new favorite chocolate

when it comes to chocolate, i normally don't discriminate. i will eat it all. chocolate is chocolate. but, if i had to choose, i prefer the flavor of dark, but don't love the extra hard, takes a long time to melt in your mouth consistency.
my new favorite was discovered by the toddler shopper in my basket, who grabs everything within arms reach and deposits it into our cart. this lovely little bar wiggled its way to the bottom of the basket and avoided rejection when i edited the basket of undesirable toddler reachables. i am so glad it found us. so here it is... my new favorite.  
simple, affordable, trader joe's swiss dark chocolate. dark chocolate richness, milk chocolate melt. with out all of the ultra sweetness. need i say more? ok, one more thing, mmmmm.


inspiring architecture

i just love the simple style of vintage architecture. here are some of my favorites from our trip up north.
i love these light bulbs... ok, and the fixture itself.
i love this barn style building at the san francisco zoo.

and this corrugated siding and HUGE windows at the monterey bay aquarium... the building used to be a cannery.


make something!

make these baby bean bags... 
every week E and i go to a mommy and me class. one of the activities is to shake a bean bag to a well known tune. little did i know that e liked it so much until she began to sing the song at home, shaking her hands sans beanbag. clearly, there was only one solution.
the inspiration for the shape comes from the grade school icees in the little waxed cardboard tubes. the tube was secured at the ends in opposite directions so as to maximize volume inside. i have always remembered the interesting shape of the icees. if only i could use that brain space to store more important things... like algebra. 
click below for full tutorial...


perrin logo

not only does perrin make gorgeous handbags, but i think i am in love with their logo. so simple and charming, it incorporates a darling pair of scissors and my favorite little leaf, the clover. it just goes to show, less is more.


ferry building

ok. i had no idea you can have it all. in one place. e and i went to the ferry building in san francisco. really. you can have it all. this trip we just visited the top two vendors on my list... considering we had plans for lunch... otherwise i could have added another five. here they are...

miette (which, by the way, translates to "little crumb" ...cute.)
and blue bottle coffee company
i have to say it was a nearly impossible choice, deciding on one thing at miette. but i am a sucker for a french macaron. so we decided on two. rose geranium, and chocolate lavender. what could be better.
e was gracious enough to switch with me half way through. but i think she could have cared less what flavor she had. all she cared about was the sweet goodness and creamy filling. i can't blame her. they were both equally delicious.

then there is coffee. not just any coffee. but made to order brewed coffee. i swear it is better than espresso. with each incoming order, blue bottle loving bathes fresh coffee grounds in its own personal filter with piping hot water. 
 the result? a wonderfully smooth cup of ultra strong coffee with just the right mix of cream and bitterness. offering only half and half as far as cream goes... it is easy to say i was happy.

i will have to visit cowgirl creamery another time, when my husband can be there. the last time i had their cheese was on our first wedding anniversary. my husband and i stopped by the creamery and picked up some humboldt fog... the same cheese that was served at our wedding. we went next door to get a baguette and next door again for some proscuitto. the trio of ferry building fare took us back to a year earlier... and i can easily say i will never forget that lunch. 

the list of lovely food goes on and on in my book, not to mention the weekly farmers market that happens directly in front. i seriously think i could live there.


good morning

 this was peeking out at us on a morning walk. the door is in a big retaining wall, and this sweet little leafy thing must get just enough light to grow and peek out. i love finding little plants in unexpected places. 


a different flavor

as if the fact that tartine bakery on the corner is not enough, bi rite brings even more of my love to san francisco's mission district. not only is is a local food supporter, but they make their own ice cream. really good ice cream. in stupendous flavors. interesting flavors. imagine these...

salted caramel
brown butter pecan
honey lavender
balsamic strawberry
creme fraiche
...on your cone, on a hot fall day. are you kidding me?


art outdoors

i love these art pieces... outside the home for everyone to see.

 a concrete relief sculpture on a large outdoor wall.

these iron sculptures adding art to the exterior of an apartment building.



i was thrilled to be able to make time to visit tartine bakery in san francisco's mission district. since my first trip there, i don't think i have ever ordered anything else, because i can't fathom the idea of not enjoying this particular sandwich. behold the jambon and gruyere. 
made with niman ranch smoked ham, and a slathering of pungent dijon, it is hot pressed with gruyere until the crust is golden brown and the cheese seems to saturate the chewy interior of the bread. seems this is no small feat considering the staff warns that it will be a 10-15 minute wait for the sandwich. what they don't know is that i would happily wait much longer. finally, it comes with a simple addition of a spicy pickled carrot, with its fuzzy roots in tact, clearly house made. 

and the lemon cream tart... really? i admit, it was a tough choice considering all of the options. but how could we resist. with the perfectly pink rose petal atop. seriously.


design*sponge / hip hip hooray!

click here to see this months diy project for design*sponge. 

...also, the nautical party was featured on the simplesong offshoot kids party blog "hip hip hooray" yay! 


nautical third birthday

the photos are here!.. from miles' third birthday beach party. 
we designed this party with a nautical theme in shades of blue and green with details of "03" throughout. it all starts with a little bunting.
the invite... click here to go to the original invitation post.
the beach scene was set up with white pop tents and big celebratory sails at the entrance side of the party for immediate festivity. potted grasses ground the shades and add an east coast feel.

pennant flags in tones of blue and green set the scene.
groupings of ribbon flags in jars of sand sat on the tables... 

...and even decorated the turrets of the sandcastle cake.

pennant flag signs labeled each beverage decanter.
finally, the favors for the children were tiny hand made build-it-yourself wooden sail boats with the "03" theme printed on the sail.
the "workshop"
each step to build the boat was labeled and illustrated for ease.
illustrations for boat building.
each child got to choose their own sail...

the happy birthday boy.

photography by monkeys & peas.


cavallo point- farley bar

on our recent get away to the bay area we ate at cavallo point's farley bar in sausalito. the bar itself, crafted from a fallen tree, is reminiscent of george nakashima's breathtaking wood work. with tunes from herb alpert, pressed tin ceiling and wagon wheel shaped chandeliers complete with edison bulbs, no design detail was overlooked.
 the food followed suit, made with only fresh local ingredients and focusing on small plates meant for sharing. we ordered the blistered padron peppers. 
mild and piping hot, sprinkled with big crystals of fleur de sel. 
next we had the little gem lettuces with parmesan dressing and anchovies. mmm.
then wood grilled monterey sardines... they came with an incredible citrus vinaigrette.
marin mussels came next, with a smoked paprika butter. the sauce was rich and tomato-y. the charred ciabatta made the perfect sponge.
i couldn't get a photo of the grass fed burger with artisan cheddar before we dug in. juicy and delicious with a fat slice of green heirloom tomato, i wouldn't think of adding ketchup.
we finished the decadent deliciousness with artisan cheeses complete with napa valley honey. 
e's "kids meal" (any adult i know would have gladly eaten this meal in a heartbeat) came with a finally of a chocolate mousse mouse. 

an unbelievable dinner. simple and spectacular, it is all in the details.