I have what may be the tiniest kitchen you’ve ever seen.

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Not that I hate it. Quite the contrary. But it took a while to get used to 9 square feet of workspace (it’s true — I measured just about 2.2 seconds ago).

When we first moved into this apartment, the tiny kitchen felt like the one blemish in an otherwise flawless (okay, not flawless — it was built in 1910 after all) space. Squeezing more than one person in there felt impossible, and I avoided the kitchen out of frustration.

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But now, I love it.

I love that it takes 5 minutes to clean. 10 if I’m doing a hardcore scrubdown.

I love that I know exactly where everything is at all times — there’s no way you can lose something in that little space.

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I love that it challenges me. Working in this small space pushes me — and every time I whip up a new culinary creation, I feel ridiculously (embarrassingly) proud that it came out of the tiniest kitchen ever.

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So, I’ve opted to celebrate my miniscule kitchen with a (I know) hashtag — you can now follow #thetiniestkitchen on Instagram to see all of my latest creations.

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xo

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I’d never been to Yosemite before.

When we drove up, it was dark. Pitch black — that deep, thick darkness, only punctuated by stars — up a steep and windy road, up into the mountains, down into the valley. So, when I woke up and stepped out of my tent the next morning, the steep, dark cliffs looming outside our campsite shocked me — so massive, they felt almost unsettling.

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Climbing up to Glacier Point, the proportions from my campsite view switched — the valley below shrunk, while Yosemite’s trademark cliffs loomed even larger above.

Miles of steep switchbacks and crumbling granite trails left lots of time for thinking. But instead, I found myself leaving the constant strain of thoughts behind, only thinking of getting to the top.

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Which of course, was more than worth it.

I already can’t wait to go back.

xo

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We used to visit our grandparents all the time when we were little. For quite some time, they lived just 20 minutes away from our home in Los Gatos. Emily and I loved to spend the night there and ride horses, run wild with their two dogs (which we called our own) and have Grandpa Ralph read us the tale of Little Hiawatha before jumping into the trundle bed at night.

When we got a bit older, they moved up to Quincy, California (with a brief stint near the Delta in-between). It was heaven. We couldn’t wait until summer, when we could spend a week in the bright mountain sunshine, riding horses to the river, diving into snow-melt swimming holes and swinging wildly from rope swings in the oak trees.

Of course, the inevitable happened. We got even older, and life caught up with us. College, boyfriends, work and city living made it more and more difficult to make the drive up to Quincy. But I missed it — and my grandparents — dearly. So last weekend, my sister and I snagged my mom’s car and made the tricky 4 hour trek through the winding Feather River Canyon up to Quincy.

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I loved coming up here in the summer, but Fall is definitely the most beautiful time of year in Quincy. All of the black oak trees turn the most brilliant shades of gold, orange and red.

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On Saturday, my grandparents took us on a walk near their house, where they take Dakota (their adorable mini-Aussie) every day.

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The ground was littered with little gems of gold leaves from the trees.

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Two of Dakota’s friends came too: Cedar, the chocolate lab who loves to hold rocks and branches in her mouth, and Trooper, the ranch dog from down the street.

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After our walk, we let Grandpa Ralph off the hook from hanging out with the ladies, and went to downtown Quincy. I was snapping pictures left and right — it looks like a dream. I kept on thinking about Star Hollow (the town from Gilmore Girls) (I know, I’m a dork).

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Really though — we don’t get colors like this in the Bay Area.

6We went and popped in to the Quincy Museum, which was kind of amazing. They’ve restored an old house from the early 19th century to its original condition. It was quite a trip seeing all the crazy mechanisms (we were dying over the clothes washing situation — what a nightmare) you needed to get through daily life back then.

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My grandparents have collected some of the most amazing things over the years. My grandma’s walls are covered with her own (beautiful) artwork, photos of her parents and drawings by us. I loved this little wall of my grandpa’s collections in the garage, too. 

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After dinner on Saturday (and some red wine), we ambled down to the saloon at the nearby ranch for a nightcap. My sister and I both got whiskey gingers, and my grandpa got a red eye. Both felt very appropriate considering our surroundings. 

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I’d been looking forward to this trip for a while, but it’s funny, I didn’t realize how much I missed my grandparents (and Quincy) until I got there. Both are full of so many fond memories, and feel so comforting to me. I already can’t wait to go back.

Grandma, let’s go for a trail ride next time, okay?

xo

Have you ever been to Hog Island? It’s not an island, and there aren’t any hogs (at least any more), but it’s totally magical.

My family took the winding roads up to Point Reyes this past weekend — coolers full of cheese, salumi and wine in the trunk — to celebrate my mom’s birthday with fresh oysters.

photo 2Tomales Bay is known for its rich oyster fields. It has just the right blend of elements from Mother Nature to produce tons of salty, delicious oysters. I actually thought oysters were pretty gross until I came here for the first time. It’s hard to resist a freshly shucked oyster that’s been harvested just a few hours earlier — especially when topped with Hog Island’s delicious mignonette.

1My mom got there early and snagged us a spot right along the water. The grill was covered with crispy chicken sausages by the time I got there.

UntitledI love how their oyster bar looks like the hull of an old boat.

Untitled 2Our motley crew!

Untitled 3Just a small part of our smörgasbord — oysters, sausage, olives (my mom is obsessed), cheese, wine, quinoa salad, salumi, roasted beets and a berry tart to finish it all off.

photo 4Cheers! Hope your weekend was lovely as well.

xo

PS: Check out Hog Island’s site for more info on their Tomales, San Francisco and Napa locations.

PPS: Post 300! Can you believe it? 

The first time I visited the South, I was eight (maybe nine), and had been dragged along to Mississippi for a family reunion. The hazy memories from that trip seem to match the humid, misty Mississippi weather perfectly. I remember the oppressive heat very vividly — it was so different from the dry California summers I was used to. We stayed at a plantation-turned-hotel of sorts — my memories of wandering through surprisingly green grounds with drooping tree branches, scented magnolias and thick spider webs are the clearest. 

I hadn’t been back to the South since then, so my expectations for New Orleans were pretty much the same, and the magic of the city didn’t fail me. The heavy air, the lush trees with moss and ferns carpeting each branch, the broken sidewalks, the charming street cars — and the porches! I loved the porches. Each with a sky blue roof and colorful front doors. There’s something almost ancient and lost in time about New Orleans — I found myself constantly thinking of Macondo from 100 Years of Solitude.

Of course, the food and the people can’t be beat either.

Very belated, but here are a few shots from our trip. 

photo 2Our home away from home for the weekend. Right off of St. Charles — couldn’t have asked for a better spot, or host. 

photo 1The owner of the apartment is a lawyer, so our bedroom was full of law books. 

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Walking down Bourbon to Frenchman Street our first night. I love the fans on the balcony ceilings. 

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We happened on a random art fair right across from dba, so we wandered for a bit while we finished our massive frozen drinks.

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The oysters in New Orleans are totally different (and MUCH larger) than the ones in California, but still amazing. They require a bit more chewing, but it’s nothing plenty of Crystal hot sauce can’t cure. 

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Walking down St. Charles was like walking back in time. I would’ve moved into any of those houses in a heartbeat (even though this one looks slightly haunted). 

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My favorite night was totally random — a delicious meal (and far too much wine) at La Petite Grocery, and wandering in and out of the bars on Magazine Street. photo 3

A Little Free Library! I was too excited when I found this. 

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If Kelly would let me paint the entire apartment in colors like this, I’d totally do this. Such a refreshing turn from the gray that I see everywhere today. 

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Another shot of the art fair across from dba. 

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And of course, the Jazz Fest was completely amazing too. Despite the mud, we had a total blast (although we were relieved when the sun came back on day 2). I’d kill for a frozen margarita and big bowl of crawfish monica right now … 

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NOLA, I think I’m in love with you. 

xo

We have a really nice pine dresser in our bedroom, but it was missing a little something. I considered painting it for a while — but it’s messy, risky and would mean covering up the beautiful wood. After searching online for ages, I found an awesome Etsy shop that had the perfect solution. 

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New drawer pulls! Easy, affordable and damage-free. 

BEFORE: 
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AFTER: IMG_4009

Beautiful, no? One of the easiest updates I’ve made to our apartment to date.

xo

I’m on a total plant kick lately. 

I’ve been admiring terrariums online for a while now. Even though they’re kind of trendy, they take me back to middle school and I’m a sucker for anything remotely nostalgic. So I bought a big ol’ jar at the hardware store, and a simple terrarium kit off Etsy, and got to it. 

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Voila! Isn’t she a beaut? I also found a cute little asparagus fern at a nursery in the Marina, and put that in there too. 

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It looked a little lonely on the table, so I got a cheap slab of oak from West Elm to warm it up a bit. 

IMG_3998I highly recommend — it took about 5 minutes to do, and it puts a smile on my face every time I walk into the dining room. 

xo

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