I turn thirty-three on Wednesday, the spring equinox. I’ve said before that January and February always drag for me so my birthday feels like a fresh start in more ways than one. I can tell thirty-three is going to be a big year, more on that to come.

Happiness Shift


“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with your family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going  to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawless happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.” - Andy Rooney

I read this quote not long after commenting on Victoria’s post about March being her month of personal doldrums, when I realized that January-February always bring on a particular kind of blues for me. Maybe it’s the holidays being over and any trips or vacations being later in the spring. Either way, when I read this quote I realized that I spend those months waiting for something to happen, instead of enjoying things like a morning walk with our dog in Golden Gate Park, a delicious dinner cooked by my husband, even getting a seat on the bus and being able to read during my commute. I think social media definitely plays a part in waiting for the wonderful things, because it’s all people post about. It’s hard to take a break from social media given my job, but I can try to shift my focus on the little slices of happiness over the ones worth sharing. 

Retail Therapy (+ a Shopbop Sale)


It’s pouring rain in San Francisco (again) but I have a few fun (hopefully warm) trips on the horizon: first to Palm Springs, then to Santa Barbara, and on to Tucson. So, this Shopbop sale is perfect timing. Not only do I need a little pick my up, but also a few fresh things for spring. 

Since I’m still doing Rent the Runway Unlimited, I’m not realllllllly shopping, but Shopbop is offering up to 25% with the code GOBIG19 on both new arrivals and sale items. 

See here for my top picks:

The Basics 


Wedding Season

On Baking


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


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.


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.


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.

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.


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