Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hawaii Recap - Day 3 - Part 2

Well, unfortunately, I seem to have broken the cord that connects my laptop to the electrical outlet so I can't use it until it gets fixed. Which means, I can't post all my Hawaii pics. Luckily, I had uploaded most of them to my gmail account - I guess I'll just have to go back and edit when I finally get the cord fixed.

So after our shark adventure, Max and I headed to Kailua Bay, which is suppose to be very nice for kayaking. On our way, we stopped at Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, which is hot spot for locals and tourists alike. I had read many excellent reviews about this specific shrimp truck. Although we spotted several other shrimp trucks, every review I read said Giovanni's was the best. So we had to go, of course. The truck is very old and covered with graffiti. You eat on benches under a tarp. Not very fancy, but god, the shrimp was gooooooood!!

Max ordered the super spicy shrimp, and I had the shrimp scampi. Max's shrimp was ridiculously spicy! Yikes. I was glad I stuck with the scampi. I noticed an older man sitting at the next table had ordered the spicy shrimp as well. Every time I looked at him, he was a shade pinker. I told Max it was like watching steak un-cook.

I was excited to see that they also sold fresh coconuts. At last, I got to drink out of a coconut, which was, as Melissa noted earlier, kind of overrated. Coconut juice doesn't really have much taste, and is, as I learned from "Cast Away", a laxative so we were careful not to have too much.

After lunch we continued on our way to Kailua Bay. Unfortunately when we got there we discovered that it really wasn't so much a place for kayaking. Or maybe it was, but only if you had your own - they were no rental places. Oh well. Neither of us cared that much tho - we were pretty tired out from the shark adventure and being in the sun all day. So we decided to head back, relax, and get ready for dinner.

On our way back we spotted the Dole Plantation, which boasts of the world's largest maze. We stopped in for some fresh pineapple frozen yogurt and to try out the maze, which was kind of fun...but got boring after awhile. It was one of those mazes like the one in the Shining so that was cool, but the novelty wore off soon.

We had made reservations to Alan Wong's, which Gourmet Magazine rated #8 out of America's Top 50 restaurants. The place was awesome!! We had late reservations, but went there a little earlier, hoping that we might get lucky. The restaurant was hard to find, since it was located on the second floor, but it was very nice inside. Great atmosphere and ambiance. We waited for about ten minutes at the bar and then they seated us to a very nice table next to the window. It had a really pretty view of the city.

I think Max looks a bit like Ed Norton here.

Now on to the food, which was incredible!

Opihi Shooters. I was a bit nervous about these at first, since I normally don't like raw oysters, but this was so delicious. Here's the description from the menu: Local Limpet in Spicy Tomato Water, Fennel Basil Ume Shiso Essences. I think it was the ume shiso that give it this sort of plummy taste. Just really unique and tasty.

We also had "poke-pines" as an appetizer. Those were okay. It was like a tuna tartar wrapped and deep fried in a wonton crispy thing.

Max's main entree was the ahi with Thai lemongrass crust and some sort of lobster peanut sauce. Wow - really good. I've never had anything like it before.

I had the shellfish bowl - Lobster, Dungeness Crab, Scallop, Shrimp, Clams and Calamari, Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Bouillabaisse Style Broth,Chili Pepper Aioli. It was fantastic!

We were so full (they also served fresh bread rolls - I think I had about four!) so we skipped dessert. It's too bad because I had read that the desserts are really great there too. Oh well. More reason to go back again!

Hawaii Recap - Day 3 - Part One

Day 3 was a big day for us. Shark Day!

We got up, had our breakfast of coffee, bagel, leftover pumpkin & banana bread, and headed out for our 10:30 appointment to go "swimming with sharks." Well, not quite "swimming" but we had signed up for a shark adventure through Hawaii Shark Encounters. Basically, they take you out on a boat off to the shore, put you in a shark cage, and throw bait in the water to attract the sharks. I was, needless to say, pretty anxious about this adventure. I had read great reviews about it, and how it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience (yeah, I bet! Especially if you DIE from it!), and something everyone should do if they get the chance. When I told Max about it, he was really excited so I signed us up and braced myself. Unfortunately for me, after I had booked the shark adventure, I read about another company that offered "swimming with dolphins" and I thought, damn, how come I didn't see that first???!!!

I was pretty nervous that morning, especially because I knew we had to SNORKEL in the shark cage. Oh man.

So the boat took off from the North Shore area, specifically at the Haleiwa Boat Harbor. It was about a 45 minute scenic drive from Honolulu. On our way, we stopped to pick up another underwater camera, one with a flash so we could get pics of the sharks. Unfortunately, it didn't work!!! Boo.

When we finally got there, we had to fill out a 20 page waiver form, stating we wouldn't sue them if we got eaten by sharks, etc. Yikes. There were 10 other people with us on our small boat, which was manned by three employees. All really nice guys. For an extra $100, we could get a video of our adventure, but we decided to skip that. Here are a few pics of the boat and harbor area:

Our shark boat (took these pics AFTER we got back)

We were a bit confused at first, since we didn't actually see the cage attached to the boat when we first got there, but we learned that they had already taken the cage out in a previous tour and secured it somehow (anchors?) so we would be boating out to it. I think we were the last tour of the day, so the three guys towed the cage back to the harbor after we were done. You can see the cage here:

Not a very big cage, but big enough! Fits 6 people. There's plexiglass on two of the sides of the cage, but otherwise, you're just floating in there! One of the most important rules, they said, was not to stick your arms out. I had NO problems following that!

Before we got there, I had been nervous about a couple of things, which thankfully the website addressed. These were my exact questions (I've lifted it from the site)!

Can the cage sink?
No! Floats surround the cage on all sides and they keep it level in the water. The top of the cage is actually 2 feet above the surface. The cage is also tied to the boat with several lines.

Is the cage closed at the top?
There is no lid on the cage. You are not locked in and you can come up and enjoy the view from the surface and communicate with the crew at any time.

Can the sharks jump in?
No! The sides of the cage extend 2 feet above the surface of the water. The sharks would have to jump three feet clear out of the water with a forward trajectory and aim they simply don't have. They will occasionally lift their heads out of the water, but these sharks are not capable of leaving the water. Even if they wanted to. (and they really don't).

How do I get in the cage? Do I have to swim to it?
Of course not! You would have to pay us a lot extra to be allowed to swim even one moment outside the cage, with the sharks. The cage gets pulled right next to the boat and you step down a very solid ladder directly inside the cage.

How secure will I be inside the cage?
There are handrails to hold on to all around the cage. You can stabilize yourself while you float on the surface or you can pull yourself a little lower for a different view. None of your body parts will ever have to extend outside the bars.

Will the sharks attack the cage?
No! The sharks will come very close to the cage to investigate but they do not charge at the cage or try to bite the people inside. Human beings are not on the natural menu of these sharks, as is the case with most sharks.

Do I get an unobstructed view of the sharks?
Yes! There are two large (and very strong) pieces of Plexiglas installed on each short side of the cage. In the water they are almost invisible.

Now, the only thing left to worry about was my snorkeling ability.

Anyway, we got on the boat and experienced the world's most choppy 15 minute boat ride EVER. Oh god, Max and I, and pretty much everyone else except for the three employees totally suffered from motion sickness. I've never felt so awful on a boat before. But - wow - the color of the ocean out there, so far from the beach, was so gorgeous. Like a really deep blue sapphire. Just beautiful. We pulled up to the cage and the guys secured our boat next to it. Max and I were part of the first group to go in the cage. Man, I was nervous! But at this point, I have to say, I wasn't so much nervous about the sharks as I was nervous that I was going to throw up all over everyone!

They gave us snorkeling equipment (used of course - but I couldn't even be bothered to think about a new mouth piece - I just vaguely thought to myself that the anti-fog solution they were sitting in would probably disinfect all the germs - besides I was going to be eaten by sharks in a few minutes so the germs wouldn't kill me....since the sharks would) and then showed us how to get into the cage.

I am ashamed to say, although it won't be a surprise to anyone, that I kind of had a hard time getting in the cage, and had to be shown a few extra times. The problem was that it was SOOO choppy. Like these giant waves just kept crashing against the boat and the cage, and all of it would go flying upwards. And you had to step down and backwards into the cage, so it was all very difficult. For me at least. I kept thinking I'd slip and bash my head against something and my bleeding head would immediately attract the sharks and everyone would get eaten. Also, I had to deal with my mask, which was immediately fogging up so I couldn't see very well. I actually chickened out the first time I tried to get into the cage and hopped back on the boat. So embarrassing. On my third try, I made it. The captain actually had to tap the bar I was supposed to hold and said "Just follow the noise" because I was so paralyzed that I didn't know where I was supposed to grip the ladder. Plus, the foggy mask didn't help. How humiliating.

But once I got in, and was able to hold the bars, and reminded myself to breathe slowly, it was awesome! I saw lots and lots of sharks - big ones too! The average one was about 5 feet long, but there was a giant tiger shark that kept swimming around us that was at least 8 feet long. Amazing! I couldn't believe how close they were, and you really could just stick your arm out and touch them, that is, if you didn't care to have two arms.

I'm so disappointed that our camera didn't work, but if you go to this link, this was exactly what our experience was like.

We were given 30 minutes in the cage (of course I only spent 15 mins or so since I wasted all my time fiddling with my mask and TRYING to get into the cage), and then it was the other groups turn. After the high of seeing the sharks wore off, we were left to face our sea sickness again. And, I'm proud to say in this category, I did better than Max, WHO THREW UP OFF THE SIDE OF THE BOAT!! Haha. I know it's mean to laugh, but it was kind of funny. One of the boat guys was actually feeding the sharks directly off the boat, and a few would come to the surface, but neither of us could really see them because we wanted to stay far away from the fish chum bait stuff he was using, the smell of which did not help the sea sickness.

I am actually, as I'm typing and reliving the moment, feeling a bit nauseous.

Going to take a break - more later!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hawaii Recap - Day 2

I slept amazingly well that first night in Hawaii and woke up early on Friday morning to the sound of ocean waves. Sigh. Did I mention I REALLY wish I were back there???

Anyway, Max went downstairs to the coffee shop and brought back some bagels, banana bread, pumpkin bread, and coffee for breakfast. Our plan was to go to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling, and then kayaking at Kailua Beach. Since we got up so early we just took our time eating and getting ready. That was definitely the theme of the vacation - no rushing, no stressing, just taking things easy! We picked up some underwater cameras, extra sunblock, and a few souvenir beach towels and off we went.

Hanauma Bay is located south of Waikiki Beach. It took about half an hour to drive there. On our way, we stopped at Leonard's Bakery, which is famous for their "malasadas" - Hawaiian donuts. Oh god, these things were delicious!!! Fried but very light and airy, and the filling inside was so delicately sweet. The special custard filling of the month was "guava." I've never had guava custard before but it was so so yummy.

Leonard's Bakery - very small and unassuming, but wow they make a mean malasada!

Guava custard filled malasadas!

After our second breakfast of malasadas, we headed straight to Hanauma Bay.

A bit overcast on the morning we went. It actually rained a little while we were snorkeling.

There were already tons of people there. It's a great place to go snorkeling - the whole bay area is a giant reef and you can see lots of different fish and marine life. It's SUPPOSED to be very calm, but on the day that we were there, it was somewhat on the choppy side, which made my snorkeling experience less than ideal (more on that later). When we first entered the bay area, we were ushered into a theater room where we had to watch a 9 minute film on some basic rules to follow in the water. Mainly - snorkel with a buddy, don't touch the fish and turtles, don't feed them and don't stand on the reef. Well, some of those rules proved easier to follow than others.

After the film we lined up to rent our snorkeling equipment - which included mask, the breathing tube, and flippers. I was relieved that for an extra $3, I could get a new mouth piece! Nice!

Max snorkeling!

Me snorkeling!

Snorkeling was...okay. Honestly, I had a lot of trouble breathing through the tube. I just wasn't used to breathing only through my mouth. Also, I had a hard time getting my mask to fit. I actually ALWAYS have trouble getting masks and goggles to fit. Last time I had to buy swimming goggles, I tried on every single pair and found the only pair that fit were pink and for children. I don't know if it's my face, or possibly other Chinese people have problems with masks and goggles (flatter faces?), but mine just kept leaking and fogging up. So, I had to keep standing up to fix my mask. And the only thing to stand on was the reef. So yeah, I broke that rule. A lot.

While Max saw the following:

I saw the following, since I spent most of my time standing up:

Max snorkeling.

Max snorkeling.

To be fair, I did see some fish but the thing is, I got scared of them and would try to swim away, which sort of defeated the point of snorkeling. I blame it on that 9 minute film, which, in an effort to stress the importance of not touching the fish, showed some scary images of some of the more dangerous creatures living in the reef. Between having a hard time breathing (started to get a bit hyperventilating-y), and the relatively choppy waters, I ended up having to swim back to shore after a little while, a feat that was hampered by the fact that my mask and tube had become entirely tangled in my hair. When I finally got to the shore, I felt rather demoralized. I mean, snorkeling is NOT supposed to be hard. And, it was rather embarassing, standing there on the beach like some crazed Medusa, with a mask and tube stuck to my head.

But, I gave it another try after resting for a bit. My second effort was considerably shorter - turns out snorkeling really tires you out! After about two hours we decided to pack up and go to lunch. Our next stop was Kailua Beach, which is on the opposite side of the island from Waikiki Beach. On our way, we stopped for lunch at a place called Fat Boys. We had asked the Kailua tourist center to recommend a place to get a "plate lunch" which is a typical Hawaiian lunch. It always consists of two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and your choice of a variety of entrees - chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, garlic shrimp, etc. Regardless of what you choose, they drown the plate with gravy. Max had roast pork and mahi-mahi, and I had roast pork and chicken teriyaki. Not bad, but nothing to write home about either (which ironically is what I'm doing at the moment.)

Our original plan was to kayak at Kailua Beach, which again was supposed to be a very calm beach, but I guess it was just going to be choppy everywhere we went that day. We were also exhausted so we just walked around and enjoyed the view. I have to say, I think it was the most beautiful beach I've ever been to. The sand was powdery white and soft, and the water was such a gorgeous color.

Max on Kailua Beach. I can't get him to stop making that damn face.

We headed back to the hotel after spending some time at Kailua. Our goal was to get back before 5:30 p.m. There was going to be a big festival in Waikiki that night, and the main street where most of the hotels are located on, including ours, would be closed off for 12 blocks. We got back in time, showered, changed and went down to the streets for dinner. There were a lot of local food vendors serving various kinds of cuisines, and numerous stages with hula dancers, Hawaiian musicians, and other performers. The atmosphere was great - tons of people roaming around. We had heard there would be around 40,000 people there that night - I believe that!

I chose a plumeria lei - it smelled so so so nice!

Performers on one of the many stages.

We settled for a Chinese "seafood plate" which while smelled good, was rather disappointing. Apart from two shrimp, where was the seafood???

Max foolishly thought he could block the camera with his chopsticks. Or maybe he was demonstrating his chopstick skills?

After dinner, we walked along the Waikiki beach for a little while. We were looking to pop in somewhere for a mai tai, but none of the beach front spots looked very good (particularly not the one where a singer was crooning Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" - talk about a party pooper). We finally decided the best place was, in fact, Duke's in our hotel so we ended the night there!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hawaii Recap - Day One


Hawaii (Oahu) was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be. We actually came back on Sunday, but I haven't been able to bring myself to write about the trip yet because I am, quite honestly, rather depressed to be back. Spent yesterday moping about and feeling hostile at work. I actually downloaded "ocean sounds" for my ipod last night. But, now I've gotten used to being out of "paradise" and can get on with my life. Also, I got our underwater pictures developed so I can put them up here.

So we left for Honolulu really early Thursday morning. Paid a fortune at the airport Burger King ($16 for breakfast for two!) only to learn that Hawaiian Airlines is one of the few airlines that still serves food. I can't say my pasta with sauce was very good, but the meal service helped kill some time. I slept most of the way and watched Ocean's Thirteen, which was not so great.

Anyway, we finally got to Honolulu and it was beautiful there! We hopped on a shuttle to get our rental car from Hertz. The shuttle driver was so wonderful - I think he really possessed the "aloha spirit" and was so friendly and jovial. He even pointed out his wife to us, who also drove an airport shuttle, but for a different rental car company. He joked that she liked to keep an eye on him - adorable. It took awhile for us to get our car, but eventually we did. Turned out to be a white Mustang convertible - whee!!!

I will say, while I enjoyed the convertible very much, it did wreak havoc on my hair. In fact, honestly, Hawaii made me ugly! My hair was usually a mess from the convertible, and had salt in it from the ocean so it looked like I had a bad case of dandruff. You can't very well go swimming with make-up on (well you can, it just doesn't stay on - I tried), and I just always felt kind of grimey with sunblock. But oh well.

Anyway, we headed to our beautiful hotel - the Outrigger Waikiki. It's right on the beach, and only has valet parking, so it made our life super easy. Here's a stock photo from the web.

When we first got there, our room wasn't ready yet, so we went to Duke's, which is the casual beach front restaurant at the hotel. We sat down and ordered our first fruity tropical drinks, and relaxed. It was so very beautiful and peaceful - it opens straight to the ocean.

Here I am enjoying a "tropical itch." It came with a back scratcher, which I thought Pig would like. She didn't and was rather confused by it I think.

Our room was finally ready, and when I got there I couldn't believe that Max had actually booked an ocean front room, with a balcony. The view from it was spectacular. We were on the 15th floor, which was just perfect. Here are a few pics (more to follow). We actually took these a little later that day:

After we got settled in our room, we decided to change into our suits, walk around the beach, and maybe go for a swim. The water was so warm and clear! No gross seaweed floating around, no dirty seafoam water curdling at the edges of the beach. It was gorgeous. I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually gone swimming in the ocean. After our swim, we laid out on the beach and just napped for a little while. We were actually both trying to avoid tanning, so we had sunblocked ferociously, but even with that, the sun was pretty strong. We stayed out for a bit and then headed back to the hotel room. The thing is, when you have a really nice hotel room like the one we did, it's just as nice, if not nicer, to hang out in there as it is to hang out on the beach. Max bought a bottle of champagne and we just enjoyed the breeze and the sunset from our balcony. So relaxing.

Afterwards, we showered and got ready to go to dinner. Max had booked a reservation for the Hula Grill, which is another one of the hotel's restaurants, but is nicer than Duke's. We got a great table right on the patio overlooking the beach. I remember that I realized two things 1.) the temperature was perfect. Seriously perfect - not even the slightest bit too hot or too cold. It felt like the air around me was the exact temperature of my body. 2.) I was totally and completely relaxed, stress-free, and happy. I was completely at peace, in a way that I don't think I've ever been. Or at least not recently.

I didn't really take a lot of pics of dinner that night, mainly because it just seemed too much of hassle to drag out the camera. Max had a lovely surf and turf, and I had two appetizers - a ceviche and some lobster/scallop potstickers. Here's the one pic I have - a bit blurry since the sun was setting, and the place was lit with tiki torches and candle light.

All our nights ended pretty early - Hawaii is behind us by three hours, so we got sleepy at around nine. Max and I kept the balcony doors open at night, and drew only the shear curtains together so we slept to the sounds of the ocean. It was really really wonderful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pre Hawaii Hump Day

This time tomorrow, I will be laying on a warm beach and enjoying a drink out of a coconut! I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Kate, being the ever awesome friend, is actually coming over tonight to pick up Pig. I figure Pig will be less hysterical if Kate just walks her out of the apartment, rather than us dropping her off at Kate's place and leaving her behind. Hopefully there won't be any Pig screams - and yes, she does scream. I am arming Kate with plenty of cookies in case that happens.

Speaking of Pig, Max and I noticed the other night that sometimes...just sometimes...she has SLEEP APNEA. It's hysterical. She stops breathing for about 4 seconds and then starts breathing really hard. I'm going to tape it the next time she does it. Between Max's snoring and Pig's sleep apnea, it's amazing I get any sleep at all.

Anyway, toodles for now!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend Recap

Well, my weekend kind of started on Thursday, since I had that day off. Spent a nice day just lounging around, playing poker online, and hanging out with Max and Pig. Oh, and I got a crazy stalker note - I had parked on the street and when I got back there was a note tucked in my windshield. At first I thought "Oh crap, someone's hit my car or something" but it turned out to be a crazy stalker note: "Hi I saw you getting out of your car and couldn't take my eyes off of you. I waited for you to come back but you didn't. Give me a call if you'd like to go out for coffee or tea. No strings attached. Pierre." Funny. Max said I should call, arrange a meeting, and then send our friend Craig there with a black wig on. Hee.

Friday I was back in the office, but it was a relatively light day. Friday night, we watched Pan's Labyrinth which was very good but very creepy! Definitely not for kids, despite the fairy tale aspect of it. Got a call at night from Kate, who had some unfortunate news - our friend Jessie was in the hospital. Luckily she is okay (seems like she had some kind of super staph infection) but she had been in the hospital for several days. I went to visit her Saturday morning. I had to wear a gown and gloves - I guess the infection is contagious and she had to be placed in "isolation." Poor thing. Anyway luckily she is recovering and was in good spirits when I saw her.

After that, Max and I went over to Amol's to meet up with the rest of the people going to LOBSTERFEST!!! It was totally awesome, as predicted. I got two whole Maine lobsters for $31! That is such an amazing deal. I wish I had some pics, but I was far too busy eating to whip out the camera. Benjamin actually ate four and a half lobsters. Amazing. Afterwards, we roamed around for a bit and then headed home. Max's friend Aaron spent the night at our place and we just hung out and digested our lobsters.

Sunday morning I slept in and Max made us a crazy ridiculous breakfast - waffles with whipcream and strawberries, hashbrowns, toast, scrambled eggs with green peppers and cheese, and fresh sausage. Good god. I didn't think I'd need to eat again for the rest of the day. Afterwards, we headed to Boardwalk for the Sunday Lions game. I love watching the game there. Everyone cheers and high-fives and it's such a fun atmosphere. About a dozen of us meet there every week (mostly Michigan peeps who have been going there for football games for a few years now) and the bar owners and staff are so friendly. The Lions have won their first two games this season!! Whoo hooo!! Yesterday's game was awesome - a total nailbiter! And we won! As we were leaving, Aaron said "This Lion's game has made my week." :)

So now it's Monday, and I'm feeling my usual Monday morning grumps, altho what is keeping me sane is our upcoming Hawaii trip. The countdown begins!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hump Day

Well, as the saying goes, don't count your chickens before they hatch. Was told I'd probably get both Thursday and Friday off for Jewish New Year, but turns out I have to come in on Friday now. Boo. I mean, yay that I don't have to work Thursday, but a four day weekend would have been awesome. Of course, I have a four day weekend next week while I'm in Hawaii, so I should probably quit whining.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fowl Humor

On a whim (okay, because I was totally bored), I decided to look up the recipe for a "turducken," thinking that maybe Max and I could give it a try for Thanksgiving this year. A "turducken" is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, with stuffing btw each layer. It's an incredibly ambitious recipe - a friend of mine actually made one once and I recall it took her several days.

Anyway, I came across this entry in Wikipedia - which is probably my most favoritest wikipedia page ever: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turducken


I am getting SO VERY excited...

...about Hawaii!! Last night Max and I finally watched these two specials on Hawaii that we had tivo'd months ago. It's so beautiful there - I can't wait to go! We also booked our rental car and decided that yes, it was worth a little bit more to get a CONVERTIBLE. Whoo hoo! Actually I think we got a pretty good price on it. I tried priceline for the first time and it was a good experience. At first I tried to underbid, but then the site suggested a couple other rates that they thought would be a bit more doable. I liked that and took their suggestion and got a decent discount. Next we started to check out some things that we could do there . There's a shark adventure tour where you get to go in a shark cage and see the sharks up front and personal. Every review I've read of that says it's really awesome. Also, I think we're going to arrange some sort of guided kayak and snorkeling tour as well. I think we're really going to hammer out our itinerary this week and do some proper planning. I am really really really excited.

I didn't blog about this earlier, but has anyone checked out Tim Gunn's Guide to Style? I loved it!! Made me a bit less angry at Bravo for all the Top Chef nonsense of late. First off, I love Tim Gunn, so he can do no wrong. Secondly, the show inspired me to clean out my closet. Okay, I haven't quite gotten around to that, but it did inspire me to THINK about cleaning about my closet. I have tons and tons of clothes that I just don't wear anymore and it's time I got rid of them. Basically, according to Tim and Veronica Webb, you should divide all your clothes into four piles: keepers, trashers, menders, and give-away-ers. After that, you have to make sure you have your "essentials list" - 10 basic items that you HAVE to have in your closet.

Here they are:

Basic black dress

Trench coat

Classic dress pants




Classic white shirt

Day dress

Cashmere sweater

A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit

Bonus: an indulgent, trendy item

Hmm...I think I have most of those, but not all. Anyway, I thought the show was great, and I'm almost more excited about it than Top Chef these days. And - it actually made me cry. For real.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend Recap

Feeling a bit grumpy this morning. First off, youtube seems to be down, so despite my repeated efforts, I have not been able to watch Britney's apparent horrendous appearance on the VMA show. Also, new hair cut requires much more effort than the old throw-dripping-wet-hair-into-bun style I'm used to, so it took forever to get ready this morning. And work is annoying. Really really annoying.

And...it's Monday. Monday Monday Monday. Blah. Grr. Grumpgrumpfrumpfrump.

The thing that makes Monday so horrible is that I had a pretty good weekend. Friday I went over to Amol's to play poker, and I actually broke my year long losing streak with a win!

On Saturday, Benjamin, Julia, Jason, and Jason's 5 month old baby came over to watch that miserable Michigan football game. Wow - we really suck. Honestly, I hope we don't win a single game this year. At this point, it'd be much more interesting to set the worst record possible. After the game, I got my hair cut, which is always thrilling in that will-I-love-it-or-hate-it-way. So far, I love it, except for the fact that I have to actually style it. After the football games, we went over to AD's old house for their second annual "pink" party, where everyone has to wear pink. They had something there called an "ice luge." My limited frat party experience did not prepare me for what that actually was. Turns out, it's as gross as it sounds ("luge" sounds awfully close to "loogie" in my opinion). It's an ice sculpture with these little tracks carved out and basically you put your mouth on the bottom end and someone else pours alcohol down the tracks and straight into your mouth. I guess the idea is that the alcohol gets chilled on its way down. Here are a couple images to illustrate - the pic is not from the actual party but the ice luge looked a lot like that.

As you can see - ew gross!!! Everyone puts their mouth on the same spot. YUCK!! I was horrified. (And confused, b/c at first I thought they got an ice sculpture of half a sandwich and that made no sense to me at all)

Sunday morning, we went over to Boardwalkk 11 to watch the Lions first games of the season. And they won! Whoo hoo! It was really fun - we were a loud crowd of about 15 Lions fans. Reminded me a bit like being at a craps table!

But now it's Monday. :(

At least it's time for lunch.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Top Chef - Ugh

This season of Top Chef is really beginning to annoy me. First off, the show is dragging on FOREVER. They've had 3 "off" weeks where they aired repeats, and during that first episode of Restaurant Wars, they didn't get rid of anyone. Next - why are these judges so friggin' inconsistent? So Howie tried to quit and "take the hit" but Padma has the nerve to say "it's the judges decision" when last season Mia totally did that? And not to mention everything is a double edged sword - if the chefs make something they don' t like and serve it, they yelled at; if they don't serve what they don't like, they get yelled at. Not to mention, what kind of lousy Quickfire prize was that? If Brian had not appointed himself Executive Chef, he would have gotten crap for it the way CJ did for Restaurant April. But by appointing himself, he put himself on the chopping block.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hump Day

Soooo sleeeeeeeepy.

Pig heard thunderstorms/fireworks/gunshots last night so I barely got any sleep. I have no idea what she heard but I guess she heard something. She just got so scared and so inconsolable that the only thing that calmed her down was for us to sleep in the living room with all the lights on and the tv blaring. Otherwise she would have spent the whole night trying to hide under the bedside tables or in the closet. Sigh. I am exhausted. It's one thing to take a nap while the tv is on, it's another thing to try to sleep through a whole night with ESPN on in the background.

Lots of ups and downs going on in my life but rather than dwelling on the more frustrating elements here are a few ups that I've been reminding myself of:

1.) HAWAII - Max and I are going in about two weeks!!! It's going to be awesome!!! Also, Kate has agreed to watch Pig and her boyfriend will help walk her during the day while she's at work. I am so so so very relieved and grateful that it worked out!!! Making arrangements for Pig is always the most stressful part of taking a vacation.

2.) MY WORK SCHEDULE FOR THE MONTH - this week is 4 day work week, next week is a 3 day work week (I have thursday and friday off b/c of jewish holidays - one of the major bonuses to working for a jewish employer) and the following week is also a 3 day work week because of the Hawaii trip.

3.) LOBSTERFEST next Saturday. This is one of my most favorite festivals of the year. They ships tons and tons of Maine lobsters to San Pedro. I plan on eating two!

4.) WORKING OUT - Yes, I've actually been going to the gym again. Quite frequently. The muffin top seems to have shrunk a little bit and I can finally fit into something besides sweatpants. I don't think I'll be in bikini shape by the time we go to Hawaii, but hopefully I'll at least look a bit less lumpy.

5.) THIS WEEKEND - It will be an old school kind of weekend - party at AD's old house and then maybe a bbq? Labor Day Weekend was totally ruined by the heat - we couldn't really do anything at all so I'm hoping we get to bbq this weekend.

Alright, feel a bit cheered up now. How could I not? I'm going to HAWAAAAAAAIIIIII!!!!