Friday, October 28, 2011

H-A-double L-O-double U-double E-N spells.....

It's Halloween weekend, and as an adult, I love this holiday as much as I did when I was a kid.  I went to college at UCSB which is notorious for their huge Halloween celebrations, so that really helped foster me into adulthood.  While this year will be no where near as debaucherous as it was in college, I am looking forward to carving pumpkins, dressing up, and dancing the night away on Saturday with some equally festive friends.

This city is fabulous for Halloween too - San Fanciscians always love an excuse to dress up (bay to breakers anyone?) so I hunted down a costume earlier this week, and am prepared to get into the spirit.  I decided to be a pirate this year - honestly the selection at the Halloween Costume stores is atrocious - the choices ranged between sexy pilot, sexy bunny, and sexy cat.  Needless to say, the choices were limited, and sadly, my sexy-fill-in-the-blank years are behind me.

A few years ago when I worked at Nordstrom, I bought this ruffled blouse thinking it was quite avant guard, and have never worn it, because it really is very "pirate-y". White poofy sleeves, ruffles down the front... think the puffy shirt from Seinfeld.  That said, it is PERFECT for a pirate costume, so I got a hook, a parrot, and some petticoats, and I am ready to say "arrrrr matey" all night long!!

Happy Halloween to all!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


My absolute FAVORITE part about moving is the decorating part.  I swear, in another life, I was an interior designer because I am OBSESSED with design magazines, blogs, etc. My favorite part of every month is when my Home Beautiful arrives... a good glass of wine, and some cozy sweatpants and I'm set! 

As I wrote earlier, Kris and I have opposing tastes in design (he modern, me classic), so I'm on the hunt of furniture that will make us both happy.  I've been keeping an inspiration book as I scour the internet for pieces I like, to help "show" him what I think is a solid compromise.

Macy's is having this fabulous sale right now - free shipping and 15% off any "Home" order.  I was browsing through (because that is just a phenomenal deal) and came across this adorable chair.  

Reviews say it's comfy, and claim that with an ottoman it feels like you are in a recliner.  Not sure I buy all that, but it has clean lines, beautiful fabric, and does look pretty cushy.  There are several room lay-outs we are considering, but it is just really going to depend on how we feel when we move in.  If we keep my loveseat, and buy a larger sofa to go along the full wall of windows (GORG) then this chair would be perfect - if we opt to downsize and do a sofa and single chair, I think I will have to find something bigger, fluffier, and more sink-into-it good.

The BIG Move

The move is less than a week away now and I am really starting to feel the pressure!  We signed the lease over a month ago, and the waiting is just killing me.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have never done well with changes - our weekend vacation in Clear Lake would end and I would cry the entire way home, the last day of school - more tears, moving off to college - hysterics as I waved goodbye in the UCSB parking lot.  No shame.

While I am so thrilled that we are starting the next chapter of our lives in a new place together, it hit me last night that this is my last week that I will be living with my best friend.  Probably the last week I will ever live with girlfriends.  The chapter of my life in my carefree twenties, eating ramen (yes I still do), stretching pennies, and sharing clothes is closing, and having loved it so much, this life change is so bittersweet.  I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping - actually this morning there was a HUGE earthquake around 5am, and I just couldn't get back to sleep.  I layed there thinking about all the things I have to do - the packing, the hiring movers, the laundry, the cleaning, patching holes, matching paint, and THEN... more cleaning, organizing, unpacking, sorting, and revamping in the new place.  I wish this move was over and done with so I could get back to me regular nine hours of sleep!  The anxiety is killing me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So I am pretty obsessed with weddings in general, and I have a very specific image of what I envision my mother wearing as I walk down the aisle.  While the hours I've spent daydreaming are rather embarrassing to admit, I stumbled across this dress on Nordstrom's site while getting in early on the hot NYE dresses, and couldn't resist posting it.

My mom is the ultimate lady - I think my sister and I have inherited her most prissy, lady-like qualities which is why I was always the last one picked for any group sport in school, and why I am so meticulous about my own clothing.  There are certain stories that stand out in my mind about her, and one of the ones we heard over and over as little girls, was about how her mother (our grandmother) would put her on the train in the summers to send her back to stay with her cousins in New Mexico.  Because it was the 1950's, and travel was expensive and "fancy", my mom would get dressed in her party dress, tights, mary-janes, and little white gloves to make the journey. She'd get off the train, greeted by her cousins who were dirty, shoeless, and fresh off the farm, and they'd tease her for being the miss priss from the big city.

To think of that scene makes me smile, and I always envision my mother as this woman who can do anything and everything flawlessly.  The perfect housewife, the ultra mom, the gourmet cook, and master entertainer, who can make a party out of a bottle of wine and some dried pasta.

This dress is the ultimate dress for the ultimate "lady".  The graceful back, full skirt, and boat neck on this dress are so lovely - it's so perfect... I almost want to buy it right now for my "someday" wedding!

This dress is also super lady-like.  It totally reminds me of the dress Diane Lane wears in "Under the Tuscan Sun" - a personal all time favorite... and super pretty and classic.

Monday, October 17, 2011


In the last year, my sister got married, and with that came a whirlwind of events that we needed to put together and host.  With a limited budget, my sister went against conformity, and did NOT enlist the help of a wedding planner.  Instead she focused on what she wanted the most - good food, open bar, and beautiful florals.  Without a planner orchestrating everything, my mom and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work sharpening our flower arranging skills and frosting expertise.

All the planning was so fun, and my mom and I have even thrown around the idea of opening our own party planning company together.  Not only is this the stuff we love (flowers, food, and of course drinking), but I have to say, we are pretty good at it!   It's still such a fantasy, but one day that would be pretty amazing.  My mom simply refers to us as "CGPP" - Christensen Girls Party Planning.  It's so cute - I kind of love the idea!! I think the name needs some work in the grand scheme, but I would have so much fun, arranging flowers, setting up appointments, and orchestrating large scale events like weddings, showers, and even posh get-togethers. Oh to dream....

It's a Women's World

Or is it??

I was recently reading an article NPR put out earlier this year titled, Ask for a Raise? Most Women Hesitate.  As you might expect, it was about women hesitating to ask for the compensation they deserve simply because they were too timid.  Of course, I find this extremely interesting as I recently found myself in this situation - the hardworking, but ultimately under-compensated woman who was not going to sit quiet for any longer.

This article shocked the pants off me!! Despite widespread gains in the workplace, women still earn on average about 78 cents to a man's dollar.  Research shows men are four times more likely than women to ask for a salary raise.  Economist and Professor, Linda Babcock of CMU, tells her students that by not negotiating their job at the beginning of their career, they're leaving anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over their lifetime.  After reading stats like this, not only was I alarmed, but it really made me think.  I work in advertising - a traditionally male driven vocation - that in the last decade has become a largely female driven profession.  Rationally you’d think that I was being paid market standards, however after a bit of digging, realized that because I have worked at the same agency since I began in media, I was being severely under-paid and under-recognized for my expertise.

To hear that I could be ultimately missing out on big bucks in the long run, I sucked it up, put on my bravest face, and went into my VP's office.  The article hits it dead on - you need to put a price on how much you are worth, and it is intimidating, and I felt really guilty and greedy to ask for more money when I had been recently promoted.  

While uncomfortable, it was also really easy.  I calmly explained that I knew I was under-compensated for my work, and while I was happy in my job, with my team, and with my role in the company, that at the end of the day, I needed to think about myself, and my future, so if it was not fiscally realistic for FY11, that I would have to start looking elsewhere.  Two weeks later, I got my first negotiated raise, and I have to say, it was empowering, and feels so good.

If that's not enough to get you ladies out there asking for what you rightfully deserve, take a look at these other articles for some ammunition:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beautiful... but Timeless?

My best friend Kira is single (and ready to mingle), but like me, she is SUCH a sucker for weddings.

We both cruise StyleMePretty daily, post inspiration boards, and DVR Say Yes to the Dress.  She is convinced that this Amsale dress is THE ONE.  I have to admit, it is gorgeous.  The detail is amazing, the skirt really makes a statement... but that begs the question, will you still like that statement 30 years from now?

For me, while I loved it on the runway, and I love it now, I think it would be something that ultimately I would end up thinking was dated.  I wonder, even 10 years from now, will we look back and go, wow that was soooo 2011.  My mother looked beautiful on her wedding day, but her look was definitely '70's.  My dad kept encouraging my sister to get a dress "like mom's" when she got married earlier this year, so maybe it's ok if it looks dated.  Maybe no matter what you get, styles will inevitably change, bridal trends will continue to evolve, and you will still reflect the year you got married.

More variations of this ruffled look

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sky High Heels: Love at First Sight

Giuseppe Zanotti Platform Pumps

Giuseppe Zanotti Platform Pumps - the PERFECT foot accessory for all those holiday parties that are coming up... I MUST BUY THESE immediately if not sooner!!!!!

Madewell? Who Knew?!

This brand is everywhere!  I have been seeing Madewell clothing featured in oodles of magazines and blogs this fall, and decided to do some investigative work.

I am the quintessential girly girl, and I love everything to do with dressing up, HOWEVER, as I get into my late twenties, I have grown an equal fondness for comfy yet stylish clothes.  Madewell has been around for years - since 1937 - and in all those years, they have apparently learned a thing or two about easy to wear, classic clothing.  Not only are there great classic jeans, button downs, and blouses, there are cute dresses, coats, and dressy shorts.  The colors are muted, and patterns lady like, which is such a relief after the much raved about color blocking trend of the spring and summer.  Turns out, unless it's Valentino, Gucci, or Prabal Gurung, it looks cheap and tacky... a la Forever 21 gone oh so wrong.

It also doesn't hurt that the model is painfully beautiful...
Some favorites from the site:

The Bird's Eye Pullover is a great fall sweater.  In San Francisco, Fall is our "Summer" so this would be a great addition for layering... a staple here.  It's light enough that it won't be stifling once the sun peeks through, but heavy enough that it will keep the chill out once the fog starts to roll back in...

A great trouser is hard to come by, and I am loving these in the brown - very fall, and very flattering with the long straight leg.  I'd aim to get them extra long becuase I am loving how they cover the shoe - wear a platform to even further elongate the leg - tre chic.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Compromise is like Brussels Sprouts

It's official - we are moving in at the end of the month!  We had spent several very long months dedicated to hunting out THE best place in San Francisco in this terrible market.  For a while, it seemed luck was not in our favor, and after several mini meltdowns (on my end), we found a place... and its just one block from where I live now!  The irony!  I am looking for movers, and can't wait to see their faces when I tell them to take the furniture down the street.  I also can't wait to see their faces when I tell them I am moving out of a four-floor walk up... ayayay!

As we are gearing up to move, and inevitably merge our assets, the inevitable "whose stuff are we bringing" conversation has come up - multiple times.  While Kris has accepted the fact that his college Ikea black bachelor sofa is not making the journey, I have relented that some of my more girly pieces will be going on Craigslist.  Even though I am sad to part with some of my single-self purchases, I am so excited to start our life together, and furnish our new place with things that reflect BOTH of us.  Yes, compromise is like brussels sprouts - hard to swallow, but you know its good for you.  In fact, I've actually begun to enjoy the taste :-)

The tough part is that Kris loves everything ultra modern, while I am drawn to more classic pieces.  If he had it his way, he'd live in a world of angular furniture, sharp edges, and lots of metal and glass.  As for myself, I'd love to live in the pages of Pottery Barn.

After much discussion, and shoving many MANY design magazines in front of Kris's face, we have come to a compromise.  Classic contemporary.  There will be no faux finishes, no frills, floral, or shabby chic touches.  There will also be no glass tables, anything with metal poles for legs, and no uncomfortable furniture.  We will focus on classic lines and muted colors for the core pieces (sofa, etc), with pops of color and patterns in the accessories (throw pillows, artwork, and rugs).  The real challenge is the artwork, but after some digging around online, I have found a few great pieces that really suit both of our tastes fairly well!


These first two are quite similar - the first from Ballard Designs, and the second from ZGallerie.  Both I love because of the muted colors, and the depth of the pictures.  They are soothing, but not boring.  Kris would love them for their modern potential, and also because they are not overtly feminine.  They are classic, without being "traditional" and I can't wait to show him!

I happen to LOVE this one - especially as a compliment to one of the first two.  I can already hear Kris saying that it is way to frou-frou, but I think the colors pair really well with the abstract greys and tans and taupes and blues from the first two paintings.  This is from ZGallerie as well, and it makes me wonder if the buyers had the same thing in mind when they purchased both of them.

This is just cool - if they carried this in a San Francisco version, this would look great in the entry way by the front door, or next to my desk in it's nook.  I am by no means a Paris fanatic, so would not buy this exact one in a million years, but to have it personal to MY city - the city that stole my heart with it's great food, beautiful architecture, and proximity to everything I love (the wine country, the beach, the mountains, and my family).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993]

Today we have lost one of the most influential, insightful, brilliant thinkers of our century.  Steve Jobs has passed, at the age of 56, and the world will forever be at a deficit.  Not only did he create life altering products - computers, phones, music engines - he changed the way we think.  He brought so much passion to his work, and his ideas, and inspired so many people.

In a commencement speech he gave at Stanford, he once said, "You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

There is no way around it - today, we have lost someone great. 

Engagement Photos: LOVE

Oh my Goodness Gracious!  I hate to be a re-poster, but I just stumbled upon the most GORGEOUS engagement session I think I have ever seen.

As an officially wedding obsessed girl, I am extremely picky over what I swoon over.  So many photo shoots are so staged, and while it can be artsy, I could never picture some of them for myself.  This engagement shoot (while over-the-top extravagant) looks easy, and natural, and oozes romance.  It's classy and timeless, and I honestly can't wait to see the full wedding spread.

Even though I will not be flying to Paris for a photo shoot when I get engaged, I could totally imagine something this simple, authentic, and lovely.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feeling Cozy

After the sun and warm weather from vacation, I have come back to San Francisco where the weather is chilly, and the days are getting shorter.  Sitting at work, it really feels much later than it is right now and I am feeling the need to curl up in an overstuffed chair with a cozy sweater and a steaming cup of cocoa.

While I can't be preparing for a long winter's nap, and pad around my apartment in my slipper socks until after work, one of my favorite afternoon rituals is to make some tea, and read through my favorite blogs. It's soothing, and even under the flourescent lights, its a lovely break that feels like meeting up with friends, and discussing anything and everything from party planning and DIY projects, to babies, to weddings, to travel, design, and art.

For wedding inspiration, and all things pretty, StyleMePretty is the ultimate.  The dresses and soires are so soft and romantic, I could easily get lost in this world of whimsy, flowers, and ruffles.


She is a native San Franciscan, but picked up her life - husband, kids, and career - and moved to Paris for a year.  She has guts, and is loaded with creativity as a party planner, and blogger extraordinaire.  Her blog OhHappyDay inspires me, both in design, creativity, and guts... I really just feel happy when I read her posts.

An ultimate New Yorker, she manages to stay hip as a mom, and honestly I just want to be her friend.  She is utterly cool, and blogs about family, motherhood, fashion, art and design.  Somewhere in the mix are weddings, and wisdom that applies to life, love, goals and being happy.  It's sometimes therapeudic, and I want her life one day.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Post Vacation Blues

Now that we have been home from our trip to Hawaii for several days, I am experiencing the post-excitement let down.  The excitement of having something to look forward to has passed, but the silver lining here is that I have been spending hours pouring over all the pictures we took.

I could be a member of the paparazzi for the number of photos I ended up snapping.  Kris kept making fun of me, but years from now, we will look back with our kids on this fun impromptu trip, our great tans, and our the fabulous sunsets.  Seriously - everything was better in Hawaii - even the license plates had rainbows on them!

Nine days is the perfect amount of time to be in Hawaii.  We were able to split our time between the two islands, and while there is a ton to do, you don't have to do anything if you don't want.  We stayed close to Diamond Head on Oahu, and while we never ventured over to the beaches, or hiked to the top, it was so relaxing to be out of the hustle-bustle of the downtown in Waikiki.  We got up early each day, sat out on the deck, laid out on the beach, and soaked up the sun (and mai-tais).  The surf was great while we were there, and I even got to rent a board and take a private lesson... (private lesson with my honey bunny that is).  He was a great teacher - very patient, and of course very cute :-)

Maui on the other hand was pure relaxation... the sunsets were absolutely breathtaking, and this part of the trip was really about re-connecting, and re-charging.  Kris is not the type to sit on a beach (or by a pool) with a book, but we napped, relaxed, and ate... A LOT.  The main event for the evenings was watching the sunset with a cocktail, and listening to the live music in time to the waves.  Kaanapali is absolutely fabulous, and we'd walk along the promenade passing the main hotels and condos near Whalers Village, indulged in plenty of shave ice and frozen yogurt.  The snorkeling was extremely cool - we saw sting rays, sea turtles, and a plethora of tropical fish.  Luckily, I invested in a waterproof camera, and CANNOT WAIT to see if those photos came out!

Some favorite moments....

Paradise Found

Kris and I just got back from a much anticipated vacation, and after a much heated debate... we settled on Hawaii.  This is not to say that I did not want to go, or that I was against it.  I actually was gunning for it because from California, it's a 5 hour flight (not long in the scheme of things) and it was just easy.  No Mexican kidnappings to worry about... no Costa Rican drug charges to fret over.

Not only did I like Hawaii.... I LOVED it.  Honestly, I have nothing but great things to say about it.

More to come with a normal night's sleep......