Or should I say good afternoon.
Or should I say good afternoon.
This mamma just landed from Miami (yes, it's been that kind of a week), where I had the most exquisite culinary and visual arts experience. I'll tell you all about it soon, I promise.
For now, I wanted to share with you some recent memories at the Nikko hotel. Really, I can't believe that it's been a mere week since we stayed there.... feels like a lifetime ago!
We came through the Nikko, via Wellington, New Zealand, via Auckland, New Zealand (where I also had a fabulous gourmet memory at Clooney, see here). At any rate, we were a bit travel weary at this stage, as you can imagine. Three hours domestic, followed by a transfer, and then an international ten-plus hours of flying. Oh the horror! Throw into this mix some bad weather, a bus delay or two, a tired babe, cranky parents, and (would you believe?)... even a lost car seat at baggage claim. Yes, it's fair to say that we were all in desperate need of rest and relaxation by the time we arrived in San Francisco.
Given all of the above-mentioned string of misfortunes, you can only imagine how absolutely relieved we were to step inside the zen-like surroundings of the Nikko Hotel in downtown San Francisco, truly a gem.
Hubby and I had first came here back in 2005 when we began dating (more than a decade ago!), we were charmed by its decor and also loved the location, along with the pool factor (did you know that indoor pools are extremely difficult to come by in San Francisco?! I still haven't quite figured out why).
This time around, of course, we had our little man with us, which made the experience all the more adventurous. Early check-in? Not a problem! Crib in room? Done. (We were also upgraded to a higher view and a bigger room -- much more spacious, in fact, than our first time here!! Where I basically had a spacial experience akin to "Lost in Translation"). Of course the little Nuke was super thrilled to explore and run around. Everything was brand new again!!! He kept pointing to different things throughout the hotel while asking "New Home? New Home??".
Not so adorable though, when your two year old toddler decides to take out all of the vodka from the hotel mini-bar (particularly as it's motion-sensored). Such is the pleasure of traveling with a rambunctious munchkin!! Oh, but not to worry, the Nikko were kind enough to not charge us for all that liquor moved by those grubby little hands. Disaster averted!
Happy (almost) Fourth of July! We’re currently en route to the East End of Long Island, as we speak, excited to spend the long weekend in the vineyards of North Folk – think delicious wine and lobster-rolls in style!
Speaking of wonderful seafood fare, I’ve got oysters on my mind lately… I mean really, shouldn’t oysters and a glass of rosé be a requisite combo for any given summer? These photos were taken from my recent trip to the Rosewood Sand Hill – where my bestie and I indulged in a scrumptious lunch at the Michelin-starred Madera restaurant on property, right before I flew back to NYC (begrudgingly, might I add).
The hotel itself is absolutely stunning and super eco-chic, super popular with the local VC and tech crowd (more on this later). The Madera restaurant overlooks the spectacular pool of the Rosewood Sand Hill, and when it gets a tad too steamy – there’s actually electric shades that come down for us diners out on the balcony (lovely!). The food was absolutely fantastic (we especially appreciated the seafood and devil’s egg). Every mouthful was savory, replete with fresh local ingredients; this is the real thing.
My only lament was that we couldn’t stay for dinner due to my flight schedule. I can certainly appreciate why folks living in the Palo Alto/ Menlo Park locales would dine here on the regular, I’m obsessed myself!
I was treated to a rare live-performance feat this Saturday when my West Coast bestie invited me to his annual work event/ live concert, held inside the AT&T Ball Park.
Not only is it always nice to spend a day outdoors grooving to live music and dancing (weather could have been just 5-10 degrees warmer, but that’s San Francisco for ya!), but when else do you get bestowed with an awesome line-up that include both the Foo Fighters and Usher?! (Talk about eclectic music styles). I’ve never seen either perform live (though hubby has been to a Foo Fighter concert a few years back and absolutely LOVED it. Needless to say, he was a bit jealous when I shared the news, but what can you do!).
Personally, I think that Usher’s style and swagger translates better on stage – chalk it up to that synchronized choreography of his! But really, this East Coast birdie was happy to be witness to both performances!!!
Oh, and if I told you that the entire stadium was simply teeming with free food and beverages… would you hate me? It really was like an adult summer wonderland inside that stadium!
Well hey there! What’s a year without a trip back to the West Coast? I always feel a sense of calm and belonging whenever I’m in SF, maybe because I can legitimately call this place my second home now.
This time it’ll be in and out for moi (what’s different), with a packed itinerary (including a little visit to the Rosewood Sandhill, with a table at the Rosewood Madera!), and I am super stoked!! Looking forward to a weekend of fun, great food, dancing, beautiful scenery, and most important of all – love and laughter with my darling friends! Below are some photos of us post arrival (straight from the airport, tucking into the rose, and dining at nearby MKT at the Four Seasons, yum yum yum).
Shirt: Helmut Lang (last seen here) | Jacket: Helmut Lang Quarry Suiting Blazer | Leggings: ASOS Maternity | Flats: Melissa Campana | Hat: Calypso St. Barth (last seen here) | Scarf: Ready to Fish (last seen here) | Necklace: Banana Republic | Earrings: From my travels to DC
One more look of my 30th week before I kick off the eighth month! This one from our recent excursion to Muir Woods, which we did with the excellent folks at Extranomical Tours. (For some additional vignettes of our quick jaunt to San Francisco, find me on Instagram, @rockshic!).
We were flipping through “The Pregnancy Journal” tonight, and I can’t believe that as of tomorrow, we only have 69 days to go! (Doesn’t sound like very much when you break it down in terms of days, does it).
Of course, the first thing hubby said to me when I donned this ensemble was, “are you sure you want to wear a white blazer?”
Yes, yes, and yes!
At this stage in my pregnancy – I’m beginning to think that perhaps separates are the way to go. It is almost as if I went full circle since my first trimester. This Helmut Lang number is a new acquisition from the recent Clothingline Sample Sale (now is a particularly dangerous time for sample sales!), and I am in LOVE. See my collection of Helmut Lang maternity blazers here.
I am also digging my maternity tribal-print leggings from Asos. It’s a bit much for the office, but perfect for a day-trip to the forest!
It seems like a distant memory now, but only three days ago – hubby and I were basking in a lap of luxury at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco. I’m a big fan of bespoke boutique hotels, so for me, the Huntington was the perfect find, as it exuded the ideal mix of intimacy, charm, and serenity.
Situated atop Nob Hill, the location instilled in me an instant sense of calm (unlike most of my hotel experiences in SF, which comprised of the bustling streets of Union Square and Financial District). Of course, the fact that the hotel was right across from the street from Grace Cathedral & the lovely Huntington Park, not to mention a stone’s throw from the Fairmont & Intercontinental (which boasts the lovely Top of the Mark) didn’t hurt either.
Hubby may have made some snarky comments about rolling his seven-months pregnant wife (c’est moi) down the hill (surrounding streets were quite steep, after all) – though that turned out to be rather unnecessary, as the hotel even offered complimentary chauffer services to nearby environs!
The crowing jewel of the experience, apart from our classically designed suite with a beautiful view of downtown San Francisco, was the hotel’s pool and spa facilities (also known as the Nob Hill Spa), complimentary to all hotel guests, of course. What a winning touch – to juxtapose the Huntington’s sophisticated & old-world décor with the modernity of a sleek and swanky spa!
To my knowledge, the Huntington boasts one of the nicest indoor pools in the entire city – and lucky for us it was right downstairs. Believe me when I say that we utilized it well, and spent much our downtime frolicking in the infinity pool and lounging on the balcony!!! It was definitely a highlight of the trip, and made me one happy preggy lady.
In addition to touring the wine country during our San Francisco trip, we also paid a visit to the famed Muir Woods – the 295-acre site of California giant redwood just half an hour north of the city. This particular place has been on my lust list for quite some time now, and I can’t really articulate the exact reasons why. There’s just something about the beautiful red oak, the tranquil forest, and the beguiling setting that simply spoke to me. What could be more soothing and calming?
In fact, the last time I visited San Francisco in April, I had wanted to come here. Sadly (and perhaps ironically) my girlfriend and I got horribly lost somewhere on Lombard street in the late afternoon – whereupon we gave up, and went shopping in the Mission instead.
Looking back, it was lucky that we did! Divine intervention I call it.
The best time to see the woods is early in the morning (we arrived around 9am), so as to beat the crowds and the impossible parking situation (which I’m sure my girlfriend and I would have encountered). There’s also nothing more relaxing and divine than to find yourself (nearly) alone amidst some of the oldest living things on the planet. By the time hubby and I left the park, it would have taken half an hour just to walk from the faraway parking sites to the entrance of Muir Woods. Say no to that!
Of course, being 30 weeks pregnant, we opted not to do any crazy hikes, and went for the man-made path instead (very preggy friendly indeed). Even so, I would venture to say that this is probably one of the more active things I’ll do during my third trimester! Well, apart from giving birth I suppose.
Similar to our wine-touring experience, we did Muir Woods with the lovely folks over at Extranomical tours, with Mark, our extremely knowledgeable guide. I highly recommend taking this approach, since navigating the steep hills to the park is no small feat. My only lament is that we didn’t stay longer – but there is always next time!!!
Shirt Dress: Kimchi Blue Sabrina Shirtdress by Urban Outfitters | Shawl: BCBG | Shoes: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Ranali (176 Bowery Street), last see here | Hat: Azalea Boutique, last seen here | Bracelets: Clobba Castro (587 Castro St) | Ring: From my travels to Portugal
Here are some photos from our little wine tour of Napa Valley and Sonoma yesterday (a little sip here and there was fine for me!). It was the perfect afternoon for the tour, which we did with the lovely folks at Extranomical. Here we are at the Madonna Estate in Napa, I like their no-frills approach to wine. “If you like it, you like it – cut out all pretenses to wine” said our knowledgeable guide.
As I’m progressively getting bigger, I’ve been digging these shirtdresses lately (see a similar polka-dot version here) – tied either with a thin belt or a pretty little bow (I borrowed this one from a previous outfit). Patterns a must… and I’ve fully learned to embrace the bump at this point!!!
Anita Blazer: Azalea Boutique (from San Francisco) | Dress: Derek Lam for Designation (last featured here) | Necklace: Banana Republic | Earrings: Gifted | Bracelets: Vintage mix | Sunglasses: Kate Spade | Shoes: Earthies Syriana (from Soula Shoes in Brooklyn, last seen here) | Stockings: TopShop Maternity | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff
My last day in SF was captured by beautiful blue skies, a lovely stroll by the water, and a nice intimate luncheon at the St. Francis Yacht Club by the Marina. Oh, and you can’t beat the view! Really, a girl couldn’t have asked for more!
I knew in the morning that I wanted to wear my new striped Anita blazer, which I purchased at a boutique on Hayes street called Azalea (mental note – must go back!! For more on my favorite shops in the Hayes, see here). Luckily, I also packed with me this printed Derek Lam for Designation shift dress (very preggo friendly indeed), which I thought made such a fun combination with my new black & white acquisition. Personally, I love the idea of shopping while traveling on holiday. It may not be the most practical thing, but there’s something so terrifically leisurely and sentimental about the entire experience that you just can’t quite replicate back home.
Saturday night, I also happened to experience my first bout of mommy-related sickness (first trimester notwithstanding – though really, I was lucky to have been spared serious nausea and morning sickness even then). Sadly, my extended physical discomfort meant that I had to cancel my fabulous and much-anticipated evening plans. I attribute it to a case of over-zealous eating while in San Fran (who could blame me?). However, it was enough to remind me to take a deep breath and slow down. After all, I am almost six-months along!
Based in Manhattan's Lower East Side, Rock Shic is an excerpt taken from my personal lookbook of real people around the world. It is a combination of aesthetics, fashion, lifestyle, and travel. I also offer personalized Lookbook Consulting and Styling upon request. Please contact me at rockshic (at) gmail (dot) com. Services include: Wardrobe Analysis, Closet Organization, and Personal Shopping.