Archive for ‘travel’

August 12, 2011

friday night at the fair

August means one thing in Wisconsin.  The State Fair.  It’s basically a competition of how many foods can be served on a stick, deep fried, and covered in cheese.  Oh, and you’ve got to have a cream puff – it’s a give-in.  Only two problems in that whole scenario – gluten and dairy.  Gluten is a bigger issue for me right now – I have managed to have yogurt a couple times and feel alright after it but I’ll probably just stick with yogurt and not have it too often (the frozen variety as well, but more on that later ;) ).

This is yet another photo-filled post, but I don’t want any of you non-Wisconsinites out there to miss out on this very Midwest celebration of the Dairy State.

This is a barn.  With a milk jug out front.  This is a barn where you can go and get 30597458 different flavors of milk.  Well, that’s obviously a lie but there are way too many flavors and I don’t even want to know the ingredient list or color additives in any of them haha.

Here are some of the wonderful stuffed animals you can win for the low low price of a ton of money per game.  Of course as a child I always fantasized getting a giant Tweety Bird… but my luck was never there.

First food stop of the afternoon – some fresh-cut fries.  So good!  Not the healthiest, but not the worst either, right?

We went into the 4H pavilion where they have all of the homemade crafts 4H-ers make throughout the year and display for the state to see.  I did love these photographs – especially the one of the pepper on the left hand side!

They had a ton of beautiful Dahlias as well as other floral creations.

Vegetable display.  What’s surrounding the veggies you ask?  Beer bottles of course!  How else do you expect us to grow vegetables here?

Fake flower displays.  Only the best :).  I actually loved the balls of flowers tho – they would make a really good centerpiece!

I even broke out my jean jacket for the occasion.  Cream Puff building behind me.

Kinley may or may not have bought a little something at the expo… more on that later as well :).

Last but certainly not least – cinnamon nuts!  Oh so delicious, this was a combo of pecans, almonds and cashews.

I wasn’t actually expecting to go to the fair this year because Kinley, Mom and Dad went last weekend when I was in Sonoma, but we got free tickets and free parking so how could I resist?!  I also got out of work at 2 today – my first summer hours!  It’s a pretty sweet deal, as long as we have (enough) of our work done, we can leave at 2 on Fridays between Memorial Day & Labor Day.  And for the other part of the year we can leave at 3.  Pretty nice!  My first week I was obviously loaded with work to do so I didn’t even think of taking them (plus I only found out about them that day), and then the next week I was traveling and practically working 24/7 ;).  The third week however… it went really well.  I actually feel like I know (kind of) what’s going on and am comfortable making changes and updating things without asking someone how to do it.  It’s a great feeling!  As of right now I don’t feel like I’m over my head with anything, although I get even more jobs and responsibilities next week!  I have been told I will never be bored and I truly believe that.  It’s a good thing I’m loving it so far :).

If you happen to be in the Milwaukee area this weekend – you really should check out the fair.  Just make sure you eat a cream puff and something on a stick… or covered in cheese.  Even though I didn’t.

August 11, 2011

sonoma: the sights i saw

I feel like I’ve been a terrible blogger lately.  I didn’t post last weekend because I was gone and this week I have been posting later and later… and with nothing really all that spectacular.  Well, I am planning to try and get a head start on next week this weekend so I can have some nice, quality posts throughout the week!  In the meantime, please take a look at the beautiful Sonoma, CA sights I saw.  There weren’t too many since I was inside working most of the day, but there are a few gorgeous ones.  And try not to hate me too much when looking at them – just remember that my trip was primarily business :).

The resort the conference was at.  I loved all the palm trees!

One of the out buildings of the resort – complete with free wine tastings!  Unfortunately I did not partake in it :(.

The Stone Building.  With, by far, the most beautiful garden.  I need some of those hanging lights in my future yard someday.  Or just move here.  Either way.

The pool.  Need I say more?

I want one of these chairs.

I loved that you could look out from the deck and see MOUNTAINS!  That is something Wisconsin is clearly missing.  No matter which way I looked, I could see the mountains off in the distance!

These are actually various businesses – but look like cute little houses!

Ahh, more mountains :).

And of course I needed to take a picture of this for Crosby.  Sonoma is very dog friendly.  I am pretty sure Crosby wants to go on a trip, because since I have failed at emptying out my suitcase and putting it away, Crosby has found a nice little “nest” in one of the sides.  Oh boy…

If you missed out on some of the food I ate in Sonoma, please, feel free to look at my food post :).  And guess what – it’s almost FRIDAY!

August 9, 2011

sonoma: the food i ate

Of course I have to start out my Sonoma recap with the food I ate – hard not to, right?  Well, luckily I went prepared, which I have to do now-a-days to make sure there are enough healthy snacks around that won’t make me feel sick after eating them.  However, it’s always good to have a back-up plan just in case you need more fuel – luckily a brand new Whole Foods was one mile away.  I only went there for some chocolate-covered dried bananas one afternoon but it was nice to know if I needed something else it was there for me!

I am a breakfast person, no doubt about it.  I go to bed thinking of breakfast and can’t wait to dig in after a morning workout and shower.  I knew the conference I was working at was going to offer breakfast, but just fruit and toast or bagels.  Fruit good, toast and bagels bad.  So what did I do?  Well, I researched the hotel and found out they had a mini-fridge in the rooms.  Score!  4 days = 2 cups of oats + one container of unsweetened vanilla almond milk + 4T chia seeds.  Overnight Oats in a hotel room!  Especially delicious and special with a topping of Justin’s nut butters and bananas from a fruit bowl that happened to be delivered to our ‘working office” aka smaller conference room.  I packed a pint jar and a spoon/fork/knife utensil I got as well.

I also indulged every single morning in coffee – Starbucks bold style.  Nothing added, and I surprised myself by absolutely loving it that way.  I’ve come so far from my soy milk + sugar free flavored syrup days.

Lunches were a little more up in the air.  The first day I packed something to eat on the plane before we landed and then late afternoon I had a really delicious salad at the resort restaurant.  It was greens with roasted strawberries and caramelized shallot vinaigrette (I got it without cheese).  They actually cooked the strawberries in a pizza oven and they were surprisingly delicious (I didn’t know how I felt about warm strawberries on a salad before this).  I had this salad again one other time but with a side of frites – which were absolutely delicious.  Another lunch I got one day was an omelette (I ordered before 11:30 so they were still serving it!).  I had peppers, onions and salsa on the omelette (and they cooked it in oil and not butter) with a side of potatoes (cooked in oil) and a side of fruit (instead of the toast).  It was really good and a nice change-up from a salad!  One other lunch I ended up with just lettuce with oil + vinegar.  I then politely asked someone for a side of pb&j and brought it up to my room for on top of some rice cakes – delicious!  Love pb&j.

Dinners included a taco bar (just beans + salsa + guacamole).  I was disappointed they didn’t have rice and just flour tortillas.  The next night my co-worker and I escaped and ended up at Mary’s Pizza Shack.  I ran by it the morning before and noticed they had gluten free pizza on the menu!  I had mine sans cheese and with pineapple and olives.  So good – and filling!  I couldn’t even eat it all.  The last night I had the regular meal they were serving which was Salmon with potatoes and veggies (that turned out to be asparagus!).  I also tested the gluten sensitivity by eating a piece of their chocolate-hazelnut torte for dessert.  It was so good and I am happy to report that I had no ill side-effects.  Unless the nausea on the plane from sitting by the smelly guy was more to do with that than his odor… but I’m thinking not.  Definitely not going to make it a habit right now to have gluten filled goodies, but this was definitely too good to pass up and I am happy it did not make me sick!

Other than the regular meals, I had clif bars + lärabars as well as rice cakes and almonds + raisins.  I also ate all the apples and two of the peaches from the fruit tray along with all of the bananas :).  I also made sure to get plenty of water + pellegrino (and managed to stay away from the soda)!  It definitely is a struggle eating good, healthy, and allergen-conscious meals when you are not in complete control of the offerings, but I think I did a good job.  And I know I was definitely healthier than the rest of the conference-goers by avoiding the fresh-baked cookies, breads, as well as the various other foods laid out.  I was worried before I left how I was going to make everything work out but it ended up being perfectly fine!  Definitely ready for the next one!  Although I’m happy I have a few months because it was tiring!