we had to drop off the bundle of joy we took a series of photos that are pretty hilarious as an animation:

Mar 19: Pyramid with Lola

With Bailey gone, we had to keep ourselves entertained and the way we did this was in making a pyramid with Lola on top.  We’re so cool.

Mar 20–Jenny’s visit

Our friend Jenny from Long Beach (we went to middle/high school together) was in town for work and was able to meet up with me for some lunch at Hamano Sushi in Noe Valley.  It was soooo nice catching up and I can’t wait for her next visit (hint, hint)!  🙂

Mar 23–Rainy walk in the neighborhood

We had lots and lots of rain throughout the month of March but it couldn’t keep us cooped up inside all day!  Lola and I ventured out for a walk in the neighborhood and were just short of soaked by the time we got back home.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…

The sun peaked out for a brief moment and we took the opportunity to hit the pavement.

Lola: “Dude, this is not cool.”

Using our car as a safe haven.

And of course the clouds part just as we get home!

Mar 25–Construction on our house starts

Our landlords are stuccoing the house and so as a result our backyard has been completely taken over with construction equipment.  They’re on a bit of a hiatus today (4/24) but the crew should be back in a week or so to finish up the job.  It will be nice once we have the yard to ourselves again!

Lola: Okay, what’s with all this junk?

Lots of tools

Lola taking advantage and making her own jungle gym.

Our personal equipment inspector