Saturday, December 20, 2014

making | rosemary olive oil cake

This has been a whirlwind week for me, but when one of the organizers for the company Christmas party emailed to remind me of the dessert contest with gluten free category.  I couldn't resist.  I was half-cringing when I replied that I'd love to bring something and to save me a spot.

I figured that I'd run to the grocery at dark o'clock in the am and whip up the cake before heading to work and then finish it off over lunch.  Tight, but doable.  Everything worked out in case you're wondering.

Brooke suggested that I make this cake again, I'd first made it this summer for a party that I catering sweets for.  The hostess picked out the recipe and I wasn't too sure, until it was in the oven, then I immediately made a second cake because I needed to taste it!  The next morning I was looking forward to having a slice with my coffee, when I discovered that Calvin got to it before me and the only thing left was a crumb, too small for a mouse.

Anyway, its delicious.  Light, lemon-y, and the rosemary adds a surprising herbal flavor.  The glaze keeps everything moist and if you throw a few sprigs of rosemary on top, it'll look extra-fancy.  I lost the grand prize to somebody's almond cake, but rumor has it this was the runner up.

Recipe here:  Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

The only modifications I made were using Cup4Cup in place of the flour, 2% instead of skim (eeew!) and baking it a bit longer because I was using a deep rosette cake pan.

Bon app├ętit!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

doings | crossfit foundations

I just completed my first 5 Crossfit classes.

After hearing so many mixed reviews of Crossfit, all of them falling into one of two categories, either "I love it!" or "Those people are crazy", I entertained the idea for a few months.  I'm a "calculated risk taker" kind of girl.  And very unathletic.  But after doing some not-so-sneaky research and listening to my brothers talk about it non stop, I decided I was going to sign up for the 5-night Foundations class (if there is one thing I learned through my scuba diving ordeal, it is, try before you buy).  I figured that 5 classes weren't going to kill me and I was really hoping that I'd love it and leave with a new hobby.

Walking in the door that first night was absolutely terrifying.  Actually, walking in the door EVERY night was terrifying.  The smell of rubber mats, sweat and fear met me.  Across the room, there was a man doing pushups.  While standing on his head.  The owner walked over and introduced himself and said "don't worry about him, he's just cooling down over there".  Of course.  The rest of my class arrived and we began with a warm up that was something like wrapping my one leg around my neck three times, doing a lunge with the other leg and then having to find my elbows and put them flat on the ground.  Our coach looked like he was chilling on the beach and my legs were a quivering mess.

Then we moved onto our basic Crossfit moves.  We spent 45 minutes going over the proper form of for pullups, burpees and pushups.  I was exhausted.  Mentally I'm thinking "you've got this Abbe, they'll probably have us do 5 more, 10 at the most and then let us cool down and go home".  Probably.  Then the coach says "okay, now were going to move onto what we call a WOD or Workout Of the Day".  Hello?!?  If that wasn't a workout, then what did we just do?  Let me tell you, our WOD included a few more than 10 MORE burpees among other delightful things, like pull-ups.

That was the first night.  The other nights included squats, crunches, ring dips and the alphabet soup code that make up Crossfit exercises names.  The coaches did an incredible job of making sure that we got all of the movements correct so that we will be able to perform the exercises quickly without hurting ourselves.  I had no idea I was so uncoordinated!  I, however, was not surprised at my fitness level.  This occasional jogger is really out of shape.

One night found me sprawled on the ground, forehead to the floor, 2 seconds away from crying my eyes out, because I couldn't do a pushup or even a modified pushup because my kneecaps were so bruised from burpees the night before.  It was a low point.  That night I saw a little bit of why people love Crossfit, I was the last one to finish the WOD, the last 10 pushups weren't happening and everyone got back down on the floor and did those pushups with me.  (it was really beautiful y'all)

I finished the course and while I'm not totally in love with it, there must be a slight affection in my heart because I signed up for the next 3 months of classes.  I'm also pretty sure that I signed something last night that said I'd look like a supermodel in 3 months or my money back.  That line was definitely in the contract. Haha!  With workouts this intense, it had better do something.

Working through all of that fear and physical exhaustion was such a good experience for me.  I'm not the type of person to exercise hard on my own, and having coaches that push me is great.  My brothers have also been supportive, in their own sweet little ways.  Dan and I have the same mobility issues and he reminds me everyday that I'm not an expert in all things Crossfit (what?!?).  The best part is talking about it when you're done, having someone to commiserate with when it hurts to walk up the stairs.  I told him that he was welcome to order me pink lifting gloves for Christmas.  He said he was in no way going to enabling me to be that much of a wimp.

And that is precisely the kind of support that I'm talking about.

Monday, December 8, 2014

finds | incredibles collector's phone

This is probably one of my favorite thrift store finds.  Of all time.  The funny thing is that the scarier the store, the better the stuff inside.  Sorry, that's just how it works.  

I ventured into said "scary store" a few weeks back, remember the ugly sweater search?  While this shop didn't have any Christmas sweaters, I did find a gorgeous vintage wool cape that has been so much fun to wear.  Ahem, another story for another day...

Anyway, back to my PHONE.  I was on my way out of the store and saw that it was sitting on top of a jewelry case.  Hmmm.  I kinda checked it out and decided to move on.  Wrong move Abbe.  The second I got in my car, I instantly started thinking about it again.  Then I googled it.  Because I'm slightly crazy or so my sister said after I refused to stop talking about it all afternoon.  It was all her fault for not making me buy it right the and there.

Blinking lights.  It had blinking lights!!!
Among other fabulous features.  Spandex suit and batteries not included.

The deciding factor for me in going back to the thrift store (something I never do) was the fact that this little guy was for sale of ebay for upwards of $60.  Can you say collectors item!!!

I brought Miss Grace along with me for moral support and we marched back in to claim my prize, which was now on sale for an extra 30% off!  Just when you thought things couldn't get any better!  Haha!

Then we made a pretend superhero phone call/photo op in the target parking lot and sent it off to our closest friends.  I was Elastagirl (of course) and she was Violet.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

doings | a little bit of a lot of things

As I mentioned before, I took a little break.  November was a good time for me to attempt to relax a bit.  I reread one of my favorite novels, traveled, spent less time on my phone, did some writing.  It was great!  Not instagramming has left me with a collection of delightful little things that have happened over the past month, and because I'm usually terrible about going back and blogging things,  here are a few snapshots of what I've been up to.  Some of these photos will probably be expounded on in later blog posts (probably... haha!)

Chasing fall in North Carolina...  The last few days of gorgeous colors!

Oh, and I got to see my best chum Anna for a few days!

While up in the air, I flipped open my American Airlines magazine and saw this article.  While in Normandy last June, I had the pleasure of meeting these men and their group from the AirPower Foundation in a tiny restaurant one night.  Americans have a way of attracting other Americans.  It's because we're all loud.  Ahem.  It was such a memorable experience, Captain Frank Padilla, after grilling Anna & I on our motives for coming for the 70th Anniversary of DDay, presented us with commemorative coins made for the event.  If you ever want to see it, just ask, I always carry it in my purse.  Be warned, asking to see it means that you will have to endure my long winded stories.

Rita's Italian Ice in Naples, FL.  One of the best things I've ever ate!

My magazine cover came out!
After slacking off on running for about a, um, er, year... I ran the 5K Turkey Trot.  My time was decent.  At least for me, and it was the first time I've run 5k without stopping!  Races are so much fun!

This guy, however, has not been slacking off in the athletic department.  He's not a runner, but his overall fitness level from Crossfit had him placed 2nd in his age group.

Our first big snow.  And very scary road conditions.
Welcome to winter in the north.

A very simple Thanksgiving table.  I hand sharpigraphed (sharpie marker + calligraphy-ish skills) the place cards.  Next time remind me to give myself a few days to get that done.  Hand cramps!

Trimming the tree with these cute elves!  

Public Service Announcement:  both of these attractive people are single and on the twitter, 
I'm still not cool enough to hang out with the twitter crowd, but if you are, you should follow along.  @BrookeAlline and @danielrpowers

Ugly Sweater Party games!  Marshmallows and chopsticks make for a really good time!


And, last but not least, the gorgeous styled shoot that I worked on with friends last march, was finally published!  You can read more about our "Wedding Brunch at the Hunt Club" on Wisconsin Bride Magazine & Kathryn Grace Photography.