Author Archives: Lori

Biking and burgers

February is almost over and winter seems to be making another appearance. However, the temperatures on Saturday were quite warm. There was rain forecast for the afternoon, so John and I suited up for a ride after breakfast.

Ah yes, washing my fleece tights with other clothing items and It’s lint city. Oh well 😀

The roads were a little drier than the other day and we decided to check out the path and see how it looked.  Oops

Started okay, but then got too sloppy to keep going. So, road riding it was. After about 9 miles or so, it seemed the wind was really starting to pick up. It was quite a head wind for a bit. That was the start of the cold front moving through and the rest of the day was soooo windy. Good thing we went out early or I would not have been a happy camper.  We ended up with about an hour of riding, which was pretty awesome!

Having a weekend day with no work and no projects meant getting out for the day. We went down to Saratoga and had lunch out. I don’t remember what restaurant closed, either TGI Fridays or Pizzeria Uno – some chain restaurant, whatever, but in it’s place went a Red Robin.

We haven’t been to one in years. We used to go somewhat regularly when we lived in Colorado and Illinois (I think?) It’s funny, I remember either the evening of our wedding or the day after, we had dinner at Red Robin. 20 years ago LOL! I seem to remember my hair being done up, but wearing regular clothes. Anyway, it hasn’t changed all that much. My favorite burger was still on the menu, the bleu burger:

This has steak sauce, blue cheese and little crispy onion strips on it. It was really good. John got a burger, but substituted a veggie patty and he was a happy camper with that.

The fries there are bottomless, but honestly they are just kind of meh. Certainly not on par with 5 Guys or BurgerFi, so no point in having more brought out. Not worth the calories. Also, the burger was really filling. It ended up being the only meal I ate the rest of the day!

We did stop for a treat later, though. A ginger cookie with lemon buttercream.

I guess this was dinner LOL. Seriously – I think this is my favorite cookie. It’s usually devoured on a long ride day. Of course, we only did an hour of biking and a few miles of walking. Not really enough to balance out the burger and the cookie, but the food was good.

We walked around downtown Saratoga and into some of the nearby neighborhoods. I love the architecture there. Actually, I love it all over our area. This is a group of buildings called Franklin Square. They are mid 19th century and Greek revival style.

Some of the buildings house offices and retail and others are just apartments.

They are quite impressive.  I just love looking at old buildings. Makes you wonder what stories they could tell.

Thinking about that burger I ate and how full it made me, portion sizes just are too big most of the time.  I have to share this ridiculous item I saw while grocery shopping this morning. These are muffin tins.

Jumbo muffin tins and they aren’t kidding. Look at how deep they are:

That’s a good 4 inches deep. That’s not a muffin. It’s pretty much mini cake size. A muffin that big would probably run 700-800 calories easy. Who needs one that big? I guess you could share, but if I want a muffin, I don’t want to share it LOL! I’d rather just have a smaller one.  Just when you think maybe people will be more conscious of portion sizes and this product comes out.

February biking!

It sure doesn’t feel like February lately. We got all that snow around Valentine’s Day and now it has been very warm. Temps got into the 60s!

I’ve been working at paying more attention to my eating again after our Mardi Gras party. I just love food. That’s what makes it hard. Yes, I stress eat, but I also just really like food LOL!

Breakfast of cream of wheat with a mashed banana and eggs whites cooked in topped with PB&J.

450 calorie breakfast.

There are still some leftovers, particularly the red beans and rice.

This is one of those dishes where the leftovers are better than the original day.

On Thursday, it was just so nice that we had to get the bikes out. That meant uncoupling mine from the trainer and dragging it down the stairs. Of course, I am not going to put it back up there now, so it’s out to stay.

Normally the first ride of the year has a lot of starts and stops as you get the equipment (and yourself) going, but this ride was super smooth in that department.

The good thing about riding the trainer is that it keeps my sit bones conditioned for riding. It doesn’t help my hill and endurance legs, but at least there’s that.

The roads are pretty clear now. The shoulders are another story.

Some places there was snow in the shoulder or standing water. This road was dry, but the shoulder is covered in sandy grit, which can lead to flat tires as it works its way under the rims.

There were a lot of spots where the roads were quite wet with melting snow and we ended up getting a lot of spray. My bike (and my legs) were filthy after the ride.

That was on the front of my legs, too. Ick.  It was a great first ride, though. 12 miles. Woo Hoo! Not sure when the next ride will be, but can’t complain about getting out in February!

My garden has something peeping through the snow:

This area gets snow slide off the roof so this was really buried for a while. Can you feel spring coming?

The other thing with warmer weather is the bugs start waking up. I posted this on FB, but Pixie was having fun chasing a stink bug around.

Seriously – where do these things come from?

Mardi Gras party

It’s that time of year! Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, so it was time for our party. We had it a little earlier than usual because of scheduling conflicts with next weekend, but it’s all good in the end.

We had a good lineup of food, but then again, whenever we get together – there is a lot of food LOL!

John made vegetarian red beans and rice (from scratch).

These were very good. I’ll have to have him post the link to the recipe because I don’t know what it was.

Top: Shrimp and grits. Cheese grits topped with shrimp cooked with bacon. From Bobby Flay. This was really good.

Left: Tabasco biscuits (from my sis). Recipe here. Nice and spicy!

Right: Baked chicken with a creole sauce.  I did the chicken and sauce separate in case John wanted some sauce with his meal. Here is the recipe for that.  It’s really good and chock full of veggies.

There was game playing, although I didn’t partake this time because I was finishing up the dessert. Bread pudding.

On one of our first trips to New Orleans, I took a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. It was a fun class and we got to eat at the end! I loved the bread pudding recipe and it’s the one we always use. You can customize it 10 ways to Sunday with different flavors like chocolate, peanut butter, pineapple, etc. This time, the raisins and coconut were omitted (I don’t think we have ever put in raisins) and it was just the basics. This dessert is so worthy. Hello pound that I lost last week, but I don’t even care  😀

Masks are fun, but they are kind of scary at the same time.

Any favorite cajun/creole dishes you like?

Feeling like spring!

That warmup finally got over to us this weekend. Now the snow is starting to melt, although there is a lot still.  One thing when a lot of snow comes at once, people actually get out and clear their walks. When snow comes in dribs and drabs, walks don’t get shoveled. Then they melt and get icy and just are difficult to walk on.  After the last bunch of snow, people were out and clearing.  Much of our walks were like this:

Amazingly clear – unlike last winter. It was great to get out and do a lot of outdoor walking. I was so tempted to get my bike off the trainer and ride on Sunday, but there was a lot standing water in the shoulder from melt and the bike paths, of course, were not clear at all.  So walking it was. It feels so much like spring. It’s hard to believe we are still in February!

Both John and I  worked on Saturday and we punched out the last bit of things in my parents’ kitchen on Sunday. It was then our time to relax, have some coffee and do a little shopping! There was a warehouse sale at Peter Harris (one of my favorite shops for clothes). I got a pair of slacks for $2 and this coat for $20!

It’s dry clean only, which made me put the coat back at first, but then I decided I wanted it. Plus John liked it.  I don’t know how people take mirror selfies and show most of a whole outfit without looking like a dork.  

I think I was impulse shopping a bit. We stopped at Target so I could get some hangers and I came home with a lamp! I needed a lamp for my new desk since it’s in the corner. I’ve been poking around in a lot of places lately and not finding anything. Then stumbled on this lamp, which has 2 of my favorite elements – copper and marble!

Plus it has the pull cord, which is fun.  Don’t you love the top of this desk? I’m hoping I can restore the luster of it when I get to work on it…

It’s nice and bright. Now I can see to color in the evenings:

This is why a desk was needed. I sprawl and take up too much space with this stuff for it not have its own home. It can be left just like this, too, without getting in the way.

Monday we are having our Mardi Gras party. A little earlier than usual, but coordinating schedules and all that. So a little meal prep is in order for tonight.

Did you get out and enjoy any good weather this weekend?

Friday this and that

Thank you for all the comments on my parents’ kitchen!  It was not a hard project. The hardest part was having to do it spaced out with a few hours here and a few hours there.

John and I were both up early this morning. I seem to have a 5:30 alarm in my head, no matter what time I go to bed. John also seems to have caught the insomnia bug, which I am sorry about. Insomnia sucks.

Getting up early does allow for making breakfasts that take longer.  John made up some protein muffins for us:

These were banana/chocolate chip. Super hot, too. We both burned our mouths!

I feel like I am slowly getting my footing taking over the scent business. It’s been so many years since I’ve really been involved and stuff has changed. It’s good to inject some fresh ideas, though.  I’ve also been really working at growing my soap business. I’m now working with a wholesale consultant group that has experience in my industry. That will be interesting. Go big or go home, right?  I’ll have to think about future employees and all that.

I have a wholesale trade show next month so production is in higher gear now. I sliced into some lavender soap and thought the pattern was quite fun:

I love flipping the mirror images next to each other. This looks like eyes or something, don’t you think?

John and I have a running joke about pink flamingos. I really want one, but John basically says divorce if I get one LOL!  So I saw these the other day and had to text him a picture.

These things were probably 4 feet tall. I want one 😀

Lastly, a picture of Ms Pixie.  She was sitting so very patiently waiting for me to clear my lap so she could be there.

Or maybe that isn’t a look of patience…  She is going to turn 10 next month, can you believe it?

Here’s hoping for a little warm up this weekend!

Kitchen before and after

Happy hump day!  We had a pretty low-key Valentine’s Day. John was away for most of the day, but we met up at about 8 pm for coffee and a sweet 😀

I ended up losing a pound this week, so those pesky couple are almost gone.  Here are more meals I ate:

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (350 calories):

Tomato Soup with Ravioli (300 calories):

I’ll keep plugging away as usual 😀

Remember the table I was doing over the weekend?

I ended up just putting some polyurethane on it. Satin finish.  it shows imperfections, but I think they add to the piece (or maybe I’m kidding myself LOL ).

I don’t really know why they hid this under that black paint.

On another project note, here are the pictures from the pretty much completed kitchen at my folks’ house.  A very old before picture with an old appliance. We should have thought to take better before shots LOL.

Not a great picture, but just to give you an idea of the cabinets.

Mid rehab:


Just need a little more caulk around the edges and touch ups here and there.

It’s a nice fresh look. It was actually not too expensive as far as materials go. The biggest cost was the tile since we decided to do the whole back wall instead of just a backsplash. I think it really completes it, though. My parents seem happy with it.

Now just small projects for a while.

On a side note, I am looking for a few product testers. I’ve got some new products in development. Shoot me an email at  if you are interested.   I’ve got enough testers – thank you!

Now it’s time to relax a bit!

Snow and more snow

The winter wasn’t seeming so bad this year, but then we got a lot of snow Thursday, another couple inches Friday night and a big snow storm happening currently.  Whew. We’ve shoveled 3 times already to keep up. We don’t have a snowblower, so it helps to go out and shovel before it gets too deep.

Being snowed in means working on projects!  It’s either that or eat, so I got to work 😀  We’ve got the master cleaning list going again and did the kitchen, which takes the longest on the master list because of all the appliances and stuff to clean behind and under.  All sparkly clean now!

The master cleaning list works when you keep up with it. Does anyone else keep a whole bunch of hand towels hanging? I think we have 6 on there LOL!

Next project was working on my sewing machine table.

I had wanted a table with the metal Singer bottom for the longest time, and I found this one a couple years ago for $40. Quite the bargain! However, I don’t like the top. It was painted with flat black paint, which comes off when you wipe it down. It’s just not practical.  I’ve been wanting to redo the top for a long time and this weather provided a perfect opportunity.

The top was attached by 4 screws, so I took it off and dug out the paint stripper:

I could have just painted over this table, but I was curious about the finish underneath and if it would be worth trying to uncover it.  Stripper solution was slathered on and 10 minutes later I was able to start removing it.

Very encouraging.  Note the gloves – safety first! Stripper burns.  Once it was all removed, I scrubbed the top with soapy water. That’s the nice thing about this particular stripper, it’s water soluble so easy clean up.

With how many times I have written stripper in this post, I can only imagine the traffic that will come to my blog .

Anyhoo, the final product. Let’s say the naked top seeing as I’m going for broke here.

I thought it was a solid piece of wood, but it’s 3 strips of veneer. I like it! That upper corner is just shadow. It’s not dark.  Once it’s dry, I’m going to give it a sand and then poly it. Stay tuned for when I finish that.

I’ve also started work on my desk. All the joints were glued back together and I have been using it, but time for its face lift.  On the lower part, the veneer was coming up in spots. That is getting glued down.

Once that is done, I’ll fill in the gaps with wood putty. The lower part will be painted because there is no way I can make this veneer repair match.  I’m hoping to keep the top natural.

Lest you think I worked all weekend, a treat did happen:

Saturday before all the snow came.  I love a good piece of baklava. Totally worthy and I fit it into my calories for the day with some maneuvering (heavy veggie dinner).

Now it’s all snow, snow, snow.  Our piles are getting high for shoveling. You have to throw it quite high now!

It’s still snowing, too. We’ll be digging out again tomorrow!

1500 calorie day

Back to basics. I need to start doing more food logs on the blog again. They do give me that extra boost to be disciplined.

I have to cut back some to take off those couple of stress pounds before they turn into a couple dozen!  That means 1500 calories of food.

Breakfast was Kodiak cakes with protein. I cooked my apple topping in a pan, poured the pancake batter over it and stuck it under the broiler for a couple minutes. Then flipped over onto my plate:

Topped with some maple syrup and butter.  I have my morning coffee with cashew milk. I switched from almond to cashew so that I can be more eco friendly.  Calories: 435

Most days I have a morning snack, but I didn’t need one today for some reason. Probably because I didn’t exercise in the morning.  It was really cold today and I wanted something hot for lunch. We had a banana that really needed to be used up, so I mashed it, cooked it with some oat bran, whisked in egg whites and topped with almond butter:

It’s topped with this:

Have you tried it?  It’s pretty tasty. Normally we don’t buy sweetened nut butter, but I wanted to try it.  It’s very good, although it’s not really no-stir. It doesn’t separate as much as natural nut butter, but it still needed stirring.  Lunch calories: 355

Afternoon snack:

Of course it’s a latte! Drizzled on top with some honey.  Calories: 150

I had a solo dinner tonight, so it wasn’t vegetarian.  I keep some of these in the freezer:


Super easy. Just toss in the toaster oven for 30 minutes and it’s done.

Steamed veggies with a bit of butter on top. Calories: 400

I have my evening snack planned out for later. Cafe au lait and Yorks:

I usually have my snack around 8 or 8:30.  Calories:  150

That brings the total to 1490. Give or take rounding. Close enough.  This was a good mix of food, although the breakfast for lunch was unusual.  I did about 40 minutes of walking today.

It always feels good to get back to basics. I wasn’t going totally overboard or anything, but it could head that way pretty easily.

Have a great weekend!

New computer and stress eating

As you know, I have been really struggling with my computer.  It finally got to the point where I was unable to take a phone order since it wasn’t working properly. Can’t have that, so I broke down and got a new one. Well, it is a refurbished computer. I wasn’t really wanting to get a refurbished, but there is that whole budget thing. It was done by a Microsoft official refurbisher, which is a good thing. It’s a Dell Latitude and is quite the upgrade from my Lenovo.

Of course, I had problems setting it up from the get-go.  We couldn’t get it connected to the wi-fi in the house and we thought for sure it was defective, but it turns out the wi-fi switch on the side was turned off (derp). Now it works and tonight is going to be spent transferring my programs and files over.  The old computer was causing me too much stress, so this should be good. It’s got a lot of memory and platoons of storage space.

I have to say that my eating has been a bit all over the place lately. I’ve gained 2 pounds, so I have to get myself motivated to get back to basics. I have at least logged food every day, but sometimes not the whole day because I just get sidetracked.

Back to my usual breakfast blintzes

This time with applies instead of blueberries.

I need to sit and plan out the next day’s food. It’s a lot easier to eat when you can look up and see what is planned. Snacking is really the problem, and that has been a problem in the past as well, so it isn’t anything new. I tend to eat when I get stressed about stuff. It’s been my coping mechanism and I really don’t mind that it still is that way because now I am able to shut it off before it gets out of hand. Honestly, I doubt that stress eating is something I will ever be free of. Acknowledging that allows me to not feel bad about stress eating, which in turn makes it easier to stop.

Now it’s time to work on that new computer!

Super bowl sunday!

I have to be honest. This year I don’t care much about the Super Bowl. My Broncos aren’t in it and I am really tired of the Patriots.  Of course, that doesn’t stop us from having a get together 😀


Too much food, as usual ?

The game unfortunately ended poorly for the Falcons. Gahh!


We are pretty close to wrapping up my parents’ kitchen. Just the last few details. I’m looking forward to having some down time. 

I finally broke out my coloring books again:

Coloring is very soothing to me. I need to buy a lamp so I can color at my new (old) desk at night.

This guy has come back around. We haven’t seen him in a while, so it was good to see.

He was really close to the house. I’ll be continuing to make our property a haven for birds and pollinators this year. Spring is coming soon, right?