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Roomba & SpotBot: Match Made in Heaven? November 30, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Gadgets, Home/Design, Shopping.
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New CarpetSo a few weeks back we had new carpet installed at our house. It only took us two hours to decide on the perfect shade of neutral! It looks fantastic and I couldn’t love it more, but between our three pets it was only a matter of time before somebody got something on the carpet. Thanks, Dixie, for leaving us that little present Sunday night! We typically use an enzyme-based cleaner which does a pretty decent job. I was talking with my Dad last night and he told me about a new product from Bissell called SpotBot. It’s supposed to be a hands-free carpet cleaner. You simply place it on top of the spot, turn it on, and *abracadabra* spot be gone. I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to some gadgets because nine times out of ten they don’t work. I checked out SpotBot on the Bissell website and it just seems like the constant spinning motion in one spot would degrade the fibers of the carpet and make it look worn. With a $129 price tag, I don’t how soon I’ll be trying it out without some concrete reviews from other pet owners.

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Gingerbread House 2007 November 29, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Art, Family/Home, General.
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As previously promised, here is a picture of our gingerbread house this year.
These photos were taken mere hours before PukeFest 2007 commenced!
With that, please enjoy our gingerbread cottage complete with coffee bean roof and graham cracker porch.

CaseySusan_Gingerbread 2007 Gingerbread House 2007

Sweat Converter November 29, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Fashion, Running, Shopping.
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As previously mentioned, I am currently training for the ING Miami Half Marathon. While the weather in Miami in January will be quite pleasant, the training weather in DC in December will probably be cold with a potential for snow and did I mention cold. I usually tell people that I’m a fairweather runner. When the weather is nice, I run outside. When the weather is not so nice, I run on the treadmill at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, a treadmill serves a wonderful purpose. However, I get bored enough running outside for long distances, I don’t want to be stuck “running in place” for five or six or ten miles! Not to mention that training for a road race on a treadmill is not the best. But what about the cold? I hate to be cold.

Last weekend when I was visiting Run In, I was introduced to a new technology in running clothes: Mizuno’s Breath Thermo. Breath Thermo is a new technology that Mizuno has developed that takes the sweat generated by your body, absorbs it, and turns it into heat. Sounds crazy, I know, but it works. Bea, at Run In, placed a piece of Breath Thermo fabric in my hand, soaked it with water, and told me to close my hand. Immediately I began to feel heat coming from the fibers and my hand was completely dry. I’ll take one! So for Christmas I’ll be getting a Breath Thermo Stretch 1/2 Zip. The cool thing is that they also make socks, gloves, headbands/hats, and running tights.

Is Corn the New Plastic? November 28, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Eco/Green, Food, Pets, Shopping.
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As consumers, we try to be conscious of the environment by taking reusable bags with us on shopping trips. All of this effort to eliminate the use of plastic bags got me thinking. What about other types of plastic that we use in our everyday lives? As a dog owner, my part time job is picking up poop. Each time I roll out a plastic poopie bag, I question why I bother to take reusable bags to the store when I’m still throwing some other form of a plastic bag into the trash. So I did a little research and discovered BioBags. These bags are made from a cornstarch product called Mater-Bi and are 100% biodegradable and compostable. And what about garbage bags? BioBags also has a line of kitchen and lawn trash bags.

The one drawback to going green is the cost. Typically, environmentally-friendly products tend to be a little more pricey than run-of-the-mill products. However, I was able to find these BioBags at drugstore.com for a very affordable price.

If you use resealable sandwich/storage bags or plastic wrap on a regular basis, you may want to consider a PVC-free version. Greenfeet.com features various PVC-free kitchen storage options at consumer-friendly prices.

“O” So Faking It November 27, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Food, TV/Movies.
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I was watching Oprah’s Favorite Things which she filmed in Macon, Georgia, in celebration of their town giving her show the highest ratings. I almost couldn’t get through the episode listening to her fake southern draw! I know that she was born and raised in the South, but c’mon. When, during any one of her regular shows, do you ever hear her sound like a character out of Fried Green Tomatoes?! Yeah, right. It was just so annoying. If you’re from the South embrace it, but don’t take it so far that even Southern people don’t want to listen to you.

Prior to watching the show, which I recorded, I told Casey that I hope nothing I love is on her list because I won’t be able to get my hands on it for months. Well, for the most part, I was in the clear until she mentioned the Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbet. If you haven’t tried this stuff, it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G…not to mention, fairly good for you (Blood Orange is fat free and only a whopping 98 calories per half cup serving)! Blood Orange is my absolute favorite, but the Coconut comes in at a close second.

Holiday Rants and Raves November 26, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Family/Home, Food, General, Running, Shopping, Travel.
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I apologize for the lack of posts, but between traveling and sickness, I’ve been short on time. We’ll start with the rants because it’s always better to get the bad stuff out of the way.

Traveling down South last week wasn’t as bad as previous years and that may be due to the fact that we left at 6:30 in the AM! However, I would like to say that the number of State Patrol on the highways may have caused more harm than good. I’m a fan of the law. I typically follow the law (albeit I have been known to drive as though I-95 were a speedway)! But, NC State Patrol, c’mon. Everyone knows that there are certain times that are off limits for running radar: 1) prior to 1 pm on a Sunday because should you really impend on someone getting to church and 2) Thanksgiving and Christmas. When you have a state patrol car running radar every 5 – 8 miles, empty patrol cars parked on the side of the road, and patrol cars flying up from behind with lights on and no siren, is that really making our roads safer. I can definitely tell you what it causes: BRAKES! The typical reaction at the sight of police: BRAKES! I have never seen so many cars riding, tapping, slamming on brakes. It was ridiculous.

Thursday I enjoyed two very delicious Thanksgiving meals and then contracted a stomach virus and disposed of two very delicious Thanksgiving meals. NUF SAID. By Saturday, I was feeling pretty much back to normal and then that night started coming down with either sinusitis or a cold…more than likely, a cold. So I feel like crap; however, I did make a wonderful discovery. Did you know that Puffs makes tissues with lotion and Vicks built right in? Thank you Puffs for making my nose blowing a more mentholated experience!

I did make a pit stop by my favorite running store, Run In, located in Greenville. The owner, Jeff Milliman, is a RUNNING GENIUS! He just knows how to fit you in a pair of great running shoes…and he stands behind everything. With one look at your feet, he can tell you what size shoe you wear and how to take care of all of those pesky foot issues runners typically deal with. He wants everyone to have an enjoyable running experience. I got a new pair of running shoes and some winter apparel.

Also, I thought I would mention a few good dining spots in Greenville:
You can’t go wrong eating at The Carolina Drive-In on Buncombe Road. Nick, the owner, is a Wofford grad (which makes him awesome right off the bat) and is just a great guy all around! I’ve eaten there since I can remember and they have the best sweet tea in the state of SC! You also can’t beat their chili-cheese burger!

Check out The Bohemian for dinner. My parents eat there all the time and their food is unique and delicious. Their hummus and olives appetizer is wonderful! You should also ask for their macaroni and cheese (since it’s not on the menu)….a twist in that it’s made with blue cheese. If you order the Bohemian Burger, be sure to ask for the green derby cheese!

New for all of us was the Liberty Tap Room which is situated next to the new Greenville Drive stadium in West End. We tried their brunch menu on Sunday and it was pleasing and surprisingly affordable. The Crab Cake Benedict was good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of their hollandaise. My dad loved their Breakfast Wrap, my mom snacked on their enormous Rise and Shine Pizza, and Casey enjoyed their Bananas Foster French Toast.

LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, I have to give a big cheer for those Wofford Terriers who defeated the Montana Grizzlies 23-22 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Wofford will play the Richmond Spiders this Saturday at Gibbs Stadium in Round 2. GO TERRIERS!

SoCon Champs November 20, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Family/Home.
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TerriersA big “CONGRATULATIONS” goes out to the Wofford College Terriers, the 2007 Southern Conference Champions! Way to go, Wofford! We’re pulling for our Terriers as they go up against the University of Montana Grizzlies this Saturday in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs.

Milking Camels Has Never Made Me Laugh So Hard November 20, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in TV/Movies.
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Did anyone watch the Amazing Race on Sunday night? I don’t normally watch this show, but happened to run across it while flipping channels. With an episode name like “Please Lord, Give Me Milk”, how can you go wrong?! I don’t mean to laugh at someone’s misfortune, but I’ve never seen someone get beaten down by a camel. Poor Lorena. That girl was already freaked out by the camel.  Then she got whacked by the camel’s tail which knocked milk out of her bowl. Then she got whacked in the head by the camel’s tail which caused her to go even more hysterical.  Then the camel kicked her bowl, multiple times, causing her to lose even more milk. Then the camel pooped…practically ON her.  Anything that could’ve gone wrong did go wrong!  It was hysterical.  I have never witnessed a mental breakdown quite like hers.  I think this image says it all.

Ms. Fancypants Does Thanksgiving November 19, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Family/Home, Food, Pets, Shopping.
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Well, we are preparing to head home for Thanksgiving. Ahhh, dressing, giblet gravy, mac & cheese, corn, green beans, sweet potato casserole…those wonderful southern dishes that I yearn for. Oh, notice I didn’t mention the turkey…I’m just not that big of a fan. Sorry, turkey lovers! We’re planning on driving which is always an adventure and it allows us the opportunity to take our dog. Could you really leave behind something that looks this cute?!Sleepy Dixie

There are several things that we always look forward to during our visit home for Thanksgiving: family, food, gingerbread house decorating, and The Fresh Market. Casey’s family has the tradition of decorating gingerbread houses after Thanksgiving dinner. It is always a lot of fun and a tad competitive. One thing that Casey and I have discovered about ourselves is just how excessively ‘Type A’ we truly are and how much symmetry means to us. We are usually the last ones to finish because every last detail must be perfect! Again, someone please tell us to get a life!! Look for pictures of our gingerbread creation upon our return to DC.

As for The Fresh Market, the excitement is more on my end than Casey’s. I’ve told you how much I heart coffee, but I truly heart coffee from The Fresh Market. So much so that I usually have my dad ship it to me when I run out! The other reason why I love The Fresh Market is their Almond Pillow Cookies. OMG, if heaven existed in cookie form then this would be it. It’s the most wonderful cookie that I’ve ever put in my mouth.  It’s an almond paste center surrounded by an incredibly moist shortbread lightly dusted in powdered sugar.  Really, that description does it no justice at all.  Then there are the bulk bins which contain all sorts of goodies like yogurt covered pretzels, trail mix, seasoned bagel chips, etc. Not to mention, they play classical music throughout the store which gives you the most wonderful fancypants feeling ever!

Here’s a Thanksgiving recipe that is a big favorite with our families. It’s supposed to be a side dish, but can easily double as a dessert.

Cranberry-Apple Bake
3 c. baking apples chopped
2 c. fresh cranberries
1/2 – 1 c. sugar
8 oz. red hots

Mix the ingredients listed above in a 9″x13″ dish.

1 c. margarine
1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oatmeal
1/2 – 3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine the above ingredients and put on top of fruit mixture.
Bake for 1 hour @ 350.

Starbucks, You’re Lookin’ Lean November 17, 2007

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.
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I heart Starbucks like nobody’s business! I’m a grande cappucino two pump vanilla kinda gal. I used to be a tall until the switch to 2% milk. Now I can get the same drink in a larger size for only 160 calories. Thank you Starbucks for the healthy transformation.

Starbucks (at least in our area) has started carrying hot breakfast sandwiches. YUM. I love the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Cholesterol-Free Egg, and Reduced-Fat White Cheddar sandwich. Ringing in at only 350 calories and 11 grams of fat, this is a tasty breakfast option to get your day started right. Another option that I’ve enjoyed is the Spinach, Roasted Tomato, Feta, and Egg Wrap at 240 calories and 10 grams of fat. I was in Atlanta last week for work and paid my daily visit to Starbucks and, to my horror, there were NO BREAKFAST SANDWICHES. I was crushed until, from behind the glass case, a Reduced-Fat Caramel Praline Muffin with Pecans beckoned to me. What? Can you say oxymoron? Is it really possible for reduced-fat and caramel praline to be uttered in the same sentence?! Oh yeah, baby. Granted a pack of Quaker oatmeal is probably better for you and lower in calories (approximately 150), sometimes Mr. Quaker’s goodies just don’t cut it.

I raise my cappucino to you, Starbucks! Thanks for giving me healthy options…although sometimes only a black bottom cupcake will do.

Cheers!