I’m always looking for an excuse to splurge on a big ticket item. My last one was this end of sabbatical work tote and it was so worth it. Since my birthday is just around the corner and I’ve been feeling like I “need” another pair of sunglasses, it’ll likely be my next gift to myself. When it comes to sunglasses, I believe bigger is better. Oversized sunglasses are great for someone who likes to hide behind them and even better to obnoxiously wear year-round. So no, it’s not too late in the season to buy another pair. While I have a collection of all kinds, from round to colored frames to aviators, right now I’m looking for a great pair of statement cat-eye glasses. I’m about to pull the trigger on one of these… can you guess which one?
I’m celebrating another 30-something birthday this week and well, I’m getting old(er). It only recently hit me that maybe I should start dressing closer to my age when I was shopping at Urban Outfitters and took a look around to realize… that I was one of the oldest people in the store. Since then, I’ve been trying to steer clear of absolutely anything a pre-teen may wear (goodbye short overalls). And while pink is usually only appropriate for a toddler or Lisa Vanderpump, it just not something that I can seem to outgrow. You can probably tell that I love the color just by the theme of this blog, right? So, obviously the recent pink trend puts a smile on my face and I’m in particularly excited about some of the fall fashion that is beginning to make an appearance.
lace dress (image via Gal Meets Glam)
It has been awhile since I’ve actually explored California, mostly because I assumed I had already seen it all. BUT. I realized that Big Sur was a spot I was missing out on. So, when Lauren came to visit me a few weeks ago, the timing was perfect for a weekend trip. Instead of heading straight to Big Sur, I figured driving along the coast from Santa Cruz was a great opportunity for Lauren to see some of the coastal cities. It made our 3 day weekend feel much longer and in a good way! Oh, and because we had a difficult time finding any reasonably priced hotels in Big Sur, we stayed in Carmel both nights – highly recommended!
Our first stop was in Santa Cruz, about an hour drive south of SF. Having grown up only 30 minutes away from Santa Cruz, I had been many times but I wanted to show the town to Lauren. The main spot to see is the Boardwalk, so we walked along it, had some ice cream, and checked out the beach. Between the beach and the rides, there is plenty to do, but we skipped out on the rides to get to our next spot.
Capitola was only a short 10 minute drive from Santa Cruz. It’s a small and colorful beachfront town, with a bit of a European feel to it. I like that it’s a very short walk (compared to other CA beaches) from the shore to the beach. There are plenty of spots directly on the beach to eat and drink (another CA rarity). We went to the Paradise Beach Grille, which I highly recommend for food and drinks. I would have loved to lounge on the patio and drink beachside all day, but our next stop was calling.
Because we ended up staying in Capitola for awhile, we headed straight to our hotel in Carmel. When we booked our hotel, we didn’t have many options but the Dolphin Inn ended up being the perfect spot. It was a nice little inn, well-maintained, and most importantly, short walking distance to plenty of wine tasting rooms and fun dinner spots. Our two favorite places were ones we hit up on our first evening – Vino Napoli wine bar for a tasty Italian wine flight and Mundaka for Spanish tapas at a lively restaurant.
I have to say, I really did not want to head back to SF. Carmel was so cute and relaxing… I probably could have used a few more days there. But all good things have to end, so after spending the next day in Big Sur and another evening in Carmel, it was time to drive back up to SF. But with a few stops of course. Our first “stop” was the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach, another coastal town known for it’s great golf courses. The 17-mile drive is the only way to see the town without actually staying there, and has about 20 stops with little known facts and nice scenery. Lauren really liked Seal Rock, where all the little seals were hanging out.
Our final stop was in Monterey. My memory of Monterey was very different than what it is today, which is mostly a tourist town. In the flood of tourists and chain restaurants, we found a hidden gem – A Taste of Monterey where we shared a few small plates (and a beer flight) before heading back up to SF and facing some post-vacation depression. There’s a lot of comfort knowing that all of this is only a short drive away.
I love wine, obviously! I’m definitely not a connoisseur, but I can appreciate different kinds of wine and a nice bottle of it. When it comes to a wine tasting, I tend to opt out of the fancy tours and go straight for the wine. I try to do the swirl, the smell, and all that good stuff but I really don’t know what I’m doing. I just like to taste the wine. So when Lauren suggested that we go to a wine sensory experience (aka wine school) while we were in wine country a few weekends back, I figured why not. I taste (or more like, drink) enough wine to give the school a try.
We went to W.H. Smith Wines in Calistoga (and you can see me at school here), where we learned a lot about the different factors that can affect the taste and scent of wine, the different type of scents that are actually found in wine, and also some info about glassware. There was a lot to absorb, but the portion about wine glasses stuck with me because I realized how much I’m doing wrong! I’ve always noticed that some glasses are fancier than others but knew very little about how the features of a wine glass can affect the taste of it. There were 3 wine glassware features that really stood out to me and will have me doing some shopping before I open my next bottle of vino.
a thin rim: A thin rim allows you taste the wine without “distraction”. This is something I never really paid attention to, other than noticing that very expensive wine glasses are thin all over. After examining some of my wine glasses at home later, I realized all the “cheap” wine glasses had a thick, round rim that can actually change the taste of the wine!
a large bowl: A large bowl allows the wine to breathe and expand. It should also be contrasted with a narrow rim, to provide very little room for the wine aromas to actually escape the glass. The optimal contrast and shape can vary depending on the different types of wine you may drink, but as a general guideline the bigger the better for red wines.
a stem: The stem keeps your hands away from the wine, so that they don’t warm the temperature. Most of my glasses are stemless since they are easier for a careless person like me to handle and therefore are less likely to break. It’s clearly time to wine glass shop.
above glass is a fancy Baccarat
There’s just less than a week left in the Nordstrom anniversary sale and I only just had a chance to browse around. So unlike me to be late to a sale, but I’ve been busy! With any sale, I’m either looking for items that are already on my shopping list or essentials/classics that I know I can wear for awhile. The Nike sneakers are sitting in my cart right now – I plan on wearing them pretty much everywhere except to work out. Fashion sneakers are an essential for every closet, as are statement necklaces, ankle booties and pumps, and the rest of my picks below.
I grew up in Northern California, just south of San Francisco in a city called Cupertino. Sometimes when you’re from an area, you take it for granted. Although my parents took my siblings and me on trips around the area to Carmel, Monterey, and more, I guess I was just too young to appreciate it. So, when my friend Lauren came to visit, I decided it was time to head down south to give some of those cities and Big Sur a visit. It was just a weekend trip, Friday morning to Sunday afternoon, but we stopped by some of the coastal cities on the way to and back that it felt so long! In a good way of course. The coastal city tour part of the photo diary to come, but I thought I would share some of my highlights from our Saturday in Big Sur. A day was not enough to explore everything that Big Sur has to offer! The entire trip (coastal drive included) is probably my new favorite CA experience.
We drove down on Saturday morning from Carmel (which is where we were staying) and stopped at many of the beautiful points to take pictures (above). After passing the famous Bixby Bridge, our first stop was Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for a 2+ mile hike to see the Pfeiffer Falls. Although it was pretty hot, the path was mostly shaded and kept us mostly cool. Such a pretty hike.
After finishing up the hike, we worked up our appetite for lunch and headed up to Port Ranch Inn to eat at Sierra Mar (reservations needed). The restaurant is at top of a hill and I imagine it could have amazing views. Since it was very foggy, it felt like we were eating on clouds which was actually pretty cool. The temperatures were perfect to eat our indulgent three-course lunch. We lounged there for awhile, enjoying amazing food and a few fun cocktail (vodka, cilantro, jalapeno, lime – yum!) and a cappuccino before heading on our way to the McWay Falls.
Big Sur has many sights and parks to choose from but the McWay Falls is the one that must make your list. It is one of the few waterfalls in the US that goes into the ocean. And it’s a very short walk (not a hike) once you park. It feels very tropical and you forget that you’re only in California.
Our 3 stops (“official” stops – we made a few stops along the coast for pictures and to soak in the scenery) took the entire day, so after the waterfall we headed back to Carmel to enjoy our evening in town. More to come on the rest of our trip, which also comes highly recommended! I am looking forward to heading to Big Sur again soon to check out some more sights.
Coconut oil is everywhere – apparently, it can be used for everything from cooking to beauty treatments to curing something. Not sure exactly what, but there are supposedly health benefits to it too. So if you’re like me, you probably have tried 1-2 of these and whether or not you like using it, an entire bottle of coconut oil can be pretty difficult to use! I’ve been mostly using coconut oil for beauty treatments (since I don’t really like the taste of coconut to cook with it) and I’ve come up with 5 uses for coconut oil that have replaced my beauty products. Remember that a little bit of coconut oil goes a long way, so I recommend using as little as possible the first time you try any of these and adjust in the next use if necessary.
hair oil: My thick hair needs some additional moisture when I step out of the shower and hair oils tend to do the trick. But now, I can use only a teaspoon of coconut oil instead. To apply coconut oil to your hair to tame it and de-frizz, take about a teaspoon size of coconut oil, rub it all over your hands and fingers, and finger comb through your damp hair, focusing on the ends.
deep conditioning treatment: I’ve recommended this a few times here and coconut oil works exceptionally well as a deep conditioning treatment once a week. To apply it, section your hair in pieces and apply 1/2 teaspoon to each section. You can let it sit for a few minutes before washing out, or if you want an extra deep conditioning, try wrapping your hair with a warm towel for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
shaving cream: I always seem to run out of shaving cream and forget to replace it so coconut oil is a perfect replacement for me. I just mix 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part body wash to make a shaving “cream”. It is exceptionally moisturizing for a super smooth shave.
body scrub: When I need a good body scrub, I just mix equal parts of coconut oil and sugar to get a gentle body scrub. Easy.
eye makeup remover: Before I started using coconut oil and I would run out of eye makeup remover, I would just use lotion. But, lotion doesn’t completely remove makeup whereas coconut oil does and is gentler on the eyes. To use coconut oil as an eye makeup remover, rub a very small amount on a cotton pad and wipe your eyes clean. I remove my makeup first, and then follow with my face wash and the rest of my skin care regimen.
Have you used coconut oil for any of these? Or, do you have any other uses for coconut oil? Let me know in the comments below!
This was a short work week for me. I have a friend in town so I took Monday off to spend some time in wine country and I’m taking today off so that we can drive down the coast to Carmel and Big Sur for a long weekend. Weeeee!!! Because I’ve been busy entertaining, it has also been a little slow on the blog. I always get so absorbed in everything I *think* I have going on, but it’s always important to put that aside to spend time with those who are most important. And that’s exactly what I did. Probably by the time you read this, I’ll be driving along the CA coast for a fun road trip. Hope you have something fun planned as well!
favorite toast: If you ever head to SF (or even better if you live here), the artisan toast at the Mill is highly recommended. I know you’re thinking, toast? Really? I had the same thought before my friend Andriana introduced me. But the bread and spreads are amazing. I love the maple sea salt butter and the newest: peach jam with butter and sea salt. The peach jam has big chunks of peach and is just… TOO. GOOD.
favorite vest: Blazers are my go-to when I need to make any outfit look a little sleeker or more professional, so I’ve been wanting a sleeveless or better yet, a vest, for awhile. I wouldn’t mind having this one hanging in my closet. And so perfectly styled as well, right? (via This Time Tomorrow)
favorite lob bun: With my new lob, I’m playing around with a lot of different hairstyles. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how many way I’ve actually been able to style the shorter ‘do and less surprised with how much easier it is. This bun is another I will have to give a go. (via Cupcakes and Cashmere)
Sass is more than just attitude. You always need a bit of substance to back it up! Kinda like this fancy wine opener/pourer that I discovered during wine tasting over the weekend. It allows you to pour wine without actually pulling the cork! Very cool. Oh, and it’s functional too. It preserves the wine so that a single sasstress like me can enjoy a glass without worrying about wasting (or more like consuming) an entire bottle. Well, that is if you can afford the price tag. For now it’s just sitting on my wish list, but I put together some of my favorite gadgets that are totally useful and also have some of that extra “flare”.
6-1 interchangeable floral hammer & screwdriver set // Jonathan Adler Iphone 5 on-the-go charger // GHD curling-straightening iron // Frends headphones // Tory Burch x Fitbit // Marc Jacobs Iphone case with built in mirror // Vacuum Wine Preserver // Kate Spade Bluetooth Speaker
On Sunday I headed to wine country with my friend Lauren who is visiting from Toronto. Since we stayed in Yountville and tasted at wineries just south of there during her last visit, we decided to head to Calistoga for this trip. My first stop for any Napa valley wine tasting trip is a champagne-ry, Domaine Chandon or Domaine Carneros to be exact. Last time was Domaine Carneros, so we went for a change of scenery at Domaine Chandon before heading up to the Calistoga area. Although I was expecting much sunnier weather than what we actually experienced, it was still warm enough to wear our summer dresses. I kept it easy breezy with this new dress that I picked up at Anthropologie last week. It is light and summery, and most importantly left plenty of room for all the wine and amazing food I consumed that day.