Friday, August 20, 2010

New Bedroom Set

Seth and my new bedroom set from his parents (bed with frame and night stand), Sheila and Gary (other nightstand), and my mom (chest) arrived yesterday.

Seth was home to coordinate the arrival, which was a bit of a bear because they decided to put the final layer of blacktop on the driveway with less than twenty-four hours notice. Fortunately, Seth was able to get the delivery men to bring in the furniture instead of rescheduling.

Everything is absolutely amazing! The bed is super super comfortable. Last night, Lily, Seth, and I all slept there in perfect comfort. I was even able to find a way to sleep around Lily without feeling smushed.

Thanks everyone for helping us get this great new furniture. It really makes our condo feel like home!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Furniture Shopping

Seth and I went furniture shopping with his parents Saturday to find a new mattress and bedroom set that is going to be their wedding gift to us. (Bed frame, mattress and box-spring from the Sibleys, the two nightstands from Sheila and Gary, and the chest from Mom.)

I did extensive research about mattresses and furniture prior to the shopping so that I could determine if the items we looked at were of good quality.

We first visited Raymour and Flanigan. Everything there was huge! We have a smaller bedroom, about eleven by eleven and none of the pieces would work. Many were unattractive. We then went to Bob's. Some of the sets there seemed unattractive as well or poor quality, but due to my research, I was able to find something that seemed to work. I love the frame the best! It's a sleigh bed. I like the slats instead of a solid sleigh bed. It's a bit lighter, which should work well in a smaller room. The brick wall should show nicely through the slats.

We picked out a bed at the store as well. The innerspring mattresses that they sell are King Koil. We have King Koil beds in all the rooms in Bethany (except mine), and they are great mattresses.

The set is minimalist and very classic looking. It's solid mahogany with a light finish. I like the hardware on the nightstand. The drawers are English dovetailed back and front.

We ended up getting what was called the television chest instead of the highboy. This was because the highboy had an lift top which I disliked and worried about warping overtime, regardless of the set being kiln-dries. I mean, you never know.

The plus of the chest we got is the open shelving. I plan to store books there and some blankets, which I'll store in a nice wicker basket or something for attractiveness sake. We have a lovely chest from Maddy that we'll also continue to use. We wanted something to match our set but didn't need much extra storage for clothing and have no storage shelving in our bedroom, so this piece is perfect.

The bedroom and mattress will hopefully be delivered next week. It will really make the house feel so finished and nicely decorated. I am quite excited. Thanks to everyone who is helping make this wonderful gift possible!

In other home news, the garden out back has been growing. It looks great! Today I was able to cut some flowers for the first time (although I probably could have done so sooner).

They really brighten up the room!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Honeymoon Day Nine: The Return

We woke up at 4:45 a.m. To catch our 7:35 flight out of San Francisco International Airport. Tired. But we got down to the lobby in one piece and checked out easily with the lovely lady at the front desk for the five minutes until the shuttle to the airport came. We could have taken the BART to the airport, but there wasn't once that left quite as early as we needed and it would be been a rush. We also were not keen to walk over half a mile with luggage at such an hour. We did it when we checked in, but weren't prepared to walk all over San Francisco at this hour of the morning.

We got to the airport in good time. We planned to find a Dunkin Donuts to have bagels with egg and tea for me, juice for Seth for breakfast. We then had a shocking realization. There are no Dunkin Donuts on the West Coast. I don't even love Dunkin but there is one every mile or two where we live. We have one right down the street. It was just shocking. Seth did procure us croissant with egg for breakfast, which were quite fine.

We ate and boarded the plane for a quick trip to Vegas. Our plane was continuing onward to Hartford, so we didn't even have to get off. While we were waiting for the new passengers to come on, we talked with Andy, one of the flight crew, who told us all about being a flight attendant. He mentioned how he is based in a different location (Baltimore) than where he actually lives, so he has a crash pad in Baltimore which he shares with four others and where he only sleeps. He also said that his first trips were to Japan and then Paris. That was before he started working with Southwest, which is only domestic. He also mentioned how much he travels. He visits his boyfriend in Savannah. I wanted to know all about Savannah, since I have wanted to go there after reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Andy said it was really that quirky there (which meshes with what I heard from a Smithie I talked to from Savannah).

We had a rather unpleasant flight to Bradley as the family in front of us were super obnoxious but soon we were home with our baby, Lily, who is doing fine thanks to some loving care by her grandparents. (Thanks so much!)

An amazing trip!

Honeymoon Day Eight: Tea! Tea! And More Tea!

Today we had an easy morning in the hotel. Yesterday was a long day and we were a bit tired. We decided to take it a bit easier today.

After bumming around for the morning, we decided to check out the tea spot in the Yerba Buena Gardens, Samovar. We found it after some walking around the gardens.

It was absolutely lovely. We were able to sit outside in the shade on a outdoor couch. It was one of the best meals that we had! I had an English tea service, which consisted of a mushroom quiche, a scone with jam and clotted cream, and some fruit.

Seth got an Asian dish with eggs, rice, and duck.

I had a rice oolong tea from Thailand, which was amazing.

We had a dessert of matcha brownies with a green tea mousse. The mousse was light and tasted just like green tea in fluffy form.

It was such a relaxing environment. After lunch, Seth got me some of the oolong for bringing home.

We explored the gardens a bit after lunch and got to view the waterfall that the restaurant was located at the top of.

We then decided to go over to Chinatown for a walking tour that I read in the Fodor's book we had gotten for the trip. We walked up the main street, Grant, where there were a lot of tourist shops. Most were very kitsch, but one had some swords that were of interest to Seth. There were a few items to consider so Seth decided to ruminate while we continued the tour.

We walked through some side streets including Waverly Place, where many immigrants lived in the early 20th century when laws were enacted to limit where Chinese could live in San Francisco.

We then turned down a side street, more of an alley, to see the Golden Fortune Cookie Factory. The fortune cookies start as a disk and are brought on a conveyor to the employee who puts a fortune in and folds the cookie into the shape we recognize. They cookies are then placed in a special rack to cool.

After finishing our walk, we returned to the store with the swords where Seth picked out a modern looking set of three that are getting shipped to our house. We then continued down the street until we came to Vital Tea Leaf, a shop offering free tea tastings. Obviously, we had to go in. The tea tasting was done in the style of a wine tasting. We were given many different teas to taste in small cups. They tea was quickly prepared right as we watched. The man was very knowledgeable. I ended up getting a small amount of red tea, a tea that is slightly more oxidized than an oolong but less so than a black tea.

We then exited Chinatown the way that we came in, through the Gate, and got some sandwiches to eat back at the hotel. We returned back a bit after four, on the early side, so that we could relax for our flight tomorrow and the quarter of five wake up call.

Honeymoon Day Seven: Alcatraz and Fisherman's Wharf

We woke up absolutely exhausted and missing our home and our baby girl, Lily. That being said, we had lots of exciting plans in store.

Seth ran downstairs and got us some last minute food offerings from the complimentary breakfast, and we showered and headed out to the MUNI. We took the historic streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 33, to catch the ferry to Alcatraz.

We had purchased tickets two months in advanced and thus were in luck, as they were sold out until mid August otherwise.

We arrived at the pier early thus allowing us time for an early lunch at the Alcatraz Cruises cafe. I had felt a bit under the weather that morning, so I had the soup of the day in the sourdough bread bowl. Seth had an eggplant sandwich. We were in line right on time to catch the one ten ferry. The ride was cold but pleasant, and I did not feel any sea sickness as the ride was under fifteen minutes.

I had been to Alcatraz once before and loved it. This trip was no exception! We enjoyed the audio tour which included narration by some inmates and guards. Since the audio tour was for the cell block only, we toured the rest of the island on foot.

Seeing the courtyard and were the remains of the of the officers homes was especially interested as I didn't recall seeing it last time I was there. We spent around four hours in the island enjoying the history and seeing the views of the city and the bridge.

Some interesting facts: Alcatraz started as a military post. When it became the maximum security prison there was one uprising in which the marines were called in. There were only three people who escaped and are unaccounted for. It is likely that they perished in the swim off the island, but no one knows to this day.

After taking the ferry back, we spent some time on Fisherman's Wharf.

We went into the Aquarium of the Bay. I had most wanted to see the octopus, but he was in hiding. On the plus side, there were long tunnels through the marine life -- very cool.

We also got to touch starfish (spiny), sea cucumbers (smooshy, kind of gross), and skates (softest skin ever and super friendly!). The skaters were our favorite. Much like a fuzzy feline I know, they are very curious. One came over and literally popped out of the water to see me and let me pet him!

After the Aquarium, we went and saw the sea lions which lay in an abundance by Pier 39, where we were. We managed to eat an an Italian restaurant where we could watch the sea lions as we ate, which was great fun.

We then walked down to Boudin bakery, which H recommended. They make bread animals out of their original sourdough bread. Seth got me a little turtle who is too cute to eat, although I must -- probably tomorrow for breakfast.

We took the street car home exhausted from a day walking in the sun. Tomorrow is our last day before we travel home. We cannot wait to get back. We are very tired and miss out baby girl and our home and eating our own food. Tomorrows plans should be lighter. We plan to check out a tea spot that David recommended and then look through Chinatown. We want to avoid the tourist spots and see some of the real Chinatown. The guide book to California that we got has a good walking tour to accomplish this. For now relaxation at the hotel and wishing that they had good cable like in Santa Barbara.

Honeymoon Day Six: San Francisco Browsing

We started the day by taking the BART over to San Francisco after a wick carb and sugar heavy complementary breakfast at the Washington Inn. We were easily able to walk from the Powell Street stop to our hotel, Beresford Arms Hotel, off Union Square, and were able to check in early.

At this point we were greatly in need of doing some laundry. The young person at the hotel was able to direct us across the street to a laundromat where the very odd and enthusiastic owner promised to do our wash and deliver it back to us.

Laundry set, we decided to explore the local area. We first got some lunch at Lori's, a retro style diner down by the square. We then did some browsing and shopping, stopping to pick me up a fifteen dollar hoodie because the two sweaters that I had brought were not standing up to the mid fifty degree weather.

After our wondering and a brief stop at the local Starbucks for the first real tea I had had in days, we went back to the hotel where we ran into the odd laundry owner who reported that he was unable to locate our clothing. I was, of course, absolutely livid. Turns out that he had forgotten in in one of the driers and was able to fold it and bring it back to us an hour later right before we headed out to meet David and H along with David's cousin, Adam, for some dinner.

We dined at the Cheesecake Factory, located on the seventh floor of the hugest Macy's ever. The view was amazing!

We decided to sit outside to avoid the wait, and thus had a freezing dinner, but a fun time. I even tried some red velvet cake cheesecake, even thought I hardly ever eat cheesecake.

We then hung out at the local Boarders for a while before everyone returned to where they were living/staying for the night.