Monday, May 31, 2010

Finish Line

1 race.
2 friends to get me through.
3 killer pairs of shorts.
13.1 miles.

It was a hot one this weekend in Madison, but together with my running buddies, we powered through all 13 miles of the course, taking in the scenery of our college past. Even though I am a slave to the mad beats that pump through my iPod, running with friends is ALWAYS better. And it doesn't get much better than these girls...and our killer matching outfits.

All smiles at mile 4.

Katie and Summer still sporting their pearly whites at mile really good at faking my smile.

No smile from me at 10.5. In fact I was joking to Nate that maybe I should just quit and walk back with him...but at least it captures the blazing sun, beautiful scenery, and of course our killer shorts.

The REAL smiles came at the finish line. Oh yeah!! We did it!

Now, there may or may not have been one scary hyperventhilating incident which was scary at the time and now just more embarassing than anything. But that is the beauty about running with friends. They pushed me through to the end, encouraged me and squashed the voice in my head telling me to quit. And I am pretty sure they would have got me into an ambulance had I needed it much quicker than a stranger on the course.

We were lucky to have lots of support of the course. Summer's fam was there, Katie's fiance, Nate and my sister (and future baby nephew!). My cousin Trish ran the race too, so it was fun to see some of my fam on the course as well!

Verdict's out on who the MVP of the cheer section was. Nate gets the frequency award...I think we saw him 7 times. He even documented his sweat progression as proof that he ran the course trying to find us.

Becca gets the bad ass mamma award. With her sweet skull bandana, killer signs, and full-bellied (I can say that because she's PREGNANT people...) was amazing to look out for her on the course.

Next up: 13.1 on August 7th with Meghan (honored to be runnign beside her for her first half!)

Friday, May 28, 2010


I'm in a blogging rut. I feel pretty un-inspired this past week. No wit to be shared. No cooking was done. No big secret date nights out.

It's weird. This was my first week of truly not having 'anything' after work (school, party to plan, etc) an dI have to admit it was nice, but last night at about 8:30 I could feel the restlessness setting in.

We did however get a few good things done this week:

1) We planted our 'double the size' garden. Between our garden and the CSA we are splitting with our neighbors we are going to have vegetables coming out of our ears.

2) We started and stopped a new home search. Seriously, we found a brand new construction house in our hood and were running financial models and everything to figure out if we could afford it. BUT, the location sucked, so we stay in our tiny home that is located in a spot we love.

3) We have downloaded a lot of fun apps for my new toy: the iPAD! I found Boggle and another crazy word game last night, and I have to say all I do now is play on the reading. no TV, no phone, nothing. All technology, all the time.

4)We discovered another leak in our basement. Awesome---(and hence the new home search). Luckily our friends at Just Being Frank are amazing, and hooked us up with some great plumbers so those woes should be fixed shortly.

5) Run. Lots of short runs this week as I am trying to make up for lost time. I did very little training for the half-marathon I have coming up this weekend and I am seriously concerned that I am going to be crippled on Sunday after the race. Nate will have to piggyback me to the car. BUT it is BratFest in Madison so at least it's something to look forward to after the race.

That's the update...wish there was some more excitement to add in but it is what it is.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

After 3 and a half years, I am done with school (forever!) and have finished my MBA. I decided to forego walking in a stuffy ceremony, and instead thought a fun summertime BBQ was the best way to go. Nate and i had a few requests for an "Iron Chef: 2" party (see recap of our first one here).

I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that I have competitive the stakes were high. I was receiving emails about 'practice runs', 'rule clarification' and 'judging process.' It was intense. The spread of food was vast, and I can promise you no one went hungry.

The only real problem was deciding how often to go back for more, and how much more to take.

My Dad nurtured his dish all day....some super top secret Ribs...which took home the grand prize of 'best overall!' Hopefully he isn't rubbing it into my Mom too bad. Never fear, for she won best "Sinful Dish" for her Death by Chocolate. What can I say? We eat good in my family!

It was so much fun to get everyone together to enjoy the weather. I am grateful for whoever it was that was up there putting in a good word to Mother Nature. The morning was cold and rainy. By party time...80 and sunny.

Winner of Best Presentation: Rachel Rosen!!

Nobody had more fun that my Nate. Grill master extraordinaire....turned Beer Pong extraordinaire.
And then Sir Puke-aholic.

I pity anyone who was his beer pong partner after about 8:30 that night. Not quite as much as I pity myself (or my saintly mother who cleaned up his vomit at midnight) for having to deal with him all night long...but what can I say? He sure knows how to celebrate!

Check out Janet's Pong moves...she also gets an award for playing Beer Pong with 3 intoxicated men and holding her own!

One of the best parts of the weekend was how much time I got to spend with Finn and spoil him with all sorts of great Auntie Candy treats: Cotton Candy, licorice, and Hamburer Cake!

And I got to hang out with my newest nephew---still in my Sister's Belly but in attendance nonetheless!

It is always sad when everyone heads home and 'real' life begins again. Thanks to everyone who came out to help me celebrate!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cotton Candy Kisses!

Stay tuned for scenes from this weekend's Graduation blow-out...we are still recovering at the Hanson household and by we I mean Drunk of the Century: Nate Hanson.

In the meantime, here is how I roll with Finn: Cotton Candy style.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

In case you missed it....

Not to beat a dead horse, but you only 'star' on national TV once in your life...

here is a link to see the action...look closely because if you blink in the wrong part you'll miss me. That, my friends, is how fleeting 'fame' really is.

Click HERE to see the video (you have to then click on the General Mills link).


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Perks

While there may be many frustrating things about working for a gigantic company, there are also some pretty cool perks that I get to partake in from time to time.

Take today for example. I leave work at 6, and head to the movie theater to join all of my co-workers, and their significant others for a private screening of the new Shrek movie, which will release this weekend. WHICH also means I get my all-time favorite dinner--POPCORN! And double bonus, this theater has caffeine free Diet Coke. Could it get any better?

After aforementioned movie, we head home turn on the TV to watch Biggest Loser. This episode was waited with much anticipation because there was a PROMISE of my 1.7 seconds of fame as the producers of Biggest Loser were in town filming a Last Chance Workout at my office last week. And sure enough...there I was bopping around the floor, doing some peppy side-steps with a VERY serious and concentrating look on my face. But's not every day you are on national TV, even it was for literally a blink of an eye.

So I crawl into bed tonight looking forward to work tomorrow because without my job not only would I not have a house, food in my cupboards and a car to drive, but I would not get to go to the movies for free or be on national TV.....all very important things. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 10

As part of of the "reduce the waste' project we have going from our Costco (over)purchases, we kind of self selected into our recipe as we had oodles of prosciutto left over.

Which led us to a delicious-sounding Gruyereand Proscuitto Stuffed Chicken Breast. Not the easiest plate to photograph in an appetizing manner...but you get the picture.

With the Cooking Light cookbook, I am always surprised to see the calorie content of the dishes that sound not that great for you. A good tip from this recipe is to make breakcrumbs from saltine crackers. We put them in our food processor and ground them up fine.

However, overall this dish got Nate's thumbs down because it dirtied way to many dishes (here at the Hanson household we have segregation of duties and 'actual dishes in the sink' usually ends up being Nate's job) so I am guessing this one won't win a repeat award.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beware of the ENFJ

I had a “managing people” training course this week at work and we did ALL sorts of fun personality assessments, work-style programs, etc. OF course this included the ever-famous Myers-Briggs assessment.

It had been since my Freshman year of college since I had done this, so I was super curious to see what “I would be”….and can I just say whoever came up with this fancy little assessment knew what they were doing because they NAILED me.

For starters, things you may notice about an ENFJ (i.e. me) upon first introduction:
- Are enthusiastic, energectic, involved with the people around them
- Take interest in others, outgoing, engaging, gracious, comfortable with others
- Expressive—self revealing
- Reliable, responsible, persistent.

Sound familiar anyone? (ummm like my persistent pleas to get my sister to use foursquare??)

And then come the knock-out "you nailed me" statements:
- prone to take things personally even when they aren’t meant to be  (what me? Never)
- impatient with others not as quick to act as they are (Ding ding ding!)
- eager, and sometimes overwhelmingly enthusiastic of ideas and requests (WHOO HOO!)
- Sometimes inflexible regarding their own values or what is ‘best ‘ for others (actually, I am really quite flexible, can even still do the splits).
- difficulty staying in the present due to over-extending themselves (Nooo...this is why I could never pay attention in school)
- like things to be organized, and their work to be planned (Listmania anyone?)
It’s like these people have a crystal ball into my soul. Except it is a secret soul that I didn’t even know I had but yet describes me so perfectly. Hmmm….kind of scary.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 9

We cooked up a STORM this weekend. Is there really anything better than cooking when the weather is crappy? Ok well...maybe reading or watching movies. BUT, either way we ate like kings this weekend.

Saturday night I stirred for 45 minutes and the outcome was a pretty delicious Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto Risotto.
Risotto is kind of a weird dish because it is often served as a main course at restaurants, but whenever we make it at home I don't feel like it is robust enough of a meal to actually count as a meal. However, I do love me some risotto.

I was the sole stirrer (although I can hardly complain since Nate did about 8 hours of yard work), and I am very sad to report that my arm started to get sore after a little while. Clearly I need to hit the gym a little harder. Can you see my enthusiasm for stirring?

Monday, May 10, 2010


I am officially done with Grad School. Last paper turned in. Final group projects complete. Apparently I am a MBA graduate. So that is done.


But NOW....I need to figure out what to do with all of this new found freedom. It was a revelation on Saturday morning when I woke up and it started sinking in that I had NOTHING hanging over my head that must get done that day. So I did what I would imagine 'normal' people do: went to brunch with girlfriends, stopped over to a neighbors house and ended up running a few errands together, cooked dinner wtih my husband and watched a movie. FAB!

But that is just one day...and so I have started making a list of what all I may possibly want to do now that I have this new found freedom....

1) Read more. I have almost 200 books sitting on my shelf that I haven't read. I counted them this weekend.
2) Decorate. We've been in our house for 3 years, and there are still so many things I want to do to spruce it up a little.
3) Plant our 'double the size' garden.
4) Take a photography class.
5) Get all artsy/craftsy. I have ripped off some inspriation from Etsy, NYC street artists etc. And I want to see what these hands can do.
6) PURGE....we are just two people. How do we have so much stuff? Time for it to go.
7) Visit with friends. Rachel? Amy? Who is up for a visit?
8) Run more. My training for this half is sub-par. Next one, I want to do speed drills and really train hard.
9) Do Girl Date Night with Katie, exploring this great city via girlfriend fun.
10) RELAX! Go to bed at a normal hour. Watch TV without emailing, typing, reading, etc WHILE 'watching'.

Nate keeps adding to it so we'll see what actually happens. Perhaps all. Perhaps none. Perhaps I will just work more. Hopefuly not.

I look forward to spending lots of time with Nate before he goes back to school for the summer semester. Lots of cooking, biking, fun to be had.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day Bunny

We see you, Bunny. Hopping around our yard all winter. Chewing on our bushes. Shredding the tender little plants popping up this spring. We've tried chasing you out of our yard. We've even hit you with a water bottle. We've yelled at you. Tapped our window at you. And stomped out onto the deck to scare you away.

And yet, you STILL decide that our backyard is the safest place for this:

Get the picture, Momma Bunny. We don't want you or the likes of you around these parts. You think these FIVE cute little creatures are going to stop us from destroying your comfy little wonderland in our backyard? Just for today, Bunny. Just. For. Today.

Because we have hearts, and clearly Bunnies can be Moms too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cooking Light: Episode 8

Mamma Mia! It was time for another Cooking Light recipe (we are grossly behind given how much we love this cookbook).

And since we haven't been grocery shopping in about 2 weeks, we REALLY had to scour the book to see what we could make with the meager ingrediants in our cupboards. BUT what we do have is some fresh herbs planted in a shiny new planter that I am currently obsessed with. Can you say basil, rosemary, sage and oregano (oh my!).
So given this fresh ingrediants, and a massive stockpile of canned tomatoes, we took a stab at Cooking Light's Classic Marinara. Now Nate....not a fan. Like our old tried and true homemade sauce (which is barely homemade by the way--meat, tomato paste, some herbs and a flavor packet). I thought it was a nice change of pace personally.
And for a homemade sauce it was QUITE easy, which is always nice.

And oh the abundance of sauce and noodles for the rest of week brings me joy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Book Club Bliss

I have the best book club in the world. Sorry, but I do. I'm sure there are people out there that love their book club. But not the way I love mine. If I were to enter a contest entitled: Best Cook Club in the World, I would win. Hands down.

Exhibit A: We all actually love reading, read the book and (and this is a critical component) actually discuss the book.

Exhibit B: We are fun, and nice people (also a key part).

Exhibit C: We do really cool stuff. Like our Holiday "Bring-A-Friend" event, and new this year: Book Club Offsite, also aptly named Book Club Spring Break.

Can you argue this?
Linda, the 25 year-old at heart, member hosted us in her home in Naples, Florida this past weekend and it was BLISS. Every morning we had a scrumptious breakfast, and then headed out to the 'office' where we would partake in chatting, floating in the pool, swimming in the pool, drinking in the pool, eating in the pool,(do you sense a theme here). Ironically, there was very little reading actually done (until the flight home).

And when we weren't in the pool, we were enjoying amazing dinners in downtown Naples. Linda invited us to her "dinner party" the first night at a great restaurant, and treated us all to an amazing dinner and a GIGANTIC drink (which was delicious even if it caused our stomach to make whale mating noises)...

Throughout the weekend, about every other hour one could hear a phrase along the lines of "This is the best", "I love our book club", "I love you guys" was like one big best man speech after another. And it was brilliant.

We reminisced about all of the great books (and stinkers!) of book club past, the graveyard of book club members past, and started brainstorming all of the cool things we can do in the future (Spouse Appreciation event coming soon!).

Debra and Linda (the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo of our group) were so much fun to be around. They have such a special relationship which is apparent from the moment you are around the two of them together. The book club wouldn't be the same with out both of them. Together.

And what would a vacation be without dessert? Naples does ice cream right. Although I wouldn't know..I stuck to CANDY..........

I look forward to the next 20 years of book clubs with these fun ladies (and Katie and Lindsay too!)...more weddings, babies, and all life throws at us. Discussing it through books, over dinner, and through great times like this.