The Fab Five: April 2014

The Fab Five: April 2014 8

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So…we got four inches of snow yesterday. Isn’t Holy Week supposed to be…I don’t know…warm? Or at least warm-ish?

Thank the risen Lord that sixty-degree temps should be rolling in just in time for Easter Sunday. Meanwhile, here’s my five April picks that have been helping me cope with life in Smalltown Winterfell.


1. Trader Joe’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette



In search of the most bomb-ass salad dressing that ever was? Look no further, blog friends. This stuff is delicious, cheap ($1.99 if purchased at Tradey’s), and light enough that it won’t sabotage your diet. I love it with organic spinach, and just a pinch of nutritional yeast flakes. Yum.


2. Loreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream


I purchased a tube of this at my hometown Walgreens back in Washington last month. I’d mistakenly packed foundation that was  way, way waaaay too dark. (Think a less severe version of the NJ tanning mom.)  I grabbed this stuff on a whim, hoping it would carry me through the rest of the week, and somewhat blend in with my neck.

Let me just say that “magic” is a gross understatement. This tiny bottle contains a primer and super-sheer foundation that manages to hide shine and even out your skin tone, while making it look like you aren’t actually wearing makeup. Go treat yo’ self to some! Because you’re worth it.

(Sorry…couldn’t resist.)


3. Sahara Pendant Necklace



Is it humanly possible for me to be more obsessed with this necklace from Stella & Dot’s brand new summer line?

No. No it is not.

At only $49 bucks, it was well worth the investment. Particularly as I plan on sporting it errrday, all summer long.


4. Sugar Shack Country Candles



At the risk of sounding like a cheesy candle spokeswoman, these candles have completely changed the ambiance of my home

Our good friends from college brought us a small sampling as a housewarming gift, and I’ve been hooked ever since. These babies are potent! One tiny candle has the power to make your entire house smell like heaven.  Plus, each product is handmade in Edgar, Nebraska — so you can feel good about supporting a small, privately owned business with each purchase. I’ve yet to come across a scent I haven’t loved — Fresh Bamboo is particularly refreshing as we (hopefully) head into the warmer months.

Also? I just tried on of their bars of soap this week. Life = changed.

(At least the small portion of my life that is spent in the shower.)

(And now I’m sounding like a cheesy soap spokeswoman. Apologies.)


5. FitBit One

fitbitI’ve owned my FitBit for several years, but only recently started wearing it again this month. In spite of six intense workouts a week, I’m not super active during the majority of my day.

In other words, I sit at a desk, sipping on coffee and typing emails. Usually at least one dog is in my lap.

I was inspired by Jessica Simpson, who shed her post-baby weight with a combination of Weight Watchers and taking at least 10,000 steps daily. Taking a note from Jess’ weight loss handbook, I’ve vowed to take 12,000 steps (approximately 6 miles) a day.

So far, working towards this goal has been really fun! When the weather’s nice, I take the dogs on a daily walk around the 3-mile loop that surrounds our house. As for snowy days like yesterday, I blast Missy Elliot on my headphones while strutting full speed around the indoor track at the Y. Indoors or out, I’m starting to remember how much I enjoy walking. It’s such a great way to relax, de-stress, and have some time alone with your thoughts. (And the lyrical stylings of Missy Elliot.)

My tiny FitBit One tracker has made reaching my daily step goal fun and easy. It’s small enough to be worn effortlessly and can remain hidden if necessary. It tracks my calories burned, steps taken, miles walked, flights of stairs climbed and sleep patterns. It even syncs wirelessly with a personal dashboard that I can access on my laptop or iPhone.


Four years later, I’m happy to say my FitBit is one of the best $100 investments I’ve ever made. If you’re in the market for an activity tracker, I highly recommend it!


What are you guys loving this month? Anyone else completely enamored with their FitBit? Still…I think my favorite thing on the list is that salad dressing. I’m not joking when I say I could drink it straight out of the bottle.


Psst! Want more Fab Five goodness? It’s all right here.

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Mailbox tuna

Mailbox tuna 2

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The phrase “Minnesota Nice” gets thrown around an awful lot around these parts.

Wikipedia defines the term to mean “the stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota to be courteous, reserved, and mild-mannered.”

Or as I like to describe it, “Having really cool neighbors who leave sushi in your mailbox.”

(Allow me to explain.)

Last night, I was in dire need of some Minnesota kindness. I’ve had an exhausting week at work, and was sore to the point of avoiding the toilet whenever possible due to a CrossFit workout. By the time five o’clock rolled around, all I wanted was a glass of wine, and some time on the couch.

Instead, I had to drag my throbbing body to the gym so I might renew my First Aid and CPR certification.

For the fifth freaking time.


“Annie, Annie…are you okay??? Cause I’d REALLY like to go home and pop open a bottle of Merlot….”

I was in the middle of giving chest compressions to a fake, plastic baby when my phone started vibrating. It was my next door neighbor calling. I let the call go to voicemail, continuing my five cycles of infant CPR. Even I’m not selfish enough to let a fake baby die on the table.

We had moved on to wrapping bloody wounds when I noticed my neighbor calling again. Being that she doesn’t call often, I started to grow concerned. Was she watching my house burn down? Had my dogs escaped and started terrorizing her cows again? Was someone trying to break into my house and steal my giant self-portrait?

“I’m sorry, this call is important — I kind of need to take it.” I explained to my partner before jetting out of the room. The fake hemorrhaging injury on her forearm would simply have to wait.

I answered the phone on the very last ring, preparing myself for the worst. At least we have excellent homeowner’s insurance, I assured myself.

“Do you like sushi?!” my neighbor immediately exclaimed.


Long story short, our friends next door had come across some sushi-grade ahi tuna from a pal in the restaurant business. The best part? They were kind enough to save a fillet for Scott and I to try. If we liked it, we could split an order for a giant case with them, and get it at wholesale price.

I’m not sure which was more exciting — the fact that our home hadn’t burned to the ground, or the opportunity to acquire badass tuna at less than $3.00 a fillet.

I explained I was stuck in CPR training, but promised to stop by as soon as I was home to pick up the fish. Rushing back to the classroom, I finished my final exam as quickly as possible. Mama wanted some tuna…NOW.

My test completed, I located Scott and scurried him out to the car. “DRIVE!” I instructed loudly, “The neighbors have Ahi for us!”

That was all Scott needed to hear–the man loves sushi even more than I do. He sped the entire way home, visions of how he would prepare our fresh sampling from the sea splashing through his imagination.

As we pulled on to our dirt road, Scott slowed down, pulling up alongside the mailbox.

“No time!!” I screeched impatiently, “TUNA!”

Relax, Katrina. I just want to see if we got any bills today.”

I would have rolled my eyes, had it not been for the glorious slab of fish, delicately covered in saran wrap that happened to be perched just inside the door of our mailbox.



Ummm…if that’s not “Minnesota Nice”, I don’t know what is.


SIDE NOTE: While we desperately wanted to eat the tuna raw, Scott argued  fish that’s been sitting in a mailbox for an undisclosed period of time should probably be at least slightly cooked. He seared it on the stove, coated it in sesame seeds, and whipped up a soy horseradish dipping sauce. In-freaking-credible.

(In other words, we’ll definitely be ordering an entire case. Thanks, neighbors!)

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If Game of Thrones were set in Central Minnesota, and featured people who don’t actually know how to swordfight.

If Game of Thrones were set in Central Minnesota, and featured people who don’t actually know how to swordfight. 0

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Penny would definitely play red-headed Sansa. Graceful? Check. Sweet as can be? Check. Dumber than a box of rocks? Check.


The Queen of the North!!

(And by “the North” I mean the giant pile of throw pillows on the North end of our bed.)


I feel as if this one needs no explanation.


Let’s face it — The Hound is the only character in the entire series with hair as greasy as mine.

Plus…I wouldn’t ever have to worry about putting concealer over my pimples. See? Being Sandor isn’t so bad.

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The drawer of shame

The drawer of shame 6

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I wrote this post in February 2013, but haven’t had the balls to post it until now. In fact, we no longer even live in our apartment with the secret drawer.  In the new house, my collection of shame is located in the back of my closet, behind all my TOMS.

As a disclaimer, this post isn’t meant to offend anyone. I love kids! But I think the 900 words below prove I’m not currently in the correct mental state to actually be responsible for any of them quite yet.

Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.


I have a secret drawer in our guest bathroom.

While I wish it was full of something cool, like Twix bars or Tiger Beat magazines, I must admit it contains something way more lame and humiliating.

That’s right. Pregnancy tests.

Please allow me to clarify that I am NOT pregnant…nor do I really want to be pregnant. (Perhaps eventually…but not, like, today.) I have not purchased these tests out of hope. I have purchased them out of fear.

Fear that is spurred by the following thoughts I have on an almost daily basis:

“Oh my gosh! I drank three glasses of wine at happy hour and ate two sushi rolls! And there’s a .0001 percent chance that I could be pregnant! Now I’m going to have a baby with three eyes!”

“I just spent sixty minutes in a 300 degree sauna! Now the twins I’m hypothetically carrying are going to be attached at the back of their misshapen, albeit adorable, little heads!”

“Oh no!!! I’ve been using those pesky class X skin care products made entirely of retinol that Scott gave me from the clinic! What if I’m pregnant? The fact that I have a wrinkle free face won’t matter when I’m birthing a child with a hairy tail and no nose!!!”

I know.

Yet despite my best attempts at rational thought, these are the worries that have spurred me to buy several pregnancy tests a month over the past few years. Naturally, I always insist on purchasing the pricey digital ones as I just don’t trust the ghetto plus/minus sign knock offs. I need to actually see the words “Not Pregnant” to prove that I’m not cooking a three-headed child with hooves as the result of too much Chelada.

When I think of all the money I’ve wasted on these overpriced pee sticks, it makes me want to punch myself in the face. And don’t even ask how Scott feels about the entire thing. He utters the phrase, “You’re not pregnant! NOW QUIT THROWING OUR MONEY AWAY!!” at least twice a month.

This viciously expensive cycle creates a fair share of embarrassing moments. A few weeks ago, I made a late night stop to Wal-Mart to pick up a few pregnancy tests. Because buying a bulk-sized box of First Response at midnight seemed slightly questionable, I decided I should probably purchase a few other things to make me seem slightly more legitimate.

Naturally, I chose three watermelon flavored ring pops.

(Those are totally legitimate, right?)

Out of the two aisles that were open, I chose the register with a kind looking little old lady who didn’t seem very judgmental.

“Are you hopeful?” she sweetly asked as she scanned the box of shame.

I need to say something here. If ever you find yourself in a position where you’re assisting someone with the purchase of a pregnancy test, DO NOT COMMENT ON IT. Even if you are an adorable little old lady wearing a cat sweater.

Two years ago, Scott found a new box of tests that he insisted I bring it back to the store as I was ‘obviously not pregnant…just crazy’. When I returned the tests, the sixteen year old girl at the counter responded with a big old smiley “I’m guessing this is a good thing for you, right?”

What was I even supposed to say to that!?

Instead of telling granny whether or not I was hopeful, I quickly unwrapped a watermelon ring pop, shoved it in my mouth, and waved thank you to her with my real wedding-ring hand so she didn’t make assumptions. I’m going to forgive Mildred for inquiring about my personal life as she was wearing totally adorable bifocals and smelled just like my Grandma. But just this once, Mildred.

I think this is God’s way of telling me I need to lay of the crazy. (Not to mention the ring pops.)

I mean…if I’m this unhinged now, can you imagine what a disaster I’d be if I actually had a child?!

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