Tag Archives: Life

Review: Jen Kirkman in SF

Since I moved up to the city, I decided that I don’t have a lot of excuses to avoid social outings on weeknights anymore. I’ve said “Yes!” to a lot of things and it has made me pretty busy, but more importantly – balanced. I’ve been a workaholic for the majority of my life and when I’m not working, I’m blogging, but sometimes to blog – I need to be doing other things as well. Would you believe that I’ve never been to a comedy show before? So I have been to an improv show in New York City on my trip with Mandi, but that’s a little different. Recently, I was invited to see Jen Kirkman at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco and after checking my social calendar and seeing I was free, I decided to bring along a couple of friends with me for the ride. San Francisco was the first stop on her tour so that combined with this being my first show made me very excited.

The experience was very educational. First off, I didn’t know there was going to be a two drink minimum. At my age, I would say that’s a little aggressive especially on a week night, but whatever. I knew that you couldn’t record, but learned that you also couldn’t take photos. Jen, however, gave us all permission to do so!

Since I don’t know too much about the comedy world, I’m sad to admit that I didn’t know a lot about Jen Kirkman beforehand. I did some research though. Jen previously worked with Chelsea Handler on her show, has several Netflix specials and is getting ready for her next one, and is a liberal that hates getting dumped. My GIRL! I’m not sure if this is the standard, but she ran through her agenda with us at the start of all the topics she would cover and I kind of liked that. I found myself looking forward to some topics and kind of building up that anticipation for it. 2017 has been a hard year y’all. The stuff going on in our country right now is very uncool. It’s stressful, irritating, and frustrating, but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. What I appreciated out of Jen’s show last night was her touching on these things. She was very direct on how she felt and even though the real life situation is very unfunny, she made it a lot better with one evening.

Jen will be on her “All New Material Girl” tour the rest of the season so if you’re interested, check out her upcoming cities and buy yourself a ticket.

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Layered Velvet

Turtleneck + Dress – Aritzia / Choker – Urban Outfitters

I wish I could confidently say that I’ve mastered the art of layering, but I haven’t. Not one bit. I am, however, trying my hardest! As many of you know, summer didn’t technically hit San Francisco until about this weekend, but before that the temperatures have been temperate and layering in the fall is just the same as layering in San Francisco’s “summer.” I decided to pair two of my favorite Aritzia pieces together – the turtleneck that all of you have seen a dozen times and a purple and black velvet babydoll dress. Until this point, I had never tried to layer it over anything. It was a great evening dress to wear out – I remember wearing it on New Year’s Eve once and since then I’ve always worn it with other items like a cardigan over it. In photos, this outfit is a winner. In reality, it’s a little bit tight, y’all! If the dress were just one more size up, we’d probably be in good shape.

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Wedding Mondays

Happy Monday everyone! I hope many of you are enjoying your day off if you have one and for those that are working today – thank you. It’s been a busy month over here with moving and a week-long vacation back home that we’ve actually neglected Wedding Mondays a bit. I decided to spend yesterday getting caught up on what I may have missed from all of my favorite blogs, but the one that we’re sharing today is actually a personal one. This past Memorial Day Weekend, I flew to Raleigh, North Carolina (my first time in the south, really!) to watch one of my first friends from college walk down the aisle.

Jodie and I met during our summer orientation before freshman year of college and she was the first friend I saw once I moved into my dorm. Over the years, the two of us have shared so many memories together both inside of school and outside. Shortly, after I left Seattle for California, she relocated to North Carolina and while I never did get to visit her before her wedding day, it was nice to spend a few days there getting to know the space that she lived in. Manan and I made a little trip out of it and ventured to a number of neighborhoods and sampling all of the must-have meals.

She was the most beautiful bride and this wedding video captures her and Greg’s special day perfectly. Thank you so much for letting us be a part of it!

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What I Learned: Finding a Place to Rent in SF

There are many reasons to not live in San Francisco. Let me tell you about the ones that have been told to me:

  • rent is too high / generally everything is too expensive
  • you can’t live there without roommates
  • there’s no need for a car there
  • it’s dirty / it smells

Up until this year, I was perfectly content with living in South Bay. For the most part, I was near my workplace, my friends, my errands and my routine. I had made a life for myself there that I was comfortable with. When I changed jobs earlier this year though with my new office being in the city, it was a huge adjustment for me. I went from having a 30 minute round trip commute to a two-hour one. I tried to rationalize. Well, I really like driving! I may not like road trips, but I’m a morning person anyways and I don’t mind driving on I-280. It’s SO pretty!

I rationalized until I couldn’t anymore. 2017 was a big year of changes for me so why not add one more to the mix – new city / new home? I was ready for a complete fresh start. Having lived in the Bay Area for nearly four years at this point, I felt like I had a good starting point. I knew exactly what I wanted in a new home and I wasn’t going to settle. I’d also spent a lot of time doing research too so while others told me to brace myself for 1-2 months of searching, I was out to prove people wrong. So yes, it is possible to find a place in one week!

Just like a job description, I broke things out into my Must Haves and Nice-t0-Haves.

Must have: 

  • washer/dryer in-unit
  • not a ground floor unit
  • safe neighborhood
  • short commute to work
  • lot of natural sunlight – no basement units allowed

Nice-to-have:

  • dishwasher
  • wood floors
  • top floor unit
  • parking spot
  • rent-controlled
  • some utilities paid

When I shared with some friends these requirements, I got a lot of smirky “good lucks!” And I get it, people have lived here for some amount of time and they’ve gone through their fair share of apartment hunting so it hasn’t always been easy. In total, I looked at five different places and the neighborhoods that I considered were: Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, Cole Valley, Bernal Heights, Hayes Valley, Noe Valley, Alamo Square, Pacific Heights, and Laurel Heights. I’m also willing to acknowledge that while I’m writing this and making this “look easy,” I came across a few places that were a bit of a disaster.

The first apartment I checked out, I found through Apartment List. I spent one of my weekend days prior to checking out places making an account with the site listing all of these requirements (and more!) and a few results came up for me. It paired me with someone who was a rep from RentSFNow, which I hadn’t heard too much about it. I’ll also note that for all of my visits, I always brought a friend. The apartment that I was shown was beautiful. It had more than enough room for me, was on a higher floor, had its own walk-in-closet and since it was my first one, I almost let that sway me too much. I got so excited that I was willing to settle because I had heard how difficult it could be to find a place so why not end my search at number 1? However, after I spent some more time on it, I realized I didn’t exactly trust my rep when she told me she didn’t have the key to the laundry room especially when I had seen the apartment on other listings saying it had no laundry. I realized that while the apartment was spacious, it had too much space that I didn’t need. It also didn’t help that it was on the busiest and loudest street.

What this process was beginning to teach me was that there are things that I could think that I really need initially, but also a handful of things that I can definitely live without. I’ll spare you the details of every other place that I visited, but I will say that I visited a place in Hayes Valley that had zero closet space at all (that was an immediate no) an in-law-unit of a beautiful house with an entrance that started from the garage and had no sunlight coming in at all. I even ran into a Craigslist scam. It wouldn’t be apartment hunting in SF without one of those! Rent in SF is expensive and we all have to make sacrifices, but at the end of the day, you have to make the best choice for you and your lifestyle. The things I gave up? Just one – the washer/dryer in unit, but what I was able to get in return? Living a block away from my best friend, a parking spot free-of-charge, top floor unit, walking distance to my favorite neighborhoods, and a few more.

In 2017, Craigslist is still the preferred method of choice for finding a place. It isn’t easy and there’s a lot of noise, but you have to remain persistent. Every night after work, I spent about a week and a half looking at the most recent posts for all of the neighborhoods I listed. It was exhausting and at times I didn’t feel like it was the best use of my time, but it ultimately led me to where I landed.

People also will tell you that you need to bring folders with you that include ALL of your information. I did this and I’m glad I learned how to prepare one, but I didn’t end up having to use it! I’m more than a month into living at my new spot, but it feels like I’ve been living here for much longer. If I had to pick between searching and moving in this process, the actual moving was probably the worst with the searching being the most fun and adventurous. Friends love to help you find a place, but ain’t nobody trying to sign up to help you move.

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The Cream Event

Whenever the topic of conversation lands on weddings, my friends always say the same thing, “I love weddings. They are SO much fun, but so incredibly expensive especially if you are a part of them.” Now, this isn’t new to any of you. Weddings are expensive. This industry is sometimes madness to me and while I have shelled out quite a bit of $$$ for my friends, I can’t help, but do it out of love and knowing the fact that if it were me in their shoes, they would do the same for me.

This year, Bash Please brought their wedding expo to San Francisco for the first time and there was no way I was going to miss it. I’d been following them for years and have loved all of their ideas from previous weddings so I knew that their vendors at the event would be top notch and that it would feel like attending another wedding myself! I think a lot of my girlfriends would have loved to come to something like this, but the one girlfriend of mine that I wanted to take more than ever was Elisa. She got married just a couple of months after we went to the expo and was having a very small wedding in Mendocino, which meant that a lot of these vendors wouldn’t actually be a need for her. Regardless, I wanted her to still go through this experience and have fun with it! We sampled some of the best hors d’oeuvres and desserts, drank from four different kinds of cocktails, spent some time in the photo booth (a favorite of ours!) and got down on the dance floor. Side note, I entered the dance contest with my friend Kim and we got out in the first round. It wasn’t our finest moment, but like – were we even really given a fair chance?!

We were greeted with these refreshing Agua Fresca’s the minute we stepped foot into the venue. How cute are these little mini milk containers?

at the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco

Savory sorbets for an appetizer!

The prettiest dining table set up we ever did see

Overall, Elisa and I had a blast. We hope that The Cream event returns to San Francisco in 2018 because we will definitely be there. For those of you wondering if you can still attend an expo without being engaged, the answer is yes! No one is asking your status so go just for the fun.

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Me and My Record Player

During my recent move up to the city, I really had to take a long hard look at all of my belongings and assess if I’d be bringing it along with me. The record player is such a prized possession in that it’s been really cool to have, but it hasn’t gotten that much use. It also was a gift from a previous ex-boyfriend so I started to wonder “did I really want to keep it?” The devil on my shoulder, however, said “don’t be petty. Keep the damn record player!” I wrestled with this for days because I thought that if I didn’t keep it, it would be one last item to pack, but then I could purchase the record player I had always wanted. Even during my moment of packing, I had convinced myself that I had broken it forever. I later learned that was not the case at all.

So it made the cut. Instead of staying hidden on my shelf though, I actually gave it its own spot in my home where it gets quite a bit of attention. The record player is now getting it’s second life with me and I’d like to begin collecting records for it, but I’m not always sure where to start. I have three so far in my collection – one Bon Iver that came with it as part of the gift, a second one of a mix wedding record from a swag bag, and the third being “Give Up” by The Postal Service. Readers, if you are an owner as well, what kind of cadence have you set for yourself? How do you decide which records to purchase and how often?

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Outside the City / Inside Oakland

Top – Forever 21 / Leggings – Aritzia / Boots – J. Crew

I say this all the time, but I’m so fortunate to live in a city where it’s so easy to get to and from other places. Come September, I’ll have lived in the Bay Area for four years now! One area that I haven’t spent too much in is actually Oakland, which is very very close to me. While Ashley was visiting back in April, she happened to me over there for a conference and we took full advantage of being in the city. It started with a hotel date. It ended with 4 meals in less than a full day and an exploration of every part of the neighborhood. We felt like we had seen a lot of it, but I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen it all so I’m looking forward to the next time I can return and with a list of the restaurants we still have to hit up.

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The Moment I Found Out I Wasn’t White

I was advised a long time ago to keep not only my personal stories to myself, but also my views on politics to myself and away from social media. It doesn’t feel right anymore to stay silent. For months, I retweeted and quoted tweets never taking that firm of a stance on Yow Yow, but the news of the weekend has taken a toll on me. I’m distracted at work. I’m losing sleep because I am consumed by what is happening in our country. You can ignore all of this for a long time and focus just on what directly affects you, but the truth is – this affects all of us.

*****

I was 5 years old and in Kindergarten when it was pointed out to me just how different I was. My hair wasn’t brown or blonde, but black. My classmates had similar clothes to me and we were the same size. I imagined that everyone could speak two languages at home. I just didn’t know if it was the same as mine. No one had ever treated me as if I were different up to this point. You were considered the “bully” of our class. My parents told me to not engage and back then, I hadn’t discovered how confrontational I could be yet. I boarded the bus like I did every day and took a front seat because the sooner I could get off the bus, the faster I could get to my seaweed wrapped rice crackers that Grandma always put out for me as my afternoon snack.

You singled me out. Pointed to me. “Go sit in the back of the bus.” An order.

“Why?”

“You don’t belong up here.”

*****

Every day I climbed on top of the chair to talk to my mom as she prepared dinner for our family and she would ask me about my day. “Today, he told me to sit in the back of the bus. Why did he say this to me?”

What I remember is the glass shattering moment that I discovered how white I wasn’t. The part I don’t remember is the look on my mother’s face.

What I didn’t realize until I was much older was how much I tried to self-correct myself after this happened to me. For years in my childhood, I pushed myself to be athletic because I thought it was who I was supposed to be. I never liked participating in sports, but all of my caucasian friends were in cross country and track. I didn’t want to bring rice for lunch; I wanted a Lunchables. I stopped speaking Vietnamese until I forgot how to completely. Instead of embracing the culture that I grew up with, I did all that I could to be anything, but different so as to never feel as isolated as I was during that moment when I was five.

*****

I think about this story all the time, but I never thought to ask my mother about how she felt when I came to her until Sunday. I wish I had a recording of this phone call, not to share it widely, but because it was so honest and meant a lot to me to hear her own point of view. What she told me was that she never forgot that moment. Like me, she too, thinks about it. Back then, she couldn’t go too into depth about race or Rosa Parks or the kind of hatred that could live within a child without them truly understanding. I wouldn’t have understood it fully and I sure as hell could not have taken that discussion with me back to school. She admitted to me that she knew my life could be challenging and that I would have to always work harder and be smarter just to be considered equal to my peers. The expectations for me would be much higher and that I might endure more instances like this in my life in different forms. And I did.

*****

So I watched what reminded me of a witch hunt this weekend play out on Twitter. I read the articles about the young man named “Peter” who decided to March at UVA on Friday with a torch and then claim that he’s not the angry racist we see in that photo. And I wondered how a man this young could be taught to be this way – to have this kind of hatred in his heart. Who taught my 5-year-old bully to also have this same way of thinking? I’ve tried to be patient. I tried to understand and read the point of views from both sides to have this awareness, but I’m disappointed and frankly, heartbroken. I never want to have to explain this to my future son or daughter the way my own mother had to with me.

So your vote wasn’t the same as mine. It’s not about our egos and our pride, but let’s move forward. Let’s just agree that we need a better future than what is our current state right now.

And because this is an important recap from the weekend…

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Wedding Mondays

We are overdue for a Wedding Mondays post and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this one with you all this morning. I’m actually headed to a wedding this weekend – my last one of the season! – however, before we get excited about that one, I wanted to express how much it pained me to have to miss the nuptials of Alyssa and Eric. I’ve known both of them since my freshman year of college and even remember meeting Eric during my first week at orientation. They both have been great friends to me over the years so it was difficult when I learned I couldn’t make their special day.

This video was everything though. I’m elated to see how special their day was and it was nostalgic thinking about how their relationship blossomed into what is now a marriage when I look back on their years of dating in college. Alyssa was a stunning bride and I’ve never seen Eric look so handsome. These two are so perfect together <3

Thank you both for sharing some amazing photos and this video to catch me up on what I missed. I wish you two a very happy marriage and a lifetime of happiness together.

 

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A Trip to the Color Factory!

I was introduced to the Color Factory in mid-July about a couple weeks before the actual opening through a press email. The Pop-Up was organized by Oh Happy Day– a team of creatives that I’d been following for years. They’re famous for all of their DIY ideas and in general just bringing more color and happiness to things. When I heard that they were behind this project and collaborating with other well-known artists in this space, including Geronimo Balloons, I didn’t even bother trying to dig for more information. I bought the tickets the first chance I got and for Day 1!

By the time it opened officially, they were completely sold out for the month of August. Interestingly enough, they only planned to be open for one month, but decided to extend through September because of demand. Personally, I love things like this. Not only is it something to do, but it’s fun to be a part of a pop-up experience! The collaborators put so much work into it and it’s beautiful. People of all ages will love it. In a way it’s sort of like a giant playground for adults.

Here’s what I love about it:

  • When you get tickets, you select a designated time and you need to arrive within 30 minutes of your window in order to get in. This really stressed me out because it was the first day and trying to rush there in San Francisco traffic, I wasn’t confident if I could make it. It ended up working out and the reason why they do this probably is to control the crowds. During each half hour, they know how many people are actually going through the pop-up. The best part is that it never got too crowded! I could get the pictures that I wanted and I didn’t feel rushed. I could just go at my own pace.
  • It can be educational. Each piece has a little description and a note about the artist so that you can learn as you go along.
  • It’s interactive! There’s a lot that you can see, but you’re also taking part as the creator too.
  • Going through the pop-up takes about an hour, which I think is pretty decent for the ticket price. I heard the Museum of Ice Cream takes around 30 minutes, which doesn’t seem very long to me.
  • Everyone is so friendly! The staff was so incredibly nice and you can just tell that they’re having a great time with you. There’s a lot of love and passion that went into making this for the people of San Francisco.
  • There are designated areas within the pop-up that allow you to take photos hands-free! All you have to do is get a photo card when you arrive and program it with your name and email address and then at these spots, you would scan your card and then a timer will count down until it takes your photo. It’s great because you don’t have to take a bunch of selfies and you can do group photos altogether. The area where they can improve is probably being a little bit more clear about where to stand in the photo so as to not include other people or be off center.

Things that could be better:

  • The snacks throughout are a nice touch, but it’s not a lot. It’s no Museum of Ice Cream. You’re not really going for the food anyways.
  • It can be pricey! It’s a fun experience for sure, but ticket prices are higher than what I thought they’d be.
  • When I said earlier that it’s a giant playground, I really meant it. As cool as this pop-up is, I imagine that there’s a lot of germs around because you’re touching so many things, you’re even doing a scratch and sniff and there’s a ball pit. Maybe… take a shower when you get home.
  • It’s sold out already and you have to put your name down for September. :(

Also – just to note, this place is a Boomerang heaven! I actually ended up taking more Boomerangs than photos and the reason why I’m limiting some of them here is because I think you should go and see it for yourself! I definitely don’t want to spoil it for you. Don’t make the same mistake that I did though. On your way out, you can continue the “color tour” by picking up a map that will take you to other colorful spots all around San Francisco in conjunction with The Color Factory opening!

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Cool Carson City

I would not have ever known about Carson City if one of my friends hadn’t relocated there earlier this year. In fact, I really knew nothing about it and for some time even thought it was in the same vicinity as Lake Tahoe. Close enough, right? A few of my friends and I took the weekend off to venture over there to see her new life. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and living in Seattle, you got to be pretty close to it without having to go to far. I wouldn’t exactly say that Carson City was in our backyard though. I’ll admit, the drive was hard for (especially being the driver) and even though you’re not that far, the difference in cultural views and how you’re treated by other locals was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.

That being said, I enjoyed the time away and spending time with my favorite girlfriends.

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SF Eats: Flour + Water

Wowowow new title because we live in San Francisco now! Truth though – Flour + Water has always been in San Francisco so that hasn’t changed. The first time I ever ate at Flour + Water, my friends had made a reservation for a late Sunday evening dinner a month in advance. I’ve pretty much been an early bird all my life and on Sundays, I like to eat dinner at 4PM! Since my first instance was a reservation so far in advance, the impression I got was – wow this is some serious San Francisco restaurant. It is, but there are ways around it so that you can at the restaurant WHEN you want.

My office is nearby and by a stroke of luck, I happened to come upon the restaurant with Leslie right when it had opened on Friday at 5:30 PM. We were seated right away at a communal table. If you’re a lover of delicious pasta, you need to make your way here. I’m convinced that I’ve never had a bad dish here and you know what? I’m convinced that eating there at 5:30 PM on a Friday tastes much better than waiting a month to eat there on a Sunday at 8PM. The menu is always changing – likely by season – so it’s fun to try all of their new dishes.

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A Collection Part 48

48 posts and counting! I’m convinced that writer’s block is a thing that happens to everyone. I can still remember being in college and becoming upset at myself when I knew I had waited until the last minute to complete a paper. Typical. Writing always came easily when it wasn’t out of desperation and when it wasn’t at a time that I needed it the most. These “A Collection” posts are my favorite because they don’t ever require writing, but I like to write a little piece to go along with it anyways. It’s nice to just sift through a bunch of images and decide on the spot if I want to include them or not. I will usually know within a second and if I’m thinking about one for too long, that might also mean something too. I like to think that all of the images represent the mood that I’m in or a period in my life. I never actually write out the exact feeling at that moment and we’re completely okay with that. If you read into these a bit though, you can always sense a type of pattern.

Enjoy!

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Every Day in San Francisco

It’s official! I’m into week 2 of living in San Francisco and no surprise here – I don’t hate it. In a way, life has sort of been upgraded in a number of ways, new job, new city, new commute for awhile (not much of an upgrade,) new home, AND new photographer! I met Jimmy during my first day at work through someone on my team. He’s sort of “the photographer” for outings and events at the company and also just enjoys it in his spare time, but was trying to get more into fashion photography so of course I volunteered myself as a subject. I was really grateful to have had a number of friends / coworkers that I could go to at my last workplace to always take pictures for me, but now that I’m in SF, there’s something vastly different about these photos. I love incorporating parts of the city – the brick, the middle of the street shots, the signs.

Having our office in the Mission District means that we have so many elements to work with. Even though I haven’t known Jimmy for too long, we make a good team. I quickly warmed up to him and have felt pretty comfortable with him shooting me ever since. I’m not sure if it helps that we didn’t know each other too well or that his camera is 10x better than my iPhone, but whatever’s happening is working!

This is from our 2nd shoot together as he’s also the one that shot me in West Hollywood previously too.

Dress – Aritzia / Sneakers – Keds

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Yow Yow! in Pescadero / Half Moon Bay

I hate the word funemployment so we’re just going to call this period of my life the time that I took off. Between securing my new job and actually starting, I didn’t have enough time to take an extravagant trip or even fly back home for a little bit. Living in California though makes it easy to get a little further out for the day. I only had two weeks before starting and every day was packed with something – errands, blogging, getting myself mentally prepared for my next job, but something that was really important to me was taking a day for myself and having a day trip. The internet gave me a lot of great ideas for day trips that I could take in my area and I picked Pescadero because it was a pretty unlikely spot that I may never have chosen on my own if not for this moment. I knew I wanted to be near the water and see some sights, but not spend all day getting there. What I didn’t know is that Pescadero’s main attractions are a couple of blocks long. Our day there ended before we really just got started! Luckily for us, Half Moon Bay wasn’t too far and it was another spot that I’d always wanted to see. The us I’m referring to is my friend Jason who was also “taking time off” at the same time I was! I could’ve done this trip alone, but it was more fun with him and he agreed to my entire agenda.

Apparently, Pie Ranch is a major attraction for Pescadero so I needed to see this in person. Honestly, I only wanted a slice, but on the day that we went, there happened to be a field trip for kids in a summer camp and they snagged all of the slices before we could grab one. Hence, why we were forced to order a whole pie. To make matters worse, there were also kids behind us and while we offered to split our whole pie with them since we only wanted a slice, kids are advised to always avoid strangers so…

If you look closely, it looks like these rocks are kind of hairy!

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