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Showing posts from November, 2013

Day 334: Livia Likes the Cold

Livia showed her true Russian heritage today (she's a Russian blue). She went outside in the freezing temperatures and refused to come back inside. Apparently, she likes the cold.


Silly cat. I guess it is a good thing she lives in Minnesota.

Day 333: Black Friday!

Brian and I had a great day of shopping. We hit two malls and countless stores in our search for deals.

Strangest thing purchased: a huge 20-sided die by Brian (it's the size of an apple).



Brian bought it at Games by James and then continued to carry it around all day asking it questions. For example, he would state: "We should go get Buffalo Wild Wings if it is between 10 and 20." Then, he would roll it on the floor and see what number came up.

Yes, people stared. Yes, I tried to pretend I didn't know him.

Another highlight of the day was finding this bust of Clay Matthews (he's on the Packer defense and I am obsessed with his Fabio-style hair):


The bust does not do the hair justice.

Also, the Verizon store had all of these cool interactive stations. So, Brian got to try out the Sphero on this windmill obstacle course:


He made me take a picture because, "It's the coolest thing I've done all day."

To sum up the day: many things were purchased, m…

Day 332: Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was so filled with good times and good food, that I forgot to take many pictures! I did grab a shot of the triple-layer pumpkin chocolate pie I made, because it was so pretty when it was sliced:


It's funny that it is the only food photo I took, because Brian and I sure ate a lot of it. We went to two thanksgiving dinners in one day. Then, we rounded the day out with some black Friday shopping. We only picked up a few doorbusters, but it was fun to get out and see the crowds and sales.

Brian and I did grab some cheap DVDs:


And Brian got a $25 vacuum cleaner:


All in all, I would call the day a complete success. Happy Thanksgiving and happy black Thursday!

Day 331: Pie Baking Day

I had the day off of work and spent nearly the entire day baking pies. Four pies were made (ranked in order of deliciousness):

1. Apple



2. Triple-Layer Pumpkin Chocolate (the white top is a sweetened sour cream)


3. Classic Pumpkin


4. Cranberry Pear with Crumb Topping

Why was the cranberry pear last? To me, it was a bit too tart. With a scoop of ice cream though, I think it would have been perfect. Why was apple the best? Because my mom's apple pie recipe is always the best. Plus, I changed it up this year by using four different varieties of apple. It turned out quite well. 
It was a lot of fun making four pies in one day, but also a heck of a lot of work. Next year, I will have to remember to start baking early in the day. I waited until 2pm to get started, which kept me in the kitchen until nearly midnight. It was worth it though.

Day 330: Lego Architecture Studio

What does Alicia do on vacation? She plays with Legos. I got this awesome Lego Architecture set for my birthday and I finally had a good chunk of time to take it out and play with it:


It's basically a big box filled with white and clear Lego bricks. My first creation today was a modernish two story house with a roof deck:


It's a terrific set, even for those who don't have many Legos. Because of the sheer number of bricks (1210 to be exact), you can create a wide variety of structures. It even comes with a few small boxes and two clear plastic trays with dividers for sorting out bricks. I shall have much fun with this into the future.

Day 329: Hunger Games

I took this week off from work and enjoyed my first real day off day by taking myself to the movies. I saw the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and I thought it was pretty darned good.


It had the right amount of action. It also had a good amount of my favorite thing in the Hunger Games movies: Stanley Tucci. I could watch him do this all day:


If I had my druthers, he would have his own talk show in the character of Caesar and it would air every day on a major network at a time when I don't work so that I could watch it.

Day 328: Livia Likes Mexican Food

I think Livia was abandoned by someone who loved cheap Mexican food. This is what she does when I eat frozen and/or microwavable Mexican food:


She's trying to will the food into her mouth with her laser eyes. One time, she actually ate my chicken tortilla soup. Crazy cat.

Day 327: Close Cats

They may still hate each other but the couch brings them together.


Also, milk. Brian was eating a bowl of cereal on the chair next to the couch. The cats sat nearby so they could lay claim to the dregs at the bottom of his cereal bowl.

Day 326: Bright Colors for Winter

Today, I realized that I have subconsciously purchasing only bright colored winter accessories for years, none of which match. It's going to be a bright winter:


Day 325: iPhone Stand

Brian got this cool wood iPhone stand and I am jealous.


It's a hunk of wood that is precision cut to hold the iPhone on Brian's nightstand. It's his new charging station. It looks awesome.

Day 324: Horsekick Blucy

The horsekick blucy from the Blue Door Pub in Minneapolis is one of my favorite burgers in the Twin Cities. Not only is the burger stuffed with blue cheese, the god of all cheeses, there is also horseradish-infused cream cheese stuffed in there. Then, they throw some crunchy fried onions on top. It is freaking delicious.


I have eaten this burger several times over the past year. Why have you not seen it yet? Because it is so good that I forget to take a picture until it is all gone. This time, I finally remembered. You're welcome.

Day 323: Walking Dead

Volume 19 of the Walking Dead graphic novel came out today and I was so excited I had it delivered. That way, I could get started reading it right away without having to even drive to the store. Came home from work and there it was.


I ripped through this book so fast my head spun a little. The Walking Dead series is one of the few things I have read where I have audibly gasped in shock at where the story is going.

Favorite panel from this book:


You can just hear the sigh as he pinches the skin between his eyes in dramatic frustration. The panels really capture a wide range of ideas and emotions in such little space. I can't wait for the next volume.

Day 322: Livia Again

I love it when she curls up next to me like this:


Day 321: Ron Swanson Art

Yesterday, Brian and I went to a craft fair in Nordeast, Minneapolis. While there, I managed to pick up a couple of gifts (not pictured; I'm not giving it away early!). I also managed to snag a postcard print of one of my favorite fictional characters, Ron Swanson from the show Parks and Rec.


The business card is the card of the artist in case you want one for yourself.

I love how there is breakfast in the background of the print. Ron Swanson does love his meats and breakfast foods:

Day 320: 667 Pinot Noir

Since that flight of wines with my sisters a week ago, I've been getting back into wines again. This week, I picked up 667 Pinot Noir from Monterey, California. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


It was earthy, spicy and smooth. I wish I had the palate to describe it more clearly. Unfortunately, I'm a bit like the guy on the right of this photo from the movie Sideways:


He always says things like, "I don't know. I like it!" and "I like it. It's oaky." So that is what I have to say about the 667 Pinot Noir: I like it!

Day 319: Winnings

Brian and I went to Mystic Lake tonight and we actually walked out with more money than we entered with. This is such a rare occasion that I took a photo. Now, the money you see is more than what we actually won. Having gambled $80, we left with:


So, it's not much of a win, but we'll take it. We will take whatever we can get from those fickle slot machines.

Day 318: Lego Ship

This is what I love about Legos: you can create something out of almost nothing. Sitting at my desk, I created this little ship out of a few spare pieces I had sitting around. Just eight Legos and I have a spaceship.



Day 317: S by Doug Dorst

S is one of the most interesting, fun and compelling books I've read all year. Apparently, J.J. Abrams came up with the idea and worked with writer Doug Dorst to make it a reality.

On the outside, it looks pretty normal though it is in a slip case.


When you slip the book out of the case, however, you are presented with an entirely different book, Ship of Theseus by V.M. Strata. It looks like something pulled directly out of the 40s of 50s, with a library sticker and everything. Opening the book, you find a conversation written in the margins of this old book in different colors of ink.

It may be better to show you what I mean. This video, which I originally saw on BoingBoing, is the whole reason I bought the book:



The effect is unbelievably realistic. I felt like a voyeur uncovering a secret conversation I wasn't meant to see. As a result, it is one of the best book I've read in 2013.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller, classic literature, innovativ…

Day 316: Whoopie Pie From the Baker's Wife

I love the Baker's Wife in South Minneapolis. That place has the best breads and baked goods that I have found in the Twin Cities. My favorite thing from there: the whoopie pie. It's like 4 or 5 inches across. The cake is moist, the filling creamy and sweet with a thin layer of chocolate to keep the cream from soaking into the cake.


If you haven't had one, I recommend going and getting one. They are that good.

Day 315: Fried Leftover Potato Dumplings

I took the leftover dumplings from yesterday and fried up slices of them for dinner. Delicious.


They turned out perfect on medium-high heat. I cooked them about 3 minutes per side. They were crunchy on the outside and still creamy on the inside.

Day 314: Spareribs, Sauerkraut and Dumplings

Today, I had friends over and made spareribs, sauerkraut and dumplings. You may recall, I have posted about this before a long time ago. It's worth posting about again I think. It is that delicious.


That bowl in the middle has brussel sprouts in it (sauteed with some shallots and bacon). I will never understand how some little kids can claim to hate brussel sprouts. They're awesome. I could eat them every day.

Day 313: Day With My Sisters

I had a fun day hanging out with my sisters today. We shopped, we laughed, we watched a Channing Tatum movie. You know, sister stuff.

We had dinner and wine flights at a cool place in Otsego called Pour. I had some good pinot noir there and some delicious lobster fettuccine. Here's a picture of my flight of pinots:


I wish I could tell you the name of the one I liked, but all I remember is that it was French. Good wine will do that to you.

Day 312: View of the Mississippi River

I took the day off work today, had brunch with my friend Nicole and drove around doing some shopping. While driving around, I got out of the car and snapped this picture of the river:


This is a view of the Ford Parkway Bridge from the Minneapolis side. There was a perfect little bench for me to sit on and enjoy the scenery. It was a good, relaxing vacation day.

Day 311: Lost at Sea

I finally read Bryan Lee O'Malley's Lost at Sea. He wrote Scott Pilgrim, which I loved, and I've had this book on my "to read" list for months. In general, I thought it was an interesting and quick read. There were moments in it where I could really relate to the character, a young student struggling to find her place in the world.


Unfortunately, I think I would have enjoyed it significantly more if I was in high school or college. I should have read it when I was younger. I'm still glad I read it, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 22.

Day 310: Leela Every Day

Leela's new thing is to sit at the window and watch for me.


Then, she tries to mount a daring escape to get outside by running as fast as she can when I turn the key in the lock. Sometimes, I let her win. She's so happy when she gets outside, even when it's cold.

Day 309: I Voted!

I did actually go and vote and it was not for Captain Jack Sparrow.


Day 308: Livia Napping

Livia can make any pile of stuff on my desk into a prime napping location.


I don't know how she can make it look so comfortable. It's a talent.

Day 307: Chili

It's getting cold out, so I had a craving for chili. That craving was sated with America's Test Kitchen's recipe for their favorite chili. It may be my favorite chili now too, though I might add a habanero next time. I do love habanero.

The recipe called for blade steak, which turned almost into the texture of pot roast in the chili. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender after 2 hours of cooking. Just writing about it makes me want to go heat up some leftovers.


Do you see in the picture how the chili didn't even fill in the bowl behind the spoon? That is how thick the sauce was. It was seriously good. I regretted my lack of cornbread foresight for sopping that up. I had to resort to the use of my fingers.

To get the recipe, you may have to have a subscription to the America's Test Kitchen website. However, I found another site that has a substantially similar recipe. If you read it, don't be put off by the length of time it takes to make the chili. It's worth it…

Day 306: Thora

We got to meet our friends', the Bernses, new dog today. Her name is Thora. Isn't she adorable?


Day 305: Double Feature

Sometimes, Brian and I go to the movies and we can't make up our minds. This usually results in us doing a "double feature" and just seeing both movies we want to see. Tonight, the result was seeing two space-themed movies: Ender's Game and Gravity.


We enjoyed both movies immensely. Ender's Game was action-packed and interesting. Gravity was an intense movie filled with stomach-churning moments and amazing cinematography. I recommend both movies.