Saturday, September 25, 2010

10 Things Your Waiter Doesn't Want You to Know

I found this really interesting article online and found out some really interesting facts about dining out and how to be more money savey and make good food selections.

10. The Biggest Bargains Aren't Where You Think

To make the most of dining out, smart diners learn the art of reading a menu. Menus often start with a higher priced item. Why? When the first item that you see is a $35 surf-and-turf, your expectations about the amount you need to pay for dinner increase. Suddenly, the $22 trout amandine doesn't seem all that unreasonable.

Sometimes the items that are the most profitable for the restaurant are listed first or starred as a "house specialty" to catch your eye. The items with the highest serving costs and lower profit margins are buried in the middle. Savvy pricing creates the illusion of a value: a chicken dish priced at $15 may look like a bargain compared to the $25 prime rib, but the profit margins are actually much higher on the chicken pasta than the pricier beef, since the chicken used to make the pasta dish is a lot less expensive.

So, some of the best deals are actually the most expensive dishes on the menu, when it costs the restaurant more of the menu price to prepare it.

9. Be Careful if You're Counting Calories

This may be the safest way to eat healthily at a restaurant.Another trick to be aware of is that many restaurants rely on butter and other high calorie or unhealthy garnishes to make food taste good. Even lighter dishes like salmon or halibut can be laden with butter or extra salt. Mashed potatoes and pasta or rice pilaf side dishes may taste delicious, but they may be loaded with extra cream or butter.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), restaurant meals average 1,000 to 1,500 calories, or roughly two-thirds of the daily average recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) [source: Bockelman]. So if you're looking to cut calories, consider sharing an entrée, ordering an appetizer instead or skipping the bread. (But if you're sharing an entrée, be aware of hidden sharing charges.)
Some restaurants add sugar to items on the children's menu so they'll eat more, pleasing parents and earning repeat visits.

8. Daily special or cook's surprise?

Is your waiter tempting you with a cool gazpacho as a refreshing appetizer? If it's the soup of the day, the chef may be trying to use up an abundance of tomatoes and other vegetables before they go bad. Same with any stew or casserole that's being touted as the special of the day: Monday's beef stew may be Saturday night's prime rib.

Smart chefs try to order carefully, but they also have to make the most of what they have on hand. For example, if a chef orders oysters, he may offer several dishes that include oysters to make sure they are all used. Buying asparagus in season may mean the vegetable goes on the menu as a side dish, an appetizer, a salad topper, or a soup.

So how can you identify a special that's really just the chef's way of using up leftovers? Look for an expensive item, such as lamb or duck, used in a way that minimizes its flavor. Pastas, stews, and soups are often suspect. Remember, sauces and gravies have helped cover up cook's mistakes for centuries.

7. Bad Behavior Behind the Scenes

Waiters and waitresses work stressful jobs in conditions that can be less than ideal, so it's important to recognize that some shenanigans can go on in the kitchen.

Steve Dublanica, author of the book and blog "Waiter Rant," writes about the challenges that waiters face in dealing with difficult customers. He offers some startling insights about what may happen to those who misbehave in a restaurant. The urban myth about waiters spitting in customer's food, it turns out, isn't one at all [Source: Hodgeson]. If that isn't enough, they may sneak a few fries off your plate or spoon out a taste of cobbler that's sitting in the kitchen.

Most waiters do work hard, earnestly trying to serve customers and do their jobs well to earn a decent wage that includes tips from diners. Remember the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." A "thank you" and a smile will go a long way towards improving the service you receive.

6. Is there something fishy about the fish?

Ordering fish in a restaurant is the best way to get the freshest food from the sea, right? After all, isn't it flown in daily? Not necessarily. Even if you order Maryland crab cakes, they may not be made using crabs from the Chesapeake. High demand means crabs may be brought in from other states -- or even imported from Thailand or Vietnam. That doesn't mean the quality or taste is compromised, but you might not be getting exactly what you expected [source: SmartMoney].

When prices on key ingredients soar, restaurants may swap out pricier items for less expensive substitutes. For example, when the price of sea scallops soared a few years ago, one restaurant substituted cod for scallops on its shellfish skewer [source: SmartMoney].

Make sure to ask where the fish comes from and when it was delivered. If the waiter hesitates or can't tell you, consider a meat dish instead.

5. Watch Out for the Water

At some restaurants, even the water can cost you big bucks. "Flat or sparkling?" your waiter asks. "Flat," you reply, hoping to avoid the charge you'd expect to pay for a bottle of sparkling Pellegrino. Your waiter appears, opening a bottle of Fiji spring water. "What a lovely touch," you think, especially when the first bottle is emptied and another appears.

The surprise will be all yours, however, when the bill arrives and you've been billed for each bottle of water. What he should have asked was "Tap, flat, or sparkling?" Be careful and listen to what your waiter is asking, or you might be surprised with an extra charge of up to $10 on your bill for each bottle of water.

Some restaurants avoid filling the water glass altogether, hoping the thirsty consumer will order pricier beverages or alcoholic drinks instead. The average mark-up on tea is about 4,440 percent, and a glass of soda costs the restaurant only about ten cents

4. The Bread and Vegetables Cost Extra

Entrées used to come with bread and vegetables, but that isn't always a given today. In the past, restaurants figured extras like bread into their prices.

Now, many restaurants have taken advantage of the low carbohydrate trend by making bread available only when a customer asks -- and you may be charged for it.

Vegetables are also commonly appearing on menus as side items that must be ordered a la carte. At $6, an order of broccoli or a baked potato may sound like a small addition to your meal, but it probably only costs the restaurant about $1.50 or less

3. Made Fresh Daily? Not Necessarily

 Time is money -- even in the restaurant business. Restaurants always do their best to improve efficiencies and save time in the kitchen. Professional chefs have learned to take advantages of clever shortcuts and conveniences to make the most of the little time they have.

This means the fresh ranch dressing may be made every three days instead of daily. The homemade coconut pie you order may not be made on the premises, but delivered from a bakery on the other side of town. Mom's homemade relish may actually come from a jar purchased from a food service company. And that delicious French bread you smell baking in the oven? Purchased frozen from a specialty baker in California.

These time- and cost-saving practices aren't necessarily bad, but don't be afraid to comment on anything that doesn't smell quite right, or has a questionable consistency.

2. Restaurants Overbook, Too

Airlines aren't the only service businesses prone to overbooking. According to John Fischer, associate professor of table service at the Culinary Institute of America, "Overbooking is almost a necessary evil." Restaurants calculate their customary no-show percentage and overbook by that much, hoping everything comes out even [source: Bockelman].

So what should you do if you've called ahead and made a reservation for Aunt Polly's birthday, then find yourself waiting once your group arrives? Politely ask after about 15 minutes, and if you don't like the response you get, go someplace else.

1. Some Days are Better Than Others

Many people find themselves in restaurants often due to busy schedules or business dinners, but when is the best time to plan a special, relaxing meal out? Don't choose Sunday or Monday night when the food probably isn't as fresh as it would be earlier in the weekend. And Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest times for many restaurants, so chefs are hurried and waiters are stressed.

Holidays, especially Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, are often a restaurant's busiest days of the entire year. If you can talk your sweetie or mom into celebrating at home and going out to a restaurant on another day, you'll find the atmosphere less hectic and enjoy more attentively prepared food and service

So when is the best time to dine out? Try Tuesday, when many restaurants receive fresh food orders to replenish supplies used over the weekend and the atmosphere is more relaxed. You can also give Thursday a shot: Chefs are gearing up for weekend crowds, fine-tuning recipes and ingredients, and there are plenty of servers on hand to serve guests.

Marshmallow Fudge Sundae Cupcakes

Marshmallow Fudge Sundae Cupcakes


1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix

2 packages (4 ounces each) waffle bowls

40 marshmallows

1 jar (8 ounces) hot fudge topping

1‑1/4 cups whipped topping

1/4 cup colored sprinkles

1 jar (10 ounces) maraschino cherries


Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 20 standard (2-1/2-inch) muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling 2/3 full.

Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpicks inserted into centers come out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from pans and place one cupcake in each waffle bowl. Place waffle bowls on baking sheets. Top each cupcake with 2 marshmallows and return to oven for 2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened.

Remove lid from fudge topping; heat in microwave on HIGH 10 seconds or until softened. Spoon 2 teaspoons fudge topping over each cupcake. Top with 1 tablespoon whipped topping, sprinkles and cherry.

This just looks so yummy I decided I wanted to share my find to all my lovely readers. This is totally a keeper.Hope everyone has a great weekend !!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"The Lady and the Reaper" Shortfilm Trailer

So very amusing! I so want to see it !!!!!!!!!!!

Strange creatures found in Atlantic ocean

New Zealand

I truly love The Nature of Things -One Ocean and this is a beautifully constructed clip that reminds me of how precise this earth truly is and how diverse and complex and that humans are not the only species out in the world that matters. Towards the end of the clip Dr.Bill Ballentine says the most remarkable thing that truly puts into perspective of how humans have such a major effect effect in the world. I hope you enjoy this clip !

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes-I want Shoes

So lately I've realize i really want to get some new shoes for this fall season.I'm thinking oxfords but at the moment I wanted to do a search of all the fall trends for shoes and see what out there in the whole of shoe fashion. So these are some of my top picks for shoes ( no particular order):

Naturalizer Giddy

LifeStride Women's Somerset Wide Calf



Wanted Women's Trance


Bass Women's Heather $69.00  


Nine West

Jessica Simpson
- Mely -$55.99
Ralph Lauren
-Stella -$169.00

I hope you all enjoyed some of my picks -- I think I'm going to go for some flat oxfords in either pure black or a dark leather brown if i can get it in my price range!!! Leave a comment about which shoes you liked or just the fall fashion you are really into this season! Have a good weekend! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dinosaur of the Month-Sinosauropteryx prima

Sinosauropteryx prima

Sinosauropteryx means "Chinese Reptilian Wing" and is one of the most primtive genus of dinosaurs found with impressions of feathers. This dinosaur lived in the late Jurassic period to early Cretaceous period (121-135 million years ago). Sinosauropteryx prima was found in 1996 in Sihetun, Liaoning Province, China, in an ancient lake bed. Sinosauropteryx is the earliest bird-like dinosaur.

Sinosauropteryx is the first dinosaur fossil ever found that showed evidence of having feathers. This fossils was not a bird because could not fly; its feathers were probably used for insulation, keeping the dinosaur warm.

- the Sinosauropteryx prima is the smallest known non-avain theropods
- it length is 68 cm (2.2ft), largest ever found measured 98cm (3ft)
- it has a long tail
- some distinguishable features include having a skull longer than upper leg bone ( femur), very short forelimbs (30% length of legs)
-bipedal and carnivorous
- had 64 vertebrae in it tail
- large fingers with its second finger and claw being longer than the etire lower arm in radius
- weighed about 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg).
- the longest feather-filaments were 1.5 inches long (3.8 cm)
- Each egg measured 36 millimeters (1.4 inch) long by 26 mm (1 in) wide. The total length of this individual was 1.07 m (3.5 ft).
-Three complete skeletons of Sinosauropteryx have been found, including trace fossils of small fibers (protofeathers), stomach contents, unlaid eggs, and some internal organs.
-The existence of Sinosauropteryx lends credence to the theory that the birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs and not from four-legged arboreal (tree living) reptiles.
- a specimen labeled NIGP 127587 had remains of lizard in its stomach which shows that Sinosauropteryx prima preyed on fast moving creatures

- another sample GMV 2124 (Sinosauropteryx? sp.) found three mammal jaws in its stomach region which two of these jaws belong to Zhangheotherium and the third to Sinobaatar. Zhangheotherium is known to have had a venom-secreting spur, like the modern platypus, which indicated that Sinosauropteryx prima eat venomous mammals

Timeline :
Archaeopteryx - The oldest known bird (150 mya) had asymmetrical feathers - it could probably fly short distances (from Germany).

Sinosauropteryx - covered with proto-feathers and with short arms (121-135 million years ago).

Protarchaeopteryx - Long, symmetrical feathers on arms and tail, but it probably could not fly (from China, 121-135 mya).

Caudipteryx - a small, very fast runner covered with primitive (symmetrical and therefore flightless) feathers. (from China, 121-135 mya)

Unenlagia - a much larger ground-dwelling theropod (from Argentina). It had flexible arm movement (up and down, like that of a bird) (90 mya).

Velociraptor - a larger, ground-dwelling carnivore from Mongolia) with a swiveling wrist bone (this type of joint is also found in birds and is necessary for flight) (85 - 80 mya).

Eoalulavis (from Spain) - the earliest bird that had good maneuverability while flying, even at low speeds (this extra flight control is obtained from a tuft of feathers on the thumb called the alula - it also helps in takeoffs and landings).


Sinosauropteryx belonged to the:
Kingdom Animalia (animals)

Phylum Chordata (having a hollow nerve chord ending in a brain)

Class Archosauria (diapsids with socket-set teeth, etc.)

Order Saurischia - lizard-hipped dinosaurs

Suborder Theropoda - bipedal carnivores

Infraorder Coelurosauria - lightly-built fast-running predators with hollow bones and large brains

Superfamily Maniraptoriformes - advanced coelurosaurs with a fused wrist bone

Family Compsognathidae

Genus Sinosauropteryx

Species prima (the type species).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blog Lovin- September

Theses are some of the blog I have been enjoying for the past little while. I really love looking at other peoples styles and perspectives and get a view into how individuals live and enjoy life.

1. BlueBird

I  really enjoy this blog so much because she seems truly a wonderful and interesting person. Plus she really interactive with her audience and posts such lovely images of her, her new baby , her kids and family and friends. Her blog is the virtual  family scrapbook and photo album all in one which is such an interesting new way to share your life and what you love. Also the fact that she combines her family aspects with her fashion career and posts about it gives the reader plenty more to read about and is very inspiring. This blog is truly for people who like personal blogs with a mix of fashion and home design that more vintage and old school. This blog is beautifully constructed with a simple white background, clean, clear and focus and beautifully framed images and very formal and welcoming text.


2.  Twig & Thistle

This blog is amazing for images for invitations , crafts and party decorating and home design and some fashion. It is very inspiring and has such beautiful designs. There's something for everyone at this blog and really gives a burst of creativity. This blog is one of those sites that I go to when I have an inch to craft or if I'm having one of those plain Jane days and really need a boost.

Link :

3. Dethrose Vintage

Love this blog! This blog is amazing fashion and style of vintage items. She truly has style and finds the most amazing items. I love vintage yet at times I think to myself I'll never be able to pull it off yet whenever I see this blog it gives be a boost to try the vintage look without going overboard. This is defiantly one of the best vintage blog fashion sites out there and I truly love her work and effort on this blog to give new pictures every couple of days or so.

Well those are the pick for this month I hope you enjoy this picks and find something to your interest. Also feel free to give me a comment on blogs you love or whatever is on your mind! Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mando Diao - Dance With Somebody (Official Video)

This is such a wonderfully catchy song plus the video is so amazing to watch for interesting film technique!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Replay Tracks of the Month-September

My top 10 replay tracks for this month are:

1. "Electric Feel" MGMT

2. "Social Disease" Bon Jovi

3."Warriors of Time"- Black Tide

4. "Second Chance" Shinedown

5."The Mile" Dead Letter Circus

6. "Tighten Up" The Black Keys

7. " So Called Summer" Team Waterpolo

8."Birelle"- Sky Sailing

9. "Dance with Somebody"-Mando Diao

10. "After Dark" The Count and Sinden featuring Mystery Jets

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ready, Set, Go....

I'm one of those people who enjoy working out yet i have the one problem  which is trying actually working out on a consistent pattern. Sometimes it due to lack of motivation, boredom of the workout,  or not having time or energy to do it . Some things that help me to get back on track are watching biggest loser, making a To do list everyday and including a time when I'm going to exercise and looking for new exercise material. For me I'm always looking for a new exercise or routine and i look online, videos and books and magazines. Here's a list of some of the top places i like to look for inspiration to get my butt off the couch:

1. Fitness Magazine --

Why: the site covers tons of materials from workouts targeting certain body parts to types of workouts from yoga to cardio and have quick and long version of workout. Plus you can easily share, print and see how to do the workout visual. Plus they have video workouts and a section in which it helps you to make your own personal workout out. Plus they have programs that will help you reach a goal in which they send you each week an email with some workouts and meal ideas to help you reach that goal. Plus they also have a section for recipes for healthy meals.
Here is a couple of pages i like from the website:

2. Shape--

Why:  This site is very similar to fitness magazine in which it covers workouts to health. Yet with there workout out they offer more verbal explanation with the visual imagery which for some moves it always helpful to have a written explanation of how to do it properly.  The beauty of this site is it not over packed with tons of workouts and workouts that are very similar to each other. Plus they cover workouts that celebrities do which can add some motivation for you to workout out.

3. Exercise TV

Why: This site has tons of workout videos to view for free or download for a low price and load onto an ipod and then connect to any TV or watch from your ipod. These are full workouts that helps you target and tone. Plus with videos you have someone coaching you through the exercise hence you don't feel alone even if your doing it alone.

4. iTunes -fitness and workout section
Why : iTunes online store gives you music, videos, podcast and apps to help with your fitness. Plus purchases this items are cheaper and take up less space then purchase the cds and dvds. Also the apps are useful, amusing and fun!

I hope you enjoy my post and found this information helpful to put into your routine.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eco Design

This post is a how-to  upgrade a room in your house whether it be paint or flooring with new eco-friendly products to use. It's amazing the amount of progress in the green trend and how it has spread to many spectrums of products we use in our daily lives.

The eco-friendly fabics are the most naturally produced items like hemp or wool. The downsize of this materials is price, they tend to be more expensive then the synthetic fabics yet don't contain petrochemicals which take longer to biodegrade and can at times cause harm to skin. Some other eco-friendly fabics organic/recycled cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo,soybean, and silk. Also recycle and reuse fabics for quilts or cloths . Give new life to old pieces!

Now more and more stores are offering eco-friendly paints for consumers. Eco-friendly paints are water-based paints that do not contain VOCs (volatile organic compunds) which emit gases. Also if your not interested in water-based paints there are paints that have low VOC levels. Futhermore, the eco-friendly  paints come for indoor and outdoors areas.

Some Sources:


Hard Wood Options
- have flooring created from reuseable items like leather flooring in which they take the scraps that would go into the garbage and make a floor.
- get engineered hardwood  which means the product is thinner equaling less wood  and in some cases are made of recycled high density fibre
- consider the type of wood you are purchasing for instance bamboo is an alternative to hardwood and has a faster growth and repenish rate of 8-10 years verses most hardwood take 80-100 years.

- purchase a carpet made out of recycled pop bottles
-purchase a carpet that can be recycled
- look at material with in the carpet and go for more natural produce products like wool

Switch from the old and true incandescent light bulbs that have shorter life spans, waste energy and cost depleting . Some alternative to incandescent are LED (light-emitting diode), fluorescent and halogen which will save money and energy!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Great Style, Great Television

For the past year I've been lazy on the style factor and just wore whatever was comfy and clean. But lately i want to make more of an effort with style thus I've been trying to determine what i like and also transition my style  from my teen clothes to young adult in which I have abit of the past and then things that are classic and/or perfect within the work force and some things that are comfy yet still look stylist and fun. One of my style inspiration are the Gilmore girls. Firstly I really enjoy the show when it first aired in 2000 yet I have to admit I stopped watching it at the point when Rory was in her college years.I thing I realize just recently though is that in the later seasons Rory style really evolves and becomes very stylist. Anyways, the reason why I pick Gilmore Girls as an inspiration are:
1.  The show goes from causal to dressy whether it be school to Friday night dinners.
2. Lorelai still has quirky t-shirts for comfy days 
3. Lorelai  also has many work attire outfits that still show personality.
3. Simple and realistic hair styles that can be mimic.
4. Great coats and winter accessories.
5. Rory shows the transition from comfy boring teen clothes to professional classic with still some spunk.
I also enjoy the show for its designs with the set from the Gilmore girl house, the Inn, and the small community for all season and occasions.

So other shows that I'm planning on making tribute  other shows style such as: Bones, House,My So Called Life, Freaks and Geeks,  and Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the near future. Tell me what your TV style inspirations are!