Vitamin Rambling

I rolled around in my bed this morning, feeling so rested and so lazy too.  And laughed at myself when I realized it was 10:30am!  What a lazy butt I can be.

Reflecting on this past week...I have a lot to be thankful for.  I feel happy, energized, confident...not that I wasn't before but I'm feeling that inner surge and whooshing around that just makes me feel, well, happy!  I DID start taking vitamins more regularly - is that one of the reasons, or just a coincidence? 

I usually take a couple of fish oil capsules every morning - they say those extra Omega 3s are good for your brain and digestion so it couldn't hurt.  I like the unscented ones because while I love fish I don't need to start off my day with my breath smelling like it. 

And when cleaning out a drawer in my bathroom I discovered a jar of Vitamin D that I'd forgotten about.  Expiration date's still aways in the future so into the routine she goes too.  Where else do we get Vitamin D besides some daily sun exposure?  Milk?  And mushrooms I think (sounds strange though)?  Well, around here daily sun exposure is non-existent and laughable to attempt, especially this time of year.  I don't drink milk either (though I never met a cheese I did not love, but does cheese have vitamin D in it?  It must if it's made with milk, right?).  

And...good ol' Vitamin C.  Doesn't hurt to pop a couple of those every day as we head into the winter flu season.   I've already had a cold since starting this new job and earlier this year I had that cough that lingered easily two months.  No more of that, thankyouverymuch. 

What else did I find in that bathroom drawer?  Some multi-vitamins.  Jar half empty and expiration date still OK (I am VERY anal about pull dates on food/vitamins/you name it.  They're there for a reason!) 

NOW I remember why I stopped taking those.  They upset my stomach no matter how much extra water I'd drink after taking them.  I'd feel like I was going to puke on my drive to work.  Not fun.  But I decided to try eating a little bit more in the morning (I'm usually so rushed I have a quick wedge of cheese and that's it till lunch time).  Anyway as I ramble here, I'm trying to allow just a few extra minutes in my morning routine to take these vitamins with a ton of water...and I feel great!  Is it just psychological?  On the other hand, the stupid bruise on my knee is finally going away (don't ever bump into your dishwasher when it's open - just sayin), and some of the sharp knee pain I've experienced occasionally - recently - going up or down stairs has vanished.  I slowly, carefully, knock on wood about that. I figured the knee pain was a reminder that I need to lose weight AND that I am not getting any younger.

So we'll leave that alone for now.  I rolled out of bed yesterday and headed to my favorite spa for a little, ummm, maintenance.  And I actually got there early enough to head into the Starbucks across the street and relax a little.  Lo and behold I had a Starbucks gift card hiding deep in my wallet I'd completely forgotten about!  Bonus! 

I tried my first ever salted caramel mocha.  With half the usual chocolate as someone suggested.  Delicious!  I sat outside at one of the small tables, browsed Facebook on my phone and just savored my coffee.  This is freakin' late October, people, and it's sunny and I'm sitting outside enjoying the changing leaves, slight breeze, and a beautiful view of Lake Washington.  Amazing!

I've known my esthetician, M, for probably 10 years and she is wonderful to chat with.  As we were waiting for the eyebrow tint to work its magic she said you HAVE to come check out the knitware we have in the front of the spa.  It's flying off the shelves and the prices are amazing (amazing as in low, ha ha). 

Sure enough...a few minutes later I picked up a black infinity scarf and a medium grey toque with a fleur de lis design in grey bling on one side.  LOVE IT!  I loved it so much I immediately cut off the tags and wore it running errands the rest of the afternoon.  Perfect new fall accessories!  And they were $40 total - yes for both!  If you haven't tried an infinity scarf, check them out.  It's a scarf that's in one continuous loop - so easy to just plop on and it always looks great!  And doesn't fall off either.  I actually have this one on its way in the silvery knit from the nice people at Nordstrom.  It will go perfect with my new toque!

Now it's time to get caught up on reading, cook up some chicken for an early dinner and get ready for hockey later tonight.   Best way ever to wrap up a weekend!


All Plates Spinning


OK, I'm tired.  I can't decide if this is a good tired or not, so I'm going with good...for now.

I got a lot of seeds planted over the past year and half. Seeds like job connections.  Doing the pro bono work with my friend/colleague when I was unemployed.  Representing Silpada.  And it's funny how sometimes the seeds sprout up all at the same time!

I had one of those weeks where I barely had time to sneeze, starting with Tuesday.  Oh yes, glorious hockey.  Hockey is that regular rhythm that is such a delicious part of my lifestyle...a wacky outlet that continually surprises people when I tell them I play (yes, year 'round, co-ed).  Normally we have games on Sunday nights, but this week we played on Tuesday night...a 9:30pm faceoff at a rink about a half hour drive from my house.  We had a tough 4-1 loss, but on the other hand it was probably a good 'keep the ego in check' kind of game, because our previous two games were blowout wins.

Getting home at 11:30pm on a Tuesday night, knowing morning is just around the corner, is surreal.  It's hard to wind down and immediately get to sleep, so the next day I am usually on adrenaline and crash early the next night.

Wednesday?  After work I met with a former co-worker for a quick drink.  He used to be my Director way back in the early 2000s, and we have kept in touch over the years as our career paths moved onward.  Most recently he and I worked together on that pro bono project with another mutual colleague.

...that project which is pro bono no more!  Later that night I got home, got a 2nd (3rd?) wind and fired up the home laptop.  Did I mention that the company did finally land some actual business with an actual client?  And that while the gig was in progress the founder of this company (my friend/colleague who was actually doing the work himself because it wasn't enough to justify hiring someone) meanwhile also landed some full-time work of his own with a different company and moved to Baltimore?  And asked me to help finish up the project?  Yes, 'tis true.  Whew, did those last few sentences make sense?  It's all a big whoosh, just like it's been in my head trying to process it all.  I'm flattered he asked me to take over the work to be done, and also am learning how much my brain needs to stretch to keep the mental "work" energy fresh and vibrant for an extra 10 hours or so a month.  I got home Wednesday night after that drink with M, called A (who is on east coast time so it's super late for him), fired up the laptop here and worked for an hour on another version of a project schedule.  Ah, the classic time and resource constraints.  We now have a recommended schedule and a shortened, condensed version of the schedule, which we may have to resort to if our client's budget runs out end of calendar year.  And we need a decision quick because time is ticking.  Nope, the calendar is not our friend.

As I was working over the phone with A updating the spreadsheet, I was mentally multi-tasking, thinking ahead to the next morning - Thursday.  We had a training session onsite with that client, and earlier this month I was a little worried on if I'd be able to take a half day off from my "real" full-time job to go to the client site.  Thursdays are typically super busy.  But the universe smiled, and it was easy to get my time off approved.  Even better, the FTEs at my full-time job had an offsite event all day, so I didn't feel too guilty about being away either.  None of the pro bono work I'm doing is in direct competition with my full-time job, but still it feels a little funny doing this side work...not in a bad way at all though.

The training Thursday morning was in downtown Seattle.  Le Sigh, how suburban I have become.  I was laughing to myself remembering how long it's been since I've worked downtown. 17 years.  How I miss it...I lived and worked in Seattle for years after finishing college and just took the bus everywhere - it was fabulous.  And I never lived in the suburbs while working in the city - the only time I ever did any regular commuting from the suburbs into Seattle was - gulp - in 1988 when I was taking some classes at the U of W for some extra college credit while home for the summer between my junior and senior year.

So that night I was wondering just how bad the traffic would be for the morning commute.  And I had to get up about an hour and a half earlier than I usually do.  It was almost dreamlike, busting out of my routine, heading over that bridge into Seattle.  The bridge where they're still struggling to get the toll functionality to work properly - looks like they've pushed out to start in December now.  I actually made great time and got to the building about a half hour early.  Ahhh, perfect.  Enough time to join the super long line at Starbucks.  I needed a double tall nonfat latte something fierce!  I reminisced, remembering how I worked in a building just across the street from where I was, high up enough to where we could look DOWN upon this building as it was under construction.  Back in those days when I dressed up for work in skirts, pantyhose and pumps, and the only computer in our office was a huge 386 desktop for all 6 of us to share.  We did most of our daily grind on state of the art (back then) typewriters and our essential fax machine. Ahhh, that morning it felt strange to be going to work without my laptop briefcase.  Just my purse and a notebook tucked inside.  How much things have changed in 20+ years!

After the client meetings that morning, I headed back to the 'burbs and my full-time job.  And made the drastic mental shift from consulting to...printing.  What's going on here?  Well, at my full-time job some of the team are conducting a long series of workshops where they use large wall posters as visual aids to do some grounding on why the heck we're doing the work we're doing.  We're a little tight on our supply budget, so I was asked to help out by doing some of the large poster printouts myself, using one of the huge plotter-style printers that are in various locations around our campus.  Sounds easy enough, but it sure wasn't.  Finding where they are, finding out if they're open for other groups to use (meaning, not private), finding out if they are actually working or not, getting the right printer drivers installed...  UGH UGH UGH.  Now I'm not one to bitch about work, but come on now.  How much money are we really saving having me, a well-paid (and, ahem, well-billed) consultant doing all this legwork that we could just hand off to a professional printer and be done with it?  Hmmm.

A 10 minute drive across campus and 3 hours later, I completed the printouts.  Getting them rolled up and clipped and into my car - in the rain - was interesting to say the least.  Paper is goddamn heavy!  No joke!  I'd hoped to get some other work done while these huge posters were printing but nope, no dice.  I found out just how high maintenance these print jobs are.  The paper does not capture well after it prints, so I had to hold it just so, so it wouldn't fold up or bend.

And at about 4:30pm, I mentally shut down.  I'd gotten up early, got out of my routine going downtown for half a day, then spent the other half of the day back at work cranking out posters on a huge printer.  Guess that hit my saturation point.  I went home, exhausted.

Friday was a good day to catch up on work missed Thursday, and I topped it off meeting up with D for a drink at Brix, a wonderful wine bar not far from my house.  D's the one I ran into at the Michael Kors store a few weeks ago (see my Two Surprising Ds post for that funny story!).  I'm really enjoying getting to know her!

And Saturday?  Keeping up with me here?  I did a Silpada party for my good friend S, who was my neighbor here in the townhouse complex for many years.  She and her boyfriend recently bought an absolutely beautiful home in Lake Tapps and it was time for housewarming and playing with jewelry!  We had a blast.  It's an hour drive each way to their house, but so incredibly worth it.  I earned $300 commission from the party sales - not too shabby for just a few hours of "work" eh?

So it's not surprising that I slept in till nearly 11am today.  Yikes, that even is late for me and borders on feeling wasteful of the day.  But that was how tired I was!

No rest tonight either save for a short nap maybe later. Yep, Sunday night means hockey.  And tonight's faceoff?

10:45pm.  Awww yeahhhh.       


Well hello again, Food Processor

...and time to change it up in fivenineteen land in here a little!  How do you like what I've done with the place? :-)

So it's that still, grippy grey outside again.  So silent this morning it woke me up.  No wind, no rain, no cars on the road.  Damn, did everyone leave town except me?

And I've just about finished up the last of that wonderful Bolognese sauce I made last week.  It keeps beautifully in a Tupperware in the fridge.  This batch went quickly so I won't likely need to freeze any.  

Now, in last week's post I made some comment about how I don't mind the chopping and prep work that you could do in a food processor in a fraction of the time. Maybe I stirred the sleeping beast way deep in the back, top shelf of my pantry.

I must have been craving something completely different for this weekend's cooking adventure.  I have a pretty decent kitchen, but it's nowhere near the size or with the open feel that more modern kitchens have today.  Nope, it's 1980 here in our townhouse complex, and while one of my neighbors did a glorious remodel to open up her kitchen area into a nice great-room flow, the rest of us have not yet pulled the trigger.  I'm glad I at least have a good-sized, open bar counter area on one side which looks into the dining room and a nice bay window and slider which plops out onto my back deck.  So no claustrophobia.  It's just a small-ish kitchen with not a whole lot of spare countertop space.

And part of that countertop space is a mini-showcase of my beloved cookbooks. The rest are in the pantry...and that pantry is a hodgepodge of well, stuff you normally put in a pantry, my spices, and some cooking gadgets I don't use super often.  And my hand mixer, a wonderful toaster oven with a mini pizza stone, waffle iron, plastic wrap, tin foil...hmmm, I think this baby is due for a major cleanout.

I took a good, hard look at those cookbooks.  How much have I REALLY used them recently?  The slow cooker recipes, raw "cooking," vegan, Primal, Italian food, American Southwest...time to pull one off the display and try something different, I told myself.

So I reached for Caprial's Bistro-Style Cuisine, by Caprial Pence.  (That's "kuh PREEL" on the first name, by the way.)  I have one of her other cookbooks, and way back in the day (late 1990s) she had a cooking show on our local public TV station, which is how I first found out about her, channel surfing on some lazy weekend afternoon.  Caprial's signature are recipes that are simple but super chock-full of flavor and come together very quickly, with a big nod to the flavors of Pacific Northwest cooking.

Here's what I whipped up - it's chicken with a wonderful, spicy peanut sauce which you can also use on grilled prawns or fish.  The sauce has a good kick but not in a blow-your-head-off way.  Head to the Asian foods section of your grocery store!  And when she says to mix ingredients in a food processor, she means it.  I dug out my 11-cup Cuisinart, blew the dust off and took her for a spin. 

Hot-as-Hell Chicken on Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4

Peanut Sauce
2 tsp peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
2 fresh jalapeno peppers (whole, stems removed)
1/2 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C soy sauce
1 heaping C creamy peanut butter
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 C honey
2 tsp dark sesame oil

1 tsp olive oil
4 (6 oz) chicken breast halves
1/2 C dry sherry
1 C sweet hot chile sauce
1/2 lb dried Chinese egg noodles, cooked al dente and tossed with a dash of vegetable oil
1/2 C dry roasted peanuts or cashews (I used cashews)
3-4 green onions, minced

To prepare the peanut sauce, combine the ginger, cilantro, garlic, jalapenos, vinegar, soy sauce and peanut butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the curry powder, honey and sesame oil and process until smooth.  Set aside.

In a very large saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking hot.  Put the chicken breasts in the pan and brown them well, about 2 minutes on each side.  Decrease the heat to medium and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the sherry, increase the heat to high and cook until about half the sherry remains, 2-3 minutes.  Add the chile sauce and turn the breasts to coat them well. Decrease the heat to low and slowly simmer while you prepare the noodles.

Put the noodles in the pasta insert and set in a pot of boiling water or in the stock pot and cook for about 2 minutes to heat them through.  Strain the cooked noodles and place in a large bowl.  Toss them with 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce and place on a serving platter.  Remove the chicken breasts from the sauce and slice.  Place the chicken slices on the noodles and pour some of the remaining sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with the peanuts or cashews and scallions.  Serve hot.

NOTE:  I had some bowtie pasta lying around and used that instead of egg noodles.  I bet this would be great over rice too. 


Late Night Mid-Week Slow Cookin'...

Fall is here!  Even on a rare sunny day like yesterday it felt different.  It's crispy outside (or soggy if it's raining).  It's getting darker a little earlier than it used to and the shadows are long even midday.  I met up with a good friend on the top of the hill here yesterday very spontaneously for a 90 minute brisk walk.  Leaves are starting to turn, and the tall sunflowers in that corner yard we always pass by are now top heavy and tired from their own weight.

So while I always mourn summer as she melts away into fall, I DO love this time of year for the clothes and food.  Time to bust out the sweaters, boots, leather jackets...oh yeah.  And cooking!  Soups!  Stews!

Last year I purchased a slow cooker for the first time.  I remember our Crock Pot as a kid - my Mom made wonderful chicken dishes all the time - and they seem to be coming around in style again.  Kinda like fondue.  Anyway, mine was free actually.  Remember the Refrigerator Drama from last year?  I got a $100 Sears gift card, one of the few bright spots in that whole episode.  So I used it toward a slow cooker.  Very nice, stainless steel, 3 1/2 quart size.  And my folks gave me a Williams-Sonoma slow cooker recipe book for Christmas.  Love it!

And it was time to bust a move with it again.  Last weekend I had 3 lbs of ground beef in my fridge, just a couple days away from use it or freeze it.  I really wanted to make a Bolognese sauce - the cookbook recipe is wonderful - but, being a smart cook, re-read the recipe.  Ah yes, now I remember:  once you make the sauce it needs 4 hours in the slow cooker on high heat or 8 hours on low heat.  Hmmm...how do I cram that into my crazy week schedule?  I know one cool thing about a slow cooker is you can put everything in it in the morning, turn it on low and come home that night from work with your meal ready!  But for some reason I've been a little reluctant to do that.  What if I get stuck at work late or in traffic?  I know they shut off to a low simmer once the timer goes off, but anyway I guess I'm not comfortable with something "cooking" in my house when I'm not there. 

Last week definitely was burning the candle at both ends.  Sunday night was our first hockey game of the season!  Woo hoo!  With a 10:45pm faceoff!  Not so woohoo.  But that's winter season for ya.  It was awesome seeing my teammates again, meeting a couple new faces and getting back on the ice.  I had not skated since around June and frankly have been woefully lame getting regular exercise.  But I actually skated and played a lot better than I thought I would.  And we had an 8-4 blowout win!

There's something surreal about leaving the rink after a late game. That night, it was midnight.  Luckily this game was at the rink that's just a 5 minute drive from my house, so no excuses.   Once I get to the rink, especially for a late game, time kind of stops mentally for me, except for our game clock.  I force myself not to look at the "real" clock...nope don't need to be reminded it's 11:30pm or whatever!  Crazy.

Now, it's uber hard to immediately wind down and get to sleep after hockey, as much as I want to/need to, especially on a Sunday night (errr, early Monday I guess).  So that means an extra cup of coffee at work.  Those of you reading this who play hockey or other late night sports know what I'm talking about!

So Sunday night was out for making the sauce.  Onward to Monday.  Well, I didn't get home as early as I'd thought, and so I got a late start getting the ingredients ready.  There's a bit of chopping and prep time, plus you need to brown 3 lbs of ground beef and make a little extra sauce with some deglazing.  I honestly don't mind doing a lot of chopping/prep work by hand.  Yeah, there are these really cool things out there called food processors, and I actually do own a couple - one large, one small - but when it comes to chopping, slicing or dicing relatively small amounts of ingredients, I'm good with my cutting board and a sharp knife.  My Mom says I'm my grandmother's granddaughter...on my Dad's side.  Right down to our mutual love of flour sack towels to get those last drops off of pots and pans after they air dry.

Getting the meat, veggies and deglazing sauce ready was all I had time for on Monday.  Even on the high heat setting, 4 hours in the slow cooker would mean finishing up at 1am.  And I just couldn't do it.  So I put the cooked meat and veggies in a huge Pyrex bowl, poured the deglazed sauce in it, covered it with foil and put it in the fridge.

Tuesday?  Well, that was a night out with my Silpada team.  We meet monthly and normally are at our team leader's house, but this time we changed it up and met at Purple, a wine bar in downtown Bellevue.  I loved seeing everybody and relaxing with some wine and munchies.  Someone even sprung for a round of salted caramels for dessert.  WOW.  We definitely were the most bling'd out table, and given it was a little noisy we just had a ton of chitchat rather than any kind of organized meeting agenda, and passed around eachother's jewelry for everyone to try on.  

I got home at 10pm that night.  So that's a no-go on finishing that darn sauce.

Wednesday night, anyone?  This HAD to be the night to finish.  I thought it would be OK, but a teeny part of me was worried that the sauce would turn out different or weird having been in the fridge for two days.  But, it turned out great.  Kinda weird getting steaming hot sauce to cool down and get divided up into Tupperwares...at midnight.  Ahh, blissful sleep.

So I learned that slow cooking is MUCH better done on a weekend.  Thankfully this sauce keeps beautifully in the fridge or freezer. (This sauce stores up to 3 days in airtight containers in the fridge or in the freezer for up to 3 months).  But it's soooo good I bet you won't be able to keep it around that long!

Here's the recipe!

Bolognese Sauce
Makes about 12 cups (3 quarts)

2 T olive oil
2 oz pancetta, chopped
2 small, finely chopped yellow onions
2 finely chopped carrots
1 stalk finely chopped celery
3 lbs ground beef
2 C beef broth
1 1/2 C dry red wine
1 can (28 oz) crushed or diced plum tomatoes
1/2 C milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Italian leaf parsley, minced for garnish (optional)   

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil.  Add the pancetta and saute until it begins to render its fat, about 1 minute.  Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer red, about 7 minutes.

Transfer to the slow cooker.  Add the broth and wine to the pan and raise the heat to high.  Bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom.  Pour the liquid into the slow cooker along with the tomatoes and stir to combine.

Cover and cook the sauce on the high heat setting for 4 hours, or the low heat setting for 8 hours.  Add the milk, stirring to combine.  Cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes longer.  Season with salt and pepper.

...now, how do you use this sauce?  Toss it with some fettucine and sprinkle in fresh-grated Parmesan cheese. 

Or try it with Polenta:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter a gratin baking dish (I actually just use a 9 x 13 glass casserole).  Take a tube of prepared Polenta (18 oz) and slice it crosswise into slices about 1/4" thick.  Arrange the slices in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them.  Spoon the Bolognese sauce around the slices generously and sprinkle a 1/2 cup of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake until the sauce is hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Served with minced fresh Italian parsley for garnish.

from the Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Slow Cooker Recipes book.


Two Surprising Ds

I had a really great week but up until yesterday still hadn't had an aha moment or two or three to inspire me to write today.

Then, within hours, two sprang up yesterday.  Quite literally, actually.

Saturday was a couple hours at the salon getting my color touched up and my hair cut.  Good laughs and time to get my OK! and People mag fixes.  I'm all caught up on celebrity gossip now!

Then, I forced myself to go to the mall.  I LOVE shopping, but I can't stand shopping for bras.  Yeah, bras and swimsuits are the two worst.  Not fun.  But believe me, it was time.  When your bras stop doing their job, wires break, well it ain't pretty and it's super uncomfortable.  And, as much as I hate to admit it, some of mine are a leeetle too tight in the band now.  That's either weight gain, loss of muscle tone or both.  So I figured I would do the bra shopping first and then do something fun afterwards, like get some new makeup or perfume to reward myself. And why "waste" freshly-done hair by just going home, right?

Next destination:  the lingerie section at Nordstrom in Bellevue Square.  OK, I had to first stop in makeup, jewelry and then upstairs to look at cute sweaters.  THEN I headed up the escalator and procrastinated some more...browsing around looking at cute sleepwear...then a sales person asked if I needed help.  Ummm...yeah, I need new bras I kind of mumbled.  She smiled and said no problem and that she'd measure me to make sure I had the right size.  

OK, I remember doing this a few years ago.  I was super self-conscious about it as that was my first time ever getting fitted, but they are pros.  And it's a free service!  Alright, are you wondering how they do it?  C'mon, you're curious, admit it.  Here's what happens:  you and your fitter go into a dressing room.  You take your top off with your back turned to the fitter and face a non-mirrored wall.  You keep your bra on, and she measures you for your band size.  Then she asks if you have a favorite brand.  She comes back with a few basic styles just to get an idea of your cup size and you take it from there.  She helps you into the bras by standing behind you and holding it for you to slip your arms through.  Then she fastens it in the back and you turn around and she helps you get it adjusted and helps decide if it's a good fit or not.  So yay, no bare booby moments with the fitter.

So as she was measuring me she said yeah, you're around a 36.  Really?  That's what I've worn for years and now most of my bras are too snug even in the loosest clasp.  She said, well, yes, you might be more around a 38 - we'll try both.  OK, that sounds good to me...well, not really that I've gone up a band size but that's reality right now.  My favorite brand, by the way?  Chantelle.  These bras are beautifully made and just really work well on my figure. No, they're not cheap, but they last for years and years.  And that day I was on a mission to get t-shirt style bras...those that are just simple and smooth and don't have a lot of lace.  Just basics that look nice under sweaters.

As L was heading out of the dressing room to grab a few for me to try, I said oh, these are gonna be C cup, right?  She smiled and said, no...D.

I stood there in shock, looking at this petite brunette who was probably all of 30 who had just measured me...and I looked her right in the eye and said are you shittin' me? Good Lord almighty.  Normally I can keep my cool but that just popped out of my mouth.  L kept her cool, smiled and didn't miss a beat.  No, that's your size, she says.  And we both laughed a little.  Man, I'm sure she hears it all with that kind of job.

Then she left the dressing room.  And I had a rather awkward moment with myself.  What the hell is it about store dressing rooms...the light is always so unflattering.  I sat down in the corner seat and looked across into the mirror...I'm just wearing jeans, black high-heeled boots and my now-too-tight Chantelle bra.  My pale skin looks like a plucked chicken in that horrible fluorescent lighting.  My lost muscle tone.  Rolls and bulges I don't remember seeing before, made worse as I was sitting down in my jeans. UGH IS THIS ME? 

And how in the hell am I now a D cup?  That just seems...well, BIG.  I'd been a 34B for years...forever it seemed.  And I could never quite fill out that cup size but I would buy it anyway just 'cause.  'Cause that was my size!  Back in college we had a joke club in our sorority:  the IBTC.  Yep, the itty bitty titty committee.  And I was Vice President.  I remember later when I first got professionally fitted and found out I'd morphed into a 36C.  And now, up another size yet again.

A few minutes later L came back and I came mentally back to 2011 after that daydream down Bra Memory Lane.  I giggled again and said sorry, I'm still trying to process this new info!  Anyway, we tried on a few styles and I ended up with 3 I really liked.  Not loved, because, well I still was in shock.  L was great the entire time...I thanked her so much for her help and said thank you for making a not-so-fun chore a tiny bit fun for me!  She really was fantastic.

$235 later I was on my way back down the escalator, headed into the main mall.  (Yeah, I told you these bras are not cheap, eesh). I looked down at my shopping bag, new bras all nicely wrapped with tissue.  And smiled.

Next it was off to Sephora - I was tempted to get a new mascara but then remembered I have a ton at home.  Willpower, yes!

I walked past the Michael Kors store and realized I hadn't been in there in awhile.  I really love his stuff and how this store is laid out.  An SA approached me and he and I chatted for awhile, admiring shoes and bags (ahh, my favorites!)  I wasn't really in the mood to purchase a bag given the $$ I just spent on my new bras, BUT I then suddenly remembered how everyone raves about Michael Kors perfume...and I've never tried it!  So I asked R to show me the perfume.  I tried a little spritz of it and LOVED it.  I have no idea how to describe it but I am in love with it.  Amazing.

R was waiting for a cash register so he could ring me up and we just chatted for awhile.  He asked what I do for a living and I said I'm consulting at (name of company).  Then I heard a somewhat loud woman's voice behind me:

"I THOUGHT that was you!!"

Do you know that moment when you turn around and see someone you think you recognize but aren't quite sure how to place it?  I smiled and looked at the woman.  Where do I know her from?  Then she jumped in, "...building 110, remember?  The cafeteria??"  Aha, now I do!  Too funny!

Back at my last work engagement, consultants did not get official, assigned workspaces.  You could try squatting in empty cubicles but more often than not the routine was to either work at home (which I can't stand) or find a place in the cafeteria that's close to an electrical outlet.  This also was a less than ideal setup - the chairs are not ergonomically correct for sitting for hours, and during the peak lunch hours it gets so noisy it's hard to concentrate.  And don't even try to be on a conference call during those times - too much background noise.  But I knew that would be the deal going into the gig so I wasn't too surprised when I had to give up my unofficial cubicle.

So I officially met D, my cafeteria colleague.  She too has moved to another group on campus, and we had a blast reconnecting, sharing our common memory of the ol' cafeteria.  We talked about networking and how important it is, especially in our line of work.  She explained, while purchasing an incredible black leather bag, how she is a part of a group of women who meet periodically for professional networking.  Sign me up!  I handed her one of my Silpada business cards and she said oh...jewelry?  We may need to REALLY chat soon now!  

R, the SA, was very patient, waiting for D and me to finish our chat as he wrapped up my new perfume.  He smiled, hearing us reconnect and all.

Will D and I stay in contact?  I sure hope so - I really liked her personality and energy.  And in just that short chat we seemed to have a lot in common.  

I drove home, smiling.  New haircut, new bras and a new colleague connection!  That's the funny and cool thing about weekends...you never know what's gonna happen!