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Sight

This year, we did Thanksgiving at my Dad’s house in the Lower Haight — it was the first time he and my step mom had hosted a holiday meal since moving into their new home, and it was absolutely perfect.

Finally, a good shot of the siblings all together!

Pumpkin pies (made by Luke!) cooling in my Dad’s new kitchen.

Drinking wine and poring over old photos of my grandparents before dinner.

Miso!

Elizabeth’s infamous annual cheese ball — a deadly concoction of goat cheese, garlic, sundried tomatoes and basil.

Self-portrait by Seth.

My plate: Turkey, roasted vegetables, wild mushroom stuffing, my Dad’s famous potatoes, and my kale salad —kale, quinoa, red onion, feta, avocado and dried cranberries. 

Of course, no Brunner holiday would be complete without Seth stuffing his face with whipped cream. 

I’m so thankful for this motley crew. 

xo

To me, the best decorations are the easiest ones. Since we never get trick or treaters at our apartment, Halloween decorating is restricted to a few gourds and some new chalkboard art in the dining room or kitchen. (The fact that we have an orange kitty counts too, right?)

Come Christmas, I’ll probably be doing something similar with pomegranates and eucalyptus branches from the Presidio (if Sawyer doesn’t start chewing on them first). 

Happy Halloween!

xo

For our monthly Supperclub meeting (with a Halloween theme!) I decided to make a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for over a year now — a savory, stuffed pumpkin. I winged it a bit, but it turned out amazing. 

Ingredients:
1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin
1/2 white onion
1 baguette
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup fontina, 1/2 cup gouda
spices: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika

First, carve out the pumpkin. Really clean that guy out. 

If you’re smart, you’ll save the seeds to roast afterwards. 

Next, tear up your baguette and toast the pieces so they have just a bit of char. 

Now it’s time to stuff. Fill that thing to the brim with bread, onions, and cheese. I mean, REALLY stuff it. Then, pour in a cup of cream, mixed with your spices (to taste). 

After that, it’s easy. Pop it in the oven at 400 for an hour and 15 minutes. When it’s done, you’ll have a golden, soft pumpkin full of melted cheesy goodness. 

Cutting it was a little awkward at first, but everyone ended up with a slice of pumpkin and a healthy (?) scoop of stuffing.  

Amanda whipped up some truly delicious pumpkin/portobello/bacon mac and cheese. 

And Kirsten put together some brussels sprouts!
The Giants won, we had plenty of wine on hand, and several good desserts to fill our bellies up even more.

All in all, a perfect night. 

(A view of part of downtown from Amanda’s Pac Heights living room) 

xo

Three new things that make me happy:

1. My airplants, sittin’ pretty in a big vase of navy beans.  I love these little guys. 

2. My new bike! Not only did is it adorable, but I got it from the cutest Italian couple ever in Noe Valley, and it’s been making my commute to work much smoother. Plus, sometimes Kelly and I get to ride home from the train station together, which is pretty great. 

3. My new case! I snagged my dad’s old iPhone 4 when he upgraded, and got a great ombré case (I’m obsessed with ombré) to go with it. 

It’s the little things, you know?

Happy weekend all!

xo

My first Oregon football game was overwhelming, to say the least.

I don’t think I had never been in a crowd with that many people before (except maybe that one time in high school when I went to a Cher and the Village People concert). It was cold — I had missed out on the warmer games because I had no idea where Autzen even was until the end of Fall term — and I was seriously underdressed. My cheap moccasins were soaked and I shivered under my sweatshirt as the crowd swept me across the bridge and towards the stadium. I still didn’t like beer at that point, so I sipped a nauseating mix of Diet Coke and vanilla vodka out of a water bottle.

Clutching friends’ hands in front and behind me, we rushed up the stairs and into Autzen. “Oh!” was all I had time to say before I was nudged into the last remaining nook on the top row of the student section. All I could see were the endless rows of green and yellow before me, dark rain clouds gathering overhead and a sliver of that brightly lit field.

I’m no sports fan, but that day I became a college football convert. I’ve read that for many people, sporting events are as close to a religious experience as they’ll ever have. I’m a churchgoing girl, but I believe in Oregon Football too. Standing so close to so many people, all rooting for the same thing can’t help but make you a little emotional.

This Saturday, for the first time in 3 years, I’m headed back to Eugene. I’ll revisit old stomping grounds, and spend most of the weekend reminiscing about games past.

Autzen still gives me butterflies in my chest. I can’t wait to get to the stadium and yell “O!” 

My weekend:

Was sunny! Indian Summer finally hit San Francisco. Everyone goes crazy here when the temperature starts to go over 70, so this weekend inevitably required non-stop outdoor activities.

Friday was girls night. Two dear friends (One of who just got engaged! That red-haired beauty on the left) and I got together for a delicious, over-indulgent meal at Dobbs Ferry in Hayes Valley. 

Saturday was gorgeous outside, so a crew of us trekked over to Sausalito for strawberry mixed drinks, thin crust pizza and sunny games of bocce ball at Bar Bocce

After a quick donut stop at the Ferry Building and a power nap, it was time to watch the Ducks stomp WSU at Wreck Room. 

Sunny Sundays are automatic park days. Kelly and I hopped on the motorcycle — making a pit stop at Whole Foods for kebabs and asparagus — and rode over to Alamo Square for a birthday picnic with friends.

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a good, San Francisco weekend.
I love that this place has finally become home.  

When I was little, I loved going to the beach. As soon as we finished the short drive over the Santa Cruz Mountains, my sister and I would scramble out of the car — ignoring our parents’ pleas to put on sunscreen — strip down to our bathing suits, and race into the water. Swimming in the Pacific Ocean is no treat (at least in my book), but we could stay in that frigid water forever. I’d float in the waves for so long, I’d still feel like I was rocking in the water when I laid down in bed that night.

Freshman year of high school, the beach started to imply very different activities. Just a quick 20 minute drive from our campus, we’d bail on biology or field hockey practice to go stick our toes in the sand. On Fridays, a caravan of cars would trek out to 41st street, where the boys would chug cheap beer and the girls would sip at sickly sweet vodka drinks around the bonfire.

Last weekend, I went to the beach for the first time in what feels like forever. You forget how numb the stark city skyline makes you until you see that first glimpse of the ocean. We spent the weekend wandering the rocky coastline — our eyes peeled for otters and sea lions — and barbecuing fish for tacos. The weekend was such a testament to this strange, in-between time of my life I’ve found myself in — while we spent our nights drinking (still cheap) beer and dancing, I still found myself rushing out at the first hint of morning sunlight to stand in the sand and gaze at the endless water.

15 minute Sunday DIY:

I‘ve been feeling like our new (vintage) console/bar has been lacking a little something — it felt more like a place to store random knick knacks than a bar, which isn’t quite what I was going for. So this weekend, I took a quick trip to the hardware store in search of something that would help pull the whole thing together. 

Some cheap glasses, gold spray paint, and a fresh roll of painter’s tape came to a little under $20. 

After washing and carefully drying each cup, Kelly and I wrapped them in paper towels and painter’s tape, just leaving the very ends exposed. At first I wanted to do the rims of each glass, but since I wasn’t sure if this paint was food-friendly (let’s face it, it definitely wasn’t), I decided the bottom of the glass would look just as good. 

A few carefully applied layers of gold paint later, and we had just the look we were going for. 

Voila! The entire process took under 15 minutes (minus drying time of course), and we’re both really happy with the way it turned out. 

It definitely makes our bar look more like a bar, don’t you think? I can’t wait to have a party so we can mix up drinks and serve appetizers on my cheese board. 

Hope you all had a good weekend! Since Mondays are the worst, I decided to include a glamour shot of Sawyer to cheer you up. 

xo

An Oregon engagement party:

I‘ve gone up to Oregon quite a few times the past month, but this trip was extra special. I flew in late Friday night for my best friend Gretchen’s engagement party at her parent’s home in Salem.

It was one of those great summer evenings that you can only experience at the end of an Oregon summer. Hot (but not too hot!) during the day,  and slightly chilly (but not too chilly!) at night. 

Gretchen’s fiancé does all sorts of amazing work for Rogue, so there was plenty of good beer on hand. The Parnold Almer made for some seriously confusing conversation around beer 3.

The family pug, Sir Pugsley, got a special Oregon Ducks bandana for game day.

Bridesmaids! Minus two. (Missed you Katie and Court!)

Groomsmen! (Minus two as well)

A lovely champagne toast from Gretchen’s mother. I awkwardly finished my glass in one gulp. 

This wedding has been the perfect excuse to see old, much-loved friends on a more regular basis.

We all ate way too much delicious food, cooked by both families, under a clear sky and laughed until we cried over random college memories. As the sun started to set, family members started to clear out and only the wedding party was left. Once the stars came out, what had started as a lovely family event quickly turned into an amazingly rowdy dance party (which I’ll refrain from posting photos of — you’re welcome Mike) that offered the perfect glimpse of the fun we have to look forward to during the next 7 months.

I didn’t think I could be happier for these two. But spending so many afternoons with them in their sweet Portland apartment (with their even sweeter kitties) over the past month reminded me of how absolutely perfect they are for each other.

xo

After a few hectic travel weekends (and more coming up soon!) I was really looking forward to taking it easy this weekend. We kind of ran with the “No Plan” plan, and ending up having a great, relaxing weekend.

After a Duck game, long motorcycle ride and BBQ with friends, I decided to relax on my extra day off, and did a bit of wandering (albeit, accidentally, after trekking all the way to Rainbow Grocery just to discover it was closed) on Monday morning.

Meandering around the city was a beautiful reminder of how much I love it here. The August fog really got to me this year. But this sunny weekend pleasantly surprised me. This city is a never-ending adventure that I still enjoy taking on each and every day.

The MUNI wires are one of my favorite parts of SF. I used to think they were just blocking the view of the clear sky, but now they’re just another quirky characteristic of this crazy city. They frame the sky perfectly.

Triplet apartment units on Filbert. The rows of pre-war apartments — ranging from dull neutrals to bold fuchsia and turquoise — make the San Francisco skyline so unique.

Triplet garages just a few blocks down provide some subtle street-level color.

Crumbling mosaic pathways brighten up a slightly dark corner in between the Mission and SOMA.

I bet you’d never guess this is an auto-shop, right?

I love telephone wires too. I’ve written stories where there were telephone wires visible in the background of photos or in backyards, and somehow that always generates negative comments. It’s not for everyone, but I love that you can find them all over the country — cities, farmland, beach towns. There’s something very urban, but also kind of old-fashioned about them. 

xo

PS: Sorry for the totally random post friends. I’ve been in the weirdest, most introspective mood ever lately. I have a couple delicious recipes I’m hoping to try this week — and some home updates! — so if you’re a little patient, we should be back to business as usual.