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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

Monday Merriment

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

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I.  In anticipation of house-guests this weekend, I stocked my fridge full of delicious ingredients for meals to cook together (and maybe a few bottles of wine…).  I’ve been craving Eggs en Cocotte, and decided it would be the perfect post-Fourth of July breakfast.  Much easier to make than its fancy name suggests, the dish is a baked combination of fresh herbs, bacon, parmesan, and eggs served in an adorable ramekin.  An added bonus is that you can prep the ramekins the day before so that the only thing you have to do, other than nurse your hangover, is pop them in the oven.

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II.  My mother recently tasked me with designing the interior of our home in Lake Tahoe.  The living room has an eastern facing wall completely comprised of windows, so we decided to draw in the pine tree view by using green in our color scheme.  While this sounds like it should be straight-forward, the majority of green-hued decor is more lime than emerald.  After perusing my go-to mainstream vendors and coming up empty handed, I turned to Etsy as a last resort.  I was delighted to find an Italian vendor specializing in handmade silk throw pillows, and selected complimentary dark green and cream Ikat prints for the sofa and chairs.  Priced much lower than anything I’ve found locally, I highly recommend checking out Textile Gallery the next time you have the urge to redecorate.

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III.  My cousin recently posted a photo of the kitchen he just installed, and I instantly fell in love with the contrasting espresso wood with the white chandelier.  While drum-shaded chandeliers are relatively common, I haven’t seen many in kitchens.  I love both this similar rectangle chandelier, and this more-affordable circular option.

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IV.  Thrillist just published a fantastic article highlighting the San Francisco Secrets You Didn’t Know Existed.  As a Bay Area native, I was sure that there would be nothing surprising about the suggestions, so I was excited when I realized that I never knew so many awesome things that our city has to offer - like The Cake Gallery, which makes these darling hamburger cupcakes (and anything else you can imagine).

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V. I hope that you will join me for a ridiculously fun evening of dinner, drinks, dancing, and the celebration of the 2014 Opening Night of the San Francisco Symphony on September 3rd.  This year, the Symphonix Dinner Party is revamped and better than ever, with live music during dinner, open bars, and delicious food all in the beautiful setting of San Francisco City Hall.  Don’t wait to purchase tickets - this amazing event never fails to sell out well before gala day.

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt

Monday Merriment

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

I.  With summer in full-swing and the holiday weekend just around the corner, I’ve been perusing old T&T posts for culinary inspiration.  When I landed on my recipe for Summer Corn Salad, I knew it was the perfect thing to serve my friends on Friday.  Grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, lemon, and bacon (yes!!!) combine to create the perfect warm-weather dish.  

II.  My best friend has epic taste in swimwear.  While I’m still rocking bikinis from Summer 2007, she has a new perfectly chic suit for every pool date we’ve scheduled this season.  Here are her top five go-to brands by genre.  Classic: L*Space.  Sexy: Beach Riot.  Whimsical: Mary Grace. Sporty: Billabong.  Editorial: Acacia.  There are still a few days left to rush order for the Fourth!

III.  One of the questions I’m most often asked is how to lend a splash of luxe to children’s parties. Unless you have both a Kimye budget and the desire to throw a baby version of Coachella, my advice is to focus on one aspect of the party for indulgence.  The Philippe Starck Lou Lou Mini-Ghost Chair pictured above is a perfect example.  Purchase here, or rent here.

IV.  I’m a huge fan of photographer du jour, Gray Malin.  Known for water scenes in bold colors, the artist captured the majority of his bird’s-eye-view pieces from helicopters hovering over the world’s most beautiful beaches.  While stalking Malin’s instagram, I came across a photo of his living room.  Instantly obsessed, I turned to Google to find out more about the design.  As luck would have it, One King’s Lane put together a feature on Malin’s home makeover with all the details needed to emulate the look.

V.  Mark your calender for July 16th, because the young professionals boards for the opera, symphony, ballet, and de Young/Legion of Honor are joining forces to throw a bash you won’t want to miss.  Find more details and RSVP for the Summer of the Arts party ASAP!

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.  I’m a sucker for lemonade.  I’m also a sucker for turning the ordinary into the opulent, which makes this rose infused lemonade perfect for my go-to warm-weather libation.  Equal parts beautiful and delicious, I’ll be serving the yellow/pink concoction poolside for the rest of the summer (with a splash of gin every now and then).  Tip: if you don’t have access to rose water, replace the ingredient with a teaspoon of rose extract from Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma.

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II.  Tight living spaces in the Bay Area leave many without formal dining rooms.  To accommodate dinner guests, one option is to turn counters into eating areas via tall chairs.  While shopping for saffron and truffle oil at Cost Plus (half the price of the grocery store), I found these ridiculously chic barstools.  Distressed wood combined with luxe velvet will instantly transform your kitchen into an elegant dining area.  If black velvet isn’t what you please (couldn’t help myself), the stools also come in baby blue, cocoa, orange, beige linen, turquoise, hot pink,  charcoal, and sage.

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III.  While extreme weather fluctuation has me craving comfort foods, we’re still in the midst of bikini season.  In an effort to avoid wearing a mumu for Fourth of July weekend, I’m filling my fridge with fresh vegetables.  Though technically healthy, my favorite Black Bean Shredded Chicken Salad is so scrumptious it feels like an indulgence.  Comprised of peppery arugula, cherry tomatoes, avocado, green onion, black beans, and shredded chicken breast, the meal comes together in minutes, which is ideal for weeknights.  Toss in crumbled goat cheese if you’re feeling naughty.

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IV.  Ladies (and stylish gentlemen), you can now purchase a ring that vibrates when you receive a text, email, retweet, fb notification, etc.  While I’ll admit that it’s genius, I’m not sure how I feel about this practically.  The company, Ringly, states that the purpose is for social etiquette - so that you don’t have to keep your phone out when you’re with other people.  I have a few problems with this reasoning.  First, how is it any less rude for your finger to light up and vibrate, prompting you to pull your phone out?  Second, the device will undoubtedly take smart phone addiction to an entirely new level.  Rather than staring at our phones waiting for a boy to text or client to return an email, we’ll be staring at our mildly attractive rings.  Creepy.  

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V.  Procuring affordable party decor can be a challenge, particularly if you’re hoping to fill a large space like a ballroom or wedding ceremony aisle.  Recently, ginormous balloons attached to colorful streamers have littered my Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds.  I decided to investigate, and found several options on Etsy and DIY blogs.  I can’t wait to incorporate them into my next event!!

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt