Easy Recipe: Roasted Beets from the Farmers' Market

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Madison has a lovely farmers' market around the Capitol from April-October. (Aka, the only months it's bearable to be outside around here!) I love going and walking around and buying lovely things like scones, fresh flowers, and cheesy bread.

But, when it comes to buying vegetables I must admit I'm a bit of a novice. Sure, I'll buy tomatoes and cucumbers and corn, but after that, catch me at the smoothie cart.

Well, this weekend we bought beets and I'm so glad we did! Here's how we prepared them:

Roasted Beets

Cut off stems and ends (I used kitchen scissor for this, and it worked quite well)

Scrub each beet under cool water, getting off the dirt!

Pat dry with paper towels/towel.

Place each beet on its own square of aluminum foil.

Add a dollop of olive oil and wrap beet up.

Place all beets on baking pan, not touching, and put in oven.

Roast at 350 degrees F for 45 mins - 1 hour and half, depending on size of beets. 
(Ours were on the small side, we did an hour. When you can stick a fork in 'em, their done!)

Take out and let cool for a while.

When you remove foil, use foil to peel the beets.

Slice and enjoy!

(For best results, in my opinion, sprinkle dump on some feta cheese!)

Warning: Beet coloring is bound to get everywhere, so be careful! Also, doesn't the plate above kind of look like I just ate a delicious fruit pie? :) Hopefully I convinced you to go out on a limb next time you're at the farmers' market!  Happy Tuesday! xx

101 in 1001 1 Year Update

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yesterday marked one year since I began my 101 things in 1001 days list! I'm no math genius, but I busted out Excel and determined my days are ~36% of the way done, and I'm ~34% done with my list. Not too bad! Of course, I have some easy ones left (finally watch The Matrix), as well as some harder items (visit Europe!), but that's the joy of this list. The 101 items can be as big or as small as I like.

So far, the fitness category has been the hardest for me to complete (the only one I've done is yoga 20 times in a month back in January, and that was quite challenging). Today, I thought I'd highlight a few of my completed items for inspiration, in case you're thinking of drafting your own list or just looking for ideas of things to try!

1. Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding

I meant to try this all last summer, and though I drove by/saw a lake multiple times a day (the joys of living on an isthmus!), I never got around to it. This summer (just yesterday!) my friend Melanie and I finally tried it out on Lake Wingra with Wingra Boats. It was so much fun! For me, kayaking on lakes is always a tad on the boring side, especially if the water is super still. Not the case with SUPs! 

I will say this: the wind impacted us a lot. So, on our way out from the boat house we zipped along with the wind at our backs, but turning around and coming back took us twice as long. Still, it was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend trying it out (especially if you live in Madison). Next, I want to try SUP at Brittingham Boats and see how the Monona Bay compares to Lake Wingra.

13. Visit the Cave of the Mounds

When I made my list, I tried to include local attractions that I otherwise likely wouldn't visit. Enter, the Cave of the Mounds. Haha. But, even though it wouldn't particularly pique my interest usually, it definitely exceeded my expectations. The cave was huge! Also aren't stalactites (the little guys dripping from the ceiling) offer quite the lesson in perseverance. The guide would point to one that was about 2 inches long and say "This one's young! Only 80 years old." It's all about perspective, I guess.

As a fun bonus we checked out the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub in Mount Horeb on the way home, where they serve flights of their beer and the world's largest pretzel.

(told you!)

36. Take my sister(s) on a New York City trip!

Ever since going to NYC for work (and learning the city/subway), I've wanted to take a personal weekend there with a sister (or three). Of course, it's hard to get everyone together so Becky and I ended up doing a #twinning weekend to celebrate our half birthday in April! Unfortunately, it was a little cold when we went but we still had an awesome time! From checking out the Met to "running" the Brooklyn Bridge we had a very New York weekend. The highlight though? Seeing Aladdin on Broadway. It was amazing! I'm still debating, but it's in the running for my favorite Broadway show ever. (Thanks for the tickets, Mom & Dad!)

100. Write a First Draft of a Children's Chapter Book

I completed a manuscript for a middle grade book in April. I pitched it to four agents, and sent it to two upon request...so now I'm just eagerly waiting to hear back! :)

That's all for this recap, though you can see all 35 of my completed items here, if you'd like. I also occasionally look at #101in1001 on instagram (there's almost 1000 posts there!) for inspiration. Do you have a list online? I'd love to check it out! 

p.s. My 3 Month Update & 8 Month Update.

Read This: Bird by Bird

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

If you are writing, or dream of writing, anything, ever—a book, a short story, a blog post, an article— I now have one resounding piece of advice for you: read this book.

I cannot stress this enough. A friend recommended this book to me, and I didn't think much of it. Then, I saw a woman toting it around at a writing workshop in Milwaukee but had more important things to consider (like pitching!), of course. Then, I was re-reading Jennifer Weiner's advice to writers when I noticed that she, too, highly praises this book, calling it "utterly indispensable." Then, and only then, did I put myself on the wait list for it at the library.

If you have any writing goals—be ye not so thickheaded. I only wish I would have sprinted to the bookstore the second I quit my job in October and immediately purchased this book.

In Bird by Bird Lamott offers tangible writing advice: encouraging you to write short assignments and sh*tty first drafts, find loyal test readers, join a writing group, start from the beginning of your childhood and write everything, write letters for inspiration, and on and on. I came away with so many concrete ways to motivate myself to write more! That, in and of itself, made it worth the read.

But she doesn't stop there. She uses countless analogies that really get to the core of what writing—and what life—feels like. Lamott writes with a beautiful balance of honesty and humor.

One of my favorite lines, from her chapter on jealousy:

"But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, underserving writers you know—people who are, in other words, not you."

She also offers insights about writing that make you feel like she's secretly moved into your head. Her wisdom on listening to your characters hit home with me. She talks about writing towards a scene/moment and then getting to that very moment and realizing that the moment doesn't work. I had just written four chapters up to "the moment" in my newest book, and was struggling with how "the moment" didn't make sense anymore. To her, that's perfectly fine. Thank you, Anne, for chiming in at the right time to tell me that I'm not, in fact, crazy. Or, rather, that I may be crazy but in very good company. :)

She shares gems of wisdom that she shares with her writing classes, including this quote, which is now written in sharpie and hanging on a piece of paper glamorously taped to my closet:

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night, you can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." —E.L. Doctorow

Now isn't that a beautiful analogy about both writing and life? Obviously, I am unable to read this through a lens of someone who is not writing. So it's hard for me to say with 100% confidence that you'll enjoy it if you don't have any plans of writing anything ever, BUT I still think you will. (And, I think there's a good chance you'll want to write something, at some point.) Lamott's analogies about life really rang true for me, even in a non-writing context.

So, go read it and let me know what you think! I'm planning on purchasing a copy (after the dreaded end-of-July move) and reading it again—it was bursting with valuable insights, from writing dialogue to plot to set design to publication and on and on!

Have you read any of Anne Lamott's books? I already bought Rosie because I found it at a used bookstore, and can't wait to read it! 

Also, do you know of any more writers-on-writing books that you recommend? I'm now obsessed with this genre, because when I took a break from writing to read  Bird by Bird I felt no guilt at all since I was practically still working on my writing, after all.

In Response to the Charleston Shooting: A letter to People in Their 20's

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dear People in your 20's,

I think this is a really hard decade. I would know, I'm 26. In one word, I'm struggling. Sure, you can legally drink at 21, but it's kind of all downhill from there, right? At 22, society says you're supposed to know what to do with the rest of your life, which, if we're being honest, is straight-up BS. I mean, people are living to be 100 years old these days but you need to have everything figured out a quarter of the way through? Why?

The pressure to have a career path in your 20's sucks. Not to mention all your friends who "always knew they wanted to be a lawyer." Ugh. How could you possibly always know anything when you've been alive for a tiny blip of time? Walk through a forest. Nearly every tree in it is older than you are. You've basically just arrived on planet earth! But, you're 100% certain of your career path. Not an ounce of doubt.

To all those self-assured people I say this: Good for you, not for me.

Not to mention everyone getting married, having kids, buying houses, and (ugh) posting engagement photos to Facebook. Social media is the worst kind of liar, because it pretends to be something it's not. It pretends to exist to help with human bonding and connection-forming, and instead tells you everyday you're falling behind. You're 26 and not engaged yet? What, do you have leprosy or something?

No one knows exactly what you should do with your life except for you (at least that's what "they" say). And, if we're being honest, you don't know either. I know I don't know what to do with mine.

But, I do know exactly what you (and I) should NOT do. 

I strongly believe with every ounce of my body there's one thing that you should actively avoid doing at all costs. Do not kill people.

First off, let's take an incredibly self-absorbed 20's mindset when approaching the idea of shooting and killing other people. It accomplishes nothing for you. Maybe your life right now is a miserable abyss of questioning and restlessness and depression and addiction. I'm not diminishing those terrible things. That's rough. Maybe you are going through something so terrible that it's impossible to articulate. You are certain you are the first person to feel so much melancholy in so short a time period—and there's no hope for your future, and no one can even begin to understand. First, I'm going to kindly suggest you start reading classic literature. Not modern-day pop-culture vampire dystopian fiction. Read the classics. Steinbeck. Hemingway. Salinger. You might find you're able to surround yourself with a cohort of authors who share in your melancholy, and make it more bearable.

Then, I'm going to ask, if possible, that you adopt a pet—rescue a cat or dog or bird, I don't care. And watch how, even when every single human on the planet is insufferable, your animal relies on you for food, for care. Without question, your pet blindly trusts you—you! The person living in an abyss of misery with no direction and no hope for the future!—for food, for shelter, for love, for everything. 

Then, and only then, if you are still thinking of killing other humans, I'm going to urge you to ask yourself this question: Will killing someone else solve any of your problems? Really think about it. Mull it over. Be honest with yourself. The answer is a resounding no.

Then, of course, if we pull our heads out from our behinds (where our heads generally tend to be in our 20's, it seems), we can start considering the lives of people other than ourselves. The other living, breathing humans, with hopes and fears and doubts and dreams. And maybe even with pets of their own. And a collection of books. And, maybe, with children, who also have hopes and fears and doubts and dreams. When you kill another person, you don't just destroy him or her—you destroy worlds. By ending a person's life, you set off a wave of misery that washes over wives, husbands, friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, co-workers, sons, daughters, pets, and on and on and on.

Is that what you want to be known for? Really think about it. Mull it over. Be honest with yourself. No, it is not. You were not born to set off a wave of misery and despair and heartbreak and sadness. Maybe you weren't born to be a doctor or lawyer, either, but you decidedly weren't born to be a weapon of mass destruction. I'm 100% sure of it. It is not who you are. Look at your core. Your core will not lie to you. Strip away everything else—society's unfair expectations, the harsh opinion's of others, your self-doubt, your addiction, your horrid situation, your self-loathing—strip it away, and look at your core. Your core is beautiful. I am certain of it. You are beautiful. And you have the rest of your life to tap into that core, tap into that beauty. I'm begging you, don't ruin it for yourself in your 20's, and do not ruin it for anyone else, ever. After all, each of us is only here for a tiny blip of time—there's no sense in shortening it. Be kind to others. And be kind to yourself.

Sending my love to Charleston, and to you,


Two Poems on Love That Should be Read at More Weddings

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Perhaps this title induced many an eye roll, but I couldn't resist. I recently stumbled across two different poems on love, and I'm kind of obsessed with both of them.

You know how everyone always reads the same passage about love at weddings? Love is patient, love is kind....etc. The youth-group going girl I was knows it's from 1 Corinthians 13, of course. Well, don't get me wrong, I like that passage—it's just, it makes love sound a little unattainable to me. Patient, kind, keeps no record of wrong, doesn't boast, is not rude, is not self-seeking? Shoot.

I mean, let's start at the very beginning. If love is patient, count me out.

I can't wait in a long grocery store line without plotting the ultimate demise of every shopper in front of me. And don't get me started on driving. (I'm looking at you, Wisconsin!) I said it a long time ago, but I'm considering writing a book called "If You're Going 57 mph Get the %$@! out of the Passing Lane, and Other Pearls of Wisdom to Live By."

Anyway, love poems.

I'm going to let these poems speak for themselves, rather than bore you with English-major dissections of each of them ;)

The first one I stumbled across on Design for Mankind (a wonderful blog, in my opinion) in this post.

By Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience 
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish, 
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

The second one is included in the book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott which I'm currently reading and loving.

by Wendell Berry

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

Wouldn't it be lovely to hear one of these read at a wedding? I think so. Any other great love poems you'd like to share? I'm always on the look out.

Will Reading Cure What Ails You?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Obviously, I love reading. But before reading this article in the New Yorker entitled "Can Reading Make You Happier?" I never really thought about if it made me necessarily feel better. 

But! It turns out there is such thing as a bibliotherapist who—get this—prescribes books for you based on how your feeling.

And it's not just "Are you lonely? Read this book about friendship." or "Are you sad? Read this funny memoir." —it gets incredibly specific. Are you going through a divorce? Are you unsure what to do with your life? Are you expecting your first child? Are you grieving from a death in the family? There's a book for that. And this book can tell you which book that is:

And, don't be misled, this is not a book of self-help books. Author Ella Berthoud talks about becoming a bibliotherapist in a time when the idea was new and says, "Bibliotherapy, if it existed at all, tended to be based within a more medical context, with an emphasis on self-help books. But we were dedicated to fiction as the ultimate cure because it gives readers a transformational experience."

Don't you just love that line? Fiction as the ultimate cure. Like music to my ears.

If you've found yourself in a reading slump, here's another inspiring excerpt to get back on the book wagon:

"Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. "Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines," the author Jeanette Winterson has written. "What they heal is the rupture reality makes on imagination."

[Aside: One thing I love about reading is that book seem to focus on the character of the characters, rather than the accomplishments of the characters. For example, Jane Austen's women are always prattling on about "the dispositions" of their male suitors and I LOVE that. I mean, when do we talk about, or even consider, dispositions these days? The next time a friend gets a new boyfriend who I don't know rather than say, "What does he do?" I'm determined to say, "What's his disposition like?"]

Anyway, I'm eager to check out this book from the library and see what it recommends for the quarter-life crisis years! I will report back if I find it helpful. Well, I must go Google how to become a bibliotherapist. I think I just found my long-lost career path ;)

p.s. On a slightly related note: My new favorite quote on writing.

Do you have ant issues?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This is a story about me, my car, and some ants.
Yes, my car was a (generous) gift from my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad!!!! And OMG those "shorts." I was like 19 in this picture (taken long before the story below) but STILL. AHHHHH.
My Honda Civic (which I still drive) was my way to get from Bucknell, to home in Pittsburgh, and back. 4 hours east, 4 hours west, 4 hours east, 4 hours west. Wax on, wax off. We got into a bit of a rhythm during my collegiate years.

Well, after my junior year of college, I loaded it all up, packed to the brim with piles of crap from my dorm, and then, rather than do the 4 hours west homeward drive, I went to the beach with some friends, celebrated Stephen's graduation, and then drove it home.

I don't remember the exact moment I saw an ant in my car. Which, of course, was part of the problem.

But somewhere in my car's "dorm stuff baking inside" phase an ant (or two) decided it was a pleasant place to move in. As they do.

I got home, "unpacked" my car (as much as you unpack college stuff when you know it's going back in a few months anyway), and moved on with my life. Or so I thought.

I had seen a couple ants in my car during this process, over the course of a few weeks. Noticed them withoutyou know, acknowledging their presence. I kept my car outside, and ants lived outside, so there were a few ants in my car, so what? C'est la vie, the circle of life, Hukuna Matata, live and let live, whatever. (In hindsight, there were many situations when in I should have embraced a laissez-faire attitude; this was not one of them.)

But I had bigger fish to fry! A summer job promising hours (and hours!) at the scanner! A relationship to build with my now long-distance boyfriend (our first foray with "long distance," which would serve us well for what came ahead), and, you know, a life to lead not involving my car.

But, now that I think about it, my autonomous life was decidedly dependent on my car.

And that's how, when I was getting into my car to go to Starbucks to meet my friends, I noticed that the dashboard was particularly crowded with ants one evening. There weren't one or two scattering across the dash. We're talking more like 50.

And then, for the first time, I really looked. Really looked on the floorboards. In the back seat. In the cup holders.

Ants. Were. Everywhere.

Sorry if this is gross. If it's any consolation, I'm getting squeamish just typing and wiping imaginary bugs off my legs.

I had to stop everything (but my big Starbucks plans!), get my mom (what else does one do?), and start vacuuming those little buggers up. It was so not enjoyable.

So, here's my question: Do you have ant issues? It's not just ants, of course, but an issue, a problem, that you're passively noticing but not, you know, actively acknowledging.

Are you wishing something away? Are you hoping if you ignore it, it will vanish? Maybe it's seemingly minuscule. Tiny! Easily ignorable! Ant-sized!

Still, here's my advice: Just address it.

Because, from experience, most things like that don't just go away. You must work to eliminate them, work to solve them, work to fix them. And, if you just ignore them, pushing them aside and prioritizing other things (there are things to be scanned! And calls to be made! And Coffee to be drank!), these minuscule issues can grow. Worsen. Manifest. Or, in my disgusting case, literally multiply. (Yuck.)

I guess what I'm saying is, I think you already know what most issues are, it's just a matter of whether or not you admit it to yourself. I, personally, think most of us intuitively know things that are problematic —it's a matter of admitting it, acknowledging it, and addressing it. Easier said than done, of course. :) But acknowledging it is the first step!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

p.s. If you think this analogy is stupid, you can still sit down in your car today and think "At least my car isn't infested." :)

Two Fun Websites

Thursday, June 4, 2015

So, I know we all waste enough time on social media these days, BUT I recently found discovered two websites that have the benefit of a.) being super cool and b.) not including status updates from those annoying people from your high school.*

*I say that fully knowing that, to some people, I am, surely, the annoying person from high school. Everyone is someone else's annoying person from high school, in my opinion.  

Hope you enjoy :)


I <3 the New Yorker Cartoons, and this website let's you click through them for eternity!!! I ask you, what better way to spend eternity? Sure, you could also follow The New Yorker on facebook and twitter but this is site is 100% only cartoons! Also, you can avoid annoying anonymous people commenting. (Is social media like the watering hole for annoying people?*) Pro Tip: Even though there's a button that says "Next" at the bottom of the cartoon, you don't have to click the button, you can just click anywhere on the cartoon to advance. Pro Tip #2: you can't "go back" with the back arrow, but they do repeat occasionally. :)

*Note: I, personally, spend an inordinate amount of time on social media.

My boyfriend always has the coolest back grounds on his laptop. (I always have the same unchanged one I took of the Mississippi River like 3 Thanksgivings ago with Kelsey -- still pretty but I'm no professional photographer!) Finally, he told me where he got all his awesome back grounds! (I should have figured it was Apple; he's a bit of an Apple worshipper.) Apple has curated breathtaking photos that were (allegedly ;) shot on the good-old iPhone 6. Motivation to update your computer back ground today —and to become a better photographer.

Warning: Many hours can be spent on either of these websites. Still, I like stumbling across new enjoyable sites. Reminds me there is some good out there on the abyss of the world wide web. It's not all bad, my friends.

Hope you have a happy Thursday!! xx

What should Kimye name their baby?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I'm no gossip blogger, but I am somewhat of a baby-naming expert.* So, I thought it'd be fun to brainstorm potential baby names for the power couple Kim and Kanye's baby number two. Move over, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

*Note: Only half of this sentence is true.


Gender-neutral Names:
Androgynous names are all the rage (with Ryan + Blake naming their daughter James and whatnot) so here are list of names that could work incredibly well for either gender.

South (Obviously.)
East (Less obvious, but better.)
Wild (Ideal name. Will Smith would be the godfather, no doubt.)
Nine (because naming your child after a brand is equivalent to setting your child up for success in this corporation-run world).
Kody (Moving away from only-because-of-the-last-name options, but Cody is uncommon, but cute, and Kody with a forced K is original but still, like, a human name.*)

*Note: "human name" did not seem to be a requirement for baby #1.

Girls' Names:
We all desperately want Kimye baby #2 to be a girl, for the sake of the future of reality TV on E! Let's face it, I like Rob Kardashian, but he's not really able to be the face of the franchise. So, if Kimye baby #2 gets both good chromosomes, here are some options:

Kaitlyn (As a shout out to Bruce —but spelled with the Kardashian trademarked letter "K")
Kennedy (So she and Auntie Kendall can bond.)
Katie (Literally everyone in the world is named Katie but there are zero Katie Kardashians? Makes zero sense. She could go by "Kate" if that's more chic, or even Kat for more edge!)
Karen (#throwbackthursday)

The following list of K-names stem from the word "Christ" because I find it weird not a single K-Kardashian girl has a name like this:

Kirsten (which is just Kristen spelled wrong for funsies ;)

What's that? Kris Jenner's real name is Kristen? Well, even more reason for Kimye to name baby #2 one of the above names, as a nod to grandma.

Boys' Names:
Even if little Kimye baby #2 is male, there are fortunately some solid options:

Kanye Jr. (duh)
Kale (the obvious choice)
Knox (Sounds like an "n" for North, is actually a K for Kim, Kanye, etc. Every time you use the letter "K" a Kardashian gets a dollar, btw.)
Kanye the Second
Kimchi (I'm getting hungry)
Kilimanjaro (Nickname: Kila. The most hardcore rapper name ever.)
Mini-Kanye (That's what we're all going to call him anyway. I can never resist a name with a good old-fashioned hyphen.)

So...which will it be? Any other Kardashian-inspired names to add to the list? 

My Summer Reading List

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My summer reading list has nothing to do with what's new and what's hot; it has entirely to do with what I own but haven't read yet. As I'm getting ready for another move (Nooooooo!) I'm trying to donate as many books as possible. (So far, that's like 12! But it's progress!) I'm also re-dedicating myself to reading the ones I'm keeping around (and packing in boxes, and carrying up and down steps, etc. etc. ugh).

Behold, my summer list, in collage form:

Summer Reading List

1. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (I read this short Steinbeck book recently and enjoyed it!)

2. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

3. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

4.My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto by Jen Lancaster (I've read many of her books but skipped this one!) 

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I have this one on my 101 in 1001 list since it's embarrassing I haven't read it as an English major!)

6. Diary by Chuck Palahniuk (My youngest sister lent me this one! I promise to read it, Janice!)

7. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

8. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (This one's borrowed and I need to return!)

9. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Have you read any of the above books? Would love to hear any recommendations to help me prioritize! 

p.s. This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you buy a book through a link above, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you)!

p.p.s. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor and add it to your summer reading list!

A Quick Trip: Cincy

Monday, June 1, 2015

One funny thing about growing up in Pittsburgh is I was kind of trained to detest Cleveland, Cincinnati and Baltimore all in the name of the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers. BUT, then when I moved to Wisconsin anytime I meet anyone from one of those three places I feel like we have a connection—we're not so different after all.

Funny how moving can give you a whole new perspective. I highly recommend a far move-away-from-home at some point in your life, even if just for a year or two; it allows you to see things in a new light.

My sister now lives in Cincinnati, and for Memorial Day weekend I took a quick trip there to go to a wedding with her. It was, all in all, a great weekend. Even if you don't have an awesome twin sister residing there, thought I'd share a few fun ideas of things to do in the area!

1. Brunch at Sleepy Bee Cafe

This delicious brunch spot is walking distance from where my sister lives (in Oakley), and, although you should plan on waiting a bit on the weekends (it's a hot spot!) the local food is on point. I ordered a delicious omelet, but only thought to capture the giant cookie on camera. GET THE COOKIE. It has like a million things in it and is delicious.

2. Hike in Ault Park

Sometimes I think we wear too much lululemon if that's possible ;)
Before brunch, we had a nice Saturday morning hike with Becky's boyfriend and his dog in Ault Park. There are tons of trails and gardens, and we saw people taking family photos there (it's that pretty!) Worth checking out. Of course, I left my phone in the car (something I've been enjoying doing lately) so we only snapped this one picture on Becky's boyfriend's phone post-hike.

3. Visit Krohns Conservatory in Eden Park

I always enjoy wandering through conservatories and gardens (see this post on the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh and this one on the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison) and this one was no exception. Krohn Conservatory is not near as big as the Phipps in Pittsburgh, but they did have a fun "butterflies from the Phillipines" exhibit going on. Butterflies, although photogenic, are seldom still. But I did snap a few pics.

The conservatory is in Eden Park and from it you can easily walk to this overlook of the Ohio River. The Ohio River meets the Allegheny and Monongahela in Pittsburgh, so I always like seeing it. Reminds me of home.

4. Snack at Yagoot

I'm somewhat of a frozen yogurt connoisseur (that's something to brag about, I know) and Yagoot was exceptional! We went twice in three days. That good, you guys. We went to the location in Rockwood Commons, which is a shopping center that includes a J. Crew Factory and a Whole Foods. A nice place to shop!

And, on my Cincy still to-do list is to catch a Reds Game at the Great American Ballpark, of course.

Pre-wedding - both wearing J. Crew :)

Happy June, friends! xx