Thursday, September 30, 2010

Parties, Parties, Parties

There are so many fun things to do in San Francisco, including parties!  Two of my friends celebrated birthdays this week, and that meant a couple of after-work cocktail gatherings.  First was Monday, when Cheryl turned 21+.  To mark the occasion, a bunch of us gathered at Smugglers Cove for rum drinks at Cheryl's pirate-themed soiree.  I'm flanked by Maya and Cheryl in this photo as we enjoy the festivities (and I enjoy a Puka Punch).  My only question is: how come I am the most pale girl in the picture when I just spent a week in Hawaii?  Not to mention the fact that I'm the only one of the three of us who is half African American.  I guess that just shows me what my daily use of SPF 110 sunscreen has gotten me.  That would be healthy skin, I hope.

After Smugglers Cove, I indulged my karaoke addiction and hit the Mint for some Monday night singing.  After successful (in my opinion) renditions of "Time After Time," "Somewhere Only We Know," and "Like A Prayer," I called it a night and headed home.  It was already 10 p.m., and I had to rest up for Tuesday.

Tuesday was Carla's birthday, and the celebration of her fabulousness was held on the patio of Americano along the Embarcadero.  We had a very rare heat wave in San Francisco last weekend and early this week, and it was a delight to be outside without a coat sipping cocktails and enjoying the dynamic company.  After a long, cold summer, the hot weather was more than welcome.  As was marvelous Carla's birthday.

More parties are on the horizon as the weekend approaches: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Emme's birthday, Corie's birthday and the Great American Music Hall show with Elvis Costello and my rock and roll boyfriend Nick Lowe.  New York may be the city that doesn't sleep, but I think San Francisco is a never-ending good time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Can Hear Music

This is my new favorite band, The 88.  Well, one of my new favorite bands, anyway.  I seem to find new favorite music every few months or so.

Anyway, I went to see The 88 at Slims last Thursday with my friend and co-worker Kim and her friend Heather.  Kim predicted I would love these Los Angeles-based boys, and I do.  Imagine if The Beatles and The Kinks had a love child and then bathed that baby in the sweet sounds of The Clientele and The Morning Benders.  Sounds good, huh?

Plus, because Slims is a fairly small venue, and The 88 has yet to become super famous, we got to talk to a few of the members after the show, and they couldn't have been nicer.  The lead singer even lives in my hometown of Pasadena, which makes him pretty much perfect in my book.

Honestly, do yourself a favor and check out The 88; they are just plain neato.

In other news, I had a fantastic weekend; what about you?  On Friday evening, I swung by the Mint to warble a quick tune (this time it was Edie Brickell and New Bohemians' "What I Am," which I had never sung before) before heading around the corner to my new friend Guy's pad for a game night.  There were about 20 or 25 five us there eating, drinking and playing, and it was so much fun.  Saturday evening saw my friend Sebastian's birthday party at the Hi Dive, and on Sunday, I treated myself to a pedicure before meeting my friend Christine for cocktails and girl talk.  We may have had a little too much to drink that evening; so we stayed out longer than we normally do to drink water and cappuccino and give ourselves a chance to sober up.  (Okay, Christine had water and cappuccino; I wasn't driving, so I indulged in water and another cocktail.)  Anyway, as a consequence, I missed the beginning of Mad Men, but that's okay.  Better to be out in the world talking to real people than watching actors in a box, right?  That's what I think, as well.

Besides, I can always catch the Mad Men episode in its entirety later this week on OnDemand.  And I will, my babies. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Foot Fetish

Normally, I don't have too much to say about fashion.  I have a sense of style, like what I like, buy the clothes I want (unless they're too expensive), wear said clothes and look cute, and then I'm finished.  In my opinion, there is nothing more to discuss.

Sometimes, however, shoes are another story.

My co-worker Diana recently brought to my attention this website.  There you will find a whole host of goodies you can wear, including an impressive selection of shoes.  The best part is: it's cheap!  I believe most of the merchandise on the site is a season or two old, so you get a healthy discount.  I may not have a lot to say about fashion, but that doesn't mean I'll pass up a bargain.  In fact, one of the times I'm guaranteed to gush about clothing is when I find a super cute dress in a second hand store or at Ross and pay very little for it.

Anyway, the shoes pictured here now are mine, procured from that fantastic website and shipped to my post office box.  You can't go wrong with a good Mary Jane, especially one you get at a discount.  I paid less than $100 total for both pairs, including shipping.  If you knew how much I've been tempted to spend on shoes, you'd be very happy for me.

These shoes make me almost as happy as sunshine, music, bubbly water, sleep and candy.

(Note: the New Yorker magazine and T.A.M.I Show DVD shown have been included only to provide a little color contrast in my amateur cell phone photograph. They did not come with the shoes.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Aloha to Paradise

You didn't hear from me last week because I was enjoying yet another week in Hawaii.  Honestly, I am one lucky woman.  I have a mother who moved to Hawaii six years ago, and I make enough money to visit her there twice a year.  Plus, I like my job; so earning that money to visit my mother is not at all painful.

Life is good, as evidenced by this photo taken from the lanai of my hotel room.

I did manage to pick up a cold right before I left, and said cold quickly morphed into a case of bronchitis (I get bronchitis chronically).  However, I found that if I have to take bronchitis on vacation with me, Hawaii is a good destination.  The warm, tropical climate was very healing.  Seriously.  My sister suggested I move to Hawaii permanently for my health.  You never know; I just may do that one day.  People move to warmer climates in the name of their health all the time.  Why not me?

So, what, you may ask, did I do with myself while in Paradise?  Well, my mornings consisted of exercise, as they do when I'm at home.  Yes, I exercised with bronchitis; I'm like that.  Then once I was all cleaned up after my workout, I had to make the grueling choice of whether to lounge by the hotel pool or go across the street to the beach.  A tough one, no?  Most days I did both, and everyday ended with an hour or so in the hotel hot tub with a cocktail in my hand.

I also managed to squeeze in a little Waikiki karaoke because you know how I love my singing habit.  That didn't go quite so well with the bronchitis.  It wasn't bad, but I squeaked out songs that were all rather low (in one case lower than I normally can sing), and I'd say I sounded about 80% as good as I usually do.  Of course, it's karaoke, so no one but me even cared how good I did or didn't sound.

If all of that wasn't enough to put a smile on my face that will last through the fall and winter here in San Francisco, I woke up on my last day in Honolulu to a rainbow over the the ocean.  Honestly, I believe Hawaii to be one of the most magical places on the planet.  Even Honolulu, which is just as urban as anywhere on the mainland, and Waikiki with the wall to wall tourists have an energy that is a cut above anywhere else I have been.

I'll be back in Hawaii in the spring.  You really should come with me; I know you'll love it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

All You Need Is Love

Okay, maybe we need some things in addition to love, like food, water, shelter.  However, there are times when life gives us all reminders as to what really is important.  Last night in San Bruno, a town just a few miles south of San Francisco where I live, a gas main ruptured and exploded causing a huge fire.  38 homes were destroyed, four people killed, more than 50 injured, and at this point, authorities aren't sure whether or not more people are missing.

I was not involved in this situation in any way, nor do I know anyone who lives in the affected neighborhood.  Nonetheless, this awful event served as a good reminder that life is short and can change in an instant.  So embrace happiness and love, and don't dwell on annoying minutiae, okay?  That's hard advice to follow day in and day out, but it's worth trying, right?

This wasn't the only reminder I had this week that life is short and should be embraced, but it's the one I'm choosing to mention on this space today.  All these reminders definitely have left me actively appreciating the good things in my life: the jaunt to Hawaii I'm about to take, the smart and fascinating people I know and love, a job I enjoy, the crush on a cute, if ridiculous boy I've recently developed (that last one probably won't last, but it's fun for now), abundant music.  I could go on and on.

John, Paul, George and Ringo knew what they were talking (or singing) about: all you need is love, my babies.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Best Party Ever.

Some parties are epic events meant to commemorated for years to come by future generations.  Their guest lists are long and they last into the wee hours of the morning.  Other parties are more intimate affairs but are, nonetheless, epic.  This is the story of one those parties.

Last Saturday evening I went to what may have been... dare I say it... the best party ever.  Tom, Chris, Roland, Berto, Julie and myself gathered at Roland's house to sit on his deck, drink wine and enjoy a barbecue.  So what made it the best party ever?  At risk of sounding arrogant, I have to say that it was our brilliance.  The energy was sparkling and our wit had never been so sharp.  A couple of quotes from the party follow:

"That bartender is like a combination of the movies Cocktail and My Left Foot."
"Happy and Slurry... those are my favorite of the Seven Dwarfs."

Okay, so maybe you had to be there, but trust me when I say that it was all very, very clever.  In addition to fancying ourselves the next generation of the Algonquin Round Table, we ate.  Boy, did we eat.  Perfectly grilled chicken, pork, skirt steak and lamb, along with zucchini, pineapple and roasted garlic.  We also grilled corn on the cob, but we all were full by the time that was done.

At about 9 p.m., we took the party on the road and continued our revelry at a nearby bar, but unfortunately, the wine made me tired, and that, in turn, made me a little crabby.  So I took leave of the bar earlier than my friends and was home by about 10:30.  It was okay, though, because a bar is just a bar, while our gathering on Roland's deck... Well, that was the best party ever.

Friday, September 03, 2010

I Love the Nightlife

Have you been to Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences yet?  No? Well, I highly recommend you go.  I went for the second time last night, and it was so much fun.

Just imagine if you'd been allowed to have cocktails during science class.  Take away the obvious horror of any school that would encourage underage students to drink, and you have to admit that cocktails would have made things at least a little more fun.  Well, once a week the Academy of Sciences stays open late and and serves liquor along with its exhibitions.  Plus, no children are allowed!  Maybe I shouldn't be so excited about that fact, but sometimes museums are way more fun when only adults are in the crowd.

Like I mentioned, I've been to Nightlife before.  A bunch of friends and I went in March of last year and had a fantastic time.  I was compelled to go again because the museum has an exhibition I wanted to see called Extreme Mammals and because the Academy of Sciences is just awesome all the way around. 

I met my friend Kevin at the Academy right after work, and once we got our first drinks, we went about the business of finding the Extreme Mammals exhibit.  Kevin's friend Ed soon caught up with us, as did my co-worker Rebecca and her daughter Laura (who, for the record, is 21 and very much not a child).  We hung out with the Extreme Mammals for a little while, and then Kevin, Ed and I parted ways with Rebecca and Laura.  However, we promptly ran into my friend Debbie and her date Steven and went with them to the aquarium.  After a little while we let Debbie and Steve have their museum-date alone time, and we went to visit the penguins.

That's when we saw the games.

You see, every week Nightlife at the Academy of Sciences has a different theme, so to speak, and last night was game night.  An entire wing of the museum (the wing that houses the penguins) was filled with tables of people playing all kinds of games.  We're talking Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Connect Four, Jenga and a whole slew of games I've never even heard of.  Kevin and I had to pause immediately for a quick game of Connect Four, and then later in the evening, after Ed left, we went back to the game room and made some new friends with whom we played Apples to Apples.  It was the perfect end to a perfect evening.

I'll repeat that the California Academy of Sciences is a marvelous museum any time of day, but in the evening with cocktails it is just plain genius.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I'd build a road in gold
Just to have some dreaming...

Since I became inspired to return to blogging, I've been thinking a lot about inspiration.  I, like everyone else, I'm sure, can find inspiration in a variety of places.  Great literature, profound thinkers and wise friends and relatives are always reliable sources, of course, but even pop culture can be a gold mine for inspiring words and ideas.  Seriously.  I, personally, have been known to draw inspiration from mainstream television shows (everything from Mad About You and My So-Called Life to Friends and Gilmore Girls) and pop songs.

Case in point: sometimes if I'm feeling insecure or anything less than fabulous and cute, I'll try to channel Joan, the character Christina Hendricks plays on Mad Men. Now, I look nothing like Christina Hendricks, and I'm fully aware that Joan is a fictional character in a show that takes place 50 years ago.  However, the high status and confidence that character projects (regardless of how Joan truly feels about herself) are very powerful. Try it sometime. I'm just saying...

Pop songs are good for any emotion.  If I'm in a good mood, affecting song lyrics or a good melody can produce a nice endorphin jolt and prolong that happiness.  If I'm in a bad mood, or in no particular mood at all, often the lines from a song can inspire me to change my attitude or think about what I want in life and how to get it.  An excellent example would be the above lines from the song "Dreaming" by Blondie.  For whatever reason, those eleven words really resonate with me.  They can serve as a perfect antidote for a case of the blues, and they inspire me to make things happen.  Positive things, of course.  I use my super powers only for good, not evil.

I just thought I'd share that with you and maybe even compel you to think about what inspires you.  You might be surprised at how much inspiration is out there.  I also recommend listening to a little Blondie and watching Mad Men.