Raise your hand if your brackets are busted 🙋🏻 Thanks a heap, Wisconsin and South Carolina. Aside from ripping paper to shreds, here’s what else I’ve been into lately:
- NOT These Boots: San Francisco’s wonky weather patterns continue, and yesterday’s monsoon retired these Chooka rain boots faster than you can say “shit.” I purchased them in 2014, but have worn them no more than 10 times, so it was a total disappointment and waste of money. Here’s hoping these highly rated Sam Edelman booties will serve me better.
- Rusted Mule: I was thrilled to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday last night with drinks at Rusted Mule and dinner at The Saratoga. While both were phenomenal, I’m prioritizing Rusted Mule for its newness and happy hour specials. It opened less than two months ago and feels tucked away, while still getting a good mix of people. Bonus: Taco Tuesday was truly tasty and the Yelp reviews are crazy entertaining!
- Surprise Meetups: After a killer workout this morning, I was sore but super excited to volunteer at the SF-Marin Food Bank with some co-workers. Little did I know, my former team at macys.com was volunteering, too! It was such a pleasure seeing familiar faces — some new ones, too! — and I loved catching up with them all. Giving back + surprise meetups = win-win.
- “It Ain’t Me” – Kygo f. Selena Gomez: I had no clue who Kygo was (still don’t) but I DID know this earworm was stuck, stuck, stuck in my head for days on end. I also barely know the difference between Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, but I do know there’s a ton of talent in this tune and you should certainly listen.
Happy International Women’s Day! I hope you’re all able to celebrate the women in your lives every day, but especially so today. If you’re anything like me, you dug out your LRD and toasted the fab females you’re lucky to love 😉
- Shannon’s visiting!: Hot off the heels of my former roomie’s visit, my cousin Shannon arrives tomorrow! It’ll be her first trip to California and I hope to make it a memorable one. She always brings out the big kid in me, and I always… well, I always entertain her with my impatience for tourists. Just look at those mischievous smirks — it should be a hoot!
- Beach Blanket Babylon: As much as I don’t love tourists or touristy things, I will happily see this campy, historical revue in SF anytime! I took Erica last week and am excited to return tomorrow night with Shannon. The hats and humor are outrageous, the songs are fantastic and it truly is a can’t-miss experience.
- JLSF March Madness Kickoff Party: As Provisional (AKA first-year) members of the Junior League of San Francisco, we put on a fundraiser for the League. Our March Madness Kickoff Party is next Thursday, March 16, and is sure to be a success. We’ll have a silent auction, wine pull, photo booth and games — what’s not to love? Get your tickets (or make a donation) here.
- “Girls” – Beyoncé: This isn’t my fave of Beyoncé’s body of work, but there is arguably no better female anthem than this. Top five, at least. I heard it blasting in my barre class this morning, on my Chariot ride to work (props to Maria for the lady power!), and am pumping it now for good vibes only. Who run this mother?
I’m running on empty today, after being emotionally drained and awoken multiple times last night by what I thought was an alert in a dream. It wasn’t until 6am that I realized the alert was happening in real life, and it wasn’t until I was on a chair, smoke detector in hand, that I discovered it was coming from my beloved Jambox.
I must not have turned it off after its last use, so I had a woman’s voice tell me every 10 minutes or so to recharge the battery. Hint: This is not an ideal way to wake up.
All that to say, I’m ready to recharge myself and my Jambox.
- Before the Fall: I’ve been on a book binge lately, devouring the shelves of stories I bought months ago but hadn’t committed to reading. This novel details the events of a (fictional) horrific private plane crash from multiple perspectives, as we try to piece together what happened and why there are just two survivors. It left me breathless most of the way, but I was a bit disappointed in the final chapters. Still, I’d recommend the read — just not while you’re in-flight.
- Heavenly, Tahoe: I spent last weekend in Tahoe for a good friend’s 30th birthday celebration, marking my first adventure there in the winter (and with a bed)! We had our fill of snow games during the day, plus cozy cabin fun at night. Our backyard was a winter wonderland, making it hard to leave, so I’ll just need to find 15 other people to rent the house out with me again soon. Should be as easy as a Floridian sledding down a snowy hill, right?
- Basecamp Fitness: It’s only natural to try the countless fitness facilities SF has to offer. A friend brought us in for a free trial and we picked Plyo, AKA “the toughest class ever,” according to the girl next to me, who’s worked out there for a year. The schtick is simple: You do a minute on a resistance bike, a minute doing something else, then back to the bike and so on. You’re “done” in 35 minutes, although they encourage you to stay for the optional 10-minute abs session after. I’m sure I’ll be back soon to see how other classes compare.
- Pagan Idol: It’s the Tahoe birthday girl’s actual birthday, so we’re set to escape even further tonight — to a magical, tropical bar downtown. The tiki hut is reserved, the drinks will be flowing and I’m practicing my “luau” for the occasion. Added bonus: The excitement of tonight’s festivities are about the only thing getting me through today. And, the promise of a warm space away from the cold, rainy outdoors is even better!
It’s a cliché for a reason, but hindsight is often 20/20. I’ve struggled with feeling like I’m spinning my wheels, can’t get my head above water and all of the other phrases used to describe anxious fears. I know I’ll get through it, and I will come out stronger — but getting there is the hard part. So here’s what’s on my mind this week that’s been a welcome change:
- My Blue Apron Anniversary: Last Friday marked two years since I started using Blue Apron! I’ve enjoyed becoming a better home cook — one who knows more than how to boil water — and I’ve discovered countless recipes to add to my repertoire. Plus, I’ve had the pleasure of introducing lots of friends and family to the service, which is a win-win-win in my book!
- Women March around the World: My heart swelled seeing the outpouring of peaceful protesting last Saturday, from SF to Sydney and everywhere in between. People of all backgrounds and varying perspectives are allowed to voice their opinions, and we aren’t all going to agree. But at the end of the day, to see millions of concerned world citizens come together… it truly took my breath away.
- My 100-day Meditation Streak: Speaking of breathing, I’ve dedicated myself over the past nine months to practice self-care with meditation. I use the Calm app, and just hit a 100-day streak yesterday! It isn’t always easy to find 10 minutes to myself, but committing to this practice has kept me far more grounded and centered than I could have imagined.
- Gasparilla Invades SF: We’re bringing Tampa’s finest tradition straight to SF! Tired of missing out on the festivities, a college friend and I have organized an event to celebrate as sea wenches and swashbucklers. We may not get a key to the city, but I have a feeling it’ll be as authentic as can be. Yo-ho!
You know what I’ve found to be the best way to deal with post-election depression? A sample of the steps I’ve taken since last Tuesday:
- Delete my Facebook app — I can’t deactivate because of too many organizations that use it religiously for events, but this has been a HUGE help.
- Pour myself some wine — even if I only have red wine on hand and made fish for dinner. I think Jesus would understand.
- Throw myself into volunteer opportunities — because it always feels good to give back.
- Surround myself with people who make me laugh — and make me think in a constructive way.
With that said, let’s get to it!
- AIDS Memorial Grove: I had the pleasure of volunteering here on Sunday, and what a powerful day it was. We heard numerous stories, talked about the ongoing fight for AIDS education and prevention, and we helped set the stage for a candlelight ceremony on November 30. Doesn’t get much better than that.
- Tonga Room: I met up with my sorority alumnae group recently at this iconic SF establishment. The tiki vibe is easy to poke fun at, but it truly has some of the tastiest cocktails and most entertaining live performances. I recommend a front-row table, if you can snag one, to enjoy the show without an obstructed view.
- My IMDb Debut: A college friend and his brother will soon open their grilled-cheese storefront, and lucky ol’ me attended their tasting and taping for an upcoming Food Network show. All nerves aside, I delighted in the creative creations and inventive flavors. Naturally, I should create my IMDb page sooner than later 😉
- “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: I recently discovered I have a Netflix app through Comcast, which almost justifies the $$$ monthly price tag. Almost. And yes, I’ve been too stubborn to buy a damn Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku. I’m also late to this game, but the eternally optimistic Kimmy Schmidt makes for a binge-worthy show with an infectious earworm of a theme song. Dammit!
Today marks my second San Franniversary, so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned since moving here. Bonus: It’s apparently (and arbitrarily) San Francisco Appreciation Week! If I’m missing anything, I’m sure you’ll all let me know 😉
1. Never, ever, EVER call it “San Fran.”
I realize I broke this cardinal rule in the very title of this post, but I believe a pun makes it OK. (I haven’t gotten an eye-roll yet in my empty apartment, at least.) For some reason, SF residents absolutely cannot stand calling their beloved city “San Fran.” It’s “SF” (pronounced “ess eff”) or “The City” (though I still save that for NYC). And I’m guilty of the hatred toward “Saaan Fraaan,” too. It strikes a nerve, sounds sooo country and feels like a betrayal to the Bay Area. Even worse: “Frisco.” *shudders*
2. There won’t be a heat wave in August.
It goes against everything you’ve ever been taught, but bring sweaters and jeans if you visit SF in August. With an average temperature this year of 58°F, you’ll thank me later. Easiest way to spot tourists here each August? They’re wearing overpriced Golden Gate Bridge sweatshirts from Fisherman’s Wharf, because they figured it’d be hot like everywhere else. On the flip side, September and October are our warmest months. I don’t make the rules; I’m just sharing them.
3. NorCal is very different from SoCal.
I haven’t personally experienced Southern California yet, but I’ve heard enough comparisons to feel confident in this lesson. NorCal is bourgie and techy, chilly and pretentious — while SoCal is beachy and sprawling, warm and pretentious in a different way. Also: Don’t expect me to “pop down” to San Diego or LA while you’re there on a weekday, since they’re 400+ miles away. I still love you, though 🙂
4. We work smarter, not harder.
Work/life balance is a constant topic of conversation here, almost to a fault. I haven’t worked in the smallest of startups — so there is some variation — but for the most part I believe SFers find efficiencies in their work, suggest changes to organizations’ processes and don’t have to prove their worth by how many hours they work. We value getting in, getting shit done and getting out to live life away from office walls.
5. We take our wine and our sports seriously.
This should come as no surprise, given electric playoff seasons from the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants,and San Jose Sharks — plus the recent resurgence of the Oakland Raiders. Even the 49ers and A’s fans are fiercely loyal. And while wine and sports don’t necessarily go hand in hand, you can’t be just south of Wine Country and not have a strong appreciation for vino. Cheers to that.
6. Oakland is SF’s cooler cousin — and kinda too cool for me.
I haven’t explored nearly as much of Oakland as I’d like to, but what I have seen has been mostly awesome. The Fox Theater is a phenomenal concert venue, there are awesome restaurants and bars to try all over Downtown, Lake Merritt and more. Get comfortable with the BART map first, though, as I’ve gotten turned around and spent way more time on the train than is ever necessary for one human.
7. Trolleys are not the same as cable cars.
This is a lesson I’m still learning, as anyone within earshot is quick to correct me when I mistakenly identify a trolley (or streetcar) as a cable car. The key difference is how they’re propelled, which is exactly why I can’t seem to keep them straight. All I really know is, both types are adorable and strangely efficient forms of transportation — provided you avoid the stops at each end of the cable car lines.
8. Public transportation is laughable.
Ask me two years ago, and I’d say I would never, ever miss the MTA. But being out here, I miss the subway nearly every damn day. MUNI is inefficient, dealing with traffic and breakdowns and shitty people who refuse to follow the rules. BART is a hot mess of its own. And while I understand this city wasn’t built for the massive influx of people, it’s frustrating to feel like there aren’t any major changes in sight for affordable, efficient, reliable public transportation.
9. Uber, Lyft and Chariot are godsends… mostly.
It’s no wonder, then, we freaking love rideshare and shuttle services. Since Uber and Lyft were founded here, we’re often a test market for new features (and promos!) before they’re rolled out nationwide. I relied heavily on UberPool with my last job, since my 2.5-mile commute would take more than 50 minutes on MUNI. I’m now blessed with transportation reimbursement from my employer, so a shuttle service like Chariot (also founded in SF) makes commuting and getting around SF a breeze.
10. SF is a fantastic place to live.
There are plenty of challenges living in a big city with rich history and recent gentrification. It’s easy to take it for granted, but it’s truly become my favorite home. Whether making jokes about Karl the Fog; braving tourists on Golden Gate Bridge; or enjoying the quirky, eclectic local vibes, SF will always have a special place in my heart.
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.