Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life's Journey

As usual I am an inconsistent blogger.  So much to do and so little time.  What time I have flies by so quickly.  Planning our wedding and honeymoon has occupied most of my time.  Oh and overtime at the day job is part of it. 

My life's journey has led me to this - marrying a wonderful man.  Someone I'm happy to spend the rest of my life with.  We are compatible on so many levels.  He makes me laugh, he does not make me cry.  We have fun.  We plan, we dream.  We also do nothing very well together. 

So many people I know are on different life paths than they were a few days, weeks or months ago.  Some are struggling, some are finding their way and doing well.  I truly believe in life's cycles and how we are suppose to gain something from where we are in the here and now and it will lead us to or help us later on down the road.  Kind of like that map in the glove box, you don't need it now, but farther along in your journey you might.

Eighty days from today I will marry my love.  I think I'm marrying the perfect man for me at exactly the right time in my life.  I know who I am, what I am, where I've been and where I would like to go in life, with enough openness to handle changes along the way.  I feel more complete with him in my life.  He definitely balances me out, keeps me on the road and between the lines.

Our journey in life together is going to have twists and turns, lots of adventure and lots of quiet time.  I can't wait to see where we go.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Milano Inn & Sun King Beer

I love food.  Let me start with that.  Food is social, it transcends generations, ethnicity, borders, it's universal in many ways.  I like beer.  Beer does what food does - it transcends (and not just because you have too many).  Yes, I'm a female beer drinker.  I am not alone, we are many in number and a lot of us like craft beer versus the stuff you buy at Kroger for $10.99 a case.  We like it fresh, cold and with great flavor combinations.  Combine food and beer and it's heaven. 
I was playing around on Twitter one day (#CircleCityRene) and I kept seeing #MilanoInn post that this group and that group were invited to the launch party.  My curiosity was aroused.  I noticed other bloggers were part of the invite list.  So I asked about #IndyBloggers attending the event and guess what - they actually invited me.  Tuesday, February 12, 2013 was the launch date for some great food.  I couldn't resist taking the menu below from the event as I knew I wouldn't remember all these details.  Milano Inn partnered with #Sunkingbrewing to create a wonderful divieto, which my waiter Joshua told me means prohibition in Italian.

I had purchase the event tickets that were for dinner and not just the tasting of the appetizers.  I knew this was going to be good.  My fiance, Erik, came with me as he is a big fan of Italian food and a beer drinker as well.  We went straight to the Sun King Beer tasting table.  The usual suspects were being sampled - their fine steady line of Osiris Pale Ale, Sunlight Cream Ale and Wee Mac.  They also offered samples of two seasonal beers, their Winter Lager and my favorite Skulking Loafer.  That beer was awesome.  We sampled some of the meatballs on the appetizer side and I'm not entirely sure what marinade was used, they tasted great.  We were allowed to seat ourselves and we chose a booth (love booths).  Our waiter as mentioned earlier was Joshua.  Joshua was a wonderful server and I hope his bosses see this.  He was professional, knowledgeable and friendly without being a nuisance.  He was quick with refills and his suggestion of the poppy seed dressing was perfect on my salad. 

Erik ordered the Timballo, the 5-layer lasagna filled with meats and cheese.  It came out piping hot and smelled heavenly.  Before our salads came bread and olive oil were served along with butter for the non oil fan.  I am an olive oil fan.  The bread was delicious, as was everything else.  I ordered the 12 oz New York Strip Steak, cooked medium well with the Sun King Divieto.  It was served with Parmesan roasted red potatoes and steamed vegetables.  It was wonderful. 

The waiter informed me that the steak will now be served on Tuesday nights and the remainder of the menu was going to be available as earlier as 2/14/13.  I applauded that choice - don't hold back special food from the people.  This was too good not to share. 

I realize my cell phone photos do not do this food justice.  Trust me, its better in person.  Go forth and feast at Milano Inn!  Oh, and have a Sun King Beer with your dinner, it pairs as well as wine does with Italian food.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


This blog started as a project for school and I've kept it going to many reasons including the fact that I find it a great way to share what's going on in my life.  Another great reason for keeping it up presented itself.  At some point back a few weeks or months ago, I was contacted via email by Indianapolis Bloggers ( about participating in a special event.  I've been a member of Indianapolis Bloggers for a few months and had previously not been able to participate in events they had arranged.  

Well this time I had enough time to schedule this one. The magic word was 'chocolate'!  I was going to write that down immediately and respond to that email immediately.  We had to submit our names immediately as there was a limit to the number of participants for this event.  Immediacy was vital here - I couldn't miss out on free chocolate!

The event was an exclusive peek at the new See's Candies store at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis.  I waited a couple of weeks (seemed like forever) to hear if I was one of the lucky bloggers to make the cut and get the official invite.  My darling fiance got his email before me and I thought okay, we're good then because each person was allowed to bring one guest.  A few minutes later my email came through.  I took my mom as my guest because if I had not she would have protested highly.  Oh and we were sworn to secrecy.  Private event, no talking about it so we didn't get mobbed at the store.

We get to the mall early and see that the store had already opened for business.  They did a 'soft opening' before Christmas.  For the non-marketing types out there, what a 'soft opening' means is that there wasn't any fanfare, very little press, etc when they opened the store.  This event was the 'grand opening' - i.e. think advertising, which is part of why us bloggers were there.  The store looks small and I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  So we go check in and are greeted by several employees and are immediately offered samples.  We did have to sign an affidavit to have our photographic image used and that was fine.  

After some sampling, the festivities began.  We were welcomed and a history of the company was given.  An introduction of the staff was also given.  The impressive point for me was the fact that Sees Candies uses natural ingredients.  The ingredient list on each box has items you can recognize and pronounce.  Their product does have a shelf life as there are no preservatives.  

Now I must include the warning that only the lollipops are made in a factory that has no contact with nuts.  All of the chocolates come into contact with nuts so if you have an allergy be warned.  Now that's not to say that any non-nut-containing chocolate will cause an allergic reaction but awareness must be made.  

Not having an allergy I let myself indulge in several samples.  First I tried the Scotchmellow, which is one of the companies most popular flavors.  It is a honey marshmallow with a carmel base covered in dark chocolate.  Highly recommended   In no particular order I also tried the Milk Bordeaux which is a signature piece made from brown sugar and buttercream.  This comes in either milk or dark chocolate.  I tried the lemon buttercream truffle and loved it!  The almond square with milk chocolate, roasted almonds and caramel was divine.  I really do not remember the rest of what I tried, but after five or so you get a sugar high and well, the memory takes a break.  There were sugar free candies available for purchase but I did not try any.

So the staff gathers us for some info on the company and hands out hair nets.  They referenced the classic I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are in the candy factory trying to pack boxes and do such a poor job.  It's a classic episode.  For our group, it lead to a competition in packing candy boxes.  It was much harder than it looked as you were not wearing gloves and were not supposed to make contact with the candy or the brown paper candy cups that it goes in.  It was a lot of fun.  Being the shy and reserved person I am not, I volunteered and was one of the first six to compete.  I did not win but the best part was you were able to keep the box you packed.  I packed milk and dark chocolates with chocolate centers.  

Of course the love of my life just had to take a photo of me in my hair net.  Well the women at the event out numbered the men but there were a few and the men were gracious and let most of us women go first.  Finally the men competed so I got my revenge with the camera phone.

Even my mom was able to compete.  The staff did not differentiate between bloggers and their guests which I thought was great.  I've been to events where guests were allowed but only certain participants were given opportunities.  

After the candy packing contest the staff had a trivia game.  Erik and I both won a small box of truffles for answering questions about the company.  The staff then thanked us for coming to the event and reminded us to pick up our goody bags on the way out.

Well, let me tell you, I knew we were going to be given samples and I knew we were getting a goody bag.  What I did not know was that the goody bag would have so much in it!  It contained a one pound box of nuts and chews, a box of peanut brittle, a box of hard candy and a box of lollipops.  It also contained a book about the company and a coupon.  It was one of the best opening events I've ever been to.  The marketing approach to invite us bloggers was well played and thought out.  

My mom thought it was the funnest thing ever, she got to sample all this chocolate and brought a bunch home.  I will tell you that so many of us liked the products so well that we did purchase candy on top of what we were given.  

This company started on the west coast in 1921 and I had heard of it and had sampled the candy before in my travels.  It is a treat for Indianapolis to get this store in our city.

I do recommend going to the store and trying the candy.  Samples are free.  For some of us that grew up with the Fannie Mae candy shops and remember the candy counter at the G.C. Murphy's in Fountain Square, this is a flashback type of place to visit.  

Happy eating!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 is my year!

Wow, a lot of time has past since my last post.  I have thought about posting so many times and just didn't get it done.  My last post was in September so let me start with events somewhere after that. 

Well the big cat is out of the bag and Erik and I have officially announced our engagement on Facebook and we picked out our rings after Christmas.  It was sized and I was able to pick it up on New Year's Eve. 

NK The Mosaic Diamond Collections, 14K White gold Bridal Set, 1.00 ctw.

We've been planning this wedding the entire time, like since last August.  We've booked a venue, hired a photographer, a photobooth company, found our minister and have picked a DJ.  We've picked the food, the cake, and the decorations.  The ring was NOT a priority.  I'm glad we finally got it though.  It makes it all so real and it means so much.  It's not a large diamond, it's not the cost of a house or a car but it is a symbol of our love, our future and our promise to each other.

We spent the first week of October in Las Vegas for five days.  We had a great time and it looks like that may be the honeymoon destination.  Our plans were leaning towards Jamaica and an all-inclusive resort but circumstances have changed and we will do that trip later.  The main focus is being together and having fun.  Erik has wanted to go back to Vegas since we came home so it's a good choice.  We'll have as much to do as we want or as little.

We went to Arizona over Veteran's Day weekend to visit my brother and family.  We had a good weekend, it was a really short trip.  We packed in a Suns basketball game and a trip to the White Tank Mountain Park.  This park is just awesome if you want to get out into the natural elements.  Modern facilities do exist and the water from the fountain was surprisingly good and cool.  We took some great photos in the park and it was a nice dive.  Some people don't think about Arizona being an agriculture state but we saw cotton fields and commercial flower fields along the way.  We took the exit off of the 101 and drove straight to the mountains until we couldn't go any further.

The other exciting, yet not all that positive thing about the Arizona trip was that on the night we were driving into town for the Suns game we had a new experience.  I was behind the wheel on the 101 and we had just approached the sign saying left 2 lanes for the I-10 East exit.  This is where we needed to be to get to downtown Phoenix and the sporting complex/entertainment district.  Traffic really began to slow down and at some point stopped, then it would pick up again, including the HOV lane.  We had passed a cop on the right giving someone a ticket.  A little while later he comes running up past us with his lights on and turns his car to the left and stops.  A woman was driving the wrong way on the 101!  In the fast lanes!  Thank God no one was hurt!  I was in the lane to the left of her and the cop and couldn't believe it.

Our plans for 2013 will be small scale since we are paying for a wedding.  We are excited to have Howdy Bell as our minister for the wedding.  Howdy is the voice of the 500, turn two to be precise.  Since we are both racing fans and have worked at the track this connection has been awesome.  Howdy is wonderful to talk to, he's entertaining and like someone you've known for all of your life.  We are so happy to have met him and have him officiate at the wedding. 

We're going to have a fun wedding.  While there will be bittersweet moments as we've lost loved ones since we started this relationship and we'll be missing them, we'll make the most of it and enjoy those that will be around us.

Happy New Year 2013

Friday, September 21, 2012

Home and Arts

I've lived in Fountain Square nearly all of my life.  For those counting it's like 40 years (yikes!).  I've seen so many changes and not all good either.  When the G.C. Murphy store closed, hell even before it closed, we wondered what would happen to that very old building.  The neighborhood had a lot of blight at the time.  Some would say it still does but bright spots appeared on the horizon.

The arts community found Fountain Square and it's old buildings appealing.  Slowly they started to make inwards on the blight.  Bringing with them color, life, vibrancy, and most of all hope.  The feel of the neighborhood began to change.  The Murphy building and the Fountain Square Theater buildings began to show improvements and attracted groups to their large spaces.  In a matter of time it became cool to hang out in an older area of the city. 

Places like The Murph and FS Theater Building, along with a little place that was Deano's, drew a fun crowd and good times have been had.  Deano's has closed now for a couple of years but the growth and life continued with places like Brass Ring and B's Po Boy, Radio Radio, the White Rabbit, the list goes on.

Flash forward a few years to me sitting in the Art Bank talking to my artist friend Danielle and a tall gal over hears me talk about being from Fountain Square.  She introduces herself, Kelli, and explains to me that she's on the Arts Council in Fountain Square and is looking to recruit some people.  I contacted her group via email and joined their meetings last year about June. 

That was the start of my involvement in my community in a positive way.  This year I'm chairing the Art Fair of the Fountain Square Art Squared event on 9/22/12.  This experience has fulfilled something in me that my day job cannot touch.  I have a sense of belonging, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of community that is so strong.  This work really makes it hit home that this place helped shape me into the adult that I am as no other place I've visited.

We are not a perfect community.  We have problems.  But there are people here who try everyday to make life better in our community.  People who have love, hope, faith, and a desire to make a difference.  I'm proud to be part of that. 

I will move away soon but I will always be a part of this neighborhood.  There's a connection to this place that moving won't take away.  I tried when I was out of high school to get away from it and it pulled me back in when life elsewhere wasn't what I imagined it to be.  I came home.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Roller Coaster Trip!

What a great weekend!  This trip was talked about for awhile and then became a reality which is always wonderful.  Our friends invited us to go to Cedar Point.  A place for roller coaster enthusiasts from everywhere to visit at least once.  Doug's parents live near Toledo and were our hosts for the weekend.  That was a big savings since we didn't need a hotel room. 

His parents were wonderful hosts and so gracious.  Beautiful home.  It was cool to see where my friend grew up.  I've not visited Northern Ohio before.  Lovely neighborhoods up there.  We drove out of Indy in the rain and at times didn't go over the speed limit due to it.  It was a safe drive though so we are grateful.  We loaded up on pizza and chips for the road, made a pit stop or two and arrived in about four hours. 

Saturday morning we were up about 7:30am and Doug's mom made a great breakfast.  We took our time getting ready and then it was off at 11am for the park.  Cedar Point was open 12-10 that day.  Erik and I have season passes and the promotion that weekend was bring a friend for $14.99 plus our passes paid for parking.  A great savings for our friends.  Plus it was $1 32-ounce soft drinks for card holders as well. 

Weather was beautiful, chilly at first but it got to a very comfortable temperature in the afternoon.  We rode the Raptor first and it was awesome, slinging our feet above our heads as we rode.  We walked to the back of the park at least twice.  I wish I would've had on my pedometer to log the steps because I'm telling you it felt like miles!  Not to mention the steps taken to get to some of these rides. 

We bought some of the souvenir photos as we don't know for sure when we'll get back and it was fun to pose for those, as you can see from this example. 

We called it quits after riding all the major coasters we could.  We don't do things that just spin and no Farris wheels.  It was a great day in that you could walk up and get on almost any ride.  The longest wait we had was 30-minutes, most were 15-minutes or less. 

We decided to get dinner outside the park to save some money.  We collected our furry friend who had been in the kennel for the day ($15).  We stopped at Casa Real and it was really good food.  Would stop there again if given the chance.

Doug's parents were asleep when we got home.  We were not awake for very long either.  The next morning we slept later and needed it!  Doug's mom and dad made breakfast again and Doug's brother and family came over to visit.  We left out about noon heading to Michigan.

We stopped in Dundee, MI to shop at Cabella's, a huge store and they had some great sales going on but alas I left empty handed.  Next up was the Grand Traverse Pie Company for cherry crumb pie.  I gained 5 pounds looking at the menu!  We got those to go.  I brought mom a small pie, brownie and I ate the cookie!

Next we went into Ann Arbor, MI to visit the famous Zingerman's Deli, as seen on the Food Network.  The line wrapped to the side of the building but moved quickly.  They have a great variety of cheeses, meats, mustard, olive oils and so much more from around the world.  I got the Ruben on Jewish Rye with Russian dressing.  It was good, but Fat Dan's in Broad Ripple is still better!  I'm glad we stopped.  Zingerman's has this funky vibe, not unusual for a college town. 

We hit the road and made the long drive home to Indy.  It was a great weekend in general.  I couldn't stay awake on the way home and later felt bad that Doug did all the driving.  Erik and Danielle did their share of napping as well so I wasn't alone.  Even Biscuit slept and luckily didn't gas bomb the car on the way home as he did several times on the way up!

Hope to get back to Cedar Point again next year!  Thanks to our hosts, The Scotts, and our friends for driving and entertaining us!

Ride on!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wow, it's been awhile since I was here.  Life is great and busy and crazy.  I've thought many times I need to sit down and post something but the time and need for rest hasn't allowed for it.

So what's kept me so busy?  In no particular order of rambling, mind you.  Fountain Square Art Squared event.  I love being part of this event.  I serve on the FS Arts Council and am a co-chair of this one day event.  Gathering artist to sell their work at our art fair, gathering participants to walk in our art parade, gathering volunteers to help pull this even off.  It's a lot to do and so rewarding.  Knowing we are reaching a broader base of people, getting new participant, celebrating the return of past participants.  Involving our community partners is a bigger push this year.  It's going to be a great event and the hard work will all be worth it.

Other volunteer activities have had to be reduced so I could enjoy my summer and not suffer from high anxiety and lack of sleep.  I have to watch or I'll over-commit myself.  I love doing my volunteer work but one person truly can't do it all.

We've been to Kings Island a couple of times this summer.  Love the roller coasters!  We bought season passes and that's been a big help as we've been able to share some discounts and benefits with our friends.  We'll all be hitting the road next month for Cedar Point - the mecca of coasters!  Also I hear some very awesome Michigan cherry pie will be obtained on the way home.

We've seen buckeye beefcake on the way to KI and back the last trip.  Some people look at out of state license plates, we watch for butt crack and play slug bug.  It was fun that last KI trip doing a Chinese fire drill at the stop light so Erik and I could drive both cars in and use our season passes to cover the parking fees. 

We've had some weekends at Heritage Lake where in June we watched our wonderful friends get married on their deck with the lake as a beautiful backdrop.  You gotta love a casual wedding.  We were in the water all day swimming, tubing, floating, and then get out of the water to get ready for the wedding and an hour later they are married.  After some picture taking (I never changed out of my swimsuit!) we were back in the water again.  Simple, lovely, happy. 

Gained a new pet this week.  My neighbor passed away, after suffering with diseases for a long time.  We had promised long ago we'd take care of his dog if anything happened.  We've known Buster since he was a pup and my dogs have known him since they were pups.  It's been a good transition.  Buster is a 12-year old chow/shepherd mix.  Older dogs have a hard time being adopted but have so much to give in what time they have left. 

Erik and I have been collecting vacation options for the next two years.  Planning bigger trips for 2013 (last half).  Thank God I found someone who likes to travel.  New experiences are awesome.  We hit Vegas on September 30 for a 5-day, 4-night stay.  We can't wait.  Ready for some alone time and relaxation with my baby.

We're also heading to Phoenix in November for a long weekend at my brother's place.  Hoping to catch a ball game, hockey game or a Nascar race.  We can't do it all but two outta three ain't bad.