The Week That Was - June 8 - 14, 2015

I'm going back one extra day this post to recognize my friend Kelly.  One year ago this past weekend she tragically lost her husband.  As you can imagine, this has been an extremely tough year for Kelly; mourning the loss of her husband, while also having to stay strong for her 2 young children.  I'm so proud of her and how strong she has been. She's constantly honoring Hunter's memory, and involving her kids every step of the way. They will have so much love and appreciation for that as they get older. Running became her outlet after Hunter's passing, and last Sunday she ran her first half marathon...and did an amazing job.

This will be the first Father's Day for her kids without Hunter, and I can't even imagine how tough it will be. The other day my blogging friend Yanique posted a beautiful piece called Celebrating Father's Day When Your Dad Is Gone. I shared it with Kelly because although the situations are different, the message is still the same.  

Mediterranean Wine Tasting
On Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly's mother-in-law at the Mediterranean wine tasting night at Brooklyn's.  The event was in the tasting room, a private function space in the hallway next door to the restaurant.  I had been in the private dining room once, but never the tasting room.  

We tasted 6 wines, and each was paired with a small plate.

The seafood salad was excellent.  I never thought I would like squid that as cold and/or wasn't fried, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I was not a fan of the olives.  WAY too salty. But I couldn't stop eating it because the crust around it, as well as the tomato ragout, were excellent. The Spanish tortilla was okay, but I wish it was served warm.

The crepe was by far my favorite.  It was stuffed with roasted chicken, spinach & red onions, topped with sun-dried tomato bechamel.  Everyone at our table raved about it and wanted more.  The fried goat cheese was our second favorite.  They were stuffed with crispy prosciutto and sauteed onions.  The toast points were okay, but I would have taken a couple more goat cheese balls instead.  Our table was divided on the arroz con leche (rice pudding). I liked it at the beginning, because of the creme brulee finish and the candied oranges.  But as I ate more, it became a little too much.  

I enjoyed all of the wines.  I kind of got behind on actually pairing, because I was eating, talking, and taking pictures. So I can't speak on each of the individual wines.  The 10-year port that was served with dessert was much too strong to drink by itself.  Lacy and I poured some on the rice pudding and that helped.  But then even that became too much. Note to self: I don't like port.

Overall it was a wonderful event, and we had a great time.  One of my former students, Kourtney, works at Brooklyn's and was one of our servers. She did an awesome job. I'll definitely be back for another wine tasting.

Taco & Tecate Thursday
On Thursday we ended up right back at Brooklyn's. They recently started $2 tacos, $2 Tecate, and $4 margaritas. Can't beat that deal.  The plan was to meet there at 5, hang out for about an hour, then take the kids to Summer on the Plaza at the Student Union. But the kids decided they didn't want to go to the Plaza, so we just stayed there.

They offer 3 different kinds of mini tacos: fish, carnitas, or chicken.  And they're all served on corn tortillas.  I got one of each so I could try them out.

It's a tie between the fish and carnitas for my favorites.  The fish was perfectly cooked, super crispy, and screaming hot.  The carnitas were so moist and tender.  The chicken was average, at best. Very bland.  

The margaritas were really good and very strong. They offer peach and lime.  I tasted both, but preferred the lime.

Eventually we also got an order of calamari. 

I should have gone with my gut not to order calamari.  It wasn't bad, but I've had much better.  But we still ate most of it because we were hungry.  In hindsight I should have just gotten a couple more tacos. We got both the Thai chili sauce and the marinara sauce. The Thai chili was excellent.  It would go really well with a number of things.

Charlie's Birthday Party
Charlie is turning 6, so Saturday was his birthday party at the Youth Fitness Zone here in town. I was running late because I couldn't find my car keys.  I looked everywhere in the house and car, and couldn't find them.  I searched and searched for 10 minutes, retracing my steps that morning.  And then found them

I've lost my car keys in a lot of places, but I think this one is a first.

The Youth Fitness Zone is a really cool activity center for kids.  They do gymnastics and tumbling classes, but they also do parties.  The kids had an awesome time.  Some of us adults had even more fun

My Popcorn Maker
A couple weeks ago at a yard sale I found this mini popcorn maker

I went back and forth on it a million times, because I have this bad habit of buying stuff that I think is cool, and then using it once or twice.  But it was $2.  I had no idea if it worked, but I figured for that price it was worth a shot.  On Saturday after the birthday party I finally broke it out. And it worked!  So much more fun than microwaving in a paper bag. This will be a great addition to movie night.

Sunday Funday
Sunday didn't quite start out as funday, as I had to mow the yard. When I lived in Maryland I had a tiny yard, and my dad usually took care of it for me.  When I bought my house here I was so excited to have a corner home.  That is, until I realized how much more yard I had to mow.  And how much longer it takes.  I even added a big patio to get rid of some yard

I usually take a water break every 30 minutes or so; Sunday I drank a liter of water at each break. And I still felt completely dehydrated, yet was sweating like I had just run 10 miles.  

So how do you recover from all that work? With Sunday Funday of course! 

My Favorite Posts
May and June mark the end of the school year for kids. Poppies & Pinot has come up with such a unique and fun way to welcome summer.  My favorite line of her post is about parents "lying to our kids about make-believe creatures performing small crimes (like breaking and entering to deliver gifts)".  I never really thought about it that way, but it's so true!

I need all the help I can get with keeping organized and on track with my blog.  Hello Juggy has come up with 3 steps--really simple, common sense steps--to organize your blogger life.

Wordless Wednesday is a really unique way to feature your blog with just your title, picture, and one photo of a post.  Congratulations to Simply Wright for being a co-host last week! I'm going to need to look into this one.

I have learned a ton of things since starting this blog. Amidst the Chaos has hit on several of them in her list of 10 Things she's learned.  Probably the biggest thing is how much work it takes!  You wouldn't necessarily think so, until you really get serious about blogging.

Blogs I Like
And I Quote (everything): I really enjoy reading her tips in all the different posts.  She's honest and open, and she doesn't try to tell you what you're doing wrong or what you have to do.  It's just her recommendations for what she's found that works.  And I like that.

Our House Now A Home (home & lifestyle): Emily is so active and engaging on her blog. I love her Home Tour Hop and the Question of the Day.  It's such a great way to get other bloggers involved and also to feature her own blog at the same time.  I'm not that creative or innovative...yet.

My Blog
I made some huge strides on my blog last week.  I figured out how to add the Facebook "like" button, added a larger "follow" button for Google+, and added category headers. I had added the category headers a few months ago, somehow deleted the code, couldn't get it back, and just now got it back on Friday. These are little things, but add a lot to the look of my page.  

I finally gave in and joined Instagram.  I had been holding out for a long time, because there's so many other social media sites to keep up with.  So Wednesday at the wine tasting I signed up and started posting pictures.  It's already a little addictive.  The good thing is, I post most of the pictures to Twitter, so it's a great way to get my Twitter activity up at the same time.  I still need to figure out how to add the Instagram under "follow and like" me.

I also joined Influence Central.  This will allow me to review products on my blog.  I'm really excited for the opportunity to do this, and can't wait to get my first assignment.

Last, and certainly not least, I found out that The Gastronom and I have a mutual friend who works with me in the athletic department! What a small world.

All the ways to follow me!

Coming Up This Week
I'm so excited to go to Dallas this weekend to spend time with my dear friends Joni and Tony, and also blog about a few events!