But it is just like us, "the San Francisco treat!"

Ryan and I wanted to keep everyone updated as we journey to San Francisco so here it is. Let's hope we can keep on top of this blogging business.

Home Sweet Home

Oh Canada… Sing it with me. We are home. FINALLY. We left Albany around 11, then left the outlets in Woodburn, Oregon around 3:30. There’s no tax in Oregon so we just couldn’t refuse. Except for the shirts I bought for my brother, we got some fantastic deals (sorry brother). I’ve been craving some snow, some sense of winter and Chehalis, Washington filled that void. We could barely see the road because the flakes were so huge and it was coming down so hard. Thankfully it was just a snow pocket and not coming down the entire drive home. Penny once again was the best kitty ever and stayed under the seat. I promised her this would be her last long car trip… Glad she doesn’t understand me because that probably a lie. Ryan and I are back in the Westend not too far from where Ryan was living before. 1523 Comox. Google it. We are on the top floor of this charming house and we love it more in real life than we did in pictures. Don’t know if i mentioned it before but the owners of the house live in San Francisco so we were able to meet with them and sign a lease. The unpacking continues and appears to be never-ending. We’re off to The Rizza’s house to pick up some things tonight.

This is the last post unless I feel the need to post something again.

Thanks for reading our blog. We will hopefully be back in San Francisco sometime in the near future.



Left my heart in San Francisco

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This week went by way too fast. Too too fast. It was a busy work week for both Ryan and I so that left little time to relax and enjoy our last week here. We used up the last of our San Fran groupons: massage and facial package, delicious burgers from Urban burger and the dentist. The dentist was great… Flat screen tv mounted o the ceiling so you can watch tv as your teeth are being cleaned, digital x-ray and tiny video camera that get displayed on the tv. Makes me want to come back to San Fran just for the dentist :P

With the car checked out and a new tire we said our goodbyes and started packing. I think that it’s human nature to accumulate stuff… We didn’t fall far from the tree. Fitting everything into the car this time around was way more difficult. We brought too much down, bought too much down here and bot has to bring back work stuff, extra phones for Ryan and several boxes of flies for me. 

It was a struggle but we managed to get it all in the car, who by the way, we’ve named Bessie. As Ryan said, “she’s 10 years old, she deserves a name”. Bessie is FULL. Busting at the seams really. 

After a delayed start we said goodbye to Todd, Supryia and little Anders and headed off. I don’t think Penny understood what was going on. She wanted to play but we put her in the car instead and she slept under the passenger seat the entire drive up. 

As we headed out of the city and over the Bay Bridge I got a bit teary eyed (shocker I know). I think we’ve both fallen in love with this city. 

We arrived in Albany, Oregon around 7:30pm, grabbed some dinner and passed out.

7hrs to go and we’ll be home. 


Our last month here.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah etc etc… Ryan and I want to wish everyone a very joyful and happy holiday season.

This is probably going to be the second to last post. The last one will probably from our trip back home to Vancouver. We are both sad to leave this wonderful city. I’ve made some great friends here in the lab and as a shock to many of you, I will cry on my last day here in the lab. I’m sure Ryan and I will be doing a lot of reflecting in the next 2 weeks… or 12 days I should say, so I’ll leave all that for the next post.

I came down with the flu (shocking). It was awful. No trips to the clinic this time, I went to my lab-mate’s house instead to see her dad who is a doctor. Long story short, he said I have the flu, I fainted, crawled around on the ground when I came to in search of the bathroom, went home. Another day in the life of Stephanie.

My mama was in town for a visit!!! It was great having her here and I was so glad to see her. We met up with my cousin Bowie and ate some delicious Dim Sum and then some Malaysian/Singaporian food. YUMMY!!! Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from her visit here. It was a great visit, too bad I had to work.

I have to admit that I am pretty ashamed that we never made it over to Berkeley until only a couple weeks ago. Friends of mine, Ben, Rachel and their adorable little girl Stella are there and sadly, we never got to see them. Berkeley is a really charming city and the campus is beautiful. We headed over the bay to check out a diner we saw on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. (yes, another one). Bette’s Oceanside Diner. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxRzzBF3Oqo. 

I ordered the Scrapple and Ryan ordered the reuben. We shared both and they were both delicious. Even though this place was insanely busy (1h wait) the service was amazing. Can’t wait to come back here on our next visit/stay in the Bay area.

Next stop, CAL vs Southern MIssissippi. CAL should have won. It was great seeing some college ball while down here. We’ve been really lucky, we’ve seen a lot of sporting events while down here. I’m glad we took advantage of it all. 

Now our usual Penny post… please excuse my triple chin. I’m storing fat for the winter.  

Our next and last visitor was Ryan’s business partner Chris. He flew in from Montreal and brought us some delicious brisket from Schwartz’s. Mmmm. It was so good to finally meet Chris and give him a “Heyyyyyy” in person instead of over the phone.

After meeting up with the boys for dinner, they went out with some of Ryan’s hockey friends. They didn’t come home that night and here are the pictures showing why. 

After a several hours of silence from me and a lecture, I accepted their peace offering and all was forgiven by the next morning. I really shouldn’t worry about the guy who got so drunk he ended up in a moat, but still, I do. I think he’s learned his lesson… not before I ratted him out to his mom though. bwahahaha.

Sunday morning we drove across the bay to Hayward Airport for a scenic flight of the bay. Little did we know that this groupon included a flight simulator and co-piloting the flight afterwards. Chris was our pilot for the day and he had a great time. 

Here Chris is talking to the control tower telling them we’ve coming in for a landing.

Back on the ground! Note the new fabulous mustard bag.

On our way back home we headed to Alamo Square to finally check out the Painted Ladies, aka the opening credits for Full House. Pretty cool. Now where’s that John Stamos? He’s a good greek boy! 

Thanks for visiting us in San Francisco Chris!

Next up CHRISTMAS!!!! I love Christmas. I was really sad that we didn’t have enough room in the car to bring down some Christmas decorations. Our place looks so unfestive. Boo! We were fortunate enough to get invited down to Palm Desert to spend Christmas with my old roommate Teryn, her husband Cody and Teryn’s parents, Dave and LuAnn. With Teryn living in Texas now, we don’t see much of each other and LuAnn has always been like a second mother to me, so Christmas with the Barrs was perfect. We am so grateful to have been invited to share the holidays with them. For the first time since we’ve been here, I finally felt like I was home.

Ryan and I left the house at 5:30am Christmas eve for the 9h drive down to Palm Desert. We were greeted with 20 degree sun-shining weather… I know, we had it rough. Great food, great company. Christmas should be 1 week long instead of 1 day. We left Boxing day and made the long journey back to SF. The drive was good practice for our upcoming drive home. This was the first time we’ve left Penny at home. Thankfully she didn’t pee on the bed but instead used a coaster as her outlet of loneliness and anger. 


Thanks again Teryn, Cody Ron, Dave and LuAnn for a wonderful Christmas!

Now the packing and cleaning begins…


Sorry, I am so lazy/busy. Does that even make sense?

These last 3 weeks have flown by. How is it the end of November already? How are we leaving in 6 weeks? Oh my…

Okay so 3 weeks ago Hannah and Richard my Kiwi friends arrived in San Francisco. This was their final stop on the move back home to New Zealand. After spending just about 2 years in Vancouver these 2 decided it was time to move back home.

Hannah and Richard have spent the last several weeks backpacking Europe. Ryan and I helped them out by bringing their bags with us to San Francisco so the didn’t have to bring everything with them around Europe. It did make packing the car for our road-trip down the coast really tight, but we were happy we could help out.

We had to make one stop at Target before leaving North America.

It was great seeing these 2 again. We became friends by accident but I know we’ll stay in touch. See you kids in 2012!

Ryan and I headed south to Stanford to catch a college football game. It’s a beautiful campus and it’s HUGE!

Next up, the US Half Marathon. Can I just say that we’ve had terrific weather here. Absolutely wonderful. The sunday before we went for a run in a tank top and shorts. But the day of my half marathon it POURED! Not rained, poured! I’m thankful that it was daylight savings and that the clocks were turned back an hour because I needed that extra hour of sleep to help me get through the rain. 

Here’s the start just to get a sense of how wet it was. We we’re soaked from the get go. Running through puddles. Over the bridge and back. Horrible weather, but it was well worth it.                            

After running my last half marathon with an ear infection and seeing the event photos after wards (let’s just say I looked like I was dying in everyone) I vowed to smile and look alive when I saw a camera. Ok not so happy in this one.

Much happier in this one though! This was close to the finish. I think about a mile to go.

Back at home, showered, bathed, napped and full of a delicious post-race brunch made by Ryan, I took my usual biting my metal with my bib picture.

Running in the rain plus having a sick lab mate = Me getting sick. Surprise surprise. This one knocked me on my bum for 2 days. Messed up some stuff I had going in the lab. Bleh. I made some Butternut squash soup as a source of sustenance while I was sick. It was delicious! 

The next week Ryan’s friend Rick arrived on. We’ve only met once at a wedding in January but we both share a love for 5 cent candies… kindred spirit, well sort of. We took a little trip to our local sweet factory knock off. It was heaven!

The next day my cousin Mia arrived, so we had lots of people in town. Luckily Ryan’s other friend Dave was also in town for work and was staying in a hotel downtown. SO the boys stayed there and Mia and I stayed at home.

We did a lot of touristy thing.

McCovey Cove.

Golden Gate Bridge from the Sausalito side.

I took this picture of Ry and then we all had to do it.

We caught a Sharks game that night. They were playing Calgary and we were torn over who to cheer for. I usually cheer for my surrogate home team but it didn’t feel right as we were sitting with a whole bunch of Calgary fans.

The next day Mia and I went to the Exploratorium, also known as the touchy feely museum. It’s like science world but strictly for the senses. I should have taken a picture of some of the exhibits but there you go.

Note the weather here. This is the second week of november and we’re wearing shorts and tank tops. Hahaha snowy Vancouver. Eat my shorts.

We rode the cable car for the first time! How very touristy.

We were all waving as some guy on the side of the road was video taping us.

It was so great seeing Mia, Rick and Dave. We miss having you all here.

Since then, Ryan and I have both been busy with work. He’s been working past midnight most nights and I’ve been in the lab for 12+ hours. We’re both exhausted. Here’s Chris and Ryan’s recent press release in the SFGate website (part of the San Francisco Chronicle): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/11/11/prweb4775044.DTL

Speaking of URLs… if you go to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed and type in “Vlachos S”, check out what come up. That’s right, it’s me. FINALLY. My first first author publication is out there for the world to see (or criticize). I’m so humble aren’t I?!

During this past week leading up to American Thanksgiving we’ve been trying out Bikram’s Yoga… aka Military Yoga. It’s very different from what I normally practice but we’ve  both been enjoying it as it’s a workout that we’ll never experience anywhere else.

I’m also a brunette again. YES! Never will I go blond again!!

American Thanksgiving came and went. We had turkey (breasts and drumsticks) a ton of asian vegetables (all the supermarkets except for the chinese ones by our house were closed so we couldn’t get any of the usual suspects such as brussel sprouts, yams etc). 

Today we headed down the coast to Santa Cruz. The waves were killer and so there were tons of surfers. Really cool to see.

We stopped at Pigeon Point lighthouse and met a nice lady from Nova Scotia there. Being at pigeon point made me want to break out into King Pigeon III and get Ryan to take a picture of me, but I was wearing jeans, it was cold, blah blah blah… I love seeing people doing yoga postures in cool places but apparently I am not one of them.

Kite and wind surfers!

This is Santa Cruz.

Oh, hello there…

Would we trade this for snow and slush and cold and rain??? Nope. But I’m sure I’m jinxing us for our return on January 9th. Aiy.


Way to Go GIANTS!!!!

Another 2 weeks that have flown by. We’ve been here for nearly 2 months now but I guess there’s no better time to be in San Francisco than right now!

I was first going to start this post with “THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES”. But then I got lazy and didn’t finish writing this post. So now it’s THE GIANTS ARE THE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!! The energy in this city is contagious!

We watched Game 1 at Toronado’s in lower Haight. This place is known for their amazing beer selection, and they didn’t disappoint! Once the Giants were up by a lot we headed across the street to Memphis Minnie’s, the equivalent to our Memphis Blues back at home. Love this sign.

Many sauces, but Ryan wasn’t impressed with them.

We also found some wonderful art left at the table we were sitting at. This is now on our fridge. A true masterpiece!

Ryan spent a lot of time looking for tickets but at the end of the day, they were just far too expensive for us. So we watched most of the games at home, live-streaming over the internet (we don’t have cable). We caught Giants fever like mad and have spent these past couple week celebrating with the rest of the city.

Last night was mad! Madness!! Mayhem!!! We tried to catch the N train downtown but as we were waiting we were told that it probably wasn’t coming as the trains were getting stuck at 9th Ave. STOP HAND! So we walked over to 9th Ave to see what was going on… A big street party, that’s what!

This house  (where that guy is pointing) was supplying the music for the entire street!

This guy had a Lincecum shirt. He’s not the best to look at but he pitched a great winning game last night!

When the N train was finally able to make it though (with help of the SFPD) it was like parting the red sea. And then as soon as it passed the crowds on either side of the train would rush back into the center of the road, cheering and high fiving each other. I’ll try to post up videos of this later. It was hilarious!

These girls rushed the cop and threw him a dance party!

We brought our Giants cups that we got at the game since we don’t have any Giants gear. We’ll have to pick some up now!

Coolest thing… these guys were banging on these news paper boxes like drums. It went on for at least a half hour. I don’t now how they did it for so long. I have to post a video of this.   

Love this guy’s face!

This past week Ryan and I also spent some time getting to know my lab mates. We went over to Nicole and Angela’s place for games night. I love board games! We had a few drinks, while one of my lab mates had more than his fair share. It made for an entertaining night.

For Halloween we did a self-guided pub crawl along Polk St. I went as an Eskimo (I’ll pause for you to laugh now), and Ryan was an 80’s rocker. He was originally suppose to go ask Michael Jackson but couldn’t get a wig and glove in time. Ah well, a costume’s a costume!

The Count!


A shower!

Bjork’s swan outfit! FYI the crotch shot is of my shorts, not my underwear! And gyeah, skating tights!!!!

Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice!

I’ve also been dabbling in the kitchen a bit more. Martha-ing it up! I made a quiche for the very first time. And it was delicious!!!

Oh I forgot to post this before, but Ryan taught me how to play yahtzee a few weeks ago and I schooled him! I’m the WINNER!!!!

And when I was feeling poopy Ryan went out the GG Park and got me this huge calla lilly. How sweet! I think I’ll keep him.

Kitty and me sleeping again. It was her birthday yesterday too! Happy Birthday Penny!

My Kiwi friends Hannah and RIchard arrive tomorrow. They are en route back home to New Zealand after spending a couple years in Vancouver. Looking forward to seeing them tomorrow!


What does one do on a cloudy day in Southern California?

Bum around the house. That’s what! Grabbed a quick lunch then headed to the hot tub to relax.

Too cold to swim.

Found this pack of gum. Check out the Flavour… only in America.

"Why are you taking a picture of us? We don’t even know you guys". Shush little kid.

Off to Roya’s Aunt’s house for a little post-wedding celebration.

Hookah! We tried it, finally! I’ve been wanting to try it for so long. Watermelon flavour… mmm!            

Mom, they’re smoking a Bong in there! Not quite Colton, but thanks for coming out!

A little recorder music anyone? So Glad that Roya’s dad caught this on video.

One of my favourite pictures… Beck and I are having one of our classic conversations.

3 and a half years ago Aline, Missy, Becky and I made a trip down to Cali to visit Roya. Here is the pic of us at her Aunt’s house then:

And here’s the pic now. DDRRREEEEEEE!!!!!! 2 are married and we are all living in different places.  Love you girls so much!

We’re a sucker for group shots!

Top model pose, GO!

Don’t Ask…

But we were trying to imitate this. Fail.

We wanted to “party” whilst in SoCal so we went to a bar, can’t remember the name of it, but in a nutshell…. we stood out. First because we were the only group of asians. “Y’all filipino???” Says one creepy old man. “My friend’s wife is filipino and I KNOW she can dance!”.  

What was that?

At first we didn’t know the songs. People were doing some sort of coordinated dance. But we managed to stand out soon enough by singing the words to some old school songs at the top of our lungs.

Done and Done!

Sunday. Sunday. Sunday. We met up with everyone for brunch. Then made a stop a Ross, then parted ways. A stop at LAX to drop of T, Missy and Becky (thanks for letting me drop you off so early) and then I had a long drive back north to San Francisco by myself. Well, me and a five-hour energy drink. Never again.

It was so great being all together again. I can’t wait for our next reunion. xxoo


Road trip to our Reunion and Roya’s wedding!

After a busy few days of lab work and mainly revisions (sill ecstatic about that),  Krystle, Jenny and I headed south to SO-CAL! A long long long drive.

Can I just say that compared to back at home the highway signage is not so good. You want to know what exit to take? Well it’s the one you are passing on your right. They don’t have numbers at the exits so you have to do a constant countdown. Ryan and I hardly drive now so I’m already anxious driving and getting lost does not help.

After a couple bathroom breaks which also included a visit to a pumpkin patch, we arrived at LAX to pick up my ho pung yao (aka best friend) Becky! It’s been a year since we last saw each other and even longer since we were  in California together.

From there we headed straight into Dana Point and to our condo. Great find Missy (and I’ll include Rory here since he wants to take some of the credit). And a big thanks to Krystle who took care of the booking. It was such a great idea and the best bang for our buck.     

Post-rehearsal dinner the girls stopped by for a visit… so our Cali-reunion officially began. Roya, Becky, Missy, Aline and myself. Tamara arrived at the condo around 12:30am after a nauseating shuttle ride from LAX. Poor girl. What a trooper. I can’t tell you how great it was to have all of us together again.

And now the picture with T… Not my best photoshop work but I’m still working on it.

Jenny got the nickname of Teddy this night. Oh Teddy…

Friday morning… WEDDING DAY!!!!!!!! And it was raining. Cue Alanis Morisette and all of us singing at the top of our lungs at T and Dan’s old apartment. But come’on, 2 BC kids getting married… you’ve got to expect some rain. 

Becky was recruited to make missy look all nice and pretty so we headed over to Roya’s to get her ready. That’s fine missy, you look nice and we look like SHgarbage. That’s fine.         

We had to had to make a stop at Ross before the wedding. Oh Ross, my second boyfriend.  Ross got me a lot of nice things, 2 dresses, a T-shirt, 2 rings and some amazing shoes. Ross was so good to me. Actually, he was good to all of us. Lucky Lucky.

We beautified ourselves and waited for our taxi that never showed up. Thank goodness we had the Foci. We jumped in and headed to Seven Degrees for the Neukom-Dorodian Wedding.   

The inappropriate reverend/pastor… he wanted Missy.

It was beautiful! And the rain largely held off for the ceremonies.

Missy on the catwalk!

Time for rooftop cocktails!

These 2 love each other!

The delicious cake.

Roomies reunited!

I love the action shot… you cane see the desperation on some of our faces and not on others. Love it!

Curtis was the unofficial DJ.

Jenny has a momentary near-fainting spell but she was a trooper.

shame shame double shame…

Steph says “That enough about your rash. I don’t want to see it anymore and I definitely don’t want to keep talking about it”. Becky and Tamara look uncomfortable.

Time to squeeesh into the Foci.

Classic Becky and Marissa.

Do you have Poprocks?

Time for bed.


A visit from some of my favourite Shuns!

Whoa, where does the day go? Where do all the days go?? This post is soooo over due. Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s the very best place to start.

These past 2 weeks from when krystle and Jenny were here in SF, to our girls reunion in Dana Point for Roya and Curtis’ wedding, to now have totally flown by.

So many great things have happened! 

I loved having Krystle and Jenny here, it was the perfect cure for my home sickness.

We decided to surprise Jenny with tickets to the 49ers game. We had her thinking that Ryan was taking us on a bus adventure to this park with fantastic views of the city… LIES! Sure it was a park, Candlestick Park that is. She may not have been too into football, but we all had a great time.

We were too late to tail gate so we had a little picnic outside this entry gate.

I get confused with Krystle’s camera… I look at the screen of ourselves instead of looking at the camera lens. There are several pictures on her camera like this.

Michael Vick. On the side lines.

The many many fights around us in the stand were entertaining.

The youngens getting lectured by the fuzz.

I have to admit that I wasn’t the best host/ city guide while the girls were here. Work always seems to get in the way of everything… just kidding boss if you are reading this. Thankfully the girls are travelling pros and maneuvered around the city like champs. I can honestly say that those 2 have seen just about as much of the city as we have.

SF in SF!!!

Krystle’s long time family friend Travis, who lives in here in San Fran, took us out for some delicious Thai food.


They’re Here! Now go to Jail BAD BOY!

Yessss!!! The shuns have arrived! Bright eyed and bushy tailed (and I mean the opposite when I say that) Krystle and Jenny arrived in San Francisco this morning.

We had a big day ahead of us… ALCATRAZ.

Hate the pat downs.

The Morgue.

Shower anyone?

Way too happy to be incarcerated.

C1!!!! What what!!!!

Door to one of the solitary confinement cells.

Oh it’s also Fleet week so there was an airshow the entire time we were on The Rock. We had such a great vantage point without the huge crowds.

Back inside.

Cell of one of the escapees. They made dummy heads of themselves out of soap and cardboard. Dug and chiseled their way out using spoon handles. How resourceful.

This is where their vents led to… they climbed up along to pipes to the roof and then out.

Ryan likes his cell.

His usual seat.

I tried to leave him in there but couldn’t get the door to lock. Pity.

Grenades. That’s where they landed. Yup, they dropped them down during this battle.

Into the kitchen. No KitchenAid… too bad.

Cell 181 on Michigan Ave was home to Al “Scarface” Capone.

We escaped from Alcatraz and ended up in a a zoo of people on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Made our was to Boudin, home of ‘the Mother Dough’.

Time for some clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Mmmmm, it was DELICIOUS!

The home of the famous chocolatier Ghirardelli!

No only does Ryan like to take nasty photos of me sleeping, but also when I’m concentrating hard on something such as trying to put my hair in a ponytail in the wind or here, trying to take a photo of a building while holding a coffee and trying to get a shot without passing cars in it. I’ll spare you the photo with me and my 6 chins. You’re welcome.

After a long, loud ride home we made it! We ate some Thai food then the girls and Ryan slept while I celebrated my first First-author paper being accepted with only minor revisions! Yesss!!!!!!!!! Finally!!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!!!!!!

Having a quiet celebratory beer by myself on a saturday night is wonderful!

Life is good.


Martha being Martha

Instead of heading out to check out the night scene in our neighbourhood, Ryan and I stayed in last night and watched Game 2 of the Giants vs. the Braves series. We are now Giants fans by proximity. They were up 4-0 blew it in the 8th, and lost it in the 11th. Disappointing. We’re trying to get tickets to round 2.

So we stayed in, I cleaned and baked in anticipation of the girls arriving this morning. (38 minute from now!!!).

Have you ever made cookies, tasted the dough and thought “that’s it, it’s done! There’s no need to to anything else. No need to bake it. It’s crazy delicious as it is!” Well last night was one of those times. The cookies are tasty, but not as good as the dough. I baked all of it and refrained from eating more dough. *sniff*

PS: I want a better camera