Monday, December 31, 2012


It's that time of year again to look back on what has been, cherish those memories, and get excited for what is to come! This time I’ve broken down my 2012 review in terms of concerts I attended, travels I set out on, moments I loved, and virtual moments that made me giddy. You know I spend a good chunk of my life on the Internet (I loooove the Internet!) and so the best virtual moments weren’t difficult for me to recount. And so, from the beginning:

Shows: The Envy Corps
Travels: 2-night scrapbooking staycation extravaganza with my sisters and Ashley
Best Moment: Turning the big 2-5 and celebrating in the best way: spa, shopping, movie of a favorite book, family, friends, Mexican food, drinks, dressing up.
Virtual Moment: The most amazing birthday gift: a video of family, friends, and famous people reciting my tweets, status updates and lines from my blogs! I just got so excited to watch this again on my 26th!

Shows: Lion King [The Musical] with my three lovely sisters // Bombay Bicycle Club
Travels: None
Best Moment: Acting like a total kid by playing trampoline dodgeball and suffering for several days after.
Virtual Moment: Social media set a-flutter by news of Indeed opening this year.

Shows: Of Monsters and Men
Travels: None
Best Moment: Spending St. Patrick’s Day with a lot of great friends
Virtual Moment: The #StyleMe Challenge was born, and with that, new friendships and a whole new slew of Instagramming

Shows: Fun. // Cults // Florence + The Machine
Travels: None
Best Moment: Two extremely fun weddings.
Virtual Moment: I guess April was boring!

Shows: Grouplove // M. Ward
Travels: Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon with Zebulon
Best Moment: Playing cribbage and eating nachos at Tug Boat Brewing with Zeb
Virtual Moment: Discovering my photo and review on Hilary Rushford’s #StyleMe page

Concerts: The Shins // Avett Brothers
Travels: Denver, Colorado (with stops at Red Rocks and Golden) with Zebulon
Best Moment: Finishing my first half-marathon // Dancing to Avett Brothers on the most beautiful night at Red Rocks Amphitheater

Concerts: Basilica Block Party (Imagine Dragons, Train, Cake, The Head and the Heart) // Beirut
Travels: Atlantic, Iowa with the family for Grandma’s 90th birthday party.
Best Moment: Nancy’s birthday sheNANigans at Indeed
Virtual Moment: Researching what freedom means for Independence Day (seriously)

Shows: Coldplay
Travels: Dallas, Texas with Zebulon, Nancy and Nathan
Best Moment: Leaving work early to celebrate the opening of Indeed Brewing Company and meeting Mr. Mayor! ;)
Virtual Moment: Treble and Lace turned 1!

Shows: Awolnation & Imagine Dragons / The Head and the Heart & Blitzen Trapper
Travels: None.
Best Moment: Fashion’s Night Out, Blogger Meet-Up, Fashion Week with my new bloggy friends.
Virtual Moment: Tweeting back and forth with Blitzen Trapper // The Royal Concept’s management contacting me about my blog post

Shows: Wolf Gang & The Royal Concept // Miike Snow // Passion Pit & Youngblood Hawke
Travels: Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre, Italy with Zeb.
Best Moment: Grilling out and drinking wine with random Italians in Vernazza, Cinque Terre and touring wineries in Tuscany.
Virtual Moment: Winning tickets via email to see Wolf Gang at Varsity Theater

Shows: Matt and Kim & Oberhofer
Travels: Lutsen for Thanksgiving Weekend with Zeb and his family.
Best Moment: Exercising my right to vote and learning that Minnesota had defeated two proposed amendments to its state constitution.
Virtual Moment: Following election coverage

Shows: Sufjan Stevens // Of Monsters and Men
Travels: None.
Best Moment: Walking to get a Christmas tree in a blizzard and spending the rest of the day snowed in.
Virtual Moment: Sharing the holiday season with Instragram friends via #ShareAdvent

Looking back on the year helps me to put it into perspective and capture a sense of closure. As a girl highly-nostalgic for everything, it helps me feel accomplished and able to let the past be the past. It's time for now. Won't you join me?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter Wish List

I honestly believe living in Minnesota cultivates one’s appreciation for changing seasons. Despite grumpy words on weather falling out of our mouths, I really believe that if our weather remained unchanged throughout the year, and consequently, throughout our lives, that we would not be who we are today. You know how much I love celebrating seasons, and winter is no different. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, almost all of my family’s birthdays, my boyfran anniversary and Valentine’s Day only add to the joy of winter!

So here is my winter wish list:

Ice skate at Landmark Center
Go to a craft fair
Swap gifts with a bloggy friend
See Elf the Musical
Snowshoe through a park
Make a wreath
Bake holiday goodies
Watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Watch a holiday movie I have not seen before
Actively participate in #ShareAdvent

Upon review, it seems my list is not far off from last year's. What can I say? I like tradition.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Italy: A Home in Rome

Ahh, I finally have a good excuse to get back to blogging. It’s strange how leaving my computer’s side was at first startling, then refreshing. After a while, it felt nice to get back to it. So hello Sir Qwerty, it’s so nice to see you!

Zeb and I recently enjoyed a 10-day stint in the great country of Italy. It’s amazing how much can be done in 10 days, and how little is done at the same time. Whenever I travel, I get struck by the vastness of the world. How I covered thousands of miles on an airplane and hundreds by train, and still, have barely even skimmed the surface of one country that is roughly the size of Arizona is beyond me. Can you imagine it? Plus, there are other countries, continents, hemispheres, planets, galaxies to consider and fathom. But I digress.

We started in Rome, hopped on a train to Cinque Terre, spent the bulk of our time in Florence and came full circle in Rome on days 9 and 10. But first, we start in Rome.

We arrived in Rome around noon on very little sleep. After a quick catnap of 4 hours, we set out into the city. We somehow managed to catch a bus (and meet some exchange students on it) from Roma Termini to Piazza Navona, where we had delicious pizze, vino and birra. After the meal, the waiter, Matteo, provided us with free drinks. This happened a lot on our trip, and I’m convinced it’s because Zeb becomes best friends with each person he meets. How else would I know all of our servers’ names?

We had a drink at a hopping bar, and were confused again when we had to pay for the drink at one counter, then order it again at another counter, receipt in hand. This is just the way they often do it. We walked over to the Pantheon, had a macchiato at midnight, then hung out by the Trevi fountain where gypsies tried to sell us roses and take our photo. One actually did take our photo and when we did not want it or to pay for it, he became furious with us. Well, sir, you took the picture without our consent! Note to self: never smile at or for anyone.

Our first night came and went and we were excitedly off to the coast! Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Everything is fleeting

"It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful life lies in between." - Diane Ackerman

Sometimes, before I go to bed, I spill over with emotion and thought. 

I think of what I saw today, how the trees were mostly brown, when just days ago, they were vibrant and full.
I think of my coworker whose husband recently passed away, and how she chokes up at every mention of his name.
I think of how little I know about people I know so well.
I think of how little time there is, even if there are decades of life had and to be had.
I think of how absurd it is that we must vote on whether or not we should constitutionally ban gay marriage.
I think of how random and how calculated various happenings are.
I think of each step that had to fall into perfect place for you to be reading this, for you to even know me.
I feel sorrow for our future fates.
I feel joy for our future fates.
I worry about dying.
I worry about not living.
I wonder how the world will continue to spin when I lose someone I love.
I wonder how one can do so much and still feel that there's not enough time.
There's not enough time.
There's not enough time.

"Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it." - Rabbi Harold Kushner

Now you know what I think about before I fall asleep each night. This, and what to wear.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn Wish List

Dear autumn,

I love you.


1. Pick a pumpkin.
2. Drive somewhere to see fall colors.
3. Make and eat (allergically) caramel apples. Have someone on standby with an epi pen.
4. Watch a scary movie.
5. Drink apple cider.
6. Enjoy the outdoors.
7. Attend MSP Fashion Week.
8. Attend Oyster Fest.
9. Roast pumpkin seeds.
10. Enjoy many bonfires.

What's on your list? I've already completed a handful of these, but don't mind repeating.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?

Are you there friends? It’s me, Jennifer. Remember me? I’m the one who had a bit of a breakdown last month…but I’m back.

Today began just like any other day.

There’s a scene in The Office where Robert California asks Erin to explain her morning to him. She starts by saying “Well, I woke up, and -” to which he replies “Erin, when you recount your day, never say you woke up. That’s a waste of your time. That’s how every day is begun for everyone since the dawn of man.” Enlightened, she says, “Very smart. Very Smart! … Suddenly, I was awake.”

Suddenly, I was awake. I ate my Pumpkin Spice waffles, pulled together an outfit for a fashion show viewing this evening, dragged my body to my car to follow (mindlessly) the windy roads to work. I made my rounds, updated the ERP system, and read through several taxing emails. The lunch bell rang and a sigh of relief inadvertently escaped me.

Just as I was routinely uncapping the steam-filled Tupperware for my Monday lunch, I noticed two visitors at the table next to me. After a brief introduction (artists (friends of my parents) from California who had been performing in MN over the weekend), one of the singers dove off into a pool of Creedence Clearwater Revival that instantly changed the pace of my day. He crooned out a couple of Vietnamese songs intermittent with funny (albeit foreign to me) banter. He capped the performance with a rendition of “Let it Be,” which always sends pangs to my heart, no matter the circumstance. There is something so sweet and tragic about this song that brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat, every.single.time. And the whole lunch room singing along? Guhhhhh.

While we’re on the subject, I thought you should know that I hope that song is played at my funeral. Morbid, but I’m a planner.

Perhaps it was more bittersweet that a blind man was singing this, especially the line “I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me…” because I can easily picture him waking to and breathing music all of the time. I can’t help but feel a little bad for people who have a handicap, even though I am sure they are in no need of my sympathy. This man is 32 years old, an accomplished musician who gets to travel and do what he loves, not to mention that his guitar skills are fascinating. And maybe if it was not for his blindness, he wouldn’t be so in tune to his tunes. Everything for a reason, right? 

"Someone told me long ago - there's a calm before the storm. I know, it's been comin' for some time. When it's over, so they say, it'll rain a sunny day. I know, shinin' down like water. I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain? I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain...comin' down on a sunny day?"

Anyway, this is the merriest of Mondays for his visit alone. It makes you stop and think and really hear the music.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I've been a bit absent from this blog lately; not because I don't have thoughts swarming my mind on an hourly basis, but because I haven't the energy to transcribe these whirring fragments, stories, and ideas into tangible structures.

And now, it's grown to the point where I need some sort of outlet, what this blog was meant to be in the first place. I've often thought that I don't want to be a collector of disheartening memories of the lower points of my life. I did enough of that in the past. I have the heart-wrenching hand-written journals to prove it. But this is real life, my friends, and while my blogs are meant to remember the good and cultivate happiness, sometimes I just can't feel content 100% of the time.

Up until 2009, I was quite the pessimist. I drained myself and the people around me because I was so insecure, unsteady, erratic. Then, something changed. Maybe it was the natural order of growing up. Maybe it was talking to someone that helped. Maybe it was studying abroad, changing lifestyles and the people around me. Whatever it was, I began to feel happy. More specifically, the past year has been an overwhelming abundance of happiness. Even when situations should have wore me down, I faced them with more confidence and level-headed thinking than ever before.

This past month, I feel like I lost that magic cloak of content. Every area of my life has me feeling that I'm engaging in a losing battle; my to-do list is never ending and my stress level increasing. There's a nail in my tire and all of the air and energy is slowly seeping and escaping my hold. It could be that I'm in a slump at work. It could be more things demanding my time and attention. Lack of sleep. Lack of motivation to exercise regularly. Poor eating habits. Disinterest in several things, even writing at times. My life is messy, cluttered, frantic, overbooked; it's a gnarled sweater that is slowly unraveling from  both here and there. 

So what will I do after I am done venting to the Internet? I will learn how to knit it all back together, one string at a time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Goodbye Coupons

Dear Everycouponserviceever,

For so long I wished I could quit you. Now I have. Goodbye Groupon, Living Social, Crowd Cut, Daily Deals, etc. You have allowed me to think I was getting a deal, when really it always took me until the last week before expiration to use the deal. This in turn, stressed me out about the procrastination of it all. Sometimes, I even forgot about the deal altogether. In an effort to lose some of the clutter in my inbox and my life, I bid you adieu.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Brotips [On dealing with people]

Hello friends! I'm glad you are my friends. Do you have people in your life who you could stand to shake? Ones who create all of this negative energy around you and consequently drain you? Ones who you feel obligated to be around, even though they drive you absolutely insane? Think about this:

Life is too short to spend time with people who you do not enjoy spending time with. Granted, life is also too short to hold grudges. I know many people (I'm not excused*) who spend time with people out of obligation. It's just something we do. Hopefully your weekend is full of people you luuurve!

*This is not aimed at anyone really, especially anyone reading this blog. I just saw these and liked them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The weekend in le nutshell

Hey y'aaallll. How were your weekends? Relaxing? Active? Fleeting? That's pretty how much I view the weekends. Do as many fun things as you can and try to sleep in at least one of the days.

Friday: I finally saw Indeed for the first time in a couple of months - so much has changed as they prepare to open for business in the next couple of weeks. 

Saturday: I woke up pretty early and immediately started painting. I've found that painting is a relaxing and rewarding way to start the day. Then I went for a run and headed out to meet my newish bloggy friend for brunch at Wilde Roast. Smoked gouda hashbrowns? Good-a. 

Then it was off to Indeed for my sister Nancy's birthday. We "sampled" the beer and got into some shenanigans throughout the evening. (My sister's name is Nan and the beer is called Shenanigans, get it?)

Sunday:I mostly recovered and then attended a wedding. I tried to buy balloons but was denied due to the helium shortage. Did you know that existed? Our helium reservoir that supplies 75% of the world's supply is running out, the price is spiking dramatically, and the helium we are using is going first toward hospitals for MRIs and other technology. Thus, no balloons for me. I guess MRIs might be more important, or something. Punny headlines read, "Senators see ballooning national crisis" and "Helium shortage deflates local businesses." 

Now, the real purpose of this post:

Happy [Belated] Birthday Ms. Nancy!
Nancy is my twin, but older, so not really. She is one of the most hard-working people I know, whose actual weakness in an interview would be that she cares too much. Always trying to do what is best for everyone around her, Nancy has a lot of people who look up to her and her intelligent, creative, stylish ways. She has influenced almost every facet of my life from what I studied in college, to my hobbies in crafting, down to the stores at which I shop. She supports me and encourages me and I appreciate it so much. Fancy Nancy, U R A Q T!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


My book club just read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and if I'm going to be punny here like I want to, I will tell you how wild I am about it.

Basic story: 20-something girl loses her mother, tears apart her marriage, gets into a habit of drugs and sex, then decides to change it all, drop everything and hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

It's so much more than that. Cheryl is a woman whose mother dies of cancer very suddenly (7 weeks from finding out to the end). After that, she is angry and broken and becomes self-destructive. She cheats on her husband, does heroin, and actively makes poor choices. One day, she sees a guide book to hiking the PCT in a book store, and the idea sticks with her.

She decides she will hike part of the roughly 2,500 mile-long treacherous trail that spans the West Coast from Mexico to Canada. Without any prior experience in hiking, she packs up a monstrous backpack and hits the trail. 

While she faces the very physical and immediate needs of being on the trail, she goes through a mental healing of sorts, though unaware of it at the time.

The book has funny anecdotes, face-offs with wild animals, lost toenails, friendly and shady encounters with other hikers, descriptions of nature and what it's like to hike for months, all the while interweaving heartbreaking stories of her self and past to form a cohesive, inspiring story of losing it all, then piecing it back together.

Cheryl uses beautiful imagery and stories of her trip to paint a greater picture of life and its meanings:

"This [Crater Lake] was once a mountain that stood nearly 12,000 feet tall and then had its heart removed. This was once a wasteland of lava and pumice and ash. This was once an empty bowl that took hundreds of years to fill. But hard as I tried, I couldn't see them in my mind's eye. Not the mountain or the wasteland or the empty bowl. They simply were not there anymore. There was only the stillness and silence of that water: what a mountain and a wasteland and an empty bowl turned into after the healing began."

A few years ago, I was at a very low point in my life, although I had not really lost much but a young love who was all wrong for me. I started doing yoga and it became my coping mechanism, although I wasn't totally aware of it at the time. Even though it wasn't a season-long journey that engrossed me 24/7, it was a moment of my unbearable day when the physical demands and immediate requirements coerced me into letting go of my mental mind games. Eventually, I pieced myself back together, one asana at a time.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Story People: Kindred Spirits

I have long been a fan of Brian Andreas' creations for Story People. Accompanied by odd drawings and sculptures, he puts life stories and emotions into little narratives. This is one of my favorites:

I really believe that the "right" person for you is one who is equally strange or who can tolerate your strangeness. (Thanks Z).

Image via

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eloquence of Days Past

Do you ever wish you lived in a different era? 

Sometimes I wish for a time when things were not as technologically-driven, material-obsessed, or Kesha- or LMFAO-centric. Oftentimes, I wish written and spoken word were carefully eloquent. I wish that musicians didn't title their songs with shortened versions of pronouns or numbers. I wish we didn't have such foul, abbreviated mouths. (Myself included!)

I saw a Summit Brewing Co. billboard the other day that read, "Is eloquence, like, totally lost or whatever?" 

It may be. When I was at my Grandma's 90th birthday party in Iowa, several guests introduced themselves and shared memories. Two lines that stood out to me were: "We were great bosom buddies" and "I was just tickled."

Translate that to today's terms and it would sound more like:
"She's my BFF" and "It was schmawesome."

Maybe I should start speaking with more thought. I'll chew on it.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The rumors are true - Colorado is cool.

I realize I'm behind on these posts, oopsies. Zeb and I (I guess I don't have to call him boyfran all of the time. My next post will explain why...) spent four days in Denver, Colorado at the end of June. My sister and her husband have good friends who live in Denver, who were traveling at the time so they graciously loaned us their house! (We were also given permission to use the bikes and truck as well).

So, here was how it all shook out:

Thursday: We took the bus and light rail to our temporary abode. It took us awhile, but totaled to $24 instead of a $60+ cab ride. Lately, I've preferred taking the less expensive method of transport to get a better feel of the city, even if it takes longer. After a walk to the grocery store for a light lunch and a subsequent nap, we met Emily and Zach for cocktails in Larimer Square. We ended up at Corridor 44, a champagne bar and Emily and I both had "Pin's Cups" which had Pimms and something else in them. Mmm, yum.

Friday: We took the bikes (a mountain bike with sketchy brakes and a clunky cruiser that probably should have been named Bessie) to Stranhan's Whiskey Distillery. After the pungent tour, we had the best mac 'n' cheese of our lives at Rackhouse Pub. We biked through Washington Park, then went home to nap. Napping in the middle of the day is GLORIOUS.

We took the lightrail to Coors Field for the Rockies v. Padres game. The Rockies won and put on a dynamite fireworks show at the end, which was quite possibly one of the best shows I've seen. (Zeb and I are on a MLB stadium tour as part of our shared bucket list). We had a brew at Falling Rock and then a cocktail at Green Russel. I know it's super Portlandia, but I really enjoy a well-crafted cocktail that takes time and effort to concoct.

Saturday: We ate breakfast at Lucille's (amazing food), then headed to the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market before setting off for Golden, CO. When we arrived at the Coors Brewery in Golden, it was a 1.5 hour wait in the blistering sun, so Zeb convinced me to skip it and we headed to the Golden City Brewery instead which really was just a shoddy patio with resident dogs and a few plastic chairs. It was still cool. We headed out of the historic town (we missed Buffalo Bill's gravesite) and made our way to Morrison, CO.

I saw a "National Dinosaur Park" on the map near Red Rocks and begged Zeb to stop. We missed it, headed for tacos at Morrison Inn, then the park closed. The dinosaur park closed. I was devastated.

So, instead, we drove to Red Rocks Amphitheater to see the Avett Brothers. (Not that this wasn't planned for months). It. was. glorious. Seriously, if you've never seen this red sandstone, it is so intensely beautiful your mind can barely comprehend how it exists. (I'm a huge fan of rock formations by the way, because they rock). The show was phenomenal, the ride home painful (stuck on a mountainside for an hour), the memories, vivid.

Sunday: We went to yet another farmer's market on South Pearl Street, then had ice cream at Bonnie Brae, strolled through City Park, and headed home to lock the house up and bus it to the airport.

{Home again}