Westfield San Francisco + eBay = Digital Storefronts

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store

Even though the first snowflakes of the seasons are miles away from me, holiday shopping ideas and sugarplums are already dancing in my head. In the same way that pumpkin starts sounding great in August, there’s something fun about getting ready for the holidays a wee bit early. I love baking gingerbread houses and peeping at holiday lights, but my favorite November-December ritual is thinking about what I’d like to give my family and friends. Call me sentimental, but there’s just something about tying a bow around the perfect gift that makes me downright jolly.

To help fuel such holiday inspiration, Westfield Labs + eBay Inc. launched their new trio of digital storefronts for popular brands Sony, Rebecca Minkoff, and TOMS. Based in Westfield San Francisco Center, the interactive displays will remind SF residents of the touch-screens popping up at bus stops and airplane terminals around the area. Unlike the screens you’d find elsewhere, however, the digital storefronts allow customers to purchase items on the screen and pay directly on their phone. Neither purely digital nor traditionally tactile, the storefronts are the perfect merger between online shopping and the physical browsing experience.

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store

While perusing Sony’s display, I had the opportunity to play with the QX100 Lens-Style Camera, a nifty little device that uses Bluetooth to turn your smartphone into a camera screen that syncs with the lens. I always have my iPhone with me to snap spontaneous city images, and I love the idea of taking the image quality up to the next level (ok, about ten levels). Any Instagrammer’s dream, right?

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store

Even though my holiday shopping list is still in the works, I love knowing that I have a brand-new way to shop this December. If you’d like to see the displays for yourself, head to the 4th floor of Westfield under the dome. Displays will be up until January 12th. Who knows- you might just run into me there!

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for many more holiday adventures!

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store

Westfield Labs, digital store, Westfield Digital Store, Rebecca Minkoff store, Sony digital store, TOMS digital store, TOMS shoes

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SoulCycle San Francisco

SoulCycle SF, SoulCycle San Francisco, Soul Cycle San Francisco, spinning class San Francisco

 It’s official- SoulCycle San Francisco has landed. Launched last Saturday down on Union Street, the spin-class-meets-inspirational-speaker program promises to deliver a serious workout along with a dose of mental clarity. The classes’ unique draw has cultivated a legion of devotees, and classes in NYC and LA often book up within seconds of opening. Being in laid-back San Francisco, I was able to book a Monday class the night before.

I usually prefer to work out on my own and usually avoid trendy exercise classes. I’m far from a pretty gymgoer- by the end of my workout I’m bright red and drenched. But when I arrived at the brightly-colored SoulCycle studio, my anxiety evaporated. Everyone was smiling, and my fellow class attendees (members of “the pack,” in SoulCycle speak) were makeup-free, unpretentious, and focused on starting the class. Within minutes, I found myself on an expertly adjusted bike with my shoes clipped in to the pedals. At least I didn’t have to worry about falling off (a very real possibility for me).

And then it was go time.

12:00 PM – Am I the only person in here not wearing Lululemon? Oh wait, there’s that elderly gentlemen over there in gym shorts. He counts. Hey, there’s actually a cool mix of people here. I’m impressed.

12:15 PM – OMGOMGOMGOMG this is hard! I can’t do this! Will anyone notice if I sneak out? What was I thinking?!

12:18 PM – Oooh, Nicki Minaj is playing and we get to sit back down on the seat! Ok, maybe I can do this after all.

12:20 PM – Damn, I can’t believe I made it through that song without stopping! I’m so turning up the resistance on the wheel!

12:30 PM – I AM AN UNSTOPPABLE CYCLING GODDESS! MORE! MORE!

12:45 PM – Oh, it’s over? Already? Ok, I guess stretching is wise, considering I can’t really feel my calves.

1:00 PM – Can I go again?

And there you have it. Where other exercise classes may have let me half-ass the routine, the blasting music and positive group vibe made me want to give it my all. I even had a moment of surprisingly intense emotion when the instructor encouraged us to think about something we wanted to run towards in our lives. It may be corny, but it worked!

SoulCycle’s biggest drawback is the $30 price tag per class (although first-timers like myself can go for $20), which makes it an unlikely fit for those of us on a budget. However, taking the class was the perfect way for me to jump-start a healthier routine, and I can easily see myself popping in a few times a month if I need a physical and mental boost. If you have the resources to make this a part of your regular routine, they offer a slight discount if you purchase classes in bulk. But even if it’s just a place to go when you need an occasional pick-me-up, SoulCycle will be there.

Images courtesy of SoulCycle.

SoulCycle SF, SoulCycle San Francisco, Soul Cycle San Francisco, spinning class San Francisco

SoulCycle SF, SoulCycle San Francisco, Soul Cycle San Francisco, spinning class San Francisco

SoulCycle SF, SoulCycle San Francisco, Soul Cycle San Francisco, spinning class San Francisco

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9 Fantastic Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

vegetarian thanksgiving recipes, veggie thanksgiving recipes, vegetarian thanksgiving, Thanksgiving side dishes, vegetarian stuffing, vegan recipes

Ok, I’m going to just go ahead and say it- I really like Tofurky. No, I really do. I love it on Thanksgiving, I love it on my birthday, and I even love it served cold in a sandwich with avocado. It makes me so happy that its cute little football shape fits so neatly in my tiny toaster oven, and I love that I have it all to myself at the Thanksgiving table. The husband may eat lentils and tempeh with abandon, but he wouldn’t touch Tofurkey with a ten-foot wishbone.

So, now you all know what to make me if you ever have me over for Thanksgiving. But since I’m in the clear minority of veggies who love that processed faux-bird, I gathered together nine of my favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes. From a riff on traditional dishes to adventurous options, these recipes offer taste, substance, and a delicious reprieve from a processed-carb coma. While most veggies will make do with whatever’s available, I never forget when a host goes above and beyond to make sure I have enough to eat.

If you’re hosting any vegetarians at your table this Thanksgiving, read on for some balanced, delicious side and main dishes that will leave all of your guests jolly and satisfied this holiday season.

Recipes and photo credits (top left to bottom):

Soysage & Cornbread Stuffing – Cookstr

Ultimate Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf – ohsheglows

Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing – Sunset magazine

Autumn Vegetable Ragout with Soft Polenta – Sunset magazine

Maple-Apple Cider Tofu with Stuffing and Apple Cranberry Chutney – VeganDad

Brussels Sprouts with Mint and Chili – San Francisco magazine

Winter Squash Soup with Red Chile and Mint – Sunset magazine

High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes – ohsheglows

Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin – sanfranista

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