What I'm Loving on Tuesday - Tweed Baby Outfitters

Tweed Baby Outfitters

I have a confession: I am not a baby person. I've always felt a little uncomfortable around the little squishy, floppy, pudgy things and not quite sure how to handle them or interact with them. This may make me sound heartless, but I swear it's just because I haven't had a lot of experience with them - I really do enjoy admiring them from safe distances.

But if there is one thing I do love about babies, it's their clothes. And their toys. And their accessories. And those tiny little spoons you feed them with... Which is why I was so pleased to learn a few months ago that one of my best friends from my hometown (that's her in the photo above) is planning to open her own baby store, adorably named "Tweed" in her new hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Maggie is one of the most creative, fun, and cutest people I've ever known. I knew she'd do big things back in high school and I completely believe in her store (they just announced their Grand Opening - April 17th!). She's pouring her entire heart, soul and smiles into this store, and I can't wait to visit and see it for myself.

She's started a blog to give her customers and fans some insight into the inner-workings of her store, as well as a preview of some of the cutest baby clothes I've ever seen (Seriously. They almost break through my baby-fraidness). If Nashville already wasn't a cool-enough city to begin with, a trip to Tweed will surely round it out.

Online purchasing hasn't been confirmed as of yet, but if you're in the Nashville area and know of anyone expecting, or who has a little one of their own, please stop in! This isn't just a shameless plug for the business of a friend - if I lived in Nashville, I'd spend so much time and money at her store buying gifts for friends, jsut because I believe it's going to be one of the most adorable shops around (Milwaukeeans - think of Freckle Face, and then multiply the cuteness times 10).

And be sure to visit Maggie's ultra-sweet blog. I couldn't be more excited for her! :)

[Seriously. How adorable are these bottles?]


What I'm Loving on Tuesday - Running


There was a point in my life where I was a runaholic. I loved it. My schedule revolved around it. I felt guilty and mad with myself if a day went by where I didn’t run. I spent a summer in college working third-shift at a factory, would get about two to three hours of sleep a day, and would still push myself to get all my miles in, even though I felt like a zombie.

As time passed and as I got over an injury for pushing myself too hard, I found my passion for running waning, and it became more of a chore than a reward. I kept running, but the “runner’s highs” came less and less frequently. After quitting my gym last year, my running came to a screeching halt once the temperature dropped (I’m just not one of those people who can lace up and get out the door running in cold weather). And after an embarrassing 5K performance last Thanksgiving morning, I thought I’d never get the thrill back from running.

I spent this winter doing another round of P90X+. Once again, it’s been a great alternative to the gym. I mixed in a day or two a week of working out on the bike trainer, mixing in Spinervals and CTS Training DVDs. Every time I get on the bike, it gets a bit easier. My endurance has improved immensely, but I wasn’t sure how that would translate to running.

Last week, on the first gorgeous day of the year, I decided I’d break my near-six month running hiatus. I was nervous all day. How would I do? How mad at myself would I be after I failed? I told myself to ease in, plan on two miles and hope you get there. After all, it’d been half a year since I’d done any running that wasn’t running in place.

I surprised myself. From the first 10 meters in, I felt a bounce in my step I hadn’t felt in a while. After 100 meters, I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed running. I had a smile on my face the entire run. I was moving at a respectable pace for all that time off, and once I’d reached the two-mile marker, I enthusiastically opted to keep it going. My last mile or so, I ran up hills and stairs a few times, and at the end, I’d busted out a 5K easier than I had in a long, long time.

I thought it was a fluke. I was just running on adrenaline from getting back for the first time. But yesterday I did it again. But I ran it a bit faster. And I ran a bit longer. Then I went home and ran up nine floors of stairs three times, and did a high-resistance, 5-minute spin on the bike trainer. And then I did some pull ups.

Running invigorates me. Completing the miles I’d hoped just makes me want to do more. My first two runs back have gotten me back in the spirit of running. I’m so excited to put more and more miles in, working up to double digits by the summer, hopefully. I’m really proud of myself and hope this feeling lasts. It’s funny, I can do 50 push ups and have finally mastered doing five full-on, hanging pull ups in a row, but I feel none of the accomplishment, not the same excitement as I get after running a few miles. Running is the simplest form of exercise there is, but the payoff is multi-faceted.


What I'm Loving on Tuesday - Liberty of London for Target

[I managed to score a few items, including the pink swim suit pictured above]

Liberty of London for Target

I'm kind of a pattern nerd.

You could slap a cute pattern with vibrant colors on a toilet and I'd gobble it up (figuratively, of course). So, upon my first gaze of the Target commercials introducing their collboration with Liberty of London, in those few seconds my eyes feasted upon the pretty florals, the pops of pink, the gorgeous patterns that jumped off the TV screen, I knew I was in for a spending spree come March 14th.

The line was introduced into Target stores on Sunday, and when I thought I could make it until Monday to hit up my local Target to snatch up some eye-candy, I was dead wrong. Even checking Target.com, so many of the products are already out of stock. People have been absolutely gobbling up anything Liberty of London has placed upon Target's virtual and actual shelves. If you check online, about 85% of the Liberty of London line is sold out.

I had my heart set on a two-tiered dessert stand, but it was not in the store and not online. So I had to settle. You know, only for a new pillow, swim suit, picture frame, 3-set mixing bowls, bra, undies and a clutch. And that's only after I made myself put a few things away...

I wasn't even looking for a swim suit (I usually prolong that process well into June...), but on a whim I tried on the one pictured above and was pleasantly surprised (it covered my whole ass! Seriously! Score!). And ladies, you know once you find a swim suit that doesn't make you want to barf under those flourescent lights, you must. have. it.

I'm kind of bummed that most of Liberty of London's products are already sold out at Target, but that goes to show there are some pretty style-savvy babes out there who like to save a buck. Target does no wrong in my book. They know what the design-minded want and the produce time and time again. And their collaboration with Liberty of London may be my favorite yet.


What I'm loving on Saturday - Brother Visits

[This is a photo of my brother and I the very first time I visited Milwaukee. Newly 21 years old (and blonde!). I don't know where I found that hard hat, but I'm sure it came in handy throughout the night.]

Brother Visits

Back in April of 2006, I planned a trip to go visit my big brother in Milwaukee. He was in his first year of law school at Marquette University, and I wanted to see the new town where he was having so much fun.

My brother lived on Milwaukee's East Side (literally just one block from where I currently live), and he treated me to a full-on college-kid Milwaukee experience: A tailgate and game at Miller Park (Brewers vs. Reds! Back then, I sported all Reds gear. I discovered just last year that my love for the Brewers had eclipsed my love for a team I had cheered for in my previous 23 years... Now, when the Reds are in town, I feel torn, but I can't help but cheer for the Crew), a stop at Trinity and the Harp, a late night at Victor's, my one and only visit to our dear departed Pizza Man and a showing at the Oriental Theater.

There was something about the city that I loved. It had a vibrance and an attitude that seemed to fit me so well. I felt instantly comfortable in Milwaukee, and everyone I met was as kind and as fun as can be.

Over his next three years at Marquette, I tried to visit at least once a year. My brother and I are a typical cause of the siblings to loathe each other growing up, but as soon as he went off to college, we became really close. We continue getting closer, and we're currently proud to boast we are absolutely the #1 Brother-Sister combo in the nation.

Two years ago, I was in a major, major crossroads in my life. Nothing was going as planned, and I was basically just existing. I knew I needed a change, and I knew I wouldn't get one unless I started the slate clean. I needed to challenge myself. I needed to get out to get back in. I thought of all the places I could see myself living, and, interestingly enough, Milwaukee was the first that came to mind. I heavily pursued  and was accepted to the job where I now work. Two weeks later after accepting the job, I was living in on the East Side in Milwaukee, but my brother had graduated, and was now living at home. He moved out of the city just one week before I moved in. I knew only a small, small handful of people here, but it was the breathe of fresh lake air that I needed.

And now, I am proud to call Milwaukee my hometown. I'm happy to call it my favorite place on Earth. And now, my brother is coming here, visiting me.

That was really a long, winded way to mention that my brother is here for the next two days, but I feel that the background behind the story is what makes it really special. Rob is the one who made me fall in love with the city. He is one of the most fun-loving, charismatic, fly-my-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda dudes I know. I'm excited to have him back in town, and this time, I'll be the one showing him around the city.

And, no, I don't think we'll be visiting Victor's.


What I'm Loving on Monday - Baking Cupcakes

[These cupcakes look a lot like the ones I made/am making. They are not mine though. Coincidentally, I also own that bird tray these tasty treats are sitting on in the photo. Wild!]

Baking Cupcakes

Over the weekend, I celebrated the 30th birthday of a very dear friend of mine. I'd been itching to whip up a little tasty treat, but didn't have an excuse to do so until his big day. I wanted to make something I knew he'd love and be pleasantly surprised with. Your average white-frosting-on-chocolate cake just wouldn't do.

Partly inspired by Iron Cupcake Milwaukee's recent bacon challenge and partly by my friend's supreme love of bacon and quirky food combinations, I Googled up what looked to be the perfect birthday indulgence for him: Maple-bacon cupcakes

The dude loves maple syrup. The dude loves bacon. Everyone loves cupcakes. Win, win, win. Right?


I don't mean to toot my own proverbial horn but imagine the perfection that McDonald's created with the McGriddle and then plop some sweet sugary frosting on top. And then multiply the tastiness times five. I know I try to promote a fit, healthy lifestyle, but sometimes you just have to give in and treat yourself to something sinful. And the maple-bacon cupcake is one heavenly sin.

The batch I made did not make it past Sunday mid-morning. However, my boyfriend had already told some of his co-workers about the concoction I was making, and they all seemed really excited to try it. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I must deliver the goods to the total strangers. So, here I am, on a Monday night, baking up another batch of maple-bacon cupcakes for a group of people I do not know. 

I'm going to be the most popular girl at the office where I do not work.

But that's fine with me. I actually really enjoy baking, and the only time I allow myself to do so is around Christmas. So I'm glad I get the chance to make something that's going to make someone happy, if only for just a short time.

Try the recipe I used in the link above, and if you make them, please let me know how they turn out!



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