Sunday, September 8, 2013

San Francisco, CA -- City by the Bay

This was the view of the Bay Bridge from the chaise lounge situated next to the picture window in my hotel room.  It was Sunday.  I had the day off.  The sky was clear and the temperature mild.  I was excited for whatever the day brought.  Wanting to make the most of it and eager to discover what San Francisco was all about, I decided on a city bus tour.  I find this to be the most efficient and cost effective way to tour most any town in a limited amount of time.  The images below chronicle the sights I saw en route.  Just steps away from my hotel was the first stop on the tour, Fisherman's Wharf.  The Wharf is a great vista for viewing the Bay, grabbing lunch, or taking in an afternoon stroll.  Midday at the Wharf, the arcade of restaurants and shops are usually bustling with pedestrians.  Inside, I discovered a great health food market and artisan cheese store.  I'd suggest starting at the Wharf early in the day.  Located within the business district, the general area does not keep late hours.

Above is the clock tower at the Wharf and below are passing streetcars.

There is Pier 39, where you can hear live music, eat, shop and be entertained by street performers.  The Alcatraz Landing is at Pier 33.  It's the gateway and depot for travel across the Bay to the infamous Alcatraz Penitentiary.

Above is the view of Alcatraz.

En route, we saw the "painted ladies" referencing the painted facades of the Victorian and Edwardian architectural stacked row houses that line the hilly streets of San Fran. 

Below, the copper green patina mixed-use building, known as the Columbus Tower, makes a statement due to its early 20th century roots as it sits solo in a sea of modernity.  It is also significant because it is owned and occupied by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.  It is here that you'll find his bistro and wine shop, Cafe Zeotrope, apparently, well worth a visit.  I'll have to find out during my next visit.

San Fran is like no other metropolitan city, with high rises and office buildings alike.  The bus tour passed the city's signature landmark structure, the Transamerica Pyramid.  It stands as the tallest building in downtown San Fran and is most noted for its' pyramid shape.  

Britex fabric store is worth mention.  Look no further if you are a creative stitcher or crafts person seeking inspiration.  With a plethora of quality fabrics, Britex is located in the heart of downtown and well worth a visit.

We passed by City Hall.  And grabbed lunch in the SOMA district.

There was the infamous intersection, Haight and Ashbury.  Significantly known in the 1960's for it's "free love" and hippie subculture in the neighborhood.

Above is the stunning view of the city from the Golden Gate Bridge seen below.

The bus tour was certainly a great way to get better acquainted with San Francisco.  I had a great afternoon.  I learned new things about the city and saw it with fresh eyes.  Until next time... 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Northern California Coast: Monterey, Carmel & Big Sur

The stunning beauty of the northern California coastline makes it easily one of the Earth's most beautiful landscapes ever.  It is awe inspiring with swells of Prussian blue tides crashing up onto winding rocky shores, there is the backdrop of mighty rolling hills that seamlessly meet the sky, occasionally playing hide and seek with the morning mist, and mystic forest trees, redwoods and giant sequoias that stand tall, ever present in strength and power.  The air is fresh and the scenery nothing short of breathtaking.  

For a brief stint, this was my daily work setting.  I happened to be one of a few who were called on to be a part of an unlikely adventure.  Over the course of two weeks, myself and some amazingly talented women were shuttled from San Fransisco, and later, Monterey to Carmel and Big Sur, to exercise our costuming skills, offering our expertise towards the completion of the Lord of the Ring inspired costumes designed and produced by Oscar Award-winning Costume Designer, Ngila Dickson, for the Sean Parker wedding extravaganza.  We were trusted to put the finishing touches on costumes outfitted for the guests, family and friends in attendance for this huge and very special event.  

As the grounds of the wedding were off limits to all and highly secured, the photos attached are courtesy of the Vanity Fair September 2013 issue.   

Below are scenic pictures of the countryside and stunning views that I was fortunate enough to take in each day en route to work.  They are unforgettable moments that call for a reason to exhale.  Ahhhhhhh!  Enjoy.

Daily travel from The Monterey Inn, where we stayed, to the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, a 20 minute drive, was our home away from home and temporary base camp and workshop.  A tranquil and serene setting, the environment of the Quail Lodge eased the stresses of our daily work routine and the staff were quite accommodating.

As the big day neared with guests arriving from around the country, our days were spent in Big Sur, split between Post Ranch and Ventana Inn.  We where divided into small satellite groups available to accommodate guest fittings and alterations.  Post Ranch Inn is a stunning mix of luxury and tranquility.  This coastal sanctuary is set on 100 acres of prime real estate perched high above the Pacific Ocean. It's rustic landscape blends with nature and offers romantic panoramic ocean and mountain views.  Though, not a vacation for me, I took it all in and appreciated the daily feeling of zen surrounding me.  Post Ranch is a bucket list must.  One problem though, I'd never want to leave.

Post Ranch Inn reception

Ventana Inn & Spa offers very much the same. It is again a spectacular piece of property with vistas of mountain, ocean and sky for as far as the eye can see.  It is conveniently located directly across the road from Post Ranch and was the site where the wedding nuptials took place.  We were shuttled between the two, working steadily, offering our services until moments before the wedding hour.  Canopied by redwoods, the forest grounds at Ventana strategically provided the perfect setting for the dream fantasy wedding hiding it from public view.  It was chosen as the perfect place to set the tone and ambiance for the reportedly 9 million dollar spectacular.  The pre-wedding production was fully unforgettable and one I am thankful to have been a part of.  Go, team wardrobe!

Represented here we are only a few.  Let's just say it took a small village to pull off the
costume needs for this production.