Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Adventures in the New Year

My big goal for the new year was to survive a crazy transition at work and to start taking advantage of living in San Francisco and Bay area more. It may have been a few late nights and some crazy schedules, but it's still been a great start to 2015:

1. While I've visited Scott's apartment in San Jose several times, I haven't done much exploring of the area. So when my grandparents asked what a good Christmas gift for him would be, I knew exactly what to suggest: two tickets to the Winchester Mystery House. It's a San Jose landmark, and something that Scott and I had contemplated doing for months. The first weekend we got back from our holiday break, we cashed in the gift certificates and took a tour. The house was designed by Mrs. Winchester who believed that if she ever stopped building, she would be haunted by all the people who died from the guns her company produced. It was the craziest house possible--doors that lead to two story drops, over a hundred small steps to go up one floor, and rooms with 4 exits but only one entrance.  It was a super cool tour, and a fun thing to check off the bay area bucket list.

2. Our company's annual rallying cry/celebration/look forward to the new year took place in LA this year. I decided to fly down a few days early so I could get a whole weekend with my family and friends. MLK weekend was filled with hiking, homemade food, and hours of watching Parks and Recreation with my Mom. Just when I thought my relaxing weekend at home couldn't be topped, I checked into a luxurious hotel downtown and met up with my coworkers. The whole event was planned with extraordinary detail, extravagance, and enthusiasm from a half pipe with BMX bikers at the dinner party to watching our CEO dance to Uptown Funk. To top it all off, one night may have ended past 4am at The Pantry eating late night bacon and eggs.


3. One of my Dad's Christmas presents to me was coming up to SF and painting my room. I was excited for him to see my apartment and my neighborhood for the first time, but if I knew what a difference he would make at my place I would have been jumping off the walls. He got in Monday night, so my Dad and I grabbed dinner with drinks, an appetizer of mussels, and delicious food at Park Chow before heading back to my apartment. I made up the couch (he's the first person to sleep on it and exactly why I bought such a large couch whee!) and headed to bed. I worked during the days and my dad would work on my house/explore the neighborhood/surf/keep the local Ace hardware in business while I was gone. After work we would have dinners at Crepevine, Marnee Thai, or grab pizza to take to the local bar before saying goodbye with brunch at Art's Place (which my Dad and Mom now love). I underestimated how much painting my room and the million of other fixes to my apartment would help, and I now finally feel like my room is a finished product and am proud of my apartment. I'm getting obsessed with fixing the rest up!

4. San Francisco is known for being a foodie city, and I definitely love all types of food. One of my New Year's resolutions was to explore more of the delicious restaurants and go on some food adventures. Brenda's Meat and Three was perfect meal out. It was a talked about restaurant, but small and down to earth, and most importantly delicious. They have a few things on the menu, but the best is a choice one of four entrees (meat) and 3 sides. 2 of my college friends and I decided to share two plates and ordered the fried chicken and BBQ ribs with roasted Brussels sprouts, Mac n cheese, sweet potato fries, cauliflower grautin, cole slaw, and red beans. Everything was unbelievable and the sides were just as good if not better than the meat itself. The best part is with a beer for each of us and a shared blueberry cobbler for dessert the whole meal came out to around $25 each. I'm already planning on taking Scott back to try it.

5. Scott and I went on an adventure to Ocean Beach and walked on the sand checking out the water--but mostly checking out all the dogs running around and wishing we had our own. From there, we decided to take the more complicated way to the baths and head up the dunes to Sutro tower for great views and a quick workout. Our only plan was to see Sutro Baths, a ruined pool house from the late 19th century, but it was such a beautiful place and weather that we continued exploring along the path for a few hours. We hiked the path from Sutro Baths to Lands End, and I immediately fell in love with it. I instantly made plans to take my parents when they came to visit, and have decided that I will make this a usual occurrence.



February brings a different type of crazy, but in the best way. All four weekends, I have visitors to San Francisco including family, a childhood friend, and college friends. It's a good thing I've been exploring so much lately because it's helping me plan fun weekends for the rest of the month!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winter Break

Working full time has made me appreciate holidays and time off more than I ever thought possible. My company is AMAZING and gives us 5 full days off over the holidays, so I've been back in PV spending time with family and friends. Q1 is going to be a hectic quarter at work, so I've been trying to use these past couple days to actively relax in order to maximize my time off. I usually walk back into the office grateful for the break but realizing I didn't really do anything or really even relish in the holiday while it was happening.

And as contradictory as it sounds, making myself do relaxing activities has been actually a million times more wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I thought I would blog about it: a day in the life of a girl who's having her first vacation that's longer than a 3 day weekend in 6 months. Maybe not the most exciting topic, but I have a feeling I'm going to look longingly back at this blog post in the upcoming weeks.


9:15 am. Wake up! I'm sharing a room with Johnny, and we both sleep in more than the rest of the family. It still feels earlier than I want, but there is no alarm waking me up and I can roll around in bed for 15 minutes before deciding that I want breakfast. I grab cereal and a yogurt, and my Mom offers to make James and I eggs since Jessica is off surfing and Johnny is off at brunch then a PT appointment.

10:30 I've been going for a hike almost every day of break (or a work out class thanks to the wonders of classpass), and today is no different! My Mom and I managed to convince James to come with us, so we head down to the Trump Golf Course to walk along the cliffs and down to Portugese Beach Club while talking about random things. I snap a few pictures as usual, before we head back up to the car to pick up Johnny from his appointment. 

1:00 We're all packed up in the car, and head over to our family friend's house. I had spent the previous day crafting with Sara and we both wanted to finish up our projects together. James joined us, and while I attempted to make art for my room that was simple enough for even me to not mess up, he actually painted. His paintings were amazing and I'm happy to say the pop art version of Abalone Cove is for me! Mwahaha. I'm still proud of myself for not ruining my projects, but we know who the artist is in the family. To keep us entertained, we also had How To Get Away with Murder going on in the background (now hooked) and ate Mac n Cheese while not trying to spill in the paint.

4:00pm Sara drives us to our house and we swap out James for my Mom. It's $5 movie ticket Tuesday at Regal, and we went to see Wild in theaters. I had read the book a few months ago and loved it, but didn't totally get in to the movie. I think the problem with long journeys alone is that no matter how great the acting is there's only so much dialogue you can say out loud.

 6:20 Back home to find my friend Brigitte got to my house earlier than I expected. We caught up and talked, then headed over to my grandma's house to jacuzzi. It was a shocking 48 degrees outside which made it even more fun to run out to the jacuzzi and stay in as long as possible.

9:00 Brigette unfortunately had work the next morning and couldn't stay with me forever like I wanted, so I hop on the couch and watch a few episodes of Parks and Rec with my parents. My Mom and I have been watching it almost every night since I've been home. I'm obsessed with the show so most of the time I wait for my favorite jokes and bug my Mom making sure she heard them and then making her tell me if she thought it was funny. My Dad usually resists, but this time I even caught him laughing at Ron Swanson. 

11:30 I'm not sure how it got this late, but I run into Jessica and James' room and tackle her. We spend the next hour in the bathroom with the heater on (warmest spot in the house plus has a mirror) talking about life decisions and watching Panda videos.

12:30 In bed and regretting my decision to take a 9:15 bar method class. I set my alarm for 8:15 even though I know I will snooze til 8:45 and fall asleep.

My normal lazy days consist of me watching Netflix around the house and aimlessly checking the fridge. While I did get in some solid days like that, I've realized that making an effort to unwind with family, friends, projects, and sunshine have been some of my favorite parts of break! Not to mention I will now be heading back to SF with 2 wall decorations that cost a total of $20 and a very personal touch :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Gifts from Napa

The gifts have been unwrapped and the family is all cozied up together for the holiday season! After feeling particularly proud of my wrapping of my Mom's present-- wine from Napa in a branded box and fancy wrapping paper--I realized I never shared one of my favorite memories since my move up to the Bay Area.  I didn't go on too many big trips this year--though graduating, getting a job and apartment, moving to a new city, and family emergencies have been more than enough adventure for one year--but I did check another thing off my bucket list! With Scott's secret planning, he whisked me away for a quick trip north of the city to go wine tasting in Napa and explore Petaluma for an afternoon.

We drove up to the Castillo de Amorosa winery in Napa and after my giddy freak out, Scott and I parked the car and instantly set out exploring. The whole winery is built to look like an Italian castle, and the building materials actually came from Tuscany. Scott had signed us up for a tour, so we grabbed some pictures of the flowers, vineyards, views and sampled grape seed oil before meeting our enthusiastic tour guide.

After pointing out the careful details of the decoration and walking around the castle, our tour finally made our way down to the cellars and learned more about the wine we were going to taste. It was so fun seeing the rows and rows of barrels underground, and we made a stop to taste wine that was still fermenting.

Finally, it was time to actually wine taste! Scott splurged and bought us the better wine tasting package so we got to try a ton of different wines. The experience of being in a dimly lit wine cellar trying glasses of $80 bottles of wine in Napa was exhilarating and hilarious at the same time. Scott and I had fun acting fancier than we were while both admitting that at this point of in our lives wine tastes like wine. One exception was a dessert wine that tasted like "liquid gold," and I could have the whole bottle of sweet wine.

Scott and I got caught up in our wine tasting experience and totally got sucked into the gift shop allure. We got three bottles of a Pinot Grigio that we had liked and I threw in an adorable wood box with the winery logo stamped on. I've had two bottles and the box decorating my room for so long, it's nice that I could finally give the gifts away today for Christmas! And I even have to admit the cute box looks even better in my Mom's kitchen.

We ended our wine tasting trip back at the car, but not before sneaking a grape or two from the vine! 

The rest of the night was filled with lots and lots of sushi for dinner before checking into our hotel and watching some guilty pleasure reality TV. 

The next morning we started our drive back to SF with plans (by Scott) to stop in Petaluma for a fun lunch. We grabbed a patio seat at a restaurant right by the river that runs through the town. While eating we saw a little brewery across the water, and decided to check it out after we paid our check. Sitting on a patio now on the opposite side of the river, we tried a few beers including a sample of mead for the first time. 

We ended the weekend's little day trip by looking through a few of the many antique shops that lined the downtown street before stopping at a retro ice cream parlor for some sundaes.

Napa and Petaluma was a perfect mini trip and a fun part of exploring a new part of the Bay Area. It also makes me happy that I could turn an amazing weekend into a great story and gift for my Mom and grandparents during the holidays (especially if it means I get another glass)! Tis the season after all!




Friday, October 24, 2014

A Summer in San Francisco

My summer in San Francisco has been full of great memories. I've had spontaneous Beyonce fueled nights out, music festivals with my boyfriend, work adventures and trainings, trips to wine country, Giants games, and more than a few delicious restaurants.

These past few weeks have also been filled with a traumatic family emergency at the beginning of September, and the only thing on my mind for the past five weeks has revolved around that. Although things are on the way up, I know that I will remember the more traumatic memories of my first summer in San Francisco before some of the great experiences I had. The best part of this blog is being able to look back and remember all the fun things I did or trips I've taken, so I'm going to back track a little and write about the amazing things I've done since I moved up to San Francisco.

5 Highlights of Summer 2014:

1. Spontaneous Beyonce Concert - Nothing feels more young and spontaneous than deciding to buy tickets to see Beyonce and Jay the morning of the concert. From our nosebleeds seats, we spent the whole concert dancing and fan girling out over Bey. Seeing Beyonce (and Jay Z for a second time) perform was the best last minute plans to ever happen on a Wednesday.

2. Outsidelands - A SF experience and summer festival done right. Also a belated anniversary celebration for Scott and I and worthy of a much longer post to unload a million pictures. But highlights were Arctic Monkeys, Flume, The Killers, and delicious Gilroy garlic Mac n cheese.

3. Ad Ops Work Trip to San Diego - After my hometown and Los Angeles, San Diego is one of the cities I've visited most (and I was just there for Comic Con!), but I have never experienced San Diego like I did for a work training. Spending a few days at the island resort Paradise Point with unusually warm and humid weather felt like taking a tropical vacation - except with a bunch of hilarious coworkers and an amazing company. Plus, beach volleyball was an activity, which always leaves me happy.

4. Exploring Golden Gate Park - I only live a few blocks away, but it took me a few weeks to get off the main roads during a sunny (unusual) after work run. All of a sudden I found myself on forest paths, running by lakes, and checking out views of the Golden Gate Bridge. So, of course I had to go back a few times with my new wolf friend.

5. Belated Birthday trip to with Scott - Also deserving of another post. Scott whisked me away on a romantic trip to Napa and Petaluma for the weekend where we wine tasted $80 bottles and felt particularly classy.

I'm excited to bring blogging back as I'm officially into my post grad life. There's a lot of good things happening, and even more things to be grateful about.