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Monday Merriment

Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Monday mornings with five things/ideas/events for the week:

I.  One of my favorite people recently moved from Southern California to Sea Cliff, where the weather oscillates from sundrenched to fog-bank daily.  To warm up his apartment and add an element of homey comfort, I decided to make a batch of Goat Cheese Popovers.  As the batter baked in the oven, the place filled with wafts of butter and herbs.  Jealous that my own apartment didn’t smell similarly delicious, I promptly drove home and made another batch for breakfast.

II.  It’s never too early in the week to start concocting cocktail recipes for the weekend (which clearly includes Thursday and some Wednesday lunches…).  While many of the ornate libations mixologists dream up are too tricky to recreate at home, I have a few go-to’s that are both delicious and pretty to sip on.  Lately, my favorite is this gorgeous orange-hued combination of tequila, soda, and a splash of Campari.  Garnish with a blood orange wedge for an added element of style.

III.  I’m a sucker for a view of San Francisco.  In fact, I’ve been known to sneak across the Bay Bridge solely to catch a glimpse of the sun gowning down over the city from the Oakland Hills.  The only thing that could top this would be the chance to watch the sun set, fall asleep under the stars, and wake up to the city skyline.  Luckily, 7x7 Magazine recently compiled a list of the Top Five Campgrounds in Northern California - turning my dream into a reality.  Topping the list, is the Angel Island campsite, boasting 360 degree views of everything surrounding the bay.  For more venues and tips for late-summer camping trips, check out Hipcamp!

IV.  Constantly on the hunt for unique hostess gifts, I recently stumbled upon this fantastic idea for a Breakfast in Bed Kit.  After serving an ornate dinner for a large group, the last thing anyone wants to do is get up in the morning and rummage around the kitchen to make breakfast.  Treat your hosts to a basket filled with goodies to brighten their morning: mugs, instant coffee, hot cocoa, tea, homemade waffle mix, parchment-lined muffin tins, and individual Grey Goose bottles for hangover curing Screw Drivers.  Package the items with personalized wrapping and tags from Paper Source.

V.  With the Opening Night of the Symphony just around the corner, I can think of little else. Topping my check-list for the decadent evening is the dress (of course).  While I typically go for classic gowns in jewel tones, this year I plan to achieve a different aesthetic by adding some edge. This black lace piece by ONE Femme D’armes, featuring a plunging back and double-layered bodice, is exactly what I had in mind.  Can’t wait to see all of your beautiful faces there!!

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt

Monday Merriment

Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Monday mornings with five things/ideas/events for the week:

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I. Marcel Proust enchanted me the moment I heard his rumination that “love is reciprocal torture.” The spectacularly melancholic French author is the subject of one of my summer reads How Proust Can Change Your Life.  The unusual self-help book breaks Proust’s musings into nine different ways to help you improve.  Among my favorite chapters: “How to Suffer Successfully” and ”How to Be Happy in Love.”  Coming in at just under two-hundred pages, I highly recommend fitting this witty masterpiece into your next day poolside.

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II.  An interior design friend recently posted this photograph of the entry to her home.  I instantly fell in love with the fresh topiary against the charcoal shingles.  To reproduce the aesthetic - purchase topiary (here online, or sift through your local Home Goods store for amazing deals) and place in black urns (obtain the exact urns pictured from Pacific Heights Place).  The look will add a dash of luxe indoor or out.

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III.  An extraordinarily simple way to add color and flavor to your dishes is to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil.  The aromatic cubes will quickly brighten staples like scrambled eggs, chicken breast, and pasta.  Freezing the herbs in oil prevents browning and freezer burn.  This method is best for rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage (mint and basil don’t turn out quite as well).  

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IV.  The thick fog today motivated me to stay inside and cook.  Craving something decadent, I decided on my Lobster Pot Pie.  To change things up a bit, I swapped the lobster meat for shrimp (but kept the lobster bisque filling).  I picked up eight large shrimp from the local butcher, who shelled and deveined them for me.  The only change to the recipe is to saute the shrimp for one minute per side in butter before adding the mushrooms, peas, parsley and sherry.  Flaky seafood pot pies in half an hour?  Yes, please!

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V.  If you haven’t experienced San Francisco’s Film Night in the Park, you’re seriously missing out. Kicking off the season with Ghostbusters and ending with American Hustle, the recurring event takes place during summer months in Washington Square Park, Dolores Park, and Union Square. You’ll find me on a blanket underneath the stars this Saturday for a viewing of the quintessential SF Steve McQueen flick, Bullitt.

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt

Monday Merriment

Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Monday mornings with five things/ideas/events for the week:

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I.  One of my dearest childhood friends got married this weekend on a gorgeous summer afternoon in Sonoma.  The portion of the wedding that inspired me the most were the self-written vows that the couple exchanged.  The honesty, love, and passion for one another was clear to everyone by the words and promises that they shared.  On the long drive home that evening, while perusing Instagram, I came across a company called BHLDN, specializing in all things wedding. These adorable Vow Journals reminded me of my friend and her beau.  I’m particularly smitten with the idea that the bride and groom can exchange the letterpress booklets post-ceremony.

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II.  On the topic of weddings, an adorable way to fete a bride-to-be (or birthday/baby shower/book club/any other girlish occasion) is with a bouquet-making class at San Francisco’s Studio Choo. The studio, started by best friends with a love for all things natural and wild, specializes in creating fresh seasonal arrangements from local bloom producers.  If you can’t pencil in a class, pick up their Flower Recipe Book, filled with genius how-to’s, flower care tips, and buying guides.

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III.  When I first moved to the city, I was blown away by the range of speakers procured by the famed Commonwealth Club.  The San Francisco institution has allowed me to access discussions with authors, scientists, Presidents, and movie stars.  The latest guest pairing to catch my eye is restaurant du jour Flour + Water’s Chef Thomas McNaughton and Adam Savage of Mythbusters. There are only a handful of tickets left, so if you aren’t already a member, jump on this unique opportunity today!

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IV.  In anticipation of the pasta guru’s Commonwealth Club appearance, I will be making a double batch of Five-Hour Bolognese for a dinner party this Thursday evening.  The sauce, inspired by my 2005 travels through Italy, is a combination of pork, beef, red and white wine, garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and tomato paste - tenderized by adding a cup of milk every twenty-minutes, which breaks down proteins and collagen in meat.  The mouthwatering result is well worth the effort, and particularly delicious when paired with homemade tagliatelle.

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V.  To stave off boredom while prepping your bolognese, stock up on titles from the Guilty Pleasure Summer Movies catalog from Vogue.  Editors from the cultural barometer of all things stylish assembled a list of their favorite film indulgences, that you can’t help but watch over and over again.  How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Now and Then, and Wet Hot American Summer (of course!) are my personal favorites within the collection.

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt

Monday Merriment

Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Monday mornings with five things/ideas/events for the week:

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I.  Isolated thunderstorms throughout the week in Lake Tahoe gave me an excuse to spend time in the kitchen last night prepping a batch of Morning Muffins to combat the gloom.  When I woke up today, I divided the batter into mini-muffin tins and after a few minutes in the oven, the entire cabin filled with wafts of cinnamon, vanilla, and molasses.  These breakfast treats are unexpectedly healthy given the bran and wheat germ, yet utterly delicious when perfectly paired with your coffee and (likely digital) newspaper.

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II.  Tonight we will be treated to several dozen shooting stars.  From midnight until a couple hours before dawn, particles from the Delta Aquarid meteor shower will enter Earth’s atmosphere traveling at speeds of more than 90,000 mph.  As they pass through, friction will create incandescent columns of gas that we will see as streaks of light.  This meteor shower will be particularly luminous because the moon is in a new phase, which will produce a darker sky.  If you can get far enough away from the city lights, up to 20 meteors an hour will be viewable before sunrise.

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III.  This weekend I was reminded that everything tastes better with bacon after sampling the new featured dish from Panda Express - Orange Chicken with Bacon.  Discussing the updated entree with a friend, I mentioned that even chocolate is improved with the favored ingredient.  My friend hadn’t heard of this and didn’t believe it existed, which required an immediate trip to Whole Foods to pick up a Chuao Maple Bacon Bar (described by the confectioner as “crisp bites of bacon drizzled with delicate maple and a sprinkle of bonfire smoked sea salt bathed in milk chocolate”). Continuing the trend, I decided to make chocolate covered bacon at home tonight using this ridiculously easy recipe.

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IV.  While perusing shops in Mill Valley, I recently discovered Seven on Locust.  The adorable store carries art, home wares, lifestyle products, clothing, and jewelry.  Heavily influenced by boutiques in Paris, owner Nadine Curtis curated an eclectic mix of style, products and price points. If you aren’t local, you can still order amazing pieces, like this Gold Patina Octopus Cuff, on the shop’s website.

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V.  As a long time city-dweller, I was shocked to learn that the San Francisco Asian Art Museum offers free admission the first Sunday of every month.  I haven’t been since my law school days at Hastings (around the corner from the museum), so with this Sunday being the first, it’s the perfect time to rediscover the 17,000 piece collection.

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt

Monday Merriment

Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Monday mornings with five things/ideas/events for the week:

I.  Two of my favorite people in the world recently moved to San Francisco from the East Coast - my childhood friend Jon and his nine-year-old son, Levi.  I was excited to show-off my culinary moxie when the handsome duo stopped by for dinner over the weekend.  While it seems that cooking for kids should be easy, unusual flavors like goat cheese and black truffle repel tiny palates.  Though the majority of my fare leans toward comfort food, it turns out that most of the recipes are laden with unfriendly ingredients.  To remedy this, I made roast lemon chicken sans lemon and chocolate layer cake with vanilla buttercream.  The simplicity of the flavors were both delicious and Levi-approved! 

II.  On the topic of opulence escaping youth, a friend recently sent me a blog lamenting the wildly ostentatious Restoration Hardware Baby & Child collection.  Aptly titled Warped Childhood, author Lindsay Ferrier’s article perfectly captures how ridiculous (and dangerous) most of the designs are for children.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the snarky reviews of lavish chandeliers and tufted cribs.  

III.  While exorbitantly-priced decor for tots is a source of humor, there is nothing funny about legendary designer Oscar de la Renta’s interiors collection.  Influenced by bold florals and exotic cloths from his atelier, ODLR teamed up with Lee Jofa to produce a mesmerizing display of decadence for your home.  I’m particularly excited to use the Kublai Khan print in green and berry for my Tahoe project.

IV.  There’s nothing better than summer nights spent with friends and family.  While the plethora of barbecues, firepit s’mores, and evening swims are more than adequate to keep me a happy girl - I decided to do a little research to find out what else I should be doing after the sun sets this season.  I was thrilled to find out that the Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco is hosting a series of wine tasting and classic movie-nights for free.  Find me at the Pretty Woman and Cline Viognier pairing July 29th.

V.  I love a chic bikini coverup as much as the next girl, but the practicality of the often-ornate designs leaves something to be desired when alternating between the pool and chaise lounge. Lighter than a bulky towel and easier to slip in and out of than an embellished tunic, these gorgeous over-sized scarves by Diane Katz are the ideal alternative.

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt