Monday, June 16, 2014

The Great American Pastime

There is only one professional sport that I'll willingly give my time and attention to: baseball.

However, there are a few requirements.

1. It must be in person -- (do people actually watch baseball on TV?)

2. It's gotta be the Giants. 

3. I'll only go if it's a home game at AT&T Park.

After attending my first game of the summer a few weeks back, I realized why baseball is considered the Great American Pastime. There was something special about leaving my office early, walking through the sea of orange and black along The Embarcadero, enjoying the rare sunny day in the city and sipping on a cold one with my best friends.

It's nothing particularly remarkable about the sport itself, but it's everything that comes with a summer game.

On this warm evening, I felt like a true San Franciscan.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Going to the Chapel...

So we have some big news in the Witmer household. Mama Deb is getting HITCHED.

Over a year ago, you may recall I wrote this blog post featuring dating advice from my mom. The man she was referring to is the man she is taking to the chapel. I'm so excited to welcome my mom's partner into our family - even if he is a big Republican who doesn't love Hillary Clinton as much as we do (we'll fix that).

All joking aside, she's happy and I'm thrilled. But wait! I haven't even told you the best part yet.

The most exciting part about Mama Deb's big day is... it's going to be a WINTER WEDDING. When I found out, I think I almost died in Pinterest dreams.

In the upcoming months, I plan on doing lots of posts on our inspiration for the celebration.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share some snippits from the engagement shoot. I had a blast snapping these shots:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Club

While most of my free reading time is spent on Thought Catalog, Buzzfeed and Upworthy - it's always nice to take a break from the screen.

Check out what is currently on my nightstand:

1. Secrets of The Sommeliers - Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, it should come as no surprise that this book is top of my list. I recently visited Rajat Parr's SF spot, RN74 and am continually amazed by everything he does. This is a fantastic read for wine enthusiasts at both the beginner and master level.

2. Cool Gray City of Love - Gary Kamiya

This book was a birthday gift from my mother this year and it's very fun for local San Franciscans. It features a different neighborhood in each chapter and tells a beautiful story in each. Whenever I visit a new neighborhood, I like to check out what the book reads on it.

3. Thrive - Arianna Huffington

I was spellbound after hearing Arianna speak at LinkedIn a few months ago. She explained that she wrote this book to discuss a third metric of success - beyond money and power. This third metric measures your well being and all that it includes. It's packed with interviews, quotes, statistics and inspiring stories about how to truly thrive in your career and life.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Wore: Lunch on The Embarcadero

Sunny and warm days in San Francisco are a thing of beauty. When the weather is fresh, there is nothing I enjoy more than al fresco dining on The Embarcadero. My favorite spot is La Mar - a Cebicheria that serves incredible Pisco Sours.

To match the vibrancy of the restaurant, I picked a neon floral skirt and a bright carrot red top.

Skirt: Forever 21, Top: Old Navy, Shoes: Michael Kors, Bag: H&M, Glasses: Rayban

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cafe Dates on Charming Lanes

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. For some, it's the laundry/grocery/cleaning day... for me, it's my restorative day.

The weeks are busy and Friday/Saturday evenings are at times wild, but Sunday is peace. Sunday is my day for friends, for strolls and for enjoying the gorgeous San Francisco weather.

This weekend I was so lucky to be joined by my dear friend, Maddison. She is as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. Our destination of choice was Mocca Cafe on Maiden Lane where we sipped lattes and discussed future travels.

Mocca (though overpriced) is a charming spot located in perhaps the most gorgeous street in downtown. Surrounded by Chanel and Diptyque, listening to a live Opera singer at the end of the lane -- it was the perfect close to this weekend.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Affordable Luxury: SF's Best Massage

I like to indulge.

From afternoon tea, to designer shoes, to exotic trips. A girl has gotta treat herself.

One of my all-time favorite indulgences is massages. There is nothing like laying in a cozy bed, while a stranger works out your knots using lavender scented oil. It's heaven.

Though I love it, the problem with massages is... they ain't cheap. In fact, they are pretty freakin' expensive.

A trip to a luxury hotel's spa could run you $300+ for a deep tissue and even mediocre spas will run you $120 for a 60 minute sesh.

Well - I've got some incredible news! I've discovered the most underrated massage in San Francisco: The Cinta Aveda Institute.

I've visited the Cinta Aveda Institute for a hair cut and I loved my experience (and the cut... see below)! The Institute is filled with students training to go to the country's top salons and spas.

Cute Hair Cut, 2012

I vaguely remember seeing on the brochure that they offered full body massages for 60 minutes for $40. A few days ago while walking home after yoga, I decided top pop in and confirm my suspicion. The spa is located dangerously close to my office.

Low and behold - I was delighted to find out I was right! I nabbed an appointment for the next day.

Another big win is they take appointments up until 6:30 pm.

I was escorted to my little section which was in the corner and simply lovely. The spa area is partitioned off by curtains, but they keep it totally private and very zen. The ambiance combines the urban setting and exposed brick with music like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

My massage therapist, Martha -- though just a student, was very professional and gave an amazing full body massage including scalp and feet. Not to mention she used lustworthy Aveda products throughout the treatment.

I highly recommend the Cinta Aveda Institute in San Francisco for your next massage. You will not be disappointed and you simply can't beat the price.

305 Kearny Street (at Bush)
San Francisco
(415) 989-4400

images via Cinta Aveda

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'm Not Bossy. I'm the Boss.

(Me, Age 5)

A year ago today, Lean In was published by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. The book has received mixed reviews from being called elitist and absurd to revolutionary and inspiring. I side with the latter reviews.

This book changed my life. This book shaped so much of what I hold to be core values and truths.

Regardless of the feedback - Lean In achieved something extraordinary. It started a conversation that has been quieted for too many years. It brought life back to the work of women like Gloria Steinem and challenged the women of our generation to stop settling... to lean in.

On the one year anniversary, LeanIn.Org has embarked on the #banbossy campaign.


#banbossy is centered around the idea that:


The only "b-words" attached to us will be: Bold, Brave and BOSS.

Monday, February 24, 2014

What I Wore: Drinks in SoMa

On a lazy Sunday evening, I met a dear friend for drinks and small bites at RN74 in SoMa. RN74 is a Michael Mina restaurant that demands chic attire. The wine director, Rajat Parr, is one of my sommelier crushes and his wine list is to die for.

Though the list features a ton of Burgundy, they've got interesting wines from around the world. I stuck with a French theme and indulged in a Carignan from Cotes Catalanes and an Alsatian Pinot.

A lady can never go wrong in all black - especially at a SoMa staple like RN74. Though I may have been channeling my inner spy in this get up, it's so easy to complete an all black outfit with a bright lip and some big hair.

It's also a good idea when wine tasting. There is nothing worse than red wine stains.


Jacket: Old Navy, Shades: Ray Ban, Lips: Armani, Bag: H&M

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Palace

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” 

My mother loves San Francisco. I think she may love the city more than she loves me. Or at least - so it would seem. The frequency of her visits has increased steadily since I moved from La Jolla to this city by the bay.

I'm not complaining though. Having Mama Deb in town means I've got my partner-in-crime by my side. Not to mention, she was my absolute favorite Valentine.

Our adventures typically involve some sort of beauty treatment, shopping, museums and lots of alcohol. It's rare that my mother would suggest we go on a hike or something of the like to spend time bonding together. We like a good indulgence.

This weekend, my Valentine and I decided to spend the dreary afternoon at The Palace sipping champers and earl grey.

As we have had tea together all around the world, our standards are higher than most. That said, the ambiance of The Palace makes up for the fact that their afternoon tea is lack luster.

Despite the weak spread, we so enjoyed our afternoon underneath the rotunda discussing our careers, our men and our next travel adventures.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Wish List: New Orleans Getaway

It may be because I listened to Louis Armstrong on my walk home. It may be because I had creole food a few weeks ago. It may be because one of my friends posted her upcoming trip plans.

Whatever caused this wanderlust, it’s done work.

I can’t stop day dreaming about a weekend getaway to New Orleans. 

I’d  like to spend the weekend strolling through the French quarter, hearing live jazz, dining in restaurants straight out of 1920 and exploring the ever romantic New Orleans.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What are the town’s best spots?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Appropriate for Work?

Working it in Tech has huge benefits. Lots of food, smart people, ergonomic chairs, yoga classes, a kick ass CEO -- etc etc. The list goes on and on.

Amongst all of the perks, one of the biggest benefits is the relaxed office uniform. LinkedIn has got to be one of the most casual offices I've ever seen. The majority of employees where LinkedIn T-Shirts in the same way students at UC San Diego donned their Triton pride.

It can be confusing though. We are encouraged to be casual -- and yet, we are warned that what we wear represents who we are.

One look I've seen surfacing around the techie-filled streets of San Francisco is dressed up sweats/harem pants. Though I hate to admit it, I've been known to rock leggings at work. I think these could be the perfect alternative I'm looking for.

What do you think? Office appropriate or save it for Sunday Brunch?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

San Francisco's Best Date Spots

San Francisco is a darn beautiful city. With twinkly lights on nearly every street, cable cars, victorians, hills with grand vistas - the city screams romance.

Over that past 6 months, I've had the pleasure of trying out some seriously good date spots. Some are pretty well known, others are under cover.

Enjoy some of my top picks...

Editor's Note: If you don't have a loved one, these places are simply wonderful with a good ol' pal as well. 

Second Editor's Note: If you have been at one of these places with me and didn't think it was a date... chances are it wasn't - but it sure could have been a good one.

Third Editor's Note: If you ever do go these places with me in the future, chances are it may be a date. 

Top 5 San Francisco Date Spots

1. Alcatraz Night Tour

Nothing says romantic like a spooky night tour of one of the world's most infamous prisons. Not to mention it's a San Francisco icon.

2. Belden Alley Restaurants

Belden Alley is San Francisco's slice of European life. The various restaurants of the alley differ in food, but offer similar ambience and pricing. A great first date spot in the Financial District.

3. Salsa Dancing

I recently visited this salsa secret with several girlfriends, but we concluded that it would be a fantastic date spot. Arrive before 9:30 pm so you skip the cover charge and you can grab a quick, free salsa lesson before the floor gets packed. Quench your thirst with a strong mojito and finish the night with a Cuban -- cigar that is ;).

4. Exploratorium After Dark

The Exploratorium is all the rave here in San Francisco. This is a fantastic date spot, especially with someone new in your life because it's sure to spark good conversation. Nothing breaks the ice like seeing which colors affect our moods and debating if yawns are in fact contagious. Great spot to bring out the inner children in us all. Go on the first Thursday of every month and enjoy cocktails while you explore the exhibitions.

5. Palace of Fine Arts Picnic

Now this is a spot for the romantics out there. Palace of Fine Arts is easily one of the most beautiful spots in San Francisco. Bring a blanket, watch out for the hungry swans and dance under the Palace.


Friday, January 10, 2014

How To Choose the Right Job

Graduating a year early from college has its upsides. It was a great idea in terms of finances and my career ambitions, but it has been painful watching my closest friends, who are Seniors right now, take an entire month off for Winter Break.

Additionally, as the official pioneer into the real world for my crew - I've become the go-to for questions about the post-grad life.

One of the biggest questions I've been asked is, "How do I choose the right job?"

As Seniors rapidly approach the second half of the year, those that are unemployed, are aggressively searching. I can vividly remember the day I officially started the job hunt -- I wrote this.

It is a scary and exciting time. And as "Millennials," we have the added pressure of doing something that matters with our careers, finding our passions and making a difference in the world. It's not enough just to have a stable position... we want disruptive, transformational, and wild positions.

While those are amazing benchmarks to keep in mind when job hunting - I've discovered that there are three things that matter most in choosing the best next step for you.

The Three P's of Choosing the Right Job:

1. People

It is a universal truth that the people you work with and for are far more important then the actual work you do. You could work the crappiest of jobs, but if you liked the people you were doing it with - you'd have a good time.

As such, it is crucial during the interview process to really evaluate the people you are meeting. Do these future managers seem like people who would sincerely care about your well being? Are they the type of person you could grab a pint with after work? (Forgive me, my boss is of Irish decent... so this whole "grab a pint" concept has been engrained in my head).

2. Product

It's important to work for a company that makes a product you believe in... that you use. Whether that is a social media you can't live without, or a tool that's made your life in college a lot easier, or even a line of cosmetics that you've been using since you were 15 years old.

If you don't believe in the product of your company, you'll never have passion for the company. Additionally, a quick analysis of your favorite brands or products is a great place to start when thinking of which companies you may want to work for.

3. Pride

Work for a company that has culture, values, ethics and goals that make you proud. You should be proud to tell your family and friends all about it - even if they get sick of hearing it (sorry, family and friends... I know you all know how much I love working at LinkedIn.)

It's easy to join a company that has a decent salary and stable title. However, this is the time to join that start-up, that non-profit... that company that's going to make you feel so proud of your next step in life. Don't settle on something mediocre.


These three things will look very different to each individual, but they are solid categories to keep in mind when evaluating your options. Who knows, they may lead you down a path you never knew existed.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Look Back on the First Year

I started this blog on New Years Day 2013 with one goal - to find an outlet to express my thoughts and adventures while building a digital brand for myself.

At the start of the adventure, it was great! I was blogging every day. While at the time, I complained that I had so very little time - remember this post?

How silly I was. I had all the time in the world to blog -- in the middle of class, late at night because I didn't have anything to do until 10 am the next morning, etc etc...

Now I'm an adult... or so the Feds tell me by the absurd tax bracket I'm in. (Hate to admit it but, Republicans might actually be on to something). And unfortunately, blogging has totally taken the back burner. I hope to find more consistency in my life and perhaps my blog will mirror that. In the mean time, I'd like to take a look back over the past year on mackenziecharlotte... 2013 was a good one.

In the past year...

... I had many foodie adventures...

... I travelled to China and Ireland and Scotland...

... I interviewed for jobs and got hired...

... I graduated from college...

... I moved to San Francisco...

... I started all new adventures....

... and I have met so many new wonderful people along the way while, thankfully, holding on to my oldies...

I can't wait to see what 2014 will bring... it's off to a great start!
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