Archive | December, 2010

Frugal Friday-Chikun, Bins and Calendars-Oh My!

31 Dec

Hello all—another round of Frugal Friday! I was going to do a year recap but then sadly realized that not only is it the end of a year but the end of a decade. No way I could recap an entire decade in a moments notice. There will definitely be a recap in the future but just not now so another round of Frugal Friday we go!

I’m a mover (yet sadly, not a shaker) and I tend to move a lot since I am part gypsy. Anytime I move one thing I look forward to is the “Welcome to the neighborhood” packet of coupons that various companies send to you with freebies and special offers in your new neighborhood. Luckily when I moved this summer, they sent me two packets so I’ve gotten to enjoy double free goodies in the past few months. I saw this coupon for a free Chick Fil A combo meal sitting around and went to use it on Wednesday

I found out they offer whole wheat bun options which is fabulous and I think it’s only $.20 extra. They also offer you fruit instead of fries with your combo which is also fabulous however their waffle fries are one of the reasons I heart the Chick Fil A so fries it shall be forever! Total meal cost me $.22 for the whole wheat bun substitution.

Also, Chick Fil A has a jar near the condiments station with awesome pre-wrapped mints. I may have taken a few handfuls of them for later enjoyment.

They are rolling out the unveiling of their Spicy Chicken Biscuit next week. If you go here and make a reservation, you can get one for free! I know Christina is already on this like white on rice.

Tip: If you get the Welcome to the neighborhood” packet like I do, take advantage and use your freebie coupons! They can introduce you to new places that may just be your new favorite spot!

Soon after, I headed over to Healthy Home Market–a local natural, organic, hippie store that has a phat selection of bulk bins.

I want to start incorporating more legumes into my diet and wanted to pick up some dried beans to make at home.

I got a half pound of cannellini beans that is going to last me a long time. I was also on the hunt for oats that I can make on the stovetop since I’m running low and love the oats when it’s cold out. I found rolled oats that were half off the original price so only $.79 a lb! That’s a whole lotta oats for so cheap.

I ended up getting a little over a pound for $1.69. Beans and oats for only $3.29—great deal!

Tip: If your stores offer them, I definitely suggest checking out the bulk bins, they are crazy cheap and offer many varieties of beans, flours, oat, trail mix, coffee, nuts, candy and more! I like to get items I’ve never tried because I can control the portion size so even if I try it and don’t dig it, at least I can say I didn’t spend too much it.

Another tip: Make sure you portion enough water when making dried beans. I don’t think I used enough water and let it sit at too high of a heat when I made them so they turned out a little burnt.

Oh well, I don’t mind burnt stuff. I will find something to use these for.

Anywho, after picking up the dried goods, I got home, put my finds away then checked my mail. Usually, I throw out all the junk mail that I get from random companies but I saw this flier from one of my credit cards and had to do a double take!

50% off a $10 or more iTunes purchase. I loooooove iTunes and have too many songs on my wishlist however once I start purchasing, I go all out and $30, there I am wondering what I just spent my money on. But for 1/2 off it’s totally do-able.

Tip: Don’t just throw away your mail-look through it and see if any offers or promotions could be useful to you. As states, I love iTunes but never really go on there since I spend more than I want to but with this offer, I can do it without buyer’s remorse.

I also flipped through my calendars for 2011 to see what goodies they held in them

Tip: See if you’re favorite chain restaurant produces a calendar. I love both Dunkin and Chick Fil A and they both have calendars that offer coupons for each month. The DD one only cost $1 and the Chick Fil A one is $7 (I believe) so it’s a great deal and way to save throughout the year!

Happy Savings!

Black Bean Bonanza

30 Dec

Thanks for the feedback on the facebook stalking. It seems like most admitted to it with a few thrown in there who think it spells out bad news. I like to hear what people’s thoughts are on it with exes since I like to stalk for a day or two and then get bored with them. I think it’s the whole intrigue of where they are now, have they changed-if so, for better or worse, etc. I became friends with another ex from college this past spring and we ending up talking one night and he changed….for the worst. He was a really nice guy when we dated but has become bitter towards women, almost in a masochistic way. It’s weird how much people can change. I have gotten a lot nicer and more patient since college but some others I’ve seen have changed in a negative way. Oh well, people are people.

So, I’m on a little black bean kick. The madness started last night. I wanted to make something quick and delicious for dinner but after scouring my cupboards, I couldn’t come up with anything. Then I remembered the six-pack of black bean cans I had sitting there and black bean burgers automatically popped into my mind.

Except I didn’t have onion, pepper or any eggs, which I always use in mind. I was going to say eff it since I had something cooking on the stovetop but really wanted to make black bean burgers since I got the idea in my head. I finished up my cooking and went to the supermarket to pick up some onion, peppers, eggs and other random stuff then back at home to start on the burgers.

I chopped up half an onion and one pepper then threw into a mixing bowl with breadcrumbs (about 1/3 cup) garlic, chili powder and a dash of salt.

I threw a can of the black beans in my magic bullet with a little of the liquid from the can to soften them up a bit. Every black bean burger recipe I’ve seen tells you to mash with a fork and that never works for me, so I figured this can’t hurt.

They were watery but definitely broken up more than mashing with a fork, I threw into the mixing bowl and mixed with the other ingredients and one egg.

After doing that, I threw boil-in-a-bag brown rice into the microwave and cooked for 10 minutes.

I will definitely be doing this again, I always make mine on the stovetop but this is way more convenient.

I formed into four patties and threw them on the stovetop with a little oil in there already.

I flipped about three or four times

I put half the bag of rice on a plate, topped with salsa that I received in the holiday gift exchange from Anna with the burger on top.

And how cool is this picture on the protective seal of Daisy’s sour cream? I love natural beauty, especially when paired with sour cream.

I then topped with a couple of tablespoons of cheese, microwaved for 30 seconds then topped with a dollop of sour cream and tabasco

Mission accomplished–a quick and delicious meal.

This is definitely the best black bean burger I’ve made to date. I like to think it was because of putting the beans in the magic bullet. I had one later last night alone and it was zesty and moist-hooray!

I did a short kettlebell workout after that which later turned into a Michael Jackson dance party…..again.

Kettlebell-20 lbs

Upright Deltoid Rows (13 reps, 3 sets)

Halos (13 reps, 3 sets)

Shrugs (13 reps, 3 sets)

Lateral Bench Press (13 reps, 3 sets)

Dumbbell Raise (13 reps, 2 sets)

Swings (13 reps, 3 sets)

Side Bends (20 reps, 2 sets)

Deadlifts (20 reps, 2 sets)

Between the legs pass (25 reps, 2 sets)

Dumbbell-15 lbs

Tricep Extensions (13 reps, 2 sets)

Curls (13 reps, 2 sets)


Push Ups (25 reps, sets)

It felt great to move and get my heart rate up there after a long weekend of eating and sleeping!

Getting back to work today was rough. I had to catch up on so much but there were a lot of people out of the office which helped because that means fewer distractions for me. One of my co-workers told me he had a Qdoba BOGO coupon that expired on 12/31/10 and asked if I want to go. Lunch for $3?? Of course I want to go.

And you know what I got?

A naked grilled chicken taco salad….with extra black beans. What can I say, when I like something, I really, really like it! I hate trying to snap a picture in front of my co-workers, I feel so sketchy doing so because I do it really quick and hope no one hears my phone cam go off. Anyone know how to turn off the sound of the camera taking a snapshot on Blackberry? I searched all over the help guide on my phone and can’t find squat.

At work, it was me and the guys, which I love. We talked about sports, naturally. Then they started talking about Julius Peppers, a defensive end for the Bears who used to play here for the Panthers. One of the guys was saying how huge he was in person-both tall and wide but he is one of the quickest in the league. I’ve seen him play but never realized how huge he was so when I got back to my desk, I googled him. All the pictures seemed to be of him in uniform but I wanted to see a normal picture so I clicked on one of the Google results and went to the webpage. And my computer froze. Of course, it wasn’t a normal page. Oh no, it was some page called “Sexy Black Men” and my frickin computer froze! I was waiting for my manager to walk by, ask what was going on and then get fired for looking at porn while at work but thankfully, that didn’t happen. When my computer restarted, I finally found a normal picture of him. He is a pretty big guy–look at those hands!

 I need to start looking at the names of these sites before I click on them…..especially while at work!

 Dinner, again, black bean burgers. I can’t help myself!

Mmmmmmmm. I need to make another batch of these….soon!

And now I’m off, I am going to a friend’s house tomorrow for NYE to just hang out, watch movies, eat and drink. I am going to be making some appetizers to bring over to her place but need to put my shopping list together.

New Year’s Eve: Amateur night or paint the town red?

Case of The Ex

29 Dec

I really don’t check Facebook too often anymore. However last night, I was on there checking some messages that I missed from friends in Florida about hanging out this past weekend. Luckily, no one could make it out on any of the nights someone else was free so I don’t feel too bad about not being able to get together since I was being all emo this weekend. But when responding to a message, I saw the little friend suggestion tab to the right suggesting friends for me. I looked at a few of the names and had no clue who they were (why do you do this to me Facebook??) But then I saw a name I did recognize… ex boyfriend from college.

Naturally, I had to look at his page. He was always one of those ones that I would think about every now and then and wonder what ever happened to him. I looked him up on Facebook a few times but from what it looks like, he just joined.

And you know what?

Homeboy slice looks goooooood!


He’s a chef!

Hello dream man!

I tried to stalk his facebook page as much as I could but it wouldn’t let me see any other pictures of him and no info if he is married or not. Usually, I would call a friend and freak out over this like I am 16 years old and contemplate if I should request his friendship or not. But being 11:30 pm and all, it wasn’t too feasible. So I directed my mouse over to the box to request as a friend, closed my eyes and clicked. The worst he can do is deny my friendship, yes?

But then I started thinking about why we broke up and remembered some not so good stuff. Like Valentine’s Day 2002 I believe. We had plans to go out so I got ready and waited. I watched all of my sorority sisters getting picked up my their boyfriends while sitting on the couch. So I waited…..and waited….and waited. And nothing. I remember watching some teenage flick like 10 Things I Hate About You. Then one of my sorority sisters found a Popple he gave to me as a Christmas gift —you guys remember the Popples or am I the only child of the 80’s?

And this is what we did with said Popple.

We hung it from my window with a sign that said “Die Bitch Die” (I used to be a tad bitchier and bitter towards the world, you know since I was a 22-year-old sorority girl with so many issues) and then we opened the drapes of my window which faced towards campus so anyone who passed the house could see it.

Girl Power!

Other than that, today was a lax day. All because I didn’t go to work. I am going to be honest, I just didn’t have it in me. I have sick days that don’t roll over each year so I figure why not take one today, go in tomorrow and catch up, then have Friday off then start anew next week/year all refreshed and all that happy BS? Fear not, I didn’t just sit around and cuddle with the pup. I took a shower, packed up my car with stuff I’m donating to Salvation Army that I need to drop off by 12/31 so I could write it off and then headed to Panera.

I had a free birthday coupon treat from Panera’s My Panera Rewards Club. It said it was for any sweet or pastry but I am *trying* to be more mindful about what’s going in my bod so I asked the cashier if I could get one of their souffle’s and she said it didn’t count. I asked her if they could take off some and I could pay the difference because even though something is free and I wanted to redeem it, I shouldn’t feel forced to order something that is loaded with sugar (yes, I am that girl who will justify my reasonings to the cashier) and she whispered “I agree with you, we’ll get you the souffle for free”. It never hurts to ask or speak up!

I was going to order the spinach and bacon souffle but after reading Nic’s piggy post, which made me cry, I opted for the spinach and artichoke souffle.

I would have never thought to order a souffle before, it really doesn’t sound too appealing to me. But this? Effin fantastic! I know I shouldn’t use the effin to describe something but it had a soft and gooey center that just melted in my mouth. I got a large coffee with that and parked my butt at Panera for four hours, took advantage of their free Wi-fi (until my fully charged computer was dead thank you), people watched, applied for jobs, caught up on blogs, etc. I think by the time I was out the door, I applied for 31 jobs in the Charlotte area ranging from marketing positions (many which seemed to be dressing up as Lady Liberty or Uncle Sam for tax companies) to non-profit organizations (what my degree in Journalism/ Public Relations was focused on).  It was a perfect morning.

I got home and hung out with this one for the rest of the afternoon, cleaned and just tried to get back into the swing of things

“What’s Lincoln looking at?” you ask (without the preposition at the end of the sentence of course, I am just too lazy to change it)

He was watching the ASPCA commercial with them playing Willie Nelson “You were always on my mind” I shit you not. While watching him, I told he is a lucky dog since he isn’t one of those abandoned or abused animals. Those commercials seriously break my heart….especially the newer ones with no music but they tell you the animal’s name with depressing captions such as “Left to die and dying of a broken heart”. Makes me cry, every single time.

As for the ex-he accepted my friend request. Now I feel like a creeper, I don’t even want to look at his fb page because I feel like if I do, he can actually see me or something. So I’m crouching my shoulders down and wincing when I look at his page to see what the deal is with him. Hello, I am 16 again………..

A funky, funky Christmas

28 Dec

Hello all!!! I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve blogged but I finally got back today from Florida and am happy to be back! It’s great to see my family (The stress that goes along with it? Not so much) and hang out but I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things again around here and back to my normal schedule. It was a funky, funky Christmas though.

Oh NKOTB, you still have my heart. I never realized how Beastie Boys they were trying to sound in this song though? Maybe because I was around 12 when it came out.

The funky part came on Christmas Eve when my parents asked me how work was. If you recall, work isn’t going so great. I have absolutely no poker face so when they asked me, I just broke down in tears and it went downhill from there. They asked me what my plan was and I told them how I will most likely be quitting in 2011 and taking out some of my 401K money to live on. Tip: Don’t tell your financially strapped parents who already have enough stress with their finances you’re going to do on Christmas Eve, you won’t get a great reaction. Unfortunately, this set the tone for the weekend since this is all they are worries about now. I don’t know why they don’t have more faith in me that I will find a better job and don’t want to be unhappy anymore. Alot of tears, “What are you going to do? What if you don’t find a job?”  later, we stopped talking about it and went to dinner. They know that the way to my heart is sushi and we went to an all you can eat buffet-holla!

I’m not going to lie-I had about two and a half plates of sushi. My mercury quota is met until early 2012. They had over 20 different types of sushi on the line plus the sushi chefs would make you a roll if you didn’t see the specific one there. It hit the spot.

On the way home, I drove with my older sister who asked me what was wrong and I told her all the drama about work. She said that I need to make a change ASAP because I’m not a depressed or sad person and she hates seeing me this way. We stopped at 7-11 because slurpees always make me feel good so I picked one up, got into the car and after driving for a few minutes, I realized the slurpee sucked. Yeah, don’t try Power to the Purple, it’s rank. So then I started crying over my slurpee which officially made me that girl. We continued to drive to yet another 7-11 on Christmas Eve because we are classy like that and finally found old faithful-Coke flavored slurpee. She talked me through everything, assured me everything was going to be fine (you know, the things parents should do) and we went over different plans. It was nice to have someone on my side, telling me I could do it and find something that better fits my personality instead of someone questioning my abilities.

What also made it better? Some Mickey loving!

Mickey is my parents dog whom I love very much for he is my voluptuous baby. My mom got Mickey when I was a freshman in college so he is a bit older now but I love seeing him and he is very lovey, which was perfect since I was missing Sir Linx-a-lot.

Yeah, I love that dog.

No visit is complete without finding the local cupcake bakery. This visit it was Cupcake Couture. Not only is it a cute name for a cupcake shop but the cupcakes had adorable designer names like Donatella Vanilla, Oscar de la Raspberry and Yves Saint Lemon. LOVE!

Walking into the store alone just made me happy–decked out in all kinds of pastel colors, candy coated murals with some Charlie and The Chocolate Factory playing, a smile was on my face. Then I saw the cupcakes and that is where my jaw dropped and eyes went all crazy eyes just from staring at the beauty of their cupcakes.

 Their cupcakes are seriously designer, they were so gorgeous, I didn’t even want to eat it. I always want to eat cupcakes. I love the cutesy little designer names for the cupcakes and I swore to myself I wasn’t going to go on a cupcake rampage so had to look through all the ones they had and decide on one. I finally went with the Boston Couture (i.e. Boston Creme), it was heavenly. My sister got the Red Valentino and still not word on how it was…..hmmmm.

 It has a hard, thick (giggity) chocolate shell in the place of the traditional frosting topped with drizzles of white chocolate.

 Under that was a think layer of custard then a yellow cupcake base.

 After tasting the first bite

Yes, that would be the face of ecstasy.

Do I even have to tell you this was amazing? I am still up in the air if it was better than Crumbs. If you are ever in South Florida, you MUST check this place out!

Before that, we stopped at the Green Owl, which is right next door to Cupcake Couture.

I thought of Janetha because the decor is all OWLS. Um, sorry to say, owls kinda freak me out. They weren’t cute owls, there were creepy owls and then owls from the 1970’s, very kitschy.

The owls even watched me in the lady’s room. I don’t know if I was more scared of that or that the bathroom door didn’t have a lock

The grub was good though, typical diner fare food but it hit the spot plus we didn’t want to eat too much because we had to save room for cupcakes.

Other than that, I got some gifts I am quite stoked about. I really didn’t ask for too much this year because of my parents financial condition along with the fact I really don’t need anything…..other than to have my student loans paid off or get a new job, neither which they could help me with. But for the few I got, I am completely happy with them.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY! My sister got me a panini maker and I didn’t even ask for it, I see this becoming my new obsession very soon!

I also got a mandoline that I am quite excited about as well–my mom was working at William-Sonoma as a gift wrapper so she got the 40% off discount and that was at the top of my list!

And of course, the gift I get from my parents each year and the one I look most forward to

What can I say, I’m easy to please.

I’m sure there’s alot more to my visit than all of this but right now, I am emotionally and physically spent from traveling today. Plus WVU is playing in the Champs Bowl right now. If they could make a touchdow or two, I would be a happy gal since they have yet to really show up to the game.

How was everyone’s holiday?? Any dramalicious fun like mine?

Frugal Friday-Holiday Travel Edition

24 Dec

I wish I was one of those fortunate people who didn’t have to travel for the holidays. But seeing I have family in Indiana, California and Florida, the hustle and bustle of holiday travel is inevitable. Here are some tips to keep your holiday travelling a little more wallet friendly.

*If your destination is within driving distance to you, calculate what would be cheaper-driving, flying, taking a bus, train, etc. Earlier this year, I had planned on driving 11 hours to Florida and taking Lincoln with me. Then I started to think about how I would have to take a day off for each 11 hour drive, spending time with family and not to mention another day off for recuperating along with what the average price of gas was at that time. I got that number, waited a month or so and looked up flights online and it was cheaper in the long run to get a flight and board Lincoln. I think it comes down to how much convenience means to you and if you get a lot of days off.

  • If you drive, bring a cooler with you. You can save so much money by doing this as opposed for stopping at some random locations that won’t offer the healthiest of options. I try to make a sandwich, yogurt, diet soda, trail mix and nuts and you can pack with ice packs or buy a cooler than keeps your food cold.
  • Stop somewhere and eat your food if you bring some along. If weather permits, I try to stop at a well-lit rest area since they offer a number of covered and uncovered picnic tables. This is also safer than driving while mindlessly eating while trying to navigate. Also a great opportunity to refresh yourself both mentally and physically by going for a walk around the area.
  • Network! If you’re making a long drive and need to stop somewhere for a night, see if you know someone in that area and ask if you could crash at their place for a night. Keeping in touch with many of my sorority sisters helps in this instance since it seems like a majority of us are somewhere on the East coast.  It never hurts to ask, the worst they can say is no. If you do find someone who can take you in for a night, it sure beats spending $80 on a hotel room you will be in for less than 12 hours. Be sure to get your host a nice little thank you gift if doing so.

If you’re flying……

*Bring  snacks with you. There’s no rule saying you can’t bring food with you through security (unless it’s liquid over the allowed amount) so why not? I usually bring a bar with me and buy a banana or apple at the supermarket on the way to the airport. I saw a food kiosk selling a banana for $1.49 each when I was in Minneapolis this past summer and absolutely refuse to spend that much–it’s bananas (Cmon, I had to say it!) This will also help curb your appetite so you don’t give into a huge pork bbq platter at the BBQ stand at the airport at 10AM.

*Instead of buying magazines for $4 or $5 (seriously, when did magazines get this expensive?), go to your local library and grab some reads there….for free! I especially love the title of the book on the right.

*Bring a water bottle with you. Even though we can no longer bring large amounts of liquid with us, we can still bring empty containers. I’ve been drinking water out of sink faucets and water fountains for 31 years and I’m still alive. I don’t need to have  special filtered water all the time and can fill up for free at the airport. It’s better than buying one for $3 and wasting a plastic bottle.

*Carry on your luggage if possible. This is pretty much non negotiable for me at this point with the insane prices that airlines are charging for you to check a bag. I am horrible with choosing outfits and am more of a wear-what-I-feel-to-reflect-my-mood kind of girl but with traveling, I get a little more flexible. If I’m going somewhere chilly, I pack a couple of sweaters (always wear one on the plane to save room in my suitcase) and pack layers. Luckily, I’m not a shoe person so I will pack a pair of boots and sneakers if I’m going to a cooler climate and flips and dressy shoes if I’m going somewhere warmer.

*Try to book a flight on an airline that you have a frequent flier mile account set up. I try to fly US Airways as much as possible since I’ve been a part of their Dividend Miles program since 1998. I’ve gotten a few free round trips out of the miles I’ve earned so it definitely adds up.

*Be kind. Ok, not a saving money point but when traveling, we are all trying to get somewhere. If someone is being abrasive or rude, it’s probably in reaction to something else going on in their life. I try not to let others rudeness bother me and if it does irritate me I ask myself  “Is their behavior going to affect me in one month?” 99.9% chance it’s not.

*When you get to your destination–kick back, relax and enjoy the holiday season with your friends and/or family. The holidays can be so hectic and sometimes friends and/or family just add to that stress but take a step back and see how thankful you are to be spending the time with loved ones.

What are some of your budget friendly holiday traveling tips?

Are you travelling for the holidays?

Hope you all have a happy, safe and warm holiday-wherever you may be and whatever you may celebrate!

New places, smiling faces

23 Dec

I have water….and it’s it’s not overflowing…woo hoo! Whatever the plumber did last night worked and I got to take a long, hot shower today (after I spent a half hour cleaning it last night), could wash my hands safely and most importantly, use the toilet. I am trying to appreciate every instance where I drink water now since who knows what could happen with my plumbing again.

Needless to say, this morning was rough. I was up until midnight last night cleaning and making sure it was safe to use everything. On top of that, I kept tossing and turning in fear that a disaster would happen while I was sleeping and that I would wake up to stank but thankfully that didn’t happen.

I went to Taste this morning for breakfast. Taste is a cafeteria style restaurant with different stations for sandwiches, soups, salads, etc.  in Founders Hall, where the Bank of America corporate center is located. What makes it interesting is that instead of part or full-time employees, they have Johnson & Wales students there making everything so they can get experience plus earn credits in the meanwhile. I’ve heard mixed things about it but heard they have a wide selection of breakfast items so I wanted to see what it was all about.

I went to the omelet bar and they had an omelet of the day for only $3.69—eggs, feta cheese, red peppers and feta.

Now that’s a deal I can be down with. However, right as she was almost done making it, I saw they had egg white omelets available. Always a next time for that though! It was such a clean and modern setting, I was quite impressed. They also make breakfast sandwiches and you can build you own plus they have oatmeal with a variety of mix ins. Seeing it was the day before Christmas Eve, there was only one other customer in there so I was in and out within minutes.

After that I stopped by Starbucks and my favorite barista looked at me and told me I looked tired. Thanks man. Not only do I know about the bags under my eyes, I now have people acknowledging them and letting me know that. Which when someone says that, it really means you look like crap. Meh. He asked what was wrong and I didn’t want to get into the whole drama of Toilet Gate ’10 and just told him I was having a not-so-great day. He told me to wait there and brought me this little gem

Free drink at Starbucks? Don’t mind if I do. The last time he gave me one of these puppies, I was crying in line while waiting to order b/c I was having a bad work day. Perhaps I should milk this more??! I won’t but I just love my baristas. It’s so nice walking in and they know me by name and I feel like they are my java buddies.

I tried yet another new place for lunch–Room 112. Which any time I see a sign for this place, I automatically get “Peaches & Cream” in my head–I can’t be the only one right? They are an Asian fusion restaurant and offer asian dishes and sushi lunch specials. I went with the sole purpose of sushi on my mind but when I spoke with my dad last night, he told me we would be going for sushi on Friday night.

A) I love the fact that my dad is addicted to the “sush” as he so affectionately calls it

B) Why pay for sushi when I can get it for free?

My friend and I were perusing their menu and we both decided on the same thing–sesame chicken. She switched up to sesame shrimp at the last-minute but I went through with my order.They give you a generous serving of chicken, a few pieces of freshly steamed broccoli and a spring roll. over brown rice, only $6.95! The chicken was fantastic but the breading was a little thick for my liking. I tried a piece of my friends shrimp and it was a perfect, light batter.

 We were in and out in less than an hour and I loved the modern look to it. I guess all the new places are going modern?  I dig it!

This afternoon came and went, made some phone calls, left a lot of voicemail (since I’m sure people don’t want to answer the phone from the bank around the holiday time) and working December 23rd is just lame. I kept looking outside to see all of these happy people who didn’t have to work, walking around and enjoying the day. It kinda sucked. I made a second Starbucks run of the day. While waiting in line, my co-worker mentioned the peppermint brownie and he asked if I’ve ever had it. I just sat there, mouth agape and when I finally could form a sentence I yelled out “It’s a peppermint chocolate party in your mouth, let’s go splitsies!” and that we did. He bought it but when we got back to the office, he wasn’t hungry for it anymore. Um, I could be at a Chinese buffet for three hours and be in unbuttoned pants status and I would still be in the mood for a brownie. Especially a peppermint brownie……

Beautiful, delicious, rich, moist brownie. It was heavenly.

By the time I got home, I was ready to sit and do nothing. But one of my best friends was coming into town for the wknd since her in-laws live here and we had plans to get together tonight. She lives in the DC area and told me that leaving DC, they only moves 70 miles within 3.5 hours—eek!! They had planned on getting into town around 6 or 7P and I was going to go over there, hang out and watch the Steelers game so I had to shower, get something to eat, etc. But that didn’t happen due to them hitting traffifc, getting in late and both of us were pretty mood.  With last nights shenanigans and a long day that dragged on today, I was beat. I needed something quick for dinner but didn’t want to dry my hair, go out somewhere to find something quick to eat then come back home. Plus I didn’t know what I was in the mood for–I hate that.

And one more time, pizza saves the day!

Dare I say—this was best frozen pizza I’ve  had!!! The goat cheese was the superstar of this show, it was creamy with the perfect tangy, salty taste. I loved it. I had to stop myself from eating the entire thing so I would have some for breakfast before I go to the airport tomorrow. If you haven’t tried this pizza–do me a favor and go out, buy it and try it. You won’t be disappointed!

And now, I need to tackle the little packing I have to do before leaving tomorrow morning. Lincoln is also being very lovey tonight, he definitely knows somethings up and he won’t be spending Xmas with his momma.

What has two thumbs and can barely keep her eyes open?? This Girl!

Be sure to keep an eye out for Frugal Friday tomorrow!

I’ve pissed off the plumbing gods

22 Dec

 Thanks everyone for your encouraging and reassuring words on yesterday’s post. I am not going to get sappy or emotional but I will just say each and every comment meant a lot to me. While it’s nice to know that others are going through/ have gone through the same thing, it just sucks altogether. I guess that’s just a part about being an adult and ….gulp….growing up huh? Here’s to some better days along the way but all in all just wanted to say thanks.

Today was a better day at work, I explained the drama of my mistake to some and they told me I was freaking out over nothing and that they have been doing things wrong as well in different areas of our position. That’s the nice thing about our group-ten of us started together so we are all in the same boat with “WTF am I doing and am I doing it right?” so it makes the whole process less of a pill to swallow. Keep on keepin’ on right?

But then I came home happy to have another day under my belt and relax with my pups. I had plans to go to Cowfish Sushi and Burger Bar with one of my girl friends but the toilet gods had another plans. I will keep this brief and clean as possible since I don’t like talking about toilet activities. I went to use the toilet, flushed, the water rose in the toilet almost to the rim, went down, then it came up… my shower!!!! I started to freak out immediately and really had an “Oh shit what do I do??” moment so I tried to stay calm knowing that I slacked on buying a plunger the last few times I’ve went to Target.  I called my landlord and tried to remain calm while explaining to him what was going out-of-town and he told me he would get on it right away. As some of you may recall, I had water issues in my old apartment back in February, so it’s safe to assume I pissed off the plumbing gods some time in the past.

30 minutes later, I was almost done bailing the water out of my shower. I am almost crying at this point but laughing instead because if I didn’t laugh, I would go insane and break down. Mind you, I don’t have a tub, only a stand up shower that really can’t hold that much water. I finally got all the water out but then learned my neighbor on the other side of my duplex was also having the same issue so we had to hold off on all water activities whether it be the kitchen sink, washer, toilet or bathroom sink or dishwasher.

My friend still came over since we didn’t know what time the plumber would come over and I wanted to stay close to the home base so we used a BOGO coupon for Pio Pio, a Columbian/Peruvian restaurant known for their chicken. This place is very unassuming, located in a strip mall next to other food establishments, a dry cleaner and smoothie joint and I never gave it a second glance. But I was talking with one of my friends this weekend, she is Columbian and heard it’s a great place so I had a feeling they would be legit. They have a smaller menu but their dinner dishes come with a side of fries or rice along with another side such as plantains or yuca. I got the 1/4 chicken with rice and plantains.

Yeah, the menu didn’t tell me it came with beans. Fiber was the last thing that my stomach needed with no immediate bathroom in sight! And dinner kinda sucks when you can’t have anything to drink with it, I would’ve loved some water but wine was really on my mind. The chicken was all that and a bag of chips! It was moist, flavorful and juicy.  They also brought out a white garlic sauce that looked similar to tsaziki sauce along with a green jalapeno sauce that had my eyes watering. Both were equally fantastic on the chicken and on top of the rice. The rice wasn’t anything to write home about but the plantains were as good as I was expected—I am from South Florida and miss having plantains that taste like they should! The beans? I took two spoonfuls and mixed in my rice but was still a bit weary about eating them due to the bathroom situation. All in all, a terrific place and wallet friendly. I will be back in the future!

Unfortunately we had to rush through dinner since I got a phone call telling me Mr. Plumber was near but we got back right after he had arrived. An hour later, things were semi-fixed. He told us we could start using the toilet, shower and sinks again but to be light on the toilet paper and that he would be back tomorrow. As long as I have a toilet, I will be good. I will literally be praying to the porcelain gods tonight that nothing goes wrong in the future or when I go to work tomorrow.

On a lighter note—Kace tagged me in this fun little questionnaire. I love these kind of things and learning more about the bloggettes that I follow!

1. Vacation: beach or mountains? Beach all the way. I grew up in South Florida and miss the days of when the beach was easily accessible to me. Give me a book, drink, a cabana boy and some rays and I’m set!

2. Luggage: check it or carry it on? Prior to the airlines charging to check bags, I would say check. But now, I carry on when possible. I don’t want to spend an extra $50 on baggage on top of what I will spending on my trip. I am carrying on my bag on Friday when I fly to Florida but I also sent some clothes home along with gifts I sent. The worst is when the climate is different from where you currently are because then you have to look through all your opposite season clothes. On the flip side, I’m hoping to visit the beach once while I’m there so I can get a tan. Because this pale look? Totally not working for me.

3. Bed: make it or leave it a rumpled comfy mess? I make it every morning but by the time I come home, it’s a rumpled mess. Lincoln likes to burrow and goes under the covers when I’m at work so I’m not even sure why I make it before I leave. Maybe I will do a little experiment, not make it and see if he messes it up even more.

4. Races: smaller or bigger? I’ve only done a 5k but with my bad knee, I’m not sure I could do more.

5. Toilet paper roll: over or under? Over.

6. Pancakes: thick and fluffy or thin and crepe-like? I’m equal opportunity, all are welcome in my belly!

7. Alarm: get up or hit snooze? Get up when the alarm goes off—I cannot stand snoozers!

8. Name one movie you’d never watch again even if someone paid you.  I could say Gigli because it was that bad but Reign Over Me with Adam Sandler was pretty bad as well. I don’t like him trying to play serious characters.

9. Name 5 fictional characters you want to have dinner with. And TELL ME WHY.

  • 1. Dwight Shrute, he would drive me insane but at the same time, I could learn a lot about beets.

  • 2. Alice from the L Word. She just seems like a fun person and she is a talker. No awkward silences!
  • 3. Finley Anderson Tanner from Rhonda Pollero’s mystery series—she is a bargain shopper and has an addiction to coffee—hello twin!
  • 4.  Alex Cross from the James Patterson books, he seems like he would be a walking encyclopedia and could tell good homicide and kidnapping  stories.

  • 5. Hurley from Lost. He is the king of one liners, loves ranch dressing and  just seems like he is all about the love.

10. Cake vs. Pie: Your pick? Cake all the way! I don’t mind pie but have passed up a slice or two in my day.

11. Last meal – what would it be? AND YOU ARE ON DEATH ROW SO MAKE IT CREATIVE.

A quality, stocked sushi buffet with a side of mac n cheese from Mac’s and a cupcake from Crumbs and a peppermint mocha from Starbucks. If I’m going out, literally, I’m going all out!

12. Favorite book to movie adaptation ever? Least favorite?

Favorite: Hmmm, I am usually not a fan of books that get turned into movies but I really enjoyed Bridgette Jones’ Diary.

Least Favorite: Confessions of a Shopaholic. Cute movie? Yes but it came nowhere close to the book.

13. Worst grade-school portrait, described in detail. I am going with my third grade picture. I had a bowl haircut and wore a pink denim dress-eek! Let’s hope that picture never resurfaces….

14. Floss before or after brushing your teeth? OR NOT AT ALL?! I’m horrible about flossing but when I do, it’s after I brush.

15. You have to move out of the country – for the rest of your life. Where do you move? I haven’t been to any places outside the continent of North America but I think Tokyo would be pretty flippin awesome

I’m tagging KatieOlie Pants, Amy, Ashleigh and Laury—let’s see your answers ladies!

To love, to be loved, and to be a banker

21 Dec

So yesterday went by quickly whereas today dragged on. And I effed up big time at work. I noticed my mistake I made at the end of the day, had to stay late and discuss with a manager and still have to deal with it tomorrow. Plus I found some more issues with an account after I spoke with a manager and will have to figure that out as well tomorrow. I have a huge knot in my stomach since I will have to face more of this crap tomorrow and am not really looking forward to it. I know it’s not the end of the world but I hate that I don’t know what I’m doing with my role and am not confident of my abilities. The sun will come up tomorrow and the day after but I hate this feeling of dreading going into work.

  Just once, I would like to have a job that I acted liked and was semi passionate about. I hate waking up at 630A each morning, dreading the day and counting down the hours til 5 o’clock. I hate that I feel sick any time I’m about to call a customer with bad news. I hate that I work for a bank yet hate numbers. I hate that I’m too empathetic to do my job whereas other people are fine with practically driving customers to file for bankruptcy. I hate that my job (and former job) mentally exhausts me so much and has made me so bitter that I don’t have the energy to look for a relationship yet maintain one. I hate that I work for a corporation I don’t believe in. I hate that due to most of my experience within the bank, I can’t find anything else, even though I have a degree in journalism. I hate that I’m seriously considering withdrawing some of my 401K to live on for awhile so I can figure out what I want to do to with my life. I would just like to wake up Monday-Friday looking forward to something and not be completely miserable, I don’t think that’s asking for too much right? And huge brownie points for anyone who knows where the title of this post is from.

My package of goodies I ordered last week  from Sephora arriving at my door step didn’t even lift my spirits. Retail therapy, makeup and a surprise package in one?  Nope, didn’t even form a smile while opening so yeah, today wasn’t the best day.

Thank god I had a dinner plan in mind because I couldn’t handle another funky meal like last night. Since I am an emotional eater and all, I really wanted to just order take out and enjoy an insane amount of MSG from the local Chinese takeout joint but I stuck to my original plan–crescent rolls stuffed with onion and chive cream cheese and sandwich steak.

I cooked up the steak on the stovetop and seasoned with Spike seasoning. I didn’t even use oil or butter, the seasoning was the perfect thing to season with.

Then cut into little strips. Of course Lincoln got the leftovers.

I rolled out the crescent rolls to stretch them a little further than normal then spread cream cheese on them

Topped with steak bits

Then rolled up and let bake at 375 for 14 minutes.

I had broccoli on the side with a touch of spray butter and bam–quick, savory meal to end a horrid day.

Anyways, that was my day in a nutshell. Sorry if it was a bit of a downer but nothing wrong with some honesty right?

On a happier note—the winner of the Chobani giveaway is…….

Comment #13—Emily from “A Nutrionalist Eats”

emily (a nutritionist eats) December 16, 2010  “I’m liking chobani on facebook!”

Congratulations Emily! Please email me (simplyshaka @ gmail dot com) your mailing address so Chobani can send those out to you!
Thanks everyone for participating in the giveaway (if anyone knows how I can copy the damn random number generator into a post, it would be much appreciated!)

I’m going to zone out to Family Guy and get some puppy kisses from my little guy.

Hope everyone’s Tuesday was better than mine!

Unheard Of!

20 Dec

Wow, what a Monday! Ok, so not really but I just wanted to say that for once because you never really hear someone say that. The only exciting thing that happened today was that it went by super fast which is usually unheard of on a Monday. I also started my day with no Starbucks which is also unheard of. I must have a Starbucks fix each day and if not, must drink two regular coffees to get the buzz that I get from one of theirs. Some say that their coffee tastes burnt but I absolutely love it. Some also say that I have an addiction but I like to think of it as stimulating the coffee economy.

I tried a new flavor of Kashi Crunchy Bar for breakfast today–Cinnamon Coffee Cake.

I found it on sale at Harris Teeter a couple of weeks ago for $.89–unheard of! These go on sale every now and then but I’ve never seen them for less than a buck. I was a little apprehensive about trying this flavor because I like cinnamon, coffee and cake but never had the trio all together. It could either be really good or really bad right? The verdict was that it was absolutely delicious! I loved the sweet glaze on top and it wasn’t hard or crunchy like other bars often are. The only thing that disheartened me is since it was on clearance, it may be discontinued soon. I need to investigate this because if it is going to be discontinued-I need to stock up! I do this now anytime I learn of something I love about to be discontinued, ever since Ulta took away my favorite lip stick shade. That was three years ago and I still haven’t found a shade like it.

I had a coupon for a free Like It size creation at Cold Stone Creamery so I walked over there after lunch with a co-worker and got a Sinless Sweet Cream Sans Fat with raspberries–unheard of for me since I can’t pass up their mint chocolate creation they have their.

Dinner was a random one. I was craving red meat and my thoughts automatically went to my stand by of stir fry but I was being lazy and didn’t feel like cooking brown rice. Yet I continued to cook up some peas, onion and mushrooms along with soy sauce, red pepper flakes and black pepper with no idea where I was going with it. Then I threw in some sliced sandwich beef and still had no clue what to do with it.

So I thought what to do with it and thought and thought and thought. And nothing. Since I had no clue what dinner would actually turn out to be, I heated up some tomato soup and sprinkled grated parmesan in it when done.

Delicious yet but you don’t get more random than tomato soup with a side of veggies and beef or veggies and beef with a side of tomato soup. It was tasty which is unheard of since the two would never be paired up together in my mind before tonight. Tasty but I wanted something a little more filling and wish I would have gone a different route for dinner-something hot, hearty and filling. And this my friends, is why you plan out your meals. I need to start planning out meals again but I didn’t buy alot of produce this week since I’m going out-of-town on Friday for a long weekend. Not having any fresh produce in my house is unheard of and frozen and/or canned veggies just don’t cut it in my book compared to it’s fresh counterparts. Oh well, there’s always next week.

I went for an invigorating 45 minute walk after dinner. I absolutely love working out when it is cold out and it’s like my own little outdoor gym since no one else seems to be out there. Unfortunately, I looked like Randy from A Christmas Story since I had a tank, two long sleeve tops, a sweatshirt and a coat on.

Too bad I can’t watch that movie anymore. I loved it as a kid but TBS showing it 24 hours straight absolutely ruined it for me. I also need to make a note to wear long socks when I go out for another walk because half way through my walk, I could barely feel my ankles.

When I got home, I did a mini kettlebell session working mostly on my legs

Kettlebell 20 lbs

Kettlebell (20 lbs)

Plie Squats (13 reps, 4 sets)

Squats (13 reps, 4 sets)

One Legged Deadlifts (13 reps, 3 sets)

Side Bends (20 reps, 3 sets)

Cardio and weights in one night? Unheard of!

I also had to say goodbye to a good friend tonight, Mr. Wal-Mart Pepper. A house with no pepper is a HUGE unheard of in my book.

Dear friend-you’ve been with me for a year, we’ve made alot of tasty dishes, lived in two homes and I finally went through you. You were exactly what you claimed to be-a great value.



Is anyone going to BlogHer Food ’11?? It’s in the ATL in May and that’s within driving distance so I am definitely looking into it. I’ve never been to a bloggie conference before and one that I can drive to is….yes, you guessed it…..unheard of!  I totally want to roll into the ATL blaring “Welcome To Atlanta”. If anyone out there is, let me know, we can be roomies 🙂

Less than 4 hours to go in my Chobani giveaway so get your last entries in!

Operation Triple R

19 Dec

So, my weekend started off with a stake out. Not a fun boy-stalking stake out as I had hoped nor was it filled with coffee, cigarettes and discussion about life however it was my friends stake out and I just was there as the getaway car. She had a psycho woman follow her into the YMCA parking lot last weekend after a little traffic dispute then the woman blocked in her car, harassed and I believe threatened her. She wanted to get the womans license plate number just in case anything further happened. My friend asked if I wanted to tag along and of course I said yes!  The fact that she had an awesome name for the stakeout-Operation Triple R (Redneck Road Rage) may have swayed my vote a little as well. I wake up early on the weekend so I don’t mess up my sleep schedule too much and am always looking for something to do when nothing seems to be going on. We went to Dunkin Donuts, got some coffee and three munchkins for me (which the boy gave me for free–thanks DD boy!) and went to the YMCA to stake out. Originally, I had the idea of getting out of the car and hanging out in disguises in front of the Y. I wanted to dress up as a homeless person sitting outside the Y with a change jar and hidden walkie talkie. But she shot that idea down and said it wasn’t necessary-boo. So, we waited….and waited…..and waited.

We even had a canine friend in attendance

Yes, that would be Lincoln in my friends purse. Fear not, he wasn’t in there the entire time. I was in awe with the size of her purse since I believe in the mantra-bigger is better-and was joking around that Lincoln could fit in there so we packed him in. And you know what? He loved it! He was absolutely calm, appeared to be comfortable and am 99% sure he don’t go potty in there. It turned out to be a waste of time since No 1980’s something brown pickup truck was in sight. Oh well. At least I had a morning of good conversation and coffee right?

Saturday afternoon consisted of a lot of this:

While I updated my resume and searched for jobs, Lincoln napped and eventually I did as well. It snowed for about 10 minutes in Charlotte and I went out a walk but the afternoon mainly consisted of job searching. I got four inquiries about my resume between Saturday and Sunday so hopefully I am on the right track!

Saturday night I made tuna casserole. It’s been foreeeeever since I’ve made it and it’s a fantastic meal for when it’s chilly out. Nothing says comfort like noodles, fish and cheese. Ok, put like that it doesn’t sound good but combined together and baked, it’s super!

I took three cans of tuna fish and drained

Along with that ingredients were

 Half a package of No Yolk Egg Noodles (that I cooked earlier in the day)

 One can Cream of Mushroom soup

 1/2 shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese

 Chopped onion

Chopped mushrooms

 One cup frozen peas

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp black pepper 

1/2 tbsp garlic

Then mixed together in a large mixing bowl.

Then transferred to a casserole dish, topped with 1/3 of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (if you are not a huge cheese fan, you can use breadcrumbs instead) and let it bake for 35 minutes

Delicious! Plus it gives me a couple of meals to bring to work for lunch this week (yes, I am the annoying co-worker who heats fish in the break room) and it’s perfect for freezing as well.

I may have watched this movie one two three times afterwards.

What can I say, when I like a movie, I really really like a movie.

On Sunday morning, I woke up had some breakfast and went for a 45 minute walk. It was just cold enough that I felt comfortable all bundled up but not sweating and I felt terrific afterwards.

I put some ingredients in the crock pot to make chili and then headed out to go to see Black Swan and shopping at Costco. Black Swan was absolutely fantastic, it was very theatrical and thought-provoking, a nice change from what I usually dig. My friend has a Costco membership so I wanted to tag along with her so I could get some goodies. I also wanted to try one of their churros since I hear good things about them and it was out of this world!

I was expecting it to be absolute madness on a Sunday afternoon but it was pretty tame for Costco. I will have to hit her up to see when she is going again since I found some great deals but didn’t get too much stuff since I’ll be going out of town for Christmas. For $44 I got  all of this and a bottle of wine:

Holla, I heart Costco!

When I got home, my house has the spicy aroma of chili in the air and I was ready to chow down! I don’t have a set chili recipe but mixed it up a little this time.


One can diced tomatoes

One can tomato paste

One can dark kidney beans

One can navy beans

One cup Morningstar Veggie Crumbles (browned with tabasco sauce)

1 tbsp Chili powder

1 tbsp Cumin

1 tbsp Garlic

2 tbsp Black Pepper

1 onion chopped

3 Hungarian Wav peppers, chopped

It turned out great. However, the Hungarian Wax peppers made a world of difference! They were spicier than expected and that along with the tabasco Veggie Crumbles made my eyes water. Luckily, I like chili that hot but I think I will stick jalapenos in the future.

Everyone have a fun weekend? I hope more exciting with mine regarding the nightly activities, I am so lame some weekends.

If you haven’t entered yet–remember to enter my Chobani giveaway–it ends Monday night!