Dec 26, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The best laid plans . . . I thought I could totally update this thing while being a bridesmaid, moving apartments, going out of town for a week, and doing the whole holiday thing. Obviously that failed. So I make it up to you with the best holiday summary I could find.

Holiday Questionnaire

1. Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate, although I do love Pennsylvania Dutch egg nog in coffee (it has whiskey, brandy, and rum in it, so it's not for the faint of heart)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Usually wrapped them, except for a few big items or the stuffed animals that were hard to wrap.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I really like both. We have a white deer outside, colored lights on the bushes, and our tree recently changed to having all-white lights. I used to put colored lights around my cube at work.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I wouldn't even know mistletoe if it was hanging over me.

5. When do you hang your decorations up? Around December 10. We leave them up until epiphany.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Mashed potatoes. But if we can include dessert, pecan pie.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Santa visiting twice--once around dinnertime on Christmas Eve (I had to stay in the back of the house) and then coming back in the middle of the night.

8. What is on your Christmas wish list? So many household things--crock pot, area rug, and giftcards.

9. Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?
We used to open a lot on Christmas Eve, but not anymore.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Lights and ornaments we've collected or been given over time. Love them all.

11. Snow? Love it or dread it?
Love it! We had a White Christmas two years ago, it was amazing.

12. Real tree or fake tree? We had a real tree for years, and just recently went to a fake tree (it was just easier). I have to say the fake tree has impressed me.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? The one that I probably kept the longest was a stuffed dog named Rufus. Still have him.

14. What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?
Spending time with family and seeing people enjoy the gifts I got them.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Oh, I see why this wasn't part of the question before. Pecan pie. And Baileys Irish Cream.

16. What is your favorite tradition?
Watching Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve.

17. What tops your tree?
An angel.

18. Do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving. Especially when it's something the person didn't ask for, but I know they want.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful. Silly: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Christmas Canon, Last Christmas, Celebrate Me Home, Happy Christmas, All I Want for Christmas is You, We Need a Little Christmas, Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas time, The Chipmunk Song

20. Candy canes, yuck or yum? Neutral.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

1. Muppet Christmas Carol

2. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (below)

3. Home Alone 2

4. Love, Actually

5. A Christmas Story

22. What do you leave for Santa?
back in the day, a few cookies, milk, and carrots.

23. Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?
We wake up, get coffee etc., open presents, then relax until it's time to go somewhere or eat at our house.

24. Do you prefer to shop on-line or at the mall?
I like the occasional jaunt to the mall, but online is so easy and often cheaper.

25. Christmas letter or Christmas card? I send neither (I think I sent cards one year . . .). I do have one set of relatives that sends a ridiculous, overly dramatic newsletter that breaks down the minutiae of their year (did we need to know they bought a new car? Or where they went on their business trips? I'd love to share the details of my business trip to Idaho this fall if they're interested). But I love how creative my friends are getting with their cards this year.

Nov 30, 2011

Android Photographer

I'll do a "I love the holidays" post soon, but first I have to share some of the random menagerie of photos from my phone over the past week:

Noticed this little note as I made puppy chow last week. Nestle Tollhouse thinks a lot of themselves.

For the bachelorette party I threw for my roommate on Black Friday. This was either for strippers or to make change for people paying me for the hotel. You decide.

My first and potentially last ribbon bouquet for said roommate's wedding. Martha Stewart, watch your back.

Nov 22, 2011

Since we last talked . . .

A few updates:

--I added another medal to my half-marathon collection (bringing the total to two, don't be impressed)
--I found a pair of leggings that can actually be worn as pants (with the appropriate length shirt). Not that cheap kind you get at Target that when you push your hand up against the fabric, you can see your hand through the leggings. Thank you, H&M, for getting this right.
--I introduced my friend's baby to H&M. He slept through his whole trip there, but I think subconsciously he's obsessed
--I realized I don't have a free weekend for a month (no complaints though)
--I sat in amazing seats at the UT vs. Kansas State game, and watched the Horns lose. Just not their year.
--Discovered my favorite cider from Ireland in Austin, TX!! So much closer than the East Coast which was my nearest outlet.
--Began enjoying a beautiful fall, and apparently everyone on Pinterest is too, considering how many times this photo I pinned has been repinned (81 times):

Nov 3, 2011

Six Places

How do I pick just six?

6. Washington DC in the fall
5. London
4. New York City on pretty much any day
3. 3030 Daniel Ave. aka my sorority house. If we're getting really specific, Room 1, my favorite room to live in during my college years.
2. The mountains
1. The beach (Florida, California, Hawaii . . . not picky)

Oct 13, 2011

Seven Wants

Seven Wants

7. A Scottish Terrier
6. A vacation home
5. Enough hours in the day to catch up with everyone I love and miss.
4. At least 9 hours of sleep every night
3. A private jet to visit my friends and family around the world. They don't need to move to the same city as me, I'd still like to travel and visit them.
2. Compassion and sympathy for others. I really lack it sometimes and can become a Judy Judger about perfect strangers.
1. An endless iTunes giftcard. (what? I love me some jams)

Sep 29, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Homecoming Mums

If you aren't from Texas, you may never have had the joyful (?) experience of giving and receiving Homecoming mums. All around Texas, high school football season has one big game, Homecoming, which I'm sure had a lot of meaning when it first started, but now is an excuse for guys and gals to give these away to their significant other:

Yes, teenagers actually wear these. With pride. Traditionally, a guy give his Homecoming date a mum like the one in the picture, and the girl gives him a garter, basically a smaller mum that he can wear on his arm.

Mums are a big business. Silk flowers, trinkets (little plastic tchotchkes hot-glued to the ribbon that say things like "Senior!" or "Go team!"), ribbons, teddy bears, etc. can really add up, especially if you pay people to make the mums for you. Don't believe this is a big business? Read this article from the Houston Chronicle.

My school was a little different, in that you didn't just give/get a mum with your date, everyone exchanged mums. Your big and little sisters on drill team. Your spirit group (don't even ask) picked names out of a hat to make a mum, your best friend, your parents. Junior year I had eight mums--needless to say I jingle jangled all down the hallway of the school.

By senior year, I was a pro. No longer paying craft stores for mums, I turned our dining room into a "Homecoming Sweatshop". The table was littered with hundreds of yards of ribbon, plastic trinkets, silk flowers, cardboard backings, teddy bears, buckets waiting to be painted and filled with candy. For a month leading up to homecoming, I would carve out time from drill team practice, yearbook editing, and, you know, school, and craft away. I have a picture somewhere of the fruits of my labor (and a scar or two on my hand from hot glue burns), but, needless to say, I beat the mum system and managed to make it all for much less than the pros.

Seriously? This is ridiculous. Mine were much more tasteful . . .

Sep 27, 2011

The Wisdom of Grey's Anatomy

My old roommate gave me a birthday card with this quote a few years ago. It seemed so true at that time. Yet recently here are things that make me realize how grown-up (and lame, at times) I've gotten:

--While on vacation, I bought a ceramic spoon rest. Yes, that little dish you put spoons on while stirring pots or whatever. It has a crab on it. I thought it was cute.
--Also on said vacation, I went to bed at 1 a.m. once. The rest of the time I was in bed by midnight, and asleep within minutes
--I paid $3.15 for gas and was giddy about it.
--I used a coupon at the grocery store (free pita chips, no laughing matter)
--I now use under-eye cream and put lotion on my neck both morning and night b/c I've seen some old looking necks lately *shudder*
--I was about to order one of my favorite beers at a restaurant, and saw that it was twice the price I normally pay. I'll just have water, thanks.

Essentially I'm becoming more thrify? #adult

Sep 26, 2011

The magic of spaghetti squash

How does this:

turn into this?

A little roasting in the oven with water, a little scraping with a fork. And you have tasty spaghetti strands that lasts for days. Magic and yummy. Everyone wins.

For a how-to on spaghetti squash, check this video out:

Pair it with a little butter, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, or just eat it plain. My favorite recipe? A bowl of spaghetti squash, half a wedge of Laughing Cow light swiss, tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt, and two teaspoons of parmesan cheese. Microwave for 30 secs, stir, and nuke for another 30 secs. Delish.

Sep 25, 2011

Eight Fears

8. Having my wallet stolen
7. Having a tire blowout on a highway
6. Getting to be 40 and wondering what the hell I've done with my life.
5. Not taking enough advantage of time with my family
4. Clowns
3. Appendicitis
2. Not living my dreams (the dreams themselves are still TBD)
1. Spending holidays alone. When you're an only child, these things are a possibility.

Sep 6, 2011

Nine Loves

9. Cheese: chips and queso, mac and cheese, in block form . . .
8. Sam Adams Summer Ale
7. My white eyelet skirt that I sadly have to put away for the year
6. Dogs, especially ones that love to cuddle
5. Adirondack chairs
4. The beach
3. Autumn (the weather, the leaves,candy corn, Thanksgiving)
2. Personalized stationery
1. DVR

Sep 4, 2011

10 Days

Every blogger has writers block. So I like it when I stumble across blogging challenges or lists (aka, ideas I can rip off another blog). This one comes to you from MCW at Saving the Best for Last.

10 Secrets (or Confessions)

1. I read Baby-Sitters Club books until I was 16
2. I really have to try hard to not correct other people's grammar and spelling in e-mails (and I feel like writing amendment e-mails to my own when I spot a word I misspelled)
3. For awhile, I thought I might have a long-lost twin sister.
4. I hold grudges for a really long time. It's not healthy, and something I'm trying to change.
5. Freshman year of high school was miserable for me. Like, make an MTV show about it miserable. I'm so happy the rest of high school or college wasn't like that.
6. My favorite place to nap is my dad's side of the bed in my parents' house. His pillow is the best!
7. I reject friend requests on Facebook when I don't care about what happened to them after we stopped being friends. It happens about once a month.
8. I change my sheets once a week, and it has to be before 3 p.m. so the sheets have enough time to "settle" on the bed.
9. I have the stomach of an old lady in the morning. The blander the food, the better.
10. I eat two Caltrate calcium chews a day. Calcium loss is serious business, people.

Sep 3, 2011

What's on My DVR: Royal Pains

Ugh, I feel like such a bad TV-show recommender. Here I am, telling you about a show that I love when the season is over. But if this gives you cause to catch up on the past three seasons and prepare for next season, then huzzah!

I started watching Royal Pains two years ago because it was always on at the gym on Saturday mornings. It's about Hank Lawson, a doctor with morals who moves to the Hamptons with his brother after he is fired for political reasons from his NYC hospital.

He and his brother, Evan R. Lawson, start HankMed, a concierge doctor service for the rich and wannabes in the Hamptons. Not only are there gorgeous views of Hampton houses and beaches, but the characters are genuinely real and interesting. Whether it's solving they mysterious illness of their wealthy benefactor or saving someone's life with a flip flop and bottle of Snapple, this show keeps you entertained. I even DVR it in HD, that's how much I like it.

So, now that season 3 is over, go rent the first three seasons and get ready for next summer!

Sep 1, 2011

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Dear New Balance 780s,

I have a confession. I was afraid of you when we first met. I talked a pretty big game before that day. I was going to be a Serious Runner. Pay money to run a certain distance with thousands of people with a piece of paper pinned to my shirt. Rip open little packets of fruit-flavored slime and suck it down because you're supposed to. Make playlists of my best jams to keep me motivated into the double digit miles.

Getting you meant that I actually had to DO all of those things. It's easy to say "yeah, I'm going to start running, but I need to get the right shoes." and just put that day off. But when I walked into the running store and Cory had me stand on one foot and walk back and forth several times, I knew things were getting serious. The fact that I bought not only you, but a pair of $10 running socks, meant that I was actually going to start this whole running thing.

We had some good times. Beautiful autumn runs. View of the San Diego Harbor. Finding time for the two of us on a business trip. And who can forget your shining moment--that cold morning in December when you carried me through 13 miles. You totally earned the month off I gave you after that.

21 months later, it's time for us to say goodbye. As they said at the running store today "it's time for someone else to get something out of them." I hope they know what a great running partner you are and that you get more fall days and pretty views.

Your replacements are a lot like you, same brand, just a newer model. Hopefully in a year I'll be writing them a letter just like this, but you'll always be my first :-)

~Your favorite owner

Disclaimer: no, I'm not obsessed with my running shoes or inanimate objects. But if you knew my feelings about running two years ago, you would not think I would have worn out a pair of running shoes. And when I brought them in to the running store today to replace them, the saleslady was very reverant about them. To the point that she tied the laces so I could take a picture so they looked "fancy and happy". And no, they didn't have a name.

Aug 31, 2011

Finding Anne of Green Gables

I promise I'm not a total bookworm, but here's another post about books (and coming up soon, a post about my new Kindle!).

One of my favorite travel bloggers (who I feel like I know since we've Skyped and e-mail kind of frequently), Kristin Luna, recently visited Prince Edward Island, aka PEI, aka home to Anne of Green Gables.

I've read a handful of the Anne books--one of my favorite books of all time is Anne of the Island--but my love of PEI came from the Disney TV series Avonlea

Did anyone ever watch this show? It was about the town of Avonlea in the early 20th century. It mainly centered around the King family--sisters Hetty and Olivia, brother Alec, and their spouses and kids. I've looked for DVDs in the past, it may be time to search again . . .

Aug 24, 2011

End of Summer Reading Update

Well, barely a week after I share my obsession with my Borders Rewards membership, Borders goes kaput. Obviously that was $20 well-spent. And I'm now heartbroken over the fact that one of my favorite bookstores is no more. All the empty stores make me sad, especially my favorite one where I lined up at midnight so many times to buy the latest Harry Potter book. I refuse to support Barnes and Noble (they seem so haughty and unfriendly), so I am now stuck with Amazon (and my future Kindle).

But for now, an update on books that I've read, as well as some upcoming ones on my bookshelf:

Bossypants: It's times like this that I wish I was Tina Fey--she's worked hard for what she has and still has a down-to-earth and hilarious perspective. That being said, it's a book I wish I'd waited to buy because its not really one I'd read again. Anyone want to borrow it?

Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks:
Ok, I'm calling this one like it is--boring. And that makes me sad because it had such promise. I'm still not done (been reading it for two months), so there's a chance it could pick up, but, ugh.

The Castaways: My Vegas beach read, but was a lot more serious than a beach read typically is. It's one of Elin Hildebrand's many Nantucket-based novels, and an interesting perspective on a group of friends and the ways they're intertwined.

The Summer Before: Total guilty pleasure--it's the prequel to the Baby-Sitters Club about the summer before Kristy gets her "great idea" to star the BSC. I was so excited when I heard that Ann M. Martin was coming out with this, and it's really good and seemed to be written for an older audience (read: all of us 20 and 30 somethings who read the books growing up). My boyfriend laughed when I told him I was reading it, but I don't care . . .

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter: book club book. About as silly as it sounds, but I have to say it was fun to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it (plus I feel like I learned a lot about how to kill a vampire).

Heart of the Matter: Emily Giffin must have been cheated on, or be constantly afraid that she's been cheated on, because two of the three books by her I've read have to do with cheating.

Up next on the bookshelf:

The Violets of March
The Year We Left Home
The Weird Sisters

Hmmm, I feel like there's one more I'm missing.

What are you reading?

Aug 12, 2011


This coming weekend is one of my favorites of the year. A group of 18 of my closest friends and I descend on a small town with a flowing river nearby and proceed to float in tubes, drink copiously, wear cowboy boots, have long talks on a huge porch, gorge ourselves on snacks and famous mac and cheese, and create memories to talk about the next year (thanks to waterproof cameras, nothing goes un-documented).

And, yes, we've got t-shirts.

Aug 10, 2011

One Time at BlogHer . . .

-I met the Jimmy Dean sun
-Jogged in 70 degree weather. In AUGUST.
-Ate avocados (liked the first bite, hated the second)
-Met women who blogged about everything. Seriously. Even a woman who called herself a "marketainer"
-Stalked people on elevators and at parties to talk to them about my client.
-Learned that if you're "somebody", you either lead a session or don't go to one at all.
-Learned that companies spend a lot of money for elite parties with celebs and "somebodies" (You could work out with Bob from Biggest Loser or fly in a Navy plane and land on an aircraft carrier)
-Saw some incredible and over the top product placement

Yup, that's made of Twizzlers

--partied with a McDonald's bag on my head (you haven't partied til you've had a bag on your head at CheeseburgHer)
--Realized that blogging really is a full-time job for a lot of people that they take very seriously and passionately, judging by the amount of tears I saw this weekend
--was introduced to the Turbie Twist, and am OBSESSED (thank you, swag bag!)
--Ditched a whole lotta swag:

In case you're wondering, yes, that's a t-shirt with Benjamin Franklin on it. Still not sure what it was for . . .

--witnessed a flash mob
--Paid a pedicab driver $100 for 2 hours of his time
--Drank at a bar called The Tipsy Crow
--Got home at 2 a.m. to find a McDonald's cheeseburger in my purse, and my purse itself rather toasty.

Aug 3, 2011

My Song of the Summer

I have to confess, this was a Zumba song, and I don't even like the whole thing, but I totally rock out at one part:

In case you were wondering, my favorite part is "Scuse me, Scuse me, I might drink a little more than I should, tonight . . ." Always good to be polite and give fair warning if you plan on being a hot mess :-)

Aug 1, 2011

Tea Partay

Last week, I re-discovered a YouTube video that I used to love. Smirnoff Tea Partay is the type of satire I know and love . . .

Jul 30, 2011

Etiquette Check

Thanks to A Cup of Jo for continuing to provide me with useful knowledge.

Jul 20, 2011


A sampling of my life as a business traveler . . .

On another note, if you have a Blackberry and iPhone, guys think commenting on that is a good pick-up line. Memo: it's not . . .

Jul 18, 2011


I recently went back to NOLA for a quick business trip. I managed to squeeze in a visit to a fabulous southern/cajun restaurant, Luke. There's one in the city my bf lives in, so hopefully we can try it out soon!

The gumbo, oh my word . . .

Jul 13, 2011

Summer Reading 2011 Update

One of the worst decisions I ever made was buying a Borders Rewards Plus membership. I get an extra discount on most books (which are often already discounted) and free shipping. The result is I've spent $100 on books this summer. Below are the updates on books I blogged about previously:

American Wife:
I really liked this book, but I don't think its one I will read again. It's an interesting spin on Laura Bush and her transformation to first lady, but as we were talking about it in our book club meeting, we found that we didn't really like the main character all that much, however engrossed we were in the story. I'd give it 3 out of five stars

Something Blue: The sequel to Something Borrowed, I had high hopes for this book. I miust say that I wasn't drawn to this one as much as the first one. I just have problems believing people change that drastically and that people suddenly fall in love, but all in all, an enjoyable book. 2.5-3 stars out of 5.

One Day: I'll be honest, I bought this and read it because the movie is coming out in August. An engaging, yet at times heart-wrenching, book. It checks in with a couple (at times friends, at times more) on the same date every year. You see how much their lives change (or don't) year-over-year. It also makes you reflect on how you're living your life and if you're where you want to be. Four stars!

Sisterhood Everlasting:
The last book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Not my favorite, and at times it felt a little jumpy, but I was glad to get closure on the series and what the girls did with their lives, even if they weren't how I pictured, or some of the loose ends felt a little like a cop-out. Three stars.

Since I'm not buying anymore books for awhile (that sound you hear is my AmEx breathing a sigh of relief), here's what's on my nighstand for the next few months:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (about a third of the way through this, good, but a slow read)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
In the Garden of Beasts
(SO excited for this one--about the family that was ambassador to Hitler's Germany)

Stay tuned . . .

Jul 5, 2011

What, what, what are you doing

I often go on business trips by myself (cut to a photo of my eating dinner alone in my room) or if I'm with co-workers, we're too busy to do anything fun (cut to a picture of me and two co-workers sitting outside a high school gym in Colorado at 2 a.m.)

So on a recent trip to Chicago for an internal training, I took advantage of traveling with several co-workers and a free night to hit up The Second City (alma mater of such comedians as Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, and Stephen Colbert). Their shows are always hilarious and topical, so I knew I couldn't miss it.

It's kind of one of those "you had to be there" memories, because so much of the comedy is improv and situational. So I leave you with my favorite comic relief video courtesy of the folks at SC:

Jul 1, 2011

Dance Dance Revolution

Jazzercise makes me laugh. I think of moms in sweatbands and leggings. But call a jazzercise class something fun like Zumba and I am there.

In case you're curious about it, here's what my favorite Zumba song looks like:

However, here's what I look like doing Zumba:

Verdict: I look like a white girl. But at least I look like I'm having fun :-)

Jun 29, 2011


One of my favorite blogs is A Cup of Jo, by my favorite former Glamour blogger Joanna Goddard. She now freelances and writes a totally fun blog that everyone should read.

She shared this water slide in Sicily that looks like heaven on those hot summer days:

Everything IS more fun in Europe.

Jun 19, 2011

You'll Thank Me Later

Since I fly rather frequently, I'm lucky that I can catch a few Z's on airplanes. Whether an early morning flight for work or a hangover flight back from a weekend with friends, plane naps have been my saving grace more than once.

I had lunch with a friend today who just returned from a trip to Europe and, of course, had travel issues (as everyone seems to have nowadays). I asked if she at least was able to sleep on the flight to Paris, but she said she couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep in and her head kept falling to each side.

If only she'd had my favorite travel companion, she would have gotten a great night's sleep on that 7 hour flight.

I put up with much teasing and judgment from my friends (including "I still can't believe you brought that." It's been six years, get used to it), but I will never go on a long flight (more than an hour) without my my neck pillow. It cradles your head perfectly, and once other passengers see you sleeping like a baby, their jealousy will be palpable (just ask my boyfriend, who didn't "understand" the pillow, until I graciously lent it to him on a flight and he now has his own).

So, 6 a.m. flight to NYC, 7 p.m. flight home from Vegas. Always in style.

Jun 7, 2011

When you gotta have it . . .

Last week I was driving to a happy hour with some of my lady friends, and was apparently being a bit too cautious when turning left on to a VERY busy street. Cue Angry SUV Driver behind me. The sweaty and irate gentleman thought I should fling myself out into traffic, and let me know this by leaning on his horn for a good five seconds, yelling at me (as though I could read his lips through the rear-view mirror).

He proceeded to swerve around me and turn left onto said street. Determined to not let anything taint my pre-happy hour excitement, I figured he was on his way somewhere important (we were close to a few hospitals in the area) and to not judge.

Then I saw him turn into his destination:

I myself am a Wendy's fan, but I guess I have a long way to go before I have a conniption in traffic when someone is standing between me and my jr. bacon cheeseburger.

Jun 2, 2011

A Lot to Show For it

Above are the only souvenirs I bought on my recent trip to my favorite city--Washington, DC. Yes, me, the person who used to buy I Heart NY shirts, keychains, and other souvenirs that I had no use for once I returned home, bought only two things, both very functional: reusable grocery bag at the National Zoo and a business card holder from the National Gallery. Who's grown up now?

May 31, 2011

End of an Era

I can't say I was a huge Oprah fan, I didn't religiously watch the show, but whenever I caught an episode I usually enjoyed it. For those in denial or grief over the end of her talk show, a few parting articles for you:

Time Remembers the Top 10 Oprah Moments

Top 10 Episodes

I admired Oprah for shedding light on people who normally wouldn't have gotten any attention. One of my favorite stories involved a woman who lived not far from my family. She was dying of cancer and started videotaping advice for her young daughter, everything from applying make-up to deciding to get married. It was beautiful and I know that her family was comforted by Oprah's support after her passing.

There's not really anyone to take Oprah's spot, but maybe that's how it should be.

May 25, 2011

Mother Nature's Wrath

Not to have another "living in Texas makes me an expert on ____" post, but here it is. Growing up in the lovely section of the country known as Tornado Alley has brought me a healthy amount of appreciation for Mother Nature and her temper tantrums, but also skepticism. I participated in tornado drills in school four times a year, but we never actually had to implement our tornado plan. I cleaned my closet at my parents' house every spring since that was our hideout spot (three people plus a jittery dachshaund terrier basset hound in a small closet did not a fun time make).

Last night, though, we had some crazy weather in Texas. For once I realized that simply chilling in the closet at my apartment (on the THIRD FLOOR) was not the best idea and "evacuated" to the semi-underground hallway on the ground floor of my building (where I huddled with about 20 other residents, smart people). For those not in the know, here's Tornado 101 as I know it (not to be substituted for actual warnings and advice from meteorologists/sirens/etc.)

1. Tornado Watch: suspected rotation in the clouds, storms capable of producing tornadoes in the area, stay tuned to the news.
2. Tornado Warning: actual tornado spotted, seek shelter immediately.
a. Shelter: lowest point of the structure (basements are best, underground parking garages are also nice), with interior-only walls (aka, no windows and no walls where the other side is outdoors). Bathrooms, closets, and hallways with doors are your best bet if you don't have an underground option (provided these have interior walls)

3. If you DO seek shelter, have a connection to the outside world. Last night I took my iPod which has a radio transmitter so I could still listen to the weather reports. Twitter was also handy as the media was able to distribute info about several areas at once and not focus in depth on one like they did on TV.

4. Grab a flashlight. True, I grabbed mine so I could still read my book club book if the power went out, but nothing is scarier than rain AND darkness.

5. Hunker down. I've really only "sought shelter" a handful of times, but better safe than sorry, right?

May 23, 2011


Texans love barbecue. Duh. However, thanks to my Texan-ness, I think BBQ sauce is an appropriate condiment for most situations: french fries, chicken drumsticks (dinner tonight), corny dogs (yup), etc. I don't get too crazy, I don't put the sauce on eggs or anything (hmmmm . . .), but you can't beat the delicious sauciness of BBQ sauce on something. My current obsession is with Stubb's Spicy Sauce. Is my mouth on fire at the end of the meal? Yes. Am I ok with that? Heck yes. Stubb's is an Austin restaurant/concert venue (yes, I saw a concert there this year, I felt so hip), but I bought the sauce before I knew that because it looked authentic on the shelf at Kroger. Can't beat my grocery shopping logic.

May 19, 2011

Summer Reading 2011

I'm finally getting around to adding new books to my repertoire, partly spurred by the new book club I'm in. I confess, I've always wanted to be a part of a book club, then I read the Jane Austen Book Club (which totally sucked) and I thought maybe they weren't as fun. No, just kidding, one book isn't going to turn me away from reading wi a bunch of gals. So thanks to Angela and some other ladies, we're going to be reading:

A novel based on Laura Bush's life, American Wife was pretty well-received when it came out, I'm so excited to read a book and be able to talk about it with people!

Then Borders sent me an e-mail with bestsellers at 50% off, well, I couldn't turn that down :-) I normally turn to Half-Priced Books for my reading needs, but these books were not hitting that store anytime soon.

I really don't know which one I'm more excited about. I can't wait to find out more of the story from Something Borrowed, laugh hysterically over Tina Fey's antics, or be fascinated by the science of Henrietta Lacks (yes, I'm excited about a nonfiction book about cells in a petri dish).

Check back for my reviews and a book club update!

May 16, 2011

Quotable 18 years Later

The bf and I have a movie-watching list--we each make a list of five movies that the other hasn't seen but we think they would like (my first list consisted of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Juno, Working Girl; his consisted of Fifth Element, Blood Diamond, Zombieland). We've moved on to list three, and the first ones up this weekend were National Treasure (his, in honor of our trip to DC) and Addams Family Values (mine)

You know how there are some movies that are just insatiably quotable (Finding Nemo, The Hangover). For my family, one of those movies is AFV. It's ridiculously clever, and while it plays off the Addams' blissful ignorance of how strange they are, it's stood the test of time. My parents and I saw it during Thanksgiving when I was in third grade and still quote it probably every time I'm home. We know it like the back of our hand, but it never fails to entertain. I was happy that the bf found it funny and that 8-year-old me had a well-developed sense of humor at that age.

If you haven't seen this, you should--rent the first one just to refresh your memory, but really look forward to the sequel that awaits you :-)

What's your quotable movie?

May 11, 2011

We need to talk . . .

If Glee and I were on Facebook, our relationship status would be "It's Complicated"

I used to be obsessed. I was a full-fledged Gleek, bought songs almost as soon as they were available, kept all the episodes on my DVR (no matter how much space it took up), changed my Facebook status to a quote from the latest episode, and counted the days until a new episode.

Then the spring hiatus of 2010 rolled around, and the show lost something. There's the occasional episode that's funny, and usually a good song or two, but I'm now three weeks behind. (I'm currently watching an episode, well, half-watching).

I miss my old favorite show and songs that literally made me burst with happiness ("Last Name" with my sorority sister, Kristen Chenoweth, "Halo/Walking on Sunshine" mash-up, to name a few).

I'm not giving up on Glee, or the 5% of my DVR each of the episodes takes up on my DVR (I record it in HD). But it needs to make the "grand gesture" sometime soon.

Apr 27, 2011

A Royal Dream Crushed

It's no secret amongst my friends that I have an affection for Prince William (to keep my freak flag from flying, we're going to leave it at "affection").

Unfortunately, Prince William appeared on my radar around the time of his mother's death. I was smitten with the 15-year old boy accepting flowers outside Buckingham Palace and following his mother's coffin during her funeral processional. The fact that he had a British accent was only icing on the cake.

My crush by numbers:

7: Number of magazines I saved over the years with William's photo on the cover
4: Number of friends who tweeted/wrote on my Facebook wall the day he announced his engagement, asking if I was ok
2: Number of years Kate and William dated before the press found out.
5: Number of Royal Wedding specials I've watched this week
6: Time I am waking up on Friday morning to watch the wedding (yes, I'll be watching it an hour late, I need my sleep)

I have to say, while I want to hate Kate Middleton, I really couldn't pick a better wife for him, unless it was me. She seems down-to-earth, funny, smart, and ready for the royal life, so I wish them a lifetime of happiness. And that I was in London for these shenanigans :-)

Apr 8, 2011

Things I Love Right Now

About to head out of town for the wedding of two close friends from college, but wanted to share a few things that I'm digging right now:

-The Bronx Zoo Cobra's Twitter feed

-Getting to pick my own black bridesmaid dress for an upcoming wedding


-A book club with some lovely ladies

-Being less than 2 lbs from my goal WW weight

-Planning trips for the summer and getting a lot of use out of this:

while floating the river

-One of my good friends having a baby, beyond excited for the great parents she and her hubby will make.

-Spending lots of time with my favorite people.

Mar 21, 2011

Should I be offended or what?

Hopefully I'll get to post a New Orleans recap (or what I can remember . . . the bf tallied my drinks for the weekend, and wowza . . .) but first I have to share my flight home with all, I hope this is still funny now that I'm sober and have gotten a decent night's sleep:

After getting to my gate area, a group of high school kids (about 30) bombarded my gate. They were all wearing different variations of a t-shirt for their marching band. Joy. Teenagers are a bit like hyenas, they don't realize how obnoxious they are because it's just WHO THEY ARE at the time. Like playing a loud game of Spoons in the waiting area is totally fine b/c you're having fun.

Anyways, I start to board the flight, and, lucky me, I board right in front of the group. The following conversation takes place behind me:
Girl: "So we're connecting in Dallas, how long's the flight? What's the time change?"
Boy: "I don't think it's that long a flight, like an hour and a half. For flights that short, I think the time change is only 30 minutes."
Girl: "Oh, Dallas is only 30 minutes behind New Orleans? Wow, I thought it would be more."
Boy: "Yeah, it kind of throws things off. Like it's 4:15 now, but when we land, it will be 4:15 in Dallas, b/c of the time change."

At this point, I am hoping they are joking and just seeing how far they can take this. Sadly, I hear them start to pass the word on to their fellow band members to change their watched BACK 30 MINUTES to accommodate the Dallas time change. At this point, whilst weeping on the inside for the leaders of tomorrow, I turn around and say: "Actually, there's no time change, between New Orleans and Dallas." This is met with blank stares and "WOWs!"

As they board the plane, I find out that while they are all in marching band together, they are in town for a robotics competition (height of the high school social ladder right there). I am happy to escape them and settle into my window seat, when one of the students sits in the aisle seat. An older woman approaches our row and points out that she has the middle seat (separating me and the high school boy), but she's happy to take the aisle if he wants to sit with his "friend", meaning me! Yes, she thought I, a mid-20s career woman, was with the high school kiddos. The student and I look at each other, and then I say "Um, I don't know him." She then gets embarrassed and apologizes, saying "Sorry, I thought you were with that group--well, we'll all know each other by the end of this flight!" Cue me putting my headphones in and sleep mask on. Best nap ever.

Mar 16, 2011

Taking it Easy in the Big Easy

I don't normally get uber personal here, but I am so excited for the weekend ahead of me. I'll be visiting one of my favorite cities, for the first time since it was utterly transformed.

Jambalaya, hurricanes (the drink, not Katrina), po' boys, casinos, zydeco, bars open til 4 a.m., and some of my favorite people. Can't wait to give my heart to New Orleans again . . .

Mar 6, 2011

Five Things

I read a lot of blogs written by people who all know each other. They meet each other in real life, go to each other's weddings, etc. I am not one of those bloggers. This isn't a jealous post--I don't want to join their group, but they do occasionally do fun "get to know you" posts where they tag each other, and I like to pretend I've been tagged and share these things about myself (wow, I hope that doesn't make me sound sad . . .):

Five Things I Can't Leave Without:

Contact Lenses and Sunglasses: I'm grouping these two together since they have to do with vision--I've worn glasses since I was 9. One of my favorite Christmas presents was contact lenses when I was 16. I truly can not see the world enough to leave without these little blobs of plastic in my eye (or, if I'm really tired or hungover, my glasses). If I'm wearing my contact lenses, I HAVE to wear my sunglasses. Thus I have my sunglasses always in my car or on my head. Cheap ones from Target are my favorite.

Chapstick (or lip balm in general): I always have at least three different types in my purse. Enough said.

My monogram ring: This is where I tell some story about how my great-great-grandmother gave me this ring on my 16th birthday b/c every girl in our family got one on their sweet sixteen. But the real story is--I like monogrammed things, especially since my name is hard to find on the average keychain rack. So, on spring break my senior year of college, one of the stores we shopped at specialized in personalized items. So my roommate at the time and I both bought monogrammed rings. I feel naked without it, and even though I now wear it on a different finger (hey, weight loss and winter), I still feel comforted by it being there.

My planner:
Ok, this doesn't necessarily go everywhere with me, but it does go to work with me each day and is the first thing I consult when plans are made. Bought and "designed" at Franklin Covey, I wouldn't switch to a PDA for a million dollars.

Hair tie:
One stipulation I've had whenever I get a haircut is that I have to be able to put it in a ponytail. I always have a few of these scattered in my various purses. Nothing is more aggravating than hair in my face or my neck in a hot Texas summer.

So there you go, feel free to quiz me on whether or not I have them on my person at all times.

Feb 26, 2011

Team Colin

For the second year in a row, one of my all-time favorite actors is nominated for the Best Actor Oscar:

Ever since a fateful evening in 2003 when I happened to catch Bridget Jones Diary on cable, I have been obsessed with Colin Firth (fun fact--this photo is from a Bollywood website). Words can't express how happy I am that he is favored to win for my favorite movie of the year:

Here's hoping for lots of British victories tomorrow night!

Feb 10, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

So another trend on this blog (kind of like Throwback Thursdays, which I haven't done in 6 months, but whatevs), is going to be Guilty Pleasure Confession Time. Before you get all settled down for a Sex-and-the-City convo (and I mean when it was on HBO, not the edited version on E), I'm talking about guilty pleasures that are so silly, that when you confess them, you think that people will laugh and judge. But here I go.

I love shopping at Kohls.

Seriously. My favorite sweater is from Kohls. My guest bath towel is from Kohls (and it's my favorite towel! And it's only for guests! Bad planning!). My workout shoes are from Kohls. Some of my favorite earrings are from Kohls. I still get compliments on a sundress I bought there three years ago.But it can be the downfall of me I(and my bank account). I'll pop in for a gift for my dad and leave with a blender and heels (neither of which are for my dad, let me be clear).

Why isn't Kohls cooler? This store has EVERYTHING!! You can pretty much do all your Christmas shopping in one stop. So as the seasons change, and it's time to update my wardrobe, I will need to stop by my guilty pleasure and stock up. Care to join?

Feb 1, 2011

Musings from a Snow Day

I love snow, I really do. I love not having to go to work, working in comfy clothes, on my couch, with a Teen Mom marathon on in the background. But there are a few things I've realized about working from home on a snow day:

-when you hear that pipes freezing are a serious threat, your first thought is "will I still be able to flush the toilet?"
-you regret adding your number to the "Do Not Call" list, because you miss talking to live people
-while you realize that drinking alone is the first sign of alcoholism, it's also a good way to spice up your typical 10 a.m. coffee break
-The Hangover is always good background noise
-DVR is a lifesaver when a conference call conflicts with a Sex and the City marathon
-You can get lots of laundry done.
-You can clear out your DVR like whoa.
-Your boyfriend will only respond to 1 in 3 texts, b/c he's actually having a productive workday
-Egg Beaters in a mug are an acceptable lunch
-An 8 p.m. bedtime doesn't seem so crazy when you've been in your apartment all day.

Alrighty, I'm sure I'll have more to share since tomorrow is another snowpocalypse. Get excited.

Jan 27, 2011

Child's Play

As I've written before, I love to read and used to read all the time. After using a fellow passenger's Kindle on a flight, I'm now obsessed with e-readers (not sure if I can give up my addiction to bookshelves full of my favorites, but that's another post). So when I heard about a young adult series that women my age were obsessed with, I knew I had to check it out:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I asked my aunt and uncle for the trilogy for Christmas, and luckily they haven't tired of getting me gifts that are too young for me (they've also bought me High School Musical and Glee). So I started the first book a few nights ago, let me give you a rundown:

Set in the future, where the U.S. has long since fallen to natural disasters and rebellions, a new country called Panem now exists. In order to keep citizens in line and from rebelling against harsh restrictions, the Peacekeepers organize the annual Hunger Games, were a teenage boy and girl are selected from each district to fight to the death in a tournament. In the end, one teenager is left standing, and they bring much glory in their home district.

The main character, Katniss, ends up in The Hunger Games when her younger sister is chosen, and she takes her place. That's pretty much all I can offer since I'm not that far into it. I'm strangely drawn to this book. Half the time I'm afraid to turn the page because I don't know what to expect, but I HAVE to turn the page.

I guess I'm on a kick of reading books that make me uncomfortable (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Yay . . .

Jan 5, 2011

The 2000s

I don't think I realized what a momentous occasion NYE 2010 was until I started reading other bloggers' posts about the past decade of their life. It was then that it hit me. The "auts" or whatever the 2000s were called were full of change:

In the past 10 years I:
--had glasses and braces (can you say "hottie")
--learned how to drive, and bought a car
--got drunk for the first time. And then repeated that time infinite. But still, did not happen until this decade.
--danced on a bar
--flew on a plane by myself for the first time (pretty sure my mom cried when she dropped me off)
--met the best friends I will ever have
--became a sorority girl (see above point for why I love this)
--moved into said sorority's house, and felt like I'd won the lottery
--lived alone and completely independently. And loved it.
--had the stereotypical college spring break
--graduated from said college
--got a first job that I love (and still have)
--got into a bad car accident, and totally knew what to do
--fell in love (awww)
--performed onstage (or a football field) many, many times
--was paid to drive a golf cart
--went to 19 weddings
--ran a half-marathon (considering I HATED running, this is huge)
--had the same wonderful dog
--discovered I love veal
--discovered I really like seafood too
--found a favorite book
--had four cell phones and didn't lose any
--visited 23 states

Can't wait to see what the next decade brings.

Bring it on, teens!