Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Be the Prettiest Girl on the Beach

Easy: have the prettiest coverup. ;)

Last summer, while at the most beautiful, extravagant resort in Cabo San Lucas (just pulling up that link made my heart flutter), I met a girl from Dallas, Texas with the most exquisite cover ups I'd ever seen.  Each day she'd saunter down to one of the infinity pools in yet another flowy, bohemian kaftan.  I finally asked her: Where on earth are you getting these beauties?  She said she'd gotten them at Scoop NYC in Dallas, and that the brand was Donale St. Barth.

A furious search commenced!


Immediately upon return from the paradise that was Capella Pedragal in Cabo, I searched online and found dozens of gorgeous Donale St. Barth coverups.  They were long, boho, patterned, and drool-worthy.  But this year, I can't find them!  I did discover the above blue kaftan (which is beautiful), but I'm wondering where all the others went . . . any ideas on how to find them?

In the meantime, with the designer coverup on the brain, I found some other lovelies (that I can't afford):





Swimwear



Alas, I think I need to find some more affordable options.  Any ideas?  What do you think of these?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Girl Survey

I'm a big fan of great suggestions.  I've gotten all kinds of awesome recommendations from the blogs I read, so the other day when I was scrubbing my bath tub and could not for the life of me get it bleachy-white, I thought: I know just who to ask!

Please chime in and give me all your wisdom on the following topics--I wanna hear from you!!

1. Is there such thing as an eyeliner that doesn't smudge at all?  

2. What's the best shower/tub cleaner?

3. Do you know of a way from keeping cheap gold jewelry to stop from turning silver?

4. How do you deal with bikini razor bumps?  It's almost summer & I'm dying over here.

5. What's the most effective nail polish top coat?

I'm sure that as soon as I hit "post," I'll think of a bunch more things I wanted to ask.  But let's start here--give me your suggestions!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Festivities

It was a beautiful weekend in the Bay Area!  Sunny, breezy, warm . . . and perfect for wine & baseball, if you ask me. ;)

Is anyone else exhausted on Friday nights?  This whole two jobs thing is intensifying my exhaustion, without a doubt, but still: after working a whole week + whatever else we have going on, Friday night hits like a ton of bricks.  Or maybe I'm just old.  Matt and I went to our neighborhood bar/restaurant (one block away) for an easy dinner and a couple beers.  After that, it was straight to bed!

By Saturday, I had my energy back.  My friend Annie (whom I hadn't seen in months!) and I drove up to Napa to pick up some bottles from her wine club memberships . . . and we did several tastings along the way.  It was a perfect wine tasting Saturday!


We went to Domaine Carneros for some bubbly, then over to St. Supery where I bought a delicious Sauvignon Blanc with Annie's wine club discount, and then to the epic Castello di Amorosa . . . literally a castle built from imported Italian bricks.  Wowzers!  It was quite a show, and I came home with a light rose perfect for this kind of weather.

Afterwards, in order to balance out the high society-ness of wine tasting, we got down & dirty at Gott's Roadside.  And O-M-G was it good:

veggie burger, garlic fries, & a coke zero

Living an hour from Napa is one of my favorite things about San Francisco.

On Sunday, Matt and I took his son, Jasper, to the A's game with some folks from his Little League team.  They were all in their uniforms--how cute is that?  It was sunny, we had great seats, the A's won, and my sunburn is relatively mild . . . so I consider it a success. ;)

all my single girls, check out the hottie on the lower right!

It was so nice to spend the whole weekend outside, especially with this coming week's predicted rain.  I'm jonesing for summer . . . guess I better get crackin' on my butterfly crunches.  Yikes!

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some News

So, I got a new job!

I've been teaching social justice to students with incarcerated family members at Balboa High School for the past six years.  I really have loved it--it's been invigorating, purposeful, inspiring, and has taught me so much.  But, I've been doing it for six years.  And people like me get restless.  

When Voice of Witness contacted me about a new position in their Education department, it seemed like serendipity.  (You may remember that I worked on their latest book about women who suffered abuses while incarcerated?)

(this book)

Voice of Witness is a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to depict human rights crises through the people who've suffered them.  The people I'm working with are amazing--almost as amazing as Voice of Witness itself. :)  My new job, basically, is to work with the Education Director on creating new curriculum around the books that come out, supporting teachers around using our books & curriculum in their classrooms, and teaching folks the importance of/how to do oral history.  I am so excited!  Check out all the books here.  

Change is a little scary.  It's emotional leaving a beloved job, even if it's the right time.  And right now, I'm in the thick of end-of-the-year madness at school, learning the ropes at Voice of Witness (I started part-time last week), babysitting 1-2 evenings a week, and teaching at the prison on Monday nights.  All on a broken foot!  Suffice to say, I'm busier than ever.

But I'm also really grateful for this new opportunity.  Sometimes the universe gives you what you need at just the right time.

On another note, I'm obsessed with these shoes, but can't justify buying them since I can't wear anything remotely close to this until the godforsaken boot comes off:


Happy Friday!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two Striped Dresses I Covet

Now that I have a big ass robo-space-age-moon-boot on my left leg, I pretty much only want to wear maxi dresses.  I've been hunting around in stores and online, and I've come up with these two (albeit very different) black and white striped dresses that have piqued my interest:

Source: jcrew.com via Claire on Pinterest

jcrew.com, $98

Source: target.com via Claire on Pinterest

target.com, don't-know-how-much-but-surely-cheap

I like the J.Crew one a whole, whole lot, but I'm guessing it's about $75 more than the one from Target.  Furthermore, it would require trying on, whereas I could pretty safely guess how the Target one would fit (cause it's sleeveless and with an empire waist).  Are there any women out there who neither worry about how much clothes cost, nor how they look on their bodies?  If so, I don't want to know about them.

What do you think of these dresses?

p.s. How do you get Pinterest images centered on blog posts?  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My favorite songs are always the piano songs

At the ripe old age of 30, I only like to go to concerts if I really love the band.  In high school and college, I  loved music festivals, going out to see new bands I may or may not be into, etc.  But these days?  If I'm gonna stand on my feet for 3 hours in a crowd of beer-spilling potheads, it better be for some damn good music.

Last night, I stood on my broken foot for three hours, and it was totally worth it, because it was to see my very favorite band, Counting Crows.  If asked about my favorite musician, or singer, or something I may expand my answer, but Counting Crows are definitely my favorite band.

And I hadn't seen them in TEN YEARS!  Which I realize makes me sound alarmingly old, but whatever.  It was at a music festival in New Orleans (not Jazz Fest) and my friends and I had been watching music all day.  We were sprawled out on a blanket in front of the stage where Counting Crows would play that evening, chatting away the hour, hour and a half remaining before their set.  The sky got black, the stage remained dark, and suddenly: the first few piano notes of Colorblind.  Oh, it was so beautiful.

I was so excited to see them last night with some girlfriends.  We grabbed dinner at Burma Superstar, one of the best restaurants in the Bay, and then headed over to the Oakland Fox Theater for the show.

(the best I could do with my phone)

They mostly played old stuff, for which I was grateful.  He opened with Sullivan Street, which was nice, and swayed back and forth between songs from his first and second albums, and stuff from the later few.  For the record, as much as I love watching this band evolve, I don't think any album will ever live up to their first, August and Everything After, which will remain one of my favorite albums EVER for all of posterity. 

When he played A Long December, another beautiful piano song, I immediately thought of my high school English teacher, Mrs. Gillham, who brought in the lyrics to that song for us to read as poetry.  I'll always appreciate that.

Also: there's something especially magical about seeing a band in the city they come from (well, Adam Duritz is from Berkeley . . . a couple miles up the street).  

There were some nonprofits there handing out information, etc. and Adam Duritz did a perfect job of encouraging everyone in the crowd to check them out, without pressuring anyone to give money.  He talked about the importance of being a part of the world--not just an individual--and remembering that each of us has a significant voice.  And then he urged everyone there to get off our asses and VOTE this November, which I appreciated.

So who's your favorite band?  If you could see any concert, what would it be? 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Friday

Just a little Friday check-in from this terrible, no-good, very bad blogger who has been inconsistent at best with posts lately.  Does that happen to most people?  I feel all topsy turvy in life right now, with a wacky school schedule (due to state testing), a very sick grandmother across the country, a broken bone, quarter grades due, and all kinds of new developments work-wise.  My head just might spin right off.

So, as usual, I'm looking for cheap distractions.  This week, they've come in the form of:

1. Prison Break (Matt and I are hooked):


Often, prison shows annoy me because of their absurdity.  This one is no exception, but somehow I love it anyway.  We're halfway through season one and I can't wait to come home from work today and get right back to it!

2. New Super Mario Bros for Wii


Call it regression, but man I love this game.  

3. Funny news stories, like for example this one.

Guess who's up for parole?

Actually, he was denied again on Wednesday, but I couldn't help but giggle at the image of a parole board opening a file and seeing: MANSON, CHARLES.  hahaha!  Even funnier: his lawyer surely had to make a case for why he should be paroled.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all about rehabilitation and second chances . . . but I mean, it's Charles Manson.

I'm off to get some coffee (aka my reason for getting up in the mornings).  Hope you all have an easy Friday and a delightful weekend!  I'm afraid ours will pale in comparison to our Mendocino trip last weekend, but here's to making the best of it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend Getaway

This past weekend, Matt and I took a last minute getaway up to the Mendocino coast, and it was mighty blissful.  We packed up early Saturday morning and headed north toward the Greenwood Pier Inn on the coast in Elk, California:


After checking in to our adorable little room, appropriately dubbed "La Petite" (but with a spectacular ocean view!), we headed to a nearby pub for lunch.  Everything's so sleepy up there!  All the restaurants close at 8:30, and there's no real "night life" to speak of.  Which was just fine with us, given that this was the view from the back porch of our inn:


Well, actually, this was our immediate view:


I mean first things first, right?  We got that bottle at one of the two incredibly charming wineries we stopped at on the drive up.  Would you believe that in Mendocino, they don't seem to charge you for tastings?  And the bottles were so much more reasonably priced than those at many of the Napa/Sonoma wineries.  I'm smitten.  Also, look at the view from one of the wineries (Yorkville Cellars):


(taken with my iphone, baby)

I love this view :)

Next time, I don't even want to leave the inn.  Unfortunately, I was banned from the hot tub (by the podiatrist) thanks to the obnoxious cast on my leg, but I was plenty happy with sitting on the expansive porch watching the waves crash, and/or wandering inside to the leather couches in front of the fireplace.  Plus, it was nice to just be with my man.  We're rarely alone, it seems!


I am already thinking about our next trip.  Maybe next time we can swing two nights.  Little trips into the country (especially the wine country, haha) are so good for the soul.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Goals

So, as it turns out, breaking my foot has derailed my goals a little bit.  I've been pretty good about my monthly goals so far, but I never said I wasn't a procrastinator (those last few days of the month are my prime goal-tackling days).  Unfortunately, my bone fracture incident occurred right in the middle of crunch time, resulting in some unfinished goals.  Here's what I'd laid out for March:

                    1. Read 10 short stories
                    2. Write a short story
                    3. Save $400 
                    4. Try 3 new recipes

Just looking at this makes me cringe.  I read 3 short stories, wrote 0, saved $200, and tried 2 new recipes.  Dang.  That's less than 1/2 what I set out to do.  I better step it up for April.

FYI, I made (a version of) this, which was delicious but kinda hurt my tummy cause it was so heavy:



Onto April.  Here's what I want to accomplish:

               1. Show up to my doctor's appointment without having found a way to rip the cast off my leg*
               2. Take a day trip somewhere pretty/fun
               3.  Send poems or manuscript out to 5 more magazines/presses

I'm keeping it simple for April since ultimately, I do still want to finish my March goals, and I'm limited as far as what I can do. :(  I'd love to say that my goals were things like: take all unwanted clothes to donation bin, sign up for a 5K, plant something edible in the garden outside . . . but I can't do any of those things THANKS TO MY BROKEN FOOT.

What do you have on tap for April?

*I know several state prisoners who'd be more than willing to teach me how to rig something up to get this cast right off my leg.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Got 99 Problems

Matt calls me Claire "Lightning Bolt" Kiefer cause I move so fast.  I have a hard time sitting still, can't stand being idle, and am prone to run to the kitchen even when I just want to get a cup of water.  Matt is constantly trying to get me to sloooooow doooooown.  And on Wednesday night, his wish came true:

my fractured cuboid bone

We walked up to the center of our neighborhood on Wednesday night for dinner and drinks, and afterwards, trotting across the street in my platform heels, I went SPLAT and broke my foot.  Only, even that didn't slow me down.  I still walked the 1/2 mile home, thinking it was just bruised . . . but then woke up to agonizing pain and swelling at 4 am . . . when I knew a doctor's visit was in order:

before ice/after ice

After being shuffled around (in a wheelchair!) from my general practitioner to radiology to podiatry back to radiology, I ended up with a bulky-ass CAST on my leg and a pair of crutches that I've grown to despise:

cast guy: "What color cast do you want??"
me: "BLACK.  Like my mood."

Initially, I was upset about not being able to exercise and do fun stuff for the next 6 weeks, but now I don't even care about all that--I just want to be able to walk, for heavens' sake.  It's super hard getting around on these crutches, and for the first time, I'm realizing how omnipresent stairs are.  Thankfully, it was my left foot, so I can still drive.  And thankfully, Matt has been a complete saint.  He's basically done everything for me and not even batted an eye.  I'm so grateful for him.

UGH

My biggest problem is that I can't carry anything.  For instance, it is 11:45 am and I have yet to have a cup of coffee, because even if I can hobble into the coffee shop, I can't carry the damn cup from the counter to my car, thanks to the crutches.  Any advice?  I'm hoping it gets easier/slightly more natural, but my goodness, it's hard feeling completely dependent on other people. :(

Send me some healing vibes if you have em!