Morning commute with Stanley-PMI

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A couple times a week Trey and I commute into the city together in the mornings. Trey’s office is in downtown San Francisco, so we’ll brew up some coffee and put it in our Stanley-PMI mugs, turn on NPR’s Fresh Air or a podcast like the Nerdist or Radiolab and drive over the bridge. Sometimes we stop off at our favorite hole in the wall bakery for a blueberry bran muffin (me) and sugar donut (him) to go with our coffee even though it’s out of the way to go to our old neighborhood to get them. We’ve scoped out a few places near us, but none have measured up yet. I’m still looking for the muffin/donut shop unicorn in our part of town. Trey’s been carrying the new black matte insulated mug lately. It’s sleek and durable and seals off so he can skate with it. I still carry the classic green mug most days. Both keep coffee warm for hours, which is good for a commute into the city. I’ve come to really love the days we ride in together. It breaks up the monotony of the bus and Bart, and gives us a way to have “breakfast” together a couple mornings out of the week. Yesterday Jack came too since he had a vet visit to go to later in the day. We stopped off and voted. And, yep, all I’ll say about that is: JACK for president 2020 (you know, someone that’s not sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic or believes climate change is a hoax).

This post was sponsored by Stanley brand . All views are my own. Stanley brand products make really rad presents…Ho ho ho..

A road trip to Monterey with Jack Dog

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Jack and I took a solo trip down to Monterey last weekend. On the way down we stopped off and saw some sea otters milling about near Elkhorn Slough, then a huge humpback whale right off the beach at Seaside Beach, and some funny sea lions hanging out on the docks of Moss landing harbor. Then we drove along the coast to one of our favorite spots – Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, and stopped at a yurt in the hills on the way back. Monterey is a place we go at least 3-4 times a year. I always find myself there. Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful and one of the best places to take a road trip, it’s one of the only spots in the US where you can sit on cliffs and look at migrating whales below. There’s a deep underwater canyon right off the beach in Monterey Bay where all kinds of animals frequent, especially whales. I’ve yet to convince Trey to go diving in the canyon in the kelp forests here – he thinks they’re too spooky. Diving buddy wanted!

Jack sat on the center console the whole way (his spot), then hopped up front to be closer to the air conditioning while driving the stretch of highway 1 in Big Sur. Whenever he does this I always strap him in with the seat belt like a human. He just stares out the window and occasionally glances over at me like, “you seein’ this?!”. He’s such a little buddha. Eventually he’ll hunker down and fall asleep on the arm rest.

It was nice to get away to one of our favorite places. Lucky us it’s only a couple hours from where we live. I can’t wait to go back…maybe in a few months when the elephant seals haul out. Until next time, Monterey!

See Monterey is giving away (1) complete trip package, including 2 nights at Monterey Tides, 2 tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and a wine blending at Joullian Vineyards. If interested, leave a comment to enter. This post is sponsored by See Monterey. All content and opinions expressed are my own.

Around Here

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The fog has rolled in and San Francisco is back to being mostly gray and overcast. It’s nice for working in the greenhouse though, nice and cool. Lately in the mornings when I drive over the bridge into the city, I’ve been looking down at the boats below to see who’s in the bay. I used to know all the captains from talking to them on the radio while out on the water. This time of year used to be when I’d start leading trips out to see humpback whales migrating south by the islands just outside the bay. There’s something about a foggy, cold morning that feels like home to me. I’ve been thinking about those islands and those whales a lot lately. Anyway, here are some things from around here these days…

1. This schoolhouse electric sign makes a domestic necessity a little cooler.
2a. I bought these shoes for a wedding I never went to. I’m not really a wedding person.
2b. I’ve been using Glossier’s ‘supers‘ face serum collection and like it a lot.
3. Sage, for aura cleansing and purifying…or something like that.
4. Mila’s favorite toy, on the sunny window sill, where she likes it.
5. Slip dresses over t-shirts, who knew it would come back?
6. The cashier at Whole Foods accidentally rang these puppies up as .99 bakery items because they were wrapped in brown paper. Oops. Win.
7. Jack is fall-ready with his little Pendleton blanket.
8. The cool-toned SF skyline from the Bay bridge.

Currently Watching

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I love good tv. Trey and I like to decompress at night by catching up on our favorite shows we’ve missed. We hardly ever get to watch them when they actually come on – so instead, we stock pile and binge watch when we can. I always have my eye out for new shows and eagerly await trailers for new seasons of shows we watch and love. We have a rule when it comes to watching shows we’re mutually psyched on – no watching ahead without the other! It’s not really a rule, but fessing up to sneaking in an episode definitely feels like you’ve broken one. Most nights we fall asleep half way through, other nights we binge until our eyes cross. Here’s what’s been on lately:

1. Stranger Things
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There’s so much to love about this show. It’s like they took all the best elements from 80s sci-fi/horror movies and combined them into one nostalgic tv show. It’s very Steven Spielberg meets Stephen King. The kids riding their bikes through the streets reminds me a lot of E.T., and the pink dress/wig outfit the main character “Eleven” wears is very reminiscent of the twin girls from that hallway scene in The Shining. The jedi mind tricks, the Stand By Me-like group of boys, the list goes on. All of it…the music, the clothes, the characters, storyline…so so good! And Winona Ryder plays the mom. I’ve been a fan of hers since Heathers. Really lovin’ this show…and season 2 is already in the works! Woot!

2. Atlanta
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There’s only been a few episodes of this show, but so far I’m loving it. The show was created by Donald Glover (Childish Gambino, Troy from Community), who also stars in it. It’s about two cousins who begin navigating the Atlanta rap scene after one of them starts making it big, leaving the other to take on the duty of being his Manager. The writing is great and the characters are fun – especially their odd friend who’s always stoned and imparts wisdom randomly. Come to think of it, those are usually my favorite characters.

3. Mr. Robot
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I’m still reeling from the crazy scene that happened the other night in this show. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Season 1 was amazing, and so far Season 2 has been pretty good too. The show follows Elliot, a cyber security programmer by day/leader of an anonymous group of vigilante hackers trying to take down a massive multinational conglomerate by night. They develop the characters so well in this show. Trey and I are big fans.

What are you watching? Any I should add to the list? I’m always looking for new ones!

Movin’ In

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We said goodbye to our apartment w/ shared yard in Berkeley (and the schnauzer who always had beef with Jack…his name was Chauncey and he was an asshole). We are really happy to be in a house with a nice big back yard of our own now.

Jack and Keeper have become well acquainted with the doggie door and are relishing their new found freedom. It’s funny to see them both try to squeeze through the door at the same time and get stuck. Mila figured it out too, so she’s been spending some time in the back yard pretending to be a dog with them. Yesterday we went to the hardware store and picked up lots of things for DIY projects. It’s good to be (in our new) home!

 

Turning the big 0-3.

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My apartment smells like fresh linen right now. Not like the smell of actual fresh linen, but like the glade plug-in “fresh linen” smell. They had a sale on them at the gas station across the street and I needed them because my landlord is showing our place from 2-4 today and my cat likes to pee on the closet floor if any clothes are left out and we’re not supposed to even have a cat so I had to mask the smell of cloroxed cat piss floor with gas station “fresh linen” smell. It was half clutch decision, half “this’ll do” because like I’m a chill human and it’s whatever. So things are going good. I’m writing to you from the car, where I’m sitting in an empty gym parking lot with my cat on my lap. The dogs are in the back staring at the half-eaten turkey and cheese sandwich I left on the dashboard. My landlord probably wouldn’t even be pissed if he found out we had a cat, I mean…he already knows we have dogs. Maybe part of me just wants the thrill of a mid-Sunday afternoon covert cat-hiding operation.

Trey is out of town. He turned 30 so I bought him tickets to NYC to go ride with his bmx friends. I figured since I spent my 30th birthday on the back of a motorbike in the Philippines a couple months ago (I know, I need to post the pics), he should go on a bike-related adventure too. Whenever he’s out of town I go full-on Home Alone level wild, except the 30 year old version. I stayed up late, sang Hall and Oats in the bathtub, watched like fifty episodes of Catfish re-runs in my underwear, pinned everything I want for Christmas this year and didn’t brush my teeth once. For dinner last night I had one of those Amy’s microwavable macaroni and cheeses, a spoonful of maybe-expired leftover soup, oatmeal, and half an heirloom tomato. I legit felt like that rat in Charlotte’s Web that floats down the river on his schmorgesborg of food singing into the night sky.

Anyway, I’ve been gone from here for a little bit. I had to deal with adult life things and so I took some time to do that. How vague is that? Very vague. 10/10 vague. Wow I never noticed how much vague looks like it could just be the french slang word for vag. I’m 30 now so I can make vagina references with confidence.

There are lots of new stuffs happening. For one, we’re moving! To a house in the hills like 10 minutes away with a big back yard and a greenhouse. There’s a creek too, and other grown-up things like a drive way and a dishwasher. Having a house seems like an adulty maneuver. I just laughed out loud because while writing that I got a flashback of us in the backseat of an uber last week taking turns violently breathing in each other’s face to make sure our breath didn’t stink. Thirty. 3-0. I feel more like 0-3. I got Trey those big fancy number balloons so when he came home he REALLY knew how old he was. FYI balloons are about the worst thing you can buy if you’re an anxious human. “Balloon” is just a cute word for I’m going to stretch this weird rubber thing to it’s limit, tie a pretty ribbon on it and then take it for a walk outside in the world where EVERYTHING IS SHARP. It feels oddly similar to those parenting exercises in high school where they give you the pretend babies to see whether you’d kill it or not.

So, that’s my story for right now. Doing adulty things and turning into magical 0-3 year olds. Here’s a picture of Trey at his friend’s bike shop with his buddies this weekend (this photo is for you, future kids! look at your dad’s ponytail under his bucket hat!)!

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Luv,
nic

Summer Reads

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Summer is such a great time for reading. I like all kinds of books, but off-beat fiction is what I really like to get lost in. I usually have a few going at a time – a book for the gym, one by the bath tub, another on my side of the bed – each with their pages dog-earred and stained with some ubiquitous liquid. Mila cat is my reading buddy. She usually finds me and cuddles up, snoring big fat snores into the crease of my elbow. I’m not sure there’s much better than a sweet kitty laying next to you in the late-evening summer sun with a book. Here are a few of the good ones I’ve read lately:

You’ll Grow Out Of It
Jesse Klein
After listening to Terri Gross’ interview with comic Jesse Klein about her book on NPR, I knew I had to read it. And boy did it deliver. Klein, who is currently the head writer/exec producer of “Inside Amy Schumer”, shares 24 humorous short stories from her life in this book…everything from growing up, to dating and “failing at” the rites of womanhood. She opens the book by introducing herself as a “tom man”, a term she coined for when a tomboy just never grows out of it. It’s been my favorite read so far this summer.

The Girls
Emma Cline
I couldn’t put this one down. The story takes place in the late 1960s and follows a young girl who encounters a group of free-spirited girls in the park and is drawn to them. Soon she is becoming a part of the group, which we later learn is a cult led by a charismatic leader. It reminded me of The Virgin Suicides during some parts, which I loved….mixed with a little psychological thrill.

Me, Earl, And The Dying Girl
Jesse Andrews
I am such a fan of the way Jesse Andrews writes. It’s so refreshingly honest and funny. This is his debut novel, although he’s been a screenwriter for years. He tells a coming of age story that follows a teenage guy as he navigates high school and adolescence, and how an unlikely relationship with a girl in his class with leukemia ends up being the closest thing he has to a friend. I loved how unconventional the story is and how it’s full of both light-hearted and deep moments. The film adaptation is really great too!

Modern Lovers
Emma Straub
I haven’t finished this one, but it’s been a good read so far. The story is about two couples who have been friends for a long time and live on the same block in Brooklyn with their teenage children. It’s the perfect book if you have ever wondered what happens to hipsters when they get older.

Around Here

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This weekend was a lot of fun. We spent it hanging out with friends, watching the Warriors playoff games, then heading down to Santa Cruz to hang out at an empty/abandoned pool in the middle of the woods. The dogs have had to stay behind a lot lately since it’s been so hot out (80s and 90s!) and the air conditioner in Lola is on the fritz. Life has been go go go lately. Steph, Trey’s sister, is coming to San Francisco with her boyfriend to spend a couple weeks here and we are so excited! Then after that we’re heading to NYC to visit some friends and Wes (our best friend/brother…Trey’s next door neighbor growing up…yep…we all witnessed each other as snot faced teenagers. He’s kind of my favorite person ever). Then we’re hoping to squeeze in a few camping trips with friends and dogs soon too. Summer is always a busy time around here, but I love it. Here are a few photos from around here lately.

1./ My sweet boy, I love him so. His birthday is soon! / 2. Sun lover / 3. Browsing pretty things at Esqueleto / 4. Skating empty pools / 5. Keeper girl in the morning / 6. The sky from the Bay Bridge / 7. Forever on the hunt for vintage jeans / 8. This toy cracks me up and Keeper is obsessed (thanks Zippypaws!) / 9. Sunday morning hangs

Bad Intentions

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There was a time in college when Trey and I had just started dating again when this guy in my environmental science class invited me to a party he was throwing at his house. “Nah, it’s not like that“, I told Jess, my best friend over coffee that morning. “He’s just a friend“. Later that night I rode my bike to Trey’s and found him sitting around with a bunch of his friends watching bmx videos. My friend had made me this dress from leftover fabric she found in the design hall at school. I paired it with awful chunky Doc Marten boots. “Want to come?”, I asked him. “Theme parties aren’t really my thing”, he told me with his eyes on the television. Trey’s always been like that, laid back. Doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. He’s never been the type to follow my every move.

So I went and danced with a bunch of new people until we were all sweaty and feeling good. Around 4 in the morning when the kegs were up, I dug my bike out of the pile in the front yard and started to ride home. I looked down to see my tire was flat. “Hey! Where are you going?”, my new friends called from the deck. The guy from my class came over to me. “You could just stay here”, he said with eyes that said a lot more, his fingers lightly grazing my arm. I sat on the curb outside and texted Steven, Trey’s room mate and my good friend, figuring if anyone was up, it would be him. No answer. “F*ck it”, I thought, wheeling my bike down the street ready to walk it home. A few minutes later headlights came from behind me. The sound of his old volkswagen rattling up next to me. I knew it was him before looking. He hung his head out the car window, pulling up beside me. “You know, you really shouldn’t be walking in the dark at this time of night, someone with bad intentions might try to pick you up”. One of the guys from the house threw a rock at Trey’s car, angry that their friend’s mating conquests had been thwarted. They started to chase his car down. Trey got out to confront them. “Hey, get f*cked!”, he yelled. “Lets just go”, I told him. “Sorry…”, I said quietly from the passenger’s seat as we drove away. “Don’t be”, he said calmly.

What are you, my hero? Look I just had a flat”, I said oddly defensive after a few minutes, abruptly breaking the silence. I’ve never been that girl who needed some guy to ride up on a white stallion for her. We listened to The Smiths as he drove me home to the bottom floor apartment I shared with a girl who painted her room black and spelled her name with a K even though you knew it was a C on her birth certificate. “Hey…thanks. You really didn’t have to do that”, I told him, looking more like a train wreck than potential girlfriend material. He leaned in and kissed me. Then he was gone.