Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flutter & a Kiss

I've always thought of Valentine's day as a time to celebrate much more than just romantic love. That's likely rooted in my childhood where my parents were big partners in making certain we felt the love that day. My mom would always adorably go all out with special breakfasts, a kitchen table adorned with strewn-about flecks of pink and red and sandwiches cut into a heart. We'd slurp pink drinks and color pink pictures and tell everyone how much we loved them. Then around 6 PM when my dad would come home from work, we were always greeted by him with flowers. And that was generally after an entire day of telling your whole classroom how much you love them! Even annoying little Bobbie R. with his rude demeanor and arm pinching habits. Love, and the celebration of it, is certainly not just relegated to romantic partnerships. Love is love is love.

With that said, I do have to (and want to) shout out to Jay. On Sunday when we drove over the bay bridge and made our way back into the city, I remember looking over at him in the car as the sun beams slapped him across the face. He was sleeping with his mouth gaping open and I was thinking "he's gonna want to take a nap when we get home after our adventure-filled weekend". Though I only made that gamble in my mind, I may as well have said it out loud because, like clockwork right in that second, he opened his blue eyes to say "I'm gonna need a nap when we get home, babes.

And I thought - dang. We spend so much time together.

As expected, when we arrived back in our space and climbed the four flights of stairs up to our walk-up, dropped off our bags and changed into uglier/more comfortable clothes, he pitter-pattered off to the bedroom to work on that nap. Later, as I did some Sunday organizing, I walked into the bedroom to hang up a shirt. The creaking of our old floors eventually managed to give me away and I heard Jay stirring. When I glanced in his direction, his eyes fluttered partially open to meet mine and a sweet smile formed- "hi babes. I love you." 

I really don't need much more than that to know that my love deserves a cheers. 

I love you, too. 

And YOU - Happy Valentine's Day to all!
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Monday, February 13, 2017

When In Doubt, List

Ohhh, how this weekend was good for the soul. It was full of adventure over in the east bay and far away from the city (okay, really it's basically just across the Bay Bridge but a whole new worlllld). It was there that we afforded ourselves a relaxing weekend in my BIL's cozy home (you can see a bit of it from this post here) full of outdoor fire pits, couch lazing, hilly dog walks and savory brunches. It also included quick stops at Pixar (seen here) and a friendly, warm and jovial dinner party on Saturday night at Jay's cousin's house in Berkeley.  My belly was full, my heart was happy and my brain felt a little refreshed.
By Sunday night, it was back to the city to ready myself to jump back into the current of daily life. My hope this week is to be more purposeful (and that one week of it will turn into one month, one year, etc.). I've had a few issues I've been trying to tackle but alas, the week goes by and I still haven't carved out the time or energy to do so. In the spirit of that frustrating me, I sat at the table quietly in the kitchen and made a list for the week. Lists of things to do, things to focus on, things to be mindful about ... things to make me a better version of myselfLife has had me pulled twenty different directions lately and I've felt the need to center. For example, getting up early for a long walk before the sun comes up at least twice. Little goals with big mental rewards.

That's the hope anyway.

Happy new week everyone!
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Santa Cruz'ing Down The 101

Back in December, full of holiday spirit and bored of the same 'ol, same 'ol - we decided to have a midday adventure on a whim. Grabbing the dog and his crate, some seltzer water and snacks - we left San Francisco heading south on the 101. Initially, we were just headed to one place:
^Taco Bell - Pacifica, CA

That's right - just the nicest Taco Bell in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Like really, click here. It's a 'thing'. Jay had read it on Thrillist and was vying to visit the acclaimed branch of his favorite fast food joint. And I can't lie - it's not too shabby. It sits right on the pacific ocean at a popular surfing spot. There's a decent-sized patio with a walk-up ordering station outside for those reveling in the ocean (plus, when we were there - someone named Chandler had ordered food, I mean talk about making my day...)
^Fine dining for two

All in all, it was sufficiently dope spot to sit outside and eat our $1 dinner with the $1,000,000 (this is the Bay Area, let me rethink that) $100,000,000 dollar view. 

After that, we weren't sure if we should continue on past the 40 minute drive we had already done. But we decided to revel in our lack of agenda and continue pressing south. Which came with it some beautiful little perches to hop out of the car and absorb.
^He looks so handsome here.

Eventually, we decided to just keep going until we got to Santa Cruz. And once we arrived, we were greeted with lots of rain and about twenty minutes of daylight (make that, cloud light) before it became dark. We had driven all this way and decided- what the heck, we have no gear with us, have no reservations, it's getting late - let's just stay the night and see where this adventure goes. But first, let's check out the view:
^Can we please discuss how cute my little dog is? He slays me. Walking to see the ocean while the light is still going.
^Rainy, cloud and blustery but oh so gorgeous.

The rest of our night has swiftly immersed itself into the folds of our inside jokes file and I'm not sure that I can really accurately describe it on this. Let's just say it was an adventure. We surely found a last minute hotel that was dog friendly, but it was slightly terrifying and I had to not think too hard about where we were staying. After we checked-in, we decided we'd head out to see downtown and grab some necessities that we hadn't brought- such as pajamas (I ran into their downtown Forever21 and swooped us both up PJs for about $15 bucks in 4 minutes to get us through the night), face wash, toothbrush and some snacks and wine. All I can really say is that clearly, we did not know where the safer part of town was in order to grab those things. Along our two hour walkabout in downtown proper, we passed a car with people on all 4 wheels, trying to steal the hubcaps. Two huge dogs tried to attack my dog while their drug-addled owners did nothing. We saw people shooting up on their thighs right outside a popular brewery. We saw someone peeing on a restaurant's door. All this was on the main strip and all of this was framed with pouring rain. It felt a little like Biff Tannen's alternate world in B2TF2

It must be said that we did have a good time as well. We perused a book store and bought some magazines. We hit up a Trader Joe's and filled one of their crunchy paper bags with to go dinners, light snacks and some vino. And we enjoyed being somewhere new, experiencing the life of another city and seeing it in all its truths before heading back to the hotel for just some relaxation.
^A very zonked Chandler (who had been walking in the rain for awhile) and Jay back at our hotel.
^quiet reading, movies, uno, dog & wine - nice night away indeed.

The next morning, it was up early and doing some walking on the pier in the daylight:
^please note his smile.

And then, we pulled our car onto 101 North and headed for home. Santa Cruz, you were something else. And I liked it.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The City | The View

^a couple of snaps of my views from late nights at the office

There's a really nice suburban community in the Portland metro area called Lake Oswego. People love it for its manicured lawns, its large, gorgeous homes and its affluent lifestyle (or the impression of one, at least). Most Portlanders will tell you that it's an extremely coveted place to live. 

As far as I'm concerned, the place is a sh*thole.

Why? Because I worked there for 4+ years in a job that I was extremely unhappy with. The streets of Lake Oswego remind me only of my sad morning commute into the business park that I called home 40 hours a week. And with that, my desperate attempt to mentally be anywhere else but there. In every landscaped-to-Disneyland-perfection park, I only see 2010 me eating lunch there on a bench, praying that I didn't have to head back within the hour. Every drive through coffee stand transports me into the driver's seat of my car, as I mentally envisioned a city job where I would not have to plop into my SUV and drive 12 minute for my caffeine fix. Every home and apartment complex reminds me of a time when I would scoff at anyone who would knowingly choose to live so close to my dreary office. That beautiful community, resplendent in hard work and colorful flowers, is one of my least favorite towns I know. In my warped mind, there's just no good views to be had there.

That's why I'm so grateful for the views I have now. With many hops, leaps, bounds and jumps over the years, I've landed downtown in SF. And with all the inherent stress that comes with everyone's career, I have to say that the digs around me are pretty dang good. Maybe it's because I like what I'm doing now. Maybe it's because I am so manically happy with my company. Maybe it's because through all the blood, sweat and tears of poring myself into a fast-paced job, that I find a lot of self-worth and gratification.

Or maybe it's just because San Francisco is an extremely multi-faceted, alluring place. Full of urban dining and technological peripherals and community spaces for dreamers and achievers. Maybe it's the fact that the pain of staying late is rewarded with a front row view from my desk of the pink sunset, dropping off the skyline as it heads west. Maybe it's because I lay eyes on the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge every day from the East and North facing sides of the office (respectively). Maybe it's because San Francisco itself is the result of a lot of hard work. Maybe it's because I can see all that I do because I never quit as I gained traction in my career in my twenties, even with the lower-rung positions that that usually entails - they kept me climbing that ladder.

Whatever it is, I'm simply loving the view.
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Mamacita | San Francisco, CA

I always joke with Jay about two things: 1) That he's obsessed with bowl dinners. This due to his affinity for creating amazing dinners and meals that are varied, mouth-watering and... always presented in one huge bowl. And 2) That he only eats Asian and Mexican food. Which frankly, is pretty much true. With the skill of a seasoned search & rescue dog, Jay will sniff out food from those locales even in the most desolate of locations. And 1 & 2 generally go together.  Left to his own devices - that's pretty much all he eats. So imagine my non-surprise when he took me by the hand and lead me straight into Mamacita for a trip all the way south of the border. And though I may not have been surprised, that doesn't mean that I wasn't very enthused!
^Mamacita on Chestnut street - about a 4 minute walk from our front door.
^the perfect place for low lights and high volume energy. 
^We had a La Nochebuena - blanco tequila, lime, blood orange & thyme with a salt rimmed glass.
^Mamacita is bubbling with life inside - it's loud, energetic and screams its urban vibe.
^Their tamales were oh so inspired: mole poblano braised mary’s chicken with dino kale-mushroom tamale, crema casera & pickled onions. Sidenote: Does mole sauce remind ANYONE else of "The Princess Bride"?
^Rojas Sencillas - - slow-cooked mary’s chicken enchiladas with mole amarillo, house-made crema & queso asadero
^Inside looking out. Romantic little view of the Presidio Theatre across the street.

After all of that eating, we had to putz around the Marina for a bit to walk off our meal. I ended up with a few new books from the local bookstore and made about four new dog friends. So it was a good night indeed.

MAMACITA -  SAN FRANCISCO
Located in the Marina District on Chestnut Street
MAP | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK  | YELP! 

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Window Seat

For someone who loves being on my laptop, writing a blog, editing pictures, zoning out, eating out AND lives in a vibrant AF city - I'm awfully bad at taking my laptop out for drinks and a meal. Horrible boyfriend, am I. And seeing how I love a combination of all the items listed above, not heading to a cafe to satisfy my creative side while perched against a huge window is something about myself that really bothers me. One of those things I always say I like to do, always plan to do but then never actually carve out time to actually do on a regular basis. Darnit, ME. Why you gotta be all talk and no action?

So last Sunday, I did it. My laptop, my camera, my sunglasses and my walking shoes roved the Mission District until I could find a place to just be. With me. And my technological loves. And it was there with that view that I sat for over four hours. Doing some work. Indulging my creativity. Sipping some tea. Eating some gnocchi. Toasting some champagne once 4 came around. Watching the passerbys. Conversing with other patrons. Immersing in my city.

And it was a mighty fine date if you ask me. Definitely gonna call that chick again (after waiting 3 days, I'm not a monster after all).

TGIF
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Thursday, February 2, 2017

My Cleaner Arch


The hoarder in me and the decorator in me has always had my eyes set on one thing: Built-ins

You mean, all your stuff, stuff that you use and is kinda aesthetically appealing can just be out in the open? Available, easy to grab and fashionably postured against the wall? How amazing! Unfortunately, I've never lived anywhere that has built-ins. And I've also never lived anywhere where I could knock out a wall and assemble them myself. So I've been desperate and shelfless for my adult life.

Actually, scratch that. I have had them KIND OF once. In my little downtown studio in Portland. However, they were attached to a murphy bed (yes, I slept in a murphy bed!) and were technically part of the furniture and not the wall. You can see them here. So I stand by the fact that I haven't really ever had them.

But alas, our new place threw me a bone. We have one, little, tiny built-in and it comes in the form of this little arched shelf. And though it may be tiny, it be fierce.

The problem is that due to its location (in kind of the landing/entrance area), it is a magnet for droppables - keys, garage clicker, badges and sunglasses. And though it's pretty convenient for such items, I wasn't the biggest fan of all that cluttery riff-raff in my built-in.
As luck would have it, a few weekends after this issue started to bother me, I found myself heading into ZGallerie on Union Street to peruse the 'merch with a hot latte in my hand. I started to note that they many of their showroom set-ups included decorative boxes, something I hadn't quite thought of. And no sooner did I ask if they had neutral colored ones, was I buying two stacking storage boxes to use in my house.

It was a paired set and the larger one went on my front table (I'll post about at a later time). But this little one not only fit perfectly in my little niche but tastefully swallowed up all the items we had repeatedly thrown on the shelf at the end of the work day. And because the box lid easily opens, it takes all but .00005 seconds more to grab our keys and go.
^What a cleaner look. Box contains all items formerly seen above.

So we went from this...

To this...

And it just looks so much better.
And if you're wondering, we used Framebridge again to get that Instagram picture up on the wall. I think it captures his essence of a cat and/or an olympic diver.

And a mighty fine Thursday to you!
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