SFMOMA – A designer’s paradise

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art closed in 2013 in order to add more art, more culture, and to really contribute to the architecture of San Francisco. The new building is seven floors of a designer’s dream doused in natural light, and even if you just pay $25 to fill your Snapchat story, it’s going to be beautiful…and your pictures will turn out great. E.g. myself, my iPhone, and my friends today. Take a look at my visit below 🙂

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Things that help me get through a bout of low self-esteem

Like any normal human being, every day is a challenge to not think about my body, my confidence, my hair, my presence, my everyyything. This has recently been top of mind. I’ve recently switched jobs to the something that is the more nightmare inducing face to face, but as much as I enjoy my new job, it has unveiled a few undercover means of self-consciousness that kind of ruin a day. I’ve been trying to find ways to not only push these feelings deep down into repression but actually overcome them. So here are some things that I do when I have a down day.

1) Lay down on your floor and wallow/mindlessly check social media

Sometimes what you need to do is confront it. Accept the fact that you feel down and the day got to you a little bit. There’s something in knowing that tomorrow is another day and when I just sit down and accept that today was a little rough, I can start winding down to go to bed and start again when I wake up the next morning.

2) Mentally pick out an outfit for the next day 

Think about what you’re going to wear tomorrow. You’ll most likely think of one of your favorite outfits that you feel most confident in. Next, think about one accessory you haven’t worn in a while and use it to update your classic look a bit. Comfort, confidence, and update.

3) Go get ice cream

You know how I feel about ice cream. 

4) Walk around somewhere busy, like a grocery store, while you’re listening to a podcast

There’s something cathartic about things being organized neatly. I like to put some earbuds in, listen to my favorite podcast, and look for things I didn’t know I needed. For me, there is something about escaping my own thoughts (thanks, podcast) and walking around while the world is bustling around me. It gives me a sense of control – like the world around me can’t penetrate my thoughts right now. I have the ability to decide what I want to do.

These are by no means a way to fight major depression or a teary-eyed day, but these are some things I’ve found to help me be okay with being me. Of course you can do things like go to the gym, but that’s awfully cliche and no one wants to read that.

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Must see and do in Paris (aside from the usual)

When you look up what to see in Paris you’ll get the usual – Le Louvre, Museé D’orsay, Notre Dame…but that can only take up three days max. Here are some things that I discovered that will help you fill your magical and beautiful time in Paris.

1) Las Du Fallafel

The best fallafel pita sandwich I’ve ever had. In the Marais,  you’ll find yourself in a few twists and turns with a few Mediterranean restaurants. You’ll see that one location has a line going out both directions. One line is for take out and the other is to sit in their cafeteria-like dining room. They take your order in line and shoo you away when you’re taking a picture of the store front (see my picture below). The fallafel wasn’t dry, it was light and fluffy with a perfect crispy shell surrounding it and the pickled onions they use are soooo perfect. Under €10 as well!

2) Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

The half bookstore half lending library full time hang out and read oasis is in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris right along the Seine River. Stop by here to sit down and take in that old book smell after you’ve climbed all the stairs of the Notre Dame. There’s also a cat that lives there – it’s name is Cat.

3) Secret Food Tours of Montmartre 

The only tour I took was a food tour. It was a small group of 8 lead by a Parisian native named Pierre-Jean (PJ) who ran his own wine shop in Montmartre. It was 4 hours of tastes, history, and laughs. I couldn’t have been less hungry after. It included a stop at the cheese shop, butcher, bakery, wine shop, crepe shop, chocolate shop, and a macaron shop. About $100 – totally worth it. Book a tour or learn more at http://www.secretfoodtours.com/.

4) Sainte-Chapelle

The largest collection of stained glass in Paris. If you like to be blown away by anything beautiful make sure you visit. The magic is upstairs. That feeling when you turn the corner and see this for the first time can not be replicated.

5) Pink Flamingo Pizza

I mean, it’s pizza. Below you see the Brangelina (figs and goat cheese) and the l’Obama (ham with a pineapple chutney). Our president has some cultural influence in France!

6) Scaramouche Ice Cream in Montemartre

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my reco list turned into a food guide that includes ice cream. Scaramouche is right by the Abesses metro stop so stop by on your way home…everyday. Just like I did. Real ingredients leads to flavors like melon sorbet, caramel, and the dangerous truffle. Worth a try but decide for yourself!

This is by no means a substitute list from the normal. See all that you want! But these finds really increased my Parisian satisfaction. This beautiful town is so memorable, and these little finds play into that.

 

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Where to get cheap facials!

There is nothing like a stranger touching your face, squeezing disgusting crap out of your pores, and massaging your feet for an exorbitant about of money to really wind you down. Sarcasm aside, I have totally spent $160 on a 55 minute facial which ultimately leads to buyers remorse when you check your credit card balance.

Saving money is always first priority but I just can’t get enough of the spa. In an act of desperation, I began my internet research journey so I could have my cake and eat it too.

The solution: beauty schools!!! They’re a compromise to spending hundreds of dollars because you’re helping these students learn and gain hands-on experience (literally). My favorite in San Francisco is Cinta Aveda Institute in the Financial District.

  • Pros
    • CHEAP – at Cinta, a one hour facial is only $40 +tip
    • You’re helping students
    • These students are being taught by class-act professionals
    • These schools have all the professional products that your favorite spa has
  • Cons
    • They’re not pros with years of experience but it for sure gets the job done
    • There are no private rooms, but curtained off rooms keep you secluded in privacy with your esthetician. You can hear the other estheticians and clients as well.
    • If you fall in love with an esthetician, they will be gone after they’re done with their program

For me, the pros and cons are incredibly imbalanced. I’m all about that dollar to quality minute ratio and this is high. I go at least once a month and it’s totally worth it to me.

Do you have any other spa services hacks?

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Gen Crafts All Day: Leather Scrap Earrings

There’s a craft store in San Francisco called Artist & Craftsman Supply that I never really go into with intention. I like to browse and let the inventory inspire me, but they have so much variety that I know I’ll find something. This time around I found some leather scraps for sale that caught my eye. The white leather strips were so rustic that I knew I could mix them with metal to really tie them together.
I already had the supplies and jewelry making tools, but you’ll just need to buy yourself some earring hookseye pin findings, and jewelry wire and then you’ll be able to make any kind of earring with whatever you find. It’s a great skill to have when you’re making gifts for your friends as well.

Necklaces next?

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Easy Thai Red Curry

Come join the good fight in fighting a culture of watching cooking shows while not knowing how to properly roast your vegetables, of being obsessed with MasterChef but not keeping fresh garlic in your arsenal.

The science behind cooking always fascinated me (shout out to Alton Brown). I think that’s what really kick started my love for cooking. But recently, I’ve started to see the trend of snackable cooking videos on Facebook I was confronted with the sad, sad, sad reality that some people need a video to make a tomato avocado salad (seriously this is a real one…).

That being said, not snackable content provider and professional chef on YouTube’s Hot Thai Kitchen inspired me to share with you that it’s really not hard to make some foreign goods. It’s all about having the ingredients to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small kabocha squash
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 quart of chicken broth
  • Protein of your choice
  • Other vegetables of your choice
  • 4 tablespoons of curry paste
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce*
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Get your favorite stock pot and pour a quarter of your coconut milk in there. Let it boil and simmer until you start to see it thicken up or separate
  2. Add your curry paste and stir until incorporated. You’ll start to see some oil separating – totally normal.
  3. Once your curry paste and coconut milk are all incorporated, you can add your protein of your choice (chicken breast or tofu however, should wait until the end)
  4. Cook protein through and add the rest of your coconut milk and chicken stock. Stir until incorporated
  5. Slowly add your fish sauce and taste as you go – it’s salty!
  6. Add your brown sugar
  7. Stir until incorporated and bring to a boil then a low simmer
  8. Add vegetables and squash and simmer until squash is soft (this is where you would add your chicken breast of tofu as well)

*If you’re going vegan, feel free to use soy sauce in stead of fish sauce!

I always eat this over rice so I try and over season it a little bit. However if you’re eating it alone, feel free to season as you’re used to. Hope you enjoy!

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Ice cream is more of a lifestyle in San Francisco

There is a man named Kenny that I work with who is quite the Renaissance man – he bakes bread, goes mushroom picking, bikes, and loves ice cream just as much as I do. He has an ice cream classification system that sorts various brands in either New School or Old School. He’s a man that gets me.

I too am just as interested in ice cream especially after just accepting that I work out for the sole reason to eat more of it. I have recently been trying to find a way to classify my ice cream experience just as Kenny has and I think I finally thought it through. Is this the most nerdy thing to ever have been blogged? Let’s see.

Category 1 – Home Style

  • A lot of custards
  • Toppings offered: chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream from the can,  maraschino cherries, crushed peanuts
  • Potentially offering soft serve
  • Home made but distributed across Bay Area grocers
  • Cake and sugar cones only
  • Example locations: Mitchell’s Ice Cream at the border of Glen Park and Bernal Heights, and Swenson’s Ice Cream in Russian Hill

Category 2 – Nostalgic

  • They call soda “pop”
  • They offer floats and banana splits
  • They have waffle cones
  • Employees wear paper boat hats and white aprons
  • Flavors are modern and made with high quality ingredients
  • There are vegan options
  • Example locations: Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley

Category 3 – Fashionable

  • Flavor combinations are modern (e.g. lavender vanilla, cardamom cream, strawberry balsamic)
  • Various methods used to create the ice cream like liquid nitrogen
  • Will rarely have cones
  • Might offer a side product
  • Example locations: Loving Cup in Russian Hill, Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley

Category 4 – Modern

  • Probably the most popular in SF
  • High quality ingredients
  • Will use words like “small batch” and “local”
  • Hipsters might work there
  • Waffle cones or cups only
  • Limited topping options
  • Vegan options available (and you bet they’re good)
  • Example locations: Bi-Rite Creamery in the Mission, Humphrey Slocombe in the Mission or Ferry Building, and my current personal favorite, Little Giant Ice Cream in the Financial District

This is just the beginning. Ice cream truly is a life style and with new places like Salt and Straw coming from L.A., there will never be a stop which is fine because I’d much rather talk about this than dating any day. Regardless, I will probably use this as a forward in my life’s manifesto. Keep up with my ice cream journey on Instagram with the hashtag #GenEatsIceCream

Cocoanutz and key lime pie in a waffle cone from Little Giant Ice Cream

San Francisco Hikes: Lands End

One of the best things about living in San Francisco is that I can be in a completely different world in 20 minutes. So when a friend reached out to me that just moved back to San Francisco and wanted to hang out, I couldn’t help but suggest a quintessential San Francisco hike (and when I say ‘hike’ I mean strenuous walk). That was the very cleverly named “Land’s End” in between Ocean Beach and the beautiful SF neighborhood of Seacliff.

You can start out in the Sutro park which has some stairs as an entrance on 40th ave. and Balboa and just head north along the ocean. There are a few turns that lead you to the beach that require a few (a lot) of stairs, but it’s all worth it to me.

You can take this walk all the way to China Beach which is a little secluded landmark by some of San Francisco’s best real estate. The entire walk is a good 4.5 miles that smells like the ocean the whole time. It’s a good time to catch up with friends, get the blood moving and see the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.

What are some of your favorite nature spots?

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Home is where my neutral color palette is

I walked into my studio after work today feeling the relief of a long weekend to come washing over me, and I could not help but notice my apartment was getting hit in all the right directions with light (not to mention I finally unpacked from a business trip two weeks ago and it was pretty clean).

When I first moved into my apartment I wanted to surround myself in a neutral color palette with various textures to keep it calm yet interesting. Everything falls into the black, grey, cream, or white spectrum with exception to the back of one pillow and a print of the Golden Gate Bridge. I found it easier to mix my textures with accessories. Pillow cases and throws bring the soft and the quilted, while a floor lamp brings modern and structured.

I try and limit my clutter in the main room, but I have memories and knick knacks worth saving in the kitchen on a bulletin board which you can see below. Let me know if you have any questions on where I got what! Hope to inspire you further.

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Kitchen Bulletin Board


I was lucky enough to get this beautiful built in kitchen

Your jewelry is beautiful. Just some pushpins and you have wall art.


Still searching for that beautiful grey-blue flat woven rug to tie my rug layering scheme together


Pop of color 1 of 2