Category Archives: [Verb]ing

Feed Me, Fall!

An unfortunate incident involving myself, a pair of pants, and a lunch meeting today has landed me in front of the computer googling healthy fall recipes and elastic…

Kidding aside, it’s time to get this train back on track. It’s amazing what a few weeks of work travel, a special-occasion friend visit (although I’m pretty sure calories don’t count when Nora visits SF), and a weekend away to celebrate 12 months and counting of matrimonial bliss can do to your resolve to eat well-ish and exercise regularly.

Thankfully, I’ve been talked off the cleanse ledge… although I’d be lying if I said that my web browser didn’t currently have the following tabs open: ‘diy juice cleanse’ google search, first person narrative about some adorable but irritatingly tiny chick’s diy cleanse, and this article on diy detoxing. As tempting as these things look (and by ‘tempting’ I mean that they’ve all convinced me I’d be more willing to pay through the nose for bottles of juice to magically show up at my door than wage war with a juicer I don’t even currently own), I’ve been on solids for years now and realistically don’t see myself throwing all that hard work out the window now.

So instead I’m currently drooling over the following (and trying to convince myself that I’m man enough to tackle the mid-week grocery shopping required to make any of these a reality). I will not do pizza again this week… I will not! Besides, why would I when I could eat:

Great. Now it’s 10:30 and I want to raid the kitchen… probably not the ideal outcome after researching healthy eats to curb the amazing expanse of my bottom half, but I probably could have predicted this would happen.


Three Things: My 30s Thus Far

Ok, ok… I swear this will be the last 30s-themed post on The Dilly Daily. What started as a necessary break from life to recover from a hat-trick of amazing birthday celebrations turned into a week away from posting. And I missed it. Let’s quickly discuss what transpired so we can move on to deeper, funnier, and, as previously stated, non-30s-themed writing.

The first week of my 30s, in three (non-sequential) acts…

  1. While jogging in my neighborhood I was passed by a woman walking a three-legged mini poodle. Let me say that again, my running speed was outpaced by an animal (admittedly, a badass animal) that is minus one leg. I couldn’t make that up. It happened. I’m trying to accept it and move forward. I think this is supposed to symbolize the heights I have yet to attain… meaning, despite my current super-awesome state, I still have room to grow and improve… lots, and lots, of room.
  2. I fell in love with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar (who wouldn’t? it feels like liquid silk and my skin definitely looks brighter for it…) and ordered my first thing of eye-cream. Apparently I’m way behind the curve on this one, but I still haven’t been convinced that the deep lines around my eyes aren’t sexy because they announce to the world that I have the funniest friends. Still, maybe the lines could be ever-so-slightly more subtle… you know, speak to the world using an indoor voice instead of a megaphone.
  3. During the warm-up routine for a new class at my gym, I expertly re-tweaked my lower back. The herniated disc strikes again! Or, more accurately, my over-exhuberance to execute a totally mundane weight-bearing exercise struck my disc. Whatever. Point is, it sucked. Things that don’t suck about this include: being able to laugh at the fact that this happened during warm-up, having soldiered on through the rest of class (which is really to say the entire class…) I was rewarded with a full-body soreness that only burpees, followed by mountain climbers, transitioning into jumping jacks, and ending with plank push-ups can elicit, and, finally, with the trauma a few days behind me, the pain in my abs and quads has eclipsed that in my back proving this to be but a minor re-tweak which shouldn’t prevent me from attempting to do it all over again next week.

So, there it is… my 30s. Having lived it and written about it, I’m now ready to shut up about it.


What I’m Reading: She’s Clearly Turning 30, Edition


Don’t worry, the full pre-mid-life crisis will be covered in a dedicated post to come shortly… in the meantime we can look at my current reading list and let it speak for itself:

Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma because I don’t feel as terrible about myself as I should for the truck-load of meat I consume on a daily basis coupled with my penchant for bargain shopping (read: the animals I’m eating probably aren’t coming from a long, leisured life lived on a beautiful midwestern pasture).

Place: about halfway through, a vast improvement on the first 30 pages which I had read, re-read, and re-re-read over the last two years. Impact: Shockingly (or perhaps not-so since I’m still in the active reading stage…), the reading of this book has coincided with a sharp decrease in my hyper-hankering for meat. Still a proud meat eater, but do I really need it at every meal? No. I don’t.

Amanda, meet vegetables: vegetables enjoy sun, water, and relaxing in the ‘patch with rows of their buddies. Vegetables, meet Amanda: Amanda hates the sun and has to set a calendar reminder to drink the minimum recommended amount of water daily. I’m sure you two will find something in common over the next 30 years.

Gary Vee’s Crush It because I really should get off my duff and learn how to leverage social media to capitalize on my personal brand, right after I figure out what my personal brand is. You can see how this indulges my newfound and constant self-interrogation: ‘Who am I?’, ‘What is my purpose?’, ‘How can I connect with humanity on a deeper, more meaningful level?’… and ‘Oh my god, do I even like humanity!? What kind of jerk am I?’.

Place: halfway (yes, that’s a trend… reading two books simultaneously makes for consistently poor progress). Impact: I just spent the morning creating a Twitter account, @thedillydaily. Yes, a Twitter account. Despite feeling a little silly and completely out of place… no, that’s it, I’ve yet to find the upside necessary to finish this sentence. Will keep you posted.

Am bummed starting a Twitter account doesn’t make me a Twihard… but that probably speaks more to the gravity of my pre-mid-life crisis than either of the books I’m currently reading.

Learning to Draw, Part 1

This morning I drew for the very first time. Ok, maybe not the very first time ever. Definitely since childhood. Definitely. And it was amazing. Here’s how it came to be…

For mother’s day I registered my mom and I for the Reportage Drawing Series workshops at Sharon Art Studio in San Francisco. Reportage is a style of art in which you record what you see as you see it, a fancy way of saying drawing on site. Today was the first of two classes. Capping out at six hours and some change, I was sure that no matter how fantastic the class I would feel every minute of it. I was wrong.

The first hour and half was instruction; the rest of the class was discussion on top of, in between, over, under, and around several practice drawings. I learned so much in such a short amount of time that I’m not sure if I’ve digested enough to really convey it all. Let’s start with the biggest take-away from the day: contour drawing.

The lesson in contour drawing flung the doors wide open to a world of possibility, freedom, and creative flow in my art that I somehow felt I was always after but could never quite catch. In contour drawing, you’re forced to focus on using a single, unbroken line to build an image… meaning, no lifting until the drawing is complete! There is such a stark difference in both the process and product this type of drawing elicits. Judging my first contour drawing against a previous sketch, I realized that I had been using tiny little hatch marks to create images as a way of blurring the lines to hide what I considered mistakes and imperfections. I didn’t see how suffocating this was. Not to trust or believe in what was on the page, how the line could move in a way that created shapes and scene specific to that mood and moment in time.

Combating the negative thoughts, pressures, and standards we hold ourselves hostage with was a huge part of the workshop. The more I learned, the more I was astonished at what I intuitively knew but had buried or forgotten. Another bonus was how easy it was to challenge those thoughts when led through a couple exercises and more than a handful of stories by our fantastic instructor, Dawood Marion. Dawood has a way of capturing the essence of these revelations in such succinct and relatable terms that internalizing and immediately applying them to your work seems oddly natural (check out some of his amazing work here).

The day flew by and at 4:30pm, when the sun finally comes out in San Francisco, I left class with some drawings that I’m really proud of. As someone who used to thinking I didn’t have the technical skill or innate creativity required of a real artist, it’s a huge accomplishment to be legitimately proud of my work. I did not compare it to others. I did not judge it against some preconceived notion of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. When I was able to relax and let go I felt that giddy happiness that comes with creating something from nothing and just enjoying the process. It felt familiar, and my hunch is that it was this same feeling that first started my love for drawing when I was too young for the confines of self-doubt.

I’m looking forward to round two next weekend. My mom and I are signed up for the second workshop in the reportage series, Drawing in the Park, and I should probably go check my closet to make sure I have enough jackets to keep me from freezing!

Caloric Blast Seeks Feast for Eyes

Never does a gym membership look so unappealing as when the winter rains subside, temperatures pull out of the low 40s, and the sun comes out to play. A gorgeous day in San Francisco offers a multitude of options for how one can spend the day… brunching on an outdoor patio, picnicing at the beach, playing a round of frisbee-golf in Golden Gate park (or not), walking the shops that line Union and Chestnut streets, sunbathing in Dolores Park… you get the idea, the list goes on.

But when fitness is on the agenda, the city magically transforms into your very own treadmill-stairmaster combo of awesomeness… and, most will agree, a much better view than watching beaded sweat fall from the some kid at the gym attempting to lift twice his body weight ten feet to close to you.

This weekend, I set out from my apartment in Nob Hill and took a stroll to the Golden Gate Bridge. A little over 7 miles in all, this gorgeous stroll satisfied my visual appetite (starved from weeks of rain and near-freezing temps, no doubt you understand), and burned just over 900 calories in two and a half hours. If you’re looking for a new route, I’ve included detailed directions below… complete with places to rest heels and fill tummies along the way.

7 Mile Marina Jaunt

Sizing It Up

  • Level of Difficulty: Easy… it’s all about endurance, baby.
  • Time Warp: 2 hr 30 min
  • Feel the Burn: ~900 calories
  • Essential Accessories: sunscreen, layers, water bottle, comfortable shoes
  • Neighborhoods Hit: Polk Gulch, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Wharf, Marina, Cow Hollow

Setting Out: Streetside to Beachside in 20 Minutes

  1. Head North on Hyde to Beach Street — Along the way, stop for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Nook or try the hipster-approved fresh roasted drip at Contraband; keep your head craned to the East for views of Coit Tower and all things North Beach once you cross Union Street and move into the Russian Hill area. Stop for a quick walk down San Francisco’s memory lane and visit the Balclutha and other historic shipping vessels on Hyde Street Pier at Beach Street.
  2. Beach Street through Aquatic Park to Fort Mason — Heading West on Beach Street through the Aquatic and Maritime National Historic Park area, admire views of Alcatraz island and groups of brave souls swimming in the bay; old men passing the day playing bocce ball; and the view of Fort Mason as you wrap around the edge of San Francisco on your trek to the Marina. Stop for a picnic lunch at the Safeway on Laguna Street and Marina Blvd. before continuing to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  3. Fort Mason down Marina Blvd. — From the base of Fort Mason, hop onto Marina Blvd. for a 4 mile stretch along the bay to the bridge. Prepare to experience some serious house and boat envy while admiring kite flying, t-ball lessons, dog parks, and volunteers keeping the beach clean. Along the way you’ll see unbelievable views innumerable spots for that picnic lunch, so be patient and choose wisely, although… honestly, there really isn’t a bad choice.

Closing the Loop: the Marina and Cow Hollow Shopping Districts

Instead of retracing your steps, veer off of Marina Blvd. to experience luxuries offered by the Marina and Cow-Hollow district shopping promenades. From Marina Blvd., head up Divisidero Street and marvel at the gorgeous houses until you hit Chestnut Street. Hang a left and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Marina’s main shopping district.

At Chestnut and Fillmore Street, turn right and follow Fillmore to Union Street for the boutiques of Cow Hollow. Union Street will take you back to Polk and, after a stroll past Cole Hardware, Russian Hill Books, and Miller’s Deli (you know, just in case you’re still hungry… like I was), you’ll find yourself home at the intersection of Polk and California Street. Better for the ware, no doubt.

Important Readers’ Note: calories consumed while standing, walking, basically doing anything active, don’t count. It’s a scientific fact. Swear…

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