Twenty 7

Last Wednesday was my 27th birthday and the celebrating has not stopped yet!

It started Wednesday morning with our modified tradition of breakfast-in-bed turned just breakfast. (Since Colt serves as my morning alarm-clock, I requested not to be woken up before then so Michael made me breakfast while Colt was eating his!)

Along with a beautiful breakfast, Michael surprised me with a gorgeous orchid that he had hidden away the night before and lots of sweet notes to wake-up to.
IMG_6016Colt was so sweet all day – I think he knew it was a special day! IMG_5979Then we got the apartment decorated with roses for the evening Bachelor finale viewing party.IMG_6030Now, everyone who knows me, knows that I love love. And while some skeptics don’t necessarily equate love with The Bachelor, I am a believer and always have faith that love can and will triumph. I am obsessed with the show. It is my greatest guilty-pleasure, my only reality TV indulgence, and I love it. Anyway, the finale aired in the US on Monday but since we don’t get it here, I buy it on iTunes. Normally the episodes post to iTunes by Tuesday but there is always a delay with the finale so I knew I wouldn’t get it until Wednesday. When I realized that this coincided with my birthday, it was just too good. I avoided social media for a couple days then had 5 of my best girlfriends over to watch. They are the best and brought tons of goodies – as in, great champagne and wine, amazing homemade mac-&-cheese, delish salad, the best cookie dough (which was consumed uncooked, obvi), ice cream and ROSES!!! and together we learned the valuable lesson that “there is no better diet than a man leaving you confused.” I felt so known, loved, and blessed to have these incredible girlfriends – it was a perfect night.

Jana, Paige, me, Colby, Suzanna & Brett:

IMG_4347They even had cupcakes to celebrate Paige’s birthday since she had been in the US on her big day!IMG_4346

So much fun!!

On Thursday we stayed in and played with Colt, but Michael brought home my fav – sushi for dinner! DSC_0693

Friday night, Michael surprised me with opening weekend tickets to Sala São Paulo, SP’s symphony! He lined up a babysitter and took me out to dinner at this great Italian spot, Famiglia Mancini in the Centro. We don’t go out in the Centro very often (as in, never), because it’s a littttttle dicey, especially at night, but randomly there is this adorable little Italian street tucked away in there called Rua Avanhandava, filled with cute lights and good Italian restaurants. So fun.

IMG_6048 After dinner we skipped over to the symphony and, although I am no expert, it was by far my favorite symphony experience and a true São Paulo highlight. The space was gorgeous and the music was out of this world. It just, takes you away. Anyway, it was the best.IMG_6057IMG_6066On Saturday, my dear friend Paige hosted a pool-party to continue the celebrating!! We had a great lunch, swam in the pool and enjoyed the amazing, famous, Hudson ice-cream-sandwiches!! Too much fun. (Also, Mailey Jane was adorable in the tutu that Colby made her!!)
IMG_6068 1 2 3To top off the celebrations, our awesome friend Tom took Colt and me out for lunch today. Tom and I have been excited ever since Benihana opened a location very near us, but we have not been able to get either Michael or Joe on board with it so finally we just went together. There were onion volcanos, flying knives, and all of the culinary showmanship that one could hope for. It was amazing. #Whatdidyoudolastnight? IMG_6140Thanks to everyone who made 27 so much fun and so special. So far, it’s off to a great start!

After Party: SF, Campbell & Napa!

After Mike & Moira’s fabulous wedding, Michael and I stayed for another week to enjoy the place where we first lived as a married couple and our favorite city in America – maybe the world – San Francisco. Michael was able to work out of the local Jones Day offices so it made it easy for us to stay an extra week, and even though he was working, we packed the social calendar as well.

We were thankful for the generosity of our friends, the Wendts, who hosted us in their guest-quarters in the Presidio from Sunday through Wednesday – Culhane especially loved it.



I don’t have pictures of everything we did but here is some of our itinerary. Sunday we went to our old church – City Church – with Michael’s parents and grabbed lunch afterwards with some friends. Sunday evening we went to our old favorite pizza spot, Paxtis, for some serious deep dish with Matty, Jon, and my dear friend Katie who lives in SF. During the week, Michael enjoyed morning runs in the Presidio and on Monday morning he did his old favorite – Lyon St. Steps – with Jon and Chambo.


Monday night the amazing Rector family hosted us for a fabulous dinner, as always. Tuesday I got to meet Katie for lunch at my old favorite taco spot – Tacko.

IMG_5874Tuesday night we met up with a group of old SF friends. None of us had babies when Michael and I lived in SF and now there are 4 babies within 9 months of each other!IMG_4244Wednesday we were so excited to go visit Connor and Tara Lundy and meet their new little Isabelle who is adorable – I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture that evening!

Thursday, we headed south to the charming city of Campbell where Mike & Moira recently moved into a sweet new condo that they bought. It was really fun getting to see their town and their place and just to get to see them a little bit more. We had a fabulous dinner at their favorite Greek spot, Opa! and absolutely cherished our time with them Thursday and Friday.IMG_4265 Saturday, Culhane woke us up with the news that his second tooth had broken through! Yay!

That morning, on our way to Napa for the weekend, we stopped in San Francisco at Cafe Des Amis for a brunch with my dear São Paulo friend, Paige, and her friends and family. She was in San Francisco that week celebrating her birthday and we loved getting to see her and Mailey Jane. DSC_0607 IMG_4258We arrived in Napa on Saturday afternoon just in time to go straight to Cliff Lede for a tasting. Cliff Lede is the vineyard associated with the amazing Poetry Inn, where we stayed on our honeymoon, so it is a special spot to us.
DSC_0619 DSC_0621Below is a picture of us in the same spot almost 4 years ago!
IMG_0082 More at Cliff Lede:DSC_0627 DSC_0631That night we decided to try a new restaurant – R+D in Yountville and loved it!

Sunday was full of favorites. We spent almost the entire day at our favorite vineyard, Frog’s Leap. We first visited Frog’s Leap on our honeymoon and have been back at least 5 times. It’s a special place with fantastic wine, and something about it feels a little like home.
DSC_0634 DSC_0637 DSC_0653 DSC_0656 DSC_0663 IMG_4277 That evening we drove around, admiring the beauty that is the Napa Valley region.IMG_4301

Sunday night we dined at our favorite restaurant in the world — Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, and once again, the food and atmosphere totally lived up to our memories. Colt was a little all over the place during dinner – everywhere from sitting in a chair on a bumbo seat to on a blanket with toys under the table, but thankfully everyone was super nice about it.

The next morning we headed back to the airport for our flight home. We flew through Chicago and while the first leg was a little rough, it was only 3 1/2 hours and the overnight flight was much better – Culhane sleeping around 6 hours. Lucky #20 (as in, that was his TWENTIETH flight – bless his heart)!

All in all, the trip was fantastic. It felt so good to be back in a place that is so fun, beautiful and special to us, surrounded by people who we adore. It was also really neat to be able to bring Culhane with us and introduce him to more of our friends and show him the Bay Area! That being said, it was also a little tough. Teething, traveling and a 5 hour time-change are a lot to handle all at once. And, to exacerbate things, we never really sat still – we went out for almost every meal, and I was dragging Culhane around the city running errands all through the weekdays. He’s a champ though and it was totally worth it – absolutely LOVED our time back in the Bay!

Mike & Moira’s Wedding!

Michael and I had been looking forward to Mike & Moira’s wedding for a long time. They are dear friends and Culhane’s godparents, so it was very special to be there for their big day and share in the celebration of their love and joy.

We packed up and headed to the airport Wednesday night (Feb 19) so that we would get in on Thursday in plenty of time to get settled and be ready to participate in all wedding festivities. IMG_5828Culhane had been particularly difficult and fussy in the days leading up to the trip and I was pretty sure that he was teething — the timing was right and all of the symptoms were there (although he never got a fever or anything) — but you never know for sure if that’s what’s happening because most of the pain occurs while the teeth are moving up – before they necessarily break through the gums and you can see them. Anyway, due to all of this I was nervous about the flights, and sure enough our overnight flight was BRUTAL. Colt was never able to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time and I think that of the 10 hours, he was probably upset or crying for 7 of them. Thankfully the flight was pretty empty so I was never feeling too guilty for the sake of the other passengers (plus I’m pretty over that at this point). We’ve had so many easy flights in the past though that I guess we were due for a bad one — unlucky #17.IMG_5835 We flew through DC and Culhane was the only one smiling when we got there. We had a quick stop and then took to our second flight where, thankfully, he slept for the first 3 hours and then was pretty easy the last couple. Also we were able to bring our carseat onto both flights which was huge.

Even though our second flight had been better, when we landed in San Francisco Michael and I both felt (and looked) like we had just been run over. But, as we drove into San Francisco it felt so amazing to be back in our favorite city so we rallied and decided to go directly to our favorite brunch spot near our old apartment — Serpentine.

IMG_4204 Colt gave us a break and slept through our brunch and after the amazing food and coffee, we felt refreshed and reenergized. After brunch we drove around our old neighborhood and marveled at all of the new construction in the area. Then we drove down the Embarcadero, past the Ferry Building, and finally up to the Presidio where we checked in at the fabulous Inn at the Presidio. We got settled and then cozied up at the Inn’s patio / fire-pit for some delish wine & cheese with the bride, groom and some friends.IMG_4206

The next morning Colt was excited to make lots of new friends and also see his Nana & Papa Harper who flew in for the weekend to help!

Jon Lennon – an unexpected natural.IMG_4218The guys spent most of Friday on the golf course enjoying the beautiful weather.
IMG_4213 DSC_0325 The Rehearsal Dinner Friday night was held at Park Tavern and Mike & Mo even had caipirinhas on the menu! After an evening of great food and lovely toasts to the happy couple, we went out for more fun and drinks at Savoy Tivoli.IMG_5851On Saturday — the morning of the big day — we awoke to Culhane’s first tooth popping through! We had been pretty confident that he was teething and started to see white on Friday, but Saturday is the day that it finally came through!

That morning, Michael and his dad took off early to set up the “Best Man Bar at Baker Beach” for the “Baker Beach Bro Bomb with the Bridegroom.” Although the water was, of course, freezing for the plunge, the day was about as beautiful as it could have been and the guys had a great time being idiots. IMG_4231 DSC_0391 DSC_0400 DSC_0418 DSC_0449 DSC_0485Saturday evening we all gathered at the Chapel of our Lady for an absolutely beautiful wedding ceremony. I wish I could say that I totally enjoyed it, but I was actually pretty nervous the whole time as Mike & Moira had kindly decided to have Culhane act as the Ring Bearer. Originally this was to be in-writing only and he wasn’t even going to go to the service, but Moira decided that it would be fun to have him come up during the blessing of the rings. I thought that it was an adorable idea but of course I was terrified that he would scream and I would have the baby who ruined the wedding. Thankfully Mike and Moira are pretty laid back and Culhane was pretty good so we all survived. And Colt loved showing off the tuxedo that his godparents had given him!
DSC_0517 DSC_0535 DSC_0536The beautiful, happy couple!
premandmAfter the wedding, an awesome bag-piper led the guests from the ceremony to the reception at the Golden Gate Club.
DSC_0556 DSC_0547 The dinner was delicious and the reception was tons of fun, but Michael (and I) couldn’t fully enjoy it until after dessert when he gave his Best Man toast. He captivated the crowd for a solid 12 1/2 minutes, recounting funny memories and sharing his adoration for Mike & Mo. DSC_0567 Once that was over, we loosened up a little and reeeally started to enjoy the party. DSC_0582 DSC_0590 DSC_0597 DSC_0588I don’t have any pictures of the after-party at the bowling alley but suffice it to say that the night and the entire weekend was perfect. Thank you for including us!!

Up Next: Part 2 of our trip – SF, Campbell and Napa!