Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekend Review: 10 - Memorial Weekend!

Happy Monday Tuesday!

I wish Tuesdays were always the start of the work week. It just sounds nicer than Monday.

Anywhoo, here's whats been going on as of late.

Wednesday I went on my first 'Blate' with Lindsey from Life on Countryside. It was so fun to actually meet in person considering I read about what's going on in her life practically daily.

Thursday I went on a real 'date'. I don't read about his life daily, but we had a lovely time chatting, sharing stories and getting to know each other over a couple cold ones.

Thursday night I headed up to the cabin to start my long weekend. I'm so happy I took Friday off so I could go up early. When I arrived Bob, Jeff and mom were sitting around the fire. It was really nice to be able to sleep in and wake up refreshed instead of having to drive and deal with traffic. It just starts the weekend off on the right foot.

The next couple of days all kind of mixed in together so here's what I did.

I drank a lot of Red's Apple Ale. It's absolutely my new favorite apple beer to drink. I don't get the gut rot like other ciders, or like that big ol can of Lime-A-Rita.

I went paddle boarding for all of 10 minutes on a windy day and can still feel it.

I played Annie Annie Over with kids ranging from 4-64 and had a blast!

We had nightly bon fires at the neighbors.

I grilled a ton of food from a pork butt to brats and burgers.

I got an insane amount of sun and now my skin feels so happy! Now it's time to work on fixing the tan lines.

We took a boat ride around the lake which never gets old. I swear I always see a new house.

I helped dad level out the dock, put the boards on and Joe, Kayla and I got the boat lift in.

All around it was the perfect Memorial weekend with amazing weather, food, friends and family. Just over a month until we get to do it all over again for the 4th of July!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ali's Chicken Chili

Over the weekend my dad came down with a stomach bug so I tried to think of a hearty healthy meal that would be good for someone who just wasn't wanting to eat anything. I gave him several options and he wasn't really feeling it. Then I suggested Chicken Chili! I've never made chicken chili before and I wanted to try and wing it. Here's what I did:

Poach 3 chicken breasts and roughly cut in to bite sized pieces
Sautee 1/2 yellow onion chopped with 4 garlic cloves chopped
Whisk in 1 6 oz. can tomato paste with the garlic and onion
Add 2 cup water and 2 cup chicken stock until smooth
Add one can drained and rinsed black beans
Add 2 cups frozen Trader Joe's roasted corn
Add chopped chicken

Here's what I used for seasoning:
3 Teaspoons Chili Powder
3 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Garlic Salt
1 Teaspoon Salt

It's not really chili weather, but when you are feeling a little down and out, and nothing tastes good, you can't go wrong with some hearty chili. I thought this is really spicy. Like, I broke a sweat eating it, but both my parents who love spice didn't think it was too hot.

You know it's good too when the one under the weather ate a whole bowl and even went back for more.

When I ate it for dinner I paired it with tortilla chips. While I just finished scarfing it down for lunch I had it with some Popped Wheat Thins that were really good!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekend Review: 9

This isn't just any Monday, this is the Monday before (in my world) Summer officially starts! Next Monday is Memorial Day, aka, the weekend were all Minnesotan's and Wisconsinites head North and dust off the ol cobwebs on their cabins.

That's just what my family did this past weekend and it was wonderful! I headed North Friday after work. One of my favorite things to do. As someone who really doesn't enjoy driving all that much, I really love the hour and forty-five minutes I get to myself in the car with the radio turned up and my songs playing. Half way through the trip my taste in music does a 180. I was getting bored with the radio while I headed up the interstate so I slid in an old school Christina Aguilera CD from over a decade ago and belted out the whole disk. By time track one came on again I was taking the off ramp to hit some North woods highways, I plugged in my iPhone and the sounds of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Brett Elgridge and the likes came blaring through my speakers.

As I pulled up to the cabin, mom and dad had just wrapped up their chores for the day and were waiting for me with their drinks in the front rocking chairs. We headed to Jed's Laker Lounge for dinner and the server brought over my parents drinks right away. They are definitely regulars. We got their fried pickles per usual because they are honestly the best fried pickles I've ever had.

View from dinner at Jed's
After dinner we headed over to the neighbors for a bon fire. we got pretty lucky in the neighbor selection and get along with them pretty well. We spend a lot of time at each others cabins and always text to see who's coming up for the weekend.

Saturday was go-go-go. I got up and took Miley for a quick walk before running some errands. I decided to get a fishing license this year, haven't decided if I'll actually use it or not, but there were times last summer where I wanted to cast that rod but couldn't without my license. We see the DNR patrolling our lake too often to risk it.

I spent the whole day outside which I'm so happy I was able to do. We've had such a brutal winter and so far a rather chilly and wet Spring, so I soaked up all the warmth and sun I possibly could. I helped dad dig a trench to lay some electrical from the house to the pole barn and we put the dock and pontoon in the lake!

I have a short week this week and I can't wait to be able to relax on the boat with a cold one in my hand for four whole days!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend Review: 8

Heidy Ho it's Monday.

First off, thanks to everyone who entered to win a loaded Qdoba gift card. I've contacted the winners so check your email!

This weekend was jam packed with family affairs. Saturday afternoon we went to a baby shower for one of my cousins. Her and her sisters live out of town so it's always a special treat when we get to see them. Baby showers aren't the most exciting party to go to, but they played a few games, had a ton of delicious food and I was able to spend the afternoon chatting and catching up. They don't know the sex of the baby, but everyone seems to be thinking boy. Coming from a family that is all girls, it would be fun to have a little boy around during the holidays!

Saturday evening I headed up North to Big Lake to spend time with more cousins. My cousin was having a Pure Romance party. If you've never been, I'd highly suggest it. But please, be plenty buzzed before the party begins. Don't worry either, it's not all 50 Shades, there's lots of lotions, perfumes and items for men like after shave that smells like how every woman dreams her man would smell. But, eventually you will get to items that will make some people giggle at the phrase 'lips and nips', I may or may not have been that girl.

After the Pure Romance part of the night was done, everyone's husbands came over and joined us for some drinks and shenanigans.

I don't know what it is, but when I stay over at someones house I wake up at ungodly hours and can't get back to sleep. So, when I woke up at 4:00 am I just hopped in my car and headed home to finish out the night in my own bed.

We had brunch reservations at Lucia's for Mother's Day. I'd never been but have driven past when leaving UpTown several times and always wanted to give it a try. The whole family went and everyone loved their food. I ordered the petite tenderloin. It was cooked to perfection, but a bit too petite for me. I love my meat. But, portion control, right?

My moms idea of a splendid Mother's Day is to spend it alone at the cabin washing walls. This really isn't abnormal either. When we were younger she would request that we pick rocks as our gifts to her. She likes to have clean rocks in her gardens. What can I say? After brunch, mom headed North and once again it was just me, dad and the dogs. We watched the Twins lose, took in a Halmark movie or two and finished with the Wild loss.

I hope everyone else has a lovely Mother's day whether you are a fur mom, mom to a real human, or being a motherly friend.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Weekend Review: 7 + A Giveaway

Feliz cinco de Mayo!

I had such a nice weekend. Let me share it with you!

Friday after work some friends and I went to a new champagne bar at the Graves 601 called Relevé. It was so nice and elegant. We were able to grab a larger area for our group and mingle over our champagne. I opted for a flight for only $17. The pours are pretty generous, especially when you consider one glass alone is anywhere from $9-$17. I chose to try their three different proseccos.

If you're looking for a new/different experience in Minneapolis and enjoy a little bubbly, this is definitely a fun spot to check out and have a glass.

A few girls were headed to a concert so we walked over to Union to take advantage of their rooftop and get some food. I went with the meatball sliders. They were ok, but I probably wouldn't get them again. The menu looked good and I'd like to go there for a full dinner sometime, but my budget conscious wallet just wasn't feeling their prices that day.

When I got back to my temporary home I was greeted with a very rambunctious dog.
Sorry for the one eye there. Blame it on the champs...or the tongue that was all over my face.

Saturday I did some quick shopping before Liam and I headed out to tackle the wind and get in our walk around Lake Calhoun.

He pulled me the whole way around the lake. I swear, there is no tuckering out this guy. It was a really nice day except for the wind, but the lake was so busy and active. It really makes me excited for the day that I get to move closer to the action. I definitely know I'll be a lot more active when the move happens.

On Saturday night a friend had a Western themed birthday party. I was so excited to whip out the cowboy boots and pair them with a fun shift dress.

Downtown was crazy insane with Derby parties and a western themed bar crawl going on, but it helped us blend in a little more than if we were just wearing cowboy boots for fun.

Sunday I slept in and it felt so wonderful. I headed over to my parents house to see my dog and enjoy some sun on the deck. Watching Liam has really made me realize how much of a small dog person I am. I love how Miley will go for long walks but she'll tucker out and want to nap for the rest of the day. I love that she can curl up on my lap and not leave me bruised and scratched. And I really love that she can't pull me around. Liam's a sweet little man, but he is too much energy for me.

In the 'real world' I think it was Miley who was too much for Liam (ba dum cha!).

I enjoyed spending the day on the deck, getting some sun (and a sun burn), while having a couple Spotted Cows. You can only get Spotted Cow in WI so I associate it with the lake and warmth. It's coming, I can feel it!

Now, I mentioned last week that I was asked to partner with Qdoba for Cinco de Mayo. Well one of you lucky readers can win a loaded Qdoba gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 2, 2014

Getting Down On Friday

I can't express how happy I am that it is Friday!!

This has been a trying week. I'm still new at my position, it was the end of the fiscal year, and the person who was supposed to be training me, decided to just stop showing up to work. I swear, I'm not that hard to work with. But, I was pre-warned that she doesn't show up on the 'important' days of the month/year.

A few days started with tears (that no one saw), but I was so overwhelmed trying to wrap up the year and complete tasks that someone else started or that I was never taught. I work with several PhD's and Psychology majors. When those people ask how you are, never say fine. They know what fine really means and will get you to tell them how you really feel. So, I'm learning to use more descriptive feeling words.

Well, I haven't 'linked-up' in a while, so let's get to Friday Favorites!

Music I've had a few songs stuck in my head all week long and they are all country. To me country music means Summer, cabin, lakes, boat rides, late night bon fires with the neighbors, fireworks, yard games, Busch Light, sand bar, grilling, Northwoods roads with the windows down and all around the most prefect time of the year. Ever. (Ice off was last weekend so Summer is close!)

Compliments I woke up having one of 'those' days. You know the kind. You feel gross, fat, bad hair, no make-up seems to do its job and you can't find anything to wear so you stop by Target on the way to work to buy a new shirt (...no, I don't do that....). Then some guy holla's at you and says 'Girl you look like a million dollars today! Damn!' Before that, I was feeling more like one dollar.

Western Themed Parties This weekend a friend is having a Western themed party at a cowboy bar downtown. Saturday night there is also a Wild West Pub Crawl downtown. Bring on the cowboys!

Warmer Weather By warmer, I mean it's going to be in the 50's and no rain! I took Liam for a walk last night and he loved it. Especially when I would sprint with him. I've never walked the Greenway until last night and I feel like it's this magical mystical path. There were houses and apartments along the path that you wouldn't see from the road that are just jaw dropping. Seriously. I want to meet the people that can afford those houses.

Favorite Moment of the Week Being contacted by Qdoba to partner with them for Cinco de Mayo on Monday so stop by next week for a special treat!

Oh, look at the time. It's almost happy hour!

Have a fabulous weekend friends!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Temporary Resident

For the next week I am a temporary Minneapolis resident and I'm kind of loving it. I forget what it's like to live so close to so many things that you can just walk to pick up a bottle of wine, dinner, groceries, etc.

The friends I am dog sitting for stocked me up with Stella's Cider and Red's Apple. I told them not to worry about food because I wanted to take advantage of being so close to so many restaurants. Sure there's a Noodles & Co, Jamba Juice, Whole Foods, Chipotle etc. in the burbs where I currently live, but you can't walk to those locations, walk home and still have warm food.

Last night was the big game 7 for the Wild. Wednesday nights are my TV night with Law & Order: SVU and CSI so I flipped over to the game during commercials and went to bed when my shows were done. In reality, when you're living in an apartment complex, you don't have to watch the game at all. I knew when the Avs scored, I knew when there was a bad call and I certainly knew when the Wild scored! By the looks (and sound) of it, there were a lot of hockey viewing parties at the complex last night. BTW Go Wild! Going head-to-head with the Chicago Blackhawks! I can only imagine the insanity that would go on when the Wild make it to the Cup and bring it home!

When I agreed to this dog sitting gig I dreamed of sleeping in until 7 and not having to catch a bus until 7:30 and making it downtown with plenty of time to get coffee before 8:00 AM. Boy was I wrong. Even though I'm 15 miles closer to work, it takes just as long to get there, if not longer. I don't mind it though. City buses are a whole new ball park then suburban buses with a whole new crowd. There a little livelier too. For some reason I'm more willing to get out of bed right at 6 when my alarm goes off than I am at home.

Watching a big dog is so much different than watching my little lady. He has so much energy, which I probably would too if I was in a kennel all day, but I swear, no matter how much we play or wrestle, there is no tuckering this guy out. From the moment I let him out of the kennel in the morning to the moment I out him back in at night, he is just a big ball of energy. And he likes shiny things. Which means he's been trying to eat my new MK watch. Last night he finally settled down for a bit and it was so lovely. He laid on my legs like a big blonde soft blanket, let out a sigh, a little grumble and sunk right in.

I can't wait until this rain stops (I think I'm going to do a rain dance today), so we can take a walk around the lakes finally!