Saturday, January 25, 2014

Listen: Part II

I understand that some of you out there are going through this phenomenon we call "winter."

I wouldn't really know, because out here in California we're experiencing what we like to call "January," which means light sweater weather.  Only this time there really isn't any rain and I'm pretty sure if we don't get any rain soon, the state will collectively, willingly, join together and do a little rain dance.  We're that desperate.

Anyway, I have experienced snowy, frigid winters in the past, so I can commiserate with those of you who have bruises all over your butt cheeks from slipping down the icy sidewalks every day.

If memory serves me correctly, the end of January is the worst.  No fun holidays to look forward to, it's pitch black when you leave for work, and somehow even darker outside when you leave the office at the end of the day.  Your bones are never quite not frozen, you haven't had the energy to shave for weeks, and sometimes you break into fits of crying for no reason at all...or, eh-hem, maybe that last part is just me.

Winter is weird like that.

I would cope with the winter blues in those days by compiling all the fun music I could come up with and playing it on full blast, repeat, dancing through the streets status.  This gave me just enough energy to make it through to March, when the sun stops being stubborn and comes out to play.

This is just a little tidbit of the songs that fill me with the urge to dance, or at least laugh:

Short People - Randy Newman 
Time to Pretend - MGMT 
Dancing with Myself - Billy Idol 
Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding 
Home - Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros 
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes - Paul Simon 
Into the Wild - LP 
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba 
Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta - Geto Boys 
Dog Days are Over - Florence + The Machine 
Alors on Dance - Stromae 
Do You Wanna Touch Me - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts 
Paper Planes - M.I.A.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The San Franciscan

The blog has gone through an identity crisis.  Again.

I'm more like my parents than I care to admit.  I mean, they've got a lot of great qualities (hi mom!  hi dad!  love you!).  But picking names in a timely manner isn't one of them.  My dad refused to even humor the thought of naming me or my siblings before we were born, and after that it was a good two weeks before they could decide on a name and stick with it.

This habit has definitely been passed down to me.  I remember when I got Neasa, my cat in college.  She had three different names before I finally decided on Neasa.  This meant a month of her kittenhood went by when I scolded her for clawing at the curtains by three different monikers.  It's a wonder she didn't need therapy.

Then there's this blog, which has run the gamut of name changes.  There was Sincerely San Francisco because hey, why not.  But that felt too cutesy, so I changed it to The Outside Land Diaries, which felt too cutesy again and I hated it almost as soon as I changed it.  Then I changed it again to The San Franciscan just now.  Which is decidedly less cutesy.  And here we are.  Ta-da!

Not much has changed around here, really.  The url is different, natch (and no longer has that business at the end, which saves your poor typing fingers) and I'm toying with the idea of listing things I love online in the shop section, really more as a way to stop myself from buying them.  And then there's the link to my Twitter feed in the sidebar.  Though, I should warn you, I'm a really boring tweeter.  Brevity isn't my strong suit, so the platform kind of freaks me out.  But I'm getting there.

In terms of logistics, if you've subscribed to this blog by email or RSS feed (thank you!), you shouldn't run into any issues or need to resubscribe.  That being said, I did do all the transferring of info myself, so God knows I probably made a mistake somewhere.   If When this happens, please just let me know and I'll happily fix the issue, and I sincerely apologize in advance for my incompetence.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back to School

I've been taking courses at the local community college for the past year, simply for self-improvement.  And classes started back up today.  Yay?

When I was working towards my bachelor's degree way back when people preferred MySpace to Facebook and Dr. House was still charming the world with his egotistical tirades, I was a naive girl under a lot of stress to pick the *right* degree while also graduating on time, because college is freaking expensive.  Which is how I ended up with a political science BA and no idea what to do with it.

Now I'm just a naive girl taking classes for fun.  And it's pretty liberating.  And sometimes very intense.  I forgot what homework felt like in that abyss of time between graduating college and figuring out what I want to do with my life.

After working a nine hour day at the office and then coming home just to pull an all-nighter writing a paper, I admit I sometimes think, "Why am I doing this to myself?  I don't need to be here.  I could be at the bar."

But in the past year I've learned how to track down and interview people for stories (strangers are scary so this is harder than it sounds), edit newspaper copy, take better photos, and I've even published something in the campus magazine.  And still found time to join friends for drinks at the bar!  You can have it all!

If you live in the Bay Area and feel like learning anything from the Argentinian tango to rebuilding a jet engine, City College has a class for that!  You can still register for classes for Spring 2014.  Just check out the schedule here.

In conclusion, canis meus id comedit.

That's Latin for "My dog ate it," which is an insanely useful phrase in school.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My life, according to Instagram.

Here's what happened in my life in November, December, and a bit of January, if Instagram is to be believed.  

Thanks, Instagram!  Life is lookin' pretty, pretty good...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Welcome, 2014. We've been expecting you.

So the holidays have come and gone.  I had a great time spending it with the entire family (see exhibit A):

exhibit A

...and was treated to the best seats at the best show this side of the Mississippi, The Book of Mormon.  No pictures from the show, but there is a picture of me drinking a pina colada out of a coconut (see exhibit B).  So, that's something...

exhibit B

I can't recommend The Book of Mormon highly enough, and would watch it every day if it wouldn't cost me more than a mortgage payment for every ticket.  Go refinance your home so you can see it, stat.  Totally worth it.

Anyway, so that brings us to 2014.  An even year, and as far as numbers go, even numbers are my favorite (I'm weird and like symmetry, what can I say?).  So that means good things are in store, since life's all about symmetry...and setting myself up for failure, which is why I bought this book:

Call me girly, call me ridiculous, call me whatever the heck you want. I'm feminine and proud and this book is awesome.  This thing suggests a blueprint for the year, including books to read (I'm always looking for good reading material) and how to feel like you've finally kicked your year into gear in really high shoes, which is really the best way to kick anything.

I know by February I'll be like, "What book?", but for now, since I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, this is my attempt at making 2014 "The Year of the Leith".

The book suggests January as a month for cleaning up the apartment and a fresh start.  Which I was totally going to do, but somehow haven't found the time.  So I went for the next best thing: shinier hair.

My hair has always driven me mad.  It's drier than hay and, since I have so dang much of it, frizzes out like a lint ball no matter what I do.

Last time I went to get a hair trim I asked the stylist--who had the shiniest locks I'd ever seen--what her secret was.  After some poking and prodding, she admitted that she uses a hair toner ever couple of months.

How had I never heard of hair toner before?  It's simply a demi-permanent color (or you can choose just a clear glaze) that seals your hair in some scientific way, I'm sure, to make it exponentially easier to manage.

After years of money wasted on hair products that never seem to work, I decided to give this whole hair toner nonsense a try.

Here's my disaster of a mane before the hour-long process:

Had a nice chat with the stylist about dating in San Francisco and the best bars in the Inner Sunset district, then waited for the product to set in for about 20 minutes, looking like this:

A quick rinse-out and a stylist who is a miracle worker with a blow-dryer and a round brush later, and voila:

The toner is supposed to match your natural color, simply making it easier to style while getting rid of the brassy color most people are born with, replacing that dull brassiness with shine.

Normally, after 30 minutes of blow-drying with a round brush, my hair just looks like a matted mess, so this sleek look was definitely worth the investment.  And since it's demi-permanent, it washes out gradually, which means no roots.  I could go on, but I'll spare you...

If you're curious to give this a go for a new look for the new year, the cost starts at $30 for clear toner.  I got mine done at Carlton Salon in downtown San Francisco.  They did my hair trim a couple weeks back too, which I was super pleased with, so they're worth a shot if you're ever in town and super reasonably priced, even on my budget.

Bring it on, 2014!  I've got my hair style locked down, so I'm pretty sure I can handle anything.

Happy New Year!