This Christmas found me once again in the city by the bay. The sheer beauty of San Francisco never ceases to amaze me, but no matter how many times I visit I’m never, ever, prepared for the weather. My collection of Los Angeles-style cold weather clothing just doesn’t cut it. I reach for that sporty, warm, down-stuffed and quilted windbreaker that all the natives seem to be wearing and realize, oh, I don’t have one. Instead I have a collection of glamorous faux fur coats. Well, they’ll have to do! Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | San Francisco
On one of our last days in San Francicso my husband and I ventured down into the ruins of Sutro Baths to take some photos and play tourist. This little stretch of ocean is a bleak, otherworldly place, and yet so beautiful. Knowing it would be cool by the water I layered myself in a dress, tights, boots, scarf and trusty denim jacket. Continue Reading →
…was a summer in San Francisco. This quote has always been attributed to Mark Twain, so it’s a shame he didn’t say it. Someone did though, and it’s understandable to anyone who’s ever visited the city by the bay. The neighborhoods near the ocean are almost always foggy and cold, but I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as surprised by the freezing winds as I was the sunny, warm day when my husband and I visited Fort Point. It was still sunny, but it wasn’t warm anymore. Continue Reading →
I grew up watching “The Shanghai Express”. As a result I’ve always felt that travel outfits should have a bit of flair. Perhaps one does not need to decorate one’s hats with feathers the way Marlene Dietrich did, but some pizzaz makes the whole tedious process more fun. Once on my way to Paris I saw a woman in first class wearing a tight red suit, 3″ stilettos, and one of those elegant shawls French women always seem to have thrown about their shoulders. She’s inspired me ever since. Although my outfit is much more comfortable than her’s, it is still pretty sharp, especially when you compare it to the velour sweat suits that many travelers wear.
A few tips on looking great while flying
- Bring a pashmina. A big, warm scarf can be spread over you like a blanket if you get cold. When not needed it can be folded and placed in your purse.
- Wear a lightweight jacket or sweater - No matter how warm it is when you depart it can get cold on the airplane.
- If you’re female consider wearing a skirt – I always find that pants ride up and become uncomfortable after sitting for a long time. My stretch corduroy pencil skirt is just as cozy as sweats.
- Choose a chic piece of carry-on luggage - The red ones I’m toting around in the photos actually belong to my neighbor, but as soon as I can afford my own I’m going to look for something similar. The bright color is fun and you won’t mistake your luggage for someone else’s.
- Look fabulous! Nothing says you have to look awful while traveling. I promise my skirt, t-shirt and leather jacket were comfortable and practical on the flight.
A few tips on getting through airport security without anxiety
- Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off. My zip-up boots were perfect for this. Anything with laces, including sneakers, will make you crazy trying to get through security.
- Wear socks. Yes, them make you take off your shoes. Do you REALLY want to walk through security with bare feet?
- Consider NOT wearing jewelry. I wore earrings, a watch, and two bracelets. All had to be removed before I could be scanned. (Interestingly, I was allowed to keep my gold wedding band on.)
- Pack small toiletries. According to the TSA advisory full-sized shampoos can be packing in luggage that is checked, but only small, 4.5 ounce bottles can be carried onto the plane. Thankfully there are lots of trial sized options out there. Put them in a large clear plastic zip lock bag in an outside pocket of your carry-on. This will make your life easier, I promise.
- Be prepared. Read the article “How to Get Through the Line Faster” for more helpful packing, dressing and behavior tips.
So what’s in the bag?
I packed for sightseeing in the cool, foggy weather I love so much. On our first day out I wore the simple black jersey dress that I bring on all my trips because it’s easy to wear, always looks great, and doesn’t wrinkle. I was planning on throwing the off-white jacket you see above over the outfit below, but the sun followed me to Northern California and the day was too warm for layers.
I paired the dress with my favorite leopard Nine West flats for easy walking. The small, black, “Baggallini”, cross-over purse has been worn many times before on this blog. Although it’s not quite big enough to carry all my essentials, it’s still great when I’m on foot most of the day. On this day sightseeing and lunching took place in the charming town of Petaluma north of San Francisco.
The next day we went into “The City” (That’s what the locals call San Francisco.) for a couple of hours before heading to the airport.
I wore pretty much the same thing I had on our flight up to San Francisco: an off-white “leather” jacket, black t-shirt, grey corduroy skirt and black boots.
The boots are new. I’ve been looking for a knee-high black boot with a bit of a heel to wear with skirts for a while. These are taller than my other boots and oh so classic. The chunky heel means they’re easy to walk in as well, making them a good choice for travel.
- Jacket – Giacca
- Pashmina – a gift
- T-shirt – The Gap
- Skirt – Garnet Hill
- Purse – Baggallini
- Boots – Ellen Tracy
- Black Jersey Dress – Rachel Roy
- Leopard flats – Nine West
- Sunglasses – Gucci
What do you wear when you travel? Do you have any favorite pieces?
This weekend my husband and I flew to Northern California for a dear friend’s wedding. I know this must sound completely mundane, but since our children were born we’ve gone on vacation by ourselves only one other time, also for a wedding. On that trip we stayed with family and drove the whole way to save money. This time we threw caution to the wind and flew to San Francisco, rented a car, and stayed in a hotel. It was nothing short of fabulous. My husband took lots of beautiful photographs on a real camera while I clicked away with the hipstamatic app on my i-phone, gleefully shaking my camera between takes to create a variety of retro-ified images.
The wedding was held at 3 p.m. in San Rafael, a small town north of San Francisco. After waking in our quaint hotel room, pictured above, and enjoying the usual continental breakfast, made special by two self-service waffle makers, my husband and I realized we had a whole morning of blissful freedom to enjoy. So we drove north on highway 101 and spent a few hours wandering the streets of the charming city of Petaluma.
My husband readies his camera for the day.
This window display caught my eye. I loved the scarf on the mannequin on the left. The fur vest on the right was made with real rabbit skin. It was incredibly soft.
Inside the store were these beautiful fur bags.
A man paddles is surfboard down the river.
This woman’s boots were so great. I had to take a shot.
Lunch at the Wild Goat Bistro
I had a delicious salad with cheese and dried cherries. My husband had pigs in blanket.
A decorated wall
Then it was time to go.
We sped back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding, and arrived at the venue a few minutes early. The happy event took place outdoors.
And the bride wore red!
I intend to devoted an entire post to the wedding, the handsome groom, the beautiful bride, and the guests, who were all elegantly attired. This is just a sneak peek! And here’s a glimpse of my dress too…
My favorite – candied almonds!
The party was fabulous. After the ceremony there was a delicious meal and a live band playing big band jazz and swing. We danced all evening long.
After brunch with the bride and groom and friends, Hugo and I had some time before our flight back to Los Angeles. We spent a couple of hours at Crissy Field in San Francisco, taking photos and enjoying the beautiful weather.
And then it was time to head home. Although I traveled extensively before my children were born, since 9/11 I have been loathe to fly. I remember “flying the friendly skies” on PSA when I was a child, back when security checks were minimal and my parents could walk me all the way to the gate. My parents both worked but they didn’t have enough money to send me away to camp. As a result, every summer I went to stay with my grandparents in San Francisco. Now it seems crazy and irresponsible, but at the time flying alone as a child was fine. One of the stewardesses would escort me to my seat and fuss over me on the short flight, and my grandmas would be waiting for me at the gate. I honestly have so many happy memories of flying that I’m loathe to add new, less pleasant, experiences.
One of the last time I took an airplane my family was singled out for a special review. I had to take all the clothes off of my then 6 month old son, and one of the security guards passed one of those wands over his diaper to make sure there were no explosives hidden within. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get over the shock. They seem to be more organized at this point, but the process of removing shoes, jewelry, jacket, purse and having everything, including my body, scanned, is still a bit distressing. LAX is not the most traveler-friendly airport. It’s dirty and in the midst of yet another remodel. Perhaps one day getting in line for the security check will not involve going up a flight of stairs, around corners, and down another set of stairs like on some crazy line for an amusement park ride, but right now it’s a mess. I highly recommend avoiding the place if possible.
SFO, San Francisco’s main airport, is another story entirely. It’s such a fabulous, futuristic, travel hub that I felt compelled to take photos on the way home to share the experience. After dropping off our rental car we went up an elevator to the “AirTrain”, an elevated “mono-rail” type shuttle that whisks you from garage to terminal in Jetsons style.
Once in the terminal you are met with an airy space, artwork and relaxing music. Etherial sculptures hang from the ceilings in the main terminal.
In comparison to the security check at LAX, the one in San Francisco was well-organized and almost friendly. Still, we felt that something calming would be nice after the ordeal. A wine bar called to us, and we stopped for a plate of local cheeses and a wine sampler.
Nice, isn’t it?
When I was a kid airplanes were decorated with bright blue tweed and lots of orange and brown plastic. Perhaps some airlines still resemble the one’s I remember, but Virgin America has decided to make air flight seriously chic. The seats are black vinyl and white plastic. The flattering lights are a mix of pink and blue, and there isn’t a touch of orange and brown plaid anywhere. Even the stewardesses are neatly attired in black pencil skirts and white blouses.
Our weekend went by too quickly, but it was really fun. I’ve returned home feeling happy and relaxed. Now it’s back to work!
Did you do anything fun this weekend?