Tuesday, April 30, 2013

in review: april

"The days are long, but the years are short."
-Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
I have read both of Gretchen Rubin's happiness books, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, both of which I found amazing!  However, the line that I found most profound, was that "the days are long, but the years are short".  It is a very simple truth.  I often count down the hours of the day, waiting for the "next thing", but the days add up very quickly.  In what seems like a blink of the eye, another month, another season, another year is gone!  

As another month passes by, I am grateful for the opportunity to stop and reflect.  My instagram feed was very light this month, as it was really was a month of slow, lingering weekends.  Hikes, exploring new brunch places in the city,  good books and plenty of park time with the pup.  

I am sure over the coming weeks, I will look back on these weekends with a longing for that easiness.  May marks the beginning of a whirlwind 2 1/2 months, both at work and in life.  I am very much looking forward to it, but it was nice to have an opportunity to balance it with a month of rest and quiet.

You can follow me on instagram here!

Monday, April 29, 2013

california adventure: golden gate park

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is one of my favorite places in the city.  It is a large oasis of nature in the middle of the city.  With over 1,000 acres {20% larger than Central Park in New York City}, it includes an art museum, science museum, Japanese Tea Garden, an arboretum, Conservatory of Flowers and various gardens and open spaces.  It is a particularly great place for running, with trails throughout the park and the city shuts down the roads inside for pedestrian use on the weekends!

One of the things that has been on my bucket list for a very long while in the park is to paddle boat on Stow Lake.  Meaning, that I have wanted to do it since my first weekend here.  However, we never seemed to make it.  This weekend though with nothing else planned, R and I made the trek to the park (Moz in tow) to picnic and paddle boat.

It was really easy and they even let us bring Moz with us, which begs the question why we hadn't went sooner.  Nevertheless, it was an amazing time to be out on the small lake in the middle of the pond.  It was actually incredible peaceful and an opportunity to see the park from a different view along with families of ducks and geese!

{They also had row boats for rent if that was more your style}

Thursday, April 25, 2013

happy weekend!

This week I purchased my first Vogue in years.  I actually kind of hate to admit this, due to how much I truly do love fashion.  But....it is the truth. This month, though, they are featuring Carey Mulligan in a Gatsby-themed photo shoot.  It is absolutely gorgeous and I could not resist the 20's inspired couture gowns.  I really have not been this excited about a movie in a long while.  It looks over the top and the costumes look ahh-mazing!  Besides Mulligan's article though, it has been great to glimpse into the world of high fashion.  During my day to day work, I often forget about the designers, couture or runway, but it so inspiring to see their works and appreciate the beauty of over the top fashion.  Even if its just dreaming!  So here's to a weekend full of inspiration!
Happy weekend!

pretty florals

Nothing is quite as quintessential of spring as florals.  Luckily, florals are a big trend right now and come in so many different ways!  Fresh blooms outside definitely translate into beautiful pieces for your wardrobe!  I am currently loving all the different ways that you can wear floral prints and the variety of floral types.  From beautiful watercolors to ditsy prints, there is something for everyone.  Dresses are a no-brainer, but I love the more abstract print on the sweater.  Or if its just too much for you, TOMS is offering a great shoe with just a small touch of the trend, which you can easily pair with a white tee and jeans!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

earth day: read.visit.wear.watch

In continuing to recognize Earth Day...

Read: "The Ethics of What We Eat".  I actually really struggled with what book to recommend.  There are SO many amazing books out there on food, farming and sustainability.  This though was one of the first books that I read on food and the different avenues used to get it to our tables.  It takes a look at food in many different aspects and explores the impact our choices have on us, animals and the environment, recognizing at its core that you can be ethical without being a fanatic.
Visit: Yellowstone!  I actually have never been, but it is on my list to visit the first National Park in the US.
Wear:  This skirt is by a local designer in SF, Oda.  I have been admiring it for a very long time, and really wanted to use my wedding as an excuse to buy it (it is quite out of my price range).  The cotton is tea-stained and silk dupione is hand-dyed.  Gorgeous! I would have to wear it with this organic cotton tank in order to make it more affordable.
Watch: "Disneynature: Earth".  A beautiful documentary following 3 animal families through their migration course.  It is an amazing picture of the earth's natural wonders and the animals who call it home.

Yellowstone image

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

dreaming of...ethereal landscapes and fabulous cocktail parties!

One of the things that I am very passionate about in the apparel industry is sustainability.  I believe that it comes in a multitude of facets and looks different for each company and consumer.  Many companies, though far from perfect, have been taking strides to help the consumer understand sustainability and to contribute a part in improving the industry as a whole.  This can come in the form of environmental action or social consciousness.  

So, it excites me VERY much when you can see a collection that combines beauty and sustainability in an affordable way. H&M recently launched its "Conscious Exclusive" collection which features romantic gowns, gorgeous cocktail dresses and amazing accessories made from sustainable materials (ie. recycled polyester or organic cotton).  It is a long way from perfection, but in many ways small steps by large companies can make the most significant impacts.  

left, right
I picked out a few of my favorites from the collection.  Honestly, I know that a mint green evening gown is completely impractical, but I ADORE it!  Maybe there is a black tie event in my near future...
scarf, clutch

A great video on ways that H&M and other companies are looking at the future of sustainability.

Monday, April 22, 2013

earth day

Happy Earth Day!  Living in an urban area, there are very few places with yards or large outdoor spaces.  It can be a challenge to have the opportunity to grow your own food, work in a garden or simply enjoy the beauty of spending time out in the sun.  I will admit that I do not have much of a green thumb.  I cannot keep a houseplant alive for anything, including the "unkillable" ones...

BUT-I love beautiful flowers in the spring and summer, and with R's encouragement am learning about and appreciating native California plants.  I have been VERY fortunate for the last 4 years to have an apartment with a gorgeous, large balcony.  R and I have spent time cultivating a small space for  us (really me) to enjoy my tea and journaling in the morning.

Not everyone has this opportunity, but many cities and urban places are helping to meet some of those desires by creating spaces for community gardens.  These are amazing opportunities to enjoy working outdoors with flowers and food plants while living within the urban environment.  So, for earth day, I visited a few gardens near my home in SF.  They are places for neighborhood communities to come together and cultivate beautiful and functional green spaces.

{Potrero Hill Community Garden-overlooking the city landscape}
{Bee hive at Alemany Farm}
{Flannel bush blooming at Alemany Farm}

Another place I visited in the city is Alemany Farm.  It is a small farm that works to educate local residents on how to become their own food producers.  Twice a week, they have community volunteers come to work on the farm.  If there is produce harvested, it is shared amongst the volunteers and local residents.  Places like this are a great opportunity to get experience with growing your own food without committing to your own plot!

Happy Earth day and I hope that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the natural world and maybe even add a small part of it to our own lives!
{Potrero del Sol Community Garden-located next to a skate park} 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

happy weekend!

The weeks are flying by.  Next week will be the last week in April, how is that?  I plan on enjoying this last low-key weekend because after this life will start to get crazy again, both at work and personally.  I have a trip to Kansas, Palm Springs and R and I's ONE year anniversary in the coming weeks!  Yikes! I am so excited, but for the next 2 days, I intend to do as little as possible.  I am taking a photography class on Sunday, but otherwise, I plan brunch (here sounds so good!), spending some time with my new book and cuddling with Moises!

Happy weekend all!

Legos-Big Ben Architecture-image mine

Bath: read.visit.wear.watch

“My idea of good company...is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.' 'You are mistaken,' said he gently, 'that is not good company, that is the best.” ― Jane AustenPersuasion

For just one more day, I am going to indulge in my English countryside theme, then I promise to move onto a new obsession.  When researching material for yesterday, I stumbled upon images of Bath.  I had visited my 3rd year of college when I was studying in London.  It is a beautiful town with gorgeous architecture and the famous Roman baths.  In the mid-1800's, it was a thriving resort town with the most fashionable society.  It was a wonderful and ended up the only place that I visited outside of London.  I suppose at that point in my life, I was much more enthralled with the bustling city and visiting the major European cities, rather than green landscapes and tiny villages.

I have decided to add a new column to the blog, "Read.Visit.Wear.Watch".  I love that whatever it is you are doing; reading a book, watching a film or shopping for the newest must-haves, you are constantly taking away inspiration.  I love the feelings accompanied with watching films with beautiful costumes or am drawn to books with faraway settings.  Our everyday activities can become muses within our own lives.  I put them all together today, with Bath in mind...

READ: "Persuasion" by Jane Austen.   I suppose you could choose any number of her novels, but I particularly love "Persuasion".  I love the characters interactions and energetic conversation and fights!
WEAR: With inspiration of the turn of the century and Romantic period in fashion, I love a chiffon beaded tank paired with a long flowing skirt in gorgeous soft colors!
WATCH: Downton Abbey.  I may be the last person to have finally finished all 3 seasons, but I am hooked! 

Bath image; Downton Abbey image

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wanderlust: English Countryside

Image by Heather Hester
My mind is set on the English Countryside this week apparently.  It may be that I have read too much Jane Austen or watched too much Downton Abbey, but I love the thought of beautiful stone houses set in gorgeous green fields.  I am sure in reality it rains often and the houses are probably quite chilly, but it can't stop me from dreaming.

Image {clockwise} 1, 2, 3, 4

I have been very restless this week.  R and I are planning a trip to Europe in the summer and though I put it out of my mind the last couple of months, I cannot this week.  I have had the privilege to travel to many places around the world in my life and work, but this will be R and I's 2nd big trip abroad together.  We are not actually going to the English countryside on our trip, this is simply my personal indulgence!

Left image via Pinterest {could not find original source} / Right image Heather Hester

A strong desire to travel: "a man consumed by wanderlust".

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thinking of Boston

image via Pinterest
Yesterday, I was shocked and deeply saddened by what happened in Boston.  It is devasting that an event that brings so many people together worldwide and that is an example of endurance and strength, would face such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to those competitors and spectators, and especially to those injured or who lost loved ones. As a fellow runner, marathoner and spectator, my heart is broken for them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

california adventure-marin

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl

It amazes me that a girl so young wrote such beautiful and true words.  There is a calmness about being in nature.  A letting go of all that you are feeling and a closeness to the presence of God.  This was one of the things that first drew me to R.  His passion for nature and hiking.  Previously, I really had no desire.  Though I suppose that is not even 100% true.  I have loved for a long time being outside.  I had often found peace in running through the streets or in parks.  A connectedness with the world.  But I do believe that a combination of meeting R and moving to California deepened my own love of being outside.  

This week's California Adventure is close to home and a very familiar place for R, Moz and I.  The Mt. Tam Watershed has been a trail the we frequent often.  A place to get out of the city and enjoy the trees, fresh air and views of the city and Pacific (on a clear day).  I guess as proof of how much the place means to us, this is where R proposed and the hike we took together (with Moz of course) to enjoy the anticipation of our life together before sharing it with the world.  

I know I have shared this place on the blog before (see here and here), but I have also added a secret gem to the area (I suppose its not actually that secret).  Pelican Inn.  It is a 16th Century style English inn and tavern.  Complete with pub food (I had bangers and mash / R had liver and onions), English stouts, dark wood interior and a gorgeous lawn to enjoy picnics.  It is a perfect place for an anglophile like myself!  This was our first time to visit it for lunch, and it was a lot of fun.  The beer was excellent, food was good and the atmosphere was spot on with what I dream the English countryside to be!

Some pics from our hike. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

happy weekend!

This weekend has really snuck up on me.  It has been an interesting week of chaotic days and quiet nights at home.  It has been lovely to get home and take the pups to the park to enjoy the sunny early evenings.  It is really beginning to feel like spring here, and borderline summer!  I also started a new book last night, something light as the work weeks get crazier.  However, it was so good and so easy to read (it is young adult) that I am nearly finished already.  It is very well-written with very clever, quirky characters!

Even though it has been a relatively quiet week, I am looking forward to being being able to truly enjoy the beautiful weather we have been having.  It is supposed to be really warm, so I imagine it will be spent mostly outdoors enjoying the sunshine!

Happy weekend!

image-Cusco Peru, via my personal archives

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

confessions of a book addict

Recently, a friend of mine was discussing how when reading sometimes the words can become so real, it is almost as if we were watching a movie.  It was interesting to me to hear that, because I have definitely had the same experience, but could not put it into words.  Then, I stumbled upon the above quote on Pinterest....apparently others have had the same thing happen to them.  

It was actually from a tumblr page called Bookfessions.  I was instantly hooked on reading about what fellow book lovers and how caught up we can get in the stories themselves.  I picked out a few of my favorites (or ones I related to!) to share today.  I can particularly relate to #934.  If I spend too much time reading one book or series, it can take several days for my mind to adjust to being back in my life. Strange, I know!

It also reminds me of a post I read on binge-viewing of television with similar ideas.   

All images via Bookfessions

dreaming...of vintage hats and printed pants

During Lent this year, I gave up shopping.  I don't like to think of myself as an excessive shopper, but there are definitely times when I can't help falling in love with the latest pieces.  But, since one of my resolutions this year is to be more frugal, I thought that Lent would be a good opportunity to work on that.  

This weekend though, I allowed myself a couple of purchases.  First, were some printed, white, floral jeans from Gap.  To be honest, I was kind of unsure of how long the printed trend would last, but I love the subtlety of these pants.  They have just the slightest hint of a green/blue floral pattern.  The second was a vintage Yves St. Laurent hat that I picked up at the Alameda Antique Fair.  I love the slight edge and coolness of it.  It is also a gorgeous black felt and the perfect shape.  

I have been thinking about these 2 purchases for the last couple of days, and decided to pull together 2 different looks for the pant and hat combo.  The "edgy" look is much likelier choice for a felt hat, but the "feminine" look is how I first intended to wear the pants this spring.   I love the idea of being able to wear the same pants to the farmers' market or to out to dinner with the hubby.  Plus, how new and fresh does the pyramid watch feel!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

california adventure: hearst castle

Last weekend (which I posted about here), R, Moz and I went to the central coast of Cali to visit Hearst Castle.  It has been on our local bucket list for quite some time.  We have previously made a couple attempts to go, but were deterred by mud slides closing the roads and sicknesses...

However, when we were looking for places to go for Easter, Hearst Castle was one of the first to come to mind.  It was designed by the architect Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst at the turn of the 20th century and a celebrity retreat during that time.  It's formal name is "La Cuesta Encantada" (the Enchanted Hill), and it lives up to its name.

We took a 15-20 minute drive up the winding road and fog to the estate.  The tour starts in a gorgeous courtyard overlooking the entire valley, and then moving into the main rooms of the house.  We went on the Grand Rooms tour, which included the foyer, a "living room" to congregate before dinner with gorgeous antique ceilings and a double mantle fireplace.  Then was on to the dining room, morning room, billiards room and home theater.  Afterwards, we took our time wandering around the grounds admiring the gardens, cottages and the gorgeous Neptune Pool.  

It was truly a beautiful home and amazing to see a place of history, excitement and prominence, where architecture, antique art and beautiful grounds can come together.

Friday, April 5, 2013

happy weekend!

I can't believe how quickly this week has flown by!  After a full week of going out with friends (which was amazing!), I am looking forward to some bonding with Moz, laundry, cleaning the apartment and relaxing.  We do not really have much else planned, except maybe a visit to Alameda Antique Faire on Sunday.  I have also REALLY tried to get back into a running schedule.  I love it, but in the last few weeks months I have yet to do it consistently.  Maybe a visit to Golden Gate should be in the works for tomorrow?

Happy {hopefully springtime} weekend!   

Thursday, April 4, 2013

dreaming...of pools, palm trees and pretty suits

For my bachelorette last April, my bridesmaids planned a long weekend in Palm Springs in a mid-century, Eichler style house, complete with a pool, hot tub and fire pit.  We spent 3 days relaxing by the pool (or in the pool rather since it was over 100 degrees).  It was a beautiful home, and I instantly fell in love with the small city in the desert!  I am so excited to be going back there again later this spring!

In San Francisco, however, it RARELY gets warm enough to don a bathing suit, so I do not really spend the time looking for the perfect style every summer.  However, with another trip to the sun just over the horizon, I could not help to explore some different options than my typical bikini.  

I found the selections at J. Crew, Madewell and Anthro to be my favorites.  They have such beautiful florals, feminine colors and unique silhouettes.  I adore the watercolor floral and cutout 1 piece shape of #2!  The pink stripe seersucker (#3) is also one I have been eyeing for a while.  Ahhh, maybe it is time to invest in a pretty swimsuit for all the upcoming summer adventures!

1, 2, 3, 4,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

California Adventure: SLO and Highway 1

“I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”

― Jack KerouacOn the Road

How true the words are...  It feels so hard sometimes to pack up and leave town, its so easy to stay and follow my normal routine (which I do love).  However, once you are out on the road, how easy it feels.  To be out exploring the world and cultivating a curiosity about the world around you.  R, Moz and I did exactly that this weekend.  We set off on Friday evening, with only a campsite reserved and a general idea of what we were going to do when we got there.

We headed about 4 hours south of the city, towards San Simeon State Park to spend 2 nights camping and exploring the local area.  We arrived in Cambria in the evening, had dinner at a little restaurant along the foggy coast and set up camp a little while later.  

After a short hike at our campsite on Saturday, we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway (highway 1-which follows the coastline the entire length of California) looking for beaches or other hiking spots.  It was beautiful along the ocean and we were fortunate to find a local beach full of elephant seals resting (or basically laying around).  

Once we had our fill of watching the elephant seals (and Moz was getting anxious to chase them), we headed further south to a couple other beaches and San Luis Obispo for an early dinner and cocktails (at Luna Red)!  We strolled along the downtown and even went to look at Bubblegum Alley, known for its accumulation of bubble gum on the walls.  Not going to lie, it kind of grossed me out.

Easter Sunday entailed a visit to Hearst Castle (more on that later) and then a leisurely drive back to SF on highway 1.  It took us several hours to make the drive due to stopping for a few roadside hikes, lunch and simply amazing views of the California coastline!

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