UNO, Hugs and Dog Parks

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was just the right amount of fun and relaxing.

Starting with Friday night…after some debate Jon and I finally decided on The Burg for dinner. We wanted to bring Maddie along so we picked up our food and headed to Steel City Brewhouse to eat. Steel City is a pretty neat bar…one of those places you wouldn’t know was there unless you looked for it. It’s always kind of empty in there, but we like it. Plus they allow dogs inside ๐Ÿ™‚

Our friends Kyle and Jesse joined us for a few drinks. Steel City has games on all of their tables and we ended up playing an old favorite, UNO.

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Does anyone know what this card means??? We could not figure it out.

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Next we headed over to Ale and the Witch, where I was happy to see they had a batch of hot cider…SO good. We also ended up randomly bumping into a few friends we hadn’t seen in awhile.

We didn’t stay out too late…I had a big day on Saturday!

First up was a class at Above the Barre Fitness with the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers. I’ll be writing up a separate review of the class, but it was a lot of fun!

Above the Barre Fitness

After class a group of us met up at Rollin’ Oats for lunch.

I had the Smoked Salmon Cesar Salad, which was delicious and just what I was in the mood for.

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I also had a Spirulina Power Buzz smoothie, which had strawberries, bananas, apple juice, spirulina and bee pollen. Yup, bee pollen. That was a new one for me. Not sure what it’s like on it’s on, but the smoothie tasted fabulous and was just the boost I needed.

I had to leave the ladies early to head down to Saturday Morning Market for Free Hugs Fest!

Free Hug Fest

I did this last year and it was a lot of fun. I was by myself on my own block last year, which was kind of weird and awkward so I made sure to get a shift at the market this year so I knew there would be a lot of people around.

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Keep St. Petersburg Local is an independent business alliance and they’re the ones who started the Hug Fest in St. Pete. Free Hug Day is a national celebration and helps bring a sense of community to…well, the community! I love the idea behind it and am thrilled to have been able to participate again.

Free Hug Fest

The rest of Saturday was spent taking Maddie to the dog park, having a delicious ribeye dinner…

Ribeye

…and watching Boardwalk Empire. Is anyone else watching this show? We’re on season 3 and it’s funny we’ve made it this far because neither one of us are huge fans of it. But there’s something about it that keeps us watching!

Sunday was filled with errands. We toted Maddie along since one of our stops was Pet Smart. We’re starting her on new dog food. When we first got her she was on a grain free diet. We needed something that was a little easier on our wallets and something we could pick up at an easy to access store, and our vet recommended ProPlan. She’s done well on it, except we’ve noticed tarter buildup on her back teeth. Jon brushes her teeth a few times a week so we’re thinking it’s from the food. With some research is seems that grains can cause the tarter because it’s harder for her to break down. After much deliberation we ended up with Nutro Natural Choice Grain Free. We’re hoping this is better on her teeth!

Fellow doggie owners, what do you feed your pup?

After PetSmart we visited Walter Fuller Park, which was near where we were and has a dog park.

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It was a really pretty park and they had a pretty decent dog park. There were good dogs there and Maddie seemed to enjoy it.

Walter Fuller Park

Still not the same as ours though. She definitely loves her buddies so we ended up going to ours too.

Lake Vista dog park

Two parks in one day! She pretty much passed out as soon as she walked in the door.

What fun things did you do this weekend?

Dinner for One

Every now and then The Chef will have to work nights. I don’t totally mind this. Yes, I miss him and enjoy spending time with him, but I’m a natural introvert and also enjoy some alone time every now and then. It also means I get complete control of the TV remote ๐Ÿ™‚ It also means that I’m on my own for dinner.

A few weeks ago when The Chef had to work nights pretty much every day I met up with a friend for dinner. I was busy with my own stuff, didn’t want to cook and wanted to be social. However, that week burned a mighty big hole in my wallet. The cost of eating out sure does sneak up on you!

So last night when The Chef had to work I made sure to pick up dinner for myself on the way home. I went to trusty Rollin’ Oats and picked up this…

Salmon cakes, spicy kale and black bean quinoa.

I love how healthy I eat when it’s just me. Not that The Chef and I don’t eat healthy together. But I just always seem to be uber healthy when I’m by myself.

Topped off my meal with the Fall Woodchuck.

I enjoyed this SO much more than the pumpkin version. I was excited about the pumpkin flavor, but it didn’t come through as much as I had hoped. This Fall flavor tasted…well..like Fall! All those Fall spices we love…cinnamon, clove…they all shined through this cider without being too sweet. Delish. Definitely getting a six pack next time.

Conversation Starter: If you’re in a relationship do you find that you eat healthier when dining together or separately? What about with friends?

The Day of Fails

This week is just flying by! Can’t believe it’s already Wednesday.

Yesterday I continued my goodies from Rollin’ Oats with making a simple sandwich with their special tuna salad with apple. Quite good! I’m always happy when places don’t over-mayo their “salads”. I enjoyed a 3 bean salad on the side as well.

After work I finally got my butt over to Revolve Clothing Exchange with a bag of clothes I’ve been meaning to sell. Unfortunately they only took 4 items and gave me $10 and some change. Boo. I donated the rest of the clothes. While they were sorting through my items I looked around the store and within 5 minutes had an armload of dresses and rompers I wanted to try on. Also unfortunately…none of them worked ๐Ÿ™ They either didn’t fit right or look right. One dress I had high hopes for but the zipper was broken. Fail.

While I was out I got a call from the guy saying he’d gotten out of work early…translation: what’s for dinner? My original plan was to eat more Rollin’ Oats goodies and lounge in front of the TV. This quickly changed to a night out at Central Avenue Oyster Bar. We had a Groupon!

Unfortunately…our experience was not as good as mine and my friend’s last week. Although I should note that the guy and I are pretty convinced we have a “going out to dinner” curse set upon as most of the time something goes wrong.

Our server was very nice and accommodating. He stated the specials without a pause and only gently suggested an upgrade to a bottle of wine and house salads. We each had a glass of Crossings Sauvignon Blanc, which was very nice, and each had a house salad. I’ll note right here that it is also somewhat different dining with someone who works in a kitchen. The guy knows all the ins and outs, what’s fresh and what isn’t, what could easily be fixed for little money, what preparations went wrong, etc. On the salad I loved how they added green beans (though they were not fresh). But it still makes a plain boring house salad a little more special. The bread we were served was not the same as last…the bread we got were dinner rolls and while they were good they didn’t exactly go well with the equally yummy olive oil and parmesan cheese mixture they serve.

Then the entrees…I ordered the Grouper Picatta, which they stated is red grouper that comes in fresh. Served with a scoop of mashed potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. The grouper was excellent and the sauce was light and lemony. The aspargus was a little overcooked (I like a bit more crunch) and the hollandaise on top was broken and looked like butter. The mashed potatoes had nice bits of potato in them, but were just okay. Of course I don’t think I’ve ever had mashed potatoes at a restaurant that are as good as making them at home.

The guy ordered the Lobster Pasta, which was probably a mistake from the start as he knows he loves their oysters. But he wasn’t in the mood for them and wanted pasta instead. The pasta is served with a sherry cream sauce and while the flavor was there his dish came overflowing with sauce (which was thin). It looked like noodle soup instead of a nice pasta dish. As a result the guy only could handle a few bites.

Once the owner got word he did come over and agreed with how the pasta looked and offered his apologies. They quickly took the pasta dish off the bill and our 2 glasses of wine, which was great customer service, but a bit too much since we also had a Groupon. Needless to say we left the server a nice tip and left feeling a bit guilty. But a bad dish is a bad dish, am I right? Double fail.

We wanted to end the night with a nightcap at our favorite bar, Mandarin Hide, which is only a few steps from Oyster Bar. Only to find they’re closed Tuesdays. Triple fail.

We then decided to try Ruby’s Elixir, which I’ve been anxious to try. The decor in there is not really nice at all…and they had the doors wide open so the sticky FL heat followed us in. We sat down and started to look at the drink menu, but then quickly changed our minds and left. Quadrupal fail.

We finally ended up at Central Cigars, where I was thankful there weren’t too many people actually smoking ๐Ÿ™‚ The guy was happy with his gin martini and I with my glass of Malbec.

Hopefully today fares a bit better. I have a busy after work schedule this week that doesn’t leave much time for workouts. I tried for the first time in months to get up early to get in a quick strength training workout…but I definitely hit snooze and slept until I had to get up to get ready for work.

On the agenda tonightย  is dinner at BJ’s and seeing The Help with some Junior League ladies. Excited!

Conversation Starter: Have you ever just had one of those days where it seems nothing goes right?

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