Garden Party

My friend is having a catered birthday lunch party in her backyard in April and asked if I could help decorate. As I am obsessed with Pinterest and anything and everything girly I already had some ideas in mind. When I think backyard I think BBQ, but since this party is being catered, I thought we should go with a fancier garden party vibe.

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Her backyard is a large rectangle with a couple picnic tables, a fire pit and a large garden/grass area. So there is ample room to hang stuff and to decorate tables and chairs. The wooden tables are a great backdrop to any rustic table setting. You can do so much with them, or even leave them bare.

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You can decorate them with fresh fruit, flowers or potted plants. The birthday girl’s roommate makes these amazing succulent art installations, so I’m thinking we make centerpieces out of those.

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I love decorating with ribbons, and these ribboned chairs are so pretty. It’s such a pretty way of adding color and whimsy. The hanging ribbons are perfect for SF weather as there is always a slight breeze for them to flutter in.

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To top it off, the high fence makes for perfect anchors for a string of paper flowers or lanterns.

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Backyard lights wont work in the daylight (as it’s a lunchtime party) but these paper lanterns would have a similar effect.

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Have any of you hosted a backyard party, or garden party? What types of special touches did you add?

Friday’s Favs

It’s not April yet, but the showers have started. Rain has visited SF and will continue to stay for the next two weeks (talk about outstaying your welcome). This weekend it will pour but the birthday party and class I am taking will still take place (I wish we had rain days). And since it will be raining anyway, I am reserving Sunday for doing nothing. After traveling and going away for most of the weekends in March it will be nice to curl up with a book at home. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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{turns out this is where Aladdin stays when he is in town}

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{dinner for 10 in our Sonoma mansion – the Cline Villa – last weekend}

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{the pool at our villa}

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{I’m no artist, but I made this to add some color to our otherwise all white and grey bedroom}

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{gorgeous bougainvillea creeping up the wall}

Pickling 101

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Tiny cucumbers in a jar with some vinegar are just not really my thing, but give me some red onions in a jar with some pickling fluids and I’m in! For some reason I am not a fan of the actual pickled pickle but I like pickled everything else. Nate on the other hand could have pickles with every meal and still want more – so for Valentines Day I got us a ‘Pickling 101’ date.

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Workshop SF is an awesome little group of teachers and crafters that hold sessions for just about anything and everything crafty. They have classes ranging from beer making to burger making, and from sewing for floral arranging.

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We chose the late night pickling class (aka bring some drinks), and while they give you everything you need we also brought a couple extra veggies. We walked to the workshop and sat at the long tables with about 12 other people all happily chatting and drinking beer or wine. Our teacher, Kelly, was an adorable pickle entrepreneur who spoke to us about the value and necessity (for those lovers of pickles) of the art of pickling.

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First we made a fermented cabbage slaw. The colors of this one were gorgeous, we used all fresh ingredients and then selected any spices to go in it. One trick she told us, was that you want to massage the mixture to release all the juices and make it as watery as you can for the best fermentation possible.

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Our second batch was just the regular pickled variety, and for this we did green beans, and asparagus and carrots. The selection of spices was overwhelming so I just added the pickling spice (unoriginal I know).

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Kelly brought in some of her McVickers pickles that she made for us to sample. The brown sugar brussels were my favorite, I could have eaten the whole bowl. We tried to recreate these when we got home. They are still in the pickling process, but I’ll let you know how they turn out.

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If you are in the mood for something different and want to maybe take a stab at learning something new try Workshop SF. They have a class for everyone and you can take home and show off your skills after!

 

Spring Skirts

I need more skirts. I am a pants and dress kind of girl and I need to branch out. I really love the look of the high waisted skirt with the crop top and I love the long flowy maxi skirts (as I am obsessed with maxi dresses). So the though and obsession is there, but my follow through is not. One problem I have is that there are many different types of skirts. Pencil, a-line, maxi, mini, midi – so many options! To combat this problem I have to step 1 – find some styles that I like (seen below) step 2 – try them out!

The Flouncy Skirt

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This one has perfect colors and perfect shape, the flounce adds a bit of flirty-ness while being ultra girly.

The Pencil Skirt

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Not always for work, this one is high waisted with a cool pattern. I love it paired with the crop top for those warm spring days.

The Knee Length Skirt

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Perfect for tea or work lunch, this longer skirt is flattering on most body types. The alternating panel and floral pattern on this one accentuates it’s movement and grace.

The Asymmetrical Skirt

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The trendy uneven hem on this one shows a little leg and adds a little spice to this skirt. The pattern is great for spring and can be paired with a button down for work or a tank for a day in the park!

The Weekender – Denver Edition

St. Paddy’s Day, is a day for imbibing. A day where you can drink or eat anything dyed green and it’s not weird. Green beer, green whipped cream, green bread (yep had it)  – everything goes. Funnily enough, the Saint, who we honor on this day, his color was blue, but we will let it slide. This giant green feast day has turned into a celebration worldwide, so we ventured out of SF to partake.

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Nate and I went to visit some friends/his cousins (cousin doesn’t do them justice) in Denver for this lovely green holiday – and Irish imbibers we became! In summary:

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After consuming as many crazy drinks as we could, we ate – huge burgers, from Park Burger. Everything you want in a burger and more, with loaded fries.

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Once we were fueled and done with the liquors we had a private tour of the Denver Zoo. Nate’s cousin Kate (rhyming intended) is a volunteer there and showed us the ropes.

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Stellar weekend, with stellar company in a stellar town makes for a happy girl, and an even happier couple who gets to go home and not imbibe ever, ever again.

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Love n’ Haight

Word on the street is that spring has sprung! The frozen tundra that was the east coast is slowly melting into a lovely oasis of green and sprouting buds. Hopefully most of the country can hang up their coats and put away their boots and get ready for the smooth transition into the spring months (cue birds chirping and bees buzzing).

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With spring comes music festival season and the flower crowns will be popping up here and there. I have yet to rock one, but I think this is my year. I love this DIY flower crown, but also love the look of the vintage jeweled crown. The jeweled crown is reminiscent of the 1920’s headpiece and I think the flower crown is our version, 90 years later.

Stuffed Pizza

In planning for my Chicago trip, there were three things I wanted to do once there – visit Willis Tower (check), see The Bean (double check) and eat deep dish Chicago style pizza – and boy did I!

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Chicago is the home of deep dish pizza and there are so many options to choose from! You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t, but I was) to know that deep dish pizza was invented in the kitchen at Pizzaria Uno (yeah that one) in the 1940’s. The first stuffed pizza (only differentiated from the deep dish by it’s deeper crust) was first made at Giordano’s in Chicago. So after going through all of the choices I decided oldest was best for me. I picked Giordano’s, from the expansive list of options because they were the first to make stuffed pizza and because I could walk there from my hotel.

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I’ve had deep dish pizza before, Little Star being my favorite in SF but this seemed different somehow – older, richer and pretty close to perfect!

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I got the Chicago Pizza that was stuffed with green peppers, onions, pepperoni and I added sausage (why I have no idea, the thing was huge already). And the combination of flavors was spot on.

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Having been the first to make this stuffed creation they’ve had time to perfect it. There was just the right amount of chunky sauce, in relation to toppings (or stuffings) and to cheese and crust.

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Perfect proportions make for perfect pizza, and I would eat it again right now if I could! After two pieces I put it back in the sturdy box and brought it on the plane so Nate could have some too – and he agrees – Chicago does it better!

Chi-town, IL

Sometimes I forget how cool a place the US is – not only for its most obvious reasons like the American Dream or the diversity that is the melting pot we call home, but also because there are some amazing places to visit in our own country. When I think vacation, I think somewhere really far away that I’ve never been before, with different cultures and histories – but I forget that there is a plethora (I’m patting myself on that back for using that bad boy) of cities in the US that offer just that.

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Chicago, a place I have never been before, is awesome. I have a soft spot for cities (Paris being my main squeeze) and I love how different they all are from each other, all unique with fascinating histories and stories to tell.

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Not the most pleasant sign to pass on the sidewalk

The Chicago that exists today, rose from the ashes of the 1871 fire (that wiped out three square miles of the city) and refused to give up. To this day, it has maintained its status as one of the largest and most successful cities in America.

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I was visiting for work – but I got to squeeze in a little sight-seeing and my first stop was the Skydeck at the top of Willis Tower. It’s the 8th tallest building in the world and the tallest in the western hemisphere and at the top you get to take in the 360 degree views of the city skyline.

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The main reason for visiting the Willis Tower is to step out onto the Skydeck. Which is a glass box that you stand in that extends 4 feet over the edge of the building. It’s like you are standing on air, and the views are incredible.

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After floating on air for a bit, I returned to Earth and walked down to Millenium Park – to The Bean. Probably my favorite thing in Chicago (well my favorite of the 8 square blocks I visited), The Bean – or the Cloud Gate – is a giant kidney bean shaped mirror sculpture that is said to have been inspired by liquid mercury. It’s placed perfectly to create distorted reflections of the Chicago skyline. And while the sunshine reflections are pretty the reference to mercury makes a lot of sense at night.

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For dinner I checked off stuffed pizza from my wish-list of things to do and went to Giordanos (more on that to come) after my stop at Topshop. My room was at the Intercontinental and while I have no pictures it was lovely. Classy but still modern, with a comfy bed and good water pressure – what more could a girl ask for?

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The next morning I had my meeting at Chicago Tribune and then I strolled the city again (this time in the daylight) before I flew home. The architecture is picturesque, it’s as beautiful as it is in the movies and if it hadn’t been 20 degrees I would have stayed longer. It would be great to go back, in warmer months, because I know that once all the snow melts the city will shine like the gem it is.

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Friday’s Favs

It was a busy whirlwind of a week: traveled to a different timezone, discovered what 20 degree weather feels like, realized that sour patch kids do not make a very decent dinner (as much as I would like them to) and that I am happy to be home. Chicago is a very cool place (pun intended) and pics on the awesome architecture and amazing pizza will be coming next week, but here are a couple snapshots from my week. All I can say is I am ready for the weekend, and so glad it’s not cold in SF! What are your weekend plans?

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{jalapeño cucumber margarita on national margarita day}

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{Fat Tuesday inspired parade on Fillmore}

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{the layers upon layers I wore in Chicago}

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{retro poster from the Chicago World’s Fair}

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{comfort food at its finest – have an amazing weekend!}

My Weakness

Topshop is my weakness you guys (ok, shopping in general is, but Topshop specifically). When I first stepped into one of their London stores I immediately fell in love. Over the years, I’ve tried to replicate that experience by shopping online, but nothing beats going into one and strolling around all of the gorgeous clothes and crazy accessories.

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I’ve been to Topshop in London, Paris, Edinburgh, New York, LA (I told you I was addicted) and now Chicago and I still can’t get enough. Every time I find one, I feel like I have to make up for lost time. I binge shop (because we don’t have one in SF) and come away with pricey items and a few more accessories than I planned on purchasing.

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I walked in an hour before they were closing, and instantly found 20 things that I wanted. I tried on some shirts and dresses and ended up with this beauty.

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I love the colors and bold print of this tunic. The floral pattern isn’t overwhelming and the neon makes it stand out. I’m going to pair it with thick leggings, black booties and arm candy.

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One thing (among many) that I love about Topshop is that they have such unique accessories. They have endless rows of necklaces and rings, bracelets and cuffs. I saw this tribal necklace and had to have it and the same goes for these rings. I’m trying out the midi ring because I love how they look, I just have to get over the feeling of it falling off my finger. I could have bought more, probably 5 other necklaces, but I refrained – until next time Topshop!

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Dear SF, please invite Topshop to come over and play, she would fit right in!