Recipe Contenders, Aug 29 – Sept 2

As always, I’m working on stepping up my game for my Day Zero Project.

Here are some potential contenders for this week’s recipe trial. I’m not going to be in town this weekend, but I might whip something up by Friday.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

DIY Powerbars | The Kitchn
Lasagna Soup | A Farm Girl Dabbles
Our Perfect Veggie Burger | Oh She Glows
Southwestern Bread Pudding (Top Chef) | Heights Eats

Hey also, did you know that eggplants are in season now?  That means I need to make (and freeze) a few batches of my Eggplant and Pine Nut Rolled Lasagna adapted from Vegan Yum Yum. Those are definitely going to have to wait until the middle of September, though. I’ll be a busy girl until then.

On Carryalls, or Another Note About My Vacation

If you’re a lady, you know the value of a good purse.  If you’re a traveler, you know the value of a great travel bag.


Up until my trip to Pittsburgh, I did not really have a good traveling bag.  I had kind of a beater messenger bag, which you can see in all it’s “meh” glory here:


It was fine, I guess, but a little dumpy, didn’t have a lot of structure, and like just about every other accessory I own, black. I’d really lusted for a bag that I could wear crossover style, had some structure, looked fashionable, and above all, had color!

I think this bag really fit the bill. It’s the Alex Organizer by Relic. I got mine at Kohl’s for a lot less than the retail price. Please, don’t pay retail for this bag. In fact, try not to pay retail for a lot of things…just saying.
Relic Alex Organizer Cross-Body Handbag

This bag was awesome to carry.  The front sections held all of my “purse” items: wallet, lipstick, cell phone, change purse, car keys, etc. The inside was where I kept my camera, snacks, and bags from gift shops as we were touring. The great thing about this bag is transitioned really well from the casual atmosphere of the Duquesne incline to the more upscale atmosphere of Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.

All in all, I’m very pleased with my purchase, and this bag is going to go with me on all of my future vacation adventures.

Strangers in a Strange Land (also, Clevelanders in Enemy Territory)

It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago, Charlie and I went on our Pittsburgh vacation, and now is but a memory.

On the first day, we met up with Sunshine (not her real name), who trained for a short time in Cleveland as a sort-of intern in my department in the spring.  Before we met up with her, we hit the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Duquesne Incline.

For dinner, we met up with her and a friend at Pittsburgh’s version of BSpot, a restaurant called BRGR (which was AMAZING: Charlie and I got the spicy tuna burger, and the lamb burger and had a half of each). We also went to a local bar in an adorable young, hip neighborhood where I got to drink all the Yuengling my lightweight ass could handle.

On Saturday, the three of us trooped an hour and a half southeast to hit both Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob in celebration of Fallingwater’s 75th year. Both homes are beautiful representations of Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for the setting, but I don’t think either home is somewhere where I would want to live. It’s too hard to live in art; it’s much more fun to tour.

On Sunday, I took Charlie to Ligonier, PA, which he’d listened to me threaten for years. When my father immigrated to this country (he was born in Germany), he and my grandmother first settled in Ligonier before moving on to Cleveland. I’ve spent more than a handful of family vacations in the Laurel Highlands.

I took Charlie to Fort Ligonier, which I love because it’s both a museum and the reconstructed fort, build on the actual site, based on archaeological digs.

The museum has built a large new section of it’s display around the Seven Years War, and how the French and Indian War (which was the principal reason Fort Ligonier was outfitted) played into that.  Charlie and I got especially lucky because a reenactment group had organized and gave a demonstration.

We had lunch in town, enjoyed the sunny day, and headed back to Pittsburgh to take a night river tour on the Gateway Clipper (which we both way undedressed for because a cold front moved in, so we spent the second half of the trip trying to escape both the cold night air and the cold air conditioning, too).

On Monday, we went to Kennywood, but we have no pictures because he and I made a pact not to carry anything on our personage except his wallet. We succeeded at that, but failed at turning the phones off, so we came back 8 hours later and they were dead.

Exhausted from a day of roller coasters and fair food, Charlie and I were both happy to head home. We cheered when we crossed the border into Ohio, and enjoyed the feeling of seeing familiar landmarks as we got back into Cleveland. In addition to giving your brain a break, vacations are a great way to remind you why you enjoy the comforts of home.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend some time together before he went back to school.

Letting the Stays on the Corset Out…

For those that have their finger on the pulse of my Twitter, you may have surmised that I spent the entire weekend working on the final paper for the six-week marketing analysis class I am in.

If I had the luxury of billing for my hours on this, I’d be a thousandaire.

On Saturday, after a 12-hour day of paper-writing, I was feeling pretty crabby that I missed out on having a relaxing weekend, missing out on things I hadn’t even had planned and thinking, “God, I seriously hope this MBA pays off.”

Today, I feel like I finally have my life back:  in the last two weeks, this class had consumed my whole life (between two case analyses and final, large paper). I lived and breathed this class anytime I wasn’t at work.

Things I am looking forward to, now that my class is over:

  • 4-day weekend in Pittsburgh with Charlie
  • Finishing The Help
  • Finishing The Nasty Bits
  • Getting started in a new fitness regime (new gym? maybe.)
  • Completing a few Zentangles to get back into the groove.
  • Maybe getting in a weekend at Lake Milton before Charlie’s school year begins.

I think I may even spoil myself with one of those roasted-veggie quesadillas today.

Yes ma’am.

Friday Five for July 29, 2011 – Public Options

I decided to post this late because Friday was a total clusterfumble.  The rest of this week is going to be busy: finishing up three assignments for the class I’m in, Binkles is having a birthday on Sunday (oh my God, my baby brother is going to be 25 – I remember being 25!!), and I’m starting out the week feeling fun’ed out  (post to come).
So here, I’m phoning it in a little.  At least I’m posting.
  1. When did you last use a public restroom?
    Public public?  Because I used a restaurant bathroom last night (king of public?), and there’s a communal-by-floor bathroom in my office building…. But the last one I can remember as distinctly public was at the movie theater last Sunday when K and I went to see Bad Teacher (here’s a free movie review, on me: don’t bother going to see it, they only funny line was given away in the trailer. You’re welcome.)
  2. When did you last ride public transportation?
    Last time I was on public transportation was in Chicago in 2008, on the bus and the El.  Cleveburgh is not a big public transport town, and there is no public transportation that runs all the way out to Geauga county.
  3. How far away from your home is the nearest public housing?
    I have no idea.
  4. Which of your public utilities is the least reliable?
    Maybe electricity?  Out in Chesterland, our neighbors can lose power at the drop of a hat, but I feel like First Energy is really good about getting us back on the grid.  Snowstorm power-outages are a little different, but we have a generator to keep the water going (we have a well with an electric pump).
  5. What did you last view on public television or listen to on public radio?
    I just listened to the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast on my way into work this morning.