Saturday, February 27, 2010

Brain Food!

There was no Saturday sleep in for this Messy Jessi today...oh no, I had to go take my General Knowledge Test (for my professional teaching certificate, I only have a temporary one right now) and dummy me scheduled the test for 8am when I thoughtlessly registered for it back in December. Oh I got up with my normal 5:15am alarm and whipped up some stick with you protein power for my 4 hour long test: The test was 4 sections long, but I passed, fyi! It was pretty easy...that and I had these two guys on my side:

They were really the stars of the show, but made a quick omelet of Southwestern Style Egg Beaters and a slice of American Cheese. Which is know is probably the most processed combo on the face of the planet (well-other than Hot Pocket Breakfasts-but I like those too! whoops) but it really makes me happy and I haven't make this since I was living in St. Pete.

Plus my peanut butter boys atop a piece of whole grain toast. I ordered these two last week- my grocery store only carries the chocolate varieties and since you know how much I love my crack- White Chocolate Wonderful I was itching to try some other flavors (I've had them all now except for the plain). I love spicy stuff and I remember Allison raving about The Heat is On, so I for sure wanted to try that one, and come on...who doesn't love maple syrup?

I liked the Heat, but found it lacking the sweetness I associate with PB....then I had the brilliant idea to mix the two! HEAVEN! have to try this! I can't wait to make a waffle and egg sandwich with my PB boys, but I'm out of waffles for right now.

After I finished up at the testing center and was excited to get my passing results right away this time- I had to wait after my bio test last month I decided to hit up the gym and actually use the workout clothes that have been riding in my car all week. (yes, I missed all my classes this week-but I did have a giggling night of Wii Fit with my young fun fabulous teachers which was more exercise for the soul, but soooooo needed and worth it.) Anyways, I found some treadmills upstairs that I like by Woodway. They are different than other treadmills I've run on (you know, because I have so much experience being a gym rat- NOT) and I think I can actually deal with running on them since they seem bigger and springier, which I need to do if I'm ever going to run this bloody 5K I've been talking about for nearly 8 months now. Rah.

I did a mile run/walk 0r really walk/run if we are being honest....but I don't think I've run once in the month of I'll take what my legs and lungs will give me and then hopped on the kick back bike for 40mins of random hills- level 10, my FAVE. I'm not a gym rat, but if I could do this workout everyday I flys by cause I pop on the top 40 music channel and read my novel (Currently reading: Strawberry Fields by Marina Lewycka and loving it! Full review when I'm finished...actually I owe you guys quite a few book reviews, but then again I owe you guys a lot of stuff! haha....I'll try to make a day of it soon!) Those hills just burn so good!

I was starving by the time I had cleaned up so I zoomed (well as much as one can on a Saturday at 1pm in Gville) over to Panera to get some lunchola!

Chicken Fuji Apple Salad- my favorite! and pretend that Tomato Bisque is Clam Chowder instead- I'm recycling this picture from the day after I took my Biology Subject Exam, which ironically was the last time I had Panera for lunch....I'm starting to see a last Saturday of the Month Pattern here! haha. Anyways, the tomato soup is better, but a-I didn't know that because I've never had the clam chowder before and b-I wanted a hearty, creamy soup cause it's STILL COLD!

I picked up a box of Tagalongs from some Bratty Girl Scouts (no really, they were bratty-their mom's were nice though) and brought them over to so share with Christine and Ross. I forgot to take a picture, but this is what they look like:Times FOUR- whoops! Soo good. I left the box with Ross so I didn't make it times 16! haha.

Now I'm off to work on some lessons for next week- Solar System Time, yay.....sorta. I'm a Biologist, remember? haha. Oh and plan my Caribbean Summer Solo Holiday! More details on that later......(Cliffhanger time, yay!)

Love to all,
~the exam passing, cookie eating, gym rat- Jess

EDITED TO ADD: No Caribbean vacay for me this year....I can't get a cheap flight to San Lucia after all. Major boo....maybe next year. The Body Holiday awaits :(

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stubbies Recap- Stubbies Recap

No, my pet parrot did not write the title of this post. I sat down to tell all you lovelies about my lovely night at Stubbies on Friday and relalized I had never done a post from the last time I visited my favorite drinking establishment in Gville. Whoops. Although, for you 8 loyal subscribers (who rock my socks off, fyi! Thanks for hanging in through the randomness that is my life!) you know this isn't truly that shocking.

So, let's quit bemoaning my obvious consistency issuses and get on to the point, er, post.

Before we hit up Stubbies Christine and Steph joined me on a "spur of the moment" girls night out to see the Groovaloos. (I use quotes, because this spur of the moment thing was definitely planned 6 nights in advance. What can I say? We are busy women!) I love dance, having been a dancer for most of my young years (I danced from 3 until I was 14 and then have taken adult ballet on and off for several years) and it wasn't too hard to convence C & S too, after all, all three of us are pretty obsessed with SYTYCD and ABDC. The hip-hop dance troop did a one night stop at the Phillips Performing Arts Center in Gville and it was such a great show! It was so awesome to see Steven Stanton (aka Boogieman) actually dancing. He was shot in the spine in LA and was diagnosed to never even walk again! I remember reading about his injury in Dance Magazine, so it was so incredible to see him doing his thing! He even did one number without the assistance of his cane. So inspiring! If you get a chance, do what you have to do to see the Groovaloos show, it will blow your mind.

What better way to rehash the mind blowing amazing-ness than with a few brews? That's what we thought too (well, Steph had early morning Vet School responsibilities, so she had to decline on the beer drinking).

I was craving something sweet, so I started off with this dark stout that claimed to be double chocolate.

Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout

I keep forgetting that in the beer world "Chocolate" doesn't necessary mean sweet. To be perfectly honest I didn't enjoy this beer. It was just too much for me. Too dark, too bitter, too ugh. I think if I had this one at the end of the night I would enjoy it a bit more, but I'm not sure I'll even consider reordering it.
Luckily my next order up was a hit! Ryan helped me pick it out (that is his finger in the picture), since Stubbies is still carrying a pretty large selection of holiday season beers and I've been enjoying all the winter flavas!

St. Feuill Noel Ale

In my opinion this beer was everything a brew named "Noel Ale" should be. Smooth and tasty with pops of wintergreen, citrus and smoke. Such a great follow up to my bummer first choice.

Instead of indulging in the normal bar food I unearthed this bag of sour gummi worms from my purse. (you just never know what you will find hiding in it's depths!)

The staff got a real kick out of us nooshing on sour worms (ps. sorry for the extraordinarily bad picture, I had to lighten it in iPhoto so you could even identify what we were eating!). One of the barbacks, Mike, helped us eat this bag and I will gladly share with that cutie! Got to love a great bar with cute, sweet help!

Fast forward a couple weeks (or rewind to this past Friday night) and you will once again find me occupying a stool like the Stubbies Fly I am. It was a well deserved night out however, after the ass (whoops, butt! I gave up swearing for Lent, but it's not going so well, obvs) kicking, and arm kicking and chest kicking and well, you get the picture, I got at Body Pump. So far I am really enjoying that particular class, and there is nothing like a workout to allow you to really enjoy a beer or two!

Gville has a local brewery now, called Swamp Head. I actually was able to sample their products at the Medieval Faire the other weekend (I owe you guys a post....stay tuned!) and really enjoyed them so I was pretty pumped to see that Stubbies is now carrying Swamp Head. It was a no brainer then to make my first beer of the night the Swamp Head Cottonmouth

Here are the stats and a write up from the website:

Cottonmouth is brewed using traditional witbier ingredients, however, we ferment it using a Belgian wheat bier yeast that produces higher levels of esters. The result is a unique Belgian style wheat bier with a hint of the fruity esters found in a German Hefeweizen.

Belgian pilsner malt, wheat and oats

New Zealand organic Hallertauer and Saaz hops
Freshly-ground coriander and Curacao (bitter orange pee

Production Targets:
Original Gravity: 11.5 Brix
IBUs: 10.5

Alcohol By Volume: 5.0%

Swamp Head Cottonmouth

My thoughts? Light, smooth and oh so drinkable. I have to find this by the 6 pack, because this is the perfect summer beer! Hello floating down the river with this darling! (oh, ps. I wasn't two fisting this beer, nor are you seeing more doubles...Christine got the same draft!)

I was sitting across from the seasonal beer coolers, so all those festive ales were just calling my name all night. I had finally decided on the Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, when Jay- my current fave bartender (Vinnie is a great guy too!) pointed it it was now on draft! Hells-yeah! After some commotion with the gas lines, this beauty arrived before my eyes (and lips!)
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

This golden baby really hit the spot with a tart sweetness I can't quite describe. Christine took a sip and winched, which means it is a "jess beer" for sure! I will hunt this one down to have in my own fridge come holiday time next year. Oh so happy!

After the last sip was, well, sipped we set off in search of substance outside the realm of Stubbies pancakes. I know at one point I said I could never get enough of them....but a girl has to branch out now and again. That and Ross (Christine's BF) was really hungry since he had met us at the bar after his 11pm shift at the hospital ended.

We walked the whole block (!) over to a little Cuban hole in the wall called Flacos. It is a Gville bar-food staple and was totally worth every slightly greasy/salty bite. Oh and I love their attitude:I feel the same way!

Christine and I split the Media Noche, which is a traditional Cuban on sweet bread (ham, pork swiss, pickles and mustard) with a cream cheese pastry on the side.

Holy Yum! I would go back for that tiny pastry alone. Expect to see Flacos more often!

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Now this beer drinking teacher must get back to the grind and the presentation writing!

Love to all,
~a slurpy burpy, Jess

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mother Daughter Orlando Weekend Getaway Recap

You already saw the sweet hotel room and the fun we had at IKEA, but Mom and I stirred up much more trouble during our vacay last weekend.

Check it out!

Friday night, Wine Room of Winter Park with Jenna and her mom, Eileen.

I actually go to Wine Room pretty frequently, or rather as often as I can, whenever I am in Otown, but it is pretty hard to take pictures. If you aren't familiar with the premise of Wine Room, let me explain real quick like: It's a do it yourself wine tasting place. You load a card with a certain amount of money and then can choose from 100's of wines that are just loaded and waiting for you to taste them, love them, buy a whole glass of them (which is actually the best deal, fyi).

If that didn't make sense, let's try it in pictures (admittedly blury....between the low lighting and my need for a 4th or 5th hand at this place, it's a wonder I got any shots!)

Browsing the "interesting reds" section, this label catches my eye.

Boom Boom Shiraz. So I read the description:

Sounds like my kind of wine, layered with flavors, including Chinese 5 Spice!

So I chose the middle pour, which is a 2.5 oz glass.

Oh, this was soooo good! I am now on the hunt for it in the stores (fyi- you can buy the whole bottle at Wine Room, but they tend to be a touch inflated in price). Hand down, the best wine I had all night, even better than the Malbec I tried, to continue my current Malbec Obsession and the Bridesmaid Blend that Jenna suggested I get- haha, love you Bride to Be!

Speaking of Jenna, here is a cute shot taken by the cute bar tender of our Mother-Daughter crew

The Blonds and the Brunettes: Mom, Me, Eileen, and Jenna!

Notice all those empty plates? Well, they sure didn't start that way. The four of us split a 3 cheese plate, plus two starters.

Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Margherita Flatbread with Balsamic Glaze

Our Fromage Plate Consisting of:
Rogue River Blue (Oregon)
Drunken Goat (Don't recall the origin)
Lavendar Cheddar (Oregon)

All of the three plates were happily consumed and I really liked the earthiness that the goat cheese added to a traditional Bruschette. Of the Fromage Plate the Rouge River was my favorite, both the Goat and the Cheddar where a bit mild for my personal preference, but it worked out well, as Jenna and Eileen are reluctant cheese lovers!

Overall it was a great night, and such fun for Jenna and I to finally introduce our Moms to one of our favorite venues in Winter Park, as neither of them had been before.

I think Mom really had a great she is trying to decide which of the Malbecs she liked better, we each got one, although I didn't write down what they are, so of course I've forgotten now, but I think we both decided that "hers" was better. :D

Fast forward past our IKEA trip and a few more shopping stops, including some great buys for mother-dearest at Urban Outfitters and a Fabulous Dress for me at my the beloved Anthropologie-( pictures to come, when I wear it...hopefully soon, it is too blasted cold right now!) we met up with Jenna, Jesse, Panda, Sarah and a co-worker of Panda's- David, at Blue Martini.

I had my standard fare of 2 Dirty Gin Martini's plus an order of the Fruit and Cheese plate for the table to share, and then splurged and got a "round" of the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail for Mum and I (we hadn't eaten since our very early, and light, lunch at IKEA that morning). Unfortunately, (or fortunately) the food, drink and company was so good I didn't take a single picture. This is why I'm not the best "food blogger" at times, since I get wrapped up in the moment and don't want to pause life to take a photo. I'm not apologetic about this though, because I think living every moment of everyday is more important that photographing food I'll order again other night!

We said our goodbyes as everyone split up for various dinner destinations. Mom and I had a serious goal in mind: PIZZA! Mellow Mushroom to be exact! (PS. seriously, click on that link- they have the best website- so fun and interactive!) Ever since our Mellow closed in Gville back in the fall I've been having serious withdrawls- so we cruised back up the the Winter Park location (which luckily is only a few blocks from our hotel).

I love the hand made pretzels, which I knew would totally ruin our dinner, but what the hell! A 1/2 order was ordered, with a side of crack, I mean Esperanza dressing. Whoozer! Totally the worth the 35 cent extra charge on our bill (seriously though, who charges for a side of dressing?)

I enjoyed a pint of the local Orange Blossom Pilsner, which is brewed right in Orlando and I adore, while Mom sampled a paddle (four 4oz pours) of Purple Haze, Seadog Blue, OBP and Great White Ale- none of them earth shattering to a beer connoisseur, but all full of the wheat/fruit combo we both love!

Apparently the martini's at Blue hit me harder than I realized because these are the only two pictures I got of our meal at MM:

One lonely pretzel (the 1/2 order is 3) and the remaining 1/2 of our 10inch pesto base, half- Mega Veggie and half- Magical Mystery Tour. Both were divine and we left floating high on garlic, tufo, jalapenos and love.

A little too "high" if you will, since I woke up the next morning at 5:45am not sure if I had locked the car, etc.

After recovering from my self induced (or in-drunked if you will) panic attack I nooshed on some leftover pizza and then got cleaned up to wander amoungst the stalls of the Lake Eola Famer's Market and drag Mom along to drool over all the craftsman houses in Thorton Park.

After all the dragging and drooling we hit up Dexter's for brunch with Jenna, Jesse and Jerry (Jesse's Dad). You guys know how much I love Dexter's. I have raved about it many-a-time here on the blog.

Started with a Bloody Mary of course.

I ordered one of the specials- the Frittata Sandwich- which was literally a chorizo sausage and veggie frittata served on French Bread with Avocado Creme, lettuce and tomato.

With a side of delicious potato pancakes! LOVE.

Phew! That was a mega-post, but it was a Mega-Weekend and totally worth every penny and calorie! I love my Momma, and Orlando, so what a great combination!

Love to all,
~the very lovey, Jess

Stay at Home Stubbies

Happy Friday Folks!

It is a COLD and rainy, flat out nasty and dreary night here in NorCenFLA so I nixed my plans to drive into Gville for my original plans of joining Christine for Body Pump taught by the fabulous Brittany followed by some Stubbies time...but in addition to the icky weather I am just recovering from a all week respiratory crap thing-which was truly ironic considering I was teaching the Immune System to my 11th graders this week. Life is grand. And funny!

So after rescheduling with my love, Christine to do Body Pump on Monday (I'm very excited, this will be my first time "pumping"!) and some dinner, since we both have the day off (President's Day) I was thrilled to come home and snuggle into my sweatpants, pop a Sweetwater Blue (or 2!) and then tuck into this treat:

Stone Crab Claws!

One of my Dad's students brought him tons of these babies, so this won't be the first night we get to indulge in a little shellfish. Oh and it's pretty perfect, considering lent starts this week!

These puppies were pretty big, this one was as big as my hand!

Sweet, sweet success. Oh yum.

And now I have sucessfully written and addressed my Vday cards for my girls- which will still be late, considering Valentine's is Sunday...but hey, I love extending's kind of my thing!

Time to crack open one of my last Sam Samuel's Holiday Brews and relish in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony!

Love to all,
~So happy it's a long weekend for this teacher, Jess

Sunday, February 7, 2010

IKEA Trip/ I really want this to be an Abarnment update!

Hello loves and home decorators!

Welcome to another sad attempt a writing a "nesting" post. I can only dream of being as amazing and stylish as my favorite couple John and Sherry of Young House Love, but nevertheless here we go!

When in Rome you must visit the Vatican. When in Orlando? Well you MUST visit IKEA (Espeically if your shopping partner in crime, aka Mom, is an IKEA virgin)!

It was actually lunchtime when we arrived, so we hit up the famed food court- a first for me too!

I was actually really pleased with some of the healthy options available for lunch. Check out what I scored:

Open Face Egg and Shrimp Sandwich
Paired with, Organic Green Pea Soup:
Rye bread topped with lettuce, a tomato wedge, hard boiled egg slices and salad shrimp. So light, so tasty. This thin pea soup was AMAZING. You all know what a soup a holic I am, but this was so well flavored and surprisingly filling too! I would totally go back for this.

Mom and I also split this little indulgence in the form of a Princess Cake:So pretty and so tasty, filled with whipped cream and raspberry jelly. This little beauty was very sweet though, and I couldn't finish my half!

If you haven't had lunch at IKEA yet, I would totally recommend it! (there are plenty of other hot options too). And any guesses on the grand total? Including my Mom's Buffalo chicken wrap and a bottle of water (I just filled up my green bottle at the water fountain) and tax: 11 bucks! Oh and I loved that it was all served on real dishes, with real flatware and glass glasses!

Fueled up, we wandered the showroom- I love how detailed they get in all in set ups! too cute. and found some great steals in the market place.

Mom and I found 2 possible fabrics for the curtains once the abarnment is finished.

My couch is green, so we are trying to tie in the green theme. I think I'm leaning towards the birds/leaves a little bit more, which is cool, since it is $2 a yard less than the $7.99 yard olive print. Which is still a great price on tapestry material.

And then, I got really excited!

See, my Dad and I are having a stand off over the flooring of the abarnment. I really want laminate flooring, because it is more long lasting and easier to clean than the linoleum he wants to install. But Dad thinks it is too expensive, so he challenged me to find it for less than a dollar a square foot....there are plenty of options available hovering at the dollar mark, but $1.05 is not a dollar says my thrifty Irish father.
Thank you IKEA....I can have my laminate after all! :)

In terms of the actual abarnment progress, it is really starting to go quickly now.

We installed the bathtub the other weekend (still need plumbing of course though!) and that was a funny, but easy process thanks to our front loader tractor.

To be honest I haven't been of much help recently, but Dad has been working away and now has all the framing done (I haven't taken new pictures though, sorry!) and we are just waiting on the windows we ordered to arrive.

Fun, fun!

Love to all,
~the building "houses" is fun when I get to go shopping, Jess

Good Morning Blogosphere!

No, you are not hallucinating (ps. do you know how hard that word is to spell? Sheesh.). Jess is blogging and before 9am on Sunday morning too!

I've been in Orlando since Friday evening, celebrating my Mom's 56th Birthday! (Her birthday is actually in December, but I gave her a "girls weekend" in a city of her choice and was super excited when she picked my beloved Otown!). You guys know that I don't usually blog on "special" weekends, and hell, I haven't been blogging much at all recently simply because I've been soooo busy, but I woke up in a panic around 5:45am today because I couldn't remember if I locked the car last night, or even where I parked. Whoops. Thank you very much Blue Martini and Mellow Mushroom for what was obviously a slightly overindulgent night! Full recap to come soon.

For now here is a teaser of the sweet hotel I snagged on Lake Ivanhoe (for less than 100 bucks, too!). I have to go get cleaned up before checking out and heading off to do some "Thornton Park Loitering" as my friend Michael says!
Oh! And since no girls weekend is complete without some silly photowhoring, here is a sampling of Mum and I goofing for the camera!(Far out)

(Go Red for Women!)

Just being ourselves! hehe.

Happy Sunday Darlings!

Love to all,
~A so happy to have a cool Mom, Jess

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Roses are red.....

....and I'll be channeling my inner rose on Friday. And I hope you will be too.

Why, you may ask? Great Question!

Friday is the 2010 Go Red for Women Day, which is a division of the American Heart Association, devoted to Womens' Heart Health.

Many of you may not know this, but I have a special place in my heart for American Heart since I was born with a heart defect and have been a "heart baby" ever since. I have been a speaker for AHA for many years and last year was even asked to audition to be a Spokeswoman for the Go Red for Women movement. Obviously, I did not make the cut, but I'm totally fine with that!

If you are not familiar with Go Red it is a support/awareness program for women of all ages to be aware of the growing (deadly) rate of heart disease in women and a reminder to stay active and healthy for our entire lives.

Quick! How do you describe a heat attack?

If you said left arm pain/numbness you would be correct, for a man! Women's heart attacks are much more subtle, but can be just as damaging. The symptoms for a female heart attack can be as mild as a headache, jaw pain or what feels like nerve tingling in the chest/arms. Things most women experience every week and just ignore. Am I saying that every headache or jaw twinge you get is a heart attack? Certainly not, but Go Red (and me! Cause I love ALL the wonderful women in my life) suggest that we get at least a yearly physical to test cardiac function.

So, rock your red on Friday, my loves!

Love to all,
~ a RED hot heart lover, Jess