Friday, February 29, 2008

Urban Girl Almanac: Planner

This has been a very productive week. Something kicked in with the wedding planning and I've been checking things off the list left and right. Here's what I learned this week:
  • I'm feeling really buff after two trips to the gym, four days of walking back and forth to work and a long bike ride across town this week. Go muscles!
  • I wore a dress with no coat for the first time this week. Yay for Spring.
  • Leftover salmon and asparagus cooked with a cream sauce and fettuccine is delicious.
  • I am the kind of person who doesn't get paying over $300 a night for a hotel room. A cheap person...but one with a whole lot in savings.
  • You can find two for $.99 avocados at the Mexican market on 16th.
  • "Blue Skies" is our best song on uke and bass so far.
  • I love the new quantum physics angle on LOST.
  • A nice ladies lunch in the sun will turn around a leap day funk quite quickly.
We're going to the movies tonight with co-workers and to Sacramento for a baby shower tomorrow. Toss in some political volunteering and there's our weekend in a nutshell!

What to Wear: Vegas

Vegas...not my favorite place in the world. But it does make for a good time. Here is Maddy's request:
I love your blog...I get so excited when a new one pops up in my RSS reader! My girlfriends and I are going to Vegas for a long weekend in March and I'd love your advice on a going-out outfit. I'm in my early 30s and usually in bed by 10:30, so I feel a bit out of my element when it comes to dressing for Sin City.

My everyday style is simple and classic. I have a slender (i.e., flat-chested) build and I'm about 5'5". I'd love to find an outfit or two that would be hot yet classy for nights on the town. Oh, and budget-friendly too!
My first response to Maddy was that when I'm presented with this sort of quagmire, I usually go straight to Forever 21, buy something ridiculous to wear with jeans and call it a day. Otherwise, I'm apt to try to wear my favorite turtleneck (as you can tell, I love the nightlife...I love to boogie). Let's go this direction, but with a little more thought:

Top - This satin tunic is fairly classy is a lot of fun for an evening out on the town. It is something that a 30-something would wear, but not something that will instantly say "Hey! This one over here was born in the 70's." $20 from Forever21.
Bottom - Depending on what kind of place you're going, either pair this with a very tight pair of skinny jeans or a very tight skirt.
Shoes - Either way, you'll need these shoes. Metallic and patent leather with a peep toe.
Bangle - From Forever21.
Clutch - Metallic fold-over for $8.

This outfit fits the bill and leaves you with some extra cash for those seafood buffets.

Coveted: Chestnut Hill Pumps

Is is customary to celebrate leap day by being in a terrible mood? If so, I'm right on track. I spent all last night researching honeymoon spots only to have the devalued dollar or the weather thwart every plan.

The cheap warm places (Mexico, India, Thailand) will be in storm season. The cold places (Antartica, Alaska) will be too cold. Anything remotely associated with Europe is an exchange rate nightmare. Argentina and Costa Rica are lovely, but I've already been to both. Cairo and Morocco are in the lead.

All I want is to be able to go somewhere nice for a couple weeks without spending the same amount as the wedding cost itself. Arg. Stupid US economy.

Anywho...let's get distracted with something pretty. These Kenneth Cole pumps seem so right for spring. You can tuck them under your best black work pants and enjoy flashing a bit of yellow. And that color scheme is so in right now. At $165, I think I'll just covet them for now :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

To Buy? Leather Jacket

Do I buy the cute leather jacket from Zara or not? Hmm...

Pros
Cute
Fits well
$200, which isn't too bad for real leather

Cons
Smells strongly of Whiskas Seafood Medley Cat Treats
$200, which is a lot
Potential to turn me into a bad ass

I'm so tempted. Darn!

What to Wear: Boots

Celia wrote in with a tricky shoe question:
My husband picked these boots {in black, no longer available} up for me as an early birthday gift. I chose black for the sake of being versatile. I have things to wear with them, but was hoping you could share some brilliant suggestions as well so that I can wear them often :) I'm 5'8, have a smallish frame, but am not devoid of curves (size 5), and short (bob), brown hair. I tend to lean towards a more monochromatic palette, love accessories, and am hoping to step outside of my usual comfort zone. Any inspiration would be appreciated.
These boots mean business! Pair them with something that plays off the tough, European image. I'm thinking "rock-star frenchie goes to an open air market in the rain."

Jeans - A skinny pair is easier to tuck into the boots.
Sweater - This is the perfect thing for running errands on the weekend. (Click through to "super sale" and then "knits" to find this sweater on sale for $68)
Tote - French farmer's market tote.
Jacket - A black twill piece from La Redoute.
Sunglasses - My favorite "tough" pair.
Scarf - Lightweight from Forever21.

This also works as "Sarah Connor goes to farmer's market!"

To Do: Easter Decorations

Last year, I didn't remember Easter until the last minute. What a shame, since I love decorating for this holiday. I remembered this year and put up everything last weekend. The apartment is so festive!

A few years ago, I made an Easter tree out of silk dogwood branches to cover with the tiny painted wood ornaments and decorated eggs I've either made or my mom has given me. I try add a new decoration to the collection each year. Maybe these fuzzy chicks will be in for 2008!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: What to Wear Bridesmaids

A cheery yellow dress is so fun. But how do you pair it with shoes and accessories? Here is Meghan's request:
I love your what-to-wear guides, and was hoping you could help accessorize my bridesmaids for a May wedding. My girls are wearing J.Crew's cotton cady dresses in Sour Lemon (there are 5 styles, 5 girls and each will be wearing a different dress).

We're having a church ceremony, with the reception in an art gallery, and the palette is simple and natural – greens, brown, and cream. I know you're planning your own wedding, and I recall seeing some yellow/orange dresses that you were looking at for your 'maids. I'd love your help choosing shoes and accessories that my girls will love (and that aren't too hard on the wallet!).
I've done two different options here. One that is bright and another that is more natural:

Bright
Shoes - If you're going to wear a big yellow dress, you may as well have fun with it! Funky green pumps give the dress a kicky, vintage feel.
Earrings - Yellow ceramic flower studs.
Ring - A chunky cocktail ring.
Clutch - In printed canvas from Urban Outfitters.

Natural
Earrings - Green and ivory enamel studs from Forever21 look like little leaves.
Bangle - In wood and metal.
Shoes - Brown satin pumps with a bow.
Clutch - In printed canvas from Old Navy.

Wedding Wednesday: The Honeymoon

Rob and I are a little stumped when it comes to a honeymoon destination. There are just so many options!

We'd like to stay somewhere where there are things to do (kayak, explore, etc) and in a hotel that has a lot of character (old world fancy...not Atlantis fancy). And it is the end of September, so no hurricane-prone areas. We're leaning toward Greece but it is wide open.

Since you blog readers have been right about so many things, so many times - the wedding location, the favors, etc - I'm opening it up to you: What are your honeymoon recommendations? Any hotels you really love?

Wedding Wednesday: The Vision, Revisited

I've gotten so much done since the inception of Wedding Wednesday. Things are really starting to come together.

I updated the "vision" sheet last night and was amazed at how much has happened since July. The warm, authentic feeling I'm aiming for seems to be a real possibility.

There are just a few of the big decisions left and then on to the little details!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coveted: San Francisco Print

This Japanese-style woodblock print of San Francisco from Marin is so, so lovely. If I had an extra $1,000 lying around, I would snap it up from Gump's in a second.

Luckily, a full grand may not be necessary. Tom Killion has a wide selection of his prints on his site for $75 to $425. Or cards and books for under $35.

What to Wear: Red Coat

I love a good red coat. I'm on the hunt right now for a replacement option right now. Here is Odessa's request:
I recently bought a red wool coat at Ambiance in Noe Valley because it was on sale for half the price and I just couldn't resist it. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time finding the right clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. to go with it. The shade of red is somewhat bright (the closest that I could find online was this coat from The Sartorialist) and I'm not used to wearing this color. Any suggestions?
By the way, I'm in my late 20's, petite, 5'1", brown hair, size 2-4, t-shirt-and-jeans type of girl but enjoys dressing up every now and then. Would love to hear about your ideas!
A bright yellow-red works well with all sorts of neutrals: navy, black, gray, white and beige. Here's a classic outfit for work will really help set it off.

Trousers - In dark gray. Like a good DVF dress, a pair of Theory pants will be a lifelong companion.
Shirt - A classic white blouse is so fresh for spring.
Belt - Skinny in red lizard.
Shoes - Cecelia pumps in a dark cherry. I love mixing different tones of reds.
Bag - Something about this particular bag seems so nice.
Scarf - Feather weight in shades of gray.
Earrings - Ginko shaped drops.

Fresh and timeless!

Restaurant Review: Cafe du Soleil

We had an usually fun Monday night yesterday. Rob and I went to the climbing gym after work for a half hour and then rushed across town on foot to meet Margaret and a friend for dinner at our neighborhood Ethiopian restaurant. Mmmm....tbsie fish!

After dinner, we walked down the street to Cafe du Soleil. I've always wanted to try this cute little boulangerie and bar. Sitting at the bar, we ordered three cups of tea, an apricot tart and a chocolate tart (YUM) from the super friendly all-French staff.

The candlelit atmosphere is authentic Paris - not Paris, Las Vegas. They have a great beer and wine menu along with a small selection of open face sandwiches and salads. After March 15th, you're allowed to take your drink out to the sidewalk tables. A glass of red wine, a croque monsieur and lower haight dog watching...that sounds like a perfect weekend recipe!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Things I Love Today: Colin as Darcy

I was watching Pride and Prejudice on PBS on last night and once again struck by Mr. Darcy's brooding stare. Honestly, I think I could watch all 300 minutes back-to-back-to-back forever...much to Rob's chagrin.

Maybe this will be my plan for keeping entertained in the nursing home at 98. Yes, that's exactly it. Breakfast in bed, silk pajamas, cashmere blankets and chain viewing of P&P!

What to Wear: Wedding Season

Wedding guest dress buying season is fully upon us. Here is Shelly's request:
I love reading your blog, especially the what to wear entries. I am going to be a guest at 2 or 3 weddings this spring (March-May) and am looking for a dress to wear for these events (and later special occasions, of course.) I realized that all of my nice dresses are black, so I really want to add some fun new colors to my wardrobe. I'm 5' 3" and a size 2 with an hourglass figure, my skin tone is fair to medium (and slightly sallow) and I have chin length blonde hair and brown eyes.
This is a great reason to get a dress you really love. Don't forget to check the numerous sale racks left over from the holidays:

Dress - Invest in a dress you absolutely love in a bright color. Pink will do especially well to highlight your skin tone. This eyelet dress is adorable and fun from Nanette Lepore. (It also comes in white and would be a kicky wedding dress).
Jacket - White from Tulle.
Shoes - Basic black peep-toe pumps.
Clutch - Simple black clutch on sale from Aldo.

You can dress this up or down depending on the party!

Weekend Round-Up: Cabin Fever

Terrible, terrible weather all weekend long. I guess it was a blessing, since we had a chance to rest and relax.

On Friday, Rob and I went to the climbing gym after work. A climber who had fallen and broken her arm was waiting for an ambulance to arrive when we got there. With this lovely risk in mind, I proceeded to climb very badly and burn out quickly. Spicy white bean, cheese and red cabbage tacos for dinner at home while Rob worked on the wedding website.

Saturday morning consisted of coffee, oatmeal and an episode of Planet Earth in HD. This show always manages to blow my mind. After the show, we went to the laundromat and market while it was still dry outside. Between loads, it started pouring. The rest of the afternoon was occupied with cooking, setting the table and watching Two Days in Paris. We attempted to step out for an errand around 4, but it was far too cold and wet.











Matt and Amber arrived for dinner around 6:30. Olives and local goat cheese for start with a bottle of rose champagne from Napa. Dinner of asparagus, potatoes and salmon with a nice red wine. After dinner, we pulled out Parcheesi. The game was just starting to get competitive when...

BAM!

One of the legs of the dining room table apparently had too much to drink and fell completely off; taking with it several glasses and candles. A big mess, but Rob cleaned up pretty quickly while I made coffee ice cream sundaes.








We had a quick musical interlude and continued the game along with a second bottle of wine. The party ended at 10 and we did some clean-up before watching SNL.

Sunday morning...a wailing windstorm has kept us up half the night. I had breakfast of earl gray tea and leftover spaghetti while watching a rerun of last night's blustering Chinese New Year's Parade. At 1:00, I braved the storm to meet Calie in front of Zara's. She shopped for a cocktail dress while I looked for a jacket. I found a really cute leather number for $200 but it smelled strongly of cat food. Instead I got a sweater on sale at BGBG. We had thai for lunch in the basement.

Rob picked me up downtown at 2:15 with a change of clothes. I had to switch from jeans and a sweater to a wrap dress and tights in the car between Kearny and Columbus. We were meeting friends at 3:00 to scope out their wedding locations, one of which doesn't allow jeans. We're doing the photography for this fancy affair in May. The ceremony will be at St. Peter and Paul in North Beach, they'll be staying at the St. Francis. We managed to sneak into the penthouse ballroom for a quick peek at the fogged in city.











Their reception will be at The Olympic Club. How would you like to swim in this pool everyday?











Back home at 5:00 for a hot bath and a couple errands. We briefly ran into Paul outside Safeway. A very tasty dinner from Burgermeister and a lot of blogging for the week ahead.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Urban Girl Alamac: Scattered Showers

Whew. This week was short, but it was mighty. I'm exhausted! I guess an oil change, LAC party, hair appointment, wedding planning, rock concert and a bass lesson all crammed into three days will do that. Here's what I learned this week:
  • I'm SO going to the Black and White Ball this year! Reaching full-blown-obsession mode; planning ball gown shopping and dance lessons. I'm daydreaming that it will be exactly like the rowdy party scene in American in Paris.
  • I have this J.Crew sweatshirt from last season (it's a pullover) in tan heather and would wear it everyday if I could.
  • To whoever rented the second disc of Freaks and Geeks from the Castro Blockbuster and didn't return it: not cool.
  • Delessio on Market is fun for lunch. The vegetarian potato salad is really good.
  • The Charitable Events Calendar is good reading.
  • I need to buy a cute coat for spring. Maybe this Sunday.
  • Santa Barbara salsa is my lifeblood. Rob and I ate a whole container last night with a bag of Lompoc Tortilla chips that Margaret smuggled up for us.
  • I love this weather. A bit of rain and a bit of sun each day. It reminds me of living in Ireland.
Not too many plans for the weekend ahead. Climbing tonight, dinner party tomorrow, Tina on SNL, and shopping on Sunday. Most importantly, I want to catch up on being lazy!

What to Wear: J.Crew Style

J.Crew is lovely...but the prices can sting. There are a lot of ways to channel their bright preppy style on a budget. Here is Chelsea's request:
My sister and I really like your blog, especially when you do the what to wear sections, so I was hoping you could give me some ideas. I am obsessed with J. Crew, except all their clothes are really expensive. I was wondering if you could put something together that resembles J. Crew style but is more in an affordable price range. I'm not looking for any special occasion, just everyday.
J.Crew's basic styles that aren't too hard to replicate on your own. This outfit would cost about $500 if you bought it from their store. Our bargain version is around $160:

Sweater - Cheery cardigan basic for $20 topped with a thin belt. Wear a simple long sleeved tee underneath for warmth.
Jeans - From Old Navy for $34.
Bag - Preppy in blue and white from Delias for $36.
Flats - In navy satin for $50.
Earrings - Pearl studs.
Sunglasses - For when the weather warms up.

Prep for cheap!

Party Recipe: Saturday Dinner

Our friends, Matt and Amber, are coming over for dinner on Saturday night. The rainy and cold weather precludes anything other than a cozy dinner party and maybe a round of cards. I'm not positive of the menu, but this sounds good to me so far:

Cheese & Olives - A basic appetizer mix.
Baked Salmon - My own easy recipe.
Potato and Onion Gratin - I've had this at someone else's house. The nutmeg makes it really special.
Asparagus - If they have the tiny little stems at Safeway again.
Pumpkin Bars - A recipe from my LAC cookbook that is supposed to be foolproof.

Yum! I love entertaining. Our poor apartment hasn't been fully "aired" since the New Year's Day brunch party. I will be nice to get everything polished and up to snuff.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What to Wear: NY Botanical Garden Wedding

Wedding season again, already? I feel like we just got through the holiday cocktail party crazy. Here is Meghann's request:
I love your blog and your style and am looking for help. One of my best friends from high school has become a hot-shot lawyer up in Manhattan. I try not to hold it against him :) He's getting married at the end of April at the New York Botanical Gardens (early evening wedding, not black tie) and I am desperately trying not to look so out of place with all the other hot-shot (read:rich) lawyers that will be present at the wedding/reception.

Basically I need to look modern and fabulous, which you do so very well. If it helps, I am 5'10" size 4/6, broad-ish shoulders, flat chest and good legs, very fair skin, with long dark brown hair.
For this sort of posh event: I always look to a DVF dress. These dresses are flattering, modern, not crazy expensive and with a good bit of socialite street cred. Since this is event is in April, you'll have to be prepared for some wet weather.

Dress - A good DVF dress will never do you wrong. This is the kind of piece you can wear to work with the right accessories and a great way to show off your legs.
Coat - A navy spring trench will serve you well all year round. Order two sizes up, darn Tulle.
Shoes - Red leather with a medium heel.
Clutch - Oversized in neutral crocodile.







Have fun at the wedding!

To Do: Charitable Events Registry

Last night's concert got out amazingly early. We arrived at 8:30 to see The Donnas as the opening act. The Hives came on around 9:30, rocked hard until about 10:30. We caught a cab and were in bed by 11. Just enough time to flip through San Francisco Magazine's Charitable Events Registry before going to sleep.

I was browsing through this Bay Area high society directory mainly for a good laugh. And there were plenty. Here's one favorite:
April 5 - The 5th Annual Fur Ball
"True-Blue Companion" is the theme of this black-tie gala. The evening includes food and wine, a "blue carpet," animal psychics, artists, live music and live and silent auctions. $250.
What would a proper fund raising ball be without animal psychics?! There were also plenty of $2,500 croquet picnics and celebrity pool tosses for charity. But I was surprised to find a couple events that I really want to go to as well:
March 10 - Bouquets to Art Opening Gala
Dine, dance, and be the fist to see Bouquets to Art, an event where designers re-create art with flowers at the de Young Museum. $125-200.
You just know that Dede will be at this one. I think I'll skip the gala but go the next day for the flower displays. And there's one event that is a can't miss this year:
May 31 - Black and White Ball
Seven Civic Center blocks get the full party treatment for the nation's biggest black-tie fund raiser. A wide array of musical acts and fabulous food and drink will keep more than 10,000 black-and-white-clad patrons entertained into the wee hours.
I need to start shopping and coordination now for that one. Consider my social calendar officially marked!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: Website

I'm so busy this week between work and evening activities. Last night was the LAC party. Tonight is my hair appointment and The Hives at the The Fillmore. In between all of this, I'm managing to squeeze in a bit of wedding planning.

The matches I ordered last week arrived and are even more darling in person. The save-the-date cards are on their way to production. I haven't found the right envelope lining paper yet, but I have been looking. And I'm redoing our wedding website. I'm so lucky that Rob is an engineer who can help with this sort of thing!

Here are the latest drafts of the splash page and welcome page (and, no, those aren't our real names):

Wedding Wednesday: Shoes!

Anne wrote in with the following wedding-related request last week:

Can you help me find this pair of shoes like this in white (or something similar)? The bow on this shoe would perfectly match the bows on the back of my dress and would look great on my wedding day. I'm flexible on heel height, material, etc. I really just want the bow!
There are a couple really cute options available for Anne:

1. Ramona Pumps - These are very similar to the Pendant Pumps and only $55.





2. Off White - This pair features a bow and a peep-toe in off white.




3. Splurge - A $280 pair that you could probably recreate by adding a satin bow to a plain white pump.




4. Classic - A full peep-toe pump with a offset bow for $79.

Ladies Activity Club: Murder Mystery Party

It was a dark and stormy night...perfect for our February LAC party!

Steph hosted 13 of us for a murder mystery event at her house. We were members of Killers International, trying to investigate the murder of one of our own. I played Poison Pen, the secretary with a fondness for tainting postage stamps and envelopes (hence, my oh-so-menacing pose with the scissors).

Along with the mystery, she also had us do a hilarious game of group charades with different gory clues. I'll share all the photos once Flickr stops being broken. Here they are!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What to Wear: Flashback

Back in September last year, Kerry requested something for her and her fiance to wear at an engagement photo shoot. My suggestion was solid color basics that would look timeless: J.Crew sweater, jeans and a blazer. She recently sent photos and I thought I'd share:
I know this is so belated, but I wanted to send you a couple pictures from our engagement session. I pretty much bought exactly what you suggested and it was so perfect!
Aren't they cute?

Things I Love Today: Chinese Scissors

My only souvenir from Sacramento (aside from two very sore calves) was a pair of "Chinese" scissors from the hardware store in Old Town.

Alternatively called "bonsai" scissors, the 100+ year old design of these handmade pairs is so elegant. You can buy a set of three for yourself here for $15. They'd be a good favor for a garden party this spring!

Weekend Round-Up: Suburban Mouse

In the past few weeks, we've been country mice and city mice. It was high time to be suburban mice! Rob and I spent our long weekend in Sacramento and Davis visiting friends and savoring the slow life. You can see all our photos here.

But first, a night out with the girls on Friday. Margaret came up from the peninsula and Nicole down from Napa for a 7:30 dinner at Oola. This tiny place on 5th and Folsom has a cozy, downtown atmosphere. Eating at the bar, I had their pork ribs and truffle fries. The ribs came recommended by the bartender and were amazing! We walked up to Irish Bank for a drink after and then called it a night.

Rob and I packed the car, loaded the tandem on the roof rack and headed to Sacramento. We arrived at Seth and Amy's place at 11. Just in time to unpack and hit the American River bike trail. 8 miles up to have lunch at an outdoor cafe in Old Town Folsom. Our total ride was about 16 miles and we averaged 15 mph; much faster without the intersections and obstacles of city riding!











We played cards in the afternoon and went for dinner at La Fogata. Some of the best Mexican food you can find in Northern California (I recommend the shredded chicken nachos). After dinner, Rob and I had a jam session with Seth on banjo. Folsom Prison Blues was our best piece. We shared a bottle of Veuve and called it a night.

On Sunday, we drove in to downtown Sacramento to have a crepe breakfast with our friends Fred and Alex who are expecting a baby in April. It was so fun to catch up, that we followed breakfast with a walk around the capital gardens. And that was so nice, that we then went down to Old Town Sacramento together. There's a cute old-time hardware store by the train museum that is especially worth visiting.











At 3:30, Rob and I said goodbye and drove to Davis for Sara's Ph.D. graduation party. It was a great party, full of notable professors and Davis celebrities. We spent quite a while talking to one woman who turned out the be the former mayor, lampooned on the Daily Show for building a toad tunnel.











Once the party ended, we drove back to Fair Oaks and had a quiet evening soaking in the hot tub.

Seth made us french toast on Monday morning and we went for another bike ride. This time we went south along the river and much faster. Our final total was 18 miles with a 17 mph average. Taking photos from the back of the bike was fun, also scary:









We stopped for lunch at a vegetarian burger joint called Sunflower Drive-In (get the nutburger patty melt). We packed up the car and headed back to SF at 3:00.

On our way back we stopped at Target in Sacramento for laundry detergent and other goodies. We don't have one in the city, so it is a treat. We quickly dropped into a huge new eco-Wal-Mart on the other end of town. It was gigantic and I don't think I'd shop there, but it was impressive to see the company going so green. Our last stop on the way home was the J.Crew outlet in Vacaville to load up on sweaters and basics.

We made it home to our lovely city at 7:00. After so long in slow suburbia, the city seemed to be absolutely bustling!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Recipe: Easy Apple Galettes

This easy recipe makes a simple dessert and a good breakfast the next day. You can experiment with all sorts of fruit mixtures inside.

1 refrigerated pre-made round pie crust (or make your own if you're fancy like that)
1 large sour apple
1 lime or lemon
2 teaspoons granulated sugar.
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Ginger, nutmeg, etc to taste.

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Unroll the pie crust and cut into 8 triangle "slices." Cut the apple into one inch by quarter inch slices. Mix with lime juice, sugars and spices. Arrange 5/6 slices of apple on each pastry square. Your apple should fill all eight pieces. Fold in the edges a bit to make a loose tart shell on each. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown. Let cool on the sheet.

Things I Love Today: Waxflower

Waxflower is under-appreciated as a common filler for rose bouquets. With bright pink blossoms and a light "daffodil" scent, these $3 flowers are a great value for spring on their own.

I replaced my tulips in the two low green vases with bright pink waxflower from Safeway over the last weekend. They're still going strong.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

To Do: Annie Hall

This is just right for Valentine's Day night: Annie Hall at the Red Vic on Haight. Cuddle up on the velvet couches and share organic popcorn in a wooden bowl. Showtimes are 7:15 and 9:15.

PS: Did you see Rob's sweet valentine note on the registry post? "Happy Valentine's Day. One complete china setting is on the way for you to enjoy. I have more love for you then imaginable. Love Rob" Not to brag, but he really is the BEST!

What to Wear: London

Dashing off on an international jaunt? How exciting! Here is Marla's request:
I have been reading your blog for a while now....and your "what to wears" are my favorite. I thought of you when my husband informed me of our upcoming trip. He has received an international assignment for work...2 years in London, and we are very excited. Our house hunting trip is in 2 weeks. I want to make the most of it as it is my first time in the city. I think it will be a pretty busy week...lots of time on the train, walking, a few meeting with schools, meeting work associates, dinners out, etc. I am hoping to put together a few outfits that I can mix & match...super versatile. The weather is likely to be cool & wet, and we will be out & about a lot. I am a stay-at-home mom of two, 5'7", size 6-8, with a wardrobe with some decent basics. I wouldn't mind picking up a few new things for the trip.
London is such a fun city for fashion. It's also pretty darn cold. Here's my recommendation:

Skirt - A little tweed mini is fun for winter with a pair of warm black tights. Better than pants on rainy days because you'll dry faster.
Turtleneck - A warm basic in black.
Flats - I took these with me to Paris. Super comfortable! You can hardly see the rubber soles when you wear them.
Jacket - A cropped white peacoat will be warm enough when you're running around. Light enough that you can keep it on inside or wear it under a big wool coat.
Beanie - So helpful in keeping you warm and easy to toss in your bag.
Bag - Buy this at Topshop when you're there.
Dress - Great with a pair of tights and the jacket on top.
Jeans - Nothing is more versatile. This cute pair is on sale for $30.
Sweater - This seems really "London" to me.

Have fun exploring your new city!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope your Valentine's Day is full of small pink envelopes, dark chocolate, rose lotion, frilly underthings, candlelight and red tulips!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: The Matches

This is why I love blogging! One simple question and one instant, perfect answer.

These matches from Areo are exactly right for our wedding favors. And at $2.90 a piece, I've already put in my order. I'll either put a little note inside each box or maybe a ribbon with a "thank you" tag. That's one more thing off my wedding to-do list!

Wedding Wednesday: Favors

To me, a good wedding favor is something inexpensive and useful. Candy is good. I once got a cookie cutter, that was nice too.

Rob and I want to give boxes of matches at our wedding (not the small restaurant give-away kind, a lager box). Clever guests will know that it references Rob's fiery beach proposal. Everyone else should just be glad to have a pretty box to take home.

This site has good prices on small boxes and this site lets you choose the match color. It might be easier to buy matches at Costco and do the customization myself. The matches pictured are $12 a box from iomoi. Do you know of a good source?

Wedding Wednesday: Our Registry

Rob and I deliberated for a while about our registry. In the end, we decided to keep it simple. Instead of registering at a couple different stores, we went with Gump's only. And instead of a bunch of appliances and everyday things we already have, we asked for a nice set of china and sterling flatware.

The process of registering was fun. A fancy Gump's employee followed us around with a clipboard while we selected what we wanted. And they gave me a white journal to take home. I have a feeling our total registry was a bit smaller than most of the super-richies that register there, but it works for our small wedding and I already have a lot of inherited silver.

Since our items are more expensive than the average Bed, Bath and Beyond registry, we broke up most sets to be sold as individual pieces. There are a lot of things on our list in the $40 to $80 range. Some people may end up giving us a single fork for the wedding, but it will be a fork that we'll cherish. I hate it when you feel that your wedding gift is just going to be returned for cash.

Here's what is on our list:
  • 12 5-piece settings of Royal Limoges porcelain in Reve Bleu (dishwasher and microwave safe!). I recently discovered that this company is famous for making hotel china in France since 1797, so it should be durable.
  • 12 Reve Bleu soup/pasta bowls
  • 1 large Reve Bleu platter
  • 10 5-piece settings of Lunt sterling tableware in the Homes pattern, sold as individual pieces. It is a sweet, early American design.
  • 2 6-piece sets of Dubost enamel-handle steak knives
  • 1 adorable oval pewter bread basket
  • 2 over-the-top silver candelabras that come apart to make three different candlestick options
I did the math, expecting it to be outrageous, but the total registry averages out to $100 a guest...not too far from reality.

Restaurant Review: Lulu

Wedding Wednesday is going to get a late start today. I'm still emerging from a food overdose after a business dinner last night at Lulu on Folsom Street. The food there is seriously good and we ordered way too much. Between seven people we ate:
  • Beet salad
  • Goat cheese, bacon and leek quiche*
  • Duck rillettes with cherries
  • Green salad with an excellent vinaigrette
  • Portobello mushroom beignets, two orders*
  • Rabbit with white beans
  • Pork loin with olive oil mashed potatoes*
  • Rosemary roast chicken with lettuce potato salad
  • Quail with quince relish and spicy kale*
  • Short ribs
  • Wood fired pizza with housemade pepperoni
  • Roast carrots, brussels sprouts, squash and kale
  • Myer lemon cake with pear ice cream*
  • Creme caramel with grapefruit and pistachio
  • Warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream
Everything was served family style and the starred dishes were my favorites. Amazingly, we finished off almost every order completely. It's not every night that you eat pork, chicken, beef, rabbit, duck and quail in one sitting!