Friday, February 26, 2010

What to Wear: Boots

Jill wrote in with a cross-country request:
I think you might be exactly the person who can help me out of my current dilemma. We recently moved across country and somewhere along the way the moving company lost a box of my shoes, including ALL of my boots. I'm sure you can imagine my horror when I unpacked the last box and my boots were nowhere to be found. Now I am sitting smack in the middle of an ice storm with absolutely nothing reasonable to wear. With your fashion sense and knowledge of online resources I'm hoping that you can offer some insider help and suggestions for replacements. My immediate need is two pairs of knee-high boots--one black and one brown--to wear with jeans and skirts and to get me through until Spring. Any suggestions?
I just so happen to have bought a pair of brown and a pair of black boots this year - just in time for a super cold winter in San Francisco. I love both pairs! It's a great time to buy boots on sale, even if yours haven't been lost by the movers:

Brown Boots - These flat brown boots are my go-to pair on the weekends. Super cozy, they work with skirts and leggings or with jeans tucked in. And they're on sale for only $99.
Black Boots - I could only find the dark gray version of these Dolce Vita boots online, which I actually like even more than the black pair I have (also available in a reddish brown). Stacked heel is comfortable and they're great for work or with skinny velvet pants tucked in for the evening.

Both are choices to help you get through the rest of winter.

By the way - I'm going to be away on a business trip next week, so posting is going to be light for a few days.

To Do: NERT Training

There's a party tonight for the 20th Anniversary of NERT. Rob and I were part of the historical committee, putting together a slide show and display.

And in honor of the anniversary, I'm finally registered for training. I'll be doing the 2-day intensive course on March 20 and 27th. Join me!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My House: Coffee Pot

This silver piece is one of my favorites. A coffee pot on a hinged stand inherited from my grandmother. You light a little oil lamp below to keep the coffee warm. Tilt the pot to pour straight into a cup.

It's a hit at brunch parties.

Movie: Holiday

Loved stumbling across this 1938 film. Cary Grant is young and dapper. Katharine Hepburn sassy and trim. This scene with the anti-stuffed shirt club hiding out from a fancy party is a classic.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To Do: Acme Bread

Acme's cranberry walnut whole wheat bread is a delight. Almost as thick as fruitcake with a nice crust, this bread is a great choice toasted with cream cheese and honey for breakfast or paired with goat cheese for lunch.

It is serious bread.

My House: Silver Ice Bucket

I started to photograph my silver collection, by request, but the rain cut the session off short. Oh well! I'll throw the photos up on the blog once in a while. I have far too much silver.

To start: a silver-plate ice bucket monogrammed with Rob's initials. I bought it for him for his 30th birthday, along with a good bit of climbing gear.

Purchased from the incomparable, greatly-missed Martha Stewart catalog.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Garden Roses

Not yet convinced they're the best thing ever? How about a few more glamor shots from the always amazing Housemartin. I'm going straight to the flower market this weekend.

Things I Love Today: Garden Roses

My spring fever continues, undaunted by the rain. This amazing shot of white garden roses by photographer Teri Lyn just kills me. So pretty and light.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things I Love Today: Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots are about a week away from completely bombarding Angel Island. There were the first signs of the blue and yellow flowers along the mossy hiking path.

So pretty: they remind me of Easter at my parent's house.

Weekend Round-Up: By Land and Sea

This weekend was just right - a little cold, but otherwise ideal. On Friday, Rob and I walked to the Ferry Building after work to pick up fresh bread from Acme, cheese from Cowgirl and an apply from the produce market. Lovely, clear night down by the water.

Fondue for dinner with the fresh bread, apple, broccoli and bell pepper. Rob went to volunteer with the Bike Coalition at nine and I caught up on Hulu and reading.

Relaxing breakfast of cranberry walnut bread with cream cheese and coffee the next morning. Rob and I bundled up and dashed out early to catch a ferry. Our old NERT group hosted a hike and picnic on Angel Island. Freezing cold, but with really amazing views of the bay and excellent company. The Chinese poems carved into the walls of the immigration station are always impressive.

Being a San Francisco picnic, we feasted on gourmet cheeses, olives, bread, hummus and candied ginger.

Back home by boat - the ferry made stops in Tiburon and Sausalito to pick up a surprising amount of tourists who had biked over the bridge in the cold. Back in the city at 5:00, Rob and I walked home from pier 41, rounding out our hike for the day to about 7 miles. Exhausted, we spent a quiet night at home with pork roast tacos.

The next morning, we woke to pouring rain outside. A lazy morning spent making cinnamon rolls and organizing the apartment. Before lunch we braved the rain for an adventure around the city. First stop: Nick's Crispy Tacos. Delicious fish taco for me, steak taco for Rob, chips and guacamole to share. From there, we drove out to the Legion of Honor to see the Cartier exhibit, the new porcelain room and the live chamber music in the Rodin hall.

Love that spring flower arrangement. A great respite from the rain! After the museum, we drove through the presidio to Sports Basement, to Past Perfect on Lombard, Safeway and then home. I planned a wall of photos for the den in between loads of laundy.

A few more errands in the evening. Dinner of big artichokes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What to Wear: Sunday at the Legion

Sunday at the Cartier exhibit? Sounds like a perfect recipe for a casual outfit combining a few spring trends and a few sparkles:

Sweater: A cashmere pullover on sale (but not much) from J. Crew.
Shirt: Basic white tee from Old Navy.
Jeans: My oldest, most worn pair from college works perfectly for the boyfriend jean trend this spring.
Necklace: Because you have to wear jewels to see jewels. This rhinestone piece provides plenty of sparkle for $7.
Shoes: Pewter flats with sequins are a good little nod to all the jewels.
Anorak: A hot item for spring in versatile olive.
Sunglasses: A classic pair of aviators.

To Do: Home Hacks

My brother-in-law is a blogger with Apartment Therapy's Re-Nest - a perfect match for his crafty, thrifty and clever nature.

Check out one his latest projects for a series called "home hacks" - he turned bottles and inexpensive vases into Jonathan Adler-inspired pieces with a little glue and paint.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To Do: Vintage Suitcases

Rob and I bought a stack of vintage suitcases for our engagement photos a few years ago. They made a reappearance at the wedding, holding postcards and a map of our honeymoon road trip.

And, although our apartment is still a work in progress, they're being put to good use as storage under the staircase - holding CD's and boardgames. Pretty good value for a under $20 each. You can find nice quality vintage suitcases in most antique stores for even less.

Recipe: Nachos with Kale

Kale's all the rage right now. Allow me to add one more to the recipe repertoire: nachos.

Chopped kale is a fantastic addition to black beans, chicken, salsa, green onions, pepitas and shredded cheese topping corn chips. The kale crunches up when baked and makes nachos - a favorite for using leftovers on weeknight dinners - seem almost healthy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

To Do: Think Pink

Normally a good black-and-gray urban dresser, spring always starts me day dreaming about stocking up on pale pinks.

This coat on sale from J.Crew would do quite nicely along with a light gray pencil, white blouse and brown boots.

To Do: Polish Silver

It was warm today and the sun was still out when I walked home at 6:00 - Spring! So much nicer than winter. I can feel the urge for a spruce-up already starting.

Last night, I polished a silver coffee pot, water pitcher, champagne bucket and two candelabras. Is there any chore more satisfying than polishing silver? A few pastel pink candles or these cake tapers would be a great match to the spotless silver and a few white blooms.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Party Recipe: Dirty Thirty

Margaret's 30th birthday party was a smash hit! A couple pretty simple ideas came together for a really fun day with the whole family:

Supplies: Disposable coveralls bought for a steal on Amazon. Sharpies to decorate the backs with mud & dirt themed nicknames. Everything is more fun in coveralls.

Guests: 14 of Margaret's friends and family, ranging from grandmother to nephew.

Facility: Everyone met at a cozy pub at 2:00 to get the coveralls decorated and a few pints in before the mystery "dirty" adventure. At 3:30, we walked over to a ceramic studio for a session with the clay. We rotated between lessons on the wheel and slab work with molds. Messy and fantastic! We made a ton of pieces and a couple locals are going to return to finish the glazing process in a few weeks.

Food: After the clay session, we drove over to Shane's house for a big BBQ. Chips and salsa, gourmet sausages, fancy salads and cakes from the Madonna Inn.

Weekend Round-Up: Muddy Buddy

Rob and I drove down to San Luis Obispo for the long weekend to spend some time with friends and family. We arrived late Friday night and spent the morning Saturday shopping for Margaret's big 30th birthday party. I'll go into the details in a separate post, but suffice to say, we spent the day with 14 people, jumpsuits and a whole lot of clay.

Sunday morning was spent lazily with the Times and big cups of coffee. Eventually, the nice day roused us. My mom had always wanted to hike to the top of Madonna Mountain, behind the house. It's about 5 miles and 1,200 small feat. Gorgeous warm day with lots of fresh spring greenery.

The three of us and the family dog made it to the top with amazing views of the ocean and the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo.

A relaxing afternoon at home followed by a big crab and artichoke dinner to celebrate Valentine's Day. The next morning, I organized a quick brunch meet-up with a few friends from high school at Big Sky. Liz, brought adorable baby Ethan along.

We walked around downtown for a while and then started to pack up. A quick trip to the local grocery store to stock up on chips, salsa and local wine. We hit the road and drove back to San Francisco, arriving home at 7:00.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Inspired: A Room with a View

Since this long Valentine's weekend is all about romance, let's kick it off with a scene from A Room with a View. One of my all time favorite movies. And this version with French subtitles, to boot.

To Do: Valentine's Day

Last night: pink champagne and baking sugar cookies with sprinkles. Margaret, who actually can bake, made a flourless chocolate cake at the same time.

I've always thought the best things about Valentine's Day are the glue, construction paper, sprinkle and glitter parts. A few red and pink crafts outweigh a dozen red roses any day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Report: Stanley

I'm currently reading Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer - a hand-me-down from Rob. It's a serious piece of research and a fascinating look at exploration in the days when you traveled with several hundred people for several years to make even one minor discovery.

Secret Fisherman's Wharf

There's a lot about Fisherman's Wharf that doesn't appeal. But back behind all the tourist shops and chain restaurants the real wharf is still an active place. Rob and I rode our bike through the docks and processing warehouses and stumbled across this little chapel, bells ringing (which apparently is quite rare).

The Fishermen's and Seamen's Memorial Chapel was built in the late 70's and the bell itself is from 1860.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Do: Felt wreaths

Here are instructions for the felt wreaths we made last night. It's an easy craft, but be prepared to have a LOT of felt on hand.

Ladies Activity Club: Valentine's Wreaths

We had our first LAC party of the year last night! It was great to get the ladies together again for some crafting and conversation.

Meredith hosted us to make felt valentine's day wreath's using styrofoam, scissors and hot glue guns. It was a surprisingly easy and fun activity.

Along with the craft project, we shared horseradish cheese, goat cheese, spinach money bags, lemonades and chocolates.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Coveted: Chrysanthemum Clutch

Between Lunar New Year and Run Don't Walk - I've been seeing giant, fluffy mums all over the place. This silk purse would be a perfect way to modernly channel the trend.

To Do: The Dolphin Club

Another little waterfront gem to add to my new "life aquatic!"

Since 1877, The Dolphin Club has been rowing and swimming in San Francisco Bay. The club is located right on Aquatic Park and offers rowboats, kayaks, swim programs, saunas, a weight room, lounges and a second facility at Lake Merced.

For $6.50 a day or $40 a month, you can drop in to use the facility.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Inspired: Walk Don't Run

I found this movie on Netflix and am now completely obsessed. It's a fun little romantic comedy set in Tokyo during the 1966 Olympics. Cary Grant is his debonair self. Samantha Eggar is adorable with her red hair. Jim Hutton is handsome and tall.

But the styling...oh, that's the best part! The sixties suits, hats and gloves. The perfectly appointed Japanese apartment. The modern architecture. The cars, the kids with bowl cuts, the all-women jazz band in pink dresses with beehives. It is just perfect!

Weekend Round-Up: Work and Play

This was a particularly packed and strange weekend. First off, a birthday celebration with darling Margaret after work! A huge group of friends and coworkers hit the town, first for wine and fancy pizza at Local and then to a dive bar called Beale Street Grill where we listened to bad karaoke and had too much fun.

At 10:30, Rob and I walked back home to prepare for some exciting last-minute guests. Rob's best-friend, Rich, his wife Molly (with #2 on the way) and two year old Richard! We stayed up past midnight catching up and building pillow forts with the kiddo. Up early the next morning thanks to the restless little one. I made egg tacos and coffee. Richard was enchanted by Rob's remote-controlled helicopter.

At 9:30, out friends hit the road to continue their road-trip and I left for a healthcare conference. A co-worker picked me up in the rain and we drove over to Berkeley feeling tired and unmotivated. But at the event, the speakers were great and the connections even better. We left feeling really rewarded for all our hard work these past few months...and exhausted!

Quiet night at home with Rob once I ditched the corporate gear. We caught up on 30 Rock and Lost, just relaxed and drank tea.

Gorgeous day the next morning - Rob and I cleaned house for a bit and then hopped on the bike - the first time since we moved thanks to all the illness and rainy weather in January. First stop, brunch at The Plant on pier 3. Eggs benedict, brioche french toast and Blue Bottle coffee. Then, a walk up pier 7 for a view of the city and boats on the bay.

From there, we rode the tandem down past Fisherman's Wharf to Aquatic Park and then to North Beach for a visit to Citizen Chain. Next stop, Chinatown - where I was pretty sure there was a flower and plant sale for Lunar New Year. Boy was I right! Thousands of people out on the streets buying moon cakes, firecrackers, chrysanthemums, bamboo, orchids, pomelo, ginseng, plum trees, cherry blossom branches and citrus trees.

Rob and I walked the whole festival and bought a few stems of "auspicious gladiolus" wrapped up in Chinese newspaper. I held the flowers with one hand and the handlebars with the other on the bike home.

The afternoon was spent organizing stacks of books, painting chairs and walking to the store for groceries. You can see more photos from the weekend here. I have a very, very busy week ahead. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 05, 2010

To Do: Get Rhythm

I am barely making it over the finish line of this extremely long week...and then I have to work tomorrow. A lot of lattes and some perky Gene Kelly are keeping me going.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What to Wear: Pink Dress

Brightly colored dresses can be a handful. The trick is to tone them down with neutrals when you're out during the day. In the evening, play them up with chunky jewelry. Here is Diana's request:

I just bought a dress and I have NO idea what to wear with it. At all. I'm open to almost anything but heels with too much height might be tough because I'll be sporting my 9 month old baby on the hip and don't want to be wobbly. It will be worn primarily to church.
The dress is more pink/rose than the picture shows and alone it's a bit too much.

Dress - A knit dress in orchid on sale at Nordstrom.
Jacket - A feminine little tweedy blazer is a great match with this dress or with jeans during the week.
Earrings - Green to compliment the purple and browns.
Purse - A classic satchel with room for baby gear is a steal for $15.
Shoes - Wine colored kitten heels with a bow.

To Do: The IT Crowd

I loved this BBC show and burned through it in record time. The IT Crowd is about two computer geeks and a female executive thrown together in a basement department of a big company. Classic British comedy, the only fault is that three seasons is way too short.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Recipe: Sausage Hash

Inspired by Lizzie, I made an enormous hash for dinner Tuesday. Nothing better than a hearty breakfast meal when you're hungry on a cold winter night. Pure decadence:

Sausage Hash with Fried Egg
Serves three

1 lb of tiny new potatoes
3 jalapeno chicken sausages, diced
1/4 onion, diced
3 eggs
6 slices of buttered sourdough baguette
Salted butter

Put on the potatoes to steam over boiling water in a covered pot for about 6 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. In the meantime, brown the sausage and onion in a large skillet pan. Drain the potatoes when cooked (fork tender) and cut into small pieces. Add the potatoes to the pan with the sausage and top with about 1/4 cup of water or broth, simmer.

While the potatoes and sausage are mingling, add the baguette slices to the oven on a baking sheet. Fry up three eggs in a small pan with a bit of butter - I prefer over hard. When the eggs are finished, the hash should have cooked down. Serve the hash topped with one egg and a bit of pepper in a bowl, toast on the side.

Recipe: Pollo Asado Salad

Yum, I put together two new favorite work-week recipes this week. Both are easy and delicious. Thank you Trader Joe's!

First up, a big salad that works for lunch or dinner. For two:

Pollo Asado Salad
1 bag mache (lamb's ear) lettuce
Two pieces of Trader Joe's pollo asado chicken
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 avocado
Crushed corn chips
Raw shelled sunflower seeds
Balsamic vinaigrette

Remove two big pieces of the chicken from the marinade package. Lay flat on a baking sheet and broil on high, turning once, until just cooked.

Cut the chicken into strips and let cool briefly (you can do this the night before if for lunch) while assembling the salad. Dress and then add the chips last. Devour!

There's something about the mache lettuce with the chicken and crunchy chips that is just perfect.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

To Do: Wood Comb

Simple wood combs are one of my favorite things. With my thin and curly hair, nothing works better to remove the tangle while keeping the curl.

Plus, they look pretty.

Listen: Matt the Electrician

This cover of Jessie's Girl by Matt the Electrician is about the best thing ever. I wish the video were higher quality! But you can preview a clip of the acoustic song on Amazon to get a sense of it.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Inspired: Liberty of London

My new shirtdress is made of Liberty of London's Poppy & Honesty design from 1932.

I found a photo of the dress, but the colors are off. This shirt is closer. Now I just need to wait for spring, and with it already being February...not much longer!

Weekend Round-Up: Girls and Boys

This weekend was certainly a mixed bag. It started Friday with an accidental party at our apartment. Rob and I were both out with our respective colleagues after work and decided to bring a few back to the apartment...which, through the magic of addition, turned into a rager with about 15 people. We drank, ate, sang karaoke in the unfinished den and generally caused mayhem until late.

Lazy morning the next day. Rob and I had coffee and cereal for breakfast, did some laundry and cleaned up from the party. At noon, I dressed up to meet Margaret at city hall for an early matinee. We picked up our Swan Lake tickets and had a snack in the basement of the Opera House before the show. Lots of great people watching with little girls in their best party dresses for the show. Four acts, two intermissions and two and a half hours of beautiful dancing.

After the show, I had just enough time to take the train home and change before Rob and I met up with some friends from work for the AMA Supercross race at the ballpark. Talk about shifting gears! We had great seats, about 10 rows back from one of the biggest jumps. And I have to admit - it was pretty fun to watch despite being a bit turned off by the stadium full of angry, punch-y, high-testosterone fans.

Another lazy morning the next day. Rob and I had toast, bacon and coffee for breakfast. Rob went for a bike ride and I walked down to Jeremy's for a little shopping. I found a floral print shirtdress from Theory and a ridiculous hat inspired by all the BBC I've been watching lately.

And I finally got a chance to see South Park - adorable! In the afternoon, Rob and I drove over to Russian Hill to see Paul Ferney's solo show at Studio Gallery. The event was packed and Paul had already sold quite a few pieces. Well done!

A big run to Trader Joe's after the gallery. Back at home, Rob and I had an enormous chicken taco dinner to cap the weekend.