Category Archives: Empowerment
Once again, Thought Catalog comes through with Why Being In Your 20s Is Awesome:
“I’m going to be a twentysomething because that’s what I am and all I know how to be. And you should too. You should love every single moment of this hot mess of a decade. Chances are you’ll miss it before you even get to say ‘I’m 30’.”
Anyone who knows me, knows that I avoid The Mission [District] like the plague. It’s not so much that I have negative connotations about it, I just always feel out of place and it’s not easy to get there from my house on MUNI. However, after I turned 25 I decided that I needed to start pushing myself out of my comfort zone and that included more trips to The Mission.
This neighborhood is known for the outstanding cuisine and while usually I try to hitch a ride over there, I decided to start trying BART. I know that sounds silly — I’ve lived in the city over 3 years — but it had to be done. Anyway, I spent about 75% of my time in The Mission one weekend, and it was so nice to experience all of the restaurants/coffee shops/bakeries that I always read about. And get over my fear of BART. Note to self: you must remember to tap out (seasoned riders, you know what I’m talking about).
It started with brunch at Foreign Cinema. We ordered the Persian Bloody Mary and the Caesar Bloody Mary. The Persian version was interesting with it’s unique spices, however I enjoyed the Caesar version, because it was a little thinner. Plus, who doesn’t like a floating shrimp in their drink. Then we moved on to the Huckleberry “Pop Tart”, Dungeness Crab eggs, and the Croque Madame. OMG the Croque Madame was amazing (hello, béchamel?!) and this was a nice preparation of the eggs with the Dungeness crab. Of course, had to add on the slow cooked brown sugar bacon, natch.
Sadly, I heard that Spork was closing, so the next day I decided to hit this Mission district restaurant up for brunch. I mean, how can you not want to try the “Inside Out” Burger? With its two patties of Marin Sun Farms grass-fed meat, slices of Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, and brioche bun sandwiched in between, you can’t go wrong. Then, there was a stop at Philz Coffee for the “Ambrosia” (a warm, sweet nutty java with a subtle finish) and on to Arizmendi Bakery for some legendary pastries.
More stops of the day included NOPA for amazing cocktails and some delish snacks, Irvin Lin’s Eat The Love holiday party (where I almost overdosed in sweet treats), and finally dinner at Frances at the counter. NOPA was serving some great bar snacks at reasonable prices in between service, like the Fried Brussels Sprouts, Fennel Sausage with Black Beans, and Goat Cheese Bread Pudding.
Whew — what a weekend, but who can resist good eats and drinks? At least we know that when we push ourselves past our comfort zone, it usually always pays off. Hey, I’ve even ventured out to Oakland! Here’s proof that you can never say never.
You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve been somewhat lacking with my blog activity. That has not been for lack of actual activity! A few weeks ago, I began eating a little cleaner, but before that I can count dinners at Atelier Crenn, Wayfare Tavern, another flour + water feast, AQ, and even a feature in the Wall Street Journal about a meal at Incanto.
One thing I was wondering during the break, was why do people feel the need to “brag” about their culinary endeavors? Maybe brag is the wrong word. But it’s just so interesting with Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram, Twitpic, h0w a meal is shared with so many. I will be the first to admit that I am 100% guilty — I most certainly enjoy sharing my experiences. But I feel that there is a fine line between simply sharing and going over the top.
I might get a lot of flack for saying this, but over weeks during my break, I realized that it’s just food. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy divine meals here in San Francisco and beyond, and for that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. And I hope that I continue to add to my culinary adventures. However something struck me — for all of my indulgences, there are millions of children starving out there in the world. For all of the wine and cocktails that I consume, there are people in third world countries that can’t even get clean drinking water.
So I am challenging myself to stop turning a blind eye. To donate my time and money to causes that are greater than just filling my plate. Because there is something that I am also learning: that eating is biological (weird, huh). Why do we continue to eat, even when we are full? Why do some feel they must order everything on the menu? Why is dining out a source of pride? I’m trying to figure out if it’s the city that we live in, the industry that I am in, or just the people that I associate with. Don’t get me wrong — I love my friends and acquaintances, but sometimes it sometimes feels like a one upsmanship of who’s been where, if you’ve been to the newest restaurant/bar/popup/etc. I feel a mix of guilt and pleasure when I attend an event and turn down what is offered, because a) I am proving to myself that I can say “no”, but at the same time b) there are homeless people all over, huddled in storefronts who would kill for that crabcake. Maybe this is my own first world problem realized.
Anyway, I am back to my normal eating, but these thoughts have stuck with me. Some ways I’ve planned to give back is through volunteering at Glide and pledging a certain amount of money monthly to a charity. Just $3 will serve a hot meal to someone that is less fortunate! Think about it….
Giving back to the community is always a surefire way to warm your heart from the inside out. It’s true — there are many ways you can contribute and donating money is one of them. But actually participating and getting your hands “dirty” so to speak is when you really start to feel the impact of donating your time.
Recently I spent a day with City of Dreams out in The Presidio. City of Dreams is a local non-profit that works with at-risk youth through involvement and mentorship to build better futures for kids in the Hunter’s Point/Bayview area. I’ve never had experience working with youth and I gave up babysitting when I dropped a 1 year old on its head (on accident!) so I didn’t know how I would fare in providing guidance and direction. Turns out, I guess I wasn’t too bad!
We all met up at the hostel at Fort Mason where I was introduced to the kids and we all enjoyed lunch. There were many other mentors who were very close with their mentees and had been working with them closely on a mural project. Earlier in the year the kids got together to brainstorm the stereotype of the Hunter’s Point/Bayview district and the actual diverse, complex neighborhood it is, and painted two separate murals. The goal is to show visitors that San Francisco has so much more to it than simply the “ghetto” neighborhoods that some assume plague metropolitan cities.
The kids presented these colorful murals that day and they are now on display in the hostels downtown. They were so astute and realize that they have the ability to control their future. I also felt very privileged to hear a powerful poem written by one of the main mural project contributors about the struggles of living in this oft-forgotten community.
Our theme of the day was “self-esteem” and we continued on to House of Air to continue our lessons in building self-confidence. I loved seeing how excited and happy the kids were to be at HOA! House of Air is an indoor trampoline park in The Presidio where you may reserve jumping slots by the hours and can even indulge your inner six-year old and play dodgeball! And that we did. Not only was it fun jumping around the trampolines with the kids, but I was ESCATIC to finally check out this place that I’ve been hearing about with such rave reviews. The youths had endless energy while the adults (at least me) needed a few breaks.
After our hour of monkey jumping, dodgeball-ing and back-flipping, we all gathered around for a group photo. It was a bittersweet moment to hug everyone from City of Dreams goodbye, but I left with an extra pep in my step knowing that we all can make a difference in someone else’s life. I definitely recommend this as a self-esteem boost that no amount of money can buy!
I also found this awesome website called One Brick which lists volunteer opportunities by date. The best part is that there’s no obligation — just sign up when you are available!
“Love without limits!”
We all have our guilty pleasures. One of mine (and countless others out there) is The Bachelor. I mean, who doesn’t love watching 50 oft times intelligent, no doubt beautiful girls duke it out for a handsome stud? And Brad Womack…while there is much controversy and rumors surrounding this highly sought after gentleman, we all want to tune in to see if he really has changed like he proclaims. Hey — if a man can admit to 3 years of therapy, there’s gotta be hope out there for us all, right? (Note to those who do not tune in: He dumped both DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft in a previous season due to “abandonment issues and fear of commitment”.)
Reality television is entertaining. I will be the first to admit that I enjoy watching all of these women battle over one man — providing that I would never partake. There are the normal, sweet girls (Emily), the odd (Madison), and the downright crazies (MicHELLe).
One thing that I’ve noticed is that desperation is an ugly look. Women like Ashley H. and Chantal give all of us a bad name. Once they see that Brad has been going on dates with other girls, they completely freak out. Whatever happened to being confident in oneself? I am guilty of feeling insecure (as I’m sure a lot of us are), but seeing other women compete with each other over a man’s heart like this really puts it in perspective. I can see that this show teases it out and magnifies the self-confidence these women are seriously lacking. Maybe it is a desire for Bachelor Brad to “fix” and “comfort” these women who are clearly in need. I mean — he did eliminate two women who, after the fact, proudly proclaimed “Too bad, he’s missing out!” And c’mon, who finds true love on reality t.v. As long as the girls don’t show their crazy side (a la Michelle), there is no doubt in my mind that they will go on to find happy, healthy, NORMAL relationships. Also, although men do feel the need to be a knight in shining armor, this is the 21st century we are living in.
I suppose my take-home message is this: Ladies, men can smell a desperate woman from a mile away. So be strong. Be confident. And most of all, be yourself. Someone who is really into you will admire you for all of those wonderful qualities you have to offer.
One thing I suggest is to repeat positive affirmations when these negative thoughts begin creeping into your mind.
What are some ways that you cast away these negative thoughts?