Monday, December 22, 2014

Weekend Reviews 38 & 39: Catch up

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, especially since I've been battling quite the cold/allergy/sinus/chest congestion bug that's been going around for a solid week now.

Let me see if my mind is clear enough to remember what I did a week ago.

I went to my parents to watch the dogs since mom was having a sleep over at one of her sisters and dad was up at the cabin. I think he's moving a door, because that's what you do in the winter in WI. You raise exterior doors so someday you can lay a proper floor.

This nugget claimed me as hers and it was absolutely lovely.

Saturday I went to my cousins house where their family gathered to make 1,000+ cookies. I taste tested said cookies and played with kids and got my baby holding fix.

Sunday was the typical volleyball Sunday followed by Toppers pizza because I've officially become obsessed with their garlic butter dipping sauce. Sunday also marks the downfall of my health. I blame it on running around without a jacket because it was 40+ degrees here, so who needs a jacket? Playing beer pong outside and the rain.

Tuesday my volleyball team had our team pictures and the girls really seem to be getting along great and practices have been going really well lately. It always takes a little while for things to come together, but I think it's finally happening! I'm really hoping my pictures turn out because 12 hours later my co-workers questioned whether or not I was living and I was sent home from work against my will on Wednesday.

Wednesday was the beginning of holiday parties and I had to miss two of them. After I scooted myself back home on the bus, I bought a bag of cuties and a mountain of instant soup cups so that I could go to the big company holiday party that I had put so much work in to.

Our holiday party was at the Minneapolis Club and I wish I had taken some pictures of it before everyone arrived. It was gorgeous! We had an ice sculpture with our company logo that was surrounded by shrimp, a choir and a three piece jazz band with two open bars. It was so fun to be a part of organizing this event.

The company gave everyone very generous gift cards along with letting us know that we will be closed from noon on the 24th and we don't have to return until January 5th! I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with myself during that time, but I was summoned for jury duty that starts on the 29th of December. Fingers crossed I don't get called in!

On Friday I went to my parents so my mom could take care of me and see what her doTerra oils could do to bring me back to life. She made me grilled cheese and soup and we watched a lot of Hallmark movies. That usually helps, but there was one oil that worked for my ear ache and the peppermint on my chest helped. I've actually found that, although I don't think everything she had me try worked, peppermint is like a miracle. I've been using it for my sinuses and 1-2 drops under the tongue 2 times a day and the pressure isn't nearly as bad.

The rest of the weekend was just spent checking out Total Wine, and hanging out at mom and dads house which is very Christmasy and oh so lovely.

L: moms haul. R: my haul

My first ornament

This face. I adore her.

This reindeer car
I finished the weekend with brunch at Republic for our bocce ball championship. We lost the first game and were out. Which was fine with us.

Happiest of holidays to you all!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Review 37: Shop till you drop

I can not believe that we are less than 20 days from Christmas! I'm also officially 2 months away from jetting of to sunny Cabo. However, our current mild temps aren't really making me crave that hot weather right now, talk to me in a month though. When you can go outside comfortably in a winter jacket and aren't afraid of losing your nose or some phalanges, you know it's a good winter day in Minnesota.

Friday night was basically the perfect night for me. I went to happy hour with some friends and then I picked up 22 Jump Street and a nice warm meal from Lund's on my way home. I was able to get to bed at a decent time so mom and I could get an early start to our day of shopping.

Late Saturday morning we headed up to Albertville in hopes of beating the crowds.  I'm not a big fan of clothes shopping because I don't know what my style is, well, I know what I want it to be but I can't afford it so I just buy what I can afford and what is on super sale. We walked in to Ralph Lauren and I immediately said 'I want everything', but we walked out with nothing.

I told my mom I want to get classy pieces because I really don't feel like I dress my age. I ended up getting a couple dresses and a blouse from Anne Taylor that were on super sale. I'm looking forward to getting them for Christmas.

After we hit all the stores we wanted to at the outlets, we headed back down to Maple Grove and hit up DSW, Home Goods, Marshalls, Costco and Whole Foods. We settled my Christmas shopping with some practical items like socks and a Britta water pitcher.

After shopping we went back to my parents so we could do some wine tasting so my mom could decide what wines she wants to serve at Christmas. We did Pinot Grigio vs. Sauv Blanc Cupcake and we both agreed to go with the Sauv Blanc. Their Pinot Grigio tasted too much like a dry chardonnay. After we topped off those two bottles she opened a deep red Menage a Trois called Midnight. It was delicious!

Sunday was my new typical Sunday. I made a nice breakfast and hung around until it was time to head to volleyball. Practice went so much better than Tuesdays practice. We added another player to the team who I think will be a great addition. She has a ton of strength and an insane jump serve.

I also realized the girls pushed back with the other coach, just as much as they did with me, she is just more authoritative than I am. We worked on passing and serving for most of the practice and I'm starting to see some nice improvements. I'm sure the season will still be filled with its ups and downs, but days like Sunday make me very excited for this season.

Junior Year Parents Night
I met with the Club Director and we signed my contract which was nice. It means it's official and I really do get paid to coach/play the best sport around.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Coaching Is No Joke

Last night I had my third volleyball practice and second practice as solo coach. After Sunday's practice I felt pretty good about my coaching abilities and spent a lot of time researching drills and writing out a great practice for Tuesday night.

Tuesday was anything but successful. On Monday I found out one of my players was moved up a team. On Tuesday I found out one of my players, probably my best player, decided that this team wasn't going to be challenging enough so she wasn't going to play (decided that after coming to just one practice). When I showed up to practice, the other girls said another player was moved up. However our club director said that was not true. So I guess we'll wait and see on that one.

We started practice with some peppering so the girls could get warmed up and moved on to what I thought would be very simple partner passing drills, but mixed up a bit from our first two practices.

The first drill was an Active Passing drill. Half of them just didn't understand what I was asking, so we demonstrated and the light bulb clicked. But instead of running to the other side and keeping control, they just moseyed over and would let the ball drop.

The third drill I asked is the most simple of the drills. A simple pass back and forth. Once you've completed that for a minute, back up and put more space between you and your partner then do the same thing setting.  Girls just started peppering or setting when they should be passing, passing when they should be setting. It was just excuse after excuse.

The last passing drill I wanted to do was the Pass & Go. A beginner drill that anyone should be able to do successfully. For whatever reason, everyone fought me on this, saying they couldn't shuffle and pass the ball. It was my last drill and I just gave up. They just continued to do what they wanted to do.

I came in to practice with low self esteem after feeling like the player who isn't playing club because it isn't challenging enough, meant that I wasn't a good enough coach and wouldn't be able to challenge her.

This is my first year coaching, and everyone has to start somewhere, but maybe 15/16 year old girls wasn't the right choice. The lack of focus and respect for a coach is somewhat surprising. I'm twice these girls ages and they question everything I say and every drill I ask them to do.

Our next practice I'll have my co-coach back and she can take control again, but I'm going to have to grow some balls if I'm going to keep these girls in line and make a successful team out of them.

We finished practice sharing the court so we did some hitting lines and scrimmaged the other team. In a game setting these girls have the skills, they just don't understand that we need to constantly work on improving our most basic skills in order to be a successful team.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekend Review 36: A Thanksgiving Recap

My long weekend started with my first Timberwolves game in many many years. It was a close game until the 4th quarter. I've never been much of a basketball fan, but there's so much going on besides just the game, that I stayed fully entertained and was surprised at how fast the game went.

Thanksgiving morning I headed over to my parents house to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade before we headed over to my cousins house. This was the first holiday that there were two babies and it was so much fun having them around.

Years ago my aunt Jane gave my aunt Linda a box of old baby clothes that my Grandma Izzy and Great Aunt Dorothy wore. Linda forgot about this box over the years so she brought it out for us to go through and take any clothes that we might want for future kids. I took some towels/hankies that had a 'P' on them that my Great Grandma Page had, because my middle name is Paige. A lot of the items had notes attached that had my Grandmas writing, so it was fun to be able to go through this box as a family.

Since my office was closed on Friday I headed up north to the cabin with my parents. Dad worked on ripping out the kitchen ceiling so he can raise it, and I worked on drinking and tending to the fire. Mom made round two of Thanksgiving so we could have some leftover turkey, and I happily ate another full Thanksgiving feast.
Saturday was a balmy 35 degrees so before we popped any bottles we headed to the wood lot and picked up some wood for the fireplace. This meant tossing in wood and stacking it in the bed of the truck then getting it home and re-stacking. Once our single chore for the day was complete, mom and I worked on our mimosa drinking skills while dad continued to tear down the lovely ceiling he installed earlier this summer.

The Badgers played the Gophers and since Saturday's are $2 build your own burger night at Jed's, we had plans to head there for half time. Since neighbor Sarah was up she came over and went to Jed's with us before her and I headed to 'Deer Camp' to hang out with the rest of the neighbors. We played some games of Screw Your Neighbor and I was surprisingly good at that.

Sunday was a very special day, it was Miley's 7th birthday! I can't believe she is 7! I think by now she has lived with my parents longer than she has with me. Some day we'll be living under the same roof again, just as long as it's not my parents roof.

We loaded up the truck to head back to the cities because I had my first solo volleyball practice. I have an assistant coach, but to start we are going to co-coach until I feel comfortable on my own. Well, after yesterday I feel pretty darn comfortable. We start our practice with strength training then move on to the courts. I really like the group of girls that I have on my team and I think this is going to be a really fun season.

We worked a lot on passing, which none of them wanted to do so I tried to compromise. If you get x amount of perfect passes to your setter, we'll add hitting lines. Wouldn't you know it, they made their perfect passes the first go around.

As a hitter I know the eagerness to just want to get out there and jump and hit the ball, but if you can't pass, then you'll never get set up to hit the ball.

We also really need to work on serving. The tough thing is that the club director just wants the girls to focus on jump serves. How do you expect a girl to jump serve if she is still struggling with an over hand serve?

Needless to say we have our work cut out for us. But, We have over a month until our first tournament and we will be doing a lot of passing drills in the meantime. There's so much potential on this team, it's just making sure the girls listen and retain what we tell them.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Review 35: Is this your daughter?

Friday night I finally got to see the move Gone Girl. I've been wanting to see it ever since I heard the book was going to be a movie, but trying to plan a girls night was proving to be impossible, so I got to have a date night at the movies.

Like most books turned movies, I liked the book more than the movie, but if I didn't read the book, or know what it was about, I'd say it was a pretty damn good movie.

Saturday I headed over to my parents house to take advantage of cable. The trashy reality tv Gods were looking out for me. As soon as I sat down and turned on the tv Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was on and that went right in to VanderPump Rules. Then I totally caved and flipped to the Hallmark Channel where I proceeded to watch every Christmas movie they had on. It was a very productive day. I also discovered that I could absolutely survive on a box of Ritz crackers, a log of summer sausage and a block of colby jack cheese. That might have been the only thing I ate for 24 hours. Not sure if I'm proud about that or not.

On Sunday I had my volleyball teams pot luck. It was the first time I got to meet all the girls and their parents...who thought I was a player. As the parents came in I would talk with them and as more parents came they would ask if I was the parents daughter who I was talking to. I will take that as a compliment, but I certainly don't think I look like a 16 year old Sophomore.

We had our pot luck at one of the players houses out in the country, and it was one of the most beautiful houses I've ever been in. Each girl brought a dish to share and we had everything from chili and sloppy joes to fruit and bunt cake.

It was more of an informational meeting for the parents. We went over our schedule for the year, goals, rules, etc. One of the most refreshing things was seeing all the girls get along. Especially since no two girls go to the same school.  Observing a few of them, I think my biggest challenge this year is going to be keeping them focused long enough to get through 2.5 hour practices. 16 year olds have a lot of energy!

For dinner I finally got to try 5-8 Club. I had been craving a good burger for over a week, so when the 5-8 Club was suggested I jumped at the chance to finally give their Juicy Lucy a try. I would love to do a side-by-side comparison with Matt's Bar because I remember their jucy lucy being pretty good as well. I will say that the 5-8 Club has some pretty damn good french fries though.

Have a happy, healthy, and filling Thankgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weekend Review 34: Friends in Low Places

I'm just going to start out by saying I am completely brain dead today, so if nothing here makes sense, I apologize.

Saturday started nice and early with a spin class and some shopping. I need more winter friendly clothes and work attire, but every time I go in to a store I am so unmotivated. Everything is super trendy and just doesn't really fit with my no-fashion-sense type of style. I ended up getting a pair of jeans from H&M, and that was that.

The fella I've been seeing for the past month or so invited me to go with him and some of his friends to see Garth Brooks, so we headed downtown a few hours before the concert so we could get some food and a few pre concert drinks. That plan didn't go so well.

We were so hopeful taking our Uber downtown because the fair was normal and downtown traffic was nilch compared to UpTown. We walked in to Cowboy Jacks and bam! That place is packed. He puts his name down anyhow and we decided to just try another bar. Brothers, sorry, no tables. Glueks, not taking names. Masons, reservations are full all night, no walk-ins. So, Jimmy Johns it was. After we ate our subs we met up with his friends at Mission which was just far enough from the Target Center that they were able to get a table and we were able to have a drink before the concert.

We got to our seats just before 6:30 which is when we all thought the concert was supposed to start to find out it actually started at 7:30. We were straight back from the stage, on the other side of the arena and one row from the wall on the upper level. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Since we were straight on we could see everything. The negative about being that far up is that there are less people getting in to the music. We were the only section that sat most of the show, until he played Friends in Low Places. I LOVE that song! After that we stood for the remainder of the show.

I could not believe how much energy Garth had throughout the whole show and knowing he still had another concert to do after ours was just insane. I'd like to have been at any of the other 10 shows he did to see if they were all so full of energy. But I guess when you can pack in 18,000 people per show  for 11 concerts in one city, you'd be pretty pumped to know that you are just that awesome too.

Sunday morning was a bit of a struggle. Since I knew I'd be completely useless if I stayed home, I headed over to mom and dads to at least get some quality Miley time in.

While at my parents we finally got to talk vacation and I'm so happy to say that I have a plane ticket booked to Cabo for mid February!

I've traveled with just my parents before and it was surprisingly better than I had expected. We travel the same and like to basically do nothing all day but sit on a nice warm beach and drink margs and beers before getting dressed for a fun dinner out on the town.

I'm going to have to start stocking up on books. My last Ali+Parents vacay I read 2.5 books in 1 week.

Said fella from above and I have been watching Law & Order SVU together so I headed over to his place so we could catch up on the 3 part mash up they did with Chicago Fire and Chicago PD. On my way home I forgot what kind of car I was driving and got stuck going over a solid wall of ice trying to park.

My car was stuck. Like really, really stuck. Like teetering on top of this stupid wall of icy snow stuck. I tried going back and forth and chipping away at the ice with my ice scraper before a couple people came out of the apartments and helped me free my car.

After a good 10 minutes of them pushing (45 minutes of me going back and forth and chipping ice), my car finally came free. It is the most frustrating thing to be stuck and not have a way to get out on your own. Once I got inside I signed up for contract parking 2 blocks away. This winter is going to be brutal and the last thing I need is to get stuck or towed. Where's global warming when you need it?

If you have any recommendations of good restaurants or fun activities in Cabo, please share them with me!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Review 33

As exhausted as I am on this very snowy Minnesota Monday, my weekend didn't really consist of too much, which is usually the way I like it. But I prefer it when I start my week feeling more refreshed.

Friday was pretty low key. I had a dinner guest and we had spaghetti and meatballs with homemade meatballs. He went back for seconds so I will call that a win. The rest of the night was spent chatting and catching up on Law & Order: SVU.

Saturday was flipped for Sunday's activities which meant I had leftover pizza for breakfast and I stayed in my PJ's until 5:00 only because I didn't think it would be appropriate attire for a bon fire.

I spent the evening at my cousins house since her and her new husband got a fire pit for their wedding and have been wanting to have people over to use it. We had a few drinks, they made some homemade Trader Joe's pizzas and we hung out outside in 30 degree temps because that's what us Minnesotans do.

Sunday was a doozy of a day. My coaching duties officially started with tryouts. The club I'm coaching for had its tryouts for the 15 & 16 teams. I'd estimate there were about 100 girls that came which meant finding the right team for each and every girl.

The girls were split, 15's on one side of the net, 16's on the other and we ran through drills to get an idea of each girls skill level. As we watched the girls we would move them to different courts based on their skill level. I was on the middle court which was tough, especially when you had to move a girl down. I've been there. We all know what the different courts mean.

When the first court coach gathered the girls she wanted on her team, it was my turn to pick my team. There are the girls that are just down right talented, then there are the girls that you saw improve through the day and you want to pick them because they just have something that made you like them. It was really tough not being able to pick everyone I wanted, and unfortunately tomorrow I'm going to have to tell some of the girls that they'll be moved down to the 16-3 team. At least we had a lot of girls that seem to be equal level so the 16-3 is like a 16-2 squared.

Oh, you might be wondering why I got to pick MY team. Why I  have to tell girls if they have to be moved down. Well that's because I am now the Head Coach. Terrified? Absolutely! Do I think I can do this? Absolutely!

Coaching is something I've always wanted to do, but I don't think many people will tell you I'm a leader. I'm much more comfortable as a follower. At the same time, if I'm put in to a situation I'm uncomfortable with or maybe not the most knowledgeable about, I will Google, study, research, etc. until I'm comfortable and confident.

I'm excited to tackle this new adventure, and who knows, maybe it'll open doors I never knew were there.

If you've ever coached anything before, please give me some tips!

Friday, November 7, 2014

You Can Call Me Coach

*Disclaimer: This is a stupid long post. If you want the gist of it, read the last couple paragraphs.

A long, long time ago I played volleyball competitively and I'll just come out and say it, I wasn't too bad.

As with most teenagers, they find their sport, instrument, hobby, what have you, and really hone in on that one thing. For me, at 14, it was volleyball. I played my first year of a Junior Olympics club team in 8th grade. It was the first year that the Maple Grove high school coaches wanted to start a club and I was their guinea pig. I gathered as many girls from the 8th grade Osseo Jr. High class to come and play and we just barely had enough girls to form a team. I can't remember if we were any good or not, but at 14 you are still growing in to your limbs and not quite sure how your body works. It was a fun experience, and it allowed me to pass playing for the junior high my freshman year because I was asked to practice with the JV team at the high school. Pretty rad for a Freshman.

Just after the volleyball season ended for high school my Freshman year, my family moved to Mequon, WI. We actually lived in a hotel for a week so my older sister could finish conference play before moving. We spent many nights peppering in the 'ol Maple Grove Hampton Inn parking lot.

When we arrived in Mequon we found a local club to play for called G-Force. It was a step up from the Maple Grove club team, but we were still kind of the bottom of the barrel club. I will admit, my skills were way ahead of my understanding of the game, so coming in to a new club and doing drills I had never heard of, kind of kept me back and I don't remember getting a whole lot of playing time. All the girls on the team went to the same high school and I was the new girl who just didn't feel like she fit in. To say this was my least favorite volleyball experience would be an understatement. I learned a lot though and was able to bring my new found skills with me back to Maple Grove when we moved back just after my Freshman year.

Now at 16 I'm officially a JV team member at Maple Grove Sr. High and occasionally get to practice with the Varsity team. This allowed me a lot of one-on-one time with different coaches. I can't tell you how many balls I hit standing on a box while a coach tossed them up to me so I could get my arm swing just so (this has now resulted in uneven hips). I tried out for a legit club this year and made the 17-2 Club Tonka team. This was very serious compared to the other clubs I played for. You got full uniforms, warm-ups and shoes. We traveled, to Iowa, and to nationals in California. This is the year I found my stride. I was an outside hitter. There were other girls from my high school on my team. I was more confident in my skills and maybe even a little cocky at times. I was louder on the court. And most importantly, I understood the game. The plays. The positions.

#8 Outside hitter
Early that summer my team headed out to California for nationals. We flew in to San Francisco, drove up to UC Davis where all the girls stayed in the dorms for the week while the tournament took place at the Sacramento Convention Center. There was a HUGE opening ceremony that was Olympic proportions to my young mind. Each team was announced as they walked in to the arena to loud music, a light show and we exchanged gifts with another team from Hawaii who gave us shell necklaces (I can't recall what our gift was).  The opening ceremony concluded with a USA volleyball match. We did pretty well until we had a day off and went to Lake Tahoe. Here's 10 Minnesota girls laying on a beach, looking up at snow covered mountains thinking we don't need suntan lotion. So many of us burned so bad that we could hardly move the last day of play-offs. Our coach was not too pleased.

This is the summer I remember the letters starting to come from all over the US. Maybe I'm exaggerating a tad, but I was getting a couple letters every month or so from small schools, mostly on the East coast. This was very new to me and at 16 and a Sophomore in high school, I was way more concerned about friends and cute boys butts than I was thinking about going to college to play volleyball.

Oh, young, naive Ali. If only you knew what you know now. Your life would be so so different.

Junior year came and went. I made the Varsity team, but due to high school politics I wasn't a hitter. I was the utility player which meant I played every position and basically just filled in when necessary. I did not like this. I was born to jump and make kills. Unfortunately most of my Junior year high school career was spent in the back row serving 100% perfect games and getting ace after ace. It was great, but it bored me. I loved the intensity of the front line. Making a block, digging a ball out of the net, going up with all your might just to tip the ball right on the other side of the blockers. That's what I played the game for.

Because I was old for my grade, I always played a year up. At 17 I played on an 18's team. I made the 18-2 M1 team. To put in to perspective how good this club is, every single girl on the 18-1 team played D1 volleyball. Quite a few of them played for the U of M, which was so fun to watch. At the time M1 was cream of the crop. King of the hill. It was the club to play for, heck I'm sure it's still one of the top in the country. When we practiced, we matched. When we traveled, we matched. When we ate, we ate together. Practice was 3 times a week with tournaments practically every weekend. We were good. I remember one game against M1 18-1 team we had a long rally going and I went up for a block and stuffed a girl who was a high school rival, but one of the best in the country. Literally. She even played with team USA after her career as a Gopher. But to show you how nice she is, she told me 'good job' and not in a snarky way either.  That's the game I love and miss. Unfortunately I couldn't handle this schedule on top of my school work and had to drop the team before the season ended.

I didn't play my Senior year of high school due to mono, which lead to tons of rumors as to why I wasn't playing and how I got mono, the kissing disease. At this time in my life I had only kissed one boy man and his name was Emilio and he was the pool activities director at the Copacabana in Acapulco. It was over my Junior year Christmas break at the club Palladium.

Acapulco - Copacabana Hotel
From that point on my volleyball career only consisted of subbing for friends teams or bar league sand volleyball.

Until now!

This week I met with the owner of Club Tonka. That team that I had a ton of fun playing for. He offered me any team I wanted, even a head coach gig. Since I have never coached before, my confidence level isn't very high right now, so I accepted the assistant coach for their 16-2 team. Coaching has always been at the back of my mind, I just never searched it out. But when you walk in to a gym and are greeted with a hug after nearly 15 years, you know you've made the right decision.

I'm excited for the age level too because this is the year those girls will be finding their stride and I really hope that, as a coach, I can make this the most fun year in their volleyball career. One that they'll look back on and have fond memories of, like I do during my time with the club.

Plus, I'm super stoked to have a coaches jersey!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Old Orchard Mixers

*This is a sponsored post from Old Orchard but all opinions are 100% my own.

Now that Halloween has come and gone, I'm already craving Christmas. The decorations, the music and movies, the smell, and dare I say it, the snow!

But before we fully jump into all things winter and Christmas lets take a trip to the tropics with Old Orchards new mixers in Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri and Margarita!

Simply put a lime in the coconut and drink it all up blend the mix with ice and water for virgin drinks or my favorite, tequila for non virgin, when making a margarita.

Margarita's are surprisingly hard to get right if you ask me. I often find them too salty or too sugary. When I made my margarita I added  ice, a can water, 1/2 can tequila and blended. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste. Unlike most margarita mixes this one was not too syrupy or sugary. It was slightly salty, but not overwhelmingly so. If I had a lime on hand it really would have finished off the margarita perfectly.

Since I didn't have a lime, I went with the next best thing. Quesadillas!

This brought me back to sitting on a beach in Mexico, sipping a blended margarita while digging my toes in the sand. I'll probably have to whip these up again once the snow starts flying to bring me back to that warm, tropical place.

Believe it or not, that's a pineapple margarita. Nuevo Vallarta
You can find Old Orchards mixers at select Wal-Marts in the freezer section next to the frozen juice concentrates. I suggest calling a head of time since they seem to be selling out quite quick at the moment.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Weekend Review 32

It had been a couple weekends since I was up to the cabin, so with nothing going on in the cities I headed up after work on Friday night to enjoy the Fall weather.

Since it was Halloween there was no traffic which is unheard of for a Friday. We did our typical dinner at Jed's and spent the rest of the night at the neighbors fire. When it finally got too cold we headed inside for some beer pong. I need to play more often because I'm really not that good. Like, at all.

Saturday was a struggle. I woke up with my Red's swirling in my stomach. When you feel like that sometimes you just have to get it out if you want to rally and make it through another day. After a failed attempt at eating breakfast I went back to bed for a few hours and finally showed my face after noon.

There is nothing better than walking outside and being greeted by a group of people all hollering 'Ali!' 'She's alive!!'

Mom and dad were across the street so I headed over and what do I do? I sit down with the folks and another cold Red's. Hair of the dog ya'll.  That basically started and ended my day. Once again, we headed to the neighbors for a fire. Dad had just replaced a door that started as the original door to the cabin, so I finally got the honor of burning an old piece of the place.

Twas a pretty door she was.

After the door, mom and I rolled over the largest log to ever grace the fire pit (or not).

We joined the neighbors for dinner before I snuck back to the cabin so I could warm up and cuddle with Miss Miley. Miley, Trixie and I got in some serious cuddle time when we fell asleep through the news and SNL.

Thanks to good ol daylight savings I was home by 9:30 am which left plenty of time to go to the grocery store, make some soup, watch the Vikings WIN! and eat a gourmet dinner before heading over to a friends for a movie night.

Gourmet dinner
We talked about doing a scary movie so we settled on The Purge: Anarchy. I kept seeing previews for it but it never connected that it was a sequel to The Purge. The second one was a bit more disturbing mainly because of the face paint and masks. Let's just say my senses were on high alert when I went home and couldn't get a parking spot right outside my door.

Good news is I'm sitting here writing this so no creepy dudes in masks/face paint shot me on my way home. Hooray!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekend Review 31

If you live in the upper MidWest I'm sure you've been taking full advantage of the amazing weather we've had as of late. I was able to have my windows wide open all weekend, which was a blessing since there was an awful rancid smell in my apartment on Friday.

It was a pretty relaxed weekend which was fine by me seeing how busy the previous weekend was.

Friday night broke my 3 date curse with a date at Comedy Sportz. We started with a drink at my place and walked over to Comedy Sportz to purchase our tickets. We went to the 10:30 show which is NC-17 and hilarious. It's an improve comedy club and I thought the comedians/actors were pretty funny.

Saturday morning I was supposed to be out in St. Paul running 13.1 miles. My ankle was still slightly swollen and it hurt too much that I knew it wouldn't be a smart decision to even try. So, since it was such a gorgeous day I decided to spend it inside. Go me! I did get out for a few minutes while I walked over to Lund's. I had rented some Redbox movies for the night and wanted to make food for the week.

On the movie menu: Neighbors and The Fault In Our stars. Food menu: lasagna and pot roast.

I watched Neighbors while cooking my lasagna and then devouring two giant pieces before freezing the rest for lunches throughout the week.

I wanted a good sappy, cry me a river movie. I started to read The Fault In Our Stars, but didn't finish it, so I was not at all prepared for the flood of tears that came out the last 3/4 of the movie. Holy sad.

Since I was all whopped up on sappy/romance tears I browsed the "romance" section of HBO's movies and came across Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Obviously a stud worthy cast so I clicked play. News flash. Prisoners is not a romantic movie. Hugh's daughter is kidnapped and Jake is the cop. There's blood and suspense and fighting...someone at HBO has a twisted idea of what romance is all about, or maybe I do and I've been going about it all wrong. To be determined I suppose.

Sunday morning I woke up to the sound of my upstairs neighbor blending something so I figured it would be a great time to get up and start my day as well. It was once again a glorious Fall day so I took my daily walk to Lund's to return my Redbox movies and satisfy my sweet tooth by purchasing some ice cream (speaking of sweet tooth, mine has been completely insatiable. Someone just gave me a cookie and I want 10 more).

When I returned home I started my pot roast with some carrots and onions. I used wine instead of water because we all know everything is better with wine, whether you are drinking it or eating it.

Side note: I purchased BV Coastal Estates Merlot and it is divine. Smooth, rich and just oh so delish. I did not use this wine for cooking. That would be a sin.

Just as I sat down to watch the Vikings and enjoy my little apartment filling up with the amazing smell of a pot roast cooking, mom called and asked if I wanted to come over and give Miley a bath. Clearly it doesn't take much for me to go hang out with my little lady. I gave her a bath and watched the second half + overtime of the Vikings game and we somehow managed to come out with a win.

Me and my parents have a knack for Hallmark movies so once dad gave me full control of the remote I flipped the channel and soon mom and dad came in to join me while devouring my favorite Angeno's pizza.

When I got home later that evening, my pot roast was falling apart in the crock pot and ready to portion out for my dinners for the week. All that's left now is to add some mashed potatoes.

I stayed up way past my bedtime waiting for CSI to come on because it's the only way to properly close out the weekend. I was sorely disappointed when the news came on instead. Regardless, it was a successful weekend and I'm ready to tackle another work week.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Review 30

After the week I had I knew the weekend wasn't going to slow down any. My friend Laura came to town on Friday night and soon after pouring a glass of wine we walked over to Coup d'etat to meet some friends of hers that were in town for the Gopher football game.

Whenever Laura comes to town we always go to Coup d'etat and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants whether it's just for a fun cocktail, dinner or their cheese curds from their late night walk up window. Since I had already ate dinner, we split the gnocchi which was delish!

After dinner we walked over to Boneyard for a nightcap and their nachos. They recently revamped their menu and it looks pretty good. The nachos had pulled pork, ham and bacon in it. Yum!

We didn't get to bed till after 2:30 am which was not smart on our end since we had our alarms set for 7:00 am. It's a good thing college football games are so early because I don't have the motivation to tailgate in the morning. But, we did get ourselves ready and got to the tailgate lot by 9:00. Luckily I had some bubbly and orange juice and we stopped at Isles Bun and Bakery to pick up some cinnamon rolls and puppy dog tails.

This was my very first Gopher football game and it was a blast!

After the game we went over to Stub & Herbs for some post game drinks and lunch where we met the Captain and had way too much fun dancing with our giant Captain heads.

For whatever reason we really felt the need to go all out and continue our day of drinking at The Local and finally ended the night at Republic

Laura left Sunday morning and I headed over to my parents house to hang out with Miley and see what doTerra oils might help my knee pain. I took a drop of the digestzen and that helped get rid of my heart burn, but nothing we tried was helping my knee pain. When I got home I iced it and that allowed me to sleep through the night, but as soon as I start walking, the pain is very real.

The Monster Dash 1/2 marathon is this weekend, and I'm really nervous/upset/annoyed that there's a big chance I won't be able to run at all.  This weeks plan is to just take it really easy, stay away from heels and ice the heck out of my knee in hopes that I can hit the pavement in a couple of days.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Week So Far...

As I predicted, my week was going to be an all or nothing week and it has very much been all with very little nothing going on. I wanted to stop by and share my weeks festivities so far because one of them in particular was quite interesting.

Monday - Bocce league kicked off with the first official game. You know how there's always that one guy who gets way to technical in any game/sport and it just ruins the fun? Yeah, we played that guy. At least we had two of his team mates on our end that were fun and way less serious. They were more into PDA and drinking than they were bocce, which was fine by me. Before bocce I took a great spin class and tried Jersey Mikes, a new sub shop that opened near my place. I had a coupon for a free sandwich so I gave it a whirl. By the time I walked the 1/2 block home, the bun was so mushy from the 'Mike's way' sauce I could only eat half of it. I'm very happy it was free.

Wednesday - First monthly girls dinner at Le Town Talk. I had the Salad Verte and Marseille Burger with the OKO Cabernet. All of it was good, nice price point and our server was friendly. The restaurant is super cute and on the small side, which I like.

 Tuesday - Backtracking to Tuesday, I went to a family friends house who was hosting a doTERRA essential oil party. My mom has really been in to this for about a week now and there were really only two reasons why I cancelled my original plans (a date) to go to this. 1) I wanted to see my cousins 4 week old baby who is the smallest peanut ever and oh so adorable 2) I thought it was a bit of a scam and wanted to see what my mom was getting in to.

First, when we arrived we were greeted with home made kombucha; cantaloupe, grape and blueberry lemon flavors, tea with homemade almond milk and homemade quinoa brownies. Everything was delicious and I was floored 1) that I really liked all three kombuchas 2) the brownies were some of the best that I've had.

After everyone arrived, passed the baby around and got settled, the presentation began. I guess it wasn't even really a presentation because she wasn't selling anything to us, more sharing her stories of how the oils have helped her and her family and letting us test the product, smell the oils and learn about what they do.

In my training for my half marathon next week I've been dealing with horrible shin splints and a swollen knee. It doesn't matter how much ibuprofin I take or how much I ice my leg, the pain is there and it wakes me up in the middle of the night, several times a night. I took one drop of doTERRA's Deep Blue oil and rubbed it from my knee to my ankle and within seconds I could feel the cooling sensation and slowly the pain subsided. I slept all night with no leg pain.

As the night went on, the slight headache I had been battling all day was really starting to pound harder so I tried the Past-tense roller on my temples and again, within probably two minutes I could feel a slight tingle on my temples and the pain seemed to just float away.

As a gift from the host we all walked away with a bottle of the Wild Orange which we were told, if rubbed on the bottom of your feet will help you sleep through the night. So, on top of the leg pain I've been having, I've also just been having a tough time falling asleep and staying asleep. For the last two nights, after rubbing a dab of Wild Orange doTERRA essential oil on the bottom of my feet, I have slept like a baby.

Part of me thought maybe this was all just a mind game. You know when you think something hurts and then it does. Or, you just rubbed magical oil on your head, leg and feet so now all your pain will vanish and you will sleep well all through the night. But I can say I'm a 90% believer that essential oils do have the power to heal you in a natural way. My leg has been very bothersome for the last 36 hours because all I've had is ice and ibuprofin to stop the pain...well the pain has not stopped.

The only reason there is still that 10% of doubt is because of the way we all believe the only way to heal ourselves is through a prescription. It's the American way.

If I can limit the amount of pills I pop by rubbing a single drop of oil on me, by George I'll do it.

Folks, that's just half of my week. I have a second date tonight and a good friend of mine is coming to town tomorrow for the Gopher football game and will be staying with me. I am so excited to go to The Bank and tailgate! It's basically my biggest regret for not finishing college. I don't have a team to cheer for.