Foodie Friday: Quick Easy Lunches

When I’m at work, I get into a groove where I end up not really leaving work. This is good because I focus and get a lot done but it also means that I don’t usually think about lunch. Thankfully, I’ve been doing NatureBox for the last few months and those are easy crackers and nuts that I can eat.

My favorite lunch by far is crackers and cheese! I was excited when Influenster invited me to participate in a tasting of the new Sargento Ultra Thin Cheese.

They first sent me a package with the coolest lunch bag, which was sorely needed because I left mine in NYC!

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It’s actually similar to the one I had except that I think I had a blue background but I love the neoprene lunch bags because they stretch to fit so much stuff. There was also a coupon for a free package of the cheese, which the lady at the grocery store (the third one I tried!) was impressed by. She said she usually doesn’t see such good coupons.

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I wanted to get the Colby-Cheddar but there was only swiss or pepper jack so I decided to break out of my mold and go pepper jack. Yum!

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I happened to have wheat thins in my office so it was a quick, easy pairing. Overall, the cheese was good but a little thin so I felt like because I was eating it on crackers, it broke a little easier but on a sandwich, it was just fine.

Again, to me, this is the perfect workday lunch!

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Overall, I loved getting the sample and LOVE the lunch bag! I’m always looking for quick and easy lunch ideas at work–what’s your favorite quickie lunch?

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“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

How I Met Your Mother

I either get into trends super early or incredibly late. Example: I started listening to the soundtrack to Rent five years before any of my friends had even heard of it. On the other hand, I didn’t start watching How I Met Your Mother until this year. And I mean like March. I then got totally obsessed with it and ended up watching the first eight seasons within a month. Then I realized that it was impossible to find the final season on any of my online TV sources: Netflix, Amazon Prime or XFinity Cable. I was annoyed! So I looked into Hulu Plus and they didn’t have it either. I ended up just coughing up the $30 to buy the final season.

I loved the entire series. I thought it was well written and I liked that there were references back to previous seasons including flashbacks. I was torn with the ending. On the one hand, I was incredibly saddened, but on the other hand, the show gave me hope for my own boggling love life. My favorite character, by far, was Lily. I think because I always thought that I would be Lily-marrying someone I’d been with forever and Marshall was just such a stand-up guy with just perfect dash of geekiness where I could let my true geeky nature out. But alas, that has not been my lot in life.

Regardless, I found the show a great show to watch and I am a big fan of streaming shows after they come out because you never have to wait for the next season! What show should I watch next? I’ve been watching Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow and have been told Game of Thrones. I loved West Wing and would love another show like that!

Foodie Friday: The Picnic House

Awhile ago, like in February maybe, my good friend and I went out for a night on the town. We decided to try a bunch of different places. For drinks we went to The Picnic House. I’d never been there and neither had she but my mother had said that she’d enjoyed it in the past.

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I loved it! It was right downtown near the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall but because it was a quiet Saturday night-there was nothing going on downtown, traffic was non-existent and we were able to park right near the restaurant on the street. The restaurant itself was very cute and made me think of what an old fashioned salon in Paris would be-people coming to discuss high literary items and the such.

Since we were going out for dinner afterwards, we stuck to an appetizer and a drink but the dinner menu looked delicious as well.

Christine got a beer (I am terrible, I don’t drink beer so I didn’t pay attention to what she got!) and I got a glass of Pinot Noir.

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The Happy Hour menu was small, only six items on it but all reasonably priced between $3-$5. I got the salmon mousse crostini and Christine had the half grilled cheese sandwich & small roasted tomato soup. Both were small but nice portions and were quite tasty.

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My favorite part was the fact that they put the receipt into an old book!

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I will definitely be coming back here, perhaps when I attend an event at the concert hall!

Pretty Little Beauty Swap

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One of the cool things about blogging is the awesome swaps I get to participate in.  I particularly love the Pretty Little Beauty Swap because I get introduced to all sorts of awesome beauty products that I might not know about!

This time I got paired with Vanessa from X-Tremely V.  Check out her website for what I sent her!

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I loved the box–I might actually use it for something else!

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Love the polka-dot card!

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I can’t wait to try all the E.L.F. stuff! I don’t think I’ve actually used E.L.F. products before so I look forward to trying them out!

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Moroccan oil is supposed to be great in your hair so I can’t wait to try them out! And I love masks!

All in all, I loved the box and can’t wait to participate again!

A Week Off

Hey guys, I know I’ve been quiet here this week. I’ve been celebrating Passover. My best friend and sister were in town for the weekend and for the first Passover dinner so I was busy cooking and hanging out with them. Today is our first day back at work and things are busy here too.

I promise I will be back next week with a regular schedule and tons of new, fun stuff! Have a great holiday week whichever holiday you are celebrating!

Giveaway!

Hey Everyone!  I’m super excited to be participating in a giveaway!

It’s being hosted by Beverly from Halfway to Fearless and I’m sort of disappointed I can’t win because the prizes are pretty awesome!

Here’s a list of all the amazing bloggers involved:

Beverly @ Halfway to Fearless (HOST) – www.halfwaytofearless.com
Erin @ Two Thirds Hazel – www.twothirdshazel.com
Holly @ Hey, Hollywood – http://heyhollywoodblog.blogspot.com/
Stesha @ Classic & Bubbly – http://classicandbubbly.com/
Ashley @ Afternoon Espresso – http://www.afternoon-espresso.com/
Meghan @ Chasing Elephants – http://chasingelephantswithmeg.blogspot.com/
Tausha @ Taush O. – http://www.chadandtausha.com/
Kate @ Kate The Almost Great -http://www.katethealmostgreat.com/
Angela @ House Full of Boys -http://www.housefullofboys.com/
Rachel @ Rainy Days & Rubber Ducks -http://rainydaysrubberducks.com/
Meagan @ All The Joys – www.http://allthejoys.wordpress.com/
Anne @ Love The Here And Now -http://www.lovethehereandnow.com/
Giveaway Participants
And here are the amazing prizes:
Prizes

Make sure to use the Rafflecopter below to enter!

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Not Quite Local Living: Jack Daniel’s Distillery

When I told friends I was going to Nashville and asked for recommendations, the number one recommendation was the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. It’s about an hour drive to the distillery from Nashville and it’s a very pretty drive. OK, we may have missed the exit and gone about 20  miles out of our way in the middle of nowhere, but it was beautiful country roads!

The distillery offers two tours, a free tour of the site and a tasting tour for $10. We decided to go for the freebie tour.

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It was also a beautiful day so a perfect time to be walking outside.

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Mr. Daniels was a short man! He was just about my height at 5″2, and look at all he accomplished! He moved to Lynchburg in the 1880’s to start the distillery. He never had any kids but was quite the ladies man.

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No one is quite sure what No. 7 means but some speculation is it’s the number of his girlfriends. There was also a really cool old firetruck on the property. Everyone who works at the distillery is local and seems to have worked there for ages and love it.  The staff was very nice and friendly.

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This was Jack Daniel’s desk and the safe that caused his death. He came in early to work one day in 1905, couldn’t get the safe open, kicked it, and ended up developing gangrene which killed him in 1907. His nephew took over and then his nephew’s sons.

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The building that the office was in was used until the 1950’s I believe and is a historical landmark. They now have a new office across the way but keep this one as a memory.

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The water comes from onsite and they aren’t sure how deep this cave is but the water is cleansed by the limestone and was so beautifully clear.

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Each barrel that the whiskey ages in is handmade with no nails. It’s actually a super interesting process. Each one is only used once. You can buy a barrel of whiskey in which case you get a plaque with your  name and every time you buy a new barrel, a medallion goes on that plaque.

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The motto from Daniel’s time through today and the beautiful grounds.

We then went over to the town of Lynchburg for lunch and walked around. It’s all centered around a square and was super cute. There were some really neat craft stores and of course all sorts of Jack Daniels souvenirs.  Of course you can’t buy any of the whiskey there though! They did pass an ordinance in the past several years that one could buy certain whiskeys on the distillery site but I didn’t want to have to check luggage back home for a bottle of whiskey.

I would highly recommend making a trip out here and if I ever go back, I’d love to do the tasting tour as I do love wine tasting tours so I can imagine this would be fun too!

A Night at the Movies: The Grand Budapest Hotel

 As you know, I am not a movie goer. Since December, I’ve now seen three movies in the theater which is more than I saw in the entire year last year! I’m trying to do better but for the most part, I am not a big fan of sitting in the theater with everyone else when I can sit at home and pause when I need to go to the bathroom or text someone or just walk around the room! But Saturday was a somewhat rainy afternoon and my aunt and uncle were in town so off I went to the movie theater with my aunt and uncle, parents and grandmother. The only movie we could all agree on to see was The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I didn’t know much about it except that several people I knew had seen it and enjoyed it and it wasn’t a big Hollywood blockbuster.  Works for me!

Here’s what IMDB had to say: “GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

So one thing that super confused me was the timeline. The bulk of the story took place in 1932 and spoke about a war but I’m not sure if they were referencing the lead-up to WWII or if it was just a fictional thing.  Other than that, I loved the film. I thought it was a great story of friendship and mentoring with some slapstick to tie it all up. But not everyone I went with loved it as much as I did. Neither my aunt or mom felt a connection with the movie at all.

The other part I loved was just the beauty of the scenery. I wish I could find a hotel like this to stay at! Especially during the prime-I mean what hotel still has lobby boys and concierges that provide such a detailed level of service (ok I don’t necessarily want the extremes that Gustave H went through but pampering is nice!) There are also some great train scenes and I am a huge lover of trains and wouldn’t mind traveling the Continent on a train! I also mentioned that I saw this movie with family and someone asked the question, how did I handle the awkward scene with my family there? None of us can remember a particularly awkward scene in the movie–does anyone have any ideas about what this was?!

Have you seen any good movies that I should put on my someday list?

Not Quite Local Living: Country Music Hall of Fame

2014-03-28 13.14.01So one of the things that most surprises people about me is the fact that I am addicted to country  music.  I blame this on a few factors.  The first is when I was a kid, my father and I were at Target and trying to find a cassette tape for my walkman for a road trip we were going on. He picked up Garth Brook’s Ropin’ The Wind and said that he had heard it was good. I was hooked!  Then later when I was living in Israel, my first boyfriend at fifteen was from South Carolina.  He got me listening to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Anita Cochran–artists I still love today. It’s been all downhill from there! If you go into my iTunes account, you will see show tunes, country music and Israeli rock.  Go figure.

So it was with excitement that I spent the weekend in Nashville, TN, home of country music! And what better place to explore country music than at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The museum was pretty cool and offered different levels of entrance. We got a discount with my AAA card so paid $20/ticket. This got us into the main exhibit and into the special Reba exhibit.

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I loved the colors of the sign up above the ticket.

We started in the Reba exhibit.

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There was a Reba Barbie and knowing how much my girl, Melissa from A Honey Lust loves Barbie, I had to get a picture to her! The Reba exhibit was really cool-pictures of her growing up, images of her at the rodeo, her family and her Hollywood career as well as dresses she’s worn throughout the years.  I especially loved seeing her college diploma–she has a BS in Elementary Education!  Who know?!

Then there were two more floors of exhibits–starting with the early years of country music and bluegrass.  There were tons of old instruments and the clothes they would wear.

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There were even cars of former country stars! Being from California, I think the most surprising thing to me was the impact that Bakersfield, CA had on country music.  I learned that when the great migration happened during the Depression and people were leaving the south and heading west (think The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck), their music and customs were going with them.

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I also loved the more modern section because those are the artists I listen to and it was fun seeing relics from tours and things like that.  The final room, which I didn’t get a picture of was a round rotunda filled with plaques with pictures of everyone who had ever gotten into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

I definitely enjoyed the museum and would recommend it to anyone visiting Nashville.  Any Nashville places you recommend?

 

 

On My Bookshelf: The Aviator’s Wife

13642950I originally picked this book up because it was the next book for my Meetup book club.  I ended up not going to the meeting.  Mostly because it was a rainy evening and I didn’t feel like driving out to the east side by myself.  Hopefully I will motivate myself better to go to the next meeting because I really do enjoy going.

Anyway, here’s what Goodreads has to say about the book: “For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
 
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
 
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.”

Wow, what a book.  This book was written in the same vein as Loving Frank, about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in that it took a real person and many real instances in their lives but fictionalized it.  I really enjoy this type of novel because I think it gives me a chance to explore topics I would probably not have explored on my own.  I vaguely knew that Anne Morrow Lindburgh was married to Charles Lindburgh, a famous pilot, and I knew that they had a child who had something happen to him but I was fuzzy on the details and didn’t know much else.

Well this book did a fabulous job of going through the history of Anne Morrow Lindburgh and their marriage as well as Charles Lindburgh’s views during World War II, of which I had no idea.  I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in fictionalized accounts of history and those who are interested in learning more about the Lindburghs.