License Pictures, B-Day Dinner, Purses

Had a nice day yesterday … GG and I went to renew our drivers licenses. Somehow we ended up on the same renewal year schedule! And because our birthdays are a month apart, we can go at the same time. I actually love my new picture, it turned out so nice! I think because I smiled… last time I didn’t smile, though my hair looked pretty cool. GG hates his photo though. I think he looks fine! But he says he looks like a little Asian boy, haha!

I’m still pretty stuffed from dinner last night. My mom and I took my grandmother out for her birthday. She’d wanted to go to Red Lobster and I was like, “Seriously Grandmom? You’re not paying, you’re not driving, we can drop you off at the door so you don’t even have to worry about how far it is from the parking lot – and you pick Red Lobster?” So we came up with a list of nice places to go, and she ended up choosing Marly’s. I was worried she and my mom wouldn’t like it, but actually everyone loved their dinners! And we ended up eating a lot – plus dessert! I had the hanger steak with corn and edamame risotto that I got when GG and I were there for Valentine’s Day – and I need to figure out how to make that risotto! It was so much more flavorful and creamy than when I do it at home! Afterward we walked down the block to a little gift shop, then we drove home through the park and saw tons of deer – including little babies!

Also, I ordered a purse online from Shop Suey yesterday. It was a little more than I usually spend on purses (still cheap, since most of mine come from Ross or Target!), but I justified it by figuring that if I sell 2-3 Waldo hats this season, I’ve covered the cost! (And speaking of purses, for her birthday, my mom got my grandmother this beautiful red Brighton tote. Not my style, but perfect for Gramom! And the cutest part was that she kept talking about how much her cousin would like it the next time she went to visit her – haha!)

“There’s no rules, it’s just cheese.”

I was watching an episode of Foodography about cheese, and realized that cheese is really the one type of food that I have no reservations about. I will try any type of cheese. I like hard cheese, soft cheese, sharp, mild, goat, cow, sheep, runny, herbed, blue, crumbly… Anything. I have never had a cheese I don’t like. Even if I don’t love it, I can at least eat it.

There is a place in Chicago called Bin 36 where they will just feed you cheese, like a wine tasting but of cheeses, and oh my gosh, I want to go someplace like this! Anyone know if there is anywhere in the Philly area that does anything like this? I know we have Di Bruno Brothers, but I feel bad going there, or to any cheese shop, just to taste test various cheeses. Yes, that’s what they’re there for, and I’m sure they’re happy to help people find just the right cheese, but I feel like I’m taking too much of their time or something.

…And as I write this I’m snacking on a bit of Manchego I picked up on my last supermarket trip. Mmm, salty Spanish sheep’s milk cheese…

“This ain’t the way to get the trouble started”

Thursday was GG’s actual birthday, and he seemed to be having a really hard time with the fact that he was a year older (even though I kept telling him, he was just one day older than he was on Wednesday). In an effort to really embarrass him, I showed up at GG’s office on his birthday with cupcakes to share with all his co-workers. I’d never been there before, so it was neat to see where he works, and nice to meet the people he works with. I think some of them didn’t believe I existed :o) And everyone seemed to appreciate the cupcakes.

On Saturday, GG went to work some overtime for the day while I cleaned the house and got ready for our party that night. The house was looking good, and even though we’d gone food shopping at Costco and I picked up more stuff at the supermarket that day, I was still worried we wouldn’t have enough food to serve everyone. Due to some people’s flakiness, and the casualness of Facebook RSVPs, we weren’t really sure exactly how many people would show up. Only a few people actually came at the start time (which was fine, it’s not like we had special activities planned, and I’d told people to just show up whenever). But then all of a sudden, everyone showed up! It was crazy! Suddenly the house was packed (and hot). GG and a couple friends had to go on a beer run (luckily we’re walking distance from the distributor!), and I ended up cooking three or four batches of hot hors d’oeuvres. We had a really good mix of people, and it was cool to get various facets of our friends together – one of my favorite parts about having a party! We have some of the coolest friends. Some of the conversations that were going on were just awesome. I wish we could see a lot of them more often! Anyway, GG got really drunk and everyone ended up leaving by around 11, and then I cleaned up and finally collapsed in bed by midnight.

I didn’t have any big plans for today, and didn’t have many chores to do, considering everything was pretty much cleaned up for the party, and we ended up with enough leftover food that I didn’t need to go food shopping. So I did some things around the house that I’d been putting off, and did eventually go out to the supermarket because we do need our regular staples for the week. And I had a much-needed nap.

Less Enthusiastic Reviews

Usually when I review things here they’re positive reviews because I’m happy with a product and want to share. But I figured I’d post about a couple things I was less happy with, just to keep things balanced and maybe to save you time if you were considering a purchase.

L’Oreal Go 360° Clean Deep Facial Cleanser: I’d seen these around, and was intrigued by the “scrublet,” because I’m always looking for ways to scrub and exfoliate. So the last time we were at Target, I picked the green one, which is just the basic cleanser. It smells nice. It cleans fine, doesn’t leave any film or anything. But the scrublet is disappointing. It’s not scrubby at all, it’s very soft. I’d get a better scrub by just using a regular washcloth. Oh well, it’s a good gimmick, anyway.

Alba Botanicals Coconut Cream Lip Balm: This came bundled with the first Alba sunscreen I bought, and as much as I loved the sunscreen, I am not a fan of the lip balm. It’s kind of thick, it doesn’t go on nicely. And it barely lasts a minute. I guess the only thing I like about it is that it twists up from the top of the tube instead of the bottom…

Avon Vibes Cleanser: This is a new product that isn’t out yet, so no link or picture. It’s very similar to the Neutrogena Wave – a vibrating battery-operated device that you use to wash your face with pre-soaped pads. I haven’t used the Neutrogena one, though. So, the pad attaches to a velcro-like surface on the device. Then you run it under water, and go to town on your face. I guess I thought it’d be scrubbier than it was, or shake the dirt out of my pores or something. It doesn’t really vibrate that hard, really just hard enough to be annoying. And I wish it had a timer or shut off automatically when you’re supposed to be finished, because the first time I tried it I just kept going around and around my face, wondering when I was supposed to stop. Also, it’s just a flat round surface, so it doesn’t really conform to a lot of the contours of your face. I ended up with two containers of the pads, but I don’t think I’ll be buying anymore when I run out.

Mark Relief Effort Total Comfort Body Creme: This lotion smells delicious, I’ll give it that. And I like that it’s made with fair trade ingredients. But shortly after you apply it, it starts kind of peeling off your skin, rolling up like eraser dust. It’s a little gross. It’s nice while it stays on, though!

“When it rains it snows, I wonder why…”

Wow, my first official day in my new job and I’m already getting overloaded. I love it! Except I have lots of business travel coming up and it’s kind of cutting into my personal vacation plans, but hey, we didn’t need to go on a vacation anyway. I also learned a whole new component of my job today that’s actually a lot easier than I thought. My counterpart from another group in our department (who I’ve been working with for a while anyway) is such a good teacher! He throws in all these other little tidbits that are just the sort of things I’m interested in. And I think he’s glad that I got this job – while he was showing me how this system worked, I asked a “Why can’t we do ___?” question, and he was all excited to finally have someone else who “gets it” when it comes to technology :o)

Alsoooo, we got some really good money news today. Not, like, crazy good, but reassurance that we’re on the right life-path and that we’re realistic. True blog fans might be able to guess what I’m talking about. It has to do with the V.E.T.

And finally, I got fed up with all the spam comments again and installed a new CAPTCHA plugin. I tested it out and it seems good – hopefully it’s a little more user friendly than the last one, even; I know some people had problems with that one anyway. Let me know if you have any issues.

GG’s [Early] Birthday Celebration

D pointed out that something seemed to have happened with my CAPTCHA plugin when I upgraded to WP 3.0 that prevented anyone from commenting. So I got rid of it. And now I’m getting nine million spam comments a day again. So I’ll have to find a more compatible plugin soon, but in the meantime, enjoy unhindered commenting, folks!

We had a fun day yesterday. GG’s birthday isn’t for a few more days, but we decided to celebrate on Saturday. We already had plans to go out to dinner, but then I heard about an event that was happening in the city that I thought he’d enjoy, so I just told him not to make any other daytime plans because we were taking the train into Philadelphia for a surprise activity. All week, his friends kept mentioning things to him that were happening downtown this weekend, and he kept asking me if these were the things we were doing. No, and not only that, those things sounded way cooler and I didn’t want him to be disappointed! Luckily, he did enjoy where we went, and said he would have liked going there even if there hadn’t been any special event going on.

Oh, but before we left, I have him the “present” part of his birthday present: a bottle of cologne (which I got a while ago but it’s sort of pointless now since he’s been making his own cologne, but he still liked it), and a new wedding band (which he thought he’d be getting next year on our 5th anniversary but I wanted to surprise him and give it to him early, and good thing too, because his old one fell apart days after I’d ordered this one).

So where did we go? The Reading Terminal Market, aka GG’s heaven on earth. There was an Amish Festival going on all week, culminating on Saturday with some outdoor events. I’d heard it advertised on the radio a million times. Well, the outdoor things turned out to be kind of lame – they had part of a street closed off, and they had a few pens with very frightened farm animals in them (cows, mini horses, goats, sheep, and a pig), and were giving wagon rides around the block (they had two regular horses pulling a big wagon, and two mini horses pulling a little wagon!). So it was mostly stuff for kids. We went inside and just started walking up and down all the aisles of the market, thinking about what we’d like to have for lunch. But first we had to stop and eat these fantastic cookies. Then we continued through the market and discovered the real Amish festival, which was that the whole center section of the market had been taken over by Amish crafts and foods! So for lunch GG got this huge crazy sausage sandwich and I got a Mediterranean wrap because I don’t eat sausages. We finished walking the rest of the market, then came back for homemade ice cream for dessert. We didn’t want to eat too much because we knew we had a nice dinner planned, but it’s hard to say no in a place like that!

We realized we’d just missed the next train home, so we killed an hour walking around the Gallery, which in the olden days was apparently the place to go shopping (my grandmother’s always telling me about how they’d go downtown there when they were really looking for something special), but is now mostly sneaker stores and a big KMart. Then we made our way to our train platform and… it was delayed. And delayed some more. Actually it ended up only being about 15-20 minutes late, but we’d still gotten there early, so we were sitting for a while and got very sleepy. When we got home, we got cleaned up and then took a nap! Then got dressed and went out to dinner.

We went to Seasons 52, which has been open here for a while now, but this was the first time we were able to go. I’d made a reservation – good thing, because the place was packed! Everything sounded delicious, so it was hard to choose what we wanted. GG ended up going with a chipotle shrimp appetizer, and I had a goat cheese ravioli (it was just one big ravioli – very good though!). His shrimp came with some guacamole on the side and he hates guac, but I tried a bite and told him he’d probably like it because it was really heavy on the lime and cilantro. He ate the whole little pile, just by itself! Then he had their swordfish special, and I had a delicious fillet with the most amazing roasted garlic mashed potatoes… Mmm, I’m going to try to recreate those sometime. The desserts at Seasons 52 come in these little glasses (a little taller than shot glasses?), so you can try more than one. So we each picked two: he chose pecan pie and mocha macchiato, and I had raspberry canoli and blueberry cheesecake (my favorite!)

You can see all the pictures from GG’s birthday activities on Flickr.

This morning we got up early and went to meet GG’s bagel friend, because he’s helping out with a catering delivery tomorrow, so we were invited for breakfast while GG learned what he’ll have to do. After breakfast, we came home and I just wanted to lie down for like an hour because I was still so sleepy, but somehow I fell asleep until noon! Then I went out to do food shopping, and now somehow I’ve wasted three hours at the computer when I still need to clean the house..!

A lot happened today

Wow, I can’t believe all the stuff that happened today!

  • I made peach popsicles
  • I found out about another business trip I’m going to have to take soon
  • GG and I got sandwiches for lunch
  • GG cleaned up the basement
  • Several packages we were waiting for arrived all at once (from four different places)
  • GG moved a big box of dirt out of the basement
  • Someone came to repair our window
  • Two other guys came to measure for new doors
  • I did a whole bunch of work since I was actually, you know, working from home

I don’t know, maybe it’s not really a lot, but it just happened all at once in one day, within a few hours… And there’s still more to do!

The Home of People Who Care

We’ve been very busy with the house this weekend, mostly with stuff in the laundry room/mud room/addition. This was the one part of the house we never really touched since moving in, because it was relatively new, so it deserved a little attention. On Wednesday, I learned how drywall tape works and GG replaced the tape that was coming off in a few areas in the laundry room (the problem was that 1) it wasn’t installed correctly in the first place and 2) we had some leaks [which have been corrected] and the water ran right along the drywall joints and loosened the tape further). I followed behind and filled in a few cracks and holes with spackle. On Friday night, I painted as much of the room as I could reach in a nice ecru color. (It’s Valspar Churchill Hotel Ecru, one of their historic colors – I figured it might lend some historic gravitas to the newest section of our old house.) This morning, GG and I got up early to finish painting together. He had to get the top part of the room, because even on the ladder, I can’t reach. It’s all finished now, and it looks really nice!

We went out for a late lunch (really late… like 2:00… I called it “lupper“), then went to Target so I could use a whole bunch of coupons that were about to expire. I think we now have a few years’ worth of trash bags and toothpaste. And I got a few other things that I wanted/needed (like purple nail polish, and a new water bottle [my KOR broke :o( ]). I checked out the new Poketo line, and was kind of disappointed. Most of the prints are really NMS anyway, but the quality is just really poor, everything seems really cheap. (Though the look on this bear’s face totally cracks me up. “Rar.”)

After Target, we went to Lowes to get a couple things I’ve been wanting to get. I got a good tip on how to mount a new mailbox even without the screws lining up with the ones we already have, so we got the mailbox I wanted in the first place to replace our scuzzy old one. And we got some nice plants to put in front of the house: an arbor vitae to put in the big pot next to the front steps (the bush I planted there a while back never really took), and a hanging flower to put on a hook attached to the fence on the other side of our front door (I forget the name, but the flowers are yellow and it can take direct sun, so yay). When we got home, we planted/hung our purchases, and now from the outside our house looks more like the home of people who care what their house looks like. Haha.

I’ve been so exhausted every day that I’ve been working on stuff. I’ve even started napping again! But it’s worth it. Things are improving, slowly :o)

Toothpaste, Title, TV

The other morning I noticed this was printed in red on the back of my tube of toothpaste:

For best results, squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up.

Seriously? This is what we’ve come to? We need instructions on how to work a tube of toothpaste?!

Since it’s official and it’s been announced and everything, I can now say, I accepted a new job! It’s actually very similar to my old job, and I’ll be in the same department, the main difference is that now I’m not getting laid off at the end of the year, yippee! Also, my title is no longer Associate but Manager (not that I am managing anyone). So I’m moving up in the world…

Oh, and television! I haven’t written about it lately, and was actually enjoying not having my nights monopolized by watching scheduled shows, but things are starting to come back on the air so I have to watch. Right now I’m watching Work of Art (on OnDemand, I don’t actually know when it comes on), Project Runway season 8 (90 minutes is a bit too long for my taste, but I am loving that Tim Gunn gets talking heads! Also check out Tim’s Take for episode 1: “Just wait, the crack pipe gets bigger and bigger as the season progresses.”), and of course the Duggars are back with more 19 Kids and Counting (and they took 500 pairs of pants with them to Little Rock, apparently – that’s 50 pairs per pants-wearer!).