Food / For Fun / Travel

Summer Top Picks

Time for my quarterly catch up. Summer absolutely flew by so I figured we could recap the top events by category: trips, books, and food & wine.

Top Trips

In June Daniel and I made a trip to Iowa for my cousin’s wedding which I actually did manage to cover in this post. Following the wedding, I tacked on a week in the Midwest visiting friends from college and old colleagues. What a blast!

Unfortunately, I was having so much fun catching up with everyone, I took very few photos. A huge THANK YOU to Clarisa, Katelyn and Dave, Will and Melissa, John and Ellen, and Stacey and Lindsey, for being such gracious hosts on my house-hopping tour.

Nobody likes good-byes so let’s just fast forward to the next fun trip – my niece’s first birthday party in August! She is such a doll, and growing wayyy too fast.

The trip was sweetened even more by a much needed reunion with my Grandma. I just love that picture of her wearing Eva’s decorations during the post-party clean up.

Next, I racked up some more airline miles two weeks later joining the class of 2006 for our ten year reunion. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in feeling a little uneasy heading into that night full of expectation and anticipation. Should’ve known it would be like old times only better because we weren’t picking food out of our braces :). Truly, everyone looked amazing – this must be our prime. Wonder what we’ll be saying in ten more years! Sadly, this was my only photo of the entire night. What was I thinking????


I also got to spend some more quality time at home with my family. Dad sure does know how to pick that wine.

The last noteworthy trip of the summer was one Daniel took the lead planning over Labor Day. He managed to find us a perfect spot in Fort Bragg, a historical coastal town about 3.5 hours north of San Francisco which was first established prior to the American Civil War as a military garrison. Later, it became a popular lumber mill town due to the abundance of Redwood trees.

We though we avoided our “romantic” hotel tub we still had a very relaxing long weekend full of beach bumming (Charlie was in heaven) and beer tasting. We also met a super nice couple one evening who was grilling up a storm next to our table as Daniel and I were settling in to watch the sunset. (They probably thought we looked pretty pathetic with our screw top wine and Ziploc of grapes.) All of a sudden, they were serving us steak, baked beans, and homegrown squash. Yes, please! As if the trip could get any better, the next morning Daniel slipped out to bring me Starbucks in bed. I am one lucky girl.

Top Books

I’m always looking for book recommendations so fire away in the comments section. I tend to go for historical fiction, and before the summer I’d tackled a number of great books in that genre so it felt like time to expand my horizons. Here was my summer line up with my opinions on a scale of 1 to 5 stars:

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding – A classic high school reading list book which somehow I dodged back in the day. Thought it was time to give it a go but deeply regret reading it since it took me the rest of my summer to suppress my annoyance with it being such a waste of time. This is obviously not a “Top Pick” but thought it worth including because my ratings of the rest of my summer reads may be skewed. Everything else was positively enchanting compared to this one. The End. – 1
  • Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale – 4.5
  • The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown – 4
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman – 4
  • The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Whalen – 3.5

Currently Reading:

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Up Next:

  • Me before You by Jojo Moyes
  • The GoldFinch by Donna Tartt
  • The Unlikely Spy, first of a 16 book series by Daniel Silva

Top Food & Wine

My job gives me the opportunity to network with really smart people over pretty incredible meals. Top lunches this summer go to Sauce, serving up a beautiful baked salmon atop a kale & quinoa salad with a balsamic drizzle and mustard dipping sauce. I can’t think of a better flavor combo. I can’t, but the executive Chef at Mourad can. Check out that presentation. The smoked salmon was mind blowing, paired with pickled peppers, a dijon mousse and flower petals. That’s what a Michelin star looks like folks.

As for wine, Daniel and I tried two new wine bars in the city. Nectar in the Marina serves up a really broad list of flights and wines by the glass in a lounge-y atmosphere with great service from the owners themselves. Tofino is off the beaten path on Geary and Masonic and was equally charming. We were served by April who opened the wine store & bar with her husband about 15 months ago. I found my new favorite wine there too – 2015 Poivre et Sel from France which retails for $19-$24. It’s on the lighter side, pretty close to a Pinot Noir.

Top Miscellaneous Picks

We did this hike again. The lake was even more beautiful this time!


And what’s summer without baseball? Go Giants!


And there you have it. As the summer wraps up, we’re already looking forward to the holidays! What have you been doing, reading, and eating this summer?





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