Happy, humorous chronicle of random everyday happenings. Family, fashion, food and frustrations are often my inspiration. I'm the mother of two teen boys filled with "advice" for me.

Francie is a winner of Top 25 NorCal Moms - 2013

What's the best part of raising a family in NorCal?

Raising a family in NorCal is the best of both worlds. We have small-town living in the suburbs and big city adventure just a train ride away. Our town is filled with micro communities where kids can play in the streets, ride bikes to school or hang out at the neighborhood pool. Casual sports programs bring the micro communities together for friendly competition. Our favorites are the baseball field and championship swim meets.

Living just 35 miles from San Francisco, we get Big City excitement with all the fantastic food, ethnic neighborhoods, beaches and special events like the Blue Angels flying over Golden Gate Bridge or Chinese New Year’s Parade. We are a family of foodies bonding over fried chicken sandwiches in Oakland, dim sum in Alameda, and calzones in San Francisco. We live for great, creative food and are not afraid to drive to get it. If we are in nesting mode, we create our own tasty menu. Any exotic or organic ingredient is easily accessible. We make our own flat bread, chips and fried rice. We love a delicious challenge.

What's the biggest misconception about living in NorCal?

The biggest misconception of NorCal is the weather. A beach and a few palm trees do not mean it’s warm. Summer in the City is blustery, chilly and mostly foggy. Tourists are easy to spot; anyone in shorts is a dead giveaway. Mark Twain supposedly said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” The statement has truth but nobody knows who really said it. The suburbs however, are warm and shorts-worthy, and therefore a better place for kids to run around barefoot.

What do your kids love most about living in NorCal?

My kids love living in NorCal because it’s never “one million degrees and it’s never minus one million degrees,” so says the oldest teen. My youngest teen likes the idea of skiing and going to the beach in one day, although we have never made the attempt.

Both boys, ages fifteen and thirteen love going to The City, San Francisco to visit their favorite Asian neighborhoods. In Japantown, steaming bowls of tempura udon noodles and fruity sodas with a glass marble in the bottle are top of the must-do list. In Chinatown, golden moon cakes, cool ceramic bowls or chopsticks make their day.