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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yesterday, I was so THRILLED to be a part of Oh Happy Day!'s Mod Party (in partnership with Banana Republic.) We spent the evening eating, drinking, dancing (obviously), and trying on the new Mad Men line (Have you seen it? FAB.) More here!

EXPLORING SF // Chinatown

Monday, February 25, 2013

On Saturday morning, Zach and I got up with the intention of continuing our weekly exploration of San Francisco via Chinatown. Only, I'm pretty sure we were the only ones who showed up that day not knowing it was Chinese New Year. Welcome to life with the Pieps! Needless to say, the leisurely afternoon stroll we were expecting turned into a somewhat chaotic adventure.

Still, we had fun wandering the crowded streets and participating in the festivities.

What about you? How did you spend your weekend?

WEAR IT // Back to the Basics (February)

Friday, February 22, 2013

On my first business trip, I brought along a white blouse that I L-O-V-E-D. I'd bought it at H&M a few weeks before and I was excited to look both professional and stylish while courting my clients. However, when I went to iron it the night before my meetings, the glue that was holding it together melted and my shirt was reduced to a few strips of white fabric. Talk about a buh-mer.

After that night, I vowed to avoid throw-away fashion for good. I had every intention of treating my wardrobe like the Europeans: less stuff, better quality. But when push came to shove, those cheap prices would draw me back in! And my wardrobe continued to be filled with clothes that never fit quite right, sweaters that would ball up after one wear, dingy fabric you could spot from a mile away, and dress shirts that melted when you ironed them.

So after the chaos of moving to SF, Zach and I sat down and made a New Year's Resolution: no more cheap clothing. We decided to only buy things of solid quality that could be worn for longer than one season. Then, we ordered Indian takeout, identified all the basics that a solid wardrobe needs, compared that list to what was already in our closets, and voila!:

Workout Pants
Casual Sneakers
Jeans (to wear with flats)
Black Leggings
White T-Shirt
Fitted Blazer
Ballet Flats
Black Skinny Jeans
White Blouse
Leopard Print Scarf
Nautical Striped Shirt
Pleated Skirt
Classic Black Pumps
Vibrant Blouse
Flat Leather Sandals
Leather Jacket
Black City Boots
Oversized Watch
Leather Fedora
Black Cardigan
Puffer Vest
Colorful Pair of Heels
Rain Boots

For the next 12 months, our goal is to not buy anything unless it's found on our lists (for the record, Zach has a separate one.) And, none of these things can be purchased at a notorious throw-away fashion vendor: Forever 21, TJ Maxx, Old Navy... you get the idea. It's kind of scary! With our current budget, that means we'll only get to buy one, maybe two, items each a month.

So, what did I buy for my first month? A new pair of workout pants to inspire me to go to the gym (so far, it's working) and a solid pair of casual sneakers.

Oh, and if you want to read more about the perils of cheap fashion, check out this book. I haven't read it yet, but it's next in my queue.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zach and I aren't art collectors by any stretch, but since we got married we've tried really hard to branch out and expand our collection beyond the Ikea canvases we had in our dorm rooms. It's been really fun to blend our two styles: Zach tends to gravitate toward loud, bold, and colorful pieces whereas I lean towards prints that are cute and quirky.

This shared hobby isn't always easy: prints and frames can be expensive. I almost wet myself when I saw the cost of my first custom-framed piece. But, having art on our walls has transformed our house and made it a direct reflection of our personalities. For us, it's worth it.

Right now, I'm looking for a little something to hang in our stark-white bathroom. I think it'd be fun to have something beauty-related in there (for obvious reasons.) But, knowing Zach, we might have to compromise a little. That Andy Warhol print up there in the center might be just the thing to convince him.

What do you think?

Mouth by Collen Wynn
Lips by Andy Warhol
Gold Lips by Jen Ramos
Lipstick by PaperFashion


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

As a kid, making friends is easy. You just need a shared love of soccer, Barbies, or Finding Nemo. Then when you get to college, almost everyone is looking for new friends and there are enough school events, mixers, clubs, and sororities that it's easy to find "your group." But what happens when you're in your late 20's (almost thirties, gulp!) in a new city without any defined community? How the heck are you supposed to meet new people?

Before we even decided to move to SF, I'd read this article in the New York Times about making friends as an adult. At the time, I thought it was really interesting but now, I totally get it. The process is H-A-R-D and lonely. I keep waiting for Monica, Rachel, Pheobe and Chandler to show up at the coffee shop under our apartment, but it's just not happening. I don't think they're coming.

So, I need a plan. Currently, I'm a) stalking interesting people and asking them to coffee (2 dates this week already!) and b) looking for a job that gets me out of the house (this working-from-home thing isn't helping.)

Tell me, internet people: How do you make new friends? Does it ever get easier?

via le joli collar

PLAN IT // The Perfect Oscar Party

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The good news: I'm throwing an Oscar Party and you're all invited! The bad news: technically, it's inside my head, so unless you're God or Zach (or me, I guess) it'll be pretty hard to attend.

See, I want to throw an Oscar Party. I want to have a big house, that's neatly organized and all set up. I want to stream live programs... on an actual TV. I want to know a few more people in this city that I could invite. But alas, the fates are not in my favor and we'll be lucky if I get to watch The Oscars at all from the mini screen of my laptop.

Not to be deterred, I'm still planning an incredible soiree (albeit imaginary):

I've picked out these oh-so-glamourous sequined tablecloths that will be pared with simple white floral arrangements.

And there will definitely be a variety of confetti poppers (1, 2, 3) for guests to use in celebration when their favorite movie/actor wins.

I'm expecting a few celebs to show up too. For some reason, they weren't invited to the Academy Awards this year... something about them being "dead" or whatever. Good thing they're still alive in my heart.

Um, can we just talk about those gold balloons up there? Paired with a few white and black friends, I'm thinking they're gonna make an awesome statement.

Oh, and all attendees will be required to dress up. Sparkles get you extra points. I will be secretly judging your attire, so you better dress to impress. Otherwise, I might not let you in the door. #Sorrynotsorry. (Side note: isn't my friend Kelly the prettiest? She rocks that black dress and bow like it's nobody's business.)

And there will be cupcakes topped with sparklers because that's awesome. And, every cocktail will come with a pom pom swizzle stick. And people will get their own stars to mark their spot at the table.

And finally, the night's going to end with a bang because I obviously have the budget to afford a 20 minute firework show. What can I say? I throw a good party.

Ok, but seriously. Does anyone know how to stream the Oscars on Sunday? Help a sista' out! (Please.)

EXPLORING SF // North Beach & Telegraph Hill

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yay, three day weekends are the best! I hope you've spent it doing something FUN.

So far, Zach and I have spent this weekend exploring our new city. On Saturday, we took advantage of the sunshine and conquered North Beach and Telegraph Hill on foot. It was incredible! I'm seriously starting to fall in love with this city (hills and all.)

If nothing else, our weekly excursions have taught us the importance of making itineraries before leaving the house. If we don't have them, we wander around purposeless and frustrated. Today, I thought I'd share the road map we used to guide our explorations this weekend. That way, if you ever decide to visit our little city, you'll have a list of "don't miss" activities.

So, without further ado: Alison and Zach's List of Super-Fun Things to do in North Beach & Telegraph Hill.

Start your journey at Levi Plaza. From there, you can access the Filbert Street Steps which head up Telegraph Hill. These stairs aren't for the faint of heart (we passed many a gasping tourist on our way up.) But, the view is breathtaking, the foliage is beautiful, and you just might get to see or hear the infamous feral green parrots who make the eastern slope their home.

Oh, and yes. I do have a mullet right now. I'm in an awkward stage of growing out my hair. You know, the stage where it's poofy and wild but too short for a solid pony? Yep.

At the top of the stairs, you'll find yourself at Coit Tower. Here on a sunny day, you'll get panoramic views of the city. (We've heard it's especially amazing at sunset.) Plus, after your nearly vertical hike, it's a nice place to sit and rest for a minute or two.

Take the path down the west side of the hill towards Greenwich Street. The surrounding neighborhood is beautiful and you'll get to see more of that traditional SF architecture.

Turn left on Stockton Street and get in line for Mama's. Yes, that line. You'll definitely wait here for an hour (or two.) But the banana bread french toast (!!!!!!!) will make you glad you did.

Then, wander over to Washington Square Park and Saints Peter and Paul Church. If you ate at Mama's you'll be stuffed and ready for a nap - which is easily accomplished via this soft patch of green grass.

Find your way to Grant Avenue and spend some time exploring its plethora of unique shops. We happened to stop at Aria Antiques, Little Vine, and Schein & Schein, but there are plenty more to be discovered on our next visit!

Finally, find your way past the masses of Italian restaurants to the corner of Broadway and Columbus. Here, City Lights Bookstore and The Beat Museum stand as monuments to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the other Beatniks who started the movement on this corner in the 1950's. If you're weird history lovers like us, you'll love hearing how it all happened.

At this point, your feet will probably want to fall off... especially if you're in sub-par shoes (like I was.) Time to head back to your hotel (or home) and take a nap. It IS a holiday weekend, after all.

(Did you miss our treks to the Point Bonita Lighthouse or the Marina & Cow Hollow?)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

I've always loved excuses to celebrate. And, even though some people think Valentine's Day is "made-up" (yeah, yeah, yeah) I still love the chance to spoil the people who mean the most to me.

Tonight, Zach and I are skipping the madness and staying in. We're exchanging little gifts, popping a bottle of champagne, and making our favorite Tomato & Burrata Salad. Then, I'm hoping to convince Zach to watch a chick flick (or two!) with me. Tomorrow night, we'll go out for a nice dinner... I might even put on a fancy dress! It's gonna be fuuuuuun.

What about you? Are you staying in or going out?

In the spirt of the holiday, I collected a few of the Valentine's Day links that have made me happy today. I hope you enjoy:

My favorites are "The TMI" and "The Watch Your Back."

Zach and I gave up desserts for lent, so we can't do the chocolate-thing tonight. But everyone else should read about the 9 secrets to tasting chocolate before you splurge.'s offering 20% off their entire Valentine's Day line! Just enter URCUTE at checkout.

Single friends, no matter how much you hate this day - PLEASE don't resort to Craigslist.

Need a quick, easy, and super cute way to wrap up that V-Day gift? Look no further than The House That Lars Built.

My adorable friend Ann & her fiance are so happy in love. I, on the other hand, am in love with that pink wall!

These shoes are crazy! (But awesome.)

The funnest alternative to strawberries dipped in chocolate.

Festive nail art that looks simple enough for butterfingers like me to try.

Sending you lots of love. xoxo

image via


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let me clarify: yesterday wasn't a bad day, just a rough one. I'm course-correcting my life (again), and that always makes me a little introspective and lost-feeling. (Oh dear, I feel as if this blog is just becoming a space to vent - sorry, friends!)

But, I say that all to explain today's post. Some days, I just need to get out of my own head and do something silly. Like, researching instructions for the perfect lip print.

In my defense, I love making fun valentines for Zach and I thought it would be cute to seal them all with a kiss. Only problem is, I've never been able to make a good lip print. (It's pretty hard to do, let me just tell you.) So, I approached my old friend Google to find out how to make a Marilyn-worthy pucker.

People had different opinons. Some said: bend the paper so your lips go around it. Others: hold the paper up to a wall. Still others: put the paper on a table, and then bend down and kiss the table. I tried out all the suggestions, and this is what I got:

No matter what "strategy" I tried, they all kind of looked the same. None were really any better than the others. So, that got me thinking... maybe there's no right way to make a lip print? Maybe every kiss is a good kiss?

How's that for some deep thoughts on a Tuesday afternoon? You're welcome.

CAMERAS (The Disposable Kind)

Monday, February 11, 2013

When I was in high school, my friends and I LOVED disposable cameras. At my parents' home in Portland, I have boxes and boxes of ridiculous photos from every occasion. But, I hadn't thought about my former obsession until I started working at a few months back. There, my friend Kelly was constantly taking photos with her army of disposables... and it made me realize just how fun they can be.

Inspired, I bought one for myself and toted it around in my purse for a month. Most of the pics turned out to be duds, but I still managed to catch a few interesting moments:

The only problem is that it still takes me forever to get them developed. This roll was from October (hence the pumpkins) but I just developed them last week. I couldn't remember what I'd captured until I picked them up at Walgreens.

What about you? Are you a disposable or digital kind of person?

MAKE IT // Valentine's Day Postcards

Friday, February 8, 2013

Remember that one time when I tried to make Valentine's Day cards for my friends and they looked like poop? Yea, me neither.

But, let's imagine that I had made some ugly Valentine's... I'm thinking I probably could've salvaged at least one of them. I mean, I could've cut it up, and turned it into lips, and then wasted time photographing myself making kissy-faces with it.

I could've then realized that all my crafting wasn't in vain. I could've edited one of these photos in Afterglow and then loaded it onto my computer. I could've added some color and text in photoshop.

 I mean, I guess I could've printed my newly edited photo multiple times onto cardstock and then cut them into postcard shapes with my paper cutter.

 I could've written short love notes on the back - to let my friends know I hadn't forgotten about them, even though I butchered their original cards. I could've sent them out and felt satisfied with a craft project that was finally successful.

But, that would've only happened if I had made some really terrible Valentine's Day cards to begin with. And we all agreed that it never happend, right?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

I'm in a funny place these days. I keep complaining about how much weight I've gained since we moved to San Francisco, and Zach just stares at me blankly. I say I need some girlfriends (because they'd understand!) Zach agrees.

I make some Valentines for my friends in L.A., to let them know I miss them. But when I finish, they look bad. Like, really bad. Zach says they're "not my best work." I agree and I'm disappointed.

My job is an internet job, so I spend a lot of time by myself. When Zach gets home from work, I maul him with conversation because I haven't talked to a real person in hours. I say we need a cat to keep me company... and to film on Vine. Zach disagrees.

Facebook tells me that everyone from college is doing amazing things with their lives. And it makes me second guess my career path. Am i doing the right thing? Am I on the right track? Zach says I am. But I just don't know. Maybe I should go back to school? All the cool people went back to school.

My favorite character from Downton Abbey died last week and I'm still sad. She and I had gotten pretty close this year. Again, I tell Zach I really need some new girlfriends. He agrees.

So, I go to the grocery store and buy some flowers. That helps a little, I think.  

DRINK IT // Blackberry Chocolate Kiss

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

If you haven't caught on already, this month we've got a "lips" theme going on here (hence the new header.) Throughout the year I thought it would be fun to focus on 12 of my favorite things, and since February hosts Valentine's Day and all... yeah, you get it.

Anyway, for a little while now I've wanted to try my hand at cocktail-making. So when I found this Martha Stewart recipe just in time for our "Valentine's Date Night In," I knew I'd found a perfect first-attempt drink. I held a test-run yesterday afternoon and... (drumroll please) I liked it! It's a little sweet, but that's what Valentine's Day is about, right? (Well, that and love I guess.)

Being that I'm no bartender, I had to improvise my technique: I "muddled" those berries with a wooden spoon and strained them through my flour sifter. And, Trader Joe's was out of raspberries, so I had to replace them with blackberries. But overall, I was proud of the effort and outcome. A total success in my book.

What will you be drinking on the 14th?

all photos by Hello Lately


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zach and I like to keep things simple on V-Day, especially when it's on a weeknight. In my old age, I find that I'd much rather camp out at home and not have to fight the crowds in a formal dress (wow, I sound so lazy!) Still, Valentine's Day is Valentine's Day and I'm a festive kind of gal. So you know I'll still be dressing up for the occasion... even if it's just a little more casual.

What's your perfect Valentine's Day look?

necklace  //  sweater  //  iphone case  //  bracelet  //  stationery  //  purse  //  nail polish  //  jeans  //  loafers

EXPLORING SF: The Marina & Cow Hollow

Monday, February 4, 2013

Like I mentioned after we went to the Golden Gate Bridge, before we moved to SF I'd only been here once - for 10 hours. And that means I really haven't experienced everything the city has to offer. Thus, Zach and I have been spending our weekends exploring all the neighborhoods around our new home.

This weekend, we took a bus up north to the Marina/Cow Hollow.

 I still can't get over how beautiful this bay is. We ended up just standing on a pier watching the seagulls, and sailboats, and tourists for a long while. It was a little foggy, but in the distance you could just make out that famous red bridge - oh, and Alcatraz was clearly in view as well.

Then, we walked along the Bay up to the Marina.

I've been noticing that SF ladies dress differently than LA ladies. Everyone (and I mean everyone) around town wears lululemon. And, I've seen more North Face puffer vests and Rainbows in the last week than in the last year. So, I decided to ease myself in and officially embrace my new roots - with a pair of quality yoga pants. (I bought them to encourage myself to use that new gym membership, but you'll know I've truly crossed over when I start wearing them to Trader Joes.)

We loved walking up and down Chestnut and Union Streets - they were jam packed with shops, cafes, theaters, and people. Then, we'd heard good things about Super Duper Burgers, so we stopped for a quick (and delicious) bite of the first red meat we'd eaten in... a month? I happened to like it better than In-N-Out; Zach wasn't as convinced.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who gave us recommendations last week - they were really helpful. And, please keep them coming! We need to make a Target run this upcoming weekend, so we're headed down to explore SOMA. We'd love any/all suggestions on places to go!


Friday, February 1, 2013

It's February playlist time! When I started making this list, I attempted to go for a "love" theme, but it just turned into a "most-of-the-songs-are-kinda-about-love-but-I-really-just-picked-songs-I-like-right-now" theme.

Anyway, last year I was super into folk music. But, lately I've been feeling my style changing again. I think Zach's love of Electronica is starting to rub off on me. So, this latest playlist is an odd blend of psychedelia/electro-pop/indie folk music. I'm obsessed with it... but what do you guys think? (As always, if you've got Spotify you can listen straight from the app below. Or, you can subscribe to my playlist from your own computer. Zach said he was having trouble finding it yesterday, so if you get lost my username is: 126263062.)

Any other music I should be listening to?

PS - We bought tickets for Passion Pit in March! I've heard they're amazing in concert, so I'm super stoked!

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