• Crystal Coons

Travel Diary : San Francisco


When a client called for some work up in San Jose, I booked my ticket faster than you can say “in flight wifi”. Tacking on a personal day was a no-brainer – Northern California is my favorite place in the world. And San Francisco, I can say without hesitation, is the best city in the world. My trip began on Friday night in San Jose. I shot a text to my friend, Chastity of Garner Style. She did me the honor of being my dinner guest and immediately had a recommendation. She promised it would blow my mind.

chastity for target’s ava&viv

“I’m Sicilian,” she said. “I don’t mess around with my Italian food – and this place is the best I’ve ever had.” With an endorsement like that, I didn’t dare look at other options. My Uber driver dropped me off at Fiorillo’s and she was inside waiting. I have to admit, I didn’t look my best. My day started at 7AM and it was now 730PM and the only freshening up I’d done was a swipe of Rimmel’s Stay Matte on my forehead.

Chastity is charming, her every word laced with a melodic southern touch. We bonded over her favorite lasagna and chatted about the plus industry – and most importantly, her recent collaboration with RebDolls (of which I am a huge fan). The conversation flowed and the topics so interesting that we both forgot our blogger duties – not a single photo, vlog or snapchat the whole time.

If you’ve ever had dinner with a blogger, you know this is the true marker of a good time.

Before we knew it, the restaurant was closing down and we were sipping the last of our coffee. She dropped me off back at my hotel where I promptly took a shower and went to sleep.


The next morning, Husband and I piled in the rental car and made our way to The City. (“The City” is what you call SF if you live in Silicon Valley, btw.) I love the drive on the highway to the City. From miles away, you can see Karl The Fog swallowing San Francisco and it’s almost counter intuitive to continue on your journey. I always envision those cartoons where you have two paths to take – one sunny and bright, the other foggy and dark. In this case, take foggy and dark. Karl is just messing with you – he’s hiding the world’s best secrets beneath his cement colored blanket.

At Nick’s insistence, we went straight to North Beach for lunch. He’d been drooling over the thought of being back at his favorite- The Stinking Rose – for days now. I happily followed a few steps behind, taking in the familiar corners, vlogging the whole time. I stop to make him take my outfit photo – his stomach rumbles, but he obliges.

striped tee & heels via michael kors {old, similar tee, similar heels} | leather panel jeans c/o city chic {love these ones!}| sunnies via chanel {similar affordable} | backpack via henri bendel | watch via target  {old, similar}

here’s our vlog – where you can see all of the yummy north beach eats!

As soon as we are seated at The Stinking Rose, Nick piles the garlic-pesto concoction onto the bread and becomes quiet. Quiet and Italian food make for a happy husband. We chatter about what to do next, where to go and we decide to drive around, take some photos and then visit Fisherman’s Wharf because hey – why not – let’s do the touristy thing.

Fisherman’s Wharf is a mecca of touristy kitsch and street performers. It’s just downright fun and a good time. While we’re walking around by the piers, we hear a voice rise above the crowd. “Bay tours, fifteen dollars!”

Nick and I exchange glances and nod – fifteen bucks. Too good to pass up.

We step onto the Chucky’s Pride, joining about a dozen other tourists, all buzzing with excitement. Roger, our guide, tells us the route. “We head all the way out to the Golden Gate, go under and come back around Alcatraz.”

Not bad for the price of two lattés. I have to break from my story to tell you that I have a fear of boats. And the ocean. And boats ON the ocean. And mostly, me on said boats on the ocean. So, this little fifteen dollar jaunt was kind of a big deal for me. More on that in another post.

The cruise was incredible. Sea lions danced around us. Dolphins (!!!) poked their little heads out of the water to check out what we were doing. Windsurfers cut in front of our boat like daredevils. The seawater sprayed into my hair, the wind mussed it up. By the time we arrived beneath the Golden Gate I was a proper mess – and feeling more alive than ever before.

My eyes were wide the rest of the trip, taking in every single detail. Every wave, every seagull, every dolphin fin. By the time we docked, I was on cloud nine. We tipped generously, thanking the crew for a great time. Within minutes of getting back on land, we realized that the temperatures had dropped a few degrees – not so great when you factor in our wet clothing from the crosswinds that threw the sea water at us.

Walking through the crowds, we searched for something warm to drink. Starbucks was my salvation. We sipped, recounting the entire bay tour to each other, sharing our favorite parts. The sun disappeared into Karl The Fog by the time we set out to find a spot for dinner. A sign in a nearby giftshop read: “Mario Batali loves us!” followed by a raving endorsement from the Italian Iron Chef. Well. What’s good enough for Mario Batali is good enough for us! Cioppino’s had a wait. No big deal. The place smelled like heaven. We were called to our table in about 30 minutes and got comfy. Stars poked through the spaces in the fog, reflecting on the Bay. Nick and I chatted as day turned into night, all the while twirling al dente linguine around our forks.


I was gloomy Sunday morning as I packed – our flight was at 7PM and (if you hadn’t figured out by now) heading home was not something I was looking forward to. But now wasn’t the time to be sad. There was shopping to do!

Nick drove me to Nordstrom (begrudgingly I have to add, as most husbands do) so that I could hit up the Burberry Beauty counter. And oh my. Did I ever. I walked away with a gorgeous makeover and some new goodies (make sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel for the haul video).

Lunch with The Beezees passed at lightning speed. We just adore her and her adorable family. They’re Disney people, like us, so the topic came up over and over again. (Thanks again for all of the travel tips, M!). Too soon, we were hugging and saying our goodbyes. Nick and I returned our rental and went into the airport to wait for our flight.

I’m on my flight home, writing this. I’m watching San Jose and the Bay disappear below us as we soar higher and higher. You know, there are so many songs written about cities. New York, where dreams are made of. Los Angeles, where summer is eternal. But where San Francisco is concerned, it’s a love affair. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. Vanessa Carlton’s utopia is a cup of coffee in the Mission. I get it. The charming crooked streets. The roar on game day from AT&T Park. The smell of Italian food while you’re walking down Grant Avenue. The lanterns hanging over the street in Chinatown. The constant electric energy in Union Square. San Francisco is somewhere you fall in love with. You don’t need anything from it, it doesn’t need anything from you. New York will make or break you. LA will make you a star.

But San Francisco? It’s just there for you. Beautiful and quirky and welcoming. And you’ll love it, just the way it is.

#rebdolls #garnerstyle #tee #tshirt #jeans #glamtravels #casual #travel #leather #foodie #ootd #jetset #stripes #sanfrancisco

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