I had a phenomenal weekend away to visit my friend Val and celebrate her birthday. I took a day off on Friday, something of a rarity in my life, and drove down early to Madison to take in the city.
Val and I started a weekend of pampering with hour long full-body massages. I won’t gush any more about how wonderful it was, but we both decided after that is going to be an annual tradition. Don’t be surprised, however, if massages happen more often in our lives. I forgot how wonderful and relaxing they can be!
After our massage, we went to a favorite wine bar on the west side, Eno Vino. We each had a glass of delicious red wine and split two appetizers: the mushroom and sausage pizza and the beef tenderloin and salmon brushetta. Highly recommend all we had!
I had the Tinto Rey by Matchbook. Absolutely smooth and wonderful, with tons of flavor. Plus, the name reminded me of my favorite Matchbook Magazine!
After our early dinner, we went back to Val’s place to get ready for a nice night out. We ended up grabbing a beer with friends at Paul’s Club, where we drank under the famed indoor tree. After Paul’s we went to our traditional spot: The Old Fashioned.
Saturday, I had the extreme pleasure of celebrating the bridal shower of my good friend Danielle. It was absolutely amazing to get together with friends from college and reconnect. I ran to Fromagination, my favorite cheese shop, to pick up her gift. Thankfully, I got a parking spot right on the Square during the Dane County Farmer’s Market, a rarity for sure.
One thing I am truly proud of, and can gush about for hours, is the success of the girls I graduated with. Distinguished in our own rights, there were so many girls at our small table that were in graduate school, planning weddings of their own, already married, and even a mom! I’m so lucky that the college culture I was a part of at Ripon College developed deep values within us all to be well educated, but most importantly, incredibly happy.
Driving in from Madison from Sun Prairie, I veered into one of my favorite areas: the Monroe Street neighborhood. I parked next to Trader Joe’s and went into Strictly Discs to celebrate Record Store Day 2013.
I had a cup of foamy beer, browsed around for twenty minutes or so, and came home with two new albums. Don’t you worry, they’ve both been played on my dad’s old record player a few times already!
Val and I spent our Saturday night eating our favorite Mexican food from Los Gemelos, then enjoying a bottle of wine with Anjali. It was nice to catch up between the three of us, and jam out to some old school rap. Thank goodness there are no incriminating photos of myself dancing to “Brass Monkey,” there are already dozens of those from undergrad.
Sunday was perfect. Val and I woke up early to head to the Alterra that just opened in Madison. For those of you who haven’t been to an Alterra, head to Milwaukee or Madison and have some of the best coffee you will ever have. I am such a fan of Alterra coffee and food. But, the secret is this: their lemonade is delectable. Far and away my favorite thing on the menu!
After grabbing breakfast and taking a quick stop at Gap, we headed down to the East Campus Mall area for the Ask Listen Save suicide prevention walk. In its third year, it is already the highest fundraising suicide prevention walk on any college campus. It made me truly proud of my alma mater and being a Badger. It is one of the values I learned at UW: to love each other unconditionally, regardless of being best friends or a stranger. The walk was amazing, and an opportunity to see the lakeshore as spring has finally begun to show itself in Wisconsin.
And, I can’t forget, the walk did give me an opportunity to see my best friend Bucky!
I had a phenomenal weekend in my favorite city; the place that feels like home. I’m so happy to have fantastic friends to visit as well as a city that welcomes me with open arms time and time again.
How was your weekend? Did you see your college mascot wheeling around on a cart in the middle of campus, or was that just me?