Camping-first time

Generally, with any type of travel, I spend hours pouring over websites and blogs, researching, making reservations and planning out the details of the trip. For whatever reason, with this trip, I’ve done none of that. We leave in two hours.

We’re going camping this afternoon-and it’s my first time. In dream world, the weekend would look like this:
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But in real world, I only started to think about what to pack last night. And, shocking, our “integrative pharmacy” only sells all natural bug repellent. Here’s hoping the soothing lemongrass citronella balm wards off all enemy insects.* Also, with the move, I threw out all my old sweats and comfy clothes. So, I’ve got a backpack with a sock monkey onesie I won during a white elephant gift exchange, some workout clothes, and some all natural (the pharmacy sells no Purell, but they’ve every item of Say Yes! To Carrots) face wipes.

It’s just two nights. That should be ok, right?

*Mom, our friends who are organizing the trip and generously sharing their supplies, are very prepared. They have Deet. Please don’t worry. The trip is a surprise for a friend, so I was hesitant to write this, but since I’m pretty sure only you and Janou read this, safe to say the surprise is safe*

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Catherine in SF!

Catherine was in SF today for a hot second (literally-it was a 24 hour trip) and we got dinner tonight at the Ferry Building. I miss DC and being able to get dinner with her on a random Monday night. But it was great to pretend that was reality one again and enjoy Japanese tapas and good conversation after work!

I insisted on a selfie-

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but thankfully a nice man took a proper photo:

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Weekend highlights

On BART heading back home after the first full weekend we’ve spent at home in a while.

Mom and Dad conquered their two week cross-country trip and delivered our car Thursday night. Thank you, Mom and Dad!!! On Friday, we all went to dinner at Osmanthus in our neighborhood. David and I checked it out last weekend, and it once again wowed us with its wild and interesting flavors-like fried chicken with anise peppercorns that left our tongues feeling numb! It was just very special to be with family our new neighborhood enjoying Friday dinner.

Yesterday turned into quite the South Bay Day. We met up with Manaf, Vic and Devon at the Annex at St. Michaels Alley for brunch in Palo Alto. The restaurant was sunny and bright and it was great to catch up with them over salty salmon eggs benedict. The last time we were all together was three years ago for brunch at a Cuban restaurant near Columbia. It was great to hear the interesting things that they’re all up to-and we all toasted to living in California again:

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After walking around downtown Palo Alto we made our way to Molly and John’s engagement party. The weather was lovely-I just never want to get so used to the beautiful, humidity free sunshine that I forget to relish it. It was a beautiful party and such a pleasant surprise to see so many happy friends.

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To cap off South Bay Day, we drove to Melissa and John’s in Mountain View. It was Fantasy Football Draft night and absolutely hilarious to see David and his friends huddled around the living room, hunched over their laptops, drafting their picks. I enjoyed several glasses of Malbec and Melissa’s awesome peanut butter chocolate brownies.

This afternoon, we metroed into SF to try a burrito place David was curious about. It was pretty good, but I think I prefer Gordos.

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It was a surprisingly gorgeous and sunny day so we decided to walk over to Golden Gate Park. The fog rolled in once we got there, but we tucked into the Conservatory for they Carnivorous Plants exhibit. Real life Little Shop
of Horrors. It was awesome.

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Mr. Bress, Beth and Courtney met up with us in the park and we walked around the museums, watched a pretty wild rollerblade performance, and made our way to a sports bar close-by. It was a perfect way to end a weekend filled with catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while-in a cozy bar with a bloody mary :)

Cheers to a good weekend to kick off the busy week ahead!

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Oh, It is Love

The incredibly talented Michael Bromberg shared our wedding video yesterday and it’s awesome.

He captured so many highlights of the day-I don’t know how he did it-so much talent!

When he asked for music suggestions, I was a bit shy-I have admittedly no knowledge of good music-but the first thing that jumped to mind is Hellogoodbye’s Oh, It is Love. 2007 Fay and David listened to that song a lot when we first started dating.

It was a very happy surprise to hear God Only Knows as the second song. I walked down the aisle to Love Actually’s PM’s Love Theme, and I loved the way he included another gorgeous song from that special movie.

So, it’s only Thursday, but this week already rules: http://vimeo.com/103376972.

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Afternoon in Sacramento

On the train from Sacramento to Oakland, and enjoying the gorgeous views of the water. Getting a bit of a DC policy fix just by being in the city and walking around the Capitol. I’ve been eavesdropping on my neighbor’s conversations-“is he a Tea Party Republican or a Arlen Specter Republican?” and this gem-“ughhh…health policy is so 2010″ and I’m LOVING it. I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve missed being surrounded by policy buzz and conversation since moving to Oakland.

So clearly, I basically leaped at the chance to go to a hearing this afternoon in Sacramento. It was a great opportunity to put faces to names and learn more about the advocacy community. Just so refreshing to be in the policy-zone-I felt energized just walking around.

Also special bonus-with train + hearing schedule, I got to Sacramento about an hour before the hearing, so that meant I could get lunch with Molly! Molly is literally one of my oldest college friends-I think we met even before classes officially started freshman year. She also recently experienced a big move and it just made me so happy to be able to meet up with a friend for lunch and catch up.

Here’s hoping for more opportunities to go to Sacramento. For now, excited
for this train to hurry on home. David and I have been married for month today, and we’re celebrating with Zachary’s pizza-hooray!

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Live the Wage

A few weeks ago, CAP’s Half in Ten project challenged it’s readers to Live the Wage. For one week, try living on $77-the average take-home pay of an individual who works full-time and earns minimum wage.

I knew I would be unsuccessful at Living the Wage, but I was surprised by how spectacularly I failed. $77 flies by. I had already purchased groceries (thank goodness for CA’s cheap produce) and I have a pretty cheap commute. Still, the $77 was gone before the week was up. For a one week challenge, that’s fine, but what about the 16.5 million people working full-time on $77 a week? Who are trying to support a family? And children and grandchildren?

There’s a certain gimmick element to the Live the Wage campaign-even calling it a campaign-that makes me uncomfortable. It is a privilege to do it as a challenge, however, this is reality for millions of families. Governor Strickland wrote about it a few weeks ago, and he highlights the importance of raising the wage to help millions who live in poverty. Millions who are working in full-time jobs, are working in poverty.

There’s so many layers to helping end poverty for families in our community, but when someone is working, it only seems reasonable that they are paid a salary that offers a life of dignity and health. That kind of a life is becoming increasingly more expensive, and as that happens, and many, many businesses large and small reap benefits, shouldn’t those who are working to drive these businesses be able to live in dignity and comfort?

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Honeymoon :)

On the train to Stockton and scrolling through photos. Wanted to note the happy highlights from our honeymoon to Santa Barbara :)

We stayed at the W the night of the wedding and the hotel was so generous. They upgraded us to a gorgeous suite, so in full celebrity mode, we ordered room service for breakfast Sunday morning. After watching Argentina lose in the World Cup-it would have been too perfect to have all the stars collide-we made our way to Santa Barbara.

I loved walking up to the hotel thinking, eek! We’re married! On our honeymoon!

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We picked Santa Barbara because it was beautiful, convenient, and for me, sentimental. It was a delightful surprise to find that SB is also a total destination for incredible food.

Bouchon was absolutely the most romantic meal of the trip. It’s dripping with candles, cozy tables, beautiful fabrics, and the service was amazing.

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Monday morning brought a cloudy forecast, so we decided to hold off on the beach. We rented cruisers and explored the Mission, Courthouse, and State Street:

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Turned out the cloudy forecast wasn’t just for the morning-SB was socked in fog for our whole trip. Bummer! We’ll just have to save the poolside sun soaking for another trip.

I was still pretty buzzed from all the wedding adrenaline, but quickly slipped into a vacation routine: afternoon drinks at the pool, wine on the patio, and a fancy dinner downtown:

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Dinners at Finch and Fork and Cielito were also delicious. Cielito had incredible sopesito sliders!

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After dinner Tuesday, we took a “sunset” cruise. We had the whole boat to ourselves! Maybe it had something to do with there being no sun to set…Actually, it was awesome. We sat on the deck (? front part of the boat) and I’m pretty sure the background music was just Now! That’s What I Call Music Soft Rock 2002-lots of Howie Day and Coldplay. It was hilarious (and romantic!)

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Later that night, we enjoyed wine and the fire pits. Then, it was one more hotel breakfast before we were on the road for our last day-driving Big Sur to Carmel.

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Groundbreaking study featured in NY Mag

File this under fun mid-week fluff: an NY Mag blurb recently highlighted a study finding that everyone likes you when you’re 29. Kind of absurd, but I liked this response in the Guardian-mostly because I like the way the British spell “ageing” and also, the author’s awkward early-20s memories made me laugh:

“Your late teens and early 20s are a terrible time to make friends. They’re a terrible time to do anything. You’re still working out who you are and what you’re into, and usually the only way to discover anything interesting is to make a series of temporarily disastrous mistakes. You lack any kind of perspective, you’re useless to workplaces everywhere, because your blind enthusiasm is terrifying and no one will show you how to send a fax or explain to you why fax machine use has persisted over a decade into this millennium.”

Seriously though, I still have residual copy and fax machine anxiety.

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Stevens Lodge

After months of planning and anticipation, last weekend, a group of us vacationed at the Stevens Lodge.

Eric and Molly recently bought a beautiful house just north of Sacramento, and they graciously invited us to a State Fair weekend in Rocklin.

Last Friday, I packed up the essentials:

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and the weekend began!

David’s friends used to joke about a Tours Cul de Sac-all their friends growing up and moving to the same
street-and last weekend, we got a peek into what that would be like.

Friday night, we drank wine on the patio, cooled off at the pool Saturday afternoon-

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(stock photo from the association website-isn’t it just like a resort?)

Eric and Molly BBQ’d an incredible dinner-

And we spent the evening with Moscow Mules and games-

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It was awesome. The Stevens are unbelievable hosts. They thought of every detail to make us feel like we were on vacation-decadent breakfast casserole! New shampoo and toothpaste in our private bathroom!-it was a total getaway. I about fell out of my chair when the pool DJ (yes there was one) announced appetizers for everyone in the clubhouse. Absolute vacation.

Beyond the getaway from reality, it was a blast to be with the tours friends. They are hilarious and I’m so happy we live closer and get to see more of them.

The other highlight? Watching David have the TIME OF HIS LIFE at the State Fair.

He met all the animals at the petting zoo-

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played alllll the midway games he wanted-

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and even won a prize!

Hoping we get invited back to Stevens Lodge State Fair Weekend 2015 :)

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DC-NY

On the way home from an excellent DC/NY trip. Even though I moved to CA less than two months ago, it felt great to have a quick trip back to see some of my favorite places and people.

Flew out on Tuesday afternoon and took the train into work on Wednesday morning. The weather was gorgeous-sunny, no humidity-and as I waited for the train at BWI, I felt an energy rush knowing I would soon be back in the hubbub and excitement of DC.

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After a great day of work (which included watching my hero E Warren speak at a Medicare hearing!) I went to a colleague’s retirement party at the Press Club. I’ve never been to a retirement party before, and it was moving to hear everyone share how much our colleague had meant for us in helping shape our careers.

Then, I scooted over to Arlington, eager to be reunited with some special people!!

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Katie and Dave left the next day for their #afrimoon and they still managed to host Janou and I the night before-dedication. It felt so good to be back on their cozy couch, drinking Chardonnay, swapping stories from the last few weeks. I miss that so much.

After work Thursday, I met up with a group of colleagues for an extended happy hour. I miss them-and their sense of humor-so much, and it was a burst of energy to see them and catch up.

From there, caught up with Lexi on her beautiful roof deck. After our sad goodbye dinner, I was so happy to see her again!

After a few hours of sleep, Janou and I woke up bright and early to Bolt up to Newark for Alison’s wedding. Turns out the best way to enjoy the usually miserably long Bolt journey is to go with your sister and watch You’ve Got Mail. Before we knew it, we were in Jersey.

This quick trip made my SO excited for a sister vacation with Janou. It was so fun getting ready and laughing with my best friend before the wedding. And Alison and Scott had a beautiful wedding. Alison was an absolutely stunning bride! It was a special treat to see Aunt Gail and watch my parents dance:

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Our grandparents at their wedding:

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Yesterday, we all packed in the car to drive to the city. I’ve never driven in Manhattan before, but it wasn’t too terrible-just a bit intense.

Casey met me at Jane for brunch in the West Village. It’s been years since we’ve had one-on-one time, and we sat at the restaurant for a loooong time, catching up about all the exciting life twits and turns in recent years. Listening to him talk about his residency plans and his med school experience so far filled me with such admiration-it is tremendously thrilling to see him becoming the doctor and person that he wants to be. The theme of “I wish I didn’t live so far away from ____” loomed large this trip, and my afternoon with Casey was no exception.

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Later that afternoon, Casey, Ashley and I ventured over to the High Line. I cant seem to get enough of the High Line-walked it in the bitter cold with Eric, Molly, and David in February, in a monsoon like storm with David in spring 2011, in the fall with Lauren in 2010, and several other trips.

This was special because 1) the water was nice and it was so green! and 2) the company. Isn’t it just a great feeling introducing your friends to each other and seeing them get along like old friends? I was so excited we were such a happy little group, I insisted on a selfie when we were across from Chelsea Piers:

Terrible idea. Two seconds after this photo, Ashley gashed her toe on the concrete-lots of blood. Ashley was totally calm, but it looked terrible, so our High Line afternoon quickly came to an end!

New plan-white wine and appetizers in Ashley’s apartment! Ashley mended, and we laughed and sipped on crisp Savingon Blanc in her gorgeous apartment. She really is an incredible interior designer.

Later that night we met up with Jason, Taylor and Susan at General Assembly. They’re about to celebrate their 10-year friendaversary and it was hilarious listening to their stories from when they first moved to NY. On par with the joy of seeing your friends hang out is the happiness of laughing with your friend’s awesome friends. This group has always been so welcoming to me over the years and it was a fantastic laugh-so-hard-your-gripping-the-table-to-keep-your-balance dinner:

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(Later we went to drinks on the roof of Hotel Giraffe. Taylor coordinated with the decor)

Today, the last day of the trip, was a bagels-in-the-park-day. Lauren and I picked up Murray’s Bagels and metroed over to Central Park. I always enter at the southern end and never make it very far, but today, we entered at 72nd. It was beautiful, as always. An afternoon spent in conversation with Lauren is so restorative-particularly when catching up over a Pimms cup at the Boathouse bar!

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What a view:

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Before I could get too mopey with the “I wish I didn’t live so far away from Lauren” feelings, I was on my way to Newark to fly home.

Quite lucky to see so many special people in a short trip! I miss them and the energy and fever of the East Coast a lot. I felt more like myself in DC than I have in a while in Oakland. It’s been such a short time since I moved, and I’m sure it will take time to feel as connected and grounded in Oakland as I once felt in DC. For now, I’m just so grateful for these few days with these great people. Now, hoping this flight hurries up-I miss David and I’m ready to get home!

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