Thursday, July 16, 2009

Packing Tips from a Flight Attendant

Preparing for vacation? Visit Sherri at Postcards and Coasters for some professional packing tips.

I'm reaping the benefits of some of her tips right now.

Boulange de Cole Valley


Ever since my mother got sick last year, she has needed a little more help around her apartment building. Though she is doing remarkably well for being 83, my sister and I help her get the apartments ready for lease and we help her select the next tenants. Whenever I have to drive up to San Francisco to hold an open house, deliver a light fixture, or meet the electrician, I know that I have a big reward waiting for me at the end of my errand. Located just a short walk away at Cole and Parnassus is Boulange de Cole Valley.

The aroma of coffee and freshly baked goods greets me as I walk into this bustling, warm place filled with the neighborhood clientele.

If I have to hurry back home, I go for one of the Grab & Go baguette sandwiches.

But if I have time, I will have them heat up a savory croissant or quiche, or I will order a  fresh salad from the chalkboard menu.

And if I’m feeling luxurious, I treat myself to dessert

I always feel so loved when I see their self-serve counter. Who else offers Nutella and cornichons as every day condiments?


The food is always scrumptuous and the atmosphere is warm and inviting, but most of all, they were incredibly kind to my mother when she was sick last year, and for that I will always be grateful to them.

If you are in the Cole Valley neighborhood, please don’t miss this San Francisco treat!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blog Camp Marin County Style

DSC06757 Relyn and Miss Peach

We continued our summer adventure with Relyn and Robin Bird by driving north of the Golden Gate Bridge, to Marin County. As luck would have it, Anjie from Studio Wellspring and Little Miss Peach were already in Marin. We agreed to meet at Dipsea Café in Mill Valley:

DSC06756 Dipsea Cafe vintage signs

We did our best to not fight over the baby. After lunch, we drove ten minutes to Muir Woods:

DSC06759 Muir Woods National Monument sign

I was quite taken with this wild rhododendron, which I believe to be a Western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale):

DSC06769 wild rhododendron occidentale

The sun was directly overhead, not exactly conducive for artful photography, but that didn’t stop passionate photographer Robin from doing her level best to overcome the handicap. I look forward to seeing her photos. In the mean time, Relyn, Anjie, and Miss Peach paused for a photo:

DSC06774 relyn anjie and peach

After bidding adieu to Anjie and Peach, we drove for about a half hour, up to the top of Mount Tamalpais. At elevation 2,571 feet, we got a terrific view of the Bay Area. It was a hazy day, but we could still make out San Francisco, one tower of the Golden Gate Bridge (on the right), the Oakland Bay bridge, Southern Marin, the Richardson Bay Bridge, and Alcatraz Island:

DSC06775 view from Mt Tamalpais

We followed the easy, paved one-mile hike around the peak…

DSC06794 Mount Tamalpais trail

…and enjoyed the views from all directions:

DSC06820 View from <st1:place w:st=

DSC06797 View from <st1:place w:st=

On our way down, we stopped to see the mountain amphitheater. I went to high school in Marin County and received my high school diploma here:

DSC06815 Mount Tamalpais Mountain Theater Relyn Robin

Mount Tamalpais has many madrone trees with beautiful red barks that are cool to the touch. I learned on a school field trip that madrones are sometimes called “refrigerator” trees because Indians used to strap their food onto these trees in order to keep it cool.

DSC06825 Mount Tamalpais madrones detail

I just learned that Relyn and Robin are blogging at an internet café; they may soon tell you about our time at Stinson Beach. I didn't take very many photos there and I am certain theirs are better than mine.

We had a beautiful day of friendship, laughter, and stories as we wound around Highway 1, hugging the Pacific Coast, relishing in the gorgeous weather.

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