Small Changes, Big Results

Every day I came home last week, I eagerly opened my garage door to see what changes came about in my kitchen during the day.  The first two days it was very obvious what they did considering when we left our kitchen it was in tact and when we got home it was…well…not.  Before is on the left, after is on the right (obviously):

 

The first two days, we saw the cabinets come down, the wall disappear, and the floor vanish.  Day three the only thing we really noticed was different was more of the floor was missing.  Day four brought a new little turn of events to us.  Black mold.mold

When they removed the floor by our patio door, we saw the dreaded black stuff.  We also noticed how corroded the wall and floor were.  You can actually feel the wind coming in from the outside, which makes sense why it was always so much colder when we were eating dinner!

Our contractor, Tom, asked us if we had considered replacing the door which, oddly enough, we had been talking about.  We were going to wait to do that until the kitchen was done since we were making so many changes at once, but now it looks like we might need to proceed with that change sooner rather than later.

The other thing they did on Thursday was fix our half wall.

Originally, we had a “beam” going from our cabinets to our half wall but, when we removed the beam, we just had a wall sort of hovering in mid air.  (You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the left picture.)  We wanted to fix the wall and take it all the way up to the ceiling so it looked like it was built in, which they completed.  Other than those changes, we didn’t notice a whole ton.  I’m sure they did more “behind the scenes” work that we don’t really notice though.  We also received a note saying the electrician had been sick but would be back to work on things the next day.

cement-floorFriday came and, much like the last few days, it was tough to see what all they did.  I have a feeling until we start seeing cabinets and floors being installed, I won’t really notice as much as I expect to.  We did notice they put down “cement board” on our floors in preparation for the tile to be installed!  I’m really excited to see that part.  You can only imagine so much when you pick items out in a showroom.  They also removed the plumbing from where the sink and dishwasher used to be and cut the carpet so it was straight across.

They are supposed to work on the floors as well as the laundry room this week.  I had to turn in our paint color last week, so I’m thinking they will be painting sometime this week too!  They say it should only take 4 weeks and we are 1 week in already.  It will be interesting to see if they are really able to deliver on their timeline!

To pass the weekend, I headed to Kentucky for my best friend’s bachelorette party.  I was in charge of the weekend and spent most of Thursday night making “survival” bags for the bridesmaids.  I even used my Photoshop skills to make custom champagne bottle labels!  I have to say I’m pretty proud of those bags!

We had a great time.  We started the day with a painting class, headed to Seviche (an upscale restaurant) for dinner, and then ended the night at a club!  We even convinced our limo driver to stop for Starbucks!  It was a great night but I sure was ready to get home to my guys.

parkIt was such a nice weekend we went to the park for hot dogs and smores!  Who’s ready for summer?  I know we are…

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Run Baby Run

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I had been looking forward to my girls’ weekend away in Louisville for a while now.  Not only would I get to see my bestie, but we were doing The Color Run too…“The Happiest 5k on the Planet”!

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You may remember when we did this run last year.  I remember thinking it was just OK but I wasn’t sure if I’d do it again.  I’m so glad I did!  I’m not sure if it was because we knew to expect about an hour wait at the lineup or what, but this year was so much fun!  Could have been partly to do with these jokers keeping us entertained while we waited!

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We took our time getting to the race because, as I mentioned before, we knew we’d have to wait a while at the lineup.  They let the runners go across the starting line in waves so the color stations don’t get too clogged up.  We killed time taking pictures.

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After about 45 minutes, we were on our way.  Blue was up first!

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There were three (well, technically four) more color stations, but I didn’t take any more pictures until almost the end when there was a fun wall everyone was able to sign.

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Look closely…can you spot my name?

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By the time we were done, we were both a hot mess.  But in the best way.

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Afterwards, I messed around with the panorama function of my iPhone!

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One of the best parts of the Color Run is the color throw at the end.  I missed it last year, but this year we were dead center.  It was fabulous!

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I loved this saying:

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What a great time we had!

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While we were walking to the car, Carolyn spotted a friend of hers, who she promptly stole.

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This little bundle was the cutest thing ever!

From there, we went to my favorite breakfast place in the world…Wild Eggs!  So good!

There was a 45 minute wait (worth it, btw), so we got some coffee and headed outside to kill some time.

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It was a gorgeous morning.  I think it was about 70* with a slight breeze.  It was the perfect morning to chill outside!

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Of course, once we got inside, it was just as good.  I ordered the chilequiles and we split an order of the raspberry lemon pancakes.  They were both out of this world.  I already want more.

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Once we were done eating, we were both pretty tired, so we headed home to rest up and get ready for painting that night.  Stay tuned…

What has been your favorite 5k (or longer) you’ve run in the past?

Whole Foods & Etiquette Dinner (Louisville)

Since the last two posts have been from my Louisville trip last weekend, I figured I’d finish up the visit today.  (Oddly, I did these posts completely backwards as the first day was the day I took all these pictures and the second day was the day we went to Wild Eggs, Sister Bean, and The Fresh Market!)

I arrived in Louisville on Saturday.  Carolyn and I were both hungry for lunch so we headed over to McAlister‘s.  Carolyn took me here last year when I came to town to see New Moon with her and some coworkers.  I really enjoy McAlister’s.  I don’t think I’ve ever had anything I haven’t liked at this restaurant.

This day, I opted for the Chicken Tortilla soup and the club sandwich.  They were pretty yummy, though the soup was a little too creamy in my opinion.

Carolyn, as part of her 30 Days as a Vegetarian challenge, went with the Greek Salad (no chicken) and the Spud Ole (with veggie chili) I believe.  I’m going by pictures here, so I could have potentially gotten that wrong.

She also ordered an ice tea, which apparently they are famous for.  Or at least Carolyn just really likes them.

After lunch, we parted ways.  She had a class to attend and I wanted to check out Off Broadway and Whole Foods.

I have only been to Whole Foods a handful of times, and many of those times were several years ago when I lived in Lexington, KY.  The closest Whole Foods to me is about 30 minutes away.  Yes, it’s not that far, but it’s not really convenient either.

I spent some time here, walking up and down each aisle.

Strolled through the produce:

Gawked at how many bulk bins they kept filled:

Inhaled the wonderful fragrances wafting from their prepared foods section:

What a great store.  I picked up some Justin’s Chocolate Almond butter and some 365 City Blend Coffee.  (Note:  I took this coffee home and made a small pot one morning.  I drank the whole pot, which is not unusual.  The next morning, I went back to my Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla coffee…and it tasted like sludge.  I couldn’t even drink a whole cup!  I ended up dumping it out and remaking the pot with the WF coffee!)

After doing some light shopping, I headed back to Carolyn’s to relax and get ready for her MBA dinner that night.   Her class is halfway through with their program, so they had an “Etiquette Dinner” to celebrate.

The dinner was held at Churchill Downs in their Kentucky Derby Museum.

In the class she went to while I was shopping, they were taught about various topics relating to etiquette and were given a list of tasks they were to accomplish that night at the dinner.

One thing they had to do was introduce their guest in a professional manner to two other people.  I met several of Carolyn’s classmates and ended up talking most of the night with a handful of them.  Very interesting group of people!

After a couple glasses of wine and some tray passed hors d’oeuvres, we sat down for dinner.  First up was the salad.  It was simple, with bibb lettuce, herbed goat cheese, craisins, and a vinaigrette.  So simple, yet so delicious! I inhaled my salad, which I’m sure was not proper, but I didn’t really care.  It wasn’t my etiquette dinner after all.

(OK, Mom, I’m just kidding.  I was very well-behaved as I was taught while growing up.  No need to be embarrassed!)

With the salad, we were served rolls with butter.

For the main course, I received steak with pan sauce, fried chicken with some sort of yummy sauce/gravy business, green beans, and sticky rice.  It was Oh My Gosh good!

Carolyn requested a vegetarian meal and received a veggie pasta of sorts.  She said it was pretty good if I remember correctly.

Lastly, we were presented with dessert.  I was stuffed at this point, but when I saw the Mini Chocolate Lava Cake and the Chocolate Shell with Strawberries and Whipped Cream, I made some room.

Look at that strawberry goodness!

Afterward, we were allowed to meander through the museum, so we took that opportunity to snap some artistic derby-inspired shots.

Finally, we headed home and we both were in bed within thirty minutes of crossing the threshold.  The next day we went to Wild Eggs, Sister Bean, and Fresh Market.  But you can read about those here and here.

Sister Bean’s Coffee House & The Fresh Market (Louisville)

Continuing on our Louisville journey (a week later) brings us to a place that only exists for me in my dreams…Sister Bean’s Coffee House. Well, OK, not really just in my dreams, but not in reality until I make the pilgrimage back to Louisville.

As you probably know, I love coffee.  I have a mega slight addiction to Starbucks and usually cannot function in the morning until after at least one cup of coffee.  (Slight side note:  picked up Whole Foods’ City Roast coffee while in Louisville and am now addicted.  What gives?)  When Carolyn mentioned there was a place in Louisville that made Starbucks look like “a short, fat, bald man” (Friends anyone?), I was all in.

The drive to the coffee house took us past Iroquois Park, one of Carolyn’s favorite places to run in Louisville.  In fact, the location of said coffee house was right across the street from the park!  We both decided that would be great motivation for her to go running there on days she had time.  You know…run a bit, get a coffee!  Sounds like a winner to me!

Carolyn mentioned the frappuccinos were amazing and, since it was 90+ degrees outside, I decided a frosty, cold beverage was the way to go.  They had tons of options from which to choose.

I went with the Coconut Mocha Frappuccino.

Oh. My. Amazing.

Indeed as I was slurping this bad boy down, I was picturing short, fat, bald men running around the store holding Starbucks coffees while sneering. (The little men do not like being replaced.)  Starbucks doesn’t hold a candle to Sister Bean.  The smoothness of my beverage was remarkable.  Starbucks’ frappuccinos have bits of ice in them, almost as if they didn’t spend enough time on the blender.  Sister Bean’s frappuccino tasted like a milkshake.

The shop was so cute, with lots of great artwork hanging around.

They also had an extensive amount of baked goods (some vegan!) and ice cream!  What more could you ask for?

Comfy chairs?  Check!
Fireplace?  Check!

I could sit here and read my book for hours.  It’s definitely going on my list of Must Visit places when I go to Louisville.  At this rate, I’ll have to start going for three or four days at a time just to fit all the places in!

Another place I fell in love with was The Fresh Market.

After seeing Carolyn’s post, I knew I had to go.  This is a foodie’s paradise.  Well, sort of.  If you want to talk about places a foodie could live in for years at a time, you need to mention Jungle Jim’s.  Carolyn and I ventured there a few months ago and it was so huge I felt overwhelmed.  I will definitely have to do a review on this place!

Anyhow…Fresh Market.  It’s similar to Whole Foods, but it just feels different.  It feels more cozy, like you’re in someone’s home.  Don’t ask me why I felt like that…I just did.

The minute we walked in the store, the smell of these cinnamon scented pine cones smacked us in the face.

I loved the lighting combined with all the wood in this store.  Like I said…cozy.

And orchids are my favorite flower, so seeing them upon entrance was a nice little touch.

Then I saw it.  Barrels and barrels of coffee beans!  I stood in the same spot for several minutes inhaling the sweet, wonderful fragrance.  (Man, if this store doesn’t play on your senses!)

In addition to the bulk bins of coffee, they had bulk spices,

bulk seeds, grains, granolas,

and bulk dried veggies.

I loved all the different pastas too.

Finally, they had a wonderful cheese display.  Don’t you just love the little faux shop canopy above?

What a great day.  Two new discoveries!  And bonus…Fresh Market is a chain and there are two in Cincinnati!  Score!

What’s your favorite local or chain grocery store?

Wild Eggs (Louisville)

My best friend, Carolyn, lives in Louisville.  Whenever I come to visit, there are always two things I must do:  visit Off Broadway Shoes and eat at Wild Eggs.

Wild Eggs is a breakfast/brunch/lunch place that I fell in immediate love with the very first time I visited.  It could have been the atmosphere, it could have been the cute little egg salt and pepper shakers, but I believe it was in fact the Bananas Foster waffle.  Oh. My. Yum.  (As I didn’t order it this time, I have no picture for you.  But isn’t this picture of eggs cute?)

Carolyn and I have gotten into a routine where we each get an entree and then split a waffle.  We got the Bananas Foster waffle the first time she took me there. Let me paint ya a little picture here.  Start with a crisp, yet buttery waffle.  Top it with some cinnamon sugar.  Then add a butter rum caramel sauce and some sliced bananas.  (I’ll wait while you wipe your mouth.)  To finish, serve with a giant scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

I think I could stop there and everyone would be happy.  Without a doubt, this is my favorite thing they serve at the restaurant.  But it’s not the only good thing.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal there!

Today, I chose to reprise my last meal I had a few months ago, which was the A.C.E. of a B.L.T.  It’s a yummy sandwich made up of Avocado, Cheddar cheese, fried Egg, Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato.  Get it?  So very good.

Carolyn got the Veggie Bennie Florentinie, which was a Mediterranean egg sandwich thing that was supposed to be vegetarian, but oddly included something that looked suspiciously like sausage…  Good thing her “30 days as a vegetarian” experiment was over.

We, like every time in the past, opted to split a waffle.  We went with the Bonnie O’s Espresso waffle:  a crisp waffle topped with caramel coffee sauce, chocolate dipped espresso beans, and whipped cream.  It was good, but it was no Bananas Foster waffle.

To drink, we each had coffee (mine hot, Carolyn’s iced).

Wild Eggs is such a fun place.  I wish we had one in Dayton, but I’ll just have to live with dining there when I visit Carolyn.  If you live in Louisville and haven’t tried it yet, GO!  I promise you won’t regret it.

Just to entice you some more, here is the restaurant’s menu (sorry some are blurry…my hands were shaking with hunger!):

Question:  Where is your favorite breakfast spot and why?

(Side question…I have been taking pictures of the menus from the restaurants I review.  Are they helpful?  Do you like them?  Should I continue?)