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Snowhere I'd Rather Be | A Winter Weekend in Tahoe

If you ever visit the Bay Area on a January or February or possibly even March weekend, let me just tell you now that you could do cartwheels up and down the Golden Gate Bridge all day long and have it completely to yourself because it is ghost town around here – everyone and their mothers and their college dorms and their coworkers and their dogs are up in Tahoe. 

Not kidding. We each took a half-day on a Friday to try and hit the road before traffic could get really horrendous... but it seemed like literally every single other caravan had the same idea, and we inched along from San Francisco all the way until we reached our cabin in North Tahoe five hours later. But once we arrived, it was truly like being immersed in a winter wonderland. I've insisted that for the past fifteen years of my life, I've had a snow curse on me: snow stays away from me. I've visited traditionally snowy destinations in the dead of winter (including my first and only other visit to Tahoe, five years ago with my freshman dorm) – the snow stops the instant I arrive and begins again hours after I leave.
So needless to say, I was positively giddy... and really, freaking cold. I've never seen so much snow in my life! We totally leaned into this whole "cozy cabin, snowy world" scenario too: hot cocoa spiked with Bailey's, beers in a hot tub excavated from a mountain of snow, a day of completely disconnecting (for them = hitting the slopes, for me = holing away at a day spa, oh yes I did), snowball fights, indulging on comfort food and cake at this little hole-in-the-snowbank restaurant straight out of Gilmore Girls that only had room for three parties, admiring the stars shining so bright, inhaling the smoky air, bundling up a wee bit tighter as the chill bit our noses.

I am now completely on board with this winter tradition, and am already anxiously anticipating the next time someone extends an invite to get stuck in rough traffic for a few hours on our way to this gorgeous snowy world!

Do you have any winter traditions? Did you get to go skiing this season?

Life Lately, Around The Bay

I paid $9 for a latte the other week.

It was a damn good latte, but not even a latte made to guarantee me good fortune (akin to Felix Felicis, perhaps?) and boundless energy should cost nine freaking dollars. C'est la vie à San Francisco, I guess!

Although I cringe each and every time rent is due still, I've started telling myself that a portion of the rent should be considered a "Bae Area charge" – the price that comes with having access to the vibrant culture and unique bars and restaurants that San Francisco has to offer, as well as to a number of mellower adventures throughout Northern California. It's been just the ticket to get me out and about this new year, exploring and discovering and poking my nose into various SF institutions.
SFMOMA // ever since the SF Museum of Modern Art re-opened in a new space a few months ago, literally everyone I know has made it a top priority to check the place out. One grey and drizzly morning in January, Hanna, Leah and I decided to visit. Amped up on soda with extra high sugar content, we perused the halls in an excited stupor – gazing at some of the stranger pieces completely flabbergasted, but truly impressed by others. Our favorite was by far Alexander Calder's mobiles. Accompanied by a masterful audio guide, we found the mobiles and the stories behind them to be completely mesmerizing.
Half Moon Bay // the following weekend, I had originally cajoled my roommate Susan into attempting a Napa daytrip, which she enthusiastically agreed to. But with an inordinate amount of traffic that day in addition to a rainy forecast, we decided to table those plans for another day. Instead, Susan suggested driving south to Half Moon Bay to grab coffee and donuts from the newly opened Dunkin Donuts and enjoying them on the coast. Done and done! Leah, Susan, and I sat on the rocks and watched, riveted, as the waves crashed ashore at high tide, wondering why the heck we don't visit the seaside more often.
Tahoe // not exactly in the Bay Area, but weekends in Lake Tahoe seems to be a widely accepted winter tradition for Northern California residents. Last weekend, we and about a trillion other people made the trek up to Tahoe to tumble around in the snow, hit the slopes (for everyone else), and get in some zen time (me). It made me laugh – as I hung out by the Starbucks fireplace in the ski lodge with a book, I overheard about half a dozen conversations around me about the same commute that I take, the same industry I work in, the same neighborhood I live in. Silicon Valley-ers are a predictable bunch, I say. More on Tahoe later this week!
Neighborhood-scoping // preparing ourselves for an impending move in the not-so-distant future, two of my roommates and I have been going to several apartment viewings and are generally scoping out potential neighborhoods to focus on. Trying out new-to-us restaurants in these neighborhoods has been a fun incentive, although my waistline has been like: girl, no. Stop.

Hanna and I have been making reservations on a whim like it's our sidehustle (can it be... please), and it's becoming a bit ridiculous calorically. But our tastebuds are so thrilled! From soothing ramen in the Mission, to an extraordinary southern dinner at Blue Plate for SF Restaurant Week, to no-frills burgers at a motel joint in Hayes Valley, to so much Peruvian food that we were in literal pain, to queso and quesadillas at a Mexican place in our very neighborhood*... it's been ridiculous, like I said.

*en route to this Mexican place, I fell down our stairs and consequently sprained my ankle and when Hanna was like ummm do you want to order takeout instead, I was like ....we're going to go get the frickin queso. Zero regrets.
Usually, I'm too restless to stay in any one city for more than a month before I blow a decent amount of my paycheck on a flight to a weekend away. But because the beginning of the year has been crazy busy at work, I've found it impossible to stray very far from city limits for the time being. And because being cooped up for too long is both my favorite and least favorite thing in the world – I've savored the time I've gotten to be a total homebody, but also have been thankful for the impetus to seek out more of what the Bay Area has to offer.

Is there anywhere in the Bay Area you think I should hit up?

5 Reasons Why I'm The Worst Blogger Ever (After 5 Years of Blogging!)

O N E .

Saturday marked five years of blogging for me, but did I notice? Nope. I was holed away in a cabin in Tahoe, happily indulging in hot cocoa with extra Bailey's. I woke up on Sunday feeling properly ashamed of missing my honey's special day and dawdled about wondering what to do in a situation like this. Do I send flowers? Purchase "I'm sorry" jewelry?

T W O.

Not only did I forget my very own blogiversary, heck, I couldn't even remember the last time I published a blog post. Or watched a Snapchat video, or shared a photo on Instagram. And, saddest OF ALL, my camera roll has been been devoid of thirty-pictures-of-a-steaming-cup-of-latte for a very long time.

I don't know how to explain it. The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 has been a weird time for me when it comes to documenting my life – I simply haven't felt the urge to whip out my phone to snap pics of wonderful meals, or to start a new blog post about well, really anything. I attribute this to several things: a seriously busy work month (in fact, before leaving for Tahoe, we were reading up on avalanches and I was like: oh this is literally describing my day-to-day at work), mental and physical clutter, and obviously deep frustrations and a general sense of helplessness towards the things going on in the nation and world that are so much bigger than me and my bubble. I'm all at once poring over articles, in a desperate attempt to educate myself, as well as internally screaming I can't take this anymore, these headlines need to STOP.
T H R E E .

"Blogging" as it exists in my mind is still as it was five years ago. To me, we're still living in a world of bubble necklaces (remember those??) and chevron everything and Google Reader. Lol, jk. RIP Google Reader. 

But, no. At some point, the blogging train sped ahead with personal branding and webinars and Facebook groups and hired photographers and network marketing and distributed revenue streams, and I just totally missed that train because I was probably hitting up a McDonald's at the station and forgot to check the departure time or something. 

Call me not-so-entrepreneurial, but I kinda like it here in this empty station with long, winding, not-always-so-helpful blog posts and slightly blurry but precious photographs. 
F O U R . 

I still haven't finished the new Gilmore Girls. The first episode didn't hook me–on the contrary, parts of it had me straight up grimacing. 

I still haven't watched La La Land, mostly because I've been a stubborn dingbat about wanting to watch it only at this one theater in town that serves food and drinks and they've been sold out for weeks and okay, okay, I'll go, I'll go. Soon.

I'm much too lazy to haul out the DSLR every time I leave the house and also I'm too cheap to get the iPhone 7, sooooo the few snapshots I have on my phone kinda suck right now.

I still need to finish posting about our Balkans trip from September and also if I'm feeling CRAY, I might just type up a little something from China. From over A YEAR AGO.

I can't ever remember my Pinterest password.

So now, let's decide. Are all of the aforementioned offenses considered blogging misdemeanors, or am I already treading in blog-felony territory?
F I V E .

And yet, after all this, I still can't quit this gig.

I don't think I ever could.

Perpetually Caroline has just... it's just become a part of my identity, over these last five years. It's a home in which my memories, adventures, thoughts, dreams, hopes, and heartaches have lived. It's stood as an unfaltering witness of a freshman year Caroline, on the precipice of a most tumultuous year, evolving slowly but surely into a 23-year-old with a whole host of stories to share from her travels around the world, who lives in the greatest city on Earth, who works at an exciting startup, who feels quite uncertain about the world around her right now but who has so, so, SO many people and places and beliefs that inspire her and spark the fight within her.

So sorry guys, but you're stuck with me even though I may be the worst blogger in the history of ever. If only because I want this blog (and you! all of you!) to stand witness as I evolve into whoever I become five years from now.

Now. Where do I go find a vintage bubble necklace to send to my blog as an apology gift?

How We Accidentally Gave The Worst Tour of San Francisco Ever

Right after the holidays, Cassandra and her Slovenian friend Blažka arrived at our doorstep. Blažka was visiting San Francisco (and California!) for the very first time, and we were determined to make it a memorable trip for her.

We're going to take you to the best pizza ever.

And ice cream! We have to take you to this insane ice cream place.

Oh, and the sourdough. Gotta have that. And Mission burritos obviously and we have to go get gyros, oh and you have to try ramen and–

"Not to be offensive or anything..." Blažka cut in hesitantly. "But you guys have been talking about food 90% of the time."

*crickets*

Flabbergasted, one of us replied, "you mean to tell us there are things in San Francisco you want to experience that don't have anything to do with food?"
And so with the sudden revelation that San Francisco is actually full of iconic landmarks, we threw together a last minute itinerary for a proper tour of the city the next morning...

...except that we, the hostesses, didn't wake up until noon. Let's blame it on the carbload from the night prior, but NO REGRETS because the New Yorker pie at Tony's Napoletana Pizza is honest to heaven one of the best things this city has to offer. They just started offering delivery through UberEATs and so now my mind is blown, my diet's called off, and–

I digress.
On the top of Blažka's San Francisco wishlist was to see the hills that Mia Thermopolis drove down in her baby blue convertible in Princess Diaries (which is how I knew immediately that Blažka and I would get along swimmingly).

But instead of doing a simple Google search to see which specific hill that was, we decided instead to drive towards Lombard Street and then tell Blažka that every steep hill in Pacific Heights could be that special hill!

Rude, right? Except that we blasted Miracles Happen from Princess Diaries as we inched down Lombard in a gray convertible and hoped that it would appease dear Blažka. You win some, you lose some, is the lesson here.
Next up was the Ghirardelli Square/Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 part of town which was just as crowded and headache-inducing as expected, except that it was a stunning day and there were lots of mini donuts on offer and we force-fed Blažka stale sourdough shaped like a turtle, insisting that it was a San Francisco classic.

And then we found out you can get it at any grocery market in Slovenia.  
SO then we were all, time for the piece de resistance: the Golden Gate Bridge! And Blažka was rightfully super excited about it, readying her Spotify playlist for a bunch of San Francisco-themed songs.

...well.

We took a wrong turn and missed the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic was awful so Cassandra dejectedly suggested tabling the bridge for the next day and hitting up Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies instead. Which would've been fine and dandy except that Cassandra and I decided that a detour to our professor's house in the neighborhood was necessary. Little did we know, we chatted over coffee for so long that the sun had long set by the time we made it out of there... deeming the view of the Painted Ladies not so great:
Keen to salvage the night, we drove up to Twin Peaks to check out the breathtaking (but COLD!) view of the entire city before us. Thankfully, Blažka found it as special as we did. Afterwards, we turned off the GPS and drove all over the city, showing Blažka the Golden Gate Bridge in the dark as well as a lit-up Palace of Fine Arts. 
The next day, we were determined to make up for our shortcomings. 

The entire morning, we were only running about two hours behind schedule. First up was the Painted Ladies, this time actually visible.

Then, a leisurely walk on the Golden Gate.
Lest you think it was all smooth sailing from here on out, 

it wasn't.

Because we had a deadline to make (a New Year's party over in Oakland), we raced through all of these landmarks without ever feeding Blažka till like 4pm. The poor girl was starving, and so we promised her food at the Ferry Building farmers' market immediately after seeing the bridge. Except the universe had other plans, and instead directed us to drive over the Bridge to Marin, where we had to wait 10 minutes at a one-way tunnel just to turn back to the city. Hangry but not wanting to let the $6 toll fee go to waste, we chugged up to Hawk Hill for this incredible panorama: 
Finally, finally, finally we made it to the farmers' market where we loaded up on all the calories we could to bid 2016 a proper adieu. 
Blažka laughing dubbed this as the "Lazies Tour of San Francisco," a food-centric, always-running-behind, not-very-well-planned, quick!-snap-a-picture-as-we-drive-by, carried-out-with-the-best-intentions introduction of SF.

Moral of the story: if you come visit me, you might want to hire a professional tour guide and then just ask me for food recommendations.

What do you think her review of us on TripAdvisor will be like?!