Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Do: Friendship Bracelets

I've now got the hang of making these classic bracelets from embroidery floss. Rob's wearing the first one - in brown and blue - and Margaret has the second - in pink and orange.

The HonestlyWTF instructions are easy to follow, once you get started. Having the thread taped down firmly on a board is a major help.

The bracelets are such a perfect accessory for summer!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From Farm to Table: Part 2

...and I don't even particularly like collard greens!

So, back from the farm and with a couple pounds of super leafy collard greens. Margaret and I found a recipe for collard green pesto on Tuesday night.

The whole thing made even more "organic" by my inability to find the food processor. We chopped the pesto by hand. The final result was delicious!

With the leftover pesto, you could easily make a lovely crostini for guests.

From Farm to Table: Part 1

Hooray for Alemany Farm! This four acre organic farm is tucked away in San Francisco by the 280 freeway in Bernal Heights and run entirely by volunteers.

Rob, Trent and I so enjoyed our tour of the farm on Saturday. We saw the french-style vegetable rows, the fruit tree orchard and garden-style terraces. And sampled strawberries and ground cherries while walking around. We even tasted pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven made with ingredients from the farm.

And at the end of the day, we were invited to take home some freshly picked veggies. And that's how we ended up with a huge amount of collard greens...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Inspired: Emmy's

Rob and I ran across Emmy's in the Mission during our bike tour on Saturday. After a few taste tests of the wonderful pickles and jam - we decided on two jars of jalapeno jelly. One for us and the other decorated with ribbons and herbs for our dinner hostess.

The spicy, sweet jelly is so good with cream cheese on crackers!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: Around the Bay

We spent this weekend celebrating summer with friends all around the bay. To start, Friday night ping pong and bean tacos with Margaret:

We watched Justin Biber: Never Say Never - and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! Kid has talent.
Saturday morning, Rob left early to volunteer with the bike coalition. I had a lazy morning while making chicken soup and friendship bracelets. At 10:30, I walked over to meet Rob at the Ferry Building. Mmm, blueberry scone:

Rob signed us and Trent up for a bicycle tour covering the history of food in the city. We started downtown with talks about coffee and produce. The over to the Mission for the old mayonnaise and twinkie factories.

From there, to Mission Pies and a wonderful urban farm to learn about new ways the city is creating fresh food. A wonderful way to spend 4 hours exploring the city by bike.

Home in the afternoon for a quick cleanup and then on to BART to head to Oakland. Elizabeth from Sophisticated Pie invited us for a lovely Mexican BBQ. Delicious dinner with excellent company - and we had a lot of fun making churros for dessert.

Sunday morning, Rob and Trent went for a bike ride. I headed out to farmer's market - but it was cancelled with the Pride festivities. Nice sunny walk, at least. We met up at home and then walked down to Red's for veggie burgers by the bay.

We walked around, looking at boats, before Trent had to head back to Oakland for studying.

Another quick break at home. Out again, this time by car, to San Anselmo to visit with our friends Matt and Amber. They moved to Seattle in the fall with their twin boys, so it was nice to catch up. Dinner out at a great Mexican restaurant:

Finally, a nice sunset drive back to San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Inspired: Friendship Braclets

This is happening. Thanks to Hey, Stop It and HonestlyWTF I'm going to make my first ever friendship bracelets this weekend. Want one?

It doesn't hurt at all that I already have the nailpolish, round gold buttons and oxford shirt pictured in this photo for inspiration.

To Do: Go Out to Eat

What a week! We've been out and about almost every night this week for lovely dinners. On Monday, we biked across town in the warm weather and had dinner at The Tipsy Pig.

Wednesday night, dinner at Anchor and Hope (the calamari is so good!) and a Kooks show at Slims.

And Thursday night, over to Emeryville for a tour of the Clif Bar headquarters and then to Sea Salt in Berkeley for oysters and clam chowder on the sunny patio.

Whew! This is why I like to stay home on Friday nights...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beach House Style: Tahoe Cottage

For our latest beach house, let's head to the lakefront instead of the beach! This little red cottage is in Lake Tahoe. Details, clockwise, from the photo:

  1. Cabin - A little old fashioned cabin for rent right on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.
  2. Blanket - A Pendleton classic inspired by Native American design, rugged enough to take to the beach.
  3. Ping pong - An American summer must-have!
  4. Pitcher - Such a lovely antique find in red enamel with a wicker handle, on Etsy.
  5. Bikini - With a dash of vintage style from J.Crew.
  6. Shirt - Rough and tumble chambray top for canoeing around the lake.
  7. Necklace - A tiny gold star with your initial seems like a summer camp souvenir for grownups.
  8. Book - An old copy of Catcher in the Rye would be just right.
  9. Chair - An adirondack made from recycled materials.
  10. Lantern - For evenings on the porch.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To Do: Ping Pong

Rob and I have taken on ping pong as our summer hobby! We bought a tabletop set that uses our dining room table as a base. It's far too small, but helps level the playing field since Rob is pretty good from his college dorm days.

It's the perfect thing for this week's unusually warm nights in San Francisco. Happy first day of summer!

More photos of celebrities playing ping pong here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recipe: Mountain Play Picnic

We had a wonderful spread of food with us at Mountain Play this year. Such an easy menu too:

Cold roast chicken - Picked up from Whole Foods
Pasta salad - Orecchiette with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes
Rolls - Acme pain epi makes delicious little sandwiches
Cheese - Bermuda Triangle from Cypress Grove
Mustard - Everything is better with truffle mustard
Snacks - Grapes, carrots, hummus, chips, olives, cornichons
Dessert - Little sugar cookies dipped in Nutella
Drinks - Sparkling water with lemon, sparkling lemonade, rosé and white wine.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: Roam

Perfect summer weekend! Warm weather and a lot of lazy adventures with friends. On Friday, I was completely worn out from the week and went into sick-mode. I watched A Room With a View (love), ate macaroni and cheese and read Period Piece.

On Saturday, Trent called early asking us if we wanted to get breakfast. Over to the Ferry Building by bike for gourmet treats.

From breakfast, we rode down through SOMA to Mint Plaza for Blue Bottle Coffee. They were having a Bring your Own Dog event complete with drag queen and dancers dressed up like dogs - only in San Francisco!

From there, we rode our bikes down to the Mission for Rebecca's pop-up shop of art and vintage clothes. Great event. Around to some of the Valencia Street shops and up to Papalote for delicious burritos for lunch.

Back home to drop off the bikes and walk over to see Super 8 at the IMAX theater. I didn't love it, scary movies aren't for me. Trent headed home. Rob and I went to Whole Foods for picnic supplies. At home, we played ping pong until late at night.

Up early again on Sunday, this time to pack the car and head out to Mountain Play. I picked up Margaret, Jonathan and Rebecca and we drove to Mount Tam, arriving before 11:00 to nab a good spot for the 2:00 show. Rob and Trent rode their bikes over and met us a half hour before the show. Big picnic and plenty of hydration for the hot temperatures.

Hairspray was this year's show and wonderfully produced. And the 30-mile views of Sausalito, Tiburon and Alameda were amazing too!

Down the hill and home again to the sunny city. I met Rob back at home after his ride. Hot baths and more ping pong!

Friday, June 17, 2011

To Do: Mountain Play

This has been a crazy, classic San Francisco week. I've had only raw seafood and wine for dinner the last three days between work events and dinners out with old friends. Props to Anchor and Hope's oysters and La Mar's cebiche.

And the summer weather has been ideal, breezy high 60's and sunny. Perfect conditions for a relaxing picnic at Mountain Play this weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

French table linens look so cheery and light for summer. I've been inspired by the collections at Williams-Sonoma and Petite Provence.

Just right for a light salad and white wine lunch with friends.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Inspired: The Beast

This little fluffy puppy is more famous and more wealthy than we'll ever be. The Beast is Zuckerberg's new dog and already has almost 140,000 fans on Facebook. So cute!

I don't normally pine after dogs. But this photo makes me want to buy a half dozen and walk around like the Queen, with a pack trailing me everywhere I go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: BBQ

It was nice to get out of town this weekend and experience the start of summer in a place that's actually warm! (PS: thanks to Trent for the party photos after I forgot my camera)

After a quiet night at home on Friday, Rob and I woke up early on Saturday. Coffee at home before walking over to the Ferry Building to pick up our order of rolls from Acme Bread and fresh flowers from the farmer's market. Quick hello to friends and then back home to load up the car with party supplies.

We picked up Margaret in North Beach and Trent in Berkeley and were on our way. Ahead of schedule, the group decided to stop for lunch in the old downtown Vacaville. We walked the little farmer's market and ate at a cute Mexican restaurant called Los Reyes.

Onward from there to Davis to start the graduation/engagement party preparations. Cleaning, finishing the bunting, flower arranging, test driving the burgers, stocking the coolers and other quick tasks. The blue and yellow bunting Margaret made came out so well!

Grad students and friends started to arrive at 5:30 and the grill heated up quickly. Plenty of cold drinks to be had while Trent and I manned the grill, cooking up black bean, turkey and beef burgers.

Once each patty was finished, we cut it into four and put two pieces in a teeny Acme roll. A big condiment spread inside encouraged innovation. The results were delicious! My favorite was a turkey slider with cheese, jalapeno hummus and guacamole. And a nice cooler of raspberry lemonade with mint and beer on the side.

After all 100 (!) sliders were devoured by the party, we moved to the front lawn for a surprise. Rob had picked up a dolphin pinata during the day and loaded it with treats for the science crowd. The kids went first, and then Jackie and Pierre finished it up.

Big buffet of pies, cakes and cookies after dinner. We ended the evening with sparklers in the yard around 10:00. A very successful event! To Jackie's house to spend the night.

Breakfast of leftover apple pie Margaret had made and coffee the next morning. At 10:30, we loaded in the car and headed home. Quick stop at the Farm at Putah Creek, where Jean and Trent were married on our way out of town. Feeling the "call of the road" - we looked for adventures to be had on the way home and decided to start at the classic Marmot store in Berkeley. From there, we wandered to some antique stores and to the Oakland flea market.

Lunch at a vegan tacqueria in the neighborhood (tasty, but the salsa was so, so spicy!). Over to Lake Merritt to drop off Trent and then home again. Quiet afternoon with baths and cleaning to prepare for the week ahead.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Inspired: Acme Bread

Why would I ever need to learn to bake with Acme Bread just down the block?

I went last night to order 100 of their teeny rolls (about the size of a golf ball) for sliders at the BBQ this weekend. The staff there is so helpful and the prices are very reasonable.

Those beautiful pain epis are my downfall!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Party Recipe: Graduation (+ Engagement!)

Margaret and I planned to throw a casual graduation party this weekend. And yesterday - it turned into an engagement party as well! So excited: Jackie is the last of our group to finish school - with her Ph.D. after years of studying Dengue Fever. Her new fiancé, Pierre, is graduating with a Ph.D. in mathematics. Blue and yellow are the school colors and the inspiration for the event:

- Make your own mini-sliders with baby rolls from Acme Bread. Tiny burgers with a huge spread of condiments for customization. Chips, veggie spreads and homemade pies. The graduation cap candies are adorable, but way too complicated.

- Lemonade with fun paper straws. Cold beer.

- Simple yellow and white flower arrangements. Bunting in yellow and blue. Blue and white linens. Sparklers.

- We're thinking about a "tie-required" photobooth for the soon to be grown-ups, stocked with the world's ugliest ties if possible.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

To Do: Easy Pickles

The old Gourmet Magazine recipe for pickled carrots is an easy win in the summer. I don't bother blanching the carrots first and split this batch between carrots and green beans. The recipe is even better if you have fresh dill instead of dill seed.

Toss everything in a pretty jar, refrigerate for 24-hours and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What to Wear: Iceland Wedding

Maya wrote in with an awesome request:
I'm going to a wedding that will be outdoors, on a glacial lagoon in Iceland (Jökulsárlón) in a couple of weeks and am at complete loss for what to wear! The wedding website says to dress for warmth, not style, but I still want to look cute. The temperature will be around 40 degrees F and shoes should be waterproof, or at least semi-practical.
I'm not on a tight budget, but would like to be reasonable (i.e. no $300 dresses). I'm pretty petite and a size 4-6, so I can wear most styles. The only color that would be a no-go is yellow since it looks terrible on my light skin-tone. It looks like just a quick ceremony will be outside, then the reception will be indoors.
Love this challenge! Might as well invest in some winter basics for next year while shopping for this trip. There are some great sales to be had during the summer. The grey, pink, navy and purple of this combination is inspired by icebergs:

Dress - A long sleeved number to give you a little bit more coverage. On sale for $100.
Coat - A dove grey coat in wool for warmth.
Gloves - Love these ballet pink Italian leather gloves!
Headband - Pink beaded band in a leaf design from Etsy for $20.
Boots - Invest in a pair of Wellies to wear on the ice and then cherish next winter.
Shoes - These pink leather pumps are adorable, and surprisingly from Ivanka Trump.
Clutch - In navy satin.
Puffin - Provided.

Photo of Iceland for inspiration from birgirfreyr

Recipe: Greek Salad

I could eat gallons of this salad each summer!

Greek salad
Serves two as a meal or 4 as a side

3 medium tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 cup of choy sum (or greens of your choice)
1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup of crumbled feta

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, microplaned
1 teaspoon of lime or lemon juice
Tiny bit of truffle mustard (I just dip the fork)
Salt & pepper

Chop your tomatoes (removing the seeds) and cucumber (keeping them) and add the basil and choy sum. Mix your dressing with a fork and toss over the salad. Top with a good amount of feta cheese and dive in. It's even better if you have the patience to let it sit for 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.

Beach House Style: Anini Beach

For today's Hawaii cottage, let's drive south from Hanalei to Anini Beach, a long stretch of coast with lots of snorkeling.

  1. Bedding - Mid-century inspired bird pillowcases.
  2. Cottage - A little one-bedroom beach spot with a jacuzzi..
  3. Glasses - Perfect for a Mai Tai from West Elm.
  4. Necklace - Gold pendant from Max & Chloe.
  5. Vase - In imperial yellow.
  6. Doormat - Made of black river stones.
  7. Bikini - Light blue bandeau top.
  8. Book - Assouline's coffee table book on tropical island hotels would be full of inspiration.
  9. Chair - Isometric chair in sustainable bamboo.
  10. Cushion - Woven floor cushion from Ikea.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Weekend Round-Up: June Gloom

A big rainstorm passed through town this weekend, making it feel more like January than June. But the weather didn't slow us down too badly. On Friday night, I attended a swanky work party aboard a private yacht.

Walked back home around 11, along with huge crowds of baseball fans leaving the game. My vintage white fox collar and silk dress didn't exactly blend in with the sporty crowd.

I was pretty lazy on Saturday morning. Rob had appointments and volunteering scheduled around town - but I stayed out of the rain, reading and watching Love in the Afternoon.

Rob came home and we had lunch together at home before walking over to SFMOMA for the new Picasso exhibit. Great collection and very long - we only made it through half before the museum closed for the evening. We met up with Margaret for an early sushi dinner at Sanraku. And then tried to see Paris at Midnight, but it was sold out. Next try...a comedy show? Also sold out. A different movie across town in 10 minutes? Walked too slowly. Cocktails at a rooftop bar? All booked up. With four strikes - but a lot of pleasant walking around the city - we headed back to the apartment. With some fun music playing, Margaret and I browsed magazines and party planned by candlelight in the kitchen:

And then had an impromptu sparkler party on the patio:

Sean dropped by for a nightcap and some chocolates on his way home. Nice way to end the evening!

Sunday morning, we had Acme bread, fried eggs with Siracha and coffee in bed with the paper. Rob and I got the tandem out for a big grocery run. We visited farmer's market first: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherries, choy sum, basil, dill, oranges, nectarines and plums!

To Whole Foods next for some basics and then home again. I made a big Greek salad for lunch with lemon hummus and pretzel chips on the side. A few drizzles, but no thunderstorms and hail as was predicted.

Rob and I walked over to the movie theater again and we we're turned away by big crowds. A little bargain shopping at Gap - love their 40% off sale items discounts on the weekend. We circled back and finally managed to get movie tickets for the 5:30 show and, after a quick wait, had a wonderful time watching Midnight in Paris. I always love Woody Allen - especially his films in the fancy-families-having-philosophical-adventures-abroad category.

Dinner at home, steak, cauliflower with dill and a green salad. Cherries for dessert!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Book Report: So Many

I've been reading a lot lately, it's been wonderful. Interestingly, all but one with a woman author (didn't notice that until now). Let's see what I have for your summer reading lists:

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey - Great book. A must-read for any hard working 30-something woman. A great mix of humor, advice and Liz Lemon-style antics. I'm sure you've already read it too!

The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart - A classic mystery set at a summer rental mansion in New England. A bit hard to follow in places, but so fun. I've been going through her books on my Kindle.

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky - A bit rough at the start because the narrator is an unlikeable, abusive mother. But you get sucked in by the story and the excellent writing. I ended up a big fan.

Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney - As someone who loves oddball schemes while traveling, I liked her idea of rowing down the Nile. However, the trip itself ends up less interesting than the build up and the research on Victorian travelers in Egypt. Library book it.

Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace - One of those books that you know is brilliant and you enjoy in certain chapters - but is not an easy read. It would help to keep an index card with plot and character notes as a reminder while you go through.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - Somehow I never read this in school? Obviously, wonderful and a true classic. Turn-of-the-century Brooklyn seems so evenly balanced between despair and amazing fun.

Photo from the Examiner's list of top beach books.

Inspired: Test your Tastebuds

Remember when Mondays were the new Fridays?

The official photos and details of Rebecca's lovely Monday night tasting dinner are now up on Oh Happy Day. A wonderful event!

I'm still dreaming of Tom's artichoke soup.

Recipe: Simple Picnic Sandwiches

I packed these little sandwiches for the museum on Sunday and fell in love.

Pain epi rolls from Acme, slices of carmelized onion cheddar from Trader Joe's and flowering choy sum for a bit of green.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Beach House Style: Hanalei Cottage

Time for another edition of Beach House Style daydreaming. This time, let's outfit a little cottage in Hawaii!

  1. Lamp - Gourd lamp in ocean blue.
  2. Chair - White wicker armchair.
  3. Pillow - Although I'm not a fan of whales, this West Elm pillow is pretty cute.
  4. Cottage - A vacation rental built for two in the middle of Hanalei.
  5. Bowl - Brass shell bowl.
  6. Bikini - In classic navy.
  7. Necklace - Red coral and gold from Etsy.
  8. Sheets - Breezy striped sheets from Dwell in a lovely daybed setup.
  9. Plate - Made of cut agate.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hawaii: Secret Lava Pools

This is one of the cutest photos from the trip to Hawaii. On our second day, we hiked down to the Secret Lava Pools south from Hanalei. At end of the shore, there was a deep pool that we could all swim in while the waves crashed around us. You could even dive a bit and chase tropical fish (hence, Rob's too-small goggles).

Tip: wear sneakers while hiking out to the pools! We ditched our sandals early and got quite the "lava rock pedicure."

Hawaii Week: Dresses

I loved wearing maxi dresses every single day (sometimes two in day) on vacation. With the exception of a pair of yoga pants, many bikinis and a couple t-shirts, I really only packed long dresses for the trip. So breezy and nice!

This tribal print dress, purchased new for Hawaii, was perfect for sunset on the pier and a fancy fish dinner (complete with a Chi Chi) afterward.