Monday, June 29, 2009

good day/bad day

So I have my final tomorrow morning and then I will immediately start packing (after a farewell lunch at Homestead). It's happening very fast, but I'm ready for the change. I'll be in Houston on Wednesday!

So on my to-do list before I leave Waco:
Ninfarita: check
Cupcake: check
One last run with Cricket Dog: check
Waco t-shirt: tomorrow (I'll let you know which one I get)
Homestead: tomorrow
Give blood/hit my gallon goal: FAILED

OH my gosh, I seriously almost cried. I have been trying to give this last pint of blood for two months now. My iron was too low the first two times, then there were some complications about the time I spent out of the country. I had to give before I left because the blood bank is local and I really wanted to get my gallon pin! I made sure to eat tons of meat this weekend so my iron was totally fine, PTL. I should have known things were too good to be true though. The lady doing my screening didn't know what she was doing. Warning sign. After that was done I went out to start giving and the lady they assigned me to was newish or hadn't done this in a while...I feel like it was a training day for people who work in administration and needed to get their certification renewed or something. Anyway, I knew right away she wasn't doing it right. She didn't have the arm band tight enough, she looked at my vein for like 3 minutes trying to figure out wear to stick me, oh gosh, and when she did she created a bit of a mess. Thankfully my white jeans were spared. I could tell (since I donate often) that she hadn't put the needle in correctly. Long story short (and I'll spare you the really graphic details), I wasn't able to fill up my bag and I wasn't able to get my pin! I do however have a 4" bruise on my arm that I've never gotten before.

No really, I teared up I was so sad/mad.

Ok, so the good part of this post.

I tested out the whole strawberries in balsamic vinegar thing this afternoon. Hello, life-changing. It was soooo good! It's suggested that you pair it with ice cream, but I just ate them alone (though ice cream would be delicious as well). This is a new fave for sure.

1/2 carton strawberries, stems taken off and halved
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar

Mix together. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours or overnight (I think I waited about 30 mins, they were fine!)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

From Regina, With love.

I am loving the new Regina Spektor album! She is amazing and she delivers: haunting melodies, quirky noises, beautiful piano accompaniment, and simple lyrics that create detailed stories in your mind (Wallet is a great example)

I really do love all the songs, but these are my favorites lines from a few songs:

The Calculation
So we made the hard decision And we each made an incision Past our muscles and our bones Saw our hearts were little stones Pulled them out they weren't beating And we weren't even bleeding As we lay them on the granite counter top We beat 'em up Against each other We beat 'em up Against each other We struck 'em hard Against each other We struck 'em so hard So hard Until they sparked

Laughing With
But God can be funny At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke Or when the crazies say He hates us And they get so red in the head you think they're 'bout to choke

Two Birds
Two birds of a feather Say that they're always gonna stay together But one's never going to let go of that wire He says that he will But he's just a liar

The dolphin noises Regina makes in Folding Chair are brilliant, though I cannot seem to connect to my inner dolphin. I’m not really sure what noise I’m making when I sing that part.

I didn’t buy the deluxe version but I’ll download the two extra songs soon off of iTunes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

birdy plates

About a month ago I was at Dillard's and I saw the most adorable plates:

I just stood and ooh'd over them for a good ten minutes. I love them! However, they are Lenox which means $$$. I contemplated buying one mug for $25 and hoping it would satisfy me, but I couldn't bear to have the mug knowing that its plate friends were still at the store.

Last week I was in Target and came across these:

Not exactly the same, but still very cute and much more reasonably priced. I'm not a fan of the bowl because it's a little shallow, but I think I'll keep my eye on these and if they go on sale I'm getting them. I'll replace the bowls with some white ones. They come in a set of four which is fine since I already have a set of four plain white dishes.

What happened to the other set of my white dishes? Oh, they flew out of the moving truck my dad was driving because the back wasn't secured. I was following behind him and all of a sudden saw all these boxes all over the street that people were running over/swerving to avoid. I even ran over a box. So now I only have a set of four dishes.

I think these birdy plates would compliment/complete my set!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It’s officially summer in Texas

And that means it’s crazy hot. This whole week we’re above 100 F, and today it was 106! Our house is like a cave. All of the curtains are closed and we have all fans and the AC on, but it’s still about 83 inside.

Luckily, one of my favorite snacks is frozen fruit. I buy it year round. My favorite are peaches, but pineapples, mangos and strawberries are good too!

I had decided that I needed to buy some frozen fruit to help cool down during this heat wave and saw they had frozen cherries! Even though its cherry season they are still pretty expensive, but I was able to snag a bag of frozen cherries for a fraction of the price.

So good. I even floated a few in my diet coke last night!

Vegetable Enchiladas

I found this recipe in the July issue of Glamour (With Sandra Bullock on the cover). They were trying to offer a budget friendly meal for 4 people.

2 tbsp EVOO
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ Spanish onion, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned (I used green)
2 cups broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped (I swapped a zucchini and yellow squash)
1 12-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (I omitted)
3 cups mozzarella, grated (I used a little less than 2 c. reduced fat Colby Jack)
12 6-inch tortillas (I used corn)
1 jar salsa verde (I used regular Pace)

Preheat oven to 350 F

In medium pan, heat oil; sauté garlic, onion, and pepper until onion is translucent (I added the squash at this time and a bit of salt, next time I will also add a bit of lemon pepper or other seasoning)

Transfer to a bowl; fold in broccoli, beans, and 2 c. of cheese and cilantro (I folded in 1 cup of cheese)

In a non stick pan on low heat, warm tortillas until pliable (I put them in the microwave) place ¼ cup filling on each tortilla and gently roll

Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with nonstick spray; transfer enchiladas into it. Coat with store-bought salsa, then sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Pop in over for 15 minutes. Dot with sour cream and extra cheese if desired; serve hot.

Serves 4

Their ingredients cost: $29
My cost: $11, and I bought everything at the store

This was pretty good, I'll definitely make it again but will probably use a roasted salsa and will add lemon pepper to the veggie mixture. Note that they added zero salt and it definitely needs some. I also double stacked my enchiladas but I'll make them in a single layer next time so they'll all be coated with a bit of cheese. A simple and really versatile dish. You could easily add meat to this or even some Morningstar Farms Crumbles. These are very generous portions and by my unofficial calculations my version came up to:

Cals: 380
Fat: 12
Carbs: 55
Fiber: 11
Protein: 18

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Handwritten letters never go out of style

When I graduated from high school and received tons of gifts from friends and family my mother was very adamant about me sending thank you cards to everyone in a timely manner. At the time I knew that sending thank you cards were polite and expected, but I was also overwhelmed by the amount that I had to do and sort of slacked on the project. At one point I decided to address all of the envelopes first and then write the cards, but somehow some cards did not end up in the correct envelope so people received notes written to other people. Wonderful.
I’m much better now. In fact, I love writing thank you cards. Of course, the stationary is a big part of the excitement for me. I love building up my stationary collection. And I like going to the post office and picking out cute stamps. I only use stamps to send out cards, and I rarely send any out, isn’t that sad? I get stacks full of junk mail but I rarely have anything for the postman to deliver for me.
Yesterday I received the sweetest surprise:

So let me back up. A few months ago I had received an email about making a donation to the Page Turners Book Drive. Page Turners is an after-school program in NYC that my favorite Robert helps with. Now, I absolute love how they set this up. They created a wish list on of all the different books they wanted, sent you the link, and you simply picked a few books and had them shipped to them in New York. Even though I’m all the way over here in Texas I was still able to help out.
I had completely forgotten about this, and actually Robert had already thanked me through email and that was more than kind enough. But these little notes really touched me. The directors of the program also included a formal letter that filled me in on the program and the success of the book drive.
Did they need to send a letter? No. Did the kids need to create a handmade letter? Not at all. But the fact that they did was not only a kind gesture, but reminded me of the importance of giving and how it really does benefit someone. And how an unexpected note in the mail immediately brightens your day.
And if you want to donate a book or two and help build their library, you still can!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The sky is falling

The other morning I was on my way to school, going through my set of rituals that take place during that 13-8 min drive (depending on whether my car has wings that day, aka I'm frantically late): listening to the news on NPR as it cuts in and out until I reach 5th Street; Getting stuck at the lights at 25th, 17th, Waco Dr., Washington, and I-35; Gathering small bits of trash from the middle console or from my purse so I can throw them away at school; Applying some lip gloss...

I'm sitting at the light on 5th and Waco Dr. when suddenly something hits my face. It doesn't hurt. I can't tell what happened. Did something fall from the roof of my car and land on my head? I look up and see nothing. I look down in my lap and see no foreign object--wait. What is that dark circle? It looks like the lens to some sunglasses.

I touch my face and sure enough there is no lens. It just popped right out. I took my sunglasses off to see if I could push it back in, and then I noticed the frame had actually cracked.

Please note that as I'm trying to figure what touched my head and I'm looking around the car I don't seem to notice that there's suddenly 50% more light.

So sad. We had some good times, those sunglasses and me. We went to Turkey together!
R.I.P to yet another pair of sunglasses...

Perhaps there's still hope that I can work these...

Are pirates in style?


I'm trying to be computer savvy and update my blog.

Success #1 I created a third column in html! Give me a techy prize!

Semi-success #2 I changed the banner. I'm not completely in love with it, but it's good enough for summer and I'll keep working towards something better. I'm getting inspired by other blogs--the key is to keep it simple.

Posts to come...

The Countdown
Upcoming Races
Birdy Plates
Funny Stories

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friend Friday

Yesterday was full of reunions! Bundy came up to Waco and we had lunch at Bangkok Royal--love that place ever since it moved away from sketchy Ivy Square and into downtown. Sorry, it's truth. Afterwards we went to the Spirit Shop so she could get the security tag taken off of a shirt she bought in April and we spent some time looking at the new merchandise. There was one shirt in particular that was very said "I love Baylor Moms." It was hunter green and written in bubble letters. So question: Who is supposed to wear that shirt? It looks like a mom-shirt by design, but why would a mom wear a shirt that says I love moms? Why would a Baylor girl say she loved multiple mother's other than her own? OK, and if a Baylor boy wore that shirt that would be completely inappropriate for obvious reasons. So weird.

Then we went to What About Cupcakes! I had forgotten about my love for that place during my hiatus in Houston. Laura loved it!!! I had a regular strawberry and a mini Oreo. I will definitely be taking some home with me when I peace out of Waco.

After our sugar rush we went to local theater to see Sandra Bullock's new movie The Proposal. Now, I generally don't like romantic comedies, and if I do watch one I usually wait for it to come out on DVD. I have a small affinity for Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant though so I'll go out and watch their movies. This was perfect for a summer afternoon after a long week. Also, Sandra looks AMAZING in this film. Loved her hair and make up, wardrobe, heels (hello Louboutins!) and I will not lie, they show a lot of her bod and it is amazing! She is 43! She's my new idol. Love her.

Ryan Reynolds isn't too shabby either.

That night my friend Clayton was passing through town on his way back home to SA. It's always good to catch up. We went to Common Grounds and I had my first Rodeo Clown, the skim version of the Cowboy Coffee (which I also haven't tried). I had to get it in decaf because it was 11 pm and I'm a grandma. It wasn't that awesome, mostly because it was soooooo sweet. When I want to indulge my sweet tooth there I get a mocha frap with 2 shots of espresso to cut the sweetness. I hear the Cowboy Coffee is amazing so if I ever come back during the fall and it's cold I'll indulge and get a regular version with half and half (Lord, forgive me and don't take it out on my hips)

I have one more full week of class and then I'll be finished the following Tuesday! The Borregos are coming that day to pack me up and I'll be out of here on Wednesday. I realize that there are a few things I need to put on my to-do list before I leave Waco...I'll post that later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free online episodes are amazing

I'm currently watching the series Twin Peaks online. You can watch it for free on the CBS website. Twin Peaks came out in 1990, so I would have been nine years old, and I only remember thinking that it was a scary show (I never watched it, I just assumed). I also have this one scene in my mind of the father throwing himself on the coffin of Laura Palmer. Maybe they showed that during the commercials or something. Those are the two things I associate with Twin Peaks

The show is so weird. It's a murder mystery with dark humor, and it has a large ensemble where every character is very distinct and none are devoid of quirks. I really can't compare it to any other shows. I think that's what makes it fun to watch.

It's only two seasons long, but it looks like the second season has about 20 episodes.

It's summer and there aren't a lot of shows to watch (I'm only watching So You Think You Can Dance and Top Chef Masters, and they both come on on Wednesday), so this is great to pass the time and hey, it's a cult classic and I can understand why.
Twin Peaks: What's with the birds?
Agent Cooper = Trey MacDoogle from Sex and the City. He's great in Twin Peaks and loves donuts and is in constant search of the perfect cup of black coffee.
Laura Palmer...She's sketchy. And dead.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Donate Life

I recently became a legit organ donor. I have made it clear to my family throughout the years that this is my wish (along with cremation), but actually solidified my commitment by registering. I know that a lot of people feel uneasy about this, but for myself I have always seen it as something natural. When my life ends, it ends. But if this decision allows someone else to live a better, healthier, longer life, then GREAT! I can only hope that if I (or my family) am ever in need of a donor that one will be available. I can’t imagine knowing that the life of someone I love could be extended IF there was an available donor. It is heartbreaking to know that something is possible, but not for you.

I registered with Donate Life Texas, but there are registration sites for all states.

And a few tidbits for you:

MYTH: Only your heart, liver and kidneys can be transplanted.

FACT: Organs that can be donated include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissues that can be donated include the corneas, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons.

MYTH: Donation will mutilate my body.

FACT: Donated organs, tissues and eyes are removed surgically in a routine operation. Donation doesn't disfigure the body or change the way it looks in a casket.

MYTH: My family will be charged for donating my organs, tissues and eyes.

FACT: No costs directly related to organ, tissue or eye donation are passed on to the family. A nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) will pay these costs.

MYTH: My religion does not support donation.

FACT: Most mainstream, organized religions approve of organ, tissue and eye donation and consider it an act of charity.
(I love how they became experts on mainstream religion)

Eight is enough

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To...

  1. Moving back to Houston
  2. Being done with Truett
  3. Trip to the beach
  4. Swimming in chlorine
  5. Getting new running shoes
  6. Two summer mini vacays
  7. Some fun races
  8. The year ahead…

8 Things I Did Yesterday...

  1. Studied in Jones for 7 hours
  2. Cooked some chickpea curry
  3. Went to UBC
  4. Watched the first episode of Twin Peaks
  5. Read the bible. Forever.
  6. Wrote 2 papers
  7. Bought toilet paper (tmi?)
  8. Bought a Bush's half & half sweet tea…but discovered later it was only unsweetened

8 Things I Wish I Could Do...

  1. Go to NYC to see Katie and Robert
  2. Go on a serious shopping spree. I'm talking major damage
  3. In the same breath, take care of all debt. Haha
  4. Visit a winery soon
  5. Get a sno-cone from SoHo
  6. Find all of the jewelry I've ever lost.
  7. Fly like an eagle. No, actually swim like a fish
  8. Sew a dress...or make a quilt

8 Shows I Watch...

  1. Top Chef
  2. Gossip Girl
  3. Ugly Betty
  4. The Office
  5. Sex and the City
  6. Jon and Kate + 8
  7. Law & Order
  8. Lost

8 People I Tag...

Whoever needs a little something to put on their blog :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

blogger problems

I have the hardest time publishing my posts in blogger--the spacing is always messed up (see below). I spend tons of time going back and forth trying to fix it but today I don't care. Does anyone else have this problem?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Protect your face

So confession: I love tanning. People often like to remind me I'm always tan, but I always counter that tan compared to them is not necessarily tan for me. I soak up the sun in the summer and have a nice glow until about January. Then come the New Year I'm looking sick and pale in all my pictures. By March I'm nearly green and in April I'm trying to get some UVs even if it's still chilly outside.

Now, my love for being brown has brought me some misfortunes, mainly in the form of horrible tan lines. In March of '06, I helped my dad dig out some trees in the backyard and wore a very unflattering tank top. The result: the absolute worst tan ever. I actually got really burned, peeled, the whole nine yards. I was in two weddings that summer in June and July and let me tell you, the lines did not fade. Straight up racer back imprint on my back. It was absolutely horrific I tried exfoliating and even applying self tanner and refused to go in the sun the rest of the year.

It took over a year for those lines to fade.

That SAME summer, I was out serving the Lord in New Orleans doing clean up and look what happened to my face:

The caption for this picture is, "Dear New Orleans,You charred my face." I don't know if you can tell but I was wearing huge sunglasses (obvs) and my entire face, but especially my nose, got scorched! It took about a month fade.

Last summer I went to the beach, and then the next day went wedding dress shopping with a friend. Under the fluorescent lighting I noticed tons of tiny dots on my right hand. Sun spots. I nearly died. I love the sun, and I know I push my luck, but sun spots? N-O. I was dunzo with the sun for that summer.
Ok, so I'm still a fan of the sun, I can't help it, but I realize I do need to protect my skin. Here are the products I'm promoting:

A tinted moisturizer with SPF

I use one from Laura Mercier in the color Sand, and I really like it. I've been using it since March daily, and usually apply a translucent powder over, as is my routine. A few days ago I skipped the powder and applied bronzer as blush and loved it! This is the summer look I've been trying for! It's hard to look dewy without being greasy or sweaty, but this goes on perfectly. Apply a little moisturizer before if you think it's not going on as easily. The point: buy a tinted moisturizer with SPF and wear it year round. You're face is always out there, so protect it!
Now, like I said, I had been in the sun quite a bit and I noticed my skin looking very dry. This was due to a number of reasons (not enough water, not applying moisturizer twice a day, running in the sun without sunscreen), but I couldn't deny the effects the sun was having on my face. My forehead was looking dark and dry. Panic. I busted out something in the back of my closet that I hadn't opened yet.

RÉVIVE Microderm Abrasion Renewal System
This is essentially an exfoliant. This was gifted to me by my amazing aunt who works in the cosmetics industry and I'm just now looking at the price of this. Ridiculous. So, while I do think it's great and I saw an immediate difference after the first use, I'm going to say find a facial exfoliant at the drug store ('cause you know when I run out of this I'm going to get me some Neutrogena or Johnson & Johnson from the Wal-Mart, not even playing)

Besides using it for my forehead I also used it because I've been getting dark spots on my face from the occasional pimple (I have dark skin so that's what happens to me, even if I don't mess with them. Hate it.) And seriously, I've left these spots on my chin for two months and after 3 uses of this stuff they're gone. Shame on me. Or maybe this is just a miracle product. I'm going to go with I just needed to exfoliate.

I'm no spring chicken, so I gotta do what I can to keep my skin in check.

Let's talk about how I love the word chicken these days as a petname. More on that later.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This one's for Sandy

I learned about this give away for a Vera Bradley clutch from my old photog buddy Liz and thought, you know what, I will enter! My mother LOVES Vera, so I'll give it to her if I win. I've had two VB bags and have sold them both because they didn't function well for me, but I really want a large duffle. I'm waiting for the perfect pattern.

SO, a website called Lauren Nicole Monogrammed Gifts is hosting this contest. I've never entered a blog contest, but like I said, I'm doing this for Sandy.