A small, beautiful, hurting world 

Thinking about Turkey and Nice. My understanding of foreign policy is much weaker than my grasp on domestic issues, but it is all horrifying. Following my new favorite  thinker, Anne-Marie Slaughter, to try and understand. Vox’s reports are also super helpful.

Without anything to contribute to the conversation, other than sadness, trying to think of the beauty of Istanbul. Four years ago, David and I spent Thanksgiving in Istanbul. It was a dizzingly incredible city.

I remember boarding the Turkish Airlines flight, giddy with excitement. It was the first time David and I were flying across the Atlantic together, and I was SO excited to take such a big trip. 

When we arrived at the Osmanhan, our hotel in Sultanahmet, Fatih, the manager, greeted us warmly and welcomed us to the city. I don’t generally remember hotel managers, but he was so kind and helpful throughout the trip.

We started each morning with an incredible breakfast on the hotel’s roof deck, looking out at the Bosphorus. The view, the perfect tomatoes and cheese, the cool morning air-it’s one of those scenes that you tuck away to remember when stressed or wanting a vacation. 

Although it was November, the city was packed. It truly felt like a crossroads for the world-so many different languages and cultures, everywhere we went.

I remember actually feeling a little overwhelmed at Taxsim Square. So many people out, enjoying a Friday night. It was crowded! We ended up finding a rooftop bar, and I remember feeling fancy as we drank Pilsners and ate popcorn, looking out at the city (isn’t it random the memories that stick? I really remember the popcorn. And a lively birthday dinner at the table next to us).

The Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and all of Sultanahmet…all incredible. Thinking about all the history and turmoil they’ve witnessed. They’re still standing, incredibly magnificent. 

Hoping for a peaceful end to this current chaos and praying for those who are hurting.

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Year 2!

Two years ago today, we were…

getting ready…

taking photos…

walking down the aisle…


and getting a little emotional…

listening to our amazing officiant…

and a beautiful, moving reading…

exchanging vows and rings…


and first kissing…


as husband and wife!


Cheers to all the overwhelming excitement, reality, and joy of that day! Feeling incredibly grateful today and always :)


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Almost anniversary weekend

Hello, Monday! Have a quick moment to jot down some memories from the weekend.

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Christie and Andrew’s for brunch with Molly and Eric. Christie is AMAZING! She threw an incredible small shower for Molly, complete with balloons, cupcakes and absolutely incredible food. It was a delight to catch up and celebrate one of my first and favorite college friends. Doesn’t she look gorgeous?

With plans in the East Bay on Saturday and the South Bay on Sunday, we initially planned to just drive back and forth.  It’s certainly doable, but also certainly time consuming. I found a great deal for a hotel in SF on HotelTonight, so we decided to make it into an impromptu trip.

The weather was spectacular! Crystal clear and sunny. Saturday night, we met up with the Bress Officiant Ever and Katie for dinner in the Mission. Incredible company, the restaurant… I won’t write the name, but it put a new spin on small plates Japanese food. What we tried was delicious, but definitely appetizers and not dinner. Ugh, isn’t it the worst when you pick the restaurant and it ends up being a total let down?

Food aside, it was awesome to catch up with our friends. And, special to hang out with our officiant and reminisce about the wedding!

Sunday, we drove down the Mountain Vew for Jon’s surprise birthday.  Melissa picked a perfect restaurant and planned everything so thoughtfully. 

And now-another week begins! 

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Reading check-in

On the train home and something got me thinking about a book I recently read.  And then I realized, it’s been a while since I jotted down thoughts on recent reads.  2016 hasn’t been a banner year of reading, but there’s been a few gems.  Here’s some of what I remember:

US, David Nichols: Weird thing, I didn’t particularly love his other book, One Day, but I actually kind of enjoyed this.  It’s actually a pretty depressing premise-a husband and wife, after 20+ years together, split up, but before they do, they take a family vacation around Europe.  Not uplifting, but I love books that take deep dives and explore people’s relationships over decades (ahem, Fates and Furies), and I found it a fun read.

Apartment Therapy: Complete and Happy Home: When we were in the thick of the house decisions, I remember walking to the library one afternoon thinking, I just need a book. Not Pinterest, not magazines, but a clear, easy to follow book to help me figure this whole design thing out. This did the trick. I can’t actually remember anything I read, but the photos are gorgeous. I do remember it had checklists, and to-dos to help stay organized, and I’m kind of wanting to re-check out and review now that we’re in the house.

When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi: I read Dr. Kalanithi’s NYT article, How Long Have I Got Left?, when Joanna Goddard shared it on Cup of Jo. I remember being haunted-by the wrenching thought of a talented young doctor facing death, and also by his incredible writing. When he passed away, I read his article, Before I Go, and was emotionally moved in a way that surprised me, as I don’t know him.  His book is beautiful, and is as much about life and living life, as about curiosity and asking hard questions. I still think of it often.

The Most of Nora Ephron: People often talk about committing to morning bible readings, or meditation readings, as a soothing start to the day.  This winter, I started doing morning Nora Ephron readings.  The book is an anthology of articles and blog posts from throughout her career, and daily readings made a a nice morning ritual.  I didn’t make it through the whole book (totally gave up on Heartburn), but I loved reading the When Harry Met Sally script on Valentine’s Day, and reading about her love of cooking, and butter, in particular. Also, I had no idea she was in the room when Steve Wynn accidentally poked his elbow through his Picasso! Nora and Joan-they know all the cool people.

The Folded Clock, Heidi Julavits: Not a terribly memorable book (had to look it up t0 remember more) but think the review linked above kind of nails it.  Julavits is an author who likes herself and has a pretty nice life, and her book is a diary about the thoughts she has, living her nice, mostly-happy, sometimes not so happy, life.  Not blockbuster material, but she’s a good writer, and it’s a fun peak into her world.

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld: This book is SO MUCH FUN.  It made me laugh and smile, and was a totally perfect vacation-y escape from reality.  If I had not already read it, I would want to book a beach vacation just to enjoy it all over again.  A total delight.

A Window Opens, Elizabeth Egan: Another fun, thoroughly enjoyable read.  She’s a highly perceptive writer and peppers the book with familiar cultural references that make you feel like you’re talking to a friend.  I laughed with the Amazon satire; the glamour of working for a tech marketplace behemoth clashing with the reality behind all that gloss.  Of course, there were times that I thought, come ON Alice (the main character), how out of touch with most of working America are you? But, once I got past that, Alice is a pretty level-headed observer of work and life, and I found Egan’s writing a delightful read.

Dinner: A Love Story, Jenny Rosenstrach: Right, this why I started thinking about recent reads on the train! I read A Window Opens and DALS back to back, and train commutes feature prominently in both.  I’ve read Rosenstrach’s blog occasionally (her hummus hack is genius) and after reading a guest post from Egan on her blog, decided to check out her book. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to anxiety about the world, this book is a perfect antidote. It’s thoughtful, sentimental, and in the way it soothes your soul, it is basically the literary equivalent of a leisurely, Sunday bolognese dinner with red wine and your favorite people.  Since we moved, I’m cooking a lot more. After reading her book, I’ve found myself more aware and appreciative of the dinner ritual the calming effect it has on transitioning from the work day to home.

Lift, Kelly Corrigan: KC! More of a meditation than a novel, I didn’t know what this was about when I picked it up. As always with her incredible writing, with one sentence you’re laughing at her wit and candor, and in the next, she’s assessed a familiar thought, memory or fear, and you find yourself tearing up with emotion. She is one of my all-time favorites, and I just can’t wait for her to write another book.

Unfinished Business, Anne-Marie Slaughter: In 2012, after reading her terribly titled Atlantic article, I remember thinking, nope, nope, nope, this is not the message to send to women, and really, what does this college dean/State department exec know about most working women? Turns out, truly exploring work, women, feminism, care value, and competition–ALL OF IT–can’t be distilled down to a catchy title, or even a column.  It needs a book.  This is that book, and I’m about halfway through and feeling immensely grateful for her writing, her research and her HONESTY.

Always look for more suggestions to add to the to-read list!





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Note to self:

Don’t miss the fireworks! After last year’s bust, I was feeling a little bah humbug about staying up late (on a MONDAY) for the show.  Behind on work, already in PJs, with a cold that just won’t quit…I told David I was skipping the whole thing.

Thank goodness, right before sunset, I change my mind.  David and I raced downtown just as the Ports game was ending.

It was a beautiful, clear evening-you can see Mount Diablo in the distance.  The city sets off the fireworks from behind the stadium and it was an awesome show! A happy end to the holiday weekend.  Jotting this down so the next time I feel too tired or too cozy and just want to stay home…I’ll remember how grateful I was to watch the fireworks :)

via Flickr

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Filed under California Discoveries, Observations