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10 Reasons Why I'm Head Over Heels For San Francisco

Nothing thrills me more than getting on a plane headed for new adventures... except for that moment of disembarking the plane and entering the familiar SFO terminals, the thought of being only twenty more minutes away from my apartment. I've fallen hard for SO many cities around the world, but still I'm unbelievably grateful that San Francisco is the one I get to call home.

The choice to live here upon graduation two-and-a-half years ago was a natural one: I was broke from a summer traveling around Europe, in need of a job and a place to live, and so of course the most expensive city in the country was the obvious answer. But thank goodness I was delusional enough to actually give this place a try, because I'm completely head-over-heels for San Francisco. 

Today, I thought I'd share the top ten reasons why I willingly shell out WAY way wayyyyyy too much money for rent and brave the earthquake and nuclear attack risks just to be a San Francisco resident:
1 // The people! A total cliche, yes, but I stand by the fact that San Francisco's diverse community could not be more open, welcoming, and inclusive to all. I hesitate to portray this city as all rainbows-and-butterflies... that is, until I'm out of this protective bubble and realize that 90% of the time, San Francisco really is all rainbows-and-butterflies.

2 // Even though life here can be very fast-paced what with all the emphasis on innovation, the underlying attitude and vibe here is mellow. There's very little formality or rigidity - everything from dress code to workplace culture is flexible and easygoing.

3 // On the flip side, the abundance of technology and invention and scrappy folks give this city quite the healthy dose of excitement and urgency! There's always something new to create and test and ship to the world!  
4 // San Francisco is beautiful. Postcard views everywhere you turn: the iconic Golden Gate Bridge (can you spot her in these photos? Hint: in the picture above, she's peeking out right in front of the mountains), colorful Victorian houses, the stunning bay set against the surrounding hills. An Instagrammer's paradise!

5 // ...and its proximity to other interesting and picturesque places. Leaving the city and driving for an hour in any direction gets you somewhere unbelievably gorgeous: wine country, the ocean, redwood forests, big cities, college towns. Day trips are the jam! And if you venture even further to the snowy mountains of Tahoe or the dramatic cliffs of Big Sur, there are even more wonderful adventures awaiting.
6 // all of the different neighborhoods! In San Francisco, you can be walking down the poshest of blocks, and then be in a completely different realm once you cross the street. And although this can be quite scary at times actually when you accidentally step into a not-so-safe area, there's always somewhere new to explore. Each neighborhood has a completely unique character, climate, and history, and there is so much to admire about them all. My personal favorites are trendy Hayes Valley and the hip, sunny Dogpatch (which is my own neighborhood)!

7 // how WEIRD of a city it is, and just how much its residents embrace this weirdness. Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how quirky and strange San Franciscans can be. I mean - for starters, Bay to Breakers is practically a city-wide holiday. We've been on cable cars in full Santa suits, and no one looked twice. I honestly can't even tell you the strangest thing I've witnessed because there's always something odder.

8 // I love how it's such a big city in reputation and how we have access to all the perks of living in any well-known city around the world (so many incredible things to do and see - concerts, museums, sporting events, culture), and yet it's still very much a small town in very many ways - you can walk from one side of the city to the other in a few hours, neighborhood spots are still intimate, businesses close early at nights.
9 // the FOOD (give me all the burritos!), the COFFEE, the farmers' markets, the craft fairs, the boutiques, all of the small businesses. People are constantly creating delicious, beautiful, unique goods - and I reap all the benefits. But seriously, this city is foodie central and my waistline agrees!

10 // My bottom line is this: it's been 60 degrees and sunny here for the past 15 weekends straight, so *mic drop.* 
Of course, that is not to say that San Francisco is perfect. Exhibit A: $$$$$$$$ and Exhibit B: earthquakes. Perhaps I'll write another blog post with exhibits C through... E? F? But until then, I'm all hearteyes for this town.

Tell me: where do you live? How did you end up there? What do you love about your home, and what are some things that drive you crazy about it?

Here & Now | January 12, 2018

Bringing you the Here & Now series, a Friday feature intended to capture my life as it is in this moment: shows I'm watching (better question: what aren't I watching), products I'm excited about, restaurant raves, weekend plans, all of the little things that I was into this week. A bookmark for the here & now, if you will! 

This week... this week was standard. On the rainier, busy-at-work-ier, can't-get-out-of-bed-ier side of the spectrum, but it was full of such goodness too. My dad was in town for a day, so we enjoyed some noodles and sake at a cozy neighborhood spot. I've discovered a new show to binge, had some funny conversations at work, successfully laundered and dry-cleaned my clothes (win!!) and you know what: this goodness deserves to be remembered too! So we have, the Here & Now, Edition Uno!

Eat & Drink


More often than not, our Sunday evenings consist of grocery shopping and then a stop at In-N-Out because... well, because we live in California so gotta take advantage. A couple of weeks ago, In-N-Out released a new addition to their menu for the first time in over a decade: hot cocoa! Of course, a taste test was necessary. Verdict? It was yum, but then again I'd probably eat cardboard if it was from In-N-Out.

Earlier that day, we were visiting a French family who we're friends with. After a made-to-order omelette brunch, they brought out a traditional Galette des Rois ("King's Cake") and the kids (four under the age of ten!) showed us the ropes. If you eat the slice of the (delicious) cake with a token hidden in it, you get to be king or queen for the day. A cultural lesson I fully supported!


See & Do


Like I said, it's been a work-heavy week. However, my weekends are fiercely protected for play! Cassandra and I found ourselves purposely getting lost in the city - it's a concept we picked up in Croatia, when we were encouraged to go "drifting" and letting the geography of the city pull us in different directions. Um, total win.

Not only did we stumble across the most breathtaking view of the city - you could see the Golden Gate Bridge all the way over to our neighborhood on the other end of San Francisco - but also we came upon some heartbreakingly beautiful and thought-provoking murals in the Mission. Definitely putting put of these new finds on my list of places to return to and further explore.


Read & Watch


I'm halfway through The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, and am into it - however, it's been a few days since I last picked it up sooooo... no, no, no. Hang on. Pause. I'm going to commit to finishing it, because I can count the number of books I read last year on one hand, and that makes me sad. Will report back next week.

OKAY NOW - THE AMERICANS. Yes, I'm many years late to this one but I watched it out of boredom on Amazon Prime one day and now I'm hooked. I'm almost through with the first season, and it's only been a week. Halp!

Weekend Forecast


Hooray for three-day weekends! On deck: a West Wing event on Saturday which I'm over the moon excited about, potentially some hiking in Oakland, aaaaand... we shall see.

Who has Monday off? Who has grand plans?!


2018, So Far

There was an earthquake here in San Francisco last night! At around 2:30am, I was jolted into half-consciousness by intense rocking, just as my roommate burst into my room exclaiming that there must've been an earthquake. Upon hearing her and processing the situation, I... curled up deeper under the covers, and promptly fell right back asleep.

Needless to say, I'm now more than a little concerned about my survival instincts.

You might be thinking - what's the big deal? Aren't there hundreds of earthquakes in California every single day? To that I say, maybe BUT after six and a half years of living in the Bay Area, this is only the second one that I've actually felt... and the only one that's been as big a topic of conversation as it was at work today. Alas, I feel like a true Californian now!
The earthquake was really the only exciting update I had to share with you guys, but then I thought a little harder and decided there must've been other events from the past 5 days that could be considered passably interesting. Like...

The FOX show, The Gifted. Anyone watching? Our apartment is obsessed, and we've spent a fair portion of young 2018's ~120 hours glued to the TV. Let me know if you're addicted too because we need to discuss.

My company moved offices within the city - we're a few blocks down from our old digs, but the novelty has been great fun. New-to-us lunch spots, office nooks to claim, fresh city blocks to walk around.

The roommates and I have been binging on sweets and carbs something fierce. January hit and you'd think we'd be striving to make healthier choices, but in fact we've polished off a whole chocolate cake, lots of lasagna, pizza, chocolate, burritos, lemon cake, and I don't even want to keep listing items, because FOR SHAME. I'm going to blame this one on forbidden fruit and all that jazz. February will be our month.
A friend was visiting from out of the country last week, and we took her around to all the sights - Land's End to see the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown to ride a cable car, Japantown for ramen, and obviously Target for... anything she could possibly want. That's what I call truly immersing yourself in American culture!

We saw Pitch Perfect 3 and surprisingly, we all loved it! Also! I'm curious - are any of you a MoviePass holder? Do I need one?
Ironically, these photos were not taken this week, but a couple of months ago. The vibe still felt fitting - fun, and full of sweet and happy things. Plus also I spent $40 on tickets, ergo I spent $40 on these pictures, so they. will. be. used. 

$40 have not been spent on frivolous activities such as the Museum of Ice Cream in 2018, and I'm not saying that I deserve a pat on the back or anything but

*pats myself on the back*
Who knew so much could happen in 5 days?*

*Said only 60% sarcastically.

BRINGING IT BACK TO THE EARTHQUAKE THOUGH. Truly the only matter of importance.

Pray tell, what've you been up to? How's 2018 treating you so far?

Exhale

Roll call!

Are all of my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed IT'S A FRESH START, LET'S GOOO-getters present?

...And what about the rest of you, are you all back in Ugh, The Real World yet - anyone else yell at their alarm clocks and forget to re-charge their commute cards and overall regress to their December 19th selves?

Because hi, the latter... that was 100% me, one day post-carboloading, lounging in sweats, watching Ghostbusters and eating cake on NYE bc it's a new year baby!! Also, I'd like to point out our festive "2018" cake decorations, held up nicely by "25" candles that are slightly janky from already being used not once, but twice before.

I'm not making any sense here, but give me a break: I've been absent for awhile and am quite rusty at this. I do hope to be here more often in 2018 though, and thought I'd make an appearance today just to get this show back on the bumpy, bumpy road.
The tail end of 2017 felt so much like constantly playing catch up that I don’t think I ever fully grasped the idea that 2018 was imminent until it was, you know, here. But yesterday, as I was lounging in my best friend’s parents’ home, helping myself to freshly grated gouda and bubbly red champagne, I felt the thrill of a new start for the first time in a long time. I found myself finally getting excited for all that this year may be bring, rather than remaining in my default state of slight anxiety and general cynicism. So. Hopefully that’s the sign of a good year ahead of us!

Or, it could’ve just been that I had a sip too much of bubbly. Who’s to say.

On a blogging front, my resolutions as we settle into this new year is to:

  • Just start writing and documenting again.
  • Be on low-pressure mode as I figure out what it is exactly I (and you) want this space to be.
  • Refresh the fixins a tad. Nothing major but my Bloglovin description still says that I'm a junior in college and uh, I wish, but sadly sadly sadly that is not the case anymore.
  • Perhaps finish recapping some trips, as those are the memories I predict 80 year old me would most like to hate-read.

Okay, that's it for now.

If you're still reading: HI, YOU ROCK. I've missed you. Could you drop a note & let me know what you're up to? If you're still blogging, gimme your linky link, because I need me some new reading material!

Goodbye Sarajevo, Hello Dubrovnik

You know what's embarrassing?

The fact that it's been one year PLUS (HOW!) since our journey through the Balkans, and yet I'm only now hitting the halfway point of recaps. By now, a lot of trip details have slowly slipped away... but luckily there are still so many precious memories that are no less vivid than they were as we lived them. I'm excited to finally get back to sharing them with you. 

*Previously, on Caroline's Balkans Trip 2016* (said in my best fall TV narrator voice):

Along with three of my best friends, I spent three days admiring Belgrade the beautiful, and eating my way through Sarajevo. We were in awe of both cities, but Cassandra and I were also stupid-excited at the thought of getting to introduce Leah and Hanna to Dubrovnik - our next destination, and the city in which we spent two PHENOMENAL weeks the previous year.

Now, for this week's episode...
Much too early on a Sunday morning in September, we're throwing clothes and new silver tea-sets and Bosnian rugs into overstuffed suitcases because we came home too late from an escapade the previous night, and couldn't be bothered to pack then. 

Then, it was goodbye to Cassandra's little apartment in the outskirts Sarajevo with its yellow walls, water that shut off promptly at midnight every night (which meant we had to rely on water bottles to brush our teeth and.... let's just say we got SUPER close as a result of the toilet situation), and laughable WiFi which stopped working whenever we needed it the most... But as these things go, the apartment was also a bearer of some very tender memories - for us all, but for Cassandra through her three months of calling it home, especially.

So we bid it a bittersweet farewell, making sure to stop at the bakery next door for a bag full of burek and somun (a pita-like bread) for the road, and dragged our suitcases down the few rocky blocks to the bus station.

Moments I Freaking Miss Blogging

FIVE MONTHS LATER, am I reading that correctly?!

Five (five!!!) MONTHS without a peep from me here?

I know I've pulled a total Gone Girl (well actually I know nothing about Gone Girl except that I'm very likely using this reference totally inaccurately), but in the back of my mind, my blogging hiatus counter was at like, 2 months. Tops. But five months, wow.

Lest you think I've spent the last five months of my life doing something incredibly meaningful, I'd like to say right away that it was more like:


All day, errday.

Kidding! 

... mostly.

Moving on. Clearly, I'm still trying to get back in the swing of things here.

I freaking miss documenting my life. Boo-freaking-hoo, I know, I know. But I do! The other day, I was thinking to myself that 2017 wasn't that spectacular of a year - in fact, it sucked on the world front, and wasn't all that memorable on a personal front. But then I started recounting highlights of the year and realized how much GOOD I was forgetting: new destinations, time with family, my new baby nephew who is pure joy, trips back to some of my favorite places, growing up alongside friends, San Francisco in all of its glory, and much more.

And those are only the highlights. There's much, much more - little moments here and there, moments where I've felt such an unbearable (albeit fleeting) urge to tap out some long-winded essays and/or upload photos that mark times where I've felt content or where I've paused and realized, learned, or savored something. Having a home for those reflections to live - that's what I miss most about blogging.

Moments like...

// when a friend's mom or a friend of a friend brings up the blog... when people who aren't on the forefront of my mind as a Perpetually Caroline reader talk to me about the blog, it always gives me the warm fuzzies knowing that they tune in every once in awhile.

// when a blogger re-capped her favorite posts of 2017, and I was like, well I guess my favorites would be ... the 2 that I actually posted? What are the highlights of my life in 2017, I can't even remember!!! Just kidding, I remember (somewhat) but dammit I want to be able to read about them in 2038 you know what I mean.

// adult moments like hitting up Marshall's after work to grab things like a new paper towel holder or a garbage disposal freshener, or and coming home from a Target run with a new shower caddy and liner and standing in the shower admiring it for a solid eight minutes... it's like, I'm an adult, does everyone realize this?! Then, nearly burning the house down the next day when making pasta. This is what happens when you get too smug.

// FML slash LOL situations (did I just age myself there) like when I had to go get a Hep A vaccine because I couldn't stay away from poke, or the pasta incident from above.

// when a friend snaps a picture of her dinner, and I don't and I don't even have the instinct to.

// when I force myself to go and do really cool, fun things like The Color Factory (an experience of color!) or The Magic Castle (INSANITY) and learned how to shuck an oyster and go to secret music shows and all I want to do is tell you guys all about it. Perhaps these last two months of 2017 will be playing catch-up around here, but who knows.

// when I hummed the Harry Potter theme song and rocked my nephew to sleep and it was quite honestly one of the sweetest, absolute best moments of my life and I just wanted to be able to remember it forever. That, I don't think I'll ever need to write down because I've tucked it away safe and sound in my mind, but hey - a back-up copy never hurts.


Life Lately: 2017, Halfway Through

Hey hi hello, Caroline here reporting for my once-a-month-posting-duty. Also - apologies for that massive picture of my face up there, what a welcome back! Though I'm rarely actually here anymore, I've been keeping a running tab of life updates since the beginning of the year, full of happy things and momentous occasions to regale you with when we sit down for a proper chat... but as these things go, days disappeared into weeks into a full month into now, nearly 6 months since I've done just that with you.

I'm sorry, and I miss you. 

But! That aforementioned list! Sharing the bare bones version with you here because the longer I go without doing that, the more disconcerted I feel. What can I say, after five and a half years of sharing every detail of my life here, it feels weird to have an entire half-year undocumented.

So to stick a proverbial toe into the water, here's the Cliff Notes version for now, with perhaps novel versions to follow, should I get bitten by the ramble bug once more. (I say as if I'm not already rambling here.)

OK. HERE WE GO.
// I'm going to be an aunt for the first time!!! Well, aunt to a human, that is. My sister and brother-in-law surprised us with the most special Christmas morning via a fluffy little onesie. Baby BOY (I flew up to Seattle in April to third-wheel the gender reveal doctor's appointment as their birthday gift to me HA) will be here in a little less than three months, and we are all wild with anticipation. So ready to snuggle the little munchkin!
// Maui vibes in May: I spent the first week of May fifth-wheeling (sensing a pattern here...) our family vacay... it was my sister and BIL's babymoon and my parents' joint birthday celebration, but I was there to just lay comatose on the perfect beaches and squeeze into the middle-backseat on scenic drives and demand shaved ice whenever possible. Already scheming up how to retire early and peace out permanently to Maui because it is HEAVEN. 
// WFLondon in March: so this one, I covered a bit here. Basically, with one week's notice, I booked a flight and the cutest "aparthotel" studio and spent half of March in London for work. This is notable because 1) well, London, and 2) I don't think I've ever felt as much like a true, established grown-up as I did in those two weeks. I'm convinced that's 87% due to that hotel room straight out of Pinterest, 13% because of my insane work hours there, and 1% thanks to my nightly glass of wine whilst soaking in the bathtub.
// The Apartment Saga: that took over my entire life and brain and soul through the first four months of the year. Post-college, I stumbled upon the greatest SF apartment opportunity of all time and then never left. In January, a couple of my roommates (including the master tenant) wanted to move, which launched the rest of us into hyper-panic-apartment-hunting mode which... if you know anything about the SF rental market, you'll know is totally justified. Let me tell you – most dramatic text messages of my LIFE took place during this time. We tried talking our landlords into letting us stay, negotiations fell through, we found another gem of an apartment with a HELLISH commute for me so I got cold feet and emailed our landlords again as a last ditch effort, and they counter-offered with a lower rent than what they originally offered. WHAT. So now we're still living at our beloved apartment and the cherry on top is that my best friend Cassandra also moved in! 
// 9-to-5, and Wednesdays in San Francisco: the nature of working at a startup is the most fascinating thing, you guys. The changes in responsibilities and my team and projects in 2017 alone could give me whiplash; it's like a crash course (on steroids) (in triple speed) on All The Things. My favorite switcheroo is that every Wednesday, SF-based people get to have a city work-day rather than braving the hour commute down to the peninsula. Working up here is radically different! My friends work within two metro stops of me on these days, so we meet early for chai, grab lunch on the go, enjoy happy hours with coworkers, admire the few skyscrapers, and walk home alongside the Bay Bridge. A whole new world!
// turning twenty-FOUR! All I have to say to this is the other day I went about the day thinking I'm 19, and then laughed out loud realizing I'm 22, and then felt really dumb. Haven't actually grasped the fact that I'm now in my MID-twenties. There are times I feel like an old hand at this "life" thing, like when I did my taxes before my older, more responsible sister (only because it was the last day I could get TurboTax for free) and when I scheduled an optometrist appointment (only because I was down to my last pair of contacts and I'm literally considered to be legally blind without them). Then, there are days I still feel like a newbie (see: everything in parentheses).  
// this, that, and the other: like I mentioned, this post has been an ongoing list of updates that I'll revisit every now and then; you can tell just how much I've neglected this place by how laughably out-of-date some of the bullet points have become, such as the time I twisted my ankle MONTHS ago and then walked a mile home on it because we had too much sangria, and how I chopped all my hair off at last (I'm probably already due for another cut at this point HA). More recently, there was Bay to Breakers, my sister's Oakland baby shower, spending Easter weekend in Napa, that time we went to Hamilton and about died from joy, oyster happy hours whenever possible, and idk plenty more in between maybe that's why I should've been BLOGGING this whole time.
// still obsessed with The West Wing, that's all. But am also incredibly behind on all of my TV shows, which just... what happened!!!! Who have I become. Who am I when I'm not binging on TV and not blogging and documenting every last crumb I eat.
// on the docket: summer in SF and all of the goodness that comes with it, NYC to visit my bestie Lauren for the Fourth of July, baby baby baby in August, and also perhaps I should think about finishing my Europe recaps because this is just getting ridiculous.

xoxo,

the girl who kinda dropped the ball on ballawging and who really misses it and hopes to be back here sooner rather than later.