Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Roundup: Like a Boss

Apologies for dropping off the radar last week. I got a major promotion at work!  I'm still getting used to my new VP title, so stay tuned for an in-depth post on that topic soon. (Also, Rob got a new camera and has upped our blogging game!)

On Friday,  Rob and I took the old bikes over to Nicole's to watch the Olympic opening ceremony.  Delicious burgers and truffle fries from Roam for dinner. It was so fun to watch the celebration together...even when we passed the five hour mark and were still only at Nicaragua in the procession. Quiet ride back home through the city after.

Up early on Saturday morning to oversee the building's once a year window-washers. We had a leisurely morning preparing for Jean and Trent's arrival. They're moving from North Carolina, where Jean got her PhD, to Palo Alto, where she'll do her post-doc at Stanford.  Her husband Trent also has a new job at Stanford, but no apartment yet so they're staying with us for a bit.  At 1:00, they landed with dogs in tow.  We had tea and lemon cake to celebrate their cross-country move.

The fog had burned off late, leaving us with a quite warm July day in the city.  The four of us walked down to the neighborhood dog park and then enjoyed our favorite "beer pier" tradition. The dogs loved watching the birds, boats and seals go by.

Swung by the Ferry Building on the way home to pick up two dozen oysters, two loaves of Acme bread and a small wheel of Mt. Tam cheese.   Fresh white corn, tomatoes and a green salad got added to the mix at home, while the boys shucked the oysters. Margaret came over to join us for the summer feast.

Lazy morning on Sunday. We had egg tacos before the boys went out for a bike ride.  Jean and I drove to Menlo Park to look at a possible apartment near campus. BBQ pork vermicelli, shrimp spring rolls and salty lemonade at a good whole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant we found.

On the way home, Jean and I stopped at Farmer's Market to stock up on produce. Lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, peaches and tiny nectarines, but the real treasure was giant, ripe blackberries the size of walnuts. The three baskets didn't last two minutes inside the house. I'm lucky I even managed this photo!

Restful afternoon. We watched a movie, had bruschetta for a snack and walked to TJ Maxx to buy Jean shoes (she somehow packed everything but flip flops and sneakers into storage).  We changed at home and went out for a fancy Japanese dinner to celebrate their arrival and my promotion.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recipe: Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Margaret and I made pickles on Sunday afternoon. Farmer's market had tiny cucumbers on sale for $0.50/pound!  The exact recipes can vary a lot depending on your taste and are fun to experiment with.

Fill each of your quart jars with 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh dill, a smashed clove of garlic, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, 1 tablespoon of pickling spice and an extra pinch of red chili flakes. Rinse the cucumbers (we had 2 lbs) well and cut any odd shapes into slices.  Pack the jars tightly with pickles. Top with a brine of this ratio: 1 quart of water, 3/4 cup of white wine vinegar and 4 tablespoons of kosher salt.

Shake jars and then leave out on the counter for two days before refrigerating.  We also used this recipe on carrots and made Zuni Cafe pickled zucchini the same day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What to Wear: Denim on Denim

We were talking about denim-on-denim outfits at work yesterday. Largely, how we've been too chicken to wear the combo for fear of looking like a "Texas Tuxedo."  Its one of those outfits that always looks great on other people, but is hard to wear yourself. Here's one simple combo that would be great for a Saturday running errands around the city:

Shirt - A classic J.Crew chambray shirt with tiny white polka dots.
Jeans - Love this dark, straight-leg pair of AG Jeans with a slightly high waist.
Sunglasses - $15 aviators.
Bag - A big leather tote with room for your shopping.
Scarf - Coral with flowers to keep with you in case the fog rolls in.
Shoes -  Love these coral ankle-strap wedges (30% off!).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Full Swing

It took some effort to make this into a restful weekend. I've been feeling stretched pretty thin, especially with the business trips to Tampa and Portland last weekend, and generally stressed out - so I was desperate for a break.

On Friday, Rob and I took advantage of the warm weather with our favorite "beer pier" tradition.  Deli sandwiches for dinner, cold drinks and world-class views of the bustling bay from our free seats on Pier 14.

Back at home, we watched Goon - a surprisingly great hockey film, with an operatic score.  To bed early, to prepare for our busy days. Rob participated in the Seven Hells of San Francisco ride on Saturday while I hosted an all-day filmmaking workshop at work.  It's an awesome event - but I was feeling so drained.  Rob came home with sore muscles after an successful day of climbing and I was nursing a pretty wicked headache. We spent the rest of the night in our pajamas with Chinese delivery.

Sunday morning!  Finally a chance to relax. Rob and I were up early to watch the final stage of the Tour de France. Then, we packed up our beach gear, walked to the car...and discovered a big old flat tire. Ugh. The wheel was pretty jammed on there, but we eventually managed to get it off, put on the spare, find the only tire store open on Sunday and go in for a patch.  We grabbed breakfast at a Mediterranean restaurant around the corner while waiting.

Finally, at noon, it felt like this weekend started in earnest.  We pulled up at Stinson Beach, unpacked our gear and spent a couple hours on the sand.  It was so nice to sit, reading the paper, with the waves crashing. You can't tell from this photo - but the beach was the only pocket of sun along miles of foggy coastline. Even with being delayed three hours, we managed to beat the crazy rush.

We stopped to pick up Margaret in Russian Hill on our way back in to the city. Quick visit to Farmer's Market - which had incredible deals. Super ripe tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, plums all at about $0.90/pound.  I bought way too much stone fruit and a couple pounds of cucumbers.All this for about $9:

Margaret and I spent the rest of the afternoon making batches of pickles while snacking on cold Chinese food (is there anything better?) and drinking white nectarine spritzers.  At 6:30, we sat down with Rob to a light dinner of bruschetta with warm Acme bread. So good!

Margaret and I played video games for an hour before she took the bus home. Even though I only got about a quarter of a full weekend - I'm feeling rested and ready for the week ahead.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What to Wear: Summer Blues

Shades of blue and natural leather. It feels easy and summery - even when you need to bundle up for the San Francisco fog:

Blazer - Navy basic from J.Crew, on sale for $69.
Shirt - I would be tempted to wear this $42 indigo blue top once a week.
Jeans - A basic blue pair for $136.
Satchel - A natural leather tote with plenty of room for work supplies.
Shoes - I have a version of these natural leather pumps. They go with everything.
Necklace - A pretty green and gold pendant for $18.
Sunglasses - Cheapo pair from Forever 21.
Book - A quirky little travel journal to document city adventures.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Do: Herb Water

My summer flavored water obsession continues! On Sunday, we took an empty bottle with fresh mint and lavender from the garden to picnic in the park.  So delicious once filled with cold water from the tap.

The glass bottle with stopper is available for $4 at Ikea

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Hillside

I flew back from my business trip in Tampa late Friday night and arrived home at nearly 11:00.  Three long days of travel and event production with our media partner left me wiped out. It took me most of the weekend to shake off the jetlag feeling - so this was a pretty mellow one.

On Saturday, we watched the Tour de France over breakfast and I drove to the hair stylist at 10.  Back home to pick up Rob at 11:30 and off to Sears to buy a dryer - the last in our triptych of broken appliances. Quick stop at Sports Basement on the way home. Naps and then it was time to ride the "new old" bikes to Portrero Hill for a film screening. Nice view of the city from the steep hill we parked the bikes on:

The event was a fundraiser for the McLaren Bike Park project - a campaign to build a bicycle park in the city. We met our friends Matt and Mark at the event. Classic San Francisco community party: keg of beer donated from a local brewery, homemade potato leek soup for sale, free stickers, an amazing raffle of donated bike parts where every person took home a big prize, someone painting a canvas in the corner and a documentary movie screening.  Strength in Numbers was really well done! 

Biked back home along the water after the movie, just a few minutes ahead of the evening ballgame crowd.

On Sunday morning, Rob and I watched the Tour with a nice breakfast of fresh fruit and coffee.  Friends came over to borrow our the tandem bike. Then, we loaded up our bikes to ride to Dolores Park. My good friend, Sarah, from Junior High was visiting town with her brother. We set up a nice picnic with a view of the city. 

Our group relaxed in the sun for a couple hours. There were several very entertaining groups of picnickers to watch from our blankets. Yoga, dancing, cheerleading...the park had it all! 

At 4:30, Rob and I biked the long way home through China Basin. 

Ping pong and dinner at home in the evening. I'll off to Portland tomorrow for a single-day business trip. Things should be back to normal on Wednesday!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Recipe: Baked Figs

My July recipes mostly come down to: feta cheese + any summer produce.  Feta is such a nice match with tomatoes, white peaches, zucchini, etc. Last night I added baked figs to the mix.  Just split the figs, stuff a bit of feta in each, top with pepper and broil until cooked and brown on top, about 5 minutes.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Bike Punk

My sudden burst of summer fitness continued this weekend. Another 57 miles of riding added on bringing the total for the week to over 125 miles!

On Friday night, Rob added construction paper mohawks to our helmets for the San Francisco Bike Party's punk rock olympics night.  The brit punk costumes were impressive and there was even a speaker bike dressed up as a red London phone booth. We rode our tandem out to the beach to cheer on friends in the bike sumo competition. Then back to Civic Center and home for some late night popcorn before bed.

Slept in on Saturday morning for quite a long time. Rob and I watched the Tour de France until it was time to pack up the bike and head to Sausalito at lunch. We met Alex and Zach at the start of a 37 mile, 3,500 foot Alpine Lake route. was HOT through Larkspur and Fairfax in Marin and super steep to almost the top of Mt. Tam. Gorgeous views of Stinson Beach below the summit of our ride. Always a nice to have a real "epic" with some new friends to really get to know each other:
We zoomed back down to Sausalito from the top. Alex went with us for pizza (at the restaurant that hosted our rehearsal dinner almost four years ago).  By the time we got home, it was already after 9:00.

Up pretty early on a cold and foggy Sunday. We watched the Tour while reading the Sunday paper.  Egg tacos with pepitas and radishes for breakfast. At noon, Rob and I drove to the airport to pick up Nicole returning from Texas. While waiting at the gate, someone from my team at work passed by and we picked her up for the ride back to the city too.

Once everyone was dropped off, we went to Trader Joe's for a massive stock up on groceries. At home, I made salami sandwiches with truffle mustard and mache salads with feta cheese and figs for lunch.  We watched Chronicle, pretty interesting and very creative camerawork.

In the afternoon, I worked on the tiny garden for a bit. It's looking much better after the big spruce up a couple weekends ago.  I even have the first-ever maidenhair fern to not immediately perish under my care doing quite well.  The tiny violets are happy too and remind me of my parents' garden.

Rob and I rode the new-old bikes down to REI in the evening, adding the last five miles on to the weekend's count.  Another TJ's meal for dinner. It feels great to leave Sunday night with a clean house, tended garden and stocked cupboards.

I'm off to Tampa on business later this week (don't be too jealous) so posting may be light. Any restaurant recommendations?  (More photos on Rob's blog)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

What to Wear: Seafoam Jeans

I saw someone pair seafoam green jeans with a neon yellow belt a couple weeks ago. Such a fresh combination for summer!

T-Shirt -Basic white tee from Gap.
Jeans - Is that seafoam or melon? Awesome pair of pants either way. 
Belt - I love all four neon colors of this belt from Shopbop.
Shoes - Nude wedges are my favorite go-everywhere shoes.
Sunglasses - A fun blue pair.
Scarf - Dip dyed.
Bag - Neutral satchel.

Fourth of July

Did you have a nice mid-week break? It was so strange having a Wednesday off from work.  Rob and I got an early start to get out the apartment before the housekeeper arrived.

We rode the tandem bike around the water, over the Golden Gate Bridge, down the Sausalito 4th of July parade route, over the hill, down the Corte Madera 4th of July parade route and across the back of Tiburon.  Stopped for lunch at the cafe where all the bikers take breaks:

It was sunny, but pretty and cold and windy. The ride back home was pretty brutal with the weather and the massive amount of tourists  (A note to visitors: 4th of July is absolutely the worst time to book a trip to San Francisco in my opinion. It's always freezing, the city is overcrowded, there's very little of the normal BBQ/summer things you're looking for. Something about it seems to make tourists - adults and children - cry while walking along Embarcadero. Much better to come back in September and go to an outdoor concert!)  All together, this was a 49 mile ride and it brought me over 100 miles for the week already.

Baths and naps at home after returning from the ride.  In the evening, we walked to the Ferry Building to buy a host gift and then took the subway and a bus to our friend's house at the top of Twin Peaks.  They put on a fun party with a big dinner, Top Gun and a 180 degree view of the big city fireworks show as well as the unauthorized shows from backyards in the Mission. 

Monday, July 02, 2012

Tour de France

Waking up early on foggy mornings to watch the last 30 km of the day's race through a tiny Belgian town before work. Tour de France season is such a true sign of summer.  And there's a new batch of posters from UK designer, Crayonfire, to celebrate!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Strange Beasts

We started this weekend at the opera. A new production of Mozart's Magic Flute was the final show in our summer series. They really pulled out all the stops!  In addition to a new English translation of the lyrics, the production had costumes and digitally-animated stages designed by the Japanese ceramic artist Jun Kaneko.  His strange birds were really spectacular and these tiny children dressed as plump budgies nearly stole the show from the very good Papageno. There are two more shows next weekend, I recommend it if you can go!

Saturday morning, we packed up the tandem bike and had a leisurely breakfast before boarding the train to Freemont to meet friends on a camping trip.  Smooth sailing for the first 20 miles of pedaling, then we stopped a the grocery store to pick up beer by the group's request and turned on to Mt. Hamilton Road.  Surprise! 1,880 feet of straight up climbing in hot weather with a very heavy cart.

With a sense of great victory, we arrived at Joseph D. Grant Park...and then proceeded to spend a bitter hour pedaling up and down the many campsites in the rolling hills with all that beer unable to find our friends.  Much, much happier when we finally did locate their tents off a hidden road and could set up camp with this view:

I had just enough time do a bit of painting with a new set of travel brushes I just bought last week.

Our friends arrived back from their ride in the early evening and we had a lovely time drinking that long-traveled beer and cooking a massive dinner together.  Giant moon over the rolling oak hillside.

Rob made his famous blueberry pancakes for our breakfast the next morning, along with coffee and a spread of everything else we had. Peaches, eggs, pecans, english muffins, smoked gouda, avocado and apples:

We had a very leisurely ride down the mountain after packing up our camp.  Only 200 feet of climbing in this direction, followed by a very fast descent.

Outside of Milpitas, we stopped at a small apricot farm along the road. Loaded up on four pounds of blenheim beauties, one pound of which we ate right away.  The farmer was also drying apricots in the sun and the smell was divine:

Quick stop for lunch at a taqueria and then back on the train home. We took over most of a car with our various bikes and carts.

Just as cold and foggy back in San Francisco as you would expect for July!  Rob and I took hot baths, read the paper and watched the start of the Tour de France to cap the weekend.

Plus, Rob's take on the weekend and more photos of those pretty oak trees.