All Things Life: Travel, Restaurants, Events, Parties... You Get The Idea

Updated: Jan 27

Yup, you read that title right, folks... Daniel and I totally did a thing. We shipped the kids off to grandma's for 2 weeks and we took a mini vacation up to San Francisco. And it was AH-MAY-ZING!!!! What started off as more of a work trip for Daniel turned into a getaway for us... if you wanna call it an extended anniversary celebration, you totally can lol - since you know, we already celebrated our anniversary at Disneyland back in March.

We flew up to Frisco on Wednesday (May 29th) morning. We weren't able to check into our hotel early, so we left our luggage with the front desk and took advantage of exploring the city a little bit. We stayed at Hotel Zelos, which is in the heart of Downtown San Francisco, and there were SO many things within walking distance from us. The convention center was a 4 minute walk away (which is where we spent majority of Fri, Sat and Sun), Union Square and all things shopping was right there in our "backyard" (our hotel sat on top of Old Navy and Trader Joes), and every type of restaurant you could think of surrounded us.

Our first night there, we tried a mom + pop shop hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Tacorea which was a Mexican + Korean food infused joint. Then after that we went to a "secret" bar known on the streets as Speak Easy (AKA Bourbon & Branch) - which requires a reservation online. Once you reserve a spot, they'll send you the directions, house rules, and password to get in via email. This place is so "secret" that we almost walked right on by it. The GPS told us we were near it, but because this place doesn't have a store-front sign OR even a visible address on the building, it took a homeless guy to notice that we were lost and asked us if we were lookin' for Bourban & Branch. When we said yes, he pointed to a building with a single door. If he didn't tell us where to go/look, we may never have found it on our own lol.

This bar sits on top of the original Speak Easy that existed back in the 1920s during the Prohibition era - when the sale and consumption of alcohol was illegal. The experience and ambiance of this place takes you back to that era. They serve drinks you won't find anywhere else and you definitely won't be able to order a cosmo or margarita here. One of their main house rules is: no cell phone usage while you're inside. If for some reason you need to make or take a phone call, they ask that you step outside to do it. So I have zero pictures of what it looks like on the inside or pictures of our overall experience. This picture right here is literally the ONLY "proof" we were even there. But I will say, the drinks I had were YUMMY and our entire experience there was a GOOD one so if you ever get the chance to go, you definitely should.

We did all the touristy things on Thursday. We bought a 1-day public transit pass to get around the city. We took the cable car all the way down to, what I thought was Fisherman's Wharf, but turned out to be the Port of San Francisco, which sits at the very beginning of ALL the piers.

Fisherman's Wharf was at the very end. Daniel had the bright idea to walk it because he said Fisherman's Wharf was just a couple of blocks away. The whole "couple blocks away" phrase became his thing our entire stay. And because he thought everything was only a couple blocks away, we did A LOT of walking that day and the entire trip. We walked past the Exploratorium all the way to Pier 39 where we had lunch and saw the sea lions.

Us at Pier 39

Then we walked all the way up to and through Ghirardelli Square to the bus stop to wait for the bus that would take us to the Golden Gate Bridge.

We probably spent an hour reading up on all the historical facts and taking pictures before deciding to make the trip back to our hotel. We took the bus back to Ghirardelli Square and walked over to the Street Car stop. Because ya can't go to San Francisco and NOT ride the street car! Yeah, we waited about an hour to get on it because there were so many of us and I think it was also a shift change for the guys that drive the Street Cars. But it was the coolest thing ever.

view from our seat in the Street Car

After we got back to our hotel, we freshened up and returned back to the Exploratorium for their After Dark event which is catered to adults (meaning they served alcoholic beverages and you could explore the exhibits while having a cocktail) and only held on Thursday nights. But because we were so tired from our long day (and also starving) we didn't stay long. We hopped back on a cable bus that took us back to our hood. And then we walked "a couple blocks" to get some pho because we were hangry! We didn't get back to our hotel till almost midnight.

The rest of the weekend was spent at the Moscone Convention Center and we hung out with a few friends who were also there for the same event. After "work" we attended after-parties and went bar-hopping. We had such a great time that we kinda didn't wanna come back to reality. But it was a vacation well-deserved. We hadn't taken a trip like this (just the 2 of us) since we had Ella almost 4 years ago so it was nice to be able to just enjoy and reconnect with each other.

Have you ever been to San Francisco? Have you been able to go on vacation (or stay-cation) with your significant other without kids? If so, where have you gone? If not, where would you like to go?

Tags: #sanfrancisco #goldengatebridge #pier39 #ghirardellisquare #exploratorium #architecture #tourism #vacation #pier #bourbanandbranch #speakeasy #downtown #downtownsanfrancisco #minivacation #hotelzelos

Updated: Jan 27

If you are EVER in Southern California and you're lookin' for somethin' fun to do, you NEED to go to Smorgasburg LA! It's an outdoor market for food (and LOTS of it), shopping and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that's open only for a few hours on Sundays in downtown LA. We had never been, so when my cousins were in town from Hawaii and wanted us to meet them there, we made that one-hour drive from the Inland Empire to go hang out and enjoy some good food.

First off, I recommend going when the weather is NICE. Like 70 degree NICE. With the sun out and not a cloud in the sky. The day we went, it was super freakin' cold. I believe it was in the 50s with a cold chill in the air. Us Southern Californians aren't used to that kinda cold but we have been getting ridiculous amounts of rain this Winter. Luckily for us, it did not rain that day. But that didn't stop us from dressing up like Eskimos going out into the snow.

Also, plan to go on an empty stomach. This place is not called Smorgasburg for nothin'. There's ALL kinds of different foods from different cultures. The prices aren't too bad and the portion sizes are perfect. I think it's pretty obvious I went there for the food. I had a Musubi from Mama Musubi and then had a craving for some tacos. Found a vendor named Tacos 1986 and ordered a carne asada taco and 2 adobada (pork) tacos. Oh my gosh were they delish! My cousins tried foods from Lobsterdamus, Goa Taco, and got some dessert from Ensaymada Project. Daniel had some vegan sandwich but I can't remember where from. By the way, there were many vegetarian/vegan options too!

And even if you're not much of a foodie, I say just go for the ambiance and experience. There's plenty of outdoor seating, some major people watching opportunities, and if you're an Instagrammer like me, there are a ton of photo opportunities - walls, architecture, you name it!

So who wants to go to Smorgasburg LA? I'm totally planning my next trip out there!

Tags: #smorgasburgLA #thingstodoinlosangeles #losangeles #downtownla #socal #southerncalifornia #foodvendors #outdoormarket #sundaymarkets #mamamusubi #lobsterdamus #california

Updated: Jan 27

Yes... I am totally that mom that uses every single fun holiday to celebrate with the kiddos. And I'm not ashamed to admit it!

Before kids, I was never a fan of Valentine's Day because:

a) I think stuffed animals take up too much space in the house

b) I don't like to wait too long for my food when we go out to dinner (I think we waited at a restaurant for over 2 hours once AND we had a reservation)

c) I didn't need a holiday to celebrate love when duh, love is supposed to be celebrated everyday. Yes, I was one of those people.

But now, I look forward to it because it gives me another reason to shower my babies with love and presents. Call me a hypocrite, I don't care. I'm totally owning up to it.

So this year, I decided to make them gift baskets. Got the idea from a fellow mom blogger Brittany of who wrote a post about giving a V-Day gift basket to your significant other. I think it's the perfect gift idea for the babes, too! And you don't have to break the bank to make them either!

Everything in these baskets were $5 or less. And they are all things that Ella and Everly will love (and maybe even fight over) once they see it.

Each basket includes:

1. A coloring book ($1.88 each) - I got Minnie Mouse for Ella and Paw Patrol for Everly. Because let's face it, Ella will most likely claim it anyway since Everly is barely learning to hold up a pen/crayon, so I got ones that Ella would like.

2. Brand new crayons ($2-3/each).

3. Stickers ($1 for a whole lot of messy goodness) - I might regret buying these later, but they love the stuff and it keeps them busy for bit so hey, I'll take it!

4. Fuzzy eared headbands ($4 each) - because what girl doesn't like hair accessories? Ella's totally into wearing headbands these days and Everly just likes to copy her Big Sis with whatever she does.

5. A new hard board book to add to their ever-growing collection of books ($5 each) - always a great investment.

6. And lastly, a box of chocolates in a Disney Princess themed heart-shaped tin ($5)- the chocolates are more for me but they can have a piece each.

Overall, I spent less than $16 for each basket (including the basket/bucket which was $1). Not bad, right? I can't wait to see their faces light up when they see these!

So, tell me.... are you a V-Day person? How do you like to celebrate the holiday? (Or not celebrate the holiday?) Tell me in the comments below!

Tags: #valentinesday #valentinesdaygiftideas #love #february #giftbaskets #giftsforthebabies #giftideas #happyvalentinesday #celebratelove

© 2018 by That Plain Jane Life. Created by the Husband.

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