Friday, May 7, 2010

I love Craigslist

Being from the Bay Area originally I feel like I was "in the know" about Craigslist way before the rest of the Country. Okay, I know that probably isn't true, I'm not that cool, but it sure felt like that when I lived in Omaha.

Craigslist was founded in 1995 (the year I graduated high school), by Craig Newmark - San Francisco resident. I remember when they would open up new markets and it would be exciting. You felt like you were in on some special group. Now, that group is a mega force of free online classifieds serving 20 billion (with a "B") impressions per month. To put it simply Craigslist is the 11th most visited website in the United States. Pretty good for a Company which has only 32 employees.

In my lifetime I've found most of my apartments, jobs and furniture on Craigslist. I joked the other day that I'm thinking about putting up an ad for a husband! I wanted to share some serendipity I've experienced on Craigslist lately which has made me love the site even more.

Since moving into my new apartment I've decided I'm no longer going to feature any "college-like furniture" i.e IKEA bookshelves, side tables from Target etc. I'm an adult and I want my apartment to reflect that. But, I don't have thousands of dollars to go out and buy new fancy adult like furniture so I turn to my old pal....Craigslist.

My first purchase only a couple weeks ago was a bed side table. After sifting through the IKEA castoffs I found the perfect table. Small, unique, distressed, great shape - Perfect! Living in the City sans car makes it difficult to move furniture so I was happy when I saw in the Post that the seller lived in my neighborhood. When I probed her as to where exactly, it turns out she was right across the street from my apartment! Small world right? This made the move rather simple.

I've also been on the hunt for a the perfect grown up coffee table. After a rather exhaustive search I came across this listing:What a deal! Cute AND two for the price of one! I jumped on it. When I showed up to the building to pick up the tables I felt it was oddly familiar. Then I figured out why. The girl I'd gone to drinks with the week prior that I hadn't seen in 15 years since we graduated high school, well - she lived there. Yep, a three unit building and my Junior High Friend's neighbor was the one selling the cute tables at the great price. Definitely a small world! The best part? Since I couldn't fit the tables in a cab (which was my original plan) Caryn offered to give me a ride. Sometimes life just works out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two Evils

One thing I haven't posted a lot about is my trips back to the Burbs. Oddly enough it has not taken long to feel completely at home in the City. Since I didn't bring my car up with me, it makes it tough to get down to the Peninsula from SF. Which I know sounds strange because it is only about 30 miles away and every other City in our great Country and around the world pride themselves on their public transportation, but in the case of San Francisco, getting around sans car is a lot easier IN the City then OUT of it.

My choices on getting back to the Burbs include BART or Caltrain. BART is great and picks up right downtown which is easy for me to get to from my house, but it drops off in Millbrae - a good 10 miles from San Carlos where my parents live and even further from my sister's house. This isn't totally horrible but it does mean I have to bribe somebody to come pick me up at the BART station. Hence BART; easier for me, not easier for the Family.

Just a quick aside...when they built BART back in the early 60's it served only the East Bay. Which to this day, it still does, quite well in fact. BART reaches all the way to Pittsburgh / Bay Point servicing about 20 different East Bay Cities. Meanwhile BART abruptly stops ONE stop past the airport in the South Bay. The reason? Caltrain. Caltrain lobbied against BART using Sara Palin type scare tactics, telling people on the Peninsula that if they expanded BART to San Jose, "bad people" from the East Bay would come in and rob their houses. Total Bull. So, thank you Caltrain for making it more difficult to get around on the Peninsula.

In light of the above it makes sense that Caltrain, on the other hand, drops off right in the heart of my parent's quiet cozy little town. My main problem with Caltrain - I can't read the damn schedule to save my life. I mean a lot of towns have trains, I've even read train maps in foreign Countries that are easier to understand then that of good ole' Caltrain but yet again, I digress. Caltrain also picks up at the very south end of San Francisco so it is kind of a pain and can be rather expensive if you cab it, to get to the station. I know you saw this coming but, Caltrain; harder for me, easier for the Family.

So what is a City gal to do? I've chosen to not go to the Peninsula all that often. Which means, movie nights with my Sis are few and far between (boo), as are dinners with Peninsula friends. I basically go down for the big stuff and then bribe someone to drive me to the BART station in Millbrae and try to really enjoy that hour trip home. This little problem could be solved once I get rid of my car and more importantly the payment and sign up for Zip Car - which is a car sharing service in the City. Then I can at least have access to a car when I want it and escape the City when I'm in need of a break, without having to choose the lesser of two evils.

Monday, May 3, 2010

This could only happen to me

The Brazilian Blowout! These three words have literally changed my life. I've always had puffy hair - not curly, not straight. Just big. My stylist told me about this thing that certain salons are doing called the Brazilian Blowout. Basically it is a temporary way of straightening your hair which removes all the frizz and makes it look like you were born with great hair, which I, unfortunately, wasn't.

After I hear of this miracle process of course I want it as I'm the perfect candidate. I hopped onto Yelp and picked the first salon that popped up which displayed some positive reviews. Which was my first mistake.

I trekked from downtown all the way to the Outer Sunset - which is a good 45 minute trip including the wait for the train. When I finally got to the salon I was pretty worried. From the outside it looked like one of those chop shop nail salons you would skip because you are worried you would get athletes foot from the foot bath. The inside was no better.

The above is an actual picture of the front of the Salon, thank you Google Maps.

I walked in to some loud Russian pop music, a couple of older Chinese gentlemen squatting on the floor over a hole in the floor. A hole. There were dirty towels piled up in the corner, hair all over the ground and the stylists were yelling at each other in Russian. I was a bit worried. I mean I'm not a total snob and I don't expect champagne or anything but I do expect some cleanliness. This place looked like a Russian mafia front. Come to think of it, I would not be surprised if it was.

Helen, the stylist, finally gruffly turned to me and asked me what I wanted - umm the appointment I made two months ago? I have to say she did a good job albeit the process is not difficult and the results are basically attributed to this miracle elixir from Brazil, which I found out was actually created by a mortician to make dead people's hair shiner post mortem.

I did get to catch up on the latest People Magazine (congrats Sandra Bullock), soap in my eye when Oksana the hair shampoo girl accidentally squirted it in my face, and a good couple hours education in Russian pop music.

Lessons learned?

1. Find a salon with more the five reviews on Yelp prior to booking
2. Sometimes there are reasons we judge books by their cover
3. Never go to the Outer Sunset for something you can find at multiple places throughout the City.

Happy Life.

Whew - what a great weekend! I kind of need a weekend from my weekend! But, after the big move last week it was nice to just have a weekend to enjoy the City. Oh and I finally got CABLE! Thank God!! Albeit, I am going to have to try to measure my intake. I do enjoy getting out and about and as I found out Friday night it is easy to lose all motivation and get completely sucked into the sofa.

Saturday morning we volunteered at Glide (now my second time). Spent a couple hours making ham sandwiches which are given to hungry SF folks in bag lunches. This group of people was put together by a co-worker's friend and this is my second event with them. They monthly volunteer somewhere in the City. We had quite a good sized group about 15 people. I thought it was a very cool way to spend a Saturday morning. On the way home I lolly-gagged popping in and out of shops and hit up the Farmer's Market on Fillmore for some fresh fruit and veggies. Another great way to spend a Saturday morning!

Saturday night I went with a group of friends to check out Live Roller Derby at Kezar Stadium. Kezar is actually the first stadium of the San Francisco 49ers and it looks like a High School Gym. The Bay City Bombers sport a girls and a guys team Roller Derby team. It was fun even if it was pretty staged. Kind of like WWF on Skates.

Sunday was my type of day. Brunch with a friend in Lower Haight then a stroll to the shops followed by a couple hours digging for treasures in the thrift stores. The Haight is funny because you still see the vagabonds playing Joplin songs on the sidewalks but it is such a different vibe from yore'. Not that I was there, but I can just imagine what it was like in the 60's.

I finished off the weekend with some live music at Yoshi's Singer Songwriters night. My friend Whitney Nichole performed her original material and was fantastic! All in all a perfect end to a wonderful weekend!

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