Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bone Cold

I am chilled to the bone! Our heat has been out since we returned home last weekend. We've been making do with extra bed blankets and comfy sweatshirts, but I am more than ready for the repair man to get here today. They told me he'd be here between 9 a.m.-noon.... it's 11:25 a.m. and no sign of him yet. Am I the only on this ever happens to??

In the meantime, I've been productive. A couple of loads of laundry have been washed, clean sheets are on the bed and the car is loaded up with five bags of donations to be dropped at the thrift store. I'm catching up on my Tivoed shows!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Livin' It Up in Vegas

Just a couple shots from our days in Vegas. before my conference began...

In the limo on the way to THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay ... and they worked the "THE" in front of everything (i.e., THE Store, THE Cafe, THE Water-no joke!)

After dinner at Mario Batali's Enoteca San Marco, on the way to see Cirque du Soliel's Love

Our ridiculous tray of pastries at Bouchon Bistro in The Venetian. I could have eaten the whole tray. Seriously.

View from The Foundation Room on the top floor of Mandalay Bay.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back in Town

As fun as it is to travel, it's even better to be back home. We arrived home late Sunday night, ending my nine days of living in hotel rooms and eating out every meal. I am grateful to be home!

Our visit to Harding was terrific! It was so fun to show Rob the campus and see old friends. Our HUF group enjoyed breakfast and dinner together, as well as a great visit to the Mitchells home for delicious brownies. :)

Here are photos from Harding. Photos from Vegas coming soon. Enjoy!

HUF and Harding

Friday, October 24, 2008

Celebrity Sighting

So I'm sitting in the Little Rock airport waiting for Rob, whose plane from Atlanta is super delayed. Guess who I see waiting for her luggage? The actress Mary Steenbergen, wife of Ted Danson. I knew they had a home here, but it just seemed odd. One week in Vegas and my celebrity sighting is in Little Rock??

The airport here has been upgraded. I had a Starbucks and now I'm sitting in a little cafe near baggage claim listening to a live jazz quartet.

That 3:45 a.m. wake-up call is starting to take its toll.

From Vegas to Harding

This morning, I got up at 3:45 to get ready, check out and make my 6 a.m. flight from Vegas to Little Rock. Right now I'm in Denver waiting to get on the world's smallest airplane for part two of my journey. Not a fan.

The rest of the week in Vegas was great. The Elton John show was amazing, although I have to say he's getting a little old. My coworker and I thought he looked like he was almost cripping across the stage. And we could see that really well, since we were on the FIFTH ROW. The seats were incredible! His music was great, as was the theater decor and the videos that showed in the huge stage screen. Before dinner, we had a fabulous meal (and margaritas!) at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. I recommend both!

Last night, a couple coworkers and I enjoyed a final Vegas meal at The Mix, the restaurant at the top of THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. The view down the strip is crazy, and the food (I had spicy seared tuna) was delish.

Maybe I should clarify that I did work - a lot! - in Vegas. These blog posts make it sound like I just played! I gave two presentations and directed four sessions. It was a great meeting.

I am excited about visiting Harding this weekend, seeing friends and showing Rob around!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Today marks my fifth day in Sin City. Rob and I arrived here Friday, in advance of a conference for my work. We had a good bit of time during the weekend to play, peoplewatch, penny slot and eat. We squeezed in a bunch!

Our conference hotel is all suites and the rooms are awesome. I actually have two bathrooms in my room - insane.We were picked up at the airport in a limo and have been livin' large. :)

Friday night, we ate a great meal of artisan cheeses and pizza at Mario Batalli's Enoteca San Marco, and then saw Cirque de Soliel's LOVE-the show based on Beatles music. Awesome.

Last night, a couple coworkers and I went to the House of Blues and saw The Killers. It rocked, and I felt young again as my shoes stuck to the beer covered floor and I screamed lyrics at the top of my lungs.

Too bad for me that Rob's gone home and my conference has begun!

Monday, October 13, 2008

iTune Me

I have about $14 in credit with iTunes... any suggestion for good music? Something to walk/run to, relax to or just plain sing-along to?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

... make lemon trifle. Huh?

My cooking experiences this weekend have been a disaster. I don't know if it's just because I'm hurried and am not paying attention, or if I'm trying random substitutions in an effort to reduce fat and calories. Either way, it ain't working.

Our Sunday pot roast ended up a little too much like stew, thanks to me adding an extra can of broth (not paying attention). Not that pot roast stew is bad (it tasted great!), but it's just not what I had in mind.

The chocolate angel food cake was a total mess. First, I forgot to put the cocoa in the cake. So I figured instead I'd just do a regular cake with chocolate icing. But I bought light cream instead of whipping cream, and it wouldn't whip at all. It made a lovely chocolate cream sauce, but no where near frosting. Sometimes saving calories doesn't help!

So, I cut up the baked angel food cake, whipped up a pudding/cream cheese/lemon yogurt mixture and diced up some strawberries. Wah-lah! Lemon strawberry trifle. (I found the recipe online - if it's tasty, I'll share it!)

Maybe this week's cooking adventures will be better...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Working on the weekend...

Hooray for the weekend! Rob and I were so whipped last night that we went to bed at 8:45 p.m.... are we old or what?! We both read for a bit and were lights-out by 9:30 p.m. We woke up early this morning since we'd been sleeping so long. We headed to the market and got stuff for the week (and the ingredients for a Sunday pot roast - mmmmm!), and then I went into the office for about four hours. We are gearing up for a big conference next week, and I had to get some things finished. It was a productive few hours!

I stopped at the mall on my way home to return a dress and a blazer. The gal at Ann Taylor was totally stumped, but thank goodness she finally figured it out. Tonight is a hot date at Chick-fil-A and a trip to Target. We are really living it up this weekend!

Right now I'm baking a chocolate angel food cake... kind of. After it had been in the oven for 20 minutes, I remembered that I hadn't added the cocoa into the mix. Ooops. So it will be a regular angel food with chocolate icing. Friends are hosting us for dinner Monday night, and I'm bringing dessert. I figured the cake can cool this evening (upside down, which is always wacky) and I could ice it tomorrow.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Recipe Sharing: Italian Beef

This is a good recipe for the cooler weather. I got this from a college friend's mom. She would make it when I'd visit, and I always loved it. Super easy, and makes plenty for leftovers. Hope you enjoy!

Italian Beef

6-8 servings

2 cans beef consomme
2 cans French onion soup
2 envelopes Good Seasons Garlic & Herb salad dressing mix (dry)
2 envelopes Good Seasons Italian dressing mix (dry)
2 jars pepperoncini (can be spicy; I don't always use these)
4-6 lb. rump roast

Mix together soups and seasonings. Put beef and mixture together in crockpot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours, until tender. Serve on hoagie rolls with all the toppings (lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, sliced onions, etc.).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hikers Are We

This morning we headed about 25 miles south to hike at Wildcat Mountain. Thankfully we didn't see any wildcats!

We chose the 2.9 mile loop (there is a 5.6 mile loop too), and the first half-mile was a pretty tough uphill section. No scrambling or rock climbing, just up up up at a pretty steep angle. We saw a few deer and squirrels on the way. We'd packed a picnic lunch, and stopped at Bull Run Park for lunch. Rob proposed at this same park during a picnic three years ago last week!

We just enjoyed some Ledo's pizza and are watching the Maryland football game. Go Terps!

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Find

Last year, I really wanted this green wool coat from Banana Republic. I looked at it... tried it on... and walked away several times. It was just too much money to spend on a trendy coat. Toward the end of the season, I visited the store again to see if I could pick it up on clearance, but no luck.

Today on my flex day, I decided to head to the outlets in Leesburg. I finally made my way down to the Banana Republic outlet and was sorting through racks of all sorts of clearance, and guess what I found? The green coat! I nearly fell over. I grabbed it quick! Exact same coat, only $100+ less. I wonder how it got there and stuck around from last year?! I was thrilled!

Oh - and I got my haircut this morning. It's pretty short, and I like it. I'd actually envisioned it a little shorter, but the fantastic gal who cuts my hair suggested baby steps. :)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I heard from the doctor yesterday that my insurance decided to cover my prescription. Hooray! I headed over to Target and they refunded my $283. Oy. The good news is that my shingles are much better - and now just itchy!


Tomorrow is my flex day off! I'm getting a new 'do and pedicure, then heading to the outlets. In the evening, I'm going to a Tastefully Simple party. It should be a good day.


Rob fried up some leftover corn tortillas tonight, and we had chicken tacos. Delicious!


I am watching the debate. I am ready for Sarah Palin to answer a question. She hasn't so far - just prepared statement after statement that she just blurts out, mostly rambling. I don't get it. It's embarrassing and dangerous for our country. I'm not saying Obama/Biden is perfect, but I'll take experience over charm any day.

Note: I know many of you support McCain/Palin, so please don't think I'm judging your selection. It's just not for me.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Importance of October

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Awareness of, prevention of and a cure for breast cancer is near and dear to my heart. In 1999, my Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was told she had less than a 50% chance of being here in five years. Thanks to the best care possible at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health and an amazing attitude, she's here and better than ever.

However, not every woman has access to the best care, or great doctors who work miracles, or even the knowledge to do what she can do to protect herself. Since 1991, I've made it my mission to support breast cancer research and Foundation programs that contribute to finding a cure. I know it's impacted many of your lives too, and I hope you'll join me in supporting great organizations that benefit survivors, victims and women everywhere.

Here are a few bits of information...

  • There are 182,460 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women in the United States each year (and 1,990 in men). Of these an estimated 40,480 women and 450 men will die from the disease.
  • With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity. It is the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  • It's never too late to adopt healthy behaviors that can reduce your risk... be physically active, maintain a healthy weight, cut down on “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats) and consume more “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like olive and canola oil), take a daily multivitamin with folic acid.
  • Do your research and know your stuff about early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Breast cancer doesn't discriminate against age, either -- it's not reserved for older women. You've seen Christina Applegate's story recently (which could potentially change the face of breast cancer). Statistics show that there are more than 250,000 women age 40 and less in the U.S. living with breast cancer, and more than 11,100 young women will be diagnosed in the next year.

Getting tested regularly is the best way to lower their risk of dying from breast cancer. Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. If you are a woman with a family history, start testing no later than age 35.

Be your own advocate. Support groups that search for a cure. Hug your mom.