Things have been pretty crazy around here since we got back from California, as you can imagine. We decided to go with a PODS container to ship our stuff to CA, so they came pretty early to pick it up.

Mike got the job of trying to fit the last bunch of stuff in the back of the container at around 11 p.m. when we found out they were picking it up a day earlier than we thought.

The dogs are a bit weirded out by what’s going on, but as long as they have an inflatable bed to sleep on, they’re OK.

Sadie made sure the dog food bin was completely clean before we packed it up.

Then both the dogs snoozed in perfect alignment on the empty carpet.

It’s kind of weird to be camping in your own house. I would say it’s kind of fun, but all we have left to do is scrub everything clean. Not fun!

At least we got a little break for Thanksgiving. We went to Kansas and overstuffed ourselves for three days straight. And since we knew we wouldn’t be home for our Christmas morning tradition, we went ahead and made that too.

Bubble bread! I know most people call it monkey bread, but I think my name is more fitting.

And before I left I made Charlotte model for some photos with my poufs.

She’s such a good model. And she only wants to be paid in dog biscuits.

Checking out my new home

Even though I’ve known for a while that I was moving to the Berkeley, California area, I had not actually been there before. I went to San Francisco in 2004 with Erin, but that’s been a while, and we never got to Berkeley.

So last week I met Mike out there and we looked at some houses. As much as it broke my heart to pass on a house with avocado, fig, lime, and kumquat trees a bike ride away from Mike’s office, I totally fell in love with the other place we looked at just outside of Berkeley.

The price tag is more than double what we pay in Des Moines, but we got a whole house with garage, yard, and an extra basement room I can use for crafting and shipping my Etsy packages.

Instead of fruit trees, I get lots and lots of succulents and pretty flowers growing in the yard.

Also, perfect weather, a cute neighborhood, and proximity to an Anthropologie, Paper Source, and cb2. (happy dance!)

Side note: Have you guys used Zipcar before? I think we used it three times, and we thought it was about the best thing ever.

I had some time to explore Berkeley on my own, so I started out walking around the campus. There’s a trail that goes through a woodsy area right in the middle of campus. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the trees.

After a while I got tired of walking, so I did what everyone else was doing — laid down in a big grassy field and just hung out for a while. I didn’t have a book with me, but I had my iPod. It was one of the best things I did the entire trip.

Mike was telling me about the “gourmet ghetto,” the foodie neighborhood where Chez Panisse is located. There’s a pizza restaurant called the Cheese Board that serves only one type of pizza per day.

You can get it by the slice, or in half or whole pizzas. We got a half with swiss chard, fontina, and citrus zest, and we ate it outside because the restaurant was so packed.

I don’t know if you can tell but we were actually sitting in the median of the road next to a bunch of other people. They should put benches out there!

We also tried some pizza at Jupiter, which is just around the corner from Mike’s office. He had one with figs and I had one with golden potato slices. Very yummy.

I think I still have quite a bit of exploring of Berkeley left to do, but I definitely preferred the areas further away from downtown and campus. There are some very cute neighborhoods and lots of great restaurants and shopping.

We were actually staying in San Francisco via a work connection of Mike’s in probably the most fabulous version of couch surfing I’ll ever do. The couple we stayed with own a house in North Beach, very somewhere in between Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, and Telegraph Hill.

They own the whole building and have extra apartments available when people visit. The rooftop view at night was absolutely gorgeous. There’s no way I could have captured it with a photo. And we even got a home-cooked French meal of warm bread and tomatoes, souffle, and haricots verts. We were definitely spoiled.

The house is that neighborhood.

If you peeked over some of the hills you could see through to the bay.

In between there and the BART stop, we had amazing dim sum in Chinatown, Italian at the cutest place on Columbus Street, drinks at Vesuvio (an old haunt of Jack Kerouac and the beat poets), and awesome Mexican at this tiny place we found by googling essentially “is there a Mexican restaurant on this street?”

We also found the most adorable hat shop that’s been in business for more than 100 years. I don’t have any pictures yet, but we decided we were brave enough to each buy a hat. Apparently some of their designs were made off of the original molds, so they are definitely legit.

Apart from the super touristy stuff, I just completely fell in love with San Francisco. If there is a city that’s me, that’s the one. It has such a romanticism, but it’s also eclectic. And it’s a huge city, but in places it feels nice and quiet. The food’s unbelievable. It’s just so cool that I’m getting to live in the bay area.

So now we have to get to packing, and there’s a LOT to get done. But it’s nice to finally be able to focus on the transition, and to know where we’ll be living!

Double craft fair weekend

I’m knitting like crazy for two shows this weekend — my last two shows in Des Moines!

First up, Des Moines’ original indie craft show, Craft Saturday.

And then Sunday I’ll be doing the Green Gifts Fair. Last year’s fair was my best show ever, so I have high hopes for this one.

It seems too soon to shift into holiday gear, but I know people are breaking out their Christmas shopping lists already. So I will do my best to be ready.

A few of my favorite things

My goodness, I am feeling spoiled.

Little gifts kept appearing on my desk yesterday. Mike gave me these earrings from Zoko’s Etsy shop, that I had been eyeing (they sell them at the yoga studio where I teach).

I also got Snow & Graham’s 2011 calendar from my dad. It’s gorgeous!

My sister sent a copy of Paper + Craft, a fun book with lots of crafty paper projects.

And Brianne gave me this amazing book, full of home-y projects.

I am already dying to make this crocheted rope rug.

Sarah, who’s sister designed the graphic on that cute card, gave me one of her adorable sweater owls.

And I gifted myself some new soft wool yarn.

The potluck was a huge success, too. I think everyone went home with a full belly. And I was glad to know it’s pretty easy to make my tart recipe in miniature.

I’d say 30 is pretty awesome so far!

Turning 30

So today is my 30th birthday. Even though I really think my 30s will be my best years yet, I still kind of expected to have some kind of anxiety attack on the actual day. So far it hasn’t happened. I think I have been way too distracted by everything else going on in my life to worry about it.

Instead we are having friends over, and I’m cramming to get work done before I leave for my first California visit in a few days.

When I reflect on my life, this is not at all what I thought I would be doing at 30. I guess I thought I would be more “settled,” but instead I am still doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, trying to figure out what I like best. And now we have this huge new adventure in front of us, and I just have no idea what will happen next. I have a really good feeling about it, though.

How about you – did you (or do you) have anxiety about the big 3-0?