It’s almost time to kiss 2014 goodbye! This year was full of amazing moments, both big and small. I celebrated my 25th birthday at the beach with my best friends, spent a week in Chicago exploring the city and imbibing at a beer festival with Michael and some close friends, started a new job here, and have you heard of Pioneertown? With just one motel, one restaurant, and one bar, it definitely makes for an entertaining weekend – I’m glad I got to trek there for a birthday mini-cation with my friends.
I have to admit, I had a little bit of trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. Celebrating Christmas away from my family for the first time was a new experience that has made me realize how many wonderful traditions we have during the days leading up to the 25th. Decorating the tree and my parents’ home, seeing the Nutcracker ballet, listening to classic Christmas songs on the radio throughout the day, and even just waking up to a cold, crisp morning and seeing the frost on our roof are all fond memories that remind me of the holiday season. I know that each year will be different: some will be spent in Northern California and some will be spent making new traditions. This holiday season, thanks to my amazing friends and extended family, I’ve had a great time discovering what the holiday season is like in Southern California. For me, this has included dining al fresco in Old Towne Orange, a trip to Disneyland, cutting down our lovable Charlie Brown tree, and watching the Newport Beach boat parade on Balboa Island. Hope your holiday season is filled with lots of laughter and love, no matter where you spend it.
Christmas in Southern California, palm trees and all.
The patio at Linx, one of our favorite restaurants for sausages and a good beer.
Little things that make me smile on my desk.
A slightly blurry yet magical glimpse of the lights at California Adventure in Disneyland.
An ideal beer to drink while trimming the tree: the piney, hoppy Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing.
Decorating my space usually starts with tables, chairs, a bed, sofa, lamps: the basics. Art, unfortunately, makes its way onto my walls some time after I’ve settled in. I love the feeling of sourcing that one-of-a-kind painting or flea market steal, but sometimes, finding just the right piece at the right price can take a while. If you’re looking to fill your walls quickly and support some amazing independent artists, Etsy is an invaluable resource for art. With hundreds of thousands of offerings available, here are some of my picks from Etsy’s art section, focusing on blue-hued works.
When the weather gets colder, I find myself going back to basics. These items — while stylish and somewhat trendy — can stand the test of time. Several pieces similar to these are on daily rotation in my wardrobe. On days when my hair just doesn’t want to cooperate (or I’ve gone one too many days without washing it…) a wide-brimmed hat like this one from Madewell (1.) does the trick. This minimal gold t-bar pendant necklace (2.) was created by Karen Hsiang, owner of one of my favorite jewelry shops, The Shangri-La. ‘Tis the season for bright, cheery gift wrap, and I couldn’t help but smile when I found this colorful Matisse-inspired print (3.) on Etsy (wouldn’t it look chic framed and hung on a wall too?). Want to wake up with super soft, hydrated skin? Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (4.) is one of my skincare staples. Sometimes you just have to borrow from the boys: This menswear-style watch from Daniel Wellington (5.) is ideal for everyday wear. And speaking of everyday wear, I could see this grey Madewell varsity jacket (6.) pairing well with jeans, black pixie pants, or a structured skirt. A thin turtleneck like this striped one from J. Crew (7.) is so perfect for layering under a grandpa sweater or denim jacket. And if you’re on the hunt for classic, black leather booties like me, these beauties (8.) from Zara might be the ones.
I walk a fine line when it comes to striking a balance between masculine and feminine decor in my home. Having lived in a big kid (read: post-graduate) apartment with my boyfriend for a couple of years, I have concluded that a neutral palate is great when it comes to essential furniture. My dining table and chairs are black. My bedside tables are white. My armchair is white. My sofa is beige. With these pieces, I have built a base that I can accessorize and embellish with splashy, colorful pieces: a mod yellow tray; mismatched, patterned pillows; a multicolored abstract painting; a large, silver metal letter. I’ve never been one to shy away from color when putting together my home, and I’ve recently been loving the look of neutral-hued, sensible pieces that allow those bolder accent pieces to shine.
Get the look of this feminine-modern space pictured above:
Living away from my parents’ home in the Bay Area has made me love Thanksgiving even more. I don’t find myself longing for Marin every day, but when I return I swear I feel like I took its beauty and easiness for granted when I lived there. That’s not to say that I didn’t take day trips to Stinson Beach, stroll down the cozy streets of downtown San Anselmo, and hike the trails in San Rafael; I did. I guess every time I go home I just realize how rare it is to grow up in such an eclectic and naturally beautiful place. Here are a few snaps from my visit over Thanksgiving weekend, which included a dinner at a Marin must-eat, Sol Food, trips to a brewery and several beer bars, and a day exploring Alamo Square and Hayes Valley in San Francisco.