Sunday, August 15, 2010


This weekend was jam-packed, as usual--full of birthdays and celebrations and farmer's market food and cocktails and friends. Friday night we partied it up for my dear friend Doro's 30th birthday at a little speakeasy called The Hideout in San Francisco, where I had Abita beer!! (Abita is a New Orleans beer, which makes me instantly nostalgic). This time, it was a happy nostalgia, because I'll get to drink all the Abita beer I want when I visit New Orleans in October, yay!!!

Yesterday was a typical Bay Area Saturday for me: a trip to the farmer's market (where I got some of the best tomatoes I've ever had), some exercise, and a play written & put on by formerly incarcerated women.

I am lucky to be part of an amazing nonprofit organization that has programming all over the Bay Area for folks who are incarcerated and/or affected by incarceration. One of Community Works' programs is called Rising Voices, which is a reentry program for 18-25 year old women who have just gotten released from jail. Rising Voices provides these women with basic needs, ongoing case management, and a creative arts internship that involves writing and performing their stories of crime, arrest, incarceration, and rehabilitation.

Last night, I saw the final performance of this dynamic show, which was comprised of all the women's original writing and the incredible direction of talented Michelle Maxson. Most of the women in the show had family members in the audience, which made it even more awe-inspiring that they told/performed their stories of drug abuse, prostitution, crime, and incarceration.

I really hope that people who've never had a loved one incarcerated seek out stories such as these. I think that if everyone was exposed to this particular type of art, the world would be full of so much more compassion. It's so easy to judge people without hearing their stories . . . but the love and the truth and the steadfastness that poured forth from these women on Saturday night was pretty incredible.

And today it was back to the East Bay to help my dearest friend Diana (one of the Cobras) move (fortunately for me, she's moving even closer to my neighborhood!), and then over to Helen & Matt's for a pizza cook off! They have a huge garden and an outdoor wood fire oven, so it was a bring-your-own-toppings-we'll-supply-the-dough type of shindig. Here are some pre-oven pics of the ones I made:

(heirloom tomato, fresh mozz, basil)

(pear, ricotta, brie, rosemary, brown butter sauce)

Delish, right? Everyone pounced on them pretty quickly. And sweet Helen even got me a red velvet cupcake--my very favorite--from Berkeley's Love at First Bite, complete with a birthday tiara in early celebration of my 29th birthday tomorrow:

(delicious AND cute)

Hope y'all had equally fun weekends! I wanna hear all about them. And wish me luck tomorrow, cause more importantly than my birthday, it's the first day of school . . . big day!


Phoenix Peacock said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! and Good luck with school! I know you are so excited to be going back, despite it being on your birthday. Those kiddos are so lucky to have you.

Tillie said...

oh what a wonderful weekend! Yay! it sounds like so much fun. And FOUND sounds like the most amazing thing. I love how passionate you are miss! Have a wonderful day tomorrow... <3

Kara said...

Food porn!!! Yum-o!!!

Happy early birthday girlfren, hope it's super fab and that the first day treats you well. Still convinced your job is the coolest ever.

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

that really does sound like an awesome program. i think a lot of people are quick to judge when someone has a record, but they forget that the person has a story, and in some cases is really trying to get on the right track.

when i come to sf i'm definitely going to telegraph hill to see the wild parrots, i'm going to haight-ashbury to some vintage stores, and other than that, we're just going to explore places we haven't explored before! and of course i plan to bring an empty stomach, because i love to eat!

chelsea rebecca said...


hope your birthday is simply the best and filled with joy and happiness!!!

also your pizzas look DELICIOUS!!!

Heather {A Measure Of...} said...

Happy birthday, beautiful! You are a constant inspiration to me! Involved in so many amazing programs, spreading the word. Hopefully I will be able to celebrate your next bday with you! Since I'm a lover of pear pizza and tiaras and pretty much miss you lots!

So much love to you on your special day and your first week back with the lovely monsters!

MyLittlePhotographs said...

Happy Birthday!!! and it's always a fun weekend when you get to go to the farmers market. Also, how exciting that you're going to NOLA in October, I really loveee new orleans, so much to do.

this free bird said...

Happy Birthday Claire!! Sounds like your weekend was grand and I hope your special day is even better! Yowsers that looks/sounds amazing.


Sunshine Sarah said...

Your weekend sounds great!
Mine was full of nightmares. I dreamed that my mom (who is super duper, out going etc.) wanted to marry me with a blond guy (I love blonds with blue eyes!) that I didn't knew at all1 Hilarious, right? :))
It was like a nightmare, even though the guy was GORGEOUS, because he didn't talk at all in the dream, and I can't marry someone I don't know, right? Haha...

Anyway, hope I didn't bored you with my tale.

Have a nice week!


Gracie said...

Happy happy birthday Claire!! Every girl deserves a tiara :) (and cupcake - double bonus!)

I truly hope your first day back at school will be wonderful and everything will go well.

That program sounds great!! It sounds amazing and I'm pretty sure you are too ;)

Krystal said...

this post was full of things i want to comment on! but really - that organization sounds amazing and something i'd totally want to be involved with

~KS said...

Sounds like an awesome weekened...

and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! 29 years young... I hope your whole day is simply amazing, like you :)

Annie Cristina said...

That program sounds like a blessing, both to receive guidance from and to work for. I hope to be a part of something like this someday.

I hope you have an amazing first day of school, and most importantly, a wonderful birthday! :-)

Everton Terrace said...

Oh how exciting. Happy and congratulations again, first day of school. I can barely stand to look at that mouth watering pizza. Seriously, it looks just divine. I have had some decent gluten-free ones but nothing can compare really.
Hope your 29th is as special as you!

Diana Mieczan said...

Happy early Birthday,sweetie...That sounds like such a great weekend...Yummy food and so much fun:)

Hugs and kisses and have a wonderful Monday

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

Happy happy birthday to one of the sweetest bloggers ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =)

Marz said...

Happy birthday beautiful Claire! :) This is my third time saying it, but I just want to say it again! :) I hope you are having the most amazing day and that ALLLL your wishes come true :) Every time I read how much fun you had in a weekend it makes me want to come to San Fran more and more and spend a weekend with you!! :) One day I truly believe Micaela and I will have to do just that :) I would love to take in a Rising Voices program. I love how passionate you are! If everyone was like you the world would really be more peaceful! Thank you for your open heart and love!! xoxo beautiful birthday girl!!!


Sounds like an amazing weekend! I unfortunately didn't get to go to the farmer's market as planned yesterday. Still too much catching up to do after vacation. I'm hoping to get there on Wednesday this week. Crossing fingers :)

And that sounds like such a wonderful program, btw.

Hope you're having a great Monday!

Sunshine Sarah said...

Oh, I forgot to say HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAY!
So sorry for the delay...

Have a nice day!

Gabby said...

Happy birthday, lady!! I hope today has gone so well for you :)

Meghan said...

Happy Birthday, Claire! I hope you had a great day and a wonderful first day back! SO jealous of your fun, food-filled weekend! Now that's a celebration!

Ashley said...

Happy Birthday!! And I hope your first day of school went very, very well!

xoxo, Ashley

PS Abita rocks!!

Faiza said...

What a terrific weekend! Thanks for talking about the Rising Voices program. It is something I would never come across on my own or through the people I know so I am glad you highlighted it.

Happy second day of school today!

Hiking in Stilettos said...

Happy birthday! And what a great weekend. Rising Voices sounds so incredible. You are such an inspiration with all that you do!