Saturday, January 29, 2011

Restaurant Review: Reddstone

Last night I went to Reddstone in with some friends to celebrate a birthday.  Located in Battery Park, I've heard good things about this place.  Unfortunately, my experience left a bit to be desired.

Courtney, was our server and I'm not sure if she was new or not but she definitely struggled throughout the night.  When we first got got there my friends and I ordered drinks.  After a bit of a discussion about what my friend T was ordering Courtney still brought the wrong beer out.  I ordered my standard vodka and tonic and was definitely given vodka and soda. 

It took us about 20 minutes to be given menus but we ordered quickly.  I will say she got our food orders correct.  I ordered "Just a Burger" without cheese of course.  It was delicious but at least three times I bit down on something hard- like tiny pieces of gravel- too hard to be gristle.  The fries were good but heavily seasoned with what I believed to be rosemary.

My two friends and I were part of a larger group, but were leaving before them so we asked for our portion of the check.  Courtney told us, "I can't split the check because then I can't put the 20 percent gratuity on there."  We told her we still planned on tipping her.  She said, "Yeah, but this is a $350 check and the tip will be like $46."  It went back and forth for awhile but finally she came back and told us it was fine, she could put us all on one and still put the 20% on and brought us the check.  We certainly didn't give her anything about the 20.  It was one of the weirdest experiences I had ever.

The bar itself was crowded though I heard a rumor that there is more of a restaurant area upstairs.  There was a good size patio, but as it's January and we're in Cleveland, that wasn't an option last night.

I'm not sure if I'll head back to Reddstone anytime soon, but I hope they work on training their servers a bit more.

Reddstone on Urbanspoon

Eddy's and Iggy's Take 2

My ladies and I went to Eddy's and Iggy's again on Wednesday!  I don't know why more ladies in Lakewood don't flock to that bar for the free drinks!  This time, as promised, we all indulged in some $0.50 tacos!  They were good- but I like Merry Arts' better.  BUT they were $1.50 less... so I think really it's a wash.  Be warned though- you can get sour cream, but one side of it is 50 cents! Still, the five of us all ate and drank for I'd say around $20 with tips!  Not a bad night out, not bad at all.

Have you tried the Eddy's and Iggy's happy hour?!

EDIT 2/2/11: Apparently we were just lucky that the two times we went they were offering the fifty cent tacos.  Follow them on Facebook to find out when they're doing the special because they do not do it every Wednesday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy

It's time for me to consider what my goal/resolution for the month of February should be.  Upon some  reflection I've realized that I have not been very happy recently.  I've felt stressed, lonely, worried, and a host of other not so pleasurable emotions. My natural instinct when feeling like this is to just wallow in it and not really make any changes.  So I have decided I need to make an effort to BE HAPPY.

A lot of what has been weighing on me is completely out of my control, so I have to stop thinking about it, stop worrying about it, and just find ways to be happy in other aspects of my life.  In October I was feeling a little down and out and I set a social activity goal for myself, and it worked out really well.  I'm going to do that again. 

Here's my Happiness Plan:

1. Accept all reasonable invitations to do something.  In October my goal was to do at least 15 social activities.  I'm going to aim for 12 in February due to the shorter month.

2. Start a new "happy thoughts book."  In high school I had a book that I, and many many friends, all wrote down lists of things that made us happy.  I still have it and my tastes have changed, so I think an update is in order.

3.  Be proactive.  Whenever something is bothering me I will deal with it as directly as possible. 

Hopefully by the end of February I will be in a great mood all the time! Well, at least most of the time!

What makes you happy?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Little More Green part 2

I think I did a good job of getting off of a lot of snail mail lists in January, but really only time will tell.  I have failed majorly on the using reusable bags when shopping, and I never got around to researching composting.  Maybe I will in the next three days- we'll see.  Obviously as 2011 plugs along I will keep trying to maintain the drive to be more earth conscious. 

Stay tuned for my February goals!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January Goal Fail...

I went grocery shopping and forgot to take any reusable bags.  Green Fail :(

I did encourage more recycling at work this week though!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Betsey Johnson store (Las Vegas)

When in Las Vegas, the girls and I went shopping of course and ended up in the Betsey Johnson store that was having a major sale.  All regularly priced clothing was 40% off and all clearance items, already marked down were an additional 50% off!  Two of the girls I was with immediately started trying on the most adorable dresses, and they looked amazing!  Being on a budget I didn't let myself, but I was jealous!  One girl- a new bff "D" bought a great little party dress in white and silver.  The sales girl Ari, was fantastic.  She let everyone try stuff on, hooked up them up with accessories from sweaters, to jewelery, to shoes.  And, she gave us a few tips on clubs to go to and the number of a guy who could get us freebies.

The next day "D" and I wound up back in the store and once again found ourselves with Ari.  This time I decided it was a chance I couldn't pass up and let myself try on a few dresses.  None of them fit me as perfectly as they did the other girls- I think they're made for less busty women- so I didn't buy a dress.  "D" found a couple other things she wanted.  But- I figured, I'd spent 2 days at this store, and I never buy anything "designer" so I had to get something.  I got something a teacher could afford... these $12 awesome-sauce socks (in cream- they were out of black)!

So, thanks Ari for a great shopping experience!  And, I can't wait to wear my designer socks!

Have you ever bought designer clothing?  Was it worth it?  And if you're ever in Vegas- stop by the Bestsey Johnson store in the Miracle Mile Shops.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Marriott Grand Chateau - Las Vegas

For New Year's Eve I headed out to Vegas with six other girls, only two of whom I knew.  And, one of the ones I knew I hadn't seen in six years.  We flew in on the 29th, and after I had dinner with my cousin who lives out there I made my way to the hotel. 

This hotel, The Marriott Grand Chateau, was amazing.  We could not have had a better hotel.  Located just- and I emphasize just- off the strip by the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino it was centrally located and a GREAT deal!  For under $50 a night we had a pimped out suite. 

One room had a king size bed, a double pull out couch, a kitchenette and it's own bathroom.  This bedroom connected to the living room which had a queen size pull out, a glass top dining table that fit all 7 of us, and a FULL kitchen.  I'm talking full size appliances, dishwasher, dishes, pots/pans etc.  Then, on the other side of the living room was the master bedroom.  This room had a king size bed, a sit and soak tub for two, a sink/vanity, and a bathroom with another sink and a double shower head shower.  Super luxurious! 

I picked up some food before I headed to the hotel which I think was smart- the hotel did have a mini store, but some of the prices were a bit inflated.  I'd also recommend bringing your own salt/pepper and coffee as no salt/pepper is provided, and each room only gets one packet of coffee a day- no matter how many of you are staying there. 

Overall though, I'd stay at this hotel again in a heart beat.  Everything was clean, the staff was helpful, and it was a great deal.

Where are your favorite places to stay in Vegas?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting Rid of Snail Mail

Step 1: Getting rid of credit card offers- for at least 5 years that is.  

If you go to this site: you can opt out of getting pre-screened credit card offers.  Since there are plenty of sites online to check out if and when you want a credit card or new credit card this seems like a no brainer.  There was an option to opt out of life but it required printing things out and mailing them in and frankly, maybe in 5 years I will want the offers again!  I'll let you know in a month or so how this worked out for me. Oh, and make sure you read the fine print- it did not require me to put in my SSN or my phone number despite the misleading red text next to the fill in fields. 

Step 2: Getting rid of pretty much everything else:
Start at this website: www.dmachoice.orgThis site provides you the tools needed to rid yourself of unwanted snail mail.  While they have a section for getting rid of credit card offers it just directs you to the site mentioned above.   Here is an excerpt from the site describing what they do.

DMAchoice™ is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. This site is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers' concerns over the amount of mail they receive, and it is the evolution of the DMA's Mail Preference Service created in 1971.For the purposes of this site, direct mail is divided into four categories: Credit Offers, Catalogs, Magazine Offers and Other Mail Offers. You can request to start or stop receiving mail from individual companies within each category—or from an entire category at once.

If you go to the catalog page or magazine page you can go to the bottom and click a button to remove you from all lists.  There is a disclaimer about whether you've bought from these places before- but I'm not going to worry about that till I see if this changes my mail intake at all.  It may be helpful to have a list of the catalogs/magazine offers that you receive that you don't want any longer, because you can look them up individually to find out what you have to do to be removed permanently.

The same option listed above is available for "other mail offers" which includes things like charities and more companies.  If you've donated to a charity and receive mailings from them it says you will have to contact them directly to be removed. 

Step 3.  Getting rid of RedPlum coupon mailers

The amount of these that I get is ridiculous, and most of the products that they have coupons for I do not use.  Also you can go to to get the coupons and that way you can just print what you need.  Here's a direct link to the form you need to fill out to be rid of these unwanted mailers:

Almost all of these solutions say they will take at least a month to take effect.  So I'll collect the rest of my mail for January and then compare it to what I collect in February to see what if any change I see.  I will also continue to look for other places to unsubscribe from!

How do you cope with junk mail?

A Little More Green

Inspired by a good friend of mine I've decided to have few to no year long resolutions and instead focus primarily on short term goals.  Granted these short term things may turn into long term habits, but it takes some of the pressure off to being with looking at things just a month at a time.

Here's my goal for January: Be A Little More Green

If you were to ask me I'd describe myself as a treehugger.  I'm concious of how things affect our planet but I'm still a bit too passive about it.  Now I'm not the type of person who will be obsessed with it either - nothing against those people, I just don't have the willpower, the drive, or frankly the desire.  But I can make small reasonable changes that could potentially have a big impact.

Here are some of the things I'm going to try to do:

1. Get off as many snail-mail lists as possible.  The amount of paper I get in the mail is ridiculous and highly unnecessary.  Bonus benefit: This will decrease the amount of times I have to take my paper recycling to the curb.

2. Use the few reusable bags I have when shopping.  And continue to refuse bags when they aren't necessary.

3. Buy things that come in the most eco-friendly packaging when possible.  This may mean buying in bulk or even buying a different brand.

4.  Research composting- sans worms.  I'm not sure winter is the best time to start composting but if I know a bit about it, I'll be ready to go come spring.

5. Hmmm... drawing a blank... what do you suggest?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kindle Love! Review!

I got a Kindle 3G for Christmas!!!  And, I love it!!! I did not get the DODO case that I wanted, but I did get a nice slim black leather case that protects it quite nicely.  Once it was charged and up and running I decided to start downloading some free books and games so I could get a feel for the device.

Since books published before 1923 are part of the public domain you can find copies of them free to download from Amazon.  I did several searches and this is what I have now on my Kindle, and how I have them sorted.

Mine Sweeper
Every Word
Jumble, 3 free puzzles (this is like a sample to get you to buy the whole thing)

Siddhartha- Hermann Hesse (read in high school- wanted to re-read)
The Sayings of Confucius- Confucius
The Republic - Plato (read it freshman year of college- interested to see what I think now)
Utopia- Sir Saint Thomas More (read it in AP government- would like to re-read)
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
The Tragedie of Hamlet - William Shakespeare (since I'll be teaching it)

The New Oxford American Dictionary (came already installed)
Familiar Quotations- Various authors
25 Language Phrasebook- Mobile Reference (I think this too, is more of a sample.)

I also bought, for $5 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

So far I know the Kindle will work for me because more than once I've reached for the top right corner and attempted to turn a page as I would with a book!  My biggest problem is knowing what to download/purchase.  What ideas do you have?  Favorite books? Must reads?  Let me know!  I'm once again aiming for 50 books in 2011!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Restaurant Review: 56 West

On the Thursday before Christmas I went to 56 West in Lakewood with my mom and one of her friends for lunch.  As usual I was in the mood for a good burger so I ordered the Single and Ready to Mingle. (The name only increased my interest in the burger- it seemed made for me.)  The chargrilled burger was topped with crisp lettuce, tomato, and raw Bermuda onion.  They make their own ketchup but I'm a Heinz purist, so I chose not to eat theirs!  The burger was cooked perfectly and was delicious.  At only $6.00 it was a great deal!  

56 West also has a pajama brunch on Sunday's from 9am-2pm where all the servers, and some of the patrons, wear pajamas.  They make omelet's to order and have a small buffet of fresh fruit, sausage, bacon, some type of eggs Benedict and much more for the great price of $7.56!

Have you been to 56 West?  What's your take?

56 West on Urbanspoon