Tuesday, January 31, 2012

British accents are contagious

Speaking of people abroad, last week there was a British man at the conference named Oliver who, naturally, had a snazzy British accent. One night I was having a drink at the bar with my friend Brian when he struck up a conversation with Oli. I was too busy inhaling truffle popcorn to follow what they were talking about, but all of a sudden my ears perked up when I heard Brian's accent change. "It's quite excellent!" he said jovially in a fake British accent. From Oli's cool reaction you could tell it wasn't the first time someone had pulled an English accent on him, but from his one raised eyebrow, you could tell it definitely wasn't going to be the last. I almost choked on my popcorn when it happened, and afterward Brian said he couldn't help it--it just came out of nowhere. Do you think the reverse happens when Americans move to London? Do people there have the same compulsive urge to start their sentences with "Dude" when talking to us?

Would you ever live abroad?

I've lived in California my entire life, but I think living abroad for a year or two would be so much fun. I'd love to live somewhere in Europe where I could eat buttery croissants and crusty breads to my heart's content. I've known a few people who took off from work and backpacked through entire countries, but I think it'd be just as interesting to live, work, and cook dinner "at home" in another country, just like all the other people who live there.

Have you ever lived abroad or do you want to? Where have you lived or where would you love to go?

(Photos from my friend Jennifer's trip to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam)

Monday, January 30, 2012

My week at Cavallo Point

Spending a week working at Cavallo Point, a luxury resort in Sausalito, was so much fun. It used to be a U.S. army post, and the officers' residences have since been converted into guestrooms. I was excited to get to stay in one of the historic suites (vs. their contemporary lodging); they were so charming! It was crazy waking up and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge right in front of us every day, and the way everyone's buildings were spread out made it feel like we were at camp for grown ups. 

What I'll miss the most, though, is the food! My favorite snacks to munch on were the truffle popcorn and truffle fries. For dinner one night, my team took a limo* across the Golden Gate Bridge to Kokkari where I had the best fish of my entire life! (Highly, highly recommend it!) Then, on the last day of the trip, a group of us ordered room service for breakfast and ate it in a sunroom. I've never dined in a sunroom before but it was something I could definitely get used to.

*It was my first time ever riding in a limo and I was stoked! Then I quickly found out riding in limos makes me car sick — how do those celebrities do it?! 

(Kokkari fish image via)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Secret Ingredient That Makes Everything Taste Delicious + Fancy

Okay, so it's not really a secret ingredient, but it does make everything taste amazing and fancy. It's truffle salt! On our first night at Cavallo Point this week, a bunch of us ate in the bar, and I had the black truffle salt and parmesan popcorn. It was out-of-this-world good, and I'm officially obsessed. I kinda wish I could eat in the bar for every meal during this trip just so I could order the popcorn, but I think my co-workers would start getting the wrong idea. Luckily, all you need is four ingredients (popcorn, oil, butter, and truffle salt) to make it at home or you could even get this Pop It Yourself (PIY) Kit to make it super easy.

Tip: You can buy truffle salt from Amazon or a specialty grocery store. I got mine from Beautiful Briny Sea Salt.

(Image by With Style & Grace)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chalk installations

The other day I was ordering office supplies and was considering which white board to get when I started thinking "Whatever happened to chalk boards?" I remember using them all the time in grade school, but they seem to be a novelty these days. Dana Tanamachi's large-scale chalk installations take me back to those good ol' days when I lived for recess, 50 cent popsicles after school on Wednesdays, and the joy of getting called on in class to solve a problem on the board. (read: teacher's pet with a sweet tooth and a penchant for tetherball)

Her bio says she is a full-time custom chalk letterer — could you imagine how fun it would be to say that at cocktail parties?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's your favorite flower?

Since I made my New Year's resolution of keeping a tidy coffee table, I have a whole new appreciation for how beautiful fresh-cut flowers look in the middle of it. At work, we're lucky to have this huge flower shipper right next door. On Fridays, they sell $5 bouquets and everyone walks over to see. If you don't like any of the pre-arranged bouquets, the people that run the place are incredibly sweet and will let you roam around in their back cooler where there are a gazillion different flowers to pick from. I've seen so many different kinds that I've never seen before, so it's kind of an exciting adventure every time I'm there.

One day, in a moment of overwhelming flower-picking indecision, I asked the owner what her favorite flower was. She had to think about it for a few minutes, but then decided if she could only pick one, it would definitely be peonies. I don't have a favorite, but I like the idea of having one. It would make it all the more special when people surprised you with them. My cousin Denise loves dahlias, my sister loves daffodils and lilies. Do you have a favorite?

(Top photo by Oh Happy Day, bottom photo by Amy Merrick)

p.s. Isn't that bottom photo mysterious and magical? Like she is sneaking away to visit her groom for a quiet moment on their big day right before the sunrise.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Colorful-bottomed girls

I've been on the hunt for a pair of colored denim pants but have been feeling a little shy about wearing super bright ones. Luckily, I found this teal pair that's a few notches brighter than regular blue jeans but not quite as bright as, say, these. I'll have to get them hemmed (dang you, 34" inseams made for people that look like Gisele!), but with a price tag less than $60, they're a steal! I plan on wearing these with black wedges and a simple white tee. [On a side note to all the wide-footed ladies: these wedges are awesome!] Even if it might not make the world go round, at least it'll help me ease into being a more colorful-bottomed girl. 

And some pretty inspiration...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Have a fresh weekend!

What are your plans this weekend? I'll be doing work and hope to squeeze in some blogging time to schedule some fun posts for next week since I'll be tied up in Sausalito for a work event. This whole month has been kinda crazy, and I can't wait until Wednesday — we're having a "free" afternoon with the activity of our choice. I opted for the spa day. :)

p.s. My dress giveaway with Shabby Apple ends Monday morning. If you haven't yet, enter here for a chance to win!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Summer Vacation Plans: Camp Wandawega

This week my sister called from Oregon one night to tell me her car got stuck in the snow. Luckily, some nice people had a shovel handy and helped her out. And I thought I had it bad here in the Bay  with my dry winter skin (but really, it's so dry!) All this cold has given me a serious case of summer vacation wanderlust. It must be happening to everyone else, too, because my most popular pin on Pinterest right now is of Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin. It's a magical lakefront resort where you can choose your own level of adventure. They have tents, cozy cabins, and — where I want to stay most of all — a huge treehouse. Can we all just pack up a duffle bag and go there right now? (And also have it be 82°, please?)

(via Unstitched)

p.s. How cool would it be to get married there?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Boccalone: Tasty Salted Pig Parts

Alan starts a 5-week project up in San Francisco tomorrow, so this weekend we did a test run of how long it would take to walk from the train station to his office. (Just 10 minutes!) Afterwards, we walked down the Embarcadero to have lunch in the Ferry Building. One of my very favorite places there is Boccalone, seller of "tasty salted pig parts." (If that's not the best tagline ever, I don't know what is.) I highly recommend the soppressata, but if you're feeling indecisive, they sell mixed salumi cones so you can sample a few different kinds. Once you get your salumi, you can eat it right outside and watch the sailboats out on the Bay.

 {mint green train—so cute}

Monday, January 16, 2012

Orange Nail Polish

My mom gave me a bunch of nail polish colors for Christmas, and the one I've been wearing for three straight weeks is On the Same Paige by OPI. It's a retro orange that sometimes looks coral or red depending on the light. It's so bright and cheery and somehow matches the color of this necklace so closely that everyone at work thinks I'm an obsessive color coordinator (but I swear I'm not!) Refinery29 says orange nails are going to be big this year. What do you think? Would you try it?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Giveaway with Shabby Apple!

Dear readers, guess what? Quiet Like Horses is having its very first giveaway! I'm so excited to be giving away the Waimea dress from Shabby Apple, an online boutique of women's dresses. Doesn't it remind you of something straight out of Zooey Deschanel's closet? It'd be so cute paired with a grey cardigan and tights in the winter or worn with red lips and a chignon for a dreamy spring wedding.

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below telling us which Shabby Apple dress is your favorite and like Shabby Apple on Facebook. Please also leave a way for me to get in contact with you should you win. Entries must be posted by Monday, January 23rd at 9am PST. A winner will be chosen at random once comments close and announced at the bottom of this blog post. Good luck!

(Limited to U.S. residents only.)

Update: Erin Y. is the lucky winner. Thanks to everyone who entered!   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Battlestar Galactica: The Stuff Compulsive New Year's Eve Marathons Are Made Of

Remember last week when I said Alan and I stayed home on New Year's Eve to eat pizza and have a Battlestar Galactica marathon? When I went back to work on Tuesday, everyone was all abuzz with what they did to celebrate, and I felt a little embarrassed to tell them about our plans. Not because it sounds nerdy, but because... well, because we finished the whole entire series. I mean, we didn't watch all 5 seasons during the 3-day weekend (annoyingly, we did have to take bathroom breaks and go out to get more pizza from time to time—too bad we're not toasters!) but pretty close to it.

My co-worker sent me this clip from Portlandia which had me laughing so hard because it's so true! Alan had to convince me to watch the first episode because I couldn't believe that a show on the SyFy channel could be that good. But after the first one, I was hooked! Do you watch either shows? This clip makes me want to start watching Portlandia ASAP.

p.s. wow.

(Thanks, Suezinn!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Desktop Tchotchkes

When I'm feeling stumped at work, it's nice to have something calming to look at besides my computer screen. I keep a terrarium on my desk, but these handblown radiometers would also be really cool. They're powered solely by the sun or other light sources (yay for cube dwellers!) and I love their quirky shape. The vanes inside rotate when exposed to light, with faster rotation in more intense light and slower rotation in dimmer light.

Here's what they look like in action:

Pretty Wedding Dress

Work is keeping me crazy busy (we're gearing up for our big national sales conference this month where we'll be staying here for almost an entire week!) and I keep bringing work home with me, only to get sidetracked by beautiful things I find on the internets like this amazing wedding dress. Isn't it gorgeous?

(Photo by Jodi Miller, dress by Melissa Sweet)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kiss Me Coral Lipstick

Where was I when Poppy King's perfect reddish-orange lipstick for J. Crew was released? I don't know, but I totally missed it. Supposedly it sold out almost instantly, and it's nowhere to be found online. Bummed, I asked my sister for help in finding a similar coral shade, and being the makeup whiz she is, she pointed me to Kiss Me Coral by Revlon. It's such a flattering shade and is fun and bright without being too scary. Whenever I wear it, I get lots of surprised reactions from people. It's kind of a mix between how people would react upon seeing a chubby baby and a really pretty statement necklace. I highly recommend it :)  

p.s. taking pictures of one's self is hard!

(bottom photo via Chichi Couture)

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Lately we've been watching a ton of movies, and I've just discovered the most perfect movie dessert. It's simple and nostalgic and crazy good: salted brown butter Rice Krispie treats. Just like the kind you made as a kid, the main ingredients are crisped rice cereal, butter, and marshmallows. The secret to these more "sophisticated" ones, however, is to add just a pinch of sea salt and to take the time to brown the butter. The result is an even tastier Rice Krispie treat (and I didn't even think that was possible). I'm also a huge sucker for salty and sweet desserts, and the sea salt finish in these hits the spot.

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats
By The Smitten Kitchen

Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan

1 10-ounce bag marshmallows

Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners.

Let cool and cut into squares.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New spindle lamps + a story about resolve

This weekend I went to Target to return something we'd gotten for Christmas that I knew we'd never use. (I realize this might make me sound like a horrible person, but before you start thinking that I'm a regular gift-returner, I should add that it was something we'd gotten in a white elephant gift exchange. So it's not like it was given to us with us, specifically, in mind and was returned, then, out of picker's remorse more than anything.) It had been sitting on our counter for weeks, and I knew if I didn't do something soon it would sit there forever. And since I had resolved to lead a simpler, less-cluttered life just last week, this weekend I decided to do something about it.

At the store, the clerk told me since I didn't have a receipt I could only get the current asking price for the item, which was $1. I looked to Alan for advice: take the dollar and be done with it or take the item home and try, no matter how desperately, to make it work? His eyes said take the item back, but my newfound less-clutter-is-better heart said take the dollar, which is what I did. Later, Alan told me he was going to write to the producers of Hoarders about me: the anti-hoarder. Never mind that that would be a terribly boring show — a show about someone who doesn't keep 50 cats or bags of used sanitary napkins next to their bed? Please. People have entertainment standards! — I think he was trying to tell me that I'm going a little overboard with the de-cluttering. But as a person who was on the verge of collecting years' worth of toenail clippings and who still can't let go of her pencil box from fourth grade, I took that as a huge compliment.

I don't think my house will ever look as simple and neat as this, but it's getting to a much better place. Now I can start focusing on adding in the things that I really like. We really needed new lamps for the living room (I knew my wire Eiffel Tower lamp from college had to go when Alan remarked that he liked how it was so very "steam punk") and these spindle lamps and chevron shades were less than $100 for the pair! They look a lot like my spendier lamp inspirations by Jonathan Adler and Neiman Marcus, but for way less. And luckily I already had an extra dollar in my wallet to help cover the cost.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Laid-back Weekend, Anyone?

This weekend I have a bunch of down time planned, and I'm thrilled. On Sunday, Alan and I are having friends over for an afternoon matinee (I think we're going to watch this). And we're going to wear sweatpants and eat pizza. Can you imagine anything better?

(image via pinterest)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Whimsical Prints

I'm a bit preoccupied these days with simple prints. Usually I'm drawn to solids, but prints — done right — can be so whimsical.

Left: Charlotte Taylor, Right: Estrid Ericson elephant fabric via Chez Larsson

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Neighborhood Friends

Even though I don't know all my neighbors by name, I do know all of their quirks. There's the buff lady across the street who is always out either watering her lawn or washing her car. She has one black cat that is groomed like a lion and feeds about 10 other strays. There's a mom on the corner who is a smoker and who looks suspicious of everyone even though she sometimes leaves her baby out in the yard by himself. And next door to us, there's a woman who sits for hours in her front window typing out a long tragic novel. She also owns one cat (not groomed like a lion, just ordinarily groomed) and feeds the 10 neighborhood strays. I know less about the people further down the street and almost nothing about the people around the corner. 

Sometimes I think about how fun it must have been when everyone knew their neighbors and block parties were a normal thing. (Didn't they look fun and full of good things like potato salad?) I'm so happy our friends Ali and Elijah live less than a mile away because they feel like the kind of good neighbors everyone should have. In the past few weeks, our neighborly activities have included: going on a walk, borrowing a hand saw, going over for coffee, and sharing treats. A few days ago, Ali left a package of cookies at our door since we weren't home. She texted me "enjoy your evening. p.s. 6 cats watched me drop it off and they slowly began circling in. I have no idea what'll happen between when I left and when you arrive." Sometimes those cats are the creepiest neighbors of all.

{late morning coffee at Ali and Elijah's}

{their fancy new Nespresso machine—isn't it pretty?}

{peppermint bark gift to thank them for their general jolliness}

(block party images via Colonial Hills History)

The coolest way to keep matches handy

Jen Pearson makes the coolest reclaimed apothecary matchstick bottles. I picked one up from the Renegade Craft Fair this year, and my favorite part is the strike pad etched into the glass on the bottom. So simple and clever.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

{Anthropologie top, skirt, and bag, Urban Outfitters tights and shoes, Lulu Frost necklace}

{the lettuce-y flower on my coffee table that's lasted over a week!} 

Did you do anything fun for New Year's? Alan and I ordered in pizza and had a Battlestar Galactica marathon. Since we didn't get dressed up, I thought it'd be fun to dress up the next day and take some pictures. I've also been thinking about my new year's resolutions, and since I don't believe in making a ton of lofty ones I'll be bound to break, I've narrowed it down to just two:

1) Do a pull up. Just because I've never been able to! We just got a special bar that fits in our charmingly vintage (but absurdly difficult to find a pull up bar for) doorways, so now I have no excuses.

2) End each day with a clean coffee table. This one is in line with my deep desire to live a more simple, less-cluttered life, and is one concrete thing I can do to help get me there. It's kind of like the power making the bed has in turning a messy room into a tidier one.

And that's it! Did you make any resolutions? Maybe we can help hold each other accountable. ;)
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