Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Employed

Yesterday I made the decision to accept a position at BConnected, a social media management company in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I assisted with some temp work right before Thanksgiving and must have made an impression.  After my time there the owner asked me to be apart of their team!  I am starting as their Support Specialist, planning on helping with administrative-like work and a community outreach program that has been in the works, but not yet completed due to time constraints.  This is exciting, since I am very passionate in paying it forward hence my volunteer work in Houghton and being apart of PEP at Loretto.

My start date is tentatively set for next week due to the growth of the company.  BConnected is currently moving into a bigger, newer, nicer office and we are hoping I can begin before Christmas.  In November, it was quite a tight fit due to the size of the workstation. Needless to say, I am very happy for the change of scenery and can't wait to see the end results.  The area will lend a much needed blank canvas for inspiration and creativity.

Early next year I will also become an Account Manager, running company's social media channels. BConnected supports local businesses from barbershops to restaurants.  They consider themselves as a team of thinkers and problem solvers dedicated to helping companies manage their social presence.  They are proud of their upbeat culture which fosters creativity and amazing results - a perfect fit for me!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Neenah, Wisconsin

We are going on our sixth week in Wisconsin.  Wow, did that go fast?!?

The house is finally set, Andy’s job is going great, and I’ve been interviewing like crazy.  I accepted a three week customer service temporary position at Kimberly-Clark and I have received a couple offers since the move.  Due to the offers not being the right fit, I decided to look into temp positions and hope the opening at KC will create a bigger opportunity for me within the company.  I am still hoping to pursue my career in marketing, but looking into sales and/or customer service to broaden my experience.  My goal is to have an actual job in January 2014.  Fingers crossed!

As for the state of Wisconsin, Andy and I really like it here.  We are residing in Neenah, a small town in Winnebago County.  It is situated on the banks of Lake Winnebago and the Fox River, a really beautiful, Midwest location.  According to Wikipedia, the area was first designated an industrial and agricultural mission to the Menominee Indians in 1835.  It is also very well-known for Neenah Paper, a paper mill established in 1873 and Kimberly-Clark Corporation was formed here in 1872.  Lots of history – I can’t wait to learn more.

Below are some photos of our new place, but don’t get too attached – If we like it here we may buy our first home and finally start a little family.  (I am told the schools here are wonderful!)  But if we don’t like it, I am totally prepared for new adventures in the future elsewhere.  We hope to see all your faces soon and YES, we do have a guest room that is not pictured below due to a few more boxes that need to be unpacked. ;)

Needs some TLC, but it is very cute! 

Living Room 

Dining Room 

Kitchen

Hallway

Our Bedroom 

Our very tiny bathroom! 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Roasted Orange Chicken and Glazed Vegetables

Andy and I are almost settled in Wisconsin.  It has been a long, stressful trip and I am happy to state it is almost done.  Only a few more tasks before we can start calling this house a home and ... I still need to find a job.  Until then, get used to seeing more blog posts.  All the boxes are unpacked, the house is spotless, and I can only watch so many Hulu Originals before I go insane.  

Since the weather shifted quite quickly for me, I have been using the oven more.  I found a recipe similar to the one below about a year ago and have finally tweaked it and made it my own.  I have never had parsnips before this meal and now love them.  Enjoy! 

Roasted Orange Chicken and Glazed Vegetables

2 oranges, halved
1/2 lb of baby carrots
3 parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 chicken breasts
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs honey
1 tbs chopped tarragon
olive oil
mixed salad greens
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Rub chicken with coriander.  Cut all but one orange halves into 1/4 inch-thick slices and place in cast iron skillet or dutch oven with carrots, parsnips and chicken.  Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. 

Meanwhile, juice remaining orange half into a small bowl and whisk with mustard, oil, salt, and pepper.  Add greens to bowl and toss to coat. 

Transfer chicken to a cutting board.  Drizzle honey over vegetable and sprinkle with tarragon; stir to combine.  Slice chicken breasts and serve with salad and vegetables.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Next Chapter

The past few months Andy and I have been talking about changes in our life and what comes next - career goals, starting a family, and what state to reside in.  We both are at a place where we needed more growth in our professions, thought that if we truly want to start a family we ourselves need to be closer to family, and both of us miss the Midwest .... SOOO the job search began ... It took a few months and a couple disappointments, but I am very excited to announce that Andy, Kimber, Tikka, and I will be relocating to the Fox Cities of northeastern Wisconsin.

Last Thursday Andy was offered the Senior Design Engineer position at Oshkosh Truck.  He will be assisting with creation of the replacement vehicle for the Humvee.  Which in my opinion is VERY impressive! His first day is scheduled for October 14th.  We know this is a very ambitious time period, but we are ready for the challenge and ready for the change.  (Now I need to find a job, no pressure!)

We look forward to five hour drives to Grand Rapids (much better than 24), quick trips to Chicago, and motorcycle visitors to the WI.  

Please let us know if you'd like to visit after the move and when.  We might need to start a shared calendar since people are already sending us dates!  We are SO excited to be closer to all our friends and family, but are also very sad to say good-by to our Santa Fe friends here.  We have grown so close (you know who you are!) and have so many fantastic memories throughout the three years.  I don't want to think about our last few days here and saying good-bye.  BUT we now have MANY excuses to visit Santa Fe again and again. 

Thank you Santa Fe for a wonderful three year run, it was a good one! 



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Betsy's Bash - A California Bachelorette Party

In the beginning of the month I took my first trip to California for my Santa Fe Friend's bachelorette party.  I wasn't sure I was going to make the trip work, but a month before I pulled some strings and committed   I am so happy I did.  I met some amazing woman and had a blast! The weekend started early on a Thursday morning when four Santa Fe girls drove to Albuquerque to catch an early flight to the Bay Area.  

After a couple hours we landed in Oakland with an amazing mid-western pick up, one of Betsy's Chicagoan bridesmaids drove us to San Francisco to meet the other three ladies.  We check in at Parc 55 Wyndahm in Union Square, a lovely hotel, and set out to explore the city.  We dined at Café Divine, toured Fisherman's Wharf, and photographed Lombard Street, very cool! 

After an amazing afternoon of exploring, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a night out on the town and dinner at Basil, an amazing Thai restaurant.  We then continued our night at Asia SF, a unique nightclub with beautiful men in drag as entertainment.  We ended the night at Butter, a white trashed themed bar with amazingly fun drinks served in Mason jars, my kind of place.  I can't tell you exactly what happened after we entered Butter, everything is quite a blur.  I woke up the next morning with a killer headache and very upset stomach, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the ride to Wine Country!  




We arrived to Guerneville, a small vacation town located along the Russian River in Sonoma County and had a perfect and relaxing afternoon by the pool, took naps, and enjoyed lunch made by me.  We had an easy night and went out for dinner and headed back to the house awaiting the hours until we toured a few California wineries by limo!  



The next morning we enjoyed short hike in part of the Redwood Forest and then began our tour at Korbel Champagne Cellars.  After enjoying our tastings and some amazing mimosas, our limo picked us up and we headed to Rochioli Vineyards.  This was a very intimate tasting room and the views were absolutely stunning. Winery number three was probably the most beautiful vineyard.  Ferrari-Carano was very elegant and we had our very own wine tasting assistant, a very special experience.  Our final destination was Bella Wine Caves.  This was my favorite, very rustic and simple.  I bought a few of my favorite wines and can't wait to drink them all with Andy.  This is so much fun! 




We returned to our rental home just in time for fish tacos (again by me!) followed by gifts and games.  SO MUCH FUN.  I was sad to say good-bye to all my new friends, Sunday we enjoyed one final meal together and headed back to San Francisco.  We parted ways at the Bart station and departed from Oakland back to Santa Fe.  I had a wonderful time with eight wonderful woman.  I can't wait for the wedding festivities in just six short weeks. 




Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Cherry Sauce

It's been awhile since I posted a recipe.  I have the house to myself for the weekend so I thought to catch up on a few me things.  

I don't remember where Andy and I originally found this recipe, but, like we do to a lot of recipes, we switched it around some.  I hope you enjoy it! 


Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Cherry Sauce

4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 shallots, chopped 
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs cherry jam
1-2 handfuls of dried cherries
olive oil as needed
salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in large cast iron pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, place top-side down in pan.

Sear chicken until deeply brown and cooked halfway through.  Flip chicken and transfer to oven; bake until just cooked through, internal temperature should be 170.

Remove chicken from oven and transfer to a plate.  Add shallot to chicken drippings adding a dash of salt, pepper, and cardamom, cook over medium heat until shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add wine, stock, vinegar, and jam; bring to a boil. Reduce by half.  Stir cherries into sauce and return chicken to pan.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.  To serve, spoon equal amounts of sauce over each piece of chicken.


We think this meal is perfect with brussels sprouts cooked in bacon or asparagus on the grill.  I am no chef, but enjoy cooking.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding this recipe or others I've posted.  I hope you love this meal as much we do, we make it a few times a month! 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Personal Invasion

Today when I pulled in the driveway I noticed a package. I was so excited (I love getting packages!) I immediately unlocked the door, found a scissor, and opened the box. After being in my home for about five minutes my stomach dropped. It was the most unsettling feeling I've ever felt. I knew something wasn't right. I started walking through the hallway and didn't hear the dogs make any commotion, they always hear me when I come home for the day.  Hmmm ...

Once entering the bedroom I noticed the window was wide open. Oh my god, I forgot to shut the window. My stomach dropped again. It's been pretty cold the past few days in Santa Fe, quite nice actually, so Andy and I have been sleeping with the window open. I totally forgot to shut it and lock it before leaving this morning. Oh my god.

I noticed the screen was popped out and my underwear drawer was on the floor. My eyes darted to my jewelry box. Gone. Top drawer to Andy's dresser? Open. Handgun? Gone. I started freaking out. I'm home alone.

I called Andy trying to keep my cool, but the moment I heard his voice I couldn't contain my frustration. I apologized over and over to him and tried telling him what happened, but the words weren't leaving my mouth. (Why do people feel the need to take things that don't belong to them?) "I'll be home in five seconds," he says.

I wait by the door. He holds me as I let out my anger. I'm more scared than anything.  I'm sad, angry. I'm shaking.

He calls the police department. I notice our computers are gone too, chargers and all. I'm so upset I fall to the floor. This can't be real I think over and over. Andy hangs up the phone and holds me again. He is my rock.

A policeman arrives in less than an hour. He asks questions, takes photos, and writes notes. Luckily we had receipts for everything besides my jewelry, the items with the most meaning. My grandmother's costume jewelry - the rings she would literally wear on every finger, Andy's grandmother's birthstone his grandfather gave me as a gift a few years ago, a pair of earrings I wore for my best friend's wedding. There was more, much more in that box. Most of these items were worth nothing,  but emotionally they were worth everything. We also had all the serial numbers for the other items. The cop was impressed. He said we are the forth house (in a row) that has been broken into. Heroin users needing drug money he assumed.

We were suppose to meet our friends for dinner, but clearly we had our minds on something else. Instead they brought dinner to us. It was so nice to sit around the table, laugh, and have a few beers. It took my mind off this horrible event for awhile.

As I was getting ready for bed I noticed our iPod was gone too and they took a pillowcase! (The iPod actually has our names engraved on the back. Good luck selling that for dope, losers!)

Sitting here, not being able to sleep I think how scared the dogs probably were. I think what if I was home alone? I think it could have been worse ... I have never felt this helpless in my entire life.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Camping in Santa Fe

I love being outdoors, I always have.  I love camping even more.  As a child our family vacations would be at different campgrounds and believe it or no, Andy actually proposed to me while camping.  I don't know what it is, maybe the smell of the campfire or the chirping birds throughout the day.  Whatever it is it makes me feel at peace.

Andy and I haven't gone as much as we'd like the past few years, but we'd hope to change that soon.  We are extremely busy this year (I swear we have something going on every single month) but have told each other we would go more often.

I posted some photos of the past trip we went on below.  Enjoy!






Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mom in Santa Fe

Thursday marked the end to another great visit from my mom.  I thought it would be hard finding stuff for us to do since this was her third visit to Santa Fe, but boy were we busy!


Saturday we enjoyed the beautiful weather and mom finally had the chance to experience Tent Rocks.  This place is amazing.  There are meadows of rock formations that are supposedly created due to volcanic eruptions.  We hiked The Canyon Trail, about  three miles, an approximate 600 feet climb to the  top of a mesa.  Excellent views!



We also spent a day in Taos, New Mexico.  We witnessed The Rio Grande Gorge and visited The Taos Pueblo.  (The Taos Pueblo is a replica of my hotel, so I was especially excited about this.)  After being slightly disappointed due to the cost of just walking around the ruins, I finally started enjoying all the history that this tourist attraction had to offerThis community is known for being one of the most private, secretive, and conservative pueblos and is STILL an active place of residence today.

Rio Grande Gorge

Taos Pueblo

Taos Art
In addition to these two trips we went to a concert, The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, did some shopping, and ate ... A LOT.

Having  my mom in Santa Fe makes me realize how much I miss her, but at the same time it reminds me how much I've achieved in my life.  It gives me joy to be able to show her around Santa Fe and new things every time she visits.  I can't wait for her annual trip next year.  <3 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!!


Since I haven’t updated my blog in about a month I thought I should put together a quick post.  One of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog at least once per month and I’m trying really hard to keep up on all my resolutions.  (I’ve also been working out and eating healthier.  I feel wonderful and will write about that soon!)

This month was actually a rough month.  Andy and I found out that we have to pay back in taxes and my hours at work got cut.  I’ve been trying to stay positive and keep reminding myself that it could be worse.  I just have to be optimistic (maybe do some yoga) and get over this little bump in the road.

On a positive note, my mom is coming to visit in just one month for the third time and then my two best friends are coming in 12 weeks for their first Santa Fe vacation.  I seriously can’t wait!

Also, in the beginning of the month I celebrated my 26th day of birth on the 2nd.  Andy and I have created a wonderful group of friends and they all came out with us to wish me a very happy birthday.  We went out for sushi and then walked over to a bar next door where even more people came to celebrate with me.  It was a really great time and made feel so loved. 

On my actual birthday it was Super Bowl Sunday, which happens every few years to me, ugh!  Andy and I weren’t very interested in the game so we drove to Albuquerque for some birthday shopping.  (Andy was so excited, jk!)  After, we stopped by a friend's house to watch the rest of the game.  It was a great birthday and a great way to start this crazy month!


Andy bought me my favorite dessert from Whole Foods.  De-li-cious!

Some of our Santa Fe friends during my birthday celebration. Love them!!

Oh!! And we dog sat a little man named Sam.  Tikka was so happy to have made a new friend!!




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Breakfast Smoothies

For Christmas this year my brother, Joey, bought me a single serving smoothie maker.  It is similar to a normal blender, but smaller and you mix your fruit in the actual cup you drink your smoothies out of.  This is the perfect gift because I vowed to focus on my health this year. 

Since Christmas I've kind of become a smoothie expert.  I know exactly how to make the perfect blends in less then five minutes.  I have also gone the extra mile and researched great ingredients to add each morning to enhance my smoothies that makes them healthier.  See below. 

I've shared two of my favorite smoothie recipes below.  Enjoy! 

Pineapple, Peach, and Banana Smoothie 

Blend all ingredients together.  Serve Cold.
  • half cup coconut water
  • half cup pineapple juice
  • one cup pineapple, cubed
  • one banana
  • one cup frozen peaches 
  • one tablespoon of grated ginger 
  •  one teaspoon of flaxseeds
  • four to six cubes of ice
























"Green" Berry Smoothie

Blend all ingredients together.  Serve Cold.
  • one to two cups of spinach
  • one cup almond milk
  • one cup frozen strawberries
  • one cup frozen blueberries
  • one cup frozen raspberries 
  • one banana
  • four to six cubes of ice
  • agave nectar, to taste 
























Added Healthiness.  You can add all or one of the below in your morning smoothie to make it healthier.  I am no doctor, but have seen a difference already.  AND  you can't even taste these extra components so if you are thinking these sounds gross you won't even know it is there!

Spinach has a ton of Vitamin K that contributes to a healthy nervous system and brain function.  It is also great for your bones, skin, digestive system, and vision.

Ginger is used as a natural remedy.  I suffer with back-pain, migraines, and heartburn (thanks dad!), it is said to help relieve those annoyances.  It is also supposed to help motion sickness and menstrual cramps. 

Flaxseeds are a great source of fiber and works as a natural laxative.  It is also said to lower cholesterol, favorably affects immunity, and lowers blood pressure.


Enjoy and Stay Healthy!

Sincerely,

Sandy


Smoothies Tips

1. Make sure to use enough liquid.  Instead of using fatty dairy products I use almond milk, coconut water, or pineapple juice.  

2. Frozen fruit can be pricey.  Surprisingly, I've found the cheapest at Whole FoodsI also freeze fruit once it is getting older, it lasts for months.

3. Be creative, that is how I came up with the two above

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Ten Memories of 2012

I thought since I'm just sitting on the couch (and a bit hung over from last night's festivities) I could be productive and start 2013 off right with one of my resolutions - to blog more.  My blog is a great way for my friends and family to stay connected with me and my new life in Santa Fe.  It is also a way for me to be creative and grants a space for me to write whatever I desire.

With that said, instead of  listing my resolutions - because let's be honest ... I will do great for the first few months, but will slack the rest of the year.  I highlighted below my Top Ten Memories of 2012.


1. Hiking.  I accomplished the hardest hike of my life, Nambe Lake.  I have faced the fact that I am not the best hiker, however, I really enjoy it.  Nambe Lake was a killer, but I completed it and am very proud of myself. 

2.  Visitors. I had a great time when my mom and dad came to visit. It was my dad's first time in Santa Fe and the first time he ever flew and it was to see me!  We had a great time showing him around.  We also enjoyed Deb and Joe 's visit over the fourth of July and Natalie and Adam's second trip out here in September.  We love showing people around New Mexico and hope more people come to visit in 2013.

3.  My Best Friend's Wedding.  I was able to be apart of my best friend's wedding this past May and am so thankful for that opportunity.  She was the prettiest bride ever and the wedding was a great success. We have six weddings to attend in 2013 and I can't wait to witness the amazing commitment of marriage during each of these. 

4. Tikka.  In June we adopted our second dog, Tikka.  She is such a joy and very lovable.  Andy is hoping to teach her to be a duck dog for next year's hunting season and I love our cuddle time every morning together.  She loves going to doggy daycare, the dog park, and her sister, Kimber.  


5. Navajo Lake.  In August we traveled to Navajo Lake with ten friends. We rented a pontoon boat and camped for an entire weekend.  It was so much fun and Tikka's first time swimming and camping. She loved it and slept the whole way home! 


6. Yoga.  I started practicing yoga in 2012.  I started with a six week introductory class and enjoy it so much I go twice a week now.  I hope to become better this year and work on my balance, strength, and breathing.  

7. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  Andy and I finally experienced Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta.  This annual event hosts hundreds of hot air balloons each October.  We had to wake up at four in the morning in order to see them all take off, but it was so worth it. 

8. Halloween Party Dos.  Andy and I hosted our second Halloween Party.  We had a great turn out and of course it was a blast.  I even made my costume! 

9.  Thanksgiving.  Our friends, Shelly and Marek, hosted a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and I made my first turkey!  It was a huge success and I believe everyone enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed making it. 


10. New Friends.  Last, but not least, our new friends in Santa Fe have made me enjoy my time here even more.  We have met an amazing group of people and I am very thankful for each and every one of them.  I hope these friendships grow throughout the year and many years to come.