The best Valentine's date I've ever had?
My bestie, Lauren. Two years ago, we were in Edinburgh, Scotland. We ditched a ghost tour right as it was about to reach next-level scary (Caroline does not do scary, no sir) and made a quick escape for dinner. We did the whole shebang: candles, champagne, shared dessert. Kept up with every other couple in the delightful little restaurant!
Since then, I've held a soft spot for a good Galentine's Day celebration, a la Leslie Knope. I mean, I always did say that if I'm still single at age 60, a domestic partnership with any one of my best girlfriends doesn't sound half bad. We could play board games all day long, travel the seven seas, adopt a few cats, maybe a 17 year old too so that we can put 'em through college. Yes, the cats too. I'd do it in a heartbeat.
But in the time being, I'll settle for a festive Galentine's Day. A few ideas if you're in, too:
Make reservations for a fancy-pants dinner out,
and make up stories for every couple you see. Bonus points if you somehow incorporate a drinking game. Buy tickets to a comedy club or improv show afterwards and laugh until you pee your pants. In other words, emulate a classic date night with your soul sista! The best part? You can wear statement heels or a jumpsuit or dark red lips and expect the sorts of compliments that a guy would never know how to give.
Or, better yet... make brunch at home!
My crew's partial to popping some cinnamon rolls into the oven as
we they scramble some eggs and fry some bacon. Offer bottomless mimosas, and then go on a long walk for coffee and girl talk.
Might I also suggest heart-shaped egg-in-a-holes?
Carb-load, build a blanket fort, and watch Jane Austen movies. OR
Carb-load, build a blanket fort, and watch Harry Potter movies. OR
Carb-load, build a blanket fort, and play board / card games. OR
Carb-load, build a blanket fort, and play wine roulette. OR
Combine all of the above.
Clearly state this rule: whoever falls asleep first will get their face doodled on with eyeliner and lipstick. And have their makeover Instagrammed.
Go to Target and...
A) Put together a care package for a mutual friend who lives far away.
B) Set a price limit and then let everyone loose – the money goes towards food, drinks, and activities for the evening. Think as outside of the box as possible. Chocolate milk + frozen pizza + a horror movie? Boxed wine + queso + arts and crafts? Anything goes!
C) All of the above. Recently, my friends and I sent a care package... but we had such a hoot picking out treats that we wanted her there with us even more. Solution: we added more pizzazz to the package by throwing in lots of commentary: post-it notes with quips from the shopping trip, explanations of why we picked what we did, Hershey's hugs to represent our own, one bag of popcorn while we kept the rest to show we wished she were with us... and also we got a bit hungry. Include your friend in your own evening!
D) Don't go judging my cart. I can see you.
Pack a picnic solely with goodies from Trader Joe's, bring a book or a journal, and board games too. Head to the beach if you're close to one, or your apartment rooftop, or a grassy park, or heck, even your living room if it's too cold out.
I realize if you're not in California or Florida, this might not sound so appealing for February. That's when I say: well, come crash on my couch. Or straight up just move here, girl!
This is what I say to my sister when she tells me the weather's being miserable. You live in Seattle, what do you expect. Grab your stuff, your car, your cats, and meet me at my picnic in the sunny park.
Plan a getaway.
It's a long weekend, my friends. Perfect excuse for a girls' getaway. Don't go anywhere that'll take more than three hours to get to. Make it a staycation if you must. Then, go wine-tasting or shopping or brunching at your leisure.
As for me? I'm dragging my friend Leah with me to visit my sister in Seattle. Well.... except she's off on a weekend getaway of her own, so it'll be Leah and me, the cats, most likely a lot of candy, and the rain. Stay tuned for the Snapchats, they'll be riveting, I'm sure.
One of my resolutions this year was to keep my room somewhat tidy... but that one's going nowhere, so let's chat about my other, funner goal: to see more of San Francisco.
On weekends, my absolute favorite activity is wandering around a neighborhood, stopping into stores that lure me in with delicate jewelry displays or a striking dress in the window, or a cafe I recognize from a fellow SF blogger's Snapchat. The problem is, I always tend to head towards Hayes Valley or the Marina, two neighborhoods that I know and love well.
After accidentally sleeping through multiple morning alarms on Saturday, Leah and I sheepishly woke up dangerously close to 1 o'clock. In the afternoon. For shame. With our grand plans of an ambitious hike scrapped, we decided to head over to the Embarcadero and check out Super Bowl City, where all of the events and free concerts (Alicia Keys! One Republic!) and promotional activities for Super Bowl 50 will be taking place next week.
Crowds everywhere, good-looking cops and alert snipers at the ready, metal detectors every which way, and lots of social media booths prepped for the Big Day. You can even zipline across a pop-up model of the Golden Gate Bridge!
While it was very cool to see the excitement building, I also took the chaos as a sign to lay low in my apartment next week and sample an array of dips that I'm requesting be available within arm's reach.
Sunday, we were much less sloth-like and rose at a decently acceptable hour.
I managed to convince Leah that a make-up hike was absolutely unnecessary... and that instead, we should take advantage of the sunny weather and go check out The Mission.
The Mission is a neighborhood that I'm not at all familiar with, though I've popped over for occasionally for brief pit stops at the likes of Bi-Rite Creamery, Boba Guys, and Urban Putt.
I can say with confidence – I'm now addicted.
Could it be because of Tartine Bakery? We joined the line snaking around the corner, tempted by the pleasant scent of butter wafting onto the street from the ovens, and debated over which pastries to share.
We settled on a morning bun, and an almond croissant, and oh!
The hype does not lie.
Crispy edges, flaky crust, buttery bun flecked with orange zest.
A dusting of sugar atop a delicate croissant encasing dense layers filled generously with almonds.
Or could it be the masses of people laying out under the sun in Mission Dolores Park, sprawled out on blankets, mimosas and sandwiches in hand?
Dolores Park is the place to be on lazy Sunday afternoons in San Francisco. In fact, one of my roommates says: there's nothing to do in the daytime in SF except drink beers at Dolores Park.
And although I'll disagree with her thought that there's nothing else to do, I will concede that drinking beers in the park isn't the worst option out there. Judging by college friends I ran into while here, well... it seems to be a popular sentiment.
Once we hit the colorful streets of the Castro, we doubled back in search for coffee...
(Okay, wouldya just look at this goodness? Irresistible!)
But instead, we ducked into Dog Eared Books for a quick browse and then quickly lost track of time. The bookstore is tiny, but filled with treasures. Leah headed straight for the books about medicine and science, and I tucked into history corner first before idling over to travel writing.
You know, it's interesting. In Barnes & Noble, I find myself flipping through bestsellers and whatever's shiny and new. But there's something about a charming and well-loved independent bookseller that always has me hankering for stories from the past, and tales from afar.