Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Arizona sunsets. az part 2

Every time I travel to Arizona, one thing remains constant: sunset will be watched.  Arizona sunsets are one of the most beautiful things to see, and at the time of my trip, it truly was magnificent.  In preparation for the equinox, the sun lines up between the two palm trees and sets so beautifully.  This was taken on my last night, so it was setting slightly behind the house.  If anyone tries to tell you cloudy days are the worst, that may be true, but they make the best sunsets.

There were a couple nights where sunset was watched not only with family, but also with good friends and good food.  There was jalapeno dip and salmon dip I didn't think I would like as much as I did, cheese trays that I could have devoured, and wine that tastes as good as the company you're with.  There were conversations of life and of beauty and of work and as I sit at home in unseasonably cold Minnesota, these are the moments I miss most.  When I look back through my memories, trying to find the ones that stick out to me as "movie moments", these are the ones I want to find, where the only thing missing is the carefully selected background music.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Imagine my dismay when I walked outside for the first full week of spring and saw this outside my apartment.  My day pretty much continued on like this - a series of unexpected, unplanned events.

I had an 8am appointment that I arrived at, running on too little sleep and not enough coffee.  I'd planned an hour for this appointment and travel time, yet when I got to my car to head to my internship, I still had a left over 40 minutes.  I'm on a slight spending freeze from my vacation, so heading to a coffee shop wasn't on my list, it wasn't enough time to go back to my apartment or run any errands, so I just went to the office.  As an intern, I don't have a key - so I sat outside our office (indoors) and read my book until someone showed up.  While it was nice to read my book for a little bit, the person coming into the office was running late, which meant I got into the office late (so much for trying to go in early!).

And thus my day started.  Promos were cancelled, intern life got tricky, contacts weren't available, promotions were denied and I dealt with difficult people.  When I did get lucky with a promotion, I had to make it to their location ASAP, as I didn't have time later in the day.  There were other things to be done beforehand, so I didn't know if I would make it on time, if I would get stuck in traffic, have to drive to campus and pay for parking, or if I'd even make it to class on time.

It continued. Quizzes scheduled, stressful production scheduled, more interning from home, hopes to go to the gym, more promo drops to make.  A 20 minute power nap became an "I-missed-the-alarm-OMG" 90 minute nap.  Nothing was going right for me.

It would've been easy to let these things get to me, but throughout the day I somehow made it work, which isn't always easy for me.  I breathed a lot.  I focused on the fact that I got to read this morning and not feel rushed for a few minutes.  I did some quick thinking and made one drop in the morning, knowing I'd have two others to make later, but made it to the bus, to lunch with a friend, and to class on time.  My quiz was postponed.  Production went smoothly, and I made it home.  I had to reschedule two drops due to the unplanned nap, but I felt more rested than I had all day.  I didn't make it to the gym; instead I did some peaceful yoga stretches at home.  I watched a little TV and found myself saying "I love getting to stay up late because I feel motivated".  That's HUGE for me.  Keeping the motivated feeling, feeling productive, and instinctively using "get to" instead of "have to" was the moment for me when I got to sip my glass of wine and smile to myself.  I can do this.  YOU can do this.  I tell myself everyday to just "breathe through it".  I think of some of my favorite inspirational quotes.  Each day, I get through the unplanned.  I know when I wake up in the morning, it will be a new day to tackle, and it's been a long time since I've felt this way and I couldn't feel more blessed to share it with you.  Tomorrow's a new day, one that I can tackle and one where the snow has melted or the coffee shop on the corner changed their sign.

What do you do to keep pushing through the unplanned things?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

jet setter. az part 1

I apologize for the lack of posting going on.  I took a much needed, week-long vacation with Nathan to visit my grandparents in Arizona this last week.  My goal was to get a few posts done and queued up before I left, but the week got to me and it didn't get done.  Am I making an excuse?  Yes and no, but I'll explain my logic to you another time - long story short, something I love doing (blogging) should not cause me a ton of stress.  Anyways.

Vacation was...interesting.  I celebrated my birthday literally 9 hours before our flight was set to leave, and I am forever grateful to Nathan for keeping me in line and managing the situation.  Not a bad time was had, just interesting and good for stories, which is what counts, right?  It was so wonderful to be picked up by my grandmother at the airport; thus beginning a week full of fun, food, drinks, family, and friends.  Oh, and the S's - sun, swimming, shopping, and sushi! (Nathan would be upset if I forgot the putting green he spent hours on, but it doesn't fit in with the S's.)  I'll be giving you all more details throughout the week, I can't wait to share!

Travelling is something my family does a lot.  I've grown up knowing that if air travel is happening, checking luggage is not an option ninety-nine percent of the time.  Whether it's two days or two weeks, it had better fit in a carry-on sized suitcase (I can't talk about my London Fog suitcase enough!  I'm keeping my eyes out for a new one).  We've all heard the rules about packing light - rolling clothes, minimizing what you bring/wear, limits on pairs of shoes, etc.  I have a couple not-so-common tricks to share with you when it comes to what to bring in your purse/tote.

- Magazines
I have a habit of not reading magazines right away and building up a stockpile.  I throw three in my suitcase, two in my bag, and recycle them throughout the trip.  By the time I get home, I'm five magazines short, and my bags are a bit lighter (with more room to bring home souvenirs!).

- Water
While I love splurging on things when I travel, the cost of a bottle of water is outrageous in some places.  Hotel cups are full of germs.  I throw my empty water bottle in my tote, and fill it up when I get past security.  These water bottles are so handy for packing light!

- Books
Okay, this one is so/so for me.  I love having an actual book in my hand to read, but the Nook/Kindle/iPad has made it so much easier to bring books on vacation and not let them take up so much room!  My rule of thumb is if I feel like I need to bring an actual book, it has to be a thin paperback - everything else needs to be on my Nook or iPad.  It makes my bag so much less bulky to just have one device, instead of four books I would likely have in my bag.

It's not much, but just a few tips for your bag to help things go smoother and your shoulder to not hurt so much!  Can't wait to share more of the trip with you!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

bakery series:: Turtle Bread Co.

I mentioned last week that I was visiting another bakery...  Here it is!  Turtle Bread Company on Chicago is where Nathan I planted ourselves for a few hours to do work (and read Design Darling, apparently).  When we walked in, I was surprised by the number of tables that were sitting around empty - there were so many!  Only a handful of people were there when we got our pastries and coffee (almond croissant for me, cinnamon pecan sticky bun for him, both delicious), and we settled down in the back by one of the few outlets to work.

When Nathan went to get the first round of coffee refills, he came back with round eyes because the place was packed.  I had to check for myself, but he was right - packed.  It had gotten so busy in less than an hour!  There were couples and groups and people enjoying coffee on their own, it was so fun to see the different types of people.  Turtle Bread also serves hot breakfast and a lot of these newcomers were feasting on that.

The buffet table of breads and pastries were so enticing, I had such a difficult time choosing what to have.  The only thing I didn't love was there was a severe lack of outlets.  But that isn't totally a bad thing!  If you want to hunker down and get a lot of computer work done, getting your coffee and pastry to go would be best, but if you're looking for a place to grab brunch with friends, I would definitely recommend Turtle Bread Company!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

birthday week.

Today is my baby sister's 15th birthday.  I remember fifteen years ago (!!) when I was sitting at my grandparents' farmhouse, so excited about that fact that I was getting another sibling and they were not going to be sharing my birthday.  I had not wanted to share my birthday with anyone else, so the fact that it was two days before my birthday?  Fine by me.

We've shared many birthday parties and we've been jealous of our other sister's summer birthday together.  This year, we got to share our birth week with another person who is slowly becoming part of the family, and the last fifteen years have been great.

I've been hard at work making birthday cards for the two of them, a dear friend who shares my birthday, and a friend whose birthday just passed.  I'm sharing a little bit of a project with you now, something I've been working on for awhile.  There's more where it's coming from, but for now, to all my family and friends on this birth-filled week in this exciting month...

Monday, March 10, 2014

patterned pants.

After working at J. Crew for a period of time, one of my biggest wishes was that I would've bought the Minnie pant when I had the chance.  At the time, I wasn't sold on it - I have skinny calves, and I always thought they looked awkward on me.  It was so odd, to be honest.  I was never in love enough to buy them, yet I found myself wishing I had them when getting dressed in the morning.  This was happening while I worked at J. Crew and continued after I left.  I knew after I left that I would most likely never get them - a person gets used to that discount, and then has a hard time paying full price again!  I'm on a tighter budget now, so I was so excited when I found the Old Navy Pixie pant.

It has a super similar fit as J. Crew's Minnie, for a fraction of the price.  Instead of the side zip the Minnie has, it has a front zip and eye hook similar to jeans or the Cafe Capri from J. Crew.  I have the black and white pictured below, and I'm in love.  Do you love the Minnie?  Have you tried the Pixie, or are you going to?  I'd love to hear!

Psst!  Through 3/16, they're on sale for $25!  If you order online, you can take an extra 30% off with code 47HOURS until the end of today (3/10)!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


When I leave the office on Thursday and Friday afternoons, I walk to my bus stop and am usually either right on time, or about twenty minutes early.  I happened to be early last week, which was chilly, so I popped into the Lund's that is the storefront by my bus stop.  The original plan was just to pick up some lemons and limes - I left with not only those, but also a bundle of tulips.

It's crazy to think that the thing that made me feel most "adult" in the last few months was buying fresh flowers for myself.  I couldn't just flop down when I got home, exhausted from the day/week and not wanting to do anything; instead, I had to trim my tulips and place them in a vase.  I kept moving and kept my motivation up.  I kept looking at the tulips as I worked that night and the next, constantly thinking how "adult" it was for me to buy fresh flowers.

Buying flowers is an expense not everyone can afford - there's times when I can't afford it.  I learned a couple of years ago how great flowers make me feel, how happy they make, so I'm making an effort to work it into my budget.  A flower bunch every other week equals to a pint of ice cream every week, and using flowers to make one happy is way healthier than ice cream!  When I don't have flowers, I just find myself eating ice cream and adding to my Pinterest board of flowers instead.  (Kidding...sort of)

I have this wonderful white pitcher from Target that my mom got me when I first moved to Minneapolis that I use for flowers.  I've spent a little time trying to figure out where to style it... What do you think?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

bakery series:: butter

I'm happy to introduce a new, ongoing series of bakeries and coffee shops.  Most of them will be in the Minneapolis area, but I may throw one or two in that I run into outside of the metro.


Nathan and I went to Butter a few weeks ago on Nicollet and 37th.  We didn't plan it as a work date, just morning coffee and a pastry.  It was an adorable little cafe and we stayed longer than planned, doing the crossword, reading the paper and just catching up with each other.

I had the banana ginger scone, while Nathan had the mocha scone.  His was tasty, but I'm biased towards how delicious mine was.  Coffee was good, pastries were good, the whole place was good.  It was pretty full, so we were lucky to get seats at the bar next to each other - some of the only seats left in the place.  That's what we get for going at 10:30 on a Saturday morning I guess!  Other than our own mistake of getting there later, the layout is a little weird by the coffee refill station.  Coffee refills are free, but not self serve.  I have no problem going up to the counter to get a refill, but because of the weird layout, the employees have a tough time seeing if someone is waiting there.  Oh, and they had these adorable homemade dog biscuits for sale by the register.  One of my favorite parts of Minneapolis is how pet friendly it is; I wanted a dog at that moment just so I could buy it a biscuit!

Overall, we had a wonderful time, and contemplated going this morning, but we chose another place that I'll tell you about next week.  I can't wait to go again - earlier though, so I can get a table!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Academy Awards.

My favorite televised event was beautiful.  Some of you may hate on me that this is coming on Thursday night, when the Oscars were on Sunday night, but sometimes I just need time to process.  Especially with a ceremony like this last one was.  "Gravity" swept almost everything, Cate Blanchett definitely wore my favorite dress, and Jennifer Lawrence is still my favorite person.  But this is, overall, going to be much more fluid and put together than it would’ve been if I wrote it on Sunday night.

Ellen was a fantastic host.  It was arguably a slower ceremony than years past, and the constant announcement of "Gravity" winning got old pretty fast, but it was not a bad program by any means.  And when "Let It Go" won? (And Idina Menzel sang it?) Pure joy - because you know I love that song.  I personally loved the selfie, the pizza, and the dancing from Meryl.

I was not happy, however, when "12 Years a Slave" won Best Picture, because I had put Gravity on my ballot.  Okay, I was fine with "12 Years a Slave" winning, but what that win meant was that Nathan beat me on our ballots by half a point.  Half a point.  I’m a competitive person and, between Nathan and I, like to think I’m more knowledgeable about film and award shows (it was part of my thesis, after all).  Nathan has now won both years we’ve had this competition, and the fact that he won by half a point makes it that much harder for me to agree with.  Maybe that’s why it took me four days to post.

I filled out four ballots this year.  Four.  Two for work (one corporate, one local office), and two with Nathan (one for want to win, one for will win - and if I had it my way, Philomena would have Best Picture).  I absolutely love filling out these ballots.  Guessing, predicting, thinking about it all, getting to play out different scenarios… I love it all.

For someone as indecisive as I am, fulfilling every one of my fantasies was fantastic.  But the one thing I love about Oscars and the ballots, what makes it so much more entertaining than sports, is that if you get one wrong, you get to move on.  You don’t know at the end of the third that you’re most likely going to lose, and you can’t get knocked out of the bracket.  You get to just dust yourself off and get right back into the competition.  I, for one, find it exhilarating.  So that’s all my award show weirdness.  I love the Tony’s, but I’m not nearly as dedicated as I am to the Oscar’s.

Until next year…

Saturday, March 1, 2014

cross country skiing.

Here's a quick disclaimer:  I'm not terribly athletic.  I'm actually clumsy and have little patience for taxing sports.  I know, it's awful of me.  So when Nathan started talking about going cross country skiing way back in December, I kept putting it off.  I was busy, not up to it, any excuse I could think of.

As the meteorological winter started to come to an end, I could tell that Nathan so badly wanted to go, because he would not let the subject die - so I promised him we would go.  We made the plans to go, and I feigned excitement, not letting on how nervous I actually was.  Being un-athletic, I tend to dread anything where I will undoubtedly be the weakest, get tired the fastest, etc.  I'll admit it - I was wrong to not be excited.

We had an absolute blast cross country skiing.  What really helped me was that Nathan was also a beginner; which meant I didn't feel insecure about my abilities.  It was the first time for both of us, and it took a little bit to get the hang of it.  The first hill was really hard! Nathan made it up pretty quick, while I kept sliding backwards and falling every five minutes.  I finally made it up the first hill, and every one after that was just a little easier.  Fun fact: Nathan fell way more times than I did, and I don't think anyone has ever accomplished that feat. ;)

If you're looking for something fun to do as the winter drags on, go out and try this!  We went to the Three Rivers Park District in Bloomington, MN, and it was relatively inexpensive and the trails were great!  If you're in the area, be sure to check it out.