Tuesday, December 29, 2015

my 2016 to-do list

for my list this year -- the sixth annual -- i pared it down a bit from 2015's 50 items, since i've only accomplished like 18ish of 'em. ugh. there are a few repeats here; mostly ones from my 30 before 30 list, which i've bolded. five months left for those. what do y'all want to accomplish next year? LEGGO!

1. submit an essay to the new york times' "modern love" column
2. have high tea in london
3. drink coffee & eat a croissant crepe at a sidewalk cafe in paris
4. visit an amsterdam coffee shop
5. finish reading sloane crosley's the clasp
6. take a contemporary dance class
7. see the neighbourhood in concert
9. complete my book manuscript
10. celebrate my 30th birthday in style
11. ride a bike
12. take a day/weekend trip to providence and/or newport, RI (i've never been, somehow??)
13. attend a music festival (maybe firefly, so i can also cross off #7)
14. whiten my teeth
15. sing karaoke (preferably a rap song)
16. make my own pasta
17. buy a t-shirt at a concert
18. sleep under the stars
19. watch live jazz
20. buy myself a bouquet of flowers
21. give a toast
22. go meatless for a week
23. eat at one of the roxy's grilled cheese brick-and-mortars
24. see a double feature at the capitol theatre
25. go skinny-dipping
26. visit 3 new states (to reach 30 states visited...this will be tough since most options are in the midwest and west)
27. see the mona lisa at the louvre
28. learn this dance routine
29. take a ski lesson
30. have breakfast in bed
31. buy something handmade from etsy
32. buy a home (???)
33. organize my gmail inbox (and get to 0!)
34. order a tasting menu
35. attend the big e
36. learn conversational french (ideally before my trip)
37. visit montreal
38. stay in a cabin or cottage
39. see blue man group
40. take a writing class or workshop at grub street

Sunday, December 20, 2015

the renaissance of justin bieber

it began as a whisper.

"3, 2, SWAG."

some will debate me on this, but i hold that the seeds of justin bieber's ultimate comeback were planted at the 2012 release of his slick, hip-hop flavored single "boyfriend."

most of us who weren't 13 year-old girls kept mum about our enjoyment of the song, but secretly grooved along in our cars and apartments with very palpable shame. still, there was something bubbling beneath the surface. something substantial. something ... swaggy. something not unlike the hot fondue that sir biebs speaks of consuming while chillin' by the fire in the song.

although this was well before the era of the makeshift mop bucket urinal, the anne frank faux pas, the fast and the furious 25: bieb takes miami, and his infamous angelic mugshot, there was still a general sourness and animosity towards JB. the image of his middle school bowl cut and smug smirk, plastered on the bedroom walls of our younger siblings and cousins, remained etched in our minds as the everlasting image of a perpetual spoiled brat whom we had no desire to welcome into our reasonable, mature lives.

oh, how the tide has turned. i can't pinpoint the exact moment in time when our collective grinch hearts grew three sizes for the little punk, but i'd estimate that it was somewhere between martha stewart's cougar come-ons at his comedy central roast and the soulful, mumbled plea of "be more straightforward" in his recent release "what do you mean?" then, just as we were all amped up and frothing at the mouths and joining hands to celebrate our newfound acknowledgment of the human jam factory, the VMAs rolled around.

during his redemptive performance, bieber flew over the stage like a goddamn angel with asymmetrical, bleach-blonde hair, and promptly burst into tears upon his perfectly-orchestrated landing. sympathy, whether warranted or not? check. he didn't stop there, though. "sorry," the lite club banger of our dreams, exploded onto the scene shortly thereafter, and nobody went wilder for it than notoriously pretentious brooklyn hipsters. like a musical santa claus, spotify knows who's been naughty, who's been nice, and who's listening to excessive, 19-song albums by reformed canadian pop stars.

even selena gomez, who's almost as famous for breaking the lil' guy's heart as she is in her own right, isn't immune to his charms. rumblings of a romantic reunion have been swirling around the blogosphere -- and as the saying goes, where there's smoke, there's probably justin sharing a joint with selena in a VIP booth.

who knows how long this precious embrace will last, but i plan to ride the sweet bieber wave until i wipe out, man. the pop culture climate is forever changing and incredibly fickle, and tomorrow could bring with it a renewed hatred for our regrettably-tattooed knight in shining supras. so for now, let's just hold onto a moment in time. the fleeting period, however brief, that encourages us all to unapologetically announce to the world that not only do we believe ... but that we're beliebers.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

my top 15 songs of 2015!

playlist: HERE.

honorable mention: 
taylor locke - "don't be a stranger"
holly miranda - "all i want is to be your girl"
shawn mendes - "stitches"
the weeknd - "the hills"
justin bieber - "what do you mean?"

15. PHASES - "i'm in love with my life"

a total throwback to the synth-y, keyboard-driven dance pop tunes of the '80s, "i'm in love with my life" is just a really good time. it's the type of song that would probably play in the opening sequence of a movie, where you're just looking good, feeling good, and nothing can bring you down. the band features a couple familiar indie faces, like z berg from JJAMZ and the like, and alex greenwald from phantom planet. it also has one of the coolest videos i've seen in a long while.

14. hailee steinfeld - "love myself"

speaking of love, there's no, um, skirting around the fact that this song is totally and completely an ode to double-clicking your mouse. i mean, she's wearing a shirt that says "self-service" in the music video. but when you think about it, isn't that the ultimate message of empowerment? sing it loud, ladies.

13. alessia cara - "here"

a total anti-party anthem for all of you homebodies out there. incredible voice aside, alessia's cheeky delivery of a story we know all too well is compelling enough for me to want to hear it retold again and again. favorite line? "excuse me if I seem a little unimpressed with this/an antisocial pessimist/but usually I don't mess with this." rhymes on fleek, as the kids these days say.

12. DMA's - "laced"

y'all, DMA's are totally carrying the torch for '90s britpop/indie rock. i hear bits of the stone roses, oasis, and lesser-known acts like menswear in here and i love it all. and it's so jangly! another one of my favorite musical qualities.

11. donovan wolfington - "ollie north"

while it may sound like the name of a fancy dignitary, donovan wolfington is actually an up-and-coming garage/skate punk band from new orleans. this song (and video) evoke nostalgia for college parties, aimless summer drives, and the IDGAF attitude of your late teens and early 20s, though the lyrics are surprisingly complex. plus, that riff just brings me such joy.

10. fetty wap - "trap queen"

just two words: YEAHHHH BABY!

oh, and two numbers: 17 38!

9. elle king - "ex's and oh's"

randomly enough, i first heard this song when miss king performed it live at a marketing conference i went to in june. i'd never heard of her before, but soon found myself bopping along and noting the cleverness of the lyric "they always wanna come, but they never wanna leave." men, amiright?! fast forward a couple months, and you can't swing a dead cat without hearing it. i'll forgive the grammatical errors in the name, but ONLY because it's a killer track.

8. major lazer f/ dj snake & MØ - "lean on"

still fascinated that this is the most-streamed song on spotify. i loved it immediately, but couldn't help but think that MØ's voice gave it a really quirky, indie vibe. and what do you know? i recently caught a DJ introducing it on the radio, who said that the song was initially meant for nicki minaj or rihanna, but both passed on it. after MØ did the vocals, she was sure it was too offbeat to be a hit. ha! if you aren't dancing when that beat drops, something's wrong witchu.

7. the front bottoms - "historic cemetery"

brian sella of the front bottoms writes some of my favorite lyrics, and sings them in such a genuine way that it sounds like you're hanging out in a friend's bedroom while he screws around on his guitar. that feeling permeates back on top, the latest front bottoms album, but this deep cut stood out to me on my first listen as miles above the rest. the rap by GDP at the end did initially strike me as odd, but now seems like the perfect finishing touch on the track.

6. joywave - "now"

i discovered this song right when i was trying to get over a terrible dude. i have absolutely no idea what the lyrics mean, but every time i listened, i got a surge of "HELL YEAH!" energy from the slick electro-poppiness that did wonders for my mood and melted my worries into, uh, "tiny pieces that don't matter." the power of music, man.

5. chris brown f/ tyga -"ayo"

leave it to chris brown to release a song that references both "bitches with real hair" and a ménage à trois in the chorus, and leave it to me to name it among my top 5 favorite songs of the year. i'll admit that the lyrics are extremely questionable, but it's just so much fun, guys.

4. kurt vile - "pretty pimpin"

all hail, king kurt. he also topped my 2013 list with the gorgeous "never run away," but in this sleepy, folky number, he turns his attention back to himself. it's a tale of a confusing out-of-body experience in which he goes through the motions of brushing his teeth, but NOT combing his hair -- "never was my style," his voice shrugs.

perhaps my favorite thing about KV is his unassuming dry wit that sneaks into almost every song if you listen hard enough. after all, the title itself is the story's eventual punchline: "i said who's this stupid clown blockin' the bathroom sink?/but he was sportin' all my clothes/i gotta say, pretty pimpin." you can almost hear him smirking.

3. beck - "dreams" 

if you got a problem with dance-rock beck, YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH ME. when this came out, it seemed like homeboy was getting a lot of grief about how upbeat and "radio-friendly" it was compare to his last snoozefest release. i've always been a big fan of happy beck ("sexx laws," "girl," and "loser" are among my favorites), so i was diggin' the MGMT "electric feel" vibes on this one. plus, that "i wanna get me free!" in the chorus is pure, unadulterated joy.

:D :D :D

2. the neighbourhood - "r.i.p. 2 my youth"

aphrodisiacs: chocolate, oysters, and jesse rutherford's voice. my relationship with this song was more of a gradual obsession than an immediate infatuation (like i had with their first single, "sweater weather," which made my 2013 list). for this reason, i strongly suggest you listen to the song twice in a row. i was drawn in by the name due to its relevance to my life, obvs, and i liked it well enough at first. it was really during my september trip to san francisco that its dark, indie pop-meets-r&b brilliance took hold, though. not surprising, since the band's sound just screams california.

i love the weird, evocative lyrics about wearing chanel in one's coffin, the reference to white lighters in the chorus (a nod to the urban myth involving members of the "27 club"), and the incredible, ethereal instrumental at 1:54. the gloomy video perfectly fits the track, and jesse's bizarre kurt cobain-meets-karl-lagerfeld aesthetic is all kinds of intriguing. while i seriously considered their adorable and catchy-as-eff song "single" as a contender for the list as well, this one reigned supreme.

1. circa waves - "t-shirt weather"

back in the day, an old beau and i coined a self-explanatory term we called a "fuck yeah!" chorus. which is what i was describing with the joywave song above, i guess. this year, the ultimate FYC came from british lads circa waves and their bright, bubbly ode to sunny spring and summer days. basically the antithesis of "sweater weather," but just as good. IT'S GONNA BE OKAY!


Saturday, November 7, 2015

5 things i love right now

1.  tights under ripped jeans

so, i bought a pair of ripped jeans at primark a few weeks ago, remembering the '90s trend of either sewing up the knee with a funky patch, or wearing tights under them. there are so many ways to mix up the look (colored tights, lace, other patterns), and they add a pop of intrigue and fun to any fall look.

2. this blog post about random turn-ons

when i came across this post the other day on one of my favorite blogs, a cup of jo, i found myself chuckling/smiling while reading the comments because it's comforting to know that we're basically all delightful weirdos. as jenna elfman (while dressed as an angel stripper) says in the teen classic can't hardly wait, "we all have our things." after considering the topic for a bit, i determined that my random turn-ons (besides men with long hair, because, duh) include:

  • southern accents
  • forearm and/or abdomen tattoos
  • chiseled cheekbones a la nick valensi
  • playing the electric guitar (not acoustic, though) or drums
  • skater beanies
  • salt-and-pepper hair

what are your random turn-ons?

3. this acoustic performance of "prey" by the neighbourhood

speaking of acoustic guitar ...
i don't know what's gotten into me in the past couple weeks, but i've basically become a neighbourhood fangirl. the fuzzy, soulful, slick new album, wiped out!, has mad atmospheric weeknd vibes and it's just really hitting the spot for me right now. however, the marketer in me is also a little fascinated with the group's carefully-cultivated image (all videos and photos of them must be black-and-white...whaaa?) and fervent tween fanbase, known as "hoodlums." anyways, this stripped-down rendition of one of my favorites is pretty addictive. jesse rutherford's voice is, to quote a commenter, "not of this world," and his funny facial twists and tics are quite amusing to watch.

4. this sage advice

buzzfeed, of all places, published this piece on relationship advice and it was GREAT. aside from this quote, the final paragraph was poignant and so, so true:

Don’t end up in a situation where someone else’s needs and desires come before your own. Don’t allow someone to control your emotions. And don’t put your heart in the hands of anyone who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve. If you’re ever doubting the way a situation is panning out, or how someone is treating you – whether you’re dating, in a relationship, or completely single – just imagine what you would tell a friend in the same position. Because while it can be easy to lose sight of things, and relationships can become complicated, one simple, indisputable fact remains: You deserve the best.

5. this video of a guy and his cat vibing to drake's "hotline bling"

YES, i know he's moving the cat's head, but lololol. may or may not have snorted the first time i watched this. it's almost as good as the kittens dancing to "turn down for what."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

quirks aren't compatibility: the wisdom of 500 days of summer

“Just because she likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soulmate.”

The first time I saw the indie rom-com 500 Days of Summer, I barely paid attention to this line, which is delivered by protagonist Tom’s little sister, Rachel. However, in my subsequent viewings -- because, when you’re a single 20-something, there will be subsequent viewings -- I realized that it’s not only one of the movie’s key themes, but also a massive truth bomb that I never bothered to examine. 

Summer and Tom initially bond in their office elevator over a Smiths song, an exchange that sets the tone for their entire relationship. Tom is taken by Summer’s surface quirks, from her inexplicable love for Ringo Starr to her retro, hipster hairstyle (those blunt-cut bangs get ‘em every time). Though the film was released in 2009, well before the days of Tinder, their love story could have just as easily began with right swipes that were based on superficial appearances and shared Facebook interests. 

Of course, for any romance to get off of the ground, you’ve gotta have some intangible chemistry that usually stems from mutual physical attraction and at least a little bit of common ground. But it’s all too easy to get caught up in the fact that you share the same obscure favorite band, or that you both love the same Harry Potter book, or that you both went to Gathering of the Vibes in 2009. Don’t get me wrong; that stuff is important, and can often indicate the potential for a deeper connection. Getting too wrapped up in it, though, is a big mistake ... even if it’s unavoidable much of the time. 

I’m woefully guilty of doing this, over and over. A quirky dude who looks fantastic on paper -- and even better in a plaid flannel shirt -- might be great to shop for vinyl and go to shows and get stoned and fool around with, but not so great when it comes to being a serious life partner.  However, when you find such a niche similarity with someone, it can feel almost fated. And everyone knows that we Serendipity- and Notebook-addled millennial women looooove us some fate. Pretty soon, you’ve reached animated dance sequence status, and there’s no turning back. Who cares that he never holds the door for me and disappears for days on end? I’d never met anyone else who digs that random Swedish indie rock song!

With some hindsight and perspective, it all seems so silly. Still, anyone who claims that they’ve never “pulled a Tom” and fell for someone who was all sorts of wrong for them because of some frivolous characteristics is probably (okay, most definitely) lying. The best we can do is appreciate each relationship for what it was and what it taught us, pick up the pieces, and realize that the right person doesn't always have to own a Dinosaur Jr. t-shirt or a David Sedaris book.

... oh, and never, ever trust anyone who names Ringo Starr as their favorite Beatle.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

appy halloween

someone pay me, plz.

a crowdsourced trick-or-treat map

sure, there are legit apps that allow folks to announce whether or not they'll be giving out candy this year, but they can't say WHAT treats they're distributing, nor can kiddos report back on the quality of each stop. i say we start 'em young and train them to be the disgruntled, insufferable yelp reviewers of the future. however, i would agree that any house in possession of bit-o-honeys or mary janes should be avoided at ALL COSTS. disgusting.

shazam for ghosts

whenever there's a spirit sighting, the biggest gripe is that they never actually say anything, right? just knock shit over and possess your kids and stuff. wouldn't it be great if you could just point your phone at the next apparition you see and get their whole backstory? then, you'd be all like "yo, i totally feel your pain. i've never had typhoid fever, but it seems really intense, so i'd probably be haunting people, too."

a personal costume consultant

similar to cher's daily outfit program from clueless, this app would find the best costume for you and tell you where to get all the stuff you needed for it. as a bonus feature, it would also veto a "sexy" anything IMMEDIATELY. 

halloween tinder

i know, i know. it's hard to imagine anything more bone-chilling than actual tinder, but bear with me. this version only works on halloween, and displays your most compatible mates based on costume choice. kanye west? great, we'll pair you with kim kardashian! a lone hot dog? the hamburger of your dreams is at a party down the street! the best part: there won't be any issue with your matches looking different in person ... at least until the next morning.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

where are they now? do i even care?

you know those d-thru-z-list celebs who occasionally pop into your head, that you don't have the energy and/or interest to research? i've got a bunch. in no particular order, i've wondered what happened to the following folks at some point, but have absolutely no desire to type their name into my google search bar:

da brat

leif garrett

former mtv vj jesse camp:

while we're at it, former mtv vj ray munns:

and, because i'm on an mtv roll, that redhead that co-hosted say what? karaoke with dave holmes (i think her name was laura, but can't even find a picture)


the nerdy guy from can't hardly wait/jack from hook

the boy band 5ive

samantha mumba:

the pizza guy from home alone

christian oliver, who played some cute swiss guy in the babysitters club movie and was in some reincarnation of saved by the bell (i think):

moira quirk, the referee from GUTS



devon gummersall, aka brian krakow from my so-called life

meg white

lou bega

everyone from the ghostwriter cast

evan and jaron:

ryan cabrera

the nerdy guy from sixteen candles who wasn't anthony michael hall or john cusack:

who are your picks?!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

all the fall things

i might be slightly biased, but it really doesn't get much better than fall in new england. leaf-peepin, apple-pickin', cider-sippin' goodness. there are a handful of traditions that make the season feel a bit warmer and cozier. what are the autumnal thangs you simply must do each year to celebrate the season?

eating apple cider donuts and buying gourds from wilson farm

this one's a fairly new activity, as i've only lived wicked close to this epic farmstand for the past 2 years, but oh man. i feel so grown-up when i spend half of my paycheck on useless hot maple toddy candles, little shellacked pumpkins (they're all shiny!), and crisps and pies. aw yeah.

day-trippin' to NH or vermont

while i'm not particularly outdoorsy, as a new hampshire girl, i can appreciate a nice, easy hike up mount monadnock or a woodsy walk through quechee state park. the air's just fresher and the leaves are just better (sorry, mass.)

listening to "so far we are" by the french kicks

i don't know what it is about this song -- it might be that it was my favorite tune when i first moved to boston in september of '06. but every year, around this time, i crave it like a basic bitch craves a pumpkin spice latte. it just sounds like jean jackets and leaves and cuddling with a dude with a beard. right?

searching newbury street for scarves 'n boots

in fact, i might actually do this today. whether or not i buy anything, half the fun is the people-watching, strolling in the crisp air, and treating myself to a hot beverage while i window shop at anthropologie.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

i lost my head in san francisco

san francisco, man. i spent 4 days in the golden gate city, and i'm still not sure what to make of it. my main association was always the anne hathaway classic the princess diaries, so i was shocked to realize there was no genovian consulate in the city. i kid, i kid. but it was certainly much different than the image i had built up in my mind. not bad, not good ... just different. isn't it funny how that happens? i managed to pack quite a bit into my whirlwind trip, and it was just the getaway i needed to recharge my batteries. let's get into it!


swan oyster depot

i made a beeline for this spot in a fit of hunger and frustration, after being told that my hotel room wasn't ready yet. it was first on my agenda anyways, as my favorite tv personality/DILF/life guru anthony bourdain had spread the word. thankfully, i didn't have to wait long since it was the middle of a weekday, and snagged a spot at the counter. the clientele in line was also entertaining:

(his shirt says "giving jesus more of me.") swans, oysters, and jesus fish.
i'm also happy that i did my research and asked for an off-menu item, the scallop sashimi, because i'm actually not a huge oyster fan. the selection on the platter varies by day, but i got lucky with smoked salmon, ahi tuna, and some other fish i can't remember at the moment. mercury poisoning never looked nor tasted so good, y'all. thanks, tony!

hops & hominy

sidled up to the bar here on my first night, and promptly made friends with this married couple who were celebrating their 9th anniversary. due to the husband, sam's, poor planning, they didn't have reservations at another restaurant until 10pm, so they were killing time here. a friend was chauffeuring them around, so they were knocking. them. back. no idea how much they had to drink, but i was impressed. we had a great chat as i sipped the glass of wine they bought me and ate my duck bolognese:

when i was telling my cousin the story the next night, she asked if they were trying to pick me up, and i was all "no waaaa-oh, maybe." but still. shoutout to sam and heather! here's to many more years together, you crazy kids.

ike's place

though i was a little bummed out that they've taken the "tim lincecum" sandwich off the menu, the "robin williams"(halal chicken, italian dressing, mushrooms, and pepper jack) more than made up for the indiscretion. i'd even go so far as to put it in my top 3 sandwiches of all time, behind the pan bagnat from pennypackers in somerville, mass. and the california chicken club at the lemon tree in vero beach, florida, which is forever my #1.

there's no place to sit at ike's, however, so i took my sandwich and strolled down to mission dolores park to enjoy it while some annoying pigeons stalked me.


umm, no? i actually went out of my way to make a stop here, as i've heard it touted as the best bakery in the country, blah blah blah. maybe i ordered the wrong thing, but i almost broke my damn tooth on my first of three macaroons, and threw the rest out. maybe i'll give it another go on my next visit.

bi-rite creamery

needing to cleanse my palate and heal my wounded incisors after the macaroon disaster, i sought refuge in the form of ice cream at bi-rite. one scoop of roasted banana, one scoop of malted vanilla, and i was good as new!

puccini and pinetti

two of my cousins live nearby, so i enjoyed a nice girls night with one of them, and my other cousin's wife. first, some rooftop dranks at the c-cake fac. and then, a delicious seafood dinner at the italian restaurant in my hotel. linguine and clams forever.

bartlett hall

since i had to get up pretty early for my flight on sunday, i had intended to just have a glass of wine and a quiet solo dinner at this gastropub around the corner from my hotel. of course, that meant hanging out with old married dads from the UK and australia for 3 hours as they doled out dating advice, showed me videos of girls twerking, and continuously expressed their disgust at my macaroni and cheese. "what is that?" they pointed. "that looks like a heart attack on a plate!" "THIS IS AMERICA ON A PLATE," i shot back, defensively, as an amused bartender looked on. "we have paaaaa-sta," one explained. "with tomahhhto sauce." many LOLs were had, and my favorite aussie, clyde, sent me on my way as i left: "tell your parents they did a great job." i'm totally the dad whisperer.


the cable cars

the cable cars are so uniquely san francisco, but also kind of weird and archaic. don't get me wrong, they were awesome, but i seriously doubt that any actual residents take them. got some great shots, though.

lombard street & macondray lane

these two were right up my, um, alley (see what i did there?). we've got lombard, "the crookedest street in the world:"

and macondray lane, which is just super whimsical and magical:


one of the coolest places i've ever had the pleasure of photographing. i was listening to this playlist while i strolled, and totally had one of those "movie moments" as i descended down the hill and into the heart of this 'hood while the neighbourhood's "R.I.P. 2 my youth" enveloped my ears. you know, where you're just kinda overwhelmed by the beauty of the world around you? legit, i teared up for a minute. cheesy but true. then i took these photos:

painted ladies

guys, can you believe the one thing i forgot to do in san francisco? yep, i forgot to see the friggin' full house house, which was basically my #1 goal. you see, i hopped off the hop-on-hop-off bus at alamo square to see the famous painted ladies they also show in the opening shot. i was going to walk over to the place where uncle jesse begged for mercy and uncle joey did bad bullwinkle impressions, since it's actually in a pretty random location. and then ... i just ... started thinking about lunch, and stupidly wandered away to ike's place, not realizing what happened until i was at dinner that night. stupid, stupid, stupid! at least i got to see the mrs. doubtfire house, so all was not lost. my stomach betrays me again.

haight ashbury

because i love hippies and longhairs, this was unsurprisingly my favorite neighborhood. it was everything i expected it to be: smoke shops, all tie-dyed everything, and old dudes in wheelchairs sitting on the street, yelling "drop acid, not bombs." hands down though, my favorite moment of the trip -- besides the night i bought myself a massive piece of bread pudding and ate it in a bathrobe in my hotel bed -- occurred when i passed by this adorable 20-something homeless vagabond. "you're really pretty," he said quietly, in the most sweet and sincere way. "thank you!" i replied. he then points at me and goes, "you're GROOOOOVY!" day = made.

golden gate bridge

i realized shortly after i booked this trip that a while back, i had made a "30 before 30" list. on that list was "stand on the golden gate bridge," and i honestly didn't think i'd accomplish it in time. but BOOM!   checked that one off real quick.

muir woods 

there were lots of super tall trees and i got in touch with nature 'n shit:

sonoma & napa wineries

i'll admit, i was most nervous about going on this day trip tour by myself. however, i made fast friends with a girl whose boyfriend was in SF for a conference, and she was on the tour alone as well. we kind of established a bad reputation at the first winery, as we completely lost track of time while "tasting" and doing shots of red wine from chocolate cups, and our bus driver actually had to go in and find us. thankfully, she diffused the situation by cheekily saying, "don't hate us 'cause we got more free samples than you!" as we boarded the bus and the old people glared at us. i immediately liked her even more.

basically, we just drank and drank and ate wine grapes and then bonded with two other girls on the trip and took a fun group selfie overlooking the GG bridge:


so glad i did this! even if you're not a history geek, the audio tour is fairly short, and the old prison cells and dining hall and escape stories are really, really cool. i also did a guided walking tour upon my arrival, but it didn't teach me anything that wasn't covered on the audio tour. so, if you go, i'd skip that ish.

while i can't say i'd ever consider living in san francisco, i appreciated the delicious cuisine, beautiful, colorful buildings, historic charm, and friendly residents. i also highly recommend solo travel. it might seem intimidating at first, but people are generally nice, and i never once felt lonely or isolated during my vacation. plus, there's no one to harsh your mellow or nix your dining choices, etc. don't be afraid to fly solo!