Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To Do: Road Trip!

Rob and I are hitting the road for a long weekend. Off to Bishop, a tiny high-desert town on the east side of the sierras, for a friend's wedding. It's going to be snowy and romantic. Road trips always remind me of our honeymoon.

Back Monday!

Time for Spring Perfume

Spring for me comes in a few steps. The trees bloom, I swap out my tweeds for light sweaters, horrible March finally ends, Easter arrives and I switch perfumes. Arrivederci to the musky cedars and citruses of winter. Benvenuta to spring florals.

I'm currently mixing Jill Stuart's Night Blooming Lily or L'Occitane Rose with Chanel No. 5. What's your favorite girlie perfume for spring?

Monday, March 29, 2010

This is the Woman

French Connection is having a big sale right now - which, combined with their pretty adorable new black and white ads, was too tempting. I picked up a enormously cute high-waisted tweed pencil skirt with pockets and a button pleat for $60 that I can't wait to wear to work - it could easily pass for 1950's Givenchy. Unfortunately, no photo to be found online.

Weekend Round-Up: On the Water

A fairly relaxing weekend highlighted by gorgeous weather, who could ask for anything more?

On Friday, Rob and I met a bunch of friends at the end of our favorite pier for a birthday picnic. I brought horseradish cheese, crackers, olives, tiny truffled potatoes and peanut butter cookies to accompany a few beers and our bikes. A perfect day for relaxing along the water.

Margaret peeled off after the picnic and the rest of us continued on for the Critical Mass ride through the city. This ride was particularly civil, with the group of riders stopping at the lights. As always, I was massively impressed by the team of SFPD motorcycle officers who accompany the pack, keep us safe and seem to have a pretty good time of it as well. More snacks and drinks at the apartment after the ride.

A relaxing Saturday morning. Rob left early for a big Marin bike ride with a college friend. I went to work briefly and then met up with Margaret in the afternoon. It was such a nice day! We walked downtown and did a little shopping at Saks, saw the flowers at Macy's and hit up a major sale at French Connection. In the afternoon, we sat out in the sun at Yerba Buena Gardens with iced tea and got pedicures on Mission Street.

Back at home at 5:30, we met up with Rob and went for dinner at Gott's (former Taylor's Refresher) in the Ferry Building. Burgers and sweet potato fries.

Early start on Sunday morning, Rob and I had oatmeal and coffee before walking around the neighborhood for some errands. Back home a few miles later for lunch. At 1:30, we rented a kayak down at the marina and paddled back behind the ball park.

A great workout due to a strong tide and wind. Back home, I had a long bath with a DIY facial and cleaned house. My mother arrived to spend the night in the evening and we went out for dinner at Plant on the water.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Apartment Preview

The apartment isn't finished yet - there's still a nebulous pile of boxes that we call an office in the middle of the floor - but it is coming along.

This is a view from the bedroom upstairs down on the living room, dining room and patio. From a sunny day a few weekends ago. A big change from Rob riding his bike around the empty space back in January.

Ideas of March

March always seems more like a month that you survive than enjoy. For a variety of reasons, for a variety of people in my life, the last few weeks have been brutal.

Swim Until you Can't see Land
by Scottish band Frightened Rabbit is just the right song to shake off the last bit of winter and hopefully look toward a brighter April. Have a great last weekend of March.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To Do: Hostess Gift for Easter

Being invited for Easter brunch this year? Snap up a sweet hand embroidered rabbit tea towel on Etsy for your hostess along with a bundle of ranunculus.

To Do: Egg Decorations

I had a bunch of blown eggs leftover from the weekend and hosted an impromptu decorating party last night.

Sharpies and metallic pens apparently work quite well to decorate the eggs before dyeing. Add a bit of embroidery floss to hang and some picot edge ribbon on the sides...a quick and lovely craft project.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What to Wear: Oregon Date

I'm hoping you can help me get a wardrobe together for a weekend in rural Oregon at the beginning of April. I'm on my way to meet (for the first time!) a potential romantic interest. We have a mutual friend who connected us, and we've been e-mailing since September '09 and talking on the phone since January '10. We've seen pictures of each other on Facebook, but I'm still hoping to make a striking impression.

Our activities will include touring vineyards, hanging out, etc. He is a winemaker, so he definitely doesn't "dress up." I'm a girl who wears mostly dresses. I'm curvy, with big breasts, hips and thighs and a smaller waist in the middle. It will still be cool outside and probably rainy. Do you have some ideas for what to wear? I need to be practical, but I want to be cute, too! Dresses look better on me than pants, so if I could work in some tights or leggings with boots, that might work.

Very romantic! Here's one idea for a versatile outfit that combines your girlie style with Oregon's outdoorsy aesthetic:

Tunic: A classic white blouse tied at the waist will accentuate your curves. Top it with a wool coat if it is cold.
Jeans: Skinny jeans are less scary when worn like leggings tucked into to boots.
Boots: A classic pair of Frye boots. If it is hot, roll up the jeans and wear sandals instead.
Scarf: A bit of spring-y yellow.
Sunglasses: Aviators from Forever 21.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To Do: Easter Decorations

Easter is one of my favorite holidays: The candy! The ham! The asparagus! The dresses! And, if your family is like mine, the decorations. I've been making blown eggs and painted ornaments since I was a little girl.

The two straw bunnies and the duck are new this year from Cost Plus.

Weekend Round-Up: Beach Time

We were in Half Moon Bay for less-than-happy circumstances - a young family friend is having health problems. I'm not at liberty to say more, but my parents and sister spent the week at the hospital before coming out to the beach. Everyone was in need of a break.

On Friday night, Rob and I drove down to Half Moon Bay in time for a take-out dinner for El Gran Amigo. Best al pastor on the coast! Some hot-tubbing and then to bed early. The next morning, we brought back breakfast pastries from Moonside Bakery and then split off for walks around the bay.

In the afternoon, Jean braided my hair into a kind of norwegian wreath (sisters...) and we went to the local fish market for dinner supplies.

Amazing fresh fish from the Half Moon Bay Fish Market - the owner befriended us after an earlier stop for sea bass and loaded us up with way too much crab and bread. Jean conversed with the 20lb salmons.

Rob returned from his dash into the city and we took Jean kayaking at 3:30 around the bay. Just in time for a little sun to come out.

Back at the rental house, we had a HUGE dinner starting with local smoked salmon, then artichokes and crab. There isn't much of a nightlife in Half Moon Bay - the hottest ticket in town was the local high school musical production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. We got seats right in front. An...enthusiastic...production with no less than 25 students on stage for each dance number. Very charming for being a little rough around the edges. Go cougars!

Big breakfast the next morning as we packed up to head back home. My parents and Leslie left at 11:00 and Rob and I took Jean north for the day. A stop at nursery in Montara and then in Pacifica for a walk on the beach.

Back in San Francisco, we dropped off the gear from the weekend and went to Sports Basement. From there, out to Walnut Creek to visit our friend in the hospital and back to the city by 3:30. We walked down to the waterfront to look at boats in the evening and ended up having dinner at the Fog City Diner - a classic SF spot that I've always wanted to try. Dropped off Jean at the airport at 9:30 to cap the weekend.

How did we manage to fit this all in to two days? Daylight savings can be the only explanation. It doesn't seem possible to me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Coming soon: Weekend Update

Half Moon Bay was lovely as always this weekend. We managed to have a very, very busy break from the real world with the family. There must have been some kind of time warp that allowed us to squeeze it all in. Concluding with a late Sunday night drive to the airport to put Jean on a plane home.

Full recap coming shortly.

Friday, March 19, 2010

To Do: Beach Weekend

I'm off for Half Moon Bay. Just a couple days of relaxation with the family. I hope to take some more photos for another series of beach house inspirations. From last year:

Inspired by the Guadalupe
Inspired by Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Inspired by Seal Beach
Inspired by Moss Beach

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Attention New Yorkers! Meredith Young, a former San Francisco Ladies Activity Club attendee is interested in starting a new LAC in New York City.

If you're interested in being a founding member of the NYC LAC, just email Meredith to kick things off.

Thigns I Love Today: Tiny Notebooks

What to give as a party favor for a baby shower with a green/book theme? How about these adorable individually sewn pocket notebooks from Red Curry Designs paired with tiny pencils.

I stumbled across the notebooks on Etsy, chatted with the seller and -voila!- I have a whole stack ready for the party.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Party Recipe: Book Baby Shower Invites

I'm pleased with how the baby shower invites turned out last weekend. Perfect for my librarian cousin who prefers things less frilly.

I used A2 gravel note cards and white enclosure envelopes that were on sale. The black text was printed on Gocco (note, you have to cut down the cards just a bit to make them work). Each card was personalized using type stamps and green ink pad. I wrote a personal note inside with more details of the party.

If you want the Photoshop template for the library-inspired invitation, just email me and I'll be happy to send it along.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

A pair of festive emerald green suede pumps, perhaps? Or maybe just an emerald and diamond necklace instead?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To Do: Poetry Reading

Rob and I rode our tandem bike to the mission last night for a friend's poetry reading. Well, actually, our friend was the one on guitar backing up Joan Gelfand.

It was the first legitimately warm evening of spring. The victorian box trees were in bloom and Revolution Cafe was full of arty types smoking on the patio. Très bohème.

Inspired: Renoncules

These pink renoncules wrapped in newspaper deserve a closer look. Click on the photo for a larger version and say hello to spring.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Flowers

I usually like my flower arrangements small and neat, but this weekend I tried to expand my horizons. Combining pink jasmine, tulips, chrysanthemums, renoncules and this massive white and pink filler (I think it is a type of spanish broom) - resulted in vibrant spring arrangements that smell divine and are about as girlie as they get.

Along with two medium sized arrangements like the one shown here, I also made a giant bouquet for the table, a more modern arrangement for the den and a tiny bud vase for the bathroom. All for about $30 in supplies.

Weekend Round-up: Girl Time

Rob was gone this weekend, so I took it easy and spent a lot of time being girlie. On Friday night, I drove with Margaret to San Mateo in the rain. We had dinner at The Melting Pot, which you would think was the most dangerous place on the planet with all the warnings the waiters give you. Pretty tasty, but I don't think I'll go back.

Sunday morning, a gorgeous day! I got out early to go to the flower market. I think this is the first time I had been in spring - so many tulips, blossom branches and renoncules.

After that stop, I drove over to Paper Source on Fillmore Street. After the rains, you could see for miles from Pac Heights.

Back at home, I arranged the flowers into five arrangements and made myself lunch. In the afternoon, I worked on printing the baby shower invitations on my Gocco set-up.

Margaret and Allison came over that evening. After wine and cheese at the apartment, we walked to Maya for dinner. Guacamole, hibiscus margaritas, mole tacos and tres leches cake for dessert. Really tasty food and a fun, clubby atmosphere.

The next morning, Jean's flight was delayed so I tried to sleep in for daylight savings and took it easy. I watched a movie and cleaned house. The apartment looked so festive with all the flower arrangements.

A quick trip to Nordstrom Rack where I found a bunch of cute tops and dresses. And then to Trader Joe's for groceries. In the afternoon, I walked to Chinatown for a little shopping. At nine, out to SFO to pick up both Rob and Jean. Nice to have a full house once again!

Friday, March 12, 2010

To Do: Flower Market

My big plan for Saturday is a trip to the Flower Mart. My sister is arriving on Sunday, right in step with spring, and the apartment needs loads of flowers to celebrate.

As always, Housemartin offers blossom inspiration.

To Do: Bookplates

I had a planning party for my cousin's baby shower last night with the co-hostess. I am so thrilled for this baby's arrival, over-the-top entertaining is the only outlet! Linens, punch bowls, silver, the whole nine yards.

During our research, we ran across these adorable personalized book plates on Etsy. A perfect gift for a little book worm.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inspired: Thin Building

I pass this elegant, unusually thin, building on my way back from the grocery store at night. It appears that there's some sort of agency located below and an apartment with wood beamed ceilings above.

What a little gem in SOMA...and Jack London was born next door to boot.

Decorating: True Blue

House Beautiful dedicated their latest issue to the color blue in all forms. I don't usually go for designer rooms - too stuffy or overcrowded in many cases - but I did love this LA home done up in all shades of blue. Click through to slide seven for a gorgeous library with dark blue shelves.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Movie: Whip It

I saw Whip It on the plane back to San Francisco and loved the film. Ellen Page is cute and it will make you want to create a tribe of killer ladies to call your own.

Coveted: Vintage Picnic Basket

I spotted this gem of a vintage picnic basket at the Flea Market last Sunday. The silver salt & pepper shakers just push the whole thing over the edge to terminal cuteness.

A fun project would be to outfit my existing wicker picnic basket with vintage fabrics and flatware. Mountain Play is just around the corner.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Party Recipe: Book Shower

I'm helping to throw a book-themed baby shower for my librarian cousin in a few weeks. There are so many great things you can do with this idea.

Wedding Style Guide - a favorite source from my wedding planning days - has some really cute templates available online for a book bridal shower that can be easily repurposed for this event.

Plus, library check out card invitations! And books with flowers on the table. I can't wait!

To Do: Haven

The business trip in Atlanta last week was easily one of the hardest trips of my career. Despite being understaffed and outgunned, we managed to make the week a huge success for the company. The team started our time in Atlanta with a delicious dinner at Blue Ridge Grill - worked our tails off for essentially 72-hours straight - and ended with another great meal at Haven.

This place was a little off the beaten path but recommended by a friend back in San Francisco. Delicious food! Mussels, steak tartare, short rib ravioli, bacon-wrapped Georgia trout, scallops and killer sweet potato beignets. Plus one one the best dirty martinis I've ever had.

Atlanta...you are hardly my favorite place in the world, but you do manage to deliver some serious food.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Deal: Kayserzinn Poppy Tray

I needed another silver tray like a whole in the head, but this piece at the Alameda Flea Market was just too appealing. And, after a little internet research, I'm glad I indulged.

Its a 12x9 pewter tray with a poppy design and monogram by a German company called Kayserzinn. I bought it for $18...according to the internet, it's worth more like between $100-$600. I just like it as a cute and well-sized space to drop my keys.

Weekend Round-Up: Recovery

I landed back in San Francisco from my business trip at 1 am on Friday morning. After a short day at work, the last thing I wanted to do was hit the town. Rob and I spent a quiet night at home with roast pork tacos and Hulu. I barely made it past nine and crashed into bed.

12 straight hours of sleep later, I woke up feeling like a completely new person. Rob and I had a nice breakfast and relaxed in bed with books most of the morning. It felt so nice to just be home. At noon, we hopped on the tandem bike and rode to Eureka Valley for a friend's first birthday party. The first signs of spring were all over the city.

A nice ride back home followed by more relaxing. We eventually made it out of the house for an evening walk to the grocery store (the "train-way" Safeway). Taco salad for dinner with plenty of avocado. We watched Helvetica on Netflix.

Up bright and early Sunday morning for the Alameda Flea Market - the once a month antique bonanza out on an abandoned military airfield (which is also the location of most big stunts on Mythbusters). Rob and I got a bit lost on the way there, but made it in just after nine. 800 booths filled with strange and awesome antiques. Plus, really tasty food in the form of carnitas tacos and smoked sausage with fresh saurkraut. And, running into Jean from Downsizing in San Francisco!

No dice on the desk or rocking chair I was looking for, but I did come home with a great pewter tray, a $1 silk scarf and a lot of ideas. Feeling a bit sun-stroky from walking around for three hours, we dashed back to the city for tea and a snack at home. We made it just in time to see a great amount of sun flooding the apartment. So pretty! And a rare sight with this cold winter we've had.

In the afternoon, I worked on hanging a dozen photos and paintings on the den wall, polishing silver and futzing in the garden. Eventually, we set out to Chinatown in search of a Sichuan restaurant I've been researching online. Of course, it was closed for kitchen repairs, Sunday only. So, Rob and I set out for a porcelain store I spotted a few weeks ago instead. Such an awesome Chinatown gem: Tai Yick Trading Company is a tiny shop stuffed floor to ceiling with amazing ceramics. We found a nice umbrella stand to hold wrapping paper and yardsticks back home...and then had to carry the heavy thing back two miles.

Quick cocktail hour as we waited for Margaret to drive up to the city for dinner. We had a quick stir fry and watched a movie before calling the end of the weekend and heading for bed.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

To Do: Blue Ridge Grill

I'm in Atlanta this week on business. Honestly, I feel a bit like a kid at camp who just wishes her parents would come pick her up and take her home already. It's cold here, takes forever to drive anywhere and overwhelming.

The one saving grace is Blue Ridge Grill. I've been to this restaurant a couple times on business trips and it's one of my all time favorites. The dining room is decorated like a cozy cabin and the Georgia trout dish is only surpassed by the cobbler for dessert.