Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ladies Activity Club: Wine Tasting

The Ladies Activity Club met on Tuesday this week for wine tasting, food and crafts. Elizabeth hosted a great event!

Wine Tasting: A blind tasting of four zinfandels. We tasted each and tried to match each it to the descriptions. Then to tried guessing which was the most expensive. I was wrong (so wrong) with every single pick.

Food: homemade chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and a lemon tarte, truffle salt popcorn, melon with smoked duck, cheese and crackers.

Craft: Wine charms were so easy to make with beads and earring hoops!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bored to Death

Have you been watching Bored to Death on HBO? I love, love this show - with all its Woody Allen-inspired, nostalgic, Manhattan-noir, funny-ness. Jason Schwartzman is classic.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dinner: Garden Salad

Yum, we've had this for dinner two nights in a row now. A giant garden salad with broccoli, carrots, avocado, radish and sunflower seeds tossed in balsamic dressing. Topped with crunchy garlic bread on the side made with Acme pain epi and asiago cheese.

On the side, a light mojito made with fresh satsuma oranges and mint.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: On a Mission

We ate SO much this weekend. Whenever we're together with Jackie and Pierre, the best food follows. The fun kicked off on Friday night - Jackie and Margaret came out with us to celebrate Rob's birthday at Tadich Grill. We feasted on artichokes, cioppino, sea bass, steak and cocktails while sitting at the bar at this classic place on a rainy night.

Saturday morning, we had toast and coffee at home and then drove across town. Margaret was arranged to babysit my young second cousin, Keira. We picked up the baby and walked down to brunch at Beretta in the Mission. We just stumbled in to this place - but it was delicious. French toast with berries and mascarpone, potatoes with sausage and gruyere and a breakfast pizza.

Back home at 2:00. We met up with Rob and walked through Chinatown for a bit of shopping. Herbs, kitchen tools and a fish for Rob's office.

We swung back by Rob's office on the way home to get the fish settled. I gave him this swanky modern tank for his birthday. Copyedited a press release for his boss and hit the pavement again.

Jackie's boyfriend, Pierre, arrived in the evening and we bundled up for a cab across town. The plan was to hit up an independent movie screening in the Mission - but when we got there, the time was pushed back an hour. Impromptu Vietnamese dinner at Sunflower. Spring rolls, bbq pork vermicelli, garlic noodles, curry chicken, black rice and lemongrass tofu.

Back to the movie screening an hour later. Unfortunately, the film was less than good. After a long hour and a failed attempt at the emergency exit in the back, we had to sneak out past the eager director guarding the door. Poor guy. Subway home and then a couple sidewalk crepes from the wagon in our neighborhood: strawberry nutella for us, banana, almond, honey for the others. Margaret headed home. The rest watched a late movie at home.

Coffee and dried fruit on Sunday morning with the paper. Margaret came over at 10 and we walked over to Red's for a greasy breakfast.

From there, down along the water to the Ferry Building. Rob and I bought a new kettle and everyone picked up bread at Acme.

At home, I made small sandwiches for our guests to take on the road and we said our goodbyes. Margaret walked with Rob and me to the civic center farmer's market and then peeled off on her own. Quick stop at Whole Foods on the walk back and then Safeway for even more groceries. Yes, four stops for groceries in one day - but very much needed for stocking up between rain storms.

Tea, oranges and a quiet dinner at home, with lots of fresh veggies and crunchy fresh rolls. BIG week ahead, so expect blogging to be light for the next few days.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Rob!

To my very favorite person ever: 5 things that are wonderful about you in celebration of your birthday:

1. Spirit of adventure. Its hard to believe how many places we've gone and things we've seen. This photo of Yellowstone "cocktail hour" during our road-trip honeymoon is a favorite.

2. Your fine romance. Example: when you carved a heart in the snow bank with your pole when we were exhausted, soaking wet and bruised at the end of our long ski last weekend.

3. Good day sunshine. Every morning, you wake me up by saying "up, up, up" and make coffee for our breakfast while we sit by the window. I'm not a morning person, but I love this ritual.

4. Manly man. Archery, hiking, skiing, disaster response, mountain biking, duct tape, rock climbing - you love all the manly things in life. But you still gladly go to the opera with me and visit the Alameda antique fair.

5. Friend-for-all. So admirably kind and generous to our friends. Always ready to help with a move, dress up for a dinner party, fly to Graceland, pick out the perfect new bike, arrange chairs for a wedding or give a toast.

Happy birthday, darling!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspired:Bookshelf Stairs

If we owned instead of rented this apartment, I would be super tempted to replace the spiral staircase with this beauty.

Spotted on Charles & Hudson.

LAC City Guide: What to Free

San Francisco has so many fun free things to do! Here are the top six free activities recommended by the Ladies Activity Club:

1. Dolores Park Movie Night - Take advantage of San Francisco's late summer with a free movies in the park.

2. Conservatory of Flowers - Visit the beautiful victorian greenhouse gardens for free every 1st Tuesday of the month.

3. Secret Slides - Several small parks in the city are equipped with terrifying-fast, wonderfully-fun cement slides. Try your hand at Seward and Bernal.

4. San Francisco Public Library - There are 27 branches in the city (plus more bookmobiles), most with a theme to match the neighborhood.

5. City Walks - Affiliated with the library, this group leads as many as 20 volunteer led historical walks in the city each day. Wear sneakers!

6. Stern Grove - A beautiful park that is a hidden redwood forest in the south end of town. It fills up with a free concert series in the summer that has been going since 1938.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Inspired: Rabbit Print

With it being year of the rabbit and headed toward Easter, I've had lots of bunnies on the brain. I found this little grey guy in my research for the engraving I made a couple weekends ago. So adorable!

Created by the very talented Secret Nest on Etsy.

To Do: Snow Cave

Add this to the list of random things I know how to do thanks to Rob: make a snow cave. On Sunday afternoon, there was lots of snow and not much to do. So we took a shovel to the giant drift behind our host's house and made, in 45-minutes a pretty cozy little igloo.

Here are instructions for making your own snow cave.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: Skiing

Sorry for the radio silence, Rob and I went to Tahoe for a long weekend. Our hut trip was cancelled by extreme weather, but it didn't stop us from getting outside. On Sunday and Monday, we mucked about on backcountry skis in 4+ feet of fresh powder with friends.

This photo is of Rob breaking fresh trail near Donner lake during a rare sunny moment. We got in about 6 miles of this. All in all, a great trip with hot-tubbing, shared meals and lots, and lots, of snow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What to Wear: Florals

I don't wear a lot of purple, but this floral dress caught my eye in the window at Macy's. Perfect timing for flower week!

Dress - Only $69, this floral dress is by Kinder Aggugini for a special Macy's line.
Sweater - Dark gray cardigan with pockets is a good topper for the dress at the office.
Shoes - Black suede platform pumps.
Bag - In eggplant from Cole Haan. On sale but still pricey.
Sunglasses - The spring sun can be so bright!
Necklace - Rose cut green amethyst with a gold chain from Etsy.
Bracelets - Gold bangles from Max & Chloe.

Flower Week: Violet

Delicate little purple violets (are they violets? not sure) are matched with a silver and topaz ring.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Flower Week: Checker-bloom

Checker-bloom is a little bold, a little free. To match: a vintage 1960's mauve dress modeled with moxie on Etsy.

Flower Week: Goldenfields

This yellow wildflower is appropriately named for the way pops-up in little bunches of yellow confetti. To match: A grey, white and yellow belted dress from Nordstrom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flower Week: White and Brown

I couldn't find the name of these tiny white and brown blooms anywhere online. They were quite abundant on the hike. To match: A pair of white menswear inspired pumps with brown leather and ribbon detail from Isaac Mizrahi.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Flower Week!

Between the flowers out on Saturday and Bouquets to Art coming up in a few days, this week is already all about the flowers. Let's make it official! For a challenge, all week I'll be paring clothes with the wildflowers I saw in bloom over the weekend.

Here's the first, I think it's a very light example of Blue-Eyed Grass. To match: a striped lavender dress from BCBG.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: Mellow

Pretty lazy this weekend. With the disaster news, storm rolling through town and a headache - it was nice to stay inside and rest.

Mellow Friday night. I swung by Rob's office to walk with him home from work. Dinner of broccoli, green olive and pepita pasta, my current favorite. Up early on Saturday morning for cereal, coffee and grapefruit while catching up on the earthquake news. Thankfully, our friends in Japan checked in to say they are fine.

Out early to go hike at San Bruno Mountain, a few miles south of the city. What a pretty trail! And full of all kinds of wildflowers, which I'll share with you this week. We did a four mile loop.

A few errands on the way home and ran into the St. Patrick's Day parade passing through our neighborhood. A big plate of nachos for lunch. In the afternoon, I went with Rob to his office to catch up on work for an hour.

Left Rob at the office and grabbed a frozen yogurt on the walk home. Soaked in a hot bath with the week's New Yorker. I kicked off my Easter craft project in the afternoon. Ink all over the place! Rob came home and Margaret took the bus over. We walked downtown to see Rango with popcorn and Icees. I liked this film a lot, but wouldn't recommend it for kids.

Up late thanks to Daylight Savings on Sunday. Read the paper in bed and made a big breakfast of ham with fingerling potatoes topped with fried egg.

Rob taught me how to use our sewing machine after breakfast. Yes, he's the one in the house who knows how to tame the bobbin monster. I sewed up a bunch of my easter crafts, with marginally decent results.

Out in the drizzling rain around lunch for some errands downtown. We stopped at the Boudin's at Macy's for lunch of clam chowder in sourdough breadbowls. Back home to exercise, sew more and get organized. I made grilled tofu over quinoa and giant artichokes for dinner.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Safety First's been quite the 24-hours. I rushed home last night after a co-worker told me the apartment building next to ours had billowing black smoke pouring out. An hour and about 15 fire trucks later, they had put out a car fire in the garage and we all were saved. No real damage beyond the stress of standing out on the street worrying with neighbors, dogs, kids and cats in carriers.

And, then in the middle of last night, emergency text messages from the city telling us to prepare for tsunami after the devastating earthquake in Japan. So far, it looks like we're fine. I'm worried about my friends living in Japan.

These disasters are a reminder of the importance of having plans and supplies in place for the worst case scenarios.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

LAC City Guide: What to Splurge

For our third edition of the San Francisco LAC, let's get dolled up for some fanciest fun things to do in the city.

1. Chez Spencer - My personal favorite little French hideaway in the city. If you were throwing a courthouse wedding followed by a dinner in a private dining room, this would be my pick.

2. Tea at the Rotunda - Take a favorite lady in your life for afternoon tea at Neiman Marcus under a stained-glass dome overlooking Union Square.

3. Lunch at LaMar - Enjoy a pisco sour and Peruvian cebiche at this swanky waterfront restaurant. Sit in the heated patio on a comfy sofa.

4. Commonwealth - The tasting menu at this Mission restaurant is supposed to be amazing. Foodie heaven with lots of of creative dishes.

5. The Opera - Season tickets to the San Francisco Opera are a fantastic luxury. Such a beautiful theater and amazing talent.

6. Burke Williams - A 2 hour massage at this high-end spa would be pure bliss. And it's right in the Westfield Center, so you can get a cream puff on the way home.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Inspired: Koi Graffiti

On the sidewalks around Cafe Flore, there are koi fish swimming by. Street artist Jeremy Novy has spray painted the fish around the planters and wooden benches. The effect, especially on a rainy Sunday, is delightful.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Purchased: Table!

To our patient friends who have crowded around the too-small, not-that-sturdy dinning room table we've had for the past 8 years: something new!

I found this wonderful mid-century modern teak table on Craigslist Saturday night and bought it Sunday morning. Originally purchased in the 1950's, it came over from Denmark with the person who grew up eating on it as a child, sold to a Frenchman in the Castro and then to me. Perfect timing with the annual 1906 Earthquake blackout dinner coming up in April. With the two leaves on, it is a full ten feet long and will easily seat the 12+ we so often have for that dinner.

I'm going to need more chairs!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: Tag Sale

This was a mellow weekend; a much needed break after a very busy week at work. Quiet night on Friday since we had to get up early the next day.

I dropped Rob off for a camping trip with his friend Peter at 8 am. And swung back from Cole Valley to Russian Hill to pick up Margaret for the Oakland White Elephant sale. We got there about an hour early and waited in a long line to get in at 10. They had some publicity this year and it was packed. Four hours later, we emerged dazed with some treasures. Vintage stationary and a mustard silk scarf were my favorite finds.

I was still exhausted from the long week and took a nap once I got home. After that, two hours of working out while watching the TED talks on Hulu. I made a big healthy dinner and spent the evening working on a rabbit engraving for Easter.

Late at night, I took a quick look at Craigslist and found a major treasure. A dining room table! I spoke with the owner an arranged a time in the morning for a closer look.
A rainy Sunday morning. I had a couple hours in the morning to read the paper and eat breakfast of coffee and yogurt with cherries and almonds.

There was trouble with our garage, so Margaret came to get me in a Zip Car. Visited the lovely table and turned over a check immediately, more details coming soon. We swung by the Castro on the way home and then parted ways when she returned the car. We met up again at The Grove to share a breakfast burrito for lunch.

Rob called to say he was headed home early due to the rain. Margaret and I booked it to farmer's market by subway. Still wintery, although there were a few expensive strawberries for sale. I bought beets, turnips, pea greens, broccoli, kale and grapefruit.

Back to The Grove to meet up with Rob having some lunch. Then home to the apartment stopping at the art store. Rob and I sat down to watch a movie, but both fell asleep. In the evening, I worked on printing the rabbit engraving on fabric and making a big dinner of pasta with lentils, kale, green olives and pepitas.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Inspired: Grasses

I love these antique botanical prints of British grasses. Don't they seem so fresh and modern for March? The prints are only $24 each online.

To Do: Simple dinner

Olive bread from Acme toasted with some melted cheese and a giant salad with parsnips and pumpkin seeds. A cold glass of Guinness and some gourmet olives compliments the whole thing.

I love this kind of simple meal.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

What to Wear: Botanical

All those garden explorations last weekend have me inspired for an outfit with a lot of green and a hint of plant biology. I would wear this to the office any day.

Dress - Such a pretty green color. And I love the military-inspired rolled sleeves.
Belt - In braided brown leather, this is a super versatile style with dresses.
Jacket - A loose blazer that can work as a smock.
Shoes - Platform pumps might not work for the greenhouse.
Bracelet - A woven bangle.
Scissors - These Chinese bonsai scissors are a favorite for my own garden.
Journal - With an organic leaf print for your field notes.