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?

Wedding Planning + Good Eats {Weekend}

How was your weekend? Mine has been great!

I started my weekend early, on Friday morning. I decided earlier this week to take a random vaca day off work. I wanted to take it easy while I can, because two of my two co-workers are going on maternity leave soon. Good timing, because one of them ended up having her babies (yep, twins) early…ON Friday! They are too cute.

I spent the day relaxing until lunchtime, then did some chores and laundry, and worked on wedding stuff all afternoon. Almost ready to send out our Save the Dates. Yay! I am also an uber web design nerd and am pretty excited to start making our wedding website… 🙂

Friday night, one of our closest friends {and best man in our wedding} came up to visit. We went out to dinner for some burgers and beers. Not sure if that’s the best pre-long run fuel, but it seemed to work out okay. Must have been the curly fries. Early to home for a movie and bed for me, while the boys went out.

I watched “The Place Beyond the Pines.” I had heard it was a great movie, plus it has Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in it.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Yesss. Beyond the eye candy, it was a good story; not one that necessarily left you feeling all warm & fuzzy inside, but not depressed either—just thoughtful. I’d certainly recommend it if you like a good drama.

Saturday, I got up and ran my long run from hell. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was tough.

After I got home, I showered, ate, and laid around for a couple hours watching TV and reading my newest book, The Kite Runner. I was beat. I finally made myself just go take a nap so I could get some energy to do something fun for the day.

Matt and I ended up going out to dinner at a new {to us} place. I got an “Old Cuban” cocktail, made with rum, mint and champagne {think mojito, all grown up}. The food was delicious: We had crab wontons to start, then fish tacos and stuffed grouper as our mains.

Fish tacos with avocado, roasted red pepper and cabbage.

Fish tacos with avocado, roasted red pepper and cabbage.

The service was great, but it seemed a little over-priced for this area. On the plus side, I felt like I could probably make both dishes at home with some experimentation, so fish tacos is on the menu for sometime this week!

I had really wanted dessert all day {specifically, a bug fudgy brownie} so we stopped by the store on the way home and I got some mix to whip some brownies up. Matt wanted vanilla ice cream, which led me to discovering this thing of beauty:

Haagen Dazs Peanut Butter Pie ice cream

I’ve died and gone to heaven.

OMG. My favorite dessert ever, peanut butter pie, in ice cream form? Yes.

Favorite dessert: Brownie Sundae!

Favorite dessert: Brownie Sundae!

I combined that with my homemade brownies for the best desert in the history of the world. Or at least, this weekend.

And this is the point of the post where I tell you that I am going on a diet this week. Haha! But seriously. It’s happening.

A few more things to be excited about:
I’m only a couple posts away from my 100th blog post. Woo!
And only a few Twitter followers away from 200… Follow me!

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What should I do to celebrate my 100th blog post?
What’s a good movie you’ve watched lately?
Fave ice cream flavor?

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?

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.

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The Camo Room

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

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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!

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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?