Monday, August 15, 2011

Fro-Yo to go!

As you read in my previous post, I have been going a bit "stir-crazy" this summer. However, I did accomplish at least one incredibly imporant feat. Tasting frozen yougurt from ALL of the local venues.

Seriously, somebody needed to do it. So you are welcome in advance for what I undertook on my time off.

My love of all things frozen yogurt goes back. Way back. This blog will start where it all began...

It was the summer between 4th and 5th grades and the Mill Creek Plaza was definitely a "hot spot" for all of us kids. There was no fancy "Town Center" as stands today. We could either ride bikes to Albertson's, Shari's, a couple pizza places, and a Crownbook Store (you know, the small bookstore that existed before the GIANT chains took over, but I will save that rant for another day).

The magical summer when I was 10, a new place opened. A frozen yogurt store, called TCBY. I remember riding there with my friend, Shannon after scrapping together enough change to purchase two 99 cent sundaes. The yogurt was delicious and I was hooked.

Now, frozen yogurt has become the newest dessert trend in the area, with new stores opening weekly! Here is my synopsis of the three I have tried recently:

Menchies, Lynnwood: EVERYBODY was talking about this place, but since I despise driving, especially on the freeway, I was estatic when one opened near my house.
Pros: LOTS of flavor and toppings to select from. I opted for the tart and the red velvet cake, along with some cookie dough on top. I liked being able to serve myself and the yougurt had a good texture and flavor.
Cons: Serving yourself means so does everybody else. I was okay with this until I saw a boy stick his hand in the gummy bears. It was also a bit messy. My husband, Adam, announced that his yogurt was gross and that nothing compared to TCBY and was confused as to why it was so popular.

Revolations in Edmonds: This new fro-yo spot in downtown edmonds is always packed with families, couples, and teens. I had heard great things, so I went here next. Yes, on the very same day I visited Menchies. Don't judge. I was on a mission, and also, the Mechies was for lunch...this was dinner.
Pros: Lots of flavors and toppings. It was almost exactly like Menchies, with many different options to select from. I liked being able to sample as many as I wanted as well. My traditional chocolate flavor was pretty good, but not great. The stawberry topping I selected a stopping was delicious and all of the fruit seemed to be very fresh.
Cons: Again, the thought of so many people handling food grosses me out, and although I did not see anybody grab with their hands here, I am sure it occurs. Also, this place was pricy. Over five dollars for one yogurt. And, mine was not even that full!

TCBY, Lynnwood: My old favorite, now closed in Mill Creek, but this one is actually closer to my house now. Since Adam was raving about its greatness,I decided to make a little visit yesterday (before you think I am an addict, this was NOT the same day I visited the first two).
Pros: This yogurt was definitely the best of the three. I ordered a small bowl of the traditional tart flavor and my old fav-white chocolate mouse! Both were rich, creamy and had great flavor. Also, no grubby hands touching the toppings (cookie dough and sprinles). The girl at the counter wore gloves.
Cons: Not as many options, but I am thinking this is a good thing, as many of the yogurt options at the first two were nothing to write home about. It is also in a bad location, which is why I think it might not be as crowded?

The newer stores in the area may offer more selection as far as toppings and flavors go, but come on, TCBY has been around for ages. Also, customers may get a kick out of being able to serve themselves for a time, but the novelty will eventually wear off...or they will get grossed out when they see somebody sneeze or stick their hand in the toppings.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A confession...

I have a confession. I think I might be ready to go back to work. Shocking, right?

As a teacher, I have the option of taking the summer off. I have not exercised this option until this year. In the past, I have taken classes, worked as a server, and taught summer school. This was the year I decided to give myself a bit of a break (besides the two weeks worth of classes I enrolled in).

When I pictured my summer of freedom, the possibilities were endless: lying out in the sun and reading, going on fun day trips, hiking, and maybe taking up a new hobby.

However, I did maybe one of these things. It was difficult to sunbathe due to the lack of sun in the PNW this summer, day trips were put on hold because of traffic concerns and the lack of any creativity on my part regarding where to go. Oh, and I NEVER went hiking. I really did not have anybody to go with and it is not safe to go alone. There are bears out there.

Oh, and the hobbies I desired to take up (playing the guitar and rock climbing) proved to be pricier than I thought.

Needless to say, the break has still been relaxing, but...I am kind of ready to go back to work(after my trip to Hawaii, of course).

There are definite signs I need a busier schedule, including:

1) I have begun having full-on conversations with my dog. Not just the usual, "good boy" or "ready to go on a walk?" I mean, I am asking my dog questions and answering for him, like, " Teddy, do you want to come upstairs while I get ready?" It is beginning to come rather creepy. Poor Teddy. He probably just wants me out of the house, so he can take a nap.

2) I have cleaned the baseboards in my entire house TWICE this summer. Each day in fact, I embark on a new cleaning project.

3) On my walks with Teddy (he now gets two per day), we (Teddy and I) now know many of the senior citizens and stay-at-home-parents by name. Some have asked if I have a job.

4) Going to the gym is typically my major event of the day. When I am working, it is an activity I have to fit into my schedule.

5) Trips to places like Target that I would accomplish at a rapid pace during the school year now can last a couple of hours.

6) So far, I think I have read over 30 books. The other day, I checked out a book from the library that I had already read in July, and did not realize it until chapter 4. I am not sure what this says about the genre of books I have been reading.

7) Two days ago, I made a visit to the teacher store and actually became elated with the various borders and stickers I might purchase for the new school year. Can I add that I am not the least bit crafty and despise any sort of classroom decorating. Usually, somebody has to help me put them up.

8) Each morning, I tune into the "Today" show and "Saved by the Bell" re-runs while drinking my coffee. While this is nice, I actually sort of the quick-paced mornings when I am working. I sort of enjoy the hustle of having to get ready in 45 minutes. Not the 5:30am wake-up though.

Now, I am by no means complaining about having the summer off (for those of you screaming "shut-up" at your computer while reading this blog). I just think I am one of those people who likes the structure of a schedule.

I LOVE being busy and working to fit everything in during the day. Most of all, as much as might complain about it during the school year, I LOVE my job. And I miss it after the first couple of weeks off.

And there you have it, my confession. Now, I will just have to see if I eat my words come October!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A facial; a wake-up call

For my 30th Birthday, my wonderful sister (thanks Meag!)sent me a spa day at my favorite salon in Edmonds. This package included a facial, which I immediately booked for the soonest appointment possible.

I waltzed into the Ombu Salon sans make-up and ready for some great relaxation while I was the recipient of a nice face massage and treatment. God knows, I needed it, as my skin had been feeling rather well...tired as of late.

The facial was an excellent one; excellent rejuvenation of my skin with some serious exfoliation. I was lying there, wishing that I could afford facials on a regular basis when the esthetician stated:

" You should really look into a skin-care regimen. You know, now that you are in your 30's. It can help stop any further damage to your skin."

Just to be fair, she said this after I informed her that my "skin care regimen" involved some Aveeno face wash and sun screen. And, I was not really too insulted as she was older than me and informed me that she too, was a sun worshipper in her teens. And had proceeded to lay out in with no sunscreen, just oil. She continued stating that most of the damage to my skin had occurred at least 10 years ago (baby oil days). Apparently, the only way to rid my skin of that damage is with laser treatments.

She showed me some of the products she used at the counter after the service. I only bought one item (the exfoliate, which is amazing) before I got sucked into buying EVERYTHING she used on my skin.

Afterward, I headed to Target and stocked up on: Lifting lotion with Retin A, moisturizer with sunscreen, night cream, and toning lotion. I was set. Ready to protect my skin. After all, who wants to look like leather when they are 60? Not this girl?

Since that day at the salon, I have been faithfully using the exfoliate, the creams, applying sunscreen and I even donned a hat while reading in the sun.

The hardest part of all of this is that I cannot see the immediate results that my ADD personality demands. I was hoping to see my skin looking and feeling MUCH younger overnight! Not the case. Although, it does feel a bit smoother now, a few weeks into the treatments.

The big question is: will being cautious now save me from looking old and aged later? or is it too late?

Has the fun I had in my teens ruined my looks forever? Well at least if that is the case, I had fun doing it. I would not take back the careless days of summer, spread out on a beach towel at a pool, the beach, or in a backyard.

I would have, perhaps like to go back and tap my teenage self on the shoulder and hand her a bottle of SPF 30!