Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What to Wear: Summer in San Francisco

Brr. It's the start of August, and hopefully summer in San Francisco is just a few weeks away. We've had a classic wintry July with fog, wind and plenty of scarves. I've basically lived in a version of this outfit, topped with a trench coat:

White jeans - Still keep you warm, but it feels like summer at least.
Navy sweater - A basic crew neck sweater. Mine has a split back for a little extra flair.
Basic tee - I love the combination of the blue heather with navy.
Wedges - I've become addicted to these Cole Haan Nike Air wedges. They're expensive, but can pretty much replace every other pair of shoes you own.
Bag - My trusty Coach crossbody in saddle leather.
Bracelet set - Target has great bracelet sets in interesting combinations for cheap.
Sunglasses - Aviators, that I will without-fail lose in two weeks.
Scarf - These lightweight scarves from Old Navy also double as a great beach accessory when it isn't freezing cold.
Earrings - Smoky topaz.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend: Slow it Down

After throwing a wedding last weekend and back-to-back trips to Tahoe before that - it was time for a relaxing few days in the city.

On Friday, I had an early start at work to do a small TV appearance and left just in the nick of time to get across town for the big Jay Z - Justin Timberlake concert at Candlestick Park.  We had cheap seats and it was freezing out, but what a great show!  The 3 hour performance included something like 38 songs all-together. The finale was a version of Forever Young dedicated to Trayvon Martin that lit up the stadium.

By the time we got home by train after midnight I was completely worn out.  Slept in a bit on Saturday before going to my hair appointment and to Trader Joe's after that. It was a foggy, gray July day in the city.

Leisurely lunch at home with Rob before having to dip into work for an hour downtown.  Our afternoon plans cancelled, so we spent the rest of the evening reading and lounging about. Healthy dinner of roasted corn and a farro salad with kale and mushrooms.

Rob left early Sunday morning for a bike race in Marin. I had a nice breakfast in bed while reading the Sunday paper front to back.  My Sunday plans cancelled as well, so I took a hot bath, watched episodes of Veep (my favorite) and cleaned house.  In the afternoon, Rob and I drove to Pleasant Hill to see Seth and Amy at their new house. I got my fill of tutu-time with their two girls, even had a tea party with their stuffed animals after dinner. Really fun!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Party Recipe: Jackie's Vintage Farm Wedding

Whoa, I have been BUSY the last couple weeks. Rob and I went back to Tahoe after 4th of July to spend the weekend with his sister, nephews and parents. We swam, watched basketball, paddleboarded - it was great.

Then, a short week and Jackie's wedding. Margaret and I have been helping to plan this event for over a year. On Friday, we went to the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market and picked up a huge amount of supplies. Easily the most flowers I've ever purchased at once. We got lime light hydrangeas, love-in-the-mist, garden roses, mint geranium, white dahlias, star jasmine, akito roses, eucalyptus, bouvardia, lisianthu, queen anne's lace and blue milkweed. 

We drove down to San Luis Obispo, changed and went to the rehearsal. After that, her parents hosted a delicious Chinese buffet at their home. We left that party early to work on flowers. From 8:00 to 11:30, we worked in the garage at my parent's house making bouquets, corsages and so, so many centerpieces in glass hobnob vases. I think we overdid it a bit!

On Saturday, Rob and Trent went with me to the venue at 9:00 to set up a big garland on the gazebo, finish the flowers and prep. It was a perfect warm day at See Canyon Fruit Ranch

The three of us got ready in the small barn they have setup for the bridal party. Took photos before the event and before we knew it - it was time to walk down the aisle.  Isn't Jackie adorable in her vintage lace sheath?  We found that for a steal on Haight Street in San Francisco:

The ceremony went off without a hitch under the pretty garland:

What a relief when we all made it through the ceremony, the flowers were still lovely and all that was left was eating and drinking with old friends.

The event concluded with olallieberry pie from a local fruit stand and a big birdseed send off in the driveway.  

These are my candid shots from the weekend - I'll share more of the professional photos when they're available. In the meantime, you can check out the rest of my photos on Flickr.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Weekends: Tahoe 4th of July

What a great weekend!  Rob and I were invited up to Lake Tahoe for the holiday weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday. Our host, Corey, arranged for a massive rental house for his 30th.

But first...I had to get there. Rob had gone up a few days before and I took a ride share through Zimride to join him. It was cheap ($28), but with a huge amount of traffic and a crowded car full of very chatty 20-something girls. A looong ride to arrive at 1:30 am.  The next day, I followed Rob and Cole out to Spooner Lake. While they mountain biked, I hiked around the lake and saw a bald eagle. Camped out in the shade for a few hours while reading - bliss!

Just enough time to eat a late lunch and change for our evening boat cruise on the lake. Our group of 30 practically took over the catamaran:

Lounged on the boat until the firework show began at 9:30. We were right next to the three barges and had an amazing view of the extensive show.

The next day, we woke up early again. This time to meet with Rob's college friends at Incline Village for breakfast. After eating, we took a quick hike up at Tahoe Meadows.  3 year old Conner led the hike:

Such a pretty trail, with an overlook of the lake and lots of wildflowers.

Of course, none of us wore the right shoes for a hike (I wore wedges!) and our feet were so dusty at the end:

Back in South Lake Tahoe, we had just enough time to throw on bathing suits before joining Corey and his crew at Nevada Beach. That pretty blue water is deceptively cold!

Big dinner and leisurely last night at the house with Corey, his family and friends. In the morning, we watched Tour de France while packing up the rental. Most people headed back to the city, but Rob and I drove up the west side of the lake. We stopped along the rode and took bikes down a path along the road. We stumbled across Sugar Pine on the way back, another pretty beach - this time paired with a historic mansion and grounds!

Too hot to sit in the shade and too cold in the water to swim, so we rented a kayak and paddled out on the bay.

On the bike ride back to the car, we spotted a black bear just about 20 feet off to the side of the path!

After our adventure, we drove up to Truckee to spend the night with our friends Bill, Conner and Leslie - due with a second baby in just a few weeks. They made a nice BBQ dinner with corn, veggie burgers and margaritas in the backyard:

On Sunday, we had a leisurely breakfast. Rob and Bill went for a mountain bike ride while Leslie and I went for a walk in the woods with Conner. We made lunch of vegan potato salad and then traded Conner off to go for a pedicure in Truckee. Rob and Bill took Conner to the local pump track and had a marvelous time doing tricks together in the dirt. He's a great rider for only 3 years old!

Rob and I packed up and drove back on Sunday afternoon through a lot of traffic. Made it home about 9:30 and did our best to return to "real life" after our long break at the lake. More photos from our Tahoe trip here if you're interested. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Recipe: Bruschetta Pasta Salad

By request, here's the recipe for the easy summer bruschetta salad I made for dinner on Sunday night. Bruschetta is one of my favorite things to eat during summer. The smell of fresh basil never fails to make me nostalgic for trying out recipes at the beach as a kid. This pasta version of bruschetta replaces crusty, freshly-grilled slices of baguette with durable noodles.  It's much more flavorful than your standard pasta salad:

Bruschetta Pasta Salad 
Serves 5

1/2 box of rotini pasta
3 or 4 good tomatoes
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 cup of fresh basil
1/3 cup of feta cheese
3 cloves of fresh garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt to taste

Boil water for your noodles. Seed the tomatoes and chop into small pieces. Peel and lightly seed the cucumber and chop into small pieces. Add the tomatoes and cucumber to a bowl with the olive oil. Microplane (or finely mince) the three cloves of garlic on top. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and salt and set to the side. The garlic will infuse your tomatoes and add a lot of flavor to the finished dish. Add the noodles to the boiling water.

Drain the rotini when cooked and rinse with cold water immediately.  Toss the noodles with the tomato mixture. Add the chopped basil and crumbled feta cheese to the salad. Top with the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (you should have enough olive oil, but you can add more if needed) and toss.  Add salt to taste, you shouldn't need much thanks to the feta.

You're ready to serve right away. If the salad is being prepared in advance, I suggest mixing everything together but the fresh basil, which will blacken while refrigerating overnight.