Monday, July 30, 2012

Horse racing and new beginnings

Every Thursday at Canterbury Park in Shakopee it is Dollar Night, so the 'Man Friend' and I headed out there for some live horse racing and cheap food and drinks.



I've never been much of a gambler. I just like the dollar hot dogs and the horses. Man Friend though, he bet on every race and came out with a good payout of over $100 during one of the races...and that was the end of Man Friend...

I think that's why my emotions were so out of whack last week! Holy moses, they finally settled down. I had been thinking for a while that I needed more, and I've learned that people don't change. I made the mistake in my last relationship by not leaving when it wasn't enough, to the point where that ended horribly after nearly three years. So this time I told him what I needed and that I didn't think this was going to work. That didn't go so well. The next day he was spotted on Match.com and there was no 'fighting' for me, so I'm pretty certain I made the right move on ending that one.

Walking to work today it was hard not to burst out crying, but I look back to the weekend and the support I have and it brought a smile to my face so I know everything will be ok and my Mr. Perfect is out there waiting for me somewhere.

Saturday was an absolutely perfect day. The parents and I helped move Kari out of her downtown apartment and into an UpTown condo with Kate. Bridget and Andy moved out and Kari took their spot.





These are from her downtown apartment. I never get sick of the Minneapolis skyline, and that's only half of it, and not even it's good side. Come in off 35W and that's my favorite view of the city.

After everyone was moved into their new apartments, we all gathered at the Green Mill in UpTown, just around the corner from Kari and Kate's place for pizza, apps, beer and Millgaritas. If you have a Green Mill near you, get the Millgarita! Only $5.99 and you practically get 2.5 margs! They bring you a glass and a shaker full of the goods so you can add it as you start to get low!

Mom and Dad said their farewell and us youngins went back to Kari's for some drinks and games. We played endless rounds of 'Coffee', which I think Bridget just made up. Pretty much, one person leaves the room, you pick a verb and the person comes back and has to guess the verb by asking each person a question. It got pretty funny towards the end and with some of the verbs we picked.

August is upon us and I have a feeling with a new month good things will come. I think I'm booked every weekend in August going to the cabin with friends, my birthday and I believe a trip to Milwaukee for Irish Fest, so I say, BRING IT!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

That girl be cray cray

Ladies, ever have one of those days, or weeks, (or month) where every little thing makes you cry or your emotions are on hyper overload?? Holy balls, I'm a mess and have not the slightest idea where it's coming from.

Sometimes when I haven't cried in a while I tell myself that I just have all these tears stored up that I haven't cried out in months and they need to come out. But seriously, my lifes been pretty awesome so I don't know what's going on!


Everytime I see these faces, I cry...
(photo from www.cnn.com)
Three young men who risked their lives to save the lives of their friends/girlfriends. True heroes. I cry because what happened shouldn't of happened and because I pray that the man in my life would do the same thing for me. Amazing men they are.


When I read these book, I cry...

I have no clue why I cry readying these books, but I do. And, no, it's not all whips and chains and bondage, there's more of a story to it than I expected. Heck, I just read four chapters and not once did Ana and Christian get freaky. Instead there was suspense and thrills and emotional discussions between two people that love each other. So all you 50 Shades haters out there, keep your opinions and judment to yourself until you actually read the book.


I cry listening to music. At the moment it's Adele's One and Only, Sarah Bareilles Gravity, and Matt Nathanson's Still...

I'm afraid this is what I look like...


SCARRY!


See, one big ball of hormonal ridiculousness.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Challenge Accepted!

What's the point of Pinterest if you aren't going to bake/travel/paint/cook/sew/etc., all the pictures and recipes you pin?

I said to my self "Self, I challenge you to do one thing you 'pin' every week." Self replied, "Challenge accepted!" (In a Barney Stinson voice, of course)

Last week I made this corn recipe.
http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/
Picture from BudgetSavvyDiva.com
It was such a simple recipe, but I made a couple changes. So here's how I made my corn.

2 Cans sweet corn (drained)
3 oz. Cream Cheese
1 Tbsp butter
Ground Black Pepper to taste
A pinch or two of sugar
Red Pepper Flakes

Mix the first three ingredients together over medium heat until melted, then add the remaining ingredients to taste.

I was having chicken I had picked up from Lund's that was marinated in an Applesmoke Chipotle marinade so I knew that would have a kick so I wanted my corn on the sweet side but with the surprise of the red pepper flakes. It was a great side dish to the chicken.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Murray's Steakhouse

Every girl needs to treat herself every now and then. I'm not the type to go spend $60 on a mani/pedi or $100 on a hot stone massage, no, I'm the girl who treats herself to a fancy schmancy steak dinner.

I had bought a Crowd Cut coupon several months ago for $50 worth of food at Murray's Steakhouse. For half the time I had it, I forgot I had it, the times I did remember, I couldn't get a reservation. The coupon was expiring so I had to use it. I tried to find someone to go drink $50 worth of wine with me, but no one could make it, so I said screw it! I'm not going to let this go to waste and I wandered over to Murray's, alone.

I found a spot at the bar where I was able to order off the full menu. I had a glass of wine since it was happy hour and I had to try and spend $50 alone.

The happy hour wine was only $5 a glass and it was a pretty tasty Cabernet.


You get complimentary garlic bread, jerky and rye chips. The garlic bread was to die for. I ordered a caesar salad and that's what they use for their croutons.


When you order ala cart you get your choice of potato for a side. For my steak I chose the 8 oz. Top Sirloin and went with the au gratin potatoes for my side. The steak was not exactly cooked as I would of liked, but the seasoning and quality of meat is still oh so delicious, I wasn't going to complain.

The last time I ordered au gratin potatoes from a restaurant, they tasted like the kind you would microwave for a minute and would be drenched in some nasty fake cheese. These on the other hand surpassed my expectations. And I'm a girl who loves her cheesy potatoes!


Yup, it was pretty delicious.


I still hadn't met my $50 so I decided on one more glass of wine and the Creme Brulee. It was so so, but when you're treating yourself to dinner, you get dessert too.

After the week I had I really needed this dinner.

Unfortunately Murray's will be closing until September to do some remodeling, but when they open, I think I will return to enjoy another yummy steak.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Aquatennial Torch Light Parade

Every summer Minneapolis has it's annual Aquatennial Festival. It's a little over a week long and events take place all around Minneapolis. My two favorite events are the Torchlight Parade and the Target Fireworks. A couple of events that I haven't been to yet are the Milk Carton Boat races , the 5K and the sandcastle contest. There used to be a big concert to kick off the events, but they nixed that this year. Total bummer.

I love parades, especially this one because it's long, fun, most floats/bands are lit up with lights and glow sticks, and it's right by my apartment.


To start the evening I stopped at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Pings, for dinner. Literally, best Chinese food in Minneapolis. Then I headed over to Hennepin Ave and stopped into The Bullfrog for a quick Lindemans Framboise. Soo good!


Early July Lund's blessed Downtown Minneapolis with it's first full service grocery store! Thank you Lunds! Target HQ are Downtown Minneapolis, so our only grocery option was Target, unless you wanted to get into a car and head UpTown, or across the river.


Like most parades, we started out with firetrucks and Veterans...


Followed by the Minneapolis Police Department marching band...


There were some Mexican cowboys doing some neat rope tricks...


Lots of marching bands and drum lines...


There were bag pipers!


Throughout, there were floats with 'royalty', news anchors, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Vulcans,  Renissance folk, CenterPoint Energy employees carrying torchlights and lots of unicyclists!

This weekend the Aquatennial wraps up with the Target fireworks over the Mississippi river. They are the best display of fireworks I've ever seen and can't wait to see them this year!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Whirl wind of a week

Phew! So glad this week is almost over, my days and nights have been filled with work events that I haven't had time for much else.

Every year we fly in our VA and MD employees for a joint team meeting where our Underwriters, Sales Managers and Account Managers spend three days in team building activities and meetings. I am the lucky one to organize and plan these events, so I get to tag along to the dinners and whatever else they might have going on.

Monday we had a nice BBQ catered by Famous Daves at one of our VP's house. It's nice to mingle with co-workers I only work with over the phone. But to be completely honest, I couldn't wait to leave because The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All was on, so I was able to schmooze, eat, have a beer and get back home before the fun began! On my way home I swung by my local liquor store and picked up a bottle of wine. It was so hot that I wanted to go with a sweet light white, so I decided to try the Sutter Home Moscato. It was so good!! I'll probably pick up another bottle tonight.

Breakfast
Tuesday we started with a huge breakfast, and a long meeting I didn't understand. For lunch we headed over to the Minneapolis Club for a retirement/30 anniversary (of the company) luncheon. The Minneapolis Club used to be like a Gentelman's club without the strippers. Only males allowed and you had to be a President or some big wig to belong. I went there earlier this year because they throw an event for Event Planners and Executive Assistants during Administrative Professionals Week and we had free cocktails, tried items off their new menu and they sent us away with a goodie bag of champagne! I also won a free wine dinner that I haven't used yet....got off topic. So, Tuesday evening then was the company picnic at a Twins baseball game. Each person that RSVP's got an envelope with a ticket and a $20. When employees found out they could take the cash and ditch the ticket, we ended up with a lot of extra tickets so I was able to bring the man friend. A lovely co-worked snapped this beauty of a pic of us.


We were having the time of our lives! The Twins won, which is fantastic. The game took f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

Target Field. Not a bad seat in the house.
Wednesday we finally sent everyone home after a huge pizza party. Knowing everyone is gone is like that feeling after the holidays when all your relatives have left and you plop down on the couch and let out a hugh sigh of relief. Then you look into the kitchen and see all the work you still have to do to clean up...ugh! I hadn't been at my desk for 2.5 days so there is lots to catch up on.

Friday, July 13, 2012

If at first you don't succeed

It's official, I'm registered for the TC 10K in October! I've done several 5K's in the past and want to challenge myself by going for a 10K. I thought about doing the 10 Mile, but I don't think I'm at the point where I can add 7 miles in 3 months, but doubling my miles to 6.2 shouldn't be too difficult...I hope.

I was doing the C25K program and a Jillian Michaels DVD several times a week. I was starting to look good and my clothes were fitting great...then it got hot and I gave up using the heat as my excuse. Lame, I know. There's even a free gym in my office building. Too hot to run outside? Hit the air conditioned gym after work! So, I've been off my game for the last month and I can tell.

I'm not going to waste any time getting back on the workout wagon, so tonight I'm heading over to ma and pa's to mow their yard. It's a good CT workout. Pushing the mower up and down the hill. I also used a Nike+ chip that I had a few years ago to track the distance and it's just over 2 miles with all the back and forth.

I found this 10K Training schedule here. I know I can run 2 miles, so this is for 'advanced' beginners.

I'm much better at sticking to a work out when I have a real goal at the end. I want to run the whole 10K with out walking.

Goal 1: Train, Train, Train
Goal 2: Lose 10 lbs (min)
Goal 3: Eat healthy all the way through training
Goal 4: Run the whole TC 10K!

I'll keep you posted with my training!

*One of my favorite running apps is MapMyRun. I find it to be very accurate as far as distance and time go, plus you can post your workout to all the social media sites out there to show off your awesome running skillz. They also have a 10K training app that I might switch to, I'm going to test them out and maybe combine the schedule above with the MapMyRun 10K training schedule.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homemade Croutons

Money is a little tight until the next pay check so I wrote out a short list of groceries that will get me through the next three days. I swung by Target on my way home from work, picked up some potatoes for potato soup, some milk, lettuce and pasta.

If I have to eat on a tight budget, I like to make sure I at least get some veggies in there or a nice salad, I just didn't have all the fun stuff to throw on my salad. I did a quick internet search and found the most simple homemade crouton recipe.

I knew I had a few pieces of wheat sandwich bread that had been sitting in my cupboard a little longer than it probably should have, but it was still soft and mold free so I went with it. I think I actually prefer sandwich bread verses something a little thicker.

Sorry, there are no step-by-step pictures, but here's the breakdown.


Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
Cut up the bread into 1/2 inch pieces (or however large/small you like your croutons)
Toss into a bowl
Drizzle some olive oil over the bread
Add your prefered seasonings, then mix (I used pepper, salt, and garlic salt)
Mix until each piece of bread is evenly coated in oil and seasoning
Spread out on a cookie sheet
Bake for 10-15 minutes, toss and bake another 10 minutes until the croutons are nice and crunchy

I didn't measure anything out. I just 'eye-balled' it. The one thing I would do next time is to add more garlic salt. I love garlic, especially garlicy croutons, I just always feel like I over salt, this time I could have added more for sure. However, I guess this keeps the sodium level down!

They really are quite tasty, super cheap to make, like, free, and they work great as a potato soup topping too (who makes potato soup during a heat wave??)!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Red, White & Blue

I look a long 5 day vacation over the 4th at the cabin and it was pretty fantastic. We had hot weather and sunny skies the whole time we were there.

Temperature at 7:32 PM

On Wednesday Erin came over, we loaded up the pontoon with games and coolers and headed out for the sand bar while mom and dad stayed back and worked on some projects. We have a floating beer pong table that was eventually turned into a floating bar.

Sand Bar
When Kari and I taught Dad and a new friend how to play beer pong, this little guy decided he wanted to play too!



I have never seen a frog actually swimming in the lake and he jumped right in the middle of our game!

We were the last people out on the Sand bar and on our way back to the cabin, the pontoon died and we couldn't get it started again. Thank goodness for cowboys!  Dad's friend Nate saved us and towed us back in.

When Kayla and Ari came up we took a day and explored Spooner.
Funny bars in Spooner, WI
There are a lot of funny little antique stores in Spooner. One store had some things I would possibly buy...the others were just creepy!
'Antique' shops
We stopped for lunch at Piller's Poor Boys and it was pretty delicious and so amazingly cheap. $4.99 for a Poor Boy and fries, yes please!

I was fascinated with this bear, so much so, I stuck my hand in his back and pulled out a tootsie roll!!

I tried to stay out of the sun one afternoon so I had a self portrait photo shoot with my awesome yellow sunglasses!


Miley loved being at the cabin. She was so tuckered out after all the boating and swimming.

This is why I love going North. We are so lucky to be able to have this space on a lake with family that we are close to.


I hope you all had a great 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Inferno

Holy Hell I think MN is on the equator now. In MN I think when it gets hot we suffer a bit more than everyone else because of the humidity. The air is thick, you can hardly breath and everything just feels damp and sticky. I don't have A/C in my apartment and was too late on getting one from management so I'm dealing without it. Trying to fall asleep last night was not happening. everything just felt wet and sticky. Good thing I rested up over the weekend.

I had a little relief over the weekend. The Man Friend had his last day at his job last week so we celebrated Friday night with dinner and drinks at Psycho Suzies, checked out the new Cowboy Jack's Downtown  and finished with a drink on Crave's rooftop.

Psycho Zombie (slushy drink that tasted like cherry Coke)
Instead of crashing at my apartment, sans A/C, we cabbed it back to his house and he let me enjoy his A/C (and cable). Saturday was another scorcher so we bummed around inside for majority of the day and headed out to the beach around 5:00 PM. Going to Lake Nakomis makes me really appreciate having a cabin on a super nice and clear/clean lake. When we were walking into Nakomis there was a diaper rolled up on the shore and I'm pretty sure some little rascals were flinging poop around. Oh, fine, it was seeweed but it looked pretty gross.

I had to take care of some things on Sunday and holy moly it was not very pleasurable. The only thing I really enjoyed was doing laundry because it's in the basement of my building and it was so nice and cool down there I was tempted to set up a cot.

I'm heading to the cabin tomorrow for the 4th of July where it's about 5-10 degress cooler than it is here in Minneapolis. It's going to be so refreshing to jump in the lake whenever I start to over heat!

Ooh! The Man Friend also fixed my computer! I no longer will have to wait until I am at work to bless you with me wonderful life events, you lucky ducks you!