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.
I’m slightly less cranky this week, even though I had a near meltdown at lunch today when the only non-salad, milk-free option was gone. I’m counting down until Whole30 is done and can’t wait to share my results with you! I promise, it’s been worth it — even if I do cry over spilled soup.
- Nels Beauty Salon: Have you ever wanted to step inside Hello Kitty’s house or Barbie’s salon? Nels is about as close as you can get in San Francisco, and I had no idea. My friend had a Groupon for a gel manicure, so I made an appointment for myself. From the decor to the brushes and hot-stone elements, it was easily one of the best manicures I’ve ever had.
- Izakaya Kou: Another gem I recently discovered was this Japanese restaurant with a cozy, yet upscale, vibe. I’ve been grateful for any sashimi and nagiri during Whole30, and their hamachi carpaccio did not disappoint either. Although a bit pricey, this is would be a great date spot or girls’ night out option. Cheers to that!
- Yoga for CFF: Tonight, I’m proud to support my good friend and her work with Tomorrow’s Leaders in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. We’ll be attending a yoga class downtown, with all proceeds benefiting the CFF. While I’m not closely connected to anyone fighting this disease, I couldn’t be more touched by what my friend does in honor of her strong sister.
- Gasparilla Invades SF: It’s that time of year again! Tampa Bay’s finest tradition comes to this Bay Area via my self-imposed celebration. The Buccaneer staff won’t know what hit ‘em, even with this being the third(? fourth?) year in a row. I’ve got the beads, temporary tattoos, bandanas and beads in tow — ARRRRGH ya ready?
Back to routines and reality, I keep waiting for the eventual slap in the face January usually brings. It hasn’t happened yet, making me even more paranoid, but could it be? A New Year’s resolution that sticks? A lasting positive outlook? Only time will tell.
- SAP Center: I hadn’t been to this venue until last Saturday’s Sharks-Lightning NHL game, but color me impressed. From the streamlined security process to massive restrooms (crucial for 20-minute breaks) and pleasant parking attendants, it was a near-perfect night. If only the Lightning had won!
- Akira: This sushi spot is a local fave worth reserving a table for. Even without being able to have rice or soy sauce, I gobbled down the grilled octopus, yellowfin nagiri and cucumber roll with delight. A spa-like restroom completes the whole lovely ambiance.
- Hydro Flask: You may have noticed my restroom references, and I have this little guy to
blamethank. My former team gifted the mint 16 oz. to me and I’m really enjoying the flip top versus my S’Well’s screw-off cap. It makes getting my 100 daily oz. a literal snap!
- “thank u, next” – Ariana Grande: I can’t hold out on this grammatical travesty any more — this record-breaking bop is here to stay longer than you can say “I really don’t endorse anything but forgiveness and positivity.” The video is iconic, the chorus is catchy and it’s no wonder why we’ll hear it for a long time to come.
Well, we made it to 2019. Can you believe it? However you spent the countdown, I hope you had more fun than Chrissy Teigen getting hit in the face with an umbrella (still love you, Leslie!) and Andy Cohen listening to Anderson Cooper describe his mother’s affairs with Marlon Brando.
God bless this wacky, weird world.
- United Airlines: Don’t @ me. I continue to fly United when it’s got the lowest prices and best itineraries for my destinations (hello, nonstop SFO → MCO). After the Kenya snafu, I was able to use my credit toward a holiday flight home, and the service was top-notch on both routes. Flying is often frustrating, but United’s customer service is still among the best I’ve experienced.
- Whole30: I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Well, not really since I can’t have sugar for the next 30 days. This clean-eating phenomenon has an annual resurgence each January, and I’ve joined the bandwagon to reset my palate and mindset. The biggest struggle so far is not reaching for sweets, but I know I need this to get back on track. Let me know if you’re interested in joining my low-key accountabili-buddy group!
- This Candle: The real winner from the four White Elephant parties I attended this holiday season? None other than a Saint Kanye candle. I enjoy most of his music and agree he’s better off without a Twitter account, but every time this catches my eye from my desk I gain a little smirk. I won’t actually be lighting it, so hopefully I don’t summon any more crazy.
- “Stronger” – Kanye West: There are many variations of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but I’m obviously inspired by the candle so this one wins. Through all of 2018’s ups and downs, faith and humility helped me along. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of my fave workout songs, but I also recommend when you’re having a shitty shit day and need a reminder of your superpowers.
In the final WO of 2018, I think it’s only fair to reflect on the past 52 weeks and how much has changed.
I traveled thousands of miles for various trips between SF to Minneapolis, Cabo, Tampa, NYC and Kenya. I navigated new challenges at one job and earned a new role with my dream company. I forged new friendships, let go of some others and started learning to say no to things more.
And beyond me (or I, I, I), the world still turns despite scary headlines, and turmoil between family and strangers, and all of the nuances that make up this crazy thing called life.
I hope you find peace and joy this holiday season, especially if you are struggling. Whether it’s publicly known or privately fought, you matter to me — and likely a whole other slew of people out there.
Sending you warm holiday wishes and blessings for a prosperous 2019!
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.