Grammies visit to SF!

What a treat and an honor!  My amazing grandparents flew all the way across the country from Chapin, South Carolina, to spend time with Michael and me and get a glimpse into what our life is like in San Francisco.  We had such a fabulous time, but there were a few bumps along the way.

First of all, Nanny & Papa planned their trip to ensure that they would not miss the birth of their first great-grandchild.  Suzanne was due November 3rd so they definitely wanted to be back in SC by this weekend.   Well, as you can see by my previous post, the beautiful Augusta Clare was born early and they had hardly landed in San Francisco when they got the news.  So, the first photo of the trip is of their Friday morning visit to my office — we put a picture of Augusta Clare on my computer in the background.  🙂

Friday night: Dinner at Jardiniere - this is where Michael and I had dinner the night we got engaged!

Papa checking out the fancy bar at Jardiniere

Saturday: Napa! 1st stop - Domaine Carneros - known for their sparkling wine

Saturday: 2nd stop - Frog's Leap vineyard - the weather was gorgeous!

Saturday: 3rd stop - Lunch at our favorite restaurant in the world - Bottega!

Michael and Papa outside Bottega - always supporting Clemson!

Sunday: After church walking around Filmore St. while Papa got his foot examined at the ER!

Sunday night: Dinner at the Harper household. Papa keeping his injured foot propped up. Self-timer photo!

Monday night: Dinner at local favorite, Zuppa, for delish pizzas

Tuesday afternoon: SF city tour stopping by Palace of Fine Arts

There were so many more photos but this will have to do for now.  We miss you already Nanny & Papa!!!  Thanks for visiting!

Surprise! Happy Birthday Michael!

On Friday, September 9, Michael turned 29!  Michael loves a good surprise so this year I kept all plans a secret.  I found it incredibly stressful but I think that Michael found it incredibly fun, which makes it alllll worth it.

Friday morning started with breakfast-in-bed.  This is a long-standing Harper tradition so it wasn’t a total shock, but what I made was the surprise.  Swedish Pancakes!  Although this was Michael’s favorite breakfast growing up, we have never made it at home so he was totally surprised.  They weren’t the prettiest in the world, but they tasted good.

Swedish pancakes, fruit, coffee, juice

Later in the day we met up for lunch at San Francisco’s “hottest” new restaurant (#1 on the Eater SF “heat map”), Cotogna.

We had both been eager to check it out and it did not disappoint.  The pasta dishes were a-mazing.  Definitely want to go back.


After work I rushed home and decorated the house with streamers and balloons.  When Michael got home he had a gift on the coffee table and inside was a Giants t-shirt and 2 tickets to the game that night.  I said, “Surprise!  We’re going to the Giants game!”  We’re a 5 minute walk to the stadium so we headed over to the game.  As we were walking up to our seats I kept talking to Michael so that he was distracted.  Then, once we were closer, the whole group of friends who met us there jumped up and shouted “Happy Birthday!” as they threw confetti and blew party horns.  That was one of my favorite moments of the night.

The next surprise of the night came right after the 5th inning.  The Harper family got Michael a “Happy Birthday” scoreboard message WITH a photo!  It was awesome!

We celebrated and sang to him over Julie’s AMAZING brownies and as we sang the entire section joined in.  All in all, we had such a great time — thank you to all the friends who came!  And BIG thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Harper who treated the crew to a round of food & drinks!

After the game a group of us headed over to 21st Amendment for some post-game beers.  (Funny enough, 21st Amendment was on the Bar-Crawl agenda for Michael’s 28th birthday last year.)

Next up was a little bit of a wildcard…we went to a club called “Harlet.”  Harlet turned out to be pretty hilarious and really fun as we took over their VIP section and had an amazing dance party. (I’m still not sure why they didn’t throw us out.)

Needless to say it was an incredible night celebrating the most incredible man on earth.  🙂

Monday in Pt. Reyes!

This is the final post in my 4 part series of Labor Day Weekend posts.  ha.  But picking up where we left off…

On late Sunday afternoon Michael and I headed from lunch at Bottega in Napa to check out Pt. Reyes.  It was a beautiful drive full of rolling hills filled with lots of cows (no wonder they make such great cheese in Pt. Reyes!) so we took a few detours along the way.  When we finally arrived we headed straight for hotel and I fell asleep for a good 30 minutes.  Wine throughout the day can make one sleepy.  Then we headed out for dinner.  We were a little late and most of the town was closing up, but luckily we found a funny little Czech place that was still open so we enjoyed a unique, authentic meal at Vladimir’s.

The next morning we got up and headed straight for breakfast at The Station House.  Once we were fully stuffed, Michael and I explored the town a little and then headed out for a hike.  Julie & Brendon Manwaring are Pt. Reyes experts (I think they love Pt. Reyes like I love Napa) so they tipped us off to a fantastic hiking trail.
The hike was about 2 miles each way and was beyond beautiful, taking us through forests to rolling hills and eventually it spit us out on the beach!  It was awesome!

Michael is a skilled jumper.

I am not so skilled...

By then we were exhausted and just made one final stop at the famous Cowgirl Creamery to pick up some cheese, then headed home sweet home.  🙂

Sunday in Napa

So this is part 3 of 4 of my Labor Day Weekend series of posts.  🙂  In true Harper style, we packed a lot in!

On Sunday we headed up to one of my FAVORITE places in the entire world…Napa Valley.  My heart is just happy in Napa.  My entire being is happy in Napa.  Part of the reason I have such a love for Napa mightbe because this is where Michael and I honeymooned.  But honestly, it is so incredible I think I would feel this way no matter what.

Our first stop was for a tasting at Duckhorn Vineyard.  The setting was gorgeous and all of the wine was amazing, but one Cab stood out to us among the rest so we took home a bottle of the Monitor Ledge for a special occasion.

Next stop was at Alpha Omega.  They had a delicious and very unique rosé that we picked up but possibly their most memorable wine was a chardonnay that seriously tasted like cream soda.  Wine is so funny.

After Alpha Omega we headed to our FAVORITE restaurant in all the world…Bottega!  Michael and I first went to Bottega on the first night on our honeymoon.  Two of Michael’s friends had gotten us dinner there as a wedding gift (thank you Mike & Matty!) and it turned out to be so incredible that we go back as often as we can.  (We even ordered those cups you see in the photo – ha!)

Then we were off to Pt. Reyes!  More on that in the next post.  Cheers!

Yoga & A Shrimp Dump

Sitting here at the close of another Labor Day weekend and I’m wondering if it isn’t one of my favorite holidays.  There is never anything that you have to do over Labor Day, so you have tons of freedom to fill it with whatever your heart desires.  We filled ours with a lot – starting with the Friday night fun I already posted about – so let me tell you about Saturday.

Saturday started with a major adventure — my first EVER Yoga class!!  Somewhere between the drinks and the Super Mario Brothers on Friday night, Leah and I decided that we should go to a yoga class on Saturday morning.  Now, I am not much for working out, I’ve never done yoga, and my typical Saturdays include sleeping in and staying in bed until 10am, then slowly moving to the couch to enjoy some coffee and breakfast (likely that Michael prepared after he completed a jog or some other workout) and watching Saturday TV until 2pm.  And you know what?  I LIKE that!  But this Saturday was different.  Leah and I had made a commitment and so we went.  We checked out a spot not too far from us – Satori Yoga – and took an hour and a half general yoga class.

Now, I’m still trying to figure out if I like Yoga or not, but  I can tell you a couple things: 1) an hour and a half is too long – especially for your first time!  2) it was much more difficult than I expected, and  3) I’m still sore!  What I really like about yoga though, is that it is a workout that kind of sneaks itself in.  I want to be healthy but I don’t like to feel like I’m working out, so yoga seems like a great solution.

OK, so back to the Saturday fun.  Yoga was followed up with an amazing night of filled with fabulous friends and a Shrimp Dump!  I grew up calling this a “Shrimp Boil” or a “Low Country Boil,” but “Shrimp Dump” is fun, and pretty accurate, so we’re going with that.

Julie & Nathan Aleman’s have the CUTEST little back yard/garden area which was perfect for the dump so they were gracious enough to host 4 other couples over.  All of the girls are in my Bible study group but it was fun to get to hang out with their spouses too.  Attendees included (in order from Left to Right): Julie & Brendon Manwaring (front), Sean & Courtney Cox (it’s her married name),  me & Michael Harper, Laura & Daniel Zimmerman and Julie & Nathan Aleman!

The food was DELICIOUS — shrimp, potatoes, sweet corn on the cob, sausage and great spices.  Cooked together then dumped on newspaper.


Friday Fun in SoMa

Michael and I went out last night in our neighborhood, SOMA, which stands for South of Market (Street).  We went out with Leah, a good friend and former classmate of Michael’s at Georgetown who is now also practicing law in San Francisco.  Leah also lives in SOMA so it was fun to grab dinner and drinks in the neighborhood, all within a 20 minute walk from our apartment.

The night started at Orson for a cocktail.  The chef at Orson, Elizabeth Faulkner, was on Top Chef!  The restaurant space is a newly renovated old warehouse and they project old movies on the wall behind the bar!

Then we headed to Zuppa for a fabulous meal of prosciutto, muscles, deep pasta dishes and beautiful pizza!  Finally, we ended the evening at Bar Baisc with a final beverage and a little 1987 style Mario Brothers Nintendo!


Monday Nights Are Fun!

Culinary explorations for the evening included:

Strawberry Soup.  Michael liked it…


Followed by whole grain couscous, summer button squash and grilled turkey breasts.  It may look funny but it tasted great!

Paired with sparkling water and a little white wine.  🙂