I was never a big Lauren Conrad fan. In fact, I attended FIDM LA while she was a student there, and her "reality" film sets would block traffic on campus. Particularly frustrating for a student like myself if you were late to class and carrying 20 lbs of supplies. However, as she has matured, I've noticed that her style has matured as well. It's classic, flattering, pretty, and versatile. Her style is actually consistently pretty and easy to imitate on a daily basis. I'm excited to check out her Kohl's collection because I'm a freaking huge Disney fan but I've amassed an embarrassingly large collection of apparel with blatantly large Mickey Mouse logos.
Last Sunday, Max took me to my first REI member garage sale! I was excited...so excited that despite my jam-packed weekend, I chose to drive to Roseville Saturday night, shopped Sunday morning, and drove home later that afternoon in order to prepare for school on Monday.
Max and I had planned to wake up at 6am to get there at 7am, but we kept pushing it back. We ended up rolling out of bed at 7:15am and got there by 8am. By that time, the line was about 50-60 people deep and nobody lined up after us until 30 minutes later. It was actually quite pleasant. We brought our camping chairs and wore our snow jackets but the weather wasn't so bad. The lady behind us in line was an emergency room nurse so we had plenty to talk about, and later she was joined by her adorable, adventurous little family. Roseville's REI had a system with colored paper "tickets" and each group consisted of 50 people. Each group was let in every 7 minutes. It was organized and civilized.
Honestly, I am VERY happy with what I managed to find even though there wasn't much stuff. At first, I was hesitant about the whole deal because I hate Black Friday-esque shopping experiences but this one was rather enjoyable! Nobody was rude or getting shoved around. In fact, the crowd was rather quiet while they shuffled through tables and stacks and rows of gear!
Max and I never celebrate Valentine's, but with everything jam-packed into that particular weekend, it sure felt like it! We don't get to see each other often with our busy schedules and 2 hour driving distance, so when we do hang out it's usually a weekend full of things to do or a lot of couch time and Netflix.
Max couldn't take a day off from his workout and the 24 Hour Fitness on the border of Union City/Hayward is a Supersport–he can't get access with his basic membership–so I had to find a local community pool for him to get his swim on. Hayward Plunge was $4 and the best option. None of the other 24's have pools, I tried calling for the free trial at City Sport and the membership advisor bothered me via phone EVERY DAY for 3 weeks, and the next community pool, Siliman in Newark was $9 for a day!!!
An old friend from Chicago was on a work trip to SF, so a bunch of friends gathered at the Academy of Sciences for Nightlife. We luckily got in for free and there was a Valentine's/Beerfest thing going on so it was especially crowded. Beers were alright, lines were long, everything was packed. I had a pretty good time although I would have enjoyed getting to explore more of the exhibits. I also didn't get to drink very much because I had to drive my manual car into the city!!! Ahhhh....but the hills weren't so bad. I only used my E-brake once.
The only place open late on a Thursday for "good" food was a Korean place. It was alright. Soju was cheap but I didn't get to drink that either :(
The next day, I took Max to St. George in Alameda! We're both HUGE fans of St. George. It was a beautiful day and we had stellar views of the city and warm sunshine.
It's hard to see the sign above the door, but it says: "Emotional Support begins here".
St. George has a $20 tour and tasting. The tour is a detailed insider look into the company's upbringing and brewing process. I love hearing nerds nerd out about their stuff. Their enthusiasm and attention to near-perfection is why I love their company so much.
Their absinthe is my favorite!
I also love their gins.
After our tour and tasting, Max and I had a picnic on St. George's front patio. You can't drink alcohol out there, but you can bring outside food to eat. We packed a picnic lunch with Trader Joe's goodies and enjoyed the scenery by ourselves. There aren't any restaurants too close by which is why the patio is usually always empty.
On a whim, I drove around Alameda some more and ended up at the USS Hornet. How often do you randomly park your car to this kind of view?!?!
A few weeks ago, Max texted me after finding out his most favorite brand on Earth at the moment, Ministry of Supply, was hosting a launch party for their new shop in San Francisco. So, it was imperative that we go. Somehow I managed to get Sam happily involved and she thankfully drove since Max and I both drive stick. But first, we caught the sunset on this hill. It was glorious.
The launch party was pretty relaxed. Before this shop opened, Max was only able to view and shop for their products online. At the party, he got to try on a bunch of things and get a feel for the fabrics and their sizing. If you didn't know, Miinistry of Supply is a fantastic new clothing company that incorporates classic business casual apparel with tech fabrics.
If you've got a man that loves fashion and function, Ministry of Supply will fulfill those needs :P Also, MOS has got an abundance of smaller and slim sizes for those smaller physiques!
For the second year in a row, my cousin Mo decided to leave her chilly town of Philly to celebrate her birthday weekend in California! And this time she brought her boyfriend! It's especially exciting when my cousin visits because my parents are the hosts and they get to do all the driving and paying :P
Unfortunately, my cousin managed to come during the single, rainy week that we've had, but she still enjoyed herself.
First we took her to Napa and ate lunch at Goose and Gander! Delicious food and the most ridiculously amazing cocktails ever! Goose and Gander is located in downtown St. Helena and in comparison to the nearby restaurants, they've got the cheapest prices.
I'm going to call this winery Inglenook because I'm not sure what to call it. I felt like I was transported to Germany. Dark, dank corridors and all. The information desk said they may change the name of the winery again because "Inglenook" seems to be repelling the tourists. I am a sucker for historical sites and it's sad that that is something they have to give up in order to survive as a business.
My dad purchased 2 bottles of his favorite Cask Cabernet at $100 a bottle. It's his absolute favorite wine on Earth, and he still gives me a hard time about my desire to eat at The French Laundry for a 10+ course $250 meal. I don't get it.
Third stop: Bouchon! I had an "Oh-Oh", which was basically a gourmet Ho-Ho and it was perfect. And $6. And I would buy it again and shove it down my throat again.
Our last stop was the Darioush winery. I had never heard of them before and didn't care to spend $40 to taste 3 wines. However, I will mention that they have a well-curated selection of fashion/art books and designer goods. They had Margiela accessories, Want Les Essentials de la Vie leather goods, and exquisite furs for sale. It's safe to say I would prefer to go shopping here than drink their wine.
At 11am we had our first beers of the day at Hog's Apothecary in Berkeley. I also placed an order for their Biscuits and (PORK) Gravy, which was the best I've ever had. It was still brunch service which I didn't much care for, but I would definitely come back for their large long tables (good for large parties) and extensive beer list.
As I was utilizing my Google Maps to find our next stop, I noticed PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS!!! I knew they were somewhere in Emeryville but I didn't know it would be so close to Berkeley. Mo is a pretty big Disney/Pixar fan herself so we forced my parents to stop for photos. Sadly, you couldn't see much except for this entrance. The rest of the campus is surrounded by tall hedges.
Mo's boyfriend works for a beer distributor and likes sours, and I coincidentally found Rare Barrel nearby. Bonus hostess points for me. It also happened to be SF Beer Week and this place was freaking packed. I don't get it. I'm at that age where I hate crowds and waiting in long lines when hungry and would prefer to stop by Whole Foods to pick up my favorite craft beer to drink at home in my jammies. People here enthusiastically waited 20-30 minutes to order glasses of beer. I tasted about 4 different sours and they all tasted the same to me...and just sour. I ordered a Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout for my dad which tasted EXACTLY like soy sauce without the salt. I would not choose to come back here, but my boyfriend likes sours so I will be a stellar girlfriend and take him here one day. Two redeeming qualities about this place: bbq food truck parked out front and beautiful names for their beers. Examples: Shadows of their Eyes, Sirius Black, Soliloquy, Map of the Sun, Forces Unseen, Apropos of Nothing, On The Shoulders of Giants, etc.
Completed Mo and Brendan's California trip with Cheeseboard pizza and a random taco truck for burritos!