December 27, 2016

christmas in SF.

this christmas was short and quiet, but still pretty dang cozy! there was part of me that was bummed to have let our families down this year with our absence, but i am really grateful jordan and i have learned to rely on each other. it is the cheesiest sentiment, but he is enough. he is home. christmas was still christmas because we were together.

i worked up until midnight on the 23rd, so christmas eve we lounged and relaxed until about 3pm. then we headed to grace cathedral for their christmas service. the boy's choir there is stuuuning and as i have mentioned before, there is something so inclusive to me about worshiping with another religion. we checked out a few more holiday displays in the area (the palace hotel was my favorite of the night, although the fairmont's two story gingerbread house is unbeatable) & then checked out the tom and jerry house in noe valley. (this house is absolute madness but is an icon of SF christmas.)

my family has always done appetizers for christmas eve dinner, & so i prepared us a classy feast of pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks, cheese and crackers, 7 layer bean dip, lil' smokies and desserts. we ate and watched miracle on 34th street - it's our favorite christmas movie and we had been saving it for christmas eve!! after spending a few hours playing games and laughing with the downstairs neighbors, jordan and i came back upstairs and he read our christmas book aloud to me. on christmas eve growing up, we would always get a christmas book on the 24th and read it together as a family. usually the book was short but had a meaningful message about the christmas season - it is by FAR my favorite tradition and i was thrilled to have started it with my little family. 

christmas morning we ended up bringing all the presents from our families in bed with us and opened them before we even put on clothes...oops. jordan and i usually just get each other one thing for christmas, since we don't need a lot and we generally buy what we need for ourselves anyway. i surprised jordan with warriors tickets for february and he bought me a painting class! do we know each other or what? 

for christmas breakfast we hopped downstairs and i made cream cheese stuffed french toast for us and the krogues. (it was a huge hit! highly recommend.) then we went to church, (all musical numbers, can every sacrament meeting be like that?) watched miles open presents, (the krogues two year old son that we are obsessed with) and then had a fabulous christmas dinner at ruth's chris. 

we spent dinner reminiscing on everything we've achieved this year, how far we've come, how much we love the reality all of the crazy changes has handed us. it was the happiest chat and one that i feel i will remember for years to come. we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant just in time to get on my brother's skype call from the mission field! we skyped more family, watched more movies, snacked on leftover mozzarella sticks, and then finally drifted off to sleep in a christmas-magic coma. it was a quiet, uneventful weekend but one for the books. 

tom & jerry house !!!

a bathroom selfie at the palace hotel

the most thoughtful gift from our neighbor - our christmas card turned into an ornament!

December 22, 2016

all mushed together.

one of my favorite things about SF is the variety. the variety !!! every neighborhood has it's own feel, it's own ambiance, it's own presence - and they are all smashed together into once charming city. it really feels like a thousand different worlds, all at your fingertips.

one minute you're among the regal victorians of pacific heights strolling past designer shops, then you turn a street and you're in japantown - smelling fish and not hearing a word of english. a couple of blocks later and you're on the water and it feels like a beach town - loud seals, water crashing up on the rocks. downtown is crazy and busy and grey, haight is lazy and bright and (always) smells like weed, and our neighborhood (richmond) is quiet and diverse and laden with fog-horns at night.

i especially connect with this city because it can't make up it's mind. it's everything and nothing, all at once. i feel like i too, am a million different things all smooshed into one human. i am extremely social but i need my privacy, i am extremely high strung but in a lot of ways, totally low-key, i am always simultaneously content and restless. i love living in a place that is a metaphor for me. 

i know that i constantly ramble on about this city, but i'm not sorry. we may not live in a magical place like this forever and i want to feel like, if we leave, that i soaked it up 100%. i want to feel like i LIVED here and sunk my teeth in and recorded everything i loved about my home.

December 19, 2016

christmas card 2016.

our dear friend marissa snapped a few photos of us at baker beach and for the first time since we have been married, we actually ordered real-life cards! we are real grown-ups now!

we didn't send out a newsletter because honestly, 1) everyone knows what's going on in our lives from social media anyway and 2) without kids to brag about...sending out a list of our accomplishments and trips feels self important to me? i don't know.

however, i LOVE hearing about everyone else's lives, especially around christmas time. we are blessed with so many good friends and the best family and they are all doing incredible things. that is the most overwhelming feeling i have during the month of december - we have the greatest people in our lives!!

and for our quick update from california: (feel free to ignore, this is mostly for my own record!)

this year, together we traveled around asia and french polynesia, lived in new york city temporarily while jordan trained for work, and then switched coasts & made a permanent move to san francisco. we found a cute little apartment in a cute pink building with a beautiful deck and..... drumroll...a view of the golden gate bridge. we don't know how we lucked out with this apartment, but we love coming home to it. we adore our ward and feel very much like we've been adopted into our san francisco family. we both have every saturday off and so we live from weekend to weekend. having a day together to reconnect and explore the bay area is everything. (sorry if we have ignored your phone call on a saturday - that's why!) we have already been lucky enough to host several guests and want anyone and everyone to come stay with us and play in our city!

in february jordan studied tirelessly, took the GMAT, and absolutely knocked it out of the park. (that will come in handy in a few years when applying to business school.) he planned all of our travels in may and june single-handedly, and it all went off without a hitch.  he trained at citi group over the summer, passed all of his finance exams, and then sold his soul to the investment banking world. (kidding, sort of.) he is loving working in finance, but the long nights not as much.

somehow among working mad hours every week, he has made time to work out consistently, stay updated on the sports world, work on his golf game, teach elder's quorum, play a lot of basketball and football with our two-year old downstairs neighbor, (the cutest) and tag along on plenty of adventures in the city with me. he is seriously killing adult life. (that makes one of us.)

i spent a few months producing a lifestyle show in boise before traveling and then accompanying jordan to nyc so i could play while he worked. (and play i did! i logged almost 10 miles a day while back east. it was the best.) in june i sent my baby brother on a mission, and in august i drove all of our belongings across the country in a penske truck. (jesus take the wheel.) i accepted a job with abc7, where i interned - and shortly after accepted another job tutoring part-time at a jewish school, after it fell into my lap through friends that teach there. (classic kayla to overload herself.) i am slowly adjusting to the crazy early mornings and stress of tv, all while miraculously still loving every second in the newsroom. since jordan is constantly working, i am running the stastny household alone and although it's been quite the learning curve, i feel a lot of pride keeping our life (mostly) in order.

although i spend most of my spare time with girlfriends, trying out new workouts in the city (muay tai fighting, reform pilates, you name it) and reading, i have been trying to keep up with the ukulele, painting, and photography as best i can. although this is an absolutely psychotic time of life, i am so happy to be here, doing what i am doing, with jordan by my side.

December 9, 2016

taking stock 10.

loving: san francisco sunrises and sunsets. because it gets dark earlier (and because i am up early enough to watch the sunrise pretty often) i have been able to enjoy them a lot! my favorite view is from our deck – i can see the pastel colors stretch out over the ocean on one side, and then see the city light up from the other side.

discovering: an app called “postmates” - they deliver food from anywhere in your neighborhood to your door in under an hour. oops that i have already used it 4 times.

surprised at: how far my body can go on such little sleep. don’t get me wrong, i am a wreck and a half on the mornings i get up at 1:30, but somehow the adrenaline keeps pumping, i keep making it to the gym, not getting in car wrecks, not falling asleep at my desk, etc.

still obsessed with: the fact that our BFF’s are our DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBORS. we usually get together saturday or sunday night to have a pot-luck dinner and watch a movie, and i just can’t get over how lovely it is to change into my comfies and walk downstairs to our weekend plans. it doesn’t hurt that they are the greatest people ever. hashtag BLESSED.

watching: gilmore girls. (first timer!) i’m in season 3 and tbh i’m not in love with it yet, although i do enjoy it. you can’t beat how cozy stars hollow is though!

 looking forward to: making some of our own holiday traditions. it’s fun to sit down and be like, “alright, what should we eat? what do we want to do?” so far we have settled on 1) a new ornament each year that has significance to us, 2) christmas pj’s for kayla (jordan insists he doesn’t want them) 3) a christmas eve dinner of hor d’oeuvres and 4) some sort of christmas service between the two days. there is something SO moving about going to another church’s service around christmas – it’s really sacred to me to enjoy a different kind of worship and realize how united were all are at the end of the day.

cooking: LOL why do i always put this prompt here?

smelling: CHRISTMAS CANDLES!! i would recommend “merry and bright” and “cinnamon and clove” from target. you just CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT beat a house that smells like christmas !!

 reading: “big magic” – it was recommended to me by my cousin and i although only 40 pages in, i’m in love!! it’s all about finding ways to enjoy and cultivate a more creative life, but it a realistic way. do you ever read self-help books and they are full of stories of people who quit their high paying, soul-sucking corporate job to start a recording studio/quit their high paying, soul sucking corporate job to be a musician/quit their high paying, soul sucking corporate job start a crocheting etsy shop? which like, is great for them but i like my corporate job and it works for me and so how to i apply this to my life? this book is about finding ways to sneak creative habits into the time you DO have, and how to glean a lot of happiness from your creative side – even if it’s not your livelihood.  

also reading: “the war that saved my life.” the little boy i tutor (who is 8) told me it’s the “best book he’s ever read” and let me borrow his copy. obviously it’s an easy, quick read but it’s a heartfelt & interesting story. i love reading kid’s books because they are easy to digest and i love the feeling of finishing so fast, it makes me feel accomplished haha.

listening to: the “jazzy christmas” playlist on spotify. it makes me feel like i should be at a cocktail party sipping champagne (sparkling cider) and wearing a black gown. it is the classiest and coziest.

appreciating: the nights where jordan comes home early (early is any time before 11pm in my world) and we get to see each other !! (cuddle and fall asleep to netflix) sometimes i feel like we are total strangers and those nights remind me that, on a very deep level, we are still just as connected as ever. 

December 2, 2016

crying at zumba & other things about life lately.

+ for some reason that i do not understand, there are always lots of elderly people that go to zumba at my gym. don't get me wrong - they are a CRISIS - but there is something so endearing about them literally not giving two craps about the fact that they are 8 counts behind and looking like they are having a stroke. the other day, someone was filming through the glass (trying to be discreet) and laughing. our little 80 pound zumba teacher saw him in the corner of her eye in the mirror and IMMEDIATELY sprinted across the room, threw the door open, and just GAVE IT to this guy. then she hopped back in with a smile on her face and continued teaching. it was so touching that she was so protective of anybody poking fun at her class that i started tearing up, right there on the dance floor. i feel like people are so loving & accepting here. (side note: because i am working so many early mornings and i get really emotional when i am tired, i am thinking i need to start a list of things that make me cry. it'll be LONG maybe i'll look back on it and find it funny someday?)

+ on that same vein, i have felt an enormous love for my city the last month or so. after the presidential election, the mayor of SF released a letter saying that he will fight tooth and nail to keep san francisco as a sanctuary city (where people don't face deportation and the city works to provide work options for them.) i am consistently overwhelmed with how welcoming this city is. people are especially warm and accepting here & it's inspiring me work to be more that way, too.

+ work is kicking my tush right now, guys. i took a second job helping out at a jewish school, and balancing the hours there with crazy early news shifts at abc & staying on top of keeping the apartment tidy + stocked and working out and sleeping enough? i'm barely keeping my head above water here and my bloodstream is slowly turning into rockstar. i feel myself starting to adjust, though. i'm not in "uptight, get shiz done" mode and i haven't been for a long time - since last december, finishing up school. but once i switch gears and am a little more tightly wound, i will function on a higher plane and i will kill it. getting there is the hard part.

+ we decorated our apartment for christmas last weekend and it is *perfectly* cozy. like wow. just seeing our cute mantle brings me so much (very needed) joy.

+ we rented scooters last saturday through an app called "scoot" here in the city. the experience was a little sketchy (traffic here is insane and scooting around on this tiny piece of tin is maybe not the safest) but we seriously had such a blast. it rained for a few minutes while we were out, but that made it all the more fun. (and we only got in two arguments during the experience because jordan was going to fast and ditching me.)

+ i am really, really grateful for my passion for news. plunging into the world of news at a top station in a top market has been REALLY challenging. everything just happens so freaking fast here and i feel like we are always scrambling! if interning here gave me a little toe-dip, coming back i just got thrown into the lake head-first. anyway, even though i feel so overwhelmed i never dread coming to work because i just love it. i love the flow of information in the newsroom, i love that we are on the cusp of everything new happening in the world. it's invigorating and exciting! i love the visual nature of tv and this whole world brings me to life. it's hard but it's a meaty, rich life. does that make sense? i am constantly exhausted but it is so fulfilling. how lucky i am to feel passion for journalism deep down in my bones.

+ i spoke in sacrament meeting last sunday on the ten lepers and how important it is to live your live in a manor of gratitude, rather than just "counting your blessings." it was a great reminder that our happiness and our ability to feel gratitude is all in our attitude. it's our choice - are we going to chose to be a half full person or not? this talk was the cornerstone of my preparation and i 10/10 would recommend you read it.

+ several weeks ago we met four of our closest friends on nob hill to ride the trolley down the steep hills on california street. and OH MY HEEEEAVENS it was perfect!!!!!! the night was warm, the trolley wasn't crowded and our driver was going HAM with the bell. i squealed with delight the entire ride down, i'm sure much to jordan's dismay. after we rode the trolley back up, we pounded FOUR pizzas between and six of us and laughed a lot and it went down as one of my favorite san francisco nights so far.

+ i made my christmas bucket list this morning and i can hardly stand the excitement!! (i'm a big believer that the anticipation is usually better than the event itself.) christmas in SF is going to be all sorts of magic!

November 29, 2016

because i never posted about summer in nyc.

here is a photo dump of our time in nyc - jordan did his work training and i played. (pretty representative of who we are as people tbh) there is no place in the world like new york and my time there, wandering the streets of every neighborhood until my feet ached and eating shake shack at an alarming rate, was some of the happiest i have ever spent.