Posts tagged san francisco
Posts tagged san francisco
Chalk art outside the conference hall.
I really wanted to cry looking at it. I’m sure I’m not unique at all in this regard but don’t you ever just see something that makes you want to throw your hands up in the air and quietly mutter, “Will I ever live here?* Will I ever not be broke constantly? Will I ever be able to see what my future looks like clearly?” I cannot imagine where I will be at 30. I can’t imagine where I’ll be in 2014. I had a talk with a friend tonight about this. It’s strange. I have an idea of what I want ultimately from life (kind of?) but I try not to idealize my future much. I like the idea of being open to spontaneity. But still. Do you ever wonder where you’ll really end up in the end? All the places you’ll go before that time? And where you won’t? Who you’ll meet and who you’ll miss and who you might lose?
I think I just ruined the sleep patterns for a lot of you tonight. Please don’t ever let me go to the airport after I’ve been drinking ever again. Still food for thought though. Consider it.
*Here, being any city you love a lot and not limited to SF only.
They’re as delicious as they look too.
View from the Bently Reserve!
25,000 LEDs Illuminate The San Francisco Bay Bridge [Trailer]
Excuse me while I lay down, curl up in a ball, and sob myself to sleep tonight with how perfect this city is and how much I love it.
In June, I attended the Glimpse Conference in San Francisco which was 24 hours of me flying to the city and back in a day long conference on social discovery which basically confirmed all of my social media theories in a nutshell: SEO is out, organic search is in, the CEO of Pandora is fantastic and Paul Davison’s theories on why the future of social media needs to immediately allow us to know all about the person we just met from the high school they attended to whether or not we’ll marry them are spectacular if not a tad bit ambitious and known to infuriate certain WSJ reporters…
ANYWAY, pictures from the event finally made it up on Facebook. I am the brunette with the ponytail and the fuchsia trench in the second row. (Look closely.)
Memo to self - never wear a light jacket and a sleeveless dress in SF in early June! Quickest way to icicle it up, though the stockings I had on certainly helped keep me warm.
Great conference overall. Any day I can be in the city is a good day.
In the pilot episode of Six Feet Under, there is a moment where Michael C. Hall is smiling politely at guests at his father’s wake and then suddenly he starts screaming at the top of his lungs. This scene cuts to just the part of him smiling at the guests with the realization that the screaming bit was all imagined in his head and he didn’t actually do it. For a few weeks now, I’ve kind of been in that place. It’s been extremely hot out in SoCal, to the point where it turns you lethargic and listless. I’ve been working hard too, with not a whole lot of play included in all of that work. There were far too many days where I also just wanted to make like Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen and reconfigure all of my particles and atoms on Mars and just be. But y’know, in a more urbane environment where you can find a Coffee Bean nearby.
I went back to San Francisco for a few days where the point of this trip was going just because. Just for me. Just because I said I could. Just.
And also because I wanted to wear a coat and Oxfords and tights again. Facebook, you can have your Palm Springs/Vegas/Disneyland visits - I will take that 60 degree weather that allows me to get nice and pale and walk to all of the places!
My hotel was right across the street from the Ferry Building by the Bay Bridge. Typically I like to stay deeper within Union Square, but I also like to mix up the hotels too. This allows me to try out new eateries and embrace the environment surrounding where I’m at.
A roaring fire in the lobby! Oh, autumn and seasonal weather how I have missed you so!
Going out early in the morning in my red trench and pants! PANTS. I felt right. I felt right.
Overcast in the morning by the Bay Bridge. My kind of morning.
I don’t know who this girl was but I liked her flowers. There were a lot of people running around this weekend with bouquets of flowers on them which was beautiful because I knew quite a few people would be happy when they received them and also sad because I rarely see this happen in my LA neck of the woods.
The ever-lovely and inspiring Cafe Zoetrope as I made my way down to the Wharf.
But not before I stumbled upon another eatery, fashioned out of an old cable car. (!!!)
From far off in the distance, you can see sailboats and the Golden Gate Bridge. Note the bright blue sky, as it swiftly changes once you turn your back…
… to face the rest of the city again.
Stopped at La Boulange after leaving the Wharf behind for a mid-morning meal of fruit, granola, and yogurt.
I also ate said meal outside, where tbh if you weren’t eating outside in the sunny and lightly breezy 64 degree weather, I had some serious judgment for you. Outdoors, I was surrounded by lots of chic SF ladies at their respective tables with topknots in their hair and light blouses, discussing their jobs with yoga mats as their tableside buddies. I had that moment as I always do sitting there, idly staring at the trees and the people walking by where I wondered if people looked at me and thought I was a local there, just getting her Saturday morning breakfast and enjoying the calm of the day. Not a visitor, but a resident. I wonder how many people we look at like that and envy the life we imagine they may have that way sometimes.
Then I went to City Lights bookstore after and promptly read for a good half an hour as the light shone in through the windows and the breeze floated in from the doors constantly opening and closing. This particular moment, for as happy as it made me, also added in a twinge of sadness as it reminded me so much of how growing up my dad and I would go to the bookstore every Saturday morning together and read for hours and hours and go to the art galleries and get lunch together after for our father-daughter time. He is the only person I’ve ever been able to go out to bookstores with and it has been years since we’ve had a proper bookstore visit together.
There is a spot in my heart where an ache is beginning to form to share that kind of moment with a pile of books with a new, different, but still quite special person again. And there is a spot next to that ache that fears that moment never happening due to circumstances and time and distance being out of my control. That fear is a lot like running down a corridor and never making it to the end because there isn’t one. The corridor keeps getting longer and longer.
But I only have one thing to say to that kind of fear: nobody fights harder and refuses to give up like Heather Anne Taylor does. Time will tell, and it will be right when it does.
Leaving the gates of Chinatown and heading into the k-hole of shopping at Union Square.
I didn’t buy this dress at Zara, but it’s quite nice don’t you think? Reminds me of something a modern-day Joan Holloway would wear.
Dinner at Perry’s, grilled artichokes with lemon aioli sauce. Perfection!
Sunday, the day I was leaving, was spent out and about bright and early getting my Blue Bottle roasted coffee on. I will be firmly in this coffee’s camp till the day I die.
And a farewell to my dearest, most darling, cable cars!
As you can tell, I have a lot of feelings about this city, but none that change regardless of how many times I revisit it. It has carved out a strong place in my heart and never fails to leave me wandering out and about with the biggest, most silliest of smiles plastered all over my face.
Ever thine, ever mine, ever ours,
Found this gem in my phone, a leftover from a visit to San Francisco at the cable cars.
Middle left - how are you even possible? I’d have to be a human windsock in order for that to work.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself last Wednesday attending the Glimpse Social Discovery conference in San Francisco. And to actively admitting to enjoying a conference (which seldom gets the “this was fun let’s do it again sometime!” rap) is a rare thing. Overall, the day played out like a field trip for me minus the 30+ classmates and chaperones trailing behind.
Just in case you’re new to this blog, let me introduce you to my job. I work in social media as a social media manager. And I don’t place an emphasis on SEO or analytical data. That’s more of a social media strategist thing to do anyway. (But lest you think I don’t factor ROI in there somewhere, don’t be fooled.) Me, I’m all about the blogging aspect and the quality of the content trumping quantity. There are a shitload of companies out there who believe that if you just keep pumping terrible, poorly written content out constantly then that’s good. You’re making your quota! Your job is secure for one more day! Definitely not me. I am passionate about being passionate when it comes to writing. I won’t write anything I don’t feel strongly about because when you lack the feeling, you become synchronized. The writing reflects it. So if I don’t write or blog for a day or two, it’s because I’d rather save myself for a meaty post rather than throw it all away on a half-assed article I didn’t even enjoy the topic of in the first place.
It’s not a conventional approach but this is social media. The groundwork is always being relaid and the platform constantly evolves. Whenever I go to events where I’m surrounded by fellow interwebz professionals, I like to ask everyone what they do at their job and then mentally stack up in my head their duties versus mine. Partially because each company treats social media differently so there are some points where it’s interesting to see whether or not you’re “on track” with the rest of them. But also partially just because. I have yet to meet someone doing more than me.
Social discovery, for those of you not in the know and that included me until Wednesday, is about being connected to new places, people, and products based off of your own existing interests and social interactions. I wrote in my other blog some of the lessons learned but to recap a few:
1) We like to discover but we don’t like to give up data on ourselves in order to start the discovery.
2) The internet is growing away from search and more toward discovery each and every day.
3) People want to make friends but they don’t like the concept of paying to make a friend or a connection.
It’s a brave new world dawning upon us and only continuing to dawn all the brighter each and every day and I drank up all of its Koolaid.
Our keynote speaker was the CEO of Pandora Joe Kennedy (left) interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek reporter, Doug MacMillan (right). There were 10 sessions in all (I’m not writing them all because this post will never end if I do) in which reporters would sit in front of the hall and “interview” about 3-5 different speakers from networking sites like Facebook, Mashable, LinkedIn, Tagged, and more on a series of pre-meditated questions followed up by a series of tweeted questions from the audience as opposed to a live Q&A.
Listening to Joe describing how Pandora works was stunning. It’s an absurdly well oiled machine. Music analysts categorize and give attributes to the music you hear, noting the kinds of instruments used in the pieces, the tempo, the speed, the pitch of the voice, etc. Said attributes are then matched to other songs with similar characteristics and a playlist is created. Most fascinating of all is hearing Joe discuss how playlists are further customized to your age group and geographic location. A 13 year old in Wyoming listening to Taylor Swift is not going to have the same playlist as a 35 year old in Boston. Joe was adamant in stating that Pandora is for “serendipity and discovery” - with over 100,000 musicians in their library, he likened it to being, “How do we use everything we know to play the best music for you?”
It’s hard for a company to crack the formula to providing their customers what they need but Pandora is a diamond in the rough example of a company that truly cares and is constantly looking to enrich a consumer’s life.
My personal favorite panel was this one right here, “Location Discovery” led by reporter and BAMF Shayndi Raice from the Wall Street Journal featuring from left to right Paul Davison, CEO of Highlight, Holger Luedorf, the VP of foursquare, and Bill Nguyen the CEO of Color.
A solid panel discussion would dive deep into the issues that consumers and corporations were facing when it comes to the big bad world of the interwebz while still maintaining a message of what each person did and a sense of humor. Very few panels pulled that in like this one did. This session worked because of the extremes you had each individual coming from. Paul saw the future of social media as being in a “sixth sense” form where you could one day be able to look at a person and know immediately their name, where they worked, what they did, where they lived, if you went to high school with them, if you’d marry them, etc. I loved that because that’s how I’ve often dreamed of the future being myself! Like a chip embedded underneath your skin that allows for a constant flow of communication no matter what language you speak, what race you belong to, what gender or age or caste you fall into. Connection and communication equaling a unity.
I think it’s beautiful.
But while beautiful, the theory is also wildly, wildly ambitious and Bill said exactly what the skeptical/creeped out side of the audience was thinking, “Isn’t it scary that to be discovered, you have to give over data about yourself first?”
Perhaps. But no more scarier than the fact that we have already begun the process and willingly at that.
An overriding theme of the conference was time. Being time rich and time poor. A time rich person is a consumer who has the time or makes the moment to dick around on the internet and look at tons of websites each day. Time poor was never fully defined, but I’m assuming it was the antithesis of time wealth. I didn’t like either definition. Neither feel right to me. Anyone can be time rich if they know how to schedule their time wisely and devote it to the areas that they are passionate about.
On the lunch break, I used some of my time wealth to hang out in Union Square’s little park area. A Chinese dragon performance piece with gongs and drums was being held with several dancing dragons visiting the audience members. At 1:30 on a Wednesday afternoon.
Ahhhh, SF. It made my heart fill up with too much love for the city, almost to a bursting point. There was a part of me that periodically throughout the day kept thinking, “Let’s stay. Let’s stay here forever. You didn’t bring anything with you but a handbag, phone, and your coat. That’s okay. We can start from scratch with just those things.”
And you really can too, if you work in social media. You can move anywhere and keep working and stay connected.
Though you may have to check in occasionally for your complimentary beer and warm pretzel combo. I think this wound up getting the most tweets scrolling through the Bumebox dash for the day, with mentions of “double fisting” both. As there should be.
Mmm, social media…
In the two years since I was last in the city by the Bay, some things have changed and others haven’t.
Writing that sentence “in the two years since I was last in the city by the Bay” takes this post down a depressing road before it even begins. You’d think with a 90 minute flight time between SF and LA this wouldn’t be the case. But the last two years for me have had their share of ups and downs, all of which have been time consuming enough in their own way to prevent me from making a proper return. Proper vacations and even visits rely on said visitor to not only make the time but also the money to treat themselves as they should be treated during their stay.
In the two years since I was last in the city by the Bay, I graduated from college. I had a shitty job I hated for nine months. I got an amazing job right after working in social media and picked up some incredible freelance writing gigs along the way. I’ve been busy in the year since, attending to both my professional life and personal one. You’d be surprised at how this can translate to edging trips back up North out into a TBD gray space.
In May 2010, I was “living” out of a hotel room in San Francisco trying to decide if I should take a job in the city and scrimp it and pinch it in a tiny apartment with no kitchen on Bush Street or go for someplace else. I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like had I stayed and not moved back to SoCal. It’s a strange thought to have because I’m pretty sure that had I stayed the 2012 version of me would have been a whole other girl. She wouldn’t have been the right kind of girl or the wrong kind, just different from me as a city visitor. I often think she would have felt like something was missing. But knowing what I know now and all of the wonderful opportunities and people I have in my life, I wonder if she’d know to feel that way or even have an idea of what that “missing” piece was.
Coming back to San Francisco for the long weekend felt just right. It felt like a bonafide treat. I work hard, I play hard. I made the time, I made the money.
The gray space turned blue for the long weekend and what a beautiful blue it was.
A few weeks prior to my stay, I tweeted at the hotel Twitter account, attempting to get my hands on any and all Memorial Day weekend staying specials they had. We had some pretty good conversations back and forth and I got the deal I wanted and booked the stay. I was greeted at the hotel with, “You’re the girl from Twitter!” by the concierge and with this very fitting (since I work with social media as it is!) little display of free snacks, rubber duck, and personalized note.
It was also the same weekend of the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary and the big hearts in Union Square were decorated for the occasion. (see first photo)
I can’t ever go into the city without paying the Benefit store on O’Farrell a visit for a beauty stock-up!
After buying makeup and eating dinner, it was time to do my other favorite Friday night activity and drink. I went to Harry Denton’s Starlight Room first since it had been recently remodeled and had some champagne. Um, apparently they remodeled the drink menu too and my favorite drink was GONE. Luckily my bartender was able to make it but it was a old moment for me.
On a whim, I followed this visit up with a trip to The Irish Bank, a pub down the street from my hotel. Smart move, as you can see from my double fisting the Irish coffee and gin and tonic in the above photo (I don’t know why so many people had to comment on that either… I have hot alcohol and booze over ice. I’m covering all of my drinking bases here.)
There was a table of hot guys right behind me and I did meet a British guy BUT with my luck being the way it is, the British guy wasn’t hot and I wound up making bar friends with a girl sitting next to me from Montana. I think my two drinks minimum in front of me was what scared away the guys- why buy the girl a drink when she obviously has it covered?
A couple of hours later, I went back to the hotel, fell asleep, and woke up with a headache and the aftermath of a dream involving me and Peter Dinklage that I’m not about to recount here (it was hot though). But the sky was blue, the sun was out, and it was 7 AM- time to get going and hit up the Ferry Building and the Wharf!
Only in San Francisco will I ever, EVER be this enthusiastic about doing the whole “rise and shine!” thing.
I now know where the secret empty cable cars for picture taking location is in the city!
Blue Bottle is notorious for its no-frills straight-up espresso and line that can keep you waiting for 45 minutes, minimum. Highly recommended.
The lovely Bay Bridge, in lovely warm weather actually. I spent the entire day in a light blazer. No coat. I could have worn shorts if I wanted to. THAT AIN’T NORMAL BUT I LIKED IT.
Boudins by the Wharf, which I pretty much ran to and had a full lunch at 10:30 in the morning at. My eating schedule was so splintered during this trip, but anytime is a good time for Boudins.
I have this magic ability to find random Tommy Wiseau anything no matter where I go and the fact that a spy shop had a display of denim jeans and a poster from the The Room down some random side alley that just happened to catch my eye was no exception. Oh hi, Mark.
Because we all need an artsy fartsy Instagram photo of a random street in this world.
It should be noted that after a day of wearing heels and walking from Nob Hill to the Ferry Building to the Wharf, and with a brief visit to Chinatown I didn’t pull that stunt again on Sunday. No matter how thick the heel, eventually you’ll feel as though your shoes are filling up with blood and the makings of future blisters.
Sunday morning at my favorite European cafe, Cafe de la Presse. The only one I know of where they keep a full magazine rack of international glossy fashion mags to read while eating.
Then a visit to Haight Ashbury, which is about an hour long walk to get to if you take my normal route there and not the fucked up Google Maps one that has you wandering up and down a million side streets. Take Sutter to Divisadero, make a left, and make a right at Haight. Easy peasy. And on the way back, you can take pretty much any street that pops up before Sutter and be right back in the same neighborhood you started from again.
Put your burgers ‘n fries in the air like they just don’t care.
That shop had to be a more recent development- I would remember a burger place showing up next door to a glass pipe store.
Eventually wandering back down to Market Street and paying some shopping spots a visit. I didn’t get this dress at Zara because they didn’t plan on having a sale for the weekend but I did get a fantastic navy blue swingy dress at H&M on sale for the company mixer.
It’s rare for me to post a photo of myself too so enjoy it- I have a hard time taking camera phone picture shots without covering my entire face.
Can’t go to the city without at least one visit to Francis Ford Coppola’s old writing spot, Cafe Zoetrope. Trekked into Chinatown and down the Jack Kerouac Alley for this one.
Speaking of Chinatown, I had dinner at the Hang Ah Tea Room that night which is a wonderful, blink and you might miss it Chinese restaurant down a side street on Sacramento. Try not to miss it because it’s scrumptious.
Outside of the Chinatown gates and onward to one last watering hole before the end of the night and my flight in the morning back home.
And one last personal story for the road…
The Prada Storefront Story
One of the most significant places to me in this entire city will always be the Prada storefront in Union Square. Atop the store is about 9 or 10 more stories of a building. One of the tip top stories contains the company that was almost my future had I continued to live in SF. I got offered and hired for a job there, the infamous one that wanted me to start off as an unpaid intern for 3 months before moving onto a full-time paid position.
Oh, the emotions that ran high overthinking the hell out of this one. I know I would have liked to work there. Even now, I don’t hold any hard feelings toward the company or its CEO, Layne. But you know what turned me away from accepting the job?
That was one of Layne’s attempted selling points to get me to come on board working with her team. The view was breathtaking. A straight cut right through the heart of the Financial District. You could even see the Bay Bridge in the distance which was Fabulous with a capital F. And to call it an “attempt” at selling me is being completely inaccurate- fuck it, I wanted all of that right then. But the nagging thought I continued to have staring out of those windows atop that pricey piece of commercial real estate was, “Butttttt?”
A view is surface based. It’s pretty to look at but it can’t feed you physically. With no paycheck for 3 months, I’d be like Icarus flying into the sun. On top of the world on the surface but getting burned in every other which way I could.
I like to stay as grounded as possible.
So yeah, there’s the storefront story about my once future self. Want to hear something even funnier? You could see it straight from my hotel room. Interesting that my present should face my past, in the aptly Greek mythology character named hotel, The Triton.
A different girl indeed. Not the right kind or the wrong kind either.
9 more days till San Francisco. Song is totes appropriate.