Jodester and Lizzie Take Cincinnati

So my dad is the best. I've trumpeted that around here pretty much since day 1, but it bears repeating. My little brother's fraternity moms' weekend is this weekend in Oxford, OH, and since my sister is a convenient 45 minutes away in Cincinnati, he bought me a plane ticket to go have some sister-bonding time! Then, in a bizarre twist of circumstance, frat moms' weekend was canceled and now my mom, brother, sister and I are all going to spend four days hanging out in the southwest corner of Ohio together. 

I couldn't be more excited. The last time I spent any significant amount of time in Cincinnati was to move my brother out of his frat house after sophomore year, and to move my sister from a third-floor walkup to a new apartment. Needless to say, exploring Cincinnati wasn't high on our list (but we did pretty well anyway!). This time around, I'm super excited to...

explore Over-the-Rhine

see the Oh Hellos

visit Miami's gorgeous campus

continue my orchestra addiction with the Cincinnati Symphony and Mahler

spend some quality time with this goon

and this goddess. 


There's really nothing better than family time, at least in my book. Catch you on the flip side, campers! 

A bad case of the Tuesdays.

Warning: This is a straight-up vent session.

I know it’s probably bad form to jump back in after several patchy weeks with a whiny rant, but I have a bad case of the Tuesdays and so that’s what you’re getting. Sorry. Back to regularly-scheduled sunshine programming as usual tomorrow, I promise.

I am, as I’ve mentioned in the past (and as anyone who follows me on Snapchat knows), a terrible sleeper. Most nights I’m awake a couple times a night, but can get back to sleep without too much angst. Some nights though, like last night, it’s multiple full-on wakeups and takes me close to an hour to get back to sleep. Basically your standard “Princess and the Pea” scenario, minus the frozen vegetables. Last night, I went to bed at 10, was up at midnight for a solid 20 minutes, and woke up at 3 for close to 45. It got so bad that I actually got up and went and sat out in my living room for a few minutes just to break up the tossing and turning. (Also, the moon was really pretty.) I think the problem is that I stress myself out so much about how the heck I’m going to fall back asleep that it just makes everything worse.

So after my little late-night prowling, my alarm went off at 5:30 and I snoozed. And snoozed. And snoozed until it was 6:15, and that’s bad-news bears because I leave for work at 6:40 and I had done nothing to get ready. So I speed-showered and put on bare-minimum makeup and defaulted to my standard-all-black part of the closet just hoping something would match, and it was fine, whatever, I was going to be a few minutes late but I could deal.

I started my coffee and went back into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and when I came out two minutes later, ready to transfer the coffee to my Thermos and go, I realized I had never put the cup under my Keurig. There were 16 ounces of coffee flooded across my counter and dripping across the front of my dishwasher, soaking into my kitchen rug and covering the floor around my refrigerator in a lake of pure caffeinated misery. And I could genuinely feel the tiny bit of resolve and pride in saving my morning metaphorically crumble to dust inside me at that moment. I pounded through half a roll of paper towels and a crap-ton of carpet cleaner trying to salvage the rug, made a second cup of coffee (cup under Keurig: check), and raced out the door, now nearly twenty minutes behind schedule.


So I did what every rational, well-rested, functional adult does: burst into completely childish, hysterical tears, turned around and got my coffee ugly-crying the whole way, and went to work half an hour late, with that ultimate red-eye combination of tears and sleep deprivation. You better bet that my thermos was death-grip clutched in my crazy-person claw-hands, too. At any rate, as I stomped and sulked the half-mile from my ramp to the office, I officially decided that I am deep in the throes of THE TUESDAYS.

I hate Tuesdays. They’ve never been my friend, they always make me kind of cranky and kind of manic and a little bit extra-stressed even when life isn’t that stressful. And lately, life has been stressful. Details to follow (soon), but between some personal stressors and some changes at work, I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin. In classic Lizzie form, I’m spending way too much time letting my inner type-A control freak spazmonster over-analyze every choice I make and every situation I find myself in, to my detriment. And this morning, it probably wasn’t even really about the coffee, it was about the seventeen other things that are making me feel uncertain and out of control and just plain not fully adult, and the coffee just happened to be the catalyst/straw that broke this camel’s back/lightning rod for all those other feelings.

I’m at work now, and in classic actually-sane-Lizzie-fashion, determined that life is good. So my rug smells like caramel coffee. So my hair is twisted up wet on top of my head. So I basically cried off the minimal mascara I even bothered to put on. Whatever, Tuesday. Nowhere to go from here but up, you butthead. 


My sister Emily and I had a really long phone conversation a couple weeks ago that’s been popping in and out of my mind ever since. In between deep and heartfelt discussions about boys, family matters, the Kon-Mari method, and friends, we ended up discovering that we’re the same Myers-Briggs personality type, INFJ.

For some reason, this surprised me. I guess I’ve always thought that Em and I are polar opposites, but talking for nearly two hours made me realize that we’re fundamentally similar in a lot of ways I never perceived. Meems informed me that INFJs are the rarest personality type per the Myers-Briggs assessments, comprising anywhere from 1-3% of the overall population (stats vary, sources here and here).

While I don’t put a concrete amount of credence in any personality test or metric, I do think there are things that can be learned from being aware of how I supposedly perceive and interact with the world. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about INFJs primarily because I always kind of go on a self-improvement kick this time of year. Call it spring-cleaning for the soul, if you will. Some choice quotes or traits:

From here: “(INFJs) tend to be perfectionists who fear they aren’t living up to their potential. INFJs can always list the things they’ve left undone but have a hard time counting their accomplishments.”

Me: Um, hi. Anyone who knows me knows I am the queen of to-do lists and I don’t half-ass. I’ve been known to beat myself up for things I’ve said, done, or failed to do, literally years after the event or incident in question took place. Along with that, I’m reluctant to discuss my own achievements or accept when I’ve done well/deserve praise/should give myself some credit. It’s a double-edged sword I fall on way too regularly.

Also from here: “When INFJs move into their extroverted mode, as they sometimes do, they can express a range of emotions and opinions quite effectively as they have excellent verbal skills. However, they tend to be cautious about revealing their positions. Like other feeling-judging types, they frequently feel caught between the desire to express their opinions and their reluctance to offend people. Some INFJs vent their private feelings to a few trusted friends. The friends are chosen with care, and the relationships are usually characterized by affection and trust.”

Me: One hundred percent accurate. I’ve had formidable communication skills since I first learned to talk (way early). These days, between writing here and elsewhere for fun, teaching trainings and writing policies at work, and starting to take on more active external leadership roles in the community, I’ve gained credibility and position almost completely through my ability to verbalize effectively. That said…I’m really hesitant to truly confide in people or to pick a side and stick to it publicly. I don’t discuss religion, politics, sex, or money with pretty much anyone, and I can count the people I share personal details with on one hand.

From here: “(There) is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk.”

Me: My mom once described my mode of existence as “organized disarray.” To outside observers, my desk at work or through school, or my closet or personal files, appear chaotic and completely entropic. That said…I can find what I need anywhere within moments. I blame the fact that I tend to get abstracted; turns out I can blame being an INFJ instead.

From here: “INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent ‘givers.’”

Me: Reading this gave me goosebumps. Lately I’ve been feeling really off in some aspects of life and friendships, and the way the article identified that as being “depleted” resonated deeply with me. I often feel like I end up being the one who gives and gives, but when I get tapped out I retreat almost completely and with very little explanation as to why I do so. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, but it’s so true…I do care deeply about the people around me and sometimes that becomes just too much when it doesn’t feel reciprocated. See here for a vintage Minneapoliz rant on pretty much this topic exactly.

Bottom line: I blame Emily for forcing me to identify, research and accept that I’m part of the 1%...of INFJs in the world. Knowing all this, I think it’s easier to work around some of the less positive aspects of the personality type, and to embrace the great things about officially being weird.

If you’re curious about Myers-Briggs, go here for more info. Online assessments here, here, and here. Have fun, let me know if you're an INFJ and let's empathize!

a slow-mo filter for life

Ahhh why does it seem like 2016 is going by so fast? Wasn't it just Christmas? How the heck is Easter in two weeks?! I need a real-life version of the Snapchat slow-mo filter to throw on life in general right now, because life in general right now has been so incredibly delightful. 

A few quick snippets: 

I've been spending a ton of time down at the Lakes lately, given our three weekends in a row of insanely gorgeous weather. The people-watching (and, more importantly, puppy-watching) has been off the hook as everyone seems to share my slightly stir-crazy need to be outdoors. 

Even the ducks are starting to come back and be adorable hanging out on the ice and paddling where the water's open. I'm so anxious for summer every time I head down there...probably my favorite part of a Twin Cities summer! 

A colleague stuck this up outside my cube last week, and made some joke about how it sounded right up my alley. All I was thinking was "why not ice cream AND wine?"...but not going to lie, I'd totally line up for a truck playing "La Vie en Rose" and selling Sancerre. 

Had a quick lunch/brunch with Claire last weekend and loved this quote on the checkout counter. It made me incredibly happy and, honestly, gave me a tiny little moment of peace. I'm really hard on myself about hindsight and tend to forget sometimes that I can only go forward. Here's to learning backward, though! 

Puppy snuggles with Hannah's roommate's dog last week. It's so bad, team...I'm getting puppy fever in a big way. The problem is, I also have insane travel fever and stay-out-late-when-I-want-to-fever and general lack-of-responsibility-for-a-living-thing for now I sigh and die over the dogs at the lakes and get my cuddles on with friends' pets whenever possible. Someday, though... 


Last Saturday I celebrated multiple birthdays (and 70 degrees!). Brian threw a poker party at his and Rachel's gorgeous new home in Lakeville, and since I have no idea how to play poker, I got to hang out with the wives and girlfriends chatting, drinking and enjoying the sunshine. I also demonstrated that I have zero ability to play bags slash that I need to continue to learn how to tailgate. From Brian's, I headed to Kelsie's birthday celebration, in which we drank giant green beers and people-watched the St. Patty's crowd at Moose Country! I love this girl to pieces and loved even more that I've celebrated her birthday for over ten years now. 

Snapchat-chatting with a guy friend from college band during "The Bachelor" absolutely cracked me up. For the record, I was Team Lauren B, so I was thrilled that she won (you know, as thrilled as a girl can be about a totally contrived and produced reality TV show...). Getting Alex's perspective, though, was hilarious and wonderful and gave me way too much scope to play with Emojis. (Are Emojis a proper noun? Should that be capitalized? These are the things I think about...)

Sunday Brunch: Hola Arepa

I’m not going to lie, I’ve majorly slowed down on the brunch front these past few months. Part of my recent decline in activity was driven by my month off from eating out in January, and I’ve continued to try to stay in, eat healthily and not spend so damn much on mimosas and eggs Benedict. (My back-to-back Fridays at Spoon and Stable and Marvel Bar, on the other hand…yikes.)

That said…I can think of few better winter brunch destinations than Hola Arepa. At one point, I think I actually closed my eyes and imagined I was back in Mexico…it was the perfect escapist hour and a half. I met Hannah and her lovely mom there and we had so much fun…it was great to see Hannah, not to mention how delighted I was to get to see so much of what makes Hannah who she is in her mother. Isn’t it funny how we all grew up afraid we’d turn into our moms, and now it seems like the best thing ever?


Like I said, Hola Arepa feels like a little slice of perennial summer. It starts with the bright, poppy turquoise of the exterior and sign, and carries through the inside…the lengthy bar, splashes of color and light, and plethora of green growing things just made me feel like I was hiding out at some very sophisticated beach shack in the Caribbean.

I have to throw in a plug for the patio…I’ve spent MANY a summer afternoon wasting way too many hours out there taste-testing tequila drinks and snacking on small plates. Hannah and I had a five-hour happy hour once (or twice)…and I met up with ND band friends there one evening when I was living in Lakeville and ended up staying out til almost midnight. On a work night. Go me. Go Hola.

Score: 10/10 (for the patio’s sake!)


While I’ve worked my way through Hola’s beverage offerings more comprehensively than I care to admit, I always come back to their creative and innovative daily sangria offerings. I’ve had cucumber-jalapeno white sangria, raspberry-pomegranate, even hibiscus-lime…and they’re always outstanding (if sometimes a little weird). The day we went, they were pouring a blood-orange cranberry sangria that, no lie, made me so insanely happy I debated offering the bartender a non-essential organ for the recipe. Cranberry has been one of my favorite flavors since the college dining hall days, when I’d get cranberry juice and add a splash of Sprite as a dinnertime treat like…daily, and “blood orange” is a buzzword that instantly settles me on whatever dish includes it these days. The combo of the two PLUS red wine and a little spice made me fall in love hard and fast.

Score: 10/10 (also don’t miss their bottled offerings, I love the “Que Pasa Martinez?”.)


I’m a sucker for an eggs Benedict any day, but I kind of burned out on them because, realistically, how much can you change up an English muffin, ham, egg, and hollandaise? Hola proved me wrong in a big way, swapping the muffin for arepas (a griddled cornmeal cake), changing out the ham for chorizo, spicing up the Hollandaise and adding a sweet-and-tangy guava sauce to the whole thing. They top it off with chicharron, a crackly bacon-type deal, and serve it with a side salad. Um, hi. I could have licked my plate clean with very little shame.

Score: 10/10

To check out Hola Arepa for yourself, head to Then call me and let me know you’re going so I can arrange a designated driver and work my way through the cocktails with you, mmk?

More brunches here, duh.