Monthly Archives

May 2013

San Francisco Eats

May 31, 2013

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Five weeks in San Francisco. 2 weeks in SoMa, 2 weeks in Bernal Heights, below The Mission, and 1 week in Hayes Valley. That’s a whole lot of eats.

I’ve long known of San Francisco’s delicious ways, and so upon my arrival I fell into a pretty serious courtship. Things got real friendly, real fast. I was fuelled by general internet searching, as well as recommendations from the truly lovely Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and the excellent site, Tablehopper. My favourite spots are listed below, somewhat grouped by location. I hope they provide you with surely tasty bites should you ever be so lucky to visit San Francisco. It’s a truly kind and compelling city, and it sure knows good food. Here’s a little snapshot of my flirtation with the food of San Francisco. Let’s break bread and wander…

SoMa

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SoMa has some great spots for a beverage or two. City Beer is a really cool beer bar selling quality delicious brews, Terrior Natural Wine Merchant  boasts organic wines and Bloodhound makes an ace negroni.

Darwin Cafe serve what is reported to be the best kale salad in town (yep, it’s good). Every bite I’ve had here, whether a baguette, toasted sandwich or salad have been completely scrumptious. It’s well priced and worth the lunch-time queue.

Sightglass Coffee. Hipster coffee. More often than not it’s worth the $4 price tag.

Deli Board. Meat-filled, slightly expensive, delicious sandwiches. I went with the Ruprecht, without dressing and with sprouts added. It was super scrumptious.

 

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WholeFoods
. Come here to revel in the huge variety of (mostly healthy) goods available. Try to not leave with 5 different yoghurts, 7 jars of nut butter and 3 packets of kale chips (not an easy task). WholeFoods is also a great place to spend a lot of money on the tasty salad and hot food bar. Pack it up and go!

Trader Joe’s. Super delicious and cheap salad packs, yummy cilantro hummus, nitrate-free sausages (chicken jalapeño sausage love), waffle mix and more.

Pressed Juicery for expensive, delicious wonderful juice/smoothies (note: not in SoMa, you can find these stores at the Ferry Building or Noe Valley).

 

Dogpatch

Piccino. Our local friend introduced us to this place and now I’ve visited, I feel almost cool enough to share it with you. This casual but classy restaurant serves really tasty pizza and more. Oh, and nearby is The Plow, which I’ve heard is just the business for brunch.

 

Alamo Square

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The Mill. Grab a slice of toast, grab a latte, grab a loaf of bread to take home and watch the hipsters do the same. People tend to rag on paying $3.50 for a slice of toast, but honestly, compared to Australia where prices for food are ridiculous,a thick, filling slice of quality crafted bread spread with lashings of either cream cheese, almond butter or cinnamon sugar and butter is a steal.

Nopa. I’m fairly deeply in love with Nopa’s burger (that beef pattie!!) and their drinks selection is ace, too. Generally everything on their menu is reliable. You’re in for very reasonably priced deliciousness here. Book ahead or grab a seat at the bar or communal table if you’re lucky.

 

Pacific Heights/Richmond

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BurmaSuperstar. My friend Maggie introduced me to this gem of a place, serving completely delicious curries and salads and more. Be prepared to wait during rush hour, but trust me, it’s worth it!


B. Patisserie
. Try their house specialty, the kouign amann. This croissant-style pastry is loaded with sugar however is entirely lovely. Their coffee is wonderful, too. I spent a lovely morning here, sitting and sipping and reading.

Jane on Fillmore is another lovely spot for coffee. This was where I had my first date with Maddy.

Umami Burger. Do you want to stick your face into an indulgent, scrumptious burger? Maybe you want a bit of truffle oil on your fries? You do? Go here, then.

 

The Mission

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Dynamo Donut. I spoke of vegan donuts from Pepples (which can be found at the energetic Philz coffee, just down the street from Dynamo Donut). These are not vegan donuts. These are maple glazed bacon apple donuts. Yes indeed. Dynamo peeps know good donuts. Favourites were coffee crunch and spiced chocolate. That reminds me, I never did get to try that cornmeal rosemary cherry bite…

Foreign Cinema. You’re best to get in early or book ahead to be able to even grab a seat at this popular, rather expensive spot. I visited for brunch and let me just say that their spring omelette with asparagus, with a side of slow-cooked brown sugar bacon, was one of the best dishes I ate in SF. Yes, you read that correctly, slow-cooked brown sugar bacon.

Salumeria is great for delicious antipasti and sandwiches. It also has a rad deli for take-home goods.

Craftsman and Wolves. Lovely lovely divine flaky perfect baked goods and coffee. Order “The Rebel Within” muffin. It contains a soft-boiled egg inside. Yes. I also fell in love with their oatmeal cookie.

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Mission Pie. Pie and coffee. Enough said. This was a favourite hangout of mine when living in Bernal Heights.

Beauty Bar is a cool place for drinks and a dance.

Tartine (see the photo at the top of the post). Croissants so good you may think you’re in Paris and toasted sandwiches so good you may think you’re in heaven. They also have many many well-loved, well-crafted cakes on offer. Sandwich portions are large, which softens the blow of the eager price-tag. Grab a warm croissant for breakfast, then share a sandwich for lunch and call it a day. But go back the next day, too. You need that morning bun. Oh, and the Croque Monsieur…

Namu Gaji. Best to book ahead for this uber cool spot with exciting flavours. Ask the lovely wait staff to tell you what to order. They know what’s up.

 

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Mission Beach Cafe. Pie. Berry pie. That’s all I need to say. Trust me. Oh, hang on, one more thing… “wild mushroom benedict with spinach, caramelised onion, truffle mornay sauce and crispy potatoes”. Serious brunching.

Rainbow Grocery. A mecca for wholegrains, nut butters, tea and a huge range of vegetarian, organic, sustainable whole foods. It’s a dream. And you can get the most delicious nut butter here (also available at The Mill), Riverview Orchard Almond Hazelnut Butter. I gave this as a gift to my bff in Utah. She and her husband are nut butter nerds. Respect.

I also gifted Emmy’s bread and butter pickles to some family friends. These I snagged at Mission Pie, but you can find them around town in stores that are super cool.

Bar Tartine. Visit this restaurant for dinner, please do. Order the potato flatbread and the green chilli fisherman’s stew. The anchovies on bread were lovely, also. This place will leave you feeling rosy and full, full of the most amazing bread. It’s a good feeling.

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photo-181For sweet scoops, visit Bi-Rite Creamery (also near Alamo Square on Divisadero st) and Humphry Slocombe. Humphry is my favourite, I have to say. I particularly enjoy the Honey Thyme, Chocolate and Smoked Sea Salt and Meyer Lemon Buttermilk flavours, but be sure to try their popular Secret Breakfast delight (cornflakes + bourbon. Oh yeah). I’ve also heard great things about Smitten Ice-Cream.

Mission Cheese. A cute place for a drink. And cheese, obviously. I loved their cider and found their mac and cheese to be bananas. And by bananas I mean, terribly delicious.

Pal’s TakeAway. These guys make killer sandwiches. Follow them on twitter for their daily concoctions. Though keep your ears open, I hear they are moving locations…

La Taqueria. Taco taco taco. These guys claim to serve the best tacos in the world. I have not done enough research to back this up (a future job, perhaps?), but I can say they are darn good. Their tortilla are crisp, their ingredients fresh and the rest is nothing fancy pants, just straight-up good tacos. Go for the pork carnitas, be sure to get cheese and avocado and apply the green chilli sauce liberally. Bliss. Oh, and grab a seat out front, peek into the kitchen and watch the assembly line. It’s a thing of beauty…

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Along the Mexican trail, we loved our take-away dinner from La Palma. Here we bought housemade tortilla, chips, delicious beef, pork and chicken dishes as well as beans, cheese, salsa and guacamole, and had ourselves an outrageous feast one night in our apartment. It was all really really yummy. You can also get a burrito or dish made up to eat at the store (they have a few chairs outside), but beware they aren’t open after 5 or 6ish in the evening, so get in early.

Phew! Yes, there were quite a few tasty eats in The Mission. You’ll never be short of a place to eat, whether classy dining or dirt cheap, that’s for sure. I was in heaven with all the Mexican eats available. And then you can cap it all off with an ice-cream. Ain’t life grand…

 

Bernal Heights

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 Paulie’s Pickling. These guys are ace. They serve super scrumptious sandwiches and are great value. Try the beef brisket or the egg salad sandwich, on marble rye. Best pickles ever? Maybe.

Avedano’s. Quality, local meat and delicious deli goods. For lunch you can grab a pressed porchetta panini. It’s really good. You can also snag dinner provisions here, whether housemade meatballs and a pack of pasta, or bread and cheese. Maybe some meatloaf… Or all of the above. Dinner served!
Alemany Farmer’s Market (on Saturdays). This was the first farmer’s market in California so it was a real treat to visit. Oh goodness, if I had access to this every week, life would be so so sweet. It is worth a visit just to see how an excellent farmer’s market works. Who needs Safeway, right?

Sunset District

Outerlands. This was our most favourite meal in SF. I booked a little table for two in advance to surprise Ben as a “well done, you’re amazing, my how hard you have been working, you deserve some amazing bread with house cultured butter and olive oil poached octopus” dinner date. We were blown away by the meal, each dish was consistently exciting and outrageously delicious. I imagine their brunch would be divine, also. Favourite.

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And now for something non-food related. Kind of…

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Fun activities in SF, for the wanderer.

~ Ferry Building. Browse the shops and visit the famous Cowgirl Creamery. You might like to grab yourself some popular, delicious Mt Tam (or my favourite Red Hawk) cheese, a baguette from Acme and have yourself a picnic! Try to time your Ferry Building visit with the wonderful Farmers Market, which is on Tue/Thur/Sat (Saturday is the largest market day).
~ Alamo Square Park. Great views of the city and famous SF houses (see above photo).
~ Valencia Street (between ~15th & 23rd st). Mosey down this uber cool street and pop into all the wonderful shops.
~ WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s and Rainbow Grocery. Explore the isles and try not to buy everything. Try.
~ Golden Gate Park. Excellent frisbee terrain.
~ Nob Hill and Russian Hill. Wander and stroll and mosey these picturesque areas, taking in all the beautiful houses. You’re sure to work up a sweat (oh, the hills)! Lombard street is a famous windy street and worth a look. After you’ve visited here you can catch the tourist tram down the hill.
~ Explore Chinatown for something different.
~ SFMOMA. Always worth an afternoon or even an entire day just roaming and absorbing some creativity.
~ Dolores Park. A great place to chill out with a picnic.
~ The Mission. Wander 16th, 18th and 24th street for colourful fun. My favourite vintage bookshop is Adobe Bookstore and next door  on 16th st is an ace vintage shop.
~ Omnivore Books. Check out their events page, they often have amazing authors coming to speak and sign their books. These events are free and intimate and wonderful. And Celia, the store owner, is just so friendly. Every city needs an Omnivore Bookstore.
~ Golden Gate Bridge. Hire bikes and ride across. Or just walk across, either way, but be sure to visit. It’s giant and overwhelming and stunning. Try to go on a day that isn’t fog-heavy for best views.
~ Alcatraz. Ummm we didn’t go here. That’s a real bummer. But it’s surely wonderful.
~ Berkeley. If you can manage, get across the bridge to Berkeley and visit Chez Panisse (I dined solo at this institution in 2011. A life highlight, for sure). Gather is lovely, too.
~ Sausalito. Located across the bridge, I’ve heard this pocket on the coast is most definitely worth a visit. They also have a Heath Ceramic’s store…
~ Heath Ceramics. Beautiful, locally made ceramics – plates, mugs, bowls and more. Their store in the city is wonderful (I wanted to buy everything!) and super funky. Plus there is a Blue Bottle Cafe next door.
Alemany Farmer’s Market on Saturdays is a must if you’re into Farmers Markets.
~ Bernal Heights Park. Hike up this epic San Francisco hill to see the most gorgeous city view if you’re in the area (if you’ve visited the Alemany Farmers Market, you will be!).

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Oh, there is so much good living to be done in San Francisco. I only scraped the surface during my 5 week stay, so please share any recommendations below. And if you’re off to SF, have a blast. Eat a Tartine croissant, stick your face in a sandwich and get an extra scoop at Humphry Slocombe, just for me.

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast and Things

May 28, 2013

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1. Husband working. Emails. Legal documents and such.

2. His OJ.

3. The Street Sweeper, by Elliot Perlman (high five for Monash University graduates!). A fantastic, distressing, beautiful, heartbreaking, frustrating, encouraging read. I have about 40 pages to go. This was my second try getting into these pages (my fault, not the book), and I am so very glad I managed to focus my internet-hungry brain into book-wonderland. I’m always glad when I do. I must must allow myself to get lost in pages more often.

4. Straus Organic Yoghurt. I favour this brand, and wanted to introduce De to this Californian deliciousness. I particularly enjoy their maple yoghurt and their brown sugar banana ice-cream. Lovely.

5. Bananas. A long-term favourite of mine (I was a banana child), they are just so cheap and so reliable. Denita and I picked these up at the shops yesterday. Being here, in Park City, visiting one of my very best bffs is such a treat. We have similar food brains and both appreciate sporadic dance breaks.

6. The husband’s wedding ring. I think he looks mighty fine with it, but maybe I’m biased. Maybe.

7. Breakfast bowls. Let’s talk about these some more…

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Straus Organic Blueberry Pomegranate yoghurt

Ezekiel Flax Crumbles

Kind Cinnamon Granola

♥ Banana

What did you have for breakfast today?

Heidi xo

 

A Road Trip to Utah

May 25, 2013

Hi friends!

Don’t you love a good road trip? Yesterday was a grand one.

We started with breakfast at Bouchon Bakery, before visiting the garden at The French Laundry.

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Next stop was Truckee, nearby Lake Tahoe. It’s really funky and quaint, totally stop worthy.

Onto Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I was a little flabbergasted. This was a really special picnic, full of Trader Joe’s goodies.

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Did I mention we hired a convertible mustang? It was pretty sweet. Ben was just so very happy.

Classic road tripping for 13hours, with snacks and tunes.

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And now we’re in Utah with friends and it’s wonderful and relaxing and exciting and we are feeling really spoilt and happy.

Heidi xo

San Francisco Sandwiches

May 23, 2013

I feel this is an important post. Sandwiches tend to summon a thoughtful, measured response from me in general. Bread and fillings are not something I take lightly.

It will not surprise you to hear that I have taken on the duty of resident food finder in our group. Come lunch time, whether working from home or the office, the boys will rumble, “HeidiApples, where can I find food?”. I’ll then gather my sandwich thoughts, source a few good options and set them free to discover deliciousness.

Sweet friends, here are my San Francisco sandwich finds. For all the hungry geeks out there, furiously working away on their computers, just hankering for something scrumptious between two slices of bread…some toasty tastiness… I’ve got your back.

Pickles and such

Paulie’s Pickling. I adore this little shop, located in a shared market place on Cortland Ave, one of my favourite strips in Bernal Heights. Their sandwiches are big and the combinations are completely delicious – braised brisket with grilled slaw and Russian dressing, or their popular egg salad. Yum. I say go for the marble rye bread option (get there early to be sure you don’t have to wrestle for the last loaf).

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Pork it

Avedano’s. My friendly local butcher! I spoke of my love for Avedano’s in my last post, so “porchetta panini” is really all I should need to say right now. There are other options, but trust me, go with the pork.

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Queen T

Tartine. Worth the queue, worth the $13 price tag, it’s just worth it all, dammit. Their bread is pure divinity and the fillings will make your heart sing. And you get adorable little pickled carrots on the side of your giant sandwich. It’s a surely dazzling combination, every time.

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Darwin Deez
Darwin Cafe
. This cool little cafe serves up seriously scrumptious toasted sandwiches, fresh baguettes and a rocking kale salad. You can’t go wrong here. Prices are friendly, too. Get on it. And no, there is no relation to Darwin Deez here, I just really like this song

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Meat. Meat.

Deli Board. There’s a lot of meat up in these sandwiches. Pistrami and brisket and roast beef, oh my! If you’re wary just select your own ingredients, go easy on the dressing and add a few sprouts in there for good measure. These sandwiches are on the expensive side,  but are sure to hit the spot. There are vegetarian options, too – fun for the whole family!

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My new pal

Pal’s TakeAway. Possibly my favourite sandwich spot in SF. These guys offer little choice, but that’s ok as they sure dang offer deliciousness. Focusing on daily specials based on where their mood and produce take them (using local, quality ingredients), their combinations are smashing! Think smoked trout with wasabi mayo, pickled daikon and ginger, sprouts, avocado and crunchy chips. Mmmmhmmmmm.

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I’m yet to visit Mission Cheese and B. Patisserie for their sandwiches, but based on their stellar ingredients list I just know they’ll be amazing. I wouldn’t kid about this sandwich business.

Now go forth and stick your face in a San Francisco sandwich.

Heidi xo

 

I kind of want to be a Butcher

May 21, 2013

I’m not quite certain where this interest in meat began. In fact, I find myself rather taken aback by it. Honestly, I’ve always been a bit fussy with meat. As a child I was a fan of well cooked meat only. Overcooked was preferable. Char was a bonus…

But in recent years, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for meat, for the animal who died so I could gain nourishment. It’s a terribly important topic, being aware of where your food comes from and not just mindlessly consuming. I’m not here to get into a debate on the ethics of meat consumption, but I am passionate about encouraging you to source meat that has been farmed ethically, raised locally and treated well. I’d much rather pay for quality, know where my meat has come from and consume less, to balance any extra cost. My downfall? Eating out. I’d like to employ more mindful practices when ordering meat, but sometimes that dodgy little taco shop is just too tasty to pass up.

Where am I going with this meat love?

After our recent move to Bernal Heights, I was on the prowl for lunch options. Avendano’s popped up and things rolled pretty deliciously from there…

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This old-school butcher shop prides itself on sustainable and local products. A lunch visit led to the most delicious pressed sandwiches, filled with porchetta, arugula, mustard, onion, peppers… only good things can come from such a combination. We also tried their sausage and lentil soup. Good.

So, yeah, I kind of want to be a butcher. An honest, well-intentioned butcher. If I had the funds, I would totally enrol in a course to learn all about it. For now? I’ll try my best to shop well, to shop mindfully and locally. Where ever my new local may be…

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Heidi xo

Saturday Date in San Francisco

May 19, 2013

Last week, Ben and I had a whole Saturday to roam around town. Here’s what we got up to…

1. Breakfast at Tartine.

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2. Photographing giant cows.

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3. Hiring bikes and riding to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a foggy day, so there wasn’t a whole lot of bridge to see, but it was fun anyway. I like to bicycle around when it’s safe, my seat is super low and my head is secure in a helmet fort.

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We had hot dogs for lunch, which sweetened the deal even further. Only in California would nitrate free hot dogs be so readily available.

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4. Walking Nob Hill and Russian Hill.

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5. Catching a tram or two.

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6. Drinks and dinner at Nopa (bless those wood-roasted sardines), then a Bi-Rite scoop…

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…or two.

The perfect Saturday date in San Francisco? Surely.

 

Heidi xo
 

Happy Pie Home

May 16, 2013

So, I’ve found a pie shop here in our new area. It’s called Mission Pie. It’s my new local and for that I am very very thankful.

Our crew has moved from SoMa and we are now living in Bernal Heights, below The Mission. It was an excellent move. I hike up a giant hill most mornings. This affords me the opportunity to get to know this pie shop, and other stores purveying deliciousness, intimately.

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But back to pie…

I have tender feelings for pie. It’s a deep fondness. Some people might call it love. Some people might be me.

Not only can you find crusts and crumbles at Mission Pie, their coffee is very fine, too. A takeaway latte makes my mornings happy.

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It’s a happy pie home.

 

Heidi xo

Tartine Dates

May 14, 2013

I’ve found myself on quite a few Tartine dates since arriving in San Francisco. It’s been almost two years since my first visit and I’m still a little completely obsessed…

Whether sitting solo and grazing over the pages of my recent read, or chatting with friends as we watch playful pups potter by, Tartine has become my most favourite spot for a morning date.

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This tender affection may have something to do with my pastry preference. You see, Tartine‘s croissants are something of a dream. They have just the right proportion of outer flakiness to moist buttery entrails. They’re completely swoon worthy. My favourite secret not-so-secret activity is to order a croissant and a cappuccino, then promptly plunge torn pastry portions into my coffee, soaking up the brew before shoving them into my mouth. You’ll leave covered in golden flakes but that’s just part of the fun.

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Today I met Maddy, from Pop Basic, for a Tartine date. We ate croissants and shared tales – tales of life and hopes and dreams and San Francisco.

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♥ Croissant and Cappuccino for me

♥ Almond Croissant and Hot Chocolate for Maddy

What did you have for breakfast today?

 

Heidi xo

Roll with it, burn your toast and send flowers

May 12, 2013

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Sometimes in life, you’ve just got to jump in. You gotta buckle up, brace for the ride and roll with it. Work hard, climb up those stairs, have a bit of luck on your side and then slide right on down into whatever life has in store for you. It’s unpredictable and liberating and allows for a whole lot of unexpected life delights.

Planning is overrated. Life lesson #32.

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Life lesson #7?

Treat your mum on Mother’s Day. She deserves all the flowers in the world. Poorly cooked breakfast in bed is mandatory.

You may have more than one mother-figure in your life, or she may not be with you anymore. Either way, be sure to send a little message of love, whether looking up into the sky or (if you’re lucky) looking into their eyes and giving them a hug.

Sorry I’m not there to burn your toast and give you a hug this year, mum. I love you more than I can put into words. Some day, I hope to be a mother. And if I am half as inspiring and supporting and loving as you, I know I’ll have done good xo

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Heidi xo

Wandering

May 9, 2013

A cloudy day, studying the corners of Nob Hill and Russian Hill in San Francisco.

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Heidi xo