SoulCycle San Francisco

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 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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The Love List: Where to Eat in San Francisco

A few weeks ago, I shared my five top picks for places to drink in San Francisco. And because a woman cannot survive on drink alone, I figured it was high time to list my favorite San Fran eateries. Ranging from special occasion places down to hole-in-the-wall nooks, these are five of the many fantastic places I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing during my time here.

Full disclosure: speaking as a vegetarian for nearly 20 years, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want to learn about where to get the best steak in town. But if you’re looking for veggie-friendly places or just somewhere with a great view, I hope you enjoy my list below!

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Greens

With an unparalleled view of the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge and vegetarian fare sourced from farms in Marin, Greens is the quintessential San Francisco experience. Where else can you watch seals play beneath you while you munch on produce grown across the bay?  Special enough for an occasion yet relaxed enough to pop in on a whim, Greens never fails to deliver a fantastic meal that’s gourmet yet refreshingly unpretentious.

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Off the Grid

Why settle for one restaurant when you can sample food from dozens? Off the Grid is one of several food truck parties held in several locations throughout the city. I love the Fort Mason edition for its spectacular backdrop (it’s next door to Greens) and how well the sea air compliments the varied fare. Popular trucks Chairman Bao and Curry Up Now always draw crowds, but you’ll also find some little-known gems. Keep an eye out for Peruvian cuisine and cupcakes with flavors like green tea tiramisu.

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House of Nanking

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do lines. No, it’s not that I think I’m too special for lines; I just have the patience of a sleepy two-year-old and would rather try somewhere new instead of waiting around on the sidewalk. But despite its intimidating line, House of Nanking is worth the wait. Perched on the three-way border of Chinatown, North Beach, and the Financial District, it’s the perfect place to go before a night out on the town. I love the Green Lettuce Wraps with sauteed zucchini, tofu, and peas flavored with the most decadent peppery sauce known to humankind.

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Sunflower Restaurant

Sunflower is the type of restaurant that’s easy to miss. Perched on the corner of Valencia and 16th in the Mission District, it’s surrounded by dozens of trendy spots with flashier signs and fancier menus. But for those in the know, Sunflower delivers fantastic Vietnamese food at prices that leave room for an after-dinner martini at Blondie’s next door. It’s one of the only places in the city that boasts a flavorful vegetarian noodle soup that’s truly vegetarian, and I swear that their garlic noodles are not of this earth. You also can’t beat a giant glass of house wine for $4.

Jackson Fillmore sf, Jackson Fillmore Trattoria

Jackson Fillmore Trattoria

I’ll say it- I generally don’t like Italian food. I was turned off it by the red-sauce-and-heavy-mozzarella dishes that dominate midwestern Italian menus, but my view completely shifted after visiting the Jackson Fillmore. It’s been open in the same location since before I was born, and the cozy interior boasts no more than a dozen tables that are always packed full. The food is simple but nuanced and authentic, and the chefs are always happy to whip up something special. It feels like you’ve been transported somewhere quieter and slightly more glamorous, where the wine flows freely and you’re never in a rush. It’s one of the pricier picks on my list, but it’s my go-to for a special occasion or guests in town.

I hope you enjoyed my picks! Did I name any of your favorites? Which should I have included? Let me know in the comments below!

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Go Bare in Public (with bareMinerals, that is!)

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bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

I’ve loved fashion since high school, but I’ve been a beauty fiend ever since I can remember. During my teen years, a host of skin issues prompted me to cake on layers upon layers of foundation and powder like a bad cliche. The result was unnatural and heavy, and I certainly wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m much happier with my skin and makeup routine now, but those misbegotten years left me with a serious phobia of powder foundation.

However, when bareMinerals invited me to try a makeunder (yes, under!), it sounded like something right up my alley. Hailing from San Francisco (woot woot!), bareMinerals part of the bareEscentulas family, carrying on the mission statement that makeup and skincare should enhance natural beauty and boost confidence. They describe their mineral makeup as a form of skincare and “so pure you could sleep in it,” which certainly had me intrigued. My liquid foundation served me nicely, but I couldn’t wait to take it off at the end of the day.

So, I found myself at the Go Bare event sponsored by bareMinerals and held just outside the beautiful Ferry Building on the Embarcardero. It’s one of my favorite areas in the city- that no-man’s-land between the bustling Financial District and the grey-green water of the bay. The fading light of the day was the perfect backdrop for the pop-up stand, where makeup artists subtly transformed women into a more radiant version of themselves.

Liliana, my fabulous makeup artist, gave me a fresh, natural look with serious staying power. The secret involves moisturizing and applying a primer first and being sure to choose the right brush for the coverage you want. Liliana applied a light layer of  their Original foundation followed by concealer, later warming my face with bronzer and blush. For the lips, I couldn’t resist going bold with a lipstick called “Risk It All” (love the playful names!) for a bold pop of pink that just so happened to match the decor. Coincidence?

I was lucky enough to take home some goodies to try myself, and I can say I’m officially hooked. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a little 5-minute makeup tutorial I came up with, and I’m so excited about it that I’m even posting a no-makeup face shot for comparison.
Courage, Sarah. Courage.

Many thanks to the fantastic folks at bareMinerals for making this all possible!

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My friend Mathilda accompanied me for her own makeunder- doesn’t she look fantastic? I love how they played up her adorable freckles!

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event, bareminerals makeup brush, mineral makeup brush

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

bareminerals, bareminerals go bare, bareminerals ready foundation, bareminerals san francisco, bareminerals event

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