SF & Canada 2014

What a weekend - I had florist duties for my friend’s wedding so it’s been a jam packed past few days. Photos to come once I get a hold of the official ones! Meanwhile….. exciting times ahead!

In a week’s time, I’ll be in San Francisco, yay!

san-francisco

Last time I was there was in October last year and it was a blast, so it’s exciting to return again to the lovely city.

The company that I work for during the day holds an annual conference for its users and customers in the US. Typically, it’s held in San Francisco but this year it’ll be in San Jose and I’ll be going for this. After the event wraps up by end of next week, I’ll be heading back to SF and settling down there for a week working from the office.

In my usual ‘try to do as much as I can’ spirit, I’ve already started to put together a list of shops and sights to tackle whilst I’m there… This year it includes places I’ve missed in the past like the Presidio, Conservatory of Flowers, Twin Peaks, In & Out (are the burgers really that good? I have to find out!) and naturally places I can’t wait to return to such as Madewell (!!!!!!), Hayes Valley shops, Bernal Heights and Crepevine (so delicious).

This year’s trip will also be a little bit more exciting as Gareth will be joining me for the second half. It will be his first time in the USA too, so I’m so excited for him, he’s going to love it! He’s also a massive baseball fan so yep - we already have tickets to the Giants/Dodgers game :)

brown-bear

After SF, we’ll be taking a short break by heading to Calgary, Canada before heading home. It’s been a while since we’ve taken a proper break so we’re looking forward to this one. Calgary is also extra special as our dearest friend Alison, whom we met during our study year in Paris (which I recently dedicated a heartfelt post about), lives there!

We’ll be reuniting after 5 years, can you believe it?! It’s all very insane, exciting and a long time coming. She tells us how amazing the Canadian Rockies and surrounds are, so I’m so amped to be doing a bit of sightseeing along with her and her boy. Hopefully I’ll have some lovely photos to share with y’all!

So whilst I’ve been slowly planning for my next few weeks away, it got me thinking. What’s going to happen to the blog whilst I’m tripping about?

I have a couple of ideas but would also love to hear your opinions. This is what I’m thinking of doing:

(1) Plan a few posts in advance, since I always have a long list of things that I feel like I never have enough time to blog about, so content is never scarce!

(2) And… this one is the one that I’m not too sure about: I was thinking that I could focus on playing with video for once, since it’s something I don’t really do. It would be a fun and candid way of sharing the sights from afar. The idea is that I put together a short video using just my iPhone every few days and post them as travel snippets! Yay or nay?

Is this something you guys would be interested in seeing whilst I’m travelling? Do you have a better idea of what you’d prefer I blog about whilst I’m away?

PS. If anyone has any shops, events or things I should check out whilst I’m in Calgary or SF, I’d love to hear about it!

Image credit: Unsplash

Photo Diary: San Francisco II

golden gate bridge sf

Ahoy, here’s the follow up edition to the San Francisco diaries. Remember the first? That brought up a whole lot of wicked memories and this one did too! I always enjoy the experience of putting together these photo diary blog posts, it’s like mentally going back all over again!

On my very last day, I tried to pack all of the touristy things I wanted to do into the entire day, given I had an evening flight back home.

In retrospect, it was so insane since I also added in a 6km run to and from the Airbnb apartment I was staying at in the Mission to Bernal Heights Park. This was pretty epic for me given my lack of exercise around that time! I guess I had heard so many good things about the view at the peak of that particular park that I didn’t want to leave with regret of missing out experiencing it for myself. So I did it. And boy was it worth it!

Since I decided not to carry my proper camera whilst running, I ended up with only some snaps from my iPhone 4 at the time. This one was my favourite but it definitely doesn’t do it enough justice:

Over the rest of the day, I wandered in a semi-dehydrated state around Golden Gate Park and a few other hot spots. There’s a Flower Conservatorium there in the park but to my misfortune, it was closed on Mondays :( Luckily, there was still beautiful gardens surrounding it including this amazing dahlia display!

IMG_8907IMG_8932IMG_8918IMG_8901

In exploring the park, I fell across a Japanese Tea Garden that I couldn’t make up my mind about: was it worth going in or should I skip it? That is until this little cute squirrel appeared and completely melted my heart. HE/SHE WAS TOO CUTE TO RESIST!

So I paid my entrance fee and kept taking more photos of it! In hindsight, I’m glad I checked it out because the garden was incredibly serene and beautiful - I highly recommend visiting it solo to find some peace and natural beauty :)

IMG_8934IMG_8947IMG_8954IMG_8971IMG_8978IMG_9015

Thankfully San Francisco is such a wired up city that you can pretty much find reliable free wi-fi…. anywhere?! After further exploring the Botanic Gardens (also within Golden Gate Park), I could hardly walk, was completely dehydrated, hungry and fatigued and also lacking phone credit.

By chance, I came across this place, Crepevine, which served delicious comfort food, had free wi-fi AND a yummy drinks menu! What luck, can you can imagine how incredibly happy I was? Definitely on my list to go back.

IMG_9018IMG_9019

And of course playing tourist wouldn’t have been as authentic if I had missed out on a trip to Alamo Square to view the set of Victorian houses, fondly known as the “Painted Ladies”. Most people probably recognise them from the opening sequence of the old television show Full House

But you know, apart from the pop culture reference, I was really glad I went to Alamo Square because the park itself is small and quaint and just has a really lovely view of the city. It’s not as grand as the one from Bernal Heights Park but it’s very much a different perspective of the city skyline. Throw in some nice architecture and dramatic trees… oh and pet dogs and it would make for a lovely afternoon picnic spot.

IMG_9023

In short, I really enjoyed my trip to San Francisco last year and I’m glad I stayed the weekend to really see the city a bit more. I can’t wait to go back and bring Gareth with me one day so that I can play tour guide for him!

By the way, all the hot spots I mentioned here are captured for you in the mini guide to San Francisco that I created. Super useful if you’re planning a visit to this wonderful city! And if you find some great places yourself, do let me know so I can add it to the list :)

Click here to view and download the guide:

mini travel guide to san francisco


Subscribe now to get free Helarious goodness curated & delivered to you monthly!

Photo Diary: San Francisco I

golden gate bridge sf

Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a relaxing weekend, I’ve been catching up with old and new friends which has been really nice. I showed my photos to a friend who came over to visit yesterday and it dawned on me that I still hadn’t posted up anything, whilst being my most memorable trip of last year. Come on Helen! So this will be the first of two photo diary posts on last October’s visit to San Francisco.

Now if you’ve noticed from previous travel posts, I’ve been creating a map of the area using Stamen and then listing out my recommendations. This is where I’m changing things up - for the better for you and me!

I’ll now be providing you guys with mini travel guides to the places I visit thanks to a new site I’ve found online that makes it really easy to create travel guides: Jauntful! I’ve literally just spent the past hour playing around it and created a mini guide to San Francisco, I hope you’ll find this useful if you’re planning a visit. There’s also the option to download it as a PDF so you can print it out and take it with you whilst travelling! Isn’t it great!?

mini travel guide to san francisco

Let me know what you think of it, I hope it’ll be handy and I’m excited to create a few more of previous travels I’ve done! I haven’t quite decided which places yet, so if you have a preference or suggestion, let me know :)

And here are some of my favourite snapshots of San Francisco from October last year when I went for work, and then tagged on a few days extra of leave to explore the city!

san francisco

I attended Re:Make 2013, literally buying tickets the night before and I’m so glad I did. Highlights included seeing 3D printers creating stuff in the flesh and listening to a great line up of inspiring speakers from creative/innovative fields like Michelle Phan, Brit Morin and Ayah Bedir. I coincidentally met one of my favourite bloggers, Brittany of The House That Lars Built, and also made new friends!

3d printerbrit co remake

Taking the obligatory tram from Powell nr Market to Fisherman’s Wharf, and then renting bikes at the Wharf with friends from work, I cycled towards the Golden Gate Bridge, across the bridge and followed a route to a nearby port town Sausalito!

san francisco streetstram san francisco fishermans wharfIMG_8796cycling san franciscogolden gate bridge sfsan francisco cycling the bridge

During one of the days, I walked from the Airbnb apartment I was staying at to Noe Valley, to meet friends for brunch at a lovely place called Crepevine. It was simply divine: the decor was full of colourful florals and the menu was packed full of tasty options. I ended up with blueberry wheatgerm pancakes which turned out to be enormous and only 8 USD!

crepevine sfcrepevine sfnoe valleystreets of san francisco yodanoe valley yoda

I’ll be posting the second set of SF photos next week - including those of the Botanic Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park!

Click here to view and download the mini travel guide to San Francisco.


Subscribe now to get free Helarious goodness curated & delivered to you monthly!

Back from San Francisco!

Hey everyone, I’m baaaack!!

It’s been such a whirlwind, the past week. A lot of firsts and a lot of fun was ahead in San Francisco. I went there for our annual work’s user conference and also a little bit of weekend holidaying, before flying back yesterday morning.

Jet lag this time around was not too bad, as I tweaked my method to try to combat it. (Maybe I’ll do a post about what iIdid? Let me know if you’d be interested in that.) Coming back, I was 22kg heavier (in luggage!!) but have yet to upload my photos from my camera yet.

On the very last day, I went all out and did a total 6km run (amongst other things) to and from where I was staying in the Mission district. I ran through the Mission via Folsom street to reach Bernal Heights Park, where I then followed the swirly path all the way up to the apex… and found myself at some breathtaking views of San Francisco city. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me, or a better quality smartphone camera (I’m still on an iPhone 4), so I made do with Instagram to capture the stunning views.

There were quite a few lone rangers with their pet dogs out and about, so it was such a picture perfect moment when this one guy had just thrown a ball for his dog to catch, as I was taking a snap. I thought that was a beautiful coincidence, they contrast well with the rigid backdrop of the modern cityscape.

My laziness nearly got the better of me, so I am so glad in hindsight that I willed myself to do that run. It was definitely well worth all the energy too, as I ended up having a truly great sleep on the red-eye flight that same night!

Okay, I’ll be back soon this weekend with more San Francisco moments and a return to regular blogging. Hope you’re having a stellar week, wherever you are!