Got a question?

Got a question? If you're wondering if I've ever "been to X", "bought Y", "used Z".....leave a comment and if I've done it I'll give you my opinion. Feel free to ask!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel

I'm staying at Crown Royal Ravinia Hotel in Atlanta and am very disappointed with a number of small nusances that add up to a big irritation.  Here's what's happened:
  • Went to the bar/grill called "Mix".  No place to sit inside - so I go the lobby seating area.  Waitress comes out - I ask if I can order food.  She says yes but their computers are down and it makes the food come out slower.  What???  That doesn't even make sesne but ok.  She says she'll bring me a menu.
  • I wait about 10 minutes.  Note - in the Mix - while it's full - there are less than 20 people in there.  Where is the waitress with a menu??
  • While waiting for a menu, I grab another waitress and ask if the TV channel can be changed to the election coverage (it' election night!).  She tells me the remote control is at the bar (Mix) - and she walks away.
  • I go to the front desk...I'm getting irritated.  The front desk gal is polite and concerned - she hands me a remote, and says she'll get someone to bring a menu.
  • The TV remote doesn't work.  Channel won't change.  Front desk gal brings me a menu and I hand her back the remote.
  • Quite some time later the waitress comes and takes my order.
  • The hotel manager comes over to change the channel.  He's very friendly and polite, and I'm grateful I can now watch the election results.
  • My food comes about 30 minutes (at least) later.  It's good - thankfully.  But I'm nervous that someone spit in it.
  • I have to go find the waitress to get my check so I can leave.  She's chatting with 2 guys/patrons in the Mix.  As politely as I can I ask if I can get my check.  She says "sure" in a friendly way.  But stands there talking to these guys for another couple minutes.  I am starting to steam.
  • After I leave the Mix, I go to the hotel store for botteld water.  There's a sign on the door that says "Come In - We're Open".  But the door is locked.  Two other people walk up and say "Yeah - door's locked - the front desk think she's on break."  How hard would it be to have an "I'll be back in XX minutes" sign?
  • Back in my room.  Free wi-fi.  But slower than molasses.
I think that's all I need to say to help others decide whether it's worth staying here or not!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

5x7 Folded Card

Picture In Landscape 5x7 folded card
Unique designs that are as unique as you. Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kennedy Blue - The Wedding Shoppe, Inc. St. Paul, MN

Kennedy Blue - Last Saturday, 9/8/12, my cousin (the Bride), the MOB, and we three bridesmaids had an appointment at The Wedding Shoppe, Inc. on Grand Ave. in St. Paul, MN.  I had been there previously when bridesmaid dress shopping for my wedding, and now we ventured on a gorgeous Fall day (yes, I say Fall because I refuse to give up Summer just yet).  Parking is always an issue in that part of town, and the narrow parking across the street from the Wedding Shoppe, Inc. tests your driving maneuver skills.  Upon our arrival, we were directed to head downstairs to begin our fitting/dress hunting session.  This is where there are more bridesmaid dresses than you can imagine in any one place!  We were greeted by a very friendly and knowledgeable consultant who assisted us with finding just the right bridesmaid dress.  In large fitting rooms, the three of us tried on a few rounds of bridesmaid dresses and ultimately found a Kennedy Blue dress that suited everyone just right - with approval from the Bride, of course.  Now, while I can't tell you which one (have to wait until the wedding!), I can tell you the quality of the dress seemed a bit better than some of the lower priced dresses we had tried on in similar styles.  The crinkle textured chiffon looked beautiful and added a bit of uniqueness to the dress.  Looking forward to a wearing a beautiful dress while standing up with my cousin!  Can't wait until it arrives!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Simple Human - Great Warranty and Great Service

I have two products by Simple Human - a 3-cylinder shampoo/conditioner dispenser and a shower caddy.  I'm writing mainly about the great customer service that I've experienced twice with this company.

The shampoo/conditioner dispenser has broken twice.  You may wonder why I would still recommend this company and their products - but here's why......

The first time it broke - it was because I'd bumped the lever that you use to dispense the shampoo.  We'd had the dispenser for over a year, and I just assumed that I would need to buy a replacement cynlinder.  I called Simple Human, and the customer service rep asked me when I'd bought the product.  I told her that I thought it had been over a year, but she told me that their products have a 5-year warranty and she quickly offered to send me the replacement.

Then a couple weeks ago, I broke the lever that dispenses the shampoo while pulling it.   This time my husband contacted Simple Human on-line, filled out a form and we received an automated reply right away.  A couple days later we received a personal note from a customer service rep.  This was's what it said....

"Thank you for your inquiry and we apologize for any difficulties you are experiencing. As part of our warranty program, we will be glad to send you a replacement part, free of charge, to solve the issue. Please allow 5-7 business days for delivery.

At simplehuman, we stand behind our products 100% and are working to offer the best possible service. We hope that our products can continue to serve you well for the years ahead.

Customer Support

This is very impressive.  Even though the product broke twice - I would STILL do business with this company regardless.  They have a great warranty to begin with, but it is their service that compelled me to blog about them.  Two thumbs up!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

BeBop Sport Bar - Blaine, MN - Great Cheeseburger

I've been to BeBop Sport Bar several times over the past few years.  Today I was there to watch a sand volleyball tournament.  My husband had a cheeseburger that I took a few bites of and I was so impressed with how it tasted I wanted to blog about it.  It was really good - and huge.  Served with tator tots if you want them - and those were cooked just right too - nice and crispy.  It was a beautiful day today - we sat outside, had a great burger and tasty bloody Mary too - yum! I'd recommend it if you're in the Blaine area.

Biscoff Cookies

These cookies are a favorite - and they're served on Delta flights.  They're a crisp, caramel cookie - goes great with coffee.  In fact the name was derived by combing "biscuit" and "coffee".  I just found them at Target - didn't know they carried them.  Give them a try - 4 cookies per serving, and 150 calories per serving.  I'm hooked!

Friday, June 15, 2012

2012 Chevy Malibu 2LT - Economical Luxury - Polar Chevrolet, White Bear Lake, MN

Well... now that I've got 6 months under my belt with my brand new baby, I have some insight into the 2012 Chevy Malibu 2LT that we purchased in December 2011.  No, I didn't opt for the fully leather seats and Bose sound system of the LTZ... wanted to, but the pocket book said "no."  In the 2LT, I'm still rocking the heated front seats ("high" for those of us who enjoy fire roasted buns in the winter, and "low" for those who prefer lightly toasted), bluetooth through the vehicle, Onstar, XM radio (well, my subscription has ended and I refuse to pay for what my ipod and radio can give me for free), half leather & faux suede seats (looks sharp!), 120V outlet in the back, roomy front and rear seats, power windows, etc.  Here's what it boils down to...

  • Car payment is very affordable for a brand new car (had 48 miles on it when I drove it off the lot)
  • Heated seats work like a charm
  • Car heats up quickly in low temps
  • Quiet engine
  • Smooth ride
  • Averaging 32 mpg on my 31 mile, one-way commute to and from work (mind you, it took a couple months to break in the car so I could consistently get that mileage - before that I was just shy of 30 mpg most of the time)
  • Bluetooth handsfree calling is probably my favorite feature
  • Onstar is fabulous - I like the turn by turn directions that mute the radio when a new direction is being spoken (this is free for the first 6 months and I'm fully taking advantage!)
  • Incentive discounts
  • Sweet color - Mocha Steel Metallic - it really does turn brown in some lights, and pewter/gray/silver in others.  Hides dirt fairly well :)
  • GM Military program - if you are military, look this up - Polar Chevrolet actually beats the reduced price that GM dealers offer - so you do one better by going to Polar
  • Jeff Foxx - he was our salesman - not pushy, answers my several questions without exasperation, and seems to really work to find the right fit for you - HIGHLY RECOMMEND HIM.  Tell him Luke & Desiree sent you.  They have pre-owned vehicles as well.
  • Wish I had known about the 37 mpg eco they came out with shortly after we purchased this vehicle - but likely the price difference would not have been recouped.
  • Seat belt gets temporarily caught on the paneling on the driver side door when trying to put on seat belt - if that's the worst thing so far, I can't really complain.
  • I wish it cleaned itself. :)
As you can see, my likes far outweigh the gripes.  I know a few people who have 2011 or 2012 Malibus and they all LOVE their vehicle.  If my car hadn't died in the middle of December when we then needed to find a car quickly, we may have done more searching for a slightly used vehicle in order to reap the cost savings, but all in all, very affordable for a new car.  For me, it is an economical approach to "luxury".  And the customer service I've been receiving from Polar Chev is second to none.  Plus, it's an American Company and MADE IN THE USA, Baby!!!

Go see Jeff - Here's Polar Chev:

Sherwin-Williams Paint - Blaine, MN

I’ll admit, when my husband told me he was buying our paint at Sherwin-Williams, I about went into sticker shock – they’re approximately $50 per gallon.  He assured me many people he knows have painted with their high end paints and have nothing but good things to say – especially that it covers in one coat (which of course, means you’re buying fewer gallons).  My shock factor was subdued when my hubby told me that he bought them all 30% off – whew!  The price is still a bit higher than what you may find at Menards and Home Depot, but the paint is definitely thicker and painted right over my dark blue wall with only two coats – something we would have surely been forced to do with any another paint – at least two coats and maybe even a separate primer.  The S-W colors were matched to some found at Home Depot.  They dry very even-toned across the walls without streaks and perhaps because it is thicker paint, there are no drips (or maybe because my hubby is stellar at cutting in).  We have a large wall in our split foyer home, so the concern is always streaks across it.  Don’t be fooled – unless you are a super duper painter (and perhaps less of a perfectionist than I am), you’ll never get away with just one coat – too many imperfections.  But I can honestly say that two coats can go over any color - mind you, we painted a light gray over a dark, teal blue.  While it remains to be seen if we got enough bang from our buck, so far I am pleased with the result – just please, oh, please, don’t buy it full price!  Join their club for the discounts!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stonewater Massage & Skin Care - Lino Lakes, MN

I found Stonewater Massage & Skin Care using SpaFinder for a gift certificate I had won as a Miche Consultant.  It was the best gift certificate because I found Stonewater!  I recently purchased a series of four 50 minute massages for $100 plus tax off of, which is 50% off of services!  I love getting my massages by the owner, Steph, as she is definitely a "master" level masseuse; however, I have recently been recieving massages from Bree, a friendly, pint-sized woman with large, strong hands.  I received a massage last week and I went for the hard, deep massage - I know it is good every now and then to get in and loosen up, but I ended up a bit sore... so yesterday I asked for a bit lighter touch and found myself blissfully relaxed with no soreness today.  Everytime I go there I receive excellent customer service.  I'm a member of their blog, friends on Facebook, and get the deal emails from Crowd Cut so I find very affordable ways to enjoy their variety of services.  Plus, ample free parking!  They offer everything from couples massages, Thai herbal ball massages, foot treatments, facials, exfoliating treatments, mud and algae wraps, and steam sessions - basically the largest variety of services I've ever found in one spa!  I've had scrubs, wraps, steam, massages, couples massage, etc. and I've loved them all.  Check out their website and their "brother" company Mastiff Fitness - same couple owns them both - massages after you work out right at Mastiff!  Another couple of small MN businesses to support -book online and tell them Desiree sent you! 

Stonewater Massage & Skin Care                                                     Mastiff Fitness

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Hire and Higher Dress -

          ModCloth - $10 discount code - Mod Cloth strikes again!  The collar is a classy twist to this simple, navy blue dress featuring a side tie to help show off your waistline.  The shoulders are definitely wide enough to wear your normal undergarments and remain modest for the office.  This beauty hits about two inches above the knee and has a slit up that back that is a bit higher than desired for work, but is still appropriate.  You must be careful when you sit down, the silky liner that fully lines the dress makes the dress slide up when you sit, so be conscious of that.  The material is sturdy and you should not iron per the instructions on the tag, but it steams like a dream.  Pair it with a pearl necklace and earrings like I did and you are sure to be a classy lady if in the office or out to a nice dinner!  My coworker saw me this morning and immediately loved my dress, telling me she may be getting the same one and we'll have to be "twins"!  If this came in other colors I would surely consider another purchase.  If you snag this dress off of the website, it is affordable and yet you will qualify for free shipping!  Happy shopping!  Get $10 off of your order with this link: $10 off Mod Cloth!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

21 & Older: Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Crisp Apple - Down Under Liquor and Tobacco, Circle Pines MN

My husband stumbled on a good find next to a gas station at Down Under Liquor and Tobacco in Circle Pines - Angry Orchard Hard Cider.  There are three kinds, of which my favorite is Crisp Apple.  I don't drink beer, so this is a nice medium for me - not a mixed drink and not some super sugary beverage.  My husband's favorite is the Traditional Dry.  Even stumbled on another recipe - the ginger apple cider can be mixed with Absolut Orient Apple and a lot of ice - my husband calls it The Angry Ginger because if you drink too many you will get heartburn.  I don't appreciate it the same way he does.  They are all gluten free and a six pack will run you approximately $9 - while supporting a small business. 

Discount Tire - Blaine or Lino Lakes, MN

Discount Tire  - My husband blew a tire on his truck yesterday, so he took it to Discount Tire on Baltimore Street NE in Blaine.  We sometimes visit the Lino Lakes Discount Tire off of Lake Drive.  He and I are loyal Discount Tire customers - you can't beat the customer service and while they are salespeople, I never feel high pressure sales.  They are very quick at turning around your vehicle and offer free tire rotation and flat repair if you purchase your tires from them.  Frequently in the winter my rims would get rusted and air would seep out - they take apart my tire and rim, buff off the rust, and get me going again like new!  A couple of years ago I went in and was told I needed some new tires because they were so bad it was dangerous - I had strict orders from family not to get new tires - so as I told the mechanic/technician that, he said that someone had bought new tires recently that were the correct size and they were in better shape than what I had - so I walked out of there with safe, used tires and it didn't cost me anything!  They would have been thrown out otherwise.  THAT is customer service.  My Sable received new tires from Discount Tire shortly before it died, my husband's truck has new tires from them, and I'm sure in the future when we need new tires, we'll be going to Discount Tire!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Capes -

Power Capes  Too cute!  Purchased a LivingSocial deal, plus they were on sale - I got a customized cape - overall size and color, shape and color of emblem, letter and color - and shipping for $15!  You can't make it that inexpensively and spend only the time I did on it!  They go around your neck with Velcro, which I'm sure is a parent-pleaser that it doesn't tie - the Velcro would give out before you'd choke!  I ordered two (separate orders) on May 3rd.  I received one last week and the other today, 18 days later.  I was in no rush, so it didn't matter to me.  I think they're a fun gift and the price is right!  I'd say it is worth it!  They also came with discount coupon codes:
You can access all of them at the same website - just use the tabs at the top of the page.  Enjoy!

New Hope Cinema Grill - New Hope, MN

Tired of spending an arm and a leg on a movie theater experience?  The candy, pop, and popcorn add up quickly for a super unhealthy trip to the movies (because who can resist theater buttered popcorn?!?).  The New Hope Cinema Grill offers a more affordable way to do dinner and a movie - why not eat dinner at the movie?  They also have comedy nights where the setting is more like a comedy club, but I've only experienced the dinner and a movie.  Ample free parking is available for the theater - which is a part of a strip mall.  There are only a couple of screens that play movies and the movies are generally ones that have been out for a while - but who cares?  If you've never seen the movie it's all the same!  In the past couple of months we have seen Moneyball and The Safe House there - big name actors, just a short while after they hit the main theaters.  There are many kid-friendly flicks as well - showtimes usually earlier in the day.

The entry has an arcade for the kiddos (or adults who enjoy that type of amusement), a modern looking lounge area, and the theaters which are set up more like a comedy club with a long row of seats up to a bar-table or chairs in front and back to share a small cocktail tables.  I recommend sitting at the bar tables if you plan to eat a meal.  Before the movie the wait staff come around and take your orders - they have limited bar for adult beverages (serve a pitcher if your heart desires), pop, and bottled water.  My husband and I have gone twice now and have always had great service.  You do get served during the movie, so if you're the type that cannot handle interruptions, I do not recommend this type of movie outing.

They accept credit cards and the meals are priced pretty reasonably - I think we pay approximately $8 a meal (burger and fries) with options of appetizers or seasoned sour cream for your fries (num!).  The best part is that New Hope Cinema Grill offers discounted tickets on Groupon - sometimes you can catch comedy tickets at reduced prices or multiple ticket offers at reduced rates - we went using a Groupon for four movie tickets for $7.00.  Not bad for an affordable, fun date night or family outing!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sarna's Classic Grill - Fridley, MN: Sunday Dinner

A group of my four closest girlfriends and our mothers went for a "Daughter and Mother" A.K.A. "DAM" dinner at Sarna's in Fridley today.  Being my first dinner at Sarna's, I wasn't sure what to expect, but since Mother's Day Brunch was so tasty, I figured it had to be good.  We arrived approximately 6:30 and sat inside due to the chilly/breezy weather - they do have a patio when the weather is more accommodating.  As usual, the ambiance was nice and the restaurant had patrons but wasn't so crowded and loud that you couldn't hear each other speak.  We even managed some orders before happy hour ended.  And random fact: when a member of our party called to make reservations, she was asked if we would be on separate checks... a bizarre question to ask when making reservations... but ok.

Our waitress was oddly brusque every time she answered you, but her second and consequent sentences of every response were quite a bit more friendly - usually you get all or nothing, but we got bi-polar.  Despite that oddity, we enjoyed each other's company amidst some tasty drinks and eats.  I devoured the Shrimp Poppers and Spinach & Artichoke Dip appetizers - both absolutely delicious and a couple dollars off for happy hour.  I tasted my mother's Sangria (a slightly alcohol-infused version of Dimetapp) which was good, but my raspberry lemonade and Jeremiah Weed was a good twist on an old favorite.  Kudos to Sarna's for having a Jeremiah Weed page in their drink menu!  We moved on to our main course and I enjoyed a Caprese Chicken Sandwich that had fresh basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette on a ciabatta bun - very tasty!  I upgraded to their sweet potato waffle fries (that I dip in honey instead of ketchup) for an extra $1.50.  Honestly, wouldn't do that again - they were very thin and crispy.  The regular french fries looked more appetizing - so I'll stick to those in the future.  A great meal made even better by our company.  I'll return, but won't be getting the sweet potato fries and will hope for more consistently friendly service next time.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Chair Salon, Minneapolis, MN - 75 Minute Aveda Facial

I purchased a LivingSocial deal for The Chair Salon in Minneapolis, MN - and they had so many people interested, they actually didn't have enough appointments to accommodate everyone before the deal expired - so they extended it to get everyone in.  The salon is situated in a quaint part of Minneapolis off of Bryant and 35th.  The decor inside is very ecclectic - even the bathroom has its own flair, covered top to bottom in various depictions of the Virgin Mary.

Lynn Gaddis, is a very personable and friendly esthetician who services their facials in the lower level of the salon - a cute little area adorned with colorful parasols.  You relax on a bed of feathers for 75 glorious minutes of a facial using all high quality Aveda products - cleansing, masks, oils & moisturizers.  Lynn will give you a leg/ankle stretch, head/neck/shoulder/arm/hand massage, and an overall relaxing experience.  Her facial and massage, while relaxing and feel amazing, are a bit faster paced than my ideal facial/massage experience (I prefer Sarah's facial at ReVamp - tell her Desiree sent you!).  You can't beat what you get for your money with the LivingSocial deal at The Chair - so keep your eyes peeled for them.  You can also visit their website for deals when they have reduced prices for services.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Atkins Endulge Chocolate Coconut Bar vs. ZonePerfect Protein Bars - Sam's Club, Fridley, MN

My husband and I frequent Sam's Club, seldom leaving with less than a $300 bill... but we stock up on all sorts of good items!  This last time we bought two saw horses that I've already used, a tank top I wore to work today (with compliments), kitchen staples, and an assortment of food and snacks!
I have some comments on the protein/energy bars that we purchase there.  This last trip my husband's eyes lit up when he saw the Atkin's Endulge Chocolate Coconut Bars - so we purchased a couple of boxes.  I was eager to bite into a Mounds-like morsel only to find disappointment - it tastes great up until the after taste.  There's only 1g of sugar and that's the problem - they must have filled in with an artificial sweetner that lingers on your tastebuds and won't subside without eating something else.  My hubby loves these bars, but he'll be eating the rest of the two boxes we purchased!
On the other hand, the Zone bars are my favorite!  Admittedly, I eat them as my breakfast in lieu of a more healthy start, but I figure it's better than nothing!  I'm a sucker for the Zone Perfect Protein Bars - especially the Double Dark Chocolate.  It comes in a duo pack with the Dark Chocolate Almond.  We also get the duo pack of Chocolate Caramel Cluster and Chocolate Peanut Butter - those are my hubby's favorites, but he can have them!  I'm in it for the Double Dark.  The ZonePerfect are also some of the more affordable protein bars you'll find...

Monday, May 14, 2012

T-Box Bar and Grill - Ham Lake, MN

We stopped in at this restaurant tonight around 9:00pm.  We were hungry and looking for a meal.  But as it turns out, T-Box stops serving meals at 9:00pm!  We could order appetizers, and since it was getting so late we decided to stay.

This place is on the corner of 147th Avenue and Highway 65.  It's a very unexpected place - upscale and a bit trendy.  The ambiance is comfortable and a different mix of sophistication and rusticity.  There are wooden booths (the seats are bare wood - I'd recommend they add pads) and tables.  They have a great looking half-circle bar.

As for the food - we had the chicken skewers flavored with a balsamic reduction, basil, grape tomatoes and chunks of fresh mozzarella on skewers.  This was good - but not something that I'd go out of my way to have.

We also had the nachos - now those were really tasty for nachos.  They had cheddar-jack cheese (light amount), corn & black bean salsa with habanero aioli.  It was just on the fringe of being too spicy for me, but not even close to being too spicy for my husband.

The prices are on the high side.  We've eaten here before - usually having sandwiches/burgers.  But they do have full dinner selections, again priced higher than you'd expect to pay at a place in this area.

All - in - all I'd give this place a thumbs up for something different.

Belkin Cooling Lounge - Lap desk for PC

I receieved this lap desk as a Mother's Day gift - and it's really functional and comfortable.  It is a good size - basically the same as my lap top.  It has a built-in fan that plugs into the USB port on your pc and it's remarkably quiet.  It definitely keeps your lap cool (that's the functional part) and the padding on the bottom is very comfy without being bulky.

Almost every night I sit on the couch with my laptop on my I've wanted one of these for a long time.  It's perfect - I'm using it now.  Thumbs up!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sarna's Restaurant - Fridley, MN

For Mother's Day today we had brunch at Sarna's.  The buffet was not the most extravagant we've experienced - but the food was good.  Everyone really liked the walleye, and then each of us had our favorites.

I've eaten here numerous times and the food is great.  They have a varied menu, and the atmosphere is comfortable.  They also have an outdoor eating area - good sized so we've never had a problem sitting out there when we've chosen to.  The price is moderate but considering the quality of the food I feel it's a good value.

Rudolph's BBQ Ribs - Cub Foods

Rudolph's BBQ Ribs (frozen - purchased at Cub).  My husband bought Cub's two for one ribs and fixed one package tonight.  They were really good!  But a tip - you might want to heat them a little longer than the package calls for.  While they were thawed last night for a couple of hours on the countertop, and then put in the refrigerator to finish thawing until tonight - they didn't come out of the oven very hot.  They were definitely warmed through - but not hot.  Thumbs up.

Infinity Braid Slide Sandals - New York & Company

Originally $22.95, but 40% off, these sandals are just shy of $14 and worth every penny.  Paired with my new Mod Cloth dress (see previous post), these are classy but flirty and will match just about any spring/summer attire you don.  Their lack of arch support and cushion makes them perfect for slow, short walking days or mostly sedentary - I haven't tried them yet for extended walks, but I'm going to guess that they aren't pleasant after too many miles.  Get them while New York & Company is still running their 40% off the entire store sale!

Coach Tour Dress in Noir -

This may be the best $47.99 I've spent on a dress!  The length is still modest enough to wear in the office with wide enough straps to wear a bra without the straps showing, and a high, but cute neckline.  This classy and flirty dress not only fits at the waist with room for lady hips, but it even has hidden pockets to stash your lip gloss.  The material is a tad thicker so you won't be chilly.  I wore this dress today for Mother's Day out to brunch with silver sandals and it was perfect for the occasion.  I received compliments left and right and because I am so satisfied with the purchase, I am on ModCloth right now trying to decide which dresses I'm going to walk away with now!  Shipping was free on an order over $50... and returns are free... how can you go wrong?  Check out ModCloth and Save $10 with this link!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Green Mill - Blaine

This Green Mill in Blaine has my favorite Bloody Mary. They make their own mix - and I've found that not all Green Mills use the same recipe.  Blaine's is the BEST.

Green Mill has an amply varied menu.  Something for everyone - burgers, pasta, walleye, and of course pizza.  We were with the grandsons last night and they wanted pizza, so we took advantage of their $19.99 deal.  You get an extra large (16") 2-topping pizza and an order of chicken wings - boneless or bone-in.  We ordered the Diablo boneless and the boys loved them.  The boys wanted plain cheese pizza, so 1/2 was cheese, the other half was sausage and onion.  It was delicious - their sauce is unique.  We normally get the deep dish Il Primo - that's our favorite.  But this hand-tossed, 2-topping pizza was very tasty too.  Enough for the 4 of us - we have left-over wings to take home, but managed to eat the whole pizza. 

You can't go wrong with any Green Mill - I've been to several and I've never been disappointed in the food.  But again - if you're looking for a great Bloody Mary you need to come to the Blaine location.  Our favorite bartender is working there again, and our service last night by the waitress was great.  She had this sunny, friendly disposition that was very disarming.  Our pizza took a little long for one of my grandon's liking (he was starving) - but it was Friday night, and I'm sure the pizza special had an impact on the kitchen.  We waited approximately 30 minutes for our pizza to be done.

Big thumbs up for Green Mill - especially the one in Blaine!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Embassy Suites - Overland Park, Kansas, Metcalf Avenue

This week I stayed at this hotel for a couple of nights and was very disappointed.  Embassy Suites is known for a few things - complimentary breakfast and drinks, as well as the fact that when you rent a room - it's a suite.

Well, to start my disaappointment - I wasn't given a suite.  I have stayed at many Embassy Suites and have never seen a room like this.  It seemed to have angeled walls - even though I wasn't on a corner.  The size of the room was more or less like any other hotel's typical room, but again it had a weird feel with the angled walls.

In addition to the strange room set-up, here are the other things that made this stay less than acceptable:
  • The T.V. was not at the foot of the bed like a normal hotel room - instead it was to the right side of the bed.
  • The cleaning crew left a used bar of soap in the shower.
  • When I woke up the first morning to make coffee - there was no cream.  I only use cream - and without it I won't drink coffee - especially the kind you make in your hotel room.  So I left a message for the maid asking for cream.  She/he never left any even with the note.
  • The heating/cooling fan was so loud it sounded like an airplane engine.  When I called for my wake-up call - I suggested they have engineering look at it.  The front desk clerk was very pleasant and apologized.  But of course the next day nothing had been done - and I'm sure it's because nothing could be done.  My boss was also staying at this same hotel with me - she had the same issue with the fan - too loud.
  • And speaking of wake-up calls, I asked for 1 wake-up call and a reminder call 15 minutes later.  Never got the second call - I was reallly irritated about that.  I called the front desk when I woke up 30 minutes later than desired - got a nice apology and that was that.  However the next night when I called for a wake up, I questioned the guy at the front desk to ensure it's something they can handle.  He provided a more satisfactory answer - saying that the night guy was new and probably didn't realize that the second call had to be sent manually, and that he'd take care of it.  Which he did - got two calls the next morning.
The only positive thing about my stay at this hotel was the guy who cooked the omelets at breakfast.  He was very friendly and efficient - a bright spot and great way to be greeted in the morning.

Overall, this hotel earns a thumbs down from me.  I'll be staying someplace else next time I'm in the area.

There may be multiple Embassy Suites in Overland Park - this one is at 10601 Metcalf Avenue.

El Rodeo - Maple Grove, MN

I went to this restaurant with 3 other girlfriends for the second time.  And this time we were all very disappointed in the service, and not impressed with the food.

We struggled to get attention from the waiter when we needed it.  We were never offered refills or additional drinks/food - instead we had to ask for it.  There were long lapses in-between visits from the waiter.

The staff, including our waiter, we all very friendly and pleasant.  But again, when you have to keep flagging the waiter down for service it casts a shadow over everything else.

As for the food - that was mediocre.  They have a cheese dip that is great, but everything else was just so-so.  I shared a combo appetizer plate with one friend - it had fajita beef, chicken and shrimp, along with chees quesadilla triangles.  A little strange - because there were no tortillas to fill with the meat, and that was not a mistake - it's how it's served.

All in all - based on this last visit, I wouldn't recommend them.  However, it wouldn't be fair for me not to mention that the previous time we visited this place it was great.  That was around 9 months ago or so.  We had no issues, so that's why we returned.  Unfortunate how one bad experience will deter us from going there in the future - but we have lots of choices and opportunities to be treated better.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mucho Loco Mexican Restaurant - Elk River, MN

We ate at this restaurant on Saturday around 4:00pm.  We were seated immediately, and just as quickly we were brought chips, salsa and guacamore.  The guac was excellent.  I ordered ala carte - 1 chicken enchilada and a side of beans.  My husband ordered the Burrito Mucho Loco (shredded grilled pork burrito with melted cheese with jalapeno, lettuce, guacamole and tomotoes).  He also had a couple of Dos Equis - and in the end our bill was less than $18.  Everything was very good including the service.  The atmosphere isn't anything special - just functitonal.  But all in all - I give Mucho Loco a thumbs up!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

J. J. Murphy's Irish Restaurant - Blaine, MN

I'm sitting at J. J. Murphy's, a new restaurant in Blaine. This is the third time my husband and I have eaten here. And we really like the place - the food is really good, the service has been exceptional each time, and the atmosphere is nice too.

Food - between us we've had the fish and chips (they have a small size that is plenty big for me and only $7.95), strawberry/chicken salad, shepherd's pie, curry chicken and the Irish breakfast. Everything tastes great, the prices are very reasonable and the portions are big. The last three dishes I listed are really a lot of food - my husband didn't even finish everything tonight. They have the usual Irish food - corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, colcannon and champ. Young children may have a hard time finding something they'd like, but I think it's varied enough to meet the needs of a diverse group of adults.

Service - we've had A different person wait us each time we've been here. The last two times it was someone who was brand new. I think they are doing a great job hiring - because they all have great attitudes. Big smiles, very polite without being stuffy.

Atmosphere - the first time we came there was a three-piece band that started out sounding a bit Irish, but then moved into a "John Denver meets Charlie Daniels" style. Had A fiddles, goiter and drums - they really sounded good. Unfortunately I didn't get the name. The decorating wouldn't get a 10, but for the size and lay-out they've done a good job keeping if simple and inviting. They are striving for and Irish pub motif - falling a little short, but still nice.

I know we'll be back time and time again. I would recommend it as an unique little gem of a place in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Leeann Chin - House Chicken Entree, Blaine, MN

I stopped at Leeann Chin for lunch yesterday and got the Imperial Plate - that consists of 1/2 appetizer (I picked my favorite - Oyster Wings), 1/2 entree (House Chicken), and a half order of a rice or noodles (fried rice was my choice).  I like that Leeann Chin is always consistent - the Oyster Wings always and fried rice taste great and the same as every other location.  But I was disappointed in the House Chicken.  This is chicken with a breading, in a glaze of soy sauce, garlic and green onions.  It was way too salty, and the smaller pieces of chicken were simply too hard and consisted mostly of breading - hardly worth eating those.  The larger pieces of chicken were tasty when I could stop shuddering from the amount of sodium I was taking in.  I know that soy sauce is the base of the glaze - but maybe they can cut the soy sauce.

I'd always recommend Leeann Chin - but order something other than this House Chicken dish. 

And a positive shout out for the Blaine store (on 109th) - the guy who waited on me was very pleasant and efficient.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Waldoch Farm - Lino Lakes, MN

Waldoch Farms had its open house this weekend and I stopped by to get some ideas for the spring planting season.  I purchase my annuals here every year - and while it's too early (for me anyway) to buy plants, I thought I'd stop in since I'd gotten their direct mail.

I remember when I first started patronizing this nursery.  It was small, and the selection was pretty minimal.  That was back in around 1993 or 1994.  But today - it's a large business - and the reason I keep going there is for the selection.  They have many plants - perennials and annuals.  Beautiful hanging baskets.  They are not the cheapest place to buy plants - but in the northern suburbs it can't be beat for the selection.  They also always have quite a bit of staff walking around so you can get help when you need it.  Thumbs up for Waldoch Farm!

iPad For 60-year-old

I bought my 60-year old husband an iPad 2 for Christmas.  He scoffed, and still pretends that he doesn't like it.  However, he uses it daily for email and it only took him about a week to get comfortable with that ap.  No wonder - all he has to do is tap one icon - so how hard can it be?

I've set up bookmarks on his home page to some of his favorite sites, and he can easily print to our new HP Officejet Pro 8600 from the kitchen table.  He can surf the internet - and is constantly looking at classic car sites, Menards, Home Depot and other hardware-related sites. 

He is pretty skilled at looking at Craig's List, and K-bid too - which is all a little scary for me.  But I figure as long as he's not putting us in debt and he's learning how to be internet-savvy - I'm all for it.  At least for now!

Lastly - he's learned how to use the instant messaging feature - although he doesn't use it a lot.  But he sends messages to our son and grandsons - I think this is something I should encourage him to do more of.

If you have any techno-phobes in your life and you're wondering how best to get them to use email and the internet - I'd really recommend an iPad.  They are so simple to use, and if someone who knows what their doing sets up the apps - the user can start using it immediately.

Chianti Grill - Roseville, MN

Last night my girlfriend and I went to the Chianti Grill in Roseville around 7pm.  The wait for the dining room was estimated at 1 hour.  Luckily, my friend was waiting in the bar area at a table - and we found that we could order a meal from the regular menu at this table.  So no hour-long wait for us!

Our waitress was very attentive, and while she had to ask us several times if we were ready to order, she was patient and pleasant when we told her we needed more time.

I ordered the Cappellini ai Gamberetti - angel hair pasta with shrimp, basil, marinated tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.  My first reaction to the price was that it was on the expensive side.  Seems like most of their meals are around $15 or so, which is not what I expected.  But when the food came - it was an enormous amount.  You get a salad and bread as with most dinner meals at any restaurant.  But then the main dish - the cappellini - ends up being enough for two meals.   It had a light, fresh taste - I liked it quite a bit.  If you don't like a lot of garlic though - don't order this dish.  I took half of it home and just had it for supper.  And it tasted just as good as it did last night when it was first served!

I also imbibed a bit - I had a glass of white wine (Evolution,Sokol Blosser), followed by a Chocolate Covered Banana Martini (yum) and a nightcap of an iced Midnight Espresso coffee drink.  We were there for literally 3 hours - so I didn't really "over-do". 

Final assessment - food, drink and service were all great.  Price was a little high - but at least the quality was high.  And I did get two meals out of main dish.  So thumbs up on this visit.

Now for a bit of a different perspective.  Each year in June, on the last day of Back to The 50s (held at the state fairgrounds), we stop and have a drink on the patio at this restaurant.  It's a very nice patio area, and with great weather - it's a nice place to sit and watch the rest of the classic cars driving down Snelling as they leave the fairgrounds.  But for each of the 3 years we've stopped at Chiati Grill - we've been really disappointed in the service on the patio.  We usually have to hunt someone down, it takes forever to get what we ordered, and there have been times when we've felt like we were an imposition.  I don't know why the service out there is so bad - but it is.  Will we stop there again this year?  It's the only place where you can comfortably sit outside and watch the cars go by on Snelling - so either we suck it up and take a chance (again) on bad service, or we just head home.  We'll see!

reVamp! Salon - Uptown Minneapolis

As I was writing reviews for a couple of items that I purchased at Kitchen Window, I mentioned an annual tradition that the wormen in my family and one of my girlfriends and her teenaged daughters do once a year, every year.  We start our ritual with a morning at reVamp! salon in uptown Minneapolis.

We've tried a number of other spas in the Twin Cities area - but we were spoiled by the great service at reVamp! and array of services offered.  No others can compare.  And their ability to take all of us at the same time is important.  The manager (Robert) is always so helpful and pleasant - trying to acommodate all the different services that up to 8 of us try to squeeze in between 9am and 12pm.  And of course we change our minds along the way too.  Between us - we order various types of massage, pedicures, facials, manicures, and special body treatments.  The salon gets us scheduled in, the staff is exceptionally friendly and competent and we are usually all done by 12:30pm.  And we've gotten smart - since we always go on the same Saturday every year - we book a year out.

The salon is very inviting - the downstairs areas where massage, pedicure and other services are performed is cozy and clean, and the upstairs hair/make-up/nail salon is bright and unpretentious.

I can speak on behalf of all of us - we love this place.  And it's a fun thing for girls to get together and do - from teens through grandmas - I totally recommend it.  Thumbs up!

J C Penney 8 Pack Washcloth set

It might seem odd to blog about a $5.00 item - but I was pleasantly surprised about this 8-piece set of washcloths.  I don't lik bulky or over-sized washcloths - I like something that has a little bit of roughness so you feel like you're actually scrubbing if you apply some pressure.  And I like them to be on the thinner side - so that it's easier to rinse out the soap and ring the water easily.

These inexpensive washcloths are exactly what I like.  My receipt only identifieds them as "8PK WASHCLOTH SET" - there isn't a model or brand name on them.  And I couldn't find them on their website - so they must only be available in retail stores.  I bought mine at the Maple Grove store in Minnesota.

Thumbs up!

J C Penney Towels - Harmony, Shadow Vine, Pure Perfection

My husband just re-painted our master bathroom a lovely deep grayish-purple.  I looked around for new towels to match - and found some with accents in the same color as the wall.  I also bought plain white ones.

The two with the designs - Harmony and Shadow Vine are both nice towels, but they are not very large - 25" X  50".  They are attractive, but not very funtional.

Now the Pure Perfection - these are some nice towels and they are amply sized at 32 X 62.  They are advertised as J C Penney's "softest towels ever" and I think they are right!  They are super soft - fluffy and large.  I bought these in white (they didn't come in the shade of purple I needed) - and I really like them.  Thumbs up for these!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

DIY Manicure - Sally Hansen Salon Effects

Yes, the time has come to start being manicure savvy - with Sally Hansen Salon Effects real nail polish strips!  There is zero dry time, you just peel & apply, and it lasts 14 days, for the low price of $8.54 at Target (they're $10 at Ulta, so don't purchase there).  The package says that it lasts up to 10 days, but I've had luck with it even through 14.  I'm currently wearing a flower pattern that I've had on for 15 days and the most noticeable "wear" is just the growth of my nails.  I wore my first ones on our honeymoon in the Caribbean - they went through all of the travel, saltwater, sun, sand, etc. and I had them on for more than 10 days before they even chipped noticeably. 

I've gotten countless compliments on the couple of styles I've tried and tonight I will put on the "Not a Peep" pattern of little birds all over.  It's a fun, temporary way to express yourself on your nails at the fraction of the cost of a salon manicure!

Things to keep in mind:
  • Make sure your nails are clean and dry
  • Be sure to push your cuticles back to get the longest wear time and show less growth
  • Apply when your hands are warm (something about this helps adhere them to your nails better)
And that's about it!  It takes no more time to apply than it does to coat your nails with nailpolish and dry time.  You want glitter?  They've got it.  You want plaid, polka dot, flowers, butterflies, solids?  They've got it. 

What are you waiting for?!?!

Say goodbye to chip clips - Say HELLO to Gripstic!!!

My mother has posted about one of our kitchen store favorites, The Kitchen Window... here's another something we've found there that I absolutely LOVE... they're Gripstics.  Thanks to these multi-sized geniuses, I will no longer use chip clips!  Now, don't be confused by those mediocre imposters... the clips that look much like a Gripstic but merely latch over a bag - you haven't tried the real deal until you've slid a Gripstic across an open bag to seal with absolutely no air entry or escape.  You can't even pull a bag through the Gripstic - it works that well!  These little treasures also take up less space in your drawers - unlike an awkward chip clip that jams your drawer when you attempt to open it, these long and slender beauties will fit well. 

They're reasonably priced for the food you will save from spoil and stale - a package of three for $5.99, if I remember right.  I've found packages of three sizes or packages with three of the same size.  I'm a fan of the long green ones - seems they cover any size bag is normally used.  I have only had one bag that was too long - and that was a very large bag of tortilla chips that we probably shouldn't have purchased in bulk! 

If you want to support a local business, check them out at The Kitchen Window!

Kitchen Window - Minneapolis, Uptown

I just posted a couple of reviews for two products I recently purchased at Kitchen Window - The Black Cheese Knife and Magnetic Stacking Measuring Spoons.  And it reminded me that I should post a review of the store itself!

This is a favorite of mine and all the women in my family.  We have a tradition once a year every year - we enjoy a morning at reVamp! spa/salon in uptown Minneapolis, have lunch and then shop a bit.  We ALWAYS hit Kitchen Window.  This store has a vast array of kitchen products and lots of stock.  They are staffed adequately - there's always someone floating around who can help, and with the watchful eye of the cashiers - if they see someone who is in need they flag someone down to help.

If you are anywhere near the area, and enjoy cooking or just like gadgets - from those with great utlity to those that are just fun (for example - wooden spoons with carved faces) - stop in and check it out.  And if you have a serious need - give them a call - they probably have what you're looking for.

Magnetic Stackng Measuring Spoons - Kitchen Window Minneapolis - April 27, 2012

I have been on a hunt for replacement measuring spoons for months, ever since one of my ancient Tupperware spoons cracked.  (By the way - I've had my Tupperware spoons for about 30 years - they've lasted that long!).  One day, I was at my daughter's house, and she showed me some measuring spoons she'd bought for her mother-in-law - they were stainless steel, stacked, and were magnetic to keep them together.  I really liked the magnetic, stacking feature - I was tired of always having to mess around with taking my spoons off the clip that kept them together, so that I could just use and clean 1 or 2 per time.   Since I saw those I've kept my eye out for some.  I came across a really nice, functional, plastic set at the Kitchen Window in uptown Minneapolis.  They have two different shape spoon-bowls for each measurement - so that you can get into different types of jar or box openings.  I'm surprised they are shown on their website ( - perhaps because they were really inexpensive at $8.99.  They aren't stainless, but they are very functional and with exactly the magnetic, stacking feature I was looking for.  Thumbs up!

By the way, while I was there looking for these measuring spoons - the store clerk showed me "The Black Cheese Knife".  This is a great product - see my review on it.  And if you are near Minneapolis and want to shop at a great kitchen store - check out The Kitchen Window - it's a fun place to browse and they carry a huge stock of kitchen merchandise.  Lots of store clerks floating around to help - all with really friendly, professional attitudes.

The Black Cheese Knife - Kitchen Window Minneapolis - April 28, 2012

I was just looking through my receipt drawer and came across one for this knife called "The Black Cheese Knife" that I purchased at the Kitchen Window - in uptown Minneapolis.  I went there to purchase some Magnetic Measuring Spoons (more on these later - search for separate review), and while the store clerk was helping me locate them, I saw some ceramic knives and asked him how they worked.  He told me that he had a favorite cheese knife - that he said glides through cheese and hard-boiled eggs like a dream.  Since my pet peeve is that cutting cheese is never easy - I decided to give it a try. And he was right - I've never used a knife like this before.  I recently sliced up some Havarti cheese - worked beautifully.  The description at this link says it was originally designed to slice Velveeta.  Check it out - I wholeheartedly recommend this.  Thumbs up!,2489.html

HP Office Jet Pro 8600 All-In-One Wireless Printer - April 28, 2012

We purchased this printer about 1 month ago at Best Buy for about $146 (you can probably get it cheaper on-line).  I am very impressed with the operation of this printer.  When I initiallyl set it up, I was able to immediate print to it - wirelessly - from my local computer.  But when I went to set up the "cloud" printing - I needed to get techinical help from HP.  That took awhile - I first chatted on-line with a tech, who referred me to the "cloud" group.  The "cloud" guy told me their servers were down and that's why I couldn't connect.  He suggested that I call back tomorrow. He was exceptionally professional, and believable.  So I called back the next day.  This person said that there never was a problem with the servers - and then he proceeded to help me.  So while I was not impressed with this whole experience - to tell the truth - it was worth it in the end.  I can now print to their "e-service" print service (in the cloud), I can fax, scan and copy.  As far as the e-print service goes - I could be at work - and print to my e-print email address - and voila it will be waiting for me on my printer at home.  I had bought my husband an iPad for Christmas, and he now sits at the kitchen table surfing his woodworking, classic car and hardware sites - and merrily prints away upstairs.  Not really a good thing.  But it helps to make him comfortable with technology - and even though he grumbles that his "iPad is not worth it" - I know he really likes it and feels good about being able to operate the latest technology as a young senior citizen.  Back to the printer....I haven't printed any photos on it yet - when I do I'll let you know.  But I have used all the other features and it works great - I love it.  Thumbs up!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cub Food Pharmacy - Blaine East on Lexington Avenue & 35W - April 27, 2012

This pharmacy gets a big thumbs up from me for its pharmacists.  Both of the guys who work there are very friendly and willing to answer any questions about prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, supplements, etc.  I used to use my medical insurance company's mail-in prescription service, but after checking with Cub, I found they were cheaper.  Most prescriptions I get are $5.00 each month.  Mail-in is $20 for 3 months.  So Cub is cheaper, and since I grocery shop there anyway - it's convenient.  But even if I didn't, I would send my prescriptions here just because the pharmacists are wonderful.  The women who work the counter are also very nice to deal with. 

Whirlpool Microwave Convection Oven Combination - Model GMH6184 - April 26, 2012

This combination microwave/oven works great.  We had our last microwave for 19 years, and I wanted the versatility of a combination micro/oven to simplify cooking for holidays.  It has preset settings for microwave, baking, roasting, steaming, defrosting, softening.  For many of the settings, the appliance senses how much power and heat is required to do the job.  For example, to reheat a casserole - there's an auto-setting for that - you plug in how many cups of food needs to be reheated - the appliance figures out how to do it.  There's even a setting for softening frozen juice!

I think this appliance has some cool features, is very functional and is meeting my expectations.  We purchased this at Steve's Appliance in Moundsview, MN. Thumbs up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cub Fresh Cuts - Guacamole Ole - April 25, 2012

This stuff is really good.  After my disappointing meal of breaded tilapia (see earlier post), I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  I must have been so disatisfied and still hungry that my eye kept wandering to things other than what were on my list.  I spyed Cub Fresh Cuts Guacamole Ole - and thought it would be a good snack when I got home.  I'm digging into it now - and it's really so good that I wanted to tell people about it right away.  It comes in a sealed plastic bag inside a plastic container.  You open the bag and empty into the container for storing in the refrigerator.  It has chunks of avocado (which I love the fact that it's not pureed), purple onions, tomatoes and is a little peppery along with lime and cilantro. Cilantro is not my favorite flavor - but this is subtle enough that it doesn't detract.  The only downside is that the packaging doesn't have any list of ingredients nor nutrition and calorie count.  I know that avocado is fairly high in calories, but it IS good for you.  I highly recommend can find it in the fresh produce area - in the refrigerated area where the mushrooms and baby carrots are.  Thumbs up!

Ocean Market Breaded Tilapia Filets - April 25, 2012

YUK!  Ok - I am trying to watch my diet....I  was starving....and decided I'd try some Ocean Market Breaded Tilapia filets that my husband bought.

The package said you can microwave, pan fry or bake it.  Did I say I was starving?  I opted for the microwave.  Well - I have never tasted fish that is like a rubber dishrag.  No flavor, chewy, overly breaded - barely any fish in there.

I may try baking it next time- but honestly I'm not sure it's worth the 240 calories.  Thumbs down - I do not recommend this!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vivelle - DOT patches - remove glue - April 23, 2012

Just want to share this helpful hint for removing the left-over adhesive/glue from these Vivelle patches.  After you've applied the new patch, moisten a cotton ball with baby oil.  Being careful not to go too near the place where the new patch is - rub the old glue off with the baby oil.  It works great and is non-irritating.  I haven't found a better way to do get it off, short of using lighter fluid or something harsh like that.

L'Oreal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Face, Neck & Chest Redensifying Comfort Moisturizer - April 23, 2012

L'Oreal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Face, Neck & Chest Redensifying Comfort Moisturizer.  Like any average middle-aged woman, I am trying to keep my skin as young as it can possibly be.  I use this moisterizer - I'm on my first jar.  This moisterizer definitely keeps my face hydrated all day long.  It's supposed to strengthen skin and repair damage.  I don't know that it's doing that - because I can't compare it to what it would be without it.  I have not noticed any reversed aging, but again it does make my skin feel supple and hydrated.  On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high, I'd give this an 8.  Thumbs up!

Wright's Bacon - Sam's Club - April 23, 2012

This is the best bacon ever.  It's from Sam's Club, and comes in two 3.5 pound packages. It's thick cut, applewood smoked - absolutely great tasting!

It's less than $10 for 7 pounds.  Once you've had this bacon, nothing else will compare.  Thumbs up!

Hyundai Sonata Hybird - April 23, 2012

I bought my 2011 Sonata Hybird in May of 2011.  The MPG was rated for 35-40 miles per gallon.  I am only averaging 35.  I joined a blog on this subject - and a couple of responders told me it was because it was winter (in this, the warmest winter on record) or because I simply could not drive economically.  I feel strongly that these responders are Hyundai employees.

I have also had problems with my bluetooth for severals months now.  My phone worked fine with the Bluetooth for a a couple months - then stopped working all of a sudden.  The dealership told me it was my phone - so I got a replacement of the same model.  But that did not work either.  I tried to get the dealership to deal with it - and they are willing - but I will need to spend more time than I have to bring my phone over there and have them try to get it working.

I love the way this car looks, and it's a very comfortable car to ride in.  I bought this car for two reasons - the fact that it has a panoramic sunroof and it's a hybrid.  The 2011 hybrid model was the only way to get the sunroof.  I was trading in a convertible - so the large sunroof was important.  And the fact that it was a hybrid was appealing.  But I'm dissappointed in the gas mileage and the bluetooth.

Madame Butterfly - Ordway - April 22, 2012

Went to the matinee showing of the Madame Butterfly opera.  First of all, there wasn't a bad seat in the house at the Ordway.  The opera itself was performed beautifully - but had it not been for the sub-titles/captions I would have been lost.  This was my first opera - and I came totally ignorant except for the basic story line.

There was a very long silent, no-movement scene that dragged on forever.  But aside from that  it was very beautiful and the last scene where Butterfly says good-bye to her young son and commits suicide brought on the tears.

The Ordway is a wonderful venue, with easy access and fairly convenient parking.  I always park at the St. Hotel/Landmark Tower parking ramp.  Costs $15 for special events - spendy - but it's just across the park from the theater.

There was construction in downtown St. Paul - if you're heading down there soon - check on the construction and plan your travel time accordingly.  It took me about 15 minutes more than it normally would.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mancini's Restaurant St. Paul - April 21 2012

I attended a funeral reception held at Mancini's on this day.  It was a light luncheon - meatballs, chicken wings, cheese cubes, garlic toast (they are known for this), relish tray.  These appetizers were good - nothing spectacular.  But what continues to be spectacular is the restaurant itself - the rooms and the ambiance.  This place still has the dark woodwork along with the red carpet and upholstery on the furniture.  It feels so classy - there are few places like this any more.  Thumbs up!

Nye's Restaurant Minneapolis; Groupon - April 21 2012

I purchased a Groupon for Nye's on April 20, 2012.  It just so happened that we were going to celebrate my son's and son-in-law's birthdays at Nye's, and the same day we decided where to go, a Groupon for this place came up.  I bought two - 1 for myself, 1 for my husband.  To my disappointment - I didn't notice until I printed them out that you can only use 1 per table.  When I called Nye's to make reservations (table for 9) I asked if I could use both.  She advised that they are very strict on that and would only allow me to use one at the table.  She said I could use it at the table, and then afterwards go to the piano bar or the bar and use it there.

My husband and I arrived first - about 20 minutes early, followed by a few others in the party.  We were able to use the first Groupon in the bar before dinner.  The drinks were spendy - but not unexpected.  And drinker beware - the martinis are very boozy.  Even the fruity, sweet ones - very strong.  My daughter who likes Appletinis could barely drink hers here.

Dinner was great.  As they always do, they brought the relish dish to start (celery, pickles, carrots, pasta shells (this was different), green onion.  My son was celebrating a big milestone birthday and ordered the 16 oz. lobster.  He said it was great.  (My husband, I and friends used to come to Nye's many years ago for their full-pound lobster tail that never disappointed.  It didn't this time either.)  Grandsons had sandwiches that were very large - walleye and Rueben - they thought were good.  Two had the special - 8 oz. filet (beef) with pierogi (neither were that impressed with the pierogi).  One had a Polish plate - sausage on a bed of sauerkraut with a variety of pierogi.  One flavor of pierogi was prune - and he really liked it with the sour cream.  Between the rest of us we had prime rib, broiled shrimp and liver.  All were very good.  If you like liver - this is a great place to have it.  All in all - our meal met expectations, and while expensive - we knew that coming in.  And I used the Groupon without incidence.  Thumbs up!