Saturday, January 30, 2010

Attempting Green

Although they weren't a part of my New Year's resolutions, I have been trying to do some things slightly differently to try to become a little more environmentally friendly and perhaps a little healthier as well. There have been varying degrees of success. A couple weeks ago, I went to Target to pick up a book for school and was ooohing and aahhhing over the cuteness of the Valentine's section. It was like cute overload. But for some reason I started looking at labels. Made in China. Made in China. Made in China. I started thinking about how much Americans consume (it's a lot, folks) and thought maybe I should attempt not to buy anything from China anymore, and also try not to buy stuff just for the sake of buying it if I don't need it. So then yesterday I took Scoop to PetSmart to buy her a couple necessities, and what do I do? Walk out with two new toys for her, made in ... you guessed it ... China. I don't want to be all preachy on this blog, but everything I've been reading in school is eye-opening to how wasteful our throwaway society is and that at this pace we are going to run out of resources. But even being aware of it, I realize it's going to be very difficult to change my habits ... and many people don't know or don't care enough to do anything at all. It can be disheartening to think about.

Anywho, I also bought some new soap and laundry detergent at EcoReno, assuming the ingredients are more natural. But I've decided to look into this a little further, to try to learn how to read labels to know if what I'm buying really is "green" or if I'm being "greenwashed." I also, however, bought a refillable bottle at the local Co-op yesterday and filled it with bulk shampoo. I plan to do this with other products as I run out of them. Regardless of the ingredients, I am confident this will result in quite a bit less waste.

As far as food, after reading the Omnivore's Dilemma I thought it might not be a bad idea if we tried to eat less meat, and maybe then we could afford to buy locally-grown, grass-fed beef, etc. So far this has been a disaster. I made eggplant parmesan a few months ago, and Chris hated it. Last night I made veggie lasagna, and it was better than the eggplant, but Chris said it would have been better with meat (of course). So this goal remains a goal. But perhaps some of you have some yummy meat-free recipes to share that I can try out on Chris?

The last goal is more of a fitness goal. There is a good possibility that Michelle, Andrea and I will be climbing Mt. Fuji together this summer. And if I were to try it today, I am convinced I would not make it. So, I'm going to attempt to get in shape. I picked up some info on local trails, and yesterday Scoop and I went to check out one of them by the river. Next week, if the weather permits, I'll look for another one that's a little longer and a little steeper. And hopefully by the summer I'll be hiking Mt. Rose in preparation for the big climb!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Belated Birthday Wishes and Odds and Ends

Not much has been going on around here since our previous updates. Chris has been on furlough all week and has gotten in some skiing and basketball. I started school and have been pretty busy, but my classes seem like they will be fun. Our weather has been as crazy as everyone else's, but while most of you have had rain, we've had snow.

Last weekend, my Dad had a birthday. It sounded like he had a great birthday dinner Saturday, and the next day he had a birthday lunch at Santa Anita with his brother. Here is the bugle player who announces the races playing him Happy Birthday at lunch! We're so glad you had a great birthday, Dad!
Also, our great Aunt Ruth turned 90 this week! She is having a party today and we wish we could be there - I look forward to hearing the stories afterward.

Me and Aunt Ruth, circa 2006

In Scoop news, she has rediscovered the box I brought her home in, which has a pillow from my mom's house in it. Her new thing is to jump in the box and "get under the covers" of the pillowcase and sleep there all morning. She is too funny.

Hope you all are doing well and have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paying it Forward

Hello friends. Did you know that Valentine's Day is less than a month away? Well, I have an early Valentine's treat for you ...

Besides sharing that sweet vintage card (above) that I found at an antique store over the weekend, I've also decided to have a giveaway! Last week Nanette started a blogging purse exchange, but since I don't have any bags to give away I thought why not give away a pair of earrings?

These hoops have garnet stones, are almost two inches in diameter, and have sterling silver hooks.
To enter to win, leave a comment below (enter only once, please) telling me about your favorite Valentine's Day before midnight Reno time on Friday, Jan. 22. (And, if I don't have it, please also leave a way for me to contact you). I will choose a winner on Saturday using a random number generator (yes, there's an app for that) and send them in time for you to wear (or gift!) on Valentine's Day.
I look forward to reading your comments!

***Update: Melynda wins the earrings! I will mail them to you sometime this week.***

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gold 'N Silver Inn

My mom came to town today to do some shopping, and wanted to go to lunch somewhere not too far from our place. I thought it sounded like a good opportunity to check something off my resolution list, so we went to the Gold 'N Silver Inn, which was filmed just this week for the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The restaurant would have already been on my list even had I not known this little tidbit of information. The RGJ food writer blogged about it a few months ago, and a journalism student and former RGJ intern recently did a multimedia project on the place. But the news that Guy Fieri had only been there three days before made my mom both excited and bummed - possibly the world's biggest Food Network fan, she wished she'd been there the same time as the TV crew. (The show also filmed at Louis Basque Corner, where I've been only for drinks, and Dish Cafe, where I've taken several people when they've come to town - including Andrea and Kelli.)
Anyway, it's an old Reno diner (Reno's oldest casual dining restaurant, apparently) and has been open 24/7 for like 54 years. Crazy! It's a popular spot, it seems, for the late-night, just-left-the-bars crowd, as well as early morning business breakfasts and more. I had the sourdough melt, which was just okay but the fries were terrific, and my mom had eggs benedict that she loved. The service was good and, other than the fact that I sat in something sticky when we first sat at our table, the experience was great.

One down, nine to go!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Resolution (part two)

Okay, I have compiled my list of Nevada things to do in 2010. You may notice there are 15 items instead of 10, that's because I'm not sure what time and budget will allow for, so I thought it might be helpful to have a few extra things to choose from. I will blog about each item as they are completed ...

From Chad:
2. Drink a Bloody Mary from the Bucket of Blood
4. Go to a ghost town (or three)
5. Visit Hoover Dam
6. Play dollar Black Jack at the Bonanza
7. Brothel Museum in Pahrump
8. Tour a working Gold Mine

From Kat:
9. Play craps at a craps table
10. Try a Winnemucca Potato
11. Go to the Genoa Candy Dance

From "You Know You're a Nevadan If ... "
12. Sign the book at the top of Mount Rose
13. Order "A Mess" at the Coney Island
14. Run or walk the Journal Jog

My own:
15. Eat at the Gold 'N Silver Inn

What are your New Year's Resolutions?
What are the must-do things in your state?

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Resolution (part one)

The other day I decided that my New Year's Resolution would be to do 10 things all Nevadans should do by Nevada Day (Oct. 31). I posted this on Facebook, requesting some suggestions. Of the suggestions I received, here are the ones I have already done (or partially done):

  • Reno Rodeo
  • Reno Air Races
  • Drink a Picon Punch (not at the Star, but at Louie's Basque Corner)

  • Drive Highway 50 - the loneliest highway in America (as far as Middlegate and Shoe Tree, at least)
I went to work and told my co-worker Guy Clifton (author of "You Know You're a Nevadan If ...") that I couldn't believe he hadn't responded. So he handed me a copy of his book. These are some of the things in "You Know You're a Nevadan If ... " that I can check the boxes for:

  • You remember the afternoon movie hosted by Betty Stoddard (note: This is no longer around, however, I did interview Betty Stoddard for a video for work and she told me about all the jobs she used to have)
  • You know there are no horses or cows at the Mustang Ranch and no rabbits at the Cottontail
  • You still call the Reno Hilton "the MGM" (note: while the resort once known as MGM had new owners and a new name when we moved here, it was a hotel that we used to stay with my dad when we were kids. It had this awesome red carpeted staircase and black and white pictures of old movie stars. It later became Bally's, then the Hilton, and now is the Grand Sierra Resort.)
  • You've eaten an Awful Awful
                              • You know what going to the "Wal" means
                              • You know Moana (as in Lane, Stadium, etc.) is pronounced MO-ANN-A, not MO-ONN-A
                              • You think of only one lake when someone says THE lake
                              • You root for Andre Agassi (note: although I understand the connection, this actually has nothing to do with me living in Nevada. Fun fact - my first live sports assignment in college was an Agassi-Chang match.)
                              • You bought liquor from Ben
                              • Marilyn Newton has taken your picture for the paper (note: I don't think she has taken my picture, but we've been on many assignments together.)
                              • You've had Mama's raviolis at Casale's
                              • You watched the Reno Aces (note: obviously this was a different Aces, before our time here, but the statement is true as written.)

                              • You've watched a parade in downtown Reno
                              • You know Nevada's Ty Cobb was a newspaperman, not a baseball player

                              Next I will compile the suggestions and come up with the 10 things to cross off the list this year ... Stay tuned!

                              My Christmas craft project

                              I had lots of Christmas projects I wanted to make for gifts, but there wasn't enough time in the week between finals and our trip to get to all of them. This is the one project I did manage to make - bottlecap magnets. I found instructions on this blog post, but did mine a little bit different. Instead of using images from an old calendar or magazine, I resized 24 pictures (each image to 1000 x 1000) and put them together to make a 4-by-6-inch photo (4000 x 6000 ... that way, each image was one square inch). Then, to make cutting out the holes easier, I bought a one-inch hole punch at Michael's. Other than that, I simply followed the instructions on the blog and the resin package. They were a big hit with the family! I forgot to take pictures during the making ... these are the ones we gave to Chris' parents.

                              Now that I've done it, I have lots more ideas to try using the same basic method. What kinds of crafts did you do for the holidays?

                              Wednesday, January 6, 2010

                              Odds 'n Ends

                              Well, we've been back from our vacation for a couple days now. We had a really great trip and it was so nice to see everyone! But, I'm not going to lie, after two weeks and lots of packing and unpacking the duffel bags and suitcases, it's nice to be back home and sleeping in our own bed.

                              Here's a little list of some things on our trip we haven't mentioned yet ...
                              • On Christmas Eve, while we were all at church and Scoop and Molly in their crates, Alison's dog Tessa managed to find a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates Chris had put in my stocking, and ate nearly all of them. We later discovered the ones she didn't eat ... buried under the dirt in one of Rita's plants. What a funny dog! Luckily, she didn't get too sick from the chocolate.
                              • We got lots of awesome Christmas presents, but the biggest surprise was when I picked up my stocking and it started ringing - Chris got me an iPhone, and I love it!
                              • Chris lived in Yuma over three New Year's holidays ... and never spent one in Yuma. Apparently we had to move 800 miles away for that!
                              • I went to Hobby Lobby for the first time. I am in love. Next time I'm bringing an extra suitcase just for that store.
                              • I also went (along with Chris, Kat and Jeffrey) to Domestic Bliss in Mesa. Phoenix friends, check it out when you are in the neighborhood. It is adorable - and they have classes. (See more here.) Thanks Gautreauxs for making the trek up from Tucson to see us!
                              • Alison introduced me to a dirty chai ... a chai latte with coffee (or espresso?) in it, and I am hooked. My Starbucks card is running low so I made one at home today - equal parts coffee, chai and soy milk - it was delish!
                              • During the trip I got to eat at some of my favorite spots - Joe's Farm Grill (with Kelli and Abby), Oregano's (in Flagstaff with the Gabels), Four Peaks (with Chris and Alison, and former Trib coworkers Chris and Christian), and Pita Jungle (with the Gautreauxs). Sadly, I was not able to get any fish tacos at Las Palapas in Yuma, but I understand Andrea had enough for the both of us.
                              • We were happy to be able to see Chris's aunt Kathy and uncle Dave from Illinois, who happened to be in town at the same time as we were.

                              I'm sure I've left some things out ... maybe Chris will add to the list later (hint, hint). We had such a fun time - I wish we could take two weeks off every year for the holidays!

                              Tuesday, January 5, 2010


                              Some of our friends in Phoenix have a fondue dinner at Holly & Daniel's every year around the holidays. I think the tradition started sometime after Chris moved to Yuma, so before now I've only been once (the year I lived there) and I'm pretty sure Chris had never been. This year, it was held on New Year's Day, but Holly, Kelli, Melynda and I got started preparing a couple days early with a baking day, making treats to dip in chocolate ...

                              Melynda and Holly working on the cheesecake ... it turned out fantastic!
                              Holly and I made marshmallows ... yum!

                              The girls (Kelli's missing because she had to take Kyle to the hospital for stitches after the boys' afternoon football game)

                              All of us at dessert

                              We had a great dinner, took a break for chatting, beer pong and fireworks, and went back for lots of yummy desserts dipped in chocolate! It was a great way to spend a night with friends we don't get to see often enough. Thanks Holly and Daniel for making such a wonderful feast ... the cocktails were pretty delicous, too!

                              Friday, January 1, 2010

                              Mucho Gusto, 2010!

                              Happy New Year, everyone! We hope 2010 is treating you well so far. We were lucky to ring in the New Year with great friends.

                              Chris, Tammy, Andrea and Jeremy

                              I woke up on New Year's Eve to see a Facebook post that Andrea and Jeremy were Yuma-bound. Chris and I still had no plans for the evening, and had joked around a couple days earlier that if Jeremy and Andrea were in Yuma, that's where we'd go for New Year's. So, of course, I called Andrea right away and it was decided we would meet them. Their friends Anastasia and Andy were so great to let us stay with them on such short notice, and it was really nice to see everyone. Jeremy will be deploying soon, and we were bummed that we were already in Phoenix when they went up to Reno for Christmas, so we were very glad we had a chance to visit since we won't see him again until at least next fall.

                              We ate and visited for a while, and then went to a small house party, where we saw fireworks at 10, 11, and midnight. It was a fun night and I'm glad we went!

                              Dre and Tammers

                              Andrea, Anastasia, Jen and Tammy