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wine country

that was napa.

well, napa from my view in the backseat of our rental.
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we all went there together one day
i ate this beast at solbar:

ahhh. drink it in. 
i wish i could eat it again right now.

i had this guy too:

also delicious + it had the superthin charred crust i love, but that first dish - whew!! 
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yay for eating outside

yay cool concrete sculpture/water fountain outside the restaurant

yay napa

potw: (my kind of) holiday card

pretty funny letterpress card by sweet dee designs (god i hope that's a sunny ref).

dee's serving up plenty of other letterpress treats in her etsy shop as well.

fa la la bitches

number one

this was the best break.

i mean it.

mashed potato prep with the food mill

we only bust this device out for special occasions, but it's so worth it.

part of our market haul

mastering the art of poaching...slowly

a new-to-us neighborhood find
buying paint for a new project

how was your thanksgiving?

gimme gimme

for those of you who celebrate any of the upcoming holidays (or are forced to celebrate said holidays at work), here's a few gift ideas.

you know. 
something to get the creative gift-giving juices workin.

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1. for the faves: ipad case, leather gloves, cashmere scarf. 

2. for the foodies: wine opener,* french press, organic grey sea salt.

3. for the coworker: magnetic board, desk calendar, business card holder

4. for the new homeowners: versatile tray, bartender's toolkit, clock

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i love giving gifts. 
so much.

it makes me unbelievably pumped to find something i know someone on my list would just die to have. i try to start my shopping in the middle of november so it's not as overwhelming but that doesn't always happen. and it all still works out.

 at this point, i do 90% of my holiday shopping online. except for a few things. i love doing it that way. plus, it's pretty much the only place that isn't playing christmas music on constant loop.

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*i can't say enough good things about that wine opener. it makes removing the cork so easy. srsly. after you open one with this, you'll never want that measly little corkscrew again.

wknd bits

plant life attacking our backyard fence
red velvet for my brother's bday

always looking for the sun patch

fall still hanging on

potw: coasting

coasters by cranky pressman via parliament of owls

aren't these letterpressed coasters from cranky pressman* great?

read more about the coaster project here + see more work by parliament of owls here.

these coasters made me happy today.

nice work

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*design + illustration by parliament of owls; beautiful letterpress by cranky pressman

oh yes oh yes

via the real post grads 

hold up

"you have to eat here."
"you gotta check out this park."

i got a lot of trip advice and helpful suggestions before we headed out west.

then i got there and realized everyone left out something critically important.


why didn't anyone tell me about all the succulents?

i mean, what is going on here?

who just has beautiful bounties of succulents ON THEIR SIDEWALKS?


maybe they haven't always been there, but as we walked down the street the very first morning we were in town, i stopped dead in my tracks when i came across the first plot (?) of succulents.

we walked more.

and another...

i saw so many stunning succulents, i just lost count. 

me: "oh! that one's my fave! no, wait! look at this one! 

[and probably gave myself a thumb strain from trying to instagram the shit out of every last one.]

turns out, a lot of the ones i saw are courtesy of friends of the urban forest.

ok but who are they?

i'll let them explain in their own words from their site:

"friends of the urban forest's mission is to promote a larger, healthier urban forest as part of san francisco's infrastructure through community planting, tree planting, education and advocacy."

i just find this to be incredible. and it makes such a big difference that passersby can't help but notice.

we walked a lot while we were in town, and even though the hills were a bit more insane than i thought they'd be (feel the burn!), it was awesome to be surrounded by such lush green city streets.

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of course, there were other pretty nature things 

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but i'd go back just for the sweet succulent show.

day + night

mission dolores park 

watching the sun go down from our vacation rental

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beautiful beginning
beautiful end
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a perfect san francisco day

cool cali cars


omg that is the best color green

good start

the best latte i've had in months | cafe ponte

it's almost time for lunch, but i still got breakfast on the brain.
specifically, some of the morning meals we enjoyed in sf.

as soon as i had the address of the place where we'd be staying for the trip, i became a google maps-addicted, restaurant-searching fool.

when i found out that tartine bakery was within walking distance, i couldn't get there fast enough. 

[if we hadn't come in on the red eye, i maybe definitely woulda gone straight there.]

inside tartine

i think the boy and i saw something on food network about this place. or maybe it was in a magazine...or a blog? 

i don't really remember.

regardless of the media delivery method, we went there. 

and both loved it.

from top left: chocolate, morning bun, two ham-n-cheese

there's our haul, up above.

nice, right?

we tried the double pain au chocolat (awesome, amazing flakiness; a bit too much chocolate for my taste but delicious all the same), the pain au jambon (ham-n-cheese! this one was my fave), and the morning bun (good texture and tasty for sure, but personally, i'm not a fan of orange sugar. just plain ol' sugar woulda been justfinethanks).

layers of love

but the croissants were legit. there's no other word for them. buttery beyond belief and sooo flaky. 

(it looked like we'd tossed a pound of croissant confetti on the table after we finished)

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but i'm still going through vacation withdrawal a bit. 

i miss it. 

i mean who doesn't feel that way after you first get back?

so last night while the boy and i finished unpacking (isn't it the worst?!), i remembered that before we left for this trip, we'd purchased the ingredients for these little no-bake energy bites i found on pinterest

(where else?)

via smashed peas and carrots

the recipe is really easy, and i think they turned out great. 

all aboard! 
(looking slightly disgusting in this light) 
waiting to be mixed

the original recipe doesn't call for the dried cranberries we added, but i think they made a nice addition. i'd probably chop them up a bit next time though, if anything. they were a little large.

the recipe does calls for ground flaxseed which was a new adventure for me (see above). i ended up with this brand from trader joe's. it added a nice nutty flavor to the mix. i think. i didn't really notice it to be honest.

and i'm not a person who has a whole arsenal of kitchen tips and tricks, but i do have two today:

the recipe calls for honey. and peanut butter.

i've found that with any sticky substance, if you spray the measuring cup (or your mom-gifted pampered chef gadget) with a little bit of non-stick cooking spray, it plops out easily. 

see how clean it is in the picture up there?

you may need to use a spatula to get all of it, but it's sooo much easier to spray first instead of scraping the measuring cup a billion times to get every last drop.

one more tip for this recipe?

you need to stir pretty vigorously to get all the ingredients fully mixed together.

so i like to put plastic wrap completely over the container i'm using. then, i pull it back from the bowl a bit more than halfway.

this way, i can really get my stir on and avoid a peanut butter-covered hand.

this works well for handmixing anything you don't want to end up all over the place.

i formed these into balls (using this trusty scoop that i also coated with non-stick spray), popped them in the fridge for thirty minutes and...


they are super yummy. 

we still have some leftover, but i'm not sure they'll last much longer.

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now i'm hungry.

more soon.