Saturday, July 26, 2008

Don't ever go to Florida in July

Hey all. Well I made it to Florida but only after three planes, a delay, a nineteen-seater plane and lost luggage. The longest day of travel ever. But don't worry the hot, balmy weather of Miami was still there to strangle us when we got off the plane at 11:15pm. Mind you, we woke up in Bozeman at the Hilton at 4:45am and there was no hot water (not a good start). So mentally I was freaking out because I was going to have to meet MS's mom and sister with greasy hair and travel funk. Awesome.
But the family is awesome. Very sweet and welcoming and glad that we were finally here.
So far we have been to Sawgrass Mills outlet/shopping mecca (where I found Dansko shoes marked down from $125 to $26!!!!!!). Ate a Peruvian restaurant. Met almost all of the friends. Almost bought Manolo Blahnik $495 shoes....seriously if you have never had the pleasure of sliding these little slices of heaven on your feet you must. They are the most unbelievable feeling sandals I have ever had the divine pleasure of placing on my feet. Even you Grace would love these heels. But the snobs at Neiman Marcus don't take Visa, only American Express. So between me and MS's friend, they lost over $1,500 that day.
We also headed to his aunt's house today for a co-birthday party for his nephew and his aunt. So I had the pleasure to meet his extended family. They sing, talk loud (in Spanish) and laugh like no one's watching. I had a great time and I promise I will include photos in a future post. I just wanted to to get something on the blog for all of you who are at my throat to blog-up!
Well off to dinner with more of the friends so wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AET Birthday Post

Last Wednesday my crazy social-working ex-GIGster friend AET (initials used to protect the guilty) had a birthday party. Actually it was more of a bar/restaurant hopping excursion. Here is AET at the beginning of the night have a French Martini at The Quarry Bar (I will be posting about the bar separately).

We had a few drinks then headed to Lucca's, an tiny Italian restaurant that we (MS & I) believe is the best place to eat in Helena. So here is AET in the middle of the birthday partying. Loosened up a bit huh AET?

So lets recap a little. A few cocktails at Quarry including a birthday shot from our favorite bartender and waitress, Prosecco and two bottles of wine at dinner...yep everyone is getting a little tipsy. Off we go back to The Quarry Bar (which if you haven't guessed yet is the best place to get a cocktail in Helena). That is when the trouble begins. I have to go pick up our friend MW at the airport at 11pm so I order a ginger ale (which is hand made, yummy). But as I look over at the rest of the group, which includes MS, JJr and our boss MVG, I see lots of martinis, some beers and shots heading to the table. This cannot end well. So this is AET during the final act of her 25th birthday celebration.

The time comes for me to head to the airport and I ask MS for his keys. Of course he is unable to locate them at this time and starts to freak out. So I look at MVG and he hands me his. We all make plans to meet back at the bar or at a different place. I pick up MW and we are chatting about 50 miles a minute and then (oh this is good) the car locks up, it is completely out of gas. I am able to somehow get it into a bank parking lot before it dies it's dramatic death. Seriously MVG, who gives there car to someone when it is driving on fumes!!!!!

Well we call the group and it seems that AET has had her fill of libations (feel free to read into the underlying situation) and they are attempting to get her back to the Hampton (her sensational home for the past 3 mos.). So Meegan and I wait in the parking lot for over an hour for someone to come pick us up and take us to the gas station so we can buy the little red plastic gas can and revive the car enough for MVG to drive it to the airport in the morning. Now come to find out all, MVG had bought the rental car fuel option so was drving on fumes for a reason. Although frankly, when I was hanging out in the parking lot at midnight in a dress and high heels I could have given a rat's ass!

So the curtain closed on the night with AET passed out in bed, MVG making sure she didn't die, me driving JJr. to another bar, and MW, MS and myself heading home for some chex mix and plenty of water. Oh did I mention that the girls (AET, JJr., MW and myself) were heading to Yellowstone National Park the next morning? Yeah, the youngsters were definitely feeling some pain:)

Happy Birthday AET and we will already miss you horribly since you have went away. I hope this post did your celebration justice!


Sorry folks. It has been a busy couple of weeks. But don't worry, as I sit in the airport and await the next adventure I am going to try to make it up to you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My parents love me.

My mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law and the all important cutest niece ever Gracie came to visit in June. We had a great time and as always, it was great to see everyone. I would have posted pictures but my dear sweet boyfriend has not yet gotten me the pictures. Let me caveat that with the fact that I took no pictures so I am completely dependent on his picture taking skills.

So on Monday I came home to find a box at my door. Inside was a thank you package from my Mom & Dad and of course all my mail. But the package housed two of my favorite things in the universe.

My Dad's Chex Mix (It rocks Dad!)
My Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies (you always make them better than me!)

Heaven on earth I tell ya! Kinda glad that whole diet thing didn't work out. Now we only usually get the Chex Mix at Christmas when my Dad makes huge batches because all of us kids eat like 4 bags ourselves. So I am very touched that he made it "off season". And the cookies...well yummy! I have the same recipe that my Mom has but mine never turn out quite as tasty.

So thank you folks. And don't worry, I am sharing with MS and the office team.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Death of the Sonoma Diet

Let us all take a moment and mourn the passing of the Sonoma Diet.

It lasted a good 4 1/2 days before the time came for it to move on to a world that didn't involve me. I followed the diet as best I could (minus the banana and m & m sleep study day) and I was starving the whole time. The headaches (mine came in the form of migraines) plagued me and I generally felt lousy. Let me say though that I wouldn't totally wipe this diet off the menu (pun intended) for those who love salty, savory foods. I'm just a sweets person, natural and processed alike.

So while conversing with my co-workers, AET mentioned that perhaps this wasn't the diet for me. And the newest member of our team, JJr. piped up and started talking about joining Weight Watchers and thought it would be great if we could do it together. I thought what better than a "diet partner" and a plan that is really teaching you to make better choices and control your portion size rather than forbiding you from having all the foods you love.

Now I know there are some readers who either have or our currently doing Weight Watchers with much success and I would love to hear any and all suggestions, tips, recipes (I love recipes), etc... that you might be able to bring to the table.

JJr. and I will be beginning our Weight Watchers quest the first week in August after I return from my Florida trip to meet MS's family.

I'm not going to lie, I felt like a bit of a failure on Friday when I decided to quit the diet. But after contemplating the decision over the weekend and drinking my Canadian beer I realized that the chances are better at succeeding by not only having a partner but by following an eating plan that allows me to still have the things that I love, just in moderation. So thank you JJr. for agreeing to take this journey with me.

I need to mention that although MS will not be going to the meetings and such, he will by default be on the diet whenever we eat together. And he is fully supportive of the decision and that is why I love him:)

So rest in peace Sonoma diet and watch out Weight Watchers I'm coming to get ya!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Card Queen

I like to think that I am a pretty good card giver. I rarely forget a birthday, anniversary or milestone. I also fancy myself someone who chooses funny and person-specific cards.
All that being said, I have been slacking lately. If you are one of the cards that I have forgotten or sent very late, I apologize. I don't know what happened to my memory but if I don't write it down in about 6 places you can pretty much guarantee I'm forgetting it.
What brings this up right now? Well there are two cards in the past month that I have forgotten and I wanted to take this opportunity to give the recipients their due.

First, my brother Scott.
I am so proud of you for sticking to it and passing your paramedic test.
And good luck with your applications to fire academy and finding the perfect job.
Even though for the record, I am super nervous about you fighting fires.
But I wish you only the best.
Love you!

Second, my godchild Katie.
You worked hard and showed them what you could do.
Congrats on making the cheerleading competition squad.
I knew you could do it!
Good luck this year at your new school.

So I vow to try to stay up on all the cards. If your birthday is at the end of the month and you get a card the first week, it's only because I was thinking about it and knew if I didn't do it then it wasn't going to happen.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Sleep Deprived

I made it out alive. The sleep study was bizarre and in 7-10 days I should know what sort of freaky sleeper I am. First there was paper work, then came the "hook-ups" (see pic below), then the lady snoring like a trucker next door and finally lights out. The lights went out at 10pm, I estimate I fell asleep at 11:30pm then clearly remember waking up at least 4 times throughout the night. Then at about 5:30am this morning a voice awakened me and after a brief vitals check the tech came in with the lights blaring and took all the little wires off me. I should have taken a picture of the after because my hair could have raised the dead. They put all this conductive goop on my head to hold the electrodes (spelling?). It took me 3 washes to get it all out.
Needless to say the so called sleep I got was probably the best example of how awful I sleep most of the time. So I came home and crashed for another 4hrs. interrupted several times by my inability to fall and stay asleep. So now I am overtired and starving. The going back to bed ruined any chance of breakfast so in 4 minutes I am eating lunch.
Enjoy the picture people and no laughing!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

To eat or not to eat....that is the question.

Tonight I am headed to the sleep clinic where I will be attached to tons of wires and machines and they will attempt to figure out why I haven't had a good night's rest since my freshman year in high school. (I wish that was an exaggeration.) I'm a bit nervous, but I would love to wake up feeling refreshed sometime this decade.
So I'm talking to my mom (who just got a brand spankin' new knee today) and she said something to the effect of: maybe you really shouldn't have stopped the sugar since you are doing the sleep study. Basically you are not supposed to make any drastic changes that could affect your regular sleep pattern. And going off sugar cold turkey is certainly drastically changing my body (headaches, salivating over every chocolate related item including those awful tasting Vita Chew get the point).
So I debated, wrestled with my inner self, cursed the sugar gods and goddesses and decided Dr. Mom was right. It was probably not the brightest idea given the circumstances.
But I was doing so proud of myself.
Now I bet ya'll are thinking that I went out and ate Dairy Cream out of ice cream and shoveled chocolate cake into my mouth to make up for the lost sugar days. Shame on you!
I actually ate 1 small banana and half a regular size package of M & M's Dark. So I think I did pretty darn well. It did help curb my headache and will hopefully allow my body to relax into it's normal fitful sleeping mode.
Wish me luck. Oh and I've decided to count puppies instead of sheep because they are by far the cuter of the two.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dinner was a bust...

Sorry folks I have no recipes for you. The chicken was too strong and made MS's tummy hurt and I didn't even finish mine. The vegetable dish was too lemony even though it was covered in delicious goat cheese.
But tomorrow is another day and another set of recipes. I figure if I can make it through two more days I can do the whole thing.
Although I have to say it is crossing my mind to go to bed now (8:45pm) just so that my mouth stops watering at the thought of ice cream.

Day One of the "Diet"

So it is the afternoon of day one in my personal hell...
Woke up this morning with a wicked headache which I am attributing to my total lack of sugar yesterday.
Had Cheerios with fat-free milk for breakfast. Pretty good except whenever I eat breakfast I am starving all day long. And with only two snacks per day this is not a good thing.
Made lunch for the girls at the office today, Greek Salad with Chicken. Pretty good but not a fan of the dressing. Too much red wine vinegar. But it did have fresh oregano and mint which gave it a pop in your mouth as you ate it.
But right now is the worse (4pm MST). I almost always have a sweet snack right about now. I ate my allotted cheese stick for a snack but I am literally sitting on my hands and sucking down water like its nobody's business trying to not reach into my desk and snag the Quaker Rice Cakes with Chocolate Drizzle that are flashing my name in neon lights.
If I can just make it till six...dinner time. Garlic and Mint Chicken with Broccoli and Roasted Pine Nuts with Goat Cheese. If it is good I will post the recipe. If not I will cry in my unsweetened iced tea.

For all the Villains in the House

I bought this book several years ago at one of those crazy card/Jesus action figure shops in Portland, OR. But you can get your very own copy at
It is a very funny, slightly demented read. Well worth an hour of your time.
There are tips for Home Design, Health, Work, Social Life and Travel all from the point of view of a Villain. There is even a quiz at the beginning called, "Are You Satisfied with Your Evil Existence." And I know at least one of you is already a villain or seriously considering the dark side.
That brings me to my current situation. It is no secret that I am unhappy in my current job. And it often feels like I am a villain, taking money from little old ladies and all. But how does one look for another job when the last 5 years have spent perfecting my villainous ways?
Do not fear...the book has a section that tells you how to take your villain experiences and translate them for your resume:
"Resume Builders:

Planning a bank heist----Project management skills
Raising an army of the dead----Knowledgeable in training co-workers
Destroying the world----Highly skilled in downsizing
Escaping from jail----Ability to dispense with unwanted situations
Blocking out the sun----Deflected illumination on company practices
Poisoning the king---- Assisted in transition of former management
Selling your soul----Strong financial sense"

The last one is a personal favorite. And of course after the resumes have gone out there are the interviews. So taken from the "Top Ten Interview Questions and How to Respond" are some of my favorites:
" Why do you want to work here? Be honest: Tell them "money, power, and the chance to crush my enemies." They'll like that.
What are your strengths? You undoubtedly have several, so start with your genius, move on to your physical prowess, and end with your ability to make people's heads explode.
What are your weaknesses? "I'm a workaholic" is always a safe response. Make sure you don't mention your fatal flaw, be it the holy cross or Rice Krispies. They'll just use it against you later.
What do you think you could bring to this job? Sometimes cliches don't work. Rather than saying, "Solid work ethics and a willingness to get a job done!" try "Death, destruction, and lots of pointy weapons." "

Maybe being a villain isn't so bad after all...

(All quotes came from "A Villain's Guide to Better Living" by Neil Zawacki with illustrations by Bill Brown both copyrighted in 2004.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Iced Tea

There is no air conditioning in my apartment. And today was hot. Normally I would just eat some ice cream, grab a fountain drink or knock back a couple of beers. But remember the diet...
Well you are allowed to have tea and coffee on the diet (no sugar of course). So I thought what would cool me down better than some iced tea. But not just any tea would do, I wanted something to trick my taste buds into thinking they were actually getting a treat.
So I rifled through the cupboards and found Lipton, chamomile, lemon-ginger then the winner...Chai Spice Decaf. I boiled 4 cups of water and poured it over 4 tea bags and let them steep for 5 minutes. After allowing the brew to cool completely, I filled a glass with as much ice as it could hold and 3 chopped mint leaves (mint is one of the most versatile herbs there is).
It is tasty, refreshing and has convinced by mind for tonight that it doesn't need that Drumstick in the freezer:)

Crying in My Food

So I've started the Sonoma Diet a Mediterranean/Napa Valley kind of diet that doesn't skimp on flavor. I detest the word diet in itself. But as of late I am feeling a bit sluggish and my pants a bit too tight! So I thought why not give this a try. I love food bottom line. So any diet that says no more carbs, no more sweets, no more wine, etc... is not for me. The first 10 days of the diet are the hardest because you cut out almost all sugar (refined and natural). Of course this is where the weight just peels off you (I'll hold my opinion until I see for myself). So I have scoured the two cookbooks and read over the meal plans and have set the stage for Wave 1.
Officially the diet starts tomorrow although I did have one of the meals for dinner tonight as a preview. Went to Safeway and spent a fortune on produce (why is it so darn expensive to eat healthy???). Came home and went to prepping (they say that the best way to eat right is to be prepared). This is where the crying came in...

The dreaded red onion. I hate onions. I mean my mom even had to make a separate potato salad for me without onion for picnics. But on this new diet they are prevalent in a ton of recipes. And since red onions are usually sweeter, I decided to take a chance and try them again.
So I start the process of slicing the onion (For those that don't know I am taking an online Gourmet Cooking and Catering class so I actually know the correct culinary way to slice an onion) then BAM! here come the tears. I thought I was going to scratch my eyes out. I searched my brain for all those hints and tips I have read in countless magazines and seen on my favorite Food Network programs. But nothing. I drew a huge blank. So I cried.

The onion is cut and packed away for future uses. But if anyone has a trick for the next time I have to tackle this detestable vegetable I would greatly appreciate it.

So wish me luck tomorrow and keep your fingers crossed that I don't completely go postal for some chocolate about 2pm.

Monday, July 7, 2008

O Canada

So being who I am and all, I spent the 4th of July in Canada. Calgary (pronounced Cal-gary (like the man's name) to be exact. We originally just wanted to get out of town and some people we ran into told us Calgary was a great place to go. So we loaded up the SUV (gotta love gas guzzling rental cars) and headed to the border. After a very unpleasant border crossing experience (why do they have to be so mean?), we made our way in kilometers to the hotel.

After a quick trip to the mall (you'll see why below) we headed to dinner at Bolero, a Brazilian steakhouse. I see the question marks on your faces, why would I be going anywhere near a steakhouse? Well I thought it would be a nice treat for MS (the boyfriend). So in this super cool dark dining room the feasting of meats began. I ordered chicken and vegetables but MS got the whole nine yards. For those of you that don't know: At Bolero the customer is in charge of the timing on our wide selection of churrasco(skewers) to be brought to your table by our Gaucho Chefs. Green means go and Red means stop. (from It is a very interesting way to eat and from what I heard (or didn't hear because his mouth was always full) it was fantastic.

Friday was the day to end all days...The Calgary Stampede. While we did not plan our trip solely around the Stampede, it was certainly a highlight. What is the Stampede you ask? Well it is 10 days of rodeoing, chuck wagon races, pancake breakfasts, livestock and horse shows, country music concerts and of course lots of rides and fair food. The entire city of Calgary "goes country" for these 10 days and that meant what for us? You guessed right, it was time to cowgirl & cowboy up! (Reference above trip to the mall)

So we got dolled up in our country best and hit the scene. Yes people, that is MS with a western shirt and hat...oh yeah and take a gander at the belt buckle!

Such a good sport and see, I finally got my cowboy:)

We saw the rodeo, ate some awful fair food, drank Bud Light (seriously I go to Canada dying for some decent beer and what are they serving....Bud Light!), danced to some country music (I tried to teach MS the two-step but it was like the blind leading the blind) and ended the day with some chuck wagon racing. It was a long day, but fun and certainly different than anything I've been to in the states.

And for the record, the generous and kind Canadians sang our (USA) national anthem prior to theirs in respect of our Independence Day. It was very touching and appreciated by all the Americans in the crowd.

Saturday we shopped (of course MS found 3 shirts I found nada), MS had his first ice cold Canadian (Molson Canadian) and raved at how yummy it was, we went up the Calgary tower which is 525 ft. off the ground and similar to the Space Needle in Seattle and finally ended the day at Bonterra Trattoria, an adorable Italian joint with a killer patio. I died and went to heaven with the butternut squash ravioli served in brown butter, cranberries and vanilla oil. While MS had the Ciopinno special which is an Italian seafood dish. And from the way he was licking the bowl, I would say it was very tasty. The best of course was dessert where we shared a flight of Vin Santo and I devoured a flourless chocolate torte and MS tried his hand at cleaning a creme brulee ramekin. All in all, a flawless dinner only interrupted by the mosquitoes who thought my legs were mighty tasty.

So thank you MS for a fabulous getaway. You are too good to me!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Look

As you may have noticed, my blog has a new look. Thank you to Michelle who did a bang-up job creating the perfect combination of color and style for my header!

Depression Cookies

So last night I decided to take a trip down memory lane and satisfy my chocolate fix all in one. When I was a kid my mom used to make us these great cookies that she called Depression Cookies. I have no idea where the name came from but if I had to guess I would say that these were cheaper to make then the packaged cookies were to buy. Regardless of why they are named as such, they are delicious!

How do you make these fantastic sounding historical pieces of my chocolate addiction? If you can make a PB & J sandwich then you are ahead of the game. There are two ingredients, graham crackers and frosting (flavor of your choice). Simply put, you break the graham crackers in half and slather on as much, or as little, of your favorite frosting. I use prepared frosting which suits my crazy lifestyle, but you could of course make yours from scratch. One can of frosting usually will allow you to make the entire box of graham crackers.

Simple, sweet and oh so scrumptious! Thank you mom for bringing these into the kitchen!