101 in 1001 Update: 8 Months In

Friday, February 27, 2015

I fear I'm falling behind with my 101 in 1001 list, but, the point of the list is not to add a bizarre sense of stress to my life. (Anyone else who can take a inspiration source and turn it into a stress source? A gift, really.) It's been about 8 months and I've only completed 24 of the 101 items, but there are some that are very in progress, so I'm telling myself I'm almost a quarter of the way done, and choosing not to do the math about how many of the 1001 days have passed.

As the great Glennon Doyle Melton says in her book which I'm currently reading, "Happiness is low expectations paired with a short-term memory problem." I'm not sure if that quote is particularly relevant for this post, but it sure is helping me get through February. Without further ado, a few fun things I have checked off my list recently:


Go to an art museum.





I checked out the Madison Museum of Modern Art (MMoCA) on a special behind-the-scenes look for BRAVA magazine, where I intern. The Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century exhibit is really cool! (To use a super high-class pretentious artsy adjective.) Not only do the pieces offer a bold visual impression, they are also representative of a wide variety of populations/places. One, called "Revolution" was painted after the artists conversed with a group of people in Cairo, another one called "Millennials" after they spoke to a group of, you guessed it, Millennials in Colorado.

And, you guys, if you've lived in Madison for, oh, I don't know 3 and a half years yet you've only walked by the MMoCA to go to Fresco on the top floor (delicious cocktails there, by the way) and you somehow never realized MMoCA was super cool and 100% free, now you know! But seriously, who would be so dense?*

*Hint: me.

Go to a concert.



My friend Christie and I channelled our inner country girl and saw Kacey Musgraves play at the Orpheum! I really like her songs, and admire that she's also a song writer. (Fun fact: she co-wrote Miranda Lambert's Mama's Broken Heart.)

 My two favorite genres are R&B/hip-hop and country (keepin' it eclectic) but I usually lean more towards R&B. And the Beatles. Which are their own genre. But when I go to country concerts, I feel like a high schooler again. Kacey was a very solid performer - sang a ton of songs, and kept the talking to a minimum. Being a Texas girl, she did, of course, curse the unbearably cold weather multiple times. As we all are collectively doing. When is Wisconsin going to physically relocate? 

Do yoga 20 times in a month.




This was way harder than I thought it would be. 20 times? What's 20 times? 20 times is a LOT of times for someone who's cumulatively done yoga say, 15 times, in the first 26 years of her life. Full post on my month of saying "namaste" here. In short, I did like it, but I also did basically NOTHING else for exercise in January, so I am hoping to fine some balance with yoga in my life in the future. But I can do an arm balance! I'll show it to you the next time we're at a party together (much to my boyfriend's chagrin.)


Do a blog redesign.

You're looking at it! Vanessa from With Great Heart did my redesign and I couldn't be more thrilled about it! Vanessa was so professional, fast, and the whole thing was very affordable! I highly recommend working with Vanessa. Also, I know some of my "categories" up top aren't working, but that's my fault (for not tagging things appropriately) so I need to go back and do that in the name of Kaizen. ;)

Happy weekend, homies! xx

11 Things You Can Accomplish (During Lent) Without Standing

Monday, February 23, 2015


Right when the New Years Resolutions rush is over,  Lent comes along. Another season dedicated to self-improvement (or self-deprivation, depending on how you look at it). It's as if someone thinks we should constantly strive to improve as individuals? Weird. When I was younger, I gave up a ton of stuff for Lent (Chocolate, AOL Instant Messenger, you name it), and I wasn't even Catholic. I was just weird. But, over the years, I've decided to try to do something positive during Lent rather than give something up.


This inspired me to create a list of 11 "Lenten Promises" you can do from your beloved sofa! I'm not anti-exercise, I'm just pro-chocolate. I'm not sure if all of them really qualify as Lenten Promises or not, but still, they are goals you can accomplish while snacking, so what's better than that?

1. Unsubscribe from all those pesky emails that clutter your inbox. It takes under an hour, and the feeling of relief after clicking “unsubscribe” is incredible.

2. Update your resume. Even if you aren’t job searching, you never know when the next exciting opportunity will arise. Be ready!

3. Start a blog. I did this for a New Year's Resolution four years ago, and it’s still my favorite resolution to date. You can write about anything, and it doesn’t have to be for an audience at first. It’s a truly creative outlet that lets you express yourself. I'm also going to start sharing blogging tips here!

4. Meditate for 15 minutes each day. Sounds easier than it is. Spending just 15 minutes a day clearing your mind and thinking of absolutely nothing (this means zero electronics!) can really mentally benefit you. Check out this blog post I did on meditating.

5. Find a charity you support, and donate. If you're going to give something up, might as well give that something to someone else. Whether you’re able to commit to giving monthly or make a one-time donation, there are plenty of amazing charities out there. I give to World Vision and The Exodus Road.

6. Read all six of Jane Austen’s books. Plenty of people love Jane Austen, and many of those admirers haven’t read all of her books – which is perfectly fine! But Northanger Abbey and Persuasion aren't going to read themselves, you know? :) 

7. Write a letter to an elderly person each month. There are many homebound elderly people who who would really cherish letters. Now is the time to get back in touch with your great-aunt, or even write to strangers in the local nursing home. Many churches and assisted living facilities are happy to provide addresses of homebound people for just this reason.

8. Watch 3 documentaries on new-to-you topics.  I always want to watch educational documentaries, but television shows (cough*GilmoreGirls*cough) tend to get prioritized. Committing to watching a few intriguing documentaries can make you feel smarter and make for some ingenious conversation starters. Need ideas? Check out the Oscar noms!

9. Write more thank you notes. Can you write one a day during lent? One a week? You’ll never regret spending your time expressing gratitude for others.

10. Organize your computer desktop. If you’re like me, your computer desktop is as cluttered as your real desk, and let’s just say my real desk is not about to be featured in any interior design magazines. Organizing your digital world will leave you feeling refreshed, and able to think about more important things than "Where the heck is that document?"

11. Update your address book. Be it digital or in a Rolodex, it’s always nice to have an up-to-date index of where friends and family are residing -- especially in your 20's when everyone seems to be moving all the time. You never know when you’ll need to send spur-of-the-moment “Save the Dates.” (Sorry if I sounded too much like your mom there.)

I hope your end-of-February is going well! :) Let's hope it's the last "season" of negative temperatures for a while. xx

Wanderlust: Carmel-by-the-Sea and the PCH

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's the perfect time to be somewhere other than Wisconsin*, am I right? This weekend, as Stephen and I walked the 0.4 miles our Valentine's Dinner at Graze, we lamented not taking a cab because our faces were freezing into place. Thus, let's escape the torment of Wisconsin weather to the West Coast, shall we?


*Wisconsin here is metaphoric, representing anywhere where it's so cold outside you do anything possible to not take the trash out. I'm also literally in Wisconsin, conveniently.

We went to California in September, starting with a night and day in San Fran and then driving down to Carmel-by-the-Sea. We didn't take the most direct way to Carmel, we took the best way. And here's the life lesson nestled in this travel post:  sometimes the most direct and the best way are different.

In this case, it was obvious: THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY IS THE MOST AMAZING ROAD IN THE WORLD. No offense to the street I grew up on. (Much love, Trillium Dr.)



It was a breathtaking, leisurely drive down to our Airbnb in Carmel by-the-Sea.

If you couldn't tell by the charming hyphenated addition to its name, Carmel by-the-Sea is a city overflowing with charm. The city is on a hill that spills into the Pacific Ocean. The beach overlooks the famous last hole in Pebble Beach Golf Course. 

Carmel is quite possibly the nicest place I've ever been, objectively speaking. There were people there from all over the world. Foreign languages surrounded me; people clearly thought it was worth the international airfare to go there. Stephen told me Rome was like that, too. (I've never been to Rome, go figure.)




If time were no factor, I would have spent an entire day marveling at the cottage-style Carmel houses. Most have adorable names like Robin's Nest, Sanctuary, and Pear Tree cottage. Of course, we opted to spend our days driving along the PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY instead**. 

**I am still in such awe to this road, that I feel obliged to type it in all caps out of sheer reverence.

But before doing the PCH, we did the 17 Mile Drive, which had an entrance minutes away from our Carmel Airbnb. For $10, you can take your time driving through a well-marked route and stopping for the sites. The highlight of the 17 miles was seeing the famous Lone Cyprus standing triumphantly above the Pacific. 


Although you won't see the Lone Cyprus anywhere but the 17 Mile Drive, you don't have to pay for incredible views in California, because, duh, the PCH. Driving on the PCH south of Carmel leads to the Bixby Bridge, a must-stop location. The beautiful arched bridge connecting the winding highway cutting through the mountains is a site to add to your bucket list, stat.


It's difficult to leave the Bixby Bridge, but Big Sur beckoned. The road winded on and on, and right when you thought there couldn't possible be another magnificent view, there was one. We veered off the PCH to make stop at the secluded Pfeiffer Beach. This also had a $10 entrance fee but was worth every penny, as shown:


Although the wonders of the PCH continued on, we spent our evenings based in Carmel, watching the sun set over the beach and eating dinner at restaurants like La Bicyclette and Dametra Cafe. One thing was, it was dark (very dark!) walking back at night. Fortunately, we managed to navigate the crime-ridden streets safely back to our Airbnb each night ;)

Sigh. Looking at these pictures makes me want to book flights, immediately. Or better yet, move. (See ya later, land of beer and cheese!) I hope I've convinced you to add Carmel and the PCH to your bucket-list. Any other must-see places? I'm looking for any mental escape from winter's wrath! Hope you're all having a good week! xx

Memoir Monday: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Monday, February 16, 2015

This series is dedicated to my deep love for memoirs, alliterations, and Mondays. (Note: I don't actually like Mondays. I'm not that girl.)

When I asked for Netflix suggestions, many of you suggested Orange is the New Black, but I wanted to read the OITNB memoir first before binge-watching. (Plus, we were busy binge watching House of Cards! #obsessed #countdowntoseason3) Well, I finally finished the book and here's my take!



Piper Kerman's memoir is certainly powerful. And I did like it. But I didn't love it. I found it decidedly eye-opening but I didn't find it particularly exciting. Still, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on goodreads. I do recommend reading it if you (like me!) know nothing about the prison system in the U.S.

Still interested? A closer look:

People is quoted saying "The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can't unbind." on the cover, and I couldn't agree more. Women immediately take Kerman under their wings and teach her the bizarre prison routines. They share contraband items, celebrate birthdays and holidays with limited resources, craft fancy prison foods in the microwave, practice yoga together. It's moving. The hard part for me was a lot how prison was like a revolving door -- women being moved to other units, women going home when their sentences ended, new women beginning their sentence. Because of this I struggled developing any bond with the supporting characters since they seemed to be ever-changing. I did, however, really like Piper and her unique perspective.

Kerman authentically shows us the mundane side of prison life, but sometimes that monotony does not translate into a page-turner. Much of prison is waiting. Chipping away at your sentence, one day at a time, one month at a time. Running around and around the track. Doing your boring prison job. Eating bland meal after bland meal after bland meal. Mail call. Weekly visiting hours. Cleaning your area for inspection. It reminded me of a war story, where you think the story would be all action-packed battles, but really it's just a lot sitting around and waiting in the trenches. I think this was fine, because it was a realistic depiction of her experience, but I'm willing to bet Netflix added quite a few action scenes.

For the first time in my life, I am absolutely convinced of the importance of prison reform in the United States. This is the reason you SHOULD read the book. Some startling facts:

*The U.S. has the biggest prison population in the world -- we incarcerate 25% of the world's prisoners, though we are only 5% of the world's population.

*In 1980, we had about 500,000 Americans in prison; now we have more than 2.3 million people locked up. You can basically blame the "war on drugs" and rules surrounding it (e.g. minimum sentences) for causing most of this dramatic increase. Therefore, there are many many low-level offenders who pose little threat of violence (like Kerman) behind bars.

*It costs ~$30,000 a year to keep a female inmate behind bars. (Again, most of these people are not violent.) There were even nuns in prison with Kerman!

*There are very limited programs to equip inmates for re-entrance into the outside world. The ones they have are hardly effective. This is one reason prisoners often get released only to return to prison shortly. Doing time makes you better at doing time. It doesn't make you better prepared for society.

The book lists a bunch of prison reform organizations in the back, and I'm thinking of researching a few. I'll let you know if I find any particularly interesting organizations! I'd love to hear what you think of this memoir if you've read it. Also, as always, I'd love to hear any memoir recommendations you have for future Memoir Mondays! xx

Weekly Favorites & What to Watch on Netflix

Friday, February 13, 2015

Remember when I was a Netflix noob? Well, I got so many great recommendations from everyone that I wanted to share them with you all! I also am adding my incredibly valuable, insightful commentary about the shows I tackled so far. In no particular order behold: what you should do this weekend, because, let's be real, there's no better way to celebrate Valentine's Day:



Shows:

1. House of Cards [devoured the first two seasons. AMAZING. Counting down the days to February 27 for Season 3.]
2. Friday Night Lights
3. Gilmore Girls [where has this show been all my life? Almost done with season 1 and in love with Lorelai, Rory, and (of course) Luke]
4. Breaking Bad
5. The Fall
6. Gossip Girl
7. Sherlock [watched the first episode. I did like it, but I was able to solve the crime before he did. This has NEVER happened to me before. But I do think I'll keep watching as I doubt that will ever happen again!]
8. Walking Dead
9. Sons of Anarchy
10. Blacklist
11. Grey's Anatomy [I watched the first six or so seasons as it came out, but a Meredith catch-up doesn't sound like a bad thing]
12. An Idiot Abroad
13. Frasier
14. Orange is the New Black [Finished the memoir! Review coming next week.]
15. Parks and Rec
16. Weeds
17. Doctor Who
18. The New Girl
19. Prison Break

Documentaries:
1. Somm
2. Undefeated
3. Blackfish

...anything else to add to either list?

Also, a few fun links for your weekend/Friday procrastination:

Happiness is Love. (Says science.)

"We are, like, the subprime-lending crisis of hanging out, right?" A hysterical texting conversation about getting drinks in the New Yorker.

In my next life, I'll be a ballerina. Amazed.

How I prep for the Oscars: I can't put down this book.

I just discovered this blog and I'm officially intrigued (and only a little grossed out).

"Boredom is good if what you want to do is come up with some really novel, creative ideas." (i.e. put down your phone!)

When people who don't live here think Madison is conservative, I just laugh. But I've never heard of a hotel takeover for sexual freedom before.

"We've all learned how, on Sunday night, to go to our email and work from home. But very few of us have learned to go to the movies on Monday afternoon. And if we're looking for wisdom, we need to learn to do that as well."

Have a lovely Valentine's Day weekend! xx


Mom's Meals: Buttermilk Biscuits

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mom's Meals is a series where I share recipes from a culinary wizard, my mother, that I've somehow been able to make, even though I once started a fire while attempting to boil water.

Behold: the best possible use of your evening/weekend/life. Make these biscuits and thank me later.

Here's what you need:

2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick - can microwave at low power to soften)
3/4 cup buttermilk
Who knew that's how cream of tartar looked!? 
These are one of my favorite things my mom makes. She got the recipe from a friend, Lillian, who was raised in the South. So they have the Southern influence as well as a full stick of butter. Is there any better combo?

Here's what you do:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix dry ingredients with a fork. Cut in softened shortening (aka butter).
Stir in buttermilk.
Turn out on floured board and knead only 14 times.
(The less you mess with the dough the more tender your biscuits.)

Pat out by hand and cut.
(use a heart-shaped cutter if you're a cheeseball like me.)



Makes about 12 biscuits.
Bake on slightly greased cookie sheet at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Eat all of them and share none of them!


The best way to eat them: Probably with sausage and gravy, like my mom makes. If you have any clue how to make sausage and gravy (I don't) - you should.

obviously, the pictures don't do them justice.
How I usually eat them: With butter, drenched honey, or plain. There's no way to eat these wrong. Pure, simple southern joy.

Enjoy!

Valentine's Day: What Dating for 5 Years Looks Like

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

If you ever wondered what's it like to date someone for five years? here's a little personal anecdote just for fun. If you've, say, been married to someone for 20 years you can totally pull an Ygritte and say "You know nothing, Jon Snow." I'd totally understand. I'm also working on legally changing my name to Jon Snow -- so it's perfect! Without further Game of Thrones references, what the week leading up to our fifth Valentine's together looks like:

Any time I get Stephen a gift, I want to give it to him immediately. It just seems so silly to delay for an arbitrary futuristic date deemed appropriate for gift-giving. Valentine's Day is no exception.


Now, don't get me wrong, I'm usually your run-of-the-mill last-minute gift scrambler so the whole "waiting to give gifts" is no biggie because I procure said gifts at the last possible second. But this year, I wanted to get new makeup for myself at Sephora. Which led to me being at the mall on February 6. Which led to, you guessed it, an early Valentine's day gift purchase. I know, I'm a selfless angel from above. Cupid incarnate, really. And, no, I will not tell you if the gift cost more than the makeup, so just drop it already!

My Madison friends can lament with me about the complete lack of male shopping options at the West Towne Mall. Even the J. Crew has only girl stuff! This inconveniences me a whopping three times a year (Christmas, V-day, Stephen's birthday), so I hardly ever get Stephen clothing. I usually try to go for an experience gift, like butchering a pig, for example.

Anyway, I blame the West Towne Mall for the below conversation:

Walking home post-sushi on Friday, February 6.

Me: I got you a Valentine's gift today!
Stephen: What is it?
Me: You have to wait!
Stephen: Where'd you get it?
Me: The West Towne Mall.
Stephen: What store?
Me: I'm not telling
Stephen: Banana Republic?
Me: .....I said I'm not telling.
Stephen: Is it a quarter-zip pullover sweater from Banana Republic?
Me: I'll give it to you when we get home.

And, although I almost never buy Stephen clothes, he was, of course, exactly right. How did he know what I got him in less than 2 minutes? It beats me. I blame the aforementioned lack of male shopping options. Or the five years of dating.  :)

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day! Special kudos to those with the self-restraint to wait till the big day to exchange gifts. Extra special kudos to those with self-restraint to not consume entire bags of candy hearts in one sitting. How do you do it!?

p.s. These Lemonhead & Friends Candy Hearts are especially delicious. (Because I've heard it's cool to rank candy heart preferences.)

p.p.s. Did you know that so little is known about St. Valentine that the Roman Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar? The general Roman calendar (I just learned) is basically the calendar indicating dates of celebration of saints and "mysteries of the Lord!" Thanks Wikipedia!

Book Review on The Every Girl: What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

Monday, February 9, 2015

Remember a long time ago when I recommended these 3 memoirs? It was one of my first posts on books, a topic I've really enjoyed writing more and more about.

Well, today on The Every Girl I'm sharing a review of Kristin Newman's What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding!!



Read my full review here. 

Also, I recommend joining the 200k+ people who follow The Every Girl on instagram! It's a positive, upbeat site that produces very relatable content for girls. Especially those of us experiencing a quarter-life crisis in our twenties and thirties.

Let me know what you think of the review -- and the book!

Also, I'd like to specially thank my friend Christie who recommended the book to me this past summer :) It was very fun to read and write a review about! Any other travel memoirs I must read? (I've already devoured Wild by Cheryl Strayed!)

Happy Monday, homies! xx

Wanderlust: 3 Spots to See in Puerto Rico

Thursday, February 5, 2015

In February of 2013 and 2014 I went to Puerto Rico. Now, it's February of 2015 and - wait for it - I'm not going to Puerto Rico :(  Ultimate #FIRSTWORLDPROBLEM

Cue the world's smallest violinist.

Despite the horror of living through the winter without a Caribbean respite, I thought it'd be fun to share some Puerto Rican snapshots to brighten this dreary wintery Thursday. For me, the island is the perfect mix of history, nature, and relaxation. Also, you don't even need a passport to fly to Puerto Rico! And they take the U.S. dollar! And most people speak English! Talk about an easy breezy Caribbean destination. Have you booked your flights to Puerto Rico yet? If not, here are the pictures:

1. History | Check out Old San Juan



I highly recommend exploring Castillo San Cristobal and El Morro - both huge castles, which were used to protect the island in many wars. The views from these forts are simply stunning. And the cute little nooks (above) are everywhere!


Note the American flag, Puerto Rican flag, and Spanish flag. The island is incredibly rich in history, as it had four centuries of Spanish rule after Christopher Columbus "claimed" it for Spain. Puerto Rico means "rich port" in Spanish -- which is one of those facts that seems super obvious once you know it. (And that's my sister, Becky, in the pink!)


Told you about the views!


2. Nature | Wander El Yunque 



I had never been in a rainforest before walking through El Yunque,  and I fell in love with the greenery. The pictures don't do it justice. (For the record: none of my pictures do any of it justice.) That being said, we saw a lot more plants than animals. Don't go in expecting wildlife sightings! 


We took a tour bus from our hotel to the rainforest. I'd recommend this, as driving through the forest seemed daunting. (Full disclosure: I suck at driving.) We got rained on one year (shocking, right?!), and had to buy ponchos. But I still enjoyed every second of my time exploring El Yunque. 


The above falls are La Mina Falls, and it was totally worth the hike to see them! It was an easy, paved path (rather slippery when wet).


3. Relaxation | The Beach 




Can you believe we had this view from our hotel room? Both years, we stayed at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino because if it ain't broke don't fix it. Also, in my former life I traveled for business constantly so had quite the collection of Marriott points.


This is the perfect spot to sit and binge read Game of Thrones, no? The hotel was right next to the beach, and they had chairs and umbrellas for free. The BEST part of PR? The weather. It's basically always 84 degrees. Seriously. I still have San Juan on my phone because I love torturing myself.

You're welcome to make any of the above pictures your background on the computer and pretend you're relaxing in La Isla Del Encanto. 


Adios, amigos! :)

Lovely (and Hilarious!) Cards

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Valentine season is upon us and love is in the air! Wait, is that love or just oppressive forces of American consumerism telling us that the only way to show your love is to buy a ton of meaningless crap, none of which anyone needs? :)

Well, one nice part of the holiday that doesn't revolve around marketing campaigns is it does encourage you to connect with those you love. A nice way to connect (especially with your long distance friends/family/secret lovers) is through a good old-fashioned hand written card, don't you think?







I have a recent obsession with Emily McDowell - her cards are beautiful, whimsical, and (most importantly to me) funny! 

Browse through her stuff for design inspiration! She also has awesome tote bags. (If I didn't have an entirely too many bags, I'd go for this one. (See note above about American consumerism.)) My second-favorite part of Valentine's Day? Candy heart consumption, natch.

Random Acts of Snowy Kindness

Monday, February 2, 2015

I suppose the reason I didn't take a picture of my car this morning was I didn't want to risk taking my gloves off for 10 seconds to snap one. My little Honda Civic had transformed into an igloo. Nearly six inches of snow were coating my tiny Civic, and I was armed with nothing but my half scraper/half brush to unearth it from winter's wrath.

This wouldn't have been so bad, had the car not been surrounded by feet of snow ("plowed in"), and had I not approached it to find a parking ticket. I was parked on the wrong side of the road during a "Madison snow emergency" -- there's no signage for this stuff, you're just supposed to know. At least they didn't tow me. I thought. And then immediately changed my mind. If they had towed me, at least I wouldn't have to scrape my car off right now.

I started brushing. There are many reasons I've never considered running a marathon. One key reason is I don't have the mental fortitude to do the same thing over and over again without going absolutely insane. I brushed and brushed and brushed and brushed and brushed and brushed (etc.) and then looked at my car only to see I had hardly made a dent. So. Much. Snow. 

I was certain I was going to spend the rest of my existence on this earth brushing snow off of my car. I took small solace in that fact that, at least I was right: I always knew a Wisconsin winter would be the end of me.


I sat in the car to warm up, then reemerged to continue brushing. (What else is there? I've heard some people some places might be doing different activities, but my existence was reduced to that of a incessant snow brusher.) It was then I slipped and fell, landing on a fluffy mountain of snow. Now I was coated in it, just like my poor car. If I were six, I would have laughed, but I'm 26, so I swore.

It was only after unearthing my reliable Civic that I realized how foolish I'd been: The brushing was the least of my concerns. I was never going to be able to get out of my parking spot.

Maybe I'll be able to just drive out. I thought like a moron.

I revved up my engine and drove back and forth and back and forth, my car making terrible noises, tires spinning furiously, moving no where. I would never make it out.

I saw a man who I would probably call a hipster walk by holding a tennis racket, which made absolutely no sense. I kept spinning my tires, futilely. Jealous of anyone walking. Why do cars even exist? They're no match for mother nature.

Suddenly, the hipster man was at my window, "Can I help?" he asked.

"I think I'm screwed," I responded, "I don't have a shovel." 

"I have a tennis racket!" he answered, and started scooping and moving snow like a professional, as if his racket were designed for this very purpose.

I sat there, stunned. Why was this man helping me?

Then he pushed my car while I accelerated, and it made some progress, though was still not entirely un-stuck. Another woman clad in business clothes came to help push. Then a third person. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Why did these people care about me and my car? But care they did. They pushed and dug and pushed, and within no time, I was on my way!

"Yay!" one of the pushing woman exclaimed as I emerged from my terrible plowed in spot onto the road.

"Thank you so much!" I shouted to the three helpers as I drove away. 

But I'll never be able to fully thank them, the three generous people who decided to take time out of their busy mornings to help a desperate girl, with no chance of getting repaid. I don't even know their names. But I do know, at least today, that the kindness of the Wisconsin people outshone the fury of Wisconsin's weather.