Hot Spot: Toast Café, Mill Valley

posted on: April 22, 2014

Toast! Yum! I love toast. The food item and the resto.

My parents introduced me to Toast in Mill Valley a few weeks ago and I’m sorry that I’m just getting around to posting these pictures now – but in many ways, maybe it’s a good thing, because looking at this breakfast burrito just makes me want to hop in the (metaphorical because I don’t really have one) car and scoot over to Mill Valley for brunch. Like, everyday.

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There was a Toast Café in Los Angeles that I never visited when I was there but I always read about it as one of those trendy celebrity favorite spots and was sorry I never went. That said, I think Toast Mill Valley could give LA Toast a run for its money!

This is the kind of place that you envision growing up with, close enough to walk to on a summer Saturday morning, bringing a paper or a magazine or the newest Babysitter’s Club Book (I said “growing up,” alright?), waiting in line with your family for a comfy booth near the front window, and taking your sweet time with those coffee refills once a table finally freed up. Didn’t you all have one of those places?

Well, I know Big T is partial to Fred’s in Sausalito, but I may have to make a request to go back to Toast sometime. Soon!

(Click through for more tantalizing food pics…)

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Wearables: Easter egg Sunday

posted on: April 21, 2014

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Could you ever have guessed I’d wear this much color in one post? I like to keep you guys guessing, that’s for sure. I have stuck to a uniform of black sweater, denim, boots for the majority of the fall and winter, but now that Spring is upon us, I am feeling my colorful side come out. I am anticipating a new uniform of brightly colored sweaters, denim, and boots! I kid, I kid. Kind of – depends on how nice the weather gets!

I put together this outfit as something fun to wear to an Easter brunch with family – it’s a little more dressed up than I would get for everyday outings, but with pops of color to keep the overall look relatively young and vibrant. At least, this is how I’m describing it myself – you can always disagree with me!

Sidenote: do you remember these small purses with the reinforced edges? They were all the rage for a while, akin to those North Face jackets and Rainbow flipflops. I got mine in middle school and it has still held up all these years later, waiting for a time when I’d need a fuschia pink purse. Way to go, Coach!

Sidenote two: Yes, I am purposefully trying to bring back the sixth grade double-pony hairstyle. Watch me make this work, people! I can do it! 

 

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sweater | Uniqlo
skirt | Banana Republic, old (similar, similar)
shoes | Target, old (similar)
bag | Coach, old (similar, similar)
watch | Cartier, gift (similar)
necklace | Maripat Designs, gift (similar)

High Five for Friday: 04/18

posted on: April 18, 2014

This week has been a doozy – my whole weekend was full, I knit not one but two tank tops from scratch (long story), had brunches and dinners and book clubs! Ok, maybe just one each of those. But you get the picture. Last night was the first night I just sat and did nothing, and it was glorious. My biggest problem was turning off House of Cards and making myself go to sleep early – I’m almost finished with Season 2! Have you seen it yet?

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1. I had some friends over and we made mood boards last Saturday! Mine is reminiscent of my high school collages – a little bit ambitious, a little bit aspirational, a little bit just plain “oh this looks pretty!” It was fun to do something creative that doesn’t threaten to give me arthritis. Ha.

2. Made brunch with the roomies & co on Sunday at Anita’s house! Her backyard is gorgeous. Just gorgeous. It was a fantastic summer day…minus the gigantic bumblebee that approached our picnic towards the end.

3. Designed and knit two tank tops for a friend (also a customer) going to Coachella this weekend – one with a plain design that was accidentally three sizes too large for her, and another in a racerback style that seemed to fit much better! Either way, it was great design and pattern-writing experience, and I can’t wait to make more to list in the shop for summer…

4. We had our book club meeting for April this past Wednesday at Ben & Nick’s in Rockridge – the mac and cheese was delicious, and our discussion of The Art of Fielding was one of our liveliest to date. Fun fun fun!

5. Spring has sprung on Google’s campus! It’s hard to stay indoors and work in front of  a computer when it’s so lovely out. I hope to have many iced tea-filled days ahead.

Hot Spot: Chow (again)

posted on: April 16, 2014

In honor of the book club meeting I have tonight, I thought I’d post a little something from a previous book club at Chow! You all know how I feel about Chow (the place and the concept, meaning, food) and that night did nothing to lessen my love for it.

Today’s post is going to be super short, as this week is insane, but if I can do my part to make you all drool over food pics, then it’s been a good post.

IMG_4341Fettuccine with seafood in an amazing white wine cream sauce…

IMG_4340Dark chocolate flourless cake with hot chocolate sauce and freshly whipped cream…

IMG_4339The remnants of Evan’s latte…

Have you been to Chow yet? What did you order?

 

Wearables: The Silk Pants Experiment

posted on: April 14, 2014

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I am sometimes an experimental fashionista. There are definitely times I look at the strangest thing in a store, and immediately think of three ways to style it that I think I have a 60% chance of pulling off. Usually these ways involve basic denim and some kind of high heeled boot, but, I’m just saying. There are times I want to take chances. I still somewhat regret not shelling out $60 for a Zara Mens sweatshirt with a screenprint of a Renaissance-style painting on it featuring little cherubs. It was totally outlandish and I still think I could’ve made it work (with the aforementioned denim and boots!)

That’s neither here nor there, and that chance has passed, I think (pauses to check Zara site) – alright, technically the sweatshirt is still online, but I’m just telling myself the chance has passed. The point is, sometimes I want to wear crazy things, and other times (like in this outfit post) I am worried that I will not be able to pull off a reasonably “normal” thing. Sometimes wearing a crazy thing is easier because the piece is already a little outlandish and is making a statement, so you don’t have to worry about people saying “Oh that’s not understated at all.” Nope, no it is not, you are correct – versus when you try to pull together a more less-loud ensemble and it doesn’t achieve the desired neutrality? That’s worse, in my opinion.

So, these Uniqlo pants were an experiment. They are technically silken pajama pants to be worn around the house, but I think with something covering up all the embarrassing bits they can transition quite nicely to the out of doors for brunch or to run errands, or maybe even go out for a drink if you want to get dressed up about it.

Well, what do you think?

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top | H&M, unavailable online (similar)
silk pants | Uniqlo “Drape” Pants
shoes | Target, old (similar)
belt | Gap, old (similar)
bag | Zara, old (similar)
earrings | Old Navy, unavailable online (similar)

High Five for Friday: 04/11

posted on: April 11, 2014

This week has been nuts. With being gone last weekend, and then coming back and trying to settle in to a normal routine again, surprisingly a fair amount has happened! I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth to tell you all about it…

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1. Had a great dinner with a sorority sister who lives in SF (who I still don’t see often enough!) last Friday night. It was the perfect cap to the week, with just enough lively conversation (and amazing food at Zuni Cafe) to celebrate the end of the week without tuckering us out too much. We both discovered our homebody tendencies – wine and cheese night, anyone?

2. Came home on Friday to a shipment of this gorgeous black-and-white yarn from Camellia Fiber Company! I’ve loved following Rebekka Seale’s blog when she was focusing on illustration, and now that she’s trying her hand at dyeing and spinning natural yarns, I’m even more excited to support her. Can’t wait to make something fun for myself with this little bundle.

3. And then… I went camping. For one night! One night full of smores and wine and a new blanket from the Big Basin gift shop because it was so cold out even in sunlight. No, I’m not kidding – somehow the tree coverage made it 50 degrees in sunlight at our campsite. Oof. We left pretty early the next day but it was still a nice little getaway!

4. I even came home on Sunday early enough to take some new outfit photos! I’m trying to be more diligent about taking photos when I can, since I only post one outfit a week. It’s not the main focus of my blog but I love fashion and I love friends so what better combination than sharing my style ideas with y’all?

5. Also, I’m trying this new cleansing oil, and after one use I already love it. Let’s hope that attitude keeps up, since I’ve heard this little bottle goes a long way!

 

What was your favorite part of last week? 

Five Healthy Things You Can Do This Week

posted on: April 10, 2014

Everyone wants to be healthier. Usually I try to stay away from generalizations of that kind, but really, I feel pretty comfortable with that one. Point me to a person who doesn’t want to be healthier if they could be, and I’ll buy you a gigantic $6 sugar filled latte! Everyone wants to be healthier – but, the hard part is putting that “want” into action. That’s the part that takes work. I am as guilty of this as anyone. Last night I went for a run for the first time in weeks and it was just… sad. Let’s just say, there was lots of huffing and puffing. And I may have had a cookie before dinner. Or like, three cookies. They were the little ones from the variety bag, but still! It’s hard to make health a priority and a habit, and yet, it is something that I think many (see what I did there?) would agree can infinitely improve your quality of life.

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But, instead of beating myself up about the cookie, I was thinking about all of the little steps I’ve taken lately to improve my overall health. I came up with five things I do at least once every week that aids in healthy living, and I think these are things all of you could do too with a little time and preparation. Little things can add up quickly – and, as I reminded myself last night, you’ve got to start somewhere!

1. Exercise when you can.

This one seems obvious (“duh! exercise! why didn’t I think of that?”) but I’m speaking in a more “take it when you can get it” way. I am guilty of being very “all or nothing” about my exercise – if I don’t have the time or energy to go for a 2+ mile run, then I won’t go. But, how does that add up? Why am I so reluctant to take baby steps towards my health goals, especially when each day is its own baby step? Why can’t my baby steps be in baby steps? Or, to put it in a less linguistically convoluted way, it’s like a savings account. Why would I only save money if I had $200 to save instead of $50? That makes no sense – $50 is still $50. The same should apply to my exercise and health: if I can only run once a week at first, then I should still at least do that. If I can only go for a mile one day, then I should still lace up and do that. If my “workout” is walking to the store instead of driving, or walking that extra bus stop, or parking further away from my errands and walking in, then I should do that. Every bit counts.

2. Get 7+ hours of sleep.

This is another one I struggle with deeply – I am the queen of late night television, of “one more chapter!”, of distracting myself until I realize it’s 12:30am and I have to wake up at 6:30am and I know that when I do I’ll be bleary eyed and exhausted. Listen to your own body’s needs and wants, but I know that my body needs at least seven or more hours of sleep a night (and really does best best best with eight!) Make sleep a priority. That TV show will be on OnDemand tomorrow; that book will be there in the morning; that blog post will be okay if posted at 10:30am not 8:30am. If you can do something on your lunch break instead of staying up late, do that. I’m not advocating for full-on procrastination, but figure out where your limits are, and make sleep a massive priority. If you follow the mantra “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” you could unknowingly be damaging your health so that you ARE dead soon…er. Sooner. I’m not saying lack of sleep will kill you tomorrow, but it is far more important than any of us realizes currently. I’m pretty sure.

3. Take vitamins.

This one is easy! Phew. Aren’t you relieved? The key is to pick vitamins that work for you – I love the Trader Joe’s Women’s multi-vitamin (in a pink bottle) but I know some people take pre-natal vitamins even when not pregnant to help their nails and hair, or some people might need more iron in theirs to help with anemia, or others might need more calcium, etc. If you don’t want to look at all of these differences, just get a basic multi-vitamin and a basic omega-3 vitamin and call it a day. At least you’re doing something! Our diets are really not varied enough in this day and age to cover all of the nutritional requirements of our bodies, even if you eat exceptionally healthfully, so taking a vitamin will help cover any of those leftover gaps. So, just do it! You will feel better.

4. Drink fancy water vs. sugary drinks.

This one is my “splurge” item on this list. It’s an excuse to buy those Perriers you crave, those Hint waters, those sparkling delights. In my view, drinking a $4 bottle of water is still better than drinking that $0.99 soda – so when I can pry myself away from the Coca-Cola, and go for something healthier, I don’t let myself feel bad about buying that citrus flavored sparking water from the store. It really is an investment in your health versus an investment in your grocery budget – it’s a swap that will save you calories, blood sugar spikes, and cavities. It’s taken me a long time to realize this (yes, I know, I know – but I was a child of the 80s-90s!) but it truly has changed the way I look at drinking water. If I know I can still treat myself a little bit, and have water that tastes good and “entertains” my senses, then I’ll drink that instead of soda. Well…most of the time. I’m only human.

5. Eat lean meats. 

This last one is one I’m still struggling with, as the pull of a juicy cheeseburger still has quite an effect on me. However, my current aim is to eat only lean meats – fish, pork, chicken, etc. No red meat, no fatty meats. Anyone who has seen me eat bacon in the past week, pipe down! All I’m saying is, you don’t have to go completely vegetarian – but one of the tenets of the Paleo diet that I really agree with is not just eating “more meat,” it’s eating high-quality lean meat that will give your body protein without blocking up your digestive tract. Lovely visual, right? Just trying to be honest here! Last night I had salmon for dinner, tonight I’m going to have chicken mango sausage, and this weekend maybe I’ll try a white fish or a pork chop. I’m not perfect – I had a cheeseburger from a food truck with my team at work this week – but I’m trying where I can. It doesn’t have to be boring, but it’s an easy way to make small changes in your diet that can help make you feel healthier from the inside out.

ps – Mom, I realize red meat can come in “lean” varieties too, but I’m just saying. I still think no red meat is healthier! Even if it’s delicious!

 

What’s something you’re doing this week to make yourself healthier?

One Two Three: Spa Day (or Night)

posted on: April 9, 2014

I know (I think?) we all wish we had enough time and money to go get fancy spa procedures done every week. What I wouldn’t give to get my nails done regularly, or to know what a facial feels like, or to get massages to pretend-correct my horrible posture! That would be fabulous!

Unfortch, that’s not reality. Reality means I painted over my original chipped toenail polish this morning with more red polish so I could wear the flip flops I wanted to wear today without feeling like I look unkempt. And the fact that I had the extra five minutes to do that was a bit of a luxury in itself.

So, here’s my Wednesday gift to you: at-home spa treatments you can do any night of the week! While I’m sure you’ve already heard about them and thought they were just some fun urban beauty myth and didn’t think they were worth the effort, I can promise you, they are. As evidenced by my embarrassing pictures below.

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1. Avocado face (or hair) maskIMG_4829 IMG_4826

My roommates and I tried this face mask when we came home from an already relaxing weekend in Carmel for Lily’s birthday. Who doesn’t need more relaxation in this day and age? We went the simpler route, mashing up pure avocado and glopping it on our faces. It was, at the very least, entertaining! But, after scraping off the larger bits and rinsing the rest off with warm water, my face did feel softer and more fresh. I swear!

You can try our basic recipe (mash up 1 avocado per person’s face; try to smoosh as many chunks as possible; leave on for fifteen minutes; wipe off with paper towel first, then rinse with warm water) or you can try this one from Lauren Conrad’s site that uses Apple Cider Vinegar as an astringent to help clear your skin too. It also features a hair mask – apparently avocado is amazing for smoothing your hair and increasing shine!

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2. Honey Face Mask
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I’ve heard for a while now of honey’s healing properties (did you know you can apply raw honey to burns and bites to help heal them and stop itching? What!) but I have not yet tried a honey face mask of my own. This is definitely next up on my list. I did some checking around and I think this recipe that adds cinnamon to help heal your skin from any blemishes looks like a simple but effective mask. There are other varieties on that site as well, so pick your favorite and let me know how it goes!

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3. Sugar & Lavender Body Scrub
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Pucker & Pout is the new lifestyle blog from Katie Maloney, one of my favorite “characters” (stars? cast members?) on Vanderpump Rules on the Bravo network (a show I really, really need to blog about someday.) She is great at adding DIY projects and beauty reviews to her blog, and I can’t wait to try this body scrub this summer to exfoliate off all of that grime and sunscreen from spending days outside. It also looks like it would make an amazing gift when you’re feeling in a homemade-mood!

 

Have you tried any of these before? What did you think? 

Fork it Over: Creamy Linguine with Turkey

posted on: April 8, 2014

Sometimes you want to indulge, but only halfway. You want to have fat free vanilla ice cream with the full-of-butter apple pie. You want to wear Prada shoes with H&M bangles. You want to… well, you get the idea. Splurge in one area, save in another. This is a dish where you can do just such a thing! This creamy, tangy (I hate that word but it applies so well to this sauce) pasta sauce combines the indulgence of creamy, cheesy sauce with the health of a lighter-fat base: yogurt. This is a pasta sauce made of yogurt.

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The original recipe, found on Big Girls Small Kitchen (have I ever shown you anything from BGSK before? I should use their recipes more. I love them!), didn’t include turkey meat but I added it for that extra bit of protein.

Ingredients:
- 1/3-1/2 cup whole milk yogurt (Greek yogurt is best)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese for garnish (I used… a little more than this.)
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 scallion, sliced thin
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons hot pasta water (while cooking)

I used slightly higher proportions for all of these measurements and it still turned out well!

Click through to see the rest of this post. Hint: there are more pictures of pasta… Read More

Wearables: Updressed Cowgirl

posted on: April 7, 2014

For some reason these boots always remind me of cowboy boots! Maybe it’s the color, maybe it’s the leather. Maybe it’s because I wear them until they’re scuffed and broken, pulling them on for errands and nights out alike. This is my second incarnation of them – the first I wore throughout law school until the soles were literally worn through and the lining inside had become loose and pulled apart from the inner seam. That is commitment to a pair of boots, I tell ya.

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Maybe it’s the fact that I spent this weekend glamping (glamorous camping!) that makes me want to wear an outfit like this – half relaxed style, with gold and leather accents to take the whole look to THE NEXT LEVEL. Maybe being in the forest of Big Basin, foraging for food (at the local market) and fending off invading critters (the next campsite’s dog), reminded me of the wild west. Of dust and ponies and stagecoaches. Of saddlesoap and panning for gold and rouged cheeks.

Sometimes it’s fun to dress up, even for cowgirls.

(Note: The bun I pulled together with a half-pony and some bobby pins! So easy. Pull an elastic around your hair as if putting it into a pony tail, then on the last elastic-twist only pull your hair halfway through until it is a little bent-over bun. Pull the ends around and pin them in smaller loops to flesh out the bun. Et voila!)

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skirt | Urban Outfitters, old (similar)
blouse | H & M,  not available online (similar)
boots | Steve Madden Intyce Boot
earrings | Old Navy, not available online (similar)
bag | Kate Spade, old (similar)