Book Review: Dollar Daze

Dollar Daze: The Bottom Dollar Girls in Love (Bottom Dollar Girls #3)Dollar Daze: The Bottom Dollar Girls in Love by Karin Gillespie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. It’s the third in a series but I didn’t feel like I’d been left out by not reading the books that came before which of course I must now read.

This book is about the Bottom Dollar Girls, a group of older ladies who have been friends for a long time (two of them for most of their lives!) and the granddaughter of one of the ladies.

The older ladies all seem to be looking for love in this book except for Mrs. Tobias who seems to feel she’s done all the marrying she needs to with her first marriage. But, in the end, love finds her anyway. I love the friendships, I love the character of Attalee who brings so much of the humor to the book and I love that Mrs. Tobias loosened up enough by the end of the book that they were calling her Gracie.

Elizabeth, the granddaughter, is frustrated at being a stay at home mom but her husband is not in favor of her going back to work while their daughter, Glenda, is still so young. She comes up with a great idea that both satisfies her and makes her husband happy.

I really liked this book a lot and hope there’s another in the series. I highly recommend this book! :-)

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V is for Vero’s Coffee Bar

Today we wandered down to SoFA (South First Area District) to have coffee at Vero’s Coffee Bar.

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 Vero’s is located in the SoFA Market. Accoriding to the folks at Vero’s, the SoFA Market is going to be similar to San Pedro Square, offering many of the same vendors.

They have a nice selection of coffees to chose from and several ways to have it made. They also have coffee you can purchase to make at home. 

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It was a tasty cup of coffee! They have a small variety of treats but we decided to take a pass on that, today.

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We’ll definitely wander down this way again. The coffee was delish, the folks at Vero’s were super nice and it will be interesting to see how the SoFA Market progresses! :-)

Book Review: The Sound of Glass

The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen White

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I was reading the prologue of this book I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But I decided to go ahead and keep reading and I’m so glad I did!

I was immediately sucked into the story about Merritt who inherited her husband’s grandmother’s house in South Carolina. She had decided she needed a change of scenery in her life and went ahead and moved to South Carolina even though her husband, who had recently died, had never told her anything about his life there. She didn’t know about his grandmother or his brother.

On her heels came her stepmother, Loralee, with her half brother, Owen. Loralee is dying of cancer but you don’t find this out until the end of the book although I suspected. She has never had a relationship with Merritt because Merritt couldn’t stand the fact that her father found someone else to love and marry after the death of her mother. Loralee’s plan is to have Merritt be sister/mother to Owen after she passes.

Initially, Merritt is reserved and unhappy that Loralee is there but both Owen and Loralee begin to grow on her. Her husband’s brother, Gibbes, is also in the picture because she wanted him to take whatever items from the house that he wanted as it was his childhood home.

I love the way Merritt grows in this book. I love all the characters, especially Loralee. I was so sad when she died even though I knew it was coming. I really love the way the prologue finally made sense to me. :-)

Great book! Highly recommend.



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U is for US Post Office

I love architecture. Buildings of all sorts. Two of my favorite buildings are the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City which is new, 

and the Petronis Towers in Kuala Lumpur which are relatively new (opened in 1996)

compared to the Downtown San Jose Post Office. 

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This beautiful building was built to be the main post office for San Jose in 1933 by Ralph Wykoff. It’s a gorgeous example of Depression Era federal construction. The main post office has since been moved but the building still serves as the Downtown Branch.

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Older buildings are charming in a way that newer ones simply can’t be. The level of detail on both the interior and exterior of the building is remarkable.

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Although I’ve been in the post office several times to mail packages, I never looked up until I was there earlier this week. As in all old post offices, there are the banks of brass post office boxes and teller windows that look like something out of an old western. I love those things. But when I was asking permission to take photos, I told him I wanted to take photos of the marble, the lights, the ceiling. 

Oh the lights!

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Oh the ceiling!

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Aren’t they awesome?

This is inside the lobby and brings to mind the song You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon. 

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I look around, around, I see angels in the architecture. – Paul Simon

The outside is spectacular. The entrances are castle-like.

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And the corners are equally beautiful. 

usps_sanjose_cornerI truly love this building. I marvel at it’s beauty and detail every time I go in or even walk by. It’s my favorite building in San Jose. :D

T is for Tea

So you know I’m a coffee achiever but sometimes I actually like to have tea. Mostly because of their health benefits, not because I prefer them, ever, to coffee. 

Right now there are three teas I have nearly every day. The first is green tea. Now, I don’t like the way green tea tastes, brewed, in a cup. I do, however, like the way it tastes in my morning smoothie. I think it’s strange, myself, but it works! The benefits of green tea are numerous and I willing to accept the health benefits of the tea in addiction to the benefits of my green smoothie each morning. :D

The next tea I have each day is Oolong Tea. Somewhere between a black tea and a green tea, this tea is also beneficial for healthy skin, healthy bones, and combating the signs of aging. I drink a couple of cups a day because it peps me up without spinning me out. It’s also said to help with weight loss and, if that’s true, I won’t say no. :D

Finally, we love to have a cup of chamomile tea before we go to bed at night. I see it sometimes as a  tea choice in restaurants and wonder how the person who drinks it during the day manages to make it through the afternoon or even get to their car. Chamomile lulls me quickly and soundly to sleep without any chemicals and I love it. I love the way it tastes, too. 

So there you have it. I do like to drink iced tea when it’s really hot. But I almost like it too much and will drink it instead of water. So I make sure I drink a gallon of water first. Then, if I have any desire for more to drink, I’ll let myself have iced tea. 

What kinds of teas do you like? Do you use tea bags or loose leaf tea? I’ll be listening because I do like trying to tea! :D

S is for Steak

As I eluded to in yesterday’s post, we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary with dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse last night. 

I was excited when I made the reservation a few weeks ago because I’ve been excited about our anniversary. 36 years just seems so much longer than 35 years for some reason and it seemed like such a huge accomplishment. But more than that, I’m looking for 36 more and, after that? Another 36. David and I have so much fun! :D

Earlier in the day, Heather called from Morton’s to confirm our reservation. She also wanted to know David’s name so they could personalize our menu. I thought that was a nice extra touch and I loved seeing it when they gave us the menus. Of course, you know how I can get, going on and on, Heather knew it was our 36th anniversary and she included that as well. Nice!

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We were greeted with Happy Anniversary when we approached the host to be seated which was awesome. He took us to our table and told us our server, April, would be right with us. April arrived and also wished us happy anniversary. Then she said she always likes to ask couples what their advice would be to a newly married couple.

I told her that I would tell the bride she should always put her husband first. It can get hard, when kids come. They need so much and pull you in so many different directions. But if you put your husband first, you will have an ally and helper when it comes time to going in all those directions and it makes everything easier and the marriage stronger. 

David, man of few words, said, “Laugh.” 

Well alrighty then! And here I thought he found me utterly entertaining all these years. ;-)

We ordered our appetizers and it wasn’t until she took the wine list and cocktail menu that I noticed there was anniversary confetti on the table! 

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We had a cocktail to start. David had an Amstel Light and I had a martini. I was so excited to learn that Morton’s has Beefeater Gin, which is my favorite. So many places don’t have it anymore. 

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April brought us onion bread and soft butter. Mmmm. Yum!

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Then, a gal came by and asked if we wanted to have a photo to mark the occasion and we said yes. So nice! 

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I got the Broiled Sea Scallops for my appetizer. They were wrapped in bacon and came with apricot chutney and the whole dish was amazing! David got the short rib tacos which he said were good but he ate them before I got a chance to take a photo. Gotta be quick with that guy. ;-)

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We ordered steaks for dinner because, well, it seems like the thing to do at a steakhouse. I got the 8 oz. filet .

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David got the center prime ribeye.

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We decided on Brussels sprouts and 

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Au Gratin potatoes to share. 

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It was all so delicious!

Of course we had to have dessert. I mentioned I might have a couple of bites of cake and I did. We ordered Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake and it was gooey and warm and came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just the right size to share after a fabulous dinner. And I got to eat all the raspberries because David doesn’t like them. :D

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All in all, we had a wonderful night celebrating a wonderful event. Morton’s went out of their way to make us feel even more special with the little touches acknowledging our anniversary and we are so appreciative. :D  

 

 

 

 

 

R is for Raw

I debated over what I should use for my R blog post. I’ve been a Rottmayer for 36 years today! Yes, indeed, 36 years ago I married the man of my dreams who remains that along with being my best friend, confidant and partner in crime. But we aren’t going to celebrate until this evening so I figured I’d go with something else that’s been pretty important to me over the past eight months: eating a low fat, high carb, RAW diet. 

bananas I began eating raw on September 1 of last year. I was going to do it at a later date but my friend, Chickee (who is the one who inspired me) challenged me to just do it that day. So I did. 

Earlier in the year, David and I had both made a 21 day trip to Banana Island and I found then that it was the absolutely, positively, easiest way to give up refined sugar. I’ve had such a sweet tooth my whole life. I never could get how, when you go on a diet they say, to replace a cookie with an apple. It just didn’t compute.

rack Fruit is a huge part of my morning and afternoon meals, though. For the first month of eating this way, I felt so sweeted out that I felt like I had a pico de gallo deficiency. :D I would seriously crave something unsweet by the time the dinner meal rolled around and it was usually pico de gallo for several weeks. 

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I’ve come to a more balanced approach over the months and I incorporate greens into my smoothies so I’m not getting entirely fruit. I still have no cravings for sweets and my dinner meal is usually a more savory one.

So what do I eat in a day?

Breakfast is almost 100% of the time a smoothie that I make with 1/2 a bag of spinach, seven bananas, a big handful (I have big hands hee hee) of frozen strawberries and green tea for the liquid. It’s SOOOOOOO good. Even David has it every morning now that we’re living together again.

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Oftentimes for lunch I will have the very same thing. Now that we’re getting into spring and there are different varieties of fresh fruits at the store, I will sometimes have a mono meal of just one fruit. Mangoes are a new love and black grapes. Holy smokes I cannot eat enough black grapes! 

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I love going to the Mexican grocery and the Asian grocery because they have a lot of different produce than I’m not used to seeing. A gal that David works with is going to give me the addresses for farmers markets so we can start checking those out as well. 

My dinner is usually a huge salad with dressing made out of more veggies. The favorite at present involves a zucchini, half a red pepper, a tablespoon of tahini, some apple cider vinegar and some seasonings. It makes a LOT of dressing. I don’t konw about you but I have a hard time eating an undressed salad. Dressing just makes it more fun and I’m convinced that once you find a raw vegan dressing that you love, this way of eating becomes a whole bunch easier to stick with.

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I had to teach myself to be able to eat more veggies. When I first started eating veggie meals for dinner, I’d add up the calories and, even though it seemed like I had eaten so much, it was only 200 calories. Yikes! I’m a big, active person and that’s just not enough calories to keep me going, ultimately.

Now, my salad typically has two heads of romaine in it or the equivalent. If I eat a zoodle dish, I will sometimes eat up to four zucchini not counting any that are in the sauce.

I love that I can eat as much as I want and I’ve lost a ton of weight. More importantly, my face looks different, I look younger. I have boundless energy and I rarely have aches and pains unless it’s because I’ve jacked my training up and those are the good kinds of aches to have. :D

When I started this, I only wanted to be able to go down the slide at the park with the glambaby and not have to go to bed as soon as I dropped her off at home. But I’ve gained SO much more. I’m pretty sure I’ll eat this way forever. 

Do I eat raw 100% of the time? No. There are some instances where it’s really difficult. For instance, we went to Poland in February. Being a raw vegan in the middle of a Polish winter would have been a tough thing to do. Plus, there are so many other places I want to travel that I’m not sure I will ever get back to Poland so I loosened it up and let myself enjoy a Paczi and other cooked foods. 

As I mentioned above, it’s our 36th wedding anniversary today and we have a reservation at Morton’s Steakhouse for dinner. I do not plan to remain raw tonight and I might actually have a bite or two of chocolate cake. 

But raw living is for me, without a doubt. If you are feeling crappy and want some more energy or want to drop some weight, or sort out blood sugar issues (OMG there are SO many benefits), give a raw diet a whirl. You might like it! :D

 

Q is for Queen

When I got my beautiful American Beauty crown, I decided I would store it in the closet in the office when I wasn’t using it. I put it on a very high shelf. 

“Why?” you ask. 

Because we have a little princess in the family who loves wearing crowns. I knew if she saw it that she would want to have it and I didn’t want to tell her no.

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One day, when she was visiting, I had to get something out of the closet and she saw the crown. You see, it’s very, very sparkly and even sitting up on that high shelf, she saw it, she knew what it was, and she wanted it.

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“Can I have the crown, Glammie?” she asked , hope shining in her big blue eyes.

“Oh Haniston, I’m sorry, you can’t have it right now. Glammie needs it,” I replied.

Those big blue eyes started filling with tears as her lower lip pushed out and started trembling. 

“But I want it,” she said, starting to cry.

I picked her up and sat down with her facing me in my office chair.  Trying to make her feel better, I said, “You know how you are a princess?

She nodded her head.

“Well, Glammie is a queen,” I said. “When I don’t need this crown anymore, I promise you can wear it.”

She took this information and mulled it over for a few seconds.

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“I a princess and you a queen,” she finally said, with a smile beginning to form.

“Yes! That’s it!” I exclaimed, my own smile growing big.

We hugged each other and the sad moment passed. I never want to have to tell her no ever again. :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P is also for Paradise City :-)

Paradise City (Paradise, #1)Paradise City by C.J. Duggan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. It was so cute. :-)

When Lexie Atkinson is in 11th grade, her parents decided she should move to the city, live with her aunt and uncle and attend a real high school. As a home schooled student, Lexie is extra excited about the promise of living in a place called Paradise City and has it all blown up in her mind before she ever arrives.

As a child, she and her cousin, Amanda, had been really close. She was looking forward to continuing that relationship but the first thing she discovers is that Amanda doesn’t want to have anything to do with her.

When they go to check out the school, the principal yells to a boy named Ballantine, the school’s resident bad boy. Lexie sees him and is smitten.

The story is about Lexie trying to fit into her new surroundings. She bumbles along getting into trouble but trouble comes with Ballantine, too, and their relationship grows.

I read this book really quickly because it was fun to see what trouble Lexie was going to get into next. The book ends on a cliffhanger and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.

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P is for Philz Coffee

I was excited for it to be Saturday and that we could use our letter to try another coffee spot in San Jose. 

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Philz Coffee is down on the Paseo de San Antonio which is a cute area with lots of shops and restaurants. 

We walked in and found the place to stand and wait to give our order. We perused the menu while we waited.

Philz_Coffee_Menu_Board

I see Turkish and I get all excited. I adore cardamom and the idea of having Turkish coffee without all the sugar was really appealing to me. And, of course, I love dark roasts. I ordered the Tantalizing Turkish. I loved it!

There is a nice pastry case off goodies to choose from.

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And a cookie case.

Philz_Coffee_Cookies

I was intrigued by the Kouign Amann pastry especially after reading a Yelp review that said “you need this in your life”. I tried the fig filled pastry and it was amazing, all buttery and delicious.  :D

Philz_Coffee_Kougin_Amann

David stuck to his traditional chocolate croissant which he ate before I was able to snap a photo. He isn’t a coffee achiever, like I am, and was unsure of which coffee to select. With the barista’s help, we settled on the Tesora, which he said was their house coffee. David let me steal a sip of it and it was good, as well. The coffee at Philz is made, by pour over method, one cup at a time. 

You can buy Philz Coffee’s to take home, which is nice, and I like their logo mugs you can buy. (I didn’t get a photo. :(

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This shop is really close to the university and was really, really busy. We were able to snag a table outside which, as you know, I love. 

I definitely plan a return trip to sample some of the other coffees and pastries in the future. :-)