It’s the longest day of the year today, and it sure does feel like it! Not that it’s a bad thing — I am quite amazed at how we’re already well into June and don’t mind a day off feeling a bit longer.
Why am I off, you ask? Well, my HS bestie is in town for a visit and we’re taking on San Francisco like never before. We have tickets to a comedy show, a comedy drag show, wine country and more… a jam-packed 72 hours is in our future.
She even brought a little southern sunshine with her, as our temps climb into the 80s and SF residents freak the F out over the heat. I’m not immune to freakouts myself — life without central A/C is no joke.
So although it’s been a few weeks of less-than-stellar obsessions, I promise to be back at it again like Damn, Daniel next Wednesday.
In the meantime, please enjoy…
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’ve sat down to write non-WO posts time after time, but I can’t seem to get the words out. There are a multitude of topics I want to cover; and yet, I can’t push through the pain, frustration or sheer madness of it all. Until this wave of emotion subsides, here’s what else is on my mind:
- Salesian Boys’ & Girls’ Club: I recently volunteered for Junior League SF at the Salesian Boys’ & Girls’ Club during their 4th Annual Food & Beer Fest. We served the most delicious deviled eggs, focaccia bread, beer and more while dancing to the DJ’s party playlist and raising money for an excellent cause. I’m legit looking forward to next year’s event already.
- Nook: A friend suggested we try this restaurant Sunday and it became the perfect first half of an eight-hour brunch. Situated right off the cable car line, we sat outside with delicious food and bottomless mimosas (served until 3pm), and chatted endlessly while watching tourists roll by. This one is definitely going in my brunch spot rotation.
- “Amy”: The tragic rise and fall of Amy Winehouse may not have surprised some, given her troubled past. But this incredible documentary gives the public a harrowing look into her private life and demons, plus the people surrounding her during those ups and downs. I saw a screening last weekend and am recommending it to anyone with two ears who’ll listen.
- “Sit Still, Look Pretty” – Daya: If there was ever a modern-day anthem for girl power, this is it. Who can argue with lyrics like “…Then Snow White / She did right in her life / Had seven men to do the chores / ‘Cause that’s not what a lady’s for”? It’s on repeat in my personal playlist, pushing me and other women to be OK with flying solo to take over the world 😉
This week is full of firsts for me, and I’m pretty pumped about it. I won’t keep you guessing; I’m way too excited:
- Run Club: If you just fell off your chair, I’ll give you a moment to get yourself together. I’ve never, ever, ever enjoyed running — even in all my years as an athlete, I would muddle through sprints but hated any sort of endurance exercise. I’ve just begun a twice-a-week run club with a co-worker, and our two miles of run/jog/walk intervals were just the thing to start my week off right.
- Root Division’s Drawing 101: Again, I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. I’ve always found creative outlets in writing but haven’t managed to develop my drawing skills beyond stars and cubes. Inspired by co-workers again, I began a six-session course last night for a more formal introduction to drawing. Here’s hoping I get more than just stick figures out of the experience 😉
- Toastmasters: Public speaking wasn’t an issue for me, really, until a few months ago, when I felt like I totally botched my maid of honor speech in front of more than 200 people. Thankfully, my company started a Toastmasters club, and I gave my first speech this afternoon. Tears aside — no, really — I’m excited to spend an hour each week learning how to best present myself.
- Mayer Hawthorne: Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of this funky guy (so it’s OK if you haven’t, either). My boyfriend suggested we go to his concert this weekend, so my Spotify has been on loop ever since. I can’t pinpoint whose music Hawthorne’s is reminiscent of, but I can tell you it sure is groovy.
- Cider Summit SF: A new friend invited me to this event Saturday and it did not disappoint. A little disorganized at first, but for it being just the third year, I was pleasantly surprised. More than 50 cider vendors, plus a few snack food companies, shared samples of their supply. Delicious!
- St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church: I’ve tested out a few Catholic churches in SF, but hadn’t found one yet that really spoke to me. During a lovely morning hike with a friend, we stumbled upon this church and I went back Sunday night for mass. I’m hopeful this will become my new home church and will keep you all posted.
- A Backyard BBQ: Friends of mine from Florida moved out here a few years ago, and recently moved into a much bigger home that’s perfect for entertaining. Their Sunday barbecue was the perfect way to enjoy cold drinks, sunny weather and engaging people.
- Rachel Roy vs. Rachael Ray: By now, you’ve likely heard about Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade” and the fallout toward designer Rachel Roy. Enter “The Beyhive,” AKA Queen B’s fans, who lashed out mistakenly at Food Network celeb Rachael Ray. Luckily, the chef has spunk and responded with a new lemonade recipe. Oh, the hilarity.
It could be my packed personal and professional lives or the fact that I’m just coming out of a Benadryl fog, but hump day came way too quickly this week. Here’s hoping the next few hundred words are somewhat coherent 😉
- Dita Von Teese: The queen of burlesque brought her “Strip, Strip Hooray!” show to SF this week, and I had the pleasure of going last night. From jewel-encrusted lingerie to breathtaking choreography and a hilarious emcee, it did not disappoint. My only note would be to get balcony seats next time, for the best view of a spectacular show.
- Baseball’s Back: I’m a little late to the game (ha!) on this one, but I’m pumped for the return of America’s pastime. Bonus: We have a teambuilding outing at tomorrow’s game, and I can’t wait to be back in the bleachers of AT&T Park. Disclaimer: I’m still — first and foremost — a Yankees fan. But I have local pride and will support the Giants so long as they’re not in the World Series against the Yanks… because then it’s a win-win-win anyway.
- Calm: I have a confession, you guys: I have a hard time relaxing. I know, I know — you’re shocked. This meditation app has helped me over the past month or so to focus for 10–20 minutes a day on just being. Meditation wasn’t really my thing, but I’m sufficiently hooked and enjoying the practice of letting things go.
- “Let It Go” – James Bay: (Speaking of) Not to be confused with the impossible-to-escape Frozen soundtrack, this song simply touches my heart and is a clear, calming reminder of love lost. I’m a little biased since I’m seeing him in concert Friday night, but I think you’ll like this one… maybe even more than “Hold Back the River.”