Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our Cavallo Point Weekend

cavallo point
A few weeks ago, Alan and I spent the weekend in Sausalito. We stayed at Cavallo Point, a lodge we've visited before and loved. It's in Fort Baker, a former 1905 U.S. Army post. While they have contemporary guest rooms available, our favorite place to stay is in the converted historic army buildings. (My sister Sophie says they look like they're straight out of The Walking Dead, ha!) Alan came down with an infection right before we left and was pretty wiped, so we spent our time just knocking around. It's not too shabby of a place to be a bum :)

In our room, we'd open the windows, lie down on the bed to take a nap (or watch Gilmore Girls, if our names started with an S) and feel the bay breeze on our faces. 

I was reading in this awesome leather chair one afternoon, when a wedding took place on the grassy hill right outside the window. What a pretty place to get married! (Case in point: this wedding).

Before our trip, Alan and I picked up a few books from our favorite book store. I started reading this bookwhich Alan made fun of me for, but how can I not read a book that's called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It was, as I had expected, enthralling.

When we first checked in, I'd read a sign in the lobby advertising free house-baked pastries and coffee in the mornings. The next day, I woke Alan up and made him go with me, promising goodies galore. I'm not gonna lie, I was expecting a pretty nice spread. If not an entire room dedicated to breakfast treats and beverages, then at the very least, a nice long table with a few generously-stacked mounds of croissants, muffins and danishes. I mean, we were staying at a self-billed luxury resort. When we walked in, I spent a few good minutes looking around. Were we in the wrong place? There were no croissant stacks to be found. Maybe everyone else had beaten us to it and all the kouign amanns had already been devoured. I started to tailspin into panic and disappointment, when a man in the corner of the room finished putting a lid on his coffee. He walked away, revealing the tiny table his body had previously been blocking. It held two coffee urns and a small plate of croissants. The travesty! I couldn't decide if I was rightly outraged or if I should continue pretending like we regularly stayed at luxury hotels. In the end, I chose wanting to belong, so I sucked it up, calmly wrapped an extra croissant in a napkin for later and hurried out of the way for the line of people who had formed behind us.

One nice thing about the Saddest Breakfast Spread Of All Time (one day I will let that go), is that there's a long porch in front lined with rocking chairs. You can look out across Fort Baker, see the top of the Golden Gate Bridge and feel the crisp morning air.

There was a pier a short walk away from our room that's popular for fishing and crabbing. And the views! On one side, there's the Golden Gate Bridge, which looked as majestic as ever (it's cheesy, but so true) and always makes me feel small and hopeful at the same time. 

On the other side, you have a clear view of the San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge (see it on the far left?) 

restaurants in sausalito
One night, we ventured out to the bar for dinner and sat outside people watching. All the hotel guests we'd seen so far seemed to be of the older, Tesla-driving crowd. Then Alan spotted a couple that looked about our age. I was excited to see some young people and imagined befriending them. Maybe they'd be plebeians like us, a commonality we could bond over. But before I could offer them some of my napkin-wrapped croissant--a gesture of friendship I was sure they wouldn't be able to resist--they got into their Maserati(!) and drove away. On another note, if you ever visit, get the truffle parmesan popcorn!!! It's three-exclamation-points amazing.

fort baker
Fort Baker would be fun to visit, even if you're not staying at Cavallo Point. You could hike the trails and grab a drink (and that popcorn!) at the bar afterwards. There's also a free kid's museum, too!

Friday, April 10, 2015

On Stopping Treatment and Choosing Hospice

This past February, Alan stopped taking chemo. Together, we made the difficult decision that he would stop all treatments altogether. No one really talks about why young people with terminal illnesses stop treatment and choose hospice, or what it’s like to make that decision. At least, no one talked to us about it in terms we could understand. Although it feels like it happened in a single moment of clarity, everything that had happened in the months leading up to the decision were all part of the process.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pinterest Nails

pretty nails
nail designs for short nails
My friend Jenny (the one with the great eyeliner) also gets really fun manicures. For Valentine's Day, her nails were pink with gold tips. She recently let me in on her secret: A nail salon that specializes in nail art. It's where you go to get the nails of your Pinterest dreams. Say what?! I was intrigued. The salon is right in my neighborhood, so my sister Sophie and I paid them a visit. We brought in our Pinspiration (here's mine and here's Sophie's), and in the end, our nails looked like they came right off of a Pinterest board.

p.s. The ladies at the salon also talked me into trying gel nails for the first time. I think I'm the last person I know to try it, ha! But I'm so excited to wash dishes and garden and change my oil* without worrying about chipping my nails.

*confession: I don't actually do most of these things

pinterest nails

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to Eat a Burger

You know when you're eating a big juicy burger that's perfectly cooked (medium rare) with the perfect number of pickles (four) and just the right amount of spread? It's during these special moments when you realize all the stars have aligned in your favor, colors appear brighter and more vivid, you start thinking maybe your life is complete... and then your burger falls apart. It's a buzz kill. Well, my friend Amanda taught me this simple burger-eating trick: Eat your burger upside down. The top bun is almost always more substantial than the bottom and holds up better as a base. It doesn't get as soggy so your burger stays together the whole way through. Isn't that smart? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Hang Pictures

gallery wall
A few months ago, I put together a gallery wall in our living room. Here's the finished product above. (There's one empty frame because I can't decide what to put there, but I kind of like the look of the frame by itself, too). I've always wanted a gallery wall and now that it's up, I love it! You know what they say: Gallery walls are the new TV. Well, okay, no one really says that, but it could be a thing! Whenever people come over, we end up staring and talking about the gallery wall for a good five minutes. Back in October, I wrote about how to pick your artwork for a cohesive collection. Today, I'd like to share my tips for putting it all together, including how to arrange the pieces and hang them.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to arranging gallery walls. The first way is buy all the art now (in a variety of sizes) then play art-hanging Tetris after. The second way is to measure now and buy later. I like the second way because even though it takes a little bit more time upfront, it helps you see how everything will look together and pick art pieces in the right sizes. Here's how you do it...

1. Measure your wall space. 
Write down your wall specs, then take a picture of the space and open it up in Photoshop. I already had our wedding sign up, so I measured the available wall space around it. (If you don't have Photoshop, you could also do steps one and two in a blank PowerPoint slide).

small apartment decorating ideas
2. Find art pieces you like in various sizes. 
Take screenshots of each piece (or take a picture of it if you already own it) and place them on your Photoshop artboard. Roughly resize each one relative to your wall space. Move things around to get an idea of where everything will hang or where you might need to add another piece.

3. Get your art ready to hang.
When you're happy with the way your collection flows and fits in your Photoshop artboard, order and/or frame each piece.

4. Hang your artwork.
Using the layout you created in Photoshop as your guide, hang each piece.

To make it easy, here's an art-hanging trick I learned from Emily Henderson: Trace each framed piece onto paper and tape it up on the wall. This gives you a general idea of how it will look. Rearrange as necessary until you're happy as a clam.

Lightly hammer a nail through each piece of paper.

Remove the paper from the wall, leaving the nail in its place.

how to hang a picture
Hang your picture on the nail.

And voila! All your pictures will be hung exactly where you want them.

wedding invitation
Finally, I thought it'd be fun to sprinkle in some artifacts and mementos to add a personal touch. So I included our big "For the Love of Pies" wedding sign and invitation that our friend Andrew Beach designed and my dad's Cambodian high school diploma.

Other art pieces include:
Abstract dots
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