Things We Like: San Francisco Micro Living

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

How small is too small when it comes to the size of your apartment? Sure a one bedroom would be nice and a three bedroom would be even better, but you could probably get by just fine as a single adult with a studio. What about a micro studio?

Popular in urban centers like London and Tokyo, so-called micro studio apartments have developed to meet the needs of cost conscious, single adults who want to live in the city. While micro studios aren’t the epitome of luxury living, they provide all (or most of) the creature comforts an urban explorer needs.

Embracing the trend towards smaller, more affordable urban apartments, San Francisco city officials recently passed an ordinance that allows the development of what will be some of the smallest micro studios in the world. At 220 square feet these new micro studios will feature a bathroom, closet, and integrated living space that serves as the kitchen/dining room/bedroom/living room (though not all at the same time as the bed has to be folded up before the dining table can be used). To meet code, each unit must have at least 150 square feet of integrated living space, a bathroom and a closet. Space will be tight! The plan calls for an initial 375 test units to be built before finalizing the ordinance.

As you can imagine, furnishing such a small space requires a lot of careful planning. A while back, I wrote an article on maximizing bedroom space in a small apartment, and many of those tips are equally applicable to micro apartments—you just need to scale down the furniture even more.

The bed is the first thing you’ll need to plan for in a micro apartment, since even a twin-sized bed can take up just under 21 square feet, or 15 percent of your total living space. A Murphy bed is a given to help maximize your space in a micro apartment. The dining table is also another space hog. However one clever combination of sleeping/dining area had the Murphy bed fold onto a support table, which doubled as a dining table when the Murphy bed was folded up. I thought it was a pretty smart use of space.

If you want to read more about San Fran’s micro apartments click here.

Could you make it in a micro studio? Maybe they could be marketed as a luxurious alternative to Alcatraz. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Breakfast in Bed: Cranberry-Orange Holiday Crêpes

Post by Alison Hein

I’m standing on the checkout line at Trader Joe’s, wheeling my shopping cart to the register, chatting inanely with the cashier as she scans my selections…

Me: “Nice day, no?”
Marge (the cashier): “That’s for sure, especially considering the terrible weather we just had.”
Me: “Yes. I see you had to replace the floor.”
Marge: “And all the registers, too!”
Me: “Yikes.”
Marge: “Say, what are you going to do with these cranberries?”
Me: “Uh, make cranberry sauce?” (Didn’t want to tell Marge I wasn’t exactly sure.)
Marge: “Here’s what you should do – chop up an orange, juice and all, and add it to the cranberries. Then stir in ¾ cup of sugar, and just let it sit in the fridge overnight! People love it and are so impressed I don’t have the heart to tell them how easy it is!”
Me: “Thanks! I’m gonna try that!”

Well, I don’t have the heart to tell Marge that I couldn’t stop myself from cooking the sauce, but I will go back and thank her for the inspiration for a festive holiday breakfast in bed recipe!

Cranberry-Orange Sauce
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1 orange, chopped into small cubes
½ cup orange juice or water
½ cup honey or sugar
¼ cup slivered almonds (optional)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves

Place cranberries, orange, orange juice, honey, almonds, cinnamon and cloves in a small, heavy pot. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook at a bubbling simmer for about 10 minutes until the berries pop and the sauce begins to thicken.

Makes approximately 2 cups sauce.

1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Powdered sugar for garnish

In large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Whisk in milk and egg until batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest a few minutes before cooking.

Heat about 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy 6-inch pan over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add ¼ cupful of batter to pan, swirling to cover bottom. Cook pancake 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned, flipping once. Keep warm while cooking remaining pancakes, monitoring heat and adding oil as necessary.

To assemble, place crêpes on serving plates. Spread each crêpe with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cranberry-orange sauce. Roll up, top with an additional tablespoon or so of cranberry-orange sauce, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Makes 6 to 7 pancakes.

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Bedroom Design: Branching Out

Post by Laura Cheng.

In my spare time, I shop. Mostly online shopping during the wee hours of the night. Insomnia shopping is dangerous. Items that I don’t recall purchasing find themselves on my doorstep. Stores that I have visited recently include Anthropologie, West Elm, and Pottery Barn. These stores actually have more things in common than my credit card. They all have items that are featured in my blog this week about branch decor. A companion to my leaf decor blog a couple of week ago, branches are showcasing themselves within the bedroom as a natural and interesting alternative to decorating this fall. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there was definitely not a shortage of fallen tree limbs. Inspired by mother nature and my shopping addiction, and not to mention Veteran’s Day is today, this week’s blog is a eulogy to all the fallen branches.

Towards this end of Anthropologie’s winter catalog, you will find this masculine water pitcher. Its antler like branches mean business. The Surroyal Pitcher is a creative alternative to the plastic water bottle that I tote to bed to alleviate any late night thirst. If not used as a pitcher, it could also be used a vase on the nightstand.


Branch decor can be in many different widths and thicknesses. Sandy’s aftermath brought down not only limbs, but entire trees. Throughout my neighborhood, tree trunks were being piece-mealed for disposal. What a shame to see such organically beautiful trunks being tossed out as mulch when retailers such as West Elm are selling them for close to $200. Stumps can be used alongside the bed in lieu or in addition to existing nightstands. The latter will give you the extra real estate space you need to set down Anthropolgie’s branch pitcher above.


At Pottery Barn Kids, Christmas is in full effect. Despite the overwhelming Christmas decor, the four poster tree branch bed was the only thing that kept my attention. Close up, the tree trunk was the perfect selection and texture of gray and white. It was attached to the headboard and footboard of a simple oak bed using nautical rope. Truly inspiring considering similar types of branches are currently being tossed as rubbish. Despite the havoc that Sandy caused, there is still beauty to be seen in it, even in the bedroom.

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Bedtime Stories: Myths and Heroes

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Look and Find Myths and Heroes written my Melanie Zanoza Barteime; illustrated by Douglas Holgate.

So you love looking for Waldo but perhaps you have found him already. Or maybe you long to seek something hidden in a crowd but also want to tell yourself it’s “educational”? Well, then, look no further! Look and Find Myths and Heroes has it all! Is that Artemis I see, poised with her bow? Look out, Theseus! There’s the Minotaur, right behind you! Now where is that awesome Heracles T-shirt?

Okay, so this isn’t high art or cultural studies, in fact despite the subject matter, there is practically no information about any of these personages from ancient Greek culture. And they are not nearly as challenging as the Waldo books; each page looks like one corner of Where’s Waldo? blown up into a two-page spread. But you know what? It’s still pretty busy and it’s still pretty fun. There’s tons of stuff to look for, including protein shakes for Heracles, Apollo’s lyre and souvlaki for, well, all the Greeks! Nevertheless, if you are looking to learn anything about mythology, this book is sadly lacking in even the most basic information. But for a quick little mental challenge before bedtime, it’s definitely worth a look.

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Movies in Bed: Live Blogging Charlie Brown

Post by Josh Zinn.

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving, dear readers! Instead of a normal review, we have brought you a live-blog of the holiday favorite, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Enjoy!

0:05 – Okay, here we go. Lucy is questioning Charlie Brown’s masculinity via a game of football. Equating the kicking of the pigskin with the thanks we give as a nation, she clearly understands how insecurity and patriotism go hand in hand.

2:02 – “What did you expect? A turkey card?” Sally Brown delving into surrealism as she ponders the US Mail System. All these kids seem so troubled by holidays. Oh jeez, here comes Linus to ruin everyone’s fun by explaining what Thanksgiving is really about. Blah, blah, blippity bloo.

3:45 – Rosie O’Donnell calls Charlie Brown, pretending to be someone named Peppermint Patty. She invites herself over for Thanksgiving. She keeps calling him Chuck and demands he save her the drumstick and the neck. Fans of Rosie will remember her predilection for turkey necks, so this should come as no surprise…

6:00 – Chuck’s having a meltdown. Now he has a bunch of kids coming over for dinner and he’s going to his Grammy’s house. Of course! Let’s just have two dinners and ask the dog to cook!!

7:10 – Some god awful jazz music is playing whilst Snoopy and Woodstock prep ping-pong tables for the big event. It’s pre-Sandra Lee tablescaping on a budget! “Little Birrrrdy….” Seriously, this song is filler. Snoopy is caught between said ping-pong tables, yet emerges triumphant. Alas, now the Adirondack chair is now assaulting him. That’s life.

10:15 – Rosie and her friends (including that poor girl Marci, who wear glasses yet has no pupils) have taken it upon themselves to decide that this Thanksgiving should be contempo-casual. “You can come as you are,” she proclaims while Kurt Cobain shudders from the heavens.

11:00 – Snoopy is cooking! Toast is toasting. Butter is buttering. Popcorn is popcorning. This is a very carb-heavy Thanksgiving; I suggest some Activia for dessert. Does anyone find it gruesome that a bird is helping to cook this feast?

13:10 – Snoopy and Woodstock are now dressing up as Pilgrims, cause Snoopy, y’know, just had that outfit lying around. What if someone dressed up as Snoopy and then dressed up as a pilgrim as well? Thankful Furrying? Charlie Brown does the right thing and puts that dog in a chef’s hat.

15:13 – Ding Dong! Rosie’s here

15:35 – Everyone is seated. Outside. In November. I never knew Peanuts took place in Palm Beach.

16:00 – Oh god, Linus is explain Thanksgiving AGAIN. Give it a rest kid. No one likes someone being the moral compass at every party. At least he’s surrounded by what look like raspberry parfaits.

17:20 – Rosie is flipping her lid. Jellybeans? Popcorn? Obviously the woman is open-minded because she seems not to mind a dog serving her. Let it be known, though, never give Rosie O’Donnell a pretzel stick or she’ll ream you. Rude.

17:35 – Shot of Sally eating. She’s useless.

18:25 – It takes a girl without eyes to muster up the courage to put Rosie in her place. There’s a parable there, I think. Now she’s asking Marci to hit on Charlie Brown for her. This cartoon is very unrealistic.

19:10 – Linus is bringing up Myles Standish AGAIN. Stand down, blanket boy!
20:13 – Rosie apologizes and asks not to play, “lovers games.” Again, unrealistic.

21:20 – Chuck’s talking to Grams on the phone and she sounds like she’s chewing on a mouthful of squirrels. She invites everyone to come to her condo for Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, that’s right. Palm Beach.

21:45 – They all leave Snoopy behind so that he and Woodstock can eat a turkey dinner Snoopy’s been hoarding in his doghouse. Again, Woodstock, a little bird, is eating a turkey. This seems very wrong.
22:00 – And it’s all over and what we’re left with are the credits and Snoopy gorging himself on pumpkin pie and guilt. Blame it on Rosie.

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