Restaurant Snob?

Biggest Naan I've ever seen and the best
On Saturday night we went to Ali Baba Restaurant.  It's on this random street next to a liquor store.  There is a bar across the street and no other restaurant in sight.  It doesn't offer much in the way of ambiance but I love it that it's in our neighborhood.  We don't have to drive downtown and hunt or pay for parking and they serve Naan bigger then the size of my head fresh out of the oven.  The food is delicious and the portions are generous.  We had an authentic Mediterranean Halal food experience right in our  backyard.  I honestly had no clue what type of food it was but that's what it says on their website.  We've been there twice now and plan to take my mother in law when she comes to visit.

There was a time when going to TGI Friday's or Applebee's would be my top pick for dining out on the weekends but over the last year or so I've fallen out of love with chain restaurants.  There is something about their mass produced energy that doesn't appeal to me so much anymore.  I think it's a combination of getting older and the plethora of great restaurants in our city to explore.  There are so many new ones popping up that I'll probably never get a chance to try them all.  I'm also not 100% driven by price when it comes to dining out like I was in my early 20's.  It's a factor for sure; but I'm not compelled to go somewhere just because I see a commercial advertising a 3 course combo for $10.99.
Top:  Chicken Tikka  Bottom:  Chicken Shawarma
Or maybe my husband is starting to rub off on me.  I call him a food snob.  He say's he just likes good food.  Or maybe he's not a food snob and I just wore him down with wanting to go the same places all the time.  When we were still dating On the Border was our spot.  He was still living about 1 1/2 hours away in Orange County.  He'd drive down to my house on Friday's and I'd rush home from work so we could make happy hour.  I got the chicken casadilla and he'd get the tacos.  We'd both get a beer or sometimes he'd get a Margarita.  It was cheap and tasted good to me.  After he got sick of that place we went through a TGI Friday's run until he refused to go there ever again and started saying how much he hated it.  Then it was Outback which is also on his hate list and in between we frequented Chili's and Applebee's quite a bit too.  In his opinion the food at non chain restaurants is better and he burns out with repetition while I'm pretty easy to please and could eat the same things at the same place every day.  I'm a creature of habit and not too adventurous when it comes to food but we started branching out for date nights and really haven't looked back.  

When I go out I want unique decor details and menu items that you can't get anywhere else.  I enjoy ambiance and an interesting vibe.  I love the friendly service and homey atmosphere that I get in little mom and pop places.  They seem to pay more attention to the quality of the food they serve and I like supporting small businesses.  It doesn't have to be fancy or hip.  We like discovering hole in the wall spots and places outside the trendy happening areas.  We are always open to trying new places and if the food and service is good we'll be back.  One of our new favorite spots is a place right down the street from us in a strip mall.  There is nothing fancy about it but the food is good, the people are friendly and we feel at home there.  MJ is such a regular they know him by name. 

I haven't sworn off chain restaurants indefinitely but it's not going to be my first choice and I'm not necessarily planning to go to one anytime soon.  I can't go the rest of my life without ever tasting Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits again and I have only found one restaurant that has lasagna I like as much Olive Garden's.  They say it's frozen but I don't care.  Even Italy couldn't outdo Lasagna Classico. And those bread sticks.  Denny's is a sentimental favorite of mine too.  I grew up going there and it was always my Birthday dinner pick.  My how times have changed.

Maybe I'm turning into a restaurant/food snob but I like to feel like I'm having some type of culinary experience.   I don't need a mouthwash dispenser in the bathroom but if I'm spending my time and money I want it to feel worth it and special in some way.  Chains just don't do it for me like they used to.

A Giveaway :: Because Nude is Boring

Nude nude is exciting but apparently a nude bra is not and the husband was starting to notice.  Why don't you ever wear the pretty colored bras?  I have pink and blue and grey with lace; all of which he bought me by the way since I'm too boring practical to buy anything but nude or black.  I explained to him that a nude seamless bra is a staple in a woman's lingerie arsenal because it goes well under absolutely everything.  I can put it on even if I don't know what I'm wearing yet and I automatically know that it's going to work under whatever I walk out the door in.  Plus, nude technically matches every single panty in my drawer.  Boring, but practical.  Since he notices such things I've been making an effort to put the more colorful bras into rotation.  And that's why I picked this bright blue bra from Adore Me.
Can I just say how much I love the Enika Push up?  This is the first non Victoria's Secret bra that I've owned in pretty much forever so I wasn't sure what to expect.  The material on the hipster panties is so stretchy and hugs my booty just right.  I won't have to worry about it riding up which I hate and the bra gives me the perfect amount of push up.

Adore Me Adrienne Push Up
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and Adore Me has a super sexy Valentine's Day collection.  Surprise him or surprise yourself with something different then what you already have.  They have that boring nude bra if you really need one; which we all do, but they have a lot of sexy and fun styles to choose from too.

Adore Me is a NYC-based fast fashion lingerie company offering designer lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear at affordable prices. We design for every kind of woman, and offer a wide range of styles and sizes, and even have styles that go up to size DD+ and above.  Customers are recommended to take the short Style Profile Quiz for a personalized shopping experience and showroom with selections best made for them.  Adore Me is a membership-based e-commerce site with special prices offered to VIP members, but also offers a Pay-As-You-Go service for customers who don't want to commit.  More Information here on how it works.  Finding the perfect fit can be tricky if you are doing it online but the return/exchange process is super easy and free.  You can put in an exchange request online, print out the shipping label and place a new order right away without having to wait or pay for a new order.  They just ask that you return the entire set within 30 days.

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Please Note:  I was given a complimentary lingerie set from Adore Me for review. However, the opinions expressed in this post are solely mine. 

I Follow Kids on Instagram

I confess that I totally forgot about jury duty over Christmas Break.  I meant to cancel it but then forgot and it dawned on me after New Year's that I was supposed to go.  I checked the website and it said "served" but I was still freaking out thinking I'd end up with a warrant out for my arrest so I called.  I did jury duty without actually doing it.  My name was called for a group that didn't get sent to a courtroom so even though I never showed up they checked me off as time served.  Easiest jury duty service I've ever done.

I cried almost to the point of sobbing watching Lone Survivor.  You know how if a baby starts to cry parents should take them out of the theater so as not to disturb other guests?  Well, I was that baby that would have had to leave if I couldn't get control of my tears.  It was so good and very well done but so sad.  It made my heart so heavy for the families who have lost their military men or have to deal with the fear of having a man in such a high risk occupation.  
I  confess that sometimes when I'm having an "ugly" day I snap a selfie.  Sometimes it confirms my suspicions and other times I am pleasantly surprised.

I've lost the ability to open our package delivery mailbox.  When USPS delivers a large package they put it in the larger box and put a key in our mailbox to open it.  It didn't used to be a problem but one day I tried opening it and couldn't.  I tried and tried on multiple days and even left a note saying that the key was defective.  It turns out I'm defective. MJ can get it open; I can't.  When a package comes he has to get it or else it will never come out.  I don't even want to think about what to do if a package comes in while he's out of the country.

I confess that I follow pre teen dancers on Instagram.  What can I say?  I love Dance in general and Dance Mom's in particular so I started following Nia, Maddie and Chloe.  They are so cute!  Then through those accounts I ended up following a few other dancers.  They are so flexible and they post really beautiful pics with their backs bent in half and legs at a backwards 90 degree angle.  Do they have bones?  I mean look at this girl.  It's not natural.  These kids are REALLY popular.  Ashi has 177k  and Kalanih has 233k followers!!!

I confess that when I'm doing yoga and the instructor gives certain directions sometimes I have no idea what they are talking about but I try to do it anyways.   Here are some examples:  The tailbone meets the pubis and the pubis still meets tailbone.  Feel the undulation of your breath moving through your spine.  Breathe into your side ribs.  Move your sacrum deep into the body.  Connect your legs to the length of your spine. Keep the skin of the back smooth, breathing and open.  Draw the energy of your legs into your spine.  Uh...what was that?? 

I still don't understand the i cloud.  I love it that it allows me to sync my i Pad with my i Phone so I probably just need to give up on understanding the how and just be glad that it does whatever it does however it does it.

Linking up with Leslie @Blonde Ambition.

A Holiday Party in January

The first year that MJ's company holiday party was in January I thought it was weird now I just think it makes sense.  The holiday's are busy and there's so many other things going on that it's nice not having to make time for it in December and it's a little extra something fun to look forward to in the New Year.  No Christmas songs or holiday themed decorations but who cares.  There are free drinks.  And food.  A party is a party!  This year the theme was roaring 20's.  Some people went all out and dressed up for it but they had props there for slackers like us who didn't.  

I'm really proud of MJ for putting together such a nice outfit.  There really aren't a whole lot of options for men.  I guess he got sick of the same old button up shirt and tie and went with a bow tie and a cardigan.  I think he rocked it.  He looked so cute!
We use the holiday party as an excuse to stay in a hotel overnight and go out downtown.  The parties are always fabulous but we never stay for the whole thing.  We check in, get our drink tickets, drink up, eat up, mingle, get our picture taken and then leave.   We had a really fun time while we were there though.  My favorite part was the mac and cheese station.  So good! The band was pretty good and the wine pours were generous.  We did not win the i Pad mini they were giving away because we never win anything at these parties.  We left around 8 and went to a bar with a group of people from the holiday party and managed to stay out until just past midnight.  I probably could have gone longer if my feet weren't hurting so bad.  I wore my comfortable and fairly sensible pumps but even the most comfortable pumps turn into very uncomfortable torture devices after a while. 
The party was at the Marriott.  I really love this hotel.  It's right on the water and it's really nice.  It's a shame we don't really get a chance to utilize the amenities.  For such a quick overnight trip it's basically just a place to sleep.  We checked in around 4ish on Saturday and relaxed for a few hours before it was time to get ready for the party.  The next morning we checked out around 11am and then went out to breakfast.  I was pretty useless on Sunday.  I half napped and laid around most of the day.  And as I did that I wondered what the heck I would do if I had a child who wanted to play all day?  I was exhausted as it was.  I'm pretty sure it's not acceptable to put them in the closet with a TV or an i Pad even though MJ seems to think it is.  I'm so glad we got an extra day off to recover.

The weather is still freakishly warm here.  It's warm enough to have a Fourth of July BBQ in January too but we're going to the movies instead. 

Walter Mitty and Chocolate Cake

Saturday was date night.  We went to Cineopolis to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I loved it.  It's one of those feel good movies that makes me feel enlightened and enriched in some way just from having watched it.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I'm surprised I didn't cry. 

Walter Mitty is your average Joe like anyone else.  He's been working in the basement level of Life Magazine for 16 years in the negative assets department and stresses out about keeping the bills paid.  Life Magazine is transitioning from the print version of to Life Magazine Online.  He is the timid, worker bee who hope that he still has a job when it's all said and done who is belittled by the hot shot jerk of a younger guy in charge of overseeing the transition.  Day to day life is pretty mundane except when he goes into one of his trances and thinks of all the things he wishes he had the guts to say or the super human abilities to do.  I think we all kind of do that.  What if.  If only.  One day.  I wish.  Then suddenly he finds himself going to places and doing those things that he only dreamed about before.  He goes from underdog to trailblazer and with it comes a confidence that he didn't have before. 

In the movie the Life Magazine mission statement is: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”  The words are vague and broad and yet so universally specific at the same time.  I think we can all find meaning in it.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie is when one of the characters says, "Beautiful things don't ask for attention."  This really stood out for me in it's simplicity.  In this day and age of me, me, me and the non stop social media attention seeking frenzy it's a really refreshing way to look at things.  What makes you beautiful?  Your great smile or 100 likes on Instagram?  Just be. Do beautiful things and be your beautiful self without regard to who's watching and what everyone thinks about it.  That in and of itself is beautiful.

The movie definitely raises some questions in terms of how realistic it is.  Is there really a Papa John's in Greenland?  Is it really possible to get cell phone reception in Iceland?  Is e Harmony really $500 per year?  But it's a movie.  I loved the storyline so much that I really didn't care about the actual reality of such things.  The acting was great, the characters were touching and I loved the story and there was even a little bit of romance.  I give it a thumbs up.
After the movie MJ was in the mood for chocolate so we went over to this really cute restaurant called D Bar.  We sat at the dessert bar so we got to see the chef's putting together all of these tasty looking desserts.  This three layer chocolate cake was really good and it came with a vanilla shake.  How adorable is this presentation?  They really pay attention to detail there.  The couple next to us had Bacon Macaroni and Cheese that looked really good so we will be going back and that's definitely what I'll be getting. 

Junk in My Trunk

I haven't done a confessions post in a while.  So here goes.

I confess that I'm having a really good hair day and I kind of feel like it's going to waste since I have no plans today.

I confess that I always grab an extra Splenda or two..or three.  And sometimes I'll grab an extra Creamer...or two.  Does that make me a thief?  I am a paying customer.  I just like to take a little extra for the road.

I confess that I reuse sandwich bags.  Even the cheap ones that don't close at the top.  If I pack something like carrots  the bag is barely used.  I like to get my use out of things.
I confess that I'm still wearing nail polish from Maui.  It was this pretty matte mint green color and it matched my bikini.  Well, it doesn't look so good anymore and I probably won't be in that  bikini for another 6 months so....yeah, time to take it off before MJ starts asking me what's up with my toe nails.  I'm surprised he hasn't already. 

While we're at it I confess that I've always hated my feet.  I have really long toes and the 2nd toe overlaps the big toe. I didn't where open toed shoes until after college.  It took me even longer to get my first pedicure and when I was dating someone I was always afraid to let them see my feet.  Like, deep breath...this could be a deal breaker.  I'm over it though, for the most part.  I'm still not a fan but it's not a major source of embarrassment and I don't hide them in shame anymore.  Unless I really need a pedicure, like now.

I confess that I've got a lot of junk in my trunk.  Not my butt, although I do feel that it's pretty substantial.  I'm talking about my actual trunk.  In my car.  And the contents of my glove compartment spring forward when you open it.  Every other part of my car is neat as pin.  I promise.  The trunk is not nearly as bad as it used to be.  I used to use it as extra storage when I lived in my tiny studio.  Now I just have a few things bumping around back there that I apparently don't need considering they've been back there for over a year.  I've always thought that the way people keep their car is a reflection of how they keep their homes.  In my case it's true.  The guest rooms are messy but the main areas that everyone sees are neat. 

I confess that I've tracked my calories every single day since I got my iPhone in December of 2009.  I even track when I'm on vacation even though I don't like what I see.  Four years ago Lose it! was the first app I downloaded.  That's either really awesome or really ridiculous depending on how you look at it.  It's just something I do.  Lose It! is so sweet.  They rewarded me with free premium membership for life.  My commitment has not gone unnoticed.


Linking up with Leslie from A Blonde Ambition.

Do Travel Plans Count as New Years Resolutions?

Was New Year's Eve just last week? Seriously. It already feels like it was a lifetime ago.  I went back to work on Thursday and it flew by for some odd reason.  I think that we were still in shock that we were there.  After 12 days of being off we didn't quite know what was going on.  Friday went slower.  And now it's back to Monday.

The tree came down Friday.  You can't imagine how excited I was to come home from work on  Friday to an  X Box playing husband who had already taken down the tree, put every thing away, cleaned up all the pine needles AND put together our new wine bar.  I love the tree but I really hate the mess of it and taking it down is not nearly as exciting as putting it up.  I was really thankful to him for taking care of that.  It's so nice to have a husband that takes care of business. 

I used to make resolutions every year but I've definitely lost my resolution making mojo.  I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year, I didn't make any last year either and two years ago I only had three.  Finishing my novel is a given.  It's something I plan to do and I'm actively working on it.  No need to list that. There are some non tangible things I want to work on within myself and as much as I like lists I'm just not compelled to list it.  Not right now anyways.  It kind of makes me feel like a slacker not to march into the New Year armed with a list of intentions but I just don't have it in me to do it.

Do travel plans count?  I resolve to travel next year.  Apparently we can't function without having a vacation booked so 6 days into the new year we've already locked that down.  In June we will be heading down to the Cancun area to stay at an all inclusive resort for 8 days.  I have done the all inclusive cruise thing but never at a resort so I'm really excited.  Did I say that drinks including alcoholic beverages are also included?  In September we are going to New York City.  Neither one of us has been there in a really long time.  so I'm super excited about that too.  There will probably be a long weekend getaway or two thrown in there somewhere also.  Las Vegas and/or Sedona most likely.

MJ made these yummy cinnamon rolls from scratch.  See the un frosted one in the corner specially for me?  He had cream cheese that would have expired if he didn't use it up so it was the only logical solution.  As if anyone needs more sweets right now.  Hopefully our co workers will gobble them up so we don't have to bring home any left overs.

This post really has no point just like this picture really has nothing to do with this post and I'm totally aware of that.  I've been blogging for a while now and written about a plethora of topics primarily myself.  Do you ever feel like you've said everything that there is to say?  Well, sometimes I feel like that.  My life is not the exciting crazy train that it was in 2010 when there were major life changes happening.  Wedding, new house, new job, honeymoon.  Now that was an exciting year.  Life lately is more settled and I'm very content.  Sometimes my mind just feels like a blank slate.  I may not have a picture or a profound particularly interesting or funny thought but I might still want to pop in and say hello.  The writer in me finds it very difficult to hit publish without structure, rhyme and reason.  I would never post randomly just to post five days a week but I love to write and this is my space to do so after all.  I'm trying to allow myself the freedom to just write and be okay with hitting publish even if it doesn't feel "important" enough to warrant a blog post rather then not writing at all.  If this were my journal that's what I'd do. And this kind of is; except that I have readers and I don't share all of my deepest darkest secrets here.  I hope that's okay.

So here goes.  Publish. And that makes 2 sort of non resolutions.

Going out for NYE is not Overrated

I had no intention of going out for New Year's Eve.  I'm content to spend it on the couch watching countdowns and struggling to stay awake until midnight.  Braving the crowds, drunk drivers and the cold was never the plan and I probably wouldn't have unless I was tricked.  What had happened was that we were supposed to go to an ugly sweater party but it got cancelled.  MJ tells me the couple that was hosting it wanted to know if we want to go to San Diego Beer Co instead.  It's a restaurant so I assumed that meant dinner.  Sure.  I like hanging out with this couple.  Dinner out will be nice and low key.  Then the next day MJ tells me he bought tickets.  Tickets to what?  You don't buy tickets to dinner.  So that's how I found out we were going out for New Years eve.  Another communication fail.

We went to dinner downtown at Nicky Rotten's at 7pm.  I opted for the Mac and Cheese instead of my usual salad.  I'll order salads for the next month and be happy about it but I wanted to indulge for NYE so I did.  We walked over to San Diego Beer Company at 9 and we didn't leave there until about 2 am. 
MJ and I have been together for five years and the most we've ever done is go to a friends house.  I can't remember the last time I was out partying on New Years Eve...if ever.  Turns out going out for New Years Eve is a lot of fun.  I mean, I figured it would be once I got past the whole figuring out what to wear, putting on make up and dragging myself out of the house part.  Everyone is in such a festive mood.  There is a lot of sequins and cardboard tiaras.  People going out for NYE are ready to par-tay and they mean business.  The bar was was packed with people trying to get the bartenders attention.  The place was crowded but not too crowded and we had a table to sit at for the night.  At midnight we did a group tequila shot toast.  Yes, tequila not champagne...and shared a  big old sloppy kiss.  Major PDA overload.  We gave up our table after that so we could hit the dance floor.  More PDA.  I had so much fun that I might not even need to be tricked into it next time.  Well, maybe I will.  The thought of going out is just soooo exhausting.  I'd almost rather that I don't have a choice because 9/10 I'll pick the couch even though once I'm "forced" out I have a good time.

We spent $60 in cab fare but for four that's not too bad.  And it's cheaper then a DUI.  The restaurant for dinner was reasonably priced but the cost of drinks do add up.  MJ spent $30 on our tickets that we now realize we didn't need to.  It was free before 10pm.  Lesson learned there.  I don't think we spent more because it was NYE then we might have on any other night.  It was basically a double date; dinner and out to a bar that turned into a club after 10pm. Nothing too extravagant.  And I'm excited that we'll be hanging out with this couple again in a few weeks for MJ's company holiday party.  I'm just a regular party animal over here!!

I'm a homebody by nature.  I like the couch and I love my pajamas but along the way I'm realizing that going out is just one more way to keep you feeling young and keep your relationship young.  You know, keep it fresh.  And you are never too old to do it; even if your sore hips and inability to stay up past 10pm on most nights tell you otherwise.  My parents who are in their 60's and have been married for 40 years went out.  I enjoy going out and acting like I'm in my 20's minus the whole I'll never drink again hangover from hell routine.  That part is NEVER fun and if it happens on a regular basis when you are in your 30's you probably have some serious  issues.  I like flirting and dirty dancing with my husband.  I like for him to see me all dolled up and I think I have more fun going out as a married couple then I did as a single girl.  It happens a handful of times a year which is plenty and when it does we have a lot of fun with it.

We have a good time whether were are watching TV on the couch or dancing at a club.  I don't really care so much where we celebrate or how we celebrate as long as we're doing it together.