Tuesday, November 16, 2010


A huge milestone just passed for me, the big 30! I spent the day with wonderful friends that I've made here (I've been so blessed) and had an excellent time. I still can't believe how fast time flies. It's made me realize that I better be doing what I want with my life because we don't ever know when it'll come to an end.

I am still loving San Francisco! I took a different route to work today and it made me realize what a beautiful city I live in. Sometimes I get caught up in the hustle of the city and work and never stop to admire the natural beauty of this place. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I could imagine living here, I'd say no, but as of now, I can't imagine living anywhere else. My heart is here. I know if I ever left this city I would be deeply saddened.

It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.
-Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Friday, June 25, 2010

Almost a Year

I haven't written in a while and I thought it was time to do so. I just realized the other day while on my daily commute to work, I have now been in California longer than I was in Birmingham, that is, when I returned from Readak. I feel the time I was in Birmingham seemed like a long, long time, but it was only 8 months from the time I came home from travel teaching before I left again. I am about to celebrate my year anniversary of being in the great Golden state and I couldn't be happier....

I still can't believe it's almost been a year that I took off and came to figure out if the grass was greener. I was telling my dad about a month ago there are a few things I wish I had thought more about before doing this, but if I had thought more about it, chances are I would not have come. First of all, why did I choose one of the most expensive cities in the US? Ha... I really did just laugh out loud. I went from paying $525/month for my one bedroom apt in Birmingham to $950 here. And I live with one other girl. I seriously have to laugh about it sometimes to help cope. I had a good friend say recently the reason this place is so expensive is just because everyone dreams of living here. It made me feel better. Then of course, the time it takes to get home. It's no longer a one hour drive by car, it's an expensive plane trip that takes up to 7 hours.

I must say, I have never felt as lucky and blessed as I do now to live in such an amazing and beautiful city. Every day I see something that makes me say "Wow, this city is truly beautiful." Whether it be running down Chrissy Field near the Bay & seeing the Golden Gate Bridge or Golden Gate Park, it's all beautiful. Even the Palace of Fine Arts, I never get tired of seeing this. It's in my backyard and undeniably beautiful. This city is so big that sometimes I see something I saw months ago & think, "Wow, I forgot how beautiful that spot was..." Or even walking in my neighborhood & seeing the Victorians that line the street, they are gorgeous. What a great city!

So in case any of you were curious, I don't regret my move here. I love it here. The scary part of it is, I don't know that I want to leave. I may have found the place I'm supposed to be.

Muir Woods looking at Stinson Beach

This might be my favorite building in the city - they are apartments in the middle of North Beach (Little Italy) and the Financial District.

Some of the best friends a girl could ask for - Napa, CA.

Alamo Square.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Update

I realized it'd been a while since I wrote.

A few things have happened since I last wrote.

I had a near heart attack two weeks ago with the rumors of Google buying out Yelp. They were in negotiations for buying us for $500 million. Turns out, it fizzled out. Our CEO feels we're worth more and gave us reason to believe the buyout won't happen now, but could in the future. I'm not sure what that means for my job. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying it. I was the first to hit quota for the month and feel pretty confident I'll do well there.

Christmas I didn't come home, unfortnately, but stayed here. John arrived Dec 7 and we decided to hang out in Napa. He'd not been yet & wanted to see it. It was a nice time to relax and see the sights.

I love this city. I realize that more and more each time I go out and see new things. I've been here over a month now and still haven't seen it all. I can't wait for you all to come visit and see the beautiful San Francisco that I have grown to love. :)

Happy new year to you all!

Here are a few pictures from recently.

Christmas in Napa Valley. Those yellow "wildflowers" is actually mustard planted to help grow wine.

We did a cave tour at Del Dotto Winery. It was so pretty.

No grapes. No leaves. Still beautiful & green. Napa.

Christmas in Napa.

Just me.

This place takes my breath away - Baker Beach.

What's a trip to Baker Beach w/o a jump picture.

Baker Beach. John & I.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Pad

Here are pictures of my apartment. It is a little bare, but it's a work in progress. :)

Chair (compliments of Ikea), Dresser (Ikea from garage sale) and Beatles canvas. Garage sales are a-plenty here, every weekend. It's wonderful!

Shelving in my wall.

Living room overlooking California Street.

Ok, ok... you caught me. Watching the SEC Championship.

Cute "little" kitchen

My new 'Hood & More

I realized I had not written in a while after someone said, "You should take pictures of your neighborhood so we can see what it looks like." Thanks, Oliver for that reminder.

First of all, I LOVE Yelp! This job has been exhausting the first three weeks, but totally worth it. The learning curve has been tough to get over, but I believe I am over it now. I have already closed my first deal, which was exciting! When people close deals there's a bell hung on a wal and you ring it & everyone claps and goes crazy. It's a fun work enviornment. Again, this is an inside sales job. I am calling business owners all day long (up to 100 calls/day) and setting appointments to talk about Yelp advertising. If they know what Yelp is (and love it), it's easy. I work with such great people! I am so lucky. The job perks are unreal (Odwalla fridge stocked with all juices and smoothies you can imagine, then another fridge for drinks only - soft drinks and water, a tub of Red Vines candy, Kettle Cooked chips of all flavors-bags and bags, corn dogs, burritos, sandwiches galore, bagels and english muffins, chips and salsa, string cheese... and it's for everyone to eat anytime.) So, job is going great! If you're not already using Yelp - you need to.

So, here are pictures of the neighborhood where I reside. It's known as Presidio Heights/Laurel Heights. I might add: I LOVE IT! I am now carless. I took my car to Aaron & Jenna's in San Jose on my first week because of many obstacles to get a parking permit here. I have to first register my car here and get a CA tag. Momma ain't made of that much money yet. :) So, I rely heavily on my two feet and the bus system. I haven't had time to run yet (although climbed the massive stairs on Lyon St yeseterday), but I feel I've still done well with staying in shape due to these hills I'm climbing every day and walking a lot more. I love it! SO, my 'hood has three grocery stores, one high end Italian grocery store, Wal-Green's, the only 24 hour Starbuck's in SF, four little cafes, one b'fast/brunch place, my bank, several cute boutiques and a little movie theatre and the gym... all 1-3 blocks of me! Amazing, huh? I can't wait to show it off to my pals coming to visit :) Also, my roommate, Molly, is fabulous.

So, I am also four blocks from "Billiondollar Row," on Pacific Ave. It's un-belivable. These houses look over the ocean @ Golden Gate Bridge. Taylor & I walked up that direction (believe me, we walked UP the entire way), yesterday. I thought it'd be great excerise to run up and down the Lyon St stairs. They span 3 blocks and pass through the back yard of Nancy Peloski's house. Here are a few pictures from that.

I love San Francisco. I never knew I'd love it this much!

Parts of my little neighborhood - Vouge is the theater that plays one movie per week.

View from the top!

Lyon Street Stairs

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Momma's Lil Yelper

Monday was my first day at Yelp! What a day it was... since I'm living in San Jose right now, I woke up and was out of the house by 5:45AM to catch the 6:20AM train into San Fran. An hour later I was there. I then hopped on a bus and took it to the office building. I met Taylor at Peet's Coffee across the street, because I was soo early. We chatted and talked about what we thought it'd be like. We are two of 32 new Account Executives, (Sales). Most of everyone is from California or has some tie to it. Of course the question of the day was, "Are you a Bama fan?" Meh. Everyone seems pretty nice, cool and easy to get along with. It was a typical first day at work, pretty easy.

The office and culture is so cool. I wish I could paint in your minds what it looks like or take pictures and post, BUT I don't think that's legal. :( We were briefed on so many things of what not to say to friends/family about Yelp and what we could say. They are so transparent with information that we will basically know everything that we would want to know - but we can't go telling people or else it'll end up in the press and having "Catherine Hartman" as the person who broke the new, interesting news info about Yelp. (They said that's happened)

But I will say this, Jeremy (CEO) has his dog roaming around all over one of the floors, such a cute dogie. There are kitchens on each floor and STOCKED with cereals, b'fast foods, sandwich stuff for lunch, fruit, an Odwalla fridge, waters, sodas, snacks galore. My eyes have never seen such a glorious site! And, it's all for the taking. There's a ping bong table on one floor. They have off site team building exercises where you can do all sorts of fun. The benefits are great.

The CEO, who is close to MY age, came in and spoke. This company was a start up in 2004. He worked at PayPal & then after a year at Harvard Graduate School he dropped out to form this company with his friend. They had some people give them money to start it and the rest is history. It has now expanded into Europe. I feel so lucky to be a part of this company. We are the last huge group of sales people they are ever going to hire. Talk about luck....

Yelp is SO huge out here. HUGE. It's used as a verb basically in normal vocab. "So after lunch today I'm going to go and yelp about this new place." Seriously. When I tell people where I work, I thought I would have to explain, but everyone says, "Yes! I use Yelp all the time!"

I wish I had known more about it while in Birmingham. I could have planned so many trips better and easier. It's also great for those new in town (ie Me!!) who don't know of a dentist to go to or a mechanic and read reviews and find one close to me.

This is a sales job though. It will be tough. It's a lot of information to learn. I am excited though. Most of the people there say it's a hard job, but they stay because of the culture and the people they work with. To me, that says a lot.

So... so far, so good! I am just ready to move to San Fran so my commute is 20 min instead of a 1.5 hour commute.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Change of Pace

To sum things up that have happened in the last few weeks.... I celebrated my 29th birthday! It was lovely. I went to see David Gray in Nob Hill (SF) with a friend. I loved every minute of it! It was the second year in a row to be away from friends/family... so it was odd, but I'm getting used to it.

And some other great news: I start my job at Yelp (finally) on Monday! AND I found a place in San Fran to live! I am going to be moving in with a great girl, Molly, from TN. The area is wonderful and the apt is great - it reminds me of my old apt in Bham. I am moving in Thanksgiving weekend and I can't wait! Finally - my own space again!

I will post pictures of my new place as I get them. Since I came out with just my clothes, I hope it's an easy move. The place is already furnished and all I need is a bed ... Craigslist can help me with that. Craigslist has been my best friend while out here!

I will probably pick up a waitressing job on the weekends to make a little more money until I start making commission. So, I am excited to do that, as well. I will look more seriously for a weekend job in SF once I get there.

Also, more interesting news... Johnny has decided to move to San Fran. He has already turned in his notice at work and rented out his loft. He will arrive Dec 11th. It'll be great to have a friend from home here.

That's all I got for now! My life is about to go from zero to 10 in the matter of a few days. I will one day look back and think "Wow, I was not doing much for 3 months, I can't remember what that was like!" Although I have been borderline poor, I have enjoyed this experience. I have seen so many places and enjoyed it the best I probably could have. I have learned so much, too, especially how to live on MUCH less. I am thankful for this time I've had and also for this job I'm about to start.

I can't wait for friends to come out and visit. I am looking forward to showing you around my new city ... the city I have grown to just love!