Girl Crush: {There’s a New Editor-In-Chief In Town}

That’s right. We love women who love to run the show, so it’s a no-brainer that we immediately swooned over Alisa Carroll. She is the Editor in Chief of the newly launched publication, San Francisco Cottages & Gardens {yay for print magazines!}. We also swooned because she is awesome. Like, really awesome! Here’s how this conclusion was drawn:

We sent her interview questions over email {it’s faster- people are busy- idk, it’s the 21st century?} and when she sent them back with the words “cray, cray” in her answers, we just about died. Who was this new and {seriously!} fierce EIC, who was cool enough to quote a Jay-Z song?! We had to know. Thankfully, she wanted to meet us too {?} so we met her at one of her favorite San Francisco boutiques, March {epic!}, where we talked leather pants, dogs with underbites and oh yeah, the important stuff…

With a slew of experiences behind her {and in front of her!}, Alisa shared with us the path to her latest role, a peek into what running a magazine is really like and her advice on…well anything we could think to ask, because we’ll take whatever words of wisdom this dynamic woman is willing to offer up!

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Her Background

My path has definitely not been linear, but I’ve always written. For the first decade of my adult life, I was in a band, songwriting and touring around. It was a really defining experience—it helped me find my voice and figure out who I was. But ultimately I wanted life to be a little more stable! I’d always been involved in visual art and design, so I began writing for magazines like Elle Décor and Interior Design, and collaborated with artists and designers to promote their work, Jay [Jeffers] being one of them. We met ten years ago and its been an amazing, inspiring relationship ever since. A few years ago, when I started to feel the pull to go back to writing full time, I was lucky enough to be invited to edit 3D, the annual journal of the San Francisco Design Center. Then Jay and I began developing the book, and I came on board at SFC&G this past December. [My career] happened very organically. To me that’s always a good sign–when something doesn’t have to be forced, it feels like I’m on the right path.

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A Day In The Life

Every day is about trying to balance the creative and business aspects of the magazine. I might go from interviewing a designer for a story to meeting with the social media team to editing the product section. For example, this past week we shot a phenomenal home in Monterey, so I was scouting the styling elements and shooting, then hustled back up to the city to do the final edits on the current issue, then worked on researching a story for the next issue. 

On Being the Boss-Lady

[Being Editor-in-Chief] is my dream job, but a magazine is also a train that does not stop! As soon as the current issue is off and running, we’re planning the next. So while we’re all writing stories for June/July, for example, we’re also planning and scouting for August/September.  It’s cray-cray.

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On Success

Being lucky enough to know kind, smart, creative people who have been willing to help guide me has contributed to my success. My pinch-me moment was definitely the book launch in London. I walked up to the Chelsea Design Center and there was Collected Cool in the bookstore window. I get butterflies every time I see it on a shelf.

Her Advice 

Find your true voice and don’t compromise it. I had drinks recently with a dear friend, an accomplished writer and editor, who still lays awake at night worrying about the crop of a photo or a font. That kind of meticulousness is really what it all comes down to. I hate to think of what percentage of my life I’ve spent writing “no one” then changing it to “no body” and then back and forth again a hundred times. It’s totally obsessive and ultimately may not matter to anyone (anybody) but me, but it’s the only way to get to what’s beautiful and meaningful. 

It’s also ok to screw it up. There’s a great scene in “The Young Victoria” in which she says, “If there are mistakes they will be my mistakes, and no one else will make them.” It’s important to take a risk. Like, I probably never should have worn my hair in cornrows, but now I know.

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About SFC&G

We are committed to creating a magazine that we hope people will feel authentically reflects the beauty and soul of San Francisco. SFC&G is the only design publication that is dedicated exclusively to this city, and all of our coverage emerges locally–we want to distill the creativity of the Bay—from interior design to landscape to visual art–into its pages. I’m excited about our May issue, which is all about verdant living – the experience of the Bay in spring when we head back to Dolores Park in earnest, to events like Art Market and the Film Festival and, of course, to the bar to begin imbibing awesome cocktails with absurdly esoteric herbs. Cheers!

And per Girl Crush tradition, we asked Alisa to answer our rapid fire Q&A!

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Thank you to Alisa for such a fun hangout sesh {we’ll take one of everything in that store!} and if you haven’t already, pick up the new issue of San Francisco Cottages & Gardens! — Bianca

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick 

Tasty Tuesday: Bite into the Bay Area

What is it about going out for breakfast that makes the food taste SO good? It’s not like the dishes are typically that complicated or the ingredients exotic {though we all know bacon makes everything amazing!}.

Obviously, someone else whipping up a delicious dish for you always makes it taste better. But for me, it’s also a lot about the environment I’m enjoying it in! Obviously, this seems like the perfect fit for a new occasional Tasty Tuesday series: combining great spaces and fab food. I’m calling it Bite into the Bay Area and I’m basically using it as a reason to incentivize my never-ending search for my next favorite plate and favorite place.

I’m kicking things off with a San Francisco staple that I teased on Instagram a few weeks back… Universal Cafe!

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Luckily, it’s only blocks away from the Loft so I can mosey over for a leisurely morning meal pretty much any day of the week. And my must-have dish, their Soft-Scrambled Eggs, regularly temps me to do just that!

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The flavors are always bright, the ingredients super fresh and the sides mouth-watering {they include perfectly crisp toast and salads that are how can you make a salad taste this good good}. No matter how hard I try, I always clean my plate!!

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Leaving Universal Cafe always leaves me wondering, why can’t I make eggs taste that good at home?! So I put myself to a challenge {with help from my mini cookbook library of course} and after many a-taste test, this recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs turned cookbooks, comes as close I’ve found! I should have known. I come back to The Sprouted Kitchen time and time again.

With this recipe, even if you don’t have a Universal Cafe in your neighborhood, I hope you can get a taste of one of my favorite SF joints at home!

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Leeks by The Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients (serves 4)

10 eggs
6 T whole milk
3 large leeks, white & light green cleaned
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 t chopped fresh thyme or tarragon leaves plus more for garnish
1 T extra virgin olive oil

Directions
In a large bowl whisk eggs and 2T milk, until light and evenly mixed and smooth. {this was one of my big aha moments: you can’t cut corners, or calories if your soft scrambled eggs are going to be ah-mazing!}.

Halve the leeks and then slice into half moons. Warm the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/2 t salt and stir to coat. Saute stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened and browned in parts (12-15 minutes).  Add remaining 4 T of milk and thyme and cook until the liquid is absorbed into the leek. Turn off heat & set aside.

Now for the eggs – this is particular so be sure to pay attention to the details!

In a large nonstick pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Give the eggs one more whisk. When the pan is warm, tilt it so oil puddles in the corner closest to you. Slowly pour eggs into the center of the oil so it spreads outward with the eggs as you lower the pan. Cook without stirringuntil the bottom just starts to set, then gently push eggs from the edges toward the center. Continue until the eggs are almost cooked then turn off the heat. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper and give them another push to make sure any uncooked parts touch the bottom of the pan. Immediately transfer to plates, garnish with more thyme and serve with leeks.

The recipe also gives a few additional tips for making the best eggs!

~ By whisking eggs first and letting them sit you help bring them up to room temp, improving their texture.
~ Push eggs gently until they’re just barely set to achieve the best “scramble.”
~ Pull the eggs a little earlier than you think you should – they’ll keep cooking from residual heat.

Bon appetito!

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick 

Gotta Getaway: {The View from Carmel Valley}

If you live in San Francisco or the greater Bay Area, there really is no reason to complain about needing a vacation- there are so many gorgeous destinations just a few short hours drive away- all you need to do is hop in your car and go! You can head up or down the coast and hit nature’s finest: the calming shores past Point Reyes, the grand and sweeping vistas of Big Sur or the rolling waves of Santa Cruz beach. Not to mention, probably the most popular northern California destination, Napa Valley.

But there is one place that doesn’t seem to get the praise that it deserves and that is the Carmel Valley. A charming, pastoral place, tucked away from the hustle of Carmel by the Sea, the valley offers an amazingly restful retreat from big city life. We recently paid a visit to the area and enjoyed the slower pace, sweeping valley vistas and of course, the wine!

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We stayed a night at Holman Ranch, a quaint and historic 10-suite property on 400 acres, complete with horses, olive groves, vineyards and wine caves. It’s so secluded and true to its past, that you feel like you’ve actually gone back in time. The property even has an historic barn where we enjoyed a farm to table style dinner under twinkling lights! Talk about an escape from city slickin’!

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Every year more and more wineries are popping up making Carmel a new destination for wine lovers like myself. But the views are really where it’s at in Carmel Valley. Perched atop a hill, at the ranch you can see endless rolling mountains, a sea of yellow and green and witness all the beauty nature has to offer. Unfortunately, it was the middle of winter, or else that pool {with those views!} would be exactly where I would spend my stay from sun up to sun down!

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Speaking of sun down, even the most ordinary of sunsets seems magical against the mountains and vineyards. With glass of wine in hand, the perfect getaway to Carmel Valley awaits you!

original photography by Apartment 34