Sunday, April 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

Had another fun trip to Champaign this weekend. Recap coming soon... Of all things to do, Brandon and I hit up another library book sale. I started reading this old Illinois cookbook (published in 2007, surprising...) that had descriptions about each part of the state. Here's the quote about our "Little Egypt" region:

"Little Egypt is the mother of Illinois"

He must have been from here, no?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Best of Southern Illinois: Sunsets

The Southern Illinois sunset is one of my favorite parts of living here. Surprised? So was I! But because the land is so flat, the views are always awe inspiring. Love it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

River to River

Yesterday, Brandon participated in the River to River Relay. It is an 80 mile race through Southern Illinois from the Mississippi to Ohio Rivers. Teams of eight members take turns running 2.5-4 miles of the course. Each runner does three legs and while they wait their turn they travel in a van from checkpoint to checkpoint. The course is extremely hilly (you can see the elevation of each leg here).
Brandon's first hand-off
Brandon began his journey before sunrise and was scheduled to arrive at the finish line at around 5-6pm. Knute and Nancy wanted to see him cross the finish line so they picked me up in the afternoon. The finish line was in Golconda, IL. On our way there we stopped at the famous Chocolate Factory. Take a look at their latest treats:

My favorite treats were the Illinois-shaped state chocolates. I went home with some dark chocolate peanut clusters and some chocolate-covered bacon which was the treat of the month. Nancy took home some Snickers fudge that was a-mazing. 

Then we headed to Golconda main street where we waited for the runners to arrive. It was cold!! Brandon was the 8th runner which made the finish even more special for us.
His team joined him for the final 2 blocks of the run. His team, "The Breakfast Club," finished in 10 hours and 45 minutes. Afterwards, they posed for a team pic on the levee.
This race is definitely one of the best attractions in Southern Illinois. So glad the boys got to run it!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things I dont want

I know I've been doing a lot of online browsing lately, so I thought I'd balance it out with a list of things I really don't want...
Car Lashes

J. Crew is calling this fashion??

One thing I don't want for the wedding, a unity sand ceremony:
Heart Unity Sand Vase

"Uniquely" packaged golf balls
Hello Kitty Microwave

Monday, April 16, 2012

Newell House

Some months ago we were invited to the Newell House in Carbondale to celebrate our friend Andrew's 25th birthday. Sorry my pictures are so dim, the restaurant was fairly dark. But this restaurant is worth sharing because it's about as fine dining as it gets in Carbondale. First off, they had an extensive drink menu. We just ended up sharing a bottle of red with another person at the table. Then the bread came out. It was DELICIOUS. It was a warm round loaf of focaccia. I ordered an entree which came with a choice of salad. I went with the one with the balsamic reduction.

Mmm modern art!
My entree was chicken and broccoli Alfredo. They went a bit heavy on the parsley, don't you think?
It was creamy and delicious! Brandon didn't have too big of an appetite so he just ordered soup, the lobster bisque. It was salty and creamy. It also looked like a sundae with the cherry tomato on top:
Lobster Bisque
We decided to share dessert. To my dismay there wasn't a dessert menu, but I listened closely and thought I ordered a brownie sundae. What I got was a turtle brownie ice cream. It was more like a Cold Stone Creation but delicious none-the-less.
Again, they went in-your-face with the plating. Other than that, it was a really nice experience and worth it for a nice night out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bucket List: Winston's Bagel

On Saturday, Brandon and I got up early in anticipation of a drive to St. Louis for the first vintage baseball game of the season. Unfortunately, as we left the house we got the message that the game was cancelled due to weather.
Coffee was necessary
Woo! A day open to possibility! We had breakfast with Knute and Nancy and then headed to Carbondale. I wanted to check out the Farmer's Market for the first time this season.  As we were walking around the wind was blowing and this amazing onion scent wafted towards us. I turned around to find a table full of sweet onions:
Ever since Easter, I've been wanting a hanging plant for my patio. I found the perfect purple flowers:
Our next stop was Brandon's choice, the Carbondale Public Library Book Sale. I was a bit skeptical but we were actually able to find some hidden gems. The best part was that the highest price charged for a book was $1. Even hard cover books (some with the Barnes & Noble stickers still on!). Brandon was in heaven.

During the afternoon we just lounged around the house and talked some more about wedding plans. We are meeting with our wedding planner tomorrow for dinner :)

Later in the evening we met up with Kie and Gavin. We went to Pinch Penny where Funky Monks were playing the beer garden. They are a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band, the music was good but I thought the lead singer sounded more like Barenaked Ladies. Anyway... at the end of the night, I managed to check another bucket list item off... Winston's Bagel!
OMG gross! Haha. I guess I wasn't drunk enough.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

James Van Der Beek

I think I like Dawson now more than ever before!

Caught that a few nights ago. Would love to watch Don't Trust the B* in Apt. 23 tonight but my DVR is already full... Maybe I can catch it online?

Also, watch this


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Girls' Weekend

Happy Easter! I promised a recap of my trip last weekend, so here we go...

Last weekend I had a date to visit Kristen in Champaign. The last time I went up there, I took the train. In an effort to same money/be able to leave when I wanted, I decided just to drive up there after work on Friday. Ugh, traffic on I-57N was horrendous. Apparently, it's gonna be that way for a while. It's ok, I survived. 

I slept in on Saturday morning. So, by the time we left Kristen's apartment it was almost lunch time. We just decided to head on over to The Black Dog Smoke & Ale House to beat the lunch rush. This was a brilliant idea because by the time we were done eating, the place was packed. We started with the corn bread appetizer. It was unreal. It had pulled pork and baked beans inside. Holy yum!
Even better with butter
For my entree I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and sweet potato fries. I got to take half of this home and it was just as good the day after. I have to say, it's a solid rival to 17th Street.
After lunch, we went to some neat shopping places around town. Kristen found some pretty earrings for me at Macy's. Then we came back to Kristen's apartment to watch My Week With Marilyn.
Celebratory mimosas were had
I'm engaged and she will be attending a doctorate program in LA next year, so we had a lot to celebrate! I also brought the little plastic glasses. Those didn't last long - we upgraded to big girl glasses after we drank those little things.

We continued our afternoon libations with a trip to Legends where some of Kristen's friends were watching the Final Four games. Then we went to Radio Maria for a gourmet dinner. I ordered the Sugarcane Shrimp Curry. It was scrumptious. 
The microgreens were taking over the plate! But underneath was a bed of jasmine rice with avocado, mango and crab. Yum-o. Kristen was raving about our dessert before we even got to the restaurant. So of course we ordered the Green Tea White Chocolate Mousse, behold:
 Look at how pretty the picture turned out due to the reflection of the string lights in the window! I had a great visit with Kristen and I'll be back in a couple weeks when Brandon competes in the Illinois Marathon.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Passed!

Took my exam this morning at the Prometric Testing Center in Carterville. Two and a half hours later, I was done:
Looking for jobs in DC. Hire me!

On my way home I stopped at Burger King and found my new favorite drink of the summer:
BK Tropical Mango Smoothie
Last year's drink was the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade at McDonalds. You've got to enjoy the little things :-)

Brandon ran a half marathon this morning in Springfield. I wish I could have gone with him because 1) he ran a personal best and 2) ABE was there!

This may be TMI, but for the past week, anytime I eat, I get serious heartburn and my stomach makes some crazy noises. A patient even mentioned hearing my stomach growl, haha! I know the Irdmusas have some stomach issues but I thought I escaped them. Ugh, what should I do?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I'm a Professional

In May, I'll have been an Ophthalmic Technician for 3 years. I think it's about time I get certified in my profession, don't you? Well, the good news is that I'm almost there. On Saturday, I will take the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant exam. It's 3.5 hours and it's pass/fail and I find out the results at the end of the test.

To qualify for the exam you can have to:
- work with an Ophthalmologist for a year
- take the home study course and pass an open book test with about 150 questions
If you don't have the work experience, you can enroll in a formal training program. For example, there's one at Georgetown that will teach you everything you need to know in 23 months and cost you over $15k. Note: if you are interested in this field, there are plenty of entry-level positions that offer on-the-job training, a educational program is not necessary.

Anyway, I passed the open book. You only have to get 80% correct so it wasn't a big deal. Then I had to get a Ophthalmologist to sponsor me and register for the $300 test. The best part is, I won a scholarship to take my test.Yippee!

This past week, I've been studying in my spare time. Tomorrow night will be for last-minute cramming review.

Hopefully all this will be worth it. I mean, Mitra Irdmusa, COA looks kinda cool, right?

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I just spent a lovely weekend in Champaign with Kristen. A recap of that will be coming up soon. In the meantime, here are some pretty things that I'm coveting.
Gorjana Vine Ring
Elle Earrings
Chevron Tray
Corrin Bracelet

OMG Toms that are actually cute:
Alessandra Burlap Ballet Flats

Gem Lamp