Friday, October 7, 2016

Weekend in San Francisco

How was your week? Some of us got an extended one as many are on fall school breaks right now. It's a great time to take a trip somewhere in California and especially San Francisco as October is unofficially the best weather month unlike summer which is cooler and foggy.

On the sculpture terrace at the top floor of the new SFMOMA.

Max and I finally got to getaway for our 20th anniversary and decided to stay in the city. We considered Napa, but this time of year it's exorbitantly expensive. We thought, let's pay half that price and stay at the Four Seasons in SF, which we never have done.

The Four Seasons San Francisco is tucked away off Market Street and shares it's building with Four Season residences. The hotel lobby is on the fifth floor and has a cozy long bar with a fireplace area.

The MKT restaurant attached has floor to ceiling windows on some of the prettiest architectural landmarks in the city. We had breakfast there both mornings and it was amazing. The fresh fruit and juice and lemon ricotta pancakes were my favorite!

Drinks in the bar were good. We tried chicken sliders and the pub cheese appetizers which were exactly what we wanted.

The rooms have window seats onto the city and feel spacious yet cozy. Of course the bed and bedding was incredible and I slept like a baby both nights. The location is perfect. You're minutes from shopping, Union Square, and the new MOMA which we couldn't wait to check out.

Friday, September 30, 2016

What I'm Loving - Friday Favorites

Since it's Friday I wanted to share a few goodies I found in the past week..

First, how yummy does this slow cooker white bean soup from Martha Stewart look? I vow this fall to use my slow cooker more and this little post gives some great tips about using it better and some new recipes I want to give a shot at.

 I finally visited a Blue Mercury beauty store and I love it! I don't know why it took me so long to find get to this gem. Our town of Los Gatos has one and I love this small curated shop with just the right amount of brands for me to browse without getting overwhelmed as can often happen in a big department store.  Best of all, there's one sales person who is very knowledgeable about all the brands, but not hovering if you know what I mean. They give generous samples too.

One thing I discovered is that they carry Photo hair products from France. I used this line years ago when I worked at Nordstrom and the shampoos and conditioning cremes are miracle products. They are plant-based which I also like.

 I bought a tube of Phyto 7, a leave in conditioner which is still wonderful and made my hair look so healthy I postponed my highlight appointment a few weeks. My hair is fine, but if you have thicker more coarser texture the Photo 9 does the same job. You can use it as a hairdressing on the ends and before blowdrying, or as a regular conditioner. The small tube makes it easy to travel with. 

Travel has been on the brain for me lately and one of the things I need is an always packed beauty bag with some good size samples or products that do the job. Blue Mercury has an anniversary bonus (above pic) going on and it's free with a $150 purchase, but it's amazingly generous and has many good sized travel essentials. If you buy any of the brands they carry, you might get this bonus while they still have it! Obviously it's nice to visit the Blue Mercury in your town if you have one if not, they are online.

 I received a sample and now I'm addicted to their M-61 Power Glow Peel Pads and they really do work wonders. You use them just three times a week at night. It works for rosacea skin like mine as well and I woke to brighter, smoother and  prettier skin everyday last week. The price is good for $28 for the smallest box and you can cut a pad in half to use another night as they are fairly large. A few other things they sell that I love is Bliss's Triple Oxygen Serum, Clarin's Super Restorative Eye Concentrate and Nars Sheer Glow Foundation.

I'm also love with the home of Suzanne Kasler, one of my favorite designers. One King's Lane has her gorgeous Atlanta home including a curated sale with some of the similar things she decorates with. Her style is classic, but always with pretty and feminine details!  I need more pink accents and florals in my home...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Victorian Blouse- What Your Wardrobe Needs for Fall

Fall my favorite season is finally here! One of the freshest fall looks that I'm keen on is the Victorian blouse. It popped up all over at the many fashion weeks and many retailers have some pretty versions in their fall lineups. There's something very sweet and even sexy about these tops, but to keep the look current you must pair them with something unexpected and less feminine like faded jeans or distressed khakis and the like. Add pencil skirts or dressy pants and you risking looking like someone's mother from the 80s.  Here's a few ideas of how to make these blouses look cool:

Gorgeous with a latter-day Gibson Girl hairdo and I think a dark jean is perfect. I'd add a brogue shoe with this.

Even cuter in a print! Love the addition of corduroy and the bob with bangs!

Mom jeans (yes they are a thing now) with mannish loafers, and a bun.

The bun seems to pair well with these blouses, just add in a rough element like destroyed jeans or tough boots, lest you go all Little House with these prairie versions.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Entertaining Inspiration -Friday Book Chat

Fall is just about here and with that are many chances to host gatherings, and impromptu get-togethers. One of my promises to myself when I turned 51 this year was to have more friends over and not waste time fretting about things being just so. Every time I make the leap and commit to having people here, I'm always so glad I did it. Gatherings at home are infinitely more fun and relaxing than going out as a group. Hosting is a gift you give to your friends and the more you do it the better you get at it and the more you relax!

My grandmother, who is 99 now, loved to host and had entertaining down after many years of doing it. Her organization allowed her to throw parties for any number, at any given moment. Drawers held napkins that were organized by color and sets and recipes were already in double and tripled versions for more guests.

I think keeping a little book where you can jot down notes of what worked or didn't, what was served, who came and how you decorated is a great thing to refer back to. You can even take photos and it can become sort of a scrapbook as well.

Another idea is an inspirational binder. I keep one with tear sheets from magazines of pretty tabletops, recipes I want to try, and seasonal menus and party suggestions. I always pull it out planning for Thanksgiving, Easter and and when I feeing in a rut and not creative. My binder always gets me in an entertaining mood.

Books especially inspire me and there are three super books that really got me jazzed about entertaining more that have recently come out.

First, this by the Kate Spade people...

All in Good Taste is packed with fun, fantastic ideas for enjoying your life and having friends over more. It includes pages to write yourself notes about menus, guests, playlists and such. Thanks to all the very cute ideas, I recently had a Chinese takeout dinner by the pool. (Top pic, kinda fuzzy and not perfect, but was I was having fun and forgot to take pictures.)

 This book touches on ideas for brunches, the perfect cheese plate, playlists, hostess gifts, and cute tips on how to put a quirky twist on any party. There's even how to serve takeout on fine china. The ideas and inspiration from this book are copious and I recommend this book if you're in a hosting slump. Love it.

Then I just got this..

Steven Stolman's Passion for Parties is a sweet book. Steven grew up in a family that knew how to celebrate. I just loved his funny family stories that are sprinkled throughout this book along with tried and true recipes, floral ideas and party themes. The stories of his youthful dinner parties, his own Bar Mitzvah and wedding are heartening and really inspire one to celebrate these milestones. 

Last, but not least, this gem by designer Lela Rose... If you aren't familiar with Lela check out her gorgeous clothing. She's all about pretty and her dresses are literally little works of art. They are special occasion and aspirational clothes for sure and her party book is along those lines....

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Wednesday Obsession - Your Jewelry as Decor

Any little thing I have been obsessing on and want to share with you, I plan on sharing each Wednesday now!

This week it's using your jewelry as decor, particularly with cool finds like this brass hand. These little object are whimsical, charming and hail from the 1970's. I think I first noticed sculptural hands as holders in the Elements of Style book. I love how Erin Gates styled her jewelry and dressing tables for herself and clients so beautifully in it. The closet and bedroom photos are my favorite from this book.

About a year ago, I spied a brass hand at an estate sale for around $12. This one was a 70's original with a bit of patina around the edges which made me love it even more. I love when I actually find something that's been on my radar.

Right now I'm throwing all my bracelets on it for a pretty look.  Here on my dresser it holds my costume and more colorful pieces.

Earlier in the year I had necklaces and a ring on it.
I like to change it up depending on what I'm wearing a lot of and the season.

Funny enough I had Erin's book next to it. I was obsessing that it earlier this year.

Here's the photo from Erin Gates' book and her Elements of Style blog that started me thinking about hands and other items to drape your jewelry around. I love this stone or antique hand she's using here.  and everything else! Not only does it make a cute dresser display, but it is so practical. You won't wear what you cannot see and I wear my bracelets so much more when I see them out. 

Below, another cool object used as a necklace holder, again by Erin Gates in her closet.

 Isn't that tray cute too? I think that quote is by Jenna Lyons. No idea where she got that. Ben's Garden has many similar ones.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Join Me at Trina Turk This Wednesday!

I'm thrilled to partner with Trina Turk again this Wednesday at their lovely Burlingame boutique.  If you have never had a chance to see her clothes in person, it's the perfect time to stop in, view the new collection and get 25% off the fall looks. Trina Turk is the place I consistently find unique or cool pieces to add to my wardrobe! It's also a great go-to if you have an upcoming special party or event.

I like to support Trina Turk as her company is headquartered in California with design and production here too.  The clothes are not only pretty, but have quality workmanship and lovely details that I look for when I shop.

 I'll be there 10:30-1:30 wearing my favorite pieces from the fall collection in my own way. I'd love to meet you there and help you find some of the best looks for fall.

Here's some of the beauties that caught my eye when I stopped by last week...

The accessories line is really hot right now with some gorgeous bags and collectable necklaces and rings. I'm kinda crazy about this bag and the colors and these cocktail rings!

 Trina's super comfy silky dresses are in this dark lovely floral for fall.

 Again more wonderful details.

More great bags!

A Trina twist on plaid!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why Humboldt Should Be Your Next Roadtrip

The past week we took a small four day road trip up to Northern California. We are in Northern California you say? Well, I mean the very north, Northern California, Humboldt County.

This area of amazing natural beauty, often referred to as being behind the 'Redwood Curtain,' is a 6-7 hour drive north of the Bay Area and yet remote enough that most Californians have never been. 

Long ago in the era of the family road trip, the 'redwoods' were something one did with the family, preferably in a station wagon and most likely in the 1970's. Now the luxury of time and long family road trips seem almost a bygone era. People want to get to their destination via plane and fast. To all those who have never done a real road trip of multiple days, this is your spot! Do you want to see ancient redwood forests, fern canyons and foggy beaches with a few VW buses thrown in? Humboldt has all this and more!

Flights can be expensive costing as much as a trip to Hawaii and prior rail services that connected here have been sadly been retired. Car is the way to go and it's a pretty drive.

Leaving from the Bay Area, stop in one of the cutest town on the way up, Ukiah for a lunch.

Our favorite bakery Schats in quaint downtown Ukiah.

This Dutch bakery has at least 40 sandwiches on the menu and makes fantastic bread and sweets. I think The Verdict is the most popular sandwich on their amazing Sheepherder bread. (Did I mention they are across from the courthouse?)  Afterward pop into the wonderful Mendocino Book Company around the corner with it's expansive selection of books, cards and all kinds of lovely things I just can't find elsewhere.