Golden Gate

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Wearing:// Top: Urban Outfitters (old), Pants: J Crew, Scarf: Local boutique (UO Watercolor Square Scarf), Sunnies: Wildfox Couture 

     As someone who grew up watching Full House, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time was something else. The photographer in me was itching to snap thousands of photos and the observant-type in me was just in awe of the structure itself. In addition to just watching all of the cars pass and the current of the sea, driving around to find the perfect perspective was another experience. (Hint: they were all beautiful views!! just explore) These photos kind of tell the whole story-- it was unbelievably windy and I was rather cold, but loving everything. I nearly lost my floral scarf, but I successfully held it down and was cheesin' for these pictures. I guess #DoitfortheGram would be relevant right now? It's late and I'm tired, so sorry if nothing I have written has made any sense. 
     I'm going to get some sleep before an early morning yoga class tomorrow. I seriously can't believe my spring break is coming to an end...senior spring, here I come! Hope you guys are having a great week. xoxo Isabelle 
         
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San Francisco | Photo Diary

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[Golden Gate Bridge heart sculpture seen in town]
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[A cherubic man plays a traditional Chinese instrument] 
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[Seagull mania on the ferry over to Alcatraz] 
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[The view from the bottom of Lombard Street]
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[Taco HEAVEN]
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[Making seal friends at Pier 39]
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[A beautiful Giants mural in the Mission District] 
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[Hanging off the side of a cable car] 
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[Admiring the city from the Twin Peaks] 
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[A rainbow of colors seen on this mural on the Women's Building] 
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[Inside of Alcatraz] 
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[Seemingly endless rows of Chinese lanterns in China Town] 
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[Alamo Square] 
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[Shadows on the redwoods in the Muir Woods] 
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[With my older brother Chris in the Marin Headlands] 
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[Going for a second round of salted-caramel ice-cream from Bi-Rite Creamery]

I truly had the best week during our visit to San Francisco, which was my first time ever in California. This photo diary is a small glimpse into our trip there-- check out my video diary, my SF travel guide, and other posts to come for more coverage of our trip. I'll let these pictures speak for themselves. xoxo Isabelle 
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Marin Headlands

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Wearing:// Jacket: Burberry Brit (old), Jeans: Citizens of Humanity, Shoes: Adidas Stan Smith

     I've been home from our trip to California for roughly a week, and I'm already in need of another vacation. "But you're on spring break, right?" Yes yes, but with college decisions coming out, I might as well be at school, stressed and anxious. I've received a few surprising decisions, and I'm highly considering writing a post about the wildcard-esque style of college admissions. I could seriously write a novel about this topic. Anyway, compiling these photos from our drive up to the Marin Headlands has got me wanderlust for simplicity and beautiful scenery. If you couldn't tell from the photos, it was incredibly windy and chilly at that lookout point, but trying not to fall over only added to the fun. In true Isabelle fashion, I also stumbled upon a couple of Frenchmen, and I, of course, offered to take their picture and explained how I lived in France last year. We were doing a sort of half-day sightseeing tour, which is how we ended up there, but if we had gone there solo, I swear I could've spent hours there. Lookouts and spots that allow you to see the true beauty of the world just make me so happy. What keeps you guys going? xoxo Isabelle 

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6 Days in San Francisco | Video Diary

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     While photos serve as wonderful memories for me, I've been trying to explore film-making more often, creating short videos for family trips and adventures with friends when I lived in France. I wish I had gotten more footage from our trip to San Francisco-- I'm working on finding the balance between remembering to film while I snap away to capture photos on my DSLR. I hope you enjoy this! Be sure to watch in HD. Many more San Fran posts are on the way. xx Isabelle 
            
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5 Gems of San Francisco

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         Growing up, my family has always ventured to Europe for family vacations, fortunate enough to discover monuments with years upon years of history and stroll along the cobble stone streets where war leaders and politicians once stomped. Beside the occasional trip to New York or Miami, we haven't done tons of traveling within the US. This past week, however, we added another state and a new place to our list of cities-- San Francisco, California. I've always imagined what California was like, based on images viewed on Tumblr and dream-like scenes in films, but being there in the flesh was evidently a different experience. I was fascinated not only by the culture and the people, but also by the extensive opportunities California provides concerning activities. One day, you could ride along Route One and see Big Sur, and within a few hours be "shredding the gnar" on the slopes. While we didn't get to travel much throughout CA, I did gather some activities around San Francisco for another "5  Gems" post, just as I did after visiting Paris last January. I hope this is helpful to you all. xoxo Isabelle 
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      Alcatraz is not just some random deserted island in the San Francisco Bay-- it was once a high security prison for convicts who caused trouble, even within prison confinement. Residents included the notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud. If you're interested in walking the halls of this famous prison, you're going to need to get tickets about a few weeks in advance. After getting our tickets stamped, we boarded a ferry for a short ride to the island, where we had a guided audio tour of the interior and also saw the hospital. The audio tour is really informative and worth the trek out to this island. They offer several languages for the audio tour, so don't worry about that aspect.  I'm not really one for so-called "scary" things, but the history and voices featured on this tour were worth the lingering eery feeling Alcatraz brought about. 
chinatown
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        Three or four summers ago, my family traveled around China in the sweltering August heat. China holds so much history and its own distinct culture, which rendered my experience there even more meaningful. However, walking through the gates of China Town in San Francisco this past week also brought its own unique experience. We were doing a historic type of food tour there, and I was given insight into the marginalization the Chinese faced when immigrating to the United States. After years of oppression, present day China Town is a way for this group to hold onto its identity, through its language, notable cuisine, and familiar architecture. By the time we left China Town, I had nearly forgotten that we were in California, until I heard less Chinese and more English. Even if you're not into discovering the cuisine options, it is fun even just to walk around to observe, and snap pictures too. Make sure you stop by the authentic fortune cookie shop, pictured above. China Town must not be missed. 
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       Okay, I know I just mentioned a food tour in the China Town description, but we also did yet another food tour. This tour took place in the Mission District of SF, which features beautiful, empowering murals and unique shops and restaurants. While this food tour entailed several stops, I can't seem to forget about the delicacies at Tacolicious. I'm not terribly great at describing tastes and what makes a meal so good, so you should just try their tacos out yourself. Another great option, after you've had your tacos, of course, is Bi-Rite Creamery, which boasts unreal salted caramel ice cream behind the long line out the door. I'm not kidding when I say that we went and got ice-cream here twice in one day, within hours of each other. When we weren't indulging in tacos and ice-cream, we were observing the murals of the historic Women's Building and wishing we could sit in the park as it down-poured. 
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        If spending time in the city isn't your thing, a day trip out to the Muir Woods National Park is a nice escape. I'm not normally apt to be out in nature for a long period of time, but these trees, which measure upwards of 380 feet tall, are undeniably amazing. Beside walking around and pointing your camera upwards to capture pictures like the one above, there's also plenty of history to discover there as well, concerning John Muir and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After about an hour or two at this park, followed by a necessary trip to the gift shop and a "I Love California" tee purchase, we continued our day in Sonoma to check out Gloria Ferrer Winery and Larson Family Winery for a sampling. My sister and friend had recommended Gloria Ferrer, which has seemingly rolling plains and tasty drinks. Although I could not participate in the winery part of our day, even just seeing the beautiful mountains and the technique that goes behind the process of fermentation and bottling the finished product was neat. 
tartine
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     Tartine Bakery, located in the Mission District, is distinct not only for its delectable pastries and lingering scent of deliciousness, but also its seemingly endless line out the door, even in inclement weather. My friend who lived in San Francisco during the summer insisted that my family try out the pain au chocolat. Even though I couldn't finish it because it was basically the size of my face, those few bites brought me back to my year living in France, eating pain au chocolats frequently. My mom and brother both picked the banana cream pie, and were unsuccessful in completion as well-- if you're even remotely *not hungry*, I would suggest you just share something. To go with my pain au chocolat, I sipped on a hot café au lait. The odds of being able to snag a table at this rather small bakery are slim, but if you are in the Mission District and the line does not faze you, pop into Tartine Bakery for a warm snack. 

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