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.
I’m gonna tell you straight: I had a 9-hour safety training today, so pls excuse any typos. Now wouldn’t that be a great email signature “sent from my iPhone”?
- Remembering Kate Spade: The tragic news of Kate Spade’s apparent suicide sent shock waves in my circles yesterday. How could someone who seemingly had it all take their own life? As of this writing, I don’t know exactly what mental health or other struggles Spade endured. I do know, though, her legacy won’t soon be forgotten. For more, read one author’s take on what she meant for women. As always, if you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources available. Including me ❤
- “Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-Loop, Zig-Zagging Journey to Adulthood” – Mari Andrew: You may have followed author and artist Mari Andrew’s doodles for years on Instagram; or you may have just learned of her work with her annual, viral Mother’s Day illustration (or you may be just hearing of her now). In any case, her debut book illuminates more of Andrews’s personal life, coupled with those oh-so-relatable drawings and doodles.
- Mari Andrew in SF: After I myself became familiar with her work in 2016 with this Identifying the Problem post, I knew I just had to learn more about this Mari Andrew woman. The day has finally come and I’m super pumped for her event tonight at the JCC in SF. I may secretly check the Warriors/Cavs score but am otherwise thrilled to have the chance to hear her speak about #HowToAdult.
- “No Tears Left to Cry” – Ariana Grande”: I’m still on the fence about her new relationship with Pete Davidson (don’t even get me started on ScarJo-CoJo’s), but it’s impossible to escape this bop so here we are. The always intriguing, incredibly talented Grande puts out an earworm like no other and this latest offering is no exception.
Yesterday’s shooting at YouTube HQ hit close to home, as you can imagine. I’m grateful to report my handful of friends who work there are all safe, but it’s yet another example of this complex issue and our system’s failure to address it. I’m not one to stand on a soapbox but I also feel like we just continue to shout into the void. Distractions are sometimes necessary, and here’s what’s keeping my mind occupied otherwise:
- Rediscovering Volleyball: After many months of discussion with a few girlfriends, we’ve finally gotten a volleyball team together and had our first practice last night. It’s been at least eight years since I bumped, set or spiked — and my forearms are feeling it — but I’m pumped for the next 10 weeks of play. Game on!
- SF Walk to Work Day: Inspired by last night’s sweat sesh, I reignited my walking commute today. Perfect timing, as tomorrow is SF’s Walk to Work Day. Assuming the Pineapple Express storm of the century holds off, I’ll be sure to stop by the nearest freebie hub to celebrate. Hills be damned, who wouldn’t prefer a scenic walk over a crowded bus ride with strangers’ armpits in your face?
- “RuPaul’s Drag Race”: 10 seasons of Drag Race? You’re a winner, baby. It’s been interesting to see the evolution of this series, including the All-Stars spin-offs, and this season has no shortage of drama. The contestants, the challenges, the judges — I’m living for it all. Catch new episodes on Thursdays at 8pm ET, only on VH1.
- “Bad at Love” – Halsey: The enigmatic songstress was recently a judge on Drag Race, promptly reminding me to consume her discography. This current chart-topper is no stranger to being a fan favorite, and I’d bet that nearly every millennial has felt “bad at love” at some point in modern dating. Enjoy!
I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays lately that I’m often struggling to get my head on straight, but I was able to cobble a few things together this time around:
- Antibiotics: Last week, my boss interrupted me on a conference call and urged me to see a doctor. I finally took the advice and went to a Walk-In Care clinic and was promptly prescribed antibiotics. I’ve since started feeling like a human again! I don’t recall the last time I was that sick but am so grateful to have both my nostrils functioning.
- Lafayette Park: San Francisco is experiencing some of the most beautiful weather possible in February, so I took full advantage last weekend by lounging around this neighborhood hotspot. 70 degrees and sunny? Doesn’t get much better than that. Bonus: It’s more of a family-friendly park so the DILFs are out in full force. Boom.
- Burlingame: I spent Super Bowl Sunday with friends in this South Bay gem I hadn’t yet explored. While I didn’t get any photos myself, I will definitely be back to discover more. For a quick 30-minute train ride from SF, you can’t beat the small-town feel with big-city culture. I’m especially intrigued by the PEZ Museum — talk about a throwback!
- “Meant to Be” – Bebe Rexha f. Florida Georgia Line: This earworm has been stuck in my head for a solid week, and I’m not even mad about it. While the lyrics are deceptively simple, the melody is complex enough to keep me coming back for more. I dare you to give it a listen and tell me you don’t feel the same.
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.