Here and there

Hello! Checking in from Katie and Dave’s cozy house in Alexandria. I’m in DC this week and loving the pretty fall colors.

Whenever I’m tempted to quit Instagram or Facebook, I’m always reminded why I can’t-travel deals. I often find out about the best, last minute deals on social media. Case in point: a few weeks ago, I saw a posting about a one day Jet Blue sale with flights from Oakland to Long Beach for $20 each way. How could I not immediately, impulsively, book a weekend at home?

Anyway, thanks to THAT amazing find, David and I had a great weekend in Irvine.  We celebrated David’s birthday, had an increeddddible Saturday night dinner at Provenance, soaked up Saturday’s heat wave at Crystal Cove beach and enjoyed a comfy, rainy day on Sunday.  Unfortunately, my phone completely croaked and I have no photos of the weekend-just happy memories :)

Friday, I took the Metrolink to LA for a meeting and to work out of our LA office. Every time I’m in downtown, I love it even more. And-Union Station is gorgeous! Some overly-filtered photos of that pretty place:

Alright, busy day tomorrow-and then, Friday!

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First trip to Nashville

Good (super early) morning from the Nashville airport! Heading to Oakland after a great, quick, first trip to TN!

I flew out here Monday for a conference and a meeting Tuesday. The BEST part of the trip was seeing Divya and Ankur! This week is Divya’s fall break and they generously drove the long drive to Nashville Monday night. They picked me up at my hotel and drove to The Pharmacy for yummy burgers and milkshakes.

This was the first time I got to hang out with the Divya and Ankur since they got married (!!!). It  was so nice to have time to really talk and catch up and so generous of them to make the effort to hang out.

The conference was held at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center. This place was bananas. It is huge! Almost as if Disneyland, the Spectrum and….the Rain Forrest Cafe? merged and built a hotel. Basically, totally over the top. Not sure I would say it’s beautiful but it is impresssive. I had to budget a half an hour just to find the room for my presentation. It’s that massive.

After presenting and conferencing, I had a bit of time for lunch before my meeting downtown. Ankur said Nashville is famous for its hot chicken, so we all met up for lunch at Hattie B’s. Holy smokes-it was delicious. The line was crazy long, but Ankur was a genius and ordered ahead.  We were able to walk up to the picnic tables and enjoy our lunch without a wait-I felt like a celebrity! Ever since Asheville, I’ve been craving anything with pimento cheese and Hattie B’s had a decadent pimento mac and cheese-incredible. I wish I didn’t live so far away from Divya and could just meet up for a pimento mac and cheese lunch on any random Tuesday-it was a special treat.

Nashville has some gorgeous historic architecture and I was totally struck by the art decco exterior and lobby (below) of the Frist Center for Visual Arts.

After lunch, I ducked into the Union Station Hotel lobby for some air conditioning and e-mail catch up. This place is just as grand as the Gaylord but much more my style (if my style could afford such grand hotels). The arched, stained glass ceiling over the lobby was stunning.

After my afternoon meeting and delicious dinner at Puckett’s Grocery, I headed back to the Opryland area to do some work and get to bed early before my early flight. Someday, I would love to return wit David and do the whole Music City experience. For now, grateful for the quick peak at the city and the chance to catch up with an amazing friend!!

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(Hopefully) rainy day

Hello, Friday! It’s supposed to rain today-hooorayyyyy! I woke up this morning and peaked outside, eagerly hoping it rained overnight (it didn’t).  David and I laughed at the absurdity of our rain excitement. Our excitement rivals our old snow day giddiness from when we lived in DC.

Anyway, hoping for some rain. Other fun thoughts, winding down to the weekend…

Ha! Not this year’s pumpkins. I found this old photo-from 2008-and it made me smile. We carved these one weekend when I visited David in Connecticut. That election was such a buzzy, electric moment.  And at the same time, the nation’s economy was unraveling…just as we were going out into the professional world.  Intense. Thankful for the past eight years of progress. Also ps, doesn’t that “bar” of almost-empty bottles peaking out behind the pumpkins just scream post-college apartment?

Anyway, eight years later…what a different election October. No less important than historic 2008, but awfully exhausting.  Have to say, it’s tiring to hear people say they don’t find Hillary as inspiring as Obama. How could you not be inspired by her grit, poise, and integrity, as she thoughtfully debated, despite that monster lurking behind her the whole time

So true.

What else..oh, so Jenny Rosenstratch (the Dinner books) is a genius. We manged to make it through the whole week without going out to eat AND discovered an incredible, easy, delicious soup.

The elevators in our office building are notoriously awful. They take forever.  However, yesterday, I was grateful for the timing. I stepped in, and two strangers were mid-conversation about their caregiving experiences. “It’s just so hard, when you’re stretched with caring, at both ends,” one person said. “I know,” his friend responded, “we’re really in that sandwich generation.”

I wanted to turn to them and say, you’re amazing, you’re not alone, have you heard of this resource, and this tool, and I just think it’s awesome you’re both talking about this and helping each other? But, not wanting to impose, I iust listened, grateful that we live in a time when people are open and supportive with aging challenges. Definitely one of those work-meeting-with-real-life moments.

Oh, and this is random. Last night, I was reading Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of It, and I turned the page to the next chapter, “The Bachelor.” It was hilarious, just like her book, but it makes me realize what an impression The Bachelor is leaving on my generation(ish).  This is-no joke-the third memoir I’ve read this year where something with the The Bachelor encompasses an entire chapter in the book (see also: Blackout [excellent!] and The Folded Clock [ok]). Maybe I’ll get into it next season? I elbowed my way into our friend’s Bachelor Fantasy League because I didn’t want to be left out of the jokes on the group chat, but I just can’t seem to into the show. We’ll see!

Ohh-train is almost at my office-and…it’s RAINING! Time to go :)

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Weekend at home 

Happy Monday! Writing from the cozy sofa as I have the day off for the Federal holiday. Not complaining-very grateful for the extra day off! Last year, we went to Portland for the three day weekend and had a blast.  With a busy few weeks coming up in October and November, we took it verrrrrryyyyy easy this weekend and stuck close to home.

Stephanie was in Stockton for the night on Friday (hooray!!!) and we met up after work for pedicures.  By far, the biggest challenge with moving to Stockton is none of my close friends live here.  This means there’s never a “hey let’s just get pedicures and order Thai” on a whim with friends-everything is super planned and requires considerable driving. So, it was particularly fun to have an impromptu night catching up and laughing with Steph.

It was a HOT weekend here (GET IT TOGETHER, FALL) so I woke up early Saturday for a walk around the neighborhood and UoP.  This is one of my favorite parts of living here.  We’re down the street from the University and I love going for walks through the neighborhood, using the gym on campus, and walking through the pretty university grounds. It’s a beautiful corner of the city.

The rest of the weekend was incredibly quiet.  Almost too quiet to document, but I realize I only tend to remember weekends when we travel, and it’s just as restorative and fun to remember what happens when there’s not a lot happening.  Two years ago, when we first moved back to California, we rushed to get basic furniture for our apartment.  The whole thing-the move, the wedding-was kind of a mad dash, and in our haste, we impulsively bought a sofa (below) on our second day in Oakland.

It’s a fine sofa, and worked for the past few years, but we could never curl up on it together, comfortably. I’m tall! And it just never felt like a sink-in and curl up for a cozy evening sofa.


Soo-after months of stalking the Crate and Barrel outlet, we finally found that sink-in and curl up sofa. It’s so comfy. Now I get why people binge watch TV. Which is exactly what we did after bringing it home Saturday afternoon. Naps + reading + Cubs game -all much cozier from this little perch.

Sunday morning, after a decadent French toast brunch at Market Tavern we continued home sprucing with some new plants. Although we spent 6 months completely renovating our home inside, the front and back yard desperately need attention. Yesterday, David planted some new plants in the front and I think it looks a lot better! Before:


I so enjoyed Jenny Rosenstratch’s Dinner: A Love Story, that I recently checked out her follow up, Dinner: The Playbook. She’s pretty convincing in her writing about meal planning and preparation, and I found myself much more deliberate during our weekly farmer’s market and TJ’s run.  I’m very on-again, off-again with dinner organization, and I treasure the weeks (like this one) that are a bit quieter and allow for more preparation.

Sunday evening was a total treat.  We had planned to spend Sunday at Apple Hill, but the 90 degree weather was anything but fall-like, so we nixed the trip.  In our original plan, we wanted to stop by the Molly and Eric’s on our way back to meet their new baby, Rose! We stuck with the Rocklin plan and picked up yummy takeout pasta and salads for dinner. It was thrilling seeing Eric and Molly as new parents.  Molly and I met over 13 years ago during our first week of college.  You know how you go through college, wondering what your life will be like, who you’ll grow up to be, who your friends will grow up to be? And you just have no idea, but hope for the best. I would love to go back to Covel Commons, fall of 2003, to those nervous, anxious, freshmen, gorging on salty breadsticks and ranch dressing (well, I was at least), wondering if they’ll make friends, if they’ll figure out this massive, overwhelming school, what the next four years will be like.  If they only knew that over a decade later, they would be gathered around a dining room table, at home, devouring pizza knots and ranch dressing (me again), admiring their best friend’s sweet baby and beautiful family.  It’s pretty awesome to share that history and these moments.

Anyway, that’s my moment of nostalgia for the day. Time to get off this computer and do something productive with this day.  Have a great week!


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Reunion :)

Happy almost the weekend! And a good rain new year to all! On Monday morning, before Rosh Hashana services, I stopped by Trail downtown for some yummy coffee. It was drizzly, and fall-y, and I was thinking about how excited I was for the new season. Noting the rain, the gentleman behind me in line said, “it’s the beginning of October, it’s officially the start of a new Rain Year.”

So, with the Jewish New Year and the Rain New Year, hoping for a good, sweet, and productive year for all.

Before another weekend begins, want to remember a very happy reunion weekend in Dallas!

One day in June, in a mutual moment of missing each other and our fun times in Baltimore, Kelleen, Katie and I impulsively planned a quick reunion weekend. Knowing Kelleen would be 7+ months pregnant (!!) AND with geography in mind, Dallas made the most sense. I was so excited-I love these two and I love Dallas.

Katie and I flew in Friday night after work. When Kelleen asked us what we wanted to do during the trip, we all felt the same way: just talk and talk and talk and talk.  And that’s what we did!

Saturday morning, we greeted the day with delicious chai lattes and peanut butter sandwiches at Cultivar.

Everywhere we went in Dallas was just so nice. I loved the design of the coffee shops and restaurants-as the guy sitting next to me on the plane said, “Dallas is definitely having a moment.” Not sure what that means, but everywhere we went was bustling and fun.

My favorite part of any friend time is walking and talking. I love talking, and it’s a million times mores enjoyable on a good walk. We walked the Katy Trail, a beautiful loop through Uptown and Highland Park.

After our walk, we grabbed PHENOMENAL tacos at Taco Deli.  And then, it was time to lounge! We just relaxed the rest of the afternoon at Kelleen and Brad’s beautiful home.

Kelleen made reservations at Remedy for dinner in Lower Greenville. The restaurant is a stunning former soda shop, with chandeliers, green accents, art deco mirrors, the whole thing. After a decadent, buttery meal, Katie’s surprised us with an order of incredible ice cream Sundays. I”n still thinking about the one on the left-toasted smore. So good.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about all week since coming home Sunday. Taking a trip like this is a luxury. It’s doable now, but requires an effort of time and money from everyone.  Soon Kelleen will have a baby, Katie has an amazing one year old, jobs, family and life get demanding, and whenever I leave a friend trip, I always have this slight wonder, like, will we always do this? Be able to just jump on a plane and land in someone’s comfy home, and spend the whole weekend just indulging in that rich conversation you can only have with your dearest friends? In those brief 36 hours, we swapped stories, talked, and unpacked those meddling life questions that you don’t get the opportunity to discuss when you’re just meeting a friend for lunch, or catching up with an acquaintance. It takes time and history, and it’s rare to be together, but so valuable.

I was keenly aware of this all weekend, and it made me treasure our time and these two even more. Katie’s commitment a trip during baby/toddler years inspired me and I hope we continue to make the effort to do these reunion weekends. This sounds dramatic, but it’s true-it’s a luxury, yes, but the time and effort for friend weekends is really an investment for the soul. And I’m just so grateful for these years of friendship!

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