Monday, November 16, 2015

Thoughts on Paris and a San Francisco Overnighter

I almost didn't publish this post. I wrote this last week and was all set to share when the Paris tragedy struck. It's hard to share fun times when so many are suffering. Paris is dear to me and so many others who have had the luck to enjoy it's charms. Somehow, an attack on Paris feels like an attack on us all. I feel so useless to help, but after reading many others posts, I have concluded one thing, that we cannot let these people put terror in our hearts.

 I find Martin Luther King's 'Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,' quote so comforting in times like this. Hate only begets more hate and it's what these people want. I just hope that out of this sad tragedy an even stronger bond with France, Europe, and the sane people of this world will form. Our love for our fellow man shows so much during these situations and it gives hope. We can and will eventually overcome these terrorists. We have to believe that. There's too many good people on this planet. We will win. It's all we have. In the meantime, I'm keeping all those in Paris in my heart.

So now some fluff..
Last week, I made a quick 24 hour escape up to San Francisco with two dear pals. It was a chance to get together before the holidays and check out some favorite spots in the city. Hitting some of the shops and gazing at the windows is always a treat even if it's a quick trip.

How fabulous is this? Wilkes Bashford is another SF institution. This dress! 

Right now Union Square is a total mess. They are currently extending the underground path of the Muni and it seems they will never finish...

You can see the tree is up, but it's surrounded by this disaster!

 However we persevered and made it to Neimans for lunch, bought some shoes, and later ventured to the Last Call store on Market.

Do I have fun friends or what? Barb and Jeanne test driving some over-sized glasses!

Last Call is the Neiman's outlet and it was worth the walk a bit away from the square. I bought some Joe's jeans, a chambray shirt, a wonderful warm winter scarf that is super soft.. Love them. Funny all of them were a wine or grey tone and went together beautifully. I didn't even plan it.

Also on our list was Gumps. I love this San Francisco institution especially at the holidays with their seasonal shop and fun gifts. The holiday windows weren't up yet, but they were still pretty.

Stylish Jeanne and the windows at Gumps.

Nothing beats a trip to Gumps for lifting the spirits and inspiring your imagination. They have the most wonderful distinctive items.

How about a Chinoiserie pumpkin??

Love the San Francisco scenes in these original oils.

I found a few perfect gifts in their holiday area already wrapped and ready for giving. Love that. I also nosed around the apothecary area which has some fabulous lines I've never seen. You can buy Santa Maria Novella products from the famous Florence perfumery here too.

Check out these Christmas trees. This one was made entirely of Mickey Mouse watches and for $2,500 could be the perfect gift for a lucky Mickey fan. (Yes that's the right price!)

The silver tree made of vintage jewelry was my favorite. All of these trees were on the thousand dollar range!! Wow. Of course I was wondering if I could make one myself...

Gumps had some of the best ornaments... 

Downton Abbey fans! 

Loved the Grandfather Clocks!

They do have some affordable gifts. I found plenty under $30 wrapped that I would be thrilled with. A few were a bit more. 

This faux tortoise clock was chic!

So many treasures here. Don't miss Gumps if you visit San Francisco and especially at the holidays. I hope to get back up and share the holiday windows with you.

Our girls getaway was a treat. We stayed at The Grand Hyatt, which I hadn't before and it was modern and pretty. The views in the city are always amazing at night at San Francisco's high-rise hotels.

They brought a disco ball for me and some awesome disco music!

Jeanne and I in the lobby in front of one of the art installations currently on show.

Our hotel had a cute little board  in the lobby where you could post velcro backed wooden hearts with where you left your heart on this SF trip. Sweet idea I thought.

That night the girls surprised me with birthday dinner at a El Mansour, a Moroccan restaurant with belly-dancing.

It was gorgeous! I had no idea what to expect. You sat on low couches and had many courses of the most delicious food.

The belly-dancer was fun and yikes they made me dance! Let's hope all evidence of this is destroyed. :o The evening ended with yummy deep fried bananas and fragrant mint tea. I loved the hand washing and the rose water they sprinkled on our hands at the end. The smell stayed with me the whole night and I was enchanted! I highly recommend El Mansour if you are looking for a special place to celebrate with friends. Great service too. I loved it and will never forget it.

The next morning we had breakfast at one of my favorite spots, Café de la Presse, a French bistro near Union Square with great atmosphere, super breakfasts and a newsstand with international magazines and papers.

Barb and I clearly look as though we are in different climates...She in Malibu, me ready for snow apparently. Lol. I so think fall is the perfect time to visit San Francisco!

It's cold today in California. Yay! I'm wearing wool, boots and big scarf today finally.

I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year as I always do. I'm planning to go away for a few days, so I haven't brainstormed any new table ideas. I just can't host this year with my mom gone. I don't have the heart. Maybe next year I'll feel like doing it again. If you want a few ideas, here's my last year's menu and table, and my 2013 table. I will post more ideas later this week for those who are hosting. 


photos NorthernCalStyle


  1. Gimps is on my list of stores to visit! I agree about Paris. Only love can drive out hate and there is much we can do about terrorism besides bombing the heck out of it. Beautiful post!

    1. Wendy, Thank you. We are of like minds I know. I hope you will get done here one day and get to see Gumps too. We could do lunch!

  2. My heart breaks for Paris and all of the other cities affected on 11/13.
    Looks like you had a great weekend. I love SF and except for college have never lived more than a 20 minute drive from my favorite place on earth. I lived in the City for about 10 years and if money were no object I'd buy a condo in Mission Bay and retire there.
    I have to get a City day planned. Gumps is a must and I think that clock is just what I need for our family room. Hubs and I will be braving the crowds Thanksgiving weekend as we're seeing a matinee of If/Then and planning a leisurely lunch somewhere on the square.

    1. Julie, Wow that sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving weekend a show and a little holiday shopping. I hope it's wonderful. You are so lucky to be close to SF! I love Mission Bay too.

  3. 'Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that' - such an important reminder in this sad time.

    Sounds & looks like you had a fun time in the city! I'll have to make it to the city in the next few weeks! I've missed several years during the holiday season now... And I'll be sure to check out Gumps!

    1. Andrea, Thank you and don't miss Gumps. It's fun!

  4. Dear Kim,
    Thank you for your positive thoughts. In these difficult hours, in France but also in the world, we hope for better days ...
    PS : I love Downtown Abbey's ornament.
    Have a lovely week

    1. Anne- Laure, Thank you! My heart goes out to you all in France and so many others. xo

  5. Lisa from Privilege sent me a decoration from Gumps and I treasure it xxx

    1. Yes! I LOVE the idea that you still have it!

    2. Lisa is the best! What a great thing to send so far away!

  6. Kim

    Love those vintage watch and jewelry trees! Saw the same ones (I think they must be) at Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach. AND I just saw one for $1800 on One King's Lane tonight! (a bargain, right?!) They are super cool - and I have to say, if you are crafty, would not be difficult to make. I might have to try!

    Good for you going away for Thanksgiving. Give yourself the time to heal. I am hosting this year though, so I'm excited to go look at your tables from years past.


    1. Sheila, I swear I'm going to try to work on a tree like one of those.. Stay tuned. I'm not so crafty. I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving with the family! xo

  7. Happy,Happy, belated birthday. Fun time in San Francisco

  8. I agree Kim, we have to trust in the goodness in people's hearts to win out.

    And I love Gumps and Wilkes Bashford, two wonderful examples of San Francisco high style from days gone by.

    1. Lisa totally! That is maybe why I love them so much. They are old school glam department stores. Reminds me of childhood and special trips out!

  9. Such a beautiful post Kim! From your poignant sentiment regarding good overcoming evil … a lovely peak intros some San Francisco must sees … to your Thanksgiving words. You have been on my heart this holiday season. Big kudos for you for choosing a different path this year. I am sending you much love my friend. xoxo

    1. Tamara thank you. You are very kind. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with the family and I will keep your words in my heart. xo

  10. Gorgeous post Kim. Your friends look so fun and also they have terrific ideas? I give them 5 stars for taking you to that wonderful restaurant!
    I've been really busy buying gifts for clients and colleagues and I sure would have loved to shop at Gump's, what lovely merchandise. Their buyer has a great eye. As do you!
    I'm happy to know you're doing something different this year, please take good care of yourself: lots of rest and good food, and most importantly enjoying your boys. Big Hug!

    1. Dani, Yes they are good pals I am so lucky. Dani you would be a fan of Gumps. They have quality things and if you get down here we will have to make a meet up there! Thank you for all the kind words. You are a dear. xo Kim

  11. Kim, I am glad that you posted about Paris. I agree that we can't let these people make us afraid. I want to believe that the majority of humans have a good heart, although events such as these make it hard.

    Your San Francisco trip looked fun and don't you look like a princess! I don't spend much time in San Francisco, except for sporting events, and have never been to Gumps, but will have to drag my husband out for a weekend one of these days! I know that you are missing your Mom and Thanksgiving will be hard, but I hope that you have a nice one and remember all of the wonderful memories that you had with her on this day that we remember what and who is important to us. I, myself, am thankful that I am able to see you through your blog and Facebook after all of these years. One of these days we will have to get together.


    1. Kelley, You are very sweet. I hope you get to do a weekend up there! It's fun especially in the holiday time. Gumps is especially cool! Thank you too about my mom. I do hope you and I get to get together soon! Have a great Thanksgiving. xo Kim

  12. I was in GUMPS a few weeks ago and noticed the clock TOO!SO< YOU DID HAVE A BIRTHDAY??
    WHEN..........?I'm headed into town tomorrow meeting up with a GAL for lunch where you had coffee!WE ARE ON THE SAME PATH!XX

  13. I agree Kim, we can't let the terrorists put fear in our hearts... I saw or read somewhere where one little Parisian boy said in regards to the attacks that "love always wins".

    Glad you had a fun birthday trip! I usually visit Gumps when in S.F. but when we were there a couple years ago I forgot! They do have beautiful things.

    I hope you have a peaceful Thanksgiving, I understand why you don't feel up to hosting this year. The first holiday season is always the hardest. My girlfriend hosted Thanksgiving the year she lost her mom and completely broke down while her whole family was there. You need to give yourself some time. Enjoy your getaway.


  14. Good morning Kim--Sorry I'm so late getting over to make a comment. It's finally Friday and I have a moment to breathe. Your statements on the terror attacks are so on-point. That MLK quote definitely resonates. I LOVE this post and I think the timing is perfect for some SF fluff/love. It looks like you and your friends had an amazing time. Your images give me a little glimpse of the city this season. I was laughing out loud (at destroying all the evidence of your belly dancing) and have a tear in my eye over your upcoming holidays plans. You have had a year of such loss, my dear friend. Your plans -- to do something different this season --is the best thing to do in my opinion. The first Thanksgiving after my dad passed away we spent the holiday with family out of town. It helped to create some new memories and traditions. I will be thinking of you and yours on Thanksgiving.
    Hugs today,

  15. I am so behind on reading posts I just read and relshed about four of yours in a row. Happy Belated Birthday it sounds like you had a blast. Happy Holidays. We have two parents in their 90's and the weakest and illist my mother at 87 tough times I know.