celebrations

Royal Wedding, OMG.

I will confess it, and only be slightly embarrassed: I'm having Royal Wedding withdrawal. I'm very sad about the fact that the next major British event for which I will have to get up crazy-early and watch TV is probably going to be Prince Philip or the Queen's funeral...perish the thought! 

To start this behemoth of a post off, a few snippets from yours truly's less-than-regal social media in the 24 hours leading up to the event: 

We pregamed the night before with a re-viewing of both Charles and Di and William and Kate's weddings on BBC America, as well as "Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance" and "Harry and Meghan: Royal Rebels" courtesy of Lifetime, "Meghan Markle: An American Princess" courtesy of somewhere, and maybe like...several episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC. (I use "we" loosely - or in the royal we context - all of this was solo, as my poor roommates are NOT royals fans.)

2am rolled around and found me a bit punchy I queued up BBC on the TV, the Today show on my laptop, and settled in for a long night - morning? I don't even know. Being a royals fan on the West Coast requires a truly punishing level of commitment and dedication to one's craft, darlings. 

Fortunately I wasn't alone in my already-punch-drunk craziness...Mama Bear had gotten up at 4am Central to keep me company, and we texted through the entire shebang...in addition to the 21 phone calls we clocked. Oops. I missed her so much during my solo viewing! 

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After two cups of coffee, I switched to bubbly right in time for the main event. (I did NOT play the drinking game as previously planned because there was too much utter adoration happening on Harry's end, and I didn't want to black out before the end of the ceremony!) Although let's talk fascinators...and the people sporting them...my faves? 

Lady Kitty Spencer hands-down won the day for me - I loved her dress's bright color, gorgeous floral detail and her orange accessories. Second place to Amal Clooney (and her husband, that actor) - she is just so effortlessly amazingly gorgeous and that bright marigold yellow was so pretty! 

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Additional credit to the cast of "Suits," who all brought it big-time. Also, Gabriel Macht (who plays Harvey) blew my mind in his cute thick-rimmed glasses. I have a raging crush now. What can I say? Guys in good glasses are one of my weaknesses. 

Favorite wedding photos/moments: 

Not gonna lie, I was way "meh" on her dress after lots and lots of waffling back and forth on it...I loved the idea of the bateau neck and 3/4 sleeves (two of my absolute favorite things!!!), but the fit was rumply and seemed too large. That veil, though? With the 53 hand-embroidered Commonwealth flowers, and that perfect silk tulle volume, and the stunning Queen Mary Filigree Bandeau Tiara holding it all in place?!? YES PLEASE. 

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I would like it on record, fyi, that I ID'd the tiara before either "Today" OR the BBC, and therefore I win and should be awarded a tiara of my own. Or something. Anyway, I am HERE for the veil, and love the length and volume and drama - I just wish the dress either had a flawless fit or maybe just a leeetle something extra to it. 

That said, it brought the drama in this stunning shot, which legitimately made me gasp when I saw it later on Saturday: 

I also died laughing at the fact that Prince Henry (Harry) married Meghan at St. George's, where Henry VIII is buried, on the 482nd anniversary of Henry VIII's beheading of his wife, Anne Boleyn. AND Henry VIII and Harry are both gingers. Laughed uproariously, campers. 

Favorite moment of the wedding right here - immediately after Harry flipped Meghan's veil over and they were both looking at each other with just an absolutely insane amount of love and happiness in their eyes. UGH my heart - I'm such a hopeless romantic! (My mother and I, among hundreds of thousands of others, were inordinately annoyed with that piece of hair falling out though. Girl! Bobby pins!)

The overhead shot of the carriage ride, too - this looks like it should be on the cover of a romance novel or something. Also loved the detail that Harry hand-picked a few of the flowers in Meghan's bouquet - it's the utterly sweetest gesture and really makes me think these two are going to make it. 

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Also, let us not ignore that kiss. I'm just a walking heart-eyes emoji over here. 

Other brief thoughts: 

- Kate took a lot of flak in the media for a: wearing a white-adjacent coat and b: side-eyeing and laughing (along with the other royals) during Bishop Michael Curry's speech. I loved about the first 2/3 of Curry's homily, and was way over the final 6-ish minutes (after he made the joke about wrapping it up, which is when Kate laughed - appropriately). That said, I get his message, and think it was powerful and important. Just maybe not necessary for it to be THAT long. (For the record, Kate's dress was apparently pale yellow, and HELLO cut her some slack, she just had a baby three weeks ago and that is no picnic, even if she is a duchess.)

- I think Doria Ragland (Meghan's mother) is the epitome of class, taste and grace. Watching her all alone in what had to be an immensely overwhelming setting was touching. It's great that Meghan had her there to support her so perfectly. 

- I felt bad for Chelsy Davy, Harry's long-term ex - the coverage kept cutting to her and she looked so uncomfortable. Also felt sorry for Zara Tindall, Harry's cousin, who is like five million weeks pregnant and was squirming every time the TVs cut to her - those Quire seats at St. George's looked horribly uncomfortable. 

- This shot of the Queen arriving at Windsor before the wedding with Meghan's dog Guy made my LIFE. Of course the Queen has become besties with Meghan's dog. 

- I adored Meghan's reception dress. The glamour of her, Harry, and that Jaguar is beyond decadent. 

- The official portraits are also to die for, and I'm so glad they were released so fast! I cannot get over Prince George's cheeseball grin or how tightly Kate is holding onto Charlotte in the family shot - those two! And the couple shot - I don't think Harry has EVER looked so happy. I'm so obsessed with that little ginger hottie. 

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- Speaking of Princess Charlotte...hi, I die, she's my favorite, end scene. 

And I don't care if this makes me a grinchy negative Nellie, but sorry crew - in the Cambridge v Sussex debate, I'm 100% #TeamCambridge. Kate for LIFE. 

Congrats, you crazy kids!! Have babies soon so I have something else about which to get way too excited!! 

Napa birthday to me!

Trying to play catch-up here after a tumultuous March...and realizing that the kind of week where I'm working 12-hour days all said and done isn't really the week to try to do this, but oh well! 

I've had an utterly delightful first winter in California. And yes, I'm aware that telling all of you that, especially as Minnesota braces for like six more inches of snow this weekend or whatever, is probably really mean of me. But...SORRY! Come visit me sometime for a hit of sunshine and warmth, why don't'cha? 

Anyway, one of the highlights of the winter was for sure my parents' trip out here for my 29th birthday! (Yes, I am that cool girl who voluntarily spends birthdays with her family. My parents are awesome. Be jealous.) They arrived to weather in the mid-seventies, and we spent their first day here dining al fresco, drinking wine on our deck, and watching the Olympics opening ceremony. But on Saturday morning bright and early...

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...we headed up to wine country! Sonoma, specifically, because we prefer it to Napa. Not that I don't love Napa, but Sonoma has such a more laid-back, charming, rustic thing going on that I can't help but give it a special place in my heart.  

We started the day at a family fave, La Crema's Estate at Saralee's Vineyard. (Ready for a blast from the past? Take a peek at my family's first trip there, before I even decided to move to California!)

I'm a member at La Crema, so we got to do a private tasting upstairs in the members' lounge (which I would like to move into at their earliest convenience, please). 

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Of course, we left with a little bubbly in tow...

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...plus a case of wine for good measure. Schwegmans don't screw around! 

Our second stop was new to all of us, but came highly recommended by Ashley at La Crema. DeLoach Vineyards specializes in pinots and is part of the highly-regarded Jean-Charles Boisset wine family. 

We fell in love with their fantastic "open-air photo booth" at first sight...

...and proceeded to fall in love with their fantastic wines, so much so that Mom and Dad joined the club in my name! They get all the wine sent to them, but every time I go to Sonoma, my friends and I can visit and taste for free at any JCB winery. I've already made a second stop there and can't wait to visit their other properties! 

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...and ending on a lighter note...Dad learned to take selfies, and the world will never be the same. 

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More birthday fun to come soon! 

Resolutionizing: 2018

Hi team...I know I've been ghost-silent around here for far too long, but I have a good excuse, per usual. And that good excuse is that I have been on the brink of death - slight exaggeration, but not really that extreme. My family cut our planned ski trip to Tahoe short by several days due to my delightfully phlegmy lungs, and I've spent the last week more or less tucked in bed doing next-to-nothing while coughing, sleeping and reading to kick off 2018. BOOOO. 

With that said, I never let a year turn without doing two things - recapping the year past and appreciating all its goodness, and making resolutions for the year ahead. Being a basic bitch, I couldn't let a little sickness stop me from starting 2018 the same way, so without further ado, a few small resolutions and, as usual, my bigger goal for the year! 

1. Explore more of the Bay Area. 

I LOVE CALIFORNIA, and I am so glad I moved here. That said, I've quickly fallen into my usual patterns of having "my" spots, and while that's an utterly lovely feeling, I can't let one of the biggest cities in the country go unexplored. Here's to a 2018 full of more time in SF (and Oakland and San Jose and Berkeley and all over the Bay!), new wineries, different restaurants, and most of all new outdoor adventures in this wild, gorgeous area I call home now. 

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2. Try harder at dating. 

I hate Millennial dating, and I am terrible at it. In 2018, I may not want to date, but I need to put more effort into that - whether that's trying harder to build on existing connections, biting the bullet and getting back on the apps (UGH), or even just seeking more opportunities to meet people. I may be fine with things the way they are in my personal life, but I also know I won't be fine with that forever, and practicing dating is a painful but necessary exercise. 

3. Do more yoga.

I have fallen so hard for yoga in the last year and a half-ish, and with a plethora of opportunities for yoga in my day-to-day life, I have no excuse for not hitting the mat more often. I'm currently averaging 1-2x a week, but would love to increase that to 3-4x over the course of the coming year. 

4. Write more regularly.

This was a resolution last year, too, and I'm sad to say it's the only one I truly failed at. While my lack of time writing has been due in large part to living a life that is fuller and more lived off-paper, I truly do treasure the archive I create here and the feeling of connection this blog gives me. I plan to stick to a more stringent writing schedule this year, and to be better about chronicling things - even if it's a "quantity over quality" exercise from time to time. 

And my big intention for 2018: 

Be open. 

I don't know why this felt like such a necessary intention for the year, but this has been stuck in my head since I started ruminating on this year's goal back around Labor Day. Last year, I set the goal of "being intentional," and it was honestly the most successful goal to date. The way it manifested itself was definitely unexpected - choosing to let some friendships go, focusing on what fulfilled me, and, most significantly, taking the giant leap of moving across the country - but I can genuinely say that as 2017 wound to a close, I found myself extremely contented with the amount of thought and consideration I put into what I do. 

As for "be open?" It's a tough one. I think very few people realize how private and closed-off I really am, despite the seeming transparency of, you know, writing a blog and sharing thoughts with hundreds of people on a regular basis. I am extremely protective of myself, and I think that often leads to me closing myself off to a degree - not just from new people and experiences, but from sharing how I really think and feel. I protect myself by holding things back, and at the end of the day I think that sometimes bites me in the ass when things go unsaid or unexpressed. 

In 2018, I want to teach myself to be less afraid to open up - to seek and savor new experiences, to cultivate new friendships and relationships, and to be more candid and less guarded along the way. While the thought/phrase "be open" is, inherently, open-ended, I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing - I feel good about seeking out a year that is a bit more undefined at the outset. 

Happy 2018, campers - here's to a year of yoga and writing and love and openness and adventures ahead :)

merry merry!

Merry Christmas, my dearest darlings! 

May your day be merry and bright, may your hearts be full, may your every wish have come true, et cetera and soforth. 

My family went to Mass at the gorgeous Basilica, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed my mom’s amazing homemade lasagna for dinner (along with PLENTY of red and sparkling!) last night, and today we're off to (FINALLY) see "The Last Jedi” - we always see a movie on Christmas Day! This year, more than ever, I'm treasuring our traditions...they seem extra-sweet when home is so far away. 

A few things I'm extra-grateful this year: 

- California weather

- California wine

- roommates who make me laugh

- friends who have stayed in touch

- a remarkably challenging and fulfilling job

- these two 

- these two 

...and YOU! 

New York, New York!

Campers, I'm fully aware I've been a hideous delinquent when it comes to writing anything much lengthier than a tweet or text these days. Stanford goes on winter holiday at the end of this week, and I'm headed home Thursday morning for Christmas, then a ski trip to Tahoe with the Schwegfam. Suffice it to say everyone in the universe is trying to cram everything that needs to be done in before we all go our separate ways, which means all I've been doing lately is working. I legit JUST did my Christmas shopping yesterday - a move that is incredibly out-of-character for OCD, present-loving me. 

In honor of the fact that I'm off to reunite with my Schwegfam shortly, I thought I'd throw it back for a couple days to the last few times we were together, the first being our epic trip to New York in October! 

I broke the trip up with a night at home for my Papa Bear's birthday, and I've gotta say, flying over a Minnesota fall made me more than a little bit homesick. 

...as did my mama's gorgeous fall flowers. She always outdoes herself, and it was so pretty with the fall leaves! 

We kicked off Dad's birthday with a gift that we couldn't travel with...a little Crown Royal XR for the bar cart. He was, clearly, tickled. 

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Jodester had another surprise up her sleeve - when we got to the airport obscenely early on Friday morning, my dad was shocked to find that she'd upgraded the two of them to first class! I think he did fine with it, in the end...not like I could tell, from my seat in economy class ;) 

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We landed and rendezvoused with Jonny D on a bluebird day in NYC - temps in the low 70s, and not a cloud in the sky! 

I had never really been to New York, apart from a trip with the Band of the Fighting Irish in college which was so football-centric I barely saw anything. Needless to say, the goal of this trip, at least for me, was to SEE ALL OF THE THINGS. Starting with stunning St. Patrick's Cathedral...

...Radio City Music Hall...

...and, among others, Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza. We spent the day sprinting all over town, seeing sights and touristing out, before heading to the bar for a time-honored Schwegfam tradition...cocktail hour, duh. 

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Being incredibly basic, I decided that I was on a Manhattan kick all weekend, and it was delicious. Dick and Jodes, meanwhile, took many functional photos. My parents are nothing if not photogenic. 

In advance of our evening at "Dear Evan Hansen," we grabbed another martini and dinner at Sardi's. 

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Celebrating Papa Bear in style the whole way, of course. 

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After "Dear Evan Hansen" rocked my world and changed my life (legit not kidding), we went out for midnight drinks and cheesecake to ring out my dad's actual birthday in style. 

Saturday was up bright and early for a morning adventure to the Met...

...followed by a lengthy stroll through Central Park...

...en route to Madison Avenue, where Dad and Jonny ogled Ralph Lauren's vintage sports car...

...while Mom and I filled up on something a little sweeter at Ladurée!

All that window-shopping left us thoroughly parched, so it was off to the Plaza for us - cocktail hour can never come too soon if you're a Schweg. 

From the Plaza, it's only a hop skip and jump to Carnegie Hall, which was a spot I absolutely had to see. One of my only regrets from college is that because I was abroad in London in the spring of 2010, I missed out on performing with the concert band at Carnegie. From all accounts, it was incredible, and I'll always be a tiny bit sad that I didn't get to participate! 

Equally sad to me: my GIRL Renée Fleming was performing there the Monday after we left! Break my heart! 

Prior to seeing "A Bronx Tale," we headed to Lincoln Center for dinner at Bar Boulud. Daniel Boulud, the proprietor, is Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable's mentor...and Bar Boulud definitely shared the excellent service, food, and experience that makes us love Spoon and Stable so much!

It being me, I couldn't be that close to Lincoln Center without poking my head in the Met. Jodes walked over with me, and didn't mock me at all for my gawking. Can't wait for my first opera there in February...Michael and I are going for our birthdays and will be seeing Wagner's "Parsifal!"

On Sunday, we got up really early, grabbed bagels, and made our way to the Empire State Building to live out all our "Sleepless in Seattle" dreams. We had another perfect day in the city - clear skies and sunny, warm temperatures - so it was an amazing day to sightsee from the top!

More than a little windblown, we hopped in a cab to head down to the Financial District. Seeing the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial was on my list, and it was as moving and powerful to see in person as I had hoped. 

My dad's total favorite stop of the day? Trinity Church, to see Alexander Hamilton's grave (plus, of course, Angelica and ELIIIIIZA!). I had a total history nerd blast checking it all out...it was incredible to see how far back the cemetery dated (and to recognize so many names!). 

We also made a de rigeur stop at the Bull...

...where I found a fellow fearless girl to hang out with for a hot minute. 

All tuckered out, we worked our way way back uptown for lethal Manhattans at the King Cole Bar, and one last nibble at the Plaza, before heading to the airport and homeward. All in all, an excellent weekend celebrating the greatest man in the world in the greatest city in the world!