My favorite four-letter word as of late is probably not the one you’re thinking. “Woof” is the only accurate expression I can think of after a very full week thus far, with no end in sight. First-world problems at their finest, I don’t get a “night off” until Tuesday. The 19th. WOOF indeed.
And in much bigger issues, we have the fallout of sexual harassment nightmares (not for all of the accused, naturally), racist remarks from Trump (cough cough), the threat of nuclear war… shall I go on? 2017, in another word, is a clusterfuck.
Sometimes the only thing to keep me sane is music. It might sound silly or counter-intuitive to facing reality, but a relaxation playlist is about all I can handle in the wake of living nightmares and a 24-hour bad news cycle.
When I get home tonight (after my dinner plans, of course), I’ll be lighting a candle and tuning into this 4-hour instrumental savior. Bonus: I only have to listen to it six times in a row to get through a whole day! Enjoy.
Mild spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen this week’s “Game of Thrones” or “The Bachelorette,” you may want to stop reading here…
- Applebee’s: Remember when Aidan from SATC was the voice of Applebee’s, and the tagline was “Eatin’ good in the neighborhood”? Ahh, sweet nostalgia. I recently revisited my old HS stomping grounds for after-party karaoke and it didn’t disappoint. 2-4-1 margaritas, shared appetizers and a TWELVE-DOLLAR BILL. Sometimes, it’s good to go back to your roots — and cheaper prices.
- Game of Thrones: I know, I’ve already mentioned GoT in these obsessions before, but this past week’s episode was so damn incredible, I would be a fool to forget it. My superstitious side says it was because it was Episode 07.04, which happens to be my birthday. And my logical side says it was because they’ve been building so many storylines and it was about time for some MAJOR stuff to go down this season. Hot damn 🔥
- “The Bachelorette” Finale… NOT: Booooo, hiss. We waited all season for Rachel Lindsay to pick a perfect mate and I’m quite disappointed with her final rose. The second place suitor wasn’t ready to propose after six weeks of dating, which sounds completely normal outside of Bachelor Nation. Unfortunately, Rachel claimed to have found the real thing elsewhere, and while I wish them well, I don’t understand how she literally cried off her eyelashes over the runner-up and got engaged to someone else the next day. Reality TV at its finest…
- “White Liar” – Miranda Lambert: That karaoke session I mentioned? Well, Daytona’s finest chose this little ditty and my youngest cousin swore up and down it was a Reba McEntire song. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as much as I have while hearing his arguments, but I do know I’ll always enjoy hearing this one when it comes up in my playlist.
3 days in a row of posting, who’d a thunk? I won’t tease you and make you think I’ll be continuing this streak tomorrow, but I certainly couldn’t leave you hanging from loving up on these four finds:
- You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m about to Tell You: Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal, does it again. His latest comic is about the backfire effect, or why we often ignore evidence that contradicts our core beliefs. It’s especially fascinating given the political landscape we’re in, where most are shouting into a vacuum and refusing to listen. Please, enjoy.
- Salt & Straw: Portland’s very own addictively awesome ice cream shop made its debut in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Never one to jump on a bandwagon, I reluctantly agreed to wait for about 40 minutes in line this past sultry Saturday. Wanna know how good it was? A friend and I returned Monday night — pro tip, grab a pint to share and skip the line! — to indulge in the signature Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. Deeelish, particularly when SF is seeing temperatures in the 80s!
- “How to Get Away with Murder”: Here’s how reluctant I am to join aforementioned bandwagons: I know probably 20 women who absolutely love HTGAWM and rave about it every week. I finally caved and started Netflixing a few weeks ago. And now I’m almost through season 2. So yeah, you could say Annalise Keating and the K5 students have me hooked. I still can’t unsee Bonnie Winterbottom (hehe) as Paris Geller, but that’s a personal problem.
- “Gonna Hurry (as Slow as I Can)”: Thanks to my recent Patreon support of A Song A Day, I recently received a monthly playlist containing this little gem. I hadn’t heard of Chicago-based band Whitney before, but I had heard of the original artist (Dolly Parton). Something about the upbeat and high-pitched crooning of heartbreaking lyrics really speaks to me. I hope you’ll feel the same.
A San Francisco tradition, a local legend, a Monterey murder aaand a Kiwi songbird… What’s not to love?
- Ferry Building Farmer’s Market: I’m not one for crowds, so I didn’t think I’d ever be brave enough to shuffle through this iconic Saturday farmer’s market along the Embarcadero in SF. A friend convinced me after our gym class this weekend, and although it was packed — thanks in part to the gorgeous weather — it was such a treat to support local businesses. Perfect produce, fresh flowers and artisanal accoutrements, oh my!
- Slim’s: Established in 1988, Slim’s is an SF venue for the history books. I made my patron debut there Sunday night, seeing Electric Six for the third year in a row — this time, with a friend instead of my ex 😁 While I’ve enjoyed each of their performances, the band sounded better than ever… and I think Slim’s had a hand in that. The vibe is cozy but dynamic, cool but not pretentious. I’ll be sure to revisit soon and test my theory with other performers.
- “Big Little Lies”: If you haven’t been watching this HBO miniseries, explain yourself. I’m not the biggest fan of Nicole Kidman or Shailene Woodley (or Reese Witherspoon, lately), BUT this show blew my biased expectations out of the water. The characters are multidimensional, the story is riveting and the soundtrack alone makes it worth a watch. If you’ve seen through the finale, check out this article about the characters’ costume choices.
- “Green Light” – Lorde: I’ve loved all of Lorde’s singles thus far, so it’s no surprise her long-awaited latest is a hit. Her vocals remind me of Ellie Goulding meets Asteroids Galaxy Tour, with her own signature sound ever-present. Don’t let the upbeat tempo and pop feel fool you — this song is about devastating heartache and loss. Well done, Lorde. I can’t wait to hear what else Melodrama brings.
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!