Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trash or Treasure?

Goodbye to the Big Apple. You opened my eyes to a world I never knew. You made life more vibrant and exposed me to chaos that has made me a stronger designer, determined achiever, self-aware soul, and loyal lover and friend.

After I packed and shipped all of my stuff in boxes and suitcases, there were a few items I decided I would have to leave behind in NYC. Yesterday morning, I stuffed my bulky bedding (down duvet filler, pillows, sheet set, and tempur-pedic mattress pad) into one of those trusty blue Ikea bags and took it to the three young adults who have been sleeping under the scaffolding outside of my apartment building. I do not doubt that they will find love and appreciation for the bedding that gave me consistent warmth and comfort for the past 6 years in my 550sq.ft west village apartment.

Along with my bedding the one remaining item that would not fit in my three luggage bags was a lovely milk glass table lamp, which I gave to my dear friend Meredith who just moved back to NYC after a stint in DC. The lamp has given me light during the most exciting moments of being a New Yorker. Instead of becoming just another piece of trash in a landfill, Meredith sees its value and potential just as Lady Manhattan has seen in every wide-eyed student and professional that embarks on pursuing their dreams in the concrete jungle.

As the novelty of NYC has worn off for me, Meredith is hopeful, determined, and inspired since her return to the Big Apple. Seeing her once more in such a blissful state that I once knew, gives me hope for my next chapter in San Francisco. It gives me the hope that a change in scenery is just what the doctor ordered, both professionally and personally. New York showed me who I am and what I am made of and the immense capabilities I possess. For that I will unconditionally love The Big Apple

My resolution as I reflect on my past in NYC and embark on my future in San Francisco is to love unconditionally, by accepting the path others choose to take, wherever that may lead them, and loving myself unconditionally along with all the choices I make.

This week I have come to acknowledge the truth in the saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure," but I also believe this can only be true when its value and purpose is recognized, its past and future path are honored, and it is loved unconditionally regardless of the length of time it was treasured by all parties.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Finn's Local Guide to Shopping in San Francisco

All right, so you never really hear that San Francisco has good style. Why? I mean... I don’t know, maybe its that people like this give us a bad rap…

 Sigh… Haight Ashbury

Though we have a number of homeless people that roam the streets, I swear there are people that have style…I SWEAR! It is definitely not NYC, but hey(!), it ain’t Arkansas either (no offense). 

Here is my list of favorite boutiques in San Francisco. For all types and budgets. From high fashion to thrift stores.

We are gonna start at the tippy top…

Carrots $$$ (chic as chit but pricey as chit too)

These SMU gals started this store about 5 years ago.  I fell in love with the interiors the first time I walked in. Lines they carry: Alexandwer wang, Rick Owens, Victor &Rolf and Acne, just to name a few. It is located in Jackson Square surrounded by fabulous art galleries and antique shops and fabulous little cafes.  Make a day of it. http://www.sfcarrots.com

Metier $$$ (Whoever the buyer is…is GENIUS)

CHIC CHIC CHIC.  One of my favorite stores in SF. The buyer is genius and has a phenomenal eye. She is a thoughtful buyer, which is why I think her store is so successful. There is never a time when I go in there that I don’t want anything. It is pricey, but these are investment pieces and just great staples. http://www.metiersf.com

Conifer $$ (Casual Chic)

I discovered this boutique about a year before I moved to New York, and I became very obsessed. It has a bohemian vibe, which I love, and feels very San Francisco to me. It is a small shop, but the line choices are impeccable.  I even online shop there still. Another very cool aspect is that it is also a gallery space, and they sell very interesting and local art. Go check it out! http://www.conifershop.com/store/

Heidi Say’s $$ (Great stuff for any event)

This shop has been around for a very long time, and every time I go into it, I love everything. They have great basics, cocktail dresses and jewelry. Its on Fillmore St, which is a great shopping district of San Francisco, a place for you and your girlfriends to do some damage and treat yourself to a delicious boozy lunch as well. http://www.heidisays.com

Marine Layer $$ (The softest clothing you will ever buy)

So, maybe I am biased here as I used to work for this great company, but seriously, their stuff is soft! Mike and Adam started this company out of their apt and have now become one of the biggest t-shirt brands in SF. They have two stores on Chestnut St and one on Hayes (both areas are worth exploring). This place is great for flannels, t-shirts and hoodies for both men and women. The people that work here are always fun and typically become one of your best friends…so stop in even if its for a fun conversation. http://www.marinelayer.com

Proof Lab $$ (Bomb Surf Shop)

OK, so, you can call me a professional beginner surfer (haha), but this surf shop is honestly the best in the world. It is in Mill valley, but when you are on your way to Stinson beach or Bolinas (to be talked about in another post), you MUST stop here. It is two shops, one with Patagonia clothing and the other with legit “radicool” (my made up word) in the other. Plus, they have a pretty sweet skateboard ramp in the back for all you skaters . Hot guys work there too…just sayin. Go check it out.  You might even want to become a surfer after visiting. http://prooflab.com

San Franpsycho $ (Rad SF Brand-started by studly surfers)

Andy Olive and Christian Routzen started San Franpsycho a couple years ago, but it actually stemmed from a surf video that Routzen created of the Kelly’s Cove (Ocean Beach) local boys back in 2006 (I think). Anyway, these adorable guys decided to make it into a t-shirt brand that has a serious following. They now have a retail store on Divisadero St. Go hang with Andy and Christian…they are so much fun! http://www.sanfranpsycho.com

Cris $$ (The best consignment shop in SF)
This is where the women of Pacific Heights sell the dresses they only wore ONCE. Cris is a chic French woman, who only takes the best of the best to consign. Don’t waste your time…go here. http://www.crisconsignment.com

Held Over $ (Thrift store)

Great for Halloween, vintage and fun to just try on cool outfits from when your parents were young. Right in the middle of the Haight Ashbury, it’s a great place to walk around and see where the 60’s happened. There are a number of great vintage stores in the hood, so here is a great site about them. http://retrocity.com

Piedmonts $$ (Look for the legs)

Ok, hands down, the ULTIMATE costume store. All hand made, all awesome. I mean drag queens go here, so… duh, you should too! It has been in SF since as long as I can remember, and it’s the best spot to costume shop. It is pricey, but hey, you will have this stuff in your costume trunk for a lifetime. Look for the legs in the sky, and go check it out… it’s fun just looking. http://www.piedmontsf.com

Next Chapter... NIGHTLIFE (My Specialty ;) ) .

I am off to Jackson Hole for the weekend, be back next week. Happy MLK day to all!


Friday, January 11, 2013

San Francisco, Here I Come!

In honor of my cross country move from New York City to San Francisco, I am working on a blog series with my fabulously fun friend and colleague Francesca Fay. Francesca is from San Francisco. Just last year she made the reverse relocation from San Francisco to New York City. Today Francesca is going to be my first guest blogger and share with us the first segment of her "Local Gal's Guide to San Francisco".

Local gal's guide to San Fran

Francesca Fay, Guest Blogger, http://finnslocal.blogspot.com

What drives me crazy about tourists in San Francisco is that most of them just assume that because they are in California its going to be 90 degree weather, HA think again people, NorCal is NOT L.A. (thank god). Because of their ignorance you can always tell who the tourists are as the whole family is wearing the same “San Francisco” Sweatshirt that they just bought from the souvenir shop…pretty comical actually.

As a Native to SF, I wanted to share with you (and especially my friend Maggie who is making the move to SF) my local’s guide to what I think to be the best in the most beautiful city in the world. This first chapter is Restaurants. This is my top list of restaurants in San Francisco for every type of occasion and budget.

 OK so here goes…

Loconda Osteria and Bar: $$
Incredible food and chic atmosphere. This was new about two years ago and was started by the same group that opened Delfina (another Fav of mine). It is contemporary Italian and let me tell you absolutely delicious. You have to get the Jewish style artichokes, the Stracciatella mushrooms, and the lamb ragu pasta. The atmosphere here is fabulous and the service impeccable. Make a reservation way in advance as it’s hard to get into but… WELL WORTH IT. http://www.locandasf.com

Delfina Restaurant: $$$ (Great date spot)   
All can say is Warm White Bean Salad. Enough said… The whole menu is divine and I promise you will be so happy with everything: food, wine and service. It’s a cozy spot in the mission that has a real neighborhood feel. The pizzeria next door is delicious as well; Make sure you make a reservation in advance, as walk-ins are very hard. http://delfinasf.com/restaurant/

Zuni Café $$$ (Best Date Spot or place for when your parents come into town, Lunch too)
Two things to know: First, order the Chicken…it’s for 2 people, but it takes a while to cook so when you sit down tell them, "I want the chicken" (and don’t look back). Second, The Caesar salad is incredible, and I know that’s random but it has literally been written up for being the BEST. Again the whole menu is awesome, but trust me by ordering those two items you will be a very happy and full human being. DA BOMB. http://www.zunicafe.com

BIX Restaurant $$$ (When parents are in town)
The martinis are incredible, they have live jazz music and well the Truffle burger melts in your mouth. I have gone to BIX every birthday dinner with my parents for the last 4 years. It is always consistent and always enjoyable for my parents and me. Just a fabulous restaurant that never gets old. http://www.bixrestaurant.com

Frascati $$$ (3rd date spot, or anniversary)
This cozy little restaurant in Russian Hill has an incredible wine list, its intimate and the food is amazing. There is really not one bad thing on the menu. This is a real Local spot, and known by all the real San Franciscans… It’s right on Hyde Street so you see the cable cars cruising by. All in all it is just a great experience. http://www.frascatisf.com

The Corner Store $$ (fun for a group dinner or casual Friday night)

Owned and run by a bunch of guys I grew up with. It has a fun atmosphere, great drinks and well Chef Nick Adams never disappoints. The burger is to die for, but again this little local joint’s food has a lot of soul and will have you leaving very satisfied. Say hi to chef Nick if you go…you cant miss his smile J. http://www.thecornerstore-sf.com
Sushi Ran $$$ (Best Sushi Ever!)
In Sausalito, but worth the drive, ferry or bike ride over. Hands down the best sushi place I have ever been in my life. Get the Black Miso Cod. It is hard to get into so try going early and having some sake at the bar. http://www.sushiran.com

Ristorante Milano $$ (Casual dinner with a friend or lover)
Another local secret is this gem of an Italian restaurant. My mother is Italian and Ristorante Milano is by far her favorite authentic Italian Spot besides La Ciccia (http://www.laciccia.com/index.php). Home made pasta, everyone speaks Italian. You feel as though you are in Rome. It is very casual. Parking is a real pain though so prepare to circle the block a bunch, or just take a cab. http://www.milanosf.com

Balboa: $$ (Best Burger in SF)
I have been going here since I was a little girl and to be honest I have NEVER ordered anything but the balboa burger… that says a lot. I also go here for an after work martini and to people watch, its nickname is “cougar den”…go and then you will see why. They do have a killer bloody Mary as well. http://www.balboacafe.com/san-francisco/

Godzilla Sushi $ (cheap delicious sushi)
It is Easy, cheap and delicious. It won’t break the bank and you will be very satisfied. http://www.godzilasushi.com

Sociale $$ (date night)
This restaurant is cozy, romantic and the food is absolutely scrumptious. Please start with the fried olives.... I cant go there an not eat them. The duck penne is something you will never forget. Its impeccable food and David the owner has chosen a five star staff that makes your experience one to remember. http://sfsociale.com

Chez Spencer $$$ (Anniversary, romantic date)      
Run by a beautiful French family, this beautiful French Restaurant is hands down one of the most romantic spots that I Have ever been to in SF. With the twinkling lights in the front courtyard, to the beautiful Parisian accents, you truly feel as though you are in Paris for the night. The food is divine and so are their signature cocktails. http://chezspencer.net

Liverpool Lil's- $ (Great during winter and for a couple beers)
They have Delicious beer on draft, a killer Sheppard’s pie, and well great dark corners to hide in during the winter. This is a San Francisco Staple. The people there will be SF Natives and smart young guys and gals who know what’s up. Great Sunday hangover dinner spot.

Mamacita's $$ (Group spot, date spot, just drink)
Delicious Contemporary Mexican food. Their chilaquiles are mouth watering, as are their pomegranate margaritas. Mamacita’s is fun for a Friday night before you take on the town. Watch out for the guacamole, it is dank but contains a lot of garlic so if you plan on macking on some men/women go easy on it. http://www.mamacitasf.com

Tortilla Heights  (group dinner)
Easy, fun, and in expensive for a fun birthday dinner.

Tacolicious $ (its all in the name)
BOMB. Great week night dinner, casual, easy and delightful.

Roses Café $$ (Great brunch, lunch and dinner)
A neighborhood restaurant that is consistent. My favorite lunch item is the salmon cozy (holy pita). For Brunch: The breakfast pizza…done. And for dinner, the chicken is killer but you must have the fried potatoes (I get them extra crispy).  This place is a phenomenal family spot for all meals. It’s like getting a home cooked meal, as the staff becomes part of your family. (Not kidding, My parents had a waitress over for Christmas dinner once.)

Outerlands Café $ (Organic, and a cozy spot after a big day of surfing at OB)
Its small but has a big food personality. It’s a gathering spot for friends, surfers and for people in the hood. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner. The atmosphere is very eco friendly and just cool. If you are out by Ocean Beach (OB) please go check it out…it’s a local spot and needs to be there when I get back…if you catch my drift.

Tipsy Pig $$ (Boozy Brunch)
The Strawberry Field
It says it all in the name. Great spot for Saturday or Sunday brunch. Ridiculous Juevos rancheros and the drink strawberry field…ladies… you cant just have one…WATCH OUT. Jamal the Bartender works there sometimes so please say hi to him, he is the sweetest. They have a great outdoor area in back so its great for when the sun is shining and let me tell you the people that are there are very attractive …ALWAYS. http://thetipsypigsf.com  

I would like to conclude this segment with my top 2 ice cream places, as I have a serious sweet tooth, and I know Maggie has one too.

Fraiche: Homemade organic fresh frozen yogurt $$ (for froyo)
Honestly, this might be the best frozen yogurt I have ever had. It tastes fresh and light. The pumpkin flavor is incredible. They have fresh toppings including freshly grated dark chocolate and just out of the oven toasted almonds. This place is my addiction. I am fully obsessed. http://www.fraicheyogurt.com

Swensen’s $ (SF STAPLE: Good ole fashion ice cream)

It has been there since I was a baby. All homemade ice cream…absolutely delicious. http://www.swensens.com

Next Chapter… FASHION.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More from Stephen Antonson

Stephen Antonson outside of his Brooklyn studio
Photography: John Bessler Photography for Flea Market Style Magazine

A while back I introduced you all to one of my favorite artists Stephen Antonson, who I have worked with to create custom light fixtures, tables, etc on projects. Stephen launched his first designer series line at West Elm and sold every last piece. He just emailed me that there are two new items on the website that can now be ordered and will ship in the Spring. HOT OF THE PRESS PEOPLE, GO BUY THEM TODAY (I already did ;)

Stephen Antonson Nautilus Chandelier, West Elm, $379

Stephen Antonson Nautilus Floor Lamp, West Elm, $349

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Obviously the whole tying up loose ends with all of my design projects has made for a very busy week back in the office. Keep checking back as I have 2 great blog posts in the works for all my readers!

In the meantime, feast on these images of my all time favorite color, emerald green, that happens to be the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year!

my all time favorite wedding dress!

malachite printed fabric, a staple in my home

best tablescape ever!

perfect attire for San Fran!


Grrrr! Green!

And of course, my dear mentor who I have enjoyed 2 wonderful years working for, the ever dazzling Amanda Nisbet! She is a true innovator of incorporating color in the home. Every one of her designs represent her vibrant and positive outlook on life and love! Raymond, Ali, Francesca, Stephanie, Heather, and all the fabulous interns over the years, I will miss you all!