Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015: Year in Review

The end of the year marks a natural opportunity for reflection, with thoughts of the year's memories and accomplishments (or lack thereof), and an opportunity to look ahead and make plans and goals for the new year to come.

This process sounds great in theory, but oftentimes we find ourselves focusing on what we didn't accomplish: resolutions left cold after one week of vigilance, timelines we expected to stay on track with but didn't, great intentions swallowed up by laziness or lack of free time.  But within 365 days, we really do accomplish and experience a lot.   We get up every morning and give it the good ol' college try.  We learn new things, go new places, meet new people.  We give hugs to those we love and smiles to those who need it.

So in an effort to be kind to myself and acknowledge all the greatness in my year, I have done one of my favorite things: made some lists.  So I present, more or less chronologically: My Year in Review.

In 2015, I...

Celebrated Box IPO day
Said good-bye to my first car
Met Channing Tatum and touched his abs
Visited the set of Friends
Went to the SF Game of Thrones premiere
Watched the third championship banner hung on Giants Opening Day
Had our new roommate, Kasey, move in
Celebrated 2 years at Box
Saw Book of Mormon and Phantom of the Opera at the Orpheum Theater
Had almost too much fun at Kristen's Bachelorette in Guerneville
Was somehow convinced to play Bubble Soccer (yes, of course I'm the one falling)
 Spent a wonderful Mother's Day in SF with my mom, aunt, and grandmother
Met the new addition to our family, baby Kendall
Toasted to Kristen and Daniel's marriage in Mt. Shasta
Got a new job at Box, in which I get to think more globally
Said goodbye to my old team with our last hoorah together, the snack fair
Realized it's been ten years since I graduated high school
 Drank PBR while floating on the Russian River
Went to both Italian and Portuguese heritage nights at AT&T Park
Swam in the Mediterranean
Experienced my first Turkish Bath, with Goo
Went yachting, twice
Drove a jet ski for the first time
Got to dance in a mirrored box with a floor fan, so basically lived the dream
Read lots of great books
Went on a stunning sunset cruise around the bay, for free
Became a mentor to Tiffany, a 7th grader in SF
Experienced a traditional Iraqi Henna
 Went on stage to play Family Feud at a Second City improv show
Got to see inside one of the Painted Ladies on the Victorian House Tour
Donned fashionable head-wear at Box's RWC office construction site
Made my own sparkly tutu
Had countless Emma cuddles and Kendall cuddles, sometimes at the same time!
Smoked my first cigarette.  Just kidding!  It's gum.
Organized Box SF's gift drive to donate 60 gifts to ECS
And danced to Bieber while soaking my feet in a floor-length gown

  1. Anaheim and LA
  2. Guerneville
  3. Mount Shasta 
  4. Cazadero
  5. Croatia and Turkey
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. Austin, TX

According to Spotify, I listened to 30 days worth of music so far this year.  Living in SF, I was lucky enough to see many of this year's favorite artists live.

  1. Sam Smith (with George Ezra) @ Bill Graham
  2. Seinabo Sey @ the Chapel
  3. Kiesza (with Betty Who) @ Mezzanine
  4. James Bay (with Elle King) @ The Independent
  5. Seinabo Sey @ Great American Music Hall
  6. Lauryn Hill @ Mountain Winery (for 27 whole minutes-shout out to refunds)
  7. Jess Glynne (with Avery Wilson) @ The Independent 
  8. One Republic @ Bill Graham (BoxWorks afterparty)
  9. Florence and the Machine @ The Greek in Berkeley
  10. Hozier @ The Greek in Berkeley
  11. Muse @ Oracle Arena
So many of these shows were incredible, but if I were going to award my favorite, it would have to be Florence.  Quite simply, she's a gifted, ethereal fairy that was pure magic to watch live.

Became obsessed with:
Peaky Blinders and Cillian Murphy's eyes
Quiet by Susan Cain 
Veggetti, the spiral vegetable cutter
James Bay (apparently my most-listened-to artist this year)
Eating burrata and then regretting it


Austin, Y'all

In early November I traveled to Austin for the first time, on a business trip.  Box had opened an office there a year earlier, and the Box Women's Network (BWN) was hosting an offsite so that we could bond, meet women from other offices, and discuss our goals for 2016. 


My coworker/lovely friend Lauren had relocated out there to open the office, and then recently moved back to bay to fill my role in San Francisco when I switched teams.  She came out for the BWN trip and had lots of fun ideas for us.

Here are the main highlights:

1. BATS: I know this is an unexpected highlight for people who have either never been to Austin or are not bat aficionados.  The latter is still true for me.  To my amazement, Austin has the largest urban bat colony in the world, and every summer night hundreds of people gather on the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch them take their nocturnal flight.  Once dusk hit, a sea of humming black bats shot out from under the bridge and flowed in a stream up and over the water, through the buildings, and into the distance.  It felt like this incredibly graceful natural phenomenon to witness, as long as you were able to close your nose to the profound smell of bat crap crusting underneath you.

2. WINE: What would a ladies' weekend be without it?  Lauren took me to her favorite spot in town, Cru Wine Bar, twice.  Great patio for people watching, awesome wine list, and most important perhaps were their goat cheese beignets.  They are as amazing as they sound and you should go get them right now.  That quickly brings me to...


3. FOOD: Austin has a unique dining scene.  It's local, so they have BBQ joints that people wait hours in line for, and they have tacos for literally every meal and any occasion.  It's also urban, so there's trendy world cuisine as well.  One thing I found interesting was that coffee shops have partnerships with this taco spot or the other to have a tray of breakfast tacos available to purchase when you get your morning beverage.  

The best southern meal I had was at Fixe.  We ordered about half the menu, enjoying buttery biscuits, quail with cheesy grits, fried chicken, blackened red snapper, and really that's just the tip of the ice cube floating in your Moscow Mule.  I also enjoyed many a delicious taco, and this photo is from Lauren's and my luxurious Friday lunch at a great Italian spot around the corner from work.  Speaking of work...

4. MUSIC: I was just kidding about the work segue.  Who wants to hear about that?  One night we made it to The White Horse, a honky tonk bar.  We had missed the lessons, but had way too much fun watching the spirited dancers and tapping our feet to the band.

The craziest part of that outing was on our way out, when we saw a man chilling on the patio on a white horse.  Coincidence?

We also did a puzzle room with the group, visited Rainey Street, and peeked inside the capital building.  And that was Austin in a nutshell!  It was a quick trip, but we packed it in.  Next time, I want to do more restaurant research and make sure every day is filled with live music!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Baptism of Kendall Rose

On October 17, my baby cousin Kendall was baptized in Hollister, CA, and she looked angelic in her white gown!

She was so good throughout the whole ceremony-in fact, she seemed to be captivated by the priest.  She would look right at him as if she were digesting his every word, and when he would walk to the back of the church, she would start to get fussy until he returned!

Several babies and a couple small children were baptized that day.  Many were calm, cool, and collected, but one screamed bloody murder.  Fortunately, Kendall fell into the former category!  One even applauded himself.  Trying to have a solemn event that revolves around unpredictable little ones always lends comedic relief!


Love this one-mama Ashley looks so happy!
Kendall with her parents, godparents, and the priest

Being baptized is an exhausting affair!

Next, we relocated to Ashley and Ryan's house for lunch.  Everything was decorated so cute! 

The aunts spent much of the party chasing one or the other down to steal the baby back.  She's really quite squeeze-worthy.

She gets so excited when grandpa enters her line of vision! 

 The proud parents

 Can I keep her?

Wearing the bow from the baby blanket I gave her!

Such a blessed little girl!