I want to do something different this time around. I don’t want this month’s All Ears playlist to be love songs, ballads, and the like. That just feels… played out (pun intended?). Instead, I want this month’s playlist to take you, my readers, through a bit of the journey that I’m facing this month. This month (really, in less than 14 days) I leave California in my trusty old VW and drive north to the only place that’s ever felt like a true home, Seattle. I’m leaving behind so much, but in my soul I know this is the right choice for me. It’s bittersweet, yes, but it’s the only thing that actually makes sense in my life right now.
This playlist has two parts: the first is meant to be a bit of a love letter to California. This gorgeous city and state welcomed me with open arms and, although it’s only been year, I find myself changed and improved. The second half of the playlist feels like the best way I can ever possibly explain all of the feelings that are wrapped up in what it means to go ‘home.’ Sometimes it’s easier to let another explain the emotions.
You can play via this widget or add the playlist via Spotify: photo from my Instagram — follow along on my #PNWpilgrimage to see more.listen to more All Ears playlists here.
October in California is a toootally different ballgame for me. It’s warm, like 80 degrees, and we go to the beach. My pumpkin-craving, flanneling-wearing soul is all WTF, but for now I am embracing these silly California vibes. Here are a few of my instagram snaps of late. Totally gives you that fall feelin’, right?
Without hyperbole, I think it’s safe to say that the boutique scene here in San Francisco is on point. I recently went to one of my favorites, Little Paper Planes. Located in the Mission, Little Paper Planes is owned by artist and curator Kelly Lynn Jones and chock full of total perfection. Kelly has curated a truly lovely selection of ceramics, jewelry, apparel, and (my personal favorite) stationery. I always find myself wandering into this boutique whenever I need a gift (for myself) or just some inspiration.
The store fixtures themselves are rather lovely, with tiny pockets for plants to call home. I love how the plants mingle with jewelry.
Little Paper Planes also has a great selection of periodicals ranging from quarterlys to monthlies. I swear, ever time I go, I discover a new publication that is a must-read.
In a store full of special touches, Kelly layers on one more by using this jumbo stamp to label her shopping bags!
If you find yourself in San Francisco, I urge you to stop by Little Paper Planes at 855 Valencia Street.
Have you seen the #DestinationSummer virtual road trip from Kohl’s? It’s truly one of my favorite ideas in a long, long time. Basically, Kohl’s asked a bunch of bloggers to step away from the computer and show the world our respective hometowns. And, because I’m still so new to San Francisco, I basically got to be a tourist in my own city! I decided to use this as the perfect opportunity to indulge in two favorites: the beach and s’mores.
We cruised out to a favorite spot of mine, Muir Beach. About 30-45 minutes from San Francisco, the drive to the beach is stunning in and of itself. Once you cross the Golden Gate bridge, follow a windy road to the beach, catching far-off glimpses of the Pacific as you go. I recommend making the trip right at golden hour for that perfect California glow.
Using tons of picnic-friendly tools, textiles, and serving pieces, I laid out my ultimate s’mores bar. To start, I gathered supplies from a few of my favorite neighborhood staples here in Hayes Valley: sweets (such as graham crackers, fancy marshmallows and chocolates, and tonsss of toppings) from Miette, plus sausages and other grillables from The Fatted Calf. Don’t forget firewood!
To create your own s’mores bar, here are a few tips:
Mix up your toppings: from gummy bears to honey to lavender, it’s always fun to explore different flavor combinations.
Another fun way to experiment is to offer different alternatives to the traditional graham cracker. I suggest everything pretzels, Nilla wafers, even peanut butter cookies! (While shooting, I discovered that Kimberley has a gluten-free diet, so we thought it would be fun to replace crackers with thinly sliced apple!)
Don’t forget the fresh fruit, especially here in SF. Since moving here, I can’t stop devouring local blackberries. They are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
Last, but not least, chocolate is king. Splurge on the fancy stuff, in all different flavors and textures. I may have chosen a few based on packaging…
Seriously, what is more fun than playing with your food??
It can get pretty chilly when the sun goes down, so I recommend bringing extra layers. I like to rock a men’s flannel shirt with vintage cut offs for a casual, borrowed-from-the-boys vibe that will also keep me a bit warmer.
Being 100% honest with you, I was really blown away by the awesome outdoor dining pieces I found at Kohl’s. The colors, the materials… even the prices were so good. I definitely plan to use these pieces for more picnics and outings going forward.
Living in San Francisco has some serious perks, one of them being the food scene. A couple weeks ago my good friend Vivien surprised me with hard-to-get reservations to Naked Kitchen. Basically, Naked Kitchen exists to create an environment where “chefs have the creative freedom to explore something new in a casual and relaxed space.” What this means is that they prepare extraordinary dishes, none of which ever repeat, in an environment that is beautiful, relaxed, and encourages sharing, conversation, and storytelling. It is truly an experience not to be missed. And the food… well, I should let the photos speak for themselves because chef Anthony Yang truly outdid himself.
We started out with organic Strauss yogurt, coffee flavored oats, and cashew butter berries (above).
Toasted panorama bakery sourdough english muffin, corn pudding, squash, and ham (this was my absolute favorite).
This past weekend was practically a bonanza of awesome events in the Bay area. One of my favorites was the launch party for This Is Oakland (read more about this awesome book over on Anthology). In the true spirit of this awesome community, boutiques, bars, restaurants, and makers flocked together to share their wares in celebration of Melissa Davis’ new book. I haven’t spent much time in Old Oakland, but the event was enough to make me fall in love with the historical neighborhood. The shopping alone (and donuts from Doughnut Dolly) is enough to keep me coming back over and over again. Here are a few of my favorite sights from the party.
One of my first stops was the Flora Cultural Society. This sweet boutique is the perfect inspiration for slowing down and appreciating the small things in life. One of my favorite ‘moments’ was the flower menu. How sweet is that? I walked away with a bundle of blooms, plus some new bath treats.
I think by now we all know my adoration of all things vintage… but Mercy Vintage seriously blew my socks off.
What’s a Saturday afternoon without a spot of rosé (plus, the boys at the table were really cute)?
Another favorite shop was Oak Common. They have an amazing assortment of jewelry, soaps, candles, and ceramics. I think I’ve found my newest ‘go to’ gift shopping location.
One more favorite: Umami Mart. This place satisfies my cravings for Japanese treats in a big way. I walked away with some fancy Cheetos and umami salt… I’m planning to use the latter to perk up my bread dough. The store itself is minimal and really beautifully curated, almost like a museum.
If you’re in the Bay area, I urge you to pick up a copy of This Is Oakland and explore the neighborhood for yourself.
While admittedly a bit touristy, there’s something to be said for The Ferry Building here in San Francisco… and the amazing food scene within. Just picture it: row and row of cured meats, locally grown produce, flavorful ice cream, the best coffee this side of the Rockies. It’s a foodie paradise. I stopped by with my friend Ash for a leisurely afternoon of treats, people watching, and wandering.
First stop, Blue Bottle of course. I recommend a super-sweet and creamy New Orleans iced with a side of the most perfect waffle ever. Crispy on the edges, doughy in the center… topped with giant, crunchy bits of sugar… this waffle is truly perfection.
Not to be missed, this is the cone of meat from Boccalone. Their tagline is “tasty, salted pig parts,” so you just know it’s gonna be good. I’m starting to think that the cone is my preferred way of eating while shopping for even more things to devour on the go…
I always like to end on a decadent note and, being more into savory than sweet, we opted for Hog Island Oyster Co. There’s just something so fancy to me about oysters, even if they are served atop rough hewn planks and you’re seated family style. I prefer mine to be briney (my favorites were the Well Fleets from Massachusetts) and topped with just a drizzle of lemon.