Woof bark bark bark woof!

July 28, 2016

ruff woof bark bark woof ruff ruff!

ruff ruff ruff. bark. woof bark woof.

(whew, i found the doggish to english translator button!)

mom is out spending another one of her sixteen hour days at the office, and i am tired of barking at that prissy dalmatian that keeps strutting by the window with her pink spiked collar and matching leash. sheesh. some girls just think they are all that.

so i puppy hacked mom’s computer to tell you all a little story. and here is goes.. i hope you like it. because i sure did not.

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it was the crisp morning on the 29th of january in a little snowy town called saint louis. and i immediately knew something was wrong when i woke up. mom walked in the door from her dreaded night shift and wafting in on my pleasant morning air was the pungent smell of.. suitcases. yuck. now i do not know if you have ever had the unfortunate circumstance of being downwind of packaged luggage, but it reeks of abandonment and longing. and it is unmistakable.

i tried to warn mom of this cruel perpetrator in our mist, but she just would not listen. so i figured i would try grandpa. he had come to hang out with me because i am his favorite grand puppy. (which is not true. Duke is the favorite. even though he is a window licker. but it is okay. grandma and grandpa still love me bunches) so i tried and tried and triieeed to tell them all about it, but they just would not listen! geez. what does a girl gotta do to be heard these days? it is like i was speaking another language or something.

we are his favorites.

we are his favorites.

anyways, mom and grandpa were rushing about here and picking things up there. it was such a commotion that i did not know where i should even focus my attention. but i will tell you what.. i did not like it one bit. something was very very wrong.

finally about mid morning mommy took me on a very long walk, and my fear just worsened. we never took the extra extra long route. especially mid morning when mommy was usually sound asleep from a long night. and extra especially on such a cold day. mommy and i both hate the cold.

when we made it back to the apartment, grandpa was there moving the suitcases into the car, of all things! those terrible terrible beasts. so i tried to warn him again, but he would just not listen. so i jumped in the car to protect him from the awful things and ensure that they did not get mommy too. i am always looking out for her.

so after a little ride, we stopped at this weird lot of cars. i wanted to get into all of them. especially the red ones. but mommy would not let me. she told me to stay close. i did. and i did my best to stay away from those smelly pieces of luggage too. i cannot believe we were bringing them along with us.

and then we all got into this big giant vehicle. it was so big it could have swallowed mommy’s car whole. and even grandpa’s too! it lurched forward and screeched to a stop and swayed a little to this side and that side. and this giant door kept opening and letting more people on and then off again. i was very happy when we finally got off it. it smelled funny.

and then we came up to this big building that i have never seen before. we walked up and the doors magically slid open in front of me. like i was controlling them with my mind. it. was. awesome.

mommy stooped down next to me and told me that i needed to be a really good girl now and be on my very best behavior. so i sat up really straight. i pulled my shoulders back just like she taught me to. perked my ears up to attention. and pointed my tail because.. well, i am not really sure why. but it seemed like the right thing to do.

i still so pretty.

i still so pretty.

and that lasted all of twenty seconds.

i wanted to be a good girl. i promise i did! but there were just so many smells and people and shiny things. i wanted to see them all. and they all wanted to see me!

but then mom gave me the look. and i gave her the guilty eyes. and she caved. but i stuck close by her side after that. my nose only wandering to the side once or twice. okay, maybe it was more like fifteen times. but really, that is pretty good for me!

when we finally stopped it was in this amazing space that was full of cushioned seating and all these people!

until i sat down.

and i decided that sitting on the floor was much better idea.

the floor was much more comfortable

the floor was much more comfortable

we sat there for a little while until this loud man that was shouting from the ceiling said something about boarding. which was my first red flag.

we got up and started walking. i had no idea where we were going, but mom was with me, so i knew i wanted to go along. we walked into this big round metal contraption. and into this little row of seats. and then we stopped. we just stopped. and stayed there. mom and grandpa sat down. and that was it. i wanted to go visit all the people that were filling into the other seats.

but mom said no. she told me i had to stay. that was the second red flag.

can i please go visit?!

can i please go visit?!

good news was that i found a window!

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but mom would not open it for me. she tried to tell me why. something about atmospheres. and pressures. and 38,000 feet in the air. i have no idea. it made no sense to me. she always let me stick my head out when we go out for other rides. that was the third red flag.

please open the window?

please open the window?

so there i was. no open window. no place to go. and the big contraption we were in started making this loud rumbling noise! i knew it. it was the beginning of the end!

we were all doomed. this great big contraption swallowed us whole and there was nothing we could do about it! how could mom have led us into such destruction?!

and then it got louder and we started moving faster. and faster. and faster. until we were going faster than i have gone faster before! it was exhilarating and terrifying and confusing.. and then..

nothing.

no doom. no gloom. no grand destruction. we just sat there. we sat there for four hours. four hours, people! no wind in my ears. no new smells in nose. no place for my little legs to walk to. it was super lame.

so i curled up and took a nap. what else is a hound dog supposed to do?

there was not a whole lotta room down there.

there was not a whole lotta room down there.

the best part of the flight was when mom left for a couple minutes. i could not figure out where she went. but it was the perfect opportunity to swipe her seat. can you all believe that she made me sleep on the floor? doesn’t she know who i am?

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much more comfortable!

it did not matter though. when mommy came back i was not giving up my new found seat. my royal tush was not going back down to that floor. it was hard. and smelly. and i think there was something sticky under my paw. so when she did come back, i went with my tried and true method: avoid all eye contact. i call it the if-i-don’t-look-at-what-is-going-on-it-won’t-actually-be-happening-and-i-get-to-do-what-i-want stare. let me tell ya what folks, it works every. single. time. but if you use it, make sure you give credit where credit is due. it’s patented.

eventually i ended up snuggled on her lap and life was good.

i fit perfectly.

i fit perfectly.

even when the big contraption made these funny noises again. and then slowed waaaay down. it was all okay. because i was finally comfy on mommy’s lap and wherever she was going, i was going to.

when we finally stepped out in the sunny, warm, dry place that mom kept referring to as california, i knew we were on some grand adventure and that i never wanted to get on that big contraption again. ever.

too bad mommy did not get that memo. she made me go in that big contraption three more times since then! but at least grammy is always on the other end with treats when we get out of the big scary thing. she is always so good to me!

until next time and with love!

bai

grammy likes to snuggle with me

grammy likes to snuggle with me

nose lickin good treats!

nose lickin good treats!

i am getting better at this flight thing.

i am getting better at this flight thing.

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a big announcement

February 1, 2016

i left on a grand adventure today.

well, a few days ago now. it has been a bit busy.

i have packed up my little apartment, loaded my pathetic puppy onto an airplane, and moved to san diego, california.

well ain't that a view!

i have been transferred out here for work. for those of you who know me, you know that this was not really in my plans. not really a destination that was on my list of places to live. which sounds quite snobbish of me to say, it is san diego for crying out loud! i know, i know. some of you are cursing me right now, but hear me out.

california is two thousand miles away from home. two thousand. comfort, family, cornfields, familiarity are all two thousand miles away.

now i have been blessed with quite possibly the greatest family of all times and moving two thousand miles away from them does not sound ideal. they have always been a huge help, a huge support in my life, and i have loved being able to run home over the weekend whenever for whatever.

photocred: Always19 Photography

photocred: Always19 Photography

and now God is calling me to move my life two thousand miles away. to a beach. to warmth. to eternal sunshine and seventy degree weather. but the important part is that God is sending me. and i have no idea why, but i am going because His plans are more important than mine. clearly, He kind of wrecked the plans that i had in place and re-routed me. the great part is that He is big enough to do that and knows what is best for me. especially when i am being too stubborn to listen.

so what brings me out here? i will be working in logistics at a wholesaler. and we all know how much i love to nerd out on logistics. for those of you who are not familiar with the three-tier system of alcohol distribution, the wholesaler level sits between the brewery where we make the beer and the retail accounts where you buy the beer. this all came into play with the repeal of prohibition. when the twenty-first amendment was ratified on december fifth of nineteen thirty-three, the states began creating systems to regulate alcohol distribution. the amendment gave each state free reign to determine the methods in which alcohol would be re-introduced and regulated within the state, which leads to the fifty different legal precedents we have today. the three tier structure and additional taxes became the most common practice solutions to limit the shady back door deals and overconsumption of adult beverages. thus was the birth of the wholesaler in the alcohol industry.

and some where way down the line from all of that, here i am. in california. and so very excited about what comes next.

i can feel that God is using this. i am thrilled about the job i will be in. i think it is going to be a good fit for me. and i know He will make sure i am equipped.

but this takes me farther away from home. and per mother’s request, i am reinstating my blog. or at least committing to post more regularly as i have been slacking. but i need to find a place to live first, then i have some catching up to do. stories of ridiculous warehouse employees, the hogwarts express in harry potter world, the last superbowl and blinding blue lights, portland and seattle, my beautiful cousins at purdue, georgia tech and how to paint a football field, and the tacos of austin.

so here we go again. the start of a new adventure.

photocred: Always19 Photography

photocred: Always19 Photography

how many of you caught that i loaded Bailee onto a plane earlier? yeah, there will be a story coming about that one too.

Look at all da fishys!

August 9, 2015

so i took a little hiatus. i apologize. finding an apartment, moving, taking on a new job. and then another. and then a project. and getting my puppy back has left me with little free time. really. she just looks at me with those big brown eyes that plead for me to talk her for a walk. or a run. or a car ride… and i cave. every. single. time.

don't act like you could say no.

don’t act like you could say no.

but i am back! with a story about the Atlanta aquarium.

like most stereotypical human beings that have two x chromosomes, i love little creatures. and any zoo, aquarium, or dog park is a great place to find such creatures. well i settled with the second option in this particular instance for two reasons. 1. for the infamy of the Atlanta aquarium. 2. to not make my own favorite four-legged creature of the canine species jealous.

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well i should probably start with the story of how i ended back up in Atlanta during my traveling escapades.

it was march. and i was getting restless. so what better idea than to leave st. louis?! and where better to go than Georgia?! so off we went. it helped that our favorite Georgian brewery was holding their first public brewery tour.

so we piled in the car. and spent the eight hours singing every 90s hit and taking mediocre snapchats of anything within four feet of, well, my feet.

couldn't help myself.

couldn’t help myself.

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when we finally arrived sometime in the wee hours of the morning, our friend’s apartment was covered in confetti and empty beer cans, and we were the least bit surprised. but that is probably a story for another time.

the next day, some of the boys went golfing. and we went gawking.

well prepared.

well prepared.

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and staring. and pointing. and gasping at some of the most intriguing creatures. not all had four legs, but i still liked them just the same.

there was Melvin, the albino crocodile. his teeth weren’t so frightening when they blended into his skin.

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there was Alfred, the beluga whale. he was very graceful for a 3000 pound animal.

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Sammy, the stingray.  He was always smiling.

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Mr. Bubbles, a giant manta ray. He wouldn’t tell me his real name. or anything at all. but all of his friends called him Mr. Bubbles. and boy, did he love the diver’s bubbles.

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while it was an apt nickname, i think his friends could’ve been a little more creative.

and you can’t forget about Michael. He was pretty hard to miss.

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and then there were the jellyfish.

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and the regular fish.

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and my favorite of all… da otters!! now these little guys had created their own little raft in the aquarium. they swam. and played. and rolled. and wiggled. and giggled. okay, maybe it was just me giggling.

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did you know otters have the densest hair of all mammals? over 100,000 hairs in the space of a postage stamp. ladies, think about trying to brush that every morning. yikes.

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they can also hold their breath for eight minutes. eight! i would pass out.

this little guy wanted to go home with me.

this little guy wanted to go home with me.

also, they are the only amphibious member of the weasel family. and the only cute ones too.

i even made us go back to see them again before we left.

and of course after the aquarium, we had to grab something to eat. meandering around adorable critters will really get your appetite up.

so we ate.

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and went to our favorite libations establishment. where Brian was apparently doing his best Mr. Scrooge impression. with a smile on his face.

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and ate again. at the best brunch place. ever.

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i meant to take a picture before i started eating… and when it arrived i forgot until i was halfway done.

 

and then ate again.

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i don’t know where all that food went at the end.

and then we rolled ourselves back into the car, fat, stiff-necked, and happy, destined for St. Louis once again. but don’t worry Atlanta, i will be back one day.

and don’t worry. the fuzzy creatures of the St. Louis zoo will be coming up soon too!

Caution: Nerd Crossing

March 17, 2015

after an epic tour of chicago and Goose Island Beer Company, marketing sent us to to san fransisco, california. into the heart of silicon valley amongst the budding new technologies and hub of start ups. it was a geek’s paradise.

our first stop landed us in palo alto, ca. it is the home of our so called “beer garage”. i still do not quite grasp the implications of that name, but it is essentially our touch point for connecting with new technology and start up firms for business solutions in our beer company. i know. i know. it has nothing to do with a garage. it baffles me too.

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it rained every day. except the day we left.

 

on a rainy morning with a runny nose and a box of cold medicine, i meandered my way to the trendy, downtown creative haven where start up companies attempt to make their wildest dreams come true by landing the behemoth beer company as their clients. complete with swanky floor pillows, red statement couch, and a fully stocked beer fridge. but what AB building doesn’t have a fully stocked beer fridge? at the brewery, we call it the warehouse. it’s much more impressive.

from there, they sent us to singularity university. don’t know what that is? i didn’t at first either. it is associated with nasa research park. that’s right. i said nasa. and its goal is to educate leaders to implement exponential technologies to solve humanity’s grand challenges. don’t know what that means? i didn’t at first either. they work with technologies that are forward thinking and developing very quickly and how they can fix our world’s problems. it is pretty dang cool. if you want to learn more about it, go here.

want to ride a roller coaster? without leaving your chair? and even experience that same i'm-going-to-upchuck-all-over-the-person-in-front-of-me? try these babies out.

want to ride a roller coaster? without leaving your chair? and even experience that same i’m-going-to-upchuck-all-over-the-person-in-front-of-me? try these babies out.

and then we went to google. yep google. with the red, green, yellow, and blue bicycles. with food shops on every floor of every building. with sand volleyball courts and swim current pools. with bright-eyed eager nerds developing exciting new technologies. with the stairs that scroll the top topics being googled at any given time. did you know those stairs were put in specifically for the movie the internship? because i learned that. and the sign on the building. that wasn’t there before the movie either. nothing like a little cinema magic to spruce up the place.

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is your inner nerd silently freaking out?

well it gets better.

the next day we went to twitter.

i am not much of a tweeter. but it was cool to see. i liked the vine wall with the wooden bird hidden in it. and the hat. even though i look like a dork in it.

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twitter makes you want to swing.

twitter makes you want to swing.

and we ate delicious brazillian barbecue that evening. some in the group even ate the chicken hearts that were offered. i was not among that group.

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adults entertaining themselves maturely at dinner.

adults entertaining themselves maturely at dinner.

and the next day? well we went to facebook. facebook has a lot of food too.

in games of thrones, when they talk about the eating hall at the wall where jon snow is stationed, i always think of the facebook mess hall. i know. i know. there are diverse and delicious options in the facebook mess hall other than salted beef and fish and stale bread. and there are modernistic new chairs. and a dessert bar. and a coffee bar. and free monster energy drinks in coolers. i know they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. but there are long rows of tables and it is dimly lit. so i can’t help it. my imagination is a hard thing to control.

oh, and there is also a barber shop, urgent care, pizza joint, bowling alley, barbecue grill, walking tracks, mexican restaurant, and strange connecting walkways between buildings. it is like their own little village. that was intentionally designed to mismatch. but it is still pretty cool.

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oh. and there are free umbrellas everywhere.

and conor's was broken.

and conor’s was broken.

and then? we went to instagram. which is technically still at facebook. because facebook owns it. but the picture i took makes it look like the place is abandoned. because i thought it was funny. of all the places we went, this was probably the one social application that i use the most. too bad it has little to do with our current digital marketing strategy.

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to conclude our trip, our group ventured into downtown san francisco for a memorable night. or unmemorable for many in the group. but i don’t think that one is fit to print… so ask me about it if you are in need of a good story.

the main things that i learned from our trip?

1. it takes a lot of people to run the social applications we use every day.

2. those people need to be fed a lot of food. for free.

3. san francisco is rainy. very rainy. at least in december.

4. standford has a pretty campus. that i got lost running around. in the middle of a rain storm. through the mud.

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oh. and here is the bridge.

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Choo Choo!

March 8, 2015

so i have halfway written five posts. yes. five. i am lacking commitment right now. my mom would you tell you it is a flaw of mine. i would argue that it is an isolated flaw. or that maybe the true flaw is lack of persistence. or maybe it all depends on your reference of to what i am persistent or committed. regardless of what it may be, it is a flaw none the less. and mamma is always right.

but you did not come here to read a philosophical debate of whether i struggle with the state of being committed or the act of perseverance. so i am going to tell you about my choo choo train instead.

i was placed for my four month project in st. louis, missouri, the birthplace of budweiser beer. the flagship brewery of our company. where budweiser was created. raised. and sent off into the world from. and it was originally sent off by railcar. the development of the refrigerated car and use of pasteurization, pioneered by Mr. Adolphus Busch in the early 1970s, was a tipping point in the history of beer. no longer was beer a local commodity. it could be national. it could be safely transported to far off regions for each and every consumer to enjoy.

well i work in logistics now. i love logistics. i love math. i love optimization. i love efficiencies. it is how i am programmed to think, feel, and act. now call me a nerd. go ahead. do it. i will wait.

now that that is out of the way.

so in the st. louis brewery, we are (once again) utilizing railroad transportation to ship beer to designated regions for distribution. we are fickle souls here. we filled the rail pit with concrete in 2011. yes. only four years ago. i am telling you. fickle.

well my part in the implementation is to assist with the layout of the rail pit and surrounding area. which is interesting because i know very little about shipping beer over rail. or rail in general for that matter. my cousin works in the rail industry. and does quite splendidly. he knows far more about rail than i. but alas, i was challenged with the task instead. to help me learn, i guess.

and learn i have. the dimensions and variations and figures constantly swirl through my head. i even had a dream about railcars the other night. of course it was a runaway car that broke from the engine. and of course i was trapped and could not escape. and i am sure there is some subconscious meaning to it all. but i really think it just means that i spend too much time thinking about railroads.

so my typical day looks like this:

my day starts early. before the sun has has shown its face. but i love the look of the hot steam rolling off the brewery in the dark.

so early. so cold.

so early. so cold.

early mornings.

a little of update this. report that. email them.

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and then my shoes are usually discarded for my steel toes.

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and my jewelry is left on my desk.

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hopefully a safe distance from my piles of blueprints.

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my personal protection equipment is donned. including my three sizes too large neon yellow, reflective safety vest. if the minimum safety requirement is determined by body surface to vest surface, i believe i am well covered.

and i head to the warehouse. where i wander among stacks and stacks of beer. it is quite a sight to behold 650,000 cases of beer anxiously awaiting the glorious steed (aka trailer) that will whisk them away to their love’s (aka consumers) arms where they will be held, kissed, and then unceremoniously tossed aside (hopefully in a recycling bin) for a newer, younger version of themselves. i tell ya. it is a cruel world out there.

IMG_2991 or into the back of my trunk.

but now they await a new steed! a graffitied hunk of metal. but do not let his tough exterior fool you. he takes the same gentle care and sweet rocking. but it is always nice to know he is in for the long haul.

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so mostly i measure. observe. pester people with questions. and then come back to crunch the numbers. and though i never imagined this as part of my future, i really do enjoy it.

Goose Island Beer Company

January 15, 2015

so there is this really cool brewery up in chicago. maybe you have heard of it. it is called Goose Island. it was created in 1988. it makes delicious tasting beers.

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some very smart person at corporate decided that we needed to visit Goose Island to learn about there tactics of marketing. unaware of their shenanigans? feel free to reference this, this, and that.

as Thanksgiving came to a close, i trekked north into the frozen windy city again. not that st. louis is much warmer. but at least it is less windy. it counts for something.

day one at Goose Island was a marathon that i am not entirely sure my stomach was ready for.

have you heard of bourbon county stout? most beer snobs have. it is a treasured relic. a precious jewel. a rare gem to connoisseurs of craft beer. it is released only one day every year: the much dreaded black friday. while soccer moms and baseball dads wait in line at walmart, toys’r’us, and best buy; beer buffs everywhere are waiting in line outside of liquor stores and grocery chains in hopes of procuring this elusive beer.

and while i did not wait through the blistering illinois cold on the eve of november 28th, i had the privilege to try every flavor of bourbon county stout produced by Goose Island Brewing Company. you know, just a perk of the job.

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this year’s crop consisted of bourbon county stout original, bourbon country stout coffee, bourbon county barely wine, bourbon county stout vanilla rye, and a proprietor’s bourbon county stout reserve from 2014.

stouts are deceptive. they look intimidating. they smell intimidating. but they taste fairly smooth and inviting, except for that bitter bite of bourbon unique to this style. while they would not be my first choice, or a choice for casual, light drinking, it had an interesting taste that i can appreciate on special occasions.

from there, we were introduced to the sour sisters. maybe you have met them? they go by sophie, matilda, gillian, halia, lolita, juliet, and madame rose. as in real life, each lady has her own personality. some sweet. some strong. some tart. some bitter. but none of them are bland.

each person seems to have their “type”. my type is sophie. she is mild-mannered with a little flare for the dramatic exit. she is a lovely lady to spend the evening with, but she will leave you with a lasting reminder that she is gone.

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we tried some of the sisters during a tasting. and others during a delicious beer pairing lunch. others during a beer pairing lunch. sophie can be everyone’s best friend but particularly pairs well with salads. matilda needs a stronger partner and matches well with fatty meats and potent cheeses. juliet’s bold personality likes to be the dominating flavor in the room, so she is best coupled with a sweet and shy fruit cheesecake.

you won’t forget meeting the sour sisters. no one forgets their first. regardless of whichever lady is your favorite, make sure you take her out to a nice dinner and walk home with her at night.

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we drank a multitude of beers. starting at nine in the morning. this was the result of our day. well, that and a bit of a restless tummy.

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we also spent time walking around the enormous barrel aging cellar, visiting with local marketing agencies, and meandering through the breweries on fulton street and clybourne. but i do not think you want to hear about me walking around, so i will leave you with pictures of those for now.

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Chicago, Illinois

January 5, 2015

so the last week of my sales rotation landed me in chicago.

chicago. in the middle of november. during the polar vortex that swept through the midwest. with single digit weather and negative wind chills.

i went from 60’s and 70’s to the single digits and negatives. it was what we call a “rough transition”.

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my toes were frozen. my fingers were frozen. and worst of all, my nose was frozen. i hate when my nose is frozen.

to cheer my frozen spirits, i visited a good friend from high school for an all day lord of the rings marathon. complete with warm blankets and baileys. and during a candid game of catch phrase, i was even thrilled to learn her favorite color was still purple. thankfully, some things never change.

a throwback because i forgot to get a picture. ellen was always picking up me.

a throwback because i forgot to get a picture. ellen was always picking up me.

the rest of my nights for the week were warmed with room service and good books. winter makes me a bit of a hermit.

i love to be outside. i love to enjoy the green plants and warm sunshine. fresh breezes. tree smells. rustling leaves. splashing in water. i would happily spend the whole day outside. in the spring. or summer. or fall.

in the winter? heck no. it is cold. so i sit inside and attempt to combat cabin fever with whatever random activities my frozen brain cells can conjure. mostly reading, baking, knitting, and pinteresting.

except for one day. one very cold day, we ventured out into the midwestern frozen tundra. to indianapolis. yes, indianapolis.

“why?” you ask.

because i wanted to play sardines in an excursion filled with seven grown men.

because i wanted to take a four hour joy ride at five in the morning.

because i wanted a chickfila breakfast sandwich.

because i wanted to visit the leaders of the best wholesalers in indiana.

do you not want to drive four hours at five in the morning on any given tuesday to the outskirts of indianapolis to a wholesalers meeting?

i mean, who wouldn’t?

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our view for the trip.

our view for the trip.

the view of us during the trip.

the view of us during the trip.

breakfast of champions.

breakfast of champions.

the beautiful countryside.

the beautiful countryside.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.

December 25, 2014

so it happened. i managed to let an entire month (and a few days) slip past. i knew that time would come. i have spent the last month learning about marketing. and marketing has taken us on a whirlwind of adventure that has involved many packed bags, hotel rooms, airplane flights, and even a trolley ride.

and i want to tell you all about marketing and the other adventures i have been on in the last month. but a quick update on my christmas break. yes, i still get christmas break.

well, break may not be the right word.

i came home and quickly was put to work. it was four days until christmas and there was plenty to be done.

my dad put me to work first, on a much over do project. and to be fair, at least half the stuff to be moved was mine anyways. i guess that is what i get for storing my entire college house in my father’s storage unit.

success one: cleaned out the the last storage unit.

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my little helper.

my little helper.

a five minute trip by home and a quick outfit change later, i was looking like a girl again to help my mom finish christmas shopping. we would have a couple extra guests for christmas this year and we wanted their stockings be filled some a few of their favorite things, which fortunately were not raindrops on roses or blue satin sashes.

success two: obtain stocking stuffers for all to-be present individuals.

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number three is always my favorite. and my unspoken official task. and truly a necessity anytime the family is together.

success three: make a double batch of secret recipe, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies.

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much to my pup’s dismay, i had to take her to the veterinarian to have her updated on her shots. she was not too fond of it, but she handled it like a champ.

success four: update best friend’s vaccinations.

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i even got all of my wrapping done.

success five: start and finish wrapping presents

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in the end, i did not quite finish all i had intended to.

failure one: clean up the land mines covering my bedroom floor.

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whoops. i had been doing so well. but family and friends took precedence. as they should.

my cousins were around for christmas.

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my sister dressed us in onesies for christmas morning.

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they are the cutest.

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we ate delicious cinnamon rolls.

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and i snuggled with my puppy.

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all in all it was a wonderful, fifty-degree christmas in springfield, illinois. i would not trade it for anything.

my favorite view of the tree.

my favorite view of the tree.


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The Land of the Fun and the Sun

November 22, 2014

i got to spend five weeks in California. five whole weeks.

before this rotation, i spent a whole four days in California during my life. i never had a reason to visit California. it is not exactly close to my midwestern hometown. i have very few friends located out there. i have no family out there. and i never really needed to visit the beach.

all that being said, it was nice to have an excuse to visit for an extended period of time. actually get to know the area. instead of basing my perception on a quick weekend stop over.

after my five weeks, i found that California is a very polarizing place. it evokes surprisingly strong emotions in me. which i did not think a place was capable of doing.

top five things i loved about California:

1. the weather. i have mentioned that i hate being cold. i really hate it. deep, dark, fiery burning passion hate it. California is not cold. at least where i spent my five weeks at in southern Cali. i was wearing shorts while my sister whined about the snow at home.

2. the scenery. i know that sounds weird because i am not particularly fond of the beach. it is really the sand that gets me. and it gets everywhere. seriously everywhere. otherwise i like the beach. except when the water is cold. or when it is particularly windy. okay okay. i am picky about the beach. but i love the view of endless water.

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3. my mini cooper. i rented a mini while i was in California. it was white. sassy. fun sized. needless to say, it fit me well.

meet mini.

meet mini.

4. the food. there is some incredible food in California. the Mexican was delicious. the fish tacos were delicious. the fruit was delicious. and much fresher than home this time of year. and i guess the sushi is delicious. if you like that sort of thing.

so much sushi.

so much sushi.

5. sea world. see this post. i do not need to say any more.

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top five things i disliked about California

1. everything is brown. there is always a drought in southern California. always. so most of the things are brown. i am not particularly fond of brown. especially when i am missing the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows of fall at home. that one killed me.

on the way up.

so much brown.

1a. the water tastes funny. due to the before mentioned drought, water has to be piped down from northern California. that is a long way for water to be piped. and then adjusted with too much water softener. it tasted funny. i was not a fan.

2. there are no seasons. it feels as if time stands still. it remains constant. unchanging. stagnant. there is no mark of the changing colors of the trees. there is no white of snow creating a Christmas blanket. there is no rebirth of spring. just summer. only summer. it feels as if no time passes. until you are suddenly twenty years older and unsure how the wrinkles appeared on your face.

3. it is expensive. gas was a dollar more expensive per gallon than in Illinois, which is not known for cheap gas. fruit is a dollar more expensive for half the quantity. i do not even want to know what the housing costs. yikes.

4. i am allergic to something there. i do not know what it is. but i must be allergic to something there. especially in LA. i am sure it was some plant i had simply not been exposed to previous. but i could not stop sneezing.

5. the culture of constant comparison. everything is compared. houses. cars. clothes. people. salaries. hobbies. possessions. preferences. it is exhausting. how do you keep up with that? do what you want because you want to. you have nothing to prove to me. you waste your time trying to please everyone.

California was polarizing, yes. but i am glad i was placed there. i got to explore someplace new. to see a different part of the country. to experience a new area. and to be warm. that was my favorite part.

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Veteran’s Day

November 21, 2014

i do not deserve to have a holiday for veteran’s day. i have done nothing to deserve it. i have friends and family that have served. that earned the recognition. that earned the holiday through years of hard work, sacrifice, and bravery. and for that, i owe them all my gratitude for my much treasured freedom.

as usual, even though i did not deserve it, i was granted a day off of work. it was a day well spent at least.

i was split my from San Diego trio to visit a district manager for a week in Anaheim. so i was on my lonesome to spend an entire day as i pleased. so what did i do?

i slept in. in my big comfy, pillow topped king-sized bed with plenty of blankets.

i ate a delicious breakfast compliments of the hotel.

i went for a hike in Chino Hills State Park.

there is very little change in elevation where i come from. it is flat. very flat. in every direction. and any time i encounter even a minor change in elevation, i am compelled to trek my way to the top: whether it is a curb, stair, bench, hill, bluff, tree, or (much to my mother’s dismay) a roof. it is probably compensation for my vertical shortcomings. but i am no psychologist.

so when i was picking a trail, i naturally chose the one that lead me to the highest point of the park: San Juan Hill. it was a treacherous journey up the south ridge trail. on a wide, beaten path that has clearly seen many travelers. it was not the typical path i would seek, but it still provided the sights i wished to see.

on the way up.

view from the top.

the majestic marker was perfect to sit on.

the majestic marker was perfect to sit on.

and there were these weird things.

and there were these weird things.

after my two hour hike, i ventured back to my hotel. to soak in my jacuzzi tub for far longer than my wrinkled skin preferred. and drink raspberry tea from the adorable owl mug my best friends sent me. i have not pampered myself like that in years. years. i do not think i could pinpoint the last time i took a bath. but it felt wonderful. at least once my skin smoothed back out.

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feeling more than i little antsy, i decided to venture out of the hotel again. i ended up at Newport Beach to watch the sunset.

and i made a new friend. he was shaggy, golden, and friendly. it is like he knew i was missing my own dog. i named him Charles. regardless of his actual name. but Charles did not seem to mind. he settled right down into the sand to keep my legs warm while i scratched his ears. i could say more, but i would hate for my pup to turn green. i much prefer her blue-black coloring.

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meet Charles.

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i finished my night with panera and a call to my sister. those are two of my favorites.

in all, it was a pleasant day. i do not always have quite so much time to explore my area since we move so frequently. and the wanderer in me aches to leave the office and explore the cities i travel to. it was a much needed, unexpected holiday. i did not deserve it. but i really appreciate those who made it possible.