Category Archives: Flora

Getting Real about Getting Real

It’s so meta!
Yesterday Getting Real Record celebrated it’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! The ladies of GRR had some celebratory drinks at Bloodhound, a bar in SOMA known for it’s laid back vibe and killer cocktails. I had the signature drink, “the bloodhound” — your choice of liquor (I chose gin of course), campari and grapefruit juice. It was deliciously pink with just the right amount of bitterness. Ramya went for “the recoil” – bourban, elderflower liqueur, and ginger beer. Also a winner. Bloodhound also has a lot to offer for the beer drinker, Katie’s stout was rich and creamy like my morning latte.

There is something about SOMA that makes me feel more like I’m in “the big city” than other parts of San Francisco. After we had a couple cocktails and parted ways I began walking to the train station and I felt invigorated. I had one of these moments where I realized the life I am living is actually much like the life I imagined for myself years earlier.  I remember in college watching Sex and the City and daydreaming about living in the big city and meeting my fabulous friends for happy hour after I leave my glamorous job wearing inconceivably high heels.

Ok it’s not exactly as I imagined it. For one, I’m not in New York City. (And just to clarify, I have been in love with New York since I was maybe 13, so this is not just a Sex and the City influence). The job falls short in the glamorous department and the hills in San Francisco aren’t too conducive to wearing sky-high heels, not to mention the weird looks you would get for being so “dressed up” for no apparent reason. But the important part is there. The friends. No matter what crazyness and stress comes with the work week, with dealing with bosses, boyfriends (who are the best really), parents (so loving), responsibilities, errands, LIFE, it’s amazing how making time for a little chat (and a cocktail or two) with your girls can really lift your spirits and put all that stress in perspective….or at least on hold til the buzz wears off. (kidding)

I walked along 6th street looking up at the fog enveloping the towering office buildings in the distance. I even imagined myself sitting in front of my laptop later that night with my head cocked to the side and my forehead scrunched up as I made the Carrie Bradshaw “I couldn’t help but wonder” face before I began writing this post. Then I looked down just in time to see a man squat down, drop his pants, and take a shit right there in the middle of the street. Bet you will never see that on an episode of Sex and the City. A little reminder that city living — much like everything else — in real life is a little less glamorous than on television.

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Getting Real about bay area style

In this month’s issue, GQ has named San Francisco the 20th Worst Dressed City in America. Quite frankly I’m surprised we didn’t crack the top 10. You know why we get this ranking? No it’s not the hipsters running around the mission wearing holey tights or mom jeans (I blame American Apparel for this).
It’s the people who dress in “gear” instead of clothes. You aren’t thinking about style — whether an outfit matches, or is flattering, but your pants have more pockets than any human could possibly need during the work day. Oh and your t-shirt has special wicking properties that keep you dry and odor free.
What lies at the heart of this performance driven “style”? Cargo pants. I’ve hated cargo pants since middle school when I would see boys stuff them full with pencils, papers, calculators, you name it. I thought it looked ridiculous. And since the universe has a sense of humor I ended up working at a startup in the Bay where about 70% of the guys wear cargo pants on a daily basis. A few months ago I came across a blog devoted to cargo pants. This blog had a post about cargo pants with pockets designed to house iPads. The best part was, several pants were tested and rated and the overall conclusion was

“Bottom line? You should keep your iPad in a case and use tactical pants for iPad 2 storage in emergency situations only”

Emergency situations?!? Why would there be any situation where you need to store an iPad in your pocket? The reviews are talking about how well the iPad fits, whether it might fall out or potentially get scratched and no one is mentioning how absolutely absurd it looks. How about situations where you don’t want to look like a total geek? Orrr situations where you want to be able to say…walk comfortably, which I think would be hard to do with that thing shoved in your pocket?
Last fall I went to Madrid with a fashionista friend from Oakland who had never been to Europe. She said to me, I just can’t believe how people dress here, it’s like what you see in fashion magazines. In the bay people don’t dress like that. Yes the aesthetic here is more Patagonia catalogue, less Vogue.
And I get it, these clothes are very useful and serve a purpose in the outdoors. But we are in the city people. This is the urban jungle. Trade in those Merrells for some heels, or a pair of ballet flats. Don’t worry you will not be kidnapped, helicoptered and dropped in the middle of the wilderness unexpectedly. Stop thinking about high performance and start thinking about aesthetics. Guys, I know you think those zip off pants are practical, but you practically have zero chance of picking up a girl if you wear those to the bar. Something to think about.


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Getting Real about oversharing with your barista

I walk into Peets this afternoon, order my coffee and proceed to the waiting area. There I came upon a therapy session of sorts between a patron and the barista. A man standing next to the coffee machine telling the barista about how he’s had a really difficult three weeks and he is finally feeling emotionally stable enough to leave the house. The barista remains quiet, staring intently at the milk foaming in the jug in his hand. There’s another patron within ear shot waiting for his drink. He is wearing pajama pants and a shirt with images of DNA strands on it that says, “On a molecular level, I’ve actually been quite busy”. Too busy to put on pants apparently. Even THIS guy clearly disapproves of what’s taking place.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a rapport with my local barista and I like it. Jim’s great. He knows my name, he knows my beverage. We engage in approximately 2 minutes of small talk and it’s fantastic. Sometimes he even lets me give him an IOU when I don’t realize I’m out of cash until after I’ve ordered. We trust each other like that. But I’m not going to be telling him about my personal struggles.

I feel pretty strongly about upholding a proper boundary between customer and barista because I was a barista myself for some time. I am a people person, I start conversations with strangers on a regular basis, but there has to be a line. I used to have a regular who I’d greet with “Hi how are you doing?” and every day she would not only answer “not so great” but she would proceed to tell me why. When someone in the service industry asks you how you are doing, it’s pretty much the same as saying hi. Not really looking for an answer. I remember one Tuesday morning after a holiday weekend I asked her how she was doing and I was sure this time the answer had to be good….I mean long weekend, beautiful weather….this was it. This was the day I was going to get a “good” out of her.

“Oh I’m sorry, why is that?”
“My cousin’s wife committed suicide.”
stunned face
“I mean what is he going to tell his kids, they are 2 and 6. ‘Sorry kids, mommy didn’t love you enough to stay alive’”
mouth falls open, eyes dart left to right….searching, searching.

And that is what we call an overshare. I gave her the mocha on the house. And a chocolate roll to go with it. That’s the only kind of help a barista can prescribe. Let’s all remember that.


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Getting Real about the Railroad Revival Tour

The Railroad Revival Tour kicked off last Thursday right here in Oakland, and I was lucky enough to score a ticket: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show, traveling exclusively in vintage rail cars, playing concerts at six unique outdoor locations along the route.

The scene: Middle Harbor Shoreline park in West Oakland. The patches of grass brimming with hipsters and hippies. I stood in a sea of cowboy boots, feathers, and frayed  suede. Behind the stage, the famous Oakland cranes towered in the distance. To my right the the San Francisco bay, the water shimmering as the sun descended, the Golden Gate Bridge aglow in the distance.

Old Crow Medicine Show kicked off the show with a high energy set which had me two-steppin’ up a storm. Out of the three bands, I’m least familiar with their music but boys can break it down. Their energy is contagious and their musicianship undeniable. I also was surprised to learn that there are in fact no women vocalist in that band. Listen to the harmonies in Wagon Wheel and you will know what I mean.

Next to take the stage was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, which was the band I was most looking forward to seeing. They eased from sound check right into Up From Below, and so the magical journey began. Maybe they didn’t really have a set list in mind when they began and that’s why they kept asking the audience what they wanted to hear. Maybe lead singer Alex Ebert wasn’t sufficiently warmed up and 40 Day Dream literally came to a halt as he tried to reach for the high note. And maybe he stumbled on stage disoriented as if a large lily pad had unfurled and he had just dropped down from it. His hair was barely contained in a messy high ponytail and it threatened to topple down every time his lanky body swayed from side to side. He was dressed like a cross between a guru and cult leader. But none of that mattered. It was impossible to take your eyes off of him. I was ready to follow. And so he led me through all of my favorite Edward Sharpe songs, he slowed them down, he sped them up, he changed the words, he tweaked the melodies. And I followed willingly singing and dancing my little heart out.  It all ended with Home. They knew the audience was waiting for it and they delivered. The backdrop to that famous whistle intro happened to be the sunset on the water so yeah only mildly epic.

Mumford and Sons closed the show. Their harmonies were pitch-perfect. The lead singer’s voice is sultry and scratchy and smooth all at once. Like buttah. My only complaint with this band is their songs start to sound the same after a while. There is the slow start, then we speed it up, crank up the banjo, crescendo and then back down then up again. It’s a bit predictable and formulaic, having said that, they have absolutely perfected the formula. The lead singer asked us several times if it would be alright if they played us some new songs. The British, they are so polite. The new songs were actually a highlight for me, demonstrating that they are in fact beginning to stray from the formula and it’s fantastic. The best part of their performance however, was the banjo player’s hip thrust. I’ve never seen such suggestive dancing from a man with a banjo.

you have no idea what I can do with this banjo

The show ended with all three bands on stage singing “This Train”. You could tell they were having such a fun time with each other, and it was so fun to watch I didn’t want it to end. I was ready to jump on that train and follow them across the country. Best concert of the year thus far.

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Getting Real about turning 27

27 is not usually considered any sort of special milestone. At most it marks the official entrance into the “late 20s” category, which of course is nothing to write home about. I also had a co-worker tell me that I should really hurry up and line up some sort of husband situation soon because, “21, 22, you look nice, boys like you, 25 pretty good still, 28 (insert something like a fart noise here), over. no good.” So I guess in addition to entering my late 20’s, I’m also now one year away from my “expiration date”. Luckily since I still get mistaken for 19, I think that technically means I have 9 more years?

Jokes aside, 27 feels pretty in-between. Cue Britney’s, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman”.

I’m over the novelties of marathon drinking although I still haven’t learned to say no to that last drink of the evening even though I know I will be sorry…but at least I have stopped eating burritos the size of a small child at the end of the night.

My collection of “going out” shirts has dwindled and on a related note I no longer set foot in Forever 21. Now a nice little Saturday shopfest consists of accompanying my girlfriends to West Elm to help them pick out throw pillows for their couch (based on a carefully selected color scheme). Maybe swing by Ikea afterward, I don’t know, don’t know if there will be enough time.
(But who are we kidding there is always time for Swedish meatballs).

I still tear it up on the dance floor in my skinny jeans on a Thursday night when the opportunity presents itself, but I don’t feel bad staying at home in my soft pants to watch Hulu on a Saturday night. And let’s face it, while I like to cut loose, footloose, my favorite kind of party these days usually has the word ‘dinner’ in front of it.

I haven’t quite found that empowering sense of self-awareness that comes in the 30’s (or so I’m told), but I’m starting to feel comfortable in my skin. I realize that this schema I have in my head for what it means to be a responsible well-adjusted adult is not actually far from my reality. And it does not have to include cubicles and business casual attire or lack mid-day ice cream runs and office practical jokes.

But perhaps the best gift of all that my 27th year has brought is that I have finally shed my early 20’s, post grad, what-am-i-going-to-do-with-my-life?!!? angst. I feel comfortable with the idea that it’s not going to be some great epiphany that comes if I just think or work hard enough. It’s not like I will decide who I want to be and what I want to do and then life starts. It’s an evolving concept. And that no longer scares me, it excited me. So here’s to 27, you only get to be a cube three times in your lifetime, you gotta enjoy it.


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Getting Real about excessive high fives

The high five is a celebratory hand gesture that occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand, about head high, and push, slide or slap the flat of their palm against the palm of their partner.

It has come to my attention, especially working in an office that is brimming with testosterone that high fives are used in an excessive and indiscriminate manner. Bad joke: high five. Well-timed “that’s what she said” : high five. Simply entering a room: high five. And I’m expected to participate in this and have to deal with a disapproving look when I refuse to high five over opening a can of soda successfully. For years I’ve been giving half-hearted high fives because I didn’t want to explain myself. But no more! Honestly people, have some standards for your high fives!

Maybe I’m being a little over the top but I think years of unsatisfying or downright unsuccessful high fiving has scarred me. Do you know how many times my older brother pulled the “too slow” move on me? Just witnessing an attempted high five that is left hanging makes me want to cringe let alone being involved in this sort of exchange. And then there are the unenthusiastic high fives where I feel like I’m slapping a dead fish. Why even bother?

This is why I’m sticking to my guns. If I’m greeting you, I’ll give you a smile, a nod, a wave. Maybe upgrade to a hug if I like you and you seem comfortable with it. If I want to acknowledge a good zing, I’ll shout out a “whaaaaaaaaaaa” or if I feel the need to make contact, a fist bump will do. But let it be known, it’s gonna take some work to get a high five out of this girl.


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Getting Real about James Franco’s many endeavours

Alright, alright, alright, I’m sick of hearing about how James Franco is a man who wears many hats or juggles many projects, or “straddles many roles” — as most recently described in the New York Times.  Actor, oscar host, phd student, author, painter, screen writer, film director. His day starts at 4 am and ends at 2 am. EVERYONE BE IMPRESSED.

I think we are overlooking the fact that he isn’t really doing any of the above particularly well. His book isn’t exactly a best seller, his art exhibit left many scratching their heads, and during his stint at the Oscars, he could be described as bored, stoned, aloof, apathetic, but certainly not entertaining. Yes he took a red-eye back to New Haven after the Oscars to make his 9 am class the next day, I guess that’s kind of impressive, but I would be more impressed if he had shown a little more enthusiasm at the Oscars (or at least acted — remember acting James? like he gave a shit), and THEN he made it to his class AND he stayed awake (unlike the audience at the Oscars).

And then I have to read about how he is not only pursuing a PhD in English at Yale, but is also simultaneously on track to earn a master’s degree in film from New York University this spring. He already also holds a master’s degree in writing from Brooklyn College. I mean who needs that many degrees? It’s like he is doing it for sport. Good for you, you can afford to pay for not one, but 3 liberal arts degrees that you will never use. Did this man not receive enough praise and attention growing up?

I think James Franco needs to stick to what he does best and that’s looking smoking hot.

He nails it every time, even when sporting a gross 70’s porn stache.


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Getting Real about Valentine’s Day cynicism

Alright, it’s two days post Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t help but wonder (a la Carrie Bradshaw), where did all the heart shaped balloons and life sized teddy bears go? Somewhere in a large, depressing storage unit waiting to reemerge in a year? Or are there industrial garbage containers somewhere full of deflating balloons and rotting chocolate?

I admit I’m a bit of a cynic and I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day. It’s too commercial and endorses all the silly love cliches. If you are in a relationship it sets up some high expectations for your partner…..fancy dinner reservations, 3 dozen roses, candlelight, a card in which he writes you beautiful prose describing how the gold flecks in your green eyes make him swoon? Or maybe you want nothing less than him to serenade you at the local Gap store while you are picking out some basics or trying to fill the argyle quota for your wardrobe..

I mean do you realize the man power necessary to pull that off? Of course you are in for a healthy dose of disappointment.

And if you are not in a relationship, you become painfully aware of it and feel like if you see one more heart-shaped object you are gonna stab a teddy bear. One year ago, I fell into the latter category, and I called my friend and fellow blogger Katie on the phone and went into a bitter rant. A few hours later she and her boyfriend showed up at my door with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne. And as we toasted each other in my kitchen I realized, I may not have romance in my life but I certainly had love.

One year later, Katie and Nate are still giving me a reason to smile on Valentine’s Day. The day before Valentine’s Day (perhaps to avoid a cliche) Nate proposed to Katie. Did I scream for about a minute straight? Maybe I did. Did I call Ramya immediately afterward to start planning the wedding? Yeah, so sue me. All I know is thinking of them put a stupid grin on my face alllll Valentine’s Day long. Katie and Nate, your friendship is a gift, and your love is an inspiration. Inspiration that may not end the cynicism, but at least it puts it on hold. From all the GRR ladies, we couldn’t be happier for you both!

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Getting Real about 3 people I want to slap some sense into this week

1) Chris Smith (+ all 173 members of the house that support The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act)

This bill includes many provisions. One of these provisions is the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal dollars to cover abortions with exemption in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman is threatened. The bill however proposes a change in language from rape to “forcible rape”.

This kind of open-ended language could allow interpretations that distinguish “real” rape from “non-forcible rape?!” as in the case where woman have been drugged or if the woman is of limited mental capacity. Who wrote this bill? The frat boy who sat next to me in psych class freshman year who told me that when girls mean no they really mean yes? Republicans often argue that government’s reach is too vast, like Rep. Michelle Bachmann who said we have a bureaucracy that tells us “which light bulbs to buy”. It’s not government’s place to tell us how to live our lives in a more sustainable, earth friendly way but it IS the government’s place to tell a woman what is a true violation of her body?

This goes beyond the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. Rape by definition is non-consensual sex. The word “force” has no place here. The absurdity of even having this debate is beautifully demonstrated by the following Daily Show segment:

2. Kenneth Cole

And in other news Kenneth Cole referenced the uprisings in Egypt to promote his new spring line in the following tweet:

I guess clothes really can’t buy you class. Well done sir. I’m afraid this tweet might have the opposite effect you were hoping for on the sales of your new spring collection.

3. Gwyneth Paltrow

In the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, Gwyneth complained about negative response to some of the posts on her lifestyle blog GOOP:

There were a couple of times when I thought, ‘I’m just gonna stop doing it. People are so mean to me. I don’t want to do it.’ But then I was like, ‘Who cares what some lame person out there says?’ I was in Italy once, and this old man came up to me and said, ‘I had the best time in Nashville because of Goop.’ And that is so worth it to me.”

Yes, keep doing what you do Gwyneth, don’t let those lame meanies get you down. Lonely Planet and Let’s Go, watch out, cause you might be out of business reeeeal soon.

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Getting Real about Hollywood’s most talked about moments this week

1. Anne Hathaway cast as Catwoman

Anne Hathaway has nabbed the role of Selina Kyle and her alter ego, Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s latest film in the Batman saga, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Set for release on July 20, 2012, this is rumored to be Nolan’s last Batman film, so probably also the last Batman movie anyone will care to see. Remember when Joel Schumacher tried to do a Batman movie and cast Arnie as Ice Man? Not so hot (pun intended). On a more serious note, Michelle Pfeiffer will forever be my Catwoman and that’s that.

2. Jennifer Anniston hates the “Rachel” haircut

In this month’s Allure magazine, Aniston refers to the rachel haircut as the “bane of her existence” and says, “I think it’s the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen”. Really? Have you ever seen this one?

Orrr how about this one?

Yeah, the “rachel” is starting to look pretty good right about now isn’t it?

3. Natalie Portman’s speech at the Golden Globes

During her acceptance speech for winning the Best Actress award for her role in Black Swan, Natalie acknowledges and thanks her fiance and Black Swan co-star Benjamin Millepied saying, “you might remember him in the movie as the guy they ask, would you sleep with that girl? and he’s like pfff no!” Ok, yes with you so far Natalie…then she goes on to say, “he’s the best actor! It’s not true, he totally wants to sleep with me,” then giggles like a school girl and points to her pregnant belly. So that’s how babies are made. Just one word Natalie: awwwkward.

4. January Jones’ dress
January Jones was the anti-Betty Draper, ditching the demure for the down right saucy. Some call it bold, some call it provocative. I say, while she certainly has the figure to pull it off, too much of the dress was cut out for my taste. My male friend says: there was two things I liked about that dress. I will let you guess what those were.

5. Ricky Gervais is too crude for some

The peeps at the Golden Globes think he went too far and his jabs were mean spirited. I personally enjoyed that he called out the Hollywood Foreign Press for nominating The Tourist just to get Angie and Brad to the ceremony. Seriously when was the last time either of those two made a good movie? I’m still trying to forget the three hours of my life I wasted watching Benjamin Button.

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