Best Gluten Free Treats in the Bay Area

Bay Area Gluten FreeI try to eat as little sugar as I can, but sometimes you just want a delicious treat! Eating gluten free means passing up many, many delicious treats. You have to look a little harder to find them, but gluten free goodies can be found in almost any city. The Bay Area has its share of gluten free delicacies, and these are my favorites.

1. Zest Bakery

I found this gem while searching for the elusive unicorn: the Gluten Free Donut. I found that and so much more at Zest Bakery in San Carlos. Everything in this place is gluten free, and some things are even dairy free, soy free or sugar free to boot. The prices were reasonable, and there was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating on a cute and quiet street. Parking was fairly easy too, even mid day on a weekend.

But let’s talk about what really matters–the quality of the gluten free baked goods! The muffins were indistinguishable from regular glutenous muffins, not an easy feat. The sandwich I bought was absolutely delicious and kept me energized for a day of sightseeing in downtown San Francisco. But most of all I want to rave about the bread–it was soft, fresh and not overly crumbly. The only disappointment at this place was the Oreo cookie, which I would skip. It wasn’t bad, but not on par with their other A-list goodies. If you are gluten free, you must try this place when you’re in the area.

2. Chantal Guillon

All macarons here are gluten free! Chantal Guillon has shops around the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Palo Alto. The hardest part is choosing which flavors you want. This is a best gluten free Bay Area destination for sure.

best gluten free bay area

3. Flour Chylde Bakery

This bakery has been around for twelve years making breads, desserts, cookies and pastries that are all gluten free. I haven’t been to their Novarto location, but I visited their booth at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market and sampled delicious cake. Their facility strives to be zero waste, which is a nice thing to support.

4. Sugarfina

A candy store for adults is the concept behind Sugarfina. Candies in little clear boxes labeled to show where around the globe the candy is sourced from are showcased around the store. The minimalist decor style is the main draw of this place, so stop in just to see the layout of the merchandise and snap an Insta-worthy pic or two. Oh, and free samples! Three locations to choose from in San Francisco, one in San Jose and more sprinkled around the U.S.

5. Timothy Adams

A picture perfect place for a first date or a friend date, this shop lured me in with its hot pink and blue decor and tempting counter full of truffles. The price is steep ($2.50 per chocolate) but the experience made it feel worth it. The truffles are smooth and memorable. Ask for your truffles to go or enjoy them in the cute dining room located at 539 Bryant Street, Palo Alto.

6. Ghiradelli

Fairly obvious, but what would a list about San Francisco be without Ghiradelli? Get a free chocolate square just for walking in the door. I’ve been to a store downtown and also Ghiradelli square. Both are fun but Ghiradelli square is a waterfront tourist destination with street musicians, shopping, and views of the Bay. There is a Ghiradelli chocolate souvenir shop and ice cream cafe there, but the actual chocolate factory is no longer onsite.

Have a favorite place you want to share? Make sure to contact me in the comments below.

You Be the Stylist – Tech Fashion Week

Tech Fashion Week San Francisco

So I’m in San Francisco and so far I’ve gone to a little town north of Marin to see a relative’s new award winning bar, Duke’s, and spent a day in Berkeley. 

But one of the main reasons I’m here is Tech Fashion Week. There are a few days left, including the day I present on a panel of fashion bloggers. I feel like I need to keep up with these super trendy west coast industry tastemakers, so I need your help!

I found this white skirt at Goodwill of Silicon Valley and I’m trying to decide if I should style it up for Tech Fashion Week, or wear something else! You can vote at the end of the post.

Option 1 – Feminine

The leather jacket is pretty much non-negotiable. It’s cold in San Francisco! I bring this jacket every time I visit the Bay Area. Black is a really common color to wear here, so I like wearing something a little different. In this case, white. The skirt is on the puffy side, so it’s quite different from the next option below.

Jacket – Anthropologie (Similar)

Skirt – I found a similar one from my all time favorite brand, Chi Chi London. It’s so beautiful and only $47!

Boots – Similar on sale

Option 2 – Glam

The same black jacket, but with a black dress with cutouts is another viable option. I think it fits in more than stands out. I’ll wear tights with both outfits because again, cold.

Jacket – Anthropologie (Similar)

Dress – Macy’s, majorly discounted, and a long version of the same dress.

Boots – Similar on sale

Option 3: Lace and Glitter

SPARKLY SHOES. That’s pretty much all I have to say about this outfit.

Shoes – Betsey Johnson, Top – F&F, as seen in this post, Leggings – Kate Spade

You be the stylist: vote!

Now there are a few days left of Tech Fashion Week, so there’s definitely a chance I could wear both. But just in case, I need your help. What should I wear? If you have styling suggestions let me know in the comments, even if it’s just a simple “go home to Minnesota these outfits are horrifying.”

And hey, while you’re here check out my favorite places to shop in San Francisco.

Thanks for the input, stylish readers! More updates on my experience at Tech Fashion Week to come soon.

3 Ways to Style Stripes for Spring

Stripes spring 2017 style

Stripes spring 2017 style

Runway reports are in: stripes are in demand for spring 2017. This might be related in part to the ’70s inspired style of the moment, which I mentioned recently in my post about pleats.

I’m actually publishing this post from Berkeley, where I’m spending the day today before the start of TECH Fashion Week tonight. I met a woman at the Berkeley ECK Center today who was wearing black and silver stripes so we were outfit twins. But black and silver stripes are far from the only ones available. Small stripes, big stripes, multi-color stripes–you can wear any and all of them.

If you’re unsure about stripes, here’s a guide for determining your ability to stripe. Are you a beginner, intermediate or expert?

Stripes level beginner: Try one item with lines, paired with a simple staple.

Stripes spring 2017 style

Stripes level intermediate: One striped item such as pants or a sweater, paired with a corresponding color or a tiny, unobtrusive pattern such as a petite polka-dotted scarf or the tiny dots on this jacket.

Stripes spring 2017 style

Stripes level expert: you can even mix and match stripes, say the stylists. Pair multiple types of stripes in one outfit, of any color. I do not have any photos to illustrate this because I have yet to reach this level of daring stripes expertise. But I do believe it can be done.

Read more thrifty style and spring style posts.

Stripes spring 2017 styleCompass Necklace

I asked for this necklace as a college graduation present. It’s a compass inscribed with a Thoreau quote: “Go boldly in the direction of your dreams.” It’s inspired me to pursue my passion for writing professionally ever since, even when I was working jobs that seemed to be leading me further from my dream. Safe to say I treasure the meaning behind the necklace, but there are more attractive compass necklaces out there. I’ve linked some below at a variety of price points (The Lauren Conrad is under $10!).

Compass necklace

Outfit Details

This outfit shoot, one of my faves from my fab photog Mo Ashley, is inspired by a sample sale striped sweater from a BFF. If you’ve read this far and want info on the rest of the outfit, I’ve linked to same and similar items you can shop for online below, all on sale!

Pants – Lysse Ankle Zip Leggings.

Hat – Nine West (this one has a tassel) and also this one.

Coat – I’m unsure of the brand because I gave this coat to my friend Julia as she was about to catch a flight, so I don’t have it anymore but this one from TJMaxx is similar.

If you have any style tips for stripes, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Make Your Vision Board Work for You in 2017

How to create a vision board that works for youVision board techniques to make THIS the year you’ve been dreaming of!

What is your dream for this year? Maybe it’s financial stability, your dream career, a fairy tale love, or jet setting on the adventure of a lifetime around the globe. Whether your dreams are wild or mild, they can seem attainable at times. That’s where a vision board comes in to serve as a visual representation that helps you keep your eye on the prize. Here’s one of several I made this year. I chose the colors for a common aesthetic and mood:

5 powerful vision board techniques

What is a vision board and how do I make one?

A vision board is a collage made using images that represent goals that you want to manifest. It serves as a reminder throughout the year to put the work into making these dreams a reality. To make one, you’ll need a 12×12 paper or larger and magazine pictures. Take it from someone who always has leftover pictures that didn’t fit, 12×12 inches is the minimum you’ll want to use. It can include a mix of cutout pictures, cutout words, and written words.

vision board supplies - how to create a vision board with 5 powerful vision board techniques

5 Effective Vision Board Techniques to Try this Year

Make your vision board more fun and effective with these ideas. Setting goals should be fun! Don’t feel like you have to do all of these, just consider the ones that resonate with you.

1. Make it a party. It’s so much easier to get your vision board done when you have someone providing you the place, time and materials. And they will hold you accountable for finishing your board. This is vision board time!

2. Use unexpected materials. Mix it up by asking your friends for magazines that you don’t read yourself. This expands your boundaries and gives you more to work with. Incorporate colored pens, stickers and colored card stock for vibrant, creative, no-limits vision boarding. You could even end up with a picture of a Corgi, who knows!

corgi collage for vision board

3. Notice what’s NOT on the board. When I finished my board this year, what was most surprising was what I hadn’t made goals about. These represented activities and commitments in my life that my heart isn’t in–and are sucking energy away from what I really do want to accomplish this year. These things might need to be eliminated or downsized in 2017.

4. Bring in spirituality. If you follow a faith, consider how you want that to fit into your goals in the coming year. Including a quote from your faith can serve as a powerful reminder of what’s truly important to you. If you’re not into religion, any inspirational quote that you connect with works. I find that the poetry of Rumi resonates with many people.

Rumi Quote for vision board

5. Display it in a prominent place. Mine is over my desk right now. Refer back to it throughout the year. You can’t do that if it’s in your closet or under your bed, so make sure you can see it regularly.

Now I have questions for you! Do you create vision boards? What goals did you set for 2017?

5 powerful vision board techniques

Make a Felt Heart Envelope

felt-valentine's-day-envelope-tutorial

I read something so inspiring yesterday on social media, a message urging people to consider Valentine’s Day as a way to spread love to people who might need it whether it’s a note, a flower or a kind word. It sounds simple, but it’s easy to get caught up in your own plans (or lack of plans) and forget that small gestures can mean so much to someone else! Today’s post is a craft tutorial that makes a perfect small gift for Valentine’s Day or any day.

After experimenting with a variety of fun ways to decorate envelopes, I made this handmade felt envelope craft to send to friends and my top blogging supporters to say Thank You. It was a little Valentine’s Day gift. Here’s how you can make your own, step by step.

Felt Handmade Envelope Coin Purse Tutorial

You’ll need: Two colors of felt, embroidery floss, scissors, needle, hot glue, buttons and thin elastic. Quick tip: instead of sewing you can use hot glue.

Step 1: Start with a diamond shape cut out of a piece of felt. The envelope can be made small or large depending on the size of your felt. The ones I made were the right size to hold a business card or some coins, and the flat edges of the diamond measured 5 1/2 inches long each.

Felt-Envelope-Tutorial-felt-size

Step 2: Fold the sides in and bottom up in preparation for sewing or gluing these edges together to form the envelope shape.

Felt-envelop-tutorial-step-1

Step 3: If sewing, pin the edge you’re not working on down to hold it until you make your way back to it. Optional: carefully trim down the pointy edge to make it flat, as in the photo below.

Felt-Envelope-Tutorial-Step-2

Step 4: Add a fastener. I did this two ways. One was to hot glue a piece of velcro. The other was to sew on a button to the envelope body and add a loop of elastic to the flap. The button looks nice, but the Velcro is easier. Take your pick.

Felt-Envelope-Tutorial-Step-3

Step 5: Hot glue on a felt heart to the top of the flap. You can experiment with using different colors of felt for different looks.

DIY felt heart envelope coin pursesAnd you’re done!  Share what you think of this tutorial in the comments and let me know if you have any questions!

Definitely check out more envelope decorating ideas, and follow along for more craft ideas on Pinterest.

DIY felt envelopes tutorial

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