• party party,  urban life

    I left my heart in San Francisco. Stop rolling your eyes.


    I went to San Francisco this last weekend to attend Matt’s company holiday party and had the best time in the city. I’ve always loved San Francisco but this trip was extra. Partly because I’m adventuring with my old college boyfriend (who I’m crazy about) and partly because I love the city life in the rain! Cities are so photogenic with a sheen of water over them. Add some holiday lights and they get even better!


    Of course, I love a party so when Matt invited me to be his plus one, you know I was all over that. Time to dress up and dance! Woot Woot!  I’ve been wearing this black dress to every single event lately. I’m done with buying something new over and over. I will wear this LBD until it pills up and falls apart. Just think of all the money I’ll save! It’s perfect for just about every occasion. I can dress it up with heels or down with converse or dance the night away in some shiny patent leather Mary Janes!


    The next day we visited The Mission. I love the gritty color of this neighborhood. It’s everything that Irvine is not and what my inner city-girl craves. Color, grit, funky old architecture, paintings on the ground, graffiti everywhere!


    I can see myself living there. You are probably all wondering why I don’t just move up there already.  Believe me; I want to. But I also want Bug to finish high school in her hometown with all her friends. So time will tell.


    It started raining pretty hard, so after dinner (at an amazing vegan sushi restaurant), we ducked into the coziest little bar for a real treat. We had no idea what we were in for.


    It wasn’t very crowded because it was pretty early in the evening (morning people problems), and apparently, it just opened and is not really on anyone’s radar yet. Don’t you love finding a cool place before it blows up on Instagram, and you can appreciate it without waiting in line with everyone and their cousin?  I’m so over places getting too hyped. I shouldn’t even blog about this because I’ll only contribute to the problem but I’m counting on not many people reading this.

    We met the general manager, Nick, and he gave us the royal treatment. It started because I asked him if he had anything close to a Paloma on his menu. Instead of brushing me off and telling me to stick to the menu his eyes twinkled and the next thing I knew he was creating a sixteen-step concoction with grapefruit juice, rosemary tinctures, lychee juice, a half rim of black salt, and the prettiest cut orange peel you ever did see for a garnish. I was delighted! We called it the “Brendarita.” Though between you and me this was the Princess of all Brendaritas. If you go there and Nick is working, you’ll have to tell him I sent you and special request it.


    It was the best time and it was over too quick! Before I knew it I was back on the plane and flying home. Wah-waaaah.


    Good thing I have these fools to come home to.


    But yes, I am missing San Francisco!

  • Apartmentlandia,  giveaway,  my books,  Shop Talk

    Free Rough Draft SAJ Calendar


    Get Your Red Pens Out! Here it is. The FREE pdf rough draft version of my printable calendar. Free for you if you help me catch all my errors. Then I fix my many typos and put the calendar in my shop for a dollar. What a deal!


    This year I’ve added some new holiday confusion. Actually, I’ve been confused about this every year. My google calendar no longer includes a bunch of holidays I used to always include. So I’ve been googling when is Spring Equinox? and puzzling over whether I should include the first day of Hannukkah and the last, and then if I do that, should I include Ramadan and how long that lasts? Purim? Kwanza? I don’t know anymore! Minor Jewish Holidays, Orthodox Catholic Holidays? What do I include, and what do I not? I don’t know. I want to be as PC as possible, but I just got lazy and included the minimum. If your favorite holiday is not on there (and I’m not talking about National Pizza Day or Puppy day, that’s a whole OTHER calendar), then message me, and I’ll consider putting it on.


    There you go! Long live the old-school paper calendars that can go on the fridge! Do you guys still use these? I actually do. I have so many calendars. I use google calendar on my phone, I have a day planner at my desk, I have a journal and I still forget where to be on what day because I’m a completely distracted creative undiagnosed-but-very-much-like-ADHD sort of person. Paper calendars help! I like the paper version because it’s in my face and obvious on the kitchen refrigerator. I can’t get my milk for my coffee without looking at it.  I can put my big appointments and my shift schedule down for Bug because she’s almost a grown-up now, and we rarely see each other anymore. She has a life outside of her mother’s radius of existence, aka her boyfriend got his driver’s license. We are ships passing in the night these days, so a calendar is helpful! (Just teasing. She’s still around. But you know teenagers can be.)

    Since we’re talking about calendars, should we talk about the other holiday elephant in the room?


    Holiday cards! I’m not going to send one this year. I know. It’s hard. You know how much I love making my own holiday card. I just don’t know how to tell people with a mass mailing that they aren’t going to get the picturesque family shot of the Ponnays this year. It’s too much to explain, and do people even like those cards? They’re so posed and perfectly lit with the fall glow of sunset and cute outfits etc. Do we even like that?  I mean, I love making them, and if you need a photographer and graphic designer for your holiday card, please hire me! But for me, it’s just not right this year. It’s too soon. Too much tea.

    Bug and I thought up a few parody ideas, but I decided I’d rather save the money for my expensive rent instead. Another reason you should hire me to illustrate your holiday card this year! I can illustrate you in Star Wars costumes, I can illustrate your kids hanging from the chandeliers, and I can illustrate your pets. How hard is it to get a pet portrait for the holidays? Terribly hard! Save yourself the headache and hire me instead. My illustrations also make great gifts. You can get them printed on fancy paper and frame them. I’m up for custom orders! I’ve even dropped my prices. Shhhhh, don’t tell anybody. (I’m faster and better at illustrating than I used to be. One perk of being older.)


    Since we’re here in my shop I might as well tell you about my box of books. Not cheap but packed with love. Six books in a cute box that won’t show up weathered by the mail system because I end up putting it in another flat rate box because it’s cheaper. Weird, I know.


    There are also SueBea cards! I almost have enough SueBea illustrations to create a calendar.  I’m starting a Redbubble shop with Sue Bea products, but I might not have it up in time for Christmas. Does anyone use Redbubble? I’m still clunking around in it and haven’t quite figured it out.


    For now, we have Etsy! Look, Little Hoo Christmas Cards! A set of four.


    Of course, I can’t talk about the holidays without mentioning my Little Hoo Christmas book. It’s like giving a mouse a cookie…

    I didn’t mean to make this into a Christmas Wish list or to push SAJ products down your throat but it is a good time to do a holiday round-up.


    For the older kids (7-10ish) who like to repeat dumb jokes over and over, you might want to pick up Knock Knock Jingle Jingle.

    I also have a new book out: Goodnight Little Hoo.



    If you have littles, you can always use another goodnight book. If you have friends and relatives with littles they’ll like it too.


    I’m done selling! So sorry about that. It’s part of keeping afloat in this internet world unfortunately. I’m supposed to promote my work at least once a week, but I hate doing it.

    I’ll leave you with a picture of my apartment complex from the golfcourse. Can you guess which window is mine?

    Go print out your free calendar!

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay