On My Nightstand | Fall 2014

Healthy 2014 Booklist

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an avid book reader, but only non-fiction. I know this irks some of my novel-reading friends as the last time I read a fiction book was probably in high school for English class (if you don’t count the bazillion times I’ve read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my two boys over the years, even though I think there are some undeniable non-fiction elements hidden in that one — caterpillars eating ice cream? I’m sure somewhere around the world caterpillars have eaten ice cream). I’ve also noticed that I’ve been reading more since we’ve gotten rid of our cable/satellite, even though I still wonder where the time has gone by the end of the day?!?

So, in keeping with my non-fiction tradition, my nightstand is currently overflowing with books about food, healthy lifestyles, design, and God. I’ll admit I rarely read books from start to finish (a perk of reading non-fiction!) and always read them simultaneously, which means it takes me awhile to get through them all. Right now, here’s what’s been keeping me up late at night.

1 | Eat, Move, Sleep | Tom Rath

This book is all about making small changes in the way you eat, move and sleep in order to make big changes in your health, mood, productivity and life overall. I used to love watching Oprah whenever she’d have some sort of health guru like Dr. Oz or Bob Greene on her show. It was always a nice kick in the butt for me to start exercising more or watching what I eat. So, this book was a great read with lots of studies about how our lack of movement and carb-overloaded diets are slowly killing us. My husband would never read a book like this on his own, so before bed, I periodically read aloud little tidbits of knowledge for him, like the detriments of eating fried and barbecued foods — I know he appreciates it in his own special way ;) 

2 | The Oh She Glows Cookbook | Angela Liddon

This is a vegan cookbook based off the author’s blog, Oh She Glows. Although I’m not vegan (tried that & failed miserably), I’m always wanting to eat less meat and incorporate more veggies into my diet. Plus the pictures in this book are really well-done, which is unfortunately not true of many vegan cookbooks with very unpleasant looking pictures of their food. Why does healthy food often get portrayed so terribly? Anyways, I made her Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and had my friend and her meat-eating husband try one. They scarfed down about a half dozen of them between the two of them, so I’d say that recipe was a keeper. 

3 | The Paleo Kitchen | Juli Bauer & George Bryant

I am not a paleo nor do I necessarily agree with everything paleos choose to eat in their diet, but I think there is lot to learn from paleos and their food choices. I appreciate their desire to avoid processed foods, refined oils and sugars and eat fruits and vegetables, but I do like my beans and prefer to go easy on the meat. This cookbook has a lot of mouth-watering photography and simple ingredients, which are a great plus for real-world cooks like myself. There are also tips about what to eat, what to buy and equipment to use, all in a fun design with illustrations. It’s hard to resist Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread or Candied Bacon. Cauliflower Rice is next on my to-make list!

4 | Anything | Jennie Allen

I actually read the book that was written after this, Restless, first because I was too afraid to read this one. The tagline for this book is “The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul.” For those of you who are Christ-followers, you know that praying to God that you’d be willing to do anything He calls you to do is a very scary thing. I am constantly searching for my purpose in this world and how I can be used by God to love Him and love others, but it’s no easy task to say to God that you’ll do anything that He calls you to. I am learning a lot through this book, both about myself and about God, and I especially encourage any Christian to read it — it will shake up your life — in a good way!

5 | Show Your Work | Austin Kleon  

The tagline (I love these little one-line synopses) for this book is “10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered,” and it’s mainly about the importance of artists sharing their work and ideas to not only help each other, but also to promote their work. He uses tips like “You don’t have to be a genius,” “Teach what you know,” and “Share something small every day” to help readers learn how to engage with their audience and to share their work and process without all the ugly self-promotion that so many us are uncomfortable doing. He has also written the book, Steal Like an Artist, which is another easy and inspiring read for artists and designers about creativity. I personally love sharing resources and ideas, but often feel like I don’t have much to offer or that everyone already knows this information. However, we all have something to share whether we are experts or not, which is how my Tips and Tricks posts started.

Anyone read any good books lately or have books you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear about it! Also, check out my other On My Nightstand posts for other late night read ideas!

out & about | Healdsburg Shed

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

If there’s one thing I love almost as much as food, it’s dishware and cutlery (definitely a close second)! My husband thinks I’m crazy and wonders how I could possibly need another bowl or plate, but hey, I’m not a shoe girl or spend money on jewelry, so what’s the harm in one more pretty little dish? :)

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

So when we took a trip with some friends to Wine Country one weekend and ventured through Healdsburg, CA, I pleaded if we could stop for a minute at the Healdsburg Shed (of course, I could not stay in this gorgeous place for only a minute, but that plea luckily got me in the door).

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

The Healdsburg Shed is part gourmet food store, cafe, garden, flower shop and bakery. And unfortunately to the rest of my travel companions, that was not a good thing ;).

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

I literally could spend hours here, walking around, reading bottles and jars, drinking coffee, sniffing flowers and grabbing a bite to eat.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

According to their site, Healdsburg Shed is a “market, cafe and community gathering space designed to bring us closer to the way we grow, prepare, and share food.”

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Their mission is to “celebrate and nurture the connection between good farming, good cooking and good eating.”

Neely Wang Photography

It’s truly a whole food experience.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Most of their goods are locally sourced and have an aesthetically beautiful, rustic, organic vibe.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

I’d buy these slate cheese plates for the design of their packaging alone! (Granted I don’t really eat cheese anymore, but I’m sure these would look great with some fruit or bread on them).

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

They also have a beautiful collection of little vases and pretty flowers.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Their cookware is traditional, mainly consisting of clay, ceramic, and enamel materials. The tools they sell are hand-powered, instead of electric. And their housewares collection focuses on cooking and seasonality, based on the needs of each season and what foods you’d be cooking during that time of year.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

You can never have too many spoons…or chocolate. Dandelion Chocolate — one of my faves! Lately on our travels, I’ve been collecting wooden spoons from other countries (of course, I never use them because they’re just too pretty — another reason my husband shakes his head).

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Who wouldn’t need a giant paddle spoon or scoop like these for their kitchen?

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

And more chocolate…

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

The Healdsburg Shed also has an in-house larder where customers can buy “house-made soups and stocks, farm fresh eggs, smoked fish, cured meats, farmstead cheeses, as well as a selection of prepared foods to take home.” They also had a sample of cheeses to try that day, so my kids had no qualms about making a bee-line straight towards this guy.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

When you need a break from reading labels from their dozens of varieties of olive, grapeseed and nut oils, vinegars, mustards, pastas, jams and syrups, and freshly milled flours, you can grab a seat at their coffee bar and chat with fellow foodies.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

That froth looks delish!

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Or take some coffee home if you’re too busy to take a break.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

I’ll take one of these, some of those, a couple of those….

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Love the brushed metal caps on these Ball Mason Jars!

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

They also carry a selection of farm goods and tools…

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

…and a cute little garden area with planting pots, olive topiaries and ivy plants.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

And when your hands get all dirty from all that time with mother nature, you can wash them with these handy little soaps (which knowing me, would never get opened because of the packaging).

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Or if you’re not the gardening type, you can take home fresh organic vegetables and fruits that are delivered daily by local farmers. This place has thought of everything!

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

They even have a fermentation bar in the back (which I had never heard of) where local wines, beers, kombuchas, natural sodas and hard ciders are offered.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

The second floor holds the Grange, which is “a modern interpretation of the time-honored agrarian center, bringing people together for a range of events focused on food and farming” according to this black chalkboard that greets you at the top of the steps. The Grange is where books talks, knife skill classes, and cooking classes are held. You can even take workshops about cider and cheese as well as learn how to make kombucha, kefir water & lacto fermented sodas. Chad Robertson of San Francisco Tartine Bakery is coming in September to give a talk on bread — if only I lived a wee bit closer!

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

The whole place is simply a foodie and designer paradise.

Neely Wang Sonoma Photography

Needless to say, I left the Shed empty-handed as two little hands kept tugging on my shirt to hurry up and go. I will hopefully be making a return visit soon! The whole downtown area is such a fun place to explore and the surrounding wine country is simply beautiful. If you’re ever in the Healdsburg area in Sonoma County, check out the Healdsburg Shed at 25 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448 in downtown Healdsburg!

out & about | Heath Ceramics + MUJI

 

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

I’ve been a bit distracted lately with the kids getting out of school and starting summer break that I realized I forgot to share about our final destinations on my “San Francisco Day of Fun” after Craftsman and Wolves and Dandelion Chocolate. These last two places were home decor shops, which were a perfect way to end the day, since we could not eat another bite! There were, however, two boxes filled with goodies stashed away in the car in case our appetites picked up again ;).

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Our last stops were at Heath Ceramics and MUJI. I’ve been to the Heath Ceramics Studio in Sausalito a couple of times, but had never been to their San Francisco Shop. Heath Ceramics was establish in 1948, and produces some of the most beautiful mid-century ceramic tableware. The SF Studio was surprisingly large, and even had a Blue Bottle Coffee in the same building and a place to sit and read. What I love about Heath, besides their gorgeous bowls and vases among other things, is their appreciation of other designers and craftsmen. They not only sell Heath products at their SF Studio, but also textiles, books and other home products made by other artists.

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

The whole place is very airy and bright with great light!

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

The walls are lined with their dishware collections, my favorite being the one designed for Chez Panisse in 2006.

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

The rest of the shop is filled with such beautiful things, all carefully crafted and designed…

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

….including Weck jars — I just love Weck Jars!

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

At the time I visited, they had a special exhibition showcasing David Mellor’s Cutlery. They currently have a display of sculptor Stan Bitters work.

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

It was really fascinating to see these cutlery molds…

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

…and the beginnings of spoons.

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

I initially had no idea what these were, but thought they looked cool, so I snapped a few shots :).

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

I later learned that they were the polishing mops and sanding discs for the production of spoons and forks..

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Wouldn’t it be fun to eat with these utensils? :)

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath makes their own silverware as well.

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

And these cute kid’s bowls, which I’d never let my kids use or even go near for fear of breaking them ;)

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

The studio also had this great look kitchen set-up showcasing their tile as well as some other artist’s products.

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Love this simple tea tin packaging!

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

I just liked the texture of this string. That is the nice thing about not being on assignment or on a photoshoot — you can take whatever random things you like! :)

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

And their beautiful tile, which I see popping up more and more at Bay Area shops and restaurants. 

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

I couldn’t leave without buying one of there tiny bud vases — eek, now I have 3!

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

And these are my absolute favourites — love the shape and smokey grey of these bowls — I would be too scared to use them, but oh so pretty!

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

Such a fun place to visit — almost like a modern art museum, but even better since you get to take things home!

Heath Ceramics | Neely Wang Photography

After Heath, we did a quick stop at MUJI since I had been hearing so many good things about it.

MUJI | Neely Wang Photography

Muji is a mixture of clothing, furniture and home decor — very minimal, but very thoughtfully designed with muted, natural colours.

MUJI | Neely Wang Photography

We were in a rush, so I only had time to take a few quick pictures, but loved all these little asian wooden things.

MUJI | Neely Wang Photography

MUJI | Neely Wang Photography

I guess so much of my life does revolve around food — on this trip, all we did was visit places with food and then places with things to put food on — ha! We had lots of fun — so much that we recently took another trip out to the city to visit B. Patisserie to try their famous Kouign Ammans, Outerlands and the General Store. Check back again later to see the highlights of that trip. Enjoy your weekend, and hope you explore somewhere new!