San Francisco Getaway: Part 3

Our third and favorite day in San Francisco! We rode 35 miles on our bikes, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, explores Sausalito, saw the Painted Ladies at sunset, and had the best Italian food and doughnuts at midnight.

Sausalito, Marin County (but doesn’t it look a lot like Italy?!)

Baker Beach State Park

“Everywhere you look…” the Painted Ladies @ Alamo Square

Vegan donuts!

Tips for Your Trip:

Bike rentals: Parkwide $35 for 24 hours

Eats: Nob Hill Cafe , Lapperts Ice Cream, Bob’s Donuts

Must-Sees: the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Baker Beach State Park

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San Francisco Getaway: Part 2

Day 2 in San Francisco!

If you missed Day 1, you can catch up here.

We kicked off our day in the best way — a big ‘ol breakfast! We went to Taylor Street Coffee Shop, but it was really so much more than a coffee shop — which we quickly realized when there was a line out the door and we waited for 45 minutes. But a long line is a sign of a good meal, and the wait was well worth it! Plus, I got to play with an adorable Spanish-speaking toddler named Salvador next to us in line the whole time, so it was actually a fun wait.

It was a tiny place, but we loved the intimate atmosphere. Chad got the famous Millionaire Bacon (which was $8) and I got the French toast with corn flakes on top. SO GOOD! Man, this whole not eating vegan on vacation thing really has its perks. 🙂

I grabbed some coffee next door at Tilden and we took to the streets for day two of exploring the city. Our first stop: AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Chad LOVES baseball and one of his biggest life goals is to visit every stadium. So of course new city = new MLB stadium to tour!

Situated right on the water, it was gorgeous…but I still think Citizens Bank Park in Philly is way better. 🙂

Next, we took a Lyft across town to the famous Haight-Ashbury area. It was cool, but maybe not for you if you’re with your kids and don’t like being offered mushrooms or “great trips” every two seconds while you’re walking down the street. No, thank you. 🙂

We wandered in the famous Amoeba Records store and grabbed some lunch at Whole Foods.

Vegan BLTA — yes please!

We spent the next few hours walking through Golden Gate Park. It was a pretty walk and there was so much to see — except for views of the Golden Gate Bridge. 🙂 we even saw buffalo in the park!

We ventured all the way down to Ocean Beach. We wanted to visit this beach particularly because it is the same exact name as our beach town! It boasted a gorgeous sunset, and we shared a beer sampler flight at the bar across the street and watched some Olympics while the sun went down.

We made our way back to Haight-Ashbury and went to dinner and the best sangria EVER at Cha Cha Cha, a funky little Cuban restaurant that we both thought was possibly the best meal of the trip! It came highly recommend by both our financial advisor and the street mushroom entrepreneur – and they were both right!

Check back tomorrow for day 3!

San Francisco Getaway: Part 1

Happy Wednesday and happy valentine’s day, dear friends. I hope your week has been a good one so far!

We’re settling back into routine today (work, chores, and commuting, oh my!) after a magical four days in San Francisco. This was our first time exploring NorCal and while it felt like being in a completely different country compared to our southern half of the state, we loved every chilly, sunny second of it!

I wanted to recap our travels for you in case you ever find yourself on your own SF adventure. Over the next three days, SGMG will be bringing you all things San Francisco. I hope you’ll find it fun and useful to follow along! I hope I’ll have you booking your own flights to SF by the end of the week. 🙂

Quick side note: while we’re on the traveling subject — one of my best friends, Gwen, just launched her own blog, Full Life, Full Passport. She is an expert when it comes to executing wanderlust, so please be sure to subscribe to her blog so she can help make your travel dreams come true! Chances are, she’s already been to the places on your bucket list. She has so much knowledge + experience for us to learn from!

Now, back to SF! Let’s kickoff this series by recapping day one in the city.

How We Got There

Even though we weren’t leaving the state, we chose to fly to SF. It’s still crazy to me that you can fly and not leave California! Holy cow, it’s big. I’m used to being from somewhere where it wasn’t abnormal to drive through four states in one day.

The flight was only an hour and fifteen minutes and we scored a great deal on flights for only $49 each back in December. Keep your eyes out for those email sales — we love Southwest! Not to mention, I think they have the best airplane coffee ever. And I’ve tried them all.

But if you prefer, you can drive from SoCal to San Francisco in about 8 hours or so.

Where We Stayed

When we travel, we go full millennial and almost always stay in an AirBNB. It’s always been a fun, positive, and budget-friendly experience for us. We usually opt for places where we have the entire home to ourselves, but since we knew that we’d be out in the city exploring 99% of the time, we decided to save a buck by renting a master bedroom in someone’s home. We stayed at Alice’s roomy, charming apartment in Nob Hill.

It was clean, spacious, and quiet — and the bay windows, fire escapes, and charming brick made me want to live there forever.

Alice was a sweetheart, too; she served us like a hotel would and gave us great recommendations for restaurants. It’s always nice to have the inside scoop from a local. If you find yourself in SF, I’d highly recommend staying with her!

Around Town: Day One

After we landed at the airport and dropped our bags in our room, we changed into our sneakers and set out on foot to wander around the neighborhood.

We walked a few blocks to nearby Chinatown and stumbled upon a Chinese New Year Festival! We enjoyed the live music, lanterns, busy streets, and even saw a Chinese dragon performance.

We walked down to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and enjoyed lunch at Boudin Bakery.

Boudin is famous for its sourdough bread and many of my coworkers suggested that we eat there — and I’m so glad that they told me!

I enjoyed a bread bowl with tomato soup, and Chad had a crab cake sandwich and local Anchor Steam beer. So good!

After lunch, we wandered all around The Embarcadero and Pier 39. It was full of shops, restaurants, and touristy things — but was still really fun and definitely worth seeing, as it offered amazing views of the city, water, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.

And hey, there’s no shame in doing touristy things — we are tourists, after all. 🙂

Next, we knew we had to indulge in some treats at Ghiradelli Square — luxurious soy latte for me, and a “Crissy Field” sundae for Chad. I tried to be good and resist it, but I definitely had a few bites of his sundae! It was divine.

When you make your way to SF, Ghiradelli is not to be missed!

I eat vegan and plant based 99% of the time at home, but when we travel I give myself a lot of grace and choose to eat vegetarian. This way, we’re able to enjoy a lot more meals together and it takes away the stress of finding a restaurant that works for both of us. It makes traveling so much easier when you’re married to a meat + dairy lover…and I get to try some fun things. 🙂

Then we walked off *some* of our treats by climbing the loooong, steep hills up to Lombard Street for the famous winding street. It smelled like burnt rubber from all of the cars riding their brakes down the massive hill! But it was such a cool and pretty sight.

Later that night, some friends from Delaware (who moved to the bay area to work for Apple) picked us up for dinner. It was great to see familiar faces in a new city! They took us to a hotpot place, Little Sheep. Think “the melting pot” for Asian food — if you love both, this is the place for you. It was a new thing for us, and a fun experience for a group! We’ll definitely be looking to see if San Diego has any hotpot joints.

(Source: Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot)

After dinner, our friends took the time to drive us down Lombard Street, to the Painted Ladies (full house opening credits!), and up to Twin Peaks for spectacular views of the dazzling skyline at night. They were so sweet to be our own private tour guides — thanks, Raisul and Danya!

(Source: Pinterest)

We were in bed by midnight (late for us!) to rest up for a full second day of our vacation! Be sure to check back tomorrow for a recap + travel tips from day two in San Francisco.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Have you been to San Francisco before?

Do you prefer to stay in AirBNBs or hotels when you travel?

Do you stick to a certain diet when you travel, or do you let yourself indulge?

I’m Just Really Happy For My Friend

Go back in time with me for a moment.

Think of your best, oldest, and truestfriend. You know the one.

That one friend that’s known you in all seasons — they’ve known your good, your bad, your ugly. They loved you in bellbottoms and scrunchies, they were a part of your first breakup and your wedding day. And you loved them at their worst, too. But you always saw the best for them. You’ve walked through grief and celebration, heartache and hope, with this friend. Your memories with this friend are as old as you are.

For me, this friend is the Philadelphia Eagles.

This team has been a friend I’ve known in all seasons. A friend that was constant in the midst of change. A friend that I played with and laughed with and argued with and partied with and fought with; a friend that I’d easily make up with again and quickly get over it. A friend that you might be rolling your eyes right now because oh my gosh charlotte, it’s just a football team.

But for me…for all of us…it’s never been just a football team.

It’s the earliest memory I have of my dad.

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It’s making the 40 minute drive from South Jersey to Delaware every other Sunday night, while riding in the passenger seat, listening to Angelo Cataldi recap that night’s drama. Or, if it was a late game — listening to Merrill and Mike call it.

It’s sitting behind the goal post at Veterans Stadium in a backwards hat and glasses, 2002, week 11, watching Donovan McNabb break his ankle and screaming my eleven-year-old head off as he locked in 4 touchdowns and a win against the Cardinals anyway.

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It’s the song I later made up about him while bored in school one day: “Shabby McNabby, he passes so fabby, had a cat, was a tabby…”. Yeah. A real talent. My uncles still tease me.

It’s waking up early on a Sunday morning with grandmom and dad to watch (and let’s be honest, sulk) as that same stadium with my first memories was demolished. I still believe that there’s a 700 level in heaven.

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It’s if I had a nickel for every time I had to hear a “jail in the stadium” joke, even 14 years later. Please. Come up with some new material and don’t you dare mention Santa Claus.

It’s walking out to the parking lot after a loss and finding that our friend’s back windshield was smashed. Angry drunk, or committed tailgater who was committed to going reaaaallly long for that parking lot football toss? It’s still a mystery.

It’s getting to tour the Linc one summer in July, the season before it opened. I think they called it an Open House and my dad and I had so much fun on that trip.

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It’s the nickname Lexi started calling me in 4th grade, “Pinky”, because I loved Todd Pinkston so much. P.S.Where are you now, Todd?!

It’s all of those summers as a kid at training camp, at Lehigh University. It’s waiting all day in the sun for McNabb to come out and then when he offered high fives, I could only reach high enough to smack his elbow. It’s James Thrash signing my program and quickly saying, “God Bless You”, and my ten year-old brain thinking, but I didn’t sneeze.

It’s another training camp when I boldly asked Hank Fraley in the way that little kids don’t care about being polite, “Hank, is it true that you eat six honey buns a day?” 

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“Who told you that?” he said. “Uhhhhh, maybe my dad?” I stammered. It was really my Uncle Mark who told me that. But Hank gave Dad a look. Sorry Dad. Sorry Hank.

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It’s being Brian Westbrook for Halloween. Yes, me. Skinny 13-year-old white girl with braided pigtails and braces. But also, eyeblacks.

It’s Joe and Dad.

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It’s all of the feelings of being a 7th grader and watching your favorite people on the planet go to the super bowl.

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It’s all of the feelings of sitting on your dad’s friend’s dryer in the laundry room, staring at a bag of Beneful and a tile floor, during the fourth quarter of that same super bowl because you can’t bear to watch anymore. It’s asking to stay home from school the next day because you’re too sad to go on. It’s thinking that you might just vomit, too.

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It’s experiencing my first real loss – Grandpop Barron – in a bitter cold January in 5th grade. It’s listening to Eagles talk radio late at night in my bedroom, on my blue boombox, when I couldn’t fall asleep and felt scared in the weeks after his funeral. I just needed something familiar.

It’s terrible photos from the first cellphone you ever had.

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It’s running those looooooonnnnng switchbacks, quads burning, usually singing, rushing to make it to our seats by kickoff. The energy is building and you feel pretty dang happy to be a part of it.

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And it’s also receiving the text that my Pop-Pop had died — while I sat in section 221 with Chad and Matt as the Eagles painfully lost to the Seahawks, December 7, 2014. It’s crying the whole way back down 95 South.

It’s running through the tunnel.

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It’s celebrating our Veterans.

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It’s hanging out in the college bedroom of a guy that I liked, watching just about every  away game together that season. We both knew it wasn’t going anywhere, but I could talk football and eat pizza and blow off studying… so that was fine by me.

It’s dating someone else for all the wrong reasons. It’s realizing that I wanted to break up with him the same day that Andy Reid was fired, and somehow always connecting the two together.

It’s being with my friend 4.5 years ago, the week before her wedding, stopping for gas in Rancho Cucamounga, CA. It’s, “wait! before you start driving again, can we watch the Eagles hype video?” It was this one. She was so nice + patient.

It’s all of those awkward stages of stumbling through life and not really knowing who the heck you are or what the heck you’re doing. It’s trying new things and messing up and learning hard lessons and skinning your knees along the way…but faithfully watching the TV every Sunday in the Fall. That old, familiar friend.

And it’s joy, too. It’s not just a football team, but so much joy. 

It’s September, telling my mom about the cute guy from church that I met while the Eagles played the Broncos on the TV in the background.

It’s sitting at a picnic table in FDR Park on an unusually warm November day, eating Wawa hoagies knee-to-knee with that same cute guy from church as he asked me to be his girlfriend, before kickoff against the Redskins. Nick Foles was our QB then, too. And it’s “Hey…I know we’ve only been dating for two hours but…wanna meet my dad at halftime?”

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That day was a good day.

And it’s knowing you’ve got an Eagles-watching-partner forever and ever, when he later asks you to be his wife.

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And it’s blissfully attending your first game as newlyweds.

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It’s Take Your Dad To the Linc Day.

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And it’s dad flying all the way across the country for some quality time — but not without our birds, of course.

It’s losing bets to our friends from Dallas.

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It’s joking about naming our first born child Carson. But we’re actually totally serious. Don’t steal our name.

It’s running six miles to the Rocky steps before the Monday night game.

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It’s attending open practice at Franklin Field.

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And it’s still so, so many countless memories with Dad.

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It’s losing my voice singing in section 221.

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It’s that time they tweeted our dog.

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It’s that time we had seriously the best day ever ever ever. A bitter cold December night (the best football watching conditions), Jim’s Steaks, butterflies in our stomach, and deep fried peanut butter + jelly.

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It’s 44-6 and 4th and 26.

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It’s CAN WE JUST TALK FOR A SECOND ABOUT HOW CUTE MY BABY SISTER IS?!

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It’s running into the owner in Pike Place Market in Seattle. He was so kind and friendly.

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It’s making friends with Eagles fans – even in the Space Needle.

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And it’s not even going to the game — but just hanging out with them across the street — the next day. It’s hugging everyone, because we’re strangers but we’re all family.

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It’s having the chance to do my best Andy Reid impression. Time’s yours.

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And it’s me absolutely losing my cool over just a football team.

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This is my story of a life spent loving the Philadelphia Eagles. What’s yours?

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Because…this isn’t just a football team. This isn’t just a sport. This is the story of a city, our city, who has faithfully waited and waited and waited and WAITED, alongside our lifelong friend — the one that has been woven through all of our stories, and all of our seasons and childhoods and memories.

We’ve ridden the highest highs and the lowest lows for YEARS. And even when it hurt, even when it was hard — we kept going and kept believing at all costs.

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Even though the road to victory has been a heck of a bumpy one. Even though this Sunday looks a little bit different than what we originally imagined — we never stopped believing that our Sunday would come. Now, it’s right around the corner.

We’re resilient and we’re ready.

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And come what may — I’m just really happy for my friend. My best, oldest, truest friend.

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