December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!



Fireworks over Embarcadero January 1, 2010




Can't believe this year is over!  All I can say is I'm so fortunate and lucky to be in a place where I am right now in my life (although there is always room for improvement, especially in the career side of things).  But for now, I'm just gonna sit back, relax and enjoy the view.  I'll be ringing in the new year in my new home that I share with my fiance, enjoying some red velvet cupcakes and my favorite Gran Spumante champagne snuggling on the sofa.  It doesn't get any better than that.






Here's to a happy, prosperous, and healthy new year and hoping that everyone be safe!

December 30, 2010

A new year, a better you




This is the first self-help book I've ever come across on my parent's bookshelf when I was in high school.  Psycho-cybernetics (sounds scary but it's not, I promise) was a Christmas gift for my parents on the year I was born and I meant to read it but never got around to it until my mid-twenties.  I'm just about halfway through and I wish I had read it sooner; I can honestly say that this book has helped me question how to react to certain things whether it's stress and how to get the most out of life.  It covers everything from aggressiveness, shyness (totally me), forgiveness, power of imaginations, your success mechanism which is in-grained in every human being, and etc.


What I love about this book is that it's not about using sheer will power (which by the way is ineffective, you must have a very specific, in-depth reason why you want to change), but rather to understand your actions rather than just dismissing them or "accepting" them.  I can't recommend this book enough.  Another self-help book that was highly recommended is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Maybe when I'm done with Psycho-cybernetics I'll give this book a try.    

December 27, 2010

Ringing in 2011 in style


Time to bust out the bubbly

Have you got your SF New Year's party plans all figured out?  (If not, click on the previous link for a quick list ) Are you spending it at the posh Westin St. Francis Hotel or at a friend's condo in SOMA with 180 degree views of this beautiful city?  Are you freaking out that you have nothing to wear and New Year's eve is only 4 days away?  If you're like me and tend to procrastinate on what to wear to special occasions, one store that I could always rely on and has saved me time and money is H&M.  I know this store isn't a big secret, but it always surprises me how good the quality of clothing is and at such a low price!  What's not to love?  Jimmy Choo, Lanvin, Stella McCartney, and more respectable fashion houses have designed for this establishment (and let's be honest, were you standing in line freezing your butt off in the cold SF weather itching to see their debut?)  




I saw this in their holiday issue & had to have it.
This brocade dress was only $19.99!



Here are a few of my favorite H&M dresses.  Happy hunting & here's to a happy, prosperous New Year!




I found this dress 3 hours before a wedding I was supposed to attend
 back in April.  And I made it in time, whew!





 Perfect for a night out with the girls 
or a dinner date with the fiance. 

December 20, 2010

Holiday decorating



My significant other and I hosted a white elephant party at our house a couple of weekends ago at the very last minute.  We ran like mad to Target (our go-to emergency store) and stocked up on snacks, drinks, and holiday decorations.  There was no way we'd have time to get a tree and pile on the trimmings in two hours.  Also, our living space is limited so a tree wasn't even an option.


With tinsel, ribbons, and ornaments being the only items at our disposal, all I could think of to decorate was one of the most neglected parts of our home - rails of our stairs.   The process was quick and easy - all we needed were a pair of scissors and scotch tape to hang the ornaments.  Best of all the Christmas decorations were under $30; the set of about 15 ornaments was only $5 and when we dropped them on the floor (this happened a lot), they just bounced and didn't shatter.


You can't see it, but we also tied some ribbons at
the bottom of the rails.  The other rails were a little more elaborate but 
the lighting wasn't good for taking pictures



Of course nothing says Christmas like Poinsettas.  




These were actually dusted with gold coloring and bits of glitter.  I didn't think the plant would last as long but it's still alive and well.  

December 19, 2010

Vacation Getaway

It's raining, it's cloudy.  It's been like this the last couple days and many more leading up to Christmas.  When I start to feel the cold in my bones, that's when I get the itch to go somewhere nice and warm.  But since I'm not in a position to do so at the moment or anytime soon, I have these vacation pictures I turn to from my trip to Italy last year.  If you have the time and the means, hopefully they can inspire you to go on a little getaway yourself.



Sorrento, my favorite city in Italy.  It's a quaint, charming seaside town.
In the morning, you see yards and yards of fishing nets ready for the catch of the day;
in the evening families go for a stroll to greet their neighbors and kids play soccer on the sand.







Words can't explain how magical the Amalfi Coast is.  If you don't have the time to explore it, at least
book a bus ride along its winding mountainside.  I promise you, you won't regret it! 






Capri- if you could look beyond the insanity of the crowds and tour groups and get lost
in its maze of alleys, you'd be surprised to find your own private slice of heaven on this island.  



So are you on travelocity booking your vacation yet?


December 18, 2010

Holidays 2010





Can't believe this year is nearly over, yet alone this decade!  With Christmas just around the corner (haven't even begun to think about plans for New Year's) here are some items that I think would make great stocking stuffers or white elephant gifts if you haven't started shopping already.  And all under $25.





Set of silver votive holders from Z Gallerie.  I bought these for about $15 and last
time I checked, they're now on sale for $8!






A wonderful alternative to perfume- the scent is subtle and moisturizes
skin like crazy.  Definitely one of my favorites






Delicious, exotic chocolate bars from Target of all places






As much as I loved Vamp and Jade, this putty-gray polish
is wearable for the office.

November 7, 2010

2010 World Series Champs

A lot has happened since last July.  I moved to a new neighborhood (within the city) in August, vacationed in Spain (and got engaged!) in September, and now busy setting up house before Thanksgiving arrives (first time hosting!).  Since coming back from Spain, I was shocked to hear the Giants were doing so well- it's not the Giants that I know but it was a thrilling ride to see them win game after game.  From nail-biting sessions at Lefty O'Doul's as they played the Braves, to rushing home from work and ordering food in to watch them play against the Phillies, and finally watching the Giants win the World Series with a group of friends and sharing a historic moment as fireworks and firecrackers exploded all over the city.

As a fan, there was no way I was going to miss the parade.  Approaching Montgomery and Washington with my co-workers, I could already feel the energy of the crowd.  It was definitely an amazing day for San Francisco.

































July 18, 2010

Decorating

I'll admit it, I don't know anything about decorating.  Most of it has to do with the fact that I've always lived in such small spaces that I didn't have to bother with it anyway, and growing up moving around like a gypsy, there was no point in carrying a lot of stuff around.  But now that I'm moving from a tiny closet to a slightly bigger one, it's time to get some serious knowledge and serious furniture. 

I went to Ikea the other weekend and as much as I love Ikea, there are certain items that I just couldn't bring myself to buy there. In other words, sometimes it's better to spend a little more money for quality, big-ticket items like a sofa or a dining room table.   Most of the home decor stores in the Marina and Hayes Valley were out of the question, but a co-worker of mine recommended one in SOMA that was reasonable in price (and had a decent parking lot) - Room and Board.  I don't know why I've never heard of this place before but there was plenty to love in terms of form and function.  Pieces that I wouldn't mind bringing home were the York sofa (above) and the Otis Swivel Chair (below), which swivels 360 degrees- I can already see my little nieces and nephews spinning out of control on these come Thanksgiving and Christmas. 




   


Like I mentioned earlier, I'm a virgin at home decorating but here are some sources that have helped me out a lot.  One book that I refer to often is Domino: the Book of Decorating.  I discovered it a couple of years ago when Domino was a magazine publication and it definitely made the process less overwhelming and more fun.  It's not just another decorating book filled with photos of expensive homes by interior decorators,  it has useful, practical tips for small spaces as well.  One website that I like to visit for ideas is Elle Decor, www.elledecor.com.  Somehow it has become part of my Sunday morning ritual to go on their website during breakfast.  Whenever I find something I like on Elle Decor, I usually save the picture as inspiration for the look I'm trying to acheive.