San Francisco and Bodega Bay

Back in June I went to California for my nephew’s graduation. I could only take three kids, which was really sad, but it allowed me to do a day trip in San Francisco that would have been a challenge to do with the whole crew. Though I love family vacations I have come to realize that I prefer doing city trips with just one or two kids in tow. 

First up, Bodega Bay. 


We ate at a small Crab Schack by the water, where you will eat the best crab sandwiches ever. The clam chowder was really good, too. 

Next Bodega Bay Beach. It was really cold for June, which is typical for this part of California. Bring a warm jacket and find some drift wood to shield from the wind. Still it was glorious to sit by the water. Smell the ocean air, and listen to the waves.


When we were done freezing we made our way back stopping at the shop “Candy and Kites”  to stock up on saltwater taffeys. It’s a great place to get kites and beach toys.

Making our way to Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa we drove by the church where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds. 


Russian River Brewery was packed with people and they didn’t have enough seating for our large group. So my brother-in-law bought some beer and shwag for my husband and we went on our way. Their red sour is now my favorite, and I don’t even like beer. 

It was a fun day.

The next day we took the ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco. I recommend taking the ferry over driving. How else would you get these awesome views? Plus a ferry always feels like a vacation. In San Francisco you can walk to a lot of places or take Über.


We took the Ferry to Fishermen’s Wharf. But we didn’t stay very long. We had a lot things we wanted to do. We walked six miles that day. Along the way we saw Ghiradelli Square, a cable car, and Golden Gate Park. From there we took Uber to Market Street. From there we walked back to the Ferry Building.


One super nostalgic thing was my son (above) took his sister (above) to the Converse store on MarketStreet, and bought her a pair of Converse she designed herself. How sweet is that? (He is single, btw)

Our last stop was the Ferry Building. We had half an hour to shop before our ferry left. I had heard that the Ferry building has some really nice places to shop and eat, but I didn’t know they have Heath Ceramics. What a nice suprise! The quality of their dishes is light years better than anything I own.


So grateful for my brother-inlaw and sister-in-law who took me everywhere. It’s so nice to just get in the car and not worry about traffic, directions, and schedules.

My husband and I will be going back in two weeks. Can’t wait to visit some stores that were closed like Everlane and the General Store. 

Have a great day,

Sofija

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San Francisco and Bodega Bay

Chimayo, New Mexico: The Perfect Mother’s Day Destination

Mother’s Day was perfection, and I can appreciate it now, because I had some not-so- perfect ones in the past. Interestingly when the kids were little, and I worked so very darn hard, constantly exhausted, I had some disaster Mother’s Days. Now that life is pretty easy they get better and better. Just throwing it out there, in case you are not there YET.

The day started off with me waking up to a sweetly decorated table, the best crepes made by my husband, and of course coffee. And very special earrings, a gift from my son and my husband. So sweet! The girls had gotten up at 2 am to decorate. The silver ware had little notes taped to them: I love you. Melted. my. heart.

For lunch we were joined by our friends for a quick bite to eat at a local diner. I thoroughly threatened my girls not to get ketchup on their dresses, it worked, for once.

Then our friends and our family drove up north to Chimayo, a tiny village on the High Road to Taos. Chimayo is famous for its church and restaurant. We parked in the parking lot and made our way to the church. What I love about Chimayo is that it has the feel of Mexico or Spain. It’s quaintly old world. Built in 1813 the church El Santuario de Chimayo is a very popular pilgrimage and a National Heritage site. It gets very crowded around Easter. IMG_6354IMG_6355PicMonkey Collage-4

Above is my friend’s son taking a break. A rare moment I had to capture…

Below is the church. It seems to be always open to visitors. It is vey small, with a tiny courtyard.

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Here is my friend with her darling baby girl, who wasn’t feeling it at the time, but did great over the course of a very long day. IMG_6378.jpg

This was my third visit to the church, but the firs time catching the flowers in full bloom. IMG_7293.jpgIMG_6370.jpgIMG_6374.jpgIMG_6410PicMonkey Collage-4.jpgIMG_6416 (1).jpgIMG_6412

Aren’t the roses lovely?

During our drive the kids kept asking where the playground was. But then they saw this…Here is Tasha playing with my friend’s son.

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Nearby the church are more quaint little shops, a coffee shop, and another little chapel.

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It was time to go to the Restaurant de Chimayo in time for our reservation. I do recommend making a reservation for Mother’s Day, it was packed.

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Rancho de Chimayo is a destination in itself. It has a little gift shop next to it, and is associated with the B&B across the street. My friend ordered a delicious prickly pear lemonade (pictured above), and I loved my silver Margherita. The guys drank local beer. And the flan for dessert melted in our mouths…

Another must do in Chimayo is a visit to the weaving store Ortegas. They sell hand woven rugs, purses, wall hangings, and more, made by local artists. Sadly they are closed on Sundays so we didn’t get a chance to shop.

Now you know why Chimayo is one of my favorite destinations in New Mexico.

I do hope you will visit it soon.

-Sofija

 

 

Tasha is wearing a blue dress from Old Navy, and a hat from Baby Gap. My top is from Banana Republic.

All pictures taken with a Canon 7D and a 50mm lens. I used PicMonkey for the side by side pictures.

 

 

 

 

Chimayo, New Mexico: The Perfect Mother’s Day Destination

Frankfurt Sued (Sachsenhausen)- a Local Wander Guide

Frankfurt is one of the larger cities in Germany. It is a travel hub and an international bank city. But it is also a bunch of small villages. And those small villages are ideal for walking. A lot of guides will tell you to go to Bornheim, or the city center. But I find Sachsenhausen most charming. It has everything. It is right by the river, but also near the forest. There is Alt Sachsenhausen with its charming old houses, where most tourists go. But there are other attractions: the museums along the river Main, lots of shopping, coffee shops, and restaurants. I might be slightly biased, I grew up in Sachsenhausen. My school, friends, and job were for the most part all within a 3 mile radius. Let me take you on a tour.

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Where to eat.

Sachsenhausen has great pizza places, and nowadays Thai restaurants (of all things) on every corner. But really, do yourself a favor and eat at the local Apfelweinkneipe. There is nothing like it. The waiter will barely acknowledge you and direct you to squeeze in with the local grandmas, because these places are ALWAYS packed. And loud. So no one will hear your baby screaming, I promise. They offer Schnitzel and such, but you need to order the Rippchen (smoked pork chops) and Sauerkraut, and “Handkäs mit Musik”. And don’t ask for forks with the latter or they will know you are a tourist right away. And of course you drink apple wine, undiluted that is. If you have the audacity to order a Gespritzte (apple wine with Seltzer water), or a “Süssen” (apple wine with lemonade) the waiter will gruffly bring you an apple wine glass with an extra bottle of lemonade all the while glaring at you. And you get to figure out how to combine the two. 🙂 But really, the waiters are really nice, in a Frankfurt kind of way.

Below is a local’s favorite: Zum Gemalten Haus (To the Painted House).

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Other local favorites are Wagner and Zur Buchscheer.

“Brunchen” is a thing right now. A lot of my friends and family wanted to meet for breakfast or brunch. These were their favorite places.

Das Lesecafe 

This place has been around forever. Started by former teachers from my high school (I may or may have not skipped school once or twice to come here). It is also a bookstore.

I like how tucked away it is. Like many places in Sachsenhausen, you kind of have to know where they are….

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The coffee is great, and there are lots of breakfast and lunch options. Some with Spanish influences. Oh, and yummy desserts.

Lokalbahnhof 

This is my friend’s favorite. It is a build-your-own-breakfast kind of place. Very rustic. Good coffee.

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Depot 1899

I hate to use this phrase but “back in my day” it was a train depot. I like what they did to the place. My sister took me here. It seems to be a local favorite for families. It was packed. It has a huge self-serve buffet. Nice surprise, they had American breakfast options, which means they had bacon!!

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Where to shop.

If you like unique designer stores go to Brückenstrasse.

Goyagoya

I discovered this women’s designer store online. I was not disappointed. I wrote more about it here.

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Lieblingsstuecke

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Where you can find curated women’s clothing from Scandinavian designers.

Other stores: Ich war ein Dirndl: Clothing designed by Jutta Heeg.  Designe, Kleine featuring unique homewares by local makers.

Schweizerstrasse is my personal favorite street to shop, because it has everything. Book stores, flower shops, Butlers, drug stores, boutiques,and even an Italian shoe store. I really should have bought a pair of Italian shoes. Kicking myself….

I personally like German flower shops. Not to buy them but just to look how they pair flowers so elegantly and artistically. I was there just before Christmas.

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Butlers

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The Museums

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Das Museum für Angewandte Kunst (The Museum for Applied Art) used to be my favorite simply because it was a great place to hang out in their park and have photo shoots.

There are more museums all conveniently located right by the river: The Museum for German Architecture, the Film Museum, a couple of art museums (Museum Giersch and Staedel), and others.

You see, it is worth a visit.

Let me know if you have been there and I forgot to mention something.

-Sofija

Most pictures taken by me, except for the one of the museum  found via Erlebnis Raum Frankfurt.   And the picture of the design store Lieblingsstuecke. Found via Miriam Beltz.

I used a Canon 5d Mark ll with a 50mm f/1.2 lens. (Thank you, Emily!)

Frankfurt Sued (Sachsenhausen)- a Local Wander Guide

More Valentine’s Goodness With my Two Youngest

This February I really felt like stretching the whole Valentine’s thing. It was so fun to have red balloons left from my last shoot, and having them fly all around the house really brightened the dreariness of winter. Hurray for love!

Here are some more pictures I took of my two youngest. I was inspired by a photo shoot from the super creative team at Muku I saw a while back.


My girls are quite fantastic to work with. They were getting over a sickness and it took me two tries to get the shots I wanted, yet they were so cooperative. I guess they are so used to being in front of the camera….

The dress on Tashi with the blue sash is from Olive Juice. The dress on Lucy is a hand me down from the cousins. The patchwork rug is from Turkey. I bought them from my friend, she has more. Let me know if you are interested.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

More Valentine’s Goodness With my Two Youngest

Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s been a while since my last Valentines photo shoot, so I was thrilled when my friend agreed to bring her sweet little baby over to take some pictures. Of course my two youngest wanted in on the action. There is something about having balloons in the house…take a look.

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How darling is this little girl?!

How are you celebrating this year? We had plans to go out; I was going to make cupcakes; the girls usually make Valentines for their friends…but then we all got sick. Oh well, that’s life. I’ll make the cup cakes some other time.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Goyagoya, a Women’s Designer Store in Frankfurt

On my recent trip to Frankfurt I had  a few new stores on my list to explore. Frankfurt is growing its design scene and exiting stuff is happening. One of the stores on my list was Goyagoya, a women’s clothing design store. I’m happy to tell you, it did not disappoint. Swiss designer Elena Zenora Hock informs her designs from her upbringing in Italy: timeless, elegant, yet whimsical and fun.

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I tried the dresses below on to the left. Oh my goodness, the colors were so flattering, and the dress as comfortable as a T-shirt, yet so elegant and tailored. This might have been my first time trying designer clothes for adults (if you have been reading this blog you’ll know I mostly write about children’s designers), and I’m hooked. The quality is just that much better. The dresses pictured were in the $200 range, not exactly in my budget. But there was a huge sale section under $100. My friend ended up getting the cutest skirt, and she wasn’t even shopping that day._mg_6304karsten-und-katharina-2img_6067karsten-und-katharina_mg_6307karsten-und-katharina

My friend bought the grey and white striped skirt pictured above (to the left),  which looked so elegant on her.  I was more drawn to the polk a dot skirts. The staff was so patient and helpful. I really felt at home.

If you are in Frankfurt, do cross the bridge to Sachsenhausen. Brueckenstrasse is right near the bridge Eisener Steg and has several interesting designer stores. You can spend all day there.

Have a lovely day,

Sofija

All pictures taken by me with a Canon 5d Mark ll, with a 50mm f/1.2 lens.  

 

Goyagoya, a Women’s Designer Store in Frankfurt

Schloss Kronberg: A Wedding in a Real Castle

Friends,

Have you ever crossed something off your bucket list that you didn’t even dream of putting it on the list, because you didn’t know it was a possibility? Celebrating a wedding in a real castle for example? Well, this dream came through for me, I’m still pinching myself. And it couldn’t have been with a better person (other than my husband). My friend since high school got married and celebrated in Schloss Kronberg (Kronberg castle) in Germany. If you ever find yourself near Frankfurt, do visit. Or even better, stay overnight. Or best: get married!! The staff is attentive and friendly. And we even got a tour. Let me just say Schloss Kronberg is a “newer” castle for Germany. Most castles around here are from 1400 and older. This one is from 1889. And it is quite quirky, lots of layers of different styles as you might be able to tell from the outside. But the inside is elegant, yet warm.

Let me give you a tour.

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Upon arriving we went into a reception room toasting to the couple and eating appetizers, while the bride and groom got their pictures taken. I wasn’t the main photographer. I mostly tried to get pictures of relatives while the main photographer was busy with the couple. But one time I snug behind him and took the picture with the tree. My friend got married at the end of November, so everything was decked out in Christmas colors. katharina-und-karsten-am-weihnachtsbaumschloss-kronberg-inside

After appetizers we were lead to the dining room for a four course meal. _MG_6453Karsten und Katharina.jpg

The bride and the groom. Lovely!_mg_6467karsten-und-katharinaschloss-kronberg-dining-room_MG_6476Karsten und Katharina.jpg

Have you ever had cappuccino herb and mushroom soup? Sooo good! Scratch that off the bucket list…Schloss Kronberg food.jpg_mg_6456karsten-und-katharina

After hours of eating we got a tour. It was dark by then, thus challenging to get a decent picture.

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What a great day. I’d love to come back sometime in the summer, they have a lovely garden and terrace.

-Sofija

All pictures taken by me, except for the one that has me in it. My friend’s brother in law took that one. (Thank you Martin for taking a picture I like). I used a Canon 5d Mark ll, with a 50mm f/1.2 lens. 

 

Schloss Kronberg: A Wedding in a Real Castle