san francisco

I moved to San Francisco right out of college and have lived there for 7 years. To me San Francisco is the perfect city, great weather (its always cardigan weather!), incredible food, interesting + artsy people, and the best shops I've ever been to. I love the Bay Area and plan on living there forever or at least until it falls into the ocean.

See San Francisco

Our friend Victoria from SFGirlbyBay just came out with a new book: See San Francisco! In it, she gives a photographic tour of the city through her lens. Each chapter is organized by neighborhood and gives suggestions on where to go, what to do, and what to see. It reminds me of how happy I am to live here. Victoria’s also a master at throwing parties, so we asked her to share some photos of her favorite parties with inspiration from around San Francisco! Here’s what she said:

When I’m entertaining, especially for a larger group I like to be as prepared as possible so the evening of the gathering, I can attend to my guests, and have fun too! I try to set all the tables, prepare foods and my menu in advance. Anything that can be prepared a day before is ideal — then you can give all your attention to the party and not just be in prep mode all night! I also like to create a kind of theme and set the mood — whether it be a specific type of food (like Mexican or Italian), or a color scheme and tie it all together, right down to the flowers and table settings. If I’m doing dinner for a large group, going mix and match can really make up for the fact I don’t have enough serving pieces or place settings for everyone. I keep a stash of vintage tablecloths, for instance, that share a color palette, but can work together to create pretty table settings.

Thanks Victoria! We’re so excited about your new book!

See San Francisco by SF Girl By BaySee San Francisco by SF Girl By Bay

Photos by Victoria Smith

Small Business Saturday®

I love that San Francisco has so many awesome small shops. One of my favorites is Little Paper Planes – they curate the best stuff at the spot on Valencia Street. I love supporting local businesses so one of my favorite shopping days is Small Business Saturday. It happens each year between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is a great way to give a little boost to your neighborhood economy. This year, small businesses are encouraged to partner up with local Etsy sellers by hosting trunk shows on 11/29. This partnership will give local artisans and designers the chance to share their products in a retail setting and can also provide the shops with more foot traffic and the chance to showcase more diverse products. Every small business who participates will receive a Trunk Show Kit* to assist with the cost of supplies. Little Paper Planes is participating and I can’t wait to see the designers they’ll be featuring! If you’re interested in getting involved, get more information here!

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This post is sponsored by Small Business Saturday® and Etsy

*Merchandise is only available to eligible small businesses through 11:59 P.M. ET on 10/24/2014 or while supplies last. Limit one order per business. Subject to Merchandise Terms. See Merchandise Terms at

HowAboutWe: Ferry Building Tasting Tour

Paul and I finally had the chance to go on our third date with HowAboutWe for Couples this month (see our first and second dates here & here.) I really wanted to try the Edible Excursions Tour at the Ferry Building here in San Francisco. I know the Ferry Building really well (I used to work on the top floor!) but it’s been a while and a bunch of new places have opened up in the last few years. It was so great and we had such a good time!  If you haven’t heard about them yet, HowAboutWe started as a dating site but now they also plan awesome dates for couples! I love that their dates are so out-of-the-box – and help us get out of our dating rut of going to the same restaurants. It has seriously been a game changer. I would also love to sign up for this ceramics class or this trapeze class! They just launched in Los Angeles too and they’re adding new cities all the time. If they’re not in your city yet, it’s free to sign up and they’ll contact you once they come to your are.  Click here to get $50 off your first date — perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day, really! (expires 4/30/14)

Ferry Building Tasting Tour | Oh Happy Day!Ferry Building Tasting Tour | Oh Happy Day!Ferry Building Tasting Tour | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by HowAboutWe for Couples: a service that gets people in relationships on wonderful dates, tailored for two.

Photos by Paul Ferney

How About We: Sailing

Paul and I went on our second date with HowAboutWe (remember the last one here.) HowAboutWe started out as a dating site but they also plan amazing dates for couples so you don’t have to. For our second date I chose: An afternoon Sailing in the San Francisco Bay. (I was also tempted by exploring SF by tandem bikes tour and taking a couples screenprinting class.) HowAboutWe is awesome because we actually get out of our dating rut and do different things to discover San Francisco instead of ending up at one of the same three restaurants we always go to. I’ve been so impressed with how easy it is to book things, we don’t have to worry about any of the back and forth, we just have to show up! Sailing on the Bay was awesome. I have this obsession with sailing and I’m not sure where it comes from. I think its the idea that you can have the freedom to travel and go wherever you want. For our sailing date we dropped the kids of at our trusty free babysitters and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. We showed up at the boat and met the captain. The weather was beautiful: sunny with a little of the famous fog. The Captain gave us safety instructions and then we were off. He saw that we were interested in learning so he took the time to explain what he was doing and what he was keeping an eye on and how to avoid other boats. He even let us sail and steer the boat. We ended up exploring some parts of the Bay we had never been to before and it got us really excited about taking sailing lessons next year! We had such a good time, it was relaxing and exciting and we drove back across the Golden Gate Bridge happy and excited to get back to real life. I love the concept behind this company, if you are interested in checking out this awesome service HowAboutWe is offering $50 off your first date.

How About We: SailingHow About We: Sailing | Oh Happy Day!How About We: Sailing | Oh Happy Day!How About We: Sailing | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by HowAboutWe for Couples: a service that gets people in relationships on wonderful dates, tailored for two.

Photos by Paul Ferney

3 Urban Hikes in San Francisco

Brought to you by Brita Filtering Bottles. One Brita Bottle can save up to 300 plastic bottles of waste. Learn more.

San Francisco has so many really great urban hikes around the city. I’ve lived here almost 10 years and I’m still discovering ones I’ve never been to. Brita asked me to put together my favorite hikes in the city and test out their new water bottles, I was happy to. The Brita Water bottle has a filter in the bottle, which comes in super handy when you are stuck with a less-than-ideal water source. San Francisco is my favorite place in the world and even if you are visiting I recommend mixing one of these little hikes in with all the regular tourist sites. They all take less than an hour and have great sweeping views.

1. Historic Trail. This trail is great because it makes me feel like I’m not smack dab in the middle of a city. It goes through a really nice wilderness area and ends up near Sutro Tower. The trailhead starts at Stanyan and 17th and is just a set of wooden stairs tucked in between two houses on the street.

See more after the jump.