Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Ann Arbor

Over the weekend DT and I adventured up to Ann Arbor where we had a ton of fun.  We made several stops.

1)  Trader Joe's.  I had never been to Trader Joe's and have always heard about it's cheap wine lore, low priced organics, and friendly staff.  To my surprise, Trader Joe's was more like an Aldi and less like a Costco.  They have good deals there and different foodstuffs than your standard Kroger or Giant Eagle stores.  Seaweed snack?  Ok.  Chicken Andouille sausage.  Yes please.  Organic White Teas for $2.99 a box.  Hooray!  Being that is was a Sunday afternoon, it was jam packed and hard to peruse.  We did get two full bags (sturdy, bring your own, recycle-type bags of course) of new and exciting groceries for a few bucks shy of $100.  Included in that price, we loaded up on wonderfully priced wine and beer.  Awesome.  The check-out guy could not have been any nicer.  Not an ounce nicer.  Go Joe's!

2)  Flat Top Grill.  Shopping at Joe's stirred up an appetite in us, so we had spotted a Flat Top Grill along Washtenaw.  There is a Flat Top in Chicago that we used to frequent.  Think Mongolian BBQ, and then think...a TON better.  It is that same stir-fry concept, but they must grill on a lower heat and for longer (becuase you wait longer), but it is worth it!  Everything tastes burnt to me at Mongo, but FTG is the bomb!   There are a lot more sauce, vegetable, and meat options.  You can add "sticks" to change your bowl to soup, mu shu, get a piee of bread, etc.... It's cool.  Trust me.

3)  Zingerman's Deli.  Zingerman's is world famous so we had to stop there despite just having eaten lunch so we could get sandwiches to go.  Let me remind you, DT is a chef and I am in the food/catering business so this was more of a business trip.  LOL.  We love food :)  Zingerman's was abuzz with people.  The meat/cheese counter was glorious.  Let me tell you.  We bought a $15 brick of cheese. Yes.  It was worth it.  Then I talked with the olive oil gal for a good while.  She opened anything I wanted to try and somethings I didn't even want to try.  They just take care of you there.  I guess that's what you can do when you have $15 blocks of cheese and $60 vials of olive oil.

Next door to the deli is a coffee/confectionery so you can enjoy more food and the Zingerman empire.  They had all kinds of delicious sweets there including gelato and little chocolates, a soda fountain, places to sit and work on your iPad or MacBook Pro (I don't think they allow PCs in there).

Those Zingermans are doing something right, let me tell you.

4)  Random fish market.  I think we were on overload after that, but we stumbled into this cool fish/meat market with a gorgeous case of fresh Amish poulty and Angus beef.  It was just fun to look at how Ann Arbor makes use of their spaces.  After that we hit the road back to Toledo.  Fun little trip.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Declutter your house 101

My WW leader turned me onto the Fly Lady.  She just slyly mentioned things to do instead of eat, as in, "go FlyLady.com."  In my mind I was picturing some big ol fat lady that was also a rapper.  :)

Anyway!  Fly Lady is no rapper, she is a de-cluttering master.  You could be on this site for hours reading about how to de-clutter and organize your home.  It's so incredible!  The best part?  She really breaks it down for you into small tasks and projects that are do-able and measurable so you don't feel overwhelmed and defeated right away.

Ever have that feeling?

Saturday morning, you are all ready to go.  You clean, and organize, and clean more, and move sh*t from room to room, take a break to eat lunch, clean the kitchen, take out several garbage bags, all of a sudden it's dark and you have a house full of clutter still.  OMG. 

I have done this so many times.  I just want to do it all in one day.  Fly Lady tells us not to expect to de-clutter in one day because your house did not get messy in one day.  Genius!!

Check her out and try her tip of the day.  Personally, I like the Launch Pad, to help you visualize her master plan.  The super fling boogie?  27 things?  No problem.  Think I'll get started tonight...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We're all doin the Superbowl Shuffle!

The New York Giants are going to the Superbowl XLVI in Indianapolis (that's 46 to those of you that don't want to take 10 minutes to figure it out).  DT is a big Giants (or G-men) fan and I have been watching along with him for several years.

Immediately after the Giant's win in OT over the 49ers on Sunday night, we looked up tickets to the Superbowl.  Cheapest option we could find was around $2,000....for one ticket.  Most likely nosebleed seats that would make you dizzy looking at the field, too.  No thank you.

I have been searching all week, mostly for fun, because some of the ticket prices go up pretty high.  List price for "Street Level Suites" are $587,074.00 each.  EACH!  OMG.   Celebrities and royals and Hugh Jackman-types.  Holy crap.  I cannot even imagine.

It would be fun to go to the Superbowl and tailgate and not even GO to the game.  What an experience!!  Either way, we will be rooting for the G-men from the parking lot or from the couch but most definitely not from the baller suite at half a mil a pop.  Half time show....Madonna!

GO GIANTS!


Buy your own Superbowl tickets here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesday

I missed my meeting!  Don't judge me.  I judge myself enough already.  I am going on Friday.  Ugh.

Green Tip of the Month

We are very earth conscious at work and, therefore, share a green tip at our monthly meetings.  This month's tip was offered to help us reduce our water usage.

The recommended time in the shower is 3 minutes.  To help you spend the recommended time in the shower, set an egg timer for 3 minutes and then finish up when it rings. 

I have a stopwatch feature on my phone so I have been timing myself and here are the results:
Day 1:  3:10
Day 2:  4:05
Day 3:  9:10  (Hair washing!  takes so much longer - but I only wash my hair every three days so I feel it evens out)
Day 4:  2:35

I was impressed with myself.  I can work on the hair washing days - 9 minutes is long but I have a TON of hair.  Seriously.

To assist you in your water conservation efforts, buy a cute egg-timer here.

My amazing friend KZ bought me an egg-timer that I LOVE.  He looks like this but yellow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Fresh Love" Photography

Curiosity got the best of me and I just had to look this up.  Bob and Tom were discussing this photographer out of Tokyo, Hal, and his method of vacuum sealing his clients for sessions called "Fresh Love."  (On his actual site it is called Fresh Love, on this article the journalist calles it "Flesh Love. lol.)  Click here for Hal's webite.  Please click there.  Pretty interesting.  I especially like the part about how he begins to negotiate with his subjects to pose.

Yes.

I would encourage you to read this article as I am not going to do it justice because I am simply not this artistic.  I can tell you that I would never allow someone to vacuum seal me for a photo - or for any reason - and would not hang a picture of this in my office.  I do find it interesting, hence the blog post, but interesting in the deeply disturbing and a bit bothersome interesting.  My mind immediately thinks of how you would get out of the seal.  Knife?  You need an immediate air hole.  How do you give the signal?  You are wrapped up!  Imagine how hot and sweaty it is in there.  Ugh.  I also loathe the smell of plastic - like new shower curtain smell.  Horrific. 

I'm sure some people find this sexy.  But not me.   No sirree.  I like a good ole black and white photo in nature.  Preferably in the fall when no one is sweaty.


Restaurant Review: Caper's Pizza

Another restaurant adventure led us to Caper's Pizza Bar located on S. Byne/Glanzman.  Another locally owned joint recommended to me over and over again (I recommed it to people having never been there!), we checked it out the other night.
The food
Let's cut to the chase.  Simply amazing.  If you read this blog, you know I love food and struggle with weight/go to WW every week.  So therefore it is a reasonable conclusion that I love and appreciate food.  Caper's has homemade pizza - dough from scratch, fresh ingredients (Italian rope sausage!), and big ovens that I can only assume are brick.  We also tried the anti-pasta skewers for an appetizer and it was not a traditional, instead, it had a nice spin of sundried tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, kalamatta olives, and salami topped with a balsamic glaze.  MMMM!  Their menu is extensive and I would like to go back and try a sandwich sometime, but only if I have a partner and we can still get pizza.

The service
Good service gets a great tip.  Our waitress was a doll - so prompt, so nice, and she really comprehended the line between attentive and obnoxious.  She did NOT push wine on me and did not make me feel weird about having a glass of wine and chasing it with a Diet Coke.  It's my splurge night.  I choose to splurge on pizza, wine and Diet Coke.  Sue me.

The atmosphere
I didn't really feel like I was in Italy, and my feet did not touch the floor in the particular booth we sat in, but it was clean,  had hard plastic plates, classic big red cups for soda, nice stemware for wine.  The pizza come out on one of those pedestals - displaying it's perfect pizza-ness properly.  What else can you ask for?  There were pieces of art on the wall by a local artist for sale and I also noticed that Caper's is participating in Restaurant Week: Toledo.  Pretty cool. 

Definitely recommend Caper's!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Product Review: Tofu Noodles

House Foods Shirataki Tofu Noodles have been made famous by Hungry Girl and I have been reading about them for YEARS.  Literally, years, people.  I have been curious, but not so curious that I was going to mail away for a package of 15 servings of noodles for $60 (+ shipping) just to have a pool of mushy goo in a pan (Elizabeth Shue reference). 
However, while perusing the Fresh Market the other day, I stumbled upon these very noodles!  I immediately bought a package of the fettuccine variety and played with the watery, gel-like pacakge the entire rest of the trip in the store, musing about the possibilites.  When I got home, I immediately opened them.  Yes, Hungry Girl was correct, they do have an earthy smell that is quite unappetizing.  So, I remembered the tips:  rinse, pat dry, and then disguise them with other foods.  Ha ha!

I sauteed them in olive oil, fresh micro-grated garlic, salt, and pepper.  Combined with stir-fried mushrooms and broccoli and a pinch of Parmesan cheese, these were a slam dunk!  The best part?  Zero points plus for a package of these.  SAY WHAT?  Freakin zero?  Ok!  YES!  I'm not saying I will eat these every night, but maybe every week.   (Click here for nutrition stats).

Thanks Hungry Girl and Fresh Market!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Easy, Breezy Dinner

DT and I are epicurious people who enjoy dining out at new but also tried and true establishments.  Last week, we hit Mac and Tongs located on the corner of Talmadge and Central.  If you've never been there, it's old and loungey and not what you would expect from the outside.  It comes highly recommended, has an extensive bar, an upscale menu, daily specials, and couches for chairs.

How was the food?
Food was average...overall.  They were missing a few items from the menu that were not mentioned until we ordered them.  The vegetables were string green beans from a can...a CAN!  Gross.  Salad was good, dressing was average.  The salmon was incredible though, bringing up the average. 

How was the service?
Pretty terrible.  Our server was new and I can be forgiving, but she pushed wine on me all night (which I hate), didn't know the menu at all, brought out the wrong meal for me and called it "our miscommunication," um, no, and never once apologized.  Acted like she did me a favor when she brought out the salmon 15 minutes after my husband had his food.  For a meal that cost us about $100 with drinks and an appetizer, not cool.  Also, do not say "munchin on that?"  Ugh.

How was the atmosphere?
This was the kicker.  We sat by the bar and the crowd in this place was quite a bit....mature.  DT was not at the table at the moment when a gentleman stood in front of me, back to me, at my head level, and was watching the football game.  I was just sitting alone, minding my own business, when this dude RIPPED ONE directly in my face.  It was loud.  I felt a breeze.  It actually smelled. 

DT was shocked at my face when he returned to the table.  I started explaining to him what had just occurred when across the room another statesman leaned over the davenport to get his overcoat and honked one out.  This one was heard by everyone.  Our waitress was laughing so hard she had to retreat to the kitchen.

Are...

You...

Serious?

So, overall our trip to Mac and Tongs:
1)  Excellent Salmon
2)  Noisy Dining Room
3)  Overpriced Entertainment we can get at home

Weight Loss Wednesday

...On Thursday.  I lost .2.  Yipee.  Woo-hoo (see...I'm doing cartwheels).

It's a loss. 

I was really good this week and focused on balance.  I had wine.  I had a cookie.  I ate out.  I wrote it all down.  So, all in all it was a successful week. 

My mantra - do not focus solely on the scale....life is about balance......

What?

What happened?  I have not blogged for a week.  Ok, putting in an effort now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weight Loss Wednesday

I don't want to talk about it.

Pass.

I need a break.

Ok - so I went again to WW on Tuesday night and I was up.  Again.  I know that I am really experiencing some set backs with my hip...not being able to get to the gym, hardly being able to walk some days...but it's no excuse really.  It's really a reason to do even better.

So, I think this week was a wake up call.  Just because one area of your life is not going well, doesn't mean you can slack in others.  So, this is me getting a grip, because if I don't, next thing you know, I will have gained 20 lbs back and I will hate myself for it.  Just absolutely hate myself.

My best friend said something to me the other day that made so much sense.  I wanted to write it on my wall in permanent marker.  She said that in your thirties you embrace your mortality and weight loss really becomes more about fitness and health, not about being thin. "You either get it, or you don't."  Wow.  So, instead of ruining my living room, I'm writing it here and reading it every day.

You either get it, or you don't.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Only in an office environment

We have a one bathroom type situation.  No stalls.  Just one door and one commode (ick).  Thank god we have a men's and a women's. 

Question (based on real life experiences):
Who is it more awkward for when someone does not lock the ONE door?  The person getting walked in on or the person walking in?

You then have to see that person periodically throughout the day.  Avoid eye contact and definitely avoid conversation.   You have that vision of their surprised face burned into your memory.   "Oh....uh...sorry!"  You both yell it.  It's terrible. 

Moral of the story.  LOCK THE DOOR.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Movies

Once of my favorite activities is seeing a movie on the big screen and I have not been to the theater in a while.  I prefer to always see an action movie though.  Comedies or, ugh, romantic comedies, are not as good to me in theaters and I feel like it's kind of a waste of money unless it's one I have really been wanting to see.

Here are the movies I am looking forward to seeing (especially with the Oscars coming, I want to be in the know):
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (although I really do want to read the book first...I don't care if it's cliche)
Sherlock Holmes
Contraband
The Devil Inside (Let's be honest, I'm too big of a wuss to see this.  Even the commerical terrifies me, but it looks really good.)
Mission Impossible
Underworld:  Awakening (Although I'm sure it's not getting Oscar buzz, I just like to see Seline kick some ass another time.)
The Grey (Starring Liam Neeson who also kicks ass.)

That should keep me busy for a while.  Seen any of these?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year!!  I hope everyone had fun last night and has enjoyed your first day of the fresh, new year.

We had a total ball last night and, for once in a long time, I didn't have too much fun (read: I'm not so hungover today that I can't function).  I went to the gym today and ate normally (read: did not have pizza for lunch and Taco Bell for dinner - standard New Year's Day fare for a hungover me).

While at the gym, I was thinking about my resolution.  It snowballed of course and I wound up with many resolutions that were piled up in an overwhelming mountain-form in my mind. 

Then it occurred to me that I don't have to get everything done in a month, or even six months.  A resolution means to just DECIDE to act, and that I now have a year to formulate new and good habits.  I can break it up into monthly goals and check in with myself, like we do at work (eek!  type A work self seeping into type B home self!).

My resolutions (in no particular order):
Reach my goal weight
Read more books
Explore higher education options
Organize the house
Paint/redecorate house
Support family and friends
Be where you are
Simplify

The last one I had to throw in there based on what DT always tells me.  My to do list is typically huge and he looks at it and goes, "Eh, cross off three things."  Just like that.  He's right.  It needs to be just that easy. 

I'll check in with you to let you know how I'm doing mid-year or sooner.

Happy 2012 to everyone!  Best to you all!