Wednesday, January 30, 2013

To Do: Chinatown Flower Fair

Spring officially starts for me with the Chinese New Year flower fair! This weekend all of Chinatown will be filled with orchids, plum blossom branches, orange trees, paperwhites, chrysanthemums and other "auspicious" flowers designed to bring luck in the year ahead.

Next thing you know, it will be time for Bouquets to Art, the Big Bang Ball, and Mountain Play! Spring in San Francisco is the besty and this year my sister is having a baby - so its going to be the best one yet!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekends: Housguests

This was such a fun weekend!  You simply can't go wrong when you go out Friday to see a huge amount of tap dancing.  We paired up with our friends Greg and Kevin to see Anything Goes at the Golden Gate Theater. Fantastic cast, music and dancing. I've had Cole Porter songs stuck in my head ever since:

We walked home from the show to greet our friends from Atlanta, Jackie and Pierre, at the apartment.  We stayed up too late talking and slept in on Saturday morning.  Coffee, orange slices and hot chocolate croissants for breakfast.

We spent most of the morning in pajamas working on wedding planning for their upcoming event in July. Decided to use paper shipping tags for the save the date cards:

It was too sunny to stay inside once Margaret arrived. The four of us walked up Fillmore Street to pick up stationery supplies at Paper Source.  We stopped at Japantown on the way back to buy mango flavored marshmallows and fancy pens. It was super sunny, but also cold and windy out.

Quick break at home before going out for Ethiopian dinner.  We made a fire in the fireplace and stayed up late working on wedding crafts. I accessorized the owl cake toppers with a paper hat and ribbon veil:

Lazy Sunday morning with coffee and the paper. We walked down the block to Cafe du Solei for breakfast.

Margaret and Jackie took off for shopping downtown after we returned. I stayed home to work on the wedding invitation designs and prepare for the night's dinner party.  Pierre - who stayed behind to work on his thesis - joined me for lunch at Rosemunde sausages. Walked to the grocery store, took a hot bath and made a huge pot of green chili with tomatillos.

At 6:30, friends arrived for our hodge-podge dinner party. Jean's friends Jill and Kelly arrived to talk about throwing her baby shower in San Francisco. Pierre's friend Roger (who lives just down the street) also joined us.  Dinner of green chili, cornbread and salad. Followed by a flourless chocolate cake with ice cream and preserved cherries.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What to Wear: Gold on Gold

I wore a version of this outfit to work on Wednesday. The idea was to tone down the metallic Tory Burch skirt I got for $50 at Neiman Marcus with a more-casual gold sweater. The final result was not muted...but definitely fun!

Sweater -A chunky modern sweater with a light gold finish.
Skirt - The gold and bronze finish on this skirt is pretty cool.
Tights - I like Hue tights from Macy's.
Boots - Black suede boots to keep under your desk at work
Purse - Love the dark saddle leather color of this crossbody bag.
Bracelet - Black enamel bangles from Target.

Tiny Flowers

Tiny floral arrangements are my favorite kind. My mom is so good about placing nosegays in the house when guests are around. Amazing how a few flowers on the bathroom counter makes your welcome special!  These were made with leftovers from the baby shower.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Party Recipe: Flower Shower

This was such a fun baby shower to host!  I've thrown all kinds of baby showers in the past with themes as varied as disco, library, mustaches and camping - but this was the first really girly one.  Jean and I started off with the idea of April (the guest of honor) showers bringing baby flowers and mom offered to host down in San Luis Obispo. Our decorations centered around about 35 pink tissue paper flowers of all sizes we made the night before.
For the party activity, we skipped he diaper games and did a little floral design. A couple bouquets of roses and greenery cut from the garden turned into the materials for making flower crowns and corsages.  These are the samples we prepared in advance:

And the supplies accidentally made a really lovely centerpiece for the living room.  The roses are suspended in that low bowl with the help of a grid of clear tape.
In the dining room, we hung a clothes line with cute pink and white baby clothes - the socks just kill me - and topped the chandelier with tissue paper flowers.  For food, we served veggie cups with hummus, a trio of tea sandwiches (curry chicken salad on sourdough, ham and swiss on rye and cucumber with dill and lemon on wheat), nuts, olives and pickles. That was followed by beautiful fruit tarts during gift opening.
Drinks were a choice of champagne or sparkling cider mixed with with pink guava juice.

Our guest of honor, April, looked so, so pretty with her flower crown, red hair and tissue paper garden surroundings.

For party favors, guests took home bundles of wildflower seeds .

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekends: April Showers

How was your long weekend? I spent mine down in San Luis Obispo helping throw a flowery baby shower for a family friend, April.  Jean and I drove down on Friday night and arrived really late. On Saturday morning, we woke to a gorgeous, frosty day that soon turned warm. How pretty is the view from my parent's backyard?

The usually Saturday morning routine of farmer's market, dog run and breakfast at the Budget Cafe.  Dad went off on a boat trip and the "girls" headed to Morro Bay to pick up crab for dinner and tarts for the shower on Sunday. With it so sunny and warm out, we swung by the Shell Shop (my favorite!) and the amazing Garden Gallery along the way:

Jean and I headed out straight after returning from Morro Bay for baby shower supplies. Lots of groceries, tissue papers and craft materials needed for the 16-person event. I'll share all the party details separately this week. Quick break from all the tissue paper work for a big crab, sourdough and salad dinner together. More prep work late into the night.

On Sunday, we had a lazy morning with coffee, pastries and the paper before launching into full blown party prep mode. It paid off - we finished everything with an hour to spare until guests arrived. The dogs even got a pre-party walk.

The shower for April started at 2:00 and was a big success! It was fun to catch up with families from the neighborhood that I haven't seen in 10+ years and really cute to see Jean and her friend as pregnant ladies.

The party ended at 5:30 and we had the guest of honor and her husband over for chinese delivery after.  I crashed into bed at 9:00 - whew! It was a big day.

Jean and I hit the road on Monday morning - only an hour behind schedule, which is pretty good for Jean who hates saying goodbye in every situation.  Uneventful, but long, drive home. I dropped her off in Palo Alto at 1:30 and drove straight to Nicole's apartment in the Marina to pick her up for a hike. We took advantage of the really lovely, warm weather this weekend to hike Land's End and Sutro Park. Even posing for an awkward photo, like tourists:

Early dinner at Park Chalet after the hike. We headed back to the car just in time to catch the sunset over Ocean Beach.  I drove her home and stopped in to help judge a couple recent purchases.

Then, finally, back home to my own apartment at 6:00.  Nice hot bath and a lot of laziness for the rest of the evening.

I'm excited to share all the "April Shower" recipes, decorations and activities with you this week. Of all the baby showers I've hosted (maybe 8 or 9 so far) this was the girliest yet and so much fun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Coming home to a super dark kitchen in January isn't great - but the blooming bowl of paperwhites from Margaret makes all the difference!

Monday, January 14, 2013

What to Wear: Sleek Office

I'm really enjoying all my new fancy (and majorly on-sale) work clothes from Neiman Marcus. A particular favorite is a standout pair of wool trousers in peacock from Phillip Lim. Paired with a classic camel coat and black turtleneck, it's a timeless power outfit for the office.

Sweater - A basic black turtleneck from Macy's on sale.
Pants - I'm so in love with these pants that I'm considering buying the red pair featured here, even at $100 more than the deal I found the green ones.
Coat - Camel coat on sale from J. Crew. I have a military-styled camel coat from Zara a couple years ago.
Belt - An oxblood belt plays off the green color nicely
Clutch - On sale at Kenneth Cole.
Shoes - A classic pair of platform pumps.
Sunglasses - Aviators from Forever 21.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekends: Cold Snap

This was one of those cold, crisp, sunny weekends that defines San Francisco in the winter. Brr..maybe a tad bit colder than usual.

Rob and I were absolute sloths on Friday and Saturday.  He was recovering from a rough week with a major work deadline and a bad cold.  The fact that we're still camping out in the guest room - where the TV lives - while the bedroom closet is repaired didn't help at all. We stayed in pajamas all day Saturday with only occasional breaks to cook yummy food and clean house.  I worked on the Christmas journal while Rob blew through episodes of Falling Skies.

By Sunday morning, we were ready to motivate and leave the house.  Quickly read the paper with coffee before heading out to meet Jean and Trent with their dogs at Fort Funston. The famous local dog park was absolutely packed with furry beasts of all sizes and shapes.  We hiked down to the beach and probably walked two miles on the black sand.

Two hours later, the dogs were completely worn out!  We left them to nap in the car while the rest of us went to Park Chalet for drinks in the sun.

Rob and Trent drove to go see Zero Dark Thirty while Jean and I headed home to catch the Golden Globes.  I've never watched them before, but couldn't miss Tina and Amy's appearance.  We liked Jessica Alba, Kristin Bell, Sally Field and Naomi Watt's dresses the best.  The tuckered out dogs curled up with us while we ate popcorn and candy for dinner.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Sale Season

The New Year's resolution to beef up my work wardrobe has been going extremely well!

Just this week, I've scored sweet deals on 60's-inspired pants and a sweater at Club Monaco and cool patent leather saddle shoes from Kenneth Cole.

Neiman Marcus has been blowing my mind with their final sale. Over two days, I've picked up a DVF print dress, a gold Tory Burch skirt, Joie sweater dress and emerald green trousers all at 65% or more off. If there's a Neiman's anywhere near you...go!  The sale ends on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Go Big

My New Year's resolutions include combating stress, stepping up my work wardrobe, wearing lipstick every day and hosting more dinner parties using the good silver and china!

On Sunday night, we invited Seth and Amy over with their two young girls for a casual meal. I made layered enchiladas, swapping in homemade salsa verde and olives on the recipe. Plus, a green salad with truffle mustard vinaigrette and mandarin oranges. For a centerpiece, just some leftover cilantro and green  apples in pretty silver containers.

It hardly caused any extra work at all to use the good stuff - but it was so fun! Definitely a resolution I want to keep in 2013.

Monday, January 07, 2013

What to Wear: Back to Work

Doesn't the first day at work after the holidays feel just like back-to-school? I planed an outfit for the occasion with a new sweater dress I found on vacation:
Dress: French Connection knit sweater dress. More fuscia (as shown) instead of red as pictured. Found it for $30 at Marshalls outside of Seattle. Worked really well with a bold necklace for New Year's Eve too!
Blazer: I bought a suit in the fall for no reason - definitely not the dress code at my office - and have been trying to work in the pieces. Added structure and warmth to the outfit.
Shoes:  I have a ridiculously high pair of black platform booties that I keep at my desk for outfits like this. I love feeling really tall, but flats are definitely required for the walk to work instead. This pair on sale from Coach seems more practical!
Bag: Cross-body bags are my favorite for walking all over the city.

Just add a black trench, a massive ivory and fuscia scarf and pink earbuds for the walk to work in the cold!  I think I need to stop at the florist tomorrow for some tulips to compliment the look.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013!  The holidays just blew by. We spent Christmas in San Luis Obispo packed in with all kinds of family and dogs. Amazing crab, a really fun PCPA show, kayaking on the lake, creamed pearl onions, hiking on the beach - all the good things.

Then, Rob and I packed up with Jean and Trent for a week vacation in Seattle, Vancouver and Whistler. We visited museums, stayed with old friends, cross country skied at the olympic park and even tried some biathlon shooting. So, so cool (and also literally very cold)!
I'm happy to be back home after all the travels. This New Year will be full of all kinds of new adventures and challenges. We started it off right with our first dinner party (with china and silver even) on Sunday night.