For the first time since my dad died in 2013, his birthday falls on a Wednesday. To say I’m obsessed with anything but his memory today would be absurd.
I’m grateful to have an understanding boss and team so I could work from home and sort my feelings away from a cubicle. I had plenty of meetings to keep my mind occupied, but it inevitably drifted many times today to how he would be celebrating.
Slick Rick was larger than life in many ways. He was not the most patient or affectionate father, but the values he instilled in us were exactly what we needed (even if we didn’t know it then). My brother and I inherited his work ethic, commitment to community, quick temper and affinity for wrestling. Our mom loved him throughout 33 years of marriage and countless ups and downs.
Dad’s stroke in 1995 changed our world overnight. He wasn’t expected to live, let alone recover. He took that prognosis head-on and regained his ability to talk, walk, write and drive — while being permanently paralyzed on his dominant right side.
Growing up with a handicapped father taught me a lot about how cruel the world can be and how much life can change in an instant. We didn’t always get along, but I’ve lived every day of adulthood trying to make him proud and see the result of his parental guidance.
It hasn’t gotten easier to keep his memory alive these past 5.5 years but I’ll keep honoring him in big and small ways as long as I can.
143 always, Big Guy ❤️
At my brother’s wedding, November 2012
Before we jump into this week’s four finds I have to take a moment and celebrate: Today’s post marks the FOUR-HUNDREDTH WO!! That’s right, you get a double exclamation celebration! It’s hard to believe this concept and ultimately, this blog, has been around so long, but it wouldn’t be possible without your support. Cheers to that!
- “Bodega Bathroom”: Not an actual bodega bathroom, no. But the hilariously oddball and perfectly fantastic sketch from last week’s SNL. John Mulaney’s past hit of “Lobster Diner” meets its match with this all-out musical marathon. Words won’t do it justice. Just watch.
- Luke Perry: On a much more serious note, actor Luke Perry died Monday after suffering a massive stroke just days before. He was 52. And while I’ve certainly enjoyed his resurgence with his role on “Riverdale,” I could never forget how instrumental he was for all us “90210” and “What I Like About You” fans. I can’t imagine how the Perry family feels with such a devastating shock.
- Lent: There’s no easy segue to the next topic on my mind, as the Lenten season is upon us. I’m holding out for tonight’s 7:30 mass and looking forward to one of my all-time favorite choral songs, “Ashes.” No matter what you sacrifice or start doing (or if you don’t celebrate at all), I’m wishing you peace, love and joy over the next 40 days.
- “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” – Thomas Rhett f. Little Big Town: You know when you hear a song that speaks to you on just about every level? This does that for me. Partially because it mentions Wednesdays, partially because there’s a shout-out to my hometown (DAYTONA!), partially because Thomas Rhett is a national treasure. He debuted this and another song on SNL, giving my fave show yet another leg up.
The SF Bay Area has been battered with rain the last few weeks, and while it’s needed to overcome years of drought, it’s also really cramping my style. Much like in Florida, residents here seem to know nothing of umbrella etiquette, driving precautions or general how to handle this moisture falling from the sky.
I thought back to a post from what feels like a lifetime ago, in October 2011. It’s my Playlist for a Rainy Day, and tbh, it hasn’t changed all that much. I still crave brooding tones, somber lyrics and disconnecting from the outside world.
How do you handle endless rainy days? (I’m looking at you, Seattle readers!)
The sun has been out the past few days for what feels like the first time all year. Dramatic? Maybe. Still going with it? Totally.
- Beretta SF: I met up with former colleagues at this staple for brunch over the weekend, and it didn’t disappoint. I’d only been before for drinks and dinner (including my very first SF visit!), but the brunch menu is just as thoughtful and tasty. We did get a peep show from a neighbor… but it was all in good fun and very SF.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream: The combination of dry, winter weather and constant sniffles left my skin in such a state. I put on my patience pants and trekked to Sephora, scouring shelves for the right fix. The answer was so simple: This bestselling cream is thick, yet light; it’s moisturizing, but not greasy. Holy grail, Monty. This is staying in my routine for a while.
- Pine & Patchouli: I’m rather new to the self-care movement and always looking for affordable, natural ways to improve. My friend April is the creative genius behind this Instagram account with natural, beautiful options to breathe better, reduce inflammation, clean up, you name it! I may be biased, but I can assure you the oils are a godsend for so many of life’s little problems.
- “Pity Party” – Melanie Martinez: Confession: My parents used to play classic stations exclusively in the car, so I got a fantastic education in music from the ‘50s-‘80s. One of my very favorite songs of all time is “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore, so imagine my delight when I heard this recent nod to the OG! I may or may not have already listened 100X and counting. Oops?
It’s the highest holy day known as Galentine’s Day and silly me neglected to prep this post ahead of the festivities. Between an 11-hour workday, making Valentine’s for co-workers, a girls’ night out at yoga and a recurring broken circuit, I do solemnly swear it wasn’t my intention to leave you hanging.
So here are a few Galentine’s gifs to get you in the spirit, even if the day is almost over (slash already over for East Coasters). Here’s hoping you’re celebrating all the fabulous gals in your life, near and far!
And speaking of national holidays, my college bestie reminded me of today’s other important holiday:
Happy anniversary, Ryan & Kelly!
First things first: San Francisco had a massive gas leak explosion and fire today. Thankfully, I was far away and there are no reports of injuries, but the destroyed businesses and homes won’t be easily replaced. I had a much different intro planned, but this obviously takes precedence.
- The Saddle Rack: A dear friend hosted her birthday celebration at this Fremont institution last weekend, and it did not disappoint. Turns out I have zero future in a country line dancing career, but the endless plaid, jeans, boots, hats and entertainment made up for my failure. I look forward to our next rodeo there soon!
- Holiday Inn Express: What made our journey to The Saddle Rack most memorable was the nearby Holiday Inn Express and its fantastic amenities. Free shuttle rides to and from the venue, plus a FREAKING PANCAKE MACHINE for the continental breakfast = color me impressed. I have no doubt we’ll be back again.
- Tesla Model 3: I know, I’m officially an SF resident. My good friend offered her chauffeur services in this zippy little number. There are a million little thoughtful touches and fun features, and the ride is about as smooth as you can imagine. I won’t be getting one for myself anytime soon, but a girl can dream.
- “Good as Hell” – Lizzo: You know those songs that just make you want to get up and dance? This jam is that times a million. I can’t hear it without putting my sassiest, boppiest, most fun-loving face on. Even when it’s cold and rainy or it’s been a terrible day, Lizzo gets me out of that funk.
I’ve really done a number on myself by packing as much as possible into the first month of 2019. Recap to come later this week, but let me just say: I’ve become a coffee convert and haven’t felt this fulfilled in a very long time. Here are four big reasons why:
- WW: The recently re-branded Weight Watchers is the same classic structure that’s worked for millions of people to be healthier. I’m fortunate to have support at my workplace, making it easier than ever to drop into a meeting (in person or via video chat). I choose not to track zero-point foods, which means I spend maybe five minutes a day — tops — tracking my food but still staying on plan. And new partnerships with Blue Apron, Aaptiv and more mean it’s not the WW you may have poked fun at before. There’s a reason it works!
- StepBet: One of the guys in our WW group suggested we do a step challenge, so we joined this app and put up $40 each to compete. It’s not such a big investment that you feel burdened, but it’s motivating enough that my ass was doing laps around the block at 9:30 last night to stay in the running. After eight weeks, those who accomplished their goals (preset by the app, based on each person’s recent step average) splits the pot. Mama needs a new pair of shoes!
- Letsfit Tracker: I wanted to reintroduce a fitness tracker to my routine for our StepBet. Sadly, my Jawbone bands are all dead beyond resurrection, and I refuse to support FitBit #PettyPartyOfOne. While I prefer screenless trackers so I can wear a traditional watch, I like how slim and lightweight this is. It charges in any USB port (in 1-2 hours) and the battery has lasted 6-7 days with each charge so far. The app copy could use some love and reviewers complain about sleep tracking, but for me, it was the best $30 investment I could make to ensure step success.
- RealSimpleGood: The core components of good health are to eat better and move more. RealSimpleGood’s Whole30 meal plans are a huge part of what helped me to eat better. Each week this month, I’ve received a list of recipes, shopping ingredients, and easy-to-follow instructions. The recipes are meant for two people to make four servings of each meal, so I halve them and still get satisfying leftovers for myself. It sounds so basic, but it’s cut down my excuses and introduced a staple of easy weeknight recipes to enjoy.