Friday, September 19, 2014

What to Wear: Crop Top for the Office

Boxy crop tops are one of the few fall fashion trends I can really get behind (why is everyone selling sweatpants!?). The cut is a bit of a throw-back to the 1960's and 1990's but with a modern, flirty style that works perfectly for the office when paired with a high-waisted skirt.
Top - A boxy black crop top is a fun way to rock the shorter trend but still work appropriate. I found one just like this at H&M in a drapey black crepe.
Skirt - It's too warm for a tweed, how about a high-waisted pencil skirt with an ikat pattern from Anthropologie instead? The high waist helps you rock with crop top without baring any skin.
Shoes - Cole Haan classic black platform patent pumps. On sale for $134!
Clutch - A coral clutch with gold details from Urban Outfitters.
Sunglasses - A vintage-styled pair of sunglasses from Forever 21.
Earrings - Studs with a brown stone color with gold from Macy's.
Bracelet - A black enamel bangle from Kate Spade.
Coat - It's too warm for a coat right now, but it looks so cute draped cape-style over your shoulders.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sale Alert: Banana Republic

Banana Republic is having one of their usual, bonkers sales this week. Online you can find a few good deals, but the real steals are in stores. Clearance items are an additional 50% off the discounted prices.  Margaret and I went last night and came home with a black wrap dress and slacks...basically for free. Get in there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Activities for September "Summer" in San Francisco

Just when I'm ready to start wearing wool sweaters and tweed, San Francisco's summer officially begins at the start of September. The next two months are the best possible time to visit the city: the sun is out, the tourist crowds are gone, fun free events are scheduled for almost every weekend. Here are five ways that I like to enjoy our September "summer:"

1. Park Chalet Beer Tasting - Park Chalet is out at the very end of Golden Gate Park, next to Ocean Beach. The back atrium doors are thrown open and the lawn is full of dogs and kids on a sunny weekend day. Try a tasting flight of their micro-brewed beers.
2. Hike in Marin Headlands. Last weekend, we completed the 7.5 mile loop between Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach. At the turnaround, stop in to the adorably British Pelican Inn for lunch of fish and chips out on the lawn.
3. Cross over to Oakland. Jack London Square has been spruced up in recent years and now features all kinds of lovely patio restaurants, a farmer's market, fountains, kayak rentals and shops. We went to Jack's a few weeks ago for the pastrami-cured salmon.
4. Hike in the Redwoods. Escape the heat with a hike or bike ride through shady redwood groves. Muir Woods in Marin is a popular choice, but Redwood Regional Park in Oakland is much less crowded.
5. Ferry Building Picnic. Get oysters at the Ferry Building in San Francisco...or, if shellfish isn't your thing, fresh baked bread, cheeses, meats, heirloom tomatoes, gourmet ice cream, cakes, steamed pork buns and more. Sunday is much less crowded than Saturday. Finish it off with a freshly made macchiato from Blue Bottle. Walk down the Embarcadero to watch an inning of a late season Giant's game from the free field-side viewing platform.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fragonard: My Favorite French Perfumes

How has it already almost been a year since we were in France? A colorful mailer packed with samples from one of my absolute favorite French shops was just delivered by the postman and with it a host of nice memories. Rob and I stumbled into the Fragonard perfumes boutique in St. Paul du Vance, outside of Nice, where we had hiked for a fancy lunch.
We barely made it to the restaurant because I got so excited about the shop! Their packaging is adorable, with lots of bright floral and ocean watercolor designs. In the actual shops, you can buy dishtowels, totes, make-up bags and scarves decorated in the same style.

Buying perfume online is a bit of a fool's errand - but I recommend starting with one of their affordable sampler sets. For $35, you can get a sampler of 10 perfumes or for $25 a set of 5 natural eaux de toilette scents. I have the 5 piece set and love mixing them in with other perfumes.
Just what you need for the start of fall: a few new French perfumes for your collection!

Monday, September 15, 2014

5 Step Weekend Brunch Party

My good friend Shane came to see us in San Francisco this weekend and we got together with a whole group of old friends.  We spent Saturday hiking along the Marin coast, eating out in Lower Haight and going to a jazz performance in a small cafe. Sunday was a good chance to relax before a day out at the baseball park. Great weather and good company - a perfect setting for casual brunch at home before adventuring.

Step 1. Spend the morning in pre-brunch mode, reading the Sunday paper and drinking coffee until all the houseguests are awake.

Step 2. Dispatch a small legion to the grocery store down the street to buy eggs, bread, fruit, sausage and cheese.

Step 3. Turn up Otis Redding in the kitchen and serve a batch of cranberry mimosas.

Step 4. Team up on making a giant fruit salad and a big dish of savory bread pudding with rainbow chard, artichoke sausage and walnut bread.

Step 5. Make a fresh pot of coffee while the bread pudding bakes in the oven. Sit down to eat and enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What to Wear: Biking to Work in Brick Red Chinos

As you might have noticed, I have a new job!  My days of wandering the world are on pause while I return to being "EP the VP" in another healthcare startup. This new company is fantastic - and it's in San Mateo. So, I'm figuring out a new commute that involves biking to Caltrain a few days a week. New challenges bring new outfits!

Bike - My vintage 1960's Sears three-speed looks a lot like this modern version.
Sweater - A heather gray cashmere pullover on sale from Neiman Marcus might do the trick on the cold foggy mornings.
Pants - Brick red chinos are a little casual, a little chic for fall.
Boots - Black booties with a stacked wood heel are surprisingly cute for $140 from Lucky Jeans.
Sunglasses - Simple aviators.
Scarf - Only $10 for this super pretty white, black and pink scarf!
Helmet - Of course. Never ride without a helmet.
Coat - I like this oversized navy moto jacket, but it's pretty expensive.
Bag - A metallic crossbody bag from Coach.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

5 Pro-Tips for Networking Parties

I went to a fancy-pants Silicon Valley garden party last night and a few of my favorite cocktail party pro-tips came into play. Many of these work just as well at weddings - in case you don't have a networking event on the horizon:
  1. Wear a name tag-appropriate outfit. Same idea as the tech conference outfits. A light dress and pashmina is pretty but a collared shirt or blazer is much sturdier for sporting a heavy magnetic name tag. Plus, pockets! for business cards. 
  2. Pin it to the right. Put your name tag just below your right-side collarbone, where it is easy to see when you extend your right hand for a handshake. 
  3. Secret spritzer. Make it a "light" glass of wine by asking the bartender to serve your chardonnay cut with a bit of plain sparkling water. It looks normal, but allows you to drink without getting tipsy during networking chit-chat.
  4. O-kay for the buffet. Yes, it is possible to hold a wine glass and a plate while walking down a buffet line at the same time. Hold the stem of the glass between your left index finger and thumb. Hold the plate between the side of the thumb and the bottom three fingers on your left hand - so you're making an "okay" sign. Use your right hand to use the serving pieces. 
  5. Rock and a hard place.  I picked this up from an article on manners and it works SO well. Responding "wow, that sounds hard" to someone telling you what they do is a magical conversation trigger. Everyone believes their job to be hard.