Live Well: 2014 Resolutions Scorecard

IMG_0796

A few of you may remember that one year ago, I wrote a post about making specific New Year's resolutions. The best thing about specific resolutions, I argued at the time, was that you can measure your success or failure. Because how can someone know if they've truly succeeded in their resolutions to "work harder" "be happier" or "get in better shape"?

As a result, I think the only fair thing would be to actually go ahead and see how I did on my resolutions. Here's how:

Resolution #1: By the end of the year, be able to run up the Lyon Street stairs without stopping.

Result: Success!

This one was a bit of a surprise, even to me. I chose to make my resolution about the stairs because I have never, ever been able to run the entire length without stopping. (They are LONG. And steep. It's hard to describe - you'll just have to come visit me and I will show you!). I also chose the stairs because it's very measurable - you can either run them or you can't. However, I did not spend my year working out on the stairs. I spent my year going to Crossfit. And while that should have made me more fit, I wasn't sure if it would make me a better stair runner.

Last Friday, I decided to go test myself. And I made it, much to my own surprise. While I know I'm in better shape now than I was a year ago, I think at least 50% of my success came from a determination not to quit once I hit that final flight! Either way, I'm happy. (The photo above was my celebratory photo from the top.)

Resolution #2: Read 18 books by the end of the year.

Result: Success!

I have mixed feelings about the success of this resolution. While I made it to 18 books (19, actually) I purposely selected shorter books, and I didn't end up reading many books that I loved. So it ended up being 19 short, rather mediocre books. I'm happy I made reading more of a focus last year, but I think I can do even better. More to come when I talk 2015 resolutions tomorrow.

Resolution #3: Take an international trip (and no, our trip to BVI did not count).

Result: Fail

Yep - I failed at this one. We DID make it to Hawaii (which was amazing - I really need to recap that trip sometime soon), but we didn't end up going anywhere internationally. Just like with resolution #2, my main takeaway from my performance on this one is that there is room for improvement in 2015. Our trip to Hawaii made me realize how much I enjoy traveling, and how much more of the world I want to see. Expect to see this same resolution on my list for years to come!

-----

Well - we made it through Monday! All of us at work were laughing about how much yesterday morning felt like the first day of school. Most people had taken off at least one week for the holidays, a tiny timeframe compared to the average school winter vacation, but an eternity when you work a 9-to-5 (or 6 or 7...) job! Just like when I was going to school, I had trouble getting to sleep on Sunday, the night before my first day back. And just like school, the first day felt kind of long and kind of tiring, but at least I got to come home and celebrate with a delicious dinner + an episode of Gilmore Girls. Speaking of which...Gilmore Girls and Friends being on Netflix is simultaneously the best and worst thing that ever happened to me/my productivity.

Back tomorrow with 2015 resolutions!

Live Well: Succulent Centerpiece

DSC_2310

Over the weekend I wholeheartedly jumped on the succulents bandwagon. Which means I'm unoriginal in one of two ways - I'm either blindly following the most recent botanical trends, or I'm caving to my DNA and turning into my dad, who has used his weekends to plant things for as long as I can remember. Judge me either way. I'm still happy with the results.

Almost three years of floral centerpieces on our dining room table have resulted in the table's finish chipping away in a very noticeable way. As a result, I wanted a more permanent centerpiece to place over the chips. And who doesn't want to eat in the presence of potting soil every night?

Yesterday morning we walked down to Sloat Garden Center and picked up a few succulents, as well as bowl to put them in. We then brought then home, spread out some towels on our apartment floor, and got our hands (and our floor) dirty. Here were the results:

DSC_2267

DSC_2274

DSC_2280

DSC_2285

DSC_2298

DSC_2306

DSC_2308

DSC_2313I'm awfully proud of how this turned out. Now here's hoping they can survive the care of my decidedly black thumb!

----

While we enjoyed putting together our sweet succulent centerpiece, we derived far more enjoyment from the company of my sister and her fiancé over the long weekend. Big dinners, neighborhood walks, and a wine country tour all resulted in a very good time. We miss them like crazy and hope they come back very soon!

Like I did last week with my youngest siblings' visit, here was our itinerary during the trip:

Friday night: Dinner at Pizzeria Delfina on California/Fillmore

Saturday day: Wine country tour with stops at Ram's Gate, Arista, and Gracianna

Saturday dinner: Chotto

Sunday brunch: Zazie (if you get there around 8:45, you get seated right away!)

Sunday day: a SUPER long and beautiful walk around Crissy Field and the Presidio. We even ended up stumbling upon the San Francisco National Cemetery, which couldn't have been more appropriate for Memorial Day Weekend.

Sunday dinner: Flour + Water (with the pre-open wait made FAR more interesting by the Carnaval parade/street festival that was going on - there were certainly some interesting characters to observe!)

Monday breakfast: Kitchen Story

----

Have a wonderful Tuesday. There's a lot to love about having a four-day week!

Live Well: Ice Cream, Baby

IMG_5593

 Honestly - ice cream has played a major part in my life lately (as you know all too well if you follow me on Instagram). One of the weirder things about San Francisco is that although it is constantly cold, its residents are also constantly willing to stand outside at night in line for ice cream - yours truly included. The result is stiff competition for the title of best ice cream place in town - and a lot of people who are all too willing to play judge.

While we certainly never shy away from ice cream, having two visitors in town who could easily win an ice cream eating contest gave us a good excuse to compare some San Francisco institutions side-by-side. After having ice cream five times in three days, here are our results:

IMG_5588

First stop: Smitten Ice Cream

Location: Hayes Valley

Pros: Super cool production technique (they use liquid nitrogen!), really smooth texture

Cons: You can't mix flavors (although they do have a few toppings)

IMG_5648

Second stop: Bi-Rite Market

Location: Alamo Square / Divisadero (exact same ice cream as the one in the Mission, but no line!)

Pros: To-die-for flavors that go together SUPER well (pictured above: Salted Caramel & Malted Vanilla)

Cons: I wouldn't mind a waffle cone option

IMG_5641

Third stop: Whole Foods to pick up Three Twins ice cream

Location: Whole Foods, Safeway, the corner store, you name it!

Pros: It's delicious and you can buy it at the grocery store! Win-win. Also, I think their Madagascar Vanilla is the best vanilla I've ever tasted

Cons: You'd have to buy your own cone, it's hard to exercise restraint when you can easily eat an entire pint

IMG_5649

Fourth stop: Lappert's Ice Cream

Location: Sausalito

Pros: Awesome dipped waffle cones, tons of flavors

Cons: A little touristy and crowded, but they do have a good system for getting you your ice cream fast

Not pictured: getting soft-serve at the end of our meal at Zero Zero. They give you soft serve, you can choose your toppings, and you can get a side of doughnuts. YUM.

------

One of the reasons I'm writing about ice cream today is because I spent all of yesterday looking like a complete scrub - no makeup, hair in a messy bun, wearing pajamas. In public. I had an eye doctor appointment where they dilated my eyes, so I was working from home. Rather than spending yesterday morning getting dressed and, you know, looking presentable, I decided to come back from the gym, take a shower, and then sleep for an extra hour. I regret nothing. But it didn't yield any great blog photos.

And although my scrubby appearance was probably painful for my eye doctor to see, it didn't affect my vision assessment - I have "pristine" eyes, apparently. Is it sad that even reading the letters on the eyesight test feels like a competition I have to win?

Another accomplishment from yesterday - We finished season 1 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine! We really enjoyed it. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for something to fill your time while all your normal TV shows are on hiatus this summer.

I'll try to return to outfit photos tomorrow. No promises (you never know when wearing pajamas will strike you as appealing) but I will try!