I'm headed to the Final Four! I can't wait to see everyone in Indianapolis! I feel this year we're more determined, more focused and we can truly act like we've been there before. Here's to a great game against Kentucky! I'll see you tonight on the news! But for now, on to packing.
I am so thrilled the Badgers are once again in the Elite 8. As you know, I was a little torn between teams as Wisconsin took on the North Carolina Tarheels. I have lived in North Carolina TWICE and Roy Williams was "my" coach when I attended the University of Kansas.
But, don't get me wrong. I am drinking the Badger Kool-aid!
Now that it's over... wasn't that game a nail biter? You should have heard the screams in the newsroom. Most of the people here are either Badger alums or just get on the Badger bandwagon. It's too hard not to enjoy cheering on Wisconsin!
I am so excited to see Wisconsin play against Arizona this Saturday on TBS (what do we have to do to get a game on CBS?!)
If it feels like dejavu, it's OK. I can't believe I actually sat down and blogged about last year's Final Four berth but I did... so you can relive it!
But another reason we're excited about the big win -- we get donuts from Krispy Kreme, born in North Carolina! I made a bet with WFMY meteorologist Tim Buckley that we'd win -- I'd send cheese and meat sticks if we lost and he'd send Krispy Kreme donuts if UNC lost. I know we have great donuts here in Wisconsin but I really miss Krispy Kreme!! I know they'll be a little stale, but nothing a little warm up in the microwave can't fix. Our newsroom will be thrilled! I feel bad that he won't get to taste some of our awesome cheese... maybe I'll send a little package anyway.
And my former co-anchor Jon Evans has to wear Badger Red Friday! I have one Carolina Blue dress that I could have worn but I think I might just try to wear red every day until Saturday.
Meanwhile, On Wisconsin.
We have continued to celebrate my husband's 40th year on earth - this time with friends and family in the Wisconsin Dells!
And, I should mention our friends Lucy and Taka also have birthdays around this time of year, too. Jim and I knew we needed to stick close to home this spring break, so we just invited "our people" to come see us. And would you believe it, they came!
We spent a week at Christmas Mountain Village -- the only resort left with snow. I didn't see them actually make snow but we were so grateful to tube one more time this season. We should have gone skiing because the runs would have been slow, but we were too busy enjoying each other's company. Besides, tubing allows you to have a bloody mary or two.
As usual, it was wonderful to spend a day with my sister Hyun Jeong. She came up one night while her husband studied and worked. We missed Glenn but getting a night with my sister is always great. Of course, my mom and dad loved it! It's like they get two daughters but only had to put up with one! Just kidding mom, but seriously, thanks for college.
Other highlights -- we went to Sundara for the first time. If you want to go but aren't sure what to expect, the best advice I received is buy the least expensive service. Why? Well, the real treat of the place is using all the little spas, saunas and the heated pool. You get to do all of that for free with your service. I chose to do a 35 minute, $90 massage because I didn't really need any major work. We stayed for about 4 hours before we felt pruny enough to get out and grab lunch.
We also enjoyed the High Rock Cafe for lunch. We all enjoyed the calamari - it kind of tasted like it was smothered in an orange chicken sauce which made it a little unusual. You also get a nice view of downtown if you're into that sort of thing.
Basically our week went like this - eat, drink, laugh and eat some more. As we get older, we just like to enjoy our time together and rest at the same time. With Jim almost finished with school, our next trip has to be the beach!
Thanks for making us #1 in the evenings. I have always felt strongly that WISC sets the tone when it comes to news excellence in the market. Thank you for trusting us!
Why go to Thailand when you can go to Monsoon Siam? Take the time to read my latest Sip and Savor feature in Madison Magazine!
I recently had the chance to visit the Atwood restaurant and instantly fell in love with the food and the owner, Pooh Wonglaka. Pooh moved here with her family when her husand took a job at the UW. Ever since, she's been keeping herself entirely too busy making addictive Thai dishes! We are seriously in love.
To be honest, I've always been conservative about my Thai menu choices -- not because I am afraid of it but because I really like noodles... and I have my favorites. But Pooh opened my eyes to so many other options.
Fox 47 and WISC producer Krista Burns went along with me. We loved our experience. The restaurant is modern but at the same time caters to those who crave authentic Thai. You gotta put it on your list!
If you don't know me by now, I throughly enjoy talking about adoption - the good, the bad and the ugly. I just had a wonderful weekend meeting Madison area families to share our stories.
Thanks to Jeff Miller for taking some great pictures of the chat! And thanks to the families of FTKA for the invitation to their Korean Culture Day.
When I was a kid, I didn't have a lot of opportunities to attend these kinds of events and at times, I also had no interest. However, that changed when I turned 14. I started attending Korean heritage camps in Oklahoma and got addicted to meeting other adoptees. You've heard people say this before but I discovered their stories were my stories. I met so many young people who shared my experiences - growing up in rural America, experiencing dating issues and dealing with stereotypes were major topics of discussion.
On this day, I talked about my experiences going to Korea, volunteering with adoptive families, meeting my birth family and living in the same neighborhood as my Korean sister, Hyun Jeong. I tried to keep it short so parents could ask questions. We talked about race, having no interest to lots of interest in adoption or Korea, birth family fiascos, birth mothers, heartaches and joys. I could have talked with everyone for another hour.
Meanwhile the kids were playing games and having fun. We eventually met up in the gym of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Middleton to see a talent show!
Madison is unique because it has so much more diversity and acceptance than your average city. But the need to talk about race, identity and adoption is real everywhere. I've had racist or ignornant encounters every place I've lived and also at every age - even on the job as a TV journalist. So, it's good to keep the conversation going! I'd love to hear your adoption stories if you have one. Hit me here or on social!
The Junior League's project All Dressed Up is one of my favorite events of the year.
First of all, the dresses donated every year are so fabulous. Some come straight from retailers and others are gently used from the community. Look at the above dress on Emily - it is a Nicole Miller and it looks like it was made for her. Emily is a senior this year and recently got accepted into the UW. She is amazing. I love running into her and her mom, Sandy. I met them at a Reve fashion show when I first moved here and I just love seeing them.
The very first girls I ran into were Tess and Paige, two sisters from Marshall. They are so awesome! Dannika Lewis and I helped these two find prom dresses last year and they were so easy to work with!
Do you realize what a rite of passage prom has become for teenagers? The more I looked into it, the more I realized how important it is to help families afford prom. First of all, the average family spends around $1000 on prom every year. In the last few years, more teens have started seeing it as a big life event because many don't plan on getting married until much later in life. (*I researched that, I'm not making it up!)
So, the Junior League helps make prom more affordable to ALL young women - there are no income guidelines to get a free dress. The event is a one-stop shop where the girls can opt to get their hair and makep done or see a fashion show. And they all take home free accessories and a swag bag.
I love how families from all walks of life come to the event. Some families drive for more than an hour to be there. Others start lining up at 6:45 a.m. to be the first in line-- though everyone schedules a time, some still want to arrive early to get the widest selection. I don't care who you are, no one wants to spend an extra grand or so on prom and frankly, some people just can't. So, this is a great event anyone can enjoy.
This year I met two great girls, Kayla and Bailey. I had such an awesome time helping them shop. I hope they share their prom pics with me!
More pics from All Dressed Up:
Have you been to The Spot?
If you head to The Spot on the near-east side, you might recognize some friendly faces. Head chef David Post hails from jacs Dining and Taphouse on Monroe Street! He recently showed me around his new space on East Johnson Street.
You can read my sip and savor feature in this month's Madison Magazine. If you head over there, make sure you try the barley and brown rice risotto or the poor man's paella.
My husband Jim turned 40 this past week so I thought I'd throw him a surprise trip.
It was really hard keeping a secret for so long but I wanted to take Jim to the Grand Canyon for a grand birthday. He has a lot of great childhood memories going to the Grand Canyon with his family. I told him we would be going to Chicago but would also need clothes to go to a spa. It worked - he was completely surprised!
I think I slipped once about going to the airport but then I just started throwing out all kinds of weird clues to throw him off. I should also add... I didn't tell his family or friends in case they'd slip (sorry guys!) I only told a few people so I could get advice on where to go. It's hard to keep a secret that long!
Anyway, we landed in Phoenix on Friday and stayed at a condo in Peoria for a night. On Saturday morning I told him we had to head out first thing so we could be in Flagstaff by 9:30. Jim thought something was up...and it was.
We drove to Flagstaff to meet at a place called MartAnne's Burrito Palace (check the Yelp review!!) so we could meet our friends Craig and Nikki. We worked with them in Wilmington and now the two work at a TV station in Tucson. It was awesome because Jim walked in first and saw Craig... Craig smiled at Jim but then didn't know what to do so he looked away because it was supposed to be a surprise! It was classic. Love those two so much and it was great for them to be our Grand Canyon partners. We even hiked down for a bit but without crampons and hiking sticks, we stopped when it started looking a little treacherous.
Below is a pic Jim took with his smartphone. Can you believe how great it turned out?!
I also brought my selfie stick... and a bluetooth remote that helps you snap pictures on demand. I just thought this picture was funny because Craig has been using a selfie stick at work. I hope his boss is watching so he can do his next liveshot this way. Just kidding! Anyone who works in news probably has a strong opinion on this... so I'll just leave it at that.
But back to our birthday boy. I wanted to say a big thanks to our friend Angie who helped me make Jim's birthday a little more special. She had a ton of contact information and that made a huge difference. I wanted other people to celebrate Jim's birthday because turning 40 is such a big moment. I asked Jim's friends and family members to send a letter to him with thoughts, memories, wishes and advice.
I have been so surprised at some of the letters! As I type this, we still have a few to go. I have only allowed Jim to open a couple each day. Some of his favorites so far have been from his college friends writing about their shenanigans. It seems Jim has been really touched by these letters, so thank you to all who took the time to write. And by the way, this was the easiest gift -- I sent a self addressed stamped envelope to my work so Jim never knew until about it!
We also had a haunting experience at the Grand Canyon. I'll have to save that story for later but let's say we both felt it and got the hell out of dodge. I'll have to talk to Jim about sharing that story with you because right now he's not too keen on going back down memory lane. Eek!
As I write this, we're spending our last day in Arizona. Right now, it's 35 degrees and snowing up in the Grand Canyon area and we are packing up to head south to Phoenix where it's a nice 65.
Thanks to all for helping me pull off the big surprise. Jim has really loved it and this will be a great moment in our lives together. It's fun getting older most of the time-- sure beats the alternative!