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!

Farewell San Francisco…

It makes me sad just writing the title of this post, but alas, Michael and I have packed our bags and said “Farewell” to the beautiful City by the Bay.

It was a crazy final week in San Francisco.  After ringing in the New Year, we had lots of tasks to accomplish, and on Tuesday, somewhere between running errands and packing things up I had my first minor freak-out session.  Michael was at work so I was at home by myself and it was like all of the sudden I realized what we were doing – that we were leaving behind my favorite city that I’ve ever lived in, leaving our little apartment where we began our married life, saying “goodbye” to amazing friends that are once-in-a-lifetime kind of friends, and moving to a country to which I have never been, where they speak a language that I don’t speak, where who knows if I’ll be able to get a real job…it was all a little overwhelming!  But I think those are normal feelings to feel, normal thoughts to be having, right???  Michael was great – so patient with me and assured me that I was completely valid in feeling those things and he reminded me that we would be doing this move together – every step of the way.  So, what else do you do but keep moving forward??

We had a long day Wednesday getting ready for the movers to arrive on Thursday so we treated ourselves to a quick dinner out to…our favorite Brazilian restaurant, Canto do Brasil!  It was a fun little date and Michael did all of the ordering in Portuguese.

At Canto do Brasil (looking a little grimy from working all day)

Thursday morning the movers showed up around 9am and got after it.  I’ll write more later about how we are actually moving and shipping everything but suffice it to say that I was very thankful not to have to pack it all myself.  Thursday night was our last night in our apartment so Michael and I popped a bottle of champagne and toasted our wonderful, sweet, 751 sq. ft., first home together.

To an amazing first 1 year and 9 months of marriage in Apartment 505! 🙂

That night we grabbed a drink with our dear friend Leah at an old favorite, local spot, District, for a glass of wine and a goodbye.

Friday morning Michael and I ran a couple of last minute errands.  Our first-stop was the Police Station to get a letter of good-conduct that we will need to pick up our visas.  Next we dropped off a load at Goodwill before heading back home as the movers returned to finish packing us up.  Things moved quickly and I basically just tried to stay out of their way as all of our belongings made their way into 133 brown boxes…

Our boxes lined the hallways.

The movers finished up around 1pm and Michael and I headed straight to our favorite local lunch/brunch spot, Serpentine.  (If you’re in SF and you’ve never been – check it out!)  It was just as good as always and then we were off to finish some last minute errands before we grabbed our bags and headed to the hotel.  We stayed at the fabulous Hotel Drisco and appreciated even more our incredible view of the city.

Friday night Michael and I got dinner nearby at Nopalito with our very dear friends Mike & Moira and Troy & Christie.  Food was amazing and the company was perfect.

Last meal in SF at Nopalito with the crew. We miss you guys already!!

Then we grabbed drinks at Lion Pub and eventually said our goodbyes.  It is always hard to leave friends but I do think there is something a little less-sad when leaving true, close friends, as you know they will always be in your life.

So, on Saturday morning it was with sad yet thankful and excited hearts that we said goodbye to San Francisco.

(Right now we’re in Phoenix as we await our visa confirmation but more on all that soon!!)

Welcome to 2012!

Michael and I returned to San Francisco for one final week to get moved out of our apartment and to kick off the new year with some of our dearest friends.

We started the night off with appetizers and mint juleps at Christie & Troy’s apartment.  It was great to see Christie since she has been traveling the world for Facebook lately and we’ve missed her around the city.

After some quality catch-up time with the Bienemanns, we cabbed over to La Mar on the Embarcadero to meet up with the rest of the crew for the New Years spectacular.  The night was filled with fabulous ceviche, pisco sours, and other Peruvian specialties, a plethora of New Years toasts that all were required by Mike Saign to give excited to give, an incredible fireworks show over the water, a less incredible DJ, and of course, lots of laughs and memories.  Here is a quick look at our evening…

Starting off the night toasting Pisco Sours - w/ Christie!

Across the table -- Reed, Michael, Troy -- the night still so young

Troy & Mike!

Giving the toast of my life

The other end of the table... Elliot, Sheila, Cope

Heading outside to count down

Mike & Moira -- "All you need is love"

The first photo of 2012!!! With the love of my life. 🙂

Happy 2012 everyone!  It’s sure to be an amazing year!!

Rose-y Romance

Michael went to Ecuador last week and brought me back a little surprise…
2 Dozen Roses from the Rain Forest in Ecuador!!!  ummmmmazing!!!!

He traveled with them packed tightly in a box — apparently they had to be shaken in customs to check for bugs.  🙂

And here they are almost a week later – huge blooms, a little antique looking, and just BEAUTIFUL!

Thanks Michael!!

The 2nd Annual…

HARPER HOLIDAY HOORAH (& “Farewell, We’re Moving to Brazil!”) Party was this past Saturday.  It was a wonderful gathering of great friends, tasty treats, and lots of Christmas cheer.

One of the major highlights of the party is the gift exchange that is always full of surprises and hilarity.

Julie and Brendon with the legendary Shake Weight! Obviously this was quickly stolen away.

          Leah excited about her cushion massager


Michael Patrick Saign receiving applause from the crowd as he takes his ICE like a champ!


Some of Michael's "guys group" including DP, Sean, Brendon, Ethan, Harper (in his "festive-host scarf") and Thomas

Michael & me hanging out by the fire at the end of the night. Please note I am sporting the fabulous Santa earrings made by the one and only Clare Fincher of "I-D-Clare" -- thanks Nan! 🙂

All night I couldn’t stop looking around at all of our friends and thinking how blessed our time in San Francisco has been.  I am so thankful to God for the incredible people who He has put in our lives and for the amazing experiences we have had living here.  Although it is going to be very difficult to leave all that we have here, I pray and trust that God is preparing the path ahead of us as we soon open a new chapter and embark on a new journey.

Congratulations Erin & Pat!

Two of Michael’s great friends who he grew up with in Phoenix got married last weekend (Nov 12) in San Francisco (very convenient for us!).  Erin and Pat are an absolutely beautiful couple and they had a sweet ceremony at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral followed by a FUN reception at the Westin St. Francis complete with 360 degree views of San Francisco, stick-on mustaches for everyone and a “Which Table is the Best” competition that sprung up organically after our table, The Amazing Table 2, performed an unforgettable, impromptu, magical act in the middle of the dance floor during dinner.  It’s difficult to put Table 2’s performance into words, but I will say it included a very cute baby wearing a sweater-vest and a stick-on mustache being raised up (think “The Lion King”) from the center of a circle of Table 2’ers to cheers from the crowd who couldn’t believe their eyes.  After our ground-breaking act, other tables quickly tried to pull something together.  There turned out to be quite the variety of “performances” but the only one that really fell flat was the group of guys who chose to sit Erin in the middle of the room and, while on bended knee, serenade her with the tune, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”  They really underestimated how slow and drawn out that song is…

All that’s to say, we had an awesome weekend celebrating Erin & Pat.  Here’s to a long and happy marriage and lots of fun times ahead!

Table 2, what up?


All the boys and the beautiful bride