Thursday, March 31, 2011

{San Francisco itinerary}

I have two days to spend in the city of San Francisco before heading out to Sonoma so I have filled my schedule to the brim with all the places I have been missing since moving and some places that have newly opened. Here are some of the places on my itinerary:

Blue Bottle Coffee Co. has a bunch of locations all over the city, I like to go to the one in Mint Plaza near Union Square. It is tucked in an alleyway near some lofts hidden from the main street, but somehow it is always completely packed with a line out the door. They also serve some nice light breakfast options which is hard to come by in Union Square before the shops are open.

 A friend of mine recently opened Two Birds boutique in Noe Valley and I cannot wait to go check it out. The owner and her business partner obviously have serious style- just look at the decor!

Whenever I happen across a small home decor or stationary website that doesn't have a very wide retail distribution, one of the only places that carry their wares is The Curiousity Shoppe in San Francisco.
 Bourbon & Branch makes some of the best cocktails in city and maybe even rivals The Varnish for best cocktails on the west coast.  This place really lives up to its speakeasy vibe, you need a reservation and your own personal password just to get in.

Gitane restaurant is right next door to one of my favorite places, Cafe Claude, hidden on a little alley a few blocks from Union Square. I have never been here, but it looked like a nice mellow place for dinner nearby my hotel.

With flavors like candied orange blossom and maple bacon apple, how could I pass up on a trip to Dynamo Donuts!?!?

The Oriental Art Gallery is a small hole in the wall shop down the street from my old apartment. It is run by a small family and all they sell is pins, thousands and thousands of pins. They are somewhat organized into categories and the 80+ year old woman that is behind the counter magically knows where each specific pin is. The only photo I could find mainly displays the box of weapon pins (a little dark for my taste), but just look at the selection of sea animal pins on the box next to it!!! Most of the pins are only a few dollars and I like to buy a different one for each of my coats and cardigans.

My Dad became semi retired when my parents moved to Sonoma and he now works a couple days a week in the tasting room at Benziger Family Winery.  If you are ever in the Sonoma area, I highly recommend taking the tour and tasting at Benziger. The wines are amazing and all are biodynamic plus your tasting fee at Benziger gets you a free tasting at nearby Imagery Winery.

{images via yelp}

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{packing for San Francisco}

Before I moved to Los Angeles two and half years ago, I lived in San Francisco for three years going to school.  Fortunately for me, my family moved up to wine country right before I moved back to southern California so I always have a reason to visit. I will be up in the city and out in Sonoma for the next 4 days which means I need to pack for a variety of activities. I am also really horrible at not over-packing so I try to force myself to pick out every single outfit and then only bring those items. Here are some I am considering...

 {Jeffrey Campbell moccasins, H&M military jacket, American Apparel infinity scarf, F21 belt, Frenchi silk racerback tank}

 {Chloe "Tracy" bag, Phillip Lim military jacket, Frenchi racerback tank, J Brand Black jeans, J. Crew flats}

 {Reformed silk shirt-dress, INC leather jacket, vintage Gucci clutch, Tashkent tie back booties}

{J Brand black jeans, American Apparel infinity scarf, Dolce Vita boots, Zara silk blouse, vintage Gucci purse, wine wipes!}

These plus a few others and I should be good to go!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{etsy favorites}

 Here is a another collection of some items currently in my Etsy favorites:

I think these French "day of the week" pillows printed on grain sack fabric would give just the right amount of rustic feel in a room. Although I don't know how comfortable this fabric would be,  it could work on an entryway bench or an area that is very visible but not used very much. 

I love that these cheese markers are re-usable and they identify the type of cheese so you only need to write the name. 

Personally I dislike dog beds and accessories covered in fabric printed with dog bones or fire hydrants or other dog themed objects. Muji just has better taste than that and he deserves this super chic bed. Martha & Ash's shop also has some really beautiful decorative throw pillows.

There are a handful of sellers on Etsy with iphone/ipad/ipod docks on wood like these, but I think the ones from Lichen Wood's shop are the best looking as far as the proportion and treatment on the wood.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, March 28, 2011

{kale chips + weekend photos}

I finally had a chance to make the kale chips that I mentioned here and they did not disappoint. I followed Smitten Kitchen's very simple and quick recipe here and added a teaspoon of lemon zest. This bowl disappeared in about 3 minutes and we were already brainstorming different ways we want to try using these such as served over mashed potatoes or as a garnish over steak.

This past weekend started with a dinner on Friday night dinner at Bottega Louie followed by a Saturday spent wine tasting in Santa Barbara/Los Olivos.  Sunday started with a relaxed brunch and a shopping trip to find the perfect planter for our citrus tree. Here are some photos from the past few days:

 {tasting board at Dragonette Cellars- Hillard Bruce Pinot Noir is amazing}

 {tasting at Epihany- the Petite Sirah was accompanied by chocolate}

{sunday brunch}

{muji being dramatic}

Friday, March 25, 2011

{friday cocktail: champagne cocktail}

This week's cocktail is another one of my favorites and a true classic, a Champagne Cocktail. I don't believe that champagne needs to be reserved for special occasions and I love to serve this cocktail to guests even at large parties since it is so quick to make. Although I used Dolce Vita prosecco for this one, I also really love to use Zonin prosecco from Trader Joes since it is tasty and inexpensive. Cheers!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have an obsession with magazines and I subscribe to a ridiculous amount (as in 15 or so). Everything from fashion to food to travel. And this past year I discovered e-magazines just in time for the launches of some of my favorite ones! Here is my short list of e-magazines- click on the image caption to read the issue:

{Ivy & Piper Love Issue}

Ivy & Piper is an Australian based home decor magazine with fashion influencing much of the editorial. The most recent issue, The Love Issue, would be completely dog-eared if I had a physical copy at home.  I need the rug in that cover image.

{Lonny Mar/Apr 2011}

Lonny's mix of home decor and fashion is very similar to Ivy & Piper, except that it is based out of the U.S. and the decor featured it bit higher end- closer to that of an Elle Decor magazine.

{Sweet Paul Issue 4}

Sweet Paul is a food and cooking magazine which focuses heavily on dessert and seasonal themed dishes (nothing wrong with that!). I can't wait for the next issue coming out in June that centers around summer recipes and outdoor entertaining. I especially like the "Freeze It" article about frozen treats in the current issue, the Neapolitan ice cream cake looks spectacular. This magazine also has some of the most beautiful food styling I have ever seen.

{Rue Issue 4}

Some of my very favorite bloggers make up the editorial team at Rue and even though they are only on their 4th issue, I am already completely hooked. Rue is by far my favorite of all the online magazines I follow. The photography and design of this magazine are stellar plus the articles feel fresh, not just plucked from the same stuff circulating around all the design blogs.

Now I just need an ipad to complete my viewing experience of these wonderful magazines....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{fish bowl terrarium}

Since the gloomy weather this past weekend ruined my plans for some gardening, I decided it was the perfect time to re-plant an indoor terrarium that did not fair well in the move.  The large fish bowl vase was a TJ Maxx find, but you can find vases like these in the LA Flower Mart or at Home Goods.

What you need:
  • vase - fish bowl shaped ones work best
  • small rocks or gravel
  • potting soil
  • moss (my favorite is Super Moss' Reindeer Moss)
  • various small succulents (Home Depot has a great selection for $1.50)
    1. place a small layer of gravel or rocks in the bottom of the vase, for a vase the size of mine (12 inch diameter) I used about an inch worth. This allows for some drainage.
    2. top with a couple inches of potting soil 
    3. loosely plant succulents in desired locations, you can support them with some of the leftover small rocks if needed.  I recommend working from front to back as you plant the succulents, and then plant the one in the center last.
    4. fill uncovered dirt with moss and rocks (this is optional but I think it looks much better with the additional color)
    5. lightly water until soil is moist
    6. place in area that gets a good amount sunlight and lightly water once a week.

    I find that my terrariums will last 3 to 4 months before needing to be re-planted.  I imagine this time period changes based on how much or how little sunlight you get indoors. Our previous house had very little natural light and the terrariums could make it a few months. The loft gets TONS of morning sun so I am hoping this terrarium is going to stick it out for at least 6 months! Terrariums make easy inexpensive gifts as well. You can purchase 5 inch diameter fish bowl vases, fill it with three small succulents and then attach a cute gift tag (like this).

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    {sunday breakfast: baked eggs}

    I love Sunday breakfast spent leisurely indoors and the gloomy weather in Los Angeles this past weekend made it even better to stay in. One of our go to breakfasts is individually portioned baked eggs; assembled and baked in our vintage soup bowls (you can also use small ramekins as well). I love any meal that allows each of us to personalize the dish to our specific tastes and this dish is perfect for using up leftover odds and ends from the past couple days. Yesterday we made ours with black beans, mushrooms, green onions, and topped with mozzarella cheese.  Place all "toppings" in the bottom of greased dish, add eggs, top with cheese and bake in oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. You can see more detailed instructions and some more ingredient ideas on What Katie Ate, here.

    A few weeks ago we hosted Chris's family for a housewarming brunch and we made these baked eggs into a DIY breakfast bar. We put an array of toppings out including black beans, green onions, caramelized onions, bacon, mushrooms, salsa, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and spicy jack cheese. Everyone assembled their own baked eggs with the ingredients of their liking and then wrote their name on a piece of foil to identify their creation once it was out of the oven. This turned out amazing; we were able to all the prep work beforehand and everyone gets their breakfast exactly how they like it. I think this would be a great idea for a bridal or baby shower or as an easy breakfast for a large group at a vacation home.