Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A good birthday

I had a very nice birthday! I spent the majority of it alone, but have great memories of the people I met while out running errands and such.

Thank you for the sweet comments you readers left today. They made my day and were so nice to read throughout the day.

My massage this morning was awesome-one of the better ones I have ever had. It was only a half hour long, but that was the perfect amount of time to relax, get the stress out of my lower back and neck, and a great way to start my day. The massage therapist I had was really nice too.

After the massage, I went to World Market to use my $10 off b-day coupon. I picked up a cooling rack and a pretty place mat that was on clearance.

I also headed to the mall to use up some coupons. I got $20 off a $50 or more purchase at Boston Store, so I found some perfect black trousers for work.

birthday finds

I got the Clinique bonus and because I am an old lady today, purchased some "all about eyes rich" eye cream. :) It's never too late to prevent wrinkles!

Clinique bonus fall 2011

When I was done perusing Boston Store, I went to Mayfair to use my $15 off Banana Republic b-day postcard. I popped in there on Sunday and couldn't find anything. Today, I walked out of there with two perfumes and didn't pay a cent for them! Hooray!

banana republic perfume

And the best part of my shopping trip was that the Apple store had my printer in stock! It took a little while to get it added onto my old order, but I walked out of there with it and was so happy I don't have to go back to get it. It will only cost about $5 after the rebate. Score! We finally have a scanner and a wireless printer! They seem to be including these printers with any new purchase whether you are a student or not.

HP Deskjet 3054

The funniest part about the Apple trip was the funky guy I worked with had me raise my right hand and pledge to buy Apple care within the next year. Not sure I will, but it was pretty funny. He also told me that I seemed so laid back, unlike other women. Maybe he was having a bad week with his wife or girlfriend.

Once home, I made myself lunch--a whole wheat tortilla shell with provolone cheese, tofu, spinach, and tomatoes. I also had some strawberries and watermelon juice on the side.

birthday lunch

I spoke to a few friends and family in the afternoon and it was so sweet of them to call and wish me a happy birthday!

Then the UPS man came and SPREAD THE LOVE today by delivering a package from Love Grown granola! Hooray! What a great birthday surprise. :)

spread the love

Love Grown granola

I am most excited to try it for breakfast tomorrow. It'll just be hard to decide which flavor to open first.

Love Grown granola box


Love Grown granola

I went to the gym and when the guy behind the counter scanned it in, he said, "Happy Birthday!" and then he went over to the speakers to turn up the music. Their computer automatically plays "they say it's your birthday" when a guest with a b-day comes in on that day. I started dancing around at the front desk and it was fun. Then the guy just kept chatting to me--he was nice.

After not getting much cardio in during belly dancing last night, I was happy to hop on the elliptical for 35 minutes and then to lift some machine and free weights.

Once I was home and showered, we went to Red Robin for dinner. Yet another freebie to use up--a gourmet burger or chicken sandwich is free during your birthday month when you sign up for their rewards card. We don't go to Red Robin that often, but we were impressed with our meals tonight.

Craig with dinner

Birthday dinner at Red Robin

We both eyed up the Chicken Bruschetta sandwich and were glad we went with it. The flavors all blended together deliciously! When I ordered, I pronounced bruschetta the Italian way and it confused our waitress. She thought I wanted a certain salad, so I corrected her and pointed to the sandwich we wanted and then she said bruschetta the American way and it all made sense to her.

Red Robin Chicken Bruschetta sandwich

And I'll end with the funny picture Craig sent to me "from the cats."

cat birthday

31 is off to a good start! Lots of funny memories from today. Oh yeah and besides lots of people telling me I looked 21, not 31, I also got hit on during my drive to the gym. I hope I look youthful for a while and that my new eye cream helps. ;)

My 31st year and blogiversary

Today is my 31st birthday and it is also my 1st blogiversary!

I am off of work for the next six days, which makes me so happy.

I enjoyed some coffee and my favorite Chobani yogurt flavor, pomegranate, for breakfast this morning.

coffee and pomegranate chobani

I almost forgot to open my pile of birthday cards that have been arriving in the mail. I like to save them all until my actual birthday.

Birthday cards

This one from my friend Loni is perfect for me!

Birthday Yoga card

Especially because I just started meditating this year.

The Birthday Wish meditation

birthday card inside

I better get ready to head out of the house! I am getting a half hour massage and then using some of my birthday coupons because a bunch of them expire today.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Belly dancing class at the Y

I went to the Y tonight for a new class they are offering called ShimmY, which is really belly dancing.



It is free for Y members to attend before the class officially begins in mid-September and then you have to pay extra for it.

While I thought it was fun to try a new class out, I don't think belly dancing is for me. I would look at myself in the mirror and think "who is that robot!?"

This picture below is not my class, but this is kind of what we were doing. Maybe I just needed one of those things on my hips to help me move a little more smoothly?

The teacher did come around and correct us if we weren't doing a move correctly, which was nice. She came around to me twice and I needed to loosen up the way I was moving a couple of times.


-Loved the music. Someone asked the teacher what type of music it was and she said Egyptian.
-The instructor we had was good at explaining the moves and adjusting for our levels. It's just too bad that I am horrible at watching teachers do the moves when they are facing a class. Luckily, someone asked her to face the same direction as us and that helped a lot.
-I also liked that she came around and corrected us. I wish yoga teachers did that more often.


-I'm just not a great dancer, but I think the moves are still hard to understand and do if you have never done them before. It reminded me of Zumba. Despite having good instructors and watching others, if you don't do Zumba often enough, you forget some of the dance moves.
-Tonight's class was simply introductory, so we didn't really get a great workout in. I am not sure if belly dancing would make me feel like I got the best cardio workout, even if we were moving more quickly. I could be completely wrong though and shouldn't judge after the first class.

I really wish the Y would offer an Indian dancing class because I think I would be much better at that and I love Indian music.

Have you ever tried a belly dancing class? If so, what did you think?

Monday, August 29, 2011

A package, salsa, and a fabulous new book to read!

Happy Monday evening to you!

I had a good day, except for battling back to school traffic on my way into work this morning. I pass by a high school on my way and I noticed so many cars on the road in that area.

I started off my morning with some of the Seattle's Best level 5 coffee, which reminded me of Starbucks. Some people don't like that taste, but I prefer a dark, bold blend of beans.

I also had plain non-fat Chobani with fresh strawberries, hemp seeds, and the last of the Trader Joe's Vanilla Almond granola.


Lunch was a ham sandwich topped with spinach and a roma tomato from our garden. I also had a string cheese, a red pepper from our garden, and some cucumber slices. I enjoyed the pomegranate Chobani as a 4 p.m. snack right before I left work.

My drink was a Cascal soda. I have to be honest--I didn't love the crisp white flavor. I am hoping I enjoy the other ones more.


When I got home from work, I received our Kodak Gallery medium hardcover photo book in the mail!





Craig and I were both really impressed with the quality of it. I am so happy I was able to receive it as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Kodak. We'll have these memories of our honeymoon to share with others and remind us of the unbelievable trip we experienced in Europe.


The back is a picture of us pouting on our last day of our trip, in Frankfurt.


We made salsa for dinner. We have so many different types of tomatoes and hot peppers to use up.


Our favorite tortilla chips are these from Sam's Club.


It was beautiful out, so we dined outside next to our container garden.



I went to the gym and started reading Farm City while biking. I love the book so far! It is definitely well written.


The Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee is hosting a book club discussion on the book, so I want to read it and attend the event.

The author lives in Oakland, CA and talks about her experience farming in the backyard of her apartment. I lived right on the border of Oakland and Berkeley and the neighborhood she lives in sounds pretty close to the one I lived in in Berkeley.

Some of the quotes I can relate to so far are:

"This place, this ghetto of Oakland, California, brings out the best and the worst in us."

(Well for me, it brought out the worst in me to be completely honest. I did feel challenged and like I was always learning something while living in the area. But, most of the time, I felt pretty depressed living in that area).

She talks about living in the Oakland hills with a pack of straight-edge vegan anarchists and says the following: "At first I thought it was cute that anarchists had rules. No alcohol. No dairy products. No meat. Then the paradox started to chafe."

(Kind of reminded me of the apartment I lived in in Berkeley with 5 or 6 housemates at a time. This Midwestern girl did not like it when my one housemate and classmate told me that drinking cow's milk was evil and I should start drinking soy. I did try soy out, but it seemed to upset my stomach and now I much prefer almond milk to soy.)

I can't wait to read more of this book and go to the discussion in September.

Time to sign off of this addictive new computer and go read!

Cafe Hollander Brunch

On Sunday, Craig and I met my parents for brunch at Cafe Hollander in the Tosa Village to celebrate my upcoming 31st birthday. This is the real reason I dressed up yesterday. I didn't dress up to go buy my new Mac, we just planned on going right to the mall after we were done with brunch.

I seem to keep wanting to hang out in the Wauwatosa village this summer. I get a nostalgic feeling from it since I grew up in Tosa until I was almost 9 years old.

Isn't it cute though?

The top of the cream city brick building pictured above has Pabst Milwaukee on it, so we were wondering the history of the structure. It now houses Bartolotta restaurant.

I wanted something more breakfast than lunch like, so I went with a Benulux omelet which had gruyere cheese, tomatoes, & mushrooms. I also had some potatoes and toast on the side.

Craig had a breakfast a burger with an egg on top.

Dad had a short stack of pancakes.

Mom had an Avocado Chicken Wrap that she enjoyed.

Naturally, I had to "show" my mom yo mama, right up the street. My dad was kind of shocked that we would be getting frozen yogurt after just having a big meal. There is always room in my tummy for treats, especially fro yo.

I enjoyed cake batter (third time now having that flavor) and red velvet swirled with some mochi on top.

We enjoyed our brunch at Cafe Hollander and would recommend the restaurant as a nice place to grab a drink inside or outside or to have a nice meal outdoors.