Monday, July 30, 2007

tomato, tomahto

I am not usually a huge tomato soup fan. In fact, I'm not even that big a fan of canned soup in general. I find that after a few bites it starts to taste funny and then I stop eating it. However, after the glowing review on Hungry Girl (one of my favorite food websites), I bought a can of the Amy's Kitchen Chunky Tomato Bisque with the thought that it can't hurt to try it. O. M. G. This is by far, the best canned soup I have eaten! After being so bowled over with the bisque, I tried the Light Tomato Cream Soup and find it equally as delish. In order to sort of keep the sodium in check, I have been buying the lower sodium versions and I can tell you that they still have the same great flavor and texture as the full salt versions --- but only half the salt. If you haven't given her soups a chance go out and buy some NOW! I have yet to find them in a regular grocery store, but good ol' Whole Foods carries her entire line.

Wait, what are you still doing reading this post? Go out and buy some soup already!

Too much fun stuff!

The last 4 days have just been insanely busy. Fun, but busy. And now for the *somewhat* abbreviated recap:

Thursday

  • Went to Campanile for dinner for the famous "Grilled Cheese Night". They basically have a special menu they roll out each Thursday night which includes special appetizers and a whole list of fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. Mmmmm. We started off with the mini-mozarella balls and tuna sashimi plate for an appetizer. Both were stellar. I then had their classic grilled cheese with onions and whole grain mustard while Jim noshed on the lamb and goat cheese grilled sandwich. He was less than enamored with his selection, but we both thought mine was excellent! Between that and the plate of lightly seasoned fries they bring to the table to accompany the sandwiches, we were in heaven. If you haven't gone yet, I highly recommend checking it out.

Friday

  • I had the day off and yet, it definitely wasn't a day to just relax. We were having our friends Dubber and Jess over for dinner that night, which meant I was up early cleaning and straightening the apartment. After taking an early afternoon step class it was off to Cost Plus for wine, Mr. Marcel for cheese & crackers and Bristol Farms for the ingredients for dinner/dessert. The menu: Cheese platter w/ fruit for an appetizer, Filet mignon w/ cheese & onion mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus for dinner and banana splits for dessert. Thankfully, everything came out well (sadly, I was so busy doing 20 things at once in the kitchen, I didn't have time to take any pics. booo.) and we had a great time eating, talking and playing wii.
  • Great side note: While playing wii tennis, Dubber was getting very into the game and at one point actually smacked Jess across the face with the controller. Ooops! Once we figured out she was okay, we were all cracking up. Dubber and Jess switched places so that she would be out of the line of fire. This was all good until "Smack!". His backswing connected with my elbow. Double oops. Needless to say, we stopped playing tennis.

Saturday

  • In the morning I got together with a few special gals to help put together cookie favors for Trish's wedding that night. It took us hardly any time to put 100 favors together and then we dispersed to take the rest of the afternoon off and get ready for the evening festivities.

  • On my way home I swung by Bloomingdale's and scored a super cute Juicy Couture swimsuit coverup for our trip to HI. I've wanted one of these for awhile, but couldn't justify paying full price for it. However, 40% off the already marked down price suited me just fine TYVM!
  • That night we attended Trish and Spyro's wedding! It was so beautiful and they both were glowing the whole night. WeeMo took a ton of pics and posted them on her blog here. Congratulations you two! Jim and I wish you all the best now and for many years to come :-)

Sunday

  • After finally waking up at like 10am, we had a quick bite at home and then hit the road for more house-hunting. We primarily focused on the Pasadena area, but still didn't find anything we loved. We are really at this point trying to figure out exactly how far outside of downtown LA we are willing to look in order to find something in our price range that is at least a little larger than a shoebox. We have been just looking at condos and townhomes, but are now starting to consider expanding our search area in order to maybe be able to find a single family home. I know this would make both of our moms thrilled, but we're still trying to figure out what we need and what our real budget is. House-hunting is no fun. :-(

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Motivation

As I've already mentioned, Jim and I are off to Hawaii for 12 days at the beginning of September to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. I am beyond excited about this trip as it is turning into a very luxe vacation on a beer budget (thank you frequent flier miles, credit care points and retirement association benefits!) I think in some ways it may even wind up being more lush and relaxing than our honeymoon which is pretty exciting! But, I want to look good. Like hot sexy wife good.

It is pretty amazing how the anticpation of this trip has totally re-energized my motivation for working out and eating healthy. Some may say I'm a woman obsessed right now. That may be true, but I figure you've got to strike while the iron is hot, right? The goal was to lose 8 lbs in 8 weeks and so far, my body is cooperating quite nicely. I've been really good about eating healthy during the week, which has offset my dips into yummy (re: non-healthy) foods on the weekend. And I'm hitting the gym/dance class with renewed vigor. My goal on SparkPeople has been to burn at least 1500 calories a week ... though lately it's been more like 2000+.

The side effect of all this eating well and working out is that I am feeling really good about myself lately. Jim has been very supportive of the fact that there are several nights during the week that I run off before he's home to catch a dance class or am there just long enough to say hi, hand him dinner and then jet to the gym. I figure in the end, it's all worth it though; I will be not only healthier, but pumped that I'm at my goal weight and he will get a confident and sexy wife on the trip. hehehe! Kind of like the icing on the cake for this already awesome vacation!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The end of an era


Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several weeks, then you know the 7th and final Harry Potter book was released Saturday the 21st at midnight. No, I did not wait hours in line for the book and the accompanying release party, but I did pre-order it and have been anxiously anticipating its arrival for several weeks. I am a huge Harry Potter fan though not quite as obsessed many of the hard-core fans.

When I got the book on Saturday I couldn't wait to start reading it, but this time around it is bittersweet. I started reading the series shortly before the 2000 summer release of Book 4. I was hooked after the first few pages of Book 1 and then quickly tore through Books 2 and 3 (I mean, they are children books afterall). That summer, I was living with my 2 best friends, Kristin and Jamie, in a summer sublet and all 3 of us had bought copies of Book 4 and we started devouring them as soon as they arrived. We were all so entranced that poor Jamie almost bombed a summer school final b/c she couldn't put the book down long enough to study! But with the conclusion of each book there has been the promise of another chapter of the story yet to come. This time, however, after reading the last page it is finally The End.

I'm only about half way through the book at this point in part b/c I've been super busy this weekend, but also because there is a part of me that wants to drag it out as long as possible. I can't wait to see how the main story and the sub-plots are tied up and yet, I also am not quite ready for it to end. Most of my co-workers have already finished it and are ready to rehash it with me as soon as I'm done, but that won't be for at least another few days at the rate I'm going. And I'm kind of happy about that.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Saturday

We got a fairly early start after the Universal Citywalk debacle the night before and headed to John O'Groats for some grub. (Carmel Pecan french toast is heaven on a plate, btw) I had somehow convinced the hubs that making a trip out to the Camarillo outlets was a good Saturday afternoon activity so after breakfast we hit the road... right at the sun was hitting its peak. Um, did I mention we were in a convertible with the top down? Thankfully, 3 applications of 45spf sunblock kept me from turning a lovely shade of lobster red, however, since Jim shunned the sunscreen, he wound up very burned. Bad Jimmy. I should note that I usually love this group of outlets, but I specifically wanted to see what the new AG Jeans outlet was like. Not only was it very disappointing, but we didn't find anything at any of the stores there. Poo!

After making the trek back, we ran over to the Grove to catch the late afternoon showing of new Harry Potter flick. We both enjoyed it and thought that it fit well in the series. Since the Post Office was lame and didn't deliver my new HP book (so mad!), we stopped at Barnes and Noble to let me buy a copy with the intention of returning my pre-ordered copy next week. It was all I could do to keep from reading it as we walked over to dinner at Mr. Marcel.

Dinner was yummy as always, but for some reason the wine hit us hard! (Probably too much sun combined with too little water) On our walk back home we decided to stop at Tommy Bahama to "get in the mood for Hawaii" and thought it was a good idea to smell every candle on display to figure out which one made the store smell so good. We must have looked like bumbling fools running around smelling everything and couldn't help but laugh at ourselves the whole time. Never did figure out what it was either, though we're guessing it's the combination of scents that gives the store that lovely tropical smell.

Sunday

After a lazy morning at home, we decided to bite the bullet and start doing a little house-hunting. Our goal is to be in something by the fall, so we sort of need to figure out where we want to live. Since we cannot afford our current location, it was off to look for new neighborhoods that would keep us close to downtown while still feeling safe and pretty. Oh, and we don't want to pay an arm and a leg. We didn't find anything we loved, but we also felt better about what is out there than when we were looking this time last year. It was a loooong day, but we both feel like there is definitely something out there for us. It is just finding it is the hard part.

The night concluded with more Wii golf for Jim and HP book for moi. Neither of us got much sleep... Ha!

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's official, we're old.

Friday night, end of a long week and time to relax and get ready for the weekend. Great. Dinner and a movie (the new Harry Potter film in particular) sounded fun especially seeing as how the last time we saw a movie in a theater was when the last Harry Potter movie was out. Um, yeah, that was in 2005. Wow. Anywho, after perusing the movie guides, the AMC at Universal City had the largest selection of times so off we went.

Universal City Walk has recently been revamped and is now supposed to be bigger and better than it was prior to the "remodel". We always enjoyed hanging out there a few years back when we were still dating so we were looking forward to another fun night. We get there, park, go in and it feels much the same save for one small difference... the noise. It. Is. Loud. Like really loud. And crowded. Well, this should be fun?

We decided to eat at Hard Rock as in the past we've always had pretty good food there so we grabbed a pager and waited for them to call our table. In the mean time, Richard Blade was hosting the entertainment on the stage in the middle of citywalk so we settled in to watch for a bit. A contest was just beginning that entailed a group of pre-teen and teen-age girls on stage who were supposed to take turns dancing when a random song was played. At the end, the audience would choose their favorite by way of clapping and that girl would be the winner. Of what, I'm not sure. Sounds innocent enough, right? That is until they started dancing... like in Jim's words "video girls". We just stood there with our mouths hanging agape. And the hooting and hollering that the audience was doing was even more appalling! Keep in mind, these girls are only 13-15 years old and are dancing like go-go dancers on a stage in the middle of city walk. Who thought this was a good idea? After a minute or so, we actually had to walk away because we felt so disgusted with what was going on.

Our pager finally went off and we were seated outside on the patio as requested. We quickly ordered drinks (margaritas all around) and our meals (fajitas for me, a burger and fries for Jim). When they came out, however, we were sorely disappointed. The margaritas were just off and our meals were meh at best. Granted, I was beyond starving so I still scarfed my fajitas down without much complaint, but it was still nowhere near as good as we were hoping it would be.

After dinner we realized we were a little too late for the 10:15pm show and just didn't feel like waiting around for the 11pm one, so we took a quick stroll down citywalk before heading back to the car. Again, it all pretty much looked the same to us and with the crowds and the pulsing music and noise, it just wasn't as much fun as we remembered. On our way back to the car, we looked at each other and said "We're just getting too old". And sadly, neither of us have hit the 30 mark yet either.


OT: As I write this Jim is playing a round of 18 on the Wii. Didn't I tell you he is obsessed?

Bad bad girl

That is me. I said I was going to be better about blogging and then ... nothin'. But, I swear I have a good excuse, wanna hear? I got pretty sick in the middle of June, was knocked flat on my back and then it took me a while to get sorted out again. Granted, I've been "sorted out" for a few weeks now, but that was what initially derailed me. Boooo!

In the month that I've been away, a lot has happened though (and much of it wedding related). The highlights are:

  • Went wedding dress shopping with my best friend Kristin's little sister Lindsey. I was completely honored to have even been asked along --- the total group included Lindsey, Kristin and her future sister-in-law --- and we had a great time hitting up several bridal salons in Orange County and having her try on all sorts of dresses. She may have even found "The One"!
  • My other best friend, Jamie, got engaged!!! She has been with her boyfriend Nate for forever and I am so excited that they will be making it all official sometime next year. Congratulations again you two... and now let the wedding planning madness begin ;-)
  • My inlaws celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They have got to be one of the cutest, most loving couples I know and I am so happy to be able to consider them family. They celebrated with a trip to Las Vegas and stayed in the Paris hotel and even upgraded to a room with a view of the Bellagio fountains. In the words of my mother-in-law "So. Worth. It." All of us kids pitched in and bought them a GC to Charlie Palmer Steakhouse at the Four Seasons. They said that they had a lovely posh time, which is what we were all hoping. I only hope that Jim and I are still that much in like and love with one another 30 years from now.
  • Met up with Kristin in OC for a full day of shopping and talking and eating and just playing catch up with each other. As always, we ate too much, laughed a lot and had a great time.
  • Attended a hilarious bachelorette party for two of the SFAM girls that are getting married later this summer. Started off with dinner at Loggia and then headed to Hollywood Men for after-dinner entertainment. Um, can I just say that the choreographed dancing (and I use those words loosely) was just comedy. I seriously was in stitches from laughing so hard. But, the bachelorettes had a great time and were treated to quite a bit of eye candy.
  • Attended a baby shower for my friend Deb. The shower was held at a beautiful house in Toluca Lake with the most gorgeous backyard pool I've ever seen. I didn't have the courage to actually go in, mind you --- the whole idea of being in a bikini in front of a bunch of strangers didn't so much appeal to me --- but a lot of folks sure did. The story behind Deb's pregnancy is hilarious or frightening (depending on who you ask), but too long to go into detail here. Let's just say I'm very excited for her and her little girl is very lucky to have such a cool mom and dad.
  • We got a Wii. Jim is obsessed with the Tiger golf game and I am now greeted with him doing full on golf swings in our living room when I come back from the gym. Hey, I guess you can consider it a workout, right?
  • Hubs and I decided on taking a trip for our 2 year anniversary so we are off to Kauai and Maui for 12 days in September. I am beyond excited, but am also now working out like a woman possessed to try and make sure I am more than bikini-ready come September. The gym and I are serious besties for the next 6 weeks.

Well, I guess that pretty much sums it up. I really am going to be better now that I am feeling normal again and am back on my regular schedule. No really, I am!