Friday, July 30, 2010

To Do: Renegade Craft Fair

The Renegade Craft Fair comes to San Francisco this weekend. Head down to Fort Mason for some 250 booths of handmade inspiration. Like Etsy come to life!

I'll be meeting up with a group on Sunday afternoon there. Is it too early for Christmas shopping?

Garden: Clematis

I am very pleased with my newly planted clematis vine. After just two weeks it has already started blooming and crawling all over the trellis.

The bright pink flowers make it seem almost tropic in the garden - a feat in this cold, foggy weather.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inspired: Red Coral Necklace

Harvesting red coral is not a great idea for the longevity of coral reefs. But the little red beads are so pretty. In the summer, a delicate red necklace is a perfect match with white blouses and tees.

The fix is to buy either a faux version (which I have) or to get a vintage strand. This Victorian pick from Etsy is under $200.

To Do: Conservatory of Flowers

Oh, those Victorians were so smart. They new that in the depths of June(/July/August) Gloom San Franciscans needed a warm, bright place to hang out with some flowers and de-scarf for a few hours. My father used to take my sister and I as kids when the summer overcast would get to be too much.

If this weather keeps up, I may just spend all of Saturday inside the glass Conservatory of Flowers. It's nicely empty in the morning, perfect for sketching.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe: Butterscotch Pot de Creme

Townhall's signature dessert is a butterscotch pot de creme. Chocolate pudding below, butterscotch above and toffee chips as a garnish. It comes in a huge serving that is easy to share.

For a party at home, I would just make the butterscotch and top it with some broken Skor bar chips for a close approximation.

Inspired: Bon Iver

Skinny Love came on at the restaurant during dinner last night and I was reminded, once again, just how much I love this album. Seems just perfect for this cold, foggy summer in the city.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To Do: Cold Cream

Do any of you use cold cream or a cleansing milk instead of washing your face?

According to my facialist, my skin is so dry that it should never be washed with soap (perhaps, why I didn't start washing my face at night at all until after college). Instead, I'm supposed to do a sort of "wax-on, wax-off" with a cleansing lotion, but I'm a bit confused about the details.

Is the trick to use copious amounts of the stuff so that it doesn't just soak in? Is there a brand beyond good-old Ponds I should try? Do you put on more moisturizer after rubbing off the cold cream?

Coveted: Purse

Ordering a purse online seems like dangerous business. It's so hard to tell if the size and color are just right. But I'm taking a chance for this gunmetal gray calfskin bag from Etsy. If it looks even remotely close to the photo, I think I'm in love.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Round-Up: Friends and Family

This weekend started a little early! On Thursday night, my brother and nephew arrived from Sacramento to spend the night. We took them to dinner at Tropisueno downtown. My nephew is about to start junior high and is a great, chatty kid. It was fun to see our "glamorous" city life through his eyes. Chocolate croissants for breakfast and then back to work.

Friday night was mellow. Rob returned from a bike ride with his friend Corey at 7:30. I made a big dinner of pappardelle bolognese with green salad to share.

Saturday morning, Rob left fairly early for a ride with the Mission team. I spent the morning getting organized before leaving at 10:30 for Rebecca's bridal shower over in the inner Richmond. With a theme of 'The Great Experiment" this was a perfect party for Rebecca. We were given lab coats and did America's Test Kitchen style taste-tests on various foods. (yes, that is a hand-sewn graph paper tablecloth)

After tasting the bacon, chocolate, honey, ice cream, salsa, root beer, etc - we gather to reveal the real brands and to watch Rebecca open her gifts. What a fun event!

Quick stop at the grocery store on the way and then home to hear about Rob's ride. We took out our bikes along the Embarcadero for a short tour to make the most of the patch of sun still in our neighborhood. The rest of the city had been irreprerably socked-in all week. Bread from the ferry building with butter and fresh blueberries at home for a snack.

At 6:30, we picked up visiting Lesley and Kendal for a dinner adventure. Lesley had a taste for crab, and with her about to move overseas for medical school, we decided to do it big at PPQ Dungeness Island. The garlic butter roasted and peppercorn fried dungeness crab at this Vietnamese spot completely lived up to expectations.

Back home again at nine, we drank tea to wash down all the butter and watched a movie before bed.

Sunday morning, poor Rob had to be at the ferry building at 4am to volunteer with the bike coalition. I got up around eight and grabbed the sunday paper (pajamas and a trench coat in the building lobby) and had a relaxing read. At 10, I motivated to pick up the house for my parent's visit later in the afternoon.

A salad lunch and some tea along with computer time in the kitchen. An absolutely freezing day, I had to resort to turning on the heater. Summer in San Francisco!

At 2:00, my parents arrived and the sun finally broke through the fog for a few hours. We nested in the classic family vacation style - wine, snacks, books, newspapers, technology lessons and naps.

At 7:45, we walked down to Townhall for dinner with old business partners from my father's film company. Mitch, in red, is a talented cartoonist and Pam, on his right, was the office manager when the group was in San Francisco. We had a great -huge-meal and stayed out talking until past 10.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let's Go for a Ride!

Despite the Siberian weather in San Francisco, I took my new bike out for a spin last night with Rob.

Wow...this is an awesome bicycle! Smooth, stylish, I may start riding it everywhere. I even got confident enough to race Rob on the Embarcadero and to navigate the wood planks of the China Basin drawbridge without stopping.

The coast out by the new UCSF Mission Bay campus is a great place to ride. Few cars, lots of boats and water and the smell of wild fennel along the road.

Coveted: Pumps

Grey suede shoes get me every time. These are on sale at Nordstrom this week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To Do: Picnic Spot

And where should I take this elegant picnic new set? To Sutro Park!

My favorite secret garden tucked away by the beach and full of forgotten sculptures and delicate lawns. Some bread from Acme, Humboldt Fog cheese, wine and oysters would make it an ideal day.

To Do: Picnic Basket Upgrade

I have a lovely wicker picnic basket that was a gift from my father a few years ago. But the plastic plates and cups have seen a few too many trips to Mt. Tam.

In my free time (ha!) I would like to give it a spruce up with a set of Mottahedeh tin plates, a few Laguiole cheese knives, lovely vintage blue napkins and shatterproof wine glasses from SFMOMA.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inspired: Globe Bike

It's not exactly a secret - but despite all my rides, multi-day tours and tandem bike adventures - I don't actually know how to ride a bike on my own. I'm great at the pedaling, it's the starting, stopping and remembering to steer that are a challenge. Just never quite learned.

Our beautiful new Globe Haul was partially purchased as a stylish way to lure me into learning to bike. I have to's working already. I do want to plan a fancy outfit and take this sweet ride out on my own. Chain guard means I don't have to worry about rolling up my pant leg, integrated hub makes for stress-less shifting and built in lights will keep me cruising in the evening.

Strawberries with Ice Cream

Last night, we had the best summer dessert possible. Bowls filled with about a cup of fresh organic strawberries each topped with just a one spoonful of homemade vanilla ice cream.

No sugar on the berries. Nothing too fancy about the ice cream. My favorite recipe is just milk, sugar, cream and vanilla. Yum!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rainier Cherry Mojitos

Next time, if I can stand to not just devour all the cherries in one sitting, I'd like to try making the key lime and rainier cherry mojitos created by Jennifer for a warm weekend cocktail.

Weekend Round-Up: Christmas in July

What a nice weekend! A combination of accidental holiday movie viewing and massive spoiling deemed earned this weekend it's title.

On Friday night, Rob joined me for a small party at my office and then we came home for a relaxing evening. Netflix delivered Holiday Inn and Meet Me in St. Louis just in time for the weekend. I'd never seen Holiday Inn before - great dancing and fun to see Bing Crosby as a younger chap - but whoa, racist in a couple parts. Was not expecting that.

Rob left early the next morning to ride the Seven Hells of San Francisco. I lounged about until my spa appointment at Cocoon at 11. A much needed facial and a long pedicure. I headed back home feeling like putty and sporting glowing skin. I spent the afternoon organizing my closet and cleaning house. Rob came back at 3:30 having conquered the hills and unfortunately had to plug in to work for a database upgrade with his team.

I took the car in the afternoon out to Sloat Nursery, mecca for San Francisco gardens. Three new plants, two pots and a fun apple crate picked up at an estate sale next door. Back at home, I went berserk cutting back dead vines and planting the new treasures. The little garden is starting to look pretty lush!

Quiet evening after the garden frenzy. Artichokes and rainier cherries for dinner. I watched the second holiday movie of the weekend, Meet Me in St. Louis - one of the best movies ever. We made s'mores over the stove with leftover campign supplies before calling it a night.

Up early the next morning for San Francisco's new flea market. City residents don't have to trek over to Alameda any longer! A smaller event, the market at Candlestick was more manageable and had some amazing stuff for sale (especially the estate jewelry). Rob and I found a steel field office with two file drawers and a fold down desk to bring back home.

Still loaded with the desk, we stopped at Mike's Bikes for a purchase Rob has had in mind for a while but was now available on sale. We're the new owners of a Globe Haul bike! After unloading the car, we took it straight out for a trip to the store...with me on side-saddle in the back. The neighborhood was packed for the Giant's game and we got a lot of "shout-outs" from the crowd.

Over to Pier 5 to soak up the sun for a while on the breezy bay, then down Market Street to pick up a box on See's Candy on a whim. Back at home, Rob watched Tour de France while I took a 2 hour nap. In the afternoon, we walked up to Cole Valley Hardware downtown and then back home. A big dinner of thai pot stickers and a salad with kale, parsley and lettuce from the garden.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Disposable Film: The Lost Tribes of New York City

This adorable and clever video has been making the rounds at assorted film festivals this year. It just gets cuter and more funny each time!

Disposable Film: Sour

Made entirely with webcams, good cheer and incredible planning - Sour blew me away at the Disposable Film Festival.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bastille Day, Continued

Next stop - one of my new favorite places! Margaret and I met Rob at Hotel Rex - hosting the Disposable Film Festival for a Viva La Film evening.

I'll go into more detail tomorrow about the actual, amazing Frenchie films. But first, the hotel itself. I was ready to go full Eloise after just a few minutes in the well-appointed lounge.

Beautiful portraits and sketches framed on the walls with details about the artists, a chalkboard with wine specials, vintage books on the shelves, monogrammed chairs, tables with lamps for writing letters, brass luggage carts with children loaded on, a stately manager and Pepe the French Man roaming the city.

I would like to move in/have a job there please. My credentials include having watched every episode of Faulty Towers at least three times, extreme commitment to this article about the Waldorf, already owning a cache of vintage luggage, comprehensive knowledge of Emily Post and an overly active imagination.

To Do: Bastille Day

Bastille Day was yesterday but, really,who will know if you celebrate tonight. I had the best impromptu time out toasting la vie en rose last night in San Francisco. First stop, a wine bar near the Chinatown Gate called Rouge et Blanc with Margaret.

A glass of pino, a portabello croque, baked brie and an entertaining street view - featuring two very tourist-friendly police officers who managed to get not less than five visitors of various ages to pose for photos in the front seat of their cruiser.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inspired: Potting Shed

I am invigorated by the first harvest of tender kale from the back garden. So delicious! I'm going to hit the garden again this weekend with more pruning and potting.

This inspirational potting shed shot is the actual property of one Emma Bond, landscaper in Bath, England. Serious business.

Inspired: Constellation Cards

Stationary engraved with the Big Dipper constellation seem so breezy and perfect for summer thank you notes. Has anyone ordered from Thornwillow before?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What to Wear: Summer in San Francisco

It is cold in the city right now. Foggy, windy - classic July in San Francisco. In order to enjoy summer fashion, you have to be creative about sneaking in light pieces in layers. Here's a perfect outfit for the varied climate. At the base layer, you could be at Stinson Beach, with all the pieces you're ready to brave the Golden Gate Bridge:

Shirt - Navy blue cotton blouse with full sleeves from DVF on sale.
Sweater - Metallic beach cardigan from J.Crew.
Trench - Amazing prussian blue trench from Burberry, for inspiration.
Jeans - In white from the Gap.
Scarf - White scarf from Forever 21.
Sunglasses - Aviators.
Purse - Canvas and leather bag is beach tote-inspired for the office from Land's End.
Sandals - Clark t-strap wedges on super sale.

Coveted: Teak Table

I need serious dining room table. The current number Rob and I have is a folding side table designed for small apartments or extra space. It is really meant to seat four in an pinch, although we've fit as many as 12 too many times to count.

My parents have a beautiful mid-century modern teak table with two built-in leaves that unfolds to seat up to 16 comfortably. I am so jealous! The vintage designs at Scandanavian.Modern are lovely...but the "inquire for price" makes me more than a little nervous!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend Round-Up: SLO

Rob and I dashed down to San Luis Obispo for a quiet weekend with my parents.

On Saturday morning, we joined them for the traditional weekend "circuit" of farmer's market - walking the dog - breakfast at Budget Cafe and market run. We loaded up on wine, chips, salsa, BBQ seasoning and apricots to bring back to the city with us.

In the afternoon, Rob went for a bike ride and I went sailing on the lake with my father - with our crazy border collie swimming along the whole way. Later, one of my oldest friends and her adorable baby dropped by for a visit.

In the evening, we drove down to Santa Maria to meet up with our family friends, the Riggins, to see West Side Story at PCPA. A great, and very dramatic, production. They always do so well at this little theater.

Slept in the next morning as best as I could with Rob tuned in to Tour de France in the guest room. Sunday paper and french toast with strawberries for the lazy foggy morning.

At noon, Rob and I loaded up on the tandem for a ride up Perfumo Canyon, down See Canyon and to Avila Beach. Quite the view from the top of the ride, you can see all the way to the coast.

My parents met us there with a picnic and Penney ready for a beach visit. When walking her down the shore, we met another border collie mix who turned out to be her brother. In 11 years, we'd never run across another dog from her litter. And not just a relative, but also the owner of Penney's parents. Being crazy border collies, of course they had very little interest in each other.

Rob and I zoomed back home on the bike to meet my parents in the afternoon. I had a long nap on the couch before an early dinner of swordfish, twice baked potatoes and artichokes. We hit the road again at six and made it home right after dusk.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Watch: Planet B-Boy

This documentary will make anyone want to become a breakdancer, even me! I'm won't lie, I tried some moves after watching it! The teams featured in Planet B-Boy are from around the world are incredible and their stories are very well told.

And it's a perfect appetizer for the completely ridiculous and awesome Hulu "dancesical" The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. LXD omg.

To Do: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom anniversary sale is on this weekend and it is dangerous. Their sales always seem to deliver the best deals on dresses, shoes and boots in particular.

The dress on the left is only $98 (down from $148). I'll take that, an adorable pair of ruffled teal peep-toe pumps (pg 44) and a perfect gray leather handbag (pg 24) please!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

More Summer Books

Mamacita of What Would Jane Austen Do is currently shut in by foul weather and asking about favorite things one does when it rains.

For me, nothing beats reading by the rainy window wrapped in a down blanket with tea in a cup and saucer - neurotically, always the saucer. Living on foot/bike in the city means lots of being cold and wet in Wellies when it rains, all the better to stay inside with a book.

Coincidentally, I'm back on Jane Austen now, having already read through my stack of summer books including The Elegance of the Hedgehog (loved it), Three Cups of Tea (good story, terrible writing), The Eight (silly fun), Let the Great World Spin (stuck four chapters in) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (bad title, good book).

Sense and Sensibility seems especially perfect for a rainy day. All that uprooting and living by the sea and reading by fires and being rescued in a rainstorm by a Colonel.

Any more book recommendations? You've steered me well before. Ideas for rainy days and sunny are appreciated!

Inspired: Le Pens

I bought one of these LePen beauties over the weekend and now I desperately want the whole set.

Not particularly to use, but to add to my ever-growing hoard of markers, sharpies, glitter pens, etc. in all colors of the rainbow both at home and at work. Because you never know when having exactly the right shade and width of green marker might just pay off.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Inspired: Air Mail

This letterpress invitations from sideshowpress would be amazing for a baby or wedding shower.

I picture tables topped with vintage suitcases full of geraniums. Navy grosgrain ribbon. Little sandwiches. Lots of cheese. Latte bowls full of chocolates. Lemonade in glass bottles. Postcards as the guestbook. French travel soaps in small tins as the favors.

Listen: Smokey & Miho

I stumbled across this gem on Pandora last week. Smokey & Miho is a Brazilian samba duo from back in 2003. Miho herself is a Japanese singer who also performed with Gorillaz. All this to say it goes quite well with a blackberry mojito.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Weekend Round-Up: In the Woods

Only 10 miles away from home and an entirely different world, Marin Headlands provides city dwellers with a bit of nature just across the bridge. And when San Franciscans go camping, we do it in excess: no less than six kinds of gourmet cheese, artisanal bread, fresh fruit, local salami, drip coffee, beer, wine, brandy, vodka, whiskey, tequila, smoked salmon, half and half and chocolates. And all of this carried from the city and up a 1,000 feet to the campsite by bike!

Rob and I headed north at 6:00 on Friday and made it to Hawk Hill camp before eight. A very steep uphill dirt trail for the last three miles. I set up camp while Rob biked out to pick up 5 gallons of water (no water within miles of the campsite) and our friends Jackie and Pierre from Davis.

Up early on Saturday morning with hot sun warming up our tents quickly. Breakfast of banana pancakes, coffee, oatmeal and grapes. We headed down to the valley on bike to see the Marine Mammal Center. From there to the Nike Missile site, a cold war defense site that has been restored. It's an interesting place and staffed by intimidating older gentlemen who appear a bit wistful about the threat of nuclear winter.

From there, a group of us split off to go to late lunch at Fish in Sausalito.

Crab rolls, fish tacos and salmon sandwiches before heading back to camp - another 700 foot and 3 mile climb on dirt roads. A fairly warm evening spent with tortilla soup and plenty of drinking. We caught views of early fireworks shows in Vallejo, Oakland and Daly City.

Up the next morning to another bright and sunny day. We had pancakes again, this time with fresh cherries on the side. As we were preparing to leave for Tennessee Valley beach, we saw that classic Bay Area fog rolling in quickly. Down toward sunny Sausalito instead.

We enjoyed the warm sand at Richardson beach and had an amazing lunch at Le Garage. I had eggs benedict with chorizo and a Stella - others enjoyed croque madam, smoked salmon tartine, kobe hamburgers and duck confit. We ordered every dessert on the menu and had a leisurely coffee to complete our meal. All that was left on the table after we finished were three duck bones and a sprig of rosemary! During lunch we discovered the harbor showers and took the opportunity for a bit of a clean up before heading back to camp once again. A close cayote encounter on the climb uphill.

Now, the campsite was completely socked in by blustering fog. About 30 foot visibility and "rain" dripping down from the trees. We promptly put on every piece of clothing we brought and set out for shots of Patron with fancy cheeses. Around 7:00, a huge group of bike friends from the city appeared at our campsite with homemade bread, extra water, cocktails and cheer. Unfortunately, no warm clothes, so their stay was brief before they went back to town. We scarfed down big pasta dinners in the cold and damp. Finally outdone by the weather at dusk, we packed into the biggest tent for cards, chocolates and listening to the fireworks shows. To bed early.

No respite from the fog the next morning. Everything was soaking wet and the wind was still blowing. Tea and jiffy pop for breakfast as we worked to pack up all our sopping gear while staying dry. We headed downhill at 11:00 - one last climb out of the hills, ocassionally having to push our overloaded bikes. We met up at the Dipsea Cafe for lunch together. Rob and I headed home over the Golden Gate Bridge as the rest split off by cars.

Sunny on our side of town, amazing how Bay Area weather can be so dramatic. Much needed showers and rest. Tents and sleeping bags hung to dry. Altogether - about 45 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing on fire roads, but with a massive amount of eating to counteract the exercise. A fun adventure with a great group of friends!

You can see more photos from the weekend here.

Friday, July 02, 2010


Thank you for all the kind wishes! It was a dreadful week, but I've survived it and feel much better. I'm headed off on a camping trip for the long weekend.

A group of us are going to Hawk Hill in Marin Headlands - a rustic hike/bike-in campground. The weather looks to be just perfect for exploring hidden beaches, playing cards and relaxing away from it all, only 10 miles from home.