Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Popping in... say just a few things:

1: I have SEVERELY less free time on my hands than I expected I would when I quit my job. I haven't been able to sleep in, blog, or do anything other than school and homey-stuff yet this week. Oh well... it will get better. I have absolutely nothing planned for Friday except hanging out with Jenna!!

2: Josh and I bought a camper last night. A family friend had a small pop-up for sale, and everything just kind of fell into our laps. It was the right size for Josh's truck, the right price, and was immaculately clean. We picked it up last night and will be packing it up for camping this weekend with Josh's entire extended family. So much fun!

3: On the way to pick up said camper, there was a pig in the middle of the road. A. Freaking. Pig. Although I live in the middle of nowhere, it's not some backwoods mountain town where people let their animals roam free on the dirt roads and drink moonshine on their porch. Farm animals, while not an uncommon site, are usually kept in fields or pens with fences. I couldn't believe it. A pig was running around in the road, and really seemed upset that I would have the gall to drive down the road where it was playing. It begrudgingly stepped off to the side and allowed me to pass, but I swear it gave me the stink-eye as I went by.

You  just never know what life is going to throw in front of you on any given day...
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Get to the Point

Today I'm in Sandusky, Ohio, enjoying some quality relaxation time with Josh's family. His parents, being the extremely generous people that they are, took Josh and I along with Josh's sister and her boyfriend, to Cedar Point for the weekend. We are staying for 2 nights, last night and tonight. It's a 4 hour drive from home, so it's so nice to have a hotel for both nights. I've only ever visited when we either get up really early and visit the park all day and then stay the night and drive home, or leave home during the middle of the day and stay the night and then go to the park the next day. I'm sure that having both nights in Sandusky will be a welcome, relaxing mini-vacation.

Here are a few of my favorite rides at Cedar Point: (click the links for more pics and info)

Iron Dragon - the first coaster I've ever ridden. It's a classic ride - nice and slow, no super high hills, but lots of fun!

Millennium Force - SO MUCH FUN! A 300 ft hill with a super steep drop and fast speeds. This one is my favorite, especially with my hands raised high riding in the front seat!

Raptor - This is another classic Cedar Point ride. I remember when it was built, and I was terrified of it. But now, it's a good warm up for some of the taller, faster rides. I love this one because my feet dangle and you "Kick the Sky"

Have you ever been to Cedar Point? What are your favorite rides? Know of any other great rides at other amusement parks? I'd love to go!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

This is IT!

No, this isn't going to be a post about the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death... although I did hear Thriller this morning on my way to work and it just made me smile. Love that song...

However, the IT I'm referring to is my LAST DAY OF WORK! If you've been relentlessly stalking every day even though you already know the number is only going to be one less than the previous day following my countdown in the margin like I have, you have probably noticed that it has finally reached zero! I've turned in my exit survey, turned in my keys (actually, they turned my pass card off already, which meant I had to pound furiously on the door this morning so I could get in), and said most of my goodbyes.

I cried about it last night.

I don't think I was sad... it was more of a huge rush of all types of emotions that just flooded me at once. It's hard to describe, but I'll try. First of all, this company has been a part of my life for much longer than the 8 years I've worked here. Yeah - Eight. Years. I'm 25. Eight years at one company when you're 25 is a huge deal. I started here when I was 17 and it's pretty much the only company I've ever worked for (unless you count the year I worked as a cashier for Goodwill. I try to block those memories from my mind. ugh...). But my mom, stepdad, aunt, and stepsister have also worked for the same company. My stepdad has worked here for 30+ years! (No, that's not how I got the job) So I've felt like I was part of the extended company family since I was a child.

I've come full circle here - ending in a cubicle that's not too far from where it all started. This journey has taken me from a co-op high school position that I used only because I wanted a job, to changing my college major from graphic design to finance, to working as a part time teller, mortgage sales assistant, and credit analyst, to being able to work in all areas of the state, and finally, back here in my hometown where it all started. It's funny to think that I wasn't even slightly interested in keeping this job after I left for college. Eight years later, I'm finally saying goodbye.

I think the emotions I'm feeling are excitement, anxiety, nostalgia, fear, and ok, maybe a little bit of sadness. I told Josh last night that as much as I dislike my job, I'm going to miss coming to work every day. I can honestly say that I love the people I work with and those who have already moved on to bigger and better things. I would never have lasted this long in a career I'm not meant to be in if I hated my coworkers. Sure, I have my moments when I want to strangle some of them, but overall I have met some amazing people here. I'm still friends with people I worked with years ago in a different city and position, and I'm even friends with customers I met when I was a teller. One of my very best friends is someone who I worked with face-to-face for only 6 months over 2 years ago, and I have a very dear friend/former coworker who is 30+ years older than me. It's so strange how you never know how the smallest interaction with someone will affect your life and grow into so much more.

So, this is officially my last post as a Banker By Day... I'm now a grad student and soon-to-be Teacher Assistant. I'm excited, nervous, scared... but I'm ready.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Feel the Earth Move...

So, about half an hour ago, I was sitting here in my cubicle, counting down the days until I'm done, and trying to avoid work as much as possible. Then, I thought I felt our building move... It was really strange. It almost felt like a bad dizzy spell, or like someone on the floor above me was moving some heavy stuff around. However, there isn't a floor above me. Hmmmm, odd.

So, I asked if anyone else felt it. Nope. And they pretty much looked at me like I was crazy. I chalked it up to a temporary dizzy spell, or the onset of vertigo, or my mind going crazy on me.

Then one of my coworkers got a call from her daughter, who works in Grand Rapids, who also felt it. And then people started getting texts from other people who felt it (not me though, I'm still the crazy one here).

It turns out, there was a 5.5 earthquake in Quebec and it was felt in Grand Rapids (and little ole Ionia, too, apparently)! I'm not crazy, dizzy, or losing my mind (at least not according to this episode).

Whew... I survived my first earthquake. It was touch-and-go there for a moment.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How much awkward can you pack into 20 minutes?

So yesterday I decide to hit up the mall after work. I am in desperate need of shorts for our upcoming mini-vacay to Cedar Point (America's Roller Coast... yay!) so I thought I could run into the mall super quick-like, buy a pair or two, and then jet on back home.

Of course, I see that Victoria's Secret still has their Semi-Annual Sale going on... so, naturally, because I'm a girl who can't resist a sale, I "quickly" pop in to peruse the pink table-bins. I make my way over to the large-chested section and find that they have the VS version of Spanx on sale! Super score for me and my upcoming date with a bridesmaid's dress! So, after much deliberation (like, seriously, about 15 minutes longer than it should have taken me to make a selection), I decide on the pair that will hopefully make it look like the calorie-laden bagels I inhale 2-3 times a week never existed.

And then I see the lady who usually makes said bagels 2-3 times a week for me.

Now, let me reiterate how unlikely it is for me to see people I know from my hometown when I'm at the mall in Grand Rapids. I live about 45 minutes away from the mall, and most people from my hometown only venture to the bigger cities on the weekends. This was a Monday night, so I figured I wouldn't see a single familiar face. Wrong.

And she recognized me and my bagel-induced need for some Spanx.

We had a friendly chat, and I found out that she no longer works at my favorite coffee/bagel place. So maybe I can show my face around there now that nobody who makes my food knows I'm trying to cover up the evidence... And I thought that would be the last of my awkward encounters.


As I'm checking out, I see one of the interns I work with. Now, he works in a town that's an additional 45 minutes away from Grand Rapids, so even though I talk to him on the phone when he's working, I haven't actually seen him since my birthday, over a month ago. (Actually, he came out to lunch with us yesterday, so that was the first time since my birthday that I had seen him... but whatever, it's practically the same thing.)

Here I am, checking out with my pseudo-spanx approximately 4 hours after he watched me wolf down some sushi. Awesome. At least I wasn't holding up a gigantic ugly bra*... because that would have been awkward.

*PS: Can I just vent for 3 seconds about how Victoria's Secret never has cute bras on sale in my size? Seriously, I'm sick of all of the D and DDs being made in white, nude, and black. Blah, gross, boring. Spice it up a little bit! And don't charge me extra because my boobs are bigger. I realize it might use a little more fabric, but doesn't it average out when you make the A sizes?

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthdays and holidays and cakes, oh my!

First off, I have to wish Josh's sister, Ashley, a happy 21st birthday!!!

Unfortunately, Josh and I aren't going to be able to make it up to Central Michigan University to celebrate with Ashley and all of her friends. However, we are all going on a weekend trip to Cedar Point Friday, courtesy of Josh's parents (thanks!!), so I'm sure we'll have a drink or two to celebrate in Sandusky!

Since yesterday was Father's Day, Josh and I hosted a small get together with my dad, stepmom, sister, and brother. Friday was my stepmom's birthday, so we thought we'd grill some steaks and enjoy our often overlooked picnic table. Lunch was really good! Josh is an amazing steak griller and seasoner, and he knocked it out of the park yesterday, grilling and seasoning his way through a migraine headache! Poor thing - I felt so bad for him, especially because my family has a tendency to get a little... shall we say... ridiculously loud... when we all get together. For dessert we had angel food cake with ice cream, fresh strawberries, pineapple, and whipped cream for a Create-Your-Own whatever you want for dessert. Mmmm... I love angel food cake with fresh strawberries.

After my family left, Josh and I went to his parents' house to celebrate Father's Day, his sister's birthday, and welcome his parents back from their Alaskan cruise vacation (!!!). We got to have birthday cake (YUM) and Cookies n Cream ice cream (ok, it's been years since I've had a bowl of Cookies n Cream, and I have no idea why I've stayed away... it's probably my favorite! It definitely hit the spot yesterday afternoon).

Then, since this day marks the beginning of the end for me, in a completely amazingly wonderful way of course, I had a sushi lunch with some of my Grand Rapids coworkers at a brand new place that opened up a few months ago. Delicious - although it's no Red Ginger. Unbeknownst to me, today was also my coworker's birthday, so his wife brought in a Cheesecake Named Desire ice cream cake from Coldstone. mmmm... Raspberries and cheesecake ice cream layered with graham crackers and yellow cake. Soooo good.

So that means I've had three different pieces of cake with various amounts of ice cream over the last 24 hours. Plus, my sister made a Snicker-Apple salad yesterday.... which means my sweet tooth has been very, very happy :)

How was everyone's weekend?

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend - Part 4

Brys Estate was the third winery of our tour and I thought it was beautiful! The outside was really understated; it was next to a farm. Then there was the inside... holy wine bar! It was so pretty - there's a pic below. This was the only winery that charged us to taste any wine, but then they credited that $3 back when we purchased our bottles. At this point, Lindsey wasn't feeling that well, but she quickly snapped out of it! Our pourer was really nice and knowledgeable, and I made quite a delicious purchase of Pinot Grigio!

Jenna and I outside of the tasting room

Isn't the outside so pretty? It looks so quaint.

But the inside is beautiful! It really surprised me that something this pretty was inside of such a sort of plain building!

Linds and I inside waiting for the tasting to start!

This was the last winery Jenna and I needed to complete our tour of every winery on the peninsula! But that didn't stop us that day! We continued on and visited the wineries from last year... Coming up  next - the rest of the wineries, the food, and more fun!

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Question

Almost every Friday my boss poses a "Friday Question" to the credit analysts in our department and throughout the state, along with a few other people he throws in for good measure. The questions are usually a little off the wall, but they make us think, and they allow us to get to know one another (at least, we get to know those who choose to participate. There are quite a few stick in the mud boring people who stay silent every week). Since I'm not creative enough to put these type of questions together, I think I'm going to post my boss's Friday Question on my blog each week, in hopes that it will make my readers respond, think, and hopefully allow me to get to know some of you a little better!

Each week's question has a theme. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious, other times it's obscure. Bonus points if you can figure out the theme each week (points really mean nothing, just so you know, but it's always fun to get bonus points, right?)

Here's this week's question:
Johnny Cash, as a “gift” to his daughter one day, gave her a list of the essential 100 country songs. What is the essential list you would want to pass down to your child? As an side, Rosanne took the list and created a pretty cool cover album of classic old country songs.

Sometimes they’re hokey, and sometimes they’re pretty cool; and every once in a while there is a compilation or duet of unlikely partners that really hits the mark. The Highwaymen – Cool, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – a little hokey. Under Pressure was cool by Bowie and Queen and also by The Cure and My Chemical Romance. What would be your dream compilation or duet?

Clarence Thomas, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Player

 (Oh- just to explain, usually the last part of the question is three people, places, events, etc... there's no 'right' way to answer the last one, just give your thoughts or preference, with reason of course!)

So, what do you think? I'm really excited to see who answers and what your answers are!

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Whirlwind Weekend Recaps: Part 3

Yeah... it's been awhile since I've been able to get some pics from Memorial Day up, but here are a few more! The second winery we went to was Chateau Chantal (and I wish I could post a bajillion more links to their wine, but for whatever reason, my place of employment has blocked their website. If someone could explain this to me I would be much obliged) and it was fantastic!!

This is the sign that greeted us in the parking lot... I thought it was funny.

Lindsey and Jenna at the winery sign. How amazing is that view behind them? I can't get enough of it

Amen to that!

We only bought 4 bottles, but they packaged them in a case! We felt like lushes when we walked out

The door to the winery part. Chateau Chantal also has a bed and breakfast-like hotel. This is where I want to stay next time. This winery definitely had an amazing view! It's situated up on a hill so you can see both the West Bay and East Bay from the parking lot. They're even expanding to make more room for me :)

Jenna and I in front of the sign

I bought their Celebration sparkling wine without even tasting it. And, don't hate me for this, but I kinda-sorta bought it because the label was really pretty. It's like a shimmery pink color and it just makes me want to pop the cork and enjoy some delicious bubbly.

The lady in charge of our tasting was from France! She had such an amazing knowledge of the wine and even helped my sister, who had never had any wine other than Arbor Mist, choose a wine she liked! Chateau Chantal was fantastic and I can't wait to visit again. I highly recommend this winery and hotel to anyone who is going to Traverse City.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Camping is exhausting...

Memorial Day weekend, Diesel went on his first overnight camping trip. From the looks of him on the ride home, it was pretty tiring. Keep in mind, the ride home was less than 10 minutes long... At least he had his favorite sleeping pillow to conk out on!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jumping on the Bandwagon... again

This time it's the Emily Giffen bandwagon. Um, ok. Why am I just NOW reading my first of her novels? I find this to be a tad ridiculous on my part because a) I've seen her books at Barnes & Noble for years now and have not even attempted to pick one up, b) I've heard raving reviews of her books for a few years now and have not even attempted to pick one up, and c) I've read raving reviews of her books on various blogs and have not even attempted to pick one up. To sum it up, I'm pathetic.

I had no idea what I was missing, even though every time I've heard of Emily Giffen, it was in praise of her amazing books. I'll be honest, the reason I shyed away from her books was because I thought it was just going to be average, formulaic chick-lit, with static characters and a predictible plot. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but lately I've been trying to read some 'deeper' stuff (whatever that means). Last week, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to read one of her books.

Luckily for me, our library's lack of selection made my choice easy: Something Blue it was!

I'm not going to go into a detailed plot summary, but before you read this, just know that it also has a prequel. Had I done my homework, I would have realized that myself. Oh well... I don't think it's necessary to read the first book, Something Borrowed, to understand this book. I'm planning on reading Something Borrowed soon, but I'm not sure if I've ruined it for myself, having read Something Blue first (Opinions... anyone?).

Giffen is a great storyteller, and I didn't find her characters static at all. On the contrary, I actually loved this book because the characters are so relatable and flawed; it made them seem realistic. I highly recommend this book to anyone out there! Don't turn your nose up at it like I did - you'll be missing out on a great author.

I've got Something Borrowed on hold at the library, and I'm going to pick up Love the One You're With tonight. Add Emily Giffen to my ever-growing lists of obsessions!

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ok, yeah, I'm a total gleek and I'm OK with it.

Ok, so I've confessed before about my love of Young Adult Literature. Normally, it's just because I want to know what's going on in the world of YA Lit so I can make recommendations to my future students. However, today I saw a YA Lit post on my google reader that I will be reading only for myself!

A Glee NOVEL that tells about life for the characters before the Glee Club.

I found this on Alea's blog, Pop Culture Junkie. On Wednesdays she posts books that will be coming out in the future and titles her posts "Waiting On Wednesdays." However, her taste is not limited to YA lit. She posts about all genres and has cool features like Lookalikes, where she compares two different books that have very similar looking covers, and Hardcover vs. Paperback, where she compares the covers of the same book. I've very much enjoyed her blog and found lots of good reads there, so take a minute and check it out if you're looking for some reading inspiration. (Plus, she's totally into Glee, too, so that makes her cool in my book)

While we're on the subject of Glee, can we just talk for a minute about the amazingness that was the finale last night? I felt like they tapped into my mind and asked me what songs I would like to hear. I loved every minute of it : ) I was watching in the bedroom, and Diesel was in there, too. I started singing and being my dorky self when a few of my favorite songs came on, and Diesel whined and sat in front of the closed door until I let him out. I think he thinks I'm crazy : )

Anyone else have thoughts about Glee, either the upcoming novel(s) or the finale? OH- and if you've never seen an episode, Fox is reairing them this summer on Thursday nights, so you MUST watch!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010


*gets on soapbox*

I don't do this a lot (or ever?) but when I saw Jenna's post on That Wife today, I felt compelled to post a link. Jenna, who bravely posts about controversial issues, took a stand today to persuade people to stop using the words 'retard' and 'gay' in a negative way. This means, no more saying, "That's so gay" or "that's so retarded" or any other form of using that word.

I stopped using these words in high school after having teachers explain why they are so hurtful. It's something I never considered, and I urge you to read Jenna's post because she explains it so much more eloquently than I could.

Also, she references last week's Glee episode, in which Kurt's dad (the AMAZING Mike O'Malley - seriously though, I love him in this show) comes down hard, and I mean HARD, on Finn for using the word 'fag/faggy' when describing the redecorating Kurt did. That scene was powerful, absolutely powerful. I applaud Glee writers for portraying such a great message in a way that didn't feel preachy.

I'll admit, I've slipped and used 'gay' or 'retard' when I shouldn't have, and I feel awful about it. But, I think that making a conscious effort to eliminate the use of these words is necessary, and is the first step. Please go read Jenna's post and let me (and her!) know what you think.

Ok, I'm stepping down from my soap box now...

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Confessions/Obsessions - A Copycat Post

Amanda recently posted a list of confessions and obsessions, and since Photobucket hates me and doesn't want me to share the rest of my winery pictures, I'm going to share a list of my confessions and obsessions!

Confession: I do Josh’s homework. Ok, not really, but I do type his papers for him. He writes much better when he can scrawl and cross out and draw arrows to unify his thoughts. I’m the lucky one who gets to decipher and put the pages in order… It saves so much time because he’s not the fastest typist. Plus, I can proofread at the same time, killing 2 birds with one stone. I’m pretty sure this isn’t cheating because it’s all his thoughts, I’m just the transcriber.... right? It's totally legit... right?

Obsession: Young Adult Literature – when I want a book to make me think, I always head to the YA blogs and then to that part of the library. Rarely predictable, sometimes haunting - where was this stuff when I was a kid? This weekend I read two books: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Andersen. Both were phenomenal, if a little dark.

Wintergirls chronicles the life of an anorexic teen who had just discovered that the girl who she made a 'skinny pact' with has committed suicide. It's an interesting look into the mind of someone facing such a disease. She tells how her goal weight is to be uner 100 lbs, then continues to 95lbs, then 90lbs, and so on. Anderson, who also wrote Speak and Catalyst, is known as quite a controversial author in the YA world due to the truthful nature of her books and their hard to stomach (wow, no pun intended) topics. I loved this book and I can't wait to see what she does next!

Thirteen Reasons Why is a truly unique book. It's a little morbid, so bear with me. The story is told over one night. The main character receives a package of audio tapes, sent from a girl from his school who recently committed suicide. The tapes tell the story of how various people contributed to the reason she killed herself - there are 13 people total, and the tapes make their way to each person. The book jumps between the voice of the main character, and the voice from the tapes. It's haunting to realize how small actions and words can have such a huge impact on the lives of others - often resulting in unintentional hurt. This book is powerful, even for an adult.

Confession: I hate reality TV. With the exception of Chopped, Project Runway, and Design Star, I hate all of the contrived, scripted, fakeness that comes about with reality TV (And I’m sure that the 3 I’ve listed here have elements of all of that crap too). I also hate watching anything with celebrities who will do anything for more time in the spotlight (Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice, anyone?). I'm so completely over American Idol and I've never watched an episode of So You Think You Can Dance... I hate how these shows dominate TV! I like shows where people create things… I hate shows that people watch only for the fake drama. I once loved The Hills, but one day, realized that I was actually stressed out about Heidi/Spencer. So I quit watching. Cold Turkey. And I haven’t looked back.

(ok, I realize that I used the word 'hate' quite a bit in that paragraph. So sorry, I'm really not a raging maniac, especially when it comes to TV)

On the other hand, I love (nerd alert!!) the History Channel's miniseries America: The Story of US (it's over now, but I seriously was obsessed and have all of the episodes on the DVR still), Glee, The Big Bang Theory, reruns of Gilmore Girls, The Office, and Parenthood. Yes, I realize these are fake and scripted, too, (with the exception of the History Channel) but they're not pretending to be real!

Obsession: Phantom of the Opera

OMG to die for. Josh's parents got me a ticket for part of my birthday present, and yesterday was the day! Josh's mom, Adeline, and sister, Ashley, and I, had a delicious lunch at Mitchell's Fish Market before we headed to the Wharton Center in East Lansing to watch the play. It was phenomenal! Why had I never seen this before? I'm dying for the soundtrack because it's seriously amazing. I adore any type of live play, especially musicals, so this was the perfect gift. We have made tentative plans to go see Chicago and Mary Poppins when they come to the Wharton Center next season!

Confession: I’m addicted to shopping – actually, make that bargain shopping. I cannot pass by a store if they are having a sale. Case in point- although I need a new bra, I left VS without buying because they didn’t have any sales. Then, although I do not need any new clothes, I went into Ann Taylor Loft and purchased 4 tops and a skirt. For $43 dollars, total. The skirt was on final clearance for whatever reason for only $4.88. Yes, the decimal is in the right place. Four. Dollars. and. Change. Of course I can’t find a pic of it online…. I also got two tanks and two t-shirts that were BOGO 50% off. They're the perfect solid colors to coordinate with all of my jewelry (yes, I realize it's sad that I buy clothes to match my jewelry). Then I went to DSW for some new black shoes (because Diesel adores black shoes just as much as I do, although he loves eating, not wearing, my shoes) and scored my new faves, which I also could not find a picture of. Suffice it to say they are black slingback heels, with a peep toe and bow on the front! Adorable!

Obsession: Dowloading fonts. I absolutely love downloading new fonts! There are so many out there, and I love typography anyway, so to me, downloading fonts is like… duh… a fave. My favorite place to get fonts is DaFont (check out peach sundress, Ashley, Riesling, Delikatessen, and Honey Script for starters). I also like Kevin and Amanda's site for lots of free fonts created from actual handwriting! Download a few and tell me what you think, or give me your favorites to check out!!

Ok, so that was kind of a long list.... Tell me, what are your confessions and obsessions at the moment?

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Blogger is finally working again!

How pathetic is it that I was freaking out because I couldn't post to my blog or leave comments for other people?! I think I'm officially addicted...

*testing out the new signature*

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Saturday, June 5, 2010


Well... here it is! The 200th post and the debut of the new blog! (If I was more computer savvy I would have kept the new look under wraps and then did a big debut... but you got it a little bit at a time.  It should be finished now!)

Personally, I'm loving the new look, although I may be a little biased : )

If you're wondering where I got my page elements, here ya go:
The background and majority of the look came from A Blog to Brag About, and I used her Savvy Student template with dark hair and green eyes (for obvious reasons...). She also has a really adorable Domestic Diva and Baking Beauty template that would look adorable on a few blogs I know...
The font for the blog posts and side bar came from Kevin and Amanda's Fonts for Peas. It's Pea Faith and I worked my butt off to get it to work! I've actually learned a little bit about HTML coding which has helped me a lot because I've made little tweaks to my template and layout through HTML instead of blogger.
The main font for the header also came from Fonts for Peas. It's Pea Smashtastic in a Hurry (what a great name!). The smaller font ('from the' and 'of') is Sketch Block, which I downloaded from DaFont. I combined the two in Photoshop and made an image that I then uploaded into blogger.

It was quite a time consuming process, especially because it was also a learning process at the same time!

With the new look comes a new name for my blog. I've decided that Musings from the Middle of Nowhere really fits the 'direction' in which my blog is headed. I toyed with naming it something about teaching, or reading, or blogging... but in actuality, this is a lifestyle blog. I pretty much blog about anything and everything, from trips, to family, to random thoughts I'm having, and since I'm living about as far removed from a big city as a girl can get, Musings from the Middle of Nowhere just seemed to fit!

If it's not already obvious, I'm pretty excited about my new design and the new chapter of my life that's unfolding in a few short weeks!! I would love for all of you to join me on my journey as I transition from a banker to a teacher, and chronicle all the happenings of my life in a little town in the middle of the mitten!

Friday, June 4, 2010


...200 posts! Holy crap.

In celebration of my 200th post (which is the post after this one), I'll be changing the blog - a lot! You'll probably notice some new changes right now, but I've got some more tweaks in store!

One of the biggest tweaks will be a name change. Since I'm going to be leaving the banking industry in a quickly approaching 21 days, I need a new name! I'm no longer going to be a Banker by Day...

So- PLEASE leave some idea of what I can call myself now. A few things to inspire you:
  • I'm going to be a high school English teacher
  • I like to read
  • I like to blog (duh)
  • My blog is random (which you already know if you've read the last three entries
  • I'm a budding wine enthusiast
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! (I know I asked before, but I had a rather lackluster response... so HELP!)

Whirlwind Weekend Recaps: Part 2 which I discuss 2 Lads winery

Last year Jenna and I drove out to 2 Lads winery just in time for their last hour of business... or so we thought. They actually closed at least an hour earlier than what their posted hours stated. We were super sad because 2 Lads is by far the most modern and cool looking out of all of the wineries on the peninsula.

This year, it was our first stop! It happens to be the northern-most winery, so it was a logical choice to start here and work our way down the peninsula, stopping at wineries along the way!

The sign welcoming you to 2 Lads!

Nice long drive to the tasting room, which is situated up on a hill...

...where this beautiful view comes from!

Their tasting room has a beautiful view of the West Bay. It's all very modern and minimalistic, with nice tables at which you can enjoy your wine.

Since they have such a limited production (7 wines compared to the 20+ at other wineries), they allow you 3 complimentary wine tastings of their choice. After that, you are free to pay to taste any other wines you like. I paired my 09 Pinot Grigio (on the right) with cheese and crackers and it was delicious! Jenna chose the sparkling 08 Pinot Grigio (I think...?) on the right

Jenna enjoying her sparkling wine

Linds and I inside the tasting room!

2 Lads is definitely different than all the other wineries on the peninsula. From their modern atmosphere to hand selected tastings, the vibe of 2 Lads stood out from all of the other wineries we visited. I loved it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pardon the Interruption...

...of my winery weekend recaps.

Yesterday I went to an all day meeting about PI. If you've never heard of PI, it stands for Predictive Index, and it's a way to measure the way a person makes decisions, is motivated, processes information, etc... Our company requires all employees to take the PI survey in order to gain a little information about how to best work with that person. Until yesterday, these reports were kept secretively hidden because nobody knew how to interpret the results. At the meeting yesterday, I was given a copy of my PI results, along with indices for all of the lenders I work with. It was SO MUCH FUN to figure out what drives and motivates me, and to understand why I get along with certain lenders as opposed to others.

So, what did I find out:
I am a Lowest A, High B, Highest, C, and High D.

It looks a little bit like this
The B and D drives are right on my "norm" line, but tend to pull to the high side

What does that mean? (this is the super quick summary version)
Lowest A: I'm team oriented, accommodatng to others, and minimize conflict

High B: I need external responses to my ideas and talking, I need a heads up on things, and I verbalize ideas. This means that I need a lot of people interaction, positive encouragement, and personal recognition in order to be motivated (I sound a little high maintenance...)

Highest C: I am sequential, focused, patient, and like minimal pressure (I found this interesting since I'm a huge procrastinator and tend to take on multiple tasks at once. But I did just begin making lists and feel much more calm when I complete the list in order... I took this survey in 2004 and it's telling me things I just realized about myself within the last year!) I am motivated by knowing the 'plan' and the steps that need to be taken to complete the plan. I am also motivated by affiliation, which means that I work best when people acknowledge me as a person. This is SO true and explains why I get along with lenders who chat with me better than the ones who just slap shit on my desk for me to do!

High D: I like details and proof, structure, and I'm 'black and white' when it comes to rules. While I'm not very detail-oriented in my own work, I do like having all the details about certain things I'm working on. I need clear expectations of work, peformance feedback, and fairness across the board to motivate me.

I thought this meeting was SO informative and fun - I'm even having Josh take it so we can compare results and hopefully understand each other better!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend Recaps: Part 1

Ok, so you saw a few teasers from my weekend... Well, thanks to Jenna and the wonders of Photobucket (which is super slow at uploading photos and continues to freeze Internet Explorer here at work [possibly because I'm still working from IE6(!!!) because we're a little behind the times here in Podunkville, USA]), I have the first of my recap posts! In this recap I will cover the ride up to Traverse City - which was almost as fun as the wine tastings!

One thing that Jenna and Lindsey did was help me document the trip in pictures. My camera's charger is a bit of a loose cannon and although my camera says it's fully charged, it rarely is. So, these two crazy girls stepped up to the plate and took lotsa pics for me to show all of you!

Oh, a bit of a side story: We had planned on leaving at 9:00am SHARP, which, for those of you who know my darling friend, Jenna, know that 9:00am SHARP usually means around 9:15 or 9:20... So, we decided that I would drive, and my sister met me at Josh's (our?) house while we waited for Jenna. At about 9:10 I texted Jenna to let her know that we were ready...(my nice way to say WhereTF are you?) To which she replied: I'm ready, too! Are you here?

cue the confused look on my face...

In all of the traumatic suspense from the day before, we neglected to set up plans on who was meeting where and at what time. Jenna thought I was picking her up, and I thought she was meeting us at my house! Oops! So... we got a bit of a delayed start after meeting at a gas station half way between our houses. However, that little turn of fate put us kinda on track to pass by Sozo Coffee... which is practically my home away from home. Mmmm delicious bagels made from scratch? Yes, please!. So... after a breakfast stop we were finally on our way!!

See our happy faces at the prospect of being on the road:

Me! The Driver (looking ever-so-cheesey)

My sister Lindsey, holding down the fort in the back seat

and Jenna, the self-portrait queen

On the way there and back, we treated ourselves to the hilarious Chelsea  Handler, as she read her book (on CD) Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea

So funny, yet so inappropriate at the same time. It seemed like every time there was a lull in our conversation, Chelsea would be there, filling it with vulgarities. So much fun!

Next stop: Wine Country!