Friday, May 30, 2008

Coveted: Barney's Dress

This dress from Barney's is half off and still $329. But so, so pretty and absolutely the perfect thing to wear to weddings this summer. This is the sort of dress that you can wear anywhere. Available in US sizes 6, 8 and 10.

Urban Girl Almanac: Shades of Gray

Only 30 hours until the Black and White Ball. I went to hair salon last night. Rob picked up his tux today. I'm so excited! Here's what I learned this week:
  • I'm happy with my new blue jacket.
  • You can bike Manhattan in 32 miles and 4 hours.
  • I love how comfortable my own bed is after a long weekend away.
  • I have a weird obsession with white rice lately. I wonder if it means something is missing from my diet?
  • Yellow and black doesn't always look like this.
  • Blogs: Aiding in international relations and lingerie smuggling since 2000.
  • The LOST finale was pretty sweet. More questions!
  • Keeping up with the Kardashian's should be sponsored by the eyeliner industry.
  • A big box of greasy Chinese food is a good way to kill the start of a cold.
  • I'm glad I caught up on my thank you notes.
  • I heart Etsy.
  • This short week threw me off schedule.
Friends have invited us over for dinner tonight. I need to shop for false eyelashes and other goodies tomorrow along with making my "fascinator." Sunday will be busy with apartment hunting with a friend. Have a great weekend!

Things I Love Today: Everyday Dishes

My parents gave me two sets of this Williams-Sonoma Everyday Restaurant Dinnerware for Christmas the year I moved into my first apartment. What a great buy!

For $180 you get 12 place settings of indestructible white china. Literally, I haven't chipped a single piece in 5 years. The classic cup and saucer is my favorite.

Inspired: DVF for Fall

It is nice and foggy this morning. I love these cozy, drizzly mornings in the city. They make me think about fall, my favorite season.

Looking ahead, I'd love to debut as married woman in San Francisco with this look from the DVF fall collection. Love the skinny belt and bracelet over gloves.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To Do: Mountain Play

Rob and I are going to the Marin Mountain Play with a bunch of friends on June 7th. This theater group has been putting on outdoor performances on Mt. Tamalpais since 1913.

A nice big blanket and a deluxe picnic outdoors sounds perfect! And apparently you can put your gear on the shuttle and choose to hike back down 7 miles to Mill Valley after the show.

Things I Love Today: Custom Pocket Mirrors

This is a fun and affordable party favor idea: pocket mirrors! For under $20 you can order 10 custom mirrors from the WistfulSupplies Etsy shop. I always find myself needing a mirror, especially since our car doesn't have one on the passenger side visor.

Since you get to design them yourself, the possibilities are endless. It would be cute to use an old wedding photo for a relative's big anniversary party or a design that subtly matches your invitations. Or, you can order pre-designed mirrors from Pink Loves Brown.

Project: French Lingerie

Are any of you readers maybe in France right now or planning to go this summer? If so, I have a job for you. I want to get some more pieces from my favorite brand, Darjeeling.

I know my sizes. I'll pay well for the task. Anyone up for a little lingerie smuggling? Send me an email! Done. You guys move fast!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: Vintage

When I get stressed about wedding planning, it helps to look at old wedding photos online. Flickr has almost 500 photos in the Vintage Wedding pool.

The couples are so cute and I think the simple weddings help to keep things in perspective.

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Party

Time to redo the bridal party mock-up with the new bridesmaid dresses. And possibly suits! The rental place where we ordered Rob's tux for the Ball seems much nicer than most. They rent black suits too, which might be an affordable and easy way to get the men dressed.

I was worried about the mix being too "bumble bee" though. Maybe gray ties would help? Let's look:

That's pretty sharp actually! I found a couple examples of this color combo online that look okay too.

Wedding Wednesday: Samantha Who

Christina Applegate is adorable on Samantha Who. Her white dress, blonde curl, urban style would be perfect for a downtown cocktail reception wedding.

I'm using her as inspiration for my own ongoing second-dress hunt.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sale Alert: Brooklyn Industries

The printed blouse I wore rowing on Monday is from our shopping trip the previous day. It's the Adrias Blouse from Brooklyn Industries on sale for $48, plus 15% off online or 30% in the store through tonight.

I don't know why the top looks quite so lumpy on the model, it is very cute in person. A light cotton and silk fabric with a fun pattern. Rope details at the neck and wrists. Ideal paired with white denim for a boating trip in Jackie O style.

I also picked up this blue jacket in the sale and Rob came away with some fun long sleeved shirts.

Weekend Round-Up: Manhattan Triathalon

This weekend in New York completely rocked! I had such a good time. I can't believe how much we did in just a few days. You can see all the photos online here.

Rob and I landed at 10:30 on Thursday night. We met up with the woman delivering us apartment keys, grabbed some snacks from the neighborhood market and called it a night. Ugg...flying stinks.

A quick note about the apartment: One of our business acquaintances rents this two story pied-a-tier when he's not in Phoenix or San Francisco. The location is two blocks off Central Park and right around the corner from Barney's...super swank. Straight out the Royal Tannenbaums/Everyone Says I Love You/Cosby Show. Two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a galley kitchen, pink walls, the works. Like something out of a movie set, it was unreal.

Friday morning, I was up pretty early for my business meetings in the morning. Great crabcake sandwich for lunch at Sidecar @ P.J. Clarks. After I was finished, I met up with Rob who had walked 9 miles around the city. When changing at the apartment we realized the Met was open until 9pm and dashed over around 4. We just wandered around this huge museum, getting lost and finding hidden treasures.

After seeing nearly every wing of the met and hitting the sale in the gift shop, we wandered around 3rd Avenue and went for dinner at Le Steak. Fantastic waiter, steaks, bottle of wine and dessert. On the way back home, we stopped in at a deli to buy breakfast supplies for the next day.

Up way too early the next morning for the first leg of the Manhattan Tri, hangover be dammed. We taxied crosstown to pick up our tandem bike rental at Bike & Roll. The bike was way rickety, a spring loaded cruiser from the 80's. Nothing like our speedy road tandem back at home. Armed with only a tiny map, we headed toward downtown.

Apparently, Manhattan has invested a lot in developing Greenway paths around the city. I think we were one of the few people who knew about them. We got a lot of questions from curious natives about our plan to bike the entire island. I'll do a separate post all about our 32 mile bike adventure around the city. Needless to say, it was crazy and completely awesome. When we returned the bike, the employees at the shop could hardly believe our 4 hour bike feat.

Back home around 3:30 to nap, take a hot whirlpool bath and recover. At 7:30, we walked down to 2nd Avenue for an Italian dinner at a place called Meditereneo. Tasty D-lite frozen yogurt for dessert on the way back home.

A quick note about New York: The city is sparkling clean these days and there doesn't appear to be any crime. This likely has to do with the fact that there are police everywhere. I probably see 4 police officers a week in San Francisco. In New York, we saw 200 in a single day. Totally nuts.

Sunday morning, we grabbed coffee and a paper and headed to a shady spot in Central park for breakfast. It was nice to stretch out a bit.

It was getting pretty warm, so I changed into a dress at home and we set out for the second leg of the Tri: epic walking. Rob and I walked down Madison Avenue to Madison Square and then Union Square. Quick shopping at ABC Carpet and Home and a sporting goods store and then onward to Washington Square.

Amazing cheap lunch of Kosher Hummus and dolmas at Hummus Place. After lunch, we walked around the village and did some shopping. Great sale finds at Darling and Brooklyn Industries. Our final total when we got back to the apartment was 12 miles!

After resting at home, we went out looking for a place to have a light dinner. The neighborhood was pretty empty at 8:30 and we ducked into a place called 212. I love how they seat couples side by side instead of across the table in New York; romantic and all the better for people watching. This restaurant was full of classic New Yorkers: a posh family straight out of Gossip Girl, an ancient dapper gentleman, two overly coiffed was perfect.

And the food! Amazing. We started with two salads (thai steak for Rob and warm goat cheese for me) followed with a black truffle pizza that blew my mind. A dessert sampler of nutella crepes, mini donuts and a molten ganache cake. We had such a great time at this restaurant; we lived it up!

Monday morning: there was some time before our 4:45 flight back home and so we went for the third stage in the Manhattan Tri. Rowing! Over to the lake in central park to rent a rowboat for an hour. So fun!

We had a light lunch at the Boathouse. Walked back to the apartment, packed up and said goodbye to our temporary high-society lives on the upper east side.

So, to round up the rules of the Manhattan Tri: start with a 32-mile bike ride around Manhattan. Follow that with 12 miles of walking inside the city. Finish with an hour of rowing in central park. Who's up for the challenge?!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

See ya!

We're off to New York tomorrow morning for Memorial Day weekend.

I have a day of business meetings planned for Friday. On Saturday, Rob has arranged for an epic bike ride around the island of Manhattan. It's a glorious harebrained scheme! Maybe to the Met on Sunday, we'll see.

Have a great weekend!

Wedding Wednesday: Band

I'm happy about the vintage wedding band I found. It goes really well with my big ring, which is is also silver with diamonds and gold on the band. I don't think I'll usually wear them both at the same time, but I could.

I know it isn't traditional to buy your own wedding ring, but I like that I picked it out myself. Seems balanced to have one ring from Rob and one of my own. Now we just need to find Rob's band and it's one more thing checked off the list.

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Party Gifts

Now that I saved approximately $480 on bridesmaid dresses, I feel like I can splurge on bridal party gifts. The hard part will be picking what to give. Should I go for an "heirloom" piece or something fun and functional? Here are some ideas I looked at while brainstorming:

1. Picture Frame- This would be cute for a wedding photo after.
2. Vase - This curvy Aalto vase is a modern classic.
3. Gold Bangle - This is the sort of thing I would wear all the time. My current favorite.
4. Perfume Bottle - Delicate and super girly. The Conran Shop has a couple different styles.
5. Cashmere Throw - Yeah, I would love to have this too.
6. Pearl Studs - A classic from Macy's.
7. Sun Jar - It's a nice sentiment.
8. Cheese Set - Mmm...fancy cheese. They also have this Fabergé pattern in a cake set and salad tongs.

I've never been a bridesmaid, so I'm not sure if these are appropriate. At the last wedding we photographed all 6 bridesmaids got 60" strands of pearls, way beyond my budget. What presents have you received for being a bridesmaid?

Wedding Wednesday: Cake Topper

I'm excited that my sister is making me a cake topper! Before she offered, I was just going to use fresh flowers. There are so many terrible cake toppers out there.

The only lovely one I've found is this paper version from MissAvocado via Etsy (They're named Esther and Edwin!). I like that it isn't a knick-knack. You could press it in your wedding album after.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Things I Love Today: Summer Linens

What is it about the start of summer that inspires nostalgic feelings? Nostalgia for things that never even happened. For rhubarb pies you didn't bake, swimming holes that didn't exist and garden parties you never attended. I blame it on the Country Time Lemonade commercials.

That ambiguous nostalgia combined with the fact that I reached a milestone at the gym last night (10d!) has me shopping online for a treat. I think three sets of these napkins from Anthropology might satisfy both cravings.

Recipe: Baby Artichokes

Yum. You can buy a big box of these tender little baby artichokes for only $2.50 at Trader Joe's right now. They range in size from a golf ball to a pool cue. Rob and I ate them last night with a quick dinner in between the gym and the laundromat. This isn't much of a recipe, just some tips:

Baby Artichokes

Boil an ample pot of water with a lemon cut in two and a splash of olive oil. Cut the artichoke stems down and chop off the top 1/2 inch from the top if desired. Add the artichokes. Cook for about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size.

While the artichokes cook, make your dips. I like either a balsamic vinaigrette or the "aioli" a a friend introduced to the family. It consists of good quality mayonnaise mixed with soy sauce. Sounds weird, I know, but it is tasty. You can also make a quick traditional aioli with mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and truffle oil.

Drain the artichokes and serve with your dip. Because these artichokes are so small, you can eat most of the small leaves and the heart directly. No need to spoon out the center.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Things I Love Today: Nordstrom Rack

Every time I go to Nordstrom's Rack, I leave vowing never to shop anywhere else again. I've found my favorite DVF dress there, my favorite red flats and my favorite pair of CoH jeans.

Today was no exception. I went at lunch with Rob to get socks and left with a great pair of comfy muted gold peep toe pumps for the ball. We also got a pair of Reefs and a hat for Rob and Neutrogena Helioplex UVA sunblock. Love it!

Weekend Round-Up: When the Fog Comes Rolling In

(Arg...forgot my camera again. Photos are coming soon)

Thank heavens the heat wave finally broke this weekend. I've never been so happy to see San Francisco's thick fog!

On Friday, it was still blazing when we went to the gym after work. Bikram bouldering! Back at home, a cool ocean breeze was finally picking up. We had a light dinner and called it a night.

I slept in on Saturday and stayed in my nightgown most of the morning. Rob picked up the photos from the wedding in early May and we sorted through a bit. At 11:00, we went for a ride on the tandem bike. To SOMA for a bike shop errand. Then along the embarcadero and through the madness of the Oyster Festival at Fort Mason for a lunch picnic at the Palace of Fine Arts lagoon. There were a few happy law school graduates taking photos in their caps and gowns by the water. From there, we biked up to Union Street to pick up my wedding band and then, tortuously, over the Pac Height hills and Alamo square hills to get back home.

Quick showers and into the car to drive to San Jose. Rob's sister and nephews were at the convention center for a chess tournament. We watched the awards ceremony and had pizza in their hotel room. The littlest one is so big! At 8:00, we drove back up North picking up Margaret along the way. To bed early.

Up at 6:30 the next morning to prep for Bay to Breakers. Nicole has arrived late in the night to join us. With very little planning, we dressed up in party hats I had in the closet and tied helium balloons to our backpacks. The weather was ideal, brisk and sunny until Golden Gate Park. We walked all 7+ miles in exactly 3 hours. I love the community spirit and quirkiness of this event. In one block, you'll see babies, eighty year olds, nudists, runners, frat boys, hippies, etc.

An hour long N-Judah train ride back to the neighborhood. A greasy spoon lunch at It's Tops. Back home at 1:30, we put on a movie but everyone fell asleep for a long nap within minutes.

We watched the rest of There Will be Blood in the afternoon and finished sorting the wedding photos. Nicole left for Napa. Margaret stayed and helped me cook a delish dinner of tuna steaks, rice and asparagus. We turned in early and, despite the long naps, slept like babies.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Urban Girl Almanac: Too Darn Hot

This heatwave has me walking slower, taking it easy and getting less done. I feel like I'm going to start talking with a southern drawl if it keeps up. Nothing like the frenetic pace that normally comes with our brisk NorCal weather. Here's what I learned this week:
  • Lead climbing at the gym is much more tiring than regular climbing.
  • Flower arranging with a bunch of women is so fun.
  • Pesto pasta always seems to smell better than it tastes.
  • I only have three good outfits for when it is warm.
  • There's been a produce explosion this week. All the sudden there are delicious tomatoes, artichokes, strawberries and corn. I can't wait for the stone fruit to arrive.
  • Regardless of your feelings for the yellow dress, you have to admit it looks pretty darn cute on my sister.
  • Seriously, if this heat continues I might take to sleeping on the fire escape like that couple in Rear Window.
  • Why is it that the one thing you want to wear is always the one thing you can't find in your closet or laundry hamper? Which comes first: the wanting or the missing?
  • There was a huge street party in the Castro last night to celebrate. We could hear the cheering from home, seven blocks away.
  • I think the weather beat me again today. My wide belt seemed like a good idea, but became an instrument of torture once it was over 80 degrees at my desk.
  • LOST! I'm sad that I'm going to miss the finale next week when flying to NY.
  • I want to go to the movies tonight for the free AC.
  • This week's San Francisco art is from Chantal deFelice via Etsy.
Bay to Breakers is this Sunday! I'll be there loaded up with sunblock and Gatorade. Have a great weekend.

Things I Love Today: Wicker Glassware

I recently stumbled across the exact same wicker-covered pitcher that I bought in Napa last year. I love the thick recycled glass and the pattern. It has a sturdiness that goes well with a batch of minty iced tea or a bouquet of flowers. I could really go for a glass of that tea with lots of ice in one of the matching glasses.

PS: Here are the rest of the photos from our LAC flower arranging party this week.

What to Wear: Beat the Heat

Listen up may have won yesterday (and a tiny bit today when I was walking to work with no shade) but you're going down. I'm dressed to beat the heat in a white pencil skirt, wide belt, a black tee and purple flats and I have Brett Dennen on my ipod. I'm staying composed. I will not melt.

Here's an outfit I used as inspiration last night when forming my game plan:

Dress - Pretty in red and white from BCBG, and on sale too!
Sweater - It's nice to have a little coverage, even if it is blazing hot. This short sleeved number is great for summer.
Belt - Adds a little polish to the combo.
Flats - With a pretty ruffle on the toe.
Clutch - A big heavy bag is the last thing you want on a hot day.
Sunglasses - A must have.

I feel cooler just thinking about this outfit.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Heat Wave

This heat wave has turned me into a melted mess. It rarely gets this hot in this city with no air conditioning. My hair is a wreck, I need a shower and my makeup wore off at 9am. How does the rest of the country survive summer?! Fall is so much better.

All I know is that I'm eating a pint of honey ice cream and fresh white corn for dinner and that this is making me really happy. Go marriage!

Ladies Activity Club: May Flowers

(Note: I forgot my camera at home in the bike-madness. This photo is from Steph and I'll upload the rest tonight.)

We had the May LAC party at my apartment on Tuesday. Pepper and Tracy hosted, so I got to kick back and enjoy! Our activity was May Day flower arrangements, the small bouquets that hang from a door knob to celebrate spring.

The girls provided felt, ribbon, twine, cans, jars, wire and a glue gun along with a huge container of renunculas, tulips, freesias, gerber daisies, mums and more from the flower market. It was fun to see to everyone's creativity and perspective. Each arrangement was so unique.

I made two small arrangements each with a different colored felt flower and bow. I took one of my arrangements to work and I've been enjoying the doorknob bouquets at home. I think I'll keep the vases around to make small arrangements when we have company or weekend guests. They're instantly festive.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To Do: Bike to Work Day

Today is Bike to Work day in San Francisco and the weather is cooperating perfectly. It's unseasonably hot, ideal for taking the tandem out for a spin.

For the special event, the Bicycle Coalition hosts energizer stations around the city where you can get free snacks (first nectarine of the summer!) and totes on your way to and from work. Plus, our office is hosting a special biker's-only lunch at noon. And then on the way home, there's a party at the Rickshaw with valet bike parking. Don't forget your helmet!

Wedding Wednesday: To Do List

There isn't that much more to do on my wedding planning checklist! The last couple months have been so productive. Here's what I still have ahead:
  • Finish, print and mail the invitations
  • Work with Tracy to finish my wedding dress.
  • Order cheesecakes from New York.
  • Suits!
  • Pick out clothes for the ring bearers.
  • Book someone to do my hair.
  • Make birdseed tossers.
  • Write our ceremony and vows.
  • Buy bridal party gifts.
  • Send invitations for the rehearsal dinner.
  • Showers and bachelorette party.
  • Make the photo "booth."
  • Buy a wreath.
  • Finalize the show participants.
  • Buy red wine and champagne.
  • Decide on/make seating cards.
  • Help people book hotels.
  • Finalize our menu and pay the caterer 50%.
  • Get our marriage license.
I'm not that stressed right now about the wedding. Mostly I feel good about how the engagement photos came out and am throwing my credit card at the rest. I think the stress comes in waves ;)

Wedding Wednesday: Guest Book

I love when two wedding dilemmas have one answer! What to do with the gorgeous engagement pictures Paul took? What to do about a guest book for the wedding?

Voila! Make a photo guest book at Meg gets credit for turning me on to this idea!

For about $25, you can make a lovely hardback book with your photos and pages for guests to sign. The design software is super easy to use and there are fun layouts to choose from. Our book is mostly full page shots, with a couple of these quartets thrown in.

When I told someone about this idea, they asked "but what if they mess with the photos, draw mustaches on you and the like?" My answer is: that would be even more memorable.

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Dresses

Margaret found these lovely silk/cotton dresses at her shop in Burlingame. They're the nicest color with a universally flattering fit, satin lining, delicate buttons up the back and fabric covered beads in the front. And at $40 a pop with her discount, I get to treat my bridesmaids to their dresses.

The brand is Esley and they also come in ivory and kelly green. I couldn't find them online though.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What a Wonderful Town!

You can tell just how big a geek I am when I burst into musical numbers before traveling. For last November's Paris trip, I had Bonjour Paris stuck in my head for a month. Now, a trip to New York has me singing New York, New York...which really can't be done without some wild arm gestures.

Rob and I are going to NY for Memorial Day weekend, staying at the palatial apartment of a wealthy business acquaintance while he's out of town. This our first vacation there since moving to San Francisco and I think it will be so different. The photo is from a trip a few years ago where we spent a whole day in Central Park.

I've done most of the tourist stops before, so this will be more relaxed. I'm thinking ABC Carpet and Home, shop for suits, the Staten Island Ferry and maybe the Met. Any other must-see recommendations?

Bargain: Basketweave Wallet

I bought this simple green wallet at Forever 21 a few weeks ago as waiting-in-line impulse purchase. It's really grown on me and now my friend is buying one for herself. So fun for summer.

The color is a little brighter in person, almost a Kate Spade green. It's not metallic like the blurb says. Inside, there's space for cash, a coin pocket and card slots. Works as a clutch too and only $10!

If you want the same wallet in a different style, they also have navy anchors, red hearts and patent white/yellow.

Things I Love Today: Miracle Cream

I'm on day three of a new skin care boot camp. San Francisco's cold, sunny, and windy weather has been doing a number on my face. My skin is naturally dry anyway, and super parched after walking a few miles outside each day. Plus, I've had a huge teenage style pimple on my chin. Blurg.

Out with the super thick Lancome sunblock, the irritating cold cream and the too-harsh Purity cleanser. In with a new regime based around Kiehl's ultra facial cream.

This super moisturizer was developed for mountaineers in Greenland and uses plant extracts from Antarctica/Australian desert to keep your face hydrated all day. I love the marketing pitch and it is amazing so far; really light and durable. And not crazy expensive either.

I'm also testing out the Kiehl's milk cleanser and their toner. I haven't used toner since junior high. Apparently, you should apply it in the morning because it helps your skin absorb moisturizer. Who knew?

So far, so good. My face is actually hydrated for more than a few seconds and there's no sign of a breakout. Keep your finger's crossed!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bargain: Embroidered Top

I picked up a Mexican-inspired top similar to this at Forever 21 over the weekend. I added it to my "dowry" stash of clothes that I'm saving for the honeymoon. I thought it would be the perfect thing for posing along route 66 landmarks such as the Wigwam Motel.

If you don't want to wait until September, you can get this fun top from Delias for $34 anytime.

To Do: Red Cross

The earthquake updates out of China are devastating. As a San Franciscan, earthquake news always hits home but this one is especially close to my heart.

Sichuan Province is the hardest hit by the 7.9 quake. Rob and I stayed there for a couple weeks a few years ago and were blown away by the kindness, sincerity and humor of the residents. Sichuan has a reputation for "spicy food, spicy people." The epicenter in Wenchuan is home to the panda reserve, another beautiful place. I hope the buddha in Leshan is safe.

With the situation in Burma, the tornadoes in the south and now this, I'm making a big donation to the Red Cross today and checking on my emergency supplies. Maybe you will, too.

Weekend Round-Up: Friends, Friends & More Friends

We've been so busy lately! Summer in the city can be a wild blur sometimes. I didn't eat a single meal at home all weekend.

On Friday, Jill & Peter picked us at work and we drove over to the Giants game. This was the start of Peter's big birthday weekend. Garlic fries, hot dogs, cheering, speed pitching and bundling up to stay warm. Our team lost but it was still a lot of fun. Back home around 11:30 and straight to sleep.

Up pretty early the next morning. Rob went off with Peter for some mountain biking. Nicole arrived at 10 with two cases of wine for the wedding. We made a trip to the post office to mail my final ebay items and then took the bus to Union Street for some shopping. Cute sweaters from Ambiance, a nice lunch at Pasta Pomodoro and an impromptu wedding band shopping trip.

I found a gorgeous little gold band with five tiny diamonds set in platinum that matches my ring and was only $290. My parents were married at a church just a block away from this estate jeweler and had a house a few blocks the other direction, so it is a little sentimental.

From there, we took the 45 bus downtown. A quick stop at Neiman Marcus, Forever 21 and Icebee for frozen yogurt. Back at home around 5:00, a bit of rest with a bottle of the wedding wine to test out. Margaret came over at 8:00. After dressing up and we walked over to grab pizza in the mission. We then spent a fun couple hours at Bruno's before cabbing it back home around 11:00, snacks and then to sleep in our respective beds and sleeping pads.

Rob left early the next morning for paintball with Peter in Vacaville. Margaret left early to get to work in Burlingame. Nicole and I slept in and then walked over to Cafe du Soleil for breakfast at a sidewalk table. A little relaxing and picking up at home before I had Nicole drop me off in the Richmond. I met my friend Sarah (I warned you that there were a lot of friends in this recap!) for lunch at a dim sum restaurant. We got a table pretty fast considering it was mother's day. Dumplings and pork buns galore!

Back at home at 3:00, I cleaned up some more while waiting for Rob to get back from paintball. When he got back, I drove down to Burlingame to see Margaret at her work. She had a great set of yellow silk dresses that are perfect for my bridesmaids. And only $40 each even thought they look much more expensive. I called a quick bmaid teleconference and bought a full set! Another thing checked off the list. They look great next to the lace dress.

Dinner at Steelhead Brewing Company in Burlingame and then back home to San Francisco. I made Rob a big salad for dinner and prepared for the week ahead.

Whew! I'm tired just writing about this weekend. How did I fit all that into just two days?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sale Alert: Jessica McClintock Outlet

If you're in the market for a dress for the Black & White Ball, a wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses, a prom dress or a flower girl dress you should pencil in a quick stop at San Francisco's Jessica McClintock Outlet in the design district.

Yes, 85% of the dresses are terrible. But the remaining 15% are hugely on sale and some are quite nice. My cousin found her wedding dress there. One of my coworkers just picked up a really nice ivory gown for the B&W Ball for a whopping $34. All dresses are currently 50% off the sale price and all wedding dresses are $75. Sizes above 6 will have the best selection. They also have gloves, jewelry and veils for next to nothing.

What to Wear: Giants Game

We have tickets to the Giants game tonight with friends. Mmm...Garlic fries and microbrew.

Of course, a night game in San Francisco is a recipe for freezing your tail off. Here's an outfit for an evening at AT&T park:

Down Jacket - A puffy is a must.
Turtleneck - I love a good black turtleneck.
Jeans - I have a new favorite wide leg pair from an inexpensive company called Just US.
Boots - Flat boots with summery skirts have been all over the city lately.
Throw - Our blanket isn't cashmere, but it is Giants orange.
Beanie - Warm!
Gloves - I have a long leather pair I've been dying to wear since I got them at Club Monaco on super sale.

Go Giants!

Things I Love Today: Granita Knob

One of these days, I'm going to get around to replacing all the plain plastic knobs on our wall-o-cabinets in the kitchen. I need 13 in total...which would be $78 if I got the Granita Knobs from Anthropologie. Or $104 if I went with the Portugal Knob that I like even better and kind of matches our china.

That's almost reasonable for a spring kitchen makeover.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mother's Day Gift Idea

I found the perfect Mother's Day gift earlier this week. I can't share, though (hi mom!). If you're still looking, I ran across a resource for flower deliver with a nice twist. has a wide variety of organic flowers and plants for delivery. And they have 45 bouquets to choose from that come paired with a charitable donation.

You can pick stargazer lilies for the Nature Conservancy, irises for Oceana or pink roses for the Global Fund for Women. It's a fun way to make a flower delivery extra special and the prices aren't much higher than traditional florists.

What to Wear: Black and White Ball

The Black & White Ball is only a few weeks away. I've got to start thinking about what I'm going to wear.

I found a dress a few weeks ago at a vintage store on Haight for $40. It's from a small dress house circa late 1970's. An ivory crochet sleeveless sheath with a small collar. It reminded me of a gorgeous Alexander McQueen gown I tore out of Vogue back in 2006. Very loosely associated with that gown to say the least...

Pulling this dress off is going to be a coup. I'm going to have to find the exact right accessories:

Shoes - This going to be the hardest part. I'll need something comfortable with a low heel that doesn't clash.
Hairpiece - I just so happen to have a stock of ostrich feathers and others at home right now to make my own hairpiece. I'll use this "fascinator" (awesome!) from the UK as inspiration.
Clutch - I have a couple at home that could work.
Bracelets - I need something bold...not sure if it should be black, peals, gold? I'll have to see it with the dress.
Make-up - Very shimmery, emphasis on the eyes not lips. Black eyeliner and false lashes, I like the half ones.

I wonder if I could bleach the dress to make it more white and less ivory...any tips?

PS: If you live in the Bay Area, you have to go to this party! It's expensive, but should be so fun. Here's a crazy video from one of the balls in the 1980's.

Recipe: Soy Glazed Tilapia

Tilapia is supposed to be one of the best eco-fish to eat. So, I picked a package of tilapia "loins" at Trader Joe's this week. Loins? Last time I checked, tilapia didn't have legs...but let's move on.

The fish can have a muddy taste, so it helps to go a little heavy on the spices. Here's a quick recipe I threw together with things from the fridge:

Soy Glazed Tilapia

2 tilapia loins
White or brown rice for two
1/4 cup of Nigori sake
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Teaspoon of garlic
1 small lime
Dash of dried ginger
Couple drops of hot chili oil
Sprinkle of Emeril's Asian spice mix

Thaw the tilapia and start the rice. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the sake, soy sauce, garlic, lime, ginger and hot chili oil in a small dish. In a small pan, top the tilapia with the sauce mix and turn over a couple times to coat. Sprinkle with the spice mix on top, mostly for color. You can use pepper and other spices instead if you'd like. Bake for about 15 minutes. Serve over the rice with the excess sauce.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tag Sale: Clearance Ends Tonight

Reminder: The EmilyStyle Clearance Sale ends in a couple hours (approximately 9:00 PST). Be sure to get your bids in! Lots of great Theory pieces for work and a fun Shoshana cocktail dress. There's nothing over $30!

Wedding Wednesday: Jewels on a Budget

I'm lucky to have an heirloom necklace to wear at the wedding. It's a small gold basket with pearl and diamond flowers. You can sort of see it in this photo from my cousin's wedding.

If you don't have an heirloom or a couple extra thousand dollars lying around, don't fret. You can create your own heirloom without going completely broke thanks to a lovely costume jewelry maker in the UK named Andrew Prince (his bio is fun).

His specialty is finely crafted crystal jewelry that proves you don't need diamonds to look like a million dollars. Not exactly cheap, but splurge worthy for sure. The bandeau tiaras would be great as an alternative to a veil.

Wedding Wednesday: Second Dress

My great-grandmother's lace wedding dress is too delicate to last the whole evening. Especially, with all the festivities we have planned! So I need to find something fun and bridal to change into after dinner. Here are some contender:

1. Maggy London - I'm not sure that I have the curves for this dress, but I love the soft shell color. $178.
2. ABS - This is darling and super "wedding." ABS waists tend to hit too high on my waist, though.
3. BCBG - I'm not looking for something full length or strapless, however this is a steal at $318 for all that satin. There's a shorter version in champagne for $280 that is not as nice.
4. Graham & Spencer - I like the lace detail on this sheath, but it looks too casual and nightgowny. $196.
5. Ralph Lauren - That's a seriously full skirt! If I could get away with it without feeling like a 10 year old, it could be a good option. $220.

The hunt continues!

Wedding Wednesday: Lessons Learned

Last weekend Rob and I photographed a very fancy wedding. A bridal party of 14. Designer gowns. Vintage Rolls Royce. Private club. Sit-down dinner. Sterling silver. Event planner. Calligraphy. Etc. It was amazing.

While my own wedding budget is nowhere near their stratospheric range, I think I can glean a couple of ideas:

  • Floral crowns with ribbons are adorable for the flower girls.
  • Detailed timeline distributed to everyone. It's a pain, and people will joke about it but it helps.
  • Deliver short notes to your officiant (without sharing) about why you love each other to be read at the ceremony. It is less cheesy that tearfully reading them yourselves.
  • Think about scenes with good lighting when you can. Soft backlighting is flattering and makes for great photos.
  • If you skip the boutonnieres for the men, no one will notice.
  • Calligraphy for the seating cards - while tremendously expensive - does make a really nice touch.
  • Lots of votive candles on each table.
  • A good live band is pretty awesome.
  • A giant rectangular table for your bridal party at the reception (I think it sat 30) is more fun than a small table for just two people.
  • Keep the action going. This couple spread out toasts and dancing evenly throughout the reception.
  • Grand exit! Always leave on a high note.
  • Have fun...this couple really enjoyed their wedding.
  • Have just one gardenia for your hair, they brown quickly.
  • Sweet peas, peonies, tulips, pansies and snowballs are lovely but don't hold up well in bouquets.
  • Open bar...really, people tend to go nuts. From all our wedding experiences, I think just wine and beer is the best balance.
  • Avoid putting all the troublemakers at one table in the center of the room. "Table 10!" became a battle cry.
  • It's okay to feed your vendors separately...but plain noodles in butter while everyone else is eating filet mignon? Jeeze!
  • Bridesmaids in long strapless gowns will undoubtedly spend the night tripping on seams and tugging at the tops.