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SF/Bay Area photo diary pt.1

Above, the soaring trees of Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

Ah yes, I'm still in vacation mode.  I've been culling through the piles of images I shot playing with the new Canon 7D MarkII, which yielded great results.  But sometimes the good old iPhone 6 worked out just fine when the DSLR wasn't on me and produced equally good shots.  So this post (the outdoorsy/nature post) and part two (the city-ish post) of the photo diary will be a mix of the two cameras and astute viewer can likely spot the difference.

A lone windblown tree at Davenport Beach

The pier at Capitola Beach

       Big Sur coming up...
All the superlatives you've ever heard about driving along SR1/Pacific Coast Highway and its epic stunning amazingness are all true.  I couldn't get enough of the view and I was completely mind-bloggled at the many mailboxes and driveways entrances that lined the west side of the highway.  People live down there!? WTF?  I sent out a wish to the universe for a dinner invitation to one of these homes during the short time we would spend down in Big Sur.  Alas, this wish did not come true.  As we were driving back from the Esalen hot springs at 3am blissed out on minerals, our little rental vehicle struck a rock of misjudged size and was promptly ripped of its oil pan.  Major buzzkill.   Thank goodness for insurance.

Onwards to the north...
Driving north on California 1 from San Francisco we headed to Muir Woods. We took a crazy winding detour on the Panoramic Highway, a narrow cliff hugging road that led us to Stinson Beach as alas, the Muir Beach access was closed.  We went back south on the 1 with more twists and turns towards our lunch at the Pelican Inn before heading into the woods.  We saw more epic trees and filled our lungs with delicious oxygenated air. 

Having not been to the West coast since I was a very small child (so I don't think it really counts), I have to say you Californians are SPOILED for intense natural beauty! Oh, and great weather.  I'm having serious denial problems about being back to the cold.



I was in the San Francisco bay area for a couple of weeks and all I have to show for it is a bunch of charcoal.
Ah, but this is not just any charcoal, behold Binchotan charcoal!  This white charcoal (even though it looks black) is of Japanese origin and boasts not only low temperature cooking heat while burning, but purifying properties which have made Binchotan a desirable material in a whole slew of products.  This brings back memories of treating food poisoning/mystery stomach bugs with charcoal tablets in Thailand-awesome!
Here's what came home with me:

1. Binchotan toothbrush by Morihata
Morihata makes a range of Binchotan based products and I picked up their toothbrush. Ok, I'm a charcoal newbie and this toothbrush is promising to refresh and revitalize my mouth-even before the toothpaste hits the charcoal blended bristles.  Very exciting.

2.  Binchotan charcoal sticks by black + blum
I'm going to use these to purify and filter my tap water into delicious, free urban nectar, but these sticks can also be used to deodorize rooms/shoes, has cooking uses, and when its lifespan is over the charcoal can be used as fertilizer.

3. Deitanseki Soap (clay and charcoal facial cleansing bar from Nippon Kodo
The woman who rang up my purchase raved about this soap transforming her skin (which was pretty awesome by the way).  The packaging lists "carbon powder" and not Binchotan as the charcoal ingredient, if there's a difference, I would not be able to identify that just yet.  Wait til I get my hands on some Binchotan soap...

Bonus SF shopping thoughts:
photo: Miansai

This bracelet: The Miansai screw cuff.  I spotted it, tried it on and fell in love the first day in SF meandering the Mission District.  I catalogued it in my brain and kept wandering.  The next day, while strolling only a handful of blocks on Hayes street in Hayes Valley, I kept seeing the identical selections of Miansai jewelry over and over in the various shops I would pop into!  To be fair, I spotted recurrences of similar selections of Giles & Brother, Erica Weiner, and Catbird but no joke-on the same side of the SAME BLOCK lo and behold THREE shops carried similar selections of Miansai.  Their sales rep had a field day in Hayes Valley!

Now that I got that off my chest, I can say that the retail experience in SF was pretty awesome. Great conceptual stores, good merchandising, and definitely more focused on "lifestyle" shopping.  Get your apparel, your personal care products, a bowl for your cereal and a book for the road.  Be done with it.