Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Tour_arenal 


I'm bursting at the seams and having a hard time concentrating on work because I just booked a flight yesterday to Costa Rica! Sort of a "spontaneous" thing from May 15-19--un pequeno viaje. I'm traveling alone, but as it turns out, my friend Carolyn will also be there! She's going on a much longer trip for 2 weeks with Intrepid Travel (which I'm definitely bookmarking for the future--some great trips with various comfort level options and not overpriced). I doubt I'll be doing much on the way of true ecotourism, given my short stay, but I'm hoping to do 1 or 2 day trips from San Jose--or potentially one overnight trip. In the next few days (evenings, of course), I'm going to be booking my hotel and researching tours and planning (as much as I ever plan) my itinerary!


Manuel_antonio_costarica


Photos of the lovely country from: Traveling Costarica.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lose 40 Pounds Fast!

Good news! I lost over 40 pounds! In one day! What's my secret? I cleaned out my closet! I had to drag out my summer clothing this weekend when temperatures reached 85 degrees on Saturday. So, what better time than the subsequently rainy Sunday to do some cleaning out? I am somewhat obsessive about tracking what I give away, and not because I ever deduct the donations from my taxes. I think I just like knowing. I got the idea for weighing it from Alana at Prairie Home Therapy. I tried weighing it by itself, but my digital scale wouldn't pick it up. I had to hold it and subtract my weight--hence, why I'm not including a shot of the scale!!!


Donations

Lose 40 Pounds Fast!

Good news! I lost over 40 pounds! In one day! What's my secret? I cleaned out my closet! I had to drag out my summer clothing this weekend when temperatures reached 85 degrees on Saturday. So, what better time than the subsequently rainy Sunday to do some cleaning out? I am somewhat obsessive about tracking what I give away, and not because I ever deduct the donations from my taxes. I think I just like knowing. I got the idea for weighing it from Alana at Prairie Home Therapy. I tried weighing it by itself, but my digital scale wouldn't pick it up. I had to hold it and subtract my weight--hence, why I'm not including a shot of the scale!!!


Donations

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Pope is Dope

Well, I went to see the Pope leave the White House today at lunch. I was invited to visit with the Bushes, but as you know, I'm a woman of the people and found it more fitting to be in the crush along Pennsylvania Avenue. It was very exciting, actually. Lots of dancing, singing people and protesters, etc. I didn't get any great photos of the Pope, though the Popemobile does a great job of elevating him so you can see him.


Popemobile_2 


I didn't manage to get a shot right in front of me. But, trust me, he looks fatter in person and seriously needs to reconsider his hairstyle.


I thought I'd show you some of the lesser-seen moments, captured from my crowd shots. I am sorry to say I didn't get a picture of the guy who was pressing his manhood up against my behind. You'll just have to trust me on that one. Don't worry, I put a stop to it. And, in answer to a question my mom asked, no, he wasn't cute.


Germanshepherd


This was my favorite sign, but these were close seconds:


Beingliedto


Devil


You've got to admire the dedication of these. I mean, do you buy these? If so, where? Crazies R Us?


Don't worry, the Pope was protected from these fundamentalists by Amerca's finest:


Copper


He wasn't protected, however, from being plastered on t-shirts and other Popeabilia and sold for $10



Popeabilia_2


Cha-Ching!  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Etsy Finds: Best Bets for Pittsburghers or Pittsburgh Wannabes

Say you know someone from Pittsburgh or someone who likes to pretend they are. Say their birthday's coming up. What to buy? Perhaps something to remind them of home.


Can't crack open an Ahrn while shaving? Use this Iron City Beer soap from leavingalegacy:


Il_430xn_20580268


Ah, true love. Show a Pittsburgher you care by using this keychain by ThePoint:


Il_430xn_22706942_3   


This garter by GartersByKristi requires no introduction:


Il_430xn_22136494_2 


I'd buy this just for the guy's etsy name Printsnat:


Il_430xn_20460634_2 


Light up your life with this lamp from lizziecrafts:


Il_430xn_15152041


Don't forget man's best friend. Get him a collar from FidosFashionCollars:


Il_430xn_16338778


Happy shopping!

Etsy Finds: Best Bets for Pittsburghers or Pittsburgh Wannabes

Say you know someone from Pittsburgh or someone who likes to pretend they are. Say their birthday's coming up. What to buy? Perhaps something to remind them of home.


Can't crack open an Ahrn while shaving? Use this Iron City Beer soap from leavingalegacy:


Il_430xn_20580268


Ah, true love. Show a Pittsburgher you care by using this keychain by ThePoint:


Il_430xn_22706942_3   


This garter by GartersByKristi requires no introduction:


Il_430xn_22136494_2 


I'd buy this just for the guy's etsy name Printsnat:


Il_430xn_20460634_2 


Light up your life with this lamp from lizziecrafts:


Il_430xn_15152041


Don't forget man's best friend. Get him a collar from FidosFashionCollars:


Il_430xn_16338778


Happy shopping!

Yesterday's Dinner

I thought my dinner last night looked purty (I think due to my Fiestaware plate and the orange-themed dinner), so I thought I'd share. It was also delicious.



P4140053_4


Those are Mango Coconut Curry Nuggets, an adaptation from a Weight Watchers cookbook recipe. Basically, you take boneless chicken, cut it up into chunks, and then coat it with a mixture of mango chutney, curry powder, and cumin. Then dredge each piece in a mixture of panko or breadcrumbs and coconut. I honestly didn't think the coconut added much so I might skip it next time. I used fresh frozen coconut--recipe called for sweetened flaked coconut. Recipe also didn't have breadcrumbs, but I felt that would work better. I like using panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) because they're usually made with less preservatives and weird ingredients than regular breadcrumbs.  Bake for 15 min in a preheated 475 degree oven. Hot stuff!


I ate them dipped into a mixture of mango chutney and fat free sour cream. Yummy. I bet a similar recipe would work well with pork chops too.

Yesterday's Dinner

I thought my dinner last night looked purty (I think due to my Fiestaware plate and the orange-themed dinner), so I thought I'd share. It was also delicious.



P4140053_4


Those are Mango Coconut Curry Nuggets, an adaptation from a Weight Watchers cookbook recipe. Basically, you take boneless chicken, cut it up into chunks, and then coat it with a mixture of mango chutney, curry powder, and cumin. Then dredge each piece in a mixture of panko or breadcrumbs and coconut. I honestly didn't think the coconut added much so I might skip it next time. I used fresh frozen coconut--recipe called for sweetened flaked coconut. Recipe also didn't have breadcrumbs, but I felt that would work better. I like using panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) because they're usually made with less preservatives and weird ingredients than regular breadcrumbs.  Bake for 15 min in a preheated 475 degree oven. Hot stuff!


I ate them dipped into a mixture of mango chutney and fat free sour cream. Yummy. I bet a similar recipe would work well with pork chops too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My New Sweethearts

I have had my daisies for several weeks now...and they're still on my coffee table. But, I bought 2 new bunches today. I am in love with my sweetheart roses. I put them in a stemless wine glass on my nightstand.



Roses_2


I also boughts some tulips that I arranged in a way I saw on some blog (I have tried in vain to re-find it) which they said is all the rage in Paris. So ooh la la to you!


Tulips   

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No News Is Good News: A Museum Review

Newseum_4What you had was no news about the new Newseum in DC because I wrote an entire post that was somehow mysteriously empty when it posted.


I got a sneak peek at the Newseum on Saturday. It opens officially to the public this weekend.  Ted joined me for this visit, at least for the first part. After one or two floors, I was on my own.


We started with the "4-D" Theatre, at the suggestion of the information desk staff. Ted asked "Do we go back in time since the 4th dimension is time?" As the museum CEO greeted us (and by us I mean mostly the students from the Horatio Alger Association of which he's a board member), we anxiously waited for the answer, imagining ourselves going back to see ourselves as pre-pubescents in middle school eating cafeteria grilled cheese or something. Alas, we needn't have worried. I believe the 4th dimension they were referring to was the jolting of the seats and the blowing of air on us, to simulate that we were actually in the action. This action I speak of was loosely constructed, horribly acted recreations of events in news history, such as the investigative reporting of Nelly Bly. I couldn't tell if the actors were being ironic or if they were just bad.  On a side note, kids would probably be less critical and would like it.


The main course on the top floor is the sweeping view of Pennsylvania Avenue and the Mall. In my words when we entered the space "This would be GREAT for a cocktail party!" There is also a selection of national and international front pages displayed. I was disappointed to not find the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the esteemed publication I worked at the summer of 199--gulp--7.


The 5th floor has  a news history gallery with publications going back hundreds of years...don't worry, they've edited it down for you. Essentially, the pubs feature major historical events. Around the perimeter of the room are cases with themed displays such as civil rights (covering women, people of color, etc reporting the news), spoofs (popular exhibit with clips from SNL, Laugh In, and the Daily Show), and sensationalism (Elvis is Alive!). This level contains 3 theatres.


Herein lies the crux of my gripe about the Newseum. Caveat: I did not watch all of what was being shown. But, I felt like there was a LOT of present-day news being flashed at me. It just seemed like a waste of time to me.


The next level had the 9-11 gallery, featuring a TV tower from one of the Twin Towers, artifacts from and photographs taken by the one journalist to die covering the tragedy, and a documentary about those journalists who raced to the scene of the Twin Towers. I did watch that, and it was a tear jerker (they actually have tissues there). I found it poigniant, and it was popular, but I'm not sure if it's because the material is actually any more interesting or informative than what we've seen already on TV. It's emotional catharsis, and I'm not sure if that's a good mission for a museum. One cries at the Holocaust museum, for example, but it's not just that--it's educational and you walk away with a message. The message here was: boy, there was a tragedy, it was awful, and journalists were there covering it. Not much of a message.


There are also exhibits on the First Amendment, World News (prominently featuring the dangers of reporting abroad--including a bullet-battered truck), and a journalist's memorial. I admit, I glazed over a bit through these. I was tired--I spent a total of 4-5 hours in the museum. I did find out that only 3% of Americans can name the 5 liberties afforded by the 1st Amendment while 20% can name the 5 members of The Simpsons family. In case someone quizzes you, they're: Speech, Religion, Press, Assembly, & Petition.


I ate at the "Food Section," catered by Wolfgang Puck. Okay, it's a cafeteria. That's it. Don't expect fireworks and violins. I had a garden burger. It was a fine garden burger, but nothing to write home about.


After being fortified, I could better appreciate the next 2 things I saw: the Berlin Wall exhibit and the exhibit of Pulitzer Prize winning photos. The Wall exhibit has a piece of the Wall, a watchtower, and pieces exploring the importance of a free press and having access to information. The Pulitzer Prize exhibit told the stories behind the photos--some of which were very moving and stuck with me long after I left.


All in all, I liked my visit. There was a lot to see, and a lot to read, especially for someone like myself who insists on reading everything written on a museum wall. I slept well that night. If I had had to pay, I don't know how I would have felt. The $20 adult admission is a bit steep, especially for residents used to the free Smithsonians. I would have liked more of a running theme or discreet themes/stories to carry me through the significance of what was being presented--more interpretation. I'm sure it will find its own...I'm interested to see what the "professional" reviews say.


And, if you've visited, I'd like to hear what you think!


Here's what some others thought:


Slate (Articulates many of my own feelings, though in a slightly less reserved way)


USA Today (Essentially a cheerleading piece).


AP


Politico


Photo of the building by Maria Bryk/Newseum. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cool Tool

Ask.com has this cool feature where you can calculate walking directions and distance. It's pretty spot on too. I just did my route to work and was going to show it until I realized that, um, I shouldn't post my home and work addresses online. I did do that walk today, though, and it takes about an hour. The estimate was 57 minutes, which I could definitely do if I stepped it up a bit.


So, here's a hypothetical walk from Pittsburgh to New York:


Image002


You can get there in 185 hours if you want! Pretty cool, huh?

I just gotta say...Flesh Out v. Flush Out

American_standard_flowise_high_ef_2After hearing the second colleague in as many days use the term "flush out" to refer to working out a problem or making something more complete, I just gotta say..."It's 'FLESH OUT,' people!!!" As in putting meat on the bones of something.


Having been a writer/editor in the past, stuff like this gets on my nerves. I am in no way error proof, but it especially annoys me when the person, oh, has an air of superiority about them, for example. Of course, you can't point this kind of thing out without seeming like a prig. So, I stay silent, while feeling secretly superior and thinking, "Boy, am I glad I got my liberal arts degree now!" [As an aside, I wish I could get a dollar to apply to my student loan balance every time I correct a business major's writing. Ahem. Not that there aren't perfectly lovely and intelligent business students out there. Don't mind me...I just resent not having made any money.]


In review, you can "flush out" a criminal from his hiding place as the army tried to do with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. You can "flush out" your pipes. You can "flush out" your colon. However, you "flesh out" ideas. Okay? Thanks, I feel better now.


Lovely toilet image from: High Efficiency Toilets

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Vintage Etsy Finds

Just browsing Etsy...cute stuff!


Vintage bluebird tea towel from moonula:


Il_430xn_23178866


I had to include this because not only was I a Strawberry Shortcake FANATIC when I was little, but I had this mug (my mom still may...) From TrunkofPrettys.


Il_430xn_23018921_2


This funky vase from seaglassvintage.


Il_430xn_12795821


And, lastly, this cute scotty dog from snew:


Il_430xn_16619155

Vintage Etsy Finds

Just browsing Etsy...cute stuff!


Vintage bluebird tea towel from moonula:


Il_430xn_23178866


I had to include this because not only was I a Strawberry Shortcake FANATIC when I was little, but I had this mug (my mom still may...) From TrunkofPrettys.


Il_430xn_23018921_2


This funky vase from seaglassvintage.


Il_430xn_12795821


And, lastly, this cute scotty dog from snew:


Il_430xn_16619155

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cuppy Cakes!

Since I found out on Shelterrfic that Martha Stewart has designated this week "Cupcake Week," I figured now was as good a time as any to post my chocolate cherry cupcakes I made on Sunday in celebration of the cherry blossoms. The recipe is from Nigella Lawson. Not surprisingly, her version looks much cuter. Something to do with the chocolate icing and little cherry on top. Mine were as nude on top as exotic dancers, but no less delicious.


First are the ingredients: butter, bittersweet chocolate, eggs, sugar, flour, and cherry jam. The cupcakes are actually easy to make.


Cupcakeingredients


Everything can be mixed in the pot you melt the butter and chocolate in. Now, I'm warning you, at this point, you may be tempted to eat it all, but be patient. Though, I can't blame you if you at least taste it. 


Chocolate


The finished product. Mine sunk a bit, but tasted great. I tried making an icing out of just confectioners sugar and water, but it did nothing for the cakes, so I left them go as is.


Cupcakes

Cuppy Cakes!

Since I found out on Shelterrfic that Martha Stewart has designated this week "Cupcake Week," I figured now was as good a time as any to post my chocolate cherry cupcakes I made on Sunday in celebration of the cherry blossoms. The recipe is from Nigella Lawson. Not surprisingly, her version looks much cuter. Something to do with the chocolate icing and little cherry on top. Mine were as nude on top as exotic dancers, but no less delicious.


First are the ingredients: butter, bittersweet chocolate, eggs, sugar, flour, and cherry jam. The cupcakes are actually easy to make.


Cupcakeingredients


Everything can be mixed in the pot you melt the butter and chocolate in. Now, I'm warning you, at this point, you may be tempted to eat it all, but be patient. Though, I can't blame you if you at least taste it. 


Chocolate


The finished product. Mine sunk a bit, but tasted great. I tried making an icing out of just confectioners sugar and water, but it did nothing for the cakes, so I left them go as is.


Cupcakes