Back to routines and reality, I keep waiting for the eventual slap in the face January usually brings. It hasn’t happened yet, making me even more paranoid, but could it be? A New Year’s resolution that sticks? A lasting positive outlook? Only time will tell.
- SAP Center: I hadn’t been to this venue until last Saturday’s Sharks-Lightning NHL game, but color me impressed. From the streamlined security process to massive restrooms (crucial for 20-minute breaks) and pleasant parking attendants, it was a near-perfect night. If only the Lightning had won!
- Akira: This sushi spot is a local fave worth reserving a table for. Even without being able to have rice or soy sauce, I gobbled down the grilled octopus, yellowfin nagiri and cucumber roll with delight. A spa-like restroom completes the whole lovely ambiance.
- Hydro Flask: You may have noticed my restroom references, and I have this little guy to
blamethank. My former team gifted the mint 16 oz. to me and I’m really enjoying the flip top versus my S’Well’s screw-off cap. It makes getting my 100 daily oz. a literal snap!
- “thank u, next” – Ariana Grande: I can’t hold out on this grammatical travesty any more — this record-breaking bop is here to stay longer than you can say “I really don’t endorse anything but forgiveness and positivity.” The video is iconic, the chorus is catchy and it’s no wonder why we’ll hear it for a long time to come.
Well, we made it to 2019. Can you believe it? However you spent the countdown, I hope you had more fun than Chrissy Teigen getting hit in the face with an umbrella (still love you, Leslie!) and Andy Cohen listening to Anderson Cooper describe his mother’s affairs with Marlon Brando.
God bless this wacky, weird world.
- United Airlines: Don’t @ me. I continue to fly United when it’s got the lowest prices and best itineraries for my destinations (hello, nonstop SFO → MCO). After the Kenya snafu, I was able to use my credit toward a holiday flight home, and the service was top-notch on both routes. Flying is often frustrating, but United’s customer service is still among the best I’ve experienced.
- Whole30: I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Well, not really since I can’t have sugar for the next 30 days. This clean-eating phenomenon has an annual resurgence each January, and I’ve joined the bandwagon to reset my palate and mindset. The biggest struggle so far is not reaching for sweets, but I know I need this to get back on track. Let me know if you’re interested in joining my low-key accountabili-buddy group!
- This Candle: The real winner from the four White Elephant parties I attended this holiday season? None other than a Saint Kanye candle. I enjoy most of his music and agree he’s better off without a Twitter account, but every time this catches my eye from my desk I gain a little smirk. I won’t actually be lighting it, so hopefully I don’t summon any more crazy.
- “Stronger” – Kanye West: There are many variations of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but I’m obviously inspired by the candle so this one wins. Through all of 2018’s ups and downs, faith and humility helped me along. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of my fave workout songs, but I also recommend when you’re having a shitty shit day and need a reminder of your superpowers.
In the final WO of 2018, I think it’s only fair to reflect on the past 52 weeks and how much has changed.
I traveled thousands of miles for various trips between SF to Minneapolis, Cabo, Tampa, NYC and Kenya. I navigated new challenges at one job and earned a new role with my dream company. I forged new friendships, let go of some others and started learning to say no to things more.
And beyond me (or I, I, I), the world still turns despite scary headlines, and turmoil between family and strangers, and all of the nuances that make up this crazy thing called life.
I hope you find peace and joy this holiday season, especially if you are struggling. Whether it’s publicly known or privately fought, you matter to me — and likely a whole other slew of people out there.
Sending you warm holiday wishes and blessings for a prosperous 2019!
The holiday season is in full swing, and as if I needed another reminder of it, today was the FOURTH White Elephant I’ve participated in this month. Over-commit much? I’m rocking my special sweater, tree earrings and festive fur so you better believe I’m trying to ward off my usual Grinch-y tendencies and embrace the season wholeheartedly.
- SF Ballet’s Nutcracker: Thanks to a monster group discount and the Junior League of San Francisco, I’ll be enjoying tonight’s performance of this winter classic for a nominal fee. Sugar plum fairies and pirouettes await to fulfill all my wildest prima ballerina dreams. I have no doubt my intro to the SF Ballet will be a memorable one.
- Suppenküche: A dear friend hosts an awesome annual dinner at this SF staple during Hanukkah, and this year’s celebration was no exception. From dreidel spin-offs to giant potato pancakes and banana beer, it’s a tradition I remember fondly every year. Who knows? Maybe one year I’ll even break tradition and go twice.
- The Exploratorium: Despite living in SF for 4+ years, I hadn’t yet ventured into this museum of curiosity, adventure and education. My department holiday party was here last weekend, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed the activities at every turn. The food and photo booths helped, too, but I’d happily revisit on a “normal” day.
- “All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey: Duhhhh. I can’t help myself and refuse to apologize for it. Between last week’s viewing of “Love Actually” and Carey’s always entertaining holiday antics, this is about the only seasonal tune I can listen to more than once a day. Don’t @ me, you knew it was coming at some point.
It’s been an absolutely packed week and isn’t about to slow down anytime soon. From holiday happenings to dogsitting and #shuttlelife, I got a lot going on:
- Cafe de la Presse: My favorite hangover cure entails four beverages and runny eggs (not together). A Bloody Mary, a coffee, a Coke, a water + eggs benedict are just the trick to get my 30-something self back in fighting shape after a night out. Even though this spot is close to the touristy Union Square, the food comes out fast. My eggs were over, but it didn’t matter in the wake of a wicked headache.’
- A Raiders Win: Praise be, the Raiders had their third win of the season on Sunday and I was there to witness it! As expected, Steelers fans are just about as insane as Raider Nation, but I stayed out of the arguments and focused on the game. And what a game it was — for a scoreless third quarter, it still stood out as one worth watching.
- “Love Actually” at the SF Symphony: Expanding my cultural horizons, I finally experienced the phenomenon that is a live orchestra accompanying a movie screening. Unexpected front row seats, talented tunemakers and the best holiday film (don’t @ me) made for a magical evening. Some commented about how it doesn’t quite hold up in the “Me Too” era but I believe it’s actually rather indicative of 2002 culture and how far we’ve come — in some cases.
- The Grove: Simple, approachable sandwiches and soups are the staples of this SF mainstay. I prefer the Hayes and Fillmore locations for their proximity to the Symphony Hall and my ‘hood, respectively. The SOMA and Design District ones are decent work-week options if you’re tired of sad salads or lackadaisical lunches. And don’t get me started on the desserts… YUM.
Now that I’m back to being a working woman, I’ve had considerably less time to read. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve still read 1.75 books since last Wednesday, but my pace has slowed a bit. Fair trade-off for gainful employment, don’t you think? In any case, here are some more I devoured during my free week:
- “The Rosie Project” – Graeme Simsion: This book has been on my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf since I joined the site on Jan. 1, 2016. I finally checked a digital copy out from the library and raced through it in record time. Don Tillman is a particularly enjoyable narrator, and you can guess how smoothly his quest to find the perfect wife through a questionnaire goes. 4 /5 stars for some superfluous parts — though that could be my speed-reading bias speaking.
- “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” – Mary Ann Shaffer: Can you say that title five times fast? I’ve yet to see the hit Netflix adaptation of this fictional World War II story, but the book was quite captivating. It’s structured unlike anything I’ve read before, entirely from letters between characters. An extra-special touch: Before Shaffer died in 2008, she worked with her niece, Annie Barrows, to piece this together. The result is nothing short of stunning. 4 / 5 stars because I predicted a few of the twists, but I enjoyed it immensely.
- “Into the Water” – Paula Hawkins: Author of “The Girl on the Train” is at it again with another twisty-turny tale. At least, that’s how it’s billed. While I love a good thriller, I didn’t find this one particularly thrilling. There are countless references to the water women are found dead in — so many, I literally said aloud, “We get it. There’s water.” I expected every turn and didn’t find this nearly as well done as Train. It’s one I felt I had to read, though, and I’m glad I could judge the hype for myself. It gets 3 / 5 stars.
- “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” – Ruth Ware: My peers rave about Ruth Ware, and this one (they claim) is some of her best work yet. It’s no wonder I took a break from the genre after this novel — I didn’t anticipate every single twist, but I also didn’t enjoy the core story nearly as much as I expected. An inheritance and big secret are usually enough to hook me, but I remained unimpressed. Again, so many references to the cold, I wondered if the editor ever read the story all at once. Chill, cold, freezing, icy… thank you, Thesaurus! At the risk of sounding bitter, this one gets 3 /5 stars because I wanted to read it and didn’t hate myself afterward.