Thursday, July 28, 2011

Woodland Critter Christmas Etsy Finds

As you probably know, we're planning a Woodland Critter Christmas at our house this year. Of coure, I've been loving collecting ideas and little items involving squirrels, acorns, hedgehogs, mice, deer, and the like. Today I was searching on etsy, just for some inspiration. It's almost August, after all, and Christmas is right around the corner! Can't let the spirit die now!

A friend who is getting married this fall (with a woodland theme! A woodland theme, people! Why didn't anyone tell me that was an option when we got married?!) told me about some cute, rustic cupcake stands she had found on etsy. I wonder if these are the same ones? I think they're perfect for our WCC, but definitely not worth $39.99. Karl could make one of these in about four seconds. And then we could use it as firewood so we wouldn't have to store it. What do you say, honey?

I kept on searching around on etsy and found these bookends. Kind of cute, but a little too cartoony for me. Oh, and there's the $160 price tag...

And then I happened upon a real treasure. One that makes you think, "Surely this is a joke." But it isn't. Check out this acorn family tree wall sticker here. It even includes four squirrels! At just $89.99, every family needs at least one.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday Lineup

For the past three weeks, I've had the chance to see fantastic concerts every Thursday. Check out the lineup:

July 7: Kenny Chesney at Red Rocks
July 14: Arlo Guthrie
July 21: Gillian Welch

I'm still in post-concert haze from last night, listening to Gillian Welch on Pandora and itching to play my banjo.

Also sprinkled in during the last couple of weeks was a visit to a coffee shop where Karl and I went to see a little bluegrass band. Two of the musicians from our wedding were in the group, and it was really fun to see them.

I hope your summer includes some good live music! Soak it up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Boring Meetings: A Suvival Guide

The strategic planning session. The all-day workshop. The never-ending meeting. The seminar. We've all been there.

I'd like to share a method I use to get through those situations while keeping my brain alive. I like to call it "Alphabet Roundup." But you can call it whatever you like; maybe you should brainstorm names during your next long meeting. You can write them down while pretending to take important notes.

Playing Alphabet Roundup is really simple. All you need is a basic knowledge of the alphabet. Start the game by listening for the speaker to say a word that begins with the letter a. After you've heard one, start listening for a word that begins with b. And so on and so forth, all through the alphabet. When you've finished with the letter z, you get to check the clock. That's your prize.

If you've got limited time, consider adapting Alphabet Roundup (also consider yourself very lucky). You might make certain letters "wildcards," which can be found any time, not just in their sequential places in the alphabet. For example, if you decide that v is a wildcard, and you hear the word "voracious," go ahead and count it even if you're really only through h. I like to make a little box on my agenda with my wildcard letters, so I can cross them off as I hear them.

Of course, there are many other adaptations that can be made to Alphabet Roundup; why not listen for words that end with each letter? Why not start with a list of all 26 letters and cross each one off as you hear it, regardless of the order (that goes really fast, and I only recommend it in a big group because it's pretty obvious)? The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Curry Chicken Salad

It's hot here. I feel like I'm wilting every time I go outside. Karl and I have our little window air
conditioner going full blast, and it's still hot in the house. The last thing I'm about to do is cook.

Here's one of my new favorite recipes, Curry Chicken Salad. I got this recipe for a wedding shower (almost three years ago!), and I just tried it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Remind me to try more of those wedding-shower recipes; what if they're all this good?!

Curry Chicken Salad (serves 2)

1/2 cup chopped chicken breast (get a rotisserie chicken or talk your husband in to grilling on the weekend so you have chicken for this salad during the week)
1/2 cup red grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup chopped apple
1 T dried currants
3 T mayo or mayo-ish product
1 T honey
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
1 T chopped almonds or walnuts

Combine the first four ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix mayo and the next five ingredients to create a dressing. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and mix well. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill and serve in pita bread or a wrap. Yum!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Maxwell Street Finds

Last weekend, I ventured downtown to the annual Maxwell Street Days sale. It's always crazy and packed, but I still usually manage to find some good bargains.

I've been hoping for a while to replace my worn-out Keens. This picture doesn't make them look that bad, but believe me, they've got to go.

I was so thrilled to find not one, but two replacement pairs! One for summer...

And one for whenever... (I love these. I almost bought them full price a few months ago!)

My other great score of the day was this sweet tote bag for fifty cents! Can you believe it?

I also brought home two huge bags of art supplies for work and a couple of things from Urban Outfitters, which I have already worn. Hooray for bargains!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Arlo Guthrie in Concert!

Last night, my mom and Karl and I went to see Arlo Guthrie at the Barrymore Theater right here in Madison. It was so so so so good! Here we are before the show... I wasn't going to post this picture because when I looked at it, the first thing I said was, "I have got to start wearing makeup." But if you read my blog then I'm sure you know me in person and you've seen me looking much worse. So here ya go:

Karl is so photogenic. And he was wearing makeup. No, not really.

I took about 20 blurry photos of Arlo. This is the best of them. Totally doesn't do him justice. And we weren't even far back in the theater; we had awesome seats. So just believe me when I say that he sounded fantastic, looked great, and totally engaged the crowd. And his wife was sitting two rows ahead of us.

An added bonus was going out for Thai food beforehand. The leftovers were my lunch! Lucky me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weekend in Denver

Last weekend, I went to Denver to see my friend Caitrin. We met in 1995 on a college orientation canoe trip. Here we are, fresh off the St. Croix river and ready to start our freshman year:

Last weekend, we went to see Kenny Chesney at Red Rocks. It rained the entire time. I was hoping for some serious country music people watching, but everyone was wearing ponchos and raincoats. Well, except for a few die-hards in cutoffs and tight tank tops. Caitrin made a clutch out of two trash bags to carry her phone in. Her phone is now not working. Note: do not rely on clutches made of trash bags to keep your phone dry in the pouring rain at an outdoor concert. But she did manage to get this picture:

Sweet, huh? The next day we drove around in the mountains and saw a marmot. It was super windy and cold. Caitrin's daughter, Macie, would have been just as happy to stay in the car the whole time! She was a good sport, though, and smiled for the pictures.

Like mother, like daughter... world's skinniest legs.

On Saturday, Macie had an Irish dance competition. She had a gorgeous new dress to wear. You would not believe all of the accessories and details that go in to getting ready. The hair was a huge undertaking, to say the least. But doesn't she look great?

Here she is, glueing her socks on like a good Irish dancer:

Seriously! What a heartbreaker. And it seems like she was just a teeny little baby sitting inside a pumpkin last week. How is she nine years old?!

Thanks to Caitrin's parents, we had this nice SportBrella to sit under:

Caitrin's aunt and I had a good time picking out the most hideous dresses. This one was a front-runner:

Macie in action! She was so great! She even got first place in one of her dances.

It started to rain just as the competition ended, so we scurried off for Mexican food and margaritas.

I have determined that I do not see my friends often enough. So you can all expect visits soon! xo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


My friend Laura recently got back from a trip to Europe. Yes, that is the same Laura who accompanied me to Greece earlier this spring. She's a jet-setter.

Before she left, she borrowed my travel purse. When she brought it back (she even delivered it in person to the library; I was so excited to see her!), it was full of goodies. Three chocolate bars (not pictured below for obvious reasons), a crocheted dishcloth, and a BSC postcard. So fun! And the dishcloth is totally, 100 percent perfect. Would you believe that she just learned how to crochet, during her trip? What a natural.

Welcome back, Laura! And thank you for the very thoughtful gifts!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th!

With my older brother in 1979, ready to march in the parade!

With my grandma, looking forward to sneaking into the kitchen later and digging in to that fluffy white frosting by myself (it was Independence Day, after all... might as well show some independence!). My mom still has the plastic marching band figurines on top of the cake. They're family favorites!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Let Me Count the Ways

My husband is the cutest. Here's proof: