Month: October 2012

Betty Draper’s Romantic Weekend Brunch for Two

Maybe your new love interest spontaneously spent the night or you planned a weekend together being lazy in bed with nothing to do. Sometimes the best moments shared are at home, cozy, and with stomachs filled with goodness.

Yummy breakfasts for two can be made with left-over ingredients in the fridge (like crisped up left-over pasta in a frying pan with bacon and eggs) or planning something sweet like cornmeal pancakes with sour cream, fresh fruit, and organic chicken sausages. If you love eggs try Barefoot Contessa’s Country French Omelet.  Fresh squeeze the best fruit available and do French press coffees. Simply divine.

Serve your breakfast and make it fit for a Draper household by using pretty china, linen napkins, and your finest glasses. If serving baked goods and toast, consider a lovely 3 tiered tray like this one here from a recent stay in Hong Kong. Look at the coffee glass as well. Elegant and handsome does the trick.

A fun alternative to breakfast in the morning is at dinner time with your honey. Grab aprons, find a delicious recipe together and heat up the kitchen. Don’t stress about having to make the food perfect. The enjoyment is found in the little details along the way- laughing over too much salt, the wrong amount of flour, spilled scallions on the floor, and burnt butter. Who cares when you are with your lover?  Betty would recommend pouring your loved one a stiff martini with stuffed olives. Upscale grocery stores like Draegers on the Peninsula and Woodlands Market in Marin have an amazing selection of luxury olives- perfect for his and hers martinis.

Perhaps I am inspired from going as Betty Draper to a friends Halloween bash last evening. Don’t you love 50’s fashion? Here I am wearing a Kate Spade dress I purchased a few months ago, a retro apron my little sister gave me one year, a cigarette holder with fake cigarette, and my blue suede heels. I bought a teal crinoline petticoat at a vintage shop in Palo Alto and some over-exagerated pearls. They served incredible basil mint martinis at the party- another great alternative to the classic martini. 

I did a ton of research on hair and make-up. I found Wet-N-Wild actually worked really great for light green eye shadow, 99 cent nail polish, black liquid liner, and hot pink blush. Revlon worked well for a matte hot pink lipstick. I didn’t feel like spending a ton of money on make-up so the cheap alternative actually worked out well thanks to CVS. For hair, I curled  it in old school velcro rollers, backcombed it a ton, went overboard with the spray, and bobby pined it into a French twist. Two hours later, Betty was ready, although there was no Don…only a funny ancient Chinese man hubbie.

Barefoot Contesa Country French Omelet

1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup (1-inch-diced) unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof omelet pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 3 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned but not crisp. Take the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.

Place the potatoes in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until very tender and browned, tossing occasionally to brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the same plate with the bacon.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together with a fork. After the potatoes are removed, pour the fat out of the pan and discard. Add the butter, lower the heat to low, and pour the eggs into the hot pan. Sprinkle the bacon, potatoes, and chives evenly over the top and place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes, just until the eggs are set. Slide onto a plate, divide in half, and serve hot. 

Bon Appetit! 

My song selection is Frank Sinatra, The Best Has Yet To Come. 

Linx Ladies Visit Neiman Marcus Palo Alto

Time flies considering we are quickly approaching November. We had so much fun doing a wardrobe consultation for our male client at Neiman Marcus, Palo Alto a couple of months ago that we had to pay them another visit.  The demand for ladies wardrobe consultation is high, especially with the holiday season approaching.  

Every woman regardless of age whether she is fresh out of undergrad at Stanford or planning her 50th birthday wants to look fabulous.

What we love is that today’s modern woman doesn’t need to spend a fortune on looking good. She can incorporate a few key pieces into her wardrobe to spruce it up and feel confident in her everyday life. 

Today, we are doing a wardrobe consultation for a woman in her late 40’s. She is an executive by day for a conservative financial firm and typically opts for business suits and closed pumps. Yet don’t let her fool you. She has a little rock ‘n’ roll going on with an edgy hair-cut and  a wardrobe at home with some quality edgy yet sweet pieces.  When she came to us for matchmaking we thought it would be a really nice change of pace to bump up her wardrobe with date appropriate clothing. Think…Confident. Sexy. Colorful. Fearless. Feminine. 

When we mentioned doing a wardrobe consultation with her in our initial meet and greet she was very excited at the opportunity admitting she has very few date clothes. Like so many of our clients, she has been focused on work and her kids, placing dating on the back burner. 

Neiman Marcus, Palo Alto graciously extended themselves and introduced us to one of their premier stylists, Dean Taylor, who radiated enthusiasm and expertise through and through. 

Leading up to the consultation we worked behind the scenes with Dean to provide him with our clients’ measurements as well as her sense of style, comfort zone and general lifestyle. We agreed to nothing baggy and instead to focus on clothes that will instantly attract and importantly make our client feel totally gorgeous.  In some cases elegant knee-length sheath dresses, trousers, pointy-toe heels, and playful details.  Admittedly, we directed most of our energy on this session with lovely dresses. 

Upon arrival at Neiman’s,  Dean had put together an exquisite wardrobe filled with a wide range of different looks (rich jewel toned colors, lots of great figure flattering items, tasteful dresses for evening, pretty classic pumps, and playful colorful accessories from their new department CUSP.)

The way that Dean hand-picked the styles is to be able to have each piece seamlessly work together. In other words, a perfect marriage between day into evening clothing. Dean was spectacular to work with and totally “on it” from beginning to end, very responsive and professional.

We had so much fun sipping cappuccinos in a private consultation dressing room and watching our client transform before our eyes. Our client has a rockin’ body- a tiny little waist, no hips, long slender legs…that she was the perfect model.

She isn’t the type to necessarily opt for figure flattering clothes but we discovered Helmut Lang was the designer of choice for many her top picks. Two in particular worked amazing on her (one sleeveless  ‘folded wool knit’ dress in red and one long sleeve print Helmut Lang asymmetrical dress which fit her body like a glove.) Accented with gorgeous mary jane Manolos..she looked like a million bucks. Here’s another Helmut Lang we love- ideal for after hours. Remember men go crazy over a woman in red! Juxtapose this look below with an edgy leather clutch and metallic heels. You will have him calling mama from the bathroom that he’s met ‘the one.’

Elie Tahari also provided to be a winner for our client on many levels. We’d place Tahari in the safe category- demure, ladylike, sweet, and slightly more conservative. Here is a Tahari we love….pair this with yellow satin heels for a seriously romantic, feminine look. 
What we love from CUSP by Neiman Marcus- great for any Linx lady’s wardrobe……

Triple Drop Thread Earrings – $68.00

Agate Pendant Necklace – $30.00  Amy’s top pic!  (“This is ideal for a first date. Use it as an ice breaker in conversation, play with it, flirt, and allow his eyes to gaze in the ‘right’ direction. How can you beat $30.00?”) 

Got the goods and are fearless fashionista?  We love….
Robert Rodriguez Sequined Sleeveless Dress $295.00
Amy suggests pairing with a gorgeous velvet blazer  such as the Alice + Olivia ‘Elyse velvet blazer’ or Elie Tahari ‘Bethany velvet blazer’ (below) with closed toe pointy pumps or round toe pumps. 
“This velvet blazer is so rich in color, jewel-like. Blend with everything from your fav jeans or jazzed up with your date dress. Be bold and mix with all colors- reds, blues, etc. Don’t limit yourself just because it already has color in it. And don’t be scared to pair it with a different blue hue. Keep re-energizing your fashion by mixing  and playing with the unexpected.”   
After reading this, our hopes are you have a date in with yourself and your current wardrobe. Sometimes there is nothing better than a night in. Forget all the silly boys emailing you pointless things on Match. Shut down the computer and silence the phone. Light some candles. Pour a glass of great champers, turn up some Miguel, and play with some looks.
Maybe you have a velvet blazer from years ago that you never wear or perhaps you have a lady-like dress that you haven’t found the right occasion for. Call your best girl up for a night in with fashion. This is your time to mix, match, play, and have fun.
If you like this song by Miguel, we recommend  checking out Maxwell. In the music business, very few songs are actually original.

Linx visits Hong Kong

I just flew back home from Hong Kong. I was there for a week and this time was my third visit to this spectacular city. Hong Kong is a place like no other that I have seen. It is a place of many contrasts old world (where buildings crumble and ancient dialect is only spoken) juxtaposed with modernity (sleek, incredibly high-end, sophisticated, and an international set speaking English).

Our music selection to enjoy while reading this entry. No Promises by Hott 22 featuring Bonnie Bailey, Thomas Gold remix. A modern club music with a retro disco feel. 

always feels extremely safe in HK- more so compared to when I walk around San Francisco. The public transportation systems are meticulously clean (no one drinks or eats on trains…it is very frowned upon), the streets are generally clean, and there are no homeless wandering around.

The views of the skyline atop Victoria Peak are some of the most awe-inspiring, the food and choice of dining experiences (from total hole-in-the wall to 5 star) is simply mouth-watering, the people friendly (granted a certain distance that I attribute to their culture), and variety to do while staying keeps one very busy (if you want).

It’s hard to distill down to a simple blog entry about HK as you really need to go there to best understand the complexities of such a grand metropolis. Perhaps it is easiest to share through select photos and captions here…. One thing that I always am struck by is how the city continues to do its thing while major construction occurs in the middle of it all. Cranes, cement trucks, bulldozers, you name it….are all motoring through getting the job done. There is always a sign “greatly apologizing for any inconvenience” that the construction site might have caused. Always proper, so HK. 

There is always a photo shoot going on. At any time of day, on any random street, you will often see a young woman in bridal wear modeling Asia’s latest fashions.
Cafe Grey is one of the most beautifully appointed restaurants in HK with the finest service HK offers; impeccable 5 star food, gorgeous views, and every little detail (even down to perfectly press linen napkins). We had breakfast there every morning. I’m not used to regular breakfasts like pancakes, eggs, and pastries. When on vacation, I do splurge and splurge I did! On our last day, we ate their famous Dutch pancake (photo above). Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to do other than finish the first massive one (see how fluffy and huge it is? Primary ingredient corn with a hint of sour cream) and order one more. Let’s just say my trainer is very happy I have hired her for extra hours post vacay. 😉  

Views from the UpperHouse, our home away from home in HK. The rooms are modeled after apartments- so they are very large, spacious, and makes guests feel like they are living in a home versus a tiny hotel room.  Bathroom at Cafe Grey at Upper House. HK is the most vertical city I have ever seen. A million uber tall and skinny buildings.
Look at the simplicity of this gorgeous arrangement at the hotel. A sleek container potted with a plant and flower can make a room. Two great examples at our hotel where simple and modern can make a bold, high impact statement. HK definitely offers its fair share of oddities and curiosities. Not for the faint of heart. I stumbled upon this medicinal shop when I did a solo walk for 5 hours around the city one day when my husband was in meetings. I couldn’t believe how weird this was but at that same time didn’t want to judge. They seem to use all aspects of animals for various illnesses. There are medicinal herbal shops everywhere with roots of all kinds- mostly ginseng varieties. A tourist can walk in and ‘oh and awe’ at how serious they are about their herbs but generally you can’t buy any without a doctors written prescription.  The photo at the bottom are little deer fetuses. Eeek. Which way to go?  

Hong Kongers love their department store windows. These are some of the most ornate I have ever seen. Shopping in HK trumps pretty much any city. Gucci, LV, Prada, Valentino multiply after one another on the streets. Imagine how diverse seeing modern and expensive like Louis Vuitton juxtaposed next to a local merchant like the photo above of a very cluttered “Mr Fix It” sort of shop. 1-800 You Got Junk would be in heaven! Hong Kongers also adore their holidays. Any holiday! I had no idea how HUGE Halloween was in HK. Here are two photos of vending machines to purchase Halloween items in an express thoroughfare from one mall to another mall. HK is also a city of countless malls. Mall after upscale (and I mean really, really upscale) mall connected together by countless protected walkways. Professionals commute home often by walking these intricate indoor thoroughfares and stopping along the way to eat with friends and shop. They are filled with take-away restaurants, sit down restaurants, shops, and newspaper stands. A must have while visiting is Peking Duck. Here we are one duck later at Peking Garden. With some delicate negotiation and a little James Bond-esque Andersen techniques, I somehow managed to get us into a private club called “China Club” which is a very chi-chi bar and restaurant in the old Bank of China Building in Central, HK. The decor is in the style of the traditional Chinese teahouse and the floors, lighting and fans are reminiscent of 1930’s Shanghai. They are known for their incredible Chinese modern art collection. Giant shoes to fill! Spiral staircase at China Club filled with a grand modern art collection. More art work at China ClubOde to David Hockney?  Mark Stock perhaps? 

Street art work I discovered while wandering around Sheung Wan.
Seriously good chicken soup on a work day while cooped up in the hotel room. Zero salt. All fresh ingredients (the dark things are mushrooms). On a hike one day around the city, I couldn’t help but notice how intelligent this system is for moms on the go with tyke. It is the recommended safe route a mother should take the little one on. A mother’s choice. I also found this on a hike one day. So random….two precious little buddhas with burning incense. A trip to HK isn’t complete without a visit to Sevva. Sevva is an incredibly sophisticated bar and restaurant in Prince’s building in Central where glamour intersects with world-class views and famous cakes- all of which are housed in a jewel-box like setting. Think ambient lighting, warm colors, flickering candles, and Venini chandeliers. Owner, designer, and founder Bonnie Gokson is famous for her very pricey and delicious Marie Antoinette cake topped with cotton candy (perfect for a birthday princess, tete-a-tete with old friend, or romantic date night). We enjoyed a fantastic lemon crunch meringue cake and wine to pair on that perfect balmy evening. 
At Sevva…I always pack lots of dressy clothing for HK. Flats for day without question and heels for evening with lots of sparkles as well. I even bought the Sevva CD…all romantic songs.

Lady Gaga makes a statement every time! This cake is no exception. 

Bonnie’s Million Dollar Truffle Cake. Perfect for a Silicon Valley IPO soiree. 😉
On a glorious run one day (I tried to work out each day given the amount of meals out) to the Peak, I saw this building under some sort of construction and couldn’t help but immediately think it resembled Christo.

Your glutes will love you for this…..typical HK stairs

Busy HK street in the afternoon

The kitty sleeps while his owner mixes unusual herbal concoctions and remedies.   Afternoon street games played by local merchants. A great way to pass time and get a little workout too.   Cheap and easy street food in Tsuen Wan, HK. My hubbie had a few bites, I passed on the glorious opportunity that day. We traveled from HK island to Tsuen Wan to visit a semiconductor factory to understand international logistics and chip testing behind the scenes. Our friend, Chris, toured us, showing us how detailed their business is. No cameras allowed inside. This particular company occupies multiple floors in a large industrial building. 12 hour shifts for the factory workers, 6 days a week. No one passes time on FB or runs out for Blue Bottle lattes here. You work, keep working, and then work some more. You are efficient and perfect is expected each time. Weddings are a big business in HK. There are gorgeous spots for photographs. One in particular I found was the Hong Kong Park. Here is a sign for the actual place to register with your loved one. Wan Chai streets filled with trolleys and folks wandering all around, at any given time of the day or night. We enjoyed a Cantonese meal in Wan Chai at a private kitchen of sorts. Nondescript building, no English name, not one tourist, and very authentic food. Most unique and delicious was the chicken and fish stew. After a fabulous trip, we returned home to receive this email from our hotel. They are so attention to detail focused and so proper. What American hotel would ever alert you that you left carrots in the room?! 

Dear Mr. & Mrs.,

Thank you for staying with us at The Upper House, we hope you enjoyed your visit!
Upon your departure, we found a box of dragon beard candies, an apple and a small bag of baby carrots in your room. The lost and found reference number is 07888.
I am afraid the apple and carrots cannot keep long, but could you let us know if you would like us to keep the box of candies for your next visit?
If we may be of further assistance in this or any other matter, please contact us at your convenience.
In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you back at The Upper House!

Best regards,

Housekeeping Secretary


October 5 2012 Ask Amy

QAmy, I am in a relationship right now where I love going out all the time to various galas, dinners, and events in San Francisco yet my boyfriend seems to get more and more introverted by the day and it’s like pulling teeth out to get him to attend these fabulous parties with me. I am so frustrated. All he wants to do is the occasional dinner with one another out and stay home the rest as he is so exhausted all the time for working banking hours. I really like him though.  

A: When boyfriends or husbands flair up, this is why you should have girlfriends. Any woman needs her pack of female friends to call upon to go to these functions with her. It sounds like you are very social and love being out and about. That is not for everyone so I do understand your boyfriends hesitation.

What I suggest is to do a shared social calendar with your beau- Google has an easy one you both could access easily. On the calendar put all your events and indicate if you are attending the movie opening with friend Sara, the restaurant year anniversary with Chloe, and so forth. Then block out five nights a month for just the two of you. Four are going to be dinners just with you two either in-home or out- aka date night and only ONCE a month will be an event with your beau.

Once you get these on the calendar, tell him about it and explain that you love your time with him very much and understand he might not be up for your parties and that is fine. Would he be ok with doing date night once a week with you and simply going to a party once a month, the rest you will do with your girlfriends?! I think you will have a happy boyfriend and have just figured out the perfect solution to your differences. Good luck!  

Ask Amy Anything!

As Linx continues to grow by leaps and bounds with our membership, we have been getting more and more requests from friends and clients of Linx to ask me anything dating and relationship related.  Music to enjoy for this entry is Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj. Every once in awhile a little cheese it ok. It’s catchy….

We have a new feature on the Linx website where you will see a grey button at the top left of every page. Simply click on it and it will directly port to email where you can ask me anything that is on your mind and I will do my very best to address each one either through an email back to you or as an anonymous Q and A on my blog.

Here are some questions that have trickled in this week into my inbox and my very quick answers in a nutshell.

Q: When is it appropriate to sleep with the guy I am into? We haven’t become exclusive yet and I can barely keep my hands off him. Help!

A: Depending on your personal goals of ending up with this fabulousman, you need to wait till you are exclusive. If you give in and sleep with him as sexy as he is, he will have gotten everything he wants. If it seems pretty clear that he is wildly attracted and into you as well (and respects you and is treating you well outside of the bedroom), I would think it will be pretty natural to have a talk about becoming exclusive. Simply say you are an old-fashioned girl who was raised a certain way and doesn’t sleep around. You also don’t sleep with a man till you are exclusive. If he is into you, he will wait and wait and wait! Good luck! Once exclusive you can crank up The Isley Brothers “Between The Sheets.” 😉

Q: I am a newly divorced dad of 3 young kids and am nervous about getting out into the dating scene. My kids have a mom and I don’t want women to think that I need her to be their mom. What to do? 

A: Dating after divorce can definitely be challenging and present a whole slew of new factors that you never knew were out there. Your first date sound byte to this lucky female is that you are newly divorced and one of your greatest passions are your three beautiful children ages (X, Y, Z). You have joint custody (or whatever your situation is) and they see their mom every other week. On the off weeks you do your own thing and on the weeks you have them you bunker down into dad duty. Although things did not work out with their mom, you have a healthy relationship with her and she is a GREAT mother (never tear your ex a new one no matter your relationship with her.) Then you change the subject and pay your date a genuine compliment and focus on the moment and getting to know her.

Q: I work at Stanford campus and am pretty shy to begin with. When I take breaks for lunch or coffee I see some of the cutest guys ever. How do I go about having them pay attention to me? 

A: My sister and I were walking at Stanford two nights ago and saw a David Beckham look-alike. Her jaw dropped and she was like Ummmmm he is hot and the funny thing is he totally checked her out! So there are gorgeous and brainy babes all over. There are a variety of methods for you to seek the chaps attention.  First dress the part to attract the right guy you want in your life. Be feminine and classy. In my sisters case we were exercising. So in that case, dress in tasteful, clean, and attractive workout clothes. Second, go up to him and ask him a question. If you are working at Stanford chances are you are a genius but in reality there is nothing wrong with sometimes playing a little dumb. I’m not saying to be a clueless ditz, I’m suggesting pulling out your naive card for this opportunity. Ask him where something is on campus. For all he knows today is your first day at work on this big, big, scary campus! Make eye contact, smile, then pay him a small compliment. An example….Hi…I am wondering if you can tell me where Coupa is at the GSB….ohhh..great….(eye contact, lock eyes, smile)….I like your kicks. I’ve never seen Nike make those.  At this point, hopefully you can stike up a flirty convo and see where it takes you. Have fun!

Q: I have a major crush on my boss but he is married with a beautiful wife and baby on its way. I would never do anything to break up their marriage but I can’t stop thinking about him. Is there something wrong with me? 

A: An attractive and confident man is a sexy thing. It sounds like you are human to have developed an innocent crush. Innocent is thinking about him, thinking he is cute, having a soft spot for him while maintaining your professionalism. A crush steps into very dangerous territory if you channel Alicia Silverstone from The Crush and fixate on him to the point where it is inappropriate or ever come on in a sexual manner. You have a strong intuition and chances are you know what is right and wrong. If you want to keep your job, keep your crush benign.

Q: I hate when construction workers and other guys driving by cat call me and make me feel degraded. Should I just tell them to f*ck off or ignore them? As a strong woman (yet a sensual and very feminine one), I feel women need to stand up and let men it is inappropriate to do this. 

A: Yes women do need to stand up for themselves but in this case I think the best strategy to just keep walking. I will share a hilarious scene from Sex in the City when Miranda gets cat called renting  a five-hour Danish documentary on the Nuremberg trial (and a pound of gummy bears to boot….remember?)

(Sleazy construction worker) “Hey, hey, it’s my sweetheart. You’re looking good, baby. Good enough to eat. Hey, where you going, doll ? I got what you want. I got what you need.”

(Miranda) “You talkin’ to me?”

(Construction worker) “Oh, we got a live one, boys.”

(Miranda) “You got what I want ? You got what I need ? Uh-Huh. Well, what I want is to get laid!”