Last night’s view from our home at 9pm. I didn’t even adjust the lighting in any of the pictures, just zoomed in to reflect the lights from the last sliver of the sun’s rays and the street lights by the beach.
My second summer back in the Bay and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel like this summer especially there are so many exciting things to see, do and eat yet so little time. From a parade that’s filled with colors and pride to local delicious eateries like no other, the city is the place to be this summer if you ask me.
Are you ready? I sure am, yalla!
HAPPENING AROUND TOWN
June is Pride Month and it goes with out saying that the San Francisco is home to the largest pride parade of it’s kind in the country. The annual San Francisco Pride Parade will take place June 30th. The parade will start at the Embarcadero, head down Market Street and ending at the Civic Center Plaza. The day prior, will see lots of activities, live shows and celebrations of local heroes.
Last year, over 50,000 people marched and many more came out in support. I can only imagine how many this year will be out in our great city celebrating. Grand Stand tickets are still on sale now, so don’t miss out!
All this summer, Andy Warhol’s From A to B and Back Again will be exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Now through September 2nd, and for the first time in the US since 1989, his retrospective works are being exhibited. This is truly a one of a kind treat and we in the Bay are so lucky. If you’re a member, it’s free, otherwise most admission tickets are under $40! You can even have a private group tour set up for a slightly higher fee, #JustSaying. However, on June 29th, I’m organizing an outing with the local InterNations arts and museum group for an afternoon at SFMOMA. Join like minded art lovers from around the world for an afternoon that’ll be filled with fun and lively conversations.
Lots of really good comedy is coming our way this summer, too. As a loud laughing fan of stand up, I’m already getting tickets left right and center for all these amazingly talented funny people coming to the Bay, many starting at just $25! Here are just a handful of confirmed shows that I’m super excited about:
June 21 – 23: The massive comedy festival that is Clusterfest is three days of laughs, music, podcasts, drag queens and fun! Anyone else geeking out as I am that Leslie Jones is now confirmed in the line up? YEEEEEEES!
June 22: San Leandro’s Arts Commission is holding it’s 1st Annual Comedy in the Plaza. This free event should be a blast since it’s being emceed by one of my favorite local comedians and TV personality Brian Copeland.
July 12 and 13: Mo Amer is coming to Cobb’s Comedy Club for four shows already selling out fast. I’ve seen him perform live and let me tell you, this dude is HILARIOUS! He was recently featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and is currently featured in Hulu’s original series RAMY.
July 25: The hilarious Greg Props will be recording his hit podcast The Smartest Man in the World live at the historic Punchline! He also has a few shows lined up later in the week but if you’re a fan of the podcast, this isn’t to be missed.
December 7: Yes it’s past summer but it’s my birthday and I’m super excited! Why? Because on my birthday, my biggest celeb crush that is TREVOR NOAH is bringing his Loud and Clear tour to San Francisco’s new Chase Center. It’s like we were destined to meet on such a special day, you know? hehehe
December 21-23 and 26-30: And since I celebrate my birthday all month long, I’m so excited that the Bay Area’s very own Ali Wong is coming home for the holidays. She’s bringing her Milk and Money tour to the beautiful theater that is The Masonic. We aren’t even through June yet and this funny lady’s first show is already sold out, WOW!
The best thing I’ve loved about eating my way through my hometown is discovering ones that have been open for at least 20 years, that I’ve passed by on numerous occasions and some how missed out on. Until now! For the last year since moving back, Toyose has been my go to spot at least twice a month for either take out or late night dinner with my gal pals.
When I say it’s a legit hole in the wall, I mean a hole in the wall. Toyose is literally a home garage converted into a laid back eatery in the Outer Sunset. A fusion of Korean and Asian American cuisine, they have some good stew pots, fried rice, tempuras and katsu plates. My go to lately has been their spicy chicken wings… Oh my God, they are so finger licking good in every sense of the word that I keep forgetting to take a picture of them.
They are only open from 6pm to 2am so expect to wait some nights for about a good 20 minutes or so. Just walk in, write your name on the board and the number of people. You’ll be seated and quickly served by some friendly faces. I’d use the wait time to check the menu and figure out what you’d like to chow down on. I’d totally recommend for groups to order a bunch of plates and start sharing.
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to check out and rant about a happening around town or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email email@example.com.
We’re now starting week two of Ramadan and so far, I’m doing well… despite my major caffeine withdrawals. #TheStruggleIsReal! But in all honesty, fasting is such a beautiful way to reflect and detox both mentally, physically and spiritually. It is said that the first ten days are for mercy, the second ten days are for forgiveness, and the last ten are for protection.
God willing, this month inspires you all to give back to your community, come out with some self-improvement, and appreciate the little snacks in life. So… what’s for iftar?
With Ramadan in full swing, there are lots to do and enjoy. You don’t have to be Muslim to try fasting and join others for good food and conversation at iftar gatherings. If you’re a student preparing for midterms, find your campus’ Muslim Student Association who usually host a one day “fastathon” before coming together for iftar. Those are always fun and a great way to learn about and meet your fellow Muslim classmates. If you’re not a student but eager to learn, head to your local masjid where more likely than not, like the the South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA), hosts a weekly or nightly iftar gathering.
Here are a few cool happenings around the Bay this Ramadan season:
May 18 – The Arab Cultural and Community Center (ACCC) is hosting their annual Ramadan Iftar. Meet community members and learn about the latest ACCC activities in one of the organizations popular annual events. Tickets are limited so get yours now!
May 19 – As it’s the season of giving, head to the Ramadan Feed 2019 by San Francisco’s very own, Project Feed. On their 11th year, people chip in, gather together to pack lunches and distribute it to the city’s less fortunate. They do this monthly but it’s always more special during Ramadan. And after doing so much good, head to the 4th Annual Cupertino Eid Bazaar and give yourself a head start on that Eid shopping! Find amazing clothes, jewelry, and accessories from local Bay Area vendors.
May 25 – The Algerian American Association hosts their 2nd Annual Ramadan Iftar in San Francisco’s ACCC. This event is free, all they ask is you bring something sweet to share and toys to be donated to children in need as holiday gifts.
May 26 – Before you break your fast, head to Mehran Restaurant in Newark for their 4th Annual Eid Bazaar. For a great iftar and cause, the Bay Area chapter of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is hosting their 6th Annual Benefit Iftar in Menlo Park. PCRF does amazing work with the children of Palestine, Yemen and Syria in dire need of medical treatment, be it here in the US or their home countries.
HAPPENING AROUND TOWN
You also don’t have to miss out on some cool happenings around town just because you’re fasting. Especially after breaking fast and getting a good boost of energy, you’ve got good reasons to head out on the town.
Starting this week, Cobb’s Comedy Club is hosting a three-part film series, Cooking with Carpenter. This series, hosted by comedian Chap Opitz, explores director John Carpenter’s best movies with a themed three-course meal and of course a screening of one of Carpenter’s classics.
This is now officially Oakland Art Month! In this inaugural celebration, there’s much to see, do and enjoy by Oakland’s diverse local artists of art’s many forms. And while you’re in Oakland, check out the Old Oakland Artist Showcase. This public art project by Civic Design Studio highlights the spirit and vitality of The Town through its artists.
A few more fun things coming up this summer for you to plan ahead for:
May 25 – 26: The 41st annualCarnaval San Francisco festival is on Memorial Day weekend withLos Tigres del Norte headlining May 25th. Themed “La Cultura Cura” (“Culture Heals”) this year, expect the festival to be colorful, beautiful and joyfully loud!
May 29 – Jun 13: Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction. The 18th annual SF Documentary Film Festival tells us true stories from around the Bay Area and the world… makes one wonder if 16 days is truly enough time.
June 16 – August 18: The line up for the free 82nd Stern Grove Festival have been announced. Even though it’s free, you can reserve your picnic tables now.
June 21 – 23: The massive comedy festival that is Clusterfest is three days of laughs, music, podcasts, drag queens and more laughs. LOL!
June 17 – September 5: This summer’sFree Outdoor Movie Screenings has already started but it’s still going strong. Catch the next batch of movies on the roster to be screened, like Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians. Yes it’s free but you best reserve your spots because they go so fast!
What better way to thank my readers of this rant series than to do a shameless plug of my humble boutique with my first blog giveaway? Congratulations to JD Evans, you’re the giveaway winner! I hope you’ll enjoy the beautiful Game of Thrones inspired jewelry in time for the epic series finale happening May 19!
If you missed the giveaway and want to get your hands on these beautiful necklaces, be sure to use the discount code RAMADAN2019 at checkout! Ramadan sale is happening now through June 4th.
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed. If you’d like me to check out a happening around town or a yummy eatery to rant about, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I apologize for lagging behind on my SF Sundays rants over the last several weeks. I hadn’t realized until recently that it’s one of my most read rant series! I’m so glad my peeps are really interested in the happenings around town. As a thank you, I have something special for you all so keep reading.
Spring is in the air! The rains may subsided but Karl is still overlooking the city. The flowers are in full bloom, pollen is in the air and my antihistamines have gone up in price. Ha! Like that’s going to stop us from enjoying this nice change of weather and all the happenings that come with it.
This is my favorite time of year in the city because so much is going on and we are truly spoiled for choice. From local art galleries and festivals to international races and eats, you have no excuse to not come outside and play!
HAPPENING AROUND TOWN
Next week on May 6th, Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, is expected to begin. This is the month where Muslims around the world fast from dawn till dusk, reflecting on their faith and spirituality. During this time, there will be several activities happening across the Bay Area, such as “Fast-athons” and banquet iftars, where all are welcome to join, learn and participate.
The Bay Area Grand Iftar, hosted by the Islamic Relief USA, is happening May 12th in Fremont. A four star charitable organization I hold near and dear for the amazing work they do around the world as well as here at home. They were on the scene during last years devastating California wild fires, supporting victims in need. Ticket sales benefit the organization’s charitable programs while bringing the community together for a great cause. Speakers for the evening banquet will include Imam Khalid Latif and activist Linda Sarsour.
You know, our city is home to some of the largest and most beautiful museums. Sometimes though, it’s the small galleries featuring local artists that grab my attention the most. In search for a local gallery to check out, I came across a San Francisco Examiner story on local artist Kurt Schwartzmann.
Kurt, who is visually impaired in his left eye, dedicates his most recent series of sketches, Yellow Line, to the kindness he found with an SF MUNI bus driver when he found himself homeless back in 2008. Spending some time sketching other MUNI drivers, Kurt’s collection is now being exhibited at theLighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired through May 2019.
Time to get your groove on, peeps! Bay Area Dance Week by ODC is happening now through May 5th. Celebrate dance in all it’s glory with the local community of dance artists. Take free classes in Rhythm and Motion, Afro-Haitian, and Contemporary. Events are free but pre-registration is required. So what are you waiting for?
And if you’ve got your allergies at bay, this summer’s Free Outdoor Movie Screenings has already started. Woohoo! Running through September 5th, movies on the roster to be screened include Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians. Yes it’s free but you best reserve your spots because they go so fast.
A few more fun things to consider planning ahead for:
On your mark, get set, sail! The second annual SailGP in San Francisco races May 4th and 5th, with spectator tickets still available at varying prices.
Broadway’s all time favorite Hamilton is still happening now in San Francisco through September. Get your tickets before it’s too late.
The 41st annual Carnaval San Francisco festival is on Memorial Day weekend with Los Tigres del Norte headlining May 25th. Themed “La Cultura Cura” (“Culture Heals”) this year, expect the festival to be colorful, beautiful and joyfully loud!
The line up for the free 82nd Stern Grove Festival starting June 16 through Aug 18th have been announced. Seriously, what a line up! Even though it’s free, you can reserve your picnic tables now.
I have recently revamped my humble boutique, adding some beautiful new products and even gave it a fresh logo. Seeing that my readers here love this rant series where I get to show off my hometown and to celebrate the return of Game of Thrones, thought what better way than to have my first ever blog giveaway*? Yaaay!
I’ll be giving away three beautiful necklaces inspired by the GOT house sigils that I found during my time in Europe. Pendants such as the Lannister’s golden lion, Stark’s dire wolf or the Targaryen’s three headed dragon, are made to look medieval, Gothic and vintage in dark silver and bronze colors.
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is comment below on what your most favorite thing to do or see or eat in San Francisco. Not in San Francisco? Comment below on what’s your San Francisco wish list for when you do visit. I’ll randomly pick three individuals and announce the winners right here on May 12th.
Spring is here, so let’s celebrate!
*Terms and Conditions: No purchase required to enter, one necklace per winner thus three winners total. Must be 18 or older and a resident of the US . Entries must be made by May 10th with a valid email/account. Comments with no images/profiles, multiple entries or spammers are disqualified. Winners will be announced on the next upcoming post May 12th as well as on the social media handles of Ms. Hala’s Boutique (@mshalasboutique).
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed. If you’d like me to check out a happening around town or a yummy eatery to rant about, please email email@example.com.
Under the sun but above the clouds. Floating with the wind until your feet touches the softest patch of grass. The entire experience of it all, from beginning to end is absolutely surreal even as I write this rant.
Who hasn’t put skydiving on their bucket list? Who hasn’t thought about it a few times but never really motivated? That was me. I’ve always wanted to go but never really motivated until my brother’s birthday came up. He wanted to do something wild and skydiving was one thing my siblings and I said, “let’s do it!”
Lots of anticipation, excitement, fear, and anxiety builds up between the three of us until we got on that plane. I can’t imagine going up 13,000 feet without those two with me, let alone jumping before me. Totally not jumped in the order we planned, I’m a good big sister, I swear. But before processing my brother’s over the shoulder look or my sister’s scream, I looked down -yikes!- and willingly jumped off the plane!
A few seconds of disorientation before I’m synced, remembering the instructions told to us just a few minutes ago. Part of which is spreading your arms when you get tapped since you’ve got to hold the harness for the jump. I catch Brad, my flying camera dude, in my sights. With fists in the air, I scream, “Oh my God!”
The hardest part for me was the parachute pull, it’s a backwards jolt that caught me by surprise. Think of it as a hard break while driving 120 miles per hour. Again, it takes me a few seconds before I’m synced and I’m literally just floating. My tandem dude, Toshi, makes sure I’m good and comfortable before maneuvering the parachute to allow me a 360 degree view of my surroundings.
The Bay Area can fit in my hands. Mount Diablo, the highest mountain in California, is just a mole. The entire world below is so small, but oh so beautiful. Our planet is beautiful, peeps. In that moment, there was a sense of peace all over me. By the grace of God, I breathed in the cool air breeze, I couldn’t close my eyes, I spread my arms as if they were wings and had to be conscious enough not to kick poor Toshi. Ha!
Before I knew it, we were slowly descending towards our landing point. My short self finally got to shout, “look out below!” as we landed on a soft patch of grass. Brad came up to me to capture my thoughts. “That was fucking awesome!” was my first response. Did I just fly? Did I just land? Wasn’t I just on a plane? Oh my God, I jumped off a plane!
Before you go on your first skydiving adventure, please do your research. Note that you will be signing waivers because you are taking a risk when you go skydiving. My experience may not have been what I expected, may not have been perfect but at the end of the day, when you go with a good crew, your experience is all the more better. We went with Bay Area Skydiving in Byron, California. Per our research, they’ve been flying for over 25 years so it made sense to go with them for our first jump. While there is room for improvement, the team deserves props because they actually enjoy what they do and share in that excitement of flying with us rookies.
I’ve officially crossed “Skydiving” off my bucket list!! Have you? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below or via Twitter.
The Bay Area is officially out of the drought after a good few days of nonstop rain. There was a scary mudslide in Sausalito and flash floods in both the North and South Bay areas. Is that going to stop anyone from enjoying one of the world’s largest lunar year’s parade? Or the ongoing festivities celebrating Black History Month? Or even heading out for brunch? No, no and definitely not. So gather your loved ones, your coats, a few pairs of socks, an extra scarf and an umbrella, these next couple of weeks should be fun!
HAPPENING AROUND TOWN
Gong Hay Fat Choy! Happy Year of the Boar! This lunar year is off to a great start, full of rain and snow helping keep our state our of another drought scare.
Like every year, San Francisco is set to host one of the world’s largest new lunar year parades outside of Asia on February 23rd. If you want bleacher seats, be sure to get your tickets here in time for the festivities. You can also head to the SFMTA for the best bus routes and parking details to get you to the parade, starting on 2nd and Market Streets.
In celebrating Black History month this year, the San Francisco Public Library hosts More Than a Month. During this time, all library branches are showcasing literary events, movie screenings, storytelling, music, dance and crafts that can be enjoyed by the entire family. This is an effort to reflect, discuss, advocate and educate not just during the month but all year round. You can download the program guide here.
Do also check out the African American Center in the Main Library (by City Hall). Not only do they host exhibits and programs but hold a vast collection and references to help us learn about the historical experiences of African Americans in California.
The East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from the Al Thani Collection showcasing at the Legion of Honor will be ending February 24th. If you are a fan of history, jewelry and all around artistic craftsmanship, this is an exhibit not to be missed. You’ll be immersed in it all as there’s no photography allowed. Let me warn you peeps, you will be in awe of it all.
Several weeks ago, I joined the local InterNations group and brunched at Baker Street Bistro. This cute French bistro has a simple weekend brunch menu that’s packed with lots of flavor. I had to try the Oeufs Copenhague which is English muffin topped with smoked salmon, poached eggs and a light hollandaise sauce.
Peeps, I was not disappointed in the slightest. For under $20, everything on that plate came together perfectly and I was quite full. I did have space for dessert which I sadly didn’t get to try. So of course I gotta go back! Large groups like ours could expect a slow but friendly service so try to book in advance, especially on the weekends.
Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events or restaurants listed. If you’d like me to check out and rant about a happening around town or an eatery in town for my SF Sundays rant series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The wildfires in my home state of California has been devastating. The Camp Fire in Butte County has claimed over 40 lives, burned over 110,000 acres and only 30% contained as of writing. This fire has been so far the worst in California history. A second fire in Southern California’s Ventura County deemed the Woolsey Fire is fast spreading. CAL FIRE reports as of this writing that the fire has spread across over 91,500 acres and only 20% contained. There have been five injuries, three of which are firefighters and I’m praying there will not be reporting of causalities.
Being almost 200 miles away from Butte County, the billowing smoke has affected the air quality here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve used my rescue inhaler over twice a day since the fires began. I’ve stayed indoors as much as possible over the weekend, dunned a face mask when one was available to me but I keep thinking, how are the people in the heart of this disaster even coping?
The first responders have put their own lives on the line helping people evacuate and attempting to put out this fire. Many of them are from Butte County and have family forced to evacuate and lost their own homes in the fire.
So how can we help our fellow Californians in their times of need? Below are a few organizations I’m aware of that are on the grounds. Your donations in the form of finances and time would be greatly appreciated.
Islamic Relief USA has a Disaster Response Team that is helping those affected by the fires in both northern and southern California. The California Community Foundation has a Wildfire Relief Fund currently supporting recovery and preparedness. Benevity is supporting the American Red Cross’ efforts on the ground.
According to the Sacramento Bee, shelters have been receiving “generous but useless donations”. Meaning, kindly check what is needed before donating your entire stash of hygiene products. If you can’t donate things like underwear or backpacks, the best thing to do is to donate a gift card from say Target. Your time is also highly appreciated but please inquire ahead, your safety and that of others come first.
I’ll update this post with any additional information I come across on how we can continue to help those affected throughout California. If you have additional information to share, kindly email me or post them in the comments below.
For help, support or information for Butte County, please go buttecounty.netor call 211.
UPDATE – 16 November: GoFundMe has created a central page with verified campaigns to help the victims. The same has been done by Charity Navigator, listing all verified organizations on the grounds in both Northern and Southern California. The California Fire Foundation is providing both financial and emotional support to the firefighters and the fallen officers and their families. Let’s be sure to showcase our support and appreciation to the amazing firefighters and first responders.
For details on the current air quality in the Bay Area, go to airnow.gov and enter the zip code of your area. As of this writing, it’s lingering at 233 here in San Francisco which is “very unhealthy”. According to KTVU, we are experiencing the worst air quality in the world. I took this picture this morning of the smoke looming above the Sunset district. Due to the air quality, most schools and universities are not open today or the rest of the week.
UPDATE – November 21: I’m sure there are many small businesses supporting the victims of the California wildfires. One of them is San Francisco’s QSpa, located on both Steiner and Divisidaro, off the Haight. Right now, QSpa is donating 100% of the proceeds from the sales of their $25 in-house cuticle oil to those affected in Butte County. For $15, you can bring back your empty bottle for a refill.
Final Update – December 1: The Camp Fire may be fully out but there is still much to do to help our friends get their lives back to some form of normalcy and rebuild the many towns affected. I want to be able to continue to showcase my support in any way possible. Therefore, all season long, I’ll be donating some of the proceeds from Ms. Hala’s Boutique to the Islamic Relief USA and the California Fire Foundation, two of many amazing organizations helping our friends across the state. Please continue to share this post and add on it to with any additional information in the comments below.