October 31, 2014

Everlane Love

When Everlane launched a few years ago, I was intrigued and ordered a couple of white t-shirts from them. And I pretty much hated them. The color, the cut — neither was good. So they ended up in the pajama drawer, only to be worn to sleep.

It's a good thing I believe in second chances. Because now? I love Everlane. They are responsible for three staples in my wardrobe.

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  1. White lawn shirt: I have other white button-ups, but this is hands-down my favorite because it's the perfect weight. It's light and loose, so it's super comfy while also allowing me to look a bit pulled together.
  2. Black silk sleeveless: I wore this so many times during our London trip — by itself, underneath a sweater, with pants, with a skirt. It's versatile and, even though it's silk, it doesn't seem precious.
  3. Grey short-sleeve sweatshirt: I've seen versions of this piece at other stores retail for 2-3 times as much, which is just crazy. I love it because it's got this slightly tailored yet casual feel to it. When I want to dress it up, I layer it over the aforementioned white lawn shirt, and then top it off with a statement necklace.

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I'm one of those people who, if I really really like something, will buy it in multiple colors. So I also picked up the lawn shirt in black and the silk sleeveless in white.

October 15, 2014

Samovar Masala Chai

I drink coffee pretty much every day, but almost any time I'm near a Samovar Tea location, I can't resist getting a cup of their Masala Chai. It is so good. The other day, knowing that colder weather was on the way, I picked up a bag of their chai blend to make at home. It was so easy to whip up a batch, and I think it might be part of a new afternoon ritual for me.

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(Photo via Samovar because my own photo was terrible!)

October 09, 2014

London: Favorite Food Experiences

We enjoyed so much good food during our recent trip to London — how did I go this long without knowing about bubble and squeak?! — and below are just a handful of my favorite dining experiences:

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    Afternoon tea at Sketch: The interior here is bonkers. In a good way. The pink parlour was bedecked with 200+ works by UK artist David Shrigley, which instantly had me smitten with this place. My only regret is that we didn't arrive hungrier, since you could get unlimited replenishment.
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    Restaurant Story: Story offers a 6-course and a 10-course dinner, and we just couldn't decide; luckily, the waiter mentioned that we could do 8 courses, which is what we did. But the thing is, in addition to the courses on the menu, the kitchen sends out about half a dozen other plates. So it ended up being an incredible amount of food, especially since the quail course was actually a 3-parter. In addition to the fare, I loved the casual vibe of the place and the attention to detail (the water is poured from these gorgeous glass carafes).
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    Dinings: We chose Dinings for our final dinner in London because Jon and I are both big fans of Japanese cuisine. This Marylebone restaurant serves up dishes with a twist, though, like the "tar-tar chips" which are basically small potato crisps filled with deliciousness like toro or Cornish crab (think very mini tacos). Dinings is tiny — I think there are only 28 seats — so if you want to go, be sure to reserve a table.
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    Bulldog Edition: Located in the Ace Hotel, Bulldog was the perfect break on the sole really rainy day we had the entire vacation. I only had eyes for the peanut butter and jelly doughnut, and it did not disappoint. (And that's a flat white, not a small latte, accompanying the doughnut. I had to learn what a flat white was!)

There are a few places that we find ourselves going to every time we're in London — partly because we like them (of course), partly out of nostalgia. They include The River Cafe, Tom's Kitchen (the Chelsea location) and Borough Market (which we actually hit up twice this time around). But I think I now have a couple of new spots to add to the must-visit-again list the next time we're in London!

October 06, 2014

London Times

Jon and I just returned from a 10-day vacation in London. Initially, when we started planning the trip, it was supposed to be split between Paris and London. For a variety of reasons, we ended up going to just the latter. It was the most amount of time we had ever spent vacationing in a single city, so I was a little worried that we would get bored or run out of things to do. But that was not the case at all! Our itinerary included activities that we usually might not have time to experience — for example, Jon swam at the London Aquatics Centre (the venue for the 2012 Olympics) and rented a Barclays bike to ride around the city several afternoons.

I'm hoping to set aside some time later this week to write more about the highlights of the trip, but for now, I wanted to share some of my favorite wallpaper sightings around town. Every time we come back from London, I feel inspired to decorate with bold colors and patterns!

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    We stayed at Number Sixteen, which I absolutely loved. The location, the service, the decor — all were excellent. Kit Kemp is the owner/designer behind the interiors. (Here's her own residence, which was published in Elle Decor last year.) The above photo is from Number Sixteen's lobby.
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    And this is a close-up of the wallpaper in one of the two parlours in Number Sixteen.
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    We rented a car for a day and drove to Stonehenge and Bath. Just a few doors down from the car rental office, a bakery with a bright pink facade (you can see it on their website) and interior (that floral wallpaper and lime-green wainscoting!) caught my eye. Bonus: the pastries at Patisserie Sainte-Anne were delicious!
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    The wallpaper in Sainte-Anne's bathroom was pretty sweet, too.
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    Restaurant Story was one of our splurge dinners (the trip was to celebrate our 10-year anniversary). Yes, the food was amazing. But I was also impressed by the wallpaper in the bathroom.
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I'm especially interested in this last treatment because we papered one wall in our laundry room with a funky pattern, and I think I may have gotten some laundry detergent on a spot on the wall. Maybe mixing it with fragments of other patterns is one way to cover up/deal with the problem. Hmmm ...

September 25, 2014

Why Hello There

Lately, I feel like I've been writing pretty much everywhere except here. Anthology is about four years old now, and we'll be releasing Issue No. 17 in a few weeks. I'm still contributing pretty frequently to the San Francisco Chronicle. And I've also been writing for the new-ish SF Cottages & Gardens and soon-to-be-relaunched California Home + Design. I'm thankful for all of the assignments, and the folks they've given me an excuse to interview. But sometimes I do miss the more personal writing that blogs allow. Maybe I just need to set aside some time every week for that ... In the meantime, if you want to read my words, you can find them in the forementioned publications.

July 29, 2014

Spinneybeck

I know, it's been five months since my last post ... But I recently updated a couple of bathroom closet doors with Spinneybeck leather pulls and love them so much, I felt like I just had to write a blog post.

The photo below shows the pull that was there when we moved into our house (the one on the left). Pretty boring stuff. I don't have a picture of it installed because it didn't even seem worth pulling out the iPhone to snap. The distance between the ends of the pull weren't quite standard, so I thought the West Elm flexible rope design might be a good choice. But I wasn't crazy about the color because the doors are off-white.

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I recently visited a home in SF for an article, and there were these gorgeous leather strap pulls on the closet doors. I think they were a custom job from Spinneybeck. But when I clicked around the website, I came across the small slider style that seemed like it would be perfect for my bathroom. And they are!

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I realize that this may not seem like a big deal. But after six years in this house, having pulls that I don't cringe at several times a day, makes me pretty happy.

February 28, 2014

Friday High-Five: 02.28.14

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The first FHF of this year! And I snuck it in right before we head into the third month of 2014.

This is the Park City edition. Because I spent last week in the Utah ski town. I was there for a family trip, but spent most of my days at my laptop and then hanging out with relatives once they returned from their day of skiing. These are just some of the highlights from my time there.

  1. Okay, I have never had a cronut because, well, my trips to NYC are usually pretty short and I just can't devote half a day to waiting in line for a pastry. At Silver restaurant in Park City, they offer a "doughssant" on the menu. It's their version of a cronut — legally, they can't call it a cronut — and it is delicious. It's topped with maple ice cream and accompanied by candied cayenne bacon. Jon and I ordered it for dessert one night, and a few days later, I stopped in to ask if I could get a couple to go. They happily obliged and it was still amazing when we got it back to the hotel (no ice cream with the to-go order, but the maple glaze added just the right amount of sweetness). Also: Silver's Parker rolls are awesome.
  2. One of the newer eateries in Park City is Rock & Reilly. The decor is cute — as you can see from this Instagram — and the service is top-notch. The food is tasty, though nothing mind-blowing; it's basically what you would expect from a tater tots-nachos-sliders-mini corndogs kind of place. (P.S. They have a photo booth there.)
  3. Even though I'm not crazy about the decor, the food at The Mariposa was great. I love that their menu only offers small plates, so I can try a lot of dishes. If you go, save room for dessert — the blueberry ice cream that Jon had was ridiculously good.
  4. I popped into Gallery MAR one day with my sister, and was drawn to one painting in particular. It turns out, it was the work of Bridgette Meinhold. Bridgette is the very sweet local who agreed to show me around Park City four years ago — when I was writing a travel story for the first issue of Anthology. How crazy is that?! I didn't have a chance to meet up with her this time, but hopefully next time! (And I'm still thinking about her encaustic painting, shown below.)
  5. On our last night in Park City, after dinner, Jon and I took my 12-year-old nephew shopping for a gift for his girlfriend (his first girlfriend!). One of my greatest joys in life is being an aunt, and I was really happy to be able to share this experience with him. (He ended up getting her a necklace with some charms he picked out for her.)

The only bummer about last week was that our hotel room didn't have NBC Sports Network, so I couldn't get my morning fix of Tara and Johnny. But I'm looking forward to seeing what they do on the Oscars red carpet this weekend!

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December 17, 2013

Green Juice

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When we were in Mexico a couple of weeks ago, I had a glass of "green juice" every morning with breakfast. I'm not really into the juice trend, but this stuff was delicious! It's a combination of nopal (prickly pear cactus), chaya (tree spinach), celery, pineapple chunks and orange juice. Ever since we got home, I've been obsessed with trying to replicate it.

We had no problem finding the nopal at a local Mexican grocery store. There was no chaya to be had, but I read that in recipes it can be substituted with regular spinach, Swiss chard or kale. Earlier today, I threw the five ingredients into the blender and tweaked the quantities until the juice was to my liking. I may not be able to bring the 80-degree weather back to the Bay Area with me, but at least now I've got my green juice!

November 29, 2013

Friday High-Five: 11.29.13

Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, it seems fitting to focus on "things that I'm especially thankful for" in today's FHF post. But I'm too lazy to pull together a graphic this week, so we're going all text.

  1. Our family is pretty healthy and happy — and, really, nothing beats that. We've been spending time with my side of the family this week, and I still have trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that my niece is a freshman in college! And my 12.5-year-old nephew is about 5'9" now. These kids no longer seem like kids. *sigh*
  2. I feel very fortunate to have a home that I love, and am able to share it with my favorite person. (I'm not sure if that "Wow, I live here" feeling will ever dissipate.)
  3. Earlier this year, I left my part-time job and decided to become a full-time freelance writer/editor. It still doesn't quite seem real that I get to spend my days doing the only thing that I think I've ever really wanted to do. (And I just got a new laptop to do all of that writing and editing on!)
  4. Travel. I'm so grateful for the trips we've been able to take, and those that we're planning. I didn't travel much as a kid — I didn't get my passport until the year I got married, in anticipation of our honeymoon — so we try to squeeze in trips as often as our budgets and work schedules allow. (Next up for us: Mexico!)
  5. And because I'm not immune to the lure of these Black Friday sales that are happening: Thanks, Forward by Elyse Walker, for discounting those Isabel Marant shoes that I've been eyeing.
I hope you're all enjoying the long, holiday weekend!

November 21, 2013

Cool for Kids

For Christmas this year, rather than buying them gifts, our present to the nephews is to help them re-do their bedrooms. When my sister and her family moved into their current house, the boys were around one and three years old — too young to have any input in their bedroom decor. So they are both overdue for a makeover! (I mean, one of them still has a Dora the Explorer plush chair in his room.)

I would love to do something along the lines of what San Francisco interior designer Martha Angus did in a showhouse a few years ago:

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Alas, the ten-year-old — whose room we're doing first — has other ideas. But it looks like we will be getting the Parsons desk from West Elm, which is the same style that Martha chose. Washington, DC-area interior designer Regan Billingsley used the Parsons console in a showhouse earlier this year, and I love the paint treatment:

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I might borrow this idea, but rather than painting the desk, employ Emily Henderson's contact paper technique. Of course, I have to get this approved by my little (okay, not so little anymore) client!

November 15, 2013

Friday High-Five: 11.15.13

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Earlier this week, we launched the Anthology Etsy Page, so I thought for this week's Friday High-Five, I'd highlight some of my favorites from our lists.

  1. I am definitely going to be ordering one of Demestiks' Minnie Bell dresses. I love the pattern and colors. And the price is pretty reasonable for a design that's custom made for you. (I have Jeanine to thank for introducing me to this great Etsy site!)
  2. I'm in the process of helping my two nephews redecorate their bedrooms, and I'm hoping to incorporate this Nellianna origami lamp into one of their spaces.
  3. I have an obsession with throw pillows. These Chanee Vijay pillows are currently at the forefront.
  4. I don't even necessarily want to use Designlump's set of ombré porcelain plates for eating or serving. I just want to put them out on a table and admire them. The fact that they're also functional is a bonus, of course.
  5. I would like this shelving unit in my house, please. I just don't know where. It's made in Oregon by Pecan Workshop, and really could work well in a kitchen, office or bathroom.

And there's plenty more good stuff on the Anthology Etsy Page!

November 08, 2013

Friday High-Five: 11.08.13

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For this week's FHF, I'm talking food.

  1. The food at Piccino is reason enough for me to make a trip to the Dogpatch neighborhood. (Save room for the zeppole!) The fact that the restaurant is adjacent to MAC is a big bonus.
  2. I hate the cold, but this hot chocolate almost makes me welcome it. I love this stuff, which Williams-Sonoma stocks every late fall/early winter. (I use one of these Bialetti machines to make my hot chocolate.)
  3. The other day, after lunch at Otoro Sushi with Victoria, we popped over to 20th Century Cafe to check out the new-ish Hayes Valley spot. They were out of bacon-cheddar scones, but the ladies behind the counter steered me toward the knish. And I am eternally grateful to them for that. Amazing. A new level of (flaky) potato goodness for me. [Photo by Maren Caruso via Modern Luxury]
  4. It's no secret that I'm not much of a cook or a baker. So one of my new favorites is Munchery — which delivers dishes made by legit chefs right to my doorstep. I'm so into this. And because you purchase individual servings, Jon and I can each order our own thing.
  5. Last Christmas, one of the best gifts I received was from my brother and his wife: treats from Sideshow. Nicole Plue, the former pastry chef at one of my all-time favorite restaurants (Cyrus, which closed about a year ago), offers a half dozen or so sweet treats — like Cereal Thriller/Cocoa Powder Puffs (great as an ice cream topping) and Saltine Toffee. Hopefully, she'll be updating her online shop inventory soon.

November 07, 2013

Hang Time

A couple of weeks ago, I received my order of Laure's gorgeous, large-scale print. Since it measures 32"x48", one of the few places I could think to hang it was the guest bedroom. When we moved in about five years ago, I painted a yellow block on the largest wall in there and it served as the background for a mini-photo wall. I was actually kind of tired of it, and was just waiting for a good reason to make a change. So now this is what that part of the guest bedroom looks like:

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I didn't frame the print because it was going to be expensive and/or a hassle. So I picked up a 32" Posterhänger, which works great and was a cinch to hang (seriously — it only requires one nail in the wall). I especially love that the print kind of gives the illusion that there's a window on that wall.

November 01, 2013

Friday High-Five: 11.01.13

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Although you can't tell by my lack of posts these days, I actually do enjoy blog writing, in part because it is a departure from my other editorial work. So I thought I'd try something new here: Every Friday — well, that's the intention — I'll post a roundup of five favorites around a specific theme. Hopefully, this means that I'll blog at least once a week!

In honor of the latest issue of Anthology, which has a sartorial theme, this inaugural Friday High-Five examines a handful of my current fashion favorites.

  1. I am crazy about pretty much everything that Marisa Haskell makes. And I love that if you shop her tiny outpost in Oakland's Temescal Alley, she can modify jewelry on the fly for you. During my last visit, I wanted a certain necklace with blue instead of black suede, and she made it happen right then and there.
  2. My Jérôme Dreyfuss small Alain bag is in heavy rotation these days. It's not a big bag, but fits my essentials (wallet, cell, notebook, lip balm) and has pockets (which are a dealbreaker for me). The strap can be reconfigured so it works as a cross-body or shoulder bag. I bought it in navy, but am showing the leopard version because it looks amazing in that pattern. (Sadly, it's more expensive in leopard, too.) Side note: Did you see this 2011 T Magazine feature on Dreyfuss and his wife Isabel Marant's Fontainebleau cabin?
  3. Opening Ceremony launched a pop-up shop with COS last month, and of course some of the pieces sold out pretty quickly. I managed to pick up a couple of tops, and love that they arrived in a big gray tote (that is now being put to good use whenever I go to the grocery store). Also: Jordan did a nice ode-to-COS post a couple of weeks ago when word got out that they're planning to open in NYC.
  4. I have two pairs of Nike x Liberty sneakers, and am tempted to pick up a third since they are releasing a new collection. Apparently SneakerBoots are a thing now.
  5. I don't wear skirts very often, but I'm seriously considering this Topshop mix jacquard wrap number, which I would probably wear with tights. Because it has been cooold here! (I know, Northern Californians' definition of cold is pretty mild by most people's standards.)

October 14, 2013

Sneaking a Peek

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A cat photo? That's right — make that two random-ish posts in a row! Well, sort of. I did an interview on Friday with amazing homeowners, and while I don't want to give away too much of the home prior to the story's publication, I couldn't resist sharing a couple of pics. Above is Buster, who decided to make himself comfortable on my Patch NYC scarf and Jérôme Dreyfuss bag (my new favorite!).

Below is a corner of the home — a corner of a landing between two sets of stairs to be exact — that is outfitted with an Eames lounge chair, built-in shelving and the very awesome Josef Frank "Paradiset" wallpaper. I need that pattern in my house!

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October 11, 2013

It's a Wash

This is a bit of a random post, but this is one of my favorite handy little tips.

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In our household, I'm in charge of the laundry (by choice). All those years of working at the Gap and Banana Republic have resulted in me being an expert clothes-folder. (I don't need those folding boards to create a perfectly aligned stack of shirts.) But it's tough to keep track of what all of those care symbols on garment tags mean. So we keep a fabric care cheet sheet, as well as Martha Stewart's stain chart, on the laundry room corkboard. So simple, yet so helpful.

October 08, 2013

Comptoir des Cotonniers

Last month, my sister and I took our annual trip to NYC. Among our favorite stores is Comptoir des Cotonniers. To our delight, the shopgirls mentioned that the French brand is planning to expand — to Chicago and San Francisco. It's probably not happening too soon, but still! I'm looking forward to the simple yet chic line being much more accessible.

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P.S. Another one of our must-visits in NYC is ABC Carpet & Home (no surprise there). We ate at ABC Cocina for the first time during this recent trip and everything we ordered was amazing.

   About | Contact | Writing

• I am the co-founder and editor in chief of Anthology magazine.
• Frequently contribute to the SF Chronicle Home & Garden and Datebook sections.
• And post on this blog from time to time.

NOTE: I'm a writer, not a photographer. Which means the photos on this site that I took are probably not so great.