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When my friend Jennifer handed me a beautiful gold-wrapped package at Christmas I was intrigued. She told me that she bought me some goodies from Emporio Rulli which is an Italian bakery in the Bay Area. I had never heard of Rulli but Jennifer raved about it and made a special trip to Larkspur with her mom to buy Christmas gifts from the shop so I was really excited to try these cookies.

You would expect that I tore open that package as soon as I had an opportunity, right? No. You see, I was the child whose Halloween candy lasted for months. I don’t eat or drink quickly because I like to savor everything. So I waited and waited to open these cookies. Finally, nearly three weeks later, I cracked it open. I figured since the cookies have been wrapped they probably weren’t stale. And they weren’t!

The cookies looked beautiful and delicious and I didn’t know which one to try first. Well, that’s not true. I immediately went for the one covered in pistachios. Yum! I’ve eaten four now and they are all so tasty. And they’re all different which is even better because I’ll get to try about 20 different types of cookies.

So, after I dug into the cookies I actually searched for the Emporio Rulli website and guess what? The owners, Gary and Jeannie Rulli, also own Ristobar, a restaurant in SF’s Marina district which I visited and wrote about almost a year ago. It’s a full-circle moment 🙂

Apparently, Gary Rulli is known for his panettone but I would be happy going back again and again for the cookies.

Locations:

Emporio Rulli

464 Magnolia Avenue

Larkspur, California 94939

(415) 924-7478

larkspur@rulli.com

Ristobar

2300 Chestnut St. at Scott Street in the Marina District

San Francisco, CA 94123

(415)923-6464

WWW.RISTOBARSF.COM

Emporio Rulli il Caffe (in Union Square, San Francisco)

Located On top of the Square in the Stockton & Powell Street Pavilions
At the corner of Stockton & Post & At the corner of Powell & Geary
unionsq@rulli.com
Emporio-Rulli SFO
International Terminal and Domestic Terminal 3
~Christina
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I love my oatmeal. I usually cook McCann’s on the stove and add mashed banana, walnuts, raisins and almond milk. But sometimes I’m lazy and just want something super quick and easy to make. Like instant oatmeal! I recently came across a cereal brand called Three Sisters. The packaging caught my eye at Whole Foods (where it is sold exclusively) and so did the flavors. Besides the typical cinnamon and apples and brown sugar and maple flavors, Three Sisters instant oatmeal is also made in dark chocolate, chai spiced and cinnamon plum spiced. So far I’ve tried the cinnamon and apples and the chai spiced. They are both so good! Three Sisters uses the thicker, heartier type of oatmeal (which my dad couldn’t couldn’t stand because he likes his oatmeal finer and mushier) and touts their products as “natural, sensible, sustainable cereals” which I totally support.

I was a little surprised to see that Three Sisters is a Malt-O-Meal brand because it has the appearance of a small start-up (very clever, Malt-O-Meal…). But of course, almost everything sold at Whole Foods has that mom-and-pop look about it.

Perhaps the best thing about this oatmeal is the fact that the pouch the cereal comes in doubles as a measuring cup. There’s a fill line on the wrapper so you know exactly how much water to use and it couldn’t be handier. I love the fact that I don’t have to guess whether I’ve added enough water to the bowl. All the work is done for me.

And I can’t wait to try the other flavors. Except plain. Yuck.

~Christina

Since the holidays just ended, I’m sure you have acquired some new threads (either as a gift from someone else or a gift to yourself) or need some new threads for winter. So what better time is there to go through your closet and get rid of the stuff you never wear (come on, you know you’re never going to wear that again) or the stuff that’s out of style. And make sure you add some of these items to your wardrobe:

1. A nice warm sweater. Or sweaters.

Pullover, zip-up, cardigan… I see a lot of stripes out there. I love bundling up in the cold weather and I live in sweaters and scarves.

2. Wool pants.

Especially if you don’t own a long coat. Who wants their legs to freeze in the winter? Brrr!

3. A warm coat.

Down, wool, whatever material works for you as long as it’s warm!

4. Pencil skirt.

You can still wear skirts in cold weather. Pencil skirts with tights or boots work well.

5. Boots.

My favorite thing about winter is being able to wear boots. And every year I struggle to find just the right pair (and my indecision usually leads to not buying any).

6. Hats and scarves.

Crucial for cold weather. Don’t freeze because you’re trying to look cute. I wouldn’t have survived one winter in NYC if I didn’t wear hats and scarves. And there are so many styles out there that even people who don’t think they look good in hats can find something that will flatter them.

A few ideas…

Winter Outfit #1

Winter Outfit #2

Winter Outfit #3

(click on the photos for merchandise information via my Polyvore account)

~Christina

Here’s a New Year’s resolution you can actually keep: get that kitchen organized. We’re all busy people and it’s easy to let things go and put things off but the beginning of the new year is all about making changes for the better and starting it off right. If you find yourself digging around in your kitchen drawers and moving everything around to find the pan you just know is in the cabinet somewhere, this post is for you.

First of all, don’t let the nature of the task overwhelm you. Even small changes can make a big difference. But think of how much easier life will be if you can actually find what you’re looking for in your kitchen. Even if you’re not a person who cooks a lot, having a less cluttered and more organized kitchen will be good for your well being. The place where you store your food should never be dirty, dusty, cluttered or scary. If you need some inspiration, look no further:

Tip #1: Group like items together

It sounds like a no-brainer, but you should store items together by type. So, cereals should be on the same shelf, pot holders and kitchen towels in the same drawer, pots in the same cabinet, etc. By the same token, items should be placed in the area of the kitchen where you are most likely to use them. So store pots and pans next to the oven and glasses next to the fridge.

Tip #2: Use containers inside the fridge to prevent messes and clutter

Many of us limit ourselves to the drawers and shelves that are built into the fridge but there’s no reason you can’t purchase additional containers to organize your food. The fridge always ends up dirty because jars topple over and spill or produce goes bad and leaves that yucky brown juice in the drawer. But if you use containers that can be removed easily and washed out, your fridge will be easier to keep clean and keep organized.

An organized fridge. Source: Container Store

Tip #3: Use clear containers to store grains

Not only does storing your grains in clear containers look more appealing but also helps keep your food fresh and prevents little bugs and critters from infesting your food.

Clear Canisters Source: Container Store

Tip #4: Use hanging racks and insertable shelves to store pots and pans

Pots and pans are the most annoying items to organize. I always end up pulling them all out of the cabinet to find the one I need which is usually buried waaaaay in the back. A hanging rack (I’ve always wanted one of these) or even a removable shelf can make your life so much easier. I would also recommend a Lazy Susan or cabinet carousel (yes!).

Hanging Pot Rack Source: Target

Cabinet Carousel Source: IKEA

Tip #5: Put utensils in an easy-to-reach area by hanging them on the wall or storing them in a caddy on the countertop

Instead of keeping your utensils in a drawer, where they’re piled on top of each other and jumbled together, hang them on the wall using a bar and hooks. Or, an easier solution is to keep them in a container on top of the counter. They will be within reach while you’re cooking and you won’t have to hunt around in a drawer to find what you need.

Source: Contempoo

Ceramic Rooster Utensil Holder Source: Amazon

Italian Utensil Crocks Source: Sur La Table

We would love to hear your best tips for organizing the kitchen!

~Christina

‘Tis the season for holiday parties! But what to wear?

Don’t be afraid of color. For someone like me (who doesn’t like to stand out) it’s easier said than done (but I’m working in it). The holidays are also a good time to add sparkle to your outfit but still play it safe with neutral tones.

If you’re attending a work event, be careful of the hemlines and cleavage. Of course, each company has its own policies, but I would save the sexier outfits for events that don’t involve colleagues.

The biggest issue with dressing for the holidays is the weather. Wearing cute little dresses can be a horrible experience this time of year with the colder temperatures (brrr!). Wool coats, long coats, scarves and hats are sometimes necessary, depending on where you live. And we haven’t forgotten that. So we’ll be posting a follow-up on cute winter gear that you can wear while dressing up. In the meantime, to view the sources for the items listed above, as well as pricing and retail information, check out my Polyvore page here.

~Christina

Casa is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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