Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving On

I interrupt the regularly scheduled Ten on Tuesday post to talk about an exciting development in my life!

I've alluded to my pending a move a couple of times, but now that the applications have been processed and the leases have been signed - I feel safe formally sharing my news!  I will be moving on July 1st!!

It all came together so effortlessly; it's kind of amazing to me.  2 weeks ago, I was in my condo's office picking up a package.  I casually mentioned that I would be renting out my condo at some point and the office manager told me that she had a great tenant who had lived in the development previously and was looking for a 1 bedroom unit to rent.  This woman is quite possibly the most finnicky person I have ever met so if she was endorsing someone, I figured he was a viable tenant. 

had originally planned on using a rental management company, mostly becuase I didn't want to deal with the hassle of finding a tenant.  But with this glowing recommendation, I thought - maybe I CAN do this myself. 

So I switched geers and started talking to friends who are landlords.  They were able to walk me through the rental application/lease process and provide me with copies of the documents I'd need.  Phew.  It's nice to have friends that know what the heck they are doing and could answer my long list of questions...

So in the span of the week, I met the potential tenant (who loved my place - which shocks me), searched for condos downtown, and found the new place I will call home. 

This is where I'll be moving on July 1st!

To give you some perspective, compare where I will live with where I currently live!


This is going to be SUCH a positive change for me.  I will be 3/4 of a mile from work so will be able to walk to work every day (I am about 4 blocks from the skyway so I will still be able to walk to work in the winter).    I'm close to great running trails.  I'll be 3/4 of a mile from my favorite grocery store.  This means I can take more of a European approach and can shop more frequently and buy less - and can walk instead of drive when it's nice out.  I'm also blocks away from the awesome Farmer's Market that I took Kyla, Mandy, and Nora to when they visited last year.  Actually, here is a picture I took last year when they were visiting - this is the surrounding area of where I'll live!!

Also?  The building I am moving into rocks.  It has a great outdoor patio area with a pool, barbeque grills, and an outdoor fireplace!  So I will finally be able to grill food (grills are banned by my HOA).  And it's a young community so this might be a good way for me to meet some new people. 

I am super excited - and thrilled about how easily it has all come together.  I think it's a sign that it was meant to me.  I feel like I have a spring in my step again and am actually excited about living in Minneapolis!

I have a lot to do between now and July 1st.  I know it will be a bit stressful at times, but knowing it's going to be such a positive change will keep me from letting the stress get to me too much.

And really, packing > studying in my book!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wine and Love v4

It's week 4, you know the drill.  Post theme brought to you by Nora! 

  • A male counterpart who can't seem to wrap his mind around the fact that I am not an admin.  Not that I have anything against admins - I don't.  It's just that is totally not my job.  But he thinks - she's female she must be an admin.  Grr....
  • Not getting enough sleep.  It's uber annoying that I get tired mid-afternoon and then get my 2nd wind right around 9 pm.  My internal clock is so messed up. I've had a couple of nights where I've gotten about 3 hours of sleep, which is not nearly enough for me.  Thank God for coffee!
  • Arrogance.  I firmly believe it's one of the most unattractive qualities in a human being  I've had some encounters with exorbantly arrogant people lately and it makes my skin crawl. 
  • Having dinner with some girlfriends on Saturday night.  It was one of those night where I drove home, smiling ear-to-ear and thought - I am really lucky to have some amazing friends!  Life is pretty stressy these days, so a carefree, fun evening was just what I needed! 
  • Being an aunt again to a beautiful baby boy.   
  • Moving.  I am moving in a little over a month (more to come on this later).  Yes, I have my work cut out for me, but holy batman, this is going to have such a positive impact on my life.  I will live .7 miles from work.  Adios 40 minute commute in the car/bus.  Adios cat-in-a-stroller pushing residents.  Hello 10 minute walk!!  Hello young, single, 30-somethings that live in my new building.  I am as happy as a bird with a french fry. 
  • Showing off my karate kick to my friend's 4 year old - and totally impressing him. 
  • Having dinner at my brother's on Tuesday night.  The convesation with my brother & sister was awesome and the time with my 2 nephews was priceless.  I came home with a couple of drawings by Andrew, the soon-to-be 6-year old! 
What's your wine/love of the week?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Looking Forward

First off - I am guest posting over on Stephanie's blog while she is on vacation.  Hop over and check it out - I'm writing about the vacation destinations I am dreaming of these days!

I've whined a lot lately (yes, I am aware of this, I'll be less whiney this summer), so it's time to focus on the positive things in store for me!

Today:  I will go on my first mini-business trip.  I was supposed to go to Dallas, but that customer event got cancelled so now I am going to Des Moines.  Thrilling destination, I know (no offense, Amber!).  It will be a good opportunity to meet some colleagues and customers.  My boss is flying there from another event, we have some presentations and a client dinner today, and then we'll drive back tomorrow.  Good thing I like my boss since we'll spend 4 hours in a car tomorrow!   

This week:  I will have my last study-dominated weekend.  The test is a week from Saturday.  After that, I get my life back.  And you get to stop hearing me complain about this test. 

This month:  I will meet the newest edition to our family!  Charlie Neil was born yesterday. Let the record show that I totally called the sex on this one - all along I have said I KNEW it was a boy!  He is so beautiful and I can not wait to meet him in about 3 weeks.  Here is a picture of him - I think he already looks deep in thought and super intelligent.  ;)

Even though this is my 5th nephew, it is honestly just as exciting as being an aunt for the first time.  I was just as excited for Charlie's arrival as I was for his brother James's arrival (Charlie's older brother who is now almost 7!).  Here's a little flash back photo of James and I.  Dang I looked young back then!

This year:  I will co-host the 3rd Annual Julia Child event with my aunt.  I don't know if co-host is even the right word since she is the culinary master and she has it at her house!  It's sort of interesting how this event got started as I think it stemmed from a casual discussion about my desire to learn how to make some Julia Child recipes!  The event isn't until October/November most likley, but we are already discussing a potential menu!  Last year there were nearly 20 people in attendance (I think?) so this is quite the event!  Every time I read a book set in France - which is quite often - I ask myself if any of the dishes mentioned in the book would be good dishes for our Julia Child night.  I LOVE this tradition!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

10 on Tuesdays

1. Have you ever used Craigslist?
I used it for the first time last week - I listed my condo for rent and looked for condo's downtown.

2. Can you sew?
Not at all.  My mom tried to teach me when I was maybe 8 or 9?  Disasterous.  I tried making a bag for a 4-H project.  I couldn't control the speed of the foot pedal.  She said - 'here, let me know show you.'  5 minutes later, the project was complete.  I don't think sewing is for me. 

3. Do you pour syrup on your pancakes or dip your pancakes in the syrup?
Pour the syrup over!  I've never heard of someone dipping pancakes in syrup! 

4. Rain storms: Love them or hate them?
I like them.  I find the sound of rain and thunder extremely soothing. 

5. Do you like swimming?
I really like to swim, but I don't do it that often. 

6. What kind of drink do you order at Sonic?
I have never been to a Sonic.  We don't have any by us (that I know of).  I think I would get a cherry limeaid if I went to one (I think that's a drink they serve?). 

7. Are you funny?
Not in general, but I have random things happen to me which make for good stories that I can usually laugh at (and make others laugh at) after the fact. 

8. At what age will your kids get cell phones?
Um, like 18.  I can't believe how young kids are when they get cell phones.  I got my first cell phone at the age of 21.  How on earth did I survive all those years without a phone - gasp. 

9. What’s your favorite vegetable?
Tough call...  I'd say tomatoes, but that is technically a fruit...  so I have to say potatoes.  Or fresh green beans.  Or all vegetables, really! 

10. Were you a Girl Scout?
Nope.  I don't think we had a Girl Scout Troop in my one-horse town.  Instead I was in 4-H.

Monday, May 23, 2011

10k Training & Running in the Rain

The first week of 10k training went well.  I did my first hill repeat workout on my street since there is a steep hill close by.  While I was doing these repeats, a guy was out mowing his lawn.  He definitely gave me funny looks when he noticed that I kept running up the hill and then down the hill over and over! 

On Sunday I set out to do 6 miles.  The schedule didn't call for that much yet, but it's the amount of miles I felt like running.  The weather forecast said that it wouldn't rain in the morning so I thought I'd have a dry run...  Yeah, not so much.  The moment I stepped on the running path, it started to rain.  At first it was a light sprinkle, but it didn't take long before the skies opened up and steady rain was falling.

I had to do 2 laps around the lake in order to get 6 miles in.  When I was close to finishing my first lap, I started to debate stopping at 3 and calling it a day.  But then I thought about how I ran 26.2 miles in pouring rain...  So I could do 6 miles.  Plus you never know what the weather will be like on race day so I figured I better keep going. 

As I was starting my 2nd lap, I met 2 runners on the path who were catching their breath.  The guy looked at me and said, "Keep going!  You look so strong, you can do it!" 

That's one of the things I love about the running community.  Most of the people I have met through running are so encouraging and there is this sense of camaraderie.  I mean, where else in life are you going to get a pep talk from a stranger?

A couple of months ago, I would have used the rain as an excuse to cut my run short - or not go at all.  These days, I am pretty darn committed to getting these training runs in.  It's nice to see how much more disciplined I've gotten.  It's like I've gotten back into the frame of mind that I was in during marathon training.  I like to think that my discipline for running and my ability to push myself through discomfort extends into my life.  I think being a better, more committed runner makes me a better person in general.

I finished those 6 miles at a 9:30 pace - so a minute faster per miles than I was running a month ago.  Hip hip hooray!

Do you run/walk in the rain?  I was surprised to see how many people were out on the running paths despite the rain!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dairy Free Friday

It's been awhile since I've done a dairy free post...  I have still been eating dairy free - I just have not made anything super noteworthy... 

But last Sunday, I tried another recipe from Angela's website, Oh She Glows - and it was a winner! 

Here are the ingredients:

1 large ripe tomato or 2 smaller tomatoes
1/2 c. raw cashews
1/4 c. water
1 T. tomato paste
2-4 garlic cloves (I used 4)
1 t. salt, or to taste
3-4 T. water or wine - optional (I did not include)
1-2 t. freshly ground pepper
1 c. packed fresh basil, finely chopped

Here's the recipe in pictures!

First off, tomato paste comes in a tube!  Which I think is awesome because I NEVER use the whole can!

Blend the chopped tomatoes (including seeds and skin), cashews, water, and tomato paste until smooth.

Saute the garlic over low heat

Add the blended tomato mixture and heat and bring to a simmer

Remove from heat and add fresh ground pepper and chopped basil

Serve on top of your pasta of choice - I served it over quinoa linguine.

 This was a really, really good recipe. I do not think you would know it's a vegan recipe.  It has minimal slicing/dicing so it's a great mid-week meal!

Have you made anything noteworthy lately?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wine and Love v3

 Week 3 of Nora's Wine & Love series.  It's pretty cool to see how many people across the interwebs are doing these weekly posts! 

  • Rain, rain, go away.  Especially when you come with temps in the 40s.  Not cool, mother nature, not cool.
  • Eating dinners alone gets really, really old sometimes.  I have always said there isn't anything I won't do alone...  but that doesn't mean I don't wish I had a dinner companion a tad more often.
  • Realizing there is a 2 hour lunch break on the day of the CFA.  I don't want a 2 hour break.  Ideally, I would like a 30 minute break so I can inhale some food and get back to the test.  It's a 6 hour test, broken up into 2 3 hour sections - so it's a long enough day without taking a 2 hour break in the middle.
  • My complexion has cleared up and the scarring from my acne is starting to fade to the point that I can run errands make-up free without feeling like I look scary.  That was not the case a few months ago!
  • Making post-CFA celebration plans.  My parents and aunt and uncle are helping me celebrate.  Celebration plans include mexican.  And probably multiple margaritas for me.  And maybe some tequila shots.  Ha.
  • Sleeping in until 8 on the weekends.  Oh sleep, how I miss you during the week.
  • Mid-day runs on weekend study days which really clear my head.  This wouldn't be possible if the weather was warmer, so I guess I should be thankful for the cooler temps?
  • Possibly being able to rent out my condo WAY WAY quicker than I thought I could.  Like a month from now I could be moving downtown.  Eeks!  Very exciting...  and lots of figure out.  And if my condo could pack itself, that'd be great. 
Your turn...  what your wine/love of the week?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blogger Award

Way back in March, Kyria of Travel Spot graced me with this blogger award.  Over a month later, I am finally getting around to doing it!

I am supposed to list 5 random things about myself and pass it onto 5 people!

1.  I love puzzles - except human ones... aka pretty much all of my ex-boyfriends....

2.  I do most of my runs on the various lake paths around Minneapolis and I sort of HAVE to run counter clockwise.  I've tried switching it up and running clockwise, but it just feels 'wrong'. 

3.  If I could wear a dress every day, I would!  Dresses are my favorite thing to wear by far.  I'm slowly building up my dress wardrobe so I can wear them nearly every day.

4.  I may or may not drink pickle juice from the jar on a somewhat regular occasion...  I just figure it means I am lacking in sodium or something as I only tend to crave it when I am running a fair regularly (like I am these days).

5.  I need more personal space than the average person.  I kind of hate it when someone uses the bathroom stall next to me when there are other stalls further from mine open...  or sits next to me on the bus...  or stands too close to me in an elevator. 

I am supposed to list 5 people, but it is too tough to choose.  So instead, I'd love it if you share some random tidbits of information about you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

This week, to answer Chelsea's questions pictorally (is that a word?)! 

This is a photo edition of ToT. Post a photo of each of the following:

1. Your favorite piece of furniture in your home.

My reading chair
2. Your favorite thing on your wall.

Can't pick just one... I love these 3 Paris prints
3. Your bed as it looks right now.

I always make my bed, every morning!
4. Your pantry.

I live in a shoe box so I don't have a pantry.  This holds most of the food I own.
 5. Your favorite piece of jewelry.

I am not a jewelry person... if I had to choose, I'd say these earrings...
 6. Your favorite book.

7. Your most comfortable shirt.

Dryfit race shirts are my favorite - esp when they are long-sleeved (I am perpetually cold)
8. Your messiest room.

If I am not sleeping, this is where I am at when I am home.  It's a living room + office + dining area.  It never looks orderly.
9. Your house shoes.

10. Yourself.

My nephew and I at his birthday party earlier this month.  Yes I am wearing a Thomas party hat.  I am a cool aunt like that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Back on the Grid

10k training commences today!  I took the month of April and the 1st 1/2 of May off from being on a specific training schedule and just focused on getting a decent number of runs in, building up my mileage, and improving my pace. 

I tend to sort or 'crave' schedules - it's how I am built, I guess you could say.  So I am happy to be back on a training plan.  I don't have high expectations for this 10k.  I am running it with Nora and her fiance when I visit them in July.  I want to have fun... and I don't want to puke like I did during the 10 mile run.  Not puking is always a good race goal.  Ha.

I've following Hal Higdon's intermediate plan and tweaked it to add in some hill work outs.  This will be the first time that I will have 'focused workouts', meaning speed work, hill runs, tempo runs, etc.  I want to introduce these into my training as I know I'll need to incorporate those kind of workouts in my training plan for my half if I want to achieve a sub-2 hour half.

Do you have any race plans for the summer?  This is my only summer race - I think.  I might do a 1/2 in August, but we'll see...  This fall?  TBD... but I'll likely be heading west to do a 1/2 marathon in the Seattle/Portland/Victoria, BC area hopefully!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wine and Love v2

- My Tuesday morning.  It included nearly getting stuck in a dress because I could not get the zipper down, trying on multiple dresses and realizing some dresses I recently bought are just too short for the office, and not being able to figure out where my cleaning service people had put the pan I use to make my eggs each morning.  It was just not my day.
- Not being able to be with my mom on Mother's Day... and not getting to meet my newest niece or nephew right away when the baby is born later this month.  I could never live close to my parents as I am a city girl, through and through, but I don't always love living 4+ hours from them. 
- After telling someone I have been spending a lot of time studying, I heard this comment:  "Oh, I wish I could be more like you and put myself and my needs first.  But I am always putting others first."  Um, ok.  Not sure what to say to that.  So I am selfish for studying?  Right.  Because it's SO MUCH fun. 

- Finally being able to take the heating blanket off of my bed!  Thank God the cold weather is behind us!
- My running pace improving.  I've taken about 30 seconds/mile off in the last 4 weeks.  Here's hoping that my pace continues to improve! 
- Dreaming about a fall destination half marathon - most likely on the west coast.  Fingers crossed I can make this work!!
- They are making a running path around the lake that is a mile from my condo - so soon I will be able to run by the water without having to drive anywhere!  Woo hoo!

What's your wine/love for the week?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On Unicorns & Expiration Dating

It’s story time.

I was leaving work on the afternoon of Good Friday when I received an email from a good friend from college, asking if I had plans for the evening as she had a friend who was stuck in town for work who was looking for someone to go to the Twins game with.

Initially, I politely declined as I had family coming to town and I figured my family would not think it was cool for me to choose to hang out with a stranger over time with them.

Then she responded back, listing out some characteristics of this guy. When I read her email I thought – “my God, it’s like she programmed all of the attributes I’d like in a guy into a computer and out popped this guy.”

The thing is, it’s been so long since I have had a positive encounter with a guy, I was beginning to think that quality men were akin to unicorns, meaning they are a nice idea but they just don’t exist in reality. I wanted to spend the evening with my family, but I thought I might regret not taking advantage of this opportunity.


I called my SIL and brother who were on their way from Chicago and asked them what they thought I should do. My SIL's only question: “Is he attractive?” My response: “Allegedly…” Her answer: “Then GO!”

And so I did.

There I was again tonight
Forcing laughter, faking smiles
Same old tired, lonely place
Walls of insincerity
Shifting eyes and vacancy
Vanished when I saw your face
All I can say is it was enchanting to meet you

And it was a fabulous night. The game got rained out so we went out for dinner instead and talked for hours. The conversation ranged from our mutual love of excel spreads sheets (yes, I talked about excel spreadsheets on a date, it’s no wonder I am single) to Hemingway to running to travel to being single in your 30s.

The playful conversation starts
Counter all your quick remarks
Like passing notes in secrecy
And it was enchanting to meet you
All I can say is I was enchanted to meet you

Of course the downside to all of this is the fact that he does not live here – nor does he live a driveable distance away. But I continued to see him when I could and labeled what we were doing as “expiration dating."

This night is sparkling, don't you let it go
I'm wonderstruck, blushing all the way home
I'll spend forever wondering if you knew
I was enchanted to meet you

His work project wrapped up last week and he returned home. I was sad when I found out he would be leaving – but my next thought was that I was actually thankful that I felt sadness because that meant I had actually met someone who made me feel something again. I was beginning to think that wasn’t possible.

Maybe our paths will cross again in the future – time will tell.  Chances are I will visit a sales office close to where he lives so maybe we will see each other again. Bottom line, it was a fabulous 2 week stretch of fun dates and great conversations.  It was good for me to take a easy-going approach to dating and just have fun and enjoy the company of another person.

This experience reminded me that there are fabulous guys out there. It showed me that you can meet them in the most unexpected ways.

It made me realize that life really is full of wonderful surprises.

(Lyrics are an excerpt from Enchanted by Taylor Swift)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Chelsea's 10 on Tuesday movie-themed questions were written by the lovely Nora

1. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
You've Got Mail.  I adore that movie!  I just think Kathleen Kelly is one of the most likeable characters ever.  And she has some great quotes in the movie that I can relate to, like this one:

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."
2. Let’s say someone wrote a screenplay about you; what actor/actress would you choose to play you and why?
Maybe Rachel Weisz?  I bear no resemblance to her, I just really like her on-screen personality. 

3. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in theaters?I think it was Little Mermaid!

4. Did you ever make out at the back of a movie theater in middle school/high school?Nope!

5. Are you a Netflix-er, Blockbuster-er or a Redbox-er? (Or none of the above?)
I'm a Netflixer, and holy canasta, I am one profitable customer for them. I think I've had 2 discs since January.  I should just cancel my service and resume this fall...

6. Name one actor/actress who you would give anything to have a dinner date with.
Maybe Ryan Reynolds?  But only if he has a personality akin to his character if Definitely, Maybe.  Then he would have the total package of looks + wit + brains.

7. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
Most definitely Magnolia with Tom Cruise.  Those are 3 hours of my life I'd like to get back.

8. Do you sneak snacks into the theater when you go?
If I am planning ahead, then yes.  I will usually bring my own soda.

9. Movie theater popcorn: love or hate it?
I love it as long as you don't put butter on it...  not a fan of buttery popcorn!

10. What is the all-time best Disney movie in your opinion?
I'd have to go with Beauty and the Beast.  I adore that movie. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

On Being Back

A couple of Fridays ago, the weather was cold enough to warrant the wearing of a winter jacket.  I scanned my collection of coats, picked the least dreary one, and headed out the door.  As I waited for my bus, I put my hands in my pockets to shield them from the cold wind. 

My left hand closed around a small piece of paper.  I pulled it out of my pocket to see what it was and found that it was the metro ticket from my return trip to the Paris airport.  Truthfully, my heart sort of sunk at bit as I pulled it out my pocket and looked at it.  Yes, I smile when I think of that trip, but I can't say I really smile all that much about being back in Minnesota.

This post has been brewing in my mind for awhile now.  It's been over 2 months since I returned from Paris and I keep waiting for the post-vacation blues to fade away.  It sure doesn't help that this has been an especially cold/dreary spring.  Spring is slowly making it's appearance, but it's taking it's sweet time.

I fully realize that my week in Paris does not = reality.  Living there would be much different than vacationing there.  I understand this.  I am not trying to figure out a way to move to Paris - I know that is not realistic or feasible at this time (hello, I do not speak French, that would be a bit of a problem).  So instead of fixating on Paris, I have asked myself this:  Aside from being in a beautiful, charming city, what did I love about that week in Paris?
The answer is this: I loved not driving.  I loved taking the metro everywhere. I loved going out to dinner and walking home afterwards. I loved shopping at the outdoor market and in smaller format grocery stores with 4 aisles instead of supermarkets with 10 aisles and a ridiculous assortment of processed foods.

So over the past 2 months, I've pondered changes I could make so that my lifestyle would be more similar to that week in Paris.  Here are some of the options I've mulled over, with differing levels of risk/change. 

Short-term Option:  Rent out my condo and move into an apartment downtown.  I am sure some people read that sentence and think:  Way to move backwards in life.  But here is the thing - I HATE LIVING IN SUBURBIA.  Hate it.  When I bought my condo 6 years ago, I NEVER thought I'd still be here.  I thought I'd live here for 3-5 years, build up some equity, and move on.  Then the real estate market crashed and I am now stuck with a condo worth less than 1/2 of what I paid for it.  I'm stuck with this place for now, but it doesn't mean I necessarily have to be stuck living here.  By moving downtown, I could walk to work (and say good bye to my 1.5 hour round trip commute to work).  I could dine out and walk home.  I'd have access to a lot of great running trails.  It would be easy to walk to a coffee shop and study for the CFA.  Right now I do almost all of my studying at my kitchen table, so I spent A LOT of time alone in an empty condo

Longer Term Option:  Look into moving to a larger city in the US, such as Chicago.  I need to establish some stability on my resume, so this isn't something I could do in the near future.  But in ~2 years, if my attitude about living in Minnesota has not changed, maybe it is time to move.  Especially if I am still single.  Trust me when I say Minneapolis is NOT a great place to live as a single person in your 30s.  If I moved to a larger city, I wouldn't feel like such a pariah.  And I could possibly get rid of my car and rely on public transportation (or at least drive it very rarely).  Of course, the possibility of this move assumes I can find a job, but I guess I will cross that bridge when/if I get to it.  Chicago is a viable option since I have a brother in the Chicago area, there are cheap flights to Minneapolis so visiting family would be easy/affordable, and my employer has a sales office there so I could possibly work out of that office.  Oh and Nora would be a relatively short drive away.  Lastly, Chicago has a really strong running culture, so by joining a running club, I could probably make friends somewhat easily. 

We'll see what the future holds for me.  I don't plan on making any quick/rash decisions.  I do feel a little better listing out my options, though - it gives me more of a feeling of control.  One of my pet peeves is when people complain and complain about something in their life, but do nothing about it.  I refuse to be one of those people.

Have you ever reached a point of your life where you recognized that you need to make a change in order to be more happy? 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wine and Love v1

This week I am participating in Nora's weekly feature, Wine and Love.  I'll share the things that are driving me to drink (theoretically, of course....  not a lot of alcohol consumption happening around these parts) and things that I love. 

Things that make me want to fill up a wine glass...
  • Studying for the CFA.  Nope, I'm not done complaining about this yet.  ;)  I'm done reading the 6 textbooks of material and am in the review phase.  The test is less than a month away so I am really starting to freak out (and I am wishing I hadn't looked at the historical pass rates.  Ignorance is bliss).  Yesterday was my 10th day in a row of studying.  I am taking today & tomorrow off, though.  I need to for my sanity.
  • Finding out that they are increasing my HOA dues by 10%.  Again.  Le sigh.
  • A frustrating project at work that I think is kind of a waste of our time and resources.  My boss feels the exact same way so at least we can vent to each other. 
Things that I am loving this week...
  • Spring has FINALLY sprung.  The weather has been great the last couple of days...  here's hoping the trend continues!
  • Running.  I've re-discovered my love for the sport after months of being at odds with it.  My pace is improving and it's something I look forward to - instead of dreading like I did in March and April.  I even ran in the rain on Saturday - and enjoyed it!
  • Online shopping.  Remember that outfit I posted on Monday?  I bought the white linen pants the model was wearing as well as some espadrille shoes.  I blame the sunshine.  It drove me to buy summer-like clothing.  I will hopefully pick up that seersucker blazer this weekend!
Alright, your turn - what's driving you to drink / what are you loving this week?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Recap

It's been well over a week since Easter so this recap is pretty belated!  But better late than never, right?

Easter weekend got off to a fun start on Friday.  My parents had a little trick up their sleeves- my sister and her husband flew in from Tucson for the weekend as a surprise!  For reasons I won't go into at this point, I was wishing I had been privy to this surprise, but nonetheless, it was a great surprise as it meant that my entire family would be together for the holiday!!

On Saturday, we got together in the afternoon to dye Easter eggs and celebrate my youngest nephew's 3rd birthday.  Here are some pictures!

My nephew Kolin

The oldest nephew, James


The birthday boy, Matthew!  By the way, if you have young kids, I highly recommend this technique for dying Easter eggs!  You put them inside of a whisk!  Genius, right? 

The birthday boy did not quite know what to make of all of us singing to him!!

On Saturday we all went to the Easter Vigil mass where my sister-in-law got confirmed.  It was a very beautiful mass and a special experience to be up there as her sponsor.  Unfortunately I did not get any pictures!

On Sunday we all gathered back at my brother's for a feast fit for a king!  Here are the last batch of pictures!

The carrot cake that my mom made!!  Such an appropriate, festive cake for Easter!

My nephew James reading to me - which was one of the highlights of my weekend!  It's amazing to hear him reading to me after years of reading to him.  And he LOVES reading, which makes me very happy.  Perhaps I have rubbed off on him?  :)

The 4 loves of my life.  I just adore my nephews and am glad I got them all together for a picture (which is NOT easy to do!)

After all the running around, the boys were pooped!  Matthew and Kolin cuddled up together to watch a movie at the end of the day.  They are definitely best buddies!

It was a fabulous weekend!  Of course, as usual, it went way too fast!  I'm looking forward to us all being together again, possibly at the end of June for my new niece or nephews baptism!

What was the highlight of your Easter?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Another batch of questions from Chelsea of Roots and Rings!

1. What is the weather like in your city today?
The weatherman says it will be 67 and sunny.  I hope he is right.  Yesterday it was 35 and overcast.  I am kind of hating Minnesota right now, so I need some good weather to remind me why I live here....

2. Do you like the zoo?
I'm sort of ambivalent.  I could go years without going...  But I did enjoy the penguin exhibit at the zoo in St Louis when I visited Nora!

3. Do you eat coconut?
Not really...  I'm not a huge fan...

4. Have you ever hammered a nail? Are you good at it?
Yes.  Many times.  And no, I am not very good at it.  I always come very close to smashing the fingers holding the nail.  I wish there was a "hire a husband" service or something like that because I HATE doing anything involving tools like hammers, drills, etc...

5. Does your family have a vacation destination that you visit often?
Yes, I spend as many weekends at my parents cabin in the summer as I can!  It's my little slice of heaven on earth!  It's nothing fancy, but we spend the majority of the time outside, so we don't really 'need' a nice place.

6. How many pillows do you sleep with?
1 pillow + a body pillow. 

7. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Take the pills I am on for my acne (it's down from 3 to 2 now.  Woo hoo!)

8. Will you send your kids to summer camp?
If my make believe children want to go, then yes. 

9. What do you put in your baked potatoes?
A little bit of earth balance "butter", tofutti "sour cream", and a heck of  a lot of freshly ground pepper.

10. Did you take swimming lessons as a kid?
Yes, probably for about 6 years I think?  I loved swimming lessons.  We grew up going to the various lakes in the area so learning to swim was not optional!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of April

Another month has come and gone.  I'm ok with how fast life is going right now.  I just want it to be June so I can have this test behind me.  I am sure my friends & family want it to be over, too, as they are probably sick of hearing about it. 

I digress.  Here is the recap for April!


Violin by Amos Lee - When I finished the CFA materials last week, I treated myself to a couple new albums, including Amos Lee's newest album.  Oh my goodness, it is so good.  His voice is so smooth and beautiful.  I highly recommend it you are a fan of low key, singer/songwriter type music!  I am in love with this man. 

For the Summer by Ray Lamontagne & the Pariah Dogs - If this month's music has a theme, it's "chill".  I also bought the newer Ray Lamontagne CD.  I love the song For the Summer (and the whole CD). 


Sammy's Hill by Kristin Gore - this is quite possibly one of the WORST books I have ever read.  And it was my pick for the blogger book club, so I feel like I should be banned from making suggestions for awhile. It's a horrible book and the shocking thing is that they published a sequel...  WTF?

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - This is the May book for my local book club...  which is dissolving after this month.  :(  It a historical fiction novel based on Ernest Hemingway's first marriage.  The was a whole lot of infidelity in this novel.  It was a good/interesting read, and it was well written, but it was difficult to read at certain times.  I might do an actual review on this this month...

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz - Yep, another book set in Paris.  I just can't get enough - I bought 3 memoirs set in Paris last month...  I'm clearly obsessed.  I figure if I can't move there, I might as well read about those who have.  This book was a fun read - it's a collection of short stories about adjusting to live in Paris as an Expat and each story ends w/ a recipe or two. 


Not my best mileage month.  I was feeling under the weather for a good portion of the month...  and then was overwhelmed by reviewing for the 7...  and then I just basically took over a week off from running.  I am back on track now, though, and 10k training starts in a couple of week.  May will be a better month for miles, I just know it!


I haven't purchased this outfit yet, but I am pining for it.  I love blazers.  I love stripes.  I must have this.