Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

I came across this photo of my great-grandparents celebrating New Year's Eve at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, 1965. They look so happy and decked out with their little hats. Just had to share it with you!

The clock is ticking and it's almost 2011. Thank you so very much for your constant support, comments, encouragement and laughter. You make this all worthwhile!

Wishing you from the bottom of my heart a happy & healthy New Year with all good things!

Now go on and CELEBRATE!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Still Washing Coins at the St. Francis Hotel

Yesterday the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle had a most fascinating article that caught my eye. The Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco employs a coin washer, yes, a coin washer---something they've been doing since 1938.

In the mid-1930s, this employee cleaned the change women were using to pay for lunch so they wouldn’t get their white gloves dirty. Today, coin washer Rob Holsen cleans about $700 to $800 in coins a week in an old, manually operated machine.

Holsen says, "It's a connection to a different time. A connection to a more gentle time, when to go downtown was a big deal. Dress up, put on a hat and gloves, and go to Macy's."

Rob Holsen runs cleaned coins through a sorter, which assembles the change in paper rolls. Then uses a heat lamp to dry the coins. {His predecessor Arnold Batliner's portrait on the wall--Batliner held the position for 31 years!}

It is believed the the St. Francis Hotel is the only hotel to still wash its coins. Every penny, nickel, dime and quarter. Mr. Holsen even inspects and weeds out the funky coins that are bent and mutilated. Amazing.

I'm thrilled to know that some old traditions still exist during these fast-paced, different times.

You can read the entire coin-washing story here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Whimsy by Daryl Banks!

Happy Monday and hope you all had a magical Christmas!

Perhaps a bit risque, but I adore this series, "Crinoline Flowers" by Canadian-based fashion photographer Daryl Banks.

These unique photographs appear as if these dancers have been transformed into poofy flowers don't you think?

To see more of Daryl Banks photography, visit his website here.

all images: Daryl Banks

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry, Merry!

Happy, Happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home! -Charles Dickens

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

image: fullobliss

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pay it Forward

I just had to repost this beautiful, thoughtful list that Anne Marie at Brunch at Saks blogged about. She started her own list of little, simple things that we can do for others to change the direction of someone's day.

"Whether you spend $5 on someone else, or you simply smile to lift the spirit of others- committing a random act of kindness is truly a way to serve from the depth of your heart."
- Brunch at Saks

Brunch at Saks 'Pay It Forward' List:
  • Hand write a note to a friend or relative and put in the mail.
  • Bring a meal to a neighbor or friend when they are sick.
  • Spend an hour playing games with the residents of your local convalescent hospital.
  • Pay for the person behind you in a fast food line.
  • Mow your neighbor's lawn or pull weeds out of their planters.
  • Bring a pile of old magazines to a doctors office or hospital for their waiting room.
  • Take unwanted clothing items to a shelter or goodwill.
  • Tape the exact change for a soda or snack to a vending machine.
  • Leave a couple pieces of candy on a coworkers desk with a note.
  • Pay for the person behind you at a toll booth.
  • Call a family member or friend on the day of a test or other important event and tell them you're thinking of them. (No text messages, IM's, Facebook comments, etc! An actual call so they can hear your voice)
  • Offer to babysit for friends or family so they can enjoy a night out.
  • Draw colorful pictures and bring them to a local hospital for patients' windows.
  • Leave behind your finished magazine or book on a plane or bus.
  • Make an extra sandwich and snack bag for a homeless person.
  • Start off by telling a customer service agent "I know this problem is not your fault." We so often blame them, which is unfair and must be very stressful.
  • Return a shopping cart to the front of the store.
  • Write a note with an encouraging thought to someone special and put it in their lunch bag or coat pocket for them to find.
  • And finally, when all else fails, simply open the door for someone behind you and leave them with a smile.

I'm sure many of us have done some of these random acts. Do you have any to add to her list?

photo credit: *Deline

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just Because...

I came across the lovely image on Pinterest. It reminds me of the heavy snowfall happening around the world. So sorry that some people won't be able to spend Christmas with their families due to airports closing...

photo credit: anja

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

And it looks like another full week of rain here in San Francisco Bay...I quite like the "pitter-patter" as long as I don't have to go anywhere!

What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

photo credit: Jikon Lai

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Sourdough Stocking?

Yep. That's right. Little did I know that the famous Boudin Bakery in San Francisco made seasonal sourdough bread shaped like stockings, snowmen and Christmas trees! 50 years living here and I never knew that!

wrapped up stocking bread

Thanks to my friend Marianne, who spoiled me rotten with holiday gifts. We had our annual holiday lunch the other day, and with no alcoholic beverages present, we managed to laugh ourselves silly.

I generally don't like to brag talk about the gifts I receive, but these were too fun to pass up. AND, you may get some ideas for holiday gifts.

Love the fuzzy scarf that pins to any length, and the fingerless gloves with white faux fur. Perfect for this cold season and so festive!

I think Marianne was spying on my wish list on "Pinterest" and spotted this handsome diffuser by Paddywax called "Library." They have a variety of scents paying homage to literary greats including Poe, Whitman, Thoreau, Austen & Dickens. It smells wonderful and the packaging is great, isn't it?

I adore this book, Taschen's Paris. Taschen always has the most fabulous books, and this one is a beauty! Hardcover with amazing photos and descriptions of Dr. Angelika Taschen’s personal Parisian favorites – hotels, boutiques, restaurants, bars, cafés, and more. Available here. {you must get this}

You may be asking, what is this? A faux fur cat tail? Yep. Well, according to Marianne, "All the girls in Laguna Beach wear them."

Well, gotta stay in vogue with those Southern California gals, so yours truly now has a cat tail hanging from her bag!

So, there you have it. My fun gifts from the delightful Marianne (who wouldn't let me take a photo of her...)

I'm eating my yummy sourdough stocking now...remembering just why I love San may want to order one of these as a gift. Boudin delivers. These are super good....

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have You Been to Claridge's Hotel?

This may be the week I should be paying attention to my horoscope or something. Between my friend Janet blogging about the lovely Fortnum & Mason, a friend inviting me to take a short trip with her to the U.K., and then reading about the remodel at Claridge's in London, someone is telling me it's time to go to London!

The legendary Claridge's Hotel was recently re-branded and I'm mesmerized! Forgive me, but I've had to take some of this content from the Full House blog where I discovered it.

London design studio Construct has given the branding of London's famous Claridge's Hotel a thorough overhaul, starting with the hotel's crest which has been redrawn.

isn't this mint green the prettiest color?

They introduced this gorgeous palette of mint green, gold, white and black. Chevron patterns appear on the inside of bags, envelopes and on various objects, publications and goodies only available at the hotel. Sadly not online. Here are a selection of images of some of the items available. I am in love with this color combo and the amenities of this 5 star hotel.

How yummy is this color combo?

And another part of the remodel are some of their recently renovated rooms designed by Diane Von Furstenburg...

London is calling my name...

And the crème de la crème, afternoon tea served on this gorgeous china. Simply scrumptious!

Have you been to Claridge's Hotel before? How about my U.K. blogger friends, eh? It looks absolutely divine!

photo credits: Claridge's Hotel, Full House, Construct

Monday, December 13, 2010

Illuminating Images...

The holiday season is so magical. The one time of year when you can bask in twinkling lights, glitz and glitter. Everything just seems to glow and shine a little brighter.

Here are some favorite images I've collected that simply glisten...

photo #1; irene suchocki