I'm writing this fresh off the heels of a trip up north to San Francisco...while I pack for a longer trip to Havana, Cuba (quite the untraditional Thanksgiving)! I am beyond excited to take a step back in time, visit Hemingway's haunts, and eat tons of legit Cuban food. Mostly, I'm excited for a chance to explore and experience a new culture with my best friend...and disconnect for a little while. Any recommendations on must-go spots in the country?
So, aside from unpacking...and re-packing...here's what else I'm feeling this week:
1. North Face Endurance Challenge Series
As I mentioned in last week's Tuesday Ten, this weekend I was walking in the North Face Endurance Challenge marathon relay in San Francisco. So, Saturday morning, off I went on a 6.2-mile trail that had the most stunning views of the Pacific and Golden Gate. It was an emotional day for me - I was so proud of my friends, I was excited and grateful to walk, but it was admittedly mentally hard to see an old part of my life that I really truly wish I was still in. Despite the mixed feelings, I overall had the best time and was grateful for the ability to walk. Plus, I loved meeting so many November Project tribe members from across the country. Endurance Challenge is always a solid reminder that November Project is so much bigger than yourself...and it's pretty cool to feel a part of something that huge.
2. Italian Homemade
After Saturday's race, my weekend roomies (oh hey, Amy, Andy and Stefanie!) headed to our friend Tawnya's recommendation: Italian Homemade. The spot was a hole in the wall that served up huge fresh plates of pasta (I am not joking when I say how big these plates were!). I opted for tagliatelle in a browned butter & sage sauce...and a meatball in a bolognese sauce. I can't express how divine that meal was...or how full I was after. Bonus: solid padding for a night on the town.
On Sunday morning, four of us headed to Jane, a trendy cafe on Fillmore in Pacific Heights that served up fresh, quality noms. The spot was adorable - floral, black and white and some graffiti print were all part of the aesthetic. I dug it. I opted for the warm raw sprouted black rice porridge - forbidden rice soaked in almond and coconut milk, chia seeds, coconut crunch, goji berries and fresh kiwi. I topped it off with a "Hangover Helper" tea, which I swear did the trick. We sat and hung out in the cafe for awhile after eating too, enjoying the ambiance. I was a fan.
4. Salt & Straw
And because Jane apparently was not enough, we headed to Salt & Straw just up the street after our brunch. I have been dying to try this PNW/LA ice cream staple, and it lived up to the hype for me. After sampling too many flavors, I settled on Vinegar Peach Cobbler + Nutmeg. Yes, please. We sat with our ice cream cones out front, basking in the (rare) SF sun and laughing...it was truly one of those moments where I felt like my entire heart was full.
5. Flying with Friends
I have grown accustomed to flying alone - and I like it, for the most part. It's a chance for me to read and listen to podcasts. But, on the way back to San Diego, I flew with my friends Lauryn and Mike (after our flight was completely cancelled - what!?!). We talked the entire flight...and just like that, it was over. It was so fun - and a phone-free distraction zone to really enjoy quality time with each other. Maybe I won't be such a solo traveler now...
6. Travel Books
The Internet is cool, I get it. But, in preparation for Cuba, I've been digging into old-school travel books...and I love it. Nothing like a solid paperback to skim through, in my opinion. Plus, when you're traveling to a country without Internet or cell service, a book may come in handy on the ground.
7. Cafe Gratitude
My fridge is pretty much empty after the last few weeks of go-go-go, so last night I enjoyed some takeout from Cafe Gratitude, one of my favorite vegan spots. My go-to pick last night? The Grateful Bowl: shredded kale, black beans, quinoa and the most divine garlic tahini.
8. French Press
My coffee maker stopped working last week, and I was quickly under-caffeinated and unhappy. While on the hunt for a new coffee maker, I decided to try using a french press. Game changer. It may take a few extra minutes of prep, but I kind of like the addition to my morning routine. It's my personal version of meditation.
9. Sushi Deli
Last week, I had the most fabulous girls night: mani/pedis and sushi. Post-nail salon, we headed to Sushi Deli in Hillcrest and I had some of the best sushi I've had in awhile...at a really good price. Plus, complimentary hot tea. Winning, all around. I'm still craving my Rainbow Rolls from there...
10. Embracing all of the feels
This weekend, feelings hit me hard...from just about every angle. I was happy, sad, angry, frustrated, stressed, anxious...and everything in between...and I definitely had a few moments of tears over the weekend (between watching people run and having an ex-encounter and listening to my friends struggle). But, as my wise friend Hannah said: "I'm a crier too. It just means we decide to process emotion instead of stuff it in. It's a good thing, in my opinion." And you know what? I agree. I'm processing things in the moment and really living and feeling what I'm feeling, rather than letting it resurface months later. Thanks, Hannah, for this perspective.