Friday, October 29, 2010

Gearing up for the winter

Guest post written by Lana Robinson

It's weird that it's been so weird here lately, even though it's well into October. I've still been wearing a lot of my summer dresses and sandals, just with thin cardigans thrown on top of them. So I feel like it's a little premature to prepare for winter now, but i think it's going to sneak up on us this year. Plus, last year was so cold that I want to make sure that any of my heat isn't getting out.

Our windows are kind of old and pretty drafty so I'm getting them replaced with some more energy efficient ones. I contacted a couple of different companies, including and I got the best quote from them so I'm going to get them to do the job.

I have to admit though that it wasn't just energy efficiency that made me want to get our windows replaced. I noticed over the summer that they were just looking really awful and I even repainted them but they were in such bad place that they looked ugly.

Shopping For That Special Ring

Every time I go on Facebook, all I see are pictures of babies these days. A lot of my friends have recently become new mommies and daddies and there are quite a few soon to be new mommies and daddies too. I guess at this age, that's what people do. Settle down and start a family. I remember that engagements and weddings were THE topic among my friends a few years ago. Everybody was at that stage where they were just about ready to get engaged or in the midst of planning their wedding.

I remember that we (the girls) spent hours talking about that perfect engagement ring. Everybody had an idea of what they wanted. The cut, the prong design and some people even laid out some requirements about the carat of their diamond solitaire. Oh yes, I had this friend who told her boyfriend that if the rock is smaller than 1 carat, there is a high possibility that she will say no! Not only were us girls talking about engagement rings, the boys were really busy doing their research (as well as saving money up for the ring!) too. Suddenly everybody were engagement ring experts! There were also all kinds of theories, like how much an engagement ring should be (some say it should be about 3 months salary) and so on. For me, I believe that the cut, clarity, color and carat doesn't really matter. At the end of the day, you will know that you have found that special ring when you see it. It just feels right. That was exactly how Kevin felt when he found my engagement ring. In his eyes (and mine), it was perfect.

I can imagine the pressure lifting from the guys the moment they find that special ring and when the girl says yes. All that months of planning, searching for that special engagement ring and to finally proposing is definitely a fun journey. Well, guess what guys? You think that it's over once you give her that ring and she says YES? Sorry honey, it's just beginning. Now, it's time to start planning that dream wedding and also start your search for perfect matching wedding rings!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

I was watching a rerun of The Sopranos the other day and as usual, they were eating dinner! Carmela Soprano was dishing out some eggplant parmesan and it looked sooo good! I've never tried making eggplant parmesan before, but after watching that, I knew I just had to try it. So, I went online to search for an easy eggplant parmesan recipe. I found one that was pretty simple to make and it turned out to be really yummy. Here's how you make it.
Start off my slicing one large eggplant into 3/4 inch slices. If your eggplant is really huge (like the one I bought), you can half the slices too. Place them in a colander and sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant slices. Place the colander in the kitchen sink (or you can place a big bowl under it). Allow the eggplant to sit for about an hour. This is done so that the eggplant can sweat out as much liquid as possible.
After about an hour, wash away all the excess salt with cold water. Then, dip the eggplant slices into some egg.
Once you have dipped the eggplant slices, coat it with some breadcrumb mixture. To make the mixture, all you need to do is mix some Italian breadcrumbs with some corn meal, black pepper and parmesan cheese.
Now it's time to fry your eggplant slices. Heat up some olive oil in a pan. Once it's nicely heated, place a few slices of eggplant into the hot oil. Remember not to over crowd the pan. Once you have browned one side, flip it over and allow the other side to brown.
After frying the eggplant slices, allow all the oil to drain. You can also place them on kitchen towels, if you like. I did both, so that all the excess oil is removed. Then, set it aside.
Alright, time to put everything together. First, spread some of your favorite marinara sauce at the bottom of a deep baking dish. I just used those ready made marinara sauce from a bottle. Then, place a layer of eggplant on top of the sauce.
Scoop on more sauce on top of the eggplant slices and sprinkle a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Then, place another layer of eggplant on top of the cheese followed by more sauce. Continue layering until the top. Remember not to go all the way to the top. Leave a tiny bit of space at the top, so that is doesn't bubble over while cooking.
Pop it into a preheated 350F oven for about 45 minutes.
There you go. A hot, bubbly, cheesy dish of eggplant mozzarella! Doesn't it look yummy? It definitely tasted really good! Both Kevin and I love this so much, I must say that this recipe is a keeper! You must try it. It's so easy to make and so so so good to eat. You can even make it in advance and just pop the casserole into the oven when you are ready to eat! :D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Perfect Table For The Holidays

I woke up this morning, looked out the window and was greeted with the most amazing sight. About 80% of the leaves have changed color and it was just so beautiful. I cannot believe it's already fall. I am not complaining though, fall is my favorite season of all. I just love the nice cool weather and of course, the lovely colors everywhere. Halloween is fast approaching and before we know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here! I am especially looking forward to this Christmas, since my parents and sister will be visiting us from Malaysia. It's been a while since we celebrated Christmas as a family (since I am always here for Christmas and they, back in Malaysia). I just know that it's gonna be a totally awesome Christmas this year! Also, my mother in law might be visiting from Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with us over here at Jersey, so we are really excited about that too.

With the possibility of hosting both Christmas AND Thanksgiving this year, we have already started to plan for it. Every time we go out, we have been looking around for decorations as well as recipe ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I just love the idea of whole family having dinner together around a huge table, filled with all kinds of beautiful decorations and yummy food. However, since our apartment is so tiny, there really isn't much space for a large table. Looks like we might have to settle with putting all the food on one table, everybody picking out what they want and then eating on our tiny dining room table.
Oh how I wished we had bought a drop leaf table instead of our tiny regular dining room table that we currently have now. A drop leaf table would be the perfect table during the holiday season. It opens out into a huge table, with plenty of room for everybody. After dinner, we can just fold it back in and push it against the wall (just like our current dining room table). Wouldn't that be awesome? Hmmm, we have almost a month before Thanksgiving. Maybe we should consider getting rid of our tiny dining room table and getting a drop leaf table instead. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bagel Depot - Staten Island, NY

Even though Kevin works in Staten Island, we haven't really hung out that much in Staten Island. In fact, apart from driving thru whenever we go JFK, I have only been to Staten Island once. That was like almost 3 years ago, when we went to Sears in Staten Island Mall. So, a few weekends ago, we decided to go check Staten Island out. We found out online that there is a historical village and museum complex called Historic Richmond Town. It is an actual living museum, with restored buildings dating as far back as the colonial period (will blog more about that later on). Sounds pretty interesting, so it's off to Staten Island we go!
Before leaving for Staten Island, we also went online to find out where we can get some really good bagels. Just like all the other New York City boroughs, Staten Island is well known for it's bagels. There is just something in those NYC hand pulled bagels that makes it so yummy and so different from all the other bagels that I have tried before. It must be the NYC water :D Anyways, we found out that Bagel Depot is supposed to have some of the best hand pulled bagels in the whole of Staten Island. Not only that, but guess what? There is a branch in Richmondtown itself! Woohoo! That's just perfect. So, on our way home to Jersey, we stopped by Bagel Depot to pick up some bagels.
The store was rather empty when we walked in. So, we had some time to snoop around while waiting to be served. Looks like they sold other stuff, apart from bagels. There were all kinds of muffins, english muffins, cookies, danish, croissants, turnovers and even jelly rings. They all look super yummy but we didn't get any. We were focused on our mission, to get our hands on some super yummy Staten Island bagels!
Not only did they have baked goods for sale, but they also carried a whole lot of other stuff. There was a deli section that sold all kinds of meats, smoked salmon, various types of cream cheese, antipasti as well as a huge selection of salads. Also, there we all kinds of breads, rolls and buns for sale. Man, I am beginning to like this place more and more! :P
Alright, enough of snooping around. We need to get to the main attraction! Check out the bagels baby! They are so huge and yummy looking. None of those hard, dry and tiny stuff that we usually see in grocery stores or coffee shops outside of this region. This is the real thing. NY style hand pulled bagels. Sooooo good! Apart from the usual bagels, they also have min bagels and flagels (flat bagels).
Look at all the bagels that we bought home! :P Yes yes, I know. The two fatties got carried a way for a bit. In our defense, we were actually taking full advantage of their "Buy a dozen and get 3 FREE" promotion (works out to $9.60 for 13 bagels). So yeah, that's the reason why we bought so many :P Oh and for those smarty pants who actually counted the bagels, yes, one of them didn't make the journey home. It was so good, we HAD to share one in the car, during our drive home..LOL! What type of bagels did we get? Well, we bought two plain, two low carb, two wheat, two egg, two poppy seeds, two garlic and one pumpernickel. They all tasted really good, light and chewy, just like how a good hand pulled bagel should be. Those bagels lasted us for quite a long time. All we needed to do was freeze the bagels in the freezer, pop it into the microwave for a few seconds whenever we want to eat them and it taste as good as new. So, if you are ever in Staten Island, you totally have to check out Bagel Depot. They make some of the best bagels ever!!

Bagel Depot (Richmondtown Branch) - Staten Island, NY
3459 Richmond Rd
Staten Island, NY 10306
Phone:(718)987 7682

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jumpstart Your Work-at-Home Career With Ashworth College!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ashworth College. All opinions are 100% mine.

I notice that it's becoming an increasing trend among my friends to quit their day job once they start having kids. However, not having a regular day job doesn't mean that those moms totally stop working. Unlike the past, where working from home means getting a job like babysitting or selling cosmetics part time, working from home mom have a whole lot of career choices these days. Many of today's work at home moms are journalist, web designers, medical billing coders, customer service reps and virtual assistants. They have conference calls while their babies nap, finish off business proposals while keeping an eye on their kids as they watch TV and still have time to put a band aid on a boo boo when junior falls down. In short, they have the best of both worlds!

With the Internet, moms now have a whole lot more choices when it comes to making money. It's now possible to work completely from your home with just a If everybody is doing it, what gives you an edge over the rest then? How do you go about it? How do you even start? Well, you should check out Ashworth College! Ashworth College is an Online College that helps you learn the necessary skills to succeed as a work at home mom. They offer a wide range of affordable accredited programs that are ideal for this growing professional segment. Among some of the programs offered are bridal consulting, interior decorating, floral and jewelry design, medical and paralegal transcription, catering and even graphic and web design!

All of the programs are flexible and self paced, so you can study whenever and where ever you like. This is just perfect for busy stay at home moms and working adults. You can also transfer up to 75% of credits earned at other schools to Ashworth. I know that finances (or the lack of it) can play a part when it comes to going back to school. Research shows that Ashworth tuition is 50% less than the average accredited online school. Yes, this includes all books and course materials! Also, they offer zero interest financing plus a low monthly payment plan. Most of the time, monthly payments can run as low as just a couple of large pizzas! Therefore, unlike other programs, you are guaranteed to graduate without student loan debt! That's totally awesome! Sounds great? Hey, don't just take my word for it. Visit the Ashworth Video Gallery to view video testimonials from past Ashworth graduates and see what they have to say. Also, Ashworth College Featured by National Education Report for it's distinguished contributions to the advancement of distance education, both nationally and internationally. So, if you are a stay at home mom looking to take that step to becoming a work at home career woman, check out Ashworth College and let them help you make that all important transition!

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IHOP Restaurant - Elizabeth, NJ

We were in Jersey Garden Mall a couple of weeks ago and as usual, we would lose track of time whenever we are there :P Before we knew it, it was already close to dinner time (looks like we totally skipped lunch!). Since there isn't many food outlets (and their food court is ALWAYS packed) in the mall, we decided to drive out to see what is available around the area.
There used to be a diner just opposite the mall but we vowed never to go back there. It was a horrible diner, with bad service and equally bad food. When we passed the diner (or what USED to be the diner), we were pleasantly surprised that the diner was no longer there. An brand new looking IHOP was in it's place. Woohoo!! Looks like that horrid diner went out of business or something. Who knows. Anyways, we totally love IHOP, so we decided to go check this new outlet out.
After we settled down, we saw that they were having a special, just for the month of October. When you order one of their combos (prices start from $4.99), you get unlimited buttermilk pancakes to go with it! Yup, all you can eat pancakes! We decided to give that a pass though, cos seriously, how many pancakes can you eat? I know that the max I can eat is probably two :P Also, they are giving away a 'SCARY FACE' pancake to all kids under 12 on Oct 29th. So, if you have kids below 12, remember to head out to any IHOP on Oct 29th for your free pancake!
The servers were really friendly and attentive. They all look so happy and! I guess it's a new outlet, so everybody is excited. Our server took our order and came out with our drinks also immediately. Really fast. Kevin had a soda ($2.19) and I had my usual unsweetened iced tea ($2.19). Our server was really good in making sure that our glasses were always filled too. Two thumbs up for the awesome service.
Kevin ordered the Ham & Egg Melt ($6.99). Ham, scrambled eggs, American and Swiss cheese, stuffed between two slices of grilled sourdough bread. It comes with your choice of either seasoned fries, onion rings, fresh fruit, soup or salad and a dill pickle. Kevin went with the seasoned fries. He said that the melt was really good. I believe him, cos he polished off everything on his plate!
I had the Pot Roast Melt ($7.99). Slow cooked pot roast, caramelized onions, melted Swiss and American cheese topped with rich beef and mushroom gravy, in between two slices of grilled sourdough bread. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm, it was really really good.
I chose the soup of the day as my side. I had a choice between cream of broccoli and potato soup or minestrone soup. I went with minestrone. Good choice I must say. It was really thick and hearty, very very yummy. Just add in some crackers and I can have that as my meal!
Since we were in IHOP, we HAD to order dessert :P It was a toss up between pancakes, stuffed french toast, waffles or crepe and we went with crepe in the end. I'm glad we did cos it was delicious! We shared the Nutella Crepe ($6.99) and really, it was awesome! Three egg batter crepes filled with Nutella and fresh slices bananas, topped with strawberries, powdered sugar and some whipped cream on the side. We can feel ourselves getting fatter and fatter as we dig in but hey, everybody is allowed to indulge, once in a while :P Overall, we had a great dinner in IHOP, with some really yummy food, affordable prices and excellent service. I'm glad that we found this new outlet and you can bet on us returning in the very near future!

IHOP Restaurant - Elizabeth, NJ
650-672 Kapowski Road
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
Tel: (908)353 7600

My Dream Home Make Over

I'm sure many of you know that we are currently living in a one bedroom apartment. For now, this is perfect for us. We are relatively close to the city, have an awesome view of the NYC skyline, within walking distance to really beautiful park and there are plenty of restaurants, bars and grocery stores nearby. Also, the security in the building is great, there is an on site gym, and since it's so small (only about 850 sq ft), I do not really have to spend much time in keeping it clean! Perfect!

As perfect as our apartment sounds, we do sometimes think about how nice it would be if we had our own landed property. It would be nice have all that space and I bet our guests would appreciate having their own guest room whenever they visit, instead of having to sleep on the futon in the living room! What I really want is a huge kitchen. Oh yeah, a huge kitchen fitted with all the latest gourmet appliances. I haven't really decided if I want to go for the country look, with nice white cabinets and a huge island with a thick cherry grain butcher block countertop or if I should go for the modern look. If I were to go for the modern look, I would have dark granite countertops with stainless steel fixtures. That's right, everything would be stainless steel, from a huge stainless steel kitchen sink to stainless steel appliances.

Another thing that I really want if we were to get a landed property is a huge backyard. Just imagine, a nicely landscaped backyard with some water features, a huge grill, a fire pit and maybe an Adirondack chair or two. Sounds like heaven on earth. Ahh well, I guess the only thing we can do for now is dream. Who knows, this dream might turn into reality a couple of years down the road!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chinatown - Harrison, NJ

We have heard so much about Chinatown (the restaurant, not the neighborhood!) in Harrison but we never got around to checking it out up til a few weeks ago. From the reviews that we read, it seems that Chinatown serves some of the best Chinese food in this region, outside of Chinatown (the neighborhood, not the restaurant :P) in Manhattan, of course. We have probably driven past it like a million times and every time we go by, I would say that we should go check it out. When we finally decided to have lunch there one Saturday afternoon, you can imagine my excitement. At last we get to see if this place really lives up to it's fame.
Chinatown is a so called fine dining Chinese restaurant that also serves Japanese food. Located on Harrison Avenue, it's smack right in the center of the busy strip of restaurants and pubs in Harrison, NJ. Parking can be a problem, so be prepared to circle the block a couple of times to find a spot. Also, if there is a NY Red Bulls game going on that weekend, traffic can be really bad. It's really close to the Red Bull Arena, so try not to head out there whenever they are playing a home game.
I didn't manage to take any pictures of the interior while we were there, so I stole one off Yelp. With deep red walls and dark colored furniture, there is definitely an upmarket feel to the place. The ground floor consist of smaller tables and benches for walk in customers and the top floor is reserved for private functions (they have enough room for a quite few of those huge Chinese style round banquet tables).
After taking our order, they brought out a small plate of complimentary snacks for us to munch on, while waiting for our food. It reminds me of the crunchy chow mien from those Chinese take out restaurants. Of course, this is not that oily and way lighter. Rather addictive, I would say. Dipping those crunchy pieces of fried dough into the plum sauce that comes along with it makes it even yummier :P
For our appetizer, we shared an order of Pan Fried Pork Dumplings ($4.95 for 8 pieces). It was rather good. A little bit too oily for me, but yummy none the less. The filling tasted more like what you would get in a Japanese gyoza but the skin of the dumpling is of course Shanghainese style. It would have been totally awesome if it wasn't that oily.
After looking at the menu for a bit, something told us that the portions will be pretty large. So, we decided to share a noodle dish and a meat dish. There were quite a number of noodle dishes to choose from and we finally went with the Shanghai Pan Fired Noodles ($10.95). As expected, the portion was indeed huge! Pan fried noodles topped with a generous amount of beef, chicken, shrimp and a variety of vegetables in a thick brown gravy. The taste? Well, it was good. I wouldn't say that it was extraordinary or one of the best noodles that I have ever had, but it wasn't bad. For $10.95 a plate, it's definitely not cheap. I think I can get something equally (or maybe even better) as good, at probably half it's price, if I were to randomly enter any of the restaurants in Chinatown, NYC.
We initially wanted to try the Peking Duck but they only had it in full size. That would be way too much for us. Even half a duck was a little bit too much. Anyways, we settle with half a roast duck ($12) instead. Our server told us that it's actually the same thing except that the Peking Duck comes minus the bones and they serve it with some pancakes. Oh and of course the price is different too. I believe it's $28.95 for the Peking Duck and it comes with 8 pancakes. The duck was rather good. Nice crispy skin and more importantly, it didn't have that gamey smell that sometimes comes along with duck dishes. The only downside was that it too was a tad bit too oily :(
Our total bill came to $31.94 (not including tip). In my opinion, I feel that it's a little bit steep for lunch. All we had were some dumplings, noodles and some duck. The food was alright, but definitely not something I would shout about. Maybe I was expecting too much (due to all the raving reviews), who knows. However, I do not think that we will be returning in the near future. The next time we are in the mood for some authentic tasting Chinese food, I'd rather just hop onto the train and head out to Chinatown in Manhattan :P

Chinatown - Harrison, NJ
218 Harrison Avenue,
Harrison, NJ 07029
Tel: (973)483 1504

Tire Chains for the Winter

Boy, time sure flies by when you are having fun. I cannot believe it's already mid October now. Summer is definitely over for us here in the north east. The leaves have already started to change colors and the temperature is dropping real fast. Before you know it, winter will be here again. I can just feel it, something tells me the first snow fall will be coming real soon.

Winters up here in the north east can be quite brutal sometimes. Really heavy snowstorms, sometimes lasting all the way til April! The weatherman is predicting that this winter to be just as brutal (if not worse) than last years! I'm sure many of you know by know that my parents and kid sister will be visiting us over the holidays and we are planning to go on a few road trips around this region. With all the snow that we are expecting, I figured that maybe it would be wise to get ourselves some tire chains this year.

I went online to read up more about tire chains when I came upon the Tire Chain Dealer website. It's pretty much a one stop shop for all your tire chain needs. There, I managed to read up more about tire chains (since I have practically zero knowledge about them) as well as find out which tire chain/snow chain is right for me. Looks like their most popular product is the Grip, which installs in less than 2 minutes per tire and cost less than $100! Sounds good to me! Apart from having a huge selection of tire chains to choose from, they go a step further by providing videos to show you how to install them. This is perfect, especially for a first time tire chain buyer like me. Who would ever guess that buying tire chains can be so easy? So, if you are also thinking of getting yourselves tire chains this winter, just head over to Tire Chain Dealer's website and pick out one (or two!) that is right for you!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oven Roasted Beer Can Chicken

Remember me blogging about getting a beer can chicken roaster from CSN Stores a while back? Well, there was a sale for whole chickens (only $5 for a huge chicken!!) at our local grocery store, so we figured we will try making Beer Can Chicken for dinner last week. Traditionally, Beer Can Chicken is cooked over an open grill but since we live in an apartment, we just made ours in the oven. It turned out to be be really good. It's so simple to make, you just have to check this recipe out!
Start off by removing all the giblets from inside the chicken. You can save the giblets to make gravy for the chicken if you want to but I just threw mine away. Rinse the chicken in cold water and then pat it dry with some paper towels. Next, spray on some vegetable oil onto the chicken and then put on your favorite dry rub. There is no prize for guessing what I used, since I use it all the time in most of my cooking. Yup, Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic Rub. It's the best! :D
Make sure you rub on the seasoning on both the outside as well as the inside of the chicken. Once you have done that, place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag. As you can see from the picture, our chicken was way too large, so we had to use two...LOL! Allow the chicken to marinade for at least a few hours but we left it to marinade in our refrigerator for about 24 hours.
Now, it's time to set up the beer can chicken roaster. It's fairly simple actually. All you need is a deep baking dish and the beer can roaster. If you do not have a beer can roaster, you can use an actual beer can. Just cut open the top of the beer can, pour out about 1/3 of its content and set it in the middle of the baking dish (just like how I placed the roaster).
Next, pour in your favorite beer. I used Yuengling cos Kevin happened to have a six pack of that sitting in our refrigerator. I am not a huge beer drinker but I find Yuengling to be pretty decent :D Yeah, so just fill the beer can roaster up. You would need probably about half a bottle of beer to fill it up. If you are using an actual beer can, you can of course skip this step (since the beer can is already filled with beer :P).
The next thing you need to do is to place your chicken onto the roaster. Just set it upright, just like how you see in the photo. If your chicken is too large (like ours), it might be a little bit tricky to get it to stand upright properly. It's all about balance. Try moving it around a little, it should stand relatively well after a few tries.
Then, pop it into a 350F oven and set the timer for 2 hours.
Remove the chicken from the oven when it's about half way through it's cooking time (around the 1 hour mark). Baste the entire chicken with melted butter. This is to give it color as well as to make the skin extra crispy. Yummmy stuff!! This is the only time you would need to baste the chicken. Your chicken won't dry out because of the beer that is keeping it all juicy and moist. Pop the chicken back into the oven for another hour. While you are waiting for the chicken to be done, sit back, relax and enjoy the remaining half bottle of beer :P
We bought Perdue's Oven Roaster Chicken, so it comes with a built it thermometer. Once it pops up, you know that it's done. If your chicken doesn't come with a built in thermometer, all you need to do is stick a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. When it reads 180F, you know that its done! Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before removing it from the beer roaster. Be extra careful when you remove the chicken cos the beer will be really really hot. Carve the chicken and it's ready to be served! Doesn't it look yummy? The skin was really crispy and the meat was oh so moist. I cannot believe something so simple can turn out to be so good. You should try it, it's totally awesome!

Medical Alert System by Medical Guardian

* This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Medical Guardian. All opinions are 100% mine.


I woke up with a really bad backache the other day. I don't really know what was the cause of it. I guess I probably slept in a wrong position or I accidentally sprained it the day before. While putting on some deep heat rub on my back (thank goodness the pain went away after that), Kevin jokingly said that I must be getting old. What's next? We go shopping for dentures and a walking stick? Ok, I'm not THAT old but that got me thinking. We are definitely not as young as we used to be. My dad just celebrated his 60th birthday earlier this year. Wow...60th! I still remember his 40th birthday celebration, like it was just yesterday. I guess our parents are not getting any younger either.

My thoughts then turned to Kevin's mom. Since Kevin's dad passed away nearly three years ago, she has been living alone in Pittsburgh. Kevin's sister lives about an hour away and we of course, is living in a whole other state. Sure, she is always busy with her friends as well as her choir practices but when she gets home, she is all alone again. What would happen if she needs help? What would happen is she falls and can't reach the phone to call us? Even if she calls us (or Kevin's sister), we are too far away to give her immediate help. I did a little research online and found out about Medical Guardian.

Medical Guardian is a leading provider of medical alert systems. They provide round the clock UL approved monitoring as well as highly rated equipment, all for a low monthly that doesn't come with any long term contracts. Also, there are no activation fees or setup cost! Here's how it works. When a client purchases a medical alarm, they will receive a transmitter button (you can wear it around your neck, as a clip on attachment or around your wrist, just like a watch) and a base unit. When a fall or emergency takes place, just press the button and a 911 operator comes on the 2-way box. How cool is that? Just imagine, with a press of a button, it could potentially save a life! For only $29.95 a month, it's definitely something I would consider getting. It's not about buying a medical alert system, it's more about keeping your love ones safe. let's face it, an emergency can happen anytime. Even the strongest person can slip up and fall. With Medical Guardian's Medical Alert System, you know that your love ones will always be in safe hands and help is just a button away.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Food @ The Touchdown Club - New Meadowlands Stadium, NJ

Firstly, I must apologize for the long silence. We have been pretty busy lately and we have also been having some computer problems, hence the lack of new post. Anyways, all is well now and we are back. As promised, here is the long awaited post about the food available in the Touchdown Club at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Prior to going for the game, I tried to search the Internet to see what kind of food is available in the New Meadowlands but was pretty shocked that there wasn't much about it. I found one or two press releases, remarks about the lack of choice available and mainly bad reviews about the food in the New Meadowlands. When we were actually there, we were pleasantly surprised. It was nothing like what we read in the reviews. There were a whole lot of food choices available (albeit a tad bit expensive) and I felt that the menu was very well thought out. There were the usual stadium fare like hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, chicken tenders, fries, clam strips, burgers, grilled sandwiches, BBQ sandwiches, cheese steaks, Italian sausages and know, the usual stuff.
Apart from that, there were also regional food favorites available. From the press releases, it seems that before the grand opening of the New Meadowlands, Executive Chef Eric Borgia and Sportservice's President Rick Abramson hopped in a car and scouted the area for the best restaurants, serving some of the best local food. From there, they came out with this selection. I must say that they did a pretty swell job! Among some of the more popular local food available are the NY pastrami sandwiches, lamb gyros, Taylor ham and egg sandwiches, Italian roast pork sandwiches, red and white bean turkey chili as well as meatballs made from Chef Borgia's grandmothers recipe.
If you are not a big fan of regional favorites (how can you not be?!?!), there are also a whole lot of international food to choose from. There is a sushi counter serving freshly made to order sushi, freshly made pizza from the huge brick oven in the middle of the club as well as grilled meats from a special grill section.
Now, to all you Food Network fans...check this out! This is only available at the Club and Suite levels. Food Network developed a menu featuring a variety of gourmet hot dogs and salads., just for the New Meadowlands Stadium The menu looks so good but we didn't have a chance to try them out. There is only so much one can eat, right?
Apart from all the food available, there are also three sports bars as well as a wine bar serving all types of beers, wines and liquor. The best thing about the Touchdown Club matter where you go, there are huge flat screen TVs all around. This is totally awesome, cos you really do not want to miss out on any action, while you are lining up for your beer or food.
Here's what we ate. Kevin tried the ever popular Nonna Fusco's Meatball Sub ($9) and I had the Grilled Steak Sandwich ($15). The meatballs were really out of this world! Very very good! Man, I wish I had Nonna Fusco's recipe too! :P My steak sandwich was yummy too. Juicy steak with some really crunchy fried onions on top. Our only negative comment was that the bread for both the sandwiches were a tad bit too hard. The small cup of draft beer that Kevin had was $8.75 and my extra large souvenir cup Diet Pepsi was $6. I guess I would have to agree that the food are a little on the pricey side but I guess if you are willing to fork out $400 for a ticket, what is $15 for a sub rite? Thank goodness for us, everything is on the company account! :P
After half time, we went up to the club area again to get some snacks. We shared a nachos platter, with cheese and salsa ($7.95), a braided pretzel ($4) and another soda ($6). The salsa for the nachos were awesome! Kinda spicy, with a little kick! The pretzel? It was yummy too, just like how you would expect from a NY pretzel (yes, it's the NY water that makes it so goooood!) Overall, I feel that the food selection at the New Meadowlands Stadium is really good (I really don't understand what people are complaining about!) and the quality is on par with some of the nice restaurants around this region. The only downside is that the prices can be a tad bit high, but then again, that's what you would expect to pay when you buy food and drinks at a sporting event, right?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Data Graphics Inc - Custom Labels and More!

Boy, what a weekend. We were so busy running around, doing stuff, the weekend just flew by for us. What about you? How was your weekend? How did you celebrate 10.10.10? From the status updates on Facebook, I can see that many of my family and friends were busy attending weddings. There were so many people getting married on 10.10.10. I was browsing through some photos from the weddings and noticed that the bridal couples these days tend to customize everything! Not only are we talking about candy wrappers or party favors but stuff like decals for the bridal car and heavy duty outdoor signs. Looks like there is a custom label for everything these days!

I was a little curious about how much it would cost or how long it would take to make custom labels, so I went online to read up more about it. I found out that it's actually a pretty big industry. Sure, there are the regular stickers and labels that small time companies and individuals would usually print to promote their company or event. However, custom labeling is more than that. Big industrial businesses uses custom labels for almost everything, from instructions on how to operate heavy machinery to warnings about high voltage electricity and poison. There are also reflective labels for displaying information at night or during dark conditions and aluminum labels which are hard to remove and tamper-evident.

Data Graphics Inc is one of the more well known players in this industry. Having been in the business for 25 years, they know everything there is to know about custom labels. They make custom labels for uses, be it industrial purposes, military specification or commercial applications. With a long list of professional certifications to their name, they also provide 24 hour quotes and fast delivery. So, the next time you are in the market for some custom labels, remember to check out Data Graphics. I'm sure they would be able to help you will all your custom labeling needs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NY Giants vs. Chicago Bears @ The New Meadowlands!!

Remember me blogging about getting Touchdown Club tickets for the Giants game earlier last week? Well, the long awaited game day finally came and we headed out to the New Meadowlands Stadium a few hours before kickoff time last Sunday. The weatherman predicted heavy rain starting from about 4pm (the game starts at 8:30pm). Since there is no roof at the New Meadowlands, we were praying real hard that it would hold til after the game. Oh well, I guess it doesn't really matter if it rains. People watch football in the middle of snowstorms, so what is a little bit of rain, right?
The club tickets that we got also came with Premium Parking Permits. That's totally awesome cos we get to park at the lots surrounding the stadium. Not only that, we also managed to find a spot really close to the stadium entrance. Very very cool! If we didn't have any parking permits, we would then either have to take the train (which isn't really all that bad) or we would have to buy parking permits off scalpers (the market rate is around $50!). Even with those parking permits, we would have to park like really far away from the stadium. So yeah, yay for us! :D
Since we got there early, we walked around to checkout all the pre game events that were happening around the stadium. Bud Light's Party Plaza was rather cool. They set up an outdoor bar and also stage for a mini pre game concert. Weber Grill also set up a BBQ Pit at the plaza and there were all types of BBQ meats for sale there. Of course, we could also buy beer from the Bud booths. Apart from the Bud Light Party Plaza, there were also all kinds of other booths giving out freebies. Toyota even had a photo booth where we can take a photo 'with' Eli Manning for free! It's more like we stand in front of a green screen and they superimpose Eli beside us :P Still, it's pretty cool!
After walking around for a bit, we decided that it's time to head inside to the Touchdown Club. It's pretty cool actually, not having to line up with the crowds to get into the stadium. We had our very own VIP entrance and stuff.
The Touchdown Club was really impressive. Huge ceiling to floor windows with views of New Jersey, New York City as well as the field. It was really big, with two bars, a wine bar, lounge areas as well as dining areas. Also, there were tons of flat screen TVs showing other live games that were going on in other stadiums around America as well as live feeds from the field. Security was rather tight though and we had to flash our tickets each time we went in and out of the club. I guess they had to make sure that non club seat holders don't make their way into the 'all exclusive' club (rolls eyes). There were all kinds of food vendors too, from NY style pastrami sandwiches to sushi to pasta. I'll have to write a separate post just about the food choices available in the Touchdown Club.
Ahhh, check out our seats. Pretty awesome right? We had a full view of the entire field! Also, club seats were larger, plushier and have more legroom compared to regular seats. We had to chance to check out the regular seats when we went for the Bon Jovi concert earlier this year. Boy, they were small! There was so little legroom that our knees were actually touching the seats in front of us. Ahhh well, I guess that's why club seat tickets cost $400 a piece! Still...I wouldn't pay $400 just to watch a football game, no matter how much legroom they gave us :P
It was totally cool actually, to be so close to the field. I started watching football back in 2002 and since then, it has always been my dream to go watch an actual game (of course, in that dream, it's Heinz Feild, not the Meadowlands! :P). To actually get to watch a live NFL game was just so awesome. Just imagine, I was so excited, just watching the Giants and Bears play. I wonder what would actually happen if I were to be given the chance to watch my beloved Steelers play at Heinz Field? Hmmmm, I think I would just pass out in excitement! LOL!
After eating dinner at the club (will blog about that later), we headed out to our seats, just in time to watch them introduce the teams. Those guys really know how to put on a show. Smoke, fireworks...the whole deal. That really got the crowd all pumped up! You can actually feel the energy flowing through the entire stadium. It's really hard to explain, you have to be there yourself. Definitely different from watching the game on TV, I must say!
After the coin toss, Kelly Rowland (from Destiny's Child) sang the national anthem and was joined on the field by 125 breast cancer survivors. It was part of NFL's effort to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The whole campaign was to educate people that early detection saves lives. All women above 40 should obtain an annual mammogram. It was especially meaningful for me, since one of my favorite aunts is also a breast cancer survivor.
After the ladies left the field, it was time for the game to begin! Woohoo! With the Bears going into the game 3-0 and the Giants coming in with a string of loses, we were all geared up for an explosive game. The Giants needed to win at home! Guess what? The Giants didn't disappoint. Nine sacks at half time, how awesome was that??? I really felt sorry for the Bear's QB, poor guy. The Bears really didn't play all that well. I was surprised, considering that they have yet to lose this season. Lindsay (Kevin's boss gf) is a super huge Bears fan and I sort of feel sorry for her. It must be really tough to see your team sux so bad. Ah well, a true fan sticks by their team, no matter how bad they are playing.
During half time, 30 of the greatest and most influential men in the Giants 86-year history were installed into the Giants' Ring of Honor. They were selected by the Giants organization based on their contributions to the success and history of the franchise, whether they were players on the field, coaches on the sideline, executives in the front office or owners. All the recipients of this award were cheered on by the crowds, all except for Tiki Barber. The crowd went wild booing him. I guess the Giants fans were doesn't like the way he criticized their QB and coach after his retirement.
The rain started to come down pretty hard right before half time, stopped for a little and started to come down again at the end of the 3rd quarter. It wasn't really that bad, considering that it was supposed to start pouring at 4pm. We were prepared though. Kevin and I went out to Walmart earlier that day and bought four disposable ponchos for $0.88 each! Are we smart or what? :P As you can see from the picture, despite the rain, Kevin, Brian and Lindsay were still in very high spirits! :D
The final score...Giants 17 Bears 3!! Wow! The Giants really trashed the Bears this time around. I guess you always play better when you are at home, especially when you are so hungry for a win. The game ended really late and by the time we got home, it was midnight. We were actually really glad that we didn't take the train to the game. Brian and Lindsay took the train (took them only 20 mins to get there from Hoboken but more than an hour to get home!) and they didn't get home til after 1am! I guess there were just too many people taking the train at the same time.
We are really blessed to be given the opportunity to actually attend a live NFL game, let alone getting a chance to watch the game from club seats! We had a great time hanging out with Brian and Lindsay too. Thanks APL and McAllister for the awesome tickets. Maybe we can get a chance to watch the Steelers play the Giants next season! :D

* If you want to see more photos from the game, just head over to my Facebook album at :