Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

From our table to yours...Happy Thanksgiving. (Totally inspired by this beautiful table designed by Catilin of Sacramento Street. We will be using the same placemats, but I don't think it will be quite as glam!)

P.S. We are off to our getaway in Mendocino bright and early tomorrow, so taking a day off blogging. Back next week with plenty of Gift Guides! Enjoy the long weekend. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gift Guide 2013: For The Babes

Of course, this guide was particularly fun for me to make! I can't wait until next year when we have our first Christmas as a family. In the meantime, here are some terrific treats for tots:

Leopard baby booties? Does it get any better than that? I think not. Baby clothes are so darn cute. (P.S. Apparently this Vulli Sophie giraffe is an absolute baby must according to some parent friends in the know. We put it on our registry!)

heart onesie - red onesie - patagonia jacket - bow coat - Sophie giraffe teether - sperry's - striped onesie - leopard boots - polka dotted hat - polar bear sweater - lion - hippo robe - bunny

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Beauty: For Your Hair

I actually have my husband to thank for one of these beauty recommendations! He tried this product after his last haircut, I bought it for him, and now I am quite the fan myself. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish is a terrific product. It provides lightweight hold and doesn't feel greasy and sticky like hairspray. J's hair is very fine, and he likes the way it holds all day and keeps him from having to run his hands through his hair to readjust (which is the enemy of fine hair because it makes it greasy, right?)! Now that I have these "bangs" (ugh), this is the only thing that is keeping them from heavily falling in my face.

The second product I want to review is the Texturing Dry Shampoo called "Powder Bluff" by Kerastase. It is the line's first dry shampoo, and like all their other products, this one knocks it out of the park. I am still a big fan of the Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo (and the price point on that one is a bit more appealing) I posted about before, but this one smells divine. I love to spray it on my hair just to get my hair smelling extra super fresh.

Both of these products would be terrific stocking stuffers for the gals and guys on your list. I might try to convert my dad away from his hair gel with some Dryspun Finish...

P.S. My computer won't turn on. I am on a loaner...this is bad. :(

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Musings: Tea for Two

This weekend, I had the lovely experience  of checking out another quintessential San Francisco spot: The Palace Hotel and the afternoon tea at The Garden Court. My dear friend treated me to an afternoon out sipping on tea and eating scones. I felt like I was back in London. The Christmas tree wasn't up, but I'd love to see the space again when it is. From the pictures on the website, it looks really beautiful! This is the perfect spot to have a decadent treat during the Christmas shopping rush if you find yourself downtown, but be sure to make reservations! I think it is particularly popular around the holidays. (I forgot to bring my camera, so these iPhone photos will have to suffice.)

No champs for me! Boo!


It was a terribly relaxing way to spend an afternoon! This was followed up by a crazy evening trying to hit West Elm, Ikea, Marshalls, Target, and CB2 as we got the nursery makeover started this weekend! It was pretty exciting to see some things come together, and it makes all this baby craziness feel so much more real. Hope your week is off to a good start. Stay tuned for another gift guide this week! (P.S. On Sunday, I spilled water all over my computer! I had intended to do more editing to these photos, but it was hard working on an unfamiliar computer, so hope to be back in action tomorrow!)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fabulous Friday

It's the right time of year to think about thankfulness, right? I try to do that every Friday, but I thought this Friday I'd list a few things to remind myself to carry an attitude of gratitude into the Thanksgiving holiday.

1. I am grateful for the family I was born into and the family I've acquired along the way. These people are one of the most beautiful blessing in my life, and I am lucky that I've got them. (Shout out to my sis who turned 21 yesterday! Woo hoo!)

2. I am grateful I found and married an amazing partner. Not only is he is a generally stellar guy, but he has taken to waking up early and making me lunch. Amazing? I think so.

3. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a mother. Even when it has been hard, I try not to lose sight of the fact that I am so very blessed to be able to carry a child of my own.

4. I am grateful for the opportunity to have lived in an amazing city. Despite the misery I have depicted regarding my "far away from home status," I will always be happy I had the chance to see what life on the West Coast is like. 

5. I am grateful that I do work that I find meaningful and fulfilling. I realize that for many people, this is not a reality.

6. I am grateful for quiet weekends with nothing much to do.

7. I am grateful I've had the opportunity to travel and see the world.

8. I am grateful for my education.

9. I am grateful for each and every one of you who logs in each day to read what I have to say.

10. I am grateful for Fridays. Always.

I feel like this list only scratches the surface of the blessings I've experienced in my life. Perhaps we will need a Part II in honor of Thanksgiving next week! Thinking about your blessings does put everything in perspective. So, with a fresh perspective and a lot of gratitude, I look forward to this weekend. Hope you have a great one.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

As it turns out, we are hosting a little tiny Thanksgiving! I am actually quite excited because while we have been entertaining like crazy, we've mostly been out in the city, and we haven't had the opportunity to have a dinner party in ages. Because I am not the cook, the first thing I think of when I think of entertaining is the decor. These are some of the images that have me inspired to set a beautiful table.

These colors are not traditional, but are really lush and festive. I love the flower arrangement. 

Placecards are a fun way to make a simple dinner feel like an event. These are all great ideas:

 Some other tables that inspire me look like this...

And this idea is so sweet.

IMAGES: 1 & 2  - 3 - 4 - 5 & 6 - 7 - 8

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gift Guide 2013: For The Host & Hostess

I am so excited for the season of Gift Guides! It is my favorite time of the blogging year. I plan to role out one for him, one for her, one for tots, and one for the hosts and hostesses. So without further ado, here is my first guide of the season. Make your host or hostess happy with these terrific treats:

The combination of adorable tumblers and a drink mix, or a drink mix and a book of cocktails, or any combination of the three would be great for a couple hosting a party. I think I post these glasses every year because I love them so, and I have actually given them as hostess gifts myself, so I can vouch for how cute they are! In the candle category, a favorite home accessory of mine, I have the Diptyque winter scented candle. These are the gold standard in candles, and the Christmas patterns are just lovely. Pair that with an adorable match strike for a really generous gift! Or, what about this candle cloche? I didn't even know what a candle cloche was until I saw this, but I think I love it! I have long admired this adorable Anthopologie vase, so I thought I'd throw it into the mix. Paper products also make a good gift, like these note cards or this whimsical pad. Personally, I don't think a home can ever have too many throws, and West Elm has a number of throws on sale for some seriously amazing prices. (This one is only $39!) And, to bookend this guide, let's wrap up where we started: with the alcohol. How about a fantastic bottle of wine (Ridge is divine), an adorable wine tote, and a festive bottle stopper? I'd be pretty stoked to receive this (if I could currently drink). Let the parties commence!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Beauty

...and as if yesterday never happened, I am here to offer you another beauty rec, since I haven't yet entirely resolved my quest for the next, best thing. But, this purchase was made not to find something bigger and better, but rather to find something equally effective and cheaper. That is also a terrific motivator! Am I right?

When I ran out of my Smashbox Primer, which I do still really love, I thought I'd give Clinique's new Superprimer a go since the price was right and the woman at Sephora was very positive about it. I couldn't decide what my "skin issue" was, so I just went with the Universal Primer option. This one comes in a white tube, but there are lots of tinted varieties for various skin types. For instance, the purple shade corrects for sallowness, the pink shade for dullness, etc. I think that this is definitely a great, less expensive alternative to Smashbox (the only other primer I've tried). It goes on like a lotion, so I feel like I am moisturizing my face when I apply it, and it is light and dries quickly. I did read that it is important to let primers "bloom" (whatever that means) on your skin before applying your makeup, so I try to let it sit for a few minutes before I follow it with foundation, and I do think that makes a difference to how effectively it works. This primer does what primers are supposed to do: prime your skin for a more even application of make-up that lasts longer. My makeup stays put throughout the day (though most days I wear relatively little), and it doesn't irritate my skin or cause it to feel greasy. I give this my stamp of approval. It's funny because I used Clinique a lot when I was in high school, and then I wanted to try the fancier make-up brands, and some are really terrific, but I always seem to come back to Clinique for the face basics. In the spirit of yesterday's post, why mess with a good thing!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Musings: The Curse of the Next, Best Thing

This weekend I got into a funk. I planned a nice day on Saturday to go to Mill Valley and check out the new West Elm store. I had a rug combo in mind (inspired by Margaret Elizabeth's studio tour on The Everygirl which is pictured above), and I thought my living room was on the fast track to fabulous. At the store, I spotted a different rug that looked like it might even be better than what I had envisioned, so I bought that instead.

Later that day, I had a hair appointment. I usually think of hair appointments as a time to get pampered, and I really look forward to them. I left the salon devastated as I had asked for a trim (trying to grow out the mane), and ended up with heavy layers in the front--this is something that stylist after stylist does to me, and it always looks awful. I didn't ask for it; she just did it. Now, I have to explain that this was not my usual hair dresser; he actually has been amazing. But, I had to reschedule my appointment when my parents came to town, and the guy I usually see is really busy. Instead of waiting to see him, I made an appointment with someone else. I thought maybe this person would be even better than my regular guy. Who knows, right?

That night when I was looking at this horrible new rug with my horrible new hair, I asked my husband, "Why do I do this? Why can't I just leave things alone?"

"You're always sure you're going to find the next, best thing," he said. And he was right.

These are relatively stupid examples of this phenomenon. I can return the rug. My hair will grow back, but the motivation that drove these choices is something I've noticed is an obsession for me. No sooner do I get home with something I've been dreaming of, then I am on the computer scanning for another score. No sooner do I achieve or acquire something I've wanted for a long time, then I quickly become fixated on the next target or acquisition. And, not to shift the burden, but I don't think it's just me. I think our culture feeds this unhealthy habit every day.

I was recently talking to my brother who said that he didn't see any reason not to find someone you're compatible with, someone you love, and just marry them. His roommates see it differently; they believe you need to date until you find an ultimate love. What if you settle down with someone and miss out on someone better? Or look at the news about Snap Chat! After being offered 3 BILLION dollars by Facebook, the founders of Snap Chat declined because they think they can get a better offer. This quest for the next, best thing, for the ultimate find, runs rampant in this culture (and in blogging culture more specifically--isn't that what fashion and beauty blogs are all about in a sense?).

What I've noticed is that my tendency to be on the lookout for something better (a foundation that will make me look like I've had my skin airbrushed, a shirt that will make me look un-pregnant, a bag that will say, "Yeah, I've made it," a job that will give me prestige, a blog that will put me on the map), prevents me from looking at what I already have and what I've already done. This leads to chronic dissatisfaction, and it is something I know I need to unlearn. While most of the examples I've mentioned here are superficial, the feeling is not, and the ways that it manifests itself are not. The tendency is self-defeating, self-punishing, and generally counterproductive.

I don't have a solution to this problem. I would like to speak to anyone who does. But, I think part of it is in the framing. When it came to my own relationship, I married the first person I ever really dated. I wasn't hoping to find the next, best thing. I found someone with whom I was really happy, who really got me, and I was not bothered to know that there might be other people in the world with whom I could also be happy. I had found someone who already fulfilled me, so why trade on that? A girlfriend of mine said to me once, "Everyone who's out there looking is looking for something you already have." I've always thought about that comment. About something so important, I believed that I had the best thing without needing to try out millions of options to get there. If I could apply this kind of thinking to many other areas of my life, I might find a little more peace in my choices.

To end this long musing, I have committed to let at least one thing go, not to be on the quest to make it perfect, but just to let it be what it is, and that thing, my friends, is my rug. I am going to embrace the wall-to-wall carpeting. It is easy to vacuum. It doesn't bunch up, and it isn't as visually offensive as I've made it out to be. I'd like to think of that as a symbolic gesture. I'm sure there are better things, prettier things, and cooler options out there, but for now, I am going to be happy with what I've got.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fabulous Friday

I am excited to share with you a new retail find. Last weekend when my mom and I were shopping, we stopped into Aritzia, which is located in the large downtown mall. I had walked by the store lots of times, but hadn't gone in until I spotted this fantastic jacket in the window.

I loved the simple, city-chic vibe of a lot of the clothes. It feels perfectly suited to SF. The styles are sophisticated, chic, and fashion forward. My mom and I each came away with a sweater, but had I not been pregnant I probably would have snagged a whole lot more!

These are some really lovely, classic pieces:

I desperately want that fuzzy coat!! I am so in love with it. I also love the drapey style of the blazer. Seems like it would be a go-to wardrobe staple.

There are some terrific dresses for the holidays to choose from as well:

Check out the website! I think you'll find it makes your Friday a bit more fabulous!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh no!

Unfortunately, my friends, "real work" got in the way of blogging. I hope you'll let me take a pass today! I can't wait to share my rug options and another good find with you tomorrow and next week.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Room Fit For A Princess

...cause I have a feeling this baby is going to get the royal treatment. She is the first grandchild and great grandchild on both sides of the family, so this is big!

Last week, I showed pictures from the beautiful nursery of Taylor Sterling. I am gravitating towards the same look. These are the pieces that I want to incorporate:

I am digging the pink and white look with touches of gold (how great are those gold polka dot decals--those are going up over the crib!). But, I have to have that cart, so I guess we'll throw a little turquoise in there. I really wanted a glider for comfortable snuggling and rocking, but I think that space wise that might not be feasible, so I decided on this mod style rocker. I also like it because it can easily transition into a toddler and child's room. In fact, it would work in an adult room too. I plan to get a large dresser for storage and attach a changing pad to the top so that it doubles as a changing table. Of course, she needs some pretty prints to look at, like this fabulous SF print, to remind her of her birthplace! To be honest, I haven't spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about coordinating things. I just keep picking out things I like; I hope it all comes together in the end! If you want to see more, check out my Pinterest board.

Arctic Rocker - Dash and Albert Rug - Crib Sheet - Ikea Cart - Changing Tray and Pad - Senegalese Basket - Babyletto Crib - Retro Rocker - Dots Decal - SF Print - Mini Cabin Quilt

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Beauty

This is the Jurlique shop on Fillmore Street. Often when I walk by, they have a table of samples sitting outside, and I have tried their Rose Lotion a number of times and really liked it, but I've never perused the shop. When shopping around with my mom over the weekend, we finally went in.

The store is lovely inside and has a wide array of natural beauty products. I purchased the Rose Body Care Lotion and the Rose Body Oil (to help ward off stretch marks!). I love the scent, and the consistency of the lotion is light yet moisturizing. The oil absorbs quickly, but it keeps my skin feeling hydrated for hours. I actually have been layering both on particularly dry skin. This is a great company to consider for holiday gifts. And, they have baby bath products too! I am excited to try some of their skincare products for the face. This location also does facials. It is a one stop shop!

Check out Jurlique online, or, if you are in San Francisco, in person!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Musings: Weekend Recap

The end of the affair came this weekend! We have been going non-stop since the beginning of October. First, we went to NY for the weekend, then my brother and sister-in-law visited, then my aunt and uncle visited, and this weekend my parents were in town. It was awesome, but thoroughly exhausting. (My other brother is staying with us for a week starting this Thursday, but he used to live with us, so it is more of a fixture than a guest!)

Having my parents here truly makes me happier than most anything else. My mom was in town for two days, but my dad could only make it for about 20 hours! Nonetheless, we managed to relax and kick back with each other for a while, and it certainly made me a happy camper. My mom and I hit the town for some shopping, and we got the baby some really sweet things including a furry vest, which is totally silly and frivolous and totally amazing. I also came to terms with the fact that the later months of pregnancy actually require real maternity clothes. Bummer! I thought I was going to make it all the way in my non-maternity duds (with the exception of pants--I gave up on regular pants pretty early on).

We had a great dinner at Zuni Cafe on Saturday night (get the roast chicken and bread salad--can't be beat), and we talked baby, baby, baby all weekend! It's so fun to be able to plan and dream about what life will be like with our little girl, and my parents officially cannot be bored by my musings so I didn't have to feel guilty in the least about gushing!

In other very significant news, I finally bit the bullet and sold my living room rug. This has been a long time in coming. I had this pang of fear when someone actually expressed interest in buying it, but I went through with the sale, and now we just have our terrible carpeting to contend with. I have to say that not having to straighten that damn rug has been incredibly liberating, but I need something new to fill the space! Stay tuned for some rug ideas. I need help picking something out. That rug and I tried to make it work, but alas, we were not meant to be.

Lastly, I tried this amazing recipe from Caitlin's blog this weekend, and everyone went wild for it. If you are as much of a fan of pumpkin as I am, this is going to knock your socks off. I feel like I am going to actually get up early to make one of these every morning! It tastes like heaven in a cup and could not be easier. Thanks, Caitlin, for the amazing recipe!

Hope your week is off to a great start. As for me, I'm hitting the proverbial books and getting refocused on work. Ah, the price of fun. But, it's a price I gladly pay.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fabulous Friday

My mom is visiting! That's all the fabulousness I need this Friday! Can't wait to paint the town with her during her super short stay. I believe what this print says it true...feels like home whenever (and wherever) I am with my main gal.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chain Mail Q & A

This image has nothing to do with anything, but it's pretty!

Thursday is the day that I usually post a "Currently" post, but Roxy, of Society Social and the blog My Cup of Te, was answering these questions and though she didn't tag me (because she doesn't know me-which I lament!), I decided to respond to give the regular questions a fun twist.


I think it might be a tie between Mary Oliver ("That's the big question, the one the world throws at your every morning. 'Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?'") and Tim O'Brien ("A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth.") The first one  speaks to why I like blogging. (Yes, I'd like to make a comment--everyday.) and the second to why I love fiction.


My mom is coming tonight! I am beyond thankful. She hasn't come out to CA in ages, and it will be such a treat to have her here. My dad also arrives Saturday. Heart. Is. Full.


I am not terribly adventurous. I do spend a lot of time daydreaming about living in Italy. I have never visited a place in which I felt so at home. If I were truly daring, I would pack up my life and try living abroad for a year or two. I have this sense that I could be very creative there. Something about the pace of life and all the beauty of the country makes this particularly appealing.


I am going to be daring. I am not sure that there is a profession or a lifestyle that I would pick specifically, but I would want to be the kind of person who has a lot of confidence and is not afraid to take risks. Yup, that's what I'd be.


My grandma makes these insane "crack" cookies that are basically pure sugar with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. I don't even know the recipe, but they slay me. I can eat a dozen in one sitting. No problemo.  (Note to self: Get this recipe.)


I've said this before, but clean sheets. I smile every time I slip into a freshly laundered bed. It makes my heart happy.


I want to live in a family compound with my parents and my siblings, and we will all have houses right next to each other and hang out together all the time. This is so weird, but it's true. This is probably my greatest dream!


My sister. She's the best. I want to be like her and hang out with her all the time. She gets me. And Toni Morrison. If I had one hundredth of her talent, I'd be pretty proud of myself. Basically, I'd like to have my sister's optimism and spirit, Toni Morrison's virtuosic writing talent, and Olivia Palermo's wardrobe (and I'll take her figure too, while I'm at it). Now that would be a killer combo.


Aside from my strong, undeniable attraction to Tim Riggins when I was deep in the throes of watching Friday Night Lights, I haven't had many recent boy crushes...Is this weird?

Give it a whirl! Answer some of all of the questions in the comment section. I'd love to hear your responses!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Baby Dreams

I have to say I have been excitedly following Taylor Sterling's Instagram feed for months. She, the beautiful founder of The Glitter Guide and former blogger behind Sterling Style (of which I was an avid follower), is also pregnant. I get loads of pregnancy inspiration from her wardrobe (and her baby's wardrobe!), and I was dying to see what she would do with her nursery! I have seen snippets on Instagram, but seeing the reveal today on the Glitter Guide was awesome! I am feeling very inspired. Funny enough, I had picked out the very same crib for our nursery just the night before I saw this. I had to share these great photos:

The dresser will double as a changing table with a removable pad. I am planning to do the same because we are short on space.

Love the gallery wall over the crib. The prints are adorable, and Taylor said she used plastic instead of glass in the frames in case they ever fell!

J. and I keep having conversations about this Ikea cart because I think it is incredibly handy, and he can't understand why I would need it. Um, I might want to wheel some baby items into the bathroom or the kitchen. Obviously.

Too cute for words, right?

And I adore this little nightlight detail.

This baby has some pretty sweet digs, if you ask me! I would move into this room in a second. I am in the process of getting together an inspiration board for our nursery. Stay tuned next week to check it out. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I hope that Taylor is sufficiently flatter. What can I say? She has impeccable taste!