Since it is officially the holidays, I thought I would put together a couple gift guides focusing on everything that I love food, design and travel. First up, a holiday gift guide for foodies. Whether they love to cook or love to eat, here are some gifts that the foodie in your life will be sure to love.
Every year for the holidays I give away holiday candy. I am not big on presents (sorry but it is true) I just don’t get the whole giving someone something because you feel like you have to. Yes, Bah Humbug. But I do enjoy cooking for friends and family and then giving those away as presents. So over the next couple of weeks leading up to the holidays, I am going to share my go-to candy recipes so you all can try your hand at making them for your loved ones. [click to continue…]
How cool is that, right! St. Frank is a SF based company started by a friend that sources beautiful textile art from artisans in developing nations all around the world. The best part about this line of textiles is that not only are they beautiful, they give back to the community that has created them. The goal of St. Frank is to not only create beautiful pieces of art, but also improve economic independence for artisans who create these textiles and preserve the traditional artisanal craft of creating textiles. [click to continue…]
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend in New Orleans. It was my first trip to the Big Easy and boy was it everything I thought it would be and more. I was in town for a wedding of two of my favorite people, Stef and Josh [click to continue…]
So my birthday is almost here. Wednesday I will be turning the big 32. Yep, thirty-two. I don’t mind the whole getting older thing, the thing that is weird is that I don’t feel 32. When did I become a thirty-something? I still feel like I an 18 year old who should not be allowed to live by myself, drink alcohol,or let alone live with a guy! (Or 2 guys for that matter if you count Chumley) 32 is seriously adult. [click to continue…]
For those that know me – know that I am obsessed with my dog Chumley. Like more than obsessed.
He was a horrible, mischievous, rotten puppy when we got him,but when you saw this face, how could you not melt? He has since grown up to be a quasi-normal dog.
We found Chumley on Petfinder almost 4 years ago. Originally Luke and I wanted to get a dog from a breeder because we wanted a puppy but no breeder would call us back; so we decided to adopt. We found this little black lab/mastiff puppy named Chipper online and drove up to Tahoe to get him. He and his litter mates were dropped off at the shelter, along with his mother because their owner could not take care of them anymore. [click to continue…]
There is something so clean and beautiful about Swedish design. It is in complete contrast to some of the architecture there which is historic and rooted for centuries. The interior design tends to be modern and simple. When I was in Sweden I remember walking by a public park bench and thinking that is the most beautiful and most stylish and chic bench I have seen. And it was just a park bench!
During my trip I was introduced to this amazing store, Svenskt Tenn. Svenskt Tenn is an interior design company that dates all the way back to 1924. Throughout the decades it has remained one of the most celebrated interior design stores in Stockholm. One of the main reason’s for its success and the reason I loved it so much, is the store’s collaboration with designer/architect Josef Frank. [click to continue…]
Thanksgiving is officially upon us. There is no turning back now. One of my favorite past-times, especially this time of year, is dreaming up new recipes. New combinations, updates on the old, and taking current recipes and trying to figure out what would make them better. Once I get a recipe to make in my head to make, I have to make it or else it will drive me crazy thinking about it. This caramel apple pie was exactly one of those recipes. [click to continue…]
Thanksgiving is officially 21 days away and I cannot wait. It is my favorite holiday. How could it not be – a day that starts off with the Macy’s Day Parade, then it is followed by food, a nap and then more food? So, in an effort to not feel too guilty about the indulgence of Thanksgiving I am trying to eat a little healthier for the next couple of weeks. So in true California fashion I am turning to kale and quinoa. Yep – had you asked me whether I ate those before I moved to SF I probably would have ignored you and maybe even rolled my eyes. (Back then my diet seemed to consist of NY’s finest bagels and pizza) [click to continue…]
After a couple days in Stockholm I hoped on a flight and headed to London. My other dear friend Sarah lives there and I couldn’t fly across the world without seeing her as well. I was sort of in the neighborhood. Also I have never been to London. I am not sure why it took me this long to get there, especially considering how relatively easy it is to get there and they speak English. But I loved it.
There was something so familiar and yet foreign to London. We grow up seeing all the London sites on TV and in movies so it was fun to finally see those in person. Also London has the same sort of glamorous energy that NY does. It is hard to describe. Something that I am happy San Francisco doesn’t really have but it is fun to visit. You know the fast pace, fancy cars, international jet set, dressed up women, people thinking they are very important. Also the best part was that London was getting ready for the holidays and there is something so magical about a big city getting all fancy for the holidays. [click to continue…]
I am back and I had the most amazing time during my European vacation! The first stop on my trip was Stockholm, Sweden. Have you been? It was my first time and I absolutely fell in love with that city. It was magnificent. I was a little worried because I was going during the “off” season and everyone said it was going to be rainy and cold and have only an hour of sunlight. All of which is kind of true (they have more than an hour of sunlight…for now at least) but the weather was perfect fall like weather. Little rainy, a little blustery – but in Stockholm it didn’t bother me a bit for some reason. I kind of loved that it was wintry so I could pull out my never used winter clothes. Plus the fall colors were out in full force. [click to continue…]
When Luke and I got engaged one of the first things that I did was choose a photographer. To me, photographs and food are the most important part of a wedding. I had seen the work of the uber-talented Kate Harrison and knew that she would be perfect. She takes the most beautiful images that have the most incredible ethereal lightness to them. If you are planning a wedding in the Bay Area, please make hiring Kate your first order of business. She takes amazing pictures and is one of the most genuine people (which is important when you are not used to posing for pictures!)
It was through Kate, that I was first introduced to Minted – an online site where you can order personalized cards, stationary, invitations, and find amazing art and design. Kate had worked with Minted before and recommended we do our wedding Save the Dates through the site. We choose a beautiful image she took of us (and a hand painted date sign that took me days to make) during our “get to know you photos” and printed it with Minted. It turned out perfectly and from that my love of Minted was born. To date, I have done my wedding invitations with Minted as well as my blogger” business” cards, 3 holiday cards, a save the date, and my sister’s baby shower invitation. I put a copy of each one below, I couldn’t find my sister’s baby shower invites, but I promise they were awesome.
The year Luke and I got married we decided that it had been a whirlwind of a year and we would not travel to see our families for Thanksgiving. After all in one year we had moved to the ‘burbs, I started a new job, Luke started graduate school, we planned a wedding, got married, took an amazing 2 week honeymoon to Spain, and last but definitely not the least we adopted Chumley who was a destructive little gremlin during all of this. We decided that we would have Thanksgiving just the 2 of us (well 2 1/2 if you count the gremlin). [click to continue…]
I am off to Sweden today and I cannot wait! First stop is Stockholm to meet my beautiful godson Nils and his mom Jess. Jess and I went to college together and even though we live worlds apart, she is still one of my best friends and favorite people. I am in Stockholm through Friday and then I got to visit one of my other best friends and favorite people, Sarah, in London for a couple days. It is going to be a whirlwind trip with lots of Swedish food and hanging with the royal Will and Kate. I will document it all here when I get back or head on over to my instagram account to follow along. Wish me luck with the weather, this Florida/California girl is not used to the cold and it is cold in Stockholm right now.
In the meantime I will have some posts one here that I think you all will enjoy, including my favorite dessert for Thanksgiving (which I can’t believe is already 1 month away!) Stay tuned because I promise it is an amazing recipe.
Every night I usually crawl into bed with my computer. It has become a ritual. Catch up on Pinterest and Bloglovin’ then go to sleep. The other night I was trying to limit myself a little bit and not be online at all times, especially before bed, so I grabbed a West Elm catalog that was in the recycling bin. (Because I had nothing else that was non electronic to read). I was shocked. When did West Elm get so cool? I wanted everything in that catalog. So of course I put down the catalog and went to the website - because who really reads catalogs anymore.
West Elm has turned into a great design resource that is pretty affordable as well. I remember I when I lived in New York, they had a West Elm street on 18th street in Chelsea. I would always go down there to check out the goods in hopes of lugging something back up to the Upper West Side. It was always a bit too modern for me. But this has changed. Or maybe my taste has changed. Either way, here are my choices from West Elm. Sadly since our apartment is small and I am attempting to be fiscally responsible, I am going to refrain from buying most of this stuff. But I think I that cool cow print is calling my name. Ok, ok, I know I am dorking out with a design crush but check it out and then try to tell me that they have not become the coolest store right?
So these days it seems like everything is butternut squash. Butternut squash soup, butternut squash ravioli, butternut squash risotto, butternut squash tacos. The list could go on. I am pretty sure somewhere on the world-wide web I could find a butternut squash ice cream recipe. But that is ok because truthfully I love butternut squash. It is so hearty and healthy. Check out all the amazing health benefits of butternut squash. Since in my opinion we can never have too many butternut squash recipes, here is one more to add to the books, Butternut Squash Lasagna with kale and hazelnuts. [click to continue…]
This past weekend I was introduced to Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga. One of my good friends here in SF is getting married in a couple weeks so we decided to have a girls day up at Indian Springs. The resort is located about 1 1/2 north of San Francisco in wine country and has some serious history behind it. Set upon thermal hot springs in Napa, Indian Springs was originally built in 1862 and is California’s oldest operating pool and spa. The property has four thermal geysers that produce warm, rich mineral water. as well as a natural deposit of pure volcanic ash. Who knew – right in the middle of wine country! [click to continue…]
My sister and her family just bought a new house! I am pretty sure they are moving in like right this minute. I am excited to see it and check out the new auntie/sister room when I am home for Thanksgiving. We were talking the other day about updates that she wants to do to the house and an idea that came up was having open/glass kitchen cabinets.
I LOVE that look but who realistically can have that? Seriously if you opened any of my kitchen cabinets, you probably would be horrified to see how much stuff I cram into those cabinets. Or something would fall out of the cabinet and hit to you in the head. It is a safety hazard. But that is what you have to do if you live in an small/rented apartment right? Cram everything and shut the door really quickly so nothing comes out. A friend of mine referred to my organization system as “organized chaos.” I am pretty sure Martha Stewart would approve. [click to continue…]
Well, you know how I said last week that since it was October, I would let go of summer and accept that it is fall? Well boy was I wrong. San Francisco pulled out all of the stops this past weekend to prove to me that it was still summer. Seems like it is still holding onto hopes of summer as well. [click to continue…]
Friday Faves – a weekly round-up of all things food, travel, design and life.
Fall food – it is safe to say that it is officially fall. I was holding onto summer as hard as I could but since I have started seeing ads for Christmas decorations, I must relent. Fall is here. Since it is the season of pumpkin spice lattes, here is what may be the perfect fall food – pumpkin spice donuts. Oh yeah.
The Light Between Oceans- I recently finished this book and it was amazing. When was the last time you read a book? It had been a while for me and this was one of those that grips you from the first page. The best kind. I won’t give too much away but it is set on a lighthouse in Eastern Australia. But please be warned it is really, really sad. I finished it on the flight home from the East Coast last weekend and had a full on crying breakdown on the plane. Yes weird, but even weirder was the guy who was sitting next to me, wearing roller blades and chugging Jack Daniels, staring at me while I was having a breakdown. Yes that really happened – who wears roller blades on a plane?!!?!?
We spent this past weekend in St.Michaels, MD – have you ever been there? I hadn’t and it is officially the most picturesque East Coast town. Set on the Chesapeake Bay, St. Michaels is a historic town with lots of charm and character. We were there for a friend’s wedding and were fortunate enough to stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin – which is a beautiful colonial B & B set right on the Chesapeake. The Inn dates back to the 19th Century and was the perfect backdrop to a weekend exploring the Eastern Shore. [click to continue…]
Happy Friday everyone! This weekend could not have come soon enough. Luke and I are currently on the East Coast – in St. Michaels, Maryland to be exact – for a friend’s wedding. St. Michaels is the town where they filmed the movie Wedding Crashers and is totally quaint and beautiful. I can’t wait to explore it and eat nothing but crabcakes! I will report back on Monday.
But, in the meantime, I wanted to let you know that I just did my first guest post on my friend Bri’s blog!! Please check it out – I posted my go-to recipe for the perfect cocktail party appetizer, Truffle Popcorn. I met Bri at Alt Summit SF back in July - she is a stylist and fashion maven behind the style blog BB Style. Check her out. I plan on using her fashion savyness for upcoming weddings (one is black tie optional, what does that even mean?) and Luke’s firm’ s holiday party.
When I was 15 I was fortunate enough to travel to France. It was my first real international trip – I got my first passport and everything. I am pretty sure that trip solidified my love of travel and France. The trip was 4 weeks long during the summer with a group of fellow students and teachers from my high school. The first two weeks we travelled around France – the Loire Valley, Paris and Nice and then the second half of the trip we lived with a French family. (My French family “mom” was a topless dancer at Le Lido. That is a whole other post..maybe) [click to continue…]
Some days I need be saved from myself. Today was one of those days. I literally ate 3/4′s of this quick bread. It just disappeared – I don’t know what happened. One minute it was there and the next gone. I just could not stop. But at least it had vegetables in it – something to make me feel not soo guilty. [click to continue…]
I recently attended a soba making class taught by the queen of soba, Sonoko Sakai. Sonoko runs the website Common Grains, and is a food writer, soba maker and all around Japanese food superstar based in Los Angeles.
What is soba you ask? Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat and has become synonymous with a thin type of noodle made from buckwheat. The traditional soba we made with Sonoko is delicious but really time intensive so it is not really realistic to throw together for dinner. Just check out the process here. Also, fresh soba does not keep well. But not to worry, you can find dried soba in any specialty supermarket like Whole Foods but with the caveat that it is made with flour and buckwheat, not just buckwheat. Still it is pretty darn healthy. [click to continue…]
We spent the Labor Day Weekend this year in Big Sky, Montana. Luke’s family has a house out there so we decided to take a couple days off and make a long weekend out of it. Plus we had some friends and my brother meeting us out there. It was a perfect weekend. Here are the highlights. [click to continue…]
I think I probably say this every year, but I can’t believe this summer is over. Where did it go? I was just getting into the swing of it. I know it is not technically over until September 21, but I consider summer Memorial Day to Labor Day. [click to continue…]
We are heading to Big Sky, Montana for the long weekend. There is something amazing about being in the mountains. Fresh air and big open skies. I am pretty sure being in the mountains is good for the soul. We are here through Monday. Besides a lot of relaxing and eating, we are going to try our hand at fly-fishing and horseback riding. Wish me luck!
Labor Day is always so bittersweet. It marks the end of summer but the beginning of fall. The days get shorter and the evenings cooler.Crazy how quickly time flies, I feel like summer just started.
I am looking forward to fall. Fall has always been my favorite season. I think that is engrained in me from my time living in Boston and in New York. There is something about fall especially in the Northeast that I will always be excited for. I think it is the crisp air and that smell of fall. You know what I am talking about right? Plus, that means that comfort food is on its way. Pumpkins, brown butter and spices. I am going to miss you summer, but I am excited to see what is in store for me this fall.
I just booked my ticket home to Florida for Thanksgiving. I haven’t been home in a while so I am excited to visit the Sunshine State and see the family. Plus, I just became an auntie for the second time, so I am excited to meet my new nephew in November.
Sadly, living on the west coast and the cost of travel these days, you need to plan ahead or it is just too crazy expensive to go home for the holidays. Since I was planning out the Thanksgiving travel plans, I thought, maybe I should start dreaming about what I want to make for Thanksgiving Dinner. (Which happens to be my favorite holiday. A day to eat, sleep and watch tv? Sounds like heaven to me) [click to continue…]
This nectarine golden cake is a recipe that I come back to consistently summer after summer. I originally found it in the now defunct Gourmet Magazine. I miss Gourmet – sadly it was a victim of the recent recession and is no longer around. Gourmet was one of those magazines that I would devour every time it appeared in my mailbox. Yes, I basically worshiped it – and with good reason. [click to continue…]
A weekly round up of all things food, travel, design and life.
1. Salt Block – Have you ever used one of these things? I heard they are pretty amazing to cook on and serve food on – but also a little intimidating. Check out this new cookbook that is all about salt block cooking – Salt-Frozen Mocha-Panna Cotta Gelato anyone? If you are up for the challenge head on over to the new store I am obsessed with, Provisions to snap one up.
2. Fathom – I have a total crush on this website. Basically if you ever want to get lost in a website, Fathom is the way to go. Check them out. They travel the world and have the most beautiful pictures. Their instagram account is even better. But be warned they will cause some serious wanderlust jealousy.
3. Brass – Brass is having a design moment especially in the kitchen. How amazing does this look? One day when I own my own kitchen, one day.
4. Baby Moccasins - I am officially an aunt for the second time! My sister had a baby boy last week. And since I can’t resist being the cool, crazy aunt who lives across the country, I have to spoil this new little baby. Check out these moccasins from Freshly Picked I just got for him. Aren’t they cool? I met the owner of the company back in NY at Alt Summit and she was so nice, which makes these mocs even better.
So remember when we went camping for the 4th of July weekend? Well it was more like glamping because there were showers, bathrooms and a grill- which is my speed anyways. I found a couple companies that are going to make my future glamping that much easier and that much more glamorous. Now that I got the handle on how to camp in style, I think I am ready for more. [click to continue…]
I started off this week with a 3 hour cheese tasting course. Pretty rough Monday right? I was fortunate enough to learn everything and anything about cheese from one of the best, Juliana Uruburu from the Pasta Shop in Berkely. She has been in the cheese business for over 26 years so she kind of knows what she is talking about. If you live in San Francisco, she teaches at The Cheese School. (Yes that is a real place) Make sure to check her out. [click to continue…]
I really enjoyed posting about my Tanzania trip a couple weeks ago, so much so that I think I am going to post other trips I have taken as well. That way you get to see the pics and hear all about it, and I get to relive them. First up, our trip to India we took 2 years ago.
I had always been curious about India. India always seemed like a far away place that I would never actually visit but was magical, colorful and filled with tigers. [click to continue…]
Have you heard of the cronut craze that is sweeping the nation right now? If not, take cover, because I feel like cronuts are about to be everywhere. Dare I say that cronuts are the new cupcake? [click to continue…]
I have been feeling pretty unhealthy lately. Mostly because I have not been eating the most healthy food. Looking back at my food intake from last week here are some highlights: lobster bisque with puffed pastry, pancetta pizza topped with a raw egg, chocolate mousse cake…this list could go on. It is almost embarrassing, almost. Plus I just made cronuts (croissant + donut = cronut. More on that later) and can’t stop eating them. [click to continue…]
A weekly round-up on all things food, travel, design and life.
1. Food inspiration - I must confess, when Pinterest first came out, I didn’t understand it. You just tag photos? And then what do you do with them? I kinda thought it was online hoarding. But I have changed my tune. I have found that it is great for food/recipe inspiration. I found this beautiful fig tart on there and now I can’t stop wanting to make it. Will you follow me on Pinterest? I promise I won’t pin pictures of cats with weird sayings.
2. Missing the heat – I love San Francisco, but summer in San Francisco really is the worst. I woke up today and it was 55 degrees and overcast. That does not work for me. This Florida girl needs to be hot, swealtering in the summer. So I am dreaming about anywhere that is hot. I have landed on the Bahamas. Mostly because I was there at this time last year and I was hot. (This is a pic from our trip – incredibly beautiful right?)
3. Outdoor Showers – One day, when I am rich and famous, I am going to have an outdoor shower. I love those things. Sadly I will never be able to have an outdoor shower if we live in San Francisco.
4.Flipboard - is a social media platform that allows you to read current magazines, as well as curate your own magazines on your iPad or iphone. I saw the CEO speak recently and he is amazing. I want to be involved in whatever he is doing. Since I was late to the party on basically every other social media trend, I am going to try and figure this out and be a part of it.
I thought I would share with you all a staple of what I have been eating recently. It doesn’t really have a formal name, so I am going to call it Summertime Salsa. It combines the flavors of summer – corn, tomatoes and avocados and it is highly addictive. It is also one of those everything but the kitchen sink salsas – throw whatever other fresh vegetables you have leftover in it and I promise it will be good. I don’t add any jalapeños but by all means, if you like your salsa hot, go for it. I find that making it hot causes me to eat less of it and I don’t want that. [click to continue…]
On Monday I was fortunate enough to go on a foraging trip with Hank Shaw, writer of the blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. The blog is a wonderful resource on finding food in a more unconventional way – by either foraging, hunting, fishing or growing it and has some great recipes to go with them. He just won the James Beard Award for best Food Blog so his site is legit.
To be honest, I had never really thought about foraging. Mostly because I have no idea what is edible and what is not and am not sure where to even begin to learn that stuff. I don’t even know what poison oak looks like, so I am not the best person to be eating wild fruit with (or hiking with for that matter).
Along with a couple friends, we met him in Bodega Bay which is about 1 1/2 hours north of San Francisco on the coast. Our first stop was the Salmon Creek Beach. I was a little hesitant because it just seemed like just any old beach and it was freezing. But we set off in search of something that we could eat. Our first find was literally in front of my car. Wild mustard. [click to continue…]
Heirloom tomatoes are finally in season! They are my summer obsession and they are finally affordable at the grocery store. Now for the next month, I will pretty much eat nothing but heirloom tomatoes. The best way to eat them is raw topped with a little olive oil and salt and you have pretty much got the most perfect dinner. It is even better if you have fresh bread to go with it.
I dont’ really think I had heirlooms before moving to San Francisco. I grew up on the generic beefsteak and never really cared about tomatoes until I discovered heirloom varietals. Once I discovered those suckers I was hooked. Don’t tell Luke, but I may have even spent $40 one time on tomatoes for a dinner party – that is how much I love them. I will cash out some serious cashola for those things. (If you were wondering everyone loved the most expensive tomatoes on Earth when I served them, mostly because they didn’t have to pay for them). [click to continue…]
I don’t even try to hide it anymore. I love fancy hotels. I think I pretended I could do the whole hostel thing, but even in my 20′s I had no desire to sleep in a bed bug infested hell-hole. Nope. Send me over to the cute B & B or the well-appointed hotel and I can travel anywhere in the world.
I learned this the hard way when we celebrated Luke’s 30th Birthday in India. One of these days I will put up our pictures. The trip was amazing. But we were on a budget and we didn’t stay in the nicest of hotels, but we were not staying in hostels. A good middle ground. For Luke’s actual 30th birthday we were in the incredible town of Udaipur. Since it was his birthday I offered (my treat) to stay a couple of nights at the Taj – an old stunning maharaja palace where one of the James Bond movies was actually filmed. Sounds amazingly romantic right? His answer was the instead of a nice hotel, he would like to stay in a hostel. An Indian hostel. What? As calmly as possible, I agreed. How bad could it be? Well it was worse than I could have imagined. Our first night there was fine – hard bed with sheets that had not been washed in a while. Bathroom was a little gnarly but I could deal if I walked on my tip-toes and didn’t touch anything. On the morning of his birthday we decided to climb to the top of the highest temple in town. As soon as I got to the top it hit me. Delhi belly. It was miserable to every extent of that word. Miserable. Best part was, instead of a nice hotel to go back to and rest up, I went back to a hostel. One of the lowest points in a person’s life is probably when they are getting sick in an Indian hostel’s toilet. It was rough. So I now have made a rule. No. More. Hostels. Ever. Plus, I get to pick the hotels.
Have you ever misplaced something that you know you haven’t lost but it is somewhere in your apartment/house and you just can’t find it? Well that is what happened to my memory card from my trip to Africa. I knew I had it somewhere but just couldn’t remember where. I was cleaning out our office area the other day and I found it! I was so excited because some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever taken came from that trip. Since I found the pics, I thought I would share the highlights of this amazing trip I took with my family 5 years ago.
I have a confession. The first time I tried a fresh fig was about 3 years ago. I basically went 3 decades not really knowing what a fig was or what it tasted like. Sure I had Fig Newtons (lots of them) but for some reason fresh figs were not a staple growing up in Florida. Maybe figs don’t like humidity and hurricanes? [click to continue…]
A weekly round-up of all things food, travel, design and life:
1. Stone fruit – Peaches and nectarines are finally here! They are literally one of my favorite foods that I could never get tired of. Doesn’t this salad look amazing. There is it again, the mix of salty and sweet that I love so much. This might need to be my dinner tonight paired with a large glass of white wine.
2. Tokyo – I have decided that I need to go to Tokyo. I have to go to Tokyo. It looks crazy and beautiful. Just look at those colors – it would be like stepping into a video game. Also, I want to try the crazy food they serve there. Sadly I think Tokyo may have to be a 2014 trip but it is definitely on my list! Anyone want to join me?
3. Gallery Wall – The next update to our apartment is to create a gallery wall in our foyer. I love the way that you can throw a bunch of pictures on the wall close together and it comes together in a unique curated little design. Stay tuned for that ( Full disclosure, I have a lot of updates to our apartment and I just can’t seem to get them done. But when I do, you will be the first to know!)
4. Alt Summit SF – So yesterday I went to my 2nd Alt Summit. This time I didn’t have to fly across the country to get there – it was right up the road from me at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. It was amazing( I don’t expect anything less from Alt. ) I met some really wonderful bloggers that I am excited to stay friends with. The after party was at the Pinterest Headquarters. The theme was “Alice in Wonderland” and Pinterest went all out. Here is a picture of me and the Mad Hatter at the party. To be honest, he was a little creepy and got a little too close for comfort – but it was a fun party. Check out the pictures and inspiration for the party here.
Luke’s family got me a Vitamix last year for my birthday. It was always one of those things that I wanted but was kind of embarrassed to admit that I wanted a $500 blender. But every time I use it, which seems to be at least a couple times a week now, I am in awe of it. It literally can do anything and everything. It can make peanut butter, chop cheese, make ice cream- I bet it would even walk Chumley if I set it to the correct dial.
So as I was using it the other day, it inspired me to share my kitchen essentials with you all. With wedding season in full swing and a lot of people registering, I thought I would add my two cents on what is really needed. Like, do you really need that yogurt maker? What about a risotto maker? (The answer to both of those are NO) Basically here is what I could not live without both big and small- and if you couldn’t tell from the blog, I cook a lot. So if I were to re-register all over again, here is what I would make sure is on there:
2. Salt Holder – I know this is a small thing, but I love mine. Since I am always putting salt on my food, this is the perfect little thing to have handy on the counter.
3. Le Cruset Dutch Oven – This is pretty much the most versatile pot, it can be a slow cooker for braising and stewing, it can hold hot oil when frying donuts and it can be used to make vats of spaghetti sauce. I love mine – and love the orange.
4. Boos Cutting Board - full disclosure, I don’t have one of these. I have a wooden cutting board I got a Ikea when I first moved to SF that was like $5 but it still works. I may splurge on one of these one day. But a wooden cutting board is essential.
5. Kitchen Aid - My Kitchen Aid was a gift from an ex-boyfriend. My Kitchen Aid has outlasted him many many years. Enough said.
6. Scale - A kitchen scale is probably one of the most useful tools that no one uses. These things help keep cooking and baking consistent because weighing ingredients by weight is more accurate than by volume. Check out this video for more information.
7. Keurig Coffee Maker - Luke got me this coffee maker last year and I love it. For those who don’t know, before I have my coffee in the morning I can barely function, let alone put coffee on. For the Keurig, all you have to do it pop a little cone of coffee in it and out comes a perfect cup of coffee in like 20 seconds.
8. Meat thermometer - Just get one of these. They are like 20$ and they will help you to always have well cooked (meaning not overcooked) meat by taking the internal temperature rather than relying on a recipe’s time.
9. Shun Knives – These are my favorite knives, because they never seem to go dull and I also feel like a ninja when I am using them with all the cool graphics on them.
A weekly round up of all things food, travel, design and life.
1. Corn Pancakes – Wednesday night I had dinner at State Bird Provisions. You know the very popular SF restaurant that just has a two month waiting list to get in. Oh no I didn’t wait 2 months to get in. Instead I scored a table there by getting in line for walk in tables at 4:30. In the afternoon. Early, early bird special. I am happy to report that all the hype was worth it. We had a truly great meal. It was my kind of food – seasonal and delicious with none of that fancy stuff like foam and gel. Just good solid food. One of my favorites was a sweet corn pancake topped with a triple creme cheese. It was heavenly. So now I am dreaming about nothing but corn pancakes. These look pretty great too.
2. Santa Barbara - Design Sponge recently posted a Santa Barbara city guide and it got me all excited about a bachelorette party that I am attending there in a couple weeks for one of my favorite people! I can’t wait. I have only been to Santa Barbara for a hot second a long time ago, so I am excited to spend the weekend there with some girlfriends on the beach and maybe trying to spot Oprah who supposedly lives near by.
3. Removable wallpaper – I love our apartment but it is a little quirky. When you walk into it there is a long narrow hallway that I can’t seem to figure out how to decorate. I tried the picture thing and that didn’t work. Since we rent, I didn’t want to paint. So instead I am trying removable wallpaper. I just ordered some swatches from Swag Paper. Stay tuned to see if I like them.
4. Manhattanhenge - Twice a year, the sunset aligns perfectly with the east-west grid of New York, and the golden rays shoot down the streets. This beautiful phenomenon has been nicknamed Manhattanhenge – not sure why but I would love to see it one of these days. Manhattanhenge is happening tonight and tomorrow, so if you are in NY make sure to check it out.
A couple weeks ago I got the opportunity to visit Oak Hill Farm up in Sonoma. It was the perfect way to spend a summer day. The tour was lead by a real life farmer who gave us insight into what life is like on a farm. It does not seem easy. Since I am in no way a morning person, I don’t think I am cut out for any kind of job that you have to be at work before sunrise. [click to continue…]
I have decided that my favorite types of foods are those that combine salty and sweet. This explains my loved of salted carmel, chocolate covered pretzels, bacon wrapped dates, chicken and waffles – the list could go on. [click to continue…]
We made it back (alive ) from camping and I am happy to report is was actually a lot of fun. Minus the fact that we forgot a flashlight and that I chased the UPS man around my neighborhood for an hour trying to get the grill I ordered from Amazon off of his truck before we left the city, it was a success! [click to continue…]
Bali – Did you see on my new BFF’s blog her guide to Bali? Sign me up! I have always wanted to visit Bali to see the rice patty fields and over 20,000 magical temples. I will add that on my looong list of places to visit.
Heath Ceramics – I was in SF’s Ferry Building recently and walked by the Heath Ceramics store and it reminded me of how much I love their products. They are best known for their dinnerware, but they have some amazing tiles that would look great in a bathroom or as a backsplash. Or even better, in an outdoor shower! Check them out.
Etsy Art: I am in the market for some large (and cheap)pieces of statement art to put up in our apartment’s foyer. Not shockingly, these are hard to come by. Etsy is always a great place to check out for this kind of stuff. What do you think of this?Or this one?
The 4th of July is one of those holidays that I love because it is an excuse to get together with friends and family and spend the day in the sunshine eating and drinking. Basically it is a day where it is perfectly acceptable (and sometimes encouraged) to have a cocktail by 11 am.
A weekly roundup on all things food, travel, design and life.
Watermelon Margaritas - In celebration of America’s upcoming birthday, I am perfecting my watermelon margarita recipe. Stay tuned for details.
Eagle Mirror – one of my newest obsessions are these vintage eagle mirrors. I have been monitoring ebay for an affordable one for the past couple of weeks. My goal (if I can ever get my act together) is to create a gallery wall in our foyer with a bunch of art, pictures and one of these mirrors. If I can pull it off, I will share pics.
Nantucket – everyone in the blogosphere seems to be blogging about this new hotel 76 Main on Nantucket and with good reason. It is beautiful. In honor of the 4th of July, this hotel pretty much embodies the American aesthetic and Nantucket doesn’t stink either.
4505 Meats – So last week was a lobster and this week was a pig. Yes, I helped butcher a pig. Never one of those things that I thought I would ever do as an animal loving quasi-hippie. I am a little embarrassed to admit it, but it was fascinating.The company who taught the pig butchering class was 4505 Meats, a local San Francisco company. Their mission is to change the (nasty) meat industry by educating and teaching people about meat and the philosophy behind meat. I am sold. Check out their website - they are doing some great things that makes my hippie side happy. (Do you watch Portlandia? If so, it is kind of like the chicken episode. If you have no idea what I am talking about check it out here) Bonus, if you don’t live in SF they will ship sausage to you!
I can’t believe that Alt Summit has come and gone. I am so happy that I made the journey cross country to attend.
For those of you who may not know, Alt Summit is a blogging conference that brings together hundreds of bloggers to learn and network. Consider it the mothership for bloggers. It was started by a couple bloggers/sisters in Utah, and has grown to three different conferences in Salt Lake City, NYC and now San Francisco. [click to continue…]
Saturday morning we payed homage to the icon that is the NY bagel by stopping by Pick a Bagel. You might remember my feelings on Pick A Bagel here, but I put those aside for the sake of breakfast. We then grabbed our bagels with some coffee and sat in Central Park (do you see a theme here? Central Park and food = my version of heaven. I wish I could eat every meal there) After breakfast we caught a train up to Connecticut for a perfect New England summer day. [click to continue…]
Ok, I am back and somewhat recovered from this past weekend.
Our time in New York was great, everything that I wanted it to be. Perfect weather – 78 and sunny, lots of good food and great company. The purpose of the trip was to attend Alt Summit, a blogging conference. Someone described it as summer camp for bloggers and although I hated summer camp, I really enjoyed Alt Summit. It is nice to meet other people who spend hours and hours in front of a computer, like me, posting about their life, hoping that someone cares. [click to continue…]
We made it back from the NYC. It was a really wonderful to be back in New York, but it is nice to be home, even though San Francisco summer is in full effect – 50 degrees and foggy.
There is so much I want to tell you all - it was that great of a trip. Between Alt Summit, wandering around the city, eating some fantastic food and our day trip up to Connecticut, I don’t know where to start. [click to continue…]
Weekly round up of all things food, travel, design and life.
1. Taste- I know I am a food dork, but I am loving this book. Author Barb Stuckey is a Bay Area local and I recently got the opportunity to hear her speak on the science of taste – which was fascinating. We even did a test to see what kind of a taster you are. I am taste tolerant which explains why I pour salt all over my food. If you are at all interested in food, I think you will love this book.
2. Stockholm – I am starting to plan my trip to Sweden to visit my godson. I am dreaming of smörgåsbords and the northern lights. Once I figure out the itinerary I will report back.
3. Lobster Roll - So this week marked a first for me. I killed my first lobster. With a knife. I am still a little traumatized by the whole thing but we made lobster soufflé out of him so his death was not in vain. Lobster reminds me of summer and since today is the first official day of summer, I am in search of a lobster roll.
4. African Headdress – I am loving the way these look in a room. The texture and the colors are amazing. Sadly they are a pretty penny but maybe one day.
Cafe Jacqueline is this fantastic restaurant near our apartment that only serves soufflés. Literally the only thing on the menu are soufflés. Amazing.
This is an old school gem of a restaurant. There are no frills at this place, only a couple of tables, and an old women in the back (presumably Jacqueline) whipping those egg whites for the soufflés. You have to walk by her to get to the restroom and there she is whipping and whipping – by hand no less. [click to continue…]
Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a pickling class taught by chef Courtney Barnes from Bar Tartine. Bar Tartine is a great restaurant here in SF that has an Eastern European menu with heavy emphasis on pickling and fermented foods. I know what you are thinking, gross. Which is kind of what I said originally. But this class completely changed my views. We made kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, preserved lemons and my new favorite escabeche. [click to continue…]
This past weekend Luke and I were fortunate enough to get invited to lunch in Napa at a family friend’s home. Although I wish this was a normal occurence, we don’t normally “lunch” in Napa – so we jumped at the chance to spend the day up in wine country. [click to continue…]
It is a little embarrassing to admit, but I just discovered the deliciousness that is a poached egg. I know, I know, I am supposed to be a foodie right?
Well I think I was a little afraid of the yolk to be honest – all runny and gooey and getting all into my food. Also, the texture of eggs have never been my favorite. But boy was I wrong on this one. The runny yolk in a poached egg is like a little pouch of liquid gold. Basically it makes anything it touches, taste better. I am sure cardboard would taste good with a little runny yolk on it.
Now that I have been enlightened – I want to put a poached egg on anything and everything -salads, pizza, pasta. [click to continue…]
How was your long weekend? Ours was great and as always it went by too quickly. We didn’t do a whole lot, which was needed, but we did take a day trip up the coast to escape the fog in the city.
The one (and only) downside to San Francisco is the weather in the summer. Summers in SF are bonechilling. When the rest of the country is enjoying sunshine and wearing tshirts at night, the city of San Francisco is under a layer of fog and dressed in parkas. Something this Florida girl can never get used to. But the crazy part is that if you leave the city, it is usually summertime weather everywhere else in the Bay Area but in SF. Something to do with microclimates that make absolutely not sense to me. Last Sunday was no expection. As if to usher in the first weekend of summer, the fog rolled in, so we decided to get out of town and get some sunshine. [click to continue…]
The one and only good thing I can attribute to global warming is that strawberry season arrived early this year and they have been delicious. (Other than that I can’t say that I am a huge fan) It is normal to start to see strawberries this time of year, but they are never usually juicy and delicious this early in the season. [click to continue…]
Recently, I stopped by the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase to check out the fancy way of life. Every year a different house in SF is decorated to benefit a local high school. 27 different interior designers are given a room and encouraged to trick it out in any way possible – form definitely over function. This year’s house was no exception. Upgrades to the house included a personal spa that took up the entire top floor and a room devoted entirely to making chocolate (a must in modern day living).
The house, which sits in the upscale neighborhood of Pacific Heights has a history. The 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath house originally belonged to famous SF philanthropist and lady about town Lee Herbst Gruhn. It was built in 1899 by “starchitect” Ernest Coxhead – whose influence is all around the Bay Area.
I used to walk by this house when I first moved to San Francisco because I lived nearby (in a small 1 bedroom apartment so don’t get any ideas) and this house use to give me the chills. In a bad way. I would peer in the windows (which is what you do when you live in a small 1 bedroom apartment and pass these kind of houses) and I would always see stuffed animals creepily staring out at me as well as carousel ponies – yeah like the kind from a playground. Apparently the previous owner/socialite was a little “excentric.” The house reminded me of that crazy 80′s movie – Flowers in the Attic. So naturally after all the stories that I made up about the house, I was curious to see what the house was really like inside.
Here are the highlights:
Exterior – not really my style or taste, but I would take it if I had to.
Are no longer only in NYC. Bold statement right? Maybe or maybe not.
I lived in NY for a couple years after college and during that time, I learned the most important thing about NY (other than how to subway surf to avoid germs) NY is the best at everything. Best nightlife, best food, best cultural attractions and of course, the best and most interesting people live in NY. [click to continue…]
Did you see this article? Amazing. Stuff like this only happens in Paris, I swear.
Basically an apartment in Paris was recently discovered that had not been entered or touched since 1940! 1940! No one had set foot in the place in over 70 years.Instead of finding dead plants and dusty furniture, they found a true glimpse into what life was like before WWII. Among the belongings they found a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini that was worth over $3 million! Again only in Paris. The woman who owned the apartment had left for the south of France before the WWWII broke out and never returned. Her granddaughter continued to pay the apartment bills until she herself died in 2010 at the age of 91.
Remember that uber-trendy and uber-delicious restaurant Gjelina that I ate at in LA? Well, after the delicious pizzas I indulged even futher and tried their “famous” butterscotch pot de crème.
I know I probably say this about a lot of things, but that dessert was incredible – out of this world good.
It was everything you want a dessert to be – small so you don’t completely stuff yourself, not too sweet but still does the job and most importantly oh so tasty ,velvety and buttery. I would have licked the bowl clean had I not been trying to fit in with all the hip and trendy people there. [click to continue…]
I got home the other afternoon to find Chumley’s face completely swollen - he couldn’t even open one of his eyes, the poor guy. I rushed him to the vet and it turns out -after dropping 100 big ones – they have no idea what happened to him. He probably had an allergic reaction to something or got stung by a bee (or possibly tried to eat the bee). He is fine but it was ohhh so sad to see him like that – truthfully I don’t think he had any idea that his face had pretty much tripled in size. After some serious tranquilizing benadryl he is back to normal.
While I was waiting in the vet’s lobby, I noticed some incredible animal portraits that reminded me of a portrait we have of Chumley that I love. Appropriately it hangs over our bar. While Luke was in graduate school he won a silent auction item that included a custom painted picture of his graduate school’s campus by a friend’s wife who is a professional artist. Instead a boring picture of the school, we thought it would be money better spent on a portrait of Chumley (naturally – who wants to see a picture of a building when they can look at this guy!) Here it is – Chumley was about 5 months old in this pic..
Thankfully the weather around here has started to heat up and the Florida girl inside of me is just jumping for joy (still not t-shirt at night weather, but I shouldn’t hold my breath for that)Like many, one of my favorite things about summer-besides the sunshine- is the food. Mostly because during summer months I live on white nectarines and tomatoes. Tomatoes, specifically heirlooms tomatoes are one of my most favorite meals – just cut one up and top with olive oil and salt – pure heaven. I could eat them by the pound.
Only problem with my heirloom tomato addiction is the price (I am talking to you Whole Foods). So, in an effort to save some money this summer I have decided to become an urban farmer!- well sort of – I am planting my own urban garden on my back porch. [click to continue…]
I think San Francisco got jealous from all the love I gave LA in yesterday’s post – so the city made sure I found this video. Cameron Michael is the artist and he created this amazing time-lapsed video of SF. Reminds me of how much I love this city – fog and all. The video is absolutely stunning.
Also he did another video on NYC called “The Manhattan Project” which is incredible. Check it out here.
Luke and I spent this past weekend in LA. We went for Luke’s graduate school reunion and hit the town. It was a great weekend with lots of friends and good food – the best kind.
I must admit when I moved to SF my idea of LA was totally different. Plus people in Northern California (NorCal) tend to think that Southern California(SoCal) is lame and devoid of culture and vice versa. But recently I have been spending more and more time in LA and have really started to love it. (Please don’t tell my fellow San Franciscans, I don’t want to get run out of the city)
I was recently introduced to Ann Street Studio and their amazing blog. Their pictures are incredible but what I really love are their cinemagraphs – which are basically images that are enhanced with movement. There seems to be a trend with making photographs look like videos lately and I kind of love it. I especially love the NY shots on Ann Street Studio. [click to continue…]
Luke’s sister Megan, and her boyfriend Chris were in town this past weekend. We always love having “visitors” because it gives us a chance to show off the Bay Area. Plus the Bay Area was on its best behavior last weekend and provided the most perfect warm weather.
I just found out that I am going to be a godmother! Well a co-godmother to be specific. I am thrilled. One of my best friends from college, Jessica who lives in Sweden is having a baby boy due at the end of May. I cannot wait to meet this gorgeous Swede.
I am going to have to get my act together and start buying gifts and toys now – especially since i am going to be a co-godmother and I need to beat the other godmother for the favorite! The other co-godmother is my other best friend Sarah. The three of us met in college and have been really close ever since.
So let those games begin. The poor godfather, who we don’t know, is going to be scared of us and our competition for the unofficial best godmother award.
Here are some pictures of the three of us from college and beyond (Sarah on left and Jess on right)…
It has been a long week for a number of reasons and I am ready for it to be over, done, gonzo. What are your plans for the weekend?
Luke’s sister and her boyfriend are in town so we have lots of fun things lined up. Tonight we are having some friends over and I am going to make dinner. There are a couple things on the menu but the main star will be a paella and a bread pudding. Stay tuned for that post.
Also, tomorrow we are heading up to Napa to show off how awesome it is to live in the Bay Area. Our first stop is Oxbow Market for some picnic supplies then we’ll head to Robert Sinksey Vineyard and eat outside on their incredible patio that has stunning views. On Sunday we are going to hit up Off the Grid Picnic in the Presidio which is run by one of our dear, dear friends. I am hoping to do a little match making at the picnic so we will see! Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, someone asked me recently to send them a picture of my Vespa – so I thought I would share it here as well. For those who don’t know, I got a Vespa about two years ago and riding it is literally one of my most favorite things to do. I never thought I would be the kind of person to ride a Vespa but now I can’t imagine what life was like before it. Here she is in all her glory:
I had plans to blog about my weekend – lots of pictures that involved my love of the Golden Gate Bridge and salted caramel brownies. Maybe I will do this later in the week – if and only if I can find my memory card with all of those pictures.
Instead I am going to send some love to the first city that I ever really lived in, Boston.
Boston – you were cold, hot, humid, harsh and home to some of the best years of my life. Boston – you helped me figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. Some of my best friends are friends I made on your streets. You helped me realize that you need more than a windbreaker to survive a New England winter and that the first day of fall is the best day of the year. You showed me that this world is a big wide-open space that I wanted to explore. You were the best teacher out there.
I am not going to get all political here, except to say that I am sending my love to you Boston and to all those hurt in yesterday’s senseless violence. You are the toughest city out there and you will get through this.
Spring has sprung – finally! To me spring is officially here when we see asparagus in the grocery store. Even if the weather doesn’t agree. Spring =asparagus. I found these beauties and wanted to do something with them for dinner last Sunday night.
I think I realized that I was an adult when I started liking lemon desserts. You know as a kid all you want is chocolate and more chocolate? That was me for sure. But in the past couple of years I have noticed asking to for lemony desserts instead. Don’t get me wrong I will take any dessert I can get my hands on but I will always choose a lemon tart over a molten chocolate cake – lemon seems to be my thing. [click to continue…]
This week was a pretty tough week- the world lost three amazing and influential women. Say what you will about each one of them but they were strong, successful, and made an impact.
I grew up in Palm Beach County where Lilly’s style reins supreme. I am pretty sure that every time you leave the house there you will see someone in some sort of Lilly. She was a style icon who built a brand that defined an era of chicness.
Full disclosure, I don’t know much about politics, especially British politics. But I do know that Margaret Thatcher broke through some serious glass ceilings for women. She was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office. Her nickname was the Iron Lady – enough said.
Growing up I seriously disliked going to church. Not because of any religious beliefs but because what kid wants to wake up early on the weekend, put on a dress and tights and sit on an uncomfortable wooden bench with a bunch of adults? Not this one. [click to continue…]
Luke, Chumley and I live in a pretty small apartment. We love the charm, our tiny view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the high ceilings. But it is small – I guess that is the price we pay for living in SF.
So I have decided when we strike it rich (which could be any day now right!? Powerball winners 2013?) we need 3 things in a new apartment:
A king size bed
washer and dryer
Two sinks in the bathroom -or if we are really dreaming, separate his and hers bathrooms
Since we are dreaming… here is what my ideal bathroom would look like. Lots of bronze, black and white. And that tub! I might just live in that tub if it was mine.
Sorry Luke and Chumley no boys allowed.
What do you think – what would your imaginary and ideal bathroom look like?
Also check out this post on the great blog Oh Happy Day and see how her family of four live in a small SF apartment and make it look easy and chic! I should count my blessings – at least there are only 2 1/2 people in our apartment ( I give Chumley status as 1/2 a person since he weighs 100lbs).
After a 16 hour flight next to a stranger that had personal space issues and one mid-air exhaustion meltdown by yours truly – we made it home. I can’t believe that the trip has already come and gone. We had such a fantastic week and loved exploring Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Here are some random pictures from the week – most are from my phone, so please excuse the bad quality .
(first dip in the Arabian Gulf) (Absolutely stunning beaches – not what I was expecting)
Luke and I were fortunate enough to spend a day at the Monte Carlo Beach Club and not only witnessed the most amazing sunset, but I also got to take a dip in the Arabian Gulf. I am not sure why, but I envisioned the Gulf to be really salty and not a body of water that I wanted to jump into – but I could not be more wrong! It was stunning. [click to continue…]
Halfway through our time in the UAE, Luke surprised me with an overnight trip to the desert. At the recommendation of Alana and Kemp (thank you!!) – he booked us one night at Qasr Al Sarab – this amazing Anantara resort in the middle of the desert. I was super impressed.
We woke up early in the morning and started the trek to the resort. The resort was located about 200 km south of Abu Dhabi in the Empty Quarter- one of the largest sand deserts in the world that encompasses most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the UAE, and Yemen. After leaving the city of Abu Dhabi, you quickly realize that you are in the desert. There was not much on the road to the resort except some camels. Had we not turned off to the resort we would have eventually hit the border of Saudi Arabia – we were literally in the middle of nowhere.
(Desert drive. No one else on the road. I did prove that you can photograph a mirage – see it? )
(Camel spotting from the car- sadly this is as close as I got to a real live camel. ) [click to continue…]
After a couple of days in Dubai, we made our way south to Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi has a totally different vibe and energy compared to Dubai. There are more green spaces and there seems to be more emphasis on life outdoors and less mall culture – which completely speaks to me. We stayed with our friends Kemp and Alana at their amazing apartment that overlooks the Emirates Palace. The view is stunning.
(The view from their living room! Through a glass so the picture is a little fuzzy)
I got the grand tour our first full day in Abu Dhabi. Our first stop was Emirates Palace which houses a hotel and the government all in one. Bonus is that is has a gold dispensing ATM! I wanted to get some gold bars out but quickly realized that I could probably only afford a gold flake. We also saw a beautiful art exhibition and captured this picture of Sheikh Zayed (the guy who pretty much founded the UAE.)
We made it! After a 16 hour non-stop flight from San Francisco to Dubai – we arrived. The flight was fine – I have done this flight before and it always amazes me that a red- eye to the East Coast is harder than a 16 hour flight to the Middle East.
The first two nights of our trip we stayed in Dubai on Palm Island - I am sure you have seen it, but they are man-made islands off the coast of Dubai in the shape of a Palm Tree. Totally crazy and beautiful all at once.
On Sunday, our first full day here – I wanted to see everything and anything. So we started off the day with a trip to the….mall. Weird right? but everything in Dubai seems to rotate around a mall of some sort. And these are not just any old malls – they are big and beautiful and attractions in themselves.
Our first mall was the Dubai Mall which was huge – it literally is the world’s largest mall. It is also next to the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. ( I am sensing a theme here).
I follow this great blog- Love Taza- and was reading their latest post where they included the new Vampire Weekend song. I am not a huge Vampire Weekend fan, but I love it this song. Best part is that I have not idea why – but can’t get it out of my head. Maybe it is the fact that the music video is all about NYC and I always miss NY or the fact that I have no idea what they are singing about (wisdom teeth??). Either way – you should check it out and get yourself hooked as well.
Countdown to Abu Dhabi has begun, I am hoping to document the trip here so please stay tuned. In the meantime I am already missing Chumley (he stays at an organic dog hotel while we are gone – so don’t feel too bad for him) and found these pictures recently from when he was a puppy. Don’t let his cuteness fool you, he was a gremlin up until about yesterday.
Before moving to San Francisco, I lived in New York. I was right out college and it was both the most amazing and hardest time. I love, love NY – I tell Luke that I want to move back all the time, but New York is expensive and unless you are a billionaire (which I am not) – day to day life is not the easiest. When I lived there I made no money – I worked for a museum and they paid pennies (the feeling was that it was an honor to work there…)
My first apartment in NY was shared with 2 of my girlfriends from college. We converted a two bedroom apartment into three by throwing up a flimsy wall in the middle of our living room leaving us with a living room that was 2 x2 with no windows. We would literally be sitting in the living room and had no idea if it was sunny, snowing raining or hailing out. That apartment also had mice and cockroaches. It was really fun every time you turned on the oven thinking you were going to get a crispy mouse with your food. It was a glamorous time in our lives. [click to continue…]
I am going to be honest, I strongly dislike St. Patrick’s Day. It is kind of like Halloween in my book – it is a reason for some serious public drunkunness and nudity. (That is unless you have kids and then both of those holidays take on a whole different meaning) We live in a neighborhood that explodes when St. Patrick’s Day (or Halloween for that matter) comes along.
Last year, while walking the dog at 3 in the afternoon, I caught a drunk girl going to the bathroom in a neighboors doorwell. I mean come on! There are so many things wrong with that picture- I am still traumatized. [click to continue…]
The big news today is that we booked a (very) last minute trip to Abu Dhabi. We leave in a week!?!
I have only been to the UAE once before and literally stayed for about 8 hours. Luke and I were on a layover from India to San Francisco and we choose a flight that would let us spend the night in Dubai with his good friend from college. Needless to say that going from India to Dubai was a total culture shock. Plus we arrived at night and left early the next morning so I never saw daylight in Dubai. All that being said, I am excited to see another part of the UAE , Abu Dhabi in all its glory day and night. We are staying with some great friends who live over there and who we traveled with recently to Cartagana. [click to continue…]
One of the many perks of living in San Francisco are the vintage stores/flea markets. I love anything vintage. I like that vintage items have stories and history behind them – who knows how many lives it has lived before it made its way to you. I especially have a love of vintage jewelry. My wedding band is vintage – from 1906 and we got it from this great store in SF called Diane’s. I am not much of a shopper, but this is definitely one of those places that I could get lost in. Make sure to check it out if you ever find yourself in SF and looking for some eye candy.
Another treasure trove of vintage goodness is the Alameda flea market – officially called the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (but that is a mouth full). Once a month vintage vendors from all over the Northwest converge on an abandoned naval air base that overlooks the SF skyline. Here is more information on it - but it is basically the largest antiques fair in Northern California. The fair has over 800 vendors and all items must be over 20 years old – so it is a great resource for all things vintage. I try to go as often as I can – mainly to wander and see what is out there. But you have to be in the right mood for this flea market – it is intense - physically and mentally. It is literally thousands of people strolling, shopping, shoving, and eating their way through hundreds of vendors.
Whaoo! I signed up for Alt Summit NYC this morning and am so excited. Alt Summit is a blogging resource that holds these really great networking events all over the county. Plus this year’s NYC event is going to be a the Martha Stewart headquarters! I definitely wouldn’t miss a chance to be in Miss Martha’s aura or get back to NYC for that matter.
What are your plans this weekend? I have nothing on the agenda except eating pizza like we do every Friday night – mostly likely at Pizetta 211 (best place ever) – and maybe checking out the Alameda Flea Market on Sunday.
I must admit that I love all things French. I know that is not very original, but I do. I love the language, the food, the wine and the people. I most of all love Paris. I actually blame this on my parents because I took French classes from kindergarten through the end of high school. I did not learn a single word of the language… but I did find my love of all things French.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to spend my 30th birthday in Paris. If I had to welcome in 30…I was going to spend it in the best place in the world. (i.e. less chance of a “I can’t believe I am 30″ breakdown when you have a bottle of wine in one hand and a pastry in the other) [click to continue…]
For some reason, baking bread scares me. I have no idea why, maybe it is the whole yeast-rising thing. I am always afraid that I will kill the yeast or that my bread won’t rise.
A friend recently asked my to make a Scali Loaf, the local bread in her hometown of Boston. The bread has almost a cult following in the North End of Boston. I had never had it before so it was hard to know what I was making but thankfully the bread rose and I even figured out how to braid the dough. (For the record, I did try this braid 3 times and the third time seemed to be the charm)
Right after college I moved to NYC. About a year into living there, I had lunch at Gino’s on the Upper East Side. This was an old-school NYC institution that had been around since 1945. The food was completely forgettable but to this day I still cannot forget the Scalamandré wallpaper that covered the restaurant’s walls. I was in shock and awe that someone would wallpaper an entire restaurant with red zebras. An entire restaurant full of zebras. I loved it. The story behind the wallpaper is that the restaurant’s owner Gino Circiello, liked to hunt but he couldn’t afford to pay for an African safari. So instead of going hunting he decided that he could afford to put zebras on the walls of his restaurant He commissioned his friend Franco Scalamandré to design wallpaper with leaping zebras pursued by arrows. And so it began Sadly the restaurant shut its doors in 2010 but the wallpaper still lives on through Scalamandré. [click to continue…]
Luke and I have no real plans. To be honest, I am not one of the biggest fans of Valentine’s Day …so I think we will get take out and catch up on Downtown Abbey.
I made these cookies for a friend recently and thought they were the perfect V-Day cookies – crisp butter shortbread cookies filled with red raspberry jam. BUT if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day and still want to make these cookies, then just use another cookie cutter. [click to continue…]
On Saturday Luke didn’t have to work, so we woke up and decided it was time to meet our first Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree National Park is located almost directly east of Palm Springs. Since we were staying south of Palm Springs we entered the park through the southwest entrance. Not sure what we were thinking but we were the most ill-prepared of park- goers. We had no water or food when we got to the park and neither of those are sold inside the park. BUT it still was amazing. Here are our pictures. The park is totally psychedelic/Dr. Seuss land but really cool to see in person. [click to continue…]
I made it down to Palm Springs late Thursday night. The drive from San Francisco took about 7 hours but was not too bad. Plus, my co-captain was Chumley so he kept me company…sort of.
We stayed at the La Quinta Resort which is about 20 miles outside of Palm Springs. The resort was beautiful – amazing grounds with old – school hacienda style rooms. The actual rooms themselves were a little dated, but nothing too bad. The best part of the resort were definitely the expansive grounds, as well as how dog friendly it was- they even gave Chumley his own bed and dog bowls.
I know, I know, posting something about mantras is pretty hippie-dippy of me right? But bare with me.
I feel some change in the works in my life – all of which is great – but I can feel it coming and I know it is out there. I have been searching for some aspects of my life to change and it seems like I am headed in the right direction.
I was speaking with a friend recently and she reminded me that sometimes we don’t feel worthy. Which is exactly how I feel sometimes – you know like you have made it this far in life and are not sure how or when you are going to get caught? After our conversation she sent some mantras that really resonated with me. Feel free to ignore or stop reading, but I feel like there are a couple of you who might like these:
Action conquers fear.
Fortune favors the brave.
I will be led by my dreams.
I will be fueled by passion.
My favorite is #3 - Fortune favors the brave. I love it and need to remind myself of this idea – that nothing good is going to happen unless you have the heart to take that chance.
Also – she sent this Ted talk – it is about 20 minutes but really poignant and entertaining.
Luke is the #1 49er fan ever – like really, ever. So obviously he was really bummed about yesterday. I think the whole city was. 2014 will be their year.
When I first started dating Luke he had season tickets to the 49ers. I know what you are thinking, pretty fancy right? No. This was when the 49ers were bad, I mean really bad. We would go to each and every home game – and watch from kickoff to the absolute second of the game - even when they were loosing, badly.
Happy anniversary to my handsome husband. We met 5 years ago today at a friend’s Superbowl Party. Our initial meeting was something out of the kindergarten sand box. We said hello, he made fun of me and then he ran away – it was love at first sight.
We got married 2 1/2 years ago – one of the best days ever – at the beautiful Beltane Ranch in Glenn Ellen, CA.
I grew up in South Florida in the 80s and 90s and back then Colombia was this place that no one had every been to and no one ever planned on going to. But, fast forward 20 years and Luke and I were looking for a place to travel to over the holidays. Our original plan was Argentina – think wine, food and more wine. But coincidentally as we were about to book our flight to Argentina, a friend called and raved about Cartagena. Long story short – it sounded amazing – think rum drinks, the beach and more rum drink. So we decided to go for it. [click to continue…]
I somehow stumbled upon this recipe in the NY Times. It was claiming to know how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie – you know the kind that is crispy on the outside and all ooey-goey in the middle? Naturally I had to try it. The article says the trick to a perfect chocolate chip cookie is… to let the dough rest 24 to 72 hours. I am not sure who can make chocolate chip cookie batter and just let it hang out in your fridge without eating it? But I decided to try it. [click to continue…]
In an attempt to clean out my kitchen cabinets, I noticed that I had bags and bags of nuts and dried fruit left over from Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead of leaving them there until the 2013 holidays (which I thought about doing) I decided to make some granola. Luke loves granola – especially when we go out for brunch. It is weird – I order pancakes/waffles/omelets – basically anything that I am too tired to make myself in the morning, and Luke always orders granola.
Also, granola is expensive at the grocery store!! -so I thought this could be a morning treat for him, while also saving some cashola.
I come from a serious football family, but that certainly does not mean that I love football. I like football, but I don’t love it or really care about it. But what I do love is the food that goes with football. Chili, beer, corn bread, BBQ…the list goes on. So when Luke said that he was going to watch football all day yesterday, I jumped at the chance to make my Gameday Chili. [click to continue…]
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