Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

A Day in SoMa with Good2Go App

This post is sponsored by Good2Go but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Exploring SoMa, SF

I spent an afternoon getting to know the SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco. I’ve spent some time in San Francisco for work and fun–I love the Palace of Fine Arts and all the shopping. But SoMa was pretty new for me, and as it turns out it’s pretty fun to discover. I also tried out a new app that you have to hear about! Spoiler alert–it’s a totally new, high tech approach to public restrooms and I’ll review it at the end of this post–but you can get skip ahead and peek at the app first.

SoMa gets its name from its location South of Market Street. It’s easy to get to because it’s close to 4th and King where the CALtrain station is. It’s probably best known for AT&T Park where the Giants play, but there is so much more to see and do than most people know. And it’s super colorful!

Things to do in SoMa

I started out by heading to Yerba Buena Gardens by way of the Metreon, which houses a movie theatre and an extensive food court. It reminded me of train stations in Europe, where people could congregate for shopping or a bite to eat. Walk right out the doors of the Metreon and find yourself in the center of Yerba Buena Gardens, a green oasis in the city. The Martin Luther King, Jr. waterfall, tall sequoia trees and flowering gardens create a respite from the city construction and traffic. The park is surrounded by museums–literally. Its neighbors are the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the African Diaspora Museum, the soon-to-be Mexican Museum and a historic church.

The Children’s Creativity Museum has a carousel out front and a lovely courtyard garden and playground. You could spend all day in SoMa, easily, but it’s also a quick walk to the tourist stop of Union Square which I walked to the edge of to do some shopping.

One tricky thing about day trips to metro areas is finding convenient, clean restrooms while out and about. I used the Good2Go App to see how it is solving this problem for travelers in San Francisco–and soon other cities too. So I headed to the CALtrain station on foot with the plan to use the app along the way.

Good2Go App Review

When I first heard about Good2Go I thought it was just for finding public restrooms, but it’s so much more than that. Each restroom is located in a popular business such as a restaurant or cafe, and is clean, functional and high-tech. So what was the actual experience using the app? It was cool and unexpected. I’d already downloaded it and signed up for a trial-it’s free, all you do is enter your phone number. I went to the location I’d selected, a hip little urban cafe called The Creamery, and I used the app to join the queue. The door had a scanner and when I placed the QR code the app gave me on the scanner, the door popped open to admit me. No asking the waitstaff for a grubby key on an oversized keyring that I would awkwardly hand over afterward! Revolutionary. The whole process was very techy and made me feel like I’d had a real Bay Area experience.

Inside was a single-stall bathroom that was clean. It was definitely nicer than the train station bathroom across the street. And now I learned about a new cafe I can try when I need a quick bite before hopping on a train.

Download it on the app store and Google play. 

So after you’ve navigated to your clean, high-tech bathroom, you’re good to go on to the rest of your day sightseeing more museums or riding cable cars around the city. What is your favorite area of the city?

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

What is the Palace of Fine Arts?

This downtown San Francisco destination features a Greco-Roman style rotunda and colonnades on a peaceful pond. It was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition and is now used for concerts, events and as a public park.

This place is STUNNING. As soon as I saw a picture of it two years ago, I knew I had to go. Two trips to California went by before I was able to make it, and I’m so happy I finally did. I was in no way prepared for how magnificent it is in person. It was easy to imagine I was in Europe, it so reminded me of things I’d seen in Rome and Greece.

At sunset, the sun setting over the bay illuminated the rosy columns with gold light. The structure sits on the edge of a pond, and a walking path encircles it. Families brought bikes and scooters for the kids. It’s situated near the Golden Gate, Golden Gate Park, and the Disney Family Museum so it’s easy to swing by if you’re visiting the popular tourist destinations in San Francisco.

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts

It’s a perfect place to take a stroll, and it’s free. We even got a free parking spot nearby. We were a little cold and hungry so we stayed for a half hour, long enough to take these pictures and enjoy the sights. Looking back I think we could have stayed longer. If it’s a warm day you could do a picnic here.

How to Take Photos at the Palace of Fine Arts

This is one of the most popular photo shoot destinations in the Bay Area. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we saw an engagement shoot, another fashion blogger, and a wedding shoot during the half hour we were there! That said, you’ll probably get other people in your frame. The inside of the rotunda is amazing, but make sure to check out the grounds surrounding it too for some other great shots.

What to Wear

Such a magnificent location called for a special outfit. When I found this dress at Nordstrom it instantly reminded me of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, which was perfect because the new movie came out that weekend. I definitely wore this dress to the theater for the premiere.  (The dress also comes in black and a pattern, by the way.) I added a couple layers of tulle over it just for fun, but it also looks elegant without it.

If you saw the movie this weekend, what did you think?

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts

Tech Fashion Week Recap

I got the opportunity to take part in San Francisco’s 5th Annual Tech Fashion Week and I’m so excited to share a little bit about the experience. The above picture is of my co-panelists at the Fashion Bloggers Connect event. They traveled from as far away as Hungary just to be there! When I was preparing for the panel, I thought my experiences and insights as a blogger were unique and different. Turns out, there was a lot of commonality in what each influencer shared. A few highlights we covered in the panel:

5 Insights from Fashion Bloggers Connect

  1. Engagement is going to be the next important metric in blogging.
  2. Video is increasing in influencer importance.
  3. Starting an Instagram account first to grow your following is now a valid way to start a blog.
  4. Followers are interested in who you are and your story–not just what you’re wearing.
  5. Blogging is a type of journalism, so we have to keep up those standards. We also deserve to be fairly compensated.

There were so many bits of wisdom imparted by these influential ladies! I was so impressed by what they shared and humbled to be part of it.

Fashion Industry Awards

Awards honoring local talent in the industry were announced at opening night to stylists, models and designers in the San Francisco area.

Tech Fashion Week Shows

The week had multiple fashion shows showcasing local talent as well. All the events happened at different spaces around the city. Opening night was held in a hair studio after hours, with a loft for the models to descend from for the runway show.

The models were local men and women, some who actually work in tech and were made over into models for the evening.

This is just such a sliver of all the happenings at Tech Fashion Week 2017. If you can make it next year I highly recommend checking it out!

Best Gluten Free Treats in the Bay Area

Bay Area Gluten FreeI try to eat as little sugar as I can, but sometimes you just want a delicious treat! Eating gluten free means passing up many, many delicious treats. You have to look a little harder to find them, but gluten free goodies can be found in almost any city. The Bay Area has its share of gluten free delicacies, and these are my favorites.

1. Zest Bakery

I found this gem while searching for the elusive unicorn: the Gluten Free Donut. I found that and so much more at Zest Bakery in San Carlos. Everything in this place is gluten free, and some things are even dairy free, soy free or sugar free to boot. The prices were reasonable, and there was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating on a cute and quiet street. Parking was fairly easy too, even mid day on a weekend.

But let’s talk about what really matters–the quality of the gluten free baked goods! The muffins were indistinguishable from regular glutenous muffins, not an easy feat. The sandwich I bought was absolutely delicious and kept me energized for a day of sightseeing in downtown San Francisco. But most of all I want to rave about the bread–it was soft, fresh and not overly crumbly. The only disappointment at this place was the Oreo cookie, which I would skip. It wasn’t bad, but not on par with their other A-list goodies. If you are gluten free, you must try this place when you’re in the area.

2. Chantal Guillon

All macarons here are gluten free! Chantal Guillon has shops around the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Palo Alto. The hardest part is choosing which flavors you want. This is a best gluten free Bay Area destination for sure.

best gluten free bay area

3. Flour Chylde Bakery

This bakery has been around for twelve years making breads, desserts, cookies and pastries that are all gluten free. I haven’t been to their Novarto location, but I visited their booth at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market and sampled delicious cake. Their facility strives to be zero waste, which is a nice thing to support.

4. Sugarfina

A candy store for adults is the concept behind Sugarfina. Candies in little clear boxes labeled to show where around the globe the candy is sourced from are showcased around the store. The minimalist decor style is the main draw of this place, so stop in just to see the layout of the merchandise and snap an Insta-worthy pic or two. Oh, and free samples! Three locations to choose from in San Francisco, one in San Jose and more sprinkled around the U.S.

5. Timothy Adams

A picture perfect place for a first date or a friend date, this shop lured me in with its hot pink and blue decor and tempting counter full of truffles. The price is steep ($2.50 per chocolate) but the experience made it feel worth it. The truffles are smooth and memorable. Ask for your truffles to go or enjoy them in the cute dining room located at 539 Bryant Street, Palo Alto.

6. Ghiradelli

Fairly obvious, but what would a list about San Francisco be without Ghiradelli? Get a free chocolate square just for walking in the door. I’ve been to a store downtown and also Ghiradelli square. Both are fun but Ghiradelli square is a waterfront tourist destination with street musicians, shopping, and views of the Bay. There is a Ghiradelli chocolate souvenir shop and ice cream cafe there, but the actual chocolate factory is no longer onsite.

Have a favorite place you want to share? Make sure to contact me in the comments below.

You Be the Stylist – Tech Fashion Week

Tech Fashion Week San Francisco

So I’m in San Francisco and so far I’ve gone to a little town north of Marin to see a relative’s new award winning bar, Duke’s, and spent a day in Berkeley. 

But one of the main reasons I’m here is Tech Fashion Week. There are a few days left, including the day I present on a panel of fashion bloggers. I feel like I need to keep up with these super trendy west coast industry tastemakers, so I need your help!

I found this white skirt at Goodwill of Silicon Valley and I’m trying to decide if I should style it up for Tech Fashion Week, or wear something else! You can vote at the end of the post.

Option 1 – Feminine

The leather jacket is pretty much non-negotiable. It’s cold in San Francisco! I bring this jacket every time I visit the Bay Area. Black is a really common color to wear here, so I like wearing something a little different. In this case, white. The skirt is on the puffy side, so it’s quite different from the next option below.

Jacket – Anthropologie (Similar)

Skirt – I found a similar one from my all time favorite brand, Chi Chi London. It’s so beautiful and only $47!

Boots – Similar on sale

Option 2 – Glam

The same black jacket, but with a black dress with cutouts is another viable option. I think it fits in more than stands out. I’ll wear tights with both outfits because again, cold.

Jacket – Anthropologie (Similar)

Dress – Macy’s, majorly discounted, and a long version of the same dress.

Boots – Similar on sale

Option 3: Lace and Glitter

SPARKLY SHOES. That’s pretty much all I have to say about this outfit.

Shoes – Betsey Johnson, Top – F&F, as seen in this post, Leggings – Kate Spade

You be the stylist: vote!

Now there are a few days left of Tech Fashion Week, so there’s definitely a chance I could wear both. But just in case, I need your help. What should I wear? If you have styling suggestions let me know in the comments, even if it’s just a simple “go home to Minnesota these outfits are horrifying.”

And hey, while you’re here check out my favorite places to shop in San Francisco.

Thanks for the input, stylish readers! More updates on my experience at Tech Fashion Week to come soon.

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