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Posted on Nov 13, 2012 in Dear Diary | 26 comments

Exciting Announcements

Hi there, amigos! I hope you all have had a great weekend/week so far. I had yesterday off from work in honor of our brave veterans, and today I have a couple of exciting pieces of news for you all!

So first off, I have some relatively exciting (day)job related stuff. Part of the reason I’ve been so busy, and not blogging as regularly/in as timely a manner lately (er, beyond the whole “I’m publishing a book thing“, hehe) is that I’m actually transitioning into a new position at work! I’m not 100% in my new job yet, I’m in kind of a dual-job limbo right now, but that means there’s a lot of running back and forth (my new position is in a different building a couple blocks away from my old one) and a lot of training and whatnot. Still, a lot of changes and things to keep me busy, which is kind of a good thing!

My second piece of news may actually be a little upsetting to some of you. See, for years now, I have been a devoted Apple fangirl. Early adopter of each new iPhone model I’ve been eligible for, I’ve also been in love with the Macbook I got my senior year of college (even after I accidentally cracked the glass display with the heel of my foot… oops), Apple has never let me down. And yet, this weekend, something happened…

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Whoops?

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Yep, I am now the proud owner of an Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook. 13.3″ screen, white and aluminum, and like, 3 pounds. Sa-weet.

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Complete with Windows 8, I tested this puppy out for the first time a week or so prior, and was immediately smitten. I thought I’d had my heart really set on getting a Macbook Air, as my old Macbook has been increasingly slow (and, you know, cracked…) but was going to wait a while before doing so. As it turns out, however, my old laptop had other intentions. Recently, the wifi stopped working on my laptop, so I knew it was time to start the replacement process.

Sean and I stopped in the Microsoft Store at Tysons a week or so ago, to check out their new Surface tablets. While we were there, I started looking at the new laptops, all fitted with Windows 8, and was seriously blown away. The new system is really intuitive, looks GREAT, and was just a lot of fun. Plus, the aesthetics of some of their new machines (especially my new Acer), really give Apple a run for its money. I know that for some of you, looks are the least important part of a computer, but c’mon, nobody’s immune to a really sleek-looking comp. We left the store that day and the cogs were already turning, trying to weigh what I already knew about Macbooks (sleek, fast, great design, reliable) with what I liked about the new PC Ultrabooks.

We went back to the store this past weekend to check them out some more, and after spending over an hour in the store (and watching a Windows 8 demo, etc), I knew what I wanted. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the best part!

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Yep, my new ultrabook has a TOUCHSCREEN. A super responsive and awesome one, too. They say that Windows 8 really was made for touchscreen, and I believe it. I love getting to scroll through things with a swipe of my hand, and it really feels seamless. That said, if you are considering getting Windows 8 installed on your non-touch computer, I’ve heard that it’s a fairly disappointing experience because all those buttons just scream “TOUCH ME!” (Um, in a non-sexual way, obvi.)

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I painted this WITH MY HANDS. Well, and with a ridicuslouly overpriced touchscreen paintbrush that I couldn’t NOT get. I mean, c’mon. I know I’m no fine artist, but dang it if touchscreen doesn’t make it fun to try.

So, there you have it. A couple of exciting snippets for you. Oh, I had a third one, too. Slightly less exciting to normal people, but to people like me who are obsessed with food, this one is a good’n. I’ve officially started testing out new Thanksgiving recipes, which means it is GOOD EATIN’ TIME in my casa.

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Last night’s dinner extraordinatire involved a new recipe for mashed potatoes that I’m trying out (I determined that my Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes recipe is still the reigning champ though).

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I paired the ‘taters with a side of maple and bacon brussels sprouts (amazeballs as always!).

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And a pork chop with a cinnamon apple and onion chutney (or something). Which was effing delicious.

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NOMs all around!

Are you a Mac or a PC? I like to think at this point, I’m a bit of both! I’ve got my PC desktop, my old Macbook, my new ultrabook, and my iPhone 5. Not to mention my brother has his PC dekstop, plus an 11-inch Macbook Air, plus an iPad (and an iPhone 5 as well). Our house is not only biracial, but bicomputersal as well.

Okay, that was lame. I’m done.

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Posted on Jan 25, 2012 in Dear Diary, Weigh Ins | 41 comments

Technogeek

Oh hey. Remember when I accidentally kicked my computer in the face and then spent eight months complaining about it?

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Well, I finally decided that I’m a grown-up (who has officially destroyed her credit card debt — roar!) and did something about it. Nerd alert!

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Thanks to a few of my (even nerdier) friends, I did the possimpible: I ordered individual parts for a computer online and built it with Ben’s my bare hands.

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Okay, you caught me. I didn’t do most of the actual wiring and connecting and whatnot. But I did hunt down bargain prices for all the pieces, and I paid close attention to what my brother was doing as I documented the entire process in photos. Turns out, it’s really not all that hard! I feel like my cred as a self-proclaimed technogeek is finally starting to rise. You know, for a girl. 😉

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True, it’s no glorious Macbook Pro. But it didn’t cost me any of my appendages, and it’s a PC that can handle my awesomely nerdy games as well as allow me to edit photos without having to navigate around the spider cracks down its screen. Also, the screen is my TV. So it’s huge. That’s what she said. Somebody stop me.

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Even though there’s no way that a PC can ever be as sexy and gorgeous as a Mac, I did try to make sure there was at least something going on with it aesthetically. Just be proud of me for skipping the Hello Kitty keyboard, yes? Ahaha.

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Not everyone was as confident in my ability to actually do something this technologically savvy right, but the joke’s on them…

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Since they’re the ones who are going to have to deal with the glare off of my GIANT AWESOME TV SLASH COMPUTER NOW. Bwahahaha!

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DON’T JUDGE ME.

All in all, it should lead to good things. I’m going to hang onto my Macbook as a secondary option. I still plan on getting a new one sometime down the road since this one is over four years old now, has a battery life of roughly seven minutes, and, you know, the whole screen thing is still an issue. But for now, this works out! I still have something (semi) portable for when I need it, but a higher-end machine for higher-end stuff. Hooray for progress!

What’s your machine setup? Mac or PC? Laptop or tower?

PS: I didn’t forget my weigh-in this week. I just didn’t feel it warranted a big announcement since it was almost exactly the same as last week. A -0.1 loss, bringing me to 193.8. Not much fun, but given all that Chinese New Year celebrating I did, I’ll take it. Ah well, keep on keeping on, eh?

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Posted on May 27, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 20 comments

Oh, Woe!

Let us please take a moment of shame and reflection for this:

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I don’t know if you can see it clearly, but that is a spiderweb of cracks in the monitor of my Macbook. ::sob:: I accidentally kicked it and now it has cracks and fractures that from the black border at the top near the camera (point of impact) all the way down through the bottom of the screen. :'(

It’s still fully functional, for now, so I guess I’ll count my blessings. ‘Cause goodness knows I can’t afford a new Macbook or the $$$$ Apple would ask for to fix this one. Might put a damper on my photo editing abilities though… we’ll just have to see. Le sigh.

Okay. Let us please move onto happier things. Specifically, the recipe for my BBQ Baked Tofu that I made for dinner last night!

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I did up a homemade BBQ-inspired marinade, roasted some tofu in it and threw together a quick and easy Whasian noodle salad (hehe) to serve on the side. It was delicious! And it just occurred to me, it’s also vegan (I think?) Guess that Lent rubbed off on me after all, huh?

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Gretchen’s BBQ Marinade:
– 1/4 cup organic ketchup
– 2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
– 1 tbsp mustard
– 1/2 tsp paprika
– 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (or less, mine turned out pretty darn spicy!)
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– Pinch of salt, couple grinds of fresh pepper
– Red wine vinegar, for thinning

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Measure out your ingredients, and combine! Nothing more to it than that. When it’s ready it should look something like this:

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and go ahead and slice up your tofu. You’re looking for fairly substantial pieces to hold up to the strong flavors of this marinade (which incidentally would work great with chicken, too!)

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I was lazy and chose not to press my tofu before slicing it but if you have the time or disposition I would suggest doing so, otherwise the delicate tofu is likely to break in the marinading process (as mine did!) Then make sure you coat each piece well:

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Marinate as long as you like (longer = better), then lay out on a sprayed baking sheet:

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And pop into the 400 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes. Easy peasy! While it’s cooking, you can prep your noodle salad.

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Whasian Noodle Salad:
– 1/2 box of whole wheat angel hair pasta
– 2 carrots
– 1/2 cup snow peas
– 1 cup steamed green beans
– 3 tbsp Asian dipping oil (Purchased at wine festival: mixture of sesame oil, olive oil, and spices)
– Heaping amount of white sesame seeds
– 1/4 cup chopped cashews
– Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. While it’s cooking, cut your veggies into matchsticks (you can leave the green beans whole if desired, as I did.) When the pasta cools (run under cold water to expedite), toss all the ingredients together! Have you ever heard of anything easier?

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Ta-da! Totally delicious, fairly nutritious and you will have tons of leftovers, uh, left… over. I think I ate about a quarter of each dish, so lunch tomorrow is gonna be awesommmme.

Well whaddya know? That did successfully distract me from the woes of noticing the screen cracks in front of my face for a while. Unfortunately… we’re back to being sad about the state of my monitor. Sigh. I was talking with my brother about my options and basically came up with two ideas:

1. Get a new PC laptop or desktop.

In the grand scheme of things, PCs aren’t that expensive, and between my nerdy brother and my nerdy friends I’m sure they can wrangle me up something pretty great for a good value, haha. Note that I’m specifically saying it would be a PC because A) I can’t afford another Mac right now (sad!) and B) I would like to be able to utilize Windows Live Writer for blogging because I hear it’s amazeballs.

2. Get a converter cable, mouse, and wireless keyboard and turn my TV into a computer monitor.

I like this idea, but it is really only feasible if nothing else ends up being wrong with my Mac after this, er, incident. This is also beneficial because we just got rid of cable (waah!) so I’ll be doing a lot more internet TV-watching and would like to continue to have the full-size Vampire Diaries experience come Fall, hehehe. However, I also have a giant TV, so I’m not sure if navigation would be difficult (and I’d have to sit faaaaar away!)

Dilemma, dilemma…

What do you guys think? Have any other solutions to my current computer woes? I know that if nothing else ends up being wrong with this computer, another “solution” might be just to try to get used to have little hairline fractures all up in my grill. But I really do worry this will seriously impact my photo editing, so in all reality I think it’s just better (and less ghetto) to figure out another way — even if it ends up costing me some moolah.

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