Twosday XCIV

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Twosday
Oct 132015

Full Disclaimer: I am a member of the Beef Expert Bureau.  Though this post is NOT directly sponsored by The Beef Checkoff, my trip to NYC was and falls under my Bureau membership activities, which is a paid position.


Additional Introductory Notes About My Trip to NYC

  1. Due to work priorities, I came into the group late.  Most of my fellow Bureau members and the Beef team got into the city and got to work on all the awesomeness early on Thursday afternoon.  I took a train in late Thursday night, eager to join my friends on Friday morning
  2. It’s a miracle I was able to be there for as much time as I could. My original plan was to come in late Friday night in order to be in the city for a 2-hour meeting on Saturday morning.  During post-work workout two weeks before the trip, my boss and I discussed the trip for a while and decided I should take some PTO and enjoy NYC with my beef friends.  [She’s fabulous about supporting what I do outside of the office!] I was able to take all day Friday off and leave by 6:00 on Thursday to assure I could catch the train.  So v. THANKFUL for my work situation and how it allows me to follow some passions, too!

The Major Focus of the Trip: Video

  1. The lessons started way before I got to town, when the crew enjoyed Google’s Port Authority Building and YouTube Studio Space visits you can read more about here >> Amee’s Recent Trip to New York with The Beef Checkoff from Amee’s Savory Dish.
  2. I was SO THANKFUL to be able to make it for Friday morning’s video workshop with the brilliant minds behind Chez Us, Denise and Lenny.  It was totally hands-on and JUST GET STARTED energy was passed on to our group of bloggers.  We did lots of note taking, question asking, practice lighting, take one-and-two-and-three-ing, tip swapping and it was FABULOUS.  We also got to talk a bit about food and did a lot of laughing [the background noise on my practice videos brings smiles to my face!] so it was basically the perfect morning.


Filming Takeaways from ChezUs

  1. The basics:  Just start shooting with what you have and move forward step by step.  Starting a new medium/art form like video can be really overwhelming, but like anything you just need to get started and keep moving forward in order to build  skill.  It takes practice and learning by doing.
  2. The simplest lighting note: the light should be behind the camera, facing the subject – and you know, lighting the subject.   In the photo above I’m videoing with the front facing camera, and am using the natural light through the hotel window to light me as I talk to the camera.

Tacos I Want to Takeaway to My Kitchen from ChezUs

  1. Chipotle Lime Butternut Squash Tacos << oh. my. WORD. Could these BE anymore perfect for fall? #ChandlerBingVoice
  2. Carne Asada Tacos.  If you read Amee’s post I linked to above, you too may be having serious dinner envy after their Thursday night meal.  Everyone was raving about ALL the food, but especially the tacos, which more than one person had claimed were the best they’d ever had.  Ever since my first mouth watering jealous moment, I’ve been thinking about a taco night dinner party of my own.  This classic is totally going to be on the menu!


Butcher Shop Stops on Our #KnowYourBeef NYC Walking Tour

  1. Fischer Bros & Leslie, 230 West 72nd Street
    A Kosher Butcher on a Friday afternoon, as customers were preparing for the Sabbath.  It was incredibly interesting learning about the Kosher process.  I had assumed going in to the tour that Kosher laws impacted what is done at establishments like Fischer Bros & Leslie, but I didn’t really know about the intense monitoring of all the special arrangements being made!
  2. Lobel’s, 1096 Madison Ave
    Celebrating their 5-Generation strong 175th anniversary, we loved talking to Dave Lobel about the care that goes into each customers experience at this classic NY butcher shop.  Lobel’s is known for USDA Prime beef and fine cuts of all sorts of meats; the order form covers all the bases with steaks and roasts and other beef cuts, but it also includes a long list of lamb, poultry, pork, and “special variety” items including venison, quail and more.  They also offer mail order service, which brings my gift giving to the next level for sure: Shop Lobel’s of New York

Other Stops on Our #KnowYourBeef NYC Walking Tour

  1. Morton Williams Supermarket which seemed like a market dreams are made of, and was a great place to chat about super market case beef and the goodness that can be found there with our pal Suzy Sirloin.  Karli pointed out one of my personal favorite tips – shop the Manager’s Selection/Special section and cook the meat with-in a day.  There is nothing wrong or “bad” about the meat found here with marked down stickers… the butchers just know it’s getting close to the sell by day and want to help get it home and in your kitchen pronto.  Hunting down those stickers and stopping by the “specials” section is one of the ways I save money on beef and other meats.
  2. Parlor Steak & Fish for a Q&A with Chef Carlos and a DELICIOUS dinner.  The Chef surprised the table with a round of meatball slider appetizers which were AMAZE-BALLS. Literally.  I then had the most amazing chopped salad on the recommendation of Suzy Sirloin, which had ice berg, cucumbers, red peppers, onions, kalamata olives, basil, feta, and balsamic.  It was LEGIT and I need to recreate it in the THS Kitchen STAT.
    For my main I had the Marinated Bistro Filet and whipped potatoes, which you can see below and all I can say is WOW. Possibly the highest quality meal I’ve had all year and seriously divine.  The beef was so tender and richly flavorful and the whipped potatoes were oh-so-smooth and buttery.  << worth the bold.


Friday Night Out with My #ProteinPartner Melissa

  1. Dylon’s Candy Bar was the first stop on our long walk & talk after dinner. I’d been to Dylon’s at the Houston Galleria several times before, but this place is ALWAYS fun for me.  Not only because #rainbowismyfavoritecolor and Shugarman is literally my last name but also because – CANDY.  We had a blast browsing the store and picking out treats for our loved ones back home.
  2. Pig & Whistle on 3rd. We continued walking for a while, then turned back to head towards the hotel and decided we wanted to keep talking for a while and grab a drink.  We found ourselves at this standard Irish Pub which you can apparently find on several different Avenues and Streets across the city since the first one opened in 1969.  We spent some time creative planning and bouncing ideas off each other which brought me to my happy place. I love this kind of quality time with my blogging community!

Fitness in NYC

  1. A few long walks, because when in Rome NYC…
    I got a lot of site seeing in, including both a street light lit and day light filled Bryant Park/Chrysler Building stroll thanks.
  2. 15 minutes of hotel room yoga…while watching a RHONY special.  Now that’s balance.

Twosday XCIII

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Twosday
Oct 062015

TV Podcasts I Discovered and Subscribed to This Summer

  1. Pop Rocket from Maximum Fun. I. LOVE. THIS. PODCAST.  I heard about it from another favorite pop culture podcast I’ve mentioned dozens of times, Pop Culture Happy Hour, when PCHH host Linda Holmes was a guest on Pop Rocket and suggested listeners check it out. I am so happy I took that advice.  I am a Guy Branum comedy fan, and he hosts this weekly show with four panelists discussing different topics and answering recommendation-based questions each week.  Sometimes guests join the party and all the times I am smiling and laughing through the episode. Highly recommended.
  2. Vulture TV Podcast. Nothing like my favorite TV focused podcast [Extra Hot Great from Previously.TV] but they do seem to talk about the same topics week to week, which is great!  It makes for filling my ears with different perspectives before I choose to give something a try sometimes. 

Podcasts I Recommend if You’re a Lover of Trivia

  1. Ask Me Another.  This show features puzzles, word games, and pop trivia in front of a live audience. Just trust me and try it.
  2. Doug Loves Movies. Okay, so I recommend this to EVERYONE, trivia-lover or not. Movie-buff or not. Comedy-nerd or not. It’s my favorite, my gateway podcast after This American Life and Wait, Wait [which don’t count because you know, NPR on the actual radio forever and ever,] and also the reason my cat is named Benson. Check it.

_talking tv

TV Pilots We Watched Last Week That I Loved

  1. Quantico. This has a very Shondraland feel without being Shondraland, paired with an FBI/cop show and you’ve found my own personal catnip. I wasn’t sure I would like this going in, but so far I’m IN.  I can tell I like a show these days if when an episode ends I want to start the next episode immediately.  When the pilot of Quantico was over, I wished it was a Netflix show and binge-able.
  2. The Grinder.  Fred Savage has been sharing his comedy talents behind the camera on some of the best shows over the past decade [Garfunkel and Oates, Best Friends Forever, Happy Endings…the list goes on and on…] and Rob Lowe is one of my favorite actors in all of television [Sam Seabourne, duh.]

TV Pilots We Watched Last Week That I Liked

  1. Blood & Oil. I can easily see myself getting into this show in a Dawson’s, Revenge, Brothers & Sisters sort of way. [Yes, that’s a way, apparently.]  I liked the pilot about 20 times more than I liked episode 2 of either How to Get Away with Murder OR Scandal, neither of which held my attention enough for me to tell you what actually happened on them.
  2. Grandfathered.  I’m a Stamos fan, and Fox has been winning with comedies lately [see: The Grinder, above & Brooklyn-99, our favorite returning comedy. This one is fine for a pilot and shows promise for the coming episodes.


Recipes on My To-Soup List
Now that the weather has chilled, I’m craving the comfort of a mug of warmth for dinner just about every night.

  1. Crockpot Coconut Curry Chicken Soup from Amee’s Savory Dish.  These flavors are right up my alley and I love the ease of a crockpot dinner.
  2. 30 Minute Buffalo Chicken Soup from How Sweet It Is.  I still love all things buffalo and the idea of dinner in 30 is still so appealing to me!

Accessories to My To-Soup List Recipes
Because soup needs a companion sometimes, ya know?

  1. Cheddar Cheese Muffins.  I make these suckers with a bar of my favorite Cabot at least once a year.  They are great on their own, but perfect with chili or any sort of hearty soup or stew! 
  2. Buttermilk Chobani Naan from My Bizzy Kitchen.  This stuff would go GREAT with that curry soup from Amee.  Bizzy shares the best recipes because they are all so EASY when you follow her instructions and tips. Love that lady!


Enjoyed at Jade Bistro in Scotia. 

  1. Dad came to town for work recently and we met for dinner at Jade Bistro, where we had dined together before.  We started with the Dragon Feast featuring fried dumplings, spring rolls, BBQ pork tenderloin and Spicy Walnut shrimp.  The shrimp were FANTASTIC, but I really enjoyed all the items on the platter. 
  2. We then went with a trio of specialty rolls.  I honestly don’t remember what they all were, but they were all fresh and delicious.  I trust my dad when ordering out – he’s never let me down!  

All You Can Eat Deliciousness at Sushi X in Latham

This place is a sushi lovers DREAM. Or just a food lovers dream. Full disclosure: I was VERY hungry going in, but every single thing I ate tasted delicious.  We went the all you can eat route, which on the weekend runs $23.95 a person.  For the variety of food we ordered and enjoyed, it was QUITE the deal.  The All You Can Eat menus are two fold – sushi, which features fresh made-to-order sushi, sashimi, maki rolls and specialty rolls and a “Kitchen” menu FULL of options for appetizers, soups, salads, and protein dishes. 

We were a table of eight – which is a story in itself. It was a gathering of people who all kind of sort of knew each other through other people, but had connected on IG and decided through group message we were going to be friends.  This was my first hang with the group and it was a blast! 

Our group rearranged ourselves into two tables in order to make group ordering a bit more manageable, and as we settled in we commented on the 70’s disco vibe the place had going on with the “cool” lights and bead curtains.  My table of sushi lovers included one salmon allergy, one eel-hater, and one pescatarian, which was unexpectedly easy to deal with because eel is so easy to recognize and keep salmon orders to the sashimi menu.

  1. Round one Kitchen side included vegetable tempura [four perfectly cooked! pieces,] for Tia and I to split and crab wontons for the table. Our table mate ordered Chicken Teriyaki which he raved about, too.

    Round two Kitchen side was simply an order of Rock shrimp which was FANTASTIC.  After we put the order in I wished I would have ordered the Beef Negimaki didn’t notice until after our sheet was turned in.  Next time for sure! [there has GOT to be a next time!]

  2. Our sushi order round one included a plate of spicy tuna roll, sweet potato roll, dragon roll and Angel Roll which was mango, cucumber and avocado topped with spicy crab and mango sauce. We ended up just sharing everything across the board throughout the night, since the other table received our sushi platter and ate half of it before any of us noticed.  It worked out just fine since we all are the type of people who want to just take a bit of everything.

    Round two sushi order was a bit crazy. It took a while for the waitress to come back to the table for the order sheet and as we sat there staring the menu we just kept adding to the order until she came back.  That photo on the right above includes all the goodies of our 2nd order: salmon and pepper salmon sashimi, spicy tuna roll, spicy crab roll, Super Lobster Roll, Volcano Roll, Dynamite Roll, Snow White Roll, and another Angel Roll.  We were in sushi heaven!

    Sushi X also has a $3 hot or cold SAKI or beer from the list special if you are going the All You Can Eat route, which is a great deal.  I can totally see this place becoming a go to for celebrations, birthdays, and special nights on the town.  It’s a little pricier per person than we would normally pay, but for what you get it’s totally worth the price! Also, lunch Monday through Friday is $14.95 for the All You Can Eat menu, which means that future PTO days will definitely include sushi lunches! Highly recommended – everything was so fresh and delicious.

Twosday XCII

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Twosday
Sep 292015

Television Devoured This Summer via Hulu+

  1. The Astronaut’s Wives Club. I loved this much more than I thought I would going in.  The clothing. The food. The very female focused everything. The refresher on space travel history perfect for my trivia-loving-brain. Plus the Previously.TV recaps and especially the discussion from Tara on Extra Hot Great episodes made the experience even more awesome.
  2. The Amazing Race. All the Amazing Races, I should say.  I have never watched this show regularly and decided to see if it could be good background noise while organizing and task completing. [It is!]
    I started on the most recent season available on Hulu+ [22, though in real time CBS is on 27] and then began season 21 the moment I finished the finale.  And then I started season 20 after that finale. And then season 19…you get the point.
    I did choose to skip over the seasons that feature returning teams [Unfinished Business and All Star seasons] since by going backwards I don’t yet know all the teams.  I think it will be really fun to go back to those seasons after I make my way down to season 1.

Returning Television I was/am STOKED to be reunited with this Month

  1. Shondaland TV – My trio of favorites; Greys, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. I love watching these shows every Saturday morning while list making for the weekend and meal planning for the week.  I also love talking to Kelly about them.  Sometimes we even schedule Friday Night viewing time, long-distance style.  We start the shows at the same time and text/Gchat about them during commercials. Good golly, I love technology.
  2. Chicago PD – I am a cop-show loving lady and a fast-fan of most Chicago-set & filmed productions. This one in particular totally wins because of the cast [loved Sophia Bush and Jason Beghe going in] and the natural chemistry and bonding that seems to come when a bunch of LA-based actors move to the Midwest to work together several months a year.  I’m also pumped for the upcoming new addition to the Dick Wolf’s Chicago-based life-saving teams, Chicago Med, which is coming to NBC in November. Along with Chicago Fire, I see ALL THE CROSSOVERS in my future.


Favorite Games Played Dave and Busters this Summer

  1. Super Trivia – after my 2015 quest to bar trivia on the regular, I was STOKED to see a trivia game that even had REAL BUTTONS, just like we were on the game show network.  I loved this game!
  2. Basketball Shooting Games.  You know, every time I shoot hoops, even at an arcade, I usually have so much fun I tell myself afterwards that I should get a ball to take to the local park and play H-O-R-S-E.  New fall goal alert!

Phone Trivia Games Played This Summer

  1. Trivia Crack.  Still. I love to host a daily challenge with a group of friends, and play classic games, too. I am learning lots of random facts through this game.
  2.  Big Web Quiz. This is a game that connects to your Chromecast to play on the TV screen. I really liked playing on my own when Nick and I first checked it out, but I think it will be a great party game for when friends are over, too!


About Running and Walking

  1. Several weeks ago I rolled my ankle while walking home leading me to take some weeks off from running. It’s my extremely busy season at work, meaning I’ve been going in extra early, and leaving extra late and my lack of running hasn’t annoyed me, yet. I’m feeling like my ankle is ready for some jogging and with fall weather arriving ALLOFTHESUDDEN, I’m just starting to get eager to lace up those sneaks this week and see what a couple of miles does for my soul. And soles.
  2. Instead I’ve been doing a lot of walking for fitness, one of my favorite ways to break a sweat. I love turning a walking commute opportunity into a cardio workout by really hoofing it and I’ve been logging MANY, MANY miles while shuffling along the sidewalk with podcasts in ears. 

Resources for At Home Workouts

  1. In Fitness and In Health. I love Ellyn’s blog for at-home workouts of EVERY kind!  She GETS the desire to do a workout without all the fancy equipment that some of us just don’t have the funds to purchase every time something new hits the market.  I really love Ellyn’s focus on getting up out of the desk chair and getting your co-worker to join you for a fitness break – like in this Work Your Legs Fitness Friday! Totally speaks to my office-drone heart!
  2. Greatist has ALL THE WORKOUTS.  I love this site as a resource for ALL things health and wellness.  I trust their research and that they are sourcing their work properly, and they are huge supporters of giving credit where credit is due.  The Greatist MOVE section never disappoints; it’s filled with so many different types of workouts from bodyweight workouts to specific fitness-tool workouts, from classic do-anywhere to trendy what’s-new.  Get browsing and I’m sure you’ll find something that appeals to your fitness style. 


Tape as of Late

  1. Washi + small ziplock bag = adorable packaging for tiny gifts like buttons, magnets, gift cards, jewelry, and such. I’ve wrapped a handful of tiny gifts this way the past few months and I really love the look – especially the one above because #rainbowismyfavoritecolor.
  2. Project organization at the office.  I have A LOT going on at work right now, and the only way I feel any sort of calm is if I feel I’m on top of the organization of things to do.  Designating one clip board per project helps me keep the stack of papers organized.   

Other Office Supplies helping #ProjectOrganization

  1. These giant [8”x6”], lined, super sticky post-its. I like to add one on the top page of each clip board with important info and to-dos for each project.  I have them in several colors so I can color code by region and product line when ULTRA organization is needed.
  2. Elizabeth told me about these awesome wax-based “gel” highlighters by sharpie.  I love them for anything I need to be smear-proof, because they don’t cause my pen ink to smudge, no matter what kind of pen I’m using [and in a move that shocks no-one, I have several.]