Birthday Dinner at Del Friscos

Last Saturday, in honor of my birthday this week, we ate at the new Del Frisco’s in the Shops at Legacy in Plano, TX.

20170617_173712They have other locations in the DFW metroplex, but this is their newest location.  The staff was amazing.  We loved our server!  But today, I’m going to talk about the food.

So, usually, we get the calamari whenever we eat at a steak house like this one, but we decided to be adventurous this time and we ordered the octopus, served with Gigante beans, tomatoes, olives, capers, lemon, and cold pressed olive oil.

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The ends of the octopus were a little chewy, but the rest of it was tender and the beans and tomatoes complimented it very well!

The special of the night was a bone-in fillet, oscar-style, with asparagus in a hollandaise sauce.  This is actually quite similar to what I have ordered in the past at other steak restaurants, so for the first time in my life, I ordered the special.

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The meat was super tender and juicy.  I ate half of this and took the other half home, and the leftovers were still tender and juicy even after warming it up in the microwave!  Oscar style is crab meat on the top of the steak.  I’ve never had it all together in one dish (usually the asparagus and sauce are on the side), but it did not disappoint!

Michael ordered the prime rib, which he ate most of, but still had some left to eat the next day for lunch.

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Usually, we get the lobster mac and cheese, but the server said that there was another lobster option not on the menu yet called lobster mash (basically lobster with mashed potatoes).  She asked if we would like to try that instead, and Michael said, why not get both?  So we did.

They were both amazing.  They both had different tastes and textures, but they were like casseroles.  Yummy, scrumptious casseroles.  We had a good bit to bring home for these as well.  And they were half orders!

Finally, we asked for the dessert menu.  The server recommended the butter cake.  There were other choices that sounded pretty good, but they were the more usual choices we make.  So we threw caution to the wind and ordered the butter cake to share.  It’s served with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream.  The perfect end to a wonderful dinner!

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We left so full and satiated that evening.  It was a wonderful birthday treat!  We will definitely come back again.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?  Do you usually order the same thing, or do you try new things?

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The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t get transported by many books, but the vivid imagery of this story set me in the time of Nazi occupation in France during World War II.

The story is about two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Their father leaves them in the care of another family after their mother dies, unable to care for them himself. Vianne eventually marries. She has a miscarriage and then goes on to have a little girl. Isabelle, the younger, goes from boarding school to boarding school, unable to conform to lady’s society. When Germany takes over parts of France, both girls learn what they are capable of under pressure and in constant fear.

One of the themes that kept popping up for me was this sense of abandonment. Isabelle feels abandoned first by her dad, then by her sister who couldn’t take care of her when she had her miscarriage, which led her down the path of failed boarding schools. Vianne depends on her husband, and after he leaves for war and subsequently becomes a prisoner of war, she has to learn how to live without his constant care and support. And of course, there is the bigger theme of abandonment in the French people as France turns over Paris to the Nazis, and the people who live there are now under the thumb of Hitler.

The characters and settings are complex and beautiful. Every time I dived into the chapters of this book, I got lost in the story. I’ve been to Paris, and there is a beautiful quote about Paris in the book that I totally agree with, “I had forgotten how gently time passes in Paris. As lively as the city is, there’s a stillness to it, a peace that lures you in. In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be.” It makes me want to go back and see the places in this story!

I highly recommend the book for anyone who likes a female character driven story. There is romance, action, and complex drama throughout the whole story. Definitely a book I will read again!

You can also get your copy of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah here!

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I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

May Favorites

Summer is almost here!  This month has been a month full of reflection, but not a whole lot of buying or trying new things, so this will be a somewhat shorter post.

I’ve been doing these Favorite posts every month this year.  Be sure to check out JanuaryFebruaryMarch, and April.

I mentioned yesterday in my blog post that I went to Ross to buy the silverware organizer for my nightstand.  Well, I couldn’t pass up looking at the tops, and I found two to add to my summer wardrobe.

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I usually stick to solid colors in my wardrobe, so these two pieces are a little outside of my comfort zone.  However, I really wanted to find a “cold-shoulder” blouse like the one on the right (it has a hole in the sleeve right below the shoulders on each side).  Also, I wanted things that were loose and airy, which these two seem to match that description well.

Also, I purchased some black capris, since I only have one pair of capris currently, and Texas is too hot for jeans all summer.  I really love this pair.  When I put it on, it fit perfectly, maybe even a little on the big side, but it’s also stretch so I always get bigger sizes in case it will shrink.  They can be found here: http://amzn.to/2rjv6bo

 

As a lot of you know, I’m an Amazon affiliate (see below).  And I do it because I buy so much from Amazon that I’m probably slightly addicted to seeing those brown boxes showing up at my door.  Michael and I have Amazon Prime which can offer 2-day shipping, plus access to a lot of TV shows and movies (some original to Amazon), and Kindle books!  So, I have a link for free 30 days of Prime so you can try it for yourself, or you can give it as a gift to someone else!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

What have been some of your favorites this month?

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

April Favorites

The weeks are starting to get busy.  I’ve been doing so much, which is why I haven’t had the chance to blog as much as I normally do.

I’ve been doing these Favorite posts every month this year.  Be sure to check out JanuaryFebruary, and March.

Since it’s April, I thought this favorite was appropriate.  Rain boots!  It has been raining a lot here in Dallas.  We have even had hail.  They are surprisingly comfortable.  I can walk around the house in them, but they are the also great when I have to get out in the rain and mud.  So win-win.  They also have so many great reviews on Amazon.  You can check that out here: http://amzn.to/2qfOVMF

Michael and I play a lot of board games.  So I thought I would share some of my favorites.

 

Splendor is a gem collecting game.  It is easy to learn, takes about 30 minutes to play (as long as you don’t get too distracted).  It’s super fun, and it’s always something to play while waiting for other games to open up.

7 Wonders takes a bit longer.  You build an ancient civilization.  You can choose to invest in science, military, and a host of other things. Then, at the end of the game, you total all your points in each category.  The highest wins.

 

Chrononauts is a time traveling game, more like messing with time.  Basically, you change the events in the past to create events in the future.  Your objective is to create a certain set of events or collect certain objectives. The first one to accomplish that wins.

 

What have been some of your favorites this month?

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

March Favorites

I know that I say “this month flew by” just about every time a month ends.  But this time, I actually lost track of time and didn’t realize that the end of the month had come already.

Since I’ve done a January and February favorites already this year, I figured I would keep going with the tradition.  However, there really weren’t a whole lot of outstanding products I encountered this month, other than ones I’ve already shared in past months.   So I’m going to do things a little different.

You see, March had two significant running themes for me.  Pet-sitting and video games.  So I thought I would share my favorite products from these two categories instead of my usual ones.

Pet-sitting/Dog related

A couple of years ago, I purchased this really nifty dog walking organizer.  It is perfect for housing doggie bags (it even has a special compartment for used ones), plus my phone and pepper spray (cause we got coyotes and bobcats here and I don’t take my chances).  It easily slips onto the handle of the leash or accommodates the retractable leash as well.  Plus, you can’t beat the price.  You can find it on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2nlif2q

Also, another thing I purchased originally for foster dogs, then pet-sitting dogs without crates, and now for my pup, Teddy, was this oversized collapsible crate.  I will probably need to buy another one now that Teddy has taken up permanent residence in the one I currently own.  Usually, my pet-sitting pups come with their own crate, but if they don’t, I tend to use this one as something they stay in if I have to run to the store.  And, I like that it’s easy to slide under the bed when I’m not using it.  Plus clean up is super easy as well.  You can find this one on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2nFCeN1

Video Games

So, I talked about this in my February Favorites post, but Mass Effect: Andromeda actually came out this month (last week to be exact).  And I played on the easiest setting so that I could see the story unfold.  I am a sucker for a good story.  And I’m not going to confess just how much time I devoted to this game over the last two weeks, but let’s just say it was a lot.  About a week after the game came out, I slowed down a bit.  I’m actually playing it again as the male character (I played the female character the first go around), but this time I’m not quite as obsessed.

Now, to be honest, it’s a little embarrassing to admit just how much I like this game.  I mentioned that I play Sims, but honestly, I really seldom play games very much at all.  I played Zelda: Ocarina of Time in college straight through on a Saturday.  But other than that, I typically focus on other hobbies – organizing, planning, a little gardening, and of course dogs.  So I don’t consider myself a gamer.  But it has opened a door to a whole new community of interesting people.

And also, the game is rated Mature.  And there are some mature things in it.  Granted, when I played through, I didn’t come across some of the more scandalous cut scenes, but they are there.  It saddens me that companies think they have to create these scenes in order to keep the player engaged because I think the game could have done without them and would have been just fine.

I like a lot of the writing (although some of the lines are way cheesy).  The best writing, by far, is found in the emails that your character receives.  The landscape graphics are beautiful as are the graphics in space (although the travel gets old as you get towards the end of the game). There has been a lot of criticism about the character animations, and I just have to say, I agree, but it didn’t bother me enough to stop enjoying the gameplay.  Plus, there are still some navigational and side mission bugs that need to be worked out, but overall, definitely a fun game to play.  So, that’s my quick review of the whole game.  If you would like to join in the fun, you can purchase the game on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2nllffd

What have been some of your favorites this month?

Have you ever been obsessed about something outside of the normal for you?

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

Making Candles

For one of my March goals, I wanted to use a candle making kit that Michael got me for Valentine’s Day to try my hand at making a soy candle.  He got it from Candlewic.com, and I’m not sponsored by them at all, but this will also be kind of a mini-review of their product as well.

In my research, I found that this kit was the least expensive kit for what was included in it. And from start to finish, the only things I had to provide were a pot to boil water in and a spoon to mix (and technically the newspaper, although they did have packing paper included that was thick enough to use.

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So, first, I used a glue dot to attach the wick to the bottom of the container.

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Then, I poured one bag of one pound of soy wax into the pouring pot, and then placed it in the pot of boiling water, to act as a double boiler.

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Once that melted, I used the included thermometer to measure the temperature.  I was impressed with the quality of the thermometer in this kit.

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Then, when it reached 175 degrees F, I added the green coloring included in the kit.

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Once it cooled to 140 degrees F, I added the Agave Nectar fragrance.

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The fragrance was pretty strong.  We have an open floor plan and I could smell it in the living room, but it wasn’t so strong that it would give me a headache.  After the fragrance was added, I poured it into the container with the wick (at this point, I realized that I could easily fill two containers, so I made another container with a wick before I started pouring).

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I then used one of the bow tie clips to hold the wick in place as it dried.

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And then, a few hours later, I checked on it and it was solid.  I cut the wick down.

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And they even included little stickers to put on the bottom of the candle with safety warnings (like don’t leave a candle burning unattended).

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Clean up was very easy, and that’s saying a lot for a clumsy, messy girl like me.  I only had to clean up a few drops of wax around where I poured, and cleaning the pouring pot was super easy as well.  I loved the kit.  The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow, and I have three more scents and colors to try!  Honestly, I put this off because I thought it would be time-consuming, but it really was easy to do!

Have you ever made candles?  Have you tried a kit that you love?

February Favorites

I know February is a short month, but goodness did this one go by fast!  Here are a few favorites from the month.

I also wanted to let you know that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  These are all things I have used personally.  I wouldn’t recommend something I haven’t tried myself.  Thanks!

Clothing and Accessories

20170227_155125My love language is Gifts. Several years ago, Michael bought me a Pandora charm bracelet. It has helped immensely on birthdays and anniversaries. But it’s also been a great way to memorialize things near to me.  Each of my daughters is represented on this bracelet, and I absolutely love it.  You can buy the bracelet on Amazon from Pandora here.

App

1This month, I’ve been trying to drink more water as one of my goals.  I’ve been using the Hydro Coach app for Android.  I love it.  It reminds me every two hours to drink water (which you can adjust as needed).  It even makes a water dripping sound when it notifies me to drink.  It’s pretty easy and nifty to use!  Click here for more info.

Other Category

So, this one is a little telling on myself.  I play video games.  Usually just the Sims, which I love (Sims 4 for PC actually), but this month Origin (the place where I store and buy all my PC games on my desktop) was giving away Mass Effect 2 for free.  I had heard of the franchise but never played it.  I like a good story with lots of quests, and this game definitely fit the bill!  The thing I like the most is that all of your decisions affect your gameplay.  If you don’t upgrade your ship, people will die towards the end.  If you decide to pursue a friendship, you can learn more about the person and it can help you unlock other secrets.  It’s pretty fantastic.  There are so many choices, I can play the game again and again.

Well, I found out the REAL reason why it is out for free.  The new Mass Effect Andromeda is coming out in March.  It’s going to be crazy insane with amazing graphics and more of the storytelling that I love.  Also, it’s keeping all the different options to play so I could play it again and again.  But it’s a pretty hefty price tag ($70) and I would either need to upgrade my computer or get an Xbox One which is an even bigger price tag (we have a 360 so we know and like a lot of the games connected with this console).  I have money saved, but I’m still hesitant.  Perhaps I’ll play ME2 a few more times while I think about it.  🙂

If you want to preorder Andromeda you can do that here.

Or if you want to try the original trilogy, you can purchase it here.

What are some things you have been loving this month?  It doesn’t have to be in the above categories, either!  I love trying out new things!

And does anyone else like video games?  Or do you have a quirky interest of your own that you don’t talk about too often?