Thursday, November 29, 2012


"What would you like to do if money were no object?"

"How would you really enjoy spending your life?"

This is incredible.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A relaxing Sunday

You know that feeling of dread when you just are not looking forward to something?

And then once you do the said task, it is quite easy and simple really? Or even if it isn't technically easy, building it up in your mind was a lot worse than actually doing it?

Enter the pot roast.

Yeah, you were expecting a life-altering revelation. Admit it. ;)

I had it sitting in the fridge for a few days working up the motivation to just cook it up. There's nothing I love like good beef roast meat and it really is super simple.

So, it took me a total of 5 minutes total to heat up a pan, put in some coconut oil, throw the roast in to brown each side, cut up some onions, lightly brown those too, and throw the whole works in my crock pot. I deglazed the pan with a little apple cider vinegar, which I poured in with some added water. Finally, I threw in some garlic and called it good.

5 minutes.

Then I went about my day with our church meeting, lunch with my lovely in-laws, a 3-hour nap, and finally supper.

What a perfect Sunday.

What? Yeah, it was a 3 hour nap. I take the 'day of rest' pretty seriously. (Which is kind of a lie... usually I'm trying to get caught up a little on the computer while hubby dearest is snoozing away without me.)

Too bad it took me 10 minutes to scrub the darn crock pot. I don't see why everyone thinks they're the greatest thing to use! They take hours to cook your food, are big and bulky, and take forever to extract from your cupboards. Oh, and the scrubbing thing.

They're nice and all; I just wouldn't call it my go-to food cooker. Unless we're making bone broth. And then it's my favorite kitchen appliance. ;)

P.S. How cool is this? Instagram opened up web profiles. It's like Facebook of only images and no annoying posts. Except better.

P.P.S. Apparently the Packers won today too. That usually sets the whole state of Wisconsin in a happy mood. That and...

P.P.P.S. It's rifle season for deer this week. All we need to do is get a chest freezer, and we would love to take some venison off your hands! ;)

Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Paleo Protein Pancakes and Fried Apples

Pretty normal life lately.. but some fun things thrown in here and there!

We had a couples' game night in Oconomowoc the other week. That was so. much. fun! :)

A rousing game of Pictionary, guys against gals.

A wacky game of "Things."

We need to do more of these! :)


In other news, I have been wrapping up my summer projects quite nicely... lots of album designs, orders, and being in touch with my lovely brides.

Training is going pretty well. I guess. I've really been taking it easy the last month or more, trying to heal up some of these nagging injuries. I have been seeing a sports and reconditioning specialist in the area, who has been using ART or active release technology on my messed up muscles. You can read a little write up about Alex and Valley Spine and Sport. He's super knowledgeable and can give you a diagnosis just by walking you through different movements where the pain is plus lack of mobility. If you're struggling with anything, even headaches, please, PLEASE check him out. I cannot refer him enough. Plus, he's a regular chiropractor if needed.

I have a strain/sprain in my left shoulder (don't even ask me about my lack of overhead work and pullups lately.. :/), some issues in both shoulders on top of that, an overactive hip flexor on my right side, as well as hamstring tendinopothy on my right side.

Anything overhead and even some back work aggrivates my shoulders, back squats get my hip flexor going, and deadlifts usually hinder my hamstring more than they help. Doesn't leave me with much, eh?

But we are definitely making progress. Especially as long as I follow the exercises he tells me to do. And follow his "be smart" advice. ;) The cool part is, Alex is an athlete and CrossFitter himself, so he understands (and actually supports) my desire to keep being active. I love that attitude.

So. I keep plugging along. Slowly.

Oh, I almost forgot though. Not sure if the blog world knows. I've been working on deadlifting lately, and will be starting a program to add about 20-ish pounds or so. My latest numbers have been 215x5 at the top of a 5x5, and I pulled up 220x1 just for fun after one of them because I was having a strong day. Not bad for my incapacitated state, eh? I think the deadlifting program will be good for me (as does Alex) since we can tweak a few things to help my hamstring vs. make it worse. Plus it will give my upper body a break from so much Cross Fit. One would think the last month and a half would be a break enough....


Anyway, now that we're back to regularly scheduled programming, I can actually post the few recipes now and then that I've been creative with in the past few months.

Tonight I was jonesing for something... not sure what. Something interesting that I didn't have in my fridge or pantry already. Something that seemed like comfort food. But outside the rut I have fallen in lately. I had an apple that had been sitting on my counter that I figured was probably stale and gross. Random, but it needed to be used or thrown.

Since I've been regularly sauteing up carrots with coconut flakes (in coconut oil, obviously) with my eggs in the morning, I've gotten in the habit of frying anything I can. It's a good way to get more coconut oil in my diet! :) Which, a quick side note: I'm pretty sure there isn't a single bad thing about coconut oil.

As another example, I found these "hot dogs" the other day. Another great Woodman's find! :)

This was so incredible: carrots, broccoli, the hot dogs cut up like sausage, and spinach all sauteed in coconut oil.

Anyway, I figured the apple was shot from sitting there so long, so I might as well try frying it! Heh.

I threw a little cinnamon in with it... wow, guess it wasn't bad! It ended up a bit soft in the middle, a bit crispy on the outside and the perfect topping to my pancakes! Imagine the flavor with a fresh, fully sweet apple.

The major players, plus an egg, some stevia, a smidge of baking soda, and some extra water.

Now, isn't that a perfectly puffy pancake?

My first pancake wasn't so perfect, but the pan was too hot. Note to self.

I drizzled a little bit of almond milk (and even a spot of honey for my very last bite) and chowed down. Yes. The whole entire batch. Four large pancakes. With a fried cinnamon apple. Mm.

By the way, I did get the idea here for these
Protein Pancakes with Fried Apples


1 c. almond flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/3 c. almond milk or more as needed
1 egg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
water as needed, to make it pourable but not too runny
small apple, sliced or diced
stevia, to taste
coconut oil (for frying)
honey or maple syrup to top (optional)


1. Heat coconut oil in your pan. Add apple slices/pieces and cinnamon. Let saute for a few minutes on each side.
2. Mix almond flour, vanilla protein powder, almond milk, the egg, baking soda, and a few drops of stevia. Add water as needed to make it slightly runny and batter-like.
3. Pour into the pan, flip when there are a few bubbles in the batter.
4. Garnish with fried apples, coconut flakes, honey, maple syrup or any combination you choose. Fresh berries would be delicious too.

And, as always, enjoy. :) I certainly did!

Hope your weekend is going well, and your Thanksgiving plans are well under way! :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

August, part 3

So, I survived the first week of August with the Aussie photography workshop, traveling, and weddings.

The next weekend we packed up and headed to Iowa to visit my mom and dad. The pressure was definitely on as far as work goes, but I had planned the trip earlier in the summer and there was no way I was backing out now! :)

If you're going to cheat, do it well! When in Rome, right? You can't stop by Le Mars, Iowa, home of Blue Bunny and Ice Cream Capital of the world and NOT get a delectable treat! :)

It was a very nice vacation with forced relaxing.

And then the rest of the month was spent working. Photographing sessions, editing orders, working on images, more of the same...

So between this

and this

I made it through.

And now that August is finally caught up, I can move on! :)

September was busy too with a couple weddings and conventions.

Then October came with my last wedding of the season and struggling to catch up.

And now it's November already. Which makes me want to cry. Where did my summer go?!?

Ah well, it's nice to be back to a bit more "normal" of a pace... :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

August, part 2

So after the photography workshop in the first 3 days of the first week in August, the next few days were spent in limbo trying to get to Florida for this super-secret wedding I was going to photograph. ;)

I was set to fly out of Milwaukee around lunch time. I was all ready to go.

I even had a delicious salad. Mm. And then I settled in to a short wait to board the plane from MKE to ATL, and then from ATL to Pensacola (PNS). I was supposed to arrive in Pensacola, Florida, later in the evening. Supposed to.

We boarded, taxied out.. after a slight delay due to MKE having only one operational runway. (I know, I was like whaaat? too. Darn construction.)

And then. At when I can only image was about 10 seconds from taking off, we headed back to the gate. Oh no! My connecting flight through Atlanta ended up being severely delayed due to their thunderstorms. Apparently all incoming flights to ATL were delayed. Yikes.

Then it was a flurry of frantic phone calls, scrambling, going out of security to get a last-minute ticket from Milwaukee to Pensacola while somehow avoiding Atlanta, going back through security, and up to a different gate with a different airline. This time I would be connecting through Dallas.

Phew. All set, right?


Another delay from MKE. Of course, they still hadn't figured out their timing with the whole one runway thing. We finally boarded the plane, phew. Right? Wrong.

Another delay! There had been a mishap with a plane on the airport's one and only operational runway, and it took the better part of 45 minutes to get the wreckage cleaned up.

By this time, I'd been sitting around MKE for the better part of a day, now on the plane and still feeling somewhat hopeful I would make it to PNS yet that night.

My seatmates were incredibly optimistic about the whole situation. The best part of a last minute ticket is sitting in the middle in the back. Oh, wait. Those were outright lies. In fact, the gentleman next to the window was so jittery and anxious I wanted to bonk him over the head just to put him (and me!) out of his misery.

Finally, we were off.

Once we finally pulled up to the gate in DFW, they let those of us with connecting flights leave first, told us where to go, what gates, etc.

I sprinted up to the tram to go to the other side of the airport to get to my connecting flight. Obviously, it couldn't be right next door.

And in my best Olympic form, I sprinted the 100m dash to the gate....

*pause for dramatic effect*

Frantically, I looked around to see... nobody. Absolutely no one was there. I saw the plane still outside and the door was shut.

And promptly burst into tears.

I finally found someone from the airline (I mean, hello, it was like a ghost town by the gate!) who hooked me up with a discounted motel, the shuttle to and from the airport, etc, etc.

It took me awhile to get settled down, so when I set my alarm the next morning for...

... I realized it was going to be my shortest night going into my longest day. See, this was already Friday morning, so I would photograph the wedding once I finally got down to PNS, turn around and fly home through ATL to MKE, then drive the 1.5 hours back home, which would put me back home after midnight.

Don't ask me how I remembered to screen shot my alarm. I myself don't know.

So, bring on the coffee!! Good morning, Ms. Venti.

And when you're traveling and stuck in the airport, it's perfectly fine to eat chocolate for dessert at breakfast. It wasn't until later that I realized I grabbed the regular instead of the mint. It disappointed me.. even though I had enjoyed it immensely. Hah!

Well, I finally made it to Florida...and hit the ground running. Or maybe I should say photographing! I photographed the beautiful, surprise ceremony that was pushed back especially for me.

Many thanks to the help of my second camera-woman! It was nice to have another angle!

During my 7 hours in Florida, we made use of the time! This was a late lunch at the Portofino grill with everyone there. :)

Yes, this is bacon topped sweet potato fries. They were amazing.

Another bun-less burger. I seem to never tire of them, especially when there's bacon present!

Then the time came for us to head back to the airport. When I say us, I mean my namesake who flew home with me. See, she flew down to PNS via MKE and ATL earlier the same day I was supposed to and then we were flying home together. The only difference is, she actually made it with no hiccups. ;)

Here I am sporting her sunglasses. And a failed attempt at... something.

Note to self: using coconut oil for lotion works great.. until you're out in the Florida sun for a few hours and your skin is literally fried. Oops.

Nothing like a little Pinterest browsing at the airport to pass the time.. especially when it hits home!

Yup, changed the wording there to make this G-rated for the blog. ;)

We made it to ATL just fine, then I was nearly late getting to the gate after searching out some coffee.

And then from ATL to MKE, we talked, laughed and no-doubt annoyed the poor guy in the seat next to us. It's always fun trading stories with a nice-looking stranger. ;)

Anyway, I was able to follow her most of the way home, which kept me awake.

I made it home just fine, quickly kissed my hubby hello, backed up my memory cards, charged my camera batteries and finally went to bed... only to wake up a few hours later for another wedding to photograph.

It also was a beautiful wedding which went very well. Despite the week leading up to it. ;)

I was pretty excited to snuggle Turbs after being gone all week. Eye bags? Those aren't eye bags.

But I was even more excited to see him.

See that mega-watt smile Sunday noon? I'm counting down the minutes until my nap at that point. ;)

Then, more exciting news! My car was finally done at the shop after 2 months and 1 day spent in the shop after my accident. Remember that? Ugh. Me too.

Anyway, it was finally done!

And I was quite happy about that!

So, I survived the first week of August. Phew. The workshop, the flying, the weddings...

The next weekend we had planned a trip out to my parents, which I seriously considered cancelling because of all the work I had backlogged at that point. But seeing as though I hadn't been home in over a year, my heart was longing for Iowa. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

August, part 1

Hello? *tap tap* Is this thing on?

Again, another whole month has flown by in a whirlwhind, but before we get to October, let's take a trip down memory lane!

I promised an August post was coming. I didn't promise two or three posts, but sometimes the greatest things in life are free. Right? ;)

The first week in August was, um, life-altering to put it lightly. I don't think I've crammed that much into one week before.. and I never want to again!

However, it was packed with amazing things. Not quite Eat, Pray, Love (which I didn't like anyway)... maybe more like Learn, Don't Sleep, and Eat. :)

Like my photography workshop in Wausau taught by an incredible husband-wife duo from Australia. I stayed in a beautiful motel within walking distance from the workshop in the beautiful downtown. And I left these images nice and small in hopes to not take up so much space.. click on them to enlarge!

A completely stocked room. Party for one! ;)

I was super happy to head to the same amazing restaurant two nights in a row for supper: Red Eye. If you ever. EVER. are traveling through Wausau and don't stop there, it means you are crazy.

Local produce, grass-fed meats, fresh fish flown in daily, and sustainable practices.

Did I mention delicious? :)

Connected to my motel/complex, I thoroughly enjoyed a few cups of joe from this lovely local coffee shop.

Parker, the adorable, friendly fluff!

This is the view from the studio where the workshop was held. Bonus: you can see my motel off on the left!

Taking a break from learning..

Marie, one of the photog's who coordinated Matt and Katie's workshop... and an amazing friend!

Matt and Katie

Parker, once again. He was so stinkin' cute... kind of a mid-point, size wise, between Turbo and Mom and Dad's dog, Sage. I was already missing Turbs, so I loved getting a few snuggles in. :)

The McCartney's were such gracious hosts in offering their studio for the workshop at the last minute. Fun times!

And what's a girl to do, headed for a two hour drive home at 8:00pm after a learning-filled, food-deprived afternoon? Hit the grocery store on the way out of town obviously. :) Smoked, uncured turkey without sugar? Score!

The workshop was awesome, exactly the inspiration I needed. Matt and Katie are quirky, funny, yet real and heartwarming. Katie shared her story in tears, talking about how photography and her business had nearly destroyed her life by exhaustion and causing her to spend months in bed recovering, unable to work. Matt stepped in, and together they dreamt, planned, and visioned a better future. They created the workshop around the things they implemented in their businesses and lives to make photography enjoyable again.

So the first three days of the week spent learning and the next morning, it was re-pack and head off to Florida! Or try to anyway... :)

Stay tuned, that tale is coming shortly!
Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician, I do not have any type of medical training, and my workouts and training are only intended for my personal recollection and your curiosity. Anything documented on this blog is my personal opinion or a learned experience. All images are subject to a personal copyright unless otherwise noted and cannot be used without permission. If you read to the end of this, congratulations.