My Favorite Mountain

I love Jackson Hole, you guys. For the second year in a row, my husband and I made the trek for a ski weekend, and this time we convinced my entire family to come along, as well as a few friends.  And I do believe we've made converts of them, too!

Most of my ski days happen at Alpine Meadows for one simple reason: that's where I work as a volunteer patroller, so I have a pass.  Pretty hard to pass up unlimited days, especially on a mountain that offers a wide variety of steep, interesting terrain - especially if you're willing to hike for it!

However, Jackson Hole has won my heart and I know we'll be returning again and again. Why?

Taking a little peruse through a powder stash...

Taking a little peruse through a powder stash...

...and agreeing, once again, not to ski  Corbet's Coulouir .

...and agreeing, once again, not to ski Corbet's Coulouir.

The terrain: it's unbeatable. Vertical for miles, plenty of steeps, lots of varied aspects, tree skiing, that great dry snow... it's really got everything you could want. Plus, there's a pretty impressive amount of beginner and intermediate terrain so a group with varied skill levels like ours can be happy.

Long steep blue runs for days.

Long steep blue runs for days.

The views: I mean, just look.

I ended up with jalapeño infused tequila (yum), a pickle juice back (even grosser than I thought), and a sour beer.

I ended up with jalapeño infused tequila (yum), a pickle juice back (even grosser than I thought), and a sour beer.

The village: lots of hotel options (we absolutely adored the Four Seasons - even the smallest rooms are big and comfy with plenty of places to unpack your ski gear, the service in the boot/ski room is next level, and there's a fully staffed bar at the hot tub/pool after 3pm with tasty warm beverages), good restaurants, and an excellent apres scene (don't miss beers at the Alpenhof or roll the dice for a potentially disastrous shot/back/beer combo at the Handle Bar).

The simplicity: United has direct flights from San Francisco, making Jackson Hole more accessible than pretty much all the great Colorado mountains. And this year, no cancellations!

My sister taking a few glorious turns.

My sister taking a few glorious turns.

The bonus: you can do a day heli-skiing trip! My husband gave me heli-skiing for my birthday last year and made good by sending my sister and me for an epic powder day unlike anything to be had inside resort boundaries. It was total hero snow: 6 inches of light high mountain fluff on hard pack, and fresh tracks all day. And we completely geeked out climbing out of a helicopter on the actual top of a mountain!

Usually at this point in the year I'm pretty excited about the end of winter, but if I could I'd go back to Jackson this weekend. It's that good. That said, I'm always willing to try something new! Where else should we look at for next year's ski trip?


Weekly Peek 1/5/18

Happy New Year!


In the grand tradition, friends of ours hosted the annual New Year's Eve dinner party.  There was champagne, there was caviar, there was a sous vide machine, there was a kale salad and a gluten free dessert (because after all, we live in San Francisco), and there were dear, dear friends I am so lucky to have in my life.  There has been both great joy and tremendous loss for people very close to me in 2017, and I'm just grateful to be there with them through it all.

When Life Gives You Lemons...


About two and a half years ago, we bought our house.  A bit more than two years ago, we moved in.  Renovation plans were ready about a year and a half ago.  We broke ground a year ago.  And if you've ever done a home renovation before, you probably know what I'm going to say next: the project is still very much underway! I'm super pleased with how everything is going, but as they say, it just takes a long time.  "Twice as long and twice as much" is the saying, I believe.

...Make Lemonade!


However, there's always a silver lining!  Or in this case, two.  First: we got our washer and dryer hooked up again, which means no more trips to the laundromat for me every Saturday.  I always try to be grateful for things like running water and appliances but man, I am dancing a jig while folding my towels these days.  And second: I decided to turn a piece of plywood blocking what will no longer be a doorway into a place to display our holiday cards.  There's no big secret: I just cut some ribbon and used push pins and clothespins, all of which I had lying around.  I don't keep holiday cards year to year, but I love sending, receiving, and displaying them during the festive season!

Think Snow


Last January gave the Sierra Nevada mountains a month of snowfall so epic that Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows had t-shirts made for all the staff emblazoned with "Janu-buried!"  This year... not so much.  Snow is pretty thin on the ground as I get ready to start my patrolling season.  Here's hoping for some of those famous Sierra storms to start rolling through!

Organizing My Exercise

I found fitness in my 30’s.   Better, as they say, late than never.

To give you some background, I danced all my life, which kept me in decent shape.  However, I was generally terrible at sports, hated running with the fire of a thousand suns, and had literally no clue about what to do in a gym.  I may even have been known to make fun of friends who were committed to their fitness routines…  So, when I graduated from college and my life as a dancer ended, things went sideways. I gained weight, I lost whatever strength I had, and I felt crappy. I tried to get into yoga a couple of times, but never stuck with it.

When I turned 30, my sister called me out.  She had became a volunteer ski patroller during college, something we had both always wanted to do, and I was both in awe and extremely jealous of her.  She finally said, “If I can do it, you can do it.  So do it.”

If there’s one thing I love it’s a challenge, so I was in.  My parents put me in ski lessons at age 5 and took us on family ski vacations every year, so I’ve always been a good skier.  But I knew that to become a patroller, I’d need the fitness to back up the skills.

So, on my sister’s recommendation, I started working out with Shelby Jacquez at Diakadi twice a week.  In the most calm, even-keeled way, she kicked my butt.  But the funny thing was that because I was working towards a goal with Shelby’s support and direction, I felt empowered instead of defeated.  And as I stuck with it and started lifting heavier things, I even wanted more – more core strength, more endurance, more flexibility.  Please note – this feeling surprised the crap out of me and still feels really weird, since so much of my previous identity was wrapped up in being an anti-workout person.

Post workout: tired and pissed off tend to look like the same expression.

Post workout: tired and pissed off tend to look like the same expression.

These days, the absolute set in stone non-negotiables are personal training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a pilates session on Wednesday.  During the fall and winter, I work on upping my cardio capacity for ski season by using the Nike Run Club app on three other days of the week.  During the spring and summer, I run much less often (ok, I still kind of loathe it) and instead fill in with a mix of cardio dance classes and long hikes with my husband and dog.

After my fastest 5K, on December 31, 2016.

After my fastest 5K, on December 31, 2016.

This schedule is sacred.  I have had the opportunity many times to work with clients during my previously planned workouts, but I’ve never taken it.   Not only does my fitness routine keep me in shape for ski season, but it also allows me to be a better organizer since I can lift and move things many people can’t.

Until I started weight training, I never thought of myself as a fit person.  I still sometimes catch myself thinking of myself as weak when faced with a new fitness challenge (like that time I tried Soul Cycle).  But to me the biggest benefit of finding fitness has been the confidence it’s given me.  Because I feel physically strong, I feel mentally strong as well.  Every time I do an exercise with a heavier weight, I finish feeling like I can take over the world.  It’s totally unlike my dance life, and still seems sort of alien, but the feeling is real!

Yes, I do wear a smaller clothing size than I did in my 20’s.  Yes, I weigh less.  Yes, my muscles are more defined.  But the thing I’ve realized is that those are just side effects, and they’re not enough to motivate me.  For me, my fitness routine has to have a practical reason and a goal that I’m working towards.

On that note, my husband and I have signed up to run the Napa Valley Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving. Nothing gets me running like race fear! 


Weekly Peek: Jackson Hole Trip Report

Jackson Hole, Wyoming has been a dream destination for me for a long time.  The ski resort is famed for its steep, challenging slopes and consistently discussed among skiers I know as one of the best mountains in North America.  Because I'm a volunteer patroller at Alpine Meadows, I ski a lot and for free, so I don't tend to take many ski trips.  But my sister knew about my desire to ski Jackson Hole, and so for Christmas last year she gave me an Air BnB stay there (as well as the cute faux fur lined vest you'll see me wearing in all the pics)!  It was the perfect excuse to gather some friends together for a fun long weekend ski trip.

Not. Too. Shabby.

Not. Too. Shabby.

So, um, I have some Denver recommendations for you.  You see, there's one daily nonstop flight from SFO to JAC on United, so of course we booked it.  But it's a small plane going to a small airport and SFO suffers frequent weather delays, so you can guess what happened next: a couple of hours before departure, it was cancelled.  We re-booked through Denver only to have the first leg delayed so long that we missed the second and found ourselves stuck overnight.

We were delayed an entire day, but at least there were puppies in the airport!

We were delayed an entire day, but at least there were puppies in the airport!

All thanks for the following go to my husband, by the way.  He is a frequent traveler, loves trip planning, and researches flights and hotels particularly well.  By the time we made it to the arrivals area in Denver, he had us booked at the Four Seasons, a giant SUV to fit all six of us waiting for us at Avis, and a table reserved for dinner at The Kitchen.  Major thumbs up to all of the above - dinner was delicious (and huge!), and the Four Seasons bar is apparently The Place to Be on a Friday night (we did feel a little out of place in our slopeside attire).

We stayed in this Air BnB condo in Teton Village at the base of the ski resort.  It would have slept 8 people luxuriously and 10 quite comfortably, the bed/sheet/towel situation was a lot more high end than I have experienced in other Air BnB's, and the common areas were comfy and well-appointed.  For a long weekend, I would definitely stay in Teton Village again, as opposed to in the actual town of Jackson Hole.  We could walk to a lift (and also into the village within about 15 minutes), whereas it takes about half an hour to drive out from town!  

On our way from the condo to dinner on a gorgeous spring evening

On our way from the condo to dinner on a gorgeous spring evening

Teton Village is small, but packed with high quality amenities.  I always bring my own ski boots, but there were several rental shops with good demo options - I tried out and rather enjoyed a pair of Atomic Vantage 100's.  The restaurants were also pretty impressive given the small size of the village.  We had a late lunch after our late arrival on Saturday at Il Villagio Osteria, which had delicious upscale pizzas and salads.  Dinner that night was at the Alpenhof Lodge.  You go for the super authentic Swiss atmosphere and fondue, not necessarily for the other food on the menu, but it's a totally fun experience.  We may or may not have returned for several apres-ski beers the following day!

For lunch in the middle of our ski day, we were enraptured by the concept of an on-mountain sit-down restaurant (something I have experienced in Europe but never in North America!) and were lucky enough to snag a table at Piste Mountain Bistro before the lunch rush.  If you go, definitely make a reservation so you don't get shut out!  Our final dinner was at Handle Bar inside the Four Seasons (which is just about as ski-in, ski-out a resort as I've ever seen), and my bison burger was absolutely INCREDIBLE - one of the best burgers I've ever had, period.  I snarfed the entire thing.

Happy campers!

Happy campers!

And the mountain itself?  It's even better than I thought it would be!  The mountain has huge vertical - it just seems to keep going on forever, with amazing valley views everywhere you look.  Overall, the entire resort is much steeper than most - a Jackson Hole blue run would probably be rated a black diamond at your home resort.  On a sunny spring morning when conditions are firm, there's not much that's more fun than ripping giant fast turns on some steep corduroy, and we did just that!  There's also a ton of really interesting off piste terrain, and we caught some excellent spring corn on some of the lower slopes in the afternoon.  We did NOT try to kill ourselves in the famed Corbet's Couloir - it was closed, and after peering down the sheer cliff entrance, I saw why!

The weekend was short (thanks, United...) but full of good times with good friends in a truly special location.  We will for sure go back.  In my perfect world, I'd return for 5+ days earlier in the season to try to get some powder, stay at the Four Seasons, and explore the town of Jackson Hole a bit... a girl can dream!


Weekly Peek

Photo courtesy of Boboquivari's

Photo courtesy of Boboquivari's

Brush With (a Few Degrees of) Celebrity

My husband and I were recently planning a double date with some good friends, and decided to finally try a San Francisco institution: Bobo's.  Yes, I've lived in SF for 10 years and have never been, I'm aware this is a travesty.  We had a great time, enhanced by the fact that we were squirreled away at a private alcove table that is reportedly the favorite hangout of one Mr. George Clooney when he's in town.  I have to admit that for me the experience was much more about the ambiance than the food - if you're looking for the best old-school steakhouse experience in San Francisco I'd direct you to Harris' - but I spent most of my evening elbow deep in Dungeness crab with garlic sauce and regretted not one bite!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Dangerous Liaisons

JAKE has just come out with their Dangerous Liaisons collection, and so of course we had to support our friends at one of their launch parties.  I am dying for the custom toile fabric used throughout the collection, featuring greyhounds (the official shop mascots are Echo and SCOTUS, that would be Supreme Canine of the United States to you) instead of dragons!  It's those kind of playful details that make JAKE clothes stand out in a sea of fashion.

Photo courtesy of (Carrie Sisto)

Photo courtesy of (Carrie Sisto)

Weird for Good

I've mentioned before that I sit on the board of CounterPulse, an amazing performing arts organization based out of a theater in SF's Tenderloin.  This year, for the first time, we're putting on a gala Family Feast & Fundraiser, and I'm chairing the host committee!  The past few months have been a whirlwind of brainstorming, planning meetings, and bonding time with the truly incomparable staff and board members of CounterPulse, and we're just under a month out from the event itself.  The dinner is already sold out, but the after party will be super fun, featuring live performances, bespoke cocktails, a drag show, DJ and dancing, and a silent auction, all to benefit the Springboard Fund For Artists so that CounterPulse can keep providing a home for groundbreaking art that shatters assumptions and promotes community.  All the hippest, artiest kids in town will be there, and you'll want to be there too!

End of the Season

In bittersweet news, my official ski season is over.  I spent my winter training three new candidates to join the Alpine Meadows National Ski Patrol, and I'm so pleased and proud that all three passed their final test and will be wearing red jackets from now on!  Fortunately for all of us who love the mountains, there's still snow to spare in the Sierras and many of the ski hills are planning to be open into May and June.  I'm thinking of snagging a few runs of spring corn on Memorial Day Weekend.  How many times in life is there the opportunity to do that??

Weekly Peek

Midwestern Hot Spot

Over President's Day weekend, I made my semi-annual trek to Minnesota to visit my best friend and her family - including my honorary nephews, who very gratifyingly remembered me and deigned to let me read them stories (they're 1.5 and 3).  As a special treat they got a babysitter one evening and we headed out for a very memorable dinner at Travail Kitchen & Amusements.  It's a steady stream of small bites, all of them creative, delicious, and inspired by local ingredients - and all of them delivered with plenty of humor and without formality.  I had duck mousse squeezed onto my hand and ate a piece of speck directly from a hanging hook, among other things!  If you're in the Minneapolis area, go early for a drink (or two) - the cocktails and mocktails are all seriously excellent.

Hot Button Issue

My husband and I were lucky enough to be invited as guests of the Marin Community Foundation to attend the Planned Parenthood Northern California Acts of Courage dinner (you may have seen my Instagram posts already...).  It was a truly inspiring evening, featuring honoree Dr. Willie Parker, author Rebecca Traister interviewed by writer and educator Chinaka Hodge, and a poetry reading by Janae Johnson, Natasha Huey, and Terisa Siagatonu that blew both of us away (my husband said it was hands down his favorite part of the night - and he is not what you would call the activist-y type).  Women's health, and equal access to it for all women regardless of race, sexuality, or gender identification, is my hot button issue, and I'm looking for ways to get more involved.

When Conferences Go Right

I talked openly about my thoughts on the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) here, and I'll continue to do that.  Plus, conferences in general have a pretty spotty reputation.  However, I was overall really pleased with my experience at the Regional Conference held by NAPO-SFBA last month.  I found the keynote speaker to be not particularly inspiring, but thought some of the breakout sessions were really helpful and spurred me to think creatively about how to move my business forward this year.  Plus, there were great networking opportunities with vendors and other organizers, and it's always great to feel like part of a community!

Petunia checks out the fluffy white stuff on Day 1 of the storm... and yes, those giant banks from this crazy snow year are taller than a person!

Snowed In

It's been quite dry in California for the past few years, which means we've collectively forgotten how to deal with mountain weather and travel therein.  My friends and I were reminded of just how opinionated Mother Nature can be when we headed to Tahoe for the first weekend in March and quite literally got snowed in for a night longer than planned.  With about four feet of snow falling over two days and all the freeways closed, there was literally no way to drive back to San Francisco.  I try to warn people that this can be a possibility, and sure enough, getting snowed in does actually happen!

What I'm Organizing

Or, should I say, what I'm failing at organizing!  I'm never too proud to admit when I go wrong, and I definitely did last week.

Our renovation means that our contractor has to periodically turn off water and power to move things around, and he wanted a week without us in the house to accomplish the latest round.  So, my plan was to spend the week at my parents' condo at Tahoe.  I'd have few distractions, so I planned to get some serious work done: set up my CRM system, do a lot of writing for the blog, start to work on some cool partnership ideas, take a new look at my social media presence.  Photo below was from Day 1...

If you happened by the blog last week, you'll get an idea of how much of that happened: pretty much none of it!

During the week, whether I was on the slopes or curled up on the couch, I got into that mode where I was happy with what I was doing, l was terribly guilty about what I WASN'T doing, and i was unable to snap out of it.  I had everything I needed in terms of resources, time, ideas, space, and I just could. not. get. it. together.

Looking back, I think it's because I was adrift from my usual work habits and hadn't set myself up for success.  At home, I've developed a series of rituals that make me feel like I'm in work mode and help me concentrate.  For starters, I work on a large computer monitor with separate keyboard and mouse.  There's something about sitting at a desk with that big monitor that deters me from general internet screwing around.  Of course, I only had my laptop with me at Tahoe, and I do plenty of screwing around on that so... 

I also do things like have a candle on my desk that I only light when I'm working (and usually only when it's cold outside, because apparently flame = heat = warm? WTF self?), only wear my glasses when I am actually butt-in-seat working, and only keep work related items on my desk.  At Tahoe there was no candle, I found myself wearing my glasses around constantly, and the small desk in my room in the condo was cluttered with my purse, various charging devices, and other random stuff I brought with me that wasn't work related.

These seem like really small things that a person should be able to overcome easily.  And maybe you're made of tougher stuff than I am and you can get work done anywhere, no matter what.  But for many (most?) of us, the small habits and rituals we create to nudge ourselves into doing the things we need and want to do are crucially important.  This is why I always say that organizing isn't just about stuff, it's about habits.

About to drop down and get first tracks in Counterweight Gully at Alpine Meadows, I'm closest to the camera (Photo by @xoxjulianne)

On the plus side, I spent great quality time with my parents and enjoyed an AMAZING powder day skiing with some of the coolest hard-charging ladies around.  So, instead of dwelling on the fact that I didn't get much done last week and now feel behind, I'm trying to be thankful for the great experiences I did have and start anew this Monday.

Have a great week!




Weekly Peek

Something's up when Grandma and Grandpa are on the march.

Rise Up

For those who follow my Instagram @lmwedits, you'll know I put on my "women's rights are human rights" t-shirt to join the San Francisco Women's March this past Saturday.  I was proud to participate alongside women, men, and children of every age, race, sexuality, country of origin, and gender expression; and prouder still that both of my parents marched in Santa Barbara along with my sister, sister in law, and niece.  If these two lifelong conservatives got upset enough about the threats to human rights in this country to hit their first protests at 60-something years old, you can bet that something big is going on.  The fight for equality for all human beings is far from over, but it feels good to be a member of the movement along with my whole family.

Photo courtesy of

Flipping the Script

At a silent auction last year, I came across a monthly pass to a new studio called Vertical Method.  It's sort of a combo of Pilates, barre, and some other things, except for using a mat and a horizontal bar, everything is done off a vertical bar.  I'm a big fan of Pilates - I take a private lesson once a week and fit in group classes where I can - so I figured I had to try it out.  It's definitely a good workout, and it will really help your posture if that's something you struggle with.  The vertical bar also adds a sort of jungle gym element, which I enjoy!  I just wish the studio was a little closer to me with better transportation - but it's a good option to have when I'm looking for something to mix up my fitness routine.

That small cabin is usually 10 feet off the ground!  Photo courtesy of

It's Dumping

In case you've been too bogged down in all this rain to notice, the Sierra Nevada mountains have been getting slammed with snow since the end of 2016 - 23 feet of it so far!  In fact, today, Highway 89 was closed due to an avalanche (if you ski at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows, you'll know this is as the road that connects Truckee to Tahoe City and Lake Tahoe) and people are still snowed in from the weekend.  While we're all excited about what this means for the slopes and the drought, don't forget about everyone working overtime to clear the roads, restore power, and make the environment safe for the rest of us!

Photo courtesy of

Game Night

Because of all this snow, my parents' condo at Tahoe didn't have power over the MLK long weekend, prompting us to cancel a planned ski weekend with friends.  We were definitely bummed out, but we still got everyone together for dinner and game night at our house.  Our standbys have been Settlers of Catan and Cards Against Humanity, but one couple brought a new-to-us game that quickly became a hit: Spyfall.  It's a little bit like Mafia, but more complex and unintentionally hilarious!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you (somewhat belatedly, thanks to a temporary technological snafu)!  I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed your holidays.

We ended 2016 with a bang: hosting a NYE dinner party for some of our closest friends.  it's a tradition among my girlfriends that dates back to approximately 2007, when we couldn't really afford to go out on NYE and decided to make our own fun via potluck and cheap wine instead!  We've added friends (and courses, and pairings) over the years, but what stays the same is a relaxed good time with people we love, someone(s) staying over on an air mattress, and a bunch of hungover people in sweatpants eating whatever my husband can find in the fridge to fry the next day.

I'm starting 2017 on a great note both personally and professionally with some wonderful clients coming on board, interior design for our upstairs rooms really coming together, and major construction for our basement well underway.  Plus, the ski season is off to a great start (quoth the avalanche report: "snowfall now being measured in feet across the forecast area") and we have a couple of fun trips planned.  

At the same time, outside my bubble 2017 threatens to upset current stability where it exists and intensify problems that already plague our world.  The human rights of each person on this planet - regardless of race, gender, sexuality, citizenship status, religion, or any other identity that can divide us - are extremely important to me and I intend to use that principle to guide me in thoughtful action this year.  

I hope 2017 is getting off to a great start for you, and would love to hear about your dreams and goals for this year!


Weekly Peek

Photo courtesy of Jorge Suarez Rivera

Spring Skiing

Although El Nino has just dumped another couple of feet of snow on the Sierras (hurray!), this past weekend was warm and sunny with classic spring conditions.  My friend and fellow patroller insisted that I stop on our way down the mountain for our final checks at the end of the day so that he could snap this picture, and I have to say it captures the essence of why I love patrolling.  I can't wait to get back up there!

Wake Up Call

I'm a pale person with a family history of skin cancer, so I get an annual skin check at my dermatologist.  If you're looking for someone in SF, I can't recommend Dr. Diana Camarillo at Presidio Dermatology more highly.  She's thorough, efficient, thoughtful, and kind - I always feel reassured after leaving her office!  However, at my last check, Dr. Camarillo was concerned about a mole on my arm and told me to keep an eye on it.  It seemed to be doing some growing, so I went in last week to have it biopsied.  Good thing I did - there was melanoma on the surface!  I was able to get in this week for quick outpatient surgery to remove everything.  Please get regular skin checks, especially if you are like me and have several risk factors!  They could save your life.

This baby just want you to take him home!  Photo courtesy of SF SPCA

Puppies and Kitties, Oh My!

Last week, I had the opportunity to take a behind the scenes tour at the San Francisco SPCA. In addition to getting to ooh and ahh over the adorable animals available for adoption, I was amazed to find out the huge breadth and depth of work the SPCA undertakes in San Francisco.  From educational outreach in schools to a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program that has drastically reduced the number of feral cats in San Francisco to mobile vet services in underserved neighborhoods (there is not a single vet in Bayview/Hunger's Point), the SPCA is on the ground improving animal welfare.  Check out the SFSPCA's gorgeous new adoption facility (no scary kennels, just airy and bright condos) if you're on the lookout for a furry new family member!

Photo courtesy of Princeton University (Seth Affournado)

Photo courtesy of Princeton University (Seth Affournado)

Tiger Pride

I'm a proud alumna of Princeton University - it was an incredible experience, and I'm so grateful to have been able to attend.  One of my best friends from college also lives in SF, and she suggested we go see Christopher L. Eisgruber, the relatively new university president, who is currently on a listening tour around the US.  Having worked at a university before and being used to the well intentioned awkwardness of many in academia, I wasn't expecting much.  However, I was completely blown away by President Eisgruber, his presence, his thoughtfulness in addressing the challenges Princeton is facing today, and his enthusiasm for the school.  The university is lucky to have him, and I'll be watching more closely to see what he's able to do during his tenure.