Coupons = Freedom

Pin It As many of my friends know, I love coupons. It feels dumb not to use them since I save so much money. And I bet if I was a real housewife, I'd save so much money with coupons, it would actually not make any sense for me to have a job.

Over the years, I've had some pretty good coupons, mostly coming from my mom, who will give me stacks when I visit and then call and follow up on their usage. "What!" she'd yell into the phone, "You mean you didn't go to Vons first thing after you left our house last night at 10 pm, and buy those strawberries! You know they are open until midnight." Oh, yes. It's true.

Anywho, some of my favorite coupons that I can recall have been for very vague things like: $3 off on produce, $2 off seafood, chicken or pork, $2 ribs (which kind! I always want to ask the coupon), and then there's the $5 off Smirnoff vodka, and my favorite FREE Victoria's Secret cotton panty. I get the VS coupon like every 6-8 weeks, and haven't actually paid for a pair of cotton panties in years.

A few weeks ago, I received a coupon for a FREE Old Navy American Flag t-shirt. So, yesterday, I decided to get one, I mean why not? No one will be able to throw me a communist birthday party any more, because I'd show up in my new All-American shirt, 100% cotton. Thanks Old Navy, I am an immigrant no more.


It Could Be Worse for Sure

Pin It We all complain about work (unless of course you're like someone I know and you work from home 3 times a week in your pajamas, with a fancy fan circulating fancy air around your room), but once in a while I'll look up and think, I have it pretty good. This is the view from my office:

It's not so bad. And when I get tired of looking at the pretty skylight and grand staircase, I can always shut my door, and stare at the fireplace.

Fair Armenians Enjoyed Armenian Fare

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Last night I made some armo food -- lule kebabs, tabbouleh, and grilled tomatoes and zucchini. It was all pretty delicious, and went well with some left over Bostonian Ale from Memorial Day.


Memorial Day Memories

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I made myself a pretty delicious sandwich on Monday. It had black forest ham and cheddar, and I baked it for a few minutes.

While the sandwich was in the oven, I started on the dinner side dishes. I made a tomato and cucumber salad. But this time I tried salting the tomatoes and leaving them to drain on a rack. I just heard/saw about this on a cooking show, it's supposed to get rid of the excess water and intensify the flavor. I'm not really convinced it did any of that, but the salad was still tasty.


Hiking, Drinking and Eating

Pin It I'm not much of a hiker. But every few months, I really like the idea of going on a hike. And recently I bought some sweet hiking socks at the going out of business Chick's sale. They are pretty awesome. So on Saturday we went on a hike in the Santa Monica mountains. The last time we did this hike was for my birthday 3 years ago. One of our friends had an asthma attack and claims she almost died, but all in all, it was super fun. I found some of the pictures, where we were all a little younger.

The hike on Saturday was less playful, but I guess we're all 3 years older. It was still fun, except for the times I could barely move my legs.

But this time there was beer and burgers afterwards, as well as a Luke Wilson sighting. And then, a trip to Scoops for some Guinness chocolate ice cream. A productive day after all.

Friday's Closet Adventures

Pin It It's done, my closet is pretty again. And organized. I had some pictures, but am having technical difficulties.

So I spent most of my Friday afternoon cleaning the closet and listening to the Bodyguard Soundtrack. It was sad times. I cry when I listen to Whitney Houston sing "I Will Always Love You." When I got too sad to clean, I put on some of The Carpenters, more sad music, but there's something about The Carpenters that makes me smile. I used to work out to their Best Of CD, and everyone would think I was strange, but I still stand by that. They are good work out music. They might not "pump you up", but they make you want to not be fat either, because it's hard finding love without being fat, as the CD points out.


I know I want to

Pin It Maybe if I post it on here, I will feel obligated to clean my closet. I really want to, I've been planning it, talking about it, and even bought a step stool to reach the upper shelves. But, I haven't done it. And it's bugging me. It's reeeeeeally bugging me.

The Darkness

Pin It I love the The Darkness, although they are a band no more :( But that's not the type of darkness I am referring to here. As a kid, I was never really afraid of the dark, maybe because we spent so much time outside at night. It seems most of our playing, most of our fun secrets, took place in the dark. However, some time in college, I began to notice how terrified I was of it.

I recall taking a class trip to Yosemite in winter and going out to a clearing with a group close to midnight to read a poem (this was one of those classes). Only a handful of us braved the cold and as we left behind our cabins and made our way to this clearing, the stars and moon nowhere in sight, the mountains grew around us and I felt more scared than ever, walking with my instructors and classmates no more than five feet away from me. I felt like a silly kid, and even though my body moved, my soul seemed paralyzed within. I don't recall the poem, I don't even recall the walk back. But I can still feel the fear when I think back to the trip.

On Tuesday night, after a presentation at Monrovia Canyon Park, we had to walk about a mile to our car. It was nearly nine and as soon as we were 50 steps from the cabin, that fear took over again. We walked arm in arm, and I tried to chat, but I could barely breathe. An occasional car would drive by quickly, and disappear around a curve. I tried to talk about the dark, and why it scared me, but I doubt I made much sense. I was talking only to keep breathing, to keep moving, away from it.

Last night, as I read in bed before sleep, I came across a passage about darkness. I am currently reading The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (so far the best novel I have read by her). This soldier describes his fear of the dark in a way I have tried to since I've felt it. I am going to paraphrase here, but it was something like: Being surrounded by darkness is like being underwater without ever having the opportunity to come up for air. No matter which direction you take, it surrounds you. Scary, right?

I am not afraid of the dark as I lie in bed, or walk the streets, it is being out in nature, in the dark, that scares me. My heart races when I see moutains and trees and the black sky. I lose sense of those around me. Ahhhhhhh darkness, you sure give me a good scare.


Pork Party

Pin It No, not a pool party, a pork party! Our friend from Pittsburgh (I'm claiming him as ours, even though he's more of my husband's friend, because I like him so much and hope that he likes me too), provided us with this awesome pork recipe that involves a lot of pork, Stone's Smoked Porter, many other spices and 4 hours of slow cooking. Sounds good, right? Yes. That's why I want to have a party to honor the pork, the porter and I guess the guy who gave us the recipe, even though he's far away, sometime in June.

One of my favorite things about this guy is not his crazy obsession for turtles, although I do like that, but, a saying he'd say when I first met him in Denmark, "Remember, condoms don't protect the heart." It was odd because the conversation did not lead us to condoms or the heart, or anything like that, but he'd just randomly say this when saying goodbye, or hello, or while eating a giant burger. Anyways, I liked him right away, and trust that he makes some good pork. He did work as some sort of Chef, somewheres before.

So now to more important things - drinks. What do you serve at a pork party? The obvious Stone Smoked Porter? Or something like a mojito, or another rum-based drink? Or none of the above. Suggestions?


Weight Gain Worth It

Pin It So I've gained some weight over the last 2 years, and although I'd like to think it's because I eat too much, it's actually because 1) I drink a lot more beer, 2) I've kind of taken a sabbatical from the gym, and 3) When I go out, I go all the way out, and order items like filet mignon with a triple butter and garlic sauce.

This past Saturday, we had our second outing to Babita Mexicuisine, in San Gabriel. This place looks almost like someone's house, off a busy street, making you double check the address. Nothing fancy. The interior is tiny, with about 8-10 tables, outdated wood paneling, empty booze bottles along the wall (sure sign of class you think to yourself), BUT, the food is amazing. No burritos or tacos here, instead the menu is full of yucatan-style dishes that make you want to fly to Mexico, instead of driving there. Definitely the best place I have eaten at in Los Angeles. Yes, all of it.

The beauty of this place is that because it is small, the Chef approaches your table and tells you about the menu, makes a few jokes about your wine, puts you at ease. Also, if you're in the good with the Chef, you get a special menu, where he just keeps bringing out items he created especially for you. We witnessed this on Saturday, very jealously eyeing the table near us, and are currently plotting getting on that special menu list as soon as possible.

Oh, and you can bring your own wine, with no corkage fee. That's pretty sweet, and it means you can spend more money on food, like getting two appetizers! We started with the soup of the day, two soups actually, separated by an invisible line of deliciousness - mango and carrot, then had the Calamares Fritos in habanero cocktail sauce. The soups were amazing, one sweet with a curry flavor, and the carrot very smooth with strong orageno accents. The calamari was tender, yet crispy, with the sauce burning your mouth pleasantly as you wait for the main dishes.

My main course was even better. I went for a special - Filet Mignon with Scallops, in a triple butter and garlic sauce. I've never had a better steak and seafood combo. And as I ate, I could feel putting on at least a pound, maybe two, but the butter and the wine put me in a haze, and it was all worth it.

Unfortunately, we had no room for desert and headed straight home to recover in a food coma that lasted well into the next day. But, we have plans on going back next month and charming our way to a special menu.


I like Fridays, but...

Pin It I actually LOVE Fridays. Besides the obvious reason of two days of no work following each Friday, I also get off work at 1:30. So this means I'm home by 1:45, getting to miss that traffic bullshit. And, I can almost convince myself that I never did go to work, I just woke up late, and it's time to fix myself some lunch.

But. But, this last Friday, I had to work late. Not only that, BUT, next Friday, I have to work a full day! That's two Fridays, where I pretend I don't work at all, and occupy myself with pleasantly boring tasks like reorganizing storage spaces, catching up on my Rachel Ray magazines, or reading in bed until I feel a nap coming on, being taken away from me.

I have a friend who I won't name, who says, "Stop your whining, at least you have a job. At least you have a job you like. At least blah blah," and sure, I'm aware of all the blah blahs, but still, it sucks.


Burger Update

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It was a success. No one ate any tomatoes by accident, and there were no leftovers.


Americans Like Burgers, Duh!

Pin It Tonight I'm making Omaha burgers with roasted bell peppers. I'm not very big on tomato on my burger, and our friend who is allergic to tomatoes is coming for dinner, so I get to fancy the burgers up with something else. I'm always afraid I will accidentally put tomatoes into a dish and cause our friend great digestive disomfort, so I have to think twice about what to cook when he comes over. I asked him if he liked burgers, and his reply was that he's American, of course he does. Not being American myself, I didn't realize this was a given.

If I get home on time, I'll also throw together my bean salad, with two kinds of beans (black and white), lots of scallions, parsley and a lemony vinaigrette. No real cooking required.

Now if I wasn't working, I would have also baked some chocolate chip cookies, and made some lemonade. But you know.