Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Braids (& Other Sh*t I Can't Do)

 I've come to the conclusion that my mantra for this week is "Sh*t I can't do"

Sh*t I can't do such as work from my proper desk while the RNC & DNC are on. Since the conventions [rudely] start in the middle of the day, I've found myself unable to wait 'til I get home to partake in the drivel even though I'm sick of a lot of it from both sides. But in the spirit of being informed, it's been two work weeks of moving my laptop to the area where the TVs are in the office

Sh*t I can't do such as stop finding new things for our new place. For the first time in our life, we're actually moving somewhere with some SPACE (Keep in mind: Space to us = about 950 sq feet. This is a very city-specific comment) where I can buy things like a little dining set, an upgraded bed and a second end table. Back away from the modern furniture websites, Caitlin.

Sh*t I can't do such as pronounce the word "specific" when I'm talking fast. If you ever want to hear what a good, 'ol classic idiot sounds like - go ahead and ask me to say that word in a fast succession... it's really something special what comes catapulting out of my mouth.

AND, sh*t I can't do such as braid my own hair. I'm constantly surrounded by illustrious women in the city who have these exotic, intricate, woven braids in various styles atop their head. They're in ponies, they're in corn rows, they're in halo crowns - how are you all doing this? You can really twist your hair around your own head like that without your blood running out of your arms or passing out from boredom? Dang. If I weren't so busy being jealous I'd be impressed.

But I guess there's one thing I will say I can do. And that's perhaps be President some day. Gosh dangit if I haven't been a little teary-eyed seeing a female nominated to the main ticket. Strong ladies make me forever proud (even was awestruck at Ivanka's speech last week about women's rights!), I hate to sound all Spice Girlsy but I still get goosebumps from huge proclamations of "girl power" no matter what walks of life the messenger arrived from.

So I may not be able to do some sh*t but hey, at least "WE CAN DO IT!"

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Love Sleep, Sleep Hates Me

Anyone who knows me well (or reads this blog, as I mention it probably more often than not) knows that I struggle to sleep. I've been this way since middle school and it has plagued me through my adult life. Sure it makes me great during NYE or on overnight drives from San Francisco to Portland, but frankly - it's quite a hardship in a world meant for early risers.
^Here's an emo pic of me at the beach to show you that I'm in deep thought about this topic

When Jay and I climb into bed together at night, I have a front row seat of what a normal sleeping schedule looks like. He'll scoot under the covers and wrap himself up like a burrito in a mash of sheets and poofy blankets while he knocks the pillow around until its abundant feathers lay as he hopes. He'll generally then lean over to give me a kiss on the forehead as he turns on his Kindle and begins his beloved nightly hobby of leaving behind his day and poring himself into the words and minds of others. Without fail, a few minutes later I'll see his eyelids languidly sweeping lower and lower. This is always followed by the Kindle delicately finding a diagonal resting spot on the tip of his nose. He's out. It's become my nightly duty to whisk his reading device from its makeshift home and place it gently on his nightstand as I tuck myself back into my side and wonder why I'm not tired to the point of drifting off like that. I've been tired quite literally all day long. Why not now? C'mon brain. C'mon body. Shut down. Shut down.

No dice. It's extremely rare that I am ever asleep before midnight but I'm more commonly awake in bed til about 1 AM.

I've tried many variants in the hope of fixing this problem: Herbal tea, natural relaxers such as Melatonin and of course, I've had a Doctor prescribe a few samples of non-over-the-counter options. They often worked but I'm a little freaked out by the thought of taking prescription sleeping pills every night so I never pursued them with regularity.

I often wonder if I'll ever not be tired again in my life. I'm always tired even when I'm laying awake staring at my ceiling counting as many sheep as I possibly can. But that is hardly exclusive to someone with insomnia, I'm sure. Does anyone ever feel fully-rested? Is this just life as we know it now that we no longer wear jelly shoes and have ribbons in our hair? Are we destined to always be tired?

Perhaps that is the case. And perhaps the only thing that amplifies our adulthood more than a persistent desire to take a nap is the way we all just suck it up and move on with our day regardless. It's not like I'm in a horrible mood or that I don't find joy in my surroundings as I go about said day. It's just that it'd be mighty nice to tackle them with the buoyancy of a well-rested child. A pipe dream, I know. And while we're at it universe, I don't want to get greedy but I would like my 3rd grade metabolism back. What was the point of giving me that in my most selfish phase? At least give a girl a chance to appreciate it like I would now!

Are you a good sleeper? 
Early to bed, early to rise? 
Or are you up counting sheep with the likes of me?
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Monday, July 25, 2016

How To Land An Apartment In San Francisco

Hey, back now! And can we just discuss what happened on Tuesday? 
WE SIGNED THE LEASE ON AN APARTMENT.
Praise the Lawd.
I feel like perhaps I was remiss in continually complaining about the apartment hunt without actually explaining WHY it was so debilitating. I mean, "you were looking for an apartment - big whoop?" I didn't get it either until I moved here even after hearing people in NYC and SF complain about what it all meant. So here's why apartment hunting in a big city is a struggle:

1) It's a City of Renters
Not many people in their 20s and 30s who live in the city actually own a home (from my unscientific data of friends, coworkers, etc.). People rent. Of course there's some who do actually own but primarily, lotsa people are renting. But to live here, you have to have a good, steady job to even afford the housing costs. So you have all of these career-accomplished folks ALSO looking for apartments and you don't get much of that number reduced from people buying homes. For goodness sake, everyone here is potentially up against tech gazillionaires. The competition is super fierce and your contenders generally are just as desirable potential tenants as the next person. And everyone wants the good places.

2) Cash Offers
Because people who are renting here generally have a great job to boot, you can quickly be ousted by a candidate who comes in with a boatload of cash to secure their application. We looked at a couple viable places at like 8 PM on a weeknight only to be told the place was gone by 7:30 AM the next morning by someone who paid 50% of year upfront. Didn't even have a chance to apply.

3) Group Showings
Prior to moving here, I had never been to an apartment open house like what is the norm here. In all my years living in downtown Portland, I got every apartment by making an appointment with the manager and showing-up for my private viewing. When I first started apartment hunting in NorCal and was accosted with all the "open house this Tuesday!" verbiage- I had to ask myself: Aren't open houses for people buying? Well, no. Here in SF, about 75% of the listings we visited were done so in an open house format. That means that we'd arrive, sardine into these units with 15 other people and if you like what you saw - you'd have to literally slam your paperwork down to the leasing agent that moment. Barely even time to discuss amongst each other! It's stressful.
4) Speaking of Leasing Agents...
You don't generally ever work with the direct owner of a building. Frequently, you will meet a leasing agent who works for the landlord and their job is to bring in many different offers. That equals more competition and more stress. And if you want to hire an apartment hunter yourself, their fee is generally one month rent on the place you land at. Which, for a one-bedroom in the city, is going to hover around $3K-$4.2K.

5) The City loves Fido but the Landlords beg to differ
Last summer when the decision to move here became final, I couldn't research enough about dog-friendly activities that Chandler and I could now partake in. The city legitimately has more dogs than children (for real, click here) and with the ample parks by the bay and the endless urban trails, is noted for being one of the most dog-friendly places for Fido to call home. But what is less known, is that while that all is true, actually getting Fido a home can be a daunting task. With the demand for housing in SF being so high, it is really a landlord's market. And as a result of that freedom, many cut out the liability of having animals in their units (don't even get me started on the logical assumption of what that means for the number of pets relinquished to a shelter as a result...). So be sure to click that 'dogs allowed' button on Craigslist while you apartment hunt. And try not to be completely overwhelmed of how many of your search results diminish. They are out there. They just take a lot of effort to find. Doesn't mean that I didn't have to put a lot of quarters in the swear jar as I watched the list reduce once I clicked that button.

6) Your Wallet is about to take a Beating
Finally, and most importantly, the cost. SF has the most expensive housing in the country. I touched on that here and how people make it work. However, because of this - the rents are obviously insanely high within city limits. There is no way of getting around that fact. So your search will include viewing a ton of places that are priced incredibly high but are legitimately awful. We went to look at this one-bedroom in a great location listed at $3,950/month. It was a complete and utter sh*thole. But it's a landlord's market and they can actually charge that for a cruddy unit. Sifting through all of these will waste a lot of time. And when you do find a place you love, it'll likely still be a big pill to swallow to move in with rent and move- in costs (deposits are generally 1.5x the amount of rent - so about $7K-$9K for a one-bedroom. Gulp.).
So with all that in mind, it is with sheer joy and extreme excitement that I say that we found a place we love in a great neighborhood and we are moving in in a few weeks. Yes! It took about two months of insane searching to land "the one" but we did it. 


My tips for those about to embark on this debilitating quest are as follows:

1) Be annoyingly relentless 
Email leasing agents over and over if you want to view their listing or take next steps. Stand out. If you are applying to the owner directly, showing your real interest will bode well for you.

2) Create a dog resume with a picture
Did your eyes roll? Me too when I first heard that. But they're a thing and they help. We listed Chandler's training, a bit about his disposition and references with prior landlords to prove he is not a barker and is properly socialized.

3) Create a packet of information to give to a landlord if you want a place 
LinkedIn page, Credit Report, Financials, Pay Stub, etc. Have it all ready to go.

4) View Craigslist multiple times a day - over and over and over again. And over again after that. Set alerts. 
Google got in the habit of just suggesting "sfbay.craigslist.org" basically when I typed "s" into the bar. My internet home away from home for the last two months. Also - know what type of places are rent-controlled (information here) so you can view - and hopefully lease - one of those. If you're in a new building (like we are now), you are subjected to steep rent increases every single year.
5) Be ready to pounce.
If you see a unit that checks out for what you need - do not WAIT to apply. When we finally found the place we now got, we had about 20 minutes before their office closed to get them cash to begin our application processing. We did not want to miss out on being the first applicant vetted the next morning so we uber'ed all over the city from bank to their office to ensure they had that cash in hand just as their offices closed.

6) Use Better References
Don't use your friends, your sister, a childhood friend's mom. Use ones that hold more weight such as your current boss.

7) Don't get down! 
Easier said than done and I had some defeated moments after a few places we liked fell through. But, honestly, I think we landed at the place we're supposed to be at so I wonder if there was a reason for that. There's always more out there and new options will reveal themselves every day. Give yourself ample time for the hunt and you should be okay.
^Our soon-to-be neighborhood, the Marina

Needless to say - we are beyond stoked to have that all behind us now and to have found a place that will suit us for a good chunk of time (it's an older place too with a bay window! Just what I had hoped for + rent control. Hamada, hamada.). Good luck to anyone who has stumbled on this post while enduring the same housing journey. I'm with you in mental solidarity!

Now let the packing begin!
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Friday, July 15, 2016

T.G.I.VEGAS

Happy Friday, everyone!

I'm in good spirits for a few reasons: 1) It's Friday and I work all week long just for the jubilation that bubbles up after the uttering of that sentiment. 2) I found the twin to an earring I've been looking for and 3) I'M GOING TO VEGASSS TOMORROW [Said in Oprah voice].

Truth be told, I feel like I'm the least prepared clothes wise for this Vegas trip than ones in the past. I know I have outfits available in my closet but I just haven't taken the time out to figure out exactly what they will be. But that's something a lunchtime shopping trip and a Friday night packing party can easily fix, right? 

Have a great weekend! Mine goes from tomorrow-Monday. If anyone is a local in SF and sees me downtown, shuffling to work on Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM, I would maybe back away slowly and try to shoot for Wednesday instead. That day is gonna be a level of ugly that no duckling could match.

Catch ya on the flippety-flip!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Central Oregon Bachelorette

About 2 (or 3?) weekends ago, I flew up North from SFO to Central Oregon to attend a bachelorette of one of my longest, favoritest friends. Since I'm incapable of attending such an event without taking 5M photos, I'll keep my words at a minimum and make this a picture book story today since I got lots of images to share (nice camera and iPhone snaps all muddled in here together):
^Had my party lippy on bright and early that day as I was up at 5:30 AM and ready to hit the skies.
^I boarded my flight in cool & breezy San Francisco and loved watching my view change into dry desert. When I deplaned in Oregon, it was hot, hot hot.
^Yay! Finally with my bride of the hour on the left. On the right is our Central Oregon bachelorette, Megan, and the next bachelorette, Tracy - who we'll toast in Vegas this week.
^As we waited for our check-in time and for the other girls to arrive, we nosh and sipped at 10 Barrel Brewery in Bend. I did a post on this location before HERE and their Portland location HERE.
^Love my bride!
^At Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon. Just about one of the best places to sit with your gals.
^We played some fun games...
^... and we told stupid stories. Until we were finally told by the others who were there setting-up and decorating that the house was completely ready. So we told them Air Force One (the car brigade with the bride) was on its way.
^There was so much good food and so many amazing meals made - but I still had to capture the domestic beer fridge and the wine shots.
^Beautiful!
^The next morning, we were in good spirits and excited to head to the pool.
^Followed by lunch downtown afterwards after a full few hours of baking in the sun.
^Wine & Buffalo Wings. What a combo.
^I miss you Oregon.
^Tracy being part of the backyard crew while remaining inside on her phone like an angsty teen. 
^Kiesha, Yuki & Tracy
^For our last night, we all got dressed-up for dinner down at the lodge. Megan looked oh so purty.
^Hey, there's me!
^Brunch on Sunday morning in Bend, Oregon, before my flight home.
^Boarding in Oregon and flying out of all that desert...
^... into something crazily beautiful. Can you see my house?

The weekend came and went in the span of a hug, I tell you. But oh was it magical to see those girls. And I really can't believe that I'm going to deplane on Saturday into their arms again.

Love you, Megan!
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