Thursday, July 31, 2008

What to Wear: Gray and Cranberry

Inspired by my trip to the 1930's medical office, I've been trying to dress up for work a bit more. It's hard in a city where a pair of jeans are considered above par. The weather is warm enough to wear a dress outside today, perfect for a little early fall color:

Dress - Mine is a wrap with a bit more swing from Ted Baker on sale. I like the vintage the neckline on this approximation for $160.
Shoes - I had a boss once who wore red shoes every single day because "who could have a bad day while wearing red shoes?" Isn't that fun?
Glasses - Faux frames from Urban Outfitters.
Bag - Also from Urban Outfitters.

Things I Love Today: CB2 Pillow

CB2 has opened a store in downtown San Francisco today. I should check it out this weekend in person!

This adorable yellow pillow embroidered with a bird design might be enough lure me in with the crowds.

Party Recipe: Shower

Enough wedding planning for now, I've got a party to throw this weekend! I printed and sent the invitations for this shower at the start of July. We're on for 6 people. Small enough that I think we'll eat at the table instead of a buffet.

I love the ideas that I came up with back in June, I just need to flush them out.

Food - Homemade tomato soup can be made the night before. Pair cups of that with three kinds of small sandwiches: smoked salmon wasabi, baked cheese and mini BLT's. Make a veggie platter to go along. Buy supplies, dessert and flowers at the Ferry Building farmer's market the day of the party. Get supplies for serving midori sours and cold white wine.

Decorations - White tablecloth, green napkins, red bows, green carabiner favors. I need to iron and polish silver on Friday night. Hang red balloons on the chandelier? Turn the extra printed materials into a menu and placecards. Buy a gardenia corsage downtown on Saturday for Leslie to wear.

Activity - After lunch, we'll do one round of pub quiz and then open presents. Follow that with another round of pub quiz and announcing the winner. Have the guests sign the menu and give it to Leslie. I embroidered some dish towels last weekend to go along with my gift.

I'm going to be a busy bee this weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: Yellow Inspiration

Reader Anne sent me links to this lovely yellow wedding earlier in the week. It is a primo example of how well yellow can work as an accent color when combined with a neutral, natural palate.

Via Style Me Pretty: I, II and III.

Wedding Wednesday: Second Dress

Frustratingly, my search for a second wedding outfit continues. I found a dress similar to this from Ted Baker but I'm not that fond of it. For $350, it just doesn't quite suit my fancy.

I have it as a backup, but I'm going to do a mega shopping trip this weekend to see if I might be able to find a dress (or trousers) I like better.

Something with a little more classic style and structure. Without rosettes, bowls, rouching, bubble hems or other trendy bits. Something more like this (only in size 12), this (love it, but no longer available in white), this (why so shiny?).

Wedding Wednesday: Programs

Wedding programs: I've usually found them to be a toss piece. Something that I pay little attention to at weddings. But they could be nice, I suppose. I hadn't planned on making them for our event.

But then Jordan offered to do another letterpress run if I changed my mind. And that's an offer too good to pass up. Maybe something a little unorthodox? A schedule of the day combined with a menu and note about the show? For inspiration, I love the poster program that a blogger from Create my Event designed.

Maybe I could do something similar in a three fold about 6" square? I just made a little post-it note prototype and I think it could work.

Wedding Wednesday: 52 Days to Go

It's getting close now! The invitations have all been sent and we've received our first two RSVP cards back in the mail. Time to revisit the old wedding to-do list:
  • Have Rob's suit tailored
  • Finish my wedding dress
  • Make birdseed tossers
  • Design and print programs?
  • Attend my shower and bachelorette party in August
  • Write the ceremony
  • Create a detailed schedule for the weekend
  • Find a new venue for our rehearsal dinner in Marin
  • Have my hair test in late August
  • Put together a folder of all my contracts and contacts
  • Order the cheesecakes. They won't let me until just a few weeks before the wedding
  • Buy a wreath
  • Plan the photo station
  • Confirm the show participants
  • Consider a day-of-coordinator? I don't think I need one, but I also don't want people yelling at me on the big day. The initial estimates I've seen for this online are $1,000 to $3,000 My friend Jill (who is always super organized) offer to do it!
  • Buy wine and champagne
  • Buy new make-up
Rob's away for a friend's bachelor party this weekend. Aside from the shower I'm throwing on Saturday afternoon, I plan to get a lot of this organization done over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inspired: Vintage Medical

I had a ENT appointment today in one of those classic Beaux Arts 1930's buildings downtown (resulting in excavating what appeared to be a milk-dud from my ear; completely disturbing but I feel better).

Taking appointments in these architectural relics is one of the better perks of living in the city. The Medico-Dental building on Post has a mission style lobby, five brass elevators, halls full of office doors that should belong to Guy Noir, even a brass mail chute. You expect to hear the sound of typewriters and see doctors smoking around every corner. There's a similar medical building that I've been to on Sutter.

I wish I had worn a trim wool suit and heels instead of jeans!

Things I Love Today: Orikaso Dinnerware

Rob deserves all the credit for this one! Orikaso dinnerware is made of flat pieces of thin plastic that fold into cups, bowls, platters and more. We took our set with us last weekend.

The origami dishes are great for camping and very elegantly designed. The best part is that you can unfold them before washing for easy clean-up. Keep them in mind as a perfect gift for an outdoorsy and/or design-minded dad, brother, husband, or nephew in your life.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recipe: Backpacking Food

We ate very well this weekend! Rob and I don't normally excel at packing food for camping trips. We're prone to not liking what we've brought and going for pizza instead. Having to carry everything we wanted in for four miles made us focus and plan our meals. If you're going backpacking soon, here are two easy recipes to bring along:

Rob's Backpacking Pancakes
Krusteaz oat bran cinnamon pancake mix (my new favorite!)
Freeze-dried Crunchies blueberries
Mix the pancake batter with water and blueberries. Wait 10 minutes for the mixture to expand and turn purple from the berries. Serve hot off the pan dipped in maple syrup.

Emily's Smoked Salmon Pasta
Foil package of smoked salmon
Farfalle (bowtie) noodles
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, olive oil and paprika
Cook the noodles and drain. Mix the smoked salmon into the noodles with olive oil and spices. Put back on the heat until everything is well mixed and hot. Pour into bowls and top with the Parmesan cheese.

We also took freeze dried mango, salt and pepper rice crackers, sport beans, tortilla soup, chocolate chip cookies and saturn nectarines. Yum! Do you have a favorite backpacking recipe?

Weekend Round-Up: Backpacking

Backpacking this weekend was a fun adventure! You can see all the photos from our trip here. Rob and I left the city at 5:30, with the sun shining and Neil Diamond (my latest obsession) blaring.

Rob and I made it to Olema around 6:30 and stopped for dinner at the Farmhouse. As with all of California, it was loaded with European families on holiday. I sincerely doubt that there is anyone left in France this summer. At 8:00, we were all loaded up and on the Bear Valley Trail. I'm so excited in this photo.

That excitement didn't last very long once it got dark, about a half hour into the hike. I have a fairly well documented aversion to hiking at night. There was an incident in Costa Rica involving a dark country road, poisonous frogs and capri pants. I don't even particularly like walking in my own apartment in the dark.

This night hike was no exception. I tried my best to stay brave...even in the face of two incidents where my headlamp spotted glowing eyes (two deer and then one raccoon or bobcat) staring at me from the bushes. Four miles later, we arrived at Glen Camp unscathed and set up for the night.

The next morning, we awoke to a bright and sunny day...not what we expected from this normally foggy area. Our campsite was very nice. We were under the shade of a big oak tree next to a bubbling creek. Rob made coffee and delicious blueberry pancakes for our breakfast.

After our start, we decided to hike to the beach, about a 6 mile trek round-trip. We saw so much flora and fauna on this hike, including: rabbits, red tailed hawks, lizards, a million variations of finches, seals, squirrels and chipmunks. At Wildcat Beach, we snacked and walked down to Alemere Falls. The hike back to camp was a little strenuous and hot but alleviated a bit by finding wild blackberries.

Lunch and a nap at the campsite. A herd of probably 100 quail live in the camp, complete with a "preschool" of 30 chicks and 4 minders. Fun to watch! We went for another hike around 5pm, this time up the hill to Fir Top, about three miles. All these trails are so lush, covered in four foot ferns and lots of wildflowers. By now, Rob and I were both getting very sore legs. Back at camp, we played cards and made dinner of smoked salmon pasta. Yum! We turned in to read once it got dark.

Sunday morning, we slept in despite the best efforts of a few naughty blue jays. The whole camp had become soaked with fog overnight. This is the weather you would expect for Point Reyes. More coffee and more excellent pancakes (I'll share our recipes later).

We packed up our camp and headed out around 10:00. Really sore by this point, but the lovely sights along the trail during daylight kept me going. The hike ends with you popping out of the dark woods into a lovely California scene. Rob was excited to be done:

We drove back to the city and hit a wall of fog in Sausalito. We carried our gear inside, had hot showers and got pizza delivery from down the street to recover. Laundry, grocery shopping, dishes and other chores before turning into our soft bed at 10:30 pm.

Overall, our first backpacking trip was a big success. Point Reyes was as fine as ever (I'm always surprised that more people from San Francisco don't go up there), our campsite was ideal and our packs weren't too heavy. We did about 20 miles of hiking in all and were even a little "homesick" for our camp.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Urban Girl Almanac: Countdown

Only a few more hours before we hit the trails! Our rucksacks are packed and our meals planned out. I can't wait to get a little fresh air. Here's what I learned this week:
  • Stuffing and addressing our wedding invites was no big deal. It was nothing compared to our annual 100+ Christmas cards.
  • I was on cable TV again this week for work. It gets easier each time.
  • Shoes, glorious shoes!
  • I love making mix tapes.
  • Is it just me, or does Cat Deeley appear to be the nicest person in the universe?
  • Mmmm, white nectarines.
  • This shirt from Alloy arrived and is adorable.
  • Rob has had such a good time shopping for our trip this weekend.
  • I don't feel that stressed about the wedding, but I apparently am. I have heartburn and a pimple you could see from space.
  • All those Europeans waving American flags choked me up a little last night.
  • I know nothing about backpacking.
  • This week's San Francisco art is from WineCountryPainter on Etsy.
Have a great weekend! I'll have a full report of our weekend outdoors adventure on Monday.

Inspired: Toast

If I lived in the UK, I would be broke thanks to this company. Toast is an anthropologie-esque shop that sells organic cotton wares and other environmentally sensitive goods. They're all about simplicity, very in line with my project. Their catalogs, the camping photos in particular, are so inspiring.

Here are a couple of my favorites: handbag, sri lanken throw, tins, bowls, lanterns and pjs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What to Wear: Frenchie

It's a bright and sunny day in the city. I walked to work this morning with my iPod on Brett Dennen and a bag of stamped wedding invitations ready to go out in the mail. I love having a little French flair from my new striped tee:

Sweater - Mine is from Kenzie and is a softer moss color.
Tee - From H&M, not available online. White with thin black stripes.
Skirt - A basic black pencil skirt.
Wedges - The only way to do "heels" and still be able to walk to work. My pair are olive green from Kenneth Cole Reaction.
Bag - From Urban Outfitters.
Sunglasses - My new pair makes me feel so tough.

All I need is a beret and a tiny poodle!

To Do: Backpack Point Reyes

Rob and I are going backpacking this weekend at Point Reyes. Just the two of us four miles out in the Marin wilderness. Rob's adorably consumed with making me pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning. He's bought two kinds of batter mixes, a special pan and freeze dried blueberries just for the task.

I've never backpacked before, but walking three miles a day while carrying groceries and gym gear is probably sufficient training. It should be a nice way to unplug from the wedding planning for a few days. I'm looking forward to drinking some pine needle tea and playing cards.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Gifts

For my bridal party gifts, I had each each bridesmaid pick out their own custom clutch from Red Ruby Rose via Etsy. There are so many lovely fabrics and colors to choose from!

They've picked the starburst petals, blueprint and peony designs that should arrive in a few weeks. I'll fill each bag with a few other goodies I've found. Together with the ivory pashminas from H&M, this is another thing checked off the to-do list!

Wedding Wednesday: Something Blue

I discovered over the weekend that ivory and white shoes look terrible matched with my pale skin. Unless I'm going for the corpse bride look, I'd do much better with a dash of gold or a bright color on my wedding day.

Margaret and I both fell in love with all the adorable blue shoes on the market:

Spade - With a little bit of rhinestone for extra sparkle.
J.Crew - Blue with a touch of black.
Louboutin - Painfully expensive at $784...but, my oh velvet and tiny little disco balls...that's just mean.
Manolo - Complete with their own lace.
Jacobs - This shoe means serious business. Sequins and a bow, that's amazing.
David - Demure and seemingly comfortable.

My latest plan is to see if I can fancy-up a pair of muted gold peep-toes I bought for the Black and White Ball but never wore. With a few little feathers or something special on the toe, they'd work perfectly.

Wedding Wednesday: Blue Skies

Well done, commenting public! You far surpassed my expectations with your nice notes. The number I had picked was 11, the number of letters in the volunteer's name. Since there were so many of you, I've expanded it to three winners. Congratulations to:
  • Logan
  • Gracie 73 (Your cheeseburger festival story is too bizarre)
  • Ecru (the last comment I saw this morning)
Send me an email with your shipping details and your special present will be off in the mail shortly. I feel so much better already! And the weather is cooperating too. It's a perfect 70 degrees and sunny today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stress and How it Can Benefit You

One of the best things I've learned from wedding planning is the power of fighting stress or disappointment with doing something nice for someone else.

Today, a minor incident has my blood pressure on the rise. The latest in the series of volunteers for the club emailed me about sending the final paperwork. During this, I mentioned that we're set to bring in pizza on Friday for a casual "rehearsal dinner" that will include the show participants seeing the stage, etc.

The original volunteer was the one who proposed this...ever since, each time I mention it to the latest volunteer they say that it can't possibly happen and my head explodes. Once I explain it, they're on board...until the next volunteer comes around. It happened again today and has me explaining, stressing and thinking of contingency plans all over again. Barf.

So, a random act of kindness is needed. I've picked a number, the person who is that number in the comments will receive a special little gift from me. I'll make it custom to the recipient. Comment away!

Things I Love Today: BBC

One of our local PBS stations has recently gone all BBC, all the time. I'm loving catching up on old favorites and tuning in to new programs! Have you seen these?

Pride and Prejudice - Of course you've seen this! Who hasn't watched it at least 10 times, much to the chagrin of their boyfriends/fathers/husbands.
The Vicar of Dibley - I've only watched one episode but it was hilarious.
Doctor Who - The best of cheesy British sci-fi.
As Time Goes By - I love this show! Judi Dench is a comedic genius.
Secrets of the Sexes - Very interesting. All about how men and women are different, what factors are important in attraction.
Doc Martin - Another one I've only caught once but liked.

What to Wear: The Coldest Winter

The old adage "the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco" is in full effect this week. It is a blazing 54 degrees outside, overcast and drizzly. I'm tempted to unpack my fall tweeds and wools, or just to stay in bed under the down comforter with a cup of tea addressing wedding invitations. In the meantime, I'm dreaming of warm layers for this indian winter:

Turtleneck - Warm and goes with everything. Mine from H&M cost significantly less than $300.
Sweater - Completely ridiculous; what rational person would buy a third of a cableknit sweater? It is so adorable and soft in person though.
Belt - Worn low over the hips.
Jeans - I have a new wide leg, trouser pair being tailored for me at Saks.
Flats - My current stash is starting to get a little worn, time for a trip to Nordstrom rack to stock up.
Pashmina - My current best friend.
Bag - On sale from Kenneth Cole.
Glasses - To keep the mist out of your eyes.

Stay warm out there San Francisco!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Inspired: te casan

I may not have found any shoes right for my wedding dress on Sunday, but I did find some designer lovelies. My favorite discovery was te casan at Loehmann's.

You can't go wrong with a purple pom-pom or a little yellow suede. The prices at the discount shoe store were a little easier to manage, too.

Weekend Round-Up: All On My Own

Another weekend as a single gal...this time because Rob was off on his bachelor party. I'm starting to get used to a lazy weekend by myself.

On Friday, I took the bus downtown after work to meet Nicole. We shopped like mad-women, trying to find my second dress for the wedding. At one point, crashing a fun party at Saks complete with wine, appetizers and free candles. I found a couple options - one dress that was adorable, but $1,500 on sale. Finally, at Ted Baker, we found something that would work.

Now 9:30, we had dinner at Straits in the Westfield. I helped Nicole find the bus stop for her ride back home and took the subways back myself to crash into bed.

Slept in on Saturday morning, had coffee and toast with honey and gave myself a facial. I had planned to work on the wedding all weekend, but found myself without a computer and unplugged from all my spreadsheets. At noon, I dressed up and ran errands in the neighborhood. I was so excited to eat at home that I bought a big bag of produce from the market. Lunch of a massive salad with beets, carrots. I worked that afternoon on a secret project for the wedding, ran some more errands, made chocolate chip cookies. Another giant dinner that evening: an artichoke, broccoli rigatoni and a really good nectarine. I turned it fairly early (with a stomachache from overdoing it with the veggies) after setting out bedding for friends to arrive late in the night.

Up at 8:00 the next morning to have tea and cookies while catching up with Margaret and her friend. We lazed about for the morning, doing our make-up and picking the perfect outfits. I discovered a new favorite snack (pictured) of bread, homemade butter, salt, pepper and fresh basil. At 11:00, Margaret and I went downtown to shoe shop for the wedding. It was freezing cold and overcast. We hit Nordstrom, Loehman's, Bloomingdale's, even Barney's with no luck. At H&M, I picked up pashminas for the bridesmaids and a few little things for myself. Lunch at the Soup Company in the Westfield.

Back at home for cookies and tea again. Rob arrived back shortly thereafter and we watched Army of Darkness together. Margaret left after the movie and we had a light dinner. I gave Rob a quick haircut before Tracy arrived at 9:00 for a dress fitting. This was the first fitting with the actual silk, it is so beautiful! To bed shortly after, we both slept like babies.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Urban Girl Almanac: I Love the Internet

The cold, clear ocean air has fully returned to the city and washed away the last bits of smoke. I was savoring it at lunch. There's nothing like the brisk air in San Francisco. Here's what I learned this week:
  • Another week where I didn't eat at home even once. I'm turning into the cautionary tale about why you shouldn't feed the pigeons: they'll stop being able to feed themselves and develop a taste for "city food." What will I do without a free martini and business dinner to sustain me this weekend?
  • Michel Gondry wants to be my friend.
  • A crisply made bed helps you sleep better.
  • Small Pox...not good.
  • Earaches...also not good. But easily recovered from with a combination of a hot compress, allergy medicine and rest.
  • Mandoline everything.
  • Jessica had to drop out of SYTYCD because of an injury? Kherington was voted off? I miss one week and it all goes to heck?
  • I'll still watch when I can though, largely because Cat Deeley is fun and has a crooked nose like mine.
  • I ♥ the internet. I'm frequently blown away by the kindness of my readers and fellow bloggers.
  • This week's art, a reproduction of the seagull signs that dot the city, is from Wexfordgirl on Etsy.
Rob's off for his bachelor party this weekend. The boys are camping and doing the Downieville Downhill on bikes. Another weekend alone in the city. I have my stacks of wedding invitations to keep me company, thank you cards to write and plans to spend time with some friends.

A l'été de la Saint-Martin '68

A little French weirdness is always appreciated on a Friday morning. I'm hooked on this song after receiving it with the latest Paste CD of world music. Oh, and this song too which is something of a guilty pleasure.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ladies Activity Club: Cooking Lesson

Last Tuesday's LAC party was another fantastic event! Normally our summers are pretty slow, but we've had good attendance so far thanks to our hostesses coming up with special events.

For the July party, Rebecca invited 16 of us to her apartment for a cooking party. We started by decorating our own white apron with iron on letters and buttons.

When the chef from Aqua arrived, we switched gears, divided into teams and launched full bore into appetizer creations. Our four recipes were: crab and cucumber, tomato and watermelon tartar, lobster en croute and pomme maxine with caviar and crème fraîche.

Everything was delicious and not all that hard. Here are the tricks I learned:
  • Get a mandoline and use it for everything. We wrapped crab mixture in thin cucumber strips and sliced potato rounds for the pomme maxine. The best use was to slice a frozen baguette into thin strips.
  • Arrange said bread strips in the shape of a plus and fill them with something delicious (ours were full of diced lobster, taragon and nufatchel cheese), fold it over into a little packet, top with melted butter and bake. The final result is the best. thing. ever.
  • Hardboiled egg (which I just started eating last weekend) is a good way to add umami to a dish.
  • Quality ingredients let you cheat. You don't have to spend hours slaving away on an appetizer, just use a small amount of crab or lobster in a simple way.
So fun! I learned a ton at this party. The pressure is on for the anniversary party I'll host in August.

What to Wear: Sundress

Ignoring the fact that it is currently 55 degrees outside in foggy San Francisco for a moment, let's think of warmer days. I bought this sundress at Old Navy last weekend for my honeymoon collection. I don't normally wear this sort of thing, so I'm planning ahead.

Dress - So cute for only $24!
Hat - I have zero tolerance for the sun.
Sandal - I love the look of these on other people, not sure how they do on my twiggy pale legs.
Sunglasses - My latest aviator acquisition.

Will I fit right in in Santa Fe? Will I automatically insist on carrying a cardigan with me everywhere just in case the "fog rolls in."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: Limonata

Loren emailed me last night about the Ladies Activity Club. While checking out her site, this yellow-accented wedding at the Shakespeare Garden in San Francisco caught my eye.

I love the use of Limonata at this event. It is one of my favorite drinks and something that goes well with our colors! I'll see if I can hunt down a couple cases of the glass bottles. This would be a fun parting refreshment at the end of the night.

Wedding Wednesday: Road Trip

The fact that I'm planning for a 100 person wedding and a three week vacation just hit me last weekend. That's a long time away from home! Time to start thinking about the essentials we need to take along:

Tent - We'll be camping on and off between fancy hotels. Rob bought a new tent that is light and airy for the hot places we're staying.

Camping basics - Rob is in charge of bringing the stove, pots, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacks, lanterns, headlamps and mini cooler.

Art supplies - I need a new journal for trip, watercolors, colored pencils, glue sticks and good paper.

Clothes - My "dowry" is shaping up nicely. I have a new sundress, two shirts, a linen jacket, a sun hat and all the new lingerie from France. I could use some new light tops and sandals.

Technology - We have a new tiny laptop that will come with us. The proper maps need to be loaded on the GPS. I'll bring my digital camera and the new mini tripod Jean gave us.

Entertainment - A pack of cards, some books on tape and a ukulele. I need buy a new iPod to load up with songs for the car. A portable radio could be a fun thing to have too. Books about the American West.

Vintage - Since we're driving, I can take our vintage suitcases from the engagement shoot instead of my cruddy airline suitcase. I'd love to be able to do a full bed and canvas tent like in the photo but it isn't realistic. Instead, I'll be packing light and planning on buying loads of antiques and Native American art along the way.

Wedding Wednesday: The Invitations

I'm so pleased with the finished wedding invitations! They've progressed so far from the initial designs. The textures of the letterpress printing and the thick paper are so impressive in person. In all, the invitations do well in conveying the keywords for our event: elegant, relaxed, fun and classic.

A million thanks to Jordan and Paul for all their help with the typography and printing. Click on the images to take a closer look:

Some details for future reference:
  • The large envelope is the A7 luxe in cream from PaperSource.
  • The small envelope is 4 bar curry from PaperSource.
  • The liners were printed on Gocco and cut using these templates.
  • The flower and stage designs were re-purposed from Dover stock.
  • The letterpress was either blind emboss (no ink) or Pantone 546.
After putting everything together, the final invite weighs 1.1 ounces. Just barely over the limit. So I'll have three stamps on the front instead of two ($.41, $.17, and a $.01). The post office's online stamp store has been a real godsend throughout. They'll deliver as many as you want by Priority Mail for only $1. Once the invites are ready to go, I hope I can convince the woman at the post office who is a fan of my ring to hand cancel them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I woke up this morning with a whopping earache on my left side. I haven't had one of these in years. Every time I swallow or hiccup, the eardrum pops. Rob has branded it a case of the"owfudgies" since I've been saying "ow, fudge" each time it happens. A hot pad and some tylenol are my current best friends.

All this to say, I'm not feeling very well. I'll be back tomorrow with photos of my finished wedding invitations (yay!) and other details. And expect on Thursday a recap of tonight's Ladies Activity Club party where we'll be taught how to make fancy appetizers by a chef from Aqua.

To Do: Summer Reading

The heavy fog has returned to San Francisco today. It's the first black-turtleneck-day of the summer! Perfect for some cozy reading at home. My friend, Margaret, asked me to put together some book suggestions:

What I'm Reading:
Favorite Summer Standbys:
  • A Room With a View - Books about traveling are perfect for the summer. This is a classic to be followed with watching the Merchant Ivory film.
  • My Family and Other Animals - So adorable and funny. This book makes you want to pick up your bags and move to a pink cottage by the sea.
  • Out of Africa - One of my all time favorite books. This one makes you want to move to an African farm.
  • Pride and Prejudice - I caught an hour of the long BBC version on TV last night, including the pond scene. I need to re-read this again soon.
  • A Passage to India - I've had Indian food twice in three days, it might be time to give this another read too.
What are you reading right now?

Monday, July 14, 2008

To Do: Simplify

As promised, here's a photo of our cleaned out and fixed up bedroom. With my hectic schedule, I've managed to occasionally keep on task with the simplification project.

For this room, I took down the large framed art that was making it seem smaller, cleaned out the bedside drawers, cleaned out the closet, cleaned out the armoire (not, obviously, the left side that is stuffed with blankets that you can see peeking out), eradicated a herd of dust bunnies, had it painted, switched all the bed linens and put out flowers.

I forgot to take a before, but here is a during shot with all the furniture moved. It's a little boring right now, but very relaxing. Next, I want to rehang some art in different places and find some new linens.

Inspired: Michel Gondry

It seems that people either loved Be Kind Rewind, or hated it. I'm solidly in the love column and all due to the genius of Michel Gondry. He's the same crafty director from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep.

In BKR, Gondry introduces the concept of "sweding": remaking something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on.

They do this with Ghostbusters, etc. But the best is a documentary about Fats Waller with cardboard cars, a upright bass made of tires, kids with musical note hats dancing in front of a blank stave, a crazy organ using heating vent pipes. Brilliant things! And all made with real locals from the New Jersey town. I wish I could find a clip online to show you just how amazing it is.

And it runs in the family, his brother "Twist" is also a producer and has made a lot of interesting commercials you would recognize. What did they feed these kids growing up!?

So, a note to Michel Gondry: you are invited to my wedding. I can't even guess what you could do with some construction paper and ribbon for our variety show. Please email me and I'll send you our invitation.

Weekend Round-Up: Mixed Bouquet

This was a good weekend! Full of lots of creativity, friends and food. And with warm weather too, what more can you ask for?

On Friday, Rob and I went to the climbing gym after work with a friend from the office. I'm trying to move up a grade, so I spent most of the time falling. After climbing, we satiated our appetites with a huge dinner at Pakwan. This inexpensive India/Pakistani is a neighborhood favorite. Loads of curry, naan, lentils, samosas and chicken.

At home, we quickly dropped off our bags and took the subway downtown. A quick visit to Paul and Jordan's to pick up the printed wedding invitations (the look so good!) and to the Parc 55 hotel to drop off some tourist information for friends visiting from LA.

On Saturday morning, I got up fairly early to prepare for the flower arranging class Nicole and I had registered for. We took the subway downtown and rushed over to the class at 10:00. It was really fun. We learned to make a tulip bouquet, wired corsages, a giant hand wired flower, and a calla lily arrangement.

Loaded down with flowers, Nicole and I took the train back home to drop off our creations and then back downtown to do some shopping. I bought a new pair of aviators at Kenneth Cole, a pair of flats on sale at Nine West, some basics at Old Navy and two pairs of nice linen pants at Club Monaco.

Nicole left at 5:30 and I launched in to the envelope liners for the response cards. At 8:30, we dressed up and walked down to the Mission for a fancy dinner with our friends visiting from Los Angeles. We went a little nuts at Foreign Cinema; ordering two bottles of wine and four courses. We walked back home for a nightcap and then hailed them a taxi around 1:30. I stayed up until 2:30 watching a PBS special on Lucille Ball and didn't get to bed until three (I think my coffee after dinner wasn't decaf).

We slept in on Sunday morning and had a leisurely breakfast. At 11:00, we drove to REI, SportsMart and Sports Basement to shop for honeymoon gear. They were having a neighborhood block party at Sports Basement, complete with hot dogs, a beer garden and a fencing exhibit. Fun!

Back at home, we started four loads of laundry and I went to work on printing the liners for the large envelopes. Another 100 sheets of paper through the Gocco machine. Margaret came over at 5:30 and we ate tacos and watermelon while watching Be Kind Rewind (Loved it!).

After the movie ended, we watched Japanese TV for a while. Our new favorite is something that must be called "Cream Puff Robot Show" about a girl who lives in Tokyo, works for a pastry conglomerate, has a good recipe for cream puffs, is courted by multiple beaus and lives with a terminator-style Robot whom she teaches about life. There are no subtitles, but you don't need to understand what they're saying to get the awesomeness of this show.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What to Wear: Hazy Days

The heat wave and the haze have left San Francisco feeling more like LA. It's not necessarily a bad thing (I like the warmer evenings) but the whole city does appear to be having wardrobe issues. I ran out of good hot-weather outfits yesterday. Time to do a closet reorg and find some new combinations.

Here's what I want to wear to work next week:

Shirt - Alloy is really turning up the cute right now.
Skirt - A classic navy pencil skirt in tropical wool on sale at Bloomingdale's.
Shoes - Orthopedically adorable? I like the retro flair, even so.
Belt - From Forever 21.
Bag - From Forever 21 as well.
Sunglasses - Ditto.

Recipe: Swan House Curry Chicken Salad

I dug up the recipe for that amazing curry chicken salad that Kate served at my shower on Monday . It's from the Swan House in Atlanta (ignore the photo on that page, it looks like the photo to the left but even better).

The water chestnuts make it especially good. Kate recommends adding peanuts and making it a day ahead to let the curry settle.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Inspired: Jane Hammond

The de Young is currently running an exhibit of Jane Hammond's paper compositions. They're very clever; a balance of cultures and whimsey. Its the sort of show that makes you want to go home and play with construction paper and glue.

My favorite was this print called "My Heavens!" In detail, you see imaginary constellations of lobsters, ballerinas, gymnasts mapped out on a deep blue background. It's stunning in person. You can get a sense of it by clicking on "prints" on her site and then zooming all the way in.

To Do: Shower Invitations

I'm happy with the way my shower invitations turned out last night. Random weeknight craft projects are fun!

I made the design using a stock illustration of the San Francisco skyline and a Futura font for the text. Then printed it in black and white, made a photocopy on the old carbon machine they thankfully still have at Safeway and created a Gocco screen. The final result was ten invitations and a bunch of extra materials that I can use for placecards and a menu card.

I liked the design so much that I covered the red lettering and ran an extra six to serve as notecards. I'm going to offer them to my friend Nicole to use as moving announcements.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wedding Wednesday: Little Details

With 73 days left until the wedding, most of the major jobs are finished and I can focus on the smaller things. I'm looking for your input:

What small detail have you appreciated at a wedding?

I'm not talking about "I'll have my wedding planner bake vegan brownies in the shape of my initials to put in the guest's custom embroidered tote bags" details...but small, inexpensive details that you noticed and liked at events you attended.