Follow Me – 9 people to watch, listen to or try to be

6 Mar

It’s no secret that I’m an insanely curious person. I don’t know how I got this way but one reason is that I refuse to be content. It’s a blessing and a curse.

As a marketer, it’s a blessing. I’m absolutely blown away at the pace marketing has evolved. It seemed the first 14 years of my career was spent just talking about what percentage of the tv budget would run what percentage rotation of a particular spot. I’m glad I started working with influencers about 12 years ago. Forget celebrities, now anyone with a POV can gain thousands of followers. Staying curious has helped me keep pace and relevant.

However, as a competitive person being curious can be a curse. It can stymie a girl’s creativeness if you try to keep pace with these crazy successful influencers!

Here are a few people I love to follow on IG or watch on YouTube:

FOOD

Nocrumbsleft – Teri Turner

theDefineddish – Alex Snodgrass

Juliaandchild – Julia Flowers

BEAUTY/HEALTH

Allana Davison

Wendy’s Lookbook

Sarah’s Day

LIFESTYLE

Damsel in Dior

Atelier Dore

The Everygirl

Stay Curious!

Stuff I Grabbed

1 Mar

I didn’t even clean these up for you, but I don’t think you care. Right?

I grabbed this from my favorite blogger, Jo. We’re not really on a first name basis. She doesn’t know I exist but that’s ok. This is the Proust Questionnaire. I have a fill in the blanks book with this. Fun to gather your friends and family’s answers.

Have you written your note yet? Ruby and I did. I just got an idea from this. I’m going to tell you about them every time I get one. It’s called “Be an Angel.” Connecting lonely people with people who need love and support. Like perhaps the elderly with the sick. Just to be pen pals or email pals. Ok… moving on…

I grabbed this from another favorite blogger. I love this whole look. The simple print, the textures of the pillows, the plant. Want to remember for future decorating decisions.

Did you get into this Netflix documentary? ROF and I did for sure. The one thing about documentaries is that they are one sided. You think you are getting the facts, and you might be, but only ONE SIDE of them.

I learned this in college when we watched Roger & Me in a class and discussed it. It was hard for me because I had lived in Flint and my dad worked at GM. So my dad came in my class of 120 students to give the other side of the story because he knew all the players including Michael Moore. I was SO PROUD! My dad was such a charismatic speaker. He was such a neat, fun person. I miss him so much my heart physically hurts.

Anyway, I still think Avery is innocent.

This needs no explanation. This is my life. Frozen. Yesterday for fun I knocked icicles off my garage with a baseball bat.

I grabbed this because it’s the cutest damn thing ever! One of my most favorite peoples in the whole world – Jackie Grubb Marshall – is a great yogi and her little girl joined in!! Xxoo makes my heart happy.

Has to grab this craziness because I LOVE SERENA!!! I want a sweatshirt that says that. I wish I could be friends with her and just glean a teensy bit of her badassedness.

I got to spend last week at Maui Prep in Hawaii. I loved this nugget of wisdom.

This makes me sad. I’m not going to on and on about it. I grabbed this as an idea for a small cabin we almost bought up north. It’s been a goal of mine for years to have a place up north. We had an offer on a great place and lost it. I know, wasn’t meant to be. Still sucked.

Duh!!

I want this perfume. All the hype!!

So I made some AMAZING and easy salmon from Plated this week. The seasoning was outstanding so I chatted to get what was in it. I love that they throw in “spices” just to keep ya guessing. Lol.

That’s it! Stay Curious!

What I’m Reading Right Now

24 Feb

1. ATOMIC HABITS by James Clear

I believe that it’s important to be aware of your habits so that you can introduce new ones – ones that instill a healthy mindset.

I’m very aware of certain habits I have that I want to change. They are hedonistic habits that I’ve had a long time. I can see these some of these habits in my parents and even to some extent my grandparents. It’s that “If it feels good – do it” attitude. If one glass of wine tastes good- three would be better. Or I’ll stuff myself on 3/4 of a steak vs only be satisfied with 1/2.

Full confession. Geez. Don’t judge.

This book is a life changer. Especially if you want to be more aware of your habits;

I bought this book on tape and have listened to more than half of it. Then I bought it because I want to highlight and make notes.

I’m such a 🤓. Buy it here.

2. Ladders Article

Ladders.com or on The Medium app is always good for a jolt of realistic advice. Read it here.

3. On the Blogs, I’m reading this:

Really want to make this.

Reading about her struggles with anxiety was very interesting because I would have never guessed she had any issues. I met this blogger a few years ago when I attended her photoshop class. I love this piece on her way to show self-love.

There is something about peeking in other women’s purses that is fascinating to me. Like I’m going to find something revolutionary or something. And I’m talking about articles like this – not me actually peeking in purses.

I’m so excited! I can’t believe this collaboration.

This is how I’m going to lose weight. Love this girl.

Anyone want to try this workout with me? Not in the same room, but you know, streaming online. I’m a bit obsessed with this woman on IG.

Make it a great week!

2 Things I Learned Yesterday from a Walk with my Boss

21 Feb

My boss would kill me if he knew I wrote this but I know he doesn’t read my blog and I won’t divulge who he is so it should be ok.

So, I’m in Hawaii working on a side project for my boss. Rough life, I know. I love it. Yesterday I told him I’d meet him at 5am to walk the pathway along the ocean. About 2.5 miles. Forget the fact that I haven’t exercised in over 4 months – this is because of 2 words: POLAR VORTEX.

Good excuse. Yes, I’m aware of my excuses thank you very much.

But I said yes to this because A) I never get to spend quality time with him and B) you say YES to most positive things because that is how you should live your life (says me.)

Waking up at 4:30am to walk at 5am is one thing but when it is raining – that is another. This is lesson #1.

He meets me and throws me an umbrella. That’s it. I PERSONALLY WOULD HAVE HELD OUT MY HANDS AND SHRUGGED. WELL, TOO BAD. IT’S RAINING!  COFFEE?

LESSON #1

When it’s raining, grab an umbrella and keep going. That also means when times are tough and you don’t know how you’re going to get through:

  1. This damn Wisconsin winter
  2. Your divorce
  3. Didn’t get the job
  4. Didn’t get the guy or girl
  5. Don’t want to work out

So we walked and I did fine. It did start to pour pretty good and we were dodging huge puddles but the water and air were warm so it really wasn’t that bad. Keep in mind it was pitch dark with the exception of the lights from the restaurants and resorts. So I kept repeating over and over in my head “Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall on your face.” Because that would completely be something I did. After all, I did greet him with HOLA instead of ALOHA.

Sometimes I want to kick myself.

LESSON #2

NEVER GET TOO BIG FOR YOUR BRITCHES. And treat everyone as you would want to be treated. As we walked the grounds, he stopped and spoke to all the people that worked at the complex. He knew them all. He also told me that he meets with an older gentleman that works there most mornings real early to just chat up all things life. As we walked and he drove me places, he stopped and chatted up everyone. My boss is a very successful entrepreneur with over 55 businesses.

One of my favorite entrepreneurs is Sarah Blakely. Follow her right now on Instagram. She’s a hoot. She said once that money amplifies who you are. If you’re a jerk before you have money then you’re a bigger jerk with money. If you’re generous and caring before you have money, then you are more generous and caring with money.

BONUS LESSON

Don’t burn bridges and pay attention to everyone around you. My boss and I met 22 years ago when we were both 27 years old. He worked for Ford and I worked for their ad agency, J. Walter Thompson. And here I am 22 years later, after a full and awesome career, working for him and having the time of my life.

3 Cool Things.

6 Feb

Here are three things you need to know about on this blustery Wednesday…

1. THE BEST GIFT

GOLDBELLY – it ain’t cheap, but for those of you craving pizza from “back home” or ribs from Kansas City – this is your place. What a great gift for someone! This site has bagels from New York, Chicago hot dogs and so much more.

2. WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT TRADER JOES?

So this is the only retail place where I don’t mind if the person checking you out comments on everything you’re buying. I love the folks that work at Trader Joes. They are so damn happy. And knowledgeable. If I’m buying some seasoning or sauce, the checker will say “I love this on eggs, what do you put it on?”

Do you want to be a TJ’s fan but go there and are just swept away by the choices and the crowds? Curious by all the buzz out there? Here are my tips on what to buy and when to buy it. Believe me, it’s worth going – you’ll be addicted like me.

ON WHEN TO GO:

Don’t go on a Saturday morning unless it is first thing when they open. The best time to go to TJ’s is when you can sneak it in during an “off” time. Have a doctors appointment at 3 pm? Do a quick TJ’s run afterward.

ON INSIDER KNOWLEDGE:

Follow some key IG accounts to get the scoop on the latest and greatest products. TJ’s is ALWAYS evolving and bringing new products on and taking them away (drats!) Here is who to follow on IG:

  • traderjoeslist
  • traderjoesinsider
  • traderjoesobsessed

Check out their funny newsletter – the Fearless Flyer each month where they highlight new items and specialty items.

ON SLEEPING WITH THE FROZEN FOOD STOCK GUY:

ROF has had to put me on a frozen food moratorium more than one time. One time he said to me “ARE YOU SLEEPING WITH THE GUY WHO STOCKS THE FROZEN FOOD SECTION AT TRADER JOES ????” He’s kidding, of course. I mean, you would probably get some good insiders tips though.

It’s no joke that the frozen food section is off the hook. (do people say that anymore?) and you can google lots of opinions but I’m going to give you the only one that counts – mine. Here is what to load up on there:

  1. Almond Croissants – frozen. These have been a staple at our house for guests or if I just want the house to smell good in the morning. It’s a frozen dough that you let rise on an oiled cookie sheet the night before on your counter. Pop them in your oven in the morning and POOF – breakfast. They also have plain, chocolate and a new ham and cheese version.
  2. Mandarin Orange Chicken – frozen – a TJ employee favorite and mine too. ROF even likes it even though he first turned his nose up at anything frozen. Just grab a couple bags. Perfect for a quick dinner with side of broccoli and rice.
  3. Organic brown rice – frozen-we always have these on hand along with the jasmine rice. It’s cooked to perfection then frozen. Three minutes in the microwave brings this yummy rice with a bite back to life. It’s a no-brainer.

4. Steel Cut Oatmeal – Frozen – At only 150 calories each, pop these in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and then another minute and you have yummy goodness for breakie. I always toss in some fresh blueberries and a couple of pistachios

5. Shrimp and Walnut – Frozen This is so good with the lemony sauce that comes with it. Throw it together with jasmine or brown rice

 

Just put this stuff in your basket:

1. Everything but the bagel spice

2. Umami spice

3. Multi-grain bread (so yummy!)

4. Unexpected Cheddar cheese

5. Sesame rice crackers (get a bunch!)

6. Shelled pistachios

7. Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

3. THE BEST GIFT FOR GIRLS – ever!

Pick 4 words that are favorites or describing words. Man, this is cool! What words would you pick for me?  Here is what I would put:

Woody Allen.

Sav Blanc.

Ruby.

Appreciator.

Be Encouraged

20 Dec

to be creative.

Maybe you need these too?

Stuff I Grabbed…

13 Dec

Sharing my latest messy, screen grabs of things that caught my eye. I love the word Accoutrement so I Grabbed that. Check out the SUPER CLEVER egg campaign-!! Look at that fireplace design below-wow. Have fun + always be curious…

Do it all with love.

5 Dec

This is a great quote. Don’t know who said it but it inspires me in so many ways.

1. When I dread something

How I want to do everything and anything is with truth, love and thoughtfulness. That is what I strive for but don’t always reach. Whether it’s a menial task I feel is beneath me, or an overwhelming one where there is no end in site I try to handle it all the same way – period. Because how you handle one situation is truly reflective of how you handle them all.

And be careful… people are watching and more importantly- learning from you.

When I dread doing something I rush in and tackle it. Sometimes. Sometimes I procrastinate. When I choose to put it off, that is when this quote inspires. Procrastination is not reflective of everything I do so I move and tackle it head on.

2. Helps me think versus react

I want you to think about something.

What percentage of your day is reacting and what is thinking?

Think about it. Do you open your email each morning with the intention of plowing through and emptying it out? And then you are stuck just reacting to what people want from you. Before you know it, you look up and the day is half over. Sound familiar?

Don’t be a reactor. It doesn’t take a lot of brain-power to be a reactor. Now, the Wayne Dwyer in me is going to come out – but when you react to other people’s moods and issues you are giving them undeserving power in your life. They are a jerk and they ruin your day? YOU control who takes up valuable space in your head. THINK about that.

How you think about one thing is how you think about everything…

Be a thinker, not a reactor.

3. Start from the beginning

Now this is one example of how I handle one thing. Which turns into each and everything. If you are reading this and have worked for me at one point, you’re for sure rolling your eyes. With every single situation you encounter- start from the beginning. When talking to your boss, your employee, your kids, your clients – tell the whole story and start from the beginning.

Everybody loves a story!

Reactors tend to get worked up and jump into the middle of the muck and try to get out. Stop. Deep breath. Set it up, tell a story, give the background and start from the top. I handle everything this way.

4. Don’t let one thing define your everything

It’s why as a leader and manager for the past 25 years and having reviewed millions of resumes and hired a lot of people – if your resume has typos, it’s thrown out. If you don’t check your own work, how will you check mine?

Wow – a missing comma just defined your everything. You’re lazy. Yikes.

Where else does that hold true?

What can you tell about people who:

  • Don’t return the shopping cart in the proper place so it can roll into another car
  • Volunteer
  • Are rude to waiters and waitresses
  • Run tri-athalons
  • Speed and weave in and out in traffic
  • Plan a full week of food in advance
  • Belittle other people
  • Give compliments

How you do one thing is how you do everything. I’m just sayin…

Spiced Pecan Recipe

25 Nov

I kind of feel stupid for posting a post on nuts when there are so many other things to talk about right now. I have several friends and family members going through some shit and nuts doesn’t make the list of important topics.

However, I just made this and it was kind of therapeutic. The whole stirring, melting and mixing kind of occupies your mind and is a nice distraction. And it smells scrumptious! If you don’t like spice, just omit the pepper.

This is my friend Ginny’s recipe. I hope my nuts come out as good as hers.

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp each of:

  • Ground cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Dried ground orange peel (you can buy this at spice store or just grate some orange and nuke in microwave)
  • 1 pound (16 oz) pecan halves
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (or just use light)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Directions:
  • Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in small bowl and set aside.
  • Place nuts 🥜 in a cast iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, add both sugars and water, stirring until mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and separate them. Allow nuts to cool completely before transferring to airtight container for storage. Can be stored up to 3 weeks.
  • Stuff I’m watching

    17 Nov

    If you are getting older…ha ha … that would be all of you – you HAVE TO WATCH this Netflix short movie on Elaine Stritch.

    If you don’t think this is damn awesome you probably think Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born is ugly.

    I was filled with so much passion for life after watching this. So raw and real and lovely.

    Ok. Next is a series on Tru called I’m sorry. You can watch this too on Netflix. Season Two is coming out soon. Andrea Savage is a flipping hoot. And it’s produced by Andy Sandburg.

    Do you want to take a peek at what kind of content the “kids” are watching nowadays. Subscribe to some of the channels I do on the Tube. This chickee has OVER SIX MILLION FOLLOWERS. Hello! More than most tv channels! You will watch and go …”huh??” I watch so I know what the hell is going on as I grow ancient.

    Then if you want to smile watch any of these!

    Happy Saturday!

    Can’t Sleep

    15 Nov

    This is what I think about from 12:34am-4am:

    1. Maybe I should just get up.
    2. Why can’t I hear dog snoring, is she breathing?
    3. That Caesar salad was amazing. Get it again.
    4. What should we have for breakfast when mom comes this weekend?
    5. I’ll just get on phone for minute.
    6. Shopping on Amazon is too easy.
    7. Nordstrom…sale….
    8. Am I traveling on the busiest travel day of year?
    9. Why can’t I hear ROF breathing, is he ok?
    10. I’m not going to remember to turn the alarm off in morning
    11. Martha Stewart rocks. Am I too old to reinvent myself?
    12. What are my interests- list them.
    13. Teaching, professional women growing in career…
    14. What’s my niece up to – call her tomorrow. Hate to bug her knowing how busy she is
    15. What was that noise?
    16. I’m hungry.
    17. Why aren’t my notifications on LinkedIn?
    18. What’s my day like tomorrow.
    19. You better get up and walk in morning.
    20. It is morning.
    21. How do you know you’re dehydrated?
    22. I’m hungry.
    23. Tasty video made me drool
    24. Tomorrow I’m going to accomplish one of my personal goals before I start working.
    25. I’ll just clear out my inbox then I’ll sleep.
    26. What is this tapping thing? Stupid.
    27. Does GP have sleeping issues? Perfect-
    28. I should write a blog dedicated to the style of Leanne Ford.
    29. I wonder how old she is.
    30. What should I get ROF for Christmas?
    31. I miss my sis.
    32. Moms coming!
    33. I hope Mike makes taylor ham & eggs. Mom will love that.
    34. I’m going to listen to my Glenn Harold recording then I’ll go right out.

    Stuff I Grabbed…

    13 Nov

    I’m going to be messy here. Not going to clean these up for you. Here are some things I screenshot because I:

    • Wanted
    • Liked/Loved
    • Thought was cool
    • Want to make

    Enjoy your Tuesday!

    Be Good to Yourself

    17 Oct

    I’ve decided to write about something I don’t know much about nor do I adhere to whatsoever.

    For example, it is 2am and I’m writing this. I should be getting my beauty sleep but in spite of my (very comfy) new flannel sheets, earplugs, lavender oil diffuser and going to bed at 9pm…I’m up.

    You know what I’m into? Changing your thinking. And what I want to do is change my thinking about being good to myself.

    It’s about to get real, folks. Yep, I’m getting vulnerable. Don’t judge.

    I’ve gone through life with the goal of feeling good as a priority. And not the kind of feeling good you may be thinking. More like if it feels good, do it. And I justified this with “I deserve it.” Now, this isn’t necessarily bad or wrong unless taken to excess.

    I might take it to excess.

    There is a big difference between being good to yourself and doing things that feel good.

    For example, being good to yourself means having self-discipline and saying no to things that may feel good.

    Feeling good is temporary. It’s drinks at a bar, it’s saying yes to dessert or buying that sweater. None of which are bad things if you are living with the goal of being good to yourself.

    However, it isn’t good if you are living with the goal of just feeling good. Then it can easily shift into over-indulgence with too many drinks or over-eating or over-spending. It’s thinking if it feels good, then I’ll do it all the time. Without built-in stops in place- either from how you were raised or how disciplined you are, it can go bad.

    Following?

    The best part of my journey is realizing this. I’m aware. And that’s the first step to a more fulfilled life. So now what?

    For me, it goes back to changing thinking. Not easy because, well, <sigh>, I’m old! That’s not so easy. But here’s the game plan.

    1. Feeling good needs to be about being good to myself. That is going for health and longevity. I’m going to walk every day. Follow my mug on Instagram (@afulford) as I will provide proof. All encouragements welcome. #appreciatorgood

    Ok. I’m stopping there. Little steps done daily make big results. This is a TO BE CONTINUED post that I will add to as I go.

    Stuff I Grabbed

    9 Oct

    Damnit. Been up since 2am and could fall back asleep. Are you sleeping well?

    Anyway, do you have any idea how awesome the photos app is on the iPhone? Well, let me tell you. There is an album called screenshots and (wait for it) it saves all your screenshots!

    I liken this to the day WAY BACK THEN when I would rip shit out of magazines and save them in a file. Like recipes, sweaters I liked, hairstyles, home decorating ideas, hot places to eat – you get the idea. Same thing. This little album is filled with marvelous eye candy of just stuff I think is cool or want.

    Now, I’m not going to pretty this up for you at all. I’m just going to give you a peek into what I’ve grabbed and you can figure out why.

    Excellent Podcasts on Modern Marketing

    6 Oct

    Yesterday morning I got to spend some quality time with a good friend visiting from Dallas. We grabbed a chai latte and I ate most of the pumpkin scone drizzled with warm honey we split.

    And we had only the kind of great marketing discussion great marketers like us can have. It mostly revolved around how freaking fast our industry has evolved.

    We knew it would.

    We were talking about the IoT ten years ago. Long before the word “influencer” was whispered, I pioneered a multi-channel blogger program with Facebook and Twitter 8 years ago. Jackie developed the Chevy Music Showcase years ago for a bunch of car dealers and one of the artist showcased was … Leon Bridges. Both of us are driven by relevant marketing IRL.

    But the way the industry has flip flopped the rules is amazing. You don’t need a fancy agency (that quite honestly might move a little slow) to do your marketing. There are a ton of excellent marketers giving away the goods for free!

    Now anyone (good) with a microphone on their phone can create a podcast chalk filled with great content and get millions of listeners. You don’t have to only go to college to unlock secrets to success at your potential career. Just take online classes, listen straight from the horses mouth the rules for winning at whatever you want to win at.

    Here are a couple podcasts to check out if you touch marketing at all. You could be a real estate realtor wanting to grow your business. Or a radio or direct mail rep not even knowing where to start learning about this stuff. Heck, you could be a CEO that just realized that you too could stand to learn a trick or two about communicating with potential customers in this day and age.

    If you think you know marketing, pop into any of these podcasts for a quick listen.

    Please don’t embarrass yourself by saying the overused “I don’t have time for that” phrase. First, that is so 2011. Second, here are 11 ways you can listen to a podcast:

    1. Taking a morning walk
    2. Running on treadmill
    3. Driving anywhere
    4. While getting nails done
    5. Making breakfast (or lunch or dinner)
    6. In the shower
    7. As a couples activity
    8. Required listening for team discussion

    Click on the picture to take you to a specific episode I picked out for you. Just pop in and check it out.

    If you have any additional resources to share, please share! Let me know what you think below!

    Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake Recipe

    3 Oct

    Who doesn’t need a wonderful, delicious chicken casserole recipe right about now?  I know I do!  As the weather here in Madison gets colder (and wetter!) – nothing seems to warm you up like a good old-fashioned casserole.  Am I right or am I right? 

    Don’t let a big casserole intimidate you.  Is it only the 2 of you?  Cut this recipe in half and make in little ramekins.  

    This recipe is my sister-in-law, Susan’s recipe and it’s adapted from Better Home & Gardens.  

     

    Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

    6 servings

    GET IT:

    bow tie pasta – 8 ozs

    onion – 1 small, chopped

    eggs – 2

    butter – 2t

    milk – 1 1/4c

    crushed red pepper – shake

    dried Italian seasonings – shake

    chicken  -2 c cooked + chopped

    monterey jack cheese – 2 c, shredded

    artichoke hears – 14 oz can

    spinach – 10 oz, fresh

    oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes – 1/2 c drained and chopped

    panko  bread crumbs – 1/2 c

    paprika – 1/2 Tsp

    parm cheese – 1/4 c

    MAKE IT:

    Preheat oven to 350.  

    Cook pasta according to directions, drain. 

    In a medium skillet cook onion in 1 tsp of butter over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring every so often.  remove from heat, set aside.

    In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  stir in chicken, cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the parm cheese, pasta and onion.  get in there with your hands and stir it up – a spoon can’t do it justice! transfer to a 13 x 9 baking dish.

    Fix a glass of wine.

    Bake this baby, covered for 20 minutes.  

    In a small bowl, combine remaining parm cheese, bread crumbs, paprika, and 1tsp butter melted.  sprinkle mixture over pasta.  Bake for 10 minutes more until golden!

    WATCH IT:

    Here is Susan showing how to make it!

    adapted from better homes and garden

    Monday Bliss Playlist

    1 Oct

    Monday’s aren’t to be dreaded. Not if you’re doing what you love. Pop this in on your morning or evening commute and as background music all day. It will get and keep your toes tapping.

    3 Ways to Live Your Life Right

    25 Sep

    1. Realize You Only Have Today

    That sounds really depressing but it’s so important to remember.  And so you don’t think I’m preachy or self-righteous- these are all things I (especially) need to remember.  And it’s things I know.  As many of you know, 13 years ago on this day, my dad died.  For those of you who haven’t had someone that you loved with all your heart and all your mind pass away – it is a grief you never get over.  You don’t ever “get through it.”  It’s a soul, a parent, a child, a friend, a person who made a lasting impression on you.  Daily there are reminders.  Some small – like a James Taylor song playing in the background at a restaurant.  Some big – like when even after 13 years there are things I think “I can’t wait to tell my dad!” and that feeling when you remember that you can’t.  These are things I learned from that experience. I’ve always felt like I am invincible and going to live forever.  But the likelihood of that happening isn’t guaranteed.  Things can change in a millisecond.  All those stupid quotes that tell you about the past is gone and the future unknown and we only have the present are kind of not stupid.  People that live in the past are consumed with fear.  Fear of the present and fear of the future.  Being consumed with fear is no way to live fully.  When your day comes, you will (I promise you) regret the way you lived.  Your time is up and you didn’t live to your potential.   My dad had a pain in his stomach and went to the doctor who told him he had 4 months to live.  4 months!  Can you imagine being told that?  Imagine it right now.  What would you do differently?  Would you spend it harboring old pain that you can do nothing about or about controlling what you can control right this very minute?

    “Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” – Wayne Dyer

    2. Act Now on the Hard Stuff

    Going back to my dad finding out he had 4 months to live – he righted every wrong instantly.  He didn’t think about it, didn’t mess around – he made some BIG decisions very fast.  Like sold his house and moved back to Dallas in a couple of days.  Moved from a house on a golf course on Hilton Head Island with beautiful stuff to an apartment walking distance to me in Dallas.  Might make you think – why’d he ever leave? What decisions might you make if you found out you had 4 months to live?  Here is a checklist of potential decisions you might make.  Make a mental note of what you would do:
    • Call someone you need to talk to no matter who was right or who was wrong
    • Have you been putting something off like moving home or moving away from home
    • Go see something you’ve always wanted to see or do something you’ve always wanted to do

    DO IT NOW.  Don’t wait.

    3. Accept Yourself

    “Self-acceptance means accepting and coming to terms with ourselves now, just as we are, with all our faults, weaknesses, shortcomings, errors, as well as our assets and strengths.  Self-acceptance is easier, however, if we realize that these negatives belong to us – they are not us.  Many people shy away from healthy self-acceptance because they insist upon identifying themselves with their mistakes.  You may have made a mistake, but this does not mean that you are a mistake.” – from Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
    Time is running out.  You is all you have!  My dad ended up living 11 months, not 4.  It was some of the best 11 months of my life with my dad.  Truth be told, my dad before cancer was a little bit of a “look what I have” type of person.  Not snotty or showboating but liked nice things.  I like nice things.  Nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes it can get out of control.  It sounds awful when I put it like that but you know what I mean, right?  But when you have very little time left in your life all that shit really goes out the window.  You are yourself, you’re honest and you’re real.   Don’t shake your head at me now and tell me that’s how you always are.  Come on.  Unless you’ve lived with someone who is dying you don’t know what I’m talking about and I’m probably doing a poor job of explaining it.  My most treasured time ever was when my dad in his bald head, cane popping glory would hoof it over to my second story apartment in the morning before work and have coffee with me.  He would make me laugh and cry and we were real with each other.  All that other bullshit falls completely away.  I didn’t care if he came over is the same damn gray sweatsuit he wore the previous day or that we didn’t have dinner plans that night or anything. So what to learn about accepting yourself?  Do what you need to do to be your true uninhibited self.  Don’t let past negativity hold you down.

    Be Encouraged

    18 Sep

    I’ve picked these for you.

    Killer Chili Recipe

    16 Sep

    I think I may have found a killer chili recipe.  Actually, I have several really good chili recipes – but this is no ordinary recipe.

    This is fancy chili.

    This ain’t no throw it in a pot and watch it boil type of chili.  It’s stay-in-on-a-cold-Saturday-afternoon-light-a-fire-in-the-fireplace kind of chili.  in our case, we made it before the super bowl while it was a balmy 7 degrees outside.

    I got this recipe from one of my favorite cooks, but it actually isn’t her recipe but an award-winning chili from one of her friends.  I googled this name and found a lot of bloggers have already covered this chili recipe, so if you don’t believe me how good it is – company good- just click here, or here or even here.  I don’t mind, but they don’t have cute ROF in their photos!

    PLEASE NOTE:

    1. We cut this recipe in 1/2 and it gave us 6 servings.  Make a note of that or you’ll be eating it for a week!

    2. It has coffee in it.  Fancy…!

    3. There is a ton (i mean a TON) of hot spices in here.  May want to cut it back just a little if you’re not adventurous like us.   The sour cream is a mandatory topping to cut the heat.

    Devon’s Award Winning Chili (Serves 6 to 8 )

    Copyright 2010, Devon Fredericks, All Rights Reserved 

    5 pounds beef brisket, cut in 1-inch cubes
    ¼ cup olive oil
    2 cups yellow onions, chopped
    6 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, crushed
    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    2 tablespoons cumin
    2 green peppers, diced
    1 bay leaf
    6 cups tomatoes, chopped with their liquid
    Salt and pepper
    ½ cup strong coffee
    2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans
    2 tablespoons basil

    Serve with
    Sour cream
    Grated Cheddar
    Diced tomato
    Tortilla chips
    Guacamole

    Pat the brisket cubes dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a very large heavy casserole and quickly brown the meat in batches on all sides. Transfer the brisket to a separate bowl and set aside. Sauté the onion and garlic in the same oil over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until limp, but not brown. Add the chili powder, pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and cumin and sauté for 1 minute. Add the green peppers, bay leaf, tomatoes with their juice, the reserved meat, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.

    Add 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste, and the coffee, cover the pot and simmer for one more hour.

    Add the kidney beans and basil, and warm through. Serve with bowls of sour cream, grated cheddar, diced tomato, tortilla chips, and guacamole.

    IMG_6811 IMG_6797 IMG_6820 IMG_6822 IMG_6831

    Brunch Birthdays

    15 Sep

    First of all, we all love birthdays.  I mean, I love them a little less now that I’m over 35… but it’s nice for people to acknowledge your birth.  However, they can be a little predictable. Right?  You know the drill:  Birthday dinner.  Balloons.  Cake.  A song.  Presents. That is why I loved this idea of a BRUNCH BIRTHDAY.

    This was my SIL’s, Susan’s idea.  She threw a brunch birthday celebration for our nephew, Bill today.  I loved the idea.  Because family (including moi) was in town a week or so before his birthday but wouldn’t be here for the big day, we celebrated Saturday morning. 

    Here are the deets:

     Menu:

    Ham & Cheese Quiche

    Broccoli Cheese Quiche

    Fresh Mangos

    Iceland Yogurt Parfait Starring:

    • Blackberries
    • Honey
    • Pistachios
    • Granola

    Lots of bakery goods that people fight over and pick on during the meal.

    Lots of coffee and OJ and leave plenty of time to chat and laugh. 

    Thanks for the great morning Susan!

     

    Stopping the Drive to Betterment

    12 Sep

    There is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.  My drive for constant betterment has got me down.  I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve my “peak state.”

    Is it depressing to say that?  Am I giving up?  No.  But I’m going to press pause for a season.

    Why, you ask?

    I think it is encroaching on my ability to appreciate things the way they are right now.  Today.  After all, I am The Appreciator.  And because my focus is on achieving big, big goals, it’s become so all-encompassing, it’s frustrating that I’m not reaching them.  And then I let myself down.

    Am I the only one who thinks this way?  <sigh>

    I certainly appreciate my drive.  My drive to be the best I can possibly be.  I can’t imagine life being content.  To be being content, to me, is the same as being apathetic.**

    Maybe I should give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.  If you’ve made it this far reading this, you might be scratching your head and wondering what the hell-o I’m even talking about.  And then there will be those that I grabbed at my headline who know exactly what i’m talking about.  Here we go…

    It is engrained in me to strive to be the best I can be.  In case you were wondering, I’m not even close.  I’m obsessed with reading about how others achieve their peak performance and how I could do the same.  On one hand, this is healthy.  I plowed through my career like a racehorse – always wanting to learn more, to be first, to grow, teach, mentor and lead.  This trait is what gets me up at 4:40am every day and follow a routine that includes scouring thousands of blogs, reading my devotional and reading this book, this book and sometimes this one.  It is what makes me listen to this in the car and this and especially this.  I don’t like to watch television or go to many movies because it would take up too much space in my head where this other stuff lives.  That’s the truth.

    On the other hand, being a deep thinker and striving for betterment constantly, I’ve decided, sometimes is depressing.  Instead of focusing on what I have and being in the moment, I’m just focused on what I’m not achieving.  And I know that is not the purpose of attaining your peak state.  I get that.  But that’s where I am.

    I’ve kind of worked through my problem. There are 3 things I’m going to do to be encouraged to be my best vs frustrated and drained by defeat.

    1. Define What Success Looks Like To Me. I read somewhere that the pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time. Maybe that is what I’m doing … reading about others success without defining what success looks like to me.

    2. Action vs Thoughts. Come up with a daily action plan that becomes my new routine. In my frustration I’ve resorted to a bit of mind-numbing activities like flipping through IG too much or throwing back a few sav blancs on the weekend or fixing grilled cheese at 1am (doing that now!)

    3. Get Inspired. I need to be inspired. I’ve spent my career encouraging and motivating others but have reached a point where I need to be lifted up. I’m inspired by big ideas, big solutions, innovative marketing, and making a difference. This is where my focus needs to be. Going to seek out those people who are doing this. I want to be surrounded by those people.

    Wish me luck!

    Positively Positive Playlist

    2 Sep

    Happy long weekend to you.  I hope it’s been a good one.  ROF and I are UP NORTH again but this time way up in Presque Isle, Wisconsin.  Yesterday we were so north we were in Michigan!  We’re at a friends house on a private lake with only 14 other houses.  It’s truly one of the most beautiful places on earth (along with all my favorite places up north.)

    I keep my eyes peeled hoping to catch a glimpse of an albino deer.  Yesterday there was a bear and even talk of a sighting of moose.  Ann and I went out on the pontoon, dropped in a line (no bites) and floated in the middle of the lake.  LAKE HAIR, DON’T CARE.

    A while ago I ran into an old friend who told me that my Instagram and blog posts were inspiring.  I loved hearing that.  The older you get, the harder life is.  And you know what, it’s not always so easy to deal with.  With IG and Facebook and other tools, you can glimpse into other people’s lives easier.

    And I see you. 

    I see you going through chemo and dying your hair “mermaid blue” as a celebration before it all falls out.  I see you kissing your son goodbye at college.  I see the pictures of moms or dads who have passed away and you’re honoring them.  But with all that I see, I know there is a lot I don’t.  It’s not easy to post an image of how lonely you are.  Or how you want to be ok with where you are in life but just aren’t.  There aren’t a lot of quotes out there to happily express your need for a job, or a husband or just money to make the bills.

    So – here is a playlist for you.  I love these songs.  They are not “cheer you up” songs, but more “lift you up” songs.

    Cocktails with ROF: Sangria!

    12 Jul

    There is nothing like fresh Sangria in the summer!  Well, a margarita is pretty good too.  Sure, you can buy the premixed Sangria drinks from Costco, and honestly, it’s pretty good.  But ROF has been making his own Sangria for as long as I can remember.

    See video – filmed from vacation in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.  Recipe below.

    FRUIT NEEDED:

    1 peach

    1 plum

    3 limes

    1 lemon

    1 orange

    Cut up all fruit into chunks and squeeze the lemon, lime and orange juice into the JUG.  

    BOOZE NEEDED:

    1 cup of sugar

    1.5 cups of Brandy

    1 cup of Triple Sec (orange liquor)

    2 bottles of cheap red wine/merlot

    Mix everything together.  Serve over ice with a splash of club soda on top and a lime or lemon.  ENJOY!!

    The Best Steak Recipe You’ll Ever Make: Hawaiian Ribeyes

    10 Jul

    Last year, ROF and I went to Hawaii with some close friends.  It was my first time in Hawaii and it didn’t disappoint.  You know how people talk a place up for so long and it either disappoints, meets expectations or exceeds expectations?  This exceeded expectations.  Awesome.  

    While there, ROF made his delicious Hawaiian ribeye steaks that we grilled. I’m dying for you to try these steaks.  Your mouth might start to water as mine did when you watch this. 

    The recipe is below.  If you try it this weekend, please send me a picture! 

    Hawaiian Ribeye Steak

    the marinade:

    1 cup of sugar

    3 small cans of pineapple juice

    1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

    1 cup of soy sauce

    2 inches of fresh ginger, chopped

    1 small white onion, chopped

    the meat:

    4 (12-16 oz) bone-in ribeyes – look for good marbling of fat throughout. 

    Mix all ingredients well (with a whisk) except the steaks in a large bowl.  Add two steaks to a large ziplock baggie.  Carefully divide the marinade between the two bags with the steaks.  Marinate the steaks for between (but no longer!) 12 and 24 hours in the refrigerator.  

    Grill the steaks over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes on each side for medium-rare.  Baste the steaks on each side with the marinade.  Enjoy!

    4 Ways to Entertain With Ease

    10 Jul

    This quote is the key to entertaining. Memorize it.

    I love to have people over.  The whole experience should be smooth, fun and lovely not only for your guests – but for you. Why? Because whether you are having friends over for dinner, your spouse’s colleagues around for a happy hour or a baby shower for 30 – the whole point of the event is meant to be… fun. You want your guests to be left with the feeling of inclusion, warmth, and happiness.

    Good luck, I can hear some of you sigh with a harrumph. Entertaining freaks me out, some of you might say. Well, here are 4 things to remember:

    1. START WITH WHAT YOU LIKE AND KNOW

    It’s no secret that my husband likes cocktails. He likes planning out a signature drink for the evening, buying the ingredients, setting up a bar, getting the ice and serving our guests when they arrive. That’s just one of his things. He starts his dinner party prep there.

    I like music and candles. I like creating playlists for the kind of mood I want to create. Maybe it’s a yoga night or we’re going up north or having drinks on the beach– I want to create a feeling with what people hear when they arrive and what they smell – that’s where I start.

    Where do you start? Here are some examples to help you decide:

    • Cooking or baking
    • Cleaning and/or decorating
    • Paper and invites
    • Music
    • Place settings
    • Landscapes
    • Planning
    • Making cocktails

    Figure out what you LOVE to do and start your planning there.

    2. DON’T STRIVE FOR PERFECTION, NO ONE CARES AS MUCH AS YOU DO

    Ina Garten said in one of her books something I’ll never forget.  She and Jeffery were young and broke but that didn’t stop her from having people over. She didn’t have the perfect napkins and matching place settings and her furniture was dated, but she confirmed that no one cares about stuff like that.

    If you wait to have everything “perfect” you’ll let life pass you by.

    Be driven by your guests need to feel welcome, not by your need to impress.

    3. PLAN EVERY ASPECT IN ADVANCE + DON’T DO IT ALL

    The more you plan, no matter how big or small the event, the easier it is to pull off an awesome party.  Take the time to think everything out – top to bottom – start to finish – write it all down, design a menu, make a grocery list.   I’ve designed an outline for you to use to help. 

    Another tip is don’t feel like you have to do it all.  Have friends bring the drinks or food.  Get party platters for appetizers that are already made or just put out some nuts and cheese.  Check out some EPIC party platters here.  

    4. YOU SET THE STAGE 

    You can either be like this:

    or like this:

    I Love Lucy!

    More reads on entertaining here, here and here.

    3 Wonderful Classes I’m Taking

    9 Jul

    This morning, I’m on vacation!  I’m sitting outside on the back porch of a house we rented in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.  It’s 6am east coast time and I’m watching the sun rise over the dunes in front of the ocean. I put some pics below.

    Now that I’m on vacation, along with sitting at the beach (already got red) and eating off-KETO diet, I love spending the early morning hours learning.  I just finished lesson 7 of a great class I’m taking online with the app and website called Creative Live.  Joyce Maynard is teaching “Writing Your Story” and it’s excellent!  It’s on writing memoir-style.  Being old, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually LEARN from a teacher.  So it’s a real treat to learn from an excellent, passionate teacher.  Check out this website if you’re interested in photography, art, design, music, money & life classes.  Varys in cost.  This class that I’m taking is fantastic. 

    I also joined Masterclass which is badass learning for all kinds of interests.  Once you belong to it, you can take as many classes as you want.  Classes by Malcolm Gladwell (!!!), Alice Waters and a ton of other experts teaching in their field of expertise.  I finished Gordan Ramsey’s class and I’m on to Alice Waters.

    12 Quotes to Point You in Right Direction

    7 Jul

    Best Rose Wine for Summer

    5 Jul

    I could give you a top 10 list but I just don’t have it in me. 

    I also can’t find the little symbol to go over the “e” so it is Rose-A not Rose.  But I think you get it.

    Ok. Not going to use terms like peachy finish or well-balanced either.  This is me.

    Just get it.  Go to Total Wine or google it.  At only $8.99 a bottle, it’s simply the best.  At that price, get 2.  Or a case.  Thanks Curt for introducing it to us.

    I would buy it and drink it with this, this or this.

    How to Tie a Summer Scarf

    3 Jul

    The other day, I cleaned out my scarf drawer that contained literally THOUSANDS OF SCARVES.  I folded them somewhat the same and made the drawer look so nice.  But in going through all those scarves, it made me mad to think I could only wear them in the fall or winter.  Why not summer? ok, maybe not the heavy plaid ones, but the light linen ones?  But how do you wear one when it is hot out and you really don’t want something heavy around your neck?

    First of all, this video is a little dated but my favorite video ever on folding a scarf.  Yes, at one point in my life, I did follow along and tie all the ties.  Subscribe to Wendy’s IG or blog – she’s awesome.

    Second of all,  these are some great looks!

     

    This is from The Darling Detail.

     

    Then there is this from GlamRadar.com

    I’m digging it.  Might give it a try.  Will probably last 5 minutes around my neck, just sayin’.

    I LOURVE this one by Lands End!  Plus I think I’m going to buy the scarf!

    There you go!  Now go and be safe this mid-week holiday celebration.

    Top 5 Drinks to Mix When Hot

    30 Jun

    My boy, ROF, is a cocktail mix master.  It is a balmy 90+ degrees here in Mad Town and here are some cool drinks you can make tonight or for brunch this weekend.

    The Blood Orange Martini

    The Tidal Wave

    Rum Punch

    Jalapeno Margaritas (The Best! No Mix!)

    Bacardi Rum Cocktail

    And if you need something to eat along with all these drinks, throw some of these DELISH steaks on the grill!

     

     

     

    3 Articles to Help You Be All You Can Be

    26 Jun

    While it’s important to be present in the current moment, as I’ve mentioned before, I can’t help but to (constantly) read articles, blog posts and books on best practices. More specifically, best practices on being your best self.

    Here are 3 of the best.  Click on the title to take you to the article.

    30 Behaviors of Unstoppable People

    By Benjamin P. Hardy

    A lot of people are good at what they do. Some are even elite. A select few are completely unstoppable.

    This is How to be Super Productive Every Day Without Losing Your Mind

    By Thomas Oppong

    Extremely productive people know the difference between urgent and important.

    This 1 Habit Separates Successful People From Everyone Else, According to Warren Buffett

    By Elle Kaplan

    Who knew?

    4 Great Breakfast Recipes

    25 Jun

    4 GREAT BREAKFAST RECIPES

    There ain’t nothing like a good egg.  My family loves eggs and we make them many different ways.  My sister, Katie makes a mean fried egg.  She can even flip the egg in the pan without a spatula.   She’s cool.  ROF scrambles eggs like no other.  it’s so simple yet so good.  They are just the right consistency and filled with the previous night’s leftovers.  Like salmon and cream cheese.   My specialty?  Poachies.  

    breakfast

     

    breakfast

     

    Sometimes I like to venture past eggs and here are some great recipes!

    First is blogger Oh Joy’s rainbow pancakes. aren’t these the best idea ever?  especially if you have kids.  Pop over there to get the recipe that is in video format.

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    Second, is something that just made my mouth water a little bit.  Baked baguette french toast by the Dash and Bella blog.  I haven’t made this yet but think I will when I have my next overnight guests.

    baguettefrenchtoast

    For the third recipe, I’m heading back to eggs.  Check out these awesome egg cupcakes.  Another great company breakfast.  Thanks dine & dish for this recipe!

    0b8a1e2d9145dfb6299e5879530fcb85Lastly, how about these amaretto french toast bites by the awesome sweet paul?  Delish!

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    3 Things I Learned From Getting Older

    24 Jun

    1. HOW TO BE KINDER TO MYSELF

    I’m a lot easier on myself. As the years rolled on, I’ve learned to be as kind to me as I would be to anyone else. It took a lot of work to get to this point.

    When I was younger, I always had this voice inside my head that pushed me on. It began with my mom encouraging me, and then it became my own. It whispered:

    The sky is your limit. You can go as far and as high as that. Easily.

    That was when I was a kid. Walking my dog, Maggie, at night. And I believed it.

    Photo by reza shayestehpour 

    But that voice changed as I got a little bit older. It started to grow more critical and judgmental. It was damn harsh. Where did this come from? I think it was because I was so influenced by everything in my teens and 20’s. Magazine ads, sitcoms, MTV, friends.

    You sounded stupid when you said that. You don’t even know how to do that.

    And I started to believe that too.

    But as I’ve gotten even older, I simply don’t care as much.  Fitting in, keeping pace and people’s perceptions of me – all that -is exhausting. There’s a huge freedom in letting that go.

    As I’ve gotten older, what I let influence me has changed. People who are authentic, funny and creative interest me more than people who try too hard to fit in.

     

    2. HOW TO SAVOR THE PRESENT

    I have the ability to realize  – in the very moment – that everything I do becomes a memory.  If your mind doesn’t go down the crapper, those collections of memories will be all you have someday. When I was younger, I didn’t think like that. I was too busy indulging. Now, I savor every moment I can knowing I will someday reflect back on that moment.

    A good example of this was holding my dad’s hand when he was dying. I held his hand in mine and studied his flat palm, then traced the veins on top of his hand and I remember the softly rounded fingertips. I etched this in my memory to have forever.  13 years later, I can close my eyes and remember how his hands felt. 

    As I’ve gotten older, I realize the importance of really appreciating the present moment. I do this when playing cards with my husband, snuggling with my bulldog, laughing with my sister, visiting with my sister-in-law or just about anything.

    3. HOW TO RESET MY MIND + FOCUS

    Another thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is how important it is to have a positive disposition. You always have a choice on what to focus on. Always. You can choose to live in a way that you add joy to others lives or you don’t. It’s as simple as that.

    But as you get older, you are faced with a lot more shit. There’s the rub. YOU WILL GO THROUGH TOUGH TIMES. No doubt about it. Someone will pass away, you’ll have to put your dog down, or less dramatically — you’ll just have more crappy days. Anticipate it. Go through it. Feel it. But get a shovel and start digging your way out. The only thing that soothes pain (next to prayer, for me) is time. Spend your time wisely. 

    Getting older has helped teach me to reset my mind. To focus on my side of the street, to understand that I can control only what I can control and not to enable people I can’t control. If I want to be an encourager, then I must not let things trip me up

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not thrilled with getting wrinkles and achy muscles. But these are some positive aspects of gaining experiences (or getting older…!)  What are you learning? 

    Weekend Playlists

    23 Jun

    Music is a big part of any fantastic weekend. Whether you’re running around with errands, road tripping with family, making dinner or just lounging around-it’s all better with music.

    I’ve curated not one but two incredible playlists for you. I know they’re good because I’ve listened to them a million times.

    Chainsmoking + Vodka is perfect if you are chilling out this weekend.  Check out WILDFIRE by Mandolin Orange which I snagged from the great coffeehouse PORTER here in Madison.  I do have to warn you, the new Ben Howard song is way out there but I admit, I LOVE IT.  ROF wasn’t too keen on it.  Let me know if you’re a fan.

    Mascara + Chardonnay was originally compiled for women only. But I realize that men have good taste in music too.  ha. laughs. jokes.  I bet you can picture me singing “1950” at the top of my lungs.  Because I do. I first heard the Ed Sheeran song at my friends cabin up north and had to snag that jam.

    Enjoy!  Spotify links below .

     

    Staying Curious in a Curious Time

    21 Jun

    Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your mojo?  That is how I’ve felt this year.  I hate saying that out loud because I have so much to be thankful and happy for when so many of my friends and acquaintances are going through a hard time.  Do you know what I mean?  If all I’ve lost is my mojo then I’ve got it pretty good. Mojo might be over-rated anyway.

    What this year has taught me so far is that life is finite.  You see, I never thought that.  My thinking as a self-absorbed career girl has always been that there is so much time left.  In my 20’s I smoked like crazy because – WHY NOT?  Life was long and I’d have plenty of time to quit (and thankfully, I did!)

    Here is why I’ve lost my passion and how I’m going to get it back (took some soul searching)

    How I lost it:

    • My career in the past was bent on leading clients in new directions with marketing.  I was talking Facebook, blogs, and Twitter in client meetings across the country 8 years ago!  I loved educating clients on more relevant ways to market their business.  I was driven (driven is the operative word) by coming up with unique ways to make a connection between my clients and their customers.  And it worked.  I think I’m missing that driven part now. And it has something to do with connection.
    • Loss, in general, has shaken me.  Knocked me off center.  And I hate saying that because it hasn’t been my loss. But I really feel for my friends who have lost parents, siblings, and pets.  Sudden loss, surprising loss.  Friends with cancer who have lost parts of their body to surgery.   Even the loss of people I admired but didn’t know personally rocked me.  Anthony Bourdain, who I quoted here, had my dream job and I loved following him around the world.  Kate Spade was the first expensive purse I bought and I have her inspiration all around me in her books, shoes, earrings and more.

    I’ve felt knocked off center a bit.  But this is how I’m getting it back.  I’m not going to include the things you think I’m going to say like being thankful.  These are very true but you can read that anywhere.  I’m going to be thankful and grateful every single day.  Because I am.  And just because I’ve felt off – doesn’t mean I’m not appreciative.  After all, I am The Appreciator!

    How I’m getting my Mojo back:

    • Think in the present tense.  I tend to think in the future.  I don’t dwell too much on the past but instead am always thinking of what’s to come.  Or what I think should come.  For example:
      • When I lose 80 pounds, I’ll be so much happier
      • When I accomplish the goals I have set out for myself for the day and the week
      • When we are able to buy a cabin up north
      • When, when, when

    If you’ve never read anything by Eckhart Tolle, read him.  His faith is different from mine, but I appreciate his thinking and beliefs about living in the NOW.  This I’m going to practice.

    • Guarding My Mind. There is so much shit content out there. Whether it is podcasts, blogs, television, articles, webinars, social media – it is all consuming.  Oh, I love it, don’t get me wrong.  I’m a consumer.  Like this, this and this<swoon> 

    Proverbs 4:23 says: ” More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.”

    I’m going to guard my mind and train it to focus on my main passion – being curious.  If I can stay focused on that goal and that is what I seek out in the content I’m consuming, then I think I can get my groove back on.  It’s so easy to get off track and run down that rabbit hole of WOPAD (what other people are doing) – I’m going to stay curious.

    Is this getting too deep for you?  It almost is for me.  Need a coffee break.

    OK.  I’m back.  Here is the biggest thing.  Saved the best for last.

    I need to create.  It’s what drives me.  (wait. there is that word again!) And I’ve so gotten away from that.  If I really think about when I’m happiest – it is when I’m being creative.  Whether it is re-arranging furniture (only when ROF is gone, it stresses him out) or making a playlist, helping my clients, compiling an inspiration board or cooking dinner – I need to be creating.

    Are you in a funk?  What do you NEED to be doing?  Do it.

     

    Limoncello Cooler Recipe

    21 Apr

    Because us folks up north need a little sunshine Springtime right now!

    1oz gin

    1oz Limoncello

    1/2oz fresh lemon juice

    2-3oz club soda

    Lemon wedge

    Mix first 3 ingredients in a shaker. Pour into glass with ice. Top with club soda, garnish with lemon. Make now and if you’re in a state that still has snow on the ground, think warm thoughts and make another. Cheers! Here’s the video:

    Just Do it

    21 Apr

    My first official Pilates class in new city. Scared!

    Do you care what people think of you?

    15 Apr

    I’m on a girls trip in Florida this weekend and we’ve had some fun nights of “deep” questions to each other. One of the questions asked was “Do you care about what other people think of you?” I thought this was such a good question.  My first inclination was to shout “NO WAY!” but that would be a bold face lie.  How you answer this will most likely reflect your age. I believe the older you get, the less you care about what people think of you.

    To me, it’s one of the biggest lessons we can learn from those more experienced than us.  Everyone wants to have friends and be liked but there is a difference between seeking those friends out by trying to please them and drawing people towards you because you are authentic and yourself.

    I think sometimes people mistake caring about what people think about you for caring about yourself.  There’s a big difference.  One interesting thing I’ve read recently said that caring what people think about you actually shows a lack of self-love.   You get your approbation from other people.  And what’s wrong with that is that other people see life and things through their own filter and that may not be right.  Let’s just be so bold as to say, it won’t be right.  Instead of caring what others think, think more about yourself.

    I’m no expert on the subject but I have been a perpetual people pleaser in the past. So in that regard, I can speak with authority on how completely imprisoning it can be to care about what people think about you. Thankfully, with age (and wisdom) I’m shifting my thinking.

    And I don’t care what you think about that – ha!

    Wayne Dyer said this on the subject: An important teacher of mine, Abraham Maslow, always counseled that it was necessary for the self-actualized individual to be “independent of the good opinion of others.” Listen to the voice you hear, and the drumbeat only you can feel, and honor it, while honoring it in those you love as well. It is the ultimate act of unconditional love. In being true to your inner calling, you may ruffle some feathers but you’ll have the peace and satisfaction of knowing that you fulfilled your divine purpose and encouraged others to do the same. Another brilliant nonconformist, Dr. Seuss, is credited with saying, “Be what you are and say what you feel because those who will mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

    So – do you care what others think of you?  Do you let it run your choices or do you make choices FOR YOUR BENEFIT?

    Fun Stuff I Found!

    14 Mar

    I don’t know if you do this or not, but whenever I’m reading something or I see something online that I love, I screen grab it.  Are those two words or one?  Screengrab?

    Anyway, I’ve been doing this for years and now that the iPhone actually separates your screengrabs out for you in iphoto – all the things I’ve been saving are right there in one handy album for me!  It’s the 2018 equiv to what I used to do in my teens and 20’s. I would read a shitton (that is a new word I’m making up) of magazines and rip out articles and ads that I liked.  Then I’d either pin them up on my wall (that would be directly on to the wall – no bulletin board or the like) or make photocopies of them and pass the article out to people at work with the date written in at the top.

    I digress.  On to the stuff I found. 

    This isn’t in any kind of special order because I’m too lazy to actually think about that.  I just uploaded these babies.  Ready for some fun?  ok… read on.

    This first one is pretty self-explanatory.  Damn good.  Do you NOT want to make these right away?  Notice, it doesn’t say “yogurt,” it says “cheesecake”.  Get in my tum-tum right now!  The recipe can be found here.

    If you know me, you know that the minute the Dane County Farmers Market opens up in Madison – this is me every Saturday morning gathering the homeland’s finest flowers and bringing them home.  Oh, I can’t wait.  I can smell the early morning lake scents wafting into the state capitol and feel the summer against my cheek!  <sigh> I love this photo, so I grabbed it but don’t know where it came from.  IG, I’m sure.

     

    Girls, have you heard of this “capsule” idea?  Boys do this automatically, I believe. If I had the body for it, I would jump on this like white on rice.  Is that politically correct to say?  LOL, I don’t know anymore.  Geez.  Anyway, check this out!  For those of you that want to just throw something on and not think about it but still look super cute – get a capsule!  This is a curated bunch of basic clothes you can mix or match all season long.  I know who would like this of my friends (Megan & Connie?)  Read more about it here and here.

    Do you know who this is?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this photo!  OMG (insert girly scream here) Click on the link if you didn’t catch that.

     

    I grabbed this above because ROF and I play cards EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Not kidding.  and YES YOU ARE WINNING, ROF!  And to me, accessorizing is key.  Can you say WANT THIS?!

    Someday, I will buy one of these kits and do it.  I really want one.

    A long time ago, I bought my friend Susan a similar kit from Anthro and I’d love her tell the story of what happened with that birthday gift that I bought her.

    Susan, if you’re reading, please comment below! xxoo

    I didn’t have just one pair of these shoes, I had at least three pairs of these shoes.  Not at once but because I WORE THEM OUT!

    Who knew?  By the way, you can do this OR pay over $500 for it to be done by a nutritionist. 

     

    Mom?  Wouldn’t this be awesome?  Let someone else figure out the meds.  And yes, this would work perfectly for me too!

     

    Ok, that’s it for now.  I haven’t even been able to make a dent in the things I’ve grabbed so more later.  What have you found?

    Be Passionate to Have Focus

    13 Mar

    I had an entirely different post scheduled for today.  It was a post of all the fun things I’ve found and screen grabbed over the past few months.  However, there is something bigger weighing on my mind.

    woman-2696408_640

    It’s kinda deep so feel free to wait for the fun post tomorrow.  

    These thoughts come in the wake of the #metoo movement.  Also:

    • after I heard a disturbing question on a podcast, I heard today and
    • being overwhelmed by social media and all the available CONTENT that is out there waiting for me to consume it

    the comment on the podcast was depressing.  I’ve thought about it all day today on my drive up north.  A 19-year-old girl left a message to the “Forever 35” hosts wondering if the “urge to crawl out of your own skin goes away as you get older.” 

    First of all, this is a podcast on face serums for women who want to be “Forever 35.”  The misplaced question from the girl came out of left field but was honest and in search of an honest answer.   It made me think about how different kids have it now compared to when I was 19 years old.  The same pressures exist – school, boyfriends, parents, what-are-you-going-to-do-with-the-rest-of-your-life, drinking, boyfriends.  Did I already say that one?  However, now on top of that, you just have MORE crap shoved in your head from Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and more.   All from people you know and don’t know.  It’s now not celebrities that have it all anymore.  According to social media, EVERYONE has it all!

    abstract-1233873_640.jpg

    Someone as old and mature as me can (sometimes) keep it in its place.  But, it can make anyone want to crawl out of their own skin.  No matter what your age is.  Nowadays, bullies don’t just exist on playgrounds shoving their face into yours, they lie in snarky comments on newsfeeds.

    We don’t really know exactly what she meant by that comment. But my answer to her would have been this:

    Yes.  Hopefully.  You recognize that you want to crawl out of your skin, so here is where you don’t want to be.  Where do you want to be? This is important to figure out because there is one thing that can shift your focus from wanting to crawl out of your skin to loving the skin you’re in.  

    And that is passion. Passion gives you focus beyond yourself.  At <cough cough> years old, here are some real-life passions of my friends and family:

    • YOGA.  Either going to yoga regularly or becoming a teacher, an expert
    • MARKETING.  Selling consumers in a relevant way
    • CARDS.  Yep, playing cards, socializing and laughing is a great passion to have.
    • SAVING KIDS.  Fundraising to stop the sex trafficking of children in the US
    • CAREER.  Passionate about learning and climbing up the ranks at work
    • FAMILY. Building one starting with the love of their life and then kids
    • BEING HEALTHY.  Snubbing the nose at chocolate chip cookies and loving feeling good
    • FAMILY BUSINESS. Growing the family business.  Contributing!
    • ENTREPRENEUR.  Doing it for yourself!  See how far you can go.
    • BIKES.  Building them, selling them, showing them
    • DOGS.  Loving them, saving them, volunteering to help them
    • ADOPTION.  Passionate about bringing children into their family as their own
    • BLOGGING.  Writing and sharing about life and whatnot
    • MUSIC.  Creating a feeling, a show
    • COOKING.  Mixing, making and sharing
    • ENTERTAINING.
    • IMPROV.
    • DANCING.
    • VOLUNTEERING.
    • CREATING.

    SHALL I GO ON?  I can give you one or more person I know with these passions. 

    It’s ok to feel like you want to crawl out of your skin.  For now.  But don’t stay there.  Grab a passion and blow it out.  Let it become bigger and bigger.  Hopefully, before long, your focus will not be on getting outside of yourself but loving the fact that you’re exploring things that you’re passionate about.   

     

    Getaway: Burlington Vermont

    10 Mar

    Want a fun little girls trip itinerary?  or this could be a lover’s getaway.  Just kidding, I hate that word – LOVERS! (ha)  I’m going to admit though, it isn’t the easiest place to get to really but it’s worth it!

    If you’re like me and a wiz at geography (insert ROF laughing here) here’s a map for reference:

    I would make this a two night trip.  Fly in on a Friday afternoon and out on a Sunday.  Here are a couple of ideas of where you could go and do.  First, just Uber it from the tiny airport to your hotel.

    CHECK-IN:

    HOTEL VERMONT:  Preppy Swank.  Loved!

    41 Cherry Street
    Burlington, Vermont

    WEBSITE

    This is the perfect place to stay.  Friendly and lots of attention to detail.  Every floor had a shared coffee/water/tea area.  The warm fire with woodsy smells greets you the minute you walk into the lobby.  Your modern but comfortable room is outfitted with locally made soaps (lemony!) and lotions.

    Drop your bags, run a brush through your hair then hit the town  – it’s happy hour!

    DRINKS:

    THE ARCHIVES: Is it an arcade? is it a cocktail lounge? It’s both!  Grab a Shinebox or a Shakedown cocktail and belly up to Ms. Pac Man or Tetris.  You’re sure to work up an appetite.

    photo cred: The Archives website

    FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER:

    Head over to The Farmhouse Tap & Grill on Bank Street.

    I had the Cast Iron Seared Atlantic Salmon with butternut puree, red quinoa, endive, sage and pecan pesto.  It was out of this world!  They have a great selection of starters too including a raw bar.  It’s casual like the whole town – jeans and boots – are fine!

    Walk back to the hotel through the quaint downtown that looks almost identical to Boulder, Colorado.  They were designed by the same company!  Zig and zag down the Church Street Marketplace – so cool.   Maybe stop at the hotel lobby bar for a nightcap by the fire or turn in!

    THINGS TO DO ON SATURDAY:

    Now, you don’t need me to tell you to head back to the hotel.  Rest and relax.  And get ready for a wonderful dinner out with your lovely or friends.   Head here:

     

    This place looks fantastic. Very Vermont.

    Check it out if you get a chance.  Buy some maple popcorn at the airport on your way home.  I didn’t (wink) but it looked good.  Let me know if you have other suggestions.

    February Playlist: Leonard & Frost

    15 Feb

    Not my typical playlist. That’s my disclaimer for –arguably– the best playlist for this dreary, tepid, news-saturated month.

    So turn off the boob tube. Go on. Open this playlist and start at the top. Damn it’s good, if I do say so myself.

    I’ve made it collaborative so you can add a song or two if you want. No AC/DC. I’m gonna call out some peeps here to contribute – you know who you are: AH, JG, DS, KK, CH, JG.  Yep, you.

    You’ve gotta follow May Earlewine on IG. I love her morning pour over coffee jams.

    Enjoy! It’s my Leopard & Frost playlist on Spotify.

    Sisters

    14 Feb

    There are big times I miss my sister, who lives in Huntington Beach now, and small times. The big times are like when she gets engaged and I can’t give her a big squeeze. Or when I’m driving for a few hours in my car and think back to some of our epic memories we’ve had together.

    One of those memories is when my dad died, she and I stayed at the famous Broadmore Hotel and Spa in Colorado (she paid!) together and just laughed and cried and breathed in God’s peace in those beautiful mountains.

    Mostly when I think of Katie, I think about how hard she makes me laugh. In typical younger sister fashion, she liked to embarrass me – intentionally or unintentionally- and sometimes it just made me laugh so damn hard.

    My sister is one of the most caring and passionate people I know and I wasn’t very nice to her growing up. As the oldest, I guess you could say I was into… myself. <shocker> Do you like how I blame that on being the oldest? And I hate thinking about that because she truly is one of the most very very important people in my life.

    So this very morning, a small thing happened that made me think of Kate. This:

    Ain’t no one who can get shit like this done like my sister. Probably the only girl out there that has a green electric screwdriver that she named “Lucy.” Lol. And she could untangle this mess of necklaces in a hot minute.

    Here’s to an epic sisters weekend SOON! It’s been a year since I’ve seen my sister and I’ve cried through writing this whole damn thing. Happy Valentine’s Day, sissy. Xxoo

    Awesome Birthday Traditions

    7 Feb

    I love this tradition (plus I love steak see here and here!) After hearing about this a couple of times, I decided all of you needed to know about it too.  Make this tradition your own!  There are so many ideas.  I share some of mine after the interview. 

    I interviewed my friend, Sean Sivore and his son Aidan on their favorite thing to do on their birthdays:

    Tell me a little bit about why you go to so many Steakhouses(how many?) – what is your tradition and how did it start?  I’ve always loved the experience at steakhouses.  The service and atmosphere are a big part of what makes a great steakhouse great.  My Dad loved great restaurants and since Aidan and I have birthdays one day apart, I thought it would be a fun “father/son” tradition to research the hottest steakhouses around and the two of us go to one for our birthday each year.  We’ve been doing this since Aidan’s 7th Birthday.

    Musso and Frank Grill, Hollywood, CA – August, 2016

    Now, let’s talk to Aidan.

    Is steak your favorite thing to eat? Yes!

    What are your top 5 steakhouses and why did you like them so much?

    1.  Bavette’s – Chicago, ILAtmosphere was a little like a bar (dark/quiet),  But the steak was so good, it didn’t matter.
    2.  Prime and Provisions – Chicago, ILSteak was perfect.  The atmosphere was awesome.  The bacon appetizer is off the chain! The service was the best of any steakhouse.
    3. Gibson’s – Chicago, ILFirst steakhouse I went to and finished an 18oz Rib-eye at age 8.
    4. Benjamin’s Steakhouse – New York, NYOld School looking steakhouse, but not that old.  Steaks were awesome.
    5. Chicago Cut – Chicago, ILCool steak place, atmosphere, and great food.

    Do you order the same thing at all the steakhouses?   No, I usually order whatever the house specialty is.  When in doubt though I order a Rib-eye.

    What is your favorite thing to eat? Steak by far 

    Sean: This is a picture of our first annual “Guy’s Steak Night Out.”  This was before the ladies of the family started muscling their way into our tradition.  He finished the whole steak!

    December 2012, Gibson’s Chicago

    Prime and Provisions – Chicago, 2017 
    Thanks, Sean and Aidan!  This is so much fun – what a great idea!  Here are some of my thoughts on how to make this your own.
    1. If steak is not your thing, make it sushi, Italian or even pizza!  Hit up your own city or travel.
    2. If food is not your bag, what about a class?  Take a class with friends or your S.O. on your birthday.  Learn something new every year on your birthday and keep track with a photo.
    3. Do something crazy out-of-the-ordinary every year on your birthday.  Research it.  Swim with dolphins, skydive, bungee jump, swim to Alcatraz * – mark the years you get older by something cool.  *scroll down to read about my mom’s close friend Nancy Moore and what a bad ass she is!
    4. Make it a point to travel to a new place on your birthday.  One year it may be a new town driving distance from you and another might be Europe!  Document it, write it down, snap it up.

    Let me know what your traditions are for your birthdays!

    Check this out…

    6 Feb

    Some people say that I’m curious about everything and they would be right. I’m always striving to know new things. And trying to avoid monotonous daily activity. Which can be one part comforting and one part boring. I believe that to be alive you have to jolt your body and mind alive every day. That could mean going for a brisk walk or just reading something that takes your mind to new places.

    One of my easiest “hacks” if-you-will is having curated blogs I like on Feedly. This is for those that think they could never have the time to be curious and explore new things- Feedly makes it easy. Puts everything in one place for you. For me, opening this app each day brings to me a gazillion ideas and things to explore.

    If you like what I like or at least think you do- then I have screengrabbed my blog list below and you can copy it. Just look up each blog in the search tool and add.

    Here is some of my found nuggets this week:

    • SAY WHAT? This is my new favorite comedian that will make you run down a million rabbit holes with the fun stuff she mentions
    • Thanks, but I’m staying with my good ole face wash! This might be too much for me
    • I’m gonna make this next week. I love the crispy edges
    • Digging these jams. As a sidenote, I’ve dug up some cool NYC restaurant playlists on my Spotify- follow me!
    • Simply awesome! Her mom looks just a few years older than her! She is stunning!
    • Will you accept this rose?

    Here are the blogs I follow via my Feedly app. I know it’s obnoxious.

    how to fly like a boss

    5 Feb
    1. KNOW SECURITY

    if you want to fly like a boss you can’t be one of those people holding up the security lines, loading up bin after bin after bin at the bottom of the table.  this is how you do this like a pro:

    • grab three bins if you have a laptop or other electronic item
    • walk to the very front – where you put your stuff in the chute – or walk as far forward as possible.  do not stop and take off your shoes or your belt too soon.  this holds everyone up
    • Note: unseasoned travelers get so excited for security that they start undressing while still in line.
    • when you are very close to the top, now undo the three bins and put your laptop alone in one, your carryon in another and plop your shoes and coat in the last
    • DO NOT WEAR JEANS WITH METAL ON THEM – oh lordy do they light up the machines.  i do know this because i learned the hard way

    2. PLANE PREP

    • get your favorite water and snacks
    • this is a good time to give electronics a break.  get some good mags to flip through!
    • or download your favorite show- I loved Portandia and the Mrs Maisel show while traveling this past holiday
    • other good things to bring to airport === ear plugs, portable charger, don’t forget your ear phones!

    3.  LOVE FLYING

    this is for nervous flyers.  i used to be one too – a long time ago.  i came close to telling my boss that i couldn’t fly any more.  i felt so out of control.  but here’s the deal:

    • you are always out of control.  you’re not in control driving your car.  not in control of other drivers or weather or road hazards
    • flying, is a gift from God.  it really is.  appreciate every single moment of it.  you are flying around in a capsule above the clouds.  it’s amazing and awe-inspiring.  it doesn’t matter that i’ve been on hundreds of flights, i get very excited every time. my favorite part is when the plane breaks through the clouds and the weather below to blue skies.

    Super Bowl Cocktail Video “Boston Cooler”

    3 Feb

    Since the Cowboys aren’t in the Super Bowl, this isn’t a big deal to me.  ROF is rooting for New England.  In fact, he is giving us all a refreshing cocktail to sip along with this scrumptious dip or these awesome sliders.

    sometimes you gotta just float!

    29 Jan

    Just some musings on Tuesday evening.  I am obsessed with my morning routine.  It looks like this:

    • Wake up before or at 5 am
    • Rinse face and go downstairs to office
    • Do bible study (via bible app on phone)
    • Read devotional: my utmost for His highest (been reading every year for 15 years and counting)
    • Write in my new productivity journal  – see what I have here
    • Write out my daily work and personal to-do
    • Read Brendon Buchard’s High-Performance Habits bookSidenote: I also have the audiobook so I can finish listening to it in the car!
    • Meditate using app on my phone – 5 min top focused on mindfulness
    • Pray – 5 minutes top
    • Skim about 100 blogs in my full FEEDLY app (this is my “tv”)
    • Catch up on news by reading the annoying “THE SKIMM” email blurb or flipping through Flipboard app
    • If I’m being honest, and I am, I spend a good 15 minutes flipping through Instagram at the end

    Then I get ready and start my day!

    However, admittedly, at the end of the day, I get simply exhausted with how creative, cute and clever everyone is on social media.  I’m overwhelmed with the number of “good advice” business books I read and how much I have to remember in order to perform at the highest of levels.  Instead of feeling inspired or motivated, I’m just damn tired.  Even though all of it is something I want to do.

    At night, I have to give myself a break and just mentally float.  Have you done that?  I close my eyes and think about nothing at all except floating atop the warm water. I know that sounds stupid but it is a great way to disconnect from distraction.  I visualize my hands dropping under the water and then resurfacing.  I feel the sun hitting my face and top of my knees.  I clear my head.

    Then I get up at 5 am and do it all over again.   

    Daytripping from Madison

    28 Jan

    Come with me on a daytrip to New Glarus, Wisconsin!  

    We moved to Madison, Wisconsin in May of 2017 from Dallas, Texas and I have to say I love living in Wisconsin.  I loved Dallas too and one isn’t better than the other – just very different.

    First, we found a great place to live.  I think ROF and I say daily to each other “I LOVE OUR PLACE!”  It’s a condo inside a subdivision with rolling hills and while close to everything – still feel like we are in the country (a little!)  One of the best things about our place was our real estate agents – the Lessing Team!  Being a new build, it wasn’t the simplest of things to navigate and while I’m a believer in the “do-it-yourself on-line” mentality – buying this was not something we could have ever done it alone.  Better yet, Amy Lessing has become a great friend and certainly made the transition to Madison smooth.  In fact, ROF and I both use her hairdresser, have met a ton of new people via her summer party and favorite things party, use her recommended dog boarding and daycare place.

    You’re going to see a lot more blog posts on living in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin but today I want you to come with me to New Glarus. Not only is it the home of the famous SPOTTED COW brewery but it is America’s Little Switzerland and is modeled after Glarus, Switzerland (hence, NEW Glarus.) However, New Glarus is SO DECEIVING!

    Why do I say deceiving, you ask?  Because in and among the historic buildings which are over 150 years old, is some of the best food I’ve ever had.  Friends of ours actually just got back from Switzerland and said that actually, the food in New Glarus was BETTER.

    So did I tempt you enough to take a scenic drive to New Glarus? 

    Here’s where you should go:

    First, take the scenic route which looks like this:

    You must eat at Cow & Quince.  This is our favorite restaurant possibly in the entire Madison area.

    The food is amazing!  Full disclosure – we’ve only been there for breakfast.  To give you an example of their locally-sourced menu, check out my favorite breakfast sandwich:

    Breakfast Sammie* 

    Fox Heritage Farm bacon, sweet chili cream cheese, arugula, Edelweiss grass-fed Gouda, aioli, 1 egg, MSCo country sourdough bread, choice of side add pickled jalapeños $0.50

    but i’ve heard throught the grapevine that their savory french toast is not-to-be-missed:

    Savory French Toast*

    Thick cut MSCo brioche, gouda, apple-onion jam, Lacinato kale, Door County cherries, pork belly, sunny side duck egg, maple roasted garlic vinaigrette

    They also have fun pizza nights and guest chefs.  Cow & Quince also has plenty of options for my vegan friends.  Check out their menu here.

    Check out their website for a brief video and full menu!

    Another outstanding place to eat is at Glarner Stube.  

    This place is the shizzle.  I’m not joking.  Sunday nights is a special night with a Swiss flank steak specialty (can’t remember the name!) and there is typically ALWAYS a wait to get into this tiny restaurant with a big bar.  The service is so friendly and if you have to wait at the bar and sip on water (read: brandy old-fashioned sweet) and wait a bit, there are worse things you could be doing.

    the cheese fondue is to die for!  If you and your S.O. get just this – you’ll be good!  Typically, cheese fondue, to me, is kind of flat.  This has multi-dimensional flavors going on and is not super heavy like it will just re-form in your stomach.  The rest of the food here is fantastic.  Being from Dallas and a foodie – I found myself scratching my head several times in New Glarus thinking – I don’t think I’ve had better food!  PS.  The rosti potatoes are epic!  One order for a table of eight works!

    Plus look at how cute this darn town is:

    One more place to eat.  So yesterday, we took some friends of ours to Cow & Quince for breakfast and they were closed for a winter retreat!  Snap!  But lo and behold, we found another incredibly cute and delicious breakfast place: Fat Cat Coffee Works!

     

    this place was so cute!  In a little house with casual order at the counter, pick any place to sit was really quaint.  We sat at the beautiful oak bar and watched the cook make our breakfast.  I had a yummy fig, goat cheese, and bacon quiche.  My maple spice latte was delicious!  This is a great place for breakfast or lunch.

    On this unseasonably warm day, it was fun to walk across the street after breakfast to a 118 year old tavern called Puempel’s Tavern.  Complete with a bloody mary bar and big windows letting the sun stream in, it was a perfect place for us to play a friendly game of Euchre.  Which, I have to say, if you’re not into cards, you’re missing out!  There is nothing more fun to pass the time and indulge in some healthy competition than a good mid-morning game of Euchre.  We had so much fun!  And we even lost at cards.

    In addition to all this food, New Glarus has some adorable shops including a couple of fantastic specialty food stores like butcher and cheese stores.  The New Glarus Hotel boasts authentic Swiss food and polka dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  This.is.not.to.be.missed.  You’re not in Madison anymore!

    May I suggest you and your S.O., handful of girlfriends or even escape on your own on the beautiful drive to New Glarus, Wisconsin for fab food, great shopping and even a tour of the world-famous (or Wisconsin famous…) Spotted Cow brewery.  Have fun!

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