Are Miles Mental?

I'm on a hot streak. No one can stop me.

Okay, well the blinking red hand at all of the crosswalks can but that's it.

And the cafe that has just fried up eight pounds of bacon every time I round the corner in the morning. But that's it, I swear.

Look how festive Machinery Row is! I'm standing at the corner with the Bacon Cafe.

Today was my second consecutive day of AM running. Yep, the girl who brought her junior year roommates to stage an intervention because she hit the snooze button so many times in the morning is running in the morning.

Read the post at The Yellow Tandem Bike >>

Clear eyes, clean room, can't lose!

These gorgeous photos of Napa Valley really have nothing to do with my "Clean room equals clear mind" epiphany.  Enjoy!


It's truly amazing how much better I feel when I give myself a clean slate to work with. I've admitted before that I'm a huge proponent of the "To-Do" List, and when I'm trying to be really hard on myself, I even give myself hard and fast deadlines. Like writing "Monday - NO EXCEPTIONS" as the title of my list.

Unfortunately, I have a constant problem of not actually completing, like, 80% of the tasks, even when the list is yelling at me in all caps.

So yesterday I took a new approach. I have a seriously busy December pummeling my way, more than half of which I will be spending in hotels, and the only way I'll get through it is to make sure my To-Do list doesn't eat me alive. Or paralyze me into not doing any of it.

I titled my list "Things That Need to Get Done (In no particular order)". It consisted of everything from "take clothes to dry cleaner" to "schedule massage".

Side Note: Living Social? Totally clutch. I've been whining and complaining about my back for like, seven months (I kid you not) but I've never beem totally keen on just dropping $100 for someone to rub my back. But $24 sounded seriously more reasonable. Goodbye cranky old lady back!

But when I got home last night, I didn't do any of the things on my list. I did however clean my room.

"CLEAN YOUR ROOM, DAMMIT!" has been on my to-do list everyday since I was in the sixth grade. I'm a messy person. Not dirty, but messy. There is a definite distinction. My room gets to the point where I have to leap across piles of clothes, shoe boxes, and suitcases to get to my bed, and then I clean it about six to twelve days later.

I try to count the leaping as cardio for that week and a half.

So yesterday I powered through and scoured my room. Clothes were hung on hangers. Closet doors were closed because there were no longer piles of shoes preventing them from closing. The surface of my desk is visible. I made some serious strides.

I did all of this cleaning with Fri Ni Li  in the background. It inspired my title, clearly.

And as if it were magic, I slept like a baby. Without the weird dreams and the tossing and turning. I didn't write anything on the notepad next to my bed in the middle of the night (I wish I were kidding) And I woke up well rested at 6:15.

You know what I did next?

 If you guessed "channeled you inner morning person and went running", you thought right.

Whoa! Fancy camera photos are better than iPhone photos!

It was a brisk 32°. I ran 4 miles. We're not talking anything earth-shattering, but I ran fast, I felt good, and I got dressed super quickly because (gasp!) all of my clothes were hanging in my closet just asking me to wear them, instead of begging me to hang them up or iron them.

My mom has been telling me for more than a decade that my life would be easier if I had a clean room. I thought she was nuts. Why would having a clean room make my life easier?

Oh, maybe because I would sleep better, have outfits readily available, and a place to work at my desk.

Thanks, Mom. Does it mean anything to know that I finally took your advice after fifteen years?

Now it's on to everything else on my to-do list. Hopefully all of that stuff will be easier now, too.

Or at least for the three weeks until I'm jumping over suitcases again.

Hi I Miss You!

Sort of. Not really. I've been hanging in northern California with a bunch of my favorite people, eating delicious food, drinking delicious wine and going on scenic runs. It's been pretty great. And oh yeah, Stanford vs. ND tomorrow! Not too shabby.

Late Night

I have to tell you all that I was tickled/thrilled/giddy after Friday's Oreo post. I guess all I have to do is make delicious food to get y'all talking. I got Mr. Social Media to grace the pages of Coffee for Lunch, and I also got my brother to think that he would maybe make something in his kitchen other than a slow-roasted barbecue pork shoulder.

Or "The Butt" as he likes to call it. It's his speciality. It's really the only thing that ever makes me want to eat meat.

My post is coming late tonight because I was out of town this weekend visiting some of my favorite people.

Miss Lissa! I mean, Melissa.

Matt! I get that I look like I should be locked in a room with padded walls, but Matt looks nice!

Lots of coffee was drunk, lots of knitting was done, and much fun was had.

Highlights of the Weekend:

1) An Anecdote

Yesterday Matt and I attended a Thanksgiving Pre-Game with the other students in his Master's program. I was sitting on the couch in the living room while the football game was on, minding my own business, and someone I had just met walked in and said, "Katie, feel outta place?"

I was a little startled since this was my first time meeting any of these people, but upon taking in my surroundings, I realized that I was the only girl sitting in a room of about sixteen guys. My observant new friend said, "All of the girls are in the kitchen."

I jokingly said, "Hahaha story of my life," immediately thinking that my joke could be construed as more innuendo than simply an acknowledgement of my affinity for hanging out with dudes.

Let's Be Friends

Last time I gently hinted that I really like it when people comment on the blog, no one did.
Then, I got a wonderfully snarky message from my dearest sister:

"Awk that on the post where you said you were thankful for comments no one commented...I thought about leaving one and decided this was way better."

Thanks Liza.

Two days ago when I asked you guys for answers, feedback, and wisdom, no one offered any.

Sad face.

I just miss you is all.

So here's the deal: I made you guys Oreos. Okay, they don't have "Oreo" stamped onto each wonderfully crispy cookie half, and the creme in the middle doesn't stay on one half with the perfect twist.

But I made them from scratch. With my own two hands. For you. Because I like you. A lot.

This photo  is weird, and why I'm buying a new camera. Yep, I'm buying a new camera for you too. Surprise! I hope you'll like it.

These cookies were more of an experiment than anything else. I had really been craving Oreos. Maybe it's a nostalga thing, but I love the ritual of twisting the cookie, dunking the clean side into your glass of milk until it is almost too soggy to stay together, and then eating the other half with the creme without dunking at all.

I also love finishing my glass of milk and seeing a stray chocolate cookie crumb or two that settled to the bottom during the dunking process. It reminds me of after school snacks and riding my Razor scooter around the cul de sac like 10,000 times.

I don't remember the last time I ate a real Oreo, though. It had to have been before I started reading about food, and before I actually cared about ingredient lists.

These aren't exactly the same as real Oreos. They don't have any hydrogenated soybean oil or thiamine mononitrate. So that's cool.

But if you like that stuff I'd say save yourself the trouble and buy a package of Double Stufs. These are a tad work intensive.

But they do have butter. Real butter. And real cocoa powder. And coffee. 'Cause coffee makes chocolate taste better. Trust me.

So can we be friends again? We'll ride our bikes and scooters around the cul de sac, watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret of the Ooze, and eat some Homemade Oreos. It'll be neat.

Homemade Oreos
Cookies adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cookies:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 Tablespoon espresso grounds

15 Tablespoons (7 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, but into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature

For the Cookies:

Position the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder and mix on low speed.

With the mixer running, add the butter a few pieces at a time. The mixture will have a sandy texture at first and then will begin to form pebble-sized pieces. As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the mixer.

Form and roll the dough straight from the mixer.  You don't have to chill it, but if the dough gets sticky anywhere in the process, don't be afraid to put it in the freezer for a minute or so.

Transfer the dough to a board and use the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper to shape the dough into a block about 5 by 7 inches. Cut the block into two pieces.

One at a time, roll each block of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper or wax paper until about 1/8-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter (or a glass with about a two-inch opening) cut into 2 inch rounds. Place 1/2 to 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You can form and roll the dough scraps once after the first roll.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

For the Filling:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1 and 2/3 cups confectioners sugar

1 Tablespoon milk (or cream)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

While cookies are baking, cream butter with a stand mixer or a hand mixer until smooth. Add sugar, milk, and vanilla. Blend until completely smooth.

To assemble Oreos:

After cookies have cooled completely, place a dollop of the creme in the center of a cookie. Then, take another cookie and place it on the other half. Twist the cookies, gently pushing them together in order to distribute the creme evenly.

Then dunk in a huge glass of milk.

Wednesday Thoughts

1) I've gotten really into drinking V8 in the morning since I've started work. I even like it without the vodka. They say girls start to turn into their mothers. In this instance, I'm certainly turning into my father.

I'm already my mother in most other instances.

2) I think I'm going to buy the Lumix DMC-G3. If one of you fabulous readers actually knows anything about cameras and wants to offer up some advice/recommendations, please do. I'm a newb who wants to take pretty pictures without a super-bulky dSLR.

3) The one product that I am most picky about is my toothpaste. I ran out of my tried-and-true, hands down favorite, Arm & Hammer Advance White Brilliant Sparkle (not the gel kind) this morning, and had to use my travel-sized Colgate Total.
I think my teeth are mad at me.

Growing Young

I started contributing to my 401k this past month. I'm 22 and I'm saving for retirement. You know, because it's the responsible thing to do.

For the majority of my life, I have felt as though the expectation is that I should be far more mature, self-actualized, and competent than my age would suggest. At 22, I'm supposed to save for retirement. As a college freshman at 18, I was expected to be as wise and profound as the seniors I encountered in play rehearsals. When I was twelve I went to Cotillion classes so that I knew how to lay my silverware on my plate in order to indicate that I was finished eating. I also learned how to Foxtrot.

Every responsible adult knows how to Foxtrot, right? I thought so.

Not Foxtrotting.
The bottom line is that I think all of this acting mature and composed and self-actualized should also function as an investment. I'm being responsible by saving money now for when I'll want it when I'm retired, but I want my own "Irresponsible 401k". A 401k that calculates all of the responsible and mature things I've done, and then allows me to be irresponsible when I'm old.

Read the post at The Yellow Tandem Bike >>

Winter Weather Advisory

Okay, friends. We're talking about girly things today, since it's snowing outside and Dolvett Quince is nice to look at.

Yeah, that's right. There's a winter weather advisory out this morning. I'm expecting to see 2 to 4 inches of snow when I emerge from my basement lair for lunch.

And don't worry - we're not going to talk about girly girly things. We're just going to talk about shoes and boys and books.

Bergkonig Mountain King Run Recap

Yesterday I ran the Bergkonig Mountain King Trail Run 10k at Lapham Peak State Park in Delafield, WI.

Today my haunches are pretty sore due to the half-running, half-hiking, half-obstacle coursing that took place over those 6.2 miles.

I get that there is no such thing as having three halves. So it was technically part-running, part-hiking, part-obstacle coursing that I participated in. I'll throw in a part-mental test since we're already using fuzzy math.

The race started at 11 and the website said that bib pick-up went from 9 to 10:30, and since I'm a control freak planner, We left around 8:30 since we were driving from Madison and it was going to take about an hour.

When we pulled up to the state park, I was a little nervous because there was no signage for the race and the woman at the entrance didn't seem to know anything about the race. But she directed us to the hut above, so we checked it out.

Thunderstruck Thursday

Can you guys tell that I listen to a lot of music on YouTube because my office blocks Pandora and I'm sick of all the music on my iPod?

It's been dark and stormy here all week. We were, if you will, Thunderstruck.

If this song brings up bad momories of four and a half minutes that led you to be more drunk than you've ever been before in your life, good for you. If it doesn't, then you were probably the girl holding your friends hair out of her face while she puked after playing this game, or you've just never witnessed this glorified chugging contest.

It's Thursday. I'm not going to sugarcoat it - Thursday can be a hard day. Sure you made it through the dreaded Wednesday, but there are inevitably more problems at work on Thursday because there has been one more day to create problems, and you still have to come in tomorrow because even though Friday is almost the weekend, it's still a work day. Thusday is also the day you realize that you need to do all of the stuff that you have been putting off every other day this week. Laundry, I'm talking about you.