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Even though Frida and Diego were somewhat of an odd couple, I always felt like they just made sense. 

To me, this letter is a beautiful illustration of how perfectly they understood each other. 

Diego, my love,
Remember that once you finish the fresco we will be together forever once and for all, without arguments or anything, only to love one another.

Behave yourself and do everything Emmy Lou tells you. 

I adore you more than ever.
Your girl,
Frida

(Write me)

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Isn’t it the best when you have visitors? San Francisco is so much fun to show off. And she was at her finest this weekend. Clear, sunny days made everything seem 10 times more beautiful. All of the houses seemed brighter and more colorful than usual, and the sky was the most brilliant blue.

On Saturday, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and have an outdoor adventure. 5 of us packed bags of bread, cheese, grapes, wine and a bottle of whiskey (!) and cabbed out to the Sutro Baths.

It was so windy when we got there. Of course, none of us had considered this. It was a fierce and bitterly cold wind that almost pushed us backwards as we walked down the hill to the ruins. At first, we were all a little unsure if this trip had been worth it. It was freezing.

But as we all tiptoed across the old ruin’s walls to the water, we were suddenly right at the edge of the ocean. Salty mists of water spritzed our faces, and the ocean churned into pure white froth all around the rocky shore. We all looked at each other. “This is pretty great,” someone said.

We trekked along the cliffs and found a cave that led all the way through to the other side. We huddled against the wind and snuck sips of the whiskey, and then decided to find a place to picnic.

After wandering through the cypress trees, we found a sunny and grassy spot just off the footpath. We all sat, broke bread, and sipped from our various bottles. We talked about old friends, new jobs and future adventures for a long time.

After battling the freezing wind back to the street, we hopped on a bus back to Van Ness. At the spur of the moment, we decided to finish off the day with a warm plate of mashed potatoes and gravy (and a gigantic turkey leg for some) at the oh-so-famous Tommy’s Joynt.

It was a good day. A very San Francisco day.
I love having visitors.

I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions.

Whenever I come up with specific resolutions they inevitably fail. So this year, I’m just not doing them.

Instead, what I’ve decided is this: Above all else, I don’t want my life to become a gigantic to-do list. 

And I’m a big list person. My planner consists of endless grocery/to-do/to-buy lists that, like any mildy OCD person, I take great pleasure in checking and crossing items off of. But what I’ve realized lately is that when I try to do that for the bigger things — the where do I want to be in 5 years and what do I need to do to get there things — it doesn’t really work.

What I want is to be happy.

What I want is to take advantage of the freedom that comes with being young.

What I want is to be okay with making mistakes, but to live with as little regret as possible

Part of that means that my expectations shouldn’t be about checking off a big list — they should be about what feels right.

I’m not sure where that’ll take me. But I think following my gut instincts, feeling free to take risks, and sticking to what I believe in will help me get there.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Truman Capote: “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

I hope that 2012 will be guided by smart decisions and choices, but I want to be okay with making a few stupid ones from time to time. This might be the one point in my life when I can still afford to do that. 

Happy New Year!

xo

Thanksgiving Recap:

Thanksgiving weekend was one of those weird weekends that was totally crazy, but still completely and utterly relaxing.

For me, running around and cooking and cleaning and lighting candles and playing Scrabble and drinking wine and watching football and baking pies is a welcome type of chaos.

Days like that make me so thankful for my big, crazy, amazing family. I’m happiest when I’m with them.

My mom and I started off the day with Bikram in preparation of the pounds of food we were about to eat, and then we spent the rest of the day whipping up the meal. My sister pitched in and made a delicious appetizer (spanakopita), and my mom had plates full of bread, nuts, and cheese littered around. It was a day of indulgence, to say the least.

Here’s the final menu (I don’t know about you, but I love hearing about what people ate. I’m the weirdo who always asks people about every last detail when they visit a new restaurant):

-turkey roasted in olive oil, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper

-maple glazed carrots

-green beans with balsamic shallot butter

-my mom’s classic stuffing

-roasted brussels sprouts

-endive salad with orange, pomegranate, and pear

-mashed potatoes and ridiculously indulgent homemade gravy

-popovers!

-pumpkin pie and port for dessert

Is it weird that I’m already brainstorming a Christmas menu? Good God I love the holidays.

A friend told me about something beautiful she saw the other day.

While she was walking to catch the train, she saw a young guy — not much older than me — in a business suit sprinting across the street with a pair of running shoes in his hands. She stopped to watch. He ran up to a homeless man, shuffling along the freezing sidewalk — with no shoes on. This young man handed off his running shoes, and simply sprinted back to the station to catch his train.

No thanks necessary. No looking back. Simple selflessness.

How often does that happen? It’s rare enough that we take the time to pass a few pieces of change to a suffering member of mankind, let alone something as necessary and as important as shoes. 

It’s inspiring really. A simple and powerful reminder that above all, the people in our lives matter the most. The impact we have on others is the only meaningful thing that’s left when we’re gone. 

We’re still in the middle of San Francisco summer.

It’s slightly cooled down this week, but this weekend it was a perfect 80 degrees all day long. After a month or so of nothing but fog, this weather is much needed.

Here’s what I did this weekend:

1. Friday night dinner at Nojo in Hayes Valley. All of these small Japanese plates were bursting with fresh flavors, but this simple cucumber and nori salad was my absolute favorite. The chef simply broke up small cucumbers in a rough manner, and sprinkled the salad with torn nori and a rice wine vinaigrette. Even though I’m a mess with chopsticks, I managed to eat every last bite.

2. I had to go downtown to get my haircut Saturday morning (at the Cinta Aveda School. Best. Deal. Ever. Seriously, the girl did a great job and I honestly saved myself $50. Do it.), so I decided to take the long route back and walked home since it was so nice out.  The weather was surreal, and so was the view. On days like that, San Francisco looks like a gigantic postcard to me — perfectly framed and color corrected.

3. Amanda and I wandered back downtown later that afternoon to peruse H&M for cheap Halloween costume supplies. The flower carts down by Union Square were just exploding with fresh flowers! I couldn’t believe how bright and beautiful the sunflowers, hydrangeas, irises, and dahlias were. I stopped and smelled them until the cart owner started to give me dirty looks.

4. Sunday was just as warm and balmy. After a long run out to the Golden Gate and back, I met Kelly out in North Beach, where he was drinking beers with the boys on a friend’s rooftop. We shimmied down a tiny ladder, and hiked up the steep hill on Taylor to a little tapas bar on Mason. It was one of those perfect meals that makes you feel like you’re on vacation — I wore a sundress and sandals and we sat outside while eating garlicy mushrooms. We sipped white wine sangria (for me) and light Spanish beer (for him) while watching the overflowing Mason cable car wind its way down the hill. Moments like that make me feel like life couldn’t possibly be better.

Hope your weekend was just as heavenly.

xo

Last Sunday my Grandpa’s retirement community had a BBQ (It’s an annual shindig, complete with an afternoon dog show —pretty amazing), so the Brunner clan trekked to Los Altos for BBQ chicken, Drumsticks (the ice cream kind), oodles of dogs, and some quality time with our Papa. 

Before we took off, we snapped a Brunner kids photo.

Sometimes it amazes me how grown up we all are. I sound like a mom, I know. But still…


We’re a pretty good looking bunch, if I do say so myself. 

(Miso is pretty cute too)

xo

PS: Here’s one with our Papa.

{You can see where we get our good looks from}