Friday, September 25, 2009


I recently had to go to Dallas for a couple of days for a business meeting. We stayed at the Omni Mandalay which was a very nice hotel. Everything was great - the hotel, the room, the service, the food.

The first night I felt like I was getting a cold so I stayed in instead of going out to eat with my colleagues. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and only ate the chicken so I could stay Weight Watchers friendly. I did have some chips but not all of them. I loved how they had the food on the the little condiments and the flower. Especially the ice bucket with the coke. Nice!
I am a person who always takes the bath essentials they leave you....and love when they have q-tips and cotton balls. The only thing that could make it better is to have a face cleanser.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cool art in Austin

These cool pieces of art were at the baggage claim area at the Austin airport.

Loved the Mexican loteria themed guitar.

-- Posted from my iPhone

New York City and DC

Back in New York for business meetings. Had a great flight in (see First Class blog) and staying in a good location.

I got in Sunday afternoon and didn't get much sleep since my flight was so early. I rested and watched the end of the Cowboys game. Yeah Cowboys!!

Didn't even know until monday morning that the MTV VMA Awards was a couple of blocks down the street. Lots of star gazing missed opportunity.

Lunch on Monday was at Bryant Park. Lovely place and great Caesar salad. Didn't know until I got back to the hotel for the night that the Fashion Shows this week are being held in a tent there. Totally another missed star gazing opportunity.

Sex and the City 2 is filming a block away. Went over there for lunch Tuesday but didn't see any celebs.

Lots of eating from room service because I am just too tired to go out. I did do bad and had one roll with butter. But it was with noodles and baked chicken.

Will be heading to DC next via train. I absolutely love taking the train. The seats are bigger and you have more room to spread out. I did flash some folks though while I was in the toilet. I thought I had locked the door but it must not have latched on because we hit a bump and the door went flying open as I was on the pot. So embarrassing.

Had lots of meetings and a gala to attend. Was in the elevator with Patti Ausin and didn't even know who she was -- just chatting away. She has an awesome voice. Nothing too exciting in DC. Back in the cattle section on the way home.

Travel again next week.

-- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge Review

My sister and I took the kids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine as a belated birthday/end of summer vacation.

The kids were good on the long drive there. We stopped in Waco at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco on the way so that cut up the drive.

Caleb brought out his Boy Scout instincts and was "searching" for the lodge the closer we got.

This place is huge. It was easy to find and there wasn't a line when we got there. The kids were so excited when they stepped in they ran up to me and hugged me and thanked me.

The lobby has a huge window that allows you to see into the waterpark. There is also the big tree house and the area were they tell bedtime stories. It is all a great wilderness vibe.

Registration was a breeze and I was blown away by the wristbands they have you wear. This allows you entrance into the waterpark, is your room key and your credit card. It is genius! You don't have to take anything to the waterpark as you just show them your wristband and the charges are put on your room. No more looking for your room key or trying to remember where you put it. I wish all hotels had this.

We took advantage of their offer of a free night with two nights stay. With that offer we weren't able to pick one of their fun rooms but this one was fine. It had two beds and a sofabed as well. Next time though we will definitely get the one with the cave theme. They don't have room service but they have places to eat in the waterpark and within the hotel. To save money we brought some snacks and sandwich fixins. This was great as we were so exhausted from doing everything that we didn't want to go out.

We did get food in the snack huts and the kids loved the corn dogs, and the chicken, and the french fries and the dippin dots--they liked it all. Diane and I split a steak from one of the restaurants and it was more than enough food for us both. We did eat at one restaurant for lunch because the boys had a coupon for a shot glass at this one. They had fun doing that and the food was great.

They sell these pup passes where for like $49 you get free stuff (stuffed animal, t-shirt or pillow case, tumbler, coins for the arcade and the aforementioned shot glass). The boys got that since Sydni was able to spend time at Scoops.

Scoops is a spa for little girls. It is much smaller than I thought it would be but it was absolutely precious. Sydni got a manicure and facial. They let her pick out her colors, lotion and smells for both. For the pedicure you sit on a banana split. They forgot to offer Sydni the robe until I asked about it. They did let her wear a tiara during the whole thing. For her facial she sat at a bar and was given a chocolate facial. She really enjoyed her time and loved the stuffed animal I bought her which also has a robe. It is a parent-free zone so I had to stay outside but I would sneak in to take pics.

MagiQuest - well this is a marketing genius because all the kids want the wands that allow you to play the game and you have to go up and down all eight floors finding the clues. It is not as much fun for parents as it is for kids. And it is tiring --my poor sister had to do this with the kids as my hip would not allow me to go up and down the stairs. It seems as if all the kids were having trouble defeating the dragon. Lot of upset kids so the parents had to help out.

The waterpark is great. Not too big and a variety of different things to keep the kids excited. They also were good about not letting kids go in without an adult. Caleb lost his goggles and luckily they were turned in at the front desk so I had a very happy boy. We never even made it outside to that portion of the waterpark -- next time hopefully.

I thought the elevators would be a nightmare because that is what I had read but we didn't have any complaints. I've stayed in hotels where you had to wait 20 mins. so 5 wasn't bad.

The registration staff was wonderful. We had to ask the cleaning crew to come clean the room because Jacob had put out the "Do not disturb" sign out when we left and didn't notice. They came right away.

The negatives:

The staff at the MagiQuest and the boy at the stuffed animal shop have no business working at a place for kids. They had no personality and were very short with the kids. It really irked me. If you don't enjoy your job then quit and stop messing up little nine-year-olds vacation.

The fire alarm went off THREE times within 24 hrs. Once while I was taking a shower and Sydni came running in that there was a fire -- freaked me out. Another time it was lightly raining and we had to stand outside.

Our last night we were rudely kept up by a bunch of squealing teenagers who had the three rooms surrounding us. I kid you not when I tell you that they were trying to have a sleepover in the hallway. One room got locked out so they ALL decided to hang out in the hallway until after midnight. Very bad parenting from their chaperones.

All in all we had a great time and tried to let the negatives roll off our backs. The kids can't wait to go back.

It is very pricey so budget and plan your time wisely. Take food because that does help and the kids munched and were able to eat breakfast in the room before heading out.

You can see photos on my post in the kids blog about our trip here.

August 2009

-- Posted from my iPhone

First class

Man do I love flying first class. I am headed to NYC for work and usually we fly American Airlines but we had some credits to use up on Continental and they offered an upgrade for a reasonable price--which I was happy to personally pay. I am glad we did because with this bad weather we would have been stuck in Dallas.

I was worried about what they would serve for breakfast but no need to worry -- it was all Weight Watchers friendly. They served us cornflakes with low fat milk, fruit and yogurt. And it was all delicious.

I loved the little salt and pepper shakers. And check out the monogrammed glass.

This isn't my first time in first class -- just acting like it is.

As we were getting ready to land, we flew right over the US Open.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

have snacks, will travel

I don't want to fall off the wagon while I am traveling next week (off the Weight Watchers wagon) so I packed my normal snacks and mini-meals (tuna and WW oatmeal).

I'm traveling with a co-worker/friend so I took enough for her too since we are WW buddies. I find it so much easier to check in with a friend and we help each other stay on track.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, September 11, 2009


Not only am I trying to go to as many baseball stadiums as I can, I am also making my way through hockey teams (well, not literally but you know what I mean). I cut my teeth at the Austin Bats hockey games. Then, I happened to be in Chicago in October 2008 and the Blackhawks were playing. I went to a game and (angels singing) I was hooked! Maybe it helped that Patrick Sharp is just so darn good looking! Everybody's crazy 'bout a Sharp dressed man.....ok let me stop drooling now.

Next, I went to a NY Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Hockey fans are outrageous and these were extremely so.... and loud!!

And then, Caleb and I went to a Dallas Stars vs. Blackhawks game (bummer that Patrick Sharp wasn't there due to an injury that a horrible Stars player gave him a couple weeks prior in Chicago. I seriously considered suing that Stars player for the cost of the tickets and my mental anguish of not seeing him.)

We were sitting on the third row and you could literally feel the plexiglass shaking when they would throw each other up against the wall.

New York in December (2008)

It's no secret that I am a big NASCAR fan - I happened to be in NYC in December '08 when I noticed a race car on a side street in NY. I did some research and found that it was NASCAR Week. WooHoo. I stood outside Cipriani while the top 12 drivers had lunch. Saw so many NASCAR related folks. Met some great folks while waiting in line. One of those gals, Terrie, emailed me to let me know I had made it on to a NASCAR blog (see photo below).

I am a huge Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan and when I found out that you could meet him by purchasing some of his new glassware at Macy's I jumped on it. I was sure my family wouldn't mind getting Dale Jr. beer mugs for Christmas. It was a mob scene there but by golly I did it. Met him and he was very nice.

I also got lucky that the Rockefeller tree was being lit while I was there! Bonus! I headed out there and it was FREEZING!!! I couldn't hang. I ended up leaving shortly before it was to be on TV so I could catch it at the hotel. I have never been so cold in my life. I think I still have a chill from it -- come to think of it I was awfully sick last Dec/Jan and missed so much work.....connection?

I also went to a show of the Radio City Rockette's. It was quite a show. I am so glad I was able to share the show with Sydni in Austin on New Year's Eve.

I also went on a little tour of NYC so I could see all the holiday lights. NYC is beautiful at Christmas!!

You can see all my Christmas in NY photos here. And all my Nascar week photos here.

Family Circle Tip

Here's a tip from a food editor at Family Circle:

"As the slow cooker queen of the FC test kitchen, I know that hours of heat can leach the flavor out of food. For major taste, double the amount of herbs and spices called for in any recipe. Add half when you start, the rest during the last 30 minutes of cook time."

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

Having a very mellow day at home with the kids. I cleaned my bedroom while they are all watching a Ben10 marathon. Sydni and I are making turkey burgers and turkey sloppy joes later.

** Update **

Well the turkey burgers did not turn out well so those were scrapped. The turkey sloppy joes were great! I don't care for bell peppers so I left those out. Was also going to skip the corn but at the last minute threw some in and it was good together. Instead of the hamburger buns, I used the Oroweat Sandwich Thins which have become my favorite for using for sandwiches.

Sloppy Joe

2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion(s), chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
1 medium bell pepper(s), chopped
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
20 oz canned crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
8 light hamburger roll(s)

Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and bell pepper and sauté until tender, 3 minutes. Add turkey and sauté until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, 5 minutes.

Add chili powder, basil, salt, black pepper and cayenne; stir to coat. Add crushed tomatoes, ketchup and mustard; mix well.

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in corn and simmer 2 minutes to heat through.

Spoon mixture onto rolls and serve hot.

Yields 8 servings.
WW info:flex: 4 points per serving

-- Post From My iPhone