Sunday, September 25, 2011

the first of many (I hope) visitors.

Moving to San Francisco puts me about 2000 miles closer to home (Seattle). Therefore when I first solidified my move, my parents bought tickets down here within a week. It does help that they love San Francisco and grew up in the bay area. It's always amazing to spend time with them although it never seems like it's enough; I'm happy to say that a ticket home for Thanksgiving was purchased this week, the first in seven years. I could go on and on about this so I'll start from the beginning of the week.

One of my first Boston roommates (she now lives is New York) happened to be in town for work this week. It was so great catching up and I got to show off my new place for the first time (even though I'm still sleeping on an air mattress). Jill is an explorer type like me so we walked a bit then found a cool wine bar to grab a drink and some food. I took her down to Polk Street for another drink and dessert - there are so many places, it seems like it will be impossible to ever get to all of them. It sounds like she might be a regular visitor to SF for work starting in the winter - I'm crossing my fingers that will happen.

On Wednesday I went to see The Lion King in 3D at this awesome theater in Pacific Heights where there are tables and can order food and drinks. Unfortunately the projector was broken so we didn't see it there, BUT we hightailed it downtown on the bus to catch a showing at another theater. Just picture eight mid-twenty year old girls making every effort possible to see The Lion King. It seems sad thinking about it, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. I am almost embarrassed to admit how many of the songs and dialogue I know, but equally proud. Four words: The Circle of Life.

I could barely contain my excitement for Saturday morning when my parents arrived. They love the apartment and my mom had a bag of tricks ready for me (these tricks included pillow cases, lamps, curtains, a comforter - the things I now get excited about). We spent all day looking for apartment furniture. We went to Goodwill, thrift stores, consignment shops, boutiques, etc. Very few finds until the last stop at a little store in the Mission. Couch - purchased. Side table - purchased. Bed - purchased (although that was at Mattress Discounters a few hours prior). Do you ever get the Mattress Discounters jingle stuck in your head? Well, I couldn't stop singing it in the store and I'm pretty sure the sales guy wanted to politely ask me to leave.

Today we did some more shopping around. Filing cabinet acting as a dresser - purchased. Lamp shade - purchased. Desk chair - purchased. Great finds! Oh, and lunch two days in a row at Nook - that place is going to get addicting. I wish I could talk all about the Polk Street Blues Festival, but we only were able to walk by it (although probably more than five times) so we just heard snippets.

HOWEVER, we did get to hear some great music tonight! There's a jazz club in SF and Oakland called Yoshi's that my uncle used to go to all the time. My parents had been to the Oakland location a couple of times, but never the one in SF. Brandford Marsalis (Whinton's brother) was playing with a quartet and it was something my dad couldn't pass up. So off we went for sushi and jazz, a much better combination than you'd think.

Recap of the week in bulleted form:
  • Cafe Meuse - wine bar that Jill and I went to. Very small, unassuming. Good food, not too expensive. In Nob Hill.
  • La Folie - on Polk street. Kind of loungy, but in a good way. The dessert there was great - fresh fruit with chocolate and biscotti.
  • Kabuki Theater - the movie theater we almost saw The Lion King. Went in May during my visit - looking forward to going back.
  • Embarcadero - I've run a couple of times outside now (not very successfully) but my run at night along a stretch of the Embarcadero was beautiful on Thursday. Absolutely gorgeous.
  • Yoshi's - premier jazz club. Great vibe and amazing food. I'm such a sucker for sushi. I definitely could not afford this solo, but looking forward to a next time I can go back.
  • Lower Haight - cool neighborhood that we went to for used furniture shopping. I could see myself back there hanging out at some point, but it's a little far.
Tomorrow is going to be equally eventful with some more family time and another night time activity. This post is incredibly random because I have so much to say, but feel like I've already gone overboard and have gone into information overload territory. You can expect future posts to be more intentional, I hope.

My. body. is. le. tired. I must sleep.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

having a home is good.

 Last week was a bit nuts. Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with decision making (this includes ordering food at restaurants). In the end, I always choose the more realistic choice (luckily) and that's what happened with my apartment hunt. I totally lucked out and will be living with a friend from high school (Maddy, for those of you who know her). The apartment is pretty spacious and though my room is a bit small, the common space is huge and has a ton of potential. The current roommate is taking a lot of stuff with her so we will need to become decorators quickly - it's a good thing my parents will be in town next weekend and my mom is a regular Martha Stewart. This weekend I walked by many small furniture and accessory stores - my wallet is going to suffer immensely, but whatever it takes to make an apartment a home is worth it!

It's been interesting getting used to my work schedule (I know this is a lame and boring topic). I'm in the office by 8:30AM and it's already 11:30AM in Boston - I think I'm going to be finding myself at work even earlier as time goes on. Thank god I'm a morning person and can function without coffee. I'm starting to get into the swing of things and figuring out the city a bit. The general downtown area is going to be easy to tackle in the first couple of months and then I'll start to spread my wings a bit. There are so many neighborhoods I want to check out: Sunset, Noe Valley, the Mission (already been there once) and some of the other neighborhoods on the outskirts.

Some cool places I checked out this weekend:
  • 83 Proof - a bar in SOMA - it's actually near my office, which could be bad news.
  • Marriott Hotel - the downtown hotel has an awesome view of the city. I met up with a fellow UMasser (friend of a friend) and we had a drink there.
  • Top of the Mark - in Nob Hill, it's the equivalent of the Top of the Hub and Space Needle, but less expensive, a little more relaxed and there was a great band. We got our dance on.
  • The Tipsy Pig - the name alone made me like this place. Then I got there and LOVED it. Great back patio, really chill and great food/cocktails.
  • Polk Street - this street in general is so cool - great shops, bars and restaurants. I can see myself walking around aimlessly for hours here.
  • Nook - great little cafe/coffee place. Outdoor seating, which is a selling point for me. I had good company so that made it even better - although the highlight was the French bulldog that walked by and wouldn't leave my side. I will definitely be "working from home" here.
In other exciting news, I now have an iPhone. This has been revolutionary because it's making it a lot easier to get around here and get lost, but not too lost. It's also going to aid in my ability to keep in touch with people back east, which is incredibly important to me.

The whole weekend was awesome - again, great food, great company and really a great welcome to San Francisco. I am looking forward to my parents visit next weekend and can't wait to show them my new home! One last thing I wanted to mention is a great website that a new friend told me about: It's a whole listing of free and cheap things to do around the city - JUST what I need.

Au revoir until next weekend!

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    triumphant return to the west.

    After months of deliberation, some tears and some coaxing from family, I decided to move back west. Seven years in Massachusetts definitely treated me well and I cannot wait for every wedding, music festival, birthday, housewarming party, clover food lab event...that will give me reason to visit, but it's nice to try start a new gig in San Francisco.

    If you ever decide to move cross country you should know two things:

    1. Buying a one way plane ticket is strange.
    2. That one way ticket will propel you into a set of events that includes selling off furniture on craigslist, many nights of drinking because it's your "last Monday" in town, and a new friendship with the post office worker because you're "that girl" with all of the boxes that are poorly taped and will inevitably break open in transit.

    Luckily, every one of my eleven boxes arrived safely. But I'm not realizing how important it was for me to label them with what the contents are. I just opened the "don't need until winter in New England" box. Whoops. Although right now, it's doesn't really matter because I don't have a place to live. Who knew that every twenty-something also wanted to live in SF in the same neighborhoods I do with the same rent costs? One showing I went to was with fifteen others, and that was the first showing. It was like rushing at a sorority and the girls at the apartment were my potential "bigs." Lets just say I didn't get the place. I find it difficult to be charming with girls whose lives revolve around Entourage.

    So I continue to stay with my wonderful friend from high school who has been gracious and very helpful. Hopefully a nice dinner and a bottle of wine will be enough to make it up to her considering I will be broke after my first rent check.
    This is what I've found interesting thus far:
    • North Beach is pretty cool - great bars, restaurants and very lively in the center. I found a beautiful lookout at Jack Early Park. The sign is a lie though, it's not really a park, just a look out. 
    • La Trappe Cafe - great Belgian Bistro/Lounge. Their beer list is a book - I went with the Victory Inception. The waiter had worked previously at B-side Lounge, very cool. 
    • The hills are killer, but I'm loving them.
    • Off the Grid is an amazing food truck rally that includes different trucks at each rally. I'm lucky to be right around the corner from it on Wednesdays - I now know when I'll buy lunch once a week. 
    Week one in California is complete. Let's see what week two holds, hopefully permanent shelter.