Let’s talk about luv.

posted on: November 16, 2014

I’m back! Sort of. I’m trying to be back. I keep saying, I’m going to come back to the blogosphere, but things kept getting in the way. Sometimes life just takes over and consumes your energies and suddenly  posting more food or shoe pictures on the internet doesn’t seem like such an important task – and then I remember that I am a sharer and a writer and a photographer and I actually really enjoy blogging and putting this out into the world. So, here I am, again. This post is a bit more personal than most of mine, but sharing my life means sharing the parts of my life that aren’t just cute coffee mugs and sparkles.

It seems only fitting that one of my last posts before this hiatus mentioned recovering from a recent breakup, since this post is about recovering from the ending of a very (very, very) new situation, something I had jokingly referred to as luv – “I met this great guy, I l-u-v him!” I squealed to my friends for the past few weeks. Yes, I am that girl. It therefore came as a surprise that it ended, and it is a bit fresh. Though this scenario was short-lived, my heart is a bit smushed at finding that it is not going forward.

Why, you ask, when it was so short? When it couldn’t have meant that much? Hear me out.

It’s about expectations – specifically, the expectation of some future that will no longer take place. In one scenario, a longer one, one where you have had the ups and downs of real life and a real relationship and of loving a real person, you end up with a bit of baggage. You have things you can hold onto as to why it didn’t work out, as to how you’ll move on and do better next time. You have painful memories mixed in with the happy ones; words said in frustration and not just infatuation to remember.

With someone new, with something so short, you don’t get to the bad parts yet. You don’t have the baggage. You just have ideas of the fun things you can do with your new partner in crime, and when it turns out those things aren’t going to happen, you’re not so much getting past the loss of an actual person whom you didn’t know very well at all – you are mourning the sudden disappearance of this future you envisioned, of all the things you wanted to do, of having someone new to explore the world with.


You can’t make someone feel things for you that they don’t, and that’s just a truth I will accept over a few nights of mindless distractions and wine — everyone learns this lesson, accepts this truth at some point — but it still hurts to be rejected. I felt maybe I had found someone who would be around for a while. Your vision of your life in a month, two months, four months, changes with that sense of promise, and now it looks entirely different than it had a week ago.

It’s not that you thought this person was the love of your life, because clearly it’s not a good fit if both people don’t feel the same. Rather, you’re sad that you won’t have a go-to guy for going to the movies, for cooking dinner together, for helping you with your craft shows. That you won’t be able to share in his life’s events, meet his friends and family, see where things could go. You’re sad because you had envisioned your time spent one way and now you have to change that vision, cut off those options, stop making those plans. That you had thought this person would be a good fit, and it just turns out that they’re not.

I don’t mean to sound melodramatic – I’m not sticking my head in an oven or hoarding aspirin. Going to yoga with my roommate and watching copious episodes of Scandal and making up new patterns for my upcoming knitting markets are my recuperation methods this weekend, and they’re more than good enough. I’m sure in a week or so I will have moved right along, because that’s how life goes! And, because, I didn’t really know this person very well at all.

But I had really looked forward to getting to know him better. I am disappointed that this other person didn’t have the same feelings I had to the level I had them. I liked him, a lot.

The good thing about life, you guys, is that it gives you so many chances to start over! To meet new partners in crime, to have new future plans, to like different people for different things. I liked this guy, but he won’t be the last person I ever have those infatuated, luv-ing feelings for. He won’t be the last person I meet with the qualities that I liked in him, and he probably won’t even be the last person to go out with me several times before deciding he feels differently. This is just how dating works! It’s a lesson I hadn’t learned yet, and so now I have. This just gives me a greater understanding of this process, of this journey, of finding that right person at the right time and having things click, of letting luv grow into a word with more vowels.

But I’m still a little hurt, surprised, and in need of ice cream. That’s just standard operating procedure.


What are your thoughts on short-term dating? Do you have any advice for how to get over something like this? Also, what’s your favorite ice cream?

Life in pictures, lately.

posted on: October 21, 2014

In no particular order…



I should be in New England right now.

posted on: October 16, 2014

I was tempted, very tempted, to make this post full of pretty pictures and just hit “send.” Then I realized how remiss I’ve been in posting actual words and thoughts and feelings and sage wisdom (from my brain to your ears, y’all) and decided it was time to stage my comeback.

(Insert opening “Mama Said Knock You Out” lyrics.)


I’ve been so busy (including recovering from strep throat) lately in large part because of the slow but sure change in seasons – that is, “summer” to “fall” in San Francisco. I have committed to doing several (too many! so many!) street fair-craft market-handmade show-type events. Add this to my full time job, the fact that I’ve been attempting to reconnect more solidly with friends who have their own careers and social lives, and the natural progression of more parties as different holidays approach, and I am completely maxed out on time and energy.

Because of that, all of my spare time from now until January must be spent knitting. Or with family. Or friends. Or cooking. Or working out. Or going on dates. Ok, but really, it’s just me in my room watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch and knitting until my little hands ache with the foreshadowing of young adult arthritis.

The only problem with this? San Francisco doesn’t get summer until mid-October.

Please picture my grumpycat face right now.



Our weather pattern is such that, in my crude understanding of meteorology, when everywhere else is hot, we get the fog pushed into our fair city. June through August is cold, windy, and cruelly sunny without the warmth of actual sunshine. September and October is where we really hit our stride – as soon as everyone else is busting out coats, scarves, and boots, we get 80-degree days without end and picnics in the park. This would be fantastic if I were not so reliant on my slim window of Fall as I am. I love Fall! I love the crisp air in the morning leaving the house for work. I love that leaves are dry enough to crunch when you step on them. I love how comforting a warm beverage in your hands can be. I love breaking out the myriad scarves, sweaters, and coats I have accumulated over the years in my desperate attempt to pretend I live somewhere outside the Golden State.

None of this happens in San Francisco until practically Thanksgiving some years – especially of late, with our current drought. When it starts to rain, at all, that is our official “winter.” Therefore, Fall lasts for approximately three weeks and I need more. More, I tell you!



Which brings me to my original titular point – a large part of me belongs in New England. I love the Bay Area (it’s my home, after all) but there are times I really, truly, crave the Fall I have only seen in movies, read about in books, and witnessed via the Instagram accounts of friends. I would love to know what it’s like to wear rainboots beginning in September, to smell the first snowfall (according to Gilmore Girls, it has a smell), to begin baking and knitting and nesting as soon as the leaves change!

Here, the leaves change, and I’m still ordering iced lattes. Because it’s 78 degrees and sunny. And I’m hot, and we don’t have air conditioning, and there are fruit flies coming in through our open windows, because of said lack of A/C. This is not the October I have heard tell of on Pinterest, my friends.



I realize I may retract this lamentation when everyone is posting pictures of snowed-in cars, scraped knees from slipping on ice, and screenshots of windchill factors in the single digits, while we San Franciscans have a fun little rainstorm that makes the streets smell clean and puts us all to sleep to pitter pattering. Still, I hold true to my thesis: I would love Fall on the East Coast. I cannot think of any other person I know (sorry friends, going to be a little narcissistic here) who would so thoroughly appreciate all that Fall can truly bring.



After all, I am the girl who grew up making apple butter from her American Girl doll books, who so loved the movie Little Women because of the domestic bliss (I’m sure they would view it differently) shown in the March household, and who has her own Etsy shop for knitwear. I purposefully and knowingly make and sell freakin knitwear, for god’s sake, and I am under the age of thirty – I think I have some traditional bones in my bod that are not being satisfied here. Maybe I need to take up canning.



More than the idea of becoming a homemaker (which is not my actual goal), I love Fall because it foretells the onset of winter. More specifically, of Christmas.

Anyone who has met me knows how dearly I hold that holiday, but I don’t know that I’ve ever fully explained why in a tangible way – maybe because what I love most about this season we’re entering are the intangibles. I love the feeling of joy that permeates the air. I love the sense of kindness that seems to overtake people more than other times during the year. I love that, though corporate America has set a goal in its mind to monetize Christmas for all it can, most people seem to genuinely love the season’s values of family, love, and generosity. I love that if you look for it, you can still find those sentiments within the most jaded, crabby, anti-capitalist people. I love that Christmas music is implicitly perky and happy and that walking around and looking at decorated houses makes me immediately smile. I don’t know what it is, but I love it.

And I also love that you can buy cute reindeer dolls and mini trees and put twinkly lights everywhere as a representation of the sparkle inside us all!


Alright. We’ve gotten a little off track here, so let’s reboot: I love Fall. I think it is an underrated season that San Francisco sorely lacks, and I think that I need to find some way to move my adorable, cold-weather-loving self to a Fall-having location for at least three months of every year. If anyone can inform me which (reasonable) profession will allow me to do this, I will immediately begin studying for any necessary exams or skills tests. I am good at quippy tweets, showing my mother how to properly use technological equipment, and making various pasta dishes. Someone must need these talents, stat!

Until then, I’m going to go back to my knitting, and my cocoa, and my holiday movies on Netflix. These are all I have, and I’m going to milk them for all they’re worth.

What I like to do when I’m sick.

posted on: September 29, 2014

I don’t know if I’ve made this clear through my Twitter whining or my Instagrams from my bed, but I’m sick. I’ve been sick for a few days (fever time, what up!) and today I went to the doctor to get some real medications. However, I’m still at home sick. Here are a few of the things I like to do when I’m partially, not not completely, incapacitated:

1. Brainstorm knitwear
Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 2.41.34 PM


I know, I know. This is probably the nerdiest activity of them all. But in reality, it’s what I’m doing most of the live-long day from about August through April – if I see a cute sweater, I mentally try to recreate it. If I see a cute hat, I make note of the crown design. If I see a cute cowl, I try to estimate the dimensions. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BRAINSTORMING, Y’ALL. However, I love the pieces from Wool and the Gang – I think they would be the only company I would buy a full “knitting kit” from. And I might just do that to make myself a sweater this winter.

2. Drink tea


My favorites are: Stash White Christmas tea, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Winter Dream tea, and Good Earth’s Sweet & Spicy tea. Can you sense a theme here people? It’s not tricky to figure out.

3. Watch The Office



I am ashamed to say that I haven’t yet seen each and every episode of The Office, which means I haven’t fully appreciated the Jim & Pam love story (and isn’t that really the entire point of the show? Feel free to disagree with me but you’d be wrong.) So I have determined that this sick weekend is the perfect time to do so! I am currently on season 5, and I just have to say, thank god they’re only 20 minute episodes! I can power through a hundred of these babies a day.

4. Do some online shopping
Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 2.54.23 PM


It definitely didn’t help my checking account any that this morning, in my weakened state, Shop it to Me sent me an alert about some of my “favorites” being marked down even further. So, thanks for that, Shop it to Me. Sarcasm! But no, really, thanks – I got something cute.

5. Eat leftover Pho


My roommate was kind enough last night to get me some Pho but I was still stuffed from all the tea I’d been guzzling and the Lipton’s noodle soup I’d inhaled around 4 pm, so I saved it for today – and let me tell YOU, it was the perfect post-doctor’s-office lunch. There’s nothing like that extra savory broth (it’s probably all the MSG, I love MSG!) and comforting noodle slurping to make you feel better.


What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re laying low? Give me your tips! I’ve got at least a few more nights of this.

Fashion for a rainy day | A review of Ensambl

posted on: September 22, 2014

I’m not sure if you know this, Bloggees, but in my “real life” my wardrobe usually consists of jeans, boots (my favorite these days are ankle booties – I have 3 pairs), some kind of flowy t-shirt top (I’m obsessed with these J.Crew linen ones), and a cardigan or sweatshirt or other cover-up like piece of fabric.

In other news, I have created a uniform for myself of standard, sometimes-a-little-too-comfortable clothing. That I wear. Every day.

(I hide it so well from you, right?)

Don’t get me wrong – I love putting together outfits, and I love new and daring pieces (I’m still on the hunt for a sequined skirt…), but regularly I just put on something to go to work and call it a day.

Luckily, the team over at Ensambl got in touch with me to try out the new launch of their app, and it was exactly the fashion-tool that I needed.

Ensambl is fantastic because it combines two essential needs: getting dressed with checking the weather. i know, I know, that might sound like something you can do on your own… but if you’re like me, someone who routinely wears the same thing to work, then this app is perfect for giving you a hint of fashion inspiration that matches your actual daily needs.


First thing’s first: you set your location (by state) and Ensambl loads various bloggers who have outfit posts fit for the weather near you that day. I like this feature because, unlike other apps where you have to go in and follow a bunch of different accounts before you get a solid variety on your feed, this app just shows you many bloggers automatically. I’ve already seen multiple outfits, and discovered multiple bloggers, that I wouldn’t have ever thought to try on my own.

Even better? If you click on a look (instead of just swiping left or right to discard or favorite it), the app takes you to the exact blogger’s post about that look!


Then, not only can you read about the outfit inspiration (and try to see how you could tweak the look to work for you) but you can also find the exact links for these pieces. Genius.


I also love that you can look back over your past favorites, so you can go on a swiping spree and then really take an in-depth view of the best choices at a later date. Or, just save them for a rainy day! Har har.

I did a fair amount of Ensambl-ing this weekend, and used some of the fabulous looks on there (my favorites so far are by Sincerely Jules, The Blonde Salad, and Lovely Pepa) to create these potential outfits for different weather situations I expect to experience this fall (you can see the full sets and the product info on my Polyvore!)

1. The Transitional Outfit


This look is perfect for that interim phase where Summer and Fall overlap – I’m thinking 65 degrees and sunny, with a brisk wind blowing your hair back. This all sounds very photoshoot, doesn’t it? The bright colors set off the darkness of the black boots, making the overall look feel very warm. Literally and figuratively.

2. The Rainy Day Outfit


When it rains, you don’t want to spend hours pulling yourself together, only to have it all undone the minute you step out the door. With this outfit, it won’t be – chic and casual, but with classic pieces made to accentuate your fashion sense! And, a couple of my favorite winter beauty products – moisturizer and lipstick.

3. The Errands & Brunch Outfit

This look is my ideal for running errands around town and getting a bite with a few girlfriends afterwards – stylish and simple colors with a touch of glamour (bubble necklace, anyone?) and a dose of practicality (I love my BKR bottles!), you could spend a whole day out and about in this ensamble.

These outfits were all inspired by a few swipes of the Ensambl app – now if only my closet had a similar function! If you’re in a fashion rut, or just want to find some new bloggers to follow, check out Ensambl on the app store. And let me know what you think!


This review is part of a madeleine|blogs and Ensambl cross-collaboration. As always, you receive my honest opinion in every post. 

Some excuses, and some pictures.

posted on: September 3, 2014

I pride myself on being regular with my blogging. Though it takes an average of 4-5 hours to shoot & edit photos, write the content, set up the formatting, and then publish each little nugget of delight (think about  that 5x a week), it’s worth it to me. So that’s why it really bothers me when I have weeks where that just isn’t possible. I know this may not seem like such a huge lapse to you in reader-land, but it is to me.

This week, I was supposed to be posting about my family’s amazing trip to Montréal and Quebec City from a few weeks ago. This obviously isn’t happening.

Instead, I’d like to share some reasons (coughexcusescough) why not that illustrate my life of late, and some photographic accompaniment. These may or may not match the reasons in any particular fashion. That’s just how I’m feeling today.



One of my two roommates moved out to go to graduate school (yay Lily!) and the other and I spent a solid two days swapping our rooms and moving additional furniture into the now-living room. This may or may not have involved swearing, sweating, and the knicking of a doorframe or two – but it’s done. However, that activity (and my subsequent recuperation) took up the bulk of my weekend that I had planned to use for organizing and blogging.


I’m going to Seattle this upcoming weekend for Carly’s sister’s wedding, and I could not be more excited. However, this definitely puts a crimp in my blogging/organizing/life plans – I’m leaving tomorrow night after work, which means tonight is spent packing and planning, and the last few nights have been spent still unpacking from all this moving around. Yeesh. It’s a lot. Sleep is not a friend that I know well lately.


I spend a lot of time with my family, on the regular. This doesn’t involve sitting around setting up blog posts. This does involve grocery shopping, cooking, playing with the dogs, getting brunch, running errands, and generally being cats about town for a weekend.


I won’t go into detail here, but I’m going through the ending of a relationship that has been going on in my life for a long, long time. That, in turn, means that I am busying myself with friends and family (see above) and knitting and cooking and sometimes just sitting around watching The Mindy Project as a distraction. If you know me at all, you know my life is already pretty full, so making it more full to keep my mind occupied has been necessary but exhausting. Blogging may fall by the wayside sometimes on this packed agenda.


I don’t know if you know this, but Fall is pretty much primetime for knitters. My Etsy shop has been on hiatus for the past few months (being summer and all) but now is the time I need to really get back into it. I love knitting, I love making something out of nothing (or very little), and I love sharing that with other people… but it makes me anxious trying to manage all of the things I want to make and do with all of the things I actually have time to make and do. Those two lists just do not match up. I need to prioritize, and sometimes this space will be on hiatus in lieu of my shop.


Alright, I think that’s just about everything that has been going on and will be going on in my life in the upcoming weeks! I hope to get back to my regularly scheduled blogging soon, but in the meantime, you can keep up on my Instagram and Twitter profiles. Thanks for understanding, all!

How to Take a Vacation

posted on: August 29, 2014

(Psst – We’re changing things up a bit here at madeleine|blogs! In lieu of weekly High Five for Friday posts, I’ll be doing a monthly roundup at the beginning of every new month about the previous month’s activities that may not have made it onto the blog. Check out next week’s August roundup on Friday, 9/05!)

For now, please enjoy this travel post…


Everyone wants to go on vacation. Show me one person who doesn’t, and I’ll immediately break down that wall of fear and denial. I am a lawyer, you guys! Anyway, let’s just assume, everyone wants to go on vacation. You want time off from the hustle and bustle of work, to see things that are new and different from your everyday life, to relax on a beach with a mai tai. Regardless of your motivation, travel can be for everyone.

The problems start cropping up right around the time that you actually plan that travel. How will you get the time off from work? What will you bring? Will you be able to speak the language?

I present to you: Maddy’s (Very Introductory) Guide to Taking a Vacation.

1. What you want to see

The first step in taking any trip or vacation is deciding what your goal will be of the overall trip. Is it to relax and decompress? Do you want to pack as much sightseeing into your schedule as possible? Figure out whether you want to rest or explore (or a combination of the two) and then determine the location that fits the bill. See if you can get a great fare to Hawaii for several days, and just spend your time out on the beach. Or, alternatively, take a quick trip to New York City, and see a show after walking around Soho or the West Village for the afternoon. If you’re going international, make sure you plan out which sightseeing spots are most important to you – or would you rather sit back and enjoy Italy like a native, relaxing at cafes and listening to the chatter around you?

Keep in mind that you can sightsee anywhere, and you can relax anywhere. It’s all up to you.

Regardless of your plans, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on the language and local customs. You don’t want to offend anyone unintentionally, and though many places speak English, it’s nice to be able to say at least a few phrases in the native tongue. I’ve found the Duolingo app is great for practicing basic grammar in different languages, and the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides series are great for traveler’s tips!

Of course, sometimes you have to go on vacations that are planned for you – family trips, a friend’s wedding, etc. If that is the case, problem solved! You already know what you’ll be seeing and doing! Skip ahead to number 2…


2. Where to Stay

This step relates heavily to number one in that, if your goal is to sightsee, it might make more sense to stay in an area that is closer to the museums and parks and restaurants you intend to visit. If you already know you’ll spend much of your time in the historical section of a city (as my family and I did in Montréal recently), then it would make more sense to stay there and be able to walk out your door every morning already in the area you want to explore!

If, on the other hand, you want to relax and occasionally go out for a walk or two, maybe stay in a less bustling neighborhood, or rent a house or apartment from someone in a more residential area. Most cities have pretty good public transit (and there are always cabs) so you aren’t locked into an area once you check in to the hotel or hostel or apartment. It’s all a matter of perspective, and planning.

Of course, sometimes financial constraints can come into play, but you can find great deals nowadays on the internet for lots of places that you wouldn’t ordinarily think were very affordable. Give it a try! (Also, sign up for Airfare Watchdog alerts if you want to travel somewhere but don’t have a set time in mind… they’re great!)


3. How to Pack

Once you know where you’re going, and what your activities will likely be, you can begin packing. It sounds obsessive, but making a list of every thing you’re going to bring can be truly helpful. Once it’s all written down and checked off, you can stuff the list in a suitcase pocket and double-check it before leaving your vacay destination – no forgetting shirts in drawers or cell phone chargers in the socket for you! I also tend to cross things off the list that I end up not bringing, so I don’t have a panic attack over a black shirt that never even made it into my luggage.

The key to packing is “editing.” Edit edit edit. Unless you are an expert packer (in which case, congrats!) most of us don’t wear some of the things that we bring on our travels, and those items are only taking up extra space that could be filled with souvenirs, or could turn your checked bag into a lighter (cheaper!) carry on bag.

Take a good look at what you’ll be doing. Will you be walking around? Pack one pair of comfortable walking shoes, maybe sandals or flats. Will you be going to dinners? That same pair of comfortable flats can sometimes double with a dress for a nicer look. If not, pack only one pair of heels that can match most of the things you’re bringing. Will you need pants? Pack one pair of jeans and some different tops to alternate – the key here is to mix and match. You can create so many different outfits from the simplest pieces, instead of bringing your entire closet. I love this post from A Cup of Jo on this very subject.

Once you think you’ve figured out your suitcase situation, go back through and be real with yourself. You probably won’t wear that lime green blazer while you’re in New York in November – put it back. It’ll be there when you come home.


4. Get your ducks in a row

Finally, you have to handle your business. You can’t just peace out of your office with a smile and a wave – besides just letting your boss know that you’re going to be out, let anyone else with whom you work closely know of your plans. Tell the team whose project you’re managing who else they can reach out to with questions. Set up a vacation response on your office email.

Be professional, and remember to organize things so that your workplace will still be running smoothly in your absence. They won’t replace you while you’re gone, and they’ll be happy to receive you back when you return.

Obviously the tricky part of going away on a vacation is the nitty gritty details: finding those cheap airfares; booking a hotel on discount that satisfies your brother, your mother, and your cousin’s needs; figuring out whether you can squeeze that last maxi dress into your already stuffed valise. But if you keep these maxims in mind, you can get through it just fine.

And finally…don’t forget to send me a postcard!


Have any helpful travel tips? Leave them in the comments!

NOLA & The Flamingos | HOT SPOT

posted on: August 28, 2014

Dear Bloggees, I have been so blessed to stay in touch with lots of different friends from different periods of my life.

That sounds braggy, but what I really mean is this: I feel so lucky that these friends are such good people that, for example, even after being out of regular contact for a long time, four of our five middle school “best friends FOREVERRRRR” group were able to get together and catch up. We went to different high schools and different colleges and, besides a couple of accidental run-ins with Evanne in San Francisco, I hadn’t seen any of them in literally years. It was long overdue and it was so much fun.


Evanne, Michelle, Megan, and I decided the best place to do this reunion would be a long-standing Palo Alto haunt, NOLA.

NOLA is the place I remember going in high school for birthday dinners; the place where, in college, my high school friends and I would re-congregate on holiday breaks (especially after turning 21); a place I frequented in law school. If this place goes out of business, I don’t know what I’d do – where would I get my fill of Creole cuisine and oversized drinks?

No, I take that back. They’re just the right size.


For any inquiring minds, I got the Ginger Julep. It was delicious, and obviously very photogenic.

What’s that? That’s not a qualification for a drink? Then you’re not a blogger, my friend! Or, you have more discerning taste than I do. Let’s move along…


We got the crab guacamole (“crabamole”), which was exactly as good as you’d think it was. I am a sucker for fresh crab and anything with avocado on it, so put the two together and your mouth is in California heaven!

We also got the chicken andouille sausage gumbo with cornbread. I don’t usually care for gumbo, so the fact that I lapped this up is astounding.


I’ll be honest, the fried green tomatoes were not the best…but we ate them anyway. Even the things that are less than stellar at Nola are still pretty darn good and worth your while. Or your mouth’s while.


These “black and blue” ahi fish tacos more than made up for any fried green let downs! They were delectably spicy and perfectly sized. We cut them each in half because there were four of us (math) and they were still big enough to satisfy our cravings when combined with all the other apps we got.


Of course, we couldn’t leave without some grits. These BBQ shrimp and grits (with garlic bread to, as the menu says, “mop up”) were fantastic. Subtle, but flavorful, and definitely enough to share and still get your fill.


And, finally, who doesn’t want macaroni and cheese?


We finished our evening by making the waiter and then the hostess take a multitude of pictures of us…and then comparing it to a very unflattering (of me, at least) photo of us from 8th grade graduation. Maybe someday I’ll share that with you guys, but, today is not that day. Let’s just say, I’ve come a long way in the art of makeup…

photo (1)

(Michelle, Evanne, me, and Megan)

For now you’ll have to wait in suspense as to why we called ourselves the Flamingos…!

…Alright, I’ll tell you. I have no earthly idea. All I remember is that I was the red flamingo (duh, hair) and the rest of us were similarly attributed with pink, yellow, blue, and green titles. We were The Flamingos and we were BFFs and we had a grand old middle school time. I’m not being sarcastic! There are some things about your younger years that just make you so happy to remember, that amidst all of the craziness of growing up and finding yourself, you had great friends and inside jokes and you could create this connection with other people that lasted into adulthood.

It was like our very own Now & Then! Aw.

Guys, help me out – why were we flamingos? Did we just like the animal? I need to know! You can tell me at our next club meeting.

Acacia, Valencia Street

posted on: August 27, 2014

When I met Lily Chau — owner of new home furnishings shop Acacia, lawyer-turned-entrepreneur-and-dream-follower — I knew this was a sign from the Universe. A sign that someday, I could pursue my passions. That I could take risks. That I could trod off the beaten path of lawyerly duty somewhere down the line, and indulge my creative desires.

Or, that I just needed to know about a really great home furnishings shop, and try not to spend all of my money there. That could have also been what The Universe was trying to tell me. It’s hard to interpret silent air sometimes, you know?


Either way, I am completely infatuated with this perfectly curated shop.


Lily has paired up with the folks at Heliotrope to provide not only great things for your apartment, but also your bod. Their line of skincare using organic, locally-supplied (ya heard!) ingredients provides the perfect sophisticated accent to a shop full of colorful, well-crafted pieces. The two brands work really well together in the space and it’s really refreshing to see artisans coming together like this!


I popped in just before departing for my Montréal adventure (which you will all hear about next week), so it took a bit of reminding from my friend Rachel (a lawyer and fellow small business-er) to save my money and not buy one of these adorable bear-turned-travel-pillows. That’s not to say I won’t go back on that someday… I have several trips coming up, and sometimes mama needs a bear neck pillow.


Most of what I loved best about this shop is the arrangement of these beautifully chosen products – you can tell everything has a place, but it’s not so stark as to make you feel uncomfortable looking around and touching things. On the other hand, it’s not so cluttered as to make you feel like an archaeologist wading through generations of goods.

I think Acacia has just the right balance – enough to offer variety without overwhelming the customer. This is harder to achieve than you’d think!


You know I was impressed when they had my favorite water bottles! I’m so happy to be seeing these bottles take off in so many stores – I bought one the other day for my mom at our local Marin café!

(Ok, I asked Big T to buy it for mom. I didn’t have my wallet.)


These Pantone coffee makers and mugs were another thing that immediately caught my eye. Such a great mix of modern style and warm, homey goods here! See e.g.: all of those blankets above.


Sadly, time (and money – or lack thereof) dictated that Rachel and I bid adieu to Lily and Acacia… but I’ll be back. Don’t you worry, I’ll be back! Someday when I can take one of those bears home with me. And maybe a necklace. And a bright wool blanket. And some stationery…


All jokes aside, this is the perfect place to come to spruce up an apartment, or try Heliotrope‘s great skincare line, or pick up a small goodie or two for a friend’s birthday. I am a big fan of Acacia and I hope it stays in the neighborhood for a good, long time!


Acacia (and Heliotrope)
415 Valencia Street (near 15th)
San Francisco, CA

Carrots with Ginger and Black Sesame | THE COOKBOOK CHALLENGE

posted on: August 26, 2014

This recipe is so easy that I almost shouldn’t be able to count it for the challenge, but I posted about salad dressing for god’s sake, so I think this makes the cut.

The flavors in this dish are… tangy. Crisp. Noticeable? Yes. But also delicious! This is a fun, super simple side dish that can accompany the turkey meatballs I’ve already posted, or a good salmon fillet, or even just a sandwich. This can be the thing you bring to a potluck or a dinner party; the thing you whip up when you really want to eat a serving (or seven) of fettuccini alfredo but you feel like you should be a little healthier. This is that thing!


Just don’t do that thing where you eat this and only this and then you turn yellow like you have jaundice. That’s just weird.

– 4 large carrots
– 2 teaspoons minced ginger
– sea salt
– hot toasted sesame oil
– soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds

Enter, IF YOU DARE… Read More