I worked in retail for 6 months. I had no experience in sales, and I had too much experience in schooling. Some may say maybe that’s not the best career choice for me. Yet, albeit how hard on the body it was, those 6 months were the most fun out of any job I’ve ever had.
In part it was because I was at the perfect age at the perfect store. It was at a successful local boutique that had several stores throughout the city, but still felt more like a local small business than a corporate conglomerate. And I was in my early 30s.
For the customers in their 20s, I was young and hip enough to seem like their cool older sister. For the customers in their 40s and above, I was mature enough to understand their tastes, yet young enough to make them feel younger themselves. And for women in my age range…well, I’ve worked corporate, I’ve traveled the world, I’ve lived in so many metropolises, that I am like the best friend in the dressing room that will tell you, “No, those jeans make your hips look wide,” or, “You will be able to walk all day in these pumps, lady,” and they know I’m right. The cherry on top of all this is that I’m a new mom, as are so may of the customers. And yes, I am well versed on what the problem areas are for a woman who carried a child, and how best to camouflage that.
I moved quickly through the ranks during those 6 months, and at one point, I thought maybe my dream is to own a similar boutique of my own.
But then I moved back to the East coast, and reality set in that retail just didn’t pay enough for the lifestyle that I wanted to lead. So I returned to my own field, and though I feel so fulfilled in the work that I do now…I will always look back on those 6 months fondly. Wow, what an amazing time I had.
It’s houses like these that make San Francisco beautiful:
But in reality, most of SF-ers live in houses like these:
Hashtag tourists don’t know nothing.
1. I love airports. I love watching the planes come and go, the hustle and bustle, imagining all the stories the travelers can tell, from vacations to business trips to visiting loved ones. I even don’t mind the hassle of security checkpoints and rude TSA. So naturally, I also love this bird’s eye view of airports all around the world.
2. The first time I traveled to Paris, I did so alone, and it was incredible. I’ve been back since, and it was great in other ways (engaged!) but this New York Times article and particularly the following passage, really resonated with me:
“The question that bubbled up was not so much, Will I be back?, but rather, Could I bring back with me the feeling that I had cultivated here?”
3. This blog post on An Inch of Gray also reached deep into my heart. “I think years of busy-ness and scorekeeping and nurturing the heck out of small children somehow leave little room for thoughtfulness for each other. I think people are generally wired selfishly, and each day is a struggle against a me-first attitude. And our culture leaves us asking every day, “What’s in this for ME?” rather than “What can I do for others?” So when we feel spent, as we often do, we don’t go around looking for ways to serve our spouse.”
This is a constant struggle in my marriage as well, both of us working so hard in our respective roles that is difficult not to ‘score-keep,’ due to never fully understanding what the other goes through on a day to day basis. Anna’s article reminds us to put our mundane bullsh*t aside (well, not in those words) and stop only worrying about what’s in it for ourselves.
4. On a lighter note, check out this on the Bold Italic. Right before I read this, I ran to the store that is literally next door to my place to get some coffee beans. But in order to get there, I have to walk through THE BIGGEST wind tunnel EVER, and I cursed under my breathe every step of the 20-step way. Reading this made me feel a lot better. So I’m not the only person who ‘can’t with this wind.’
5. Mother’s Day is this weekend (the second one I’m celebrating as a mother!) and oh, #16, you are speaking to me, aren’t you?
You know you’re in a bad mood (thanks SF public transportation!) when you go to the animals Pinterest section to cheer yourself up and all you can think is, “Your pet is ugly, why are you on Pinterest.”*
Then I saw this list on Buzzfeed and ok, my faith in humanity has been restored, a lil’.
And THEN, I saw this:
Sometimes, when even puppies and kittens aren’t cutting it, all you need is a really mean joke.
*Disclaimer: NO ONE’s pet is ugly, the only thing ugly around here is my mood.
Remember Judgmental New York?
Well, here’s Judgmental SF. Is it just me, or is the majority of SF blowjobs and gangs?
I’ve come to realize that any city can feel like a great city, as long as the day is sunny and warm, be it New York City, San Francisco, or even Cleveland. So whether I love a city or not has little to do with what there is to do, or where there is to eat, and more to do with how many sunny days out of the year there are. So San Diego, you win.
But SF? Today it feels like you have potential.
You know that photo anyone who’s ever been to Paris has of the Eiffel Tower?
Well, this is San Francisco’s version of that photo.
(Paris photo taken on our engagement trip 3 years ago. SF photo taken during family outing to Fort Point this weekend, trying to recreate, unsuccessfully, this photo.)
My first encounter with the Mission District was at dusk on a cold August evening. We had just moved to San Francisco and were still in shock at how cold the summer months are. We got out of the BART at 16th St. Mission station, and I was immediately terrified. “If there was a hell, that must be what it looks, sounds, AND smells like,” I thought. I covered Dragon in his stroller, wrapped my coat tighter around myself, walked as fast as I could with my head down, and prayed that the sun wouldn’t set before I reached my destination.
It wasn’t until I got over the initial culture shock of being in such a big/diverse city with a small child (mostly on my own on weekdays) that I grew more comfortable and less intimidated by the people who hang out in the streets in the middle of the day. But the Mission was still hit or miss for me, and it wasn’t until this past week (and the gorgeous spring weather), that I surprisingly, and very suddenly, fell in love with that area.
Dragon and I met our friends for coffee at the cafe of their choice yesterday, and it turned out to be a gem that I would never have gone into on my own.
Mission Pie, as the name suggests, offers a variety of pies, both sweet and savory, yet is not pie-exclusive. You can check out their menu here. My favorite part of the cafe, however, was the little kiddie table by the window with toddler-sized stools and an array of toys. While I enjoyed my mocha, Dragon and his buddy busied themselves with the new (to them) toys, and my friend and I were able to catch up without having to worry about our children bothering other patrons.
After letting the kids blow off some steam at story time at the Mission Branch library, Dragon and I went off on our own to explore the neighborhood a little. I think it was a combination of the caffeine, the weather, and Dragon being a good little man, that I absolutely fell in love with Valencia and want to move there, stat. It is lined with the cutest cafes (outdoor seating!), and the most eclectic stores I ever did see. Where else are you going to find a unicorn, a pirate, baby toys, a yoga studio, a healing center, and have the option of changing your name (Social Security Administration office) all within a few blocks?
I was only able to venture from 24th St. to 19th St., but here are a few of my favorites:
Aldea, Inspiration for Every Room
This is what I refer to as “a happy shop,” the minute I walk into it, I become happy. Each section of the store is designed into the different rooms of a house and the space is re-designed regularly. This was my first time there, but I assume next time I go, it’ll be a different look to explore? Also, though there are a lot of delicate wares and gifts, I found it to be completely stroller friendly. I never felt with a wrong nudge, I may shatter the whole place. If you love home decor, they are currently hiring! (Aldea Baby is right down the street.)
826 Valencia – The Writing Center
At first glance, this place may seem like any old pirate supply store, but it’s actually a non-profit to help students age 6~18 ‘with their literacy and writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.’ My love for writing started at a young age, my un-published teen novel played a big factor into me being admitted to my college, and had I had an organization like 826 Valencia at my hand, I would have been all over it! Perhaps I would even be a published author by now?
I’m not even sure how to begin describing this place. I do know you can spend hours and hours here exploring taxidermy, insects, plants, skeletons, ‘all the treasures and oddities inspired by the garden and the natural sciences,’ a natural history museum you can purchase for your own home. Imagine that! They also offer workshops, in which the Succulent Terrariums Class looks especially appealing to me. Animal activists, do not fret. Paxton Gate does not support the trade of poached or endangered animals and source all of their items through humane ways.
Not a sponsored post. All reviews and photos my own.
New York seems farther and farther away, San Diego a dream I didn’t want to wake up from. SF is my new reality.
Today, we headed north of the Golden Gate Bridge and finally saw a little of why people rave about the Bay Area. It was an exceptionally gloomy day in my neck of the woods, and the second we started driving (and hitting traffic), I started feeling the resentment creep in. Ugh. Screw this weather.
But surprisingly, the water in the bay was REALLY blue, dotted with little white sailboats, lush, green hills and islands weaving in and out of the backdrop. And about three minutes after crossing the bridge, the skies cleared up and OMG, it turned into fantastic, giddy-worthy weather. Today was the first day since moving to San Francisco (it’s AUGUST!) that I wanted an iced coffee instead of curling up in a heavy sweater with a mocha.
My husband took us to Hawk Hill, and the views were breathtaking. At one point, the fog covering the city was so thick that only the tallest skyscrapers were visible, peeking over the fog like a city in the clouds.
Today was a special day, not because I spent an afternoon in the sun, or because we saw some amazing views. It’s a special day because for the first time since moving here…I see some promise. And a teeny tiny spark of…hmmm…maybe I will like it here.