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?

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? 🙂

Eats Lately, iPhone edition {2}

Let’s take a break from all the running and injury chatter to look at lovely pictures of something we can all enjoy…FOOD!

Hope you’re not hungry.

You will be.

Let’s start with breakfast!

Kashi Blueberry Waffles with Strawberries

Kashi Blueberry Waffles with Strawberries

I love me some carbs. To stay on the healthier track, I chow down on Kashi blueberry waffles topped with fruit. Whole grains & 6 grams of fiber (for 2) give them some staying power to last the morning. (And, two of them are only 150 calories!)

Snack time beckons next…

Oikos Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Oikos Toasted Coconut Vanilla Greek Yogurt

I try to steer clear of sugary yogurts, and also stick to the 0% fat, but I finally caved and tried the Dannon Greek Coconut Vanilla flavor. OMG. I wish I had tried it sooner. It’s rich, creamy, coconutty, and tastes quite decadent. Each single size container (~5 oz.) has 160 calories, but you get 11 grams of protein with that.

Luna Peanut Honey Pretzel Bar

Luna Peanut Honey Pretzel Bar

I’ve mentioned how much I like Luna Bars in my last eats post, and I’ve found a second favorite. This flavor is a delicious mix of sweet and salty. The Peanut Honey Pretzel Luna bar is super yummy, doesn’t taste ‘fake’ like some health bars can, and doesn’t upset my stomach if I eat it right before a post-work run.

Pretzel Crisps and Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges

Pretzel Crisps and Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges

I love cheese! I do live in Wisconsin, after all. I try to limit my cheese eating because of all the fat in it, but this is a cheesy snack that will still help you stay light on the scale. Pair some creamy Laughing Cow light cheese wedges with crunchy Pretzel Crisps for an easy snack at your work desk.

Now let’s talk dinnertime.

Best BLT ever: multi grain bread, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, avocado (the secret ingredient!), salt and pepper, lettuce and a smear of Miracle Whip.

Best BLT ever

Have you ever noticed how vibrant red tomatoes are from your own garden, or fresh picked at the farmer’s market? I got a couple giant, rich red juicy tomatoes last week and had to find a good use for them before they shriveled up like the end of summer. Enter this BLT made of dreams. Layer multi grain bread, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, avocado (the secret ingredient!), salt and pepper, lettuce and a smear of Miracle Whip. DE-LISH.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled Corn on the Cob

I’ve heard people talk about grilled corn, but I never tried it until recently… I was going to grill up chicken breasts and sweet potatoes, and wanted to throw some corn on to boil. It was a hot day, though, so I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen. I found an easy guide to grilling corn and now I’m hooked. While cooking, the husks burned off my corn for the most part, which I was a little worried about at first—I kept moving them around and literally blowing out the flames. It was probably a site to see. Ha But I realized the husks burned off quickly so there wasn’t too much flame-age, and I finally just let it go. The end result was such a delicious, smoky flavor in the sweet corn. You have to try it!

And to wash it all down…

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling

Mmm. My wine of choice over the last couple years, this sweet Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. I can never have just one glass of this vino. It’s my go-to!

Southern Tier Pumking Beer - A Pumpkin Beer

Southern Tier Pumking Beer

The plus side of fall’s return: Pumpkin beer! The Southern Tier Pumking beer is truly the King of pumpkin beers in my book. 😉 It’s spicy, has a lot of pumpkin flavor, but it isn’t overpowering. It’s a bit on the strong side (as in after 2 pints, I kinds feel like my head is a pumpkin), but it’s a darker and full-flavored beer, so it’s a good one to savor and sip.

And if that’s not enough…

Get a load of this brownie.

A brownie. THE brownie.

A brownie. THE brownie.

No really, can you get me a truckload of these brownies? The lady at my farmer’s market who makes these is my favorite. Gooey, fudgey, chocolate-y perfection.

What are some of your favorite eats (or drinks) lately?? Leave a comment and let me know!

Otherwise I’m just going to keep indulging on brownies and pumpkin beer over here…

A Perfect Monday

I have a confession to make:

Yesterday, my back was really sore from my 14-mile long run & all the housework I did this weekend. I mean, like, stand-up-and-groan-like-an-80-year-old sore. EVERY time I got up from my desk at work.

Sorry, cubicle mates.

There was a chance of rain in the forecast. It was glum & gloomy out. I was still tired from the busy weekend. I was hungry. I just wanted to hang out with my fiancé after a long Monday. There were probably more excuses running through my head. (No pun intended. Maybe?)

On my way home, I thought about what workout I would rather do—bike for an hour, or run 4 miles. Those were my options for the night, according to my training schedule this week.

I don’t really want to do either.

I’d kiiiinda rather go get a beer with Matt and hang out.

Moments later:

{ring ring}

“Hey…I’m almost home. What do you think about getting dinner & a beer somewhere?”

Next thing I knew, we were pulling into one of our favorite local dinner spots and sidling up to the bar for a frosty beverage. Matt ordered a New Glarus Totally Naked beer. I ordered the Point Nude Beach, draft please. The bartender gave us a strange look. I can’t imagine why?

We tipped back our brews and washed down gooey, drippy cheeseburgers. We talked wedding plans. Laughed. Relaxed. Focused on the important things: each other, enjoying the moment, planning our future nuptials, and how good that cheeseburger tasted. And then we stayed to chat with a close friend when she stopped by to join us for one more pint.

So, that’s what I did last night. I didn’t get in my workout. I didn’t stick to my diet. Whatsoever. I didn’t catch up on the multiplying pile of work that always seems to suddenly appear on Mondays, wash the morning’s dishes, or finish cleaning up after our bathroom makeover.

We can’t be perfect every day…but why would you want to be?

How boring.

Favorite Summer Eats, iPhone edition

I am one of those cliché take-photos-of-my-food-with-my-phone people. And here are the best of the tastiest lately, a fine mix of healthy and not-so-healthy, which you should find (or make) and eat too. You’re welcome!

Luna Chocolate Coconut Bar

Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut Bar 
I have been eating Luna bars in the late afternoons as my post-lunch snack. They make sure I have some fuel in the tank for my runs, which I often don’t get to start until 5:30 or later, these days. The Luna bars don’t upset my stomach, and they keep it from grumblin’ at me while I’m putting in my miles. The Chocolate Dipped Coconut flavor is sooo good, almost like a Mounds candy bar! Peanut Butter Cookie & Oatmeal Raisin have been pretty tasty, too.

Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale

Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale
I enjoyed several of these on the 4th of July. 🙂 This is a lighter, sweeter option than the traditional Blue Moon. I love craft beer, and I especially love all the Blue Moon sampler packs they’ve been putting out! This Summer Sampler pack included the Agave Nectar Ale, Blackberry Tart Ale (YUM, my fave), and Short Straw Farmhouse Red Ale, all tasty and great weekend thirst-quenchers.

Yogurt & Fruit
I already raved about this combo the other day. SO. GOOD.

Captain Mike's burger with peppered bacon, carmelized onion, brie cheese and peanut butter!

Ridiculous Topping’ed Hamburgers
Yep, I just made up my own word there. I love the burgers at the bar, Captain Mike’s. Their burger menu is out of this world and features all sorts of wacky (but DEEElicious) combinations. My favorite is named “Never Trust a Man with No Shirt On” (don’t worry, I don’t). It is a grass-fed beef burger topped with peppered bacon, brie & carmelized onion…which I have them garnish with a glob of peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. The slightly sweet, nutty flavor with the saltiness is insanely tasty. Sounds weird, tastes incredible. Try it sometime.

best use of all those summer vegetables... skewered grilled veggies

Grilled Veggie Skewers
I don’t love veggies, but throw ‘em on a skewer, season ‘em, and grill ‘em up…and it’s like I’m eating cotton candy off a stick. Okay, not quite, but I do love any & all grilled veggies. This is how I’ve been using up the bags of colorful healthy stuff I’ve been buying at the farmer’s market. I just chop any veggies into big pieces, skewer, hit with a spray of Pam, then sprinkle on salt, pepper & garlic powder. Simple, healthy, delicious. And all those colors are pretty!

Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter

Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
As I said today on Twitter…this is the stuff dreams are made of.  Tastes like peanut butter, but so chocolatey too. Not super sweet like Nutella, in a good way. I also saw that the company, Peanut Butter Co. is doing a BOGO on their jars of peanut butter now through Sunday. I may or may not have ordered some other flavors to try…

Let me know:

What are your favorite summer eats (and drinks) of the moment?

Would you ever eat a burger with peanut butter on it?