Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekend Whiplash

Sometimes the weekend ends like a car wreck leaving you feeling a little disoriented and perhaps a little down. You go,go,go,go and then suddenly it stops like a car crashing. Then you're left with weekend whiplash on Monday.

I'm not complaining! It was a wonderful time. I just hated to see it end.

I must show you my homemade necklace that Charlie gave me for my birthday:
A quartz ("to look like a real diamond") tied with string to a keychain necklace.
Yes, I did proudly wear this out which made a 10 year old boy very happy which made his mom very happy.

We arrive at the hotel Saturday afternoon after a very hot trip. The AC decided not to work to full capacity while the temp outside was 99* and the sun was beating down on my legs. It was warm.

After checking in and getting situated in our hotel room at the Crowne Plaza we cranked the AC up and made it colder than an Alaskan snow cone. That's cold.

Had dinner at Chris Madrid's (see picture of oozy cheesy burger below) and headed down the Riverwalk for some exploring.  Did you know that you should not explore a city in flipflops or any sandal that has a piece between your big toe and second toe? It hurts very quickly.

We made our way to the Hemisfair Tower because the kids had never been to the observation deck only to be told that they were closing in 30 minutes and we could not get tickets. *sigh*  We begin our flip flop journey back to the hotel and crash for the night. Until tomorrow, Hemisfair Tower.

That night we're all exhausted and fall into a deep sleep only to be awakened at 1am by *beep*.........*beep*..........*beep*
The battery was dying on the smoke detector. We call front desk and they send a guy who crawls up on a chair, removes the alarm and says, "I'll bring you another tomorrow. You'll be fine." 
Tomorrow comes and that night this is still what we had:

reminds me: I need to check my bill to make sure they didn't charge me for a missing smoke detector.

Sunday we get to sleep late! Yay! Then we were off to Mi Tierra to meet Ashley from Opposite of Thin. Don't you love meeting fellow bloggers? I felt like I had known Ashley for years because of reading her blog and she reading mine.

We had some great food and awesome ritas at Mi Tierra and chatted about our families, blogging, riding bikes, etc. Lots of fun. I love how she and her hubby have become so active since moving to San Antonio. They have bikes for rent at stations all over downtown and she and Rob go bike riding with their annual pass almost every day. So cool. Great way to get in shape and have fun doing it while getting to know your city.

Ashley is a sweetie. :)
Check out the crazy fun interior of Mi Tierra (open 24 hours)

Guess they have a crush on Bill. Nice job painting in some muscles in those legs.
 After lunch we check out some fun shops at Market Square.

This poor couple must have been waiting in the ridiculous line at Mi Tierra.
 On the way back to the hotel I saw this. Wow, 100% air conditioned. Welcome to the times.
 Yes, this is my birthday trip but I wanted to make sure the kids got to do what they wanted as well and they wanted to swim at the hotel's third floor swimming pool.
And while they did, I had a tequila on the rocks from the bar while Chuck sipped on a beer.

The wind blew hard the entire time. I don't know about where you live but we've had strong winds and very little rain all year. It's been kind of freaky, actually.
We all got cleaned up and headed to the place the kids wanted to eat: Lulu's Cafe. This is the place that serves the 3 pound cinnamon rolls and awesome chicken fried steaks as seen on Man vs. Food. I wasn't very hungry so I just nibbled off Chuck's plate. :)

And who should we see walk in? Ashley!! Small world.

We had a great time and I was able to get a shot of Rachel acting goofy. The kid has talent. haha

Yes, we got a 3 pound cinnamon roll. It's sitting on my kitchen counter now calling to me like a siren. But I listen not.

Dinner is over and we're ready to head back to the Hemisfair Tower this time in tennis shoes and we park closer. We get to the ticket booth and she says they're closing early (crap!) and we'd only have 15 minutes and we probably wouldn't be able to see the movie that goes with it. I tell her this is our last night here and we'll pay the full price but we have to get to that observation deck before it closes! (I'm sounding desperate like a scene from Sleepless in Seattle.)

We get our tickets and head to that observation deck. The kids loved it but I think Rachel and I had the best time with the wind whipping our hair and threatening to remove our shirts right over our heads.

Beautiful views at night.
 Ah, what fun. On the way back to the truck we stopped at an awesome park for Charlie to work off some energy. A breeze was blowing and pink clouds floated overhead. A great night.

Monday it was time to head home. :( On the way we stop at a gas station to get a Rock Star and this was on their door:
Dude. Go to the doctor. They can clear that right up.
I read on google that the average human bladder holds up to 16 oz (though some have chosen to correct me about that on Facebook and say it's more). But most fast food places serve drinks that are closer to 32 oz. These are things to keep in mind while on a road trip. Bladder capacity matters and you should plan accordingly.

We stopped at a Whataburger to use the restrooms. There was a line. Apparently lots of people were travelling and testing their bladder capacities.  While in line I saw a girl in her 20s with a cute sugar skull tattoo ala Day of the Dead. I tell her that I like her tattoo. She looks at me in my mom shorts, messed up hair, no makeup, mom shirt and wearing a homemade quartz necklace and says "thanks" (as in, "thanks, old lady but what the hell do you know about tattoos?") and turns back around. And that's when I turned 40. Right there in a crowded Whataburger restroom. It happened. I felt it.

Then I was all like"I'm going to get me one of those cool sugar skull tattoos. I've seen two of them this weekend. Where would I put it?"

If I got one I'd want it to be somewhere that I could hide away when we went to some of the finer restaurants or plays or the symphony. I'm just not sure I'd like to wear a nice gown with a skull showing.  But I'd also want it to be someplace that I could display it should I choose to. 

I finally came to the conclusion that I could just put it on my belly and it would be mine to see alone. But then I had a mental picture of me visiting a tattoo parlor and having to show my midriff and actually have someone touch it. They'd have to use one of those cross stitch frames to stretch out the skin.
On second thought, no thanks.

It was a great trip but it's definitely good to be home. :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bloggin at the pool

Hello, blogger buddies. I had grand plans of blogging through our entire stay but the Crowne Plaza thinks it's perfectly acceptable to charge $10 per day for internet service. I, on the other hand, think that's a rip off along with $28 per day valet parking.

I've stayed at many places from the Crappy Shack ( where just getting to your room is a matter of life and death. No seriously, I watched a dude pull a gun on another dude and some scary dude broke into our car in less than 10 seconds to help my mom get the keys out that she had locked in. I turned on the TV and porn was on. Not Disney! ) to the Westin La Cantera in the fancy shmancy part of San Antonio. I can honestly say that Holiday Inn Express has been the most consistent and the best value. Free breakfast, a mini fridge, free parking,free wifi and a coffee maker. Crowne Plaza makes you pay for breakfast. And no Diet Coke in the vending machines. *gasp*

Still, I'm having a great time. I'll tell you all about it as soon as I can get some free wifi  (home) and download some pictures.

In the meantime, check out this wicked awesome tostada burger from Chris Madrid's in San Antonio. Complete withmounds if cheddar, beef, refried beans and tortilla chips.

NOTE: So I hope this works because blogging from a cell phone us foreign to me. Plus I just had a tequila on the rocks by the pool. (That feeling you're having right now is envy. LOL Kidding!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy 4-0 to Me

Happy Birthday to me! :)
I wasn't sure how I'd feel about turning the big 4-0 but honestly I feel pretty good. I think I look better than I did at 30. I'm more comfortable in my own skin, not afraid to be myself, and am actively enjoying life. It's allllll good.

My last day as a 39 year old was Friday. Rachel had a class so we took her to that. On the way my minivan decided to just die. No reason. Just die. It started right back up after we pulled over but still. Didn't it know that I have a trip planned?!

Let me tell you, that van was almost ousted from the family. Chuck was ready to go shopping immediately for a newly used car.  As of now, Vincent Van Go is still part of the family. We're just going to have to figure out what's wrong with it.  This is my last minivan. I am so not a soccer mom. Not that there's anything wrong with soccer moms. It's just not my personality. Maybe an Audi coupe. ;-) Now is just not the right time for that.

The stress of car problems made me go into sleep mode. It's the way I handle stress for some reason. I just get tired suddenly. Don't you just hate car problems?

 While I took a nap Chuck went to get my birthday gift.
A Nook color!!!
I've wanted one for a while but just never actually thought about getting one for myself. It was such a sweet gift. I've downloaded a couple of apps, have my email set up, and a couple of books (Water for Elephants and Bossypants).


Later we went out for a quick bite at Whataburger. I had a grilled chicken salad but mostly just ate the chicken and a little bit of lettuce. Wasn't very hungry.

Then to Dessert Gallery to pick up my free slice of cake.

toffee cake
This stuff is SWEET! I had about 4 bites and brought the rest home.

So the day before my birthday was fun (I'm not even going to think about the car issues) and we're just getting started.

Charlie made me a beautiful necklace but I'm going to share that pic tomorrow. It's a giant piece of quartz dangling from a homemade keychain necklace. The quartz, according the jewelry maker, is supposed to simulate a diamond. Maybe a 60 carat? Yes, I'll be wearing my new necklace all day. Pictures to follow. I'll be checking into the Crowne Plaza proudly wearing my new jewels. :)

Have a wonderful weekend. I'm going to be celebrating 40 and enjoying every minute of it.  And Happy Birthday to all the other May 28th folks out there!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Day on Earth.....

.....as a "thirty-something."  This is it. The Big 4-0 strikes tomorrow. Seriously, where does the time go? I'm still 21, I swear!  I have no plans to age gracefully but to fight it kicking the whole way. I want to be a 70 year old parachuting bungee jumping tightrope walking snowboarding ziplining sitting by a lazy river reading a book & sipping wine. Well, hell. Guess I've already aged on the inside. ;-)

The plans? San Antonio Riverwalk, baby. Got a good deal at the Crowne Plaza and I'm bringing a fine bottle of wine and my family. Gonna be fun.
Exercise: ChaLean Extreme Burn Phase Circuit 1 Week 3
I was able to increase some of the weights by 5 pounds on some of the exercises. Lateral raises are still tough.
  • sumo squat with hip lift 10#
  • lunge with posterior fly 5#
  • Push up with leg lift
  • dead lift with posterior fly 5# (moving to 10# next time)
  • lunge with core rotation 10#
  • bench press with leg lower 10# (tough!) sore chest today
  • squat with side bend 15# (I feel it today!)
  • forward-lean lunge with double arm posterior fly 5#
  • chest fly with hip lift 10#
I know the weights seem light but I'm working slow (as in lifting slowly) and I'm slowly increasing. I'll get there. :)
I actually got a blister on my finger from lifting weights! Sweat was running down my face, neck and back and flying all over the place when I'd lunge. Pretty cool, really.  Time to bust out those weight lifting gloves.  The gloves combined with the massive dial-a-weight dumbbells is going to make me feel like She-ra.

Wait, no. That's not right.  Here we go.

Got my haird trimmed and lightened Thursday. I walk in and Connie says, "You've lost weight! Dang, it makes your boobs look huge!" LOL Love the honesty that can only be found at the hair salon. Hugs to ya, Connie.
Lunch: We went to BJ's Brewhouse for some lunch yesterday. I had the seared ahi tuna salad.
Being close to my birthday and all, I got a triple chocolate pizookie for free. I had a couple of bites and shared the rest with the family.

Complete with candle but, thankfully, no singing. :)
Received two free samples of Quest bars in the mail yesterday. Here are their selling points:
 A picture of the sampled peanut butter bar. Mmmm.

Tilt head sideways to read. Try it! It's fun! ;-)
 Vanilla Almond Crunch. Love. Love. Love.
 "Sampled" vanilla almond crunch. Tastes sinful.
There was a paper in the box that said to try heating them in the microwave for a few seconds for a fresh-baked cookie experience. Haven't tried that one yet but I bet sprinkled on some low carb ice cream. Oh yum.

Ingredients for vanilla almond crunch: Protein blend (whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate), chickory root fiber, almond butter, dry roasted almonds, raw almonds, water, natural flavors, sea salt, lo han guo, sucralose.

Yay! No soy protein!

I really really like these. They're only available online though. :(

Do you want to try them? Go HERE and get a couple of free samples sent to you.

Have a grand weekend.  If you feel the need to send birthday gifts such as cash, tequila, fine wines, chocolates, diamonds, whatever...please feel free. LOL

Hugs to all my blogger buds. Wish you were here with me to celebrate. I'd take you down the Riverwalk for some fun and, of course, to the Life is Good store.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beef 'n' Cake= BeefCake?

I am one proud momma. Rachel, my 15-going-on-16-too-soon year old daughter, received her first order for a cake.  This is a big deal because Rachel wants to be a baker/pastry chef when she grows up. The ordered cake was a teacher appreciation gift for a literature class.

Everything is edible. The "paper" and pencil and bookmark. All of it.  I think she did a great job. :)

We delivered the cake yesterday and both the customer and the recipient were very pleased with it. Did I mention that I'm proud of her?  :)  Charlie, my 10 year old son, had some sage words of advice for her: take the money you earn and put it in your business.  Love my kids.

She only charged $20 for the cake which I think was a steal. Way to go, Rachel!!
I was going to exercise yesterday but my muscles were sore and I spent most of the day on the road. It just didn't work out.  Maybe the muscles needed a day of rest anyway.
Chuck usually does the grilling for the family but he had some things to do so the grillmaster last night. On the menu: strip steaks with a garlic compound butter and veggies.

The steaks look ok but I overcooked them and one side didn't even get a nice char to it. :( Darn. I hate messing up in the kitchen (or at the grill as the case may be). I must grill again to redeem myself.
 Fashion Thursday?  Why not! So here are the new crops from Coldwater Creek that I just love. And a top from Kohls. Shoes from DSW. That is not a muffin top that you see. It's the top of the pants. :) It's true!
So I see this photo and while I do see how far I've come I can still see the areas that need some work. The tummy (my nemesis that I've mentioned before) and arms and thighs still need some renovation. Extreme Makeover Belly Edition is more like it. But still I can say that I'm pretty happy where I'm at right now.

So what's on the menu tonight?  Need some ideas over here besides burnt steak. :)
Have a wonderful Thursday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bring Me Another!

Tuesday it was time to lift some weights. I really gave it my all and was sweating profusely. Funny how slowly lifting weights gets the heart rate up as if you were running.

35 minutes of ChaLean Extreme Burn Phase Circuit 3, week 2. Time to start week 3. There will be one more week after that before I move on to the next phase with new exercises. Can't wait. :)

By the end of the workout session my legs and arms were shaking and I was a sweaty mess. I rested for about on hour, ate some tuna salad on a low carb tortilla.

Exercise round 2: mow the grass.  Honestly, just trying to start the mower is a workout unto itself. I was getting so frustrated pulling on that cord and finally it roared to life. "Oh, you wanted me to start?" Then pushing it around the yard worked up a nice sweat.

Time to get cleaned up and ready for a dinner date with Chuck.  BJ's Brewhouse was having a beer tasting dinner. 5 course meal and 8 beers for $30!

I wore my new crops from Coldwater Creek (I had a coupon and got two pair for $25 total!!) and a brown shirt that's a little too big. I was a little surprised when I put the crops on and Chuck said that they were a little too big. He's right! I just got these last Friday. Size 12. Hellz yeah! Getting closer to those size 10s which is amazing considering that I've had more than a few splurges lately. Example: tonight's dinner.

We got to the restaurant a little early so they seated us at the bar. We had a beer while we waited.
 Time to be seated. The menu featured Samuel Adams. We got to sit near the rep for the company and chat about beer and her wicked awesome job. Republic Tequila is looking for an ambassador for their tequila in Houston. I'm so tempted. :)
Between the two tables for the dinner was a table set up with the beer. All of this was for the dinner.
 Believe it or not, they don't have large turnouts for these beer dinners. Maybe because it's not fancy shmancy like the wine and tequila dinners in Houston. Maybe because the chef doesn't prepare something off-menu for the dinner. More for us, I guess.

Here is our table. Three other people plus the rep sat at our table. The other table had maybe 6 people.
The waiter is bringing our "welcome" beer.
 The manager did a toast and we enjoyed our first beer: BJ's Lightswitch Lager.  Very light.
 Beer for the first course: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
 Paired with a slider and fries. Didn't eat all the bun or fries. Sure was tasty though!
 Beer for second course: Samuel Adams Imperial White. I really liked this. Fruity with a hint of pineapple and spices.
 Paired with a seared ahi tuna salad. Uber yum. The chef came out and discussed the pairings. I'm sure it's nice to see people enjoying the food you prepare.
 Feeling no pain. :)
 Next course was teriyaki shrimp. I had a couple of shrimp and some veggies. I'm usually allergic to shrimp and start itching in my throat and eyes and ears but these didn't bother me much. Wonder why?
 Paired with a cherry wheat Samuel Adams. LOVE the cherry beer.
 Then a palate cleanser of Summer ale.
 Wait, I think this was the cherry wheat. Maybe? No, this was the Latitude 48 IPA.
 And it was paired with parmesan chicken that was very good. Loved the basil and sun dried tomatoes. With a squirt of lemon it was yum. There's a pile of broccoli under that lemon.
 Time for Samuel Adams cream stout. But before they brought it out the manager put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Honey, do you need another beer?"
ME: Sure! 
HIM: What do you want?
ME: How about some more of that cherry beer?
HIM: You got it!
Really?! The guys at the end of the table then told us that all of that beer is for us to drink. We can have anything we want.
So here is cream stout (strong!) and the cherry wheat again.
 The stout wasn't my favorite but it did pair well with the chocolate pizookie. A pizza cookie: chocolate chocolate chip cookie with chocolate ice cream and a piece of chocolate. Makes my mouth happy. :)
 After dinner beer: another one of their stout beers. I forget what this one was called. It was not the Wee Heavy listed on the menu. Meh. I don't like the dark beers as much. Just a personal taste.
 Waiter asks me if I'd like another beer. Sure! How about the Imperial White? By this time they're just giving out bottles of beer. I drank a few sips and decided I was done!
 It was a lot of fun hanging out with new people in a relaxed atmosphere and trying new things. All for $30 each! They host these dinners quarterly. Definitely going to the next.

The portion sizes of the entrees were small but that turned out to be a good thing because you don't get overstuffed like we did at the tequila dinner.

Got home and Michigan J Frog was there to greet us.
No more spirit dinners on the calendar for now. That should help speed up weight loss. I'm really excited about fitting into size 10s very soon. I can't believe it! I started this as a size 24. Hard to believe I'm so close to my goal.

I did take a good hard look at my body yesterday to evaluate how close/far I am to my goal shape. I'm wondering if that flap of skin on my tummy will ever be where I want it to be. Two kids. Overweight for a while. I'm no spring chicken (though I'm not old either!). It may be one of those things that just is. I'll worry about that later.

Do you have a tummy skin skirt? If so, have you ever considered surgery?  Just curious.

Have a wonderful Hump Day. Mine will include exercise, delivering Rachel's cake (pictures tomorrow), and eating super duper healthy. See ya tomorrow.