Sunday, February 27, 2011

Asian Food Club

On Thursday night we had our 3rd meeting of the unofficial "Asian Food Club". Todd likes to get his friends together for dinners out at our favorite restaurants, many of them happen to be Asian. So far, we've been to Dumpling Inn (Chinese), Pho Cow Cali (Vietnamese), and now Tofu House (Korean).

The turnout this time wasn't as large a group.

Todd, Shannon, Randy, Rena, and me (not pictured).

Per usual with Korean food, you get lots of little side dishes with your meal.

Korean tofu soup hit the spot just right on a cold winter night!

Even though Shannon, Randy, and Rena had never had Korean tofu soup before, they all liked it. It was another successful meeting of the Asian Food Club! Afterwards we went next door to Yogurt World and had some tart yogurt for dessert, so yummy! I think they next Asian Food Club meeting will be at Punjabi Tandoor... Todd lobbied hard for that one! :)
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New 52 | Week 8: New Lens

For a while now, the only lens we had for our Canon Rebel T2i DSLR camera was the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. We love it and it's great for portraits, but we also wanted an all-purpose lens that zooms slightly. Todd did a lot of online research and decided that the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Standard Zoom Lens was a good one for our purposes. So he started watching for used ones on eBay several weeks ago, and bid on several of them without success. Until this one came along. So on Friday, we picked this baby up from our local Fed-Ex.

On Monday Todd had the day off for President's Day, and I took the day off from work. We drove to Encinitas to Nytro, where Todd got a bike fitting.

After the bike fitting, Todd rode his bike home (~19 miles) while I stayed behind and walked around and took some photos with the new lens. I walked up the hill to a little park which looked out over the ocean.

A lone paddle border was out in the ocean.

The same ocean, not zoomed.

It was a nice day out, very pretty and tranquil.

I'll admit that I have not taken the time to figure out the in's and out's of our camera yet. I take most photos on auto, sometimes I manually focus the lens, that was about it. So I practiced taking some photos on Aperture Priority (AV mode on the camera). I experimented with the F stop.

ISO 100
1/640 second

This next photo was almost the same, except that I changed to a higher f stop and the camera did the adjustments on the rest.

ISO 500
1/125 second

After that, I walked back down the hill

And explored the neighborhood a little bit. I loved this door that led to someone's yard.

I had a fun time experimenting with our new lens! Can't wait to take it out somewhere for a shoot again.

About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.

Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the link list below. You can also post images to our New 52 Flickr Group! We would love to see what you were inspired to do.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Stores Closing + BIG Sale!

I'm sure many of you have heard the news by now... Little Dreamer Designs is closing its doors on March 15th.  I just found out the news myself yesterday.   However, I had already been thinking of closing the doors to my own little blog store, Listgirl Designs, for a few weeks now.   The confluence of this means that I have decided to take a little break from designing. 

Little Dreamer Designs is having a 50% off storewide sale from now until March 15th.  
I'm also having a store closing sale of my own!

Please use the above coupon code at my store for 60% off your entire purchase.  You can use it as many times as you wish through 2/23/2011 (yes, this Wednesday)!  I will be closing the doors to the store on Thursday 2/24, so please make sure you download your purchases immediately and definitely before the store closing on 2/24.  I will not have a way to deliver the downloads to you after that date.  

So there are two store closings and two ways to save:

50% off entire store at Little Dreamer Designs through March 15th (no coupon needed)  
~ OR ~
60% off entire purchase at Listgirl Designs through Feb 23rd, this Wednesday (with coupon code FL90R9HV).

Thank you so much for your support of my business the last 16 months!  It has been my pleasure to provide quality digital scrapbooking templates and supplies to help you scrap your memories.  I am not closing the doors to my creativity, I'm just taking a designing break and evaluating my options to see where life takes me next.  :)  If I decide to sell at another store in the future, you will be the first to know through this blog or my newsletter!
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Running Between Rain Storms

Sometimes the best weekends are made of... just being lazy. Last weekend was productive, this weekend was less so. But that's ok. :)

It's been raining on and off in San Diego for a few days now. It rained Friday night, so we woke up to a wet Saturday morning. I got good sleep though. We spent part of Saturday morning just lazying around in bed, watching tv and playing on our iPod/iPhone.

Noodle lazed around on the bed with us.

I think Noodle has become quite a ham for the camera, dontcha think?

Good thing because there's always a camera in his face!

We went to Paradise Grille in Del Mar for lunch, because we had bought a Daily Save coupon and needed to use it. We got there right as they opened at 11:30am. The lunch crowd was pretty small. I had Crispy Yaki Beef Terderloin with salad.

Todd had a Pesto Chicken Sandwich with Avocados.

The bread was good but I only had two bites because of Weight Watchers. :(

The food was pretty good. I wouldn't say it was awesome. I don't think I would come here and pay full-price. You can read my Yelp review here.

The best thing we discovered at the same shopping center was that there is a locally owned independent bookstore there called The Book Works. They seemed to be under renovation so we'll have to go back there and check it out further another time. Another cool thing is that they are located right next door to Pannikin, with an adjoining door even!

After lunch, we went running at the coast. We saw that the rain hadn't come in yet and wanted to take advantage for a run before it got too wet to run. The coastal route that we take is normally really crowded on the weekends, but not on Saturday. I think everyone thought it was going to rain all day so they made other plans.

The road on the right is where we run all the time. It has a barrier from the car traffic and thus pretty safe. It's our favorite route!

I ran part of the way on the beach. This time it was not low-tide, but mid-tide. There was nobody on the beach though! So tranquil and awesome.

On the way home, we stopped by a gas station in Solana Beach to get a diet Coke. I was surprised at the high gas prices there. $3.74/gallon for regular gas. Ouch!

It rained again Saturday evening and even rained very hard during the night. So glad we got a run in between the rain storms!
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Feeding Roby

When our friend Dejah announced that she was going on an almost three week trip to the Philippines, we knew we wanted to have her boyfriend Roby over for dinner at least once during that time. Not that we don't think Roby can fend for himself. We just thought it was an opportunity to cook and have a good friend over, which is never a bad thing! :)

So on Thursday (2/17) night, Roby came over to share good food and good conversation.

Todd made a wonderful pasta with kale, collard, onion, and zucchini, and tossed some sausage in there for good measure. Love this dish!

I would link to the recipe, but I can't find it online anymore. :(

Noodle decided to sit under the table, on the only chair not occupied by humans.

So that he could terrorize us with his scariness.

Todd and Roby engrossed in conversation.

One of Todd's birthday gifts from his friend Victoria was a Taste of the South magazine. Which is where the recipe for this warm chocolate truffle cake came from.

It wasn't very Weight Watchers friendly. But I had some anyways.
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happiest Time of Day

Did you know that my friends Peppermint (One Little Bird) and Liz (Paislee Press) are in the Designer Spotlight at Oscraps for the month of February?  They have come up with the coolest, most awesome challenges and freebies for participating.  You should check it out!

The first challenge is over, but you can see what that was about here.  The challenge was to document a quote from your life.

I made a page for the first challenge.

Dialogue, a collaboration by One Little Bird and Paislee Press @ Oscraps.
Conversation Piece No. 1 by One Little Bird and Paislee Press @ Oscraps.

The second challenge is going on right now in the Oscraps forums!  And guess what?  There's freebies involved again.  There's beautiful stuff made my One Little Bird and Paislee Press that are only free through 2/26, so hurry on down and grab and participate!
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Weight Watchers Learnings

Today was my Weight Watchers weigh-in day after doing this for five weeks. I was very successful the first two weeks and lost one pound each week. After that I lost half a pound, 0 pounds, and then gained half a pound back. So the total weight loss is only two pounds in five weeks. I'm disappointed, but after doing some numbers analysis, I'm not surprised.

According to Weight Watchers, I get 29 daily Points Plus food points per day, plus 49 weekly points. You can use the weekly points all at once (one big meal on a weekend), or you can use some of it every day. So that means I get 252 points per week to eat (29x7)+49=252. You also earn points for Activities. For example, 45 minutes of lap swimming is 6 points, as is 40 minutes of running. A 30 minute walk is only 2 points. You can trade in your Activity Points for food points, but I never do.

My food and activity points versus my weight, by week.

Graph:  WW Points I've eaten versus Weight

Learning #1:  it looks like I should eat between 200 and 220 points per week to lose weight.  The last two weeks I've eaten 251 and 242 points respectively, and have not lost weight.  I am perplexed how Weight Watchers can give me 252 weekly points and think that I can lose weight if I ate all my points.  It does not look like I can eat more than 220 points per week and lose weight.

Graph:  Activity Points versus Weight

Learning #2:  I need to exercise more if I want to eat all my points.  I should aim for at least 25 activity points per week.  That's a solid 40 minutes of vigorous exercise for five days a week.  You can see that the last two weeks I've not only eaten more, but exercised less and have not lost any weight, but gained 0.5 lbs.

Graph:  Net Points (Food Points minus Activity Points) versus Weight

So if I can stay below 200 net points either by eating less or exercising more, then I can be successful at losing weight.  You always hear the "Eat Less, Move More" to lose weight mantra, but here it is in plain numbers to prove it!  BUT, I still can't believe WW gave me 252 points per week and expects me to lose weight.  That's too much.  That is a false sense of security, LOL!

Learning #3:  Carbohydrates cost a lot of points.  I need to eat less carbs and more whole grains.

Learning #4:  When eating stuff that I know cost a lot of points, I need to cut back on the portion.  It is okay to save half my food for later meal, or toss it.

Learning #5:  Need to continue to fill up on mostly vegetables and some fruits too.  I'm not doing too bad here but can do better.

I gotta say, being a numbers person, I really love the charts and graphs that I put together, LOL.  I hope to be able to report better results in the weeks to come.  :)

PS - I already know I'm not fat, or even over-weight by many people's standards.  But I'm 8 lbs over what is my most comfortable weight for my active lifestyle and what I used to weigh 4 years ago.  You don't have to leave me comments about how I don't NEED to lose weight.  I already know that.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New 52 | Week 7: Chicken Puttanesca

Readers of this blog know that the chef of the Newman household is my wonderful and multi-talented husband Todd. I am mainly the sous-chef and I do cook occasionally, but this is not an often occurrence.

For Todd's birthday, one of the gifts I gave him was an All-Clad stainless steel pan. It's a beautiful pan, and I was actually the first to use it! I wanted to make an easy recipe, so I made Chicken Puttanesca.

I don't know if I'm just weird, or just have a phobia of raw chicken or what. I think raw chicken looks and feels disgusting! So I did have some help making this dish. Todd helped me cut the chicken. :-|

The chicken sizzled beautifully in the pan. Peppermint had taught me that you have to turn down the heat on stainless steel pans versus iron or non-stick pans. So I had the heat on very low. The chicken wasn't browning, so I turned up the heat slightly and they turned out pretty well! I think they could have been browned more, but not a bad experience for a first time All-Clad meal.

The chicken and the sauce and capers, simmering in the pan.

The pan was large enough to put the cooked pasta into the pan to mix with the chicken and sauce. Then I was done!

It was my first time making this dish and it turned out pretty well. I hope to cook more new recipes in this pan soon!

About This Project

New52 is a project started by Peppermint and I to encourage each other and others around us to try something new every week in 2011. The "new" each week doesn't have to be something big. It could be something as simple as ordering a new dish instead of old standbys at your favorite restaurant. It's simply opening your heart up to NEW possibilities.

Don't worry if you're late getting started on joining in. It's totally OK if you miss a week here or there. We encourage everyone to keep an open mind about trying something new. This is a life project, and a photography/blog and even scrap challenge if you wish. If you participate this week, please leave a link to your blog post in the link list below. You can also post images to our New 52 Flickr Group! We would love to see what you were inspired to do.

Read More »

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love Coupons

Yesterday was the first time we actually did anything for Valentine's Day in four years. It was also the first vacation day I took this year from work. I work in accounting/finance, so the end of the year, the beginning of the year, and at every month-end, I'm very busy. I didn't get to take the days off between Christmas and New Years. January is always my busiest month of the year. I finally got through all that and was able to take a day off work! :)

I had several things on my to-do list, but I ended up only getting one thing done. But I'm glad, because it was a gift for the love of my life, Todd! I saw a Love Coupons project in the current issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine and thought it was such a cute idea, so I imitated it. I actually went to their site and downloaded the .PSD template. Because why create more work for myself when you can download a template, eh?  Work smarter, not harder!  I did customize it with my own colors and decorated each coupon with different Photoshop brushes. It was so fun to play with Photoshop brushes. I had forgotten how fun they can be, I definitely need to use them more often in my own scrapbook pages! :)

Here's the final product.

I thought I had 2-3 empty Altoid cans laying around, but I could not find any of them! So I actually had to go to the grocery store and buy a tin and empty out the mints into a ziplock baggie, LOL.

More views of the coupons.

My supply list:
  • Canon 8.5x11 Matte Photo Paper
  • Canon MP620 printer
  • Tombo Mono Multi adhesive
  • Marvy corner rounder punch
  • Scissors
  • Altoids tin
Digi supply list:
So creating these coupons in Photoshop and then printing them out, cutting them, corner punching them, and acquiring the Altoids tin took much longer than I thought it would.  I didn't get to scrap some pages that I had planned.  But that's okay, because I'll get to them later this week.  Plus, I really reconnected with my love of using Photoshop brushes, and just the pure joy of creating something fun.  I really enjoyed it!  :)

After Todd came home, we went to our favorite Indian restaurant, Punjabi Tandoor, to get awesome takeout Indian food for Valentine's Day!  We love this place so much that we ate this food for New Years Eve, then had them cater Todd's big Super Todd birthday party, AND had this takeout for Valentine's Day.  We should tell them that they are a part of all of our life's celebrations, don't you think?  Maybe a lifetime discount is in order, ha ha! 

It was yummier than ever. I just love Punjabi Tandoor, like Homer Simpson loves donuts.

After dinner, we shared a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting that we bought the day before from V.G. Bakery.

And almond champagne! I've never had it before and couldn't resist when I saw it at Costco.

Then we spent the evening on the couch with Noodle, reading Cooking Light magazines and planning which new recipes to try out. I loved how cozy it was. It was a quiet evening staying in instead of going out. But I hate the crowds and overpriced food at restaurants on Valentine's Day, so this was really perfect.

Oh and we did catch Todd on Fox 5 News!

They only showed a little snippet of what he said, and cut out a bunch of answers he gave them to other questions. And they didn't air me at all. Like I said, local news don't like downers for Valentine's Day. :p
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