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.”
Happy Canada Day, eh? In all honesty, there’s a bevy of things to celebrate this week so let’s just get right down to it:
- SCOTUS for Gay Marriage: It’s old news by now, but hotdamnhowamazing! What a time to witness what happens when love conquers all. I hope your social-media feeds were filled with as much compassion as mine! This country still has a long way to go, but steps like this make me #proud.
- SF Pride: Speaking of, this weekend’s Pride festivities were absolutely fabulous. All the rainbows and sparkles and skin aside, it was truly incredible to see so many come together to support human rights.
- 4th of July: Um, heller. America and I celebrate our birthday in style each year, and I can’t wait to go wine tasting in Napa on Saturday. Whatever you’re doing to celebrate (me), be safe. Nothing brings a party down like fireworks gone wrong!
- “Stand Up” – Jessie J: Since I’m just oozing positivity and love, this anthem seems fitting. Like she croons, “…you’re as old as you feel you are, and if you don’t reach for the moon you can’t fall on the stars.” PREACH.
I say it often, but I can’t quite believe how fast time flies! We’re nearly halfway through 2015, yet it feels like New Year’s Eve was just a few weeks ago. Of course, it doesn’t help that back-to-school ads are already out when it’s still JUNE. But, I digress:
- “Silicon Valley”: I’m behind the trend, but this HBO show focused on the infamous valley’s tech bubble is pure genius. Most of the main cast are longtime standup comedians; and the humor is smart, snarky and of course, tech-douchey. Watch it on demand, till it returns next spring.
- The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant: I pass this authentic Irish establishment on my daily morning commute, and I finally had the chance to stop in last week for a pint. The service was great, the atmosphere electric, and we endlessly enjoyed our respective cider and ale.
- “Hey Girl” Journal: A super-thoughtful co-worker and friend gifted me this delightful little journal to pen all my deep thoughts — particularly about the Gosman himself. It’s filled with “Hey Girl” quotes and doodles of Gosling … sure to provide endless hours of entertainment.
- “Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon: Upbeat lyrics + a poppy track + constant encouragement to shake it = a winning combo. This one’s been on repeat for me lately, and I make no apologies for it.