5 S.F. Couples Share Their Fave Hobbies

OK, guys. We’ve unearthed the secret to a happy relationship and it's...a joint hobby. Or, at least it is for these five local couples, who kindly let us in on how they spend quality time together.
From lamp making to bird-watching (or should we say lovebird-watching, heh), these adorable duos are full of ideas for first dates and anniversaries alike. So, whether you've got yourself a sweetheart or you're in the market for one, join us as we live vicariously through these perfect tales of how they met (hello, OkCupid!), adventure-filled weekends (Big Sur getaway, anyone?), and helpful, oftentimes hilarious relationship advice. If you're not a fan of love, make your exit now, because we’re talking meet-cutes and romantic gestures galore.
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
Names: Erin Fong and Tyler McPherron
Gigs: Letterpress Printer and Bookbinder at Western Editions; Director of photography/editor
Neighborhood: Alamo Square
Been Together: Over a year
Hobby: Lamp Making

How did you two meet?
Tyler: "We knew of each other from around town before we actually talked at a coffee shop in Reno. Erin was having a bad day and I ended up showing her silly cat videos — i.e. Kittens Inspired by Kittens."

Tell us about your lamp making!
Erin: "It started many years ago when my grandpa cut wood coasters from a tree that had fallen in his yard. I took a few home with the idea of turning them into lamps and Tyler was the light master who knew how to actually do that. Shall I say, he is the light of my life — wink, wink."

You guys do a lot of traveling together. What is your favorite place you've visited on one of your weekend adventures and why?
E & T: "Hard to pick just one. One of our first getaways was sleeping in the Human Nest at Treebones Resort in Big Sur. It is literally a human-sized nest made entirely of sticks that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It was so magical to wake up in, despite the crazy windstorm!"

What's your idea of quality time?
E & T: "Quality time is all the time! However, we do love quick trips out of the city or all day adventures exploring S.F. and taking photos. We have been trying to visit every spot on Rebecca Solnit's San Francisco Treasure Map."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.

What qualities do you love most about your partner?
Erin: "His patience and sense of humor. Plus, that beard is pretty hunky."
Tyler: "I love Erin's sense of humor. She's hilarious! I've always felt like I could say the most ridiculous things to her and she would not only roll with them, but actually think they are funny."

What's your ideal Valentine's Day date?
Erin: "Our default date that never gets old is Mission Chinese followed by cocktails at Trick Dog."
Tyler: "Camping in a rustic cabin in the woods or by the ocean while drinking hot toddies and staying warm in vintage wool blankets and heritage brand outerwear. I'm joking...but not really."

What's the best gift your partner has ever given you?
Erin: "Tyler made me what I am dubbing a 'lamptern'. He gutted a vintage lantern and made it into a lamp — surprise, surprise. It's now hanging by the bed."
Tyler: "Erin made me a hand-bound photo book filled with panoramic photos from our adventures. I love it, and the cover has 22-karat gold leaf foil on it. So, if I ever need to hock it, it'll be worth something."

What, to you, is the secret to a happy relationship?
Erin: "Giggles, giggles, and more giggles."
Tyler: "Helping each other out and looking out for one another."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
Names: Antrom Kury and Aleksandra Zee
Occupations: Musician and artist
Neighborhood: Inner Richmond and the Mission
Been together: Almost three months
Hobby: Weekend adventuring

How did you two meet?
Antrom: "I stumbled upon Allie’s Instagram and was taken aback by her artwork and all-around cuteness and decided I had to meet her. We ended up getting in touch and met at West Coast Craft, where she had a booth. The rest is well… you know the rest. Also, I feel like a stalker."

Tell us about your weekend adventures.
Aleksandra and Antrom: "We like to take every opportunity to explore inside and outside of the city. We love finding new hiking spots along the coast, roaming around Golden Gate Park, getting lost in the forest, and are always searching for old lumber to bring back to the wood shop."

What's your favorite way to spend time together?
Aleksandra and Antrom: "In bed."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
What is your favorite place you've visited on one of your weekend adventures and why?
Aleksandra and Antrom: "Our favorite adventure hands down was the five-mile hike to Alamere Falls. Not only was it super rewarding to end up at a waterfall that hits the beach, but it was an all-day adventure full of clumsiness, story telling, and belly laughs, while walking the five miles to and from one of the most beautiful places."

What qualities do you love most about your partner?
Aleksandra: "I love that he is creative and passionate about his craft. His passion spills out of him and it inspires my creativity and hunger to grow as an artist. I also equally love that he is the silliest person I know and is always making me laugh. I love ending and starting every day with him."
Antrom: "What I love most about Allie is that she feeds my soul, and that I have never felt so full. In fact it’s kind of overflowing, which isn’t so bad."

You're both artists. How do you inspire each other creatively?
Aleksandra: "Antrom is constantly thinking and talking about music. He always shares what inspires him, catches his ear, what feeds his soul and what challenges him to create better. All of that is a part of who he is and being with someone that lives and breathes their craft only inspires me to do the same. I feel that we meet each other at the same level and equally inspire one another other to constantly create and be better."
Antrom: "Being around someone who shares a such a strong passion for creating itself is honestly very inspiring. Allie knows how much I need music in my life, and I know how much she needs her artwork to be truly fulfilled and happy. In that understanding we have found this beautiful mutual love and support of each other. She always pushes me to reach higher and it has already opened up so much for me creatively."

What, to you, is the secret to a happy relationship?
Aleksandra: "Always taking the time to remember to be silly."
Antrom: "What she said."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
Names: David Aloi (right) and Monty Suwannukul (left)
Occupations: Writer and designer
Neighborhood: Lower Haight
Been together: Four and a half years
Hobby: Board games

How did you meet?
David and Monty: "A friend introduced us at a bar."

So, you like playing board games? What are your favorites?
David and Monty: "Funny enough, although our closet is filled with games, our favorite game is one called Mafia. It doesn't require any board or cards but it does require at least ten people, which is often difficult to gather. We enjoy playing with each other because we are so good at it and just keep getting better and better."

Do you guys get competitive when you play?
David and Monty: "Yes, certainly. But, all in good spirits. Winning isn't everything, of course, but it's definitely something."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
What qualities do you love most about your partner?
David: "I love Monty's quick wit, kind heart, and his absolute adoration for animals. He is very close with his family and for me that is important. Oh, and he's quite the looker!"
Monty: "David is kind, generous, and infinitely patient. He loves my friends and my family and that’s no small task!"

What's your idea of quality time?
David: "It sounds ultra-appropriate, but playing Jeopardy is something I did a lot growing up with my family and Monty enjoys it as well. So, when we play together, screaming at each other and at the television, it's like magic."
Monty: "I love to wake up on Saturday morning regardless of how hungover I am and make David breakfast. Then we eat while watching Jacque Pepin and America’s Test Kitchen on PBS."

How do you plan on spending Valentine’s Day? Playing board games or a night out?
David and Monty: "While we still might try to snatch a reservation at a fancier joint, chances are we will head to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant and then catch a movie. Lots to see still before the Oscars!"

What's the most romantic thing your partner has ever done for you?
David: "Speaking of Vietnamese food, for Valentine's Day a few years back, Monty recreated one of my favorite dishes that I usually get when I'm out and about. He went so far as to consult with the actual chef of the restaurant before coming home and making it in our kitchen. He put Christmas lights up and everything."
Monty: "We don’t do a lot of touchy feely romantic things, but the best gift I’ve ever received is this amazing kaleidoscope that David got me for my 26th birthday. It’s made with intricate glass beads suspended in liquid and makes the most beautiful tessellation the glides slowly even after you stop rotating it. It’s a gift that only someone who really understands me could get me, and I find that very romantic."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
Names: Pilar Dellano (right) and Sarah Goldfine (left)
Gigs: Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, Student
Hoods: North Berkeley
Been together: It was a year last December
Hobby: Ukulele duets

How did you two meet?
P & S: "We met on OKCupid."

Tell us about this joint hobby of yours!
P & S: "We make songs up about all kinds of things. We’re not exactly Simon and Garfunkle, but we’re not trailing that far behind either. That is, if you like music about dogs, medication and local Berkeley restaurants. We figured out early on that we could have fun doing this, and its also a great way to take risks and be vulnerable together."

What qualities do you love most about your partner?
Sarah: "Pilar is warm, sweet, incredibly accepting, and makes me feel like my faults don’t need to be hidden. She’s also good at pretty much everything I’ve ever seen her try."
Pilar: "Sarah makes it impossible for me to stay mad at her for longer than 45 seconds, I’ve timed it. She’s actually the funniest person I know, she’s also the most honest person I’ve ever met, which along with about 500 other things, I find incredibly attractive."

What's your idea of quality time?
P & S: "As long as we’re both present in whatever we’re doing, it all feels like quality time. We’ve had great conversations and been on amazing trips together, but probably have the most fun doing regular, every day things. Which is a good thing, since we spend more time hiking with the dogs than hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
What's your ideal Valentine's Day date?
Sarah: "Eating a lot of candy. My mom made really cute Valentine's Day cards growing up, so I always look forward to a sweet package from her. I don’t think the holiday needs to be about just loving your partner, but about putting love out into the world."
Pilar: "Sarah is getting a mole I’ve been worried about biopsied this Feb 14. So ,believe it or not, that will be my ideal Valentine's Day date. I guess I’m pretty traditional."

What's the most romantic thing your partner has ever done for you?
Sarah: "Pilar does romantic things for me all the time, but what I find to be the most romantic are the notes she leaves me throughout the week. I love finding them. It’s a simple gesture that means a lot to me."
Pilar: "Sarah surprised me with our dog Minnow. I’d been wanting a dog for a long time, but never imagined that a hyperactive, and kind of aggressive, hairless Chihuahua would be the key to my heart."

What, to you, is the secret to a happy relationship?
Sarah: "Laughter. I know it’s cliché, but Pilar is the funniest person I’ve ever met, and the fact that we’re cracking up most of the time we’re together keeps me so happy. And, I guess communication."
Pilar: "Sex. And, I guess communication."
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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
Names: Charles Post and Meg Haywood-Sullivan
Gigs: Charles: PhD student and ecologist, Meg: professional photographer and model
Neighborhood: West Marin
Been together: Almost two years
Hobby: Bird-watching

How did you two meet?
Charles: "We met after Meg's truck broke down on her move from Montana to San Diego. Long story short, while her truck was in the shop, she posted a photo of herself at Muir beach on Instagram. My best buddy saw the photo, and sent me her number. I called, we linked up to go surfing, and I ended up moving in with her that day.

Tell us about the birdwatching!
Charles: "My grandmother was an avid birdwatcher and she used to take me on nature walks every day after school. I guess you could say I was destined to become a naturalist. Now I'm working on a PhD with a focus on birds. Megan has always been fascinated by wildlife, and fortunately for me, she has become my trusty field research assistant and bird-watching sidekick!"

You guys go on a lot of outdoor adventures. What's your favorite memory of a place you've visited together?
Meg: "That’s a tough one! It would have to be exploring Great Basin National Park on the border of Nevada and Utah. We were mid-road trip from Moab to San Francisco when we stumbled across this amazing place. It’s one of the least visited National Parks in the country, yet it is one of our favorites because of its high alpine streams, groves of aspens, and beautiful night skies."

What qualities do you love most about your partner?
Charles: "I love how driven, passionate, and motivated Meg is. She's also incredibly funny and witty, which keeps me smiling and entertained, especially on long road trips or hikes."
Meg: "Charles has everything I look for in a partner-in-crime. He’s always up for an adventure and he never ceases to make me laugh."
What's your idea of quality time?
Charles: "Whenever we have free time, we love to hang out at the horse stable where I work and play with the horses and go riding. Surfing, hiking, backpacking, fishing, and hunting are also some of our favorite ways to enjoy free time."
Meg: "Quality time is whenever we get a chance to tune out and be together, preferably outside. When we’re not working you can find us surfing, hiking with friends, going on mini-road trips, and taking way too many photos."

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Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile.
What's your idea of the perfect date?
Charles: "I’m all about daytime dates, which usually consist of a surf or hike. If we happen to be awake past 9pm, we sometimes walk down to our local ice cream parlor, Scoop (in Fairfax). Afterwards, we tend to cap the night with a PBS nature show or some Vice on HBO. Meg: Ha! That sounds about right. I second what Charles said."

You often work together on video and photography projects. How do you inspire each other creatively and balance work/romance?
Meg: "We’re lucky to be able to live and work together. Its so beneficial to be able to bounce ideas off of each other when we are working on a project. At the end of the day, there is no one we’d rather be collaborating with."

What's the most romantic thing your partner has ever done for you?
Charles: "One day Megan and I were fishing on the San Juan river in New Mexico. I was just about to call it a day when I hooked a behemoth of a trout. A few tense moments later, I realized my net had been left on the bank. I quickly glanced over to Megan who was keenly observing my heroic battle. She read my glance and quickly sprinted up the river bank, grabbed my net — which she had just given me for my birthday — and netted, with surprising grace, my trophy rainbow trout. In my eyes, there's nothing more romantic than a girlfriend who's ready to leap to the rescue and net your fish when you're in need of a hand.
Meg: "I had just landed at SFO after a long, cold photoshoot in Colorado. The last thing I wanted to do was get on a bus with all of my heavy camera and snow gear to go home. While I was waiting at the baggage claim for my bags I noticed someone standing awkwardly close behind me. I turned around and Charles was there with a big smile holding a bouquet of sunflowers. I will never forget that."

What, to you, is the secret to a happy relationship?
Charles: "Each individual being independent. We are passionate about what we do professionally, but live for the moments of freedom when we head out on an adventure, punctuated by backpacking, surfing, snowboarding, hunting or fishing. It's the balance that keeps our relationship happy and healthy."
Meg: "Honesty, communication, and teamwork. Back rubs are an added bonus."

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