Monday, December 29, 2008

I now pronounce you husband & wife

The last of wedding weekend ’08 was very special! I have known Celita since we were four. We actually went to pre-school together. Her parents lived across the street from my grandparents (and her grandmother lived next door to my other grandparents!) We went to different elementary schools since we lived in different cities, but we met back up in 6th grade. By then her parents had moved to La Porte where we lived. We were both in orchestra through junior high and while we were friends, we became inseparable in high school. Adrian went to a different junior high but we knew him through orchestra events. By high school we were all friends, and so many of my high school memories include them both.

The summer after high school I was very busy and didn’t get to spend time with them. I remember when Celita called and told me that she and Adrian both liked each other in that way. It was perfect. Now, eight years later, they are married!

The wedding was special in so many ways. Celita looked amazing. All of our friends were there together, and Mimi and Mia flew in from California. Lorna and her baby bump and her husband Rob were in town from Dallas. My parents were there, and they have known and loved Adrian and Celita forever. I wasn’t a bridesmaid but I was still a part of the wedding because….I married them! They had asked me a few months ago and I was able to get licensed through my church. Talk about having the best seat in the house! I wasn’t nervous, but as soon as I got started and looked at both of them and saw the tears in their eyes I realized I needed to keep my eyes glued to my little notebook!

Congratulations Adrian and Celita!!!


Hanging out with the bride before the show got started.

Me doing my thing!

Dancing to Jack Johnson's Do You Remember
Mr. & Mrs. Adrian Washburn!












Thursday, December 11, 2008

birthday wishes

***HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURA!***
Wishing my sweet friend a wonderful year! I've known Laura since our freshman year of college. She is the most artistic and creative person I know. Truly some of the best gifts I've ever received have been made by her (let's talk about how I'm obsessed with her torn art!) She has taught me to love leaves and the color moss :) She has such an amazing perspective on God and life--I love getting her started on those topics because she is so honest and our conversations take us in a million directions and ultimately we just have to end them with a smile and a hug and usually some wet eyes. She also makes incredible mixes and introduced me to HEM and Patty Griffin and Regina Spektor (I love Regina!)
Most importantly, she is just a remarkable person and I'm so blessed to call her friend :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Congratulations!

I’m supposed to be studying/writing for finals but I just had to make sure every knew that Sirena got married! It was an amazingly beautiful wedding and reception. I know she worked really hard on it (and her mom and his mom did as well) and it all showed! Even more I love that both Sirena and Chris were able to completely enjoy the day (and days leading up to it and the after party!) and were able to just relax, have fun, and celebrate with friends and fam. Best bridal party every if I do say so myself :) Congratulations to the Bellmans!


Photo-op with the bride

Happy couple at the rehearsal

Roommates of 211 (I love getting the chance to take these pictures!)






Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's the little things

With only a few short weeks left in the semester and many holidays and festivities coming up I’m finding myself running out of time to get everything done. I’m hiding in Jones Library for the rest of the week, including Friday night. Actually, I think they close at like 6 on Friday but I’ll be somewhere else finishing up the work that has to get done before Saturday. Saturday will be my much needed break and I’ll head to ATX for Celita’s bachelorette party! I’m so excited for her and I can’t believe Her and Adrian’s wedding is around the corner.

Even though I’m sure the stress in my life will be here until January 1st it’s comforting to know there are a few things in my life to give me that pick me up. I share those things with you now.


Flannel sheets. It’s finally cold enough in Waco to pull these out again. There is nothing better than waking up and realizing how warm your bed is and deciding to give yourself an extra fifteen minutes or hour to continue to enjoy it.


TV- What would I do without my shows? I don’t have many that I’m following this season, but you better believe I make time for these.

I also Love Dirty Sexy Money but I feel like it's on every other week :(


One of my most favorite birthday gifts this year was this beautiful set of brushes. I feel like a true adult and I love playing with my make up even more. Was it possible? JES!


CHRISTMAS MUSIC! I love the holiday season so much and I feel like I start listening to holiday music earlier each year. I have multiple holiday playlists on iTunes (all holiday music, my all time favs, my new favs this year, new albums). I am always looking for original songs that artists come up with so if you know of any let me know. You should definitely check out two sites.

http://www.christmasforkenya.com/
God here and download a copy of Waco and Austin folks who have graciously used their talents to come up with this CD. You can either download it for free or you can donate a little cash. It is a fundraiser for the people from UBC who are traveling to Kenya this December to work and visit the kids at Simba Village, a school UBC has been working with for a few years. What a wonderful idea for a fundraiser!

The 12 Plays of Alt-Indie Christmas Songs

I came across this site on accident but they have created 12 playlists of holiday music from indie peeps. One of my favorite CDs is Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas and they have a lot of it thrown in on these mixes. I don’t love all of the songs, but there is definitely some good stuff here and it’s worth checking out.

Lastly, I’m very happy that my palate has decided to love and embrace Chai Tea! I love taking it with me to class or treating myself to a mug of it at night as I watch my shows. I haven’t tried the Chai Latte yet…I feel like that might be a bit much for now (and hello, if I need a starbucks fix I’m getting a pumpkin spice latte!) mmmmm, chai….

What are you favorites right now?

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Yesterday I got so old it made me want to cry"...not really!

Guess what? I’m officially 27! For the past few months when people ask me how old I would say 27, but then quickly correct myself and shout, “No wait! I’m still 26!” Clearly age is not really important to me these days. Significant moments in my life are marked by other things besides age it seems, and I’m learning to appreciate my youth and my days instead of freaking out about where I’m at in the rat race. A few years ago I intentionally stepped out of the rat race and returned to school, and that was a good move. But it’s easy to slip back into old habits of sizing your accomplishments up against others’. It’s not only easy but it’s tiring and never rewarding. Instead, I choose to be thankful for all things that have been given to me and that I’ve gotten to experience, for the many people that ebb and flow from my life and leave precious memories with me, etc., etc.

This year for my birthday I wanted to do something that I don’t always get the chance to do. For weeks now I’ve been craving Indian food and I knew there was a place in downtown Austin, Claypit. A few of my friends from the Austin area met me for their lunch buffet.



Gary and Carosa were kind enough to get the day off from work. Sirena was there too and I think for the first time I realized these are the last of these sorts of celebrations we’ll be spending with each other before her move to Saudi :*( ANYWAY (save the tears for the after party!) the website said they open at 11 a.m. but really they open at noon. No biggie though, they let us wait inside and we got to chit chat for a while. I was so happy because Laura Bundy-Carroll was able to come as well as my friend Clayton who just moved to SA for a stint in the Airforce. It was so wonderful to see him again—he makes me laugh non-stop. I’m pretty sure everyone enjoyed him. The food was also delish! I think everyone made two trips to the buffet. The first trip was to try as much as possible and see what we all really enjoyed, and the second trip was to go for the goods! So fun to here everyone ask, “Did you get the potatoes?” “The spinach stuff is so good!” “Ok, the thing that looks like fried calamari is actually veggies and is so good!” I think everyone enjoyed it and hopefully we’ll make another visit to the Claypit again soon!

After the Claypit Kelli met up with us and we all drove out to Flat Creek Estates, a winery out near Marble Falls.



It’s about 55 mins. from downtown ATX. Getting there is an event in itself. The scenery quickly changes and I saw parts of the Texas landscape I’ve never seen before! It was just gorgeous out there. Oh yeah, we saw leaves changing colors. What? Leave don’t change colors in Texas, they just fall off! It was amazing. The winery itself was super cute, really beautiful and such tasting wine! We all did the wine tasting and then Gary and Carosa bought a cheese plate for us all to enjoy with our favorite glass of wine. We were able to enjoy ourselves and the wine and the cheese outside at one of their tables. Let’s talk about how they have these dogs that just roam around inside and outside? It made it that much more fun!

Unfortunately I had been battling a little cold and so I had almost completely lost my voice on Saturday. I didn’t want to cancel everything though since I felt fine. On Sunday for my “real” birthday I truly, truly slept the entire day (thank you double shots of NyQuil). I feel much better and my voice is almost back. I get to keep the parties going this next weekend in Houston where I get to celebrate with my family and then with my friends where I get to share the limelight with my fellow Scorpio Amber!


















Thursday, October 30, 2008

I rocked the vote


For the first time ever I went out and voted! Yes, I'm nealry 27 and I'm just now participating in my first presidential election. The past two elections I just didn't get it together, what with the absentee ballot and deadlines and stuff like that. But not this year!

I decided to do early voting and I think the entire process took me less than 2 mins. Not quite as exhilarating as standing in long lines and feeling the excitement and anxiousness of those around me, but I wanted to make sure my vote was in and that I didn't let long lines change my mind. It was so cute to see the volunteers there--all retirees whose faces were beaming once they saw you walk through the door.

Let's talk about how fancy the voting machines are with those dial things? I mean yes it's 2008 but I thought I was going to use a punch card or bubble in a circle with a #2 pencil.

There were about 5 other people in there voting and honestly that was enough for me---it's exciting and encouraging to see the people of your community concerned not only with who will be our next president but who will represent and serve our state and county.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall shows up in Texas the last week of Oct.


It's chilly these days (who knows for how long) The fact that my throat is sore and that I've been seeing flu shot ads today tells me I'm on the verge of sickness. Things are not getting crossed off of my to-do list and it's getting longer. I am ready for true, unadulterated rest, but I know I'm going to have to suffer a few more weeks until that happens.
.
On the plus side, I get to sleep under a fleece blanket tonight.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Girls Night Out

This weekend was Sirena’s kitchen shower and bachelorette party! I am not sure how I have been dubbed bachelorette party planning queen but this was my 4th one to plan and my 7th one to attend in less than three years, and I have one more that I’m working on that’s taking place in a month! I literally have a box under my bed full of stuff for bachelorette parties and computer file folders of all my past projects and ideas for the future. What?! I know. Seriously, let me know if you ever need ideas.

Sirena’s kitchen shower was so nice. Chris’ mom & sister, her mom, and a family friend really put on a lovely shower with DELICIOUS food. I’ve been waiting to try some of Chris’ mom food :) And after we were stuffed what was brought out? Mama Sims’ Special Chocolate Cake! She used to bring us that cake while we were in college and we would eat it forever, and by that I mean in like 2 days. It’s seriously the best cake ever. I was so stuffed from the food but did I eat my entire slice of cake? Absolutely.

After the shower we all went downtown to decorate the hotel room for the bach party. We played lots of silly games and by far the best one was a “how well do you know the groom” game. Chris had been nice enough to answer questions via email and we each took turns asking Sirena the questions and she had to guess his response. Cute fiancé.

We had a super late dinner at Moonshine! I was so happy Sirena wanted to go there because it is delish. I think pretty much everyone ordered a side of mac & cheese. SO Good! Then we just danced the night away at The Marq. A good evening with our Sirena, especially since we’ll have to start counting down the days until she leaves us :*(

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Back on track

I have been a horrible blogger. I blame about 50% on the fact that I changed my login and password but then couldn’t remember it…and I deleted my old email that was associated with the account and so I couldn’t retrieve any of my passwords, etc. The other 50% is a combination of school + nothing to really document. Which isn’t really true because a lot of funny and random stuff has gone down lately. Ok, I promise to be better and update a bit more often.

This weekend begins a series of weekends of travel. Here is my schedule so far:

Oct. 11 - ATX for Sirena’s showers and bachelorette party!
Oct. 18 - Bienvenido a Miami
Oct. 25 - Return from Miami and head directly to the Ben Folds show in ATX
Nov. 1 - Birthday celebration at Flat Creek Estate
Nov. 8 - Birthday celebrations at home with friends/fam
Nov. 15 - Nothing???? I may need this weekend to pull it together
Nov. 22 - ATX for Celita’s bachelorette party
Nov. 29 - Thanksgiving holidays in HOU/Turkey Trot
Dec. 6 - Sirena’s Wedding! (Wait, what? Right after thanksgiving? HELLO! We’re going to have to ration so we can fit into our dresses! Why am I just now realizing this?)
Dec. 13 - Family x-mas part 1 / studying for 2 remaining finals
Dec. 20 - Rest?! Probably begin a ton of Christmas shopping
Dec. 27- Celita & Adrian’s wedding

I'm not sure I'll make it to a NYE party this year. I may ring in the new year with a bottle of NyQuil and MTV

I love being busy but I also have to remember to be productive during the week. This means pumping out a ton of work in the next 7 days. I can do it. I’m going to listen to Eye of the Tiger every morning.

OH! Something I can share. I watched Young at Heart last night. Please Netflix this. It’s so good. I’ve been looking forward to watching it since I saw the previews in the theater. A few things: 1. I look forward to growing old and living a long time (seriously) and this movie only solidified this 2. It is amazing how much music evolves every few years and how in the course of one’s lifetime your music history is so broad 3. It’s never too late to try something new.


Let’s just say I had a moment when I heard them singing Coldplay’s “Fix You”. I even thought about Chris Martin and whether he like openly wept when he saw that part of the film. If he didn’t it’s ok, ‘cause I wept enough for both of us.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lamingtons




A few of us got together to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics and eat some delicious food! We each picked a country (Australia, Greece, Italy, Cuba & Mexico) and brought food from that country. We also cheered for our adopted country as they walked in. Way to go China for not going in alphabetical order and instead going in order of the number of brushstrokes used to create each symbol—Australia was 203 of 205! No one got a pic of our amazing spread, but it was so good! Cuban sandwiches, meatballs, homemade salsas, antipasto, Greek salad and more!

I made lamingtons, the official dessert of Australia. There are tons of recipes online, but I sort came up with a semi-homemade version:

Lamingtons

1 frozen pound cake, sliced in half length wise and then cut into 12-16 pieces (much easier to slice and work with while still cold)
½ bag of shredded coconut, toasted
4 c. powder sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. butter
½ c. milk
Can of heavy whipped cream/topping (like canned Redi-Whip or Cool Whip)

Toast coconut in the oven or a skillet. Place coconut in a large bowl or plate to cool.

Combine cocoa powder and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter and milk in a medium pot on a medium temperature. Slowly add sugar mixture into milk in about four batches. Stir continuously between each batch smooth out any lumps.

Take a piece of pound cake and dip it into the chocolate using a spatula to cover all sides. Let the cake drain over the pot. Put cake in coconut and coat all sides. Place on a cookie rack to cool and set. Work quickly to cover the remaining cake with chocolate and coconut.

To store, place a layer of wax paper in a Tupperware container. Stack lamingtons on top of each other, separating with more wax paper. Cover the top layer of lamingtons with wax paper before shutting the lid. Refrigerate until an hour before serving.

To serve, slice each lamington in half and place a dollop of whipped cream between before sandwiching the two slices together.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Failed attempt

This morning I walked out to my car and saw that a baby bird had flown onto the hood where the windshield wipers are.

I tried to scoot him off with a cup, all while hearing his mother chirping down at us from a tree. Eventually he flew away, and he flew a pretty long distance.

He landed on my next door neighbor’s boat, but the boat has a plastic cover over it so the little bird didn't have good footing. He would slide down a bit and then struggle to fly up again, only to repeat the situation.

On his third attempt to fly my neighbor’s cat crawled out from under the boat.

I screamed. Then I screamed at my brother, who was closer, to run and scare the cat. Jacob didn’t hesitate, but he was only able to take about 4 steps.

The cat looked at us and in one quick move jumped up and trapped the baby bird in his mouth.

It was done.

Jacob and I both looked at each other and let out the same nervous laugh slash moan. There was nothing we could do now. I of course felt at fault because I tried to move the bird. I should have pushed him in the direction of our yard—no one would have disturbed him. Before I even attempted to push him I had thought about just getting in the car and driving off, hoping that he’d fly away. But then I foresaw me driving further and further along the road, gaining speed, and then the bird would just get blown off the car and land in traffic—obviously why I thought scooting him was the better option.

As we drove past our neighbor’s house we looked at the cat who was still sitting next to the boat.

He stared right back at us with both of the baby bird’s winging hanging out the sides of his mouth.

I swear between those wings he was grinning.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pulls at your heartstrings

Have you seen this one yet?








It's just too much! First of all, Morgan Freeman narrating anything will make you weep. Him or James Earl Jones. Those men's voices are powerful! Second, this is why I watch the Olympics! Not to watch people get hurt, but because every athlete a. Has such a powerful story, b. has dedicated years training their bodies to do things that regular folks just can't do on a whim, and c. gives 101%, no matter how many people are rooting for them or who the statistics say should win--they're just going for it!



Do you remember when Kerri Strug busted it on her first go at the Vault and was like "No, no, I can't do it again," and Bella was like, "Yes you can and you will!" And he was so scary and you thought about how all those stories of mental abuse endured by athletes are totally true and all those Lifetime movies were right and ---What?! Kerry straight up flipped over that vault and twisted around and landed! What!??! And the she hit the floor crying and Bella had to carry her off crying/waving to the crowd?!



That is good TV!



And THAT is what you can expect starting 08.08.08.



Any other fav. Olympic moments?

I hate it when...

...I'm in the shower and pour a bit of face wash in my hands, only to rub it in my hair.

What about you?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blogs & ChapStick

Since I promised to talk about a few things I’ll give a condensed version of two of them in one post. This American Life deserves its own post so I’ll leave that out for sure. I tried to start writing about the Olympics but it too needs its own post…(08.08.08)

-Blogs I stalk
Now, I definitely do read some people’s blogs that I’m acquainted with or who I’m “friends” with on facebook and who have listed their blog. They may or may not know I read them/keep up with their lives. But those aren’t the blogs I’m going to talk about :)

One of my new favorite blogs is called Sidewalk Shoes. I came across this blog when I was searching for a Giada De Laurentis recipe, roasted beets and goat cheese salad. Apparently the writer of Sidewalk Shoes had posted the recipe on her website. When I clicked the link I saw that it about her own attempt to cook this recipe, accompanied by a photo. This post was several years old, so when I clicked on the banner to take me to the most recent post I saw that her blog is dedicated to her adventures in cooking! Sometimes she uses recipes from books or the internet, but other times she simple varies a few ingredients in an old stand-by/favorite recipe. Even cooler was the fact that she is a part of a co-op of other bloggers who blog about their cooking adventures and sometimes includes links to their pages. She also seems to be part of her local CSA (community supported agriculture) and so is always trying to use up her weekly produce, even if at times she’s unfamiliar with them. She updates often and always includes the entire recipe and usually a photo! Very fun for anyone who wants to branch out in the kitchen or needs a little inspiration.


-Lip savior
I’m constantly looking for new & really good chap stick or lip gloss. I usually get a chance to sample a new one every other month or so because I’m awful at losing them (then I’ll find one in a purse or book bag I hadn’t used in a while). I think my fav. gloss is from Neutrogena, I do enjoy the mintiness of Burt’s Bees lip balm, but they do not compete to the healing powers of Carmex. Yes, it’s completely unsexy and even sort of smells like an old lady, but Lordy my lips feel like silk! I’m a believer! I’ve used the original pot, I’ve tried the tube version, but I was so excited to see that they have a regular chap stick version. They call it the Click Stick. I call it lip savior. They have mint, cherry and strawberry flavors, but I like the original. Put it on before bed and when you wake up you lips are still so soft and moisturized. I also love to put it on before I go to the gym—it can handle the huffing and puffing.
Ok, I totally lied last week about being a better blogger. Unfortunately and somewhat unexpectedly I was notified of the passing of two people. My great-aunt lived a long and full life, as is evident by her four children, her six grandchildren, and her nine great-grandchildren (I think I got that all right). My little grandfather and his two remaining sisters were very sad, yet the time we spent together as a fmily over the course of four days was very special for everyone. It’s fun to introduce yourself to a cousin twenty years younger than yourself—who looks completely different than you—and inform them that you are indeed their cousin. One of my littlest cousins absolutely loved finding this out and introduced me to everyone as “her” cousin. Too many fun stories to tell, thankfully tons of family pictures taken (yep, we bring the cameras to the funerals), and a wonderful time of celebration & comfort.

I had no words to comfort my friend though. I wanted to end our phone conversation with—I didn’t even know what. What do you say? All I could say thru my tears was “I’m just so sad.” She sighed and calmly said, “I’m sad too,” and I loved her more than ever at that moment.

As of today, the past week as been long, draining, full of questions, and much broken-heartedness. Yet there have been wonderful moments of storytelling, introductions, reunions, hugs that sometimes hurt, hugs that last longer than normal, and tears that begin as grief and quickly become tears accompanying laughter. Love has been manifested in tangible ways. I have been consumed more by God’s mercy and grace than by feelings of anger or grief.

Tomorrow I will attend the wedding of two wonderful friends. I will be part of another reunion of people who will cry tears of happiness & laugh & dance.

This is life. There are moments of deep sadness met by moments of bliss & joy. My heart has not been this full in a very long time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I’ve been a bad blogger.

Posts I’m working on for this week:

-Blogs I stalk
-This American Life
-Lip savior
-Wines I love/suggestions welcomed
-Top 5-10 Olympic athletes we’re drooling over
-Our litle Ratatouille


Check back Tuesday night for the a full post :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The 100-Mile Diet


I just finished reading Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally. I’m not even sure I remember how I came across this book…let me try to recall:

-Probably was trying to find a way to distract myself from reading for my summer class
-Remembered that I wanted to be better leisure reader this summer/utilize the public library
-Remembered that there was a book by Barbara Kingsolver about her and her daughter eating organic food or something for a year
-Googled the name of the book
-Some book named Plenty shows up too
-Log on to Bear Cat and search for Bab’s book—Baylor doesn’t have it
-Search again for that Plenty book—Baylor has it!

So Plenty is about a couple in Canada, both journalists, who learn that most food that North Americans eat travels an average distance of 1,500 miles from the farm it came from to our plate. This sort of blows their mind (and mine) and they decide on the spot to try to only eat things that are produced/harvested/raised within a 100-mile radius. It’s not easy, for most of the year they survived on potatoes at every meal. But they discover tons of different food they had never bothered to try or even heard of. They even teach themselves preservation techniques such as canning, drying, and proper long-term storing. Despite a few hiccups along the way, they end up eating the most diverse and delicious diet of their life, composed of the freshest ingredients. They discover how food is supposed to taste in its purest form, and how those tastes change depending on what part of the season you’re in. What’s more, they learn more about their community and the people harvesting/raising/catching this food. As they say so many times in the book, they become “connected to the land.”

My roommate and I were talking about the cost of our groceries each month. We definitely don’t eat as much packaged/prepared food as some which means we each eat a lot of fresh produce, and the cost is definitely going up. I recently made sangria for a few friends and bought two apricots for $2.99! I spent over $12 on just the fruit. I used to buy huge navel oranges in the fall but have since switched over to frozen fruit since they cost over a dollar each. Of course this is due to high gas prices, but it’s also because I’m purchasing things that aren’t necessarily seasonal and are traveling far distances just to feed my craving. As the book explains, most people don’t even know when certain produce is considered in season since we’re able to have it year round. (I just did an internet search and saw that my beloved navel oranges are in season from October to mid-January)

As soon as I started reading this I was already trying to figure out if this is possible for me to do here in Waco, TX. To be honest, it would probably be much simpler. The Hunger Farm offers a program to buy produce they harvest for $60 a month. They also sell eggs and beef and goat meat. I’ve never had goat, but I’ll go there. Homestead Heritage sells flour (something this couple was not able to acquire for months) and deli meat and all sorts of sweeteners. To be honest, it wouldn’t be that hard to add these places to my food vendors. We even have wine that’s harvested and produced less than 10 miles away! How close is Shiner…

And since I do travel to Houston/live on the bay, technically I could pick up a few items while I was down there on a visit, like fish or shrimp. I’m not so sure I trust fish around here.

Here’s a map of what my 100-Mile diet would look like:


Not too shabby! Dallas, Austin, and Bryan are within my limit, meaning hello Messina Hoff! I just need to find a local cheese maker and I'm set. Sign me up.

I definitely encourage you to read this book (and if you’re part of the BU community you can check out the copy I’m returning tomorrow!) It’s short enough to finish within a week (I read like a chapter a day basically) and they do an excellent job of explaining what the diet of North America looked like 100 years ago, why it’s changed, and how that change has affected us. They also each take turns writing every other chapter so it’s great to see the opinions of two different people involved in this experiment.

You can also check out their website for more info on eating locally.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Everyday Chivalry 101

Now, I don’t want to stir up any big fights about gender roles/expectations, but there are a few things that I think every person in the world should try to practice. If you’re a lady this means knowing when it’s appropriate to cross you legs or cross your ankles, and wearing the proper colored bra.

All people in the world should cover their mouth when they cough or nose when they sneeze, never unapologetically burp—or worse—in public, and chew with their mouth closed.

As for men, I could go on and on over what I think every many should say/do; part of this stemming from being an optimistic single female, part of this stemming from being an older sister who wants her younger brother to be the most perfect man. But really truly, there’s just one thing that I hold above anything else.

When guys hold/open the door for a girl.

This is on my mind because a few days ago I had to stop for some gas. I was on the way to the gym and had forgotten my bottle of water so I figured I’d step inside and grab one. Now, I won’t lie to you, I was looking hott. I was wearing my favorite black spandex capris leggings and my pink Waco Lions t-shirt. My hair was in a ponytail and since I hadn’t been anywhere that day I had on no make up. Oh, and I didn’t have any deodorant on either (I didn’t go anywhere that morning and so my whole routine was off!) As I’m hurrying into the convenient store a guy is coming out. He looks like trouble—baggy shorts, a shirt four sizes too big, a ridiculous cap, and some pretty spectacular sneakers that put my three year old Nikes to shame. But what does he go and do? Straight up backs up, catches the door and holds it open for me. I of course whisper a thank you as I fly in, not at all conveying how I’m really feeling.

What I wanted to say is, “Whoa! Thank you so much! I really appreciate that!!!” Because that’s how I feel anytime anyone holds the door open for me. When I’m running into the school, when I’m at a restaurant, when I’m at a store—anytime a stranger does that I’m always taken aback. Sure, that’s what I expect all guys to do, but I’m not really expecting them to do it.

There’s also something about random acts of kindness from strangers…hmm

Like that kid who held the door open for me at the gas station. After my initial wow-I-can’t-believe-that! moment the next thing that popped into my head was “He has a sweet little mom who taught him right.” Why am I like that? Why am I thinking about strangers’ mothers?

When my guy friends hold the door I’m also surprised. We’re friends, we’re overly comfortable with each other, we’ve known each other too long. But when my little guys do that for me or any other girl I get that proud little mama feeling.

So my little brother is turning thirteen this week and he’ll officially be a teenager. And while there are so many things I want him do (wear a white undershirt, remember to spray a little cologne everyday, not make fun of people or laugh at their expense, never wear white socks unless they’re cut below the ankle and you can’t see them), the most important thing I want him to do is to start practicing becoming a man who treats all girls nicely, and to hold the door for people, girls and guys.

I guess I want him to become a doorman? I keed, I keed.

And for some more comic relief:






Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spellbound

I try to watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee every year. I love the features they do on each kid. I love how they're at an awkward point in their life and so one 13 year old is 5'9" and the twelve year old up next is 4'10". I admire the drive and dedication they each have and desire to invest that much time into various aspects of my life now.

But mostly I love to watch because stuff like this happens:



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

So the Borregos + Nana + Comet invaded Waco this past weekend! Since everyone is away from the house they were able to stay here instead of checking into a hotel. On night two as I was lying in my roommate’s bed and my family was sleeping in everyone else’s beds I realized how normal it felt to have them there. Sure we were not at our house in Houston, and I wasn’t even my own bed in Waco, but the feeling of knowing everyone was under the same roof was so familiar and comforting and I had a moment.

Man, the Borregos do not skimp on vacations, and even though they only drove to Waco to spend the weekend with me they treated it like a vacay. We started off the weekend by grabbing lunch at Homestead Heritage. Ever since my first visit I’ve always wanted to take my family. They are so nice there. When we first stepped in the hostess asked if it was my dad’s first time. He said that it was for the whole family, except for me who lives here in Waco and wanted them to visit. She was like, yes, she’s been here a few times, I recognize here. PS: I do not go there that often! Like maybe this was my fourth time! But I recognized her too J

Everyone loved their food, and my brother loved his all natural cola. He wanted us to buy some for him, but Blue Sky sodas are definitely $6 for a six pack and my dad just couldn’t believe it. Jacob’s reaction to the fact it cost $6 was “So?”, which makes me think of my reaction to really good chocolate. Who cares if one truffle is $5, it’s amazing! We then walked around to all the little barns before going back for some ice cream. That night we just hung out and watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The next morning we had breakfast at Café Cappucino. We had some time before church so we went to the Bear Pit and one of the bears was out! She was just chilling, sitting with her back against the fence and her little hands in front of her resting on this stump. So cute! We decided to go to the movies to contribute to the holiday weekend ticket sales and opted for Indiana Jones. I mean, we were still full from breakfast, UBC gets out super early, it was a Sunday in Waco…who would be at the first showing of the day?! We thought we had a brilliant plan. Apparently everyone else had the same revelation ‘cause the place was packed! We ended on the second row of the stadium seating, but luckily it wasn’t uncomfortable. If you loved Indian Jones as a kid, you’ll like this movie. They totally kept the same humor, action scenes, random adventure plotline that makes you sort of want to believe that stuff like that exists (like the lost ark!? Remember if you looked at it your face melted off?!).

OK, so that night we knew we wanted to grill. I didn’t own a grill and I knew my dad was planning on getting one. I was thinking he’d me like a cheapy charcoal grill, but no, my dad LOVES to grill so that would not do. He straight up bought me a huge nice grill. We ate outside that night and then lit up the chimenea to roast marshmallows for smores.

The next day was even more eventful. We woke up and went to Lowes so my dad could get a light for the backyard (it’s pitch black out there and we can never enjoy hanging out there—not anymore!), and my mom and grandmother bought some flowers for our porch (and my grandmother had brought a DSW bag full of random plants she had pulled from her garden). Then we went to the Dr. Pepper Museum which was fun. We like history. We came home, potted flowers, my dad grilled again, and then they were off! They left me with a fridge and freezer full of food/meat. I think my dad expects me to grill daily. Luckily the current issue of Rachel Ray is all about grilling so I’ll have lots of inspiration!

Overall, a great weekend with the fam.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Yum Yum

I’m totally stealing this idea from the Stangs but I thought I should compile my own Top 5 places to eat in Waco list.

1. Homestead Heritage
I think everyone will testify that the Sweet Potato Jalapeno Soup is out of this world, but I also love the sliced brisket sandwich, the mustard potato salad, and the falafel. I never leave without getting a kids scoop of Mint Carob ice cream! The Maple Pecan is also quite good.

2. Bangkok Royal
Ok, so I never stepped inside this place when it was located in Ivy Square despite hearing how good ii was. As if Ivy Square itself isn’t sketchy enough I got my nails done at a place there and was like dunzo with it completely. But Bangkok has now moved to a super cute location downtown and I’ve finally come to my senses! I’m trying to get something new each time I go because everything is so delish!

3. Taqueria El Charro Capatio
I’m pretty sure this is the name of this place but it’s the orange taqueria on the corner of 17th and Waco Drive. Pretty good tacos al pastor, fresh lemonade, quesadillas and tostadas—staples for any good taqueria!

4. Café Cappuccino
I’m not a big breakfast person or really a pancake person, but I’ll make room for 1/3 of a chocolate chip pecan pancake! I recently took my family and we each ordered a different one to try—I think the banana pecan might be my new fav. On days that I feel that I can handle eggs I go for an egg white blue cheese, spinach and tomato omelet. I mostly stick with the BLT though since it’s pretty light (they don’t put mayo on it, PTL) and enjoy breakfast convo with the person I’m with.

5. Food for Thought
I stick with the Eden’s Best sandwich with chips and salsa here. On cold winter days the chili is pretty tasty. I also love that they sell grapefruit soda!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Summertime

I am on summer break for the next three weeks. I finished my semester around 10:30 p.m. on Friday night. My plan was to go to sleep immediately, but my body had been used to staying up so that didn’t happen. I had planned to spend at least the next few days relaxing in Waco/recovering—of course I would get sick the week of finals. But I woke up pretty early on Saturday and then after lunch decided that I would go home to Houston for a few days to see the fam and rest.

Now, I love coming home because my family is super sweet to me for the first few days. When I’m on extended stay we all get a little feisty.

A few reasons why I loved my time home: My mom and brother are still in school and my dad is at work, leaving the house all to myself all day. I wake up each morning to my little pup at the side of my bed so I can pull him by his little arms. He immediately crawls under the blankets and stretches out alongside me and we sleep a few more hours. This actually happens a few times throughout the day and I love it. He’s such a chill dog he’s totally content snuggling up to you while you watch TV or read or talk on the phone, though if it’s too loud or you move around too much he sighs heavily and lets out a little growl. Straight up spoiled, I love it.

Now I do have another dog, Buddy, but unfortunately he’s an outdoor dog. He’s so big and stinky but the absolute sweetest thing. As soon as I walked in the house he looked through the back door and once he recognized me smiled really big! It was so cute and my mother thought it was the craziest thing. Even though he’s stinky I try to make sure to go out there and give him a good pat, even though I sorta want to gag.

The only thing I really planned to do while I was home was to check out what was on On Demand. To my luck and surprise, the entire fourth season of Entourage was available and the entire fifth season of The L Word! So good! Obvs me and Comet did a lot of snuggling this weekend because of this.



I drank a lot of Jasmine Green Tea this week and am bringing some back to Waco with me. I also drank this tea out of my favorite mug which I keep here at the house. We have these pair of really old coffee mugs that have a tree on them, one in green and one in orange. I used to think they were the ugliest thing ever and I’m sure I tried to throw them out a few times, but for some reason I love them both now (the green one is my favorite).

I also love, love, love taking baths at my house. My dad always complains that the water bill sky rockets when I’m home. I usually take a bath everyday that I’m here. Favorite bath time activities include reading, holding my breath under water or lying down so that just my ears are under the water but I can still breathe through my mouth and hanging out like that for a while. I’ve done this since I was a kid. I just love to listen to life underwater.

All of the ladies in my family are beauty junkies, so I have a few favorite bath products. This time I used Honey Bath from Laura Mercier. It made the water smell great and creating just the right amount of bubbles.



I get to play Guitar Hero or talk about LOST in person with my brother (as opposed to our weekly LOST recap phone dates), unload tons of stories on my mom and listen about her new obsessions (she’s been all about the Vera Bradley for a while now), and have my dad do car stuff me or take me on impromptu coffee runs.

Overall a successful time spent at the Borregos. Our next reunion will go down in Waco in a few weeks when they come to visit me. I’m actually really excited about it!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"I took my love down to violet hill"

Post #2

So I had heard a few days ago that Coldplay was going to release a new song for free via their website. This made me very excited. So yesterday morning at 7:30 I woke up and entered my info to get the free song. The way this works is they email you a link for the download that is active for six hours. So I’m waiting, waiting, waiting, and nothing! No email. Of course I think that there’s something wrong with my email so I try again with a different email address. Maybe I tried with three email addresses and got nothing.

I get home last night and have three emails waiting for me. It got in my inbox at 6:45 p.m, but in the email it said it had been sent around 9 a.m. None of the links works and again I’m so sad! I doing a little searching on the internet and find out that the website crashed and only 900 people got the download. 900 people in the whole world?! Ok, so this makes me want the song even more. I’m like that. I try again with one more email address (I have five) and two hours later got an email with a working link!!!

“Violet Hill” is pretty interesting. It’s a little dark, and a little more techy sounding (do things sound techy?) but still very Coldplay. You should check it out. It’s free, and I’m pretty sure the site’s working now. Besides, it’s been too long since we’ve had new Coldplay.

"Don't sit there like some silly girl "

I knew it was going to be hard for me to keep up with this blog. My goal this week was to blog every day but that hasn’t happened. And just like I’ll be doing this evening with some coursework I’m going to pump out three posts in a row right now to catch up.

Post #1 The new Madonna CD!



I’m like addicted to pr-ordering from iTunes. I’ve been waiting for Hard Candy to come out for over two months. The best thing about pre-ordering is when you get the email from iTunes that says “You pre-order is now ready to download.” It’s like a present! A present that you end up buying yourself since it shows up on your credit statement a few days later.

By far the my favorite track is Beat Goes On which features Kanye West. Why do I love Mr. West so much? I just do. Late Registration is one of my favorite CDs of all time and if had to take CDs with me to a deserted island it would definitely be one. “Rapping” along to Kanye in the car is the best thing ever. You should hear me and be jealous of my skillz.

And Madonna! No words. She’s amazing. I love how she reinvents her look for each album. I’m not really feeling M-Dolla but I love her curls and clean face with liquid liner.

Ok…this should suffice. Onto post #2…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Weekend in San Antonio

Crown Plaza Hotel-Riverwalk
111 Pecan Street East
Great location right on the Riverwalk. One of the main things we wanted to do was layout by the pool on Saturday and get some sun. I’m glad to report that we were able to accomplish this, complete with poolside service. The best thing about Crown Plaza is the Sleep Advantage Program. In Houston the program is focused on the beds; they are amazing. The SA beds weren’t that great, but they had a sleep CD for you to put in that featured breathing exercises and relaxation tips. Don’t worry, it also had a few soothing songs for you to listen to. Apparently this CD works, as the rest of my party fell asleep instantly. I think I was a bit self conscious so I just popped a few more Dramamine and waited for them to kick in.

Blanco Café
419 N Saint Marys Street
This little Mexican diner had an awesome breakfast for us. I got a bean and cheese taco and was so impressed with their homemade flour tortillas! AND they had fideo on the menu, which I’ve never seen before, so I got that. It was OK, definitely not like my mom’s, but still good. Good home style Mexican food and a great price.

El Mercado-Market Square
514 W. Commerce
After brunch we trekked on over to the Market Square to do a little window shopping. I love painted Mexican pottery, especially the blue stuff with the white lilies, and there was tons there! We didn’t have enough time this trip to eat at the infamous Mi Tierra Restaurant & Bakery, but it’s located right in the middle of the market. You should definitely check it out if you want to listening to some mariachis while you dine.

Lucky's Food Mart
119 E. Commerce Street
We needed to stopped by this historic landmark for necessary snacks. Basically the only reason this stop is noteworthy is I because I got to try Smart Food White Cheddar Popcorn, which Sirena had mentioned in one of her posts. SO GOOD! I’ve got to find it in Waco.


Casa Rio
430 E. Commerce Street
Sirena suggested this eatery for our dinner. It was delish. The wait was a little long but the weather was perfect for talking over margaritas. Everything here, including the drinks, was so reasonably priced. I think we were all a bit shocked! We each went for the select two combination plate (I opted for the cheese enchilada and a tostado) and all loved what we ordered. The salsa was also delish! This was by far our best meal of the weekend, and we joked about going there again the next day.

Swig Martini Bar
111 W Crockett Street
After dinner we stepped into this chic little martini bar for a drink. Kelli and Shea had been dying to experience a Flirtini, Sirena went for a chocolate martini, and I went for the Blue Moon Martini, which has Absolut Citron and a splash of Blue Curacao, and was the only drink accompanied by a poem:
“There is something about a martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini,
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini.
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth—
I think that perhaps it’s the gin.” — Ogden Nash

Not very specific to the Blue Moon, but whatever. Swig had such a great vibe and live jazz! Side note: The song playing when were there is called “Four”. I don’t know why my friends were surprised by my jazz knowledge! Swig also has a huge humidor. I love the smell of cigars!

Riverwalk
We walked and walked and walked along the river both days that we were there. The weather was so perfect during both the day and night—we couldn't have been luckier! Best of all, this San Antonio gem is free to stroll!




Alamo
300 Alamo Plaza
Included on our Must-Do list for the weekend (eat tons of Mexican food, lay out, drink margaritas) was to take a picture in front of the Alamo! Again free, but the picture is priceless and a must for any Texan (it’s in the same category of a pic in a field of Bluebonnets).


Emily Morgan Hotel
705 E. Houston Street
Across from the Alamo is the Emily Morgan. The building sort of resembles the Cast Iron Building in New York City. I had heard about this hotel from my mother who loves all True Hollywood Stories: I’m Haunted or I’m a Natural Disaster. Don’t get her started on Hurricane Rita. Anyway, she frequents San Antonio twice a year and has done some research on this place. Supposedly it’s haunted. It’s the site were tons of soldiers died during the war. It was also hospital at one time, and then an apartment building before being turned into a hotel. People have reported hearing nurses call out hospital codes, getting whiffs of antiseptics, or hearing loud thuds. My mother personally stayed in the hotel and says she’s heard thuds in the hallway. I love her. Anyway, we had to step inside and call her to get the story. Picture of haunted hotel: done.

*Margaritas
I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed in the margaritas we sampled. I’m sure there are some tasty ones out there and I guess I’ll have to go back and do a little more sampling ;) All I can say is nothing beats a good old Ninfarita.