Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Be right back!

What to Wear: Australia via LAX

Today's shopping challenge is a really good one and comes from Marissa:
In about a week and a half I am traveling to Australia to visit family. We will have an 10 hour layover in LAX and will travel around LA to pass the time (beaches, shopping) before we board the plane for the 15 hour flight to Melbourne, Australia, We will check our baggage in all the way, so what we wear (and have in our carry on bag) will be all that we will have to refresh and present ourselves when deboarding almost two days later Down Under.

My question: any tips on traveling the red-eye comfortably, being fashionable in LA for the day and pulled together OK to make a good impression at the end of it all? I am thinking cotton (for comfort) and layers (for the cold airplane), but would love any suggestions.
That is going to be one mighty trip! Here's my recommendation for an outfit that works on the plane, in LA and for arrival in the Australian winter:

Tank - Along with palm trees and celebrities, overpriced cotton basics are a part of LA iconography. $40 and very soft from C&C California.
Tee - Top your expensive tank with an expensive matching henley. Similar results can be achieved from Old Navy, etc.
Slacks - More comfortable and polished alternative to jeans. I love this type of pant in a nice light grey.
Sweater - For the cold plane and cold arrival in Australia.
Bag - Big enough to hold everything you'll need for the epic voyage.
Flip flops - Classic flip flop from La Redoute is perfect for the beach in LA.
Sneakers - I've been addicted to my pair of La Bamba's for almost two years. Hands down best sneaker ever! You'll want something more than flip flops when you land.
Bracelet - In security checkpoint friendly plastic.
Sunglasses - Aviators are a great match.

Have fun in Australia Marissa!

To Do: Macy's Flower Show

I love, love, love the annual Macy's flower show in downtown San Francisco. For two weeks, the entire store is covered in massive amounts of fresh plants and flowers according to a specific theme. Last year, it was "Italian Villa Garden."This year, it is "Imagine India."

Plus, Macy's hosts all kinds of special events along with the theme. Starting Friday, you can get henna tattoos, Indian cooking demonstrations, Joseph Schmidt chocolates, luna tea cakes, hand massages and more. When the event ends on April 14th, they hold a plant sale for charity.

I'm so bummed that I am going to be away on a business trip Friday and Saturday. You'll have to go for me and send a full report!

Party Recipe: Pen and Ink Drawing

Last night's LAC party was fantastic! Our hostess Allison, an art student, armed the group with strong cosmos, snacks and supplies for a pen and ink drawing lesson.

After a brief instruction on techniques and strategy, we each painted our own black and white flower from a xeroxed photo. My tulip actually came out pretty well. Allison gave us our pens to take home at the end of the party so we can continue our artistic development on our own. Too fun!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Ladies Activity Club is Growing!

When I first moved to San Francisco in August 2005, I convinced my sister to help me start a club as a way to meet new people. We called it the "Ladies Activity Club" and our first party had six attendees. Each month, a new person would host a party for the others involving some sort of fun activity or craft.

Since then, the LAC has grown to almost 40 members and we've hosted 19 parties. Cupcake decorating, modern art, poker lessons, bowling, wine tasting, gingerbread houses, pasta making...each party has been so fun. The March party to learn pen and ink drawing is tonight. Starting this club is honestly one of my proudest achievements!

Today, I found that a new chapter of the Ladies Activity Club has started in Utah. I talked to Ashlynn about starting a club a while ago but didn't realize that she actually had. You can read about the St. George Ladies Activity Club online!

If you are interested in starting a Ladies Activity Club in your area, I'd be glad to give you some pointers. Send me an email. It's not that much work and a whole lot of fun.

Coveted: Ming Lenox

I wish that Lenox would reissue their famous Ming pattern. First sold in 1917, this pattern has such a classic elegance. And Lenox is so durable! My mom has a set of the dessert plates and I rediscovered the pattern while visiting Replacements in North Carolina.

Until Lenox starts obeying my wishes, you can find individual pieces online at Replacements, Craig's list and eBay!

Things I Love Today: J. Mendicino

These cut out ceramic vases are perfect for displaying a few of early spring's blossoms. Delicate freesias would be a particularly good match!

Made by local artist, Joanna Mendicino, you can buy her vases directly online (check out her birds too!) or through the Artist Xchange gallery on 16th Street in the mission.

What to Wear: Job Interview

Job interviews are a lot like first dates. You want to wear something semi "safe" that also reflects your personality and the particulars of the event. Debbie wrote in from Ohio with the following request:
I'm a 42-yr old graphic designer and I just got my first job interview after 8 years as a freelancer and mom-at-home. Do you have any cool outfit ideas for interviewing? I'm a bit overwhelmed!
How exciting! And stressful! Picking a perfect job interview outfit is so hard. Rob pitched in to help me with this one:

Shirt - Thomas Pink has the best high quality dress shirts in fun colors and patterns. At $138, it's a splurge but one that will really make a good impression.
Skirt - You could also do this with a good pair of pants. I prefer the shape of a blouse with a skirt myself. If you are interviewing with a formal office, add a matching blazer.
Shoes - These $78 Kenneth Cole pumps are fashionable and sensible.
Necklace - Just like on a date, I recommend wearing one conversation piece of jewelry. The beads on this $60 Anthropologie necklace are made of cotton.
Folio - Visit to find a unique portfolio to showcase your designs.
Pen - A sharp pen shows that you mean business.

I hope this outfit helps Debbie land her dream design job!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Inspiration: Dark Teal

I promised myself that I would take at least a few weeks off from wedding planning to just enjoy being engaged. It's been a nice way for Rob and I to brainstorm without actually planning. So far, we're thinking the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite will be our location for the October wedding.

As for colors, I am leaning toward lots of ivory, with dark brown and dark teal as accents. I think they'll work well with the location's natural colors and the hotel's brown and teal decor. But I am very nervous about dark teal. It could go so wrong. Here are some examples of the color I'm thinking of:

Ribbon - I have a small piece of satin ribbon in this color that is my main inspiration.
Tissue Bell - Ha! Yeah right. But this is close to the color.
Sweater - The perfect blend of green and blue.
Blazer - The French really know their teal. (On sale!)
Bracelet - From Etsy.
Shoes - Ignore the orange and red stripes on these Fairly Robbin pumps.
Eyeshadow - I want this eyeliner set!

What do you think? Could it work or should I rethink the whole thing? A dark sapphire blue would be easier, would it be better too?

Weekend Round-Up: Yosemite

What a wonderful weekend! Rob and I drove out to Yosemite on Friday night. This trip, partly to celebrate Rob's birthday and party to kick off climbing season, has become something of an annual tradition. About 30 of our good friends came this year. We arrived at Upper Pines Campground at 9:30 and sat by the bonfire catching up until about midnight.

After a very leisurely breakfast the next morning, the boys peeled off for some rock climbing. Six of us women formed an ad hoc hiking group and headed to Yosemite Falls. I've never hiked with a group of women only before; I've been missing out. All that "Oprah" mumbo-jumbo about female bonding is actually quite true!

This hike is only 3.4 miles but you go up almost 3,000 feet at the same time. All those switchbacks make for a very good glute workout! At the top, you have a spectacular view of Half Dome and upper Yosemite Falls.

We hiked back down, which is almost harder than going up, and made it back to the valley floor at 3:00. Sore feet and knees got a dip in the ice cold river. I proposed an "Après-hike" snack at the Ahwahnee Hotel. In my opinion, an après party is the best part of any strenuous outdoor activity! Our new group of friends sat in the warm sun with iced tea and an incredible antipasto plate. It was perfection!

Back to the campsite to rejoin the climbers at 5:30. Another fun night around a big campfire with lots of food, drinks and s'mores. Rob and I drove home after breakfast on Sunday morning, smelling very much like campfire. Back in the foggy city at 5:00, we scrubbed the smoke out of our hair. Rob fielded birthday phone calls from family and we feasted on an order of free-delivery sushi.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What to Wear: Vacation in D.C.

Washington D.C. is such a fun city! Elizabeth is going there on vacation and wrote in asking for outfit suggestions:
I will be traveling to Washington DC in May for a five day vacation. Included in this trip will be several days of sightseeing- so lots of walking. I would love to build some outfits around a comfortable shoe of some sort- but I’m not sure how to create outfits that look comfortable but stylish.

Could you possibly design two reasonably/moderately priced outfits for me so I can get some ideas? I want to look cute and put together, and I don’t want to be hobbling around or with blisters after the first hour of walking.
It's probably going to be pretty warm there in May, but you'll need layers for visiting air conditioned museums! Using one embellished sweater, one bag and one pair of white flats, here are two outfits for Elizabeth:

Sweater - A fun, embellished sweater is a great versatile piece to bring with you. I think this version from Anthropologie ($118) would be cute unbuttoned. Vintage clothing shops are loaded with cute sweaters like this, too.
Flats - Start breaking them in a month before you go and take a pair of puma sneakers too. These flats are $88.
Sunglasses - Aviators from Old Navy.
Dress - Something about this dress is just so perfect for exploring the mall on a hot day. It has pockets! $138 from J. Crew.
Bag - Only $12 from Target.
Tank - Such a pretty color and with a little beading around the neckline. $19 from Old Navy.
Jeans - From J. Crew for $88.

Things I Love Today: Rose Story Farm

Next time I am down on the central coast I'd love to drive out to Carpinteria to visit Rose Story Farm. This gorgeous ranch is home to over 120 antique rose varieties. They were mentioned in the last issue of InStyle. For $35 they'll give you a tour complete with rose samples and a picnic lunch. What a fun way to spend a day!

You can buy the flowers online for $75 a bunch starting in April. I think I need some Frederic Mistrals Glamis Castles for my desk next month!

San Francisco Romance

Is this a uniquely San Francisan phenomenon, or does it apply to residents of all large cities? Here's the story:

Rob and I had a hard time readjusting to city life after our vacation last week. I was starting to feel very fed up with techno loving neighbors, not having a dishwasher or washing machine, public transportation, lots of drunks and high rents. I was thinking that we must be crazy to live here. And then, as always, San Francisco makes me fall in love all over again with just one perfect afternoon.

Yesterday Rob and I walked home from work at 6:00 in the sunny warm weather. Instead of going straight along 16th, we headed a mile and a half up to Dolores Park; stopping at the famous Tartine Bakery to pick up a slice of cake aux olives. The park was packed with happy dogs, groups of picnicking 30-somethings and pick-up soccer games.

At the top of the park, we stopped to take in the view of downtown. A smartly dressed asian woman asked us to take her picture but her camera died before we started. Instead, I offered to use my camera and then email the pictures to her. She was so happy!

It started to get windy and by the time we got home, I had an excellent case of "Katherine Hepburn Hair" and bright flushed cheeks. And just like that, I fell in love with the city all over again!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What to Wear: Formal Los Angeles Wedding

I love reader shopping challenges! Kristi wrote in with the following request:
I'm a fan of your blog and have a teeny bit of a fashion crisis which I know you can help me with! I am attending a wedding with my boyfriend down here in LA on May 12th. It is at the Bel Air Bay Club right on PCH. I had planned to wear a straw colored tweedy spring suit but then received the invitation and it's an evening wedding so my spring suit would be terribly inappropriate. Black tie is optional for the men and my date will be wearing a dark gray suit.

I know everyone wears black down here all year round but I refuse to wear black ever again to a formal event in LA. This town is filled with highlighted blondes wearing black and most parties look like a sea of floating heads. PLEASE HELP!
This is a really tough one! I think it calls for one serious dress. I wish DVF was still producing the Fran cut this season, it would be perfect for this event. I have the black and pink chain pattern version. You would stand out from the crowd, still represent for those label conscious fashionistas and look killer. Since there is no DVF Fran dress, here's another option that would work:

Dress - Find a cocktail dress that is super, super flattering on you. Patterns help you to not look like a wayward bridesmaid. This dress from Nordstrom seems very "glam LA at the beach" to me.
Shoes - The simple style of these Nine West sandals balances out the dress.
Earrings - Smoky topaz studs from Cost Plus. Really lovely with loose, romantic hair.
Clutch - I wanted to find something simple in brown satin, but this pleated ivory version from Target works too.

The end result looks really well put together, unique and fresh. And the whole thing only adds up to a surprising $278.

Things I Love Today: Replacements

One of the other highlights of my vacation in North Carolina was a visit to the Replacements headquarters in Greensboro. Replacements is a store that carries 11 million pieces of new and antique china, silver, glass, etc. It's basically mecca.

If you can believe it, there is even more to love about Replacements. The founder, Bob Page, is openly gay, has adopted two children with his partner and is an active campaigner for equal rights. That would be a big deal even for a businessman in San Francisco and I can imagine it has very hard for him in the south. What an inspiration!

The store itself is incredible! My sister and I spent approximately two and a half hours looking at every...single...thing they had. Rob lasted one round before retiring to the cushy "lounge" they have set up. The silver wing of the store was to die for. I was ready to drain my accounts for a few of the 14" sterling trumpet vases, 200 piece silverware sets and art deco tea services. In the end, I bought a set of six sterling iced tea spoon straws, a small ladle, a vase and a set of blue art nouveau plates.

If you live anywhere even remotely close to Greensboro, plan a trip to Replacements. You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Vacation Wrap-Up

Whew! Things are finally starting to get back to normal. My jet lag is subsiding, I've unpacked and I finally made it through all my work emails. I also had time last night to sort through my photos from the trip to North Carolina!

Click here to see the photos from Chapel Hill, the Outer Banks and more pictures of Rob's proposal. Enjoy!

Things I Love Today: Lavender Earl Grey Tea

Earl grey tea is an on-again, off-again obsession of mine. Something about that Bergamot flavor is just so good. It's perfect for waking up and checking emails on a cloudy day.

I found Earl Grey Lavender tea at Safeway this morning and my obsession has returned with a vengeance. These flavors could go terribly wrong if made even a hint too strongly, but the Revolution blend is just perfect! I just need some lemon poppy seed cookies and I'm in heaven.

What to Wear: First Date

Allison L. wrote in with the first of six shopping challenges I received last week. Hooray for reader emails! Here's her request:
I'd love to see a "What to Wear: First Date" post. I think the perfect date outfit is a balance between sexy, confident and comfortable. The trick is to make it all look effortless! I'd love to see what you can come up with.
I haven't been on a first date in about 5 years and 7 months, so I'm not much of an expert on the current dating scene. But I did go on my share of first dates back in the day. In my opinion, the important thing is really to just dress in something that matches your personality and fits with what you're going to be doing on your date. This is one good option:

Dress - A pretty floral dress is great for going to dinner, catching a play or visiting an art gallery. This is a little pricey, but it can get you through wedding season too.
Sweater - A flattering color and a little extra coverage. You could wear this with a pretty camisole and jeans for something more casual.
Clutch - Wristlet leaves you ready for hand holding!
Shoes - Tan pumps elongate your legs, peep-toe shoes off a flirty pedicure and the low heel is comfortable.
Necklace - Wear a favorite statement piece that has a good story. Helpful for emergency conversation topics.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Little Bit More About my Ring

I'm so glad that you all like the ring that Rob picked out! I love it, but I am sometimes known for having "funny" old fashioned taste.

Rob really did an amazing job finding this ring. It is an estate ring, probably Edwardian, with a 2.5 carat rose cut diamond. Rose cut diamonds stopped being produced around 1900, but the cut gives it a low profile from the side that I love. The diamond has a silver backing and the decorated gold underside is one of my favorite features. You can see more details here.

PS: Many, many thanks to all the readers who sent in shopping challenges while I was on vacation. I'll start working on outfit suggestions for you tonight! You rock!

Very Big, Exciting, Tremendous News!

I'm back! I am a jet-lagged zombie and swamped with emails. So, the big vacation wrap up will have to come later. But, I do have the energy to share with you the super exciting news: I am engaged!

It happened when we were staying at the beach house with my mom, dad, sister and her boyfriend. Rob rushed in and told me that there were sea turtles hatching on the beach! I grabbed my coat and ran after him. Instead of turtles, he spelled out "Marry Me" in a bonfire and presented me with gorgeous diamond ring. I was completely surprised! My family popped out from behind the sand dune once I said "yes!"

The whole thing couldn't have been more perfect! I've spent the last three days staring at my left hand and floating on cloud nine!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm going to try to unplug from the internet and city life for a few days. I'm sure you can manage to be fabulous in my absence! Feel free to send me an email with a shopping challenge or question while I am away.

Must Have: Botanical Glassware

There are many, many exciting things about vacationing in North Carolina next week. Getting to my sister's new home, watching Trent and Rob compete, walking on the beach, southern food, antique shopping, lots of reading, unlimited hot tubbing. It will also be fun to see the set of Roost etched botanical glasses that I got Jean for Christmas put to use!

These glasses are so delicate and perfectly modern. Really ideal for a plant obsessed biologists like Jean! The short glasses are great for wine or juice. The taller "champagne" glasses would make for an elegant pomegranate mojito or glass of iced tea.

What to Wear: Outdoor Concert

The weather is going to be perfect in San Francisco this weekend. If I was going to be here, I would try to find an open air concert in Golden Gate Park to attend. It's so fun to sit out in the sun with a glass of wine and some snacks listening to the symphony or opera. This would be a perfect outfit for that or for a casual spring wedding:
  • Dress - I am infatuated with this dress from Bloomindales. Look at the color, look at the sash on the back, look at the somewhat reasonable price! It would work better if I was at all tan, but I still want it.
  • Sweater - Cardigan in a great teal color.
  • Clutch - I love, love, love this patterned clutch.
  • Shoes - Brown peep toes work for something more formal. Flip flops would also be good!
  • Earrings - From Anthropologie.

Things I Love Today: Moroccan Ceramics

My current favorite thing at home is a four inch tall ceramic pitcher. My parents brought it back from Morocco a few years ago. I have it filled with picked daisies in the bathroom this week. The detailed pattern and combination of yellow and blue is just lovely.

I'd love to get a couple of these 16 inch Moroccan platters for entertaining. They'd be great for big stacks of fresh fruit or sandwiches at a summer brunch.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What to Wear: Chunky Necklace

I've had a craving for bold jewelry this week. Forget a delicate silver chain with a bird charm, I want chunky beads, big rings and bright bangles. Something with a lot of color and heft will be a good replacement for the scarves I've been clinging to all winter:
  • Necklace - I looked everywhere and Old Navy really had the best option. Two $14 bead necklaces in green.
  • Dress - Is it just me or has J.Crew been running the same sale for the last six months? This cotton shirt dress is $69 and would be nice with a bright slip underneath.
  • Shoes - Peep toe with a bow in blue suede for $89.
  • Purse - Really cute for a Nine West bag.
  • Scarf - Urban Outfitters has a fun collection of vintage-style scarves for $20.
It's a little conservative, but I still like it. Add a bright coat and some tights and you're set to go!

Things I Love Today: Extra Dark Petite Ecolier

I don't have any clever posts lined up this morning because our friend Jill came over for dinner last night. We had dill havarti with crackers, spaghetti with turkey ragu and cookies with hot cocoa while watching American Idol and Lost on the big TV. I'll trade that for blogging anytime :)

Jill's a great friend that Rob and I have known for six years and who lives about half a mile up Market Street. Her husband, Peter, is in Scissors for Lefty (playing in Denver tonight, go see them!). We might go to New Zealand with them after Christmas this year, wouldn't that be fun?

Anyway, we had these extra dark chocolate petite ecolier cookies last night with our cocoa. They are sooo delicious and always on sale at Safeway. I wish I had a few with me right now for breakfast!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Music Review: French Pop

The clouds are back in San Francisco this afternoon and it has put me in a funny mood. A mood, more specifically, tailored perfectly for some French music.

iTunes is great for discovering new tunes from around the world. Along with Carla Bruni, Daran and Serge Gainsbourg, the French band Paris Combo is a favorite find. I have a couple songs from their 2005 album, Attraction. Fibre De Verre and Lettre a Paris are both really good for a cold March day.

Things I Love Today: Amco Bowls

I still haven't fully recovered from the demise of the Martha Stewart store a few years ago. They had the best things! The hotel silver collection, the gardening boots...each and every item was just perfect.

A friend gave me a set of these non-skid Amco mixing bowls from the catalog for my birthday. Mine are the same as this set except with a "Martha" green rubber coating on the bottom instead of blue or black.

The size and shape of the the stainless steel bowls are idea and the non-stick bottom is surprisingly handy. They're perfect, just as you would expect from Martha!

Inspiration: Lilac

Lilac is the perfect color for March! It pairs well with blacks and grays for cold, wintery days. And once the sun comes out, lilac becomes bright and springy combined with pastels. Here are some of my favorites in lilac:

Ramekins - Imagine them filled with strawberry shortcake!
Camisole - Equally great with a chunky charcoal sweater or white slacks.
Earrings - Handcrafted, very delicate and only $36.
Candle - This tuileries candle smells as good as it looks. It's my current favorite.
Eyeshadow - Lighter shades of lilac are matched with a black-violet liner.
Chair - It was impossible to locate a lilac upholstered chair online, so this is a Photoshop-special.
Skirt - The perfect volume and color for only $34 from La Redoute.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cost Plus Online Store

When did Cost Plus launch their online store? How did I miss that?!

Cost Plus is such a great source for basics. The web store is pretty minimal but they do have some great finds including these urn vases and this kimono print rug. Lots of goodies and even some decent sales. Check it out!

Bargain Finder: $16 Eyelet Umbrella

This umbrella is so fun that it almost makes me wish for rain...well, almost!

Urban Outfitters has two versions of the umbrella: in green with white eyelets and another in white fabric with black eyelets. I think they would make a great Easter present for a friend or deluxe favor *pun intended* for guests at a wedding or baby shower.

Weekend Round-Up: Sun and Fun

The weather was so nice last weekend! Anytime the temperature rises above 60 degrees San Francisco turns into a wonderland of parks, outdoor cafes and happy sunburned locals in flip flops.

After our traditional Friday night date at home and leisurely breakfast, Rob and I drove out to the archery field to soak up the rays. We met our friend Matt there; he was just back from a trip to India and had lots of stories to tell. Everyone shot well and we headed home after a few hours. At five, Rob and I took the subway downtown to the Chinese New Year parade. Our train was full of a troupe of elementary school kids in orange robes with rouged cheeks:

We found a great spot to stand on Kearny Street for the parade at 6:30. High school marching bands, local politicians, fourth graders in pig costumes sewn by their mothers, approximately 400 dancing dragons and fireworks galore. I love a good parade! The Chronicle has more photos online.

Rob brought me the Sunday paper the next morning! I stayed in bed and read the paper from cover to cover. That was a perfect morning made even better with a pedicure at noon! When I got home, Rob and I took the train out to West Portal. We walked around the shady eucalyptus forest in Stern Grove park:

And went to see Pan's Labyrinth (so unexpectedly sad and gruesome, but good). When we got home, I put together my new recipe journal and prepared for the week ahead!

Monday, March 05, 2007

What to Wear: Travel Outfit

Only six days to go before vacation! I am so excited to visit North Carolina and unplug from the internet for a few days. I just bought new luggage from Loehmann's, booked a shuttle to the airport, requested a mail hold from the post office and already have my travel outfit picked out:
  • Shirt - A classic black button down is comfortable and versatile.
  • Blazer - Why is it always so cold on airplanes. A blazer gives you warmth without being unwieldy.
  • Jeans - I think this is the same paper of PD&C's that I have. I love them!
  • Flats - So helpful for getting through security quickly.
  • Luggage - Mine is in olive with a bright blue lining from DVF.
  • Wallet - Take this instead of a whole purse with the carry-on bag. Don't forget rosebud balm to counteract the dry plane air and a pashmina to double as a blanket.

Bargain Finder: $40 Trench Coats

La Redoute has classic short trench coats in six colors for only $39.95 a piece. Or you can choose from the same colors in a longer length for $44.95.

I would love to add the rose version to my collection of spring outwear! Since they're so inexpensive, you wouldn't have to worry about getting it dirty, losing it or using it as an impromptu picnic blanket.

Unaffordable House of the Week

Rob and I have both fallen in love with this two bedroom condo that just went up for sale down the street. Giant rooms, two gas fireplaces, dark stained floors, a sunny kitchen and a big back yard.

All of that for only $769,000! Damn....We could technically kind of afford it, just so long as neither of us ever stopped working and didn't have any other use in mind for any of our money. The housing market in San Francisco is endlessly depressing.

(PS - The weekend round-up will be posted tonight instead of this morning. I left my camera at home with all the photos from the awesome Chinese New Year Parade.)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Things I Love Today: Anchor Hocking Jar

Here's another must have for spring cleaning: I love the vintage industrial styling of these gallon glass jars from Anchor Hocking.

Perfect for holding art supplies and ribbon in the hall closet or scarves and accessories in the bedroom closet. The possibilities are endless!

Brilliant Idea of the Day: Recipe Journal

Here it is, the genius idea that I am sure is going to revolutionize my life: take all those handwritten recipes, pages ripped out of Gourmet and printed internet recipes that are crammed into the kitchen drawer and paste them into a leather journal. Voila! Instant cookbook.

I know, you're thinking I must be some kind of rocket scientist. But honestly, this is the first time the idea has occurred to me. It's bizarre since I have been both an avid journal keeper and recipe tearer-outer for at least a decade. I'm going to Flax to buy a good journal after work today.

The recipe journal will be my spring cleaning project for the weekend. This and unpacking a big box of antique linens into drawers so I can actually use them now and then. Are you spring cleaning this weekend?

Urban Girl Almanac: Spring in San Francisco

It's been a nutty week. Lots of visiting execs in the office, lots of rainstorms, lots of good food, lots of fun and lots of valuable lessons learned:
  • Never, ever, ever talk to bike messengers. It's like they live in an alternate dimension.
  • Orecchiette pasta with mushrooms, cauliflower, garlic and Parmesan makes a hearty winter casserole.
  • "Buy low, sell high" is a good mantra during stock market crashes.
  • Those bamboo sushi rolling mats can double as place mats and bring a nice springy feel to the table.
  • Raw coconut is one of my favorite snacks.
  • A new shower curtain and a bouquet of flowers in the bathroom make for a happy morning routine.
  • Blue cheese can go bad.
  • I found out Wednesday that I have a fused transitional vertebrae in my pelvis that has led to Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Translation: Butt injury. Next up: steroid injection. Yipee.
  • Two Cornish game hens feed four perfectly.
  • This long sleeved t-shirt from Gap is pretty comfortable and flattering. Who knew.
  • Having people over to the apartment is one of my favorite things in the world!
  • I hate when Blogger comments are broken.
  • Black truffles...white's becoming a full blown obsession.
The crazy weather seems to have ended. Sun and warmth are predicted for the weekend! I'm going to try to see the Chinese New Year parade on Saturday. I could also go for a facial and a pedicure sometime this weekend. Maybe I can convince Nicole to take a break from home renovation in Napa for a spa day :)

Things I Love Today: Slow Club

I had the best dinner last night! After work, Rob and I went with some co-workers to Slow Club on Mariposa and 18th. I had been to this restaurant for lunch before but not dinner. Their specialty is using in-season produce and ingredients.

The lower mission location is definitely out of the way, but this restaurant is well worth the trip. It has all the great food and atmosphere of Foreign Cinema but more mellow patrons and better prices.

My favorite last night was an incredible salad of hearts of escarole topped with shaved sunchokes, pecorino romano & black truffle cream dressing. I could eat nothing but that salad for the rest of my life. I followed that with grilled flatbread covered in feta and nettles. I finished with a chocolate mousse cake and bites of someone else's really good banana bread pudding. It was perfect!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What to Wear: Working Girl

A good office outfit combines classic elements with a dash of comfort and a healthy dose of personal style. This basic ensemble is perfect for a day on the job:
Skirt - Silk pleated skirt from Penguin. It looks standard but the pattern is bright and colorful up close.
Wrap Sweater - This is one of my favorite basics from La Redoute.
Trench - From San Francisco designer, Catherine Jane.
Earrings - Small pearl coins from Anthropologie.
Bracelet - Whitewashed wood bangle.
Shoes - A vintage style pump with a low heel is comfortable for walking around the building. And half off too!
File Tote - A fun alternative to an unwieldy briefcase.