Tuesday, May 30, 2017


It is time. I know at this point I have people asking me what I am doing when I am taking pictures of my food so it is time for a full on post about yelp. I started using yelp randomly when on a trip out of state to find places to eat at. I noticed it was an app I could add to my phone and I quickly became obsessed. It is a website and app you can use to look at reviews of restaurants where you are currently. I started using it so much that I applied to become yelp elite. I will talk about how amazing it is to be elite a little later. Overall yelp has changed my life I have meet new people and friends. It has exposed me to new types of foods and pushed me to go to the unknown restaurants to write reviews. Here are my top 5 reasons I love yelp.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
1. Yelp elite events-
Once a month yelp hosts a free event for elite members. You can only go if you RSVP and are selected. I have fallen in love with Great Harvest Bread at one event and drank all the fancy wine at Virgola. These events are important to me not just because I get free food, yelp goodies and drinks but because of the networking I get to do. I meet a ton of cool people from derby people to pastors.  Often they are the highlight of my month.

Summit Brewing Company
2. Review feedback for restaurants-
I write fair reviews. What I mean by that is I write what I experience good and bad.  Sometimes this pains me if the place has good reviews overall but I need to be showing people my experience through my lens or view point. I do this because a lot of times I have the owner reach out to me stating they will change things or thank me for my feedback. There was a local taco place that opened and I mentioned in my review it was impossible to read the menu due to the lack of lighting. They thanked me and actually changed the lighting in the restaurant. I like that I can be that person that helps business's if I can. I mean how many times have you thought that this or that could be changed for the better. Yelp allows you to give that feedback.

3. Trying new things-
Mariachi Loco
I want to try all the places I can as I love writing reviews. As soon as I hear of a new place I bookmark it on the app to try. That bookmark list stares at me till I try the new place. It is a motivator for me to get out of my favorite places and try new things. I have discovered some real gems doing this. I also get excited while traveling to find places along the way. I hardly ever pre-plan my food places now as I travel. I just search on the app around me and pick some place that looks good.

4. Being able to give advice-
I take pictures of everything I eat at each restaurant. At first I did not like doing this I was not good at it and my pictures sucked. I have practiced and now take decent if not good food pictures which is a plus. Also, I now know that the pictures help me remember what I ate last time I went to a certain place. If a coworker asks me "hey what taco did you have at vintage cantina?" I can pull up my pictures at that restaurant and tell them. It has been extremely helpful to me and others. PLUS if you look at a restaurant and see a picture of the food item you want you are more likely to want to eat there. At least I am.

Nom Nom Nom Poutine        
5. Tips and Tricks-
Often I look up a place and there are tips that are helpful before going. Is this place good for happy hour? Does this location only take cash? Do I need a reservation? These types of things can all be answered looking at the reviews and tips on yelp.

In closing I am not paid by yelp. I wish!
I want people to understand my hobby and not hate on me next time they see me out to eat or at a bar taking a bunch of pictures. We each find things we love to do and mine includes ALL the food.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tanpopo Ramen & Sushi Restaurant

Baileys Harbor Cornerstone Pub & Restaurant

Door County Brewing

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Banana (fake) Ice Cream

Who does not love some ice cream? Creamy and rich it is packed with flavor. The issue is all that fat and calories in it. This is a simple ice cream "fake" that I love doing if I have overripe banana's. Easy to do and really tasty.

What you need~
1-3 frozen bananas
Milk (I used almond milk)
Toppings (strawberries and chocolate)

 Cut up your bananas and put them on wax paper (sheet tray). Put in the freezer for at least 2 hours or until frozen. Add some of the bananas to blender and blend with milk. Add as much as you want to eat. I added the chocolate and strawberries at the end. You can add all kinds of toppings to this including peanut butter.

It is always a great way to have something sweet. I actually keep frozen bananas in the freezer for this type of thing so I am always prepared. Any bananas you do not use can be stored in a zip lock freezer bag.
Special shout out to my hubby who surprised me and brought my phone to work when I forgot it this AM. I made this ice cream for him. It is the little things in life that make it extra sweet.
Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, May 22, 2017

Travel Adventures: Milwaukee/ David Gray

Such a rich and strong voice, David Gray was perfection. Easily in the top 5 concerts I have ever went to. I have been under the weather thanks to my allergies. Don't worry I changed my medication and I feel like I am finally on the mend. I bring this up because I was not excited to drag my sore bones all the way to Milwaukee on Friday. We first stopped into REI to get some camping and other gear. After that it was ramen time. While not the best mind blowing ramen of my life it hit the spot. Then it was time to find some parking. We managed to find a secret little parking lot that only charges $5 right by the venue. We then had an hour to kill so we went to a bar Ryan went to once and ordered some homemade old fashions. Lucky for us the weather was mild so roaming Milwaukee was not bad this time of year. Then it was show time. I would say out of all the theatres in Milwaukee The Pabst is the most well preserved and gorgeous. Ryan and I could not stop noticing all the fine details in the venue and how nice the place was.  The bathrooms are clean and the beverages decent in price at $6 for a pint. I only wish the crazy drunk lady next to me would have decided to not actually show up.

Here are some pictures of our adventure.

Swinging Door Exchange has some awesome homemade old fashions.

Hard liquor makes allergies all better right?

The Pabst is a beautiful and cozy theatre.

David Gray. He did not drink any water or anything the entire two hours. He took no breaks. It was just him a guitar and piano. He used a looping machine much like Ed Sheeran does. His voice is even better in person. The man is straight talent. I would rate this concert 10/10. For sure in my top 5 concerts and I go to a lot of concerts.

I promise David is behind us in that bright light. We take such crappy selfies. Still had a blast.

Tanpopo Ramen. Pretty solid ramen. It was not the best I have ever had it lacked a little depth. It did hit the spot since I have been rather ill with allergies. Warmed me up nicely.

I am happy I sucked it up and went to this concert even though I was not feeling the best. It was a really great trip.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Venison Roast

Venison is really the perfect meat. It is lean and takes to being cooked a variety of ways.  My brother Erik stocked us up with some venison on Sunday and I decided to make one of the roasts yesterday in the crockpot. This is an easy meal to make and it was perfect for the rainy weather. You can sub out a pork or beef roast if you do not have venison.

Layer on that jam!

What you need~
1 venison roast (thawed)
1 cup of jalapeno jam (can use any jam)
1 large carrot (cut up)
1 handful of yellow potatoes (cut up)
1/2 handful of radishes (cut up)
1 stalk of celery (cut up)
Natures Seasoning
1 cup of liquid  (I used coke)
1 cup of gravy (I used beef)

Start by placing your roast in the crockpot and coating with the jam. Place the veggies around the roast. Season the vegetables. Pour in the soda or liquid you are using and cook on low for 8 hours. 1/2 hour before serving heat or make your gravy. Pour over roast while serving. The gravy I used was only 25 calories per 1/4 cup which was a good thing because it was a tasty add to the roast. Serve with bread to soak up some of that yummy gravy.

Opening the lid the most delightful smell wafted out.

I do not often do second helpings but this was so good and the veggies turn out so tender.
Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bathroom Renovation: Vanity Part 2

Progress is progress even though it is slow right? I have now managed to finish the second coat of paint and de-stress the entire vanity face. Tuesday we went down to Lowe's in Appleton to pick up our vessel (farm style) sink and faucet. Ryan then had to size out the sink on the vanity so we could put in the order with his dad for the counter top on the vanity. He is making us a butcher block top that I think once stained will make this piece really pop with the white sink. Here are some of our progress pictures I took.

Do not mind the slightly stuck out door. I had to do this because without the hardware it is like impossible to open the bottom drawers without a screw driver.

Slightly de-stressed just the way I want it.

Side shot!
This project is turning into a labor of love but I am super happy with the progress we have made. I cannot wait to continue to work on it by protecting it with layers of polyacrylic. Stay tuned..

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Travel Adventures: Door County Half Marthon & Nicolet Bay 5K

What a fun little trip to Door County. Last week my friend Katie asked if we wanted to go up to Door County with her and her husband. She had broken her femur and was supposed to run this half marathon but still wanted to go cheer on her friends. I love to tag-a-long to things that I do not normal experience. This was such a cool trip. Here are some fun snap shots from our adventuring.

Katie surrounded by all her race friends. I even know some of them!

The flyer with the course and details about the event.

We ate at this Blue Horse Beach CafĂ©. I totally recommend them!

Let's take a selfie at the finish line!

My duck from Alexander's. Too bad it did not taste as good as it looked.

Free kombucha.
Kombucha is any of a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a "symbiotic 'colony' of bacteria and yeast" (SCOBY).
This one tasted like beer.
We did a bunch of things not pictures too such as wine tasting and off road wheel chairing. If you ever doubt a last minute trip is not worth it let go. It will always be a good choice.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Greek Salad

Light and refreshing the perfect spring side to any meal. I noticed I just did a Greek soup which to me shows that I am on a Greek food kick. This is of course my spin on a Greek salad you can modify it as you wish. It makes a large bowl and I ate on it for lunches all week. If it seems to dry out at all toss in some olive oil. I used red pesto from Aldi but you could use green as well. I also used elbow noodles because that is what I had. You can use any sort of pasta.

What you need~
1 cucumber (diced)
1 red onion (diced)
1 green pepper (diced)
1/4 cup Greek olives
1 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup pimentos
1/2 can artichokes (stem removed and diced)
1/4 cup pesto (red)
1/2 box of cooked noodles

Start by preparing all the items listed above. Chop the vegetables and cook your noodles. Then you just combine everything into a large bowl and let chill before serving.

TIP: Always rinse your pasta till it is cool to the touch before adding to your other items.

As I stated above it is a light option that is really flavorful. Perfect to bring to those BBQ cookouts.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, May 1, 2017

Bathroom Renovation: Vanity Part 1

It is all coming together. A couple weeks ago we purchased a dresser off of Craigslist for like $50. We intend to transform it into a vanity for our bathroom. This has not been an easy process and I am forever lucky to have a husband that is so technically able to do woodworking. Here is our progress thus far.

We managed to get the vanity home in one piece. We did a ton of research on refinishing a laminate veneer as this is not like wood. You cannot sand and stain the piece. Therefore, we needed to paint which meant I had to find a color and type of paint that would go well with our rustic themed bathroom. I was for sure not sticking with this fake brown/yellow wood thing going on here.

I do not do well with dust due to some crappy lungs that I have. So I borrowed a flannel from Ryan and bought a mask for sanding. Safety first folks!

We wanted to stick with the same grit sand paper for the whole piece. We bought two types of items for sanding. The long flat pieces worked well for the drawers. I have yet to use the block shaped ones yet. We used 180 grit.

I had a variety of paint brushes since I paint as a hobby. We did buy some new ones for the project and I ended up primarily using the 1 inch brush. This allowed me to control the paint that was put on the vanity in a more detailed way.

For paint we went to Menards and I had planned on making my own chalk paint but Dutch Boy actually makes it premixed already. Chalk paint is not chalkboard paint by the way. It has a matte finish and takes de-stressing well. I wanted a light robin blue color and settled on Aqua in Dutch Boy Chalky Finish. As you can see it is a pretty light color and it already looks great.

Let the sanding begin! I went over each piece rather aggressively right away to get rid of grim and make sure each surface was smooth.  I then used a wet towel to remove any remaining dust. Wiped the surface with a dry towel so it was not wet and began with my first coat of paint.

Notice I was wearing gloves. This keeps sand dust and paint off of my hands. Easy clean up!

Above pictures are after two coats. I lightly sanded between each coat. I currently need to de-stress them and then put a coat of polyurethane on them for protection. I also need to still buy hardware.

While I was doing all this Ryan was working his magic on the guts of the vanity. Reinforcing and removing wood as needed. To fit in the plumping for the sink the two large middle drawers pictured above had to have the faces removed and kept for looks. We had to remove the drawer portion of those. Ryan is debating making the center section a door to be able to still access the plumbing instead of just gluing in those pieces. This piece is a labor of love and I promise to update you with progress as we go.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily