This week, my sister (and amazing Senior Editor) Justina and I went to San Francisco for both business and pleasure; for two different events, and too many fun touristy plans! Our first event would be held on Tuesday morning at MakerSquare in SOMA, and the second event that day would be at Piano Fight in the Tenderloin for the C&C red carpet premiere of "Good Cop, Good Cop", and the Coffee & Catchup 1 year anniversary. We arrived in SF on Sunday evening after taking the Megabus from Sacramento.
I wanted Justina to experience CouchSurfing, which is one of the many ways I tend to travel. CouchSurfing.com is a great site where people around the world can offer the extra couch or bed-space within their homes for guests to stay on free of charge. It is a relatively safe system to use thanks to the authenticity of reviews for both the hosts and couchsurfers. Generally, it's best safety-wise to only couchsurf with people whom have many great reviews, and links to their social media. It’s a great way to explore the world and meet a lot of new friends along the way with the only cost being your travel, and you never have to worry about traveling alone again! Our host Siavash (pronounced like "sea of ash") was very nice. Justina experienced her first BART ride on our way to meet up with Siavash for drinks at one of my favorite places in San Francisco, The OneUp Lounge on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency diagonally across from the Sutter-Stockton Garage. Next we spent the night chatting away under the stars with Siavash and his roommate Alonso. We found out that they both worked for tech companies that I've visited before: Google & Intuit. All the guys that lived there had work early in the morning, left soon after we got up, and said goodbye. I love the CouchSurfing community, and would highly suggest to give it a try!
Justina and I decided today would be for exploring, showing her all the great sites in San Francisco, and squeezing in a little shopping. We started out with an Uber ride back to SF, to drop off our luggage at the historic Whitcomb Hotel on Market Street. It was our fun day, but we still had a few work chores on our to-do list. We needed matching black shirts and shoes for the MakersSquare event, a black notebook for Justina's note-taking, a mani/pedi for the red carpet event, and an appointment time for our hair and makeup for the big day!
We had a delicious brunch of pastries and chai lattes to fuel up for the day at my favorite La Boulange under the dome on the 4th floor of the Westfield Mall. Walking around we found 2 shirts and 2 shoes that fit well and matched, so that was one check off the list. San Francisco was really windy all day and I was freezing most of the time, but it was great to be back in the city. I showed Justina some of my favorite places to work, relax, and meet with clients in the city.
For our nails, we found a great little hole-in-the-wall nail salon called Sutter Nails. I had actually been there before, and barely recognized it with all the new updates! I decided to get my nails done in nude colors to better accentuate the dress I would be wearing while Justina got hers done in a pretty crimson red to go with the pin-up girl look she wanted for Tuesday night. The pedicures felt amazing on our sore, over-walked feet.
After we checked in and rested for a bit, we got an Uber and went on the hunt for food. We found the best Indian food ever! While we were browsing restaurants on Yelp for good eats, we stumbled upon Curry Up Now at 659 Valencia Street. I had never been there and wish I’d known about this place sooner! Justina and I both had the Naughty Naan which was absolutely to DIE for! It was mouth-watering good. You can check out their website at www.CurryUpNow.com to see their menu and locations.
When we got back to the hotel, I spoke with designer Lusha Wang who would be supplying me with a beautiful $1k gown for the red carpet. We also received messages from Dorota Szmeling and Renee Smith, the amazingly talented hair and makeup artists for the red carpet event. It was going to be great! At 10pm I headed to Union City for a fitting and pickup at Lusha Wang's studio. I arrived back at the hotel super late, took a shower, and quickly hopped in bed to get a few hours of shut eye before the event-filled day.
Today began early in the morning when Dorota Szmeling arrived at our hotel room at 7am sharp to begin makeup. She was well-prepared with just about everything a makeup artist could possibly need and was a very sweet girl. We chatted while she worked and found out she was attending Blush School and had just began doing professional makeup applications three months prior! Dorota and her husband moved here for work from Poland, where she had been studying Chinese. Justina asked her why she became a makeup artist and her reply was because she loved art in all forms and she practices her art on people, who are the canvas. She hopes to someday specialize in high fashion makeup.
Throughout the time I got my makeup done, Justina was snapping photos of the progress Dorota was making. She gave me nude lips, blue smokey eyes, and a slight blush. After I was done, it was Justina's turn and I took photos of her progress as well. My hair and makeup were done first so that I could Uber-run some last-minute errands while Justina finished up. Justina got cat eyeliner and red lips for her pin-up look she wanted. If you'd like to contact Dorota and find out more about her services please call (650) 303-8537 or email DorotaSzmua@gmail.com and tell her Breanna Baker referred you!
Our hair stylist, Renee Smith showed up a short time after and got straight to work on my hair. She curled bits and pieces and pulled it up into a complicated bun in the back with a clean and sleek look in the front to go along with the designer dress I would wear. She was quick, efficient, and friendly. She told us that she had been doing hair since her teen years and also did makeup. She had always liked fashion and design; she herself was a visual artist that painted at the Academy of Art. Renee's goal was to one day work at fashion week! She started out doing retro hairstyles which was perfect for Justina. Her hair was pinned up and curled into a classic look that would suit her dress well. If you would like to contact Renee or find out more about her services please call (415) 535-9443 or email email@example.com or you can visit her website at www.joiedevivrenee.com and tell her Breanna Baker referred you!
The best part about hair and makeup was getting to try on my gorgeous dress that I got from Lusha Wang titled "Starry Gown." It was a beautiful pure white dress with an open front that showed glittery blue tulle underneath, pockets on both sides, and an open back with a studded, slashed V of leather that came up the back. Lusha Wang is truly an artist, born in central China and was an amazing painter as a child. She studied law and opened a clothing store on campus that sold so well, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in fashion design. She excelled in the fashion industry, winning a full scholarship to the Academy of Art University and then winning the San Francisco City College Senior Collection Fashion Show in 2015. If you would like to see more designs by Lusha visit lushawang.com and tell her Breanna Baker sent you!
Tonight, Justina and I went to Cocktails & Catchup, a red carpet premeire and one year anniversary celebration that was held at PianoFight located at 144 Taylor St in San Francisco, California. The event was held by Coffee and Catchup, a networking and collaboration group for entertainment professionals. The event was hosted by Cameron Mark Lewis and Taylor Lambert who run the group. Coffee and Catchup is the next big thing for actors in the Bay Area, acting as a resource, networking venue, and a collaborative platform. You can find out more at www.coffeeandcatchup.com or check out Taylor at www.taylorlambert.com and Cameron at www.cameronmarklewis.com
The C&C red carpet event included tons of special guests such as casting directors Nancy Hayes, Toni Staniewicz, Sarah Kliban, Tina Delia, Gregg Cohen, and Kristen Beck; Headshot Photographer Lisa Keating, VoiceOne Founder Elaine Clark, voiceover legend Kathy Garver, Stars Talent Agency, NYLO Talent Agency, filmmakers Ronald Chase and Kuang Lee, tech company Suitable Technologies, creative video agency Glass And Marker, ad agency Bokeh Inc, SAG-AFTRA executive team, YouTube sensation Karen Cheng, Phil Weiner, and more! This event was also the world premiere of "Good Cop Good Cop," a Coffee and Catchup short film.
The night was fantastic, I got tons of pictures and got to walk the red carpet and pose for photo-ops where I was complimented too many times to count on the beautiful Lusha Wang designer gown. My sister and I got some great photos together on the red carpet as well. There was a DJ playing awesome music, the drinks were delicious, and the people were amazing! I ran into several people I had worked with in the past, such as Brian Jagger, whom I jokingly introduced to my sister as my husband, as we were once wed on the local show "Now Hiring." I had a blast mingling with everyone and networking. The dance floor was soon crowded and we enjoyed watching a breakdance circle take place. We ended up staying after 10pm when it was supposed to end and we weren't the only ones still there! It seemed like everyone was having such a great time that no one wanted to leave.
Finally, we decided to call it quits for the night. After saying goodbye to all our new friends, we got an Uber ride back to the hotel. We were exhausted and our feet were dying but all in all it was a great day and an even better night. We definitely slept well that night!