Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Year in Review

It's New Years Eve and this is the time to reflect on the past year. I've been watching all week the year in review on everything from sports, to news, to the worst fashion trends of 2011 (my take on that will come in another blog post). So I thought I would review my own past year

Usually at this time of year I am focused on all the things I am grateful for that came my way the past year. I did have a few down moments as anyone does, probably the big one for me was seeing my faithful border collie, Wally leave our world after 15 years. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was carry him in to the vet for the last time. In the end I was very happy that I stayed with him while he peacefully passed on. He was a huge part of our lives and I still miss him.

Enough of that! Onto the good things. The year started out pretty great. Packers win Superbowl. We ventured down to Milwaukee in the snow to watch the game with family.

Everyone that knows me knows the highlight of my year was my first trip to Paris in April. After dreaming of going to Paris for years I finally found the courage to do it on my own. Well not alone exactly, it was with a tour, but essentially alone. Someone once asked me why in the world would I ever want to go to Paris? My answer! Why not! Paris is THE fashion capitol of the world, home to so many famous fashion houses. Namely the classic house of Chanel. Paris is also the culinary capitol of the world. Just the thought of the pastries.... The French do food presentation like it is an art form. Everything is beautiful and every street you walk down is a new experience.

Going on that trip had a trickle down effect on my life. I would say it gave me a new confidence that I never had before. I met some incredible people on that trip, some that I have stayed in touch with and can count among my good friends. For that I am very thankful.

Another highlight from my year was after waiting 2 years for U2 to return to Chicago for their 360 tour they finally made it back in July. We had to wait an extra year because of Bono's back surgery, but they sure were back big time and Bono sure looked good!! This time I took my daughter along to for her first U2 concert and she loved it! I was so proud! We spent July 4th in the windy city and watched the fireworks from our hotel room.

Twitter had a big impact on me this past year. Twitter is awesome cause you can connect with people around the world that have like interests. I have a small community of twitter friends that are crazy U2 fans too. It's a great way of finding out what is going on in the world. Love conversing with my tweeps!

In September we added to our family and adopted a rescue dog from a local organization. Zoe is an energetic red dog! She has made our life a laugh a minute with her antics. It sure was nice to have another dog in the house after Wally left us in May. We also added an orange cat, Pumpkin into our house after she kept showing up on our doorstep. He's a great cat even though our other cat Ginger doesn't like not being the only cat in the house anymore.

That pretty much does it for my year in review. I have so many things to be grateful for. What will 2012 bring? Hopefully another Packer Superbowl win! Other than that my year will probably be pretty quiet compared to 2011. Thats okay. I'm saving up for my next trip to Paris!!

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goat Cheese Salad at Chez Ribe, Paris

When I went to Paris for the first time last spring I knew I would be in for a sensory overload.  Mainly my taste buds!  I could not wait to try all the food!  After all Paris is argumentally the culinary capitol of the world.

I had been traveling overnight to get to Paris and since it was early morning when our group arrived we had a long wait till we could check into our hotel after 3pm.  We had been sight seeing all day, exhausted and hungry.  Our hotel was in the 7th arrondisment very near the Eiffel Tower.  Under the suggestion of our tour guide a group of six of us decided to go to Chez Ribe which was across the street from our hotel.

We were seated outside since it was a beautiful early evening.  Our tour guide told us he dines here often when he is in Paris and said his favorite dish  the goat cheese salad.  None of us wanted a huge meal so we took his advice and most of us ordered the salad with a glass of wine.  I had the house white which was very good.  I was skeptical about the salad, but I knew I had to broaden my pallet.

When it came to the table it looked wonderful and it did not disappoint.  The cheese was warm and very mild.  it made for a satisfying first dinner in Paris.  I knew I was going to be in for a perfect week with all my new friends.

Chez Ribe
15 avenue de Suffren Paris

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Dukan Diet... Beginning Week Four

This morning was my weekly weigh in.  Uggg, I was not looking forward to this!  The last couple of weeks were pretty stressful for me due to work issues, but I held steady during the week and ate very well according to the Dukan Diet rules.  Then came the weekend!

Friday night was a hot dog WITH THE BUN, Saturday was busy and I surrendered to concession food since I was working almost all day at Megan's schools annual  soccer tournament.  That meant walking tacos!  Yum, taco chips, salty taco meat, salsa, black olives, and lettuce. Hey, it was my veggie day after all!  I also made 227 cups of edible cookie dough to sell, and yes I did have a couple of cups.  People, I am a firm believer in taste testing!  Every good cook taste tests.

Don't even bring up the walking part.  I missed my walk on Thursday and Friday.  Saturday I did get up early and took our newly adopted doggie for a walk.  Yesterday it was raining so I resorted to the old reliable treadmill downstairs while I watched DVR'd episodes of House Hunters International (my favorite show).

Sunday I regained my composure and went back to the diet.  the usual eggs, cottage cheese, lean pork cutlets, fake crab, and yogurt.  It totally amazes me how this diet is number one in France!  How do they do it?  I don't know if I could do it if I lived there with all the temptation at every corner! I can't even watch TV!  I have it on right now and our local news station is doing a segment on making oatmeal raisin cookies!!  Oh Lord give me strength!

I know my age has not helped me in this battle.  That is why I have to work doubly hard at this.  Was I discouraged when I weighed myself this morning and had not lost this week?  Heck no, it has made me want to work harder.  I didn't see it as a defeat.  Being the optimist I am, I just say thank goodness I didn't gain!  Press on dieters, press on!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Louvre vs Orsay

As a first time visitor to Paris I knew I was going to the Louvre for sure. I couldn't go to Paris and not see the famous Mona Lisa. She certainly was beautiful and luckily I got close enough to snap a picture (I did have to do some elbowing!). I was so very surprised at how small she really was. I also was shocked at my reaction. I had tears in my eyes when I saw her.

I loved going to the Louvre, but the sheer size of the place was overwhelming. Maybe that is why I didnt enjoy it as much as the Orsay. The one thing I did like about the Louvre was that you could take pictures without the flash, hence my Mona Lisa. Perhaps if I had taken parts of the Louvre and seen it a different times, but I just found it to be crowded and loud.

The Musee d'Orsay on the other hand is much more manageable. It covers a relatively short time period (1848-1914) and it is quiet. There are guards roaming around to keep things in line and to shush you if you are getting too loud. When I was there, there were school children quietly sitting on the floor sketching a Van Gogh. I really felt like I was in Paris and spent the time I was at the Orsay pinching myself.

I guess I am biased because I love the impressionist paintings. Monet and Renoir! I could have spent all day in the Monet room and at least an hour staring at Renoir's Bal du Moulin de la Galette.

You can easily see everything at the Orsay in a day taking your time. I did it in much less than that and I was very satisfied.

Of course seeing Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo is a must see when you visit Paris, and I was very glad I did. I just got much more out of the Orsay.

I am looking forward to a return trip when I can visit some more of the beautiful museums Paris has to offer.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

So....I Had A Piece Of Cake

Yesterday was the first time I had cheated on my Dukan Diet. It was just a little piece of cake that's all.

Now I went into this with the intention to stick it out for the long haul, but yesterday I knew I would have a hard time. It happened to be my cousins daughters first birthday party. I knew there would be plenty of food and oh no a (gasp!) birthday cake.

I did fine during the lunch having just my protien and veggies since it was veggie day. There was a great selection of fresh veggies. The problem came when all the presents were unwrapped and out came that cake! Well my mouth started to water so much that i could have used the birthday girls bib. My thoughts immediately started a wrestling match in my head do I or don't I. As the cake was being cut and served I still was trying to work up the courage to say no. It came to my turn and the "do it" won out. I had the smallest piece cut and gave my daughter the red balloon out of frosting on the top of my piece. I stuck my fork into that piece of cake and it was heaven when it hit my mouth. The inner layer of frosting was slightly lemony. I savored it, eating slowly. When it was gone I did feel a little guilt, but that went away.

Was it worth it? It sure was. Today I got right back on that horse and am back in full swing. I do have to say that I think my slight stomach ach this morning had something to do with having that piece of birthday cake yesterday. It's a good reminder that I'm serious about losing the weight this time and keeping it off!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dukan Diet...Phase One Is Over, Now Onto Phase Two.

Whew, done with the attack phase of the Dukan Diet. I honestly never thought that I would be looking so forward to eating veggies. After all that protein consumption I only ended up losing 3 pounds during my 5 day attack phase. This disappointed me very much. I had gone for 5 days without cheating, unless you consider one popcorn kernel at the movie cheating. After consulting the Dukan Diet book again, I learned that as a female of a certain age because of hormone issues could only lose a couple of pounds during the attack phase. Oh goodness, it is gonna be a long road!

So on Thursday I had my first veggie day. I chose the 1/1 option for the cruise phase. This means that I have one day following the lean protein diet and the other day I can add as many veggies along with my protein. So for my first day I added cauliflower and zucchini. I liked having the veggies. I'm a veggie person anyway, so this was good for me. I will be on this phase until I hit my goal weight.

I am learning a few things on this diet. I have learned to listen to my body telling me it is hungry not the clock telling me I should be hungry. Or worse yet, not feeling hungry, but eating anyway. I am still amazed at how little I actually need to eat in order to fell satisfied. I can survive without sugar.

I have to say, that I feel great. I want to stick with this for the long haul. The number one thing to do on this diet is to always be prepared. Do not let yourself get too hungry.

Last night was the start of the football season. I watched the game against the Packers and the Saints without any big bowl of popcorn or a glass of wine. I survived.....for now!

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dukan Diet Adventure Part 3

Day four of the Dukan Diet and I woke up this morning with an overwhelming craving for toast with lots of butter! Not a great start to the day. So I got up and made 2 scrambled eggs and the oat bran galette pancake. This satisfied my hunger, but not my craving for toast!

I have been doing the diet faithfully by the book for 3 full days and working on my 4th. I honestly have to say yesterday was hard. After a gain of 4 pounds after the first day, yesterday when I got on the scale I had lost that 4 pounds. So I was back to square one. The hardest part about yesterday was going to the county fair and avoiding all those really bad for you foods like pizza, teeny weeny donuts, pretzel wrapped brats and lots of other unmentionables! The real question was what COULD I eat. About 5:00 my stomach was really rumbling. The only thing I saw that was safe was a shaved turkey breast sandwich without the bun and cheese. That was what I went with. I ordered it and asked for a fork. It was good and had a smokey flavor, but I was pretty hungry so I think anything would have done. In the book Dr. Dukan clearly says to make sure you have all your allowed foods well stock and readily available during the first phase. I know why. When the hunger strikes it needs to be dealt with right away so you do not give in to say extreme toast cravings!

I did make it through day three even with hubby and daughter happily eating giant clouds of cotton candy in front of me last night. I just sat and guzzled water so I could get my required quantity for the day.

Now that I am into day 4 I now have officially lost 1 pound as of this morning. I originally was going to stay on phase one for four days, but with my meager wait loss at one pound, I will press on for one more day.

I can say this diet is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy. Then again is any weight loss? I am still determined to make a drastic change and didn't realize how much less I could eat to get by. That is my ultimate goal. Relearn how to eat properly by eating to live not living to eat. I want to enjoy food, but not rely on it to make me happy!

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dukan Diet Day 1

I have almost come to the end of day one of my Dukan Diet adventure and I must say it went very well. The best part was that I passed up a piece of mouth watering cake at a party at work today. It has been forever since I passed up a piece of cake! So I would have to say that day one was a success.

As always my day started out when the alarm went off at 3:15 am. Got ready for work and didn't know if I would make it without my morning coffee with french vanilla creamer, instead I opted for a cup of tea instead with a little Splenda. After much planning I was gonna have 2 hard boiled eggs and an oat bran galette (a pancake made from oat bran, egg white and Greek yogurt) for breakfast at work. Mid morning I had fat free cottage cheese and lunch was a chicken breast without the skin. I wasn't hungry until dinner which was unusual cause I am famished most of the time in the mid afternoon. For dinner I had a chicken breast and a slice of lean pork loin roast. My nighttime snack consisted of some fat free yogurt. Not the most exciting menu, but that's okay. I only need to do the first attack phase which consists of lean proteins only for 4 days. This takes me through Sunday.

The hardest part for me was making sure I drink enough water. I do better with this during the week at work, but have to really work at it on the weekends.

I did my required 20 minutes of walking tonight too, I usually will do at least 30 minutes, but as the book said, I had little energy after this first day. Then again, by Thursday I am beat under normal circumstances after my crazy work schedule.

I have to say I feel very motivated and honestly by passing up that piece of cake today I passed a big hurdle.

Will this be easy? I know I will probably have moments when I have visions of caramel cashew sundaes dancing in my head, and I will have to find a way to deal with it. One day at a time.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Dukan Diet adventure. Part 1

I knew it was time to get serious about losing that 25 pounds I have been watching creep up on me for awhile now. We have a wedding in October and I have a black fitted dress that I found at Ann Taylor back in May that I got from the clearance rack. A steal at $12.00. I'm the type of girl who cannot pass up a bargain at Ann Taylor even though the dress was a little snug on me. The time clearly has come that if I want to look good in that dress without a full body corset, I needed to trim down right away. Let's just say that summer has not been good for my waistline. Too many treats, wine and eating out has left me with a summer gain of 10 extra pounds.

Normally I just try and watch what I eat and hit the gym more than usual, but clearly that was not working. I would be fine for about 2 weeks and something would happen, a big stressor at work, or just a busy week and I find I can't say no to any sweet in front of me. Yes, I am a self confessed sugar addict. My bad habits have been hard to break and have rubbed off on my daughter.

I decided to reserve a copy of The Dukan Diet book from my library. The only things I really knew about it was the diet was developed from a French doctor and it was very popular in France. This was reason enough for me to check it out. My obsession for all things French and Parisian includes how the French eat and stay slim and how they diet. Plus I heard this was the diet Kate Middleton and her Mom did before her infamous royal wedding.

I now have that copy in my possession. I eagerly started to read it. Basically it is based on a four part plan. The first phase is the hardest phase and lasts up to 10 days depending on how much you want to lose. In this phase you eat just lean protein. This is a kick start phase when you lose weight fast to give you incentive to keep going. The second phase is when you reintroduce foods back into your diet. You stay on this phase until you reach your predetermined goal weight. The third phase is when you add more foods back and the fourth is when you go back to eating what you want, but no second helpings and you have one day a week where you do the lean protein only.

I won't get into the details on the Dukan Diet just yet, there will be more time for that later.

I had done the Atkins diet years ago with great success, or maybe not, since I have not been able to keep the weight off. Dukan is different in that the strict protein phase is much shorter. All I know is that I have developed some nasty eating habits and am looking to drastically change direction before I end up with some real health issues.

I'm sure it will not be an easy road and there will be some bumps along the way. All I know is since I am such a francophile I am willing to do as the French do and lose weight the Dukan way!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Day At The Fair. Deep Fried Butter And Other Fun Stuff!

It's fair time again which in Wisconsin means farm animals, really bad for you food, beer, great entertainment, and of course rides. All the things that add up to a really great day. Well unless you indulge in too much bad for you food and beer. In this case you should know better! I know, it's hard to resist.

So, the hubby, daughter and I decided to make a trek on Friday down to West Allis for check it all out. Our daughter hates rides so we skipped that part of the fair. I know, she's a little different. When I was her age I would ride anything that spun, went upside down, or traveled at the speed of light! Now that I'm um... MUCH older I can't ride anything. Heck I can't read and sit in the passenger seat in a car without getting nauseous.

We settled on just checking out all the vendors, going through a couple of animal buildings, but most important of all, EATING all that bad, but oh so interesting food.

First thing we took care of was the vendors buildings. I think I have seen enough mop and ring cleaner salespeople to last a lifetime. I mean do they really sell that many mops? Okay maybe, since I have fell victim to their pitch more than once. I know, don't pick on the mops salespeople! We did end up buying a couple of things. Hubby bought a wire cutters that will actually work great for him in his part time electric dog fencing business. I bought a frozen blender drink mix that I can add a bottle of wine to and after a couple of hours in the freezer I will have a cold summer slushie drink. Now we're talking!!

All that walking and ducking sales pitches made us very hungry. I wanted to eat "outside the box". Megan wanted pizza(now that's original! Teenagers!) hubby wanted to just eat. We found ourselves walking bad food alley which is everywhere at the fair. Megan got her pizza and we found the place that had some strange food. Deep fried butter, krispy kreme donut hamburgers, chocolate covered bacon on a stick, pb&j sandwich on a stick and some other less weird selections. We decided to go all out and get the combo platter. One krispy kreme burger, deep fried butter, and the chocolate covered bacon. All for $8.00. We would share. The fried butter wasn't very popular between the three of us. The chocolate covered bacon was okay but interesting. The burger was the best of the three. I kinda liked it. We could have done without the ketchup hubby put on though. A very interesting combo of salty and sweet.

After this I was done for awhile. Rick on the other hand still was hungry. The next thing he tried was the boiled crawfish with potatoes and sausage. I was gonna pass on this. I had no interest whatsoever in eating the little red lobster look-a-likes. So Megan and I just watched him eat this. In the end he gave that meal a thumbs down.

A short time later we passed a fried noodle stand. This looked very appetizing to me. Even though the noodles were fried in a giant wok there were huge vegetables tossed in. I got that. Now we're talking. Very good, but not too off the wall.

We capped off out culinary fair adventure with Megan and I getting some frozen dipped cookie dough. This was a choice near and dear to me since I am the one who makes eggless cookie dough for Megan's schools concessions during sporting events to sell. This was good but Megan said it wasn't as good as mine! We ended up going home with our to go pack of cream puffs. This is a Wisconsin State Fair staple and you cannot go to the fair without getting them cream puffs.

I know we ended up missing many more awesome food items, but ones stomach can only handle so much. There's always next year!!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Melting In The Northwoods Of Wisconsin

This is the week my daughter and I along with my parents make our annual trek to the north woods of Wisconsin for what usually is a relaxing week. I usually spend most of my time reading, or spending it in the bustling town of Minoqua for a little shopping or going to the beach. Megan goes fishing with my Dad, much to the happiness of my Mom cause then she doesn't have to go with him!

So this is the week I recharge my batteries you can say.

Except this year is a little different!

Megan and I usually rent a cabin for this week that we go up north. Last year we decided to try a new place and reserved a 2 unit cabin. Meaning Megan and I took one side and my parents took the other. Each unit has two bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen/living area. When we reserved last year for this year we decided to tent camp it this year to save some cash, so we reserved a campsite instead. We were gonna be at the same place, Big Arbor Vitae Campground, as my parents anyway.

We hadn't tent camped in years. The hubby hates it, but I was looking forward to it. I don't mind it at all, well unless it is 95 out and no wind. I had been watching the weather and it did not look good. The forecast was for the hottest week of the summer so far!

This is our second day here and the heat is driving me crazy! It is even too hot to go to the beach. The thought of building a campfire and having s'mores, no way! We just don't feel like doing anything. I'm beginning to ask myself whose dumb idea was this anyway?

It is so hot I do not care what my hair looks like or what I wear! That it just crazy. Makeup, what a joke it just melts off anyway. This is about as far as Paris as I can get. I wonder if the Parisians sweat like this? They always look chic. I DO NOT look chic right now!!!

As if that wasn't enough, last night we had storms. Thunder, lightning and a downpour. Actually the stuff in the tent faired pretty well. I have a double inflatable bed that sits on a frame off the ground. Thank goodness cause the floor was wet. We waited the storm out in my parents cabin although all the other tent campers went to the shelter.

The big question is. Will we tent camp next year? I will wait to see what the rest of the week holds. It is only Monday and supposedly Wednesday will be the hottest day yet!

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Chicago, Fireworks, and U2 Part 2

Day 2 of our Chicago adventure started out with breakfast at Yolk on south Michigan Avenue. If you ever head to Chicago, you have to get to this restaurant for breakfast. There are 2 locations in Chicago. It was right next to our hotel, so it was perfect for us. I have to suggest the strawberry orange juice. Yummy!

After breakfast we were off to Shedd Aquarium. Megan and I had been to Shedd a few times before, but she wanted to go back. It was a plus we went right away in the morning cause we had no long line to wait in. The Shedd is a must see and you can easily spend almost a whole day there, but we went through pretty fast. We skipped the dolphin show this time around. The Jellies exhibit was really cool. I was amazed there were so many kinds of jellyfish.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around getting a little shopping in. Back at the hotel about 5:00 it was time to get ready for the big event.

We headed over to Soldier Field about 6:30 or so. We planned on getting a bite to eat there. Okay I was so excited for this show. I couldn't wait to experience this with my daughter. I had taken her twice to see Miley Cyrus in Milwaukee, so she had some concert experience before. To me though, there is nothing like a U2 concert. Especially with the massive claw.

After we had our bite to eat, we went to find our seats. We ended up in section 339. Which was stage left, Edges side, 3 sections up from the floor. They were actually great seats and would give us a great view of the whole setup. When we sat down all Megan said to me was "wow Mom". I could tell she was gonna like it!

Interpol was the opening band so we watched them and then had the seems like forever wait for U2 to take the stage. It didn't take too long and before we knew it we could see them coming in and entering the back of the stage. Course I got chills like I always do and up on our feet we were. There was only a couple of times we sat down during the show. We noticed the people sitting behind us sat the WHOLE time! I really could not understand who goes to a concert and sits the whole time! Not me and certainly not anybody else around us from what I was seeing. Well everybody but them! Oh well! Anyway Bono looked to be in top form and when he sang "Miss Sarajevo", oh my gosh words cannot describe it! That was one of the highlights for me. I just love this band! I kept having to wipe my eyes!! A couple of times I leaned over and asked Megan what she thought and she told me she loved it! Funny cause she was most taken with Adam! She thought he was so cool! Course and the night was rapped up with an impromptu "One Tree Hill". Which made it a very memorable night!
So I don't know when they will go out on the road again after this 360 tour, but the best part is I can now share it with one of the new generation of U2 fans whose parents listened to this great band since its beginning. U2 brought my 13 year old daughter and I closer together, by sharing this great experience. One neither one of us will ever forget it!

That brings me to the end of our Chicago 2011 vacation. Next day it was boarding the train to go back home and leave behind Chicago, fireworks and U2.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chicago, Fireworks, and U2

I patiently waited 2 years for U2 to come back to Chicago. Like every other fan I held by breath last year as word was received that Bono had took a nasty tumble that required back surgery and the cancellation of all their north American tour dates last year. When it was announced that they would reschedule those dates I was so happy!

This time around I had planned on taking my 13 year old daughter along for her first U2 concert experience. Last time they were in Chicago, we had general admission tickets, which meant we waited in line outside on a hot September day from 7am till the time they let us in the stadium to take our places before the opening band Snow Patrol started. It was brutal and I knew she would not be able to do that in the July heat this time around. So we opted for seats.

Chicago is probably my favorite city behind Paris, so I am always happy for the chance to get there. I love driving to Kenosha Wisconsin and getting on the Metra train that takes us right in the west loop part of the city. I feel like such an urban girl!! It was a big bonus to travel there on July 4th cause fireworks in Chicago... Can't beat that, even though to save money the city ditched their usual Grant Park display in favor of the regular show that Navy Pier puts on twice a week in summer.

We made it to our hotel Best Western Grant Park before noon to drop our bags off. We choose this hotel cause it was the closest to Soldier Field where the concert was to be held. From my experience in ' 09 trying to get back to the hotel after the concert was just craziness with 65,000 people leaving at the same time. This time we were gonna be close enough to walk!

First thing we did after lunch at one of the many Corner Bakeries in the city we took a Hop on hop off Gray Line bus tour. It was hot, but as long as we were moving it was okay. I had been to Chicago several times before, but my friend was a newbie to the city so we did the tour. Turns out I really enjoyed it. It went to areas I don't normally get to. We hopped off Near Hershey's to get our chocolate fix! If that wasn't enough we had to go to Ghiradelli's for an ice cream sundae too! No dinner for us! By this time it was early evening and we wanted to get back to the hotel.

We had the greatest view of Navy Pier from our hotel window. Would we be able to see the fireworks without leaving the hotel? We were all pretty tired and just wanted to stay in. We were relaxing when we heard them! What a great view we had of those fireworks! Perfect way to end our July 4th. The show didn't last long, but that was okay. We had a long day coming.

Part 2 coming soon.....

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Life After Paris Returns To Normal.... Or Does It?

It has been 2 months now since my trip to the city of light. I honestly don't think an hour goes by that I do not miss it. Ah yes but life does go on! Summer is upon our small town which is about as far away from Paris that you can imagine. School is out which means life is a little less stressful for me. No strict schedules, no homework that I try to help my 13 year old daughter with(math and science forget about)!

I have spent much time reflecting on my trip and have thought about what I brought home from Paris other than the obvious souvenirs. I brought home a love of fresh food, pastries, breads, and wine. My goal is to make a perfect French macaron!

I must say even though I have not been all over the world, if you go to France and do not enjoy the food, there is something wrong.

I consider myself forever changed. Every time I leave the house I really think about how I look and what I am wearing. I loved how I never saw any French women walking the streets of Paris in pajama pants or sweatpants. They truly care about their appearance and the image they project. Same with the men. I wouldn't say everyone dressed up, just look polished and put together.

I have tried to take the time to really enjoy life now. Not worry so much about how clean the house is and being so obsessive about when the wash is going to get done. It all gets done and who really cares if you cant eat off my floors anymore. I have more time to do what I really enjoy, spending time with old and new friends, being with my husband and our daughter, and laughing more generally not taking life so serious.

I love what going to Paris did for me. It is the gift I've given myself that keeps giving over and over again. Last Friday I took my daughter with me to Milwaukee to see Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris". I was transported back to that beautiful city all over again. I loved every minute of that movie and recommend it for anyone who has been to Paris or any francopile who dreams of going. The bonus was that my daughter also loved the movie.

Truly my life will never really be the same as it was before Paris. It will be much fuller! Everyday I will dream of the day I can return!

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Packing for Paris

Packing for my trip to Paris was no small feat. I actually started this two weeks

before I was set to leave. Well, I should say wardrobe planning began months before when I set out to look for the perfect pair of shoes to take along.

The shoe thing was my biggest packing challenge. My plan was to take along one pair of comfy shoes. Yah this did not work! I started in December to look for the perfect pair. After all I wanted them totally broken in before the trip in April. After all was said and done, I had purchased 3 new pair of shoes and only one passed the comfort test. This was a pair of black Pumas. So in the end, I ended up bringing 2 other pair besides the ones I wore on the flight. I ended up packing the Pumas and a pair of Clarks sandals which I had for a couple of years and withstood the streets of Chicago. I had kept my eye on the weather the week before and the forecast was sunny and the high 60s! Sandals would be fine. I wore a pair of ballet flats that I had just purchased from Payless for the flight. These were not the most supportive shoes, but they were comfy!

My shoe dilemma solved, I now had to focus on everything else. Since I knew the weather was suppose to be perfect for early April, I just needed to bring my black trench which was also great for rain. No rain in the forecast, but you never know.

Tops consisted of two lightweight cardigan sweaters, one black, and one off white, 3 tanks, 3 tees, 2 white and 1 pink, a zippered hoodie in black, and one classic white button down shirt. These were all simple pieces but would mix and match together.

Bottoms were easy. One pair of back pants in a simple cut with a little stretch for comfort, a pair of dark wash jeans boot cut, a pair of gray cargo capris, and a black a line shirt in a no wrinkle just roll up in a ball fabric.

I brought along one little black dress that I ended up not wearing in the end. The black skirt was worn on my free day when I went shopping to La Bon Marche and it also worked for a night out.

I found packing to be fun, I tried everything on and made a list of outfits a week before I left. I knew that Parisian style for the most part is simple and classic with great accessories mixed in to add pizzazz. I took along a couple of my own scarves since I already loved wearing them and had several, but I couldn't wait to buy some more when I got to Paris. I also packed along some fun earrings and bracelets.

I must say that I think I ended up fitting right in. I even had a beautiful young lady stop me and ask for directions to a certain street, so I must have looked like I fit in!

So if your off to Paris for the first time don't get all stressed out about the packing. Just remember simple colors and cuts, maybe one wow outfit. Accessories is the key and simple to pack.

More of my Paris trip details coming up!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to Superbowl Sunday!  Living 40 miles away from the home of our beloved Green Bay Packers, I will be rooting for the home team.
Whats the fashion perspective on this Superbowl blog post you ask?  Well as I sit here writing this post, I am sporting my Clay Matthews jersey and maybe I will adorn my neck with a few green and gold beads and my cheesewedge necklace.  I cannot forget my G earrings.  Thats about the extent of the fashion perspective for today.
I guess what today is about other than all the pomp and circumstance of the actual game is the coming together of a bunch of crazy like-minded fans having fun, sharing some pizza,, a few beers and other assorted junk foods.
My hubby,daughter and I are not going to a Superbowl party , nor are we hosting one.  Yes, we are having a pary for three complete with pizza and junk food.  Yes it will be a somewhat lonely Superbowl for us, or will it be?
The last time the Packers were in the big game there was no Facebook or Twitter, so it would have been just a party for three.  Not so this year.  We will be connected with all our Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
When the Pack played the Bears in the NFC championship game it was awesome to stay connected with all our friends during the game and in the post game celebration.  There was lots of cheering and Facebook high fives all around.
True last Packer Superbowl  we spent it in Green Bay  the next best place to be after actually being at the game.  We were physically with lots of those crazy fans,  This Superbowl Sunday we will just be having a party for three, but will be enjoying the day with lots of our Facebook friends!  This is the best thing about social networking.
So I say a huge shout out to Facebook and Twitter and any other social network sites out there which will make our Superbowl day a little more social!!
Enjoy the game.  Go Pack Go!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

60 days and counting till Paris!!

I am excited, oh yes I am.  This is my very first time to the city I have dreamed of visiting since I was a teenager. I grew up loving to look at the glossy pictures of the fashion mags.  I read them all Vogue, Bazaar, Elle.  I just couldn't get enough of what the beautiful people were wearing and how I could try and copy it.  It was like an escape from my small town life.  Paris was the center of that dream.  The fashion capitol of the world!  Now the reality is I will finally be able to see it and hope some of that Parisian chic rubs off on me.

I will be going with a tour of about 45 people.  We will see all the main sights, and I am told will have plenty of free time to explore the city.  I will be doing this on my own, no husband, no girlfriends, no one I will know which in itself is a big thing for me.  I am nervous and excited at the same time.

I have devoured just about every guide book and downloaded every Ipod app I can get my hands on.  They are all a wealth of info.  I've read many books on French culture so I don't make a total fool of myself.  You know greet shopkeepers with a bonjour, don't walk down the street with an ear to ear grin (this one will be the hardest for me, I was born with a smile on my face, I swear I was), learn some french.  It seems the only thing I have left to do is buy a 220 volt adaptor, a luggage scale so I don't overpack, oh ya and the most important thing .....  pack .  This will be the scariest thing of all.  What to pack?

Friday, February 4, 2011