My trip to Minnesota was followed by a trip to Madison, Wisconsin, to visit my college friend Becca. She and I met freshman year, which we figured out makes our friendship nearly 10 years old. What the heck?!? Is that even possible? Looking back at the weekend though, it’s much easier to see that we really have grown up from the fact that this trip, we only went out one night, and spent the other in comfy clothes drinking wine.  I’m quite happy that we’ve graduated from jungle juice and house parties to be honest!

While we didn’t try to jam the trip full of touristy attractions, we did hit a few key spots to get the Madison experience. On Saturday morning, we bought food for that night’s dinner at the downtown farmers’ market, which circles the entire Capitol building.

We also bought breakfast on-the-go from one of the bakery stands. I got a hearty tasting oatmeal bar topped with slightly sweet baked rhubarb. It was delicious! And not sugary at all, which I prefer for breakfast.

Our trip also yielded the ingredients for a really beautiful caprese salad. In LA, the temperatures are a cool 75, but Madison was (and still is) HOT. At home, I will gladly still use my grill and oven, but it was nice to have a no-cook option. Well, minus the balsamic reduction. Totally worth a few minutes over the hot stove!

In addition to the farmers’ market, we also ate lunch at the Memorial Union Terrace, which is apparently THE spot to sit and drink a beer. Well, we had Chipotle instead of booze, but it was a nice, albeit hot, space. I especially loved the view! I’ll always pick oceans over lakes, but being right on the water is great no matter what.

We also got ice cream! More specifically, Babcock Dairy ice cream, which is apparently also famous in its own rights. I especially liked the vanilla with cherries and chocolate chips. I’ve been on such a cherry kick lately – dried or fresh! Although shh, don’t tell Becca, but I prefer Malibu’s “Italian Kiss” gelato/frozen yogurt the best.

While in Madison, we also wandered down State Street for some shopping. I totally lucked out because my visit just so happened to coincide with Maxwell Street Days, with tons of sidewalk sales and cheap prices. I have been trying to buy a few higher-quality pieces that I really love and that will last a long time. However, it literally pains me to spend more than $20 on any article of clothing, so I am constantly battling between my desire to be frugal and the idea of buying something that looks amazing/fits well/becomes a wardrobe staple. Keeping all this in mind, I flipped to find cute Sparkle & Fade sweaters at Urban Outfitters on sale for $5 each! My love for cheap AND my desire for quality, combined:

I broke out of the $20 comfort zone to buy a not-on-sale dress because it had a sweetheart neckline with a white, gauzy overlay – such a pretty style and the cheaper versions never look remotely this elegant and girly.

In case you thought that all we did was eat and shop, don’t worry. There was plenty of True Blood watching and cat snuggling going on as well.

Hmm, I guess it’s pretty obvious from that statement to see that we are ten years older after all!