Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Afternoon Delight.

On the way back to the office after a walk, all I could think about was stopping somewhere to buy a cookie or candy or frozen yogurt or many, many packets of sugar. Apparently my blood sugar levels were trying to tell me something: "Hey Jess...It's your blood sugar. You are about to crash, fall asleep at your desk, get caught by your boss and get fired." I convinced myself an apple would suffice, but the blood sugar gods had different plans for me.

A couple of blocks from my office stood a goddess with an open box radiating light and FREE cupcakes. Apparently, this cupcake enthusiast, aka Doro, not only loves cupcakes, but she also makes them...brilliantly delicious ones! Doro is the owner of sweetiecups and was the winner of San Francisco Yelps' first annual cupcake contest. I tried a sample of the forbidden caramel: apple cake with light caramel cream cheese frosting and caramel sprinkles or apple piece. Holy crap! Scrumptious and moist with the most perfect frosting and even that apple I was thinking about having.

the forbidden caramel sweetiecup. Photo courtesy of sweetiecups.com.

On June 27th, Doro introduced the sweetiemobile. She's offering any extra sweetiecups she has for free when available. Follow her on twitter @sweetiecups for more info. I'm sure you'll see me there again!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Stamp Happy.

Now I want to move so I can make the cutest "We Moved" announcements ever. Or maybe I'll just make some personal notecards...if I feel like being practical and stuff.

Cityscape Stamp Set from The Curiosity Shoppe.

I Heart OK.

Most of you probably know Orla Kiely for her prints and bags that seem to be in the possession of every good hipster girl in SF. I don't begrudge her that because I love her, her prints and her ubiquitous nature. But did you know she has a line of clothing as well...a line of really f-ing cute clothing...a line of really f-ing cute clothing that I desperately need. No, seriously. I need it. Apparently I have a fear of prints so I'm trying (and failing) to introduce prints into my wardrobe. Example of the fear: went to Forever 21 the other day to buy a cute new shirt with a print to wear to some gallery thingamajig and what did I end up buying? A solid. As usual.

On an aside, that will be the last time I ever set foot into Forever 21. A lovely high created when a nice girl at Sephora thought I was younger than her (even though I was four years older!) was quickly crushed as I stepped into Forever 21. I swear I could have been the mother of some of these girls. And in good motherly fashion, I bought the only shirt in the store that looked like something Bea Arthur might have worn because everything else would've made me look like I was, well, trying to be 21. I'm never going back...because I can always just shop on their website. Ha!

Back to Orla. These dresses and coat won't make me look like I'm trying to be 21 at all. Instead, I'll look like an effortlessly chic fashionista...who can also throw down $500 (instead of $15) on a summer dress. I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen...maybe she'll do a fashion line for Target? Please!

I also kind of think I need this bag (you didn't know she has awesome leather bags too, did you?).

P.S. Is it bad that I sort of dislike the model simply because she vaguely reminds me of Olivia from The City? Or is it worse that I actually watch The City...and you know who I'm talking about?

Summer in Your Mouth.

I'm hoping SF weather cooperates this year to give us a brilliant summery day and clear evening so that we can actually see the fireworks (Normally we only have the privilege of hearing them. Without fail, I always think SF is under attack when they first start). Although plans have yet to be finalized, I'm already planning what I'm going to make for whatever we do. One should never be ill-prepared when it comes to matters involving food and eating. The rest will all work itself out.

I can't wait to make this Mediterranean Pepper Salad I found on smitten kitchen. It looks like a rainbow for your mouth. Although my rainbow might have to omit the olives. My mouth simply is not a fan.

Photo courtesy of smitten kitchen.

For dessert, I'm almost positive I'll be making this Nectarine-Blackberry Crisp served with a side of vanilla ice cream. It looks muy, muy delicioso (four years of Spanish is not lost on me)!

Photo by Gentl & Hyers via Epicurious.com.

On second thought, one can never have too many desserts. And it would just be plain rude not to let a meyer lemon come to the party so I suppose I'll have to make this Meyer Lemon Semifreddo with Summer Berries as well.

Photo by Coral von Zumwalt via Epicurious.com.

Cheers to summertime foods! Now time to think about what we will be drinking...


When I was a freshman in high school, I learned that one of my dearest uncles was dying of AIDS and that he was gay. He had been living with AIDS for ten years and with his homosexuality his whole life, yet he never told his family until he was sick. He was raised in a strong Catholic family, and I know that largely influenced his decision. It broke my heart to see that a man I loved so dearly felt the needed to hide such a large part of himself from us. I wish he would have known for all those years that none of us could have loved him any less because regardless of being gay or straight, he was still my Uncle Mark. Thankfully, he died knowing that to be true.

I went to watch the Pride Parade yesterday with my mother-in-law. As soon as it started I was overcome with emotion. It made my heart happy to know that even though my uncle (like countless others) may not have always had the support of his family, he had an amazing community of friends who loved and cherished him as he was. I am proud to live in a city that continually embraces those that may be shunned in other places (I just wish the state as a whole would get with the program). The parade was beautiful and inspiring. And while there is still along journey ahead, I couldn't help but feel the pride yesterday.

More photos here.*

* Photos made possible by multiple generous gifts from my kick ass brother. Are you happy now, Jer?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Leave the Capital.

Tomorrow is the last day to see Chris' piece in Root Division's Leave the Capital exhibition curated by Deric Carner and Jessica Tully (two mighty fine peeps). The parade float he performed last week, Rank and File, and the drawing below are part of the show.

Chris Treggiari. 2008.

If you don't go to check it out for Chris' stuff, you should at least check out the other amazing artists in the show:

David Buuck (BARGE)
Zoe Crosher
Jetske de Boer (S.T.O.P.)
Edmundo de Marchena
Scott Kiernan
Fang Lu
Dominic Nguyen
Jennifer O'Keeffe
Kamau Amu Patton
Nancy Popp
Sam Snowden
Kevin E. Taylor

3175 17th Street (at South Van Ness)
San Francisco, CA 94110

That is all. Just wanted to offer you some culture to go with your weekend.

Target. I Love You.

I haven't divulged this info about me yet, but I f-ing LOVE Gossip Girl. And I am completely judged by the husband on this. That's fine by me. If you watch it for no other reason, watch it for the fashion...the unbelievably fabulous and expensive fashion that I will never, ever be able to buy.

But alas, our friend and savior, Target, has once again made high fashion affordable for us mere mortals. Anna Sui has created a Gossip Girl-inspired collection. This one is going to sell out fast ladies so be sure to put September 13th on your calendars. NYMag has a sneak peak of the collection and it's pretty freaking awesome. I'm already starting my "I Need That NOW" list:

All images courtesy of Target.

H to the O to the T.

The Bailey Shoe by omelle.

So simple, so chic, oh, so high and a total steal at $595 (riiiight).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Love Letters.

About 7 years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer and given about 6 months to live. Since he was in Arizona and I was in California, I flew back to AZ each month to take advantage of his limited time. As Christmas grew near, the doctor let us know that his time could now be counted in weeks. When I traveled home for Christmas, I struggled with what sort of gift to give someone who was dying. And then I decided to write a letter. The idea stemmed from the typewritten letters he sent to me while I was away at college, but mostly the letter would give me the opportunity to tell him everything I needed him to know. My gift to my grandfather that Christmas was a love letter - a letter full of respect, of understanding and of finding a common ground. It was the best gift I have ever given. And even though he died a short two and a half weeks later, I drew immense comfort from the fact that he knew everything that my heart needed to say.

Last week, my sister forwarded me a rather discouraging email. My favorite teacher from junior high school, Mrs. Perry, was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given 6-9 months to live. Her thoughtful acceptance of her prognosis is a heartbreaking case of taking lemons and making lemonade. She has already started to tackle her bucket list and hopes "to go out celebrating life...surrounded by love and laughter." And now I am preparing to write another love letter. This woman had such a profound impact on my life though that I just don't know how successful I will be.

When I was in the 8th grade, my home life was far from perfect. Mrs. Perry required us to write in a journal each week for her to review. From this, she saw a need in me for compassion without judgment. She invited me to join a group of students to meet each week to discuss the trials and tribulations of our adolescent lives. Her intuition was eerily accurate as my father died unexpectedly later that year. To this day, I know that her support and the support of that group allowed me to move beyond that tragedy.

It makes me incredibly sad to need to write a letter like this, but I also feel extremely grateful that I'm able to say what I need to say. After a day like today where we have all witnessed such an unexpected loss, I realize that sometimes there is comfort in the knowing. I was never able to write my dad this sort of love letter, but at least I'll be able to write one to the woman who helped me deal with that loss.


The Champagne of BLTs.

I know it seems like I'm hopping on the bacon bandwagon, but I seriously LOVE bacon. And it's not just because Jim Gaffigan does or because there are bacon bandaids or a website celebrating bacon culture from around the world...although these are all very compelling reasons to love bacon.

I especially love BLTs. So much so that I recently had BLTs for dinner for a whole week. The only reason I stopped was because I ran out of bacon. (I have a tendency to eat the same thing for a week at a time though...my other standby is a caprese salad, my all-time favorite summertime salad). So, imagine my euphoria when I stumbled across a recipe on Epicurious.com that combines two of my "never fail to satisfy" meals into one tasty sandwich.

It's pancetta (fancy bacon), burrata (only one of the best cheeses ever), tomatoes, basil, olive oil, sea salt...are you drooling yet? I will be buying the ingredients the next time I go to the grocery store. In the meantime, I'm trying to will one of these to my desk right now.

For other bacon recipes, check out the Epicurious.com Bacon Slideshow.

Mmmmmm. Bacon.

Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

This will never get old. Never ever.

Day Man from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

In the Words of Tracy Jordan.

I want to take this dining room behind the middle school and get it pregnant.

A Manhattan loft found on Remodelista; photo via New York Times.

And just for fun, Everything Tracy Jordan Said.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Give Me Your Shoes and No One Gets Hurt.

Hi Trina. Nice dress, cute bob, love your whimsical use of patterns and color, blah, blah, blah. Now, can I have your shoes already?

Photo from Trina Turk Residential via Apartment Therapy.

I'll Like to Place an Order for Room Service.

Dear Room Service,
I have an awfully large order to place. I hope you don't mind delivering it all to my lovely loft in Soho. Friday would be fabulous. I'll take one of each of the items below. You can put the credenza near the exposed brick wall. And I guess we'll just have to arrange everything else keeping the floor-to-ceiling windows in mind. You take American Express Black, right?
Sincerely, Jess

Lautner Credenza in Dark Walnut.

Neutra Sofa with Old School Orange Textured Fabric.

Eero Saarinen Style Womb Chair in Sable Gray Tweed.

The Eco Dining Table made from Acacia Tree Wood.

Fatboy Sputnik Light.


I don't know how to put into words what I feel about the situation in Iran. I am glued to Andrew Sullivan's constant coverage at the Daily Dish. I cried as I read coverage of today's activities, yet I am incredibly inspired by the Iranians that continue to fight daily, risky life and limb, for the very rights I take for granted daily. I don't think I could ever be that strong.

My first love's family moved from Iran when he was 6 years old. I pray for his family members that are still in Iran and for all Iranians. I hope that when all is said and done, the will of the people prevails. It will be democracy in its purest form.

Whenever something happens in the world that seems to shake me to my very core, I'm reminded of a quote from my favorite short story author, Andre Dubus. In his short story, Rose, he wrote:

"We like to believe that in this last quarter of the century, we know and are untouched by everything; yet it takes only a very small jolt, at the right time, to knock us off balance for the rest of our lives."

Iran has been jolted. I have been jolted. I only hope that when we find our balance again, we are all better because of it.

Pretty Pictures.

Since I won't be receiving any invitations any time soon to Johnny Depp's private island (well, at least not until he becomes a regular patron of Chris' art), I found another tropical island to visit.

On a side note, did anyone else read Vanity Fair's interview with Johnny Depp? The man simply oozes cool. And he's 46 years old. 46! And he says things like this: “My hillbilly instinct tells me when you’re ready to drive a golf cart, you should have a beer.” More than anything, he comes across as an ordinary guy that is living an extraordinary life and he's enjoying every minute of the ride without taking any of it for granted. But I digress...

Photograph by François-Marie Banier via Vanity Fair.

In lieu, of taking a holiday with Johnny, Vanessa, Lily-Rose and Jack, I'll settle for North Island, a resort on the Seychelles that I discovered thanks to Elements of Style.

In the famous words of Liz Lemon, I want to go to there.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I've finally given up trying to separate the husband's studio clothes from his "nice" clothes. After many anal retentive dreams of clearly labeled drawers and typewritten rules and exhaustive discussions of "These are your good jeans and these are your studio jeans," I declare FAIL.

I've hung out with many of Chris' artist friends and few, if any, go out in public with paint or gel medium or gunk or ___(fill in the blank) on their clothes. But Chris, my dearest husband, doesn't seem to have any clothes untouched by his studio practice. Well, except for his suit from our wedding which hides in the deep recesses of our closet protected by a Macy's garment bag and a "STAY AWAY" sign.

I have to hand it to him though. He could give a rat's ass if anyone sees him with paint all over his clothes, his fingernails or in his hair. It must be a badge of honor. A sign clearly stating, "I just spent 15 hours in the studio today possibly making unadulterated beauty (or a float). What did you do?" And I love him for the fact that he does what he loves to do passionately and with reckless (really, really reckless) abandon each and every day.

Still, I'm sure I will buy him a pair of "good jeans" (as I did just a few months back to see them worn during 4 consecutive nights of papier-mâché and now ruined). Next time I do though, I'll document their rapid decline from nice jeans to drop cloths. Until then, a few examples of what I am talking about:

The "Good" Jeans

The "Going Out" Shoes

The "It's Okay to Wear in Public" Hoodie

The Pièce de Résistance

The Frank Zappa shirt he's probably been wearing for the last 15 years.

Sweet Peas.

I'm beginning to appreciate pasta more as of late. It's usually quick and easy; my husband always loves it (he's Italian); and when paired with lemon juice and seasonal vegetables, it's anything but your basic pasta and tomato sauce.

Photograph by Romulo Yanes via Epicurious.com

I found this recipe for Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas a few months ago. I love it because the ingredients are simple and easy to come by, it takes less than 20 minutes to make and the combination of the cream, the lemon, the peas and spinach is scrumptious. I love biting into every sweet little pea and discovering some of the tart lemon juice hiding inside.

My Living Room (In Another Apartment and Income Bracket).

After months on the road with the husband touring museums and galleries in London and Munich and Venice and New York, it will be nice to come home to this. A girl can dream, right?

Photography by Tom Leighton.

I just adore the mixture of rustic and modern and am absolutely giddy about the yellow wall. This is the type of room I want to relax in with a good book on a typical rainy and/or foggy SF day. Now, if I could just find an apartment with a living room twice the size of my current apartment I'd be all set.

To recreate this look, visit Remodalista. I'm thinking I'll start with the carafe and then maybe move on the vases. Hopefully Santa will bring me the apartment (and all of the other stuff). I swear I've been a good girl.

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

I've been obsessed with ancient civilizations since the day I was introduced to them in an art history class about 13 years ago. I was mesmerized by the way the Greeks, the Romans and the Egyptians were so civilized, so organized, so specialized and so, well, modern...minus of course the prevalence of slavery and gender inequality and racism, etc. Regardless, I was amazed that these cutltures enjoyed leisure time. They didn't have electricity or Google or iPhones or tractors or automobiles, but they found time to cultivate and enjoy music, theater and the visual arts...3,000 years ago! I still can't quite wrap my brain around it.

Photo: Andreas F. Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig

So that should give you some insight into why I am DYING to see the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of Pharoahs exhibit opening at the DeYoung Museum this Saturday. It's been 30 years since the exhibit was last in San Francisco and over 3,000 years since Tut was king. 3,000 years! See, still can't wrap my brain around the fact that I'll be looking at artifacts that old. If you are in San Francisco between June 27, 2009 - March 28, 2010, be sure to witness what is most likely a once in a life time opportunity.

Junot Diaz and Dave Eggers, I swoon.

When I was 22 living in Los Angeles, working for an a-hole and regularly receiving paychecks that would bounce, my best friend and lifeline at the time gave me a copy of one of his favorite books in recent memory. That book was Drown by the relatively unknown and relatively young Junot Díaz. As his debut, it was a haunting collection of short stories about a Dominican family, its generational struggles in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, and the "casual cruelty, devastating ambivalence, and knowing humor of lives circumscribed by poverty and uncertainty" (Amazon.com Book Review). That book sat with me and haunted me, but still gave me hope. And for seven years (what took you so long Junot?), I waited for the follow up. Luckily I was not disappointed.

As soon as I found out that Díaz had written another book, I jumped to buy it. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was released in 2007 and eventually received the Pulitzer Prize. This is probably one of the best books I have read in the past 10 years. I wish I could do it any sense of justice, but I think the New York Times did it better with their book review: "It is funny, street-smart and keenly observed, and it unfolds from a comic portrait of a second-generation Dominican geek into a harrowing meditation on public and private history and the burdens of familial history." I've probably recommended this book to everyone I know. And my reward...getting to see Junot Díaz speak and getting to watch a play inspired by Oscar Wao...on the same day!

This Saturday, I'm going with some fabulous ladies to two fabulous literary events. First, we are going to Glide Memorial Church to watch a lecture by Junot Díaz and Dave Eggers (yes, Eggers of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius fame, but also author of another one of my recent favorites, What is the What). Next, we will head to Intersection of the Arts to watch the Oscar Wao inspired play Fukú Americanus, adapted by Sean San José and co-directed with the Living Word's Marc Bamuthi Joséph.

I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to interact with an author, let alone two, that I admired (probably because most I enjoy are dead). And I am so excited to see Oscar personified. This should be a marvelous day! Then, the Pride parade is Sunday. Can the weekend get here already?

Bottom line: if you are looking for something to read, please pick up either Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao or What is the What. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Next Time I'm in Spain with Money to Burn...

...and I've grown weary of spending months on end at the Spanish beaches in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Alicante and of course, Barcelona, I'll head to the Hotel Aire de Bardenas in Navarre. After all of that water, this desert moon colony constructed from prefab buildings and recycled material will be a nice change of pace. And really, is there a better way to view such a bizarre landscape than in an Eames rocking chair?

I came across this absolutely fabulous hotel via Wallpaper.
Photos by José Hevia.
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