life

hi! plus a few sunshine things lately.

Hey, remember when my New Year’s resolution was, for the third year in a row, to write more…and then I dropped off the face of the planet for fully six months? HI! Lots going on in the life and times of MinneapoLiz…an executive education program at Stanford, a ridiculously crazy first half of the year work-wise, a bunch of ski trips and scattershot travel, and most significantly, a new little four-legged friend…

I’m thinking a lot about happiness, per usual, and I realized that I’ve had the itch to write lately. I’ve spent the better part of the last few months barely keeping my head above water, but still really missing the creative outlet of writing for fun rather than for work. So here we go…a toe dipped back in the pool, if you will. Much, much more to come if and when I feel inspired (slash can carve out the time between work, the dog run, and of course essential puppy snuggle time on the couch).

First and foremost, meet Bou! My six-month Frenchie girl has filled my life with more joy, laughter, and utter delight in the last four months than anything or anyone ever has before. There is SO much more to share about her - she absolutely merits her own full post (let’s be real, a regular series of Bou posts) - but for now I couldn’t hop back in here without at least a photo of her. Until I get around to telling her story here, catch up with her on Instagram at @boulettethefrenchie - she’s kind of a big deal.

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My worksite moved from Palo Alto to my actual town of residence in April, and it’s been a massive quality of life upgrade. I work 1.75 miles-ish from my apartment, and walking to and from the office daily has been a dream - it’s both a physical health upgrade to be averaging about 15k steps a day between walking to work and with Bou, and a massive mental health upgrade to not have to commute on the 101 daily. I’m also deep in a serious, 3-4x a week yoga practice, and really flourishing. I recently got my first-ever crow pose, which felt like a major win, and I’m noticing so much more flexibility and core strength, paired with less back pain and (moderately) improved sleep. Win!

Fun things I’ve watched in the last few months: Netflix’s “Sex Education,” “Girls Incarcerated,” “Big Mouth,” “Explained,” and “How to Sell Drugs Online Fast;” Hulu’s “Tiny Shoulders” (the Barbie documentary), the entirety of “The League” (laughing uproariously the entire time), reruns of “Fixer-Upper” and “Gossip Girl,” and now the first three or four episodes of “Good Girls,” which is delightful. Also actually enjoying this season of “The Bachelorette,” so sue me, and having regular Netflix “Jeopardy” tournaments with Dave (we’re really good).

Fun things I’ve read in the last few months will be coming in a return to regular book posts…I’m thinking a first half of the year behemoth dump may be necessary, because there’ve been a lot of duds and a lot of standouts.

I’m actually making friends at work and in our building! The aforementioned exec program was a big win for me, as was getting to know some of the younger people in the broader departments I work in when my boss unexpectedly quit in late February. In the building, Bou is the best ambassador a girl could ask for, as all she wants are pets and loves from literally anyone. I’ve met a ton of people through her walker and through the other dogs in the building…dog parents are all fairly crazy, as I’ve come to find, and it’s nice to have that in common with people.

We’re deeply committing to using our ridiculously luxe amenities this summer, and this weekend that translated to a major Target blackout with Bita and Dave. Purchases included but were not limited to multiple cases of Truly hard seltzer (yes, we are basic), an inflatable watermelon-shaped beverage cooler, an insulated fanny pack that holds beers (Bita’s), swimsuits, a Krazy straw, and orange sherbet push pops like the ice cream truck sold when I was a kid. We enjoyed a sun-soaked, social, deeply satisfying Saturday AND Sunday by the pool, and I’m looking forward to it being a regular thing as long as temps stay high.

Culinary loves lately: sparkling water (Simply Balanced Cucumber Mint ftw), this coconut-lime chicken, anything Dave makes in our new sous-vide machine, poké bowls from the place down the street (obsessed), Trader Joe’s sweet corn and basil burrata ravioli, EVOL lunch bowls, and Barkthins’ snacking chocolate with coconut. Additionally, I’m obsessed with Philz Coffee’s rosé iced coffee and with Dunkin’s iced coconut coffee - a post-puppy preschool treat I have to severely limit.

Musically, I can’t stop listening to Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabelo’s “Senorita,” Ed Sheeran’s “I Don’t Care,” or anything, ANYTHING off Lizzo’s new album. We’re going to Outside Lands in August and I already can’t wait. Also, I’m really looking forward to the San Francisco Symphony’s outdoor concert at Stanford in July, and to seeing “Hamilton” for an obscene FIFTH time in August.

Finally, and oh-so-happily, headed home in just a week and a half with Baby Bou for some serious quality time with my parents. Cannot wait to return to God’s country in time for boating, lake walks, Spoon and Stable, the Minnesota Orchestra, Tattersall cocktails, brewery-hopping with Kelsie, maybe a Lake Harriet Yoga Project with Hannah, newborn snuggles with the Reuvers fam, and of course long, slow, leisurely days with my parents at our home. Really, REALLY missing Minnesota lately (I always do in the summer), and can’t wait to get my feet back in my favorite place.

Inventory: October 2018

Before I hop in, HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Papa Bear!! Check out a quick little love letter to him from years past here…can’t wait to call him and serenade him (badly) with my froggy/phlegmy cold voice!

Making: time this weekend to write in earnest, per yesterday’s personal call to arms.

Cooking: soups and chicken in the Crockpot – hopping back on the meal prep train with a vengeance. 

Drinking: green tea with honey and lemon by the quart trying to kick/ameliorate this heinous cold.  

Reading: “Everyone Brave is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave, and it’s luminous. (I’m on a serious World War II fiction kick right now…why has all my reading lately felt so thematically driven?)

Wanting: more hours in the day, or fewer lines on my to-do list. Either’s fine with me.

Looking: forward to catching “Waitress” and maybe “Tosca” this weekend – I caught the performance bug again after Tuesday’s spontaneous trip to “Miss Saigon” with Dave!

Playing: catch-up on life in general after the frenetic September and October I’ve had so far.

Listening: lately, to a playlist I call “morning music” that’s heavy on Norah Jones, Lake Street Dive, The Lumineers, The National, Josh Ritter, Okkervil River, Bon Iver, and The Oh Hellos, among others.

Wishing: that I was a morning person.

Enjoying: NorCal’s temperate fall weather.

Waiting: for the chesterfield of my dreams to be delivered sometime this week – hurry up, Pottery Barn!

Liking: the quiet of a blissfully empty, cool, clean, unpacked and (mostly) settled apartment.

Wondering: why I perpetually put off the un-fun tasks – I have a bunch of random shit I planned to do yesterday, didn’t do, and that I now have to deal with on Monday…oops.

Hoping: that my “Dear Evan Hansen” novel (they made it into a novel!!) comes on time YAY Amazon same-day ordering!

Marveling: at Amazon same-day ordering, duh. How lucky we are to be alive right now.

Needing: to get my ass in gear and hang my gallery wall as soon as it’s socially acceptable to wield a hammer.   

Smelling: Target’s Pumpkin Bourbon candle – I’ve already burned through a whole big jar and we’re well into our second. It’s insanely scented olfactory crack and SO cheap and festive, pick one up!!

Wearing: hilariously oversized pajama pants, thick cozy socks, and my grandpa cardigan. Very sexy Saturday morning over here.

Following: #frenchiepuppy and #dogsonswings on Instagram – the happiest inundation of preciousness, several times a day.

Noticing: silver linings everywhere.

Knowing: that I need to stop having cheese and crackers for every meal…thank god we finally have pots, pans, and a Crockpot to break the endless cycle of Brie.

Thinking: about packing for Italy – less than a month, less than a month!!

Bookmarking: Christmas gift ideas – how is it already late October?

Giggling: at what an absolute idiot I am over certain things.

Feeling: better about a lot of the stress/angst/frustration I’ve dealt with lately.

 

Inventory: August 2018

Making: the most absurdly complex workbook of everything I need to achieve at work, take care of at home, and plan ahead for pre-move in the next 42 days.

Cooking: hahahaha nothing lately because Dave has been doing it all. We totally didn’t have pizza rolls for dinner last night, guys.

Drinking: a Starbucks nitro cold brew, which has become my vice (my team keeps giving me Starbucks cards and I don’t hate it at all).

Reading: my way through Philippa Gregory’s Plantagenet/Tudor novels in chronological order, instead of the order they were published in – NERD alert!

Wanting: a puppy!! So badly!! It’s getting urgent!!

Looking: forward to checking out City Beer’s reopening tomorrow night!

Playing: Wordscapes, an addictive word-unscramble phone game that I am extremely good at.

Listening: at work, to the Ring Cycle all day as an excuse to not talk to anyone and just get work done; elsewhere, to Odesza’s “A Moment Apart” album on loop.

Wishing: for a puppy!!

Enjoying: our Tavour membership – Dave and I get monthly crates of craft beer from all over the country/world, and this month’s shipment just came yesterday. So fun to try new ones! (Who AM I?!)

Waiting: anxiously for Thursday – so, so ready for a long weekend at home with my whole Schwegfam and my best friends!

Liking: many, many photos of puppies!! (Can you sense a theme developing??)

Wondering: why USPS sucks at updating delivery statuses.

Hoping: that it’s a nice weekend weather-wise in Minnesota so we can get on the lakes and go to the State Fair!

Marveling: at the ridiculous number of Dave selfies in my phone - and at the sheer variety of facial expressions of which he's capable. 

Needing: a whole kitchen’s worth of stuff before we move in October!

Smelling: Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia perfume mixing oh-so-bizarrely with the Purell I’m dousing myself with every half hour – everyone at work is sick and I just cannot succumb pre-trip!

Wearing: the softest and coziest dress/sweater/scarf combo – perfect for variable Bay Area weather.

Following: every dog-related account on Instagram and Twitter – the thirst for a puppy is getting more serious by the day, friends. Stay tuned – 2019 IS The Year In Which Dave And Lizzie Get A Dog.

Noticing: how the people who bitch the most about being busy and stressed always seem to be the ones accomplishing the least amount of actual work…hmm ;)

Knowing: probably more than I should about office politics and transitions that are coming up.

Thinking: too much.

Bookmarking: wall-mount organization systems, neutral 8x10 area rugs, barstools, floor lamps, and bookshelves for the new apartment. All I’ve done lately is furniture shop.

Giggling: at the completely ridiculous antics of just about everyone on this season of “Bachelor In Paradise,” and at the plethora of dad jokes Nate, Margaret and I have been sending back and forth for a few weeks.

Feeling: honestly, at this point? Pretty tired and ready for it to be October already…

miscellany

Cleaned out my phone photos during a 2am bout with insomnia last night and found a handful of little bits and pieces that don't really fit anywhere else...

- the prettiest brunch at Angelica's with Bita, Andrea and of course my favorite dog Leia

- Dave and I hosted our friends David and Meaghan for a cookout a few weeks ago, and Meaghan brought the most adorable cake - bonus? It was Funfetti. 

- Anything funny/British royal family related tends to get screenshot these days. 

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- Spotted downtown en route to 21st Amendment. I'm a nerd, I laughed out loud. 

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- The random Monday when Alpha Acid had the brewer's dogs in-house and I was in heaven. 

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- I have too many products. Correction: *had. Massive bathroom cleanout was a good move, as was the post-cleanout bubble bath. 

- Once upon a time Drew ordered "the largest pizza" at our local pizza dive. It's two feet across, it's called the King Kong, and didn't fit through my car door. 

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- On a higher-brow food note: I find myself at Terrain Café every other week or so now, mostly for the passionfruit Italian soda and the kale Caesar but also because their patio is so lovely. 

- a new vintage Kate Spade shot for my work computer's desktop background - seems appropriate for a lot of reasons. 

- My mom and I found Toppling Goliath at a random little restaurant in Sebastopol on our Sonoma trip last weekend, and I was utterly delighted...even moreso when the bartender, who also runs their beer program, sold me a spare bottle to bring home to my IPA-loving roommate. 

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- Laughed my ass off, campers. 

- Seemed appropriate to dine on Rosé Street - well-placed street sign humor will always make me giggle. 

- After dropping my mom off at the airport on Monday, I took 280 to work and noted the "WOZ" vanity plate. Sped up accordingly and almost died when I spotted Steve Wozniak in the passenger seat. What a weird, weird place this is, campers. 

- Tuesday marked my one-year anniversary at Stanford, and I celebrated by working very very late and being very very busy. Things are absolutely insane here right now, and I mostly love it and am still so grateful for and excited about the chance to be here, learning and challenging myself every day.

- Things I studied in school that I have not used as an adult include but are not limited to the ability to map iambic pentameter, calculus, topography, any kind of dissection, and Platonic philosophy. Thing I did in school and used just last week: that effing fifth-grade science fair board. 

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- California is so freaking weird. These are random goats "mowing" a hillside in a suburb. What the actual eff? 

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- I have been VERY homesick this week, and a big part of it is missing my bff. Since we couldn't have beers in person together, I sent a Greetabl her way to be with her in spirit at least. Can't wait to see her hopefully soon! 

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- And finally - we've been marathoning "Queer Eye" all week and I am beyond obsessed. Besotted. Enchanted. Addicted. I don't even know, it just makes me ridiculously happy and that's a wonderful thing. Also this is my new quote any time I get down on myself. Expect to hear it repeated ad infinitum, campers. 

 

HAPPY FRIDAY! 

A year in California.

Exactly a year ago today my mom and I drove the last seven hours of our epic cross-country road trip - from the Stockmen's Casino in Elko NV, where you cash your chips at the same counter where you check in, to San Francisco.

We celebrated our Bay Area arrival with cocktails at the Palo Alto Anthropologie (of course), I ruined a wall in my bathroom trying to hang a towel hook, and cried my eyes out with excitement and relief and apprehension about what was coming next. Part of it was shell shock, I think - driving 33 hours in two and a half days would do a number on anyone. Part of it was the sense of being truly unmoored, the finality of arriving at a destination that, for months, had felt like a hazy, surreal leap of faith. And part of it was a delirious sense of awakening, of starting to open this gift I hadn't even known I needed to give myself. 

Hackneyed clichés aside, that arrival in California 365 days ago started a period of my life that has marked a true sea change in me. I spent two weeks settling in before I started work - the first chasing around wine country and the city and the peninsula with my mom, stifling a bit of panic every time I got behind the wheel of my car, making more trips to Target than any self-respecting person has a right to make. Watching the Tonys in our hotel room over Sprinkles cupcakes with face masks on. Eating Stacks for breakfast twice. Losing our minds over Chandon's American Summer display of Em's designs. Laughing and freaking out, sometimes at the same time, and relying so much on her to keep me steady.

That week ended, of course, with me sobbing silently and uncontrollably as I drove her to SFO to say goodbye. I spent that next week waiting - waiting for my movers to show up, waiting in lines at the DMV, waiting for blistering migraines to abate as I adjusted to lower elevation and air that felt different than home. Waiting for my job at Stanford to start, waiting for Dave to arrive, waiting to make friends, waiting for this new place I lived to feel like home. 

A year later, it does, and for that I am constantly grateful. California has held so many surprises for me, and has changed me so much in ways I really needed to change. Stanford has forced me out of the complacent professional comfort zone where I had lingered for so long, challenging me most days with its sheer scope and breadth and complexity. Dave has become one of my best friends, and has opened up his world of friends to me with a generosity and complete lack of selfishness I've rarely seen in others (a generosity I don't thank him for often enough). Together with Drew and Laura, our madcap little apartment has been home to laughter and tears, parties and puking, messes and houseguests and hangovers and heartache; these experiences have made it a home for me in ways that pictures on the walls and monogrammed towels never could. 

I have found favorite restaurants, and wineries, and coffee places. I have learned to just never go to the Redwood City Safeway between the hours of 4:30 and 7, and have figured out that the 101 is faster to go to work in the mornings but to always take 280 home. I can drive to Napa without needing Google Maps (this says quite a bit about my priorities, given I still need it to get around campus from time to time). I have taken classes in opera, museums, Shakespeare, wine, and jazz, fallen for the San Francisco Ballet, experienced a deep-house club, and cultivated a burgeoning obsession with IPAs. 

I still get shivers every time I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge (although, secretly, the Bay Bridge is my favorite), but I've discovered that I actually think a lot of San Francisco is really gross. I struggle with the disparity between privilege and need here, which is so much wider and far more dramatically apparent than in Minnesota. I have gone out with a tech bro, a sommelier, and a guy who works for a venture capital firm, among others - and all three have absolutely lived up to the assumptions and stereotypes the Bay perpetuates about their respective breeds. My circle of friends ranges widely - doctors and data scientists, consultants and professors, architects and wine marketers and innovation strategists - and the conversations I find myself having are similarly diverse and challenging and eye-opening. 

I am asked, perhaps not quite as constantly as in my first few months, but still regularly - "Why did you move here? How long do you see yourself staying here?" For the first time in my existence, I am operating without a long-term plan, and I am comfortable with that. Rather than benchmarking myself against my peers in the Twin Cities - job, promotion, serious relationship, engagement, dog/house, wedding, baby - I find myself focused on a new project at work, weekend day trips, a bucket list that grows by two line every time I check off one. I know that this place will not be my home forever, but that's about all I know for sure. Whether I'm here for another three years, five, ten - I'm okay with being unsure about that. As for why I moved here, though, I think the experiences and people and adventures of the last year speak for themselves, and I hope that the next year only brings more of the same. 

...that said, I'm really glad I never have to go back to the Stockmen's Casino and Lodge. Leaving that in the last year is completely fine by me.