Sunday, August 20, 2017

travelogue ~ portland, oregon.

Coming late to this, but I wanted to be sure to update with a Portland, Oregon post! Ben and I went up to Portland in June to celebrate our 1st anniversary. In fact, we were supposed to go in February to celebrate our birthdays but we had to cancel because of work and that turned out for the best because Portland in June is gorgeous. We had such a great weekend.

We loved Portland. It is cool and funky and friendly and easy. Here is some of what we did and additional recommendations at the bottom from our lists that we have been keeping but didn't have enough time to get to...

We flew up after work on Friday and went straight from the airport to dinner - luggage in tow. For this first dinner, we went with St. Jack in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood. It was a great little restaurant and we had a solid meal. Saturday morning we headed to breakfast and then grabbed a Lyft and crossed town to Nob Hill to window shop and check out the neighborhood. We tried coffee at Barista Coffee and tried Salt and Straw Ice Cream.

And from here, we walked ourselves over to the Pearl District and grabbed some afternoon beers at 10 Barrel on the rooftop. It was a gorgeous day for walking the city and that we did.

We then kept moving and headed for Maurice - the sweetest little restaurant right at the edge of Pearl District. We grabbed some lunch there. How charming is this restaurant and how beautiful this bowl of cold soup was?!

We of course made a stop at Powell's Book Store - which was awesome. And with that, we wandered back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.

Dinner on Saturday was at Ava Gene's - a beautiful, cool restaurant putting out fantastic food and phenomenal service. It feels neighborhoody and charming and we would definitely recommend it!

On Sunday, we made the most of the half day we had left in PDX. First, we headed over to Pine State Biscuits for a super decadent and full breakfast of biscuits and eggs!  We made sure to stop into the Stump town at the Ace Hotel for a cup of coffee and so both of us could get some quick work done. And then we made a pilgrimage to the original Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co store where we bought ourselves our first anniversary present we had had our eye on! And finally, we hustled over to the Japanese Garden and checked out the Rose Gardens. And that about sums up a whirlwind less than two days in Portland. We can't wait to go back at some point, we felt like we barely scratched the surface, not to mention we would love to get to the coast....

Restaurants: TuskAfuri JackrabbitCoquineOxNostranaAtaulaLucLac Pok Pok NoiLe Pigeon 

Coffee: Coava / Heart

Drink: Expatriate

Breakfast-Brunch: Tasty and Alder / Adler & CoByways Cafe (local stop)

Links to Articles: 36 Hours in Portland

Thursday, August 10, 2017

paced out.

It's the home stretch on this week and Ben's parents are coming to town tomorrow for a quick visit. We are taking them to Napa and Sonoma and I'm already looking forward to the warmer weather (90s!) and some good meals! And to help finish out the week, here are some links I thought might be of interest!

  • We got this bag for Ben's Mom for her birthday coming up as the perfect beach bag to carry towels, snacks, a book and more - we are going to fill it with beach essentials for her upcoming Maine trip! 
  • Ben got us hooked to this show, This is Us, on NBC. Mandy Moore is back and it's like a big old romantic comedy wrapped into 18 episodes! You can get a month free of Hulu and plow through it like us. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Have you ever bought anything from Boden? I get their catalogue every month, and every month I flip through and see one or two things that I like, but I have never followed through. This dress and silk shirt caught my eye last night going through the latest, aren't they great?!

Monday, August 7, 2017

face time.

The best gifts are the ones you would never buy for yourself and you love them so much, you end up buying them for yourself after that. My two best examples are the Earth tu Face Serum that Hannah got me for my birthday this year and the Confidence in a Cream face lotion that Alison gave me. I love them both (and apparently I was in need of some face products and treatment)! The Serum is lovely. It smells and feels like a spa on my face for a couple minutes every day. And the face lotion is buttery and cooling - I actually look forward to lotioning my face.

I have never been good at taking care of my face and skin and honestly a lot of times at night I am so tired and lazy that I end up going straight to bed. But turns out some amazing products can also be just the kind of motivation you need. In short, if you are looking for a serum or face lotion, would recommend them both - all thanks to Hannah & Alison!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

rich girl.

I have been playing this cover on repeat for the last week, thought you all might enjoy too! Now I am just waiting for Lake Street Dive to come through SF on tour....

Sunday, July 23, 2017

to watch.

Are you all watching The Handmaid's Tale? Ben and I started watching last week when we had nothing else, and wow, it is good. And talk about timely, it definitely hits close to home. The acting is fantastic and while I know I read the book a long while back, I don't remember much of it, and the storyline will hook you from the start! We would both recommend it, just brace yourself!

Oh yeah, and if you don't have Hulu, you can sign up for the first month free and binge like we are!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


A colleague at work has this Everlane blouse and it is beautiful. In fact, she loves it so much she has it in white, black and rose! Isn't it simple and lovely? They are currently sold out in my size, but she told me that regularly happens, so I am just checking and waiting for it to come back in stock to buy my own in white...and just thought you might like it too!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I plowed through this biography, Bobby Kennedy, The Making of a Liberal Icon, in Michigan last week. This is the fourth book I've read about Bobby, I am unabashedly a big fan of Camelot. This was a brilliant read. Fair and circumspect and full of super interesting detail from his work for McCarthy, on Congressional committees and of course later as AG, Senator and candidate. If you're looking for a profile of a complicated and contradictory figure while at the same time inspiring and genius - a strong dose of Kennedy can do that for you!

Monday, July 10, 2017


We are just back from Walloon and getting back into the routine. Ben and I headed up for the 4th of July week and overlapped with my Mom for a couple days. It was Michigan at her best. We had great weather, mornings on the dock drinking coffee, grilling every night with ice cream in Walloon and otherwise just a full week of relaxing. We're bias but there is truly no better place in the world, if you ask us!

Monday, June 12, 2017

star struck.

I went down to Los Angeles this weekend for some much needed QT with Ali and it was the perfect getaway weekend with my first lady! I had never spent any time in LA and the city is just cool. It also helped that Ali grew up there and has recently moved back and has the pulse on the city and is the ultimate host.

We packed in a lot in 48 hours. And that included a dinner in Santa Monica at a small little Italian restaurant (that only Ali and her sister, Emily, would know to take us to) and it just so happened that Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were there, as well as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga! It was epic. And here are some of the other highlights in case you are interested - hat-tip to Ali on all of them....

  • SQIRL ~ Breakfast - they are not kidding around about the ricotta toast at this place!
  • Cafe Stella ~ Dinner - perfectly french cafe tucked in the very cool Silver Lake neighborhood. 
  • The Farmer's Market ~ Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner - super cool and the original outdoor market in LA - you can wander the stalls. We got tacos at La Lotteria and they hit the spot!
  • Giorgio Baldi ~ Dinner - little Italian place on a corner in Santa Monica and turns out is a gold mine! 
  • Lincoln Pasadena ~ Breakfast/Lunch - super cool cafe with indoor and outdoor seating and perfect for a laid back bite (bonus: super cute looking store as well to window shop after!). 
On Saturday, we also ended up on quite the hike to get up and behind the Hollywood sign. It was a true hike, if you're interested, we hiked up Cahuenga Peak and then over to Mount Lee - more or less this same hike. And on Sunday, Ali and I went to check out the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Damn - that is huge and overwhelming. 

Not pictured and listed are drives through West Hollywood, Larchmont neighborhood and Brentwood. I also got to finally meet Ali's niece, Charlotte and catch up with Emily and Roy. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

rocked out.

It has been a long DIY hiatus for me. I haven't had a lot of motivation and our place also is small and there really haven't been projects to do. Except for one. When Grandpolly died this rocking chair was something she passed down to me. The story I always heard about the chair is that some of my grandfather's patients who couldn't pay their bills used to pay him with what they could, and this rocking chair was one of them. Apparently, one of his poorer patients was a woodworker and made this rocking chair to pay his medical bill. Is it true? Not sure - but I like the sounds of it and it makes me love it more. Anyway, a couple years ago, my Mom was in a rush to get it out of her house, so it made the trek to DC and then made the move with us to SF. Since getting out here last year, it has sat in a corner just staring me down. In addition to needing to be reupholstered, I also need to find someone to make a new seat (note the garbage bag wrapped seat) and that's because the seat (and I am worried maybe the whole thing) is stuffed with straw. That shows how old this beauty is...

So, step 1 - I just ordered some fabric samples and emailed an upholsterer in SF to see how much we are talking. And in the meantime, any thoughts, suggestions? You'll see that the back of the chair is also upholstered, so could even do a coordinating but different fabric on the back? I want to do something simple and classic but welcome ideas!

Friday, June 2, 2017

weekend warrior.

I swear I'm not avoiding you - I just haven't been able to keep up with everything of late. But not to worry - lots of updates coming. This giant eyeball is from a quick trip to Dallas last week - how cool is that?

And in the meantime, happy weekend and some links to distract you for a little while - be back soon!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

special counsel.

What a week. If you're in need of some faith and to be reminded that integrity is still alive in the world, this Politico piece - What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey - is the read of my week (hat tip to Ben for this one). Highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

basket case.

I've had my eye out for some cool baskets, both for the top of our bookshelves but also as a catchall for blankets and throws. Right after we said goodbye to Emmy and Raffi in Santa Fe a couple weeks ago, we wandered by a random corner store and happened upon some baskets that I was loving and picked up this one - it was cheap and I love the color and it reminds me of Santa Fe - so win - win - win.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

travelogue ~ santa fe.

Two weekends ago, we made a quick trip to Santa Fe for some quality time with Emmy and Raffi (see previous post here). Emmy and Raffi had to be in Vegas for work and a couple months ago they suggested we pick a place and tack on a weekend while they were out west - we somehow landed on Santa Fe! It turned out to be quite the weekend because Raffi proposed to Emmy in Santa Fe the night before Ben and I got there, so we celebrated, admired Emmy's ring and talked all things wedding. It also turned out to be a very bizarre weather weekend - it snowed 8 inches on Saturday and had melted by Sunday morning. Nonetheless, we had a great time together and here is some of what we did...

But first, these two...

We swung through the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. It is small and if you have more time, you might consider going out to her house and studio, but we didn't have time - and for folks interested, this still provides a nice introduction and overview of O'Keefe's life and some of her work. 

We mosied down Canyon Road for a couple hours on Saturday (in the snow!). Canyon Road is lined with galleries and you can just wander in and out looking at amazing art. And on a beautiful day, it would be even more wonderful...

We also wandered around Santa Fe and the plaza. And I finally replaced a silver cuff bracelet I lost last year from one of the artisans at the plaza square.

And on Sunday, Emmy suggested we take a quick walk up Hillside Park to get a view of the surroundings. The park is just north of the main plaza.

Raffi and Emmy left late Sunday morning and Ben and i headed over to the Four Seasons because we needed to get a run in and wanted to relax. For those wondering, they have a great spa situation - we used the gym and sauna and grabbed a quick lunch with views of Santa Fe. Including below restaurants and other spots that we had pulled together while planning the weekend in case you are headed there any time soon. We stayed in this AirBnb just outside Santa Fe which worked out great. It was a wonderful weekend getaway.

Restaurants: Geronimo / Eloisa / Joseph's / Izanami / The Shed / Shake Foundation / The Pantry / Pasqual's 

Coffee: Ohori's Coffee

Bars/Cocktails: Secreto Lounge / Bell Tower Bar

Spas: Ten Thousand WavesFour Seasons

Activities: Canyon Road / Santa Fe Plaza-Square / Georgia O'Keefe Museum / Bandelier National Monument / Santuaro de Chimayo /

Articles/Links: NYTimes 36 Hours

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

option b.

We went to Santa Fe this past weekend (more on that soon!) and I took advantage of the plane time to read Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Hope by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I cried through parts of it in my plane seat and while my expectations were low, it far exceeded. Sheryl's personal anectdotes are heart-breaking and the other stories threaded throughout well chosen. It isn't a happy read, but I absolutely recommend it for the next time you need a break from your fiction - it is candid and honest and practical.

Friday, April 21, 2017

friday. friday.

Happy Friday! What is everyone doing this weekend? Last weekend, we hung out with Sarah and Dave who were in town for a visit and they brought us these awesome flowers...aren't they cool? Hope you have a great weekend and including some links below in case they are of interest....
  • We had a couple minutes to kill before the HRW event on Wednesday and we walked through the West Elm in Palo Alto. I was to report back that their outdoor pillow collection is killing it. I basically stood there and hugged the pillows for a couple minutes.  Example 1, Example 2, and Example 3
  • Ben and I watched Dave Chappelle's new stand-up on Netflix a couple weeks ago and who knew Chappelle is so funny? Apparently, everyone. And turns out on top of being funny - he is smart AF and interesting. Ben sent me this NYTimes piece from yesterday, great read!

juvenile justice.

Wednesday night, Ben and I went to a film screening and discussion hosted by Human Rights Watch focused on juvenile sentencing and justice issues. The film, They Call Us Monsters, is a powerful statement about what we are doing to children who have committed crimes and the ripple effects more broadly.

Elizabeth Calvin, at HRW, heads up the Children's Rights Division and has worked tirelessly over the decades to help pass legislation to provide more protections and hope for these minors. I had no idea that currently in California, kids can be taken out of school without informing the police and interrogated by police without their parents present. Last year, in large part thanks to Elizabeth, the California legislature pushed through a bill (Senate Bill 1052) that would ensure that before an interrogation, youth are talked to by an attorney to understand their Miranda rights before they waive them. Of course this makes sense. How does a child understand what giving up your Miranda rights means for them. It is hard enough for an adult to understand this and not succumb to the pressure of a police officer, let alone a child.  The bill passed the legislature last year, but unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed it. The plan is to reintroduce the same (or very similar) bill again this year.

The film and discussion were interesting to say the least and it is an issue we hear about peripherally but I definitely wasn't aware of the details and just how slow progress has been on these issues.

If you are interested, the trailer to the film and also the short HRW video about the senate bill are below. Powerful stuff.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

pod time.

Have you all heard about the podcast Missing Richard Simmons? Three people have now separately recommended it, so I finally downloaded it this morning and am planning on giving the first episode a listen later today. Apparently, Richard Simmons disappeared in 2014, and it is also quite the interesting background and profile of Simmons. I'll let you know how it is!

Monday, April 17, 2017

planning it out.

We are going to Santa Fe in two weeks for a quick weekend trip with Emmy and Raffi!

We had planned this a couple months ago and while our time on the ground will be short, we are planning to pack in a lot. I've been to Santa Fe once, a long time ago, and I remember it being awesome but don't recall any of the specifics. Any suggestions?! Here is some of what we are planning right now, but welcome recommendations and I will be sure to report back with a full travelogue after!
  • Georgia O'Keefe Museum
  • Canyon Road to peruse galleries and shops
  • Santa Fe Plaza/Square
  • The Pantry for breakfast
  • The Shed for lunch
  • Eloisa or Joseph's for dinner
  • Secreto Lounge for cocktails
What else should we do? 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

the underground railroad.

Just finished The Underground Railroad and I do think it lived up to it's hype. Colson Whitehead writes with style and suspense that hooks into the story and his narrative of a piece of American history that we all are familiar with but probably don't really know makes the pages turn themselves. It is no wonder, it was just announced that the book won the Pulitzer for Fiction, and that comes after the National Book Award earlier this year.

Friday, April 14, 2017

real talk.

Have you all seen the news and updates about Sheryl Sandberg's new book - Option B - Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy?  I read a snippet of the book today (click here for a featured excerpt) and I read this longer Time piece last night before bed that is incredibly moving and worth the read.

All this got me thinking about how grateful I am to my Mom. She talks a lot about death and sickness, pain and suffering - and she always has. Yes, it was always part of her job and profession - ministry is of course inextricably linked to questions and discussion about death and dying and she is also deeply interested in and talks about death with ease. At times it can be a bit much. But, as a result and I am so thankful for it, I feel very comfortable in conversations about death. I don't avoid the topics or situations. It isn't at all something to brag about, but I do think our generation in particular, doesn't know how to talk about it or really handle these situations and I feel like I really know how to handle and approach it all.

Growing up, after church every Sunday, we visited the nursing home. Our family dinner conversations and day time phone calls to this day with my Mom are sprinkled with updates about funerals or sick people or someone who is about to die. And some of the best advice on what to say and how to handle these situations was coached to us by Mom when we were children. For example...

What is the best and only thing you should say to someone initially after a death or a diagnosis or a tragic situation? 
  • I am so sorry. (Plain and simple)
What is the last sensory to go when someone is dying? And why is that important? 
  • Their hearing. So, when you're in a hospital room, don't talk about a person in the third person right in front of them, or about their condition - talk with them and to them like they are there in the room - because they are and you don't know what the last thing they will hear is. 
Write a will. Write a will. Write a will!
  • Both my parents can talk about this ad nauseam. The questions, complications, drama and just deep emotional toll and trauma that you can't predict and that is caused when a person does not have a will and it is left to family members to decide can be devastating - not just the possessions but your basic end of life preferences, even some guidelines about what you would want for a funeral (I just want lots of eulogies and storytelling for the record!). Do everyone a favor. Write it down. 
What is a good gift for someone in the hospital? 
  • What you should bring the person you are visiting in the hospital - well, that should be personal. You can't go wrong with a blanket for whoever is sitting in the chair next to them since hospitals are always so cold and impersonal? But, you know what you should really do, bring some donuts, cupcakes or treats for the nurses and doctors. At the end of the day, you want the best care for the person, and a little something to draw the nurses back into the room for a little extra attention - that goes a long way!
These are just some of the things my Mom taught us to go along with the forever intangible of just being comfortable sitting in silence when needed and confronting head on the most terrible parts of life. Thanks Mom!