Oh, San Francisco! Don't ever change.

Let's talk about how much I love this city.

I've been scratching my head over this post for the last several days, because there's not much I can tell you about my trip to San Francisco. Despite the fact that I publicly announced it (oops), it was a SECRET trip. Filled with EXCITING THINGS that I CANNOT TALK ABOUT.

Just kidding.

It really, truly, honestly was a secret trip, but unless you count hanging out in hallways like this EXCITING:

Doo dee doo. Don't mind me. I'm just taking notes about this DOOR. Look! It has a handle!

Then you are not missing much.

I'm not even going to tell you about the time I got caught taking pictures in a public restroom. (I HAD A REASON.) Or tell you about the look on the woman's face who caught me. (I HAD A REASON, LADY!!)

The trip coincided with my ten year day-we-met anniversary with Jarrod. And since we still consider San Francisco our city — we met online while living in different cities, but we moved together to SF — it turned out to be a perfect celebration.

A perfect celebration of taking secret pictures of public restrooms.

Well. We also did a few non-secret things. For instance, WE ATE.

We couldn't afford the Fog City Diner when we lived there (Ramen Cup Noodles were more our budget), so it was wonderful to finally taste their famous gourmet diner food. Like this lemon meringue pie:

Hello, meringue! WE LOVE YOU.

And then there was this . . .


My husband is seriously (seriously) addicted to the Food and Travel Networks, and Boccalone has been featured on multiple programs, so it was a must-visit. We especially loved their sign:

And to answer my family and longtime friends' question, NO. I did not partake in the tasty salted pig parts. (True story: I gave up pork when my mother read me Charlotte's Web as a little girl. I don't care how delicious he is, HOW COULD ANYONE EAT WILBUR??)

But there was still plenty for me to snack on. Like . . .

Jalapeño gelato!

And chocolate orange macarons from Miette!

Is there anything more heavenly than a macaron?


But enough foodage. How about . . .

Elvis Pinball!

This dastardly machine combines two of my husband's great loves, the King and pinball. Of course he couldn't resist.

And I always love the window displays in Chinatown:

Like these pretty shoes.

And these cool plastic insects.

And this, um, random crap.

And this . . . WHAT THE HECK IS THIS??

Seriously, you guys. If anyone can tell me what's up with that, I'll mail you a present.

Here's another reason I love Chinatown. While walking down the street, we found this Large Frog:

And then, only half a block later . . .


Here are two more awesome non-secret things found in (non-Chinatown) window displays:


Have I mentioned lately how much I love San Francisco?

But it was not all SECRETS and FOOD and WINDOW DISPLAYS. I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with fellow 2010 YA debut authors and Bay Area residents, Heidi R. Kling (author of Sea, coming out next June) and Daisy Whitney (The Mockingbirds, next fall).

Not the best quality picture, but it totally doesn't matter when we (L to R: Heidi, Steph, Daisy) look this cute!

I've said it before, but it's always worth saying again. Being a writer is a strange, lonely business. Any time I'm given the chance to spend time with other writers — writers who understand exactly what I'm going through — is the equivalent of a child's birthday party at an American Girl store.


We met up at Bittersweet, a chocolate café. Okay. Maybe a *little* food was involved. But LOOK:

Spicy (pepper, cinnamon, & rose) drinking chocolate.

We talked non-stop for two hours, and it felt like two minutes, and I cannot wait to do it again. Daisy and Heidi were both amazingly kind, hilarious, and FUN. I'm excited to read their books next year!

[2010 . . . so close, but so far away.]

It's time to wrap up, so I'll leave you with one final picture. There are hundreds of reasons to love this city. But this? This is one of the best:

Thank you, San Francisco.


  1. Stephanie,
    Your coat is perfection! Also that woman/snake thing is super creepy.

    I loved meeting you. What a great photographer you are too.

    Don't forget to come back and visit soon!!

    Also, I'm guessing a punk mermaid?

  3. Aw, so fun! Thanks for sharing the pictures, even though the trip was "secret."

  4. Your blog reminds me of how fun my city is!!!

  5. I am fascinated by this secret trip of yours. I hope that someday you'll reveal what it was all about!

    Awesome hair clip, by the way.

  6. The doll...a victim of, like, a mermaid. And fetal alcohol syndrome. And a car accident.

    But that's probably it.

  7. So much cool stuff to mention, but I'll keep it short. You gals DO LOOK CUTE!!!


  8. Such a cool trip....secret, though? Hmm....I have an agent in the field up there, I'll have to see what I can dig up. You can't go gallivanting around in other states, claiming you're there in secret and not have to explain yourself, little missy.



  9. That "what the heck is this doll" is a mermaid, isn't it? With a really long tail that got folded up to fit in the window display? That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

  10. I'm not looking for a present because I really don't know what the artist was thinking, but I used to freak people out by doing that stretch at track meets. The artist elongated the leg, but it's the same stretch. I don't know if there was another leg on the doll, but, if there was, it would have been tucked under her with the knee sticking out front and left. There's trim in the way.

    Your hair looks great! And those shoes were amazing! Did you buy a pair? I'm glad you had such a fun trip!

  11. Ahhh! San Francisco= amazing place. I remember being in a restaurant in Chinatown there, and the head cook wouldn't let us order food. He just sent dishes out, and expected us to eat them!

    Also, I am just as baffled by that creepy worm-maid as everyone else. It almost looks as if her tail is removable, and there is a place for incense there...?

    ps. please tell me you hijacked that truck and took it home with you. and i want to marry your hair.

  12. I think the pic is of a Nagin (a female Naga)
    The Naga is a race of semi-divine snake people and the nagin are said to be strikingly beautiful, but with the power to transform into a cobra, or to a half-snake, half-human figure. I believe that in the Chinese cosmology it is the Naga which creates mankind.
    If it's not a Naga/Nagin, then i have no idea what it is.

    i have never been to SF and it sounds awesome.

  13. Sounds like a fun-filled time! I'd love to visit SF. My husband loves pig parts, so he'll enjoy learning about Boccalone. And I adore macaroons!

    Thanks for so many great pics! It was fun to live vicariously through you.

  14. Remind me to tell you sometime about my ill-fated afternoon in San Francisco. Sadder than taking notes about doorknobs.

  15. Love the pictures. I feel like I was there too! I think I might know what your secret is...but I'll just have to wait and see if I'm right! Are you going to give us hints?

    ps- Thank you, thank you, thank you for recommending On Writing. It's changed my life! I can't stop blogging about it!

  16. Oh. The food in San Francisco. Can you say Dim Sum? It looks like a great trip.

  17. We have an award for you!


  18. Connie — Thank you! And I KNOW.

    Heidi — I'd love to come back soon. And punk mermaid? If only!

    Natalie — You were missed. Next time :)

    Daisy — It's my favorite city in America. EASILY.

    Mariah — Thank you! I picked it up that day and couldn't resist putting it on. And I'll definitely reveal the secret (which, if you have a guess, it's probably correct) someday :)

    jckandy — HA!!!

    Suzanne — Thanks! You ALWAYS look cute. You have such a wonderful smile.

    Shelley — An agent in the field, eh? WELL. Plz tell your agent to MIND HER OWN BEESWAX. Or, maybe, if you wait a while, I'll just tell you ;)

    Sharon — That's what I thought at first too, but she has a snake body! No fishy double tail at the end.

    Myrna — HA!! I love thinking that she might be stretching for a track meet. Too bad she only has ONE LEG. And thank you! I didn't buy a pair of shoes, and I'm kinda kicking myself for it now. Guess that means I'll have to go back!

    Lexi — I'm laughing out loud at the idea of a worm-maid with an incense holder. And OF COURSE I hijacked the truck. Those were the secret pictures I couldn't show you! And thank you for the hair compliment. (Is there any better compliment than a hair compliment? I think not.)

    Falen — Oh. My. Gosh. I THINK YOU YOU JUST WON A PRESENT!!! I'll give this a few more days, in case anyone comes up with something better, but that sounds right!

    Tere — You're welcome! (And thank you!) I sincerely hope you and your husband get to visit sometime. There are so many cool things to explore. And eat.

    J — Now I MUST know.

    Corinne — I'm sure if you have a guess, it's the right one! I'll definitely let you know someday, though by the time I do, you'll have forgotten all about it ;) And it makes me so, so happy to hear you like On Writing. I could do with a re-read!

    lotus — Mmm. Dim Sum. *drool*

    Frankie — Oh, wow! THANK YOU!! I'm so flattered!

  19. One thing I miss about living in California is that the bay was just a couple hours from our house. My husband actually proposed to me on a trip there. I have a favorite picture of us sitting on a wall in Sausalito overlooking the water. We used to love to just go browse the expensive stores and walk through the streets. I'm glad you had a nice trip!

  20. I loved this post even before I got to the photo of the mer-snake. Or whatever she is.

    You had so much fun! First with your beloved ... then you even had time for Author Fun w/ Heidi and Daisy!!!

    One day, Stephanie, one day ... we will meet ...


  21. Awesome Sauce! Yay presents!

  22. I meant to read this whole entry. I did. But then I got to jalapeno gelato, and I drooled all over the keyboard.

  23. I LOVE THIS POST! more reasons to visit SF!!!!!

  24. "foodage" HILARIOUS!!! This is why I am counting the days until I can read your book :-)

    I ate this post up! Wished I could have been there! And one day, when I get to go, I will email you and get a list of all the necessary stops.

    So fun! Thanks for sharing!!

  25. love the secret trip, love the photos . . . and happy anniversary :) looks like you two had an amazing time!!! since no one else did, i’ll have to comment on the door handle photo. you look like a detective lurking in the hallway (except your jacket and scarf are way cooler than a detective would wear). i’m lovin’ the harvey milk shot, too!

  26. sounds like a great trip, and you look adorable!

    can i have that hot chocolate please?

  27. Love the pictures. That doll is seriously distrubing. Who comes up with that kind of stuff?

    As for pictures in the bathroom...classic! LOL. I'm still laughing.

  28. Candice — Oh, I love that you were proposed to by the bay! (I was, too!)

    Lisa — We WILL. I have no doubt :)

    Falen — I'm officially declaring you the winner!

    Carrie — It was amazing. It was like a luscious vanilla with heat.

    Begy — I think you'd love it!

    Katie — :) :) :)

    Michelle — Thank you! And I LOVE the idea of being a detective, though I'd make a terrible one in practice!

    Laini — You may only have it if you COME HERE AND GET IT.

  29. Kimberly — I KNOW, the doll! It's frightening to think that someone took the time to make it. And I didn't mention this in my post, but technically I was busted in *two* public restrooms! HA!!

  30. I bet that was kind of AWKWARD...being busted in the public restroom. But I'm all about awkward. HA,HA!

    It makes me think of a song.
    You know the one from Grease - Stranded at the drive in?

    [singing to the tune of Grease-Stranded at the drive in] (beautifully of couse...my voice that is...HA!)

    Busted in the restroom.
    Ladies thinkin' I'm a fool.
    But they don't know...
    I'm just that COOL!

    LOL - such a lame attempt to recreate all of that GREASE magic. Maybe I should keep my day job. : ) And why Grease? I HAVE KNOW IDEA. : )

  31. That's not a mermaid; it's a genie. Duh, everyone. Sheesh. ;-)

  32. Kimberly — How much do I love that you just rewrote a Grease classic into a song about a restroom?? SO. MUCH.

    Amber — Drat! I should have bought it. I could use some wishes. First wish: World Peace, Second Wish: Private bedroom concert featuring Chris Martin and Thom Yorke, Third Wish: Cheese.

  33. Hannah Horn1:20 PM GMT-5

    Hi Stephanie,

    Great blog!

    You featured a table full of plastic insects on one of your posts. could you tell me where about they were as I really want to get some.

    could you email me to hannahhorn@me.com.

    I would really appreciate.

    Thank you,