Monthly Archives

March 2011


ABC’s of Me

March 31, 2011

A. Age: 23

B. Bed Size: Queen bed that my mom bought me when I graduated from college. It is so darn comfy!

C. Chore You Dislike: Putting away clean clothes. I don’t mind washing and folding, just putting away.

D. Dogs: Nutmeg, age 4 

E. Essential Start to Your Day: Putting my contacts in and starting the day with a cup of coffee

F. Favorite Color: Light blue

G. Gold or Silver: I’m a silver girl for the most part, especially since my engagement ring is platinum.

H. Height: 5’10 I’ve been the same height since freshman year of high school

I. Instruments You Played: Piano from age 6 to 17, violin for a couple years, and trumpet from 5th grade until high school graduation

J. Job Title: Creative Services Food Editor for Meredith Integrated Marketing

K. Kids: Not for quite a while!

L. Live: Des Moines, Iowa

M. Mom’s Name: Marilyn

N. Nicknames: Most people just call me Madison, but some call me Madi

O. Overnight Hospital Stays: Nope!

P. Pet Peeves: Double negatives, bad manners, people who are unaware of current events, slow walkers (especially at the mall!)

Q. Quote From a Movie: “Tiffany’s, I’m just crazy about Tiffany’s. If I could find a real life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, well then, I would buy some furniture and give the cat a name!” – Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast and Tiffany’s (not sure why, but I just love it)

R. Righty or Lefty: Lefty and proud of it!

S. Siblings: Two younger sisters, Ashley and Taylor, and my soon-to-be siblings Amber, Jake and Jason

T. Time You Wake Up: Between 5 and 5:30 am

U. Underwear: ? Yes, I wear them.

V. Vegetables You Don’t Like: Kale and Swiss Chard

W. What Makes You Run Late: Having a tough time picking out an outfit, trying to photograph a recipe for the blog before work, watching too much Today Show

X. X-Rays You’ve Had: I’ve had x-rays on my neck a few times because I lack the curve that most people have in their neck.

Y. Yummy Food You Make: All on this blog!

Z. Zoo Animal Favorites: It’s been so long since I’ve been to the zoo, but I have always loved the tigers and lions at the zoo.


Wedding Shoes

March 30, 2011

A couple weeks ago, my mom came to do some work on the wedding. We crafted, shopped for decorating supplies and bought my wedding shoes (pictured above)!

Since I’m quite tall (just shy of 5’10) I was serious about buying flats or something with a very, very low heel. Typically, I don’t shy away from high heels. Joey is tall (around 6’4) so that’s not an issue, but the last thing I wanted was to look back at my wedding photos and see me, towering over everyone else in a white dress.

My mom, however, has never met a flat she likes and a heel she doesn’t, so after a bit of debate and a lot of browsing, I landed on a shoe that both of us love. In fact, as the days go by I love my shoes more and more. I know that wedding shoes, for some people, are a huge deal. Brides spend hundreds of dollars on the perfect shoe, but I am not that bride.

These shoes are so unbelievably comfortable, have a sturdy, low heel, and a pearly exterior that compliments the look and feel of my dress.

P.S. – I got a call yesterday that my dress came in! I can hardly wait to go try it on and get the fittings started. 


The Puppy Post

March 29, 2011

Those of you that follow me on Twitter are well aware that last week Joey and I welcomed this little lady into our soon-to-be family. Her name is Nutmeg, and while 4-years-old really isn’t a ‘puppy’ anymore, I have a tendency to call all dogs puppies, no matter the age or size.

Little Nut came to us via Florida, where she was one of four family dogs living with my dad, step-mom and little sisters. She is now the only dog in the house and taking quite well to all the attention. 

I sincerely hope you all aren’t opposed to the occasional puppy post, because I am quite smitten with this little nut.


Spinach-Basil Pesto

March 28, 2011

What a weekend! One of Joey’s groomsmen drove down from Minneapolis to Des Moines for the weekend to spend time with us before the wedding. He travels quite a bit for work and is one hard guy to get a hold of so we were lucky to have a whole weekend with him. Most weekends when Joey and I are together, we tend to go to the same restaurants because we know what we love. But having a guest here this weekend we managed to try three new restaurants in one weekend!

Big thumbs up to Gusto Pizza and Drake Diner. Thumbs down to India Star: delicious Naan but terrible service and average grub aside from the bread. Moving on…

At the end of last week, I found myself with an unusually full fridge. Typically, my fridge looks a little bare, and a messy fridge full of leftovers that won’t get eaten drive me crazy. However, I also hate letting food go to waste, so when I found a carton of fresh basil and a bag of spinach on its last leg in my fridge, making pesto was the only thing to do.

My earliest memories of pesto revolved around pricey clam shell containers of herbs in dubious amounts. However, along the way I realized that pesto is pretty much the most economical things you can make. Leftover herbs, leafy greens, nuts and cheese can easily be blended into a pesto paste that is incredibly versatile.

Spinach-Basil Pesto

*2 cups spinach
*1 cup fresh basil
*1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1/3 cup chopped walnuts
*1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
*2 cloves garlic
*Olive oil
*Salt and pepper to taste

*In the bowl of a food processor, combine spinach, basil, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, lemon juice and garlic cloves. Process with on-off turns, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until ingredients are starting to combine.
*With food processor running, drizzle olive oil until desired consistency is reached (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil).
*Serve tossed into pasta, spread onto bread, as a sandwich spread or dip for veggies.

Happy cooking!



Weighty Issues

March 25, 2011

I never really thought I would be someone who had a set of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos to share. But here I am, with said set of photos, talking about my journey to health. For a number of reasons, college really wasn’t my favorite stage of life. Growing up I was a habitual early-riser who kept a full schedule of activities and had a gym in my basement. The college routine of late nights, a less than stellar diet and inconsistent exercise didn’t suit me. Sure, I knew a lot about fitness and nutrition, but I wasn’t really applying to my life or treating my body the way it deserved to be treated.

During my college ‘dieting years’ I tried to stick to no more than 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day, deriving most of my calories from whole grain carbs, animal proteins and a few fruits and veggies thrown in along the way. I was exercising, and even trained for a half marathon, but was inconsistent with trips to the gym and never bothered to weight train. Slowly, throughout college, my weight crept up to 160 pounds (I’m just shy of 5’10). Although I was by no means unhealthy, I didn’t feel like myself and wanted to make a change.

Shortly after college graduation and moving into my own apartment, I made a number of changes to positively impact my health and well-being. My sleep schedule became more regular, I renewed my love for and commitment to exercise (mainly in the form of cardio) and decided to give vegetarianism a try, forcing me to focus on building meals around more veggies, fruits and whole grains.

{Before: With my cousin, Curtis, in August 2007}
 {After: With Joey in March, 2011}
Within a few months, I started to see results. My vegetarian ‘experiment’ turned into a full-blown lifestyle, my energy levels increased and I started to see a few pounds disappear. Before long I realized not only was I consuming more fruits and veggies, I was eating more calories, too. Instead of eating according to calories, I had started to listen more to my body and what it needed to feel happy and satisfied. 

Most recently (about 6 months ago) I started to incorporate weight training into my fitness routine three to four days a week to build muscle, burn calories and tone my body. The difference I’ve noticed in my arms and abs in particular is amazing.  Between the weight training, vegetarianism, commitment to cardio and increased caloric consumption, the extra pounds fell of. It was as if my metabolism ‘light switch’ had been turned on. Today, I am no longer in the process of trying to lose weight now that my body has settled at my ‘happy weight’ of 145 pounds.

I am, by no means, an expert on the subjects of diet, nutrition and fitness, just someone who is passionate about the topics.  If you’re unsure of how much protein, calories and other nutrients you should be consuming, the USDA has a great website to guide your diet which can be found here.

Here’s to living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle!