Category Archives: Uncategorized

One week ago today, history was made

Reblogged from anna christina:

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Last week, voters approved gay marriage and rejected a constitutional ban on gay marriage for the first time in American history. I was proud to be an American and especially proud to be a Minnesotan. To be part of such an important moment in our nation's history was a rush of emotions - excitement, pride, and even a little bit of disbelief.

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FITspiration Friday: BACKS

Reblogged from Bess Be Fit:

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Good morning friends!! I am SO HAPPY that it is FRIDAY and it's absolutely GORGEOUS outside!! I am making myself some oatmeal for breakfast and then I'm going to go out on a run and soak up some sun before my brother and I head into the city tonight.  We are meeting my uncle and cousins for dinner and then going to see THE HUNGER GAMES!

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I am reblogging this for a few reasons. I talk about Bess Be Fit's Fitspiration Friday in a few of my posts (it is one of my favorite things about her blog), and I've had a really long and crazy week at work so this is a way to still share with my peeps through that craziness!

HBR Article Review & Women in Corporate Leadership

Happy Friday!

Today, I read a good article and attended a Women in Corporate Leadership lunch.  I’d like to share my thoughts on the article and the Women in Leadership lunch.  I know this isn’t the perfect topic for a Friday when we want to take a break from work, but it is what is on my mind so it is what I’m going to write about :)

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.

This article talks about how multi-tasking uses up our energy reserves faster and takes us, on average, 25% longer to complete tasks (and the quality is probably much lower than if you focused exclusively on the task).  This is exactly how I’ve felt the past few weeks.  I’ve been double-booked and in meetings from 7am-4pm a lot of days so I’ve been trying to keep up on email, get performance reviews written, and move my tasks along while I’m on conference calls so I don’t fall (further) behind.  

At the end of the day, I’ve been so exhausted I can barely form an intelligent thought, yet I still haven’t felt like I made progress on the important things at work.  I struggle with this in my personal life too, where I am on my phone while watching tv so I’m not fully enjoying my downtime or my mind drifts to what I need to get done at home when I’m having a conversation so I’m not fully present.   

My solution?  Lately, I’ve been making more conscious decisions to keep my phone in the other room when I’m at home or leave my laptop in my office when I head to meetings at work.  It is something I will need to work on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, but I think it will make me a much more engaged and productive worker and a better friend… while also making sure I leave the office with a little more energy.

Women in Corporate Leadership lunch

The host of this event was Dale Kurschner, Editor-in-Chief of Twin Cities Business.  The format was a presentation of the recent study on women in leadership and board positions and then a panel discussion.  It was interesting to see the facts behind women in leadership:

  • Women represent 40% of the workforce
  • 51% of middle management roles are held by women (which was surprising since that is a higher percentage than the general population of women in business)
  • The average percent of women on boards is 14.2%
  • Less than 3% of Fortune 1000 companies have a female CEO

In all honesty, I don’t really like the whole ”women need equal representation” talk.  It implies that women are promoted because they are women, not because they are qualified.  I’ve worked too hard in my career to have my qualifications be dismissed as a gender thing.  I think that is the attitude of the typical Milennial or Gen X female.  I also think that attitude is proof that Baby Boomer women were successful in forging the way for women to be seen as equals in the workplace.  I don’t feel like I have to prove myself as a woman, I feel like I have to prove myself as an employee.  The Baby Boomers shattered the ceiling, changed the perception, and gave me the confidence to have that attitude. 

Now, I will step off my soapbox.  Obviously, women are under-represented in top-level corporate roles.  The largest factor is probably that most people who lead Fortune 1000 companies are typically in the generation where women have been under-represented.   When women were in leadership roles, it was often in HR or Communications; whereas, a CEO usually has a strong financial, operations or sales background.  I am not defending the low percent, but I think it is a stretch to say it means we don’t have equal opportunity.  What I think it means is there was once an imbalance, which led to a very small pipeline of women leaders with the right experience to become CEO.  It takes a long time to build a pipeline of good leaders.  As the current generation of CEO’s retire, it will make way for the next generation that has a strong pipeline of women leaders to take over.  I will be very surprised if we don’t see the number of female CEO’s drastically increase over the next 5-10 years. 

I found the data to be interesting (and not surprising) and the panel to just be “meh”.  They weren’t very energetic and the topics were the same you’d hear at any other luncheon.  The gist of it was:

  • The Milennials want more flexibility in their work – how, where and what they work on.  All of these companies recognized that they will need to provide this flexibility if they want to retain talent.
  • You can have it all, but usually not at the same time.  At some point, you need to make trade-offs.  The group that came up a lot in this discussion was young mothers and fathers.  The law firm Fredrikson & Byron lets their Associates work part-time so they can stay on track to reach partner and spend more time with their kids.  (obviously the partner track is longer in this case)
  • Having a diverse board and Executive team leads to more diversity in thought, which leads to better decision-making. 
  • Be yourself.  People can connect better with people who are genuine.  This is something I’ve found to be the most helpful in my career.  I am honest and straightforward, so I can usually build up trust pretty quickly that I’m here to work hard and make the right decisions. 

Have you read any good articles lately?  What are your thoughts on my thoughts about women in leadership?

A Legend is Born: Coca Cola Founder's Day

Reblogged from Foodimentary - National Food Holidays:

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Did you know that Coca Cola comes from the use of coca and kola?  Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by (Doc) John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century.

Food Finds for Coca Cola…

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I love this blog. I thought you might enjoy the history of a well known soft drink :)

Rest in Peace, Grandma Muriel

Mom (Sharon) & Grandma (Muriel), December 2011

I spent a couple hours at the hospital yesterday with my Grandma Muriel. She was on morphine to ease her pain and was slated to go into hospice care today. My grandma was always a pillar of strength, the kind of person who never needed anything from anyone. She was a single mother of four kids who worked 12+ hour days at factory to support her family in a time when women didn’t do that kind of thing.  But, then again, she never was the type to care what people thought of her or live her life the way others thought she should.  Needless to say, it was difficult to see her in a state of helplessness; and, at times, hard to believe I would be losing her.  It always feels like there will be more time.  Just as I got home from the hospital, I got the call that my grandma had passed away.

My grandma is the second close family member I’ve lost within the past four months.  My aunt Kim passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 49 in December.  Somehow, I expected my grandma’s death to be a little easier since she was 91.  But, it wasn’t.  Death is sad, no matter how old the person is and the circumstances.  I’m not great in these types of situations because I don’t like people to see me cry and I never know what to say because I know there are no words that can take away the pain.  The one thing that I’ve noticed while mourning my aunt and grandma is the good memories really do help ease the sadness.  I have a lot of great memories of my grandma, a few of which I will share.

SHE WAS CONSIDERATE.

Before I met Matt, I never dated anyone seriously enough for my family to meet. Of course, this caused my family to worry that I would never meet anyone – especially when I got my cat.  (side note: Sunny is one awesome cat)

When my brothers started having kids, my grandma crocheted a baby blanket for their oldest kids. Well, being the planner that my grandma is, she made me a gender-neutral baby blanket should I ever (finally) meet someone and settle down.

I even still use the blanket my grandma made for me when I was a little girl:

I am happy to have the blanket from my grandma for my future child.  But, what really touched me about this gesture was her intentions.  She didn’t make me this blanket because she thought I needed to meet someone and have babies to be happy.  She was happy for me no matter where my life took me.  She made the blanket because, if I did meet someone, she wanted to make sure my child had a blanket from her just like their cousins.  I am very sad that she won’t be at my wedding, but also very happy that she got to know Matt and see us get engaged.

SHE DIDN’T TAKE HERSELF TOO SERIOUSLY.

My grandma had a great sense of humor.  When I visited her last week, she said, “Some people will do anything to get out of work!” (and, because my mom has the same sense of humor, she said “and some people will do anything to get visitors!”).  She liked to make people laugh, even when she was in a lot of pain.  She always told Matt if she was 30 years younger, she’d give me a run for my money.  I always found that funny because she’d still be 61!

SHE WAS ALWAYS THERE WHEN WE NEEDED HER.

The memories that stick out the most about my grandma are the days when she would take care of me because I was home sick from school.  Sometimes, she would take me “bumming around” (her term for shopping) to fabric stores or to the coffee counter in Northtown Mall.  When we were goofing around one day and an iron fell on my younger brother’s head, my grandma was the one who took us to the doctor for him to get stitches.  If my parents had to leave work every time one of us four kids were sick or got hurt, they would have been gone most of the time.  So, my grandma was always there to help.

It has been an emotional week, but I’m happy that my grandma is no longer suffering.  She left me with a lot of good memories to remember her by.

Can't Make It To The Gym.. Try These!

Reblogged from Eat well, Live well:

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Here are some quick and easy tips to try at home when you don't have time to make it to a gym or for an intense workout... It doesn't take long.  Think about what else you would be doing during the time it would take to do these and feel great afterwards!

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This is a great way to get in a quick and FREE workout at home! (www.bodyrock.tv is another site with good free exercises)

Simplicity Tip #56 - Food & Money...

Reblogged from makinglifesimple2011:

This tip is an easy one...well, easy to say anyway!  Sometimes we are persuaded by convenience, but try this next tip for one whole week!

Tip #56 

A quick and easy way to start eating healthier is to simply stop eating out at fast food restaurants!  This will not only help you to eat healthier, but also help you save some money!!

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I love this - so true! It is hitting two birds with one stone.

It is Monthly Bagel Date Day!

This morning we had our monthly bagel date!

 

In 2011, we let our love of bagels get a little too crazy (they were nearly an everyday occurence for a while!) so we decided to have them once a month in 2012 and have fun with it by making it a date.  This month, we chose Bruegger’s Bagels because I had this coupon:

(who doesn’t love a good exclamation mark on a coupon?!  It’s like the coupon is just as excited about the deal as I am!)

Matt also had a coupon so we saved $3.58!  Needless to say, it has been a good start to our Sunday.  (Did you know that Bruegger’s has a unlimited refill mug club?  Abby describes it in a This Life in Motion post)

I have to admit that I debated this month’s date a little bit because the bagel and cream cheese is 12 of my 26 Weight Watchers points for the day.  I thought about dipping into my 49 weekly bonus points but I did plenty of that for my wine at Farkle night.

 

I plan to work out later today to gain activity points and rely a lot on hearty servings of fruits and vegetables to get me through the day.  I usually like to keep my breakfasts under 6 points, but the monthly bagel date is worth the splurge. :)  

Speaking of breakfast and Weight Watchers, this is the awesome breakfast that Matt and I made after we got home from the Juvenile Diabetes walk yesterday (5 total points and it even has cheese!):

The egg scramble serves 2 and is 3 points per serving:

  • 2/3 cup Egg Beaters Egg Whites
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • bell peppers
  • celery
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

The Sara Lee Delightful bread is only 1 point per slice (most other breads are 2-3 points per slice)  and the apple butter is 1 point per tablespoon.

Where do you choose to splurge in your diet?  What is one of your favorite healthy meals?

I got a crown… and not the sparkly kind.

Today was the end of my tooth debacle, hopefully.  I hadn’t been to the dentist in a really long time so I promised Matt that I would go this year.  In January, I had my first cleaning appointment in an embarrassingly long time.  That turned into fillings, which turned into a root canal, which turned into a temporary crown, which led to my permanent crown today.  The lesson?  Regular cleanings would have prevented the $1200 cost of this whole situation so I’ve already scheduled my next cleaning for July and found a list of food and drink that are best for my teeth (thank you, WebMD!).

The positive part of today’s appointment is that I was in and out within 20 minutes…  after the other appointments, I didn’t expect it to be a simple “pop the crown on the tooth” procedure.  Now I have a very pretty and very real looking crown on my tooth! :)

I decided to take advantage of my unexpected free-time and make an impromptu Sam’s Club visit.  Last time we were there, we bought a 20 year supply of pickles.  I told myself I wouldn’t engage in any such craziness this time.  Luckily, I didn’t — but I WILL be eating a lot of carrots and oranges over the next week.  This is one of delicious-looking oranges:

*** Complete change of subject!

These are some of my favorite blog entries today:

Well, I am off to relax for the evening.  Happy Friday!

Roasted Eggplant & Kale Penne

Today was one of those days where the last thing I wanted to do after work was cook.  Luckily, Matt took control of dinner prep tonight because this dish was worth it!  Ok, I haven’t had a dish from Clean Eating that hasn’t been delicious so I feel like that is just stating the obvious.

(yes, we went overboard on the kale but I don’t regret it)

The dish itself was really good, but I wasn’t a fan of the prep.  The cooking times listed in the recipe were true (about 30 minutes), but it is the type of dish where parts are prepared separately and mixed together at the end.  We have a small kitchen and our counter space is limited so this can test our patience with each other (especially toward the end of the work week!).  Overall, the meal was still worth the dirty dishes.

I was, however, a big fan of the leftovers!  Hooray for lunch tomorrow and Saturday!  By the way, in case you’re wondering (and even if you aren’t), Snapware is great.

Roasted Eggplant & Kale Penne (with toasted pine nuts & feta).  Serves 6.  Hands-on time: 30 min.  Total time: 30 min.

Nutrients per serving: Calories 215, Total Fat 8g, Sat. Fat 1g, Carb 34g, Fiber 7g, Sugars 2g, Protein 8g, Sodium 216mg, Cholesterol 1.7mg

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8oz whole wheat penned (we used a low carb white pasta because it is what we had in our cupboard)
  • 1 bunch kale, stalks removed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (time saver: use a garlic press)
  • 2 oz reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp torn fresh oregano leaves (we didn’t use fresh and it still tasted good)

STEP ZERO: I am adding this in because we always end up spending more time on pasta dishes than expected because we forget this step.  Start boiling your water now!

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 400F.  Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, careful not to burn (we slightly burned ours and they still tasted great!), three minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and set aside.

STEP TWO: Drizzle eggplant with one tbsp oil and season with salt and black pepper.  Toss to combine.  Spread eggplant out in a single layer.  Roast in oven at 400F, stirring once, until soft and starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

STEP THREE: Meanwhile, cook penne according to package directions, until tender but firm.  Reserve half-cup cooking water and drain pasta.

STEP FOUR: Chop kale roughly.  Heat remaining tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add crushed red pepper and garlic and cook for one minute.  Using tongs, fold in kale and season with salt and black pepper.  Add one tbsp water and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale wilts and becomes soft, about three minutes.

STEP FIVE:  In a large serving bowl, combine penne, eggplant, kale, pine nuts and quarter-cup reserved cooking water, adding more if necessary.  Top with feta and oregano and serve.

Let me know what you think if you cook this meal!