Friday, August 31, 2012

To Do: SFMOMA

Now that the San Francisco weather has returned to a normal summer 55 degrees with freezing wind, it's a great time to visit the museums.  Rob and I went last night with Nicole to SFMOMA, they're open late on Thursdays.

The Cindy Sherman photography exhibit was interesting, all about the power you have over your own identity. And this LED installation by Jim Campbell was so pretty. Stay warm out there this long weekend!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sayulita: The Hotel

The final post about Sayulita!  You can see all our photos from the trip online here.

Our hotel was so lovely!  Villa Amor is the larger/fancier hotel in town.  Our room got moved at the last minute, which stressed me out, but the result was an upgrade to a suite (Villa Serena) with a kitchen, living room, patio, king sized bed and a tiny "dipping pool."



You'd think that pool was ridiculous, but it was the coldest water you could find in Sayulita and super refreshing after hot walks from the beach or town center.

The hotel grounds are meticulously kept, even the iguanas in the trees seemed very handsome. After a big storm one night, it was all hands on deck early in the morning to wash away the sand and downed branches. The decor is a blend of luxury-tropical-paradise and flinstone-chic. The room was stocked with linens, ample mosquito net, organic local soaps.


The staff was exceedingly friendly and helpful.  Even the hotel restaurant exceeded my expectations when we had breakfast there. The only thing I might recommend differently is to rent your surf gear from one of the shacks on the main beach instead of the concierge - that seemed a little pricey. You're closer to Playa los Muertos (my favorite) and Playa Carritos since this hotel is on the south of town.

I would go back to Villa Amor in a heartbeat. The off-season rates are very reasonable for the quality and service you receive. Sitting on that porch drinking guava spritzers and watching pelicans dive was heaven!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sayulita: The Town

A couple more Sayulita posts and then we'll return to regular programming.  The town has a population of about 3,000 people and is part of the Riviera Nayarit.   Although tourism, surfing and expats are big parts of Sayulita today, it is still a very active fishing village. We enjoyed watching the little boats zip out each morning and evening to prepare the day's catch.



And there's a lot of history to Sayulita as well. On the north end, there are some older homes and much of the property still belongs to the same five Mexican families who founded the town.






The roads in town are mostly dirt, with a few cobblestones and some asphalt mixed in. It's really a hodge podge, as the tiny restaurants and shops open at whim. Walking down the same street twice is never exactly the same.


Toward the main plaza there are a few more high-end surf shops and yoga centers run by Americans. Revolucion de Sueno is a cool store (and affiliated burrito restaurant) run by french artists.

During the summer slow season at least, things close down pretty early. We discovered that the best spots for dinner shut down before 6:00. It makes for quiet evenings better spent swimming and reading.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vintage Baby Gift

I was lucky to stock up on baby presents when I was at Replacements in North Carolina earlier this summer.  This 1940's Roseville Pottery "baby's plate" was one of my finds and was gifted at last weekend's baby shower.  It's from a line called juvenile creamware; with a nice sturdy plate with a deep rim.  You can find similar pieces on eBay and Ruby Lane.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Ladies Night

Rob went out of town this weekend for a mountain bike race in Mendocino, so I had a chance to spend some quality time with my favorite ladies.  On Friday, Margaret and I spent the evening at the Westfield. We went to the Japanese stationery store to buy glitter pens and had ramen for dinner in the basement.


Lazy Saturday morning. I did my nails and ran to the store.  Lauren picked me up to attend a baby shower at Cookhouse in North Beach.  It was a lovely party, with pretty flowers, excited guests, really good food, strong coffee and a craft project.


Lauren and I drove down to the Marina to meet up with Jean and Trent at the America's Cup prelims. Those boats are fast! It was really fun to watch the race in the fog.


Lauren dropped the three of us off at Japantown after the race ended. The J-Pop festival was on and the streets were packed with people in anime costumes. We admired the latest in alpaca-based, pirate-themed merch!



We had an early dinner at Osakaya in Japantown. Margaret met up with us to see a movie at Sundance. We watched The Bourne Legacy with glasses of beer. Taxi home just in time to get Jean and Trent on Caltrain back to Menlo Park.

I woke up early to read the paper on Sunday, then picked up Nicole for a hike in Marin. We drove to Bear Valley in Point Reyes.  Four miles out along a bubbling brook.

We popped out at the ocean, surprised that there was no fog in sight.  Look at that blue green water!


Nicole and I took the long way back, an eight mile hike up and over the hills. Hungry and tired by the time we were done.  Dinner at the Station House bar, sharing oysters, with onion rings and fish and chips - yum!


Smooth drive back to the city. I dropped Nicole off and made a quick run to the store before returning home. Rob  arrived shortly after. So happy to have him back!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sayulita: What to Wear

Uncharacteristically, I packed way too much for the trip to Mexico.  I decided to check a bag so I could take a large supply of my favorite sunblocks and it allowed me room for a whole lot of clothes.  Sayulita was so casual, I was pretty much instantly overdressed just by virtue of wearing more than one article of clothing at a time.  Per request, here's what I wore for the trip:

For the travel day, I wore white jeans with sandals and a navy tank top layered with a long sleeved tee and pashmina on the flight.  It looked cool - but jeans were WAY too heavy for walking around in the humidity. This was the first and last time I wore pants on the trip.


Maxi dresses are my favorite thing to wear when it's hot and I have a whole collection just for trips like this. When we dressed for going to town, I usually threw on a maxi dress and a pair of sandals.


This was my fanciest maxi dress and complete overkill for the tiny roadside taco stand where we were eating. I'm sure they thought I was a crazy person; eating so much ceviche, so pale and so fancy in this dress.


You can't see the colors of the dress in that shot, so here's a closer look:

But, really, this is more accurate. I spent most of each day in a combination of bathing suits. The rash guard (aka: beach turtleneck) is my favorite accessory for spending extended time in the sun without getting burned. A must for paddleboarding. No makeup, mahi mahi on a stick in one hand and a coconut in the other...bliss!


Not pictured: the lightweight workout pants, sneakers and tank tops for hiking in the jungle. Packed but never used: a lightweight rain jacket, a cardigan. Thanks to Rob for these photos!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sayulita: The Food

Our days in Sayulita rotated between four primary activities: swimming, reading, paddleboarding and eating.  Oh man, we did a lot of eating! The food was so, so good.

Mostly, I ate a ton of ceviche.  This shrimp ceviche tostada was served up at a tiny restaurant on the main Calle Revolucion for about $1. With cucumbers!


























We also had more delicious ceviche and tacos at the little roadside stands a block from the main plaza.  Freshly fried shrimp and fish tacos with giant glasses of melon agua fresca.










Some of the best food we had was at the tiny grill in the parking lot at Playa Los Muertos.  Freshly grilled mahi mahi with lime on 18" bamboo skewers and freshly machete-d "cocos frios" which were fun to crack open after drinking the coconut water inside. They had oysters too, which I love, but thought that would be really pushing my iron stomach too far.

























Breakfast tended to be our biggest meal of the day and in an actual restaurant. We started each day with coffee and guava smoothies in the room before venturing out. I had chilaquiles two days in a row...yum! Here, with red sauce and chicken at Mary's, the next day with green sauce and eggs at the hotel - which were even better. Rob added breakfast burritos and banana pancakes to the mix.











And, more ceviche!  This was our last meal of the trip: double shrimp and fish ceviche tostadas.  Not pictured: carne asada tacos on homemade tortillas, shrimp stuffed chile rellenos, cream filled donuts sold by a vendor at the beach, lots of guacamole, Pacifico with lime and giant daiquiris.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Me Encanta la Riviera Nayarit!

Rob and I just returned from five days in a little fishing village called Sayulita, a half hour north from Puerto Vallarta. We swam in the 85° ocean four times a day, watched pelicans dive from our deck and ate every single ceviche tostada that crossed our paths - it was heaven!  Lots more details and photos soon. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

To Do: Dress for Dinner

San Francisco is notoriously casual. You can wear jeans and a sweatshirt to the fanciest restaurant in town and no one bats an eye. Such a shame, since dressing up can be a blast. I put on a shiny top, pressed slacks, big earrings and extra eyeliner to step out for a meal at Prospect tonight.  Do you prefer to dress up or keep it casual at dinner?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Inspired: $70 Ikea Rug

The Lappljung Ruta rug from IKEA is my new favorite find. At $70, it's an affordable and durable way to brighten up a room.  There's plenty of online inspiration for using it in rooms including as a wall hanging with bright prints, brass and wicker or a mod pink sofa. If you don't want to commit to a whole rug, there's a $10 pillow version too.




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weeknd Round-up: Outside

We had such a fun weekend!  On Friday, Rob and I left work early to ride bikes over for Outside Lands in the park. 65,000 people attend this outdoor music festival in the cold fog. We met up with Shane at the Of Monsters and Men show:



Andrew Bird was next, not quite as good but still fun.  It started to get really cold, even with a beanie and gloves.


After that show, Rob and I visited the gourmet food trucks for fried pickles and other treats.  We caught a bunch of the Neil Young Crazy Horse show and a bit of Justice.  The eventwas over at 9:00, we pedaled back home with a massive wave of other cyclists. Jean, Trent and the dogs were waiting for our return. Warmed up with tea at home before turning in to bed.

Lazy morning the next day. Jean and Trent took the dogs to interview for an apartment, Rob went for a bike at noon. ride and I went to the hair salon.  I drove across town to pick up Margaret at noon.  Back at home, Rob joined us for a picnic along the Embarcadero waterfront.  The weather in the city this weekend was so strange: hot and sunny at our house and freezing cold and foggy in the park.  Jean and Trent headed to Outside Lands in the afternoon and we took the dogs for a walk.

Margaret wasn't feeling well, so we watched a movie and then drove her home.  Rob and took a drive to Ikea in Emeryville for a date at my favorite store.  I love, love Ikea and find the tiny apartment displays to be super soothing.


Our final score for the night included a white and black African-patterned rug, glass sealed jars, navy sheets, french-style dishtowels, wicker placemats, a hand-blown glass soap dispenser and a tiny succulent.


Big dinner at home of leftover dim sum.  Jean and Trent arrived back from the concerts at 10:00 and we stayed up late talking about their new temporary apartment in Palo Alto.

On Sunday, Jean and Trent were up early to move in their basics from our place to their new apartment.  Rob and I headed out shortly after on tandem bike to meet with friends for brunch at Park Chow. As soon as we hit the park, the fog was on thick - so glad I wore a scarf tied as a turban to cover the frizz:

We pedaled back home at noon. I spent some time in the garden and then did a major dusting (having the dogs has been so dusty!). The dogs had their final walk to the neighborhood dog park, then took deep naps while Rob and I tried to understand Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

In the evening, we drove down to deliver the dogs and help with the move. Their new little casita in Menlo Park is equal parts tiny and adorable. Spanish tile, redwood doors and a big yard with a brick patio. Jean and I unpacked the kitchen while Rob and Trent tackled the furniture. Quick break for dinner and then we were done at 8:00 - the benefit of a small place!


We drove home as the sun set and fog crept over the city skyline.  It seems very quiet at our apartment now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Life continues to fly by with the extra 12 legs living with us (4 human, 8 dog). Despite my best hermitage tendencies, Rob and I managed to book the trip to Puerto Vallarta next weekend.  It's my Dad's 83rd birthday today (yay!) and we have tickets to see Neil Diamond  (oops, make that Neil Young, not quite the same) tonight at Outside Lands.  Good times never seemed so good!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Sale Alert: Bloomingdale's

I got an amazing deal on a new DVF dress last weekend!  The Julieta dress is made of soft crepe de chine with shiny silver buttons and hidden pockets.   It was $60 less than the DVF sale price at Bloomingdale's.

The one I purchased was not at all in my size (the second time this has happened recently with DVF dresses) but it doesn't matter.  I'll credit Diane for being such a tailoring genius that her dresses look spectacular even when several sizes too big.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Foggy Summer

It's amazing how good we humans are at adapting.   My "life explosion" that started two weeks ago with reorgs at work, the promotion and my sister, brother-in-law and two dogs moving in with us is already starting to feel very normal.

Friday marked the 11th anniversary of Rob and I meeting each other. How time flies!   I arrived home to a big gift basket and flowers from him to celebrate.  Rob and I and Jean and Trent dressed up as twins for Bike Party and rode out to Glen Park. Brrr....it was SO cold.


The ride took us up to the top of Twin Peaks, which was even colder.  It must have been about 48 degrees on top of the mountain with whipping wind and the fog turning into rain as it hit the radio tower.  A bonding experience ;)

We rode down to Diamond Heights and manned a turn on the route. By the time all the riders made it through, we were popsicles.  Quick ride home to close out the evening with popcorn and hot tea.

On Saturday, we had a lazy morning with egg tacos cooked up by Jean and Trent.  At 11, they took the dogs to the park and Rob and I went to volunteer with V-O-Cal at Golden Gate Park.  A super friendly group of volunteers got us set up with t-shirts and yard tools. We spent just over two hours vigorously ripping out invasive ivy in the Oak Woodlands.


Maybe a little vigorously. I tend to get wrapped up in the moment with this sort of thing. Once we got to the car, I noticed some blisters on my fingers and a very sore back.

Back at home, Rob and I cleaned up. I found more than one leaf in my hair :)   Jean and I walked down to the nail salon to indulge in long pedicures. Then, we hit up Bloomingdale's to shop the sale and explored the mall a bit.  The free light show in the dome about the history of SF is worth checking out. Back at home around 6:00, all four of us teamed up to make a big dinner with breaded tilapia tacos, homemade salsa and kale salad.  We watched It's Kind of a Funny Story, which was cute, before calling it a night.

Sunday morning, Jean, Trent, Rob and I slept in and then lazed about reading the paper.  We decided to go to Stinson Beach to escape the fog. Getting Rob out the door on bike, the car loaded up and the dogs ready took a good amount of time. We made it to the ocean at nearly 2:00.  Umbrellas an and read chairs set up, Rob went to get us gourmet sandwiches from a stand nearby.  The dogs ran around while we ate, read and watched the fog retreat.



We left the beach at 4 and picked up Nicole in the Marina on our way back home. Rob, Nicole and I peeled off to go see the new Batman movie downtown. I liked the nearly-3-hour flick more than I thought I would.

Jean and Trent were waiting to have a late dinner with us when we returned at 9. Big bowls of mushroom pasta before turning in.










Thursday, August 02, 2012

To Do: Puerto Vallarta

Can you believe it's already the 2nd of August?!  I could really use a quick escape before San Francisco's busy summer season starts in September. Virgin America flights to Puerto Vallarta are cheap and the Mexican coast looks like the perfect place to unplug with a book for a long weekend.

Have you been to Puerto Vallarta?  Any recommendations on places to stay?

Recipe: Bruschetta

I can't get enough of this easy summer bruschetta. We've had it for dinner, for snacks...breakfast. I've probably made 10 lbs of the delicious mix this month alone. The garlicy vinaigrette is my secret powerhouse that makes everything delicious.


Slice a pound of really ripe tomatoes in half. Squish out the seeds before chopping. Mince a 1/4 cup of basil (I usually use thai basil because it's easier to find and stronger tasting). Crumble half a cup of fresh feta cheese. Toss all three into a bowl - or, if you're fancy, arrange each into its own pile side-by-side.

Get a small cup or bowl for your vinaigrette. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.  Use a microplane to grate a clove of fresh garlic right into the mix. Squeeze a lemon wedge on top of that. Add a good amount of onion salt and pepper. Dip your fork into quality mustard (preferably truffle mustard) and whisk vigorously.

Pour your vinagrette over the tomato mixture, toss and let it sit for a couple minutes.  Toast buttered slices of good Italian bread in the oven.  Top the warm slices with the bruschetta and go to town.   It's great with diced cucumber too if you want more of a greek salad.