Travel Log: San Fran Golden Gate Park Conservatory of Flowers

July at last came to a close and so did the frenetic business travel itinerary that I’ve had. The last stop on my journey was San Francisco. After three previous short stays, this trip I feel was the first time I could really come to know the soul of the city and appreciate its many facets. My better half joined me and we made it a work-cation, meaning after all the meetings for work concluded we hit the town at night as well as squeezed in leisurely Saturday of fun. One of the absolute high points of our visit was the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

san francisco travel log 2014

tropical plants galore inside this victorian conservatory

Its simply incredible how many plants permeate the space. You walk into this explosion of green and it transports you to another time and place. I was blown away by how well maintained all the plants are. You can’t help but brush up against many of them, which made me nervous about causing them harm. Yet despite it being a tourist attraction and the human proximity the plants are robust, healthy and in harmony with their environment.

exotic orchids in san francisco golden gate park

If you get the chance to visit I highly recommend it. I also suggest you wear layers. The conservatory is located in the Golden Gate Park so while you pick up a crisp breeze outside, once inside it is a tropical paradise – a very moist, humid and hot paradise. So much for straightening my hair that morning.

tropical plants orchids turtles amazing conservatory

Even the exterior is incredible with beds of marigolds and other punchy flowers making bold statements on the front lawn. We learned it is an excellent place to lounge or picnic on a warm sunny day.

adi taking it all in outside on the beautiful lawn

The cherry one piece dress I made was perfect for the occasion. I was so comfy all day running around the city and even in the heat of the garden. For some reason this summer I am absolutely addicted to Grasshoper loafers which are beyond comfortable for walking around or being on your feet all day. Luckily found a pair in a bright cherry color to match my coordinate.

otome kei cherry cutsew one piece san fran


Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

On a perfect spring day in San Francisco, a Wednesday to be precise, with just 15 minutes before closing, I entered the Japanese Tea Garden for a stroll.  This traditional garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is the oldest of its kind in the United States.  Perhaps it was because it was a work-day, its hard to know for sure, but I practically had the place to myself.  There were a young family completing a vacation to-do, a romantic couple oblivious to all and basking in each other, as well as two local ladies quietly bringing each other up to speed on the latest gossip. I, well I was the one squatting here-and-there or leaning precariously over the water’s edge, camera in hand clicking away, wishing to put to film some of the surrounding beauty.

golden gate park japanese tea garden

Admission $7.00. This time of year the park officially closes at 6:00pm.  What I learned is you just need to arrive by 6; the bonus, once inside, you can linger long after the main gate is closed.  While this meant missing the gift shop and tea house hours, the experience was perhaps more delightful.  No commerce to distract oneself with thus putting more emphasis on taking in the charm of the garden.

kakitsubata japanese rabbit ear iris

I have a soft spot for kakitsubata, rabbit ear irises, and there were several patches in bloom and dotting the water’s edge.  They symbolize June for me and foreshadow the coming of long summer days.  Monet kept coming to mind while gazing into the reflections on the water’s surface.

pagoda at japanese tea garden sf

japanese moon bridge in garden

Sunset wasn’t far off and the angle of the sun’s rays reflected the moon bridge perfectly into the pond it adorns. This seemed to me like a visual metaphor where the reflection closes the circle.  This allowing the bridge to mimic the full moon by day only to be replaced by the actual full moon at night.

worlds fair japanese garden in san francisco

lord buddha with hydrangea

sf japanese garden koi pond

japanese garden stepping stones

The garden is small but well laid out. I can imagine it is less romantic when crowded on busy days. So I hope, if you visit, that you too will be fortunate to have a little slice of the garden all to yourself like my experience.

Bonus Trip: San Francisco Frill Stop

Sometimes having a “corporate” job and being a “creative” type is challenging.  But every now and then it rewards you with an incredible treat.  Last week I was urgently sent to San Francisco for meetings at a new branch of our company.  Poor me.  He-he-he.

The trip was short but had enough wiggle room to squeeze in a very expeditious tour of my favorite SF spots:

Angelic Pretty

san francisco angelic pretty milky planet

Walking into AP was a lolita’s dream come true – a major shipment had just arrived and dresses were literally everywhere! Milky Planet adorned the window along with a gaggle of Shyness Bear socks.  They were too tempting; I walked out with a pair in sax plus a Milky Planet Ice Cream pin.

Baby The Stars Shine Bright

san francisco baby the stars shine bright

I was slightly disappointed at Baby.  For some reason the shop seemed to be pretty thin on variety.  At first I thought, maybe it was my perspective after the experience at AP.  But I don’t think that was the case.  Last time I was there I was ready to blow the bank and walk out with about 4 different dresses.  This time a floral chiffon piece was the only temptation.  So I managed to keep my credit card nicely tucked away.

That didn’t stop me from splurging on a couple goodies at…

New People the Store

kawaii goods at new people store

Came home from New People with a Ribbonholic Tripple Ribbon bag charm and kawaii deer earrings.  I have an idea of reusing the earrings somehow with Milky-chan. There were lots of Liz Lisa and Rilakkuma items on the main floor as well.  Too much cuteness!

Needed to chill for a few minutes to check in on emails and make a call so made myself at home in the Crown & Crumpet tea cafe.  Not a bad place to work remotely if you have to ;) The decor was a mix of Victorian and French Country somehow perfectly blended into the ultra modern building.  The tea pot flower arrangements were simply adorable.

SF crown and crumpet japantown


daiso moco moco and nail art

Up next was a race through Daiso.  Everything is $1.50 so impulse shopping is fairly safe.  I walked away with lots of moco-moco gloves and legwarmers for next winter, pink sparkly nail art packs, a couple plastic ribbon hair ties, rhinestones to deco my new camera, and set of pink strawberry bento boxes to keep sewing embellishments in.

West Mall

sailor moon binder and file folders

Best find of the day was a Sailor Moon 3-ring binder and plastic file folders.  While Usagi-chan is not very good at homework, she will be a good inspiration for me to do mine. (Semester 5 Japanese just got underway!)

After speed shopping I realized the Japanese Garden would be open for another 40 minutes just before sunset.  Figured it was worth a try… but that will have to wait until another post (still need to sort through the ton of photos.)

Sweet Hearts

Wishing the staff of Angelic Pretty, Secret Garden, and all the lovely Lolitas of San Francisco many thanks.  It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with you today.  The tea party was was wonderful.

Secret Garden Tea Service

Delicious tea service at Secret Garden.

Angelic Pretty Janken

A competitive round of janken (rock-paper-scissors.)

Angelic Pretty Guests

New acquaintances.

Angelic Pretty Group Photo

Hai chiizu.

Angelic Pretty Sweet Hearts

Prizes were given for those who could stack the most sweet hearts. I personally liked this team's creativity.

Angelic Pretty Gift and Prize

I won a Wonder Cookie poster - kawaii. A free lunch bag was given to all who attended.

Tea Party Self Portrait

Reminiscing on the day's memories back at the hotel.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri




One lump, or two?

What a treat.  I was asked for work, very last minute, to participate in meetings with a vendor out in San Francisco.  And the timing could not be more perfect.  It puts me there right in time to enjoy Angelic Pretty’s “Angelic Valentine Tea Party.”

No sooner had I booked my flight and hotel then I  was on AP’s web site checking availability of tickets.  Received an affirmative confirmation yesterday.

Angelic Pretty Valentine

The theme is Valentine’s Day which is perfect.  (One guess as to what color I will style around.)  My only issue is that I don’t own an Angelic Pretty dress.  The reason is simple – way too small on me.  So I am going to wear the competition, Baby The Stars Shine Bright, for my main piece.  I am a bit nervous about it, feels rude.  So to make up for it, I will accessorize like there is no tomorrow with all my AP accoutrements.

Maybe later today or tomorrow I’ll pull out everything and pop it on my dressform to share the coordinate.  Very excited.

Sweet Dreams, Sheri