Archive for June 2007

Buyer’s Remorse

June 29th, 2007 — 12:25pm

I suppose I shouldn’t be buying branches when I just spent what felt like half of my entire life savings on two bleacher tickets for this Sunday’s Cubs (vs. Brewers) game at Wrigley Field. One of which does not exactly have a confirmed buyer. Yet. And you don’t even want to know about the half-day of hell I went through to get them on Ebay. Excitingly, however, it will be my very first Cubs game at Wrigley. My Chicago friends seem shocked and appalled by this, but hey, I’m a Wisco girl at heart. I’ve been to plenty of Brewers games, and my biggest claim to fame is that as a small lad, I was in the audience at the old Milwaukee County Stadium for the filming of Major League (1989). The Milwaukee County Stadium doubles as the Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the film, both of which have since been demolished. I remember singing my little heart out to “Wild Thing,” as my parents patiently tried to explain to me what was going on.

The impetus behind the trip to Chicago is that my high school friend Erin is coming in for a week-long visit from Montana, so a bunch of us are meeting in Chicago for good times and good ‘ol American baseball. I’m excited to catch up with friends and to finally take in a game at Wrigley. Luckily, I’ll be armed with my new camera and will hopefully have lots of good shots to share on Monday. Should be a good game, too, not that I claim to know anything about baseball. Go Brewers!

Comment » | Vacation and Travel

Lunch Break Diversions

June 29th, 2007 — 11:15am

Over my lunch break today, I took a stroll down State Street to do a little window shopping. It’s a pleasant day in Madison—sunny skies, slightly cooler temps, and a whole lot of activity on State Street, which is actually pretty common for a Friday afternoon. The street was overtaken by professionals from the capitol and university enjoying lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafes, as well as several groups of kids in matching t-shirts who seemed to be on campus attending Badger athletic camps.

Anyways, I eventually wandered into Urban Outfitters, which happens to be my brother’s favorite clothing store. I don’t usually buy a whole lot from Urban Outfitters, I actually much prefer the company’s sister store—the more sophisticated Anthropologie. Alas, it’s a whole hell of a lot more expensive than Urban, so I can usually only justify about one item per year. But those few items are probably among the best in my closet. There’s a great Anthro in Nevada close to where my parents live, so that’s usually where I find my annual item of choice.

Today, however, I had a little luck at Urban. I found a very cool Branch Jewelry Stand ($26) for my bedroom. I’ve been on a bit of a necklace kick lately, and figured it would be the perfect way to display my new strands. It’s a coated alumninum branch on a velvet-lined base. I think it’s a bit funky and retro, but still sweet and feminine, so it should fit in perfectly.

3 comments » | Uncategorized

Out With the Old, In With the New

June 29th, 2007 — 8:09am

On Tuesday afternoon, I finally sucked it up and purchased a new pair of running shoes. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7. Doesn’t that sound fast? It’s a shoe for mild to moderate overpronators with long-lasting cushioning and a glove-like fit. I’ve been running in this model since my old favorites were discontinued by Nike about a year ago. I always put off buying new running shoes as long as possible. I dread dropping $100 on a new pair. But there comes a point when you’re on the verge of an injury and you know the only thing standing between you and an injury-free season is your damn shoes.

I conducted my shopping spree at Berkely Running Company, Madison’s newest local running store in Shorewood Shopping Center on University Avenue. My good friend Brodie is the manager there, and he’s doing a great job of running the place and seems to be finally happy at his third job of the year. To the great relief of Lauren (his wife, my good friend), I’m sure. The store is really nice, centrally located, and very well-organized and clean. They’ve also got some great apparel from some of my favorite brands like Pearl Izumi, Craft, Brooks, and New Balance. I did wonder why it was called Berekely Running Company, because it’s locally owned and not a chain. Apparently the owner believes that the Bay Area town and Madison have a similar passion for the outdoors and fitness, and that they’re kind of like sister cities. I’m not sure this was the best name for the store, because I definitely didn’t think “locally owned” when I heard the name. And I think that’ s a major selling point for the store.

Wednesday morning was the first run for my new little shoes. Most experts recommend that you slowly break in your new running shoes by alternating between your new and old pairs for a few weeks. I see no logic in this reasoning. My old pair are dead and if you’ve got new ones, why not use them? Immediately and exclusively. So, I went out in the new pair to do intervals and they felt wonderful. I love it when you buy new running shoes and even concrete feels springy. Boing.

2 comments » | Racing and Training

Sangria: The Nectar of Gods

June 28th, 2007 — 11:54am
Sangria Roja Mix (Williams-Sonoma)

Sangria at Dominick’s in Ann Arbor

I very much enjoyed last night’s first Concert on the Square. It ended up being just Abby and me, and we had such a great time eating, drinking, and catching up with each other. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to share, but luckily that will all change tonight when I hopefully buy myself a digital camera to finally replace the one that was stolen from me when I was somewhat mugged while eating dinner with friends at an outdoor café in Ann Arbor (yes, Ann Arbor!) two-and-a-half years ago. Over the last month, I’ve succeeded in convincing myself that I need a replacement for blogging purposes, and simply documentation of life!

Anyhow, the concert was wonderful. We enjoyed a plethora of fine foods—strawberries, brie cheese, crackers, carrots, honey mustard pretzels, sweet potato chips, my homemade bagels, edamame, and the most amazing sangria ever. I found a mix at Williams-Sonoma, and the simple recipe required only two cups of the liquid mixture, a bottle of dry, fruity, red wine, and slices of oranges and limes. Delicious. I usually make much more involved Sangria recipes that require so many ingredients, and this one was so easy and much more tasty. So I’m a convert. I also love to make my sangria in a huge mason jar, and then serve it in smaller jars. It’s so cute. I got the idea from this little bar across from the law quad in Ann Arbor called Dominick’s that I used to frequent after class. Needless to say, Abby and I were feeling good at the end of the concert, and from what I remember, the music was very good, too. Oh, how I love thee, Concerts on the Square!

Comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Lost Love and the Soundtrack of Life

June 28th, 2007 — 8:45am

If there is one album right now that I could listen to on repeat all day long, it would be Beck’s The Information. Beck Hansen, whose music completely defies categorization, is often described as an “artistic chameleon.” The Information, a fifteen-song disc that was released in October 2006, quickly became my favorite Beck offering. My most-played songs are “Think I’m in Love,” “Cellphone’s Dead,” “Strange Apparition,” “The Information,” and “Movie Theme.” Many of the songs seem to critique society’s heavy reliance on technological gadgets and an utter lack of appreciation for traditional forms of entertainment and human contact. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet located the album on vinyl, so for now my CD copy must suffice. Beck, I might add, would be proud of my search and appreciation for a more traditional audio format.

I first started listening to the album when my brother gave me a copy to listen to when I visited him in Utah this past January. My brother lives in a downtown neighborhood of SLC called the Avenues, which is built up onto the slower slopes of the Wasatch Mountains and was interestingly the first neighborhood in the city. The neighborhood is generally considered younger, more progressive, less-Mormon, and somewhat “artsy” and thus, a perfect fit for my brother. So each day, I would drive from his place through Cottonwood Canyon of the Wasatch Mountains to the legendary ski haven, Alta, while jamming to the brilliant beats of Beck’s latest masterpiece. The snowy covered peaks and winding mountain-road curves were utterly breathtaking, and the views will be forever etched in my mind. It was as if I was a new-born baby opening my eyes for the very first time. So I guess that’s a long way of telling you that I will always harbor fond memories of my scenic Utah mountain drives whenever I listen to The Information—and that’s definitely a good connotation.

Speaking of Alta, I’m quite certain I met my would-be husband while skiing Alta one day that week. After a dismal morning of shitty snow and being hit on repeatedly by 40-year-old ski bums and ex-Mormon freaks, I surprisingly hit it off with a guy on the chairlift. So cliché, I know. When we got to the top of the mountain, we (or at least I) reluctantly parted ways and skied off. He, with much greater speed and form than I. Miraculously, we skied down different paths but met up at the same chair lift at the same time, and rode up the mountain together again and again and again. He was from Chicago, a Northwestern MBA grad, very outdoorsy and sporty, and was visiting his sister in Utah for a month in between jobs. Sadly, I skied down the hill after what was our sixth ride up together, and when I got to the bottom and he wasn’t there, I thought perhaps he had moved on to a different part of the mountain. Thus, feeling somewhat dejected, I started to ski down to the lodge to get some hot chocolate to warm my hands and tender heart. Tear. As I was heading down, I heard him calling after me. But it was too late. There was no turning back. I spent the rest of the day hoping to run into him again, but alas, it was not to be. He was lost to me forever. Now, I don’t even remember his name. Sigh. So I suppose not all of the Beck associations are as entirely heart-warming as pretty mountain views, but tis the soundtrack of life.

Comment » | Books, Film, and Music

Concerts on the Square

June 27th, 2007 — 12:05pm

Tonight I’m heading to the first of this year’s Concerts on the Square with my friend Abby and her roommate, Chatti. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square series is the ultimate Madison summer tradition. The concerts are held on the state capitol lawn at 7 p.m. on six consecutive Wednesdays during the summer. Over the course of the season, more than 120,000 people pack the lawn, covering the square in a sea of colorful blankets, to gather with friends and enjoy some of the most lavish picnic feasts I’ve ever seen. It’s true bliss listening to beautiful symphony music while enjoying cheese, bread, fruit and wine with your closest friends on a warm summer evening. The 24th annual season promises a diverse lineup packed with talented musicians.

Week 1: (3/27) Midsummer Rhapsody, featuring cellist Stephanie Smith
Week 2: (4/4) Stars and Stripes Forever, featuring vocal ensemble Stars and Stripes Forever
Week 3: (4/11) Russian Folktales, featuring Sergei Belkin on the accordion
Week 4: (4/18) Caribbean Beat, featuring Lana Wordel on the steel drum and Nora Frisk on her viola
Week 5: (4/25) Eye of the Storm, featuring oboist Naomi Bensdorf
Week 6: (8/1) Streets of Paris, featuring violinist Yulia Ziskel

Comment » | Madtown Lovin'

Homemade Bagels

June 27th, 2007 — 10:17am

Last night I decided to try my luck at baking homemade bagels. I came across a recipe online and thought they looked tasty. And there were only six ingredients listed, so I figured it couldn’t be all that difficult. My roommate tends to measure the level of difficulty involved in a recipe by counting the number of ingredients, and I’ve since fallen for this fallacious logic at times. The recipe wasn’t tough, just terribly time consuming. I think I started at 8 p.m. and finally pulled them out of the oven after 11 p.m. (waaay past my bedtime). There were many steps—mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, resting, holing, boiling, and finally, baking. And I certainly didn’t pick the best day of the year to be standing over a hot oven and vats of boiling water, but oftentimes I don’t work through these types of details ahead of time.

The finished project turned out pretty good. The bagels have gotten good reviews from my guinea pig taste tasters at work. One wrote, “I was very impressed. Not only did it taste highly superior, but it even LOOKED good. Let me know when you open your restaurant and I’ll be there…” Well, personally I don’t think they’re quite as picture perfect as the ones above, but a close resemblance and an encouraging first attempt. I was telling a co-worker about my bagels in a meeting this morning, and another co-worker overheard and was like, “what possessed you to make your own bagels? Why not just buy them at Einstein’s or something?” Ha. Good question.

Comment » | Kristin's Kitchen

Slightly Bogus?

June 26th, 2007 — 12:29pm

It seems a little offensive to me that at Grandma’s Marathon the other weekend, all of the women were given pink race numbers that displayed a Target logo, while the men were given white race numbers featuring logos from Wells Fargo and Toyota. Because as a female, I’m of course the household buyer of toilet paper and similar household products. Pretty pink is also my favorite color. And men typically deal with the household financial affairs and big ticket purchases anyways. Makes total sense. I’m wondering if anyone else finds this offensive…

Comment » | Racing and Training

Gummy Goodness

June 26th, 2007 — 10:41am

My most recent sweet tooth addiction has been the Swedish Fish brand Aqua Life candies. After swimming laps over my lunch break last Friday afternoon, I was very much needing a quick sugar fix and stopped at Walgreens on State Street to satiate my craving before heading back to the office. While casually strolling down the candy aisle, I was immediately attracted to the gummy candies, which is somewhat unusual for me since I’m more of a chocoholic. After seriously considering the Haribo Gold-Bears, I instead opted for the soft and chewy Aqua Life assortment from Sweedish Fish. The 7.2 ounce bag is complete with orange sea horses, blue raspberry dolphins, grape blowfish, lemon starfish, and red Swedish fish. The flavors are mouth-watering, and the mix is much more fun and colorful than traditional Swedish fish. What I really like about Swedish fish is that they aren’t too gummy and don’t stick in your teeth like Dots and some other gummy candies. Instead, they are smooth and have just the perfect balance of soft chewiness.

In my mind, gummies will always be associated with my friend Katy from high school who was, and still very much is, obsessed with gummies. For some odd reason, our high school swim coaches would use bags of Jewel JuJu’s as incentives to make us swim faster. It seemed so normal to me at the time to be awarded with bags of JuJu’s for swimming a best time, a state meet qualifying effort, or for breaking a pool record. I swam for JuJu’s. This incentive system seems just a little weird to me now. But apparently, even today, I swim for JuJu’s. Fascinating.

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Terrace Pic

June 26th, 2007 — 5:01am

My dad and I soaking up the rays at the Memorial Union terrace on Sunday afternooon.

Comment » | Family Fun, Madtown Lovin'

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