Thursday, June 30, 2016

Roam Artisan Burgers | SF, CA

Most of the good memories in life involve food, wouldn't you say? Well, maybe food wasn't a factor when you gave birth, or scaled a mountain or graduated valedictorian (or successfully hit your sister square in the back after she stole your clothes in middle school. Just me?) ... but I sure as heck bet it was a supporting character in the celebration after. Because food = memories = camaraderie = the good stuff in life. The best stuff in life in fact.

Though we arrived in San Francisco on different days last August (Jay got there August 16th, I arrived about a week later), Roam Artisan Burgers was the first meal that Jay and I both had as residents. His was a solo meal after a full day of driving a U-Haul, unloading our entire world of things into the house with the movers and finally gasping for breath and sustenance at about 8 PM. Mine was a shared meal with Jay at about 7 PM the day of my arrival, after a long day of driving a packed little SUV with a dog co-pilot through 3 states (that ugly snap here). For each of us, Roam served as the big sigh of relief and the first "bite" (my pithy cleverness knows no bounds) of this city as a local. So for that reason, it holds a little place in both of our feasty little hearts.

Now it serves its purpose just as the delicious little burger joint around the corner that it is. As we spend our many weekends wandering around the elevated streets, we often pop in here for a swig of ale (ayy, matey) and a mouthful of goodness.
^Jay and I were fresh off a Napa kick and went for wine. Logan opted for the traditional beer. On weeknights, we sometimes get the Kombucha on tap. You heard that right. 
^Brothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug
^Jay and I generally have nails that look exactly the same. Thankfully, he did not marry me for my hands. He married me for my Super NES station.
^I was in the mood for meatless so I went with their Classic Veggie Burger. Let's take another look at that bad boy...
^The quinoa burger is truly divine topped with butter lettuce, tomato and their special sauce. A whole lot of yumminess wrapped up in one sesame bun.
^We also split their Fry-Fecta = a basket of zucchini onion fries, sweet potato fries & russet fries. As you can tell from this image, they are all incredibly good. 
^Chandler may be backyardless and used to life in small downtown spots but on the upside, the boy could write his own SF/PDX city food blog. He gets to eat out with us a lot (mainly so I can cuddle that scruffy face). I love that mutty boy so much.

True to everyone's form, the boys scarfed their proper burgers before I had a chance to capture them. However, that alone should speak to the quality of this place. Great burgers, easy ordering, relaxed ambiance and a cute little outdoor patio. Roam, you make it so easy to love you.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Quintessential Dad

So a little shy of two weeks ago, a man farted in my face at Safeway.

He really did.

I didn't want to write this post because I tend to not use the "F" word online. The one that forces the reader to envision disgusting images. However, I do use the other "F" word. Though I tend to mask it under things that are basically the same as saying it such as "eff" or "f***". Anyway, we're not talking about that one. We're talking about the thing that your Grandpa/Dad/Boyfriend/Brother repeatedly blames on Fido. Ralphie's old man may not agree but, in my opinion, it's the F dash dash dash word. A man I did not know, did that in my face, ON FATHER'S DAY. Could there be anything more poetic than that right there? Nice try, Maya Angelou.

Want details? Here they come.

Jay and I keep a steady stream of homemade popcorn available in our house for late night snacking. It's yummy, it's easy as heck to make and just works a lot better for late night cravings than breaking out a bag of chips, etc. So we keep it popping in our house (hardy-har-har) always. So anyway, on Father's day morning, as we stood in the very long line to pay for the rest of our groceries, I realized that we had forgotten to get kernels which we were out of. Knowing that I had a good 15 minutes before we reached the cashier, I made like a soldier, declared "I'LL GET THE POPCORN" with my fist in the air and skipped off to the appropriate aisle

When I reached said aisle there was a 50-something lone man staring at the popcorn selection, dorky sneakers and dad belt included. I made my way to the same area and stood a few feet behind him as I perused the merch'. All of a sudden, as I bent down to grab my kernels, with my face kinda near his rear, the man lifts his right leg and lets out a huge, loud one.

Honestly, I was taken aback. And after a minute of confusion, all I could think was - "Did that man really just openly pass gas in the aisle? Like give no f***s and just let it rip when someone is standing right here? Did he really just fart in my d*mn face?"

But then my keys jingled. And as his head slowly turned around to reveal his horrified expression, I realized that he had no idea I was even standing there prior to that moment. I guess it makes sense, I was wearing sneakers on this day (these ones in fact) which would have rendered me quite quiet as I approached and stood behind him.

Thankfully, I was in that aisle alone because I know that had that occurred as I stood there with a friend, my response would have mimicked something you would see at Kindercare and emphatically humiliated the poor man. Instead, I raced back to the cashier, bagged our groceries and made my way outside. I even had the resolve to wait until we got in the car to regale Jay with what had just happened, my laughter finally free to erupt in the elementary school fashion that I had suppressed the prior five minutes like the grown-up I pretend to be.

All I can make of it is that this was my first Father's Day where I didn't get to see my own dad and I very much missed him. In its own unique way, the universe found a way to celebrate it with me. I'm sure someone, somewhere was preparing for that father's arrival, splendidly crafting a dad's day brunch to shower him with and tell him all the ways he has supported, cared and loved them through the years. And meanwhile, in all his dadness, he was just putzing around the store, loudly fartin' in the aisles.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Will to Propel

I'm obsessed with the idea of a new apartment right now. Knowing that the market down here is ridiculously competitive + the fact that I'd like to find a home we stay at for a few years, securing a place that fits our needs in a 'hood we want is really all I think about on my down time. Which made me think about how often I am looking towards the next big thing after already getting what I want (actually seeing how I put a lot of leg work into these transitions, I'd like to say after I work hard to make what I want happen :).

For instance, when we lived in Portland in a no pet unit, all I wanted was to move so we could get a dog. I prodded and prodded until finally Jay saw the light of what a furry pet would do for us. So we painstakingly packed up our life, moved to another downtown building a few blocks away, got a dog and I was super happy.

Amidst that, I was still pestering for another move: One out of Portland. And I begged and pleaded with Jay on making a transition with me to a new city for literally years. I wanted to experience something else and if I wanted to make it happen, I had to present my case to a husband whose life would also be shifting. So I relentlessly pursued this with him and endlessly tried to open him up to the idea and evenntuaalllly, it happened. And I was super happy for the gift of the adventure (with said dog in tow to boot!).
^I'm pretty good at picking guys & dogs

And now, here I am again, pursuing another move to a new building as the one we're in doesn't suit us for the long term (we don't plan to buy a home until we know what life will look like in the coming years). And I'm beginning to wonder if this need to constantly look ahead to what is next considered a detriment or an asset? On one hand, it's propelling us to take these steps that further our life and goals. On the other hand, I fear that I'm not taking any time to smell the roses

However, the dog was a good the best choice. San Francisco was a positive decision not just self-exploratory wise but also when it came to our careers. So something tells me that I just may be on to something in my continued efforts to propel life. Maybe it's okay to never be "done". Maybe it's all about looking to the next chapter while you still write the pages of your current one. I'm not sure.

But in the meantime, don't even bother talking to me unless it has to do with furniture or great available apartments with a foyer and on top of a coffee shop because that is the name of the game.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

17 Fire Tweets I've written that no one gives AF about

I really do love a lot of social media platforms. I'd have to say that Instagram, in all its simple & aesthetic glory, is my very favorite. And the one I would let go of if I had to would definitely be Twitter. That's because I'm rarely funny in 140 characters. I need, like, 3 sentences (and for the reader to be three sheets to the wind) for my humor to translate. But sometimes I have tried because frankly, what have I got to lose? And though no one cares about my penned tweets on there, here's some ones that I thought were actually a-okay (Note: If you don't watch "Game of Thrones" many may not make any sense) (Note 2: If you do watch "GOT", many still may not make sense).

When I dumbed-down GOT for all the "Friends" fans

When I knew what awaits those who don't repent

When I kept it real with the Folgers' commercials

When I wasn't making any sort of joke at all. Not even a little bit.

When I could not get a minute of peace

When I sat next to the politest idiot I had ever met

After filling out thirty applications about my dog's background, sexual orientation, job history & attitude for an apartment

When Hillary's words were trending and made me think of one thing

Upon realizing I had married a monster

When I thought this was a mirror for a quick second

When my marriage was rock-solid trust wise but lacked a bit in the dramatics

When we were all so concerned about our friend

When we were all told that dogs hate hugs and all I could think about was how much I don't like a lot of other things

When Theon Greyjoy was decidedly not #FeelingTheBern nor on the #TrumpTrain after a pep talk from ol' sis
^I made that pic. So proud of myself. See also: Needs a life.

After Hodor proved himself to be the truest gentleman & I had no coping mechanism

When the Apple vs. Caitlin storage war waged on

When I shouldn't get any credit for this one because my friend is just funny

And as the birds say when they leave one another: Tweet, tweet!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wake Me Up Before You Shop Shop

I slept really hard last Saturday night. I don't what it spawned from but from the moment I climbed into bed, I basically torpedoed into a REM cycle. When I naturally woke up about 7 AM the next morning, I was having none of it and swiftly face planted into my pillow to continue this hard sleeping streak. Around 9 AM, Jay prodded me, telling me it was time to get up. I said nothing but as I tucked myself deeper into my blankets, I think he understood my answer. About 40 minutes later, he came into the room and said: "Do you want me to just do the grocery store myself then?"
That got me out of bed at lightening speed.

Do I want him to go to the grocery store without me?
Um, nope. No, I do not. 
I seriously love going to the grocery store on Sundays (minus times here and there where I'm so very tired). Sure there's a million people there and long lines and Sundays can be half-depressing but honestly, it's something I very much look forward to.

I'm very, very particular about where I get my food for the week. I think of grocery shopping as our weekly date (really- I wrote a post about reasons why right here). Therefore, it's important for me to have an ambiance that vibes well with that. So dimly-lit places need not apply and I ain't interested in the multi-department establishments of the world either. I don't want a store that has clothes or hardware or a furniture section as well. I want a place that specializes and cares about their food selection. Right now we have three that we frequent: Trader Joe's (I'm fairly certain I've spent more money at that institution than anywhere else in my whole life), Mollie Stone's (kind of like a locally-run Whole Foods and it's about 3 seconds away from us on foot) and good ol' faithful Safeway (at a particular location we like, the other one is incredibly dark! #PickyAboutMyShoppingExperience).
Often we walk to these locations and talk about things as we make our way up the hill, canvas bags in hand (and NOOOWWW, our city grocery cart too which is so exciting with a life on foot!). Sometimes we drive. Sometimes we take an Uber. But we always end up spending a lot of time discussing the weeks ahead and the planned meals we will eat. When we get to the store, we practice a hybrid of staying together and dividing and conquering. I'll pick out most of our veggies, fruits, oats and lunch fixings while Jay handles the meat, eggs and all the fun sauces and spices. Many of the specialty stores have samplers from local vendors so sometimes we get to sip a sampler of Napa wine and talk to the vintner. Or we'll grab some freshly-squeezed green juice in anticipation of our workout later that day. And some of these grocery stores even allow dogs, which makes the entire experience even nicer.
This is always followed-up by an hour or two of food prep when we get home. Jay will take the meat out to the BBQ for grilling while I'll organize our workweek meals and breakfasts. At the end of all that, we have a stocked fridge of healthy food and a whole day of hanging out behind us. The time after that could be a long walk, a gym workout or lunch with friends. But the joy of the day is always rooted in our unfancy but so fun grocery store date. And it's something I greatly look forward to, not only to close out the weekend but to gear myself up for the workweek.

Do I want you to go to the grocery store without me? No, I do not!  
^Everyone always thinks Chandler is a puppy as they approach him. I guess I can see why seeing what they see right now.

Do you think the grocery store is fun or does it stress you out?
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Resort Bachelorette Essentials

This week cannot go by fast enough and that largely has to do with the fact that on Friday, I'm flying up out of the city to escape to one of the best places in all the land: Sunriver, Oregon. This is the first of two bachelorette retreats I have this summer and I couldn't be more stoked.

I've written about it before but Central Oregon (where SR is located) is truly so very beautiful. A dry, hot climate with outdoor activities galore. And Sunriver itself is the sprawling, neighborhoody resort within its confines. It's as relaxing as it is invigorating and you'd have to be a pretty pathetic person to ever find yourself bored there as it has everything to do from biking to skiing to swimming to hiking to wine bars - like I said, a pathetic person would find anything wrong with this place.

But to be frank, I could be flying to spend the weekend sitting in a camping chair adjacent to a puddle to do my taxes with a calculator and a piece of paper I have to write-on over my knee and I'd STILL be excited. And that's because I get to see a host of my girlfriends. Like - yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Moving has made me miss my crew like no other and I just can't wait. So what are the essentials us girls are collectively putting together for the sacred occasion of sending one of our own off into matrimony?

Resort Bachelorette Essentials
  • Delicious Food - When you have a full kitchen available to you and you're away from the world celebrating something special - you best get artistic with your meals. What's the excuse not to? We like to make fancy salads, vibrant pastas and homemade breakfasts when we're all together.
  • Stocked Bar - Fancy buckets of chilled champagne, seltzer, wine & the lemon & lime fixings. 
  • Fantastic snacksGorgeous fresh fruit and decadent cheese platters are always winners. We like to avoid the huge bags of chips in lieu of other alternatives such as jicama and hummus or pretzels with artichoke dip.
  • Sunnies- Duh. Because it's hot and they just look so cute in photos.
  • Cute Pajamas - Half the fun of cabin time with your friends is pretending that you're all together having a slumber party. I fully expect to spend quite a bit of time in indoor clothes only. No boys allowed.
  • A great hat- For a chic way to fight that summer sun. And for bad hair days which tend to be rampant in super dry climates.
  • Athletic gear - tennis rackets, baseball bats, bikes and trails galore. With all the eating you're doing, fitting in some outdoor movement can be as fun as it is essential.
  • Easy, fashionable duds- For all those 1,000 pics that will be taken throughout the course of the weekend and for your need to dress in a way that lets you move about.
  • Something flamboyant and fun for the weekend- As fun as girls' weekends are, this is a bachelorette and the guest of honor should feel like people went out of their way. Whether it's a huge pool Swan floatie or other decorations - bachelorettes require a little pomp, wouldn't you say?

Eeeee, I'm so pumped.
What are your bachelorette must-haves?
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Black & White & Loved All Over

The twenties are made for going out at night. When I was south of 25ish, my group of friends and I had longstanding plans to join the ruckus of downtown on any given Friday or Saturday night. It was what you did. And we certainly did it. We cabbed it to the bars with the best dancing music, happily spent our new-to-us incomes on cheap beer and spent most weekend evenings tapping our feet away while whatever pop song du jour rained from the ceilings. We were night people.

Jay and I rarely have evening plans anymore. Well, "rarely" is wrong (and I'm up late every single night of my life even if I'm not out). We go out here and there and we love late dinners and enjoying the reverie that comes with nightlife. However, we do that sometimes vs. most of the time. We tend to spend our "fun" time together these days being daytrippers. We generally rise, get ready, leash up our dog while swilling coffee and greet the day in any given neighborhood with enthusiasm and joy. After hours of that, you will find us at home watching a movie on Netflix to close out the day. That's us in our 30s. For better or worse.

But we broke stride last Friday.

I got home from work and felt great. The kind of great you feel after a successful workweek which included lotsa gym workouts and lotsa healthy eating. Instead of my usual inclination of 'let's go get happy hour and then stay home shortly after', I opted to putz around our place for a bit and then go out to eat properly. So we landed on that. And I knew just where we should go in light of the weekend prior's horribleness: The Castro.

If you know nothing of the Castro, here's a two second summary: It's one of the most historically gay neighborhoods in the entire world. That may seem light-hearted and fun (I mean, gay bars, duh. Who doesn't like to dance at a gay bar??!?!) but it has a lot of historical significance as well. Am I the one to explain it? Nope. But here's some wiki help. Anyway, after a week of feeling sickened by the events (mass shootings physically affect me the more I age), I knew that all I wanted to do was lend what little support I could in a tangible place. So it was off to dinner and drinks in the Castro for our date night.

Here's what I wear for such things these days:
^Top: Abercrombie (lololol, I don't want to talk about it) Skirt: Zara

As for our date night itself, it was awesome. We noshed on Mediterranean gyros and skewers. We visited the neighborhood's memorial. We talked to lots of other people. Shared stories, hugs, love. That, to me, is what it was all about. We danced. We toasted. We interacted. We embraced. We loved the night.
^And ain't that just the truth?

Here's my 9-second Boomerang rendition: 

Not only was it a fun way to pass the time but we felt culturally invested in our robust community at a time when we felt it was needed most. What could be better than that?

Happy Monday, friends!
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hug Thy Neighbor

Hi guys,

How are you? Are you doing okay?

Minus my pre-scheduled post on Monday (or as someone more efficient would call it: my scheduled post), I just haven’t had it in me to blog this week. The gruesome events in Orlando are too much of an elephant in the room.

I decided many moons ago to stop posting political thoughts on Facebook. With a caveat. If I did decide to go political it would be in a positive tone e.g. I LIKE this person vs. I HATE this person. I’m FOR this vs. I’m AGAINST this. Why? Because frankly, I can’t take much more of the political maelstrom that is the Facebook newsfeed. It’s as if everyone thinks that everyone else has lived life with the exact same set of experiences, ideologies and associations as everyone else. No longer can you think or express a thought without someone completely summarizing who you are as a person. It’s toxic, it’s obnoxious and I’m sick of witnessing it. Opinions! Opinions! Opinions! If any of this was met with civil discourse online that would be one thing, but I think we all know the reality.

But then, something like Orlando happens and I have a really strong opinion myself about a certain aspect of it. And I’d like to shout it from the rooftops. And shake people who I feel are doing a disservice to this epidemic. I want to be that annoying person online commenting people’s endless memes (I have not and do not) and prodding with opposing viewpoints. Because it makes me so ridiculously angry due to the fact that these losses make me so insanely SAD. And the thing of it is, I know they make all of us sad yet for some reason, we are unable to get anything effing done about the horribleness.
^VIA Jay's phone

So I decided to not get into these conversations online and I haven’t. Therefore, my blog wasn’t going to reflect anything about this larger discussion we should have about these issues. At the same time, it feels a bit forced and shallow for me to post here as usual about the stupid things I do and the clothes that I wear during such a significantly sad week.

All I am willing to say online is let’s continue to try to love one another and create an atmosphere of respected discourse. I really feel that that might be the key to a lot of this. Nothing seems to get done because everyone is so arrogantly positive that what they say or believe is wholly right and there’s no wiggle room available.$%*@$.break. People from all walks of life and sides of the aisle are literally dying. Are we really that married to our political allegiances that we can't look to each other and our opposing experiences for solutions? 

Ugh, I don’t know the solution – but please, let there be more light.

My thoughts are with everyone and especially with the LGBTQ community. I’ve been heavily onboard with gay rights since I was a kid and never unwavering in my support of their community. Thankful that I’m in a city that embraces them wholeheartedly as I am positive they need extra hugs this week. Heck, I could use one myself.

More positivity and light-heartedness on Monday, I promise.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Home, Sweet Frame

There's a few things around my house that bring me sheer joy based on sight alone. Cheesy? Yup! Corny? You betcha! But all the better to gush over you with, my dear. Surrounding yourself with what you love is always a grand, ol' idea.

^Chandler (would you expect anything less?) in the first week we had him, as captured by my sister. His short ears forever kill me.
^Jay and I in front of the iconic PORTLAND sign. My favorite displayed representation of our life living there together in the city. 
^"CHICAGO" by my little brother. In 2008, I got my first "real" job and my first business trips started at a rapid pace. Despite my new need to be professional and put-together, I just couldn't fathom a weekend in Chicago without a friend to experience it with. So who did I take? My little brother. And dang it if it wasn't the best 48 hours of our life. We had the most fun ever. As a Christmas present to me that year, my bro drew the marquee from scratch with an added headliner depicting our own trip. And my brother is kind of a asinine little d**k, so that makes it all the more touching.
^Soaking in Rome, Italy - 2013

^ The very first pic we have of Chandler ever when we went to the shelter puppy meet and greet. Funnily enough, I didn't think he was going to be our take home dog (we had our eye on his calmer sister), I just took this pic because it was so cute how he just kerplunked his bum on Jay's shoe. Now, I see it all as this beautifully little butt-on-loafer miracle. Hi my future dog, I see you! I seeeeeee you.
^A pointillism piece of art of Chandler. More info on that saved for another post. But it's original, and a gift to us and it's fantastically treasured.
^The snap of the masculine cocktails available to the men of our wedding party on that Sept. 2014 day.
^Our engagement cheesiness, forever etched into our feng-shui.

^Our international wall (for lack of a better term). Bottom L ==>R / France/Italy/Mexico

^Fave quotes of one of my top movies of all time. #TheSausageKingOfChicago

^... and back at one. But really- those eyes and whiskers. :)

Happy Monday!
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