Case of the Mondays

I think I am already off to a better start than last year with blog posts and it is only March. Holler.

Let’s talk about Mondays.

I don’t fully believe in Mondays. I mean, I get it they happen. They do. It’s a real thing. Got it. But this perpetual weekly, “case of the Mondays” vibe, lets talk that…

Today was Monday. I have now created peace with knowing that I shouldn’t plan my days, I let them happen. Hollie and Brian love projects, they love community projects, and they love to have 85 things going on at the same time. This fits my mold. I went to school at UW-Eau Claire, changed my major seven times, transferred for 17 hours to play sports, to transfer right back, sorry mom and dad. I then graduated in four years, to then move to Boulder, Colorado, twice, to move right back, twice, again sorry mom and dad. Non-related side story, my first major choice in college was to design sneakers…I don’t know, sometimes I wish my parents killed my dreams.

BIg BLue

One of Hollie and Brian’s Projects…the Big Blue Classic

Anyways, because Hollie and Brian love projects, this past weekend was the Big Blue Classic, a youth wrestling tournament. So my day started by kind of tying up the loose ends of the weekend. I went to unload one of the vehicles we used to transfer items back to Mill Haven Foods from the school. I hit the button to open the trunk….and bam, three gallons of salsa, sodas, and chips all over the ground. Mind you it’s 8 am, I mean hello Monday.


Yeah, no joke.

Luckily, I did all of this, with my new coworker/friend Lindsey. So there we are…pop rolling away, hissing out soda in all directions, and salsa splatters all the way up to the knees. I’m short, but it still was an impressive splatter height. And you know what…I didn’t hate it, I actually laughed really hard, several times. I mean I hated smelling like a fiesta for the rest of the day, sorry Sandy. But it’s a memory…and it’s a lesson to not just open a trunk.

Craft Gray

Here’s Lindsey matching her design to her outfit.


So I read a bit. And I really enjoying reading from successful go getters and their paths to success. There is this fella named George Lois, he is a brilliant marketing and advertising genius that is incredibly blunt. One of his bullets that struck home with me is, “Throughout your career, be thrilled that you’re doing work you love.” I believe in what I do, I’m oddly intrigued by the next goal, the next project, the next whatever. I want to make things better, I want to get to the end faster, I want to make things look fantastic, I want things to go flawlessly, and I want the projects we do to tap new markets. But most importantly I want to do all of these things with the “right” people sharing the same goal, the same vision, and to be able to smile while doing it, even if it’s shoveling salsa off the ground. I mean, come on, a full time job at the minimum is 40 hours a week, we might as well spend that with good company.



Yes, I have books.

I get it, it’s a crazy idea, to love your job. However, a funny thing happens when you start smiling and you start connecting with what you do. Work becomes fun, “work becomes worship.” Another George Lois bullet. I’m odd, I get it, I live to work, I live to reach goals and push myself to the next thing. A lot of my non Mill Haven Food friends, don’t understand me. It’s ok, I don’t understand them either.


“If you do not work passionately (even furiously) at being the best in the world at what you do, you fail your talent…”

So here’s a challenge, connect with those 40 or so hours. Goals aren’t just for kids, they are for everyone, create a list of things you’d like to accomplish, what you’d like to strive for in the near future. And darnit, chase those dreams, learn new things, make your work your worship. Be passionate, be proud, and just go.

Also, just a heads up, we’re hiring. So maybe, come chase goals with us.


Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hollie and Brian are literally ridiculous with generosity. Check out what they did for us this year!


So here’s a quick recap, I need to blog more. Got it, thank you.

So, last year I talked about the proper way to make room for round three and four, and to skip the bun, because it’s a BUN. Need a refresher? Click here.

This year, I’m going to talk about really embracing the being thankful thing, not just Black Friday Eve Thanksgiving, but every day.

Examples are necessary, I know…

So here’s a small list of moments that I thought I was living the dream this past year. Mind you, I’m boring, and I love it.

I bought a house from one of the neatest families in the history of neat families. They could probably go on a TV show and compete for funniest family. I will not guarantee first place, but top 14 and at least a bedazzled participation ribbon. So, last Thanksgiving, my new neighbors, who are family to the original homeowner, dropped off lemon bars. I have not returned the favor; for fear that they would instantly remove me from the neighborhood. BUT how nice of them; that was definitely a thankful moment, I inhaled all of them, basically in one sitting. I love lemon. My Grandpa Hutch was a huge fan of lemon. We’d make homemade ice cream and he’d always remind my grandma, “more lemon Vera.” I was hooked. I don’t think my Grandma loved lemon, but she loved Hutch, so she tolerated lemon. That’s love.

Yes, home. I’m thankful for all the moments that have turned my house into my home.  I had super poor planning into buying my house. I didn’t have a lot of things; no chairs, no table, no couch, no plates, really nothing past my bed and a lawnmower. THEN the busiest family I know spent their Saturday forcibly fitting their old couches into my house. Yes, I’m incredibly thankful they gifted me their couches, but their determination, with my dad, to hypothetically fit a square in a circle, and be successful was awesome. Nothing else mattered to them in those moments, but to get me these couches. I’m super positive if I ever do move, the couches will have to be included with my house. Side note, the wedge is in my basement. But seriously, I am so lucky.


Well and shoes, I had shoes.

Last one about my house, I could go on forever. My pops often comes over and takes out my garbage, puts knobs on my cabinets, checks my lawnmower, checks my furnace, checks my tank, really he’s my maintenance man that ensures my house stays standing. He’s my hero.

The burger in Superior. Heck, all of Superior. I sincerely wish I met my current people earlier in life.waterfall

This is a two part-er, deal with it. Technically, I don’t have a sister, my parents decided after me, that they were done, for obvious reasons…BUT I have a Hannah. I skipped prom in high school, I’m not a huge fan of puffy dresses and my parents bought me shoes and a softball bat instead. I still have them.  ANYWAYS, Hannah’s first prom I was with her mom and her when she picked out her prom dress. I don’t care about prom, I don’t care about dresses, but this was special. Hannah found the most beautiful dress and in that moment, I was the biggest fan of prom and dresses. The next year, Hannah became even cooler when she skipped prom and we crafted together. That was also neat. And one of my favorite moments in my new home.


I had the opportunity to go to the LSU Badger game at Lambeau this year with one my forever friends, Elliott. Yeah, huge deal, huge game, just beyond awesome. I’ve never been to Lambeau. It’s beautiful and overwhelming. They also won. BUT, I think my favorite part was tailgating in the front of a random house with the family that owned the property.  The grandmother brought out pictures of her son that recently biked Ireland. The odd hospitality and warmth they showed, was bizarre, and incredible. Just proof that you can meet new friends, anywhere.


It was unreal.

Travis, Hollie’s brother, ran another 100 miler this year in Kansas. Kansas is no Superior, but it’s really nice to be away with good people and only having to focus on the next pit stop and what Trav might need.img_6358

This 100 miler was a bit different. He didn’t bring pacers and to find out that we might have to pace was, well, terrifying.  Luckily, for our sake, it was around mile 80 or so. We did a 5 minute jog followed by 5 a minute walk. He snuck in two 10 minute jogs, but that’s ok. My favorite part was after the 5 minute jogs, when he would tell me good job. Fella, what? You are on mile 9,000 and complimenting me. It was weird and awesome and I’m forever thankful for the time I get to spend with Travis and his wife Becky. They are uncomfortably good, genuinely happy people.img_6423

SO there it is folks. Some of my favorite moments, of 2015 – 2016 that won’t appear on Black Friday.  My advice for this week, for the rest of the month, for the rest of the year, life, whatever; slow down, embrace the everyday moments and how special they really are, because darn it they really are special.

All the best my friends, p.s. skip the bun.

Don’t Go Chasin Waterfalls…

It’s been a long time; I shouldn’t have left you, without some more blog posts to scroll through.

GREAT NEWS, I still am employed. Not so great news, if you read the last post…about New Year’s Resolutions and such, I’ve failed mine, miserably. My crock pot is still in its original boxing. I did however; ruin my knife set…not on food. I painted my windows shut and I needed to get those back open.


It was a super proud day in Lowe Jr.’s Household…not so much Sr.’s

But let’s not talk about my shortcomings and house ownership skills.

We’ve talked a lot about health, eating, fitness, but we haven’t talked about the importance of making time.

We recently came back from the North Shore for the Superior 100. Hollie’s brother, Travis, is one of these freak athletes that is capable of running more than 40 yards. Seriously he can run around 175,960 more yards or much more easily understandable 100 miles. I mean how does one find out they are capable of these things? It’s like hey, let’s balance on a trapeze bar with just my neck, while playing a drum. Uh what? Yes.



Side note, we just added an IT fella, Chris, if he ever goes through my computer, he will be so confused on what I save.

Ok, back to Superior. Hollie and I went up a day early this year to explore for ourselves. Every year when we leave, we are always, “Yeah, let’s make time and backpack for 84 years soon.” And then every year Superior comes and we have failed on last year’s goal. But this year was different! We made time, a day.


I heart Lake Superior.

So the day before the race started we set our sights on first exploring Gooseberry State Park. This is where the Superior 100 starts. Unfortunately for sightseeing, Trav is fast. So we can hear the falls, but we never get to see the falls and explore because Trav is fast and I drive slow.


Trav being fast.

So my job in the morning was to figure out which way to go, my internal GPS system is terrible, and my map reading skills are questionable. Luckily, Hollie has no interest in even attempting to look at a map, she even found a puddle and dropped our map in it. We gave up and asked a Park Ranger. She informed us that she, herself, has never seen more than a quarter of the park. But she gave us directions. Hollie and I were super pumped, we immediately disregarded the directions.  To be fair, I don’t know if we just didn’t want to use them or we genuinely tried and failed right at the gate. Ok. I do know…seriously though we have other skills.

Luckily, we didn’t look like novices, because Hollie had her Camelbak. And everyone, I mean everyone asked us questions. Hollie eagerly answered every single question, 97% of the time she was wrong.  We ran into two fellas that had been on the trail for 7 days. Or if Hollie told the story, “We met Ricki’s future husband and his best man on the trail.” He did have a great mustache. We wondered how long they thought we’d been on the trail, we figured probably the same.


Gooseberry Falls. 🙂

Semi related side story…Sometimes Hollie has really good ideas or really understands how bad we are at directions. She packed lunch, PB&J’s. After making mine in the morning, she said, “Hopefully it’s cool I licked the knife before I made yours.”  Sweet.

After successfully getting lost 4 more plus times, it became obvious we were always in the right place. Time didn’t matter just the moment, just the place. We left Gooseberry to head to Tettegouche State Park. We stopped several times in what should have been a 20-minute drive. We explored things and places we would have missed if we were on a schedule or if we set a plan. We saw more than what we expected, but really we saw what we deserved.


Black Beach. Not on the schedule.


We made it to Tettegouche. It was neat. But I already had my vacation, my mind already hit nothing, but just to be present. Semi related side story, Hollie doesn’t like bridges, Tettegouche has one insane bouncy bridge of fear. Her head spun when she told me to get to the other side of the bridge so she could cross it without me on it at the same time. There were also some other choice words…but I blacked out in fear and can’t fully remember them. When the day was done we hiked 13 miles or so. But, we felt like we could take on the world, and agreed that we’d take on a longer, more than a day hike once again.


Bridge of Fear

So here it is, make time. Health isn’t a weight, it isn’t age, it isn’t a rep count, it’s an overall feeling. After 13 or so miles, eating a burger at a bar right on Lake Superior, I couldn’t have felt healthier. I was in great company, had a great view, and a darn good burger.

So, go chasing waterfalls, don’t stick to the streams and the lakes that you’re used to, it’s healthy.

I’m going to leave you how my trail husband said his farewell, “peace, love, and goodbye.”

Soda Pressing…

In high school my brother quit drinking soda. I’m the younger sibling, so naturally I thought everything my brother did was cool, so I also needed to quit drinking soda. To be honest, we both have minor relapses now and then.  It’s hard for me to reject Red Bull, it tastes like gummy bears and fun.

Then, I didn’t know why he quit drinking soda, I thought it was what the cool kids were doing.  To my surprise I found out soda was actually not remotely good to drink.  In fact, there is no nutritional value to a soda. But that’s not the worst part…

When I was younger I was a fan of David Letterman’s Top Ten.  Now I’m 26 going on 85 and really enjoy sleeping after the 10 pm news, and haven’t seen it in years. So let’s do the Top Ten Reasons not to drink Soda a la David Letterman.

Suits aren’t my thing

10. Teeth are neat. There’s a real reason why dentists say avoid sweets and soda.  Soda is FULL of sugar. The sugar in soda is turned to acid by the bacteria on our mouth. That acid then eats at our teeth enamel and cause tooth decay. One 12 oz Mountain Dew contains 11 teaspoons of sugar. And you Diet Soda folk aren’t in the clear either.  Diet Soda contains citric acid, again, bye bye enamel.

9. Big Bones are for dinosaurs. Danish researchers discovered that Soda contributes to fat buildup around skeletal muscles and around the liver. This buildup can contribute to diabetes and insulin resistance.

8. We flush…and redrink. This one grosses me out a bit.  The artificial sweeteners that are used in diet sodas don’t break down…So the exit our body just like they entered.  Then when they get to waste-water treatment plants, they can’t stop them from entering the waterways. A test of 19 municipal water supplies in the US showed a low level presence of sucralose in each one. So that’s sweet…yes pun intended.

7. I forgot. Brominated vegetable oil, bka, BVO is added to prevent the flavoring from separating. It’s also an industrial chemical used as a flame retardant in plastics.Even worse, it can cause memory loss.

6. “I am 16 going on 73…” A study published in a 2010 issue of FASEB Journal reported that lab rats that had been consuming excessive phosphate levels (equivalent to that found in soda) died five weeks earlier than rats with a normal phosphate diet.

5. BPA un-free. There has been a war on BPA and for good reason. My momsicle made me toss out several water bottles, even nostalgic ones in fear of being attacked. BUT aluminum cans, not just plastic bottles, contain BPA.  The BPA keeps the acid in the soda from reacting with the metal. Companies are working on finding a BPA free one time use plastic bottle but have seemed to neglect the cans. BPA has been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more.

4.  It’s Diet Though. Diet soda means relatively nothing.  There has been serveral studies that prove that people that do drink diet soda daily increase overall weight. When our liver takes on too much glucose the excess is converted to body fat. So to quote Mean Girls, “First you bloat, then you drop 10 pounds like that.” Yep, you just bloat.

3. Brown soda spray tans. Yep, brown soda isn’t naturally dark. The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 2011. There were trying to ban the artificial caramel coloring used to make brown cola brown. Why? Well, 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, both I can’t come close to pronouncing, are known to cause cancer in animals. California’s Proposition 65 declared 6 micrograms (per person daily) of 4-methylimidazole would be enough to pose a cancer threat. In a 20 oz bottle (diet or regular brown sodas) there is upwards to 200 micrograms.  And these ingredients are completely unnecessary because they are just for coloring.

2. Pick-up lines and soda are family, both extremely corny. There is currently a ton of hoopla about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Over 80% of the United States’ corn supply isn’t GMO free.  Basically we have been creating a super corn that is capable of defending itself. That meaning the corn is basically a pesticide itself. And soda if full of CORN. So there’s that…

1. “I can’t wait for the caffeine to kick in so I can get my caffeine headache, not sleep, faster heartbeat, anxiety, become irritable, and even nauseous.” Yes, that might be a bit extreme.  But caffeine can lead to all of those things. Caffeine dependency is one of the worst habits to break because caffeine withdrawals can happen within 12 hours of your last sip. So it’s a constant cycle of need.


For the record, I only watched the Top Ten, I’m Team Jay Leno. I might also have quit drinking soda when Surge was discontinued. Any 90’s birthday party was not complete without Surge.

Wa Du Shuda 5k and Half Marathon

Race season is upon us!

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Come out and BEAT our course records!

5k: Female 19:26 / Male 17:12

Half Marathon: Female 1:40:56 / Male 1:21:46

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