Sunday, October 31, 2010

DSA Fresh Face

I keep meaning to blog about this, but as you know October was a very busy month for me. Someone had to eat the cheese curds in Wisconsin! :p

Do you know about the Digi Scrap Addicts newsletter, The Enabler? I had the honor of being their Fresh Face for the month.

(Image from DSA's Enabler October newsletter.)

What does that mean for you?

1) There is a set of FREE templates for you to download! (See the template preview in the lower right of above image.)  All you need to do is subscribe to the DSA newsletter here. The link to download is on the Fresh Face page featuring yours truly. If you do not wish to subscribe, you can go here and just download the October newsletter PDF, which is the last one at the bottom of the page. The choice is up to you. If you enjoy reading up on different designers and getting a freebie each month, then by all means subscribe.

2) Included in the download of my templates is a coupon code for 25% off my Listgirl Designs store. It was set to expire on 10/31/2010, but since I forgot to talk about it on my blog, I've extended the coupon code until this Friday, 11/5/2010. So take advantage if there are items in my personal store that you want!

That is my treat to you this Halloween night. :) I will be putting some products into my stores soon, so look for them and a newsletter from me soon!
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Stalking Brutus the Buckeye

On Saturday 10/16, we woke up excited to participate in the 2nd reason we were in Wisconsin: to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Todd had always wanted to go to Camp Randall to "jump around", so when Peppermint and Tom decided to get married on 10/10, we set out to find out how we could get tickets to the game on 10/16 in Madison. We looked on but the tickets were kind of expensive. So I told Todd that we should contact the local OSU Alumni club in Wisconsin and see if we can get tickets through them. Todd contacted them and they said they had tickets! All Todd had to do is become a member. So Todd is now a card-carrying member of the Ohio State Alumni Club of Wisconsin! Then we paid face value for the tickets, plus for the Buckeye Bash on campus before the game. We were so excited to score the tickets. :)

For lunch on Saturday, we decided to check out Smoky Jon's BBQ in Madison. Peppermint had watched a show about BBQ on the Food Network the night before, and found this place via the power of Google. Everyone touted it as the best BBQ in Madison, so it was imperative that we checked it out.

If you look closely at their poster, you'll see that the pig is eating a rack of ribs. :| To steal Peppermint's joke... the ribs here are so good that the pigs eat their own!

Here is the food.

Did it live up to our expectations? Not really. It was okay. I guess we're slightly spoiled by Phil's BBQ, LOL. And Tom's favorite is Famous Dave's, which is what they had at their wedding.

After lunch we went back to the hotel to get ready for our separate agendas. Todd and I were going to the Buckeye Bash and game. Peppermint and Tom are not sports fans, so they went on a brewery tour with Peppermint's uncle and aunt.

Driving to the game was pretty painless. Nothing like driving to a Buckeye game in Columbus. We arrived without much traffic, and through the magic of Todd's iPad, found a parking garage on campus. It wasn't even full yet when we pulled in, although almost, since we had to park on the highest level on the rooftop. We walked around and found Memorial Union pretty fast, which was the location of the Buckeye Bash.

The view of Lake Mendota was awesome. What a beautiful day!

Food was aplenty inside the Buckeye Bash, as were Buckeye alumni and fans.

We found a free table outside and sat down to enjoy the view. Todd went inside to get his food first. When he came back, he was all excited because Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman winner ever, and Ohio State alum, was inside! As a side story, did you know that the lady who made our wedding cake also made Archie Griffin and Keith Byars' wedding cakes? I think that cinched the deal for Todd when we were picking, LOL!

Todd was also excited because guess who else was inside? Brutus Buckeye! I told Todd that we must leave our food on our table and go back inside so I could get a photo of him with Brutus. It was imperative! So we went back inside and Brutus was taking photos with some people. There wasn't really a line, just random people would walk up and request him to pose with them. I don't know why, but Todd urged me to go first. He took a couple of photos of me with Brutus, but neither turned out real well. This was the best one.

Suddenly (cue dramatic music), Brutus started walking with a cheerleader away from us! He kept walking away, further and further. But Todd didn't get his picture taken with Brutus yet! With tenacity and purpose, Todd followed Brutus around like a crazed stalker, much similar to when he followed the giant tomato around at Comic Con last year. Finally, Brutus stopped at a window to wave to the fans. So Todd waved at the fans with him.

And finally, success!

Todd was so excited! I was so excited for him. I tweeted and Facebooked the photo right away, and also sent it to Todd's parents, LOL.

After the Brutus excitement, I finally got my food and sat down to eat.

After we finished our meals, it was time to walk to the stadium.

We got inside the stadium pretty easily. And because we got tickets with the OSU Alumni Club of Wisconsin, we got to sit with fellow Buckeyes, thus avoiding being "badgered by Badgers"!

The student section of the stadium.

More pictures of the field.

I don't know if you followed the game, but it was a sad day for Buckeye Nation. We went into the game as the nation's #1 team, and lost. Wisconsin took the opening kickoff and ran for a touchdown. Then they scored two more touchdowns pretty fast. By the start of the 2nd quarter, we were down 21-0. That deficit was hard to recover from, even though our team tried. At one point, we were only down 21-18, but Wisconsin scored on their next possession. We lost the game, but it was still a much worthwhile experience to have gone to Camp Randall. Plus, I got to add one more stadium to my stadium list! I'm at 39 stadiums now!

On Sunday 10/17, the four of us drove from Madison back to Eau Claire (3 hours). We said goodbye to Peppermint, Tom, Mo, and Sisko. Then Todd and I drove another 1.5 hours to the Minneaplis airport. Our flight was overbooked, so it was delayed while they looked for 11 people to volunteer to take a later flight. We didn't volunteer, because we wanted to get home, LOL. After a 4 hour flight, we got back to the San Diego airport. Took the shuttle to get our car. It was dark by then. Our car wouldn't start, it didn't even crank. So we had to have someone come with a car starter. That totally sucked, because after driving and flying for almost 10 hours, I really wanted to get home! Turned out, the battery was dead on the Explorer, just when we're about to sell it. Boo! Oh, that reminds me, I never blogged about Todd's new car. That post will come soon.

Anyways, thanks for reading about our big 8-day Wisconsin trip. It was some fabulous adventures! And I didn't even get sick of Peppermint, LOL. Not sure if she got sick of us though. I guess it's a testament to our friendship that we're still talking and IM'ing with each other. Last year when she and Tom came to visit, we joked about how we were gonna have to "be on break" from each other after being together for a few days, but that did not happen. And neither did that happen this time. We had a great time exploring Wisconsin and Minnesota, where I had never gone before. I will miss the Wisconsin cheese curds, for sure! :)
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meetup in Madison

On Friday 10/15, Todd, Tom, Peppermint, and I piled into our rental car and headed down to Madison (3 hour drive) for the weekend. We had never been to UW Madison before, so we were excited. Madison is the capitol of Wisconsin, so we got to see the sights as well.

Todd in front of the state capitol.

State Street

More capitol shots

We happened upon this popcorn store called Clary's Old Fashioned Gourmet Popcorn. We had to stop in!

So much popcorn... a dream come true for Todd!

We all got some different flavored popcorn and snacked on it while checking out the scene on State Street.

Monkey business.

Then we walked on the campus of UW Madison and saw the cool buildings.

Camp Randall Stadium

We walked a lot, probably 3-4 miles in uncomfortable shoes (especially for Peppermint, in her high heels), to tour around and to meet up with some friends at Blue Moon Bar and Grill. Peppermint's uncle had told her Blue Moon had good burgers, so we put it on our "Best Burgers of the USA Tour" stop.

One of the highlights of going to Madison, for Todd, was to meet up with one of his friends from way, way back. Todd and Chris's dads went to medical school together at Univ of West Virginia. At that time, Todd and Chris were very young and were best friends. When Todd was five years old, Todd's dad graduated and they moved to Akron, Ohio. Todd's family and Chris' family owned vacation condos together at Hilton Head Island and St. Augustine, so Todd and Chris continued to see each other periodically until around age 10. That was pretty much the last time they saw each other!

Look at them now!

I also got to meet Chris' whole family. There was much reminiscing going on. Todd has talked about Chris occasionally, so it was neat to finally meet him. The last time the two of them saw each other, their voices hadn't even changed yet! Through the magic of Facebook, they reconnected about a year ago. For as long as I've known Todd, I know he doesn't remember too much about the specifics of his childhood before five years old. Chris seemed to have a better memory and filled in some gaps! He even remembered Todd's orange cat named Rosey. He said Todd was very particular about his bread. He would put it in the toaster, but got the bread out when it was warm but not really toasted. (He's not like that anymore, LOL!) Chris remembered that Todd used to rock himself to sleep when they were little and sharing a bunk bed on sleepovers. They used to play Batman and Robin and made "batcaves" out of cardboard boxes. Oh and the funniest part was Todd once laughed so hard that he peed his pants, and he didn't even care! Ah, good times.

After dinner, Todd and I caught a ride from Chris to get our car from the parking garage a few miles away, so that we didn't have to walk so far in the dark back. Then we picked up Peppermint and Tom and headed back to our adjoining suites at the hotel. It was a fun day with good friends and good food.

Stayed tuned for more Wisconsin adventures, including Todd stalking Brutus the Buckeye.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Cheesecurds and Cheeseheads

On Wednesday 10/13 after we drove back from Minneapolis, we met Tom down by the UW Eau Claire campus for lunch at Mogie's. Peppermint had talked about the burgers at Mogie's for a while now, so it's an obvious stop on our Burgers of the USA Tour.

I got my first taste of Wisconsin fried cheese curds. They sorta taste like mozzerella cheesesticks, but not in stick form.

Todd and I decided to share the Cajun burger and french fries, because we were not as hungry as we thought we would be. Naturally, the Cajun burger comes with provolone cheese. Todd told our waitress "no cheese please". So what happened when the burger arrived? Cheese was melted all over it. Todd had to send his portion of it back. I guess in some places in Wisconsin, the "no cheese" is not adhered to, because we must be kidding, right? I fell down on my food-photographing job and didn't take a photo of the burger. It was delicious and had cajun spices on it!

After lunch, we got a "Peppermint's Life Tour" of Eau Claire. Saw where Peppermint lived as a kid. Saw her old elementary school. Saw the courthouse, where Peppermint dropped off her marriage license. The amazing thing was, there was no lines at the courthouse. She just walked in, talked to someone, and walked out.

After Peppermint picked up Nicholas from school, we headed to Phoenix Park to enjoy the Chippewa River trails. I told her that we needed to "walk with purpose" due to all the food we'd eaten lately, LOL.

It was such a beautiful fall day. All photos were taken by Todd.

The infamous black squirrels of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Apparently there are albino squirrels in Peppermint's neighborhood too, but we didn't see any. :(

We found this big hand that Nicholas decided to have some fun with.

Peppermint on the scooter, with Nicholas chasing after her, ha ha!

Peppermint and I, walking "with purpose".

More scenic photos.

Then it was dinner time. All of us piled into Peppermint's car and drove down to the Taco John's drive-through. We got enough food to feed an army, including Tom's food, and met Tom at home. Taco Johns has good tater tots! No photos again.

The next day, Thursday 10/14, we watched a lot of TV and basically lazed around. But we did make it to Peppermint's office at the family business.

We also ate at Culver's for lunch. No photos, but it was not the highlight of the trip. The best thing I had there was the spiced pumpkin milkshake. It really tasted like pumpkin pie!

We also went to Target, where Todd the non-cheese-eater put on the cheesehead with some fear and trepidation.

For dinner, we ordered and took out from Green Mill. It's Peppermint's favorite pizza in Eau Claire. Todd and I shared a salad and a thin-crust pizza. It was yummy! No photos again.

After dinner, we took to the couch again and watched TV. After all, we needed to save our energy for going to Madison the next day!
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