Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To Do: Mountain Play

We just bought our tickets to Mountain Play for the summer! This year, I am determined to win the picnic contest and have finally invested in Mottahdeh tin plates for the occasion.

This will be our 5th (?) year at the play and we have it pretty dialed in. Arrive very early, bring plenty of sunblock, the Sunday paper, inflatable sleeping pads & water and nab a spot in the shade.
  • Plates- Iconic American china patterns in the convenience of tin plates!
  • Spreader - Laguiole brings some extra flair to the picnic cheese.
  • Truffle mustard - A favorite guest at several of our annual affairs.
  • Roast chicken - Cold roast chicken is the easiest picnic food. I usually buy two at Whole Foods, but this recipe from Australia looks delicious too.
  • Bottles - So convenient from Ikea. We pack them filled with mint and lemon and then refill on the mountain.
  • Basket - From my dad!
  • Bread - Pain epi from Acme bread turns the chicken into little sandwiches.
  • Cloth - A vintage printed tablecloth from Etsy for only $14 ties it all together.
  • Cakes - Baked right in their own caning jars!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To Do: Tea Tasting

I'm having a "de-stress" week for my team at work. Each day, there's a little relaxation gift or activity as appreciation of their hard work at the start of the year.

Yesterday, we had a tea tasting! I took four "relaxing" tea blends and put together a blind tasting.

Each cup was labeled with a letter and I had the ingredients listed on separate pieces of paper. After tasting each one, the group tried to match which letter matched the ingredients - they got all four right!

For a simple little event, it was so much fun (and very relaxing!). Could be a great game for a baby shower.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Beach House Style: Point Pinos Lighthouse

Another season of summer beach house dreaming has started! Pacific Grove was full of tiny, inspiring cottages.

Today, let's imagine decorating a cozy retreat inside of the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove. It's the oldest continuously-operating lighthouse of the west coast and seems like a perfect place to invite someone over for a glass of wine and some fancy local cheese by the fire.Link

Green velvet couch / Reclaimed wood mirror / Air plant terrarium / Japanese glass fishing float / Cheese spreaders / Pintuck lace shell / Book box / Scottish wool blanket / French vintage brass table / Tripod lamp

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Pacific Grove

Rob biked south with his friend, Liam, on Thursday, and I drove down on Friday with Kay to spend his birthday weekend together in Pacific Grove. We had a late dinner at Vivolo's Chowder House and turned in at the cute motel.

On Saturday, it was freezing cold and rainy but that didn't stop us from exploring the coast along 17-mile drive. We would pop out of the car, take a photo and jump back in to crank up the heater.

Along the way, we stopped at the famous lone cypress tree and explored the Pebble Beach Lodge, which I hadn't visited before.

We stopped in Carmel for lunch at a place called La Bicyclette that was SO good. Starting with the elderflower mimosa (served on a tiny silver tray) and all the way through a beet salad, two delicious pizzas and charcuterie sampler with wood fired olive bread. I would definitely go back.

After lunch, we walked around the galleries and gourmet shops of downtown Carmel. I hadn't realized just how many lovely estate jewelry stores there were in town, very tempting! Still raining hard, we briefly drove to Carmel Valley and ran across an amazing dollhouse museum, before returning to Carmel for a pint and dessert at The Forge in the Forest where Kay's friend was working. Loved the copper walls of this little spot.

Back in Pacific Grove it was time to hit the hot tub and relax before our 9:00 reservation at Passion Fish. Dinner was good, but not as amazing as the reviews or compared to our fantastic lunch. We ended the evening with butterscotch pudding topped with salted caramel for Rob's birthday.

After raining all night, the weather on Sunday morning was dramatically better. So we packed up after breakfast and rented two extra bikes. The coast in Pacific Grove was so pretty with clear water and the tiny cottages.

We rode about 7 miles along the coast, through the cannery and up to dunes overlooking the entire bay. Lunch on the patio at Peter B's brew pub in the heart of the historic district.

We explored the old gardens from the 1860's, chatted with the nice docents at California's oldest general store and peeked in on the oldest theater on the west coast. I absolutely fell in love with the main courtyard that had magnolia trees, wisteria and koi in the spanish tile fountain.

We returned the bikes at 4:00 and made a quick stop at one last antique store, where I bought a deco enamel and rhinestone necklace that I'll hopefully wear at the Black & White Ball. Fast trip back home. I set up my Easter tree and finally did the dishes from Thursday's LAC party!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ladies Activity Club: Kanzashi

This week has been challenging at work. A mix of just so much very good and very bad happening all at the same time. I'm excited that it's Friday and we're almost done.

Last night, I took a break with the Ladies Activity Club! Yvonne and her sister hosted us for a night of making kanzashi, Japanese fabric flowers. A perfect craft for making Easter tree ornaments or adorable headbands for the little ones.

Along with the fabric craft project, she brought a spread of sushi, edamame, steamed pork buns, dried fruit and mimosas.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

To Do: Make Your Own Stationery

This is one of those craft projects where DIY does not translate to saving money. Custom designed and thermography-printed stationery isn't cheap...but neither is stamping and printing your own. Luckily, it's a lot of fun and the results are lovely!

  • Linoleum block, carving tool & roller (this starter kit is a great deal)
  • White ink (I used the fabric ink, it's nice and opaque)
  • Flexible cutting board sheet
  • Blank note cards and envelopes from PaperSource
  • Envelope liner template kit
  • Rubber stamps and ink pads for the liner pattern
  • Sheets of plain white printer paper
  • Glue stick
Draw your monogram design on a piece of paper cut to the size of your linoleum block. Outline the pattern in heavy pencil, flip over and copy on to the linoleum block by tracing the outline with pencil again. Once your design is transferred, copy it again in sharpie. Take a minute to check your design before you start carving. It should be backward and inverse (black lines will be the white of your stamp). Carve your stamp!

Once your stamp is done, pour out a tablespoon of ink on to the cutting sheet and spread it out with your roller. Do a couple test runs with the stamp and fix the carving as needed. Now you're ready to print!

Be careful to remove the stamp slowly from the paper so you don't get "whiskers" of ink on your design. Stop occasionally to wipe off your stamp with a paper towel. Set all your finished cards and envelopes out to dry.

Wash your ink supplies and stamp. While your cards are drying, stamp the sheets of printer paper with your liner designs. Use the plastic template to cut them out a few sheets at a time. Slide the liner inside the envelope, fold, glue and fold again (PaperSource has a video tutorial).

Voila! Your custom stationery is done. Margaret and I made 77 sets of notecards and envelopes on Friday. It's definitely a project with efficiencies of scale. Once you've got the ink out, stamp everything in sight!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tarte's Lip Stains

These are my go-to lipsticks! I found the "amused" shade originally as the perfect way to rock the trendy hot pink look. Then added the deep berry and red picks to my rotation, too.

You can do a quick swipe for just a bit of color or layer it on for a bolder look. They're super easy to wear. Plus, very moisturizing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Inspired: Bouquets to Art

Bouquets to Art is one of my favorite events of the year - despite the galleries being absolutely packed to the gills. This year did not disappoint! There was still the occasional super-literal arrangement - dogs made of chicken wire and babies breath - but also some really lovely works.

A couple trends stood out, including a lot of air plants:

Arrangements that mixed succulents with orchids, parrot tulips and all kinds of things built on a tray instead of a vase. This one included prickly pear:

Carnations made a surprisingly strong showing in many pieces, here they are combined with chrysanthemum and orchids:

As did tall spring branches with budding leaves or blossoms:

Dark colors were hugely popular too. One of the best was from our friends at Church Street Flowers in the Castro (who did our wedding bouquets), combining wrapped leaves, thistle, succulents, eucalyptus, pine, air plants, berries and magnolia leaves.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Home Again

So nice to be back home and settled in to a regular routine again. I took the day off work on Friday to hang out with Margaret. We love pretending to be ladies of leisure!

Our day started at the de Young Museum for the annual Bouquets to Art show. Even at ten in the morning and during a heavy rainstorm, the museum was packed! Lovely flowers this year, I'll share a couple more photos and some trend notes in a separate post.

We had a late lunch at Kabuto Sushi with delicious fresh fish and hot tea. Next stop, Fillmore Street to make a visit to PaperSource. Coffee and cookie break at Fillmore Bakeshop before heading home. We played Lego Batman for an hour before launching in to a full blown craft project for the rest of the afternoon.

Rob came home and we made a big taco dinner together. Margaret headed off later that night.

Saturday was a pretty lazy day, the weather was cold and rainy - it even hailed at one point!
Rob and I had breakfast sweet rolls and coffee at home. At noon, we took the car out to REI and then to pick out a new dishwasher at Sears - the 2nd of three appliances that have recently kicked the bucket in our apartment. Chinese food for lunch in San Bruno. In the evening, we drove out to the Richmond to meet Seth & Amy's new second baby. On the way, we picked up Mexican dinner and home-made ice cream from Joe's. The new baby girl was adorable, so tiny!

Sunday was another lazy day. Rob and I had coffee, yogurt with granola and the Sunday paper. I picked up the apartment for a bit. Then, it was time to meet Nicole downtown for some shopping. Brrr. Super cold day! I picked up a new trench coat and a lace mini skirt at Zara. We ate a late lunch in the Macy's basement. At 5:30, we caught a movie at the Westfield: Friends with Kids, which was okay but not great. I like Adam Scott, so that was fun! Back home through the cold in time for a late salad dinner with Rob.

We've got a big week planned! Thanks for your patience while I was out at SXSW.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm back!

Six days in Austin for SXSW Interactive....I'm exhausted. It was like being inside the internet.

Altogether a successful trip: my panel of startup culture was a hit, the new wardrobe of comfy pants, tees and sneakers worked well and I managed to get in to the VIP section for Jay-Z's private concert. Amazing!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

What to Wear: SXSW Interactive

I'm going to nerd-camp later this weekend! SXSW Interactive includes four days of 40,000 startup techies taking over Austin. This will be my first year and I'm already not great at dressing casually, so packing has been a challenge.

Jacket - A lightweight jacket that can be shoved in your bag. Rain is predicted, so layers are a must.
Tee - A t-shirt from your startup or some other cool tech event you attended.
Jeans - These silver jeans are a step up from the normal blues.
Flats - I'll rotate between flats and sneakers during the event. Always, always bring a different pair of shoes for each day of any conference. Your feet will thank you.
Bag - Waxed canvas messenger from Brooklyn Industries. Plenty of room for business cards, camera, smart phone and schwag picked up along the way.

Add some heavy frame glasses and a swish of hot pink lip gloss to complete the look. If you're headed to SXSW Interactive - shoot me an email. I would love to hang out between sessions!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Jean Dujardin

Zut alors! Ever since watching The Artist, I just can't get over Jean Dujardin. I was already a Gene Kelly fan - so you can image how pleasant it was to find a living, breathing, *french* version walking around the screen!

We watched OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies on Sunday night. So fun!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Lost in Marin

What a gorgeous weekend! Every year, just when you should be inside doing your taxes, San Francisco get sunny days in the upper 70's. The perfect weather for our first ping pong match of the year. We meant to go out on Friday, but I was in a dour mood and staying in was much more fun:

We had a lazy morning on Saturday. Cereal and coffee while watching 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation on Hulu. Just before noon, Nicole came to pick me up for a bit of light hiking in Marin. I warned her before we left that I have a tendency to get very lost every time we go there.

We set off from Muir Woods with a vague idea for a 4 mile round-trip hike to the coast. Hmm, we seemed to go straight uphill for a long way. It made for a good photo...

...but also meant that we were way off course. There are just too many trails in Marin. A long double back got us on the trail with only a few more confusing check points. We didn't bring any snacks, maps or money with us, but did have water and cell phones (and, could literally see our apartments from the tops of the hills).

By the time we got back to the car, our 4 mile hike had turned into a 12 mile epic and I had taken a brief dip during a creek crossing. Quick dash down the mountain to get an early dinner in Sausalito. Fish hooked us up with ceviche, fish and chips and local beer. Rob met us after finishing his bike ride in Marin.

Back home at 7:00, I took a hot shower and Rob and I watched Hugo.

Sunday, we had a quiet morning with the paper and coffee before embarking on a spring cleaning of the apartment, especially the upstairs closet.

I made super tasty brunch sandwiches with cheese jalapeno rolls from farmer's market, eggs from Rob's parents' farm, leftover chili verde, kale, shallots and purple cabbage.

After brunch, we walked downtown in the heat to do some shopping. Both Rob and I are headed to SXSW later this week for work and needed to spruce up our casual wardrobes for the conference. Rob found skinny jeans at Levi's and I picked up some cute bright trousers at H&M. A pair of sneakers at Adidas for me and then ice cream cones from Super Duper in the park. My legs were really starting to feel the results of all that hiking at this point:

A few more errands on the way home. Rob stopped to have his hair cut at the neighborhood barbershop. Quiet evening including a hot bubble bath. My poor legs had better recover in time for Austin!