Lately I'm Loving: California Edition

Team, I am officially SO Californian. I drink lots of Russian River red wines, I eat avocados, and I'm in three different yoga classes. I discuss traffic on "the 101" and bemoan the plastic bag tax. I went on a date last night with a guy whose brother has a tech startup (because everyone's brother has a tech startup these days). And in honor of my full-throttle leap into all things NorCal, here are a few things making me laugh/on my mind/causing distraction these days:

- One of my favorite Stanford discoveries lately came to me via my mama bear, who sent me the 2017 Stanford Summer Reading List right after I started. Every summer, Stanford picks three books they deem important, and recommends them to the Stanford community at large...everyone from incoming students to faculty and staff. I'm surprised by the number of people I've encountered who are reading them...and am planning to pick up my copies over the weekend. 

- San Franciscans have the most delightful sense of humor about most things - especially their weather. It fills me with inimitable joy that they have personified the omnipresent Bay Area fog - his name is Karl, and he is possibly one of my favorite things about San Francisco so far. Thusly named in 2010, his nomenclature inspired hot debate, which just makes me happier. For deliciously ironic laughs, check out his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - I follow it all. 

- While I do miss Minnesota a little bit every day, I'm starting to feel a lot more settled out here. That said, this video of Californians trying to pronounce the names of Minnesota cities filled me with ALL THE NOSTALGIA. 

- Despite Karl, I was pleased to see that my new ZIP scores highly on this totally arbitrary metric of what locations in the US have the most "pleasant" days per year. While I personally agree with the author's assessment of what constitutes "pleasant weather," not gonna lie, some days you just need to be on a boat scorching in 90-degree heat to feel alive. 

- In honor of my 153 days of pleasant weather per year, I'll be making this rosemary rosé spritzer - and ice-blending it to recreate the frozen rosemary rosé that Laura and I pounded for hours on the Godfrey roof last September. 

Cheers and happy Friday, campers! 




Lately I'm Loving

Things making me smile/on my mind/causing distraction these days: 

This video of the White Bear Mitsubishi polar bear mascot falling all over the ice trying to film a commercial. I have watched it legit two or three times a day, every day, and it hasn't stopped being funny yet. Gotta love hometown humor. 

Emily sent me this amazing video of Broadway stars Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan mashing up songs from two of my favorite musicals, "The Last Five Years" and "Cinderella." Fun fact: Laura is a Minnesota girl - she grew up less than 20 minutes from me and we saw her star in her high school production of "Peter Pan."

Last week Kels sent me a link to Run the Year 2017, a website where a team or individual can sign up to log running 2,017 miles in the calendar year. She and I have signed up together, with one of her co-workers joining us, and I'm super excited to be part of Team Run Like The Winded. This year I'm really focusing on re-setting my habits and setting healthy goals, and I've always wanted to be a runner. With three miles in the books today (which, honestly, was a combo of run-jog-shuffle-walk), I can't wait to push myself harder/better/faster/stronger (ha) tomorrow and in future weeks! 

Pretty sure I'm buying these "Hamilton" leggings to fuel said runs. I saw them on FB today and freaked out a little bit...the sheer variety of novelty leggings they have is enough to make me want to accept that leggings can in fact be worn as pants. EEK!

My mom and I have been committed season ticketholders to the Minnesota Orchestra for a few years now, because we both love classical music and my dad does NOT. When I saw this New Yorker article about what men think at the symphony, I couldn't stop laughing - out loud - at my desk. SO funny. 

And finally, I shamelessly watched "The Bachelor" instead of the first half of the National Championship last night because Alabama makes me crabby. #2013NationalChampionshipNeverForget. So thrilled that Clemson upset's about time the Tide got rolled. In the Bachelor world, however...Corinne going after Nick all night was legitimately an offense worthy of the NCAA. Bitches be crazy, and this is going to be a totally fantastic season! 


Here's to beating the below-zero blues, campers. See you in February!

A little Vitamin C for life.

You guys, I’m so crabby. It’s a -30 windchill in Minnesota today, I’m on day 3 of a Whole30 plus cutting out coffee, and all I want to do is curl back up in bed and hibernate until we leave for Miami in a month.

First world problems, right? The girl who just got back from a week in wine country and leaves in a month for Miami/Puerto Rico is bitching about the cold and about her self-inflicted dietary habits? HA.

It’s been a doozy of a last few days. I’m sleeping terribly…a recurring nightmare I haven’t had for years has started to pop back up, and every time I have it I find myself wide awake in a cold sweat panic for at least a half hour. The cold and wind is sapping me of my will to live just as fast as it’s sapping every last bit of moisture from my cracked lips and desiccated hands. The new year started with unresolved weirdness. Bottom line: I don’t feel like the best version of myself at the moment.

So I’m sitting here, eating an absurdly sweet orange, listening to Mozart, and it’s making me feel marginally less bleh about everything. I tend to put on my sunshine-iest face here, because what’s the point of being a cranky bitch on the internet? But today called for a little moment of honesty. I’m just putting a good face on it all because if I give in to January, ON JANUARY 5TH, I’m going to feel like even more of a loser. So here’s to a little Vitamin C for my attitude…oranges, Mozart, texts with a friend, a lengthy reading list and a mid-day escape to the company gym for a little sweat. Here’s to putting on a happy face, even in the face of eyelash-freezing cold. Most of all, at this point, here’s to “holy shit 26 days til February.” 

A quick little potpourri post.

--I've made the possibly suicidal decision to do Whole30 AND give up coffee cold-turkey at the same time. Regretting that deeply as the 9am slump hits me hard today...stay tuned for snippets and bits about how that's going, as well as a big old diary-style recap post at the end of the month!

--I walked into work this morning after ten days out of the office and had a letter from the US Senate sitting on my keyboard. It was a thank-you from Al Franken for attending the roundtable he hosted back in November...but it still felt crazy-cool and a couple colleagues have asked about it. Kind of a neat moment to start the week off right.

--The Twin Cities are completely glazed over with a fine layer of ice, which meant that I walked into work without picking my feet up once. Straight up shuffled all the way and still nearly lost my fail. That said, the way the branches of the trees outside the Xcel sparkled made it all worth it. 

--Kelsie gave me the world's best Christmas gift yesterday at our reunion/happy hour (nearly two months apart! WTF WORLD). It's a bar necklace with a Morse code secret message on it and I am obsessed with mine slash possibly never removing it. 

--"The Bachelor" is back and I watched the whole thing last night while meal-prepping, and I've got to say, I'm crazy-excited for this season. Corinne is batshit crazy, I think Vanessa is fascinating (tri-lingual! Sign me up!), and the way increased number of minority contestants is intriguing...could we be on the fast track to the first minority Bachelorette!?!?...stay tuned! 

101 in 1001 #100: Go to the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

It seems incongruous to be posting this 101 in 1001 as the temperature outside nears sixty this week, but I can't help it. It has been, for the most part, a gorgeously mild winter in the Twin Cities and that made it so much easier and more comfortable to check this one off the list! 

The Winter Carnival is the stuff of Minnesota legend. Call us crazy, but something about subzero temps makes everyone want to get outside and throw a party. This year, I wrangled a few good friends and took full advantage of our temperate weather to join in!

Although not officially part of the Winter Carnival, this year's Ice Castle out in Eden Prairie soared to the top of my list as soon as I saw gorgeous photos of the icicle walls collecting in my Instagram feed. Kels and I hit it up at the end of January and it definitely didn't disappoint! 

I was so blown away by the crazy, dripping towers of icicles that made up the walls. Eventually we figured out that the entire thing was built around hoses that trickled water down the walls, eventually freezing into the craziness that became the "castle."

Below, a Kelsie for scale. 

Also, the snow was like shin-deep in a lot of places and where it wasn't, it was packed down into ice. Knowing my trademark grace and ability to stay on my feet in any given situation, I was apprehensive. (Please note: I made it through fall-free. WIN.)

Selfie game on point. 

Once we navigated through the mazelike entrance, the whole thing opened up into a series of courtyard-ish rooms with fountains, smaller tunnels for kids, and even slides. It was really cool to walk around and just explore it, and to people-watch. 

Being the twenty-seven-going-on-seven-year-old that I am when it comes to anything "Frozen," I immediately freaked the everloving eff out when we came upon an Olaf in the maze of the inner castle. 

I freaked out even more when I realized that there was a REAL OLAF doing appearances...

AND EVEN MORE when I saw that Elsa and Anna were also there. Fortunately, I retained enough of my (almost non-existent) dignity and refrained from joining the absurdly long line of children waiting to hug the princesses. I'm pretty sure Kelsie was grateful for that fact. 

After about twenty minutes of exploring the castle, it started to rain (because rain in early February in Minnesota is totally not a sign of global warming or anything, duh) and so we went and had a margarita. It was okay...because my margarita was frozen, so we were on-theme. Right? Right. 

Sufficiently tequila'd up, we headed to actual St. Paul to take in the actual carnival...and thank goodness we parked at my office for free, because St. Paul was a madhouse. 

We took a photo with yet another ice castle (that was a bit more conventionally castle-like than the Eden Prairie one!)...

...I noted that my employer sponsored the carnival, woo-hoo!...

...we wandered around, admired a few booths, looked for and failed to find the Summit Ice Bar, discovered that the ice sculpting didn't start til late that night, took one more selfie, and left. I'd say more points to us, because St. Paul was crazytown and there was honestly not a ton going on at that point. 

I also took advantage of unseasonably warm temps to spend an evening after work rambling through Rice Park admiring the finished ice sculptures! None of my iPhone photos turned out (shocker/story of my life), so I'm sharing these beauties by Kelly K Photography of my favorites. 

Although it's not technically part of the Winter Carnival, Red Bull Crashed Ice has become such an iconic part of winter in St. Paul that I had to finally make it over when Laura came to visit! For those unfamiliar, you'll understand it best if you go here, but in a nutshell, it's basically a luge course with obstacles on hockey skates at around 40 mph. And it's COMPLETELY insane. We scored with temps in the 50s for the Saturday night finals, and the scene was an utter madhouse, with over 150,000 people packed on Cathedral Hill. 

We moved around a lot and checked out several different vantage points...there's legitimately nowhere where you can see the whole course, so we wanted to see as many different spots as we could! Watching the racers launch essentially out the Cathedral door under that gorgeous stained glass window was such a cool juxtaposition. 

We also got right up against the glass just after the first bend. Seeing how fast these guys went blew my mind. I couldn't imagine trying to navigate downhill and stay on my feet on ice skates...then again, staying on my feet when it's icy isn't exactly my strong suit even on flat ground. The video below shows one heat of the quarterfinals...ignore my dumb "whoop" every time a skater passes us, I was so into it I almost knocked the teenage boy next to me over. Oops. 

We worked our way down to the bottom of the course right in time for a complete clusterfuck of a run where a guy actually hiked up the "Mount Everest" hill thing after a crazy disqualification and massive pileup wipeout. We also caught Minnesota local Cameron Naasz's quarterfinal run. He ended up winning the whole thing in absolutely spectacular the final here and die over his absurd athleticism and total cool-guy flair. 

I had the best time watching with Laura! Such a fun, "only in Minnesota" way to spend an evening. 

And now I can officially (at least in my mind) put winter to's to sixty-degree temps and pushing the North Faces to the back of the closet for now! 

For more 101 in 1001, go here, duh!