Eat all the Foods

I had a crazy fun and exhausting weekend in DC with my love, Melissa. You may already know Melissa used to blog and that’s my chauffer. We were like strangers across a crowded interwebz that knew it was meant to be.

Before I tell you about the fun, I want to tell you about the food. Melissa asked me if I wanted to eat in (she cooks!) or go out to eat. In these economic times, I opted to save all my money for booze and dessert like the responsible adult I am and eat in.

Melissa likes to eat vegan as much as possible and I like to eat anything whatsoever, so it worked out perfectly. The first night, we had Vegan Thai Curry with chickpeas and rice.

I took five pictures of that until Melissa said, “no picture will every make that look good.” Noted. But it was delicious and I swear it took her 10 minutes to make. Girl knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

On Saturday, we stopped for cupcakes at Baked and Wired in Georgetown.

These were some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, though I still think Sweet! is the best. I’m willing to continue eating cupcakes from Baked and Wired if they want to try to change my mind. I will sacrifice myself for the greater cupcake good.

From the left, that’s lemon with raspberry filling, pumpkin, and coconut. The pumpkin was the best but the lemon came in at a close second. The coconut was good, but less sweet than the others, therefore it gets a sad, lonely, third place.

Saturday night, Melissa made vegan paninis.

So delicious. That panini has grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, spinach, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and vegan mayonnaise. It had some serious kick. My lips were saying “Hello!” by the time I was finished.

On Sunday, we went for our only meal out: brunch at Ulah (a last minute decision after our reservation at Founding Fathers was cancelled because of a power outtage). We may have had an extremely late night on Saturday, so we ordered an appetizer to get food to the table as fast as possible. We shared the smoked Gouda mac and cheese (and Melissa didn’t fight me when I wanted bacon on it. Best “vegan” ever, that girl.).

We’ll just call that appetizer the alcohol soaker-upper. I’m pretty sure I chewed it but I can’t be sure.

For brunch, I ordered my first ever eggs benedict – with smoked salmon instead of ham.

Since I don’t believe in eggs that are not scrambled or hard-boiled, this is a milestone for me. Runny eggs freak me out but I always think it looks so good when Melissa #2 gets it so I thought I’d try something new. I liked it! Cover food in enough hollandaise and I’ll eat it apparently.

I left for the airport about an hour after brunch and was still hungry somehow. (Damn you, alcohol!) So I picked up this tomato caprese panini at the airport.

It sucked, but I ate it all because some people in the world don’t get shitty paninis. I washed it down with a giant peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, which did not suck thankfully. Then I proceeded to sit on my ass the rest of the day. So it was the perfect day basically. Lots of food and lots of laziness, the way I like it.

That covers everything minus some froyo thrown in for good measure. Thanks to Melissa for being an amazing host and cooking for me all weekend. I feel all special when I get to eat food that’s not microwaved.

Love you, Melissa!

 

Challenge Nation Giveaway

I just added another race to my fall schedule.

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Challenge Nation is like Urban Dare and it’s happening in downtown Orlando next Sunday (10/27). my chauffer is my teammate and we are going to do our best not to get lost or cry in each other’s arms.

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We will look amazing during the race. Just like that.

We were provided our registrations for the promotion but we also received two extra entries. So, we decided to do a JOINT giveaway. A blog crossover, if you will. Just like that very special Buffy/Angel episode you were excited about in 1999.

One winner will win TWO entries so that you can form your own team. If you live in or near Orlando… enter below. You just need to comment on one of our blogs. (We could use some team name suggestions!) You get extra entries for tweeting about it, or liking us on FB/Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway winner will be contacted on Friday. Good luck!

Race Review: Armageddon Ambush

Armageddon Ambush is a 5k mud and color run. My friend, Daryl, had an extra registration and asked me to run it a few weeks ago. Until then, I had never heard of the race but it sounded fun from the Web site and I’m a sucker for races.

This one took place in Clermont, about an hour away from Orlando.

*Documenting that we were clean.*

This race is expensive – $80 untimed or $100 timed. (Some cities are cheaper.) Daryl bought the registrations for $30 or $40 on Living Social. Not bad. There was $10 fee to transfer the registration to my name – also not bad, but the registration wasn’t in my name when we picked up our bibs. Bib pick up was still no problem, but Daryl had changed it a week prior. You’d think for $10 bucks it would be in my name.

We just missed our noon wave, so we hopped in the 12:30 wave with no problem. I think there were about 12 obstacles. We ran though a lot of thick mud and muddy water, jumped over the littlest fire wall in the land, climbed walls and cargo net, ran through tires, made our way across swinging rings (kinda like monkey bars, but not), and ran through one lone color station. < — IMO, you can’t call yourself a mud AND color race and have only one color station

The obstacles were harder than Warrior Dash (< — that’s my race review). I had to skip four of them which hurt my Crossfit soul a little bit. I skipped the rope climb (because my forearms are not strong enough to lift this crazy body), two walls that were too high for me to jump without looking like a complete idiot to those waiting behind me, and a repelling wall at the end that I got half way up but was too tired from trying the other three failed obstacles.

This was the second to last obstacle.

It was by far the most awesome obstacle. You climb a cargo net in the back to get up and then slide down into a pool of muddy water. Only four people can climb up at once so there was a major back up. We waited 20 minutes to get on it which totally sucked. We came really close to skipping it but it just looked so fun we stuck it out. See the people standing behind it? They are all still waiting.

After the slide, there’s a mud crawl and a run through the finish line. By the time we got to the mud crawl, it looked like this.

All the ropes you crawl under were pushed into the mud. So we just walked through it. Again, this obstacle was right by all the volunteers and the main action. You think someone would fix it instead of leaving it like that. But what do I know?

There were two water stops on the course. By the time we got to the second one, the water was gone. It was only 1:00 pm at that point and waves were running until 5:30, so no one got water after us. For $80 or even $40, there should be water.

Once we crossed the finish, we received a t-shirt and a race medal, which I thought was pretty cool.

I definitely didn’t expect a medal.

I would advise against paying for a timed registration with the backup at that last obstacle (and several others). They do have specific timed waves, but I can’t see the backup not happening. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong.

There is only food and drink for purchase afterwards, so keep that in mind if you’re the hungry or thirsty type. The food looked really good, I’ll give them that, but for such an expensive race you would think you’d at least get a granola bar or a bottle of water.

I liked the race and the more challenging obstacles but it just suffered from…a lack of volunteers? I’m not sure. It wasn’t bad by any means but this race has a lot of room for improvement.

Either way, I still had fun getting dirty with a friend. :-)

Crossfit Ab Workout

I ran two races this weekend, but more on that later. First, I wanted to share the awesome ab workout I did on Friday.

Remember with the 60 repetition exercises, you are doing 30 reps on each side. It hurts me to sneeze and laugh right now, so this is a good one. Also, you probably only have to do this workout once to get those abs you’ve always wanted. #lies

Speaking of that workout, I always find myself at Crossfit the day before a race. I guess I like to punish myself more than necessary and it’s always a terrible idea. During the last quarter mile run, I hurt my lower back. My trainer did a few very painful stretches on me which helped, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run my races. I had a hard time getting up from the couch and was walking like a hunched over old lady through the next morning. Luckily it seemed to clear up enough in time for my race on Saturday. My point here is do not do as I do.

The 5-miler on Sunday went OK. My legs were tired, I didn’t feel great, and I walked about 2.5 minutes of it for a 47:43 finish time. That’s two minutes slower than last year but still better than I expected. That means Ananda is the giveaway winner with her guess of 47:39. Congrats Ananda!

More on those races in a day or two. :-) Have a good Monday everyone!

 

 

Guess My Finish Time and Win Something Mediocre

I’m running the U Can Finish 5-miler again this year. The race is Sunday.

The course is through the campus of the University of Central Florida, where I graduated from college. I loved running through campus and remembering where all my classes were last year so I’m looking forward to that again. So much so that I’m going to do the same giveaway I did last year.

Be the first to guess my correct finish time and win a $15.00 gift card to Target or Amazon.com (your choice).

The rules:

  • The first person that comes closest to guessing my finish time (without going over) wins. So if you guess the winning time but someone else also guessed that time before you, no dice.
  • Need help guessing? Feel free to look at my Races page to check out my past finish times. Or my race review from last year. < — I’m not that fast anymore.
  • Open to U.S. and Puerto Rico residents only (unless you have use for a U.S. dollar gift certificate elsewhere).
  • Comments will close sometime Saturday morning, so leave a comment with your guess before then.

I will email the winner on Monday.

Good luck! :-)

UPDATED: Comments are closed. 10/12/13, 9:30am

Relax Grill on Lake Eola (My new favorite place.)

I did a whole lot of nothing this weekend. By the time Sunday rolled around, hubs and I were dying to get out of the house so we went to lunch. We had one criteria for said lunch: it had to be outside since we couldn’t remember what daylight was like.

After staring at each other for 10 minutes with no ideas, hubs remembered this little cafe called the Relax Grill on Lake Eola that we’ve wanted to try for years but can never remember we want to go there when it’s time to think of a new restaurant (so we end up at Chilis).

It was a beautiful day.

We had to walk around the lake to get to the restaurant from the parking garage, so we inadvertently walked through the farmer’s market that goes on every weekend. I’ve never been but it was super cute. How have I missed out on this for so long? There were also tons of people out and about walking dogs, exercising, or laying on blankets chilling in the shade. When I saw all the people enjoying their day, I realized I can’t remember ever going on a picnic or spending a day in the park. That seems weird to me but maybe it’s because I’m so fidgety. In my mind I want to relax but when I try, I get bored and impatient. < — also why I hate yoga. I need someone to teach me to relax.

Anyway, here was our view from the restaurant. Nice and shady with good people watching.

The menu was American/Mediterranean, so they had a little bit of everything. I started with the Spicy Asian peel and eat shrimp and hubs ordered the loaded tater tots.

The shrimp were grilled, which I didn’t expect. They were good even though there was a bit too much sauce on them. I guess I’m more of a cocktail sauce dipping girl than a Spicy Asian girl (sounds naughty) but I just like shrimp in general so they all made their way into my belly. Hubs ate half his tots and planned to take the rest home until Hurricane Paula came through and took care of that too.

My main dish was the gyro salad platter.

I always feel bad when I eat lamb and have to apologize to my food before I eat it. They are so adorable but it is their fault for also being so delicious. The tzatziki sauce was a little bland but everything else was amazing so I didn’t mind.

Hubs ordered the chicken and shrimp plate.

He gave everything a thumbs up as well. The service was so good and there were so many things we wanted to try on the menu that we’ll have to go back soon. I didn’t drink but there were Happy Hour specials every day including $2 off all drinks when it’s raining. (?!) I’m going to need to make this place a habit because we loved it and the view is amazing. If you’re in Orlando, definitely check it out.

After lunch, we walked back around the lake and checked out all the ducks and swans that had no problem getting up in our biz.

Don’t mind me.

We walked back through the farmer’s market where a vanilla bean cupcake was whispering sweet nothings as I passed by. We like to support local business and expanding waistlines.

The frosting was amazing but the cupcake was a little dry. I still ate it all because that would just be rude to the cupcake not to.

Afterwards, we were so full we had to take a two hour nap and then only had enough energy to sit on the couch and watch Parks and Rec the rest of the night. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m all caught up (we’re almost done with season 5). I might have to find a hobby and do something useful with my life. < — just kidding, I would never do that.

The One Where I Complain

It’s been a stressful time lately. I haven’t been posting much because it would be all complaining and who wants to hear about that? You do? Oh, well ok!

Here’s a list of my current first world problems.

I quit my job.

About a year ago, I switched companies. (I no longer work with hubs. Sniff, sniff.) Basically, the contract at my old place moved to a new place and I followed the contract. I was doing exactly the same job with the same people at a different company. While there were things about the new company that I loved (like the pay and having my own office and the travel – yes, I loved the travel), there were things I didn’t love (no upward or lateral mobility, the office atmosphere, etc.) So, it was time for a change even though change is super scary for me unless it has to do with my hair.

And for those of you who don’t know what I do, I’m a technical writer. I always get a blank stare when I tell people that, even after I explain what it is, so let’s just say I make balloon animals professionally. That’s easier to explain. And more fun.

I took an unpaid week off between jobs because I like not working. A lot.

I did absolutely nothing during my week off. While it sounds good in theory, I can only watch so many episodes of Scandal until I feel like I useless piece of shit. So that didn’t go well for my mental state. The week that I wanted to enjoy wasn’t enjoyable. < — I told you these were first world problems.

I started a new job!

I’m super excited about this because not only am I working with a bunch of old friends (including this lady), but it’s an instructional design position that I’ve been trying to land for a year which gives me more creative freedom than technical writing does. So now I can make more creative balloon animals!

Even though I’m excited, new jobs are stressful. The commute is a bit further, the schedule a bit different, and there are a lot of new things to learn, so it will take some time for me to settle in and be comfortable.

I gained 5 lbs.

You know what gaining 5 lbs does? It makes running suck. I’m not even sure I like it anymore.

I can barely eek out two miles without having to walk and I’m lucky if I can run a 10:00 minute mile. To say that is humbling and that I’m worried about my upcoming races would be an understatement. I want to PR. I’m not running races to get worse. I should say that I’m happy to be healthy and to have the ability to run, but I won’t because I’m a terrible person.

I started taking Oxyelite Pro.

I want to lose that 5lbs I gained and not use the jaws of life to get into my pants. I could lose it by good old fashioned diet and exercise, but where’s the fun in that? I had a friend recommend this stuff. It’s a thermogenic and an appetite suppressant with lots of freaky warnings on the bottle, so it has to be good, right?

That lasted three days.

During the day, I was fine. I didn’t notice being warmer or the mass-quantities of caffeine I was consuming. I also didn’t notice my appetite being suppressed, but then again, I don’t see anything suppressing my appetite except a giant T-bone.

Nighttime is when everything went to hell. I felt insanely tired. My eyes had that stinging feeling like I had been swimming underwater. I had crazy headaches and was super sensitive to light, plus I had waves of nausea. I do not recommend that stuff. Now that I’m off it, I’m already feeling 100% better. Definite waste of money.

***

I hope you all have a great weekend. I’m looking forward to doing nothing because I have a busy month coming up including a few races, a concert, and a visit to see my DC love, Melissa. This is on top of the obscene amount of Parks and Recreation I’ve been watching.

So now you’re all caught up on my super hard life.

Three (Books) for Thursday

I haven’t been reading many books now that I’m running again. I would say 99% of my reading is done while walking on the treadmill. So less walking equals less reading. I can’t sit on the couch and read. I get antsy like I should be doing something else, which doesn’t make sense because I can sit on the couch and watch hours of TV. Anyway, this is what I’ve managed to finish over the past couple months.

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

You can find the summary HERE.

Ugh. I hated this book. 80% of it was written in email and letter correspondence, which I guess could be fun and different, but I just found it annoying. A lot of the time, I felt like the correspondence didn’t even pertain to the story. I considered not finishing over and over from page 20 on. It’s one of those books that get just interesting enough for a few pages to keep you going but then goes downhill again. So I finished because I like to torture myself and then didn’t like the ending, of course.

2. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

You can find the summary HERE.

I loved this book. Remember how I said The Fault in our Stars was the best book I’ve read in years? This one is a very close second. Michelle, the book whisperer, recommended this to me, of course. Can she do no wrong? There’s a lot of humor in this one even though it deals with some dark subject matter. I love how Nastya is so self-aware but still has so many problems that she can’t handle. It’s just very real and it has a great ending. I definitely recommend this one.

3. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

You can find the summary HERE.

This is another one recommended by Michelle. I started this one yesterday and I’m already 1/3 of the way through. So far I’m liking it a lot. The main character is so miserable but he’s written in a really funny, sarcastic, self-depreciating way. I feel like if I had enough talent to come up with a story and write a book, this is how I would write it. Something about the humor reminds me of me.

So hopefully I’ll be finished with this one by the end of the weekend. And season 2 of Scandal. And season 4 of Parks and Rec. Big, exciting plans going on over here this weekend.

Not So Magical Dining

Every September, Orlando has this thing called Magical Dining Month. It’s when 20 or so upscale restaurants offer three-course meals for a discounted price of $30-33 per person. It’s a way for restaurants to grab new business in a slow month while letting people like me, who spend $3.00 in the Wendy’s drive-thru for dinner, try something new without having to take out a second mortgage.

Friday night, hubs and I met a bunch of friends out at Park Plaza Gardens in Winter Park for magical dining birthday celebration. The restaurant is super cute. It’s indoors but it looks like an outdoor courtyard. Amazing atmosphere.

(source)

You can order off the regular menu, but if you want to do the magical dining deal, you choose from a limited menu. The choices are different every year (sometimes the same restaurants participate). Here were the choices for this year’s appetizer at PPG.

It was a toss up between the rock shrimp and the summer baby greens for me. The salad won out because it wasn’t described as being served “in butter.” I like to save my arteries for desserts, thank you.

The salad was good. I should have ordered the dressing on the side because there was too much of it, but I still ate the whole thing. The pastry wrapped brie was amazing. But I think you could have pastry wrapped dirty socks and I would like it.

Hubs picked the gazpacho for his appetizer. I didn’t get a picture, but it looked like a bowl of tomato soup. It was cold, which I didn’t expect. Or like. It tasted like spicy Bloody Mary mix so I guess if they added some vodka, it would have been alright. I didn’t care for it, but hubs seemed to like it and it was his meal, so I guess that’s what matters.

Here were the choices for entrées.

I picked the chicken. I know, not the fanciest choice, but it was a process of elimination. I don’t like pork 95% of the time and I don’t like mussels so chicken it was. Unfortunately…

My first thought when I saw that plate was how disgusting it looked and an up-scale restaurant should be embarrassed to serve it. I mean, it looks like baby vomit and the plate wasn’t even wiped clean. Maybe I’m just watching too much MasterChef, but that’s the kind of crap I expect from Fazolis (are those still around?). The dish didn’t taste any better than it looked. The manager did offer to bring me something else but I had already eaten half the chicken and was getting full so I declined.

Hubs had the pork rib eye, which actually looked great, but he didn’t care for it. I’ve never seen him leave meat uneaten on a plate. It made me sad for him and for that poor piggy that gave his little porky life to become a terrible dinner.

Finally, the dessert choices.

My friends think I’m crazy to not like Crème Brulee, but puddings and custards are gross so I went with the pecan pie.

I live for the filling that goes in pecan pie. So, so  good. That pie was all pecans and no filling. I ended up eating the ice cream and some of the crust and left the rest. It wasn’t sweet enough for me, though I heard someone else at the table say they liked it because it wasn’t too sweet. Too sweet is not a thing. That is just crazy talk.

Hubs had the Crème Brulee and said it was delicious. I’m taking his word for that one.

We had a table of 10 and most of us didn’t care for the food. It also took us 2.5 hours to eat. The service was painfully slow. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it was still nice to celebrate our friend’s birthday and see a few friends we haven’t seen in awhile. So I guess a bad dinner is a still good dinner when you’re with friends and that makes it worth it, right?

Right.

By the Numbers

1. There’s a dollar store near my mom’s house that she totally loves. She talked this dollar store up like crazy when she first moved out to CA and I would think, “It’s just a dollar store. Who cares?” Well, turns out it’s not. It’s the mecca of dollar stores. It’s huge and they sell just about everything. They have your typical dollar store items but they also have a full grocery section of fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, all sorts of frozen foods, etc. They even have hub’s favorite coconut water for a dollar, which I pay five dollars for at the grocery store here. (Bitter, party of one.) Anyway, I was at the check out when I realized there is nothing this store doesn’t sell.

Edited to add: No, I didn’t buy one and no, I’m not pregnant. I’m still doing my part to eradicate the beer epidemic of this country.

2. My mom also lives near an 85-year-old man. This is the inside of his car.

This is just the front. The back was packed with junk so high it was blocking the windows. There’s no room in the front seat, his glove box is overflowing and open, and he has to move stuff to shift the car into drive. I know this is weird, but after seeing his car,  I desperately wanted to see the inside of his house.

3. Hubs and I watched Now You See Me this week.

We both liked it. There were some cheesy scenes here and there, but overall it was entertaining.

I really like Jesse Eisenberg. He just seems so smart, but I have no basis for thinking that. Maybe I get that impression because of The Social Network? I don’t know. I do know that I spent the entire movie thinking that Isla Fisher was Amy Adams.

4. I am still super obsessed with my pedometer.

I bought a Bodybugg way back and it lost its novelty after about two months. Once I got an idea of what I burned during my usual activities, I didn’t care about it anymore. Well, I wear my pedometer all the time. I try to get in the recommended 10k steps per day (which is approximately 6 miles) and most days I do. Other days I get as close as I can. The national average is 5,500 steps/day. If I have a total rest day, I don’t even make it to that much. Sad. So if you’re looking for something to encourage you to be more active, I really recommend getting one. Mine was around $20 and totally worth it.

5. I haven’t worn a watch in 10 years but I found this cheap one and loved it. Now I’m a watch-wearer again.

I really wish I didn’t look up the link for that because now it’s on sale. *sniff*

6. Jon Hamm is still alive and well and eating adorable mini-donuts with his adorable hammy hands.

He’s got a bit of a skin condition that we’re keeping a watch on. He may need a trip to the vet, which will surely cost 4x as much as he did.

7. Pants is still adorable as well.

She was playing the other morning and decided she wanted to snuggle up to me and be petted instead. <3 Also, let it be known the bunny that growls when I give her food is terrified of that hamster.

Alright, that’s all I have for today. Have a good weekend everyone. :-)