Sunday, November 13, 2011

A new car

About a month ago my car started having problems accelerating. It wasn't the first time this happened, about five years ago I had a similar problem, so I kind of assumed it was the same problem. But when I took it in to Pep Boys they told me I should bring it to a dealer because the problem was with the transmission and could be quite serious. I don't have a local mechanic, or even a dealership I like, so my Dad offered to take my car to the dealership he goes to in Holyoke MA. He's bought a few cars in there and always takes both his and my Mom's cars there for maintenance so I figured this was my best bet.

So after being without a car for a couple weeks, the nice folks at Gary Rome Hyundai had good and bad news for me. They could fix my leaky exhaust (hurray!) if I wanted to put in a new transmission (boo!). Yup. It was as good as dead.

This was the second car I really drove, but it was the first car that was really mine. It was a 2004 Hyundai Accent and I had driven all 96,000 miles on it myself. I loved it. It was good to me. And it also taught me a valuable car owning lesson: make sure to get all scheduled maintenance done on time and keep the receipts (otherwise your warrant is void).

Scratches courtesy of on-street parking
So with that said, I had to decide between getting rid of my car altogether or buying a new/used one. My (awesome) Dad had gone over to talk to the guy at the dealership and found a good deal on a used 2009 Accent with only 35,000 miles on it. They were nice enough to hold the car for me until I could go out there to check it out.

And it turns out, I liked it. Totally a step up from my old car. Power windows and locks, a CD player (what will I do with all my cassettes now?), cruise control, and a roomier interior and trunk.

So I'm now the proud owner of a new, used car.

I'm pretty thankful for my parents who helped me figure out this whole car situation. I'm pretty excited for my new car. And I plan to take much better car of this car.

Friday, November 11, 2011


If you read many blogs you know that sometimes popular bloggers are given items to try and then write about, it's like new school journalism, and often with those items they are also given an additional set to give away to their readers.

One of the blogs that I read regularly, Don't (White) Sugar-Coat It, did a post about Annie's Homegrown gluten free products. In honor of Celiac Awareness month Annie's asked her to try some of their new products and offered a giveaway to her readers. With Jessica being on a gluten free diet, I've done my best to know about gluten free products and find restaurants and bakeries and anything else that offers such options. So I happily entered the contest... and about a week later I noticed that Elizabeth has tweeted me to say I'd won! And about a week after that these showed up at my door.

 We've opened and tried them both. The fruit snacks are apple flavor (very seasonally appropriate), and not bad at all. Unlike a lot of fruit snacks out there they don't taste like gummy candy, they actually taste like the fruit. And the ginger snap cookies are tasty, super gingery. Thank you Elizabeth and Annie's

Winning things is fun. And I have an uncanny ability to win random things. Let me tell you a little bit about some things I've won. Most recently, besides the gluten free goodies, I also won two tickets to a dessert reception and viewing of the A Day In Pompeii exhibit at the Museum of Science courtesy of The Boston Globe. In college I once won a giant Christmas stocking (and by giant I mean it's about 4 feet tall) filled with snacks and random toys from the dining hall. Can I just say how ridicules I looked carrying a stuffed stocking that was almost as tall as me across campus back to my dorm room? And earlier in college I won over 1,000 aroma therapy candles in various sizes and scents and their display case from Yankee Candle. This was so big that my parents had to borrow my cousins truck to pick it up, and my parents whole house smelled like Yankee Candle for about a year. It took multiple years to get rid of all of these candle.

I am sure I am missing other random things that I've won over the years but the stocking and the candles are the two funniest.

Now if only I could win a vacation somewhere warm...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I ate breakfast

Ok. So that doesn't really sound like much of an accomplishment, but believe me, it is.

One of the best habits I took away from the I Diet was eating 3 meals and 1 or 2 snacks a day. It's such a simple thing, and something I knew all along I should be doing (and something my roommate used to suggest to me regularly), but forming the habit wasn't that easy.

Aside from having a muffin here or there and Sunday breakfast (ooh I love Sunday breakfast!), I haven't eaten breakfast in probably 2 months.

So today, I ate breakfast. Oatmeal with a little bit of brown sugar and some craisins. It was good too. Made me remember I actually like oatmeal.

Cheers to breakfast!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pig Roast

Last Thursday I had the priviledge to attend a birthday party at the Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar. Not just any party but a pig roast. Sadly, I only took a couple pictures and they didn't really come out all that great. But the dinner... oh my! What a dinner. It was fantastic.

The meal starts with a raw bar, oysters, little neck clams, and shimp. With a little more than one of each per person at the table, it was a great start. I had lots of firsts during this meal, including the oysters. They're defintiely a weird thing if textures of food bother you, but they're definitely tasty. I loved the briney taste.

A short time later, the chef and some of his kitchen staff came out to present the 14 hour slow roasted sucking pig. It was a pretty awesome sight to see. 
The photo quality is bad, but you get the idea
While they were butchering our delicious piggy, our waitress brought out the side dishes. A lovely field greens salad, jalapeno grits, and baked beans. The grits were good, the jalapeno gave them just a slight kick without overpowering. The baked beans had a nice smokey flavor.

And finally, the butchered pig arrived. First, the head and feet accompanied by the shoulder and butt meat. Followed by a platter of additional meat (with lots of crunchy skin), sausage made with the pig innards, and stuffing. SO MUCH MEAT! The shoulder was my favorite, the pieces with the crispy skin ran a close second. Though it was good, the sausage was probably my least favorite part altogether.

Eventually the waitress came to take the head back so the kitchen could deconstruct it for us. A short time later we were presented with many more goodies. Including spicy pork belly and deep fried skin (oh my gravy! I died and went to gluttonous heaven). And on a new platter was the skull which contained the brains surrounded by pig ears, cheeks, dark meat from the snout, and various other edible parts of the head. The cheeks were so flavorful and delicious, almost melted in your mouth they were such a marbled fattiness. And the brains... yes, I tried them. I figured there probably will not be that many times in my life when I will have the opportunity so I went for it. They were gamey, but very creamy. You spread them on a crostini with a little bit of sea salt and a sprinkle of lemon. May not be something I seek out, but I'd certainly eat it again.

Overall it was quite the experience. I tried a lot of things I'd never had before (oysters, pig cheeks, pork belly, brains), and was left wondering (again) why I spent so much of my life disliking pork. The service was great, our waitress was attentive to our party of 11, and the chef was really great at explaining what we were being served. And for $38 per person (not including tax, tip, or beverages), it's a pretty good deal. I'd do it again. In fact... my 30th birthday is coming up... hmm.