Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Once upon a time in 2014...

Dearest 2014, 

 I used you this year as a year of soul searching. I started making small lifestyle changes, caved into giving things a second chance, and embraced the word spontaneity.. As a result, I discovered I do indeed have a love of Oreos, and realized yellow Gatorade really isn't as bad as I always made it out to be. I found that it is impossible to move your place with only one other person and keep your sanity at the same time. Impossible I tell you. Pendulum (Pen-duh-lum) is REALLY pronounced Pen-Juh-luh M. Gratitude goes a long way. Colorado is beautiful. I don't care  what anyone says, I am getting older and birthday's are STILL fun (attitude is a choice). Ziggy Marley is great in concert. Sometimes you just gotta "Shake it off." A decent sense of timeliness.   Ah wait, I haven't quite mastered that one yet. Thank goodness for 2015 resolutions, so there's still time.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Pics of Mother Nature- 2014

Here we are, bumping into a new year. Hello 2015, you are looking mighty fresh! But before we say sayonara to 2014 I must give you a recap of my favorite Mother Nature pictures in 2014. I captured these (mostly) with my camera phone. Hey. It actually takes some decent pictures. Most of the time. 

I love, love, love, the outdoors. You can always find me snapping shots of some random tree, serene lake, or breathtaking sunset. So why not put together a little list to get a feel for the weather Mother Nature presented us with in 2014. Weather experts (aka expert guessers) suggest this winter is supposed to be brutal. Like worse than last year stuff. So per usual we may need to roll with the punches. 

Speaking of cold, let's start where 2014 all began. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

the uninvited guest

I wanted to pop in quick this Holiday week and make an appearance. Christmas this year made my heart smile. I felt like I hit the jackpot seeing so many family and celebrating the real reason for the season, Jesus.  I went out to lunch with some gehlfrans yesterday and one friend in particular made a comment about how Christmas changes every year for a person. As I get older and look back on past Christmases I am amazed by how much my life has changed (even since last Christmas). One thing I am continuously learning more and more as I grow up and appreciating is health. How precious life is and how much we can take our own health and those around us for granted.

A group picture, of course.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Wishing you all a joyful and merry Christmas! 
Spent our Christmas Eve with Kyle's family and today we are headed to the Wisco border to celebrate with my side. Going to try and embrace all the little holiday nuggets throughout the day. First on the list is soaking up my holiday PJs and sipping on peppermint coffee. But more importantly, don't forget the reason for the season, Christ's birth.

Have a safe and cheerful day.

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Santa Claus is coming to town

Driving in my car on Sunday I overheard a radio announcer advertise, "Christmas. A time for your whole family to get together and sit on their phones." I couldn't help but chuckle for a moment and immediately put my index finger in the air trying to comeback with some smart reason why that really isn't the case... I found myself sticking my index finger up? Yes. Followed by a quick-witty remark? No. Truth, this man probably has a good point for a lot of folks. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Channeling your inner ugliness

Holy cow. I blinked my eyes and boom. It's Wednesday. Honestly, this week I haven't felt quite myself. I do good with a little r-word called routine. Like an episode of the Twilight Zone, this week has seemed anything but routine (with the exception of work because let's be real, I need to keep a job). Weekend was go, go, go. My sleep has been nuts and if there is one thing you could guess about me by now it is this girl luvs her sleep. One my top three favorite activities. Mmhmm. So I apologize as its been a few sunsets since I've posted but here are am. I've made it. 

Can you believe Christmas is next week?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

act your age.

 (A little throwback Thursday. We were obviously super cool.)
If you didn't know your actual age how old would you guess you are? Growing up is an interesting concept. When I was a kid it went something along the lines of, "when I grow up I want to do, be, see, fill in the blank." Nowadays I still find myself saying the same, when I grow up. ERR maybe it goes something like when I get old. Let's not argue about semantics here. Throughout the years I have of course matured physically, emotionally, and mentally (at times that's debatable). However, I find myself still giddy about things that made me excited as a kiddo. Does that make me weird? Perhaps. But it also excites me that I haven't gotten into the rut of "I'm too old" for things that I probably am not too old for (and, well, um, some, maybe I am too old for but that hasn't really stopped me).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

$20 and Under 2014 White Elephant Gift Guide

White elephant gift exchanges can be a mix between funny, practical, cute, or even delicious. When people ask if I want to join in on a white elephant gift exchange I usually have to feel out the crowd and decide what type of category I need to dabble in. This year I am doing one for work and decided to go with a more traditional and practical gift versus a wild and out there kind. But some of my favorite white elephant gifts are the ones that give lots of laughs and can still be of good use. This year I rounded up a few of my favorites for under twenty bucks.

Friday, December 5, 2014


It's December AND it's Friday folks! We can now kick up our heels and have a glass of eggnog! This time of year tends to get crazy busy and this week in particular was a blur. I am having trouble even thinking about what went on this week. Thank God for my fancy Galaxy phone pics because holy cow, a lot did happen. My body was present but my mind, oh that mind, was somewhere else. Ever get those bouts of insomnia episodes? That's been me as of late. Au contraire mon frere, I seem to have no trouble staying asleep and wanting sleep come sunrise. Why can't I get that early morning awakening insomnia where I am wide-eyed come 5AM. Think about how much I could accomplish!?!? Ugh! Anyways, mind shut up and go to sleep has become my motto at bedtimes.

Here is a recap of what happened in my world this week:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Giving back"-December's Challenge

Here we are into the second monthly challenge (crazy, that went quick). How did you do with the first one? I know I discovered many days where I had to be really intentional about fulfilling my daily spell of gratitude through words and actions. Interestingly enough, as I walked through this challenge I found other people to be more responsive towards me in a positive way. I noticed people smiling at me more or carrying friendly passerby conversations with me. I could have just been looking for it more (I may be a little biased), but it did make me wonder if the awareness and positive change of my energy (we will go with that term to wrap everything up) was somehow infectious on other people. I mean that was the point of the challenge! How we can create more positivity and lovingness towards others. So to explain my observations in my interactions with others I am just going to go with the latter.

Monday, December 1, 2014


(The sunset on Saturday)
This weekend gave me a mix of emotions. Thanksgiving is typically a time where joy and happiness exist alongside good food and time well spent with family and loved ones. This year, however, I found myself discovering news of an old friend's passing. This was a person I had met in high school and carried our friendship into college. Someone I saw quite often as he was roommates with my then boyfriend.

Upon hearing this news I literally felt my heart sink. It was as if someone took a cinder block and pushed it on my chest. Memories instantly flooded my mind and the thought of what this person's family and close friends were experiencing made my stomach turn. Such a young life lost.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Start-Up: Sew Jolly

Thanksgiving weekend might be the most anticipated shopping week throughout the whole year. So much hype is built around Black Friday shopping and what seems to also be eroding into Thanksgiving day. Only expanding the madness. Small Business Saturday on the other hand brings my favorite and most eager one of all. It's an opportunity to spread some love and show support for your local businesses. And I am all about spreading the love to those who have taken the risk to follow their passion of building a business.

I couldn't think of a better brand or better person to kick off Small Business Saturday and continue our Small Business Start-Up series than with the stylish doggy fashion line I am completely obsessed with, Sew Jolly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pumpkin Tort

Personally, pumpkin tastes good anytime of the year, but there is something so magical about Thanksgiving as it seems to take the cake when it comes to some pumpkin appreciation. It just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving without some sort of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin cheesecake to make it's appearance and put the cherry on top of a hearty meal.

Monday, November 24, 2014


In three days Thanksgiving will make its way into our homes and bellies. Lucky for me this past weekend I got to taste a pre-Thanksgiving celebration, also known as the more informal, Friendsgiving. This has become an annual event for some friends and I and has kept me patiently waiting on my toes for the last few weeks. It's double the celebrating which makes the holidays even more exciting. Any excuse to get together with friends, stuff our bellies, sip on old fashioned's, and potentially get a little rowdy is A-OK in my book.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Small Business Start-Up: Adorn Event Styling

Not going to lie people, I have been SO (!!!) excited to launch this new Small Business Start-up Series. This series will feature individuals who have taken the risk to follow their passion and start their own business. Learning the ins and outs of what they do, what they love, and how they did it. I have so much respect and give mad props to the people in the world who take the risk and run with it. Of course I had to jump on this idea since I look at these people as my inspirations! Nothing seems to stand in the way of a motivated mind. And I can't help but want to absorb their endless motivation and use it for my own good. Sounds selfish, but I'm just being real. Right? Who's with me!?! Hopefully this will add fuel to your fire, too!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Keeping Memories Alive, Literally.

Hard to believe my husband and I were taking a Saturday morning hike this weekend staring at this...

Friday, November 14, 2014

To do or not to do: Parental permission to wed your partner & the how-tos

Getting married is a big step and quite an investment in your future. Once an engagement is finalized there are countless hours and endless to-do lists dedicated to creating the magical day. We must also give credit where credit is the strategic planning, preparation, and behind the scene jitters of men and women who take the initiative to ask for someone's hand in marriage. I know when my husband and I got engaged I was blown away by his sweet and thoughtful proposal. It was so eloquently planned and matched us to a tee. Although, one of the first questions I found myself asking after he got down on one knee (yes, he did :)) and once I could contain my emotional state was "Did you talk to my Dad?" 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Winter Bucket List Unleashed

 (A little flashback Thursday: A friend and me in Germany back in 2010)

Over the course of the week I spent some time thinking about how to go about making my bucket list following last week's post and wondering what it should include. Naturally, I wanted a balance between things involving Christmas as it is one of my favorite holidays (along with the 4th of July) and, well, a way to cope with the rest of the long, long, winter. Let's be serious, the real deal comes after the holidays when I sit in my despair, so only preparing for Christmas wasn't really going to solve my deeper rooted issues. Ultimately I needed something that was going to be bullet proof. Some of the things I put on my bucket are no brainers, but it was still admittedly fun and exciting putting my ideas to fruition. (Lists really do make things more real). With that said, I'd like to share my 2014-2015 Winter Bucket List with the intention of rectifying my relationship with the spiteful cold. But first...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Do You. -Living up to your passion

Whelp. We meet again, Monday. The weekends appear to have the power of flying by quick, but I hope you were able to have an enjoyable one.  I soaked up my time catching up with some dear friends and studying. For whatever reason it does seem life has come to a little halt. Maybe it's the Fall hangover from Summer. A recovery period from all the weddings, festivals, birthdays, etc. It does seem to go 0 to 100 real quick! (A little Drake for your Monday morning pick me up!) ;)

Speaking of music, today's post is inspired by none other than a few simple lyrics combined with a catchy tune.

Friday, November 7, 2014

3 Hair Product Must Haves

There is something so freeing about the word 'Friday,' and I don't think its only because its the last day of the work week. You know if Friday were moved into Tuesday's place I think people would feel better about it. It's true! Something about the way it slips off your tongue... try it... "Frrrriiiiiddddaaayyyy." Now try it with Tuesday, "TUESSSSSday." See? It just doesn't have the same ring to it. But speaking of Friday, happy weekend lovelies! Have any fun plans for the weekend? Kyle's hunting Saturday and Sunday so I plan to soak up some lady-time wine and dine. Some gehlfrans and I also started a breakfast club a few months ago and intend on doing our monthly rendezvous at a little joint in downtown Milwaukee. Last month we ventured out to the Tosa village and hit up Cafe Hollander, but I'm not sure what our plans are for this month's excursion. It's fun testing out new spots in the Milwaukee area so if you have any suggestions I'm all ears. 

Today I'm kicking off the weekend with a little peek of my top three favorite hair products. Frankly, with the cold weather coming up I always find my hair and skin take a toll so I'm constantly on the lookout for new products to help keep it healthy and stylish.

My first favorite product is my oldest and dearest shampoo and conditioner, Shampure by Aveda. I used Shampure all throughout high school and every time I bring it back I am reminded of my younger years. It's amazing what memories certain smells can evoke! Overall, I've had good experiences with Aveda and I love that they don't test any of their products on animals. With an enticing earthy smell, their Shampure shampoo and conditioner have become like a favorite pair of  jeans (you know, the ones tethered and worn but you can't throw them out because they are the comfiest).  Not only does it let me relive my youth, but I found it doesn't make my hair feel greasy or flat either.

Number two on my must haves is a newer one for me. I have fallen in love and I fell fast with the soy HealthySexyHair hairspray. I believe its cousin is the BigSexyHair, which to be fair does hold better than the HealthySexyHair does BUT doesn't smell as heavenly. I like that its a natural hairspray and I know this doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things but the packaging/branding is impressive (I like the colors). I will say your hair (and bathroom) smell amazing when using this and it really is worth the $$$. I know, sometimes it seems dumb to splurge on hairspray, but if you can swing it this one is worth the squeeze. I use ULTA for a lot of my beauty product needs. They usually have some decent deals and you can always find a $3.50 or 20% off coupon on their website. (Speaking of this, they have a buy 2, get 1 free sale going on right now).

My third favorite hair product must have goes out to Moroccan Oil. THIS has become a staple in my hair care regime. According to my hair stylists, you can't buy just any type of Moroccan Oil and quite honestly I can't give you a great answer as to why that is, but I only ask that you trust what I say and look for the the bottle in the picture I posted as your guide. This product has really saved the life of my hair. Being a blonde takes a beating on my hair strands and moroccan oil has helped to repair the quality and overall feel of my hair. What's also great is you can use it on wet or dry hair and all you need is a little dime-sized amount :) And who doesn't love a little coconut aroma that reminds you of sunbathing on a beach. If only it came with a margarita... A little Jimmy Buffett style.

If you're looking for some new products to shake up your beautifying experience, may I suggest you give one of these a try!?! What are some of your hair product must haves? How about favorite haircare scents? Leave a comment below!

Have a safe and happy weekend & visit back on Monday :) 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Have a holly jolly winter

It won't be long until the cold consumes us and winter has crept its way back into our lives.  In my mind, winter is equivalent to one of those icky ex-boyfriends (or girlfriends) that you keep going back to thinking somehow THIS time will be different, but every attempt at rectifying the relationship turns out to be a sour bust. Okay, maybe that example is a little harsh, but its hard not to point out the obvious! I mean we've all been there at some point in our lives, right? Right? 

I say this every season change (I really mean it this time), but I want to take advantage of the holidays and make amends with winter this year.

Monday, November 3, 2014

"I put a spell on you"- November's Challenge

Can you believe it's November already?!?! I don't know about you, but the years seem to go faster with age. I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween and took advantage of the extra hour in your day. I know soaked up the clocks turning back, but I can also say this was the first year (since I can remember) I didn't celebrate Halloween on Halloween weekend (don't all gasp at once). It felt kinda weird not going out or dressing up but honestly I think I needed a weekend to recharge my batteries and just chill. I'm slowing starting to warm up to the idea that I don't always have to be doing something and this weekend was a perfect demonstration. Although, I can't say I haven't done any Halloweenie celebrating this year because I did dress up as Dorothy last weekend in Colorado and of course had a blast revising the Wizzard of Oz storyline. A short summary for all you curious Georges' would go something like this: a bed falls on the witch (instead of a house), Dorothy fell down the stairs (instead of in a twister), and "we're not in Wisconsin anymore" in place of Kansas. Not sure my version would be a mega blockbuster hit but nonetheless it produced a lot of laughs and let's be real, laughing is the best. 

Now that Halloween has passed and November is upon us (which here in Wisconsin means winter will shortly be a reality) Thanksgiving is lurking right around the corner. During my time of R&R this weekend I started reading a new book called "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's amazing how things come together at the most ideal times, because since my last birthday I vowed to have monthly challenges but was having trouble thinking about what I should do for November. October was push something new and I challenged myself to ride in my first 30-mile bike race (scratch that, my first bike race ever) and September was repeat it, meaning challenge myself again to something I had done in the past. This coincided with me running a half-marathon for the second time this year. BUT back to my original thought of finding something for November, as I was reading The Four Agreements it explained how the way we communicate to others is an example of us "putting our spells on people." You might be asking, what does that mean? Well I'm paraphrasing here, but essentially it boils down to how our words/the dialogue we use reflects not only how we feel about ourselves but also how it impacts others by hearing and potentially accepting what you're putting out there.

When you cast negative words (or what I would refer to as negative energy) what you find is that you're putting a spell on someone AND also yourself! In the 4A's (we'll just shorten it), Ruiz uses the analogy of 'your word' as the tool of magic that represents a double-edged sword. He adds that YOU have the power to create something beautiful and at the same YOU possess the ability to destroy through the words you choose.

Reading this got me thinking about this months challenge. Given its the month of Thanksgiving where there's almost an underlying advertisement for encouraging thoughts about what you're thankful for, I want to take it a step further. I started to think about the idea of casting a spell with your words and how that translates into how we cast spells with our actions OR lack of action. By all means I am nowhere near the perfect friend, daughter, or wife, and I don't pretend to be those things. On the flip side, I also need to invest in those things because that is what is important in my life. I also want to include the way I could be a better "stranger" by doing random acts of kindness or small acts of casting positive spells. Therefore, this months November challenge is about not only acknowledging your gratitude but more importantly you spreading it to others. Spread it so the positive virus infects others and creates a need to be contagious with love and kindness.

So I want to ask all of you readers to join me in November's "Cast a spell" challenge by intentionally doing one thing a day for the entire month that would be for someone else. This could mean you sending a text message to a friend telling them how appreciative you are of them or it could be as simple as holding the door for a stranger. Maybe it's smiling at someone walking past you on the street or cooking your family their favorite meal. How do YOU cast your spell with your words AND actions?

So please join me in this months challenge of 'Cast a Spell' and let's revisit this come December. I would even encourage you to keep a little log of what you did each day and maybe see if it changes something for you (mood, energy, etc).

Are you up for the November challenge? Any ideas that come to mind already? Feel free to leave a comment below if you want to commit to the month OR share your thoughts as you're doing it! And if you're liking what you're reading and haven't done so already, please subscribe to Life à la Carte through your email on the right hand side of the page. Thanks for your readership and good luck!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"No Soup for you"-Taco Soup

Ever have those sitcoms that never seem to grow old? You know, the ones that you've watched a 1,000 times but still laugh your booty off like it's the first time you've seen it? Well that's how I feel about Seinfeld. Growing up we had a hate/love relationship, but I was only a kid (I didn't know any better)!!! It may have taken a little maturity mixed with an open mind but I eventually found my way. Isn't there a saying that goes something along the lines of finding a diamond in the rough?!? I guess Seinfeld became my diamond in the TV world (that and Sons of Anarchy). 

So in memory of one of the greatest episodes created, I found it only appropriate to pay tribute and use a Seinfeld one liner for today's post title. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Miles Away in Mile High City

They say there's no place like home; however, I would argue Colorado has become a close second. A few girlfriends and I just got back from a sweet ol' weekend getaway in Denver. We decided to visit a good friend of ours from college and she so graciously welcomed us into her home. Prior to this weekend I had never been to Colorado, and since I'm a sucker for nature I assumed it was only a matter of time before I would become addicted to the views. Lo and behold it's only been a day and I'm already having my mountainous withdrawals! The scenery was breathtaking and I couldn't get enough of the endless mountain ranges and 360 sunsets. Colorado really should come with some sort of disclaimer: "Attention travelers, visiting this state may provoke you to pick up your life and move here..." or something along those lines.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


 Life is busy, life is hectic, for everyone! Although the definition of busy may differ depending on the person, everyone experiences those same hustle and bustle moments of meeting deadlines, maintaining relationships and friendships, juggling household duties and errands, all while trying to sustain some sort of equilibrium in your own person-hood. In my own world I have found it particularly challenging to create time during the week to spend with my husband. Our jobs are polar opposites in terms of what we do, how we do, and the times we spend doing it. He works a "1st shift" and I work a "2nd shift"type of schedule, so this possesses its own unique set of road blocks as our time together tends to be limited.

Now I am completely aware there are couples who have it A LOT worse off; however, my intention in this post is not to cry woe is me. In fact, I am looking to do the exact opposite because sometimes when life throws those roadblocks you just need to navigate the detours. So a few months ago Kyle had the idea of us starting P90x as something we could do together in the mornings. I was a little apprehensive about starting it (seeing as though this would require me to get up at the crack of dawn, and per the last post you all know how I feel about that), but I saw the potential benefits and obliged. *Just a side note: P90X will kick your booty into shape.

Initially we were really disciplined about waking up and doing the workouts, but overtime you can only imagine how we may have slipped off the bandwagon... Well I slipped more off the bandwagon; what can I say the pillow was calling my name! At any rate, one thing that did remain was our "Yoga Wednesdays." This has been our tradition since we started P90X and it's something we both look forward to during the middle of the week. It has become a time where we can do something that incorporates exercise, relaxation, and more importantly something we do together.

Our typical Wednesday mornings now consist of our yoga workout followed by homemade smoothies or banana pancakes. We really try to make a date of of it and let me tell you, it has changed the dynamic of the work week and our relationship. We might not be able to have dinners together or watch a Monday night show together, but we've found a way to create (the keyword= create) the time, and right now our Yoga Wednesdays may be even more meaningful to us at this point in our lives. And you know what? I'm okay with that! We know yoga is great for the mind, body, and spirit, so what better way to practice than with the person you love.

Happy Wednesday and Namasté

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ultimate Packer Breakfast.

What can I say, I'm a Wisconsin girl born and raised a Cheesehead... It was only a matter of time before I professed my love of the Packers, and with a blow out win against the Panthers on Sunday, I only found it fitting to carry their celebratory win into the work week. So today's post is all about, well, breakfast AND the Packers. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The real simple things.

Today marks the start of this seemingly crazy and wild idea to start a blog! I hope to use this space to share reminders of the beautiful things in life. So, I couldn't think of a better way to kick things off than with a post about those little treasures that make moments in life seem so full of peace and pleasure. 

Let me start by saying if you have not purchased a wood wick candle, do yourself a favor and pick one of these bad boys up! For a gal who (sadly, but hopefully not forever) does not have a fire place, these delectable treats are so fantastic because not only are they full of yummy scents, but they crackle and pop just like a real fire would. I must admit that when I initially lit this one (yes, it's my first one!) I kept looking up at it every few moments with a fear that something was indeed on fire. BUUUT I was able to move past that fairly quick. There is something so enjoyable about a great candle, and when it's mixed with a cup of coffee and your favorite mag, you have got yourself a combo of: destination mind escape. 

More recently, my husband and I have fallen into the rut of saving $$$ on coffee and have had the tendency to purchase those big tin cans that last forever and actually save you a decent about of denaro. However, grocery shopping this week I found a bag of $10.00 coffee half-off, which equaled me exploding with excitement (in case you didn't know my love for coffee runs deep). So, I decided to purchase a bag and let me tell you... it really is those little things that make awesomeness shine out from underneath. I can't tell you how enjoyable it was this morning to light my wood wick candle and brew a delicious and different kind of coffee all combined with reading a Real Simple magazine. P.S. drinking out of a fun mug adds to the experience. My friend gave me this sweet pink flower one for Christmas last year and it always seems to make my coffee or tea taste better. Isn't the power of the mind amazing?!?!

So I'm curious, do you have any "little things" that give you a sense of happiness or peace? What are they? How about a favorite mug or candle? I'd love to hear! Oh and thanks for reading :))