Thursday, June 25, 2015

View from the office

I spend 40 hours a week in my office, so I'm sure as hell going to make sure it's a place that I enjoy. On my way out tonight I grabbed a few pictures of my favorite bits.

We're lucky in my company; when I got my promotion, the office manager told me that I have a decorating budget. A decorating budget! I had never heard of anything so luxurious. I haven't spent at dime, though, because my office also happens to have a big closet full of unclaimed art. I picked three big pieces for my office, and they go a long way towards making the space feel hospitable.

This lovely lass was a gift from one of my old editors. When I left the company for a job at my current publishing house, my editor-manager gave me this arrowhead plant and a kind note. The arrowhead lives on top of my bookcase, and her note is pinned to my bulletin board.

I keep a bottle of lavender essential oil on hand. It's silly, but sometimes a small break to smell some lavender is all it takes to get me back in the swing of things.

I'm in touch with people all day, be it professors, authors, or folks from other departments. I'm a big believer in thank-yous, and keeping this box of cards on my desk reminds me express gratitude (it also reminds me to be thankful for my job, because I really do enjoy it.)

This is Cal. Cal is a palm tree that was going to be thrown out because it got too big for its old home somewhere else in the building. My end game is to turn my office into a literal jungle, so I quickly relocated Cal from the dumpster to my room. Cal is just big enough to live on the floor and be visible from behind my desk.

Bowls are hot commodities in our shared kitchen. Between salads and soups, I use a bowl with almost every lunch, so I decided to drop $6 on this gem from TJ Maxx. When it's not holding soup, this bowl lives on my book shelf as a decorative piece.

During college, my two friends spent a semester in Los Angeles. I flew out to visit them, and we spent a day bopping around all the hip, curated stores you'd expect to find in LA. I can't walk away from a candle (ever), so I brought this one back with me. Seriously, this thing smells so good. These guys have an Etsy shop, and I recommend getting at least one of each of their scents. I can't light this at work, but it makes my office feel more like home.

Do not underestimate the power of a nice desktop background. It ties all of my office decor together and gives the room a nice ~vibe~, but more importantly it encourages me to keep my desktop clear of unnecessary folders and files.

I love hearing about how other folks make their space their own; what's your workspace like?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Under-$10 Red: Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

As promised (hey look, I do occasionally follow up...), here's a taste of an under-$10 red. 

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

First, you should know that I'm looking for a bold red with lots of mouthfeel. This one had been recommended to me first by a reviewer and then by the dude behind the counter in the liquor store, and both claimed this was a wine with nice, grippy tannins. At first, I didn't love this wine (a disappointing way to start the search). There were lots of dark berry notes, and a hint of spice; it certainly wasn't bad, but it also wasn't as deep as I'd hoped, so the wine sat open-but-corked for a few days.

Last night, I was feeling wine. Ideally, I would have liked to try another bottle, but we're doing lots of saving until we close on the house. Luckily, I was forced to revisit the so-far disappointing Ravenwood Zin.

I'm sure you've guessed this by now, but it got better. The tannins were more apparent (with small sips, anyway). The intense berry flavor seemed to have mellowed out (or maybe it was exaggerated in my memory...), and there was a pleasant blackberry note that lingered long after the sip. There was also quite a bit more spice in the finish. This won't be my favorite wine, but it'll be a trusted go-to, for sure.

First day, 5/10.
Fourth day, 7/10.

Monday, June 22, 2015

So, looks like I let another month slip by without a check-in. Oops. It has been a busy month, though, because we bought a house. On a whim (basically).

We had been looking for an apartment somewhere along the train line for a while, but Drew found a rad house and we decided to take a look at it. Start to end, the process took two days (the house was only on the market for those two days!) It's a really neat, 100-year-old bungalow, and it's the perfect size for us. We're formally closing at the end of July, which leaves plenty of summer nights for our new yard.

I'm super excited to live with Drew in a more serious way, and I'm really looking forward to making the space feel like home. Money is going to be tight for a while (duh), but I found a few cheap essentials on Craigslist and Overstock that have me really excited (I don't know if I ever imagined I could be excited for a couch to arrive in the mail.)

Speaking of finances, I've also picked up a freelancing gig at one of my favorite publishing houses. The work will be sporadic for a while, but it'll be a nice way to make a little extra on the weekends. (I've got my eyes on you, pendant lights...)

In other news, I'm on the hunt for a new favorite under-$10 bottle of wine. If you like the same reds as me (bold, full of tannins), check back every now and then -- when I find a gem, I'll post it.

Happy first full day of summer to all of you!