Friday, March 31, 2006

I hate ebay

My first ever attempt at buying something from ebay was a total disaster. I obsessively watched the countdown for thirty minutes as the winning bidder on these perfect spoons only to have some chump come steal them away at the last second.

My friend Brian said that this was probably a "bot" set up to up the bids at the last possible second. Very unfair. So much for me becoming an ebay shopper. This was my first and last attempt, fickle ebay.

Things I love today: Jalepeno Cheddar Pumpernickel Pretzels

I agree...they sound totally disgusting...but you have to trust me when I say they are sooo delicious. I love the organic plain pumpernickle pretzels already. This version just incorporates my other two favorite things: cheese and spicy. Along the same lines as the delectable jalepeno Cheetos but much, much better for you!

Urban Girl Almanac

This week was fortunately a bit calmer than last week, but still full of fun and adventure. Another concert, another SF LAC party.

Here's what I learned this week:
  • Raclette grills make for delicious dinner parties.
  • Two different mechanics in San Francisco can quote two wildly different prices for replacing a clutch. Royal Motors estimated $1,500 and Fukada Auto Service quoted $600.
  • Pear and raspberry. A nice pastry combination. An even better living room combination.
  • Origami Easter eggs are easy to make and come out extremely well.
  • Scissors for Lefty is on the way to becoming the next big thing. There were real-life teenie-bopper fans at their NoisePop show.
  • Lattes may cost three times more than plain coffee, but they also taste three times better.
  • Deco Ghetto is an actual neighborhood.
  • The Yaris is an adorably Euro car that will soon be sold here in the US. When that day comes Rob and I may trade in the Miata.
  • L'Occitane Almond Oil Shower Gel is really lovely. But it still pinches a bit to spend $20 on soap, even fabulous soap paid for with a gift card.
  • Pink alstromeria and ranunculus are a fun floral combination.
  • Drawing fuzzy chicks on pink notepaper is good for your emotional well-being.
  • San Francisco had 24 days of rain in March. I can't wait for those "April Showers."
  • There is something entirely appropriate about the fact that my neighborhood used to be a circus.
Happy end of March to you!

Crafty: Make your own Easter cards

Along with putting up an Easter tree, decorating blown eggs and chowing down on Peeps, another spring tradition I follow is making and sending Easter cards. Last night, I sat down to draw about 10 Easter cards for a few friends and relatives.

Need inspiration for your Easter cards? Check out these fun cut and paste designs. Or go the felt route with these adorable bunnies by Karissa Cove. You could also convert these placecard designs into notecards. Any sort of egg, chick, bunny or flower design will work. Be creative!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Urban Girl Tip: Surviving potlucks

Don't get me wrong...I am 100% pro-party. I really am a die hard supporter any kind of entertaining. If you want to have a party but only have goldfish crackers and milk crate chairs...I say go for it. But if I had to rank different types of parties, potlucks would show up at the very bottom of my list. The food is just never that good, it's hard to coordinate guests, none of the dishes go together, casserole dishes get lost, you get the idea.

One of the more successful potlucks I ever attended was a few weeks ago in SLO before St. Patrick's Day. There were a few good dishes, a ton of food choices and a lot of beer. One notable dish was a cold vegan salad of beets, snap peas, carrots, potatoes and other veggies with a fresh ginger dressing. A girl approached me to ask if I had made it; her table was taking bets. Apparently, I look like someone who makes tasty potluck salads. Is that a good thing?

Anyway, I'm going to try to recreate that mysterious salad this weekend for my cousin's potluck birthday party. Now that Trader Joe's sells cooked beets, I may be able to accomplish this task without dyeing myself and my kitchen completely purple.

Things I love today: Abalone accessories

The rediscovery of a set of abalone inlaid bangles this morning has me suddenly obsessed with the shell as accessory. There's just something so lovely about the green and grey patterns of abalone shells. Here are some great abalone finds to add in to your life:
With all this shell in your life you'll be so very Life Aquatic!

To Do: Buy new flatware

I've been using the same cheapo IKEA flatware for about four years. It's time to upgrade.

Why is it so incredibly difficult to find the right set of flatware? Most modern designs are clumsy to use, with funky spoons or heavy knives. The more classic patterns are well proportioned but far too boring.

What I really want is the same flatware that they use at the de Young Museum Cafe. Any leads? I guess I could ask the catering company?

Pacific Hail!

I was just invited back to my alma mater for a communication syposium. Apparently, I am also winning some sort of award? Very exciting even though I don't have all the details yet!

Time to go shopping for the perfect symposium outfit!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Photo from the Ladies Activity Club!

A bunch of girls + origami paper + eggs + glue + plum wine sangrias + fuzzy cell phone photo = good times!

I'm already looking forward to the April "Boardgames and Beer" Ladies Activity Club party!

Urban Girl Tip: No neighborhood to small

In tiny San Francisco, even a few blocks can constitute an entirely independent neighborhood with it's own unique nickname. I live in Duboce Triangle which I thought was one of the tiniest little 'hoods in the city. That is until I heard that what basically amounts to two intersections on Market Street is called the Deco Ghetto. I've walked through this neighborhood to get to Flax and Martuni's, but haven't really explored. If it manages to stop raining this weekend I want to visit some of the art deco antique stores in that area.

If this one has escaped my notice for six months, I wonder what other cool neighborhood names I'm missing?

Hawaiiansanity almost over

Jean and Trent are coming back from Hawaii tomorrow morning. I am halfway considering making them "welcome back" leis out of MUNI transfer tickets just to smooth their transition back into the cold, wet, darkness that is San Francisco this month. Enjoy your tans while they last guys!

To Do: Become rocker chick

After the Ladies Activity Club party last night, we all headed down to Bottom of the Hill to see Scissors for Lefty perform. This show was part of Noise Pop, San Francisco's annual indie music festival. Check out Noise Pop's awesome review of SFL:
With their full-length debut about to be released on the legendary UK imprint Rough Trade, Scissors For Lefty are poised to be the second recent San Francisco band to capture the elusive imagination of British music fans after Noise Pop 2006 headliners Two Gallants recent triumph across the pond. Two sets of brothers, one Garza and the other Krimmel, their soul-boy falsetto whispers, locked-groove rhythms and cozy guitar work that suggests Johnny Marr's Smiths work characterize Scissors For Lefty's unique dance rock sound.
Anyway...If our friends' band is going to the next big thing in the UK, that means it might be time to step up our the rocker chick attire. Luckily, Feria Urbana is having a Noise Pop N Shop craft fair this weekend. Envision tables full of guitar pick earrings, indie label t-shirts and rockin' posters. Basically every accoutrement that a proper rock chick could ever want!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Crafty: Easter eggs

The March Ladies Activity Club party is tonight! This month's activity is decorating eggs with Japanese origami paper, a la these instructions from Martha Stewart.

You can follow along at home by blowing out a few eggs of your own and decorating them with paper, paint, ribbon and dried flowers. The finished eggs will serve as festive Easter tree decorations for years. In fact, my mom still has some watercolor and sugar decorated eggs from around 1985.

And don't forget to provide a matching cocktail for your crafty activity! The LAC drink is going to be plum wine sangria tonight.

Urban Girl Tip: Raclette Grill

Our friends Jill and Peter hosted a birthday dinner for Rob last night. The party was extra festive because they served a traditional Swiss raclette meal. Using this electric grill on the center of the table, each guest cooks up mini-combos of veggies and meats before topping it with cheese and broiling it below the grill. With prosciutto, pork loin, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, potatoes, onions and bell peppers, this made for a delicious dinner.

Plus, you can use the raclette for all sorts of "interactive" recipes. Imaging making fajitas or breakfast scrambles at a party with this fun appliance. If you love to entertain but don't necessarily like cooking, buying a raclette would be a fantastic tool.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Living room inspiration

I have a new rug for the living room on order from Pier 1. It should arrive on the 4th. Luckily it matches perfectly with this inspiring color palate I just discovered today from the Hotel Therese in Paris (thanks ApartmentTherapy!). I love that pear green color and it is especially fresh with the raspberry accents.

My old living room in SLO had a similar color on the walls, but it was accented with royal blue and orange. This brown and raspberry combo is a classic alternative. I just have to convince Rob to agree on maroon throw pillows!

Photos from Hawaii

The Hawaiian madness continues. Last week, I reported that four people I knew were going to Hawaii at the same time. That number quickly turned into six. Now the official "everyone is in Hawaii this March but me" count is up to 11 people!

While I continue to bundle up and brave the rain in San Francisco, here are some photos from Jean and Trent's trip to Maui so far. Isn't Jean's dress cute? We bought it at Forever 21 for $20!

Weekend round-up

Finally! A chance to relax on the weekend. With a bunch of people out of town and an empty social calendar, last weekend was a break from out hectic schedules.

Friday night we went rock climbing at the gym for a few hours and then home for a cozy dinner. Saturday morning was a much needed trip to the laundromat and some work on the pedicab down in the garage. Saturday afternoon took us out to Daly City for a trip to Home Depot and a test drive of a few compact cars. Rob and I are considering replacing our sporty Miata with a four-seater. We test drove a VW Golf but the sociopathic salesman put us off car buying for a least a few weeks. Saturday night was a quiet dinner of pork chops at home, gluing "mexican river pebbles" together for the new fish tank and watching "Jarhead."

Sunday started with the standard New York Times and breakfast routine. Around noon we headed off to the climbing gym only to discover we had a flat tire. Two calls to AAA and three tow trucks later, our car was towed to the shop for repairs today. This ordeal took almost three hours. Luckily, it was a nice day and we could sit on the street in the sun eating pizza slices while waiting for various trucks. Later Sunday night we went to the metreon to see "V for Vendetta" at the IMAX theater. Much better than I expected and very cool on the huge screen.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Recommended reading

Earlier this week, I got completely wrapped up in a New Yorker article by one of my favorite contributors. Calvin Trillin usually writes about food and travel for the New Yorker and has published several clever books. The most recent piece was about the death of his beloved wife and frequent "straight man" Alice. I stayed up past midnight finishing the touching article.

The article isn't posted on NewYorker.com, but one of Alice's old articles about dealing with cancer is available online. Salon has an excellent review that pretty much sums up why this month's contribution by Mr. Trillin is so wonderful. If you don't have a New Yorker at home, you should go buy one just for this article.

Happy Birthday Rob!

Rob turns 32 tomorrow! (Doesn't he look like James Dean in this photo?) Here's to another happy year full of travel, rock climbing, photography, goldfish, Yosemite, rock shows, camping, pedicabs, skateboards and more! Happy Birthday!

Urban Girl Almanac

Another crazy week...another set of important lessons learned. Each Monday I think to myself: "I don't have any big plans this week. Looks like I finally get a chance to relax." Each Friday I think: "What happened!? I went to a reggae concert? Oh well, at least I don't have any big plans next week."

Ah, city life! Always exciting. Here's what I learned this week:
  • When friends move to the other side of the country...it is a smart idea to replace them with eponymous dogs. Preferably these dogs who already live in my neighborhood.
  • Dolci pedicures really are the best deal. For $20 you get to sit in the massage chair, get your feet scrubbed, get a warm lotion massage and get a pedicure that goes three weeks without chipping.
  • ABC is must-see "judge and cry" TV. Wife Swap, Supernanny, Extreme Home Make-Over and basically all their shows are based on the gold mine combination of letting viewers judge people and then cry when they triumph over adversity. This plus Lost must equal ratings magic for the network.
  • Putting up an Easter tree is a great way to welcome spring into your apartment.
  • You will be significantly less bitter about being the only one not in Hawaii right now if you simply ignore the daily email reports sent to you by your sisters.
  • I cannot cook rice successfully. Nope. Never. Not any kind of rice. Sorry. Rice not made here.
  • Homemade Thai green curry is not even remotely as good as the curry here.
  • Always accept invitations...especially if you have no idea what you are in for.
  • You should wear sneakers, not high heels, to the Fillmore.
  • The audience at a reggae concert is completely not what you would expect. The crowd at last night's show was 50% this guy and 47% this guy (which is actually the same guy, just four years later as an I-banker). Plus, there were some older folks there with actual walkers. I kid you not.
  • Toots and the Maytals are fabulous. Rock on!
Whew...another week packed full of lessons for the urban girl. I wonder what craziness is in store for me next week?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Urban Girl Tip: Always accept an invitation

Rob just told me that our friends Matt and Amber have extra tickets to a show at The Fillmore tonight. We are going to see "Toots and the Maytalls" which is apparently a very famous reggae band. This will be my first time seeing a show at The Fillmore!

I'm not a huge reggae listener these days but I am a fan. In fact, Jimmy Cliff is probably singularly responsible for getting me through my first few months of university in Stockton. As a 95 pound weakling not accustomed to 110 degree heat with a mean roommate and no air conditioning, I had "many rivers to cross." I think I eventually destroyed that tape from overuse.

I wish I could listen to some of their songs online but my computer doesn't have a sound card. I guess it will be a surprise! What on earth am I going to wear!?

To Do: Kickball!

Kickball season is back! With Trent as our coach, a bunch of us are signed up for the CA Gold Rush League of the World Adult Kickball Association. Kickball is huge in San Francisco. There are four leagues in San Francisco alone, each with more than five teams.

Rob and I played on Trent's team in the summer series last year. Our league played at Golden Gate Park which was perpetually freezing and crazy-person-populated. (That was where the celebrity Eskimo ensemble was first born).This year, we are playing on Hamilton Field over in Chinatown. That field is across from the public pool where I occasionally swim and a dangerously delicious Taco Bell.

It will be interesting to see what new people will join our team. Kickball is a great place to recruit new members for the Ladies Activity Club. Go team!

Photos from Yosemite!

Rich has posted his photos from last weekend's Yosemite trip on Flickr. I am the one with the funny nordic beanie, Nicole Richie sunglasses and so many layers of clothes that I look like I recently gained 150 pounds! Here is a great shot of that delightful ensemble. Hey, at least I was warm.

I love this photo the best. Rob is in front with a map and a sandwich looking perfectly at ease. I look like a celebrity Eskimo right behind him. Margaret and Michelle are trailing behind looking a bit confused. This photo was taken about mile 3 of our 8 mile valley hike when we still walking on the street instead of in the snow. The Hungarian (behind me, or is that the Turkish guy?) wasn't disgruntled just yet!

Click here to check out all of Rich's photos from the weekend in Yosemite. I honestly look much, much better than that most of the time!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sale Alert: Macy's

Macy's is having a spring sale on all sorts of things online. The sale even includes my new Tommy Hilfiger "South Hampton" bedding set. I ordered an extra set of sheets earlier this week. I recently updated my bedroom with this bedding, an oriental rug and two antique celadon green porcelain lamps. It sounds crazy, but looks nice in person!

Things I love today: This outfit

Just as spring has arrived, I'm finally started to get a hang of winter dressing! My outfit today is one my favorites of the season.

Start with a pair of kicking vintage stacked heel boots, add a pair of nude fishnets, a chocolate brown pencil skirt, a dark coral cableknit sweater (thank you Aunt Lucie) and top it all off with a leopard print scarf worn as a headband. The Brazilian leather boots (sort of like these but way better) are an all-time lucky find. Purchased for only $10 from Goodwill in Stockton for a 70's party and stashed away for a few months before I realized just how cute they were.

Crafty: The Easter tree is up!

After pedicures at Dolci with Jean and a birthday dinner at Burgermeister for Rob last night, I still had a tiny bit of energy left to set up my Easter tree. I even managed to take a photo (note the ubiquitous pile of books)!

It's so much fun unwrapping the decorations and remembering "Easter Tea Parties" from the past few years. The dyed and decorated eggs in this photo are from the 2004 tea party and the painted wood ornaments are from last year's party. Both parties were held in the back garden of my tiny apartment in downtown San Luis Obispo.

The SF Ladies Activity Club is hosting an Easter craft party with a Japanese theme next Tuesday. But, I may still have my own small tea and craft party for a few friends before Easter for tradition's sake.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Crafty: Decorating for Easter

Easter is April 16th this year...only a few weeks away. Time to pull out the Easter decorations and find a suitable Easter tree. Yes, Easter tree. Easter is family favorite holiday and I've been putting up an Easter tree practically since birth each spring.

Last year, I couldn't find any flowering branches and assembled a tree out of fakes instead. Of course, this year the wholesale flower market has huge piles of blossoming branches for sale that would work perfectly. Maybe I need to have two Easter trees in 2006!

Along with the blossoming branches, other Easter decorations include blown and decorated eggs, ribbons, baskets, wood ornaments and pom-pom chicks. Cost Plus World Market is a great resource for Easter decorations.

Urban Girl Tip: How to have a tropical vacation in San Francisco

Margo is on the big island this week and Jean is leaving for Maui tomorrow. This adds up to two out of my three sisters being in Hawaii on vacation this week. Throw in one of my co-workers who just came back from Maui and it seems like everyone is going on tropical vacations but me.

I'm not bitter though....who am I kidding...I am very, very bitter. I'll just have to crank up the radiators this weekend, apply a few layers of sunless tanner, watch a movie marathon of Blue Hawaii, 50 First Dates and South Pacific and drink my weight in Mai Tais. Maybe I'll even go out to Trader Vic's.

It's official: North Carolina

I heard last night that Jean and Trent are officially moving to North Carolina this fall. It's been so fun living in San Francisco with them and we are sad that they are going to be moving, but overall it's great news.

This news, of course, means that it is time to implement project "Yorkie Replacement." Rob and I have been joking that when Jean and Trent move away we'll get two dogs to serve as their replacements and name them Jean and Trent. These dogs will serve as our new friends and activity companions.

It's also time to start researching what we can do during visits to North Carolina:
  • Explore the Smokey Mountains - "In Asheville, be sure to go the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in the United States."
  • Attend the World Beer Festival - "Over 300 Beers and 130 World-Class Breweries in one place at one time!"
  • Visit Wing Haven - "Spend a tranquil moment in this bird sanctuary and stroll along the relaxing garden pathways"
  • Campaign for responsible Hog Waste disposal - "It's time to turn research into reality."”
  • Smoke indoors - "No requirements for smoke-free areas in state government worksites, private worksites or restaurants."
  • Visit the Outer Banks - "Don't miss our trademark lighthouses that dot the coastline."
Fun times! Go Tar Heels(?) !

Mark your calendars: Macy's Flower Show

Spring officially started yesterday. And while it is still tweed and wool weather here in San Francisco, there are a few springtime activities on the horizon.

Mark your calendars now for the Macy's Flower Show in Union Square starting April 7. This year's theme is "Italian Villa Gardens" and the stores promise to be decked out with cobblestone streets and rooftop gardens. Sounds like a perfect time for green-thumb-Molly to come for a visit.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Weekend round-up: Camping in Yosemite

What a lovely weekend! On Friday night, Rob and I drove out to Yosemite with Rich's soon to be sister-in-law Michelle. We arrived around 11:00 pm to a clear night and three feet of snow. After setting up the tent, we all crashed for the night. Rich and Margaret didn't arrive until about 4:30 am with the brand new RV.

The next morning, we were woken up by clumps of snow falling from the trees onto our tent. A wolf was patrolling the campgrounds looking for unsuspecting ravens. After a hearty breakfast of biscuits, bacon, provolone and chai, we caught the valley shuttle to the Ahwahnee Hotel. We ran around the meadow behind the hotel making snow angels and taking photos.

After this the group decided to hike from Yosemite lodge to El Capitan Meadows. It's about an eight mile hike, much easier when the trails aren't completely snowed over. By the time we made it to El Cap it had started to rain and the crabby Hungarian in our group was getting pushy. We hustled back to Yosemite falls in the snow and took some brilliant photos in front of the falls (please email them to me!). Around 5 it started to snow quite hard and we headed back to the RV to dry out our socks and eat pasta, sweets and beer.

The next morning, a screaming toddler brouhaha in the next campsite over woke us up in our tent around 7:30 am. It took about a half hour to thaw out my now completely frozen hiking boots enough so I could put them back on. After another hearty breakfast we went to Curry Village for a little exploration. And then back to the Ahwahnee hotel for some cards before parting ways and heading back to San Francisco. After a late pie-and-veggie-burger lunch at Nation's Giant Hamburgers, we dropped Michelle off and went home for some much needed showers.

This weekend was supposed to be Rob's annual birthday camping bonanza with about 40 people but the snow made almost everyone stay home. Instead, we got a cozy and relaxing trip with a few close friends and a few new buddies!

(Jean and Trent: Thanks for letting us use the car again! We owe you a car wash and an oil change. It's parked in a spot on the corner of 14th and Castro that is good through Thursday.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Urban Girl Almanac

I'm new to the city and constantly learning important lessons about urban life. Each week I document these lessons in a post I like to call "Urban Girl Almanac." Here's what I learned this week:
  • The burrito wagon outside of the rock climbing gym on Harrison has the best spicy chicken tacos in the city. Plus, they only cost $1.50 each.
  • All good things must come to an end. World Sausage is officially closed.
  • Buying antiques online is fun.
  • Magic eraser sponges are the greatest invention...ever.
  • Bagel sandwiches from Noah's come with a pickle and a cup of fruit salad.
  • Antique tiaras are a dangerous obsession.
  • If you want your weekend guests to have daffodils when they arrive. Buy them early and allow two days for the buds to open.
  • Shopping at Forever 21 is a much more pleasant experience on a rainy Thursday night than on the weekends.
  • The Nordstrom shoe department lures you into believing you absolutely cannot live without these absurd shoes.
  • You can never have too much wine or too many goldfish crackers.
It was a good week! Lots of important lessons were learned. I wonder what next week has in store for me!

Yosemite!

Rob and I have the car all packed (thanks Trent and Jean) and we're ready to head out to Yosemite. Right now, it is snowing pretty heavily in the valley. This is a live webcam shot from about noon today. If you look closely you can make out a tree. Usually you can see a giant rock there called "Half Dome." Luckily, it is supposed to stop snowing soon and then stay dry the rest of the weekend. I have a feeling that this is going to be my best friend for the next few days. Adventure!

Quote of the day

After a long and successful shopping trip downtown in the rain, Jean and I returned to my apartment. A quick snack turned into a dinner of one pound of goldfish crackers, two coconut popsicles, two blueberry yogurts and two bottles of wine. To quote drunk Jean:
"Best...dinner...ever!"

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The dress?

I just saw this dress on RavinStyle.com. Could it be the solution to my summer wedding shopping crisis? I'm not sure. I love the cut (I am such a die hard about turtlenecks!), the colors and the length. Is the low back too flashy for a wedding? Is my buff rock climber's back too intimidating to be exposed in public!?

Wouldn't the olive dress be so perfect with a dark teal sweater and a pair of cute shoes? Is the price is a bit steep for something that I could really only wear during the occasional heat wave in San Francisco on a trip to Miami? What do you think? Margaret? Jean?

To Do: Pack for the snow

The weather reports are in for Yosemite Valley this weekend. It looks like Snow on Friday and then just clouds for the rest of the weekend. It is going to be pretty darn cold though, as low as 22 degrees on Saturday night. Time to plan what to wear in the cold:
  • Start with a pair of Hot Chilis long underwear
  • Add ski pants (Jean?) and a hot pink thermal top
  • Add a blue fleece sweater over the thermal
  • Heavy duty brown hiking socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Puffy light blue down jacket
  • Silly tassel beanie in white and red
  • Black pashmina
  • Black Gloves
  • Lime green rain slicker
Doesn't that just sound like such a lovely outfit! Pink, blue, brown, red, lime green...all together in one lovely ensemble. I'm not exactly winning any fashion contests...but I may not freeze to death. Being a softie from coastal California, I have no idea if this is enough clothes. We'll see!

Things I love today: This ridiculous shoe

Why am I suddenly obsessed with this shoe? Is it the color? The shape? The rope? Either way, I love them. I want to wear them with a white linen shirt dress on a massive sailboat. Which is slightly less realistic than the idea of me paying $275 for these shoes.

I also want to be really tan so that I'll actually look good wearing them. Sigh! I guess I'll just have to marry a Brazilian millionaire!

Urban Girl Tip: Must-know Spanish phrases

I was once fluent in Spanish. I attended a Spanish elementary school and learned to write in Spanish before English. However, the brain is a mysterious muscle and years later I can barely remember any phrases. I wish I still had those language skills! Instead, I have to rely on Babel Fish to help me communicate with our housekeeper, Juana. Here are some phrases I have found useful lately:
  • No limpie por favor esta tabla. Es muy delicada. (Please do not clean this table. It is very delicate)
  • ¿Usted lavaria los baseboards esta semana? (Would you wash the baseboards this week?)
  • Comprare mas blanqueo para usted. (I will buy more bleach for you)
  • No se porque nunca tengo toallas de papel. (I don't know why I never have paper towels)
  • ¿Donde usted puso el tamiz? (Where did you put the strainer?)
  • Usted es la mejor ama de casa del mundo! (You are the best housekeeper in the world!)
Muchas gracias Juana!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Urban Girl Tip: Decorating with books

Last weekend, my mom and were joking about how it has become so trendy to have stacks of books lying around as an interior decor feature. Since my family has always been very bookish, we've been way ahead of the curve on this one. At least my parents have floor to ceiling bookcases in two rooms to control the chaos.

The stacks have reached an almost epic level in my apartment. Stuck with one tiny bookshelf left over from college, I have two piles of books in the bedroom, five (!) piles in the living room and one brand new pile in the hallway next to the plaster bust. There are probably more books outside the bookcase than they actually are inside the bookcase.

According to Domino Magazine, this is tres chic. However, I am not super convinced that this looks trendy instead of "nutty professor." It may be time to upgrade our bookshelf!

Shopping Challenge: Spring essentials list

I really need to freshen up my wardrobe. After a long winter, my sweaters are looking a little tired and I have become far too attached to turtlenecks. After reading a Lucky Magazine at the gym last night, I realized that I am dressing a bit stodgy lately. Here is my shopping "to-buy" list for the next few weeks:
  • Spring Dress - So what if I have to wear it with a puffy down jacket for a few months. I am tired of the same ol' skirt/pant combos. Something along these lines.
  • Shoes - I will force myself to buy a pair of plain black pumps. My current pair is so unattractive.
  • Colors - I will be banned from buying anything brown this month. My obsession with this color has led to me dress like a UPS spokesperson for the last few months. Think pink!
  • Tops - I need some cute new spring sweaters and layers to add to the wardrobe. Maybe a striped navy top, a zippered jacket, something violet?
  • Wedding Outfit - I have until July but I always have such a hard time finding the right outfit for weddings. Ideally, I want a blue and white floral dress that is made of a light fabric but has sleeves. And I need to be able to wear flats with it because this wedding involves "pastures" in a place called "Hayfork."
  • Bright Accessories - I stocked up on black beads and bangles all winter. Now it is time to go back to Forever 21 and buy a whole new set in bright colors.
PS - Thanks for introducing the size "double-zero," Banana Republic. Unfortunately this more was required by your recent stubborn decision to make size two really fit a six. Next thing you know, I'll have to shop in the "negative sizes" section.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Snow in Yosemite Valley

Planning for Rob's birthday weekend in Yosemite continues despite sour weather reports. The trip was nearly cancelled when rain was predicted for this weekend but now that the forecast is snow, we're still on.

Snow in Yosemite Valley is an amazing sight. It is so vastly different from the experience of visiting in the crowded summer and well worth the potential frostbite. The Ahwahnee Hotel (my favorite) is never more stately than when surrounded by ice and snow. Can't you just picture yourself curled up with a hot toddy next to those giant fireplaces? If you have never been, make plans to head East sometime in the next few weeks. Don't forget to pack your long underwear and your camera.

Things I love today: Antique tiaras

I bought the book "Timeless Tiaras" a few weeks ago and my obsession has been rapidly building. Yes, I acknowledge that tiaras are completely ridiculous and that they fall dangerously close to that dreadful "I'm a modern princess" theme (shudder). But once you take a look at some of these beauties...you'll covet them too.

I'm starting to think that I could actually pull off wearing some of the best designs. Like this with feathers and leaves. Or this simpler band? One of these modern designs? Or win the Miss Universe pageant. Or maybe I should just rob the British Museum. Maybe not outside of the house...but it would be a wonderful flair for a dinner party.

Ugh, have I completely lost my mind!?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Crafty: March is National Craft Month

Since March is National Craft Month, all the craft stores are offering big sales. For example, JoAnn's has a promotion for free shipping with $25 worth of purchases when you enter code CRAFTH625. Time to stock up on embroidery floss, loops, scissors and needles!

Sale Alert: Since winter isn't going anywhere

It is so cold today! With no end to winter in sight, it makes no sense to start shopping for summer linen and tanks. Instead, take advantage of the sales and stock on enough wool, tweed and down to get you through Easter:
  • J. Crew - Good discounts on lady coats, blazers and sweaters. Still, very expensive for those of us who remember the good ol' days of J. Crew.
  • Banana Republic - Some good deals on sweaters, pants and blazers. Don't guestimate your size though. There has been a recent campaign to push everything up two sizes.
  • Nordstroms - Look at how warm! You would be a pink marshmallow of warmth! Plus, lots of sweaters and accessories.
  • Macy's - I may crack and have to buy a pair of suede boots...if so, these are cute-ish and on sale.
Yikes! If it doesn't start to warm up soon, my fashion sense may dissolve altogether. Next time you'll see me I'll be wearing this with a beanie and a pair of uggs. Oooh..."maximum thermal efficiency."

Introducing Isaiah

There's been a bit of a baby boom on Rob's side of the family this winter. Rob's cousins, Jessica and Genny, just had their first babies. This photo of Jessica's Isaiah was just too cute to keep to myself. Doesn't he look like a little buddha?

Weekend round-up

Rob and I spent the weekend in San Luis Obispo. Our hope was to escape the cold San Francisco weather but it unfortunately followed us down the coast. Despite the rain and the cold, it was a nice weekend. We met up with friends, ate, went to the symphony, ate more, relaxed, spent time with my parents and revisited some of the things that make Southern California great:
  • You can see a movie in San Luis Obispo for six dollars! I was in heaven watching Block Party for half as much as movies in the city cost.
  • The Madonna Inn gets better and better each time you visit.
  • If someone invites you to a St. Patrick's Day party at the local senior center....go. It will involve a lot less bunco and pinochle than you think.
  • Artichokes are $0.75, local wines are $10 and avocados are two for a dollar. Plus, the mother of all salsas.
  • MEXICAN FOOD! Spicy salsa, tasty beans and food that is actually served hot.
  • The 101 freeway is called "the 101," not "101" like in Northern California.
It was so nice to see Ken, Rich, Molly, Dave and Margaret over the weekend. Hopefully, we'll catch up with most of them again next weekend in Yosemite.

(Jean and Trent - Your car is parked in a spot on 14th Street that's good through Thursday. We have artichokes and other goodies for you! How was Colorado?)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Incredible Hulk: Engine of Destruction

For someone who could easily be described as a "waifish," 115 pound, lanky, pale girl...I sometimes have an amazing capacity for destruction.

Just this afternoon, I was settling down with a perfect cup of tea (milk and honey) and delicious gingersnaps. Right as I was thinking to myself "what a lovely little break this is" I somehow managed to spill half of my tea all across my keyboard and in my lap. When I ran to get paper towels in the kitchen, I ripped the paper towel holder (screws and all) off the wall.

How is it that I have Incredible Hulk like strength when it comes to being cluzty?! I can barely carry groceries home but as soon as I knock something over it's straight to "Emily Spill....Emily Smash?" Apparently, my tea is also mighty powerful. The tiny amount I spilled caused my entire computer to shut down for a half hour. Ah...Fridays!

Snow in San Francisco?

According to the weather reports it may snow in San Francisco later today at elevations as low as 500 feet. Snow isn't entirely unheard of in this coastal city. Along with our adventures in extreme ski set-ups, there have been a few occasions of natural snow over the past hundred years. A quick search of the Public Library archives turns up some fun snowy photos of Fisherman's Wharf in 1939, Golden Gate Park in 1932 and Union Square and the Richmond District in 1882. However, the city hasn't had any snow since 1976.

I hope I'll get to catch a glimpse of the snow before Rob and I leave for San Luis Obispo this afternoon. If not, we may run in to some on the 101 in Atascadero. Either way, I am all set for a cozy, fireside weekend at my parent's house. Since we were both really sick over Christmas, maybe this will be the make-up weekend. I already have the "snow" song from White Christmas stuck in my head!

Urban Girl Tips: Lessons I learned this week

Living in San Francisco teaches you several new things each week. Sometimes humbling, sometimes weird, always unique. In an effort to create an "urbanite almanac," here are some of the lessons I have learned this week:
  • It is always colder outside than it appears in my living room.
  • The radiators in my building start running at 5:30 am and 5:30 pm.
  • Ants really like indoor topiaries.
  • A building around the corner from me is available for vacation rentals.
  • Reality TV is a cruel mistress.
  • Riding a half-built pedicab inside the apartment is a bad idea.
  • It is easy to roast garlic by placing whole, unpeeled cloves in a hot frying pan.
  • According to Dorothy Draper, it's a good idea for young couples to sign up for "swimming to music" classes together.
  • The Legion of Honor is my favorite place in San Francisco.
  • It can be gorgeous outside at 8:00 am and the "storm of the century" four hours later.
  • I love everything about Golden Produce.
Wow! I have learned a lot this week. I hope these lessons are helpful!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Project Runway: Seriously? Chloe?

I am still shocked by Chloe's Project Runway win last night. I had my bets placed on Santino who was revealed to be a good designer and a nice person in the last few episodes. And I kind of feel like he should have won even if solely on the merit of his gut-bustingly brilliant Tim impersonation.

But alas...instead we are stuck with Chloe. Tiny, refusing to pluralize words, tafetta-totting...Chloe. Was it just me or did her collection resemble too closely a combination of 80's prom dresses and traditional korean gowns? I personally would rather wear this over this any day. Even Tim agrees (read the whole thing...he really nails it as always). When are they going to let Tim be a judge on the show! I love Tim!