Sunday, August 29, 2010

Birthday Recap Part III: Portland

Thank you, dear readers, for hanging in there while I took my sweet time writing up this recap. I've spent the weekend prepping the house for my darling fiance's return (because of course, I didn't get around to any of the cleaning I'd planned to do while he was gone. I seem to have spent all my extra time watching episodes of Community on Hulu. Oops!)
Anyway, he's back now (so happy!) and has reminded me that I need to finish my recap, so here it is!
On Tuesday, my darling fiance had to work during the morning, so I woke up early and walked from his dorm in the West End of Portland down to the Old Port District and enjoyed a chocolate croissant and a cafe au lait in a little coffee shop called Morning in Paris. Once the shops in Old Port opened up, I did a little shopping and enjoyed a green veggie juice from the California Juice Bar. (It really hit the spot after the previous night's bacon fries!) I quickly discovered that Portland has a Lululemon!!! I'm so jealous since we don't have one in New Orleans! I have a few pairs of pants and a top from Lululemon that my darling fiance has given me, but I've actually never been to one myself. I immediately hit the sales rack and picked up an adorable running skirt. It looks a lot like the one I linked, but is a lighter shade of blue and has grey trim on the back. It's really cute and I've worn it comfortably on two long runs. I love it! I also picked up a purple headband. Happy Birthday to me!
My darling fiance got done with his work obligations and met me for lunch. We went to J's Oyster house and split a seafood plate (it had two raw oysters and two huge raw scallops, along with some crab meat, steamed shrimp, and steamed lobster claws) and a bucket of steamed clams. It was delicious.

Scallops are yummy!
Afterward, we walked around for a while and he bought me a birthday present- a Butter by Nadia dress. It's an infinity style dress which means that it has long bands on the top that can be wrapped a ton of different ways. Mine is dark purple, incredibly flattering, and wonderfully comfortable. I love it! After that, we walked back to the dorms so that I could take a nap. Once I was rested, we walked all the way to the other side of Portland to see the East End, Munjoy Hill, and the Portland Observatory.

Wearing my dress and enjoying the sunset at the East End
The View from East End
Portland Observatory
We ended our night with panini's and more french fries at Duckfat. I've eaten at Duckfat both times I've visted Portland and it is one of my favorite places. This time, I got the special panini with roast pork, sauerkraut, spicy mustard and cheese- along with duckfat fries with garlic aoli for dipping. So good!

A "Yaycation" indeed!
Finally, we walked back home and enjoyed some wine we'd picked up at the Cellardoor winery on Sunday. I also figured out that I'd walked a total of 9 miles that day!
I had an amazing birthday trip and I'm really glad I got a chance to visit Maine again. It's definitely one of my favorite places to vacation! Of course, I'd love to go back because there is still so much I haven't done!

What's your ideal birthday? Where do you like to spend your vacations?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birthday Recap Part II: Camden

Sorry for the long delay! Work has been insane this week! I've basically been wrapped up in a 3 day meeting and I'm pretty wiped out.
However, I don't want to wait too long before writing about my birthday trip.
On Saturday (Aug. 14), I flew to Portland, Me to see my darling fiance (who has been doing an away rotation up there) and to celebrate my birthday by enjoying temperatures under 90 degrees! I got in at 10:30 pm, but wasn't too tired to stop by a really nice pub called Novare Res. The next morning, we had amazing toast for breakfast at a coffee house called Arabica, then picked up lobster rolls to go from the Portland Lobster Company.

This toast was amazing
We ate them on the way to Camden, where we stayed at the Hartstone Inn.

Our room at the Harstone
Prior to arriving at the Inn, we stopped at the Cellardoor Winery to enjoy a food and wine pairing. We really enjoyed the wine and were excited to try BBQ bear (!!) prepared by a local cookbook author (I feel bad but I can't remember her name). I was surprised to find that bear tasted like a cross between venison and lamb and was much lighter than I thought it would be.

Enjoying the view outside the winery

Of course, I saved room for dinner, and happily, we were able to eat at Hartsone after all! (We had been on the waiting list.) We had lobster tortellini, salad with peaches and a peach/orange dressing, blueberry sorbet, lamb medallions with asparagus and an artichoke, feta, and pine nut tart, and a mudslide souffle with Bailey's Irish Cream Sauce. YUM!!

29 never tasted so good!
The next day was rainy and a little chilly, so we couldn't go on a schooner tour like we'd planned. However, we had a really nice time walking around Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, just sightseeing and enjoying the ports.

Beautiful Camden Harbor
We saw the famous Galloway Cows in Camden and visited the Puffin Museum in Rockland.

Look! Cows!After that we drove back to Portland and went to Nosh for dinner, where we thoroughly enjoyed eating bacon crusted french fries dipped in chipotle mayonnaise.

Pretending that salads totally make up for bacon-fries
We ended the night with wine and chocolate cake with salted caramel icing at The Bar of Chocolate. It was wonderful!

So stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to my birthday recap, in which I spend the day shopping in Portland and eat lots and lots of food. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birthday Recap Part I: Karaoke

This weekend has been very nice. I haven't really done much at all since I've been recuperating from a cold. I'm feeling 100% better, but I still don't have any energy in the evenings. Last night I went to dinner with my house guests, then went home and was in bed by 10, while they went out and painted the town.
I got up bright and early and met Grace for a run- which was a lot of fun. I don't normally have company on my long runs, but I found that the 8 miles really flew by this time. So thanks for the company, Grace! After that I went to the Farmer's Market, took a 2 hour nap (I'm such a granny), spent some time with my house guests on the levee, and got groceries. Now I'm just relaxing and looking forward to another quiet night in.
Tomorrow I'm going to Gulfport to visit my parents. I've requested BBQ chicken for lunch specifically so I will have an excuse to make another batch of cilantro lime slaw. I actually made some for dinner tonight as well and had it with sauteed shrimp, salsa, and corn tortillas. Drool.
I know I've promised y'all a post about my birthday trip, and I think the best thing to do is to split my post into a few parts. First, I have to blog about Karaoke.
Last Friday, 7 of my girlfriends met me at Little Tokyo Uptown, where I had reserved a small Karaoke room. My friend Steph had the genius idea to bring costumes, so we shut the door, closed all the blinds, and spent the next 3 hours making absolute fools of ourselves. It was wonderful. We sang at the top of our lungs, danced around, jumped on the couches, and totally let loose. It reminded me of nothing so much as going to slumber parties when I was 14. It was excellent girly fun and I totally want to do it again. My one caveat is this: no matter how tempted you are, it is inadvisable to head-bang during Bohemian Rhapsody. My neck hurt for the next two days!
Of course we took a lot of really funny pictures and I can't resist sharing a few!

Why yes, that is a chicken hat.

It's not a birthday party until at least one of your friends ends up looking like a Muppet.
Party on,Garth. Party on, Wayne.
Have you ever done Karaoke? If so, what's your favorite song? I like to sing Jose Cuervo by Shelly West. :)

And stay tuned for Part II of my birthday recap!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quick Dinner Formula

I want to post something of substance since my past 3 entries are so link-tastic. So in the vein of being busy and tired, yet still craving substance, I thought I’d post my quick, nourishing dinner formula.

It’s really easy. Basically, I opt for a fast protein like beans or eggs, a quick cooking whole grain (generally whole wheat spaghetti or quinoa), veggies (Like sauteed fresh spinach, or frozen broccoli that can be quickly cooked), and extras (any combination of olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, garlic and onions, spices, herbs, and hot sauce spring to mind).

So, for example: last night I stumbled into the kitchen, started a pot of water for some frozen Brussels sprouts, and another for some quinoa. Both cook in about 10 minutes. When they were done, I put them together in a bowl, drizzled in some olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkled on Parmesan cheese and lots of black pepper. Finally, I topped the whole thing with 2 sunny-side up eggs, which take about 2 minutes to cook. My meal went from the freezer to the table in about 15 minutes.
The platonic ideal of this meal would have involved roasting the sprouts and adding some sautéed garlic and onions to the mix, but those steps are certainly optional. I opted out and still really enjoyed my dinner.

Tonight, I’m planning to cook some frozen broccoli, and combine it with some canned white beans, garlic (thrown in the pot when I heat the beans), lemon juice and goat cheese. This will be eaten on top of whole wheat spaghetti.

What’s your go-to formula for a quick, satisfying meal?

I'm all over the internet today!

I just found out that a 3 ingredient recipe I tweeted to Real Simple Magazine was selected for an online slide show! Everyone should try it- it's Slide #8: Shrimp Appetizer.

Home Again

I'm back!!
Actually, I arrived in New Orleans at noon yesterday, but I was too exhausted to post anything. I'm actually still pretty tired and busy catching up at home and at work, but I wanted to give you the link to my latest post on Bench Fly. In it, I write about non-research oriented science careers (riveting stuff to you non-scientist/engineers out there, I'm sure) and beg Myth Busters to hire me. Enjoy!
I'll be back with a post about all the fun I had in Maine soon, I promise!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Things I Do For Shoes

Hey everyone, remember that Agion Odor Free Shirt experiment I took part in a while back? Well, I wrote up my summary and put it online and if I get 100 votes, I get a $25 gift certificate to So I'd really appreciate it if y'all could go read my summary and vote for me. Also, enjoy the really horrible picture I had to submit. I am not a pretty sight after a good workout! Thanks in advance!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Just an quick update since I have reservations for my dinners on Sun. and Mon. night- Paolina's Way is an all organic pizza place with it's own farm (!!!) in Camden and Five Fifty-Five in Portland is supposed to be excellent. I'm also hoping to check out the Cellar Door Winery in Camden. Of course, researching all these places made me so hungry I had to eat lunch early! Drool!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Birthday Week

This is my last week as a 28 year old woman. I'll miss 28 for a lot of reasons. 28 was a good age for me- I got engaged (which was definitely the highlight), I drove around in the first car I've ever purchased, I ran my first half marathon, I adopted a new cat, I kept the job I love, I traveled to new places, I maintained my healthy habits, and I spent lots of time with my wonderful family and friends.
Of course, I have a lot to look forward to! A coworker of mine who happens to share my birthday likes to celebrate her entire birthday week rather than just the day. In all honesty, thus far I've been celebrating my week by working on a giant spreadsheet at work and exercising after work, but there are good times coming soon! On Friday, I will be having an early birthday get together with all of my girlfriends and plan to celebrate with as much grace and dignity as one possibly can while singing Karaoke in a Japanese restaurant (i.e. not much). Then on Saturday I am flying to Maine!!!
I really really love Maine and am thrilled to spend some time in Portland and Camden. I'm really looking forward to a stay at the Hartstone Inn (which is supposed to be foodie paradise), to sailing on a schooner (weather permitting), and to just wandering around Camden and Portland. I can't wait to relax and get away from the hot weather down here for at least a little while.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


While searching the internet for someone to play the harp or violin for my wedding I came across an online listing for a lady who plays in Harptallica- the all harp Metallica tribute band. Because it's New Orleans. Of course there's a Metallica tribute harp band! Why wouldn't there be?

Half Mary's

I just worked out my training schedule for this fall. There are 3 half marathons I want to run: one on Oct. 10, one on Oct. 30, and one on Nov. 27. I finished my first long run (6 miles) this morning and if I follow my schedule, I will make it up to 11 miles before I taper down to 6 the week before the first race. (I ran up to 12 miles before my half marathon last Nov. and did well, and Hal Higdon only takes you up to 10 miles prior to a race, so I think having 11 as my longest long run will be okay.) My challenge is figuring out how far I should run during the 2 weeks between the first and second race, and then in the month between the second and 3rd race.

Does anyone have an experience in making a training schedule for multiple races? Should I just skip the second race and only do the first and 3rd?

I had a really great run this morning, when I was expecting to have a lousy run, so I'm really happy right now. It's really easy for me to forget why I run and kind of dread it when the weather is as hot as it is now. However, after my run, I was happily showering and thinking of all the reasons I run.

I run because it makes me happy- There's no negative emotion that can stick with me after a mile or two.
I run because it makes me feel strong.
I run because I get to eat to fuel my runs. (And we all know how much I love to eat!)
I run because it's good for me- body and mind, the health benefits are amazing.
I run because I like to race- the energy of a crowd at race day is amazing to me. (I race with a big grin on my face because I'm happy to be out there.)
I run because I can- I am reminded with every run how blessed I am to have a healthy body that can carry me places.

Why do you do the things you love to do?

Friday, August 6, 2010


I'm grilling with my friends Jon, Sarah, and Steph tonight and was charged with bringing a salad. I decided to try out NOJuju's Cilantro Lime Slaw. It is so good! The only changes I made were to buy a bag of pre-cut cabbage (because I am lazy) and to add a generous squirt of Sriracha (hot sauce).
So everyone, seriously, try out this recipe. I love how fresh tasting and crunchy it is. Plus, it's both delicious and healthy!


Emma Watson and her adorable new pixie cut are killing me. I am currently growing out my hair for the wedding and it has been a rocky road. I'm finally past the dreaded "awkward length" but my layers are never quite right and I just don't feel like myself with long hair. It's convenient b/c I don't have to style it (just blow dry and go) and there is always the option of a pony tail, but my short (bobbed, not pixied) hair was also convenient because it took no time at all to dry and although I did have to flat iron it, that only took about a minute. At this point, I'm definitely keeping the hair long for the wedding (b/c I've put too much work into growing it out!) but I'm looking forward to chopping it off, most likely back to a bob, when I get back from my honeymoon!I pretty much lack the guts to cut my hair into a pixie for a number of reasons. I had a pixie cut when I was in 8th grade and while I personally adored it, the thought is stuck in my head that it contributed to my lack of success with guys all through high school- long after the cut grew out. Also, I know my darling fiance prefers that I not get a pixie cut. (He sort of gave me permission once, but I don't think he'd like it at all if I cut my hair like that.) I know it's my hair and I can do what I want with it, but I want to be considerate of his feelings. Especially since I threw a fit when he completely shaved off his sideburns and he was totally great about it and immediately grew them back in for me. :) And finally, I suspect that the reason I love pixie cuts is that I see pictures of them on the few people on earth who look beautiful in them. And while I do have tiny features that are best suited to short hair, I'm afraid that my features are not lovely enough to pull off such short hair. So I will just admire the pixie cut from afar and, apparently, write a blog post about it.Is there anything you want to do with your hair but are scared to do?
I used to be afraid of going blond, but now that I am blond, I love it and have never looked back! And I also used to have pink streaks in the underside of my hair (pre- real world job) that I really liked once I worked up the nerve to get them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


During this whole shoe breaking in process (Yes, I'm obsessed, I will not let these shoes beat me!) I read online that you can use a little rubbing alcohol to stretch out your shoes. Amazingly enough, it totally works! (The shoes were in wearable shape on Sunday but I got greedy and tried to make them even better by getting them wet then wearing them around the house- it totally backfired and the shoes shrank. So don't do that. But the rubbing alcohol totally worked and I am currently comfortably wearing the shoes at work.)

My success with the rubbing alcohol reminded me of a couple other unlikely sounding quick fixes I've learned about on the internet. Both involve dish soap (I'm actually surprised that the internet didn't tell me to put it on my shoes as well!).
You can use dish soap to avoid having to use a plunger on your toilet- just squirt in a liberal amount of soap then let it works its magic on your clog for 15-30 minutes before flushing. I've used this more than once thanks to my ancient plumbing and it totally works.
I've also used dish soap (and two pins) to untangle a severely knotted necklace.
Thanks, Internet!

Do you have any nifty tips or tricks that you've learned from the internet?