Monday, June 30, 2014

My New Home

Well after just over a month of living in my new home, I'm finally ready to share some pictures with you!  It's probably a good thing that over a month has passed since the move because it has dulled some of my feelings of rage over HOW POORLY my moving day was handled by my moving company.  Suffice it to say that they were very late, very unresponsive and then went to the wrong freaking address.  So yah...  if you ever move, do not use Suddath.  I'll leave it at that.

Now back to the happy post topic at hand - my new home.  I absolutely LOVE it.  I signed the lease and submitted my background check before I saw a single photo of this place but it really didn't matter because I knew they'd be painting the walls and replacing the flooring before I moved in.  I don't regret the decision to move as fast as I did on renting this place because I could not be happier with it!

One thing I really like about the apartment is the deep, open floor plan.  This is the main living room area.  I am so happy that I have plenty of room for my couch, dining room table, and piano and it doesn't feel crowded to me, which is a great feeling after feeling so cramped in my Charlotte apartment.

I bought an area rug and some throw pillows at Target the weekend after I moved in and am really happy with how my living room area looks.  I also really love the way my friends arranged all the photos above my couch!

 I am also very happy with my kitchen!  I like that there is no soffit and that instead my cupboards go to the ceiling as that gives me extra space which is important as I have SO many kitchen gadgets and appliances.  The counters probably look a little cluttered but I use everything that I have out on the counters on a regular basis.

Why yes, those are watermelon rinds my garbage.  Watermelon gets cut up on a regular basis in this kitchen!
 I also love my bedroom as it's big enough to fit most of my bookcases and randomly, the paint colors matches the color of my comforter perfectly!

I also like how my friends arranged the photos in this room.  The collage on the wall in the photo below is my family collage so the first thing I see when I get up in the morning is all my nephews and nieces.  Since this photo was taken I've had my aunt and uncle hang my curtain rod so my curtains could go up.  I'm hoping that a darker bedroom will improve my sleep quality. 

Not pictured are the 4 closets and the storage unit that I have, which is a vast improvement over my Charlotte apartment where I had one closet total!  That is another reason that I don't feel so cramped in my new home as I have plenty of storage now! 

And of course - the best part about my new home has to be the view!

I have a wonderful view of the Mighty Mississippi which is a-roaring right now thanks to all of the rain we've had lately!  The falls, which you can see to the right in the photo below, are so powerful right now, you actually get wet standing on a bridge just downstream.

The view at night is also stunning.  It was particularly beautiful on Saturday night when we had one of those pink sky sunsets.

I can already tell I am going to be spending a lot of time on my patio, reading, drinking coffee, and taking in the view.

So there you have it!  My new home!  I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes to love where I live.  My home is now a place of peace and comfort.

What is your favorite thing about your home?  My favorite things are the view and the location!

Friday, June 27, 2014

France Book Tours Review: From Here to Paris


This is the story of becoming suddenly unemployed, nearing 60 and being forced to face up to the fact that life is about to change drastically. It’s about discovering that your life can fall apart just enough to allow you to put it back together again in a whole new way.

This is the story of tossing the briefcase, cutting up the credit cards, selling the house and buying an 80 year old Dutch barge in France, then setting sail for Paris.

It’s a joyful and funny tale of stepping off the beaten path to live a dream that you’d thought you’d forgotten: Living on a barge in the middle of Paris. [Goodreads]

Ok, you know I was bound to like this book since I love all things French but I REALLY liked this book.  The author, Cris Hammond finds himself suddenly unemployed.  Instead of moping about the curve ball that was thrown at him, Cris and his wife use the experience to do something they never thought they'd do - they buy a river barge in France. 

The book is about their experiences living on the barge in France for part of the year.  You get to learn about what it is like to navigate the lock system of the rivers of France which was super interesting (and nerve wracking to read at times as they had some stressful experiences).  There was a lot of humor thrown in, especially in regards to trying to learn the French language, which is something I've struggled with as well.  

I didn't know much about barges before reading this book, but after reading it, my curiosity is piqued and I would love to travel around France on a barge.  They got to see some of the smaller, charming towns of France and they saw them from such a unique perspective.  

If you enjoy travel memoirs and/or are interested in France, I recommend this book!  It's a delightful, fun read.
Cris Hammond is a nationally known artist, cartoonist, and entrepreneur. His comic strip, Speed Walker, Private Eye, was seen daily in over 150 newspapers across the country, from The Miami Herald to The Seattle Sun Times, The San Diego Union, and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. His paintings of ships and the sea have appeared in galleries in Sausalito, San Francisco, Tiburon, and Carmel, California. He led special effects teams to Academy Awards for Special Effects in motion pictures including Star Trek IV, Innerspace, and The Abyss, among others. In 1994, facing penury, he left his artistic pursuits, bought a briefcase and a couple ties, and went out and got a real corporate job. Eight years and four more neckties later, he walked into his office one morning and was ambushed by the waiting Exit Interview Team, which informed him that he was, as of that moment, “out on his ear.”

After a suitable period of bi-polar careening between panic and reflection, he realized that he was too young to retire and too old to go looking for another corporate job. So, he sold the house, bought a barge in France and started painting again.

Now he and his wife, Linda, spend half the year in California living and working in their tiny art studio near San Francisco, and the other half doing the same thing on the barge in France. Piloting their 1925 Dutch barge Phaedra, they’ve meandered through more than 1200 kilometers of canals and rivers and negotiated more than 850 locks in their travels from the Rhone wine region, through Burgundy to Chablis and down the Seine into Paris. 

Visit his awesome websites:
Keep in touch with him:
Contact page  |  Goodreads

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's Not Easy

It's no secret that I love running.  Anyone who knows me well knows that running is a huge part of my life and my number one favorite way to be active.  Running is my jam and my life doesn't feel complete without it.

But sometimes?  Running is HARD.  Like on Tuesday evening.

This is my, 'Meh, I am glad that run is over' face.
Maybe it was the warm, humid temps.  Maybe it was the fact that I had done a summer shred workout that included a ton of squats that morning.  Maybe the snack of mixed nuts that I had in the late afternoon didn't sit right.  Maybe it was a combination of all of these things. I don't know for sure what caused it, but I had a craptastic run on Tuesday night.  My legs felt like lead and I wanted to give up at various points during my 5 mile run.  But I kept putting one foot in front of the other and I reminded myself that every runner has bad runs. 

During the run, in an effort to distract myself from my tired legs, I let my mind drift and got to thinking about how we tend to assume that life is easy for others.  Maybe someone reads this blog and hears me wax poetic about running and thinks it comes easy for me - but they don't see me slugging through the tough runs like my run on Tuesday, or mentally (and sometimes verbally) cursing during hill and speed workouts.  Sure I have great runs and experience a runners high, but I've put a lot of deposits in the pain bank over the years to get to the point where I can say I love running, bad days and all.

But isn't this assumption that things come easy for others the case with a lot of things in life? It seems like we tend to look at other people's lives and think that their relationships, careers, or healthy lifestyle, among other things, came easy.  I know I'm certainly guilty of this.  But I'd venture to guess that most people would not use the word easy to describe their lives or achievements.

This is becoming a rambling, meandering post, but my take away is that we should stop assuming aspects of others lives are easy because we are setting ourselves up for failure by thinking that.  No matter what goal you are working towards, it's inevitable that you'll face challenges and have bad days and want to quit, but I think it's important to remember that everyone feels that way at one point or another.

Is there an area of your life that others think comes easily for you?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014

Ah summer.  How I love thee.  The longer days, the meals eaten al fresco, the smell of food being grilled. I could go on and on as there's a lot to love about this time of year.  Sure summer time bring heat and humidity - and runs that make me want to jump into an ice bath - but I'll take the good with the bad.

Last summer pretty much sucked.  I was in the boot, living in Charlotte, not feeling well thanks to symptoms from my yet-to-be-diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis, missing family and friends, and stressing over whether I had passed the CFA.  So I intend to make this summer epically awesome to make up for the craptastic summer I had last year.

I love a good list, so here's a list of some of the experiences I'd like to have this summer!

- cannonball off the dock with my nephews
- rent a kayak for the day at my parents' lake
- run around Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake of the Isles (about 10 miles total)
- use the nice ride bikes to go on a biking date with Phil
- go paddle boarding and/or kayaking at a local lake
- pack a picnic and listen to some live music at one of the parks in Minneapolis
- take my nephews out for ice cream at the lake
- visit 3 state parks in Minnesota
- host a party during the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebration (I"ll have a prime view of the fireworks they shoot off to close the festival!)
- eat many meals that were entirely made on the grill
- eat lots of watermelon

I'll check back at the end of the summer and let you know what I accomplished!

Do you have a summer bucket list?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Weekend in Photos

This past weekend was super fun, but also a bit on the exhausting side.  It was one of those weekends where I feel like I didn't sit down much so I am dragging a bit this morning but luckily I have a quieter week ahead of me!  Here's how I kept myself busy this weekend!

Friday night was busy as I made salsa, Phil did yard work, and we squeezed in a quick 4 mile run in hot, sunny weather!  I was up bright and early on Saturday as I was given a piano delivery time frame of 7 am - 12 pm and was told I'd get a 30 minute heads up when they were on their way...  So yah, I was sort of home bound so when I got up I made the guacamole as I figured I could stop in the middle of making it if need be.  Luckily I didn't get interrupted.

I love making guac, but getting properly ripe avocados can be a challenge at times.  I was happy when I cut into the 5 avocados I had bought and found that they were all (nearly) perfect!

The piano guys ended up calling around 9 am and in a matter of about 30 minutes, my piano had been moved from the house of my previous boss where it's lived for the last 14 months to my home.  I'm so happy to have my baby back under my care, but I am thankful that it was in such good hands while I was away.

Saturday was a big day for my dear friends, Becky and Ben, as they participated in the D.C. Walk of Hope which raised awareness about infertility.  My heart goes out to Becky and Ben as they have been through so much so while I could not be there to do the walk with them in person, I was one of many people who went for  a walk in honor of this fabulous couple and their little angel Cecilia.  It was a beautiful day as you can tell from the picture below!

After the walk, I sqeezed in a Summer Shred workout, which took about 25 minutes but was super intense as it included 100 burpees, among other things.  I was definitely dripping with sweat by the end!  But I was glad I fit a workout into what was a super busy morning.

After showering, I headed over to Phil's house to work on the party preparations.  We worked well as a team and got everything ready to go well before the guests arrived.  I took a picture of the food table before the guests arrived but that is the only picture I took that night.  I guess we were too busy having fun for me to pull out my camera.  ALL of the food got eaten (which surprised me, I thought we'd have leftovers) and everyone seemed to have a good time.  One of my proudest moments of the night was when Phil and I beat another couple at bean bag toss 21-0 (they use a 'net score' approach which is why it was possible to shut out the other team)!!

Sunday was another busy day for me.  I spent the morning meal planning, grocery shopping and went to church before my two local friends came over at 1 to hang photos on my walls.  They both brought one of their kids with them so I played with the kids while they worked their magic on the walls.  I got lots of one-on-one time with little Wyatt, so I was a happy camper!

After they left, I headed out for a run and was reminded why I don't do 'longish' runs at 4 in the afternoon.  It was a hot, sticky run but I got my 7.5 miles in.

I finished off the evening by cutting up another watermelon (I ate an entire one in 5 days late week!) and making a batch of vegetarian chili.  Yep, I ate chili after sweating my face off during a run.  Weird, I know but soups and chili make such great leftovers!

And finally, at 7 pm on Sunday night, I sat down and really relaxed for a couple of hours, which felt glorious.

What was the highlight of your weekend?  Mine was a toss-up between co-hosting a party with Phil and spending time with my girlfriends.

Friday, June 20, 2014

FIve Things Friday

Hello and Happy Friday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful week!

1.  This has been a busy week as I've had social plans/things going on 3 of the last 4 nights.  I'm not complaining, though, as I used to struggle to fill the weekend with social plans so I am appreciating having plenty of things to do/people to see.

2.  I got my hair cut on Tuesday for the first time in about 8 months!  It was so good to see my Minneapolis stylist as I hadn't seen her since before I found out about my move to Charlotte!  I am really happy with how it turned out.  Now if only it looked like this when I blow dry it.  I need to go to a blow drying clinic.

3.  I'm wearing glasses in the photo above because my eyes have really been bothering me lately, and my contacts seem to exacerbate the problem.  I don't know if it's allergies or what, but one eye waters on and off ALL DAY LONG and it drives me crazy.  I should probably go to the eye doctor but I am sort of medical appointment'd out right now.  I'm hoping it's just allergies and that it goes away.  Phil has been telling me that this is a sign that I should look into getting lasik.  He had it done years ago and said it was the well worth the money.  Maybe I will look into doing that in 2015.

4.  We've had so much rain lately but the forecast is looking good for tomorrow's party so I'm crossing my fingers that the forecast is correct!  Phil has a nice backyard area so it would be ideal to have the guests hang out there during the party.

5.  My piano is getting delivered tomorrow (yea!  Can't wait to be reunited with it) and on Sunday a couple of friends are coming over to hang my photos on the way (I won't even say I will help because I won't.  I am terrible at anything related to home decor).  So that means I'll be sharing photos of my new home next week as I will be 100% settled in!

Are you good at home decorating?  I'm not.  I will hang my own photos if I have to but it's not my forte, so I gladly accepted the help of my friends!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Currently: June Edition

Well I skipped right over doing this post in May as I kind of lost track of the month.  So here's a currently post for the month of June!

Reading: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  It's a cute young adult book that we'll be discussing over on Emily's blog for our monthly book club (anyone and everyone is welcome to join, she posts discussion questions at the end of the month!).  I am loving it so far!

Loving: being back home and close to family and friends.

Thinking:  about taking golf lessons as one of Phil's best friends is a golf pro.  I have clubs and tried to take lessons years ago but didn't care for the pro at the course where I went but I think I'd like working with Phil's friend.

Frustrated:  by how difficult it is to move when you have a chronic illness.  After the 'no one will give me a referral' experience, I ended up seeing my GP in Minneapolis so I could tell her I have RA so she could send me a referral to a rheumatologist.  Which means I'll pay my 20% co-pay for a completely unnecessary doctor's appointment.  And then getting my Enbrel (injection meds) prescription transferred?  Unbelievably difficult.  So.  Many.  Phone calls.  I won't bore you with the details but it feels like dealing with health stuff is a part time job for me.

Feeling: like the old pre-Charlotte Lisa is mostly back.  I didn't feel like myself for quite a long time so it's really great to be back to a state where positivity comes naturally and I have my spring back in my step.  

Anticipating:  the party at Phil's this weekend.  I'm looking forward to hosting some of his friends and eating some good Mexican food!  Hopefully the weather cooperates so we can be outside!

Watching:  the Next Food Network Stars on Sunday nights, and not much TV besides that.  I am cheering for Lenny as he seems quirky/fun but talented in the kitchen.

Sad: that I won't be training for a marathon with my running club.  It's great to be back to running, of course, and I'm excited to train for my trail half with the group but it still bums me out that another marathon is very unlikely due to my stress fracture history/RA.

Working:  on re-building a network at my new employer.  Starting over is hard!  I know quite a few people that work in the Minneapolis office, but there are a lot of other offices with sales reps that I need to get to know.  I am hoping to visit some of the offices this summer.

Grateful:  for my family, my friends, my health, and for the fact that I'm back in my happy place.

Listening: to very little music these days as I am back to barely being in the car (yea!).

Wishing: that I was better at sleeping.  I fall asleep ok but staying asleep is a whole other issue.  I've been waking up super early (like 3:30-4) and then not really falling back into a deep sleep (or back to sleep at all) which is just annoying.  My bedroom doesn't have curtains or blinds so I am hoping that once I hang some and have a darker room I will sleep better. 

What are you currently reading, anticipating, and grateful for?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekend Prep

Greetings and happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was fun as it included some time at the driving range with Phil (I am terrible at golf but it was a fun date activity) followed by dinner + gelato + a House of Cards episode (we finished season 1 on Friday), a long run with my running club, a coffee + macaron date with Marisa, and attending a BBQ at a friend of Phil's (we brought guacamole which was a hit).

Friday night and Saturday were mostly about fun things, but Sunday was mostly about preparation for the week.  Living a healthy lifestyle is important to me, but it's not something that just happens.  I think it's important to emphasize that as I think at times we can look at others and think that it's effortless for them to eat healthy or fit in workouts.  But really, it's not effortless - at least not for most of us.  In my case, it takes planning, preparation, and spending a good amount of time in the kitchen on Sunday.

Everyone's lifestyle is very different, but for me, if I'm not teed up (see how I threw in a golf reference there?) for a week of healthy eating, it's not going to happen.  My week nights feel short as I work longish days and use my precious free hours in the evening to workout and spend time with Phil.  So Sundays are my day to get myself ready for a week.  Here's how I spent mine.

First up, I made Peanut Butter Runner's Mexican Quinoa recipe which was incredibly easy.  I'll warm this up and eat it on top of baby spinach with some salsa for 2 lunches and 2 dinners during the week.

Those containers look huge but each portion is about 1 cup.

Next up, I cut up a watermelon.  I love watermelon so much and am so glad it's watermelon season because this one of my favorite snacks.  I timed myself and it took me exactly 20 minutes to cut up the watermelon, which was surprising because I thought it would take way longer.  I can always find 20 minutes no matter how busy each weekend is so I will aim to buy a watermelon every weekend this summer!

After scanning my fridge, I realized I had some leftover kale.  I had already bought spinach for my salads for the week so I decided to make kale chips with the leftover kale.  I think kale chips are soo good!  And they are so easy to make - you just toss the kale with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt (I used a fun seasoned salt from Penzeys) and bake them for ~15 minutes on 350F.

Lastly, I made a big pot of (GF) pasta e fagioli soup.  Yes, I eat soup in the summer.  I had a bowl for dinner last night, and will have leftovers for 2 lunches and 2 dinner and will freeze some. 

So there you have it!  All in all, I probably spent about 3.5 hours in the kitchen yesterday (plus time on Saturday meal planning + grocery shopping).  Luckily cooking is something I enjoy so those 3.5 hours were fun for me, and they allow me to start the week with a fridge full of healthy eats!

What is your trick to healthy eating?  Do you tend to make meals throughout the week, or are you like me and prefer to do most of your cooking on the weekends?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Looking Forward

It's been quite awhile since I did a looking forward post!  Here are some things I am looking forward to!

This weekend I am looking forward to running with my running club for the first time since moving back!   My schedule has been a bit chaotic since moving back but Saturday morning is wide open so I will join the club for 6-8 miles.

This month I am looking forward to the house warming party Phil is throwing at his place.  The theme will be Mexican which is an easy meal to pull off for a larger group.  We'll serve tacos, chips & salsa, and margaritas.  You can't go wrong with a menu like that!

This summer I am looking forward to my sister Abby's trip home.  I haven't seen Abby since October and haven't seen her husband in 2 years (he spent the last 18 months becoming an Air Force pilot so hasn't been home for awhile due to that!).  They'll be spending their time at home at the lake so I am planning on taking a long weekend so I can get extra time with them + time by the water.

This year I am looking forward to my girls running rendezvous in September.  This year we are doing a trail race in Berkeley.  I bought my plane ticket last month and we found a cute apartment to rent on so the trip is starting to feel more real.  I can't wait to spend time with some of my favorite people in one of my favorite cities!

What are you looking forward to these days?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Funday-Sunday on a Bike

As I said at the end of my post yesterday, I capped off my Sunday with a nice long bike ride.  I have a nice ride membership, which is the bike share program in Minneapolis and they changed the program so that people with a membership can use the bikes for 60 minutes at a time before checking the bike into a docking station (daily users can use them for a max of 30 minutes).  This is a nice change as it allows me to take longer bike ride without worrying about not being able to find a docking station in time.

My GPS wasn't cooperating with me on this ride, so I am not sure how far I biked, but I am going to guesstimate that I biked about 10 miles, maybe more.  The mileage doesn't matter, what matters is that I had fun and got some fresh air!  Here are some of the sights I saw on this bike ride!

I started off by biking to the chain of lakes.  I have logged countless miles around these lake so know them like the back of my hand.  I love that you get peaks of the skyline at various points around the lakes!  This picture was taken by Lake of the Isles.  

After biking around the lake, I headed back towards downtown Minneapolis and biked through the sculpture garden where you'll find this famous cherry-on-the-spoon sculpture!

After that I biked through downtown Minneapolis and over to my neighborhood.  There are a lot of beautiful areas in Minneapolis but my neighborhood is my favorite.  I just think the St. Anthony Falls are so pretty!

My head is blocking it, but my condo is located to the left of the tallest building in this photo.

I biked across the river to an area called St. Anthony Main which is a really cute area with restaurants.  It also features beautiful views of the downtown skyline!

I had biked for about 80 minutes so I figured I earned some gelato!  I ate my salted caramel and vanilla gelato on a park bench with a view of the city.  The gelato and the view were fabulous.

Running has always been my first love but I have to say that biking has become a close second.  I am strongly considering getting a road bike as that would allow me to log more miles.  The nice ride bikes are super convenient but since they are cruiser style bikes, they are super heavy so it's pretty taxing to do long rides on them.  I have some bike research to do, but I just might be purchasing one this summer (and I am hoping I can talk Phil into buying one too so we can go on some biking dates!).

In the mean time, I'll be getting a lot of mileage out of these nice ride bikes.  And when I renewed my membership they sent me some day pass vouchers so I will be able to use those when/if I have visitors!

Do you enjoy biking?  Is your city bike friendly?  Minneapolis is usually neck-in-neck with Portland for being the most bike friendly city in the U.S.  We have lots of bike paths/greenways and many of our roads in the city have bike lanes so I feel pretty safe biking around. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Kind of Weekend

Happy Monday, friends.  I hope you all had a great weekend!  This was the first truly 'normal' weekend at home that I've had since the relocation craziness began.  After being in a state of transition for an extended period of time, I really needed a weekend like this!  So what did I do?

I started my Friday off with my usual latte from Starbucks.  Stripes + red shoes + a latte meant it was going to be a good day, and it was.

I know it looks like I'm not wearing pants, but I actually am.

The work day went by fast and I finished another spreadsheet tool I had been working on so it felt good to get that done!  After work, I went over to Phil's.  We ran 4 miles which were tough for me as it was so humid.  Phil LOVES running in warm, humid weather while I prefer cooler temps.  I was very glad when the run was over!

We were hoping to go to a food-truck-turned-restaurant that night but the wait was so long and I was super hungry so we went to a Greek restaurant instead.  I got eggplant stuffed with sauted vegetables and topped with melted feta cheese.  I am definitely going to try to recreate this at home as it was so good!  Phil got Mousaka and I also said I'd like to try to make it sometime this summer.  We finished off the night with a (super intense) episode from season 1 of House of Cards.

Saturday morning started off with the Friday Summer Shred workout (I'm shifting things around so I can fit my runs in).  Holy batman, it was hard as you had to do 300 burpees combined with things like bicep curls, bench step-ups, and tricep extensions.  I was a hot, sweaty, exhausted mess afterwards.

This is my "did I really just do 300 burpees?" face.

Saturday afternoon was spent meal planning, ironing, and grocery shopping.  I went to mass at 4 and then came home and ate the crock-pot lentil curry that had been simmering away all afternoon.  It was delicious and yielded lots of leftovers for the week to come.

Saturday night was spent reading and relaxing.  I have barely read this month so it was nice to have an evening to read.  It had been raining most of the day but the sky started to lighten up as the evening progressed.  I just love looking out the window or patio door and seeing this view! 

I ended my night with a phone conversation with Phil (he had family stuff going on that day so we spent the day apart) and crashed pretty early.

On Sunday morning, I cleaned and did laundry before heading over my friend Brooke's to see her family.  I hadn't seen her kids since last September so was overdue for a visit.  The last time I saw baby Wyatt, he was about 4 days old, so he had clearly changed a ton!  It was so fun to hold him!

Holding babies is my happy place.  Being around kids reminds me of what matters most in life.

After catching up with Brooke, I stopped by my brother's so I could give my nephew his birthday gift (he turned 9 last weekend!).  After that I headed back to my place to plant some flowers in the planter that had been left on the patio by the owner.  I don't have much of a green thumb but hopefully they survive!

Grow, babies, grow!

I finished off my day with a nice long bike ride which I'll tell you more about tomorrow because this post is getting entirely too long. 

What were some of the highlights of your weekend?

Friday, June 6, 2014

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday - this week went by really fast for me!  I have a fairly unplanned weekend which I am happy about as last weekend was pretty exhausting with all the moving-related tasks.  I'm closing out the week with a 5 things Friday post!

1.  I am trying to find a new rhuematologist.  My cousin is a doctor and recommended 2, 1 of which is approved by my insurance.  But do you know how hard it is to get an appointment?  When I called to make an appointment, they said they'd need a referral (even though my insurance company doesn't require referrals) and said the referral could come from my Charlotte rheum.  So I called my Charlotte rheum and her office said they do not do referrals and that the referral will need to come from my primary care physician.  So I called the office of the PCP I saw in Charlotte to see if they'd do a referral and they said that since my insurance has changed, they can't give me a referral either.  UGH.  I am going to try to call the Minneapolis Rheum's office again to see if they'll make an exception on booking an appointment as clearly getting a referral is becoming a major headache.  I'm hoping that if I send them my medical records that show I have RA they will be willing to set up an appointment.  I could see my PCP in Minneapolis but I don't want to waste money on an unnecessary office visit.  Le sigh.  Dealing with medical stuff is so hard sometimes.  End rant.

2.  I have my first work trip next week which I am excited about.  I am going to New York to spend some time with one of our trading desks out there.  It will be a super quick trip as I am not even there for 48 hours, but I am looking forward to it as I heart NYC so much.

3.  While I am looking forward to my NYC trip, I am also enjoying the fact that I am in a place where I can just 'be'.  In Charlotte I would feel a sense of panic if my calendar wasn't full of out-of-town trips since I struggled to fill my weekend hours.  But now I am back in a place where I appreciate the fact that I have a quiet weekend ahead.  

4.  My first week of shred workouts went well but boy did they kick my butt!  It's been fun to try some new things and change up my schedule a bit.  I still will fit in 4 runs so feel like I am striking a good balance between cardio and strength training.

5.  Speaking of running, one of my favorite 'date night' activities is going running with Phil.  We both live in great neighborhoods for running so at least once a week we go for a run together and then make dinner afterwards.  It's nice to combine quality time together with being active.  I've never dated a runner so this is a nice change of pace for me! 

What's on your mind today? 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

11 Questions

Nora and Stephany both did this post recently, so I thought I'd play along and post my answers!

1.   What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? 

Check my emails/whatsapp messages/texts and look at my sleep ap stats to see how high or low my sleep quality was.

2. What do you eat for breakfast? 

On week days I usually have GF oatmeal with a banana in it and coffee.  On a weekend I will make scrambled eggs with salsa if I have time for a bigger breakfast.
3. What’s your go-to weeknight meal?

In the summer I tend to grill a chicken breast or pork chop and usually zucchini or some other vegetable.  In the winter I eat leftovers or microwave a baked potato.  A lot of times I do not even cook during the week, though, as I try to make a couple of big meals on the weekends and eat the leftovers during the week.

4. Do you do any kind of journaling or memory keeping? 

I try to journal when I am on vacations but for the most part, my blog is my tool for keeping track of memories.

5. How do you fix your coffee, or do you prefer tea (or neither)? 

I make my coffee at home 6 days a week and treat myself to a skinny vanilla latte on Fridays.  I am picky about my coffee and will only buy whole bean coffee so I can grind it myself.  I like my coffee with International Delights Fat Free French Vanilla creamer, but will drink whatever flavored creamer that is available.  I am sure flavored creamers are full of chemicals but it's one of the few processed foods I eat.

6. What’s the last good book you read?  

The last book I read that I gave 5 stars to was Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.  It's pretty dark and kind of intense but so well-written.  

7. If you had a day all to yourself with no schedule, how would you spend it?

I'd start my day with a long run along the chain of lakes/Minehaha Parkway trail in Minneapolis.  After showering, I'd walk across the river to get brunch at Wilde Roast Cafe where I'd have an omelet and a latte.  Then I'd wander through the farmer's market by my condo and pick up some veggies to grill for dinner later that night.  The afternoon would be spent reading on my patio or on a bench in a local park and I'd snack on some macarons.  In the evening, I'd grill dinner, play a couple of games of cribbage with Phil and we'd watch an episode of House of Cards.

8. What are three things on your life list? 

Be completely debt free, take a month long trip to France, and climb Machu Picchu.

9. When you really need to relax or de-stress, where do you go and what do you do? 

Go for a long run, preferably by water, read a good book, take a long hot shower, talk to a friend, or go to my parents' lake home.
10. What’s on your nightstand?

My glasses, sleep mask, ear plugs (yes I am a high maintenance sleeper), hand lotion and nook or latest book I am reading.
11. What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep? 

Check my email one last time and set my sleep ap alarm.

Ok - your turn!  Answer some or all of these questions in the comments or on your blog.  I'm particularly interested in hearing what 3 things are on everyone's life list!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Virtual Coffee Date

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  My mind is kind of spinning from this state of transition that I am in, so I figured the best way to share some of the things running through my head is through a virtual coffee date post!  So here goes!

If we were getting coffee today, I'd tell you:

- that my first week of work went really well but was kind of overwhelming.  In the 3 days I worked last week I had 2 welcome happy hours and a welcome dinner, so I definitely can tell they are excited to have me (and the other 2 people who started on the same day as me) on board, which is a good feeling.  Luckily I sit by about 10 people that worked at my former company, so it was a warm environment to walk into.  I know they have high expectations for me so I am trying my best to meet and exceed those expectations which = stress.  But I think it's impossible to avoid stress when starting a new job and I am confident that it will be a good fit.

- that moving wore me out and that I'm happy it's behind me.  I'll do a post next week about the process and will share some photos once I get pictures up on the wall (i.e. once my 2 best local friends have time to come over and help me hang them because I suck at that).  I'm so happy to be back in my old neighborhood, I am just giddy.  My view is amazing and I am happy with my floor plan.  And - I have plenty of room for my piano so will have that delivered sometime this month!  Yea!

I heart my view so much.  When I have my windows open I can hear the sound of rushing water which is so peaceful.

 - that Phil and I are dating again!  I have been quiet about the details of my relationship with Phil but we've kept in touch since I left.  2013 was incredibly difficult for both us as he dealt with the loss of his father and I dealt with the long list of challenges that was thrown my way, so neither of us had much to give.  But now that we are living in the same city again, we are giving it another try.  So far it's been really wonderful and it seems like we are better and stronger than ever.  I think the year apart taught us how to communicate and understand each other better, and it gives us more of a sense of appreciation for the time we do spend together. 

- that I feel like I have been bleeding money for the last 2 months so will be focusing on not spending much money in June.  I can't say it will be a 'no spend' month because I know I will need to get things for my apartment and might need to add to my wardrobe as the dress code at my new job is a bit more formal than my previous one and they don't observe casual Friday so I might need to add a few pieces here and there to make sure I have enough clothes.  But besides that, I am trying to cut out expenses wherever I can.

- that it's so nice to be back in a city where it's so easy for me to be happy.  It's just wonderful to be close to family and friends, have a full social calendar, and to wake up to a view that is jawdroppingly gorgeous.  I find myself smiling just walking down the streets of Minneapolis.  I love this city so much, I could probably be an ambassador for it.  I know it's not perfect for everyone, but it's perfect for me.  I look forward to hopefully hosting some friends in the year to come and there are even places around my condo that Phil hasn't seen so I am excited to show him more of my neighborhood.

What would you tell me if we met for coffee today?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Music, Books, Miles and Looks of May

Wow, it's June.  May was a blur, but a good month for me as it included moving home, starting a new job, and moving into my apartment.  My first week at work went well - more on that later this week!


Alive by Krewella - My favorite spin instructor would play this song towards the end of class.  It has a good beat and I'd always get a second wind when she played it.  It's probably teeny bopper pop music but I don't care.  I really like it.

Sing by Ed Sheeran - I adore Ed Sheeran.  His new song has a different feel than the music on his last album but I really like it!


You know how I said I didn't read as much as I thought I would last month?  I guess I made up for that this month because I read A LOT.  I read 9 books (one was an audio book we listened to on the drive but I am counting it).  It's tough to pick a favorite because I read so many excellent books.  And There wasn't anything I didn't really like!

From Here to Paris by Cris Hammond -  5 stars
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian - 3 stars
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen - 4 stars
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - 5 stars
The Beach House by Georgia Bockoven - 3 stars
Return to the Beach House by Georgia Bockoven - 3 stars
Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer - 4 stars
Paris by Edward Rutherfurd - 4 stars
Vintage by Susan Gloss - 4 stars


May was a strong month for me in terms of workouts.  It helped that I did not work for most of the month.  Moving, settling in and starting a new job definitely threw a wrench in my workout schedule, but I managed to run 57 miles, hike 29, and I did 31 workouts in 31 days (although the last 2 days I counted 'moving tasks' as workouts which might be cheating but I also counted things like hiking 8.4 miles over 5.5 hours as one workout so I think it all balances out).  I'd like my running mileage to be higher but I don't think that will happen until July as I am doing a 4-week Summer Shred that starts today which will be more focused on strength training.  I'm excited to try this Shred, though, especially since Amber is doing it as well!


Oh boy.  This was not a month for new looks.  I pretty much lived in work out clothes.  The only outfit I took a picture of is the outfit I wore on my 2nd day of work which is really not very interesting but is a typical "Lisa look" - i.e. Banana Republic, simple colors.