Monday, March 30, 2009

Niagara Falls Photo Shoot - Take 1

The Dining Diva at Niagara Falls

We walked up this giant hill to get to hotel. Straight ahead are the falls.

Just Another Manic Monday...

...I wish it was Sunday 'Cause that's my funday Woah Woah....Shout out to The Bangles!

(But this isn't that manic of a Monday - however - yesterday on our road trip back from Niagara Falls it came on the radio - and I decided it would be an outstanding title for today's blog.)

So what a weekend! I'll give you the short version and then stay tuned for a spectacular array of photos from the weekend, as well.

Friday: Watched the SU game at Quaker Steak & Lube with the bf and his friend. It was PACKED there...however...I am still totally impressed with the excellent customer service that was delivered. Our wait for a table was minimal, the bar tenders came right over once I got to the bar, our waitress was friendly and fast, the wings were amazing and hot, and we had a great table right in front of a TV. I would have expected long waits and mediocre food because the parking lot was overflowing with vehicles - gladly - this was far from the case. You Rock, Quaker Steak & Lube. The Dining Diva will be back, for sure! (Too bad SU lost, but they did have a nice journey).

Saturday: Woke up early, had a nice run at the gym, had some breakfast and hit the road to Niagara Falls. It was a glorious day. The sun was shining and it was the perfect weather for a drive. So we had our first mini-vaca together and it was a total blast. Passports in hand, we successfully crossed the Canadian border and headed to our hotel. We had a a great view of both the American and Canadian falls from the 21st floor of the Hilton Hotel. Niagara Falls is def. a majestic sight to be seen. Pretty incredible. We hit the streets and walked down for what would turn in to be quite the adventure of photography. Did you know it's pretty fun to ask people to take your picture? And then see the different way people actually take the photos? I was really overwhelmed by the kindness and positive attitude complete strangers had when taking our pictures. And let me tell you - we have quite a variety of photos. The bf is REALLY into smiling so he really couldn't get enough of himself! :o) Just Kidding! Actually, for being a dentist, you would think he would really love showing off his pearly whites - NOPE! Not to worry - I'm taking care of this situation - and you will see a whole lot of teethy smiles once I post the pictures.

Moving right along. . .We walked around the city and went to lunch at T.G.I.Fridays. Continued walking. Relaxed at the hotel. Changed for dinner and dancing. Went to dinner. Gambled with the fun pull-down machines at the Casino (lost some $$$), Went to a few places for magnificent martinis...My favorite bar was on the very top floor of the Hilton. We had a great few of the falls down below.

Packed our bags and left Canada for the great city of Buffalo. The bf gave me the grand tour of the city and showed me his old apartment and where he went to school. We went out for brunch at a really cool restaurant/bar and then got back on the Thruway towards home.

I couldn't drive past the Outlets without stopping...(Eeek!) we took a quick break at the Coach outlet and I purchased (what a great sale,btw!) this great Coach bracelet that has been on my wish list and an awesome over-the-shoulder purse which will be great for traveling/bike riding/anything.

Then came home, grocery shopped, and finished "Where the Heart Is"...which was a great book. What should I read next?

Time to finish up at work and head to the gym.

Stay Sassy!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sassin' Up My Blog

Since I'm still pretty new to this blogging 'stuff', I am quite happy with the layout of my new blog makeover. Pretty sassy if you ask me. Where do you go to get fun buttons for your blog?

Life is Goooooood

This week sure does seem to be taking its sweet time. I can't wait for the weekend! I am really just very happy at this moment in my life. I feel really excited and lucky to be alive and living and blessed with a fabulous family and spectacular friends and a sassy bf. :o) What can I say? I can't seem to stop smiling and that feels freakin' fantastic. I'm wearing contacts today - finally - after a five month sabbatical with severe and chronic dry eye syndrome. It really was awful - and it's not gone yet - in fact - my eyes are super dry as I type away - but at least I have my contacts in and I'm not dying of a brain tumor (as I previously suspected and actually underwent an MRI to determine my fate.) I'm going to live - thank God!

I had a half day of work yesterday and then a great evening. I chatted it up with my mom and ate cheese balls with her for fun and then drove over to the bf's for a walk in the park (I attempted to run a little bit) and then we went to Wegmans and picked up some items for dinner. Actually, for a quick dinner it was pretty splendid.

The menu:
Lemon pepper rotisserie chicken
Fresh asparagus
tossed salad
uncle Ben's rice ( love it )
fresh Italian bread

strawberry/pineapple daiquiris
fresh watermelon and pineapple

It was tasty. I love spending time with him. They we watched America Idol and my favorites are the guy who went first, Adam Lambert, and Allison. I was almost brought to tears during Adam's performance. It was wonderful - he was/is wonderful. I enjoyed his singing and sincerity immensely.

Travel Update:
Since my previous blog - we have chosen Niagara Falls as our weekend getaway destination. We're staying at the Hilton and I think we might have a room with a view of the falls which is really exciting. I don't know what we are going to do there - but rumor has it that we might go out and break out some dance moves. Oh baby! Ha Ha That should be fun.

So, back to work. . .

Stay sassy!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Orange Day!

I'm wearing a really cute laced orange tank with matching cardigan today in celebration of Orange Day! Basically, it's a day for all Syracuse University Alumni/a to show their school spirit and also give back to their communities. I am wearing orange - however - I don't have anything planned in an effort to "give back" today. I'll have to think on that one.

So last night was a good one. I went to the gym after work - which I didn't want to do - but then was so happy I did once I left. I did the treadmill for 45 minutes and it felt fabulous. Then I did some weights and attempted to conquer that medicine ball. Let's just say I have some work to do.

Then I went tanning. Which I did slightly burn a touch - but it was worth it. It felt so great! I can't wait to do it again in a few days. I've got to get a tan before I go to Florida to help camouflage my beached whale of a body. Hope it works!

Then Sassy Sara (see picture) met me at Wegmans for dinner and gossip and grocery shopping. It was an exceptional time. (Thanks for meeting me there, lovey!) We basically determined that we are so thankful that we escaped our small hometown drama and depression by moving to the big city (well, really not big at all, but it sounds good). I think it's safe to say that we are both happy that we are not pregnant or planning on having any kids anytime soon - unlike so many girls we graduated with. Go us! :o)

So - it's only Tuesday and I can't wait for the weekend. Well, actually, I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I'm only working a half day and then hopefully I go visit the bf and my friend that lives in his apartment complex.

Last night we discussed our 'spontaneous getaway' and I think we are leaning towards the Canadian side of Niagara Falls - however, I don't even know if we will really go or not. We (or at least me) are supposed to be saving money for Florida and other items...such as a new car. So, we'll see what happens.

Ok - I've got to make my oatmeal and get to work.

Stay sassy!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

It's the start of another work week - yet one day closer to a little Floridian vacation! April 10 is the departure date, to be exact. I'm really looking forward to it! The bf (it's been confirmed! good thing because it was starting to stress me out - doesn't take much to do that, btw) is coming with me and we're staying at my parent's house on Clearwater Beach. They'll be there too. I'm excited.

So - moving backwards. here's a little weekend re-cap for you. It was a fun-filled weekend and I stayed pretty busy - which I like.

Friday night-
Hot date night. We had a great dinner at Carrabba's and I just love it there. I hadn't dined there in a long time and it re-confirmed my love for the restaurant. It was packed, too! We kind of split our dinners. I went with the Chicken Marsala - amazing! and He had tilapia. Great! The salads and pasta sides and bread were outstanding, as well. We also really loved the picture of red sangria that we ordered. We even got the recipe from the waitress on how to make it. Mmmm...It is great. I'd like a glass right now, actually. Too bad it's only 11:14 a.m. on a Monday. Plus, I'm at work. Anyways, it was very fun. And I love doing a "cheers" upon the first sip of a drink. And he is learning this, slowly but surely. So we "cheers" to "the third round of sangria" ...which I think meant... that was our third time having it together. But don't you love celebrating a good drink with a great cheers? I love celebrating anything. It makes life that much more interesting and exciting.

So, moving right along.
Saturday. Jam-packed with adventure. I had to go to the doctors which is near my home town. So Tim came with me and I really gave him the back-stage tour of where I'm from. He was a good sport, because it was long day. So we went to my sister's house, to Eddie's for lunch (where I grew up working at), to my parent's house, to my hometown for the belated St. Patrick's Day Parade, to my grandparent's house, to a driving tour of my town, to back to Syracuse, to the movies. We saw Taken and I liked it; however, I felt very disturbed afterwards. I thought about all of the situations I have put myself in - and I am lucky to be alive. It's a scary world out there - don't trust anyone. Well, you can trust a handful of people but that's about it.

Gym, picked up some tasty subs from Wegmans for lunch, went over to Tim's to watch the SU game (GO CUSE!), then went to the mall for an afternoon of shopping. I made quite a few purchases to enhance my spring clothing wardrobe. I still have work to do, but it was fun.

So, that was my weekend in a nutshell. But it was a good one. Now, thinking about the upcoming weekend. I might be going on a 'spontaneous weekend getaway' ... however...due to the fact that I have five days to plan it...makes it not so spontaneous.

The choices:

Lake Placid, NY
Niagara Falls, NY
Toronto, Ontario

Which one would you choose and why?

Stay sassy!


Friday, March 20, 2009

I Heart My Job!

Let's go SU! (Like my orange ribbon in my hair? I'm quite festive.)

What a great afternoon at work! We all went downstairs to watch the game on the big screen and dine on outrageously delicious pizza and char-grilled wings from OIP. For dessert, we had chocolate covered pizza and wings from the well-known Chocolate Pizza Company. They were even featured on the Food Networks's program, 'Unwrapped'. It was very generous of the bosses to let us all cheer on our basketball team for a few hours. Really made my Friday that much better. And we won. My NCAA bracket is looking pretty strong. Right now, I'm in fifth place. Not too shabby for having no idea about any of the teams and just picking winners based upon my wacky way of thinking. (ie. I choose Gonzaga and Xavier to do well, due to their interesting names.) Don't laugh - my way of thinking could deliver. We'll just have to wait and see. For all of you who are doing brackets - who do you have going all the way? I chose Pitt - even though I bleed orange.

On another note - it is a wonderfully sunny day today for the first day of spring! Goodbye winter. I won't miss all.

On to this evening's festivities. I have been invited on a hot date and I'm looking forward to it. The man will be picking me up at taking me to Carrabba's for a romantic dinner and lots of sangria. Ha! I don't really know about the romantic part - but I can confirm that we will be drinking sangria. On our first date he ordered a sangria and I was impressed with his exciting drink selection. (I believe you can tell a lot by a person's choice of drink.)

Then in the morning, I just might participate in a 5-mile run starting at 8 a.m. downtown. This is a training run for an upcoming 10 mile road race in May. I don't even know if I can run 5-miles, but I'd like to try it. So we'll see how that goes.

Stay sassy!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Hump Day

Hello there-

As a blogging virgin, I must say, I am truly enjoying myself. I can't believe how I get sucked right into reading blogs of people I don't even know! I love reality TV - so why wouldn't I love reality writing? Very interesting that peoples' personal thoughts and writings are so intriguing. . .but they are. I hope my blogs get sassier and more fun to read, as well. I think I need to spice up my life and then let you all get a taste!

So, the last two days have been so sunny and glorious and today we're back to blah blah rain. It's amazing how the weather impacts my mood. And I don' t just think it's my mood only. What if we could control the weather? We can control just about everything else...but all we can do now is predict the weather. However, I think it's a good idea to leave the weather determination up to God. Once we start changing things that we never could be gets a little scary. I'm thinking about the mom of 14 in California.

So jumping into spring thinking. . .I can't wait to see tulips poking through the ground to say hello. That will be very exciting! Spring is like a fresh start - a new beginning. What isn't there to love about it? (Other than the dirty melting snow banks...but they seem to be gone today.)

Spring makes me think of summer which makes me think of outdoor concerts. Which shows are you going to and who would you recommend getting tickets to?

Stay sassy!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Finger Lickin' Good

What a great way to kick off the work week! My Monday started with a 10 a.m. press conference at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que! And it was freakin' fantastic. The conference was held in the brand new catering/banquet facility located above the restaurant. What a great space and atmosphere. I'm sure many fabulous fiestas will be held upstairs. So, the conference was to announce the 2009 lineup at the Northeast's largest, free outdoor jazz concert - Jazz Fest. This year's headliner will be Kenny G. Very cool. I also bumped in to an old mentor of mine. She has her own morning talk show on an adult contemporary radio station here and her husband organizes the music festival. It was great to see her for a few minutes. I was an intern on her morning show a few years ago and I'm pretty sure she gave me a glowing review to my current employer when she was called as a reference for me. (I thanked her again today. I love my job.) In any case - after the conference (that was complete with great live jazz music by some local students who just won Grammy awards for their musical talent!) there was a great Dinosaur Bar-B-Que buffet...and it was finger lickin' good!

My food experience at 11 a.m. this morning was exceptional. Now I know why Peter Greenburg (TODAY Show) always requests Dinosaur grub when he comes here! I have always ordered the pulled pork and it's usually pretty good. But today, I tried the bbq ribs and they were AMAZING. And it wasn't just me that fell in love - my pregnant co-worker was in finger lickin' heaven, right along with me. They also had wings on the menu...I tried one...but I am just not a fan of chicken wings.

So after a tasty meal of ribs, wings, baked beans, broccoli salad and corn was time to take some peanut butter brittle and head back to work.

(What a fatty I am, I know!) And I had actually brought corn beef and cabbage left overs for lunch today .... I'll just have to have that tomorrow.

So for lunch today, a friend and I went for an hour-long power walk. It was great. The sun was shining and the city looked alive. I loved it. We stopped at a local coffee shop for a delicious iced coffee. It was great. At the coffee shop, we bumped in to a family friend of mine and his co-worker (who I just met this weekend at the St. Patrick's Parade). The only reason why I'm mentioning our meeting today is because I can't believe how rude this guy was! He didn't even shake my friend's hand or really look up from his newspaper to show any sign of being a nice person. What a jerk. That really fired me up and increased my speed for our walk back to the office.

That's all for now! Looking forward to hitting the gym tonight!

Stay sassy!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dancing in the Kitchen

What a fun night it was last night! Instead of going out to eat, the "dinner partner" and I (we haven't officially confirmed that we're bf/gf...I'm not really into titles) planned to make my weight watcher Lasagna. So, I went over to his apartment, loaded with all of the ingredients, including my garlic press, a bottle of fabulous Washington State Riesling, fresh Italian bread from Pastabilities and their oh-so-delicious zesty tomato olive oil dipping sauce. So, I came over after work with the items and we turned on the music and got to work. Cooking has never been so much fun! The man is much more comfortable in the kitchen than me. To be exact, I believe he said, "Cooking is an art...put down the recipe." So, I did. Well, kind of. I was more of the direction giver and he was my helpful assistant. He chopped the veggies and spread the cheese. I drank the wine...directly from the bottle. We were having quite a bit of fun. One of the highlights was his Britney Spears dance moves. It was pretty fabulous. So the menu was this delicious veggie lasagna, meatballs, fresh string beans, fresh Italian bread and zesty tomato dipping sauce, tossed salad, two bottles of wine, vodka, lemonade, grape pucker. Ahh....I'm exhausted and full just listing off the meal. But I must say, it was very fabulous. And such a fun evening. I'm feeling the full belly and tired head today at work, that's for sure! I think our next dinner-making date should be reserved for the weekend.

And for anyone who doesn't own a garlic press - I highly suggest you purchase one. I had quite a bit of fun using it. "I can't cook, but I am one heck of a garlic presser!"

Stay sassy!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lights Out - The Last Meal

Here's a new spin to my posting - it isn't totally food related. More "Chicken Soup for the Soul" kind of dining, I would say. In any case, I think this is worthy of a blog for sure. But I'll keep it short because it's better that way.

Basically, since the beginning of my high school days, a certain male figure has been in my life. That is, as an on and off boyfriend. In any case, he has been an enormously huge part of my life - for better or worse. Well, after a final break up over the summer, I confirmed that I would be moving on with my life. I have a new living location, new job, new friends, new beginning - why would I go back in time to an unhealthy relationship? So, I have been very proud of myself and not communicating with this person for almost half of a year! That is the longest time in my life since I've known him that I haven't talked to or wanted to talk to him. (Not to mention that I have finally met someone who I really do care about and enjoy spending time with. He's made me realize that I deserve way better than what I was dealing with with the X bf. ) So, I find out that the X bf is now engaged! He's only been dating this girl for four months and now he is engaged? I was amused when I first found out - but then felt heartbroken - or actually, just at a loss for words. I felt numb but hurt. Just confused. I think because the X bf put so much pressure on me from a young age that he wanted to be with me 'forever' and blah blah blah. So, I never even imagined him marrying anyone other than me. And I should have realized that just because I didn't want to say "I do" to him...that he would move on. But I thought true love would take more than four months. (I sound like I'm pouting. - I don' t mean to be. I am just venting and this is my outlet.) So then I have to see his stupid engagement picture in our small town newspaper. Eugh. I just hope it works out. I just feel like I know him so well, and this is not what I pictured for him. I feel like someone knocked the wind out of me. The weird thing is, I don't want him back or anything like that. I just feel blah about it. But I will just change my thoughts and be happy for him. And happy it's not me in that engagement picture. Change is healthy and many times, for the best. This is the case in this situation - and it just makes me a stronger person. But it's hard to forget the past and all of the things that were said and plans that were made. But again, eugh. I can't believe I'm even posting about this - but I am. I think the title, " The Last Meal" is appropriate for this title. Because that restaurant has closed and I'm tasting a whole new cuisine and so far, I really like it.

Thanks for listening.

Stay sassy!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life is a Highway

Sing it, Sally!
(I want to dance when I hear this song too...especially by my boys: Rascal Flatts!)
Well, life's a road that you travel on
There's one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There's a world outside every darkened door
Were loose won't haunt you anymore
For the brave are free and they love our soul
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won't hesitate
To break down the guarding gate
There's not much time left today
Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long
If your going my way, I wanna drive it All night long
To all these cities and all these town
It's in my blood and it's all around
I love now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver's lights
Knock me down And back up again
You're in my blood I'm not a lonely man
There's no load I can't hold
Road so rough this I know
I'll be there when the light comes in
Just tell 'em we're survivors
-What song makes you feel fabulous? Sing it, Sista!

Out to Lunch

Happy Thursday, everyone! The Dining Diva can not wait for the weekend! Not that I really have anything planned - but I just feel over worked and underpaid. No, not really. But I like to say that. Actually, right now I am feeling quite full. I just had a fabulous lunch with an old-time friend (Actually Ms. Sassy Pants, herself...who inspired me to start my blog). So Ms. Sass drove to my place of work right downtown and we marched our big girl pants a few blocks away to a tasty little sandwich shop. (Thanks!) It was a great time and a wonderful time to catch up on life. The sun is also out today, which made for an all around enjoyable lunch break.

We both had a chicken pesto panini with a side of potato chips. Not what I had planned on getting. (I'm trying to do Weight I had checked out the menu online before I left to choose a smart lunch choice. I was set on a boring grilled chicken salad...but, I changed my mind.) Not going to beat myself up - I am going to the gym tonight and I just will have some zero point foods for dinner. The life of a fatty is a challenge - but I'll keep moving forward.

We should feel good when we treat ourselves - so that's what I'm going to do. Ms. Sass use to come over and play at my house with me way back in elementary school...and now we're both working ladies. Crazy how time keeps moving forward. Life is so great - I just feel really blessed with my spot in life and I'd like to express that.

This sunshine has really put me in a great mood. Woo HOO!! And it's almost Friday. Lots to be thankful for. Ok, enough rambling. I'll be really thankful when I don't look like a beached whale in my bathing suit next month in Florida.

The Dining Diva should get back to work.

Stay Sassy!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brrr....and sick of Soup

Happy Tuesday! Long time no post. Spring fever has set in and it's only 17 degrees outside this afternoon! Could we heat things up already? This cold weather calls for comfort food - but the body is calling for a heat wave and long runs outside. I vote for the ladder.

Not much to report on the dining end. Actually, it might be a boring dining month. With three trips planned within the month, I've decided I need to cut back on calories and spending money on my much loved dining in general. What trips do I have planned you ask? Due to the longevity of the month of March, I have chosen to travel to NYC, Rochester, and Clearwater Beach, Florida! I'm looking forward to all three getaways!

The Dining Diva needs some excitement in her life - so I'm going to the gym and then we'll see!

Stay sassy.