random

life lately

Hi campers! Like I said Tuesday, my family spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Tuscany and it was the undisputed highlight of my fall. That said, I’ve gotten up to plenty of shenanigans since I last really regularly posted around here. I’m slowly going insane at work and all my free time is devoted to binge-ing on Hallmark holiday movies and the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018 - because of COURSE I can combine the highbrow and lowbrow effortlessly. While I had the best intentions of recapping most of these things in a lot more detail, realistically December’s not going to be when that happens - and I want to share so, so many of my sister’s insanely gorgeous Italy photos with y’all next week, so, that’s my priority.

Quick peeks of a frenetic/fantastic California fall:

Bita, Andrea and I achieved peak basic with a trip to the Museum of Ice Cream, where we took approximately 500 photos, ate approximately 500 grams of sugar, dove in a sprinkle pool…

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…and I celebrated my life ethos, “eat dessert first.” Duh.

Dave and I continued our streak of falling in love with dogs all over the peninsula, including this sweetie-pie at Alpha Acid. I went in to pet her on the head and she immediately flopped onto her back, gave me the doofiest tongue-out, begging-eyes grin, and before I knew it, I was kneeling on the floor of the brewery in seventh heaven making both our days.

Rob and I made a trip to Berkeley to see The National perform at the Greek Amphitheatre, and it was easily one of the coolest combinations of venue and artist I’ve ever experienced. Amazing live performance, all their hits, and photos like these - not zoomed at all.

The evening’s low: my front tire got slashed while we were at the show, and I didn’t find out until it went flat suddenly on the 101, at midnight. Fortunately, I am resourceful and badass and capable et cetera, and with the help of several Youtube videos, I got my spare tire on ALL BY MYSELF. Next stop: world domination.

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One of the cheapest nights of entertainment in the Bay Area is the San Jose Barracuda, our local minor-league hockey team. Dave, Laura, Drew, David (yes, I need to diversify friends’ names) and I went to $2 Beer Night on a Friday shortly before we moved - there’s truly nowhere else in San Francisco/the surrounding area where for under $20, you can enjoy (bad) sports and (bad) (but cheap) beer:

Damages were done, campers, and I had a ball. Bonus: The Cudas won in epic fashion.

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Shortly after moving, Dave and I lucked into 3rd row, $40 rush seats to “Miss Saigon” at the Orpheum downtown. I had never seen it, and I cried embarrassingly hard and frequently. The production was outstanding for a touring company, and our seats were amazing - I really need to get to the theater more regularly, it’s one of the things I miss the most about the Twin Cities.

One of our first houseguests was four-legged - Charlie and Tiny Tina joined us for a Notre Dame gamewatch the weekend after we moved! While we still didn’t have a couch, they were champs and I for one fully credit Tina’s lucky Notre Dame bandana for the win we got that weekend.

Francesca, a couple of her colleagues, and I went to the San Francisco Symphony for “Jurassic Park: Live” in early November…I had never seen the movie, somehow, because I’m weird, idk. It was unbelievable, crew. Give me a live symphony, a John Williams score, and a bunch of dinosaurs running around and I’m a happy camper.

Snuck off to the mountains for a quick weekend trip before Italy. While I wasn’t expecting it, getting to see snow when we woke up on Sunday was such a surprise and I couldn’t have been more delighted. I ended up going for almost an hour-long walk outside - frozen toes and chilly fingers were well worth the (mercifully short) burst of winter wonderland.

Sadly, I left Colorado and came home to a Bay Area blanketed in smoke from the Camp Fire. While the Napa and Sonoma fires last year were terrible and I’m definitely not downplaying it, the Camp Fire’s impact on the Bay was way more severe. I went into the city to pick up a suitcase and go to a benefit with Kevin on Thursday, the night before I left for Italy, and this was the view where the San Francisco skyline is usually visible. Gut-wrenching…I’ve donated to relief efforts through the Red Cross and entreat any of you with a little spare cash and Christmas spirit to consider doing the same.

Post-Italy, I laid low for a week or so getting over let lag and catching up on mountains of work, but last weekend, Dave, Bita and I went to Sonoma - Dave’s first time actually wine tasting in wine country! He fit right in with the crew at La Crema:

…and a trip to Sonoma would never be complete without a stop at Iron Horse for the best views and bubbles in the state. Dave actually liked sparkling wine, guys - this feels like a major victory for yours truly! Such a fun day with my two favorite Californians - can’t wait for more shenanigans as Bita moves INTO our building in just two weeks!

Speaking of that building - it’s looking extra merry and bright in Apartment 630 these days, as my mama bear so sweetly mailed me my Christmas ornaments early in the week. It’s made me so happy all week to see my sentimental favorites hanging on our tree, even if there are palm trees outside the window instead of Minnesota snow.

Cheers to a great weekend ahead, campers! Stay tuned for lots of Italy talk, a little more merriment, and general debauchery to come…

Tuesday potpourri

I had the best intentions of having my shit really together this week, and failed utterly per usual. Starting to think adulthood is just going to perpetually be a to-do list with lingering items and hanging chads and endless reminders of the fact that I am a ridiculously ineffective person sometimes. Anyway, “BLOG!!!!!” (five exclamation points and all) has been hanging out on the list since the beginning of the month, and it’s the 13th, so hi MID-NOVEMBER. Here we go:

  • First and foremost, guys, the NorCal (and SoCal) wildfires are horrifying and terrible. I woke up on Friday convinced Dave had burned something in our apartment (at 5am, clearly very much a functional morning person). I was devastated to hop online and see the news, let alone the thick smoke haze covering my South Peninsula suburb, over 150 miles from the fires themselves. Our air quality is terrible - I’ve been waking up with nosebleeds, itchy eyes, and a sore throat daily - and I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be closer to the fires, let alone for the families that have lost homes, possessions and loved ones this close to the holiday season. If you’re feeling generous this Thanksgiving, the New York Times has a great list of resources on how to help victims - I’m partial to the Red Cross and United Way, personally.

  • Fortunately, and on a much lighter note, I escaped to the mountains last weekend for a quick little getaway and missed a few days of smoke. While out of town, I discovered a ridiculous beer cocktail consisting of half dunkel, half milkshake IPA - the roastiness of a stout combined with the fruitiness and resin of an IPA was delightful. I also fell in love with a new bookstore, where I picked up “Cork Dork” by Bianca Bosker and bought Dave an ever-so-adult gift of “The Dogist: Puppies” - a must-own for those of us dying to get a pup (just me? No?)

  • I leave for Italy on FRIDAY and am completely mind-fucked as to how this trip is already here. Badly need to figure out what I’m bringing, pack, and coordinate all the random logistical things I’ve left to the last minute, eek. Work’s a nuthouse this week and the light at the end of the tunnel is that in just three more workdays and 24 hours of travel, I’ve got pasta, gelato, espresso and wine for ten straight days to look forward to!

  • In very exciting personal news, I was accepted to a finance program at Stanford that I applied to and thought I had zero shot of getting into, and I’m over the moon. The program kicks off in December and runs for eight months, and I already know it’s going to kick my ass in the best of ways. Looking forward to a major challenge and to diving deeper into this crazy institution I now not only get to work for, but study at - what a privilege!

  • Per Facebook Memories (which I use to delete all the old bs I spewed all over FB as a youth, oh god), today marks the five-year anniversary of my last day at EY. I was ruminating a bit on my time there last weekend in conversation, and it’s crazy to take a step back, look at where I am now and think about how far I’ve come since that day. To this day, leaving remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and especially in light of my acceptance to that program, it’s incredibly vindicating to see that I’ve succeeded way beyond what I had imagined as that stressed, angsty, audit-hating 24-year old.

  • Finally, Dave and I watched the first Netflix/Hallmark Christmas movie of the season last night - “A Christmas With A View,” and it was abysmally bad and cheesy in all the best ways. Paired with a pine tree candle, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in our little apartment - plus, I’m thinking a roundup of our holiday movie-heckling extravaganza is going to have to happen in a few weeks here.

Happy Tuesday friends, have a fantastic day!

On gratitude and pumpkin spice.

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I really need to work on noticing and actively appreciating all the wonderful little things that happen in my life from day to day – happy moments, spontaneous adventures, funny interludes, whatever. It’s such a necessary and impactful mindset shift for me – flipping from the stressed, harried getting-by of a day into this silver-lined, rose-colored glass-half-full perspective is always a good thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kindness of others since my adventure with the hydrangeas at Safeway, and today brought another random act of kindness my way. It’s year-end at work, and it’s been a frantic, rushed and demanding few weeks for me. One of the perks of year-end, however, is team coffee…we take turns collecting everyone’s orders, running to the closest Starbucks, and bringing back much-needed caffeine (and warmth – our office is glacial).

Today, my order accidentally got skipped in the ordering process, and I was crushed on the inside – the mid-day jolt has come to be something I look forward to all morning. Not one to make a big deal out of things like this, I went into a meeting in the one conference room in our building that is notorious for hovering around 62 degrees. An hour later I emerged, so cold my fingernails had turned that gross gray-blue color, to find a piping-hot grande skim no-whip pumpkin spice latte sitting next to my keyboard, courtesy of one of my coworkers. She had gone back to the Starbucks and picked one up for me, timing it to return right before my meeting ended so it would be waiting hot when I was done.

So here I sit, sipping a PSL and warmed all the way through with coffee and gratitude – for people who are willing to do such kind things for me, for the little good fortunes the universe chooses to sprinkle through my life – and I can’t help but be a little bit overwhelmed. I don’t really know how I’ve lucked into a life with such an abundance of riches in it, but I truly am surrounded by so much goodness and kindness and consideration.

I like to think that doing those sorts of things attracts goodness back in turn – I have a long memory (for better or worse), and it takes so very little to earn my perpetual goodwill. It’s too easy, though, to slip into a self-centered mindset where I not only don’t do kind things for others, but don’t always notice and appreciate the patience and kindness others extend to me. So here’s a baby list of things/people/actions for which I am grateful right here, right now:

-          My mama bear for listening with such patience to my regular rants about very technical and ridiculous work scenarios

-          Dave for keeping me fed (healthily, to boot!) and handling the lion’s share of cleaning/chores this week as I’ve entered a monogamous relationship with my laptop

-          My oldest team member, who has taught me a plethora of new tasks with extreme detail and meticulousness in the last few weeks

-          My sister, for always talking Broadway and boys and Bachelor with me despite the hour or randomness

-          Tessa, for teaching me how to text with Friendmojis (Google it, it’s so hilarious!)

-          The random couple at Alpha Acid who let me actually sit down on the floor of the brewery and play with their dog for a solid five minutes

-          My papa bear, for links to libraries of the world, a sense of humor that is the epitome of “dad-ish” and a new set of baby blue luggage for our Italy trip

And here’s how I’m going to pay it forward in the immediate future:

-          Sending snail mail to a few friends with whom a conversation is ridiculously overdue

-          In similar vein, passing a new book along to Wade for the next installment of our Transcontinental Book Club

-          Cleaning our apartment til it sparkles over the weekend

-          Asking and truly listening to how my roommates’ days were, with complete focus and attention

-          Sharing the last few Starbucks Graham K-cups with Dave, who doesn’t know I’ve been hoarding a secret box in the corner of our pantry

-          And, generally, and most importantly, having an overall better attitude, more patience, and a little more kindness toward everyone I come across these days.

 

 

Skills I have that you can't put on a resume...

I was thinking just now about how carefully wordsmithed resumes are, and how really, when it comes down to it, they do very little to capture the essence of a person. Like, sure, mine tells you where I went to school and what my work/philanthropic history has been so far, but I think such a big part of why a person succeeds or even is who he/she is can’t be put on paper.

If I could write a real Lizzie resume, these things would definitely be on it:

  • excellent at getting neutral/antipathetic bystanders hooked on the “Bachelor” franchise shows

  • crafter of the perfect grilled cheese

  • has seen “Hamilton” four times and knows it word-perfect from front to back (fluent in various other shows including but not limited to “Les Mis,” “In The Heights,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Spring Awakening,” “Waitress”…)

  • actually loves doing laundry; hates anything pertaining to cleaning a floor

  • skilled baby-amuser; core competency in playing peekaboo across multiple tables in a restaurant with strangers’ offspring and gifted at the “mom-bounce” despite not actually being a mother

  • will laugh at just about anything

  • believes that most celebratory occasions call for a card and champagne

  • internalizes and sublimates all negative feelings; will persist in insisting that “we’ll get there” or “there’s never a dull moment” or “I’m fine, this is great!” in the face of most woes, issues, and personal problems

  • excellent “interested listening face,” equally excellent resting bitchface

  • highly esoteric/rarefied vocabulary

  • master procrastinator - once wrote a term paper four hours before it was due and got a professor’s first A+ in a thirty-year teaching career

  • afraid of the sensation of falling; exercises caution in all circumstances with such potential including but not limited to cliff edges, skydecks, and relationships

  • almost always willing to forgive, but when pushed too far will never look back

  • sees the best in people to a fault - currently working on a performance improvement plan to remove those rose-colored glasses

  • has a “candles” line in monthly budget

  • basic bitch who enjoys pumpkin spice lattes unashamedly

  • collector of books, wine corks, and Christmas ornaments

  • cares way too much about what other people think; marshmallow in a suit of armor

  • faking having it figured out every day - but really, who isn’t?

Five minutes of miscellany.

Badly in need of a mental break from year-end close, so here's a quick five-minute'r: 

- Grabbed coffee at the campus Starbucks this morning and overheard the following exchange: 

"Who was that DJ that died?" "Avicii. It rhymes with ceviche."

I laughed VERY hard. 

- It's peach season and I can't get enough of it. While I've been eating them plain for lunch daily this week thanks to a generous boss who shares her tree's bounty with our team every day, I'm thinking this weekend will have to include a remake of this salad, this cherry-peach cobbler (we had something similar at Café Latté in St. Paul on Monday), or maybe just the biggest and ripest, grilled, with a little mascarpone and balsamic (a winning combo). 

- I'm having a crisis of music taste, and it's Nicki Minaj's fault. Her collab with Jason DeRulo, "Goodbye," is an updated riff on the iconic Italian love song "Con Te Partiro." At first, I hated/was appalled by it. Then I started begrudgingly kind of being into it. Now it's become a total earworm and I've had it stuck in my head for a couple days. (Other recent loves: ODESZA and just about everything on this Spotify playlist.) 

- I need new jeans, and Gap has ONCE AGAIN discontinued my preferred fit (high rise, skinny, ultra-dark denim). I ordered a trial pair from J.Crew Factory but I'm very frustrated with the current denim trend of faded/destroyed/mom-jean etc. Not my deal. 

- Watched "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" on Netflix and it was super charming. Definitely planning to take a break from my Philippa Gregory binge to read the trilogy - it's young-adult, so it should be a quick, fun breeze. 

- As Dave and I prep to move in October, I've gone on a bit of an interior decorating spree (who's surprised? Nobody? Okay...). Recent purchases: this Pottery Barn chesterfield in the most gorgeous gray-blue, which has fulfilled every dream of my heart for the last five years, and this fun masculine-meets-feminine end table. Up next? A nice, neutral ivory area rug, some kind of wall organization system, and maybe something like this to store the obscene 76 bottles of wine currently in my collection...oh dear. 

- In the Twitterverse lately: thanks to the seven friends who felt the need to retweet the nasty-af photo of the spider that escaped from the Philadelphia Insectarium. Ancillary note: why is an insectarium even a thing? No thanks. Additionally, I love the speculation around "The Lodestar Op-Ed," as I'm dubbing it - can't wait for the eventual political thriller that will for sure come out of this insane White House. Finally, the Nike-burning that ensued post-Kaepernick ad is pathetic and hilarious. I always laugh (in horror) when I stumble into some sort of ultra-conservative Twitter hole - for the spelling mistakes and complete absurdity. 

 

Happy Thursday, campers! Almost the weekend!