Friday, December 30, 2011

End of the Year Recap Part 4

So here is the part of my year that you might have already shared because I posted about it as it happened...

October: I started the month off with three concerts in the first week! Then I spent a week in Paris with my sister (and away from work!) It was one of the best trips I have ever taken because I was able to truly relax and enjoy every bit of life. This meant delicate macarons, inspiring museums, pristine gardens, delectable pain au chocolats, frequent cafes, talented street performers, sporadic shopping sprees, and brisk walks. I feel so darned lucky to be able to travel as much as I do.

November: I spent a lot of time with the boyfran's family and a lot of time at shows. I saw Noah and the Whale (awesome show!), Jerry Seinfeld (hilarious!), Mat Kearney (alright, pretty good), and Mason Jennings (love forever). Thanksgiving was a blast, and I'm sure you could read all about November in this blog if you really wanted to...

December: This brings us to now. December has been a month of crafting, celebrating birthdays, and best of all, a new baby nephew, le peanut.

This wraps up my 2011 recap extravaganza. It's satisfying to relive memories and be excited for the future. It's also nice to be present and live in the moment. So I'm going to go do that.

What's on your list of highlights of the year? Would you call it a good one? Everyone has a different story concerning 2011 - I'm thrilled to say mine was one of happiness and light. Here's to a wonderful 2012! 

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of the Year Recap Part 3

Did you miss me? Well, itt HAS been two days...harhar. So we're onto summer, part 3 of 4 of the 2011 recap. MN had an extremely junglesque (I made that up) summer that was almost unbearable. Luckily, I had AC and a chance to escape to Chicago. Nope, Chicago was scorching hot too!

July: I had another HK reunion - this time with the lovely Eva, hailing from Austria. We met in Chicago to shop, eat, drink, sightsee, bike ride along Lake Michigan, meet an Irish boy (not for me!), and meet up again with Rahul and Jake at a sushi place, my first B-Y-O-B restaurant experience! I also signed up to be a monthly contributor to the Human Rights Campaign while I was in Chicago. At the end of the month, I powered through a crazy streak of Torchlight 5k, Twins game, Christmas in July, Tour de Fat, Trampled by Turtles and Warrior Dash, all in five consecutive days.

August: LOLLAPALOOZA! Yeeeeaaaaboyyy, it was epic. I got to see a bajillion bands I liked, hang out with a bff, boyfran, and some other friends. I also got to hang out in Chicago and see Jake again. (No Rahul meet up this time, and David had moved away by then). Then there was Kat’s bachelorette party that began with wine tasting and ended with…headaches. Obviously. After a long battle of "Should I? Shouldn't I?" I started Treble and Lace. I'm unsure of where it's headed, but I love posting so that's all.

September: The month started out with a fun day at the fair over the long Labor Day weekend. Then, my beautiful Katrina got married and I was a bridesmaid! It was fun helping her plan some details of her wedding and crafting paper stuffs for the reception. The wedding itself was a blast; I partied with my college friends, my high school friends, and my family. This was definitely a year of weddings. (I attended four, had to decline on a few, and was in the bridal party for two!) I'm sure it only intensifies as I get older, however. The next day I met Mason Jennings. (My knees weaken). At the end of the month, I headed up North for a three-day camping trip in the perfectly-crisp fall weather.

So that was fall. However, October is REALLY fall so you have that coming at you very soon. But you probably know what I did anyhow since this blog was already on its little bloggy journey. Oh well. Happy day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

End of the Year Recap Part 2

Hello again! You may have noticed that I skipped Merry Monday this week - you can thank Christmas, a vacation and no work for that! However, I'm back for part 2 of 4 of the end of the year recap. Here goes the soggy spring!

April: My nephew had his first birthday party! We threw my sister a bachelorette party downtown and took a pole dancing class to start out the night! Scan-da-lous. My beautiful sister Mary got married to my now-B-I-L Kevin. This meant that my whole family (blood-related and non-) got to go to Panama City Beach, FL and spend four days in the sun. I slept on the balcony every night, and it was something else to be able to rise to the salt-soaked air and sound of crashing waves.

May: My beautiful sister Mary got married to my now-B-I-L Kevin. Wait a minute. Typo? No. They had another celebration, this time in Minnesota with a Chinese Tea Ceremony included. Many of my good friends and a lot of my family were there. It was a really fun wedding and all the stress prior to it melted away like the Wicked Witch of the West. 

June: Roadtrip! B-I-L Nathan and boyfran Zubby took a road trip to sweltering Kansas City to cheer the Twins on as they swept the Royals. Too bad that winning streak didn’t permeate throughout the rest of the season and we eventually lost all of our coveted players. Le sigh.

Welp...that's it for the spring and the start of summer. Stay tuned for the rest of summer-fall-winter. Wait a minute, I thought we already talked about winter...darn winter!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Awake and Bake

I never meant to bake anything. I promise. But with my looming adventures up North, I had to make something to bring along. And if I was going to take time to actually make something, well then it better dang well be pretty. So naturally, I looked to my friend Jessica's blog, Life's Simple Measures, for inspiration and guidance.

So then I did this:

{Recipe here}

And then I made this:

{Recipe here}

I had leftover candy melts, so then I made this:

Now I not only have goodies to take with me up North, but also to give to the girls I am seeing at an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party tomorrow, and to my lovely sisters, and to my coworkers. Oopsies. In all seriousness, I have never really had an affinity for cooking or baking or anything in the kitchen unless it included crafting at the kitchen table. This round of "baking" was kind of amazing. I looked at the recipes, I shopped for the items I didn't have, I timed the preparations correctly without even trying that hard, and I yielded plenty. AND I was able to craft them. 

All the while, I had conversations with my parents and actually had a lot of fun. I hope this doesn't become a hobby of mine, however, because I spent a lot of time doing this, and maybe I stayed up till the very wee hours of the morning and maybe that hinders the rest of my Thursday. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

End of the Year Recap Part 1

Can you even believe 2011 has come and mostly gone? Our moments are short, so it is important to remember and savor them. (Or as Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project reiterates, "The days are long, but the years are short.") Luckily, I have a good memory, a camera, and two blogs to help me out. Since it is the end of the calendar year, I would like to take a few posts to reflect on the highlights of each month of 2011. Bear with me, I had a good year.

January: I basked in my birthday weekend with a slew of my best friends in Chicago. We ice skated at Millennium Park, shopped along Michigan Avenue, ate tasty food and imbibed at some recommended bars. Plus, three of my HK friends joined in on the festivities. HK reunions are hard to come by, so when they DO work out, it's a good feeling. I started a blog with the details of Chicago as my first post, and after two more posts, abandoned it. At least I have you, SKTMIT, to ease the heartache! :P

February: I, along with a big group o' people, welcomed our friend Laura home from Korea, where she spent the last year teaching. My boyfran and I spent a night in Fargo, ND to visit two of his best friends from college and join in on the plaid brigade at Trampled by Turtles. I also attended a 30th birthday, a 40th birthday, and a 50th birthday in that order! I love numbers and sequences, so that was right up my alley.

March: I traveled to Oahu, Hawaii with another great group of friends. We snorkeled at Hanauma Bay, hiked up Diamond Head, swam in the Pacific Ocean, toured Pearl Harbor, and ATVed through the lush hillside that has served as the backdrop for many-a-movie and one of my favorites, LOST! I tried savory, authentic Hawaiian foods that I wish were available in Minnesota. I definitely morphed from not being a beach-vacation-person to being a beach-vacation-person. Add to that about five birthday celebrations in one weekend, and that was March.

I'm going to pause there. A year is a sizeable thing to consider, so I'm breaking it up into fourths. This week is a short one (at work anyhow) and I'm hustling and bustling to cram as many activities in as I physically can. Still left on the plate before I head up North on Friday morning: running errands, baking at my sister's house, packing, working, hitting up an ugly Christmas sweater party/reunion and getting the last of my Christmas gifts in the mail (destined for Minneapolis, Toronto and Vienna). Have a happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Monday

{Catching snow / Creating / Oddly sitting}

Weekends come and weekends go, and they're always filled to the brim with good stuff. This weekend started off hanging out in the hospital with the new baby nephew, some birthday shenanigans, breakfast at Grandview, crafting, another birthday outing, photos, and hanging out with the fam (of course with new baby). I realized how close Christmas really was, and maybe started to panic a little. It's not that I have gifts to still procure or make, but there are Christmas cards that haven't been sent out, baking and packing to do before the weekend, all on top of some other obligations.

{Unintentional Christmas colors / Holiday brews}

So let's keep sane in this home stretch until Christmas! Oh pretty please!

{Two hats / Sheet music / Playing}

Today I am le thankful for:
1. Family. New babies have a way of bringing people together. Yeay!
2. Friends and their friends and their families. It's pretty cool when you have fun hanging out with your friend's boyfriend's sister and her friend. 
3. A short week. I can't wait for Christmas!!

Unfortunately, when my holiday cards were all ready to go, I forgot my stamps at home and am now at work. Rats and a half! I'm also planning on taking a page or two out of the blog Life's Simple Measures for holiday baking recipes. Can't wait to test my terrible hand at these.

Are you scrambling this week? Whatever you're doing, I hope it's a good one.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baby Archer

No, this is not a post about a small person with a bow and arrow, but rather, my new baby nephew, hot off the press! I can't say much about the character of a baby who doesn't open his eyes or do anything but sleep, but he's a peanut and I love him! That's all.

I also love his big brother Theodore who says in the most adorable voice ever, "baby cry" which sounds like "baby kai."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Monday

Hello frannns! This morning was a little rough, even though I forced myself to bed last night at 10pm due to a severe migraine. Let me tell you, 10pm bedtime never happens with me, so I was hurtin' something fierce. This morning I was all achey too, but then my coworker gave me some medicine and it's getting better.

So here I am. The weekend was pretty low-key. I went to a Friday night yoga class, woke up early Saturday for a half day of work, then headed over to my sister's house to craft until I couldn't craft anymore. This crafting sesh was also filled with attempts of dougie-ing, too many desserts, YouTube videos and scary stories I couldn't handle. I finally finished  making my Christmas and Hannukah cards though, so that felt awesome. I finished working on some Christmas gifts as well. But now, I must write out all of these cards and while I definitely enjoy writing to people, it's going to take a block of time to get these out. 

Sunday the fam celebrated my parents' birthdays with Banh Xeo Brunch and playing on the lake behind our house. Then I headed over to boyfran's brothers to do some man-crafting. You know, ditching the pretty paper, brads and tape runners for drills, scrap wood and tape measurers. We made one of our two giant hockey nets for future broomball on the lake. I had never really played with a drill before or built anything that didn't come in a set in a box, so this was pretty fun.

Now, onto Monday and what is getting me through the day:
1. Hydration. Must. Fix. Headache.
2. Crafting. I'm on a craft-kick, if you couldn't tell.
3. Book Club. We're having a little gift exchange tomorrow with our discussion of a holiday-themed book. Yippee!

That's all. 13 days until Christmas, ahh!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Epiphanies of sorts.

Sometimes I think the week crawls by ever-so-slowly, and before I know it, it is le Friday! So, happy le Friday!

If you are super-privileged, you know I have really great "a-ha!" moments. Also really great "weird" moments. I consider myself a smart person, but when it comes to really simple stuff, I get these epiphanies (one of my favorite words) and everyone around me says, "Wow. Really Jen?" Or they say, "Ohhhhhhhhhh" in unison with me.

Some of the A-has have included:
Dissecting the word "percent." Like per-cent. Like per 100. Like out of 100, OMG. Stop. OMG.

How about remote control? Yeah, you can control the TV. REMOTELY. (Also, when I was little I had this problem and called it a remote con-con-trol. My nephew just calls it "mooooote.")

Some of the "weirds" have included:
Fruit. Fruit is so dang weird. Here, let's plant this weird little seed. Then all of this gushy deliciousness will stem from it and grow around it and while we're at it, more seeds will happen to happen, and then you can eat it, and it's mostly good for you. WHAT? (That is NOT what she said). 

Clothes. Alright, so we can't be naked. I'll run and get some fibers and make some string and make some clothes to put on your body. Eventually it will just be for the look of it and rarely for the function.

Animals. There are so many species and they eat each other. And some of them lounge around in our homes, acting like they own the world.

Interwebs. How in the world are you reading this across the way?! Why don't you have to be next to me to know what I'm thinking? Even landlines puzzle me because voices can project across miles! I know there are scientific explanations for these things, but still. It's le nuts.

So yeah. Life is full of very weird things that make me wonder how the H we all got here. This brings me to the thing that inspired the weird post: snowflakes.

SNOWFLAKES! They are unique! They fall from the sky! They are SO beautiful! They were on my car like this!

I hope you have a good weekend. Take time to appreciate the little things, the weird things, and those things that make you say "Ohhhh I get it."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Merry Monday

Oopsies, I'm a little behind on this one. Today was overcast with blah, so maybe that will be my excuse! 

I feel like I'm repeating myself over and over, but...the weekend FLEW by and was FULL of FUN stuff. Sound familiar? Thought so.
Dinner at The Depot, an absolutely spectacular Beirut show at First Ave. (plus I saw a long-lost friend there), No Coast Craft-o-Rama, Mapps chai latte, two days of crafting at my sister's house (I made 38 cards and prepared parts of my Christmas cards, whew!) and a hot yoga class were the highlights of my weekend.

And then…today happened. Nothing catastrophic, obviously. Just a sort of overall blahishness resulting from a domino-effect of small annoyances.

I just watched the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I do still watch it), and the episode was about thinking you have it bad but not realizing that you should be thankful that worse things aren’t happening. It’s not meant to discredit small problems, because when you feel like crap, you feel like crap, but know that it could be much, much worse. The narration in the show talks about thinking your day is bad, but when the really, really bad stuff happens, you only WISH your problems were an IRS audit or fender bender. So there’s that.


That’s all for today. I made a dent in my winter to-do list this weekend. Yeeay!