adulting

a California bedroom

A few weeks ago, I posted this photo on Instagram: 

And it was crazy - I got more direct messages, Facebook chats and texts from friends than I had in a LONG time on a blog post, gushing over and asking about my bedroom here in Cali. I realized that I had never showed my pretty little room here, and so here you have it - a California bedroom by yours truly!

I started this post from the comfort of my childhood bed, and let me tell you, there are few things I love more than that bed. My sister and I got to redecorate our bedrooms when we turned 14, and I've always adored my sunny yellow walls and bright espadrille-striped bedding. 

That said, I feel like as an adult I've redecorated my bedroom every couple years or so, for various reasons. My first grown-up room at the age of 22 was replaced by king-size, "couple-appropriate" Pottery Barn for cohabiting, then replaced again with girly, bohemian Anthropologie in the Chateau de Liz (RIP). As soon as I decided to relocate to California, I decided it was time for another change - and, being v. basic in all things, launched myself straight into the oh-so-Instagrammable all-white bedding world. 

For context, here's how I spent the time after my mom left and before my things arrived in California, and the near-finished product, a few days later: 

A few of my friends have all-white bedding - notably Kelsie, whose room I have ALWAYS envied - and I had found myself browsing Anthropologie's gorgeous offerings on more than one occasion. Given my penchant for lots of colorful decor, there was something so serene about the thought of an all-white bed...almost like waking up in a cloud every day. I pulled the trigger on Anthro's Bertilia duvet and standard shams, their gorgeous Georgina euro shams, and a Moroccan wedding dream of a lumbar pillow. Because the bedding mixed white and cream, I, too, mixed the two tones - it adds a really pretty depth to the bed and is a bit less stark than it could be otherwise in a white bedroom. 

Let's be real though - it wouldn't be me without a bit of color, and I was talked into the two throw pillows by my mom and the bedding consultant at the Palo Alto Anthropologie. (Because, naturally, the Palo Alto Anthropologie has a dedicated BEDDING consultant, right?!) I was doubtful at first, and leaned toward the idea of a totally monochromatic bed, but the second I saw the way the watercolor flowers matched my mural, I was sold. 

As for that mural...it is, without a doubt, my favorite thing I have ever had in a bedroom, bar none. It is actually wallpaper from, you guessed it, Anthropologie...but the story of how I fell in love with it makes me happy and SO I am going to tell you all. 

Anyone who has read this blog for a period longer than this move knows that my favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities is Spoon and Stable, the brainchild of culinary wunderkind Gavin Kaysen. His second restaurant, Bellecour, opened in March - right around when I actually committed to moving - and features this stunner in their "Garden Room:" 

Look familiar? I thought it was just the most gorgeous thing I had seen in a long time, and had actual heart flutters when I saw it pop up in Anthropologie's new products less than a week after Bellecour opened. I HAD to have it. Only problem? Renters of apartments tend not to be allowed to wallpaper, and, even had we been, our walls here are slightly textured. 

Naturally, my MacGyver of a father had a solution - 1/8" thick 3x9 plywood, reinforced from behind, whitewashed and turned, effectively, into mobile art installation panels. We spent one of my last afternoons in Minnesota together doing projects, and it was the coziest, most lovely way to spend a Saturday...it put me in mind of school days building boats for the 3rd grade regatta, or putting together science fair experiments. So much gratitude to him for being the kind of papa bear who will drop everything and try anything to make his child's dreams come true, even when said child is fast approaching 30 and, really, didn't need a 9x9 wallpaper installation. 

To this day, I get comments from everyone who sees the panels in their place of glory - our leasing agent lives across the hall, and had seen them through my window and asked about them, even! - and I'm utterly smitten with them. They make such a statement in a very standard, white, square box of a room, and are the perfect foil to my chill, neutral, girly bed. 

The view from said bed is, of course, of a gallery wall, because it is me and my magpie tendencies with art will never fade or die. I'm enchanted with my new pieces, framed (as always) by the experts at Posters on Board.

The central piece is a purchase from Shakespeare and Company in Paris, featuring Alice in Wonderland quotes. My actual fave, though, is the Golden Gate Bridge sketch I legit stole out of Emily's portfolio (with her permission!) over Easter. Seeing all my carefully selected art, from warm-fuzzy quotes to gifts from loved ones to travel souvenirs and thoughtful, intentional purchases, is such a great anchor point for me. I'll always love it. 

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Other dresser-top features: a new jewelry box and necklace tree to make up for my absurd lack of good storage here, my budding collection of Waterford pieces, culled with love from my Grandma Lo's treasured keepsakes, and a new capiz lamp and, of course, Mark Succerberg holding court. It's really just very pretty and feminine and me, which is always my goal and always makes me smile. 

My curtains are Anthropologie (duh) and hide very necessary blackout curtains...and let me tell you, hanging them was an ORDEAL with all capital letters necessary. See evidence: 

Yeah, I did that. I actually broke down and called my parents in tears (very mature over here, yes) and bawled for a solid five minutes about what a mistake it had been moving here and how much I hated everything. My reactions are generally scaled appropriately to the situation, clearly. Anyway, the curtains are gorgeous and the glass tie-backs are so elegant, and I can't wait to get the matching finials. I'm also pleased that my cork pinboard yardstick thing reassembled as well as it did after the hot glue completely melted off on the cross-country road trip out here...I love displaying the notes and cards from my sweetest, most beloved friends there. 

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On a not-so-glamorous note, look at that bitty closet! It's my first-ever not-walk-in closet and, friends, I was NERVOUS. After getting rid of pretty much half my wardrobe (details to come, soon!), everything fits, and it's been a great exercise in consumption reduction and keeping what I love. My favorite feature over here, though? The framed vintage puzzle pieces from Chicago's FourSided, featuring my beloved home state and new home. 

And there you have it! A thousand words on an 11x10 bedroom because I am NOTHING if not excessive, given the opportunity for verbosity. Come visit me sometime and admire it in person, hmm?! 

love letters to life

A blogger I read and really enjoy does this thing called "Friday Favorites," where she celebrates the highlights of each week in picture form with a few quick words on why those events/things are highlights for her. I love that concept - the whole reason I started writing this blog in the first place was to remember the quotidian little things that make my series of days so special. So, here we go: I'm going to try to write little Friday love letters to the world, and see if it sticks...part of my overall effort to practice gratitude and positivity as frequently and intentionally as possible.

Today, I'm feeling really good about life in general. Fresh off a totally soul-affirming weekend home full of my favorite people and places, I kind of want to kick ass and celebrate how awesome things have been for me in the last few months. There are a lot of thoughts and more articulate, carefully-considered words on that subject percolating in the back of my mind currently, but for now, here are a few things that I think totally deserve all the heart-eyes emojis: 

- In the name of a responsible California budget (or, more realistically, more room in the "wine clubs" line on the budget!), I've stopped getting manicures. Instead, I'm a new devotee of Essie's Gel Couture at-home kits, which are actually really great and last close to a week on me. That's really saying something, given my brutal habit of picking my cuticles, biting my nails, and generally treating my hands terribly. I'm coupling the polish with Sally Hansen's miracle cuticle remover and a lot of stolen hotel lotion (currently really into Essentiel Elements Fresh Neroli, from the Palmer House!). 

- Talking, as always, about books: I have a Redwood City library card! I haven't had a library card that I actually used since high school, and I'm bound and determined to stop impulse-buying books on sale and start checking them out like a good little girl (once the empty bookshelf is refilled, that is). Dave is also a reader, in his "ample" free time (HA!), and he happened to be reading a book that I found for a steal on Amazon. So I read it concurrently with him, and we discussed it a little bit on and off, along with our ideas of what makes literature great. It was a fantastically satisfying experience...sharing my love of literature with people I love is one of my favorite activities.

- Before I went home last week, I was surprised by the sweetest "just because" card from my mama bear. She does things like this all the time - little notes and Hershey kisses in our school lunchboxes, care packages during college finals, and of course the requisite "feel better gifts" on the worst of days - and I have always loved how cared-for and cherished it makes me feel, even to this day!

- The day before my beloved mama bear left California after our epic June road trip, she bought me a darling going-away gift from Anthropologie's Terrain store...a trio of pretty potted succulents that I promptly, and appropriately, named Mark Succerberg. LAUGH WITH ME AT MY RIDICULOUS PUNS, please. Anyway, Mark bloomed last week! And I didn't even know that was something a succulent could do! But I love looking at how much he's grown since his tiny baby days of my first weeks in Cali. I get really weirdly attached to plants that can survive me for longer than a season...before I moved, I had a baby Norfolk Island Pine that I bought in 2014, and it was actually really sad to leave it behind (Jodes adopted him!). Having little Mark, who is virtually indestructible, is the cutest reminder of my mama. 

- And finally, check out this sunset, from a reading/journaling session on our deck last week. I don't think that palm tree view is ever going to get old for me. 

Happy Friday, campers! Enjoy the long weekend! 

The Basic Bitch Fall Checklist

Last weekend was really one for the basic bitch record books. In addition to carving pumpkins with Kelsie on Saturday, I legitimately won Basic Bitch Bingo on Sunday morning: 

Let's play, shall we? 

Puffer vest: check

Flannel plaid buttondown: check

J.Crew from head to toe: check

Leggings: check

Pumpkin spice latte: check

Photo of my feet in leaves: check

All I need are riding boots and a blanket scarf and I'm golden. (If you need a laugh, go search the #basicbitch hashtag on Instagram...there are a shocking number of photos that look just like this one. Only less picturesque, if I may say so myself.)

I was grumpy on Sunday morning after a night of restless sleep and an early-morning trip to the office, so I took the long way home and stopped for a latte on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. On my way up, I drove down Summit Avenue, famously one of the prettiest streets in Minnesota, and couldn't help but park the car and go on a little ramble. Look at those leaves! 

I've realized this fall that I am a fiend for sugar maples...the way their leaves turn the whole spectrum of yellow into orange, before settling into that searing red color. The stretch of Summit I parked and walked on was all sugar maples, up and down both sides of the street and so old that their branches nearly converged overhead. It was, in a word, sublime. 

I mean, look at that. I ended up walking to the Cathedral and popping in for Mass...which, combined with the caffeine and the walk, totally lifted my curmudgeonly mood and set me up for an absolutely lovely day. 

Since I am the most basic of basic bitches, though, I've been taking #omgfallleaves photos all fall...Sunday was just the pinnacle of my basic. More below: 

More Cathedral views on my walk back to my car from work...much earlier in the season. What are these little yellow-leaf trees? I love them inordinately. 

The perfect fall morning at Lake Harriet

More yellow trees in St. Paul

An earlier pass down Summit Avenue - what's not to love about blue-sky autumn days? 

Heading in late to work after a board meeting - the sugar maples outside the building are stunningly beautiful. 

I mean, LOOK. The sheer variegation on those leaves alone is enough to convert me into one of those October-loving, #itsfallyall basic ladies. 

And my personal fave: walking home from a mid-October Mass through Loring Park, I chanced to look up and this beauty caught my eye. Is there anything more quintessentially "fall in Minnesota" than that blue sky and that RED tree? It's affirming over and over again why I live here, and love this season so much. 

And we end with more basic feet in leaves photos. Happy fall, y'all, enjoy it while you can because pretty soon those feet in leaves will be more like "feet in snowdrifts!"

A few noteworthy things lately...

Lots happening these days! 

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the annual WomenVenture fall gala luncheon at the Depot in Minneapolis with my company. One of the female executives I've developed a great working relationship with is on their board, and she invited a dozen of the company's lady leaders to join her at our table. I was honored to be included, and so inspired by the program - featuring keynote speaker Lara Merrikin of Larabar, the day featured female entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the Twin Cities, and brought together over a thousand female professionals for the day. So galvanizing to see firsthand how much women in business are doing these days, and to count myself among their number! 

Yiddle brudder Jonathan is officially employed! After a few months of patience, perseverance and positivity, he was offered a role as a marketing coordinator for a company in Detroit, and will be starting there in early November! While I'm so, so sad to lose him here, this opportunity is so exciting and he will absolutely rock it. We celebrated his happy news with cocktails and burgers at Parlour...

...before heading to Marvel Bar for a round of champagne. What better reason to pop champagne on a random Tuesday than 3/3 Schwegkids gainfully employed?! Here's to your success and your brilliant future, Jonny D!!

Last Wednesday, I was invited to represent my company's Foundation and the board I sit on during a roundtable discussion with US Senator Al Franken! Senator Franken is working to pass legislation that will encourage corporate America to partner with students seeking educational and professional opportunities, and the organization my board represents fits perfectly with his mission. 

We spent over an hour discussing our mission, success stories, and goals with the senator, and I was so impressed with our student representative, William. He was articulate, funny, and natural - skills that I still struggle with when doing professional speaking! So impressive in a seventeen-year-old. Senator Franken was similarly impressed...we really enjoyed talking with him after the roundtable ended. 

The day ended with interviews for some of our brightest students - the Saint Paul Public Schools crew and some local networks were covering Senator Franken's visit, and they all got miked up to discuss our experience! Again, our students did a fantastic job representing our program. Proud to serve on a board that helps advance kids like this, and does so much good in our community. 

Finally, we celebrated Papa Bear's birthday last Thursday! Starting off with wine and presents at my place...there's clearly no family resemblance among the three of us, ha. #buttchinsforever

We then headed to Butcher and the Boar, where the service was as bad as the food was good. Fortunately, we had Manhattans to dull the pain...

...and to encourage a little silliness on the part of the Schwegkids. 

It makes me incredibly happy to spend time with these two, and it's really gratifying to see them just as much in love 32 years in. (They celebrated anniversary #32 in early October!)

After dinner, we dashed down the block to the Orpheum to catch "Cabaret!"

I had never seen the show before, and was blown away by the production. We all really enjoyed it, and had a pretty great discussion in the car on the way to drop me off about the social commentary being so ahead of its time. Gotta love a good theater night! 

Highlight of the evening: running into the one-and-only Paul Reuvers at intermission! Can't wait for some Schweg-Reuvs shenanigans this weekend in the Bend! 

Happy Monday, campers! Counting the days til Friday already...

A few fall recipe winners

Hi hi! Happy Friday! 

It's been QUITE a week, for better and for worse. I just sat down with my day planner this morning and looked at the calendar for the upcoming month, and while I was anticipating a slow-down, it's not looking like that will happen until (likely) the new year. Here's to marching on! 

I hosted a pretty impromptu gamewatch for Notre Dame's ignominious defeat at the hands of Stanford last Saturday, and naturally busted out fall recipes galore. For me, football comprises a huge part of fall, and as such "tailgating" type foods end up inextricably linked to September through November in my mind. I needed something quick and easy to put together for three guys (and myself) and ended up whipping up a dip my mom has had in her arsenal for years. Couldn't be easier, and it's a welcome change from the buffalo chicken dip I've resorted to since legit sophomore year of college.

(Fun fact: my family's recipe for buffalo chicken dip can be made entirely with ingredients stolen from Notre Dame's South Dining Hall. I know this, because I did it on the regular. Sometime, let's talk about the logistics of stealing 4 cups of cream cheese or 6 whole chicken breasts...let alone 2 cups of hot sauce!)

Cheesy Mexican Corn Dip

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 cans Mexican corn 

1 cup shredded pepperjack 

1 cup light mayo

Mix all ingredients and bake in a casserole dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes! 

Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops. 

...see, I TOLD you it couldn't be easier. 

I also threw these raspberry balsamic meatballs together. Meatballs are my favorite fast go-to food lately as I've gotten much more comfortable with the "set it and forget it" crockpot world. The raspberry balsamic have a little more zing to them than ordinary barbecue meatballs, and tend to disappear (the guys ate all 50+ last Saturday!). Good thing, too...due to the jam in the recipe, these don't keep well. 

Naturally we needed sweet to offset all the savory, so I went in for my ultimate secret weapon dessert: Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars from Sally's Baking Addiction. While these are fairly time-consuming to make, the results are more than worth it, especially when served warm. I've always kind of cheated with the salted caramel sauce by melting and salting store-bought caramel, but this time I was feeling crazy ambitious and made Sally's homemade salted caramel sauce. It was shockingly easy, although I'm not going to lie, I was convinced I couldn't hack it. If I can, anyone can. And, um, HI it was to die for. 

Ready for me to sound like a yuuuuge idiot? When I went to cut and plate these, Michael wandered over and immediately stated "omg, these NEED whipped cream." I responded that, duh, I didn't have whipped cream, and he pointed out that I had just used heavy cream in the salted caramel sauce. I stood there bewildered, until he grabbed my hand mixer, poured the remainder of the heavy cream into the bowl, added some sugar, and was like "Whipped cream. You whip it. Duh." So I made homemade whipped cream too, and now I feel like a fairly domestic goddess (slash, huge idiot for not realizing that you could just make whipped cream). 

Finally, brunch! Every time our company puts out a quarterly filing, my department hosts a huge brunch party and everyone brings in a potluck dish to share. I usually get lazy and resort to store-bought mini muffins...who doesn't love a mini muffin?! This quarter, though, I was determined to flex my increasing kitchen confidence and signed up for coffee cake. Secret: I had already tried out How Sweet Eats' pumpkin coffee cake when I hosted a brunch gamewatch for the ND-Syracuse game, and knew it was a crowd-pleaser. It's also incredibly, obscenely easy. And the brown sugar glaze? The entire thing is so savory and sticky and incredible. I can't recommend it highly enough - the 9x13 pan was devoured. 

Next on the agenda: stuffed acorn squash, my favorite crack-delicious pumpkin cookies, and lots of homemade soups and stews as the weather turns! Happy cooking, campers :) 

 

*All photos sourced from blogs credited in links. Duh, I'm not a food photographer!*