I thought I was having a bad day when I woke up late, got some upsetting news, ran to pick up a custom item that TURNS OUT wasn’t ready for pickup, and a homeless man yelled at me for not taking my headphones off (because he was yelling at me).
Then I saw a woman full on face plant while stepping off the bus and I remembered San Francisco kicks all kinds of asses every single day. Mine is not special.
The shining bright light is having a circle of support I can lean on and turn to when I’m feeling low. They lift me up from the proverbial face plant and remind me what truly matters: family, friends, faith, self-care and wine.
Cheers to that!
It’s a good thing we’re halfway through May since it is thoroughly kicking my ass. Between visitors, work trips, dog-sitting, volleyball, volunteering and um, my day job, I am le tired.
I was a little depressed about being far from family on Mother’s Day weekend. And, I was “missing” an event due to the recent break-up. To say I was in a funk is an understatement. A hike up Lake Berryessa last weekend couldn’t have come at a better time.
And, let me tell you firsthand: This hike has no time for funk. It’s about 2.5 miles of switchbacks up the whole way. Not much shade, nowhere to hide. I seriously contemplated having my friends leave me to be eaten by vultures, but I persevered.
And boy, was the view worth it.
Full disclosure: It helped that we had the promise of wine and cheese and meat at a nearby winery after.
So the next time you’re dying on the side of a mountain (figuratively or literally), remember this view and how much the pain is worth it. If He brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it. Cheers to that!
If you haven’t watched the most recent season of “The Bachelor” slash have zero interest in it whatsoever, it might be best for you to leave now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
- Wine: It’s the only thing that got me through the FIVE HOURS of finale coverage for this ding dang show. I was kicked out of my league about halfway through the season (don’t ask), so I literally had no other reason to watch. Thank goodness for pinot vino, you guys.
- Becca Kufrin: America’s sweetheart became the all-time fan favorite after being chosen by Arie Lyin-dick, then dumped when “getting closer to Becca meant he was losing the chance to reconcile with Lauren.” Oh, you mean like, being committed to your FIANCEE, dude? The worst finale in Bachelor history came with an ultimately happy ending for Becca K., though — she’s already begun her reign as the next Bachelorette.
- The Wine Boyfriend: I promise, this is different from WO #1. I’m thinking Becca and Michael James Schneider should be new besties, since his massively viral wine boyfriend is the best break-up revenge ever. I’ve joked about having a wine boyfriend before, but this is some next-level shit.
- “You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morrisette: Have I taken this theme too far? Never. The quintessential break-up song is timeless, angry, funny and makes you feel all of the things you need after a bad split. Bonus: You don’t even need an ex to appreciate the kick-ass vibes. You, you you, you you!
In case it wasn’t clear from me posting this late in the day, it’s been another wild week. I’m extremely excited for the long weekend ahead, particularly because I don’t have a whole lot planned. It’s my first unscheduled weekend since April, so I’m pretty pumped. Here’s what else is on my mind:
- Help for Harvey Victims: The largest storm to hit Texas in more than 50 years continues to wreak havoc, devastating thousands of homes and displacing countless residents. As always, I urge you to donate anything you can to help the victims affected — particularly because Harvey’s on his way to Louisiana next. No matter which causes you care about, I think we can all agree this is one worth giving to.
- A USF Weekend: My good ol’ alma mater kicked off the college football season against San Jose State this past Saturday, and I had an absolute blast with about a hundred others at the tailgate and game. Bonus: We came back for a win, 42-22! Then on Sunday, we went wine tasting with a new friend, who we met while volunteering the weekend prior, and who happens to work for USF. Small world. Go Bulls!
- Wattle Creek Winery: That wine tasting I mentioned? Wouldn’t you know, it was right in SF’s own Ghirardelli Square. I generally avoid that tourist trap like the plague, but when I learned our new friend is a member — and I am too, via a sister winery — I just had to try their Sunday Funday promo. And, a Ghirardelli sundae after a few glasses of wine doesn’t hurt either.
- “Look What You Made Me Do” – Taylor Swift: Uh, duh. Seems like you can’t go more than an hour since its release Friday without hearing it, or uncovering all of the hidden meanings, or seeing all of the records it’s breaking. As for me? I’m guilty, guilty, guilty on all accounts. I don’t love every single lyric of this one, but damn, Taylor does it best when she’s pissed.
As I’ve been reminded on my first day back to work in nearly a week, today is Wednesday. Please bear with me as I attempt to form coherent and complete sentences.
- Domaine Chandon: My friends hosted this weekend’s wedding guests with a Jolly Trolley of Love through a few Napa wineries, and our first stop — at Chandon — was my fave. The staff was superb, the bubbles were flowing and I refrained from any references to SNL’s Moët Chandon girls (language NSFW).
- Gott’s Roadside: After a day of wine tasting, we were in dire need of lunch (and more alcohol). This iconic restaurant in St. Helena accommodated our orders in advance, allowing our precious party planner a faster feat of feeding 19 people. The burgers were bomb, as were the shakes and sips.
- S’well: After this weekend’s shenanigans, I’m in full detox mode. Well, except for the three happy hours and one rave (that’s right) I have this week. During the day, at least, I stay happily hydrated with my fancy S’well bottle. I thought the price point was steep, but I consistently get at least 100oz of ice-cold water daily thanks to this little lifesaver. And, proceeds from every sale help give drinking water to children in need. Ahhh.
- “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” – Justin Timberlake: It could be the fact that *NSYNC just reunited for JC Chasez’s FORTIETH birthday or that JT’s voice always gets the people going, but no matter the reason, I’m really feeling this summer song. Bonus: It’s apparently on the soundtrack for the upcoming “Trolls” movie — so look out for that.
Back to life, back to reality … which for me apparently means getting sick because, why not? Luckily, I was able to enjoy some weekend lovelies and am slowly on the road to recovery.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium: What do two young women who share a love for sea otters do on a Saturday? They drive down to Monterey Bay to ooh and ahh at marine life for hours! I could see my niece having an absolute blast here, and there’s plenty to keep the adults entertained, too.
- Carmel Ridge Winery: After our time at the aquarium, we stumbled upon this little tasting room with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The staff was so awesome and friendly, and the live music was fantastic. For just $10, we enjoyed a tasting flight of five different varietals — you can’t beat that!
- “Cecelia” – Simon & Garfunkel: You read that correctly. I am unabashedly obsessed with this song, and my friend blasted it mercilessly at my request during our weekend road trip. Don’t even act like you don’t love it, too.
- Atelier Emmanuel: I can’t believe I haven’t gushed about this place before! I’ve seen Nicole at this salon for six months, and she’s taken my hair to a whole new level. I never thought I’d embrace my strawberry blonde roots, but the staff at AE assure me it’s #flawless.
I’ve had a massive headache all day, making work (among other things) extremely difficult to get through. To combat the migraines I inevitably face from lack of relaxation, here are my go-to tricks for alleviating stress and headaches.
Put on good music. It can be soothing or booming with beats, but make sure it’s something that won’t require you to shuffle after every few tracks. I love Straight No Chaser and Mumford & Sons for this very reason.
Work it out. If you’re feeling up to it, a 30-minute cardio sesh will do wonders for your stress levels. Releasing endorphins makes you happy (and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands).
Change into something cozy. Whether it’s your Forever Lazy or sweats and a tee, wipe away the day’s dramas with a comfortable and relaxed ensemble. Extra points for Snuggies!
Pour a glass of wine. The men may poo-poo at this, but a nice glass of vino takes away stress much faster than a brew ever could. Try your best not to finish the entire bottle — otherwise, you’ll end up with an even bigger headache in the morning.
Light soothing-scented candles. I love lavender and vanilla fragrances when I need an escape, but any smell that transports you to a better place will do.
Make a comforting meal. It doesn’t need to be fancy (and shouldn’t be complicated), but treat yourself to a delicious dish of fresh and flavorful ingredients. I absolutely adore saltedchocolate’s Mozzarella Caprese Pasta after a rough day.
There are plenty of other ways to lower your stress level, but this six-step routine has become my Bible.
What helps you relax? Is it a combination of these ideas or something else entirely? Share your favorites here!
You tell ’em, Ross.