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.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Comic Con Road Trip

Scott has been going to Comic Con since high school, and my jealously has been slowly growing each year. I've gone from not watching any TV in high school to slowly developing a (too?) large amount of dedicated shows that I can quote and happily discuss. From a Game of Thrones obsession (Kahlessi) to casually doing Troy and Abed's friendship hand shake, my dedication to the shows that Scott and I watch has grown exponentially. In the last year or two, I've decided that some way or another I was going to join Scott and experience the nerdiness myself. Even better, this year one of my best friends from college was going to be there working at Marvel's booth.

After pulling some strings, Scott got us tickets for Saturday. Once I heard the news, I made an appropriate Game of Thrones T shirt purchase (You know nothing, John Snow) and started planning.

Our brilliant plan was to drive down to San Diego after we both finished work on Friday. I got off a few hours early to make it to San Jose, and by 6pm we were in a car full of snacks and slight delusions about the length of the drive. Luckily, we've mastered road trips with a formula of rediscovering songs from high school and making an In -n- Out stop at Kettleman city for dinner. All it took was a little caffeine and finding some country radio stations, and we finally managed to roll into Encinitas at 1am.

While we had plans to get up early, the long car ride had taken its toll and we waited until a few minutes before the con started to slip inside. We were really lucky to get some free passes in exchange for helping out at opening and closing through Scott's family friend, so after hanging around at the booth for a bit, it was time to explore.

My first impression was that Comic Con literally had the best people watching I think I've ever seen in my life. While not everyone was in costume, there were all types of outfits out there that ranged from impressive and expensive to extremely questionable. Besides an impressive GOT cosplay, it was more fun to watch and judge discuss the outfits with Scott than take any pictures.

The actual expo itself was a little overwhelming during the first walk through. There were lines, people pushing, and a bunch of things/booths that I didn't recognize. But I still managed to grab a creepy photo (it's a special talent), see the cast of Arrow (I only have seen a few episodes from when my brother had a control of the TV after his wisdom teeth, but that is a beautiful man), and walk by the man behind The Oatmeal (who is also good looking?! What about all that talk about the blerg?).

Once we were back at our booth, Scott and I made a game plan for our next couple of hours. We decided to sit in on a panel for Grimm since we had finally caught up on the season finale the weekend before. 

We were able to get into the conference room quickly, and listened to the Family Guy (funny) then American Dad (so awkward and quiet) panels before Grimm came on. Since it's not crazy popular, it was awesome to see the entire cast at the panel and be pretty close to the front. 

After, Scott and I headed back down to the main area in an attempt to say hi to my friend at Marvel. Instead we stumbled upon the Avengers signing, and with a boost from Scott (best boyfriend ever), I saw Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans,  and Colbie Smulders in all their good looking glory. My day was made, and luckily I was able to stop by and say hi an hour later once the mob died down. 

The rest of our time at Comic Con was spent grabbing some food from Ralph's before helping to close the booth we were working at. Although I think Scott and I were both exhausted, we had big plans to go out in the gas lamp district.

We swung by Point Loma to pick up Scott's friend, and wandered around downtown San Diego until we decided to try out Lucky Bastard. We grabbed beers and a booth and hung out until Maddie swung by for a half an hour. Eventually, we called it a night and headed back to Encinitas with a lazy Sunday and long drive ahead of us the next day. It was a perfect mini trip to San Diego, and a check off the bucket list that I hope to cross off next year. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Got It From My Momma

I was looking forward to my Mom coming for weeks! As an early birthday present she was flying up from LA to spend my third weekend in SF with me.

Moving to San Francisco was not an easy transition. Although I was excited and nervous to start my job, I had a million other things on my mind. My first priority was finding an apartment to rent as soon as possible. I made the five hour drive up to San Jose in a car packed to the brim with suitcases stacked together with tetris like precision. After meeting up with Scott, we drove around the city with everything I owned in the trunk, looking at places I found on craigslist. It was not an easy experience (one apartment used to be a massage room, no thank you), but luckily the next day, I met with some friends of a friend in Inner Sunset and decided in 10 minutes that I would be moving in later that week.

An hour drive back down to San Jose and a celebratory call to my mom later, I was headed down to San Diego with Scott for his graduation party. There we had a few drinks, I said my real and official goodbye to the family, and made the official drive back up to the bay on Sunday.

The following week was a whirlwind of starting my first week of work ever, living out of my car, signing leases, and shacking up with a sorority sister. Finally, I moved into my new apartment complete with only a bed, mattress cover, blanket, and pillows.

Needless to say my first two weekends proved a little busy, as I slowly pulled my apartment together and tried to get everything in order. So, I could not have been more excited knowing that my Mom was flying up to visit for my third weekend in the city. Not only was it going to be great seeing her, but it finally was a weekend where I could play tourist in my brand new home (instead of spending all weekend attempting to put together Ikea furniture).

Scott and I picked up my Mom bright and early from the San Francisco airport, and headed to my apartment to grab food. A quick look around and we were off for breakfast at a tiny local brunch restaurant. Art's Cafe is a single bar breakfast place, that is known for it's delicious hash browns (and cheap food!). My Mom and I shared an omelet with hash browns, and almost ordered more, but decided to save our appetite for the rest of the food ahead.

Scott was nice enough to drive us around, and we started our day off at the Golden Gate bridge to walk part of it and take tons of pictures. Our next stop, was Fisherman's Wharf for clam chowder bread bowls and hanging out outside to enjoy the rare sunny day. After lunch, we decided to work off breakfast and took a long hike up to Chinatown. We enjoyed the sun, and passed by Lombard street, and checked out the shops selling jade carvings and whole fried geese.

My Mom's first activity on her to do list was to ride a cable car in SF. We were lucky enough to unknowingly skip the huge lines and prices by jumping on at the Chinatown stop, and were literally holding on tight as we hung off the side. Once we made it back to the wharf area, we headed straight for Ghiradelli Square where my Mom and I shared and inhaled a salted carmel sundae.

Soon, it was time to check into our hotel. As excited as I was to have an apartment in the city and a new couch, I was even more excited to stay in a fancy hotel with my Mom. Scott dropped us off at the hotel, and we had just enough time to run up to our room, get excited about the "Happy Birthday" bottle of champagne, and make it to the free happy hour in time for a few glasses of wine.

It was the ideal amount of wine to help ignore the cold while hopping back on the trolley to North Beach in a little black dress. From that point on, we had a classic night in the city and one of my top two nights out in SF. From befriending the owners of a small Italian seafood restaurants, and managing to bypass the two hour wait, to tisply devouring a steaming bowl of cioppino. Filled to the brim with seafood, eating at Sotto Mare was the best food decision I've made in the city to date. We grabbed a photo of us sitting at the booth before rushing off to our next activity.

My mom had been told to go see Beach City Babylon by her friend and had bought us tickets in advance. I hadn't heard anything about it or done any research, so I walked into the theatre not expecting anything. I was blown away by the performance and spent the whole time laughing. The costumes were amazing (and amusing) and the pop culture references were hilarious. Afterwards, I introduced my mom to the wonders of Uber and we grabbed a ride back to the hotel. 

The next morning we sadly checked out of the hotel and shared an omelette at a neighboring diner. A quick walk around Union Square and a tour of the area where I work, and we were off on MUNI back to my apartment where maternal instincts took over and my Mom helped mop my floors to get rid of the ridiculous amount of dog hair in my room. 

The rest of the day was spent fighting off tourist for a quick photo opp of the Japanese tea garden, before walking back to my place stopping only for a late lunch and dessert at La Boulange.

It was sad driving back to the airport, but it was one of my favorite weekends in the Bay Area to date! I'm so happy my Mom could help me celebrate my birthday a little early and see my new start in SF.