Thursday, September 18, 2014

yep, you could say she likes it...

While walking through Costco a month or so ago, I saw this dog bed with a westie on the tag and thought, "OMG, Barkley would love this!" But I didn't buy it because I hate to go to Costco and come home with 12,000 extra things, typically I still do come home with 12000 extra things but the three flights of stairs and the full cart are enough to make me think twice if I really really need something.  

This time however, I kept thinking of this bed.  I knew that Barkley would love it and so I finally gave in and ordered it.  The bed was delivered last week and while it took Barkley a few minutes to figure out that she should jump in, she did and you know because there are 1137 pictures of Barkley on my phone at all times, I had to take a picture of her in her new bed... you know for the grandparents. :)   I'm also thinking that if the Costco dog moves onto bigger things (like the Cesar dogwood commercials) I think Barkley could stand in at a moment's notice.

{photo credit for the Costco dog bed -- or in case you need to buy one too!}

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ready for a parade

OK, I'm a bit late...this post was supposed to be timely for the 4th of July...however I didn't realize that I never published it. I whipped up this bandana while Mike and Barkley were napping on the couch right before we went to our local 4th of July parade.  The best part is that it fits right onto her collar so she really doesn't ever realize that she's wearing it. Although who am I kidding, this dog loves to wear clothes.

...and a selfie for good measure. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

a little hometown + alma mater pride

So I was just browsing Tailgate today to see what's new and I came across this Badger blanket that looked like something the Faribault Woolen Mills would make.  So I clicked on the blanket to check it out even closer and sure enough! My hometown of Faribault MN is stamped right on the blanket! Way to go! Growing up, we always had a bunch of woolen mills blankets around the house and still today; we have a few we received for our wedding and my graduation in our apartment. They are such great blankets. The Faribault Woolen Mills has been featured nationally in Martha Stewart and West Elm and every time I see it, I'm pretty excited. 

(hence the need to blog about it.) 

Can I also mention that UW - Madison was rated as one of the top 25 universities in the world!?!  I'd like to point this out because Notre Dame (the school that all my siblings went to - they don't even read my blog but I still need to point this fact out) was NOT on the top 25 list.  But just to make sure you don't feel left out of everything.  Tailgate does feature 2 different Woolen Mills blankets for you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

workout your workout (clothes)

Ok, first of all -- Hello! Seriously, in my head, I feel like I've come up with some many blog posts - like about the wineries we went to when we played hooky from work a few weeks ago or my birthday week or the books I've read or our trip to MN...but instead it's been all quiet on the blogging front.  I do apologize. I am going to try to be more chatty here on the blog. 

I'm a big fan of doing yoga and running.  (Not at the same time... duh!)
No, I really like to run on the hottest days of the year (which are right now) for some reason I don't mind running at the late afternoon when it's still 100 degrees.  It helps that we don't have high humidity but still it's hot...and I like it. While I've never tried Hot Yoga, I'd probably like that too. Especially because that would mean getting some hot yoga clothes, which are obviously different than regular yoga clothes. (I might, just might, have an addiction to lycra, but it's ok. First step is admitting it.)

To aid in my addiction, I recently tried out Kate Hudson's new line of clothing - Fabletics.  I have been so impressed.  When you sign up you get an outfit for 50% off and free shipping (SCORE!) so it basically runs you about $25 for a complete outfit (you can't even find a sports bra for $25 most places, and you get 2-3 pieces for $25!).  I mean, c'mon, you might as well sign up just for the one outfit and then you can quit right after that (this is what I thought, but you know...ahem, lycra addiction, cough cough.)  I am going to try not to purchase something every month, and just build out my errand running, Barkley walking, lounging nightly wardrobe with a few pieces here and there - like for instance, I might have just gone over board at Athleta with a few new pairs of capri tights for my birthday, so I'm good with the bottoms.  I just need some cute tops to go along with it, which is why I also purchased a sweatshirt/sports bra combo.  

I loved this green tank so much for running that I purchased it in black too. They are super light weight, and fitted but not too fitted that while you are working out you feel like you need to suck it in because your shirt is glued to you. The running skort is super cute too - the little fancy pants underneath are of the same multicolored pattern that the waist band is. Which was a fun surprise.  I love running in skorts, in fact I don't think I've run in my running shorts all summer, the skorts are way more comfortable and less constricting.  And as a bonus, if you need to run to your financial advisor's office before going for a run, you can, just toss a motorcycle jacket over the top of your running tank/running skort combo and you look normal...speaking from experience.

This sweatshirt is super cute on - great length and color.  And, I'm in love with this sports bra. It's not a sports bra to run in for me, it'll be more for lounging in the evenings and yoga.

Everything that I've purchased has been high quality, pretty much on par with Athleta or Lululemon (which by the way, I may have an addiction to yoga clothes, but I have to draw a line in the sand someplace, Lululemon's clothes are just plain old too pricey for me to justify an entire yoga wardrobe. That said, I did just get my first Lululemon jacket for my birthday from Mike - he's the best. Sensing a theme here?  There was a lot of lycra purchased for this girl's #34 year.)  Anyway, the Fabletics clothes are the right price, they have great designs, and are made well and I'll be a fan for life.  

If you want to join, help a sista out! Everytime a friend (like you!) joins, the recommender (me) will get $10 to use on a future purchase. How great is that?!?! I know! Now you need to join and then tell all your friends so that they can help you buy another outfit.  And because I'd feel bad if I didn't tell you all the fine print (no, I'm not long long sisters with Kate Hudson), when you join, you are then sent a monthly email with outfits picked out just for you on the 1st of the month.  You have until the 5th of the month to say if you want to pass that month or if you are going to make a purchase.  I don't think that you need to make that purchase within the first 5 days, but by day 6 if you haven't said you are going to pass for the month, you will be charged a specific amount -- which doesn't just vanish into thin air or sent straight to the man who invented lycra, it's applied to your next purchase.  Just wanted to give you the complete 411.  I (obviously) haven't cancelled my membership, but if you want to, you just have to call their customer service line. I've done this for other clothing memberships in the past and they always seem to be nice and understanding, not pushy in any way.  So you don't have to worry that you are going to be stuck in a gym membership like Chandler from Friends. Aww yes, it was a great one. 

Oh yes, and here's my Fabletics link. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

new at 52nd & Barkley {lovie blankets}

Great things continue to happen in the Etsy shop. I know I've said it before and I'll continue to say it again, but the ideas of my friends/customers are always fantastic! Recently I made a custom gift set which included two lovie blankets for twin girls. I loved how they turned out and then not even a week after they were sent, a great supporter/friend/customer (she wears many hats) asked that I make one for her little guy too! I am so loving all the ideas and I love that I can bring them to life.  I think the blankie holds a special place in my heart because I kept mine for so very long. (I still check on it when I go home to my mom and dad's house. Yes, I know I'm 33.75 years old, but c'mon, blankies are special! Mine was made by some ladies in my hometown and given to my mom as a baby shower gift, so I thoroughly understand the meaning behind creating something special and thus creating amazing memories.) I'm getting a bit deep here, sorry about that.  Anywho, let's talk about stegosauruses. Yep, totally a normal transition in my book...

These lovies range in size from about 18 inches square to about 24 inches square...depending on the blanket, so they are great for little ones to snuggle with and carry with them (are you thinking of Linus from Charlie Brown right now too?) So these lovie blankets are smaller than my normal size blankets which usually measure around 36 - 42 inches square.

{jump to 52nd & Barkley to check out the entire shop}

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Oh my goodness, we were in Maui TWO months ago! Where, oh dear, where does the time go?!? We had a fantastic time and truthfully, I've spent the last two month in denial that our paradise vacation is over.  I loved it there.  Absolutely loved it.  I hate to admit it but part of me thought before our trip that I wasn't sure how much I was going to like Hawaii.  

Oh, how wrong I was.  

Seriously.  I was worried that I'd be bored.  Totally not the case.  I have to admit I perfected the art of "doing nothing".  We had high hopes of getting up early to see the sunrise at the top of the volcano and then mountain bike down.  We also thought that we would zip line through the jungle. Neither of which we actually did because: you had to wake up at 2:00 am. I'm sorry but Rule #1 for my vacations are no alarm clocks.  Maybe in future trips to Maui we will do adventurous things but this vacation called for a lot of book reading and relaxation. (Both of which were accomplished daily.) We did however go to a Luau, which was really cool.

The flight was a breeze - Oakland to Maui direct flight  (less time than flying to Milwaukee!) and we were there.  We stayed at the Westin (not the villas, the other one) in Kaanapali. I cannot say enough fantastic things about the Westin. First of all, they gave Mike food poisoning on his birthday (not a good thing) but the chef in charge of all the Westin restaurants contacted Mike himself to apologize. I love awesome customer service.  You may have taken an entire day away from my husband's vacation but your customer service is the bomb dignity.  I'm sold and a devoted customer for life. 

Ok moving on, the Westin was great. Awesome beach, that was perfect for snorkeling (which I will talk about in a bit), and directly next door to an outdoor mall (we like malls) but more importantly, the mall had an ice cream shop and 3 great restaurants, which means we didn't get into our car for 5 full days. (This in and of itself was a vacation for my dear husband who typically spends 4-5 hours a day in rush hour traffic. For reals, I'm not exaggerating. He has highway barnacles* growing on him by the end of the work week.)

*there's no such thing as highway barnacles.

anyway, the Westin was an awesome location and it had a fantastic pool area -- Four pools in fact meant that you didn't have to be sitting next to the pool listening to kids playing Marco Polo (Well you could, if you wanted but one of the pools was for adults only. We hung out by that pool all week.)  

Now let's discuss my panic attacks while snorkeling.  I have panic attacks while snorkeling. 
Yep.  The end.  

Really there isn't much to discuss but the older and older I get, the more I realize that any body of water that I swim in, must be highly chlorinated (you know, as in, no currents or rogue waves, no animals with fins, gills, teeth, with pretty tiled walls, clean and clear water and nothing evident on the floor, etc.) As it turns out, a girl that grew up in a swimming pool will only swim in a swimming pool.  I'm evidence of that.  It's all good though, I was a lifeguard while in college, so I could, if I wanted, swim in any sort of water. But I've decided, that nope, I don't really want to.  The good thing is that I was still able to see some really colorful fish during my short time in the water and Mike really really liked it.  He went out multiple times since it was so easy to see sea turtles and fish directly out from our hotel.  It was a good thing for him to do while I was soaking in the sunshine. 

 {westin pool #1 with water slide} Ok, since I labeled this one pool #1, you might be thinking that I'm going to show you pictures of pools 2, 3 and 4...let's just pretend I took pictures of those pools.  They were pretty too, just take my word for it. 

{view from our room} 

 {i call this one, "Sunset and a boat"}
original, I know!

{the best of both worlds- just down the beach from our hotel was an area that got pretty nice size waves.  I thought about taking a surfing lesson, but it got in the way of napping, reading and having nothing on the agenda. next time, watch out. I'm going to do some activities...unless the "nothing on the agenda" is available because that was really, really nice. You also might say to yourself, "but AnnE, the ocean doesn't have chlorine", to which I would reply, "sometimes there are loopholes to my rules."} 

{this is my view when I looked up from reading my book by the pool. it's a wonder how I read 4 books while I was there.}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

recipe: fishwich sandwiches aka fastest dinner start-to-finish in the "world of making dinners" category

Mike and I like to try and get fish into our weekly meals as much as possible.  Rarely, and I mean rarely is there ever a red meat meal (partly because I don't eat it and partly because Mike is slowly becoming less and less of a red meat fan - win for me!)  My problem with fish dinners is that:
1) I love salmon, but only salmon cooked the way my mom makes it. I haven't perfected that meal yet and it usually results in a meltdown, therefore, I unfortunately stay away from making salmon.
2) Tilapia can be bland and boring and I usually over cook it...until last night when I had Mario Batali's voice in my head (more on that later).

Anywho, Rachael Ray made this fishwich sandwich once on her show (which I typically fast forward all the way until the cooking segments to see if she has any great ideas and her arm flailing while interviewing people can be a bit over the top, but she's got some good ideas in the kitchen - this sandwich was her best yet!) I've made it a couple of times, using cod, but Whole Foods didn't have any cod that was thawed out yesterday so I went with the tilapia.  This is where I had Mario Batali's voice in my head... he told me (yep, just me, well...maybe more than just me, but I was keenly aware that I should be listening intently) that you should cook fish 80% of the way through on side 1, then flip fish to side 2 and cook for just a real short period of time (i.e. the other 20%, I'm really good at math).  This eliminated the "AnnE overcooked the fish again" complaint (by me - very rarely does Mike ever complain, unless it's real real bad in which case, we usually both feel that way and find ourselves tossing out dinner and making pb&j or running to Jack in the Box for an oreo shake - because when dinner goes bad at home, you might as well skip directly to dessert, but that really doesn't happen much unless it's a new recipe that went horribly wrong.) The fish was tender, not fishy (Mario also told me that when you over cook the fish it tends to become more fishy. That Mario, he's one heck of a smart man.)

Also, can I tell you that if you want to make a salad with this meal, you should probably assign that job to someone else, or make it before you start working on the fish, because this meal is made and on the table before you can blink 77 times (i.e. pretty flippin' quick). Also good to note, if you can find a brioche bun - buy it.  This fish is flaky and doesn't need to be over powered by a dense bun. The brioche hamburger buns at Whole Foods hold up well and are really delicious.

Fishwiches by Rachael Ray (changes made in italics by me):

Originally aired July 2, 2013
For the Slaw: (we aren't "slaw" people so I have not made this, but I thought I'd include it just in case you are)
         1/4 cup cider vinegar
         2 tablespoons light agave syrup or acacia honey
         1 teaspoon celery seed
         Salt, to taste
         2 tablespoons canola oil
         1 small head iceberg lettuce or young white cabbage, shredded

For the Fish Sandwiches:
         1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
         1 cup flour
         Salt and pepper
         1 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
         1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (2 teaspoons – I really like it)
         2 large eggs
         1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (2 generous squirts of Sriacha)
         Juice of 1 lemon
         4 filets of sustainable white fish, such as sole or tilapia
         2 to 3 tablespoons butter, to saute fish and butter griddled rolls
         4 brioche rolls, split and griddle-toasted
For the slaw, combine dressing ingredients together and toss with lettuce or cabbage. Chill until ready to serve.
Heat oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season the flour with salt, pepper, garlic and Old Bay. Beat eggs with Tabasco and lemon juice.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter into the oil. When it foams, swirl it around the pan. Coat fish in flour then eggs and add to pan, two at a time. Saut fish until golden, 2-3 minutes on each side.
Lightly butter and griddle rolls.

Serve fish on rolls with a little slaw on top and salt-and-vinegar chips alongside.


This is a really great delicious and super quick weeknight meal, especially for the summer months - it's May 13th and we are already in the triple digits, clearly Mother Nature has decided May is now a "summer month", I would beg to differ and by literally begging, please please, hold off on the heat! I do believe this will be one of those meals that we are going to have a LOT.