Thursday, January 31, 2013

First February Friday Faves

So here's a little of what happened this week:

Clockwise from top left:

  • Hopefully I didn't jinx Aaron's car with last week's post because this week he had to take it to the shop because the driver's window didn't work and something was up with the throttle box, whatever that is. So I followed him to the mechanic to drop off the car and he said "it's on the left side of the street but I always miss the turn" because there's no signage near the road. Well, it's true that there's no signage for the mechanic, but there is this "Skate Naked" sign. Not sure why that didn't stand out to him.
  • Today is Groundhog's Eve. Fun fact: my grandfather's family lived in Punxsutawney. I'm sure I'll watch Groundhog Day sometime this weekend. Ohio has "Buckeye Chuck," but that's blasphemy; Punxsutawney Phil is THE prognosticating rodent.
  • There's only been one episode, but I'm already in love with The Americans on FX. Kevin Walker and Felicity Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell star as KGB agents living as Americans in the early 80's. Not only is it a good story, but the music rocks as well.
  • This weekend we're singing with the Columbus Symphony Chorus and Orchestra in a Mozart and Haydn concert. It's been a fun week of rehearsals (for real) and should be a good concert. 
  • The downside of the concert is that it prohibited me from traveling to Orlando to The Treehouse, where my college friend Christine lives. Christine is my sorority sister and we sang in the choir together. This weekend 15 or so Gamma Phi Betas and a couple Wittenberg Choir alums are gathering at her house (doesn't it look so cool?). I wish I could have gone, especially since we have snow again and today's high is only supposed to be 18.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

The Gila

Linking up with Rebecca, Chrissy, Tiffany and Melissa

Stop #8 - Short North Tavern

If you're a new follower, check out the advent of our Restaurant Odyssey here.

Hi all - guest blogger Spidey here.  I thought it was important to let all of the Gila's followers that I'm not just a pretty face that hangs out with the best girl ever, so it's my turn to review.

A few Sundays ago we made our trek to the Short North Tavern.  No doubt I was looking forward to this stop, as I consider the SNT to be a benchmark of the area.  Few would disagree with me that this is an institution of the Short North, an establishment here long before our home was in the "cool, trendy" part of town that it has become.  I can remember being here years ago when the area was forgettable - bordering on scary - and we've since spent many a day or night here.  I don't know how long the SNT has been in business, but it has been long enough that it commands the respect of the neighborhood, a place against which other are compared.  

The SNT (I don't know of anyone who just calls it "the Tavern" or some other drivel ... it's always the Short North Tavern) is in many ways exactly what you would expect: dark, kinda dingy, and perhaps imposing if you are a newbie.  The decor is Classic American Dive Bar: long bar with several beers on tap, liquor on the back mirrored wall, peanuts on the counter, a couple of TVs, kinda loud music played from the CD changer (although the tape deck is still there), 2 dart boards, small bathrooms in the back, and that smell that, while not unpleasant, says "I've been here longer than you, and I'm probably going to outlive you too."  However, they also have some cool items that I particularly enjoy - a large wall that rotates the work of local artists, and no less than 40 OLD analog AM radio's - the kind that I imagine my grandparents purchased when they were younger than I am today.  Antiques for certain, I love them.

Until recently, the SNT wasn't a place for fine dining.  Unimaginative "bar food" was served merely as a public service.  Two years ago if you told me they had the best wings in Columbus I knew your experience was influenced by too many beers.  But, perhaps given the competition in the 'hood, they stepped up their game recently and hired a chef.  I'll never forget the time when Gwen and I sat down and the waitress handed our menus but also said "here are our specials for the night."  Hunh, what?  Specials?  And damn, they were good. It's still not "fine dining," but it's impressive bar food.

So on this Sunday we had some anticipation of good food as well as cold beers, and we were not disappointed.  We were joined on this occasion with our good friends Chris and Katie (we sing with Chris at the symphony and they live in the Short North as well.)  Chris had an Angus burger with blue cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms and a side of sweet potato fries; Gwen had the special - a shaved Prime Rib sandwich and for-real fries; and Katie had the fish and chips: catfish lightly breaded in a cornmeal batter that is both light and substantial, keeping the fish tender. All looked fantastic and apparently tasted great as all plates were cleaned, and none were on the menu two years ago (yeah, there were burgers, but not like this).  Me?  I went old school with the Beef Nachos Grande which are as you would expect, save for the homemade salsa, not that canned crap. The nachos are greasy goodness, and when Chris had a few I asked him "Don't you feel kinda glossy?"  To wash this feast down were "a few" pitchers of Yeungling with frosted glass mugs.  We watched the OSU men's cagers beat Michigan (always a treat regardless of sport), caught up on life, and had a fine time.

There really isn't anything too unique about the SNT - I'm certain every decent sized town in America has the same place.  If you say you've been here and I know you haven't, I won't argue because in reality you probably have.  But this one happens to be in my town, and I absolutely love it.

(Editor's note: SNT is so old school it doesn't have a website and I can't find a menu online, so I may have to sneak back in to take a picture of the menu.)

Stay tuned for our next stop, breakfast at Tasi.

Spidey and The Gila

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


A little more than five years ago, Aaron and I moved into our dream house, which was built from scratch. It was a long, looooong process but well worth the wait. We lived there for about a year before meeting any of our neighbors. Now, it's hard to imagine our lives without the people of the BBITIV (Best Block in the Italian Village).

We first got to know Colin & Amy, who live four houses away from us. Most everyone has their introduction to the 'hood through Colin & Amy; we call them the Chamber of Commerce. They invited us to their legendary Halloween party and we met some more neighbors, although afterward we didn't recognize most of them since they were no longer in costume.

It was decided that we should have a Christmas party so we could get to know more neighbors. So Amy drew a map for us and Aaron printed up a flyer and we also invited friends we already had so we knew people would show up. The flyer had things like this on it:

(So you know that house on the corner where it looks like someone might live there but you aren't really sure because it is always dark and the yard doesn't look so great and maybe they live there but just want to keep to themselves but you watched the house go up and it looks pretty cool and you wonder whether or not the people inside are cool or just assholes but then you heard from Amy that they voted for Obama so they can't be all bad, can they? Well, here's a chance to find out for yourself ... )

some tasty snacks provided by Aaron ('cause Gwen really isn't much of a cook)

beverages courtesy of the Columbus Brewing Company, because Gwen works with them
and the brewmaster who is a cool guy will be at the party too.

It worked, because we had a great turn out and that night in our garage Angie had the idea of having a monthly gathering of the girls to play Yahtzee (she figured the ladies in the 'burbs do Bunco, so we'd go old school). We started this tradition in January of 2009 and we've done it every month since. We rotate houses, so you only have to host once a year, but you provide all the food and drinks when you host. Now, as you might imagine, the actual playing of Yahtzee didn't last. Angie used to bring the game every month and for a while we did play at least one game, but now we don't even pretend. It's just a way for us to get together regularly, but we still call it Yahtzee night, which is tonight.

Sometimes it's a late night, sometimes not, and sometimes a fun Yahtzee night can lead to the Yahtzee flu the next day. Let's hope that's not the case this time around!

Oddly enough, there aren't many pictures that exist of past Yahtzee nights, but here are some from June of 2009 when we got rained out at Sara's house and had to move the party to Jennifer's where we had a dance party in memory of Michael Jackson, because it just happened to be the day he died.

Besides Yahtzee and the Christmas party, we have new traditions like the Chili Cook Off in February, Crawl for Cancer in May, Comfest brunch in June and the Garden Party in September. We've had a few weddings, a baby, vacations and some not-so-fun occasions. These truly are the best neighbors ever!

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Organizing My Life (starting with a drawer)

Here's the thing: I'm not a neat person. I never have been. Just ask any of my college roommates, or my mom, or my husband. I'm certainly not in any danger of being on Hoarders, but in terms of keeping things tidy, I'm a mess. My desk is a disaster, and my closet often looks like a tornado went through it.

This is a birthday card my parents gave me years ago (I can't remember which birthday it was, but I was definitely an adult). The schoolteacher-perfect cursive writing is my mom's; the printed, less-perfect writing is my dad's:

I love the idea of being organized and I even enjoy the implementation of organization. It's the maintenance that trips me up. Every so often -- OK, not that often -- I get inspired and do an overhaul of my "stuff." I'm now attempting that again, but it's a slow process.

First up: the bathroom drawer.

I can't believe I'm posting this for anyone to see, but there it is. Total mess.

So I went to The Container Store and got a couple drawer organizers. Note that Aaron's is much smaller than mine. I couldn't fit everything, which led Aaron to ask "where are you going to put all the other stuff?" I said, "one step at a time, dude." Because as Demi Moore said to Rob Lowe in About Last Night, "a whole drawer? ... That's a big step." Yes, yes it is.

Here's the after shot:

It still needs some fine-tuning and I may go back to the mecca that is The Container Store and get a separate small tray for my makeup brushes so I can fit a little more stuff in there.

***UPDATE on the makeup brushes here.

Coming soon: jewelry organization (ugh). ***And apparently "soon" means at least 4 months.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Linking up with Helene, Emily and Sarah for Tell Me About It Tuesday

Monday, January 28, 2013

Latest TV Obsessions

Between being sick last week and pretty much doing nothing all weekend, I've been catching up on some TV watching. Here are my latest obsessions:

Nashville (ABC) - Y'all, I love Connie Britton. Although I'm not from the South, when I use the word "y'all," it's because I'm channeling her. From Friday Night Lights to American Horror Story to this... love. her. Also:

  • I haven't watched General Hospital in years but I JUST realized that Lucky Spencer is playing Avery. 
  • In last week's episode, there was a sign for Jeni's Ice Cream (a Columbus favorite and soon to be on the Restaurant Odyssey). Turns out Jeni's has two locations in Nashville! 
  • I'm  not a huge country music fan but after hearing Scarlett and Gunnar's cover of "If I Didn't Know Better" I immediately downloaded it from iTunes.

Scandal (ABC) - Hell, the name of the show alone made me want to watch it, and I quickly got hooked. Kerry Washington (who I think is stunning; I've been a fan since Save the Last Dance) is fantastic in this role. I've even managed to get past the fact that the president is the same dude who killed Patrick Swayze 20+ years ago in Ghost. I must warn you, though, this isn't a show you can just pick up now, but the first season is streaming on Netflix.

Person of Interest (CBS) - This is Aaron's and my favorite show to watch together. Benry from Lost is one of the stars, so that reeled me in (and it's fun that his real life wife shows up every so often) and Jim Caviezel is easy on the eyes. The last new episode was January 10 and it was quite the cliffhanger so I can't wait for this week's new episode.

A couple weeks ago we made the switch from cable to DirecTV. So far, loving it! With that, we got three free months of HBO, Showtime, etc. so we're just now starting to watch some of the shows we've heard so much about. Still have yet to see Homeland or Boardwalk Empire but so far:

Girls (HBO) - After seeing this show win at the Golden Globes, I figured I'd give it a try. I've now watched seven episodes. It's funny, it's awkward, it's sexual (did I really just watch Brian Williams' daughter do THAT?!) and it's only a half hour long. I like it.

The Newsroom (HBO) - Aaron watched the first episode on Saturday and proclaimed it "awesome," so I watched it and then we watched the second episode. We still miss The West Wing and this show is from Aaron Sorkin; it's smart, witty, fast-paced. And it has Sam Waterston! I've seen every single episode of Law & Order so it's fun to see Jack McCoy get to curse since he couldn't on NBC. If you watch nothing else, check out this clip from the opening scene.

AND.... Smash returns next week! I hear that the first episode of the new season is available on demand so I might have to cheat.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Faves

My favorite things about this week:

Clockwise from top left:

While I was sick (NOT one of my favorite things), the cats snuggled with me on the couch. Gato and Bella are laying on top of me and my super fabulous sherpa throw, in animal print, of course.

Tuesday night, I felt one of the cats jump on the bed and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it was Clover! We took her in from the mean streets of Punta Alley in early October and she has slowly but surely made her way into the family, but this is the first time she's gotten on the bed with us. She initially settled herself in Bella's spot by Aaron's feet, which could have caused a literal cat fight, but later she did move to my side of the bed.

Also important to have while sick: ice cream and the remote. UDF's Homemade Brand has a new limited edition flavor called Sea Salt Caramel and it's freakin' delicious. It has temporarily supplanted Coconut Almond Chip as my #1.

On Monday Aaron made one of our new favorite meals: polenta with sausage, spinach and tomatoes.

This week I'm reading Notorious Nineteen. I've been in a bit of a reading slump and Stephanie Plum, Lula, Grandma Mazur, Morelli and Ranger (oh, Ranger) are a fun, easy way to get back into the books.

It's been frigid in C-bus this week and today we got a little snow, so I'm extremely happy to be toasty warm in front of the fire.

Happy Friday!

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stop #7 - The Happy Greek

We don't eat a lot of Greek food. It may stem from an unfortunate experience I had at a Greek restaurant the first time I met Aaron's parents. Not unfortunate in the "I vomited all over the table" kind of way, but as I recall I was trying to be an adventurous 19-year-old whose palate was not terribly developed so I ordered moussaka. And I hated it. But there I was with my boyfriend's parents and their friends and I didn't want to appear picky or ... I don't know what. So I forced myself to eat it until one of them took pity on me, because clearly I wasn't doing a good job of acting as though I liked it.

I hadn't thought of that in years. It's funny the memories that food conjures.

A couple Saturdays ago we went to The Happy Greek. I think we've only been there once before, and it was so long ago that Aaron didn't remember ever being there at all. The main entrance has some tables and a bar area; we were seated in the next room which is two levels and very colorful.

Note to self: start using real camera instead of phone

Shockingly, neither of us ordered drinks (yet) but we started off with the Falafel appetizer, which we both wanted so there was no debate. We were really hungry so they we made quick work of them, and regardless of our hunger level, they were quite tasty. You know what I mean, right? There are times when you're so hungry you could eat cardboard and declare it the best thing ever. This was far from cardboard.

Falafel with hummus

For dinner, I ordered the Spicy Parthenon Scallops (you'll find that I order scallops a lot) and Aaron had the Spicy Gyro with fries. Mine was delicious - garlicky in a spicy lemon sauce with veggies. For my two sides I ordered the Oven-roasted Lemon Potatoes, which looked like half a potato and I thought the "lemon" would turn me off but it was rather good, and the Mediterranean Vegetable Medley. If I had known that those vegetables were the same as what was with the scallops, I would have ordered a different side because while there was nothing wrong with the vegetables, the spicier version was much more flavorful and left the side dish feeling bland.

Aaron thoroughly enjoyed his Spicy Gyro and said he'd get it again. He also said that he wished we didn't have to wait until we're done with the tour to come back again (take note of that; it won't be the last time you read it).

When we ordered our entrees, I ordered a glass of wine (Sauvignon Blanc) and Aaron ordered a beer (CBC IPA). The server forgot about them so when we ordered dessert I reminded him. To be fair, it appeared that he was the only server in the room and he didn't make excuses, but was sincerely apologetic. For dessert I ordered Pistachio Baklava, and allowed Aaron to have a couple bites. This, for me, was the highlight. I do love baklava and this was warm and gooey and ... divine.

As I'm obviously no expert on Greek food, I can't speak to its authenticity, but we both enjoyed this meal and would go back.

Coming soon: Short North Tavern!

Stay Tuned,

Spidey and The Gila

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gwensday Stuff - Aaron's SCARGO

Happy Gwensday, friends!

On January 20, 2003, Aaron drove his brand new Mini Cooper S off the lot. The process of him buying this car began ten months prior when he saw a billboard that simply said "Goliath Lost." He was hooked. He got on a waiting list at the Cincinnati dealership and ordered his dream car. Once it was in production, he could track its progress online and he knew exactly when it was put on a ship to come to America.

He took pictures of the car, of him with the car, of the saleswoman with the car... Clearly, he was pretty excited.

Aaron named his car the SCARGO (like "escargot") and he made a CD to commemorate the occasion. Here are the liner notes he wrote.

The Beatles - Baby You Can Drive My Car
Selfishly I'd like to think this song was inspired by an original Cooper. The most obvious cut on the disc.

Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
These hooligans grew up listening to the Beatles?

Thomas Dolby - Airhead
My thanks go to Robert and Taco for this one. If you can listen to this without bobbing your head, you're not human.

The Rolling Stones - Miss You
Originally I selected "Under My Thumb" for this must-have group. My affinity for funk prevailed.

The Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Every time I hear this I smile a big stupid grin, knowing that some of my friends are of the life-long variety.

Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll
Screw Cadillac. This is too good a song.

Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train
I fear my 9 year old niece will grow up thinking this guy is a TV star. Jacqueline, he eats live bats.

Bananarama - Venus
The Spice Girls get nothing on these three. Pure sass.

The Cure - Let's Go To Bed
Summers during college I worked as a short order cook - awake at 4:30a, at the grill by 5:00a. Elmer, a '74 Super Beetle, was my alarm clock, blasting this tune. That was some good motoring.

ELO - Turn To Stone
I know a 20 year old who has all 57 ELO albums. His vision was brought to my attention on a road trip to Windsor.

Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Through This
Ken has a great understanding of music as it relates to a mood. Perfect.

The Clash - Rock the Casbah
Although historically inaccurate, this to me signals the genesis of the Brit-pop invasion.

Duran Duran - Girls on Film
Someone once told me "American movies all have gratuitous violence, while European movies all have gratuitous sex. The Europeans got it right."

The Who - Going Mobile
Sorry to beat you over the head with the obvious.

Judas Priest - You've Got Another Thing Coming
JP and I go way back. Yeah, right.

The Power Station - Some Like It Hot
Of all the bands on this disc, this is the only one I have seen in concert. Note to self: get out more.

Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity
Gwen and I were experiencing the best the south has to offer the summer this came out: NASCAR, BBQ ribs, and cable porn. Man, was that fun.

The Prodigy - Slap My Bitch Up
A bit of deviant pleasure for a self-admitted sexist. I think it nicely balances the Lutheran church choir director/Sunday school teacher in me.

Most of the names listed are former co-workers of his. Aaron's no longer a church choir director or Sunday school teacher, although we do sing in a church choir. And I like to believe that he's not (as much of) a sexist anymore. The picture above is the CD cover. He got the girls at the dealership to sign the disc. He gave out CDs to friends and family. He also added this on the back cover:

"Mini is all about a state of mind - they call it motoring. While I am certain they want you to motor in a Mini, I believe you can get lost and enjoy life any way you choose, regardless of the road you take or the vehicle you drive to get there. I do hope that, from time to time, this CD accompanies you on your journey."

Ten years and over 140,000 miles later, he still loves his little SCARGO. Happy birthday, little Mini.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Linking up with Shanna for Random Wednesday

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Random Stuff About Me

Clearly this is by no means an all-inclusive list but here a few fun facts about me.

1. I believe the DVR is the greatest invention ever. I probably watch more TV than is humanly possible, and I still have a life.

2. Die Hard is one of my favorite Christmas movies, and I can't wait for this:

3. I also really enjoy chick flicks.

4. I have a serious case of potty mouth.

5. Football season is the best time of the year.

6. I hate using a computer mouse and avoid it as much as possible.

7.  I'll take salty over sweet pretty much any day. And when I do choose sweet, chocolate isn't at the top of my list.

8. Coca Cola Classic (preferably from a soda fountain) is the nectar of the gods the morning of a hangover.

9. I love to wear hats. This was me yesterday. Note the cozy animal print scarf, too.

10. I have a day of the week named after me. It's Gwensday, of course. My phone now recognizes Gwensday as an actual word. As it should.

11.  Although I love the scent and sound of a wood fire, I love even more that I can flip a switch and turn on my gas fireplace any time I want, and as cold as it is right now that fireplace is getting a lot of use.

That'll do for now.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Linking up with Whitney

The Facts of Me

Monday, January 21, 2013

Put a Bow on It - The Weekend Wrap-up

Busy, busy weekend! How busy? I usually take a nap on Sunday, sometimes even Saturday, but I got no napping in this last weekend. Too bad I don't have MLK Day as a holiday. Guess I'll have to nap at my desk (kidding, sort of).

Speaking of Martin Luther King, Jr., this particular quote really spoke to me today:

On to the recap... Friday we met our friends Abby and Bo at Black Creek Bistro for dinner. Aaron and I had not been there, and it was delicious. We shared the smoked salmon risotto balls (yep, I said balls) as an appetizer, then I had the scallops w/portabella mushroom risotto. We also got dessert for the table, again a ball-type formation of flourless chocolate cake surrounding coconut mousse and lightly covered with coconut. We were all happy and full.

Then we went to the Lincoln Theatre for Columbus Dance Theatre's performance of Cleopatra. This was a multimedia production, with dance, acting (using Shakespeare's words), video and live music by Carpe Diem String Quartet, which was composed for this event by Charles Wetherbee. It was very well done and we all enjoyed ourselves. I love to watch dance, partly because I can't do it myself so I'm in awe of the beauty that dancers create.

Saturday we walked to Tasi for another stop on the Restaurant Odyssey (you'll have to wait a little for more on that), then I did a little running around to CVS, Old Navy for a birthday gift and Target, where I got a new rug for inside the door to the garage and I scored two pairs of flats on clearance. I love love love high heels, but after a stress fracture a couple years ago and the recent discovery of some disc degeneration and arthritis I'm trying to be better and wear flats more.

A little more substantial than the last one so the cats
"shouldn't" be able to mess it up.

Green flats: $9.98; Zebra flats: $7.48. Score!

My mom was in town doing some shopping and wanted me to take her to Penzey's Spices (right now my friend Shelby at Big Hungry Shelby is green with envy because I have an actual Penzey's store in my city). We both made purchases, then hit Whole Foods and Giant Eagle Market District and she left for home. Aaron and I went to celebrate our friend Maggie's 3rd birthday with a party at her house.

Birthday Girl!

Then we met up with neighbors Dru & Jeannie at the Endzone bar in the Arena District and watched the Buckeyes lose to Sparty. Jeannie's a Michigan State alum who now works at Ohio State so the game was win-win for her either way. And by the way, Endzone has a Saturday happy hour from 4:00 - 9:00. We'd definitely go back to watch a late afternoon game, but wouldn't really want to stay past 9, when I think it gets more "clubby." Back to our house to watch some hockey. Look out! The Bluejackets are undefeated! ;)

Sunday we did our church thing, walked to the movies to see Zero Dark Thirty (intense, loud and very good - Kathryn Bigelow was robbed not getting a Best Director nomination), ate dinner at Betty's, then went to Colin & Amy's house for our traditional Sunday evening hanging out ritual.

Thus ends another weekend.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Friday, January 18, 2013

About the Blog

You may have noticed an increase in the frequency of blog posts. That's intentional and I hope to keep it up. I started this blog as a way to share things about myself to my friends and family, even if they already knew what I was talking about. I used to love to write and I needed another creative outlet. Now I've added the Restaurant Odyssey, soon I'll be doing an "organizing my life" series, and I plan to do a lot of fun, girly posts as well as the sometimes serious, on-my-soapbox posts.

I'm trying to incorporate labels more, so if you're only interested in the Restaurant Odyssey, you can click on that over in the "Looking for Something?" section.

I have removed the dreaded "prove you're a human" word verification b.s. to make it easier to comment. You can even post anonymously, but if you're an asshole, I reserve the right to delete your comment.

And if you'd like to follow me, go ahead, I won't bite (too hard)!

And now, because I'm again loving my hair today, this is me:

Straight on

Side view of my messy up-do

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bag Check

Did you notice my new look? Also, see the tag line I'm trying out, "Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, always real"? Well, this will be more on the silly side and it probably won't interest the male readers out there. But hey, I'm a girl and I like girly shit. So there you have it.

Have you ever gone to a concert or a sporting event and before you get your ticket scanned you have to let people look inside your bag? I've finally gotten better about either taking a small clutch or just using pockets in those situations, but up until very recently, if anyone had to look in my bag, it would be a frightening thing. However, I have now gone through it and purged it of Christmas receipts (really, all receipts that seem to make a home there) as well as put all credit cards/cash in the wallet rather than let them float around willy-nilly.

My friend Stephanie at Life According to Steph (and BTW, she's my real life friend as well as a blogging inspiration and she's doing a digital scrapbook giveaway right now so check it out) did a "what's in my bag" post recently and it motivated me to clean out my bag and take a look at what's inside.

First, my bag. I got it in October at the Nine West outlet in Myrtle Beach and I've been carrying it ever since. I own lots of purses, but I don't switch them out very often. I personally believe that one can't have too much animal print (although one CAN have too much all together at the same time and I've probably been guilty of that). If you don't share that belief, that's cool, but don't bust me for mine.

In the outer compartment: hair elastics, both insurance cards for BOTH cars (perhaps I should put these IN the cars), two sticky notepads, an iTunes gift card, my favorite pen that I unfairly accused Aaron of losing, some packets of Motrin, a prescription cream for some eczema on my finger that I'm very bad about using. Not pictured for obvious reasons: my W-2.

Inside: headphones, purple iPod, stamps, Altoids smalls (in cinnamon because I really don't like any other mint), tissues, car key and Mom's house key on my handy dandy Columbus Brewing Company bottle opener keychain (don't drink and drive, kids, but the bottle opener can come in handy). Not pictured: iPhone because I can't very well take a picture of it when that's what I'm using to take the pictures.

Lipstick holder, Sally Hansen Lip Inflation lip plumper (this stuff is the bomb if you have thin, nonexistent lips like I do), jump drive, wallet, pen and pencil, glasses case.

This lipstick holder is the greatest invention. My friend Lois has one and I've wanted one for years. I finally found one in Myrtle Beach at Purpleologist. The lipstick is L'oreal Caramel Latte, and look! In the mirror you can see my iPhone case - it's fuzzy tiger print.

This is what my reading glasses look like. I don't have to use them that much, yet, but I'm always glad I have them when I need them.

Makeup bag, which I haven't carried in a while because mine got gross but thanks to the Ipsy Glam Bag I get a new one each month. Inside:

Sally Hanson VitaSurge Strength Gel for nails
Benefit Hello Flawless powder in Petal
MAC lip liner in Chicory
nail file
Bath & Body Works Liplicious brown sugar scrub and lip color in Coconut Truffle
Great Lash mascara
Lipsticks: L'oreal in Ginger Spice
Sephora Rouge Shine lipstick in Tenderness (which appears to be discontinued)
MAC in one of the Viva Glam colors (maybe VI?)
MAC in CB 96

Sometimes I also carry my symphony chorus music in my bag and a water bottle if it won't spill.

So, that was fun (for me, anyway)!

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

P.S. I happen to love my hair today so here's a pic. I kind of suck at self-portraits, and please ignore my multiple chins, but I recently read a blog tip that I should have more photos of myself so, here goes nothing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stop #6 - Bernard's Tavern

Here is why I should not procrastinate on writing these restaurant posts: I didn't write down what we ate and now I'm not sure I remember. So, let's see how this goes.

On a Friday before Christmas, we first walked to the movie theater to see Lincoln. (Loved it, by the way. Look for a movie-themed post closer to the Academy Awards.) On our way home we stopped at Bernard's Tavern for a late dinner.

We've been to Bernard's before. It's been open about three years in the old East Village space (and before that, Union Station). Bernard's is the closest thing the Short North has to a sports bar, in that they have a lot of TV screens and sports are shown on said screens. But they also have events like Karaoke Night and Trivia Night. When we've been there to watch games it's usually a weekend afternoon or we might go for happy hour. They DO have a lengthy happy hour - 4:00 - 8:00 on weekdays, with 1/2 off ALL beers, 1/2 off selected appys, $2 well drinks and $1 off glasses of wine. And they have quite the selection of beer, conveniently listed on two big chalkboards, although I'll bet the servers are often asked "what's on draft?"

This is from their website so it's not necessarily current.

This night was our first time being there on a weekend night after 9:00. It was loud and crowded, mostly with 20- or 30-somethings, but there were a few older folks like us. We did get carded at the door, so that was exciting.

I ordered a Blue Moon, which you'll find I order pretty often. I have no idea what Aaron ordered; I'll have to ask him, but you can see it was darker than mine. Aaron tends to either drink dark beer or cheap American beer such as PBR and Miller High Life.

Apologies for the darkness of the pic.

As for food, I always, ALWAYS get the Portabella Mushroom Sandwich. Just look at it on the menu: carmelized onions, goat cheese, pretzel roll? Yes, please. But for the sake of you, dear reader, I ventured outside my Bernard's comfort zone and got ... "Not Your Mom's" Grilled Cheese and I naturally added the apple wood smoked bacon. The menu says "the secret is in the dijon mustard sauce." Unfortunately, while I love spicy and flavorful food, when it comes to grilled cheese I'm not a condiment kind of girl so I really didn't have an appreciation for the dijon mustard sauce. But it's a perfectly good sandwich. I also got a side of sweet potato fries, which are crinkly and likely frozen.

Aaron ordered a burger. I think it was the Ginny's BBQ Burger. I do remember that he misordered the doneness - he normally does medium but for some strange reason "well done" came out of his mouth. So he wasn't thrilled with it but I think that's just because of his error in ordering. He had Cajun fries, which also may be frozen but they have a tasty Cajun seasoning.

Bottom line: Bernard's has pretty decent bar food, a great happy hour, and you can watch a variety of sporting events there. On weekend nights, it seems a little more "clubby."

Check out the exposed brick and the jukebox!

Stay Tuned,

Spidey and The Gila

Friday, January 11, 2013

In Wine There is Truth

Aaron is a great gift-giver. Back in November we were near Destin, Florida for a long weekend with friends. On our last day we stopped at a shop, 30-A Art & Junk. It was Sunday and the shop wasn't open but there were lots of pieces outside that were available for purchase (and an honor system box in which you could put money). One of the things I liked was a sign made out of license plates and mounted on an old shutter. We didn't consider trying to buy it that day since we were flying, but Aaron surreptitiously grabbed one of their business cards. He later called the shop and managed to get a sign shipped to Columbus.

So this is what I unwrapped on Christmas:

We found the perfect place to hang it: above the doors to our screened porch.

I know it looks lit up, but that's just the camera flash
reacting to the reflective surface of the license plates.

For the record, Aaron also gave me a hat (red), a scarf (animal print), a pair of touch screen gloves and some stocking stuffer treats. I gave him cuff links, 2 hats (it was a hat kind of Christmas), new biscuits and long underwear (because the man has zero body fat and is cold ALL the time).

I think that this weekend the last of the Christmas decorations will be put away. And thus ends the Christmas season.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stop #5 - Dane's Dessert Cafe

Subtitle: The one where we realize that we're not very good with our timing.

On a rainy Sunday we wandered to Dane's Dessert Cafe. This is a place that's not right on High Street, so it's not that easy to find; in fact, they've been open over a year, and I'd never heard of it until we were figuring out where all we need to go on our tour.

Astute readers will clue in that Dane's specializes in ... wait for it ... desserts. More specifically, they create sweet concoctions of freshly made crepes or waffles, add ice cream and maybe some fruit or Nutella, and certainly some whipped cream. They also serve cakes and sundaes. They do not serve alcohol, in case you were wondering.

The day Aaron and I visited Dane's we had not yet eaten and we were pretty hungry, but we weren't really eager to jump right into a big dessert. Luckily, they serve savory crepes as well, but if you look at the menu, you'll notice that the savory section is quite small, but the owner is from Jamaica and the non-sweet options definitely reflect that so we were intrigued.

We started off with one of the Golden Krust Patties. This is a baked pastry filled with your choice of meat or vegetables. We got the veggie one, and it was spicy and delicious. I also had a Mango Tango smoothie (I really love mango).

This doesn't look like much, but it was quite tasty!

We each ordered crepes: Chicken Florentine for Aaron and Jerk Chicken for me. Aaron's was pretty dry and bland. Mine at least had the jerk flavor (and my beloved mango salsa on top) but it was inconsistent. One bite would be filled with fantastic Jamaican spices and the next would just be ... blah.

By now we had run out of time, as well as room in our bellies, for dessert. And that's when we realized that we were starting a trend. You'll remember that Mojoe Lounge is famous for their brunch, but we went at night. Dane's does desserts, and we had not one bit of dessert. And you'll soon find out that we'll hit three restaurants in a row that all have great patios and we'll probably be there in March. Ah, well...

Photo: (since we didn't actually have dessert)

Our server was the daughter of the owner and she was super friendly. The "Dane" of Dane's Desserts is her brother and his picture is on the wall. I really like the concept of this place and I want it to succeed. I've read some very mixed reviews, but it's still around a year after opening so I'm hopeful that they can make it work.

And one of these days we just might break our own rule and go back before we're "supposed" to, just to split a crepe (and I do mean split, because they're HUGE).

Stay tuned,

Spidey and The Gila

Monday, January 7, 2013

Looking for an act of kindness to perform?

A lot of people have been jumping on Ann Curry's suggestion of "26 Acts of Kindness" in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I know some people who strive toward doing an act of kindness every day, or every week. If you're one of those inclined toward performing acts of kindness (random or otherwise) and you're looking for ideas, here's one.

My friend Dawn lives in Georgia. Last Friday her sister-in-law Susan was driving with her two sons, Mason and Zach, and Dawn's son, Dylan. Susan missed a stop sign and her car collided with a semi. Mason and Zach were killed. Susan and Dylan both underwent surgery and thankfully they will heal from their physical injuries. Susan's husband Marshall is a fireman and sadly ended up at the scene.

This was a horrific accident that claimed the lives of two young boys (they were 12 and 6). Although I don't know Susan or Marshall, I've known Dawn, as well as Susan's best friend Erin, for over a decade and I'm heartbroken for this family.

A memorial fund has been set up and, if you are interested, the link to donate is here. A completely free way to support the Greene family is to keep them in your thoughts and if you pray, include them in your prayers.

UPDATE: Dylan (13) has been released from the hospital and Susan is to be released today. While this is great news, she also has to return to a quiet, empty house. Please continue to lift them with your thoughts and support.

Another way to pay it forward is to thank your local fire department. Dawn said that her brother's fellow firefighters never left his side and even when the hospital kicked them out, they stayed in their truck in the parking lot. Firefighters and other first responders experience things that no one should have to witness, and we've all been made aware of this through Hurricane Sandy and Newtown, not to mention the recent tragic event near Rochester, NY.

When last year's fires were raging in Colorado, my friend Candy (check out her blog, too) started a "Hug a Firefighter" campaign to honor her firefighter brother and all those who bravely rush in when the rest of us are  running to safety. A hug (or a handshake) costs nothing but says so much.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's 70th birthday. Over the years she's been a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend. She was my first piano teacher and she was a church organist for years (she still subs on occasional Sundays). She's very creative and talented, although she'll deny it. She's a great cook and an even better baker. Happy Birthday, Patricia Anne Reiter Tickner! I love you.

Isn't she adorable?

My mom and her mom

With me at my wedding

With my brother at his wedding

Four generations in 1998

My mom and dad