Monthly Archives: April 2015

Z is for Za’atar

I learned about, and fell in love with, Za’atar when we lived in Saudi Arabia back in the early 90s.I first had it as Za’atar Bread.

Doesn’t that look amazing? It is.

So what is za’atar? It’s a  is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. To make the bread, it’s mixed with olive oil and spread on the bread. 

A couple of years ago, I also found that you can get a za’atar bagle at Bagle Country in Skokie, IL which is now, according to Yelp, closed. 🙁 ::sobs::

I recently found za’atar bread here in San Jose. I stumbled upon the Sultan Bakery one day, which I will review one day soon. I entered the bakery and was met with all of the wonderful bakery items I experienced while living in Saudi and Bahrain. In an effort to maintain some composure (and respect to my pre-pageant diet) I decided that I’d just get one piece of za’atar bread. 

I hadn’t had za’atar in a long time. It’s like I forget it’s in my cabinet and then I get a craving for it and pull it out. I need to stop forgetting about it. When I pulled it out the other day, I decided to look at the lable and noticed that it’s seriously expired. Oops! 😉


Now I really want to taste some za’atar and I planned to find an international grocery store today but David took my gps yesterday and I have no idea how to get there so I’ll have to save it for another day. But I will get it soon!

I think that it might add a nice flavor to the base of an Israeli Salad. And I’m going to try it. Just as soon as I get some fresh za’atar.

So this is what I’m craving on this last day of the A to Z blogging challenge. How great that it begins with Z! 😀

Y is for Yelp

I love Yelp I’ve been yelping since September of 2011. My first review was for Sara, the gal in Bartlesville who did my facials and pedicures. After that, was John the Locksmith who saved my life by getting me in when I got locked out and getting me out when I got locked in. LOL!


And I was off and running. If you know me, you’ll know I’m pretty positive and I love, love, love to give five star reviews. I think a lot of people will only comment when they are upset about something so I like to point out the good. 

Not that I won’t give a bad review. I will. I noticed as I was going through my reviews before writing this blog that two of the really awful hotels we’ve stayed at are now closed.


Also, the 18 Wheeler Diner is closed. ::sobs::

But over the years, I’ve come to find Yelp to be an invaluable tool. Traveling as much as we do, I use it to find restaurants and attractions. I even used it in Warsaw, Poland recently and left reviews. 🙂 Since we recently moved, I use it all the time to find just about anything I want or need.

Do you know you can type “Baba Ghanouj” or “pageant earrings” into Yelp and it will bring you to the nearest place to find them? Awesome. 

Every once in a while I hear back from a business owner and I love that. I’ve noticed that more businesses have Yelp signs in their windows so clearly they are seeing that Yelp is something that a lot of people are using. 


If you’re not using Yelp, yet, give it a shot. It’s really helpful! 😀

X is for Xanadu

Xanadu. Cheesy 70s movie involving Olivia Newton John and roller skates…

…or color you’ve never heard of?

On twitter the other morning, my friend Corina tweeted an article about 11 colors you’ve probably never heard of. I love color so I was interested to read the article. 

Not only hadn’t I heard most of the color names, I wasn’t completely sure how to pronounce them with the exception of Xanadu, Amaranth, and Mikado, all words I’d heard before in reference to other things. The names just didn’t trip off my tongue but it was an interesting read. with Xanadu being the only color name I remembered after reading the article. Probably because it connected with the cheese 70’s Olivia Newton John movie.

When I was looking for this article, I came across several others of the same type. 19 colors, 8, colors, etc. In looking at them, I noticed that there truly were some colors I hadn’t ever heard of but a few that I had and that the lists didn’t contain all of the same colors, in fact they didn’t overlap much at all.

So that was a fun thing to check out. And the answer to the above question? Cheesy 70s movie or color you’ve never heard of? The answer is both. 😀

W is for Wrists

I’m really mad at my wrists. It’s not even their fault but, nonetheless, I’m mad at them anyway. You see, it’s my wrists that are keeping me from riding my bike and forcing me to get my miles in on the Lifecycle in the gym.


I’m really grateful to have the Lifecyle, though. This way, I won’t lose any of my cycling gains. But the experience in the gym is nothing like the experience of riding on the trail. 

I miss the freedom of being on the trail. I miss the wind in my face and saying hi to the planes as I pass the airport. I even miss saying hi to the other runners/walkers/cyclists on the trail and them looking through me as if I’m not there or ignoring me altogether. 

Once my rides went over an hour, it felt like my hands were starting to fall asleep. A quick search of the internet told me that I was experiencing Handlebar Palsy. Nice. 

This overuse injury comes from compressing the ulnar nerve with the handlebars. So after reading this, I started to remember my gloves, which gives me extra padding. I also started making sure that changed my grip position frequently. I thought it was working and didn’t seem to have tingly fingers until last Friday. And then it was one step past just tingly fingers on my left hand.

I could barely grip anything. I couldn’t write with a pen (I’m left handed) and I had a hard time doing much of anything with that hand. Well, this woke me right up. I need my left hand! 

Over the course of the day, it worked itself out but it was scary enough to me that I’ve decided to forgo my real bike in favor of the Lifecyle until I can get a new bike. Or get this one fitted to me so it doesn’t cause this problem. It’s possible the handlebars are too low for me. I’ve wondered if the bike is tall enough. 

So I’ll be visiting the bike shop here very soon and getting fit for a bike that will ft me right. Because I sincerely love cycling. It’s the best! 🙂

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.


 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. 


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


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. 


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.


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.


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!


Oh the ceiling!


Aren’t they awesome?

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


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

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


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. 😀

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. 😀

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. 😀

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! 😀

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! 😀

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!


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! 


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. 


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


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


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. 😉


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


David got the center prime ribeye.


We decided on Brussels sprouts and 


Au Gratin potatoes to share. 


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. 😀


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. 😀