Pi Phi Reunion Weekend

Twelve years ago, I was about to start my first year at UW Madison. At the recommendation of a few friends a year older than me, I went through sorority recruitment (it was called rush back then). Although I was initially unhappy with the bid card that read Pi Beta Phi, I quickly found friends with whom I am still close to today.

We’re now all over the country: Tina is in California; Sara and Jen are in Colorado; Kristen (who wasn’t a Pi Phi but basically could’ve been), Claire, and Amy are in Illinois; Lizzie (who sadly wasn’t able to make it) is in Maryland; and Nicole and I are in Wisconsin. Somehow, the stars aligned and we all came together this weekend. To be honest, Claire and Amy drunkenly demanded via video this weekend happen back in the fall. Good decisions can happen when alcohol is involved (like our decision to run a half marathon while drinking at The Stadium – RIP).

Jen’s parents bought a house on Lake Waubesa, which was kind of the home base for the weekend. Everyone stayed there except for Tina and her son, Carter, who stayed at my house.

Friday night everyone got in at different times and came over to my house. We hung out, chatted, ordered pizza from Salvatore’s, drank a little wine, and played with the babies.

Saturday morning was the first Wisconsin Badgers home game. Two of the girls went to the game, and everyone but me went to Jordans Big10. Before Tina and Carter took off, we snapped a photo of our two future Badgers.20130902-103625.jpg

Brody, Finley, and I headed to Barret and Kelly’s to watch the game. Finley brought her Badger chair along (thanks again Kristen, Dave, and Brady!).20130902-102800.jpg

Later on, we all met back up at Jen’s parents’ house. When Claire, Tina, and I arrived, all the other ladies were on a boat ride, so we headed to the “Relaxation Station” which is a big floating raft with lounge chairs all facing the middle. It felt nice to chill in the sun on the water while Finley napped in her carseat under the watchful eye of Jen’s mom.

Finley woke up and I forced her to take a picture with me. Claire picked out this outfit, and I thought she looked adorable in it. I can’t remember who got it for her, so if you did and you read my blog, thank you again!20130902-102740.jpg

The sun was going down as we hung out on a blanket on the grass under a tree. Carter and Finley had a little play date.20130902-102924.jpg

The rest of the night included dinner and Cards Against Humanity. LOVE this game! It’s very similar to Apples to Apples but more offensive and inappropriate. We played it for a couple hours, and guess who won?!?! Me! This is surprising because I am not a funny person. When I told Brody that I won, he didn’t believe it, and also said “But you’re not funny.”

On Sunday morning, Nicole, who couldn’t come for the whole weekend, was able to drive to Madison for a few hours. We all met at Bluephies for breakfast. I had the Avocado Extravagance scrambler; it was delicious and I ate it all. Thank you, breastfeeding.

One thing we all wanted to do this weekend was go back to the Pi Phi house on campus. All of us lived in the house for at least a semester; many of us were there for two years (like me). The sorority houses on Madison’s campus are gorgeous, but in my opinion, Pi Phi is one of the best because of the location. It is directly behind the Langdon dorm, right on the Lake Mendota. It is the only sorority house with a dock.

After breakfast we made our way downtown. While walking past another sorority house, we realized recruitment was going on. This was kind of timely considering that’s when and how we all met. Unfortunately, we didn’t go in the Pi Phi house because they were busy getting ready for the future rushees (not sure what the new name is for future sorority girls) but headed to the back of the house to see the dock and patio overlooking the lake. That’s when we saw Shirley, our house mom, through the window.

All of us had thought she had left but we were obviously wrong. She remembered all of our faces and even my name. We reminisced about the “good ol’ days”: Jen stepping on a nail the night after the Mifflin Street Block Party (also RIP) and the Kappa Sig panty raid that resulted in a dance party in the foyer and a lap dance for Shirley. Good times.

We said goodbye to the Pi Phi house, Shirley, Nicole, and her son, Silas, and on our way to the Terrace, made a pit stop at MacTaggart’s for water.20130902-102949.jpg

At the Terrace, we found a table in the shade and enjoyed our ice cream.20130902-103002.jpg

I attempted to take a few candid shots but was caught. Claire and Jen then pretended to act natural which resulted in a fake smile and a posed hand position. 20130902-103022.jpg

We had a lovely afternoon hanging out and wished we could do it more often. This will definitely be an annual thing (just not always on Labor Day weekend and not always in Madison).

20130902-103605.jpgWho’s who (clockwise from bottom left): Amy, Tina, Claire, Jen, me, Sara (who is holding Finley), and Lindsay. #piphilove

It was a fun-filled weekend, and I feel so lucky to have these girls as my friends. With the weddings almost done, we have nothing that forces us to come together. This is why we are determined to have an annual reunion weekend.


Good Eats from the Weekend

Welcome to Monday (evening) people! (Do you ever wish there was a punctuation mark of the intensity between a period and an exclamation mark? I do.)

My day felt a little off today because I took off of work on Friday. If you are a teacher, you understand the disarray you can come back to after a sub, even if the sub is great, the lesson plans go accordingly, and the kids behave. When I first started teaching, I would think about school the whole day; I would even call or email teacher-friends to check in on my room. Now I am able to let go and trust that everything will be fine.

Thinking back over my weekend, I realized how much amazing (and kind of unhealthy) food I ate. With friends in town and it being my birthday weekend, I didn’t show much restraint. Plus, running gives me good reason to take in a few more calories.

1. Dairy Queen Butterfinger Blizzard
Once my friend Rena, her mom, and her sister were all in town, I suggested Dairy Queen. Luckily, they all agreed! I saw Kathleen’s Butterfinger Blizzard sometime last week and it stayed with me. It was the perfect birthday treat.

*still not good about bringing my camera places…will get better, I swear

2. Scrambler at Bluephies
After Crazylegs, my grumpiness was soon cured with a coffee, a horseradish Bloody Mary, and an egg scrambler. I ordered the Popeye (spinach, tomato, and feta) with Egg Beaters; it came with wheat toast and shredded potatoes. They let me in despite all of my sweatiness, stinkiness, and saltiness (although I did have a wardrobe change in the bathroom of the vodkatorium).

3. Bibimbap at Graze
Brody has gotten this dish many times before and raves about it. It includes crispy rice, sautéed spinach, winter vegetables, bean sprouts, sunny-side up egg, chili paste, and marinated tofu or pork. Mmmm…this was so good! I ate it all but saved room for dessert. My friend Rena and I chose the chocolate peanut butter cheesecake for the table to split, but after everyone else (four other people) took a bite, Rena and I polished it off. Oh, and my drink! While I don’t drink a lot of liquor, I do enjoy anything with gin and grapefruit juice. I ordered the Marquez Collins which obviously had those two liquids but then topped with red wine, all over ice. It was a lovely dinner experience, as it always is at Graze.

4. Steak and pie at home
Brody was MIA for most of the weekend eating due a hockey tournament, but he made up for it Sunday night. I requested steak for my birthday dinner and the best place around us is Jacobson Bros (they also make killer potato salad). We picked up two bacon-wrapped filets before swinging by Market Street Diner for a sweet treat (Brody doesn’t bake). I chose a slice of turtle pie and Brody got carrot cake. When we ate around 7:30, we accompanied the steak with roasted veggies (potatoes, sweet potato, onion, and fennel).


After a weekend of indulgences, it is time to clean things up a little. Fortunately I have frozen mango in the freezer, which as I’ve said, helps me avoid chocolate at night.

See you again soon!

What were some of your yummy eats from this weekend?
What tricks or strategies do you have for cleaning up after an indulgent weekend?

“I” Statements on My Birthday

One factor I consider when writing (whether that is here for you or at school doing freewrites with my sophomores) is my sentence structure; in particular, I try to vary the first word of each sentence. Today, however, I am not going to do that. So here are some of my “I” statements regarding today.

1. I was born on this date twenty-nine years ago. I weighed 7 lb 11 oz.

2. I cannot for the life of me spend money at Kohl’s. They send me $10 gift cards randomly, so I go there (obviously that marketing ploy works well on me). Today I wanted to buy clothes; I tried on a Vera Wang top, Rock & Republic shorts, two dresses, and a few other assorted items. Nothing! I found a pair of nude wedge shoes that I liked but they rang up as still being $45 (I am cheap). Once again, I bought a six-pack of running socks and paid $1.79.

3. I always find stuff I like at Old Navy. For $22, I bought two 3/4 length tops, running capris, a running tank, and a cotton dress. While Brody did the dishes, I proceeded to tell him the details of my shopping trip. After a couple minutes of recap, he responded, “Huh? I stopped listening after you went to Kohl’s.” He doesn’t get it.

4. I made dough balls, and they taste like Larabars. I ate four of them today. I need more dates.

20120427-221550.jpg I followed Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe, used chocolate chips, and finely chopped peanuts.

5. I got beautiful flowers (pinkish-purplish roses and mini white roses) from my loving husband. What a lucky girl I am.

6. I went to Whole Foods today looking for Plant Fusion protein powder. My friend and fellow blogger, Bridget, read about it here. Sadly, the WF’s in Madison didn’t carry it. BUT…they do carry Graeter’s ice cream! Bridget introduced me to this incredible ice cream in Cincinnati – the black raspberry chocolate flavor is the bomb! I didn’t buy any, but it is nice to know it’s there.

7. I am angry at the weather. Forty degrees and a 70% chance of rain for most of the morning. Really? Come on Wisconsin. At least I will have lunch at Bluephies to look forward to during those fourteen miles.

8. I had a Dairy Queen blizzard tonight. Last weekend’s was so good, and I had a strong garlic flavor in my mouth from dinner that needed to be replaced with something. Plus, it is my freakin’ birthday. I had Butterfinger and it was good and I ate it all. The end.

No really, that’s the end. I need my beauty rest because God knows how hideous I am going to look after running in the rain for two+ hours. I hope Bluephies let’s me in for lunch.


BodyPump Unawareness, Quesadillas, and Lagunitas Glasses

Happy Monday people! Did everyone adjust to the time change? I had my alarm set for 5am, but when it went off, I made the executive decision to skip morning BodyPump and go to the early evening class. It felt nice to sleep for an extra forty-five minutes.

As I had planned in the wee hours of the morning, I made it to Pump. I arrived early and spent twenty minutes on the elliptical; then I pumped it out next to my friend Jena. There were two men in the class who had no idea what they were doing. Both did the clean and press SO wrong, and I was concerned they were each going to hurt themselves. During the triceps track, the guy closer to me had his arms way out on the bar and had no clue how to do a skull crusher. I know it shouldn’t annoy me because he was probably new…but it did. First of all, I wish the instructor would’ve seen him and helped him out. Secondly, it amazes me how some people lack body awareness. For example, if the instructor says, “Place your hands shoulder width apart on the bar,” that is what I do. I grew up dancing and watching myself in mirrors since the age of three. I have that mind-body connection and maybe I take that for granted. I also wonder if part of it comes from being a female (stronger mind-body connection?). Thoughts?


My pups needed exercise when I got home and we went for a nice thirty minute walk around the neighborhood. I spent about 79% of the time planning my dinner. Brody had a fantasy baseball draft, so I was on my own. With all of the produce in the fridge, I had lots of options. The sweet potatoes called my name and I wanted to finish up the last half cup of black beans I had used for tacos on Friday. I suddenly remembered a yummy dish from Bluephies: sweet potato black bean quesadillas.

Not the prettiest picture, but they tasted good.

With a whole wheat tortilla from Trader Joe’s and a little maple syrup, they came together nicely. In lieu of sour cream, I topped them with plain nonfat yogurt. Dessert included frozen mango. A perfect sweet, non-chocolate treat.


Is anyone else picky about glasses you drink out of? We have lots of pint glasses (many of which have beer logos on them), and they have been my favorite water drinking glasses…until today that is. Looked what we ordered!



I drank a cappuccino stout out of one of these last weekend at Cooper’s. Brody and I commented how cool of a glass it was. I ended up ordering six of them. I love the mason jar look.


Yesterday I thought I was being all cool mimicking the format of two of the bloggers who I regularly read; come to find out today I did it wrong. I took each letter of the alphabet and did my own thing with each, but I was supposed to answer the prompt for each (i.e. A is age, X is for x-rays). Oops! Oh well.

My rambling is done for the day. Sleep well!