Month: November 2012

DIY Place Settings for Romance

I was raised by a businessman father and the most creative genius mother and have always had a creative side to me. Hosting Thanksgiving this year and getting to do the table was super fun and a major reason to pour those creative juices into something new and super festive. 

My wedding china is beyond gorgeous and getting to use it is always special. One of my favorite colors is royal blue and I always always loves blues and golds together. Naturally, picking these William Yeoward plates for our registry was an easy one!   

Instead of doing a traditional tablecloth for Thanksgiving, I opted for something different. I headed to Michael’s Arts and Crafts nearby and found white foam mats that resembled placemats, bought royal blue construction-style paper, gold pens, gold and blue glittery pens, and craft glue. 

In some random brainstorm moment it hit me that I wanted to do each placemat custom for each guest. The placemat be a continuation of the china pattern and be painted on with gold pen, glitter, etc. Each design would be different and I would also write each guests name on the mat, replacing the need for a separate name card.

These took about 30-45 minutes each and are completely reusable! I stenciled an outline of a fork and knife on each setting for a unique twist and something different. Our family members loved this personalized and totally crafty touch to an otherwise traditional holiday.

In setting the stage for a perfectly romantic dinner for two, you can do the exact same concept for your loved one. If you have china you love but never get to use, pull it out. If you don’t have fancy china, you can always go to a second hand store and see if there are some reasonably priced pretty plates. If that isn’t in your budget, borrow from mom or another family member. Michael’s is an excellent source for the right types of paper and if you desire locating cushy foam mats.

All you need to do is pick you two or three colors based on the actual plates and begin your creative design on what feels elegant to you. If glitter seems a bit over-the-top to you, opt for colored .05 waterproof pens or even getting a selection of liquid calligraphy ink and pens or brushes. Don’t stress about this. It is meant to be fun, freeing, and light-hearted.  If you have any questions or want to run ideas by me for your perfect romantic table for two, ask away

My music selection is Chris Botti- When I Fall In Love. 

Holidays at Filoli 2012

Last night, my family and I attended a gala at Filoli estate in Woodside which is a California State Historic Landmark. Filoli was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, prominent San Franciscans whose primary source of wealth were gold mines.

The house and gardens are traditional English style and architecture. The 654 acre estate has a rich history and is now operated by Filoli Center. Throughout the year, Filoli offers the public wonderful special events, exhibits, galas, teas, tours, and much more.  Love the little whimsical gnomes below on fireplace. 

Spring at the estate is always a spectacular wonder. To give you a sense of how many flowers were planted this year- 104,000 bulbs were purchased for the Garden for the 2012 display season. Bulbs were planted in the Garden beds and potted up into 3,300 display pots last fall. Tulips – 48,000 for garden beds and pots (18,000 in beds, 30,000 in pots, 47 varieties) Daffodils – 24,000 for garden beds and pots (36 varieties) Other bulbs (hyacinth, muscari, etc.) – 32,000!!

Last night was a winter wonderland with each room decorated to the hilt with Christmas decorations and sweet treats to purchase (owls were the main theme.) Below is a chandelier in the dining room covered in owls and greenery. 

Cocktails, live music, and a dinner followed.   The entrance to the home sparkled with white lights everywhere. The columns are made of white tavernelle marble and greet guests with Georgian grandeur.  The estate is always looking for passionate volunteers to help keep it running efficiently and smoothly.   Sweet treats in the kitchen of the estate for purchase. 

What to Wear This Holiday Season- Black Tie Affairs

Skip the long gown this holiday and go for a maxi skirt and top. There are so many fun ways to personalize this look—beaded maxi skirt with simple silk top, or a solid colored maxi skirt and a metallic or beaded bustier. Not only will you stand out among all the other ladies wearing gowns, you’ll have great separates to add to your closet when the night is over and the last glass of champagne has been poured!

Men, nothing beats a clean, simple perfectly cut black tux. To add a dash of personality, play with your studs and cuff links.  With a slew of options out there, you can let your personality shine through with colored stones, or a fun motif.  Either way, you are sure to be the envy of every other gent in the room. 

Of course the key to rocking any ensemble is confidence. If you’d like more fashion tips or help building your holiday wardrobe, the stylists at Tog + Porter would love to help you. At the time of this posting, we are only able to service female clients.

About Tog + Porter

Tog + Porter was started to help busy, style-conscious women who want to look current, polished and put together, but would rather spend precious free time enjoying families, building careers or finding love –in other words, anywhere but lost in the racks. Think of Tog + Porter like a personal shopper, stylist and specialty boutique all in one. We match women with style experts for personalized sessions over Skype, then ship boxes stocked with fashion finds chosen just for them straight to their doorstep. Follow Tog + Porter on twitter @togandporter, Facebook and Pinterest.

(images via,,,,,,,,,,, and Camilla Basse, Tog + Porter Stylist.)

What to Wear This Holiday Season- Cocktail Parties

Our friends at Tog + Porter suggest that Linx ladies make the season all about the accessories. Opt for a dress with clean lines in a solid color of the season. Our favorites are emerald green, lipstick red, and oxblood. Navy, metallic gold and black are also always good choices. 

To stand out from the crowd, personalize the look with a beaded blazer, metallic tights, a statement necklace, earring or fabulous handbag. Sequins are big this season, try using them in an unexpected way, like on a blazer or cardigan. And last, but not least–don’t forget to coordinate your nail color to polish off your ensemble.

Men, take your bold blazer from your office party and have some fun with your look by adding a bow tie in a rich hue, festive plaid, or fun polka dot. Pair this with your skinniest of trousers (very in right now) and a great pair of shoes.

What to Wear This Holiday Season – Office Parties

In modern culture, we’re led to believe being single for the holidays is somehow tragic. That singletons “should” spend the season feeling sorry for themselves and thinking about why they are missing their “plus one.” We at Tog + Porter think quite the contrary and believe our friends at Linx would agree.

As Andy Williams once sang, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” It might just be the perfect time for you to find love if you give yourself the opportunity. After all, love is in the air, party invites are rolling in and the streets are full of hustle and bustle. 

So get yourself out there! Accept all party invites and get ready to show what a fun and joyful spirit you are. And make sure your wardrobe reflects it. Your holiday attire should sparkle just as bright as you do. We’ve created a holiday cheat sheet of what to wear to each and every holiday festivity.

What should I wear to my office holiday party?” is a question we hear frequently. The answer—think of your everyday office attire with a little extra pizazz. For example, in lieu of your regular wool trousers go for a metallic pair or a slim-fit tuxedo pant. Partner them with your favorite silk blouse, a blazer, statement jewelry and throw on a pair of strappy ankle strap shoes.

Gentleman, we suggest you go for a bold blazer or V-neck sweater. A velvet blazer in a dark green or blue hue is a nice unexpected surprise, especially when paired with bright festive accessories. A sweater in a rich purple will be the perfect festive piece to compliment your everyday office look.

Silicon Valley Dating | Startups Silicon Valley on Bravo

If you live in the Bay Area and are involved in the tech or entrepreneur lifestyle, chances are you’ve been glued to Bravo’s new show produced by Randi Zuckerberg called Start-Ups Silicon Valley. Like anything in life, there are the haters and there are those who love it. I’m enjoying it, particularly as it is bringing some fun and lightheartedness to the Valley.

Tonight was Episode three and the reality cast exposed audiences to a level deeper with the grittiness of start-ups and the emotional pangs of being a founder (for some broke, frustrated, sleep deprived, annoyed, loveless, etc.)  In true reality tv fashion, the show also does a great job at exposing the personal lives of each member (all are single and there is a lot of cross-pollination of cast members. Think hot tubbing, partying together, boozing, hook-ups, jealousy, temper tantrums, etc.)

The female cast members are strong willed, outspoken, and sometimes very unfiltered! These characters (Hermoine Way, Kim Taylor, Sarah Austin) also do a good job showing young females audience views that women can go into tech, be start-up founders, and create a lucrative roadmap for all women out there. Silicon Valley needs a show featuring some founders in their 30’s and 40’s who’ve really been through multiple cycles, failures, and triumphs. I was shocked to read everyone expect Ben Way and Kim are under 30.

The Valley is so small, I often see acquaintances on the show and in tonight’s episode a patron of my Linx Dating “Link & Drink” networking event. Tonight was Ethan Anderson who was giving professional advice to Kim Taylor at a cafe in the city. I was thinking “hey I recognize that guy, oh yeah, I recruited him to be at one of my events.” (he attended back in 2010 at The Rosewood Hotel).  Yes, I do recruit people for my events where I will email them, invite them, and hope the show up. In fact, one super handsome guy I recruited (founder type) attended one of my last events and ended up meeting his now wife from my event! Pat on my back, thank you….

Tonight had cast member Dwight Crow chat with Kim Taylor in Palo Alto over wine (that she ordered). Dwight, honey boo boo, you gotta order the drinks next time. Don’t let a girl order drinks for you/her). 

Dwight, like so many tenacious founders lives and works out of his tiny Mountain View apartment trying to build his company. He’s cute, quirky, and clearly very smart- yet he doesn’t have a penny to his name. Does this matter when it comes to finding the love of your life? How important is it to find a guy with a nest egg or if there is no nest egg, with a decent salary? I’d be curious to get your honest thoughts? Dating an entrepreneur is one of the most challenging types to fall for- I know as I am one and I married one! That said, being one the wild ride of being an entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley has been the best decision I have ever made professionally. One could argue starting with nothing and building together can make a couple strong right? Send me your thoughts….

Tonight, Sarah Austin uses a terms I’ve never heard before called “date cheating.” She ends up splashing this hottie Jay she has one date with a cocktail when out with friends (yet in his mind it had been an uber casual evening and they were just “hanging out”) when she discovered he has been out with her quasi-rival Hermoine Way that night before for a “real” date.

First of all, I always thought that the purpose of dating is that you aren’t committed to one person till you go exclusive? Being single is about having freedom to date whoever and whenever, right?

My advice if you really like someone is to have a few more people in your back pocket. It makes dating so much easier versus weighing everything on that ONE person. A girls gotta get out there and kiss a lot of frogs. She also has to be busy, have a life, and not put all her freegin’ eggs into one basket.

And on that note, the featured song is Ru Paul “Supermodel.” Work it girl….

Two minutes after posting this and tweeting this my post was favorites by KimTaylor. Love how quick people respond with Twitter, FB, you name it!

Kim Taylor (@kimmytaylor) favorited one of your Tweets!

Finding Love during the Holidays!


We had an incredible client come into our office recently ready to focus on finding the love of his life. He is truly one of our favorite “types” here at Linx – think brainy Silicon Valley exec dressed casually, successful yet super down-to-earth, charismatic, globally minded and with the kindest heart ever. 
This guy is in his 30’s, having spent most of his life working on his stellar education and building his super impressive career. This is “his time” to find “the one.” Time is a major factor for him- from not only working long hours but frankly not wanting to spin his wheels with random dating avenues out there.  Beyond this, he is trusting of our ultra-personalized approach and I am that confident he will enter each Linx introduction with the purest open heart and intentions. No games, no hidden messages, no not calling back. If this type of guy is into you, he will let you know and not waste anytime. Like a lot of of “gems” of men, he was referred in by a very trusted source that I know very well and admire. 
These kind of men are the marrying kind and for women it can sometimes be a little tricky to create a substantive lasting connection beyond the first date. Our typical Linx male client is so intellectual that looks only go so far. There is real depth there. In other words, their dream girl is someone who will need to inspire them, challenge them and push them in all directions. She must be driven and independent yet have a firm grasp on the concept of togetherness – having that warmth and compassion to build a strong foundation for a loving and lasting relationship.  Together, they will make a dynamic team and without one another, able to exist but perhaps not be at the fullest capacity they were put on this earth to be.  
Where do guys like this hang out? It certainly varies according to individual but in their free time outside of the grind think: book stores, game night at a friends home,  indoor rock climbing gyms, lectures, continuing education classes, on airplanes (since they travel so much), dinner parties at friends, soccer fields, gym, etc. What this means is you must get out there to increase your chances of finding love this holiday season! Be merry, have fun, and do something different! 
The song selection for this entry is “Without You” by the one and only Mariah Carey

Holidays at Linx

Linx is glittering with holiday accents. We’ve gotten into the Christmas spirit here in a big way. One of my favorite decorations is a handmade tree from Horchow that stands about 4 feet tall on a zinc antique pedestal table in our office. The tree lights up the room with her silver twig branches, opalescent pearl beads, and sparkling ornaments I hung on it. Candles twinkle all around it on the table next to photographs of some of our Linx couples. 

There is a very old fireplace in our office too which is filled with large candles on sparkly bases with red and silver ornaments on the floor of the fireplace. As a non-funtional fireplace, this provides the ultimate way to light a room up and create a magical look without polluting the air! Candied faux berries fall gracefully over the fireplace with two handmade stockings ready for santa on either side. Vintage shabby chic-esque books, painting, stocking holders, and paper ornaments saying “peace” and “hope” line the mantle. We receive an over-the-top floral display every couple of weeks from the city and this weeks arrangement stands about 5 feet tall with orchids, red berries, and many other colorful branches.   Such a beauty! 

The Season of Sparkle and Glitz

was tweeting with someone who liked my post late last night about already decorating for the Christmas holidays. I replied to his tweet stating I think I might be the first in the Silicon Valley to already go nutzo with my holiday planning and decorating. I love collecting arts and crafts and spending way too much time (and money) on sites like Horchow. When Horchow has a seasonal sale, I am there, practically glued to my computer studying each whimsical piece and asking myself do I really need this. So often the answer is a flat out no but I can’t help myself and I love pretty things… 

Here is a glimpse into my living room at home….I love LOVE my fireplace and had it built literally from hand (it look the masons weeks to construct my “old world” look). This season I am doing a silver glitz  look with soft hints of blue and quite possibly chocolate too. Pinecones, twinkle lights, berries, and more.

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year and I already warned my family members that the table will not be decorated with sweet little autumn gourds, carved out pumpkins filled with seasonal flowers, or Turkey napkin ring holders (yes I have those too) this year. The food will certainly be all about Thanksgiving and I might even bring my Vietri turkey sculpture out to grace us with her presence but that is it!  Instead, Christmas has arrived at the Andersen home and at the Linx office too. Oh my!  I’m already listening to Jazz holiday music and lighting my fire at home- nesting to say the least.  Who wants to go out when home is so cozy?

Stockings for Santa….

I‘ll be posting more throughout December about my holiday decorating and festivities but thought I’d mention a great source of inspiration for any of you readers who are in the seasonal decoration mood like me! Today one of my dearest friends, Renee, and I headed up to the city on a perfectly clear day- lots of surfers out along our drive to The Legion of Honor where my adorable and creative mom had purchased us tickets to see the floral guru of floral deities, Mr. Ron Morgan, speak. 

The ladies ooh-ing and aww-ing over Ron’s incredible glitz wreath made from bottoms of water bottles. He painstakingly spent months with a razor removing the bottom of water bottles and cutting each one in the shape of a snowflake. Afterwards he covered the edges of these hundreds of snowflakes in white silverly glitter. “I stared at the bottom of my water bottle one day and said OMG, I see a snowflake.” And that is how Ron’s creation developed- don’t you just love that? 

The legion’s auditorium was packed full of friendly, festive ladies wanting to see Ron’s latest holiday creations for wreath making. Ron, who is apparently 80 years old (and looks maybe 60), stood on the stage having all of us girls giggle as he joked (but not really) about being covered in glitter half the time, how epoxy glue from ACE smells SOOOO fabulous (and for those note takers not to ever use a glue gun when doing your creative projects as the glue turns yellow, looks bad, and doesn’t have the stamina that epoxy glues does), and the basics of wreath making from the master himself (buy a styrofoam circle for your wreath at a shop like Michael’s or Fantastico in San Francisco, cover the back in cardboard as styrofoam breaks easily, and wrap the majority  of the wreath in floral tape. The back of the wreath will be ugly but who cares when the front is a magical wonder and will last for many years to come!) 

Hard to view but a vision of chocolates and white. Ron loves using two colors. He started with a gorgeous rich velvety mocha ribbon and worked the wreath from there…adding sweet doves, acorns, and cinnamon sticks too (neat huh?) His advice is to always start with one source of inspiration and play from there. Play, have fun, don’t get too tense about it looking one way or the other. He shares that wreaths should not be perfect, instead they should have irregularities, have depth to them (never flat), and your heart poured into them.60 ties, yes 60 red and green ties went into the making of this festive wreath fit for a man. Ron went to a zillion resale shops and the Alameda flea market (his all time favorite spot) to locate all of these ties. Ron said he has boxes and boxes and hundreds (I bet you thousands) of boxes in his warehouse. If he isn’t needing those ties he just bought (or whatever it is at the time) he shoves them into their little home and told the audience he knows where each and every item is in his warehouse- how amazing is that?  This wreath would be so sweet to do for a hubbies’ work, boyfriends home office, or beau’s master bedroom or closet. Handsome and elegant does the trick. 

Ron admitted to the audience that one of his biggest and scariest thoughts would be to wake up one day in his physical body but not have any creative genius left in his mind. Good point and scary thought! Keep creating Ron! I suggest for anyone wanting to get into the holiday spirit to purchase one of his books such as The Center of Attention by Ron Morgan.  I think I’ll be borrowing my mom’s next time I see her.

Renee and I at Ron Morgan’s talk today….

Wreaths on display at the lecture and Ron showing off his snowflake wonder….



Birds of a feather…..

The Economist just published an interesting piece called The Geography of Start-Ups, Something in the Air, Why Birds of a Tech Feather Flock Together.
The distilled message of the piece argues that following economic theory, companies of all sizes (esp the small ones) tend to gravitate together due to a variety of reasons: ideas, labor, access to money, proximity of advice…thus a magnetic effect.

In the Valley people are also close to the latest ideas. “Ideas are exposed to that little tiny region possibly years ahead of the rest of the world,” reckons Mr Stoppelman. “You are always building on the idea that came immediately before. If you are trying to build the thing that comes next, early access to information about the things that are out there helps you.”

Does this thinking carry over to the dating game? Absolutely. Eligible people are drawn to vibrant locations that house other like-minded professionals. Condensed metropolitan locations like San Francisco are a great example where one city can sustain itself built on ecosystem after ecosystem of living hubs. For instance, those folks who choose SOMA, compared to Pac Heights or The Mission   often flock to a neighborhood that defines them, arguably to be around others like them (and if single to increase the probability at meeting a mate who is near them and like them). In other words, the neighborhood you choose is a direct extension of your personality, right?  

At Linx, we have a lot of clients that are very specific in their requests. An example might be “ideally she’s more  of a mission sorta- girl and not Pac Heights” or she says, “it would be preferred if he was comfortable in Russian Hill or the surrounding neighborhoods compared to the Sunset, Dog Patch.”  

Like the start-ups that nest together, single men and women do the exact same thing. Sociographics, demographics all parlay into access to ideas that could be intriguing, proximity to the types of mates they would like to end up with, and I’d say most importantly being comfortable (safe, happy, at ease) in your surrounding.  This comfort can become very close-minded when dating- not only wanting a match just like yourself but never leaving your neighborhood because your own ecosystem has everything it needs in it- so why leave and diversify? Can  banding together with your “type” of like-minded person potentially harm the dating game? In other words, do you feel broadening your reach is important when casting your dating net?

I‘d love your thoughts on this as well…write me