Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Winner Winner

I'm going out of town tomorrow for my friends wedding (!!!) and too wiped to properly post :(.

But before I go, here's the giveaway winner. A little disappointed by the lack of interest in entries, but ya win some ya lose some. Speaking of which, picked lucky #3 aka:
Julie said...

follow blog as jelaws5

Congrats, Julie! I will e-mail you asap.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Simple Sunday

Another weekend ends *tear*

This was a pretty low-key weekend, even more so than usual.

For some reason I stayed up last nite until 3 am watching tv (surprise, surprise, me and tv lol). I made a good dent in my DVR, but it didn't do my sleep schedule any favors! I woke up just after 11:30 am. Oops.

Instead of breakfast, it was more like brunch/lunch. With a last minute change in plans,we ended up going to one of my faves, Breadwinners Cafe. I got my favorite breakfast, the monterrey enchiladas with egg whites topped with queso & salsa with a side of black beans. It usually comes with potatoes, but I subbed fruit. They gave me a whole plate of fruit. Awesome. Otherwise, it was a little lackluster, unfortunately. One thing I've noticed that really bothers me is the menu says the enchiladas come with sour cream, but they never do! Even though I don't really need it (but do love it!!), it bugs me that it says one thing and they plate it another way! I asked the waiter the first time and he said he'd bring it to me, but it doesn't typically come with it. Then why does the menu say it does??? /end dumb rant lol. And this time, the enchiladas came lukewarm, almost cold, and the beans were WAY too salty. Fail. But we got to eat on the patio, our fave, and it was nice out, so it was still worth it. Plus the coffee is great and the little cakey breads they bring out are always a nice start. I bet the meal will prob be much tastier as leftovers when I can heat it up. Don't worry BW, I still love you.

There were two people next to us who were quite outspoken. I wouldn't say they were especially loud, but in an entire patio of people, I heard every single word of their conversation lol. And the girl even asked my dad and I what we were putting in our coffee (liquid stevia!!). At least they were friendly and their conversations made me (silently) laugh :-P.

After we ate, we went to Whole Foods so I could use up some coupons that were close to expiring. I forgot to bring my $20 off living social coupon I got, but oh well. Guess that just means we'll be back soon--darn ;).

I kept meaning to workout today, but never did. Ho-Hum.

Ate Maggiano's leftovers again with a fiber one bar. Watched copious amounts of tv. Got lots of licks from the pets. Drank a delicious mango Kombucha. Super exciting stuff :)


Fiber One Review & Giveaway

I was provided a package from General Mills via MyBlogSpark

Your prize pack will contain the same items I received:
-1 box of Fiber One 90 Calorie Chocolate Chewy Bars
-1 chic black cosmetic case
-1 pop-out hair brush
-1 compact mirror
-1 tin of mints

I've been a fan of Fiber One bars ever since they came out. They're surprisingly filling, likely because of the fiber (5 g per bar), despite being fairly small. It helps that they taste like a dessert, but only have 5 grams of sugar. And that's especially low, since one side of the bar is coated in a chocolate shell. On the downside, they do contain a lot of ingredients, some I'm not a fan of, but as an occasional treat I can overlook that. They're also a good, quick way to get in a little sustenance before a workout without weighing yourself down.

Want to try for yourself? (Hint: the answer is yes)

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite bar (any kind).

For extra entries why not throw in the usual?

1. Follow Moi
2. Add me to twitter @ManoloMandi (maybe that will convince me to actually use it!)
3. Subscribe to me on Youtube (I plan to hopefully start videos again soon....)

Blah Blah Blah. :)

Let's end this thing before I go out of town, so get your entries in by Wednesday evening, k? K.

Good Luck!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturdia Flair

Today was pretty boring, but why not jump right back in to a daily recap?

My Dad's back was hurting him this morning, so we had to skip yoga :(. Well, I could have gone, but I'm needy with new things and hate doing things alone lol. Usually Saturday is weights day, but I decided to work out at home & did a quick 25 minute treadmill workout.

I was pretty darn hungry after & pumped for what we had planned: crepes! Tried out a new-to-me (not sure when it actually opened, it may be new in general) lil joint, Cafe Flair in Frisco. It was pretty good, but not as exciting as I hoped, as a crepe fanatic. My Dad let me pick the 2 flavors for us to split. Banana Nutella is non-negotiable. That's ALWAYS a must. It was good, but needed WAY more filling. We also split the spinach/egg/mushroom/swiss one (aka The Favorite). Neither of us could taste the eggs at all. Kinda weird. In fact, I'm not convinced they didn't forget them. *shrug* And again, the amount of filling left something to be desired, but it was still a tasty meal. I do love me a crepe. You know how they say bad pizza is still good? I DEFINITELY don't agree with that, however, in my eyes, a bad crepe is still a crepe aka still tasty stuff. Not saying these were bad tho!

They also sell smoothies and bubble tea. I went with coffee to round out my breakfast, but will definitely be back for taro bubble tea fo' sho'. Not sure if crepes and bubble tea go together, but individually? Me gusta MUCHO.

As far as the crepes go, I'd definitely go again if I was in the area and needed a snack or wanted dessert, but for a full meal I'd probably pass. I prefer the crepes in the food court of Northpark mall, but these will do in a pinch.

My Dad said the amount of food was surprisingly really filling for him, but he didn't get the whole full meal experience you get when dining out, since this was an order at the counter casual place. I think we spent somewhere around $18 or $19 bucks after tax & tip, so it's not that cheap when all is said and done (can be kind of deceiving since individually things are cheap, but it all adds up). Plus no leftovers. My Dad was also disappointed coffee refills are 90 cents, but neither of us finished our large coffees anyway, so it's not a big deal.

It took me a little more time to process whether I was full after or not, but when the brain signals finished their chat with the stomach signals, eventually I decided I was quite content and stayed that way for maybe 4-5 hours. Not bad, not bad.

Then, we went to Tom Thumb (our branch of Safeway). I had a coupon for $1 off Seattle's Best coffee (which was already on sale-score). I need more coffee like I need a hole in my head (stupid saying, whatever), but I've been curious about their whole 1-2-3-4-5 level line, so why not? I had no idea which number to pick, but went with 4. I like full-bodied tastes and always think coffee tastes too watery, so that seemed like a good place to start.

Wellllll, it didn't end there. Silly me also picked up 2 more bags....the seasonal Godiva blends: pumpkin spice (I mean, duh, it's pumpkin) & caramel pecan bark. Hey, they were on sale too, the caramel one was limited edition, and I was going to eventually buy both anyway. I can't help myself! Now I have at least 7 bags of coffee at home and 1 at the office. Awesome.

I also had to run into Petsmart to restock Bella's heartworm pill & prescription vitamin supply and Walmart for a couple of things. Boring. Now I just need to remember to remind my Dad next Sunday to take Buster to get his heartworm pills since we forgot to get them this month and I'll be out of town. We got the dogs tested at different places and it's kind of inconvenient, especially Buster's since we did his at this Vaccination Station place that does it for a discount, but only shows up at certain locations once a month. But they're worth it. OK, you didn't need to know all that lol.

Came back to the house for a little bit and probably just watched tv. I don't even know.

I was supposed to go to the Greek Festival tonite, which is always fun, but it was hot as balls out and I didn't feel like sweating more than I already was (nice image, eh?) Kind of disappointed, but I'll live.

Instead, I went downstairs around 5 and made myself a cup of the pumpkin spice coffee. Eh, it's more spice, less pumpkin. Not my fave, but oh well. I was planning on making a snack to accompany it, but my whole fam was starving, so we just went out for an early dinner. Well, around 6, but close enough.

I had a $10 off coupon Maggiano's e-mailed me that was expiring at the end of the month, so we put that to good use.

We all had water & all ordered off the classic pasta menu (where you get 1 pasta dish for there & one to take home). The waiter prob hated us and thought we were cheapos. Oh well, it was still over $60 for 4 of us. Food is so expensive.

For my meal I forget what it was called, but it was farfalle pasta, broccolini, & sundried tomatoes in a lemony sauce? I thought it would be an olive-oil sauce, but it was kinda watery? Not the best, but pretty good. I think I got less food than everyone (no, but really), because I ate so much of mine and all of theirs still looked full. :-x. I also had a side salad.

The pictures were way too dark, so just use your imagination.

And while you're doing that, also imagine my dessert, since that was too blurry. Don't expect good pics in a moving car. Oops. My sugar-fest was what I eat almost every day lately: frozen yogurt! YUM. Half cookies & cream half plain tart topped with strawberries, blueberries, a sprinkle of chocolate sprinkles (lol), and a sprinkle of heath....oh and 3 mini pb cups.

When we got home, my dad accidentally dropped part of my second to-go dish on the kitchen floor when he was putting it away (eggplant parm with pasta pomodoro). In his true nature, he threw a lil fit haha (he gets really serious about food...yikes), but he picked it back up and put it away anyway. GROSS!! I'll prob just let him have it. My brother and him seem to think it's still perfectly fine, but I'm not sure that's hygienic in my book! He wanted eggplant parm anyway, but didn't order it because he thought I'd yell at him for being unhealthy-HAHA. Umm...he ordered baked ziti with sausage for there & meat lasagna to-go....prettttty sure those aren't exactly good for you either.....Doh!

Not gonna lie, I may have picked at some of the leftovers as a late nite snack. That's what eating early does to ya!

Well, back to tv-time, as always. Fall tv is KILLING me. I've been recording approx. 9-10 hours of tv a day most days and I don't think I'm ever going to catch up. Not sure what I'm gonna do...I already decided to delete & cut out Top Chef Desserts, but I'm not sure if anything else can be cut. TV is just so amazing. GOSH.


Day 9:

List Uno:

9. A picture of a person who has gotten you through the most


Yes, she's a person. Duh.


List Dos:

Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days

Nothing really lol *shame*


Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 8:

List Uno:

8. A picture that makes you laugh

I had to REALLY stop myself from posting more pet pics lol. So here ya go...

(Semi)Short explanation: my friend Molly & I stayed at a super fancy hotel in downtown Chicago a few years ago. We got the room for a reasonable price via hotwire (my savior for nearly all my trips), but they were only able to give us a room with a handicapped bathroom. We weren't exactly sure what that meant, but figured no big thang. Well, there was no tub, just a shower with an open bottom with a couple drains in the middle of the bathroom (I mean I'm sure there was a drain in the shower part too, but I literally mean middle of the in outside of the shower). We thought that was kind of odd, but were rolling with it. When it came time to actually shower, we understood its purpose. We both FLOODED the bathroom every time we showered, there was really no way around it. I'm not sure why that's so funny, clearly there is a need and a purpose for this type of shower, so obvi I mean no disrespect, but it's quite shocking and therefore oddly hilarious, to come out of a bathroom freaking out because the entire room is coated in water. ANYWAY, here is my photo modeling the shower. Guess that wasn't so short after all.

Picture 2...

You know how people handle stress/crisis'/uncontrollable events quiiite differently?'s photographic evidence of one instance.

If I was alone I'd surely be freaking out myself, but with people I have a weird sense of humor and sometimes find travel hiccups to be funny. A good story to tell, if you will. friend Sam used to work for an airline and got us free buddy passes, so my Mom and I went with him to Seattle and to Montana to visit my grandma. It was smooth sailing on the way there, but we ran into a little trouble on the return trip, as all of the flights from Seattle to Dallas were booked. This picture was likely taken on Day 2 of our Stuck-in-Seattle-With-No-Immediate-Way-Out scenario. After all the flights left and we were stranded, we stayed in a (HORRIBLE and expensive to boot) hotel nite 1, but Day 2 I suggested we just stay at the airport. Well, there were no flights that day either. Or nite. But for some reason I just thought it was so funny. My Mom thought it was a nitemare. Sam was in between. I tried to make the best of it. We all did. But clearly from the photo my Mom was not having it, and I was hyper city USA rocking my new airport outfit (complete with granny panty sink washable camping underwear that went up to my belly button. Oh dear. The only available underroos in the entire that was where I wanted to meltdown! haha).

List Dos:

Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why

The month is almost over, but I'd say the usual...

-drink more water (I used to drink TONS, but recently don't feel like I get enough! Even though I carry a filled reusable bottle everywhere, I find it to stay full many days)

-don't get back in the habit of coffee/caffeine EVERY DAY (I love coffee, but don't want to be dependent on it. When I had my stomach flu recently I quit drinking it, obviously, and have only had it sometimes-not every day-ever since)

-eat less sugar (self-explanatory)

-take a Yoga class (hopefully tomorrow. I'm a little anxious to get back into the class scene, but I know it will do a body good)

Stay tuned for a couple reviews, a GIVEAWAY, and the comeback of my normal foodie and fitness daily-type posts.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 7:

This was a hard one!

List Uno:

7. A picture of most treasured item

It seems like so many of my answers to these questions are of the same thing. This may be a silly answer, but my first material-possession that came to mind? My first post-c0llege real, big purchase:

(I rarely watched the Doctors before Jillian, now it's been on my tv on the blog twice in one week)

37 inch, flat-screen tv. I thought I'd regret spending so much (even though I got an amazing deal and searched and reviewed for weeks). Instead, every day I wake up and still LOVE it, over 2 years later. Best purchase ever. It's the perfect size for my space. Love. It. Even if my brother thinks it's a waste that I never DVR in HD. It takes up too much space!!

Non-material? Obviously...

*muah muah*

List Dos:

Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you

Yep, that's me. Other people always let you down eventually, you should count on yourself. Take the best parts of everyone you meet and learn to be a mish-mash of those qualities.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vitality House Review

Today was a whirlwind of plan changing.

Last weekend was supposed to be busy and errand-packed (aren't they all?), but my impromptu stomach flu put a damper on any of that. Forward to making up for it this weekend. Yesterday, I was invited to lunch for today, and rescheduled my entire weekend around that, only to be told, one hour before the scheduled meet up-time, that it would no longer be happening as planned. The new plan was to go 2 hours later (which who knows if that would continue to change, you know?). My time is valuable too, thankyouverymuch. In the past I would live my life around other people's schedules and silently suffer, but not anymore.

Instead, I shook off the annoyance and disappointment, and proceeded to move along with my day. My Dad agreed to accompany me to use a Living Social voucher to try out a new, healthy breakfast & lunch restaurant, Vitality House. The reviews online are mostly good. I think that's a fair assessment of my experience. The idea of the place is right up my alley. Here, I'll let them speak for themselves:

At Vitality House we offer delicious, flavorful, unique dishes that are nutritionally beneficial. Our mission is to make your journey for a healthy lifestyle a simple path to follow. With the collaboration of our first class Chefs and our in-house Nutritionist, the menus we present are designed to meet the highest nutritional standards. All of our dishes are pre-portioned and nutritionally analyzed so that the biggest decision to be made is which tasty creation you will choose to enjoy!

And I would say they succeeded overall, but they're not quiiiite there. The ambiance is bright and cheery, the service was a little slow, but very pleasant, and the menu options were good. However, as I expected may happen, I think I liked the idea of the place more than the execution. They're still new (I believe they opened in May or June) and their official Grand Opening isn't even until next week, so I have hope they're still working out the kinks.

The place is small, but it was busy. All but two or three tables were full. Additionally, Dallas fitness guru, Larry North, was also in attendance this morning. This marks the third time this year my Dad and I have run into him and his fiancee at breakfast. Nearly every time we eat in the Richardson area. My Dad and him briefly worked together in the past, about 20 years ago, give or take. For some reason, my Dad thinks this is reason enough Larry should remember him. *shakes head* I had to BEG and plead for my Dad not to say hi this time, lol. Thankfully, he obliged. I really didn't think he'd be able to help himself. Phew.

/tangent over.

I ordered coffee, water, a modified version of Chris' Favorite Frittata (normally comes with eggs, spinach, sun-dried tomato, mushroom, & asiago cheese: I substituted egg whites only & goat cheese), plus a side of sweet potato hash.

I liked the fritatta and it was cooked well, but it was a little bland. If I had made it at home, I think making friends with the (salt free!) greek seasoning would have shaken things up quite nicely. That, or a nice dose of hot sauce.

I forgot to take a picture of the sweet potato hash. Not sure what exactly made it a hash. It was pretty much just diced sweet potato. I'm very picky when it comes to breakfast potatoes of any kind. 9 out of 10 times they're too hard/undercooked for my tastes. How anyone could like undercooked potatoes is beyond me, yet it seems to be the norm. Weird. Anyway, these were no exception, though they were JUST underdone, almost there. So I still ate them and liked them. They were seasoned perfectly. I swear I could almost taste marshmallows, though clearly there were none.

It took an awfully long time for our food to come out. And oddly, after awhile, the waitress came out and said they were out of goat cheese and would I be OK substituting feta? To be honest, I live for goat cheese and it was what I was most excited about, but feta is pretty good too, so I said that was fine. If they're out, they're out. what can you do? But, my Dad and I were both a little confused why it took about 20 minutes (just guessing) before they noticed they were out of the goat cheese? We both figured we'd have had our meals already, let alone have them come to a realization about an ingredient I had subbed from the start! My coffee mug also stayed empty for a good part of the meal, but it was watery anyway, so I didn't feel like I was missing much. (FYI: the feta was really flavorful and tasty, so there's that).

The meal also came with toast (which I left for my Dad to take home). As we were packing up the leftovers late in the meal, I realized my food was also supposed to come with fruit, something I never received. Had I remembered upon delivery, I would have asked, but it felt a little silly asking for it to-go. Especially since we had just paid and were nearly ready to head out. But for $10.95 for the meal, maybe I should have.

Size-wise, for being portion-controlled and relatively low-cal, the amount of food was more than adequate. In fact, as soon as we were seated, we were brought a plate with 4 mini-muffins (carrot, zucchini, & nut). We both ended up taking half of our meals home and left feeling comfortably full.

My Dad ordered the build-your-own omelet (their standard omelet is made with 1 egg + 3 egg whites, pretty cool). It was a little on the pricier side of the menu, at $9.99. It came with toast (he subbed an english muffin--which ended up being whole wheat), but no other sides. The cool thing about the build-your-own omelet is, for one price, you can theoretically order ANY available ingredients you want. He got 3 or 4 vegetables, bison sausage, chicken, and mozzarella. He was disappointed they didn't offer swiss cheese, but liked the variety otherwise.

He thought both the english muffin and the eggs in the omelet were a little dry. I took a bite of his omelet. Although the ingredients were not what I would choose, being unbiased as can be, I could see where he thought it was dry, but I still thought it was pretty good. The problem is, he's an omelet-connoisseur, you see, and he compares any and all omelets to our local breakfast joint, Little Gus Cafe. Little Gus omelets can do no wrong. They are huge, delightful, and only cost $8.99 with bread & the best breakfast potatoes of all time. Basically, they are the Chuck Norris of omelets, so really why bother anywhere else? I try to tell him this anywhere we go. Branch out; do not get an omelet, you WILL be disappointed. And he always is.

He said his overall experience was moderate and though I'm struggling to come up with reasons to bump my opinion up beyond moderate, I'd have to agree.

If it wasn't a health-food restaurant, I'd be hard-pressed to find real reason to go back, but since it fits along with a lot of my ideals for eating, I'm going to give them at least one more try. Ideally, I'd like to also give them another try for breakfast and a try for lunch. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't blown away. And unfortunately, I don't see them turning unhealthy eaters into converts. They just didn't use strong enough flavors to prove that healthy food is just as tasty, if not tastier, than processed, chemical and fat-filled frankenfoods. For example, a sprig or two of fresh basil chopped into my frittata may have given it that freshness and potency that would have put it over the top. Just the little things that really add up.

Also, a lot of the menu is very reasonable ($6.95 or so for breakfast? Sign me up!), but for us it turned out to be more than we expected. I paid $12 for the voucher, which allowed us $25 in food. With tax and tip, our bill came to about $36, I think. That's $12 I paid for the voucher + an additional $11, totaling $23 out-of-pocket (thanks, Dad!). My Dad and I go out to breakfast almost every Saturday and Sunday, and unless we go to our (read: my) more expensive favorites, our bill almost always comes to about $25 with tip. So really, we didn't end up saving much of anything using the coupon.

OK, I think I went a little overboard with my review. You get it. :)

I wish more healthy restaurants existed, so I could make the rounds. Plus, a little healthy competition (pun not intended, but if it works...) might make everyone amp up their game and change the public's perception of healthy food. One (fine) day......

OK, time to go finish watching my girl Jillian on the Doctors. Not sure how she scored the gig, being that she's not a Doctor, but I'll take it, if it means I get to see her every day!


Day 6:

List Uno:

6. A picture of a person you’d love to trade places with for a day


I tried to be a little more creative, but I just love her and I don't think ANYONE has a life like her, ya know? Might be interesting to see. For a day. Then I could just turn her into my BFF. Sounds fair.

List Dos:

Day 06- Favorite super hero and why


*shrug* I don't particularly have a favorite, but I've always enjoyed the Spidey movies, lol. Wait, does Alex Mack count? Haha, who misses that show? Remember the episode where she almost gets caught in the science fair? Thank God for her ability to morph into that liquid puddle or whatever. Haha, anywayyyyyyy.

Restaurant review coming tonite, for you Dallas-area peeps.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 5:

List Uno:

5. A picture of your favorite memory

Opening presents on Christmas (insert any Christmas pic here, really) + any time with the puppies is also a fave memory, so combining the two? Explosion of happiness.

Miss you, Little Girl.

& because I can never post just one picture....

I die. I know I've posted them all on the blog before, but I still can't get over their faces.

List Dos:

Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 4:

I'm still a little out of it, but delay no more!

List Uno:

4. A picture of your night

You picked a bad evening to ask that! How boring.

Probably a little of this:

(ignore the mess, sheet & blanket-changing day is in process lol)

& a lot of this:

ahh tv.

List Dos:

Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn't have

(staying up too late & snoozing too often to make it to the gym!)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quick Hello

Hey guys.

I didn't disappear off the face of the (30 Days) planet. I wasn't home for almost 2 days and couldn't get wifi to work where I was (except at work, but ya know...not very appropriate. Oh wait, I'm here now-ha! But this is quick.....really!), then I got a nasty case of the stomach flu all weekend. I'm doing better, but my electrolytes still feel a little off. I'll be back soon, hopefully tonite, back to resume posting.

I did manage to do a lil workout this am even, but my Dad went a further distance than me on the elliptical. Oh my, I don't think that has ever happened! But doing something is better than nothing, right? Right.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 3:

List Uno:

3. A picture of the cast of your favorite show

& many, many more. I love tv.

List Dos:

Day 03-A picture of you and your friends


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 2:

List Uno:

2. A picture of you and person you’ve been the closest with the longest

I could answer this one 100 different ways (OK, maybe like 10), but I'm going to go with...Molly! We "met" on an old school AOL fashion message board back in the late late 90's (yes, 1900's haha) or maybe early 2000's and became good, close friends probably 8 or so years ago? We finally met in person when I was on a mini road trip with my cousin and friend 5 Summers ago, in 2006. I picked her because we're still close today and talk at least weekly, if not much more often. We are also facebook married-haha.

Here's a pic from our first in-person meeting (OK, like the second or third day, but you know what I mean!)

In da club in LA. HOLLA.

We were so young looking! Who am I kidding? People still think we're both like 12, but maybe we were 10 then? ;)

(Sorry Molly, didn't get a chance to ask your permission to post your pic. Hope it's OK, if not I'll take it down!)

List Dos:

Day 02- The meaning behind your Blogger name


This blog has semi--but-not-officially changed names a few times. I never made anything official-official, because I never came up with the IT name, ya know? But in the interim, while waiting for THE name to hit me, what I noticed always stayed constant was the sign-off signature. It's not terribly unique, but it's easy to remember and it's cute. It's more original than my first standby name of Food.Fashion.Fitness.Fun. Obviously I keep that part in the header, as it's the clearest way to describe the blog, but it seems like a common theme around blogs (and rightfully so!). When I took the plunge to buy the domain, xoAmanda it was!

So, without further ado...