Friday, May 28, 2010

Dress for Success

Thank you all for weighing in yesterday on my outfit selection! You wer all far too kind with your comments!

Tomorrow night I will be wearing dress #1.

Even though Saturday has the potential for being a pretty awkward social event, I am looking forward to it. If anything, it will make for a good story.

In addition to attending this wedding, over the long weekend I will...
  • Hopefully go to SATC2 with a girlfriend tonight!!
  • Complete a 10 mile training run in preparation for Marathon Training. Yes, I am training for marathon training. I am lame.
  • Read while laying by the pool at my condo association and try not to think about the fun times (and my nephew's 5th birthday party) that I am missing out on at my parents' cabin!
  • Shop for more summer dresses & skirts... and maybe some fun accessories as many of you commented that I should accessorize with fun, bold, colorful accessories. Truth be told, my accessories are a bit of a yawn!

I'll be back on Tuesday to fill you in how the wedding weekend went! Have a happy weekend everyone!

What do you plan on doing over this long weekend?

PS - You can catch me over on Nola Girl's blog today - while she is in Paris, I filled in and am sharing my 5 favorites things about Paris! Hop on over there to see why I am so head-over-heels in love the City of Lights!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dress Rehearsal

While I do love living alone, there is one thing I miss about having a roommate... or 41 like I did when I lived in Delta Gamma during my college years.

I miss having a roommate to help me with outfit selections!

Can you imagine living with 41 other women? It was actually surprisingly peaceful much of the time, and you always had someone to go to for an honest critique of an outfit - or someone to borrow an outfit from if need be.

So here is where I turn to you, my trusted readers, and ask you for your honest opinion! I am leanings towards one of the following dresses/ensembles but would love to get your opinion!

You can read more details about the wedding I will be attending here, or here is the cliff notes recap:
- It's the wedding of a co-worker
- The wedding is in Iowa
- The only other people I will know, besides the groom, are my two ex-boyfriends, one of which is bringing his new girlfriend

Here are my 4 options. Please disregard my hair & make-up - these pictures were taken after a long day of work!

Option #1: Flirty Black Dress

Pros: It's super comfy and has a flattering neckline. And it has pockets (why can't every dress have pockets?)
Cons: Due to the fullness of the skirt/the way it's cut, if it's windy on Saturday, I run the risk of flashing everyone while walking to & from the car.

Option #2: Classic Black Dress

Pros: It's a simple, classic look that I could dress up with the right accessories.
Cons: Hillary Rodham Clinton called and she wants the shell of her sisterhood-of-the-traveling-suit back.

Option #3: Navy J.Crew Dress

Pros: The picture isn't great for this one since I am slouching my shoulders, but it is flattering when you see it in person. And it also has pockets!
Cons: Similar to dress #2, it's also a bit on the work-wear side.

Outfit #4: White Pants & Graphic Print Top Combo

Pros: If the reception is on the cool side, I won't freeze like I might in the other dress options (I get cold really easily). Also, I like the cut of the top, although I look like I am rocking a bit of a farmer's tan... Yikes!
May be a bit too casual - although keep in mind this wedding is in the Midwest where the dress code is a bit more relaxed at weddings compared to what you would see in larger cities.

Well, what do you think? I'll be back tomorrow to let you know what my final decision is!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chocolate & Wisdom

In an effort to satisfy my sweet tooth (and avoid the vending machine), I have been packing little individual Dove Dark Chocolates for a little post-lunch pick-me-up. Each little chocolate has a nugget of wisdom inside the wrapper. It's kind of fun to unwrap the chocolate and see what it will say.

Last week, I opened up a chocolate to find the following message:

"It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance."

Later that evening, I was having a post-dinner pick-me-up (it was that kind of day). Guess what the message on that chocolate wrapper said?

"It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance."

Alright, alright Dove. You've made your point.

While I could write a post about how hard it is to open up my heart after the number of heart-aches I've been through, that's not what this post is about. Instead it's about yet another quote from a piece of chocolate... consumed on another day. (I do have to fit into a dress for the wedding I'll be attending with the 2 ex-boyfriends this weekend.)

This quote posed the following question:

"What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?"

Isn't that a good question? It certainly kept me thinking long after that chocolate had been consumed... and digested.

A couple of answers that came to mine for me were: Open a "Shop Around the Corner" type of bookstore - but for adults, not children and write a book. Both just seem so daunting & unachievable - but a girl can dream, right?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?

PS For all the Parenthood watchers out there - is anyone else wishing to be spontaneously serenaded by a man with a ukulele?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your favorite piece of furniture in your house?
Definitely my bed. I really do not spend much time in it, but I love it. I felt like such an adult when I bought it back in 2007! Before that I was sleeping on hand-me-down beds from my parents! The bed has the most fabulously comfortable mattress and I love the look of the head & foot board!

2. If it was raining so hard on a Saturday that you couldn’t leave your house, what would you spend the day doing?
I would read all day while sipping on fresh brewed coffee.

3. What was your favorite candy as a child?
Candy cigarettes. I don't think they make them anymore, though. I think people worried it might encourage smoking... which does make sense.... However, my sister Abby & I loved them and neither of us have ever or would ever smoke. They sort of tasted like marshmallows. Mmm. They were so dang good.

4. Did you get an allowance? What was it based on? What did you do with it?
I didn't and I am ok with it - I probably won't give my kids an allowance either.

I don't think my parents wanted us to think we had to be paid to do chores - it was just part of being a contributing member of the household. When we were older and started mowing lawns, I would get paid to mow the lawn of the 4 plex they owned, so that was sort of like an allowance. Plus it's not like I was deprieved as a child - if I really wanted or needed something, my mom would purchase it for me if it was a reasonable request.

5. Do you have a favorite Etsy store?
I love the photography on Irene Suchocki's shop. 3 of her Paris prints hang above my bed, and I have another one on an adjacent wall. I just adore her work.

6. Do you prefer time with family or time with friends?
That is a really difficult choice because I love my family and I love my friends. My time with them are completely different as we discuss different topics and do different things together. If I was truly forced to choose, I would choose my family. Family always comes first in my life. And luckily, I consider my parents, siblings, and in-laws as friends.

7. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toons, or Animaniacs?
None of the above... Confession: I did not like cartoons as a child. I do not remember watching them - I just wasn't interested in them! My mom kept us busy with other things like puzzles and work books and things like that.

8. Best daytime talk show: Oprah, Ellen, The Doctors, Tyra (ha!), Dr. Oz, or Dr. Phil?
Hmm, do I have to choose on this one too? I don't ever watch day time television - even if I happen to be home. It's just not something I care for. So I will have to say none of the above again.

9. Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the ability to fly?
Definitely the inability to fly! I think the power of invisibility is tempting because you could be a total voyeur... but - you can't do anything with the information you would obtain because no one would know you were privy to conversations, etc. So it would just let it fester and obsess over it and it just wouldn't be fun.

10. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult.
Traveling! I love that I get to plan my own vacations and go wherever my little heart desires! The freedom to travel is a fabulous thing!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Recap

Good Morning & Happy Monday! I can't believe this is the last full week of May. Where did this month go? I say that every month, but each month seems to go even faster than the last!

I had a wonderful weekend up at the cabin; the weather was pretty crappy on Saturday but yesterday's weather definitely made up for it. It was sunny and beautiful outside!

This weekend, I...
  • had a co-pilot for the drive down to the lake for a change! My brother was flying in from a business trip in the early evening so I picked him up on my way up north. I usually do the 2.5-3 hour drive solo so it was great to have someone to talk to - and keep me awake! It made the drive fly by!
  • got the wheels in motion for the planning of a girls' weekend with my mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law for 2011. All the guys in our family have gone on countless hunting & fishing trips so I think us girls are due for a trip of our own. I threw out the suggestion of Boston for a location! I've never been and think it'd be a great getaway!
  • was really touched when my Godson James said: "Lisa, I wish I could see you every day. And I wish I had seen you every day since I was born." I am so glad cabin season is upon us - I don't see him much between Labor Day & Memorial Day but will see him 2-4 times a month during cabin season!!
  • played the game Hi Ho! Cherry-O at least 10 times and won maybe 3 times? I'm so glad my nephews are at the game playing age!
  • snuggled up on the couch with 2 of my 4 nephews (picture below) and watched the 1985 rendition of Alice in Wonderland. The boys loved it! Each summer, the boys kind of get hooked on a movie; I have a feeling this will be the movie of the summer of 2010. I have actually never read the book! It was one the classic books that was part of a collection us kids received from my grandma so my mom is going to bring it down to the cabin so I can tackle it this summer.

I totally look like I am hogging the couch in this photo! Andrew is on the upper left, James is on the upper right, and Mattie jumped into the picture at the last minute.

Tell me about your weekend!

P.S. Hop over here if you'd like to hear my thoughts on American Wife!

Friday, May 21, 2010

And the Winner is...

Greetings & Happy Friday! This has been a fun, but packed week for me. I totally over-scheduled myself and barely ran. Now I remember why I usually only accept social plans on one week night (v. 3 this week). I have a relaxing weekend ahead of me at the cabin, though. The temps should be in the 80s tomorrow! I can't wait to lay out on the dock with a great book. I have some wonky tan lines (I sort of have a farmer's tan) from last weekend in Tucson so I need to try to get rid of those - otherwise my dress options for the wedding next week are going to be a bit limited!

It's time to announce the winner of my giveaway from last week. Last time I did a giveaway, I told my sister Abby about my methodology for selecting a winner. I think it's a pretty common method but she thought it was so involved and said I must share it next time I do a give away. So here is how it worked:

1. I entered the names into an excel spread sheet. If you were a follower, I entered your name is 2 cells.

2. I then used the random number generator command in excel which is =Rand(). Excel then assigns a random number between 0 & 1.

3. I then sorted the number from lowest to highest, and ranked them from 1 to the highest (28 in this case).

4. I then used to pick a number between 1 & 28.

And the winner is...

J from Morning Runner. J - send me an email at with your address so I can pass this onto the give away sponsor!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Any fun plans?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Always, Sometimes, Never

I did a post using this format a while back, and thought it'd be fun to do it again!

I always...
  • pay attention to how people treat the waitstaff at a restaurant. I worked as a waitress for 3.5 years in college so am very sensitive how people treat waiters/waitresses.
  • wear my seat belt. Even if I am only driving a block - it is such a subconscious habit!
  • fill out the memo line on my checks. But I don't get copies of my checks and never pull them up online, so this is such a useless habit (unless I am referencing an account number). Not that I write out many checks these days...
I sometimes...
  • fantasize about being a librarian. It's not even an option given the amount of student loan debt from obtaining my MBA, but it's a nice thought. I already totally have the wardrobe!
  • wish I could work in a sound-proof booth. People can get on my nerves really quickly, especially when I'm stressed out or working on something difficult.
  • wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to have my own children.
I never...
  • paint my own toe nails. If I do, it looks like a 5 year old did it!
  • wear short sleeved shirts to work - even in the summer. I always seem to freeze at work, regardless of the season.
  • end a phone call with my parents without saying, "I love you."
Your turn! Fill in "I always... Sometimes... Never..." in your comment or do this on your blog!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adventures in Awkwardness: Chapter 1

I am always telling people that I feel like my life could be a screenplay for a dorky ABC Family movie. I just feel like I have more than my share of awkward encounters - especially when it comes to dating. So today I am kicking off a new blog post series called, "Adventures in Awkwardness." I'm excited to share some of my stories with you! They were all somewhat traumatic when they occurred, but with time I have been able to see the humor in them.

Today's story actually hasn't occurred yet, but it's a scenario that has the makings for complete and utter awkwardness. Without further ado, here goes.

One of my co-workers is getting married in Iowa over Memorial Day weekend. He's been a good friend to me so I feel that it's important to go to this wedding.

But here's the thing. The only other guests I will know are my 2 two ex-boyfriends.

I will most likely be sitting at a table with The Charioteer (ex-bf that sits 6 cubes away) and Deux (ex-bf that sits 2 floors above me).

Holy awkward. The Charioteer & Deux are friends, but I don't know if that makes it less awkward or more awkward? And I think Deux might bring his new girlfriend.

I am almost tempted to place a "SWF seeks Wedding Date" personal add, a la the movie Wedding Date.

I mean, if someone could guarantee that a Dermot Mulroney look alike would show up at my door as a result of placing said ad, I'd be all for it.

But most likely, I'd be the victim of the next Craigs List murderer or something like that.

So I will suck it up, attend solo, and find one hell of a dress to wear. In fact, I am doing a little 'fashion show' at my best friend's house next week so she can help me select the perfect outfit. And we are going to get manicures together... Is it shallow that I want to make sure I look really good?

I'm sure I'll share a recap of how it all went sometime in June. I am crossing my fingers that it doesn't turn out to be as awkward as I am imaging it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. If your name was a verb, what would “to Lisa” mean? (Insert your own name though…)
"To Lisa" would mean to abruptly cut across 3 lanes of traffic out of the excitement of seeing really cheap gas. I did this a couple of years ago when driving with my friend Heidi and she still likes to tease me about it!

2. What myth have you always wanted to prove or bust?
The myth about how long a swallowed piece of gum will stay in your stomach. I believe I was told it would stay in my stomach for 7 years when I was a child. That just can't be true.

3. If you had the ability to get a message out to the entire world, what would you say?
If at all possible, try to live on your own for at least a year at some point in your life. While I know it's not possible for everyone, I think it's an important experience to try to

4. I know you’ve answered a similar question before, but it’s been awhile. Please name your current top 10 blogs.
I am going to skip this question. It's just too hard to do and truth be told, I am sort of too lazy to do all the hyperlinking today!

5. Do you have a junk drawer?
I just don't have the space in my condo to have a junk drawer. Even if I had a spare drawer, I still don't think I would have one because junk drawers kind of drive this OCD girl up the wall!

6. Bottled water or tap?
Filtered tap water.

7. As a kid, did you have a favorite Biblical story?
David & Goliath - I am root for the underdog!

8. What is your favorite black and white movie?

9. Aside from your engagement/wedding rings, what is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? Does it have a story behind it?
I am actually not a jewelry person so I don't have any super meaningful jewelry because the people in my life know that jewelry is not the way to my heart. The only jewelry I will wear on a daily basis is a future engagement/wedding. I do have some fun pieces that I try to make a point to wear, but that's about it!

My mom is the same way - she is so not a jewelry person!

10. What sports/activities do you hope your kids will be involved in? (Answer for both a boy and a girl)
I really don't have anything specific in mind. I want them to pursue whatever it is they are interested in. That said, I would like them to take piano lessons and try a musical instrument.

Oh, and if I have a daughter, I would like her to try ballet or gymnastics!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tucson Trip Part I

Greetings & Happy Monday! I am back from Tucson and feel very refreshed! There's nothing like a trip to a sunny climate to visit family to refresh a person's spirits!

I flew in a day earlier than my parents so that I would have Abby & Ryan to myself for a day. Abby & I grew up in a big family, so it's rare for us to hang out together without the rest of the family is around - and while I love big family get togethers, I was really excited to have some two-on-one time with Abby & Ryan!

On Thursday morning, Ryan took his last final for his Electrical Engineering degree and Abby had class, so I had the morning to entertain myself. Abby was concerned that she was being a bad host - but I had a fabulous time! Abby had brewed me a pot of coffee so I headed out to their deck where I sipped coffee and read the May selection for the Blogger Book Club - "American Wife." It was the perfect way to spend my first morning in AZ.

Do you see all those tabs? I got a little tab happy as I will likely be doing a guest post on the blog of the host of the blogger book club and wanted to have some quotes to use as inspiration. Just a reminder - anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in the blogger book club!

Anyways, back to the post at hand. When Ryan & Abby got back, we headed out to do one of my favorite outdoor activities - hiking! I hadn't been hiking in well over a year so was over due! We headed to Madera Canyon which is just south of Tucson.

Here are some pics from the 6.5 mile hike we did!

Abby & I

Abby & Ryan

Abby & I by a waterfall along the trail

After working up an appetite, we got ready in record time (all 3 of us were ready in less than 45 minutes) and headed out to dinner.

I'll have more to share with you later this week!

How was your weekend?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Giveaway Time!

Happy Friday and hello from Tucson. I'm so excited about being in Tucson, I want to find a mic, hook up some speakers and speaker stands and announce that it was 90 degrees here yesterday. Alleluiah, I have officially thawed out people! You probably don't want to hear me gush on and on about how great it is to be on vacation - so instead I will tell you about a fanstastic giveaway that is being sponsored by CSN Stores.

You have a chance to win a Cuisinart Round Classic Waffle Marker!!!

As I said in my miscellany post on Monday, I think a waffle iron should be on every person's bridal gift registry. One of my favorite parts of my weekends at home or at the cabin are the big family breakfasts that my mom prepares. Luckily there is an awesome gluten free baking mix that makes fantastic pancakes! I keep a bag of it at my parents' house and cabin so that I can also enjoy waffles and pancakes along with the rest of my gluten-eating family!

There are three ways to enter this giveaway*:

1. Leave a comment & tell me how you like your waffles - I like mine with whipped cream & freshly sliced strawberries!

2. Become a follower and leave a comment telling me you are a follower - or if you are already a follower, leave a comment telling me you are already a follower.

3. Post about this giveaway on your blog and include the link to your blog post in a comment.

The giveaway is open until 10 pm on Thursday, May 20th. I will announce the winner on Friday, May 21st. I will then pick a winner using a random number generator and pass your info onto CSN stores; the waffle iron will be shipped directly to your residence!

Good luck!!

* Giveaway is only open to US and Canada residents

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Review: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank

I just finished reading "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" by Thad Carhart. Thad is an expatriate writer that lives in Paris with his wife and 2 children. As he walks his children to school every day, he passes by a small piano shop - Desforges Pianos. Over time, he forms a relationship with the shop owner, Luc. This relationship with Luc revitalizes Carhart's passion for the piano. This memoir is a bit of a love story for the piano. We learn about the history of the piano and how the piano has changed since it's invention. I think it is a gem of a book for anyone who is interested in pianos and classical music. If you have no interest in pianos, though, you will probably find this to be a bit dull!

I loved how Luc thought of each piano almost as a person. When Luc sold a piano, the client usually wouldn't pick the piano out; instead, Luc would "introduce" the client to a piano that he thought would be a good fit. As Luc says, "It's not just another instrument like a flute or a violin that you put away in the closet. You live with it and it with you. It's big and impossible to ignore, like a member of the family. It's got to be the right one! (p. 29-30)"

I took piano lessons for over 10 years and taught lessons during my junior and senior year of high school. Reading about Carhart's reflections of his recital days resonated with me. When he said, "... recitals were a strange amalgam: half exam, half carnival, with a dreadful thrill of anticipation until the awful night slowly arrived and quickly passed (p. 63)," I said out loud - YES! Oh the dreaded recital. I do not miss those days!

This book definitely awakened my desire to own a piano. Unfortunately, that is not practical in my 680 square foot condo. It's a shame because playing the piano is so therapeutic for me! When I do buy a house down the road, though, a piano will be one of the first major purchases I will make!

Did you take piano lessons as a child? If not, do you wish you had?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tucson, Here I Come!

After work tonight, I will be flying to Tucson to visit my sister Abby & her husband, Ryan.

* Insert Squeal *

This trip is coming at the perfect time; apparently Mother Nature is uber confused and doesn't realize it's spring! It's been overcast, rainy, and frigid here lately. Case in point: when I drove home on Friday night, it was sort of snowing. Seriously.

So tonight I will hop on a plane and arrive in the land of sun, palm trees, cacti, and fantastic weather! I've never been to visit Abby & Ryan so am looking forward to seeing their house! Hopefully we can fit in a hike tomorrow before my parents arrive (and some pool time in the a.m. while Abby is at class).

As usual, I will be flying solo. And you know what - I totally don't mind. I have lost count of the number of times I have traveled; it's got to be at least 40 times? Probably more? Out of all of those times, I have had a flying companion 6 times. I actually kind of like flying alone, to be quite honest. I just throw on the headphones, open a book, and give off my "we aren't going to exchange life stories" vibe. Yes, I am the standoffish traveler. I did once have a seat mate tell me that I was disarming - so I guess my anti-social nature isn't perceived as being rude by everyone I encounter!

Perhaps I would bend this rule if I actually got seated next to a handsome stranger. That has never happened in all my years of flying... but a girl can dream. After all, a college sorority sister met her husband on an airplane! So it's not just an urban legend - it can happen!

Do you tend to travel alone or with company? Are you a chatty traveler or are you anti-social like I am? Have you ever been seated next to an attractive seatmate?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What was your high school superlative (if you didn’t have one- what would it have been)?
Most Likely to Succeed.

2. What sports did you play in high school?
Me? Sports? Ha. I am so not athletic! I just don't do sports. Sorry.

3. What was the best part about your wedding (if you’re not married yet, what are you looking forward to)?
I'm looking forward to the wedding mass - standing up there, face to face with my husband with my best girls by my side!

And the father/daughter dance. I may or may not have a song in mind...

4. It’s your last meal– what Appetizer, Soup, Salad, Entree and Dessert would you choose?
Well, if it's my last meal that means there are no repercussions of eating gluten... or eating a ridiculous amount of calories, so I'd have:

Appetizer: Ceviche and steamed mussels - can't decide between the two!
Soup: French Onion Soup with lots and lots of cheese!
Salad: Nicoise Salad
Entree: A seafood feast complete with mussels, shrimp, and scallops
Dessert: My mom's chocolate pie

5. What song is your guilty pleasure?
I went through my song list and found my dorkiest 5-star-rated song... It's Crush by David Archuleta... I love to belt it out on the drive home from my runs! Don't judge...

6. What is your favorite professional sports team, and why do you like them?
Really? I have to pick a sports team. See question #2.

Does the 1996 USA Womens' Gymnastics team count?

No? Ok, then I guess I will say the Minnesota Twins.

7. What is your favorite reality show and why do you like it?
Project Runway. I am simply amazed by what the contestants are able to come up with in such a freaking short time span! I thought this season's contestants were particularly talented!!

8. How would you classify your home decorating style (modern, classic, french country)?
I would say a blend between modern & classic.

9. Pizza- deep dish or thin crust? White sauce or red sauce? What toppings?
I don't eat pizza since every gluten free pizza I have tried tastes like sawdust. In my gluten eating days, I preferred a thin crust Margherita (tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil).

10. Favorite weekend getaway within a two hour driving radius?
Can we stretch that to 2.5-3 hours so my parents' cabin will count? If not, I honestly have never done a weekend getaway within 2 hours of Minneapolis so I don't have anything in mind... If I had to choose, maybe a B&B in Stillwater/Afton area, complete with a handsome husband, a Scrabble board, and Banagrams. Wow, am I a thrill. It's just shocking that I am still single, isn't it?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Miscellany

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. Here's where my head is at today, bullet point style!

  • I'm super excited for my short 3-day week of work. I'll be jetting off to Tucson on Wednesday night to visit my sister & her husband. They are having a Mexican Fiesta on Saturday to celebrate their graduations from college. My parents will also be there so it will be a mini family reunion!!
  • I totally felt like my mom last night when I made dinner because I had all these random things in my fridge that I threw into the spaghetti sauce. I usually have to shop for every ingredient but this time around I had a bunch of things in my fridge that needed to be used up before my trip. My mom is the master of creating delicious second meals with ingredients. For instance, she'd made chow mein with left over roasts. Or she'd make my dad's favorite dish, hash, with leftover steak.
  • I was nearly taken out by a kid on a bike on the running path yesterday. Dear God, people need to learn how to share a running path.
  • I watched (500) Day of Summer again this weekend. I think I have seen it 5-6 times now. I think every person who has been through a tough break up in their life should watch this movie. But not right away - wait like 5-6 months maybe when it's not so fresh in your mind.
  • On that note, if I could have Zooey Deschanel's wardrobe in the movie, that'd be awesome.
  • The Portland Marathon is 5 months from today! So excited!
  • I have an exciting giveaway this Friday so be sure to stop back. It's a kitchen gadget that should be on every wedding registry in my opinion.

What's on your mind today?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ode to My Mom

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all had a great week.

It's Mother's Day this weekend so I thought I would dedicate this post to my mom. I won't get to spend the holiday with her, but I will see her in AZ on Thursday!! Can't wait!

It's really hard to sum up everything my mom has done for me and how much I appreciate her in a blog post. How do you sum up all the tears she wiped away, all the cuts and bruises she kissed, all the advice she has given out, and all the delicious meals she has cooked? I obviously can't do her justice here, but I will do my best.

As I have gotten older, I am more and more in awe of all that my mom was able to and continues to accomplish. She helped my dad build up a successful business while still finding time to cook delicious meals every night. We sat down as a family and ate a balance, healthy meal every night of the week. I can't even handle cooking dinner for myself during the week - but she managed to keep 5 kids well fed!

Another thing that amazes me is that I do not remember her ever seeming tired. If she was tired (and seriously, she had to be between working, volunteering in the community, and raising 5 kids), she sure never let it show. She always had time to listen to our stories and help us with our homework in the evening.

So here's to you, mom, and everything you did and continue to do! I know I don't always do the best job showing how much I appreciate you! I love you very much!

This is one of my favorite pics of my mom! You can just see the joy & happiness in her eyes. She's totally in her element - sitting on the deck of our cabin with my nephew Matthew. Doesn't she look fabulous? Would you believe me if I told you she was over 60??? I hope I age as well as she has!

How will you celebrate Mother's Day? Tell me one thing about your mom that you really, really appreciate!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Running Club Review

First off, comment of the day on yesterday's post goes to Gracie of How I Complicated My Life Today. She said, and I quote,

"I'm not going to skirt the issue, mister. Your outfit is making me run off kilter."

Is that an epic comment or what? I love a good play on words!

Back to the topic at hand - the running club. It went so well! I really had nothing to be nervous about. It was a little awkward at first as I shuffled back and forth, trying to figure out how everyone got organized into the right pace groups or length of runs. Then a store employee rang a bell and helped organize a couple of distance & pace groups. There were 3 others in my pace range that wanted to run 4 miles, so it worked out perfectly.

I will definitely be doing runs with this group again. Everyone was really easy going and inclusive. I didn't feel like I was breaking into a tight click, so that was a relief.

And the best thing?

There were no men in Kilts.


So the plan is to run with this group on Wednesdays and I might do my long runs on Sunday. My marathon is a week after the Twin Cities marathon, so my mileage should be really similar to those training for the TC marathon.

I would be lying if I said I'm not sort of hoping I meet an attractive fellow runner. A girl can dream right?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Running Club, Take Two

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile - do you remember the first time I tried out a local running club? It was last June, so it's been awhile... You can read about it here, but here's the ESPN highlights version of my experience:

I showed up and there was a guy wearing a khaki kilt.

It was scarring, people. Absolutely scarring. Now, I am all about being proud of your heritage - and honoring traditional clothing.... but this guy didn't appear to be Scottish, didn't have a Scottish name, and didn't explain why he showed up for a vigorous 4 mile run wearing a freaking kilt.

After that experience, I thought,

"Self, maybe you don't need to make local running friends. You love to run alone. You don't need running friends - and certainly not ones that wear khaki kilts."

Well, nearly a year later, I have decided to give it another shot. This time I am meeting up with a group at a local running store.

And I am super nervous. I keep thinking,

"What if everyone is already BFF and I am a total outcast? What if everyone else is super speedy and I am the tortoise of the group? What if they want to talk during the entire run and I run out of things to say (or am gasping for air because I can barely keep up AND talk at the same time)?"

But it's time to get out of my comfort zone. Running is a big part of who I am so it's high time that I meet some other local runners. Plus, as much as I love running on my own, it would be nice to have a group to run with 1-2 times per week, especially when I am training for the marathon this summer. I emailed the organizer to make sure my pace would work with the group and was told there are 4-6 regulars that run at my pace, so I need to stop worrying that I will be the slowest.

I'll be back tomorrow to let you know how it goes. Wish me luck.

And I swear to God, if I walk in and see a guy in a kilt, I am walking right back out.

Have you ever joined a running club or a meet-up group or something like that? If so, how did it go? Tell me your success stories - it might make me a little less nervous about tonight!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Do you prefer markers, crayons, or colored pencils?
Crayons, as long as they are nice & sharp!

2. As a child, how did your parents celebrate your birthday? (Parties, cake, you pick the dinner, etc.)
My dad would go to work a little later so he could come down in the morning with my mom to wake me up. We always got to pick our dinner (I usually picked spaghetti or spaghetti casserole if I remember correctly) and then we'd have cake after dinner & open presents. My mom would either make a made-from-scratch chocolate cake or we'd get an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. My parents always made it a very special day for us! I had a really hard time when I had my first birthday without my parents when I went to college. It just wasn't the same to not be woken up my parents serenading me!

3. How do you feel about leggings?
The 80s called and they want their leggings back!

I kid, I kid. I think they look great on most people; it's just not a look I could ever pull off!!

4. How do you prefer to follow directions? With a map? Words?
I like it when my New Zealand accented GPS tells me what to do. I am not the best drivers, so it's in everyone's best interest that I not look down at a map or to read directions!

5. What do you eat for snacks?
Vanilla yogurts w/ fresh strawberries, popcorn, grapes, or a hard boiled eggs most days. I am all about snacks. I kind of like to eat every 2-3 hours!

6. Have you ever ordered anything from an infomercial or bought any As Seen on TV products?
The only 'as seen on tv' product I bought was the water globe. It's supposed to be a fool proof way to water plants and keep them alive. Want to see how well they worked?

That's my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree'esq plant that I had to give back to my mom. I really tried to keep the dang thing alive. Total fail.

7. What’s your favorite thing about summer?
Weekends at my parents' cabin! I love weekends at my parents' cabin because I rarely wear make-up, I play in the sand and water with my nephews, I live in my swimsuit, I play cribbage with my dad, and my mom makes amazing blender drinks with fresh fruit in them. What's not to love?
Oy vey I can not wait for summer!

8. Do you have a tattoo? What and where is it?
Hells no. Do not have one, can say with 100% certainty that I never will! To each their own, but this is just not my thing!

9. Are you good at journaling?
I am really good about journaling when I travel. I have about 6-7 journals in a bin under my bed, filled with thoughts I've had while traveling.
Unless this blog counts, I am terrible about journaling my day-to-day life.

10. What’s your favorite way to eat a hamburger?
Right off the grill with lots of pickles, ketchup, and spicy mustard. Bunless, obviously. I can't imagine that there are actually gluten free buns. And if they do exist, I am sure they taste like rubbish, like all other mass produced gluten free bread products.

Monday, May 3, 2010

April Recap

Holy Smokes, people, it's May. This year is flying by so darn fast. I feel like I will blink my eyes and the leaves will be dropping and fall will be here.

Here is how my April played out!

Current Book(s):

- Little Bee by Chris Cleave - Fabulous book although difficult, but important to read due to the heavy subject matter (treatment of asylum seekers)

- Rooftops of Tehrn by Mahbod Seraji - Beautifully written book about a part of the world that I know very little about. I plan on reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" as a follow up to this book.

- 360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World - Made me ache for my very own around the world trip. Will that ever happen? Time will tell...

- Grace by Richard Paul Evans - Not my favorite book by this author.

- Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson - Have you ever wondered how Peter Pan ended up in Neverland and how Tinkerbell came out? Then this is the book for you!

Currently Reading

- The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thaddeus Carhart - A book about pianos and Paris? Be still my heart.

Current Music:
- Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers - I saw them in concert in March & they were fantastic. I might have a bit of a crush of the lead singer. My favorite songs are In Front of the World (clip of them performing this live below), Hearts in Pain and 4th of July (2nd video - and how cool that he is playing to a small classroom at Boston College. So jealous)

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
- Chocolate chips. I may or may not have finished off a bag that was in my fridge...

Current Colors:
- I'm loving anything springy - so aqua blues, pinks, yellow, you name it!

Current Obsessions:
- Adam Braverman. I am head-over-heels in love with him. Last week's show was one of the funniest episodes EVER. His dancing scene was epic. I hope my future husband dances as awkwardly as he does!!

Current Drink:
- Lots and lots of water!

Current Song:
- I'm loving the song "Vagabond" by Wolfmother. It's got a great beat & is the perfect song for summer!

Current Movie:
- (500) Days of Summer. I have a partially written post in my head based on this movie.

Current TV Shows:
- Parenthood (surprise, surprise) and Top Chef Masters!

Current Wish-List:
- Lots of summery dresses
- A reason to wear a fun summer dress - like a date, perhaps!!

Current Needs:
- For my knee to be completely healthy. It's still not 100%

Current Triumph:
- I've been making home made meals every week so am not longer living on Amy's Organic Mac n' Cheese.

Current Bane of my Existence:
- Dare I say nothing? Life is pretty darn good these days!

Current Goal:
- Join a running club! Post about this to come later this week!

Current Indulgence:
- My trip to Tucson to visit my sister & brother-in-law will be an indulgence. I can't wait to lay by the pool, go for a hike with my sister, and celebrate their graduations!

Current Blessings:
- My job. I am so, so, so, so happy to be back at The Chariot.

Current Slang or Saying:
- "It was a character building experience." This is the short answer I give when people ask about my time at The Psych Experiment.

Current (Fav) Outfit:
- I haven't worn them yet, but I am excited that White Pants season is upon us! I can't wait to wear the pair I just bought with a fun tank/cardigan.

Current Excitement:
- My AZ Trip
- Marathon training which kicks off on 6/7!

Current Mood:
- Calm, relaxed, and ready for the month of May! It has some good/interesting things in store!