Five minutes of stream-of-consciousness

I have a meeting in five minutes but I'm too stuffed from Worksgiving (which just wrapped up!) to do any concrete work in that window, so I'm going to post up just super quick here. 

1. Taylor Swift's new album is stealth awesome - I had VERY mixed feelings about "Look What You Made Me Do," but some of it is shockingly catchy. I'm hooked on "King of My Heart," "Delicate," "Dancing With Our Hands Tied," and "Dress." Also an excellent length for a solid hour workout at the gym, which is nice. 

2. Laura and I restarted "Gossip Girl" last night, and Dave watched the better part of an episode with us. Trying to explain it to him was hilarious and also hammered home (hard) the vapidity of the show. 

3. It's raining here in NorCal today, and I feel like a brat complaining or even being remotely irritated by that, given I'm headed home Saturday to 20-degree windchills for a week. YAY MINNESOTA. (Friends - hit me up! Excited to catch up with people!) 

4. My new uniform as of late to account for absurdly variable temperatures: ankle pants (Old Navy's Pixie, always), a button-down, and a pullover sweater. Ditching the sweater when it gets warm in the afternoons couldn't be easier or feel more delightful. 

5. I baked six dozen pumpkin cookies for Worksgiving last night and made cinnamon cream cheese frosting for them. They are so rich, so decadent, and so impossible to resist. Someone save me from the leftovers please! 

6. I'm mildly irritated with myself over a few random situations I'm in, and not finding much clarity with, when I feel like I should just cut to the chase and/or cut my losses. Apologies for vague-writing about that, but it felt good to get it out. Also, I have 280 characters on Twitter now (does everyone?) and it makes me really happy for no apparent reason. 

 

All for now, friendies! Happy almost-weekend! Stay warm, stay dry! 

a micro-post on routines

YIKES another accidental ten-day break from writing - shameful! It's no excuse, but I've been busy with work lately, a bit under the weather, and of course packing plenty into a social calendar that's gotten a bit intense over the last several weeks. We've had friends in and out, and I've been in and out too. Add to that Daylight Savings and colds throwing a cramp in my sleep, and you've got one cranky, unmotivated, spastic Liz running amok in Northern California. 

It's gotten me thinking much more about how I need to get in better routines throughout the week. A few turbo-thoughts: 

- I set my alarm for 6am every morning but don't actually get to work until around 8:30. At the peak of my summer ass-kicking routine, I was waking up, journaling for a bit, reading (often the New York Times, or else the book of the moment), and ensuring my life was organized and ready to go for the day. Today, on the other hand? Snoozed until 6:45 after a restless night, watched like 30 Instastories, and didn't make my bed. Now I'm sitting at work, low-key obsessing over the fact that there's laundry I need to fold and my room is a mess and of course that means my life is a mess...and it's throwing me off in general. 

Goal: get back to the 6am wakeup, and actually, you know, wake up. I liked the journaling over the summer, but I think I'm going to try to get in a mini-workout before my 7am shower - it's better at getting me going than lounging in bed reading, after all. 

 

- I've been on a major cooking binge lately - for some reason, this time of year, I always find myself drawn to the kitchen. It's been such a fun activity to dive deeper into these days, especially with a huge kitchen and two hungry, appreciative/complimentary roommates. That said, I'm spending a lot of my after-work time waiting in the checkout line at Safeway, screwing around in the kitchen, and cleaning up when all's said and done. I genuinely enjoy it, but it's not the best use of my time. 

Goal: Grocery-shop on weekends and have a meal plan for the week so I only have to hardcore cook a couple times a week. Be better at putting together lunches for work that are grab-and-go, whether that's individually packaging leftovers or prepping for a week on Sundays. In general, do more work up-front to make dinners easier to pull together. 

 

- And of course, there's the evenings themselves. Having roommates who are around a lot has been great - we genuinely enjoy each other's company, and choose to spend time together after work almost every day (which is really fun). What it isn't, though, is super productive - maybe someday I'll tell you about the week we watched Disney movies every night, or the time when Dave and I binge-watched Emily's vintage season of "The Bachelor" (to prep for Arie's return this January, duh) in about five days...

Goal: Work out after work, before even coming home or sitting down. Use evenings to write more, or to get out and do things instead of parking in front of Netflix. Swap evening wine/beer/cocktails for water and tea a few times a week (at least!). And actually start going to bed at a normal hour instead of using my 8:30 arrival time at work to justify hitting snooze so many times the next day! 

 

Just a quick brain-dump to get something, anything, down on digital paper today - but happy Monday, campers, and hope you're all kicking ass! 

Inventory: Fall 2017

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Making: lists...books to read, things I need at Safeway, Christmas gifts to purchase, and general life to-do items.

Cooking: way more than usual lately - I think a roundup of recent recipe wins is long overdue.

Drinking: Kusmi Tea's almond green tea, which I picked up for the first time in Paris in 2015 and have restocked several times since then. 

Reading: "Salvage the Bones" by Jesmyn Ward (definitely going in the "Loved" category for November!).

Wanting: a pair of Rifle Paper Co's gorgeous embroidered Keds. 

Looking: forward to eight whole days at home for Thanksgiving - already counting down! 

Playing: Dots & Co/ Two Dots on my phone in between appointments lately - prettiest interface and a low-key distraction.

Listening: to the sound of actual real-life rain on our roof - it sounds uncannily like a snare drum, to the point where I woke up (super early) ready to chew out neighbors for thinking it was okay to play snare drum at the crack of dawn. 

Wishing: my roommates would wake up/get home from the gym so we can go out to breakfast (Stacks is calling my name...) 

Enjoying: the way my bed is at its coziest when I'm lingering in it after I've been awake for a bit...so decadent. 

Waiting: to figure out what we're doing today, hooray hooray!

Liking: so many of my recent book selections - it's been a superlative month of reading so far. 

Wondering: where on earth we're going to put all the wine in our apartment...we're seriously running out of space. 

Hoping: for all sorts of things, isn't everybody?

Marveling: that it actually RAINS in CALIFORNIA! My first California rain!

Needing: olive oil, triple-A batteries, dish detergent, and flour.

Smelling: lingering traces of last night's Jo Malone's Red Roses perfume, which I wear and get multiple compliments on legit daily.

Wearing: currently, my nightshirt...but later, Notre Dame gear to cheer on the Irish...beat Deacons!

Following: the news, of late, duh, who isn't?

Noticing: how nice freshly-washed and changed sheets feel. 

Knowing: way too much about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement speculation...and totally rooting for another royal wedding soon!

Thinking: about new ski gear before our post-Christmas Tahoe trip...

Bookmarking: chicken marinades, trench coats, and training resources on segregation of duties for work.

Giggling: at the screenshotted Snapchats from our recent roomie nights watching Disney movies.  

Feeling: insanely sore from yesterday's yoga/Pilates class...hi, triceps!

Ryan Reuvs Takes a Nap(a)

Continuing on my catch-up of recent life events...toward the end of September, I was graced with a quick visit from three of my very favorites, the darling Reuvers family! 

Zach travels like a crazy person for work, and on his most recent trip to the Bay Area, he brought Colleen and Baby Ryan with him for a long weekend! Naturally, I was called in to serve as Napa Valley Tour Guide and Wine Tasting Expert du Jour, a position which I was all too glad to fill. After we met up in Oakland at their hotel, and I had properly cooed over precious baby Ry for approximately THE ENTIRE drive to Napa, we made it to stop 1: Trinitas Cellars at the Meritage Resort!

Why Trinitas? 

They were one of the makers of the 2016 Notre Dame Family Wines, and the day of our visit was the last day they'd be selling theirs! We naturally HAD to make a stop...and pick up plenty of it...but first, a vineyard hike to start our morning off strong. After our great guide, Matt, poured us some sauvignon blanc for the walk, we set off...

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...into an absolutely picture-perfect fall day. Who says California doesn't get fall colors?! Look at those vines!

Baby Ryan, moderately angered at his inability to enjoy the sauvignon blanc with us, stuck with a bottle of the house white while we moved on to chardonnay (HAHAHAHA I have such a puerile sense of humor - oops!). 

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Trinitas was one of the cooler tours I've ever done - the hike leads almost straight up through their steeply-terraced vineyards, with picture-perfect views of the south end of the valley. We were at liberty to step off the trail, examine the vines, and, at Matt's encouragement, to taste grapes straight off the vine...one of my favorite Napa experiences. 

For me, though, the biggest delight was watching these two as parents - trekking through the vineyard with a bottle in one hand and a glass in the other, Coll carrying Ryan straight up like nobody's business, and Ry guy being an absolutely perfect angel-baby the entire time. They are THE cutest family, no joke. 

From Trinitas, we moved on to Chandon for a quick glass of bubbly - Zach also tried their reserve Pinot and was pretty pleased! Ryan, meanwhile, was the indisputable star of the tasting room...

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Realistically, in an outfit like that, how could he not be the cutest person there? Since I'm a club member, I got our standard comped two glasses...but because it was Ryan's first wine-tasting, our tasting host actually comped us everything we drank, plus a couple of their last few bottles of American Summer!! I need to bring Baby Ry with me EVERY time I go to Napa, geez. 

We headed back to Oakland to catch the Notre Dame Miami Ohio game...one that we had originally talked about all going to the Bend for with my family of Redhawk/Irish fans, so it was extra-fun to watch it with these two! 

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Mr. Ryan was ready to party - not only did he intently watch at least five minutes of the game, but he seemed ready to celebrate a win in true Reuvs fashion: 

Instead, though, after all that bottle service, this little cuddlebug promptly passed out. And I was clearly not at all into it...

Loved getting a whole day with my favorite little family in one of my favorite places! Can't wait to see them again soon!

Gettin' jazzy with it!

Proof, friends, that I truly won the parental lottery: It's early September, and I have decided I want to go to the Monterey Jazz Festival, in a BIG way. My Aaron Burr-crush Leslie Odom Jr. is headlining the Saturday main stage, and I am a jazz fiend. Sadly, Roommate David, who loves jazz more than anyone I know, is on call that weekend and can't go. So I text my parents, expecting them to laugh...and instead: 

Before I knew it, we had called each other half a dozen times, and my parents had not only booked flights but also bought us tickets...all before my lunch break. And that, friends, is how I found myself in mid-September driving us down to oh-so-charming Monterey, for a weekend of some of the best jazz performance I've ever experienced!

Held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, the Jazz Fest is anything but bougie - and that just adds to the experience. Locals mingle with tourists and weekend warriors as snatches of music drift through the air - a high school jazz band in one building, an open-air soul-funk group in an amphitheater, snippets of the greats coming from the history presentations. I was in heaven. 

We made our way over to the Yamaha tent and had a blast discussing instruments...they even let me demo a flute, the first time I've touched one since senior year of college! For those concerned, I definitely still know all the Notre Dame fight songs...#nerd.

Parched after my masterful performance (HA!), we hit up one of the beer gardens, where I started with a Brother Thelonius. 100% of the sales from this jazz-themed beer went straight to supporting jazz education in California - the entire festival benefits several different jazz organizations and has provided major funding since its inception 61 years ago!

We spent the day bouncing around from building to building, seeing as many different artists as possible. Highlights: the California High School All-Star Jazz Band, Monsieur Periné's Latin/Afro/Caribbean/French melange of magic, Bruno Mars-esque Con Brio and their high-energy dance party in the amphitheater, and The Suffers, full of soul and so charismatic.

We took a quick dinner break and headed to the pier for fantastic seafood at the Old Fisherman's Grotto - being seated right by the windows and watching the sea lions frolic in the bay was a beautiful, amusing setting for a meal!

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As soon as we had finished with our dinners, it was immediately back to the mainstage for the evening's highlights - the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra teaming up with the Gerald Clayton Trio to premiere the festival's annual commissioned work. This year's piece was a nine-part "jazz symphony," if you will, following the trajectory of America over the last year or so. It was all-encompassing - atonal and grating alternating with incredibly lush and harmonious, overlaid with the spoken word and resolving in an absolute maelstrom of sound. I about died and went to heaven, and loved it all the more for sitting next to my father while a father-son duo made magic onstage.

And of course, the main event (for us, anyway) - Leslie Odom Jr, who made my month when he opened his set with a stripped-down, jazzed-up version of his iconic "Wait For It" from "Hamilton." From there on out, we enjoyed a rollercoaster through the best of jazz and classic Broadway - selections from "Rent," "Spring Awakening," and "Hamilton" interspersed flawlessly with original, pared-down jazz pieces that showcased his small ensemble to perfection. He even cracked jokes and riffed on his recent Nationwide Insurance commercial - the man is, in my opinion, a flawless human being and I can't wait to see him AGAIN in a few weeks at my beloved Orchestra Hall over Thanksgiving!

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We took it so, so easy on Sunday - a leisurely brunch at First Awakenings, an old sardine factory, then a slow, gorgeous drive up the coast and over the mountains back to Redwood City. We provisioned ourselves, Schweg-style, for the afternoon...

...and, as Dave was still on call, and as Dave is one of my parents' favorite people ever, we had a fantastic dinner al fresco at home. Dad's perfect filet mignon, twice-baked potatoes, crusty fresh-baked sourdough bread, and an Italian salad - plus, of course, plenty of champagne! 

I headed back to my parents' hotel with them and watched the Emmys before calling it a night. They flew home early Monday morning, and I immediately reset the Schwegfam countdown clock...exactly 30 days to our New York trip! 

In short - I fell madly in love with the Monterey Jazz Festival, and am beyond jazzed that my parents shared the experience with me. Already looking forward to a repeat trip next year!