Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mayberry (Brunch): A Delicious Review

I've been wanting to try Mayberry, located on Vine St. next to Hamburger Mary's and the Public Library, for a while now. I had read several reviews raving about it's delicious lunch and dinner, but what I was most intrigued about was their brunch. I'm a lady who LOVES my brunch! And since our favorite brunch place, Daybreak (in Oakley) closed about a year ago (I'm attempting to hold back the tears), Antoine and I have been on an epic search for a new go-to breakfast or brunch place. Mayberry is definitely a contender!

We got there right at 11am on Sunday as they were opening their doors, and we weren't the only ones. It only took about 15 minutes for the small dining room to fill up about three-fourths of the way with hungry, eager diners! The brunch menu contains six main items and then a nice list of additional sides. But Antoine and I knew immediately what we wanted.

Antoine chose the maple sausage gravy with biscuits.

It came with a poached egg on top. The portion was generous with two biscuits, split in half, and tons of gravy containing large, rich chunks of sausage. Antoine was very pleased with his decision, and said he would definitely get it again.

For me, it was a no-brainer! I usually prefer the sweeter options for brunch, such as pancakes or waffles, so the Elvis Killer seemed like the obvious choice!

Elvis Killer: french toast with peanut butter mousse, bananas, and toasted peanuts! I was absolutely tickled pink with this dish! The mousse was out-of-this-world-good! Like I wanted a bowl of it...it was that good! But I love peanut butter and I love pb and bananas together, so that probably contributed to my affection for this dish.

We also decided right off the bat that we needed to sample one of the delicious sounding/looking sides! I'd heard great things about the bacon (and really, how can you go wrong with bacon). I'd also heard that their tater tot casserole was legendary (legend-wait for it-dary...get it, How I Met Your Mother?! Come on people!). And their danishes, which were in a basket on the counter within arms length of us, were looking especially amazing! Decisions, decisions, decisions. It came down to the bacon and the tater tot casserole, but since their website says "Building community one tater tot casserole at a time!!"...that seemed like the obvious choice! And boy, I'm glad we got it! I mean, look at it...

Mmmm! I could just eat this all day! It was rich and the cheesy crust on top was heavenly! Now, having got this, I don't see how I could ever go there and NOT get this!

After breakfast and coffee, which was delicious Seven Hills Coffee roasted right hear in the Queen City, we were thoroughly stuffed and satisfied! Mayberry definitely did not disappoint! It was everything I expected and so much more. It's name serves it well...just like the quaint little town in the Andy Griffith Show there's something homey and comforting about this Mayberry. Sure, it's got an upscale, contemporary twist to it, but at it's core it's comfort food. It might clog every single artery in your body, but there's no question that it warms the soul. I'll definitely be back for brunch. Will it be our new Daybreak? I'm not sure. It might be too caloric since we're on a diet and all! But I'm already daydreaming about the deliciousness of the Elvis Killer and that tater tot casserole. And I'm eager to visit Mayberry for dinner...the menu looks equally tasty and appealing!

So, if you haven't tried Mayberry...do it! Now! Even if you're trying to diet/watch your weight like myself...every once in a while you need a little splurge! And Mayberry is so worth the splurge!

**Sad Update: We recently discovered that Mayberry will no longer be serving brunch! Antoine and I have been mourning ever since we heard. But frankly, it's understandable...Joshua Campbell (the owner and chef) has been spreading himself thin lately what with his booth at Findlay Market (World Food Bar) and talk of him opening a new Urban Grocery store downtown. But we will miss brunch at Mayberry oh so much! Do not fear though, the tater tot casserole is still available on both the lunch and dinner menus.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

I don't know what it is about Mondays but sometimes they just make all the fun of the weekend come to a screeching halt. It's not just about getting up early and going into work, it's so much more. Today I had the strongest urge to fake some sort of infliction and call in sick. But I didn't...because I'm a growup! And I can't do that all the time...blah, blah, blah! I really think that we should get more vacation/sick time...as a society we work too much, I think it's overrated! There's something to be said for staying in your pajamas all day and not showering. Maybe watching some Project Runway on the Playstation and perhaps taking the little Cheezers to the dog park! Alas...

I think what makes Mondays the worst is when you have a super fun weekend. The kind where you're just flitting around in a little dreamworld, engulfed in fun activities, good food, playtime with the adorable puppy, and a little one-on-one time with your one and only. Ah, those weekends are the best...like this weekend. And, in comparison, Mondays are the smack in the face, the abrupt wake up call, the welcome to reality that you often don't see coming. I don't care for Mondays. They are my first day back to work (at the real job) and my first night closing at Sbux (I always work Monday nights and Wednesday nights).

The more I think about it the more I really wished I had faked some sort of sickness this morning and stayed home! Oh well...for now I will just stare at this ridiculous picture of Cheese and laugh...

On Friday (and again on Sunday) we took Cheesy to the dog park! It's becoming a regular thing and he loves it!

It's the funniest thing to see a basset hound (and a puppy, in particular) run! They're not graceful...AT ALL! And as they are galloping along their excess skin has a mind of it's own! Plus, with the Cheese-man, he'll just bolt off in one direction (maybe there's another dog, or a person, or maybe there's nothing and he just has a sudden burst of puppy energy) and then he'll just stop, because the energy that he once had has completely left him. And then when he's playing with other dogs and he's trying to keep up, he'll almost always stumble over his awkwardly large paws (or maybe one or both of his enormous ears) and do a face plant right into the grass. It's ridiculously adorable! But what's even more awesome and adorable is when we leave the dog park, the second Antoine lifts him into the backseat of the car, he has absolutely zero energy in his little body and instantly falls asleep...

Did I mention how much I love taking him to the dog park?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Via Vite: A Review

Last night was date night for Antoine and I. After work I headed downtown, picked up Antoine and we made our way over to Via Vite for dinner. Both of us have never been before, so we were eager to try it out. Plus, we had a restaurant.com coupon burning a hole in our pocket and a very generous gift card that I had received after doing a side project for my department's book conservator. So, not only were we looking forward to some Italian food, but knowing it was going to basically be free definitely sweetened the deal!

The restaurant sits directly on Fountain Square, an ideal location on a winter night with all the twinkling lights and the sparkling fountain, I'm sure. But when it's 5:30pm on a Thursday in September and it's sunny outside, you mainly just lookout onto a courtyard of bums sleeping in the shade. Still the interior is pleasant with it's relax contemporary vibe. I had read reviews of their service that complained that the hostesses were cold and the waiters and waitresses devoid of any emotion or niceness, so I was a little worried. But there was no reason to be. The hostess and our waiter were very pleasant.

We perused the menu which included a list of appetizers, salads, wood fired pizzas, pastas, entrees, and sides. I was a little disappointed that none of the appetizers appealed to me. Antoine, however, was intrigued by the veal meatballs and the eggplant parmesan. But once I wrinkled my nose to the veal meatball (I don't eat veal, or lamb, because I don't eat babies!) he decided to get the eggplant parmesan. I said I'd try it, although I was pretty sure I didn't like eggplant...oh, I was so wrong! I loved it! The tomato sauce was fresh and garlicy (but not overwhelming) and complimented the eggplant (which happens to be quite tasty, who knew!?) perfectly!

For our entrees, Antoine chose the fettuccine "caulifredo" with bay scallops and cauliflower and I decided to get one of the specials I had seen on the dry erase board as we walked in, the Amish chicken stuffed with taleggil (an Italian cheese). Antoine really enjoyed his alfredo and commented on how generous the portion was. I snagged a bite and it was pretty good. Fettuccine alfredo is not really my favorite pasta dish, but it is Antoine's and he was happy. When my dish arrived, I must admit, I was a little perplexed. There was a chicken breast cut in two sitting atop a bed of brussel sprouts and olives. And there was no cheese to be found, which definitely bummed me out! I had never had brussel spouts before so I was eager to give them a try...my verdict, eh. They really didn't do much for me and they were salty. I absolutely hate olives, so I stayed away from those. The chicken was nicely cooked and juicy, but the breading was very salty, as was the entire dish (i.e. brussel sprouts, sauce, chicken skin, and, I'm sure, the olives), so I picked that off. It's a good thing this dish was just a special and not a permanent fixture on their menu, because I would not recommend it to anyone, nor would I ever order it again.

After our entrees we were already pretty full (Antoine even decide to take home a portion of his pasta), but we decided to go crazy and get some dessert. And I'm so glad we did, it was my favorite part of our meal. Antoine ordered the white chocolate panna cotta and I decided on the tiramisu...

Aren't they gorgeous!? [taken by Antoine with his iphone]

Antoine's panna cotta was delightful. Rich but not overly sweet (like white chocolate can be sometimes) and the berries were ripe and delicious! And the tiramisu? Wonderful! It was a VERY generous portion but I ate every last bite! There was a thick layer of smooth mascarpone on top with a layer of rum and espresso soaked lady fingers on bottom. The lady fingers packed a punch and balanced so well with the delicate, rich mascarpone...I loved it!

The meal was a little pricier than our usual nights out, but it was also free! And we still have most of our gift card left, so we'll definitely be visiting a second and third time! I'm eager to try one of their wood fired pizzas which looked very tasty. Yes, I was eyeing someone's pie at the table next to us, what of it!? And I really want to try their spinach and ricotta ravioli in Vermont butter! Antoine's eager to try penne with a bolognese sauce, which I've heard is quite good. I'd definitely recommend Via Vite to anyone (just not the chicken special that I had). And I think the restaurant would have an exceptionally beautiful view when fountain square is snow covered and glittering with Christmas lights!

Sidenote: I miraculously gained no more weight after dinner last night, in fact, I lost a pound...woohooo! That's ten pounds so far!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some Inspiration for #29

When I was growing up I always had long or longish hair. It was always, at the very least, past my shoulders. I chalk this up to my neighbor/hair-dresser telling me at the ripe age of ten that my face was "too fat" (her exact words) for short hair! What a sweetheart, right? Anyway, when I got to college, my freshman year I decided to chop off my (breast length) locks and donate them to Locks of Love. And in the process I told the stylist (who was actually my sister's stylist) to chop it off! We're talking above the chin! It was probably the shortest I had ever had it...except for the time I was seven or eight and someone decided that I'd look cute with a bowl cut, when really I just looked like a little boy!

So, for the past seven years my hair has been consistently about chin length. Every time I went to the salon I'd ask for the same exact cut...

That's me on the left (with HLP on the right and mutual friend Krista in the middle) with my "textured, angled bob, stacked in the back" standard cut for the last seven years.

And in the last seven years any time my hair has approached my shoulders I freaked out and immediately had it trimmed! And every time I have attempted to grow my hair out for locks of love (or a similar organization) I have went to the salon for a simple trim and walked out with a "textured, angled....blah, blah, blah". That is, until now! The last time I visited a salon (which was a couple of months ago) I walked in, sat down, and told the stylist, "I just need a trim, I'm trying to grow my hair out! So, if half way through cutting I tell you to chop it all off to my chin PLEASE ignore me!" And she listened! Now my hair is all the way to collar bone and I have no urge to chop it all off! In fact, I'm really excited about growing it out and being able to cross #29 (and eventually #30) off my life list. And this time I want to grow it out longer than I've ever had it before!! After seeing this "how to" post yesterday from Orchid Grey I desperately want to grow my hair out SUPER long so I can do a Heidi braid! Check it out...

Her hair is SO long, but maybe I can do it! It's just going to take a while though...I'm only half way there!!

I would love just to be able to braid my hair like that and leave it! It's so simple and pretty!

I mean, come on, how flippin' cute is that!

I can't wait! I wish I could make my hair grow faster!! I also want to learn how to french braid and get really good so I can f.b. my own hair! I just need someone to practice on in the meantime...unfortunately Gui's hair just isn't long enough! And my HLP, who is pretty much my only friend with ridiculously long locks, now lives two hours away! Damn her!

Anyway, happy Thursday folks! The weekend is almost here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apple Picking

As you may already be aware, we're on a picking kick this year. In July it was blueberries! Now, apples! And in October there will probably be multiple pumpkin pickings! And I gotta say, I love picking your own fruit/seasonal gourds! It's fun, slightly adventurous, fulfilling, and generally cheaper! It's an all around good time!

I'm lucky enough to have a friend whose been to pretty much every single pick-your-own place in the Cincinnati area so I always refer to her when I want to do some picking. For blueberries she told me to go to Rouster's Apple House in Milford, but for apples she said I should go to Iron Fruit Farms in Lebanon. So we did!

Iron Fruit Farms is basically just a big family farm with a large orchard and a plethora of apple varieties. They also have pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and a small store with produce and baked goods.

To pick your own apples you're escorted to the field by a tractor pulling a large cart filled with hay barrels to sit on. I'm sure the kiddies enjoy that!

Then you're free to pick to your hearts content. The main apple variety available/ready to pick that weekend was Ida Red. However, we were able to find some good Red Delicious apples that were super fragrant!

You could also use one of these handy-dandy apple picking thing-a-ma-bobs to get the high up apples!

We ended up walking away with a 1/2 bushel of apples, since they were having a special that day for $10 a 1/2 bushel. That's 50+ apples! Wowzers! After the apple picking we stopped in their small store to pay for our apples and buy a few goodies! I couldn't resist the yummy-looking caramel apples...


Antoine got a fried apple pie. He really liked that it was filled with actual apples and not apple-pie-filling-goo!

After picking apples we went home and I sorted through the apples. I decided the Red Delicious were probably best for eating and the Ida Red we'd use for baking.

The first thing I decided to make with the apples was an apple pie. It seemed like the obvious choice, and I'd never made one before! Crazy, I know! But I actually don't like apple pie. In fact, I don't like baked apples period! I love raw apples, but there's something about the taste and texture of a baked apple that I just can't get on board with. But everyone should make at least one apple pie in their life, right?

I think it went really well. I found the recipe on Allrecipes.com.

I ended up taking it into work so our students and staff could enjoy it! They seemed to really like it, and I'll just have to take their word for it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Puppy's First Day

I feel like a mommy blogger who blogs about her kid's first day at school! Except replace "kid" with "puppy" and "school" with "dog park"!

This Saturday we took Cheese to the dog park for the first time. It was not only his first time at the dog park, but it was Antoine's and mine as well! Where I come from we don't have dog parks...it's the country, everything is open fields and grazing cows! And this is Antoine's first real dog, so yeah...the dog park is new territory for us. But we were pretty excited about taking Cheesy. And we were sure that he'd enjoy being off the leash and co-mingling with other dogs.

We're lucky enough to have a free dog park about 15 minutes away from our house. It's a pretty good size and accommodates a lot of dogs and people. There's also three separate fenced in areas, one for small dogs, an area for large dogs and then an additional large dog area that is opened up once the other has been worn down. Now, for the pictures...

On the way to the dog park. He's so happy already and he doesn't even know where we're going!

Are we there yet?

As soon as we got there we immediately ran into another basset hound, almost the same color as Cheese! They became fast friends!

So far, Cheezers is still slightly skittish around the other dogs (I don't blame the guy, everyone else was at least twice his size), but occasionally he has very energetic, confident moments!

What a happy guy!

And then Cheezers found the very muddy swimming pool area (aka, Antoine's and my least favorite part of the dog park)! He proceeded to get entirely disgusting and mud-covered (especially his belly and ears).

But he had fun with the other dogs! Awe, my little guy's getting so big!

And dirty! All his white parts weren't so white anymore!

Cheese post-bath!

One of the nice things about this dog park is it provides a little hosing off area just outside the main fenced in area. Luckily someone was kind enough to let us borrow some shampoo for Cheese, since we had no idea he would get so dirty! Now we know!

Cheese had such a good time at the dog park and was thoroughly exhausted afterward. And we had such a good time taking him that we actually went again on Sunday (where we ran into three other basset hounds)! And we can't wait to take him again!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Weekend of Firsts

This weekend was definitely a weekend of firsts. Cheese's first visit to the dog park. The first time Antoine and I have ever been apple picking. Baking my first apple pie. But you'll have to wait for later posts to hear more about that stuff. For right now I want to tell you about this...

The most delicious chocolate milk I have EVER had in my life!

This past Friday Antoine and I made our way up to Pipkin's Fruit & Vegetable Market in Montgomery. Antoine had purchased a $20 gift certificate on groupon for only $10, so we decided to check it out! We bought lots of fruits and veggies and as we were getting ready to leave we passed the dairy case and I spotted this beautiful glass bottle of organic chocolate milk. Now, while I love all things dairy (i.e. cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cheesecake, cream cheese, frozen yogurt, etc) I'm not a fan of milk, in fact, when I eat cereal I will actually strain off excess milk on the side of the bowl before eating the cereal. So yeah, I'm not a fan (I get it from my mother)...that is, EXCEPT for chocolate milk! I love chocolate milk! It's like a special treat for me. So when I saw this Traderspoint Creamery organic chocolate milk made with dutch chocolate and looking like the richest, creamiest chocolate milk I'd ever seen my eyes went a little googly! Then I saw the $5 price tag I slowly backed away from the case. And then, in true gallant fashion (knowing that my heart had just skipped a beat at the sight of this glorious choc. milk), Antoine instructed me to "go ahead and get it! Why not?!" So we did! And we proceeded to consume the entire bottle as an after dinner snack/dessert. It's so decadent and rich, I can't even describe it's wonderfulness! Try it...ASAP! Your life will not be complete unless you do...it's that good!

Now I've got the hunger and it's all I can think about! Mmm, tasty chocolate crack...how you taunt me with your deliciousness! I'm seriously thinking a way to convince Antoine that we need to visit their farm sometime! They do offer tours where you can pet cows and goats and taste their delicious products! They're located just north of Indianapolis (where my best friend and her boyfriend just happens to live) in Zionsville, IN...I smell a trip to Indy/Zionsville in the not too distant future!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Adorable Dresses

...from ModCloth. For some reason I have little cute dresses on the brain, so enjoy...

So sweet! Would look great with some vintage jewelry!

Maybe with a soft pink or green cardigan and boots or loafers.

I think this one might be my favorite...maybe cause it's slightly nerdy! Add some tights, saddle shoes and maybe a simple headband and the nerd look is complete!

So sweet with ballet flats and a little shawl.

This reminds me of Dirty Dancing...a pair of white keds and a white cardigan (and a young Patrick Swayze).

Simple and classy...ballet flats (possibly shimmery) with a long necklace and some sweet earrings.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Heart "Fun Days" in the Department

Since I started working here in Preservation (aka the real job) I've tried to coordinate a special "Fun Day" every year around the winter holidays, just before our students go on winter break. It's a way to relax and unwind around finals time and a way to say "thank you" for all their hard work. It's something they look forward to and, since I act like I'm eighteen sometimes, it's something that I really get into planning.

For our first "fun day" we made paste paper, which is basically decorative paper that you can use in bookbinding, namely for covers. We had so much fun and created so many amazing papers! A good portion of the paper was kept here in the department to use in the making of memory books, which we make when someone retires. Last year we made explosion books to use as greeting cards and presents, which wasn't nearly as fun but took far less planning than the paste paper. For this year I just got the go ahead to order a bunch of supplies for the department so that we can do some paper marbling in December. My nerdly little heart is going pitter-patter and I'm so flippin' excited! Not only do I get to try my hand at paper marbling again, but I basically get to coordinate the whole thing and then teach everyone how to do it!

See, the department was established in the 1970's, and in it's hay-day they would marble paper on a semi-regular basis! But as department heads and conservators came and went the marbling supplies have just been sitting in the cupboard collecting dust. So while we have all the equipment we need to marble it's probably been 30 years or so since it's been done here. My coworker is living proof. He's been here like 26 years, here in this very department, and he's never marbled (so yeah, I'll be schooling him as well). I'm just so excited that I'm the one who is bringing it back, with the help of our department head, who has also attended marbling workshops! Ooo, I'm so excited! Come December, be prepared for one or several marbling posts!! I hope to take pictures of the event!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So far my diet is going really well! I've lost 7 pounds so far. I'm really loving myfitnesspal, it's really nice to just to just enter in what you eat and not have to worry about counting points or any of that nonsense! Plus it's nice to have the support of friends and family! I finally convinced Antoine to join as well, which is good because it's always easier to diet when the person you're living with is dieting as well! I still haven't quite mastered the concept of regularly working out...but I'll get there, I promise!

Every time I diet I think of the future, what the thinner me will be like. It's that dreamer in me that just can't stop imagining the future (please, refrain from vomiting, if you can!). It's weird to think of yourself as different, but it's also exciting to think of the possibilities! Here's some of the things I plan to do WHEN I reach my goal weight...

  • Buy a new wardrobe of non-plus-size-clothes
  • Buy a dress/skirt that isn't floor length (I hardly ever wear dresses or skirts, and if I do they are always of the long variety...let's just say I'm not a fan of my legs, they're very pudgy and very white)
  • I'm going to get a super cute haircut that's unlike anything I've had before...maybe with bangs or the part off to the side?
  • I'll buy something from one of those really cute stores in the mall that have all that trendy crap that I can't fit into!
  • I'll go to a vintage store and buy something cute...that's not jewelry or a handbag (apparently there were no plus-size girls way back when, or if there were they all wore horribly hideous clothes that vintage places don't want to sell!)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hello, My Name is Jessica...

...and I have a pumpkin problem! Stop laughing...it's true!

I love Fall! Hands down it is my absolute favorite season...EVER! If it was Fall all year long I would be so freaking happy! The weather is perfect...crisp air perfect for layering (and cardigans...oh how I love cardigans! It must be the nerd in me!)! The trees get ridiculously pretty with oranges, yellows, and reds! It's officially apple cider season...YUM! And while I love all these things, my most favoritest (yes, I know that's not a real word) thing about Fall is...PUMPKINS! I love pumpkins...perhaps a little too much! I don't know what it is about them...that they come in so many shapes and sizes (and sometimes colors), that you can carve them into whatever your little heart desires, then you can toast their seeds for a tasty snack, that they are 100% Fall (in color, smell and essence)...

I am particularly drawn to very ovally-shaped pumpkins for some reason...maybe because they're not as common as round pumpkins?!

I know, it's weird, but I feel like pumpkins have a lot of character. Each ones different and unique!

I love carving pumpkins. I usually carve anywhere from 3 to 7 pumpkins every Fall (usually within two separate rounds of carving, so I can have a pumpkins on my stoop throughout the season)!

And for some reason I generally prefer to carve my pumpkins with happy/silly faces, I'm not sure why?

I can't help it, I just adore pumpkins! And I love picking them! It's really the only place where you will see me completely indecisive...in a pumpkin patch. Generally, by nature, I'm a very decisive person (unlike my sister who is famed for her inability to make quick decisions...and I love her for it), but not when it comes to pumpkin picking. I will go through and pick out a group of pumpkins, then I'll just keep finding more that I like and replacing the original ones. This can go on for hours! It's really sad. But the whole time I'm completely and utterly giddy! In fact, I'm ridiculously giddy at this very moment just by the idea of going pumpkin picking in the not-to-distant future! Like...happy-grin-all-over-my-face-giddy! HEY!! Stop judging me! I figure in a world with a crap ton of stress and anxiety (mainly that that comes from working two jobs) there's no better pick-me-up than a simple, 100% natural pumpkin...in all it's smooth, orange glory!

Oh, and in case you were unaware...kittens and tiny pumpkins are about the cutest things in the world (picture: Guillermo, as a tiny baby kitten, posing with an itty-bitty pumpkin...my heart melts).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Maybe This Time...

...I'll be lucky!

My efforts to lose weight over the last year have been lack-luster and half-hearted, to say the least! I always seem to have too many excuses not to exercise or to eat things I shouldn't; "I'm too tired", "I'm too stressed", "I'm too tired", "I never have time for fun let alone exercise", and "I work hard, I deserve that massive burger, cheese fries, and ice cream cone dipped in peanut butter". I guess that's just me, I'm full of excuses (always have been)! Doesn't help that I'm a stress eater, a nervous eater, a happy eater...I'm basically just an eater! I love food and hate physical activity! Problem is, I know that's not healthy...I mean, I don't feel healthy! Not at all! So, what to do...

I guess I'm just going to have to try harder and hope for a little luck!! It's going to suck and it's going to be rough, but I have to learn to suck it up and do what I have to do to make myself feel better/healthier. I know what I have to do, it's a matter of eating right and working out! I can usually do the eating right part, but it's the working out that I HATE! But it's the only way!

I was going to try to do Weight Watchers again (well, my version of weight watchers, where I count points but don't actually sign up for WW or go to meetings), but that's only ever been mildly successful for me. Then my best friend told me about this really cool site called myfitnesspal, and I've started using that! It's free, which I love! And it lets you add in all your data: your starting weight, height, age, goal weight, projected exercise regiment, etc. Then it calculates how many calories you should eat a day to lose 1/2lb, 1lb, 1 1/2lbs, or 2 lbs a week. And to make it even easier on you, it helps you track your food and exercise routine. All you have to do is type in what you had for every meal. So for breakfast, say I had oatmeal...I type in "Quaker oatmeal cinnamon & spice" (what I usually have for breakfast) and press "Search" and then it inputs all the nutritional data for that oatmeal into your daily allowance. Then it tells you how many calories you have left for the day! It's got a similar search/input thing for exercise as well! It's so freaking easy!

And one of the nicest things about myfitnesspal is that it's got built in social networking! You can "friend" your friends (or complete strangers, if you roll like that) and encourage each other. Three of my friends, my mom and my sis are all doing it now! It's nice to have their support when we're not face to face! Still, it's going to be difficult to get my butt to the gym on a regular basis and to make myself log into myfitnesspal everyday, which will be especially hard on weekends since I rarely get online! But I HAVE to do it! Wish me luck! And if you see me eating fried cheese or a milkshake, kick me in the butt!!

Sidenote: Did anyone notice the musical reference in the title?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ooo La La

Antoine and I aren't the most high class of individuals! Now, I'm not saying we're hillbillies or anything (nothing against hillbillies...I grew up around a ton of them). We're just laid back, no frills type people! I'm cool with that. The last thing I want to be is a snob...especially when it comes to food! Hell, I enjoy cheese fries from PRC (aka MFPRC [to the locals...guess what the "MF" stands for] or Pleasant Ridge Chili [to those not in the know]) as if it was the nectar of the gods, but I'm always up for trying something new. So, it shouldn't be surprising that Antoine and I happen to read a variety of Cincinnati food blogs! The main blogs I read on a semi-regular basis are:
These blogs, and word of mouth from friends, have led us to try a number of new (at least to us) and exciting places in the last year. They've also led me to make a list of the restaurants I want to visit, yet are ever so slightly out of our usual price range or out of our comfort zone (as far as how upscale/elegant/refined/fancy-schmancy it is...this is more me than Antoine). So, I share with you my list; a list I hope to surmount sometime in the [near] future (aka maybe in the next year...with any luck):[Note: this is in no particular order...totally random!]

So readers...have you been to any of these places? What did you think? Overrated? Awesome? Are there any places you are dying to try?

Sidenote: Other places I want to try but haven't due to timing (aka they're only open when I happen to be working or I forget about them till it's too late):

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Falling In Love (All Over Again)

We've had Cheese for almost two months now! Hard to believe! He's getting so big...last week he weighed in at 22 lbs at the vet (last night he weighed in at 24lbs!) and his feet and ears just keep growing! He's also doing really well with his training. While he still has accidents in his crate and has occasional issues with excitement peeing, he's getting really good at letting us know when he needs to go outside! Cheese isn't really much of a barker, but when he needs to go outside he'll come up to us and bark at us. And he's actually quite a good listener for only being 4 months old. When we say "no!" or "no bite!" he understands and almost always stops! Oh, and the magic of his listening abilities when it comes to food time and his crate. When it's time for Cheese to eat he sits over by the container that holds his food, he sits and waits for the food to drop into the bowl before he lunges for it! You can even wave the food in front of his face but he won't move a muscle until it hits his dish! And anytime we want him to go into his crate all we have to do is say "Go to your crate" and he runs for his crate...100% of the time! It's pretty impressive!

So, it's not hard to see why Antoine and I have been wrapped up in all things Cheese related, what with training, teething, playing, cuddling, and vet visits. And with all this attention on Cheese it's understandable to place less focus on the cats. I mean, let's face it, cats are just easier! They're more independent, especially when they're not kittens anymore! Don't get me wrong, we're not neglecting our cats, but when they are upstairs trying to avoid the puppy that wants to lay on them there's less opportunity for kitty snuggling (here I am referring only to Guillermo, since neither Buddy or Missy are the cuddling type)! Frankly, I just haven't seen Gui as much as I usually do! He's usually always in my face, wanting to be pet and loved, but until last week he hasn't felt comfortable enough to walk around the house freely, what with the Cheese-man ready to pounce on him!

Now, things are finally getting back to normal! And I'm falling in love all over again with my sweet, adorable Guillermo! Man, I love that cat! He's just a big mound of furry love! He's finally back to following me around the house, keeping me company while I get ready in the morning, cuddling with me on the couch and talking to me in his weird little chirpy meow that he has...and I'm in heaven!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things That Are Too Cute For Their Own Good (A Mod Cloth Post)

I hope everyone had a fabulous Labor Day weekend! My parents came into town and stayed with us for a night, so Friday was plagued with mass amounts of cleaning. Saturday and Sunday there was a lot of shopping and eating going on. And then yesterday Antoine and I spent the whole day painting our bedroom! Yes, we recently decided to give our bedroom a facelift, since it was probably the only room in the house (besides the somewhat icky bathroom that will take mucho time and money to update) that hasn't had any TLC since we moved in almost a year ago! So we're going all out, we bought a new mattress, bedding, and painted the walls! Next we're going to get some new furniture for the room and do some massive picture hanging! Once it's complete I'll post some pictures so you can revel in it's beauty! Right now, it looks a little like a construction zone, with a pretty new color on the walls!

Moving on to more interesting things, I have a little Etsy-esque post for you! Now, you may or may not be aware of this super awesome webstore called Mod Cloth! They have about the cutest things I've ever seen...with the exception of Cheese and Guillermo! Their clothes are ridiculously sweet and unfortunately made for tiny people, but they have tons of adorable jewelry and things for the "apartment".

Here's some cute finds that I recently stumbled across...
Believe me, if we had the wall space in our kitchen I would have already bought this adorable clock a long time ago!! Damned kitchen!

Hmm, I do kind of need new measuring cups, but can I justify getting these ones when they probably won't even fit in out drawer!? But they're so cute!

Now, how doesn't need ice that shaped like dinosaurs?!?