Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Memphis: Roller Derby

The minute our plane tickets were booked, I emailed Kery from I Love Memphis for tips. She hooked us up with an amazing list of recommendations and - so exciting! - tickets to the see the Memphis Roller Derby. We'll be cheering on Women of Mass Destruction in the championship bout Saturday night out at Funquest!

I loved Whip It and Blood on the Flat Track was a lot of fun. Now we'll get to see the action first hand.

Memphis: Bar-B-Q Shop

Many, many different opinions about which is the best BBQ restaurant in Memphis. No matter how highly praised, they all seem to look something like the Bar-B-Q Shop, though.

Luckily, I love rough exterior restaurants that hide some seriously genius pulled pork on grilled Texas toast inside. If you have a BBQ recommendation (or any Memphis tip) share it in the comments!

Ladies Activity Club: Columbus, OH

I love adding new clubs to the Ladies Activity Club website!

The Columbus Ladies Activity Club in Ohio has been going strong for two years, with activities including game night, wreath making and cocktail hour at the local conservatory (pictured).

They're looking for new members. So, if you're interested in joining the Columbus LAC, just get in touch with Claire.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Memphis Week!

Only a few days until we're headed to Memphis with a group of fantastic friends. So I'm dedicating the rest of the week to researching and celebrating all things Tennessee. Starting with Arrested Development. Loving this song makes me feel a bit old...and gives me an urge to wear overalls backwards.

Weekend Round-Up: On the Go

Quite a few bike adventures this weekend! Starting with Critical Mass on Friday with Rob. While I support the cause, I don't usually love this ride - but this was more fun that usual. This time, the route took the thousands of riders out to Bayview, Portola and a few other impoverished-dangerous neighborhoods on the south end of the city rarely seen by most of us. The neighborhood residents celebrated the crowd of riders like a spontaneous parade. Apparently abuelitas love boys in flannel on fixies. (bike photos lent from wrongbike.com)

Rob left early the next morning for a quick ride. I caught up on some chores and worked on the garden until he returned for turkey bacon and salsa eggs. Super windy day in the city, but I braved the city streets on my own bike for a ride to the hardware store and then downtown for shopping with Rob. He did a big back-to-school stock up at Club Monaco and Old Navy.

From there, to the barbershop at Embarcadero center. During Rob's haircut, I helped call the police for a man (a bit of a shady character himself) who had been beat up in the park - luckily, not too badly hurt. Our city fire and police are so fast - the crew from the fireboat station arrived in less than a minute to help out the guy.

Next, to the Ferry Building for Acme Bread and then home to eat the bread right away. Rob and I polished off a whole pain epi with local herbed goat cheese and butter. This bread is dangerously good. Rob went to volunteer with the Bike Coalition at the Giants game, I had a quiet night at home preparing for the Memphis trip!

Up early Sunday morning to quickly read the paper, drink coffee and eat crossed currant buns from Acme before heading out for a big ride. We passed all
the Alcatraz triathaletes on our way to meet with the Mission Cycling riders. These kitted-up riders didn't quite know what to make of our tandem, but we did a good showing all the way to Paradise Loop.

In Corte Madera, I got a really nice shout-out from an EmilyStyle reader driving by - hi to you! Through the rolling hills on the back of Tiburon and then to Caffe Acri for a snack on their open patio. Rob and I raced the other riders home through Sausalito, keeping up a very fast pace. Into the thick fog over the bridge and back into the sun along San Francisco's waterfront.

A nice hot bath at home. Rob and I read the rest of the Sunday paper with chips and salsa. At 4:00, we thought we might catch a movie downtown. The one we wanted to see was playing an hour later than expected, so we sat at the Yerba Buena fountain and watched the birds splash. A new favorite spot in the city!

Long way home. Chores and planning for the short -and busy- week ahead!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Listen: Brett Dennen

Breezy and light, I Will be the One Who Loves You the Most is the perfect song to listen to while preparing a casual summer night dinner. Since the brief heatwave we had in San Francisco is now long gone and the fog is back in force - the lyrics about the wind raging are pretty appropo.

To Do: Fig Season

These beautiful black mission figs have been in my breakfast cereal all week. They're one of my favorite late summer treats. I wish I knew of a hidden fig tree where I could pick them instead of paying outrageous prices at the market.

Have you tried them stuffed with goat cheese and baked? Or wrapped in prosciutto with camembert inside? Yum.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What to Wear: Paris in the Fall

Another exciting September trip to dress for, this time Paris with Ann:
I am going to Paris for the first time in late September. Shortly after that we are going to Lisbon (work trips for my husband -- la la, what a life!). I am badly in need of wardrobe revamping, as I work from home and do not need a professional set of clothes. I also am currently overweight and need to lose about 40 pounds. I am working hard on this and have already lost a few, but I expect realistically to still be 30 pounds over my ideal weight in September. Aside from the weight situation, I am quite petite at just 5'0".
At this point I was planning on buying a good pair of boots, and good-quality leggings or black jeans and topping with inexpensive tunics and dresses, since my waist is still the body part I'd like to emphasize. I do love black clothes, as well as classics with a small twist of something unique or quirky.
Paris...always an amazing time. Ann is going to love, love, love it! Here's what I'd pack:

Tunic - The weather could be hot or cold, this light white top works either way and with all kinds of looks.
Sweater - Almost a coat. Thick and cozy. Matches everything.
Jeans - Black skinny pair from Levi's.
Necklace - From Forever 21.
Handbag - Basic black with a shoulder strap for long days about town.
Hat - A bad idea? Maybe, but hats are fun and vacation is the perfect time to test them out.
Flats - With metallic details.
Boots - Flatties are perfect with jeans, leggings, tights and skirts.
Dress - A little black dress with a snakeskin belt. Pair with a sweater for the day or glam it up at night.
Pumps - Classic kitten heels with a little bow.
Aviators - My favorites.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What to Wear: London Wedding

Here's a fun request from Mandy:
What to wear to a late September wedding in London? My brother-in-law is getting married in the afternoon at a church with a reception to follow at a classy hotel in Mayfair. I want to look chic and put-together, but not fussy or formal. I live in the country in New England, so my shopping options are limited and it's always so hard to figure out what to wear so I don't look like a country bumpkin in stylish, urban London
I love the way people dress up for weddings in England. Fancy details plus elaborate hats - all with a casual glamour and focus on structure. Here's my idea for Mandy:

Dress - I don't usually post dresses this expensive, but in gray brocade with subtle purple peonies and a dropped back with a bow...this is exactly what you want to wear to the wedding at $460. There are probably other brocade sheath options a bit more reasonable, but maybe not as lovely.
Fascinator - A must, but doesn't need to be very flashy with this dress (flashy is an option). I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for online - basically just a few of these goose biots on a comb. If you're crafty, make it yourself with a bit of glue and ribbon. Otherwise, Etsy and Forever 21 have lots of options.
Clutch - In crocodile from Forever 21.
Shoes - Basic patent leather black pumps, with a heel that won't kill you on lawns or dancing late a night.
Pashmina - You might need a wrap for the church or running about town.

There you have it: one glam London outfit that won't entirely break the bank and with many elements that can be worn again. Have fun across the pond!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Inspired: Summer

Wow. This city is a knock-out when summer finally arrives. I always seem to forget how a few degrees and a little sun can be such a powerful a force for good. The streets are full of sundresses, ice cream, picnics and laughter. Foggy temperatures in the low 50's from a few days ago are banned from public memory.

Rob and I took the bike out last night for dinner on our favorite pier. A full moon, al pastor tacos, steel swivel chairs and cold beers. There isn't a mansion or yacht in the world that can compete with our free bayside patio.

Bargain: Levi's 524

I confess, I like teen jeans. I've done the expensive designer pairs - sevens, citizens, AGs - and I keep coming back to Levi's juniors as my favorites. I just picked up two more at Macy's on Saturday. For a mere $31 each, I have a new skinny black pair that is smoking hot with a blousy top and a pair of straight legs in a dark wash that goes with everything. And Margaret, who rocks her curves, found a pair that brought all kinds of compliments all Monday.

The model photos on both the Macy's and Levi's websites are not all that inspiring. This is one deal you'll have to check out in person.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weeked Round-Up: City Families

This weekend was full of friends and families - and even a little warm weather. On Friday night, Rob and I rode the tandem bike out to Cole Valley to see our friend Jill & Peter's new home. A great flat with a deck perfect for BBQs! (top and last photo from Rob's wrongbike.com)

Out of the house early on Saturday morning. I drove down to San Mateo to hang out with Margaret. We ran errands in San Mateo and had lunch at a super tasty Japanese ramen house.

Shopping, pedicures and a stop to buy homemade Russian pickles before driving back up to the city. Margaret's roommates were out of town so I convinced her to come up for a sleepover. We met up with Rob at the house and walked together to the movie theater to see The Other Guys. Goofy film, but I laughed straight through. Pints together afterward at Kate O'Brien and a swanky new place on 1st.

Up on Sunday morning to see blue skies in the city! An actual warm summer day for the first time in what seems like three months. Rob left to go volunteer with the Bike Coalition. Margaret and I had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. At mid-morning, we walked downtown to shop for jeans. After visits to H&M, Banana Republic and Ted Baker, I found two perfect pairs of skinny Levi's at Macy's.

Margaret headed home after we finished the shopping trip. I jumped on the trainer for two hours of spin. Rob got home at 4:00 and we turned around quickly to hop on tandem and ride to North Beach. Our friends Matt and Amber are about to move to Seattle - so we met up with them for one last classic SF taco dinner with their twins.

Back home through crowded Fisherman's Wharf. Such an amazing, warm night! A quick detour out to our favorite pier on the way home. A big moon, clear bay and bright city lights. Isn't it romantic ;)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hooray for Bike Paths!

It's a very exciting time in the city for bike riders. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition just won a long legal battle and is kicking off a massive installation of safe, fast bike routes across the city. Rob and I were invited to attended a kick-off fundraiser for these new lanes on Thursday night. So inspiring!

The SFBC is aiming to make our city as bike-friendly for riders of all ages as Copenhagen. And if you're not sure just how cool that would be, take a peek at Denmark:

Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

To Do: Marine Memorial Club

What happened to this week?! Oh, right. Lady Gaga, friends moving away (nooo!) and a crazy, but exciting amount of work.

If the cold weather continues this weekend, I'm tempted to decamp to the Marine Memorial Club. A friend who is a veteran recently introduced me to this hidden gem in the city. A club, hotel, theater, memorial and restaurant, it's the private hideaway that you dream about. The library on an upper floor is even complete with fireplace, big leather chairs and gilded ceiling.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What to Wear: Lady Gaga

Oh jeeze! Last night's Gaga show was wild, and I didn't get home until 1am last night. Very late for a school night!

We had an awesome spot at the show about 10 people back from the end of the catwalk stage. There was lots of rocking out, showing your "paws" (pictured), flaming pianos and weird, weird outfits.

My getup - a bit hard to see here - included a pink wig, black birdcage hat, lots of pink makeup, glitter, big jewelry, black nail polish, a bold dress, red tights and silver shoes. I was under-dressed, overly-covered compared to a lot of the other fans!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Do: Gaga

My summer concert series continues tonight with Lady Gaga down in San Jose. A bunch of us from the office bought tickets back in Q1. My homemade costume (pink wig, black nails, big accessories) is nowhere near as good as those featured on Glee last season.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Round-Up: Outside Lands

Fun weekend! Outside Lands is a great summer tradition.

Quiet night on Friday. I made a pasta dinner and Rob and I rested up for the weekend ahead. Early start on Saturday morning. Just enough time for some coffee before having to catch the bus out to Golden Gate Park. I volunteered with the SFBC to provide bike parking at Outside Lands. To earn my free ticket, I had to work two shift. Bike parking from 10:30 to 4:30 straight!

Quite a workout! Our team tagged and parked over 700 bikes by the time I headed home. Rob had done the same volunteer job on Saturday, but at the Giants game instead. We arrived home at the same time. Olive tapenade and cheese for cocktail hour. Then breakfast for dinner with ham and red potatoes.

Another early start on Sunday for Rob. He dashed out for a quick volunteer session and I stayed in bed with coffee, dried apricots and the paper. I walked over to Whole Foods for a grocery run. When I returned, Rob was home too. We bundled up and hopped on the tandem out to the show.

First stop was The Devil Makes Three. We grabbed beers and walked through some of the corporate tents along the way. The Chase tent had a live performance by Dawes (named after our tandem bike?)

Next, we grabbed slices of Spicy Pie and walked over to the main stage to see Al Green perform. Super fun, lots of dancing and singing along as the sexagenarian passed out red roses to the crowd.

After he finished, we took the opportunity to move as close to the stage as possible for the Phoenix show. Rob braved the crowds to go grab beers while I defended my territory at the front. Amazing show! Like a scene from a movie - Rob and I were only about 20 people back from the stage, the sun was setting behind the band and everything was having a great time.

At one point, the lead singer popped up just about 10 feet from us and crowd-surfed back to the stage. Love, love, love this band.

We hit the road after Phoenix finished, passing by Damian Marley rocking out on stage. By now, the sky had legitimately cleared for the first time in weeks. Blue skies all the way back home on bike.

Friday, August 13, 2010

To Do: Outside Lands

Whoa, a dentist appointment on Thursday threw the rest of my week out the window. I'm a wimp - we already know this - but I wasn't expecting a small cavity to put me in such a funk.

But I'm on the mend and Outside Lands is this weekend! I'm volunteering with the Bike Coalition at the event on Saturday and then rocking out to Al Green, Pheonix, Kings of Leon and Damon Marley on Sunday. Our foggy climate will be a bonus this weekend - I love an outdoor music festival where you can wear a turtleneck.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Listen: Bay City Rollers

I have a full blown obsession with the Bay City Rollers this summer. Their tartan culotte ensembles are pretty much the most hideous clothing ever invented but songs like Saturday Night and Bye Bye Baby are pure fun.

Plus, I love the scene with this song in So I Married an Axe Murderer.

What to Wear: Memphis

Here's one of the get-ups I've brainstormed for the trip to Memphis in a few weeks. Maxi dresses are my favorite for staying cool but still covered up - this one has a rocker-edge.

Dress - A cotton jersey maxi dress with a tie-dye trim.
Boots - Classic cowboy boots will be a little warm, but are so worth it.
Purse- A leather satchel (this one is expensive) to match the boots.
Glasses - Aviators are a must.
Earrings - Beaded gold hoops.
Book - Biography of Elvis.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

This photo is from a few years, and one boat, ago. We had this tug for most of my junior-high and high-school days. Very fond memories of chugging around Morro Bay, spotting otters, having bonfires on the sand dunes.

My dad's love of boats has brought a significant amount of adventure, good memories and apoxy-mixing skills to my life. Thanks to him, I have sea legs that serve me on dry land as well.

Today, he celebrates another year full of boating! At 81, still very "yar" himself. Happy birthday, dad!

What to Wear: Shorts

I - usually a most ardent anti-shorts crusader - have started wearing shorts this summer. I found an adorable, inexpensive khaki pair at Therapy in North Beach a few months ago. The catch is, I only wear them when paired with black tights. A look that works with my pale, twiggy legs and keeps me from freezing to death in the city (no joke, it's 54 degrees outside right now).

On Saturday night, I paired the shorts with tights, boots, a gray v-neck tee, black sweater and long necklace for a summer rock-concert look matched with my own style. Yvette wore striped arm-warmers, which was awesome.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Inspired: Sweet Peas

I had no idea sweet peas came in this dark purple color. For $5, I picked up two giant bunches from a local grower at the farmer's market. It was enough for two table arrangements, a small bunch for my bedside and another for the downstairs bathroom.

They're summery with a mysterious edge, a little like this cold, windy season we're having in the city.

Weekend Round-Up: City Punks

What a funny weekend this was, a mixture of boredom and wild times!

Friday night, Rob and I went for a bike ride after work. Great practice for me on my new bike. We rode along the water around to the market and back home. Nachos (made healthier with the addition of sunflower seeds, kale, fresh guacamole and tomatoes) and some homemade brownies.

Rob headed off early on Saturday morning for a ride with the Mission team. I slept in while waiting for the fog to burn off. A quick jaunt to the Ferry Building farmer's market during the only few hours of sun and warmth during the weekend. I bought dark purple, almost navy, sweet peas, heirloom potatoes, a loaf of pain epi and a new book before heading home again.

Rob returned from his 70 mile ride pretty exhausted. Lunch and a rest before Margaret arrived in the afternoon. We left Rob at home to recover and went to SFMOMA to visit the new Fisher collection and have a snack in the cafe.

At 6:30, Rob and I bundled up for a night out with my close family friend, and former nanny, Yvette. We rode our bike across town to have a delicious Italian dinner at Poesia in the Castro. I had farfalle with stuffed zucchini blossoms, grilled squid and a blueberry cheesecake tart. Yum!

After dinner, we walked over to Cafe du Nord to catch the Classics of Love show. A broken water pipe threatened to end the evening early but all was saved by emergency plumbing work and mopping. The show was only postponed for about an hour. I'm not much of a punk afficianado, but I had a great time in the front row rocking out with Yvette and a bunch of teenagers.

Toward the end of the set, a lively mosh pit got going and I was accidentally crushed between a few teenagers and the stage (I dumped my drink on the guitarist in the fall). We stuck around for the start of the Phenomenauts show and then called it a night. Back home on the bike through heavy, cold mist.

The next morning, I woke to found some pretty massive lumps on my knees and thigh from the mosh accident. Nothing serious, but it looks like my kneecaps had a run in with a mobster and baseball bat. Breakfast and the Sunday paper. The fog never burned off, but Rob and I decided to attempt an outting on bike. I made it to the bike store and REI before coming back home and calling it quits. The rest of the day was spent watching an old movie, napping and reading with my knees wrapped in ace bandages.

Friday, August 06, 2010


What week! This was officially the week when my crazy start-up job took over my life. It's been fun, but I'm glad to have a chance to catch my breath this weekend.

A family friend is coming into town tomorrow for a rock show at Cafe du Nord. Other than that we don't have anything planned. Maybe a hunt for a used bookstore in North Beach? A few bike rides. Maybe the sun will even make an appearance in this, the coldest summer ever.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I'm Headed to Memphis!

Labor Day weekend, you'll find me and six friends at Graceland!

As part of the continuing Tour de Awesome for our 30th birthdays - Tour de Jackie will take our group of friends from junior high days to Memphis. Jackie has an Elvis obsession and has always wanted to go.

We have a minivan rented, our hotel has a guitar-shaped pool and Kerry from I Love Memphis is hooking us up with roller derby tickets.

And I have a third pair of cowboy boots from Margaret to add to my collection and figure out how to cram in my carry-on. Because you can be certain that I will dress ridiculously/appropriately in theme for the entire weekend.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Inspired: Husband

My darling husband has become quite the bike celebrity these past months. He rides with some pretty big names, supervises with the Bicycle Coalition and has started a hilarious blog called WrongBike.com.

All this earned him a profile on Bikes and The City today as part of a series "honoring the fine men that roam the city." He's a super star!

Ladies Activity Club: Japanese Night

We had a fun LAC party last night. Everyone has been so busy lately, it was great to relax for a few hours together. Yvonne and her sister, Hannah, hosted eight of us for a night of sushi-making and origami.

Drinks -Cocktails of Japanese mango juice and plum wine, sake, sapporo beer and punch.

Food - Rice crackers, nori crackers, chocolate poki sticks and mochi treats.

Activities - First up: sushi! We made gourmet rolls combining sushi rice, nori sheets, salmon, cucumber, avocado, sesame seeds, wasabi and sriracha. As we got more adventuresome - rice crackers, endive, radishes, wasabi peas and more made it into the creations. The night's hit was Amy's "mojito roll" - with salmon, cucumber, sesame seeds, lime and mint leaves.

After the sushi-fest, we moved on to origami. Hannah showed the group how to make puffy paper stars and cranes. Each pattern took us forever to complete because we'd start detailed conversations in between folds.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Recipe: Greek Salad

Not usually my favorite thing - this greek salad was a happy accident when I didn't have the right ingredients. No kalamata olives or onions to overwhelm - the result is lighter and more balanced than most I've tried. The mint is key. I could make this every day.

Greek Salad
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
1 cucumber
2 tomatoes
1/4 cup of feta cheese
6 fresh mint leaves
2 stalks of fresh parsley

1 clove of garlic
Juice from 1/4 lime
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

Peel, seed and chop the cucumber. Seed and chop the tomatoes. Rinse and chop the herbs. Combine ingredients in a large bowl. For appearances, you might add the feta last - but I think it tastes best to add at the start.

Next, the dressing! Microplane the garlic into a small bowl. Add the lime juice, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and whip with a fork. Dump the delicious, garlic-y dressing over the cucumber mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes and serve.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Weekend Round-Up: Mellow

A nice restful weekend! I love it when we're in the city for the weekend without too many plans.

On Friday, I went out with a group from work to Dada. I can't keep up with those kids! Rob swung by on the bike to pick my up and we grabbed take out from Henry's Hunan for dinner.

Saturday morning, a lazy time at the apartment - spinning on the bike and getting organized. At lunch, I walked down to the ballpark to bring Rob lunch (he was volunteering with Bike Coalition). One of the few sunny spots in the city - the boaters were taking full advantage.

In the afternoon, Rob and I rode down to the Metreon to see Inception with a few cream puffs from Beard Papa. Great movie - super long, and likely to have a weird impact on your dreams, but great! Back home for a late night taco and guacamole dinner.

Up early on Sunday to read the paper with some coffee before heading to the Outer Richmond by bike. Our good friends, Seth and Amy, are moving to the city so we went to help them settle in their new apartment.

Lunch on the lawn at Park Chalet. They have the best bloody mary's in town by far.

From there, Rob and I pedaled over to Sports Basement and then to Fort Mason to meet Margaret at the Renegade Craft Fair. Overwhelming amount of crafty goodness - lots of laser-cut wood earrings, letterpress cards, screenprinted onesies, posters and felt dolls. My favorite was a booth with free-form embroidery.

Back home from the crafts with Margaret in tow. I made a big salad and we ordered pizza while watching Where the Wild Things Are on blu-ray. Strange film, beautifully made.