Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just Like the Jeans...

Big news, gentle readers: this is post number 501 on this little chronicle! I only know that because Blogger told me I had 500 posts before I began this one. I suppose most people would have noticed earlier and made a big deal about post number 500, but that would have been so... typical, wouldn't it? And I'd like to believe I am anything but typical.

Anyway, I am writing this, the 501st post on All Things Sassy, from Waikiki. I'm on a little Hawaiian vacation this week, and it has been just lovely. So far, many hours have been spent on the beach (hiding under a sun hat, but that's just good sense), enjoying champagne in the middle of the day and singing a few songs in the evening.

I've snapped some photos along the way and will post them when I return to the mainland. Until then, enjoy this beauty I took with my cell phone yesterday at Ala Moana Beach Park. When you think of me over the course of the next six days, keep this image in your head. It perfectly illustrates my afternoons here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fifth Avenue Has Nothing on Us...

Two posts in on day? Well, in fact, yes. Last night was Julie's birthday extravaganza, and today is Easter... which means my annual Easter brunch tradition. I've been brunching at the same Russian Hill restaurant every Easter Sunday for the last decade, and at this point, some members of the restaurant's staff have come to expect me. Easter 2011 saw my aunt, uncle, two cousins and three of my friends joining me for the festivities. While no one was wearing Easter bonnets, we created our own parade around a table of yummy food, delightful drinks and excellent company. Play your cards right, and perhaps you'll be invited to brunch with us next year.

Mimosas: the brunch beverage of choice.

My uncle David, aunt Mary and friend Steve.

My cousins Adam and Anna, who also happen to be father and daughter.

Of course there was chocolate, courtesy of Mary.

My lovely friends Mary Beth and Carla.

Salad with pecans, gorgonzola and flank steak. I could eat this salad every day.

Mission Birthday Saturday Night

My friend Julie's birthday is this weekend, so of course we had to gather to celebrate. I donned a pretty fuchsia dress and joined the kids at Puerto Alegre on Valencia for margaritas and snacks. Once we had our fill there, we walked the party a few blocks down Valencia Street to the San Francisco Underground Market for champagne and more snacks. It was all very Mission hip and very reminiscent of my first few years in San Francisco when the Mission was my only nightlife destination. All these years later, the Mission remains one of the City's best neighborhoods and surely knows how to host a great party.

Jimmy, Birthday Girl Julie and Roxanne.

Tom, me and Carla.

Julie and her birthday cupcakes (which were amazing, by the way).

Margarita and a cupcake: meal of champions.

The San Francisco Underground Market in full swing.

Norman, Andrey and Carla.

Olena and Julie in a little mood lighting.

Some of the artwork that lined the Underground Market exit.

A self portrait I snapped upon my return home (and nearly blinded myself taking because I used the flash).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Songs To Sing

Since I spend so much time doing karaoke (some might say too much time, but I would disagree), I figured it was high time I devoted a post to it. On Monday night I spent the evening singing songs with the friends I have made over the past year at my favorite karaoke den. One woman, Kate, was celebrating her birthday, and she was there with her husband, her sister Liz and Liz's fiance Victor, whom I happened to have met and become friends with a few years ago when he used to host a DJ night at a bar called the Attic.... before he even started dating Liz.

San Francisco truly is the size of a postage stamp, so these small world coincidences tend to happen fairly frequently.

Anyway, we merrily spent the evening singing, drinking and eating cake for Kate's birthday. I sang a disco version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" (it's better than it sounds), "Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and one of my new favorite karaoke numbers: Natalie Merchant's "Wonder."

I'm not sure if these pictures do the evening justice, but they should at least illustrate the incredibly good time that can be had singing along with pre-recorded music tracks.

It's always important to know the protocol of the karaoke den.

My friend Kathleen made Kate's birthday cake. It was chocolate rum cake. Can you say yum?

My friend Amber spends even more time doing karaoke than I do, and she has an absolutely amazing singing voice.

Some more of my karaoke buddies, including birthday girl Kate in the center.

Sometimes a dance party breaks out. You just have to go with it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pacific Heights Sunday Night

This evening I capped off a positively lovely weekend by getting together with my old friend Anne. Anne, who not only is fabulous but also happens to be a devoted reader of this blog, and I have known each other since the fourth grade. She has lived in the Bay Area longer than I have, and we used to hang out quite a bit when I moved to San Francisco in the late 90's. But a few years ago she got married, and then had her son. So her time is a little limited these days.

She found some time tonight, however, and we met at Solstice in Pacific Heights for snacks, drinks and girl talk. It was quite nice to get caught up, since the last time we saw each other was at my 40th birthday party more than a year ago. And it always is nice to stay connected to old friends.

I made quick work of my first Solstice grapefruit Bellini.

We didn't hang out in the smoke room, but it was, of course, good to know that we had the option.

Kobe beef sliders. They were a little rare but delicious nonetheless.

Anne and me. We don't look a day older than fourth grade, right? Well, maybe a day older...

As I mentioned, my weekend was lovely, overall. I watched some baseball, got lots of sleep and saw the production of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit currently running at A.C.T. If you happen to be in San Francisco and want to take in a little theatre in the next couple of weeks, I highly recommend this show. If not, well, it's actually a touring show, so perhaps it will come to your town.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lovely Engagements

Well, dear readers, it appears that love is in the air! As is commitment. My friends Olena and Kevin have gotten engaged and had a little engagement party at Infusion last night. Ole and Kevin are just the cutest, sweetest couple, and we, their friends, couldn't be happier for them. Here's a photo of the soon to be husband and wife taken last summer at Andrey's birthday party in Las Vegas (I didn't take any pictures last night). Ole and Kevin are seated in the center and on the right. Andrey's mom is the woman on the left, and Andrey is behind the couch.

As for me, I'm not getting married anytime soon...not that I know of, at least. However, I am pretty fabulously engaged in life. Sober Nixon's rehearsals are going swimmingly. This week our guitarist Kenn binged (his word) on all of our songs, practicing and practicing until he had most of them down. He is such a good musician, and while more rehearsal is necessary, his guitar work sounds great. Add our drummer Ryan to the mix, and we're like a real band or something. I'm so excited for us to play a show! Once we're ready, of course.

In addition to music, there are just so many fun things going on these days. Plus, my Spring trip to Hawaii is fast approaching. I literally am counting the minutes until I will be lounging on a warm beach for eight delicious days. It will be so lovely, as it always is. If you ever want to improve your mood instantly, I recommend taking a little jaunt to Hawaii.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Parties and Music, Music and Parties

Last night I went to a bar on Broadway Street in North Beach, and believe it or not, it wasn't horrifying.

If you don't live in San Francisco, allow me to explain. North Beach is a charming little neighborhood nestled between Telegraph Hill and Chinatown, and during the week it is positively lovely. The weekend, however, is a different story. On Friday and Saturday nights, North Beach is overrun with weekend warriors looking for the next party, and these warriors often are anything but charming.

With all due respect.

The worst part of weekend North Beach is the stretch of Broadway between, say, Montgomery Street and Grant Avenue. These few blocks not only are dotted with strip clubs, but the element that tends to hang out at the regular bars between the strip clubs can be less than desirable. Imagine swarms of people whom you wouldn't want to know and who wouldn't want to know you.

So I was little hesitant about my friend Anne's 30th birthday party, which was last night at Monroe, a new bar nestled right in the thick of the Broadway madness. As it turns out, however, Anne's party was really quite fun. For one thing, everyone was there: Anne (of course), her husband Jack, Melli, Andrey, Carla, Charlie, Denise, Olena, Kevin, Juan, Gigi, Lina, Laura, Mike and Emmie, just to name a few. The list goes on and on. But Monroe actually is quite nice. Classy even. And it was pleasantly crowded but not packed to the gills, even at 11 p.m. on Saturday night. Perhaps that's because it's still new, but whatever. I'll have to go back before the weekend warrior swarms find their way there.

Today, 3/4 of Sober Nixon got together at my apartment for rehearsal. It was just voice, guitar and bass today, but we're rehearsing with Ryan, our drummer, on Wednesday evening. We'll be a solid band one day soon, I promise.

Then this evening I took in the sounds of my friend Michele's band, Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen, at Cafe du Nord:

Please forgive the quality of this photo. I didn't think to bring my camera, so I had to capture this shot with my cell phone. Tippy and her Paddlemen were the first in a long line of acts performing tonight to raise money for Japan earthquake relief, via the American Red Cross. I only stayed for Tippy's set and that of the next band, but my entrance fee still went to the good cause. The show is probably still going on, if you happen to be reading this within of few hours of me posting it.

This coming week should be full of more adventures, including singing songs (of course), another birthday party, some live theatre and dinner with an old friend from grammar school. I also went to junior high and high school with this friend, and we've seen each other plenty of times since then, since she only lives across the Bay. But it's fun to think that we've known each other since the fourth grade.

Finally, just over the horizon is my spring trip to Hawaii. Soon I'll exchange the chilly Bay Area for just over a week of warm beaches, mimosas and bonding time with my mother. Plus, a little karaoke because it would be shame to go a whole week without singing.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mini Reunion

My old, dear friend Traci was in town for business this week, so of course we had to get together and did just that last night.

Traci is a friend of mine from college. Sort of. I say "sort of" because technically, I went to college not with her, but with her boyfriend Bert, who would later become her husband (and now her ex, unfortunately). But Traci went to the University of Rhode Island, just a hop, skip and a jump from Brown, and when she and I met in 1991, we became instant friends.

After I graduated from Brown, I stayed in Rhode Island for a few years to begin my career. Traci, meanwhile, was finishing her undergraduate education and working as a nanny for a Rhode Island state senator, which I thought was very fancy. Those few years between my graduation and hers (after which she moved to Boston for a year and then attended grad school at Cambridge) afforded us lots of opportunities to go out and engage in all kinds of twenty-something debauchery. To be clear, our brand of debauchery probably was scandalous only to us and not objectively all that exciting. At the end of the day, we were very good girls... who may have done more than a few kamikaze and Jagermeister shots but not much else.

That brings Traci and me to our forty-something present, and last night we met for a delicious dinner at Amber India before retiring to the Burritt Room for cocktails. We talked about all sorts of things throughout the evening: dating, family, education, whatever. And of course, we did a lot of reminiscing about our salad days in Rhode Island and did our best to recreate those days by having more than a few cocktails. I think I drank more last night than I usually do in an entire week. However, I'm a major lightweight, so that's not really saying much.

Traci is coming back to town for work in July, and I all can say is that I can't wait to engage in even more of our good girl brand of debauchery.

The Burritt Room "Not Tonight" cocktail. So delicious.

Traci and me.

A few cocktails in, we moved on to "Cuzco Flowers." Dim mood lighting provided by the Burritt Room after midnight.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Tids and Bits

While life continues to bubble along quite nicely here by the Bay, I have no earth shattering tales to tell. Not that that's a bad thing. Everything is really sunshiny in my world right now, and I find myself at least a little excited about what each day will bring. That may sound cheesy, but it's true. It certainly feels better than boredom or the blues.

That said, a friend of mine from college is in town, and we plan to get together on Friday night. After her visit, I should have some silly tales and fun pictures for you, but until then, I offer a series of random tidbits to tide you over.

(photo courtesy of

  • I love big sunglasses, the bigger the better. They make me feel like Jackie O.
  • I'm still mulling over what to sing for the Evening of Song showcase I'm performing in come June. I'm leaning toward Matthew Sweet's "I've Been Waiting," but Sober Nixon already covers that one. It's so super fun to sing, though.
  • Speaking of singing, I've expanded my karaoke repertoire a little bit. "Only the Lonely" by the Motels has become my new favorite karaoke number, and I just added "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant. I really want to try "Fame" by Irene Cara, but I'm a little scared. Cheesy songs like "Fame" are perfect for karaoke, but they can be train wrecks if you can't pull them off... either with vocal ability or showmanship. We'll see how long it takes me to get up my nerve.
  • And speaking of Sober Nixon, we may have our first gig with the new line up next week! Well, with 3/4 of the new line up, anyway. It's our bass player's birthday, and we may play a few songs, sans drums, at his birthday party. That is, if we can work it out with the new guitarist. If the new line up doesn't debut next week, worry not, we will soon.
  • Last Saturday night I had two sets of plans but was desperately craving a little ME time. So I blew all my plans off and lounged on the couch. It felt positively delicious. Except that I decided to watch Sex and the City 2 on HBO. I'd heard that movie was bad, but it was worse than I possibly could have imagined. I fell asleep during part of it because I think my subconscious was trying to save me.
  • I've broken my own read-books-in-the-order-I-buy-them rule and have let A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan jump to the head of queue. I'm about 100 pages in, and I love it. Quite unlike Sex and the City 2, this book is even better than I thought it would be. Jennifer Egan may be my new hero.
  • I have become obsessed with Greek yogurt. I've seen in the grocery store for years, but I had no idea how thick and yummy it is. Plus, it has more protein than regular yogurt. I've been eating it all week, sometimes twice a day!
So those are your Sassyland nibbles for today. Like I said, nothing earth shattering, but lots of happiness. It's a good life; I highly recommend it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


There are only a few months of the year during which I will tune my television to sports stations, and those are April through October. Otherwise known as baseball season. Outside of baseball, my television has no idea what ESPN or Fox Sports Net even are, and it all but reverts to static when it stumbles upon a regular channel featuring sports.

Baseball, however, is different. It's the only sport for which I inherited my father's love (he also adored football, which I hate, and my mother disdains pretty much all organized sports), and the only one I will make room in my schedule to watch. I will say that I do like soccer, or futbol as it is properly called, but I'm a bit of a fair weather soccer fan and really only pay attention once every four years during the World Cup. Really, when you come right down to it, all other sports could evaporate from the earth, and I barely would notice. However, I love my baseball.

Now that baseball season has begun again, the sun seems to be shining a little bit brighter, there is more happiness and music in the air, and everyone seems to be smiling more. At least that's the way I see it. That said, however, there is one thing I don't like about baseball, and that is the smack talking done by its fans. I'm sure this is a phenomenon common to all sports, but as I've just said, baseball is the only one I really care about.

About eight or nine years ago, I considered myself a fan of both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's. I live in San Francisco, but Oakland is just across the Bay, so I figured the A's could be hometown heroes, as well. Now, I was told in no uncertain terms by a couple of my co-workers at the time that it was unacceptable for me to like both teams, but I dismissed that as silliness. Then something happened to me: I heard too much smack talk being uttered by A's fans. And by "A's fans," I mean friends of mine who loved the A's. They were constantly saying bad things about the Giants, or so it seemed. They were mad about the Giants newer, nicer ballpark; they hated Barry Bonds (keep in mind, this was a few years ago when Barry was still playing, as opposed to sitting in a courtroom fighting perjury charges); the Giants got too much attention in Bay Area sports. Blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine. They sounded like jealous teenagers, and frankly, all their yammering really put me off the team.

So I no longer am an A's fan. I haven't been to an A's game in years, and I never watch their games on TV anymore. And everything was fine until last fall when the Giants pulled off a little feat known as winning the World Series.

*photo courtesy of World Weblog Whizz

That brings us to the start of baseball's current season, and this weekend, the Giants are playing longtime rivals the Dodgers in Los Angeles. I now should mention that rivalry or no, I also happen to like both the Dodgers and the Giants. I'm from L.A. (okay, Pasadena), and the Dodgers were my original Boys of Summer. So that team will always have a piece of heart. However, I'm a home team kind of girl, as well, so of course I love the Giants. Love them. The smack talk has already begun with Dodgers fans (well, just one Dodger fan friend of mine, really) and a few stray A's fans charging that the Giants' World Series win was a fluke; the Giants belong in last place; the World Series win was fun for the whole Bay Area, but of course the A's are superior. Again, blah, blah, blah. Don't get me wrong, some of my Giants fan friends talk smack, too, especially when the Dodgers come to town, and I find that to be equally annoying. It's just going to be a very long season if all of this keeps up.

And if any of this silly smack talk causes me to abandon the Dodgers, I may have to issue some kind of smackdown of my own. One that probably only will involve me singing songs while considering anyone who talked smack to be "dumb," but it will happen in my head nonetheless.