Life. 365-Style (9/18-10/21)

Another month has passed, friends. October has really been flying by. We’re out enjoying as much of our warm weather as possible – getting some of our final Stairway Walks wrapped up, squeezing in a hike or backpacking trip, and whatever else we can do to stay outdoors.

In addition to all of that regular stuff, life has been full of changes since August. Some horrible, some not too bad. I had an amazing time in NC with my family, and started a new job right after I got back. We continue to adjust to life without Tange. We had to put mom’s cat down while in NC, and that experience brought back all those all-too-recent memories. But we move on, as is our only choice.

All in all, putting things into perspective, life is still good. Here’s the short summary:

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261 – I had no idea I’d have to say goodbye to yet another cat in such a short time. This was mom’s cat, Boo, who was hiding a large tumor from his mommy until he just couldn’t anymore. He didn’t like me at all, and this is the closest I ever got to him.

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262 – One perk of my visit to NC was spending lots of time with family, and one extra-special perk was getting to finally go to another NCSU football game. We had some pretty awesome seats, and my Pops and I (along with his drunken friends!) had a pretty good night.

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263 – My Sis and I realized the rehab center had this rando bird cage at the entrance. wtf?

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264 – sometimes there’s nothing else to do but watch movies. Bridesmaids never disappoints.

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265 – Neither does bonding with my sissy. We had a really great time together, even if her feet did stink.

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266 – Mom will KILL me for posting this, but I like to think she’ll be ok with it, since I’m commenting on how amazing her hair looked after a good wash and curl – the old-school way!

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267 – Mom stayed in the rehab center for about 10 days, and then I brought her home. Before that though, I loaded the fridge with a whole cheesecake from this cute lil’ place in downtown Clayton. Super tasty.

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268 – Bye, Boo. This was without a doubt the worst day of my visit. It was hard to see mom so upset, after she’d made so much progress, and knowing how excited she was to come home to her cat.

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269 – BBQ one last time. I couldn’t get enough! And I’m glad I discovered Charlie’s.

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270 – Ok, one more time. With Cheerwine, too!

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271 – As much fun as I had in NC and as hard as it was to leave, it felt good to be home to my normal life. Plus, I missed Philz ;).

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272 – Mom wouldn’t have liked Pumpkin Curry, but we sure do!

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273 – Speaking of my normal life, it felt good to not be unemployed. I had three weeks off from working once I left Stanford, and my new job started on 9/30. I was none-too-excited about this pic, but whatever. I can’t ask for much for an ID, I suppose. And for anyone who’s wondering, my job is going well. It’s very similar to my old one in many ways, but I do miss my Stanford coworkers.

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274 – The best part? this dang commute. I bike by City Hall and the Civic Center every day, and lately, it’s been just gorgeous. The hills on the way IN to work? They’ll take some getting used to…

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275 – I should just call this post BBQ and be done with it. Not a week later and we met Liz and Kevin at Southpaw. I actually got the fried chicken, but Chris and I split that and his BBQ.

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276 – Sometimes Sasha really does think. Just not often. But isn’t she so pretty?!

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277 – Another Friday happy hour at Pi.

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278 – We got out of SF for a day and picked up some of our wine in Sonoma. We decided to stop at Matanzas Creek, a winery we went to on our first trip to Wine Country when we were still in Chicago. The views there are gorgeous.

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279 – We finished a Stairway Walk in the Upper Market area of town, right smack dab in the center of the city.

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280 – I love a good fall beer. This is Anchor Steam’s Big Leaf Maple.

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281 – Another benefit of my short commute? I’ve figured out how to make my running work into the trip home – a couple of days a week I take the bus to work instead of my bike, and I run home, creating random zig zags along the way to complete my full program. It takes a little planning, but it’s great to get a full run in and still be home by 6:15. This is one of the views from Dolores Park (and yeah, after barely surviving up the hill, sometimes it’s nice to stop and snap a pic!).

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282 – weeknight vegetable curry. This one was from the True Food book and just ok, but the leftovers tasted better.

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283 – I had a benefits orientation this morning, so of course I managed to squeeze in a trip to The Mill on the way.

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284 – Do you see the lil’ one in the back? I can’t tell if he’s scared or excited.

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285 – It was a little difficult to backpack what with the government shutdown and all, but we found a smaller state park in the area with a short hike in and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon of napping and reading in the sun.

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286 – there’s water back there in the distance. These are the Santa Cruz mountains.

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287 – SPRINKLES! need i say more?

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288 – It’s hard to capture these moments, but Sasha has a weird infatuation with licking plastic. Remember how I said she wasn’t so smart?!

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289 – Pigeons! As Chris would say, #missionlife.

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290 – I’m on jury duty this week, and they don’t require potential jurors in court until 9:30. So, I obviously went to Craftsman & Wolves beforehand for a thai curry scone. Duh.

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291 – Just barely escaped jury duty after being in court for 2 1/2 days. I had to grab another Friday Pi beer.

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292 – This weekend was amazingly beautiful. Chris and I completed 2 Stairway Walks, both on the north side of the city. We even tiptoed around Fisherman’s Wharf for one of them. Tourist count was off the charts, and I think I don’t need to go back there for at least a few more years ;).

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293 – After a sad Bears loss, we hit up a nice semi-outdoor late lunch at Namu Gaji, tossed in some soft serve from Bi-Rite, and laid in Dolores Park for a little bit. Cannot complain about that day, despite the loss.

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294 – Post-run Bernal fog rolling in.

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Life. 365-Style. (4/2-4/29)

Sheweeeee, April just disappeared, didn’t it?! I was pleased to find that I only had 4 weeks of “Life” pictures to update, because it certainly seemed like much longer since I’ve been around these parts.

It has been a great month. Lots of sunshine (and some sunburn. in April! in San Francisco! well…. mainly out of town..), lots of gatherings, some fun trips, blah blah blah. See for yourself:

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92 – not a good start. My 9:00 PM reminder (also, see the microwave time?) buzzed and all I had to show for it was a picture of a quinoa and bison meatball soup. The soup was great, but the pic? Not my best ;).

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93 – a nice day for a lunchtime walk outside at Stanford. love those flowers!

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94 – say hello to Jennifer & Jon! we did a little FaceTime to check in on them since their move to Seattle (!!).

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95 – my friend, Frannie, had a massive shoulder surgery and has been “stuck” at home, so I delivered some homemade mac n’ cheese. she put me to work shaking a cocktail, but dang, it was worth it!

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96 – this is why reading in bed never works. she is on her way to the small spot between the iPad and my face.

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97 – Chris and I happened upon this spot on 24th street in our new ‘hood. Still not sure why we haven’t been yet! Records, pig, and pie? oh my!

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98 – I was at a 2-day committee meeting in Phoenix and this was basically what that meeting consisted of. Yes, I ate Sun Chips for the first time in years! And plenty of other snacks too. It’s all about staying focused…

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99 – ready to get home! goodbye, Phoenix!

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100 – hello, Palo Alto. another lunch walk. it is definitely Spring here!

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101 – instead of 90 minutes of hot yoga, I called Chris and told him I was more interested in checking out Hi Lo BBQ. ’twas a good choice.

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102 – Bernal Heights from my angle. Wouldn’t living there be so fun? Well, unless you had to walk up it every single day…

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103 – the view from Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, about 30 minutes east of SF in Richmond. sunscreen would have been really nice here. also, if you look closely, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. see?

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104 – a trip to Japantown. apparently the Cherry Blossom Festival was going on, and the bands were setting up. Cool mural, eh?

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105 – shrimp, couscous, feta, and zucchini. also, another night of almost forgetting to photograph. look at those leftovers!

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106 – I am usually not too into the genetics/DNA stuff, but I thought this was timely, since I’d just finished dinner with a couple of fellow genetic counselors when I spotted this in a window on Valencia street.

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107 – this is the site of my worst run ever. I think. note to self: coming down with a sore throat/almost cold doesn’t mesh well with running in heat. I think I made it 1 mile and stopped about 10 times. ha!

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108 – we took a road trip to Los Angeles Thursday-Sunday (well, Monday – stay tuned) and stayed in this adorable place we found through AirBnB that was essentially a treehouse in the hills. There were lots of cats, but this was the friendliest. She just hopped in bed with us like we’d known each other for years. Chris would probably like for me to add here, that the point of this trip was too see Rush get inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. It was pretty spectacular; I won’t lie.

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109 – we got up nice and early the next day and did a sweaty hike up to the Hollywood sign. it made eating pizza at Mozza and an amazing dinner at ink. totally ok. right?

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110 – after the required trip to an LA record store for “record store day”, we headed to the Angeles National Forest for a little backpacking adventure along a part of the Pacific Crest Trail. We veered off a bit and hiked up to Mt Hawkins (8800 feet elevation). This is the view.

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111 – we were back to the car by 10 AM Sunday morning to get a head start on our trip back to SF. apparently, the forest wanted us to stay a few more hours, because this crazy tire damage was all from a rock smaller than my fist. the best part? having no cell-service and waiting 5 hours for a tow truck. no, the best part was being stuck overnight in tourist-crazy Universal City, home of Universal Studios. no, the best part was riding down a mountain in a tow truck and smelling my own body odor the whole time. oh, man, what a journey. we did get to try out Fabio Viviani’s old-school restaurant down the street, though!

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112 – home, sweet home. also, I think I can cram a few more things into my hutch, don’t you?

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113 – I’ve just realized I have to stop taking lunch pictures on campus. but it’s so pretty!

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114 – our awesome new landlords mailed us BBQ sauce from The Pit! (they moved from SF to NC.) we didn’t even bother whining about the “western style” sauce because it was so dang awesome.

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115 – someone was tuckered out. poor baby.

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116 – somehow a Friday night of planned delivery turned into a dinner out at Foreign Cinema. best change of plans ever. their fried chicken (Asian-influenced) is killer.

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117 – Chris organized a post-birthday celebration in Dolores Park on Saturday with a few friends. the weather was PERFECTLY SUNNY. we had jams to listen to, ice cream to eat, and an amazing cake with peanut butter icing from a new bakery (thanks, Judy!). it couldn’t have been a better day.

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118 – on Sunday, we headed out for coffee and a nice stairway walk up through the east part of Bernal Heights. the view was so dang clear you could see Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks in the background. ps – these are some of the houses from the picture above, #102, but now up close and personal.

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119 – oh, and don’t let your dream die. just don’t ;).

Life. 365-Style. (2/5-2/25)

More 365! There’s still quite a few nights where I almost forget to snap a shot, but so far I’ve caught myself and found something picture-worthy.

You’ll notice that our lives are still pretty much the same: we eat a lot, we drink beer, we are out backpacking and hiking again, and as you might have also guessed, I am still trying my best to jog/run according to my “schedule“. If you’re curious (and I guess even if you aren’t, but you must be, if you’re still hanging along and reading what’s left of my blog!), we are on target with our “goals” for this year (see the link in this sentence). We are 8 weeks into the year and I’ve clocked about 82 miles running. I still need a bigger buffer than 2 miles, though. We are about halfway through the Stairway Walks book. I have managed to photograph something for 56 days straight. And we’ve got that awesome trip on lockdown, come May.

2013 is pretty awesome, so far. How you livin’?

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36 – gotta love The Haight, one of SF’s finest neighborhoods.

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37 – I love ragu-style dishes. This was a chicken/pork combo situation.

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38 – dang Palo Alto. recycle much?

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39 – I ended up at a meeting in Richmond, CA and found this amazing trail for a Friday afternoon run.

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40 – up close and personal with Sutro tower. Another Stairway Walk, and this one definitely had a TON of stairs.

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41 – we tried really hard to save up for our upcoming fancy dinner, but sometimes you just gotta partake in Beer Week festivities. kna’ mean?

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42 – post-work run through Stanford’s “oval”

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43 – the moon was smiling for a couple of nights. how sweet.

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44 – pre-Vday flowers from my sweet. he picks them all by himself. so cute!

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45 – instead of cooking this year, we went out for ramen, which is always quality, even on Valentine’s day. and SO romantic ;).

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46 – getting ready for our first backpacking trip of 2013. can’t wait!

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47 – we went a few miles out of our way in Pescadero County to grab some warm artichoke-garlic bread from Arcangeli’s grocer. believe me, it was worth it.

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48 – Pescadero Creek county park. our campsite was nestled in the baby redwoods.

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49 – I spent my Presidents’ Day holiday reading in a coffee shop. that’s the stuff dreams are made of.

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50 – sometimes I see the weirdest cloud scenes on my commute home. this time the windows were clean enough to snap a shot.

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51 – this is my “i almost forgot to take a picture, but aren’t the cats still cute?” picture.

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52 – eatin’ like a single lady tonight. a rando “flatbread” with lots of cheese and homemade pesto.

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53 – we saved our food funds this month and totally splurged at Benu with a 16-course food and wine-paired meal. I remember 98% of it, I swear. I totally was NOT that person taking pictures of all the dishes, though. during meals like these, I prefer to keep the phone in the coat check area.

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54 – on Saturday, we (Chris) organized a massive bonfire at Ocean Beach. I made my old standby paella (par cooked and finished on the fire), and we had loads and loads of fun. Our house, however, still smells like a campfire and we tracked sand everywhere.

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55 – I’ve had San Jalisco on my mind for months. we finally got there for brunch/lunch at which point I devoured chilaquiles and a michelada. the best one i’ve ever had, by far. who wants to go next weekend?!

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56 – a run around the Campus Drive Loop and a distant spot of “the dish”. real life? I really, really needed to stop, and the picture seemed like the perfect excuse. don’t tell.

The House on Telegraph Hill

Moving to a new city has been a very wishy-washy event for the two of us. It’s especially hard to leave a city that you love so much, a city that you called home for so many years, that had so many memories. Not everyone gets to leave one awesome city and head to another one that’s just as exciting, just as inspiring, and just as beautiful, if not more. But we did, and three months later, we are slowly feeling at home, slowly finding our way around these parts, and slowly finding new friends, new traditions, and a new “normal”.

I gotta say – I am loving San Francisco – every single minute of it. The 60-degree weather that occurs 80% of the time, the foggy Saturdays when I’d prefer to see sun for miles, and the glorious Sundays when the city redeems itself, almost apologetically. I am head over heels every day of the week.

The hardest part about it though, is that process of feeling “at home”, feeling like I live here and not just like I’m visiting for an extended amount of time. Feeling like a tourist in your own city is a little awkward, and at times I feel like screaming out to the people around me: “I live here damnit, I swear I do”, as I wear my short-sleeved shirt and sandals on a dreary morning, or a day like today when the sun was shining valiantly and I mistakenly wore long sleeves and a hoodie. One day I want to not get it all wrong; I want to be a local in my own city.

One day, that will happen. It just takes a while, and I have to realize that fact.

Ironically, in an effort to better acclimate ourselves to the city, we’ve been doing a little bit of touring. Sure, we’re not wandering about in sneakers and fanny packs, but we may as well be, since we do wander about with cameras and tour books (and again, we are blatantly under or over-dressed). A co-worker told me about a book called Stairway Walks, which as it turns out, is a unique and slightly more “local” way to see San Francisco. Our plan is to slowly walk our way through the book, step by step, and in turn familiarize ourselves with all the neighborhoods and cultures around us.

So far, it’s freaking awesome. And while I know this is primarily a food blog, I also want to show you the sights and adventures that we’re experiencing as we find our place in this new world, because I think that’s important too. I want you to fall in love like I have – I want you to appreciate this city like I do, and when I talk about home, I want you to know where I’m coming from, and how I got there.

These are pictures from the first two stairway walks. Most of the hilly parts are through Telegraph Hill, one of San Francisco’s 44 hills. If these two are like any of the rest of the walks, we are certainly in for a treat.

It shouldn’t surprise you to know that a real hippie got out of that van (above), and when he opened the door I saw that the inside was carpeted, and lined with velvet tassels. Also, his hair was long, pulled into a ponytail, and grey. He was my hero, and after I saw him I couldn’t get Sugar Magnolia outta my head for at least a few minutes.

San Francisco has hundreds of stairways built into the city; some of the hills are so steep that walking up them is almost impossible. My advice to you is, if you ever drive here, make sure you have an automatic. Some of the stairways are long and winding, artistic-like, and others are meant to simply get you from A to B.

Some lead you to places like Coit Tower (below), and if you’re feeling especially touristy, you can take an elevator to the top and look out onto the Bay. We decided to save that for when someone visits and insists on going. Plus, you can see plenty just from walking up and down the stairs.

You’ll also find plenty of random artwork decorating the walkways, from mosaic-tiled tigers to frog princes to parking meters in the middle of a walkway.

Here’s the truth: there is never a dull moment in this city, that’s for sure. Every day that goes by, it starts to feel more and more like home, and every weekend I am reminded of how many adventures there are locally, as well as out and about. It’s a place I am getting used to – the good restaurants and produce help, of course, but there’s something else, too – something truly magical about being here.

Just like it was meant to be.

Want to see more pictures? Follow the links below to the Flickr albums – enjoy!

Stairway Walk #1: Yerba Buena Cove, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown
Stairway Walk #2: Telegraph Hill (Coit Tower) & North Beach