31 January 2012

Tuesday Quick Tip - Frownies Facial Pads

image via Frownies

Thought it was about time for another Tuesday Quick Tip. I was organizing my bathroom last week and found two boxes of Frownies facial pads and thought it would be a great time to pull them out and start using them again.

Frownies are an old-school wrinkle treatment that apparently has been very popular in Hollywood and for others who are in the public limelight for decades. They have been around since 1889! The goal of Frownies is to smooth away wrinkles by forcing the muscles in a different direction.  Frownies look like brown craft paper with glue on the back side. You wet them down like you would a Biore Pore Strip and then adhere them to your forehead, around your eyes, or other spots.

These were recommended to me by a friend a few years ago and I felt really good about using them and doing what I can to keep my face looking as young as possible for as long as possible. I loved taking them off in the morning to see my skin smoother and wrinkles a little less visible. I haven't been as dedicated to using them as I should long term to see long term results. I am going to start using these again. I am interested to learn more about the Frownies skin care line. It looks like they have a wide range of interesting products that would be great to try.

Anyone else game to join me? Anyone else have experience using Frownies with success stories to share? You can find Frownies at their website and can follow them at Facebook and Twitter. The company is very active in social media so you can definitely find good deals, coupons, etc. You can also see what other bloggers are saying about Frownies here.

If you use them or decide to try them I'd definitely like to hear about your experience. In the meantime, I'll be working on smoothing my forehead and around my eyes. Have a great Tuesday!

Perfectly Imperfect Pinterest Boards

image by kalanicut

I realized this weekend that I have never shared my Pinterest boards with you. I put off joining Pinterest for a L-O-N-G time because I knew the potential time drain it could be to wander around all that deliciousness as the hours, days and weeks flew by without one noticing. When I started wedding planning I broke down and joined because I knew it would be a fantastic one-stop-shop for visual inspiration.

I am proud to say that I have not become addicted, but I have used Pinterest prudently when needed for a few minutes of inspiration here and there -- and I love it. I have been working on a wedding board for a while but have recently started adding new boards.

Today I invite you to visit me at Pinterest, I'm kalanicut there. It's been fun to see people repinning my DIY projects, photography and more. Even better it's been fun to find many friends that I know in person and through the blogosphere there. I hope you'll enjoy my boards and follow along. I'll look for you there too and check out what you're up to.

I'll be back later this morning with a Tuesday Quick Tip. It's not an ancient Chinese secret but it may be a very old school, old Hollywood secret for chasing away wrinkles - no lasers, no skin burning acids or creepy "over-plastic surguried" doctors to deal with. Check it out. Have a great morning!

30 January 2012

Chantal Guillon - A San Francisco Macaron Treat

image via Chantal Guillon

I have to admit something about macarons. When I look at them I think, "Eh..." then I think, "Expensive little beasts, aren't they..." But as any good macaron lover knows, it's the taste that slays you. As we were  enjoying the sights and sounds of San Francisco, I decided a delicious taste of San Francisco was in order as well.

We popped into the beautiful little shop Chantal Guillon, on Hayes Street, in the Hayes Valley neighborhood and chose a few to sample. The shop was welcoming and charming. The tough decision was choosing which ones to sample. In the end we picked Tahitian Vanilla, Italian Pistachio, Lemon and Passion Fruit. We walked out with our small morsels in a bag and decided to save them for later since we were about to each lunch. A few hours later, tired and walking through a depressing and ugly part of town towards another destination, I decided it was the perfect time to pull our small treasures out of their pretty little bag.

We were dying. Dying in a good way. So, so tasty. We talked about them long after we'd eaten them. We bit every cookie into quarters to savor the rich flavor as long as possible. Trying a new flavor was again a whole new "oooh....ahhh!" moment. I can seriously still taste those cookies on some spiritual level.

It will be impossible to go to Hayes Valley again without stopping into to this lovely shop for its delicious and colorful gems. Check it out next time you're in the area, add it to your San Francisco travel ideas list. Oh and they ship cookies as well. You can taste this deliciousness for yourself without even traveling to San Fran. Either way you won't be disappointed.

Angela Thomas - An Awesome Author for Moms

image via Angela Thomas

Happy Monday! Hope you've had a peaceful weekend and are enjoying a low key start to your week. I've been excited for days to share this post with you. When I read a book that has me melted to tears three times in the first 20 pages I have to share it. 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom by Angela Thomas is a book I picked up to look at in a hospital gift shop this past week. I immediately felt it would bless my life and my soon to be little family and that's a pretty valuable tool for just $13.

I started reading it in the car on a long drive with The Man who was listening to some pretty loud music to keep him energized at the wheel. The first thing I did was go through the table of contents and just read all 52 things. Genius list. Then I began the first chapters and I was sitting in the passenger seat wiping tears from my eyes at the amazingly inspiring ideas in this book and how I imagined they could impact the happiness and joy of a child and a family.

I am so excited about this book and I am just beginning it. But it has already changed me, my thoughts, my conversations with The Man and my thinking and approach to motherhood. This book would be an amazing blessing to any mom, step mom, expectant mom or woman who fulfills the role of a mother in the life of any child. It would make a fantastic anytime friend gift or for a birthday, Mother's Day or baby shower gift.  This book would put peace in the heart and a smile on the face of any woman who reads it.

Each chapter is short and is just one small thing kids need from mom. Thomas has come up with some really great ideas too. Their simplicity elevates the potential of motherhood and makes it all seem so doable. They are simple and beautiful things too, nothing stressful, overwhelming or too demanding. This is a guilt-free parenting guide.

In fact, when you get in tune with how simple these things are, you are suddenly blessed with the freedom to not worry about all the other things that are not important at all that often keep moms working too late into the night, worrying too much and wearing themselves ragged about.

On the back cover it says the "chapters are packed with specifics to help you:

  • make your children feel loved
  • teach and encourage communication
  • establish a positive, wholesome environment
  • know when and how to correct behavior and set consequences
  • help your kids persevere and succeed"
Those five things cover the basis of much of a mother's stress and parenting worries and exhaustion. Thomas's writing style is friendly and warm and it's obvious that she understands the stresses and strains of family life and mothering. She acknowledges the challenges while sounding realistic rather than depressing. She inspires without being bossy or sounding in the least bit like a know-it-all. This was the first time I've come across Angela Thomas, but I'm very keen now to check out some of her other books.

If you are a mom, I cannot recommend this book to you enough. You will be excited. You will cry. You will be inspired to new heights in your call as mother. You can find this book at Angela Thomas online, Amazon and many other bookstores. The reader ratings for this book are 5-star. I felt a kinship of experience and enthusiasm with every one of the readers who commented.

If you read it, I would love to hear the parts that made you cry, think and changed your thoughts about motherhood! Have you read other books that changed the way you parent, gave you renewed strength or calmed you down about your job as a parent? I'd love to hear about those too and have you share them with other readers.

I'll be back later this morning with a peek at another fun shop from our trip to San Francisco. My mouth is still watering every time I think about it. Happy Monday Friends!

27 January 2012

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

image via Etsy

I forgot I had one more thing I should share this week, a little health update. I spent almost an entire day earlier this week getting a 10-minute hearing test and spending five minutes with the doctor. The rest of the time I spent waiting, waiting, waiting. It all started when I ask how much longer it would be, 90 minutes after my appointment time for my hearing test. It was then that the audiology department realized that the front desk folks had not moved my file back to the audiology department after I checked in, so audiology had no idea I was there waiting and I got added to the end of the line. Ugh. 

They got an earful from the audiologist when I popped back to her office to ask how soon they could get me in. It was 90 minutes after my scheduled appointment after all. I was so glad I went and checked on things. So that got the day off to a bad start and then it was another 90 minutes before I got into audiology. Then it was another hour before I got into the exam rooms. The rest of the time I was dodging germs in the very full waiting room and reading Holly Becker's book Decorate.

My hearing test was identical to the one I took in June. While it's great that I can hear (because there was a time when I couldn't!) and am within the normal range for hearing in my injured ear, I have to say I was really hoping my hearing would improve, as the doctor said it could. I have to say I was a little sad when I was sitting waiting for beeps and buzzes and not hearing them...knowing the pause was longer than it should be since the last sound. I have no reason to be so ungrateful, but I have to admit, I was hoping for more recovery. The left ear is not as good as the right. I'm a little bummed about that. I want back what I had. Not to be. But I guess I can still send my body good vibrations for more healing, power of positive thinking and all...

The doctor could not find any sign of a perforation in my ear drum, so that is fantastic as it means my ear drum has totally healed. I talked with the doctor about how I'm a little freaked out to get a sinus infection or earache. He encourage me to be very careful about that and to be sure and come in without delay if it becomes a problem.

So I went home and guess what I woke up with the next morning? A sinus infection. Not happy. I'm still totally in full-functioning mode, so I'm trying to just make sure I get lots of sleep and stay as healthy and stress-free as possible -- and full of good healthy nutrients and liquids -- and I'm saline nasal spraying like crazy to keep it cleared out.

It's been a stressful week around here and although we're becoming pros as handling it all, I guess the immune system gets it's share, no matter how much I realize it. I'm off to take my vitamins, drink a big glass of water and spray again. Hope you are staying healthy. I am hoping this post is helping me to at least stay "less sick." You can read more about my health crisis that began in January 2011 here.

To end on a pretty and cheery note, isn't this tissue box darling? It's available on Etsy at the Fondue shop. You have to have tissues, why not have sassy, cute tissue box covers, right?!

GapFit gFlex Pants & Capris - My New Favorite

images via Gap

After wearing out four or five pairs of mostly cotton workout pants in just a few months on the bikes at the gym, I realized I needed to try something different. I'm trying to push myself to spend more money to get the best quality products I can buy, rather than buying lesser quality items that don't last as long or serve their purpose as well.

It was time to invest in some high quality workout wear. I did a bit of research and came across the GapFit gFlex Capris. I like the shape, it's very flattering and the cut is comfortable. They are well made and sturdy. They also have a secret pocket in the back of the waistband that I have learned fits a driver's license or hotel key card perfectly. So I took advantage of the pre-holiday sales and bought two pair while they were 30% off.

When I went to San Francisco, I realized my capris somehow did not end up in my suitcase. Very annoying. But I definitely needed something to wear for our day long bike ride and wide leg jeans were not going to work. It also got very cold there so I needed something warm. We popped by the big Gap store at Union Square and as luck would have it there was a big sale going on for all the fitness attire. So I picked up the long pants at a great price.

Gap and Banana Republic have regularly had good sales the past couple of years, which encourages me to look in their direction when I need good basics. Sign up for their emails or follow them on Twitter to stay in the know. Gap now has a full line of workout wear for all kinds of sporting activities. Have you tried them? Which have you tried and what are your favorite?

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend. The weather is amazing here in SoCal. Today was hot. That doesn't happen that often right on the coast. But it was lovely. The best part is that the night skies this week have been marine layer/fog free and you can enjoy the beautiful coastline views and even see a few stars. Hope wherever you are you are healthy & well with people you love.

26 January 2012

Planning For 2012

image via Etsy Shop REDSTARink

If you are thinking about 2012 and what you hope for this year I thought I would compile a little list of inspirations from the archives to help you get your goals, visions, hopes and dreams in order and in the flow of your life. I find that right now I am partly looking at the calendar and feeling a little controlled by our events this year and partly feeling this immense sense of freedom due to knowing already what this calendar year is going to be about for me. It's going to be an unusual and interesting ride to say the least.

I'm revisiting my 2011 vision board and thinking about updates, looking at my elements of my dream life chart, percolating with courage to go for it in my life with my writing and traveling goals, and taking a renewed and heartfelt look at what is in the best interest of my little "soon to be official" family. While I'm revisiting some of these motivational posts from the past I thought you might enjoy them too.
If you find something that inspires you I'd love to know how it inspired you and what you aiming to do with that inspiration. You inspire me endlessly. Thanks for coming by. Look forward to sharing this awesome year with you.

P.S. Check out this very hip and stylish calendar from REDSTARink at Etsy. Made by Marci in San Diego, it's just the kind of calendar I like because it's very user friendly, lots of clean space for writing. It also doesn't have to be the star of your desk, it's stylish and yet quietly confident. You won't have to decorate the entire room around the color scheme or gobs of flowers and goo. It makes me want to plan things!

25 January 2012

Downloadable Meditations For Greater Peace

image via

Hello dear blog friends. I have something delightful to share with you today that I pray will bring peace, joy and calm to your life. It makes me happy just to think of how this can bless your life. It's a new year, we all have new hopes and we will all face new challenges. This year may have started out too busy already, you may be looking forward to big changes in the coming year as I am.

I hope you find great peace and enjoy this new year. If you're goal is to live in more mindfulness, more in the present, with greater insight and more simplicity make this a part of your morning rituals, anytime you are feeling stress or to help you fall asleep at night.

Did you know you can download all sorts of fantastic meditations from iTunes? For free? If you do a search for free meditation podcasts you can find guided meditations specifically designed for any feelings or life issues you feel you need to work through. I enjoy morning meditations, just 10 minutes or so long, that help me to focus my mind on a positive attitude and energy for the day. Very calming and energizing. There is something about giving the mind an upbeat frame to work from for the day can make all the difference.

I have used several meditations that focus on dealing with anger, healing, relieving stress, healthy eating, workouts, building positive relationships and to help me fall asleep. I find great comfort in knowing that if I reach a point where I feel I can't get a handle on my emotions, my stress or to quiet my mind so that I can fall asleep, I have these all downloaded on my iPod at my rescue.

The beautiful part about meditation is that while the experience is guided YOU do the work. So you walk away with confidence that YOU have the ability to control your stress, your fears, you noisy, rattling mind. YOU can do it. It's a great feeling.

So I encourage you to download a few of your favorites so that no matter the day or time, you have a friend close by who will walk you through whatever it is that is troubling you and you will be strengthened to face your challenges, see them for what they are and walk through them more easily. Happy meditating!

24 January 2012

A Year of Healing

image via Etsy

It's been a year ago yesterday since The Man found me at my apartment very ill and insisted I go to a clinic for some antibiotics. I had been sick for over a week and in severe pain for four days. I of course thought I was going to start feeling better at any moment and it was all nothing to worry about, even though I had been unable to lie down to sleep because of the pain in my head and neck for almost two days.

After a quick visit to the physician's assistant at the quickie clinic, she refused to treat me due to concerns about what was going on with me and sent me to urgent care. The urgent care physician also refused to treat me and told me that I needed to go to the emergency room immediately for a CAT scan. Not my best Sunday afternoon ever. I spent 10 hours in the ER in a chair, part of that time vastly bettered by an IV drip of drugs. The CAT scan at midnight verified that I was going to be spending the night in the hospital for what I thought was a couple of heavy doses of antibiotics.

The next morning when the doctor visited I asked him if I was going to be able to go home that day and he looked at me like I was a little nuts and said, "You aren't going anywhere for a few days." I took that pretty hard since I had been lead to believe it might just be an overnight stay. I was diagnosed with Mastoiditis, an infection of the bones in the skill right behind and below the ear. When untreated it can be  fatal. Once I realized how sick I was I could understand why it was so serious.

Four days in the hospital, after an allergic reaction to my medication, dramatic choking incident in the Ear, Nose & Throat clinic of the hospital, heavy doses of pain killers and antibiotics and the two most horrible roommates you could ever hope for in a hospital, and I was on my way home for a very long recuperation.

I was pretty emotionless in the hospital. I didn't have the energy to care about anything and I was probably numbed out with drugs. But when I got home and realized the magnitude of what I was going through the emotions hit pretty hard. I was completely deaf in one ear and that created a lot of frustration. I couldn't hear people talking to me just a few feet away and found myself telling everyone who talked to me, "I can't hear you" with a lot of angst.

My voice box was also very damaged in the choking episode in the hospital from the reaction to my medication. When I spoke I thought it sounded like I was yelling, but people kept telling me I was whispering. So I was continually being asked to speak up. Of course I didn't feel well for many weeks, I couldn't do the things I normally did, I did a lot of lying around. I didn't feel well enough to read or do anything interesting. I'm sure part of that was that my head was the part of me that was damaged and focusing on anything was pretty much impossible.

The scariest thing of all to me is that for several months afterwards I could not determine where sound was coming from and I could not hear people walking up behind me. Having people scare the living daylights out of you from behind you or at your side all the time is a very disconcerting feeling. Crossing the street without being able to hear the sound of cars coming and going is equally as scary. I also could only use the telephone in my right ear.

The worst part of the entire recovery process was not knowing if my hearing would ever come back. I knew this could have a major impact on the rest of my life and I spent a bit of time crying about what would be. For some reason, one of my biggest worries was that if I ever had small children I would not be able to hear them calling me or crying or if they were hurt. That and the idea of never being able to sing again due to damage to my voice box and hearing loss were the two things that really got me upset.

I am full of gratitude that as the months passed my voice recovered and even though I could not hear well I could speak and sing. As the months passed I began to slowly notice improvements in my hearing. Six months after my hospitalization I returned to the hospital for a follow up hearing test. Just driving into the parking lot of the hospital I became very upset --A return to the scene of my personal tragedy. I shed a few tears talking with the audiologist as we prepared to test my hearing. Thankfully the test went well and showed that I was nearly completely recovered in my damaged ear. Even still I continue to only use the phone on my right ear. I still just feel more comfortable listening to the phone in that ear. I always feel a little anxious with the phone at my left ear now.

Today I go back for my one-year check up. While I will let the doctors take care of the physical checkup, I'm thinking about all the other things I learned from this experience. All the deeply personal lessons about my well-being, the fragility of life, the godsend of loving friends and family, and I think most importantly, my realizations that life is precious and should be tended as such. You can read more about my experiences in these posts.

Lastly, the image above is from the Etsy shop of JD Wolfe Pottery. Gorgeous, right? Beautiful ceramic pieces especially for Valentines Day. Beautiful idea for a special someone!

23 January 2012

Hayes Valley Shops - Minimal

Popping into the shop Minimal on Hayes Street in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood was like entering a door into Copenhagen. It had all the goodness of a downtown shopping district in Scandinavia. The scarves, hats and blankets featured on the shelves above were the most amazingly soft material I have ever imagined wrapping around my little face! I fell in love.

I love that the scarves came in two sizes so you had options for a wider, longer scarf or a slimmer option. I didn't get one because I didn't find a color that really worked for me. I don't want you to think I buy everything I see that I fall in love with because that certainly isn't the case. But I would definitely recommend them.  

At Minimal I also found beautiful, modern Scandinavian candle holders and glassware. Makes me miss Denmark and Danish homes. Glassware, porcelain and candle holders are just some of what Scandinavian designers are so very good at.

I adore the little wood houses, glassware and textile goods. Simple and gorgeous in their simplicity. My visit to Minimal and a photo of my bedroom from a few years ago has me thinking a lot about simplicity and I'm itching a bit to simplify my surroundings.

There were so many very stylish products lining the shelves of Minimal that I walked around the store three times and each time kept finding new things to admire. It is a great shop for buying a unique gift that will be remembered and treasured, not to mention a fine place to do some shopping for yourself. I will definitely return on my next visit to San Francisco.

Hayes Valley is filled with wonderful shops and a great place to grab a great meal and enjoy an afternoon or shopping. We ate at Stacks which had a great varied menu and everything I saw on every plate in the packed dining area looked good! They close at 2:30 p.m. so go early.

Hunting for Hunter Rain Boots

images via Hunter

Every winter when it starts raining I vow I am going to buy some cute rain gear...and then the rain stops and I never make the purchase. After a rainy week in San Francisco, my resolve has strengthened. I have lived and worked in snowy and rainy environments and I know I am always happiest when well dressed and well-prepared for the weather. It's amazing how easy it is to get through bad weather days when one is protected from the elements.

So last week after having dinner with friends on a rainy night, I noticed in the parking lot that our lovely friend was wearing Hunter wellies and it struck me like a bolt of lightening that they would be a perfect addition to my new, better prepared wardrobe. I have loved Hunter boots for a while, but living a mostly "flip flop" life in a balmy climate I just could not justify them. But I realized I would actually get a decent amount of wear from them when traveling and for the sometimes very rainy periods here at home. That took me to a whole wander through the many, many options available. 

I am very impressed with the sturdiness and long-wear you can get from these boots. When you add up how many cheap, junky pairs of rain boots you could go through during a 10 year period and how very floppy, unsupportive and uncomfortable most lower quality styles are, it just made sense to invest once in something I really love instead.

Now the big dilemma is what color to get?! How do you decide. Unfortunately I noticed in the customer reviews that most people who bought one pair could not resist getting them in another color or style as well. And I will of course need the cute matching socks. That could get expensive. But you never know, I could end up moving somewhere wet and rainy...or just keep visiting lovely friends in San Francisco, Seattle, New York or Scandinavia. It certainly rains a lot in all of those places. That sounds like a good way to go.

Now I need to find a lovely raincoat. Not a trench, because I just can't handle that always floppy belt and the double breasted styles drive me a bit cuckoo. But I know there's a good one out there. If you have any recommendations, please share! Hope you are staying warm and dry wherever you are.

Front Entryway Refresh

image via Poppytalk

I haven't taken the opportunity to sit down and really organize 2012 yet. I knew January was going to be non-stop so I gave myself permission to just wait a while to dive into my strategizing for the year. Well, January is almost over but this will be the first week I will have some downtime at home.

I've been thinking a lot about organization especially in the home and how it creates the perfect atmosphere for happy, peaceful, calm living. I'm itching to have some time at home to move some things around. I decided to start at the front door and work my way through the place. My first step will be the front entryway.

image via House and Home

I realized that the bookcase in the front entryway needs a serious changing up. It's been nearly the same since the day I moved in five years ago. How boring is that? Bleck. And I definitely want to figure out a better way to organize all the keys and small papers that accumulate on the little cabinet there. I also need to figure out a way to organize the umbrellas, etc. in a small corner there.

I am having an internal battle with myself about really simplifying everything and keeping things very, very sparse and simple. I feel like that is what I need right now. But I don't want to simplify so much that the place loses it's sense of self and feels lifeless. My gemini self can always take two sides and make good sense of both sides.

image via House Beautiful

So we'll see how it goes. I thought I'd share some inspiring front entryways with you today. Maybe you are feeling the same itch to make your home work better for you and feel more stylish and reflect more of your personality.

image via House Beautiful

Here are a few links for some great posts all about front entryways.

Are you, like me, wanting to refresh the entire house? Are you focused on one room at a time? I'd love to hear what you're doing in the way of refreshing your home this January. I'll be back later this morning with a feature on a fantastic store I found in the Hayes Valley section of San Francisco. It's full of Scandinavian deliciousness! Happy Monday friends. Hope it's a wonderful day for you!

20 January 2012

Biking The Golden Gate Bridge

A couple of days ago we set out to ride bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and over to Sausalito. We headed out early that morning and it turned out to be the coldest day in San Francisco in a quite a while. 

We picked up the Powell-Hyde cable car just a few blocks from our hotel and rode up and over to Hyde Street. Standing on the outside of the cable car were five 10 year old boys and one of the boy's mother. They were celebrating his birthday and were so darling. We had fun talking and teasing with them. They were so young and so full of life. I fell in love with their exuberance and chumminess together -- their boyness.

I also realized that on the steepest hills in the city, on a cable car, slippery workout pants are not the best. Had to hang on tight to keep from sliding right out of my seat. By the time we got across town it was so cold that we decided to duck into a cafe for big, warm breakfast. Then it was time to start the cycle tour.

We were stunned to see swimmers out in the bay in nothing but a bathing suit. The air temperature was in the low 40s, so I can't imagine what the water felt like. But good for them, they must have have strong constitutions.

I don't think there was one solid minute that was not stunningly gorgeous all along our ride. Amazing. It was hard to ride very far without stopping to take a picture.

This was my first time to Crissy Field and standing there I began recognizing the scene from quite a few movies filmed there over the years. I could have spent a good deal of time in the parks all along the way.

The sky was blue and once we got riding we weren't cold at all. As the morning passed and we got closer to the bridge I was peeling off layer after layer. We were glad we made the decision to wait until after the holiday weekend to make the ride. It was nice to have no crowds to deal with and lots of space to ride.

There was a rocky area that was filled with stacks of rocks. It was quite amazing and created a thoughtful, zen ambiance. I took the opportunity to stop and be mindful for a few moments.

At the viewpoint before going over the bridge it was a United Nations convention. A bus full of Danes, some  Brits, Italians, Iraelis, Japanese teens and visitors from many more places too. We posed for a quick shot then started the ride across the bridge.

The ride across the bridge was lovely. There was some tourist dodging to do along the way but it was an easy ride and the views overlooking the city were amazing.

At the end of the bridge was another large viewing area filled with cars, buses and tourists. We followed the bike path from there into Sausalito. Riding into town was a little bit scary, riding on the side of a very hilly road. I had been to Sausalito once or twice before but my memory of the town was nothing like what the town really looks like. 

We parked our bikes at the Ferry station and wandered around. Because the town is situated on the east side of a mountain, by early afternoon there was no direct sunlight and it was beginning to get quite cold and breezy. We enjoyed a lovely lunch outside in the last bit of the sun, then wandered the small galleries and shops then enjoyed a nice hot chocolate before heading out to catch the ferry back to San Francisco.

Unfortunately, because the lighting was not good I didn't get any great shots of Sausalito. But the ride back on the ferry produced some great shots as the sun began to set right behind the Golden Gate Bridge.

We had just enough time to land at Pier 41 and race to the other end of the Embarcadero to return our bikes before 6 p.m. which we and quite a few other people from the same ferry did. Then we took the cable car back to our hotel neighborhood and enjoyed dinner at Sears Fine Food on Powell and Sutter. It was a great day and I am so glad we took the chance to make the trip.

all images by kalanicut

19 January 2012

A Must Have New Year's Resolution

image via Benetton

Part of this trip has been the realization that I need to buckle down and buy a real coat. I have a lot of jackets and those get me by just fine at home nearly all the time. On a February trip to New York a few years ago it was so cold I was getting frostbite the first day and ended up buying of of those gigantic knee length down-filled coats with the big fur collar. It was totally worth it to stay warm for that trip, but it is so big that I have yet to find another occasion cold enough to warrant wearing it since then. 

When I visit my parents twice a year in the winter, or go to New York or New Mexico or anywhere else lacking a tropical climate I am usually bumming a coat off someone or wearing four layers of my own sweaters and jackets. It's a little ridiculous.

Yes, it's only for a few days a year and this is why I have not taken action on this before but I just don't need to feel a) ugly, b) under dressed & sloppy, c) cold or d) stressed about how I'm going to stay warm on upcoming trips any longer. One simple well-fitting coat purchase would solve so much of my winter travel angst. And this is the perfect time of year to act on this because the winter clothing is being pushed out of stores for the arrival of the spring lines which are already appearing in all the shops. Since it's been quite a mild winter so far, retailers may be even more anxious to reduce prices and their stock of winter coats.

So the search for the perfect coat begins. I'm thinking something very classic that will last a few years and that I can style up with scarves, brooches or something fun along the way according to mood and location. Game on. I'm tired of being cold.

A Peek At San Francisco Fashions

Here are a few things I've noticed about fashions in San Francisco:

  • Riding boots are everywhere with legging, jeans, dresses and skirts
  • Layering is key for constantly changing temps, wind & lots of hilly walking
  • Black, gray and brown are popular base colors with pops of bold colors
  • Denim, leather and wool jackets are everywhere
  • Large totes are a must for trekking about the city all day
  • Humidity & wind are tricky for hair. Lots of hair in buns, ponytails, etc.
Wish I had had this list in my head when I packed. Lesson learned. I wore my hair down one day and it was blowing across my face all day and looked like a scary lion's mane by the mid-day. I realize now that  I have a few alterations to make to my wardrobe to make it more flexible for travel. Later this morning I'll share a new year's resolution I set yesterday that has everything to do with my fashion watching in San Francisco and trips to colder climates.

Thanks ladies of the Bay Area for your fashion inspiration. It was fun to watch you in your natural habitat and learn from you what works for the environment. You look great.

all images by kalanicut

18 January 2012

A Pretty View - The Golden Gate Bridge

image by kalanicut

I have so many photos from this week to edit through and equally as many inspirations to share with you readers. This little journey has been so inspiring. I feel like I have learned so much by getting out of my regular routine and just adventuring every day. Talk about good for the soul. Art galleries, amazing design shops, impressive restaurants, long walks, gorgeous sights. Hard to beat.

My one big misstep that I've been kicking myself about, okay another thing I forgot, is to bring business cards with me. I left the little pouch I usually carry them in at home in another purse. Lame when meeting lots of super impressive people you'd like to get to know better. I seem to do this a lot, which is unbelievably lame of me. Something to work on.

Here is a favorite photo from my collection this week taken while on our bike ride yesterday. A nice place to sit and catch one's breath.

San Francisco City Tints & Textures

Happy Wednesday. Sharing a few sights from my time in San Francisco. All around the city I have enjoyed taking lots and lots of photos of interesting structures, layers of buildings, small architectural details and interesting colors. Here are a few little things around the city that caught my eye for the colors, textures and patterns. Loved the washed out colors on this warehouse and a vivid, bright cheery window box.

Loved the weathered wood on this door. So much character. This warehouse roof was covered with a bright green moss. Aged patinas are so rich and interesting.

These old glass tiles are embedded in the sidewalks along the Embarcadero. I had to wonder how long they had been there. They look like they've been through a few decades but that could just be millions of people trampling them over the past few years. In another part of town, I'm not sure why, but there are gold screws along the sidewalks on Sutter.

There is no shortage of ships coming and going around the city in all shapes, sizes and colors. While they are beautiful during the day, it amazed me to watch giant cargo ships leave the bay at night. It's so strange to see the lights on the deck and how far they stretch from end to end. They look like a moving city. 

We have been putting on the miles on foot. So far since arrival I have not used any public transportation. It's amazing how after a few days of intense hill climbing you hardly notice them anymore. It's so nice to not feel a deep sense of dread when I look at the steep path ahead as I did the first day or two. (Life lesson, anyone?! haa-haa.) The scarf wearing winter weather and hilly city living are growing on me.

all photos by kalanicut

17 January 2012

Shopping The Ferry Building

A few delicious hours at The Ferry Building were a feast for senses. We wandered through the farmers market and admired fruits, vegetables and delicious honey, jellies and jams. The sun was out, the holiday weekend crowds were out too. It was a great spot to watch the locals in their natural habitat.

We had some amazing food, eggs and bacon on crispy toast with a side salad from Rose's Cafe. We ate out in the sun, sitting in the large mid-day crowd, people watching. There was so much great fashion to enjoy, so many cute little kids with their parents, some talented and some strange musical performers and more to take in. The sun was a welcome find after walking through the city in the cold shadows of tall buildings all the way there. 

There was even more to enjoy once we went inside. I learned Blue Bottle Coffee is very important to locals. They will wait in quite long lines for it. I was also happy to find the store The Gardener. I fell head over heals for these gorgeous cutting boards and wood bowls. I did buy myself a little treat at Heath Ceramics, a little green vase and a sweet little tote bag.

Our other happy find was a Ciao Bella gelato shop. I am a big fan of the Ciao Bella key lime ice cream sandwiches which are available at our local grocery store. I had a small scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough. So good. It was a fun adventure and I definitely recommend a trip to The Ferry when in San Francisco. 

all photos by kalanicut

16 January 2012

A Saturday Tour of San Francisco

Just as we were driving across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, while I was so taken with the beautiful views, I remembered I left my big girl camera at home. I pulled out the compact camera I carry in my purse and the battery was almost dead and I didn't have my charger. My phone camera was not what I was hoping to use for this trip. Despair.

Luckily I found a universal charger I could use and could at least get my compact camera working. I took lots of photos over the weekend, which was great. The first morning I realized that I had also not packed my workout pants. Sort of makes exercising a bit of a challenge, you really can't skip the pants part.

Speaking of going without pants, would if surprise you if I told you that on Saturday afternoon on the Embarcadero we passed a couple walking down the street BUCK NAKED holding hands with big smiles on their faces? A bit shocking. They were very obviously trying to make a point about the joy of their nakedness, but around a lot of families I found it just obnoxious. I'd like to get that dear woman a bra because "the girls" aren't supposed to be worn at belt-level.

We took advantage of the Ferry Building Farmers Market Saturday morning and ate some amazing food and did a lot of people watching. Thankfully the people there were dressed. I have been taking shots of what seems to be San Francisco fashions that I will share with you later in the week. I will also share a bit from some favorite shops and products I went a big gaga for there too.

Having not been along the Embarcadero in at least a decade I was so happy to see that it has been revitalized with restaurants and businesses. It is such a great area and with such spectacular views. We walked from The Ferry to Pier 39 where we snacked on the back deck on a picnic of cheese and crackers, clementines and delicious cookies while we listened to the Sea Lions bark and watched the boats go by.

Based on claims of unseasonably high temperatures we were surprised to find we were still quite cold a lot of the day, despite jackets and scarves. But it was great to see the locals and check out their fashion. By mid-day I was getting the hang of the San Fran look and was glad I had all the warmer elements back at the hotel. In a word, it's all about the riding boots.

As we walked along, we stopped to catch up on the 49er/Saints game at restaurants and bars throughout the afternoon. It was not hard to tell when the 49ers scored as you would hear a great cheer rising out to the streets. We caught the last 3 minutes looking through the window of a sushi bar with an ever growing crowd of people. That was a pretty crazy game. Nice job 49ers.

We enjoyed the sunset from Ghiradelli Square and then had dinner from the beautiful views of McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood. Gorgeous and the food is nothing to shake a stick at either. The real adventure of our day was when we decided to walk back to our hotel up Hyde Street. Just imagine what appears to be one of the steepest hills in San Francisco that lasts for many, many blocks. But it was awesome, especially if you walked backwards and enjoyed the downhill view.

We enjoyed our walk. Along our way we came upon Lombard Street and a beautiful view across the city. The way back to our lodging was quite residential which was a welcome change after a day in San Francisco's most touristy zones. It's always interesting when you travel to see what life is like for those who live there. I enjoyed all the different ornate building exteriors, entryways and metal work.

It was a lovely day. Looking forward to sharing more of our adventures with you throughout the week. It was sunny on Saturday but the weather promises to get worse as the days progress so that should be interesting.

all imaged by kalanicut

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