Shh: Our Bay Area Beauty Secret

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

San Francisco facialist Sarah Becker has mastered the art of indulgence. The pampering begins the minute you enter her impeccably decorated studio, where a spread of organic treats awaits, accompanied by lace-trimmed linen napkins and handmade ceramic dishes. When it’s facial time, you cozy up under a soft down-filled comforter while Becker melts away all your troubles (and clogged pores) with a fully customized blend of all-natural products and cutting-edge technology (like LED light therapy and microdermabrasion). And the soothing playlist in the background—with tracks from bands like Portishead, Mazzy Star and The xx—makes the experience all the more relaxing. You’ll walk away feeling lighter, radiant and refreshed—guaranteed.

Summer must: Buggy rides in the park

by Emily Hsieh (SF)

While wandering around Golden Gate Park (the S.F. equivalent to Central Park), a friend and I stumbled upon a bike rental shop with a fleet of ridiculously cute bicycles called surreys. With their striped, tasseled canopies and cherry-red frames, these two- and four-person contraptions looked like they came straight off a ’20s boardwalk in Atlantic City. Charmed, we signed up for a two-seater and spent the next couple hours pedaling all over the park in our jaunty little buggy. This just might be my new favorite way to while away a warm sunny afternoon.

Happy Socks, happy feet

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

I’d been searching for weeks for some colorful, not-too-tall, not-too-thick socks to wear with boots in the summer and finally found the perfect ones. These, by the aptly named label Happy Socks®, are soft, superlightweight and come in the best combinations of colors and prints. They hit at just the right spot above the ankle, so if you pair them with, say, biker boots and an easygoing dress, they’ll add a charming hint of whimsy to your look.

Happy 1st Birthday, Madewell San Francisco!

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

I left with a homemade brooch, a fresh pair of white jeans, the color-block Skimmers I’d been eyeing forever and a nifty denim polka-dot tote.

Last night we celebrated Madewell’s first anniversary in San Francisco with local cupcakes and cookies from Bi-Rite (which is also the purveyor of some seriously obsession-worthy ice cream), California microbrews and D.I.Y. crafting with Bay Area blogger Erica Chan Coffman of style site Honestly WTF

The coolest part? A crafts table stocked with glue guns, tulle, charms, buttons and jewels that allowed us to tap into our inner fashion designer. Erica gave D.I.Y. tutorials on bedazzling everything from shorts to jackets to denim shirts. Between my shopping high and sugar rush, it was a great time indeed.

How to upgrade your to-do list

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

In an ongoing effort to get a better handle on deadlines, packing lists, never-ending errands, appointments and so on, I figured new tools were in order. And this Rollbahn notebook and slim Delfonics pen couldn’t be more perfect for the job. The notebook’s happy coral-pink color, purse-friendly proportions and handy elastic band make it an ideal match for any handbag. And get a load of the amazing wood casing on that ballpoint pen! Use ’em in tandem to make note taking more fun (and stylish) than ever.

A breakfast breakthrough in S.F.

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

A new bakery called Craftsman & Wolves opened in San Francisco’s Mission district a couple weeks ago and with it came a radical, spectacularly delicious new treat called The Rebel Within. It’s a savory sausage-, scallion- and cheese-infused muffin with a perfectly gooey soft boiled egg nestled inside (sort of like the American breakfast version of a soup dumpling). It’s one of the tastiest culinary innovations I’ve experienced in a long while, and I’m clearly not the only one who thinks so.

The patisserie opens at 7am during the week and at 8am on weekends. Tip: It pays to go early, as they make only one batch of TRWs daily (and they sell out fast!).

Making the most of summer tomatoes

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

My most recent batch, prepped and ready for the oven.

I overdosed on all the gorgeous tomatoes that just started popping up at my local farmer’s market a couple weeks ago, and a friend tipped me off to the beauty of slow roasting. Not only does it extend the life of your haul, but something about the unhurried bake perfectly draws out their sweetness. Here’s how:

1. Slice each tomato in half.

2. Drizzle with a scant amount of olive oil.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake on a cookie sheet for 4 to 5 hours at 275 degrees or until fully dried out.

Try them as a delicious, tangy finishing touch to salads, soups, cheese plates, pastas or scrambled eggs. (Bonus: They keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.)

Best Etsy bet: colorful iPhone cases

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

Poking around on Etsy the other day, I discovered BlissfulCASE, a shop that
specializes in the most thoroughly fashion-y array of iPhone cases I’ve ever seen. You can choose from super-on-trend florals, color blocking, jewel tones and even pastel leopard prints. Basically, there’s something (graphic and amazing) for everyone. And since they all ring in at a wallet-friendly $15, I think I might have to start re-accessorizing my phone seasonally.

My New Summer Travel Aid/Addiction: SpellTower

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

Though I’d hardly call myself a gamer (the last real video game I played was Ms. Pac-Man in an arcade—and I had braces), I’ve become newly and deeply obsessed with the mobile game SpellTower. A hybrid of word search, crossword puzzles and Scrabble, it’s a word game that’s easy to pick up and incredibly addictive (like stay-up-until-all-hours-telling-yourself-just-one-more-game addictive). It’s also a great way to pass the time on long road trips, plane rides or lazy beach days.

Download the app ($1.99 at the iTunes store) here.

Novel father’s day idea: Camping goods

by Emily Hsieh (S.F.)

Recently discovering the woodsy goods from Wandawega Camp Store has me feeling nostalgic for a Parent Trap–style sleepaway experience (even though I never went to summer camp). Based out of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, the outdoorsy store sells an assortment of old-school tools and toys like wooden archery sets, desert canteens and mess-hall bells.

With Father’s Day coming up, this would be a good site to bookmark for practical-but-gifty items like sleek chrome flashlights and old-fashioned, pure maple syrup.