Friday, December 25, 2009

Greeings from the Sunshine State!

Ho! Ho! Ho! from the sandy beaches of Clearwater Beach, Florida!  It's great to be here with our family and friends and eat and drink and be merry!  Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday.  I'm just happy to be out of NY State for a few days and not stuck in snow and ice!

Merry Christmas!

-Dining Diva

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Delivered

Hi everyone!

Remember when holiday time was relaxing and all you had to do was wake up early Christmas morning and see what Santa brought you?!  Don't get me wrong; I love shopping for Christmas gifts and wrapping them and making Christmas cookies (and eating them), but for some reason, I haven't had a chance to stop and enjoy a warm crackling fire place and/or bake any cookies.  And I'm leaving in the morning for Florida.  I still need to clean and pack, but once I get there, I am looking forward to just relaxing and running on the beach and listening to the waves crash.  But everything just feels so rushed.

We did Christmas with my grandparents this weekend.  It was nice.  I really have the greatest grandparents.  They are so gracious and loving.  I can't imagine my life without them.  Actually, it was a little sad because for the first time EVER, my grampy wrote out our Christmas cards.  My grandma ALWAYS has done that and had her cards done months in advance.  That was just a tell-tale sign that she is getting older and suffering from a few things including slight forgetfulness.  I'm glad she was there to celebrate with us and I'll keep this Christmas card forever because it was so special to get it with my grandpas's handwriting; but still sad that my grandma wasn't up to it.  But I think it's so sweet that my grandpas stepped up and helped my grandpa and ensured that the cards were ready to go.  They have been married for 65+ years and you can tell.  I just love them.

So then I exhanged gifts with the BF last night.  That was fun.  I have been working endlessly on a scrapbook for him and I finished it yesterday afteroon.  I think he really liked it.  We have had such an amazing year together and been able to travel quite a bit; I couldn't let this year go by without giving it a scrapbook.  It was my first one and I had a lot of fun making it.  (The BF gave me a digital camera for Christmas so from now on I will be able to take pictures of things.  He also gave me a really nice pair of Uggs! )

I gave him the Keurig coffee maker and accesssories.  A coffee maker for Christmas?  Yes.  That's what he wanted.

My best friend came over too and we exchanged gifts as well.  I gave her a unique bracelet that I found in a super cute boutique in Boston.  She gave me a fabulous gift, too. . . Sex and the City DVD and cute JCREW pjs.  I'll be packing those for Florida!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year celebration!  I'll be back home to celebrate New Years Eve with my love muffin and friends, so that is great. 

Life is good.

Happy Holidays!
-Dining Diva

Here's a picture of the BF and me in Boston a few weekends ago . . .

And when I get back from Florida, I get to doggy-sit my adorable little friend, Bella.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Traveling Suitecase

Greetings from Ottawa, ON!  I'm laying on my hotel bed and happy to be warm because it's cold outside!  Let's just hope the weather stays under control for my roadtrip back home tomorrow.  Ottawa, ay?  Yes.  I found out yesterday that I would need to drive up here, by myself, in mid-December for work.  Bascially, what I have to do will take 4-8 minutes and then I'll be done.  So I have to do that tomorrow morning and then drive back south to the States.  It's also my work Christmas party tomorrow during the day and I'm going to miss that.  Kind of stinks, but that's life.  I do enjoy Ottawa and I just picked up some beautiful hand-woven wool gloves for someone on my Christmas list, so that's cool. 

So my suitcase has been packed and unpacked quite a bit lately.  My trip with the BF to New Hampshire and Boston was super fun.  His interview actually went really well and he'll find out if he is offered the job in the next few weeks.  Either way, it's a win-win situation.  The experience really opened his eyes and let him see the kind of work experience he deserves to have and will have one day.  If he does get it, then he has to figure out if moving to NH is in the life plan.  We'll see what happens.  The town we stayed at was very cute and a perfect winter holiday town.  The trees along main street sparkled with white lights and the shops and restaurants were all really cute.  We hit up a very fun mexican restaurant and enjoyed some delicious margaritas and other yummies.  Saturday we drove in to Boston and stayed at a great hotel in Copley Square.  We did the bus tour around the city and got on and off at quite a few stops.  Enjoyed some munchies and beer at the orginial Cheers bar and shopped some more.  Our dinner was at Atlantic Fish and it was AMAZING! We had their sangria, which was much different than any version we've had before.  It was strong and delicious!  We also had an amazing meal complete with freshly baked and warm bread, lobster, filet, blackened sea bass, asparagus, green beans, mashed potatoes and more.  Oh! We also had to wait until 9 p.m. for our dinner reservation, but we were hungry at 7 p.m.  So what did we do?  Only the best thing ever - peanut butter cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for our appetizer! Delicious.  So it's to the hotel gym for me right now...because next week I leave for Florida with  my parents.  My sister is actually coming now too.  I never would have thought that would be happening.

Well have a good night and wish me luck for tomorrow morning!

-Dining Diva

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Off We Go

I took tomorrow off and the BF and I are heading to New Hampshire for an interview he has.  Then we are going to Boston for the rest of the weekend!  I'm looking forward to no work tomorrow and enjoying the holiday season in a big city with my love.  I'm hoping to get some more Christmas shopping done.

I did get my mom a really cool wine holder and some wine glasses at Pier 1 yesterday.  It looks like a giant tree and I think she'll really like it!  I love finding coupons through Google for all the stores I'm shopping at for presents!  Every $10 off of $50 goes a long way!  I know this weekend is Friends and Family at Lord & Taylor and I'm thinking I might swing by the mall tonight in between excerise and packing! :o)

I'm also in the middle of a giant scrapbooking project and this is my first time.  Anyone with any advice on how to add some pizzaz to the book would be welcome!

Have a great weekend!

-Dining Diva

Did I make that?!

After I did a few kartwheels and high kicks of excitement in the kitchen, I let myself get back to eating.  I was thrilled that the dinner I made for the BF and I was a hit!  I owe it all to Mrs. Bear for sending me the recipe for Goat Cheese Chicken Roll-Ups as part of the giveway I recently won on her blog.   In fact, one of my co-workers made the meal for her man last night and she said it led to an amazing night.  So there you have it.

Here's the recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Coat a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
3. Take one peice of chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper.  Lay flat and spread a thin layer of herbed goat cheese on the chicken.
4. Spread a thin layer of spinach on top of the goat cheese.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top of the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Start at one side of the chicken filet and roll it up.  Secure with tooth pick and place in baking dish.
5. Repeat for rest of chicken filets.  Drizzle the rolled up chicken with olive oil. and sprinkle with dried rosemary and garlic salt.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

You'll enjoy it! 

-Dining Diva

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wine + Dinner + Conversation = Relief

So it's over.   Our big meeting.  I'm really happy it happened and that it went well. 

She said she was sorry and never wants to let something like this happen again.  She said she is going to try to give up being stubborn for her New Year's Resolution.  I am so happy that she said she is very sorry that she has been acting like this and that she hurt me.  I can't tell you what a relief this is for me and how happy I will be to have my sister back.

We had some wine and I relaxed and told her how I felt.  She listened and agreed with me.  Said she was sorry. I told her I accept her apology and just want to move forward.  So does she.  I feel better.

Then we changed the subject and enjoyed a nice dinner together.  We talked about my grandpa's birthday this weekend and what we could do to celebrate.

I'm happy.

Then the BF came over to get the blow by blow report of my dinner.  He's such a good listener.  I love him.

I'm happy tomorrow is Friday!  We have my grandpa's birthday party at my apartment on Saturday and then his work Christmas party Saturday night.  We have lots of fun stuff going on this month!  I'm feeling very blessed today.

Have a great day!

-Dining Diva

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Meeting

I've mentioned before that I have a poor relationship with my older sister.  I put the blame on her for this because it's a result of her actions and choices.  We really haven't spoken since Father's Day in June.  Yesterday she called me and asked if I would be able to meet for dinner or coffee tonight; just the two of us.  I said yes.  She has to drive about an hour to get to where I live, so we are going to be for dinner around 7 tonight.  I am actually looking forward to our meeting, but am also nervous.

I am not one to look for confrontation and I do not enjoy being upset with others.  I try to forgive and move on because when it comes down to it, life is just too short.  Plus, the fact that she is my sister makes me want to fix our troubled relationship.

She's never been the nicest sister.  In fact, we've never had a great relationship.  She is just selfish and fights dirty and had never been the older sister role model I would have liked to have.  In any case, we had been getting along the best we ever have the past year or so.  Then in May, she stopped communicating with my parents because of her boyfriend.  Then she said mean things to be about my family and I chose to stop talking to her.  I was disgusted that she could treat my family so poorly, especially because we have been blessed to have an amazingly wonderful family.

{Back story:  My sister dates an older man, as in the same age as my mother.  He was a family friend.  He was a husband and a father.  It was not the best situation and not one that anyone would have chosen for my sister.  She is educated, independent, beautiful . . . In our eyes, she didn't need to settle down in a relationship weighed down with so much drama, with a man who could be her father!  He's now divorced and they are planning on getting married, but still.  Step back from the situation and it's her life.  She can do what she wants.  So be it.  My parent's said they would no longer support her relationship with the BF because it was very unhealthy.  My sister broke off communication with them.  I told her she was wrong for treating my parents like that.  She then broke off communication with me AND said mean and hurtful things about my family.  That was in June.}

So just recently, my sister has started talking with my parents again.  (My parents continued to try to fix their relationship with her since the whole situation started.  She ignored them.) 

Do you see why I'm anxiously awaiting tonight's meeting?

I'd rather just kiss and make up and move on.  But she needs to apologize.  I don't know if she's capable of that.

I'll let you know.

Thanks for listening.

-Dining Diva

My sister and the BF in Florida in April, right before the drama began.