Hello faithful readers,

September and October are the busiest months for my job.  I’m starting to train for a marathon, and it is going great!  I am also trying to balance time with friends, cooking meals for myself instead of opting for a frozen dinner from Trader Joe’s, and also trying to keep up with my laundry, which has been neglected for the past week.

I’m taking a bit of a break from writing for this blog, however, I will still be working and tweaking for a brand new She Loved Life to be launched this October.  Get excited for more giveaways, contests, and adorable recollections of the autumnal season as it passes us by quickly.

To keep up with my life in the meantime, check out my Twitter and Instagram, to read and see how I’ll manage to keep up with everything.

All of my love,



Yesterday, Madison hosted the Wisconsin Ironman race.  Although every fall I’ve lived in town my neighborhood has fallen prey to closed streets and participants running past, this was the first year I went to the Capitol to watch the runners participate and see some of the most incredible athletes finish 140.6 miles of athleticism.


The night before the Iroman, I was talking to my friends and saying how it has been a life-long dream of mine to run a marathon.  I also thought it would be fitting to do 26.2 miles for twenty-six years of my life.  While mentioning this idea, I somehow realized that I could do it.  I am able to run, I love running, and pushing myself to physical and mental limits is something I know I grow from.

Last night, I set about on my first marathon training run.  A short run around my neighborhood, up to the Capitol to watch the participants, then a short run home.  Just around two miles, but my body felt so appreciative of putting forth the effort to run once again.

I’ll be sharing the trials and triumphs of my marathon training this fall and winter, and would love to hear ideas on how I can better improve my running, whether it be dietary changes, shoe store recommendations, or just getting enough water and sleep.

It’ll definitely be a challenge, but I could not be more excited.

Book Review: No Cheating, No Dying

As much as I hate to admit it, I do judge books based off of their covers.  With the whimsical-looking doodles of Elizabeth Weil and her husband, Dan, on the front cover, I was intrigued enough to check out No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried To Make It Better.

via: goodreads


No Cheating, No Dying follows along Weil as her and her husband begin a year of living with the intent of making their marriage better.  She had no specific outcomes of this project, which I found a little unsettling as I began the book.  There was no way for her to mark “success” aside from writing the book and having it published.  I had to stop looking at the book in a self-help construct and take it for what it truly was — a memoir on her relationship.

Within the first few chapters, I was hooked on her life.  I wanted to know about how her and Dan found a home, how they revitalized the home, and where the process of the home was at the end of the book.  However, this was far from the book’s topic of marriage.  Yes, your dwellings affect your relationships, but is the house truly the center of your problems?

Major life issues were discussed, such as making the decision to expand their family and have children.  I was heartbroken as Weil discussed some of her most personal life stories, yet felt it was just too off-topic.  And the chapters were difficult to follow.  Some of the storyline seemed to not fit chronologically to follow her pre-determined plan.  The chapter about death did not discuss the couple’s desires after their demise.  What would happen to the children?  Had they looked over their life insurance policies to see if what they had truly fit their lifestyes?  Nope.  None of which were talked about.  Just another new counselor the couple met with was written about.

While it was a good story, I feel it was so off-base from what Weil was intending to go on.  I wouldn’t recommend this unless you want a memoir on a couple and their marriage which doesn’t delve into any of their true marital issues.

Labor-less Days & Weekend

In the four years I attended Ripon College as an undergraduate, I had classes each and every Labor Day.  Yes, while the rest of the country was busy relaxing and taking in one last gulp of summertime, I was in stuffy classrooms getting used to the new fall schedule and academia.

Now, as an “adult” I had off this Labor Day and took in as much relaxation and fun I could this weekend and thought it was worth it, considering I did spend four years of my Labor Days in the classroom.

I had a bit of luck on my side Friday afternoon.  The Willy Street Co-Op was giving away free Badger tickets to the UMass game, and I was one of the lucky three selected to get a pair of tickets!


I absolutely love the atmosphere around Madison prior to any football game.  The city’s energy skyrockets.  Students are antsy to get out of classes, friends are coming in for the weekends, adults with season tickets are following their bi-weekly routines, and thousands of away-team visitors are welcomed to Madison with suggestions of beer and the best cheese curds in the city.

I also love the way the city itself must prepare for game days.  Including signs like the one below.


Even before the football game began on Saturday, I headed to the Dane County Farmer’s Market with my friend, Megan, who had never been there before.  I had no list of items to grab, so it was primarily to get a snack in before the game and snatch up any great deals.


One of our first stops was to the famous Stella’s stand.  Although I thought of getting an entire roll of Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread, but it was a better idea to walk around the square with one of the spicy cheese empanadas.


How do you turn down this flaky, cheesy, delicious pastry?  You don’t.  Guys, you don’t turn this down.

While at the market, I saw the most beautiful sunflowers I have ever seen.  I made the decision to pass on them because my schedule has been busy — I want to be home to appreciate my flowers instead of tossing them away after two weeks of running around Wisconsin.  Therefore, I passed on purchasing — but I did snap a photo to remember them by.


I was able to share in my football experience with my friend Angie.  We ended up meeting to briefly tailgate at Jordan’s Big Ten, which is around two blocks away from the stadium.  My favorite part of Jordan’s Big Ten is the huge billboard that is updated each season to show the progression of the game’s score as the game is happening live.

Up until last weekend’s game, I had never actually seen anyone change the score.  The Badgers were able to get an extra point as we were walking to the stadium, and I saw the numbers change.  It’s a huge life goal that has been actualized.

IMG_2476Angie and I headed into the stadium and had to get some classic shots.  One, of the tower of football statues, and the other of the view of the field as we walked into Camp Randall.  Each and every time I watch a game, my heart stops a beat.  Not much is as magical as college football.



Although Angie and I are two older Wisconsin graduates, we still had a hankering to sit in the student section.  Off we were to Section J, the first student section in the Northwest side of the stadium.  It was a bit nerve-wracking to be so close to the non-student fans due to the tendency for UW students to have some pretty vulgar chants screamed each weekend.  However, the students in our area were very well behaved and no one was out of control.

IMG_2489I even got a little bit of sun before the game.  Bonus!

After the game, I headed back to my apartment to recoup and to take time for myself.  Having a go-go-go job and spending my weekend trying to take in the last moments of summertime meant that I had to crash at some point.  Saturday night and Sunday morning were the perfect opportunities to watch some DVRed television, clean every inch of my apartment, cook dinner, and sleep in.

IMG_2501Sunday morning, I made some french press coffee from Colectivo, sat outside on the patio, stared off at the capitol, and started reading The Interestings.  At this point, I’m only a small way through the beginning, but I’m hooked.  Told of a group of friends from summer camp, the novel charts the tribulations of their friendships and how they have come to be close thirty years after they met.  I am sure there is more excitement and drama to come.

IMG_2526Sunday night, I headed out to dinner at the Weary Traveler with friends and ended back up at the porch to have a big bottle of beer, split between us.  I also had the chance to light a candle I have been holding onto for almost a year now.  After my first paycheck from the coffee shop last fall, I purchased this amazing candle when it was on sale from Target.  I kept it next to my bed as a reminder that one day, I’ll be living in a city in my own apartment.  It felt so dang good to light that candle and reward my hard work!

IMG_2528On Labor Day, I met my sister in Milwaukee to take on my first Brewers game of the season.  It is the last month of regular season baseball and it’s the first time I’ve seen a game.  Honestly, I’ve been so busy that this fact is sadly true!  While the Brewers lost to the Pirates, it was still a fun game and a great time to catch up with family.

IMG_2533I did have one important stop to make before I left Milwaukee to venture back to Madison.  I went to one of the Wauwatosa Colectivo’s to have coffee with Julia, my little sister from my sorority experience at Ripon.  We hadn’t see each other in over two years due to graduate school and her jet setting off to San Antonio, Texas to complete a term with City Year.  It was amazing to catch up with her and to pick up where we had left, and it felt like no time had passed between us.  It is great to have friends with integrity that you can be open and honest with, even if it comes with a hint of learning and understanding.  We’ve both grown so much — and our hair has as well — so it’s great to see our progress on our own and within our friendships.  Of course, the good coffee helped our date as well.

It’s been a rough transition back into the work week, and I’m actually home to get my car fixed today.  I will treasure the fun I had this long weekend and will be counting down the hours until the next weekend is here.

How did you celebrate Labor Day?

The Art of the Care Package

Let me share a bit of a secret.  I was having a rough transition with work a week or so ago.  Not to say that I do not absolutely love my job.  But, I was just having some difficulties with some of the more stressful aspects.  I wasn’t taking time to take care of myself, and in turn, I wasn’t producing the outcomes I was hoping for while working.  I knew I needed to take time for myself, to surround myself with positivity, and work towards making everything in my life just a little bit better.

I was stressed, bitter, and had a little bit of an attitude for a few days.

Then, like she knew it was necessary, I received a care package in the mail from Stephanie.  It honestly could not have come at a better time.


I refrained from opening the package in the elevator of my building and waited until I had sat down in my studio to inspect the insides.  Just look — could this have been any more perfect for me?

From the top, heading clockwise: A Julep Moisture Mask Trio.  I have been neglecting my skincare in the past few days.  Thank goodness Stephanie somehow knew I needed to treat myself to a personal spa night and take care of my face, hands, and feet.

My favorite Staedtler pens.  Have you tried these gems out yet?  I use them at work all the time to keep things color coordinated and they are great for jotting down notes around the home.  I keep this set at my kitchen counter for grocery lists, shopping lists, and having colorful accessories during my weekly crossword puzzle time.

Julep’s Double Step.  I’m so excited to try this out this coming weekend when I’m stuck in heels for an all-day meeting Saturday.  It’ll be coming in handy for upcoming weddings, galas, and the like.  It’s small enough to toss into a clutch and actually smells good.  My feet are already super excited!

The card full of love and a little inspiration.  It’s hung up on my fridge to check out each morning!

Check out the adorable headband!  I’ve been in need of something sparkly to add a touch of class to my hair.  Even though Stephanie is a huge Iowa fan, I hope she thinks it’s okay that I wore this to last weekend’s Badger game.  It’s now my good-luck charm.

I don’t know how, but this is the first infinity scarf that I have owned that I have not made for myself.  The weather is still a bit hot in Wisconsin, but I’ve worn it out to show it off to my friends.  Yes, I am willing to sweat for fashion.

Then there are the pieces of jewelry.  Mind you, these are not pieces I would have picked out for myself on my own.  But, I am in LOVE with the ring and earrings.  I have needed a good statement ring for quite some time, even Matchstick Magazine says you should have one!  And the earrings are such a pretty green.  I have a hunch they will be on my ears for most of the fall.

By receiving this care package, I got the feeling that there are so many people cheering me on.  Even if it’s not all showcased in care packages, it is still surrounding me.  This care package has also allowed me to cross one item off of my 101 in 1001 list — help another blogger cross something off of his or her list.  Grateful that it came quite easily, and grateful for such a sweet lady to cheer me up.

If you were going to send out a care package, what is a must-have you would include?



My current job has officially taken over my calendar for September and October.  (And has even crept into taking over some nights in my August too!)  I knew I would be working a lot of evenings and traveling frequently, but I also know that I need to get out and be social for my sanity and to re-charge with my friends.

The best thing about Madison in September, aside from the gorgeous fall colors, are the myriad of different opportunities to get involved this month in community activities.

This weekend, Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1, is the annual Taste of Madison.  


The Taste of Madison is a great way to try famed recipes from over 90 restaurants in town.  Purchase a local pint of beer or glass of wine and walk around the capitol to see musical acts, try new restaurants and dishes, and being your Labor Day weekend with the perfect amount of people-watching and relaxation.

Wednesday, September 4 is Nerd Night at High Noon Saloon.


Granted, I’ll be there since it is my friend’s birthday and it happens to be right across from my house.  But I can’t wait to learn new topics and be generally nerdier.  This session’s topics?  “The Argument For Tragedy: or, How I stopped worrying and learned to love Star Wars Episodes I-III,” “How NOT to Make Your Indie Game!” and “Groupthink and Brainstorming: Bogus Business Buzzwords.”

Be there, and be square.

Saturday, September 8, the Oak Street Ramblers are playing at Alchemy.


You bet I’ll be at this event.  (It is already penned in my calendar.)  I love both the bluegrass style of the Oak Street Ramblers and cannot stop talking about the amazing Philosopher’s Stone cocktail I had at Alchemy over a year and a half ago.  It’s a cozy venue, so head in early to claim a seat!

Thursday, September 19 is going to be a night to remember.  Stacked, the welcome event for the new Madison Public Library, will be held to welcome Madisonians to their new library.


I have been waiting for almost two years to see this new building in action.  I’m thrilled to see the updated changes to the downtown branch of the library and to see local musical acts entertain.  There will be food, beverages, and two different floors of dancing!  What better way to welcome back such an amazing downtown institution.

Friday, September 20 is Adult Swim at the Madison Children’s Museum.


I have an unwavering love for the Adult Swim at the Madison Children’s Museum.  I went back in February, and can say it was one of the most fun events I have ever been to.  Where else can you run on a human-sized hamster wheel, drink local beer, and eat some amazing Roman Candle pizza?  It’s a fun activity to feel like a kid again, even if for a few hours.  This month’s theme is science, to tie into the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Of course, this is only a small subset of the amazing opportunities to be had in Madison this month.  Check out the always amazing, and ever-free Isthmus for other events.

Will you be present for any of these events?  If so, let me know.  We can take an awkward photo together and put it on the internet for hundreds (literally, hundreds!) of people to see.