Sunday, April 29, 2012

As I am sitting in the local coffee shop, doing everything in my power to avoid what I really should be doing (writing my portfolio for graduation), I came across my once very lively blog. After reading, and being inspired by other people's public journals, I thought that I would liven mine up once again. The last blog post was from May 17th 2011. Almost a year from today. Here is what has been my reality for the past year:

1) My blog was originally all about getting clean. And by getting "clean", I mean Facebook clean. I lasted 10 months. Which, in my opinion is pretty damn good. Here are some things that Facebook missed:

June 2011-

Moved back to Lodi for the summer. What a treat. 45 hour work weeks. Not too exciting.

July 2011-

Went on a roadtrip with the Alba clan. Stopped in Gatlinburg, TN, then on to Savannah, GA, all on the way to Jacksonville, FL. Lots of beautiful sights, family filled adventures, and the ocean. Mmmm, the ocean.

But after looking through all of the photographs from our wonderful week and a half of travels, I was extremely disappointed to see pictures like this:

Is that what I really look like? Then I saw this. This one made me cry. (Doesn't Matt look good!)

I should have been focused on how relaxed and how memorable the trip was, but the only thing I could focus on was how I looked. And oh gawd, I was in a swimming suit! And people saw me! And what must they think of me?! That lazy person from Wisconsin. All they do is drink beer and eat cheese. (Which, I do enjoy). I knew it was time for a MAJOR change.

I voiced my concerns with my mom and dad, which they admitted their own concerns about my health. My dad asked the toughest question. "Well, how much do you weigh?".....*GASP*. "173 pounds". At the moment, that number really hit me. I was closer to 200 pounds than 100. For me, that number never seemed possible. Then my dad asked, "What would your ideal weight be?" I shared with him that there was a photograph of Cliff and I at his high school graduation ceremony.

I told him I remember feeling extremely confident and proud. That was at 140. He told me that if I was able to get down to 140 lbs healthily, he would give me $100. But if I gained it back, then I would have to pay him $150. DEAL!

With the support of my family and friends, I joined the local health club. Whether it was 5am or 5pm, I made sure I was able to work out at some point during the day. I made little goals, and rewarded myself once they were accomplished. The balance of eating better, portion control, and exercise, I was able to do this:

August 2011:
This is from Farm Aid 2011 in Kansas City, KS. This is 13 pounds down (160 lbs). I remember having anxiety about what I would be able to eat. At this point I was extremely obsessed about my diet. Despite my OCD, I was able to have a guilt free time. And Willie Nelson, was just as amazing as ever.

September 2011:
Labor Day at the Burlington's. This was another 8 pounds down (152). Not the most fashion savoy moment I've ever had. But doesn't my mama look cute?!

October 2011:

Big Hills Park. Alba family get-together. Long time tradition. This is 7 pounds down (145). I felt over dressed, but still really pretty in that blue strapless dress!

November 2011:
FITNESS MILESTONE: Joe and I ran in my first ever 5K race. It was the Jingle Bell Run in Rockford, IL. My goal was to finish in under 30 minutes (laughable I know). I did! Just barely though. 29 minutes 15 seconds. This was another 4 pounds down (141---> so damn close to my goal, I could smell the money!). If you are wondering what we are doing in the picture, think Aaron Rodgers. Then you will understand.

Matt hates this picture, but I love it. Thanksgiving 2011. Another 3 pounds down. GOAL ACHIEVED! (138). I wore a body hugging black dress and felt so confident!

December 2011:
November brought a move to Beloit, WI for Matt and I. Over the lovely winter season, we both worked at William's Tree Farm in Shirland, IL. This is our little tree. It's so tiny :)

Packer Party! Another 3 pounds down (135). Lots of running, yoga, and tea!

January 2012:
Technically this is NYE 2011, but that dressed stayed on until 2012. Thanks to my mama for not thinking it would be a good idea to throw it away. 2 pounds down (133).

The last hoorah weekend before my student teaching semester began at New Glarus Brewery in New Glarus, WI. I love my friends.

February 2012:

Down to 130 lbs! Time for a new hair-do!

March 2012:

Apparently Matt and I were too busy in March to take any pictures. Oops!

April 2012 (now we are getting up to speed!):

Trip #3 to California. The perfect trip at the perfect time. Unspeakable adventures with my irish twin cousin and the Bubs. The happiness in this picture is something I know will last forever.

So, there is a year in a very very tiny nutshell. May brings another vat of changes. New jobs, new homes, new memories.

Love to all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Musical Bunch!

The Gutsy Tumbler Band and Friends have been on a musical roll!!

On Friday May 13th (oooo spooky) Leah McSherry and Adam Thomas played with Matt and I at Bushel and Peck's in Beloit, WI. We played Leah's original song Only Nature Knows, a Blitzen Trapper cover called Lady on the Water, and a Paul Nolley original Kaleidoscope.

It was an amazing night! 

The Gutsy Tumbler Band has a couple of upcoming shows scheduled:

Thursday June 2nd- Open Mic Night at Water House Foods  in Lake Mills, WI 7pm-9pm

Saturday June 4th- Full Show at Nikki's Cafe in Beloit, WI 7pm-9pm

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Highlights of the past couple months-

Holy crap everybody! I almost forgot there for awhile that I had a blog! Here are some of the highlights from whats been going on!

Went down to good ole ISU to see Kerry!
She took us to her local establishments

Matt and James became fast plaid-clad friends
After the tour de bars, we got back to James' place and danced our faces off to the Xbox Kinect!

We had so much fun on that trip that we needed to take another...

After a lovely sushi dinner, Kerry and I needed to decide what and how to bring what we needed to The Firehouse for James' birthday!  
Together Again
Reconnecting with old friends!
Texty McTexterson (but notice the birthday name tag!)
Ended the night with a round robin of guitar playing and singing
On the note of guitar playing and singing......

The Brothers Burn Mountain came and visited Enter the Medicine back in March!
Check these guys out. They are fantastic! The Brothers Burn Mountain

Matt and I FINISHED recording and mixing our 6 song EP 'Vividness of a Dream', and hopefully we will be able to get in to the press within the next month!

The Gutsy Tumbler Band on 4/15/11 at Bushel and Peck in Beloit, WI
The guitars and mandolin!
If you want to hear some of the things we have been working on check out this website- 

Our next big adventure starts tomorrow- CALI-FORN-I-A!
More posts to come!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Headin' Down South...

This was our route. Whitewater, WI to Carbondale, IL. 
That's 425 miles of straight, flat, Illinois highway. 

About 3 hours into our journey we did make a very delightful and delectable pit stop in Normal, IL to see Kerry. She so graciously took us to The Coffee House (vegetarian/vegan friendly coffee house and deli).
The Coffee Sitting Room :)
After stuffing our faces, we headed back on the road. Matt decided he would take the wheel from Normal to Carbondale, but within 10 minutes of navigating (with a Garmin mind you), he veered onto the wrong highway. However, this mistake didn't cost us much time (added maybe 10 minutes to the route) and we were able to travel roads new to us. 
We rolled into Carbondale, met up with a very excited Danielle, and made our way to the The Sky Bar  where a comedy/improv/variety show was taking place. We laughed our asses off. The Sky Bar also knows how to make a tasty whiskey sour. 
The next morning, we arose to be presented with a 50 degree day and copious amounts of sunshine.  We went over to "The Comm" so Danielle could finish some last minute rendering, as Matt and I help fold brochures and I read Clean Food (thanks Kerry (: )

After the Comm, we made our way to this lovely vegetarian/vegan friendly coffee shop/eatery called The Longbranch Coffee House.

Matt got a Mocha and Portobello Sandwich....

Danielle raved about the breakfast burrito and fakin' bacon!!!!
And I got a Portobello Sandwich with grilled veggies and a cup of the most delicious hummus I have ever tasted. [The hummus was so good that Matt and I had to go back again that night for dinner.]

After lunch we went and met some of Danielle's cohorts and their lovely cats.
Dan Fogelburg (He has a full name because he is old and dignified.)
Then Danielle suspended cheese in mid air at Schnucks.
Miracles happen. We named her Saint Danielle after this.
 A trip to the bookstore, some down time, and then finally it was time to head over to the Varsity Theatre where Danielle's Senior Thesis show was taking place.

Danielle's show went off without a hitch; her work is fantastic! To celebrate, we went to 
and had ourselves some of the best bloody marys.

We rounded out the weekend by going to breakfast at 

It was superb.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Woooooooo Child.....

Wow. What a week so far! I feel like break was far too short, and find myself wondering what the hell I did with all of my time. 

I have enjoyed most of my classes. PreK-12 Sexuality Education and Psychology of Human Adjustment on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Group Composition, Ballet II and Music Labs on Mondays and Wednesdays with a sprinkle of Measurement and Evaluation for an online class have is filling out my Spring '11 schedule. I think that I will end up finding my Tuesday/Thursday classes the most enjoyable and my Monday/Wednesday class the most challenging.

In the down time that I do have I have been in the kitchen. Last night Matt and I made Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls again. I tweaked the combination that makes up the "spicy tempeh" by adding a little smidge of soy sauce. After tasting, that is what made them purse-your-lips-and-kiss good. Combine that with home-mixed wasabi paste, and you have one tasty meal on your hands.
The veggies (green onion, avocado, and cucumber) for the rolls and 2 apple cider vinegar shots with OJ chasers.
Tonight, after a long day away from home, I wanted to try a new recipe. Baja Style Tempeh Tacos. Grill or fry up a little bit of tempeh after marinading for sometime (the marinade was a mixture of Corona, lime juice, crushed garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, peanut oil, and soy sauce. The marinade only called for 6 oz of Corona, so needless to say there was a lot left over from the 24 oz bottle that Matt and I got to drink. The fried tempeh went on top of a white corn tortilla, a lime creme (tofutti cream cheese [the original recipe calls for soy yogurt but the grocery store did not have any], lime juice, grapeseed oil, and fresh cilantro), and a homemade taco slaw (white cabbage, carrots, apple cider vinegar, jalapenos, and pepper). With a side of refried beans and blue corn tortilla chips, we had ourselves a vegan fiesta!

Baja Style Grilled [Fried] Tempeh Tacos
Tomorrow brings another crazy day of class and work, but Bubs is going to make venison burgers that my Dad gave to him and vegan burgers for me. Yum yum yum. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tour de Brew

The first 6er
The second 6er.
The Beers-
1. Shiner Bock
2. 1554- New Belgium
3. In-Heat Wheat Hefe Weizen- Flying Dog
4. Bell's Pale Ale
5. Mothership Wit- New Belgium
6. Long Hammer IPA
7. 2 Below- New Belgium
8. Moosehead Lager
9. Redhook ESB Original Ale
10. Honey Brown Ale
11. Two Hearted Ale
12. Howl Winter Seasonal

The Testers-
1. Joe "Joe Cool" Alba
2. Matthew "Albasauce" Alba
3. Ashley "Bubby Hamms" Haan

Each beer was rated on a (worst)1 - 10(best) scale. 


1. Redhook ESB Original Lager
       Joe- 4.0- [no comment]
       Matt- 6.9 - MMMMMMMMMMMMMmHmmmm~ said Matt. Cold, amber, crisp, little bitter, but I could picture myself guzzling this after shoveling the neighborhoods worth of driveways and hanging with a few pals.
      Me- 6.7 - Has an I.P.A. crispness. Yummy.

2. Shiner Bock
      Joe- [comment unavailable- he was playing Wii]
     Matt- 4.2 - Light for a bock, like a light tea. Makes me think of watermelon on a summer day. I bet this would taste real nice but I am not really feeling it in this weather...NEXT.
     Me- 4.4- Light taste for being named a bock, has more of a lager taste. Reminds me of a more refined version of Budweiser. Not the biggest fan.

3. 2 Below Ale- New Belgium
     Joe- 7 - "Because it's not bitter. It was smoooooooooth."
    Matt- 8.1 - This is a lovely, hoppy, kick around beer. Although it is cold it seems really earthy and I would love to drink this one bare-footed on a mound of freshly tilled earth. Not quite the country club beer that it is advertised as. That's what makes it so damn good.
    Me- 8.7- This is the light social beer. The kind of beer you want to enjoy only amongst the best company. This is the beer you want to associate the fondest memories to. Yummy yummy in my tummy. 

4. Honey Brown Ale
      Joe- 5 - "Don't. Taste. Honey."
      Matt- 5.3 - I would drink it again... I feel as if this would be a substitute for someone who drinks a lot of Red Stripe. There is a tinge of honey, but not enough to call it "Honey Brown". Could see this beer out on the ice fishing for a bit this winter. This is for sure.
     Me- 6.6 - Strikingly familiar taste. The honey flavor is not present, but there is a subtle sweetness. The sweetness is very complimentary to the lager. Not overly carbonated. To me this beer tastes like a mixture of Leinenkugels Honey Weiss and Fireside Nut Brown.
5. Moosehead Lager
      Joe- 4 - "Goes in a 4, comes out a 7" [That's what she said]
     Matt - 6.5 - Its a bit of a skunk going down, a bit like a Stella or a Heine. The after taste is very pleasant. Sort of one of those "blast air back into your nose to try it over again" beers. I want to drink this while I blast elk with my Gatling gun. (Palin reference) Hell yeah Canada!!!
     Me- 4.5 - Harsh going down. Smoother after taste. If it was in a can I would shot gun it, but that's about it. 
6.    1554- New Belgium
     Joe- [no comment- he was sleeping- shew shew shew]
     Matt- 9 - Really nothing but good. This is the darkest beer we had all night. Although this isn't very "burly" of me to say, but I usually I am not a fan of this sort of beer. That being said, I can taste the loving care in this beer. Sometimes that harshness makes my eyes water but it keeps me good and warm feeling inside. Its late in the night so I am lost for words, but I would like to say that I would entertain beginning an evening with this beer. 
     Me- 8.6 - This beer tastes like coffee. I <3 coffee. Very full bodied. Seemingly mild at first, but KICKS you afterward. Love it. 

7. Howl Winter Seasonal
      Joe- [no comment- still sleeping- shew shew shew]
      Matt- 9.3 - This beer is AMAZING. It is so tasty and I think that it should come in 12 packs just like Pabst. It is a bit neutral so I feel like even though it is delicious and suppose to be seasonal, I would happily drink this beer anywhere and I wish there were more of them! On to the next!
      Me- 9.4 - Now I understand why [you] are $8.99 a 6pk. This beer is DELICIOUS. You taste like a better version of 1554. This could be because I am drunk, but I don't think so. 

8. Two Hearted Ale
       Joe- [no comment- he is dead to the world at this point- shew shew shew]
       Matt- 10 - This was LEGENDARY! I wouldn't have enjoyed this beer even a few months ago, but because of my conditioning and excessive beer drinking as of late, this Ale from Michigan is amazing. I think I will be drinking this one from now on. I know it costs a bit but its worth it. 
       Me- 8.7 - Tastes like Laguna I.P.A. Reminded me of our California vacay.
 [Cliff's comment after tasting -"Really? Are you that drunk?" needless to say he didn't like it]
9. Bell's Pale Ale
     Joe- 5 - "Not bitter going down, but bitter afterward"
     Matt- 5- This is a tasty beverage. I would drink this beer in excess... it is an easy beer to drink and I like some easy I.P.A.s. It isn't as openly bitter as most I.P.A.s. 
     Me- 6 -Good, but not strong enough to be considered an I.P.A.
10. In-Heat Wheat Hefe Weizen- Flying Dog
    Joe- 2- "I can say that it has a nice label."
    Matt- 3 - I usually drink any beer and am not very picky, but this one is sort of not very good. It has a really icky taste and leaves a bit better. With the right atmosphere this taste may improve. The Flying Dog is an attractive label. I would like to try more beers from this brewery. 
    Me- 3- Tastes like diluted nail polish. 
11. Long Hammer I.P.A.
      Joe- [no comment- sleepy sleepy]
      Matt- 5.5- Gimme a six pack of this anytime please.
      Me- 6.4- This beer was good, but it was very mild. Had that lovely "I.P.A. hoppy" flavor, but was not as good as other I.P.A.s. 
12. Mothership Wit- New Belgium
     Joe- [no comment- down for the count- sleepy shew shew]
     Matt- 6- I wasn't that impressed compared to other New Belgium brews. It was tasty, but the flavor was not what I would expect, and that wasn't really a good thing. 
     Me- 6.5- Strong wheat taste. Puts hair on your chesticles. 

Joe- WORST- In- Heat Wheat Hefe Weizen
BEST- Coors Light

Matt- WORST-In- Heat Wheat Hefe Weizen
BEST- Two Hearted Ale

Me- WORST-In- Heat Wheat Hefe Weizen
BEST- Howl Winter Seasonal

Last Coffee Morning In So Bo

Coffee, writing, and viral videos. Here are some of the favs-

California Reminiscing- Hi Gordon!!
                                          Llama Lovin
                                          It's a Banana Slug!

Friend Rock!!-              Hold Me

Last night I made little itty bitty vegan peanut butter cups (thanks Claren for the recipe!)
Cliff doesn't like peanut butter and refused to try my creations, so I made him these-
Annies Bunnies with Melted Chocolate
He enjoyed these very much.