The No Restaurant Challenge

Have I mentioned that I do not like losing?

That I have a competitive side?

If you challenge me, it is difficult for me not to accept.  Cliffdog knows this. Which is why I think she presented the challenge. Cliffdog challenged me to a entire month of not eating out at restaurants. She was willing to give me four “cheat” days within that month, and a carve out for alcohol.

The purpose: Shed more light on my monthly food costs.

A month of no restaurants?!

I would fail. I literally could not do it. I will not take on a challenge I know I will lose.

But I will agree to two weeks. Two weeks of no restaurants. This is still a challenge for me, as I eat lunch out at least twice a week, and multiple dinners out.

And again, Cliffdog graciously is giving me carve outs. 1) I am allowed to eat out with my aunt who will be in town 2) If it happens to be a date

The challenge starts today. Heres to the menu planning!  Wish me luck :)

Have you ever given up restaurants for a period of time?



10 Reasons Iggy Makes Me Happy

Sometimes you go to concerts and only know like three songs.

Sometimes you don’t know much more about an artist, other than that she’s taught me…

I’m so fancy, but you already know!!!

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And since I’m basking in my fancy concert afterglow.. here are a few reasons an Iggy concert makes me happy:

1. Overalls and plaid were everywhere. You will never again catch me in overalls but the whole return of the overalls provides me endless giggles. I just want to say Oshkosh B’gosh over and over again!

2. Men wearing overalls were grinding on hand rails. What?! The creator of overalls never contemplated this…. I’m sure.

3. Fanny packs. We wore these and it was normal!

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4. Iggy brought back the movie Clueless for another generation. Pretty sure the freshman here were born a year after the movie came out?? #asif

5. Eddie Murphy clips during a concert?! Yes.

6. Plaid shirts tied around waists everywhere. Yes! I can totally hide the beer baby I have going on at this concert right now…

7. We are both all about that bass. Twerk, drop it low, booty bouncing love. For 45 minutes, she can make me feel the love for my pear shape :)

8. She just made me want to keep the party going… with strange hats that is…

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9. The opening act was all hip hop from the late 80s early 90s…. My anaconda don’t want none… you know rest :) Middle school dances anyone?!

10. While the concert and this post were slightly ridiculous, I felt like a college kid all over again. And what could be better than reliving some of those glory days?

As it was such a blast and treat, I’m linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

All About that Skyline…

No not the one outside my window.

The skyline I’m talking about, is meaty, noodle-y and spicy (sort of) with a hint of chocolate.

Confused yet?

I am talking about Skyline Chili.

If you are from Ohio, have gone to school in Ohio, or just have happened to be at the airport craving some chili…. you know what I mean.

There is something about pasta, drenched in chili, with shredded cheese and onions on top. Induglence with a side of extreme unhealthy. But hey, indulgence with a side of exterme unhealthy is warranted sometimes! It is especially warranted when JT wants to celebrate with nosolgia, i.e. Skyline Chili.

For good measure, heres a photo of Skyline, by the skyline :)

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(Photo cred friend AT, though I wish I could take credit)

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And a little indulgence should always be paired with Champange.

Because, why not?!

Now thats what I call a successful Wednesday night. Cheers to JT and cheers to Skyline.

Have you ever tried Skyline Chili?

Its a Small World After All

And now the Disney theme song is stuck in my head. I was actually afraid of that ride as a kid.

Those moving doll things and the boat ride, the dark lighting….. Something about it was OOO so uncomfortable for me. I’m quite sure even as an adult that ride may creep me out.

However, much of that saying, “Its a small world after all” is so so true for me. Having had the most amazing childhood, in multiple countries and states, I run into people from my past lives in the strangest places, and often times in places so close to my current home.

Last week I had the chance to have dinner with three other wonderful local bloggers. Turns out, one of them, Deepta, and I share a very similar moving background. She and I even lived in Singapore at the exact same time! My heart aches for Singapore in the best way possible, for some of my first and or deepest memories are there. If I find a fellow former Singapore expat, there is sure to be a common bond :)

Allison, Jen, Deepta and I met at Cafe Ena. Sister restaurant to Rincon 38 and La Fresca. (See my visit to Rincon 38 here) I had the Lechon, the prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin, with a trio pepper risotto, black garlic sauce, and a roasted artichoke-pepper relish.

O. My. Delicious. This was hands down the best pork tenderloin I have had in a long long time. It was melt in your mouth, cooked to perfection. And that black garlic sauce! If I could just have a bowl of that and call it a soup!

Now my pictures did not really show up… but that just means you should go and try Cafe Ena for yourself!

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You could not pick a better place to meet, eat, connect and discover how small of a world it really is sometimes.

Would you eat a sauce as a soup? No, just me? :)


My Happy Place

The boxes are mostly unpacked. The pictures leaning against the wall crying to be hung. The kitchen is somewhat organized, though I can’t remember where I put anything.

I keep going to the left for the trash, though the trash can is definitely under the sink.

We are getting to know our new place. And by we, I mean the roommate and I. Neither of us have had roommates in quite some time, however with all this space and the mutual desire to up our travel budgets, here we are :)

Despite my inability to navigate our kitchen, the kitchen is still my happy place. Where I go immediately after a rough day. Where I go to show my love for family and friends. Where I find my calm.

Lets just say I am enjoying my extra counter space! And a live in person to cook for again.

I played around with this recipe a bit, and treated us to a move in meal!

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And because this meal was such a treat, I’m linking up with Becky.


I Cave for Brunch…

The other day, somehow.. somebody convinced me a 6:30 am workout on a Saturday was a good idea.  I was all signed up for a later morning class, but once the words brunch and waffles were used, I caved.

I guess my willlpower is nonexistant once the word brunch is uttered.

So for furture reference, when trying to get me to do something, say brunch. And if said brunch happens to be a new location, I’ll be even easier to convince.

So post early morning, its still dark out, I raised my hand when the trainer asked if anyone was still asleep, drag me into class workout, the brunch came. Off we were to the Linden Hills area for a new to me breakfast.

Hello Zumbro Cafe.

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This was everything my muscles and rumbling stomach were screaming for. A simple, perfect, open faced steak breakfast sandwich.

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And an almond latte to round it out.

Where is your favorite brunch spot?

Home is Where the Heart is

I type this, sitting on the floor, drinking wine from a beer mug. My lamps are gone, the couch cushions cleaned and leaning against the wall, and Pho delivery by my side.

Moving day is upon us!

I think I never really knew until now, how powerful the sense of home is. Perhaps this stems from having grown up in hotels for months at a time, or in 12 or more “homes”. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with my multiple moves and I happen to love hotels. I just never really had that connection.

Until now.

A week of moving loads of stuff from the old to the new place, and it hits me. The sense of home is overwhelming. It is a sense of calm, of safety, of belonging.

This, compared to the insecure, hard to sleep, lack of compassion I have for my current apartment.

Even the dog can feel the difference. The door opens to the new place and in she bounds, prancing like the happy dog she is, exploring each room with her crooked smile. Even she has a new sense of calm compared to the old place.

To be true, the new place is not so new. It is the same unit I lived in three years ago. I feel I may have left my heart here, though I left for good reasons.

 I now want to put my stamp on this place, from the floors to the furniture I’ve rescued from an unknown dumpster fate. Home is where the heart is, and I plan to reclaim home here.

Where is home to you?

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Nostalgia and Rustica Bakery

As a kid in Europe, I loved the bakeries. The fresh bread you could buy all over Paris. The pastry smells. The feeling as if I was living in a book.

Sitting on a park bench, breaking off pieces of bread and cheese.

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My nostalgia could go on and on. My childhood there feels more like a dream these days. Did I really live there and have those experiences?

So when a piece of that reappears in reality today, a bittersweet happiness over comes me.

My first trip into Rustica Bakery recently brought waves of that emotion.

Out load and to no one in particular I exclaimed, hmmm it smells like Europe.

And how fitting, as I was there with a friend about to head to Paris.  I wish her all the Parisian memories to come.. and all the pastries :)

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I cannot wait to try more of the offerings at Rustica.

And because this was such a treat, I’m linking up with Becky, for Treat Yourself Tuesday. Head on over here to see how others have treated themselves this week.



The Next Best Thing Syndrome

Over a pile of sushi and an afternoon glass of red, a friend mentioned another friend’s dating dilemma.

After meeting over Tinder and seeing each other consistently, a conversation was had. The I like you, I’m interested. Where is this going? The conversation that naturally comes.

And his response? “I see this going somewhere too but I don’t want to shut off the option of meeting someone else.”

The classic Next Best Thing Syndrome. Its like you are always looking around the corner for who is next. These four dates have been great, but o I have five new matches today. I need to see what they have to offer.

“I felt a really strong connection but now I’m not so sure.”

With every dating website, Tinder and any other app, there are literally hundreds of men/women in the palm of your hand. The app even asks you, upon matching with someone, “Would you like to message him/her or Keep playing?”

Yes, keep playing. Like a game.

It only fuels the syndrome.

The Next Best Thing.

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Do you agree, do dating websites/app fuel “The Next Best Thing”? Disagree?


Moving Minneapolis

Its that time again for me… a time full of boxes, bubble wrap and one confused puppy.

We are not moving far, but into a place that does not come with its own peeping Tom…. long story. To a place where warm water is the norm and landlords are responsive. The last few days in this place cannot come soon enough.

 As excited as I am to move, moving also makes me reflective. O the many bottles of wine we’ve had, the serious discussions, the tears, the meals I’ve made, the puppy romance Olive had with little Napoleon across the hall, the many walks exploring the neighborhood.

This apartment was a step back. I went from a beautiful building, full of every upgrade, to not even a functioning communal washing machine. Sometimes steps back are needed. It reminds you to appreciate. To be thankful. I learned I am definitely not as grateful as I should be. I did my fair share of complaining when I should have been thankful.

My hope for this move is just that. Appreciate. Be thankful.

And once those boxes are all moved and unpacked, I plan to celebrate with this:

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This pasta from Tilia…. heaven in my mouth.

Have you moved recently?