Category Archives: Books

Life lately

I usually don’t post on Saturday nights, but we are just relaxing at home and I was in the mood to blog. We’ve been enjoying our weekend so far and I hope you have too!

Earlier this week, I shot this photo while walking to the bus stop. I had just finished an interview on the radio (taped, not live, luckily) and I was so relieved to be done and heading into work. The leaves under my fantastic and comfortable Tsubo boots were just too pretty not to capture.

fall leaves and boots

I go through phases where I become obsessed with cottage cheese. This week, I put it on everything and also ate it plain. I really enjoyed it on toast as an after work snack and in my lentil soup.

cottage cheese on bread

Last night, we walked around the mall after enjoying a dinner out. I almost always take stairs vs. the escalator when I can, so I loved how Aurora Healthcare encouraged people to be well and take the mere 30 steps to the top with their “30 steps to a healthier you” slogan.


This morning, we woke up and packed our gym bags for a trip out to Mukwonago. We met my parents at the beautiful new YMCA and enjoyed working out by doing cardio and weights and then hitting the pool. I am not much of a swimmer, but I did love their walking pool, the water slide, chilling in the whirlpool and swimming with the kick board. We had a lot of fun with my parents and I hope it’s something we can do more often.

Mukwonago YMCA

Once we got home, I wanted to chill on the couch and read My Berlin Kitchen. I am only 55 pages in so far, but I like Luisa’s story and recipes. There is a recipe that really sounds delicious and uses quark–it’s called quarkauflauf. I had actually just read about it in Alysha’s article on quark that was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Entree section on Sunday. I hadn’t read Luisa’s blog, The Wednesday Chef, before picking up this book, but I am following her site now because I like the way she writes and I love Berlin.

My Berlin Kitchen

I think reading about Germany made me crave pretzels. Luckily, I had picked up this Deutsche Kuche pretzel dough at Aldi a couple of weeks ago.

Deutsche Kuche Pretzel

This is the pretzel I was most proud of, although I realized after that the ends didn’t need to extend down so far.

Pretzel in dough shape

The verdict? They turned out pretty good. They didn’t taste like the “bretzeln” we adored in Germany and reminded us more of bread.


Well, I am off to listen to Spotify, drink some wine and keep doing laundry. Night!


Gutsy Book Club

I know most of my readers probably don’t struggle with Irritable Bowel Disease like I do, but if you have ever suffered from any digestion issues at all, you may be interested in the Gutsy Virtual Book Club I’ve joined through Sarah’s blog. One of my recent goals has been to learn more about colitis and digestion in general. This book club came into my life at the perfect time.

This month, we are reading No Guts, No Glory by Steven Lamm, M.D. and Sidney Stevens.

No Guts, No Glory

I started reading the book during my lunch break and learned so much thus far. I enjoy reading medical books and learning more about our amazing bodies.

Loved this quote from the first page of the book!

Love this quote from No Guts, No Glory

I also liked this passage:

“Unfortunately, most of us, like our doctors, don’t spend enough time thinking about our guts. Patients come to me every day asking ‘How can I keep my heart healthy?’ or ‘What’s the best kind of exercise for losing weight?’ They’re worried about Alzheimer’s, cancer, high blood pressure, and other big-name maladies. Sure, plenty walk in with abdominal complaints, but what they want is relief from the distress and a cure for what ails them. Rarely are they concerned about preserving and enhancing the health of their gut. Nor do most fathom their responsibility for keeping it in shape.”

I rarely thought about my digestive system until at the age of 24, I couldn’t keep food in my stomach. I was in graduate school and needed food to fuel my brain, yet I couldn’t keep it down. Believe me, after 8 years of seeing many gastroenterologists, going through numerous colonoscopies, missing social events, experiencing bad days, abdominal pain and being on many expensive meds–you pay a lot of attention to your gut when you feel like I have all of these years. I look forward to reading this book and learning all I can to help me heal my gut. I also think this is going to help me ask the right questions when I visit my gastroenterologist next week.

I hope you can join Sarah’s book club and get in on the discussion via twitter or her blog!

Hiking and a Raptor at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Yesterday, Craig and I went to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center for a raptor program and to hike a bit.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

There were many pretty wildflowers on the property!


The one thing I was most excited to see was the raptor program. A kestrel was brought out and he stole my heart. I love birds and am fascinated by them. I even grew up with birds as pets.

We learned a lot about kestrels and now I want to see one in the wild! I think I will end up working with birds at a nature center when I retire. 🙂

Kestrel at Schlitz

We then went on a small hike on the trails overlooking the lake and with lake access. The weather was gorgeous and it was such a clear day that we could the Wisconsin shoreline extend northeast about 50 miles.

Lake Michigan

Craig skipped rocks.

Craig skipping rocks

Lake Michigan at Schlitz

After the hike, we cooled off with some Kopps custard–I got chocolate chip cookie dough.

Kopps chocolate chip cookie dough

I picked up Wheat Belly at the Central Library. I started reading it last night and discovered that the author is a cardiologist from Milwaukee! So cool! I kept hearing about this book and was intrigued. I’ll let you know how it is when I finish it. Anyone read this yet and have feedback to share in the comments?

Wheat Belly book at library

This morning, Craig and I played tennis (I won, hooray) and then we did a dreaded cleaning behind our refrigerator. Oh man was that gross. I feel better now that we got the dust and dirt out from underneath. The only problem is that I have experienced bad dust allergies all day as a result. No fun!

It’s just beautiful here, so I think I am going to take a walk outside and listen to a fitness podcast.

Have a great Sunday night!

Monday Monday, so good to me

Yesterday was definitely productive and one of the happier Mondays I have had in a while, mostly because I was free to do whatever I wanted.

Maybe I should have bought this cup at Target after all?

I considered buying this for my desk at work

I went to Penzey’s to purchase something so I could get an item for free. I got the Natural High Fat Cocoa that my mom loves and makes brownies with. Now I need to figure out what I am going to make with it. The cashier suggested a nice chocolate cake with raspberry filling.

Penzey's Natural High Fat Cocoa

This jar was free with my purchase of $5 or more. Isn’t the label sweet?

Penzey's Raspberry Enlightenment

Halfway through my errands, I fueled up at Panera bread. I really love their greek salad. I must find a way to make that salad dressing at home!

Sierra Turkey and Greek Salad from Panera

I found these new fish oil gummies at Target. Even better, I had a $3 off coupon, so they were pretty cheap. I am all about the coupons!

I tried two when I arrived home and they were yummy. They didn’t taste like fish at all, which is always my worst fear because I do not like the taste of fish. I like the gummy form vs. the pills because my doc tells me they are easier for me to digest.

Nature Made Fish Oil gummies

When I arrived home, I found Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Happier at Home, in my door! I won it from her publisher directly and I am so excited to read it. I just have to get through a stack of magazines and some library books first.

Happier at Home

I worked out in the afternoon and recovered with protein powder and milk in my new BlenderBottle. I added some vanilla stevia and it added that bit of sweetness it was lacking before. The BlenderBottle mixed the protein powder well and I was so full after having 19 grams of protein in a matter of minutes.

Blender Bottle and NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia

Craig and I took a very long walk after dinner. We spotted mice (eek) in a few yards. I don’t like rodents. Craig insists that they are cute. Yeah, not convinced!

I have been cleaning and doing laundry today. I need to get back to some of that and take a walk while listening to some fitness and nutrition podcasts.

A city girl married a farm boy

We had a nice weekend away in Shawano and DePere!

Halfway through our trip, we stopped at the outlet mall (no luck there) and then at Starbucks, where I got my free birthday drink. We shared a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino.

Venti Salted Caramel Mocha

Mmm…whip cream and caramel is divine. I do think I prefer the hot Salted Caramel Mocha though.

Mmm...caramel and whip cream

Last time we went up north, the Olympics were just starting and I had Olympic fever, so I didn’t read anything I brought with me. This time, I made a point to chill out and read a magazine and a book. The Snow Child is pretty interesting so far.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine and The Snow Child

Loved that one of my favorite textile designers, Amy Butler, was featured in the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Amy Butler article--Better Homes and Gardens

Amy Butler in Better Homes and Gardens

I celebrated more relaxation time with a Sprecher beer.

Sprecher Special Amber

Sometimes I find things in Shawano that I don’t see back home–like Biscoff spread and a BlenderBottle.

It was my first time trying Biscoff and it’s delicious. I like it better than the Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. It’s somehow not as sweet, if that makes any sense.


The BlenderBottle will be great for post-workout protein drinks. I also think I am going to take it to work to have a protein shake as a snack around 3 p.m. as that’s when I get hungry.

Blender Bottle

The whole reason we went to Shawano was to stay an hour away from DePere, which is where my friend Jenny (a city girl) got married to Tim (the farm boy) on Saturday!


Isn’t this sign the cutest?


I don’t like the way my arms look in photos, so I had to adopt the model/actress pose during the wedding. Here is my friend Kim and I.


Hooray, Jenny is finally married! She had been dating Tim since they were 19 and she turns 33 in about a month. That girl is patient! 🙂


On Sunday, Craig and I headed into town to have breakfast before packing up the cottage and leaving.

I got a country benedict as my meal and it was very tasty! I hadn’t had hollandaise sauce in a while.

Country Benedict

My first day off this week has been productive and fun! I’ll write that post next.

My week in photos

Here’s what I was up to this past week.

I rarely wear dresses to work. I decided I needed to wear my wardrobe, so I changed it up and threw on this dress one day. People noticed. Note to self-wear more dresses and buy more. 🙂

dress and shoes

Craig and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on Wednesday. We went out to Ann’s Italian restaurant in Hales Corners for dinner.

Craig at our 3rd anniversary dinner

I had mushroom ravioli and it was delicious!

me at anniversary dinner

Dessert was chocolate lava cake.

dessert-chocolate lava cake

We were near our wedding site, so hopped over there to walk around.

I love this picture of my husband.


The rose garden (our site) at Boerner Botanical Gardens.


bench at Boerner

I was inspired by Karis’s kale frittata last weekend, so I made frittata muffins by adapting this recipe.

Kale frittata muffin

I think this will be a great way for me to use up our kale, have a healthy snack at work and to get my protein in.

I went to the Parade of Homes with my mother-in-law yesterday. We walked for about 6 hours and saw at least 20 houses. I have a very good idea of what I want in a house now.

I liked this exterior–particularly the gray/blue shingles with the white trim.

house I liked the exterior of

I found my dream kitchen in my dream house. I need to take Craig to see this model.

my dream kitchen

Brooklyn great room

The dream home even had a screened porch. I’d love one some day.


After the parade of homes, we went to my nephew’s b-day party.


I loved the angry birds theme since I’m a big kid and enjoy the game myself.

angry birds napkin with dinner

Today, Karis and I met some new Milwaukee bloggers at Blogs and Books.

Blogs & Books


Such a cute welcome table.

Blogs & Books table

Pretty flowers from fresh design in Milwaukee.

pretty flowers

For this first event, we read and discussed The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

The Happiness Project, flowers and lemonade

We discussed the book in this fantastic and unique space, the Pabst Theater pub.


We had spiced pecans from Treat Bake Shop and delicious lemonade!


Sara showed us Japanese gift-wrapping. I plan to use this soon for a gift to someone.

Sara wrapping books with scarves

So pretty and eco-friendly!


I am looking forward to the next Blogs & Books in the fall! Thanks to Sara and Colleen for organizing it and bringing bloggers who love to read together.

It was a good week! Hopefully this one is just as great, especially since my birthday is on Friday.

This and That

I can’t believe this week is nearly over! Here’s a little “this and that” from the week.

I splurged on this cheese and it’s all gone already. It reminded me of Pleasant Ridge cheese, which reminded me that I am a major slacker and I still owe a post on my visit to the Uplands farm from back in June. I hope to get that done soon.

Anyway, I would definitely purchase this one again. It was great with some fresh french bread and also on a turkey sandwich.

BellaVitano Sartori gold cheese

Alysha blogged about this cider, so being a cider girl myself, I had to try it. I didn’t like it at first and then it grew on me.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider Crisp Apple

Lately I’ve been buying the new tubs of Chobani and just adding my own preserves, fresh blueberries, lemon NuNaturals stevia, almonds and chia seeds to the plain variety for my work lunches. I really never seem to get sick of this combination and it fills me up!

Chobani plain yogurt with blueberries, blueberry preserves, chia seeds, almonds

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you know that I Iove to read. I have always wanted to join a book club in Milwaukee, so Karis and I are attending our first meeting for one on Sunday, August 26th. Locals-for more details check out this site.

Check out the flyer–aren’t the illustrations on the bookmarks fun!?


image source

Our first selection is The Happiness Project, which I have read before, but it was a while ago. I didn’t want to go to the book club without rereading it and I figure I can always use reminders on how to be more happy every day.

The Happiness Project by Rubin

Like Rubin says, she didn’t start this project because she was depressed. It’s just that she complained too much and got irritated easily by things. I can totally relate.

I loved these lists at the beginning of the book. I have been trying to do a lot of these lately, even before I started rereading the book.



Today was a good mail day (love those). I ordered some stuff from Lands’ End earlier this week and it came so quickly. It helps that Lands’ End is a Wisconsin based company, so the package didn’t have far to go.


I got a great deal on these four shirts and was so excited to see how they fit.


They all fit wonderfully, but I may return the pink top because I don’t love how the cowl neck looks. The nice thing is that I can return the shirt to a Sears that carries Lands’ End. Anyway, all of the shirts were so soft and the material was high quality. It won’t be my last time buying from them. When I was at the mall last weekend, I was frustrated with not being able to find any tops that I liked and even wanted to try on. I love ordering things online, so I took a chance and I am glad I did.

More fun mail. I love getting free samples of new products to try out!


On the fitness front, I am still hitting the gym occassionally, but I know that I need to work harder when I am there. Craig and I played tennis last night (he won, boo) and took a long walk around the park afterwards. I wasn’t too pleased when I saw a bat flying overhead. Eek!

Tomorrow I am off to get highlights in my hair and then to work in the afternoon. I work until around midnight, but I don’t mind because I won’t have to do it again for another two months.

Monday poll

It’s been a while since I blogged. I just don’t feel inspired to write or take photos lately. I am sure it’s just a phase. Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog always posts a fun Monday poll and reading it on my lunch break today inspired me to fill out her questions and post them on my own blog. By the way, I totally adore her blog because she posts great reviews of products, so I encourage you to check it out.

1. Mood:

Productive and happy. I felt pretty “off” last week in general and after running errands and cleaning up the house this weekend, I feel like I have a better start to this week.

2. How would you describe your current hairdo?

A work in progress. I have decided to grow it out (side swept bangs included because they never really swept with my lovely hairline being what it is) and get it back to my natural dark blonde color as much as possible.

3. Are you a Bond girl/guy?

Sure. I love a good mystery and a hunky lead actor. I prefer Daniel Craig as Bond.

4. How often do you wear concealer?

Every single day. Usually just under eye. I had to wear some Bobbi Brown corrector on my lovely zit today.

5. Do you believe you’d make a good reality TV show judge?

No way!

6. How did you spend your Sunday afternoon?

Hung out with my friends at a going away party–we had lunch, hung out by the pool, I teared up a little at the thought of our friend Laurie leaving for Germany for two years, clammored over some great products Laurie brought to share with us girls and ended it all with a brownie Blizzard at Dairy Queen. Then I went to my parents’ house to pick up some zucchini and eggplant, visit and talked to my mom about our trip to Europe.

august photos 001

7. Something you’d like to learn?

I won’t share the one thing I really would like to learn as it’s kind of personal, but I wish I spoke German fluently.

8. Do you have a signature makeup look?

No, just try to look as natural as possible.

9. What’s for lunch today?

A turkey, provolone, tomato and lettuce sandwich on whole wheat. Strawberries. A black cherry chobani. Maybe some chocolate for dessert.

august photos 002

10. Weekly goals:

-Keep up with cleaning our house
-Get to bed earlier (by 9:30) so I am not napping every night like I did last week
-Make a couple of new recipes incorporating the zucchini and eggplant I just got
-Read more. Currently reading: Paris in Love
-Take more walks with Craig now that our weather has cooled down a bit
-Make it to yoga once
-Blog more! 🙂

Hope you all are having a good Monday!

Wild and healthy

How is your week going? Mine has been ok. It’s super busy at work, so time is flying by.

I started a new book this week and I am enjoying it so far. It’s well written and an interesting.


Here’s a video about the story:

I wish I could do what she did and hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Alas, this girl gets scared of garter snakes and seeing a rattlesnake like she did would scare the crap out of me.

I’ve been trying to eat as healthy as possible this week. My stomach has not been happy since last week and eating clean is the only way to get it back to normal.

We had salads for dinner tonight. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes grilled chicken on a salad just tastes yummy.

Last night, I ate a whole avocado in the form of guacamole. I couldn’t stop eating it. I need to make homemade guac more often. It’s great to have homemade salsa once again too, complete with cilantro from our garden.

Look for a giveaway tomorrow morning! Here’s a hint:

What are you reading this summer?

Today I learned…

…that it’s not fun to get to work and realize you left your well planned lunch out on the counter and ruined a perfectly good yogurt as a result.

But it is fun to get Subway, take a walk outside to get there and just get away from the office in general, especially on a Monday. Photo a Day (vegetable) was fulfilled with lots of veggies in my ham and cheese sub.


Organic apples always taste so much better than non-organic. These were the same price per pound as the apples I usually buy, so I really need to go to Outpost or other places that sell organic produce at a reasonable price.


German (well European) candy is so much better than American, especially because the German chocolate unexpectedly contained some rum! I felt so naughty eating it at work, but didn’t realize it had rum in it until after the fact. I was just looking at the Ritter Sport brand and didn’t notice the flavor.


A former co-worker of mine visited from Germany last week and she is always kind enough to think of us and bring some German candy, so I indulged a little today.

My favorite flavor of Milka-noisette!


I swear the Haribo gummy bears taste different too.


I learned a bit about Catherine the Great today while starting this biography on her. So many good books to read and so little time. I’ve decided I need to do less spending time on my iPhone on the bus and more time reading. I sometimes feel too tired for it though!

I read the book on my way home and literally gasped, as someone with my pretty rare maiden name was mentioned multiple times. It gives this geneaology geek something to look forward to researching. 🙂


While watching the news tonight, I learned something new. That resistance training does more for senior citizens’ brains than meditating or cardio. Keep exercising mom and dad, especially by lifting weights in your Silver Sneakers classes! On that note, I’m going to lift some weights at the gym myself.

What did you learn today?