December 18, 2016

'Tis the Season

I love this time of year. Decorations, cookies, spiked holiday drinks, traditions, white elephant gift exchanges, friends, lights, and more parties than you can count. This year our schedule was delightfully full of holiday goodness.

We hosted our 2nd annual "Trail of Lights" party. Gathered all our friends over for drinks and fun then walked to Zilker Park where we walked the Trail of Lights.



After 3 years of holiday seasons while working at Google, I finally got to go to the official Google holiday party --- and boy it did not disappoint. Flip book station, photo booth, delicious food, open bar, huge dance floor and my favorite part: This champagne lady who greeted you once you arrived.


The party's theme was "Dancing Through the Decades"---we went dressed in 50s attire and definitely danced through the night.



One of my favorite christmas traditions is wearing home-made, matching "ugly sweaters" w/Kyle.

My volleyball partner, Sheridan




ANNOUNCEMENT! 

One of my very best friends got engaged last weekend. YAY!! Sarah (aka P-Rod) was my college roommate, volleyball co-captain, bridesmaid and I am so excited for her and Chris. Can't wait to celebrate with them when we are home. 





December 1, 2016

Gratitude: Good for the Soul

**Blogging while watching 'This Is Us'...spoiler alert: It's a tear jerker.**

The holiday season is officially upon us - it always sneaks up, doesn't it? Hope everyone had a GREAT Thanksgiving. Even though we were in Iceland for the actual holiday, we still got our Turkey fix in. (Who am I kidding, the sides are my favorite). 

My Austin friends have an annual "Friends-giving" that Kyle and I have been going to for the past 4 years. This year was our first time hosting it. I LOVE hosting people in our home. Beautiful center peice, good food, delicious wine and hilarious games - nothing better!


My work family also threw our own Thanksgiving. It was so nice to bond outside of work with these amazing people. I am extremely grateful that I actually like seeing my team everyday. That is extremely rare and I do not take it for granted. 


So here is my annual "What I'm Thankful" list. I read an article that said  "People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems." This has really stuck with me. I hope everyone takes time to think about what they are grateful for everyday, not just on a holiday.


I'm thankful for my eyesight - so I can see amazing sunrises. 



I'm thankful Bran came into my life. So much love from this dog. 


I'm thankful my niece is back home with her mom and dad and doing better.


I'm thankful for my functioning knees and legs - so I can dance and play volleyball whenever I want.


I'm thankful we have the means to travel to amazing places, experience other walks of life and meet different types of people.

Walking the streets of Reykjavik, Iceland
I'm thankful for living in a beautiful city I love.

Picnic under the super-moon
I'm thankful I live in a country where I can vote. (Even if the outcome is not what I hoped for).


 I'm thankful for my work family. I've said it before, I'll say it again.


Lastly, I'm thankful we found our passports. :)



November 11, 2016

JJ the Diplomat

**Blogging while watching The West Wing. Jed Bartlett gives me all the feels.**

Most of you that know me know I'm not a very political person. Never have been. I didn't grow up in a political household where we talked about our democratic process, candidates or policies. In fact, this election was my first time voting. I never had the inclination to. I just want everyone to be happy and get along. I know I live in a fantasy world, but hey! It's my fantasy world so leave me alone. :)

I'm more of a 'Devil's Advocate'.  This is why it's so hard for me to get behind an issue or a candidate because I always see the other point of view. And believe me, this drives Kyle nuts! I'm always looking at the other side, trying to understand the other side - because there ALWAYS is another side. Another lens to look through. I'm not sure if this is a fault of mine or if more people should be like this, but it is what it is.

So after a week of reading plenty of articles, watching thousands of videos, listening to many stories, engaging in intellectual conversations with some really smart people and hours of reflection - I finally have gathered my thoughts on this election. And it has nothing to do with politics...it has to do with being human.

We have some tough conversations at Google about diversity, inclusion, race, social issues, etc. (Which I really appreciate and has made me a better person). When we sit down to engage with each other we always establish some basic rules. I think these rules could also be applied while talking about politics. These rules are to encourage a safe, courageous space to be able to speak freely and to be able to come to a common ground.

1. Always assume good intent - I might be a little naive when it comes to this, but I always assume everyone is coming from a place of good. No matter who you voted for, you voted because you want this county to be better. You did something about it. That is a good place.
2. Speak YOUR truth - Everyone has their opinion and that is fine - It's what makes the world go around. But please don't speak on someone else's behalf which you know nothing about. Every experience in your life is what makes you, YOU. You cannot speak to someone else's experiences.
3. Empathize and Listen - Stop trying to persuade everyone to think you're right. That isn't going to help. Instead, try to understand. "Courage is what is take to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." - Winston Churchill
4. Consider the impact of your words on others - This one is really hard.  Especially when you are extremely passionate about something. I believe in the first amendment but I also believe you should be mindful of how people are feeling.

Not going to lie, it's not easy following these rules when you are talking to someone that makes your blood boil. It's definitely a test of character. But if everyone just tried a little harder, maybe the world would be a better place?

No matter your beliefs or views, I hope everyone is taking care of themselves. Take care of your mental health. It is imperative to have healthy conversations. Whether you go to church and pray, go to yoga and meditate or go see a therapist - TAKE CARE OF YOUR EMOTIONAL SELF.

Hey - remember that one time the Cubs won the world series?? That was pretty cool.

Cheers,

JJ

PS - I promise next post will be WAY less serious and WAY more pictures. :)






November 1, 2016

Fly the W

**Blogging while watching the Cubs in Game 6 of the World Series**

Hope everyone had a great Halloween and enjoying FALL (my favorite). Some exciting stuff has been going on in the Schulz household: The Cubs. Kyle has been a lifelong fan and his excitement has been contagious.  

We even got Bran in the spirit!


My parents and grandparents came to Austin for my dad's birthday and we were able to cross off a couple of my Austin bucket list "to-dos".  First, there is a food truck that serves Thai ice cream right next to where we live and we have been trying to go there for over a year! We finally made it!


Second, we took the gang to The Little Longhorn Saloon for "Chicken Shit Bingo". Yes, you read that right and YES, it is exactly what you think it is. You buy a square and whichever square the chicken poops on wins the bucket of money. It is kind of odd but people from all over the country come to see this take place. Texas knows how to party.


It was so nice to spend time with my family, show them our cute neighborhood and celebrate my dad!  

 Everyone knows my favorite holiday is Halloween and my favorite activity is to make homemade Halloween costumes. This year we dressed up as Snapchat filters. It was so much fun putting eyeliner on Kyle.


For Googleween, our team dressed as characters from shows on Cartoon Network. I'm so lucky I work for a company that puts so much effort and importance on my favorite holiday.



Okay, time for some scary stuff...

Couple of days ago I got an alarming call from my brother. My sweet baby niece, Josephine, had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. Within the last 2 days she has had 3 seizures, 2 spinal taps, IVs in her arm and shin, EEG, MRI and not enough sleep. We are still waiting to get some results and hopefully answers. Please keep her and her parents in your thoughts. I can't even imagine going through something like this. She is such a tough cookie! Sending good vibes your way, Joey!!!






October 9, 2016

ACL 2016

**Blogging while watching Sunday Night Football>presidential debate**

Well another year of ACL has come and gone - and no, we did not go. For those of you that don't know, our condo is about 1 mile away from where this large music festival takes place. So it's safe to say that these past 2 weeks have been madness in the neighborhood. Here is how we survived...

Weekend 1

We rented out our condo on Airbnb to some festival go-ers and took a weekend get-a-way to Luckenbach, TX. Luckenbach is a tiny town about 2 hours West of Austin and is famous for this song. We stayed in a small, remote cabin across the creek from the town's dancehall. Saturday night we saw Reckless Kelly play, a Texas country band. The next day we went into Fredericksburg, the "big" town down the road, and walked the streets of their cute downtown. Getting away from city life for a second was extremely cleansing to the soul.






 Weekend 2

Even though Kyle and I didn't actually go to the festival we hosted some friends from California and Indianapolis that did. We took them out Friday night and showed them what a great city Austin is.  These guys were so much fun! I love hosting people - it's so sad when they have to leave. (PS - If you come to visit, we will DEF show you a good time).


Saturday while they were at ACL, Kyle and I went to our friends' beautiful wedding. It was so much fun celebrating Courtney and Kris. The venue was too cute, the weather was gorgeous, the food was amazing and the DJ played a lot of Drake --- it was the most perfect night.




I hope everyone is enjoying the Fall weather. I definitely miss the Midwest this time of year. All the pumpkins, apple orchards, and scarfs. Don't take it for granted! :)

oxox,

JJ



August 28, 2016

Lately


When I started blogging I promised myself I would try and post at least once a month. So far, so good. So to keep up my good work, here is what's been going on lately...

We had some visitors (LOVE ALL THE VISITORS). Kyle's parents, Scott and Michelle, drove down from Illinois on a cross country Presidential Library Road Trip. Their stops included Clinton (Little Rock, Arkansas), Bush (Dallas), LBJ (Austin), Bush (College Station), Truman (Independence, MO), Eisenhower (Abilene, Kansas).




While they were here we did a mini road trip to in hill country to some fabulous distilleries.
#schulzdrunkbus

Stops included:
1. Deep Eddy's Vodka
2. Treaty Oak
3. Texas Hill Country Olive Farm
4. Garrison Brothers
Oh yea, did I mention my recently-turned-21-year-old-sister was able to join in on the fun?! :0



It was her annual August trip to Austin before school starts. She is already going to be a Senior! Where has the time gone?!?


The next week I traveled to CA for a work trip. I was there for some trainings and was able to meet one of my hires in person! It is so amazing to see my work come to real life.

While I was there, I got to have some fun too. :) 




I experienced a first for me: My first Pride Parade. I wasn't only a spectator of Austin's Pride Parade, I was able to walk IN it.  What an incredible experience to celebrate so much LOVE. 






Well that is what's been going on lately. Hope everyone is excited for FOOTBALL SEASON right around the corner! :) 

Cheers, 

JJ




July 28, 2016

Summer '16

**Blogging while watching the DNC (I'm with her).**

Oh sweet summer time - How I love you. Even though Texas summers can be unbearable at times, there is something about a cold beer in my hand and the hot sun on my skin that brings me back to my days before joining the "real world".  Adults can have fun during summer too! Here are some things we have been up during Summer '16

Rooftop life: Nothing better than spending a summer night on a downtown rooftop bar dancing and laughing. PS - The reason I am wearing a name tag was because that night was a party thrown by my staffing agency and name tag = free drinks.



Visitors: Scott, Kyle's dad, and my brother, Jono, both made an Austin appearance this summer. 


Zilker Park Shenanigans: One of the classic Austin things to do during the summer is attend Blues on the Green. We have friends come pre-game at our condo and then we walk to this free concert. We bring blankets, beer, sandwiches and it's a great time!


Kyle and I also joined a sand volleyball league that plays every Thursdays at Zilker. We are undefeated. #knockonwood




 Summer fun w/Google:
To the left is a picture of some Googlers who volunteered at a Puppy Mill Awareness benefit where money was raised to help puppies from puppy mills become healthy. 

On the right is a picture of my team at a Luau thrown to celebrate all our hires this year. 


"Adulting": One thing that Kyle and I have been putting off was sitting down with a financial adviser to talk about real life "adult" things. YUCK. Well we did it - and it wasn't that bad.


Being a dog mom:  I made Bran an Instagram account! (Don't judge me). His IG handle: brantheman6212. Follow him to see the what the beast is up to and see cute pictures like this one.



Things I'm looking forward to the rest of the summer: 
1. The Olympics! Kyle made us get cable again just so we can watch it. 
2. My sister coming to visit.
3. Kyle's parents coming to visit. 
4. My parents coming to visit. 
5. Work trip to Cali. 

Hope everyone is having an amazing summer and staying cool. (Literally and figuratively).

Cheers, 

JJ