Inventory: Spring 2016

Making: a giant mess in my apartment in the name of cleaning everything out before my move!

Cooking: over the weekend: a giant batch of homemade French onion soup. 

Drinking: a literal gallon of water trying to fight off migraines. 

Reading: a biography of Edward VII, The Night Circus (again), and the Twitter feed of the NFL draft. 

Wanting: to sleep through the night. 

Looking: out my window at absolutely pouring rain.

Playing: with all my cards on the table.

Listening: to my crazy "Orch Dork" playlist on Spotify (currently, Sibelius A Minor.).

Wishing: for time to speed up. 

Enjoying: checking things off my absurdly too-long to-do list. 

Waiting: for weekends.

Liking: where things are headed. 

Wondering: when the heck it's going to stop raining and start feeling like spring. 

Hoping: that May is as wonderful as it is busy. 

Marveling: at my immaculately clean pantry and closet. 

Needing: sleep, patience and a less analytical approach to everything. 

Smelling: a lemon candle burning on my stovetop. So domestic. 


Following: my heart (#BASICBITCH). 

Noticing: how sore today's gym session left me. 

Knowing: that I will get through everything on the absurdly too long to-do list. 

Thinking: about the logistics of accomplishing everything. 

Bookmarking: bachelorette party games. 

Giggling: at our family group text, always. 

Feeling: excited and giddy and a little apprehensive and a lot hopeful.

A purple Prince weekend

This was one of those weekends that I'm pretty sure it will take me all week to recover from. Due in large part to the crazy amount of fun I had (details to follow later), but also due to the crazy celebration of Prince's life in the Twin Cities. 

I honestly didn't believe the news on Thursday when Jonathan texted our family group text, and actually blurted out, full-volume in my office, "HOLY SHIT PRINCE DIED!" Needless to say, that got a reaction, and before I knew it there was a knot of people by the water cooler (literally) checking phones, texting friends and family, and freaking out. After that point, I was utterly useless for the rest of the day...headphones in, the Current live-stream on full-volume, and my phone and Facebook constantly refreshing. 

In our family, we were basically raised on Prince. From an early age, we knew every song on his "Greatest Hits" compilation--it was an integral part of the soundtrack to every boat playlist, late-night summer dance party or family karaoke session. My parents saw him live at a benefit when I was a baby high-schooler and came home with the dorkiest, most hilarious choreographed dance thing to "1999" that I still giggle and cringe at. Bottom line, we loved him because he was incredible, because he was a visionary, and because he was ours. 

I think all of Minneapolis felt that way, and it was so heartwarming to see the entire city unite, turn purple, and celebrate his life all weekend. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard his music this weekend, I'd be booking a round-trip flight somewhere fabulous. Everywhere I turned there was something commemorative, from cocktails and desserts to marquee signs and homemade banners. It reminded me most of Pride weekend, when everything goes rainbow and everyone is sort of quietly united in focus on one thing...which seems appropriate, given this state's insane hometown pride in him. 

A few photos from my Thursday afternoon foray to the First Ave memorial, well before things got completely crazy: 

And a few others from the weekend...

Emily's gorgeous hand-lettered tribute, screen-shot from her Instagram (you should follow her, and not just because I think she's a genius: @emmykatie702!).

The billboards outside the Xcel Center on my walk into work on Friday...

Tattersall's aptly-named cocktail tribute (it was delicious)...

And our attempt to go to the Saturday night all-night dance party at First Ave. Total fail. By the time we got there, the line was reportedly five hours long to even make it to the door, and that didn't guarantee entrance. Kelsie, her friend Nick, and I enjoyed the walk over from my apartment though, admiring the trifecta of purple buildings in the skyline...

...and the numerous marquees in his honor. We also had a blast people-watching and listening to the passing cars blasting his hits. 

All things considered, and all tragedy aside, I loved how Minneapolis came together to mourn and celebrate and dance our faces off. I have a feeling that somewhere out there, The Kid himself is driving his little red Corvette, eating a stack of pancakes and loving it too. 

random rainy day thoughts

My gosh, friends, it's one of those days where I find my mind jumping all over the place. 

It’s straight up not going to be a particularly productive day, which is fine because, thankfully, it doesn’t need to be. I’m in a “calm before the storm” phase at work today and tomorrow, and then things get crazy busy for the next few weeks!

Let’s start off with my boyfriend…

…at least, in my dreams, who is being utterly adorable playing around on the set of the new Star Wars movie hugging Chewbacca and piloting a Y-wing with Luke Skywalker. I love him so much it’s a bit absurd. (Photo via the Kensington Palace Instagram, which I adore.)

I went hardcore puddle-jumping on my way into work today and misjudged the depth of one or two puddles in the process, getting the bottom of my skirt wet..oops. Thank goodness for the fact that I was moderately intelligent and carried my work shoes instead of wearing them on the walk over…the temptation of puddles always brings out my inner six-year-old.

Our office tower was sold to another Twin Cities company last year, and they’ve turned it into a complete nightmare of a construction zone lately as we all prepare for the transition (my company is moving across the street!). This morning I came in to a maze of caution tape and what looked like a few collapsed ceiling panels, and I’m currently enjoying the symphony that is a few industrial drills and (I think) a hacksaw on the floor below me.

In preparation for the move, we’ve been told to start cleaning out our cabinets and drawers, and I have made the following discoveries among my things in the process:

-two old pairs of Ugg boots (just in case I get caught off-guard by a random blizzard…twice?)

-three separate boxes of thank-you notes

-two postcards of Giverny from our trip there last May

-thirteen different hotel-size lotions (oh my god, I’m a terrible hotel lotion kleptomaniac. I take them and put them in my purse every day of a trip so the housekeepers will leave a new one every day, isn’t that terrible?)

St. Paul and Minneapolis are finally starting to burst into bloom as the weather has warmed up, and I, for one, am in heaven. My view from our office overlooks the Mississippi River and the Landmark Center, and it’s such a treat to peek out every so often (aka totally zone out and watch the boats for like two minutes at a time) and see the banks of the river starting to flush green as the trees bud. The cherry trees in Loring Park are all starting to blossom, too…time to start cutting through the park to church (or the bar at Café Lurcat) again!


Happy Tuesday :)

Ear Candy: April 2016

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with:

Elle King, “America’s Sweetheart:” I have a terrible (TERRIBLE!) singing voice and this makes me not even care. I turn it way up and whether I’m in the car or the shower or, god forbid, in public, I go a little bit crazy.

BORNS, “Fool,” “American Money,” and “Dug My Heart:” Three off his full-length album that I love. He has such a weird voice and I can’t get enough of it. My perennial favorites “Seeing Stars” and “Past Lives” are also worth checking out.

DNCE, “Cake By The Ocean:” NO SHAME. I started kind of dancing on the treadmill when this came on mid-interval workout on Monday. It’s so damn catchy.

The Chainsmokers, “Roses:” Heavy rotation since February that’s finally catching on with the rest of the world at large. It’s going to be huge this summer, at least in my book.

Troye Silvan, “Youth:” An Emily find over the holidays that I just added to a playlist and now every time it comes on it makes me feel kind of epic.

Zara Larsson, “Lush Life:” This is going to be SUCH a summer jam. I didn’t love it at first and now, weirdly, every time it comes on, I catch myself sort of singing along a little bit.

The 1975, “The Sound:” The tune and lyrics at the part that’s like “You’re so conceited…I…say that I love you…what does it matter if I lie to you?” are my favorite. So good.

And everything on the Lumineers’ new album, but especially “Cleopatra,” “Angela,” and “My Eyes” at the moment…

And everything by the Oh Hellos ever, period, because they were so good live in Cincy and I have listened to them at least once a day since. 

101 in 1001 #99: See an opera in a foreign language.

Remember on Tuesday how I whined about the English National Opera translating Mozart's "The Magic Flute" into...well, English? That's been a common theme of my life as an opera fan...I've only ever seen operas performed in English, which is not the traditional language of opera performance at all. 

Having spent half a semester studying some of the world's greatest operas and composers while I was in London in 2010, I know how amazing opera can be when it's sung in a foreign language. To me, it just adds to the emotive aspect of the performance...passionate Italian by Puccini, Wagner's epic German Ring Cycle, and the romance of French by Gounod and Délibes. It just so happened that every opera staged by London's big companies while we were abroad was performed in English...what a travesty! I also saw the Lyric Opera of Chicago perform "A Midsummer Night's Dream" back Stateside...also in English. Ahhh! 

My other issue with seeing opera these days is that I don't really have a friend to go with. While most of my friends (and my mom of course!) are down for musicals, the Guthrie, and even the orchestra, opera is honestly not up everyone's alley, and I get that. Needless to say, I was ecstatic in Phoenix over the Fiesta Bowl when Michael and I started talking opera, and he said that he'd come down from Fargo to see pretty much anything. 

The Minnesota Opera staged a new production of "Tosca" in March, and it marked our inaugural opera trip, and my first-ever foreign language opera! We started the night off right splitting a bottle of champagne at my apartment (where I also got a major puppy fix courtesy of his former roommate's darling dog!), and headed to St. Paul where we ended up grabbing the last two seats at Meritage's bar. We got all fancy with escargot and my first oysters in a long time...

...and I discovered that Michael is my new favorite person to go out to dinner with because he's willing to go halfsies on absolutely everything. Including every champagne cocktail on the cocktail list. There were eight, and we made it through four, and we shared all the way through. Same deal with our entrées of duck and venison. Basically, I want him to come go halfsies at Meritage with me all the time. 

We cut it perilously close to make it to the opera on time, but still snapped a selfie outside the lovely Ordway.

And then I sprinted (as much as I could, in four-inch heels) to the bathroom, while Michael headed to our seats. As I headed in, looking for "Row H," I couldn't see him anywhere in the vicinity of where I was looking...until I scanned the literal front row and spotted him literally dead center. I had bought our tickets fairly last minute, and while I did have a connection helping me out, I had NO idea our seats would have this view: 

Or this view from behind: 

Or this view for a super attractive selfie: 

I was in heaven. 

"Tosca," by Giacomo Puccini, is set over the course of three days in Rome during the Napoleonic wars. The title character is a classic jealous diva, in love with a revolutionary artist named Mario Cavaradossi, and they both end up entangled with Baron Scarpia, a powerful police chief who is basically the worst person ever and essentially threatens to kill Cavaradossi if Tosca doesn't sleep with him. That's enough of a spoiler, except to say that it is not an uplifting opera: by the end, almost everybody is dead. 

The opera is truly iconic, and the MN Opera's staging and performance lived up to my expectations for sure. There was actually some major drama just days before opening night, when Hungarian soprano Csilla Boross backed out last-minute, and Minnesota native Kelly Kaduce stepped up to the plate. It could have been catastrophic, but Kaduce and Leonardo Capalbo as Cavaradossi had electric chemistry and both sang beautifully. Stephen Powell as Scarpia played and sang a fabulously bone-chilling villain as well, and the sets, though a bit odd, were visually striking from start to finish. I absolutely loved every minute of it. 

And I was right...hearing it in a foreign language majorly made a difference! I found that I could catch a word here and there of the Italian and could figure a LOT of it out by following the action (and being familiar with the plot). The subtitles projected above the stage did help me out a bit during the recitative parts, where conversations were being sung back and forth in a normal cadence as if the performers were just chatting. 

Here's a clip of one of my all-time favorite parts of the opera: Cavaradossi's heart-rending "E lucevan le stelle," a goodbye to life when it's at its sweetest. 

And just because I think it's an awesome picture: the last page of the score, taken by Michael, who casually leaned over the orchestra wall into the pit. Because did I mention we were front row? ;) 


To check out the rest of my 101 in 1001, head here...and if you're dying to see operas with me, let me know, yo!