Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Little Gifts to Myself

Have you ever just decided to treat yourself to your own holiday, staying within a certain budget? Or maybe not staying within a certain budget? And truthfully, isn't it fun to shop for yourself anyway?

As I mentioned recently, I've been a little under the weather, so not my usual running around like a crazy person during the holiday season. Although I did take a moment to visit one of my favorite shops, which I'll tell you about this week.

In any event, I needed a little "pick me up," and I was able to do it right from the comfort of home.

Here are some of the gifts I bought myself and stayed under $250 for all. AND, it gave me immediate gratification, which is always nice when you're under the weather.

1. Monkey Bar Flannel Pajamas - I love the circus. I love pink, and I love pajamas. Who could resist these flannel monkey pj's by Nick & Nora for Target.

2. I am not comfortable in high heels, but want to be taller. I want my feet to be warm and toasty. These waterproof, faux fur-lined 2.5" heel boots are the most comfortable I've ever worn, and they make me tall. Love them. Cougar Moula, Zappos. $124

3. Lately I've been really into Victorian jewelry, so I was thrilled to pick up a copy of this out of print book, Victorian Jewelry: Unexplored Treasures at Amazon. $18.15

4. How dare Laura Mercier discontinue my favorite creamy blush? The one that leaves a "dewy" finish unlike powder blushes. The one that lasts for two years. Well, thanks to Amazon, I found the discontinued color. Not cheap, but I have it now and it lasts forever. "Illuminating Stick, Golden Rose Glow." $29.99

I saw this jewel tape on line. It's designed by Paris-based jeweler Marie-Héléne de Taillac, whose jewelry is unbelievable and shop is exquisite. Of course I don't know what I'll use it for, but I had to have it! nonesuchthings.com £7.50

6. I can never have enough candles, so I was thrilled to find these decorative ceramic soy candles online. Beautiful cracked containers that are useful after the candles burn. In every scent imaginable and the prices are great. Swan Creek Candle Company $10-12

7. Pretty, pretty bath salts with a picture of my favorite place, The Cliff House in San Francisco. Bluebird Bath Salts. $5

Tell me, have you treated yourself to any holiday gifts?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Double Elegance!

Let me introduce you to the icons of San Francisco, the Brown Twins. Marian and Vivian Brown (born January, 1927) are identical twins known for their signature identical stylish outfits and hats atop their meticulously coiffed hair.

The Browns pretty much have a cult-like following in San Francisco. Someone is always taking their picture. They've often been in the media, including television ads. I've even seen them on greeting cards.

I've had the rare opportunity to pass them by while shopping downtown. What an elegant pair. They walk alike, talk alike, and always have a smile on their face. They remind me of "old San Francisco." Going "downtown" in your classiest attire. Hats, gloves and all.

This pair came to San Francisco from Milwaukee in 1970, and remind me of what the City (all cities) used to be like. Elegance and class. Heavens no, they wouldn't step out the house without lipstick!

The Browns used to drive twin Oldsmobiles; white with black dashboards. They drove them off the parking lot at the dealership at the same time.

The twins reside in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Just before 6 p.m. every Monday, Vivian and Marian Brown walk arm-in-arm up Powell Street to Uncle Vito's restaurant. Once there, they wait in chairs side by side for table No. 2, where they split a small pizza with everything on it and a slice of carrot cake. Each gets her own glass of Merlot. Isn't that the cutest?

So if you happen to be doing some holiday shopping in downtown San Francisco this holiday season, keep your eyes open for the Brown sisters. They are absolutely delightful and we're so lucky to have them as part of our eccentric city!

Oh, and here is a cute interview that the Brown sisters gave last year.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Treats from Paris Hotel Boutique!

I hope that all of you in the states had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Today kicks off the official holiday shopping season and I'm thrilled to tell you about my favorite chocolatier, Maison Bouche, and their new chocolat lines!

But before I do, I wanted to let you know that every purchase from Paris Hotel Boutique through the end of the year will receive Maison Bouche chocolat!!

Maison Bouche (literally translated as "house of the mouth") is named after the sumptuous kitchens at Versailles, and based here in the Bay Area. Maison Bouche's packaging is as divine as the scrumptious taste of their confections.

Diane, the owner of Maison Bouche has pulled out the stops with 4 new lines; Holiday 2010, New Year's, Bonne Année and Liqueurs. The wrappers are divine, taken from old French ephemera. The flavors are amazing;

Liqueurs; Champagne, Rum, Cassis, Chartreuse, Absinthe, Cognac, Whiskey Kirsch and Génépy. Each are Noir (dark) and come in a medium bar or gift box collection.

Holiday 2010; Flavors in the Noir set; Fleur de Sel, Cherry Clafoutis, Mint, Eggnog, Gingerbread, Chestnut, Sage and Candied Orange, Curry with Candied Ginger, Café and Pear with Black Pepper.

Flavors in the Lait set; Fleur de Sel, Cherry Clafoutis, Mint, Eggnog, Gingerbread, Tarte Tatin, Balsamic Fig and Cranberries, Café and Pistachio with Candied Orange.

New Year's & Bonne Année; Fleur de Sel & Champagne

These are truly amazing as I just received my large assortment... all ready for you, my loyal customers, as a little token of my thanks!

So, if you're looking for a unique item, visit Maison Bouche website here to purchase their divine chocolat, OR, make a purchase at Paris Hotel Boutique and receive a complimentary chocolat (s)!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Greetings.

Wishing all of you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving. And for our friends outside of the US, Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Enjoy your long weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful for Green Bean Casserole.

What would Thanksgiving dinner be without that traditional green bean casserole?

This dish created by Campbell's soup in 1955 has become a staple for the Thanksgiving meal. Oh sure, you can try versions with fresh green beans and various sauces, but personally, give me the canned string beans and the good old Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. I love the crispy onion layer on the top.

This is the perfect comfort food. I even saw Trader Joe's had their own version. I so wish I had my Grandmother's plastic casserole tray that she used to serve it in. It was so retro cool --was oven-proof and everything.

Here are a couple of other classics Thanksgiving dishes mentioned on one of my favorite blogs, Old Hat. Let's give them a nod...

We have the very 60's ambrosia salad. Who can resist that mixture? Personally I love it...

I'm not sure about how I feel about tangy creamed turkey casserole. I think I'd rather stick with the traditional turkey.

Do you have any favorite dishes that make a traditional appearance on your Thanksgiving dinner table?

...oh, and if you'd like any of the above recipes, I'm happy to post, but figured you already had them ;)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Inspiring Images...white

Wishing you all a Happy Monday!

I absolutely love white. Serene, inviting and calming, white is probably my favorite shade. It can be clean and simple as a backdrop for a room and always looks lush and crisp to wear. Winter white is inviting and refreshing.

Here are some images I'm smitten with from some very talented photographers & artists. There are several...too many favorites to choose from...

{Chanel 2009}


Xavier Veilhan, The Selby

{first photo, peacock: Dragan}

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yes or No?

Thanksgiving cupcakes...

Marshmallow Yam, Lime Jell-O, Pumpkin Pie, and... Turkey Gravy Cranberry Cupcakes from Yummy Cupcakes...

Friday, November 19, 2010

What They Don't Tell You About Winning...

You may have already heard that the San Francisco Giants won their first ever World Series. Yes, BIG celebrations here in the City by the Bay!

But no one could have prepared me for the "secret society" of swag that goes along with being a winner. You may be thinking... t-shirts, jerseys, baseball caps, etc. Well, not exactly. Take a look at some super-special items available exclusively to us loyal fans and recipients of the World Series 2010 win...

Take for instance this Home Team Rocker and MVP Recliner. Gosh, what a tough choice this is. Interesting little "pick-me-up" for that mundane room...

Perhaps a Baseline San Francisco Giants "Classic" Sofa ... because we certainly wouldn't want to steer away from anything classy and traditional, would we?

Ah, the grand dame cutting board set. You never know when you're entertaining and need an expensive San Francisco Giants tray for that yummy brie and sourdough bread.

Oooh...what's this? Wow, it's a San Francisco Giants Jersey Bottle Holder. Little rubber wetsuit to fit over your beer belly bottle. This little baby is a bargain at $14.99.

Now here's a bed ensemble for $89.99. That's right. One comforter and two matching shams. I wonder how high the thread count is? Well, let's hope your house guests don't have a preference for down bedding.

We get our own custom Giants M & M's too? Now that's pretty cool.

What would the holidays be without collectible World Series Champion ornaments?

A World Series stocking for Santa?

Or a light up Giants All Star ornament? Why is he a snowman?

I really think the "creme de la creme" is one of these Scottish Christmas San Francisco Giants Inflatable Sleds, don't you? Imagine the fun. It functions as a water raft and snow sled. Very useful in the San Francisco climate...

And, one of my absolute favorite fan pieces is this door knocker. It sets you back a mere $49.99 and what a better way to share with the world that we are the San Francisco Champions of the World!

Happy Weekend! Happy Holidays!

all photos are from the Major League Shop. I am not kidding.

Worth a Thousand Words...

I love old books...the worn leather covers, grand libraries with nooks and crannies loaded with information to sift through. I'm not even an avid reader, but there is nothing like holding a book in your hands and feeling the pages run through your fingertips. And, I happen to be crazy for old libraries...

One of the most beautiful books I've come across recently, "Libraries," is by the gifted German-based photographer Candida Höfer. This book was published in 2005 and is still available to purchase via used book dealers. Ms. Höfer's book documents wonderful libraries from all over the world. The details are absolutely stunning. Take a look for yourself...

137 color plates in this book, beautifully capturing seats of knowledge around the world from the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York to the Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris, the Villa Medici in Rome and others.

Stunning, isn't it? If a picture is worth a thousand words, than this book is real treasure. It's available here at Amazon starting at $64.64 for a used copy.

Definitely something to add to the holiday list!

photo credits: Candida Höfer, Libraries