Sunday, November 20, 2011

Next Chapter:)

Before I jump in with this entry, I just feel the need to inform you that I've been wanting to write about this topic for a lonnnnng time. However, because it's a bit sensitive, I had to wait awhile to let you in on the major happenings of my life. That being said, now you get to know, and here it is: I GOT A NEW JOB!!! :) Yes, most of you probably know this already, but I thought I'd let you in on the details since I haven't shared anything up to this point!

First of all, in case you're wondering, the reason I started looking for a new position in the first place is primarily because of financial concerns. I love my job at MIAD, and I knew when I started that money would be tight, but unfortunately, I vastly underestimated how much of a struggle it would be. The sting of that has become very apparent, especially as of late. I had a lot of mixed emotions when I first started applying for new jobs, but I received a lot of support from former colleagues and friends, so that made it a little easier. It's a difficult spot to be in, and I did a lot of thinking about when I wanted to clue Duane (my boss) in on my search. I made the decision to wait until I got an interview because I didn't see the point in informing him before any of the applications amounted to anything. Coincidentally, I got invited for two interviews on the same day, one at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC), and one at UW-Milwaukee (UW-M). I'll spare you the major details on WCTC, but after two interviews at with them, they decided to go with the other candidate. They were nice enough to call me and let me know that they were very impressed with me and that they hoped I'd apply when they have another opening in the next few months. Nice of them, but also frustrating because that doesn't help me NOW, you know? Anyway, here's the deal with UW-M...

I first applied for the position wayyyyy back at the end of July, and after I applied, it took a month for them to bring me in for an interview. Are ya kidding me?! My first interview was September 1, and at that time, they said they hoped to bring someone in by October 1. I didn't hear anything for almost all of September, so I kinda figured I just didn't get it. Thankfully, I got a call a few days before October 1 and they said they wanted to bring me in for a second interview. Yay! Backing up a second, when they posted the position, they listed it as Advisor/Senior Advisor, and you applied to whichever one based on your experience level. Obviously I applied for the Advisor level. What took so long between interviews was that they ended up promoting an internal person to the Senior Advisor level. Fortunately, that allowed them to still bring someone in at the Advisor level, hence the second interview. I had that on September 30, and in the interview, I met with the Dean of the School of Business, the Associate Dean, and the HR Manager (all separately). Talk about intense! I was pretty nervous, and they asked some rather "tough" questions, but I thought I handled myself pretty well. They were a little more forthcoming this time around and told me straight up that it'd take pretty much all of October for them to notify the candidates about the position. They weren't lying. A few weeks after the second interview, I got a call from Greg (my soon-to-be boss), and he just wanted to let me know that I was still in the running, one of two candidates left. So exciting! the same time, my odds of getting it were just as good as not getting it... Welp, totally true, because the Thursday before Thanksgiving (10/27), I got a call from Greg and he informed me that I didn't get the position. :( He was kind enough to say how incredibly impressed they were with me as a candidate and that they hoped I'd apply when they had another opening in the next year or two. So, basically same story as WCTC. Ugh! Anyway, he said he didn't know if I'd want to know or if it'd help, but them going with the other candidate was basically for two reasons. First, the other candidate has a business degree, and the position is in Career Services in the School of Business. Makes sense, I guess. Second, he or she was coming from Marquette, and since Marquette's a lot more similar to UW-M than MIAD is, they leaned in that direction. Two valid reasons, and two things I obviously couldn't control. So frustrating, but I appreciated him letting me know because that's pretty rare for someone to do that. I'll admit, I was really disappointed. I even cried, which marks the first time I cried about not getting a position. I just wanted it really bad and thought I'd be really good there. I sucked it up, thanked him, and tried to stay positive, even though it meant being back to square one. Interestingly enough, the following Friday (11/4), I got a call from Greg again, and long story short, he told me they still wanted to bring me onto their staff! Needless to say, I was kind of speechless. Obviously I was very excited, but I was also thinking, "What the hell?!" I didn't want to bluntly ask if the other candidate backed out or what happened, so sadly, I still don't really know the answer to that. Having had some time to think about it, however, I've decided that I don't really care what happened because I still got the job! And really, being "second" choice doesn't really bother me considering the reasons they gave for initially going with the other candidate made complete sense. So, after all of this, something finally worked out in my favor, even if it was four months after the initial application!

Here are the details. My last day at MIAD is already this Tuesday, 11/22. Wait, are you kidding me?! From the time I accepted the position to the time I'm done at MIAD is exactly two weeks. Talk about taking the two-week notice literally! As if that's not scary enough, I will be starting as the new Career Advisor in the Lubar School of Business at UW-Milwaukee on Monday, 11/28 already. So, I'll finish at MIAD, go home for Thanksgiving, and then come back to start the new job immediately. While I'm excited, I do wish I had a little more time in between, or at least that I wasn't traveling during my "off" time, but such is life. In case you're wondering, here's how this alleviates some of my concerns. First of all, this position will pay me $10,000 more per year than what I make now. Say what?! In addition to that, I start with 22 vacation days per year (in addition to holidays). Considering I only get FIVE per year at MIAD for the first two years, I think you could see why that makes a huge difference. So, not only will I have vacation days to use, but I'll also potentially have the money to go somewhere! :) I've been wanting this desperately for a long time! I'll admit, it was incredibly hard to make the decision to leave MIAD, primarily because I just love Duane to death. However, when I think about my future and what's best for me in the long run, I know this is the right decision for me. I'm incredibly nervous, but also very excited, and I just can't wait to get established and on my feet. I can pay my parents back the money they've spotted me recently, and hey, here's a novel idea, I might actually even be able to save some money too! Wasn't sure that'd ever be possible! I'm just so happy that things seem to finally be looking up for me! Anyway, this is incredibly long, and if you've made it to the end, thank you for being such a faithful reader. ;) Stay tuned for updates as this new chapter in my life unfolds!

P.S. I just announced this on Facebook on Friday (which marked my one year at MIAD, as well as my first "official" announcement of the new job), and a whopping 29 friends "liked" my status! I know that's a weird thing to comment on, but I was just happy to see that many people who are excited for me and wishing me the best. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mozzarella Sticks!

I'm not really sure when the transition occurred, but lately it seems as if my blog has become more of a food blog than anything else, ha! I've just been doing a lot of experimenting lately, and because I'm often still amazed at my success, I like to share it with all of you. I hope you don't mind! :) My most recent cooking attempt involved yet another recipe I found on Pinterest. I'm tellin' ya folks, if you're looking for ideas, you must check out the site. I just love it! Anyway, this weekend's experiment was homemade mozzarella sticks. Interestingly, I'm not even HUGE fan of them... I mean, I like them, and I'll definitely eat them, but they're not on my list of favorite foods or anything like that. That being said, I thought the recipe sounded both easy and delicious, so I figured it was worth a shot. It was my first ever attempt at frying something in really hot oil, and fortunately I had no freak accidents (minus the minor flame that burst up when I accidentally dripped a little oil on the hot stove, oops)! I was worried about burning the "crust" of the mozzarella sticks before the cheese melted, but I actually did pretty well. I will say, for next time, I'll probably do a slightly lower heat so the cheese melts a little more, but overall, I thought my first attempt was pretty solid! They were nice and crunchy (but not too crunchy) and delicious. I'm awesome. Just sayin'. ;) I only made a few, and that was both because I was afraid I'd mess it up, and also because even if I didn't screw up, I know I can't eat that much... Smart move, it was just enough! Anyway, I only took a few photos, but check 'em out below. And if you want more pictures of the process itself, be sure to check out the original recipe here!

All the ingredients!
Coat the cheese in the panko crumb mixture. After the cheese is coated in the mixture, you freeze 'em for 20-30 minutes to keep it all together once you fry them.

Fry 'em up and you end up with this final product! Look pretty yummy, don't they?! Well, despite the poor quality photo. ;)

  • 16 pieces string cheese, unwrapped and cut in half to make 32 pieces (I obviously made way less.)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Marinara sauce for dipping (optional)

  • Place flour in small bowl.
  • In separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk.
  • In another separate bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and dried parsley flakes.
  • To assemble, one by one, roll cheese stick in flour, then dunk in the egg/milk mixture, then place in panko bread crumbs. Use your hands to sweet crumbs all over the cheese. Gently remove and place on a plate or cookie sheet. Repeat until all sticks are coated.
  • Place tray in freezer for 20-30 minutes to flash freeze.
  • Heat 1 and 1/2 inches of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mozzarella sticks 8 at a time. Watch closely and turn over to evenly brown, cooking less than 2 minutes. Do not allow cheese to bubble and leak. (This is a bit of a science, so it's better to have lower heat than heat that's too high; otherwise the cheese will melt out before they're ready.)
  • Remove to a paper-towel lined plate and serve with warm marinara sauce. (I tried mine with ranch dressing, and that was actually quite tasty!)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Halloween - Warrior Style

Most of you who read my blog have probably already seen my pictures from Halloween via Facebook, but I still wanted to do a post about the weekend because it was such a good time! I'll admit, I've never been that much of a Halloween person. Even as a kid, we didn't get that into it. During college, I went through the motions because everyone else was doing it (okay, peer pressure), but I never got that creative with my costumes or even that excited about it. That all changed this year. After spending lots of time with L over the past year or so, I've learned a lot about his love for Halloween and for the craziness that is their annual Halloween bash. Each year, their core group chooses a theme, and they all spend the year leading up to it creating and preparing their costumes. Somehow, L and I got on the subject of it a few months back, and I was very intrigued. This year's theme? 80's icons. Not just, "dress up like you're from the 80's." We're talking full on characters and/or people who were iconic for one reason or another during that decade. I must admit, I kind of invited myself to the party (ha!), and from that point on, I was bound and determined to find a costume that'd be worthy. One of the first ideas I came up with was American Gladiators. I remember loving that show as a kid, and I thought the costume could potentially be pretty easy. After some investigating, I became a little less excited about it because I wanted my costume to be spot on and I was struggling to find the right pieces to make it work. As I did some more searching, out of nowhere, I thought to myself, "I should be the Ultimate Warrior." In case you don't know, he's a wrestler from the 80's, and he's incredibly iconic in that if you know anything about wrestling, you know him. I thought the idea might be weird (I'm a chick and I'm weak - aka: the exact opposite of him), so I didn't really tell anybody about it. Then one weekend, L was visiting, and we started talking about Halloween. Without any prompting, he goes, "Dude, you should be the Ultimate Warrior." I was like, "SHUT UP!!!!" The fact that he said that, and I'd already been thinking it, was clear proof to me that it was the costume I needed. While it looks like a seemingly simple costume, there were a lot of small elements that needed to come together to make it work. I spent a little more on it than I wanted to, but after putting it all together, it couldn't have been more perfect. Seriously. Loved it, and I was a huge hit. :)

Now, for the actual weekend itself. L's buddies from his hometown usually always make it for the festivities, and there are several other people involved too. I had to work until mid-Friday afternoon, so by the time I got to LAX, several of them were already there. I met them at Bodega, and we all just ate and had some drinks. Very good time. After that, some of the people wanted to get dressed up and head to Houghton's, one of their favorite hangouts. While I didn't have a costume for that night, it was still quite an enjoyable time. Saturday turned into quite the adventure as well. We met a few people for breakfast, and then a bunch of the main crew decided to hit up Bodega during the day. Obviously, no one else was in there at the time, so we kind of owned the bar. It was awesome. Drinks, food, trivia, etc. We all had a blast until we finally had to tear ourselves away and get ready for the big party! See all the photos below to understand how jam packed and awesome the weekend was!


Me and some of the boys at Bodega on Friday night!
(Damico, L, me, and Eric)

Love this shot! The boys with their "Crispin Glover" drinks.
(Long story...but they look so happy!)

L and Damico at Houghtons on Friday night
(Anakaris and Megaman)

Sumo wrestler and American Gladiator!

I'm out of place with no costume, but still a good picture. :)

Superman carrying Sumo wrestler!

I laugh every time!!

Megaman getting a little crazy! Love this one for some reason!


Some of the boys. No fear, Eric doesn't always have that creepy mustache. It's part of his Saturday night costume. :)

Just hangin' out!

While this first picture from Saturday night is a bit out of order, I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of the actual Ultimate Warrior and myself. You've gotta admit, I did a pretty stellar job with my costume. (Credit L for painting my face.) As I mentioned, I was a huge hit. I'm not usually one to brag, but I was really happy with my costume. Thank God the weather cooperated, or I would've frozen to death. Good times!! ;)

Real Ultimate Warrior vs. Me

Part of our crew walking to the Eagle's Nest!
(They rent out a room at the Eagle's Nest, have a half barrel, all that jazz. I'm not lying when I say this party is a bit of a big deal;).

Love this one! :)

Storm Shadow (L) and Cobra Commander (Damico) - G.I. Joe
(Not sure why, but I love this picture!)

Random group of us!
(LtoR: Ultimate Warrior; Dee Snider from Twisted Sister; Man at Arms from He-Man; He-Man himself; and Strawberry Shortcake)

Dee Snider and Warrior:)

Neenah boys!
(LtoR: Storm Shadow, Magnum P.I., and Mork from Mork & Mindy)

Storm Shadow and Warrior. In love with this pic!

Peg and Al Bundy (Married...With Children!)

Maverick and Goose (Top Gun)

Warrior and Jem (Jem and the Holograms)

Marty McFly (Back to the Future) and Warrior

He-Man vs. Storm Shadow

Warrior and Punky Brewster

Bench pressing Al Bundy. ;)

I don't recall this picture, but I'm eyeing up Biff Tannen (Back to the Future) like I'm about to take his ass out. Cracks me up every time!

Well... Doesn't get much more random than that!

Slim Goodbody (our bartender for most of the day at Bodega) decided to pick me up. A good sign that the end of the night was near. ;)

While I didn't take any pictures on Sunday, we completed the weekend by all going out for Chinese on Sunday and talking about themes for next year's party (that's their tradition). Yes, no joke. This is serious business! The theme that won out? Board games. You can be a character from a game or create a costume that resembles a particular game. As you can imagine, this theme allows for some serious interpretation and creativity. I have no idea if I'll be there next year, but I will say, I do have a few ideas brewing in my head... :) Yep, overall, a fantastic weekend, and I got to stay until Monday, even better! Now I get the hype behind this weekend for them. Hope you all had a great Halloween!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Okay, so this post has no real significance (I intend to have a couple good ones this weekend), but I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that it's 11/11/11. No idea why, but this excites me beyond belief! Just think about it. The next time this will happen again is November 11, 2111. In other words, we won't even be alive to witness it! Am I the only one who thinks that's insane?! Yes, next year we'll have 12/12/12, but it's not quite as cool because not all the numbers are the same. ;) Anyway, I know a few people who get just as excited as I do about this, so that's my proof that this is kind of a big deal... Ha! Well, that's about all I've got. Just wanted to publicly make my excitement known. Yes, I'm easily amused. :)

P.S. A shout-out to all the veterans since it is indeed Veteran's Day!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Holiday Bacon Appetizers

No surprise here, but I found another recipe on Pinterest that caught my attention today. Most of the recipes I've acquired on there up to this point have been for actual meals, but today I stumbled across an appetizer recipe that definitely intrigued me. They're called Holiday Bacon Appetizers. Not sure why they're designated only for the holidays because they sound awesome any time;), but either way, here's the deal: There are only three ingredients, and those three ingredients are 1) Club Crackers; 2) Grated Parmesan Cheese; and 3) Bacon. Say what?!?! How does that NOT appeal to you, even without knowing what it is?! Well, because I have a free weekend, and because I also just so happen to have those three ingredients on hand, I am giving it a shot! I have included a few of the recipe photos below, all courtesy of the Pioneer Woman's website. As you'll see, you basically just sprinkle the crackers with the grated cheese and then wrap them in bacon and bake them. Easy peasy! (Well, minus the fact that it takes TWO HOURS to cook them!) Anyway, mine are currently baking, and I've got about 30 minutes to go before I can give you the official verdict.... Here's hoping they're as awesome as my kitchen smells! :)

Oh, and a few quick other things. First, I found that a half slice of bacon didn't quite cover the cracker completely like she suggested, so I ended up using a whole slice for each cracker. Yikes. So nutritious! ;) Second, I don't have a baking rack, so mine are just on the baking sheet itself. We'll see if that makes a difference! And third, I am not baking nearly as many as she talks about in her entry. I went with a solid 8 of them, just to give it a shot! Stay tuned for my ruling. I'll put an "UPDATE" section at the end of this entry once I try them! :)

Of course I used Smith Bros. Meats bacon for this recipe. :)

Sprinkle the crackers with the Parmesan cheese...

Wrap the crackers in bacon...

Put 'em in the oven for 2 hours (yikes!) at 250 degrees...


As I mentioned, I was going to pop back in and let you know how these little heavenly delights turned out. Sure enough, they were pretty much as phenomenal as one would expect! Yeah, I am awesome! ;) I ended up taking them out a little before the 2 hours was up because they were getting a little crispy, but thankfully, not having a baking rack did nothing harmful to these little guys. A perfect amount of crisp and crunch, and the flavor was f'in delicious. I will say, an entire piece of bacon for one cracker was a bit overpowering (I might retry half pieces in the future), but I love bacon, so it wasn't too big of a deal. :) I didn't eat all 8 of them, but according to the instructions, you can freeze them and reheat them if you make them ahead of time or don't use them all. So, that's what I did... Perfect! Perhaps a little snack for later tonight!

As you can see, my photography and presentation skills are nowhere near that of the Pioneer Woman, but I still took the photo so I could prove that I actually did this and that they turned out well! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I'll admit, while the title of this entry isn't intended to talk about my mood, it is coincidentally exactly how I've been feeling this week. Can't really explain it, but it seems like everything is just adding up, and I have been in quite the funk. Normally, I'd welcome this upcoming free weekend, but for some reason, all I can think is that I wish I had something to do. Anywayyyyy. That's not the point of this entry, so I suppose I could stop my bitching. ;)

A little under two weeks ago, L was in town for a conference, and he came to town a day early so we could hang out a little longer. Before he came down, we decided we wanted to cook something fun at my apartment rather than go out to eat. Originally, we were going to do some sort of Asian dish, but once I showed him a link to the Asian market near my apartment, he was instantly ecstatic about the fact that the store had live crab. So... That became our plan. Because L is a far more experienced cook than me, I basically let him take the reigns on this meal. I swear, someday I will cook for him. Until then, I won't complain! We went to the store and picked up a bunch of goodies to make our meal, and below are some photos that show what we (he) came up with for our dinner. I'll admit, I'd never really eaten whole crab before, and while it wasn't the easiest task, he remained patient and was proud of me for not giving up too quickly. ;) I apologize in advance for the sheer number of photos, but the whole process was fun, so I thought I'd show you everything!

All the crazy (and sometimes vicious) crabs in my sink!

Prepping all the goodies! (Andouille Sausage to add to the mix.)

Onions, Green Onions, and Garlic, oh my!

See that one looking at you? Well, we named him Sid Vicious. He actually "bit" L and made him bleed, eek!

Adding veggies into the pot!

Notice how the pan keeps getting fuller with crab.

Top it with asparagus and we're in business!

Taking a break from cooking to snap a photo! ;)

After cooking for awhile. Looks awesome, doesn't it?!

All the cooked crab!

The "stew" of sorts that was left over. (SO good!)

Complete it all with some garlic buttered biscuits topped with cheese!

And now we eat! :)

FAST FORWARD................

After we ate, we decided to play around with elements of my Halloween costume (stay tuned for an upcoming post on that), and this is L trying on my crazy wig. We laughed and laughed about this. In some crazy, weird way, this actually almost works for him, ha!

And then the next day, we decided to use the rest of our leftovers to create a slightly different concoction. We'd finished all the crab, so we went to the store and got shrimp to add into the mix and then we ate it with rice. So simple and awesome!

Our second meal. SO good!
Who's jealous??? ;)