Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another Big Day

First off, I wanted to share with you all how excited I am to see the lovelies Stacey and Heather tonight.  I get to see Stacey three times in one week?  I definitely won the friendship lottery there.  In a mere ten hours, I will be enjoying a glass of wine and good eats with these two ladies.  I couldn't be more excited.
And second, today is the big day for my Dad.  It is surgery day.  In a few short hours (at 3 pm to be precise) my Dad will be all prepped and ready to go.  
After almost 3 years from being back from Afghanistan, my Dad is having shoulder surgery to repair his badly torn rotator cuff.  He received this injury while in Afghanistan carrying another soldier.

After months and months of tests, requests for surgery and medical approvals, he will finally (hopefully) be pain free and can get back to normal life.  I am a bit worried today as my father-in-law had this surgery almost four years ago and he had some complications from a blood clot forming in his lungs which hospitalized him.  This was very scary and luckily he recovered from it after a few days in the hospital.  So I ask you all to please keep my Dad in your prayers for a safe, fast and complication free surgery today.   Love you Dad!
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Week and Weekend Update

On Friday's post I told you all that I was going golfing that afternoon for a work tournament and was hoping for the golf gods to be nice to me....well they weren't.  I did ok.  I started off strong and ended strong, but failed miserably in the middle.  Oh well, practice for my next round of golf.  But I do want to mention that I did push (tie) my partner on almost half the holes.
The weather was gorgeous all weekend that I broke out my spring/summer gear and wore shorts and a tank top to the spring Wolf Pack practice game on Saturday and a cute skirt Easter Sunday.

Easter was great as always.  Lots of food, family, sunshine and eggs.
And now for the last week.  Get ready for a long post with lots of pictures.  Sorry.

Monday I left the gorgeous weather and headed to Madison, Wisconsin.  It was beautiful when I arrived, but the weather turned over the next few days.  Madison was very interesting and I spent my days walking around for work and checking out the University of Wisconsin-Madison for work of course.
Wisconsin State Capital Building

Monday night when I arrived in Madison, I went to Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro for Happy Hour.  The food was unbelievably good and at a great price too.
I had the fresh mozerella bruscetta and proscuitto, asparagus, fontina and apricot bruscetta to start as recommend by the bartender.  The proscuitto one was the best, but they were both good.  And then I had the crab cakes, also recommended.  The crab cakes had a buerre blanc sauce with baby rocket.  I would have licked the plate clean if I were allowed to.
Tuesday morning I enjoyed a waffle and coffee at TnT's Coffee and Cafe .  I am a sucker for a waffle, but add some strawberries and I am beyond happy.
Tuesday after work, I had some time to kill before going to dinner, so I wen to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  Outside not much was bloomed, but inside the conservatory, there was plenty to see.
Gorgeous Flowers (hibiscus, orchids and others)
Cutest little common quails
Glass sculptures imitating nature, waterfall and koi fish 
Sights along the garden path
That evening I dined at  Tempest Oyster Bar during Happy Hour again.  They have amazing prices on scallops, shrimp, oysters, oysters rockefeller and smoke stack (fish stack).  I opted for the oysters (2 different kinds), shrimp cocktail and a scallop.
The oysters and scallop were amazing, but the shrimp left a lot to be desired.  Weird how they could mess up the shrimp, but they did.

Wednesday I traveled to Minneapolis where I was greeted with sheets and sheets of rain.  Ugh, and it rains hard there.  In Nevada, we don't get down pours like that.
I made my way over to Zelo for some pasta and the best dessert I have ever had.  I had the tortiglioni rossa which had sausage, peas, roasted peppers and romana rossa sauce.  It tasted almost like my penne ala vodka, without the vodka kick.  And I loved the peas in it so much, that I think next time I make my sauce, I will add peas to it.  And post the recipe for it.
For dessert, I had the chocolate hazelnut creme brulee.  Now I am not a fan of creme brulee, but the bartender swore by it.  This wasn't like your normal creme brulee.  It was a chocolate hazelnut mousse with maple syrup and smoked flake salt.  My mouth is watering thinking about it.  I would eat that dessert every meal if I could. It was that good.
Oh I will dream about you for years to come.
Thursday was spent walking in the rain and sky ways of Minneapolis.  Again it rained like a beast.  Also to note, my left black flat had separated from the sole and there was a gaping hole which proceeded to fill with water and I felt like I was walking around barefoot.  Ugh, feet cold, wind blowing, trying to control my umbrella, made for a grumpy Danielle.  
It also meant that I had to buy new flats.  This may seem awesome to some, but not when you have to travel to the Mall of America and shop through a million stores at night and not enjoy yourself.  This mall is massive.  Did I mention there is an amusement park in the center?  Or an aquarium in there too?  No, well this place is four stories of massiveness.  I managed to get my shoes (at a steal) plus a few other things I probably didn't need, but had to have for the summer.

After shopping around and my feet hurting, I made my way to Broder's Pasta Bar which has been featured on Diner's Drive-ins and Dives (but I didn't know this at the time).  I went off the recommendation of the bartender again and got #9, penne rosa al rosmarino.  It was a similar dish to the one I had the day before, but nevertheless, just as good.  It had penne pasta, rosemary, chilies and bell peppers.  So this version was spicy, but not overly so.  Plus it was paired with really good bread and wine.  Wait it wasn't paired with the wine, I just made it paired with the wine.
You may be able to tell that I love to eat...especially on my work trips.  I usually work up my appetite walking around the cities I travel to, and I look forward to the food.  Except crapholes that only have chain restaurants.  Sorry, but not sorry.
Until my next trip and food binge.
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Monday, April 28, 2014

Is it Really Only Monday?

I am back from another adventurous work trip to the mid-west (Madison and Minneapolis) and I have a post coming tomorrow for you all (I can't get the stupid collage maker to work today).  But in the meantime, I will give you a bit of a run-down of my weekend.  And probably without pictures because said collage/photo maker won't cooperate with me.
I got home Friday from my work trip to more rain.  I wasn't happy to say the least.  I had just left the rain and wanted sunshine.  But it could have been worse.  I could have been in the work golf tournament (remember I played a week earlier) in the rain/snow.  Ya my husband was pretty bitter about it.  My pup was probably too since he didn't get a walk due to the rain.
We finally got to go to dinner at 8:30 where once again my stupid tastebuds and this medicine (the metformin) got the best of me and I didn't care for my mussels.  I loved the actual mussels, but the broth with the chorizo made me nauseous.  So I ate more of the chartuerrie plate than anything else, and that was really good.  Plus I got to catch up with my main man.
Saturday was the Silver and Blue Spring game which started off with some tailgating.  What you don't tailgate for your Spring game?  Amateurs.  The Blue team won, it was really windy, but a lot of fun.  That night we ordered some pizza and stayed in because my husband left on his work trip on Sunday.  Boo, I never get to see him.  But we did build a fire that evening which made for the best Saturday night in.
Sunday my husband ventured down to the south and I had brunch with my favorite ladies.  I also went shopping for my carabox exchange and found out that Napa Sonoma was having a customer appreciation food and free wine.  After I told the ladies about this, we made plans to hit it up.  And that we did.  I was the fifth wheel, but never felt like it.  We ate amazing appetizer style foods and drank a ton of wine.  It was a great evening and Stacey and I stayed almost the entire time talking and drinking.  Way too much fun and worth it.
But I did have to get home to my pup who was waiting to be fed and cuddled.  And he did cuddle me hard all night.  Now I am back to real life in my cubicle and I am daydreaming of my next vacation.  Belize, Caribbean Islands, Europe.  Oh the possibilities are endless.
Please oh please take me here.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Dear Friday

Join me in Fan Friday Link Up with Sarah and Nicole.  Nicole guest posted a list of 25 things she is a huge fan of and we should be too.  She has some awesome items on that list like #3 and #24.  I am going to go down a different route and do more of a Dear Friday post.  So...

Dear Friday, I am so thankful this week is over and I can look forward to sleeping in this weekend.  I have been way beyond tired this week.  Dear Golf, please be kind to me today and allow me to beat not look like a fool on the course.  Dear Weather, please don't rain/snow in Wisconsin or Minnesota next week.  I can't handle anymore cold weather.  Dear Husband, I can't tell you how excited I am for this weekends adventures...buying a new BBQ and oven (almost as awesome as buying the vacuum a few months back), watching the Wolf Pack football team practice, buying more items for my CaraBox recipient and spending Easter with my family.  Dear Walter, momma is going to miss you so much next week that I best get some extra cuddle time in this weekend.  And last but not least, Dear Giants, thank you for taking the series against the Dodgers.  You are well on your way (let's hope even though the season just started) to the World Series AGAIN!
  Thanksgiving Golf Tournament (Las Vegas 2012) Me: Winners Team Husband: Losers Team (notice his toilet golf trophy)
Let's hope my golf skills match this game (Hawaiian Honeymoon 2013)
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Taking It Back 8 Months

I know today is typically TBT, but I was reading some Weddingbee today...specifically this post which is all about Dirty Dancing and it made me think of my wedding day. Oh the dancing.  I love to dance (especially after a drink or two).
Oh so very true Vodka
Growing up my husband and his friends would break dance.  His mom swears she has a video of my husband break dancing as a child when he was about 5 years old.  Mental note: get my hands on this video.  Anyways, he always mentions how he was into hip-hop and rap way before his fellow friends, how he loved to dance and how music forward he is.
When we used to go out clubbing (so many years ago, dang we are old) he would be able to get down on the dance floor.  He impressed me and others with his dance skills, but never once did he show any break dancing skills.  Until...our wedding day.
 My husband breaking it down on the dance floor
 GM Tom (one of his childhood friends)

As you can see, my husband and his childhood friends decided to show us all what their momma's gave them.  They formed a circle and started break dancing.  I just wish I had some of the ones where they were on the floor doing their moves.  Most epic moment!  I and so many others finally got to see what my husband had talked about for years.

I know I say this over and over and over again, my wedding day has been the best day of my life, and I love to relive it over and over again.

So, I only took it back 8 months (today), but it was one of the best Throw Back Thursday pictures.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's All About Numbers

Recently, I started following a bunch of new blogs (some amazing ones like Living in Yellow, Peach State of Mind and Health, Love & Fire to name a few) and they have done this post feature of My Life in Numbers, and I thought I would join in.

So without further ado, here is My Life in Numbers:

242 - Number of days we have been married!

8 - Number of years I have been at my current job/career

146 - Number of posts on this blog (counting today's)
62 - Number of miles I drive round trip each day to work
1 - Amazing, sweet, hyper little pup dude we have
61 - Number of days until my next vacation
5 - Number of days until I leave to Madison and Minneapolis for work
2 - Number of times I have online shopped this week (sshh don't tell my husband)
 7 - Number of hours I slept last night (and it didn't seem like enough)

438 - Dollars I spent to register my new car this week

32 - Number of golf balls I hit this week (probably not enough for the dreaded work tournament this week)

144 - Number of days until Niners football officially starts (real football, not preseason)
And for good measure, here is a cute picture of my sweet and hyper dog Walter because every post needs a picture in it.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

25 Things that Make Me Happy

  1. Being married to the love of my life (you know this one was coming with how much I STILL talk about my wedding day)
  2. Walter the Dude
  3. Wine
  4. My garden (and how I can't wait to plant more in it)
  5. Time with my girlfriends
  6. Vacations (which I need to plan our next one)
  7. Date nights
  8. Snowboarding
  9. Beach days at Lake Tahoe
  10. Football Season - Go Pack! Go Niners!
  11. Warm blankets out of the dryer
  12. Online shopping
  13. My daily morning latte
  14. Italian food
  15. Pay Day
  16. Spin class or a daily run
  17. Massages and facials
  18. Family brunches/dinners
  19. Frozen yogurt
  20. Happy Hour
  21. Peonies (and roses and lilies)
  22. Fires in our fireplace
  23. Food
  24. A baby's smell
  25. Weekend cuddles with my pup
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Trying to Conceive Journey

I have struggled on if I wanted to write about this...something so personal, but I also want to get it out there and hear others stories.  What am I talking about?  The title says it all.  Our trying to conceive journey.  Now if you have no interest in this, feel free to skip this post.  If not, sit back and get ready for a long, emotional post.

My husband and I got married in August 2013.  It was the absolute best day of my life.  Soon after getting married, we decided we wanted to start a family.  This is where our trying to conceive journey begins.

I went off birth control, downloaded an app to keep track of my periods and hoped for the best.  I never once thought it would take more than a month.  I never thought to look into all the methods, vitamins, lubes, fertility issues, acupuncture, herbs or kits.  It wasn't until we hadn't conceived in three months that I felt I needed to up our game.

I added on ovulation predictor kits (OPKs).  These little buggers are so much more difficult to read (figure out the actual ovulation date) than I thought they should be.  I also started reading and posting on BabyCenter.  This is where I found out that we weren't even on the same page as so many other couples struggling to get pregnant.

After using the OPKs for two months, I finally got it down.  Here are two tips: test twice a day when you are closer to your ovulation time (from a week out) and keep testing after your positive to see when the strip goes negative to see when you really ovulated.  You will have ovulated between the last positive and first negative.  That is why it is important to test twice a day.  Also, I used the internet cheapies (Wondfo on amazon) and First Response.  Cover all my bases.

Next, we added a water based lube.  This might be a bit TMI, so gloss over if you would like.  But if you don't produce enough cervical mucus (such a gross phrase), you can use things like Pre-seed, a water based lube, to help those swimmers along the way.

When these didn't work, we I started acupuncture.  Plus I added in Chinese herbs recommended by my acupuncturist.  I also added in prenatal vitamins which made me feel so bloated.  Another tip: take them at night.

Still nothing was working, so we went to a vitamin/herb store and I started drinking a fertility tea, taking Dong Quai and Vitex.  I thought for sure doing all of this would work.  Well it didn't.

Next up was going to the doctor's to see if anything was wrong with me and/or my husband.  My husband got a sperm analysis.  Oh boy was he ever excited about this.  His results were pretty good.  Everything was in a good or great range other than his volume being lower (due to stress of going in a cup, maybe?) and the percentage of normal shaped swimmers was on the lower end, but still in the normal range.

So it was my turn.  I had my normal annual exam and everything looked great.  So next was to see if anything was wrong internally.  That appointment was two Mondays ago, and that Monday changed everything.  You see they did an internal ultrasound and we found out that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  I was devastated to say the least.  This makes it so much harder to get pregnant.

Basically, PCOS means that while my ovaries are producing eggs (which is good), they aren't able to fully mature and drop because cysts form around them.  And this is all due to my hormones being off balance.  When I was on birth control pills, this never showed up or came up because birth control pills control the cyst production.  Once I went off the pill, they started to show up and I had no clue about it.  Can we say my husband and I were devastated?

What is a girl to do next?  Even after her doctor tells her a lot of the internet.  I wanted success stories, stories of any kind and more info (even the scary stuff).  After a few days of research, I feel confident that my issue isn't too bad.  This might change after a few months of still trying, but right now, I have hope.

My body does ovulate, but it can't release the egg (what a contradiction that is).  I get ovulation pains, ovulation signs (pain and positive strips), but it just won't release.  So my doctor put me on metformin.  Basically, it decreases the male type of hormone that causes the cysts and helps the body use the insulin produced in your body the correct way.  It helps regulate cycles, start ovulation (from maturing the egg to dropping the egg) and lowers the risk of miscarriage once you are pregnant.

If metformin alone doesn't help, they will add clomid which will make me ovulate pretty strongly.  The biggest drawback for me?  There is a higher chance of having multiple babies.  I already have twins on both sides of my parents families, so my chances would go up even higher.  But it just may be the risk we have to take.  Another drawback, you can only use it for a few months because it really thins the uterus out.  Kind of a scary thought.

So here I am today, two weeks into Metformin and I am happy to say that I don't have the side effects that so many posters talk about.  I take 500 mg twice daily with food (huge, I took it once without and felt super dizzy and off), and I hope that this will be our miracle drug.  I also still take my pre-natal vitamins and vitex (in case you are in the same boat as I am).  If not, then it's onto so many other options that I would rather avoid if we can (IVF, insemination, Clomid, injection shots, etc.).

So we are still on our trying to conceive journey.  Hoping and praying that each month is our month.  But it is in God's hands, and hopefully he will bless us with a baby soon enough.

Anyone have any suggestions?  Any experience with PCOS?  Anything to try if you have PCOS?
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Friday, April 11, 2014

My Favorite Beauty

Today feels like a get dressed up in my wedding dress day.  Why can't I wear my dress more often?  I know I have said this time and time again, but someone should make an event where we can wear our wedding dresses, tuxes and bridesmaid dresses to an elegant evening out.
Or maybe someone should ask me to model my dress for a photo shoot.  Then I can get all dressed up, beautify myself and live my Cinderella day again.  Is a year too soon for a vow renewal?  Ya, I thought so too.
 Isn't she a beauty?
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Walter's Confessions

I was reading Not Entirely Perfect's post about Hawkeye's Confessions and it prompted me to ask my little dude Walter to write his own confessions.  But first I wanted to say, go check out Stephanie's blog because Hawkeye is the cutest little Pomeranian you will ever see.  Plus he loves his Taco Bell, smothering his mom in kisses and stealing socks.

Without further ado, here is Walter and his confessions.

I, Walter, confess:

I cuddle my mom so hard every night that she has to sleep on the edge of the bed.  But I really just want to stay warm and she always tries to scoot away, but not for long.

I love to play in the water...just not freezing Lake Tahoe water.  Why do you insist on bringing me out so far to swim back in?

I am deeply offended my parents didn't include me in their wedding.

I am a bread fiend.  If you ever leave bread around me, I will steal it.  I will beg for it.  I will whine for it.  I MUST HAVE MY BREAD.

I HATE the new stairs my parents bought me to get on and off the bed.  I have perfectly good jumping legs.  That is why you always call me the jumping dog.

I hate my Christmas sweater.

I love to steal people's shoes and bring them onto my perch on the couch.  Sometimes I chew them up if I feel like it.

I am a pooping machine and my parents can't believe that I can go outside and then again right away when they take me on my walks.

I hate the doggie goggles my parents try to make me wear on our hikes.
I love being held like a baby in my moms arms.

I will shred any new toy given to me in about 5 seconds.

I am secretly a Dallas Cowboys fan and my parents insist on dressing me in Niners gear.

Thanks mom for letting me take over your blog for the day.  And I was just kidding on being a Cowboys fan....
Until next time.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring-esque Nails

I don't have much to say today...mostly because I feel like my chest is going to explode from this killer heartburn I have going on.  But I do want to show you all my lovely new spring-esque/Easter nails the lovely Lauren did last night.
I absolutely love getting my nails done, but I need to do it otherwise I tend to bite my nails which isn't attractive.

Are you springing for new Spring nails?
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Usual Weekend Update

It's Monday Tuesday which means weekend update time.  This weekend we celebrated my mom's 50th birthday.  In other words, we threw her a surprise 50th birthday party.

Now I have been going back and forth on this idea for about two months.  Back in February (at my sister's birthday dinner) my sister, dad and I discussed throwing a surprise birthday party for my mom.  We, at the time, thought this was a great idea, but soon my worrying started that my mom would hate this much attention.  I was right, sort of.

I called my mom on Friday to wish her a Happy Birthday and see how her day was going.  She informed me that she wasn't celebrating that much and barely anyone at work knew about it.  Just the way she wanted.  She woke up to a mushy card from my dad and was happy as a clam that this was the only celebration she needed and wanted.  I had a little bit anxiety that we made the wrong decision, but there was no turning back.  Plus if my sister and I didn't plan it, others said they were going to.

My sister and I have planned this party for over a month with the help of my aunt (my mom's sister) and I think it turned out very well.  This is my first real party that I have ever personally thrown (other than my wedding and let's be realistic here...that was an event that was planned over 6 months).

Saturday morning I picked up a cake from my favorite baker and friend, Stacey at Cake on Sunday.  Then I picked up my sister and went to my aunt's house to set up.  We had to decorate and food prep for over 25 people.  It was a lot of work, but with the help of my cousin and uncle, we got it done on time and pulled off the surprise.

I don't have any photos of us surprising her since I was finishing last minute details as she showed up, but she was surprised, really happy to see her friends and family and I think she had a great time.
Some of the food (Brie and bread, caprese skewers, fruit skewers with a honey yogurt dip, veggies and ranch, meats, cheeses and rolls, mini quiches, candy and cake)
Vanilla cake with a raspberry filling (Ah-mazing!)
My flower girl (Miss B) and my 2nd cousin using the decorations as pom poms to cheer on my mom when she was opening gifts

The party was a success and my dad made me promise him I wouldn't throw him a 50th birthday party.  I promised him I wouldn't, but I can't control others.  Dad, if you are reading this, I fully intend to take you to Western Village Steakhouse as promised and I won't throw you a party.

Sunday it was gorgeous outside, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and start our garden and flower beds.  We bought a few veggies that can handle the weather should it get cold again and some flowers.  Plus I bought some awesome practical gardening shoes (I will take a picture later) instead of my usual pair of sandals.
We have planted two kinds of tomatoes (heirloom and roma, at least another 4 tomato plants to come), red onions, two kinds of lettuce (mixed greens and arugula) and broccoli.  I also planted strawberries in a wine barrel (not pictured).  We plan to add bell peppers, more tomatoes, cucumbers, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, baby kale and butter lettuce.  We still have a lot of room in this part of the garden, two other wine barrels and another small garden bed not pictured.  I love fresh homegrown fruit and veggies!
I also planted four different kinds of flowers in the front planter box along side a bunch of wild flower seeds we planted a few weeks ago.  I can't wait for all the fresh flowers we will have in our house this summer!

I am really loving this amazing spring weather.  In fact, it can stay until October please.

And here is another picture from the weekend of my cutie, Walter because every post should end with something or someone as adorable as our little dude.
Standing on his dads pillow checking out the neighbors.  Such a cute little snoop.

How was your weekend?  I can't wait for this upcoming weekend just to soak up more Spring weather and get outside more.
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