Thursday, March 28

on worrying & anxiety

succulent wall in palo alto

This past weekend, I got stuck in the middle of one of my anxiety-ridden tizzies. Mid-meltdown, my friend stopped me and said, "This situation is so ridiculous, unlikely and irrational that it's almost like you need to find something to be anxious about. If it's not one thing, it's something else." 

I immediately paused in my tracks and realized that she was right. For the past several months, I've been unemployed, diligently looking for a job. Now that that huge stress and unknown has been lifted, other not-so-important concerns have been forced to the front for me to worry about. If you're someone who has experience with anxiety, you know this feeling far too well. From here, you usually go to a place of guilt, feeling bad about having anxiety when you know for damn sure you have it so much better than so many people. And though this realization is a good step, it still perpetuates the cycle and the anxiety continues.

So how do you end the cycle? As a person who definitely doesn't have it all figured out yet, I still feel like I have enough experience with anxiety to be able to properly answer this question. And I think the answer is to just simply handle it. Whether it's learning to breathe, keeping a journal, meditating, medicating or talking to a neutral third party of sorts, I think that recognizing, accepting and handling anxiety is the only way to give it less power and ultimately rid yourself of the worry. 

Tuesday, March 26

the american grilled cheese kitchen

A restaurant that serves a variety of grilled cheeses? Count me in. 

homemade italian sodas

jalapeno and cheddar biscuit

perfectly buttery and delicious

Located in SOMA/the Design District, aka... right near my BRAND NEW JOB (more on that later), the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen is definitely one of my new favorite spots. I visited them twice in the past two weeks (oops) and between my friends and I, sampled almost all of their sandwiches. I was pretty dang pleased with everything I tasted and will definitely return now that it's right around the corner from my new place of work.

On another note, funemployment: see you (hopefully) NEVER! And for all of you currently dealing with not-so-fun employment, I feel your pain and I promise you, there will be an end. Until then, keep your head up, email me if you need some tips or reassurance and check out this article.

Friday, March 22

my initial reaction upon finding out google reader is going away

As everyone has heard and likely blogged about, Google Reader is going away as of July. Sigh. But I guess that's the exciting thing about this ever-changing blog world. I transfered all of my daily reads from Google Reader to Bloglovin using this handy link and if you would like to continue following beauty and the feast (I mean... why not?) click here to follow with Bloglovin. 

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, March 20

a photo i'm proud of + a relevant quote

"The way I define happiness is being the creator of your experience, choosing to take pleasure in what you have, right now, regardless of the circumstances, while being the best you that you can be."
Leo Babauta

Tuesday, March 19

kale & cannellini beans

Besides having my friend in town this past weekend, another highlight was taking an Italian cooking class taught by a friend of friend, a native Italian, Stefania. If you're ever in Tuscany, I highly recommend taking her class. She makes amazing, fresh and authentic dishes and combines flavors and ingredients I never would have dreamed up. I'll be sharing everything I learned here so get ready for some pretty amazing recipes. First up is a simple kale dish, full of flavor and nutrients and even vegan friendly!

One can of cannellini beans (drained), fresh kale, one large can of crushed tomatoes, 
three cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

First, remove leafy part of the kale and throw away the stems. Roughly chop the kale. Then, in a medium pan, add olive oil and diced garlic. Once garlic is cooked, add the can of crushed tomatoes. Add the chopped kale and cover until wilted. Finally, add drained cannellini beans and set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Monday, March 18

st. patty's day won

my best friends and i on st. patrick's day

When your best friend from college comes home for the weekend... and it's St. Patrick's Day... and her family just happens to be a very large, very fun and very Irish... it's no wonder that I ended up sick after all of these festivities. 

Regular blog content will resume tomorrow. 
Stay tuned and hope everyone had as much fun as I did this weekend!

Friday, March 15

craftsmen & wolves

A while back, I started a series called Beyond Starbucks but ever since I left San Diego, I kind of abandoned the project. Now that I'm settled into the Bay Area, I've had a chance to explore many of the incredible coffee shop options around the city, including Craftsmen and Wolves

Located in the heart of the Mission, Craftsmen and Wolves sells a mean cup of joe and an array of tasty treats to accompany your brew. With coffee by Sightglass and treat options ranging from puff pastry dough with gruyere, smoked cheddar and chili flakes to pumpkin apple muffins with a cardamom vanilla crumble and The Rebel Within (pictured below), Craftsmen and Wolves is the perfect place to unwind after a stressful morning or catch up with an old friend. 

photo courtesy of food spotting

Visit Craftsmen and Wolves at 746 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Thursday, March 14

controlling your emotions

walking through parque retiro with aaron and amanda; madrid 2009

I'm in a very transitional period in my life, with things constantly changing (and I'm sure many of you are, too) and unfortunately, I'm not always able to control my emotions the way I'd like. Though I know it stems from feeling so deeply and passionately about so many things, I react strongly and emotionally to anything that's either promising or upsetting.

Recently, I told a friend about this issue. When I'm going on date after date and meeting guy after guy, I feel great. Though sure, none of them are the one or even the one for now, it still feels nice to be wanted by the opposite sex; that's natural. And when a new and exciting career opportunity presents itself, I'm on top of the world, confident as ever in my capabilities and qualifications. But when the dreaded Facebook photo of my ex with his new girlfriend surfaces or the job opportunity comes crashing down, my world ends.

I think this emotional roller coaster that I seem to be on is normal, but reacting so severely to the ups and the downs is definitely something I need to work on.

My friend told me that if I can stay in control of my emotions, not ever getting overly excited or devastatingly upset over anything (especially if a week later it could all change again), this roller coaster  ride and life in general won't seem as scary.

I've been really trying to work on it lately and what can I say? Though I'll never abandon my enthusiasm and excitement for things I truly believe in, I think she's right.

Wednesday, March 13

the best tortilla soup there ever was

Six cups of chicken broth, one can crushed tomatoes, one can of corn, 
one can of black beans, one small can of green chiles, a small onion, cilantro, avocado, 
two chicken breasts, three cloves of garlic, one cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 
two teaspoons of chili power, one teaspoon of oregano, olive oil, at least six corn tortillas

(I know I know... the list is a little long. But trust me! It's easy and worth it!)

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut corn tortillas into strips, drench in olive oil and baked in the oven until crisp. Set aside. In a small pan, heat olive oil and cook chicken breasts. Once cooked, shred breasts. In a large pot, add diced onion, chopped garlic and olive oil and sautee until soft. Pour in chicken broth, tomatoes, black beans, corn, green chiles, oregano and chili powder. Add in the cooked and shredded chicken. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and leave on low heat for two hours, if possible. Take individual serving bowls and slice avocado for the bottom. Add a handful of crispy corn tortilla strips and a heaping serving of soup and top with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro. 


Tuesday, March 12

keeping your weird

I've always been attracted to people who are a little weird. I'm not talking bat sh!t crazy or out of their minds (well maybe just a little), but the eccentric and unique types have always been the people I want to get to know. Maybe it's because I created a "contact contract" in 5th grade and had the kids on the playground sign it in order to convince my parents to let me wear contacts instead of glasses. (Strange kid, I know.) I'm not sure.

But recently, during a riveting session at 826, I was chatting with one of my favorites about her latest crush (we'll call her Cindy*; she's 10).

Cindy (humiliated): So today, this guy found out I had a crush on him!
Me: Awwww! You're in loveee!
Cindy: No I'm not! But now everyone knows I have a crush on him.
Me: So who's the lucky guy? What did he have to say about this?
Cindy: Well... he doesn't like me back. He said it's because I'm weird.

This kind of broke my heart.

At a young age, we're taught to socialize and fit in with the other kids. But we're also often asked "if blah blah blah jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?" and we're constantly told to "be your own person." That's confusing. Especially when even in the 5th grade, being weird is wrong and bad and the boys won't like you (a fate worse than death).

I often wonder if I'll ever find the guy who matches my weird, so it was kind of hard to be confident when I told Cindy that being weird is a compliment and if the boy doesn't like you for your weird, he's just not worth it at all.

Isn't it funny how advice to a 5th grader can still be relevant in your mid-twenties?

*name has been changed for privacy purposes

Monday, March 11

things i dig: cozy comforts

If you haven't gathered this by now, I'm an extremely casual person. Recently, I've been describing myself as "candid," in addition to "unable to sensor myself." But another word I think describes me quite well is "cozy." There's not much I enjoy more than a good ole couch sesh complete with loose fitting clothes (or maybe just a robe), a few too many episodes of Homeland and lots of snacks. Those are some of my favorite days, especially when I'm with friends (and I assume when I'm no longer single they'll be even better curled up next to the love of my life). 

{What's your go to cozy accessory or piece of clothing?}

Friday, March 8

i really love bunnies

photo courtesy of buzzfeed

Let's talk... how cute is this bunny? Her name is Heidi and she swims!
Have a lovely weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 7

some fine advice for this thursday morning

the mission; san francisco

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place." 
Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, March 5

prosciutto & arugula cheese ravioli

If you're culinarily challenged, a working woman without much time on your hands or if you just want to jazz up some store bought cheese ravioli, this is the recipe for you. It's easy and doesn't require a whole lot of time or ingredients. Nonetheless, it's quite tasty! My kind of recipe!

Cheese ravioli, prosciutto, arugula, shallots, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese

In a small frying pan, heat olive oil and add crushed garlic, chopped shallots and prosciutto and cook until mildly crisp. Set aside. Boil and cook raviolis for no longer than five minutes. Drain ravioli and return to pan. Add prosciutto, a handful of arugula and a bit of olive oil and toss. 
Top with parmesan and serve!

Monday, March 4

spotting a good dive bar

Dive bars have a special place in my heart, always there for me when I need them, never judging me for my consumption habits and in return, I never judge them for their sketchiness; I only embrace it. With AJ in town this past weekend, we spent a lot of time frolicking around eating and drinking our way through San Francisco. Of course our weekend wouldn't be complete without more than a few visits to some of my favorite bars around town.

lauren, me and aj at the silver peso

You may find yourself asking, "what's so great about a dive bar?" In which case, here are six ways to spot a good dive bar (in no particular order). 

6. The crowd: Dive bars have an interesting following. From hipsters to gangsters and everything in between, people of all ages can enjoy the warmth and hospitality that are often associated with a dive bar.

5. The drinks: Dive bars generally have a pretty great beer list, or at least a few random gems on tap. I've never been disappointed and there has never been a lack of drinks at a dive bar.

4. The vinyl booths: My favorite dive bar in San Diego has the most offensive, red and vinyl hole-y booths and that's one of the reasons I loved it so much! Character.

3. The entertainment: Usually filled with a variety of tunes I've never heard of, you can always find something good on the juke box at a dive bar. If I'm really lucky, I'll know too many of the songs thus monopolizing the juke box for at least an hour. In addition, there are always games at a good dive bar. Pool, shuffleboard, random board games and maybe even skeeball.

2. The dress code: From pajamas or sweats with no makeup to sloppily stumbling in in heels, the dress code at a dive bar is always questionable yet flexible and can be anything you want it to be.

1. The atmosphere: You don't have to feel awkward about dancing and you don't have to avoid creeps (because everyone is a creep, including you!) If you're going to a dive bar, you aren't trying to impress anyone and your night almost always ends up being a spontaneous success.

Friday, March 1

biscuit bender

Though I've been to the Ferry Building on numerous occasions, for some reason I haven't ever noticed Biscuit Bender, a small stand that sells a variety of amazing biscuits and flavored butter. Besides being completely adorable, the cinnamon bun biscuit was actually one of the best morning treats I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.

{Visit Biscuit Bender at 1 Ferry Building; San Francisco}