Category Archives: Just Me


So the “Accent Vlog” has been making its way around the Blog World, and I thought it’d be fun to participate.  Plus, Matt worked late, so I had some time to kill before date night.   Here goes:

The Words:

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

The Questions:

  1. What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  2. What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  3. What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  4. What do you call gym shoes?
  5. What do you say to address a group of people?
  6. What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
  7. What do you call your grandparents?
  8. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  9. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  10. What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

What do you think?  Do I have an accent? (you can say yes!)  And do you like my facial expressions?  Yes I did receive a “Best Facial Expressions” award in high school speech class.



Building with Food

As you may or may not know, I’m a structural engineer.  And we like to build stuff, especially out of “unique” materials, such as food! 

Just before Christmas, we had a competition at work called “GingerBuild”, where we form teams and make a structure out of entirely edible materials.  The structure must be “inspired” by a project that our company has worked on.  My team (made up of all women) decided to build a replicate of the Haystack Observatory, which is a giant telescope out at the Lincoln Lab. 


The base is made of rice krispies surrounded by gingerbread.  The dish is also made of gingerbread.  The post and the focal arms are made of candy canes.  The trusses are spaghetti attached with melted caramel.  The tic tacs represent the finite element analysis results of the dish. 

We did not win the corporate competition (which came with 8 hours of vacation, something I could definitely use), but we won the CEO’s award.  That means that our name is on the GingerBuild Trophy!

After our success with gingerbuild, a coworker asked us to help with an idea he had for a retiring coworker.  Insert our culvert cake!


Now this cake is not entirely edible.  The culverts were made using aluminum disposable baking pans.  We cut them up and shaped them into half cylinders.  The cake was then baked upside down to create the culvert indentations.  Also, the truck is NOT edible.  It was purchased at Toys ‘R Us.  But we are very proud of how it turned out.  Especially given that it only took one night to bake and a second to decorate and assemble.


A Good Samaritan

Today was an . . . interesting day.  The weather is NASTY!!  It started out snowing 5 inches, then switched to freezing rain, and now just rain.  There’s still snow everywhere, so the streets are a mess, since there is no where for the water to drain.  I ended up taking a 4 hour lunch break after almost getting in a wreck on the way home to walk April at lunch.

After work, I had some coworkers come over to work on a retirement gift for another coworker (I’ll try to feature it later).  So I stopped to pick up a few supplies at CVS, then came home to await their arrival.  Right was Steve was coming in the door, bearing a 12 pack of Corona no less, a police woman was knocking on our door.  Why?  Apparently I dropped my wallet in the CVS parking lot, and a Good Samaritan picked it up and turned it into the police.  I didn’t even know that it was missing!  After working on the project, Matt drove me to the police station.  Guess what?  Every thing was still in it!  All of my credit cards, my license, and even my $3!!  How amazing is that?

What a Good Samaritan. 

It reminds of two instances in Chicago.

  • One Saturday night (after a few drinks at a club) I dropped my phone into another woman’s purse on the floor (it was next to my purse).  She found it Sunday morning, and called Mother.  I picked it up at her office Monday during lunch.
  • Another night, I was coming home on the L, and a group of twenty-somethings got off at the stop before mine.  I noticed that one of them had dropped their phone.  I picked it up before someone else would.  The girl then called the phone, I answered, and she had her phone back within an hour.

Have you ever had such a thing happen or done something for someone?

Tales from the Gym

So, I’m watching “The Biggest Loser Finale”, and they show clips of Tina falling off of the treadmill.  It reminded me of embarrassing stories of my own from the gym.

My senior year at Purdue, I was training for a 5K and totally fell off of the treadmill.

Last year, I was doing a box jump on the bench, and definitely bit the dust.

Okay, I didn’t really jump this high.

In both instances, I think the only thing bruised was my ego.  But you know what?  I got right back on the treadmill.  I started jumping on the bench.  I think that’s the most important thing.  Yes, the gym can be intimidating.  Yes, you can embarrass yourself.  But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take that first step and join the gym.  Show up!  Get up off of the floor and get back to it!

Have you ever fallen?  Embarrassing gym stories?

A Christmas-time Wedding in Indiana

Just got back from the midwest.  Did you hear about the snow?  Anyway, my cousin got married this past weekend in Richmond, Indiana (my parents’ hometown).  Matt and I flew to Cincinnati Friday evening.   Kathleen picked us up from the airport and we had some dinner at Arnold’s downtown.  Then we headed out to my dad’s, stopping at Graeter’s for ice cream and Starbucks to meet up with Beckey.  YAY!

My dad drove us up to Richmond Saturday morning, where we went to Grandma’s for some cold cut sandwiches.  Finally, it was time to get ready and head to the church.  I wanted to get there early, because guess who was in town . . . TOM!  (that would be my brother, the Marine, who returned from Afghanistan in September, and I had yet to see him).

Doesn’t he look so handsome in his dress blues.  I just found out that since he will no longer be a Marine at my wedding in May (he is finished with his enlistment in March), he is not allowed to wear his dress blues.  BOO!!  He was an usher and acolyte for my cousin.

I then went upstairs to find my cousins.

And visit Colin, who was the ring bearer and will be the ring bearer in our wedding.

This is Colin (the 3 year old) informing his mom that he was very uncomfortable in his tuxedo.  He was also quoting the Grinch: “Why, Santy Clause, why?”

Matt and I sat up in the balcony and video-taped the wedding.  The ceremony went smoothly; it was a typical 15 minute Methodist ceremony.  I loved that they embraced the season and had Christmas hymns as the prelude.  The big surprise of the ceremony came at the end.  According to the program, the recessional was supposed to be “Joy to the World”.  But as the organist began playing, I thought “This doesn’t sound like Joy to the World.”  Next thing I knew I was singing along to Hail Purdue!  BOILER UP!  My cousin (despite the fact that she went to Indiana) loves Purdue, and her husband, Brett, went there.  I was cheering up in the balcony!

The reception was at a blues club in an old warehouse building.  It was pretty neat.  They had a slide show of pictures of the bride and groom.  One picture in particular caught my eye:

It’s hard to tell, but that’s my cousin and I in my freshman dorm room!  HA!

I had fun at the reception hanging with my cousin Jenny’s 6 month old twins. (They were rather popular).

Don’t you love the reindeer butt?

And of course, my brothers and I were all together for the first time in a year, and we had to get a picture:

My dad apparently needs to learn how to NOT have his finger in a picture.

We had a great time, and even made it home to Boston yesterday, despite the snow.


P.S.  Week 1 of the new PointsPlus program with Weight Watchers: I LOST 3.0 lbs!  HOORAY!  Now must not get complacent!


Girls Weekend in MSP

This past weekend, I flew to MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul) to visit with three of my bridesmaids.  Two of my bridesmaids actually live in MSP, and Kathleen, my maid of honor, also came to visit.

Friday night and Saturday morning, I stayed with Jan, her husband, Erik, and twin two year olds, R and J.  We had a great time Friday night drinking some wine and chatting.  Jan and I have known each other since first grade (surprisingly not the bridesmaid that I’ve known the longest).  My mom always called her “that cute little red-headed girl”.  She moved to the twin cities after 9th grade.  Saturday morning her friend, Keri, and her mom came over for brunch.  Two year old boys are certainly a handful!

Reece just wanted to climb.

Where's Jensen?

We then met Jen, Kathleen, and Jen’s three month old daughter for lunch at a bar showing the Purdue game (we won’t talk about the score).  Kathleen is my maid of honor and college roommate.  Jen lived two doors down freshman year.  We shared a sorority, a major, and many places to sleep.

A new little Boilermaker!

Saturday night we headed out to Chino Latino for a great girls night.  First, two pitchers of Sangria:

Complete with plastic giraffe

And lots and lots of food:

Chicken Enchiladas

Beef Empanadas

Tempura Shrimp

Cuban Pork Roast with plantains

Sushi Sampler

After dinner, I made my way to the bathrooms.  It was a tile doorway marked “banos”.  Now I don’t speak Spanish, but I knew it said bathroom.  However, when I walked in, all I saw were three guys washing their hands.  WHAT?!!  I started to walk out, but was told no, this is the right place.  Apparently the men and women share sinks, but there are two separate toilet areas.  I was convinced that I was going to see a man at a urinal when I turned the corner.  Jan said that she likes to accompany people when they go to the bathrooms for the first time and Chino Latino.  I guess my reaction isn’t so abnormal.

What a great night with great ladies!

Horrible picture of me

Perhaps we should have taken the picture BEFORE we stuffed ourselves.

Always Look on the Bright Side

I’ve been having a crappy few days.  I had to get fitted for my crown on Tuesday, and I ended up crying at the dentist.  It hurt so bad.  I ended up taking the rest of the day off.  However, I’ve decided to look on the brighter side of things.  Here goes the eternal optimist:

  • Wednesday night brought my return to personal training.  I’ll be going once per week for the rest of the year.  I love my trainer and our sessions.  Of course, I haven’t been able to walk for a two days now!  We did step ups, side squats, and wall sits.  I seriously could barely walk down the stairs to do my laundry.  I LOVE FEELING SORE!
  • Thursday night, Matt had to work late, so it was up to me to take April on her long evening walk.  Unfortunately it’s getting late in the year, and the sun is going down by 6:30pm now.  (In the winter, it’s about 4pm.)  I had to find a new path that had lights.  We actually did a nice 2 mile walk in 60 minutes in a big loop around our area.  It was actually a really nice change of pace.


Is April a cat or a dog?


  • Since I had to walk the dog (and was feeling pretty crappy due to allergies), Matt brought home dinner!  Okay, okay, McDonald’s isn’t the best, but at least it was the kids meal.  And it came in a fun bucket:
  • Mr. Potato Head Halloween Bucket

    And speaking of Mr. Potato Head, guess who won Structural Ingenuity and Juror’s Favorite at Canstruction!  WE DID WITH OUR MR. POTATO HEAD


  • My birthday flowers have opened up and they are gorgeous!

Pretty Flowers

And when my florist wants to know what I mean by BIG OPEN ROSES!  I’ll show them this picture.  They just make me happy.

  • I don’t have much to do at work.  So I come home a bit early today and finished up my BM project:

Yup, that's my foot!

And with that, it’s time to go head to the airport to visit Jen and Jan (along with Kathleen) in Minneapolis!  YAY FOR A GIRLS WEEKEND!

Birthday Presents!

I came home last night about 5:30pm to a smell of warm cupcakes!  Guess who came home early to make me cupcakes?


Birthday Cupcakes

Aren’t the candles cute?

Make a Wish!

I blew them all out and didn’t catch my hair on fire.  SUCCESS!

Time for presents:

Sparkly Earrings

Money for new underwear

April has eaten her way through multiple pairs of my underwear.  I told Matt that I needed more for my birthday, but he refuses to go into “that store”.  Well he made it in for a few minutes!

Pretty Flowers

Great birthday from my buddy!  Isn’t he the best fiance?

And now a preview of where I spent my morning:

Can you guess what it is?  CANSTRUCTION!  The annual Boston Food Bank Fundraiser!  More pictures of the finished product to follow!

Greetings from the Beach

Matt and I were originally going to visit my aunt and uncle at their beach house over Labor Day, but it fell through.  So we decided to come down for Columbus Day weekend.  Unfortunately, they had to go out of town.  Luckily for us though, we chose an absolutely GORGEOUS weekend!  It is 78 degrees and sunny.  We spent a few hours at the beach this afternoon.

I have to keep reminding myself that it is October.  Kids were out playing in the water!  One nice thing about being here during “off season” is that dogs are allowed on the beach.  We saw them EVERY WHERE!!

Makes me miss our little April.  We decided to leave her at home (well Matt refused to get up and run her in the morning while on “vacation”).  Maybe one day she’ll come down.  I wonder what she’d think of the beach and ocean.

It was an 11 hour drive yesterday (it took us THREE HOURS to get around NYC).  I think it was the worst it’s ever been.  We passed 4 accidents on the other side of the interstate, so lots of rubber necking.  To entertain Matt, I decided to look through my iTunes for a first dance song for us.  We still don’t have one, really.  He has vetoed classics like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.  I really like “So Close” by Jon McLaughlin from “Enchanted”, but I don’t like how it ends.  Any suggestions? We do have like 7 months . .

Have a great weekend!

Responding to Negativity

For those who haven’t heard about it, 6 of the most popular healthy living blogs were blasted in an article in Marie Claire.  Read it here for yourself.

I felt compelled to write a letter to the editor regarding the portrayal of food blogs:

Ms. Coles
I am extremely disappointed in Katie Drummond’s portrayal of food bloggers in her article “The Hunger Diairies”.  I first started reading these blogs last year when I was searching for new guidance in living a healthy lifestyle.  I had succesfully completed “Weight Watchers”, but after a while, became obsessed with food and points and basically had an eating disorder.  I loved the approach to healthy eating that these girls have.  Their 3X daily posts provide examples of what they are eating.  From them I have learned to be adventurous with foods and tried many ideas that I would not have tried (like Green Monsters).  Their blogs also show how you can live heathfully and still enjoy life.  Caitlin always proclaims her love of beer.  Meghann’s weekly trips to the frozen yogurt places are always blogged.  I understand how documenting food can be seen as a type of disordered eating, but I took their message more as informational rather than their obsessive need to document every morsel that went into their mouths.  These women are advocating healthy eating, not eating disorders.  Many of them have struggled with disordered eating and have lived to tell their tales.  Caitlin started the “Operation Beautiful” movement to combat the unhealthy images protrayed in the media, perhaps even in your magazine.
I truly believe that these women do not set out to hurt themselves or anyone else by blogging.  Their blogs are simply ways for them to offer information about how they are living heathfully.


While I do understand their fear of readers comparing themselves to these seemingly “perfect” eaters and exercisers, and the possibility of the writers developing distorted eating, I do not think that these women set out to do any of that.  You know what always cheers me up and combats negativity?  My cute little puppy sleeping all curled up:

Anyway, in light of all of this, I went grocery shopping to stock up on my own healthy foods.  If I have it in the house, I should eat it, right?  Stay tuned for some healthy foods and plenty of exercise!  I’m also really trying to talk myself into 6:15am Power Yoga tomorrow morning.  I’ve got to use up this Groupon!


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