Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Skyway Sybarite

During lunch today, I was walking back to my building from Macy's, where I had just purchased an unreasonable amount of makeup, when I decided to stop in to the Greek Grill and get something to eat.

Check it. I never, like never, eat in the skyway system at lunch. I think I have maybe done this 7 times over the 4 years I have been employed at my current job. And at least half those times were from Chipotle. Generally, I bring something from home, or more often lately, eat at our building's cafeteria.

I used to love the cafeteria, because they have the all-around best BLT in the world. Hands down. I could eat it every day. However, I gave up pork about 9 months ago (believe me, whether or not I could live without the BLT was almost a deal-breaker) so I don't get to enjoy the BLT. And the rest of their options are mostly blah. They have good salads once in a while, and good soup occasionally. I like the turkey burgers and I make myself do the salad bar when I'm good. But that's about the extent of what I can eat there.

So, I need new places to eat.

Which brings me to the Greek Grill, and therefore, to my new weekly (hopefully) post detailing my adventures in skyway gastronomy.

And we're off!

The Greek Grill and Cafe is located in the City Center. It's a fair distance from my building on Washington, but almost everywhere in the skyway system is.

I ordered a falafel plate, which consisted of a falafel sandwich and Greek salad, for at total of $8.04.

The salad was delicious, with a pleasant amount of vegetables of the non-lettuce variety and the size was great. Once I removed my tinfoil-wrapped sandwich from my to-go box, the salad filled the whole thing. Sweet! My only complaint about the salad was that I got one measly kalamata olive with it. One! Although it's pretty hard to mess up a salad, I thought this one was top of the line.

The falafel sandwich, which I don't think I've had before, was also good. It was a little dry and I thought it needed some sort of sauce. The husband thinks it should have come with tahini, but mine did not. Other than that, the sandwich was great. The pita was warm and soft, and did not tear or fall apart. Beside the falafel, the pita also contained lettuce, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes.

All in all, I would definitely go back to the Greek Grill. The service was fast and friendly. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes, even though it was close to noon. Check it out on your next lunch break!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Songs of 2010

2010 is drawing to a close, so I'd thought I'd let you know what my most-listened to songs were this year. Not all songs are from 2010.

1. Heartbeats - The Knife
2. Missed the Boat - Modest Mouse
3. Puzzles - The Mary Onettes
4. Dog Days Are Over - Florence and the Machine
5. White Blank Page - Mumford & Sons

Honorable Mentions:

6. Teenage Dream - Darren Criss from Glee
7. Dance in the Dark - Lady Gaga
8. Red Belt - Tegan & Sara

I'm sure there's more, but these are the ones that stick out to me. What were your favorite songs in 2010?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dream Vacations

Minneapolis just had a huge snow storm this past weekend, and honestly, I love snuggling up in the house all weekend, but I got a little stir crazy.

Here are some places I'd rather be:

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, in southwest Bavaria. Honestly, could anything look more like a winter wonderland fairy-tale than this? I'd love to see this in my lifetime.

2. Ireland. Ireland has a rich history of all things fae. I'd love to explore the gorgeous country where so many folk and fairy tales come from, like the Giant's Causeway.

3. Bali. After reading Eat, Pray, Love, all I wanted to do was rent a cottage and ride my bike through Bali.

4. Nantucket Island. My whole life, I've wanted to spend a summer on a good old American island. I'd go whale watching, get a job serving at a local cafe, live in a little yellow cottage. Soon, I'd decide to stay and I'd no longer be one of the "summer folks," but a year-round resident who won the hard-earned respect of the locals over time.

Someday. For now, the frozen north!

Merry Christmas to me!

Just purchased a 50 piece set of our "wedding" china 50% off. I say "wedding" because for our actual wedding we only received two pieces, which was just fine with us, as we were living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment.

Now that we own our home and are looking to the future, I thought I'd buy myself a piece every few months. Then I found the set for such an amazing price, I could not pass it up.

I still need a few pieces, like the gravy boat, but I can get those at random. Our pattern is "Crestwood Platinum" by Noritake, I think it will look great for years to come.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pre- New Year's Resolutions

2011 is almost upon us and I've been thinking about my New Year's resolutions for a while. I try to pick things that are manageable and sane.

This year:

1. Buy at least three pairs of shoes that are not black. If you look at my shoe collections, I have maybe 3 or 4 pairs of colorful shoes. I think I will buy 1.) Bright flats 2.) Brown booties (I know, not much more fun than black, but I really need them.) 3.) Multi-colored heels. A co-worker/friend recently bequeathed me a pair of purple and pink heels, which I wore to work last Thursday for the annual Wine and Cheese event, and I received no less than 15 compliments on them. Thanks, A!

2. Floss daily. This is a no-brainer, I suppose, but when I'm good I floss maybe 3 times a week. When I'm bad I can go weeks without. Gross, I know. I don't know if all kids grew up like this, but it always seemed to me like flossing was optional. As an adult, I have learned that flossing is just as important as, if not more than, brushing.

3. Exercise daily. At this time of my life, although I would love to be doing Pilates and kickboxing and various other exercises, I am not allowed to. So, I will have to suffice with walking on the elliptical machine for 45 minutes a day.

4. Pay off debt. Luckily, I have less credit card debt than most people I know. Also, I really enjoy budgeting my money and planning how I will spend it. This year, I plan on getting rid of all my credit card debt, while still putting oodles of cash into savings.

So, basically I have one fun resolution and three responsible ones. Sigh, I guess I'm a grown up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


It's a little early to be thinking of New Year's resolutions, but I've already decided on mine. My inspiration was Hollywood costume designer and winner of eight Academy Awards, Edith Head.

Earlier this year, I read Edith's unintentionally hilarious 1967 book How to Dress for Success. This book includes chapters such as "How to Dress to Get a Man...and Keep Him," "How to Use Color Successfully," and "Nothing Succeeds like Success." It also includes some darling sketches. As out-dated as a lot of the material was, it made me think about my approach to dressing.

For me, I like dressing up and I like trying new things. In my teens and early twenties, I wore whatever I wanted and did not give a hoot what anyone else thought. As I've gotten older, I've learned some restraint, which I think is a good thing, but I've also taken the easy route too often. It's easy in the corporate business-casual workplace to just throw on a pair of pants and a sweater, especially when that is what so many of your co-workers are doing. But it's boring, and most of the time, it doesn't look good.

So, in 2011, I am going to ask myself "What Would Edith Head Wear?" as I get dressed each day.
For instance, let's say I am going to the market. In her book The Dress Doctor, Edith recommends, "Sport suit, day dress (not housedress) dress with jacket, or skirt with sweater or blouse and jacket + coat, if needed, + street shoes. Hat and gloves optional." Notice she did not say, "Yoga pants with tank top + hoodie + dingy old flats. Bra optional." Interesting.

If I am going to a cocktail party: "Cocktail suit, cocktail dress or dressmaker suit (black or dark for winter, pastels or prints for summer) + cocktail or dinner hat + gloves + dinner shoes. " Not, "Jeans + some sort of black top with cat hair on it + dingy old flats."

But Edith, what should I wear to a baseball game? "Sport dress, sport suit or skirt + sweater or sport blouse + comfortable shoes + hat or cap to shade face + gloves if you wish to protect hands from the sun." Hmmm, in this case I think I will stick to my "jeans + Twins T-shirt + baseball cap + foam finger." You have to show team spirit, and the foam finger can protect my hand from the sun.

Yes, Edith has some real lessons for us. And in 2011, I will try to make her proud.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The not-so-great pumpkin

Twenty-six hated Halloween.

But Oscar made it all better.

In other news, I renamed Twenty-six "Sneezy Catsopolis" today on account of her recent sneezing fits and me needing a life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stopped Short

One thing about myself that I have recognized over the years is that I am really bad at finishing things. I enjoy starting things, I like planning them out and imaging what my life will be like when I accomplish my goals (I often spend hours doing this), but I rarely get there.

For example:

1. School. I happily started my post-secondary education at the famous-on-TV Art Institutes International, but after less than year, decided Interior Design was not up my alley. Although i love design in all its forms, I wasn't too thrilled to be going to a school where my teachers consistently misspelled simple words. I'm kind of a spelling Nazi. Also, I think I'm too old for school.

2. Any workout. Ever. Most recently, this would be the Insanity workout. Granted, trainer Shaun T. tells you not to even start the workout unless you are ready to get "INSANE!" I guess I severely underestimated my sanity, since after three days it was obvious I was too mentally fit to become physically fit. Also, I started this right before my birthday, which was not a good idea.

3. Most redecorating projects. For the last few months I have been obsessively redecorating my bedroom in my head. I actually got pretty far on this one. I painted, rearranged furniture and hung some new artwork. But I haven't finished (bedding, curtains, huge mirror, bed table made of coffee table books) because I got distracted by...redecorating my dining room! So far I've managed to paint and replace my totally 80's ceiling fan with a revamped Ikea light. But then the paint on the molding all flaked off and it all became a bit overwhelming.

4. Bathtub. So, over a year ago (possibly almost two years, I lose track) we noticed our claw-foot tub had a tendency to rock back and forth as you moved about in the shower. We remedied this by being very, very still while showering. That worked for a while. Then one leg fell off. No biggie. We'll just lift this really heavy tub up and slip it right back in. Ta-da! Then, one morning I am laying in bed when I hear a tremendous crash from the bathroom. Oh no! Husband down! I run in to find that husband has not been hurt, as he had not actually entered the tub yet. But two legs have fallen off, a wall tile is cracked and the pipe that brings the nice hot water up to the shower head snapped off. After two days of whore-baths, we managed to fix the pipe and J-B Weld three of the legs back in place. The fourth leg (the one that started all this trouble) was bent and unable to fit flush against the bottom of the tub. No problem, we'll just stick some bricks under it. Yeah, we still haven't fixed this.

5. Cleaning regimens. I don't like to be dirty. I actually like things to be in their places and to not have to step over piles of magazines to get to the table. But I have never really been a neat person. I can go weeks, maybe even months, where I am very neat and stick to a cleaning schedule. But in order for this to happen, I can have no distractions. That means I can't have a bad day at work that makes me want to lie on the couch and watch videos of kittens falling asleep, I can't get a new issue of Whole Living (or Real Simple or Martha Stewart Living or InStyle) in the mail, and I certainly can't go out to happy hour. So, usually, my house can be found in a semi-messy state, I need an hour or two to make it parent-approved. Which isn't too bad, but I wish I was better at this. Also, cleaning seems to fall solely to me. I don't think husband has ever spontaneously cleaned.

That was kind of depressing. Here are some things I have actually finished.

1. Planning a wedding (and saying "I do!"). Trust, this is a lot of work. And while husband helped out where he could, most of the planning, favor hunting, invitation making, invitation addressing and budgeting fell on my shoulders. But we managed to make to the big day and managed to get hitched. Best. Day. Ever.

2. Lots of books. Reading them, not writing them (although I did come up with a genius idea for a children's book the other day). Maybe that isn't something to really be proud of, but I am. I'm proud I'm not one of those people who says, "I read magazines," or "If the book is good they'll make it into a movie." I don't care what kind of books you read, but you should at least be trying to read something or this world will turn out like the movie Idiocracy.

3. Art. I am really trying at this art thing, and though I may not be as fast as I hoped or as dedicated as I'd like to be, I'm not giving up. I'm really proud that I did the Red Hot fair this summer and I'm hoping I can get my crafty-act together to do this gallery thing this month.

4. Volunteering. I am now partaking in my second year as an Art Mentor with Free Arts Minnesota. Both years I have chosen to work at People Serving People, which is a long-term shelter downtown. It's a weekly commitment, and I really enjoy spending time with the kids and making art together.

5. Quitting smoking. While it hasn't been that long since I started to kick the butts, and there have been set-backs, I am putting this here as positive reinforcement that I can and will stop for good. Go, me!

I'd like to say I'm not going to get down on myself for not finishing everything I start, but I know myself. Instead, maybe I will try to set smaller goals. And maybe I should fix that tub.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fruits of Fall

Fall is officially here (according to the calendar, but thankfully, not the thermometer) and that means we are saying good-bye to fresh veggies delivered (practically) to our doorstep.

We received our last delivery from the fine folks at Treasured Haven Farm, ending our first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season. I would really recommend this to anyone who wants to eat more locally grown produce, more naturally grown produce or just more produce in general! We did end up tossing stuff out almost every week, but we still ate more vegetables than we normally would, spent less money and got to try new things. Try it!

Let's take a look at what we get to enjoy this week. We got a few pie pumpkins, a couple of small golden spaghetti squash, a big striped spaghetti squash, a small acorn squash, a butternut squash, some unidentified squash (the white and green one on the right), red onions, spinach, potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts!

All these yummy autumn foods make me eager to make up a batch of apple cider and pop in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." I think I'll go do that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Things

Hello, there! Boy, I have just been having the greatest time the last few weeks and today is my birthday, so that makes me extra happy.

A few weeks ago, I went to Bye Bye Liver, the "Twin Cities Drinking Play," with a few friends. It was a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and just an all around good time. The play is still in town and the run got extended, so I would definitely check it out if I were you.

Then, a few days later, I attended my first comedy club with Tricia. We went for her mom's birthday and of course got seated front and center, which was very nerve-wracking as I was afraid I was going to be made fun of by all the comedians. Lucky me, I wasn't! They all avoided me and picked on the people all around me, including Tricia. It was all in good fun, though and I had a really good time.

This weekend, I went to The Soap Factory's Haunted Basement to kick off my birthday celebration. This was my second year going, I was scared for days afterward last year. This year was just as much fun and just as scary! I think the best part was hearing my family's reactions after.

When I was done being scared silly, friends and family headed over to my house for a get together and we played a few rousing rounds of Hammerschlagen. I first came across this game at Zorbaz in Brainerd. It is a fun game that takes a surprising amount of skill, strength and luck. I think it was a big hit (hardy har har.)

Last night, to top it all off, I went out to dinner at The Oceanaire Seafood Room. Several times a year, Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine hosts Restaurant Week at local restaurants. They usually have a special menu for either $15 or $30 and it's a great chance to try out some places that might usually be out of your price range. Restaurant Week is happening through October 8, so get out there and make your reservations!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My name is Amy, and I'm a bookworm

I love to read. Love it, love it, love it. A few years ago, Chris and I started keep track of how many books we read a year. While my list is sometimes triple the size of his, he can recall the plots of all the books he's read, while I have trouble remembering the names of some of mine.

On that note, here's my list of books for 2010 so far (the ones I remembered to write down at least, let's assume there's 5 to 10 I forgot about:

1. George R. R. Martin - A Clash of Kings
2. George R. R. Martin - A Storm of Swords
3. George R. R. Martin - A Feast for Crows
4. Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible
5. Barbara Kingsolver - The Bean Trees
6. Wally Lamb - I Know This Much Is True
7. Barbara Kingsolver - Pigs In Heaven
8. Neil Gaiman - Coraline
9. Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife
10. Anna Maxted - Rich Again
11. Meg Cabot - The Boy Next Door
12. Meg Cabot - Size 12 Is Not Fat
13. Meg Cabot - Size 14 Is Not Fat, Either
14. Meg Cabot - Big Boned
15. Jeanne DuPrau - The City of Ember
16. Jeanne DuPrau - The People of Sparks
17. Sloane Crosley - I Was Told There'd Be Cake
18. Helen Fielding - Cause Celeb
19. Art Spiegelman - Maus
20. Chuck Palaniuk - Fight Club
21. Jeanne DuPrau - The Prophet of Yonwood
22. Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin - Three Cups of Tea
23. Frank Miller - The Dark Knight Returns
24. Daniell Ganek - The Summer We Read Gatsby
25. Norman Maclean - A River Runs Through It
26 P. G. Wodehouse - French Leave
27. Katherine Howe - The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
28. Sam Lipsyte - Home Land
29. Edith Head - How To Dress For Success
30. Art Spiegelman - Maus II
31. Bill Willingham - Fables
32. Alice Hoffman - Practical Magic
33. Jeanne DuPrau - The Diamond of Darkhold
34. Tom Perrotta - The Abstinence Teacher
35. Reif Larson - The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
36. Dave Eggers - Zeitoun 37. P.G. Wodehouse - Young Men in Spats
38. Barbara Kingsolver - Prodigal Summer

Some of these books are straight up chick lit. Some are fantasy. Some are graphic novels. Some are for young adults. I don't care. I love them all. That's not technically true. There were a few I disliked (Rich Again...dumb!), and a few that are not on the list because I could not even finish them. I'm looking at you, Opening Atlantis.

But for the most part, I would recommend many of these. Especially Maus, Three Cups of Tea, The Selected Works of TS Spivet, and any of Barbara Kingsolver's. And George RR Martin, if you're a huge nerd, like me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shoot That Posion Arrow Through My Heart...

I am absolutely smitten with these gorgeous handmade arrows from Fredericks and Mae. I found them while perusing blogs in search of bedroom decorating inspiration and fell head over heels.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Couch bound

I went to the Lady Gaga show in St. Paul last night and am so glad I had the foresight to take today off. It was an amazing time but I was definitely in need of couch recovery time.

The couch time was nice because it gave me a lot of time to think about things I want to try and/or do.

Here's what I came up with:

1. First priority is finishing my wreaths and ornament samples for Gallery 360. I've already rescheduled 3 times, so I need to have more done by Thursday.

2. Start exercising again. I want to either do a video like P90X or Insanity or take some classes. Plus, this winter (groan) I'd like to do some outdoor stuff.

3. Get back into baking bread. I really enjoyed baking it even if I don't enjoy eating it.

4. Paint my bedroom and start on the bedroom makeover. I have it all planned out in my head but haven't done anything. If anyone has any coffee table books they want to get rid of, I would gladly take them off their hands.

And I will leave you with a pic of a cute gift topper I made for Chris' birthday. I love it!


I've decided to begin a new blog that will be more personal, since I feel like A Box of Biscuits should be more for my crafting and creating artwork than about what is going on in my daily life.

So, with that said...Welcome! I soon will be posting and giving you all the Amy-knowledge you never knew you always wanted.