Today I Noticed

Pennies

My favorite blogger, Melissa Jordan of Dear Baby Blog, posted a sweet story on Instagram today of the rescue of a little turtle crossing a road. She ended it with, “May we never be so set on our own journey, that we fail to notice the opportunity to make a difference in the paths of those around us.” I hadn’t planned to write about my experience this morning, but she inspired me.

The entrance ramp I use on my way to work each morning is very often the spot where you can find a homeless man with a cardboard sign. It’s rarely the same man, but it’s always the same reaction from me. Dread when I see him there, guilt, questioning whether I should make eye contact or look straight ahead (which is worse?), a brief thought of giving him something then the sinking feeling of getting scammed by a jerk or drug addict, and finally, not even bothering to look in my purse for some change. I drive away and think, oh well I never have cash anyway or maybe I should make some of those blessing bags then next time I can help. By the time I get to work I forget all about him and the cycle continues a few days later when it’s someone else on that corner.

The awful truth is, I never felt much sympathy for those people. I didn’t trust them. They probably did something in their life to put them there. They deserved it. They could walk into any McDonald’s and get a job. Sure, I’ve been known to push a wheelchair bound man out of a snowy street and pay for his $40 meal (got a bit taken advantage of there…) and I spent most of my life volunteering at places for children with disabilities or at the Salvation Army where I helped people feed their families while they battled their cancer and drained their bank accounts to pay medical bills. But for some reason, I just always had a disconnect when I saw someone on the street. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked with so many organizations that offer help (why don’t they just go get help?!), but frankly I was dead wrong.

Not everyone qualifies for the help that’s out there. They’re not deemed worthy because they’ve made a mistake early in their lives that has ruined every prospect of getting a job or receiving assistance. Not everyone is blessed with a supportive family and a steady path in life. Some people start with holes too deep to climb out of.

Maybe it’s all of the Soul Pancake & Upworthy videos I’ve been watching lately, but this morning I gave. I gave to the saddest, most humiliated looking man with a sweet little wave and kind eyes. He didn’t want to be on that fucking corner in the rain. He didn’t want to hold that tiny cardboard sign between his dirty, worn hands. I smiled at him, contemplated the signs the universe has been giving me, and dug through my purse. I was convinced I had nothing more than twenty cents in pennies, but at least I was trying. I open up my wallet and discover some cash that I forgot about. Money that I fucking FORGOT about. So I roll down my window, say hey this is all I have, he smiles at me and says God Bless You. The light turns green and I cry the whole drive to work.

(Let’s also think for a moment here, what if that man is awful & terrible and is just going to buy drugs?! Here’s what I have to say to that, what if he’s not? What if he hasn’t eaten in three days and now he can at least buy a bag of peanuts? And furthermore, I forgot I had that money. I just forgot about it and one day I would have discovered it and bought myself a candy bar. I should go back and thank him for taking it so that I don’t get a bigger ass.)

I can do so much more, we can all do so much more. These people, they aren’t our enemies. They aren’t scum beneath our shoes. And no, they can’t just walk into McDonald’s and get a job. I wish our society made it easier for them to do so. And as Deepak Chopra says, we are all love — we’re the same being in different disguises. We need to take care of each other.

 

 

A side story, I got my first job when I was 16 at a pet groomer/store. My boss wasn’t the greatest man in the world, but he did something that looking back on, I really admire. He hired convicted felons. I mean, no murderers or anything. It was really just people that did something to screw up their own lives and none of them were even 30 years old yet. I was a little bit terrified as an innocent little 16 year old who had literally just come back from cancer research camp. These people ended up teaching me so many valuable lessons and were just happy to be given a job…given a chance to say yeah I screwed up, but I still deserve a life. It was something I hadn’t thought much about until I watched this Soul Pancake video. A homeless couple mentioned they try to get any jobs available, but they don’t pass a background check so no one will hire them. Wow, that’s what my co-workers lives would have been.

I’m changed. Watch this video.

 

Apologies for the f-bombs. Sometimes they just pop up when I’m feeling passionate!

 

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Have You Any Wool?

I don’t know how people live in places without changing seasons. Sure, it would be great to be warm all year round, but what do you have to really look forward to? I love going apple picking, watching the first snow fall, smelling a new Spring rain, and most of all throwing on a summer dress and enjoying a sunny day. Yesterday was incredibly beautiful and I had cabin (office) fever all day. I skipped lunch so I could leave work 20 minutes early and it was worth it just to get home and open the windows to enjoy the breeze.

We went to dinner a few blocks down the street at Black Sheep just so we had an excuse to walk (geez, we need a dog). Somehow we actually made it in time for happy hour which NEVER happens because I always get home too late. We ordered everything carb & cheese filled plus some 1/2 off cocktails.

A random night out is never complete without dessert so we just had to stop by Purple Door Ice Cream (in their new location across the street from Black Sheep) for a scoop.

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Bryce’s drink of choice: the Baa Baa Black Sheep. Made with Pomegranate & Pear Juice, Housemade Blueberry Preserves, Vodka, Fresh Grapefruit, and Soda. Tasted like straight up Kool-Aid.

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My beverage for the evening: Prosecco Cocktail. Simply made with Prosecco, St. Germaine, and Mint. Tasted like a straight up hangover.

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Oh my gosh, this food. So delicious. We shared the Mac n’Cheese (Roasted Garlic/Maytag Blue Cheese/Cavatappi), Bavarian Pretzel (with Whole Grain Mustard & Spicy Cheese Sauce), Pomme Frites (with Mustard Aioli), and Salt-Roasted Beets (Goat Cheese/Pepitas/Baby Arugula).

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I love the decor here. Any restaurant with pillows is a-okay in my book. Apparently, everything was designed by Bryce’s friends over at Company B. Nice work!

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I have a love affair with cake cones. They may have the texture of styrofoam, but I just love ’em. Oh, the dark chocolate ice cream wasn’t half bad either.

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Let’s talk about the brat I’m married to for a second. This guy would not get out of my pictures! When I finally go to take a picture of him, this is what I get. Typical.

The Little Details

 

At some point I got really sick of writing wedding posts. I mean, how long can you talk about your own wedding before you start annoying yourself and everyone around you? Well, apparently a long time because those wedding posts are POPULAR.

Anywho, yesterday was our 8th monthaversary and I have some cool wedding stuff I never shared. There’s more where this came from (like the geodes & candles the decorated our cocktail hour area), but let’s take it one step at time, alright?

 

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Locally grown flowers were placed in varying sizes of glass jars along the aisle for our ceremony. They moved over to our long reception tables for dinner.

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You can’t see the table numbers very well here, but they were printed on copies of old Milwaukee advertisements (fit with the historic style of our venue) and held by curly, black wire holders from BHLDN.

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Gold paper fortune tellers aka cootie catchers had fun facts about us! Those were a blast to make, but I pretty much never want to fold a fortune teller again. It was a nice little addition to the table and also something to entertain everyone between courses.

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Place cards that doubled as thank you cards. Gold envelopes with the guest’s name held a little thank you card for their support & love. P.S. I hand-wrote EVERYTHING. Invite envelopes, escort cards, place cards, etc. I will blame our wedding for my future carpal tunnel.

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An old mailbox I picked up at a yard sale and painted gold to hold our cards. We lit it with flameless candles so our money didn’t catch fire.

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We used long, double wide tables for our reception so we could all be one big, happy family. Our head table was at the end forming a “U” shape with all the tables.

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Instead of a typical unity ceremony with candles or sand, we went with booze. We got a nice wooden box, wrote each other some love letters, and found a bottle of wine from the year we started dating that will be at a good drinking age on our anniversary. We wrote the letters the night before our wedding and put everything into the box during our ceremony. Bryce made a custom label and glued it on. So adorable.

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Bryce designed an incredible logo for us that we had turned into a GOBO light. It was the backdrop for our dance floor.

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DIY trail mix table tripled as a wedding favor (in addition to donations to charity on behalf of our guests), late night snack and an activity to do when people got tired of dancing. Having trail mix was meaningful to us because our budding romance began over a shared bowl of trail mix while we were in high school.

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The set up for our ceremony complete with ivory pipe & drape to hide the rest of the room where dinner would be.

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Ceremony backdrop decor. Antique crates painted gold, tall vases with sticks, candles in vases. Not pictured: Antique glass windows on each side and test tubes of hanging flowers strung on sticks in the vases.

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Programs with reserved seat cards on top — included the honored guest’s name and wedding related title.

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The layout for our reception was a bit unconventional so we provided a little seating map near the escort cards.

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Escort cards were stamped with our logo in black or gold depending on the entree each guest chose. Doubled stamped for our gluten free friends.

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Letterpress Invitation, Map and RSVP card designed by Mr. Ulmer. More invitation photos to come…

 

All Purpose

 

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Bryce has gotten so good at making new friends. Is that a weird thing to say? Well, it’s true. Lately it seems like he’s a networking superman which I enjoy since it means I get to tag along and meet super cool people.

We had a busy weekend ahead of us so we decided to grab dinner & run errands together after his graphic design event was over. Psh yeah, that so didn’t happen. Instead I met him and some of his new friends at All Purpose in my new neighborhood (New Neighborhood = Walker’s Point, in case ya didn’t know). This restaurant is the bleeping coolest and somehow the stars aligned so that a table of 6 cancelled their reservation right before our little group of 6 walked in. I mean, it was destiny right?!

The food? To die for. The company? A blast.

You should probably check it out. And please, for the love of Buddha, order the bread service. I’ve been daydreaming about the feta butter ever since. Bryce and I both ordered the ricotta gnocchi which was like little pillows from heaven lightly covered a perfectly chunky tomato sauce. Oh and in case you’re a big orange tic tac fan, try the Gabriel cocktail.

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