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There is this really good Chinese and Thai restaurant (it’s called Mint for you Atlanta folks) by my office that we always get food from.  It’s in this little Hispanic and Asian shopping center and doesn’t really look like much (well, they’ve redone the entrance so it looks a little fancier now).  It’s this teeny tiny restaurant with about 12 tables, but it gets packed.  The food there is so amazing  and the staff is super sweet.

We order from them so much that they know who we are as soon as we walk in.  Take today for example, I decided I wanted hot and sour soup and basil rolls for lunch.  I decided to just order take out since Mel was to busy to eat out.  When I walked in to pick it up, one of the guys greeted me by name.  He had a huge smile on his face as hey said “Hey Bing.  How have you been?”  We chatted for a few minutes and got caught up – I always assumed he was the owner but I hadn’t seen him in months, but it was good to know he was back.  He is just so sweet.  He asked about all the ladies in my office and asked if we were busy since we hadn’t come in to eat in forever.

There is nothing more pleasing to me than to walk into a restaurant where the staff knows you and greets you with a big smile and seems genuinely happy to see you back there.  And then they kid you about being too busy to come by.  It really makes you feel appreciated and makes you want to continue to eat there again and again.

Just so you can know how great everyone at Mint is, I thought I’d share this little story with you.  Last year Mel (co-worker) and I decided to head there for lunch since it was her birthday.  We’d been pretty busy in the office, so we hadn’t been by in a while.  The same guy from today was asking us why we hadn’t been in.  We told him things were hectic, but we snuck out to celebrate Mel’s birthday.  When he heard that, he got a huge grin on his face then walked away.  A few minutes later he reappeared with a dessert that had a candle sticking out of it.  He wished Mel a happy birthday and let us know that it was a popular Thai dessert.  I’m pretty sure it was called Thai Mango Sticky Sweet Rice, and it was tasty!  I know it wasn’t much, but I thought it was a really sweet gesture. Nothing makes me smile more than when nice, good-hearted people share their happiness with you.  And it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that their restaurant is successful and that everyone who eats there loves it.

Another reason why I love this little place is that the food is delicious.  I have never eaten anything there that didn’t taste good.  And seriously, they have the best hot and sour soup I have ever had.  Anytime I get Chinese, I compare the soup to Mint’s, and it’s always 100 times better than other ones.  I don’t ever think I’ll find a soup that’s as tasty!

Well, that’s it for my randomness.  Off to watch the season finale of Jersey Shore – sadness!

Do you frequent a restaurant that is basically a diamond in the rough where the staff know you by name and tease you for not coming by often enough?


Well, this is the third year in a row that I have missed the National Delurking Day.  I excuse the first year since I had just started blogging and wasn’t really down with all the fun things that go on in the blogging world.  I’m not sure what the hell happened last year, I think I was just busy and didn’t realize what day it was.  Well, I obviously missed it again this year but thought it’s better to be late than never!

I was catching up on my reader today while lounging on the couch watching TV and saw NPW’s fun way to get people to delurk, so I decided to steal her idea (hope you don’t mind – imitation is the most sincere form of flattery).  🙂

I appreciate all of you who take time out of your busy days to stop by my little piece of the Internet and read about my life and all the random things going on with me.  All of the comments you leave and the advice you give makes me smile and brings a little extra happiness into my life.

So lovely readers, please delurk and play my little “would you rather” game and let me learn a bit more about you (since you know so much about me already).  Answer as many as you like and leave your answers in the comments section.  Hell, you can even leave a would you rather for me to answer.  And if you have a blog that I’m not reading, let me know and I’ll check you out!  I’m always looking for new reading material!

1.  Would you rather lose your sense of hearing or your ability to see?

2.  Would you rather make lots of money doing something you hate or be broke and do what you love?

3.  Would you rather that Conan continue to host The Tonight Show or that Jay Leno take it back?

4.  Would you rather party with Snooki or beat bitches up with J-Woww?

5.  After eating half of your food in a restaurant, would you rather find a used bandaid in your food or part of a roach?

Whoever said that married life is all rainbows and cupcakes, is either a liar or totally omitting the gory details.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but sometimes he annoys me more than any other person in the entire world.  And it’s just not cool and makes me want to punch him in the head J-Woww style (Jersey Shore reference – did you see that shit?) – not that I ever would, but still.

For the most part, I do a majority of the household tasks.  I usually do the shopping, most of the cooking during the week, laundry, kitchen straightening, etc. because I get off work a lot earlier than T.  I don’t particularly love it, but it’s not the end of the world either.  When he’s around on weekends, he’s pretty helpful – for the most part.

Now here’s what gets me freaking angry.  I hate feeling like I’m being a nag or acting like “the mom” in the relationship, but Jesus Christ, sometimes the hubs makes me feel that way.  Nothing gets under my skin more than when I ask him nicely to do something, and he tells me he’ll take care of it.  Only he procrastinates on it FOREVER or just doesn’t do it at all – “oops, I forgot.”  Then I get all bitchy and snippy and yell at him.  But I do have to say, my outbursts make him get the job done.

So let’s take yesterday for example.  T had off and I had to work.  Sometime in the afternoon I asked him if he’d mind running to the store so I wouldn’t have to stop on my way home.  He said sure.  I also asked if he would mind starting dinner so we could eat earlier than 7:30 or 8, and we’d have time to take down our Christmas tree then relax afterward (Yes, it’s still up.  I’m having a hard time letting it go because it makes the house feel so festive and cozy.  And we’re lazy.)

Anyway…I got home a little after 6, and T was not home.  In fact he was still at the store.  This only meant one thing – that he left a lot later than he said he would.  So of course, there was no dinner on the table.  The kitchen was a disaster from when we had friends over this weekend and the garbage was overflowing.  I know it was his day off, but damn son, couldn’t you get off your ass to take out the trash?  It’s not like it has to be taken very far – the can is right behind our patio, about 10 steps there and back.

When he finally got home, groceries had to be put away.  I ended up doing the kitchen cleaning and he started the food, but that was not the point.  I wanted, for once, to come home to a fairly clean kitchen with dinner on the table – like it is on a regular basis for him.  Needless to say, we didn’t eat until 7:30 and the Christmas tree is still up.

It just seems like taking care of the household is the major source of our arguments, and it’s driving me insane.  I know no one enjoys cleaning, but we all have to do it.  If I ask you to help me with something, don’t talk back to me like a 15-year-old or I will treat you like one (I should not be tested on this.  That shit didn’t fly in my parents house, and it sure as hell won’t fly in my house now).

I don’t care how late you work or how much money you bring into the household, this ain’t 1950 and I am not Susie Homemaker.  It’s 2010, we will split this shit evenly, like it or not!  And in case you’ve forgotten, I also work a 40 week on top of all the crap I take care of at home.  Enough said…

So here is where you come in, lovely readers.  How do you handle household chore related drama with your significant other (or hell, even roommates)?  Does it cause arguments on a regular basis?  Does it make you want to punch somebody?

Man, let me just say how annoyed I am that I have to work tomorrow.  Ugh, so not fair – especially since T has off!

Here are my next round of photos for Project 365.  Enjoy!

Day 9 – artsy wine shot

Day 10 – Last Sunday night’s dinner – homemade pomodoro with mozzarella stuffed meatballs

Day 11 – The kegerator got here today! Fado is sitting on the box, scoping out the scene

Day 12 – Cool icicle outside of my office

Day 13 – The kegerator is here!

Day 14 – First hockey game of 2010

Day 15 – First beers out of the kegerator

Day 16 – Playing quarters at the bar

Day 17 – T really loves this thing! He looks like a kid at Christmas!

The traffic in Atlanta is ridiculous.  I know how I have blogged about it before, but my experiences this morning have made me extra stabby.  I live about 10 miles from the office, and I give myself 20-25 minutes to get here.  But it never seems to make a difference.  If I leave for work earlier than normal, I get stuck in traffic that is a result from idiots who can’t drive.

Take this morning, for example.  I was in my car around 8:40.  I was on my way and got caught at a red light.  I was about 12-15 cars back, which isn’t so bad.  When the light turned green, it seriously took the first couple of cars about 30 seconds to get moving.  30 fucking seconds!!!  What the hell?!?!  Do you want to know how many cars made it through the light?  About 6.  To me, that is totally unacceptable.  I can not fathom why in the world it would take someone 30 seconds to notice that the light is green and push the gas pedal.

Once I made it past the idiots staring with gaping mouths at the green light and not moving, I had to get on the highway.  Entering onto the highway from where I live is always an adventure.  I have 3 different options I can take to get on the highway.  I tend to avoid the one that is furthest north because the traffic over there is insane, plus you get caught up in the back up that is on the highway.  There are 2 that are fairly close distance-wise, but the middle option has a horrible traffic light and the intersection backs up.  So lately I have been using the one that is furthest south.

Sometime in 2009, the city of Atlanta and the GA DOT decided that it would be a good idea to install a ramp meter to help regulate the traffic.  I am all for that, as long as they are helping the flow of traffic and not hindering it.  Yesterday and today, the traffic on the highway has been moving, but the extended on-ramp has been backed up to the previous exit because of the metered light!

The metered light drives me insane because it seriously does nothing to help the flow of traffic.  We are stuck in a line of cars, sitting bumper to bumper, while the cars on I-75 fly by us without a second glance.  Sometimes I cheat, because another lane merges into this extended on ramp, and I cut over into the lane that rarely has any cars in it just so I don’t sit at the light forever.

Then, once I’m finally on the highway, I have to merge all the way to the far left lane so I can exit onto I-85 north.  This is where I often encounter some major assholes – the people who ride in the lane, even though it says exit only, to avoid the standstill traffic.  At the last possible second, instead of exiting onto the next highway, they come to a complete stop and try to merge back into the stopped traffic on I-75 south.  This causes all of us exiters to be backed up and waiting for the douchebag to get over into the next lane, which is so not cool!

Once you get past all of the bad and selfish drivers, the traffic is fine.  Until I get off the highway onto the road that takes me to my office.  The speed limit is 40.  This morning I was stuck behind a van, in the left lane (surprise, surprise), going 25-30 miles an hour.  What is with people???  There is a HUGE speed limit sign right as you get off the exit, telling us how fast we need to drive.  I don’t know why people think it’s acceptable to drive 15 miles under the speed limit.  It wasn’t icy out or wet, there was no sun in our eyes, people just can’t freaking drive!

And while I’m all ranty, what the hell is up with traffic lights that aren’t sensored?  Nothing annoys me more than when I’m driving on the bigger road and the light changes red at an intersection where there are no cars on the cross street, and I have to sit there for a minute or two.  Is it that hard to install a sensor?

Don’t even get me started on lights that are on the same street that don’t sync up.  How hard is it to make sure that all the lights on the main road are green while are the cross streets are red?

So, what’s getting under your skin today?

So, in case you were wondering….we did get out of work on Friday!!!  I live at the top of a giant hill, which was all ice.  They actually closed the road until Saturday morning because it was so slick.  And since it never rarely snows in Atlanta, there aren’t enough salt trucks to de-ice the non-main roads – they only focus on the highway.  So all the little windy, back roads and neighborhoods were quite treacherous.  I may have exaggerated slightly about being stuck (even though the road was closed, I probably could have made it out the back way.  But I didn’t want to risk wrecking my car).  The three-day weekend was nice!  And I was even a good girl and did a few hours of work from home.

Fado was brave and ventured out into the snow – Project 365 photo 8

The view from my patio

The black ice in the parking lot and the closed street

Anyway…since Atlanta was in a deep freeze this weekend, there wasn’t too much unnecessary venturing outside going on.  We were pretty much holed up all weekend.  But just because we were home, doesn’t mean that we weren’t productive.

Saturday morning someone came by to look at the condo.  This meant that we had to be out of the house at 10:30 a.m.  We decided to head to West Egg for brunch to kill the time.  While we were there, JD, T and I decided that we should cook something really delicious for dinner.  We all voted on osso bucco.  We used a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis**, but of course we tweaked it to our liking.  The recipe called for 6 veal shanks, but we used 3 and then 3 beef short ribs (and thank God we did because the veal at Whole Foods cost a TON of money).

My parents bought us a one of those handy-dandy enamel cast iron dutch ovens for Christmas, so we thought it would be the perfect pot to use for the osso bucco.  The recipe says to cook the dish in the oven, after browning it, for 1.5 hours.  We wanted the meat to be extra tender, so we simmered it on low heat for 3.5 hours on the stove.  It turns out amazingly that way!

The osso bucco over pasta

Since we decided to throw in a few spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes, that left us with a giant can of leftovers.  JD volunteered to make a pomodoro sauce that we could use for dinner on Sunday.  We agreed that it would be a great idea, and decided to make mozzarella stuffed meatballs to eat with it – also another Giada recipe.  Everything turned out great! (FYI – I just made the amatriciana sauce tonight for the leftover meatballs, and it smells amazing!  I did use bacon instead of pancetta though because I already had that here.)

Sunday’s meatball extravaganza

All pretty (and delicious) on the plate

While the food was cooking on Saturday, we convinced T to watch Julie & Julia with us.  Let me tell you guys, the movie is super cute!  I liked it a lot, and it totally inspired me to get my butt in the kitchen and get cooking.  Plus it’s one of those feel good,make you smile kind of movies.

In honor of Julie’s and Julia’s kitchen conquests, I was inspired to get up on Sunday morning and cook a restaurant-style brunch (only there were no mimosas – damn GA and the no selling alcohol on Sunday policy).  I made oven roasted potatoes topped with fresh parsley, rosemary and garlic.  Then (with T’s help) I whipped up eggs benedict.  T made the poached eggs, while I slaved over the hollandaise.  The food was very labor intensive, and I don’t think I’ve ever used so many pots while cooking breakfast, but it was worth it.  It was delicious!  I will definitely make it again sometime soon!

So did you eat or make anything super tasty this weekend?  Did you see any great movies?

**Osso Bucco Recipe (with my edits)

Makes 6 main-course servings

6 1- to 1 1/2 – inch-thick slices veal shank (we do half and half beef short ribs and veal shanks)

2 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1-2 tablespoons crushed or stewed (if you want chunks) tomatoes

1 cup dry white wine

About 4 cups chicken broth

1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

1 large sprig of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Pat the veal dry with paper towels to ensure even browning. Secure the meat to the bone with kitchen twine. Season
the veal with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper. Dredge the veal in flour to coat the cut sides lightly.

In a heavy roasting pan large enough to fit the meat in a single layer (or do 2 batches), heat the oil over a medium heat until hot. Add the meat and cook until brown on both sides, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a platen ad reserve.

In the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt to help draw out the moisture from the vegetables. Saute until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Add enough chicken broth to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the meat. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaf, and cloves to the broth mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Once simmering, turn heat to low and simmer 2.5-3 hours, until the meat is fall off the bone tender.

Serve over pasta and top with grated Parmesan and parsley.

Today has been epic for the city of Atlanta – there is snow in the forecast!  It’s so funny living in the South and hearing that it’s going to snow.  People flip out – I can’t make fun of them too much though because I totally get excited for snow like a little kid.  Living in Germany until I was 7 and in New York for 2 years means that I have seen my fair share of snow, but I can’t help how giddy I feel when it happens in Atlanta.  It rarely snows enough to count as “real snow” down here, so it’s extra special when it happens.  There is something so magical about the sparkly white dusting that makes it feel like real winter.

In Atlanta it does get cold – not often, but it does happen from time to time.  Like now.  Yesterday our high was colder than Anchorage, and that’s a pretty big deal for us!  Here, winter usually means cold and rainy, which is no fun.  It makes for the type of chill that sinks into your bones and makes you feel like you will never warm up.  But when it does snow, the one or two times a year, it’s just so pretty.

In honor of the wintery weather, I decided to make a yummy, comforting dinner – steak, mashed potato skins (courtesy of Rachel Ray, with my edits of course), sautéed mushrooms and onions, and wilted spinach.  Everything turned out super delicious, except for the steak.  I bought a bigger piece of meat, and I guess it was a tougher cut.  It was some type of sirloin, which normally I make top sirloin and it’s good, but this was pretty tough.  I was slightly bummed because I was really craving a tasty steak, and it just wasn’t cutting it.  It’s OK though, I just loaded up on extra mashed potatoes (they have cheese AND bacon in them).

After dinner we were planning on heading to a friend’s house to watch the bowl game, but by the time 8:30 rolled around I just wasn’t feeling like going anywhere.  So instead, T and I opted to stay in.  We popped open a bottle of prosecco, and I told him we could watch the game.  He’s as happy as the cat who caught the canary, and I’m all warm and toasty under my new fleecy blanket, lounging on the couch.  The house feels cozy with the Christmas tree all lit up (yes, we still haven’t taken down the tree), and I’m glad to be here.

I’ve got my fingers crossed and am thinking positive, snowy thoughts (à la JD and her new The Secret way of thinking) in the hopes that Atlanta will ice over and shut down tomorrow.  I know I’ve only been back to work for 4 days, but I am ready for a snow day!

Our dinner, with the steak that looked better than it was  😦

A glimpse of the snow outside our condo

The snow looks so pretty (this is also my Project 365 pic for Jan. 7)

Snowing on the patio

**Just heard on the news that the snow is sitting directly over downtown Atlanta and the roads are starting to get slick.  The low tonight is going to be around 18 degrees.  Fingers and toes are double crossed for a snow day tomorrow!

I guess I’m a bit of a space cadet because I almost forgot that today is my second blogiversary!  I can’t believe that I have been blogging for two whole years!

The whole reason I started blogging was to chronicle my life as a 25-year-old, newly engaged chica.  Now it’s a great outlet for stress or random thoughts and pictures.  Plus I love being able to read through my archives and see what has happened in the last two years.

Throughout my time in blogging land, I’ve come across some really great blogs written by witty, smart and funny people.  I know I’d be friends with a lot of you if we lived in the same city because you all rock!

Thanks so much for reading me and being there to offer advice and suggestions for all of my random inquiries.

Happy birthday little blog!

Today I was reading Kay’s new blog, when I came across her post on Project 365 – a project where you take a photo a day for the entire year.  I don’t have a fancy pants camera, just a little point and shooter, but I think it will be a really fun and unique way to document the year.  My dad is a photographer, and I would love to maybe learn a little more about taking great pictures and one day upgrade to a fancier camera with a lot more options.

I know I am a few days late, but I think I can make up for some lost time with some pictures from New Year’s and some I took today.  After this, I will do a post a few times a week with my latest images.

I am pretty excited about this!  I guess I need to be better about carrying my camera around with me.  🙂

Here are my first batch of photos:

Jan. 1 – Zoey and her little tongue

Jan. 2 – How I spent the first few days of 2010 – curled up on the couch

Jan. 3 – Wii is fun!

Jan. 4 – Fado only drinks out of the faucet

Jan 5. – Welcome to Atlanta, a part of the suddenly arctic South

Jan 6. – Gotta love Atlanta rush hour.  But at least the sunset is pretty!

Do you ever feel like you are stuck on a dead-end road that leads to nowhere?  I think I’m sort of hitting that point.  I am starting to dread the daily grind.  I feel stuck.  I want to be able to learn and grow more, but there really aren’t that many options here.  Maybe I’m becoming a little unmotivated because I receive little reward for my efforts.  Positive reinforcement and rewards (more money) breed harder work and happiness.

Nothing ever seems good enough – it could always be better.  There could have always been more.  I know there are people who appreciate what I do and think I am doing a great job, but I feel negative vibes from some.  Even though I am doing a lot and getting positive results in return.

You think all the time off I just had would leave me feeling refreshed.  Instead, I am feeling this sense of dread and discontentment.  I don’t want to be back.  I want to be anywhere but here.

Maybe I feel this way because my time off just flew by way too fast.  Maybe I’m sad that the happy and festive times of the holidays are over.  Maybe I’m just stressed about all the things that are rushing out of the gate at the start of the year.  Maybe I’m being super emotional because I skipped my period for the last 2 months and now all those hormones are taking over my emotions.  Maybe it’s the winter blues.  Or maybe it’s just time for a change…

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