Monday, January 31, 2011

In Hair-y Trouble

My mom says she can always tell when I've done something she won't approve of. When I was in college, she said she knew when I got back together with an ex-boyfriend she didn't like or I didn't follow up on a request she'd asked me to complete. And how did she know?

She says I stop calling home, and I think she's right. I've been avoiding calling home all weekend.

Don't freak out, Mom, but I cut my hair again. I know you won't be pleased.

Okay sure, I'm 29 years old so I can make a decision as simple as getting a haircut without my mom's permission. But you see, there's something about moms and how they're always right. I should've listened to her.

Late Thursday night, I got a wild hair (pardon the pun) and decided I'd had enough of the awkward, middle stage my hair was in. I've been trying to grow it out for a few months now and it had reached just below my shoulders. My hair looked frumpy and unshapely. I called and made a hair appointment for the following evening. My hair stylist tried to convince me to keep it long and go with blunt bangs instead, but I told her no. I wanted to go back to the cute, short haircut I'd had for a year before.

And now I'm sorry I did it. Dang it! Why are moms always right? I don't like my new haircut at all. I thought at least Andi would like it (because he likes my hair shorter) but he didn't even notice! When he came home from his business trip yesterday he said to the dog "Chloe, I like your haircut." Yep it's true, Chloe did get a haircut last week ... BUT SO DID YOUR WIFE! In his defense, he finally noticed last night.

Well, what can I do now? Nothing but start the long process of growing it out all over again. Next time Mom, I'll listen to you. Promise!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Home Sweet Home

It's 8:30pm on a Saturday and I'm exhausted. Somewhere between back then and this very moment, I became OLD. A day like today makes me so thankful I have an awesome home to relax in tonight.

I woke up early this morning - 5:30am on a Saturday kind of early. I turned on the news, flipped open the computer and eventually made myself a bowl of cereal. I was pretty much up for the day. Around 9:00am, I met my friend Kristin who's moving to the Twin Cities next month from Kansas City. I volunteered to tote Kristin around town on an apartment hunting expedition. We went ALL OVER the city today - saw apartments in St. Paul, Uptown, downtown, Northeast, St. Louis Park and St. Anthony areas. Eight hours later, we saw tons of apartments and nothing that matched her interest or expectations.

Makes me realize just how lucky Andi and I are to own our house (duplex). And how great of a deal we're giving our renters! They've got an awesome 2-bedroom with laundry, included cable/internet/sewer/water/trash, free parking, a backyard (with grass and a grill!), great neighborhood and ahem, awesome neighbors for seriously $500 less than most of the tiny apartments we saw today.

After apartment hunting, we met another co-worker for dinner at Bonfire. We ate and laughed over the funny leasing agents we met today. I do hope she finds something she loves, and hopefully something close to my house so we'll be able to hang out too.

Now I'm off to bed. Can barely keep my eyes open! Good night, everyone.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Missing Daddy?

I just had to snap this photo of my little pooch this morning. There's some moments in life that warm your heart and this is one of them for me. How cute is this?

Andi's traveling for work this week and I want to say Chloe misses him while he's gone. But then again, she gets to sleep in bed with me when he's not here, we snuggle up and she gets plenty of my attention.

Just like this morning when she was all tucked into the covers, laying in Andi's spot in bed. Too cute!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Trip booked!

Andi called me this morning and told me he found a flight deal to Orange County over my birthday weekend. Delta was running a flight deal from Minneapolis to OC for 20,000 miles. (Hey, did you know Delta SkyMiles now expire at the end of the year? It's true; it's a new policy. Gotta use those miles)! So we decided - OC for my birthday and it's going to be great.

I'm not sure why this trip was such a big decision for us, but we couldn't for the life of us decide how to celebrate my 30th birthday. We talked about Cancun but waited too long to book the deal we found and then it was gone. We considered the cabin up North but we're both so freaking over this crappy Minnesota weather, we decided to get away somewhere warmer. Southern California's been experiencing record high temperatures the last few weeks so hopefully the trend continues and it'll stay in the mid to upper 70's. I'm just looking forward to walking outside without a coat. Big dreams, big dreams.

What are we going to do in So Cal? No idea. We'll probably spend a day in Laguna Beach and another day in San Diego. Sit at a sidewalk cafe or go to the beach. I've been to L.A. several times and spent time around Santa Monica but never Laguna or San Diego so it should be fun just to relax and bum around.

Love my husband for just making a decision and taking care of it. Great way to ring in the big 3-0. Just me and my honey and some California sun...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Facebook: bad emails in disguise

I'm taking this opportunity to climb on top of my soap box and proclaim: I'm taking a Facebook time-out.

I used to reveal in Facebook's trip to la la land. A five minute time-out in the middle of the day to read funny, quirky updates from friends and family members. Lately though, it feels like every post is a link to someone's event in which I'm invited to donate $$, someone peddling a friend's arts and crafts for sale, someone inviting the world to join them in their next half marathon or someone requesting I re-post a message about loving my grandma. I do love my grandma but seriously, does anyone else feel like Facebook news feeds have become walking social advertisements? Facebook today is morphing into email forwards of the past.

Not to sound croggity, but I'm feeling all over advertised to in my personal space and it's not cool.

Unfortunately, I can't pause Facebook use completely because I'm the social media person at work and I'm required to post on our work page every day. So I guess I'm saying, I vow to let Facebook suck less of my time. And I vow to de-friend all people who post 1) benefits/causes you're peddling 2) arts/crafts you're peddling 3) the latest fitness craze you're peddling 4) and any of you who ask me to re-post anything like a bad 90's forward. Consider yourself warned.

[stepping off of my soap box now]

The end.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Celebrate? That is the Question...

Thanks for everyone's feedback on my post Cancun or Crosslake? the other day. Andi and I are still up in the air about my 30th birthday plans coming up in a few weeks. We haven't decided on a final plan yet, but I do know we're no longer planning to go to Cancun. (Well, I say that with 99% certainty; not planning to go there until we find some hot last-minute deal between now and then). 

The Crosslake cabin was really winning out in my mind. I like the idea of spending an entire weekend with Andi, away from everything else. Perhaps a little spa-time action? It all sounds nice to me. Except for the fact that it's so damn cold here and by this time of the year, I'm just sick of it.

Andi suggested a quick weekend trip to San Diego for my birthday weekend and I really think this one might win out. I've never been to San Diego and temperatures in the 70's sound peachy. Plus, I think doing something goofy like going to the San Diego Zoo sounds incredibly fun.

We haven't booked anything yet, and truthfully I probably won't. I'll let Andi take the lead on this one. Surprise me! It's my birthday and I feel the need to be celebrated.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Double-Take Husband

This magazine went into the recycling bin today. I just couldn't take it anymore.

Head on, it's a perfectly fine cover of man talk.

But upside down, it bares an eerie resemblance to my husband.

Do you see it?

How about now?
(real Husband)

Little freaky every time I walk by the coffee table. I seriously double-take.

Good-bye freaky magazine cover husband look-alike!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The start of a beautiful journey

Two years and one day ago, I was VERY READY to get engaged. Loved my boyfriend, positive I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. What part of this puzzle was so hard for him to come to terms with? I'd politely dropped hints, talked about marriage until I was blue in the face and even thrown a tantrum or two (or yes, it's true I did).

Then my boyfriend invited me on a weekend trip to Duluth. "Let's celebrate our upcoming trip to Panama," he said.

We rolled into town Friday night around 7pm and pulled up to the Beacon Point Resort. A different place than we usually stay, but I rolled with it. I'd always heard boys act differently when they're about ready to propose - nervous, anxious, excited - he exuded none of the above. Calm, normal, relaxed was more like it.

We checked into our hotel room, then he went back to the front desk to work his magic. "I'm going to see if we can get an upgraded room," he said.

A text a few minutes later tells me to grab my bag and come to room 204. I do as I'm told without a thought.

I walk in to candles, cheese and crackers and two glasses of wine before me. We grab our glasses and look out onto Lake Superior. Cold, icy and beautiful.

"Want your birthday present early," he asks? I say I do.

He flips on the t.v. to this:

Andi & Heathers Engagement from Andi Dickson on Vimeo.

As I wipe the tears away, he asks me to be his wife.

Of course I say I will.

Two years ago was the start of a beautiful journey with my husband. He's my best friend, my soul mate and I'm forever in love.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Morning Makers

I've taken to eating healthier this new year, including cutting caffeine and making a more conscious effort to eat balanced meals. It's going pretty well so far. I'm eating breakfast every morning and planning week night meals that are easy to prepare.

One of the recipes I've made so far is a definite keeper. Packed full of fruits, vegetables and healthy fiber ... and tastes amazing!

Morning Glory Muffins
recipe from
         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
         1/2 cup whole wheat flour
         1 1/4 cups white sugar
         1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
         2 teaspoons baking powder
         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
         1/2 teaspoon salt
         2 cups grated carrots
         1 apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
         1 cup raisins
         1 egg
         2 egg whites
         1/2 cup apple butter
         1/4 cup vegetable oil
         1 tablespoon vanilla extract
         2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
         2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

1.             Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2.             In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple butter, oil and vanilla.
3.             In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in carrots, apples and raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
4.             In a small bowl, combine walnuts and wheat germ; sprinkle over the muffin tops.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day In The Life: Winter Edition

Gah! Today's the deadline to participate in my friend Laura's Day In The Life blog post series. I really wanted to play along; loved documenting my day last fall and truthfully, loved to read and compare everyone else's "day in the life" too. I meant to snap some photos on Saturday for a weekend edition, but I got busy and forgot until about mid-day. Then I meant to start it yesterday, but I forgot again. My head was filled with first-day-of-school to do lists from the moment I opened my eyes. So, today, TODAY is the day I selected to document a day in my life: the winter edition.

I woke up with a jolt in the midst of some crazy dream about Andi and I being on the run from the law. Not exactly sure what we were running from, but we were driving a stolen Ford Taurus (those old ones that are sort of bubble shaped, remember those)? He dropped me off at the airport so I could catch a get-away flight to Kansas City (apparently cops can't find you there?) but Andi had my ID in his wallet. (which happens to me about once a month - we go somewhere and I give him my ID so I don't to carry my purse and then I drive around for a week or so before I remember to get it back). Of course I couldn't get on the flight because I didn't have my ID and then .... I woke up. Not sure what this dream means, but I'm certain we didn't steal a Taurus. My ID, however, is still missing...

6:35AM - 6:55AM
At this point, I still haven't remembered to document my "day in the life" so there's no photos to share. I can tell you I jumped in the shower at 6:35AM, ate a bowl of Lucky Charms with cut-up pieces of banana dunked into the milk and watched WCCO News from 6:45 - 6:55AM. I contemplated laying in bed for another 20 minutes to catch the news headlines on The Early Show but I opted against it; decided I'd better get moving.

6:55AM - 7:15AM
I picked out a long-sleeve gray shirt to wear with work slacks that are jean material (I feel very rebellious when I wear them!) and accessorized with a black scarf to dress it up a little bit. After throwing on some foundation and brushing my hair, I slipped on my black snow boots (which by the way, is one of the worst aspects of living in arctic Minnesota. At what point does safety and warmth beat out cuteness? When your feet are soaked to the bone because your girlie shoes can't handle the snow/slush/cold, that's when)!

I finally remembered this little "day in the life" project on my drive into work this morning. I also notice it's a balmy 7 degrees outside. Why do I live here again?

ps... that's right. I do have warning lights flashing on my dashboard. I'm one of those people who neglects to EVER investigate what the red blinky light means.

I arrived at work and walked into my office. It's a disaster area, but it's to be expected as I share an office with another Marketing Manager, 2 graphic design interns and 1 marketing intern. This place is always a mess with boxes, posters, coupons, etc.

I opened my desk drawer to find a rubber band and snapped. I seriously don't know how this place gets so messy. I spend the next 10 minutes cleaning out my desk drawer. Fill up an entire quart-sized Ziploc bag with pens alone. Ridiculous.

7:50AM - 10AM
Since yesterday was the first day of second semester at the U, I didn't have a minute of time in the office. So I spend the morning by myself (surprisingly) in the office answering emails, writing a schedule for next week's marketing interns, printing signs and organizing marketing materials for this afternoon's manager's meeting.

Hungry again. I snagged a KIND Bar from my bag to munch on. Do you ever eat these bars? They're amazing. The Peanut Butter and Jelly is my favorite. Or the Macadamia Nut. Yum. Today it's a Walnut and Date bar, half smashed from riding around in my work bag but still tastes alright.

Run down to one of our convenience stores to check on their status. We opened a new Subway inside the store yesterday and it's been slamming. I noticed the placement of chip racks still haven't been moved per our discussion on Monday. I finally decide to do it myself. Reset the chips and moved the racks near Subway's queuing lines. Hello! Let's make some money!

Jump in my car and head over to the Student Union. We opened a new pizza concept in the food court yesterday so I need to check on the customer flow and product. My interns are there selling meal plans.  One of them is wearing giant heels which coincidentally is a bit of safety hazard in food service. Mental note to speak to interns about attire in the work place (and by the way, doesn't everyone else see the sensibility in wearing snow boots to work in the wintertime)? Everything else looks ok here; it's crazy busy. I head back to my car and back to my office. But before I leave, I grab a slice of cheese pizza on the run...

I check a few more emails and help the other girls in the office assemble new terracycling collection boxes. It literally takes 4 of us to sticker those suckers!

I check my personal email and scan Facebook. For the first time in a long time, there's a good deal on $20 gift card for half price. I buy one; we all know Amazon delivers to our house just about every other day ... might as well save myself a few bucks on my next purchase.

I dial into a bi-weekly conference call. Drives me nuts today just like it does every other Wednesday. There's 50+ people who call in and every time the line beeps, the moderator says "who's there?" Why doesn't she just host a WebEx and she can see who logs in? Do we all have to listen to 50+ beeps and responses? It's like nails on a chalkboard ...

Jump in the car and head back to the Student Union to pick up the meal plan orders from lunch. My team does a great job and makes 6 sales. Before I leave, I poke my head into the manager's office and tell him he's doing a great job. He had a record sales day yesterday and I know he's stressed.

I'm 15 minutes late to the meeting but it hasn't even started yet. It's going to be a long one, I can already tell. We talk sales from the first day's opening and I reinforce some marketing tactics.

Meeting ends. I jump into my car and drive to the new 5 Guys restaurant in Dinkytown. One of our corporate support people are in town for the new store openings and we decided to meet for dinner.

It smells sooo good in the store! I order a cheeseburger with tomato, pickle and lettuce. We all share an order of hand-cut French fries. They're hot and salty and delicious.

After lots of girl talk and work gossip, I hop into the car and head home. I'm sure Chloe pup is bursting at the seams by now. She runs out of her little apartment in the garage (doesn't your dog have her own room?) and shutters when she hits the cold. It's now 5 degrees - awesome.

Turn on the t.v. and crawl into bed. It's my relaxing time. 8PM - Andi calls and he's still at work. I contemplate waiting to watch all of ours shows recorded in the DVR but eh, he won't care right? I watch The Good Wife, Modern Family and Cougar Town.

Super exhausted so I'm going to bed. I know - lame! Maybe someday I'll be able to stay up late like a big girl.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cancun or Crosslake?

I'm trying to decide what to do for my 30th birthday. It's less than a month away and surprisingly, I haven't found my usual birthday swagger yet. We went to Europe for Andi's 30th and he thinks we should do something big and spectacular for my birthday too. I'm not one to disagree but for some strange reason, cuddling up with my hubby at one of my favorite places in the world - the cabin - sounds pretty appealing. I'm also torn because there's that thing called "vacation days" that you usually need to take time off of work. And unfortunately, I'm a little shy in the vacation days department at work. Our trip to Europe and the mandatory week we had to take off between Christmas and New Year's has tapped me out. I suppose I could take the days unpaid but half the fun of vacation is laying on the beach and getting paid for it, right?

Andi suggests an all-inclusive lounge-fest at a resort in Cancun. It sounds heavenly, especially with the frigid temperatures of Minnesota baring down on us. But a quiet weekend trip to Crosslake sounds nice too. We would spend a day at the spa, get Rafferty's take-and-bake pizza and snuggle up by the fire doing nothing but hanging out together. Of course we could do something outdoorsy like go snowmobiling or snowshoeing, but if it's my birthday and I get to choose, I vote no way.

Lately, Nicaragua's moved to the top of Andi's vacation destinations so the other option would be to stay somewhere close to home in February and do Nicaragua in March over Spring Break. Working at a University, they always force us onto vacation the last day of SB anyway so at least I'd be using the mandatory vacation day for something fun. 

Looks like my hubby and I have some difficult decisions to make this weekend :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Meal Planning 101

I remember writing a post about a year ago soliciting ideas from all of you about meal planning. I received some great suggestions about planning a week of meals ahead of time and shopping for specific ingredients I can use in a variety of meals. They were some great ideas and overall, I've tried to make these ideas work for our life. But if I had to find one area of my marriage where I feel the most inadequate, it's here. Meal Planning 101.

It can't be that hard to conquer and believe me, I've tried. I order groceries from a grocery delivery service about every 10 days or so. I spend hours researching meal ideas online and carefully selecting all the ingredients I'll need. But the same thing happens every week: our life gets busy; Andi works late or one of us are traveling for work. Ultimately, I end up making 1 of the 4 or 5 meals I've planned. I realize that even if Andi is working late I can still make a meal for myself but I find something about that so depressing. Getting out all the dishes, making the meal, eating it alone and cleaning it all up all by myself. I can never bring myself to do it. 

So this week I'm going to try something new. I bought a list of ingredients and I'm going to try to pre-plan and prepare meals in advance. Things that freeze well that I'll split into individual portions. Other meals that can be separated and measured out ahead of time, so all I have to do is throw everything together. This week I'm planning to make Morning Glory Muffins, Chicken Parmesan, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, and Pizza Burgers. I'm hoping my new plan of attack works!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


When the husband is away, the wife ....

... is lazy and never gets out of her pajamas. Is that how the saying goes?

Andi's in Montana snowmobiling with a few friends this weekend, which leaves me at home all by my lonesome. You may be imagining a sad, mopey tone to my voice but I actually love it. Two whole days to eat, sleep and do whatever I want when I want.

Last night I did manage to take a shower and go to my work holiday party. Even though I missed having my side kick alongside me, it still was pretty fun. My favorite part is getting a glimpse of my co-worker's spouses and significant others. Always interesting to see people outside a typical work setting.

I was suppose to fly to Nebraska for work later this afternoon but my work trip has been canceled due to heavy snow fall forecasted in Nebraska this week. I know from experience, when the weather's bad in central Nebraska they just shut down the interstate and no one goes anywhere until it's clear. That's the LAST place I really want to be today so thankfully my work colleagues decided to cancel our plans.

So instead, I've spent most of my morning on hold with our corporate travel trying to cancel my $750 flight (a charge that won't exactly fly under the radar). I also finished putting away the last remaining Christmas decorations and the tree. Why I thought twisting 6 strings of lights around every tree branch was a good idea is beyond me now.

For the remainder of my day, I think I'll finish some laundry, take a nap and watch a few crime dramas on television. Can a weekend be any sweeter?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Annual Report

Here's 2009

January 1 - We spent New Year's in Duluth with close friends. While the boys hosted a hockey tournament in -20 degree temperatures, the ladies went to the spa :)

February 27 - Andi took me snowmobiling for the first time. While I really like it and wouldn't mind going again, I would never want to go 6 hours like we did that day. WAY.TO.LONG.

March 15 - Andi and I traveled to Maui for the first time. We had an amazing trip, relaxing in the sun and venturing around the island. It's our favorite place to visit in Hawaii for sure.

April 6 - We spent Easter 2010 in Nebraska. This weekend is one of my favorite memories with my niece Brooklyn. I taught her how to fly a kite, we blew bubbles, played Play-Doh and drew with sidewalk chalk outside in the brisk spring air. There is nothing particularly special about those moments, just some I'll never forget.

I like April because it's the first month we all come out of hibernation and enjoy the outside again. Personally, I hate how winter makes me feel all cooped up and limited to staying indoors. This month I started on spring clean-up in my yard and my tulips and daffodils finally start to sprout.

May 9 - Andi and I met my parents, brother and sister in Des Moines to celebrate Mother's Day. We reserved a few hotel rooms and spent most of the weekend going out to dinner and swimming in the hotel pool.

May 16 - Our first weekend at our summer cabin. Also known as, my favorite place on Earth. Our many weekends here over the summer are some of my favorite memories of 2010.

May 30 - Memorial Day at the cabin. Fishing, friends and SO MUCH FUN.

June 4 - As an anniversary present for Andi, I did something daring and signed up for a boudoir photo session. It was one of the most beautiful and powerful things I've ever done for myself. I loved it! I presented Andi with the photos in a bound leather book for our anniversary in July.

June 6 - The most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen. [Lake O'Brien, Crosslake]

June 14 - Andi and I traveled to Chicago to visit our friends Ellie and Derrick. We had a great time hanging out for the weekend and exploring their little neighborhood.

July 4 - BEST. FOURTH OF JULY. EVER. 'nuff said.

July 31 - Andi and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in British Columbia, Canada. We had an amazing little getaway to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

August 8 - My parents ventured to Minnesota and spent a few days with us at the cabin. It was their best visit here; we relaxed and enjoyed the best weather Minnesota offered us all summer long.

September 24 - September's the busiest time at work for me and pretty much a blur. I worked hard, slept little and tried to enjoy the last few days to warm Minnesota weather. On 9/24, Andi and I went to dinner at a nice restaurant in St. Paul to celebrate us coming up for air.

October 4 - Andi and I said good-bye to the cabin and turned over the keys back to the owners. A sad day, but hopefully a chapter we'll get to open again in 2011.

November 15 - Andi and I traveled to Philadelphia to visit my cousin Tara and my aunt/uncle Bob and Cindy. It'd been years since I'd seen them and we had a relaxing weekend catching up and snuggling Tara's new baby Henry.

November 27 - We celebrated Thanksgiving with Andi's family in Minnesota this year. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite family traditions with Janie and Lindsay. We meet early at Andi's grandma's house and prepare a big feast for his entire extended family. It's what Thanksgiving is really all about.

December 13 - Andi's 30th birthday and our first trip to Europe. We traveled to London and Paris, ate our weight in croissants and soaked up all the culture we were able.

December 25 - Christmas Day 2010. We celebrated with Andi's family in Minnesota (and my family the following week).

We're so fortunate 2010 brought us good memories, happiness and health. Looking forward to all 2011 brings!

Friday, January 7, 2011


I have to keep reminding myself its only January 7. In my mind, this month is already over and I've moved forward to February. Geesh! I should have no fear, there's still plenty of time to provide you my 2010 recap. Happy reading. 
Here's 2009


1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I celebrated one year of wedded bliss with my husband. Also, we traveled to Europe for the first time.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't remember setting any official "resolutions" last year, but Andi and I did do a great job saving money and paying off bills. Yay for us! That's a big accomplishment.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

Uh, just about everyone I know (except me). My friends Jessie, Shelley, Julie and Val and cousins Tara and Jen.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully. 

5. What countries did you visit?

Andi and I fortunately traveled to Maui in March, British Columbia, Canada in July and London and Paris in December.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you didn't have in 2010?

A baby.

7. What dates from 2010 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

July 31 - first wedding anniversary

Every weekend we spent at cabin = bliss

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

I had another successful year in my professional life, having the opportunity to develop national marketing and sustainability programs. I also feel like I've really grown into my marriage, becoming more enamored with my husband than I've ever been. 

9. What's your biggest failure?
This year I wanted to join a small group bible study or an adult fellowship group at church ... and I never got around to it. I don't know if that's a failure, but I wish I would've accomplished both.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Andi and I stayed relatively healthy this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

We didn't buy it, but the cabin we rented for the summer was my favorite investment of the year. We had so many great memories there and it was, by far, the brightest spot of our summer.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband's. He's developed a thriving advertising agency in just over a year. I'm so proud of his dedication and commitment to his employees and his clients. He deserves every bit of success that's come his way. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I guess I would say the oil spill and whole mess with BP. It was really depressing to watch that mess go on day after day this summer.

14. Where did most your money go? 
Bills and travel.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

As envious as I might have been, I was really excited for all my friends and family members who became moms in 2010. So many of their lives changed dramatically and I loved sharing in part of that experience.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

"Need You Now" and "Hello World" by Lady Antebellum
These tracks were on repeat all summer long.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

Happier, fatter, richer. I'd say it was a good year, wouldn't you?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I honestly can't come up with an answer to this question. I wanted to say "spend more time with my husband" but we've made great memories this year. Travel more? We've had the chance to visit some amazing places. I'm so fortunate for the year I had.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Working Saturdays this fall.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Andi and I celebrated Christmas in Minnesota this year. We hosted a progressive dinner for his parents and sister on December 23, went to his grandma's for Christmas Eve and his parent's house for Christmas Day. The week after Christmas, we flew to Nebraska and celebrated with my family.

21. Did you fall in love with 2010?

Yes, I feel like I did. My love for Andi has grown so much deeper in the last year. I love being married to him; he's my best friend and I've never felt more content and more happy.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

In addition to last year's favorites (How I Met Your Mother, Mad Men and Big Love) -- The Tudors on Showtime. This show is fantastically addictive and sexy.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I don't hate anyone.

24. What was the best book you read?

I read some really good books in 2010. I liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Red Tent but my favorite book of 2010 was The Help. 

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I have no musical discovery. This is not my strong suit. I listened to more country this year and found some good artists I enjoy such as Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift. 

26. What did you want and get?

Quality time with my husband. I've learned how to better cope with Andi's busy work schedule and really enjoy the time we spend together.  

27. What did you want and not get?

A kiddo, I guess.  

28. What was your favorite film of 2010?

Watching Food Inc. really influenced the way I purchase and consume food.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 in 2010. Andi took me to breakfast at the Ivy Hotel and we toasted with screwdrivers (our favorite relaxation drink). Then he treated me to spa treatments at Ivy Spa and we made dinner at home.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Winning the lottery. 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2010?

I found jeggings in 2010 and I actually really love them. It's like wearing comfy stretchy pant that look trendy. I love them!

32. What kept you sane?

My girlfriends (I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about how much I wanted to be pregnant) and writing in my blog. My own little place on the Internet has helped me keep a journal of my thoughts and feelings and been a therapeutic outlet to express my emotions. 

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

It's been interesting to watch all the politics in Washington this year. I sometimes wonder what would happen if both sides worked together to actually accomplish things instead of moving forward and repealing bills?  

34. Who did you miss?

My Nebraska family and friends. I wish there were opportunities for them to come up to Minnesota and visit. 

35. Who was the best new person you met?

I've developed some new friendships with fellow bloggers, some of which I feel like I know so much about. It's been get to know others in this way. 

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

I've learned to have more patience for Andi's work schedule and found more comfort in spending time by myself. This realization has given me a sense of peace and comfort like I've never experienced. 

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Chains do not hold a marriage together.  It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.  ~Simone Signoret

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nebraska Christmas

I took a little bloggy-blog vacation while we were in Nebraska last week. Sure, I could have easily popped open the laptop and wrote about all my surfing-the-couch adventures but I was too busy taking multiple naps and stuffing my face full of food.

We flew back to Nebraska to celebrate Christmas with my family last Tuesday. We decided to fly this year because last year we drove through the single worse holiday blizzard Nebraska has experienced in like a gazillion years. Of course, this year the weather was perfectly fine but as I told Andi, I'm sure it wouldn't have been if we choose to drive - that's just how it works. Flying is so slick too; the flight is 55 minutes and there's barely time to get a bag of peanuts and a beverage before you're already landing. Sure beats the 7 hour drive.

We spent most of Wednesday shopping around town with my dad. We decided to buy a bed for my parent's spare bedroom. They hadn't bought one since my brother moved out a few months ago and we've been sleeping on an air mattress there. I will now throw my husband under the bus when I say buying a mattress, box spring and frame was a small price to pay to get him to stop flapping his trap about his uncomfortable nights of sleep. We found a steal of a deal on a discontinued mattress at one of the local businesses in town. Plus the business is an advertising client of my sister's so I was sure to tell them I heard their ad on the radio (not true ... but I thought it might help her sell more next time she comes a'calling). It was nice to spend the day with my dad. I don't usually have the opportunity to spend time with just him, so I really enjoyed it.

Relaxing with my hubby

On Thursday, I finished wrapping Christmas presents for my family and lounged around the house. My sister, her boyfriend and my niece Brooke came over after work and my brother also drove down from Lincoln. We feasted on a nice rib eye dinner, then turned on the Christmas music and started opening presents. Brookie was so fun to watch as she opened her presents. Every present she opened she'd say, "I think it's a dress." Poor girl, she got lots of toys, a sweatsuit, pajamas and shoes ... but no dress. We probably could have saved a lot of money if that's all she wanted!

Brookie seems to like her Barbie car

 Ashley got the sewing machine she forgot she always wanted

Me and my Brookie girl - she's getting so big!


Friday, we visited my great-grandma and delivered her Christmas present. Andi and I don't usually have time to go out there and visit while we're back in town so it was nice to be able to squeeze that in. Spending time at her house brings back instant childhood memories of playing in her upstairs bedrooms and bathroom. All my cousins and I would play hide and go seek amongst her many plants and dolls. Just makes me smile. Seems like yesterday.

Friday night we went to my best friend Ashley's parent's house to ring in the New Year. Luckily Ashley and Neal were back in our hometown at the same time and we had a fun time playing board games and catching up with her and her family. Andi and I were impressed with ourselves! We stayed out until 1:30am ... way past our usual 9:00pm bedtime. Party animals, we are.

Saturday (New Year's Day), we drove up to Lincoln to visit my cousin Jen and her new baby Lauren. I was really happy to have the opportunity to spend time with them as Jen and I are close and her little girl Lauren is growing up so fast! Jen had her decked out in pink tutu tights and a flower embroidered onesie. She's so cute it melts my heart.

The remainder of Saturday we hung around the house and babysat Brookie. She's a well-behaved girl but so active! I was exhausted by the end of the day.

And finally .... Sunday, we left for home. We ran out to Andi's parent's house when we got home to pickup Chloe. We ate lunch and hung out there for a while before coming home and relaxing the rest of the evening.

We had a whirlwind December, for sure. After our European vacation, we jumped right into Christmas in Minnesota followed by another in Nebraska. I'm a little relieved the holidays are over and we can finally get back to normal around here. I'm thankful for a wonderful holiday season with my family and friends and ready to plunge into 2011 with a fresh slate.