Wednesday, June 9, 2010


OK - I was a good little sheep and mailed back my census form on time. Now I am being contacted by them - my first thought - scam...and I deleted the message.

Anyway - today I decide to investigate - at any rate - there does appear to be a "survey" which asks for very personal information, being conducted.

They advise to call a number to verify if I am in a "survey".

Are they kidding? It's bad enough that I am monitored everytime I use the internet or a credit card, but do they think that I am actually going to physically and willingly volunteer this info??

Please.....I don't care if it IS legitimate - I am not going to participate.

If the government really really really needs to know how much I make and what I spend it on - then do the research and find out on your own.

I will be double-damned if I will allow anyone from the government to know anything about me by actually telling them!!!!!

I'm done with government. They are in my pockets, they try to get into my private bedroom, and now they want to get inside my head.

Piss off!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bling, Bling!

A gorgeous African-American lady came into our office this morning - and she was so gracious and so beautifully accessorized that I could not help but comment and she gave me one of her brochures.

I was so impressed by her that I wanted to pass this on - here is her website, it shows a few examples of what is available----->

She is available for parties and events and there are also wholesale opportunities.

Let's support our local entrepreneurs!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cedar Light Grove Fundraiser

This message is from the Senior Druid, Crystal, from the Grove at Cedar Light Center on Edna Avenue in Baltimore, MD----->>>

Greetings all,

We have successfully launched our 50/50 raffle to support CedarLight
Grove, ADF. We've already started selling tickets, so if you would like
to participate, please stop by to purchase or visit our website:
to purchase via paypal. We will be sending fliers out to local shops
and such as well with more information.

Winner will receive half of the earnings from this raffle. If we raise
$1000, you will get $500, and so on. Please consider buying a ticket or
three and take a chance at support CedarLight as well as winning a nice
nest egg for yourself!


Crystal Groves
Senior Druid of CedarLight Grove, ADF
Registrar for the Naturalists Guild, ADF
Web Helper for

Find me around:

To be a witch.......

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I wanted to love it.......

but I was surprisingly disappointed! On a particularly rainy, cold-ish day I was craving some warm comfort and thought I could get it from Atwater's in Belvedere Square. I have never been able to go there during lunch because it is always packed with other hungry office workers. So after work I cruised on up through the city and was able to find a parking spot.....surprise!.....and I was happy when I went though the doors and it was barely crowded, instead of the usual sardine-packed jam at the door.

Since I have never been inside, I decided to look around to see what my options were.....I found Sushi (big pass on that...yuk!)which appeared to be fresh and popular with the few patrons that were there. There is also a counter for Neopol Savory Smokery which features smoked delacacies---->

I eventually wandered back where there was a fresh fruit and veggie stand and I saw several people grabbing quarts of what looked like red orange juice. I discovered it was fresh-squeezed blood orange juice. I grabbed up one for myself and also decided to try some of the premium tomatoes on the counter - from Canada called "Kumato"...kinda strange looking brownish thing.....very shiny and pretty though. $8 for the juice and $5 for 5 smallish "Kumatos".

Since my time was limited, I glanced around and saw beautiful meats and any kind of candy you may want offered, but Atwater's was my destination and I really needed some comfortable hotness in my belly.

So back to where I started and I ordered their chicken noodle soup that the girl assured me was "very good". I also picked up a berry crostada which looked amazing under the glass. $6.95 for a "bowl" of soup and $3.95 for the dessert. A little pricey, but I was confident based on all the favorable reviews that it was worth it.

So I schlepped my goods all the way home and was anxious for some culinary comfort.
The soup was in a tiny container, and when I poured it into my soup bowl, it barely filled it at all.....still, I was looking forward to my first taste. Well, it was lukewarm and very I microwaved it for a few seconds and tasted it. It tasted as bland as it looked - dishwater-looking broth, a few long, stringy, hard-to use-the-spoon-with noodles and two pieces of chicken. It was sad....the most positive thing was it was loaded with what looked like fresh sliced mushrooms - I was grateful for that. I added a pinch of salt and some McCormick's "Hot Shot" (black and red pepper) and that lent at least some flavor to the soup.

There was little resemblance to the steaming chicken-y broth goodness that provided such comfort to me over the years - this broth appeared to be nothing but water - there was no hint of any chicken stock at all. The few pieces of chicken were large and tasty, but was really more of a "tease" than actual sustenance. It was supposed to have rosemary, thyme and sage, but I detected none of these flavors.

There was a tiny butt-end piece of bread included.....and it was quite hard. I soaked it in the broth as best as I could, so it was edible...and actually not too bad.

Maybe I got the bottom of the barrel with the soup because it was pretty sad and I can't believe this is the norm here for 7 bucks.

I was still hungry after the tiny bowl of soup and rock-hard bread, so I was anxious to dig into the crostada. Usually, I cannot eat dessert right after a meal, but I was really craving more food.

The crostada was good...a little stale...but good. Worth $4.00?....not really. But at least it satisfied some of my remaining hunger pangs. I thought of the less-pricey pastries at Xia Xia's, Panera or Fenwick Bakery and this did not compare.

So....for almost $12 I was left wanting. Wanting more food for sure. But also, wanting more of a "wow", "OMG, how could I have not been here yet?" kinda moment...but instead, it is more like - OK, I did it and probably won't do it again. Cross Atwater's off my bucket list, for sure.

I have heard that some people are OK with the pricing because they use local products...however, I go to farmer's markets every week and I get huge baskets of tomatoes, potatoes, etc for very cheap. I would think that basic ingredients that go into a soup like chicken noodle would render at least a larger portion, let alone a better-tasting and veggie-laden soup. The prices are borderline offensive. While I was waiting for my soup, I heard another patron order a "whole" so I thought it was a sub-type deal. NOT! They actually sell sandwiches - about $5 bucks for a half and around $9 or $10 for a whole.

Are they kidding? If the bread was huge, I could understand it, but they were so tiny. The chicken salad which is raved about was very thinly spread between the bread. That sandwich was definitely not packing a punch.

So, be warned - you will not get much of a bang for your buck here, but I think the people who patronize this place are OK with it. For every person like me who can find other cheaper and tastier options, this place will be enjoyed by the individuals who like the ambiance and attraction of an "up-scale" market-type experience as well as tourists who don't know any better.

I happen to know too many other places that are more budget-friendly for me and I would be reluctant to travel out of my way again.

I am regretting that I did not skip Atwater's and buy the roasted chicken that was on sale for only $4.99 and a big container of some luscious looking tomato and dill salad that was being offered from one of the meat counters. For less than $10, I would have had a couple good meals.


The best thing I did get? Definitely the fresh orange juice and the high-priced Kumatos.....did not mind spending the money cause both of these were phenomenal.

So, while I would not go back to Atwater's I would go back for the juice!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just in time for St. Patty's Day!

Yay! An Irish pub and restaurant that does not require traveling to downtown Baltimore/Annapolis/DC. Of course, there is Brian Boru on Ritchie Hwy in Severna Park, but it has not become my favorite.

The Twisted Harp just might become that - so far, the feedback has been amazing from folks who have visited and I can't wait to check it out myself.

In the meantime, here is their Facebook link----->

Many Irish blessings to all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ahhh.....the Monks and their divine fudge!

The Brigittine Monks Gourmet Confections is giving a 10% discount to our special online customers from January 26 to February 28. Go to our website and enter the code VAL10 in the Discount Code field on the check out page and click on the Discount Code button next to it to get an automatic 10% off from your order of fudge and truffles.Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Give that someone special a Heavenly treat this Valentine's Day.We are now introducing our newest gourmet fudge Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge for the price of $9.95 per pound (no code required). It will normally sell for $12.95 per pound. This special will run until the end of March.We are now offering the flat rate postage of $4.95 for all single items sent by US Mail to addresses within the United States. Order of Two items or more going to one address will be shipped via UPS at their current rates.Please watch for our monthly specials.Please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORTGod bless you!The Brigittine MonksPlease note: if our website does not give you the advertised discounts, we will automatically give them to you, or if you wish to place your order by phone we will honor these offers. 503-835-8080 ext 1WE DO NOT SELL OR RENT OUR MAILING LIST .

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cannella's - Nirvana on a Roll

Apparently, Cannella's has been around for some time. I have only just discovered this little gem about 9 or 10 months ago. Since then, I have made the trek from my office on the-always-fun-to-navigate Belair Rd to it's rather unassuming location (looks like a former 7-11) in Perry Hall.

The fact that whatever I buy has to be transported to my home that can take either 30 minutes or an hour depending on a lot to do with what I order.

So I started safe and ordered a cold sub for my first go-round - the "Baggio" and a medium size container of potato salad.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived home about 40 minutes later and unwrapped the sub - not only was it perfectly wrapped - but looked as if it had been prepared only minutes before. I actually could not believe how good and fresh it really was!

The potato salad was very creative - huge chucks of garlicky pickles intermingled with the cooked-just-right potatoes. Very seldom can I order deli potato salad with any hopes of not receiving half-raw potatoes. It was most appreciated.

So, to be sure that I did not have "beginner's luck", I have gone back again....and again.....and!

I have tried several other subs - The "Porketta" is one of my faves - lean pork roast cooked tender-perfect, with onions and provolone and their signature goddess, it sent me into blissful nirvana!

I have also tried the meatball sub and their Italian - both very, very good.

If you are looking for a entree - try the homemade ravioli. Delicious. Tender pillows of cheese with an awesome sauce bursting with flavors....a real treat for anyone craving authentic Italian cooking.

You can also purchase their breads - OR, like me, you can buy a frozen loaf to take home and bake fresh from the oven.

There is a nice small dining area - and they recently installed a self-service soda fountain machine for those who like to drink from cups with ice.

This place is very out-of-my-way, yet I make the time to go-out-of-my-way whenever I can!

Location: 9611 Belair Road • Perry Hall, Maryland 21236 Phone: 410-248-3288

Thursday, January 14, 2010 good for me!

I had an opportunity to visit Chocolatea (pronounced choco-latte) the other day during my lunch hour - I figured any place that offered coffee and chocolate was a must-visit for me!
I must admit it was an experience getting to this place, I still cannot understand how people who live in the city get anywhere and parking is frightening. But I sucked up my suburban fear and after driving around for a little while trying to find a place to park, I finally found a spot near University Parkway and enjoyed a small hike up to the cafe which is located inside Ambassador Apartments.

After wrestling with a broken door knob, I stepped inside and was struck by a peculiar smell that was at first, not identifiable. It was not at all what I expected - dark, but cosy and warm, with coffee and chocolate aromas permeating throughout.

It was dim, but hardly warm and cosy - instead it was cold and well....kinda dingy looking. There was a weird color on the walls that do not do well inside on such a gray afternoon and the paintings (for sale) that were hanging, while bright and colorful did not stand out and did little to bring any cheerfulness to the interior. Perhaps on a sunny day - with some light streaming through the windows would liven it up a little.

I was a little hesitant, but the few people there seemed happy and content, but very focused on their newspaper and/or books. Since Hopkins is right around the corner, I was not surprised, but I was still a little weirded out by the eerie silence and trying to adjust to my surroundings. I was still trying to figure out the smell, I know it was some kind of Asian thing going on, and when I picked up the menu, I realized why.

My “in-my-mind-cosy-shabby-chic-throwback-coffee-and-chocolate-shoppe” was a noodle house??? Who I was actually relieved when I was finally able to distinguish the smells and noticed several people eating with gusto from bowls and I saw a little girl with her Mom using chop sticks and seeming to really enjoy being there!

I was greeted very warmly by the girl behind the counter and I was instantly put at ease - she was very helpful in answering my questions about the many offerings of teas and coffees - they have a great variety and I would have enjoyed spending time sampling, but I had such a hard time parking, I barely had time to order anything more than one of their “Coco-Lattes” - from their winter offerings board - “Almond Joy” and I chose one of their luscious-looking muffins - pineapple and coconut. The server told me they did not make them on premises, they were brought in, but did not offer any bakery name.

While waiting, I browsed around - they have a case to the left of the counter that was filled with chocolates of all types - but after determining they, like the muffins, were also “brought in”, I declined to try any. I'm a finicky chocoholic and was not feeling adventuresome.

Instead, I sat at one of the little tables and observed the other patrons.

The gentleman directly across from me was eating heartily from a steaming bowl of Udon noodles and was eventually brought a wrap - a beautifully presented and very fresh looking wrap. He noticed me looking and told me it was the “Chicken Salad Wrap” and was ”fantastic”. Another diner overheard our conversation and smiled and said her fave was the ”Spicy Chicken Teriyaki Wrap” and the ”Maguro Wrap” - seared sushi grade tuna, avocado, pickle ginger, cucumber, romaine and white chocolate Wasabi sauce. Although I am not a fan of fish, it sounded intriguing.
Besides the wraps and a few sandwich choices (all come with a side salad), they have a wide array of noodle and rice bowls and also a nice selection of dumplings. I would have like to have tried those, so made a mental note to check them out next time.

They also have a small “Veggie” selection - one of those is their version of the “Powerhouse” wrap , which has always been a fave of mine when I am feeling....well....veggie-ish. They use Feta cheese, instead of Havarti and a soy mustard vinaigrette as a dressing. They also have an “Energizer” wrap - which included avocado and Fontina cheese on a sesame semolina bread.

I like the creativity and thoughtfulness of their menu - this seemed like a great place to stop in and grab a bite and/or just relax with a coffee.

The muffin, while obviously not freshly baked, was moist and flavorful. It was a perfect accompaniment to my Almond Joy Coco-latte.

Ahhh......the Coco-latte....I saved the best for last. It took a few minutes of me waiting for the drink to be prepared, but what a treat!

I am not too sure what I was expecting, but it was beyond compare - wow! They use 100% real chocolate and infuse it with milk. They then add fresh fruit and/or spices to give it a perfect flavor. The best hot chocolate drink I have had in a long, long time and the creamy whipped cream on top just made it all the more luscious. There was just a hint of almond and coconut - not at all overwhelming the chocolate. There was not any nasty sediment left in the bottom of the cup and it was all I could do to not try to lick the inside of!

It was just under $6.00 for the coco-latte and muffin.

They also have breakfast selections and the hours seem convenient enough. Would I come back? While I would not make a special trip after work or on the weekends as parking would seem insurmountable, I would brave the noontime traffic to pick up one of the wraps or try the dumplings, absolutely! If I lived nearby, I would definitely stop in often.

If only for another one of those cups of blissfully rich chocolate!