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)

High Five for Friday: 04/04

posted on: April 4, 2014

Happy Friday! I’m ready for the weekend. I’m going camping with some friends, and hopefully starting this book on my Kindle… or, sleeping. Or, photographing birds. I’m sure whatever it turns out to be, I’ll let you know!

(Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth…)

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1. I visited the new Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero this weekend. It looks like the old Bi-Rite – that is to say, delicious, and cozy, and full of exorbitantly priced chocolates and coconut waters and blocks of cheese that I want to fork over my hard earned dollars to consume. I withheld, you’ll be happy to know.

2. I also spent some time walking around Hayes Valley last weekend and noticed this woven hula hoop art. So cool! I love that San Francisco is one of those places where you never know what beautiful things you’ll find…

3. I got coffee with my friend Lisa at the La Boulange near her apartment in the Sunset… I really need to go to that area more often. Love that neighborhood!

4. The oysters at Woodhouse Fish Co. are incredible and my dinner partner and I had 24 (twenty! four!) between the two of us on their $1 oyster Tuesdays this week. I also love their chowder!

5. Finally, last night I went to see Fitz and the Tantrums at the Fox Theater in Oakland. They put on an amazing show and, even more amazingly, BOTH of the openers (Nightmare and the Cat, and Bad Suns) sounded just as polished and talented as the main act. It was a great night of live music! And now, I want to go back to sleep.

 

This was a busy week for me! What did you all do? 

Hot Spot: The Elite Café

posted on: April 3, 2014

The Elite Cafe was originally built in 1928 and was named the Lincoln Grill. According to their about page, it was THE place to see and be seen in that era of San Francisco’s history! The Elite Cafe was so named in 1981 under new leadership and boasted cajun & creole cooking, until a 2005 menu overhaul changed the focus to “American cooking with a New Orleans accent.”

Whatever it is, it is delicious, and I can’t wait to go back.

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Luckily, I got to enjoy my first time there with two good friends (and a baby!) from an old job. We caught up, ate eggs with biscuits, and learned a little bit about baby yoga…

(Come on in for the rest of the pictures!) Read More

One Two Three: I’ve been reading…

posted on: April 2, 2014

Time for another One Two Three post! I’ve been keeping up a pretty good reading schedule of-late, so here are some of my recent favs. I would heartily recommend any of these books for your next read!

1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane

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This book was gifted to me by a friend almost a year ago for my birthday, but I didn’t get around to reading it until we chose it for our book club in February. However, the fact that it took me so long to open has no bearing on how great this book is – once started,  it only took me two days to finish it! The novel, set in modern San Francisco, combines characteristics from a great Dan Brown mystery, and the tech focus of Dave Eggers’s recent book The Circle. There are secret societies, topical technology references, and a great mix of characters. The premise takes a bit of a twist-and-turn route before you realize what’s truly going on, and get to the “goal” of the book, but the fact that you’re following the main character on his discovery of “the truth” keeps you engaged. I wish this was a series, as the characters are the kind that you’d like to continue seeing from time to time, like old friends. Old, made up, friends.

 

2. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

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Jeeves and the Wedding Bells was another book club choice, and I’m really glad someone else picked this, since I don’t think I necessarily would have. Not having read any of the original PG Wodehouse “Jeeves” novels (which I, now, highly recommend that we all do) I didn’t know what to expect and had images of a stuffy Victorian novel full of useless, flowery language. This novel couldn’t be further from that image! Faulks, from what I hear, has truly recaptured Wodehouse’s voice and revitalized these characters for a new generation of readers. The book is smartly written, well researched, and a bit cheeky in its humor, so that as a reader you are never bored. Even if the plot twists are somewhat predictable, it’s like reading an episode of Downtown Abbey crossed with the original The Office. I’ve purchased my first Wodehouse “Jeeves” novel and can’t wait to keep reading about these characters’ adventures.

 

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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My mother doesn’t read much. Well, let me take that back, before she’s mortally offended – my mother reads everyday, but usually it is articles and newspapers and magazines, picking out restaurant reviews and planning her next trip to the museum, or sending me the latest news on which chemicals I should stop eating. It is hard for me to get her to sit down and read a novel that I’ve recommended, as she usually simply doesn’t have time. So believe me when I say that the fact that my mom finished this novel in a weekend is one of the highest commendations anyone can give a novel. In fact, she read it before I had! I hurriedly borrowed her copy and, after a slight lull during which I had to take care of other blogging and brunching and living duties, finished it last week. This book is unexpected – the characters may come off as caricatures but, in the end, they’re well formed; the storyline is engaging and doesn’t cease to capture your attention, though there are some slightly wild bits; and, the writing is laugh-out-loud funny. The novel is a modern satire on the Microsoft-run city of Seattle and the characters (pun!) who inhabit that world. I didn’t interpret it so much as a satire when I was reading it, but seeing as I am in techland here in San Francisco, it may be too close for me to see. Either way, it’s a fantastic, enjoyable, smart read!

 

What’s been on your bookshelf lately?