Island of Angels

photo 4

As you know, we are working on relaxing. Being zen. Cultivating a more mindful life that is less about status updates and much more about determining – and keeping healthy – the status of relationships and lives.

And in that vein, this Labor Day weekend was a lovely exercise in hunkering down. Settling in. Circling the wagons. Drinking coffee late in bed, binge watching New Girl, reading entire books in a sitting, and going to dinner right around the corner.

And finally exploring the mystical place known as Angel Island.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Hope your weekend was just as magical.

Livin’ La Vida Tiny: After, part deux

I grew up sharing a bathroom with my brother, then with three college roommates, then with 35 sorority sisters. In my Presidio house, there were four adults sharing one bathroom and we all got really good at the speed shower and the quick pee.

Yeah, I went there.

Now, blissfully, I have my own bathroom, chock full of hair products, fresh towels and back issues of Vogue. Still, it can be crowded with cosmetics and brushes, and stray bobby pins are somehow everywhere. In order to keep my tiny toilette feeling organized and feminine, I rely on a neutral palate, vintage organizer help, and tons of fresh-smelling Method cleaner.

Space Savers. It would be easy, but inefficient, to cram my built-in shelves full of products. These linen drawers from Target keep cosmetics and hair accessories compartmentalized and easy to access. Since I’m not allowed to paint, the neutral shade blends into the wall color nicely, to keep the room from feeling visually cluttered.

Cool Colors. Green is my favorite color, in all its varieties: vintage depression green, minty old Vespa green, and that pale blue-green of the Indian ocean when the tide goes out. I used Fieldcrest Luxury towels in Aqua Spill as a base color, and then added whites and neutral shades around it, with the occasional pop of bright teal.

Vintage Vessels. For small items, such as makeup brushes, cotton balls, and those rascally bobby pins, I employed my collection of vintage jars, canisters, and even my great-grandmother’s rose chintz tea cup, to keep everything organized. I also the vintage feel of French toile fabric, and I’ve had that laundry bag since college, so technically, it’s vintage, too!

I’d love to hear your organization tips! Bathroom or otherwise!

Livin’ La Vida Tiny: After

One of the first things I realized when I moved into 200 square feet, was that I needed to maximize every possible inch – including the outdoors – but since I basically live in the sky, the only outdoors we are rockin’ in the treehouse is a front porch and a whole lotta stairs.

In order to make my little porch feel like an extension of living space, I added wicker table and chairs, strung up solar lights and created an herb garden that not only floods my doorstep with fragrance after the (frequent) San Francisco rains, but it also adds a whole new element to cooking. And by “element” I naturally mean I just add herbs to everything now. Yes, sometimes even toast with cheese. Add a lil’ basil. It’s really pretty good.

Living La Vida Tiny: Before

A few months ago, I moved from a rambling, four-bedroom historical home with four roommates, to a tiny little studio all of my own. While the space and freedom of my own place is wonderful, the actual space itself is truly teeny tiny! To the tune of about 300 square feet. As most people say when they walk in: “Whoa. This IS small!” Thanks. Thank you, very much. No really, I never get that, honestly.

Living here, thus far, has been both challenging and hilarious. Especially because the idea of my very own big kid apartment was hatched long ago, via You’ve Got Mail and Sex & The City, and those beautiful city girl apartments are so very clearly not in line with any true city dweller’s budget these days.

So, for any other city folks who live in far less space than they’d like, or for those who also fell prey to the false advertising of HBO and Nora Ephron, I’d love to showcase a few tips, tricks and ways I’ve found to make a small space feel bigger. First, the before shots:


Structure: As you can see, there’s not a whole lot of structure to the space. Other than the built-in bookshelves and the raised bed platform, it’s one long room with a hardwood floor kitchen and a (thankfully) separated bathroom.

Angles. The ceiling is also funny – it’s slanted! Like a cabin! Because the apartment is so high up – it’s the in-law unit at the top of an old San Francisco mansion – it has a homey, treehouse feeling, but the odd angle of the ceiling and walls make for a few bumped heads at every dinner party.

Kitchen. Or lack thereof. Two burners, a sink, limited counter space and a tiny, almost Paris-sized fridge. The challenge of cooking in such a small space cannot go overlooked.

What would you do with this funny little place? Any ideas or suggestions? Stay tuned next week for the after shots and solutions to some of my tiny apartment woes!



Summer in SF

Summer in SF

Paul Joe cardigan

J Crew vintage shirt

River Island black sandals
$47 –

Leather shoulder bag

Pendant necklace

Mango round sunglasses
$19 –
Casual, glam, with a hint of shimmer and with enough utilitarian elements (flats, shades, a roomy bag) to get through the day. I’m wearing this all summer.

Shop Talk

Do you ever feel weird if you’ve been alone for too long? I always thought I was one of those people who loved my alone time, really relished my solitude, but now that I live alone and have a new job that lets me work from home…where I live, alone… I’ve started to realize that a morning spent alone is bliss, but an entire day spent alone is just strange.

We’re talking midday napping on my yoga mat, talking to myself incessantly, listening to opera and feeling oddly sad about it, bowls of cereal at 2 p.m. And that was just Monday.

So, I’ve taken to doing a lot of my working in coffee shops and outside in the beautiful Presidio. And I have to say, I feel so much better. Simply having other people around makes me feel like I’m part of the larger community and in a way, it holds me accountable to getting things done. The mom at the table behind me would probably roll her eyes if she looked over to see a young, capable person wasting away in front of Facebook, but when I’m writing and creating, I feel like I’m getting the neighborly seal of approval.

Do you work in coffee shops? Are you productive there? I’d love to know if other people are wired this way, too!

Photo via the beautiful Modern Hepburn.

Put a bird on it!

Kids. It’s really nice to be talking to you. Since last we spoke I have:

– moved into my own apartment

– gotten a new job

– de-boned my first duck

All of those things are true. Except for the duck. Because eewww. Duck is slimy (sorry, France.)

Speaking of ducks, have you ever heard D‘s favorite joke? Here goes:

Q: How is a duck like a bicycle?

A: They both have handlebars. Except for the duck.

That one gets me every time.

So, now that I have a new and awesome job, and now that I have moved into a little tiny place all by my onesie, I’m very excited to share the details in the upcoming weeks. And to start, a little sneak peek of the newest residents of my apartment:

My little place has been christened The Treehouse by my friends, because it’s very high up, and it’s in the trees! Bonus points for the ocean view and the insane cardio workout I get going up the 75 stairs every day.

Do come over and visit won’t you? The birds, and the ducks, and the owls, and the raccoons, and possibly even my crazy landlords would really love it if you did.

Chronicle Books Grand Opening

Last night’s Chronicle Books grand opening was so fun and fabulous. There is nothing I love more than a good bookstore – the smell of the pages, the hush of footsteps as people peruse the shelves, the joy of turning a book over in your hands – I’m so grateful there will be a great shop so close to my office.

I’d love to share a few photos from last night’s party, and again, encourage you to leave a comment here for the amazing Chronicle giveaway! There is nothing I love more than a good bookstore – except maybe some awesome bookstore things for free! Big, big thanks to Chronicle for such a sweet offer!

Carpe Diem…the cupcakes!

Lots of good reading happening already!

Fun friends at the bookshop!

This is a classic San Francisco trio: bikes, donuts, and an existential crisis!

Chronicle Books Promo + Giveaway

Friends! Countrywomen! I am beyond thrilled to let you know about a promotion and giveaway from the good people at Chronicle Books, San Franciso’s local book publisher.

Chronicle has offered a 15 percent discount for Gourmet Style Girl readers, in honor of their new store opening at the Metreon in downtown San Francisco. Just enter the code GourmetStyleGirl when you purchase online and voila. Discount, yours.

Plus…drumroll please, yes there is a plus, and holy cow it’s a good one…plusone lucky reader will win a Chronicle prize package, featuring new titles, stationery, and some special Chronicle goodies.

To win: visit the Chronicle website and then leave a comment on this post about a new title you can’t wait to read, your favorite Chronicle title ever, or what you plan to buy with that awesome discount.

I bought my mom the gorgeous Tartine Bread book for her birthday last year, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on the new Miette cookbook tomorrow at the grand opening. Are you coming to the opening festivities this weekend? Come say hi!

Comments must be entered by Friday at midnight; a winner will be announced on Monday morning. Discount valid 3/8 – 3/15, online only.

Thank you, Chronicle! You made our day. Yes, all of us.

Secret San Francisco Picnic

Did you all have a nice Valentine’s Day? Ours was…interesting. Sometimes I think God/the universe/whatever you believe, waits for we humans to have a great notion (Sunset picnic! Flowers! The theatah!) just so it can smite us, tiny powerless beings that we ultimately are.

Smiting? Is that still a thing? Are people smiting? Is it in any way related to smithing?

This is all a very dramatic way of saying that my Valentine’s day flowers never showed up (harrumph, Teleflora!), the weather was fuh-reeeezing and the grass was wet, and the play we saw was completely mediocre.

However. However. Because humans, powerless though we are, are also inherently optimists, I am very pleased to tell you that we did find something awesome that basically makes up for everything else: a secret picnic spot!

Deep in the Yerba Buena Gardens, at the back of the field, is a beautiful waterfall:

Behind it, you’ll find a little stone walkway, with a little corner tucked away, perfect for a picnic!

If wet grass, cold weather, bad plays, or a general lack of things going right happens to you, get some cheese, some wine, some friends, and get thee to this sweet little spot. Poof. Romance, restored. You won’t be smote, but you just might be smitten.