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Monday, March 26, 2012

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Bonefish Grill

For November, our population-we™ (pop-we) Dinner Club chose the Bonefish Grill located at 120 Regency Parkway in Omaha, Neb., for their monthly dinning experience. The Bonefish started business in St. Petersburg, Fla., with their first location in 2000 and have been spreading north and west ever since. They were set on introducing people unfamiliar with having fish to a unique dinning experience. They also offer non-fish items for those destined to never desire the fish experience.

My bride and I descended upon our Bonefish Grill shortly before the 6 p.m. reservation to find many of the group already there. The waiting area was a little cramped but it was evident that service was going to be a hallmark of the evening with waiters and hostesses tending to your needs. The free samplers while you waited were a nice touch.

Once our party had all arrived we were seated at our table and immediately the wait staff started refreshing our drinks, taking orders for appetizers, and placing the bottomless baskets of bread out for our enjoyment. The Bang Bang Shrimp is a must have.  It seemed like the Sangria was quite good also.

Being a mixed lot our group had fish and non-fish orders that ranged from the Fish Taco and Diablo Shrimp Fettuccini to the Fontina Chop and Filet Mignon. It was my pleasure to experience the Diablo Shrimp Fettuccini; this involves taking
shrimp with tomatoes, capers, onions, green chiles, spinach fettuccine and placing it with garlic cream sauce. As I’ve aged, garlic has become a favorite base for many things but this was a great, balanced, flavor combo, with each ensemble having its turn with a solo. It seemed everyone thought that their dish was the best though. As a final delight a few of the fairer sex at our table decided Creme Brulee was in order and before it was gone it was something we all had to try.

After compiling the surveys from the other
 foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Bonefish Grill: 4.45 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish.
Atmosphere/Decor  4.66

Cleanliness – 4.33

Wait Staff  4.5

Menu – 4.66

Food Presentation  4.5

Food Portions – 4

Food Taste – 4.5

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 4.166

Noise Level – 4.166

Overall Experience – 5

You can see more regarding menu and catering services on their website at

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you’ve been to the Bonefish Grill leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Bonefish Grill on Urbanspoon
-population-we™ blog post by Marv Olson
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Meet Pepper & Enter DOG FANCY’s Forever Young Photo Contest

At our house we proudly display a pillow that reads: “This home is blessed with family, friends, laughter, love, and dogs.” Dogs make our lives complete. What would we do without our dog companions? Well, now's the time to repay their love and loyalty. Your furry friend could end up being featured in DOG FANCY’s August 2012 issue and earn other prizes.

The nominations for the DOG FANCY’s Forever Young Photo Contest will close in the middle of April (April 16th). Every dog is forever young in their eyes and in ours. However, there is an age limitation for all entries. Your dog companion has to be seven years or older to be considered.

A couple other population-we staffers have dogs, too. You can see them at our pop-we Pinterest board. Our dog is 91 (in human years she is 13). In honor of this contest, we decided to share with population-we™ readers the story of how Pepper came into our lives.

Some 13 years ago, Pepper found herself in our backyard. She lived next door and found a way to squeeze through the fence. I went to let our other two dogs (Veruca and Neo) in and found myself with three dogs in our backyard. Our male dog and Pepper looked like they were from the same litter. I literally thought I was seeing double. This would happen on and off again for a couple months. On a couple occasions we’d encounter Pepper roaming the streets by herself. Almost seeing Pepper get hit by a car, Brian & I decided to have a talk with the neighbors. It was decided they would surrender Pepper to us. We took her to the vet and she immediately could tell Pepper was abused. Pepper’s tail was broken in a couple spots. Since the break was too old there was no way to repair it. Today, we only have one dog, Pepper. A mutt by all accounts, Pepper is still one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known. Pepper enjoys rolling in the grass, eating sticks, playing fetch, long walks and living in the country. At her last checkup our vet told us her eyes are showing her age. Pepper has a couple growths and clouding of the retina. Besides, that she was given a clean bill of health. In the end, Pepper chose us and found out that indeed the grass is greener on the other side.

So, there's no time to waste, nominate your senior dog today. Enter at this link.  And, remember Roger Carras quote: "Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole."
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
 © 2012 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Step 4: PT Training with Mike Good

March is National Athletic Training Month. “Athletic Trainers Save Lives” is the theme of this year’s National Athletic Training Month, which is sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), a nonprofit organization based in Dallas, Texas. In January, Brian & I decided to make the commitment to this Urban Active (UA) Fitness "Get Active Challenge" and get a personal trainer. Blogging about our fitness experiences, Brian & I want to officially introduce population-we readers to our athletic & personal trainer. When I told our trainer that Brian & I are bloggers and that we would only use his first name in posts he responded that we could use his last name, too. He goes by -- Mr. Good. I said, "Oh that's your handle?" He responded, "No 'Good' is my real last name." Enter -- Mike Good -- The Brown's personal trainer.

Since we've started Brian & I have spent two Hallmark holidays with our trainer. I hope this shows our dedication and how The Brown's lives have been affected by athletic training. Instead of a high fattening dinner with sugary drinks; Brian and I met our trainer, Mike, at UA for evening PT sessions on Valentine's Day and Fat Tuesday

We both do have a little trepidation when we get a new session from Mike. Each time we get introduced to new equipment and exercises we've never done before. To celebrate National Athletic Training Month, Brian & I thought we’d share a synopsis of all our PT sessions for fellow population-we readers who might be looking to mix up their workout routines.

  • First week (Assessment) – Mike put us through a series of workouts to test our ability to do various routines. We used the rowing machine to see how fast we could get to 1,000 meters; how many push-ups until we collapsed; and how long we could hold in a plank position.
  • Workout No. 1 – Mike put us through our first routine, it was hard but fun. Our first exercise was to lay on the floor, put our feet up on a stability ball that is used for sit-ups. From this position do a bridge (raise your waist up off the ground) while do a chest press with dumbbells. Second, we did crunches with the knees in the air. Then we used the TRX bands; we did squats and pulls. This worked the upper back; it was kind of like doing a row. From there we moved on to jumping jacks followed by our last exercise. Using the Bosu ball (one side is flat plastic and the other an inflatable ball), standing on the ball take dumbbells from the waist raise them straight out in front of you then straight out and down to your side then reverse. You did this eight times.
  • Workout No. 2 – This week Mike prepared a set of routines using a double pulley machine. Using grips we did a chest press for 15 reps. Then laying on the floor he had us do leg lifts, this is where you lay flat on the floor and raise your legs together to about a 45 degree angle. Next we changed the machine to do squats using the hand grips. During this exercise the other person used dumbbells for arm curls with an overhead press for 12-15 reps. The last stage of this routing utilized the double pulley system. On one side we did pull downs to work the tricep and on the other we did a row while holding a squat position. The routine was great for the fact it worked so many different muscle groups.
  • Workout No. 3 – This week Mike incorporated a few routines using medicine balls, which were pretty demanding. First using two four pound balls we did push-ups. Placing the hands on the balls and lowering your chest as close to the floor as possible while trying to keep you hands stabilized on the balls. While the other did step ups, which is using a metal riser step onto the riser (each leg 15 times). Then using a 20-poundmedicine ball we were to raise the ball over your head then slam it onto the ground and have it bounce back up for 15 reps. The other person had to place their hands on the metal riser and do alpine climber for 35 seconds, this is like bending over and running in place. On the last series, we did sit ups using a four-pound ball. Lay back with the ball over your head then sit up with the ball going over your bent knee for 20 reps. Mean while the other had to do side steps for 20 reps.  This is taking the metal riser and stepping off to the sides. This routine was more intense then the previous weeks.
  • Workout No. 4 – Tonight we added some weight to the routine. We started off using the hip sled doing 3 sets of 15 reps. Followed by calf raises while holding a 10 pound weight. From there Mike had us do a set of routines using the TRX bands. First we did side steps, stretching to one side squatting down making sure that your hip does not go past your foot. Then using the bands, lean back keeping the bands tight and starting straight out from the chest raise the arms above your head.  As always 3 sets of 15 reps. I worked ahead while Mike was working with Beck, for this I had to do 40 extra jumping jacks for her to catch up. Last two exercises, take a 25 pound weight and circle your head.  This works the shoulder muscles. Finally, half burbies which is starting from a standing position put your hands on a bench then kick your feet out bring them back in and stand up...15 times.
After training with Mike, we feel even more energized and motivated. With this UA “Get Active Challenge,” Brian & I both feel like we've turned a real corner in our journey to become the more fit people we know we can be. Mike has provided tips and words of encouragement along the way. With this post we salute the work of athletic & personal trainers nationwide like Mike. Step 4, continue to get stronger, leaner by following the lead of Mr. Good.
(Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about UA's Get Active Challenge) 
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown and Brian Brown
 © 2012 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Commit to Serve at UNO's 10th Annual Seven Days of Service

Calling all volunteers! The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO's) 10th Annual 7 Days of Service is just around the corner. Are you interested in restoring or building a new home? Creating a community garden? Beautifying Omaha parks and nonprofits? Providing service to organizations that specialize in homelessness and poverty? If so, 7 Days of Service is the perfect service opportunity for you. Activities will officially kick off on Saturday, March 17, and continue the week of UNO's spring break Monday through Saturday, March 19-24. 

Brian & I (far left) with some of the crew from UNO.
Since its inception in 2003, UNO students have chosen to forgo their spring break plans and donate their time serving their community as part of UNO’s 7 Days of Service project. Two population-we staffers participated in the annual 7 Days of Service volunteer effort in Omaha last year. Brian & I didn't just participate, we both served as the job site coordinators. To qualify, we attended an hour debriefing before the event and received instructions the day of. We both were in charge of the UNO crew.

Upon arriving we could tell it was going to be a total team effort. Other volunteer organizations met us at the designated site: AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity and parishioners from a local church. Armed with the know how and right equipment the heavy lifting was left to the AmeriCorps team. The day consisted of clearing brush and chopping down trees, as well as limbs at a future site for a Habitat for Humanity house in North Omaha. For nearly six hours, chainsaws were spewing, trash was collected, prickly weeds were bagged and poison oak was avoided. This was a day of hard labor; but with a small army of volunteers we finished a head of time.

The mission of 7 Days of Service is to facilitate the building and strengthening of the Omaha community by actively engaging with the community and responding to the urban need. The feeling of accomplishment working together to get this site ready for a house is something Brian & I will never forget. We both recommend getting your hands dirty with this wonderful service project. So far, more than 800 will participate this year, including both Brian & I. Join UNO for a day of teamwork and service; register today!

7 Days of Service projects on tap for 2012:
  • Build low-income homes with Habitat for Humanity in Omaha and Council Bluffs;
  • Community clean-up projects;
  • Assist with multiple Open Door Mission projects;
  • Clean and pick up at Stephen's Center;
  • Conservation work at Allwine, T.L. Davis and Bauermeister Prairies as well as Lauritzen Gardens;
  • Help Adult Services conduct inventory of medical equipment and help with a equipment drive; and
  • At South YMCA, work with multiple schools to assist in a clothing drive for those in need.

Volunteer one, two, three, or all seven days by registering on UNO’s website at Breakfast, lunch, and T-shirts are provided to all volunteers. Shuttle service is also provided. Check in begins at UNO in the Milo Bail Student Center Fireplace Lounge at 8:15 a.m. The day concludes by 3 p.m. 

Questions or concerns? Contact or the UNO Office of Student-Community Leadership and Service at 402.554.4083 or stop by 112 College of Public Affairs and Community Service on the UNO campus.

(Editor’s Note: This is the third blog post inspired by our day of volunteer and community service efforts at the 2011 UNO 7 Days of Service. Click on these links, to view other population-we™ posts on Trash Walk and AmeriCorps.)
-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown 
© 2012 population-we, LLC 
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