On Baking

2/16/2019


We received the beautiful, ubiquitous KitchenAid Stand Mixer as a wedding gift and it stood collecting dust for our first five years of marriage. I finally unearthed it from the depths of our kitchen cabinets to bake a cake - from scratch - on New Year’s Eve. My mom usually baked from a box, and I have to say there’s nothing quite like a yellow cake mix with chocolate frosting. But because of that, I’d never really tried anything baked from scratch. 

On New Year’s Eve I found myself a bit restless and in need of something to do with my hands, to quiet my mind. Does that ever happen to you? So, I made this olive oil cake, topped with a beautiful tangerine marmalade, from one of the first cookbooks we received after getting engaged (recipe here). It looked gorgeous and was quite good (even better with coffee the next day). For New Year’s Day, I even tried my hand at biscuits (recipe here) from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. A few weeks later, I made Ina Garten’s chocolate peanut butter globs (recipe here) to rave reviews.

So now, I’m realizing that maybe I’m a baker. It’s funny when you try something you’d always thought you wouldn’t be successful at - and it made me think of how for years I never considered myself a runner despite consistently running 3-4 times per week. 

Up next: Alison Roman’s Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies (aka "The Cookies" of Instagram fame) and Valleybrink Road’s One Bowl Banana Bread (I love her recipes). Oh, and trying more new things.

Top Image / Second Image: Kirby Brooks Todd

Holiday Weekend in Bolinas

1/28/2019



We stumbled upon Bolinas one weekend we were looking for an easy day trip, and vowed to come back for a few days. The holidays presented the perfect opportunity as we were not flying for the first time in years and had the luxury of a few quiet days before spending Christmas Eve and Christmas in Boonville - basically on the way up the coast! 

The tiny, “hidden” hippie surf town is just 45 minutes outside of San Francisco and was the perfect low key escape; it’s unmarked from the main roads in Marin and there’s hardly cell phone service. See below for how we spent 48 hours in Bolinas.

STAY

Smiley’s Saloon
Rumored to be the oldest saloon west of the Mississippi, Smiley’s is a Bolinas landmark (and a Marin landmark, for that matter). It’s been serving stiff cocktails to locals since 1851 and has a handful of reasonably priced rooms. The bar is colorful (to stay the least) but the rooms are clean and cheerful.

EAT

Eleven
I’d read about Eleven previously, so booking a dinner reservation was the first thing we did after booking our accommodations. We split a salad, deliciously salty prosciutto pizza, and the pot de crème over a bottle of wine. It was cozy and just the right amount of Christmas-y and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Eleven does have rooms that we’d love to check out our next visit.

Coast Cafe
Our first night in town we walked across the street for dinner at the Coast Cafe. We couldn’t resist splitting the in-season crab after sharing some of the best fried calamari I’ve ever had as a starter. It was fun to see so many locals stop by their hometown favorite while we dined.

BoVida
It’s hard to find a good açaí bowl that’s under $15 in San Francisco so we were excited to find this spot in Bolinas.

CC Café
A pop-up coffee and pastry shop with a beach vibe that reminded us of Encinitas, the little northern San Diego beach town we lived in before moving to San Francisco. We just got a few pour-overs but the pastries looked amazing. *I couldn't find a website but there are signs around town and they have an Instagram.

Cowgirl Creamery
After a long beach walk in Point Reyes, we stopped by Cowgirl Creamery’s  original creamery and cheese stop, located in Point Reyes Station’s Tomales Bay Foods, for cheesy sandwiches and hard cider.

the marshall store
We’ve tried to come to the marshall store a few times but it’s either been closed or too packed. We timed it perfectly on our way to Bolinas (although it’s about 20 minutes north). We split oysters, clam chowder, and the smoked salmon plate over beers on the long shared table in the waterfront parking lot.

DO

Bolinas Book Exchange
We wandered over with coffee and were charmed by this communal bookstore - which is run on an honor system!

Limantour Beach
After a week of grueling, pre-holiday workouts, we were looking for an easy workout for our only full day in Bolinas. We drove a quick 20 minutes to Limantour Beach, located between Drakes Bay and the Limantour Estero esturary. The beach doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen in California.

Bolinas Beach
We quickly established a routine for our visit in Bolinas. In the morning, we’d walk with our coffee to the beach and mainly just watch the surfers as the tide is high in the morning. In the evening, with the low tide, we could walk for about a mile down the coast to catch the sunset.

*Both beaches are dog-friendly which we (and our dog) loved.




Images by Kirby Brooks Todd 

1. Dinner at Eleven 2. CC Café 3. Smiley's, with a view of the Coast Cafe 4. & 5. Limantour Beach 6. Bolinas Beach

2018, That's a Wrap

12/31/2018



Have you heard the saying, “the days are long, but the years are short?” That is really resonating on the final day of 2018.  I took a peek back at my “18 for 2018” list to see how I did. I was successful on a few major ones, like running another half marathon, hosting more at our place, and prioritizing my health. We didn’t buy a house but we did move into a new rental we love and I upped my volunteering by joining the board of ECS. Overall, I’ll chalk it up as a win! 

As for 2019 goals, I’m going to keep it simple with three main goals. 

  1. Remember to be grateful. In talking to my therapist we uncovered that my ambition and pragmatism can mean that I’m always thinking of the next accomplishment instead of enjoying that I have now. I’ve found that forcing myself to make a list of things, however small, I’m grateful for really helps with my overall happiness and wellbeing. 
  2. Keep a closer eye on our finances by checking our credit card daily. Finance apps don’t work for us because every month is so different, but checking what we’re spending daily will help me know more about where our money is going. Ian keeps a close eye on things but I want to be as knowledgeable as he is in terms of our joint finances. 
  3. After 13 (!!) years together and five married, I think we’re ready to have a baby. Scary to type this but we’re hoping we’ll end 2019 with a baby or one on the way. This goes with my 2018 resolution about prioritizing my health as I know things like stress can affect my ability to get pregnant. 

Tonight, we’re having cracked crab with friends and toasting with champagne at 9pm (midnight in New York) to avoid entering 2019 hungover and tired. This is 32… 

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year.


Six Coats (Plus My Review of Rent the Runway Unlimited)

12/19/2018








I know when most women hear the words “Rent the Runway” they automatically think dresses. And did I originally started my Rent the Runway Unlimited subscription because I had six weddings this year, most of them with the same group of friends, and didn’t want to spend money on dresses I’d only wear once. Of course, I could re-wear dresses, but if I’m being honest, I like shopping and fashion and so the option of renting something out of my comfort zone (and not a simple dress that I could wear over and over again) appealed to me.

So, I started my monthly subscription and this year’s “wedding season” was substantially less stressful. The wedding in Hawaii with a welcome luau and Hawaiian black tie dress code for the big day? Easy. The Charleston winter wedding (my brother’s) requiring something for the bridesmaid’s lunch, rehearsal dinner, and long, black bridesmaids dress? Done. 

What’s been more surprising about my subscription though, is how much it’s helped with the stress of getting dressed for work five days a week and finding something fun for special occasions (that aren’t weddings). The subscription isn’t cheap, at $159 / month, but I get four items at a time that I can rotate in and out as much as I want. This is especially easy since RTR has a physical store in San Francisco.

This winter, I’ve even scooped up a few coats to supplement my gray, black, and camel staples. Here are a few coats currently in my closet or my “Hearts” section on RTR.

  1. Saylor Faux Fur Emanuela Bomber Jacket: A leopard print bomber isn’t something I’d spent $375 on because it’s such a statement, making it the perfect trendy rental.
  2. Scotch & Soda Satin and Canvas Jacket: I love the blush and tan skin on this puffer. The gold zipper and teddy collar are the icing on the cake.
  3. La Vie Rebecca Taylor Dot Faux Fur Coat: If I had somewhere fancy (and cold!) to be during the holidays I’d have snatched this up. 
  4. Heart loom Plaid Kai Coat: This arrives just in time for the holidays and I can’t wait to wear it!
  5. Waverly Grey Plaid Hunter Coat: This coat had me at windowpane plaid in navy and gray. 
  6. Cupcakes and Cashmere Plaid Adi Coat: I wore this to a big meeting for a confidence boost and got so many compliments. I love the duster length and unexpected orange accent.
Top Image (p.s. I am searching for the original artist so if you know please reply in the comments so I can properly credit them!)

Our Inner Richmond Apartment

12/04/2018



We moved a few months ago after living in the same Nopa Edwardian for over four years - the longest I’ve lived anywhere since the home I grew up in! After a few unsuccessful attempts at buying an apartment in San Francisco, we decided to take a pause and look at a bigger rental. We found our new Inner Richmond apartment on a Sunday, signed the lease Tuesday (while I was in the Munich airport on my way to Greece for work, no less), and moved two weeks later. 

Our new space is spacious (for a city), at 1,100 square feet, has wood floors, a second bedroom, and the kind of details that made me fall in love with San Francisco in the first place. We immediately bought the Mid-Century sectional we’d been eyeing, some rugs to pull the space together, and a daybed to allow guests to visit immediately (we have a guest room!!!). We still have some projects to finish but it already feels like home.

I was hesitant to share any photos because in the blogging world “home reveals” are kind of a big deal. We’re not working with a decorator, the apartment isn’t finished, and I took these photos on my iPhone, but I’m sharing them nonetheless. I think we need a little less perfect on the Internet anyway, right? And as much as I love gift guides, it’s pretty much the only content I’m seeing right now. 

Living Room: Striped Rug (sold out but similar here) // Area Rug // Article Sven Sectional