This year I decided to try something new and think of some words that I will apply to my life. These are the words that I came up with.
(Note: I wanted to post this earlier but this new puppy parent life….whew, that will come in a later blog post)
When you hear each of these words, what do you think of?
For me I think each one will allow me to make some necessary changes in my life this year.
CONSISTENCY: This is an important word for me, sometimes I start things and don’t see them all the way through, however this year I want to work on being more consistent in all things that I do.
VALUE: I learned a lot about value over the past year. One thing is for sure value is very important to me, whether it is adding value to a situation or recognizing that you are not being valued. My key point for this word is to notice the value that I am adding to situations and to take note on if I am in turn being valued. This can apply to all sorts of things.
DISCIPLINE: This is a key word for me. In the past few years I have been a little reckless, especially when it comes to eating and not working out. I am not saying that I am going on a strict diet or doing the “new year workout” routine (no knocking anyone that does) , but just working on making some simple changes in my life that help me get to the next level. This also applies to spending, saving, and personal growth.
CONNECTIONS: One thing is for sure, I am a friendly person and I tend to meet people all over the place. I am working on connecting with people this year and growing new potential friendships/associateships (not a word, I know).
GROWTH: In 2019 focusing on growth is important. I want to be the best me that I can be, so growth is an important part of this. I have noticed a change in my life in the past year and I realize that I am no longer the same person, but one that is constantly growing.
MANIFESTING: To be honest, this wasn’t one of my original words, however one of my friends made a key point. Work on manifesting what you want to have/do in the future and utilize all of these other words to help you get there.
Well, that about sums up my words for 2019. Do you have any???? Share with me.
Often times people ask me how I make my steamed/boiled lobster. I always tell them that it is an easy process and everyone always looks at me a little blown away. I say it only takes 20 minutes or less depending on the size of the lobster and they always say, “Tell me how?”. So here goes.
1 live lobster
1/4 teaspoon Old bay seasoning
1 tablespoon Butter
1/8 teaspoon Chef Gone Mad Smoked Garlic & Herb Seasoning
Adobo Seasoning ( 2 shakes)
Water (2-3 inches deep in the pot)
Steamer or Large Pot
The most fun part of making lobster for me is going to the market and picking a live one out of the tank. I always go for the fiesty one or the one that is fighting everyone.
I feel like the more fiesty the lobster, the better they will taste. (Just my theory)
Once I pick the lobster they box it up and I take it in the car for a ride home. Most times you will hear the lobster making some type of noise in the box (either moving around or “blowing bubbles”), there is nothing alarming about this.
Once I get it home I get out my big pot.
I put about 3 inches of water in it and put it on the stove to boil. I sprinkle about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning. 1/8 teaspoon of Chef Gone Mad Garlic & Herb Seasoning and about 2 shakes of the Adobo seasoning into the water. I cut the lemon in quarters and add to the water.
Once the water is boiling I add the live lobster head first and then cover.
I let the lobster boil on high heat for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the lobster. Once it turns bright red I know that it is done.
I before I take the lobster out of the pot I sprinkle just a bit more Old Bay Seasoning over the top of the lobster.
Take it out of the pot, plate and serve.
There you have it my simple lobster!
I should record myself doing this one day, it would be fun. The most dramatic part for me is taking the live lobster from the box to the pot.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to take a little drive to clear my head and my thoughts. This time I chose Charlotte as it is not too far away and was an easy drive. A couple of days to relax in a hotel is always a good idea, especially when you are a World of Hyatt member.
As I traveled down the highway I realized that I was most excited about going to brunch on Sunday and I knew that I picked an awesome place with great reviews to eat.
I arrived in Charlotte on Friday, and checked into the Hyatt Place Downtown Charlotte. I enjoy staying at this hotel as it is nice and very easy to find. They also provide you with breakfast daily and have a little bar where you can have drinks if you would like (and the drinks aren’t too expensive).
I got checked in to my King room on the top floor for the hotel, and it was nice and spacious. Most Hyatt Place rooms are created equally, however this room seemed to have a little more space in it, which was fine with me. There was a king bed, flat screen tv, pull out couch, you know the usual.
So I unpacked my things and enjoyed my night stay in the room.
Saturday morning I had the pleasure of attending the Level Up Sis Brunch. This was an amazing workshop centered around women that were all entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. Let me tell you that I walked in the room and was immediately surrounded by beauty and positivity. The hosts/speakers were bloggers and it was great to hear their points and ideas on blogging and just how to level up in everything that you do in life and while focusing on being an entrepreneur. The workshop definitely made me think about a couple of things differently and I enjoyed every moment of it. It also allowed for networking with other bloggers and female entrepreneurs.
Saturday afternoon I went to Mertz restaurant, where I had a chance to try their Soul Food Sampler. It was delicious. The sampler consisted of Fried Chicken Wings, a salmon cake, soul rolls, and cornbread. This was a moment that was “yummy to my tummy”. The soul rolls were egg rolls filled with collard greens, rice, black eyed peas, and chicken. Everything else was self explanatory. I was trying to figure out why I never thought to make soul rolls at home, I mix up and think of all different types of food. I am definitely going to have to try this. I enjoyed the food and was definitely ready to go home and take a nap.
I woke up Sunday morning waiting for, what I felt like I had been waiting all of my days for. I had been wanting to go to Farenheit restaurant for brunch since the end of last year. I know what you are thinking. I could have gone at any time, and I could but, I wanted to enjoy this meal with one of my good friends. She just got engaged and I wanted to celebrate in her town with Brunch. That gave me an occasion to go and I was ready.
Farenheit is located on the 21st floor of the same building as the Hyatt Charlotte Downtown. The chef is known all over and I completely understand why. Many of the menu offerings for brunch will make you think that you just want to order the whole menu. If you know me well enough, you know that this is not something that is far fetched for me at all. However, I had my heart set on the king crab benedict and that was all I needed on this particular morning.
Let me tell you, if you like king crab and eggs you will definitely want to try this amazing dish. It literally melts in your mouth. I got my eggs poached as close to well as possible, but that is how I like them. The king crab was succulent and it was topped with a kimchee hollandaise sauce. I was a little skeptical about it in the beginning, due to the kimchee, but they let me sample a little and as soon as I tasted it, I realized that it was going to go great with the crab and the eggs.
I also had the pleasure of trying my very first bloody mary. Normally with brunch I am a mimosa girl, but I had heard so much about the build your own bloody mary cart that I couldn’t help but try it.
The cart pulls up with a server driving and asks what all you would like in your bloody mary, there are all kinds of toppings and 2 different types of mixes. I tried the spicier of the 2 with some added horseradish and hot sauce. I always told myself if I ever had a bloody mary it needed to have some shrimp in it and this one was everything I wanted and more. If only they had some turkey bacon to go in there too, that may have really made my day. (I love turkey bacon, by the way) Nonetheless, this first bloody mary was a great addition to my meal.
Of course to toast my friend I had to switch over to a mimosa and I do love champagne so it was great. We even went out to the lounge area outside and sat on the comfy furniture for a bit. I will definitely be returning back there.
By the end of brunch I needed a nap. The good thing is rest was the whole point of my trip. Needless to say, a couple of days at a hotel and some amazing food, can give anyone a much needed recharge. I advise that everyone take some time out and do this whenever they get a chance. If you go to Charlotte, I definitely recommend the Brunch at Farenheit, and I also recommend staying at the Hyatt Place downtown., but don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself. 🙂
Why didn’t anyone tell me about how delicious zucchini noodles were sooner?
I was taking a class on nutrition provided by my healthcare provider and she recommended that I try zucchini noodles as they would help me increase my vegetable intake easily. So, I was determined to try it out.
Let me confess, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE PASTA. So I was thinking that this would be a hard sell. I really love spaghetti and meatballs, made with angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti so that I don’t feel so bulky when I eat it.
I was very apprehensive about the idea of trading my beloved pasta, but I figured it can’t hurt and I knew that zucchini noodles have become more and more popular over the past couple of years. My usual self would go out and buy the tools needed to make the noodles and then probably never use them again. So this time I decided to take the easy way out.
I found out that Harris Teeter had fresh cut zucchini noodles for a couple dollars, so I decided to try them out.
This was my moment of truth. I got out the olive oil, some garlic, crushed red peppers, Italian seasoning and a little salt and pepper. Turned on the stove, put the olive oil in the pan and started my adventure. I made sure that I seasoned them to my liking. I sauteed them up in a pan for 5 minutes and they were done, with a light crisp.
Then I took some store bought spicy tomato and basil sauce heated it up in a pan, seasoned it to my liking and dropped in some turkey meatballs. Tossed the zucchini noodles in the sauce and I had some “spaghetti and meatballs”.
Got a bowl ready, dropped the noodles, sauce and meatballs in topped with a three cheese blend and was ready to try my special veggie spaghetti. It turns out that it was delicious. I don’t know why I hadn’t tried this sooner, but now I am hooked.
Have you tried zucchini noodles before? Let me know what you think about them. Leave a comment. Let’s chat.
Last year, I had the rare opportunity to live in a hotel. Not just an extended stay hotel, but a very cool Hyatt Regency in the North Dallas/Richardson Area of Texas. So you are probably thinking, maybe she just stayed for a couple of days and didn’t actually live there. I didn’t even think I would be there for more than a week, max 2 weeks, but that turned into 47 days.
Before you ask why I did this… I will give you a simple answer. I agreed to help someone out and trade places with them for a work assignment. I thought the assignment would only last for a short time and then everyday turned into “Groundhog Day”, you know the movie where each day is the same until the very last day for the main character. Well that is what life was like for me, but I did try to do something different each day to get something out of the experience and over all it wasn’t terrible and I could have been placed in a different hotel (for that I am thankful).
I arrived to the hotel after a 1 night stay at the Hyatt House. The hotel was booked the day before due to a huge hail storm that had happened one week prior and was full of insurance adjusters. One thing is for sure, I learned on day one that anything could be happening at this hotel on any given day.
The staff was very polite when I checked in and assisted me with my reservation. I was placed in a king room on the top floor and they asked, ‘How long I will you be staying with us?”. The most interesting part was my answer “I don’t know”. I literally had no idea of how long I would be there, I just knew that I was there for work. So I said, ‘Let’s start with 2 weeks and go from there.” They laughed as if it was a joke, I was serious, but laughed anyway.
My room was normal, a king bed, coffee pot, tv. U know the usual. However, when I looked out my window. I had a pretty good view. (Night image featured below) The first night I was getting used to my new surroundings so I ventured down to the bar to have a drink. This was a great idea as I was able to meet the bar manager and the bar staff. (Note: Always network with the staff in a new place, they can tell you things that others won’t)
The most awesome part about living in a hotel in my opinion is not having to take out your own trash or clean your room everyday, someone does that for you. I loved every minute of it. (Don’t forget to tip)
I learned a lot from this experience and I would like to share my very important tips for hotel living. These are keys:
Make friends with the staff, after all they are the ones that can help you out when you need assistance. I quickly met the staff and arranged for a microwave and mini fridge to be placed in my room, the staff will look out for you if you are nice to them.
Treat the bar as if it is your living room. Dress appropriately, but enjoy the perks of happy hour and whatever the hotel offers. It will feel like you are at a house party/social everyday and you can meet new people. You will feel more comfortable when talking to people and when you get the question “So, how long are you here for?”, you can just respond with “I live here.” (there is your icebreaker and conversation starter)
Figure out who on the bar staff makes the best drinks, and remember to order from them everyday. (Don’t forget to tip)
Ask the staff where the best food places are around town.
Take a look at the crowd when you are in your “living room” every day and see if you see the same people everyday. You can make some friends and form a “crew” of people that are living there too.
Learn the menu of the restaurant. If you know it then you will know what you will or won’t want to eat, just in case you get stuck in due to a storm or being too tired to leave for the evening.
Those are my keys to hotel living.
While we are talking about my stay at the hotel I have to talk about a couple of things that were specific to my trip. Remember earlier when I said at any given day anything could be going on at this hotel. That was really true.
One day I saw a sign near the bar and there was a fitness drink convention. All of the people looked like body builders and were very much in shape and selling a special fitness drink. These people were also in the gym heavy, but that wasn’t anything special.
The most interesting day in the bar would come a week later. I walked into the bar and saw some flowers on 2 stands near the door. As I looked at the flowers I was thinking I wonder what type of program is going on here today. I then noticed a small sign and everyone was dressed in black. I realized I had walked into a memorial service. However, everyone was ordering shots and said that the Memorial service was for a guy that was known for “having a good time”. You would have thought that it was a party in there. I had a regular drink and went to my room.
I could write about this experience and chronicle each day, however my favorite part of my stay was a Hawk that came to visit my window everyday. I named him “Jack (pictured below). He came to visit my window each day and even when I changed rooms, he came looking for me. It could just be a coincidence, but Jack made my stay more comfortable. They say that Hawks are a spirit animal of protection. So he was my protector.
My Dad even got a chance to come out to the hotel for a week. He knew the keys and made friends with the staff quickly. Once they found out he was my Dad they treated him like he had been there for 30+ days already. He was getting perks I didn’t even know about. Never underestimate ‘The Old Man” (affectionate term for my Dad).
Each day brought something new and allowed me to learn something about myself or others. After everyday being “the same”, 46 days later the alarm music changed and I was getting ready to come home. It was tough to know that I was coming home to my Dad being in the hospital Emergency….but that is another story…(VA Chronicles part 1)
I will say, that the staff at the Hyatt in North Dallas/Richardson, is one of the best. They are very accommodating and helpful. They even took good care of my Dad when he came out to visit me. If you are ever in that area and just need a nice place to stay check them out.
Below you will find a couple of pics from the hotel.
When you think of Ruth’s Chris Restaurant you probably think that it is expensive and will cost about $100 for your meal. This can be true if you stick to the regular a la cart menu. Which is an amazing menu by the way.
Some people think that you need to wait until “restaurant week” comes around to even eat at a restaurant like this. What if I told you that you can eat at Ruth’s Chris on a regular within a reasonable budget. How would you feel about that?
Let me start off with the idea that I like food and at times don’t really care what it costs, however I have figured out that some restaurants such as Ruth’s Chris offer a “happy hour menu” or a “prix fixe menu” daily, if you didn’t know then I am telling you that you don’t have to spend too much to eat there.
First of all sometimes it is best to check out the bar of the restaurant, sometimes the bar will have a special menu that is not utilized in the rest of the establishment. This is easier for me as I am usually eating solo. So if you have a big group, it is possible to get bar area seating, but just be mindful that there may be a wait, especially during the “happy hour time”.
The average meal on the “happy hour” menu is about $12 and the drinks listed are about $8. So for $20 plus tax and tip you can eat a meal that is a great quality and still filling.
Or you can take a look at the prix fixe menu, which the lowest amount is $39.99, plus tax and tip (not including a drink). This may seem like too much for some, but think about it this way, you are getting a salad, main course with side, and dessert. Which I think is a great deal. There are many options for this menu, salmon and shrimp, stuffed chicken breast, and even a steak. Keep in mind that this menu may change it’s offerings throughout the year, but the stuffed chicken is pretty much a staple on this menu. All of those are great options for a meal at this establishment that prides itself in the quality of its food.
Well, I just decided to share a little bit, everyone always thinks people have to spend so much money at Ruth’s Chris and you can if you eat a la cart style, but I am letting you know that you don’t have to.
I would like to add that I frequent The Ruth’s Chris Restaurants in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Area, and they have amazing service.
Yes, I gave them a mention…you have to acknowledge great service when you get it. Especially when they don’t know that you are writing a review.
Drop me a comment to let me know if this post was helpful….(images from a couple of my meals are included below)
A Snapshot of the Happy Hour Menu
Stuffed Chicken Breast
Spicy salmon & shrimp with a side of creamed spinach