Friday, January 30, 2009

Cheap Eats

I have to admit that I really enjoy going out and trying new restaurants. In fact, we treated my FIL and SMIL to a nice meal at 4th and Swift the other weekend (NOT cheap eats), partly to celebrate FIL's birthday, but also partly because I have been dying to try their food. One of our friends is the Chef de Cuisine there, plus the reviews have been great. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. If I had the money, I'd be there for dinner every night. Some of our favorites that we tried were the brussel sprouts salad (never ate much of these, but I could definitely eat these again!), Three Little Pigs (pork tenderloin, homemade pork sausage, and pork belly with mac and cheese - need I say more?), and the seafood risotto. DH also had probably the best, non-Chinese duck that I have ever tasted.

That being said, with the economic crunch and all, I've been trying to buckle down on my food spending a little. I'm a little concerned with the way the building market is going, and worried that one of us could potentially lose our job, therefore I'm trying to save now just in case. It's so easy to go out and grab something for lunch or dinner during the work week, since there's not much time for cooking. So, I've been trying to have PB&Js for lunch during the week, stretching leftovers, trying to eat down the freezer. I've always been a fan of tofu, so I still try to stick with my "JimmyChow" diet (even though my former co-worker is now retired) - meat only one meal per day. I've added a little exception that bacon for breakfast does not count. I was reading CNN today and ran across this interesting blog: Poor Girl Eats Well. Some of her dishes look really good! And she's a Trader Joe's fan. I'm going to have to check out some of her recipes!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox!

Happy Chinese New Year to everybody - wishing you health, wealth, and happiness in the coming year! We had a great time meeting friends for a Chinese New Year Dim Sum gathering at Royal China yesterday. I was pleased to be able to hand out "hong bao," or red envelopes with lucky money, to our friends' recent additions. This is Aidan eyeing his new found wealth with his mom, Susan - isn't he a cutie? Hope to enjoy a few more Asian food outings this week with various friends. Also, my next ARE is next Tuesday, so I'll be studying a bunch this week for that. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

It's a bird, it's a cat, it's a birdie the cat pillow!

Thanks to my friend Val who is an avid quilter, I have recently been exposed to the wonderful world of Amy Butler. She is a fabric designer and creates a lot of neat fabric lines especially for quilting. I found an easy and cute free pattern, Birdie the Cat Pillow, off her website and decided to try making one of these for Val's birthday present, since we both wanted to make one. Here he is and the birthday card that I also made:

I used the same flannel fabric front and back, with felt for the face. I modified the face a little by adding a little kitty nose and changing the straight lipped-expression to a smiling one. Isn't it precious? Now I need to make myself one! Speaking of cats, here's a pic of Thoth napping yesterday - ah, the life of a cat...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here's looking at you!

I was fortunate to attend a really nice luncheon today. One of my fellow female co-workers, Joanne, received a "Women on the Way" award from Atlanta Woman Magazine, and was able to invite a table of guests. It was in the Oceans Ballrooom at the Georgia Aquarium, with windows into both the whale sharks tank and the Beluga whales tank. I swear this one Beluga was posing just for me - here's lookin' at you, kid!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Beautiful Sunset and Extreme Home Makeover

In case anyone missed it today, here was the sunset. We've had so much rain and cloudy skies in Atlanta these last few weeks, it was sort of nice to have to put my sunglasses on today. Also, there's a beautiful full-ish moon out tonight too - sorry I don't have a photo.

We're in full "Operation Demo" in our downstairs room. After all the rain we got last weekend, we had another wave of water that came through from the exterior wall/crawl space behind our laundry closet. We've probably got some foundation drain/french drain issues, or some issue with the retaining wall outside. Anyone know of any good exterior waterproofing/excavation companies? (Already been through the Aqua-Guard quote, but would rather have an exterior solution rather than an interior one.) DH cleaned just about everything out from the room over the weekend (two heavy things that the two of us together can't lift remaining), plastic-wrapped the opening from the kitchen to the downstairs, plastic-wrapped the air ducts. Tomorrow, we'll start removing some drywall. And oh yeah, did I mention my in-laws will be visiting this weekend? Fun, fun...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test

I found this awhile back - started it as a draft and forgot to post it! I guess my results are quite telling - good thing I am doing what I am doing!


Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...


"This area has to do with vision and spatial judgment. People with strong visual-spatial intelligence are typically very good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects. They have a strong visual memory and are often artistically inclined. Those with visual-spatial intelligence also generally have a very good sense of direction and may also have very good hand-eye coordination, although this is normally seen as a characteristic of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include artists, engineers, and architects." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test

Monday, January 5, 2009

Unexpected extravagance

DH and I, along with some of his side of the family, decided to keep Christmas pretty small this year. My family has never been one for extreme extravagance on birthdays, holidays, etc., but tend to give things that are needed, practical, and of good quality (quality over quantity, right?). I never had a problem asking for a good drill or sewing machine for Christmas from my parents, but that would be a big gift to me. (I do agree that SOs should not give vacuum cleaners and blenders for Christmas unless it is specifically *asked* for, i.e. "I want a pink Cuisinart Artisan Food Processor" - that is OK.) DH and I exchanged two small gifts each this year, and that was fine with me.

This past weekend, we took a little trip up to the North Georgia Premium Outlets (which I highly recommend) over the weekend, partially hoping to hit some after-Christmas sales, partially to catch a movie with friends that live up that way. I had heard a lot of good things (and good prices) about the Coach outlet store, which I had never been into before. If you know me, the trendy Coach bags you see in department stores are not really my thing, nor am I the type of person to spend that kind of money. Quality, but practical - that's me. Before going into the store, just to check it out, I told DH that *IF* I were ever to buy myself a Coach bag, it would be small, hobo-style, classic, one-strap, solid-colored (those who know me would probably guess the color correctly), with none of that stamped Coach logo stuff on it. Also, either a zip top or flap over the top so things wouldn't fall out. And of course, it would have to be something I could see myself using forever and a great price. (For me, a purse that I found on clearance for about $20 is a great deal.) Well, we step into the store, and I could immediately walk past most of the displays at first glance - not interested, too much pattern, awful (for me) color, enormous. Upon walking in to the back corner of the store where the clearance section is located, a very nice saleslady was quick to point out that all of the clearance items were an additional 50% off the marked price. This quickly piqued my interest (who doesn't like a 50%+ off sale?), and I quickly scanned the upper shelves that I could see, as the lower shelves were swarming with women who had that driven look in their eyes that was a mix of sensory overload, eye-candy bewonderment, and bargain-hunting frenzy. Top center shelf, nestled between two enormous tote bags, I spotted it. A little black leather hobo, single strap, single flap, simple contrasting white stitching, and silver buckle. Too good to be true, I thought. Once I was able to squeeze my way through the front line and reach up to grab it, I did a thorough inspection. The stitching is immaculate, the leather looks perfect, the whole thing felt really well-made. Now, the price...I flip the tag open - MSRP $218, Factory $199, red-marked $129.99, 50% off. For $65, I was sold. Plus, after my last ARE test just one week ago, I went out for retail therapy right afterwards to work off some lingering nervous energy, and didn't buy a SINGLE thing. I confirmed the discount with the aforementioned saleslady, and asked if there were other onces like it elsewhere in the store. "No," she said, "that's my last one - that's what we call a 'onesie' - a one-time deal." Now to convince DH... I found him floating around the store, muttering mostly about how he didn't like most of the bags and the ridiculous prices (a wristlet for $89??). I showed my find to him and said, "What do you think?" DH approved. If this is the only Coach bag I ever own, I am happy. I was very pleased with my find, and thought I got a great deal considering the quality of the bag. Yay, and happy late Christmas to me! I've only been using it for 2 days and I'm in love with it. It was worth every cent. I'm even considering giving it a name - suggestions welcome!

What Font Are You?

"You are Times New Roman.
Some call you timeless - others call you a snob. Either way, you're a class act all around. Just don't take yourself too seriously."
Not sure if I agree with the results of this one. Maybe I'll retake it when I am in a different mood. Another silly quiz to pass some time away - enjoy!
What Font Are You?