Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rough week

"Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)"

- From Whitman's O Me! O Life!

Rough week here - feeling worried, burdened with bad habits and worn down. A long night's sleep and a show with a good friend tonight will cure most. Back shortly.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend Round-Up: Downtown

Sunday weddings would be fantastic if they just weren't followed by Monday mornings! I'm a bit behind today. Let's see...

On Friday, I went with my co-worker Lauren to the opening member's reception of SFMOMA's new Warhol to Calder exhibit. It was a packed house - with the museum decorated, a Warhol photobooth, live bands, drinks and two floors of new art to explore.














Lauren worked at Sotheby's for a period and had good analysis to contribute re: the Fisher's taste in modern art. After exploring the museum, we went next door to the bar at the W Hotel for drinks and dinner. They have a cool illuminated bar that rotates colors. Back home at 10:30, just in time for Rob to return from volunteering at the baseball game.

















Lazy morning on Saturday. Rob went for a bike ride with the Mission team and I read the New Yorker. I spent a couple hours on the bike trainer indoors. In the afternoon, we took the car for an oil change and used the hour break to antique shop along the "Decco Ghetto" and Hayes Valley.

















Back at home for a rest before another errand had to be run downtown. We grabbed a pretty great Mexican dinner at Tropisueno while in the Yerba Buena area. And cream puffs from Beard Papa brought home for dessert.

Another lazy morning on Sunday. I read the paper in bed with coffee and a somewhat-successful red quinoa porridge. We spent lunch in "prom-mode" getting primped for my co-worker Kellie's Mill Valley wedding in the afternoon. I decided to wear a somewhat ridiculous hat, which was fun:













Great wedding with friends from work. The bride was lovely, the food delicious and the drinks flowing rapidly. I was the designated driver and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at hazy blue dusk with a car loaded to the brim with "tipsy" individuals shouting and singing along with the radio at the top of their lungs - classic. I drove the group to Pacific Heights for a nightcap and some chicken strips at Fishbowl before calling it a night.

Friday, June 25, 2010

French Week: Au Revoir

Time to bid adieu to our French-inspired theme! There's so much more we could have covered, of course. San Francisco has an active l'Alliance Francaise, some amazing French restaurants and, of course, all those impressionist paintings!

What is your favorite French style inspiration that we've missed?

French Week: Pink Lipstick

Hot pink is the new red lipstick according to fashion week in Paris. Bright pink lips area bold way to celebrate summer in French style.

I bought my own perfect hot pink shade last night at Sephora: Tarte LipSurgence in Amused. The moisturizing lip stain is perfectly in the middle of glossy and matte.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

French Week: Coastal Outfit

Is it the weekend yet? How about a little trip to the rocky French coastline in a relaxed outfit. We could visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts Jules Chéret in Nice!





















Sweater - Navy shawl collar cardigan from J.Crew.
Shirt - Casual striped tee with a tiny pocket.
Jeans - White cropped matchstick jeans from J.Crew.
Hat - Skin first! A generous straw hat from Columbia.
Book - A friend lent me The Eight, a juicy summer mystery.
Lotion - L'Occitane shea butter hand cream.
Sandals - Flat t-strap sandals with a little bow.

French Week: Lingerie














My second favorite thing about France is the lingerie. Look at that lace! Those bows! Each piece is just perfect and the sizes fit my bony frame much better than any American brand.

I currently have an order in for both of these sets from Darjeeling with a friend headed to Paris in a week.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

French Week: Opera

Rob and I have tickets to Faust (coincidentally, a French opera) tonight. This opera outfit is inspired by the famous gilded halls of the Paris opera house.





















Dress -Green pleated silk with a belt from Chloe. $1,700. Ha! I would ruin this the first time I even looked at a potato chip.
Cardigan - In metallic gold. On sale for $638.
Fascinator - Featuring a peacock feather for $38.
Ring - Gold with emeralds and diamonds.
Opera Glasses - In gold and white for $46.
Shoes - Brown snakeskin platform pumps for $60.

French Week: de Young

If you're in San Francisco before September, try to stop in to see the Birth of Impressionism show at the de Young. It must have been no small feat getting some of the most famous paintings from the d'Orsay out to California - including Whistler's Mother, The Floor Scrapers and the almost ten foot tall Birth of Venus. It seems to me that you'd see more masters here in San Francisco than in their Paris home this summer.

And I overheard someone at the show saying that a representative of the d'Orsay himself praised the exhibit's presentation - especially in the use of bold paint on the walls to draw out the pieces' colors.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

French Week: What to Wear

Paris in summer, when it sizzles, and still looking cute? Here's my suggestion for an outfit that works in the City of Light or the Windy City:





















Dress - Like a light trench coat for the summer. $98 from Anthropologie.
Handbag - A $930 Yves Saint Laurent goatskin hobo bag that is so perfect and French. Le sigh.
Bracelet - A simple gold bangle inspired by a bronze age find displayed at the Musée d'Archéologie nationale : Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Shoes - A pair of strappy sandals that look sky-high but actually come with a demure little heel. From Nine West for $78.
Sunglasses - A vintage pair from Forever 21.
Pluses - Red lipstick, a map of the Paris subway and a box of Laduree macaroons.

French Week: Macaroons

After consuming the value of my ticket, and maybe Rob's as well, in parisian macaroons from the dessert buffet at the Black & White Ball, I have a dangerous appetite for the expensive little treats.

My favorites in San Francisco are the chewy salted caramel from Paulette and the rose geranium from Miette. And in Paris, the orange blossom from Laduree.

French Week: Musee Rodin

My favorite thing in all of France is the Musee Rodin. That's my journal entry from my last trip there in 2007.

As you can see: between the tea roses, the giant fireplaces, the french doors and the gray velvet chairs, it's exactly what I would want in an enormous Parisian mansion of my own. It's just perfect. Oh, and there's some pretty amazing sculpture there too.

On any visit to Paris, I recommend spending a whole day there, complete with a big picnic in the gardens. And you're just a few blocks from the Musee d'Orsay if you can manage to tear yourself away.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy First Day of Summer!






















Here's to white nectarines, cold iced tea, sand-logged magazines, romantic books, white jeans, picnics, watermelon, screen doors, lime on everything and all of your summer favorites!

There seems to be an inadvertent French-theme in my life this week. Between the impressionists in town and a handful of friends headed to Paris - let's dedicate the rest of the week to all thing French! Starting with a French camping poster from 1935.

Weekend Round-Up: Invalid

Sorry for the radio silence on Friday. We suffered a loss in the family; our beloved fish passed away after over 4 years and it hit surprisingly hard. Rest in peace, Burger. And I was still pretty sick with this cold. So it was a mellow weekend.

On Friday, Rob and I rode our tandem out to the de Young museum. We met our friend Amy, who's in the process of moving to the city. Live French music, a chance to see the impressionist exhibit with lighter crowds and a prixe fix menu in the cafe. The arrangement of the impressionist paintings includes masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay set on beautiful, dark painted walls. Quite impressive!

The next day, Rob left early for a bike ride up Mt. Tam with a friend and I slept....and slept. I felt terrible, with a bad headache and stayed in bed reading until 1:00. When Rob returned at 2:30, I managed a trip to Trader Joe's but came straight back to rest. Terrible headache, but luckily on a day that was also extremely windy and unappealing outside. We ordered pizza for dinner and watched The Awful Truth with Cary Grant.

Sunday I woke feeling much, much better. Breakfast in bed with the Times and then out on the bike with Rob for a light tour. We had brunch at Plant and then continued on to the Legion of Honor, where we sat on the lawn and saw the other half of the impressionist exhibit inside. Back home through the park. Artichokes for dinner and preparations for the week ahead.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Things I Love Today: Fresh Mint

Having fresh mint growing in the yard is a great joy at the new apartment. For iced tea with lemon and sugar, strong mojitos and, if I ever learn how, Vietnamese spring rolls.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Coveted: Knitting skills

Someone who knits has to make me one of these ferrets complete with jaunty bandanna immediately.

Things I Love Today: Peonies























Oh my. The peonies are completely out of control. Blossoming all over the place into huge clouds, smelling amazing, inspiring to wear pink and white outfits. Just try to resist burying your nose in.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Inspired: Stinson Beach House
























Imagining that the square little Stinson Beach number were mine for renting - I would decorate it cheaply and simply. Why are so many vacation rentals full of cheesy figurines and florals? I would buy wicker from Ikea, easy to wash navy sheets and white duvet covers, paint the floors dark and call it a day.

Stopper Bottle - A favorite Ikea find of mine
Dish towels - French-style from Ikea, another one of my favorites
Vases - In recycled glass from West Elm, on sale
Wicker stool - $30 from Ikea
Soap bottles - Also from Ikea

Stinson Beach House

We passed this little beach house on our way out to the water on Saturday. The modern design definitely appeals. Unfortunately, it isn't quite as nice on the inside. It needs to be rescued and spruced up a bit.

If only I had an extra $700,000 on hand.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coveted: Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are the only thing I actually enjoy wearing in summer. I hate shorts, feel naked in tank tops and a jumper sends me running for the turtlenecks. Maxi dresses are appealing on pretty much any figure.

I'm completely in love with this navy number on sale from C&C California. But they only have it in large - some lucky large should snap it up immediately.

Weekend Round-Up: Vitamin D

Despite having my third, maybe fourth, terrible cold of the year - this was a grand weekend. It was sunny and warm in the city and we went on a few adventures.

Friday night, I had tickets to the opera but had them moved to later in the month since I was sick and hadn't had a real night off in over a week. After a quick run to the Ferry Building for bread, I had a terrifically lazy night watching movies and sleeping.

Up early the next morning for Mountain Play - our annual tradition. Margaret and I met Matt, Amber and the twins at the top of Mt. Tam at 9:30 in the morning. Loaded with a feast and supplies for two babies, we found a shady spot to make camp. Wilson and Cole kept us well entertained until Rob arrived by bike a few hours later. We even took them for a small hike.













Matt and Amber did a great job of keeping the babies cooled, fed, napped and entertained - this was their longest time outside yet. The kids were naturals; loving the music and maybe remembering their visit last year, a few weeks from being delivered.














The show started at 1:00. Guys and Dolls is one of my favorites and the cast did a fantastic job singing and dancing despite the heat. We shared an enormous picnic that included roast chicken, three loaves of Acme bread, lentil salad, three cheeses, pepper salami, veggies and hummus, cherries, apricots, chips, lemon cookies, champagne, mint iced tea and wine.

















The show ended with great fanfare and we packed up to head home. You can practically see Hawaii from the top of Mt. Tam and all that blue ocean was just too tempting.













Instead of driving home, Margaret, Rob and I made a stop at Stinson Beach. Sand, handstands and wading in the cold ocean were exactly what I needed


















On the way home we briefly rescued a dog from the road and had Slurpees from 7-11. We dropped Margaret off at the train at 6:30 and went home for naps and a dinner of sandwiches made with picnic leftovers.

Up late the next morning. Rob brought me the Sunday paper along with coffee, bread, butter and jam in bed. Bliss. I read the whole paper from cover to cover before getting dressed before noon. Rob went to volunteer at the Giants game and I took the car to be washed. While over in NOPA, I picked up a sandwich from my favorite spot King Foot Subs. I drove over to Crissy Field to have lunch and read for a bit.













Groceries on the way home, more napping and reading in the afternoon before making a big dinner with Rob, including fresh cherries.

Friday, June 11, 2010

To Do: Teatro ZinZanni

Rob and I were invited to the show at Teatro ZinZanni last night. We've passed these giant tents along pier 29 for a few years, but have ventured inside.

It's definitely a San Francisco experience. Similar to Beach Blanket Babylon but with crazy acrobatics.

I didn't particularly like the first half hour of the show - most clowning around and picking on the audience. However, after that it was amazing. Septegenerian Liliane Montevecchi was the star - a rail-thin, turban-wearing, french-born, singing and dancing sass machine. And the gymnasts were amazing. My favorite was a vaudeville-style tumbling act from a trip of three french acrobats.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things I Love Today: Wild Azaleas

The wild azaleas in Big Basin were amazing. So fragrant and pretty.

Weekend Round-Up: Big Basin

So, before DC and Palo Alto...there was a weekend. It seems like ages ago, but was very fun. On Friday night, I went out with the ladies from work and things got a little nuts. We hit up some of the hottest spots in SOMA.













I woke up the next day feeling a little rough. But I managed to get my bags packed and in the car to pick up Margaret. Rob had arranged a bike camping trip to Big Basin with a few of his riding friends. While they pedaled 70+ miles, Margaret and I had fun setting up the camp on our own.


















We had time for a nice hike through the state park after set-up. Big Basin was founded in 1902 and is the oldest state park in California. It's amazingly ferny and mossy with giant redwood trees. So pretty!


















Really giant trees.


















And a surprising amount of taxidermy too. Even some scary guys that you could take home with you as a souvenir.














The bike riders arrived at 7:00 and we set up a big fire. Dinner and plenty of roasted marshmallows around the fire before bed. The next morning, we had breakfast and Margaret dropped me off at the airport at 10 for my flight to DC.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ladies Activity Club: Fashion Challenge

I'm back! 96-hours on the road took me to the Redwoods, to DC, to the heart of Silicone Valley and...to the June LAC party!

We met up last night at Therapy in North Beach for a night of dress-up. Margaret hosted the event for us. Along with delicious food and wine, she set us up with style challenges. From left to right: a rock concert, an anniversary date, a vacation, a job interview and a bachelorette party.

Plus, we were given a 15% discount on our purchases. Perfect for taking home our adventurous outfits and a few other goodies.

Monday, June 07, 2010

In DC

I'm in DC for 24-hours on business (+10 for cross-country flights). So far: I appreciated the plush king sized bed at the Westin and the not-scorching hot weather outside. The rest is fluorescent lights and jet lag.

Back on Wednesday!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

To Do: Sandals

I'm not much for sandals - living in San Francisco makes you more of a boot person - but these new Bruno Magli t-strap wedges are my new favorites. I found them at Nordstrom Rack for only $70, down from $280. Maybe I could wear them with black tights on cold days?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Recipe: Mushroom Pasta

This is my favorite thing to cook for dinner when it's just me. It's pretty great as a healthier replacement for mac-n-cheese. The lemon is key.

Mushroom Pasta
Serves 1
1 cup of rotini pasta
1 cup of sliced crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1 small pat of salted butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
Squeeze of lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
Dash of truffle oil (optional)
Salt & pepper
Drizzle of olive oil

Start the pasta in a pan of boiling water. Melt the butter with olive oil, top with mushrooms, garlic, lemon and truffle oil. Cook until the mushrooms just barely softened. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the almonds. Drain the pasta and add to the mushrooms. Mix over high heat and add your final seasonings. You might need a bit more lemon and pepper.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Things I Love Today: Pain Epi

In my perfect world, you'd be served fresh hot rolls with salted butter on planes instead of peanuts or, more likely, nothing with a side of scowls.

Imagine, you could upgrade to jam or cheese and meat for a few dollars. The smell would be wonderful. Everyone would be much happier.

Particularly, if you were given the Pain Epi we had from Acme on Monday. Perfect crunch on the outside, soft on the inside, and that elegant leaf pattern! At $1.75 a baguette, I figure it really has to be cheaper than peanuts.

Book Report: Guernesy Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

Caroline recommended this book after the last book report about The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Despite the silly title, I really liked quite a bit. A perfect summer "beach read" - it almost demands to be sand-logged for reading. Be forewarned that will have you desperate to get on a boat and make new friends on a distant British island.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Party Recipe: Rack of Lamb






















This was probably the best and the easiest dinner I've ever cooked - a nice combination!

Appetizers: A trio of cheeses - havarti dill, tomme de savoie and cambazola - with seeded crackers. Small bowls of dried apricots, cranberries and raw almonds.

Guests: Nine altogether - requiring a borrowed chair. Two pregnant women, three engineers, a statistician, Margaret (who defies classification), an executive, me and an adorable kid who just learned to walk.

Dinner: Roasted garlic mashed potatoes, kale with balsamic vinegar, fresh apple mint sauce, six gorgeous racks of lamb (rubbed with light seasoning and roasted at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads about 125 and left to sit for a few minutes before carving) and the best bread from Acme.

Decorations: I honestly tried to "dress down" the table, but it's just not in me. Peonies from Trader Joe's, silverware, laguiole knives, a blue and white tablecloth, blue napkins, butter in japanese dishes, vintage silver salt shakers, small envelopes as place cards containing inapropriate sheep jokes.

Dessert: A delicious German strawberry tart brought by Yvonne paired with homemade vanilla ice cream and a bottle of ice wine from Niagara Falls. Decaf coffee.

Weekend Round-Up: Cross Town

What a nice long weekend! Gorgeous weather and plenty of lallygagging. On Friday, Rob and I rode with a bunch of friends in Critical Mass. This time, it followed a route through all the city's beaches. We reached the ocean along with a few thousand other bikes just in time for sunset. From there, over to the sunset for a great sushi dinner at Goemon.














Up early the next morning to volunteer at Carnaval in the mission. Rob and I were there to park bikes, of which there were very few, in a shaded parking lot. The only excitement was grabbing brunch on the go from Stable - an adorable old building turned into an organic cafe.


















Rob continued to volunteer in the afternoon while I shopped for Monday's dinner party, picked up a few great finds at Nordstrom Rack and grabbed a beer down along the water at Red's Java House. A quiet evening at home and to bed early...

...to get up very early the next morning for a bike race. We picked up a friend on our way down to San Jose. I dropped off the guys at the start and drove around to Livermore. A coffee, mani/pedi and a few hours with a nice picnic at the finish. Iced tea, shade on a warm day and book - heaven.


















Back home in the afternoon exhausted. Naps and relaxing before taking an evening walk to the grocery store. I prepped a few supplies for the next day's party.

Up early again on Monday! I ironed linens and set the table before our friends Seth and Amy arrived to spend the night. A quick trip to SFMOMA where we got interactive with the art.


















Then on to a vietnamese lunch from Slanted Door at the Ferry Building. We sat in the sun and watched the boats pass while eating. Back home in the afternoon to relax and prepare for the night's party. We got started early - at 5:30 - for what turnd out to be a lamb-stravaganza!














The party ended pretty early, so we had plenty of time to start a load of dishes and kick back with cups of decaf coffee before bed.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Lambapalooza

Weekend details are coming soon. I'm still recovering from last night's big dinner party featuring six (6!) frenched racks of lamb, excellent company and homemade ice cream. Stay tuned!