Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wooden Shoe Rather Be Dutch?

Hello, dear friends and family!  Since my dad has been visiting this weekend while attending a conference in Scottsdale, it has been a fun weekend of family time a Dutch indulgence!  On Thursday evening, I made a modern take on a traditional Dutch meal, Boerenkool met Worst.  Usually, this is mashed potatoes with boiled kale and sausage.  I am not big on boiling kale, so I sauteed it and mashed it with sweet potatoes.  The sausage is beer-boiled with onions.  It was a fun and easy meal and quite tasty!  Friday, Dad attended his conference, Matt and I went to work, and Nancy, my step-mother, arrived by plane in the evening.  We went out to the Salty Sow in Paradise Valley - it was a pretty cool gastropub type restaurant.  I definitely overate!

"Boerenkool met Worst"
On Saturday, after Dad had been to his conference in the morning and I had more students, we went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale.  I love this place and have been at least 4 (maybe 5) times in the (almost a) year since we've lived here.  Unfortunately, the museum closes at 5 PM, so we couldn't linger very long, but we saw a lot of great pieces and had a lot of fun!  We went out for Thai food in Old Town and then enjoyed an evening at home, where Nancy is trying to get me hooked on Breaking Bad.  I enjoyed the pilot, but I might put it off until I am all caught up on Game of Thrones.

Dad hits the gong!

Nancy enjoys the MIM interactive room.
With Monet

Today has been the pinnacle of our Dutch-iness!  Nancy and I went for a hike this morning while Dad finished at the conference and then our cousins, the Vandenberghs, who live in Chandler, came up for poffertjes and brunch.  We ate poffertjes, little pancakes about the size of a half-dollar, with butter, jam, powdered sugar, and keukenstroop (super sweet Dutch syrup).  We had marzipan candies, bread with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), ginger cake, almond cookies, and more!  I am definitely feeling the food coma!  I know have a pantry full of more delicious Dutch treats to keep me fat for the next few months! (Or days, depending on my self-control or lack thereof...)  Now we are all relaxing on this beautiful Sunday afternoon and napping off the food.  What a fun weekend!

Lazy Sunday with the Vandenberghs

Matt and Rudy - cousin bonding
So many sweet treat leftovers!
My dad took some pictures of the poffertjes, I will try to upload it when he sends it to me.  Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: photos of poffertjes!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Like so many New Year's resolutions...

... sad to say that, this one, too, seems to have been abandoned in March.  But fear not, dear readers, I will try to pick up that torch once again!

Let me regale you with tales of March!

After returning from our wonderful vacation, it was back to the grindstone for both Shapiro Adventurers.  It's always hard to get back to "work" after the adventuring spirit has called.  I sang in some concerts with my Scottsdale Chorus, which were terribly fun to sing.  (Side note, our regional competition is coming up at the end of April.  I have high hopes for our success!)  My aunt Diane was in town with her husband Earl to do some serious square dancing, so we got to meet up for brunch at a delightful spot called Butters.  I'd never been there before, however, they had gluten-free (and regular!) pancakes, which Aunt Di requires, so we gave them a shot and it was fantastic!  I will definitely be heading back at some point.  I also got to check out the Arizona Opera with Saralyn, my mopsy-in-law, and we had a delightful afternoon seeing La Traviata.  We also celebrated poppers-in-laws birthday a little early, since Matt and I were out of town for his real birthday!


Auntie Di and I!
We went out of town for the nuptials of my college roommate, Irina.  She had a lovely wedding in Palo Alto and I had a lot of fun being a bridesmaid!  She's posted tons of pictures on facebook already, and there are a lot of great shots.  We wish a lifetime of happiness for #andrina!

Bridesmaids on a Bus!

Me and the Blushing Bride
Purim was in middle March and I had a Hamentaschen Party at our apartment.  A very assorted group of friends came over to help make some very avante garde and some more traditional cookies - we had fun and ate a ton!  Last weekend, the Shapiro Adventures became time travelers!!  We went to our very first Renaissance Faire.  We ate turkey legs and chocolate, watched some Jousting and Whip Cracking, and overall had a merry time.  We also went to an Arizona UCLA Alumni gathering to watch the Bruins in March Madness in the second round.  The victory was celebrated.  We were saddened when we lost to Florida this week, but remain proud of our Bruins for their valiant effort!
Hamentaschen is serious business

Sweet Ads at the Ren Faire!
That brings us up to date, I believe.  Besides working today, my big plans for this weekend are NOTHING!!  It's nice to take a day and make no plans now and again.  Of course, you know me, I am always making plans and we have lots of fun things to look forward to in April.  Besides the Sweet Adeline's regional competition late April that I mentioned earlier, we will be adventuring to Los Angeles for Passover in mid-April.  Before that, my Dad is coming to visit us here in Scotts-y-dale-y, and will be seeing our apartment for the first time!  I've ordered lots of dutch deliciousness to enjoy in the meantime and we're looking forward to seeing our Chandler-cousins as well.

I do promise to myself to try and write more often - thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

St. Baldrick's - My 3 year Anniversary!

My First Head Shaving in 2011!
On October 21, 2011, I shaved my head for St. Baldrick's for the first time. (You can see the results of that here.) This October, I will be shaving again for the three-year anniversary of that date. As such, my goal will be to raise three times my original goal! Finally, after all this time, and some great hair-do's in between, my hair is long enough to donate and shave again. Please join me in the battle against children's cancers.

My donation page for the $3000, 3-year anniversary is:

You can also check out my post from the original event:
Getting a Mohawk in Costa Rica in March (ish?) of 2012

See videos of the ponytails being cut for donations here:

I hope you'll help me reach my goal of $3000 by October 26 - to celebrate 3 years since my first head shave AND three years since we embarked on our adventure to South America.

Awesome side-shave from August 2012, in Peru on the Jungle Trail

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Final Sunset in El Salvador

Sad to say, the time has come to say goodbye!  Here is the cabana we have come to call home:

How did 12 days of doing nothing go by so quickly?  It was a perfect last day - I woke up early to get some morning beach sun after we both got delicious fruit smoothies.  We had a leisurely mid morning breakfast followed by some poolside sunning.  Then we repaired to the hammocks for some shaded reading and then wandered out for lunch. 

 In the late afternoon we soaked up the final rays of the day and then watched the sunset on the beach.  

In a bit, I'm sure we'll wander out for some food and maybe have a few drinks with some of our new friends.  After all, Monday night is Mopelia's biggest night!  

There was some local excitement: a Golden Cerveza commercial was shot on the deck of Monkey Lala hotel where we have eaten and drank a few times.  The Lala is right next to our hotel, so we could see some of the action.  Take 3 of opening a bottle and smiling into the camera:

We've definitely had a great time here!  I doubt that this will be our last visit, but who knows what El Tunco will look like next time we come by?  See you back in the states!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines Day and a Frog

We had a lovely Día de San Valentín here in El Tunco.  We went for a sunset dinner at the Monkey Lala hotel patio bar, which has a lovely view of the beach and live music.  We had some drinks and are a nice relaxing, slow dinner.  

Today was more tanning and relaxing.  I can't believe our trip will be over so soon.  As I was typing this, a little frog hopped onto our patio!  Unfortunately, it was too dark to properly photograph him and when I tried to use flash, my leg got in the way!  Sorry!

See if you can make him out there!  Good night!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Geckos and Iguanas

This is one of our new roommates.  We found him hanging out in the shower this morning.  He seemed to have disappeared by the time I got into the shower this afternoon, but then I saw him swimming in the water!  I hope he survives the deluge...

Another larger gecko fell from the ceiling while Matt was taking a nap, but he quickly ran back to his hiding spot.

Lastly, for the last few days, I've sworn that there was something living on the roof of our cabana, big enough that I can hear it breath when it's startled she we return, but Matt kept telling me it was just birds landing on the roof.  Well, this morning while we were reading in the hammock, a friendly iguana poked his head over the edge and later jumped to a nearby tree!  He's about two feet long.  Hopefully we'll get a picture of him in the next week.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Not much to report...

I suppose you're probably tired of hearing how we woke up, had fresh juice smoothies, sat out by the pool, read in hammocks, took naps, and then swam some more.  So I won't bother you with the details.  

Today was particularly laid back as I seemed to have caught whatever bug Matt was fighting off when we left the states.  Nothing too serious, just elevated temperature, slight headache, and general fatigue.  Luckily, Matt is now feeling fine.  Nothing a couple of days of rest by the ocean can't cure...

Here is a picture of a bunny rabbit who lives at our hotel and is Matt's spirit guide.  He accompanies Matt to fill our water bottles every morning.

We've been having fun hanging out with other travelers.  There are two British "blokes" we've chatted up a bunch.  I especially love when they say something really British, like "blimey"!  It's so adorable.  They also seem to have extreme difficulty pronouncing Spanish city-names correctly.  (LEE-on instead of León (ley-own), LIE-ma instead of Lima (lee-ma), etc.)

Nothing else to report today folks.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Some food adventures!

Well, it was another exciting day for the Shapiro Adventures.  Besides taking a yoga class at La Guitarra Hotel/Bar, we did more of the same hammocking, tanning, swimming, reading, and resting.

The lady who cooks pupusas on the street outside our hostel for 50 cents must have taken the night off, so we had to walk ALL THE WAY to the Calle Peatonal, about 150 yards away, for pupusas at an actual "restaurant", more like a food stand.  Here is Matt enjoying some pupusas:

On the way home, I decided to get an empanada from the woman who cooks them over a fire made in a trash can also just outside our hotel.  Here is a picture of me and the cocinera:

She cooks the corn over that fire all day long, then fries the dough made from corn filled beans and vegetables in oil by night.  Yum!  Let's be honest, you can't go wrong with food cooked over an flaming trash can, amiright?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Random thoughts and a few photos

It is the hora de siesta, you know that delightful afternoon time where there isn't much to do but take a nap in a hammock, then continue napping in your room, then shower and relax in a hammock some more, and I wanted to share some photos and thoughts from the day.  Here is the sunsetting view from our patio:

The highlight of my day was when, on returning from the beach, we encountered a vendedora ambulante selling bags if sliced green mango with salt, spices, and lemon juice.  This is my all time favorite snack and I eagerly bought a bag for 50 cents!    

Other than that, it's been a pleasant day of hammock-reading, beach-tanning, and ocean-swimming.  Observe, the wild monster in his natural hammbitat!

We've been thinking a lot about how much this town has grown in the past two years.  On one hand, it makes us wonder how long ago was it that this place was not more than a tiny fishing village with just a few surfers.  Maybe only 4 or 5 years ago?  And looking forward, how long until this becomes a true resort town?  In two years, will the shack hostels still remain?  Food prices are still very low, though some slightly higher than our previous visit.  A fruit smoothie can cost from $2-4.50!!  A burrito can go for $3-6.  Then again, burritos are not native Salvadoran fare, so perhaps that is already a sign of the tourism changes.

I also just regarded to Matt how easy it is to feel clean after a very quick and simple cold shower.  You guessed it, there isn't hot water here.  It isn't actually cold per sé, it's just not heated.  But a simple soaping and face washing in the cool water does a lot to wash away the heat from the day and leave me ready for some cervezas!  If I can get my husband out of the hammock, that is!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Things I've missed about Central America

In no specific order:

-street food being cooked over a flaming trash can
-dollar coins
-90 degrees in February, low of 70
-women walking on the beach, on the street, and through the hotel selling home baked goods 

It's been a very relaxing day - after a quick self-guided yoga on our patio, Matt and I had a simple breakfast of smoothies and fried plantains.  Then it was a day of rigorous sun-tanning and reading in hammocks.  Matt is taking a nap.  How will we ever keep up this pace for 12 days?!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hemos llegado - we've arrived!!

Finalmente, the Adventurers are back at it, albeit for just twelve days.  Travel days are always exciting as we transition from our "normal" lives into vacation mode.  Our first flight from Phoenix to Dallas was delayed about a half hour due to snow in Dallas.  Once we landed, it was another 30 minute hold while we waited on the landing strip for our gate to open up.  It was snowing and once we finally deplaned, we realized traveling in sandals may have been a poor choice.  Luckily, the terminal was warm as we had time to kill.  Our second flight to San Salvador was also delayed about two hours.  This gave us time for a leisurely lunch of Texas (airport) BBQ and a perusal of the duty-free shops. There was a rep giving free "samples" of Johnnie Walker double black, which also helped to warm me right up.  

The real fun began once we boarded the second flight.  It was basically like being on a chicken bus in the air.  The flight wasn't full and so people kept shuffling around without notice to the seatbelt sign.  Matt and I were able to snag our own private row.  The majority of passengers were hispanohablantes, so Matt and I got right into the swing of things.  I'm glad I remember as much as I do!  

Once we landed, we were able to move quickly through migración and aduana since we each only have one backpack that we carried on board.  The immigration agent seemed pretty impressed with our Spanish.  He asked if it was our first visit to El Salvador, since we have stamps from every other Central American country but NOT El Salvador, since last time we crossed by land from Guatemala.  Since the two countries have free passage, there was no stamp.  I told the officer my Spanish abilities increased with every cerveza I drank.  I think he saw the logic!  

Once out of the terminal, we were mobbed by eager taxistas who all wanted the privelege of taking us to El Tunco.  It's hard to choose when they all offer the same price and all have official badges.  We just went with one if the first to offer us the ride.  Riding in the truck-cab, windows down, I love breathing in the humid air.  It immediately fills my lungs with a weight I didn't realize I had missed.  I love the dirt-damp smell of a place that never gets cold. There are some other interesting smells driving through El Salvador, the most prominent being the smell of burning trash.  Last time we were here, I did note the very apparent trash problem, but it's common throughout Central America.  I regret that we arrived so late, as there was not much to see as we drove in darkness.  By 9 PM we were in La Libertad and a few minutes later, El Tunco.

The town seems to have grown slightly since our last visit, but it's hard to tell how much at night.  We'll have to explore and see more tomorrow.  We're staying at Hotel Mopelia, just a few seconds from the beach.  We're currently enjoying a Salvadorian microbrew and the hammock outside our room. The plan for tomorrow is to buy some sunscreen and let the relaxation Take over.

The Shapiro consensus is: we are so glad to be here.  Life is good!  Pictures and more stories will come later.  Good night friends!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pre-Vacation Post!

I've traded my wedding ring for my travel ring - a simple gold band - so you know things are serious!  Our bags are packed, the apartment is all tidied up.  We've made arrangements for our guard-snake to be watered regularly, so everything will be under his care while we're away (thanks Mopsy)!

I've only packed one backpack for our not-quite-two-week trip.  Even though it's not a lot, it still feels weird since it will be nearly 3 times as many things as last time I was in El Salvador!  I'm bringing a pair of shorts, a skirt, two dresses, and 5 tank tops.  (The forecast calls for daily highs in the 90s, so I will also bring one light sweater for the evenings and thats it.)  I'm also bringing a few work out outfits and my yoga mat - I think there's a good chance there will be some place for me to practice there, and if not, I can always do my own thing.  Matt has packed two pairs of travel pants (aka pants withe zip-off long legs), three shirts, and his icebreaker sweater.  Obviously, we're also bringing bathing suits and our brazilian cangas (beach sheets).

I'm super excited about our first international adventure in over a year!  Blogposts and pictures to follow, for sure!  Hasta luego, amigos!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Getting Ready to Go!

We are super excited to begin our vacation on Thursday!  Here's a sneak peak at the weather change we are looking forward to:


La Libertad:

Yay sunshine and heat!

In other news, I made some chai-spiced challah French toast for breakfast!

I had fun this week, going to karaoke and also meeting with a new quartet group!   My new group needs a name, so suggestions would surely be appreciated.  So all around, a fun week!  Look forward to vacay pictures soon!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning for Zohan

We cleaned out Zohan's tank and have him a bigger water bowl.  He seemed to have some trouble shedding in this dry Arizona weather, so now he should be able to soak if the mood strikes.

Week 4, belated

Sorry for the delay of game, friends.  I got a little busy this weekend.

The week itself was rather plain, just work and workouts.  On Friday, we went to my friend, Jen's, house for a game night.  Another friend from Chorus, Meredith, came, too.  We played a spy game (sorry, I can't remember the name!), where two people were secretly spies and had to "fail" the missions while not being discovered.  Sort of like the old camp game "Mafia".  We then played "Cards Against Humanity", possibly my new favorite game (small-pox blankets, anyone?).  I was in the lead for a while, but Jacob pulled ahead.  We proved that we are all terrible people.  We ended the night with a very complex Zombie game.  We all died.  It was great fun!

On Saturday, after work, I met with a different Scottsdale Chorus member to talk about our internal newsletter, of which I am now the "assistant editor".  Basically, I've been teaching myself HTML and using it to see if we might now make our newsletter through our members-only website as opposed to using a separate publishing program.  It's been fun!  But now, Matt wants me to learn how to program Android... any one have knowledge about a good place to start?!

Sunday, I did a mini-workout and the rewarded myself with more hagelslaag!  Matt had to work a few hours while there was a webinar, but afterwards, we went to the home of one of his coworkers to watch THE ROYAL RUMBLE!  I'd never seen this event before,  but I am sure glad I did this time!  It's a WWE wrestling match with 30 players, with a new opponent entering every 90 seconds!  It was very dramatic and full of all the terrible acting you expect.  Our friends had made a drinking game for the event where each of us "took" one of the first four wrestlers that entered.  If that wrestler was eliminated - drink.  Then you get the next wrester to enter.  If you're wrestler eliminated someone - give two drinks.  There were also drinks for matching costumes, patriotic costumes, ridiculous modes of entry, and other typical-wrestling concepts.  We all got very happy.

Anyway, another week - no big plans that I know of!  I am just super excited and looking forward to our trip to El Salvador in just over a week!  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week 3: Go Broncos?

Hello, my dear friends and family and future self!

Well, let's rip off the band-aid and start with the bad news.  The 49ers lost the NFC Championship.  There were some bad calls against us and some bad choices made in throwing, and we are sad to see this fun Futbol Americano season come to an end for our team.  Matt and I are crying into our Fernet and Cokes (well, no actual tears, wouldn't want to spoil our drinks.)  Anyway, I owe a fellow chorus member a bottle of wine for a bet we made, so I'll be bringing her that on Tuesday.  All that's left to say is: Go Broncos! (Or, more realistically, bring on the Commercials!)

My favorite commercial from last year was the Taco Bell one with the cover of "Tonight" in spanish with the old people... you know... "Esta noche, somos jovenes!  Vamos a poner el mundo en fuego!"  I am expecting some good ones this year, too.

Anyway, this week wasn't particularly exciting.  Matt worked hard, as expected.  One morning there were some problems in the New York office and he was up and out of the apartment before I was even awake.  Nothing terribly exciting for me at work - just lots of kiddos (and lots of germs!).  As someone who as a knack for getting sick, I've realized that I actually have gotten sick LESS this year than any other in my life!  I attribute this to a couple different things: 1) eating healthier (mostly) and working out more have left me stronger and better fit to deal with germs, 2) Arizona's dryness has kept me less snivelly, or "snottering" as my dad would say, so there has been less feeling of sickness and 3) I have been pretty obsessive about purelling my hands between students, especially before eating, and also wiping down the piano and bench and door with clorox wipes.  I know it sounds crazy, but I have seen kids sneeze into their hands, refuse a tissue, then continue playing the keys and then touch the door.  I feel a little OCD following that up with the purell and clorox, but I don't know what kinds of germs these kids have!!

It's exciting times for my chorus, we have several performances coming up and I am working hard to learn all the non-competition music in time!  I think I'm on track to learn it all in time, but it's a little nerve-wracking!  It's a lot of pressure to get it all down and checked off in under two months, including the choreography!  I am continuing to read and learn about arranging for barbershop and am finding it interesting and fun.  I loved taking music theory and working on arrangements in college, so this is a great way for me to continue to expand my knowledge and have fun making new music!  I am also working on singing more in quartets, hoping to be a better singer and performer.

On Friday, I made my challah in the Colombian style of a braided cheese bread.  It was delicious, but the recipe was a little different from other breads I've done.  Instead of "proofing" the yeast, I mixed it right in with the dry ingredients.  It still rose nicely, but I think there may have been a problem with the baking times or temperatures because despite baking it twice as long as instructed, it was still a little "raw" feeling inside.  It didn't stop us from eating the whole thing.  I think next week I will try using the other challah dough and just adding cheese.  Matt also got to leave "early" on Friday, at 5 PM - otherwise known as normal time! - and he chivalrously offered to make dinner.  I arrived home to the delightful smell of carne asada grilling and tortillas warming.

Saturday was definitely one-upped on the dinner menu, though!  We went for dinner at my cousin's house and man, can the man cook!  We had grilled steak and salmon and excellently mixed drinks!  I offered to bring dessert, and since this is a cousin on my Dutch side, I wanted to do something with Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter.  I make simple cookied and tried to trick my cous' into thinking the cookied were homemade Speculaas.  But he wasn't fooled!  Anyway, I was glad to introduce him to the delightful TJ's spread!  Anyway, he definitely beat me to the dutch-punch, because my cousin Dan had gone all out at an Asian import store that had all sorts of Dutch goodies!  There was Hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), pepermunt (delightful peppermint candies), speculaas cookied (dutch spice cookies shaped like windmills), poffertjes (small tiny pancakes) mix, bischuit (biscuits for the sprinkles),  stroopwafels (syrup-waffle cookies), and some Indonesian shrimp crackers.  It was like Christmas in January!  The cookies both got opened that night and were easily finished by Matt and I this morning.  I also enjoyed some bischuit with hagelslag and butter.  The only thing missing was kumenekaas (dutch farmers cheese with cumin seeds - so good!).  Make fun of the deliciousness if you will, but no one dislikes these amazing foods once they try them!  When I was in high school, my dad used to make me "boterham met hagelslag en kaas" (a buttered bread sandwich with sprinkles and cheese").  I was made fun of the seemingly ridiculous combination, until it was tasted.  By 9th grade my dad had to make me two sandwiches for school - one for myself and one for the other kids to eat!  It is THAT good!

Today was fun - we slept in then went for a hike with my friend Janna.  There are some trails near our apartment that I've been wanting to check out and today was a perfect day.  The Lost Dog Wash trailhead was only a 10 minute drive away (less than that really), and we did a shorter loop of 2.4 miles.  There are plenty of other trails, so now that we know where it is, I hope we can go check out some of the other trails.  We took a little dip in the hot tub post-hike, which was also pleasant.  Anyway, after that it was some errands before the game.

Only two and a half weeks until our trip to El Salvador and we are as excited as ever!!  See you all later and thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Go Niners!

49ers beat the Carolina Panthers 23-10! We watched the game at Majerle's Sports Bar in old town with our friend Rochelle, her cousins and friends - all SF fans!!  Super fun!  Next week: Beat the Hawks!  (Sorry Em and all you Seattle-types.)  (not actually sorry)

End of Week 2

Hello, again, people of the internets!

While this week didn't involve any world trekking, it was a week of day-to-day level excitements here at Shapiro Adventures.  You know, just two normal people (well, sort of normal) doing everyday-type things.  After two weeks of winter break, I went back to work teaching piano lessons to the kiddos.  Most of the kids didn't practice much over break, so there is a lot of review going on.  Matt has been working hard over at LearnVest, often working until 9 PM as January is a high volume month for them.  I guess a lot of people make New Year's Resolutions to get "financially fearless".  I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the CEO just published a book ("Financially Fearless" by Alexa von Tobel) that is currently on the New York Times bestseller list, #5, under the "Advice and How To" section.   Rehearsals for my chorus, the Scottsdale Chorus, also started up rehearsal again this week.  I was very happy to get back to singing!  I have a lot of new-to-me music and choreography to learn before our performances in February and March.  I'm also switching parts from Baritone to Lead, so I am excited for that big change!
Erin sings a country song!

Since last weeks Karaoke adventure spawned a conversation with another new Chorus friend, Erin, we decided to hit up Ernie's again for some more great singing!  Erin is really into country, so she sang a bunch of songs I was not really familiar with, but sounded great doing it!  I did a bunch of bad pop songs, including "Party in the USA" and "Oops...I did it again!", but I also ended on a classier note, singing "Walkin' in Memphis", one of my all-time favorites.

Matt also made some wonderful Amazon purchases - these are the everyday-level excitements I was talking about.  He got himself a cover for his new kindle, a chromecast, and a pancake batter dispenser.  The dispenser is pretty sweet.  I actually wanted it to assist with cupcake making, but we did make pancakes in a breakfast-for-dinner last night and it was a big success!  It does leak a little (as many reviews said it would), but the leaking sort of goes into the handle, so it was still pretty neat.  I made mini-chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes.  The mini-chips went through no problem, but some berries got a little stuck, but once mashed from above, came out ok.  Overall, I am pretty happy with that purchase.  The Chromecast is pretty amazing.  It basically plays to our TV anything from a chrome browser on a computer as well videos from certain apps on our phones (Netflix, YouTube, HBOGo, etc.).  It's nice to be able to watch on the bigger screen and also to be able to share with the other person what we're watching!  

On Thursday, we checked out a new restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale called "Citizen Public House".  It's a gastropub type place and the menu was really cool and we liked it a lot.  My friend, Janna, and I had the "Persian" cocktail made with gin and cucumber juice.  We Share the Mac & Cheese appetizer, SO GOOD, and the lamb burger.  We asked for it to be rare but in hindsight it was a little too raw!  Luckily, no one got sick - not that I was really worried.  Matt had the meatloaf and it was "yummy!"  I've decided that we should try to eat at a new restaurant at least every other week.  We've lived in Arizona for over half a year now and still don't know that many places, so I want to start exploring!!

And finally, there was some actually-huge-and-really-exciting news in my family this week!  My step-brother and sister-in-law gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Sadie!  She is so precious and I am so excited to meet her the next time I'm in Los Angeles.  There are definitely not enough photos of her, yet, but I am sure that there will be a million and one floating around soon.  Anyway, I am so happy that mommy and baby are healthy and starting a wonderful new life together!

Welp, that's all for today.  Now, it's time to hit the showers and watch the 49er's beat the Panthers in the play-offs.  Peace!