Christmas Gifting

some gifts I will be giving

I always try to get innovative with my wrapping paper.  Being as environmental as I try to be, I can't stand the idea of buying tons of wrapping paper like we did when I was growing up.  Sure, it's cute and looks fancy, but I think there are a lot of other things you can do to save money and recycle what you already have.

In the past I have used magazine pages taped together, comics pages from the Sunday paper, brown paper bags from the grocery store, and my blue lines from my drafting final project in undergrad.  One thing I do every year is keep the bags which I receive gifts in and use them the following year for presents I give to others.  I also keep paper bags from every store and restaurant I get them from and store them for gifts.  You can dress it up with a little tissue paper or newspaper, depending on the holiday and the route you wish to go with the gift.

This year I did something which I used to spend a lot of time doing as a teenager, decorating shoe boxes.  For my work party I decorated a shoe box with pages from design magazines.  It sounds so simple, but it can be tricky getting the pages just where you want them and overlapping them in the right way.  It can really become an art piece if you let it.  For a few other boxes which I am giving to family members I did buy a small roll of Christmas wrap from Target (it was $1).  I wrapped the box tops separately from the bottoms, that way they can be held together with ribbon and reused for years to come.  This is a very economical way to wrap and obviously environmental, just as long as you give them to people who you know will save them and reuse them in the future.  Also, it is great for those of us that have to travel by plane for the holidays, because if you have typically wrapped gifts and your bag is chosen for screening, TSA will open your presents.  Who wants to have to rewrap frantically after reaching their destination?

I love wrapping presents and I hope that I have given you last minute gifters an idea or two on how to be environmental and savvy when giving gifts.


The Den: Before and After

I know I'm lucky to have an extra room in my apartment.  We call it "the den" and the people we rent from left a huge ugly desk in it that we can't get rid of.  The room is relatively small (approx. 8'x11') and it also houses our closet on one end.  When we moved in, we added a few more book shelves to what the previous owners left behind and it quickly became a storage room for us, despite Danny being a grad student and me preferring to work at a desk.  This room was not being used, and the further the semester went on, the deeper the clutter got.



You can see from the before plan that the desk was wasting the corner of the room and blocking easy access to the window.  One of the biggest issues was that your back would be to the door whenever working at the desk.  This is not conducive to working at home.  I finally had a minute to sit down and realize that this den could work with a little innovation and came up with the second plan.  I measured everything and drew it out to make sure there would be enough clearance for walking through and that everything would fit.  It works perfect, I'm totally in love with my new den!  I plan to work in there all the time and I even have a great amount of space to work out in there too!







it's obvious no one can do work here!

I love doing work here!!!

I heart my "new" den!


The Best Hotel beauty products

And the winner is...

Bliss products in W Hotels.  Of course.  How can anyone not love this stuff?  I know that as soon as I walk into my room I go straight for the lotion and put it on my nightstand, so that housekeeping will keep refilling.  Do this everyday and you should have enough lemon+sage lotions to last awhile.  I use them on the go so I always have one in my purse and one at my desk at work.
Smells so good!!!
Thanks again W Hotel's for another reason for me to love you!


Whenever, Whatever San Fransisco

First let me start by saying that W Hotels are my favorite and if I am visiting a city with a W, I will most likely stay there.  I love the funky modern design and attention to detail throughout the entirety of the hotel.  I love that they are all sort of specific to the city which they are located.  I love the service and the fact that they are super dog friendly.

My recent stay was at the W San Francisco.  Located in the heart of the SoMa district, on third street right beside the MoMA, this hotel could not be in a better location.  The Living Room (W's version of a lobby) is really cool, with a fireplace and a Pac-Man/asteroid sit down two player machine.  The bar is really cool and spills into the living room, allowing guests to hang out in comfy sofas by the fire place and still order drinks and food.  Thanksgiving night they already had the Christmas decorations up, super modern tree with a city scene and contemporary light up interpretations of snowflakes all over.

window seat is my fave

One of the best things about the W are their complementary drinks and snacks in the lobby throughout the day.  In the morning is coffee, boring.  But in the afternoon was some of the best hot chocolate I've ever had with little bites of salted brownies.  Delish.  I think I put on a few pounds from so many cups of hot chocolate every day during my stay.  It was too good.

The rooms were ok, could have been a little better but cute and we had a great view of the bay bridge and part of the city.  But of course, the most important thing is the bed, and W signature beds are the most comfortable beds in the world.  The pillows, down comforter, pillowtop mattress, oh my.

view from our window

Most important is that Napoleon liked it here.  Though I don't think he appreciated it when we left him alone in a strange room for most of the day while we toured the city, but he got over it when we gave him the many W dog treats the front desk provided for him.  He really liked the bed too.  No, not the adorable and comfortable doggy bed the hotel provided, our bed.  You think this guy would sleep on a dog bed?  You must be crazy.

you crazy if you tink ima sleep on dis


Tourista Takes San Francisco

Just a few pics from our Thanksgiving weekend in San Francisco.

Coit Tower view from North Beach

Danny and I at Coit Tower, GG Bridge behind us

Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world)

a nice architectural detail on Nob Hill

we brought our baby along :)

my favorite view of the city

SFMoMA's design of wine exhibit

Thanksgiving (almost a month later...)

Sorry I have been in hiatus for awhile, but I'm back, just in time for the Holidays.  But what happened to Thanksgiving?  Well, Danny and I had our first Thanksgiving in a restaurant and it was a splendid experience!  I made the mistake of waiting too long to make a reservation and we found ourselves with only one option (after an extensive search on yelp.)  Luckily it was close to our hotel, not too expensive, had vegetarian options, and was super yum.

The place: Zare at Flytrap.
The food: 4 course pre fixe Thanksgiving menu.
First course: me-squash soup, Danny-sweet potato bacon soup
Second course: me-this amazing eggplant that was covered in sauces and, omg, I don't love eggplant, but I loved this!, Danny- trout with cucumber/pasta salad thing.  meh.
Main Course: me-a sort of vegetarian meatball thing, breaded and fried with beans, potatoes and veggies inside served with a side of guac, Danny- turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing.
Dessert- we shared them both.  A pumpkin cake with some sort of scrumptious sorbet and pumpkin churros.

We both got yummy drinks too.  Mine was something I can't remember the name of, but it was basically a more sophisticated version of the margarita.  Danny got about the girliest drink on the menu, but it was super good.  To put it in perspective, it had a pistachio crusted rim.  Mmmm, I would go back just for that drink.. I wish I remembered the name of it.
vegetarian kufteh tabrizi (veggie meatballs)

pumpkin cake with candied orange and pecans

nice ambiance, great Thanksgiving!