Come on over!

29 Aug

Happy Monday all!

So you won’t be seeing hearing reading from me over on Simply Shaka anymore.

Sadface, I know.

But not so much sadface as I’ve decided to go self hosted and will now be blogging over at

Snack Snark Bark

All of my posts from Simply Shaka have been moved over there and while I’m still going through some tweaking over on the new site, I will be blogging on there from now on.

Please update your Google Reader and email subscriptions and come see me soon Smile

Input this

25 Aug

So if I thought my temp job last week was boring, I was sorely mistaken.

This one is the mother of all boring jobs and it’s all due to two works:

Data entry

Blah.

Sure, I can type and have input data before but I never knew how redundant it can be. Also, I didn’t know how lazy teenagers are these days. I am inputting information from seminars held for high school students who are interested in going into the legal profession. They fill out surveys at the end of their visit and reading their handwriting is impossible and some of their answers, well, how about I just show you.

Exhibit A:

When I first read this, I thought maybe the girl was just being cute.I mean, she interested in being a lawyer so she can’t be serious, right?

But then I read on

Oi vey but props to her for saying she wants better food especially since I could sympathize with her since this was my lunch

Exhibit B:

What’s up with these kids not wanting to walk anywhere? They were on a gorgeous Ivy League campus and a majority of the answers are them complaining about them having to walk everywhere. Really? Killing me softly I tell you. At least some of their answers are entertaining-one of the boys left his twitter name on his survey and I so wanted to log on and follow him but I resisted temptation. Another boy was talking about how he was bummed that he couldn’t get into the girls dorms after 10pm—bad boy there. Other answers were quite heart warming, 99% of the surveys talked about how the best part of the seminar was making new friends from across the country who they would have never met other wise.

I was supposed to work 10 to 5pm but the power went out at 1pm so the other temp and I sat around in the dark with the rest of the office since we didn’t know what to do. Everyone is friendly enough but not going out of their way to be nice and they aren’t too chatty so starting a conversation with them was out of the question. Personally, I wanted to start singing kumbaya but I didn’t want to show off in front of strangers. Plus why not just sit there and play on my phone? I’m getting paid for it right? So that’s what we did until our supervisor told us we might as well go home since the didn’t know when the power would be back on. I got four hours of pay for three hours of work so I really can’t complain.

So I went home and I was completely beat….just after four hours…what is wrong with me?? I came home to a nice surprise though, some Warrior Crunch that I won over on Meals and Moves!

I made pizza last night with the last of my Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix and leftover sausage and peppers.

I decided to spice it up by adding Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper Spread instead of pizza sauce

 

What a great pizza! I still have a good portion of the spread left and I know what I will be using it for next.

You all remember when I tried Gardein’s Beefless Tips and they were horrid? Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson because I had this tonight for dinner

Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Poblano Chick (Pea) Patties. Once again, I got bit by the curiosity bug when I saw this on sale at Winn Dixie. I’ve had chickpeas in the past whether it be in salads, burgers and falafel and love all things hummus so I thought these would be delicious. Plus I loved the irony of the company’s name. You can heat these up in the oven or microwave and being famished from a long day of data entry, microwave it was.

The moment of truth came and I should have known how it was going to pan out by the smell of it. It smelled exactly like a Lean Cuisine entrée, which to me, is one of the most disgusting smells. It reminds me of plastic veggies sprinkled with potpourri for some reason. But I took it out of the microwave and carried it on and placed it on my plate

 

It didn’t look anything like the picture (shocker) It reminded me of an undercooked, over sized snicker doodle covered in corn chunks. Need I say more? Two bites in, I slide it off my plate and even the dogs didn’t want anything to do with it.

That’s when you know it’s bad. No more vegetarian friendly dishes for me, unless, it’s Morningstar of course but Morningstar never disappoints. I have no real reason to buy these since clearly I am a carnivore but I love all the creative things that companies have in place of meat dishes. I’m a sucker for creativity I tell you.

Thank God my dad made shrimp and scallops.

Stache envy

23 Aug

I guess working for the past week and a half put me into a routine and now I’m thrown off since I really have nothing to do. But that will change tomorrow…..for two days at least. My friend got me a two day gig doing some data entry at an office right near my house so that will get me out of the house for a bit. I pondered riding my bike over there but then I got images of Jim Halpert riding his bike to The Office resulting in a very sweaty (rawr) Jim.

I think I will take the car instead because I’m sure no one wants to see me in spandex. And you sure as hell can’t pay even me to look at myself in spandex. So yes, the car will be the best option for now.

Today, I’ve been keeping busy with lots and lots of tv thanks to the Boca Raton Public Library!

Check out all those titles! I went in there yesterday morning and they have pretty much every show known to man. I like to think of myself as a TV buff but there were tons of shows I’ve never heard of. And they have Alias and Lost, my need for everything JJ Abrams is now complete.

I decided to give veggie products a chance again after my “beefless tip” mishap on Friday night.

Morningstar has never steered me in the wrong direction and I thank them for that. I usually get their black bean burgers but have heard wonderful things about the Tomato & Basil Pizza Burgers. I cooked one patty on the stovetop along with some zucchini stripe then places over a bed of rice and my new favorite hummus.

I found a mustache while making dinner.

Dinner was sausage and peppers and while cutting the peppers, I noticed a few in mustache form ala Mr. Pringles. Nothing wrong with that for I am all for the mustache….on a man that is. I’m Italian so I don’t need any help in that department. And for you other mustache lovers out there, check out some famous mustaches, I love that they have a few of the characters from the Muppets on there. But I gave up the pepper and started to cook instead. I threw the peppers in a pan and let cook with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Took the peppers out, let the sausage cook then added the peppers back in.

I added a jar of sauce to the sausage and pepper mixture and let simmer. I wasn’t a huge fan of this sauce, I found it to be bland. To compensate, I added some minced garlic, oregano and basil in an attempt to give it some kind of kick to the tastebuds.

Threw on top of some spaghetti and voila, dinner was done.

Great meal and there was a lot leftover for more meals this week! I usually only cook sausage to make meatballs so this was a simple and quick alternative to that (and less messy of course because rolling out greasy sausage in your hands is not clean kitchen friendly)

Since we supposedly have a hurricane coming later this week, I wanted to get a bike ride in since I wasn’t sure if I would be able to later this week. I say supposedly because they hype it up so much down here and most of the time it ends up turning or downgrades to a lower category hurricane. When Hurricane Andrew hit, we really weren’t affected too much but Hurricane Wilma did a lot of damage to our house. Thank God FEMA had finally gotten their act together for that one.

Oh yeah, the bike ride. I felt like Forrest frickin Gump tonight! Except that I was biking and I’m not slow (unless I haven’t had any coffee). I wasn’t planning on a long ride but ended up going for almost an hour through both sketchy and nice parts of Boca (yes, Boca Raton has a few sketchy areas)

Now for a daily dose of cute

You’re welcome.

Starting off on the wrong foot

22 Aug

The weekend didn’t start off on the right foot.

Let’s start with my experience at Gizzi’s Coffee Shop  during my lunch break on Friday.

I passed by this place a few times while working the past week and decided to stop in for a mid day pick me up.  They have a varied selection of coffees and teas and when I saw Vanilla Soy Latte-I knew that’s what I wanted. I ordered it and on the menu it said $3.24. The barista/cashier  continued to charge me $.50 extra for the soy although the price was listed on the menu for a vanilla soy latte.

Me: Why is it $4 even when it says $3.24 on the menu?
Barista: Because of the tax
Me: So you’re trying to tell me that it is $.76 tax on a $3.24 drink? That seems a little ridiculous
Barista: That’s what it’s telling me—–
I guess “it” was the cash register and not the creepy clown.

Hmmmmm….something about that seems fishy.
Yeah it may be only $.50 but it’s the principle of it. You all have to understand I am part Polish, I am all about pinching my pennies. I finally got my latte and hunkered down by the fireplace where they have books and magazines to read. I am down for any place in South FL that has a fireplace! They have the most comfy leather chairs I have sat my tush in in a while and after sitting in a hard, cold chair at work, it was most welcomed.

The latte was good-not horrible, not orgasmic, just good. I am still a little annoyed about the $.50 but what can you do? Hopefully this wasn’t a prelude to what my weekend was going to be like.

When I got home from work, I was beat. Beat from sitting at a desk all day and scouring the Internet. Even when I was working full time, I never liked Friday nights. I was always so tired by the end of the week all I wanted to do was cook a nice meal and hang out for the night at home and maybe sneak a gym session in. So I decided that was exactly what I would do on my last day of work.

I bought this Gardein Beefless Tips a couple of weeks ago and have been curious about them but also, a little scared to try them. Beefless tips just sounds dirty and as much as I like a meat-free alternative every now and then, something about fake beef skeeves me out.

I chopped up some red onions, mushrooms and let cook along with some of the beefless tips (I really can’t help saying the phrase beefless tips over and over again) along with some red pepper flakes and minced garlic.

I added in some frozen edamame and soy sauce to the mix and let all cook together so I guess I was going the stir fry route?

I despise cooking rice because I always mess it somehow-under cooked or overcooked and sticking to the pan. I would buy a rice cooker but I’m doing the whole saving money thing and don’t eat enough rice to justify buying it. Steamfresh has been my favorite, lazy way to go with “making” rice as of late, just pop it in the microwave for five minutes and done!

Notice that the beefless tips aren’t in the finished product? Yeah, I took one taste of them and spit it out after a few seconds. I can’t put into words how nasty the beefless tips tasted. I imagine a homeless persons shoe that has been soaked for a few days tasted the same as it. It was spongy and tasted like something that could kill me. When it was done cooked, I picked all of them out of the pan and threw them away along with the package. I’ll be sticking with Morningstar from now on.

Ient to the gym shortly after than made my way to Winn Dixie to stock up on some snacks for the weekend

Chobani was sale for $1 but looks like other people were as excited as I was about it being so cheap. Another sign that the weekend wasn’t going to turn out well.

I managed to get a few in my basket and finally tried the Mango flavor. Which is? Awesomness is in a cup. I think it is my new favorite flavor from Chobani! n another note, look at how gross and dingy Winn Dixie’s dairy shelves are. NASTY.

Saturday things finally started to look up. It started with eggs and Al Fresco chicken sausage

The plan was to make an egg scramble of sorts but while cooking, I saw that it has more potential than that. What once was scramble, soon turned omelet!

I am way too excited and proud about this but omelets aren’t my specialty. So when it happens, I want to tell the world.

Yes sir.

My mom declared it a morning of cleaning and once she started Gettysburg the movie blaring on her mini tv in the kitchen, I knew I had to get out. I made my way over to the beach to go do something…..anything. I thought it would be the perfect time to break in my new shoes and get some exercise in early on. I headed over to Deerfield Beach to walk and get some sun. For 9am in the off-season the beach and boardwalk (really a sidewalk but boardwalk sounds more beach-y) was packed. I love how they have a set place to keep track of your mileage when running and walking and it’s always been a preferred spot for me whether it be going to the beach for the day or hanging out on the boardwalk. I put a good two miles in and as soon as I was done, got out of there since the parking prices at the meters are pretty steep.

Scenes like these make me want to never, ever leave Florida.

Elton John was wrong, Saturday night wasn’t meant for fighting, it was meant for Groupon!

Always a sucker for a deal, I bought this Groupon for Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ. But then I second guessed my purchase, you see, Lucille and I have some history.When I was a teen, I had a bit of an attitude problem (that unfortunately still holds true to this day) I went through a slew of jobs such as working at Walgreens, Papa John’s, Supercuts and our girl, Lucille’s I worked there for a very long two months as a hostess but got canned and I *may* be a little bitter about that still. All I remember is them saying something about how I had an attitude and never smiled therefore, they wanted me out. I guess I didn’t fit the ambience of a bbq joint and haven’t stepped foot in since. However, you give me a 50% off deal and you can bet your butt I’ll be there.

The place looked exactly the same as I remembered it and I was still one of the youngest people in there thanks to the early bird, senior citizens crowd. Some things never change I guess.

I ordered the beef brisket  sandwich, which has sweet relish and chopped onions mixed in and a sweet potato on the side.

 

As you can see, the beef brisket was nothing short of amazing—it was succulent and the relish and onion mixed in gave it a little extra something I wasn’t expecting. I love that you can get a side other than fries there and even though the sweet potato was drenched in butter, I was happy with it. The beach and the bbq were signs that maybe the weekend wasn’t going to be so crappy after all.

Add some free $20 play from Calder Casino in and it turned out to be a pretty swell weekend.

Don’t mock the penny slots, I won $3 off this baby! It’s all slots at this place and I really struggled to find a slot that wasn’t a penny one. I would have killed to have found a nickel slot but they were few and far between. But I did notice a Sex and The City slot machine—when did that happen? I didn’t get a good look at it since the voo doo woman playing it was giving me the stink eye and I didn’t want her to turn me into a chicken. I wonder if the symbols on it are flirtini’s and Jimmy Choo’s?

Have you ever been underwhelmed with a product like I was with Gardein?

Beach or mountains?

You give great customer service

20 Aug

So, one of my traits is that I’m snarky. Like really snarky however I do have a nice side and contrary to popular belief, don’t complain about things all the time. I believe in giving props where props are due and this is going to be one of those posts.

I bought Solgar Whey To Go Strawberry Protein Powder on a whim my last weeks in Charlotte. I went to Healthy Home Market and wanted to get a small container of protein powder since I would be on the road soon and planned on bringing my Magic Bullet (which I completely forgot about) I’m a Spiru-Tein girl but when they are charging $40 for a tub of protein powder and $3 per packet, I don’t think so. I saw Solgar and checked out the stats and liked what I saw.

*130 calories per level scoop

*20g protein

*.5g fat

So I was excited to get some and use it in my first smoothie!

and when I opened it up there was no spoon. Hmmm, weird.

I sprinkled a little in my smoothie since I was in the middle of a protein fit and went onto their website to contact them about this. I wrote them a quick email asking if this was standard practice for them to not include measuring spoons.

A representative of theirs emailed me back before end of the business day, apologizing and asking me for my mailing address.

Three days later, I saw a box sitting at my doorstep. I saw that it was from Solgar and was wondering why it was so big if they were only sending me a spoon. I opened up the package

They sent me a completely new tub of protein powder! I wasn’t expecting them to send me a completely new package but hey, I’m not complaining. I thought it was pretty awesome that they responded to me so quickly and took action to resolve the problem.

Recently, I won a $50 gift card for Holabirds Sports over on Sweating Until Happy. Words cannot express how stoked I was to win this since I am in major need of new sneakers. I got my gift card from them in the mail with a personalized note. Can we say brownie points for Holabirds?

I went onto their site and automatically went to the clearance section to see if I could find anything. I found a pair of New Balance True Balance walking sneakers which was perfect since I was looking for some sneakers to wear in Italy. I also got a pair of Under Armour wrist bands for when I go biking. I sweat so much on my rides and hate having to pull over to stop and wipe myself down so there are perfect!

The shoes are exactly what I thought they would be and the fact they are very lightweight is a plus! I only have my bulky pair of Nike running shoes that I wear when working out and didn’t want to have to lug them around with me. I also ordered a pair of socks that didn’t come with the package. However, instead of just sending me an email that the item was on back order, they called me the day after I ordered to let me know. They didn’t email me, they called me. That is pretty much unheard of this day and age. I was taken aback when I saw their number come up on my phone, what could they be calling me about? I thought that said a lot about the personalized service of the company and wish more companies would follow their lead. When I got the package, it noted also that the socks were on back order and I could get them as soon as they came in. Very nice Holabirds, very nice.

Has a company ever WOWed you with their customer service?

Bang and roll

18 Aug

Happy almost Friday all! Not a lot going on over here just getting ready to finish up working my temp gig. It will be actually be somewhat bittersweet since I’ve gotten to know the guys there pretty well (well for being there seven days that is) and yes, all guys. There is no other women in the office which is very refreshing. I love my girls but I hate working with women. There tends to be so much drama and backstabbing that comes along with it and guys may bring drama, 95% of the time if they have a problem with you, they will go ahead and tell you and I can respect that.

When I do see the guys in the office, it’s great but that’s usually only for an hour each day since they go out into the field and sales calls. And the rest of the day is lonely. I would like to thank Youtube for helping me kill hours whether it be watching comedy

cute doggie videos

or listening to music

I love the new Trina song but this will always be my favorite

And that’s about it. I went to Bonefish Grill last night and can confidently say it’s my favorite Wednesday night place thanks to their $5 Bang Bang Shrimp special! They call it Bang Wednesday which I think goes along well with the notion of hump day.

I’ve never had the Bang Bang shrimp before but have been told multiple times how wonderful it was. The masses don’t lie, the shrimp was zesty and tasty. I love the bang bang sauce however next time I will get the sauce on the side since it was doused in it. A bonus is that it’s served over a bed of greens so it’s like a little shrimp salad for $5.

$3 glasses of house wine are equally enticing as well

And since sushi one time this week wasn’t enough, I went again for lunch today to Sushi Rock. This place is right near where I’m working for the week. It’s very unassuming in a tiny strip mall but I read online that they have lunch specials with a decent review so why not?

The first thing I noticed was there wasn’t a single soul in the place. Hmmmmm, it was still early so I didn’t want to judge them too early on. The second thing I noticed was their menu

All of their menu covers are record covers which goes with the name Sushi Rock. I absolutely loved that idea and the chance that I got a menu with the album of one of my favorite cd’s of all time made it even better.

Like Bluefin, they had both Japanese and Thai lunch specials that come with either miso soup or ginger dressing

My dad got his food first and I’ll admit it, I was having a case of food envy with his chicken and steak teriyaki. They didn’t do skimp on pieces of meat and it was loaded with tons of veggies!

He doesn’t like broccoli so I stole a few pieces while waiting for my lunch the #4 Special with sushi, sashimi and shrimp tempura

Holy cannoli—so. much. food. And only for $10, the same price for my lunch on Tuesday but with more sushi with substance. Sushi Rock didn’t have the chic, hip atmosphere like Bluefin but more of a quaint, neighborhood feel to it which I actually dig more. I don’t need to feel sexy when I eat sushi, I need to feel like I’m getting a good deal. I definitely got a good deal at Sushi Rock and can’t wait to visit again!

Do you work with more men, women or is it equal? Do you prefer to work with one more than the other?

Anyone else getting their bang on??

Not my native tongue

16 Aug

The boring days at the office continue. I’m trying to use my time wisely, instead of doing my nails, I’ve been focusing on my trip to Italy.

I’m good with the details on where I want to visit but one thing I’ve been slacking about is learning  the language. I know the basics like ciao and  buon giorno….ok and  chianti. Not wanting to spend a days worth of pay on Rosetta Stone, I logged onto my library’s catalog to see if they had anything to help me out I found this Berlitz Italian Guaranteed when I picked it up at the library, I was taken aback. Had I really requested a VHS?

Turns out it wasn’t a VHS like the case appeared to be, it was a Playaway.  It’s a cool contraption. It’s like an ipod but for this segment only and  all you have to do is plug in your earphones and you’re all set! No charger and no bulkiness-score!

I’ve done a few lessons and my main complaint originally was that it’s all over the place but now it’s actually coming together. It starts with greetings, how to say your name, ask others theirs and discuss where you’re from. Then it goes on to discuss what you do for a living, how many children you have and if you’re married. I definitely paid attention to the latter so I can ask men this in Italy what they do work wise and if they are involved. I can now count up to 30 , 20-29 is easy because they all start with venti so I can relate that to Starbucks biggest drink!! I can also spell my name out in Italian and tell you my name and where I’m from. The other problem is that I don’t know how to write anything or know how its spelled. Whenever I write down what I’m listening to (because that’s the main way I learn), I spell it out the way it sounds which I know is wrong but works for now while learning it. I’ve never learned a language from tapes before so the process has been interesting and I intend to keep practicing up until I go.

 
When I was in DC last month, I found this
Dorling Kindersley Travel Guide for Italy at a thrift store for $.50.

I love it because I’m a visual person and they are all about the illustrations and pictures. Who needs words when you can look at pictures right? This book has given me great insight on where to go when in Italy but now I fear I have too many places I want to visit, oi vey.

Other that that, I’ve been online reading different blogs about Italy.
Amanda and Andy recently when back to Italy after going for their honeymoon a couple of years ago. I keep going to their blog and not only marveling at the Italian scenery but the food as well. Blueberry ricotta cheesecake, gnocchi, pizza and red wine? Sign me up! Be sure to check out their adventures in Verona and Venice

But like college, I had to give myself a break from studying and researching. I met up with Natalie for lunch at Bluefin Sushi 

I am always down for sushi but even more so when there is a lunch special. Plus I’m kind of over either eating lunch in my car just to get away from the desk or driving around for an hour. Natalie has been before and told me this place gets really busy since it’s located right off I95 near a ton of businesses so we went at noon. That was a smart move on our part since there were only a few tables and parking spaces galore. We went in and sat down and our server came right over to us. I can’t stand when servers take their time at lunch when you have to get back to work so that was appreciated. Bluefin has bento box specials for lunch that come with either soup or salad. Since it feels 100+ degrees outside with the humidity, I got the salad with ginger dressing.

Followed by the Hosomaki lunch special. Both food was out soon after we ordered so no lollygagging at Bluefin-quick service is what I’m talking about!


Hello beautiful bento box full of sushi! This was only $10—not a bad deal at all. My only gripe with Bluefin was that our waiter was a little too attentive with filling up my water. I love my H2O but cmon, give me a chance to just down one full glass of water!

And with that, my brain is fried from all the knowledge it’s taking in. I haven’t sat down and done any kind of studying in god knows how long. But I dig it. It’s nice to give my brain a little workout every now and then, something tells me the normal workout I have of reading TMZ isn’t a beneficial workout for my noggin.

What other languages do you speak? 
Have you ever learned a language from a cd or tape?

 

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