Holiday Notes and Happenings from San Francisco

Last year, I bought these heavy stock 
Crane & Co. cards on sale after Christmas
(always a good idea).
Confession:  They were a bit of a pain as
 they needed 3.5 x 5" photo reprints (not standard).
So, I had to crop all the photos.
Thanks, Katherine, for helping and letting me use your cropper.

I designed these little notes and printed them on pearlized
card stock to enclose in the cards.

Example of how I addressed most of the envelopes.

Lisa from Shine Your Light
created THEE Most Wonderful List of
Random Acts of Kindness. 
Some of my favorites that I want to do are...
                                                 Return a shopping cart for someone.
Send an email or a note to a manager about an employee that does a great job.
Compliment a mother of young children in a store for doing such a great job with her kiddos. 
But please read all of her wonderful ideas HERE.

From my last post,  a few of you asked for 
the recipe for the gift that 
Barbara gave me.  Here it is...
Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondie Mix in a Jar

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup toffee bits

In a quart-sized glass jar, lightly pack the brown sugar into the bottom.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips into an even layer over the brown sugar.
Spoon in the flour gradually and smooth into an even layer.  Add the baking powder and salt.  Add the pecans on top.  Finally add the toffee bits.  Fasten a lid and ring to the jar.  Attach the instructions.

(To make the blondies, whisk together 2 large eggs, 4 tablespoons melted butter and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Add contents of the jar and mix well.  Lightly grease an 8x8" pan and spread batter evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. until baked through.  Don't over bake!)

If you go to Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog - you can print the recipe and also the little tags to attach. 

Recently, I had lunch with my niece
at her place of employment...
in San Francisco.  
I signed under penalty of death 
(or worse, making Google mad at me--
this blog is a free Google product)
that I would not take any photos.
Have you seen "The Internship" where Vince Vaughn 
keeps eating all the free food at Google?
I felt a little like him as I piled it high at the salad bar. 
My favorite part, aside from being with my darling niece, 
was the surreal view of the Bay Bridge from the cafeteria.
...you could practically touch it.
Lay off me...I "Googled" this image.
Anyway, just like a college cafeteria but with good food.

Last weekend, my husband and I went to a
party in the The Penthouse Suite at the
Fairmont Hotel.  
It's 6,000 square feet in the original building.
 This is the atrium library with a celestial ceiling.  
My photos aren't so hot as I was trying to play it cool
(in my new, emerald green cocktail dress).

According to the website...
"From royalty to rock stars, the world’s elite have called The Penthouse home. President John F. Kennedy, Prince Charles of Wales, Mick Jagger, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Marlene Dietrich are just a few of the luminaries to grace the suite’s gilded guest list."
 This is the Persian tiled billiards room. 
Feels a bit like Hearst castle. 

Here is better photo from the website.

Here is the living room, also from the website...
there were musicians playing at the far end.

 The suite has three large bedrooms, a living room with a grand piano, a formal dining room and a professional-grade kitchen.
 This is the soothing master bedroom.
Bed curtains are hung from the ceiling.  I like this idea.  

 This amazing 
place rents for $15,000/night...the lap of luxury...
I was happy to spend an evening there. 

My quick photo of the balcony...it was drizzling.
And the website's photo...
Pa-reeeety nice.

Back to reality...

Participating in 
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style


  1. I love love love your cards Mary Ann! Crane has the nicest quality stationery and I adore that you handwrite the note. How fun to go to a party in that beautiful suite. You have me wanting to visit San Francisco so much with these beautiful photos you've shared since you've moved! Hope you enjoy Christmas in your new home and thank you for mentioning our RAKs list!

  2. WOW, what a great place to have a party. Never knew that suite was there. Your cards are very lovely and the photo is great.
    SFO is so pretty at Christmas time.

  3. Dear Mary Ann, I love your holiday card with your wonderful family photo!
    I really miss San Francisco and would love to take a trip out there one of these days.
    Your evening at The Fairmont Penthouse Suite looks and sounds amazing! That ceiling in the atrium library, gorgeous!

    The Arts by Karena

  4. Love the Fairmont SF! My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon there (though, sadly, not in the Presidential Suite). Your cards are beautiful!!

  5. Two things...first - I need that dog in my life. :) He's so cute! Secondly is that your handwriting? Because if so, it is so perfect! I wish there was a way to create a computer font from it (hint hint to any technically savvy person out there...call it the "mary ann" and then email me :)

  6. Wonderful pictures and what a delightful suite. Love the family cards, too- Diana

  7. Mary Ann,
    I love your cards and such a great photo of your family, including your doggie! I love the way you addressed the envelopes too.
    Wow, what a fun place to get to see. The penthouse is huge.
    Have a Merry Christmas.

  8. I LOVE your card…you are such a gorgeous family! I've done that exact same thing in years past…trimming all the photos! I kept asking….am I having fun yet? Also LOVE the address change insert cards, you are so creative! Thanks for the tips for "Random Acts of Kindness"! We get so rushed and involved in our own doings that we forget the most important things like reaching out to others in kindness.

    Wow…first lunch at Google then partying at that gorgeous hotel suite! Definitely won't be staying in that room….royalty only!!! I'm sure it was amazing! BUT….I want to see you in your new emerald green dress!!! PLEASE?

    Cheers….xo Gail

  9. Very nice. I like the hand written note as well. And I love your Boston :-)

  10. LOVE the Christmas card..you all look fabulous! And random acts of kindness has me so happy that its catching on...nothing like a small and kind gesture for a perfect stranger.. its a beautiful thing!

    That partay looks mighty slick..and that penthouse suite not too shabby, that view is to die for! Fun highlights:)

  11. Love your Christmas card! You have a beautiful family and are very blessed! I love the random acts of kindness and have been practicing that the last two months. It's a beautiful thing to give to others. XO

  12. Mary Ann, dit-o above comments about your card, the penthouse(?) party and lunch w/niece. I have wanted to hang bed drapes like this too - and was thinking of using plumbing parts. Advice?

    My reoccurring act of kindness is to save up $15 or more of returnable bottles & cans take them to a return center and look for a person to help out. I unload them all into the presorted bins and get into line. Then with a smile and an "excuse me, I just realized I'm running late for an appointment. Would you mind taking these too?" It's been fun to collect memories of all the different ways I've been received. Some just gush with emotion and others are quieter about it, but all have been thankful. I always say thank you to them for helping me out.

    Cheers and Merry Christmas!

  13. Hi Mary Ann,

    Beautiful photo of your family. And I love your handwriting too! What pens did use?

    Fun fact that I remembered from my tour of Hearst Castle -- Hearst Castle's architect Julia Morgan was brought in after the great earthquake to complete the Fairmont Hotel.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. No wonder! Makes me want to go back for some more tours of Hearst Castle.

  14. Beautiful post, Mary Ann! From your family portrait to the Fairmont suite to the random acts of kindess - beautiful! And I love your new address card - pretty cool :)
    Merry Christmas~

  15. Love everything on this post...I try to remember to pass on random acts of kindness, even if it's something as simple as letting someone go ahead of me in line at the grocery store.

    That must have been some party! And I agree with Gail...where is the picture of you in this emerald green dress??? It sounds gorgeous!

    Lovely photo of you and your family.

    Merry Christmas!

    Linda in S.D.

  16. Great post, Mary Ann. Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Love your holiday cards -- what a gorgeous family you have! Oooh la la the Fairmont is gorgeous! Also working on random acts of kindness -- love your ideas. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  18. I love your cards and those beautiful views! I went to a brunch years ago at the top of the Fairmont. So pretty. Lisa's random acts of kindness ideas are wonderful and I plan to do some of those with my kids.
    Cheers! - Shelley

  19. Love your Christmas card Mary Ann, perfect for your beautiful family! I'm so glad to find so many in the blogosphere who still send cards via snail mail because I still do it too ( will share mine next week)! Anyway, you've been busy in your new home and that hotel is super gorgeous, thanks for taking us on a tour! Glad your enjoying SF and got a chance to see GOOGLE 'up close'!

  20. Wow, chock full of wonderful happenings lately! You are so fortunate to live there and have access to all those wonderful events. Your cards are beautiful as is your family! Love your envelopes..great job. I saw that movie-it was hilarious. Happy Holidays to you and your family Mary Ann. I referenced your mantel in my post on 12/16..loved your simple pinecone mantel last year. xo Nancy

  21. I love your cards...your family is adorable! Looks like life in S.F. is busy and fun...glad your enjoying it!

  22. The classic casual home is really beautiful. I feel happy for the house because i have dream to create a home like this. Home Decor Ideas

  23. I love the acts of kindness ideas & your gorgeous cards. And speaking of gorgeous-- that Penthouse Suite! ::swoon::

    Merry Christmas!


It's SO nice to hear from you!