Posts Tagged 'Milwaukee'

National Bike Challenge: Accepted

The National Bike Challenge – Town Gown Showdown has been going on since May 1st and there’s still a couple months left to take part! Marquette teamed up with other Milwaukee-area schools and Milwaukee County as a whole to take on this annual cycling competition. Last year Milwaukee took 3rd place with over 169,000 miles from May 1st through September 31st! If you ask me that’s pretty incredible. But I also say that means this year Marquette and Milwaukee will do even better.

I want to see Milwaukee as the #1 biking community. I especially want to see all of Marquette’s employees and retirees out putting on some miles on their bikes. As of week 8, we were sitting at 57,746 miles. Considering the challenge lasts a total of 18 weeks, I think it’s safe to say we’re off to a good start (although behind last year).  We are currently in week 11 and have 7 more to go, so that leaves plenty of time to make sure you log some miles. Whether you are going 1 mile, 10 miles, or 30 miles at a time, it all counts. When you are doing something beneficial for your body, IT ALL COUNTS. So don’t be afraid to get out there and do some biking today.

It’s really easy to take part in the challenge. First, you have to create a Strava account, connect with Marquette’s club and then sync to the National Bike Challenge. For detailed instructions on how to participate, visit our employee wellness page.

After you’re all set up with your Strava account, it’s time to get on your bike. You could go on a grand, solo adventure, or gather up some family members and enjoy a fun afternoon together. There are so many cool places to bike in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. You can find maps of biking trails here along with plenty of other biking resources from bike sharing to safety information.

Now that you’re all set with biking resources and plenty of motivation to get out there and make Milwaukee and Marquette proud, I hope to see you all on the trails.

Alicia Diedrich

The art of the “stay”cation

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Fall is fully here in Milwaukee now! The leaves have changed and the air is cool and crisp. School and work are plugging on hard as ever, though. If you’re like me, sometimes you just need to get away. And in this day and age, with a full time job, plus commitments outside of work, it can be almost impossible to sneak in a vacation. It is just too tough to schedule around soccer practice and work meetings and Bible study. Low and behold, you get stuck in Milwaukee year-round.

But, you’re stuck in Milwaukee. Congrats! This is great! Milwaukee has tons of amazing things to do that can feel vacationy even though you could be only a few miles from your house. It does not require that everyone cancel their sports practice or reschedule their meetings or miss the study group! Welcome to the art of the “stay”cation, Milwaukee style.

So when it comes to staycationing, you have plenty of options to get out and about to enjoy Milwaukee this fall. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in our lovely city when I get tired of the daily grind.

Trip to the beach – Some might say that Milwaukee does not have a very beautiful coast line, but I’d argue with them about it. My favorite place to be on the Lake Michigan coastline is Atwood Park, which is just a ten minute drive north toward Bayshore. The remote beach has stones and sand, and even a small pier that you can use to venture into the water. It probably is no longer swimming weather, but the view of the vast lake and the seemingly untouched shoreline is worth the quick trip.

Paddling down the river – In this weather? Oh yes. There are a bunch of different ways that you can get out on the Menomonee or Milwaukee River in a kayak or a canoe. Riverwest Outdoors and the Urban Ecology Center are two helpful resources when it comes to renting gear, getting wetsuits and making a day of adventure on the water road of Milwaukee.

Checking out the museums – Walking through the mazes of exhibits in both the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Museum are expeditions in themselves. Both museums offer tons of exhibits and are both fairly close to downtown. You could try and hit both of these treasure troves in one day, or you could extend you staycation (my personal preference) and take them on one at a time.

Going out to eat at a new restaurant – Milwaukee has NO shortage of places to eat. Whether you are looking for something fancy, something new or something fast, this city has got you covered. Good thing you live right here and can try as many of them as you want! Treat yourself right to some French food or a killer slice of pizza, unlimited sushi or organic egg salad sandwiches. You can get them all right here in MKE.

The opera – Don’t knock this until you try it. If you are really looking for an out of this world experience, check out an opera. There is no better way to get a good dose of a new and exquisite culture than admiring the latest Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance or listening to a classic musical at the Chamber Theatre. If you want to experience a full fledge opera, though, Milwaukee will almost always have a show for that niche!

New year, new us

IMG_3267Welcome back, MU community! It’s the second day of the school year and Employee Wellness has lots planned for this semester. We are really excited to share it all with you! First off, yes, it is still me, Sarah, but we have a new face on the team. Her name is Alicia Diedrich, and she is excited to start spreading some wellness news, too. You’ll be hearing from her more next week.

Last January, I started a little bit of a redesign of the structure and content on our webpage. You may have noticed. Get ready for some more future updates and cool upgrades to where you are finding wellness information through us. We hope to have more helpful facts ready for you more often very soon.

I’m also pretty stoked to let you know that we will be working more with the Office of Marketing and Communication. Hopefully this will allow us to become a full service wellness desk, able to answer all your questions and bring you details about tons of cool and health-centric events on campus and throughout Milwaukee.

Speaking of cool events on campus, we already have plenty of fun classes planned to help you get in your daily fitness. From yoga to crossfit, we don’t want you to forget to have fun every once in a while during the work day. Getting fit at the same time is a plus. Be sure to register here to check out our calendar and take another step toward a healthier lifestyle.

So get excited and get moving, MU! Let’s make this a great and healthy semester.

Committing to a long and well life

IMG_3164As the summer is wrapping up, I knew that I needed to get some last minute things finished before I have to go back to the world of school. One of those things was visiting my grandparents. So this weekend I road tripped out to the great state of Iowa to hang out on the farm with my grandpa and grandma.

My grandparents live in lovely, little Homestead, Iowa in the Amana Colonies. Its functions in the heart of the Midwest’s corn belt and contributes to Iowa’s beef-producing epicenter. Grandpa has lived on this farm all of his life; I’m not kidding, he was born on this land 79 years ago. He grew up doing the hard labor that farming requires and continues until this day to feed all of his cattle and plow his fields himself. Grandpa is the kind of guy who just enjoys his work. Every year when I see him, though, he jokes about how after this upcoming winter, he’s going to quit farming. “Ok, yeah right, Grandpa,” we always say. This time prompted him to bring up his last visit to his general practitioner.

Grandpa got his bones tested, his blood tested and all of that other stuff to make sure that his body was still working well. At the end of the visit, his doctor asked him if he was really 79 years old. He couldn’t believe that he was as old as his birth certificate suggested; his body only suggested my Grandpa could be 60 years old. The doctor attributed my grandfather’s youthful condition to the daily physical activity that he does.

Most doctors recommend that you should be getting at least one hour of physical activity a day, whether it be going for a walk, playing a sport or doing some yoga. Staying active can keep your body young and working properly, and my grandpa can testify to that. I’m not suggesting that we all become farmers, although we could use the boost in agriculture. I’m recommending that we get up and make wellness a priority instead of shoving it to the side as if it were a luxury.

Being active is as important as sleeping. Without it, none of us are going to last very long. As humans, we have the strength and build to move. If we were meant to sit around and do nothing, we’d be sloths or vegetables.

Now, I’m not a carrot or squash, and I am hoping that you are not either. And my grandpa’s story only reiterates what so many other sources say: GET MOVING. SO before it is too late, start making physical activity a priority and necessity. Because really, it is a necessity. I hope that some day I can tell my grandkids that although I am eighty, I can still do all the fun things someone in their 60’s is doing. I don’t want my body to fall apart on me. The main point of wellness is not only to be well now, but to be well always, for the rest of our lives. So get up and get moving, just like my grandpa has done his whole life. It’s so worth your while that it will add years to your life.

 

Wellbeing Biographies: Sarah Schlaefke

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Photo by Nolan Bollier

Recently the news contains headlines that are riddled with devastating events. Dark and dismal happenings like shootings, bombings and corruption cover our TV screens, newspapers and social media feeds. I don’t know about you, but I could use a pick-me-up. Here’s my shot at adding a little positivity to your daily news intake.

As a wellness website, I feel that it is important to recognize, celebrate and encourage the sharing of our own healthy lifestyles as well as the lifestyles of those around us. Through Marquette Employee Wellness, I would like to start a little collection of stories amongst our campus of the positive changes, successes and even valiant efforts put forth by our community. This is an opportunity to share with those around us what we have been working on, not to boast and not to be ragged on for it, but to set forth positive examples and inspire each other to take on wellness for ourselves. We are, however, Marquette, and we do, in fact, make quite a difference, even in our own lives.

So to start us off, I’ll let you in on a little more about me.

A year ago, I could not have told you that I would be writing anything even remotely near to “wellness.” I did not really know what it meant to be well. I was struggling with some heavy depression, a not-so-healthy relationship and just an all-over raincloud on the outlook of my life. After a while, and after I had given up on the hopes of being happy, something changed.

I woke up one day feeling like I deserved it, which is true – we all do. I deserved to be happy. I could make that my reality, too. I just had to go at it headfirst. From that moment, I cannot think of a single regret.

I tossed my garbage relationship out the window. I started doing things that I wanted to do again, not things that I thought were out of the way and approved of by everyone else. I quit the job that made me unhappy. I took up rock climbing and full-fledged strength training. I cared more about what I ate, telling myself that my body deserves to be fueled correctly, so that I could go and accomplish the great things I wanted to accomplish.

Yes, I still had a handful of people doubting me, telling me “no,” or putting me down. I actually just decided that life is too short to care what they think. It was a tough pill to swallow, but in the end I realized that at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, so taking care of myself and my wellbeing became very important.

Today I am part of an amazing relationship with a man who makes me really happy and is pretty much my best friend/default adventure buddy. I am extremely excited to start up classes again this semester; I am very much looking forward to working with the teachers I  have. I also just recently began writing freelance articles with OnMilwaukee, one of my journalistic dreams come true. I have been slowly seeing progress in my climbing, which I have been using as inspiration to making new media featuring nature and the outdoorsy lifestyle. My faith is strong. My relationship with my family is full of smiles and laugher. And I am just about done with all of the anxiety and depression treatment that I started when all I could see is dark blue. All in all, I don’t think I could say I have ever been happier than I am right now. I am proud of my wellness and that is why I am here. I am aching to inspire others to take hold of life and just go for it, go for the happiness. And I know I am not the only one.

Here’s the good part. Since I can’t be alone on this wellness adventure, I want to hear from you about the successes, goals and healthy habits that have made you a better person. Your story does not need to be long, and it doesn’t need to be perfect (that’s why I have copy editing experience, don’t you worry). But I do want to hear it.

It is important to support each other in our journeys to wellness. This is why I feel this little project is essential. I hope that you will reach out to me with a story. We are not alone this planet for a reason. Let’s work together on being the difference in each of our lives.

Wellbeing Biography stories can be submitted to me, Sarah Schlaefke, at sarah(dot)schlaefke(@)gmail(dot)com. I will edit them up and let you know when they will be posted! Please feel free to include a photo, too, because the Internet loves pictures.

Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you all soon. Stay healthy, my friends.

Summer Cookout Series: Chocolate Pretzel Bars

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Photo via Julie Craig

Well, would you look at that. We are already at the last week of July! Since this month is coming to an end, I want to share with you my favorite way to end any meal – dessert. And since we are still talking about summer cookouts, I dug up one of my favorite picnic desserts and tweaked it just a tad to make it a little bit healthier.

This gooey, chocolatey, pretzel-filled dessert has all the ingredients to appease any kind of cookout guest. Take on a sweet tooth with the melty chocolate and satisfy the salt-lover with the chunks of pretzels bursting from every bite. These pleasing pretzel bars are the perfect way to end the party.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups of whole grain wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 sticks of softened unsalted butter
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
One 12-ounce bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons of crushed cocoa nibs
1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped mini quinoa pretzels
2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9×13-inch metal baking pan with parchment or wax paper, allowing overhang on the edges of the pan.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a larger bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light, so only beat it for about 1 minute. Then add  in the eggs and vanilla and beat again. At a lower speed,  now beat in the dry ingredients. After, stir in the chips, nibs and pretzels by hand.
  3. Spread this concoction in the pan and dust the top with the mini chocolate sprinkles. Bake for a half an hour until golden and the center should still be still be a little gooey. Let cool completely. Just pull on the parchment paper to get the bars out of the pan. Cut them up and enjoy!

Summer Cookout Series: Parmesan BLT Salad

Tomatoes - Summer 2016

Photo via Alison Miksch 

Nothing says summer like a good cookout! For the rest of July I would like to share with you some family recipes that I love to see at cookouts I’ve attended in the past.

To start off the menu, here’s one of my favorite sandwiches turned into a healthier salad version! Behold, the Parmesan BLT Salad!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups of cut-up, cubed white bread
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of buttermilk
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1/8 teaspoon of sugar
12 ounces of chopped romaine lettuce and spinach
1 1/2 pounds of sliced cherry tomatoes
6 slices of cooked, chopped turkey bacon
 Flat-leaf parsley and torn basil leaves to garnish

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Prepare Croutons: Toss together bread, melted butter, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Place on a baking sheet, and bake 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside.

3. Prepare Dressing: Combine shallot and vinegar in a medium mixing bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in buttermilk and next 5 ingredients.

4. Make Salad: Arrange romaine lettuce and spinach on a serving platter. Top with sliced tomatoes and chopped bacon, and drizzle with 3 Tbsp. of dressing. Add croutons, parsley and basil. Serve right away with leftover dressing on the side.

Wa la!


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