I can hardly believe it’s been a week in Germany so far — so much has happened and yet there’s still time left to get into trouble (and out of it, naturally).
From Munich’s massive Oktoberfest celebration to the tiny Bavarian town of Mittenwald, a day trip to Innsbruck in Austria and now a local stay in Berlin, we’ve covered a ton of ground.
There have been some mishaps, as my traveling companion and I seem to be a magnet for issues; but we’ve managed to keep smiling and laughing our way through the frustrations.
To say I’m obsessed with Berlin, especially, would be an understatement. Here’s to the next few days of discovery and debauchery!
I thought it’d be fun to capture each month’s activities and milestones in a series called Witty Rewind. It may not be for posterity’s sake, but I hope you’ll enjoy looking back at the previous month with me.
It should come as no surprise that my health and wellness focus has fallen quite off the rails. I battled a couple of allergy attacks, and my motivation has run away further than any ol’ 5K would get me. I did focus more on meditation and mindfulness, so I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. But when you’re an all-or-nothing kinda person, it def feels futile. [Minutes meditated: ~200]
What I always come back to for relaxation and rejuvenation is READING. I’ve been “competing” in a one-book-a-week challenge at work and smashed my goal of 13 books in 10 weeks, with a week still to go. From awful self-help advice to the horrors of Nazi Germany, it’s been quite a journey. [Books read: 7]
Here’s how else I spent the month of May:
- Celebrated Cinco with margaritas and Book Club
- Had a roomie reunion dinner at a new Mediterranean spot
- Happy-houred with former colleagues and enjoyed comped treats from the chef
- Dinner and a pop-up show in Oakland — truly remarkable!
- Canceled plans on canceled plans on canceled plans (I blame mystery illness)
- My oldest niece graduated from VPK! The pics are everything
- Volunteered with the Junior League of SF and prepped incoming leadership
- Sat out the annual Bay to Breakers mayhem (let’s say because of rainy forecasts)
- Ventured to OLIVE GARDEN with my girlfriends who truly are family
- Continued furnishing the new apartment, despite incomplete deliveries and delays
- Celebrated the end of the League year with dinners, drinks, wine country… you name it
- Saw the Monet exhibit before it left SF…
- …and ended the evening with a scary (though relatively minor) car crash
- Remembered how atrocious the insurance and healthcare industries are in the US
- Traveled to Vegas with a lot of aspirin and saw CELINE DION in one of her final shows
I’m told Sunday was National Ice Cream Day, and although I didn’t celebrate it then, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for a little treat I’m cooking up. *Not literally cooking, because it’d melt.
As part of my office’s “Tasting Thursday” series, tomorrow I’ll be co-hosting a blind tasting of various ice cream flavors, along with a BINGO game. Name a more iconic duo than ice cream and BINGO. I’ll wait.
In preparation, I found this free BINGO card creator — side note, is it all caps? I feel like it should be — and we’re assigning different flavor profiles to the squares. Our colleagues will taste blindly, guessing which flavors they’re tasting, and the first to get BINGO wins a free pint and gift card!
Am I taking this totally voluntary assignment too far? Possibly. But I’m enjoying every sweet second.
Were your social-media feeds flooded with engagements and baby announcements today … like, more than usual? April Fools’ Day jokes aside, I am over the moon for one very real engagement: my good friend Cosmo proposed to his lady, Natasha, and I couldn’t be happier for them.
And now? A Nashville-themed week of obsessions. I’m still recovering from my friend Meghan’s bachelorette weekend, so it totally counts:
- Yazoo Brewery: What better way to start the weekend than with a brewery tour? Yazoo’s hefeweizen was delicious and refreshing, and I faintly remember enjoying the other seven samples we had, too 😉
- Sprocket Rocket Party Bikes: It’s a big trend in Nashville to pedal your way around town with music pumping and drinks flowing. We made the most of this fad with our awesome guide, John, and bartender, Mary. Considering the bride-to-be didn’t make it out after, I’d say this was the most successful activity.
- Paradise Park: I was told to check this place out, and we stumbled upon it our second night in Music City. You guys, seriously: This bar brought back so many college memories of cheap beer and live cover bands and dancing like nobody’s watching. Last call came way too soon, and I couldn’t wait to go back.
- Grand Ole Opry: As my Instagram caption says, “Take me to church.” The backstage tour of country music’s most hallowed halls was so cool … even Deacon from the ABC show “Nashville” made a (recorded) appearance! I could get used to that.
It’s only appropriate to kick off 2014 with some resolutions, so why not do it in WO form? And since we all want MORE all the time, here’s what I vow to do more of this year:
- Be More Patient: I was the least patient person I knew BEFORE moving to the busiest city in the world. So, it’s no surprise that I need to work on counting to 10 and taking deep breaths — before I lose it on the subway.
- Explore NYC More: I’ve done a decent job this year seeing the sites and getting lost (no, really). But I think 2014 should be focused on getting to know my new home even better and finding new favorites along the way.
- Be More Selfish: I mean it in the nicest way possible, but I spent a lot of last year traveling to celebrate others’ accomplishments. This year, I’d like to take some “me” time and use my days off for actual vacations. We’ll see how it goes 🙂
- Dance More: In the esteemed words of Kid President, life would be a little better for us all if we just danced more often. Say no more, little guy. I vow to spend the better part of this year making a fool of myself anywhere I can.
What are some of your resolutions for 2014?
Returning host LL Cool J tucked his ears into a Kangol hat and shared a handful of awful puns to bring music superstars together tonight.
His personal stories were long-winded and confusing, though not quite on par with Jodie Foster’s now infamous Emmy speech.
The red carpet coverage was entertaining, but can we all back off from pushing the social media stuff? Hashtag: It’s overkill.
The Fashions: Some snoozes, some surprises
- Finally dressing her age, Taylor Swift’s flowing gown was stunning. And that’s the only nice thing I’ll say about her tonight.
- Jennifer Lopez clearly missed the restricted dress-code memo (and later joked about it). Honey, your cooch is loose. Oh also? You’re FORTY-THREE.
- Usually adventurous Beyonce donned a bland pantsuit, but she’s Queen B and looked gorgeous anyway. Former DC3 band mate Kelly Rowland wowed in my fave dress of the night.
- Katy Perry said she channeled Priscilla Presley, and I think The King himself would be pleased with her tribute. Va-va-voooom — but where were notoriously wacky Lady Gaga and Nicki Manaj?
- Katy’s BFF Rihanna looked far more glamorous than I’ve seen her in a while, and first-timer Carly Rae Jepsen slinked and sparkled in a gorgeous gown.
- No idea what Adele was thinking, but I’ll allow post-pregnancy brain as her excuse.
The Performances: Where actors prove their relevance for attending
- Taylor Swift opened with that awful never, ever song — in a surprising departure from her sickly sweet scenery. Still no rhythm, Tay Tay. Like, ever.
- Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran collaborated to perform a dazzling rendition of the latter’s hit single “The A Team.”
- Neil Patrick Harris included Barney Stinson trademark “legendary” in his introduction of fun. for their sweet ballad, “Carry On.”
- Quintessential douche John Mayer stood with icon Bonnie Raitt. They announced Miranda Lambert and tour mate Dierks Bentley’s too-loud dual duets. Say that five times fast!
- Is Johnny Depp homeless now? He sure looks it. Mumford & Sons strummed and sung an electric “I Will Wait” to shift our focus away from Depp’s derelict designs.
- Beyonce and Ellen DeGeneres paired up perfectly to introduce OMG JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. His “Suit and Tie” world premiere was simply fantastical, even better in, you guessed it: black and white. Jay Z joined in because he can and we loved him for it.
- Maroon 5 led with “Daylight” before Alicia Keys brought it home with “Girl on Fire.” Adam Levine is better speaking, not singing. Alicia’s crooning (and drumming!) saved my ears yet again.
- Rihanna and Mickey Echo belted “Stay” to a silenced crowd. Finally, a Ri Ri song I don’t hate!
- 1 Broke Girl Kat Dennings announced The Black Keys, performing alongside Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Doctor John. Hipster magic was made and they lived happily ever after.
- Kelly Clarkson paid homage to Patti Page and Bonnie Tyler with respective renditions of “The Tennessee Waltz” and “A Natural Woman.” Get it, girl.
- The much-anticipated Bob Marley tribute kicked off with Bruno Mars and his lovable backup dancers, followed by powerhouse performers Sting, Rihanna and Damian and Ziggy Marley. Shout-out to everyone singing along, especially NPH and that one white guy with his arms crossed.
- The Lumineers nailed “Ho Hey” before introducing Jack White. The former was an entertaining escape; the latter was reminiscent of old jams to The White Stripes. Even Nicole Kidman said it was awesome.
- Newcomer Hunter Hayes warbled through “Wanted,” but I’m told that’s how it should sound. Carrie Underwood appeared with “Blown Away.” Yet another example of sound techs needing to check before they wreck!
- An acoustic and bilingual “Your Song” by Latin GRAMMY winner Juanes was soft and sweet before introducing Frank Ocean for “Forrest Gump.” Lieutenant Dan, ICE CREAM?!
- LL Cool J teamed up with Travis Barker and others to close the show. “WHADDUP” felt out of place, but I always enjoy a “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” nod.
The Winners: 3.5 hours of coverage, and only 11 televised gramaphones
- Spicy songsters Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull presented Best Pop Solo Performance to Adele for her live version of “Set Fire to the Rain.” In a 15ish-second speech, she held the award awkwardly and called J. Lo her good luck charm. Adorbs all around.
- Hot-this-moment Miguel and Wiz Khalifa worked the crowd in patterned suits before presenting Best Country Solo Performance to American (Idol) sweetheart Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away.” Her heartfelt speech was also short and sweet.
- Country’s favorite couple (right, guys?) Tim McGraw and Faith Hill awarded fun. with coveted Song of the Year honor for “We Are Young,” as performed with Janelle Monae. Many thanks were given to their fellow musicians, with Jay Z shouting back “You’re welcome!” Classic HOVA.
- Proud presenters Kelly Rowland and Nas announced first-ever Best Urban Contemporary Album winner Frank Ocean for Channel Orange. You mad, Chris Brown?
- Producer of the Year Dan Auerbach was announced by Pauly Perrette and my future first husband, Dave Grohl. They then honored Auerbach’s band mates, The Black Keys, with Best Rock Performance for “Lonely Boy.”
- Kaley Cuoco shouted alongside American Idol judge Keith Urban to present first AI winner Kelly Clarkson with Best Pop Vocal Album. She rambled and ran around like a crazy person. Perfection.
- Carly Rae Jepsen and Ne-Yo presented Jay Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and The Dream with Best Rap Song Collaboration. Mr. West was absent, but Jay Z killed again.
- Best Country Album went to The Zac Brown Band for Uncaged, and their thanks to the fans brought roars from the crowd.
- Eyelash line creator Katy Perry joked and presented Best New Artist to fun., who should definitely change that period to an exclamation point (NPH)! Their pee jokes were great too.
- The man, the legend, the symbol, the cane: Prince! He handed over the GRAMMY for Record of the Year to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” No surprise there.
- 2012’s GRAMMY cleaner-upper, Adele, presented Album of the Year to Mumford & Sons for “Babel.” Their flirtation with the crowd (and Adele) was both humble and humorous.
Before its In Memoriam segment, The GRAMMY Foundation announced a brand-new category, set to begin in 2014: The Music Educator Award.
And speaking of education, the touching Sandy Hook tribute brought a wealth of performers together — and the crowd to its feet.
Did you watch? How do you think it compared to last year’s event?