December 26, 2014

Holiday Hugs For Everyone

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!

I can’t believe another Christmas has come and gone! The holidays are always so much fun but they go by way too fast. We drove down from Pittsburgh last Saturday night and kicked off our holiday activities with a Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt. My cousin put this event together for all of the Huber Cousins. We broke up into 4 teams and had 2 hours to find almost 80 types of Christmas lights. Our car was the best - we found a real live Santa sitting in his yard handing out candy canes! We all ended up back at my cousin’s house for food and board games. We can’t wait to continue this tradition next year!

On Christmas Eve morning, Justin drove down to his Grandma’s house. We still haven’t figured out this whole “merge the traditions” thing, but we’re working on it. He made it back in time for pictures in front of the tree and Christmas Eve mass with the Huber family.

The long standing Huber tradition is to go to grandma’s on Christmas Eve after mass. There are 35 of us and we all cram into Grandma’s basement for presents. This year we had three babies under a year old. They loved all of the presents but I’m pretty sure they loved the wrapping paper more.

After grandma’s we headed back to my parent’s house for Christmas #3. We exchanged all of our gifts and set cookies out for Santa…which Levi decided to eat!

We woke up Christmas morning and did stockings at my parent’s house before driving down to Justin’s parent’s house. We exchanged gifts there and then went to visit with his grandparent’s for a bit.

Before we knew it, it was time to head north again for Christmas #6 with my mom’s side of the family. We played card games and played with the baby’s toys all night long.

Before we knew it, Christmas was over and we were camped out on the couches talking about our favorite things from the last few days. As cheesy as it sounds, my favorite part of the holiday is just spending time with family.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
What was your favorite gift this year?

December 15, 2014

”Hallelujah! Holy Sh*t! Where’s the Tylenol?”

This is probably the first and last time you will ever hear me admit to this, but after the busy weekend we had, I am grateful that it is Monday! 

The Boy gave his last final for the semester on Thursday and headed north on Friday morning. I was greeted with wine and cheese when I got home from work on Friday night and we stayed up late updating the map. We also made our game plan for Saturday. We wanted to register for wedding gifts, do all of our Christmas shopping (since neither of us had started!), AND start looking for something for Justin to wear when we get hitched.

We were up bright and early on Saturday morning and headed out the door, coffee mugs in hand. Kohls opened at 6am, but I’m not that kind of crazy. We didn’t hit the door until a little after 8am. Our first priority was to register for gifts, but we also picked up a few presents.

We then spent WAY too much time in Toys R Us, but I couldn’t pull The Boy away from all of the toys! Next up: Bed, Bath, and Beyond. No Christmas shopping here, just adding another gift registry! The stores were starting to fill up so we took a little longer than we had planned to get through the entire store. SOMEBODY got a little trigger happy with the registry gun when we hit the gadget wall. Don't be worried/surprised if you come across a few random gadgets on our list. 

 As soon as we were out the door, I told The Boy that he had to feed me or I would collapse and die of starvation (I’m not dramatic AT ALL). I was really craving soup and salad, but there wasn’t a Panera anywhere close to where we were. Instead we stopped in at Olive Garden for some unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks (and wine, duh).

When we finally decided we were full, we headed off to the mall. After circling the parking lot a bazillion times, we found a parking spot and headed in with the masses. We only had a few things left on our Christmas shopping list and we found most of them at Target (which is wonderfully attached to the mall).

After we finished up all of our shopping and registering, we stopped into a few places to look for a suit for Justin to wear at the wedding. He tried on oh so many suits, but finally found one he loved (at Banana Republic...of all places!). They happened to be having a HUGE sale this weekend and everything was 50% off. We couldn't pass that up so we ended up buying the pants for all of the groomsmen so they could take advantage of this deal! 

To reward ourselves for surviving the day, we decided on a late dinner at Saga so that Justin could indulge in his favorite food ever – Hibachi. We didn't get seated until after 9:30 and I was way too exhausted to remember to take a picture. Trust me though, it was fantastic!

Then it was home and in bed so we could get up bright and early on Sunday morning. We had one more gift to go buy and then spent the rest of the day baking cookies and wrapping presents.

Who’s finished with their Christmas shopping already?
What is your favorite Christmas movie?

December 12, 2014

Introducing: THE MAP

I haven’t talked about The Boy in a few posts so I figured I should give you an update on what he’s been up to down there in Kentucky.

He’s [FINALLY] starting to wrap up his PhD program at UT while teaching at Centre College. When he’s not busy researching or teaching, he’s starting to apply for jobs! His application process is unlike any other job application process I’ve ever heard of. For those of you who don’t know, The Boy wants to be a college professor [#NERD] and has been busting his butt these last few years to become the best Econ professor in the world!
Source: yes, you can actually buy this... 

In this strange world The Boy is living in, you start applying for the 2015 academic year in the fall of 2014. That means he started applying for jobs back in September. The average Job Market Candidate applies to over 100 schools while job searching. To keep track of all the schools The Boy applied to, we hung up: THE MAP.

Although it started with one little blue star, the map slowly started to fill up as Justin sent in applications all across the county. We are excited that there are tons of schools in PA and near KY that have job openings for 2015. 

The Boy is still submitting applications, but we’re now partially into Phase II of the process: waiting for interviews. The average Job Market Candidate (what they call students searching for jobs) will get 6 or 7 interviews. These interviews take place at the American Economic Association Annual Conference every year in January. Although it is still early in December, The Boy has already begun to receive calls for interviews from a few schools! We decided to mark the interviews with green stars on our map :)

The next few weeks will be pretty stressful for him as he finishes applying, accepts interviews, and preps for the AEA conference (and continues to teach and research). I’ve got my fingers crossed for a few schools closer to “home” to call him for an interview (home meaning Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana…or pretty much any state in the Midwest…or Florida or California…).

By the time the New Year rolls around, we’ll know all of the schools that The Boy has interviews at and we’ll be heading to Boston for the Job Market so that he can get his interview on. After the first round of interviews, there will be a second round, and then [fingers crossed] the job offers will start rolling in.

Stay tuned for hopefully LOTS of silver and gold stickers in January and February (aka second interviews and job offers!). This process has been quite the adventure for the two of us and we are looking forward to finding out where The Boy will eventually be teaching.

If you could pick any state to live in, where would you live?

Is anyone willing to admit that Economics was their favorite subject in school?

December 10, 2014

Running Lately

I did not have as much time as I thought I would to start running again in the latter half of this year so instead of setting more unrealistic training plans for the millionth time, I’ve been trying a new approach – to not have a training plan. Even with just one class this semester, there has still a lot getting in the way of a training plan. Without a training plan, every run is an unexpected bit of happiness in my week. I don’t feel bad for not getting in a scheduled run – instead I’m excited that I actually get to run :)

My friend Catie convinced me to run the Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K in early October. It actually didn’t take much convincing since I had been looking for a race to run in Pittsburgh. It was my first race even though I have lived here for almost two years!

The course was really neat and ran all through the city of Pittsburgh. My time was 43:35 which is a 10:23 pace. Our race bibs got us into the Penguins practice that day which gave us access to the bazillion food options inside Consol. We’re pretty much experts at refueling….with beer and nachos!

Last month I ran Fast Freddies Five Mile Foot Feast on Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition in my family to run the race before stuffing ourselves full of delicious food and pie! Every year, the top 500 finishers get their names on the next year’s shirt. I was a little bummed going into the race because I knew I wasn’t going to make the top 500 this year. I got over that really quickly though when I realized that given my situation and the amount of time I’ve had to train – I was right where I needed to be. I finished in 48:22 which is a 9:40 pace and was super pumped about it. I finished 580 out of 928 runners.

I don’t have any races scheduled for December or January but with graduation right around the corner, I’m excited to have more time to run. Who knows – there might even be time to have an actual training plan :)

How do you fit runs/exercise into your busy schedule?

What races do you have coming up?

December 8, 2014

A Day In The Life

I’ve seen a lot of these posts in the blog-o-sphere recently and I really wanted to put one together. While every single day presents its own challenges and opportunities, I’ve really tried to build some routine and consistency in my days. These last two years have been extra busy so what little routine I can manage is a blessing! I decided to write a day in the life post now and another one after I graduate so that I can see how different life is...and how much extra time I have :)

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

6:15am – Alarm clock goes off – Hit snooze (I am NOT a morning person)
6:24am – Alarm clock goes off – Hit snooze again and tell myself a ponytail is a very professional look for a 26 year old.
6:33am – Finally drag myself out of bed. I have my morning routine MASTERED. I pack my lunch and lay out my clothes the night before to save time. I turn on the Kuerig while I’m brushing my teeth then I throw on some makeup and decide my curls have cooperated enough to manage a headband instead of a ponytail (small victories).

6:59am – Fist pump for being 1 minute early and head out the door. Feel completely defeated when it dawns on me that I have an 8am meeting that I’ll probably be late for.
7:01am – Pull out of the drive and start the LONG commute to the office. Justin calls me every morning and we talk during my commute. Long distance relationships pretty much suck and our days are so busy that we only have time to talk during my commute. Justin’s commute is 5 minutes so he’s already in the office before I make it down the street.
7:55am – I landed a really bad parking spot in the back of the lot. Sprint to the office praying that others are running late to the meeting too.
8:01am – Crash through the meeting room door and try to control my breathing while everyone gets settled. Chug second mug of coffee.

9:15am – Slide into my desk chair, turn on space heater (why must the office be so cold!), and turn on my computer.
10:00am – By this point, I’ve cleared out all of the junk e-mails and answered a few easy ones. I flip over to my school e-mail for a quick check since we are trying to finalize our final project (due next week!). Nothing new, so I decide to take a health break and stretch my legs.
10:05am – Back to my desk with a third mug of coffee. Eat 2 fun size candy bars (a complete and wholesome breakfast) and answer a few more e-mails. FINALLY get to start working on actual work projects. I like my job, but some days I feel like I spend so much time answering e-mails that I don’t get to do my actual job.

12:30pm – Come up for air and head to the kitchen for lunch. I’m very predictable – soup or sandwich EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. There is no such thing as a lunch break in my world so I take my lunch back to my desk and answer a few e-mails while I eat. I did flip over to my school e-mail for a few minutes and work on that project to keep the group moving along.
1:00pm – Dive back into “work work” and pray the afternoon goes by quickly.
2:30pm – Head to the kitchen for an afternoon snack. Today it was pretzels, peanut butter, and a diet coke.
5:15pm – Come up for air and be completely jealous of the people leaving the office “so early.”
5:25pm – Give up on work and open up my school e-mail again. I am responsible for editing the rough draft of our 40+ page paper and making sure it flows. There are five people in my group and we have a similar writing style so I hoped it wasn’t going to be too terrible of a task.

7:15pm – Come up for air and realize I’m the only person left in the office. Look out the window and have a minor freak out because it is pitch black outside and I feel like this is scene in a horror movie. After saving my work and sending my team an update, I quickly pack my bag and head to the very back row of the creepy dark parking lot where my very lonely car is parked.
8:07pm – After cursing traffic for 28 miles, arrive home and immediately change into pajamas after deciding a sweatpants step is not necessary. Get dinner cooking and start packing lunch for tomorrow.
8:30pm – Sink into the couch and inhale some pasta and garlic bread. Eating at the table is over-rated. 

9:05pm – Jump in the shower
9:20pm – Lay out clothes, make sure my running bag is packed for tomorrow, and do a few dishes
9:50pm – Grab some leftover candy and my Ipad and head to bed. Justin and I usually try to touch base before bed but 9 out of 10 nights I’m asleep before he calls. I surf Pinterest, tell my self I should be productive and address the stack of Christmas Cards that are sitting in the box in the corner, but refocus my energy on Pinterest.

10:10pm – Justin calls. We talk for about 30 minutes and then I start crashing.
10:45pm - It’s BEDTIME.

*I probably left out a lot of details, but this is pretty close to a normal day for me! The lack of lunch breaks, school work, and LONG commute are really a pain in the behind. I rarely get to sleep 8 hours and I know I’m not eating right, but I do the best I can with the time I have. I can’t wait to graduate and [someday] move closer to the office….and hopefully be able to fit actual lunch breaks back into my work schedule!

 What are three things you did today?

December 5, 2014

Exploring Danville

I have to admit – when Justin moved to Danville, I had a “small town there is nothing to do here” panic attack. We’ve always lived in decently sized cities with TONS of restaurants, events, and things to do. Danville is a tiny little town that only has a college, a gas station, and a Wal-Mart (or so I thought).

I’ve spent quite a few weekends there since he moved in August and I’m starting to jump on the Danville Bandwagon. For a small town, there are actually quite a few restaurants and it seems like there is always some type of event going on “downtown” or on campus.

Our very first weekend there, Justin took me to the world state town famous Mexican Food restaurant, Guadalajara (or Guadi’s as the locals call it). I have to admit, they have pretty good food…and even better margaritas!

This makes me wish it was summer again...

When I visited in September, Danville hosted an Oktoberfest event on Main Street in downtown. The one GREAT thing about living in this tiny town, is that our house is less than half a mile away so we could walk to and from. A wonderful thing, especially when it is Oktoberfest weekend! For a little town, they did it up big with live music, lots of food, and tons of beer.

Over the last two months, we’ve hit up a few more of the local eateries to try them out. We really enjoyed the Bluegrass Pizza & Pub but it’s a little out of our price range for pizza. We really enjoyed going to the Beer Engine which is a local bar. They have decks of cards and a few board games and the environment is very chill. They have a really good beer selection and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a beer and be able to enjoy the conversation of the people you are with.

One of my favorite things is that there is an Orange Leaf within walking distance of our house. The one thing I still can’t get on board with is that the Target is 45 minutes away :( If they can build one of those in town, Danville might just win me over completely :)

Do you live in a small town or a big city?

Do you have a local favorite restaurant/bar?

December 2, 2014

So. Much. Food.

Raise your hand if you’re stuffed full of turkey and other yummy foods.

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We sure did. We kicked off Turkey Day with a brisk 5 mile run. I've run Fast Freddies for 11 years in a row and I love it. My dad is on his third year (plus he competed in the walk event the 9 years before that) and Justin has run it the last two years. This year, my sister ran the race for the very first time. Pretty soon my evil plan will be complete and my entire family will be running with me on Thanksgiving morning!!

I managed to keep a 9:40 pace and finished in 48:22 - better than I expected! After a warm shower and a giant mug of coffee, we went to Thanksgiving #1 at my grandma’s house. Her cheesy cauliflower is my favorite food in the whole entire world. I was too busy eating to take pictures so you'll just have to trust that it was a wild and crazy time. We had over 30 people smooshed into my grandma's house and enough food to feed 60!

For dinner, my grandparent’s came over to my parent’s house for some pumpkin pie and (what was supposed to be) game night. We ended up watching the Levi show most of the night. This kid is so awesome. He has so much personality and is a musical genius! He can play the piano and much talent for a 10 month old :)

On Friday morning, The Boy and and I traveled down to Bardstown, KY to his grandma’s house. We had a delicious lunch with his family and I made plans to visit his grandma again to learn all of her recipes! 

On Saturday, we went to see the Christmas light show in Charlestown, which is just a few miles from my parent's house. For a little town, they do it up BIG. They have two HUGE parks full of Christmas lights and there is a little show set to music. My cousins brought their two kiddos and we all had a blast.

Even though it was a long weekend, it went by so fast! On Sunday we all parted ways to head back to our respective parts of the country. Leaving home is always hard, but it was a little easier this trip knowing that we'll all be back in Indiana in three short weeks.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Random, but what was the last movie you saw in the theater?

November 26, 2014

Weekend in the ATL

The Boy and I took a trip down to Atlanta last weekend. He was speaking at the Southern Economic Conference and I tagged along because I love hotels and happy hours.

He loves car rides with me…

Traffic was pretty rough so we didn't get to the hotel until dinner time. We got checked in and headed straight to the local brewery, Max Lager’s. We got a flight of their beers so we could try all of the local brews. Justin liked all of the beers I didn’t and I liked all of the beers he didn’t. #meantforeachother

Justin had to present at 8am on Saturday. I woke up with him at 5:30 so he could run through his presentation one last time…and then I fell back asleep 10 minutes into the presentation. #bestfianceever When I finally decided to wake back up around 8am, I headed down to what I can only describe as the BEST hotel gym I have ever used and ran 3 miles.

Check it out! The Boy is FAMOUS!

I spent then entire day doing homework while Justin attended conference sessions all day. 6:00 took forever to roll around and I was more than ready for Happy Hour. Does anyone remember the Friends episode where they all go to Ross’s conference? 

It was pretty accurate…economists aren't quite as nerdy as TV paleontologists…but they’re a pretty close second :)

My favorite people in the world drove up to stay with us on Saturday night (pretend there is a picture here since I forgot to take one). On Sunday, Justin had to get up and attend more conference sessions while the rest of us slept in and played in the hotel room. 

The 20th Floor is SO HIGH UP!

On Sunday afternoon, we went to the World of Coca-Cola for a tour and tasting. It was a pretty neat place – there were lots of exhibits about the history of Coke and plenty of Coke art to see. I really enjoyed all of the decorated Coke bottles around the building.

We got to see the Coke Vault where the secret formula is locked away. Levi tried to steal it, but was not successful (bummer).

Did you know that in 1995, a Coke dispenser was sent to space on the Discovery shuttle?

We went to a 4D movie (which was a little lame, but probably would have been cool if we were 8) and then it was finally time for the tasting!

There were over 100 flavors of soda to try from around the world. Sodas from Africa were way to sweet. The had one that strait up tasted like toothpaste – so weird. We tried every single one from every single country. There were a few that I liked, but not many I would want to see at my grocery store! It’s pretty crazy how different taste buds are in other countries. Japan even had a “Vegitabeta” flavor.

At the end of the visit, everyone gets a free bottle of Coke! If you visit Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola is definitely worth the $16 admission fee. After the tour, we had to pack up and head north again. It was a fantastic mini-vacation for me and Justin made a lot of connections at the conference. Now it’s back to the real world for a couple of days before we get a break from Thanksgiving.

Who’s been to Atlanta? World of Coca-Cola?
Who is traveling for Thanksgiving this week?

November 24, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake

First, I would like to point out that during my google search for an image I procrastinated took the time to learn where that phase came from and my mind was blown a little bit. Thank you Wikipedia

Now – to get back to the point of this post – let’s focus on two key words, CAKE and EAT.

CAKE: If there is one thing Justin has been passionate about during this whole “wedding planning thing” it’s that we WILL have awesome cake and he WILL get to eat some of it. People keep telling them he will be so busy during the reception that he won’t get a piece...he’s willing to skip the first dance if it means he can eat some cake.

We went to THREE bakeries in search of the perfect cake. We developed a proprietary cake tasting rating system that we used for all three when comparing flavors, moistness, icing melt in your mouthness – you know – the important things!

Sweet Stuff was by far the winner for the most AMAZING cakes in Southern Indiana and it took us about 2.5 seconds to decide we wanted to work with them for our wedding cake. We have plenty of time to decide on what type of design we want and what flavors we want. Design – we already have an idea. Flavor – we argue debate discuss quite frequently :)

from my instagram

EAT: Our venue gave us a list of recommended caterers so we had a really good starting point for this task. I spent way too many hours surfing their websites and trying to narrow down the list. I reached out to four caterers and was easily to narrow it down to two when the quotes came back. I know that “food and beverage” is usually the largest part of any wedding budget, but I was shocked at how high some of the quotes were! Both of the caterers provided tastings for us and we got to try tons of different menu options.

We were able to pick up our food from one of the caterers and enjoy our tasting at home. My only requirement was that Mac n Cheese is one of our side dishes and I was not disappointed! We broke out the proprietary rating system one more and had a blast pretending to be food connoisseurs for the afternoon.

Our second caterer option had us come into their facility and they gave us a full experience with multiple courses and fine china. We knew were weren’t going with the fine china option, but it was a lot of fun.

Ultimately, we decided to work with Ladyfingers Catering for the big day. Their food was more our style and we couldn't find a single thing wrong with any of the food options they let us try during our tasting. We haven’t selected our exact menu yet, but our guests will definitely be enjoying some fantastic BLT mac n cheese on June 20th! If you’re looking for a caterer and your event isn't on June 20th, you should definitely check them out.

Whew! I can’t believe we are only 7 months away! I know we still have a lot of time, but June 20th is going to come around faster than we think.