Friday, January 28, 2011

Simple Pleasures

1) Friday energy!

2) Coming home to the man that you love :)

3) Flowers and chocolate for no reason at all.

4) Arriving to my office this morning with a big box waiting for me - a new jacket that a co-worker and I ordered together so we could share shipping costs.

5) Watching 8 girls giving their all during shell drill at practice Wednesday night.

6) Unexpectedly running into a friend at the gym on a night when I really needed the motivation to get my workout in.

Happy, happy weekend! Joe and I have massages booked on Sunday and I couldn't be more excited.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wedding Planning weekend

My dear, dear friend Lindsey is getting married this summer and I just couldn't be happier/more excited for her and her fiance Nate. I just love both Lindsey and Nate as individuals and together I think they make one of the greatest couples I know. They've got six months to the big day, so I'll save some of the sap for a little bit closer to the actual date but, this weekend Lindsey rounded upthe friend star as we call ourselves or the bay area UPS alumni book club as Jack calls us and we got down to business - Lindsey and Nate have done so much work planning already and it was so fun and such an honor to have Lindsey ask us all for some help! We spent an entire 24 hours together - which meant girls sleepover!!! How fun is that?! We visited the park where the day before picnic will take place, we saw the venue, took some table measurements, did some dress shopping, purchased a few succulents for dreaming up centerpieces with, watched 3 girly wedding movies, had a big finnish pancake breakfast and then hit up a local bridal fair for some more inspiration.

The pre-wedding picnic site where we picnic lunched and got our brains in wedding mode.

At the dress whisperer's dress shop!

Wedding movies galore - boys don't get too jealous of this one :).

Blog/website inspiration.

Centerpiece brainstorming.

Lindsey's homemade Finnish pancake - how fancy is that?!

Succulent breakfast table!

At the bridal fair.

Love, love, love these girls and am so excited for the journey leading up to the big day for Lindsey and Nate!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma!

It's my Grandma's birthday tomorrow and well, my Grandma is the smartest, sharpest 81 year old I know, but she doesn't have computer so she will likely never see this unless my sister or my mom or dad show her - but I just had to take a moment to share with the blogosphere how much I love that lady!

I think I'm probably more like my Grandma than anyone else I know (or at least I'd like to think I am ). She's a kindred spirit and I just treasure all the similarities that we share . I can hardly believe she is turning 81 - she's the most youthful, quick witted 81 year old I've ever known. She's amazing really! In a thank you card that she ALREADY wrote me, she told me that she was turning 81 years young - how cute is that?! And you know what I just adore about her (one of a bazillion things)? Even though she is 81 and has pretty much seen it all - she still has this child-like curiosity and wonder inside of her - it's such a breath of fresh air to witness her genuine zest for life. I know this quality has played a huge role in keeping her young and healthy.

I hope she knows how grateful I am for her and what a powerful impact she has had on me by being the person that she is.

I love you Grandma! Happy, happy Birthday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rock and Roll and Run

Busy MLK weekend round here - had to take advantage of perhaps the last weekend before the grad school madness kicks in again for Joe. So take advantage of it, we did (I'm also practicing my Yoda speak as Joe and I spent our evenings watching the entire Star Wars trilogy - I had never seen them and boy now I know what I was missing out on (am I condemning myself to eternal dorkiness by admiting this?)- my fav. part of the movies, next to the sweet jedi action was Joe's total boy excitment throughout each one - haha - adorable! All weekend long everything we've been doing has included Star Wars references - we've been whipping out our light sabers and calling on the force quite a bit).

Where was I? Oh yes, taking advantage of a 3 day weekend -yipeeeee! We sure did pack some good adventuring in and thanks to good old Mother Nature - we got LOTS of outdoor time! Saturday we made our way down to Saratoga to Castle Rock State Park to do some rock climbing. We had about a mile and a half hike in to Goat Rock where we set up some anchors and repelled down so we could climb back up (and when I say we, I mostly mean Joe).

My heart was pounding about a mile a minute here.

I'm probably sweating a little bit here :)

Glad that boy knows how to tie a good anchor!

Sunday we made our way over to the city and did some rollerblading through Golden Gate Park - hallelujah for streets closed to cars and relatively flat terrain - my sister and I used to rolerblade down our steep driveway, but I was a a little out of practice to say the least - nevertheless, it was fun and I didn't break any bones - so I would say the experience was a success. Sunday night we drove to Indian Rock in Berk-town to catch the sunset, we arrived a little late but still had beautiful views of the bay and Mt. Tam. After a little sunset-watching we popped into town to a spanish restaurant called Cesar which I definitely recommend!! Fun Spanish tapas place in the Gourmet Ghetto. We ordered brussell sprouts, which were coated in a parsley, olive oil, lemon, garlic sauce- yumalicious and then we shared the paella and boy oh boy was this a treat - rice in a lobster broth with mussels, clams, shrimp, chicken, and chorizo - you've gotta try this if you find yourself at Cesar!! I was transported right to Spain! For dessert we had the bread pudding - I heart bread pudding and it was topped with an orange-caramel sauce, which was lovely!

Top of Indian Rock.

Mt. Tam in the distance.

mmmmm Paella as good as they make it in Spain!

Monday morning we drove up into the Oakland hills for our "first date run" and were treated to some pretty views of Mt. Diablo floating in fog and clouds :). That brings us to now, we're icing our aging bodies after a weekend full of fun activity and making some maple 'baked' beans in the crock pot for din din.

I'm so thankful to have an extra day off today but more than that I am so thankful for the people before me who gave their lives fighting for equality for all human beings - as I got out of my comfort zone this weekend and did some things that I am not particularly good at - there were definitely moments when I paused for a moment thinking about how cool it was to be able to participate in and enjoy all the different activities and places that the bay area has to offer. I know we don't live in a perfect world, but I am thankful for the work that has been done and hopeful that people will find it inside themselves to open their hearts to men and women from all different races and ethnicities.

Sunset on our way out of Castle Rock.

Wishing you a beautiful week!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Luxuriously lazy Sunday

I just love a good, lazy Sunday - lovely way to spend the day after a week of readjusting to the working world. Especially when it follows a fun filled Saturday spent coaching some 8th grade girls bball players, hosting the friend star's THIRTEENTH book club and dinner dating with loverboy at NOLAs in Palo Alto. Joe and I woke up leisurely this morning and made our way out for one of our favorite runs - Windy Hill! It was a gorgeous day out on the trails. Lots of runners, hikers and bikers playing in the sunshine. After a good 2 week holiday break, Joe and I felt rejuvenated and energized on our sometimes extremely painful 2.5 mile uphill run :). When we got to the top today, we could see all of Palo Alto and we had gorgeous views of the ocean - it looked so close we cold even see the waves breaking. We were up high where the clouds are and they were blowing through the pine trees and the wispy whites and greens made my heart melt - sometimes the clouds looked like waterfalls between the trees - what a fun reward for a hard, uphill run! After our run we treated ourselves to Philz - nothing like a cup of caffeine to replenish the muscles :). This evening we cooked up a pot of Cioppino soup, a recipe that I recently saw Giada make and mmmmm, mmmmm, it was good! Spicy Italian Sausage, some shrimp, fennel, shallots, tomato paste and basil - Yummmy!

And since I haven't posted any pictures of my holiday break, I thought I'd tack a couple on here. I have to admit, I was a bad photographer while I was at home this year, so there are just a few...

Christmas Eve with the fam.

Annual F4L holiday get together.

The sister and I at Sushi dinner.

Joe and I got to head out to Tahoe for our first XC skiing adventure together and my first time EVER on skis! We had an absolutely gorgeous weather day - a blue bird powder day as Joe calls 'em. Pristine snow and crystal clear skies! It took me a while to get the hang of it and well I fell my fair share of times, but I'm excited to get back out there and try again some day!

Winter wonderland!!! Being a So.Cal girl, the snow is a whole new world for me, I was absolutely awe-struck by the beauty it creates!

Warm thermos of hot cocoa that Joe packed! We busted it out on the trails and had some left over for the car ride home - such a simple but wonderful and WARM sweet treat!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a whole lotta 2010 reflecting...

I have two quotes that I stumbled across in 2010 (thanks to my lovely book club which I love to no end) that sum up the past year for me, here they are...

"When did I first experience the exquisite sense of surrender that is possible only with another person? The peace of mind one experiences on one's own, one's certainty of self in the serenity of solitude, are nothing in comparison to the release and openness and fluency one shares with another, in close companionship." --Elegance of the Hedgehog p. 277

"...I have finally concluded, maybe that's what life is about; there is a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It's as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never. Yes, that's it an always within never....Because from now on, for you, I'll be searching for those moments of always within never. Beauty, in this world." --Elegance of the Hedgehog p. 325

When I look back on 2010, the things that bring me the most joy are the people that I was fortunate enough to share so much of the year with. This past year, the bay has felt more like home than ever and I fully attribute that to the amazing network of friends that I am lucky enough to have here - life is truly so much sweeter when you get to share it with people that you love, respect and are inspired by. Lindsey, Kat and Laura and their so's have become absolute treasures to me in the past year and a half and have nourished my mind and spirit in so many more ways than I could possibly recount in the confines of this blog. From book club conversations that spill into life conversations to life celebrations to just down right heart felt gatherings that always include yummy foods where you can just see and feel the love we share for another pouring out of handmade pom-pom decorations, hearty bowls of soup, special soba, soba buckwheat noodle dishes, garden table settings, simple spots of tea, cheese, glorious Yosemite camping trips, surprise tickets to the Nutcraker etc etc etc - a day, an afternoon or an hour with these girls never ceases to make "my cup runneth over." I share with these women a gratitude for the small things in life and the power of this common ground has created a pretty amazing dynamic. The simple sweetnesses in life are what it's all about in my mind and I love that when I am with Laura, Kat or Lindsey, I can gush about what may seem like the simplest thing and they don't think I'm crazy, in fact they join right in -praising the beauty of a gingko biloba leaf, the slow but steady (or not so steady) progress of home grown vegetables, the brilliant colors of fall, the unending fun of a simple picnic in the park, or backyard barbeque, the love in a bunch of hydrangeas in mason jars on a table populated by people who mean the world to you. These women amaze me- they each have a way of putting forth a little extra effort and a unique personal touch to make simple occasions feel absolutely elegant and exotic.

And as if these girls aren't enough, I also got to share 2010 with an absolutely amazing man. Absolutely amazing. We celebrated our one year anniversary on Nov. 21st (Friend family Thanksgiving where we met for the first time last year) AND Dec. 19th (our first official date) and I have just loved every moment of the past year with him, from trail runs to roof top gardening to Salt Lake and Arches road trips to birthday BBQs with the WHOLE fam (who I just adore) to Minneapolis weddings to strawberry jam and pickle making adventures, to grad school support services, to hosting Friend Thanksgiving #2, to Thanksgiving trips in San Diego to reading books out loud on long road trips together, to first time cross country skiing experiences to simply cuddling on the couch and relaxing together - this man speaks straight to my heart. There's so much I could share about how much I love him and how amazing I think he is - but for the sake of saving you from a never-ending story, I'll share one of my favorite parts about him as of late... Whenever we are packing up to go somewhere or getting ready in the morning or making food together, he asks the simplest, but sweetest question, he says, "What can I do to support you?" I just love this so much about him - it completely captures his selflessness. He is always thinking of little things that he can do to make others happy or to help them in whatever task is in front of them - big or small. In the mornings when I'm getting ready, he makes my tea for me (without me even asking!) just the way I like because it usually takes me twice the amount of time to get ready. The other day on our XC ski trip, he packed a surprise thermos of hot chocolate because the day before we left I had been going on and on about how fun it would be to have some hot cocoa while we were out on the trails. They're simple things, but he does them with so much love that they bring me to tears and more than anything make me believe that our relationship is a caring partnership, one that we are in together and one that is up for any challenge.

Through the good and bad of 2010, it is companionship as well as a constant search for beauty in this world that have sustained and reinvigorated me. I am endlessly grateful for the people I am blessed to share this life with and for a life perspective that constantly pushes me to search for and find beauty in even the simplest things.

On that note, I am simply so excited about the challenges and the fun that I am sure 2011 will bring! Here is to a year of loving loved ones and being awe-struck by the beauty that truly is all around us.