Young Victorians

Living with friends in a pink Victorian house on top of a hill in San Francisco.

Emily Post’s Etiquette

As a pre-housing warming gift, Juliette gave me a vintage copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette (photographed above in my apartment).  What a treasure! I put on a kettle of water for tea and read this guide as if it were a novel. Much like language, proper etiquette is constantly evolving. Gone are the days of calling cards and debutantes. While Emily Post’s tips are largely antiquated and often sexist, the spirit behind them is surprisingly democratic and American.  Emily genuinely believed good manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use. After reading Etiquette, Emily Post is no longer a stiff, overly proper relic of the past for me. Instead, I was left with a witty, timeless voice advocating for compassionate consideration of others and the desire to strive for beauty in everyday life. It certainly merits the place of honor on my coffee table. After all, Etiquette is also full of good laughs, like the passage below:

  How many times has one heard some one say: “I won’t dress for dinner—no one is coming in.” Or, “That old dress will do!” Old clothes! No manners! And what is the result? One wife more wonders why her husband neglects her! Curious how the habit of careless manners and the habit of old clothes go together. If you doubt it, put the question to yourself: “Who could possibly have the manners of a queen in a gray flannel wrapper? And how many women really lovely and good—especially good—commit esthetic suicide by letting themselves slide down to where they “feel natural” in an old gray flannel wrapper, not only actually but mentally.   
  The woman of charm in “company” is the woman of fastidiousness at home; she who dresses for her children and “prinks” for her husband’s home-coming, is sure to greet them with greater charm than she who thinks whatever she happens to have on is “good enough.” Any old thing good enough for those she loves most! Think of it!
  A certain very lovely lady whose husband is quite as much her lover as in the days of his courtship, has never in twenty years allowed him to watch the progress of her toilet, because of her determination never to let him see her except at her prettiest. Needless to say, he never meets anything but “prettiest” manners either. No matter how “out of sorts” she may be feeling, his key in the door is a signal for her to “put aside everything that is annoying or depressing,” with the result that wild horses couldn’t drag his attention from her—all because neither she nor he has ever slumped into the gray flannel wrapper habit.

Primly,
Ella

(This photo is from Juliette’s Still Lives of Books series which can be found here. I highly recommend checking it out.)

Appreciating San Francisco’s Official Flower

While my boyfriend, Ari, was in town for a week, we spent a lovely afternoon admiring the Dahlia Garden in the Golden Gate Park, which is now in bloom. The garden is easy to miss, as its tucked away to the east of the Conservatory of Flowers. The Dahlia Dell itself is quite small, but the diversity of dahlias coloring this space more than make up for its modest size. After all, the dahlia is the official flower of San Francisco. On Oct. 4, 1926, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution declaring that because of its versatility, beauty and infinite variety of color and form, “it is the very symbol of San Francisco life and of the spirit of her people.” The resolution includes some delightfully flowery language comparing dahlias to “sophisticated world travelers” like those who return to San Francisco.

Primly,
Ella

(photos courtesy of my handsome boyfriend)

 

 

Weeknight-Warrior Dinner–Toasted Kale & Coconut Salad

This summer, I’ve been cooking my way through fellow San Franciscan Heidi Swanson‘s new cookbook Super Natural Every Day. Heidi Swanson is this generation’s Mollie Katzen. But instead of the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Heidi’s dishes are subtle, simple, elegant.  The Toasted Kale & Coconut Salad from the cookbook highlights just this. Heidi provides a unique way to serve kale–toasted with coconut and dressed with sesame oil. The recipe is easy and the results are delicious.

Read the rest of this entry »

Your New Favorite Summer Cookie

When I saw the most recent edition of Bon Appetite featured a recipe for Lemon-Lime-Basil Shortbread cookies, I knew I was going to end up trying them. What I didn’t predict was that the cookies would be so flavorful that I would make them 3 times within a 24 hour span, albeit with a few modifications from the original recipe. I love these cookies, and so did all my obliging taste testers. But perhaps even more exciting are all the potential flavor combinations still to be explored–lemon lavender, lemon lime mint (think Mojitos), rosemary, etc. In the meantime, I now present you with the recipe for your new favorite summer cookie: Read the rest of this entry »

San Francisco Flower Conservatory

We recently spent an afternoon at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. The building, nestled in Golden Gate Park, is a true gem of Victorian architecture. Inside, there are over 1,500 plant varieties, from rare orchids to banana trees to lilies. There’s even a pond with tiny koi. Some of the plants were labeled, others were unidentifiable. But that’s part of the enchantment–for a few hours, you can roam around a composed wilderness.

Primly,
Ella

(photos by juliette)

 

 

A Birthday Tart

Can you think of a better way of celebrating a birthday than sharing a homemade fruit tart and wine with good friends? Me neither.

Happy Birthday Rob!

(photos by juliette)

 

Renegade Craft Fair

I recently attended the Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason. Imagine a huge warehouse full of some of the most talented indie artists from around the country. The fair featured paper goods, housewares, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, art, and craft stations. There was even a build your own bunting booth (see the top picture)!

I left with anatomical heart tea towels for my cardiologist boyfriend and a terrarium I gifted to a coworker which she now keeps on her desk. Terrariums are the new flower bouquet!

Renegade will be back in San Francisco December 17th and 18th for their Holiday Fair. Count me in.

Primly,

Ella

(photos by Juliette)