Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jovovich-Hawk for Target

The Jovovich-Hawk line for Target comes out on Sunday (March 2).
I'm definitely planning to check it out. You can see their vintage-feel,
bohemian influence in many of the pieces.

Cute items in black and white. I especially like the V-striped shirt on
the right.

I'm not sure about these pieces as they might not work so well
in person, but I have been looking for a big floppy hat lately and
the espadrilles work well with a lot of the fun, flirty dresses.

Sale Item of the Day

Cute brightly colored suede knotted ballet flats from the Gap (on sale for $27.99). I
just can't decide which color I like best.. What do you think orange or yellow?

Currently loving

Sally Hansen, Pat on the Black nail lacquer. It's actually a very very
deep purple that looks almost, but not quite black. I'm not all that
skilled at the polish application so I have to watch out not to look like
an 8 year old did my nails, but if I go real slow it looks almost decent.

Next I'm thinking about trying the opposite end of the spectrum, All
the White Stuff (love that movie by the way).


I came across these rather cool "camouflage" images by Desiree Palmen today. Clothing
that helps you blend into your surroundings, rather than making you stand out...

Monday, February 25, 2008

White Elephant Sale

I am planning to attend Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale this Saturday.
The event is a giant rummage sale, with 17 departments scattered across a
96,000-square-foot warehouse and all proceeds going to the Oakland Museum.
I predict lots of digging through junk, but hope to come across a few treasures
in the process.

From the website:

"The impressive straw–into-gold history of the White Elephant Sale, the
primary source of the Oakland Museum Women’s Board funds, began in 1959
with a sale that grossed $500. Since then, everything from a pony to paintings
to pianos has been sold at this incredible rummage sale event."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

DIY project - skeleton key necklace

The other day while browsing through Candystore, a fun boutique in the
Mission, I saw the cutest necklaces from Ann Marie jewelry. There were
a variety of skeleton keys cast in sterling silver hanging on delicate silver
and gold chains. But, since I so rarely wear jewelry I couldn't really justify
the $130+ price tags.

I also figured that this might be a project that I could do myself... So, I've been
browsing eBay for old skeleton keys. There seem to be a wide variety if you just
do a search for "skeleton key". I'm hoping to find something about 3 inches long
in silver, but there are also lots of cheap and interesting looking options in brass,
steel, or iron. My favorite so far is the first picture of an antique steel key from
Sargent & Co, 1888.


Today are the Oscars! Quite exciting. I am attending an Oscar bash at
the Cerrito speakeasy theatre, a fun theatre where they serve food, and
beer, and where you can watch a flick while lounging on a comfy couch.
It should be a lot of fun with trivia, contests and prizes. So, if any of you
in the Bay Area are looking for a last minute place to watch the awards,
come on out.

The ticket says "festive attire requested" so I'm toying with a few fun
outfit ideas. I'll try to post an outfit picture later. I can't wait to see all
the fabulous gowns! That's practically my favorite part. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Awful Shoe of the Day

I don't know about you, but I just find something about these Steve
Madden Bersh shoes
horrendous. It almost looks like they cut two
different shoes in half and pasted them together.

Bistro Style Dinner

My brother and I decided to whip up a bistro style french dinner with the
spoils I brought back from France (whole truffles and foie gras from
Comtesse du Barry).

On the menu was:

Roasted whole chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil cooked at high heat
to give it a bit of a crispity crunch.

Goose Foie Gras with olives, goat cheese, cornichons and a baguette - the
foie gras was rich, smooth and absolutely amazing!

We also tried out a few recipes from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook (which
was a great Christmas present from my bro. so far I'm loving it!):

Bibb lettuce and fresh herb salad with lemon and red wine vinegrette.

Truffled Macaroni au gratin (a fancy way of describing good old macaroni 'n
cheese). The one thing I recommend most to make a really special mac 'n
cheese is to prepare fresh bread crumbs yourself instead of using store
bought. It makes a huge difference in the topping consistency and is really
simple to do. Just pulse your favorite baguette in a cuisinart and sprinkle
liberally over top. You can even lightly cook the bread crumbs in a bit of
butter before topping for a superb buttery crunch.

We were less impressed with the truffles than the foie gras. They seemed to
be slightly preserved and had lost a lot of that really intense truffle flavor in
the process.

The next recipe I am planning to try from the bouchon cookbook is confit du
canard. We had a mouthwatering, so soft it's falling off the bone version
in Paris that I would like to try to recreate.

Saturday, February 16, 2008



As I said before, prices in London were absolutely crazy. So, I didn't buy much
but I had to pick up some Paddington bears because they are just adorable!
Hailing from deepest darkest Peru by way of Paddington Station, one of these
is a present for a dear friend's 2 year old daughter, and the other is all mine.

I also picked up a bunch of random souvenirs, a cloth tote, pencil case and
gummy bears from Harrods as well as a tube pencil case. The tube is so efficient
and effective, much better than the BART that I'm used to in San Francisco. We
never had to wait longer than 5 minutes and getting around the city was a breeze.


Our days in the city of lights were all about shopping and eating. We managed to
hit the very tail end of Les Soldes (the sales) so everything from last season and
I mean everything in the stores was marked down 2 or even 3 times into the
almost affordable range. I think we get mark-downs of this magnitude in San
Francisco where I normally shop, but since the sales are governmentally regulated
in France to happen only twice a year, you just get the discounts all at once rather
than spread out more evenly over the year.

For fun I wandered into lots of very luxe stores that I wouldn't normally shop at:
Dior, Yves Saint Laurent (where I fell in love with a smashing purse, but just
couldn't justify the 600 Euro -- on sale! -- price tag), Channel, Hermes (this was a
huge store full of mostly foreign shoppers looking at cases full of scarves and
breathtaking purses galore), Louis Vuitton and Mulberry -- where I watched a
young British girl buy two 700+ Euro purses in a snap decision. Her boyfriend's only
comment was "Are you sure?" to which she quite quickly replied "Yes, yes I am!"
before whipping out her credit card.

For my brother, the amateur chef, I picked up some yummy goodies at a very nice
specialty foods store, La Comtesse du Barry, making foie gras and other delicious
goods since 1908. I got him a small can of foie gras and 2 medium sized truffles. More
on the results of this in a post soon!

For my good friend K I got a fun apron.

And, for another friend we got a box of chocolates from Laduree, a marvelous
tea and chocolate shop chain. They had one of these shops in Harrods and it was
the cutest little shop all decorated in pink and green. I tried to take a photo, but as
I pulled out my camera a waiter told me that they don't allow photographs. Doh!

By the time we arrived in Paris the sales were pretty picked over since it was the very
end of sale season. However, my goal was to get a few really special items that I really
loved rather than a bunch of random pieces. After several days of tromping around to
every store imaginable, I think I succeeded.

I purchased two things for myself in Paris. The first was this bubble shaped coat from
Joseph. This is actually a UK based brand and I picked it up at Les Galleries Lafayette,
an enormous 3 building, 7 floor department store. I fell in love with the rounded shape
and giant satin buttons. It's actually quite fitted on top and only flares out near the
bottom. I worry a little bit that this cocoon shape will be out of style next season but I
just liked it too much to pass it by. And, I got a great deal at 75% off!

If you're ever shopping in Paris I definitely recommend looking into getting the taxes
reimbursed. It's called detaxe and all of the stores seem to have the forms on hand.
You just fill them out in the store, get them stamped at customs on your way out of the
country and then mail them back in and they reimburse you on your credit card.

On my recurring food theme (seems to pop up a lot doesn't it?) we had the most
amazing macarons from Pierre Herme including vanilla, pistachio and rose water.
As we were sitting in a cafe nearby sipping our cafe cremes and eating our pastries
I overheard some chic french girls commenting on the macarons and wondering
where we got them. :) They were also browsing a pamphlet about the newest line from
Paule Ka whose clothes are pretty fabulous. I later almost bought a purse from Paule
Ka, but it just wasn't quite perfect enough. I was looking for a grey purse, and it was
sort of more of a blue grey without a zipper on top and with a magnetic clasp that
seemed to be losing it's grip. I'm glad I held off because I managed to find this one
later that evening just as I was about to give up for the day!

This was the other item I bought for myself in Paris, a gorgeous subtly metallic purse
from Sonia Rykiel, the so called "queen of knits". The color is called anthracite and it's
metallic without being overly shiny, perfect to wear for day or night. I love that this purse
looks appropriate with anything from jeans to dresses. There is quite a bit of special
detailing on the purse including some beautiful stitching, a fun clasp in front, and a
scalloped pocket in the back. The cutest part is this little coccinelle (lady bug) on the inside
flap. They're supposed to be good luck. This one I got discounted by about 57%.

That was all I bought, but other unique places I managed to make it into included Colette
which my shopping guide claimed was THE boutique for trend spotting. There certainly
were a lot of quite trendily dressed people in there. I don't think I've ever been in a store
with so many people wandering around. They had loud beats playing in the background
and extremeley beautiful clothing and accessories.

I also went into the Herve Leger store. I had never seen one of his bandage dresses in
the flesh before so I couldn't pass up my chance. There were quite a few of them on sale,
but I had just come from a very yummy and filling lunch so I didn't dare try any of these
body conscious beauties on, but they were gorgeous none the less.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I fell in love with Paris all over again as soon as I stepped off the train from London.
First off, the train ride through the chunnel was pretty cool -- it only took 20 minutes
to cross under all that water (over 31 miles!). Those trains sure zip along.

Here are some of the fun sights we saw in Paris as we spent our days shopping and
wandering around taking in the magnificence of the city. I promise the next post
will be more fashion focused and I'll let you in on my fab purchases!

We stayed at the Hotel Luxembourg Observatoire on the left bank near the
Luxembourg gardens where these two photos were taken. It was a really nice
location, right on the RER line with an express train to the airport, and within
walking distance to many interesting sites including the Louvre and AMAZING
shopping! This is the only other place I've seen these crazy looking nobby trees
besides Berkeley. The nobbiness comes from the way they are trimmed each

It rained one of the days we spent in Paris (though it was sunny and dry almost the
whole time we were in London -- crazy eh?). If you look closely you can see the
gargoyles spitting rain water.

The Louvre at night. We didn't manage a trip in as we had serious shopping on
our agenda, but we did wander past several times as it was near our hotel. One of
these days I'm going to finally brave the crowds.

These were all taken at a beautiful open air market on the Rue Mouffetard. The
wares were simply breathtaking, from meat and seafood (what is an oursin by the
way and how do you eat it?), to vegetables, cheeses, wine, and the most amazing
pastries I've ever eaten. Oh baguettes, croissants and tartes how I love thee. If
you're ever in the area I definitely recommend the tarte citron. C'est absolument
parfait! We also enjoyed quite a good confit de canard at a little restaurant near
the market, but how can you go wrong with duck cooked in fat?

Statues taking a little afternoon dip in the fountain.

I spotted these hanging pots outside a cafe near our hotel. I suppose that's a fun
use for your old pots. :) We also enjoyed a very good meal at Willi's Wine Bar, and an
old world experience at La Closerie des Lilas, open since 1847 and complete with
pianist and a very attentive (non-English speaking) waitstaff. It gave me a good
chance to finally try out my rusty French since it seemed that everywhere else we
went everyone spoke English and were quick to whisk out their english menus --
something that bothered me a bit. My goal was to go to a restaurant where they
didn't have an English menu and here I finally succeeded. I would love to spend a few
years in the romance that is Paris, getting to know the city and hopefully getting my
french into a more usable state.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I apologize for the long absence. We had an amazing time in London and Paris
only to return to a crazy busy week at work, and then a nasty cold that put me
into bed for the past few days. I'm feeling a little better now. So, things should
be returning to normal. The trip was filled with so many fabulous things that I'm
having trouble deciding what to start with.

We spent the first 4 days of our vacation in London. Here are a TON of touristy
snaps from that half of the trip.

This was an amazing cheese shop that we stumbled upon. I think it's Neal's Yard
in Covent Garden. There were stacks and stacks of giant rounds of cheese
and the smell as you walked by the door was pure yummy stinky cheese...

A few views along the Thames. It strikes me every time I go how much older
and more magestic the buildings are in Europe than the US.

Paddington Station and the Paddington Bear stand. Mmm I could do with some
marmelade about now.

The mecca that is the Harrod's store. I had never been inside before. It is HUGE!
Any department store that sells saddles and riding harnesses is ok by me! ;) I
didn't really purchase much on the London part of our trip, except a few souvenir
type things from Harrods and a few Paddington bears (more about this later). The
pound is just so strong right now and prices so much higher than in the US that I
couldn't bring myself to buy. I did do some browsing in TopShop and other high
street stores which was a lot of fun. I also went into Karen Millen on the off chance
that this cute yellow purse would be on sale, but no such luck.

I wandered by this display at Harvey Nichols. It was a bit of a romantic dreamscape.
Temporary tattoos featured prominantly on a bunch of the manikins.

I spent a few hours wandering through Hyde Park one afternoon. I loved that
there were lots of parks scattered through London. We rented a tiny little studio
apartment in Highgate, a rather posh area of London. Because of the time
change we woke up most days around 4am (only to feel like zombies later in the
day). We spent a few mornings jogging through Hampstead Heath. The first
morning was extremely dark and foggy and a bit eerie. Did I mention it was
dark? It was VERY dark and the sun didn't make an appearance until about 8am.
So, I'm not exactly sure what the Heath looks like in daylight, but from what I
could tell by moonlight it must be quite beautiful.

The requisite red double decker buses and telephone booths.

Outside the National Gallery. They were steam cleaning the square and I thought
that the steam rising up to envelope the lions looked rather cool.

Big Ben from afar.

The London Eye. We didn't go up in it this time, but we did about a year and a
half ago and it was a breathtaking view of the city.

More Big Ben pictures, at night.

One thing that was rather neat was that the first morning as we left for our jog around 6am
we saw a milkman making his rounds in Highgate where we were staying. He was driving
a little white truck, picking up empties and dropping off little glass bottles of milk. How
awesome is that?

As for the food, we had a few nice meals, including one rather yummy lunch at Mon Plaisir,
London's oldest french restaurant. They have a prix fixe that is pretty reasonable and the
desserts are scrumptious! We also had great fish and chips at the Flask pub, right down the
street from where we were staying. Unfortunately they were all out of the Sunday roast
which is supposed to be good.