Hayes Valley

Mark Twain once said that "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco", well I think that he forgot the second part, which is that winter in San Francisco (or California in general) can often times feel like summer. A few weekends ago we celebrated my last birthday of my twenties (ahhh!) by spending a gorgeous sunny San Francisco day in the Hayes Valley.
I have been coming to this SF neighborhood since I was in high school with my parents and we attended the neighborhood painting studios open house week. That time we got to visit artist in their homes and ever since then I was hooked on this pretty little section of the city.

For my birthday, we started with a delicious lunch at La Boulange Bakery on Hayes Street. They have a great selection of open faced sandwiches and salads and one of the best kids menu I have ever experienced. And on a beautiful day, they have plenty of outside seating. Afterwards, once we had fueled up, we walked along Hayes Street and window shopped. Some of my favorites on this street include Fiddlesticks for baby/toddler clothing and toy inspiration, Azalea for myself (where I scored a cute dress on major sale and eyed some Catbird NYC rings), Rand and Statler for day dreaming about the 3.1 Philip Lim mini Pashli bag, Steven Alan to oggle at their Clare V. clutches and totes and VerUnica for some vintage browsing.

After all that store browsing, it was time for a break and a refuel. We walked back to Proxy SF, which is a big lot (on the corner of Octavia and Hayes streets) that features rotating food vendors in different semi-permanent structures. I was immediately drawn to the cute Juice Shop truck. I am trying to be better about my eating habits this year and juicing is something that I have been looking into. Although I could never follow an actual juice cleanse, I do enjoy the concept of drinking my fruits and veggies. The truck offers all of their juices for sale and it was just too cute to pass up. The one I tried was the Pineapple Pear and Chia Seed juice....which sounds (and looked) like a weird combination, but trust me it was deliciously sweet! The rest of my little family however, opted out of the juice truck and headed straight to the ice cream and coffee.

Smitten ice cream is worth their hype and even waiting in line for, but fortunately for us there was no line that day so we got our fix pretty quickly. But you know what did have a ridiculous line? The Blue Bottle Coffee (their original location) down Linden Street. We have waited in line for Blue Bottle before and it is very very good, but this line was just too long! So instead we had Ritual Coffee which is equally good (in my opinion...coffee connoisseurs out there don't judge me).

The best part however, was watching our baby O conquer the play structure on Patricia's Green. This park along Octavia Street has plenty of benches, picnic tables and grass space, but the real deal is the rope/ climbing dome at the end. Before I knew it, our baby girl (who's not so baby anymore!) was climbing almost to the top of the structure. Since climbing is not her strong point I was incredibly stressed about the whole thing, but I had to hide all my mommy fears so that she wouldn't be nervous. But her little face when she got to the top was so sweet. Definitely one of the best birthdays in my book!