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me? a do-gooder?!

24 May

“You are a do-gooder, Livia.”  A friend said this to me the other day.  I have to admit that I was nothing less than shocked to hear these words being uttered, particularly since it was evident that it was a completely genuine statement.

above: exhibits a & b…guilty!

“Hell, no!”  I immediately retorted, as if I had been deeply insulted by the (subjective) observation.  I kind of surprised myself at having such a knee-jerk reaction, and really had to step back for a second to try and judge the situation from afar.

OK.  So here I am, having spent most of my life identifying with what I guess is the East Coast in me: a realist, a cynic, a sarcastic and salty broad who never stops to speak to those poor canvassers looking for support on street corners- no time to talk about saving the whales, the children, or the environment.  It took me until just a couple of years ago to even fathom composting at home, and I still occasionally throw a banana peel in the trash can, if it’s an arm’s length closer.  I am guilty of assuming that at least some of the people living in their vans by Ocean Beach are probably doing so because it’s cool, and they likely go home every Christmas to a very wealthy family and a perfectly manicured lawn in Evanston, Illinois.  As bad as it sounds, I think these things sometimes.

However, for the past year I have been, for the most part, working for free.  I left behind a steady paycheck and a  full-time job to do this.  Aside from the non-profit I helped launch, I have been assisting various other local organizations in any way I could- utilizing my background in PR or planning events, tending bar or working the door at fundraisers, recruiting volunteers, and generally adding an additional voice to these little known groups, for no other reason I can think of than this: something about each one of their missions compelled me to do so.  Abuse, illiteracy, inequality, lack of resources; these things bother me, and I admire the people who spend their lives trying to change them.  I’d like to lend those people a hand.  So I guess in other words: I (cringe) care.

It occurred to me in that moment that for the first time in my entire life, I  have to come clean and admit it, no matter how much I can’t seem to identify with the notion:

Lately, I’ve sort of become a “do-gooder”.

Why Oakland is Becoming Pretty Much My Favorite

2 May

One of my favorite street-art installations in Oakland. Cute!

I moved to San Francisco from the East Coast back in 1999.  In over a decade, I barely made my way across the bridge to Oakland–  probably fewer times than I could count on one hand.  It seemed like an entire world away (particularly without a car), and why would I ever leave SF when I had everything I needed right outside my door?

I was a bit apprehensive about moving to Oakland this past December, but I was ready for a change, having resided in almost every single district in San Francisco since having moved there.  Not to mention the fact that cheaper rent sounded pretty damn good, given the recent slash to my income.  So, here I am.

I have to say, Oakland almost immediately put a spell on me.  Yes, it’s true, there are some bad neighborhoods, and I am definitely a lot more wary about going out after dark by myself in certain parts of town, but I think it’s really unfortunate what an incredibly bad rap this place has received!  Aside from all of the negative stuff the media constantly focuses on, there are so many beautiful areas, a rich cultural history, a great sense of community, a happening arts scene, and let’s not forget that it is now an up-and-coming culinary hotspot.

I want to make sure that no San Franciscans do what I did and waste ten years thinking Oakland isn’t worth the trip.  So, I am starting a series of posts with brief snippets and shots from around my new home… things that make me smile on an almost daily basis.  In sharing this with y’all, I hope that you enjoy, discover, get off your a**es, and come give us a visit us sometime! 🙂

Vote- Yes or No on this MGMT Remix?

4 Feb

Hey Ladies!

15 Jan

Hey, Ladies! If you are like me, you have often found yourself- while spending quality time with your wonderful male cohorts- wondering, “What’s it like to have facial hair?” Now available in a feminine shade of pink, you too can try it out for size, with these Stylish Mustaches for Girls. It makes an excellent party favor and it still comes in those manly browns and blacks for the men out there that may not want to admit to being a little bit less-than-hirsute.

Can’t Be Beet

6 Dec

photo

Today I had the pleasure of attending a brunch hosted by my friend Ann Dennehy.  I was inspired (once again) by Ann’s delectable meal and thought I would share a recipe for a dish she served a few months back. I recreated it on Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit with the family, which includes intense super foodies as well as the pickiest of eaters, so I am pretty confident that many of you would enjoy it too.  The best part is, I am so not known for my culinary skills in any way shape or form, so if I can make this dish a success, you definitely can too! Enjoy!

ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE

Ingredients:

6 sm Beets; trimmed
6 tb Extra-virgin olive oil
3 tb Shrerry wine vinegar
1 Clove garlic; pressed
1 pn Sugar
12 c Mixed baby greens
2 Green onions; sliced
1/2 c Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese;
1/3 c Chopped walnuts; toasted

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400(ish) F. Wrap beets in foil, enclosing completely. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Peel and slice beets. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Whisk olive oil, sherry wine vinegar, garlic and sugar in a medium bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Combine mixed greens, sliced green onions and beets in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Divide salad among 6 plates. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe by: Gourmet, October, 1995 Posted to recipelu-digest by “Crane C. Walden” on Mar 5, 1998

I Heart Insta-Shoes a.k.a. They Should Pay Me For This

15 Nov

Siiiiiiiiiick! 😉

Everybody here familiar with Zappos.com? Seems like everyone I know has at least visited the site. I have to say, for many years this remains one of my favorite online stores! They pretty much have every brand of shoe that you can think of available in stock, their prices are competitive (although I have, in a few instances, found cheaper when I’ve searched for an identical pair on Amazon.com), and they have an awesome 365 day return policy.  Plus, most of the time they give you free overnight shipping so you get your order a day or two after placing it, and if you make an exchange, they will mail you your new pair before you even send back the first one! How is that for the Honor System in action?

Anyhoo, their selection of Onitsuka Tiger by Asics is really wide, and that happens to be one sneaker that makes me drool. It’s too bad I can’t justify spending another dime on footwear at the moment, but I did take a second to peruse the “AthLeisure” section after my boyfriend made a purchase last night.

Got any faves for online shopping?