In San Francisco, Winter Blues Become Winter Greens

The dreaded New York winter, bitter, cold, and dark, can sometimes make us want to sing the blues. One winter relief for all New Yorkers, is to plan a getaway to San Francisco. While San Francisco is famous for its windy summers, it offers mild and virtually wind-chill free winters. As an added bonus, the city remains green throughout the winter, and in more ways than one. It offers not only better winter weather, but great handmade and local shopping and the opportunity to live a more sustainable, greener life. All good things must come to an end, but before I leave San Francisco, I will share a few of its best green winter treasures.

1. Composting is the law

In addition to its citywide composting program, businesses in San Francisco do their part to reduce waste. Supermarkets and delis only give out paper or plastic bags upon request, coffee shops serve coffee to-go in compostable cups and forgo the plastic lids and ice cream shops use real spoons to give out samples and serve their ice cream in compostable cups coupled with compostable spoons.

2. Plants blossom in the winter

Despite the winter season, plants, trees, and flowers continue to blossom in San Francisco. And if that's not enough, palm trees are scattered throughout major boulevards and public spaces.

3. World-class thrift store shopping

Walking down Valencia Street, a commercial corridor in San Francisco's Mission district, one will come across at least one great thrift store every four blocks. These thrift stores are bustling shopping destinations. They are emblems of the strong "recycle and reuse" culture among San Franciscans.

4. Great-tasting local produce

If you have ever wanted to change your diet and eat vegan, San Francisco is the city for this change. Most restaurants and groceries offer a wide variety of great-tasting, locally farmed produce year-round.

5. Bicycling is safe and convenient

San Francisco offers some of the best urban riding around. Drivers and bicyclists respect each others rights-of-way, helping to make bicycling a viable and safe mode of transportation for all.

6. Local designer shops and co-ops are a main fixture on main streets

Local shops in San Francisco are plentiful and thriving. They have helped to revive many great neighborhood streets throughout the city. One of my favorites that I encountered was Studio 3579, which features the work of local designers Priya Sarawati, Joy Opfer, and Michael Stone.

7. Luscious parks and true public spaces

San Francisco's public spaces are top notch. They are open, vast, public and integrate seamlessly into the urban landscape. Among my favorites is Mission-Dolores Park, a great place to meditate, aimlessly wander, and unwind.

Ready to plan your green winter getaway? Start by visiting for info on sublets, bike rentals and other local deals.

Photo credits (top to bottom): Chloe at,, JB Warehouse and Curio Emporium, Jeremy Waiver, Dustin Jensen,, Carly Gordon

- Karla Quintero
Fernando Jewelry

Craft in Bermuda

This summer, I decided to do something for vacation that I've never done before. Ok, so it's not terribly uncommon on the whole, but for me, it is absolutely uncommon. You see I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal - don't like being cooped up in any one place on a trip. I'd rather explore on land, and see and meet the locals, than be on an invisible leash. But not this time. This time I went on a cruise.

4 days out to sea, and 3 days in Bermuda. I won't bore you with the details because all I really want you to know about is this:

A little shop called Dockyard Glassworks. The shop is conveniently located within walking distance of where the cruise ships dock (I know what you're thinking: "tourist trap"!)

Ten years ago, the owners of Dockyard Glassworks decided to collaborate in order to open their art glass business. Since then, they have been producing art glass for sale locally and to export.

Perhaps the best thing about Dockyard Glassworks is not only the unique items for sale, but rather that you can watch the glass artisans at work! For more info, visit

by Lorina Pellach-Ladrillono of The Original Beadscarf and

Postcards From The Road

Are you on vacation? Is it time for you to remind your hardworking friends at home that you are thinking of them? Can't find a postcard that truly describes the beauty of the place you're visiting? Just make your own.

All you need are scissors, some sort of card stock (a cereal box will do) and whatever art supplies you can hunt down at your vacation abode. I tend to travel with a backpack full to entertain the kids in the traveling party, but I'm sure you can come up with a creative piece even if you just have a ball point pen.

Crayon and a Paper Bag

Look at the interesting paper you get when you purchase something from the local merchants. Hmm, cut it into a skyline and glue it onto a crayon sunset.

Leaf Prints

Okay, so you may not travel with water colors, but just in case you do, turn a special leaf you found on a leisurely walk into a leaf print. Apply paint to the ribbed side of the leaf and use a bottle (sunscreen in this case) as a rolling pin to print a design.


Our trip was dominated by the purchase of these hamster erasers. Here is a marker portrait.

Ransom Note

Kidnappers must have a lot of time on their hands because it took longer than I thought (30 minutes) to cut out these letters from travel brochures we picked up.

The standard postcard size is 3.4" to 4.25" high and 5" to 6" long. Don't have a ruler to measure your card? Use a promotional card from a coffee shop as a template.

Happy Travels


Cabin Fever Project #2: The T-Shirt Book Cover

by Lorina of The Original Beadscarf

Everytime my mother-in-law goes somewhere on vacation, she has this almost primal need to buy my husband and myself t-shirts emblazoned with the place she has just returned from. Now while it's very endearing of her to think of us, and I do graciously accept it, I never, ever wear them. However, I do tuck it away so that I might give those shirts a second life someday.

And so here's a nifty little project for you to try out, when you don't want to go out, when it's cold out. It's a take on the paper book cover that we were forced as kids to cover all our books with.

The T-Shirt Book Cover

You'll need:

t-shirt (preferably one with an interesting pattern, you can also try concert T's!)
book (that you want to cover)
good pair of scissors
tailor's chalk/pencil
tape measure
straight pins
needle and thread, (preferably a sewing machine)

How to:

1. Place your t-shirt on a flat surface and your book (open) on to the area you would like to use for your cover.

2. Measure the book and cut the t-shirt around the book while giving an allowance of 3" on the sides, and 1.5" on the top and bottom of the book, like so:

3. Fold the top and bottom excess edging parts in to create a sturdy and clean edge for your book cover and pin down like so:

4. Sew the edges down:

5. Fold and sew down the sides of the cover being very careful to get as close to the edge as possible (1/8"), this is where you create the "pocket" for the front and back covers of the book.

6. Put your swanky new book cover on your book!

7. Show off your fancy new book cover.....maybe even to the mother-in-law who gave you that tourist t-shirt, lest it inspire her to give you more t-shirts!!!! Enjoy!!!

For more great blogs from Lorina of The Original Beadscarf, click HERE!

How a California Girl Survives a New York Winter

Moving across the country from Sunny California to Snowy Upstate New York was quite an experience. I still recall my now husband teaching me to tie on a scarf that first snowy winter.

Well I’ve come a long way in the almost 8 years I’ve lived in New York. I’m sure you born and bred New Yorkers learned all of this from your mother’s milk. This is for the rest of us.


Probably the most important thing I ever learned: How to put on about 50 more layers than anyone would notice. Thin soft layers underneath all leading towards the big chunky ones on the outside.

These fingerless gloves are perfect for finding your metrocard or keys without talking off your mittens, from ShutterKate.

My natural proclivity is to wear dark melancholy colors to match the landscape and sky (especially here in NYC), but my mood suffers. I try to brighten my day with brightly colored scarves and hats.

Like this bright pink Cowl from SpattersandJayne.


I hate high maintenance. I’m not awake enough in the mornings to do all that. But I never leave the house on a cold day without moisturizing, especially my face, hands, and lips.

I love that these lotion jars are the right size to fit in my purse to keep my hands nice all day, from Nordea’s Soaperie.

Staying Inside

While I spend all summer outdoors, I try to spend all winter (when I can) indoors. I invite friends over. I take naps with my cat. I read lots of books.

Reading made easy with these quirky bookmarks from Beacon Bookmarks.

I learned the hard way how dreary it gets all winter long without enough sun. I’ve finally understood why my husband has to turn all of the lights in the apartment on when he’s home. So brighten up your space with good colors, bright lights, and beautiful things.

Like this beautiful lamp from YoursTrulyxoxo.

If All Else Fails, Go On Vacation

Everyone else seems to do it too.

By a professed California Girl (even if I didn’t know it until I moved across the country)