Things from the Week

Happy weekend! I’m glad it’s here, but I had a good week:

A Couple o’ Runs
I got a couple runs in this week—3 miles Monday, 4 miles Tuesday and 2 miles Thursday. I enjoyed the view of the beach Thursday…

running by the beach

This view never gets old!

But despite the beauty I couldn’t ignore the pain in my groin/inner thigh… How will I ever get this injury to go away? I think after the Green Bay [Half] Marathon next weekend I will have to take some real time off and see a physical therapist to figure out what to do. Just doing the rest, stretching, icing thing doesn’t seem to be helping it all that much.

Wedding Planning Bonanza
With about 3 ½ months until the big day, I’m in full-blown wedding planning mode! I’m starting to iron out the details and put my many Pinterest plans into action. Last night I was up ‘til midnight working on our wedding invites. The upside and downside to being a designer: You can create your own invites, but man does it take a lot of time! (Especially for a perfectionist like me.) I love how our Save the Dates turned out, so I have high hopes and intricate plans for the invites… 🙂

rustic vitage wedding save the date postcards

A Bird Pooped on My Head
Is this a highlight?

Well it’s dang funny, anyway: Thursday night was the first nice evening this spring, in the 70s, light breeze… Matt and I were sitting on our back porch, enjoying a glass of wine and blissfully talking honeymoon plans. Then plop…Right on my forehead. It was probably the funniest thing that happened to me all week, and I wish I could go back and see my face. Haha!

Jack is Back!

Anyone else obsessed with the show 24? I was lovin’ the 2-hour kick-off, but it seems like something is missing. Maybe once the story gets rolling it will seem like the old episodes that really pull you in and put you on the edge of your seat?

I am so looking forward to the coming week: We’re having some friends over for dinner Monday, and then I leave Tuesday for the HOW Design Conference for work, so I will be in Boston ‘til Friday. I loooove learning new things, so I am already geeked out just thinking about it! Plus, it will be nice to spend some time with my boss and talk shop…and my younger sister, who is in the same field, will be attending the conference as well. Bonus sister time! And of course, you know that at some point I will have to take a little jog on the Boston marathon course, maybe even cross the finish line. 😉

– – –

Hightlight of your week?

Any recos on what to do while I am in Boston? Things to see, places to eat, whatever? 

Just Livin’ That Lovely Life

Over the winter, when I thought about the whole marathon training + working + planning a wedding + staying social thing, I knew it’d be a little busy…but I had no idea! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, a good one, and I’m in my own happy little version of Oz.

The Green Bay Marathon is quickly approaching: Only about a month away now! I’m so ready. I’m excited, but I have to admit that I am fully looking forward to it coming, and then going and being done. Staying in alone Friday nights, then getting up at the crack of dawn and running for 3+ hours on Saturday morning isss getting a little old. I love, love, love running—why else would I run a marathon?! But all the time that training’s taking away from the rest of my life…well, I’m ready to get that back. 😉

That said, training’s been decent. I did my 18-miler two weeks ago. I felt great for it all, ’til what I thought was my hip flexor, but I now suspect was perhaps my groin(?), was pretty tight for the last 3-4 miles. I finished without pain, but had some dull aching that night and the following couple of days. I took off Sunday—Thursday, then did a 2-mile test last Friday. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only did 9 miles as my long run this past weekend (instead of 19 miles). I have a 20-mile run on the docket in two weeks and I think I’ll be golden for it. In the meantime, I’m looking up hip and groin stretches and strengthening exercises to help keep me feelin’ good ’til that finish line is in my crosshairs.

In other news: Work + wedding + social life have been fabulous.

I earned a promotion at work a few weeks ago, something I’ve been working towards for almost two years, so that’s exhilarating and motivating. YAY! Of course, that means big projects + personal goals to make things even MORE uber-awesome now, which means I’ve been putting in some extra hours lately. All worth it, though! Can’t live, or work, without a little extra passion. Amen.

I wish I could say I’ve been just as on top of wedding planning.

041414-elope

I was feeling good about it, like I was ahead of the game, and then the last 2-3 weeks have positively FLOWN by and suddenly my to-do list is glaring at me. Eeeek.

Hope to do some real updating and more in-depth recap on my training lately…stay tuned!

– – –

How do you balance it all? 

Workplace Positivity + Treadmill Fun

We made it halfway! Well, for me, I just have one more day ‘til the weekend. Woo. At work, we’ll soon have two web designers on maternity leave, so before I get to train and oversee their freelance fill-ins and things get hectic, I thought I’d take a day off for ME. It will be full of homemade breakfast and wedding designing.

And maybe some wine, because my boss told me to. Ha. My kinda vaca day!

How has your week been going? Mine’s been okay—I had a rollercoaster of a Monday, which prompted me to give myself a little inspiration:

workplace inspiration

I was having a rough morning (for no real reason), so at lunchtime, I found these colorful & positive messages on Pinterest, printed them out, and hung them in eyesight. I guess it was just one of those days, but I am already loving peeking up at those peppy messages every day.

“You gotta stay positive.”
“Choose to see the good stuff.”

Staying positive and finding the good in things just makes life so much easier! (And happier.) 🙂

I had some good workouts yesterday & today on the treadmill. It’s been another arctic week here in Wisconsin, so outdoor running is a no-go. I’ve been trying to keep the treadmill interesting (and dare I say, fun?). On Tuesday, I had 3 miles on the schedule, so I did my usual climb up/climb down starting at 5.5mph, going slowly up to 6.5mph, and then back down. Changing the speed up and down by .1mph every minute or so helps me break up the run mentally, I guess.

Today, I had another 3 miles on the docket, so I tried one of the pre-programmed workouts on the ‘mill. It was a “rolling hills” workout, which I must have set up wrong because the incline never went up from 0 like I expected. Ha But, it did give me an easy warm-up before jumping back & forth between 5.5mph, straight up to 6mph, then straight back down to 5.5mph. It went up or down like this at every minute for about 25 minutes before an easy cool down. I liked the mix of easy running with a burst of speedier effort, it made me feel strong and the time went by quickly.

Cheers to the approaching weekend (and a very cold 8-mile long run on Saturday)!

– – –

How do you keep your treadmill (or other gym workout) interesting?
Do you have a favorite motivational quote or saying? 

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? 

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…

112613_angry

…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.

112613_stuffers

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?

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? 🙂

Conference + City Livin’ in Sweet Home Chicago

I’m back! I had quite a busy week with work, workshops & a conference in downtown Chicago.

Last Wednesday, I headed to Chicago to attend the WebVisions conference for work.

“WebVisions exposes designers, programmers and strategists to the new ideas and trends that are revolutionizing business and the world.”

As part of my job as a web designer, it’s pretty critical I stay up to date on what’s going on in the world of web design and development, since it’s such a fast-moving and ever-changing medium, and this conference didn’t disappoint. There were so many eye-opening things I got out of it. I’m excited to go back to work this week and discuss ideas, and work out a game plan to put them into action.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways, which I think really transcend any job field, and get to the core of communication and everyday life:

Find good people doing good things, and work with them.
Whether it be at work or not—believing in what you do and who you work with is so important. [talk given by Jason Kunesh, @jdkunesh]

Stop Complaining and Do Something

Stop complaining and do something. 
So easy to say, yet sometimes, so hard to do. Where to start “doing something” is sometimes the toughest question to answer yourself. So talk to others and think positively on what you can do to create change for the better. [talk given by Jason Kunesh, @jdkunesh]

Sketch!
Even though we work on the web and computers all day, sometimes pen & paper are our best and most valuable tools to get ideas out of our heads.

Avoid the “swoop-n-poop.”
(Ha.) Involve important stakeholders in decision-making up front, so they don’t come into the picture at the end of the road and ask “what if,” virtually swooping in and pooping on all the ideas and work you’ve already done. Okay, sounds funny and not professional I know, but as a design professional, this is an all too familiar situation! [collaboration & critique workshop given by Adam Connor from MadPow]

Find your “north star” and make your game plan to get there.
In work & personal life, it’s important to figure out what’s most important to you and how you want to get there (and when)—especially to keep them both balanced. Having a plan keeps you focused and helps you stay on track. [talk given by Jason Ulaszek]

Beyond the conference, it was fun pretending to live and work in the city for a few days.

Hi there, Chicago river!

Hi there, Chicago river!

But, a few days is all it takes to remind me how much I’m NOT made for city living. I mean, the only picture I took of the city while there was of this river–not the million buildings surrounding it! I missed the peace & quiet of my house, my yard, and the laid-back nature of my town. Constantly looking at train schedules, maps, rushing around, and bustling through crowds of people everywhere isn’t exactly relaxing.

It was fun to stay with my sister & brother-in-law in Ravenswood (just a 15-minute train ride outside of downtown), and spend a little time with them. One night, my sister and I went to Acre and noshed on some delicious cheese, shrimp, mushroom tart, and pork tacos. (I was too busy stuffing my face to take photos, sorry.) They have a great wine and beer selection, which we also enjoyed. 😉 I would definitely recommend the restaurant, whether for dinner, or just a couple small plates for a snack.

The only down side to my time in the city: I never got a chance to run.  I foresaw that happening, with getting up early and staying up late every night to answer emails and get some work done, and conference-ing all day. It was a whirlwind.

I was happy to arrive home (exhausted!) on Friday night, to the fiancé waiting at the train station for me. I was in bed by 9:30 and slept nearly 12 hours! I guess that’s a sign of a long, but great, week.

What do you think of my conference takeaways? Does it spark any advice that you’ve heard, or your own? Are you a city or country person?