Thursday, October 31, 2013

{happy halloween!}

 Happy Halloween! 

Are you dressing up?

I'm not. I couldn't think of any ideas! 
I also don't have major plans. 
I have an EARLY meeting tomorrow morning {7am}, 
so I need to have an early night.
Lame, I know.

I did something a little crafty for my team at work. 
Just little notes & drawings with a piece of candy. 
Super easy & inexpensive. It's the little things!

^^I'm not dressing in full costume, but a mask may do the trick.

^^My festive outfit for the day.

Have a fun & safe night! xo.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{a craigslist story}

I'm only writing about this experience because three separate people told me, "OMG YOU HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS. IT'S A BLOG POST IN ITSELF."

Ready for my Craigslist story?

When I first moved to San Francisco, I had grand dreams of moving into a lovely, light-filled one-bedroom or studio apartment. Shortly thereafter, a few people splashed some cold water on my face & clued me in on the housing market in the city.  So with one-bedroom dreams rightfully out the window, I moved from the "apartments" to "rooms/shares" option on Craiglist. Turns out, this was the better choice. Although I'd love to get my own furniture, the idea of moving into a place with everything I need already there sounded increasingly more appealing. My first year of work was going to be jam-packed, & I wasn't going to be at home a lot. So this option allowed me to save some money, live with cool people, & just settle in for a low-stress, inexpensive year.

The "room/shares" tab on Craigslist has been endless entertainment for me. The ads are SO FUNNY you guys. I'm impatient to find something, yes, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to scrolling through the postings every day. Half the people don't give a shit about what they write & the other half treat it as a creative writing assignment.

I've seen photos of beautiful apartments & rooms; I've seen photos of just food--as if to show me what I could make in the apartment's kitchen; I've seen {interesting} photos of the people who live there; I've seen pictures of dirty laundry & the apartment's "all-inclusive" pets. Or no photos at all.

I've read, "Please do not live here if you're looking to use the kitchen. If you like to cook, this place is not for you. Please do not even respond."

And: "We're looking for someone kick-ass & cool. So if you're not either of those things, this isn't for you."

I clicked on this posting before it was taken down & was rightfully horrified. {Re: current housing market in SF.}

I've applied to about six apartments so far & three have gotten back to me. Two of those were great experiences--the locations were safe, the flats were beautiful, & I clicked with the roommates. But they just didn't picked me. {I'm pretty sure both times were because of my age--22 still sounds college-y & most people my age are still in school.}

I told my sister that this whole roommate application process is a lot like applying for a job, however I'm lenient to take these rejections more personally because the decisions are solely based on my personality. & I think I'm pretty great. Ha! But I'm also totally aware that you could take two of greatest people in the world, put them in an apartment together, & it could be a nightmare. So no hard feelings towards the people who didn't pick me.

My third experience was a different story.

The pictures from the posting looked okay; the bedroom was tiny, but just what I needed, the location was a seven minute walk from work, so it was super convenient. The girls were my age, had good jobs, & I seemed to fit the bill for what kind of roommate they were looking for. Check, check, check. Feeling hopeful, I scheduled a time to see the place on Friday night. This wasn't the first time I'd gone to see a place by myself, but it was the first time I'd done so at night. My boss demanded I tell her the address just in case--as did my sister--but since the girls had my email, LinkedIn, & phone number, I figured if they were planning on doing anything crazy to me, they'd have done something already. So off I went.

It started off SO WELL.

Good Sign #1: The building was really safe. The guard wouldn't let me in the lobby without a key.

Good Sign #2: The girl who came down to get me was very nice, making me feel okay to get in the elevator with her. Second roommate was nice too.

Bad Sign #1: I thought I was being taken up to my room in an insane asylum, thanks to the peeling wallpaper & yellowed lights in the hallway. TOTALLY NOT a deal breaker, but it made me a little nervous.

Good Sign #3: The bedroom was cute! Just what I thought it looked like. The view was amazing too.

This is the end of the good signs.

Bad Sign #2: They were cooking dinner as they gave me the tour & the whole place was steamy & smokey. None of the windows could open, so fresh air was not an option. {To be fair, I don't know this to be a absolute fact, but the windows did not have latches, that's for sure.}  I was so claustrophobic.

So we chatted for about twenty minutes in the living room. Next to the couch I was sitting on was a trampoline. A mini one...but still. A trampoline. The one girl loves to jump on it. {Bad Sign #3, obvi.}

The final straw was when they explained that the girl moving out was taking all of the furniture, so whoever moves in--potentially me--will be included in the buying of new furniture...

...& the hot tub.

It went like this:

Girl: "What do you think about…putting in a hot tub?!"

Me: (clarifying) "Oh, tub? In the living room?"

Girl: "Yes!"

Me: (politely) "I don't think that's allowed. We're on the 14th floor. If it leaked, it would--"

Girl: "It's totally allowed. The only downside would be cleaning it. But I would definitely clean it. I mean, can you think of anything better than coming home after a long day of work, getting a glass of wine, & relaxing in the hot tub?"

Me: {I was pretty much at a loss for words, but I did come to the conclusion that this was Bad Sign #4.}

Girl #2: "So…what do you think?""

They put me in a hard spot. I was already feeling awkward & uncomfortable, but I didn't want to tell the truth & make it more awkward & uncomfortable. So I mumbled something along the lines of, "Well I guess you have to take advantage of the view!" & pretty much grabbed my coat & got the hell outta there.

The worst part about this whole situation was that they were nice. Odd, sure. But they were really nice.

Full disclosure: after I left the trampoline apartment, I was near tears. I was just frustrated by the whole thing. {& a little weirded out, let's be honest.} But did it make me give up on Craiglist? No way. I'll keep looking. This was just a bad egg.

So the moral of the story is…Craigslist is a gamble. You never know what to expect. You just have to be smart & safe about it & trust your instinct.

{Oh, & I won't be living there.}

Monday, October 28, 2013

{around the neighborhood}

^^That chocolate shop smells like heaven.

^^One of my favorite things about this city. Random tables line the streets.

^^Street sales on every corner.

^^Beautiful hand-made paper streamers. I bought three.

^^Cali baby!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{photos from the weekend}

Nope, still haven't unpacked my camera. These photos are from my phone.

The weather this weekend was UNREAL. My cousin has never been to SF before, so I played tourist & tagged along with her.

^^The Bay Bridge & a spot my camera has added to half of my photos.

^^Full House memories!


^^The highly entertaining sea lions. There were so many! 

^^Ferry Building

^^Dolores Park

^^Dolores has one of the best views in the city.

^^Taken from a cab, early in the morning. St. Ignatius Church. Just gorgeous.

Let's hope I take out my good camera next weekend!

Monday, October 21, 2013

{SF restaurants & that night I became friends with Katie Couric in a bathroom}

Okay, so friends may be a strong word. But I'll get to that story in a second.

When my mom & stepdad were in town last week with my aunt & her NEW fiancé (they got engaged on the trip!), I totally weaseled my way into all of their dinner reservations. San Francisco's restaurant scene is not kidding around, guys. Every place we went to was amazing.

First up was Pesce, which is known as "Venice in California." It's a mix between seafood & Italian & everything we ordered was phenomenal. I'm not a big seafood eater, but scallops have always looked so delicious to me for some reason. I thought: if anyone could make a good scallop for me to try, it'd be Pesce. So I tried scallops & I am now a fan.  The interiors were gorgeous, too. I kept staring at the light fixtures. & BONUS! It was really gluten-free friendly.

^^Spruce's entrance, via here.

Next up was Spruce, aka The Restaurant Where I Became Friends With Katie Couric. When I stepped out of the cab, I gasped. The entrance was jaw-dropping. It's tucked away in this quiet, amazing neighborhood of San Francisco, so the sight was a little unexpected. I felt like I was in France. My mom & I arrived a little early, so they offered us a seat in the bakery or bar before dinner. The bakery had coffee & sweets, & is where they make all of the restaurant's desserts, (which made this option super tempting), but we decided on the bar.

The bar was beautiful. It also has the most comfortable bar stools known to man. The service was exquisite & my salad was unreal. When my stepdad & soon-to-be uncle joined us, we moved to our table for dinner & everything continued to be amazing. But then the night got better...

Right after I ordered my meal, I looked across the room & said "I think that's Katie Couric." I LOVE Katie Couric, so I was pretty excited about this spotting. No one at my table was convinced, so I slyly went on her Twitter to if she'd posted anything about SF. {Don't lie, you've all done something like this before.} Nothing. She was in Chicago that afternoon. But if anyone could be in Chicago on a Wednesday afternoon & Spruce in San Francisco at 9:45pm that same day, it'd be Katie Couric, right?

We ended up washing our hands in the bathroom at the same time, so I bit the bullet & said something to her. I've met a lot of celebrities, & tend to leave them be, but this was fate. I told her I was a big fan & loved her show & we ended up having a lovely chat about television production on the way back to our tables. {Oh, yeah. Totally mentioned the fact that I worked for Dr. Phil.} She couldn't have been sweeter or more down to earth. Katie & I totally bonded, guys. When she left, she actually looked around the room & waved goodbye to me. I mean!

I tweeted her later that night & she tweeted me back. Friends? I'd say so.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

{fab finds}

After many years of research, my mom & I have come to the same conclusion: Costco has the best cashmere sweaters.

Can you believe it? We've tried everything: Gap, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Anthro, & more. But the sweaters that stay soft & true to size & don't pill? Costco.

We've been waiting for them to come out again for the fall & they finally did!  I was there this weekend & nearly knocked people over to get to them. They have a few different styles, but the only one I liked was the classic v-neck. There's also a good selection of colors, but in true form...I went for black. But then I thought, I should get TWO right?? {The women in my family have this special gene where we're physically required to buy two of everything if there's another good color choice. We're aware that it's an issue.}  So I bought black & camel. SO GLAD I did that.

^^I was sweating by the time I got to work {75*F here}, but what are ya gonna do.

They retail around $119.99, but considering they're 100% cashmere & made in Italy (& look freaking amazing & don't pill don't pill don't pill}...they are well worth it. I can't read the tag to tell you the brand, {it's not Kirkland} because it's in cursive that isn't really legible, but the name seems legit & Italian. Go get yourself some!
I also wandered into Nordstrom Rack this weekend to look for new shoes. Since I walk to work, I need to have a shoe that's equal parts comfortable & stylish. {I'm trying to avoid the "wear sneakers & carry your heels" thing because that's annoying.} The place was overflowing with cute stuff, but since I'd just dropped big $$$ on those sweaters ^^, I reigned myself in a little.

If you've read this blog before, you know I have a longtime love affair with my favorite Cole Haan cheetah flats; but since I wear them so often, they've taken quite the beating. My mom told me I need to start thinking about throwing them away. That hasn't happened yet. Full disclosure: I'm wearing them at work right now. But look what Nordstrom Rack had...

I officially have a back-up cheetah flat! I'm slowly transitioning. These aren't available online, but the store I was in had SO MANY pairs so maybe yours will to? They were also under $50 & five strangers told me I had to get them when I tried them on. You can't argue with that logic.

Happy Shopping Wednesday!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

{one week in}

I've been living & working in San Francisco for a little over a week now! But since I've spent the better part of my month out here, it feels like I've been here longer :)  I've been so busy I haven't even taken out my camera. Hopefully that changes soon. Here are some updates:


I had the best first week. Luckily I didn't start on a crazy busy I-don't-understand-anything-that's-going-on kind of week. My team has been so patient & helpful with explaining everything. My commute is so easy: short walk, short subway ride, & then another short walk. I stroll through such an amazing part of the city; cute coffee shops, stylin' stores, & amazing restaurants are all within walking distance to the office. And walking up to my company's doors? I literally pinch myself. I'm just feeling so fortunate about everything.


I'm pretty much settled in to my room at my uncle's place. The situation as it is now is working totally fine; again, I'm so lucky to have family here. He's not sick of me yet ;) But even so, I've still been spending a few minutes each day looking for apartments & roommates. This city is bustling with people my age, so I don't think it'll take too long to find something. (hopefully.) I'm not stressing about it quite yet. I think I'm almost adjusted to the time change, which is good. And the weather? It's amaze. Sunny & blue skies nearly every day, & officially sweater weather.


Had to add this in there :) Not gonna lie...I was so worried I was going to be homesick & freak out & think oh my god why did I just move across the country to an unfamiliar city where I only know three people?! But guess what? I'm okay! More than okay. I haven't really gotten homesick yet (which for me is huge) & I've never regretted this for a second. Consider myself happily surprised. Don't get me wrong: I definitely miss my family. A LOT. When I think about how far away it is until I see Dylan--which, for the record, is not even planned yet, but will probably be Thanksgiving or later--I lose my breath. And when I think about how my younger brothers will probably grow a foot (each) by the time I see them at Christmas, it makes me want to hop on a plane back to Boston. But that's life. There may be a point down the road where I live & work close to my family, but for now I'm okay. I'm so excited about this phase of my life.


This week will be a good one. My mom & stepdad are coming to town! They had this trip planned way before I up & got a job & moved here, but it's so perfectly timed. I can't wait to see them. I have off tomorrow, too, which is always fun. I think I'm going to hit up Costco at some point & become a member. Hello adulthood?

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

{diy project: armoire makeover, part III}

{Part I}
{Part II}

The fun & final part! Knobs!

My mom & I headed to one of my favorite places for knobs...Anthropologie!

We thought that since we went a little boring on the color of the armoire, we could be more adventurous with the hardware. We walked in thinking color! patterns! fun!

There were lots of gorgeous options, but we narrowed it down to two:

This crystal octagon knob:

& one very similar to this golden metallic knob:

^^I can't find the actual knob online, so this'll have to do.

To be safe, I bought four blue knobs & two gold knobs, that way I could try them out. But I already picked: I was in love with the blue crystal knob. I pictured it in my mind on the dresser & thought it looked so chic. I thought it was the perfect mix between vintage-y & bold. It was just the pop the armoire needed! 
Fist-pumping the air, I walked out of Anthro ready to see them on the dresser in person.

After trying out both, the clear winner was...GOLD! I was so wrong! Don't you agree that it just looks better? The blue knobs just made the armoire Or something else I can't think of the word for. 

Once all of the gold knobs were on, I was finally 100% happy with the end result. I love it! I wish I could fly it out to San Francisco :)

The whole process was so fun & really a lot less complicated than I thought it would be. Full disclosure: this took me two months. It could've taken two days. Ha! But I had such a blast working on it with my mom, that I'm glad it took a long time :)

Here's the final before & after:

If you have any other questions about this project, feel free to ask!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

{diy project: armoire makeover, part II}

{Part I}

So when I went to find the photos for this post, I couldn't find any! They either disappeared or were deleted by accident. So, unfortunately, I don't have many pictures of the next few steps. Ugh.

After I cleaned, sanded, & vacuumed the entire armoire, it was ready for paint!

To make milk paint, you have to mix equal parts hot water & powder. Easy peasy.

{It actually wasn't for me, though, because I was doing this entire project in my stepdad's company's warehouse...where there is no sink. So I had to lug a couple gallons of water, a few buckets, & my electric teapot to mix the paint. I advise people not to do it this way. Obviously! Ha.}

I wanted to paint it light gray, so I mixed both Snow White & Slate. Once I got the exact shade I wanted, I started painting. Hooray!

Here are the exact steps:

1. Paint one coat.
2. Let it dry.
3. Sand with a sanding sponge {not orbital sander}.
4. Wipe it down with a clean cloth.
5. Vacuum.
6. Repeat.

It took about 2 hours for it to dry between coats. But I painted the exterior & interior first, & THEN all of the drawers, so by the time I was done all five drawers, the actual dresser itself was dry. This was a huge time saver.

After painting two coats, I stepped back & looked at the piece. My reaction?

I hated it.

It looked like it was primed & waiting to be painted another color. It didn't look grey enough & I totally panicked. I'd just spent all this money & time & I despised it before I was even finished!

As I was studying it, I kept picturing Tim Gunn by my side à la Project Runway.

^^me too, Tim.

As he says, I needed to "make it work." So I went back to my paint bucket, added more "Slate" & painted a third coat. That did the trick: it finally looked more grey!

When I say "sand" I mean SAND. Since I was going for an aged look, I really scrubbed down to let the original wood color come through. {That's a lie. My mom actually took over at this point, since I was deemed a bad sander. I think she added about five pounds of muscle to her arms just from sanding this thing. Three coats of paint is hard to take off, which is why you should just do the suggested two. Unlike me. Ha!}

The next step was painting everything with polyurethane. I used a clear satin finish & a china brush to get the thinnest coat possible. Same steps as painting:

1. Paint one coat.
2. Let it dry.
3. Sand.
4. Wipe it down with a clean cloth.
5. Vacuum.
6. Repeat.

I'll be honest--this product wasn't my favorite. If I were to do this again, I'd try a different finish. The satin came out a little too yellow for me; I really expected it to be more clear.

^^ignore the mess.

Next & final step...knobs!


Monday, October 7, 2013

{diy project: vintage armoire makeover, part I}

This summer, I decided to rehab an armoire that's been in my family for quite some time. It was my grandma's, then my mom's, then my sister & I's. It was actually the dresser that was used in my sister & I's nursery! So me & this dresser? We go way back. It's been in storage for YEARS & I totally forgot about it. Needless to say, when I saw it again...I fell in love.

Take a look:

Gorgeous, right?

My mom & I decided to tackle it. Before I started, I knew three things: I didn't want to stain it, I didn't want to paint it all one color, & whatever I did, I wanted to keep the integrity & character of the piece. It's vintage! I wanted to keep it looking that way. Since painting it all one color seemed a little boring, I started looking for other ideas...

I came across the book Furniture Makeovers & was immediately inspired! The author, Barb Blair, can only be described as the ultimate furniture guru. The book is full of so many amazing projects! The before & afters are truly incredible. She goes into detail about the different stains, methods, paints, & processes you can use on furniture. She tells you exact brands & products to buy, which was incredibly helpful. And most importantly, she gives step by step instructions on how to do everything.

The section that really stuck out to me, though, was on Milk Paint. I'd never heard of it before, but after seeing the aged, vintage look of the furniture it was used on, I knew it was the way to go. Milk Paint is only sold in select stores, so I had to source it, but I ended up finding it in the most adorable little hardware store outside of Philadelphia.

The only problem was...what color were we going to do?! My mom & I didn't know where the dresser was going to go: our house? the beach house? my future apartment? Because of this, we had to be very "safe" with the paint color. It had to be adaptable.

Here are the colors Milk Paint comes in:

Even though I was SO tempted to paint it "Mustard", we eventually decided on grey. Milk Paint doesn't come in liquid form, only you have to mix it yourself. This was actually a great thing for me, because I was able to create the exact shade I wanted. I wasn't a huge fan of "Oyster White", "Snow White was too white, & "Slate" seemed too dark.  I ended up in the middle: buying two bags of "Snow White" & one bag of "Slate" to create the lightest grey possible.

Before I could start painting, I had to prep.

1. The first thing I did was clean the entire dresser. Dust was in every little crevice, so I spent about 30 minutes just wiping it down.

2. Sanding! I used both an orbital sander AND a fine sanding sponge.

^^Oh, yeah. I totally rocked the protective glasses. I like the ability of sight.

3. After sanding everything down, I took a vacuum & sucked up all the dust. There was a LOT. I don't have a picture, but this step is still very important! You don't want to paint a dusty, sandy piece of furniture. Trust me.

4. While I was sanding with the orbital sander, my hand slipped. Or I got a little too excited. Who knows. Whatever happened, I sanded off a piece of decorative trim! I was super bummed. Luckily it was a clean cut, so I just took some Gorilla Wood Glue & glued the piece right back on.

Next up...painting!