Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cafe Maude Loring Park

I am officially a bathroom-picture-taking-how-does-my-outfit-look photo taker.

I wore this outfit to work yesterday after having it planned out in my head for weeks days.

I wore black mid-calf flat boots. I don't usually wear form fitting clothes to work, so part of me felt very stylin, the other half felt like maybe I was a prostitute.

I had a scheduled happy hour that got cancelled so instead I went to dinner a la party of 1 at Cafe Maude in Loring Park. While walking there I got a couple waves from people driving by...pretty sure I didn't know these people and I was wondering if it was a prostitute signal. Like 'Hey, I'm going to wave at you stranger and you're going to meet me in the back ally...' Ok, I know that's not really what it meant, but we may be MN Nice, but really, we aren't. We're more helpful with out of towners by giving suggestions on a great restaurant or directions than we are nice to new people.

Well out of towner, may I suggest you go to Cafe Maude? They have two locations, one in South Minneapolis and a new one in Loring Park. I live by Loring Park and I've always heard good things about Cafe Maude so I thought I'd give it a whirl before I move.

I found a spot at the bar next to an older woman named Curley or Shirley, but she looked like a Curley, so we'll go with that. We talked about the area, local restaurants and what we love about Minneapolis and Loring Park while sipping some happy hour wine.

Curley had to leave because her landlord called and it was past her bed time they were able to open her storage unit, so I ordered their Mac 'n Cheese with bacon. It was A-MAZ-ING!

I've had the Mac 'n Cheese at Joe's Garage (next to Cafe Maude) and Cafe Maude's was so much better. The bartender said even Joe himself admitted Maude's was better!

When the bill came the bartender gave me a book.

This is what they use to give you your check!

Isn't that a great idea!! I will definitely go back to Cafe Maude because the service was friendly and engaging, and the food was delicious!

Since I had a couple glasses of wine at dinner I thought it would be a good idea to continue the night with a bottle of red...

...and some chocolate...

I knew there was a reason I cut back drinking on week nights. I felt horrible all morning and I'm still trying to get the taste of red wine off my tongue. I swear it just soaks right in there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Because I really don't want to be a Debbie Downer, enjoy these!

That about does it. I know it brightened up my day, hope it does yours too!

Don't judge a book by it's cover...

...Ironically, that's exactly how I pick out my books, or the cover will atleast intrigue me enough to read the jacket.

Earlier this week one of my managers walked by and said I looked sad, I brushed it off and just said I wasn't feeling well, my exact words were, 'I feel like shit' and I almost started to cry. When I am sick and I have to sit at work, I do cry, but I think the thing that really brought the water to my eyes was that he was right. I am sad, and I'm not trying to make it sound like 'oh poor Ali, she's sad because she didn't get the new shirt she wanted', I'm just sad with people and the way they feel they can treat someone they don't know, or someone they think they know.

I love to smile and people love my smile too (after four years of braces, pulled teeth and lots of poking and proding, I better have a good smile).

"Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."
- Mother Teresa
But I just haven't found myself being able to smile genuinely lately and it's starting to hurt everywhere, but also make me reflect on why?.
Growing up I was always shy, would literally hide under my moms skirt, and just didn't say much. I've broken out of that shell, but now when I talk, I'm hushed, or talked over, or told that 'we don't need to talk about that now'. Well you know what? I do need to talk about that, and if I don't talk about it now, I won't be able to talk about it later.
I worked very hard in the past couple of years to put myself back together after the man I thought I was going to marry cheated on me and I had to leave his daughter (who called me 'practically my mom'), my friends, and the place I called home to move back home, 4 hours away and try to fit in with family and friends again, that knew me as the Ali that liked to go clubbing, drink every night until bar close after work and only want to date guys who had nice shoes or jeans.
I worked hard to drop the 35 pounds of the 50 pounds I gained while in said relationship. All I get are backhanded comments like, 'you aren't as flabby as you used to be', or from strange guys telling me I'm fat and should be anorexic. Someone telling me I'm very 'hippie', not 70's hippie, but pretty, womanly curves hippie, only he didn't say it as a compliment. Why can't people just praise you for the hard work you put towards something?
Why can't the good compliments erase the pain of the hurtful comments?
I hardly have any friends, and my family is very wrapped up in their own lives. Which is one big reason why I started to blog. I wanted to share my stories and my life experiences. This is the best way for me to get everything out and now that someone, somewhere is reading this.
I'm not totally stoked about my job. I get paid in peanuts, and I'm constantly looking for work to do. I stress about money every day, about how I'm going to pay for groceries, or go to happy hour, or dinner with a friend from out of town. I worry if I'm going to be able to afford deoderant, or a new pair of walking shoes (since mine are now without liners and I'm too poor to buy new ones).
I'm stressed, I'm sad, I'm lonely. But this is how I'm going to fix it.
I want to be happy and smile and laugh and be surrounded with people who care who have same interests. So how can I change that? There is a great site called and there are groups for all sorts of hobbies, activities, happy hours, volunteering, etc. I'm going to a MeetUp happy hour next week with some girls from one of the groups. I also joined the Minneapolis Jaycees, and will be doing some volunteering with them. I'm starting small and going out there to find people with similar interests.
Sorry for the 'lay it all out there' post. Hope you come back when I recap the fun filled weekend I'm about to have. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekend Review

These last few weekends have been crazy and the crazy will only continue as we approach October. Here's a recap of what went down over the weekend with more detailed posts to come later.

I have two weekends until I move, so I have started the packing process. I have been in my apartment for 1 1/2 years and there will definitely be a lot that I'm going to miss. But I'm also very excited to have a roommate that isn't a boyfriend or a sister, and to be in the burbs.

It's small, it's old, the walls are paper thin, there's no A/C and the heat is radiator. Most nights I'm woken up by passing emergency vehicles, or people walking home from the bars at 2:00 AM. You can always smell what the neighbors are cooking and candles are always lit to rid the smell of cig smoke from the folks on the front stoop. But I have loved this apartment and getting to know the neighborhood.

Over the weekend we hosted a wedding shower for my cousin Ari.

We did an alcohol pairing with three courses. First course, sparkling whites (Prosecco, Champagne, Cava) with cheese and crackers. Second course, red wines (Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfindale) with Beef Bourginoun, spring green salad and french bread. Third course, dessert beverages (raspberry beer, cherry beer, hard cider) with mini cakes, ice cream balls, chocolate fudge and a raspberry. I'll have pictures to post another day, but here's one after most guests left and we were winding down.

As I mentioned in my last post, I won Vikings football tickets. Everyone I mentioned that to apologized and said we were going to get creamed. The game was absolutely awesome! Dad and I started with a mini tailgate in his parking ramp. MN sports have horrible tailgating because we don't have many lots around the stadiums so Dad packed a couple beers so we could say we tailgated.

I'm saying the win is because I wore this awesome hat that my dad has had for at least 25 years, because I know I would wear it when I was little. I'm pretty sure it's vintage.

SKOL Vikings!

I came down with either a cold or it's just really bad allergies. All I know is I'm feeling pretty awful and am currently writing this from my bed because I'm home sick, enjoying some tea.

I think it's just what the doctor ordered because its at least soothed the pain in my throat and is breaking things up in my chest.

I can't wait to write about what's going on this coming weekend! I'll be going to Ari's bachelorette party on Saturday, then my grandparents 60th Anniversary Sunday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Running running n' running running

I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I woke up before 6:00 AM this morning and the first thing that popped in my head, was 'Hey! You're up an hour before your alarm, you should go run 3 miles!', then I fell back asleep for what felt like 2 minutes.

I declared today my rest day since I plan on running Friday, my regular rest day.

MapMyRun was PMSing so I got rid of her and am now using the Nike+ app. I like it a little better, but haven't used it to it's full potential yet. I really like that you can set how many miles you want to run and the app will let you know where you are at in your run.

Since I had such bad calf cramping last week, I thought I'd start with some shorter runs this week. I felt pretty great on this run even though I wasn't going to go out and do it because it was super windy.

Here's a little before, view, and after of my run. It was surprisingly warm too, like 70* so I over dressed with the capri's, hat and long sleeve shirt.

Isn't Minneapolis a pretty city? I love this place with all my heart.

I'm a starch girl so I might go a little over board on my whole wheat pasta or rice pilaf, sue me, look at all those veggies though! No butter on them or nothin, nada, zip, zilch!

Do you love garlic as much as I do? When I cook my chicken I just throw some pepper on it and cook it with some olive oil in the oven and I love throwing in some garlic and having that get all crispy.

Fun facts about garlic!

- Garlic has germanium in it. Germanium is an anti-cancer agent.
- Garlic is toxic to dogs and cats
- Garlic can thin the blood, similar to asprin
- Garlic helps strengthen your body's defenses against allergies

Twitter should be called because it is just that, The Bomb! dot com! I follow friends, bloggers, sport teams and players, cooks, city reps, restaurants etc. Today, the MN Vikings were giving away tickets, yeah, yeah, we have to give away tickets for people to come to our sporting events...Anyway, I hauled ass to find Viktor the Viking and Bullseye theTarget dog at Peavy Plaza and said PLAZA! and I got a pair of tickets to this Sundays game!


Lower level in the end zone. I'm pretty stoked!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bloggers Unite!

One of my favorite things about blogging and the blogging world is how much support is out there. You can pick what you want to read about, what blog is going to motivate you, what blog is going to give you the advice you need.

In the real world, you are constantly battling negative advice and negative people. Even when you are succeeding, people are not always there to support you and encourage you on your journey.

Two of my most favorite blogs are Mama Laughlin and analyze this. Every time one of these amazing women post something, I can totally relate whether it's talking about your self esteem, falling off the work out train or totally sabotaging your diet. They always manage to motivate themselves and me to get my ass back in gear.

Last week I was feeling crappy because I had a serious cramp in my calf that I wasn't able to run. I took a few days off which in turn led me to eat out for lunch every day, go out to dinner and unscheduled happy hours, order Chinese food and pasta with thick creamy sauce. Total sabotage!

I read some blogs, got the needed motivation and did some grocery shopping for some healthy food.

Last nights dinner. Whole wheat pasta with pesto sauce, lightly seasoned chick breast and steamed broccoli. Dessert, a piece of Dove's sea salt caramel dark chocolate.

Today's lunch. Romaine lettuce, left over broccoli, shredded carrots, kidney beans, chicken breast and homemade dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Dijon mustard seeds. I discovered these pre-cooked, individually packaged chicken breasts at Target last night and I put that on my salad. Super impressed. It's very flavorful and moist.

Don't give me crap about that little piece of chocolate either. I have to start slow. I've been a chocolate addict since I was in the womb and if I don't get a little piece of chocolate after dinner, I go crazy. Like two candy bars crazy.

I'm moving out of downtown and into an 'inner ring' suburb in a couple of weeks so I started to do some purging. First up, shoes!

Lots of sandals, some boots, but mostly horribly uncomfortable strappy sandals that I bought for prom/weddings. Goodbye Ali's closet, hello Goodwill!

Where do you get your motivation from?

What's the best topping for a healthy salad?

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'd rather Krump than Cramp

Good day mates! It's FRIDAY! My favorite 'f' word eva!

Have you seen all those cool Instagram collages? Ya, me too. So I got the app and went a little collage crazy.

I think I officially have runners high, or whatever you call it. When I'm at work I can't wait to get home and get out for a run. Now, I go home, change right away and hit the pavement.

I did 3.5 Wednesday in 31 minutes. I felt great! So great, that when I got home and iced my damn knee, I did a face mask too.

Scary! Hope you'll continue to read...

Since I felt so great after Wednesdays run, I thought I'd do 4 miles Thursday. Oh. My. Gosh. Worst run so far. I felt like I forgot how to run and by the time I got to the end of my block I already had a side cramp. I've even been getting side cramps just walking to work. Always on the right side. Hmm...

I love the Cedar Lake Trail. There's three trails that run parallel to each other, two for biking, one for running and it's so active and beautiful.

This trail is literally right across Hennepin Ave. which separates Downtown from UpTown, so it's such a nice escape from city life and you don't have to go very far. From my apartment to this trail it's exactly one mile.

Kenwood homes and Blake (private) School
When I head back I like to walk through the Kenwood neighborhood. This doesn't do the homes in the neighborhood justice, but they are some of the most beautiful, unique homes in a hilly residential area behind the Walker Art Museum.

See how slow those 4 miles were? Yuck! On the last mile my calf totally cramped up on me and I was feeling pretty awful.

But, I did get a new hair cut! I've been growing out my bangs for some time now and they are finally at a length where I could get them blended in a bit better so now I don't look so grotesque.

I've talked about Angel Food Bakery before, but they did a bang up job again that I have to give another shout out. Holy smokes this bad boy is A.MAZ.ING!

Walnuts with butterscotch frosting with sea salt and caramelized pear in the middle. Wow.

How do you avoid side cramps?

What's the best stretch for your calf?

I'm still a fairly new runner, so any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

If your reading this let me know by following!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead

As I was icing every part of my legs/hips last night after my run, I turned on my NetFlix and watched Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, a documentary by Joe Cross. I didn't think I would be interested in it one bit, but I am kind of obsessed with what he did and I'm going to try and force my dad to watch this film.

Joe Cross is a young 40 something from Australia and throughout his successful young life, gained quite the belly from drinking, partying and eating all sorts of yummy food. He became sick with a disease called chronic uticaria, it's a rare debilitating autoimmune disease where you basically break out in hives that can pop up on any part of the skin.

Joe decided to change his life by going on a fast. For 60 days he ate nothing but the juice of raw fruits and vegetables, water and natural nuts. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, he drank his meals and throughout the video, you see a very dramatic change in just 60 days.

Joe met a man named Phil Staples. He was a truck driver from Spirit Lake, IA and weighed about 430 pounds. He was depressed and was eating himself to death. Phil also had the same debilitating disease that Joe had. What are the odds?

Phil called Joe and asked for his help, hoping it wasn't too late. Joe came back to the USA, met Phil and helped him on his track to a healthy life. Phil stayed at a lakeside resort, juicing for every meal, taking 10 minute walks and short swims. In just 30 days Phil lost 61 pounds, his blood pressure went down into the normal range and his triglycerides were just shy of the normal range.

After 10 months, of juicing and eating a plant based diet, Phil lost 202 pounds, his urticaria was in remission and he was able to lower the medication he was taking.

During the filming, Phils older brother suffered a heart attack. Do you know how much a heart attack costs? This one was $56,000!! Monthly medicine cost $500!! I don't know about you, but I would never be able to afford myself a heart attack.

As Phil and Joe went on the journey of juicing, it was amazing to hear the people say they wouldn't be able to do it because they are weak, or they don't have any will power. A lot of folks said that they are only here for a short amount of time and want to enjoy it. I would rather be here for a lot of good years, than eat all the junk and processed foods that make me feel sick and give me headaches.

Once I have the money, or can find an alternate way of juicing, you can bet I will become a juicer and will be doing a 10 day reboot. I'm thinking this will happen around Christmas time so I can ask for a juicer.

Does anyone juice?

What's your favorite blend of fruits and vegetables?

If it came down to life or death, would you start a juice fast, or go out eating all the food you love?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Online Dating...Hopeless...

If you've ever talked to me about guys or dating, you would know that practically every date I've been on in the last 2.5 years, has been with a guy that I met via online dating sites. I don't go out enough to meet someone, and I always thought it would be weird to try to talk to someone you see all the time in the sky way during work.

During the month of August, I signed up for after I ended things with Tyler. Well, actually, it was because I saw he was still on there so I thought I'd jump back on too. Of course that was after a few bottles glasses of wine.

I did get this really sweet email that totally made me blush.

"You better get the paddles because my heart just skipped a beat- you've got the 5 S's I've always been looking for: sweet, sexy, skittle-eating, sports-loving, and a smile that should be on a Colgate commercial! ;) Throw in some steak/potatoes and a pair of breathtaking blue eyes and I think I've just met the girl of my dreams!"

It was a super sweet email that almost let me get over my fear of gingers, almost. I'm really not shallow, but disregarding someone for their hair color sure makes me come off that way. I'm sorry, bald heads and red hair are two things that give me the heebie-jeebies. I'll take beards, back hair and a stocky man, please just don't be bald or have red hair.

My Match subscription expired so I thought I'd try a different site. Enter, Plume Blue and Plenty Of Fish. Both free dating sites, both equally awful.

In the 12 hours I've been registered with Plume Blue and POF, I've received emails such as this:

"I bet u have a nice butt"

"So, you are going to be shallow about height, eh? Get over it." (I got this as a response to his first email that he sent an hour prior that I didn't respond to.)

"Let's exchange naughty pics :)"

I think I'm finally just giving up on this whole 'dating' thing and if someone comes along in my day-to-day life, then all the better, but in the mean time. It's exhausting, and for the most part, just sad to see the things that guys think is appropriate to send to someone that they don't even know.

Stupid side note: There's this guy that I see all the time, whether it's shopping with my mom at IKEA on a Friday night, going to dinner with a girlfriend after work, a Saturday night at a bar, or grabbing lunch in the sky way, I always see this guy! I was even on a date this past Fall and he came up to me in a nearly empty bar and asked if he could use the stool next to me. I saw him on Match and he showed up on my Twitter feed a couple weeks back! So, talk about meeting someone you see in your day-to-day life, I see him all the time. I'm just pretty certain he's way out of my league.

How did you meet your other half??

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's take and bake, and I helped!

The weekends already over?!?! All i did was blink...

It was a pretty laid back yet busy weekend.

Cooler temps have officially rolled in which means I can start wearing boots!

I had a little IKEA date with my mom on Friday night. She swooned me with their Swedish Meatballs and Lingonberry sauce. She had to pick up some items for my cousins wedding shower we are hosting in a couple of weeks. And I had to get some tupperware and a toilet bowl brush.

I spent the rest of Friday evening cleaning my toilet and I got a lot of joy out of that.

I went to bed sans any alcohol and my alarm set for 6:50AM and slept in some of my running clothes so I could literally roll out of bed, lace up my shoes and hit the road. Surprisingly, I did just that and got out for a 4 mile run. My legs felt like lead, but I did it.

I didn't give myself a whole lot of time to get in 4 miles so it forced me to run a lot and hardly walk. Downtown Minneapolis is really pretty and quiet early on a Saturday morning.

After my run I went wedding dress shopping with Bridget and she looked gorgeous! Kari, Bridget and I went to brunch at Key's Cafe, then my cousin Ari picked me up and we went to lunch with my mom, Aunt Kathy, Erin and Kayla at the Happy Gnome.

Have you ever had one of those take and bake pizza's from Papa Murphy's? They are really good. I spent the night at mom and dads since dad was at the cabin and I was going to be spending the day Sunday there anyway. Mom and I picked up a family size pizza with four toppings and scarfed it down with some Cupcake wine. The take and bake is more than a frozen pizza, less than delivery, but so fresh and yummy I would start eating that if we had one downtown.

Sunday mom, Kari and I spent trying a recipe that we are going to make for Ari's shower. It tasted so good that I can't wait for her shower so I can eat more of it. We made a quick stop at Ax Man for some more jars and what not that we need for the shower. This place is just weird.

 If I made drugs, I would spend all my time here. They have all the beakers and syringes a person would ever need.

 And a box of creepy heads.

Let me leave you with a much more cute image than a box of heads.

My precious, bed head, Miley. It was way past her bedtime, but she wanted to try and get my pizza. With a face like that, I had to give her a little.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed...

Happy Friday! Why do these four day weeks go so slow?

I had been craving spaghetti and meatballs since Labor Day and when I crave something, the urge to eat it never goes away. So I stopped at my local Target and picked up my goodies.

I grabbed some Hunt's tomato sauce, Mrs. Dash's Garlic and Herb Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Ground Beef and Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti Noodles.

I started with the meatballs.

Instead of bread crumbs, I crumpled up some homemade croutons, an egg and some of Mrs. Dash's Garlic and Herb Seasoning and rolled out my meatballs. Cooked in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

*Tip - I buy 85% beef because I like to save a buck. However, it has more fat when you cook it so when making meatballs, cook on a rack and let the drippings fall into the pan. Less mess when it's time to add the meatballs to the sauce.

Next came the sauce. I didn't want to buy a jar because they aren't as healthy and can get too expensive.

I used one can of Hunt's Tomato Sauce, chopped up 1/4 of a yellow onion, three cloves of garlic and added some of Mrs. Dash's Garlic and Herb Seasoning until I got the taste I was looking for.

I served the meatballs and sauce over some whole wheat pasta and a little parmesan cheese on top.

You can always tell who the single girl is at the grocery store when she checks out with just one individual size Ben & Jerry's ice cream!

This dish was very cheap considering how much it fills you up (I'm not including the spices because I was out of what I had and needed to restock). Hunt's Tomato Sauce ($.81), Whole Wheat Pasta ($1.14), Ground Beef ($3.50) for a grand total of $5.45 and I'll get two yummy meals.


I want to share with you what I did with my left over chicken I had from my crockpot chicken.

I made a hearty, healthy soup! There was more chicken than I could eat so I just mixed it in with some celery, carrots, low sodium chicken broth and some whole grains. Target had this great pouch of grains like barley, wild rice, etc and all I had to do was pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds, then add it to my soup.

I already had the carrots and chicken, so between the celery, mix of grains and chicken broth, I probably paid $5.00. I got about 4 good portions of soup and froze individual servings to bring for lunch. I usually bring a salad on the side too.

Romaine lettuce, carrots, homemade croutons and a greek viniagrette dressing. Super yummy lunch!

For all the single ladies out there, going through the check out with your one individual sized Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. This is for you...