Weekend: Piano Bar, Brunching & Running

What more does one need?

I guess an extra day in the weekend to recover from all the fun, but don’t we all wish that…

Matt and I started out the weekend by heading on an impromptu trip to Milwaukee on Friday night. First stop: Transfer Pizza for dinner. We’ve eaten there twice and both times loooved their pizza. My favorite so far is the “Katalina Pizza” — it has a garlic cream sauce, cheese, artichokes and salami. Definitely not a healthy option, but oh-so-delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I didn’t even take the time to snap a pic before devouring it…

After chowing down, we met up with my friend and then cabbed it to Lucille’s Piano Bar in downtown Milwaukee. This is our favorite place to go when we’re in Milwaukee. Dueling pianos are theeee best! If you have never been to a dueling piano bar, basically two people are playing at pianos/singing across from each other. The audience can take up their song requests (with some money to speed along their place in the queue). It’s popular for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, etc. because you can make the guest of honor sit up on stage while the piano players sing and play them a special song. You can imagine how this can be interesting (and hilarious) for the bachelor/bachelorette parties! Ha

Funny moment, off the bat, was when someone paid them $5 to play “Oh, Canada”—then someone brought up $10 to make them stop and play the US National Anthem instead. And because this is Milwaukee, you bet everyone stood up, put their hand over their hearts (with beer in their left hand) and sang along. Haha!

Singing the National Anthem at Lucille's Piano Bar

Singing the National Anthem at Lucille’s Piano Bar

We were out late, so Saturday morning had an equally late and slow start. Nursing some slight headaches, we headed out to brunch at a new (to us) place: Café Centraal.

Brunch in Milwaukee at Cafe Centraal

Uhhh, amazing brunch! I mauled the Chile Rojo Corn Cakes: Cornmeal pancakes topped with fried eggs, chorizo, white cheddar cheese, chile rojo, salsa verde, housemade pico de gallo, and chipotle sour cream.

Brunch in Milwaukee at Cafe Centraal

Sooo tasty. Kelsey got a yummy omelette, but Matt’s French Toast stole the show and we helped him eat it: Fresh berries on top of cinnamon coated challah French toast, layered with creamy mascarpone cheese and topped with basil.

Brunch in Milwaukee at Cafe Centraal

Last vestiges of the best french toast ever…

OMG, best french toast any of us had ever had. Go. Try it.

After brunch, Matt and I headed home for some errands and grocery shopping. We made dinner (Matt’s specialty, beef stroganoff) and then watched American Hustle. WOW, what a funny and great movie! I know it’s gotten all sorts of acclamations but it really is all it’s cracked up to be.

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And I love J Law. And Bradley Cooper…

Ended the night reading some of my latest book, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

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Had to force myself to put it away to go to sleep!

Snoozed away until this morning, then I spent a little over 3 hours (!!) getting in my long run for the week. Rest of the day’s forecast: Eat, take a nap, and relax! I’ll just leave all that house cleaning for, uh, tomorrow I guess… Why can’t the weekend have three days in it?

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What was the highlight of your weekend?
Favorite book/movie of the moment?

Saturday Morning Tidbits

My usual Saturday morning long run was thwarted by all-night-long freezing rain = icy roads this morning. Sunday morning long run, anyone?

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Water, water everywhere. And yes, our Christmas lights are still up. heh

So, instead of running talk this morning, I thought I’d share some random loveliness with you… Enjoy the musings and pandora’s box that is my brain!

» I usually read every night before bed. I’m a bookworm and I’ll read anything. I’ve been eating up pieces of Bart Yasso’s “My Life on the Run” and it’s a fun, adventurous read.

Bart is my fave!

I love Bart {I’ve gotten to meet him twice now}, he’s the best! But, I haven’t found a really good book to get lost in. Any suggestions?

» I heart Van Morrison Pandora lately. I am an old soul at heart. This reminds me, I’m due to make a new workout playlist…suggestions there, too?

» I said in my goals post that I want to lose weight before my wedding day {August 30th}. I haven’t buckled down too tight yet, but by simply getting back to working out a few times this week & making better food choices {and drinking less vino}, I’m down a pound as of this morning. Woohoo! Sometimes, small changes = big difference.

» My friend, June, signed up for the Green Bay Marathon. So excited for her first marathon, and to have a buddy to run it with. My friend, Liz, (who also ran Chicago) will be joining us, too!

» I love this post Runner’s World tweeted yesterday: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Runners and Eaters. Every one of these habits is something I’ve worked on developing over the last year or two, and it really does make all the difference in the world:

1. Have a support network. My running club. My family. This blog! You guys are the best.

2. Set goals. See: Chicago Marathon in 2013, Green Bay Marathon to come in 2014.

Three sisters = Three marathon runners.

2013 Goal: Run the Chicago Marathon!

3. Keep track of workouts/food. I heart my Garmin & its online tracking; I can see all my workouts on a calendar and exactly what I did. I also like to use Livestrong’s DailyPlate for meal tracking if I’m trying to lose weight.

4. Plan ahead. I love to make race training plans {like…in a strangely obsessive way} and break that down into weekly workout plans. I also try to think ahead so I can bring healthy snacks and meals to work each day.

5. Have reasonable expectations. Instead of thinking, “I have to work out every day,” I know I am busy and will be happy with 4-5 workouts a week. And even though I want to lose weight, I know I won’t drop it quick—planning to lose just 1 pound a week will keep me sane and won’t make me feel deprived.

6. Stay consistent. I try to follow my workout plans & stick to healthy eating most of the time. It’s easier to stay consistent than constantly try to “get back” to consistent.

7. See the value. That’s easy. I’ve never been happier or felt better!

Would I add any habits to that list? You bet: Get enough sleep. Stay positive. Work hard, but keep it fun. I try to follow these rules in my every day life, and so far, so good. 😉

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What are your “highly effective” habits that make you a better or happier person? 

Book suggestions?

Song suggestions? 

A Sick Weekend

Remember in my last post, when I said I was not looking forward to avoiding getting sick?

Well, I failed. Between Matt being sick at home & all the people coming in to work sick (gah, stay HOME people!), I caught some kind of cold/sinus something.

Bitching aside [I cut out some ranting for you, you’re welcome], I could be worse. In the last several years, if I got a cold or flu, I’d then come down with horrible sinus infections AND bronchitis, etc. After being miserable for days, I’d finally go to the doc’s and have to get some sort of antibiotics, usually.

But, over the last year, I’ve really changed my health for the better: Regularly running and exercising, eating better, taking vitamins, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water. These habits have helped me not get as sick when I come down with something. I never feel 100% down for the count (more like 75%, I guess), and instead of taking a week or more to recover, I only take a couple days.

I guess my point is: Be healthy, and you stay healthier! It makes all the sense in the world, and everyone knows you’re supposed to have the healthy habits I listed above. But, to actually use those habits and feel the difference it makes (like, not being 100% miserable all weekend) makes me “see the light” and will help me stay healthier going forward.

So, what does one do on a sick weekend? It’s been pretty wild and exciting, really.

On Friday, I could tell I was coming down with something, and after dinner I went downhill quickly. Matt was still recovering form his illness, so we relaxed and watched The Hobbit, then went to bed early.

After 12 hours in bed (crikey!), I finally rolled out Saturday morning, definitely not feeling my normal self. I had started reading What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty last week, so I spent most of the morning lying on the couch finishing that.

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot is such a thoughtful and intriguing book. I won’t go into the plot, but it really makes you think about the choices you’re making now and where you see yourself in the future—and then wonder if your future self will look back and question those choices you made or the things you thought were important. Especially for me, about to get married and start a whole new life with someone, and then in a few years have kids, etc.—it was really interesting to read and reflect about all the work, time and effort that keeping relationships good and whole involves over the years. It’s important to not forget the little things, to communicate, and to remember that those you love should always come first—not your obligations.

A lot of introspective thinking for someone who was lazing about sick, no?

Anyway, the rest of my weekend has been far less thoughtful and eye-opening. It involved catching up on a lot of my guilty-pleasure TV shows (Survivor, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries), and last night I rallied up all my strength to go see Captain Phillips at the movie theater. Matt and I were both going a little stir-crazy at home, so a movie was a good reprieve. And what a fabulous movie! Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast amazed me with their acting skills—it’s one of those movies where you forget you’re watching a movie with actors, and become totally immersed in the characters and story themselves. It was full of action and suspense and, for being based on a true story, a thrilling plot. Go see it!

Today, I’m feeling a bit better, but I’ll be lying around again so I hopefully feel back to normal tomorrow. I’ve run out of books & TV shows to watch though, so any suggestions out there?

It’s funny—I used to look forward to weekends of doing nothing and lounging around, but now that I’m more active and have a house to take care of/still organize & decorate, I guess it kind of drives me crazy!

What do you do to get better when you’re sick? Any guilty pleasure TV shows? Any book recommendations?

Weekend Review: Wedding Crafts, Good Reads & Football

What a whirlwind weekend! I think I’m still recovering. It was a busy couple of days, and I’m feeling a little run-down. Thankfully, I was able to work from home today to get some extra rest and take it easy. I’m also popping Vitamin C like nobody’s business. I want to make sure I’m at 100% for the marathon on Sunday!

My weekend started out with some wedding craft shopping on Friday night. Matt and I are getting our engagement/save the date photos taken on Thursday evening, and of course I have all sorts of ideas on what to do for them. I got lots of crafty supplies from Hobby Lobby, including some burlap ribbon, save the date numbers, yarn (to wrap the M + A letters in), and more. So fun!

burlap rustic vintage modern wedding craft decorations

Let the wedding crafting begin!

I also finished reading Dan Brown’s new book, Inferno, on Friday night. I’m a big bookworm and love to read, so I was excited when I found out he’d finally written another novel. It was a good book: fast-paced and action-packed with an interesting and historical story line. Every time I picked up the book, I didn’t want to put it down. It sucks you in! The ending didn’t feel 100% tied up to me, but it was still a satisfying read. Now the questions is, what should I read next?

Saturday morning, I got up for my last long run before the Chicago Marathon. It went well, but I was so tired afterwards…an afternoon nap was definitely in order. After a little snoozing, I got down to painting my office. I got three of the four walls covered before I decided to call it a day.

BTW – I decided to go with the “Copen Blue” color! It’s lovely, and I can’t wait until my office is all done. Pictures and more info to come whenever that is… 🙂

Sunday morning started bright and early at 5am. We had tickets to the Packers-Lions football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. I’ve never been to a pro football game, so I was excited!

We didn’t get to Green Bay until only about 90 minutes before kick-off. We parked in a gas station, set up bags boards (aka Cornhole) and poured ourselves some drinks out of the trunk of the car.

Playing Cornhole between cars.

Playing Cornhole between cars.

Nothing like a screwdriver in a red Solo cup, in the Mobil parking lot. Pure class!

Lambeau Field

Lambeau Field

The game was super fun. We had great seats and the weather was beautiful.

Lions-Packers game at Lambeau field.

Go Lions!

I even got a little sunburn! I’ll take it, for October in Wisconsin.

Matt is a die-hard Lions fan, so it was a bummer that they didn’t win the game, but we all had a blast nonetheless. I decided live football is way more fun than watching it on TV. If only we could go to the game every week, then I just might be able to handle football season. 😉

Read any good books lately? Have you ever gone to a pro football game?