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A Chicago Invasion: My Weekend with Molly

I was lucky enough to ring in December with Molly, one of my best friends and past roommate at the infamous 419 Benj house. Our lives were filled shenanigans, debauchery, all- nighters, and all of that great stuff that goes along with being a college student. Why would her two night stay in the Bay Area be any different?

Molly got in at about 11PM on Friday and it was off to downtown San Jose! Glamorous? Absolutely not. But Im old and it’s close to the airport so off we were. We went to the Wagon Wheel so I could try to get Molly good and drunk with an epically sized mug of beer that is so heavy I can barely bring the glass to my lips when full.

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After the Wagon, I thought I would try and be a good friend, reminisce about college days and hit up Tres Gringos. Lucky enough for Molly, we ran into a group of my friends who persuaded me that if I liked Molly at all, I would NOT take her to Tres. They were right, so we went to The Brit instead keepin it classy. The next step was to go to La Vics for Molly to get a taste of the orange sauce. YUM.

The next morning we woke up feeling a little on the hungover side but not too shabby. We THOUGHT that the BCS championship football game would be on in the earl afternoon so we got ready and headed over to Double D’s to fight the holiday parade traffic and the marching band to find a parking spot. Naturally, we were wrong and the BCS game wasnt on until about 5PM, lucky for us MHoops happened to be playing!  Kevin and Dwight met us  there and we started drinking.

After lunch I could not let Molly be in the Bay Area another second without taking her to Aqui for  a swirl, or three. Me, Molly, Dwight and our friend John spent a good chunck of the afternoon hanging at the bar introducing Molly to the wonderful world of swirls. DID YOU KNOW THERE IS A MIMOSA SWIRL? Only on the weekends, check it out. Paradise Patron Swirl + Champagne, I was in heaven.

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One thing Molly told me that she wanted to do was see the Golden Gate. Dwight booked a hotel room for all of us earlier on Saturday  in San Francisco so at about 6PM we jumped in the car and headed to the city to meet up with Renee and a group of her girlfriends. My luck prevailed and we drove to SF in the most ridiculous downpour of rain, ever. Can I just tell you that Gloria (My 1998 Mazda) hates San Francisco. I could smell her breaks burning from the RIDICULOUS hills on Divisidero, you know the ones that are so sharp that you can’t see anything on the other side until you are at the peak? then you go shooting down the other side as if you were on the world’s word roller coaster.

It took forever but somehow we still made it on time to our reservation at Zushi Puzzle- which is tiny tiny so we still had to wait, of course.

After a few sake bombs and some sushi, we checked into our hotel, Marina Motel. Which is adorable and looks like a little Italian villa. We changed and headed to Bar None for some drinks.

Marina Motel

The night went smoothly with tequila shots, bar hopping, irish car bombs, jager bombs etc. Until Molly and I decided it was again time to eat, thus we stopped at Mels where we were invited to join a conga line. Molly “politely” refused.  Then we made the walk back to the hotel.

Upon waking up the next morning, we realized that we had to get our asses in gear to make it to The Republic for bottomless mimosas. One thing Ill say for The Republic, their food is terrible but the atmosphere is awesome. It was crowded with groups or people just enjoying their Sunday football.  At this point we still have not seen the golden gate, next stop!

We drunkenly jump in the car (sober Kev driving) and made our way across the bridge…

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Then stopped at the vista point for a photo shoot:

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Kevin drove our sorry asses back to San Jose. At this point we had probably averaged 9 hours of sleep Friday and Saturday night combined, not to mention Molly had jet lag (such a trooper) so the both of us fell asleep in the car. When we got home we cuddled up on the couch for a bit then went to Amattos to introduce Molly to the Philly Cheesesteak. I think it was a success.

Sadly that night I had to take my sweet Molly to the airport for her midnight redeye flight. I can only image how tired she must have been for her next day at work! So glad she had the chance to make it out here. Even just for the weekend! LIKE A BOSS!

Best Sick Day Movie and T.V. Series List

In honor of the illness that has overwhelmed my life the last three days, I have decided to make a list of my favorite movies and TV Series that I enjoy watching while on my deathbed. I always sit on the couch for about 30 minutes trying to figure out what to watch- never remembering what my favorite movies are! I have selected a variety that remind me of my childhood because its comforting, ones that are easy to watch because who wants to over think when they feel like their head is going to explode, and ones that are easy to get wrapped up in and forget that you are feeling icky! Here they are!

 

Top Ten Sick Day Movies

10. Princess Bride

9. Duck Tales- Treasure of the Lost Lamp

8. Fried Green Tomatoes

7. Tombstone

6. Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers

5. Sleeping Beauty

4.Lord of the Rings

3. Harry Potter

2.  Mystic Pizza

1. Practical Magic

Top Ten Sick Day TV Series

10. Intervention

9. Band of Brothers

8. Without a Trace

7. Property Brothers

6. Law and Order: SVU

5. Revenge

4. House Hunters

3. The Big Bang theory

2. Game of Thrones

1. Once Upon a Time

Such a great fantasy (NETFLIX IT!)

Since I’m sick I don’t feel like giving much description or reason why they are my list, but hopefully you can trust that these are winners! I wish you all good health this winter season!

A Pre Thanksgiving Slamdown

I feel like when you are getting close to the holiday season, it’s bad form to write a SLAMDOWN. I think two days prior to said event is sufficient. I hope you agree. Otherwise you can do your own slamdown, put my name under Things you DON’T like, and we can have an epic blog battle.

Things I LOVE:

Thanksgiving at my Aunts house. Best turkey, best company, best turkey (still)

3 day work weeks

Tea- of all varieties. Currently Cucumber White (Tazo)

Freeways with no traffic

Puppy sitting, not once, but TWICE, two different Coco’s and a Buddy

Kickball! Go Brews On First??!!

Seeing a post from a friend on Facebook saying “Thank you for biting my face last night”- What? I didn’t have any bath salts? #soundsmadeup Lindsay

Going to yoga after having a swirl, I think I felt looser

Michigan

The fact that this weekend is the Michigan vs. Ohio State game

Booking hotel rooms in Napa!

THAT MOLLY WILL BE HERE IN 11 DAYS!

Molly and I on the left, NEVER LEAVE ME!

That we are going to have a whirlwind weekend of Single Barrel, Campbell, Swirls, Napa? Golden Gate Bridge, Boozy SF Brunch?, Slide? East Side West? The Brixton? Flames…So much to do, so little time.

Things I DON’T Love:

That Thanksgiving is 2 days away- I want turkey now.

That Black Friday has become such an institution that people MISS Thanksgiving to sit in line. STUPID CONSUMERISM

Traffic on the freeway/San Thomas Expressway.

Having to give back said puppies to their mommies

Hangovers and realizing you may have given your friend a love bite on the cheek.

Goodbyes, in general.

A Little Message About Student Loans

I haven’t written in awhile because work has been crazy busy. I was inspired this evening to write this post because I AM PUMPED! Yesterday, I paid off my first of two college loans. Yes, I am only half way there – I count it as halfway because I previously had maxed out a credit card that was almost the equivalent amount of the loan I just paid off, which when added together ALMOST equate to the amount of the debt I still have left. Had I not maxed out a credit card, taken out a loan from the University of Michigan, and a loan from the good ole federal government, I could have the down payment on a house, as so many people my age I am sure can relate too.

 
I didn’t work in college, which at the time seemed like a GREAT idea. However, looking back, I think had my schedule been filled with work and water polo, my grades would have been better off than they were with the water polo and partying. I took out loans to pay for most of my education (thank GOD for financial aid) and then instead of getting a job, I deferred my loans once I graduated and took a trip to Australia where I continued to party and maxed out my credit card, did I mention that my interest rate was 18%?

When I was in college I had NO freaking clue about interest, savings, financial aid, investing or anything that I was getting myself into. Once I met Kevin (the boyfriend), I realized my spending habits were normal, but very inefficient if I wanted to STOP living paycheck to paycheck and get my ass out of debt. I have an emergency fund with Vanguard now where the money is invested in ETFs, and a savings account with a credit union which I cannot see and do not have easy access to the funds so it makes it harder to withdraw for that last minute trip to San Diego (pair of shoes, concert tickets, etc etc…). A portion of my paycheck is distributed directly into the savings account, after I do a budget for that month  I take the extra money out of my regular checking account and put it into my credit union account, this extra money in my savings was just used to pay off loan #1!

I also had been making double the minimum payments on both of my loans- most loans make the minimum payment just enough to cover the interest you are accruing on that account plus a little bit of the principle, if you pay the minimum amount requested on loans, you will be paying them FOREVER, which banks and loan offices want. The longer it takes, the more money they get- if you can, put as MUCH towards you loans as possible, or talk to the company that has the loan out and see if there is anyway to have the interest reduced if you are always on time with your payment. I was able to reduce my credit card interest to 14%. Since I paid off my Michigan loan,  I will be able to quadruple the payment towards my federal loan and hopefully have that paid off before I am 30!

The most important thing I learned is to live within your means- going out every night is not conducive to your bank account (at least MY bank account) or your hips for that matter (at least MY hips).

shoes, SHoes, SHOES!

I’m not a huge shoe person, those of you who know me probably haven’t seen me in much other than flip flops or running shoes (though I generally haven’t been for a run). But sometimes, I get in a mood and I just need a pair of shoes. This trip was inspired by the fact that I bought a dress for New Years (so cute, hope it fits, bought it online) and we got some details about our Christmas party for work so I had a little motivation.

One stop at DSW and $128 later, I am the proud owner of THESE beautiful, if not slightly ridiculous, Betsy Johnson shoes…such a proud mom.

 

Yes, a spiked studded bow

Yes Mom, I can walk in them. Yes Mom, that is very surprising 🙂

This really is an awesome recipe!! Easy and so delicious!

littlepaleokitchen

Hey everyone!  This is a recipe adapted from the lovely Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network.  I’m not sure I’d ever had this before the un-paleo way, so I can’t say how different my paleo version is, all I know is that it is truly delicious.  The chicken just gets so “soft” as Alex put it!  I like it with roasted veggies on the side.  It’s a really soulful dish and the best part is that it’s great for you!

The Best Ever Paleo Chicken Cacciatore
Ingredients:

4 large chicken breasts – (Giada makes hers with 4 bone-in thighs and 2 bone-in breasts but Alex won’t eat anything off the bone so I stuck with large chicken breasts because that’s what I had on hand.  I’m going to try it with skin-on chicken next time!)

2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/2 cup coconut flour,  1/2 cup almond…

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Day 16: Paleo…I dont work out

Alright, since honesty is the best policy, I’m going to tell you all that the last time I worked out was my 545AM morning work out with Katie about a week ago. And guess what? I’ve lost 5lbs since I weighed in on Day 7 of my Paleo mission. So, it looks like the whole lifestyle transformation hasn’t really started yet- but like I always say…Baby steps right? In case you are wondering I plan on going to the gym at 545AM tomorrow morning to get back in the swing of things.

In regards to cheating and such, I have been doing pretty well for the most part. No grains, minimal eating out, minimal beer (soo soo difficult) minimal sweats, I would like to say that I have eaten NONE of these things. But that would be a blatant lie and I would never lie to you. This Paleo journey has also helped my bank account. Since I feel as though I would be too tempted to eat some delicious pasta or french fries if I went out to eat, I have been cooking at home a lot more often.

One breakfast recipe that Julie gave me (per the idea of her wonderful mother) is egg muffins!

Basically, to make 12 muffins, I beat 14 eggs together with a whisk

added bit of turkey bacon I had cooked earlier and chopped to the mixture

added them to my butter greased muffin pan

sprinkled some grated cheese on top

I threw them in the over at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (OK, I forgot them in there and they cooked for 30 minutes)  and had a TOUGH time getting them out of the pan. 3 washes and over night soaks later, the muffin pan still has egg freckles all over it, so I recommend either cooking it for the right amount of time, or using PAM instead of Smart Balance butter like I did. I think on my next go (If Kevin lets me use his muffin pan again) I will add bacon, bell peppers and onion. Yum.
Today is going to be a difficult day for me as well, because we are having an office pot luck, and we have the BEST pot lucks- Kimchi and Rice, Korean BBQ Beef, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Spice Cookies, Carne Asade and various pasta salad dishes- I am hoping my will power will hold out all day because the kitchen already smells amazing. I feel as if I write this post before lunch,I will remind myself that I am a stubborn ass who will not falter under the delicious smells that waft through the office. I have noticed that I am a very stubborn, sass-a-frass in many aspects of my life, but when it comes to eating and losing weight…I tend to be quite forgiving of myself. Thus I am trying to change that mind set! I will let you know how it goes!
Things to look forward to in future posts to come! Sake tasting and review in Berkeley, a night of laser tag and drinking, and a rant about a recent phone call I had with a candidate.  Happy belated Halloween all!