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Witty Rewind: July 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

I got back on the fitness train finally and committed to a 21-day plan through an app I tested for work, called Fitplan. I loved Brittne Babe’s plan because I have the few pieces of equipment needed and could take advantage of facilities at work, too. It also helped immensely to text a few people every day with my progress. [Workouts completed: 24]

Things were heating up in the library world as I continued my quest to read mostly books published this year. I finally got off of the waitlist for a few titles and can see why they’re so popular and well-liked. I’m really looking forward to sharing my faves in an end-of-2019 list! [Books read: 7]

The 31 days of July may be long gone, but here’s what I remember:

  1. Celebrated my birthday in wine country with dear friends
  2. Enjoyed an extra-long weekend in one of SF’s most beautiful parks
  3. Continued volunteering with the Junior League of SF through a busy summer of training events and transitions
  4. Celebrated my roommate’s birthday at a fancy schmancy, delicious dinner
  5. Was surprised with a birthday trip to Great America, California’s iconic theme park
  6. Launched the first campaign I’ve led at work to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing
  7. Hosted foreign colleagues in town for an offsite that never happened
  8. Said “no” to a few things so I could prioritize my mental and emotional well-being
  9. Saw “The Book of Mormon” when it came to San Jose and loved every minute of it
  10. Made a triumphant return to Renegade Craft Fair and didn’t buy any candles (but lots of clothes, oops)
  11. Went on some dates, kissed a few frogs, Prince Charming is still somewhere out there
  12. Saw “Up” at the SF Symphony and cried less than I expected
  13. Went wine tasting on Treasure Island but failed to participate in a book swap
  14. Showed up for a Sephora event at the wrong time … and missed the whole thing
  15. Had Irish coffees at Buena Vista Cafe — an SF tradition I never tire of
person holding inflatable decor

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Because I have zero photos ready for public consumption…

Witty Rewind: June 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

I spent the bulk of June cheering on my brother’s fitness progress and not doing a whole lot toward my own. I’ve fallen out of routines, de-prioritized healthy habits, and generally made excuses for my lack of motivation. For the first time probably ever, though, I’m not completely beating myself up for it. [Negative thoughts squashed: ~20]

While I still have a hard time abandoning books I don’t love, I did evolve a bit into trying shorter stories and more memoirs. I did my best to like some titles, but there were only a few standouts from the nine I consumed in June. [Books read: 9]

Weather be damned, here’s the rest of my June un-gloomed:

  1. Finished a Vegas trip with CHRISTINA AGUILERA and her first residency show
  2. Fought yet another mystery illness, perhaps my body’s way of saying “slow the F down”
  3. Celebrated a dear couple’s wedding and toasted with their champagne burro
  4. Made new friends via an Airbnb stay at said wedding weekend
  5. Caught up with former colleagues at a happy hour where pigeons shat on us
  6. Mourned the loss of the Warriors in Game 6
  7. Co-hosted a beach bonfire with s’mores on s’mores on s’mores
  8. Celebrated a friend’s birthday with putt-putt and got the only Hole in One on the 18th hole!
  9. Remembered Dad during a quiet, reflective Father’s Day
  10. Volunteered with kinders and then veterans for my company’s month of service program
  11. Attended Book Club, having not read the book for probably the first time ever
  12. Continued the tradition of seeing the “Sex and the City Live!” drag show at Oasis
  13. Celebrated my second mom’s birthday with bocce, barbecue, and beers
  14. Did some self-care work in the form of nails did, hair did, everything did
  15. Virtually celebrated my niece’s third birthday and sparkly cowgirl costume

Courtesy of My iPhoneThis is my new bff, Zoe. She’s a little camera-shy.

Witty Rewind: May 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

It should come as no surprise that my health and wellness focus has fallen quite off the rails. I battled a couple of allergy attacks, and my motivation has run away further than any ol’ 5K would get me. I did focus more on meditation and mindfulness, so I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. But when you’re an all-or-nothing kinda person, it def feels futile. [Minutes meditated: ~200]

What I always come back to for relaxation and rejuvenation is READING. I’ve been “competing” in a one-book-a-week challenge at work and smashed my goal of 13 books in 10 weeks, with a week still to go. From awful self-help advice to the horrors of Nazi Germany, it’s been quite a journey. [Books read: 7]

Here’s how else I spent the month of May:

  1. Celebrated Cinco with margaritas and Book Club
  2. Had a roomie reunion dinner at a new Mediterranean spot
  3. Happy-houred with former colleagues and enjoyed comped treats from the chef
  4. Dinner and a pop-up show in Oakland — truly remarkable!
  5. Canceled plans on canceled plans on canceled plans (I blame mystery illness)
  6. My oldest niece graduated from VPK! The pics are everything
  7. Volunteered with the Junior League of SF and prepped incoming leadership
  8. Sat out the annual Bay to Breakers mayhem (let’s say because of rainy forecasts)
  9. Ventured to OLIVE GARDEN with my girlfriends who truly are family
  10. Continued furnishing the new apartment, despite incomplete deliveries and delays
  11. Celebrated the end of the League year with dinners, drinks, wine country… you name it
  12. Saw the Monet exhibit before it left SF…
  13. …and ended the evening with a scary (though relatively minor) car crash
  14. Remembered how atrocious the insurance and healthcare industries are in the US
  15. Traveled to Vegas with a lot of aspirin and saw CELINE DION in one of her final shows

Image Courtesy of My iPhone

Witty Rewind: April 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

This first paragraph has been dedicated to my health and wellness journey, but tbh guys, I’ve put all that on the backburner. Yes, I bought essential oils. Yes, I practiced some yoga. Yes, I ate a lot of kale. But to say I’m the picture of health (as much as I want to) would be an utter fallacy. [Times I thought about working out: ~50]

I did bump back up my reading list with a handful of books I flew right through. There were some peaks and valleys, some tears and laughs. Overall, I’m just glad my library card is getting so much use (and that my employer reimburses books I read for my job). They’re the real MVPs. [Books read: 6]

Here’s what else I spent time doing in April:

    1. Fighting a mystery illness
    2. Seeing a Star Wars–themed burlesque show
    3. Explaining to people what/why/who/where re: a Star Wars–themed burlesque show
    4. Wine-ing with friends after a Vegas trip as a no-go
    5. Being “those people” at said wineries and giving zero Fs
    6. Spending time getting set up for the next year of Junior League
    7. Seeing former colleagues at a ladies’ happy-hour-turned-mega-celebration
    8. Worshipping a dear friend who knows how to purge crap without judgment
    9. Brunching with former colleagues at a spot I hadn’t been before
    10. Dyeing Easter eggs and enjoying homemade lemon cupcakes with a dear friend
    11. Avoiding my old apartment during countless showings, despite needing to pack
    12. MOVING to a new apartment with a former roommate! ! !
    13. Getting my deep clean on at the dentist twice #NoCavities
    14. Toasting a former colleague as she closes one chapter for a new one at FitBit (gasp!)
    15. Reaching peak adulthood as I nearly cried when receiving a new mattress

      Image Courtesy of Adobe

The only photo I have from April that slightly resembles me.

Witty Rewind: March 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

I told myself I’d try a “clean eating on weekdays” approach in March but I most certainly did not. Instead, I started on the 1st with a Mexican fiesta lunch, spent mid-March in San Diego (Mexican food capital of California) and ended the 31st with a wine-and-tacos apartment purge party. Noticing a theme? Ay dios mio. [🌮 eaten: ~20]

Despite having plenty of time to devote to reading on the shuttle and quick flights, I found myself not able to power through any reads the way I normally would. (For context, I can usually get through a book in 2-4 sittings, and a few days’ time.) That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my March picks, but I do think I was considerably less motivated with my brain on overdrive in work summits and commitments. [📚 read: 3.5]

Some highlights from the madness that was this past month:

    1. Bowling with dear friends who moved to New York last year
    2. Celebrating a housemate’s birthday with incredible Cajun cuisine
    3. Meeting lots of inspiring and empowering women through Junior League of SF
    4. Attending a newcomer summit for work + getting uplifting insight
    5. Looking for a new apartment with a current housemate
    6. Catching up with a longtime friend during her stay in SF before she moves back to NYC
    7. Checking out a crystal fair (really!) and somehow buying only jewelry
    8. Hosting my fave former writer for lunch at my new(ish) job
    9. Happy hour-ing with other former writers and getting the tea
    10. Helping another former writer with her portfolio
    11. Spending a week in San Diego with my family
    12. Experiencing DisneyLand for the first time and seeing my nieces go wild
    13. Attending a global summit for work + meeting tons of colleagues face-to-face
    14. Exploring the Exploratorium 😉 and its After Dark series for the first time
    15. Celebrating a handful of close friends’ birthdays with drinks, dinners, brunches galore

Witty-Rewind-MarchSix people looking at the camera = a Christmas miracle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Witty Rewind: February 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

After my Whole30 high, I sadly slipped back into some old habits. It’s to be expected given my “all or nothing” attitude, but I also tried not to beat myself up too much for it. I saw some weight gain after reintroducing bread and cheese, and I scaled back on formal workouts to focus more on a StepBet at work. I feel OK, but I’ll be experimenting with a “clean eating on weekdays” approach for March. [Miles walked: 88.29]

I slowed down on reading considerably, as I’ve had to use my morning commute more for actual work time. That said, I’ve still enjoyed devouring a mix of fiction and nonfiction, from beach reads to heavier topics. Find me on Goodreads to see the latest! [Books read: 5.5]

Some highlights from the shortest (but most social) month:

  • Line dancing at The Saddle Rack for a dear friend’s birthday
  • Waking up the next morning to continental breakfast and a PANCAKE MACHINE
  • Hosting a Super Bowl party for that snoozefest of a game
  • Volunteering with the Junior League of SF and AOII alumnae group
  • Lunching with former colleagues on the rainiest day possible
  • (Not a highlight) Being knocked out with exhaustion and missing two events
  • Attending a JLSF yoga class for Galentine’s Day
  • Finding a new dentist who didn’t lecture or belittle me
  • Brunching with friends… and getting a peep show from an exhibitionist neighbor
  • MONSTER JAMMING for the fourth consecutive year
  • Starting the apartment hunt with one of my current roommates
  • Hosting Book Club as we discussed “The Last Mrs. Parrish”
  • Seeing “FRIENDS LIVE!,” a drag parody of the iconic sitcom
  • Celebrating the Lunar New Year parade from our annual Irish pub spot
  • Toasting to many birthdays, engagements, babies, and work accolades

That about does it for me. Can you believe it’s already March?! Madness, I say 😉🏀

February-Recap☠️ MONSTER JAM with one of my faves ☠️

Witty Rewind: January 2019

I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.

I committed to doing Whole30 as a palate reset and general post-holiday hangover challenge. I’ll be doing a recap post in the next week or so, but I can happily share as part of this commitment, I feel like a whole new Witty! Stay tuned for more to come soon. [Lbs lost: 15.8]

My new commute means I’m getting plenty of time to read for fun. I haven’t been jumping into books for work just yet, but I can proudly say I’m already more than 1/4 through my personal goal of 40 books in 2019! [Books read: 11]

Despite wanting to get some R&R in after the holidays, my social life had a different idea. Some highlights include:

  • Hosting a NYE party
  • Seeing the Tampa Bay Lightning play the San Jose Sharks (even though they lost)
  • Sushi dinner with former colleagues
  • Annual mole patrol (AKA dermatologist appointment) came back clean
  • Finding a nail salon that looks like Hello Kitty’s dream home
  • Getting back into the dating scene… we’ll see
  • Doing yoga for a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser
  • PAID OFF MY CREDIT CARDS!
  • Sushi dinner with my fellow AOII officers; Founders’ Day for AOIIs in Northern California
  • Volunteering with the Junior League of SF
  • Hosted my 4th? 5th? Gasparilla in SF
  • Book Club discussed “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows”
  • Attending a team offsite, culminating with dinner at La Fontaine
  • Happy hour with former colleagues
  • Crushing the first week of my StepBet because I hate losing money

Phew! If this weekend is any indication, February shows no signs of slowing down. Here’s to all the next month will bring!

Image Courtesy of MeI’m the worst at taking photos. Here’s one from January…

WitLit 2018

You may have noticed how much I love reading and sharing book recommendations. As part of my new job, I won’t be able to do that on a regular basis anymore — but I thought I could provide a quick recap of All the Books I’ve Loved Before.*

I started 2018 with a challenge to read 15 books, aiming to double my paltry performance from 2017. With the help of Libby and a newfound taste for e-reading on a long commute, I smashed that goal and read 45 books this year.

In order of when I read them, here are the books I consumed in 2018. The titles in bold are my faves:

  1. Lying by Sam Harris
  2. The Emperor’s Children by Claire MesSud
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty
  5. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  6. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  7. Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew
  8. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  9. A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins
  10. Shrill by Lindy West
  11. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  12. Meaty by Samantha Irby
  13. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  14. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  15. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  16. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson
  17. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
  18. It’s Not You by Sara Eckel
  19. The Heart Is a Shifting Sea by Elizabeth Flock
  20. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  21. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
  22. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
  23. Best State Ever by Dave Barry
  24. Refinery 29 Money Diaries by Lindsey Stanberry
  25. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  26. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  27. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
  28. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  29. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz
  30. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
  31. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  32. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  33. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  34. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  35. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  36. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
  37. Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
  38. The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
  39. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
  40. The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clementine Wamariya
  41. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  42. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
  43. Fear by Bob Woodward
  44. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight
  45. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

There are plenty I’m awaiting from the library, so I have no doubt I’ll be off to a strong start tomorrow. Happy reading, and see you all in 2019!

*Yes, I am as cheesy as they come.

Happy Halloweenie

It’s my favorite holiday — aside from my birthday, which is an actual holiday — but I digress. So, it’s only fitting I share this year’s costumes.

Yes, you read that right. I had both a personal and “professional” costume this year — not profesh like “Look at that boss lady,” but rather joining my team’s idea instead of doing my own thing for once.

I think that’s called personal growth.

Courtesy of me!
A real-life fidget spinner in the wild. I hate the trend but couldn’t ignore it.

Courtesy of me!Part of my SF team appearing as the “Stranger Things” kids!

However you’re celebrating tonight, have fun and be safe! #Boo!

On Being Sober for a Month

My last sip of alcohol was at the stroke of midnight on January 1. I drank the champagne, thanked my hosts and summoned a car faster than you can say “Cinderella.”

I knew going into this year, I wanted to challenge myself to what I lovingly call “No Fun January”: no caffeine, no artificial/added sugar, no alcohol. For a month. “Maybe more?,” people asked. “HA!,” I’d reply. Let’s get through a few days before we start talking crazy.

I was fortunate to have a support group in my mom, my sister-in-law and one of her aunts. The accountability of having others go through the same thing was a huge help for me personally. I also have a handful of friends who are sober and my guardian angel of a grandfather — who led countless AA mentees and meetings — to lift up my spirit without the use of spirits.

mynewfave

Protein shakes = my new happy hour.

The first few days were, admittedly, much easier than expected because I was sick with a nasty sinus infection. I couldn’t taste anything anyway, and the last thing I wanted was a cocktail. (OK, maaaybe a hot toddy sounded amazing, but I wasn’t giving in that easy.)

Then I returned to work. A co-worker’s farewell lunch was my first real test. Could I sit through an entire hour with 20 others enjoying drinks while I just sipped water like a poor sad, sap? The answer is: Yes. And TMI, but “treating” myself to a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon was a terrible mistake, given my new clean eating plan.

I started realizing that first week just how much alcohol is a topic of interest: in TV shows, in movies, in music, in conversation. I sometimes wanted to scream and shake people: Didn’t we have anything else to discuss?! But I also knew I was hyper aware (and sensitive) because of my challenge.

The second week — mostly recovered from being sick — I realized how much time there is in a day. I found myself taking on freelance for the first time in a while, working on my killer digital portfolio and cooking with more excitement than ever. If I come home from work without hitting happy hour first, I have about SIX hours to do what I want! Can I get an “Amen!”?

I also got back into a workout routine that week and tried some new activities, too. Barry’s Boot Camp kicked my ass (and abs) the first time back. Reformer Pilates was my first-ever attempt, and I fell in love. I left classes excited about how hard I worked and didn’t feel the need to celebrate with a drink.

Going into the third week, I was nervous. Not only was it a long weekend, but Inauguration Day loomed large. Would I be able to stomach it all without a cocktail in hand — or at least my boyfriend, Mark West, by my side?

I faced the third week, which was also particularly painful at work, like any normal person would: I hid. I holed up in my apartment as much as possible, canceling plans and staying away from social media. I binge-watched shows I swore I’d never see, read some books and avoided all forms of reality as much as I could. #healthy

After emerging from a cocoon, I felt a little rejuvenated but a LOT proud for making it through emotionally and mentally draining scenarios without needing a drink. I coped while staying sober, something I will perfect over time without having to be a complete recluse.

After such roller-coaster weeks, I didn’t think it could get any tougher. But the fourth week brought two very big tests: a girls’ getaway to Santa Barbara and my Gasparilla Invades SF party.

I made sure my traveling companion didn’t “feel weird” if she wanted to enjoy drinks at dinner or on the beach or from 9–5 if she so wished. I was learning, after all, how uncomfortable other people can get when you’re sober. My friend was great, though, and indulged as she wanted without feeling guilty.

As for Gasparilla, I had a great time dressed as a pirate on the streets of SF. We got funny looks, unfunny comments and had a whole lot of seafaring fun, and I did it all without the aid of alcohol. I was tempted, as friends offered to buy drinks and shots and “just one” wouldn’t hurt me. But I’d already made it through 27 full days and wasn’t about to ruin it.

gasparilla

Yo-ho, yo-ho, a sober pirate’s life for me.

Along the way, I noted a few lessons I encountered while being sober for 31+ days:

  • I used alcohol as a coping mechanism and an excuse. From happy hours to post-workout dinners and everything in between, I didn’t realize how often I’d reach for a drink. And it wasn’t always a glass of wine for the night. I’d throw back three or four ($15) cocktails “just because” it was a hard day at work or I was stressed out with politics or it was a day ending in Y. Any excuse was good enough for me to indulge in the alcohol I so love. 
  • Clarity can be frightening. In razor-sharp focus, I started seeing how many hours I’d normally spend in a week, not doing much else besides socializing over drinks. I wouldn’t think twice about hanging with a group of friends and having a few rounds, because that’s the norm. What’s abnormal is being the one who’s not drinking, and then everyone wants to know why and how and “OMG I could never do that!” The truth is, people: You can. You just have to push yourself to understand it’s not a priority anymore. And if you have friends who enjoy socializing while working out or volunteering or doing other sober activities, well that’s just the bee’s knees.
  • I became THAT person, who often talked about being sober. To be fair, I’m now also that person about how much sugar is in everything… but I could hear myself in conversations, constantly talking about my challenge. Maybe it was a defense mechanism — people wanted to know why I wasn’t drinking, and it’d make them feel weird, and so I’d get on a soapbox to explain. And the more I talked about it, the less I wanted it.

So, that’s my story about how No Fun January taught me a whole lot more about myself than I ever imagined. I’ll likely indulge this weekend, for a friend’s birthday, but I don’t see myself ever returning to my old habits. Have you ever challenged yourself to something like this? What were your results?

friends

Real talk on February 1