26 August 2008

The dreaded Schnier.

Happy 30th birthday to my dearest Sara!!!!! Sara, you are as beautiful and youthful and fabulous as the day I met you nearly TWENTY years ago!!! xoxoxoxo

25 August 2008

Terrible twos.

Happy 2nd birthday to our Heidi pooch! Hard to believe she's been with us for two years now, but also hard to believe she's only been with us for two years. She's queen diva maniac, for sure, but we love her to death. Smoosh smoosh!

To celebrate, I took Heidi on a treat-gathering mission at Pet Supplies Plus because they have treats at doggie level so she could pick out her own treats (and shoplift a few in the meantime). I think she had fun. :)

Why are we still sitting in the parking lot? Let's GO!



Satisfied. For the moment...

Gimmie your tots.

23 August 2008

Three chicks and a dude.

I don't think I've ever been so happy to sit before. Or hated wood furniture more. Today, Brad, Lisa, and Birgit helped me move my dad from Sagnasty to his new, shiny apartment in Ann Arbor. I'm so relieved he's finally here, and I know he's so relieved to be done with the big uprooting and to finally start his new life here. And dammit, I am SO proud of us. Seriously. My dad can't help, so Brad was stuck moving everything with us chicks. Well, let me tell you, those chicks ROCK.

We started bright and early, hitting the road at 7:30 am. We got up there and got cracking, and we had the truck loaded in under an hour.

Hardly breakin' a sweat...

No problemo. We were all in pretty good spirits on the ride back to Ann Arbor. Picked up some pizza, got to the apartment, signed the lease, oh look, the new apartment is right by the pond, pretty! Oh, wait, where's the door? There it is.... Across the lot, on the other side of that huge incline, down that row of stairs, and at the far end of the sidewalk. And up half a flight of stairs. What mojo we had immediately disappeared the moment we saw what we were facing. Did I mention that my dad's entire apartment consists of ancient, heavy chairs and a couch... and 10 to 12 solid wood antique hutch pieces and tables? Omg. Even the drawers weighed a ton. But we did it. We kicked that wood's ass!!!! Soaking wet, red faced, and exhausted, we got everything in in about 2 hours... and not once did anyone even bat an eye. Those are true friends. I love you guys, and I truly couldn't have done it without you.

Hooray for new apartment! Welcome to AA, dad!

To thank the ladies, I took them to Vinology last night--I've been looking forward to going back since the second I finished my last meal there. And it didn't disappoint. We started with some wine and the cheese plate, then ordered a table full of small plates. I couldn't resist the gazpacho, knowing how delicious it was last time, and for my second plate I ordered the poached duck egg on local greens with bacon. I don't know what it is lately, but I'm obsessed with eggs (except scrambled, which I still just cannot handle). I'd never eaten an egg "on" anything other than toast, but it seemed very Iron Chef to me, so I went for it. Yum yum. Birgit and Lisa raved about the dates with chorizo, as well as the zucchini soup and fried zucchini fritters. We also really enjoyed the chickpea pancakes filled with spinach. We finished the meal with a peach parfait made with local MI peaches. It was the perfect topper to the perfect meal, making us big and strong for the big day ahead of us!

On the home front, we've got wood! We've got wood! After talking about it for two years, we finally tore out our broken tile and nasty "accident" carpet (well, not "we") and had beautiful chocolate brown hardwood put in in our downstairs bathroom, entry way, the hallway to the kitchen, and our back sitting room. There was drama of course (floor guy showing up a day late and taking longer than expected, a trashed sink, etc etc), but I think it was totally worth it. They look beautiful. So beautiful I'm not even too totally freaked out that the dogs have already basically destroyed them with their claws of death.


The infamous toilet.


*Note, above rug placement is temporary. We have better taste than this.

All the changes have given us the re-do bug, so I've got lots of shopping and reorganization to do in my near future! TBD. Not now, though. Now it's nap time. I've got boogie Bang!-ing to do tonight!

PS: Late summer is bringing many visitors to our yard. Luckily, they are much more pleasant than our evil snake visitor!

13 August 2008


I'm officially a nerd. Not only do I now have TWO blogs (although I guess I'm being paid to do one, so that makes me... a legit blogger! HA!), one is about nerd stuff! Check it out. Drop a comment if you feel so inclined. :) Da da da.... PCB Lite!

12 August 2008

My first time.

This past weekend, I took an afternoon field trip to the D with Lisa and Brian to scope out Eastern Market. None of us had been, so we were brimming with excitement by the time we finally parked, studied our map, and hit the sidewalk. At first we were a little overwhelmed but felt right at home as soon as we saw the wares available at The Pottery Guy's store. This set the mood for a day of immature shopping. I would expect nothing less. :)

We walked around through the few decks, scoping out what was available, what looked good, and what was cheap. And guess what was cheap? Everything!! Gigantic bundle of basil? A dollar. Cute little bouquet of lemon thyme? A dollar. Bag of apricots (my new favorite, btw)? Maybe two dollars. Six ears of corn? $1.50.

Let me tell you a little story about that corn, though...

Luckily I'm not as squeamish as I used to be. When I husked the corn later that night, I thought, hmm, weird. Wonder what that black hole is from? Husk husk husk.... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! It's a WORM!!!! I nearly pissed myself and probably jumped five feet in the air. I had almost baked the corn in the husk. OMG. One of us was this close to eating baked worm. EW.


Sara and I discovered black eyed peas in Decatur at Watershed but weren't sure if we'd be able to find them up north. Guess what? I found 'em! For $2. Score.

Random find of the day -- Mountain Dew jelly!!! How could I not buy it?

And who knew little peppers grew on trees? Too cute.

I was also excited to visit my first real meat market (other than Necto, of course. he he he). Unfortunately, none of us felt comfortable buying meat, walking around with it, then spending an hour+ in the car with it, so we didn't indulge. But, despite my skeevy meat feelings, I loved walking through and checking out all the crazy stuff available. Like pig brains!!! (Unfortunately, no pig brains were on display. Sigh.)

That's my okra. Swoon. Also discovered this at Watershed with Sara, so when I saw it, I snatched it up. I made it for dinner that night with some chopped tomatoes and oil. Delish. Also thanks to the basil guy for the handy basil tip -- apparantly, you can freeze basil. Score.

It was an awesome day. I had a great time with Lisa and Brian, and I always love a little produce shopping. That being said... will I go back? Perhaps. It was cheaper, yes, but factoring in the gas and drive time and hassle, locavloralywise (ha! yes, I made that up), it kind of defeats the purpose. On my own? I think I'll stick to my local market. But if Lisa and Brian are headed back down, I'm totally in.

Mini-sidenote: Sara and Matt have been in town, and I've seen Sara THREE times. I might even get to see her again. Very very exciting. Smoosh. :) And Heidi and George have very much enjoyed playing with their BFF Kaia, who is so big now! Love you all!

You want fries with that shake?

03 August 2008

You so viney.

Last night, Brad and I had such a fantastic dinner at Vinology that I could barely contain my itch to blog about it as soon as we got home (alas, Brad managed to suck me into Titanic, for the 500th time!). We had our first meal at Vinology this fall for our 2nd anniversary. It was tasty and a nice change of pace, but it wasn't earth shattering. At some point this spring, we took Doug and Melissa there and again, ok and fun, but no more. Earlier this summer, Brad and I decided to go back and grab dinner at the bar. I honestly don't remember what we ate (rather, my delicious raspberry martini), but we had a great time chit-chatting with the friendly bartenders. They let us know that a new chef was about to start, and they'd be revamping the menu. Rumor had it, the new chef would be employing more local and seasonal items.

We've been talking about heading back since, and last night we finally made the move. The bartenders made such an impression on us that we immediately headed to the bar area. After a quick chat with one of them about Three Sheets, Brad ordered a Duvel, which Zane had tried on one of our favorite episodes (Belgium). I knew I had to try the Michigan harvest cherry antioxidant spritzer, and it didn't disappoint. Prosecco mixed with harvest cherry juice... Easy peasy. I will be making this soon!

Next, it was time to check out the new menu, which had the following statement (menus hot off the press just yesterday!):

Vinology is dedicated to supporting small local farmers and whenever possible sources ingredients at the height of their season from surrounding farm concerns. Local farms and businesses contributing products to today’s menu include: Tantre Farm, Back Forty Acres Farm, Rob’s Garden, Avalon Organic Bakery, Prochaska Farms, Chef’s Garden, Four Corners Creamery, and Kapnick Orchards.

Tantre? Avalon? I know those guys! Sweet! And the bartenders seem really proud of this new change and are eager to discuss the benefits of seasonal produce. It was fun to see such excitement, and there really aren't too many places I've found that make good use of all the great stuff available locally. The menu changes based on what's in season, roughly every two weeks.

Brad wasted no time deciding on the ribeye with local greens and fingerling potatoes. I'd had a big, late lunch (mmm grits and eggs at the Roadhouse!), so I wasn't super hungry and focused mainly on the small plate section. I knew immediately I had to have the squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and served with a green tomato marmalade, and on a whim also decided to get the heirloom tomato gazpacho with crab and cucumber garnish (I've only tried one bite of gazpacho once and have never made or ordered it).

Our meals were so good, I was actually giggling with delight. Midway through, we decided it was the best meal we'd had in a long time. The squash blossoms weren't even in the same universe as the ones I made a few weeks ago, and even Brad enjoyed the one bite I was willing to share. The gazpacho wasn't like any I'd ever seen, and it was amazing. It was kind of the texture of cream of wheat, but not as thick, and the crab and cucumber added some nice crunch to each spoonful. I'm officially sold on gazpacho.

Room for dessert? Well, no, but hells yeah we're ordering it! Brad decided on the panna cotta on top of chocolate ganache (even ordering the recommended Port pairing) and I couldn't resist the cookies and milk. Three homemade (and warm!) chocolate chip cookies with a shooter of vanilla cream. Hello? YUM!

Do you think they'll get sick of us if we come in every two weeks to check out what's new on the menu? :) They're also open for lunch, and although I'm sure the lunch menu online isn't 100% accurate, it sounds delicious, and I can't wait to check that out, too. The bartender even told me you can pick up wireless from next door, so I'm looking forward to an afternoon lunch + work field trip.

It was nice because it was 8 pm on a Saturday and it wasn't insanely packed like most of the resturuants and bars on Main Street. Good for us, but probably not so good for business. I will be heartbroken if Vinology doesn't make it. So go! Eat! And enjoy. Lots!

Just a quick sidenote: I wasn't able to make it to the Farmer's Market this week, but I was pleasantly surprised with all the local goodies I found at Plum Market. Bread from Livonia, blueberries, green beans, Zingerman's cream cheese, zucchini, even tomatoes! (They had cherries, too, but I still haven't finished mine from last week.)

02 August 2008

Now who wants to go to Danny's?

It's the one-week anniversary of my amazing zombie surprise party, and I've had the week to reflect on the awesomeness of the party, and the awesomeness of my friends. It was so amazing to be surrounded by all (well, most!) of my friends, all dressed up, all there to help me ring in the next decade of my life. Rachel, there are just no words. At least not enough words. My eternal love, babes.

And Jason, man, in on the sneakiness all along. Makin' movies with Rachel... Amazing. Have I said amazing enough yet? Amazing.

And to everyone else, love love love. Times ten! Times a hundred! I seriously have the best friends in the world. I am a lucky, lucky girl.

A special thanks to that sneaky husband of mine, who tells me everything but somehow managed to keep the whole movie a secret, even whilst filming in our house, in our bed. Who knew you could do it, babe? :)

Monday rolled around, and I was 30 for real. I had a mini panic late Sunday night. I decided to take Monday off, so hecks yeah I was staying up late on Sunday. I started to think, "Crap. should I have done X today?" and "Uh-oh! Should I be doing X now?" Luckily it passed, and thanks to those of you who were up late and counted down the minutes with me ("14 more to go!"). Midnight came and went and I didn't feel any different. Hmmm.

First order of business as a 30-year-old... Get a delicious breakfast. Meggie was still in town, so we met up at Afternoon Delight. I've been mad craving this dish since I finished it. Smoked salmon eggs Benedict (minus the sauce). Definitely easy enough to recreate, and I will be buying the items the next time I hit the grocery store. YUM.

And of course we weren't about to pass up free birthday frozen yogurt. With sprinkles.

Next order of business, shopping (hello, new Ted Bundy cereal bowls!) and trying to sneak our way closer to the movie set set up downtown. What a better way to spend the afternoon of your 30th birthday than getting yelled at by PAs and security guards? "Where are you going?" "You can't cross there!" "You're going to have to move." Awesome.

The fakeout movie sausage shop. Darn it.


Nothing like a day of nonstop eating... Dinner time, time to head to Grizzly Peak. Finally, a chance to check out the Fire and Ice specials I wrote about a few weeks. Well, at least my drinks were tasty. :) And the company was fantastic!!

My mom is an amazing gift giver. Not that it's about gifts. But she always surprises me with her keen sense of gift awesomeness, and thoughtfulness. Thanks mucho much mommy dear! Among other special treats were a photo album, organized in chronological order, of baby and family pics, a pile of birthday cards I'd received between 3 and 6 or so, and a stack of stories I'd written and pictures I'd painted as a youngster. I'm so glad my mom hung on to this stuff, and it made the day that much more special.

Stephaniepalooza, as Brad coined it with a roll of the eyes, took a break until Thursday when it was time for birthday Mexican dinner with Aunt Sandy at our place (some jerks had taken our table!). That Sandy and Danny! They greeted me with a beautiful bouquet, and handed me a bag of... ones! And each bill was wrapped with a pink bow and a little tag, with a quality of mine they like. AWW! Seriously? So cute! So sweet! Again, I am simply too lucky.

...I guess turning 30 isn't all bad. :)