Archive | November, 2010

Stop telephonin’ me

30 Nov

So this was the anthem of my Monday

I tried to keep a positive outlook with work but it just wasn’t happening. I got into bed around 10P Sunday night but was kept awake by this book.

I love reading and all but sometimes it just sucks when I find a book I can’t put down (especially when I have to work the next day and want nothing more than to read all night). On the flip side, I am half way through it and can’t wait to finish it!

So I went into work with toothpicks keeping my eyelids open. And people kept commenting how tired I looked (i.e. how bad I looked)

 I wasn’t looking to forward to Monday b/c:

A) It’s Monday and Mondays just suck

B) I was still bitter about the fact that we had to work the entire day after Thanksgiving

C) I had to make a bunch of calls to my clients who I’ve never spoken with and while making that initial phone call had to deliver bad news. I always knew I worked for an evil corporation but these calls are further proof to back up my belief.

D) Most of my clients are on the west coast so I had to wait until afternoon to make said phone calls which left me anxious and sick to my stomach all day.

E) Thanks to my post this wknd, I had Ricky Martin in my head and that got really old really quick.

Luncthime came around and I couldn’t eat since I was so nervous. Um, hello, when did that start happening to me? I am an emotional eater and eat for every occasion–including stress. So instead of fretting, I took a 25 minute walk to clear my head then got my lunch and ate at my desk

BIG Salad with baby spinach, cukes, tomatoes, avocado and tuna salad topped with honey mustard. Hit the spot but I couldn’t finish the thing.

So I began my calls….some people were rude, one was nice, one didn’t speak English too well so there was a bit of miscommunication going on and the others I left voice mails or messages. I knocked 75% out-of-the-way but still have to finish the other 25% by Wednesday. Grrrrr. I started talking with other people on my team who felt the same way about these calls we are making and how this is not the job we signed up for. I guess I’m happy to see I’m not the only one with a good conscience but at the same time, it doesn’t really help me. Per our company policy, I have to be in my current role for 6 months before looking for something else so I shall wait until 4.18.11. It’s going to be a long one.

I got home and was greeted by the best pup in the world. No matter how bad of a day I’ve had, he always cheers me up. He’s so happy to see me and practically has an asthma attack when I walk through the door. I laced up my sneaks and we went for a 20 minute walk.

I wasn’t in the mood to cook. I wanted General Tso to be my boyfriend for the night but resisted the urge to invite him and his cousin, crab rangoon, over for dinner.  And didn’t want Mexican since I had it a couple of times this weekend so without direction, I took out a chicken breast I had defrosted, marinated in wing sauce and let sit for 25 minutes then cooked on the stovetop.

When the chicken was cooked thoroughly, I still had no clue what to make. I took two slices of bread, placed the chicken on them, slapped some jalapenos on top then sprinkled with shredded cheese and broiled for 10 minutes.

Apparently I was craving something spicy because I poured tabasco sauce on top  of the chicken then had a side of Buffalo Wing Flavored Pretzel Chips

And I added a side of green beans because this meal wasn’t random enough as is.

Then I laid on the couch because I was mentally drained and was going to face yet another mentally draining day today. So I got off my butt, took a hot shower and did my nails. It’s been ages since I did my nails! They didn’t turn out looking like a five-year old did them either so I felt accomplished.

Then I got some puppy love from this little fella

Puppy kisses make everything better sometimes. As bad of a day I was having, I tried to keep things in perspective and not worry too much about my job function.

I saw some tips on Success Consciousness and thought many of them were helpful, my comments are in bold:

  • Reduce the amount of time you read the newspapers or watch the news on TV ( I like to read and like to watch tv and I don’t want to cut things out of my life that I enjoy)
  • Stay away from negative conversations and from negative people. (I get paid for having negative conversations so I really can’t avoid that but am working on staying away from negative people, although I can be one at times)
  • Don’t hold grudges. Learn to forget and forgive. Nurturing ill feelings and grievances hurts you and causes lack of sleep. ( I am the queen of holding grudges, yet another thing I am working on)
  • Don’t be jealous of others. Being jealous means that you have low self-esteem and consider yourself inferior to others. This again, causes lack of inner peace. (Let’s add another one to the ever-growing list I have to work on each day)
  • Learn to be more patient and tolerant with people and events. (I’ve gotten more patient with my years, I used to be completely impatient)
  • Let bygones be gone. Forget the past and concentrate on the present moment. There is no need to evoke unpleasant memories and immerse yourself in them.   (I try to think about situations in the present the most that I can and try not to dwell on the past)
  • Learn to practice meditation. Even a few minutes a day will make a change in your life. (True that buddy, I could not agree more!)

Sorry for this emo-licious post but like I said, it was a bad day. But the sun is going to rise tomorrow and I can try to keep a positive mindset about how I am going to take on the day.

Does anyone else stress like this about their job and if so, what do you do to keep your peace of mind?

Quick and Easy

29 Nov

Sunday was a great day. I thought it was going to be a day of rest but it turned out to be anything but. I always intend for Sundays to be relaxing but truth is I would rather stay busy on Sunday then do everything on Saturday. I’ve noticed more people are out on Saturday and on Sundays I run most of my errands in the morning when the churchies are busy so I am in and out.

I woke up and made a breakfast burrito with the works so I would stay full while out and about. In it: Refried Black Beans, One egg, shredded cheese, onions, jalapenos sour cream, avocado and salsa.

Wow, now that I look at it, that’s a lot of add in’s for not even chugging down a cup of coffee at the time. Go me!

My first stop of the day was K-Mart in South Carolina. The SC border is only 7 minutes away from Charlotte so it’s not a huge deal to go over there but it’s a nice little drive with cheaper gas prices and taxes. Some may hate on K-Mart but I love it and prefer it over Wal-Mart. I needed some new winter accessories and many people don’t know but they have an awesome selection. Plus, all the winter accessories were 40% off today so I picked up two hats, a scarf and gloves –all for $15!

I headed over to the mall after that so I could go to Rainbow. Even though one of the last times I went there, I was called Snowflake since I was the only white girl in the place, I still love it. They have cute, fashionable clothing for cheap and I need some new digs for my trip to NYC in two weeks. I got two tops, two pairs of earrings and two pairs of sunglasses for $40! Afterwards I picked up a few Christmas gifts for my family and I only have one more left to buy and then I am done! I also need to pick out an outfit for Lincoln and I’s Christmas card.

Last years photo

Two years ago (my favorite one)

Lincoln’s costumer this year is way cute and I am hoping that we get one good photo (as cute as he is in photos, he’s way cuter in person)

I got home exhausted from all of my good deals I found and Lincoln was extra crackheadish so we went for a 30 minute walk in hopes that it would tire him out. And you know what? It didn’t. Even though it was in the 50’s, sunny and I was bundled up, I was freezing by the time we got back. I wanted something quick and easy for lunch and went with the classic combo of soup and a sandwich. I made a ham and provolone sandwich on whole wheat with mustard, baby spinach and tomato with a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with cleaning up my iTunes library, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom and doing laundry. When I went to get my second load of laundry there was a guy with a ladder in thereso I told him I would come back later but he said it wasn’t a problem to move it. The weird thing is that it was deva ju. I felt like I’ve seen him before somewhere and had been in that exact situation before. When I got my laundry then went back inside I was lighting a candle and I remembered, it was just like a dream I had…..back in college. WTF? I barely remember if I turned off my curling iron in the morning but can remember a dream I had 10 years ago to the T? What’s that all about? Then I starting thinking more about it—what if the “dream” I had in college was really a flash forward ala Lost?? Does that even happen? Am I a psychic? And if so, why wasn’t it something more remarkable than getting my laundry out? Or maybe it’s just that I miss Lost a lot. I need to buy the complete set asap.

Along with cleaning and busy work, I did an upper body workout in the afternoon

Kettlebell-20 lbs

Upright Deltoid Rows (13 reps, 2 sets)

Bentover Row (13 reps, 2 sets)

Halos (13 reps, 2 sets)

Shrugs (13 reps, 2 sets)

Lateral Bench Press (13 reps, 3 sets)

Dumbbell Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Dumbbell-15 lbs

Curls (13 reps, 2 sets)

Tricep Extensions (13 reps, 2 sets)

Shoulder Press (13 reps, 2 sets)

Front Lateral Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Reverse Fly (13 reps, 2 sets)

Resistance Band

Curls (13 reps, 2 sets)

Tricep Kickbacks (13 reps, 2 sets)

Side Lateral Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Front Lateral Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Shoulder Press (13 reps, 2 sets)

I am happy to say I am no longer using the 10 lb dumbbell I used to use since it’s not a huge challenge to me. Plus the resistance bands have been working great and been trying to incorporate them more into my workout and look up other exercises I can do with them.

Dinner was another quick and easy one. I had chicken defrosting in the fridge but it wasn’t fully defrosted and I didn’t feel like working hard. I nuked a piece of frozen lasagne I had and I think it’s one of the last ones that I made a few months back. With about one minute to go while heating up, I added some extra sauce and sprinkled a little more mozzarella cheese on top so it wouldn’t be too dry.

On the side, I reheated the Italian Veggie Soup I picked up at Berrybrook Farm on Saturday.

 Looks good right? It was bad. It was full of different veggies such as broccoli, onion, squash, artichoke, celery, red peppers and carrots but the flavor was off. I couldn’t even put my finger on what spice that was unappetizing to me. It wasn’t the traditional Italian ones like oregano, garlic, parsley or basil but something I’ve never before and I was not a fan. I tried to finish as much as I could but couldn’t do it. You really have to make some funkalicious soup for me not to dig it.

After that, the tv was playing but I really wasn’t paying attention to the show that was on. Then I started to watch and it intrigued me but I had no clue what show it was and one of the guys on the show looked so familiar but I couldn’t place him. And that drove me crazy. One of the co-stars of that episode was Rico’s wife on Six Feet Under so I went to IMDB and looked her up then looked up her history. The show? Cold Case. So I went to that episode and found out who the guy was that I thought looked familiar.

Anthony Starke just in case you are curious.

How did I know him? He tried to sexually manipulate Kelly Taylor on 90210 in the Halloween episode way back ago. I remember when that episode first aired. And now I feel old.

I really hate admitting that I spent over 20 minutes of my life looking this information up. And for you married folks who want to vicariously live through your single friends, sometimes our lives aren’t as exhilarating as you think it is.

On a final note, alcohol infused whipped cream?? It’s so on! This could make my morning coffee a lot more interesting……

She bangs she bangs

27 Nov

Greetings! I like the sound of greetings and think I am going to start using it more. In a way, I feel more refined and sophisticated when I say. I probably sound anything but, oh well, I’m sticking to it.

The last few days have been a blur of work, food and food. I had to work on Friday and am still completely pissed about it. The past five years with my company, I’ve worked the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t mind so much b/c I know I’m saving money by not waking up at a ridiculous hour and facing the crowds of shoppers (we won’t talk about four years ago when I woke up early, went to Kohl’s, may have taken out another shopper or two and then went straight to work) and we usually get to leave early. This year? Not so much. I was expecting to be out by 3P latest and we were there until 5P on the dot. Who does that?? So yes, Friday was not a good day. Oh yeah, I guess Thanksgiving was also in the past few days huh? That was fun as well. And my tummy still hurts from the eats in the past few days.

The madness started on Wednesday morning. One of my coworkers wanted to go to Bojangles to get breakfast and I decided to go with. I never go to Bojangles, in fact, many know I only eat it when I’m hungover. Unfortunately, I wasn’t hungover but their Bo Berry Biscuits were singing their siren song to me and I succumbed.

Seriously, tell me you wouldn’t eat that beauty.

And a food baby was born.

I tried Buitoni’s Refrigerated Whole Wheat Linguine. I am not a huge fan of refrigerated pastas but it was on sale for $1.50 and I had a $1 off coupon so how could I say no?

Sometimes simple pasta is the best pasta. I mixed with butter, grated parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and oregano. I will never get sick of that mix however I wasn’t a fan of the linguine. It was too rubbery for my liking to buy again.

I made another pumpkin cheesecake for the Thanksgiving dinner I was attending but I had so much filling leftover I also made some pumpkin cheesecake bars for myself, nom nom nom.

I’ve discovered the joys of these bad boys. I saw these in the store a couple of months ago but couldn’t justify spending $4 on a bag so when I saw them for $1.99 on Thanksgiving day, I had to grab some.

Paired with this, it was perfection.

Also, while at Harris Teeter on Thanksgiving day I had a hankering for refried beans. I was mulling over what they offered and thought “Wouldn’t it be great if they offered refried black beans?” and POW–saw them right in front of me, woo hoo!

With the help of mi chica, Cholula, I feasted on quesadillas last night

Hells to the yeah, a delicious, quick meal. I ate this and finally got around to watching Sex And The City 2, which wasn’t as excruciating as I was expecting. From all the bad reviews, I was a bit skeptical of the movie. I would actually watch it again.

Holla Miranda Holla!

I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from some good rest last night. How shocked would you be if you woke up and looked down to see you had a bushy tail?? Freaky. I went to Freedom Park for a nice 40 minute speed walking session. I had plans on starting to run again but my knees had other plans. And so did my feet. Admitting this sucks but when I went walking in the past two weeks, I couldn’t even do 15 minutes. My calves would start aching about 5 minutes into the walk and I could barely get back home or to my car without tears. How the hell can’t I walk?? What’s up with that? Was I not stretching enough, walking on a weird surface? Finally thinking about my footwear, I remembered that I hadn’t changed out my shoes in forever. So I laced on my newer running shoes, I bought this spring. And then, yes, I could walk again. So I went for a 40 minute walk on Thanksgiving and another one today and felt great. I love the cool, crisp 40 degree weather it’s been in the morning and feel so energized once I’m out there. When I got home, I wasn’t too hungry so made a one egg sandwich with tomato and Cholula

I went to Berrybrook Farm for lunch since I had a BOGO coupon that was going to expire this week. Berrybrook Farm  is a local market that offers natural and organic products plus made to order vegetarian and vegan food and smoothies. I got the Veggie Burger topped with cucumber, tomato, onion and vegan mayo (who knew this existed?) and Italian Vegetable soup.

The burger was huge and tasty. If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have guessed this was a veggie burger. It had so much flavor and was very moist. I will be going back there to try other goodies on the menu like their Tofu Dog and shakes!

And guess what? I got bangs!!! I tried a new hairdresser today from a recommendation of a co-worker and he was great. The last place I went to charged me an arm and a leg but a cut and color with new guy was only $80! What what?!! If any Charlotteans want his info, let me know.

I also found some good finds at Harris Teeter right after getting my hair done. They had their discontinued items out in carts in the front of the store and grabbed a few things.

All this, for $4.81 (tax included). I love being a bargain shopper.

I went to Hallmark after Harris Teeter since I had a $5 off coupon with a minimum $5 purchase and found these cute cards. I only had to pay $3 for them

Besides all of that, I’ve been lounging around all day and it feels great. I’ve been in and out of naps, taking Lincoln for long walks and cozying up on the couch.

And if you think I didn’t have quesadillas again for dinner tonight, you would be wrong

So. Full.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!

I got my thanks right here!

25 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving all! Just a sampling of what I’m thankful for, it would seriously take me all day to write everything I am thankful for.

My Family

I always have to work the day after Thanksgiving so I never get to go home and see my parents but miss them lots. I see them only twice a year with a visit to see them in Florida for Christmas then they usually come up here or I go down for a long weekend. I wish I got to see them more but I really hate going “home” to South Florida. The minute I was able to get out of there I did and have no desire to ever go there again but unfortunately they still live there. I have two older sisters and they live in California and Indiana so I only see them once a year which also stinks. One of them comes home for Christmas every year but the other doesn’t anymore since she has her own kids and it’s too much of a hassle to drive down to Florida.

Guess which set are my parents

My Health

No, I’m not at a weight I am comfortable yet and who knows if I ever will. But I am trying to get to a weight that is both comfortable and happy. Previously, I let my weight get out of control and when I look at older pictures from when I lived in Phoenix, I just can’t believe it’s me.

Blech. How did I let myself get like that and why didn’t I do something about it beforehand? I’m happy I finally opened my eyes and saw what was happening to my body and took control. Never would I thought I would run a 5K like I did this spring or work out with a kettlebell on my own free will but I am there and I am going to keep trying hard. I am happy I have my vision to see the sun rise each morning,  my hears to hear music that uplifts my spirits (even if I am pretty deaf in my right ear), mouth to taste delectable treats and allow me to enjoy food and drink, my arms to help me with pretty much everything, my legs which help me stand tall even though I bitch and complain about them being fat and everything else. While I am here talking about health, can I just say that this was the first year in seven years I haven’t been sick in both February and October? For some reason, I always get sick in those months and that has included strep, bronchitis, upper respiratory infection, swine flu last year and other random illnesses. I was going to say something earlier this month but was still in shocked that happened.So yeah, a bit thankful for my health.

My Job

As much as I complain about what I do 40 hours a week, I am truly thankful for having a job. I’ve been with my company for over five years in which I’ve held a few positions and have pretty much doubled my salary since I started. Dream job it is not but it pays the bills and I am forever striving to be the best since I am uber competitive. I am still trying to find my passion and I hope I find out what that is soon because I really don’t see myself sitting in a cubicle for life. With as many layoffs I’ve been through, I still can’t believe I’m there.

Sir Linx A Lot

I love my little man if you can’t tell from all the pictures I post. Sometimes he is a pain in my butt and I hate how he wakes me up at 6A on the weekends but I wouldn’t trade him in for anything. He is my constant companion, loves me unconditionally, has an asthma attack when I come home after a long day from work, is a portable heater and is a wonderful pup. He makes me smile and drives me crazy sometimes at the same time but he is my little man. And he still loves me even when I dress him up in ridiculous outfits


Seriously, I’m putting Starbucks down as something I’m thankful for. They start my morning off on the right foot each morning with their peppy baristas and welcoming aromas. They baristas know me by name and have my drink ready when I am in line. We all joke around and they think I’m super funny (or act like they do) and I love anyone who thinks I’m funny. Ok and they are open today, which makes my heart smile a bit.

 This blog

I am so happy I started this blog earlier this year and found an outlet to show my thoughts, meals, exercise, puppy love, day-to-day stuff, etc.  I am so thankful for the friendships I have made through the blogging community and got to meet some awesome ladies this past year.

Me, Monique, Mari

Lily, Me, Diana

I am also thankful for you who visit my page each day or occasionally and show your support, comments, etc. I appreciate each and every one of you and  look forward to more blogging! I’ve learned so much not only through your comments but on your blogs (those who have them!) and that has opened my up to a whole new world!

Hugh Jackman

Who isn’t thankful for Hugh Jackman??!!! Rawr baby rawr!

So with that, I am off to enjoy Thanksgiving. I’m sure I will hit up the Bucks, catch up on tv and workout but besides that, it is all about the relaxation. I don’t have plans until 4P, a friend has decided to adopt me for the day and I am excited to experience someone elses Thanksgiving and am thankful that they took me in!

Gobble Gobble and be safe!

Cheese is My Crack

23 Nov

If last week was sushi fest, this week is cheese fest. I have a love/hate relationship with cheese. Some weeks I will eat cheese like there is no tomorrow, other weeks I am kinda meh towards it. It started last night with dinner–homemade pizza made with Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough and topped with baby bellas.

So much cheese, so little time.

Then there was dinner tonight. I love quick meals. And I love quick meals which I can prepare in advance. Inspired by Janetha’s Chicken Puff recipe, I made Chicken Puffs but with phyllo dough.  I made the chicken last night on the stovetop with a new seasoning-Spike. I get so tired of my stand by’s I usually use like garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes this was a welcomed alternative. And the fact that I got it for free doesn’t hurt either.

 I used Trader Joe’s Chive and Onion cream cheese, red onions and mixed together with the chicken.

I then spread on a few thin pieces of phyllo dough, and rolled it into pieces….in no particular style mind you then brushed with extra virgin olive oil and topped with Spike seasoning. I let bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

Such a pretty puff

Not to be confused with Such a Pretty Fat, one of my fave Jen Lancaster books that I am re-reading for the umpteenth time.


I digress…..

I paired up with a baked potato topped with cheese since I can’t control myself

These were absolutely amazing! I didn’t want it this meal to ever end and will be making these again when I am looking for a quick, comforting meal. The cream cheese was obviously the star but I liked the extra red onions that I mixed it. I wonder how it would be with tuna and shredded cheese like a tuna melt?

Next on the cheese list was dessert. Many of you know I am not a huge baker but I am trying to expand my horizons. We have a Thanksgiving potluck at work tomorrow and I wasn’t going to participate. But then I was assigned dessert duty for Thanksgiving day and wanted to try out a recipe before I brought something rancid over for Thanksgiving. So, why not try it on people who I see 40+ hours or week? I had to make something good, yummy and something that would make them adore me. I went with my girl Paula Deen on this one because who doesn’t love Paula? I went to Food Network and looked up her Thanksgiving dessert recipes and finally settled on Pumpkin Cheesecake. Being a lover of pumpkin and cheesecake, it can’t be bad right? Bad for you maybe but taste bad? No ma’am. One problem though–I’ve never made cheesecake. And when I went to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients, I forgot the cream cheese…..for CHEESECAKE! Argh, this was going to be an interested experience. Surely if I followed the directions, it would turn out ok though. With a text and call to Miss Mo, I was on my way! Seriously, I need to start paying her for baking advice.

First thought- “That’s a lot of effin cheese

Pretty orange. I was a bit worried it was going to turn out the color of Oompa Loompas but all was well on the home front.

Soon enough, it was ready to go into the oven for an hour. Two hours of Family Guy was calling my name so this was a perfect way to occupy my time.

So I waited…..and waited….and waited and then the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon worked its way over to the living room and the buzzer went off shortly after.

I went to the kitchen to take it out. Half of me was nervous, another part was excited and the other part of me was hungry and bummed I wouldn’t get to try a piece since I’ve never met a cheesecake I didn’t like and I guess it would be a bit tacky for me to take into work with one hunk of it missing.

But then I noticed something….it was cracked, wtf? Another text to Miss Mo and she assured me it was ok and that hers does that sometimes. Phew! I was in my comfy clothes and not in the mood to go to the supermarket and buy a pie.

So I let cool and popped it in the fridge. Let’s hope the troops are happy with it. And yes, I will be say saying y’all all day tomorrow. Hopefully people will get it since I made a Paula Deen recipe…..or they will think I’m Britney.

I got a nice surprise in the mail today:

Should be as cheesy as the rest of my day, yes?

Anyone else working tomorrow and Wednesday? I feel like I’m the only one out there. Word on the street is after the luncheon we will be able to skedaddle (yes I just used that word) out of there and go home to enjoy the rest of my day. Since I have to go in at my normal time on Friday I am not going to even venture out for Black Friday which used to be one of my favorite days of the year. I have half of my Christmas shopping done already and the other half should be easy to find.


22 Nov

And no, not talking about the magazine. Highlights of this weekend! Cowfish was the main highlight of my weekend but I had some other fun things going on:

1) My first trip to Total Wine & More

I don’t know how I’ve never ventured in there before but when I walked in, I felt with one at the world. Wine, beer and other goodies? Again, I don’t know how I’ve never been. I went with one of my friends who had to pick up some booze for Turkey Day and after buying six bottles recently, I was just along for the ride. I stumbled upon some new items (new to me at least)

Hello Kitty bubbly. Now one of my childhood faves will get me drunk, I love it.

Saranac makes soda pop? New to me. I was tempted to buy the Shirley Temple but couldn’t justify spending $6.99 on a six-pack that won’t get me feeling good. I don’t know how I went into Total Wine and swooned over the non alcoholic beverages.

2) Phoenix Suns-Charlotte Bobcats game.

 I haven’t been to a game in two years and although it’s a gorgeous arena, nothing is really driving me to go. Charlotte is in last place in their conference and to be blunt, just suck. Not a lot of people go to the games and I am puzzled by how they are staying afloat (until I found out Michael Jordan is one of their owners). I went with a group of friends and we scored four seats together in the nosebleed section for $8 a person. Not too shabby at all! Even if they play horribly, it’s entertainment for a Saturday night. I wasn’t sure who to root for so I wore orange since both teams are orange and since I lived in Phoenix for two and a half years. And the Bobcats actually won–I am so proud of them! 

3) Yelp sponsored brunch at Bistro La Bon.

I’ve heard rave reviews about this restaurant and it’s been on my must-try list for some time. They are a small establishment that offers small, unique plates and use food that is grown/raised locally and they try to make most things from scratch. It’s located in a sketchtastic strip mall along with a kidney dialysis center, Family Dollar, beauty supply story along with vacant areas but when I first walked up to the restaurant, the aroma of eggs and bacon hit me and I knew I was in the right place for a filling Sunday brunch. They have a wonderful selection of brunch goodies such as the standard eggs, bacon and pastries but also some other random bites like swedish meatballs, pot roast, pasta salad (with a kick!), homemade mozzarella with tomato and basil and more. Unlike some other establishments, the selection isn’t overwhelming which is a nice change of pace since I like to go to the buffet line with a plan of attack. Along with the buffet you can order their chocolate waffles, which were fantastic but too savory to eat on my own or their french toast—-this was my favorite. It was in a pool of syrup and melted in my mouth, I like that. My only complaint was that the sweet potatoes and au gratin potatoes seemed a little under cooked and being a carboholic, that brought me down. 

What I didn’t appreciate? When sitting with two couples our waiter started splitting up her bills he said with a raised voice “Oh, so it’s just you, alone?” WTF? After my Papi Chulo Pedro experience, is there something I’m missing? Why is everyone wanting to confirm that I am alone and without man? Seriously, am I missing something here?

4) Good strength training workouts along with cheap workout finds.

I got two resistance bands for $5.50 each at Marshalls, one for me and one for my dad for Christmas 🙂

Saturday-lower body workout with kettlebell (20 lbs)

Plie Squats ( 13 reps, 4 sets)

Squats (13 reps, 4 sets)

One Legged Deadlifts (13 reps, 2 sets)

Donkey Kicks (13 reps, 2 sets)

Leg Lifts (13 reps, 2 sets)

Side Bends (20 reps, 2 sets)

A few sets of planks

Sunday-upper body workout with kettlebell, 15 lb dumbbell and resistance band

Kettlebell-20 lbs

Upright Deltoid Rows (13 reps, 3 sets)

Halos (13 reps, 4 sets)

Shrugs (13 reps, 3 sets)

Lateral Bench Press (13 reps, 3 sets)

Dumbbell-15 lbs

Curls (13 reps, 3 sets)

Tricep Extensions (13 reps, 3 sets)

Shoulder Press (13 reps, 2 sets)

Seated Rear Deltoid Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Resistance Band

Curls (13 reps, 3 sets)

Tricep Kickbacks (13 reps, 3 sets)

Lateral Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Front Lateral Raise (15 reps, 2 sets)

Shoulder Press (13 reps, 2 sets)

So now both my arms and legs hurt. I didn’t know the resistance bands worked so well. I thought they would be pretty easy to work with and it was a pleasant surprise when I could actually feel it. If anyone has more exercises for resistance bands-please let me know!

5) Simple things that make me happy….like Bravo, Dunkin Donuts and curling up with the new issue of Food Network magazine all at once

6) Trader Joe’s dinner.

 I used my favorite item from TJ’s-Mandarin Orange Chicken along with broccoli, red onions, mushrooms and cauliflower to make an easy meal that will also be one of my lunches this week

7) Discovering Party Down

Sadly, it was canceled after the second season. Hilarious show though, I recommend.

8 ) Lincoln…..but he’s a highlight every day

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

21 Nov

I had the chance to attend the soft opening for Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar  Saturday afternoon. Cowfish is an innovative restaurant combining the ideas of burgers and sushi together on the menu in which they call “Burgushi” and is the only burger sushi bar around. They are the sister restaurant of Eez Fusion and Sushi, one of my favorite sushi places in Charlotte. When I first heard about this restaurant opening I was instantly intrigued. I didn’t know what to expect from their menu or experience but I sure as hell couldn’t wait to try.

From their website: “The Cowfish focuses on offering both the best sushi AND the best burger in town.  Fresh, innovative and delicious, the sushi segment of the menu is powered by the success of sister company, eeZ Fusion & Sushi.  All natural, creative and hearty, the burger offering entices with fresh, never frozen ingredients and bold flavors.  Spiked hand-spun milkshakes, premium sakes, craft beers and 10 oz exotic martinis round out a huge bar menu.  Scrumptious appetizers for sharing, hot soups and entrée-sized salads, homemade desserts and a fun kid’s menu are joined by our signature creations that we call “Burgushi.” A cutting edge fusion of burger and sushi, burgushi items include sushi rolls created using burger components, and pick-up style sandwiches created using sushi components.”

Burgers and sushi living together in harmony? Count me in.

We were one of the first tables around and I was enamored with the decor-very crisp, modern decor with red walls and funky, fun posters.

The deal for the soft opening was $10 per person—for that you got one appetizer per two people, one entrée per person, one dessert per two people and unlimited soda or tea.

Being a girl on a budget along with a girl who loves sushi and new things, I was on all about that! Shortly after, we were greeted by our server who walked us through the very extensive menu they offer. They offer a wide selection of appetizers ranging from traditional Chinese dishes to Japanese fusion appetizers. She went over the appetizers, sushi rolls, burgushi, entrees and then drinks. Once she mentioned spiked milkshakes, my ears perked! Another spiked milkshake place in town, kill me now. This is no bueno for my waistline.

I’m a huge fan of the Beastie Boys and love that one of their spiked milkshakes is named “No Sleep Til Brooklyn”

Our server said wonderful things about the Crab Rangoon Dip to start off with so that’s what we went with. My friend said she has never had crab rangoon before and I didn’t believe her so we had to order that. How could someone have not had the wonderfulness that is crab rangoon? But then again, she is super skinny so the fact that she’s never had it along with her thinness may be the connection. After a short trip to the restroom (which they teach you Japanese phrases in–how cool??!), the magnificent appetizer was sitting on our table all pretty like.

Oh Em Gee. Before I tried some I was already scheming on if I could get away with licking the bowl or not. Then I tried a bite and fell in love. It was absolutely fantastic and comparable to the crab rangoon you find in a local Chinese joint. I didn’t want it to ever end! My friend thought it was equally as awesome and we just kept eating in silence in amazement of how delicious it was. I am so happy our server recommended it because I would’ve just passed it by on the menu thinking it would be mediocre when it was anything but.

Our entrees came right in the middle of us enjoying the crab rangoon dip so we soon had an abundance of food. I ordered the South of The Border Burgushi since I was curious as to what this whole burgushi business was about. From the menu “Seasoned natural Angus ground beef, homemade pimento cheese, guacamole and tomato salsa rolled with sushi rice and seaweed, dusted with panko and flash fried. Each piece is topped with sweet & spicy mango salsa. Served with creamy dijon sauce”

Isn’t it gorgeous? It was very tasty but not like a taste I’ve had before so this was definitely a creative idea on Cowfish’s part. The beef was very tender and not highly spiced which worked out with the fresh flavor of jalapenos, mango and cilantro. I look forward to trying more of their burgushi items!

And then the dessert came—we chose the Apple Wontons—brushed with powdered sugar and served with a caramel dipping sauce and fresh apple slices,

The inside was similar to apple pie and sweet however at the end of each bite, there was a hint of saltiness. I usually crave both salty and sweet things at the same time so this killed two birds with one stone! Then my friend and I started talking about apple pie and Thanksgiving and she asked if I’ve ever had apple pie with cheese. I looked up at her mid bite kind of confused by the question. How did she mean, served in apple pie or on top? Turns out she is from upstate NY and they serve apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese on the side. At first, this grossed me out but then I could see how it would be good and now I want to try it. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

All in all, this was a perfect experience. The food was different and took my taste buds to their happy place and the service was some of the best I’ve had in Charlotte bar none. I look forward to my next visit which I will definitely be sampling some more burgushi and spiked shakes. I hope Cowfish stays around for many years to come!

Sushi Fest 2010

19 Nov

Ok, so maybe I didn’t attend the real sushi fest. But when you have sushi three times in less than 24 hours your mind can be tricked into thinking that. Yes, three times in less than 24 hours.

It started last night, I had a craving for sushi and stopped by Harris Teeter for a quick fix. I’ve never had any issues with HT sushi except seeing it’s supermarket sushi, it’s not going to be restaurant quality. Regardless, it’s always been enough to satisfy my craving. I got a Tsunami Roll and Shrimp Rolls (shut it, I was hungry) I grabbed some extra chopsticks and soy sauce since I am ghetto and don’t want to buy some with my own money was on my merry way.

I opened the container up and it smelled funky. That couldn’t be good. I tried one piece and BLECH. Oh well, maybe I got one bad piece right? So I tried another…..nope, still not good. And three times the charm so one more, negatron. I was not going to risk eating some bad sush and get violently ill so as much as it pains me, I threw it away. But it was all good because I still had my shrimp roll.

When I opened this one up, the smell hit me again but this time it was worse-wtf? And it wasn’t even fresh shrimp, it looked like the mini shrimp babies you get in a can. I tried two pieces of this and you know where it went?

In the garbage with the Tsunami Roll. I hate hate hate wasting food but this was the only solution with the sushi smelling and tasting the way it did. Harris Teeter, you have failed me big time and I will NOT be buying your sushi again.

Scarred from my bad experience, I put on my comfy clothes and laid on the couch with Linky a little pissed off about my bad meal. My friend texted me and told me that Dolce Vita Wine Bar had Sushi Thursdays and I contemplated for a minute going. I was in my comfy clothes and really didn’t want to get off my butt but what if Dolce Vita totally redeemed my sushi experience for the night? That being said, I got up and got ready to go out. I had today off from work so I could sleep in. Dolce Vita was adorable! It’s a cozy wine bar nestled in NoDa section of Charlotte which is the arty section of town. When we walked in, there was one table available which was fine but I was hoping to score one of the cushioned seats. And then I looked over at the table next to us…..and saw a guy who I went out with last year. He saw me and it was a bit awkward since he was with a chick and neither of us acknowledged each other. I think it’s safe to say after going out with me and then this new girl, he likes a girl with junk in her trunk. More power to him, we need more men like that our there that are in support of Team Booty.

The sushi makers were going to pack up soon and I ordered the Hawaiian Tropic Roll

So pretty topped with avocado, mango and Sriracha sauce. That right there is redemption. Fresh, tasty and spicy. Thanks Dolce for making my evening right again!

After my great experience last night, I was in sushi heaven! I called one of my friends who works from home and asked her if she wanted to do lunch at Pisces Sushi  since they offer an all you can east sushi buffet for $11.95 on the week days. I’ve been wanting to go but never can get over there in time from work and was stoked that I would finally get to check it out today.

They sat us in one of their swanky booths—so modern and funky!

We had to wait quite awhile for a server to come up and greet us but once they did, they apologized for the wait and were prompt from thereon. And yeah, that’s my only gripe about my experience there.

How the sushi buffet works–it’s not a traditional, go up and get it buffet ala Golden Coral yet instead they bring you the menu and you can order up to 10 items at a time from the all you can eat menu. They had a vast selection of rolls, nigiri, rice, noodles and spring rolls. My friend said the garlic noodles were terrific so I started with a side order of that. When they came out, it was a perfect size to start with since I didn’t want to fill up on carbs and after wards, I could’ve kept a vampire away with all the garlic flavoring (I’m Italian so it’s in my blood therefore I don’t mind extra garlic).

The rolls were fresh and fantastic. I think I tried about half of them and even after my friends left to go back to work, I hung around. I am all about getting my moneys worth and then some and I wanted to get as much bang for my $11.95 tab. The eel nigiri was by far my fave–very fresh and meaty and the shrimp tempura roll was equally awesome. I was stuffed to the gills!!

And then, I was a happy girl. I was pleasantly full and walked over to Trader Joe’s to get some random items. And you know who I saw when I was checking out? Dude who I saw at Dolce Vita last night. Turns out he is working at TJ’s now so that means every time I go there now, I have to look super cute. Not that takes a lot of work of anything 🙂 but still, more work on my part. I don’t like how he’s infiltrating my life.

Besides that, the eats have been yummy but nothing mind-blowing

Dunkin Donuts has a pumpkin donut?? When did this happen? It was absolutely terrific after a 45 minute walk this morning. A walk that involved some beautiful fall foliage

And with that, I think I’m going to nap right along with this little guy. Hope you all are having a happy Friday!!

Access denied on the egg white bagel thin panini

17 Nov

Oh Wednesday. It felt like Thursday to me since I planned on having Friday off because one of my friends from college was coming into town. But then I found out my friend won’t be able to make it here this weekend so I am contemplating taking Friday off or saving the day off for another day. Decisions, decisions……

Glad to see you all like the diner I went to the other night! I had so much fun and looking forward to my next visit. I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to the food more than the ambiance but oh well, the food is the appeal of a diner right? Give me bacon wrapped hot dogs and peanut butter french toast any day!

Tuesday night, I made Lo Mein Noodles with chicken, broccoli, bamboo shoots and water chesnuts. I’m trying to go this week without buying groceries and used all of this from stuff that’s been either sitting in my cupboard or freezer for a while. While shroomies and onions would have made this even better, it was a great meal. I packed a separate portion for lunch later this week and can’t wait for my co-workers to have food envy. They always ohh and ahh all over my food since I have a home cooked meal while most of them nosh on sandwiches or measly looking salads. And knowing they want my food makes me happy 🙂

After that settled in my tummy, I knocked out a 30 minute kettlebell session

Kettlebell-20 lbs

Side Bends (20 reps, 2 sets)

Halos (13 reps, 3 sets)

Shrugs (13 reps, 3 sets)

Lateral Bench Press (13 reps, 3 sets)

Swings (13 reps, 3 sets)

Squats (13 reps, 3 sets)

Upright Deltoid Rows (13 reps, 2 sets)

Straight Leg Deadlifts (20 reps, 2 sets)

One Legged Deadlifts (10 reps, 2 sets)

I did sets of  jumping jacks, crunches and leg lifts in between sets. I’ve never done one-legged deadlifts before and boy, I am aching today! They really worked my hamstrings good and I can definitely feel it today. I will definitely be adding more of these to my kettlebell routine.

This morning, I walked over to Einstein’s to get breakfast since I got some coupons in the mail yesterday. One of the coupons was for a $1.99 Eggwhite Bagel Thin Panini and I was stoked to try it. The wait was long, the cashier unfriendly and then I had to wait some more for my food. So I waited….and waited….and waited some more. About 10 minutes later, they finally called my name and I skipped back to my office since I was a little late for a call. I got to my desk and opened up my bag and saw this

Ummm, that does not look like an eggwhite bagel thin panini. That looks like some apple bagel of sorts and if they messed up my order, couldn’t they have had the courtesy to at least give me some schmear?

My cashier, Orio, can go suck it. I know I should have looked at my bag before I left but then again, they should have gotten my order right. I think the thing I am most pissed off about is that I no longer have the $1.99 coupon to use. I wrote Einstein’s today to see if I could get it back, let’s cross our fingers because I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

I met up with one of my girlfriends for lunch and we went to Picasso’s Uptown. Our server mentioned they had a lunch special-fried chicken sandwich topped with bacon and cheese with fries for only $6.99. Being a girl on a budget and really wanting some fried, fatty goodness, I sprung for this. Chicky topped with not only cheese but bacon also? Go big or go home bitches!

I got a bucket of the hot wing sauce on the side and it had my sweating….loves it! Speaking of sweating, has anyone ever experienced meat sweats? Some of the guys on my team were talking about it today and I’ve never heard of meat sweats (sweats that you get from eating too much meat) so I wasn’t sure if it’s just me? And another note, there are 10 people on my team and 7 of them are dudes. I’m starting to notice that the dudes talk more throughout the day, ignoring their work while  us girls are actually at our desks working. I always thought it was the opposite? I had an issue with one of the deals in my portfolio so I had to stay a little late and by the time everything was done, I was ready to go home. Basically, I have to make a call to a customer I’m not wanting to make at all and it is going to be difficult.  I am very personable and outgoing with customers but this time I have to be hard-core and no holds barred which is not me at all so this is going to be an interesting experience.Ugh.

When I got home, I remembered I put the last of my Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat pizza dough in the fridge to defrost along with a link and a half of spicy Italian sausage so pizza it was! Pizza was the perfect meal since I was mentally spent and it was cold and nasty out.

Mmmmm, I love pizza porn. I topped with oregano and parmesan cheese and it was a perfect end to the day. Feeling all warm and fuzzy from the pizza, I decided to do a good deed. For the past three years, I’ve made a donation to a non-profit organization whether it be a food bank, Salvation Army, etc. My company matches all donations and I knew that if I didn’t do it now, I would forget. I made a donation to Toys For Tots tonight and feel like I can rest a little easier knowing that my donation plus the banks donation will help a few kids get a gift for Christmas.

Does your company match charitable donations?

More importantly, after watching Modern Family tonight, does anyone else want to partake in a flash mob dance??

Mattie’s Diner

16 Nov

I went to a Charlotte Elite Yelp Event at Mattie’s Diner on Monday night. Mattie’s is a new diner at the NC Music Factory. When I first moved to Charlotte, I noticed that it didn’t really have a lot of breakfast options or diners that my north of the Mason Dixon line friends hold near and dear to their hearts. However, lately they have been popping up all over the place just like the cupcake craze in the last few years. Affordable food in a bright, nostalgic setting that’s open 24 hours? Count me in.

When I read the invite to this event two words stood out to me: Spiked Milkshakes. Liquor and milkshakes living together in harmony? Say it ain’t so! I’ve never had a spiked milkshake before (from a restaurant at least, I’m sure I’ve made one in a drunken stupor in the past) and I was intrigued by the idea. They don’t have their liquor license yet so a liquor distributor supplied the booze for the evening and the selection limited but still sounded tasty.

All of them sounded terrific but the Cherry Kick Float was at the top of my list to try since I love all things cherry. The others sounded good but a bit too heavy for me and I didn’t want to go into sugary, lactose shock at first sip.

I tried the Spiked Elvis afterwards and that was everything I dreamed of and more. After two of those, I was done. It was too heavy and sweet for me and unfortunately left me in a sugar coma the remainder of the evening . So much that I contemplated walking over to my neighbor’s house to see if he would rub my belly, don’t worry I didn’t (because seeing that we are on a hi-bye basis would have made that awkward). But oh yes….back to the milkshakes. They have over 25 hand spun milkshakes on their menu and I saw their seasonal special– Pumpkin Cheesecake Milkshake. Thanks Mattie’s for still having fall/Thanksgiving theme shakes still around as opposed to other places who are bringing out the Christmas themed ones already.

Some  of the food offered :  Fried Hot Dogs wrapped in bacon (a heart attack on a plate if you will), Italian Meatloaf, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Peach Cobbler, Carrot Cake and Peanut Butter French Toast. Basically any kind of down home, diner comfort food you could think of. Thankfully, they served everything in sampler sizes so nothing was too overbearing but add a few bites of everything up together and I was as stuffed as a turkey

Everything was tasty but the Buffalo Chicken Dip was by far my favorite. Not only did I love that they served it with both homemade thick cut chips, celery and carrots but it was very spicy and later found out they make their own hot sauce there. I love anything spicy and buffalo wing flavored stuff never really has me reaching for a glass of water but this had me sweating a bit! Score! Once I tried a little of everything I thought I was done but then ordered another helping of the dip. They dip alone will have me coming back to Mattie’s

I was talking with the owner and the diner is a  historic diner saved from Hurricane Floyd in the late 40’s. They restored it and then moved it down to Charlotte a few years back so this was the real deal! There wasn’t too much seating available so I would love to see what this spot would be like at 3A on a Saturday morning with all the drunks from the bars/clubs at the Music Factory.

Even though I am a bit claustrophobic, I really dug the cozy space that they offered. Not many place still offer a counter space to schmooze and enjoy a quick, classic All American meal. I just loved the nostalgic, no frills  feeling that came with Mattie’s.All in all, this was a fantastic event and it was great to try a new place out. Now when I need a 50’s fix, I can dine at Mattie’s instead of watching Happy Days!

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