Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best Boss!

I seriously have the best boss...EVER! He's currently on vacation in Europe for 2 weeks, and because we're such a small school, that means I am managing our office all on my own. I'll admit, I was pretty nervous about it when he first told me he would be gone for so long, but so far, it's actually been going very well! Anyway, much to my surprise, I got flowers delivered to my office today (see below), and there was a note that said, "Thank you for maintaining the office while I am gone. I appreciate your work!" Okay, seriously?! I mean, I am definitely not one to complain about getting flowers, but man, he is just SO nice! Before he left, he expressed a lot of appreciation for my willingness to take care of everything here, but I just basically see it as simply doing my job. He's never taken this long of a vacation from work, so I made sure to tell him to go have fun and not to worry about me. Makes me happy that he's confident enough in my abilities to do this, and the flowers are just a special bonus! I think today is going to be a wonderful day! :)

P.S. You probably can't quite tell from the photo, but it's a cool square vase with frosted glass. Add it to my collection! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Da Bear:)

Now that I just wrote a really depressing entry (see below), I thought I'd do a more lighthearted post about my niece Lia's -- aka: Bear's -- 9th birthday! Yes, NINE. This girl has transformed so much right before our eyes, and it pains me to think how quickly she's growing! I'm with Casey when she says that these kids just don't listen to us when we tell them not to grow up so fast. ;) Anyway, I remember Lia coming into this world, and she reminds me constantly how important it is to be goofy (most of the photos below demonstrate that!), and fun-spirited, and sweet, and kind-hearted. I think we could all take a lesson from her! Bear, if you read this, get ready for our special hug the next time I'm home. :) Happy birthday. I love you!

(And happy 31st anniversary to my parents as well!:)

(Above photo courtesy of Courtney)

Above: Gets me every time. :)

Anna Rexia

Okay, I will start out by saying that this is going to seem like a really weird post, but I saw something today that really bothered me and I wanted to share. I'm usually not one to get too "preachy" or whatever, but one of my Facebook friends posted a link today that just made me really disgusted and sad. (For the record, he posted it because he was disgusted too.) Here goes.

It's no secret that Halloween offers people a chance to dress up in a variety of ways, and it often gives girls an excuse to dress in provocative costumes without much regard for how that makes them look. Hell, I've been guilty of it. I went to Madison for Halloween my first year of college, and when I pulled out my costume that I naively bought at Target, I was immediately told that I needed to 'sex' it up. And that I did. Sad that that is the standard these days. Anyway, that brings me to my point. The link I mentioned above led me to an article about a Halloween costume that crosses several lines in my opinion. The title of that article? "'Sexy Anorexia' Halloween Costume Controversy." Wait, what? Are you kidding me? There is actually a costume out there calling anorexia SEXY?! In case you're wondering about the title of my entry, the costume includes a nametag that says "Anna Rexia." Wow. Now you see what I mean about this crossing so many lines? I could go on and on about what I find wrong with this, but I think the article does a good job summing it up. Read it.

And if you don't read it, then this costume description should demonstrate my point pretty damn clearly: "If Anna Rexia doesn't want to put it in her mouth there is nothing you can say to change her mind. You can stop trying to sell her on the point that there aren't any carbs and it's all protein because Anna Rexia just doesn't want anything to do with it. Make no bones about it this girl is as disciplined as they can get. Anna Rexia costume is anything but bare bones! Costume includes headband, choker neckband, removable ‘Anna Rexia’ badge and ribbon tie belt. If you're starving for attention, this costume will be sure to put you on top of the world."

The fact that anorexia is an illness, and a life-threatening one at that, makes me feel really disgusted that retailers are even willing to sell this costume. Hell, who designed this costume?! I know, I know, there are plenty of costume ideas out there that are pretty offensive on multiple levels (i.e., pregnant nuns, anything related to male and female genitalia, etc.), but to essentially make fun of something that takes people's lives on a daily basis just isn't funny to me. Again, sorry if I seem preachy or if you don't find this as offensive as I do. I just couldn't help but share my feelings on the matter. Rest assured, I will NEVER be wearing that costume!

"Anna Rexia" Costume

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rainbow Cake Attempt!

Those of you who use Pinterest are fully aware of the wide variety of things you can find on there. Everything from books to clothes to cooking ideas. Well, a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for a rainbow cake that I was interested in making for L's birthday (which was this past Sunday). He's a bit of a superhero freak, and this cake is supposed to be reminiscent of a superhero cake, hence the reason it caught my eye. Since I've been in my cooking mode the past few months, I accepted the challenge. When I looked at the website, I thought the recipe seemed pretty do-able. The only thing I did differently was make the cake using the "normal" instructions instead of the "diet" instructions. Now, you can do what you want, but I personally recommend clicking here before (or while) looking at the pictures I posted below so you can see the original cake and how the process is supposed to go. Maybe even keep the site side-by-side with my blog so you can compare. You'll notice that throughout most of my process, everything turned out almost perfectly. That is, until the very end. Dun, dun, dun....

The mix! (2 boxes white cake mix)

Separate mix evenly into six bowls.
(Excuse my non-matching bowls;).

Dye the mix with gel food colors. How fun!
(Mine weren't quite as vibrant as the recipe showed, perhaps because I didn't use the entire tubes of food coloring. Either way, I still think they turned out nicely!)

Pour red, orange, and yellow mix into the first pan...

And purple, blue, and green in the second pan...

Top each pan with the remaining colors. So far, looking awesome!
I still can't believe I did this!

(Cook the cake according to the instructions.)

I forgot to take a photo of the two cakes once they were cooked, but the below photo illustrates what they should have looked like. Mine were quite a bit "puffier" than this picture shows (I'm talking over the top of the pans), but overall, I was still pretty successful. Oh, and I had to cook them much longer than the box instructed. The mix was runny for a lot longer than I expected, but eventually the toothpick came out clean! :)

After putting the two cakes together and frosting them, the above photo shows what the ideal finished product SHOULD look like. Should being the key word. Aren't those slices awesome?! Anyway, this is where my cooking project took a miserable turn. See the photo below to illustrate my point...

Seriously, after ALL that work, the two cakes essentially crumbled when I took them out of their pans. I'm not sure why, but they were just so soft that even placing them on top of one another caused much of it to crumble. The disaster you see above is after I also attempted to frost some of it. (I did not make my frosting, which, for the record, had nothing to do with what happened.) Anyway, this is about as far as I got before giving up. I wrapped the plate in foil and still took the cake up to La Crosse for L's birthday. Thankfully, he was incredibly appreciative of the gesture and didn't so much mind that it ended up looking like a horrible disaster. I made sure to show him these pictures to prove the labor of love that went into it. ;) Not gonna lie, I'm still quite bummed that after being so spot on through the whole process that it turned out like this, but what can ya do. Perhaps next time I will try the diet recipe to see if it makes a difference on how the cake sticks together. Either way, I'm proud of myself. A few months ago, I never would've even attempted this! And it least it still tasted delicious. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hold Me

I'll admit, when I typed the words "Hold Me" in the title, my mind instantly went to, "Richard, I'm so happy, hold me!" (Tommy Boy for those of you who may not be fortunate enough to know that movie backwards and forwards like I do;). Anyway, the real reason behind the name of this entry is a song I recently uncovered. The past couple months have provided me with several opportunities to be in my car for extended periods of time (i.e., traveling to La Crosse and/or Colby), and during those trips, I try to listen to the radio to introduce myself to new music along the way. Interestingly, this particular song is actually played on religious stations. I didn't realize that at first, because it can just as easily be viewed as a fun, romantic song. Regardless of how you view it, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do. So happy and upbeat, and it makes me smile! :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello, Fall! :)

This past weekend, I had no real plans, which is something I always appreciate these days. Saturday, I'm ashamed to admit, was spent sitting on my ass doing a whole lot of nothing. Well, not entirely. I did attempt to clean my apartment, but other than that, I watched TV, dinked around on my computer, and played mindless games on my tablet. I feel slightly ashamed for that, but at the same time, I believe there is a quote out there somewhere that says something like, "Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted." Since I enjoyed it, I don't feel too guilty! ;) That being said, I knew on Sunday that I would probably really regret not getting outside for part of the day since the weather this weekend was GORGEOUS. I'm talking low 80's when it is practically mid-October. Who wouldn't want to soak that up?! Probably about a month ago, I took a completely new way home from work (I love doing that!), and I drove past a pretty big park known as Humboldt Park. I'd heard of it before, but had never been, so needless to say, I was kind of excited to randomly uncover it. That is where I decided to venture on Sunday morning, and wow, am I ever happy I did! I brought my tablet along with me and ended up going a little picture crazy. I think I took over 60 photos, ha! I was just so intrigued by how different one part of the park was from the other in terms of the colors of the leaves. The part of the park that I first encountered was far more green, so perhaps that means I can get more cool pictures of changing leaves in a week from now! I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but the park is bigger than I thought, so there was not one, but TWO times, that I got in my car and started driving to go back to my apartment and then stopped to get out and take more pictures. Yep, I was definitely that girl. (My mom can attest to that since I was on the phone with her during those moments!) Thing is, I don't care how silly that seems, because it was a wonderful day and I uncovered some pretty beautiful views! I apologize in advance for the number of pics. It was tough to narrow down. I hope you enjoy and that you were also able to get out and do some amazing outdoor activities over the weekend! :)

What a cute little pathway!

This big tree (above) hasn't decided if it wants to change!

Fell in love with the big tree above!

Not sure why, but I'm a huge fan of the above picture. I just think the sweeping branches look so cool. THIS is why I get so excited!

Way up in the distance, there's a couple walking their dog. I am just in love with everything about this picture. Everything.

I LOVE this tree! (Above.)

I feel like it's rare to uncover views like this anywhere, let alone in Milwaukee, so I was REALLY excited to run across this in the park!