Let’s Go to San Francisco

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

This quote is often attributed to Mark Twain (though the internet can’t seem to confirm that either way). Regardless, whoever said these words was well aware of San Francisco’s temperamental summer climate.

Having grown up in Portland, Oregon, I thought I was accustomed to unpredictable downpours and sudden shifts in temperature from one day to the next. But San Fran takes this to another level, and even during our quick weekend getaway, we discovered for ourselves how dramatically the weather can change from one hour to the next. Even different neighborhoods within the city often have remarkably different weather (more on that later).

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Friday

Shop our matching tees here.

First of all: would it even be a girls’ weekend if matching tees weren’t involved? The best part is that when we ordered these from Etsy, there was never any discussion about whose shirt would belong to whom. When you’ve been BFFs for 13 years, you just know who the troublemaker is 😉 These fun tees are linked above, and we highly recommend the Etsy shop Lovemighty (our shirts are great quality and arrived so quickly!).

We flew out of PDX after work, and the flight to San Fran from Portland is short and sweet. We took an Uber straight to our hotel, the Westin St. Francis at Union Square.

This historic hotel has hosted multiple US presidents and even the Queen of England in 1983! We loved the location, with lots of restaurants and stores within a short walking distance.

After a yummy Italian dinner at Cesario’s, we perused the area around our hotel to get our bearings and see what was nearby. We then called it an early night, knowing that Saturday would be packed with sightseeing.

Saturday

Shop this outfit here.

Though the weather might look sunny and warm, don’t be deceived by those blue skies in the photo. It was comfortable at times, but quite chilly when the wind picked up. I was certainly glad I’d layered a long-sleeved tee underneath my linen blazer, but to be quite honest, I should’ve brought along an additional jacket or scarf!

Our first stop that morning was to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for pastries (and, of course, to take pics with their famous neon sign!). ✌️

Unfortunately they were sold out of their signature “cruffins” (a croissant/muffin pastry), so instead we purchased some of their croissants. I got the raspberry rose flavor, and it was as pretty as it was delicious!

Next up, we walked about one and a half miles to the Painted Ladies, the iconic Victorian homes made world-famous by the opening credits of Full House. I grew up watching Full House and was a huge fan of the Olsen twins as a kid, so I truly enjoyed getting to see this California landmark in real life.

But as any true Full House fan knows, the actual “Full House House” is not one of the Painted Ladies. Instead, the home that was used on the show for the exterior shots is actually located 1.2 miles away from the Painted Ladies at 1709 Broderick St.

On our way to the “Full House House,” we stopped for some lunch and sangria at the Spanish restaurant Barvale. We shared their amazing steak and eggs!

Afterwards, we decided to make the long trek to the Presidio of San Francisco and see the Golden Gate Bridge. Keep in mind we were walking everywhere, and the hills in San Fran are no joke!

This pic was taken shortly after we’d entered the Presidio, which is a 1500 acre National Park.

The Presidio still has over 400 historic buildings, from the nearly 150 years it served as a US Army Post.

As you can see, when we reached the beach, the fog nearly obscured our view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though we’d had plenty of sunshine as we journeyed through the city, the weather couldn’t have been more different by the bay!

I was a little disappointed to not get the Golden Gate views I’d hoped for, but as I’ve said on previous travel posts, c’est la vie! It was a lot windier by the water, so we decided to take an Uber over to Fisherman’s Wharf for some seafood.

And look! At Fisherman’s Wharf, there were blue skies. I’m not exaggerating about the weather varying greatly from one neighborhood to the next!

Fisherman’s Wharf is admittedly filled with tourists, but we still felt that it was definitely worth the visit! We perused several shops (and also bought a beanie because my ears were cold 🥶) before eating yummy clams and appetizers at Cioppino’s.

We also stopped at Ghirardelli Square. Once the headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, the square now has a variety of shops and restaurants.

Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop had a veryyyy long line, so we instead stopped at the nearby Cheese School of San Francisco for a glass of rosé. Their charcuterie boards looked incredible, but we weren’t hungry again quite yet.

However, after perusing some more shops and working up our appetites, we decided we couldn’t pass up a burger at the only In-N-Out in San Fran!

The only locations in Oregon are about a 4 hours’ drive away from Portland, so pretty much every time I’m in Cali, a stop at In-N-Out is a must.

San Fran has a lot of really cool murals and street art, and these two were some of my favorites that we stumbled upon throughout the day.

After miles and miles of walking (and all the incredible food and wine along the way!), we headed back to our hotel for the night. We joked that we must be getting old since we passed on bar-hopping, but after exploring the city primarily on foot we were exhausted.

Sunday

Sunday morning greeted us with mist and fog, though I’ll admit that it looked pretty cool contrasted with the green copper of the historic Sentinel Building.

I’d learned my lesson from the day before and dressed in warmer layers, thankful I’d packed my wool moto jacket (and remembered to grab my beanie!).

We perused Chinatown on the way to our lunch destination and this bright blue dragon caught my eye.

Don Pistos came highly recommended, and it certainly did not disappoint! I looooove tacos, so I’ve eaten my fair share over the years, and these were among the best I’ve ever had.

I had the carnitas, and the pork was so flavorful and cooked to perfection.

Shop this outfit here.

After lunch, we walked to the Ferry Building, a busy place where you can catch a ferry (go figure 😉), but also buy a variety of goods and foods in a large, indoor marketplace.

We had some tea and pastries for an afternoon snack and ambled leisurely through the various shops.

And, as you can see, the weather had cleared to become a glorious afternoon! ☀️

It was such a pleasant stroll back to our hotel to pick up our bags, as it was just about time to head back to the airport.

After we arrived at the airport, we saw that our flight would be delayed by a couple hours. Not long after, we checked the departures monitor again to confirm our gate, only to discover that our flight had been cancelled!

Thankfully, we were able to get on the last available flight back to Portland that evening and still make it home Sunday night.

We had such a fun weekend, and it was so nice to have one-on-one time with my bestie. We’ve been friends since we were 15, were roommates in college, and were maids-of-honor at each other’s weddings.

I’m truly grateful for our friendship and all our adventures together ❤️ Cheers to more girls’ trips to come!

Birthday Girl, Part 2

From classic Shakespearean theatre to the great outdoors, my husband planned the perfect birthday weekend getaway!

We road tripped down to southern Oregon, stopping once at the In-N-Out in Grants Pass. It’s the closest location to Portland–about 4 hours away–and one of only two locations in the whole state. I mean, if it’s on the way, you gotta stop! This girl loves her burgers.

I snapped a pic of this road sign because it had both our destinations on it: the historic hotel where we would be staying at, and of course, the Festival itself.

My grandparents used to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival almost every year for their wedding anniversary (I always say they’re where my love for classic lit came from!). They both passed away when I was in my teens, but they weren’t far from my mind this weekend when we saw Romeo and Juliet.

We watched the famous play of star-crossed lovers performed underneath the stars in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. It’s an outdoor theatre, and, though it was a chilly evening, it was such a treat.

Peacoat: H&M (similar) Striped Top: Adrianna Papell (similar here and here) Black Jeans: Topshop Clutch: Saint Laurent Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)

I wore a wool coat over a long-sleeved blouse, but I was admittedly still a bit cold. Many playgoers brought blankets with them, which was definitely a good idea this time of year (the evening temperatures were in the mid 50’s). The play’s start time was 8pm and was almost three hours long (including an intermission in the middle).

As for the play itself, I very much enjoyed the set design, the Elizabethan-style costumes that had a modern edge, and the high quality caliber of the actors (we weren’t permitted to take photos inside the theatre itself due to copyright laws). Juliet’s performance was especially memorable–the actress balanced the character’s youthful innocence and fierce passion extremely well. My husband thought Friar Lawrence provided the perfect dose of humor and wit to the tragic nature of the play.

I first read this play in high school in my freshman English class, when I was 14 and quite near Juliet’s own age of 13. Like a lot of teenage girls, I was a bit fanciful then–the whole notion of love at first sight seemed romantic, and the idea of a secret elopement felt exciting and forbidden.

Now I’m 27 and–needless to say–have a bit more life experience under my belt. I studied the play several times in college, but something that struck me this time around was the fact that Romeo and Juliet share only four scenes together–technically five if you count the death scene at the end; however, they don’t speak with each other because at first Juliet is still asleep, and then by the time she wakes up, Romeo has already killed himself. This is one of the most iconic plays in English literature, and the title characters barely interact with each other!

And yet, four scenes is all it takes. The eloquence of Shakespeare’s writing, the immensity of what’s at stake, and the timeless romanticism of forbidden young love all make it the great tragedy that it is.

Before the play, we had dinner at Larks, a cozy local restaurant adjacent to the Ashland Springs Hotel. I had one of their daily specials (the salmon was excellent!), and I was grateful my husband had made reservations weeks prior to our visit because it was such a busy spot.

We’d also made our hotel reservations at Ashland Springs about 5 months prior (Ashland is a small town and the hotel is so conveniently located to the Festival–barely two blocks away!).

The next day, we headed out on Crater Lake Highway to–you guessed it!–Crater Lake National Park. I’ve lived in Oregon all my life, and yet I’ve never visited this famous site.

It was formed by the explosion of Mt. Mazuma over 7,000 years ago. The crater was filled in with water over time, gradually becoming what is now the deepest lake in the United States.

Hat: Portland Gear Jacket: Levi’s (color is Concrete Indigo) Hoodie: J. Crew (similar) Leggings: Nike (similar) Sneakers: Nike (similar here and here) Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Clubmaster

No filter needed for the incredible blue water of Crater Lake! It’s famous for its vibrant blue hue, and the intense sapphire color truly didn’t disappoint.

I’m no expert, but I learned that the remarkable blue color has to do with the lake’s depth and water purity. Since the water is so clear, sunlight is able to penetrate deep into the water and most of the colors on the light spectrum (red, orange, etc.) are absorbed. But the blue and violet light rays are reflected to the lake’s surface, creating that amazing blue.

We had planned a short hike at Crater Lake, but my husband was just getting over a cold and I was just starting to come down with one, so unfortunately neither of us were up to it. Next time!

I do recommend checking the weather and visibility before making the trek to Crater Lake. We had friends who went earlier in the summer, and they couldn’t see anything because of the smoke caused by the wildfires in Oregon and California.

All in all, it was the perfect birthday weekend! Thank you to my sweet husband for planning such a lovely trip with so many of my favorite activities. ❤️ I’m hoping we can take another visit down to Ashland next summer for some more plays! Is there ever such a thing as too much Shakespeare? 😉

Have a wonderful weekend, loves! Thank you for stopping by!