Sunday, October 30, 2011

Food for Thought

So, this month we have gone out to eat quite a bit. I know, so what is new, right? But I thought I would bring you up-to-date on the new restaurants we visited. (Yes, we went to the Deli several times, but that doesn't count as a 'new' restaurant; yes, the food was great at the Deli, as usual). Anyway, we had this dining card to use, which gave you a buy one meal, get one meal free. So we used it three times in the past two weeks, mainly because the card is going to expire on November 1.

The first dining card restaurant we visited was J & G Steakhouse at the Phoenician. We were on the fifth floor of the resort, seated next to the window, with a beautiful view of Phoenix and the sunset. We got to watch planes landing at the airport, which was rather pretty at night. But the best part was the food. Sensational! If you get the chance, do try this restaurant. I know it seems like it would be just another steakhouse, among many, but it really isn't. Gary started the meal with chilled lobster, served with a lemon aioli; I started with a steamed shrimp salad, served with avocado and mushroom champagne vinaigrette. OMG, OMG, OMG. I think I could have made a meal of that salad if it had been larger. It was that good! We then both had steak--hey, it's a steakhouse! The filet is so thick, tender, juicy, oh just so delicious! It was served with four different sauces, all of which were wonderful; but I think my favorite was the black pepper condiment. Oh, my, so tasty! We had side dishes of asparagus and potato gratin; the asparagus was very good, but the potatoes were not to be missed! Really. We were so full that we finished the meal with a light sorbet. Stuffed we were when we left.

The second dining card restaurant we visited was Wright's at the Biltmore. We went with friends, John and Carol, and had a very fun evening. The food there was also wonderful. Gary and I both started our meal with the lobster bisque, served in a puff pastry--very yummy! For main courses Gary had the scallops, which he loved; and I had the filet (with mushrooms and vegetables), which was really superb! My brain told me at the beginning of the meal that I could eat a chocolate souffle at the end of the meal. Well, not so much. I was so danged full that I could only manage to eat about half of my dessert. Unheard of! Sacrilege! And it was sooooo good! :^) I also had a wonderful laugh at the end of the evening. Carol and I stopped to powder our noses (yeah, right), and when we came out Carol asked the guys if they were looking for us. Quick as a whip, John said, no, they were waiting for someone much younger. Now, it may not sound funny to you, but it tickled my funny bone something fierce. Probably because it seemed so un-John-like. I laughed. A lot. It was a mighty good thing I "powdered my nose" first, or I could have had a serious accident! I laughed until I cried. I must have made quite the exit from the resort. Oh, well, it's not like I'll be going back there again anytime soon. They aren't on this next year's dining card! LOL!

We visited T. Cook's at the Royal Palms just last night. I've got to say, it was my least favorite of the three on the dining card. We started with soup--Gary had lobster bisque again, and I had the evening's fall special of carrot and ginger. Both soups were wonderful. Then I ordered the lobster entree, and it left something to be desired--like tenderness and true lobster flavor. Gary had lamb and thought it was good. But neither of us was blown away. We finished the meal with hand-rolled truffles, which were my favorite part of the meal. They were excellent!

Not on our dining card, (and much more casual), but a great place to go is The Herb Box at Southbridge. We met our dining club for the monthly get-together and had such a great time! We laughed so much (at very inappropriate dinner conversation), that the people at the next table asked to be moved--to the patio outside, no less. They wanted to get as FAR away from our group as possible. But our waiters just laughed and said that our group was fun for them. So, what the heck. The food was really good--we had fried stuffed olives for an appetizer. Never tried those before, but will have them again. Tasty! Then I had the jalapeno-marinated chicken entree, which was wonderful! Tender, juicy and flavorful. Gary had butternut-squash enchiladas, which he really enjoyed. We finished with the apple-topped bread pudding, served with salted caramel sauce and salted caramel ice cream. Yup, another OMG! Gary said it's the best bread pudding he's ever had. If you try the Herb Box, be sure to try this dessert. It will make your day! :^)

I enjoyed the Herb Box dinner so much that I went back there for lunch with my sister, Merrilyn! Hi, Seestor! I had the day's lunch special of blackened fish tacos--fabulous. She had a chicken wrap, which she liked, although I think I enjoyed my lunch more than she did. Then we shared the bread pudding, and she said it's the best she's ever had, too! Soooo good.

Well, that's enough food talk for now. I have a card to post for the CMC Bookendz Book Club. The book for October is The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue. I loved this book. I read it twice in one month; mostly so I could figure out what kind of card to make for it, but also to refresh my memory for our book discussion chat. It was such a unique story--I highly recommend it for reading.

My card recipe:  Inkadinkado Friendship Heart Stamp, Stampin' Up Pursuit of Happiness Stamp,  Stampin' Up Hello Doily Stamp, Stampin' Up CS, Stampin' Up First Edition DSP, Stampin' Up Ink, My Favorite Things High Tea Party Doily Die, Marianne Designs leaf die, Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels 3 die, Stampin' Up brads, Prima roses, Wild Orchid rose.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For the babies

For some reason it has taken me a long time to get my mojo back. I finally sat down yesterday to work on the baby card, and it was like pulling teeth. You know, slowly rocking the teeth back and forth, while exerting extreme pressure, but this time with no anesthetic. Yes, painful would be a good word to describe what I was going through. The design just would not work its way to the surface of my brain. I futzed with it, slowly rocking it back and forth, etc. Egads, it seemed to take forever. And then I gave up for the night and started reading a new book.

Sooooo, I got back into it today and FINALLY! Some semblance of a design inched its way out of my very tired brain. I let it simmer on my desk for a while. So I could look at it with fresh eyes. Not really. That was just an excuse so I could go finish the book I started last night after I gave up on the card. It was a freakish thing, too. The book, not the card. At least I don't think the card turned out freakish. But the book certainly did. I would not recommend it to anyone, so don't even ask. The book, not the card. Again.

Okey dokey. Well,  after I finished the freakish book, I went back to my craft room and the card for the twins. And I decided that the design was OK, so I glued everything down. Certainly wasn't what I pictured to begin with, but my designs seldom are. They morph into something else by the time all is said and done. I am satisfied. Good thing, too, or I would start pulling out my new haircut.

Oh yeah, I got a new haircut on Tuesday. I was supposed to get it from my hairdresser, whom I have been to for 20+ years. Ever since she got out of beauty school (do they call it that anymore?). But I got on my computer a half hour before I was supposed to leave for my appointment, and managed to zone out while working on my fantasy football leagues. The next time I looked at the clock, it was 20 minutes after I should have left the house. OMG! I've never gotten out of the house so fast! I called my hairdresser to let her know I was late, but she didn't answer her phone. So I left a message explaining that I was 20 minutes late, but I was on my way. And if she couldn't see me after all to please call.

Well, unfortunately she did call, but not until I was almost all the way there. And she could not see me. I got off the freeway and headed for home. I was so bummed out, because I wanted to get a new hairstyle in the worst way.  And suddenly it hit me--I could try Toni and Guy at the San Tan Mall. It was on the way home. I called and got an appointment right away. I showed the new hair stylist a photo, and she did a good job replicating the hairstyle in it. Then it dawned on me how close this salon is to my home. And how far away my other hairdresser is. And I decided to make the change to save me time and gas. I called my "old" stylist and told her of my decision, and she understood completely; she thanked me for letting her know. Apparently not all people notify their hairdressers if they are making a change. Anyway, due to the distance after we moved, I had already changed my dentist and my doctor. Now that I have changed my hair expert, my ties to the old neighborhood are finally cut. But I digress.

Back to our regular programming:  here is the baby card recipe:

Baby Bundle Stamps by Stampin' Up
Stampin' Up CS and inks
Basic Grey Lemonade patterned paper
Me and My Big Ideas rhinestones
Swirl dies by Marianne Designs
Spellbinders Labels 22, 23, and 12
Spellbinders Circle and Leaves dies
Doohickey swirl and leaf dies
Copic markers: E000, E00, E11, W1, W3, YG21, YG23, YG25, R81, R83, R85

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm baaaack!

Gosh, I haven't posted in a very long time. Mostly because I was gone to Maui with Gary for almost 3 weeks. And he didn't want me posting from Maui; he didn't want me to let the Internet know we were not at home. Security risk, and all that. I know, I know. It would have been fine, but I really didn't want him to worry while he was on vacation, so I didn't post anything to ease his mind. We have been back for 10 days; why haven't I posted in those 10 days? Well, let's see: I was exhausted, my brain was fried, I read three books, I had nothing to say, and I was just too damn lazy. There. That's it in a nutshell.

Actually, I have been too lazy to do most anything, except read and watch the TV shows we Tivo'd while we were gone. You see, I don't travel much. Not much at all. And 19 days in Maui was fabulous, but also traumatic for me. It's hard for me to be away from home, especially for that long. I am such a homebody. It's almost a sickness. Well, maybe it is a sickness. What do they call it? Agoraphobia? Or something similar. I don't know; I just know it is hard for me to go places. So, when we finally got back home, I laid low. Really low. Like, stay-at-home-and-leave-me-alone-so-I-can-recover low. That's why it seems I am so lazy. You know, I am really good at rationalizing my strange behavior, don't you think?

I need to get back to my normal life. The one where I read, watch TV--oh wait, I have been doing that! Yes, but I have not been creating anything. And I do miss that. And I have a card to make for our neighbors, who had twin girls the day we got back from Maui. The babies were premature, and only one is at home now. Hopefully, the other baby will get strong enough to come home soon. So I need to get busy and make a card. I have been avoiding that--primarily because I am still recovering from our trip. But also because I don't have any stamps that say congratulations on your babies. Plural. I just have the "baby" stamps; and I certainly don't want to use those. So I am trying to figure out a nice card that will show two babies, not just one. And I just about have that design in my head, so I will soon transfer it to paper.

Oh, and last weekend, while I was still recovering on the couch, Gary and daughter Angela went to Minnesota for a Vikings/Cardinals game, (which was coyote-ugly for the Cardinals). I forgot my point about their trip for a moment. Oh yeah, they went to the Mall of America for the first time. It really is quite something to see. And they went to an Archiver's store there, you know, for paper-crafting stuff. And Gary bought me three stamps; well, actually two stamps and one set of three stamps. Which was really sweet. And my point here is that I now know what I am using for our Christmas cards this year, because one of the stamps he bought me is a cute snowman. (Gary has a thing for snowmen, and no, I don't think that is kinky). So a snowman-Christmas-card this year it will be.

I will probably post the baby card when I finish it. I don't know if I should post the Christmas card when I get it designed. After all, then my family will know exactly what they are getting before I send it. So there would be no need to send it to them, thus saving me hours of work and a bit of money. Hey, that's actually a great idea! I'll just post it and then email it to them. Ha! Oh,  relax, I'm just kidding. Sorta.

Anyway, it's good to be back, although I miss Maui. It is so beautiful over there, and the snorkeling in Ka'anapali is fabulous. It's so good we are going back next spring. Of course, I can' t say when because Gary would worry about the security thing again. Yes, it's difficult to be him. And, I will again go through my trauma, especially when we come home. It's also difficult to be me.  ;^)

Here's wishing everyone everywhere a wonderful rest of the week!