Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekend: Moving

I heard this weekend was lovely and warm, classic San Francisco fall weather...but we spent it inside packing for the move. Our routine boiled down to a rotation of packing, panicking about how much stuff we have, driving to the thrift store to make big donations, hunting for more boxes and sitting, sacked out, on the couch for breaks when our backs started to hurt. Plus, an occasional bout of feeling really depressed about the whole situation and eating too many potato chips.

Haha! I felt so accomplished when I packed these first four boxes on Saturday. Hardly.

I made dinner after the big day of work, trying to eat up all our food so we won't need to haul it across town.  Quite a challenge since we had smartly packed everything but one knife, one pan and some salt.  But kind of fun too, like trying to cook in a vacation rental. The resulting kale, zucchini, lemon and garlic pasta went into an impromptu frittata for breakfast on Sunday morning. 

More packing on Sunday. How is it possible that we have so. much. stuff?  We're two small people in a small space. Are we secretly hoarders?! Rob and I took breaks in between cycles to watch the second season of BBC's Sherlock Holmes - amazing.

By Sunday night, we were starting to feel accomplished.  Jackie and Pierre arrived to spend the night late that evening.

Everything but clothes, everyday dishes and a couple things in storage are ready to go. We're going to pick up the keys tomorrow night and then the moving truck comes Wednesday.  Then we'll just need to unpack everything...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ladies Activity Club: Salsa Making

I hosted the LAC party last night - the last at our loft apartment.  It was a really fun, easy and productive party.  To start, I stocked up on a myriad of produce and supplies at farmer's market. All of this was about $10.

First, we peeled and started roasting the tomatillos and jalapenos for the green salsa. Meanwhile, I put out snacks of chorizo, cantaloupe, quesadillas and jalapeno stuffed olives.

We made an impromptu salsa with yellow and red tomatoes, white nectarines, red onions, fresno chilies, cilantro, white corn and lemon juice to go with the quesadillas:

Together, we finished the roasted green salsa and made cooked red salsa. Then, everyone experimented with their own recipes. I made a spicy salsa with banana peppers, serrano chilies, yellow tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, white corn and green olives.

At the end of the night, we all took home samples of each other's salsa. Plenty for a week's worth of delicious chip-eating!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wedding Invitation Options

I set up this impromptu stationery tutorial for Jackie and Pierre's wedding planning last weekend! It can be tough to decide which kind of wedding invitations are right for your event.  Roughly from cheapest/most DIY to most expensive: 1. Linoleum block stamp, 2. Gocco screenprinting, 3. Thermography, 4. Engraving, 5. Letterpress, 6. Wood.  (They went with Gocco!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend: Out-of-Towners

San Francisco's summer finally arrived - and with it, some of our favorite friends visiting all the way from Atlanta.  September in the city is the best!

Rob and I kicked off the opera season on Friday night. We saw Rigoletto after having a sushi dinner in SOMA. I picked this vintage white dress because we were also celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary!

We returned home by train at 11:00 to find Jackie and Pierre arrived.  Stayed up way too late catching up and planning their wedding next summer - fun!

I got up early Saturday morning for a hair appointment. When I returned to the apartment, Jean and Trent had arrived up from Menlo Park to join us.  Burgers at Super Duper and then a long bus ride out to Tour de Fat.  The weather in Golden Gate Park was perfect for drinking beer and running in to almost everyone we know in the city:

At 5:00, we walked over to Seth and Amy's apartment in the Richmond for dinner. Their two girls are so cute. The little one had a great time charming all of us:

We had a lazy Sunday morning with the paper and coffee.  Pierre's friends invited the four of us out to Axis Cafe for brunch, so we decided to walk the two miles over there. Delicious eggs benedict and bloody mary's on the patio.

Quick stop at Nordstrom Rack after brunch - I bought some boots for fall. Margaret met up with us along the way.  Rob and I peeled off to go to farmer's market while everyone else walked home. I'm hosting salsa making party on Tuesday and needed lots of peppers, tomatoes and onions.

Bundled up to walk over to dinner downtown. It really feels so much like fall with these warm days and cold nights:

Mexican feast at Tropisueno (so good) for an early dinner. We wandered around downtown before returning home for ice cream and warm  cookies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To Do: Clothing Swap

The purge continues as we prepare for moving. I actually love the process of getting rid of stuff, so liberating.  Fortunately, all this coincides with a clothing swap party tomorrow night with Rebecca and others. I packed up a huge bag of sweaters, shoes, dresses and pants. I'm excited for a big fall shopping spree once we're settled in the new apartment.

I Left My Heart

San Francisco can be so hard sometimes. For example, when you're shopping for an apartment and rents are at all-time highs. Or, when you're struggling to figure out a way to walk to work that isn't entirely full of terrible, poverty-filled blocks. But then the city makes up for it.

Last night, Nicole and I went for a 5 mile walk along Crissy Field at dusk. It was so pretty, with the bay full of boats coming home and the beach full of dogs being instagrammed by their owners. We are so lucky!

Thanks to Pelo78 for the photo!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend: Fall Housekeeping was cold this weekend! With the fall temperatures and the awkward teenage stage of moving (too early to pack, too late to just ignore it), I spent most the weekend holed up inside.  So much for San Francisco's late summer.

Friday night, Rob and I watched a movie and ate leftover Chinese delivery. On Saturday, I woke up early but stayed in bed reading until late in the morning. Rob and I cleaned out the storage unit, dropped off electronics for recycling and cleaned junk out of various drawers. I discovered a stash of random old photos from childhood, high school and college and had a lot of fun scanning everything to post on Facebook:

Margaret came over in the afternoon to hang out. The three of us went for an early dinner at Ironside in South Park. Nicole met up with us ad we walked over to Lucky Strike for some drinks while watching the Stanford game.

Sunday morning, I stayed in bed reading the paper with coffee and cereal until really late.  Rob went for a bike ride and to do some trail building in the park. I tackled a couple more drawers and closets. Here's the newly organized stationery drawer:

Quick run to farmer's market in the afternoon. There are still nectarines and tomatoes, but pumpkins are starting to creep in.

Rob came home in the late afternoon. We took on the abandoned sock collection as our final pre-move task. Quick run to Trader Joe's. I made my favorite lemon mushroom pasta for dinner:

All in all, I managed to throw away about six garbage bags of junk and to prepare two bags for donation. Our previous moves have always been rushed, so it's nice that this one gives me time to actually toss stuff instead of just packing it up.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Salsa Favorites

We're gearing up to move at the end of the month. Stay tuned for a preview of the new place!

In the meantime, I want to pack in a couple parties as a final sendoff of our current loft (still pretty sad about having to leave). The Ladies Activity Club will be celebrating it's 7th anniversary and I'm hosting a salsa-making session. Do you have a favorite salsa recipe we should try?

Monday, September 10, 2012

What to Wear: Tweed Blazer

I would love to pick up a perfect tweed blazer for my fall wardrobe, inspired by 1970's Diane Keaton style. So easy and warm over a pair of jeans or a pencil skirt - and so hard to find!

1. $249. This blazer from Club  Monaco is made from quality fabric with solid tailoring.
2. $115. Vintage blazer and skirt from Animal Head Vintage (go Rebecca!)
3. $224. On sale from APC with classic styling.
4. $89. I love the details on this Zara blazer. Tie silk under the collar, leather buttons, elbow patches.
5. $816. Too expensive, but this blazer from Ralph Lauren is the kind of thing you'd wear for decades.

Weekend: Not Apartment Hunting

Rob and I are working on taking over a former colleague's apartment in the Lower Haight. Until we know if that's going to happen, there's really no sense at looking at other apartments. So we got to take the weekend off!

We went to Bike Party on Friday with a "Summer of Love" theme around Haight Ashbury.  It was nice to catch up with our bike friends from around the bay.

Saturday morning, we slept in and relaxed until it was time to go tour the potential apartment with it's current owner.  It's a nice place with a detached garage and a lot of space.  From there, we drove to Marin to spend the day with our friend, Eric.  We started by hiking out to the beach at Point Reyes along the Abbott Lagoon trail.  Super windy at the beach, my hair was going crazy and Rob dubbed me "Predator."

We stopped at a lagoon on the way back for a snack and caught a romp of wild river otters going out for an evening hunt. (side note: discovering "romp" is the official name for a pack of otters made my day!)

Delicious BBQ dinner at Eric's followed by a long soak in his hot tub.  What an excellent country host!

We drove back late at night and met up with Jean and Trent's dogs - they had been dropped off at the apartment earlier in the day.  The dogs had finally learned how to use the spiral staircase and - since their parents were still at dinner - insisted on making their bed directly on top of me. Very cozy!

Rob made the four of us blueberry pancakes for breakfast the next morning. We heard all about Jean and Trent's adventures in the city on Saturday.  Lazy time reading the paper and snacking on smoked mackerel with cheese and crackers.

At 12:30, Jean and I went for massages at the spa next door. A much needed hour of trying to dislodge my shoulder blades from my earlobes - it has been a very stressful month.   After the spa, we walked downtown to meet Rob and Trent for lunch and a bit of shopping.

The Menlo Park gang took off at 4:00. Rob and I worked on throwing out a bunch of junk in the apartment to prepare to move.  We got a dinner invitation from Rebecca and Derek for them at 7:00 and dashed across town to meet them at Woodhouse Fish Company.  Great meal with oysters and lots of crab. We took the train home at 10:00 and crashed into bed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

San Francisco Rent Madness

Rents in San Francisco are hitting some crazy highs right now. The average for any apartment in the city is over $2,700 and to get a decent one bedroom in a downtown neighborhood is more like $3,500.  There's a place across the street from us renting for $7,000.

At that price, we can always pull an Eloise and move in to a glamorous hotel - an oddly comforting thought.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Not Awesome

This weekend was pretty pitiful. We had planned to spend two days camping in Marin Headlands and then a relaxing Monday in the city...but that did not happen.  By Friday I had been feeling really ill with a stomach bug for a couple days (I think it was giardia) so we decided to push back camping one night. Then we got an email that night from our landlord saying that our lease was cancelled and we had only 30-days to find a new place. Ugh!

Some quick research revealed that we actually had 60-days under the city rules, but even that is hardly enough time to find a great apartment in this very expensive market. We spent all Friday on Craigslist. I was well enough on Saturday to spend the day in the car on an apartment hunt.  There's no shortcut to finding a great city apartment, just a whole lot of driving around looking at open houses - some of which are as short as 15 minutes!

We toured six apartments on Saturday and drove by probably four others.  Everything from pink-bathtubbed   homes too far out in the fog to fancy high-rise apartments that were too small.

Rob and I left straight from the last open house at 4:30 to have dinner with Jean and Trent in Menlo Park. Homemade lasagna, salad and breadsticks. We sat around the fire laughing at the dogs.

I woke up Sunday with a terrible headache and proceeded to throw up all morning. Rob called the doctor and got strict instructions that I should spend the day drinking one sip of gatorade every 3 to 5 minutes. So, no apartment hunting. I watched Sleepless in Seattle and Something's got to Give, took naps and worked my way back to a hearty dinner of white rice.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling 100% better. Whatever I had, it was finally over. So, back out on the apartment hunt first thing in the morning.  We looked at a place out in Little Russia and then drove all the way back to Dogpatch for a tour of apartments still under construction.

Our noon open house took us close to Nicole's apartment so we joined her for a sandwich lunch in the marina.  Our next tour in Laurel Heights was a winner, the first apartment that we actually applied for.  One more at 4:00 that we didn't like at all before driving home.

In an attempt to eek out a bit of Labor Day fun, Margaret came over for a big taco dinner. We walked to Whole Foods for chocolate ice cream, then called it a night. Rent prices are so high in the city right now that we may actually find a better deal buying a place. Rob has plans to talk to a mortgage broker tomorrow. The hunt continues!