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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}

“For though we may be the Earth’s gardeners, we are also its weeds.  And we won’t get anywhere until we come to terms with this crucial ambiguity about our role – that we are at once the problem and the only possible solution to the problem.”

Michael Pollan

I’m currently reading Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education, by Michael Pollan. It’s a very soothing read, and I’m loving it.  I’m obviously not really a gardener (minus my little pot of slowly growing basil), but when I was little my mom had an amazing vegetable garden in our backyard. (It actually made it into the newspaper once!) We worked in it all summer long, and my sister and I planted, grew, and picked everything from zucchini, to corn, to tomatoes, to sunflowers. 

Reading this book has really helped me remember how good it feels to work in the earth with your hands, how satisfying and intimate it is to grow something from barely anything, and most importantly, the relationship that people have with this world, and what we need to do to nurture it. 

Even if you don’t know anything about gardening, I highly recommend it. Pollan’s style of writing is pure perfection. I don’t know how he comes up with his constant stream of hilarious but intelligent analogies! I truly admire him and his perspective of the world. I feel like he’s someone who truly understands how to enjoy life through simplicity. 

Found via my friend Mel.

I like this. It’s really hard for me to stay in the present moment. I’m always thinking about the befores and afters. It’s easy to get lost in that.

This is like a reminder to be alive.

I want to stay eager. 

xo

My summer wishlist…

Warm weather has officially hit the Bay Area. I spent most of the weekend in the sweltering heat of Tiburon and Los Gatos. I had a bloody mary on the deck of Sam’s, picked fresh herbs from my mom’s garden, and even got some new freckles on my shoulders! It was heavenly. And Sunday night, for the first time in a loooonnnggg time, I was able have a comfortable evening stroll in the Marina, wearing nothing but shorts and a t-shirt.

Isn’t there always something kind of romantic about summer? Something about late night ice cream runs and sundresses just makes you want to be in love, you know?

Needless to say, the overdose of Vitamin D has got me daydreaming about a few summer staples that I can’t wait to purchase:

1. Weck Leftover Set from Heath Ceramics

I’m totally copying my co-worker with these, but they are fantastic. I’m kind of a tupperware fiend (ask my poor boyfriend), but I’ve been trying to make the switch to all glassware for a while now. These are not only ADORABLE and from Heath, but they’re super affordable! I want to buy at least two sets — one to make my fridge look pretty, and one to bring my lunch to work in. 

2. Tiny Pinwheel Earrings from MXM Jewelry

I feel like I might have blogged about this company before, but oh well. MXM Jewelry has the cutest and most elegant yet affordable jewelry ever. I love the idea of turning every day objects into little wearable works of art. These pinwheel earrings are my favorite! I need a new staple jewelry piece, and these are very fresh and summery feeling. 

3. Rose Geode Scarf from Shabd

Sadly this scarf will probably be on my wishlist until the end of time because it’s rather expensive, but sigh… I love it so much. I have always been a big tie dye/bohemian fan (as anyone who knew me senior year of high school could attest), and could not have been happier when hippie-chic started to come back. These scarves are soft, sleek, and can be worn with anything. My favorite part? The patterns were inspired by photos from the Hubble telescope!

4. Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream/Sorbet Maker

A cute, colorful machine that makes ice cream, sorbet, AND frozen yogurt at the touch of a button? Need I say more?

5. Ash Texas Wedge Sandal

These shoes are just my style — simple, with lots of neutral/natural materials. I’ve been in need of some new wedges for quite some time. I have literally had mine since high school graduation (Don’t judge. They’re still cute).

Happy Summer loves! 

xo

Do you ever have one of those moments when you just love life?

{When you feel so incredibly happy in one moment that you never want it to end?}

I’m having that right now.

It’s almost 80 degrees outside. Our windows are open. We’re wearing shorts and our feet are bare.

We’re buzzed off free wine from an art show and eating a pear and gorgonzola salad that I threw together in a moment of desperation.

My boyfriend is talking to his grandma on the phone about how to play Words with Friends, and his voice has that Yamhill County lilt I love so much.

Sawyer is staring out the window at a barking dog on the street, and our little fan is humming softly in the background.

It just feels so perfect. We’re lucky people.

xo

{hello there}

I feel like I’ve been terrible about posting lately… I hate when that happens.

But, it’s all for good reason–I got two freelancing gigs! One for a magazine and one for a website.

So I’ll be a bit MIA again this week–holed up in coffee shops/my apartment, attempting to create something that people might actually enjoy reading.

Til then… know you’re in store for two fabulous posts next week. A letter to my younger self, and ten things that make me happy.

Oh! And a restaurant review. (Three posts. Woops.)

lovelovelove

“Remembering that you are going to die
is the best way I know to avoid the trap
of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked. There is no
reason not to follow your heart.”
-Steve Jobs

{All right. I realize it’s a little off kilter for my blog to have a quote from Steve Jobs}

But. This quote really made me think, and I thought it was worth putting up. Hopefully it’ll do the same for y’all.

I can definitely be an anxious person. Most of the time for no legitimate reason.  Negative experiences/memories/etc can make it really hard to step out, and just jump the gap.

This quote truly inspires me to remember (particularly at this point in my life) that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just thinking about that automatically helps me let go of all those worries … and just DO it. All those things–big and small–that I want to do.

{Why not, right?}

I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

PS: recaps on Valentine’s Day/Birthday dinners to follow!

xo