Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blondes I-REview: Kitchen: The Newest Addition to the Growing Glover Park Restaurant Scene

Last night, I ventured out with some gal pals to try out Kitchen, the newest sibling in the Latin Concepts family. It opened last week on the "strip" aka Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park. Upon entering, the crowd was a bit sparse with only a few patrons at the bar. Ok, so it was still kind of early....we selected a table and seated ourselves. Here we go, I thought....
The Waiter &; The Wine:
So, our cheery waiter pops by the table to take our drink order. I request the standard Sauvignon Blanc only to find out they don't have any. HUH?!?! It was explained to me that they are using up their inventory left over from Ceviche and haven't received a new shipment yet. (Uh-oh, I think. This is not the right way to start off the evening.) Waiter Boy offers two Chardonnay choices, quickly returning to our table with bottles in hand. Our choices are Jerry Garcia Chardonnay or Bad Dog. (Ok, things are looking up!!) I have never tried Jerry Garcia, but since I am a die-hard (not tie-dyed!) Deadhead, I signed up for the band leader's brand. And, what a tasty choice! Did Jerry ever do anything that wasn't outstanding??
The Menu &; Dinner Selections:
I fussed and fussed over the menu as nothing jumped out at me. It's a menu full of southern comfort food with flair. There were several options that caught my eye, but none that seemed right - all had some sort of ingredient that I didn't care for. So, gal pal #1 decided that we should each get an entree that she likes (and coincidentally appealed to me, but were far too much food for me to eat on my own) and we'll split them. Ok! Sign us up for the lobster mac n cheese and the country fried steak with sausage gravy and biscuits! Waiter Boy pushed hard on mama's meatloaf, but that just wasn't where my head was - mark that down for next time. And, as all good servers do, Waiter Boy suggested an app for the three of us to share. The fried pickles looked intriguing, but since I don't actually like pickles this is not necessarily the best choice for me...yet somehow I keep thinking about them.... Gal pal #1 again takes the reins (she manages me so well!) and orders us the BBQ Shrimp & Grits. (Um, ew - it has thyme, which I hate and will likely ruin a perfectly good plate of shrimp & grits. damn, damn, damn. And then it arrives....) While I was thinking this app would be marginal at best, having been ruined by the damn thyme, I was super surprised at the tasty goodness that this dish was. I could have had that for dinner all by itself. YUM, YUM, YUM. I totally enjoyed my country fried steak, although I could have left the steak and just devoured the biscuits and gravy. O.M.G. I could feel them coagulating right on my hips, but damn those biscuits were well worth it! The lobster mac n cheese was good, but not fab. All of the lobster was concentrated in giant chunks on top, but a suggested improvement would be for the chunks of lobster meat to be mixed throughout the mac n cheese. Still a yummy dish.
The Encore - Dessert:
Um, let me just say - I have never eaten a Twinkie in my life. I hate yellow cake with white icing, so this all-American treat just doesn't appeal to me. Unless its FRIED! Holy Crap! We got this delightful dessert and it took all of my will power not to stab the gal pals with my fork to horde more for myself. I will NEVER share this again. I will need my own order. O.M.G.

In addition to the great experience we had I'd like to say the service was terrific - cheerful, sweet and GOOD. Waiter Boy had the whole downstairs and handled all the tables and diners with ease. It should also be noted that they serve a full brunch on both SATURDAY and Sunday. Not bad!!!

Rating: 3 1/2 Blondes out of 4 Blondes - its a definite spot to check out.

Post your reviews and experiences at Kitchen here on Blondes I-View.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A SWIFFER-RIFIC contest brought to you by PetKnows

I write for another blog, PetKnows, and we are hosting a terrific...actually a SWIFFER-RIFIC contest. Here's a repost with all the info:

"As I previously posted about Cat Essentials - what you absolutely need to have as a successful cat owner - a Swiffer is a must-have for taming pet hair and dust that inevitably haunts the corners of your home. Well, I am pleased to announce that Swiffer has provided PetKnows with three (3!) Swiffer Starter Kits to bestow on our loyal readers.

Here are the rules:

In order to enter:

1. Follow us on Twitter @PetKnows

2. Fan our Facebook page. And then leave your Twitter handle in the discussion section of our Facebook page.

3. Leave your best pet-hair challenge story in the comments section of this post.

All three criteria must be met in order to be eligible and winners will be selected at random, but a good story helps!

This is open to all current and former pet-owners (cats, dogs, etc.).

Winners will be announced on February 11 here on PetKnows!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BlogHer Made Me Rich!

I got my first check from BlogHer!  It was for a minimal amount - enough to keep me Starbucked for the week, but not enough to finance a trip to Aruba.  But, the amount doesn't matter. What matters is - I get it now! 

I knew the power of blog ads, I understood and accepted it (in my business you have to in order to advise clients), but I've never lived it.  Well, now I have.  And the motivation to get another check - bigger and quicker - is driving my blogging. 

If you are reading this and have a blog that you've neglected of late...get on the stick! You are just throwing money away if you aren't actively updating your blog, writing compelling content (or just funny stuff), and driving traffic to it - which ultimately leads to ad clicks (read: dollars in your pocket). 

There are tons of ad networks out there, like BlogHer - just find the one that works best for you and your blog and sign up and reap the rewards - literally.  You can choose a blog ad network based on the sheer size and influence of it like Google AdSense, Technorati or Feedburner.  You can choose it based on similarity to you or your content, like Women's networks, such as BlogHer or Women's Blog Ad Network or based on a passion that you have, like the fashion based Glam or Men's Sports focused SportsBlog Nation. Whatever your passion, whatever your blog content, just be sure that you're monetizing it by having blog ads running in an unobtrusive area of your blog (typically a right hand column.)

In this economy, every penny counts, so why not get paid to talk (write)?  Seems easy enough to me!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hey, I know you read - why don't you speak up?

Dear Friends, Family, and a few loyal reader strangers,

I know you read Blonde's I-View. I see it in my stats (thanks Google Analytics). I even know where you come from (Virginia, Philly, Cali, and those London readers?). But, you are a silent group.

Maybe its that you can't get a word in edgewise? Maybe its that my posts are so compelling that I've covered all points and you totally agree? Somehow I doubt it. So....I can only assuming that you are either afraid to post (I promise I won't respond mean or snarky) or you don't know how. Two reasonable assumptions (because it is, of course, not the content that bores you into silence...right? right?).

So, I am going to give you a Blonde's I-View tutorial. See below this post - where it says "Posted by J-Coll on 1/17/09" - to the right of that, you will see "0 comments" (which pains me.) If you take your little mousey and scroll over it you will see it is actually a link. CLICK IT! Yay!

Now you have a form that will ask for your name, email, and website if you have one. Fill it in. You do not need to leave your real name. Promise. Your email doesn't show. If you have a website - it will hyperlink your name to it (nice little way to drive traffic to your site). Then add your comment, thoughts, outrage - whatever. I'm desperate for some feedback here, people. Please! It will likely ask you to put in a serious of nonsensical words - that is to verify that you are not a computer spammer. Its ok, do it. It won't hack your system, promise. And that is it!! Its that easy. And, I will respond - promise, promise! So, try it out....I'm waiting, although not holding my breath. Blue's not my color...

Friday, January 16, 2009

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog...

Please take a quick moment to pray, meditate, count your lucky stars, kiss your cat, acknowledge the herosim of "Capt. Sully" who successfully landed and Airbus320 full of 155 people in the narrow Hudson River yesterday.  His actions led to something that was nothing short of a miracle. 

Lives were saved - how often does that happen when there is a plane crash of this magnitude?  Commuter ferries became first responders and water rescuers.  How lucky was it that they happened to be there.  What a touching example of human compassion among strangers. 

Just a reminder from Blonde's I-View of how precious life is - you cannot take one moment for granted.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shop More, Spend Less!

I am a confessed shopaholic. So I regularly read the Budget Fashionista blog. I just love it! Its all about affordable style without sacificing quality and how to do it on a budget. When I saw this recent post, I bookmarked it right away. BF details the top online auctions sites. What, you say, there's more than eBay? Who knew! Its was news to this pro-shopper too, so I thought I'd share. I've checked out a few of these sites and they are pretty great. I've listed a few below.

1. eBay (obvi)
2. Shop Goodwill (you'd be surprised at what great stuff they have)
3. Upper Bid (the eBay for luxury brands)

One thing to remember - many of these sites sell NEW brands with the tags, so its not all used clothing. Happy Bargain Hunting!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Am I seeing double? Twins Separated at Birth?

Have you ever had that experience where you are absolutely sure that you keep running into or seeing the same person, only to find out that there are two people that your brain recognizes as one in the same? This happens to me quite frequently. The similarities between two people are astonishingly similar in my memory, but when shown pictures of each side by side - well, not so much.

This happened recently when I was promptly informed that a character on CSI was NOT in fact making guest appearances on CSI: Miami as I had believed. Well, you don't tell me I'm wrong unless you've got some credible facts to back it up, bucko. Off I went to imdb - the wikipedia of all things celebrity. And much to my surprise, it was true! Greg from CSI (played by Eric Szmanda) and Ryan from CSI: Miami (Jonathan Togo) are not the same person! Take a look at these photos from their imdb profiles and you be the judge!

Got any great mistaken identity stories of your own? Post them here!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Obama Inauguration Poorly Planned

While I will be out of town for the actual festivities, thank god, as a citizen of the District who works across the bridge, I have a NUMBER of questions for the Inaugural Planning team responsible for street closures.  I will for the sake of this blog post assume that is being handle jointly between DC law enforcement and the Secret Service. 

I heard on the news today that all Potomac bridges will be closed to personal traffic/cars.  So... here are a few scenarios that I have thought of quickly off of the top of my head that might pose a problem.  I'm wondering if the planning committee has considered these.  Or if they have an have decided security is more important.  That would send quite a message at the beginning of the new administration. Obama's security is far more important that your emergency.  Sorry.  So much for "change."  Welcome to DC, the new police state - until further notice.
  •  What about people who need emergency transport - like to get to a hospital or visit ill family members in an ICU? 
  • What about Meals on Wheels? 
  • What about if your dog gets hit by a car and you have to rush to a animal hospital?  
  • How will people who live in VA get into DC to attend the Inaugural Balls.  Surely, each person won't have a private car or taxi at their immediate disposal and will want to drive their own car.  Not everyone lives near a metro... 

There are several cases where you need to take a major road or bridge to accommodate an unforeseen emergency.  These very roads are going to be closed.  Will the police let you through or turn you away? 

I would love to hear your thoughts or other possible situations that you can think of that should be on this list.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mystery of Life Solved! NatGeo Explains Why Puppies & Kitties are So Cute!

I recently was contacted by the National Geographic Channel to review an upcoming documentary called "In the Womb." Its part of an ongoing series. In this latest version, there are two episodes - one with puppies; one with kittens - documenting their evolution from conception to shortly after birth. At first I was a little put off - still scarred from those videos of human births I had to suffer through in high school. As soon as I received the advanced copy, my tune changed. The pictures on the DVD cover were adorable! Who would have imagined that kitten & puppy fetuses could be cute - and much much more adorable than human fetuses!

As expected from a NatGeo documentary, they've done an intriguing job of following simultaneous conceptions - domestic cats compared to lions; and common puppy breeds compared to wolves. I learned a lot from this documentary - especially how similar our pets are at conception to their wild relatives. NatGeo details the similarities and also the point at which they diverge, one becoming a domesticated, cuddly pet - the other a fearsome predator. Super cute factor: 10+, especially when the fetuses begin to "practice" their skills and you watch them running, grooming and stretching - all inside the womb! Poor mama cat!

IMO, this is a must-see presentation. Its on TONIGHT, Sunday, January, 4 on the NatGeo Channel. Puppies can be previewed at 8pm and kitties at 9pm (EST.) Whether you have a pet or not, this is an interesting and quick-paced watch. If you catch it, please be sure to stop back here at PetKnows - we'd love to hear what you think!

Puppies v. Wolf Pups

Full disclosure: This is a repost from the pet blog to which I contribute: PetKnows. The original post can be found here.