Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What to Wear: Dinner Out in the Mission

Rob captured a few photos of me waiting for a Lyft pickup on Saturday night. We were meeting my sister and brother-in-law for a birthday dinner in the Mission - the current hub of the hipster foodie scene in San Francisco. Skinny jeans are de rigueur, but isn't it nice to dress up if you're going to eat in fancy restaurants?
I finally wore my navy midi skirt with the matching crop top for this night out. It's the same combination that I styled six ways in a post earlier this summer. Paired the pieces with beige suede and gold Seychelles pumps, DKNY nude micro-fishnet tights, a fresh mahogany manicure and black Coach bag. A Zara black trench coat thrown on top because - no matter how warm it may seem - you should ALWAYS take a jacket out a night in San Francisco.
We started with dinner at Garcon: cocktails, oysters, mussels, steak frites, roast pork and pan-fried brussels sprouts. Then, truffles from Chocolatier Blue for an intermission. The sangria truffle was the best!

Onward, to dessert of flan sitting at the bar at Cha Cha Cha.  Finally, fancy digestifs - ranging from heirloom vermouth to liquid nitrogen cocktails - at Commonwealth before calling it a night. I walked home from the Mission in the heels - they're quite comfortable!

Monday, September 29, 2014

What to Wear: A Room With a View Inspired

The 1985 Merchant Ivory version of A Room with a View is one of my all-time favorite movies. Helena Bonham Carter is so lovely as the moody Lucy. And all those gorgeous settings in Italy and "Windy Corner." This outfit is inspired by the movie without being too costume-y. Perfect for a warm fall weekend in San Francisco.

Blouse - A white cotton blouse that is romantic with the tiniest bit of Victorian-style in the way it pleats a bit at the collar.
Skirt - Not quite a full-length Victorian skirt with bustle, but this modern midi skirt in khaki is lovely and full with a high-cut waist.
Shoes - Black wedges are ready for your picnic in the hills above Florence.
Earrings  - Victorian turquoise drop earrings from my favorite estate jewelry store in San Francisco
Hat - A classic little straw hat to perch on top of loose, wavy romantic hair.
Scarf - Add a little flouncy beige and ivory scarf with tassel detailing.
Bracelets - A pair of gold Victorian buckle bracelets from Lang Jewelry.
Accessories - A bundle of cornflowers and a vintage lawn tennis racquet.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Dinner Party: Ethiopian

We're going to cook an authentic African meal together with my parents and family friends tonight! My Mom and her good friend lived in Ethiopia while working with the Peace Corps. For Christmas, I bought her a suite of authentic Ethiopian spices online, and yesterday I walked down to the corner deli on Grove Street, that just happens to sell fresh injera along with magazines and RedBull.
Injera is a wonderfully spongy, sourdough crepe that you use as both a serving base and silverware while eating a mix of delicious spice dishes. If you don't have an underground network of injera-selling delis in your area, here are instructions for making it yourself.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wedding Paintings Part II: The Reception

Yesterday, I showed you the wedding paintings that Paul Ferney made for the preparations and ceremony at our 2008 event. Today, I'll show you his photos from the reception. Starting with probably my favorite of all the wedding paintings: a small simple portrait in the window seat at the Sausalito Women's Club:
Along with our untraditional choice of a painter instead of a wedding photographer, Rob and I also went with an unusual reception idea. After a family-style dinner, we set up the stage for a two-act variety show with friends and family as the entertainment. Rob and I kicked it off with a ukulele and bass duet. There was tap dancing, trumpet solos, singing. My sister and I did the "sisters" dance from White Christmas - our standard party piece since childhood - complete with ostrich fans.
You're probably thinking something like "oh, a variety show makes sense if you and everyone you know has innate musical talent" - which would be true - and which pretty much none of us had. As, Rob said "we're in love, so you have to clap." The finale was a thrown together jam-session of "Ring of Fire" with a bunch of friends. What it lacked in probably all dimensions of musicality, it made up for with lots of charm:
Rob and I departed to a sing-along version of "happy trails."
There's even a painting from after we left with the guests winding down in the cool Sausalito night with cold bottles of Limonata.
Our wedding was so fun! A quirky, memorable day that was a perfect start to our marriage.  Thanks again to Paul Ferney for this amazing set of wedding paintings.

When you Hire a Painter for Your Wedding...

Rob and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last weekend. A perfect time to share the results of having a painter, instead of a photographer, document our Sausalito wedding ceremony and reception.

This was back in 2008, when Rob and I were still occasionally photographing weddings on weekends as a favor to friends. Rob was using medium format film for the shoots - which made for beautiful images but was becoming very expensive to develop - and we happened to have a friend who was a painter...so we decided to go a different direction for our own wedding. For about the same price as a digital photographer, the exceptionally-talented Paul Ferney agreed to take a few photos and make three paintings from the results.
Being a friend and an overachiever, Paul ended up delivering 14 amazing small paintings to us a few years later.
I tried my best to replicate the depth of the color and the quality of the paintings in these photos, but they hardly come close.
In this post, I'll show you the pre-wedding and reception. paintings. This is one of my favorites. With just a few brush strokes, Paul captures so many personalities - I can easily pick out who was seated from the backs of their heads:

In the next, I'll share the paintings from our reception and variety show.
We also asked a couple talented friends to casually take a candid photos during the wedding - several of which turned out to be our favorites. And, we had a Polaroid camera passed around that also created some of my best-loved images from the wedding.

The trade-off for not having a "real" photographer at our wedding? We didn't get great pictures of the classic family line-up shots. Other than that, I can't think of any downside from the photo and painting choices we made.  I love thinking about these small paintings being hung in the starter apartments of our grandchildren decades from now.

See paintings from the reception in Part II.

Monday, September 22, 2014

To Do: Volunteer with V.O.Cal

Rob and I joined up with the Volunteers for Outdoor California ("V.O.Cal") on Sunday for a day of trail repair at San Bruno Mountain, just south of San Francisco. We've occasionally volunteered with the National Parks, but none of those work days involved heavy-duty backcountry firefighting gear! We're both now pros at using McLeod rakes and Pulaski axes to clear overgrowth and carve out drainage thanks to the well-organized coordinators.
We'll see just how sore my twiggy arms will get this week as a result. V.O.Cal is a great organization if you're interested in volunteering with Bay Area parks. Their next season of trail projects starts in April.

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!