High Five for Friday | 07/25

posted on: July 25, 2014

First of all, can we just acknowledge the fact that today is five months exactly until Christmas? This brings me so much joy! Elf, knitting, coco! I love Christmas.

Alright, on to the rest of my July week…

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1. Last weekend I went to the picnic my friend Lisa threw for her boyfriend’s birthday. This day involved me experimenting with the cauliflower recipe I posted earlier, playing a horribly bad game of corn hole, and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in years! It’s so fun to reconnect with people who knew you years and years ago…like in your middle school awkward stage. Look, I’m a real human now! Ha.

2. I got lunch with my friend Rachel on Sunday and then we wandered around Valencia street a bit – and discovered a great new shop run by a fellow ex-lawyer! Well, not that we’re ex-lawyers, but we’re lawyers who like to pursue more creative endeavors. Rachel and I are, that is. Anyway! We found this shop and I can’t wait to post about it next week. Hint: that bear turns into a travel pillow!

3. Made some new recipes from the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook. Delish! I’m liking it more and more, despite what people say about her whacky healthiness.

4. The whole family dined at Il Fornaio on Wednesday for Big T’s birthday. This ravioli filled with italian sausage and ricotta was amazing. Uh. Maze. Ing.

5. I got new shoes! This should be shocking to… no one. What is shocking is how affordable they were, and that they have a “sensible” heel that I don’t mind wearing (I’m talking 2.5″) – and that they’re a great alternative to the pricey Valentinos so many people are lusting! I wish I could get some Vs but these Sole Society ones will have to do for now. And I’m not too sad about it – they’re really cute! I may have even gotten them in two colors…

 

What was your favorite part of the week?

Modernism at the De Young Museum

posted on: July 24, 2014

Friends, Bloggees, countrypeople, lend me your ears. I have been blogging far too much about food and style and not nearly enough about the thing that precedes that last one: LIFE. I have a life that revolves NOT only around food and fashion (I think) and I realized that of late I have not been sharing it with you. How amiss of me!

To rectify this wrongdoing (I tried to come up with a combination of blog-wrongdoing but it just wasn’t going to happen), I’ve decided to share this lengthy post of my trip to the De Young Museum this past Father’s Day – we saw some Modernist paintings, we ate food, we took pictures outside. It was the whole shebang.

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Let me remind you, I used to hate museums. In my teenaged wisdom, I thought they were boring, I didn’t care about most of the artists my parents tried to show me, and I was also scarred for life by several “there are always bloody pictures at museums” incidents in my youth (crucifixions at the Louvre, a modern art exhibit at SFMOMA, etc.)

Lately, however, I have seen the error of my ways. I not only enjoy seeing these exhibits with my parents, but I can appreciate the historical context for each piece and like learning facts about these oft-spoken names. I think this is called…maturing? Oh god. Yuck.

At any rate…there are approximately 1000 photos in this post (slight overestimate) so I have concealed them beneath this handy link – please click through to see them all and chuckle at my delightful commentary! And, to see cute pics of my famiwee (minus my brother who was working. Homeboy works hard.) Read More

Summer Purchases I Wish I’d Made | One Two Three

posted on: July 23, 2014

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So, I’ve been on a bit of a shopping tear lately. I know, I know – all of my good tips about financial responsibility are going out the window the minute I see a cute sundress at Target! Or, you know, five. Some things I genuinely need (replacements of makeup, scrubbing bubbles to clean the shower, a pair of good sandals) and some things I just get sucked into thinking I need by all of the gorgeous blogs and Instagram accounts I follow.

There’s something to be said for finding inspiration and ideas from other blogs and other peoples’ lives, but the problem comes when that “inspiration” means buying everything they have so that your apartment, too, can look like a Pinterest pinboard of cool, collected, chic adulthood. Let it be known, my room does not look like anyone’s pinboard, and my life is far from “chic” as the word stands.

I do, however, think I manage to pull together a fair amount of personal lifestyle combined mostly-well with tips and ideas from others. It’s not all my own doing, but what I do with it is all my own…if you get what I mean. And not in a weird way.

While I do get hooked on the shopping bug sometimes (J.Crew just had a massive sale, did you all know about this?), there are things I would love to splurge on but hold myself back from because I know, deep down, I really don’t need it. I just don’t. Because who needs these things? Here are my top three I wish I could justify buying:
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1. Blissful Organic Turkish Towel, $32

Turkish towels are said to be incredibly lightweight and absorbent, making them the perfect accompaniment to any picnic, beach day, or pool party. What they lack in cushion for lying on a deck they make up for in style – I’ve never seen towels before that look like sophisticated throws, and yet, every Turkish towel I’ve ever seen reminds me of white sand beaches and limoncello. I want to go to there!

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2. Olive Wood Salad Hands, $28

My mom has a pair of these at home, and I have to say, they really do make serving salads fun. If anything could help me eat more greenery it is probably the feeling of scooping up a hefty plop of romaine and tossing it around the salad bowl (obviously I’d need a matching olive wood bowl.) These would propel me into adulthood in the kitchen, I’m sure of it.

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3. Panama Hat, $58

This simple style has taken over the interwebs this summer, and I’m not a part of it. I should be. Rather than the simple straw hat (which I have) the panama hat conjures to mind linen suits and cigars. While I don’t need to wear or smoke either of those things, the worldliness of this style cannot be overlooked. If only I could wear this to work…

If you had to pick, which one would you get?

Cauliflower & Chickpea Salad | TCC

posted on: July 22, 2014

And we’re back, sports fans! Did you think I’d forgotten about you and The Cookbook Challenge? I know I didn’t get a chance to post a recipe last week, but fear not – this weekend I tried three (yes THREE) recipes from Ms. Gwyneth’s book that I think you’ll all really like. I know the cucumber-avocado soup was less than thrilling, but this recipe I would make over and over again!

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I love finding simple, healthy dishes that I can bring to potlucks, or make for my family when I go home, or just make a large batch of and eat every night for a week. I’m lazy like that, y’all, in case you hadn’t noticed. This cauliflower and chickpea salad is just like that – make a batch, eat it up, bring it to a picnic, do whatever you want! Take a bath in it, it’ll be just as good. I’m not sure about the moisturizing qualities of cauliflower but you guys can be my testers on that…

So, how do you make this fun side salad? I’ll show you! Read More

A belated Red, White, & Blue | Wearables

posted on: July 21, 2014

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While typically dressing up like the American flag is reserved for that eponymous July holiday (ed note: never blog without coffee!), I’m making an exception this year. Summer activities are in full swing here, with picnics and farmer’s markets abounding, and though the weather may not always match the day’s plans, we can at least pretend until fall hits (aka, until tomorrow morning when the fog rolls in.)

San Francisco’s summer is notoriously cold and breeze-ridden (I think Chicago might have some competition for that Windy City thing) so anytime one can wear something reminiscent of barbeques and Budweiser, one should. Without wearing, like, an actual tee shirt that says “Budweiser” across the front – because no one wants to be that girl, right? Right.

 

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dress | Madewell, old (similar)
clutch | Lulu’s (on sale)
scarf | Zara, sold out (similar)
wedges | old (similar)
bracelet | Ciela Bangle, Bauble Bar
watch | Cartier (similar)

High Five for Friday | 07/18

posted on: July 18, 2014

You guys ready to recap?

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1. I finally picked up the needles again (knitting needles, that is) to start this long-overdue scarf for my friend Kate, who won it in an auction. It got me brainstorming all kinds of great things for fall, and now I just need the time to make them tangible!

2. Visited the AIM Farmer’s Market with my mom on Sunday – there were vendors from all over California! I picked up some flowers and cheese and peaches for a BBQ I attended later that day, but I only stopped there because we were on a bit of a time crunch. Must go back!

3. The parents and I tried a new seafood place in Larkspur for lunch this weekend – I got delicious fish and chips, mom had fish tacos, and Big T got some kind of shrimp louie thing. It’ll be on the blog someday!

4. I went to a Welcome Back BBQ in Alameda for my friend Chelsea, who is moving back to California after too many years away! Chelsea and I met in college and hadn’t seen each other in years before this weekend, so I’m ecstatic that she’s nearby again.

5. A friend had a cooking class at her house for her birthday (will also be on the blog soon!) and one of the first dishes we made was a broiled pear dessert with cinnamon and ginger. It was incredible. Someone buy me a dutch oven, stat!

What did you get up to this week? Eat anything see anything meet anybody fun?  

PS, I’m linking up with Lauren Elizabeth today!

Fork it Over | Puff Pastry Pizzas

posted on: July 17, 2014

There are days when the last thing you feel like doing is cooking anything of substance that takes any effort at all more than digging out your credit card to order something from GrubHub (my fav food delivery site), when the idea of grocery shopping and mentally planning or googling a recipe seems like the absolute last thing you’d want to do.

This recipe is for those days.

Or, there are other days when you want to change it up from the norm, when you know how to cook salmon and brown rice and broccolini, but you’d rather have something a smidge more indulgent that you can make yourself and still not feel “guilty” about later.

You’re in luck – this recipe is for those days too!

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These puff pastry pizzas (inspired by The Londoner’s Tommy Tart - I love her blog, especially the recipes!) carry the fabulous cheesy goodness of pizza without necessarily being as doughy or carb-based. Now, let’s not get things twisted – puff pastry still has tons of butter in them, so these aren’t as healthy as cauliflower crust pizzas or anything else that is completely carb-free. But it is still a really fun twist on the usual make-at-home pizzas, and great for offering a little nibble at a party depending on how you cut them up.

Come on in, and I’ll show you how to make two different pizza pies! Read More

Amber India (Dhruvi’s Farewell Dinner)

posted on: July 16, 2014

Friends, I have sad news. Dhruvi of Stilettos & Sequins (who took many outfit photos for me over the past two months, like these and these and these) has moved back East.

I know, it’s very disappointing. Sad panda. A non-sarcastic “womp womp.” She’s not just a blogger buddy, she’s become a real friend! I’m sad her time in SF was cut so short and that we couldn’t fully explore the city together like the crazy paparazzi we are.

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Luckily, we got together a couple of days before her departure for a farewell hang sesh – and checked out a well-known Indian resto in the process.

Amber India is well known in the Bay Area for being an upscale Indian restaurant, offering delicious, traditional Indian food with a more modern dining experience (for example, the cocktails we ordered before dinner!) Amber India has been rated by Zagat, given the title of Best Indian Restaurant in the Bay Area for 11 straight years, and was included on SF Chronicle’s 2014 list of Top 100 Restaurants.

So, you know. We don’t do shabby. Or if we do, we do it in PJs and not for a farewell dinner!

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I’m sad Ms. Dhruvi has left the Best Coast, but I know she shall return someday after learning a ton at her fab new East Coast job! Plus, now I have another friend to visit on my sporadic NYC trips. I’m trying to see the silver lining here, people.

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Ignore the napkin in the above photograph – the restaurant decor was impeccable. I was completely transfixed with a light fixture on the ceiling, featuring layered pieces of textured metal over one another with a center lightbulb giving off a dim, atmospheric light. Everytime I thought to take a picture of it, the waiter came over – I haven’t yet reached the level of blogger-tude where I ask him to move out of my shot. Ha! Next time…

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The booths were wood-lined and had gorgeous mirrors behind each other, backlit by a romantic purple hue. This was such a good blogger-date!

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We started our date with some cocktails – a mango mojito for her, and a…ok, I’ll be totally honest, I forget what I got. Shoot. It was delicious and had mint leaves and some kind of lemony sugary gin flavor?

Alright, yes, worst blogger ever. Both of our cocktails were delicious, that’s all you need to know!

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Then, the food arrived! Huzzah!

Dhruvi is vegetarian so while I got the chicken tikka masala, rice, raita, and plain naan (my usual, but a bit more upscale this time…), D got a paneer dish (Kadhai Paneer, I believe?) and butter naan.

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chicken tikka masala with fig and orange

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Kadhai Paneer

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IMG_0581As we approached the limits of our stomachs, we reminisced about her two months in SF… we laughed, we cried, it was better than Cats! Alright, we talked about her new tattoo and what she was doing on her last weekend in San Francisco while I went home to see the family, but it really was better than Cats.

Hope this girl comes back soon – until she does, you can check out her adventures at Stilettos & Sequins!

And if anyone wants to try Amber India, you know here to find me. I’m in.

Hot Spot | Shanghai Dumpling King

posted on: July 15, 2014

Wow, how mean would it be to just leave you with this picture (and all the pictures behind the jump) of delicious dim sum dumplings, without telling you when or where I got them?

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Well, luckily for you, I already put the necessary info in this Hot Spot heading. Crisis averted!

I have been going to dim sum lunches with my family (and extended family) for years, but a couple of years ago I met my true dumpling love: Shanghai Dumplings. These soup dumplings are filled with meat and broth, served on a soup spoon, and topped with a vinegar sauce to add a small kick – then, eaten whole, the broth explodes out of the dumpling wrapper and you simultaneously do the “waving your hand in front of your burnt mouth” motion while signaling for more.

Yeah, I may have done that once or twice. I’m not a very patient eater, you know? Especially when there’s delicious food sitting in front of me!

So, when I heard that there was a restaurant in the Outer Richmond named for one such favorite dumpling, I had to make a special trip over there. Introducing: Shanghai Dumpling King.

(Come on in for more pictures…) Read More

Wearables | A review of the Shop It To Me app

posted on: July 14, 2014

See this bag, you guys? This one right here?

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This bag is called the Basilisk Bag from Free People. You know why I love it?

BECAUSE HARRY POTTER, THAT’S WHY.

Alright, nerded out there for a second. But for anyone who isn’t yet aware, my love for all things HP runs deep. It started somewhere around age eleven when the first book was published, and ended… well, it clearly hasn’t yet ended, seeing as I routinely reread the books whenever I feel like I need some literary comfort and rewatch all eight of the movies every holiday season. There’s a Christmas scene in every one – that makes it ok!

In case you aren’t as obsessed as I am, you should know a basilisk plays a major role in the books – so when I saw the title of this already-cute bag, I knew it was fashion fate. I just got this bag on Friday, and have been using it nonstop since then, with no plans to give it a rest anytime soon. I love the mustard yellow pattern combined with the natural straw color, and the texture makes it perfect for summer without looking like a total beach bag.

And, the tassel. Who doesn’t love a good tassel? NO ONE, that’s the answer. Tassels for all.

I wouldn’t have found this pretty lady, however, without Shop It To Me.

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(images via Shop It To Me

Shop It To Me is a shopping app (currently optimized for iPhone) that not only lets you browse items and find great sales each day, but will actually update you on those sales and let you know if the price of an item you’ve favorited has dropped even lower – you don’t have to keep checking back on each site to make sure you’re getting the best deal! Perfect for someone like me who tries not to get sucked into the web of internet deal sites, but still likes to shop around now and then…or all the time.

I had actually been trying to implement a spending freeze (ha) when Shop It To Me reached out about trying this app, so I never would have found this bag without them. Signing up in-app was a cinch, and the app itself is beautiful to look at. The graphics, text, and functions are all seamless and understated – it’s like the Pinterest of shopping apps.

My favorite part, however, is that you can sort by clothing or accessory type and then by brand and SITM will show you all instances of that brand across major stores and websites. I searched for Foley + Corinna under handbags and was shown all available F + C bags on sale at all of the major stores I would normally check. And the best part? They show you duplicates! I can see the same bag at Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Nieman Marcus Last Call – which means I can truly find the best price before buying.

The only limitation I saw was that the app takes you to an external site to buy the product, and I usually hate being taken to external sites – but this means SITM doesn’t have to handle the money or product delivery at all, which means more time to focus on search algorithms for products! It’s a worthwhile tradeoff, in my opinion.

The bottom line is, I usually don’t use shopping apps (since I never need help encouraging my spending habits), but this one is beautifully made and has fantastic features to make sure I find the best deals for the brands I actually wear. I love Shop It To Me!

Warning: those price drop alerts can be dangerous…ly tempting.

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bag | Free People Basilisk Straw Hobo (courtesy of Shop It To Me), sold out (similar)
jeans | Zara (on sale)
shirt | Old Navy (similar here and here)
sandals | Nine West, old (similar)
sunglasses | ASOS

 

Download Shop It To Me for iPhone, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook! Please note I was compensated for reviewing this app but that, as always, all opinions are my own.