Fabulous Friday 9/30/11

It's Fabulous Friday!  Here's what I am finding fabulous this week:

1. Fall Color - Seriously, have you looked outside lately?  It is amazing!  I hear it's even better up north.  Wish I was able to run off for a getaway this weekend to check it out.  We do have our family golf tournament tomorrow though and I imagine that the colors at the golf course will be awesome.

2. Weddings - I am off early today for a friend's wedding!  Weddings are such wonderful happy events.  And it makes me happy to see my friends finding happiness and someone to spend their lives with!  Side note - I always wanted a fall wedding but the timing just didn't work out right, so I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of her glorious fall day for a wedding, but I will live vicariously!

3. Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts - Yes I am a 10 year old girl.  But seriously, a friend of mine blogged about these last year and I didn't get to try them in time since they were limited edition.  I did get to try the Gingerbread ones last year and I loved those, so when I saw the Pumpkin Pie ones at the store yesterday, I had to grab them and check them out.  And guess what?  They are tasty!!  I love them!  Healthy?  Probably not but it's a special treat, so it's all good.

4. Found money - so it was only a dollar bill, but I was putting on my jeans this morning and noticed something in the pocket.  I figured I had just washed my grocery list again as I'm known to do.  Nope, it was a dollar bill! Every little bit helps sometimes.

5. Bubble baths - I mentioned that the other night I took an amazing bubble bath.  I love that it's getting cooler out and I can enjoy bubble baths again.  I don't do it every day, but once a week or so it's a nice treat through the fall and winter!

There you have it!  What are you finding fabulous today?  Happy weekend!


Slow Me Down

Rushing and racing and running in circles
Moving so fast I'm forgetting my purpose
Blur of the traffic is sending me spinning, getting nowhere

Do you ever hear a song for the first time that just totally speaks to you?  That even feels somewhat autobiographical?  I am constantly amazed by the power of music.  I was listening to Pandora.com yesterday - internet radio type website if you're not familiar - and this song came on by Emmy Rossum, who is actually an actress and stars in one of our favorite shows, Shameless.  She also played Christine in Phantom of the Opera and has an amazing voice and apparently released an album in 2007 - with this song that spoke to me yesterday called "Slow Me Down."

Seriously - I'm listening to this while I'm working and I'm like - holy cow is she singing this song right to me??

My head and my heart are colliding, chaotic
Pace of the world, I just wish I could stop it
Try to appear like I've got it together, I'm falling apart

I've been talking quite a bit lately about how we've been in this season of craziness.  Nate's job situation is tough right now.  It's stressful and sometimes it's just day to day on how things are going to be.  And of course, we are beyond thankful that he HAS a job because it was just five years ago about this time of year that the rug was pulled out when he lost a job.  So we know it could be worse.  That doesn't mean that the stress of the current situation is any easier though.  Add to that the fact that many days and weekends we are quite busy with a number of other things and some days it's hard to even see past tomorrow.

Save me, take my hand and lead me
Slow me down

Much of this is sort of out of our control, but we decided to work on some of the things we can control and make easier.  One of them is with our walking and running program.  I mentioned earlier this week that it's on hold.  Part of the problem is how darned early we have to get up in order to do it.  And when Nate's stressed he already has enough trouble sleeping, but the thought of having to get up early enough was just adding to some of that anxiety.  So we said, ok, let's step back here and just go back to getting up a little later again and if we can walk in the evenings we will.  BIG HUGE improvement.  You have no idea.  It is important to me that he gets exercise but it's more important to me right now that he's sleeping well.  For now, it's ok.  I don't have to get up nearly as early to just use the elliptical for my own exercise purposes in the meantime.  And I believe we'll get back to the running someday, especially knowing that we can do it.

All that I've missed I see in the reflection
Passed me while I wasn't paying attention
Tired of rushing and racing and running, I'm falling apart

As for other changes, I've come to realize that while I say I work hard at living in the moment and going one day at a time, I let my mind wander and look ahead too much.  And while planning ahead and keeping the future in mind is a good thing, there comes a point where it can consume you and make it so you aren't appreciating the present.  I've been pretty guilty of that for a little bit now and I think the whole summer passed me in a blur because of it.  I just need to relax and be present in the now.  Everything else will come in good time.

Slow me down, don't let me live a lie
Before my life flies by
I need you to slow me down

And finally as you saw on my weekend recap post, Nate and I are working at focusing time on each other again, taking more time out for fun things and little "escapes" if you will.  We're looking into maybe a short weekend getaway yet this fall if we can work it out.  Just making the time for each other.  And I'm taking more time for myself too.  Last night I treated myself to a super awesome bubble bath and really made myself relax and unwind and guess what?  I slept amazing after that.  While I was chilling in the bubbles I reflected on just how truly blessed we are and the wonderful things we do have in our life.  I thought about how glorious the weather has been this fall and how lovely the colors already are and I just felt totally at peace.

Just need to breathe
Somebody please slow me down

I'm slowing me down.  And I feel really good.

Italicized words are lyrics from Slow Me Down, written and performed by Emmy Rossum.  You can listen to it here.


One moment at a time

As I've been mentioning here occasionally, we've been in a season of craziness in our house.  And I don't know how to say it without it seeming negative because it isn't - but Nate and I really needed some time to focus on each other and spend some time just the two of us for a bit.  So again, this is no offense to any of our friends, family or fellow Praise Project members, but I am so glad he and I finally had some much needed couple time this weekend.  And I hope that we can continue to make sure we're fitting that in because while all those other things are certainly very important to us too, we have a tendency to get into a pattern where we are neglecting each other and that's not good or healthy either.  Again it's all about balance and we're working on a better balance.  Looking ahead to this week - well it's not quite balanced right but it should be the last week like that for awhile fortunately.

So anyway, back to our couple time this weekend, you may ask, what did we do with our time together?  On Saturday we had dinner out at a restaurant we haven't been in a very long time, Clauddaugh in Maple Grove.  It was wonderful, we both really enjoyed our meals and it was quite relaxing.  We went home and played some backgammon and then watched some TV shows.

Sunday we slept in - wow did that feel good!  Nate made us some wonderful breakfast and we took our time eating and enjoying each other's company.  Then we decided to head off to the Como Zoo.  We haven't been there for awhile and it's always had a special place in my heart because that is where we got engaged.  I was worried when we first got to the Como Park area because the parking lots were full and there was some walk going on, but then we found out that they have free shuttle service on the weekends from the Saints baseball stadium.  Hardly anyone was using that service either so we were able to park with no problem and take a little ride on a bus back up to the zoo.

Some highlights from our zoo visit:

Baby Orangutan and it's mother

Under the "date" tree in the Conservatory

The Japanese Garden - so peaceful and serene

Me in the Japanese Garden

I'm so glad we took some time to spend out there.  We got to see the visiting Brown Bears from the Minot, North Dakota zoo as well, they weren't terribly photogenic however.

After our zoo trip we went home to veg for a bit before heading over to my in-laws for dinner, we had yummy ribs and potatoes with them.  Went back home and Nate was a nice guy and helped me move our Elliptical machine up into the spare bedroom.  Right now our running/walking program is kind of on hold, so I need a form of exercise and was tired of working out in the dungeon that is my laundry room, so we're going to try it upstairs for awhile.  We will see how it goes, it is taking up more room that I'd like, but it was nice this morning when I was using it, so hopefully it'll last.

And now we're into a crazy week, but I'm choosing to go one moment at a time and I think we'll get through it all!


Fabulous Friday 9/23/11

Whew, we've made it to Friday again.  It's been a week at times.  Honestly, I'm just in a season of craziness, but I'm working on some changes and re-focusing on what's important and things are starting to improve.  In the midst of it all though, I still have some Fabulous things for the week!

1. Returning shows - as I touched on in my post here, many of our favorite shows started returning this week and it's been nice to have some mindless ways to relax and unwind once again!

2. A new bag - yeah, I have a problem, I can admit it.  But up in Pequot Lakes last week I found out that Fun Sisters has an OUTLET store up there.  They call it "Thrifty Sisters" and prices are wayyyy low on stuff.  I have been wanting a dark green bag, because one of my winter coats has a dark green in the pattern (and I wear a dark green hat and scarf with it as well) and I found one!  And it was a great price.  And yes I'm using it now even if it isn't winter yet.  You know me, I'll be back to a different bag in a couple of days.

3. Brewed Beer - we got the last beer we needed to brew before Oktoberfest done on Monday night.  It's so nice to have that finished, now we get the batches kegged up and focus on other things to get ready for the party.

4. FALL! - it is officially Fall today, it is my favorite season as I've mentioned many a time before!  I have been loving the weather as of late too, especially sleeping with the window open on these cool nights and snuggling down under the covers.  Love. It.  I know they say we'll have "Indian Summer" next week and that's fine as long as the 90's don't come back, I can handle it!

And I am also finding it Fabulous that it is Friday, but that kind of goes without saying. :)

Happy Friday, Happy Autumn and Happy Weekend!


What do we watch 2011

So, I need a fun, mindless post after my "heavier" one yesterday in the Just Write activity.

And what is more mindless than TV???

Yes it is that time of year again when the shows return with new episodes and brand new series also make their debut.  And while we have a long, long list of shows we already watch or are in process of catching up on via Netflix (Qwikflix?  Whatever it's called now) - we've already found a new show or two we'd like to try out this year.

SO, here's my annual, what do we watch list?  I'll try and break it down via night of the week, even though we rarely watch these shows as they air.

Sunday - Breaking Bad (AMC, though there are only three episodes left of this one), Hung (HBO)

Monday - How I Met Your Mother(CBS), Two Broke Girls (CBS - trying it out anyway) House (Fox), Bored to Death (HBO)

Tuesday - Glee (Fox), Parenthood (NBC), New Girl (Fox)

Wednesday - Up All Night (NBC), Psych (USA), Happy Endings (ABC)

Thursday - Community (NBC), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)

Friday - Chuck (NBC)

And then we've been making our way through Mad Men (AMC), Covert Affairs (USA), Dexter (Showtime) and we're going to start Boardwalk Empire (HBO) as well.  We enjoy a couple of shows that come on in the winter on Showtime - Shameless and Californication.

Yeah, you'd think all we do is sit in front of the TV based on this list, but I swear we don't.  Especially when I look at my calendar for the next couple of weeks....ugg.

We squeeze the shows in as we have time, the perk of not watching them live is we skip commercials.  1/2 hour shows become 20 minutes and hour long shows become about 45 minutes.  No joke.

So - what do you watch?


Just Write - Hats

This is a new exercise I'm trying out this week called "Just Write".  On Tuesdays, bloggers are encouraged to "free write" a post without much explanation or editing. In other words, we should "just write".  This is sponsored by Heather of the Extraordinary-Ordinary.  Go here for more information and to read other "Just Write" posts. 

I wear many hats.

I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a "sister". I am a friend. I am a singer. I am an administrative assistant. I'm a "parent" to two furry four legged type children.

I love wearing those hats.  But sometimes, especially when I try to pile them all on at once, I get off balance.  And I will admit to being off balance right now.

Fall is my favorite time of year, but historically it gets full of stuff.  I think because I love this time of year so much, I try to cram a lot of things in at once.  While wearing all of my hats.

So I'm stumbling a little right now as I balance these hats.  And clearly, some of these hats are probably a little more important than the others and should be the ones I'm wearing the most, but some days it's hard to pick and choose.  But I don't want any of the hats to break down, wear out, or fall apart.

I need to re-organize a bit.  Pull them all off.  Set them aside and make sure I'm still underneath them all.   Underneath them should be a person.  And I certainly don't want to lose site of her.

Then I can pull my hats back on.  Without them my head would most certainly be cold, so I cannot get rid of them, I would not want to.  But I can work on balancing them better.  Then I will not fall down.



Well, we learned a good lesson in homebrewing on Thursday night.  A nylon sock does not make a good substitute for an actual grain sock.

Long story short - everything should be included in the beer kit you purchase, including the "grain sock" which is what you put the grains in to then steep in your boiling hot water (think of it like a giant tea bag).  And when we opened our kit on Thursday night, everything was there but the grain sock.  We could have gone to get one, but that would have majorly delayed things and so Nate being a quick thinker said "hey, maybe we could use one of your nylons as long as we clean it and such, it should work about the same."  And it seemed like it would at first - until after the 1/2 hour of steeping it started to smell of burned plastic.  Bye bye brew.

So you're probably wondering, what do you do now, you wasted the grains, can you still brew it?  The short answer is yes.  We were able to go back and just purchase the grains that were in the kit (and a grain sock!)

We ended up running to the homebrew store to pick up those items before we left town on Friday.  Now it's a matter of finding time to brew it again.  We were going to do it yesterday when we got home, and we were home in plenty of time, but the weather was not cooperating.  So now it might be happening tonight.  We'll see how things go.  Sure would like to have this beer on tap for our party, but if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out.

So there's your beer lesson for the day.


Fabulous Friday 9/16

Hello friends.  Your regularly scheduled Fabulous Friday post has been cancelled for the week because your author is likely sitting by a bonfire or in a hot tub right now drinking a beer or a glass of wine and enjoying a little "away from it all" time up in the North country.

Fabulous Friday will return next week.

Have a great weekend.


You know that feeling...

...that you get when you are going on a little trip, even when it is just a couple of days worth and you have a list a mile long of things to do including packing, cleaning up your house a bit for the person caring for your cats, running errands, making corn bread to take with you to eat with your dad's chili, and brewing up a batch of beer because if you don't by tonight it won't be ready for the Oktoberfest party you're having in a few weeks and you want to have a packed bar so you really need to do it?

Yep.  That.

(P.S. I decided to take the afternoon off.)


A good weekend

Now that I'm done remembering 9/11 I'm back to your regularly schedule ramblin' gal!

And today I thought I'd ramble a bit about the weekend.  We had a good weekend full of good things!  It was a bit warmer out at times than I like, but otherwise I really enjoyed the things we did.

Saturday I indulged myself a little bit in having my own Stella and Dot party.  I will be able to get a few pretty new things that will help me totally rock 30 in a couple of months. I made a couple of new appetizers that turned out really well too and that was awesome!

Saturday night found me stepping out of my shell just a little - I went to a women's homebrewing group.  Yep.  I thought I'd give it a try.  Long story short, there's another women's beer group I found on Facebook that just got started here in the Twin Cities called Barley's Angels.  It's a group that meets monthly at various bars to do beer tastings and educate women on beer - and help them foster an appreciation for it.  I've been meaning to go to one of their meetings, but I just haven't had the time yet when they've had them, but I still "liked" their Facebook page so I could keep up just in case.  Another woman who is in that group then contacted me when she noticed that we homebrew - she has a group called Bitches Brew Crew and they brew beer monthly at her house in New Brighton - not far from us at all.  I decided to give it a try, figuring it was close to home if I hated it but otherwise, would be interesting to see what other homebrewers do.  It ended up being pretty neat - about three other women came, and the option is there to purchase a share of what is brewed, so it's divided up by about four of us.  We brewed a Pumpkin Ale and I'm excited to give it a try when it's done.  I don't know how many of their events I'll be able to make it to with our busy schedule, but I'm kind of proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying this out.  Nate's excited too because the woman in charge of this group does all grain brewing with her husband and we might get to learn about that sometime (we currently do what is called "Extract brewing").  I was home early enough to still unwind with Nate for a bit on Saturday night too, so you can't beat that!

Sunday we slept in and that felt really good.  Then we got up and tried the brunch at our favorite restaurant Brasa in NE Minneapolis.  I had a feeling we'd end up loving it as we have everything else we have tried there and I was correct.  It was amazing.  I had french toast, Nate had a ham and egg hash and we shared these prawn cheese grits.  Yummmm.....

Then we went home and both just vegged for awhile - I honestly don't know the last time we were able to just do that on a Sunday afternoon.  Nate played video games while I took a nap!  I loved that!  Ha!  Then we decided to be crazy and take our afternoon walk by going up to Cub to pick up things for dinner - man was it HOT.  We kind of regretted that decision later, but hey, we got our exercise for the day, that's for sure!  Then my in-laws came over and enjoyed chili dogs with us and then we wrapped up the weekend with a couple of TV shows.

Now we're on to a short week, we're cabin bound at the end of this week which I am looking forward to!  Gonna be chilly up north and that's just how I like it!


This too shall pass

So I've shared my thoughts on the day before 9/11 and the day of 9/11.  And now I'll wrap things up by touching on the days and weeks that followed.

In classes at school we continued talking about not just the actual day, but the politics and actions taken by the government in the days following.  It was probably a good month before it wasn't a hot button topic in classes.  I was relieved when we kind of stopped discussing it.  I was happy to get back to math equations and in depth music history subjects.

I remember the first Friday after the attack, Nate and I were tired of watching the constant coverage on TV and just needed to do something normal, so we went to a movie.  The movie we chose was Rat Race (a remake of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World).  There were maybe two other people in this particular theatre with us and the entire theatre overall seemed pretty deserted.  Rat Race is a comedy - and it's a good comedy. If you've never seen it you should, but that's besides the point.  We ended up laughing so much.  At first it was like, should we be laughing right now?  Is this ok?  But you can't NOT laugh at that movie.  And we both felt a little better when we left the theatre that night.

Psychologically speaking, I was a little freaked out for awhile.  For the first few weeks after the attack I had this desire to be plugged in all the time so to speak to the media - so I wouldn't let myself listen to a CD in the car on the way to school.  Granted I didn't necessarily choose a talk station, but I felt connected even if I just had a music channel on the radio.  I would also get snaky if I missed the evening news.  If something was going to happen again, I wanted to know right away.

Gradually, that all got better - especially after the television stations started airing normal programming again.  And each passing day, week, month and finally year got better and better.  I heeded the words the President said, that we shouldn't let them win by living in fear.  I still moved to campus the year after the attacks - it was comforting staying at home with my parents in such uncertain times, but I had wanted to make that move for a long time and I still went ahead and did it and I am so glad I did.

And now today, 10 years later, I do have lasting memories of that time, I do sometimes feel like it was yesterday, but for the most part, life has gone on and I don't dwell on it.  And I believe good can come out of evil.  I believed it then and I still believe it now.

Most years I only pause for a moment or two to remember and honor those lost and the heroes who saved lives.  But seeing as it was a major anniversary this year, I wanted to share my thoughts a little more in depth.  I have enjoyed reading other friends posts on this subject as well.  May we all never forget.

Dona Nobis Pacem.


Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I awoke on a clear day with a clear head - in fact, it was the clearest my head had felt in months.  I had just made a major path change in my life, changing my college major and I felt like it was the first day of the rest of my life.

I still lived at my parents house. I came downstairs and showered, ate breakfast and still had some time to kill before I needed to get over to campus.  I was sitting at the bottom of the stairs and my mom said "so do you just feel like a giant weight has been lifted off of you?" referring to the big decision I had reached and discussed with her and my dad the night before.  I told her I did and it felt really good.  I then said that I had some time to kill and knew that Cosby Show reruns were on one of the local channels, so I thought I'd watch one.  I wasn't prepared for what I'd see when I turned on the TV.  If I had known that I was about to truly become an adult in the next five minutes, I might have held off a little longer.

Every single channel was covering this disaster in New York.  At first it seemed like just a horrible accident.  And then the second plane hit.  And then they were talking to a spokesman at the Pentagon and he said "I don't want to alarm anyone, but the building here just shook."  I couldn't take anymore and decided to go to school.  My mom hugged me and said she loved me as if it was the last time she'd ever see me.  And I don't blame her. The dialogue replaying over and over in my head at that moment was "This is scary shit."

On the radio as I was driving, they had people calling in saying they knew someone in New York or Washington and the DJs were just scrambling to keep up with coverage.  One of them at one point said something that scared me even more "What if this is all just some distraction before something bigger happens?"  Bigger?  Like nuclear bombs?  Not much else could have been bigger than this.

Somehow I parked my car and stumbled to campus.  I was going to get a signature from my new adviser for a couple of classes of hers I was transferring into.  A friend of mine was working in the music library where I had to pass through to get to the communications department.  She said hi and was smiling and happy - I realized she still didn't know that the world around us was crumbling.  And for some reason, I didn't want to be the one to tell her.  Let her enjoy her last free moments of happy innocence.  She'd know soon enough.

I got my needed signatures and the middle part of the day is a blur.  Each of my professors gave us the option to have real class or to just sit and talk - and in most classes we sat and talked.  We talked about what we knew, we talked about our fears.  My campus was close to the airport and when the planes were grounded, it got eerily quiet.

My last class of the day was women's choir and we decided to still hold a true rehearsal, which at that point in the day was a welcome break.  We ended by singing "Dona Nobis Pacem" which translates to "Grant us Peace."  We gave each other hugs.

I drove home and got a phone call from Stef - the president of our sorority wanted our first job as Sisters Chairs to be calling each of the sisters and making sure they were ok.  We both agreed that neither one of us wanted to spend the entire night on the phone, so perhaps a mass email would be better, letting them know they could call either of us at any time if they needed to talk.

While waiting for my mom to cook dinner, I watched some more coverage on TV.  All of the members of Congress stood on the steps of the Capital building and sang "God Bless America."  That is an image I haven't ever been able to forget.  My dad came home and started saying things like "well we're probably going oversees and bombing the hell out of some middle Eastern country."  He wasn't trying to be crass, everyone was dealing with the day's events in their own way.

I had a faith formation committee meeting at church and I didn't want to go, in fact, I assumed it would be cancelled, but I was wrong.  I decided to give it a try, figuring maybe it would be short or something.  I ended up leaving after an hour, aside from a quick prayer at the beginning, everyone was ignoring the fact that something significant had happened in our country that day.

I headed home and it was a good thing I did.  Nate called shortly after I was home saying he was leaving his evening job early, he just couldn't take anymore, and could he come over for a bit?  I said of course and he was there within 15 minutes.  We continued watching the coverage on TV and he was unusually subdued.  I always looked to him for comfort but in this situation, even he was freaked out.  He told me he was scared about if the country went to war, he had friends who would definitely have to go and what if they re-instated the draft?  I became angry and upset and for the first time that day, which is surprising really, broke down into tears.  I even uttered the words "where is God in all of this?" because, well, it was sure hard to find Him at that moment.  Nate calmed me down and reminded me that God was taking care of the victims and their families.  And that helped even though I wondered how anything would ever be "ok" ever again.We reluctantly parted for the night and I headed to bed where I lay awake a long time.

Ten years later and I am amazed at all the details I remember about that day. And I know I won't ever forget.

One more recap post coming tomorrow about the days after 9/11 and moving on


The End of Innocence

On September 10th, 2001, I awoke with butterflies in my stomach.  I knew I had to make a change in my life.

On September 10th, 2001, I was still considering myself a "music major" but after one week of classes in my 2nd year at college I knew that was going to have to change and change fast.

On September 10th, 2001, I drove to campus and made an appointment with an academic adviser.  I hadn't talked to my parents yet, but I knew I would have to after the actions I was taking were set in motion.

On September 10th, 2001, I had an entire new schedule planned and left school knowing the next day I would return and get the signatures necessary from professors allowing myself to be transferred into their classes - becoming a Communications Major.

On September 10th, 2001, I worked a shift at my library gig, loving that I could work my schedule around various activities I had in the evenings.

On September 10th, 2001, I drove back to campus to go to the first sorority meeting of the year.

On September 10th, 2001, my good friend Stef and I were elected as Sisters Chair/Inner Sorority Advisers to our sorority - something we had been wanting very badly since the year before.

On September 10th, 2001, I drove home in the dark, nervously and hoping my parents were still up so I could talk to them about my proposed change in major.

On September 10th, 2001, my parents and I sat down and had one of the most adult and level-headed conversations I think we ever had while I was growing up.  I talked, they listened.  They questioned, I answered.  We came to a happy agreement that I was making the right decision even if I was losing my music scholarship.  They were still proud of me.

On September 10th, 2001, I went to bed feeling a huge weight lifted from my shoulders and feeling relieved and excited about college again.  I felt nothing else could go wrong or stand in my way.

On September 11th, 2001, I woke up and turned on the TV.  And from that moment on, while I would still remember them, the events of September 10th, 2001 became the most insignificant and piddly things ever.

More musings on the 9/11 anniversary coming tomorrow


Fabulous Friday - 9/9/11

Greetings!  We have made it to Friday again!  Hallelujah!  For a short week, this sure felt like a long one at times.  I'm looking forward to the weekend!

So being that it is Friday, it's time for another one of my editions of Fabulous Friday!  Here is what I'm finding fabulous this week:

1. Nate's chili - he made it for the first time ever yesterday and it was absolutely fantastic!  I'm so glad it's the time of year where we can start to enjoy more warm meals like that!

2. Beautiful weather - man, these last few days have been gorgeous and I hear it's extending into the weekend as well.  I know we probably need some rain, but I've been liking the dry weather!  I hear we're going to have some of the most brilliant fall color this year too, the most we've had in the last ten years maybe?  That would be awesome!

3. B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful Shower Gel - from the fabulous folks at LUSH, this is a "honey" based shower gel, which they do have several others that are honey based, this one mellows into a lovely warm scent on my skin and actually sticks with me.  I really am glad I ordered a limited edition bottle of it!

4. Thrift store deals - two thrift stores near me discount items on major holiday like Labor Day - 50% discount that is, so while you're already getting a good deal because you're at a thrift store, it's doubly good on sale days!  I found a shirt on my shopping trip on Monday that still had the tags on!  Wow!

Ok, I didn't get to five today, but at least I had some!  I hope everyone has a great weekend.  On a slightly more serious note, over the next couple of days I have some posts I've written reflecting on the ten year anniversary of 9/11.  The world we live in was forever changed that day and I know I'll never forget it, but felt compelled to write some things about my thoughts during that time - so look for my reflections starting tomorrow.  I don't plan to dwell on it over the weekend, but I will be thinking and remembering just a bit.


Sleepytime blues

Sleep has been a challenge in our house lately.  If Nate's sleeping poorly, then I'm sleeping well.  If Nate is sleeping well, I'm sleeping poorly.  We're just not in sync right now.

For him, it's kind of stress related since he has been very busy at work.  For me it's likely hormonal (sorry male readers, I'm a girl, deal with it) but also, even if it's chilly outside, we don't always get a breeze blowing that nice cool air in the house, so sometimes I get overly warm at night even when the windows are open.

So, this has kind of been affecting our getting up and walking/running and we decided that maybe we should set two alarms - one for getting up to exercise if we're up to it, but another "backup" just in case one of us was not sleeping well.  Last night was the first night we put this into practice.

And last night was one of the nights that Nate was sleeping pretty well, but I got very warm, so I know I was awake for a little bit. I had just fallen asleep again pretty well when my alarm went off.  And my alarm is the backup alarm.  We both sat up in panic because that meant Nate's alarm either never went off or we slept through it.  And then Nate looked at his clock...it was only 5:15.  Not 6:15.  But my clock said 6:15....

Yep, when I set my alarm last night, I must have bumped the actual clock.  And set it an hour ahead.  Oops.

Where's my coffee again?



Anyone else ever notice that three day weekends go by faster than we would like them to?  Man alive.  It was a good one though.  I'm still smiling.  There was wine, beer brewing, ice cream, thrift shopping, barbeques...just a good weekend overall.

Looking ahead to September and October makes me smile even more.  Historically, these two months end up jammed packed with stuff for us and I don't think this year will be any exception, but for the most part, it is all stuff I am really looking forward to.  Jewelry party, a cabin weekend, a friend's wedding, family golf tournament, and this little thing at our house called "Oktoberfest"...it's going to be a wonderful stretch of good things.

So, as you can see I'm starting my week on a positive note and I'm hoping to make it last.  Spreading happy vibes to all!


Fabulous Friday - 9/2/11

It's Friday my friends!  And while I had a bit of a tough start to my morning today and coffee is appreciated on a new level, I am still celebrating Fabulous Friday! The weekend is almost here, so let's start it on a positive note!  Here is what I am finding Fabulous this week:

1. Iced Lattes - it's coffee, it's cold and wet and well, it's just what I needed today.  And my beloved Caribou makes a good one.  I never really appreciated them until this year, but when it got so hot, I found that I really like them a lot.  Just as much as I do when they are warm.

2. Summit Silver Anniversary Ale - I promise there won't be something alcohol related on this blog every week, seriously.  But this one is special. Summit is celebrating 25 years and made a special beer for it.  We had tried to find it at the State Fair because it was supposed to be on tap there, but we didn't find it.  On our way home from the Fair, we decided to stop by the liquor store by us that tends to have a lot of different kinds of beer.  They had a slot for the Silver Anniversary one, but it was sold out.  So we just said, oh well, maybe we'll get it at a restaurant sometime or something.  Then on Wednesday I was stopping at a different liquor store for a bag of ice (ice is super cheap at the liquor store) and decided, oh I'll just see if they have it even though this particular store doesn't have a great beer selection.  Low and behold, there it was.  We gave it a taste, it's not too bad.  Kind of a cross between Summit's EPA and their IPA.

3. Paris Amour - the newest scent from Bath and Body Works.  I hadn't been as in to Bath and Body as of late, but stopped in to check out this scent because it sounded like something that would appeal to me.  And it is really lovely.  I don't know how I would explain it, but it's a nice light girly kind of scent and it is pretty long lasting, I like that about it.

4. Partylite tealight sale - thanks to Miss Gina being a Partylite consultant, I can order stuff even when I don't want to have a party, and I had a gift certificate back from the party I had at the beginning of the year and Partylite had an online special where tealights were discounted.  I pretty much mostly burn tealights, so I took advantage and stocked up on all my favorite fall scents.  I love a good deal!

5. Three Day Weekends - Nate and I both really need this long weekend, I am really looking forward to it, you just can't go wrong with a long weekend.

And on that note, I bid you farewell for today!  Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend everyone!


See you in September

Well then. I don't know how it happened, but I blinked once and now August is gone. Finished. Finito. And along with it, summer is wrapping up and winding down.

It's no secret that Fall is my favorite season as anyone who's read my blog for the last couple of years will know. But this year it feels like it got here SO. FAST. I don't need to go back and repeat those unbearably hot days, but I'd take just a little more summer. More hours of daylight to sit outside with friends. One more chance to go swimming. Get ice cream.

Maybe the problem is there was no happy medium this year. It was cool and wet in the beginning and we were wondering if summer would ever get here and then suddenly we were launched into "omgitissohotiamgoingtomelt" type heat.

Or maybe it's that 2011 overall has felt like it has been on crazy fast forward. Though as of late it does feel like things are relaxing a bit more and calming down. Back to a "Taking each day as it comes" pace of life.

No, summer is not "officially" over today. There is still plenty of time for summer type activities. But it is definitely on the downward slope. Kids are going back to school. The State Fair is coming to a close this weekend. Labor Day is almost here. Stores are already stocking Halloween items.

I have no regrets about this summer - early on I made no real "list" and I'm glad, because I think I would have ended up disappointed if I had. Best things I did this summer? The Josh Groban concert with my mom and our St. Louis trip (even with it's ups and downs) were my favorite moments. Worst things that happened this summer? Water issues in the basement and dealing with the air conditioner breaking down. Getting an infected ear piercing and having to have it removed. Definitely not fun things for sure.

We've managed to keep on the running train, we hit 30 minutes earlier this summer and are working back to that point again as we work to improve our "speed". We grilled a TON, even with the hot weather. We ate outside when we could. And we've been brewing more beer again to be ready for Oktoberfest.

So really, I have no complaints, only that I wish some of the time hadn't flown by so fast. Looking ahead, I have fun plans for this Fall - so I really hope that we have great weather and that time slows down just a bit and we can enjoy it. There is potential for the next month or two to be some of the best times of the year so far!

Happy September!