Having spent the last five months in the concrete jungle that is NYC, I came close to forgetting about the photo opportunities that arise when you live in a lush, nature paradise like San Francisco. The first few weeks back were heavily documented on my camera roll every time I stepped outside, where the air refreshingly smelled like fresh eucalyptus and pine instead of garbage and sweat. I once missed the 29 bus because I was preoccupied snapping shots of Lake Merced and in other instance, freaked out a shop owner because I was taking an obsessively excessive amount of pictures of her succulents (typical). By putting some of these visuals into this post, I’d like to think it makes those blunders at least a little worthwhile.
Other than the landscapes I’ve documented so far, a lot of the food that I eat is surprisingly photogenic and green –– which is slightly impressive considering that my summer diet consists mostly of saturated fat and gluten. And while I’m no “one pressed green juice a day” kind of gurl, I was happy to have a healthy amount of salad and veggie pics to choose from for this photoset –– most of which didn’t end up making the final cut, oops.
So while green may be the color of envy and –– in the words of Weezy –– “Yung moolah, baby,” it is also (and most importantly) the color of avocados, and the familiar backdrop for the environmentally-blessed place I call home.
1. The first time I saw one of my best friends after getting back was more special than I could have ever imagined. Six months of distance felt like a minuscule gap in our relationship, as we immediately began to joke about everything that had happened at school, while eating the meal pictured here. 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley is easily one of our favorite spots to obnoxiously photograph our food –– as you can probably tell from this shot –– and talk for hours on end. From their special Russian honey cake to the homemade, vegetable-topped bagels (both on the right) and vintage interior, this lil local restaurant has stolen a piece of my heart.
2. Some of my favorite memories with my family have been ones where we drive to nearby towns and spend the whole day eating new food, shopping and exploring endlessly. Our visit to Half Moon Bay was no different, as I began to realize how much I missed these moments when I was away across the country. This destination was a new one for us, and our time in the sleepy beach town was spent eating copious amounts of seafood, browsing expensive boutiques and walking along the beach (a section of which is pictured here) until we were too cold and tired to stay any longer.
3. In the many years I have traipsed up and down Clarion Alley, few of the ever-changing murals have powerfully resonated with me and my personal ideology –– this being one of them. Its message is clearly poignant and wittily depict the racial issues that have captured the focus of the surrounding neighborhood and the attention of our generation.
4. This photo is most definitely a weird one I regretfully don’t remember taking. After a long night at the beach (I’m going to leave it at that), my friends and I were walking back to the train when we saw this moving image projected onto the side of a building. I imagine that the sight of green-tinted men running on loop is lowkey terrifying at any time of the day, let alone at one a.m. So instead of freaking out about the possibilities of the projection’s origin, we did what is second nature for everyone with an iPhone –– by taking pictures of it until the wall became uninteresting and slightly less nightmarish.
5. Coming back to the Bay, I was overwhelmed by how inexpensive succulents were again. Not surprisingly, our Half Moon Bay trip was heavily defined by our visit to a huge xerophyte greenhouse, where I got to mingle with a bunch of precious plants (seen above).
6. Every year, My best friend Amanda and I have a single, gluttonous meal at Wing Stop in Westlake Shopping Center. This is one of those annual traditions that started as an obscure inside joke, and is now simply a weirdly concrete part of our friendship that we don’t dare question. The trek alongside the boulevard from San Francisco into Daly City towards the chicken-mecca is long and treacherous, as we both don’t drive, but the long walk before our food only makes the pounds of lemon-pepper wings and seasoned fries taste better –– and feel more justified. This time on the way there, by a small change of perspective, I noticed the familiar route wasn’t so tiring and awful as I remembered it. I even spotted this row of cute houses hidden behind dozens of voluminous trees, depicted above.
7. On one particular morning, I woke up and felt like I deserved flowers. Not in the mood to guilt someone else into purchasing a bouquet for me, I got up earlier than usual, went out to a flower stand nearby, and bought my own to proudly display in the kitchen. Believe me, if you need a bit more self love in your life, decorative floral gifts to yourself are the way to go (just please avoid a tacky dozen roses at all costs). Pictured here are said flowers.
8. For four years, I overlooked this view while waiting for the bus home from high school. Only now that the surrounding area has started to feel unrelated to the past hells of my teen years, can I finally appreciate the man made beauty and lushness of Lake Merced. Compared to the other unfortunate sights that reside at Muni stops, I can say with positive assurance that this one isn’t so bad after all.
9. After weeks of eating fast-food and frozen meals from Trader Joe’s, my body was hardcore craving something that wasn’t originally served out of a box. Luckily, my grandma’s birthday fell along the same week as Father’s Day, which was double cause for celebration and –– to my family –– an excuse to shove expensive food into our mouths at a rapid pace. The intimate, joint affair was held at Florio Restaurant in the Fillmore and following appetizer after appetizer, we finally dug into our small yet aesthetically pleasing entrees. Unfortunately, the pasta pictured above wasn’t even mine. My mom’s order of four-cheese ravioli, topped with peas and black truffles, gave me a bad case of meal-envy, which I counteracted by taking a plethora of pictures of it and passing the pretty dish off as my own on Instagram.