Category Archives: Random

Monday Poll: November 5, 2012

I felt like doing a Monday Poll, like Karen did. I wasn’t feeling creative, so I just copied her questions.

Sad. 😦 I learned of a former co-workers’ passing while I was at work today. All I could think is that life is short and we need to enjoy every moment.

2.Mystery or romance?
Definitely mystery. I just watched the TV show Homeland for the first time and am already absorbed in the story because it’s a mystery.



3.The girls wanna go the movies to see the last Twilight. You in or out?
Out. I’d rather see Lincoln or Anna Karenina in the theater. Vampires aren’t my thing.



4.Have you ever won (or placed in) a limbo contest?
I don’t think I ever won one, but I loved roller skating limbo back in the 80’s. I was pretty good at it!

5.What time did you go to bed last night?
Around 10:15. We really need to get to bed earlier. I am always tired during the week.

6.When was the last time you felt really and truly alone?
Almost every day in the spring of 2007. I was living in California, not liking my job or social life and many days ended in tears.

7.When was the last time you felt really and truly loved?
I feel loved every single day, by my husband, cats and parents especially.

8.Is there anything you’d like to accomplish by the end of the year?
Yes, to figure out a new blog name soon. I’d also like to further explore how to turn my hobbies into a career.

9.How long are your nails?
They are on the shorter side. Since I type at work all day, I like to keep them as short as possible.

10.Weekly goals:
-get to the gym at least four times
-enjoy all that life has to offer because my former co-worker cannot do that anymore
-keep exploring new blog names
-find a vegetarian/vegan recipe for Thanksgiving dinner (any suggestions are most welcome). I finally have a fellow vegetarian at the dinner table this year, so I need to find something for the both of us to eat.

7 things I learned over the weekend

Reflecting back on the weekend, I realized that I “learned” a lot and wanted to share those things with readers, as quirky as some of them are.

1) My current khaki colored pants should not be worn anymore. I wore them shopping on Saturday and the view of my backside was not pleasant. The pants I was wearing just aren’t flattering anymore, if they ever were. I’m on the hunt for a new pair. Also: I must do more squats and butt toning workouts! I am sharing something I don’t like about myself because I want to change it.

2) Cleaning out my closet is kind of therapeutic. I switched my summer clothes out and brought out the fall and winter items. I also simplified my shoe selection for the new seasons. I am happy to also report that I have a pretty big Goodwill pile and I will also attempt to sell some items at a consignment shop soon. I need to go through this process more often.


Karma decided to sleep in the middle of my laundry/sorting pile.


3) My husband is amazing. I knew this already, but that guy spent most of his weekend digging out old, moldy caulk and redoing the entire tub and window. We also spent a fair chunk of time at ACE hardware in the caulk aisle and had to make two separate trips there. Fun! Glad that project is done. Can we buy a new house now?


4) Buying a new pillow helps me sleep better. It has already forced me to be more of a back sleeper, which is great. I tend to sleep on my side or stomach and then I get these huge lines on my face in the morning. I know those can’t be good to keep getting long term. And hooray for the pillow I picked out being only $10 on sale at Target.

5) Showering at the gym isn’t really that bad. Since the caulk had to dry for 24 hours, I had to shower at the gym after my workout on Sunday and while I have always dreaded it, freshening up there wasn’t that bad. It just takes being organized with my supplies.

6) It took a visit to a French restaurant over the weekend to realize that my French comprehension and pronunciation is better than I thought. While I have never taken a formal French class, spending time in Switzerland with French Swiss classmates, traveling in Paris, and my natural language skills helped me feel more confident with the language. I even managed to pronounce the dessert my friend and I ordered correctly!

7) And finally, don’t use a priority mail box for certain situations. Due to this, I spent about 45 minutes in the post office on Saturday. I have to credit the two ladies I worked with at the post office though–they were kind and patient. I am happy to have found a decent post office near our house.

It wasn’t the most relaxing weekend, but I felt like I accomplished a lot and at least I got out of the house to enjoy shopping and dinner out with a friend. More on that in my next post.

What have you learned about yourself or life lately?


How is your week going? Mine has been pretty good so far! I don’t think a lot of Packer fans can say that today after that horrible referee call last night. I don’t watch football, but even I was shocked and angry when I saw that play on the news this morning. My favorite headline was “Clueless in Seattle.”



I’ve had quite a calm come over me lately. I don’t know if it was that week of vacation I took, that I am still feeling sort of out it from this never-ending cold virus or that meditation is the cause of it. Whatever it is, I am thankful for the feeling.

To keep my calm feeling, I went for a walk outside in the gorgeous fall weather during my lunch break today. My destination was Starbucks and a Pumpkin Spice Latte was my treat.

I have only had two this season and they have hit the spot! For some reason, they taste much better than I remembered them tasting last year. I think it’s my imagination though.

Pumpkin Spice Latte (second of the season)

It was so calm and quiet at Starbucks. I just chilled in a chair and played on my iPhone and watched people.


This sounds odd, but I know I am not the only girl that does this. I spotted a girl who was dressed so cute in a typical fall outfit: brown boots, dark tights, a skirt and a crossbody purse. She looked effortless. I think I need to dress like that more often, especially in fall because I love wearing dresses or skirts with tights and tall boots. I looked down at my boring outfit and thought to myself, you can do better.

While walking, I listened to a great new podcast: From the Inside Out by Trish Blackwell.

Trish Blackwell podcast


The episode I listened to was about patience. I think I am a pretty patient person, but I know that everyone could find ways to be more patient and it was a good reminder to work on that.

Dinner tonight was kind of my go-to meal: quinoa with whatever I can find to dump in it. I mixed together Trader Joe’s roasted red peppers, quark from Clock Shadow, feta cheese, various spices, sea salt and cooked chickpeas. I made enough for leftovers for our lunches too.

Quinoa with chickpeas, roasted red peppers, quark and feta

Instead of going to the gym, I took advantage of the crisp and beautiful weather and went for a bike ride. There won’t be many more evenings left to do that, so I figured I should spend some time outside.

Craig suggested I also do Wii Fit, which I haven’t done in ages. I got a half hour in on there and it felt great to have fun while playing various balance and cardio levels.


My favorite is catching the fish in the penguin balance game. 🙂 I also did step aerobics on there for 10 minutes, which got me sweating! It was a good reminder to pull out the Wii more in the winter months, when I don’t feel like going to the gym.


Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favorite you subscribe to? I have a mixture of fitness, travel, language, vegetarian, NPR and nutrition podcasts on my iPhone.

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.

10 days

I am off of work for the next 10 days. Last night, I celebrated with a couple of glasses of this wine, which is quite good. I chose this bottle because it was produced in Mosel, Germany, which is one of the regions Craig and I visited on our honeymoon in Europe. We went through the lovely Mosel valley by train on our way to Burg Eltz.


I am just staying in town for my week off, but it will be great to get away from work for a bit and visit with a friend, hang out with my mom and dad, get a haircut, organize the house, shop without feeling rushed and to check out a new YMCA that just opened by my parents’ house.

We are on our way out of town to attend my friend Jenny’s wedding near Green Bay! I had to meet with our new insurance agent this morning to sign some paper work, cleaned the house, packed and now I am trying to relax a little before we hit the road for a two hour plus drive.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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.

Passion tea lime cocktail

I made a tasty and refreshing summer cocktail over the weekend.

passion lime cocktail

I love to get Tazo Passion teas from Starbucks. So, I decided to save some money and purchase my own iced tea bags.

Tazo Iced Passion

When I found out I was selected to try out Sweet ‘N Low sweetener in a cocktail, I knew that I wanted to use my newly purchased tea bags to create one.

The lovely folks at Foodbuzz sent me this cocktail shaker, Sweet ‘N Low packets and cocktail recipes.

Sweet N' Low and cocktail shaker

sweet n' low and cocktail recipes

Tazo Iced Passion tea and cocktail shaker

I brewed the tea per the instructions, added some Sweet ‘N Low packets to the pitcher and had yummy tea!


I added some vodka, fresh lime and more Sweet ‘N Low to make my Passion Tea Lime cocktail.

pouring the sweet n' low

It was tasty and refreshing. The Sweet ‘N Low definitely helped to sweeten up the tea a bit, as it can be a bit blah on it’s own (in my opinion).

Disclosure: I received a cocktail shaker, 10 Sweet ‘N Low samples and recipes through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Sweet’N Low and I received compensation for this post.

Things that made me happy this week

The littlest things made me happy at the end of this week…

One of my work programs is near the end and this makes me so happy. September and October are quiet months at my job and I look forward to a whole week of vacation in September. I’m already planning out my days–Costco with mom to get my passport photos and other things, a haircut, a visit with my friend Danielle, cleaning, reading lots of magazines and biking.

The Wisconsin Avenue bridge opened on Thursday. That means a shorter commute for me! Hooray! Seriously, you know you are getting old when things like this make you smile. 🙂

Milwaukee bus

Picking kale and a red pepper from my garden. I was slacking on picking the kale. I think I’ll make a salad and some kale chips out of this tomorrow.

Kale and red pepper

Call me a crazy cat lady, but our pets entertain us on a daily basis, keep us company and give us love. Karma is always happy to work the camera.

Karma working the camera

Tanzi was enjoying the 4 x 100 women’s relay with me last night. Go USA!! That race was the bomb. I haven’t admitted it on the blog, but I am a total Olympics junkie. I don’t watch a lot of sports throughout the year, but I can’t get enough of the Olympics.

Tanzi watching Track and Field

Germany is pretty much my favorite country. My friend Laurie just moved to Munich this week, coincidentally, on the day that the OPI Germany colors came out. I was so excited to see the names they came up with for the collection. Now I need to get to the store and buy a few or maybe a box of the Ger-minis.

My fav name–probably “Don’t Pretzel My Buttons.” I like the color too! I kind of love German pretzels.



I enjoyed this sample at work and it was really good. The texture and flavor were both nice.

Perfectly Simple Zone Peanut Crunch bar

The sales ladies at Sephora were super nice today. Two helped me–one returned the Clinque BB cream I didn’t care for and the other gave me some samples of two other BB creams to try–Boscia and Dr. Brandt’s. I am excited to try both! Thanks for making me walk out of your store on a positive note, Sephora.

I also received great customer service at Aveda today. I went in for my free b-day perfume and also got this free sample of a new product.

free samples

Dinner tonight was exactly what I wanted. I made pasta with zucchini and eggplant cooked in olive oil and garlic. I had a cocktail that was delicious and honestly made Craig and I pretty tipsy. I don’t drink vodka that often, in fact, I doubt I had had it since college! Anyway, more on that cocktail in a future post.

Pasta with zucchini and eggplant, cocktail

Shh..don’t tell my husband, but Ryan Lochte makes this girl smile. I totally have a crush on him. Don’t most women in America right now?



Oh and finally beating my husband in tennis this morning made my competitive side happy. I think it was the Fitmixer aminos that helped!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Weekend up north

We headed up to Shawano, WI over the weekend, where my husband’s family has a cottage on the lake. I didn’t grow up going to a lake cottage or cabin, but it’s a tradition in Craig’s family.

I drove and was feeling sleepy halfway through our trip, so a trip to Starbucks was much needed. I tried a White Chocolate frappucino for the first time.

Needed a pick me up while driving up north

We stopped in Oshkosh, where the EAA flyin was going on and we saw the Good Year blimp and some fighter jets.

Good year blimp

Here are some pictures from the lake.





We ran into town on Friday night and I picked up a salad and some Chobani at the store.

Healthy dinner

Craig supported the girl scouts and got a hot dog.

Craig eating his hot dog

On Friday night, I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, but admittedly spent a lot of time on my cell phone because I was a little bored. They weren’t horrible (especially if you knew that Boyle was creating the first live movie) in my opinion, I just get bored during those in general. I like the parade of nations part best.

I enjoyed this cider finally.

Fox Barrel cider and the olympics

We ventured out to Wausau to hike Rib Mountain on Saturday.

The views from the top were beautiful.


me at Rib Mountain

us at Rib Mountain

We went on the yellow trail and it wasn’t that tough or long of a hike.

the yellow trail at Rib Mountain

The top of the observation tower offered the best views of the area.


It was nice to get a change of scenery over the weekend. I didn’t get to do any reading of magazines or books, which was a bummer. I did watch a lot of Olympics and Craig learned just how excited I am about the summer games. I was so happy Lochte won a gold!


My one complaint about the weekend? Getting a cappucino in town at a local coffee shop. Let’s just say that the girl admitted that she didn’t know how to make one and when she started to make it, kept asking if I wanted it flavored with vanilla. Then another lady took over making it, asked me if I wanted vanilla flavoring and it was finally done about 15 minutes after I ordered it. I think there was something wrong with the machine or the barista. I should have complained or walked out as the capuccino was not very good in the end. I don’t think Shawano will be getting a Starbucks anytime soon, so I know to just be happy with my instant coffee when I am up north.

MAM, Anaba and Thirst and Vine

I was furloughed today, so I enjoyed my afternoon by doing a couple of things in Milwaukee.

I checked out the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Posters of Paris exhibition. I am always impressed by the exhibits there and this one was no different.


I went to Alterra after and had one of their Sportea Iced Teas. It was green tea with electrolytes, etc. and really tasty. Just the pick me up I needed after walking in the 100 degree heat.


Then I met my social coordinator for the summer (she keeps coming up with cool places to check out and classes to take so this is what I am calling her now), Karis, who asked me to check out a Portraits of Milwaukee exhibit with her at Anaba tea room in Shorewood.



The photographs were great and I’d recommend going to check them out! The photographer, John O’Hara, shot various scenes of Milwaukee, such as the state fair, nature scenes and Milwaukeeans enjoying our wonderful city.

We went up to the rooftop garden, which would make a lovely place for a wedding or a great place to escape to and enjoy a cup of tea.



Then we headed over to Thirst and Vine on Oakland Avenue for dinner.



I liked this sign, of course.


After reading positive reviews about it, I ordered the lunch portion of the four cheese mac and cheese, which was very comforting.


The size was perfect because I managed to finish it all and I don’t think I could have done that with the dinner sized portion.


It’s back to work for me tomorrow, which will feel strange after being off for two days!