We’re Engaged!!

So any post I had planned for tonight is now out the window because….James and I are engaged!!!

I am so shocked/excited/blessed/overjoyed that my hands are shaking as I type this.  I’m going to make this a quick post and expand later, but I am the happiest I have ever been in my life!  I am marrying my best friend!

After it sinks in (and we call everyone we know), I will do a full recap tomorrow because I will want to document this forever!

We are engaged!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Night of my Life

My Favorite Things

Good morning, friends!

I was cruising through The Book Thief last night.  I may make the deadline yet (and even if I don’t, it’s ok because I am loving the book).

I did take a minor break to watch a few dances on Dancing with the Stars (Donald is awesome!) while snacking on this delish dessert:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mixed about three spoonfuls of cool whip with a spoonful of peanut butter and half a package of hot chocolate mix.  I put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes and had faux custard.  Told you I was obsessed with cool whip :)

Luckily, How I Met Your Mother was a repeat last night, so crisis averted by missing it.

Besides my reading skills, I was super productive with the food prep last night, which made this morning a breeze.  I prepared my first batch of overnight oats using a recipe from my May issue of Health Magazine, combining 1/4 c of oats, 1/4 c of milk (I used vanilla almond), 1/4 c of yogurt (I used plain greek), a T of honey, and a t. of vanilla.  Then I put it in the fridge to sit overnight, and my breakfast was ready to go as soon as I woke up.  I meant to add a bit of cinnamon this morning, but I was too tired to think about that.  Oh well!

Overnight oats used to scare me a bit, but I’m a believer.  Super easy, and super tasty.  My two favorite things!

Actually, I have a lot of “favorite” things, which reminds me of this:

(Source)

That always makes me laugh because it’s so true!

Tonight is going to be an eventful one, so I am already getting excited.  James and I are going out to dinner to celebrate the end of one of his big projects and then we have our first run after our awesome run from Sunday.  Hopefully our momentum carries through to tonight!

Now, I’m off to get ready for work.  How sad is it to have to get ready for work while this face stares at you?

Stay home with me and cuddle!

I miss him already.

 

Happy Tuesday!

Not a Bad Monday

Happy late Earth Day, my friends.  Apparently it was yesterday.  I did nothing to celebrate, but my WordPress theme is called “going green,” so I think I celebrate everyday! (Well, as of last Thursday, but still).  Apparently, I also missed the premiere of season 4 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I am not on my game!

Today was a super busy one at work, which I loved.  Although it’s always hard to mentally prepare to go back to work after the weekend, I actually love Mondays because I usually have a lot of assignments, so the day FLEW by.  It did start out kind of rough with a migraine though, but I got some caffeine, which helped quite a bit.  Not perfect, but better.

You know what was perfect?  This bowl of goodness:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took some of the leftover fruit salad from my sister’s shower and realized last night that I could top it with Cool Whip.  It doesn’t look great, but it was a wonderful treat for a mid-afternoon snack.  I may have had a spoonful or two this morning while I was putting it together, too ;)

*****

After I got home from work today, I took Milo for a quick walk.  James and I are kind of bad about walking him everyday.  He is such a good dog and would rather snuggle with us on the couch than go outside.  But James pointed out that if we want him to live until he’s 40 (in people years, not dog years–it’s totally possible), he needs to get more exercise.  All you have to do is tell me something will make Milo live longer and I’m all about it.

Ready for his walk

Luckily, dinner was ready to go in the crockpot, so I didn’t have to do much prep when I got back from the walk.  I got this recipe for Hawaiian meatballs (I used turkey meatballs) from Six Sisters’ Stuff, with the only changes being rice wine vinegar and the amount of each ingredient as there are only two of us to feed.

So good!

I also made some brown rice to go with it, but that was the extent of my creativity tonight.  My eye’s were bigger than my stomach, so I threw a third of this back into the crockpot for leftovers.  I ate dinner while catching up on last week’s episode of “BFF,” the new comedy on NBC.  I’m actually enjoying it quite a bit.

****

So, I’m super happy and kind of not amused all at the same time.  I was super excited to participate in Julie’s book club this month, so I checked with the front office of my apartment on Thursday for a package from Amazon with the book for this month.  My email said it was delivered on April 17, but the office said they didn’t have it.  Because of the office’s hours, I couldn’t check back until after work today and, lo and behold, can you see what the date written on my package is?

Delivered almost a week ago!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you can’t, it says 4-17!  I could have been reading this for days!  Instead, I have only until Wednesday to try to finish this in order to participate.

Newly arrived April Book Club book

 

I’m glad it finally came (because regardless, I’m excited to read it), just annoyed that I probably have to wait til next month to participate in the book club.

This also changes my plans for tonight.  I was going to watch How I Met Your Mother and Dancing With the Stars.  James and I are huge Donald Driver fans, so we are watching DWTS for the first season ever.  Fun fact:  the first gift  I ever gave James was a Donald Driver jersey–wayyy back in December of 2008.  But now, I’ll be reading tonight–not that it’s a bad thing :)

 

 

Also, side note, if you are a movie lover–or just want to be entertained–head over to my friend/co-worker (mostly my friend) Staci’s blog.  She reviewed Cabin in the Woods, and I bet she’ll make you want to see it!

Hope everyone has a great night!

Divergent

Good morning and happy Monday!  After a busy weekend, I’m pretty tired, but I’m sure this work week will fly by just like every other one.

I’m almost finished with my book, so I want to review Divergent before it was time to review that one.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This is the synopsis from goodreads.com:

“In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.”

Sounds like an interesting concept, right?  It definitely is!

I really liked this book.  It was a page turner filled with twists and turns, and I gasped multiple times when unexpected things happened.  I really liked the characters in this book, and I cared about how they did during their training.

My only problems with the book were minor.  Although most of the training was necessary to develop the plot and move the story forward, it did get a little drawn out at times without much excitement or payoff.  My other problems with it may be only because it was compared to Hunger Games.  The only way the two books are similar is in the dystopian theme.  Otherwise, do not read this book expecting a second Hunger Games.  I did not like the character Tris as much as I liked Katniss.  Tris seemed weaker, and although I generally liked her, I was more concerned about Katniss’s outcome than Tris’s.  I think a reason for that is the love story in Divergent.  Although there is a love triangle in Hunger Games, the story was not dependent on who Katniss picked.  Regardless of whether Peeta or Gale existed, Katniss would have gone through the same things, which I thought made her a stronger and more interesting character.  Tris’s romantic involvement, on the other hand, pushed the story forward–which was good–but I didn’t like that it was such a big part of the story.  I wanted Tris to develop and get stronger a little more on her own.

With that being said, I did like this book, and I recommended it to several people.  If you like the dystopian theme in Hunger Games, you will love this concept.  As long as you don’t go into it thinking it will be similar to the Hunger Games, you will have a fun time reading this and enjoy the story very much.

It is also an easy read, so great for the upcoming summer months.  However, the second book in the trilogy, Insurgent, comes out in May, so maybe read Divergent as close to the release date as possible so you don’t have to wait long for the release.  Trust me, the plot gets real intense and exciting towards the end of the book, and you will want to read Insurgent!

We Did It!

10 miles!!

We did it, and it felt great!  Before I get into that, take a look at the pic James snapped of Milo and I napping:

Napping buddies

Immediately after publishing my last post, I fell asleep on the couch with Milo draped over my neck.  Neither of us look comfortable, but we slept like that for an hour and a half, so I guess we were.

I woke up about 30 minutes before the run so that I could stretch a bit and have a Gu gel.

These were recommended to me by someone who has run several halfs (hey, Hannah!), and we are big fans of them for a burst of calories and energy.  We usually each have one of these before a long run, but today we decided we would each take one with us in case we needed to refuel during the run.  I had the Tri-Berry before the run and a lemon sublime for the run.

After we both stretched a bit and fought off some nerves, we were ready to go.

You can do it!

Don’t mind my crazy hair.  I hate when any hair touches my face or neck while I run, so I have to pile it all on my head.  It doesn’t look great, but it’s better than being annoyed for 10 miles.

The run itself was great!  We both felt really good during the first half of the run out to Shorewood, and we even chatted for about a half mile regarding our route, and we still weren’t out of breath.  We did start out slow because we were both nervous about being able to make it 10 miles.  Our goal was to run the whole thing in 1:45, and we finished in 1:45 and 50 seconds.  So close!  But we both had a lot left in the tank when we finished, so we are pretty happy overall with that outcome.

Neither of us ate our Gu during the run because we both felt okay.  I think next week will be a good indicator of whether we will need  a Gu during the actual race (and thus, whether we need to strategically place my parents throughout the course with our snacks).  We did need to chug some water as soon as we got back in the apartment though–that was a must.

After running, only one thing sounded good to us for dinner–Subway!  I got the bacon, egg, & cheese and added tomatoes, spinach, and green peppers.

Such a good choice!

James also bought me a peanut butter cookie, which I devoured before I could take a pic.

Although we both feel pretty good right now (not as achy as we were after the 9-miler, which took much more out of us), we are still thinking about taking Tuesday off from running.  Prior to training, the farthest either of us had ever run was 5 miles.  Now that we have doubled that, regardless of what happens from here on out, this training has been a success.  Because of that, we don’t want to push it, and we want to keep it fun.

Speaking of fun, I’m off to go read and cuddle with this guy.

It's past my bedtime, Mom

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

 

A Puppy Welcome

I’m back home in Milwaukee now, and I was greeted by this adorable face when I arrived:

Hi mom!

I love coming home to Milo because whether it has been days, hours, or even a couple minutes, he jumps on you like he thought you would never return.  It’s super adorable (and also why he jumps on everyone, sorry in advance if he does it to you :) ).

He also waited patiently while I gave him his present.

What did you bring me?!?

We left his bone at my parents’ house when we were home for Christmas, so I finally brought it back to him.  Of course, he thought it was a new toy, so he spent some time playing with it while James and I had lunch–leftover sausage bake and a slice of my mom’s lemon almond poppyseed bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we were heating up the bake, we both had an additional half slice or so of bread by nibbling on a little piece at a time.  We couldn’t wait, it’s so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to read a little more of my book for inspiration (and maybe nap), then James and I are off for our 10 mile run.  Wish us luck!

Bridal Shower Day (with great food)

 

Busy, busy day!  But so fun!  Let’s start with the run.

My run this morning was one of my best runs–not necessarily for time, but just in general.  The weather was perfect.  It was a little chilly when I was standing on my parents’ driveway waiting for my GPS watch to start, but once I started running, the cool weather was great.  I had also forgotten how much easier it is to run in Indiana than Milwaukee.  For one thing, Indiana is flat; that was a welcome change.  Also, the wind here is normal.  It blows in one direction, so if it is against you one way, it will be with you on the way back.  This is as opposed to Milwaukee’s crazy lake wind that is always against you.  I ran through my neighborhood twice and ended up back at my parents’ at 4 miles exactly.  Perfect morning run.

After I got back in the house, the craziness started.  Wondering what the event was today?  My sister’s bridal shower!  Her and I both came home for the weekend to celebrate her big day with some of our close family friends.

Enjoying some food at the shower

Bride-to-be and MOH (we matched on purpose)

Bridesmaids! Ang, Amanda, Karin, and Katie

Before going to the shower, I had to make one more dish:  Strawberry Bruschetta:  

I have to admit, this was originally inspired by Pinterest, but all the recipes I saw on there called for typical bruschetta ingredients.  Don’t get me wrong, those are some of my favorite flavors, but not with strawberries.  So I made my super simple, 4-ingredient version — french baguette, strawberry cream cheese, strawberries (cut and sprinkled with Splenda to sit in the fridge overnight), and fresh mint.  Several people mentioned that the mint gave it a great punch, so I would highly recommend them for your next event.

Along with the strawberry bruschetta, I also made a sausage and egg bake (recipe below), and a pistachio orange bread adapted from this Sunny Anderson recipe.

The food at the shower was all amazing!  In addition to my contributions, we had almond poppyseed bread, vanilla butternut cookies, snickerdoodle muffins, spinach quiche, quiche lorraine, fruit salad, and mimosas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was definitely a great spread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dad played bartender before leaving heading home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone seemed to have a good time playing “guess the movie quote,” “who knows the most about Susan” game, and watching Susan open her presents.

Opening her "prizes"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check this one out:

Snacks and beer!

It also came with these beer mugs and pilsner glasses.  Super cute!

Also, look at the lovely ribbon bouquet Amanda and Katie make for Susan with the ribbons from her presents.

It was great to catch up with some family members and family friends I haven’t seen in awhile and now I’m definitely super excited to see everyone at the wedding in a few weeks.

Afterwards, we brought home the leftovers, which means I’m getting myself a plate of that egg bake for a little snack (we already polished off the mimosas ;) ).

Happy Bridal Shower Day, Susan!

 

Sausage and Egg Bake (adapted from this Our Best Bites recipe):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 30-oz package of shredded hashbrowns, thawed

2 c shredded colby jack cheese

1 pound of ground breakfast sausage, browned

8 eggs

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

 

If not using a nonstick pan, spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.  Spread the hashbrowns evenly along the bottom of the pan and press down to pack it into place.

Spread the cheese over the hashbrowns, then spread the browned sausage evenly over the cheese.

Whisk the eggs and seasonings, then pour over the hashbrowns, cheese, and sausage.

Cover well and place in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the casserole and bake for 50 minutes.

Back Home in Indiana

Happy Friday evening!

Instead of blogging from good ‘ol Milwaukee, I am in my hometown in Indiana for a very special event this weekend (I’ll fill you in on that tomorrow).  I’ll be spending this evening enjoying the company of my wonderful family.

Once I got home this afternoon, I was greeted by these lovely faces.

 

 

 

 

Hopefully, they can help me not be Milo-sick while I’m away from him (I know, obsessed much?).

My mom and I spent most of the afternoon getting ready for tomorrow, but luckily, I was also able to have dinner with my best friend from high school, Ashton.

Super old school picture -- 4 years ago!

Ashton and I haven’t seen each other in far too long, so it was great to finally catch up at this lovely establishment:

I’ve always been a big Bar Louie fan because of the beer selection, but this is the first time I ordered a meal and not just apps.  I was very impressed with the BBQ Ranch Salad.  It was super tasty.  Along with that, I enjoyed a Three Floyd’s Beer, which is brewed  pretty close to here in Munster, Indiana.  Gotta love supporting the locals.

I was also in awe of how nice the mall was and how different it looked.  I worked at the mall in high school and a little in college, but haven’t been back in years.  So many changes in such a short time!

I’m hoping to not stay up too late tonight because my morning plans include making another dish for the “event” tomorrow, going for a run, and chauffeuring the bride-to-be around, so it’s going to be an early one.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Not Feeling It

Good morning, sunshines!

I didn’t sleep extremely well because Milo decided to be more cuddly that usual–but I’m not complaining.

So, about that run last night…it wasn’t so great.  We got down to our apartment gym and neither of us were feeling it.  James’s knee was hurting, and I just wasn’t in the mood.  I had the energy, but I didn’t care.  Our plan called for 4 miles yesterday and 3 miles on Saturday, but we decided to switch that because of our inability to want to run yesterday.  So after 3 quick miles, we were back to our apartment for The Big Bang Theory and our beers.  Yep, we had them.

 

That's the good stuff

I also loved the bottlecap - adorable!

My friend Steph’s now fiancée Patrick recommended the IPA to James last summer and we finally found it.  It did not disappoint!

As far as the run goes, I actually think it was really healthy of me to make the decision to not run the entire four miles.  At the beginning of training, or even a few weeks ago, I would have freaked out at the thought of not completing an entire run because I had no faith in myself.  I still didn’t think I could run 13.1 miles and didn’t want to put myself at a disadvantage.  However, now, I’m much stronger mentally.  I know I can do it and one mile on a random Thursday night is not going to make or break it.  I’m definitely mentally in the game now, which I have always said would be my biggest issue.

After running, stretching, laughing at Leonard and company, I read the first chapter of my new book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  I already love this book and am sad that it’s so short.  I also love that it starts out with him running on the north shore of Kauai, which is where James and I started our training.

Kauai's beautiful north shore/Bali Hai

I just finished Divergent before I started this new book, and I am going to post my thoughts about it soon.  It is compared to Hunger Games so much, so I want to weigh in.  Because I know you want to know my opinion :)

Well, off to eat my morning oatmeal and watch some Home Improvement before I start my day.

Milo says “Have a great Friday!!”

Have a good day!

Big Plans That Didn’t Work Out

So now a real post!

James and I have been doing the majority of our half marathon training at night on the treadmill (minus Saturdays and Sundays when we run outside), but today we had big plans.  Instead of running around 9 p.m. like usual, we were going to run right after work, that way we could enjoy a beer and relax.  In order to do that, we would have to run outside because our apartment’s gym is ALWAYS packed after work.  However, Milwaukee had other plans.

 

Gray skies

See that sky?  Yeah, it poured and didn’t start until 5:30 p.m.  Of course, right?  So I guess we are back to running tonight.  Luckily, it’s only a 4 miler, so hopefully we’ll have 30 minutes or so to enjoy a beer before bed.  Plan number one – ruined.

Plan number two involved dinner.  I was all set to make some rosemary chicken based on a Rachael Ray recipe I found and asked James if he would be against having chicken two days in a row (we had some awesome grilled BBQ chicken last night).  To my surprise, he said yes and volunteered to grill again.  Yes, despite the weather.

 

Braving the weather

Milo loves his dad, he always stays with him while James grills.

So I grilled up some broccoli and zucchini, and although dinner didn’t go according to my plan, it was still great!

Now, we’re just catching up on some Modern Family from last night and psyching ourselves up for tonight’s run.  Hope everyone has a great night!