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I’m so happy to report on our one year houseiversary we have redoubled our efforts at making our house look more and more like a home.  We recently received a beautiful table and chair set from our friends and we bought a rug for the dining room.  I have table linens and I’m shopping for napkin rings (my grandmother will be thrilled, absolutely thrilled).  I feel downright domestic.

I can’t wait to host a brunch or a dinner party!

In other home news, my sister is buying a house in my neighborhood!  More people in my family owning real estate in Dayton – I’m very excited about this and I can’t wait until she is all moved in and settled.  I remember signing the ream of paper to buy our little piece of Dayton and although it was sort of daunting at the time, we’re making this big house into a home little by little.  I can’t wait to have another autumn here!  And as my husband says, “One year down, 29 more to go!”

I am nervous excited to report that my little blog is upgrading to bigger and better things.  I don’t know or understand all the details yet but I’ve put my sister (Sad Robots) at the helm and trust her completely.  Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come:

 The blog might be down for a while during the process, but hopefully not for long.

Thank you all for reading and for bearing with us while we redecorate!

I like my job just fine, but you need a break from time to time and recently I decided to take a half day to relax a little before a big, scary Monday.  I still wanted to have my semi-monthly lunch date/Secretary therapy session with my friends Tina and Megan so after I was off the clock, we headed to Sake on Miller Lane in Vandalia.  I hadn’t been there since I was probably 13 or so and nothing had really changed, which was nice.  The place is still a lot of fun and I love how they don’t skip on anything even though it’s lunch.

We might need to work this place into our normal rotation of restaurants because after lunch at Sake, it really feels like you’ve been away for a while.  Without noticing it, they get you entertained, well fed, and out the door in plenty of time to get back to work (unless, of course, you took a half day).

Sake
7260 Miller Lane
Dayton, OH  45414
(937) 898-9834

Below, my sister (Sad Robots) begins her guest blogging series entitled Lunch Downtown with her favorite lunch place, The Embassy.

Maybe you have jury duty. Or maybe you have to go to some lame corporate meeting. Or maybe you just have the genuine misfortune of having to work in Downtown Dayton. Either way, you’ll need some good lunch suggestions so you don’t end up at Uno’s.

I should explain that there are a ton of places to have lunch downtown, but I’m only going to recommend a few of them because I have stupidly high standards for eateries I would consider my favorites. For example, one requirement is that they have to know my name and greet me when I walk in. See, lunchtime competition is so fierce, that this is what you should expect from the service at these places. It’s the only way they can stay in business. The other qualifications are, of course, amazing food, good prices, and being able to get me in and out of there in a decent amount of time, so I’ll be commenting on the success of those three aspects of each place I review. I have several honorable mentions that do not meet all of these qualifications, but may meet some of them, and are definitely worth a try.

The Embassy

Note: The official name is “Moraine Embassy” even though it’s not in Moraine and no one calls it that. It’s usually just shortened to “Embassy” at my work.

The first lunch place I was introduced to when I got my job was The Embassy. I like to describe it as a fancy Waffle House with better food. So not Waffle House at all, really. It’s kind of a hole-in-the-wall place with a mix of nice and not-nice decor, with CRT televisions in the corners that always play the Weather Channel. There’s a full bar, too, even though it’s mostly a lunch place.

Food

I only go to The Embassy on Mondays and/or Fridays. Mondays are omelet day and Fridays are macaroni and cheese day. My usual routine is walking the block and a half from work to The Embassy on Friday, sit at the bar, order whatever the special is with macaroni and cheese, and watch the Weather Channel while listening to 90s alternative on my iPhone. It’s always very peaceful. My recommendation, of course, is to order the special. It is indeed always very special, kind of like Sunday dinner at your grandma’s house. The Embassy’s specialty is homestyle cooking of the Midwest, with a little bit of Hungarian food thrown in there for kicks (the restaurant is owned by Hungarians). If you’re not into whatever the special is, the sandwiches and salads that they have every day are good too. The best part is that if something on their menu doesn’t go over well, the servers will be the first to tell you that you probably shouldn’t order it. It is impossible to get a bad meal there (although I’ve never enjoyed their desserts, but that’s okay because usually the food is too filling to order dessert anyway).

Price

If you get the special, expect to spend around $10 for the whole meal including tip. If you get a sandwich or salad, it’ll probably be around $8.

Service

The flow of this restaurant is different from other sit-down places. Their priority is speed because everyone comes in on their lunch between meetings and calls and whatever else they have going on. The second (quite literally) you sit down, someone is at your table getting you water and asking what you want to order (because you either always get the same thing or you always get the special. You usually only have to go there a few times to get your order down). Don’t worry, they’re not trying to rush you, they’re trying to make sure that they are serving you on your schedule. They give you your bill with your food, which is always out in about five minutes. Generally, you can go there for a sit-down, homecooked meal and be back to work in a half hour.

In closing, The Embassy is the first place I recommend to everyone who has to eat lunch downtown. Most people haven’t heard of it. There’s no website where you can look at the menu (which is a piece of paper they make copies of every day and highlight), no Facebook page to like or Twitter to follow. The servers are all older than 50 and so are the owners. When you get back to work, you still smell like somebody’s grandma’s house (in a good way) and are just the perfect amount of full. It’s close to everything but hard to notice unless you’re looking for it, so try it out and enjoy your lunch!

Moraine Embassy
25 South Ludlow Street
Dayton, OH  45402

Facing several unexpected expenses in a few months might be terrible to just about everyone, I imagine, however it was especially devastating to my husband and me because this is the first (and hopefully not last) Downtown Revival Festival – featuring our favorite band, Guided by Voices.  We couldn’t afford to go and see our favorite band on their home turf.  Ugh.  What made matters worse was that everyone assumed we were going so we got a lot of messages like “Where are you guys?” or “Come find us at the ___ tent!”  What made matters UNBEARABLE was that we could hear GBV playing off in the distance because we live downtownish.  Sigh.  It was not easy.

But rather than hang our heads, we rallied and cooked a yummy dinner with the windows open and Spotify blasting out all of our favorites from the 80s and 90s.  Dancing and singing in the kitchen to “Don’t Stop Believing” really drowns out the drums in the distance.  I made orzo and roasted vegetables from the Hope Springs Institute cookbook (you seriously need to buy this book) and drank my favorite wine of all time, Adesso Cagnina di Romagna.

We’re still bummed we missed it, but we had a blast that night either way.  It reminds me of the quote on George Takei’s facebook wall:  “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”  Our home really is lovely and we love spending time here.  With that being said, will someone please tell me how much GBV rocked the festival?

Having never been to the Greek Festival, I really didn’t know what to expect.  Maybe some food, maybe some dancing, Greek beer?  I don’t know.

What I found is that the Greek Festival = Food, and lots of it.  Unfortunately, aside from the amazing pastry, pretty much everything had meat in it so I couldn’t indulge in some of my favorites.  However, the Greek fries were wonderful and I’m still sort of kicking myself for not at least trying the baklava sundaes (I feared putting myself into a sugar coma).

My friend, Megan, and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked around the small festival a few times – we even went through the pastry line where she picked up a variety pack for her family (she’s so nice!  I, however, bought nothing for anyone but my selfish self).

The Greek Festival was neat, but didn’t have a lot for us.  At least I can pig out all year at the Greek Isle Deli Buffet Days (first Friday of each month from 4:00pm – 8:00pm).

This week, I have two great ice blue items from my beauty cabinet (I decided that would be the theme.  I was tired when I made the theme, ok?).

Mary Kay Indulge Soothing Eye Gel

I went to a Mary Kay party one time and loved trying this eye gel – it felt like putting cucumber slices over my eyes.  I have since been using this gel for a while and it never stops feeling awesome and it works to tighten the eye area a little but mostly it helps me look more awake and less puffy.  The pretty color is just a great bonus.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother

It takes a lot for my husband to notice something beauty-related and the other day he looked at my hair and said “Are you doing something different?  Your hair looks really smooth.”  That’s all I really need to say, even men will notice a difference.

I guess not everyone knows that my mom knows how to bake awesome homemade dog treats because when my boss asked me where she could buy some, I looked at her like that was a silly question, causing her to look at me like I’m a crazy person.  Once we got all that straightened out, I said my mom and I would be happy to whip up some dog treats for my boss’ friend who has 5 big dogs.  It’s my boss’ friend’s birthday and rather than gifts for herself, she asked for gifts for her dogs since two of them are sick and need some special treatment.  So we made these treats with lots of love because dogs are family.

We made pumpkin peanut butter brownie bites and also French toast for dogs (but I don’t have a picture of that for some reason).  When it was all said and done, and my boss came to pick up the treats, they filled two gallon-sized storage bags so I hope these doggies are very hungry.

If you’re interested in pumpkin brownies for your doggies, let me know.  Maybe my mom could be persuaded to open her Etsy shop again.

So after getting pretty at Eden Salon & Spa, I got ready for a night out with the girls at The Greene.  We started the evening at Pasha to eat before the show at Funny Bone.

We were going out for Jeanine’s birthday month and she seemed to love her “dream card” (she told us one day 3/4 the way through a jumbo margarita that it’s the card she’s always wanted to receive – the Mother’s Day card with the wire hangers mom on the front [my sister had to make it because it’s September and it’s hard to find humorous Mother’s Day cards this late/early depending on how you look at it]).

So where were we?  Oh we haven’t left Pasha yet.  We loved the food, as always, and the requisite Turkish coffee afterward (Tip:  Don’t drink it to the bottom, just don’t do it).  We took our first group photo of the night.

We made it to Funny Bone in plenty of time to be seated in the front and get our drinks ordered.  The show was super funny, which is great because we were all a little worried we wouldn’t know how to handle the situation if our friend, Corey, didn’t turn out to be very funny.

He was, so all awkwardness was avoided.  We took our second group photo of the night.

By the time we left Funny Bone, we could have called it a night but Jeanine was the lady in charge and she said Wine Loft so we walked briskly in the rain to the Wine Loft where no more organized photos were taken.

We did, however, get to try the mini Guinneys (instead of a little beer, it’s a miniature Guinness, get it?) and they were a really interesting take on the probably very fattening shot.  This is where I leave the story because my husband came to pick me up, which ended up being a good idea because I didn’t wake up with even a little hangover.  Hallelujah

Cheers!