Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Infirmary

This weekend was a bit of a disappointment. I had plans to spend loads of time outside enjoying the warm summer weather. But I woke up on Saturday morning with my second cold of the month and didn't leave the apartment even once. Boo...

After breakfast, Rob went to volunteer with the Bicycle Coalition and Nicole came over for a quick millinery project that I could do in my pajamas. She needed to use my glue gun to decorate a hat for the Kentucky Derby next weekend. We added green ribbon and peacock feathers to match her green dress. Pretty lovely!

We also made a hair clip to wear in a low bun with her outfit for the second day.

I spent the rest of the day watching old movies on TV (Baby Boom, Ghostbusters), reading and drinking tea. To bed early that night. I must have been pretty darn sick because I slept all the way until Rob work me up after 10 the next morning. Coffee and the paper in bed. Rob went to ride with friends in Marin and I didn't get up until 12:30.


When I finally came downstairs, I had lunch and worked on some water color sketches before falling back asleep.

Rob returned home from his bike ride at 5:30 and we had a nice Indian dinner together.  Hopefully, this lost weekend will result in my being completely well the rest of the week? We'll see!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What to Wear: Maxi Dress for the Office

Maxi dresses are my favorite summer look! When layered with a casual blazer, you can even rock a maxi dress for the office:


Dress - In a lovely coral pattern with ruffles.
Blazer - A navy basic from J. Crew. Sleeves rolled-up, of course.
Shoes - Thick strap wedge sandals aren't too "beachy" for a day at work.
Earrings -  Gold leaf drops.
Sunglasses - Aviators.
Clutch - Envelope style with gold detail.
Hair -  Loosely done up with either a handful of buns or braids.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Do: Watercolors

Now that it stays light out later in the evening, I've been motivated to do some after-work art projects. My latest hobby is dabbling with watercolors, with Virginia Johnson's illustrations as an inspiration point. I painted the chair and new header above on Monday and did a series with grape hyacinths tonight.  Pretty fun!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Inspired: Smoky Cologne

This is the cologne I picked up for Rob on Saturday! Incense Kyoto by Comme des Garcons is a wonderful musky scent with tones of cedar, soap, cypress, teak, nutmeg, coffee and amber.  Smoky and light, perfect for a guy who doesn't do cologne often.

Do you wear your husband's cologne? I love layering Rob's selections over my regular Chanel No. 5 or Lothantique Cedrat. Or just adding a few drops to my wrists before heading out for the day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Single Ladies

Rob was out of town this weekend racing at the Sea Otter Classic.  I really like a solo weekend once in a while, so made plans to just lay low.  An amazing mini-heatwave made it hard to be a complete hermit, though!

On Saturday, I spent the morning picking up the house and drinking iced tea. I walked to the Wholesale Flower Market at 10:00 to get some tiny ferns for the garden. I found grape hyacinths too, one of my all-time favorite flowers!  It was the happiest box of spring plants:

Terribly hot outside (translation: maybe 72 degrees), I managed to do a bit of gardening before retreating inside to make the first batch of summer friendship bracelets.

At 4:00, Margaret and I met up in Hayes Valley for some fancy window shopping.  It's fun to see everyone in the city wear dressed up in their one, best sundress on our rare hot day. Here I am posing in mine outside the America's first sake boutique. Margaret bought a shirt at Steven Alan as a gift for a friend. I bought a book on decorating and cologne for Rob.

We had dinner in Russian Hill at Nick's Crispy Tacos, the amazingly delicious fish taco restaurant hidden inside the off-hours of a weird hot-pink nightclub. Back home by taxi at 10:00.

On Sunday morning, I motivated pretty early to walk across town for brunch at Axis Cafe with Nicole.  Exactly 2 miles, covered in 30 minutes.  This adorable corgi she was babysitting joined us for eggs benedict and french toast on the patio. Too cute!

After breakfast, we dropped off the dog and make a quick stop at HD Buttercup, a super inspiring, crazy packed furniture store in SOMA.

I picked up new sheets at TJ Maxx before Nicole dropped me off at home. Loads of laundry while reading the Sunday paper. At 2:00, I walked to Civic Center farmer's market for groceries. Broccoli, pea shoots, sweet oranges, lemons, foccacia bread, spring onions, sugar peas, shallots, thai basil and yu choi.  Round-trip, I added another 4 miles to my day's walking.

Rob returned home just as I was putting up the produce. He cleaned up from the mountain bike race and we had a nice dinner of spicy basil tofu and braised pea shoots.

(PS: Apologies for the dust. These new blogger templates and tools are making a big mess temporarily).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Party Recipe: Earthquake Memorial

This was our sixth year of hosting a dinner on April 18 in commemoration of the 1906 earthquake - and one of the finest yet! After having 19 guests last year, I cut down the list to just 10. It was tough, but resulted in a much easier party where I had time to relax, drink and chat.

As the sun set, we lit a couple candles while Rob kicked off the night with a quick introduction to triage (pictured above). The guests then categorize 15 photos - including zombies and Batman - into green, yellow, red and black.

You may remember that this is an electricity-free party. So once it was totally dark, we lit all the candles and sat down to a meal of cioppino with hot sourdough bread with garlic-truffle butter. Margaret followed that with strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream and homemade pound cake.

We lingered at the table for a long time with glasses of port and lively conversation about serial killers, the meaning of "steep" vs. "seep" and You've Got Mail (among many topics). It was 10:30 before anyone even mentioned going home and took a good half hour more to actually shut down - definitely the sign of an excellent night.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To Do: Rock On

Do you have an alter ego? Mine is a rocker!

She makes a strong showing at least once a year when I go a little heavier on the eyeliner, louder on the earbuds and darker on the leather jacket. I bust out the Xbox karaoke and think about taking bass lessons again.

Rocker season is on again after Rob and I went to see Kasabian play live at The Filmore on Monday night. Just the right amount of lasers, swagger and amazing rocker hair to bring out my inner Nancy Wilson.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Find me on Pinterest

I finally found the time to join Pinterest! So far, I'm using it as a creative lab for events and projects.

You're welcome to tune in there to follow the behind-the-blog scene!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Spring Fling

Sunny spring weather combined with finally being over this terrible cold made for a classic, lovely city weekend!

We still had a bit of rain on Friday, so I wore wellies while dressing up myself and the visiting dog for our last day together. It was a fun day at the office, with some fancy meetings and a team beer tasting at the end of the day.

Saturday morning, Rob and I went for brunch at Butler & Chef with visiting family friends from Los Angeles. Delicious spread of eggs benedict, strong coffee and nutela crepes. After brunch, Rob peeled off for a major training ride and I went to TJ Maxx to do a spring shoe renewal. At 1:30, Nicole came to pick me up for drinks in the mission. I wore new sandals for the occasion:

We met up with her group
on their second stop in a progressive dinner of the mission's best restaurants. It was positively tropical in the tented courtyard at Foreign Cinema! We cooled off with elderflower wine spritzers.

Then, we went to Dosa where I had a chai cocktail and an amazing white truffle potato dish.

Nicole dropped me back off at home at 4:00. I went about swapping my winter tweed and wool closet for brighter summer fare:

Rob returned home in the evening from his bike ride, he's preparing for a race next weekend. We cooked dinner and had a quiet night. Sunday morning was full of reading the paper and watching the World Cup of mountain biking online. At noon, we dressed up for our first Giants game of the season!

Yvette, Rob and I got great seats off of right field.

It was a pretty slow game, which left plenty of time for garlic fries, Blue Moon and Louisiana hot links topped with garlic and onions:

Home again at 5:00, I spent a good hour organizing a tangled mess of embroidery floss. I didn't realize I had quite so much. Luckily, it's almost friendship bracelet season again.

We watched Bringing Up Baby, which I love for so many reasons but especially Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn singing "I can't give you anything but love" - the song Rob and I sang at our wedding.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thunderbolts & Lightning

I had to drive through the BIGGEST storm last night. It was like something out of an apocalypse movie!

Living in California all my life, I can count on my fingers the number of thunderstorms I've seen. So to actually be next to real lightning...and even a tornado warning on the radio...holy cow. This photo of the storm was taken from an apartment near to our building. It turns out to have been a record breaking storm for the city with over 750 strikes!

Those of you who have lived in places with actual weather: what are you supposed to do on the freeway during a huge storm?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To Do: Dogsitting

We are babysitting the sweetest dog this week. Aysa is a young German Shepherd rescued by my boss. She's been a very good guest, bearing with the brushing sessions and bows quite nicely.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Recipe: Spring Pea Appetizers

Filling individual pea pods with herbed cheese is a laborious task that delivers very special results. Sure, you could just dip the peas in the cheese spread and save a lot of time, but parties are about showing your guests how much you like them!

Spring Stuffed Peas
Serves 2/4

A dozen shelling peas
1/4 cup of neufchatel cheese
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1 tablespoon of fresh dill
Zest from a small lemon
Salt, pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

Mix your cheese, yogurt, dill, lemon and spices in a small bowl until creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you'd like. Split the tops of the peas open with a dull knife. Open the peas into little pockets. It would be faster to pipe in the filling, but works perfectly well with a kitchen knife. Decorate with tiny sprigs of dill.

I paired these peas with tiny cucumber wheels filled with a Gorgonzola spread.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Easter

I love Easter! Kicking off the start of spring is so fun and it's a great chance to spend time with family. I left the city on Friday morning and met Rob at my parent's house. He had biked solo to SLO during the week, such a feat!

That evening, we had a dinner party with some of my favorite family friends, the Riggins. I made fancy spring appetizers before the dinner of salmon, scalloped potatoes and asparagus. We all stayed up too late drinking wine over ice cream and chatting up a storm.

On Saturday, we had breakfast at my parent's favorite diner. Then, Rob and I drove out to the newly opened Point Buchon trail out past Montana Del Oro. Lovely 6 mile hike along pristine coastline covered in wildflowers:

I made it home in time for a visit with my cousin and her daughter who were passing through town. In the afternoon, Mom and I dyed Easter eggs using oil pastels.

We had dinner of giant artichokes with my folks before Rob and I met Shane at a fun new cafe downtown. Pints of beer while planning our trip to the Grand Canyon in October. Sunday morning, we were up early to put the ham in the oven. Relaxed breakfast. The rest of the morning was spent alternatively preparing for Easter dinner and reading the Sunday paper with cups of tea.

We also worked on a massive egg hunt for Rob's nephews:

The egg hunt went so quickly despite our skilled hiding efforts. Those kids are smart and fast!

Then, they took a turn at hiding for Rob and I in the backyard. I almost got as many eggs as Rob - but he did have to climb way up the pepper tree for his victory:

Delicious early dinner after the hunt. Along with the giant ham I brought down from San Francisco, we had twice baked potatoes, asparagus, crudites, fruit salad and strawberry shortcake. Smooth drive back home, we only had time to unpack all our loot from the visit before it was time to call it a night.

It really feels like spring has sprung...even with a lot of rain in the forecast for later this week.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Recipe: Truffle Pizza with Lemon

We ate so much delicious food in Carmel last weekend, but one dish stood out far above the rest: the mushroom pizza at La Bicyclette.

Thin crust baked in a wood oven, topped with a truffle pesto, chanterelles, parmesan, mache lettuce and lemon. The meyer lemon makes it!

There's a ridiculously easy way to try this at home with the help of Trader Joe's. Start with their truffle flatbread, add some parmesan and fresh mushrooms on top and cook in a hot oven. Top with mache - conveniently also sold at Trader Joe's - and razor thin slices of lemon. Yum!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Beach House Style: Pacific Grove Cottage

This beach cottage near Lover's Point Park in Pacific Grove already has plenty of style. Note the model ship in the window, plantation shutters, aged teak chairs and red kayak in the back.

If it were mine, I'd continue with this classic American sporty designs.

Landon sofa / Olive topiary / Badminton set / Red beach ball bikini / Blue glass votives / Kate Spade watch / Wicker ottoman / Australian cruiser bike / Throw pillow / Tin tall ships plates

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Weekend Roundup: Sick

Crazy March caught up with me: I came down with a terrible cold late last week. I was planning to be better by the weekend. No dice!

Friday night I was a sad puddle. Saturday, I gathered up enough energy for my hair appointment and then straight back in my pajamas for the rest of the day. Sunday wasn't any different, only with the addition of sore ribs from coughing. I read the entire Sunday paper, the second Hunger Games book, Strange Fish, the latest New Yorker and half of Persuasion. I watched The Devil Wears Prada, Crazy Stupid Love, You've Got Mail, many episodes of Parks & Recreation and Arrested Development. Took so many naps. Made all kinds of promises to exercise and eat better when I'm well. It's boring being sick.

Finally, Sunday at 2:30 we had plans to go sailing with friends who bought a deal online. I bundled up with long johns under my boating clothes...and we were the only people on the 90 ft ship in anything vaguely nautical. Everyone in our party was dressed in all black. The other half of the boat was six year old girls in hot pink. Like a crazy pirate ship!

Very nice sail around the bay. It was suoer windy but The Bay Lady was lovely.

We landed at 5:00. Straight home and into a hot bath for me. I really hope this cold goes away soon!