Monday, March 30, 2009

Missing in Action...

I still have more to write about concerning our spring break trip, but this past week was consumed with preparing for and attending Yoga Journal's Grand Geneva Conference in Wisconsin. You can read about it on my yoga blog, Happy Daisy Yoga, if you haven't been following along throughout the weekend.

I promise, once I'm recovered I'll be back. (Because I'm quite certain you're all missing your Jenn fix. Right?)


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break '09 Pics...

Pictures from our Spring Break adventures have been added to our Shutterfly site. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Almost Like Home...

Just wanted to share, all was not lost on the coffee house front while we were in western Nebraska. If you're ever in Scottsbluff, check out WOW. It's downtown in the old Cat's Meow (for those of you familiar with the SB scene.) Miss-matched furniture. Odd random mugs. The faint smell of inscents. Local art. Posters for upcoming live music events. It's worth a stop.

And my latte was delicious.

More spring break updates coming soon...with pictures of course! (I'm still recovering from 1300+ miles of driving and all that randomness that comes with being on vacation and out of your normal routine.)


Monday, March 16, 2009


We're visiting my Mom and step-Dad in Nebraska. Generally our trips here consist of spending lots of time just hanging out at their house and chatting with the various family and friends who stop to visit. But it's always fun to go take a drive through town to see what's changed...and what's stayed the same.

Tonight Scott and I had planned to meet some friends for coffee at a coffee house that has evening hours. Only we didn't know it's not open on Monday nights until we drove up to a dark store front. So we made a call, rescheduled for tomorrow night, and just drove around checking out the local scene.

During our swing down "burger lane" we decided to stop at another local coffee establishment that recently opened. We were intrigued because when we were in high school this particular location was a Burger King. A Burger King in which Scott had once flipped burgers. But equally intriguing was the coffee shop itself. Or should I say coffee shop/deli/martini bar/tanning salon/marketing business/car wash/dog wash. Seriously. They do all those things...all in an old Burger King. (Well, technically the car and dog wash facilities are outside and are currently in the final stages of construction...but still housed on the same lot as the Burger King building and under the same business name umbrella.)

It was sorta weird.

I mean I can see coffee shop/deli/martini bar.

Or car and dog wash.

Even coffee shop/tanning salon on a stretch...with tasteful discretion. (Honestly I'm not real interested in enjoying my coffee or lunch or martini knowing there's a naked body laying in the next room. It would be different if the entry to the beds was down a hall or something but no...we watched a guy walk into a room with a bed less than 6 feet from where my latte was being brewed at the main counter.In fact the only thing separate my espresso and his naked butt was a standard 4 inch thick wall.)

I'm not saying one can't combine business interests. I've had a long time dream of owning a coffee shop and quilt store. (Jen and I's dream business venture.) Or even an coffee shop and used book store. (Of course with my business partner Marie.) Or a coffee shop and flower store. (Sara, I think we could pull that one off!) But just because a little diversity is a good thing, doesn't necessarily mean more is better.

It also seems somewhat counter productive to me to have your marketing business mixed in with all those other things. I thought marketing was about highlighting what makes you special. What makes you stand out. What you do better than your competition. How the hell are you suppose to help people brand who they are when you can't figure out who you are yourself? I mean I can see maybe renovating a space to share...but separate entrances, separate signage might help clarify your product a bit. I mean I'm no marketing guru but...

Any who...

As we were waiting for our coffees we were checking out the menus...both food (I was actually eying the desserts) and drinks. I couldn't help but snap a picture of the beer menu...

I was unaware Boulevard from KC, Fat Tire from Colorado, and Sam Adams from Boston were now considered imports. Tho sometimes coming home, a place that has changed so much yet NOT in 15 years, really does feel like visiting a foreign country. Maybe we should have suggested an alternative title. Like Premium Beers. (Or in my opinion...the only beers on this menu worth drinking.)

I'm sorry to say our coffees (my latte, Scott's mocha) were far from worthy of our stop. In fact it was the worst latte I've ever had outside of those hideous "cappuccino" machines you find at gas stations. (Of which at least provide SOME flavor...something more than "hot paper cup" taste. My old little home espresso machine I had in college made better lattes than that!) I'm all for supporting local businesses (and actually passed up stopping at a Caribou Coffee which I LOVE)...except when they are bad at what they do.

I guess maybe it's a good thing they've decided to diversify...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mama's Got a New Bag...

I find myself needing to carry along a variety of items throughout my day depending on where I'm headed. My trusty purse has served me well for over a year now but I often needed a second bag if what I was lugging along was at all bulky...water bottles, Brea's snack, props/supplies for class. So I decided it was time for a new bag, something that could serve as an everyday purse but have room to throw in a few extras too.

(I just thought of something...I never carried a diaper bag when the girls where small because I didn't want a big bulky bag. Now I don't have diaper wearers in the house and am up-sizing my purse. Go figure!)

So I present to you my new bag...also known as yesterday's sewing project.

The pattern is Amy Butler's Birdie Sling. The fabric is cotton batik, some which I had purchased over 4 years ago during a ladies weekend trip to the Quilted Moose in Gretna, NE. (I actually bought the fabric for a different bag which I never ended up making. Glad my stash pulled through for me!)

The selling points for me for this pattern were the large interior space, with 4 organizing pockets, and the stiff, slightly smaller opening which keeps things from falling out all over the place when I set it down. Plus I don't like my bags/purses to hang too low. I like to keep them snug by my side and out of the way.

I lined it with a brighter yellow batik which I thought would help make it easy to see inside to find things. Plus it's so cheery. I also used a variegated contrasting thread in orange/red/yellow instead of just plain old matching blue. I love that little detail even if it does make it more obvious that my stitches aren't perfect.

I took my bag out for it's first day today and it performed very nice. It's all ready to help support my upcoming travels: Nebraska for spring break and Wisconsin for the Yoga Journal Conference. More on both of those topics later!

Next: A matching padded sleeve for my mini-puter!


Monday, March 9, 2009

All That Glitters...

Saturday night Scott arranged for the girls to have a sleepover at Auntie Pam's so that he and I could go out for a night on the town in celebration of my birthday. I don't know why, but this is my favorite random assortment of bracelets to wear when I'm dressing up to go out.

(I also don't know why I felt I needed to take their picture, but I did.)

It's something about the properness of the pearls with the basic shine of the silver and the tiny hint of pink. It's like everyday fancy, which would pretty much sum up my "going out" dress-up philosophy. Cute but comfortable. And since it was raining, cute and comfortable meant jeans. Which happens to be at the top of my favorite things to wear list at the moment. Score!

Scott was willing to test out a Japanese Steak House so that I could get a little sushi fix. We went to Taki in Des Moines as I had heard from several reliable sources that it was worth a visit. I thought the deal was off when we sat down and Scott started wrinkling his nose at the soup choices and salad dressings listed as standard sides to the entrees. (Last June I thought it would be fun to introduce him to Indian food and we ventured to Iowa City to hit a buffet place where I figured he could find something he liked. It was not a good experience for either of us...though it did work out nicely for the pizza place down the street. I was worried our special night out was headed in the same direction.) But rather than chug my martini and walk out, I decided to stick it out knowing the chance for some sushi was worth having to drive through Arby's later on our way home.

I'm happy to report that stop was NOT necessary. After sharing some vegetable tempura and edemame, Scott was served this lovely heaping plate of Terriaki beef, complete with veggies, a potato puff, and a bowl of sticky rice.

The experiment was a success and I'm pretty sure I won't have any trouble getting Scott to agree for a return trip! (AND he would want you to know that he managed to eat his whole meal without asking for a fork. I'm proud of him for stepping up to the challenge and making this new food experiment much more fun than our Indian food day!)

Even Scott, who has no desire to EVER try sushi, had to admit once my sushi arrived that the Dynamite roll I ordered looked impressive. When I saw it on the menu there was no question I'd order has all my favorite things: spicy tuna, salmon, cucumber, and assorted tobiko. (If only it had avocado would be PERFECT!) What I didn't know is it would come completely COATED in those tiny little neon fish eggs which, because of their transparent and shiny nature' made it look like someone had sprinkled glitter all over my sushi roll. It was divine and this picture doesn't even come close to doing the presentation justice. (I told Scott it's a good thing I really like roe. They're so smooth and salty...and they pop in your mouth when you chew which is kinda fun. Kinda like pop rocks as Scott put it...but better in my opinion.)

We left quite full and happy. I even passed up the cheesecake, which those of you who know me well know NEVER happens. But seriously...I was stuffed! (I should have ordered a piece to go to enjoy with my latte on the drive home from Java Joe' of my favorite locally owned coffee houses downtown that is so worth navigating the downtown Saturday night scene. I'll keep that in mind for next time!) We made a quick stop at a bar owned by the boyfriend of one of Scott's co-workers before heading home to watch a movie too late into the night considering the extra hour lost to "springing ahead". Luckily we could sleep in the next morning before going to pick up the girls.

Funny...going out just us is always such a nice treat...but just as exciting is going to retrieve the girls the next morning.

Thanks honey for a fabulous night out. I hope we can do it again soon. (How does next week sound?)


Friday, March 6, 2009

Turning 34...

Yesterday I turned 34. It was a pretty uneventful day. Well, actually it was a crazy busy day, but not necessarily because of it being my birthday. First on the list of "to dos"...haircut!

I've been contemplating returning to the short, pixie style cut for some time now and I decided just to go for it as it's only hair and it WILL grow back. Lexi was nice enough to snap this picture of me while we were out at our traditional birthday dinner spot, a local family owned Mexican restaurant. I'm still adjusting. The problem is I simply don't like dealing with my hair AT ALL. The easiest low maintenance styles are long and ponytailable or super short. The jury is still out on which I like best. I had forgotten how much LESS shampoo short hair requires. I could have washed my hair 3 times with the suds I worked up in the shower last night after class before dinner.

And speaking of my dinner dates, here they are...

What funny girls they are. We had a lovely time and shared a fried ice cream as a special treat. No, I didn't disclose it was my birthday as to avoid the public attention. Yes, I just paid for the fried ice cream instead. Scott unfortunately had to work late at a job fair and missed joining us. He and I are planning a night out together this weekend sans kids which will be a nice treat.

Today also marks the first post written on my new birthday present...a Dell Mini 9. I've been eying laptops for some time. My requirements for purchase were afford-ability and portability. The Mini 9 fit both of those and so after consulting with Scott, I ordered 2 weeks ago hoping FedEx would be delivering my new toy by my birthday. It came on Tuesday. (When they decided to call it a Mini, they were not kidding. Imagine taking a piece of standard letter sized paper, and then folding it in half. That's about the size of my shiny little computing critter. I'm still trying to figure out a far I just call it Mini.) I'm still adjusting to the small super sensitive keyboard and the alternative operating system, Ubuntu (a Linix based OS). Today's accomplishment was downloading the above pics and cropping for today's post. I'm somewhat of a creature of habit so learning new software is always interesting. So far I love what I've used though (thanks Duane for pushing me this direction and am on my way to becoming a convert to the free source way of thinking) and hope that my mini and I have many happy years ahead of us. It has sure made checking email and facebook and playing Pandora on the main house stereo awfully nice over the past 3 days!

Mother nature has decided to bless us with a taste of spring and yesterday I broke out the flip-flops. Today is still nice and so the girls and I are going to head out to visit some friends who live just around the block and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air while we's suppose to rain all weekend. Welcome Iowa springtime!

Thanks to all who helped my birthday yesterday a joy. Your emails, messages, phone calls, cards, hugs, and well wishes just added to the sunshine!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No More Fuzz...

This used to be a perfectly happy, perfectly fuzzy, yellow tennis ball. It even had a smiley face on one side. And then Tilde decided to make it her own.

Over the past few weeks she has picked and pulled at it's soft exterior, leaving little flecks of neon yellow fuzz laying all over the house. (I guess at least she didn't eat it AND it mostly deterred her from snitching every discarded tissue from the bathroom trash for her shredding pleasure) Now this sad, bald lump of rubber is all that remains. That doesn't mean it still doesn't receive a fair amount of her love throughout the day. She carries it around, soccer dribbles it with her front paws, and brings it to us for a few rounds of fetch now and then. Many of her beloved toys have had to go by way of the garbage truck...her favorite stuffed giraffe, the pink zebra striped bone, the giant blue cow with a squeaky inside. All who eventually gave way to her chewing and tugging and pulling until their stuffing guts came spewing out all over the floor. I guess as sorry looking as it is, lucky for Tilde her tennis ball gets to stick around a while longer.

Interestingly enough, she also has a blue one who sits all alone in the toy bin just waiting to be loved. A perfectly happy, perfectly fuzzy, blue tennis ball who gets absolutely no love.

Dogs are funny.


Monday, March 2, 2009

To Grow Up or Not...

Lexi has always been very interested in the concept of what she wants to be when she grows up. Her current list of undertakings is pretty ambitious:
  • A vegetarian veterinarian
  • A basketball player
  • An art teacher
and as of this morning
  • An opera singer
She was giving us a sample of her vocal abilities yesterday at the breakfast table. It's funny to hear what a 7 year-old perceives as opera.

There are a few other options that float in and out of the list. Like ballerina, princess, and dentist. I love how her list is so varied and how at her age there is no consideration to the "practicality" of her choices. Besides, sometimes "practical" is over rated (says her very happy yoga teacher of a mom).

Scott decided to check in with Brea on her thoughts on the topic:

Scott: "Brea, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Brea: (With the most serious face I think I've ever seen her posses, admittedly shaking her head with her hands held up in front of her as if to signal STOP!) "OH, I'm not going to grow up!"

Oh monkey, if only that were true...


Sunday, March 1, 2009

As if the universe is speaking to me directly...

I've been considering some changes in my professional life. Well, not changes so much as continuing down the path I envisioned myself taking 2.5 years ago...a little ahead of schedule. At the time I made the decision to leave the comfort of a full-time benefited position to follow my passion of owning my own wellness based business on my terms I found instead of worry and fear, peace. The past 2.5 have years have offered up several unexpected detours and challenges, yet when I sit here today writing this I still find peace in my decision.

So it's interesting to me that as I ponder the next step over the past few weeks I've been exposed to several writings that keep saying "go forward", "stop waiting", "fear does nothing besides hold us back". First through a friend's blog who also has also faced some change as of late, and now this beautiful message posted on one of the blogs I regularly read.

Coincidence? Maybe.

Maybe not.