Tag Archives: sustainable

Best. Scent. Ever.

I’ve been wanting to write about this forever, because I love it so dearly.  You all must absolutely go out and find this scent, smell it, and become devoted followers!  It’s Wild English Clary Sage by Pacifica.


It has an edge of smokiness, but a clean finish.  It’s what I’ve converted to after a decade-long love of Dyptique’s Feu de Bois.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Dyptique.  And Dyptique is Parisian, ergo instantly superior, BUT, Dyptique majorly needs to come party with us in the 21st century–Soy candles are the only way to go!  I still love my Feu de Bois, but in comparison to the beautifully smoky-yet-clean Wild English Clary Sage, it just smells, well, smoky.  Like a fireplace.  

One is silver and the other’s gold.  The question is which is which.  You tell me.



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I’m Collecting:

Vintage Silver napkin rings.

You all have probably already switched from paper to cloth, but now take it to the next level.  If you are a genteel diner there is no need to launder your napkin after every meal.  Instead of tossing it in the hamper, save it near the table in a beautiful napkin ring.  The fun of collecting these vintage ones is that each is unique.  At my house when I was growing up we each had certain napkin rings that were known to be ours, so that when we reconvened at the table we would know which napkin belonged to us.  I recently picked these up at a vintage store:

Here’s a detail on one of them, it says “Maurice 1904:”

It’s Saddleshoos’ special napkin ring.

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Ice Cream is an incredibly important part of my life.

It has be SO HOT in Oakland recently.  Honestly, too hot.  So hot I had to buy a fan (not whir-whir, the kind the Karl Lagerfeld uses).  And then said fan broke from so much use.

Sometimes the heat gives me a headache, and sometimes when I’m having a bad day I have an irrepressible NEED to eat Ice Cream BEFORE lunch.  I had one of those days the other day.  

My mecca for all things artisinal Ice Cream is the beautiful Ici on College Avenue.


The brilliant Mary Canales, wife of my other hero Paul Canales, executive chef at Oliveto, opened the doors to Ici in 2006.  She and her staff use only organic farm-fresh ingredients and create flavors in small batches that are meant to be eaten quickly.  Aside from the ice cream, I love Ici’s decor.  The daily flavors are hung in black frames from rasberry-colored French silk ribbon, which looks incredible against the icy-light-blue-teal and white tiled walls: 

My absolute, hands-down favorite is Meyer Lemon Ice Cream.  IT IS TO DIE FOR.  Strangely I did not understand the nuance and beauty of Meyer lemons until the Ici ice cream flavor.  It’s crazy.  The herbal citrus flavor combined with the creaminess of the ice cream is unparallelled.  So refreshing!

Here’s a sneak-peak into the kitchen:

Cool signage:

And the goodies by the register: 

Menu from the date of my visit:

Treats: Hazelnut, Chocolate Chip, or Rose-Pistachio Meringues, Cardamom Semolina Cookies, Cinnamon Pecan Brittle, Coconut Macaroons, Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Almond-Cacao Nib Brittle, Pecan Mexican Wedding Cakes, Peppermint Marshmallows

Bombes (beautifully sculpted ice-cream cakes without the cake): Boysenberry and Lemon Baked Alask, Individual Strawberry-Lemon or Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream Bombes, Amerena Cherry and Chocolate Ice Cream Bombes

Flavors: Earl Grey, Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream, Orange Creamsicle Sherbet, Bourbon-Pecan Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Boysenberry Ice Cream, etc.

The ice cream is served in a cup or in a cone; they came up with a brilliant idea for the cones: fill the bottom with chocolate so they don’t drip!

AND all of their packaging is compostible:

AND they always have fresh flowers on hand:

As for the ice cream, I’ll have to go back.  I ate it too quickly to get a picture!


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It’s the little things that soothe the most.

Sixth grade core curriculum beckons, but sometimes you have to take a minute for yourself. 

Last week, before the district school year resumed, I got a Luxury Hydrafacial at the Claremont.  They soothe SO HARD!!!  And I went on a little binge in the gift shop too with my “prescription” from my esthetician.  Of course my skin is 99% perfect so there wasn’t a lot on the to-do list, but I did indulge in all the best-smelling topical treatments I had experienced in the facial.  Behold Rose Geranium Soothing Plant Milk Mist by Naturopathica:

It’s so perfect that I didn’t even open it for days.  This morning I got a jolting phone call that left me fuming just a bit, which was annoying because I like to bring my personal best to the classroom, as I require all of my students to.  I saw the slender blue bottle on the bedside table, popped it open, and with a spritz-spritz! I was a new person.  SO soothing.  The smell is phenomenal.  It’s like insta-spa.

The other thing that soothes me–hard–is my new, self-designed shades.  When I was looking into window treatments I knew they would be expensive.  I live in a 1910 craftsman, and nothing is standard.  Anyone who has ever lived in a craftsman knows the windows can be the biggest bitch.  

I found a GORGEOUS picture in Elle Decor of some linen Roman shades and took it to the local custom shop to get them copied.  I figured, I live in Oakland, how bad could the prices be at the local custom shop?  The answer is BAD.  So expensive!  But there was this adorable girl working there who showed me some custom roll-top shades.  Super cheap, all custom cut, choose your own trim and shape etc.  They also come in sustainable materials, and options such as blackout, sheer, etc.  

I chose the pattern, the trim, and shade material, and they turned out to be so chic, so soothing.  I just have to share the soothingness to which I wake:


What is super important about these shades is to get them reverse-rolled so that the roll doesn’t show at the top.  If the roll shows at the top the shades become automatically NOT SOOTHING.  They become cheap-o landlord shades.  THAT IS A NO PEOPLE!  Don’t do it!  More how-to, resources, etc. to come.  I’m off to school, feeling soothed, and prepared to do my personal best!!!

Tassels soothe. 

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