These Days

Basking in the beauty and deliciousness that is Felix Trattoria.

Pops of red on my nightstand currently.

Sometimes all you need is a road trip to Tomales Bay on a weekend.

…And a visit to your friend’s amazing ranch. Just look at this epic tree house!

Completely head over heels for my new pendant—more on that soon!

The next batch of these days will look a whole lot sunnier because I’m headed to Europe on a cruise! I’ll be taking a break from the blog so I can really unplug, and can’t wait to update you on all of my travels when I’m back here on June 14th!

How to Prepare for a Long Vacation

Is there anything better than taking an extra long vacation? That’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now as I get ready to head to Europe for 2.5 weeks next weekend.

Because I’ll be gone for quite some time, I’ll be working over this next week to cross as many items off my to-do list as possible so I can truly zen out as soon as I land in Europe. From packing lists to house chores, there’s a lot to be done and I’m listing it all out below.

Itinerary: I take my itineraries reallyyyyy seriously (as I’m sure you could tell from my recent Mexico City travel diary). While I’ve already made a huge dent in our Europe plan, I’ll be spending these next few days browsing Instagram and various blogs to make the perfect travel itinerary. Packing: Packing can be a long and daunting process, I’m not going to lie! To help it seem a bit more manageable, I like to break it up into chunks. First, I’ll start by making a comprehensive packing list filled with all of the clothes, accessories, and toiletries I want to bring with me. From there, I’ll know just what I need to buy to get ready for the trip (looking at you, sun dresses). Finally, I’ll dedicate an entire afternoon to the actual packing process. For a complete packing tutorial, check out this post.

House Chores: Though house chores may be the last thing you want to think about while gearing up for a vacation, just think about how good it will feel coming back to a perfectly clean home and bed sheets. At least that’s what keeps me motivated 🙂 Amidst all of the cleaning I’ll be doing, I’ll also reach out to my neighbors to see if they can water our plants and check our mail once a week.

A Guide to Entertaining

I’ve always loved entertaining, but haven’t always found it easy. In the beginning, I used to panic and stress over every little detail and inevitably went overboard in all of my planning. Over the years though, I’ve learned that entertaining is in fact the perfect blend of art and science and now approach it much more casually.No matter what type of event I’m hosting, this is generally the schedule that I follow:

1 day before: The day before my bash, I head to the grocery store to pick up the essentials. Doing this one day in advance means that I have more time on the actual day to prepare, while still knowing that the food is fresh.

4 hours before: On the actual day of the party, I start my routine by cleaning up my apartment. From vacuuming and dusting to ensuring there’s a full roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, I cover all of the basics during this time.

2 hours before: About a couple hours before party time is when I start preparing the food. Of course, there are items that you don’t want to do until immediately before guests arrive (such as setting out a cheese plate), but do anything that you’re able to during this window. Also, don’t forget to refrigerate white wine and champagne!

1 hour before: Just about one hour before showtime is when I do the bulk of the work. I’ll light a candle in each room, put on some tunes, and finish prepping all of the food. As a finishing touch that helps with those casual vibes I was talking about at the start, I’ll mess up the throw pillows on my couch a bit to make sure people feel comfortable when they arrive.

15 minutes before: Ahh, we’re so close! At this time, I set out all the food (for this soirée, I opted for a casual cheese plate in the living room). Then I sit back, relax, and wait for my friends to arrive!

For more of my entertaining tips, head over to this post.

National Clean Up Your Room Day

 Happy National Clean Up Your Room Day! Despite what you might be thinking, I did not make up this holiday—and if you don’t believe me, just go check Twitter.

To be sure we’re all celebrating this day in all of its glory, I made a list of everything I’ll be doing to tidy up my bedroom today. Hope you’ll celebrate in style with me, too!

Make the Bed: I’m a huge advocate for making your bed every single day, but if there were ever a day to really make it a priority, that day is today. Click here for all of my bed making tips.

Refresh Nightstands:  I love to play around with the decor on my nightstands, and you better believe I’ll be doing just that today. Whether it’s placing a new book to read on them or buying a candle you’ve been wanting, there’s so much you can do to freshen up your nightstands.

Dust and Wipe: A big part of the cleaning up is the actual cleaning itself, so don’t forget to dedicate some time to that!

Clean Curtains: Oh and while you’re at it, bust out the vacuum cleaner to get the dust that collects atop the curtains. I hardly ever remember to do this, but it makes such a difference.

Spray a Nice Scent: As a finishing touch, give the room a sweet smell by spritzing some room spray.

Tricks of the Trade: Grocery Bags

If you’re anything like me, then you frequently arrive at the grocery store only to realize that you’ve left all your reusable bags at home. Cue: facepalm.

Because that was happening to me more often than I’m willing to admit, I made some super simple changes that have had a big impact. Here’s what I did:

Got Rid of Old Bags: It seems like every function or event you go to these days gives away reusable totes as party favors. As such, it’s no surprise to me that I had about 30+ bags hanging out in a drawer in my kitchen. Because I only genuinely liked a handful of them, I first took the time to go through them and purge. Now that I have only a few bags that I genuinely think are cute, I’ve found that I reach for them far more often.Store Bags On Door: After parsing through my bags, I then found a new home for them on the back of the pantry door in my kitchen. I like this storage solution much better than a drawer because now I can actually see them, which once again helps me to remember to reach for them before leaving the house. To keep things tidy, I placed the smaller bags within one larger bag and hung that one on a hook.

Keep Extras in Car: But because sometimes you can’t predict when you need to run a last-minute errand, I also stowed two bags away in the glove compartment of my car. Since that space can often be really tight, I’d recommend investing in the foldable bags from Baggu to maximize storage!

The Perfect Place to Picnic

One of my favorite weekend activities is to pack a big basket full of picnic essentials (looking at you, baguettes, cheese, and fruits) and head to a nearby park. Thankfully, the Bay Area is full of perfect places for a perfect picnic so there is never a shortage of spots. Whether you’re visiting the Bay Area on vacation or are a local and just need some inspiration, keep reading for my list of favorite picnic places.

Palace of Fine Arts: Since the Marina is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco, I love spending the afternoon at the Palace of Fine Arts. Directly across from the pond is a big grassy field where you can lay out a blanket and enjoy your picnic in the blissful sunshine.

Crissy Field: A picnic with a side of Golden Gate views? Yes, please. Just be sure to pack a few extra layers for this destination, as it can get pretty windy by the water.

Lake Merritt: Ahhh, Lake Merritt. My happy place. Pretty much whenever I need a little space to clear my head, I drive the 15 minutes over to Lake Merritt and make my way around the lake. Since it’s so close my apartment, it is my go-to spot for a weekend picnic.

Cavallo Point: Just across the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll find Cavallo Point. Typically when we drive out here, we get brunch or drinks at the Cavallo Point Hotel but I’ve also thought that the grassy area would make an ideal picnic spot.

Alamo Square Park: Recently renovated, Alamo Square Park is one of my favorite parks in all of San Francisco. Not only does it have amazing views of the Painted Ladies and downtown San Francisco, but it’s also situated in one of the cutest neighborhoods of all time, Hayes Valley. Pro tip: Pick up salads and rosé from Souvla and then walk up the street to enjoy your lunch in the park.