Brian and I started our date night at Taste and See 2 in Old Town.
The restaurant has been open for several weeks now, but this is our first trip there since we both have been very busy.
Chef Jason Febres and Steven Bacci have really stepped it up. The place looks fantastic and the server uniforms look really spiffy.
We started dinner with one of our favorite tapas: queso fondue.
Brian had his usual, the real Cubano with truffle fries.
I wanted to be adventurous and try something that I’d never had before, the saltinbocca. How can you go wrong with chicken and prosciutto?
It was delicious. I even liked the mushroom and the cracker thing.
We left the restaurant very full and happy. The beers helped.
After dinner we went on to Abode to watch Blockhead perform. Reby and Aaron were there also. Come to find out, Aaron is a huge Blockhead fan.
We actually got a real treat last night. I had no idea that Aaron is Cutter J, the Absurdist. He’s amazing!
He makes music, plays with spoons, and even tap dances.
Oh, and Blockhead was really good too.
Brian really enjoyed date night. He thanked me several times for taking him to see Blockhead. Yup. That’s what I do. I plan great dates. LOL.
Here’s a link to Taste & See 2 on Urbanspoon.
A year ago I was invited to attend a super secret meeting with Don, Jim, and some hotel chain execs who were vetting Wichita as a possible location for their newest call center. I put on my best suit for the meeting but something was noticeably missing.
Don and Jim both had fancy name tags. “Don’t you have one of these?” Jim asked. I didn’t have one then, but guess what. I have one now — thanks to the Operations team. We were all given these fancy metal name tags at the Operations leadership conference that I attended this week.
I joked to coworker/friend Sally that they had to switch to the fancy metal nameplates in place of the sticker ones so that she wouldn’t feel people up under the guise of helping them keep their name tag sticker on. So she actually gets credit for getting us all fancy metal name tags. LOL.
Jokes aside, it’s the little things that make my day. Believe it or not, I was really excited to finally get my very own fancy name tag. I have arrived!
We picked up a little before we went to bed after the party last weekend, but this is the mess that we woke up to the next day.
Rather than deal with the mess straight off, Brian and I decided that this was the perfect excuse to go have brunch at a new place, Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe. We’d heard many good things.
The place is actually quite nice. I really like the colorful decor.
The place is kind of quirky. I like the cloth napkins, novel napkin rings, and even mismatched silverware.
The fancy water glasses are nice too, but they don’t hold much water. It wouldn’t be so bad if they refilled the water glass more frequently. I kept running out of water and it would take forever between refills.
The runny eggs were strike two. Brian specifically asked for them to be fried hard.
The bacon was good but the damage was done. Brian did not want to touch his eggs but he didn’t want to ask for them to get redone either so I ended up eating them.
There’s not many places in town you can get crepes, so that is what I ordered. Here are a couple of pictures of my chicken and spinach crepe.
I was not particularly impressed. The crepe itself was too thick and more pancake-like than I prefer. They put a lot of filling in it also which is both good and bad. It’s great that you get more chicken for your money, but all of the filling overpowered the crepe and made it even less crepe-like. Sad to say this but the chicken florentine crepe that I had at a kiosk inside the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando when we were there for the Zumba instructor convention was far superior (even if I did have to eat it out of a water cone, LOL).
Here’s the dessert display case. For a bakery, it wasn’t very impressive. It looked kind of sad and empty actually. If you’re going to tack “bakery” at the end of your name, I’m going to expect more than this sad display case. When I think of a restaurant and bakery, the display cases I’m envisioning are the likes of Bagatelle (fantastic cakes, by the way, and they always give you free dessert which is a bonus) and Copper Oven. Their bakery here seemed like an afterthought.
They served an English muffin with Brian’s breakfast and I asked for toast, neither of these tasted like they were baked on site. They gave us this hard French roll while we were waiting for our food and that didn’t taste freshly baked either. I would have much rather had Tita Tessie’s pan de sal over it.
As far as the price goes, their prices are pretty reasonable. No complaints there. Service was slow, but it wasn’t terrible, and the runny eggs were not the servers fault so we gave her $4 bucks, which is a decent tip relative the cost of our meal. We looked at the ticket and she wrote it down correctly, Brian and I concluded that the cook either wasn’t paying attention or didn’t know how to make a hard egg.
I really wanted to like this place because other people I know have loved it, but everything I liked about the place had nothing to do with the food. I like the clever name. The location is great. The restaurant has a wonderful ambiance. I like having cloth napkins and real silverware. The decor is nice and cheerful. All of that stuff is fabulous so if I’m just going there to hang out, I would totally love the place. As far as the food goes, I’ve had better breakfast meals elsewhere, so if I’m looking for somewhere to eat Birds on the Roof wouldn’t be my first pick.
On the bright side, when we came home from breakfast we were ready to tackle the aftermath of the previous night’s party. We still need to do some deep cleaning (vacuuming and mopping, etc.) but we picked up the mess and wiped all of the surfaces. Look at what we accomplished.
Our house was back to normal in no time. Of course, we were still pooped from having stayed up all night so we ended up taking a nap after this and didn’t wake up again until five in the afternoon. That was pretty much our Sunday.
I love this time of year not because I enjoy turning a year older but because there’s always so much going on. It’s usually around this time that I get my annual epic massage (the rest of the time we’re just getting deluxe massages). I actually like it better now that I’ve switched to deluxe massages for my regular massage because it makes the epic massages that much more special when I do have them.
Besides that, this is also around the time of Brew Ha-Ha at Flints Hills National. It is our most favorite fundraising event.
It was even more fun this year because several of my friends from work attended also. Darcy and Jason (above) attended. Derek, Carmen, Nick, Suzanne and her husband, Bridget and her husband, and Reed and his wife were just some of the ones we got to hang out with at the event. I heard that Don and Denise were there too as well as Jim and Carol, but we didn’t ever run into them.
We also ran into some friends we don’t ever get to see Sarah and Tony Patterson and Ann and Jeremey Wilcoxon. I went to grad school with Sarah at Wichita State. We both completed our MBAs in 2008. Brian and I met Ann and Jeremey at Jeff and Stacy Christensen’s sushi party years ago and we’ve been running into them at Brew Ha-Ha ever since. Not a lot of people in my department at work were interested in Brew Ha-Ha when I first started attending so it was always nice (and still is, even though there’s a bigger group from my work attending these days) to see some familiar faces.
Anyway, that’s one of the reasons that I love having a Facebook account. Being connected on Facebook makes me feel so much more intimately connected with friends who I only get to see once every few years.
I hadn’t had a real vacation since this crazy year started so for my birthday I treated myself to a couple of days of vacation, with no specific agenda in mind. Brian was actually surprised as that is not my style. I’m never one to waste a vacation day. I only take vacation days whenever we are traveling somewhere, I have a test or school project, I have some sort of medical or dental appointment, etc. I am so crazy that when Brian wants take a vacation day to veg around the house, I actually either talk him out of it or come up with errands or some sort of agenda for him so as not to waste a vacation day. I’m just not the sleeping in and vegging kind of person. I prefer my days to have purpose.
As luck would have it, I got to spend my vacation days Ching-style. Bybee Electric arrived at 8:30 AM on Thursday to work on moving the power outlet for our new range and Brian’s mom came over around the same time on Friday while their house, which is about to be no longer theirs (they accepted an offer on it) was inspected. I didn’t get to sleep in on either of my vacation days, which is fine by me. I prefer to have something going on than nothing anyways.
I took advantage of my free time on Friday to pick up some last minute party supplies (paper plates and plastic forks and stuff). I also picked up some take out from Panda Express for lunch. Brian came home so the three of us — Donna, Brian, and I — had a nice lunch together.
After Brian and his mom left, I spent the afternoon getting a pedicure at Serenity in Derby (their pedicure area is pretty but not that comfortable; I couldn’t fully relax and lean back because the bench is stationary/fixed to the wall and not adjustable so it’s not ideal for short people). They had a $25 Autumn spice pedicure special though, so it was worth a shot. Besides, it gave me an excuse to stop by mom and dad’s.
My hair appointment at Sami Halaseh followed. It’s another place I haven’t tried but I got a gift certificate for a free Aveda perfume for my birthday so I looked up different Aveda salons in town. I only get my hair cut about two or three times a year so I’m not attached to a particular salon or stylist (unlike my waxings which occur every couple of weeks pretty much; I would be a mess if Patricia moves or retires). In my world a haircut is a luxury but a waxing is a necessity. LOL. Anyway, the important part is that I felt like my two vacation days were worthwhile and productive.
The one thing that bummed me out is that I wasn’t at work on Halloween so I missed out on seeing everyone in their creative costumes.
Lucky for me, I have awesome coworkers who sent me pictures so it almost felt like I was there. Thanks, Isaac! These are just a few of the people in costume. I heard that the participation rate was so much better this year. I can’t believe I missed it!
Speaking of Isaac, I’m also disappointed that I missed seeing him get a pie to the face. LOL. It was all in good fun, though.
I always have to come up with multiple costume ideas every year. I’m a joiner so I try to participate in work activities whenever I can. Halloween is one of my favorites. So I can always count on needing a work-appropriate costume for work and several other costumes for the Halloween parties.
We had a Halloween poker thing at Rune’s last weekend, which fell on the same night as the Fabulous Fleshtones’ annual Halloween bash. I think it’s the first time that we missed it. Although, when we went last year Brian got a speeding ticket so understandably we wanted to do something different this year.
Here are some photos from the Halloween poker party at Rune’s…
I dressed as a black bird. Brian was supposed to be a bird watcher, but we couldn’t find his binoculars so he just ended up looking like a tourist. I don’t think I got any photos of him from that night.
Albert won the costume contest. Dressing in drag always trumps all other costumes it seems. We’ll have to do better next year. =P
Rune’s parties are awesome because poker is usually involved, there’s always plenty of food, and his “loser’s lounge” is a slick movie theater room. You almost want to lose on purpose. Okay, not really.
Since Rune got dibs on October 26, we had to move our Halloween party to November 2. It worked out because we got to start something new, what we now call a “Post-Halloween Bash” which is perfect in all aspects because costumes are always cheaper right after Halloween. And, who says costumes are only reserved for Halloween? We also got an extra hour of revelry because Sunday is when we fell back out of DST.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the party last night…
Our favorite Vikings, Rune and Kristen…
Zumba ladies in the house!
David and Donna came as packing boxes.
Our favorite Romans, Paul, Carla, and Elrond…
Our favorite sisters…
Our favorite rednecks, Laura and Chad…
I must say, the Google glasses finish off the look! LOL.
Catniss and Prince. All I have to say is that I’m glad I’m not the only one who had to keep explaining my costume all night. Thank you, Hideki!
Domestic goddess with her favorite 70s pornstar, Jay Dildo. =P
Christina and Kasey.
Paul found his spot on the sectional and didn’t budge for most of the evening.
There were so many costumes I loved, Alison’s costume is one of them.
If you don’t get it, you need to watch this video.
Thank you to Andrea and Hideki for my PSN card, and to Meader for bringing all his Rock Band games and the spare guitar. We are going to need to invest in our set up because we were slumming it last night.
There’s always some crazy, weird things going on…
We had more people at the house last night than we’ve ever had. I was amazed. I always invite a ton of people, but usually people don’t show up. That is kind of what I expected for the most part.
Brian said he was actually glad that some of the people we were expecting couldn’t make it because we were running out of places to put everyone. We put the leaf in the breakfast table so we could seat eight there in addition to the eight at the regular dining table and we still had no room. People were everywhere. Brian thought our floor would cave from all the weight. LOL.
We finally just had to direct the people who were done eating downstairs. The best way to do that was to move the booze down there. Rock Band promptly commenced. But then Rock Band was so loud that we had to move Cards Against Humanity upstairs because we couldn’t hear each other. It was a night of improvisation.
Anyway, the house passed its stress test as did Brian. For the first time ever, we made a big enough mess that we couldn’t pick everything up before bed. I hate, hate, hate leaving a mess but we didn’t have a choice. We were both pooped. We actually didn’t get everything put back to normal until today.
Whew! So glad that is over. Until next year!
The stove saga began with an idea. It came to me like a gentle breeze several months ago. Wouldn’t it be nice to have two ovens? I thought. But there’s nothing wrong with our current electric range. It works perfectly fine. In fact, though it wasn’t our choice — we basically got it when we bought our house last year because the previous owners left it — it’s actually excellent.
The idea persisted, as with all crazy ideas that come to me. I didn’t have to act on it right away, but I’d think about how nice it would be to have two ovens every couple of months or so. The idea took up permanent residence in my mind.
The opportunity to act on the idea came when Brian asked me what I wanted for our 11th wedding anniversary. The idea reared its head and, without hesitation, I told him I wanted a new electric range with two ovens.
Are you sure? He asked me. I’m going to benefit from it more than you because I do more cooking and baking.
Yes. I am sure, I told him. I want a new stove.
Of course, I didn’t end up getting my stove in August because our Orlando trip proved to be more expensive than we anticipated. We didn’t want to leave a balance on the credit card (which must be paid off at the end of each month no matter what) so we had to postpone the new stove purchase. Brian and I agreed that it would be my birthday gift this year.
Over the last few months I looked at stores and web sites to comparison shop. Around Labor Day I found a good deal on a double oven electric range at Home Depot but we didn’t pull the trigger right then. We were busy with some other stuff and didn’t really have time to put a lot of thought into it so we decided to hold off. Brian and I like to thoroughly think things through.
Fast forward through a couple of weeks ago when we finally had a free weekend. We went to several stores — Sears Outlet, Menards, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Best Buy. There weren’t a lot of selection. Lowe’s and Home Depot both actually had only one double oven electric range on display at their respective stores. We had to resort to looking at their web sites which offered more inventory. We found the exact same electric range for sale at all three web sites — Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Best Buy. Best Buy just happened to be running 30% OFF appliances that weekend so they ended up offering the best price.
The double oven electric range that we found is a Whirlpool so it matches our fridge and dishwasher. And we got a good deal on it. It’s like this one but we paid less than $1000 for it. That’s pretty much the full extent of the stove budget. The one I found at Home Depot in September was $899. I should have pulled the trigger then because by the time I was ready it was no longer available. Must have been a discontinued model or something. Oh, well. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I managed to sell our old range, a perfectly good stainless steel smooth top electric range (also a Whirlpool) that’s only five years old max, for $120 via one of the virtual garage sale groups on Facebook. The folks who bought it picked up the stove on Thursday night so the space was ready to go for the stove delivery the next day. Brian had taken a vacation day from work that Friday to study for his SQL exam.
As with most things in life, things didn’t work out as perfectly as I envisioned. I imagined the old stove going out and the new stove simply taking its place. I failed to take into account the location of the electrical outlet for the electric range which was on the floor instead of the wall. The new stove couldn’t fit flush against the wall because it didn’t have the same cavity on the back as the old stove. Here are some pictures that Brian took last Friday on delivery day.
It didn’t look too bad from the front.
But the gap behind the range was really problematic for me.
It also made the range stick out beyond the cabinets.
I was excited to look at the new stove when I came home from work on Friday, but I disliked how it looked in the space almost immediately.
I called several electrical companies to price the cost of moving the power outlet from the floor to the wall. After a few quotes we decided to go with the Jay’s friend Andrew at Bybee Electric. Brian met them after work on Monday. He felt good about the meeting and so we set an appointment for this morning since I’m on vacation and will be home to let them in and oversee the work.
Tom and Cody arrived around 8:30 this morning.
We lucked out that there was enough slack in the electrical wire to relocate the outlet without having to run a new wiring.
An hour and $135 later, my new double oven electric range is finally flush against the wall. As flush as it can be, anyway.
After factoring the cost of the electrical work that needed to be done, we spent a lot more on the new range than I had anticipated. I’m really happy with it though. It looks great in the space, matches the rest our our appliances, and I know we will get good use out of it. I can’t wait for Brian to come home and see it.
We got our official letter today stating that we no longer have to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) on our home loan. This is the best birthday week ever!
We really need to quit eating out. It’s been hard to slow down, though. It is my birthday month after all. This time we found ourselves at Bite ME BBQ. At least we were somewhat responsible and decided to split a dinner.
We had sliced brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and a hot link. We had fries and coleslaw for our sides. It was just at the right amount of food for the two of us. Actually, it was more than enough. I felt like I ate too much. I didn’t have enough room for peach cobbler, which is my favorite thing to get at Bite ME.
I really need to buckle down next month. Watch the nutrition and ramp up the workouts. I feel fatter by the day!
It’s always a challenge to eat healthy during my birthday month because random restaurants send me coupons for stuff. And you know me. I just can’t resist. Though, over the last few years, I have gotten a bit more picky. I never pass up a chance to eat at Bonefish, though. Specially when they give me FREE bang bang shrimp.
Anymore if it’s just Brian and me then we just opt to eat in the bar area so we don’t have to make reservations and we don’t have to wait. Plus, we always seem to meet really cool people.
One time we were there we met Patty Armstrong who is in the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Wichita and her husband. I guess they are regulars because all the staff seemed to know them and the manager was really chummy with them. They were super nice and we had great dinner conversation, for a bunch of strangers.
It was really tough to get a seat at the bar on Saturday night, though. It was super packed. Brian and I were there later than usual too. We are a couple of old farts and prefer to go at five-ish. Anyway, we had to wait forever for an opening at one of the community tables. It made me think of Winston in one of the episodes of New Girl. The one where he saves all the seats by being all weird and trying to drive all the other diners away. It was just me and Brian so we didn’t have to do that, but if we were expecting others to join us and we didn’t have a reservation (not likely because Brian and I are anal and would always have reservations if we’re dining with a group of people but anyway) we agreed that we’d probably do the same thing. It made me laugh in my head. Sometimes I just do that. I think of something and it makes me laugh, but then I actually outwardly laugh and then other people are like, “What’s so funny?” but then you can’t explain it because it all happened in your head.
Anyway, this last time we didn’t really meet-meet people. There was another couple already at the table. I think they just gave up on waiting for their table and decided to eat dinner at the community table instead, but I could tell that probably isn’t something they normally do. Halfway through their meal their pager buzzed. I mean Brian and I purposefully choose to dine at the community table. Theirs was more accidental. We didn’t really get to visit with them much.
There was a young couple who sat across from us briefly. They seemed to be on a first date. I’m thinking they met on a dating web site. I don’t normally eavesdrop on people’s conversations, but I couldn’t help it. They were sitting across from me. Anyway, they left as soon as their table became available.
After they left another couple took their place. It was an old guy probably in his 50s. He wasn’t bad looking but definitely old. His date was a young girl about mid-twenties. Brian thought they were father and daughter at first but as soon as they started conversing with one another he caught on that they were on a date. Brian thought it was weird. I think he must have been putting out some kind of vibe because they ended up moving to the bar, or as far away from us as possible. Maybe our PDAs weren’t helping. Just kidding.
When they left I told Brian that I could tell they were on a date right off the bat just from how they looked and through their body language. And, I’m more open-minded when it comes to age differences. I don’t think it’s weird when people 20 years apart date. After about 25 everyone is pretty much the same age in my book. Plus, it’s one thing if you look ancient but I’ve seen some really hot-looking old dudes. Then again, my concept of hot is not the same as other women. For instance, Kevin Spacey in House of Cards is hot to me but other women will probably disagree.
Brian is turning 40 next year and I told him that he’s actually more attractive to me now than he ever has been. He looks better than he ever has physically but, aside from that, his salt and pepper hair is just plain sexy. I told him that I’d probably find him less attractive if he died his hair and actually looked younger. If he dressed in a nice business suit everyday, I probably wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Fortunately, he dresses like a slob (just kidding, but very casual nonetheless) most days so I can at least function and not act like a googly-eyed girl, daydreaming all day. If were in my twenties and met him as he is now, I would totally date him and I would feel the least bit oogie about it. I’d actually be all over it. Seriously. If I were single, I’d actually prefer dating older men to guys my age.
But I digress… Besides the great food, the dining experience at Bonefish is always interesting. Specially if you opt to eat in the bar area. Until next time!
Brian and I played poker at Nilla’s for the first time in a long while. I was feeling pretty rusty. Brian had a good showing, though. He got to the final three tables and did better than all of us. He was feeling sick that day, which is a good thing because he seems to do well whenever he’s not feeling well.
Although, he started feeling better halfway through. Not good. The only time I don’t want Brian to feel better is when he’s playing poker. LOL.
We have another poker tournament this Saturday. I’m trying to figure out what to feed Brian to make him feel sick. Maybe I need to start exposing myself to germs at work. Hmmm…
Brian and I got PlasmaCars for Eli and QQ for Christmas. We originally found these at one of the local toy stores for $65, but I actually found them cheaper on Amazon. That’s why I love, love, love Amazon!
Anyway, we only got one for QQ at first but then they actually work great for bigger kids as well (even I enjoyed riding around in it at the store) so we decided to get one for Eli also. We figured it would be more fun if they had two of them so they could race each other. Luckily they come in a variety of colors so we got a different color for the second PlasmaCar. That way they can tell their cars apart.
After Brian assembled the cars, he took each of them for a spin. He just couldn’t resist. LOL. These things are so fun we even considered getting some for ourselves. Seriously. Who knows. Maybe Santa will get us each our own PlasmaCars for Christmas also.
Santa, if you’re reading this, I would like the Zumba green and purple PlasmaCar please. Thank you!