Monday, July 30, 2012

SF Ballet at Stern Grove

Stern Grove Festival is celebrating its 75th season! 

Yesterday, a girlfriend and I enjoyed the SF Ballet from my company's sponsor table. It was a perfectly overcast 65 degrees, and every inch of the park was covered with blankets and picnic baskets. The ballet was beautiful and inspirational, and the event itself a reminder of how lucky I am to live in such a wonderfully creative and diverse city.



Friday afternoon a few coworkers and I were lucky enough to get a tour of the Pixar campus in Emeryville. I've always thought that it must not get any cooler than working in a brewery... until I saw the setup at Pixar.

Each department has full creative control over the theme and decor of their individual offices and common areas. I was thoroughly impressed with the creativity and quality of their work - a plane crashed in a jungle, a tree house, a dollhouse, a turn of the century saloon. Several departments had built fully functional, professional quality bars into their common areas, where they host happy hours and parties for coworkers. The campus itself boasts a soccer field, basketball and volleyball court, and a lap pool. One of the most intriguing features of the Pixar campus is the art - all drawings, paintings, stills, and clay forms from their staff, generated during the planning and production of Pixar films. Most of the art is rotated out depending on which film has most recently been released. Currently, most of the art is from Brave, which is still in theaters.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Love a Good Bargain!

I'm admittedly a shopaholic, which I generally justify by my love of bargain hunting. Sure, the actual purchase is always quite fulfilling, but no shopping excursion gives quite the same adrenaline rush as discovering something beautiful, something fancy, something expensive, but for an unbelievably low price. Not every woman has the patience to dig through piles and racks to find a gem, but for me, it's the only way to shop! 

I have yet to decide if it is a wonderful blessing or a devastating curse that there is a Nordstrom Rack within a mile of my work. Michael Kors and BCBG are Kryptonite to my checking account, but Nordstrom Rack generally carries a decent selection of both. I found this insane bargain on a MK handbag yesterday! Can I get a high five! 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hey There Four Eyes

I've always had "perfect" vision, but noticed the last year or two that I was getting more frequent  headaches and tired eyes, so I finally bit the bullet and went to an optometrist. 

When Dr. Dagron asked how I found his office I told him, "I pulled up Google Maps and it was two blocks from work so here I am!" He stared at me for a moment and replied flatly, "Well that's a terrible way to find a doctor. You're lucky you found a good one." And he was right! The office staff are very friendly and helpful, and Dr. Dagron made my first ever optometrist visit a great one. 

It only took a couple of days to get a call saying my glasses were ready, but I was out of town over the weekend so I didn't pick them up until today. They'll take some getting used to, but luckily I only have to wear them when I'm at my desk or reading... for now!

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting has been on my bucket list for years, so when I made my summer must-do list, I was sure to include it! My sister, two of her girlfriends and I booked a day trip through Whitewater Adventures recently. Being newbies, we decided a cheap, easy rafting trip would be the best way to get our feet wet.

My sister did all of the communicating with Whitewater Adventures prior to the trip, and her experience wasn't ideal. The woman on the other end of the phone was generally rude and uninformative, and we didn't have any say in which wave of rafters we would be with. On the day of, we arrived at the stated start time, which turned out to be an hour before our wave was bussed up to the starting point along Upper Cache Creek. The raft we were given wasn't self-bailing, so every time we got through a rough patch of white water we had to make our way to the side of the river to hop out and flip our raft to empty the water (easier said than done!). The dry sacks holding our lunches leaked so our food got wet, although we weren't all that enthusiastic about the uncut rolls and slimy lunch meat anyway. 

On the last and biggest rapid, referred to by Whitewater Adventures as "The Mother," my sister fell out of the boat and went through it on her bum. She hit every boulder on the way down and came out at the bottom pretty banged up and with a potentially fractured shin. A couple of other rafters helped me pull her out of the river, but after letting her rest for a few minutes we had to put her back in the boat and finish out the last mile. When we got to the end, the two staff members collecting rafts and gear didn't seem in any way concerned that my sister was injured and weren't the least bit apologetic for having no first aid supplies on hand.

On the upside, Upper Cache Creek is beautiful! And we got the best upper body workout of our lives! The experience certainly didn't inspire me to pick up whitewater rafting as a regular hobby, but I'm really glad I gave it a try. 

If you were going to book a rafting trip with Whitewater Adventures, I'd recommend doing their weekend trip rather than the one day trip. The company seemed really more geared toward those who participated in the two-day/ two-night adventure, which included camping, a movie night under the stars, a dance party at the campsite, and two days of rafting. Those of us who were there for the one day rafting trip were just an afterthought to the staff.

Here's a list of things I strongly recommend you bring:
- A small bucket to aid in bailing your raft
- Shin guards and a helmet... I'm not kidding
- A dry sack and a carabiner to attach it to the boat
- A first aid kit
- Don't bring a cooler in your boat even if they allow it

Friday, July 13, 2012

Birthday Fun in the Bay

One of my favorites turned 30 recently and I was so excited that she decided to spend her big weekend with me! It was a pretty great itinerary, so I'll give you the details in case you want to check out any of these spots of yourself...

Thursday: Dinner and sake bombs at Mas Sake, and wine and dessert at Bin 38
Friday: Tour and tasting at Anchor Brewing Company, shopping at the Louis Vuitton in Union Square and Laline in the Marina. Lunch at Burger Bar and dinner at Foreign Cinema (sit outside!).
Saturday: Bus tour from San Francisco to Napa, tasted at four wineries, and rode the ferry back.
Sunday: Bargain shopping at Nordstrom Rack and a fashion event featuring local artists.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July! 

I celebrated with friends in San Jose with a poolside BBQ and far too much whiskey.