On the State of Foodies in San Francisco (and Oakland's DOPO)

Now that I'm officially a Bay Area resident, I suppose it's my duty to present a semi-tourist, attempt-to-look-cool update on my trials and tribulations. 

Before I arrived to the area I thought I knew what was up regarding the food scene. I got press releases on occasion about new openings, but followed enough Twitter influencers to make me in-the-know. Let me tell you - the Whale's Vagina has got nothing on any Bay Area 'hood. No matter what group I'm in, everyone knows the hottest restaurants, has about 15 recommendations (that are all going to be amazing) and can 'ooh' and 'ahh' from personal experience when I recount my own feeble attempt at dining well here.  

I have decided to keep a virtual list of places to try, but it seems unlikely everything on my list - as was the case for my farewell rendezvous in San Diego - will ever cease to exist. Enough whimpering...here's the latest. 

A co-worker suggested Oakland's Italian restaurant Dopo. Getting a recommendation from a former employee should never be dismissed. These kids have seen the back room - they know if the chefs pick their noses or use canned veggies. Yuck. I wanted something away from College Ave in O-town, and Piedmont with the ever-enticing Fenton's was not pulling my arm. The place elicited a feeling of a neighborhood street-side cafe from Europe, where the maitre'd is consistently waving to friends or chatting with passerby's on the sidewalk. We were delivered sparkling processo while waiting for a table (inevitable on a Friday or Saturday night, especially with no reservations) and got a prime spot inside. The buzz is contagious, especially since most everyone is either hopped up on great wine or cured meats, of which they produce in-house. 

We dined on a selection of salumi, followed by a squid ink spagetti and plate of beans with potatoes, and finally an espresso panna cotta. I suck at remembering the specifics, and since their menu changes daily there's no hope in finding them. I've done a pretty good job convincing friends that Oakland isn't scary. This place helps. 

{images via Yelp}


Flower Head

If I were as cool as her*, I would totally bust out a flower head for my July birthday. 

(*and by cool, I mean super-model gorgeous with a stylist to assist, obviously)

{image via}


If you could rewrite your college essay, what would it say?

So few of us end up studying what we came into college dreaming of, or working in the industry in which we studied. If you had a chance to look back at the story you shared or the dream you revealed, do you think you could tell which direction you'd head? I wonder how many people would cringe at the words they put together when we were just 16. 

My college essay wasn’t profound, or enlightening – I had had (and still have) a relatively unscathed childhood. My parents are still happily married, I grew up in a small but privileged town and most of the time my desires were met.

I was a pretty determined teen, so naturally I stuck with the path I set out for myself at 16. I vaguely recall the opening sentence in my letter to recruiters being: “I want to be a writer.” At the time, I thought it was bold and forthcoming – a statement I thought would get the attention of the universities I wanted to attend.  What I probably meant to say was: “I don’t really know what I want to do, but I know that I’ve always had success in writing.” Today, it might be something like: “Move over, Anna Wintour.”

I’ve been thinking more and more about my college essay lately as it inevitably brought me to my university, my first job, my friends and my boyfriend. If you think about it, those 500 words were the ultimate compass – and at this stage in my life I can’t help but think “what if?”

As it so happens, I’m one of the unusual ones that has been tried-and-true in my move from college essay to college and career. It’s odd to think that today I’m still composing pieces, and still messing with the syntax and structure of paragraphs to find the perfect annotations. My life has introduced me to countless individuals who have inspired me, confused me, energized me and even belittled me – all introduced by the path I chose, and the essay I wrote. 
But if these college essays really determined where you went, how far you’d go and how you’d survive, what would you change? Would you have shared a family story rather than a dream? Would you have taken more than a Saturday afternoon to pen the piece that could determine your history?

Would you have chosen a different path?

{image via pinterest}


Instagram vs. Others

 For anyone who follows me on Instagram, you must know I'm a little obsessed (I'm still a new iPhone user!). I recently started looking into a few more San Francisco start-ups while in search of a real-time passion, and ended up downloading Path. It has a pretty seamless interface similar to Facebook where inner-circle companions can share pictures, locations and more right from the iPhone. 

One of the most appealing aspects of Path is it's visually inspiring board - something that has kept me returning, particularly due in part to its Instagram-like photo sharing tool. Users can upload images from their phone and add a hue or tint similar to the now-Facebook owned Instagram. The only downside to this unique bit is that some tools cost money ($0.99), a bummer but to be expected when Camera+ and others out there are succeeding in a similar price bracket. 

While Path might be appealing in this sense, I'm having trouble understanding why go to Path alone for the photo tool. There are several more options within Instagram alone, and considering Path is still a relatively new tool, very few of my 'close' friends are onboard already. Isn't the whole point of this social media thing to connect with others you might not otherwise have the chance of meeting with? 

What say you? 


Work as Fun

I just finished reading Inc.’s Strategy piece from Greg Selkoe, CEO at Karmaloop. Written in first perspective by a man who turned his ADHD into a positive, it revealed something I had never known to be true: you can actually really love what you do.

I’m sure Inc. constantly features this type of guy, but it was the first time I was able to finish one of the stories in its magazine (maybe it was Greg’s voice, or maybe it’s because it’s just what I need now).

Enjoying what you do is something that I grew up thinking doesn’t happen. Couldn’t happen. Ever.

After leaving a job that I constantly complained about, I suddenly thought life would get a lot easier.  Reality sunk in when I was living alone for the first time without the full-time support of consistent work. As much as the sleepless nights keep me wondering whether this was the right decision, I have to realize this move was exactly what I (mostly) wanted.

Well, sort of. I hadn’t imagined blindly applying or meeting up with an endless stream of contacts for any industry insight to little avail. I thought this time away from the pressure of a full-time work load would help me figure out what I really wanted to do – and get me to a place where I could be happy fulltime. Now I’m just stuck in a mental battle that has me more desperate than free.

I’ve been pretty embarrassed to admit this. My readers (aka my mom and boyfriend) might already know this to be true, but I don’t want to seem like a failure with all the people out there in the world who have done so much more. It’s just nice to be able to put my fears to words, and hope that something I’ll be able to say “work is my fun” just like Greg.  

{image via Fashion Served}


DIY: Nails

For some reason or another, LinkedIn decided to point me in the direction of a social media expert at Ralph Lauren. Turns out that the lady, besides having a commendable resume, also has a pretty kick-ass fashion blog. After instantly becoming enamored with her sweet, go-to style and family portraits it was easy to see why the site pointed me in her direction. 

Whatever the reason, I was floored when I saw her Comme des Garcons Play nails that she did herself. Can we say DIY chic? I might be a little inexperienced to tackle these beauties just yet, but suffice it so say I was pleasantly surprised by the '2nd connection' and blog moveSlightly.  

{all images via moveSlightly}


Jumping into SF

When you move to a new city, there are a lot of things to learn - navigating a neighborhood alone can tough, let alone an entire county full of new people, roads and restaurants. I've come to realize just in my short time in the Bay Area, despite coming here monthly as a kid, that I know very little. But this naivety is something to treasure, especially as I search for a space to call my own in San Francisco. 

The copious amount of neighborhoods in San Francisco alone is enough to make my head spin. Josh has used the site for international trips, but I haven't yet attempted to rent a space domestically, and moving to a new city seems like the perfect time. When guests come to visit, I'm planning on picking one for fun - maybe David's Old Victorian flat next to Alamo Square, or Tim's place near the Castro. With endless options for variety in the city, it might not be so difficult navigating after all. 

 Pacific Heights from Bobbi
 David's Victorian color

Tim's front room {images 3 & 4; all images from Airbnb} 


International Interior Design


Holy moly this space from Croatia just blew me away. Just a great use of color, patterns and texture to make things feel bright without overpowering the simple luxury of relaxing at home. While I love looking at design spaces, I noticed something recently - it's really about all natural light. I think one essential in my next home is going to have to be great windows and great natural lighting (a more difficult find in San Francisco, unfortunately) - it is a home accessory that one cannot do without. 



Shoe Secret

Lately I've been trying to avoid malls - mostly because I want to save as much dough until the big move, but also because I haven't been feeling inspired. That was until I saw these beauties from ShoeMint. You know when you see something you love and dream about it days later? Yeah, well I've been doing that for weeks with these puppies, but as fate would have it by the time it came to purchasing, they were all out of my size. 

I was originally introduced to ShoeMint through Mary-Kate and Ashley's site StyleMint, where I purchased an ultra fine 't' that goes with just about everything (and is my all-time favorite weekend shirt). I also have the biggest girl crush on Rachel Bilson since her days on The O.C. {I secretly watch 'Hart of Dixie' for her style alone} and since ShoeMint is designed with Bilson and Nicole Chavez, I couldn't resist. 



Everyone in the fashion world knows who Jamie Beck is - the celebrated photographer could easily manage to make a child's accident into a stunning shot worthy of a frame. Most of the time she is behind the camera, but every once in a while Beck steps out front-and-center on her personal blog to show off her great style. How does she get her hair to do that, I wonder. She has a great classic pinup girl look mixed with a bit of modern J. Crew. Love it. 

One of the first blogs I ever started reading was The Glamourai, and that's where I discovered Beck's Cinemagraph collaboration with Kevin Berg. So amazing!   

 {images: 1, 2}


Cleaning Up

While Ursus Wehrli's work ("The Art of Clean Up") is no spring chicken, it is certainly moving. The tedious work has no doubt gained traction for its unusual perspective, something that can remain timeless as new artists debut more extravagant works. I especially like the fruit bowl - which even goes so far as to separate the dots from the bowl. It's a very interesting retrospective on life and consumption, in my idea.



Etsy Obsession

I absolutely love Etsy, and although sometimes I forget it's around when I'm searching for something particular for my home, office or wardrobe it is always nice to get little reminders {like this one from Anne} about how wonderful this site is. I've only purchased a few things from here {like these sweet tiles} but every time something new pops up in my mailbox it's pleasantly packaged to perfection and completely fitting for my personal space. 

Though sometimes the items are a bit quirky, Etsy is an essential marketplace for anyone looking for something unique for their home, vintage finds or splendid local deals. I can't wait until I can completely outfit my home with some new additions - like those pillows! 

{images 1, 2, 3, 4)


On Rows

From lately: champagne glasses lined up to celebrate a friend's engagement, pillow arrangement complete and a pick-up-and-go s'mores treat I picked up from Pinterest {I'm obsessed!}.  


I Like Words

I haven't been finding too much inspiration lately, but after learning about Letters of Note from Joanna, a post from Hollywood screenwriter Robert Pirosch put a smile on my face.

Dear Sir:

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave "V" words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land's-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. 

I have just returned and I still like words. 

May I have a few with you?

Robert Pirosh
385 Madison Avenue
Room 610
New York
Eldorado 5-6024

{Letter source: Dear Wit; image}



I've never caught a fish, I don't hunt and I'm not a fan of guns....but I think I would learn all about wild game just to soak up the atmosphere if I were in a place like this. The spot is Brush Creek Ranch & Spa, and if the antlers on the cabin walls weren't enough to offer a little insight into this luxury retreat, the fact that fly fishing is a major attraction probably will. The place was introduced to me through my job - it seems the only downfall that comes with writing about luxurious retreats all day long is that my own experiences pale in comparison. Still, it's fun to imagine.


Weekend Bits

{From the weekend: lounging by the pool, udon from Balboa Park's Japanese Tea Garden, spring in San Diego, lawn bowling and cherry blossoms in Balboa Park}

It was another spring fling weekend filled with sunshine, floral & fauna and a few more checks on my to-do list {see last weekend's success}. What you can't see is that I devoured two books in the Hunger Games series from Josh's Kindle Fire, which we downloaded just two weeks ago (he's already finished the series). Luckily I've perfected a way to read outside on the thing, otherwise I would have thought the weekend sun was a lost cause.



{photos 1, 2, 3}

This weekend, despite fighting a cold, I'm planning to try a few more Pinterest recipes that are all about breakfast. While I lay on the couch yesterday with a tissue box and The Hunger Games, I couldn't stop dreaming about breakfast; even just a great fried egg tomorrow morning will make me happy. Instead, these great recipes are all about indulging, like spreading a cookie into a waffle iron and adding breakfast cereal with marshmallows for a sweet afternoon treat.  
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Wine Tasting

Wine tasting in Temecula this past weekend was a dream come true. It was just the girls, great wine and 90 degree weather to make Sunday fly by. I had been holding out for my flower pants since picking them up on sale at Anthropologie (after returning an Asos pair), but didn't really think about the weather until all the girls showed up in dresses. Luckily we went back and forth between the sun and air conditioned tasting rooms so that I wasn't overwhelmed by the sweet inland heat. 

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