Two Weeks of a Lovely Life, in Pictures

Hiya, friends. It’s been a busy couple of weeks!

C2 Graphics web training course

C2 Graphics web training course

I finished my web design training up in Milwaukee at C2 Graphics. Love that place, their instructors, and the learnings I walked away with.

Followed up training one night by meeting my good friend (and bridesmaid!) in the Third Ward for dinner and drinks at the Milwaukee Ale House. I drank the Sheepshead Stout beer, “a robust Irish style oatmeal stout with distinct roast chocolate notes and a creamy smooth finish.”

Milwaukee Ale House | Sheepshead Stout

Milwaukee Ale House | Sheepshead Stout

It was oh-so-good!

I also got to see the new Anchorman 2 movie a day early, thanks to the lovely Jockey undies that were featured in the film.

Anchorman Briefs from Jockey

Anchorman Briefs from Jockey

You can buy these online, and I think it would make a great gag gift for the fun dudes on your list. I bought this pair for our one buddy who loves Anchorman. He might also like to remove his pants and play guitar when he’s had one too many drinks. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Was Anchorman 2 as good as the first? You’re probably wondering. I have to say, for being a sequel, it was pretty swell. It had as much randomness and funny one-liners as the first movie. (“It’s chicken of the cave!” And let’s not forget, Doby.) I think the first movie is so funny because all those quotable one-liners that we all picked up afterwards. This has that same potential. But, in the beginning of the movie, I did feel like it was trying too hard, but maybe I was scrutinizing it too much.

Moving along…

I’ve been chowing down on [too many] Christmas cookies.

Snickerdoodles Christmas cookies

Snickerdoodles

Like these snickerdoodles I made for work. I got lots of compliments on how delicious they were. Matt stole and ate a bunch before I even got them to work. Psst…They’re made out of the bag from Betty Crocker. 😉

Peanut Butter Blossoms with mini hershey kisses

Peanut Butter Blossoms

And finally, these peanut butter blossoms that I made last night. Matt had made dinner…

Matt's Homemade Lasagna

Matt’s Homemade Lasagna

(My FAVE!)

So I had to make dessert (his fave).

I’ve been very healthy lately, you can see.

Here’s more proof:

Cosmopolitan, please.

Cosmopolitan, please.

Kicking off a 9-day vaca (!!!) Friday night with a Cosmo martini at our nearby martini + tapas bar.

People must know we like wine and booze, because we were showered with these housewarming gifts at our Housewarming Holiday Party last weekend:

Housewarming Booze

Housewarming Booze

YUM, Rumchata. Thanks, everyone!

We were so glad to have many friends over for our party, to celebrate our new home with us and get in the Christmas spirit. We had tons of yummy food; there were two tables filled with it, and I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture—but then, I didn’t really have time to even think of that for the first few hours! We also had the drinks flowin’, the Christmas music playing and the lights shining…

Heart our Christmas tree

Heart our Christmas tree 🙂

And I think everyone had a blast. We sure did. Thanks for celebrating with us!

With all that in mind, I haven’t been working out much, but I did bite the bullet and hit a treadmill yesterday, since we got hit with freezing rain & ice Friday night.

Running on the dreadmill, I mean, treadmill...

Running on the dreadmill, I mean, treadmill…

It’s kinda blurry, but I was trying not to look like a huge tool at my new gym for taking a pic of my machine.

I always run way harder on the treadmill, so I can get done faster, so I’m sore today…but it feels good. Glad to be back at it. More posts on the running & workout stuff to come soon!

– – –

Happy holidays everyone! What are you doing to celebrate?

How are you fitting in your workouts over this hectic holiday season—or are you not, and just eating cookies like me? 

Resting Up + Party Plans

YO, party people!
I am so looking forward to this week being over already. It’s been crazyhecticnutso around here, but in a good way. Plus, I have an exciting weekend coming up!

Last week flew by because work was so crazy. At my day job in web design world, we finished off our Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales, and kicked off our Christmas sales, so we’re in the home stretch for marketing land. It feels good to make it this far without losing my sanity (too much).

chateau st. michelle wine

delicio-so

Thank you, vino.

The week left me exhausted, and I was oh-so-happy when Friday rolled around. I had some web design training during the day (love going to “school”!), then returned home to some happy hour festivities with a buddy that will be leaving the hallowed work halls soon. Wah.

After that, I headed over to my company’s annual holiday party, where I got some yummy dinner and chatted it up with lots of co-workers. I stayed for a couple hours, then called it a night and headed home. I was ready for some sleep!

Saturday morning, I was supposed to run the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5K. I did this run last year. It was well-organized, fun and well worth facing the cold then. But, temps were under 5 degrees, with a wind chill well below zero… Based on how miserably cold my Turkey Trot run felt last month, and with the temps even warmer then, I decided to skip the race.

A lot of my running club still went to the race, and I felt a little guilty for not going myself. What am I, a pansy? How cold is too cold, when it comes to winter running? What do you think?

In the end, I was pretty glad I skipped the race—I was so exhausted from Thanksgiving and the work week, so I really needed some extra zzz’s. I finally felt well-rested and was able to get a head start on all the work I needed to do around the house.

Why so much work to do here? We’re finally having a housewarming party this coming weekend! I LOOOOVE Christmas, so what better excuse to throw a holiday + housewarming party (finally)? We’re trying to put the finishing touches on every room, make our place spic ‘n’ span, get our holiday decorations up, and plan out our yummy food menus for the party before Saturday arrives.

We are having a ton of people over, so we’re doing a heavy spread of appetizers instead of a real “dinner” or anything. So far on the list we have:

  • Cheese, crackers, olives & grapes
  • Veggies, dip, hummus
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Taco dip + chips
  • Guacamole, salsa, chips
  • Salamis, green olives & mozzarella kabobs (festive!)
  • Spinach & artichoke bites (<– Thanks, Pinterest)
  • Brie, cranberry sauce & pistachio bites
  • Smoked salmon & chive cream cheese on cucumbers
  • Pepperoni rolls (<– Mom’s specialty)
  • Oreo truffles
  • Nutella brownies

Ahh, I’m already hungry just thinkin’ about it.

What are your favorite party foods?

Anything we should add to the spread? 

How cold is too cold when it comes to running?

The Long Haul to Turkey Day

It’s been a busy week so far. Even though it’s a short week at work, I’m counting down the hours ‘til Thanksgiving: Family, food, relaxation & a break! I’m in need of all those things. And maybe a few glasses of wine.

Well, always some wine. 😉

Here’s what my week has looked like so far:

My weekend involved lots of house cleaning, organizing & improvements. I’ll do full reveals of these rooms once they’re completely done, but I’ve pretty much finished making over our main guest bedroom and my office. Yay! Finally.

Sneak peek of our guest room. Neutral and comfortable.

Sneak peek of our guest room, picture unhung.

Tidbit of my office: My favorite part, my "clothesline" for fun stuff!

Tidbit of my office: My favorite part, my miniature “clothesline” for fun stuff!

I took a break Sunday and broke my hermit streak. Seriously, once it gets cold out, I do NOT want to leave the house. But my friend, Liz, invited me to meet her and a friend for a beer at a local craft brewery, Rustic Road. Beer? Sure!

Rustic Road Hazelnut Harvest Beer

Rustic Road Hazelnut Harvest Beer

I drank the Hazelnut Harvest amber ale. It was supposed to have flavors of vanilla and hazelnut, but they were pretty faint. Overall, the beer was okay, but not one I’d buy at a store. Which is sad, because I love me some hazelnuts!

I came home and got into the Christmas spirit a bit… Okay, I admit, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past week. But, I’ve been working on Black Friday and other holiday emails every day at work, what do you expect?!

Our first Christmas wreath!

Our first Christmas wreath!

Matt got us this wreath, handmade from some Boy Scouts. Love it! Mmm, fresh pine.

Then I enjoyed an Angry Orchard amidst the romantic glow of candles…

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…while I baked some [break ‘n’ bake] cookies to bring to my running club meeting for the next night. I’m a cheater.

Simply Pillsbury break n bake cookies - peanut butter and chocolate chip. Yum!

But I tell ya, these babies are so yummy! Lots of my running club buds were even saying so. Plus they are made “simply” without a bunch of crap like normal pre-made cookies. So, uh, they’re good for you, right?

On Monday, I got into work by 7a.m. and put in a good 11 hours, trying to get everything done for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Had to skip my planned run with friends, but it was worth getting some extra stuff done. Plus, I rocked an afternoon presentation to my boss and some execs. Ohhh yes. Hoping to help make some good changes in the near future!

Left work by 6 to go to the running club meeting and feed people with my delicious homemade cookies. The cookies were gone quickly, and they [plus pizza] fueled us through a couple hours of packet stuffing for our upcoming sponsored race, the Mayor’s Day Turkey Run!

Did you ever realize how much work goes into that packet stuffing?

I hadn’t.

Packet Stuffing for the Mayor's Day Turkey Run

Packet Stuffing for the Mayor’s Day Turkey Run

But it took a while, and a whole bunch of spunky runner folks.

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And a few paper cuts.

Packets for the Mayor's Day Turkey Run

Look at all those packets! That’s not even all of them…

But we got it done! If you’re looking for a Turkey Trot or a Thanksgiving Day race to help offset all the eating, drinking & being merry on Thursday, sign up for my running club’s race! It’s almost sold out, it’s a popular one. 🙂

Today was another long day at work, but in a good way. Getting lots done and ready to bring on the holiday shoppers! But coding a bazillion emails has made me cross-eyed. Good thing my boss brought in cupcakes to fuel us along.

I give thanks for cupcakes.

I give thanks for cupcakes.

BTW, best way to eat a cupcake: Tear it in half, and flip the top with the frosting over. Eat like a scrumptious cupcake sandwich, with frosting in every bite. You’re welcome.

One more long day of work, LOTS to get done. Then it’s Thanksgiving break time!

And also time to start streaking. A run streak, that is. You in?

Good thing this post looks so healthy, with all its boozy mentions and cookies and cupcakes. Maybe I should start taking pictures of my salads. But you know, those just aren’t as pretty.

What’s getting you through the week?
What are your plans for the holidays?
Will you be run streaking?

Weekend: Run Club, Tornados & Toilet Water

Hi friends! Happy Monday. How was your weekend? If you couldn’t tell by the title of my post, mine was a little eventful come Sunday…

Saturday morning started bright & early at 6:30. (Funny how it’s so much easier to get up at that time on a Saturday, versus every other workday morning.) I had planned to run 4-6 miles with my running club, and even though it was a little dismal out—overcast, chilly and misting—once I got going, I felt pretty good. Two new ladies came to run with the club that morning, so I got to know them while we ran. It’s always fun making new running buds!

At almost 6 miles, my stomach started really grumbling at me, so I called it short and finished up with some walking. No sweat, since I’m not training for anything. It feels good to run without putting the pressure on every time!

Afterwards, I chatted a while with the rest of the club members while I sipped some hot cocoa (yummm). Lots of people came out this week, it was fun! We kinda took over the room. Just look at all that reflective gear.

running club @ post-run coffee

running club @ post-run coffee

[Nope, that is not Voldemort in the lower left-hand corner, whose head is a blur. Just my friend Dave. I doubt Voldy is much of a runner.]

After I got home & took a long hot shower to warm back up, Matt & I flexed our sweet Excel skills and did some finance & wedding budgeting. We made it through without getting frustrated or ripping out any hair, so I call that a win! We must have felt pretty good afterwards, because we ran a bunch of errands and spent a lot of money and got lots of needed house stuff…plus a few little extras. Love this little typographic sign for my office (it’s slowly coming together):

home office typographic sign with motivational quotes

This is my fave quote on there:

home office typographic sign with motivational quotes

We all make mistakes. What matters most is what we learn from them.

As a creative and a web designer, no truer words have been spoken!

Saturday night, we made a nice dinner, then had another low-key night in, which included wine & watching White House Down with Channing Tatum. Oh yes. I guess I enjoyed that part more than Matt.

Sunday unwrapped a series of unfortunate events for us first-time homeowners. A faulty warning buzzer failed to let us know that our holding tank was full. (Since we don’t have city water or sewage, this tank holds all of our “grey water,” a.k.a. anything that goes down a drain.) After I tried to flush a tissue down one of our toilets literally five times, trying to figure out why the water wouldn’t go down the whole way…we soon found a few inches of water on the ground in our laundry room, next to the bathroom. Thus we came to realize that the holding tank was full, there was nowhere for the water to go, and it had backed up out of the drain and into the laundry room. WOMP. At least it wasn’t, er, dirty water…

While cleaning up the waterworks, the wind howled and screeched outside. Soon the lights were flickering and tornado sirens started blaring! Crikey, I thought it couldn’t get much worse than backed up toilet water, but there you go. We were lucky nothing too bad ended up hitting us during the crazy storms all day, but my thoughts definitely go out to those in Illinois who were hit by the tornados yesterday. So scary. 😦

Needless to say, things were kind of put into perspective. Matt and I finished cleaning up, paid almost $200 to have our tank emergency-pumped on a Sunday (ouch), and all was okay again.

After cleaning up the basement floors, then ourselves, we headed to our friends’ house to watch the Lions-Steelers game. No stinky water or severe weather can keep us from duking it out over our football rivalry!

Steelers vs Lions

Steelers vs Lions

P.S. The Steelers won. But I won’t rub it in. 😉

We chowed down on some snacks, and Matt’s homemade chili.

homemade chili, football Sunday

and some candy for dessert.

111813_candy

Plus I tried a new beer: Shock Top Raspberry Wheat.

Shock Top Raspberry Wheat

I normally love Shock Top, but the raspberry flavor was a little too fake…almost reminded me of cough syrup at first. After a few drinks, I guess I got used to it, because I liked it enough to finish it. Ha.

After the game, we came home, ordered in a pizza for a late dinner, and caught up on our show, Once Upon a Time, for the night.

What did you do this weekend? What do you do when home disaster strikes?

We tend to freak out for approximately one minute, then I usually call my mom (who will later make fun of me), then get down to work and take care of business. Yesterday we stayed pretty calm and even laughed while cleaning up, because of the ridiculousness of it all, so I guess we’re getting better at dealing with these unexpected things that come along with owning a house!

Things I’m Looking Forward To + Rachel Zoe

Whew! We made it to Thursday, people. It’s been a long week on the work front—lots of hours and last-minute projects. I guess that’s the norm in the marketing & web world, but sometimes it gets a bit draining. Looks like taking some extra time off running this week was good timing, because at least I’m not 110% drained at the end of every day.

On a positive note, lots of good things have been made, and we’re in the process of making so many improvements at work. I will just keep those positive thoughts in mind, keep my nose down to the grindstone, and truck along. That’s how I do.

Speaking [writing?] of making great things, I want to share with you the big project I was working on a few weeks ago: I work at Jockey International, and we’re partnering with stylist & fashion icon Rachel Zoe. Have you heard of her? She’s kind of a big deal. 😉 Anyway, a couple weeks ago we soft-launched our new microsite for new “cheeky” underwear that she promotes—that’s right, NOT granny panties! I put a lot of time, effort, and, umm, possibly some wine into this site. Check it out and let me know what you think of it!

Jockey + Rachel Zoe Microsite

Jockey + Rachel Zoe Microsite

Things I’m looking forward to in the next few days:

• Getting engagement photos back soon.
EEEEEE [<– imagine a high pitched girly noise here] I will fill you in on our amazing wedding photographer & all that jazz once we get the pics! Here’s a sneak peek:

shot by The Salty Peanut Photography

Engagement Photo Sneak Peek

• Chef salads & soup for dinner.
Simple and relatively light. Yum.

• Having a beer with said “light” dinner.
Balanced diet. Er, yeah.

• Staying home this weekend and “winter-izing” our house.
What does one do to “winter-ize”? We just know we need to get our shit together before the snow starts falling, which could literally be any day now. Damn you, Wisconsin. We plan to get our deck cleared off & our garage organized, and then get some major cleaning around the house done. I know, sounds exciting. But I will feel good when it’s done!

Things I’m not looking forward to:

• Avoiding Matt’s sickness the next few days.
The flu/cold has been going around work and now Matt’s been home sick, too. I’m trying to get lots of sleep and have been taking my drug cocktail in hopes of staying healthy. And by drug cocktail, I mean: Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinacea & Garlic pills. Usually works like a charm!

• Cleaning the garage out this weekend.
I know, I just said I’m looking forward to it above, but there are always so many spiders and bugs and it’s like a dead bug graveyard and ugh. Just not my favorite thing ever.

• Cutting back on sweets again.
I’ve been pretty lax on my diet the last two weeks, with the whole marathon euphoria convincing me I can eat whatever I want. It’s been tasty, but I can feel my jeans snugging back up, so I guess it’s time to get all that sugar back under control!

spoooooky cupcake

buh-bye mr. bat cupcake

• Bundling up.
Brrrr. It was 34 degrees when I left home this morning. I fear fall is on the downswing and winter is coming…

What are you looking forward to this weekend? What do you do to “winterize”? What do you think of our Rachel Zoe website? 🙂

Mommy-Do Lists & a Wedding Weekend

Last week, my mom stayed at my house to spend some time with Matt & me, and help us with some house projects. Now that she’s retired, we like to keep her busy. 😉 We’ve been making her a “Mommy-Do List” and she put a good dent in it for us.

Here’s my fave handiwork from the week. When we bought our new house six months ago, we inherited this sweet camouflage painted room.

102113_camo

The Camo Room

Thanks to mom, we no longer had to shield our eyes when we walk by it!

102113_beige2

Camo, be gone!

Buh bye, camo. Hello, normal neutral beige.

My mom is the best!

On Friday night, we took my mom out for dinner and a movie as a thank-you for all the help.

Dinner was at Twisted Cuisine, which is one of my favorite restaurants. Their chef takes so many ordinary dishes and “twists” them into something interesting and delicious, with unordinary pairings or unusual ingredients. For example, there was a salmon dish on the menu that includes ginger snap and a pear gorgonzola vinaigrette. I’d like to see how those flavors come together!

I didn’t go with anything crazy on Friday, though. They had seafood cannelloni with a cream sauce that sounded too good to pass up, so I went with one of their more “normal” dishes. I guess all the marathon carb-loading has me on a pasta kick now. This dish was SO tasty, but also so rich that I barely ate 1/3 of it before I was stuffed.

I also had a pumpkin pie martini that tasted JUST like pumpkin pie…

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini

It wasn’t too sweet, and had a yummy graham cracker rim. Pumpkin perfection.

After dinner, we went to see Gravity in 3D. Wow, that movie was visually amazing! It’s definitely worth seeing in 3D. It felt so real, like you’re actually there sometimes…which was kind of stressful, considering the story is about two people who basically get stranded in space. You kind of feel like you’re stuck out there with them. The movie kept me on the edge of my seat, and it was so suspenseful and intense that I was honestly a little relieved when it was over. Ha!

On Saturday, we said goodbye to my mom around lunchtime, as she was heading to my sister’s to spend a few days with her. Then Matt and I headed to Illinois for the weekend. A good friend was getting married on Sunday, and Matt was standing in the wedding, so we readied ourselves for some serious celebrating.

The weather was spotty Sunday, but luckily the sprinkling rain diverted itself long enough for the ceremony to be held outside. It was short and sweet, and Ross and Victoria were so happy and in love. I may have teared up a couple times… I am a sucker at weddings!

102113_wedding

102113_wedding2

Congratulations you two!

We had a fun time celebrating with friends and the bride & groom’s families. It was definitely a night for the books.

Matt and I took vacation today since the wedding was just last night, so we got to start out the week by chilling at home, catching up on some TV shows and just relaxing with each other. Wish we could do this every day!

How was your weekend? Have you seen the movie Gravity? Are you a sucker for weddings like I am? 

Surviving the Work Week + Home Office Redecorating

This week has been a busy one already, and I’ve sort of felt like I’m hectic and all over the place, so I’m glad we’re over the hump. 🙂

One reason I’ve been a little hectic is we’re launching a new mini site at work. We’re in the home stretch, which is both relieving and exhausting at the same time. It’s exciting to see the concepts and hard work come to life!  But, there are also all those last-minute copy & photo edits, styling and coding changes, and late hours to grind it all out. We’re supposed to launch tomorrow, so I just might have to post the link to show it off, once it’s up & running…

I’d say I’m already looking forward to a relaxing weekend, but I think my two days off will be full of shopping, painting and redecorating. For weeks (er, months?), our home office has looked like this:

100213_room3

100213_room2

100213_room1

I haven’t unpacked the room, because I’ve been planning to paint and put up shelves, but my free time has gone to other rooms & duties since we moved in. A few weeks ago, I finally started to paint the room with the light grey paint leftover from our bathroom makeover, but with all the natural light, the grey looked like a blotchy & dingy white. So, today I got some new colors to try. I got two gallons, figuring whatever I don’t use will go towards the two spare bedrooms we still need to paint as well. The colors I got were “Accessible Beige” and “Copen Blue” from Sherwin Williams:

100213_colors

Which color do you think I’ll end up using in my office? I’m not even sure yet, but I’m leaning towards one… Take your guess!

If you take a look at my home office makeover Pinterest board, you can see I’m going for a lighter, happy-feeling & inspiring room. I was originally inspired by this photo (source):

100213_DSC_0076-465x700

I’m thinking my color palette will be rounded out with white, light blue, pink and silver/gold. I already have white furniture, a giant chesterfield-like sofa, and lots of storage space in the closet. It’s just a matter of painting, and putting it all together with the right accessories. Looks like my weekend’s booked!

For now, I’m finally relaxing for a couple hours with my fiancé, enjoying a cheese plate for dinner…

100213_cheese

And watching HOCKEY!

We keep it classy, with our cheese plates, wine, and whiskey on the rocks. What can I say.

Go Red Wings!

What color do you think I’ll paint my office? Any decorating tips? Who’s your hockey team?