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Exploring SF: Muse Moments in NOPA

Updated: Mar 02, 2023 09:12
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This column is in the spirit of a “Dear Abby”, with a focus on solutions in the form of micro SF neighborhood deep dives and curated holistic health-centered itineraries


Dear CITY Counselor,

New mom here. Need your inspiration and help.

Haven’t stepped out of my leggings, nursing bra and ratty college sweatshirt in months. My partner’s turning the big 37 and my in-laws offered to watch the tiny babe for an afternoon/night out. Hitch is that I’m still nursing so we can’t go far from home. What should we do? 

We’re both into trying new things, and are usually fairly active and adventurous. Though the mini roommate seemed to have zapped those personalities and replaced them with unrecognizable zombies, we are embracing this night out as our catapult back into the land of the living.


Mom Expecting Inspiration in NOPA


Dear MEI,

How fortunate for you to be in such a festive neighborhood.

Since you’re insisting on a “steps away from home” experience, we’re keeping this itinerary tight. One block radius. Couldn’t be tighter.

Having been in your shoes before, I know how essential a session of connection and fun with your partner can be post birth to boost your vibes, and remind you that you are someone outside of your new mom title.

It’s probably been a minute since you got your sweat on (not talking about night sweats here. TMI?!), and there’s nothing to pull you out of your head, your body, your fixed mindsets, anxiety or baby brain than a music filled sweat bath.

Keep those leggings on, swap out your nursing bra for a sports one and sign you and your partner up for a free week of classes at Core Power Yoga. You heard correctly. You’re starting your date night out at the gym.

– BBB visits CPY

There are so many classes to choose from, and so many massively kind and creative teachers at this studio. What they have in common is their love for pumping the tunes high, and curating sweat inducing flows in 90 degree temps.

– Awesome CPY teachers: Gianfranco & Tilly

Hit up a CP1 class for lower intensity or a Sculpt one for the highest workout, involving weights. Choose your own adventure but know that you are in the best toned and thoughtful hands. This isn’t your typical franchise corporate studio.

Take note that they have showers so no need to burst back home yet. Get all cleaned up, slam more water and ping pong across the street to the Rare Device store. This art filled, neon and pastel inspired boutique offers an amazing array of gifts.

Check out their glorious books by artists like Lisa Congdon or George McCalman. She’s a bright bold beam of color and love and he’s a gem of a person, creating rad graphic visual social justice works of art.

– Illustrated Black History by George McCalman and prints & books by Lisa Congdon at Rare Device

Also, he happens to be a local artist, and last month he was featured in an event at the DeYoung.

Check them both out as they’re blowing up the socials. Find something for yourself, your partner, your wee babe and your inlaws. Treats for everyone!

Hit the pause button, race home and take care of your nursing needs. Then ensure that the grandparents have spare bottles in case you stay past curfew.

Next up is zigzagging back across the street for a glass of natural wine at Fool’s Errand. This spot used to be Mojo cafe. No longer a bike cafe, but now a wine bar with tin foods. Find your treasure on the menu, and then pick up an extra bottle to go.

You know your mother in law loves her Chardonnay. Blow her mind with the one from Florez, not your typical chard but 10,000 times better. This Santa Cruz wine maker, James Jelks, is hitting all the right notes, dare I say Orange leanings, and was even featured in that NYT article about natural wine. Love his passion for creating an organic beverage without anything added during the growing or cellar process. Thank you JJ!

If your partner’s more into the bubbles, cider, reds or beer….there is plenty from which to choose. Love the dark cozy wood vibes, high tables and endless choices of bevs.

Buzz on, but not yet ready to eat, roll next door to SF Skate Club. Outstanding community hub for kids who skate or want to learn to skate. Maybe you’ll end up bringing your mini-me here in a few years?!

The idea behind the founding couple’s vision was to create a positive space for kids to connect over their skate love, be active and support each other. Highly inclusive environment with a skate core. Check out their story as they’re emblematic of the best parts of SF, AND they sell cool merch.

Fully inspired, cross the street north and hit up 4505 Burgers & BBQ.

This outdoor string of lights barbecue joint not only satisfies your snack and meat needs but makes you feel like you hit the jackpot.

Queso fundido, guac, burnt tips and fried chicken?! Oh my goddess. All of that goodness washes down so well with the new Fort Point dry rose cider.

Now, don’t get too full or you’re definitely home before curfew. And if that’s your thing because you feel Netflix calling then continue to stuff your face silly and run home to relieve the GPs (grandparents). However, if you’re down for some additional muse moments, then head diagonal to The Independent. This venue is one of SF’s best, as it’s intimate and has a great bar and totally varied lineup from reggae to funk to indie to folk to comedy nights.

Speaking of shows to catch: Adi Oasis plays at The Independent on March 29th. Who’s meeting me?! In her own words she’s a “French-Caribbean singer, bassist and producer who fuses soul, funk and R&B to form her own distinctive, retro-futurist sound.” Pure glory and sexiness. The type of music that perhaps got you into this new mom business to start with. Wink wink.

Post show, it’s 100% time to head home. The parents are waiting. The small fry probably needs to snack and mama needs her rest.


You may not have hit your step goal, but hopefully your enthusiasm seems busted wide open, and will carry you through the next few sleepless moments.

Hang on mama!

You’ve embarked on an enormous adventure. Continue to feed your inner wolf.

We love you and it takes a village. Also, check out “Wolf” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for more inspo and the parental recommendations below.

Much love,



Parental Recs:

  • ABC Lactation: Estelle is a labor & delivery nurse with her own lactation consult biz. Contact her before birthing, during or afterwards if you’re having any issues. She’s on your team to make breastfeeding a positive experience.

  • Picky Monday: Second hand clothing for kids that are stylish and high quality.

  • Nicole Seguin Photography: Family photographer capturing the raw moments that make your family unique

  • Motherwell Nutrition: A wellness community where women learn what their bodies need and how to care for themselves, in every stage of motherhood.

  • My Karite Body Cream: Unrefined shea butter from Ghana, luxurious treat for your mom bod.

  • The French Baby Guide: For francophones in the Bay Area, here’s a resource site for all of your baby/kid needs.


NOPA Divisadero Recap:


** This article is only part Satire, i.e. ALL the characters and quotes are fictional BUT the recs are pure gold.**

*** If you have any places to recommend for THE CITY Counselor, throw me a DM. ***



  1. 12/1/22: Reset & Boost Your Vibes in The Inner Richmond

  2. 1/1/23: Maximizing the Fun Factor in Mission Bernal

  3. 2/2/23: Breaking out of Boredom in the Parkside Taraval Corridor (English)

    Sortir de l’Ennui dans le Couloir Parkside-Taraval (French)




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Vanessa Hutchinson-Szekely

Vanessa Hutchinson-Szekely

Vanessa Hutchinson-Szekely has her hands in so many pots.

She is born and raised in THE CITY and using her background knowledge of local landscapes, the constant search to maximize the fun factor and her holistic health and wellness expertise, she will listen to your problems and propose excursions to help you reset, recalibrate and explode back onto your scene in BAS' monthly column THE CITY Counselor.

Other than that, she's building a bilingual website in English & Français for kids to learn yoga and mindfulness practices so check out

Or, just hit her up for some knee to knee chitty chat café sessions!