Friday, June 27, 2008

Movie Month!

Last night we went to a free preview showing of Hancock. It was the busiest free preview I've ever seen! Usually not everyone gets in, but this time there were hundreds of people who didn't get in, and it was even in a really, really big theater. It also had the tightest security - we had to turn in our cell phones until the end of the movie, and the "movie secret service" (guys in suits with ear pieces! if that isn't the movie secret service...) had metal detector wands. Well, for some people - coworkers were wanded but we were not - apparently we didn't look sketchy enough. :-P Hancock was great, highly recommended. Funny, and it even had a twist that they shockingly didn't give away in the previews.

Last week we went to see The Happening (birthday month request!). We both like Shyamalan's movies usually and the preview we saw in the theater looked good. My opinion of the movie can be boiled down to: "meh" This review basically sums up all the same problems I had with the movie too. Plus the fact that I normally think Mark Wahlberg can act (come on, The Departed!) but oh no, not in this movie. Not one bit.

That same night we also saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Now that was more like it! Considering I hadn't even seen the first three until we watched them on dvd in preparation for the new one, I was a huge fan of this movie! Funny at times, just the right amount of cheese, and Shia LaBeouf!

Here's an update on the socks!
Related to movie month since I got almost an hour of work in on it while waiting for Hancock to start. These have been just waiting around etc. socks so they are slow moving. Stupidly really, since I'll be lucky if I'm done with these summer socks by winter. oops.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Even more baby hats

and I'm not done yet, people. Don't try to stop me!

Olive You! This one has a flat square kind of shape, and is kind of fez-like with the braid and pom poms. I loves it. I think I'll make the same shape with different appliqu├ęs on it...

And this is Chocolate Blues, a bonnet style. The shape is off a bit because it is once again being modeled by my blown glass vase, which isn't exactly the right shape. Both from Itty-Bitty Hats of course.

I changed this one up a little bit - the pom poms are all one color instead of alternating because I was out of yellow; I shortened the "scarf" into just being a tie - just guessed at how many stitches to cast on for the scarf, this was 100 I think; and there aren't any pom poms on the bottom of the tie either.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Birthday Month Part 2...

On the Sunday after my birthday Trevor surprised me with a day trip to Lenox Mass. We had been wanting to tour Edith Wharton's house, The Mount and wanted to get there this summer in case they don't make it through their financial troubles... It was an absolutely gorgeous tour of the house and gardens - some of the rooms haven't been rehabbed yet so you see them in their bare bones state, and others are absolutely stunning.

This is Edith Wharton's library. None of the furniture in the house is original, but the books are. (It's really sad how much of the decor - plaster, etc. had to be recreated from photos. So many beautiful buildings were lost to neglect in this silly country) You might think this is where she wrote, but they said that she preferred to write in bed right after waking. In fact, it said that she would drop the hand written pages onto the floor next to the bed for her assistant to type up for her later. :-)

Here are a few pictures of the gardens, and the house as viewed from the gardens.
After The Mount we went to try and find this chocolate shop I had seen online, the Chocolate Springs Cafe. They have gorgeous chocolates, fancy chocolate desserts, gelato, and bags of other sorts of chocolate delights.
We each picked out two chocolates and a beverage.

Mine were both very yummy, Trevor didn't like one of his but I think he's just not a fan of chocolate mixed with tea...

They even have a window so you can look into the chocolate room and watch them working with the chocolate.

After eating dessert first, we went to the strangely named Dish Cafe Bistro for a late lunch. (in my opinion you are a cafe or a bistro but not both...) But either way, we had a good meal. I had something a little different, along the lines of a make your own pizza, it was a grilled flatbread with a list of toppings you could choose from. I got feta, leeks, and mushrooms and it was really, really good.

Lenox is another of the really pretty little towns in the Berkshires, up there with Stockbridge for general prettiness. A good place for a weekend or daytrip.

(oh, edited to say that this crossed daytrip off the birthday month list!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Birthday Month Update Part 1

On my birthday lunch was the ill fated Red Robin trip, then Kung Fu Panda (good - I ♥ Jack Black). Then for dinner my sister and brother-in-law took me out to dinner at an Albany restaurant I hadn't been to before - Justin's. It was very good and I'll be going back to have Trevor try it (he was at a rehearsal dinner). We shared the fruit and cheese platter (which was huge) and I had the corn fritters and chop chop salad (minus the bacon and substituting buttermilk herb dressing for the horseradish) - the salad was omg! good. I'll get that again next time probably.

After dinner we went home for Black Forest birthday cake and... Jeni's! If you don't know Jeni's, you should. It is the *best*, crazy exotic flavored thing you'll ever try. Granted, the best way to get it is to be going to Columbus, Ohio because it is pricey to have ice cream mailed to you... but oh it's worth it. It may become an annual tradition.

You are looking at: Salty Caramel (two of those because it's my favorite), Cherry Lambic (does have a beer after taste but not too much for this beer hater), Goat Cheese with Red Cherry Compote (I'm the only one who likes this one so I'll be eating it all, ha.), Strawberry Buttermilk (the yummiest strawberry ice cream ever), Dark Chocolate Gelato (wonderful. Super dark and delicious)

Saturday we were at a wedding and then Sunday... was a surprise that made up for it! Coming soon!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Worst. Customer. Service. Ever.

Good birthday month stuff coming, but first a not-so-good one...

On Friday, my birthday, my sister and brother-in-law, Trevor and I went to Red Robin for lunch. The plan was to get my free birthday "burger" (gardenburger). I had my club email all printed out, and had cut out the coupon from the middle. We had a good lunch, our waitress was good and even surprised me with a free birthday sundae (very yummy) and balloons! (and they sang, but it was pretty empty in there so it wasn't horribly embarrassing) Then she took away the free burger coupon to take it off our bill. She comes back extremely apologetic, and says "my manager says I can't take this, the email can't be cut up." Um what? So we ask to talk to the manager.

He, Peter Alois of the Latham Red Robin (in case Red Robin themselves should stumble upon this), came over rudely and belligerently right from the start! (I freely admit that we were rude back at him, but it *did not* start with us.) He stated that he would not accept the coupon because "the email needs to be complete, not cut apart." I told him all I had done was cut the coupon out from the middle and if it needs to be complete they should say so! He said it did say it had to be complete, because it says "Any alterations to this certificate make it null and void." Now come on. That reads as if you aren't allowed to change it to say "good for 10 free burgers" not that you can't cut the coupon out. If that is really what Red Robin corporate wants, they better change the wording of the email. He told us to go right ahead and complain to corporate because he wasn't going to do anything about it. I told him I'd be glad to print another complete email, but of course printing facilities weren't available and we live a good 20 minutes away from the restaurant so we couldn't very well run out for it. Our waitress was very apologetic (but it wasn't her fault) and said she didn't understand the problem since they're "allowed to comp an item if the customer doesn't like it so why not for this?"

Here's the thing, maybe that is what corporate Red Robin requires (and they should reword it), but here's what a *good* manager would have said: "I can accept the coupon this time, but I need to let you know for next time that it shouldn't be cut out from the email." That's it, end of story. Instead, he lost the four of us as Red Robin customers from now on, and possibly a few others that hear about it from me. That's worth an $8 gardenburger? My sister had signed up for the Red Robin club as well, but she said they won't be going back so she won't use her coupon. I will be writing a letter to Red Robin, and my brother in law said he might as well.

Maybe this seems like an overreaction, it was just a burger after all. Well, I don't think so, I think it is the principle of the thing. That's horrible customer service and the headquarters needs to be told about it. I too work in customer service (in a manner of speaking) and that's just not right.

So please, if you signed up for the Red Robin club, for the love of god, don't cut out the coupon!!!! ;-)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pumpkin Hat

Pumpkin Hat, originally uploaded by Alissao.

My WEBS order came super fast, and arrived today, so I was able to finish the Little Pumpkin Hat this evening. Another cute one...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Almost a pumpkin...

100_4142, originally uploaded by Alissao.

I got this far with the Little Pumpkin hat from Itty-Bitty Hats when I ran out of orange. shoot. I'm halfway through the decreases so it is really close to being done with orange but its all gone. So this one's on hold until more orange arrives from WEBS. While I was ordering I got a few more colors of Goshen, for a few more baby hats. I know, I'm addicted to baby hats. But they're so adorable and quick to make! I might start a baby sweater next though...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bunny Tail hat

Bunny Tail hat, originally uploaded by Alissao.

Here's a Bunny Tail hat! From Itty-Bitty Hats of course. This is the same Valley Yarns Goshen as the Marley hats, the hat in Linen and the inside of the ears in Ballet Pink. The pink ears were knit separately (just cast on to fit and knit garter as long as needed, rounding the top with some k2tog - I think the ears are a different size on each size hat so it would be different for each) and sewn on.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Free Birthday Stuff!

I've been signed up for Coldstone Creamery's free birthday ice cream for a few years now, and I used to get Baskin-Robbins until they disappeared from the area. So I started wondering who else would give me something free just for having been born. Most if not all of these send you a coupon by email, some of them a week or more before your birthday so you need to sign up enough in advance.

This is the list of clubs I signed up for, with links to the sign up pages, and what I receive (updated as they arrive). Just so you know, most of these will also email you throughout the year, with some other coupons or new product info. Personally, it's easy enough to delete those for the enjoyment of the free food. But if you hate that kind of thing beware...

Coldstone Creamery - free ice cream
Baskin-Robbins - email coupon for a free scoop
Red Robin - free gourmet burger of your choice (sent one week before birthday, good for 14 days)
Uno - free appetizer with purchase of two entrees for joining; $10 off $25 food purchase for birthday
Moe's Southwest Grill - One free burrito, good on your birthday and for 3 days after (id maybe checked)
Dairy Queen - BOGO Blizzard coupon for joining; same for birthday
Macaroni Grill - free chocolate cake for your birthday and anniversary (no purchase required), receive one week before birthday, good for a month after your birthday
Ben & Jerry's - BOGO regular cup or cone for joining;
Ruby Tuesday - free dessert with any entree (receive one week before birthday, good for 14 days)
Buca di Beppo - free dessert with purchase of any entree (valid on any dessert but Dolce Platter) received one week before birthday, good for 30 days
TGI Friday's - free appetizer with $15 food purchase for joining;
Arby's - Didn't receive anything. Signed up too close to birthday?
Friendly's - Didn't receive anything. Signed up too close to birthday?
Olive Garden - Didn't receive anything. Signed up too close to birthday?
PF Changs - Didn't receive anything. Signed up too close to birthday?
Taco Bell - Didn't receive anything. Signed up too close to birthday?
Chili's - Didn't receive anything. Signed up too close to birthday?
The Melting Pot - free chocolate fondue for two for joining;
The Cheesecake Factory - No sign-up required: "Just let your server know that a birthday is being celebrated and, at the end of your meal, the birthday guest will be presented with a complimentary scoop of ice cream with a lit candle accompanied with a “Happy Birthday” song from our staff. In addition, we also offer our birthday guests the option to purchase a slice of cheesecake, which will arrive on a plate decorated with chocolate sauce and sprinkles."

If you're looking for more take a look at this link, but be aware that some of these are either outdated or never true in the first place...

Birthday Month!

My 30th birthday is this Friday. Due to some circumstances outside my control we'll be spending a good portion of my birthday weekend doing something else. So it was decided that I would jump right past a birthday weekend or week (which apparently many people celebrate including my friend Food/Crafts/Books Girl) and go for the birthday month. This year, my birthday is the Month of June, people. :-)

Then, as if a month isn't long enough my birthday party was this past Saturday, which was actually still May. ;-) Being my 30th, it was a bigger-deal party than usual, including people from work and wonderful friends who came all the way from Brooklyn to stay the weekend. As was fitting for someone born in 1978, the theme was a 70s Dinner Party kind of thing. I didn't get many pictures, but this was my cake (carrot)

and this, was my leisure suit-Elton John glasses wearing husband
and here he is again in a close-up with a can of TaB
A friend has requested that he wear it again to her wedding in October so this thing has not seen its last days yet.

So that was the first thing of the Birthday Month, the party (which was great fun). Another part of this will be an attempt to get as much free birthday stuff as possible. I'll be posting a list of the birthday clubs I signed up for and what I receive, as well as a link to the website I got them from so you can try to find others in your areas that I don't have in my neck of the woods.

I'm also compiling a list of things I want to do for the rest of the month, you can see that over in the sidebar. I'll be crossing things off when I've done them and blogging them so that will explain the sometimes cryptic descriptions.

One other thing that I'll be doing for most of the birthday month, is eating marvelous chocolates!
My friend brought me these MarieBelle chocolates from NY and they are not only beautiful

but delicious (and interesting flavors)! I'm eating one a day and so far I've tried Soba Cha and pineapple.

In other news - knitting wise, I'm working on the bunny ear hat.

Made by Lena