This weekend, Drew and I packed up our apartment. It was very stressful and brought up a lot of memories of my life in San Francisco. My dream of moving to San Francisco started when I was a child. My mom and I would visit my aunt Maura, who lived near Haight-Ashbury. We would ride the carousal in Golden Gate Park, have Chinese take-out, and visit the zoo. In 2008, I made the move from my hometown of Auburn, CA to the city to start college. Since then, new adventures unfolded. Here is a recap of my favorite experiences I've had in the city by the bay.
1. LoveFest - 2008
When I first moved to San Francisco, my roommate and I became fast friends with our neighbors across the hall and upstairs. We got a big group together for LoveFest, a technoparade and festival included 25 floats with DJ’s and go-go dancers. We dressed in our finest "rave attire" and headed to the Civic Center to be in the heart of the festival. We danced and drank in the streets all-day and ended the night by rallying at Ruby Skye for the Benny Benassi show. Unfortunately LoveFest ended in 2009, but I’m so happy I have unforgettable memories and a few pictures to remind me of my favorite San Francisco festival!
2. Riding the Mexican Party Bus - 2008
What a random night! When I first moved to the city, I was a waitress at a small restaurant named Globe. One night, a co-worker invited me to celebrate his birthday aboard El Volado. We drove the Mexican party bus all over the Mission drinking tequila, salsa dancing and bar hopping. It was an experience I won't forget, including the hangover! The next day, I had a rough drive home to visit my family for Thanksgiving.
3. Academy of Sciences - 2009
Around the corner from first my apartment in the Inner Sunset, I discovered my favorite museum. Formerly known as the Steinhart Aquarium, it reopened in 2008 as the Academy of Sciences. I loved spending my afternoons exploring the indoor rain forest filled with frogs, birds and butterflies! The Academy of Sciences has an extensive aquarium that includes coral reefs, tidepools and African penguins. They even feature Claude, a rare albino alligator. It’s a beautiful natural history museum that cannot be missed for anyone interested in learning more about the earth and its inhabitants.
4. Bay to Breakers - 2010
San Francisco is weird, which is why I love living here. Bay to Breakers is the best way to experience San Francisco's free spirit. I've been to B2B several times but my favorite experience was in 2010 when my friend Amanda and I let out our inner flower child out, body paint and all!
5. Scoring my own apartment - 2010
I am one lucky girl! In the spring of 2010, I found a well-priced one-bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood. When I attended the open house, I found out that the current tenant was trying to get out of her lease early and was in charge of finding the new tenant. She was trying to sell her furniture, including a TV, for a $1,000. The apartment was small and funky but it was perfect for a single girl on a budget. I was one of 27 applying for the place! To stand out, I wrote her a handwritten note explaining why this was my dream apartment and why she should choose me. The note and my offer to purchase her furniture worked and I moved to Russian Hill in July 2010!
6. Polk Street and the Marina – 2010
In 2010, I met a new group of friends who were from my hometown. Erica and Kenzie had recently moved to the same neighborhood and we started hanging out regularly. One night the girls invited me to go out to Kozy Kar, a bar on Polk Street. When I arrived, I found them on a shag-covered waterbed with Matt, Erica’s twin brother and two other guys they knew from high school. It was an unforgettable night because one of those guys happened to be my future husband! As more of our hometown friends started moving to the city and we met new friends, our group became bigger. We still love a good night playing Pop-A-Shot at Mauna Loa or dancing to 90's hip-hop at Comet Club.
7. My Epic Gaga Halloween Costume - 2010
In 2010, my obsession with Lady Gaga was at a fever pitch! For Halloween I decided to make Gaga’s Mickey Mouse outfit from the “Paparazzi” music video. I purchased a white leotard and leggings from American Apparel. I hand-dyed the fabric yellow and hand-painted each Mickey. To complete the look, I bought black mouse glasses on E-Bay. This is my favorite costume and reminds me of an epic weekend long Halloween celebration.
8. DKS Alice & Wonderland Formal - 2010
During my time at San Francisco State, I had the privilege of being apart of Delta Kappa Sigma, a local sorority. During the Fall 2010 semester, I was nominated to be the event planner for our formal. My team and I came up with the theme “Fall Down the Rabbit Hole”. To complete the look, I found some amazing Alice and Wonderland rental props from a local store and my parents created a flamingo croquet course! The event was a hit and the start of my event-planning career.
9. NYE Party at Mark Hopkins - 2010 & 2011
Our group of friends had two amazing New Years celebrations at the Mark Hopkins. The first year we rented a standard hotel room. When we arrived we were upgraded to a suite, which included a handwritten note and chocolate covered strawberries. We felt so VIP that we decided to splurge on a suite the following year. Once again we were upgraded and this time it was to the penthouse suite! We rang in a memorable New Year with views of the fireworks exploding over the bay and lots of champagne.
10. Getting Posey! - 2011
Drew and I had only been dating a few months, when we decided to get a puppy together. One day, Drew found a listing on eBay Classifieds for a litter of Yorkshire Terriers puppies in the area. Since Drew was away on business, I invited Kenzie to come with me to look at the puppies. When we got to the owner's house we were told they had two girls available. The first was sweet and mellow and the other was spunky and playful. The decision was a tough one but in the end we ended up with the best dog, who is not only spunky and playful but also sweet and mellow.
11. Graduating from SF State – 2011
After 5 years in college I finally graduated with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management! Even though San Francisco State was not your stereotypical college experience, I made the most of it by getting involved. I joined clubs, rushed a sorority, and volunteered for my department. I will always look back at my time at San Francisco State and be proud of my accomplishments.
12. German party - 2011
My friends and I pretty much use any excuse to have a dress up party, so naturally it was essential to have a German party for Erica and Matt's birthday. The party was full of sexy beer maidens, men in lederhosen, and delicious bratwurst. After too many keg stands, Drew fell asleep outside and got the nickname “Hans Hammburger”.
13. Studio 54 Halloween Party at CLIFT - 2011
When I worked at the CLIFT hotel, I was invited to attend their annual Halloween Party. The famous Redwood Room was given a 1970’s makeover for the Studio 54 soiree. I channeled my inner Jerry Hall, drank Harvey Wallbangers, and boogied to disco hits like "Ring My Bell" with my new co-workers. I’m glad I went home early because several of my co-workers almost got fired for having an after party in one of the hotel suites!
14. 49er game at Candlestick - 2011
My family and I have been Niner’s fan my whole life and to be able to attend a game with my dad was a dream come true! Drew's dad, Chris, also came and set us up with an awesome tailgate party including brawts and beer. The 49ers were playing the Rams, which was an easy win and our seats were incredible thanks to Drew's uncle Bruce. Thanks again Bruce!
15. Free The Book of Mormon Tickets - 2012
When I was a Catering Manager at the CLIFT, StubHub approached me. They wanted to set up a will call post at the hotel for their much anticipated show, The Book of Mormon, playing at the Curran Theater next door. I was able to be creative and sell them an unused storage space near the elevators at a fair price. As a thank you, they offered me free tickets! Drew and I were headed to the hottest show of the year. Of course that was before Hamilton came along! The Book of Mormon is an insanely funny and witty show with a wickedly talented cast. I would definitely recommend this musical everyone!
16. Running at Crissy Field - 2013
For a brief period of time, I was a runner. I was training for Avenue of the Giants half marathon and on Saturdays I would run from my apartment to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It was such a peaceful experience that I will never forget! Though I've decided running is just not my thing, I still like to walk Crissy Field as often as possible.
17. America’s Cup at STFYC - 2013
I started working at the yacht club at the beginning of America’s Cup in 2013. Though I was never really into sailing, it was an unreal experience being in the heart of it. The members celebrated by spray champagne all over the clubhouse when Oracle came from behind 8-1 to win the cup!
18. “T” Party - 2013
Like I said, my friends and I love a good costume party and for my friend Theresa's birthday, we had "T" party. For weeks I searched the internet looking for the perfect costume. Daenerys Targaryen was too much effort at the time, so I picked another sexy character, Lara Croft's "Tomb Raider". I nailed this costume for only $25, however the prize for best costume has to go Andrew for his Tapatío costume. So clever!
19. Drew’s 10,000-Day party - 2013
Since Drew doesn't like to make a big deal about his birthday, I wanted to do something special for him when his 10,000th day came along. We decided to host a party at the Pussy Cat Lounge in Bruno's, a club in the Mission. We invited our friends and family and had our own private bar with tons of food and great tunes. It was magical night and definitely goes down as the unique event I've hosted!
20. The Speakeasy – 2014
For my 27th birthday Drew took me to the Speakeasy, a theatrical Prohibition-era underground cabaret where you are encouraged to interact with the actors. The day of the event we were instructed to meet a women with a yellow umbrella in front of the Asian Art Museum and ask her, "How's the weather today?” She gave us directions to Joe's clock shop, an old San Francisco storefront that use to hide a real speakeasy! Once inside the secret entrance, we were transported to the roaring 20's, drank old fashions and played craps. Honestly this was probably the most entertaining and unique experience I ever had in the city. I wish Boxcar Theater was still doing this production however they still have something similar called Club 1923.
21. Engagement at Crissy Field - 2014
When I was working at the yacht club, Drew and Posey came to surprise me after work one day. Once I saw Drew standing at the beach in a suit, my heart started racing with anticipation. Drew got down on one knee and asked me to marry him in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course I said yes and afterwards we enjoyed a bottle of champagne and played with Posey on the beach. Even though we had a visit from Karl the Fog, it was such a special day!
22. Bouge Cruise to McCovey Cove - 2014
Summer 2014, we surprised our friend Ryan for his 30th Birthday with a private cruise. It was a beautiful day to be on the bay and at McCovey Cove outside the Giants game. Our bouge cruise was a major highlight of our time in San Francisco!
23. Becoming a Dynasty - 2014
It's been incredible being a Giants fan while living in San Francisco! We’ve had some epic World Series celebrations in the 2010, 2012, and 2014. On one of our first dates, Drew took me to a NLCS game. While I waited before the game for Drew and his family outside AT&T Park, I ran into some co-workers. When I told them about my date, they said, “You should marry that guy!” I guess I’m a good listener!
24. Divas Night - 2015
For my bachelorette party, I decided to have a karaoke night in the city. I wanted all of my friends to dress up as famous "diva" singers. We started with dinner at Bitters Bock, & Rye, a delicious BBQ restaurant, that's great for groups. Afterwards we went to Pandora Karaoke lounge. At first, some of my friends were a little bit hesitant about karaoke. Once we were in our own private room and bottle service arrived, they stared to get into it. I rapped a pretty sweet rendition of "Fancy", so I dressed as my girl Iggy Azalea. By the end we were all screaming Spice Girls & No Doubt that people in the hallway could hear us! We ended the night with an amazing Moscow Mule night cap at Smuggler Cove, a pirate bar! I felt so special having my closest friends in the city to celebrate me and is a night I will never forget!
25. Outside Lands - 2015
We popped Drew’s music festival cherry for his 29th birthday at Outside Lands last year! We spent three days of rocking out legends like Elton John and Billy Idol. We danced to favorites like Sam Smith, Mumford & Sons, and Black Keys and jammed to new bands like Glass Animals, Django Django, and Leon Bridges. Even better, we spent an amazing beer and food filled weekend with family and friends. Bryan and Kristin, Drew's brother & sister-in-law (and now mine) came Friday from Rocklin, CA and my brother’s girlfriend, Kelsey came for the weekend from Eugene, OR. We were wiped out for about week afterwards, but the experience was definitely worth the pain and high ticket price.
What are some of your favorite San Francisco adventures?