Pi Phi Reunion Weekend

Twelve years ago, I was about to start my first year at UW Madison. At the recommendation of a few friends a year older than me, I went through sorority recruitment (it was called rush back then). Although I was initially unhappy with the bid card that read Pi Beta Phi, I quickly found friends with whom I am still close to today.

We’re now all over the country: Tina is in California; Sara and Jen are in Colorado; Kristen (who wasn’t a Pi Phi but basically could’ve been), Claire, and Amy are in Illinois; Lizzie (who sadly wasn’t able to make it) is in Maryland; and Nicole and I are in Wisconsin. Somehow, the stars aligned and we all came together this weekend. To be honest, Claire and Amy drunkenly demanded via video this weekend happen back in the fall. Good decisions can happen when alcohol is involved (like our decision to run a half marathon while drinking at The Stadium – RIP).

Jen’s parents bought a house on Lake Waubesa, which was kind of the home base for the weekend. Everyone stayed there except for Tina and her son, Carter, who stayed at my house.

Friday night everyone got in at different times and came over to my house. We hung out, chatted, ordered pizza from Salvatore’s, drank a little wine, and played with the babies.

Saturday morning was the first Wisconsin Badgers home game. Two of the girls went to the game, and everyone but me went to Jordans Big10. Before Tina and Carter took off, we snapped a photo of our two future Badgers.20130902-103625.jpg

Brody, Finley, and I headed to Barret and Kelly’s to watch the game. Finley brought her Badger chair along (thanks again Kristen, Dave, and Brady!).20130902-102800.jpg

Later on, we all met back up at Jen’s parents’ house. When Claire, Tina, and I arrived, all the other ladies were on a boat ride, so we headed to the “Relaxation Station” which is a big floating raft with lounge chairs all facing the middle. It felt nice to chill in the sun on the water while Finley napped in her carseat under the watchful eye of Jen’s mom.

Finley woke up and I forced her to take a picture with me. Claire picked out this outfit, and I thought she looked adorable in it. I can’t remember who got it for her, so if you did and you read my blog, thank you again!20130902-102740.jpg

The sun was going down as we hung out on a blanket on the grass under a tree. Carter and Finley had a little play date.20130902-102924.jpg

The rest of the night included dinner and Cards Against Humanity. LOVE this game! It’s very similar to Apples to Apples but more offensive and inappropriate. We played it for a couple hours, and guess who won?!?! Me! This is surprising because I am not a funny person. When I told Brody that I won, he didn’t believe it, and also said “But you’re not funny.”

On Sunday morning, Nicole, who couldn’t come for the whole weekend, was able to drive to Madison for a few hours. We all met at Bluephies for breakfast. I had the Avocado Extravagance scrambler; it was delicious and I ate it all. Thank you, breastfeeding.

One thing we all wanted to do this weekend was go back to the Pi Phi house on campus. All of us lived in the house for at least a semester; many of us were there for two years (like me). The sorority houses on Madison’s campus are gorgeous, but in my opinion, Pi Phi is one of the best because of the location. It is directly behind the Langdon dorm, right on the Lake Mendota. It is the only sorority house with a dock.

After breakfast we made our way downtown. While walking past another sorority house, we realized recruitment was going on. This was kind of timely considering that’s when and how we all met. Unfortunately, we didn’t go in the Pi Phi house because they were busy getting ready for the future rushees (not sure what the new name is for future sorority girls) but headed to the back of the house to see the dock and patio overlooking the lake. That’s when we saw Shirley, our house mom, through the window.

All of us had thought she had left but we were obviously wrong. She remembered all of our faces and even my name. We reminisced about the “good ol’ days”: Jen stepping on a nail the night after the Mifflin Street Block Party (also RIP) and the Kappa Sig panty raid that resulted in a dance party in the foyer and a lap dance for Shirley. Good times.

We said goodbye to the Pi Phi house, Shirley, Nicole, and her son, Silas, and on our way to the Terrace, made a pit stop at MacTaggart’s for water.20130902-102949.jpg

At the Terrace, we found a table in the shade and enjoyed our ice cream.20130902-103002.jpg

I attempted to take a few candid shots but was caught. Claire and Jen then pretended to act natural which resulted in a fake smile and a posed hand position. 20130902-103022.jpg

We had a lovely afternoon hanging out and wished we could do it more often. This will definitely be an annual thing (just not always on Labor Day weekend and not always in Madison).

20130902-103605.jpgWho’s who (clockwise from bottom left): Amy, Tina, Claire, Jen, me, Sara (who is holding Finley), and Lindsay. #piphilove

It was a fun-filled weekend, and I feel so lucky to have these girls as my friends. With the weddings almost done, we have nothing that forces us to come together. This is why we are determined to have an annual reunion weekend.

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A Weekend in (mostly food) Photos

My weekend improved vastly after my lame (yet amazing) Friday night. Look – I have proof.

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I started off Saturday morning with a satisfying breakfast: egg scramble and a sandwich thin.

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An apple cider donut, double Americano, and an apple made up my lunch.

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There were so many autumnal colors at the farmers market!

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A picture not of food! The dogs and I made it to the park in the afternoon once it got a little warmer; we walked over two miles.

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I got ready to supervise a high school dance!

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Salvatore’s was consumed pre-dance. As always, it was delicious, and I loved introducing the restaurant to my coworkers.

No picture of the dance, but I do have to say…I had a blast! My coworkers are fantastic. We were given walkie talkies, and we did not want to return them at the end of the night. My code name was Daisy, another coworker was Roscoe, another one was Bosshog…Good times.

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After a speedy 8.3 mile run (average pace, 9:30!) today, I microwaved half of the spaghetti squash I purchased at the farmers market and ate it with Jenna’s meat sauce for lunch. Why has it taken me this long to try this squash?!?!

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My Woodman’s haul. Some highlights: 99 cent Larabars, a pork tenderloin for a Real Simple recipe, a Trilogy kombucha, PB Cheerios, and chocolate milk.

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The cooler temps got me craving granola. Is there a correlation or am I crazy? Regardless, I made a big batch. I used good quality Wisconsin maple syrup, and I swear it makes a difference.

Now I’m off to pick up Brody from the airport. He spent the weekend in Montana for a wedding, and sadly, I couldn’t take off of work to go. He took a few pictures himself, including this one:

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His text message said, “Don’t we look good?” What a goofball.

Questions:
Did you go to your high school’s dances?
Do you grocery shop on the weekends or during the week?
What yummy food did you eat this weekend?

Fifteen Friday Fancies

1. Brody is home! After almost seven days and six nights, he breathed in fresh air, felt the sun on his face, and was able to shave. I am one happy girl with him and the dogs back in my life.

2. The full marathon of the Madison Marathon is canceled. The temps are supposed to be in the nineties and it will already be in the low seventies by 7am Sunday morning. I totally understand why they made this decision and believe it’s the right one….but….it still sucks. I spent the last four months working towards this one day, this one GOAL, and now I have to adapt. Game plan = run a half marathon on Sunday and hopefully run a full in West Bend, WI on June 10th.

3. Salvatore’s is sooooo good. Brody requested a pizza party for his first meal back, and since I am carbo-loading, I agreed. Confession: Even if I wasn’t preparing my body to run lots of miles in semi-extreme heat, I still would’ve eaten pizza.

4. I read a crazy short story this morning: “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” Dystopian stories intrigue me, so this was right up my alley.

5. Before picking up the pizza, Brody and I swung by the grocery store for fluids. Brody needs to keep drinking (not alcohol) like it’s his job. Powerade was on sale and so was frozen fruit. I chose mango and cherries and can’t wait to try new smoothie combos with these. I won’t add the Powerade to the smoothies, though – that would be gross.

6. Did you know that the pineapple is the international sign of hospitality and welcome? A college friend of mine shared this tidbit with me years back, and I now always give a pineapple (and normally a bottle of wine) to friends who move into a new house. Brody and I are going to a housewarming party on Sunday and the pineapple is ready.

7. This movie looks awesome – I love The Great Gatsby and Baz Lurhmann. This one also looks fantastic.

8. Dear Dry Shampoo,
Why did I not try you sooner?
Love, Angie

9. I have lots of magazines to read. With running outside and going to BodyPump, I haven’t needed to keep myself occupied on cardio machines. In approximately two weeks, my schedule may suddenly open up.

10. “School’s (almost) out for summer!” A handful of teaching days and a few final exam days, and then it’s summer vacation. I can’t wait.

11. This post is not going to have any pictures.

12. My right knee has been feeling kind of wonky lately, like it’s just a little looser in there than normal. I have been foam rolling my IT band, taking Advil, and icing it. I need my body to hold on for another two weeks.

13. After lots of phone calls, I have successfully set-up the rollover of a 403b and 401a into a current 403b. Dealing with that stuff frustrates me because I am so clueless when it comes to investing money.

14. I am still loving the Plant Fusion protein powder in my morning smoothies. Janetha used it in her blueberry lemon protein scones, and I am hoping to test out her recipe tomorrow or Monday.

15. I was shooting for fifteen points in this list (to create alliteration of course), but I just realized fourteen also starts with an F.

Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. :)

Can’t Buy Me Love (unless it’s…)

I agree that love between two people cannot be bought, but there are lots of things that can be purchased which bring me enjoyment. And maybe I feel a hint of love towards these items.

Trader Joe’s Fig Butter

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This jam-like treat is incredible, and a little bit goes a long way. I have been adding a thin layer of it over toasted bread with goat cheese or cream cheese. If I have time or need more protein, I took Natalie’s advice and added a drippy egg.

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This was my breakfast Friday morning: TJ’s stone ground wheat bagel, goat cheese, fig butter, and egg. Delicious!

Nike’s Dri-fit Tight Shorts

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I ran in these shorts yesterday and will likely wear them for the marathon. They don’t ride up, wick away sweat, and have a pocket in the back which can hold my keys and/or a GU.

Salvatore’s

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*This picture is from Salvatore’s website and is of their classic tomato pie.
Once again, Salvatore’s did not let me down. I met two friends for dinner last night, and everything I drank and ate was new to me. I started out the meal with Furthermore Knot Stock which is an IPA brewed with black pepper. It had a very interesting and unique flavor. Being this was the first time I had ever eaten at the restaurant (only had take-out), we had the opportunity to try the salume board. It came with assorted dried meats, cheeses, olives, and crostini. The Hook’s blue cheese on the crostini was my favorite. For the main course, we ordered half of the number four (homemade Italian sausage, caramelized shallots, roasted red pepper, and goat cheese) and half of the number nine (the Mediterranean Pie with olives, mozzarella, artichokes, prosciutto, roasted garlic, and roasted red peppers). I had a piece of each kind and loved them both equally. Unfortunately, each pizza has items that Brody doesn’t like, so it’s doubtful we’d ever order it for us. I guess I’ll have to keep going there with my girlfriends.

Birthday Flowers

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The flowers from Brody and my friend Rena lasted all week. I rarely have fresh flowers in the house (besides the occasional blooming peace lily), so it was nice to have these on our kitchen table.

Massages
My body aches today; my right IT band and thighs in particular are feeling it. I have a massage scheduled for 2:15pm today and cannot wait! Normally I like the masseuse to focus on my back and the two huge knots under my shoulder blades, but today I don’t want her to leave my bottom half.

My love for these items has nothing to do with how much each one costs, and if I think about it, the experience involving each item is really what I love.

Yes, the fig butter is delicious, but so is eating it while watching That 70’s Show with Brody on a Sunday morning.

Yes, the Nike shorts are great, but so was running and chatting with Mel and Tim.

Yes, Salvatore’s was amazing, but so was spending time with two coworkers outside of school.

Yes, the birthday flowers were beautiful, but so was realizing how kind my husband and friends are.

Yes, the massage will be incredible, but so is the feeling of treating myself to an hour of complete relaxation. I deserve it.

Have a nice Sunday with the things and especially people in your life you love!

Question:
What are you loving right now?