We’ve already made it through a month of 2017, people! Can you believe it?!
I sure can’t, because these past four weeks have been so mentally and emotionally exhausting, I thought we were at least through May. My calendar still says “February 1,” so I’ll have to take its word.
- Santa Barbara: What’s the best way to escape all of your worries and problems? Get away. For reals. I’m thankful to have a dear friend who straight up asked my boss if I could skip town for a few days, and couldn’t be happier with the result of some time outside of reality. The pier, the people, the villa, the food (not in that order) were all incredible. I have a feeling I’ll be back again soon.
- Salt Cave: The highlight of our trip — for me — was spending time at Salt. We did a 45-minute “guided meditation” (a misnomer, as it was a barely audible recording that left us with 30 minutes of silence) in a full-on salt cave. We’re talking Himalayan salt on the walls, floor, ceiling! It was breathtaking and incredibly restorative to relax in a chilly room with purifying and calming properties. They also offer massages and yoga… yet another reason I see myself back in SB!
- Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons: A former co-worker recommended this book to me months ago and I finally dove in recently. It’s a fascinating look at the tech world I thought I knew, as Lyons is a lifelong journalist who’s laid off and begins working at a Boston start-up. If you can get through all of the intentionally annoying “awesome!” usage, I think you’ll enjoy. If nothing else, the perspective of a 50-something in a sea of 20-somethings is quite entertaining.
- ‘90s Playlist: Anyone who’s been in a car for more than an hour knows the importance of a good playlist. My friend and I are luckily like-minded musical geniuses, so we blasted all of the ‘90s nostalgia we could handle. From obvious faves like Backstreet Boys and Notorious B.I.G. to sometimes forgotten legends like Steps and M2M, these tunes actually made the six-hour drive fun.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing and I couldn’t be happier today. Confession: That’s all a lie but if I keep telling myself it’s true, then it’ll all be OK, right? Right.
- Reformer Pilates: I had my first-ever turn at reformer pilates last weekend, thanks to a new friend, who happens to be a super fit instructor. The machines helped me stretch beyond my wildest dreams, and I felt lengthened and strengthened — while also relaxed. I’ll definitely be returning for another class soon. Pro tip: Don’t try this the day after an abs boot camp 😉
- Sweetbitter: This novel kept popping up on Goodreads, but I bought it late last year without ever committing. The good news: It’s a very quick read, with lots of characters and a peek into the (fictional) NYC restaurant world. The bad: I didn’t find the main character particularly likeable, and all of the food talk made me so, so hungry! Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.
- Aziz Ansari Hosts SNL: This may be premature praise, but Aziz Ansari will host this week’s SNL and I couldn’t be more excited. Modern Romance was one of the best books I’ve read in recent years, and I thoroughly enjoyed his Treat Yo’self bourgie boy Tom Haverford on “Parks & Recreation,” plus his brainchild on Netflix, “Master of None.” Don’t disappoint me, Aziz. Pleeease.
- “Starboy” – The Weeknd: It’s pretty rare that I like a song based on beat alone, without even bothering to hear or understand the lyrics. Well, The Weeknd has me hooked — despite my initial resistance after a fellow Halloween reveler insisted it be played on repeat. I’ve come around and now find myself bopping along mindlessly.
Unrelated, but I’ve recently made my personal Twitter account public, so I’ll be deleting the blog’s Twitter account. No sense managing two, right? Follow wittyburg before I delete wittyburgblog on Feb. 1!
I’ve heard this is San Francisco’s rainiest month, but we got exactly 0.0” of rain last January — so imagine my surprise with seemingly nonstop showers! Aside from giving me an excuse to use my umbrella, trench coats and wellies, I’m kind of over it. Today’s brief relief is a tease… we’re set to receive another round of rain tonight. All this to say: It’s a good thing my dad wasn’t actually a meteorologist.
- A Sun Basket Soup: Is there any better rainy-day meal than soup? I submit there is not. A co-worker brought this soup in yesterday, so I decided to recreate it at home. (I modified by using frozen meatless meatballs instead of ground turkey, and kale instead of escarole.) I’ve got at least three servings of leftovers and it was the perfect comfort food during last night’s torrential downpour. Ps, I still love Blue Apron! Can’t we all just get along?
- theSkimm: I’m suuuper late to the game here, but I’ve enjoyed this for the past few months and am finally ready to share. In a world full of fake news, plus more information than ever to digest, theSkimm makes it so easy to stay informed. Get bite-size hits of news in an easy-to-digest weekday email. Food analogies aside, use my referral link to sign up yourself. I promise, it’ll make your mornings simply smarter.
- Jawbone Jambox: Shameless plug alert! I know it’s hard to reach a point in Netflix bingeing where you have to step away, but cabin fever will do that to you. Enter the Jawbone Jambox, a cute lil’ wireless speaker that connects to Bluetooth and more. I’ve found myself turning off the TV and working seamlessly through endless playlists, coming in crystal clear. Bonus: The black and gold design is oh so chic.
- “Call on Me” – Starley: Currently blasting from said Jambox is this incredibly catchy tune — the video for which is just as uplifting. I don’t know if it’s her beautiful voice, bright smile, brag-worthy hair or the hypnotic beat, but I can’t seem to stop putting it on repeat. I have no doubt this debut is set to go far, and be the start of Starley’s illustrious music career.
In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
Ayana Byrd began this week’s chapter describing her affinity for staying safe in the middle, never veering too far from the center to make waves.
I didn’t immediately relate. I’ve often considered myself somewhat of a rebel — or at least the black sheep — of my family. After all, I’m the only one who has a facial piercing (my nose, but it counts)! I’m the only one of my generation (until very recently) to get a tattoo — and at that, I have multiple. The horror! I’m the only one who left Florida to pursue a life beyond the Sunshine State.
This is where Ayana and I connect. She detailed her many adventures abroad, feeling limitless as she ventured far beyond the comfort zone of the middle.
It’s always surprised me when someone compliments me on my own big moves. I haven’t given them all that much thought, until now.
New York and San Francisco are largely made up of transplants. Sure, you have your lifers, the people who are quick to remind you they were born and raised there, and will call you out for any embarrassing transplant behavior. But by and large, there are tons of people in both places who’ve moved into these cities for the pursuit of something more. And probably because of that, I haven’t felt like my leaving Florida was all that big a deal. Plenty of people do it. Heck, lots of my colleagues have traveled much further — and risked much more — to come here.
But I shouldn’t lessen its importance, or how much those moves have changed me. Compared to my colleagues and friends, and yes, Ayana Byrd, I’ve done a paltry amount of traveling abroad. But aside from family who served in the Armed Forces, I’ve got the most stamps on my passport.
And without even leaving my zip code, I can see the world in a much more diverse way — challenging the status quo constantly — because I live and breathe in a city that pushes for progress and change.
I’ve had the privilege of learning about more cultures and backgrounds in four years away than I had in the 25 years prior. I’ve experimented with foreign (to me) ingredients, entertainment, customs and traditions. I’ve broadened my perspective on what an impact a life well-traveled can mean. I even spent seven weeks of the last year traveling — albeit, all domestic — because I can always find a reason to say “Yes” to a new experience.
Ayana’s story reminds me there’s so much to say “Yes” to, beyond the 50 states and how it’s OK to be a little scared the first (or every) time you venture somewhere new. Of all my wild and crazy antics, I’ll happily share a full passport and broader understanding of our world for years to come.
Considering I’m now 29 weeks and six days away from 30, I’m feeling much older and wiser than I did yesterday. Kidding — I’m still making terrible choices, stumbling and (hopefully) learning as I go. What else has kept me busy this week? Keep calm and read on.
- Son Saves Mum’s Business: Get your tissues ready, because this is bound to make you weep. A young man in England tweeted about his mum’s knitting stall at a craft fair, which sadly wasn’t making any sales. Twitter exploded in response with tons of orders, saving her business and putting Martyn as the forerunner for Son of the Year. Go ahead, cry it out.
- USF Football: What a roller coaster week it’s been for my alma mater’s football team. Our bowl game was announced a few days ago, with us heading to the Birmingham Bowl against University of South Carolina. But now, Oregon poached our head coach, Willie Taggart, and an interim coach will lead us for the game. Taggart’s four seasons at USF improved exponentially, with this season being the best in school history at 10-2. He leaves big shoes to fill, and a hole in my heart. Thanks for the memories, Coach.
- “Side to Side” – Ariana Grande f. Nicki Minaj: Did you know? It’s impossible to book a spin class without getting this song stuck in your head. Although the lyrics and video lend themselves to PG-13 concepts, people lost their damn minds when they realized what it’s actually about. Whatever the motivation, though, it’s one hell of an anthem.
- “Hairspray Live!”: Speaking of Miss Grande, I’ve set my DVR to record her and the all-star cast in tonight’s showing of “Hairspray Live!” I’m normally not a fan of these live-action musicals, but I was impressed with their showing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and I’ve always had a soft spot for the story. Will you be watching?
What a roller coaster of a week it’s been. Just when you think things are good and settled, life has a funny way of knocking you down from your ivory tower. (Cue “Low Places” by Garth Brooks.) In any event, here we are, and here’s what’s on my mind:
- Remembering GAM: My dad’s Aunt Merlyn lived a full life into her late eighties, but passed peacefully over the weekend. She was the last strong connection we had to his family, and known throughout the family tree as our go-to genealogist. I’m comforted knowing my dad and her siblings were there to welcome her with open arms, and that she’ll be remembered for many years to come.
- A Working Radiator: It only took about five months of complaining to my HOA for them to realize I wasn’t just an idiot who couldn’t figure out the radiator. And, after four unsuccessfully scheduled appointments with the plumbers, the fifth time was the charm! It’s been about 36 hours with a noiseless radiator, and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard such beautiful silence.
- Target Decor FTW: In the spooky spirit of the upcoming bewitching hour, I found myself on Target’s mobile app, adding to cart like it’s my damn job. Among other fun finds, I was especially psyched for this Dia de Los Muertos wreath and marquee sign. Safe to say, the sign won’t be the only thing lit this Halloween 😉
- Allison Weiss: I revisited the days of “10 Things I Hate about You” with a friend last week and saw Letters to Cleo perform in SF. They absolutely rocked it, and I was completely taken aback by their opener, Allison Weiss. Her voice is captivating, her stage presence is comedic, and her talent is undeniable. Please, enjoy.
I had an influx of ideas for obsessions this week, probably because I’ve been on a spree of volunteer and social events lately. The good news? There’s no stopping in sight. The bad news? I’m running on about five hours of sleep and am not entirely sure this will all make sense 😛
- #Brangelina … Meanwhile, Amal Fights ISIS: I was in an inevitable BuzzFeed rabbit hole last night and, naturally, read George Clooney’s off-guard response to the #Brangelina divorce. I was extremely proud to see the related article BuzzFeed suggested was about Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) and her fight against ISIS. Talk about girl power.
- AOII Alumnae in San Francisco: In case it wasn’t painfully obvious in yesterday’s post, I’ve thrown myself into some social organizations recently. I’m thrilled to join my sorority’s alumnae board in SF as Vice President, and I’ve already enjoyed getting to know more sisters in the area. Check out our FB page to see what we’re up to and learn more 🙂
- Junior League of San Francisco: Another fantastic organization I’ve joined as a Provisional (first-year) member is the Junior League of SF. From volunteering to social events and community programs, I couldn’t be more pleased to be connected to such an inspirational group of women.
- “Closer” – Chainsmokers f. Halsey: In my humble opinion, any song that inspires a flood of memes is worth a listen. I swear, I’m not into EDM — I’m too old for it anyway. But with a catchy beat and ridiculously fun lyrics, this one’s getting played out like it’s my damn job.