Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Northern California: Point Reyes

View of Tomales Bay from Hog Island Oyster Farm
I have decided to dedicate the next few days to showing you one of the most fun weekends we've had while living out west. (Regularly scheduled programming will resume next week.) Perhaps should your travels take you this way, you can visit some of these terrific spots!

On Saturday, we headed up to Point Reyes for the day to visit Hog Island Oyster Co. Prior to arriving, we stopped at Cowgirl Creamery, which, in my opinion, has some of the best.cheese.ever. It was a necessity for our picnic, so we picked up a wheel of their Red Hawk.

Red Hawk cheese aging at Cowgirl Creamery
Cheese selection at Cowgirl Creamery


My brother, Geoffrey, and his wife, Dana at Cowgirl.
After that we popped over to Hog Island. While you can walk in and order from their "cafe," I recommend reserving a picnic table, which we had actually done a few months ago. On the weekends, those reservations are hard to get, so reserve as far in advance as you can. When you reserve the table, you get a shucker, gloves, and a grill on which to cook. It is five dollars per person to picnic (you rent the spot for three hours), and you can bring whatever you'd like to eat and drink. As I said, they also have a cafe where you can purchase pre-shucked oysters and drinks. FYI, it is usually colder there than in the city, so dress for the weather!

Tomales Bay in the fog

Waterfront cottages on Tomales Bay

The bar at Hog Island Oyster Farm
Shucking oysters at Hog Island Oyster Farm
Geoffrey and Christian (my other brother) learning to shuck oysters.
Picnic spread at Hog Island Oyster Farm
A delicious picnic.

Barbecued Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Farm
We ordered these from the cafe and they were barbequed and delicious.

Oyster shells at Hog Island Oyster Farm
On the way home, we stopped in Saualito for a drink by the water. Our favorite place to hang out is Bar Bocce where you can play bocce, sit by a gorgeous fire pit, and take in the view of the boats and the beautiful people. Their food, particularly their pizza, is also great.

View of Sausalito marina from Bar Bocce

Bocce court at Bar Bocce in Sausalito
On the bocce court.
Too cool for school.

We had made dinner reseravations for Saturday night, but, as you can imagine, after all that eating and drinking, we were perfectly content to order in and watch a little tv!

Despite being a little cold and windblown when we were in Point Reyes, it was truly a pretty awesome day.

Tomorrow, let's head to wine country!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Musings

Love a little more. Hustle a little less.
Today, I am having family time instead of blogging time. Sometimes, that's what a girl needs. Hope you'll forgive me. Have an amazing Monday and prepare for a terrific recap this week.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sweet Summertime: Sales and Sandals

I am throwing this post up today because I need your help! Saks, Tory Burch, Loeffler Randall, and J.Crew are all having major sales this weekend. At Saks and Tory Burch, they are offering 25% off with their Friend and Fans/Family Discount. Loeffler Randall is also offering 20% off at their Friends and Family Sale, and J.Crew is offering 25% off (with 30% off for cardholders.) Yikes! Talk about a Fabulous Friday.

I have been looking for a perfect pair of summer sandals to wear with jeans, shorts, and dresses, and I have rounded up some of my favorites. Now I need your help. Which ones speak to you? I am feeling partial to these Loeffler Randall beauties...Send me your votes!

Sandals from Ancient Greek, Loeffler Randall, SeaVees, Sol Sana
(1) ANCIENT GREEK - (2) LOEFFLER RANDALL - (3) COLE HAAN - (4) SEAVEES - (5) TORY BURCH (Love this, but a little more than I want to spend) - (6) J.CREW - (7) SOL SANA

Fabulous Friday

Something beautiful is on the horizon

Last week was not fabby, and this week was downright draggy. (Loving me some rhymes today.) But this weekend is going to be AH-MAH-ZING, DAHLING. No other way to say it.

My brother is in town from NYC. My sister-in-law has been in town for the last week for work, and now we are all uniting (with my other brother who lives in SF--we are just missing my sis!) for a weekend of fun in the (fingers crossed) sun. This delightful (and delicious) weekend will culminate in a day off on Monday. Oh what joy. I promise a full photographic recap next week.

Our plans include cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, oysters at Hog Island, and wine in Sonoma. Doesn't that sound decadently delightful? I can't wait for some much needed family time and good eats. Now, what to wear...From the sound of things, I think some stretchy pants might be in order.

This weekend calls for some happy. Go get yours.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dream Room: Bedroom Design - Bedding

In the bedroom design process, we are at the bedding phase! We have the inspiration, we have now narrowed down the headboards, and away we go. Annie sent me her selection of preferred headboards, and from her picks, I have decided to go with this baby. (I'll figure out the color once we nail down the bedding.) I adore this bed, and I think Annie will love it just as much in ten or fifteen years as she does now. While poking around on Serena and Lily's website, I discovered their amazing bedding tool. It's fabulous! You can pick different options for your bed and see how they will look in combination. Here are some I put together for this room:

Serena and Lily bedding

































The last combo is a little off from Annie's original colors, but it is tranquil and pretty, so I threw it in.

If you are in the market for bedding, you must check out these other amazing options:
Leotine Linens has the.most.amazing.monograms.ever. Period.
Matouk sheets are the ultimate in luxurious decadence.
Biscuit Home has beautiful bedding at more reasonable prices than some of these others.
John Robshaw has terrific prints.

And there is always:
Pottery Barn and you can't go wrong.
Garnet Hill for whimsical patterns and colors.
West Elm and Crate and Barrel for a more modern look.
Don't overlook the teen versions of Pottery Barn (PB Teen) and Crate and Barrel either (Land of Nod)!

One more option...

Ripple duvet from Matouk

So pretty!
One more? 
Okay.

GRAPHIC STRIPE INK DUVET SET from Dwell Studio

This one is completely different than the other choices and is decidedly more masculine, but just imagine it with some pink pillows and a pink throw. Lovely.

Okay, now for the hard part: picking one. What strikes your fancy?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Target Finds

I made my bi-monthly pilgrimage to Target this weekend, and I came across a few great finds I thought I'd share. I think Target is taking a few cues from J. Crew. Nice.

Necklaces, wedges, and scarves at Target.

I can't always tell the quality of Target items online, so I am vouching for these choices! Let's start with these necklaces. They are chunky, summery, and they have a little bit of bling woven in. This fun bracelet is so J. Crew. It is very much in line with their designs for spring. I have been looking for a denim jacket (which can (and probably will) be a post in and of itself). I don't want to spend a lot, and I love the color and the simple, classy style of this option. This scarf is a terrific way to add a pop of color, and the floral pattern is on trend. When I walked through the doors of Target, these wedges immediately caught my eye. Look familiar?

I just adore Target, and I think they are constantly stepping up their game. Way to go!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Beauty: Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo from Pronto, Suave, TRESemme and Sachajuan

I have found the dry shampoo to top all others: Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray. I had to share. I have tried this trend ranging from attempting to put Baby Powder on my roots, to experimenting with the inexpensive brands (Suave and TRESemme), to trying out an expensive option (Sachajuan). To be honest, I didn't really love any of them. But, because I am no quitter, I kept going back for more. I tried the Oscar Blandi option, and I fell in love. I didn't like the Sachajuan volume powder because it made my hair really sticky. I wasn't crazy for the scent of the Suave or the TRESemme, and the baby powder was just a hot mess. With this Pronto dry shampoo, my hair isn't tacky at all and it smells fresh and delightful.

I only wash my hair every other day, even when I go to the gym, and even when I sweat. (Ew.) My hair is very thick, and it takes a while before it looks greasy, but I still like to keep it smelling and feeling fresh, and this product does the trick. Give it a whirl.

Monday, April 22, 2013

C. Wonderful

I spent a lot of last week musing, so I thought I'd start this week on a slightly different note: shopping!

You may remember that one of the things I wanted to do in NY was to visit a C. Wonder store. Now, I know the the owner, Chris Burch, has gotten a lot of push back from the fashion community for supposedly ripping off his ex-wife's, Tory Burch, designs, and I believe that he probably did use her aesthetic and designs when he was developing concepts for this line. But, that controversy aside, the store is a magical place for a person who loves preppy clothes and color. It looks like a gumball machine exploded up in there. When you walk in, there is even a DJ spinning tunes. I particularly like their jewelry section because they have terrific costume jewelry (1 - 2 - 3) for great prices. Doesn't that navy bracelet bear a striking resemblance to the Hermes enamel bracelets?

Pillows, totes, ballet flats, and jewelry from C. Wonder
The best thing about the store is that they can monogram almost anything. I saw those terrific summer totes with monograms, and I had to remind myself that my closet cannot hold another bag. I also almost snagged a number of those pillow covers (1 - 2 - 3)  for my spring update. And how cute are these flats (1- 2)? I did get a C. Wonder sweater that I had gotten for Christmas monogrammed, and I love it. If you are in the area of a store, get your monogram on!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fabulous Friday: On The Bombing

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.

It hasn't been a fabulous week, has it? It's been a pretty horrible week for so many people across this country and around the world. It's been a horrible week for Boston both at the marathon and late last night at MIT, for Waco, for Ottowa where a teenage girl took her own life after a gang rape and subsequent bullying, for all the parts of the world where terror and fear are a daily occurrence, where bombs drop on schools and places of worship and homes of innocent people. It's been a bad week.

At first, I didn't want to write about what happened in Boston this week because what could I say? What voice or perspective could I add to the chorus of voices reflecting on this event? It was a horrible event that rocked and permanently changed the lives of hundreds and thousands of people, that scared a nation and gave rise to blood lust and dreams of revenge in the hearts and minds of many.

And it was also a week that reminded us of the beautiful extent of our humanity. That showed that there are good people, "helpers" as Mr. Rogers calls them, everywhere. That reminded me that for every evil act there are hundreds of good, loving, selfless acts that are happening every moment, every day. All around us. And I did have a thought or two about that.

A few days ago, I read a comment that someone had made on a Facebook post about Boston saying that once these terrorists are caught, we can all sleep again. But, I take issue with that. If we catch the people who planted the bombs in Boston, there will be others. There will be other evil people who want to destroy things, to destroy people, to destroy lives in the name of an ideal, in the name of a faith, in the name of a cause, or simply just because because there are not always reasons, at least not compelling ones. There are not always answers. Just because Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are dead doesn't mean that there will be an end to terror. It doesn't mean that there won't be more attacks on American soil. It just means that they are dead. And this is probably not the right thing to say at a time like this. But, as far as I can tell, it's true.

So how can we sleep at night? How can we believe in safety and justice and peace? I don't know. I think about the teenagers I interact with every day. They know a different world than the world I knew when I was their age. September 11th happened during my freshman year in college. In that year, those kids were toddlers. Their world has always been one where there has been the threat of terror, where, even in America, even at something as innocuous as a marathon, you are not always safe. In this article about the level of preparedness demonstrated by Boston's hospitals, Atul Gawande writes, "What we saw unfold was the cultural legacy of the September 11th attacks and all that has followed in the decade-plus since. We are not innocents anymore." These children I speak of never were innocents. They were never allowed to be.

The thing that allows me to go to sleep at night will not be the knowledge that the people responsible for this atroctiy are caught. And, likewise, it will not be the understanding that I live in a world that is constantly vigilant, constantly ready and able to deal with terror when it strikes, although I do admit that that is reassuring on some primal level. Instead, it will be the notion that the people who spread love, who commit themselves to the service of others, who believe in goodness, who support justice, equity, fairness, and general decency--those people--their numbers are great, their numbers are far greater than those who want destruction and horror. I do truly believe in that.

Just look at your news feed, at Twitter, at the vitriolic comments on news articles, and you will see a lot of finger pointing. Whose fault is that that things like this happen? Who is responsible for fixing it, for making it alright again? I say, we all are. We are all responsible for acting with more love and more generosity of spirit. We are all responsible for thinking seriously and deeply about our convictions, about our preconceptions and judgments, and about our own tendencies toward hate and anger. Instead of feeling like this is an insurmountable burden, this feeling of responsibility for the state of the world, it makes me feel liberated. I feel like I, one person, can do something. I can love a little harder. Be a little more generous. Give a little more. Imagine what would happen if we each did that?

The fabulous thing is that we all have it within ourselves to committ to this, to take responsibility, to do our part. This is completely within our control. It costs nothing.

I will go to sleep tonight committing myself to the cause of love. I hope you can do the same.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dream Room: Bedroom Design - Headboards

After getting some feedback from Annie on last week's inspirational rooms, I've put together a group of beds and headboards for her to choose from. Annie liked the fabric headboards, the sea grass headboard, and the wood headboard. She did not want a four poster. So, here's what I've come up with.

Many of the fabric options come in quite a selection of prints and colors. Remember that Annie is hoping to decorate in blue, grey, white, and pink. I picked pale pink options, but those could be mixed with hot pink accents. Annie also ran the idea by me of having grey and white stripes on her walls, which, of course, I do love because I love a pattered wall! If she does go in that direction, I would obviously recommend a solid headboard. But, because there are so many great patterned headboards, I might stick to a solid wall. What's your pick?

1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April in New York

As promised, here are some photos of my last day of vacation in New York. We walked the High Line, which I had never done before. The High Line is a path that has been developed parallel to train tracks where old trains ran before the subway system was in existence. There are gorgeous plantings, lots of art, and plenty of beautiful people to look at along the way. If you are going to be in NY and you haven't been, I highly recommend it, particularly when the flowers are in bloom. While you're there, you should hit up Chelsea Market and bring a picnic as there are plenty of lounge chairs and lots of tables to sit at along the way.

The High Line in Manhattan




Spring blooms in Manhattan

View of Chelsea skyline
We ran into some friends (in the corner). Small world!




After finishing the walk (which is only about 15 blocks) we headed down into Chelsea for lunch. I haven't spent much time in this neighborhood, but I promptly decided I could see myself living here.

The Standard Hotel Biergarten
The Standard Hotel is on the High Line. Amazing biergarten!



We went to Co. for a delicious lunch. Check it out if you're in the hood.


Salads at Co. in Manhattan

Pizza at Co. in Manhattan

And, because we like to walk and eat and walk and eat, we heded to Stone Street for an after pizza coffee.

If you look above the door, there is a lady in a bathtub. Turns out that this is also the entrance to a speakeasy called Bathtub Gin! You have to go through the coffee shop to get in. If the light on the back wall is turned on, fun's happening in back!

And then there was dessert at Billy's Bakery. It was the last day of vacation. Don't judge.

Billy's Bakery in Manhattan
Cupcakes at Billy's Bakery in Manhattan

Until next time, New York. I'll be missing you.