‘Tis Wedding Planning Season

As you know, Leo and I got engaged over 6 months ago, so (as one would expect) wedding planning is in full swing. Luckily, my mom and I took care of some of the big planning items on our road trip from San Francisco to Atlanta.  Since we are getting married in Santa Barbara, I was able to stop there to shop around for the right church and the right venue.  More importantly, because I haven’t had a chance to write a proper update… here it is!

 

‘Tis Wedding Planning Season

The Bridesmaids

Choosing bridesmaids was really tough. I didn’t want a big party, and I was very focused on having the right mix of people. Family is difficult enough, and I wanted to be sure that I had some girls who would be able to support me – no matter what happens this year!

Who’s in the party? I’ve got my two sisters, my best friend from junior high & high school, a girlfriend who I lived with in London (and ironically went to UCSB with me although we never knew each other), and two of my best friends from the USF MBA program.

I am so thrilled that each of them said ‘YES’!

The Gift

I really wanted to make my bridesmaids feel the love, especially since I’m so far from many of them. I put together these special packages that each of them received. Packed in a grey chevron box, I included a lace and chevron invitation to my party, a custom tote from Zazzle, a vintage Santa Barbara postcard, and a lavender soap from Etsy.

 

The Dress

Initially when I was running budgets, I barely had any money put aside for the dress… But if you’ve ever been a bride, then you’d realize just how special (and important!) the dress is! After we got our church and reception booked, I put wedding planning on the back burner, but everyone would always ask me if I had gone dress shopping.

In September, I decided to go for my first time with a few girlfriends from Atlanta. They were SO amazing and kind to come with me – plus, did I mention how FUN it is?!

 

The dress I got was actually a dress I tried on my first time dress shopping… but it was SO far out of my budget, I didn’t consider it.

Lucky for me, my mom and my sister flew from California to come dress shopping, and the dress happened to be on sample sale from Kelly’s Closet! If you’re in the Atlanta area, I cannot recommend Kelly’s Closet enough. Those girls are amazing… Especially Gina – she’s the best!

The dress was not like anything I ever imagined. For obvious reasons, I can’t say much, but what I can say is that it’s beautiful, and stunning, and I am in love with it…. (i can’t wait to show you all!)

 

A BIG THANK YOU TO:

  • my sister
  • my mom
  • my Atlanta friends
  • my friends from home who were excited to receive pictures
  • my fiancé for saying “NO” to every time I ask him if I can show him my dress!

 

More to come soon! xx

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Falling for Savannah

… is quite possibly the best thing ever! Leo, Rex and I headed to the coast last weekend for the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon – Leo’s 17th marathon to be exact! There is something just so peaceful about Savannah that I love. The endless parks, the architecture, and the slow pace make Savannah one of the most charming places I’ve been to in the South.

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Falling for Savannah

We got in late Friday night, and we stayed at The Galloway House this time – unfortunately the Mansion on Forsyth was booked :) The Galloway House, however, was nothing short of amazing. The host was wonderful, we had the entire top floor where Rexford could roam, and we had a full kitchen, laundry, etc.

Saturday morning we were up at 5 for Leo’s race. He (very kindly) let me go back to sleep with the pup, and  said that I could meet him at the finish line. These events are always so much fun to go to, but I was grateful for the sleep!!

Rex and I eventually got up and waited for Leo at the finish line. There were so many people, and the crowd was so lively and amazing! I was actually kind of disappointed that I didn’t sign up for the half.  At any rate, Leo did an awesome job.

Who knows…. maybe this race is in my future!

Best New Discovery in Savannah

Our best new find of the weekend – hands down – was Foxy Loxy. I know this sounds crazy, but it was this old school Victorian that turned into a craft coffee and taco place (with a  few other food options on the menu).  It was just across a park from our B&B so we came to grab a few beers and some cheese & charcuterie (obviously) before Leo’s race.

A house-turned-coffee/taco-shop doesn’t really do this place justice though. It’s SUPER hipster. Like take the Mission in SF, put it on a little crack, and that’s pretty much what you’d get here. The art is super eclectic, there are SCAD students everywhere with their little hipster hats, skinny jeans & odd facial hair, and it’s just an awesome vibe. Plus, there are fire pits out back where live bands play…. it really doesn’t get much better than that.

Needless to say, we came back each day for our morning coffee and stroll across the park.

 

The rest of the weekend was filled with food, booze, and sleep. We ate again at the Mansion on Forsyth, Local 11ten, and Public Kitchen (where Leo had his first grits and shrimp!!). Rexford spent an endless amount of time picking up fallen Spanish moss and playing with it while he ran.

Check out the rest of the photos from the weekend below.

More Southern experiences to come soon! xx

 

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8 Life Updates from Life in the South

I am the worst blogger ever! My promise to write one blog a week went right out the door when I moved to Atlanta… but the good news is that this post is filled with a ton of juicy details from the past few months in the dirty South!

8 Life Updates from Life in the South

The End of the Roadtrip

Vegas, Albuquerque, Lubbock, Austin, New Orleans…. all the way to ATL! It took us a total of 8 days to get across the country. We could have done it more quickly, but mom didn’t want to drive more than 9 hours in a day, so we decided to take our time. We spent 2 days in New Orleans, which was awesome since I had never been before. We went to Commander’s Palace (amazing), we ended up in a very sketch part of town (sad to see how Katrina has left a very lasting affect), and we got beignets at Cafe du Monde.

And, of course, the music scene was vibrant.

 

Most importantly, after 2 months of being separated from Leo, we were reunited, and it was awesome! I’ve never been more excited about this crazy new adventure.

 

I Met a Bunch of Celebrities

Two days after I moved to Atlanta, I was on the road again… back to my roots in KC. For the past 5 years, Children’s Mercy of Kansas City has held the Big Slick fundraiser, hosted by many local (and famous!) celebrities. Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Eric Stonestreet, Robb Riggle and David Koechner are all among the regulars… and it’s a full weekend event, so I actually got meet these guys a few times, which was awesome!

The first night was a meet and greet at the KC Royals game. I had never been to the stadium before, and since we’re playing them in the World Series right now, it was pretty cool to be able to go.

My mom did a wonderful job of embarrassing me. She had met a lot of these guys at last year’s event, and when Paul Rudd walked up, she approached him and said, “My daughter has had the biggest crush on you for years. Will you come talk to her?”

Literally, regardless of age, your parents will never fail to mortify you.

In my mind, he’s probably heard it 10 million times, so no big D. And then the other side of me thought that maybe he might be flattered. Who knows?  We’ll see if he remembers me next year.

Anyway, take a look at the photos – Johnny Knoxville, Weird Al, David Zayas, James Marsden, and Diana Agron. So many awesome celebrities coming together for a great cause!

Side note: Eric Stonestreet has an unlimited Subway card for life (he gave it to me to hold, and it’s literally like a heavy black card). Anyway, he only likes Jimmy John’s because he knows the owner (apparently it’s so much better), and its opening in LA, which he is very excited about. I guess that means I should try Jimmy Johns :P

 

4th of July in Vail

A few weeks later, Leo and I were off to Vail for the 4th of July for my family reunion. It’s one of my favorite trips during the year, and this year was so much more special to bring my fiancé!

Vail has a very special place in my heart.

 

Savannah in August

After finishing my family trips, we decided to embark on our first trip in the South, and we decided to go to Savannah. After seeing this beautiful city in movies, I had always wanted to go here. We left during a huge storm on a Friday after work, and while it should have taken us 3 hours to get there – it took us 6. There is this thing in the South, and the only way I know how to describe it is “Bible rain”. The sky literally opens up, and the rain pours down…. in bigger drops than I’ve ever seen in my life… with thunder and lightening like you wouldn’t believe.

We stayed at the Mansion on Forsyth, which is awesome (and supposedly haunted!) And we also made it to Southbound Brew Co for a little beer tasting. The guys who started it went to Tech, and so it came recommended to us.

We are going back to Savannah in a week for a marathon that Leo signed up for. We’re really excited to be going back!

Taking a $30k Pay Cut for an Amazing Boss & Company

Yes, it’s true. I took quite a pay cut for my new job, but it was completely the right move – professionally and personally. I’m working with an amazing team that truly works together, and I’m getting a lot of great leadership. It’s so refreshing to work for someone who appreciates the work I do, thanks me, and gives me valuable feedback – I haven’t had that experience since I worked in London.

So what’s the job? I’m working for Verizon Telematics, and we provide the technology in cars that make them “connected”. Our major clients are Mercedes, VW, and State Farm, so it’s amazing to not only have quality leadership, but to also have the exposure to major brands. It’s the job that I’ve been waiting for since I finished my MBA, and I’m so happy that I finally landed it!

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Part of Verizon’s fleet…. I’ll get a test vehicle (both VW and Mercedes) for user experience studies for a few weeks in 2015!

We Got a Dog

…. but not just ANY dog…. we got a little fluff ball named Rexford. He’s a 6 month old maltipoo, and he is officially our fur baby.

Things he loves:

  • eating worms
  • champagne
  • his leash
  • running on grass
  • dog treats
  • beer
  • chasing leaves
  • meeting other dogs
  • cuddling
  • anything that squeaks
  • chew toys
  • chasing his tail
  • his sailboat bed

Things he hates:

  • his crate
  • airplanes

Things he’s working on loving:

  • his crate
  • sitting
  • not eating worms

Miami in September

Not only did we have Keely’s baby shower, but we also had my 29th birthday! We decided to jump down to Miami (with our fur baby, of course) and enjoy the sunshine. Miami is awesome! We had so much fun! Keely’s baby shower was absolutely beautiful, and I haven’t been to Miami since I was very little. I wish we could have spent more time there, but we ate very well and had a memorable “first family trip” with Rexford.

Oh, and I tweeted Loew’s that getting more champagne would make the trip better. They sent me more, and that was awesome too.

Also, they are so dog friendly. I can’t recommend them highly enough for those who have fur babies :)

 

Atlanta Living

So what about Atlanta? Well the ATL is cool for sure. The city is beautiful – the yards are landscaped, the trees are huge, the homes are beautiful, the people are polite, and the food is good.  Did I mention the cost of living is small compared to what we were paying in SF? At any rate, we’ve met some awesome people, Emory has a wonderful community, and it’s been a refreshing change (although I do miss Cali!)

The craziest thing that has happened in recent days has been Ebola… We live across the street (quite literally) from the CDC, and four of the Ebola patients have come here. It’s pretty crazy to see all of the streets blocked off with newscasters everywhere…. makes me a bit skeptical about the whole thing, but I suppose I can save that for a different post.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back, and I’m going to make more of an effort.

 

xoxo

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USA Roadtrip Day 1: Santa Barbara

Hello my dear friends of mine!! … And apologies for being so quiet for the past few months, but I didn’t have the right chance to talk about what’s going on…. So today I am going to tell you why I’m moving to Atlanta, and I am also going to keep track of our trip across the US!

So fact #1: True story: I’m moving to Atlanta with Leo!

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The Background of the Move

Ok so I probably can’t jump straight into the road trip and the wedding planning, but I should give some background…. Around 3 months ago, Leo was not only accepted into the Emory MBA program, but he was also offered a scholarship. He is extremely bright and driven (and seeing that I’ve done my MBA) I can’t help but be anything less than supportive. An education with drive and career goals, is the fastest way to success. I can feel Leo’s hunger and I’m excited for him to embark on this journey!!

A few months ago we flew out for an admit weekend where we met fellow students, found an apartment and we got a good idea of what our new life would be like.

Then we got engaged! That solidified the fact that I’d move with him. We had talked about moving (ad nauseam) however it wouldn’t be a reality without a ring on my finger…. Smart man!

But this does mean that I need to move out of my beautiful apartment, and leave SF, and figure out a job without compromising my own goals, and plan a wedding…. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been crazy! I found a lovely couple to rent my SF condo, I have a wonderful work situation, and we found a great apartment to move into near he Emory campus.

USA Roadtrip Day 1: Santa Barbara

Fast forward to June 10, 2014… My mom and I are taking a road trip across the south of the country to ATL. Since Leo and I are looking to be married in SB, my mom thought it would be a great opportunity to check out venues.

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True but let me just tell you something straight up…. There are no peaceful conversations about weddings. There are, however, amazing and charming places in SB that I am head-over-heels in love with.

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Fingers crossed we solidify our venue soon…. Because planning a wedding is just as pleasant as sticking bamboo shoots up your fingernail beds ;)

At any rate we are off tomorrow, and I sadly did not get to spend enough time in SB. More to come soon from Vegas! Xoxo

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We Are Engaged!

Last week was one of the most magical weeks of my life – Leo and I got engaged! Leo completely surprised me with on a last minute trip to wine country on Wednesday. There’s no question that we spend quite a bit of time up there, but he asked me to go on a quick day trip, so of course I had to oblige :)

In typical TayRod fashion, we hit the gym in the morning, pulled the top down the top of his Jeep and packed a picnic. On the way up, he asked if we wanted to make a pit stop in Marin Headlands. I thought it would be a great way to take some photos of the city that we will miss oh-so-much.

The Proposal

We jumped out of the car and started taking photos. It was the most gorgeous day – clear views of Sutro, Alcatraz, the East Bay and the city we love. Leo told me that he had something for me. He brought out a Tom Ford sunglass box. I thought, “Oh my god… not another pair of sunglasses!” (He has the tendency to buy me really expensive funky sunglasses, and I just don’t need another pair).

As I opened the box, he got down on a knee, and there it was … a ring box. I instantly started crying and saying, “Yes!” before he could even get a word in. He has professed his love many times, but he told me how much this relationship meant, and what he wants for our future.

At this point we’re both crying, and my hands are shaking so badly that I can’t even open the box! He opens it for me and places a custom 3.25 elongated cushion cut by Henri Daussi on my finger – It’s absolutely stunning.

We Are Engaged!

After we called our parents, we headed up to wine country so we could pop some bubbly! We started at Domaine Carneros, then went to Artesa, and finished at Scribe. We shared the news with our closest friends & family.

It’s crazy to think that an elementary school crush could come this far…. 19 years later it’s a Pinewood love story :)

So, with that, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has been a part of this crazy, fun, and memorable journey.

See you in Mexico! xoxo

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Run Update: I Placed on Strava!

For some reason or another, I haven’t been particularly motivated to write about anything in the past two weeks. (Reads between the lines: I’ve got too much crap that I can’t actually bitch about in a public forum, so this will have to suffice.) AKA “writers block happens sometimes”; but I really want to be diligent about my blogging, so I suppose the fact that I PLACED on a Strava run last week deserves a proper post… because out of all people on Strava, I’m probably definitely in the top 10% of least qualified runners.

In fact, I’m going to discuss some general health, weight and body-related issues for today.

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Running the 2nd half of the SF Wipro Marathon in 2012 after starting my chip 30 minutes early.

I swear my life could be a comedy.

Run Update: I Placed on Strava!

Soooo, cool story…. I placed on Strava. I know what you’re thinking, “Taylor? Running? She hates running. She placed on Strava? ….. HUH? Literally…. DOES.NOT.COMPUTE.”

It’s OK. It didn’t compute for my bf either. He is really into running, and he knows how slow I am.

But, it’s true. I ran 8th fastest out of all women up Alta Plaza Park. Literally, 8th out of all women who have ever run that run – I ran the 8th fastest.

Side note – Don’t the women in Pac Heights have trainers for this sort of thing? I’m confused. What exactly are you doing with all of that disposable income????

At any rate, what I love most about Strava is the fact that there are little moments that remind you that you’re progressing, and you’re improving. Am I the fastest runner? No. Am I even a respectable runner? Not even close. But, I have decreased my average minute from 11 minutes to 9 something.

That’s progress, and that’s cool.

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Yoga, That Shit Makes You Look Good

Since we’re on the topic of health & exercise I want to talk about yoga for a hot second (pun intended for my fellow yogis who <3 Bikram). To give you a quick recap, I re-started yoga last summer. I first began my yoga practice in college, but I never really “got it”. I was impatient. It didn’t feel like cardio, even if I was sweating my balls off for 1.5 hours in a 100 degree room.

How am I losing weight doing this??? (Because obviously this was my only concern as a 20 year old sorority girl at UCSB — I know… shoot me now).

Why do you even call it a “practice”?  No comprendo señor yogi.

But, an interesting thing has happened to me recently. I’ve been receiving a lot of compliments about how I look…. Not only that, but I’m starting to GET IT.

“You look great. Did you lose weight?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve been working out a lot recently.”  …. LIE.

Honestly, yes. I have been running once a week, and yes, I do Bikram once a week. But the compliments are truly unwarranted. I haven’t been working out for an ungodly amount of time per week. I haven’t been counting calories. I haven’t even tried to modify my eating – in fact, I’ve been splurging (I’m in love), but shhhhhh.

So, this one actually perplexes me. Maybe the yoga has shifted some of that weird fat into more desirable places, although I’m pretty sure it hasn’t gone to my boobs. That would be pretty cool, no?

I’m not sure what’s going on with this yoga thing, but I’m going to keep it up. In the past 6 months, I have been able to make progress on a few key poses:

  • Standing head to knee pose: I am FINALLY kicking out! So freaking cool. I have been hovering over the floating leg for years, and now I’m finally kicking out with legs locked.
  • Camel pose: I finally got my hands on my lower back (pathetic, I know). Literally, I feel like my heart and lungs are going to burst out of my chest while I simultaneously loose consciousness (is this how Bikram is supposed to feel?), so the fact that I have even been able to hold it for a short while is progress.
  • Eagle & tree pose: I always feel good going into these poses, but over the past 6 months there is a true sense of peace, stillness and calmness that I feel. It’s amazing & gratifying.

The gratification from this has been immense, and I hope I can make some big achievements over the next 6 months!

 

Killing My First Trail Race

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Shifting back to running… (aka my favorite sport ever). I did my first trail race last weekend at Lake Chabot in San Leandro (also, there’s no need to go to the East Bay unless absolutely required, oh and the really attractive people in that photo are my friends).

So the crowd at a trail race is completely different – you have the super nerdy guys who spend their spare time building legos, all they do is run and they’ve definitely never been laid; then there are the girls who are trying to be super outdoors-y and athletic so they can say they “do trail races”; and then there are the 60+ age group that is just hardcore because they are running at that age.

I felt good on my race. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was a 10k with 1,000 ft of elevation. When I first looked at my Strava, I averaged at an 11:24 pace per mile, which I felt good about. Again, nothing amazing.

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HOLD UP. Check out that “GAP” thing. I just found out that stands for “Grade Adjustment Pace”…. I was running 8 and 9 minute miles for what the relative grade was. That is almost even cooler than my placement on Alta Plaza Park!

Anyway, I digress…. and this turned out to be way longer than anticipated. If I’ve got a takeaway to leave you with: Do yoga – it works. Strava every run.

Besos mi amors x

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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Crisis Communication

I’ve wanted to write this post for over a month now, so here it finally is! After some reflection and collecting my thoughts, I’ve put together the ultimate cheat sheet on crisis communication – huzzah!

The reason I want to give you this guide is because I recently was submerged (and I say ‘submerged’ because I was quite literally drowning) in a crisis communication & social media disaster for 3 of the brands I manage. To give you context, I’m currently responsible for the social strategy & everything related to social for 5 e-commerce brands. During last November and December (our busy season), it became apparent that our Customer Support team was severely understaffed.

What did the angry customers do? As predicted, they went to social media.

With no training or help, I quickly found myself playing the role of Customer Support –  trying desperately to help these people find where their orders were. After working 15, 16, and even 17 hour days, the crisis finally slowed down Christmas Day.

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Source.

After reflecting on the situation, I realized the key elements to avoiding situations like this in the future.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Crisis Communication

  1. Response time – If a customer has posted a complaint on social media, address it quickly and try to give them an avenue where Support can help them directly. You don’t want to fall into the hole of trying to solve a customer’s problem when you don’t even have the right tools to do so, but you do want to address the issue quickly.
  2. Integrate your software – Make sure your Support team has tools to integrate with Facebook, Twitter, and any other location where customers might make contact you. If you’re a strategist, it’s not your job to do support. Make sure that you, your boss, your team, and support are all aware of a simple integration that could make everyone’s life easier.
  3. Nail down your message – This seems like a no-brainer, but it is absolutely critical. Figure out how you will address the situation both in the present moment, as well as after the situation has calmed. Be apologetic, be understanding and be factual. After the crisis is in a manageable point, determine what your message will be to customers and how you will communicate this.
  4. Take responsibility for what happened – People want to hear you’re sorry. And, if you were wrong, then just apologize, offer a discount, refund their order – do whatever you can do to save the customer. Remember: the customer relationship is sacred, so treat it that way! You don’t just need different customers…. these people already care about your products!
  5. DON’T DELETE! I repeat…. Don’t delete! One of the biggest pitfalls we had was that we started deleting users messages after they started ranting on our wall….. Big, BIG mistake. People were coming to our social media channels as a source for answers since they had waited for hours on the phone, sent multiple emails with no answer, and still hadn’t received their product. Sure, you can delete someone’s comment, but what are you really doing? You’re just pissing them off more. Don’t do that. Ever.
  6. Put all social media and any other promotional marketing on hold until the issue is resolved. Solve your problem, then go back to your normal marketing activities.

The main thing that you must always remember is to protect your brand. The minute that your brand name is tarnished, it becomes very difficult to win the loyalty and trust of your customers.

So what did we do? To “make things right”, we set up an Apology Campaign to be sent after the holiday debacle… and it still hasn’t been sent to customers.

So, yeah. Then there’s that.

At any rate, I hope this cheat sheet helps. I sure could have used it a few months ago amid the chaos. Click here for more marketing tips.

 

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Sushi, Zuni, Waves and Wine Galore

Since I’m re-focusing the content on my site, I decided that I’m going to continue with restaurant reviews. So let’s jump into Sushi, Zuni, Waves and Wine Galore!

Maruya

What a bummer… This is a new spot in the Mission, and I was not impressed with this place at all. Don’t come here if you’re looking for a regular sushi spot. This is definitely a very traditional Japanese restaurant – there’s nothing wrong with it, but it just was not what I expecting.

The menu includes:

Omakase Masa’s course  85
Santen mori, zensai, sashimi, yakimono, 8-piece nigiri, owan
Hide’s course  AQ
Sashimi, sushi
Moriawase Sushi moriawase  40
10-piece nigiri, 1 hand roll, kobachi, owan
Sashimi moriawase  45
5-piece sashimi

 

Maruya

Source.

I ordered the moriawase sushi, and although the presentation was beautiful, it simply wasn’t that impressive of a meal. Also, almost everything is in Japanese, which is of little-to-no-help for this white girl.

The decor and the actual space is beautiful and really nice…. But I wasn’t really impressed with the food. It’s extremely expensive for what you get, and not many options unless you go a la cart with sushi. Even so, I felt like these were very expensive for what you get.

Don’t think I’ll be coming back!

Zuni Cafe

Love, love, love! I came here on a date with my boyfriend and we had such a wonderful time.

First of all, the ambiance is amazing. Even though it’s on market street in kind of a shady area, inside the restaurant is bright, with floor to ceiling windows, and even a piano player – how romantic!  We sat upstairs and it was so cute up there!

Our server was great too. Ask for Kristin, if you can! She was so sweet and made wonderful wine and dish recommendations.

The food we ordered: oysters to start (Kusshi & Beausoleil), olives, Caesar salad, and the chicken. The chicken is wood oven roasted, and it takes an hour to prepare so be sure to order it when you sit down! All of the dishes were perfect. The chicken, however, was definitely the highlight. It comes served on this bread pudding/ salad that has all of the juices from the chicken, and it’s just amazing. The chicken perfectly cooked: crispy, moist, delicious.


I’ll definitely be coming back – maybe for brunch? The Bloody Mary looks pretty epic….

Cliff House

Wow. I totally did not realize all of the history behind Cliff House, and I’m sure glad that we went! Not only is it so scenic, but the food is good too.

We had a 20-30 minute wait, so we went to the bar to grab a drink. The bartender was SO SLOW. Normally I’m pretty patient about these sorts of things because I used to work in a restaurant, but this was just unacceptable. He basically ignored us.

Luckily, that was the only bad thing I have to say about the experience. We got oysters, popovers, and the crab cakes as a late lunch. It doesn’t get much better than watching waves crash, drinking some champagne and enjoying oysters.

Japanese Tea Garden

Oh my gosh. Hands down – this is the best new find of SF. If you’ve never been to a Japanese Tea Garden, you must come here! It is so peaceful and so zen. It’s like you’re not even in a city.

Last year I fell in love with Japanese Tea Gardens when I was in Buenos Aires (because that’s obviously the first place you’d go if you’re in Argentina). But the garden was really amazing, and I am so glad that I decided to come to the one in SF.

Bouchaine Winery

I’ve never heard of this winery, but we came for a friend’s 30th birthday last weekend. We had a huge long table outside in the sun where all 20 of us got do a tasting. The wine was pretty phenomenal and so I wanted to let you all enjoy these pictures.

Please don’t try balancing wine on your own head.

 

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Direction of the Blog

9 months ago this blog was born after I realized I had a lot of important things to say about business, life, love, food, travel, health, relationships, and all of the funny incidents that have shaped me into who I am today. I had two blogs prior to this – one for my London life & travel experiences, and the other personal – but those are private, and I was searching for a new creative outlet.

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Private vs. Public

It’s a tricky thing when you make information about yourself public… You’re always walking a fine line. Am I revealing too much? What will someone think of me if I tell them a secret? What if my boss reads this? Or my parents? Or my boyfriend’s parents? Is it too straight edge? Or is it too edgy? Am I really writing about what people care about? What if I’m judged for a mistake I’ve written about? (Yes, I’ve actually received feedback that it was a mistake to write about my mistakes… and it’s like… well yeah, duh. I know it was a mistake. That’s why I’m writing about it. I hope my readers would view it as personal development & growth.)

You see, it’s tricky. It’s tricky because if you know me in real life, then you know I’m funny, quirky, and I might even say some things to push the envelope. I’m not quiet and polite unless it’s absolutely necessary, or if it’s a nice dinner (but honestly, who knows? If wine is involved, anything is fair game).

What I’ve found is that my deeply personal posts are the ones which often times attract the most attention. To play it on the safe side, for many months I’ve written business articles, which, yes, are important, but they guard me from having to reveal too much.

Yet, I found that only writing marketing-focused articles got boring relatively quickly. Well, not SO boring, but I just didn’t want to write about business topics all the time. It just wasn’t flowing.

So my writing slowed down…

Direction of the Blog

This brings me to my main point…. the focus of my blog is going to shift a little bit. I am going to be discussing more on food, travel, and things that I’m really passionate about. Of course I’m still passionate about what I do to earn a living, but I’m going to widen the scope a little bit. I’d really like my humor to shine through, and I’ve always wanted to spend more time talking about food & travel.

A New Client

OOH, and exciting news! Yes, I’ve got a new client, and this is actually going to help me refocus and shift my content. Tante Marie’s Cooking School has asked me to head up their Marketing & PR, which I am just absolutely THRILLED about! I hope that this will help me reset my focus and remember to talk about more food-related things.

I can’t reveal too much just yet, but stay posted as there will be more information coming soon :)

tantemarieImage source: Tante Marie’s Facebook page.

Rebranding

If you’ve been back to my site recently, you’ll noticed the design & fonts have changed a bit. This is just the beginning of the process. For any of you who have tried to build your own site (and have zero design background), you know that each little change TAKES F-O-R-E-V-E-R. At some point, even if I’m not completely pleased with it, I need to put it to rest and return to work on it when I have sleep and a fresh mind.

At any rate, I’ll be working on this to keep it bright & bold & funky.

Ok that’s all for now. Toodles. xoxo

 

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Chocolate Run: My Best Run Ever

For those of you who know me, you know that running is not a forte of mine. In fact, I can actually go so far to say that I HATE running. I don’t like being hot, I’m exhausted after about 5 minutes, my knees hurt, and there’s never a point where I think, “Hey, this is great! I feel so awesome!”

No. Each step is a struggle. It’s like I’m 200 pounds, and I’m trying to defy gravity.

The bigger problem is that my boyfriend is a marathoner…. and not just like a regular marathoner…. but the type that does 26.2 with an average of 6:57 pace. He LOVES running. He sends me inspirational running videos thinking that it might change my mind on the sport.

Yeah. That type.

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Anyway, we’ve been running recently – about 1 day a week. It’s never fun because I’m so slow, and he gets frustrated with me because I think he thinks I’m not even trying (even though I’m literally running as hard as I can).

Chocolate Run: My Best Run Ever

The good news is that his military-like coaching style has actually made me faster. In fact, I had my best run ever at the Chocolate Run last weekend!

Check out my stats below.

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I had 7 different PR’s:

  • 400M – 2:09
  • 1/2 mile – 4:26
  • 1k – 5:33
  • 1 mile – 8:59 – I ran under a 9 minute mile…. something I never knew was possible!
  • 2 miles – 18.29
  • 10k – 1:01:07
  • 15k – 1:32:19

I am not going to lie, this is neither fast, nor is it groundbreaking. But, it is the best I’ve ever done, which I’m proud of! Plus, I’m already on top of my game for tri season :)

Stay posted for more health-related blogs because tri season starts this weekend! To read more about my last triathlon here.

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