Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Sin City

March 10, 2009

In one week, I will be IN Las Vegas! I am so excited!! We have two shows booked, Penn & Teller and Cirque du Soleil’s “O.” We have reservations at Nobu. We’ll wander the strip, do some gambling, and drink all day. We’ll visit the old downtown and maybe see a burlesque show.

We’ll also be enjoying this weather:
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Instead of this weather:
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Originally we thought we’d spend a weekend in Chicago. And I felt a twinge of jealousy when Sandy & Jeff told us they’re going to New York City around the same time. But looking at all these forcasts, I have no doubts that we made the best choice!

Hello Winter

November 11, 2008

Even though temperatures were in the 70s less than a week ago, I think I am ready for winter. Winter was always my favorite season. Now that I’m an adult (Ha, kind of…) it has lost a bit of its luster. But only a tiny bit! Snow is not as magical because I have to shovel it and drive in it, but it’s still pretty fantastic. Lets just say that I’m not dreading the first white ground covering.

Good bye Halloween, perhaps my second most favorite holiday.
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I don’t remember if I bragged about these yet, but these are Vampire Cupcakes. Perfect for Halloween. Or, sigh, your crazy “Twilight” movie watching parties.
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I’m not going to talk about my favorite holiday yet, because I don’t do that stuff until the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, I’m actually kind of starting early because I am going to bake tons of cookies for gifts. And eating. And that stuff has to be done in advance, especially since I will be in a show this December!

My other favorite holiday is, of course, my birthday. Which is EXACTLY ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!!!!! Wow. Kind of scary. The number is… well, young, I know. But I will officially be in my mid-twenties. And that freaks the crap out of me! Not because I’m “old” but because I feel like I should be more grown up by this age, and be more accomplished, and blah blah blah.

I’m less concerned now with presents than I was a month ago, because now my number one wish is to go on a ski trip with some friends to Indianhead Mountainin mid January. AND I am planning on getting my season rental this week! It is really more than I should spend, but I’m giving up an awesome and expensive birthday dinner for it. Maybe we’ll go out for apps and drinks at Cubanitas instead…

I just thought I’d post this on here. My wishlist is almost exclusively baking stuff, which is kind of funny. But I neeeeeeeed it!
My Amazon.com Wish List

So YES, bring it on winter!!

Sunday Afternoon Baking

October 13, 2008

75 degrees in October? Not really an ideal day for slaving away inside over a hot stove, but somehow it was just perfect for me. There was a beautiful breeze blowing through the open window and warming rays of sun shining in on me. Heaven!

David and I went to church (two weeks in a row!!) and then went grocery shopping (including Trader Joe’s!!) to pick up stuff for today. I got these great curry chicken tenders from Trader Joes for lunch. Yummy! After a relaxing lunch while watching Heroes (OMG!!), I retreated to the kitchen to bake before the Packer game started.

Saturday afternoon David and I went apple picking with some friends at Barthel Fruit Farm. It was a little warm for my usual apple picking “uniform” (hooded sweatshirt for protection from scratchy trees and pockets for carrying apples down from a ladder) but I’m really not going to complain about beautiful weather in October.

Golden Delicious apples had just ripened and the trees were full. I was also able to pick a couple Spartans and Jonathans and a handful of Cortlands. Of course I had to sample.

So, armed with freshly picked apples, I knew I had to bake something to use some of them up, because there’s no way we can eat 10 pounds of apples before they go bad! I chose a recipe from Annie’s Eats blog, of Apple Pie Cupcake fame. These were Apple Crumble Bars. Kind of like apple pie, but in bar form.

I took a little liberty with the recipe. It’s a little scary to play with base ingredients in baked goods, but I made some simple substitutions and additions, and it turned out great. Click on that link above for her recipe and instructions, but here’s what I did…

Apple Crumble Bars
Ingredients:
For the base:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill. Regular whole wheat flour would work too, but sift it)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:
Approximately 5 cups of peeled, cored, and chopped apples
5 tbsp. sugar (can substitute 1 or 2 tbsp. with brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh squeezed!!)
1/4 cup fruit jam (I used a low-sugar strawberry preserves from Trader Joe’s)

For the topping:
1/2 cup flour (I used a half cup measuring cup, and filled it about 2/3 with all-purpose flour and 1/3 with whole wheat pastry flour)
3 tbsp. sugar (I substituted 1 tbsp. with Maple Sugar from The Spice House)
4 tbsp. butter, softened

I still used the same preparation method from Annie’s Eats recipe.

Her recipe called for 4 medium sized apples. I had to guess at this one, because most of my tarty apples (Spartan, Jonathan) were very small. So I used a whole bunch of apples, and it was about 5 cups when they were peeled and chopped, and that covered the 8X8 pan pretty well.

These get cooked down with the sugar and cinnamon. I sprinkled a little of that Maple Sugar in there too. Then the slurry of lemon juice and cornstarch is added. If you don’t have one of these adorable little wisks, a fork would work too. 😉

Next is the base. It’s super easy and doesn’t need a mixer (a bonus for me, since I don’t have one). I used a fork and my fingers because I don’t even have a pastry blender. Just keep blending the butter until the consistency looks like breadcrumbs.

This is then pressed into the foil-lined pan. I didn’t press too hard, but I didn’t let it stay crumbly either.

This is then baked, and the jam is spread on, topped by the apple mixture while it’s still warm.

The topping looks pretty similar to the base, and when it’s all combined, it’s poured on the top of this deliciousness and baked. I added a little more maple sugar and cinnamon to the top before putting it back into the oven.

It comes out golden brown and delicious. Be sure to let it cool for a while before cutting into it, because the crust and topping are very soft at first.

I put mine in the fridge for a little bit to really firm up the crust. I found it easiest to eat with a fork and plate, but the crust is sturdy enough to pick up by hand. Just cut the pieces small!

It would be great with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but David and I dug in with a tall glass of milk, and it was still delicious.

Try it! Yum!!

Road Trip!

September 12, 2008

Today, after work, I’m picking up my little sister and we’re road tripping to Eau Claire to visit my sister Samantha. While I’m not looking forward to the four hour drive, I am looking forward to hanging out with my sisters all weekend!

I’m not sure yet what we’ll do on Saturday. We’ll either go “floating” on the Chippewa River, which apparently is simply floating down the river in an inner tube. If it’s not too cold, that would be really fun. If it is too chilly, we’ll probably go to the Mall of America, as Minneapolis is only a short drive away. That would be so much fun! I’m trying to pass the interminable hours at work by browsing the mall directory. I don’t have that much money to spend, but shopping with my sisters is something I haven’t done in ages. Plus, they have Bloomingdales, which I love.

I’ll never forget my first experience with Bloomingdale’s. My dad took me to New York after my junior year of high school, I think in August of 2002. He was going on a business trip, and I got to go with. I was SO thrilled. He gave me his cell phone, and a map, and set me loose on the city. What an adventure! He had meetings the whole first day, and I was on my own. I saw Jane Curtin in a matinee of Noises Off and bought us tickets to see Phantom of the Opera that night. I stepped foot in my first Sephora, and marvelled in the gloriousness of Times Square.

The next day, we went to Bloomingdales, where I spent 5 hours on ONE of the 9 floors. I tried on so many beautiful clothes, with labels that I had only read about in magazines. My dad was floored by the prices, but I somehow convinced him to buy me a beautiful Anna Sui blouse that ran well over $100. It was incredible. It threw me into a full blown love affair with the Big Apple. Maybe it’s silly to have those kinds of memories tied up in a department store, but I can’t help it. Everytime I think of Bloomingdales, those memories with my dad are not far behind.

I’ll have to find pictures of that trip and talk about all the fun I’ve had in NYC over the years. The shoes, the shopping, the shows… Oh, and can I mention that on that trip I saw Molly Ringwald and John Stamos perform in Cabaret, one of my most favorite musicals? ‘Cause I did. And I saw John Stamos’ butt (he was the Emcee). Yes, it was fantastic (the show and the butt).

Is it 5:00 yet?!

Sunday Love

August 25, 2008

I have been needing a Sunday like this for a long time. It was a little bit of heaven that will keep me going through the week. David and I have been pretty busy lately, and haven’t been able to spend much quality time with each other. I can never get enough, but this weekend was pretty awesome for our couple time.

Sunday was almost magical. Simple, but wonderful.

David and I had been out late the night before, and so we slept in. It was noon before we were heading out the door. We (David) had made up a game relating to Obama’s Vice Presidential pick. Who he picked would determine what we would do. For example, if he had picked Sebelius, we would have rented a paddleboat down by the lake. If he somehow picked Clinton, we would have had to go to Great America! He picked Biden, and so we were supposed to build a fort in our living room, have an indoor picnic in there, and watch a scary movie.

Well, upon walking out to the car, I decided it was way too nice out to spend the day inside. I said we should have our picnic outside, by the lake. David didn’t seem over the moon about the idea, but he agreed. We decided to build our fort next weekend and watch a scary movie. We figured we’d drive to Whole Foods and buy our entire picnic lunch from there. Pricey? Yes, but delicious.

We wandered the aisles, tasting samples, and trying to pick which goodies to fill our cart with. When we tried some barbecued beef brisket, we knew we had to get those sandwiches. We steered our cart through the rest of the store, picking up grapes, Terra Crinkles Garlic Mashed potato chips, a tiny $3 piece of 10 year Wisconsin aged cheddar, a couple iced teas, and the best “healthy” cookies I’ve ever tasted, Grace’s Best Sunflower Seed Cookies.

From there, we drove down to the lakefront to look for the perfect picnic spot. We wanted to be a little secluded, and we needed some shade. The lakefront was pretty crowded, and where it wasn’t, it was smelly. We took a turn up towards Lake Park Bistro, thinking we’d find a spot at the top of the hill, overlooking the lake. Instead we made a right, towards the baseball diamond and big picnic areas. It was practically deserted.

We popped the trunk, hoping we had some sort of blanket back there (when we left the house, we weren’t really sure what we were doing, and so we didn’t prep at all). We had a sleeping bag and a big beach towel/blanket. We walked to a big tree in the middle of the grass and spread out our blankets. The sleeping bag gave us a little cushion against the ground.

This is when the magic really started. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was peeking through the branches of the tree, warming us, and a cool breeze kept us from getting hot. Our food was so delicious. We ate our sandwiches, and snacked on the rest while David read to me. He started reading the book Ender’s Game out loud to me a couple weeks ago. I had always meant to read that book, but never got around to it. So far, it’s pretty great! We stretched out on our blankets and I relaxed as his words poured over me. It was fantastic.

Except for ONE thing.

The spiders. There were several of them throughout our stay in the park. I was laying on my back, my head propped up on an extra blanket, and I saw movement. I looked down, and there was a SPIDER. ON MY BOOB. Sweet baby Jesus. I screamed about it and David was kind enough to remove it. Ick!! I hate spiders, and am terrified of them. I know I was out in THEIR territory, but any spider that came onto our safe haven of civilization, was quickly removed. Fortunately, after boob spider, none were quite as shocking.

Other than THAT, it was just awesome. Time seemed to stand still for us. David read a couple chapters to me, and we lay around, talking and holding hands and smiling. It was sick, really. There was hardly anyone near us. It was like we were in our own little world. We even moved the blanket so that my side was in a patch of sun, and his side was in the shade. I cuddled in his “nook,” in the sun, as he finished one last chapter for me.

When we finally decided we should get going, it was only just after 3:00. What?! We had only been there for a couple hours. It felt like so much longer, in the best possible way. It felt like time had slowed down, so we could enjoy hours and hours with each other, without the whole day being gone.

In the last 20 minutes or so of us laying there, a family had come to the picnic tables nearby. A mom, dad, a boy of about 10, and an (I’m assuming) adopted girl of about 4. I watched them as Dad ran around with the kids, playing frisbee. He and his son were teaching the daughter how to throw it and catch it. I saw her make a catch and she ran around cheering about it. David and I watched them play as we walked back to our car, arm in arm. It was one of the most adorable moments I’ve seen. I may have gotten a little teary eyed, thinking about taking our future family to a park for a late summer picnic. Of course we don’t know what our plans are for kids yet, but I can imagine us having a family that looks very similar to that one.

To anyone else, it was just a picnic. To us, it was the best day we’ve had in a long time.

The rest of the day was nice, but the memories of those couple hours will be with me for a long time. While curled up in bed, David asked me a question. We have been having some religious discussions for a while. He is very much NOT religious, but has been feeling that he wants to believe in something. I’ve been telling him about the things that I believe. Especially about heaven. He asked if that was what heaven was like. I thought about the love and warmth and peace that I felt out there. Yes, minus the spiders, yes, that is what heaven is like.

Diet Food

June 4, 2008

It’s hardly fair to say that I’m on a diet, when I get to eat delicious food like this salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I have taken so many recipes from her blog. And everything has been good!

We added avocado and instead of her directions for basil vinaigrette, we just pureed some basil with olive oil to keep it easy. It is so delicious, and I recommend it to anyone who likes goat cheese. Yum!!

It might look weird, but I swear it’s delicious.

I can only imagine how good it will be when I can use ingredients from my own garden! It’s a porch/patio/balcony/container garden, so we’ll see how it goes.

I stimulated the economy to buy pots, soil, and plants over Memorial Day weekend. Since I had the extra money, we didn’t limit ourselves and bought everything that looked good. This included:

  • 4 Basil plants (3 green and 1 purple)
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • 2 “Better Bush” Tomatoes
  • 2 “Early Girl” Tomatoes
  • 3 Grape tomatoes
  • 9 Lettuce (Yes, 9. They came in a package of 9 for like, $3)

Here is everything sitting inside on the dining room table, waiting to be moved outside after a chilly night:

And here is everything outside on my disaster of a balcony. It’s being resided and we were hoping it would be done Memorial Day weekend, but it didn’t happen. But these babies needed to be outside and getting some sun, and this was the only place they could do that. Hopefully this will serve as a nice “BEFORE” picture in a couple weeks when we get the balcony all set up the way we want it.

I can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and useable. It smells heavenly out there. I highly reccommend buying rosemary, if only for that scent! Now if only we could actually get some sunny days and I can manage not to kill anything, it’ll be $120 well spent in a couple of months!!

Happy

June 2, 2008

I had a great weekend. Completely superfantastic. I couldn’t stop smiling last night while laying in bed. Normally I stress about waking up early, going to work, all the housework to be done, wondering if I forgot to do anything important, etc. But last night, I couldn’t even think about that stuff. I was just consumed by happiness and love. There was no room in my brain for negativity and it was such a fantastic feeling.

Friday night David and I went out to Osteria del Mondo with our double-date couple Chuck and Lisa. We had a great dinner from the Downtown Dining Menu. Between the four of us, we tried everything on the menu and trust us, you can’t go wrong! David and I both tried a new wine and I felt sophisticated while drinking my Soave and eating my veal chop.

We didn’t want our night to be too fancy-schmancy, so afterwards we went to Silk to spend the rest of my economic stimulus check on strippers and booze. David and I couldn’t stay out late, but we had a great time watching three bachelors get used and abused on stage. The pole work wasn’t mind blowing this time, but there were a few awesome moves. I don’t really know why we go here, but after a couple drinks it always sounds like a fun idea.

David and I had to call it an early-ish night so we could get some sleep for our early morning rehearsal (at 8:00!!) for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for The Warped Cast. Despite being so early and suffering a slight hangover, I managed to have fun. The people involved are so crazy, how could I not?

Nevertheless, I was glad to get out of there and get home to take a warm, hangover reducing shower. Originally we had planned to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum but I worried that my headachey self wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I should. Plus it was so nice out, we just had to get outside. We went down to the Third Ward and shopped at Broadway Paper (love it!!) while waiting for our table at Swig, another restaurant participating in Downtown Dining.

I actually ordered off the regular menu, in an attempt to stick to my diet, at least until dinner. I did try something new from them, however. I got the black bean cakes and the peppercorn crusted tuna. Both were great! David and I both were amazed at how delicious the black bean cakes were. We will probably order that one again!

After we were done with our leisurely outdoor lunch, we wandered the Third Ward. I finally got to go into Anthropology. I was in a little heaven. Everything was so pretty!! I didn’t bother to try anything on. I’m trying not to spend much money on clothing until I lose more weight. I don’t plan on being this size forever!

We also browsed Downtown Books and picked up a couple of copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to use for our show. I would have loved to wander all afternoon, but I had to get to my friend Lauren’s graduation party and still have time to get ready for dinner. We could only stay for an hour, but it was nice to see her and her family and her daughter who is getting so big!

After that we went back home and got ready to go out to Polaris (the rotating restaurant) with Sandy and Jeff, David’s sister and her husband. They are just back from a vacation in Paris and Berlin and we had to hear some of the stories. We had a wonderful meal, certainly the best one I’ve ever had there. And we had great conversation. We talked about travel and their trip and we talked about all four of us going to Disney World next year for David’s birthday. No, none of us are five years old.

I ordered the Strawberry Brioche dessert. It was SO GOOD. OMG! Flaky pastry with some sort of strawberry preserves and whipped cream. I knew it would send me into a sugar coma, but I risked it and ate the whole thing.

I was feeling tipsy on sugar and cosmopolitans by the time we left, but it was the perfect way to walk into a theater to see Sex and the City. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. In fact, I really enjoyed myself. Part of the fun of movies, especially one like this, is to imagine yourself in the characters’ shoes (and oh, the shoes!), so it’s no surprise to me that I spent half the movie crying and the other half laughing. If you liked the show, I think you’ll like the movie.

Despite what I thought was a lame ending, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And apparently it had a similar effect on David, because we got all shmoopy and hugged and kissed and talked about how we want to share our lives together and he’d never be nervous or scared or think twice about marrying me. It was sweet. 🙂

Sunday we slept in. I love being able to sleep yourself out. We got up and started getting ready to play Scatterball with some friends. This game is kind of like dodgeball and I’ve also heard it called Survivor. You get a group of people and a bunch of (SOFT, nerf-like) balls and a big open area. In our case, an area of Lake Park. Then you try to throw the balls at each other and hit people. If you get hit, you have to sit down, but you have to pay attention to who hit you, because when THEY get hit, you can get back up. If you catch their ball, they have to sit down and can’t get up until you get hit. In order to win, you have to hit everybody. It’s really a lot of fun and it was the perfect day for it.

Everyone brought some food or drink and between games we’d sit under the shade of a tree and eat, drink, and chat. Leila and Samantha, my sisters, and Leila’s friend joined us a little later. They were good! Leila actually participated! She is always sitting inside on the computer. It was good to see that her legs still worked.

After the game broke up and people started heading home they wanted to hang out at the beach for a while. David went home and I walked down to Bradford Beach with the girls. We all sat on the sand and enjoyed the sound of the water. Samantha and I played Tic-Tac-Toe in the sand and talked about all sorts of things. It was so nice to spend a relaxing afternoon with my sisters.

They dropped me off at home and David and I started making dinner. We planned to go over to my dad’s house to watch Iron Chef America because our cable was acting up. Paul Bartolotta was the challenger and he was taking on Mario Batalli. Paul Bartolotta is from Milwaukee and his Bartolotta restaurants are wonderful, including our favorite Milwaukee restaurant, Bacchus. To make things even more awesome, one of his sous chefs on the show was Adam Siegel, the head chef of Lake Park Bistro and Bacchus!

Bacchus was having a viewing party event that I wish we could have gone to. Chef Adam was recreating the whole five courses and there were TVs to watch the episode! Whenever we watch Iron Chef we always wish we could try the food. And we could have!! For $85 a person including wine. A great deal in my mind, but a little more than we could afford right now. The secret ingredient was rice and all the dishes on both sides looked fantastic. Batalli won, but only by one point in each category. Good job Bartolotta!

We came home and got ready for bed and cuddled and held hands until we fell asleep. This may not seem like a spectacular weekend to everyone, but between the beautiful and sunny weather and all the quality “us” time David and I got to have, it was near perfect.

TGIF

May 16, 2008

These last couple days of work have truly been terrible. My job is full of technical jargon, so I can’t even explain it to David, let alone the blog world. But I think yesterday was the hardest day I’ve ever worked here. SO much stuff going on. Some of it has trickled to today, but I’m a little brain dead, so it’s easy to care about it less.

So thank goodness it’s weekend time! Tonight, I’m going to see A New Brain at Windfall Theatre. I don’t really know this show, but it’s one of David’s favorites. We also know about half the cast really well. It’ll be fun to sit and watch them perform, rather than being next to them on the stage!

Afterwards, we’re meeting our favorite double date couple, Chuck and Lisa for a late dinner and drinks at Tulip. This place is delicious. I hope we can sit outside, but if we can’t, the atmosphere inside is very nice.

I’m going on a Flickr Photowalk tomorrow with some random photographer people from the Milwaukee area. I’m looking forward to that and getting some artsy shots of the Walkers Point area. David will be helping a friend move. I think our schedule is open in the evening. Maybe we’ll see a movie or just hang at home. Either options sounds nice to me!

In other random news, my scale said 191 this morning!!! YES! That gives me extra motivation to stick with the diet tonight. It would be great to see 190 by Monday. That would be such a nice milestone. I haven’t seen this much weight loss in at least three years. It feels so good!!

I didn’t work out today, but I wanted to! I took the lunch hour off to run some errands, like cash a check that’s been in my purse for two weeks! I wish I could have hit the gym, but these things needed to be done and my bank has a location very close to my work, but nowhere near my house!

Also, it was nice to see one of my high credit card balances is finally under $2,000 and it will stay that way! I found this great calculator for those of us who have multiple credit cards with different interest rates. It was helpful to organize my payments and see when I’d be able to be paid off. By this time next year, I should be debt free!

Downtown Dining Week is coming up soon! I love this, although I’ll have to limit myself to fewer visits than last year due to my desire to stick with my diet. It’s such a fun way to try out new restaurants and get a great meal at an expensive place you might be to poor to visit. Our favorite last year was Osteria Del Mondo. A three course dinner for $20? Yes please!

Since I’m not doing a show this summer (for the first time in at least FIVE years!) I plan to enjoy the heck out of my summer. The kickoff to the summer festival season starts at the end of this month, with Riversplash. I can’t wait to be able to have fun and do what I want with my summer!

Dude

May 2, 2008

Whoa dude. I leave for Arizona on Sunday. That’s two days from now. Less, technically, since I fly out at 7:30 AM.

I have to figure out what to pack! It looks like it’s going to be in the 90s! Then again, I did survive Thailand earlier this year, so I’m sure I can survive the desert. The problem I’m having is everything I hear about Phoenix is superficial. My cousin said she felt fat when she moved there. And she’s like a size 8! I hear people are blond, thin, and LA-like. This is SO not me! Especially since my hair is now a dark brown. But hey, I’ve always been different, so I think I can handle this. It’s not like I need dudes at the bar to look at me. I will have my own dude waiting for me at home. 🙂

My cousin seems to have a bunch of fun stuff planned for me. I fly in (Midwest Express!) early Sunday morning. She and some of her friends want to take me to the zoo once I’m settled in. Sounds like fun! Monday she has to work, so I will take that day to lounge by the gorgeous pools and read a book. Monday is Cinco de Mayo!! I’m sure there have to be some big parties going on in Phoenix, so we’ll probably go out and celebrate with tequila.

Tuesday she wants to take me shopping in Scottsdale at the Fashion Square Mall. I am incredibly excited about this! They’re getting a Barney’s! Not until 2009, though. Holy crap. Visit that website. Check out their map. Scrolling over the stores gives me chills as the names pop up. Max Mara, Juicy Couture, Burberry, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Jimmy Choo… Oh my goodness. All in one place! It’s like all the 5th and Madison Avenue stores, all in a mall!! I don’t think my cousin knows what she’s in for when she releases me on this place.

Wednesday I don’t leave until the evening, so we’ll probably hang out by the pools or wander around downtown. Or do whatever we feel like doing. The only thing that sucks is our plane doesn’t get back to Milwaukee until 11:30 PM! And I’m going to work at 8 the next morning. Sigh. At least I can sleep on the plane.

Speaking of the plane… the anxiety is starting to set in now. After spending about 40 hours on a plane to and from Thailand, I did NOT want to get on a plane for at least a year. And here I am, two and a half months later. At least it’s Midwest Express and at least I’ll be sitting next to my dad. I feel that panicked “Will I make it home safely” feeling in my stomach, though. I hate that.

Okay, I’ll just shove this in at the bottom of my post here… I spent THREE hours at Neroli last night getting my hair cut, dyed, and highlighted. It’s not a huge change on the cut, and I’m a little disappointed. It has more layers and it feels lighter and has more movement and body, but it’s not a different style. That was my choice, but I think this tells me that NEXT time, I will ask for something a little more drastic.

I loooove the color. It’s very natural, but different enough that my coworkers noticed right away. I wanted a deep, rich brown, and my stylist talked me into some soft brown highlights so it wouldn’t be harsh around my face. I just think the color is beautiful. Pictures don’t capture it too well, but here’s what I could do:

Good Times

April 23, 2008

Lately I feel like most of my blog posts could be titled with the word GREAT. I’m feeling GREAT. The weather is GREAT. I’m really enjoying life right now.

First my South Beach Diet. It’s going so well! I’ve officially been on it for one week and it’s working like a charm. I’m running out of new and exciting ideas for meals, but fortunately I like meat, cheese, and vegetables. So even if it’s not new, at least it’s good.

I’m sure David is getting tired of hearing me say every day, “Guess what the scale said this morning!” But it’s lower almost every day and that is so exciting. This morning was the lowest yet! I weighed myself at the YMCA today. I’m guessing their scale is more accurate, but it’s also about 4 pounds MORE than my scale at home. So I might not be positive what my number is right now, but I do know that from my heaviest, last week, until this morning, I am down EIGHT pounds.

I’m starting to feel like my clothes fit better. I put on a button down shirt this morning that I hadn’t worn in a while. It’s cute, but the last few times I’ve worn it, I’ve worn my SPANX (Higher Power!) to hold in my stomach and smooth everything out so the buttons wouldn’t be quite so strained. I thought I’d try it on without the miracle that is Spanx and see how it felt. It fit! I stood in front of the mirror and it fit the way it should! And the only buttons that were a little strained were the usual bust buttons. But hey, I’m used to that. When I sit, they all still pull, but I’m not worried about that. So I’m wearing this fitted button down shirt, and a skirt, and I am not wearing my Spanx. This is a huge step forward for me!

If I can fit comfortably into my cute blue jeans before Arizona, I will be thrilled!

I went to the Y at lunch yesterday. I really do love going at lunch, but it’s hard because of the time crunch. I enjoy my 15 minutes on the elliptical, but rushing to put my clothes back on before I’m done being sweaty is not fun.

I went again today, and… I plan on going AGAIN after work! I feel a little guilty working out inside on a gorgeous day, but it’s the best way for me to really work up a sweat. I could take a walk after work, but I don’t count a stroll around the neighborhood as much exercise. I hope to maybe pick up my bike this weekend. Now that is some good outdoor exercise!

When I first learned I’d be going to Phoenix (just over a week ago) I said I hoped to lose 10 or 15 pounds before I went. With TEN days left, I think I will get there! I have a huge willpower and motivation problem. So for me to stick to this is HUGE for me!