Sororities and Theme Parties

A natural pair, one might imagine.

Wrong.

Last week my team and I were named finalists for a local PR award. It was to be held at the Junior League of Houston – a place I never though I’d be – let alone invited to – without feeling like a complete fraud and infiltrator.

So I went all out. As they say, when in Rome? Wear pearls.

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I was feeling mighty, mighty fine until I saw the cocktail hour “entertainment.”

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To my chagrin, we were at a theme party. Cash bar, floral wallpaper, and left-behind actors from the Renaissance Festival. Nothing like the theme parties I was never invited to in college (go figure). It was a Freaks and Geeks episode, and all they were missing was the geek. So I obliged and joined them for a picture.

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God has a sense of humor. He reminds me never to get too big for my britches, to graciously accept what I’ve been given (we did end up winning that night) and to wear my humility with a sense of courage that he’s cultivated in me, far beyond what I could muster on my own.

Embrace thy inner geek.

Fancy (Green) Grilled Cheese

I have been eyeing this sandwich on Pinterest for a very long time:

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Finally, I decided to actually make it. Only I’m dumb/extremely lazy, so I basically just went by the pictures instead of reading what all it was made of. By the time I got back from the grocery store I realized I didn’t have ANY of the ingredients for the “Green Goddess Herb Pesto” that’s suppose to go in it. Lord knows I’m not one of those people who keeps fresh herbs on hand. (Though it would be nice to someday be!)

It still turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve made. Here’s my lazy version:

  • Sourdough bread, thinly sliced from the (grocery store) bakery
  • Sliced provolone
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Avocado
  • Goat cheese
  • Real butter

To balance it out/fill the need for pesto, we ate it with some boxed roasted red pepper and tomato soup.

Five minutes.

Muy bueno.

Hooray for lazy people.

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Anniversary Weekend

Since I’m on the subject of being in the moment vs. documenting the moment – here’s just a couple of photos from the “big” anniversary weekend. It was low key, fun, relaxing, and I left my phone and camera behind for most of it.

In other words, basically perfect, and exactly “us.”

The most energetic, dramatic welcome home from my husband dogs/children. 😉

dogsAmazing (and yummy) custom cookies from Kristine’s Kreations, from my amazing husband who planned/commissioned the whole thing without any hints.

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Going for a drive (or forty) in the country (club) – I know, I know, what have I become? We’ll talk about that later…

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Indulging in pretty much the best/worst food on earth, without guilt because hey, it’s a special occasion, right?

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Something worth leaving behind?

I had a conversation with a family friend this past week. Her grandmother kept a journal from the time her own kids were born, through the past twenty years until she passed. Our family friend mentioned this to me when I told her I had been blogging since I was 16, and journaling since… well, since I can remember.

She said what a great and amazing thing it was to have done this, so that someday my kids, grandkids, etc. could look back, read it, and witness their own history.

During this conversation I began to feel little sheepish about the way my blog has been going lately. At some point I’ve gone from real writing to something more saccarine, picture-driven, and without any real, deep thought towards it.

I suppose it’s easier to maintain, and more fun for people to see. Who really reads these days anyways?

Still, there’s a sense of shame in knowing the difference between the things I used to write and the “writing” I have time for now. I’m conflicted by the fact that 1.) This is it. This is the time in my life I wondered about most when I use to really write – pen to paper – and imagine who I was going to end up being. Now I’m that person, and have been completely remise on the introspection it took to get me here. 2.) This is my life. I should be living it. If I spend more time attempting to catalogue the moments than actually living in them, what’s the point?

Where’s the balance?

I think the world got off balance the day we no longer had to take pen (or pencil) to paper. When words ceased to require physical exertion and physical space to be written, their value inflated. Writing real estate online is cheap.

Remember when the film in your camera (first of all, when there was still film in cameras) had a finite number of places to imprint those memories? We were a lot more selective.

To say more with less is the true mark of creating something worth leaving behind.

Food Fest ’13

Oh, Houston. Home of the Brave(necs) and Land of The Free (Food).

When I look back at my iPhone photos from my recent 11-day trip, I find it a little hard to believe I found time to eat all this amazing food while working 10-14 hour days…

At Pistoleros – where the grilled portabella tacos blow your mind, the street corn is spot-on, and the Dos XX is on tap.

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Then on to Ruggles Green…

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…for some hummus, prickly pear cactus juice lemonade, fried goat cheese salad, grilled tofu, and pink velvet cake.

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A quick lunch at Whole Foods

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On to the free – nothing like getting on a VIP list to make you feel all big-city again.

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a little obsessed with the ahi tuna tacos

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Then it was time for pre-opening Friends & Family night for my clients.

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…and a couple of Sugar Land favorites before heading home.

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Le sigh. This is why Houston is fat, and makes no apologies. Who would ever apologize for food this good?

Growing Fonder

As I sit in the airport, waiting to board a plane and meet my husband after an eleven day-long business trip, I’ve realized this is the second longest the two of us have been apart since we’ve been married.

Which, as of tomorrow, will be precisely five years.

As a testament to our love (and the amount of sentimentality I feel at this particular moment) I can honestly say that while absence does make the heart grow fonder – in the way that deprivation causes us to romanticize any number of things – it is sheer amount of togetherness that has made my heart grow stronger, and grow in general.

We’ve made it through 3 years of law school, 1 year of unemployment and now 1 year living away from all our friends and family (and what I previously defined as civilization). We’ve been in close quarters, emotionally and physically, and there were so many opportunities between then and now to turn against each other, but instead I’ve ended up with the best friend I’ve ever known.

What’s funny is I never use to be this way. As a teen, I imagined myself getting married maybe around 30, after I’d had time to accumulate a few cats and make people wonder if it was ever going to happen. I never cried in movies or fantasized about my own wedding as a little girl, and I still have a strong dislike of PDA. These days, I absolutely love weddings. I love love. I love seeing it happen to others, planning for it, celebrating it.

Because, though my life is far from perfect, I wish everyone this kind of joy. Of just knowing, even at 22, that there was no other way to continue living life without this one person. Of finding someone that feels like an extension of yourself, someone that knows every bad, ugly, disgusting thing about you and still thinks you are one of the most amazing people on earth.

And not in the same way your parents love you unconditionally and think your every minor success is worthy of a ticker-tape parade and engraved blocks of marble topped with shiny gold plastic figurines, but in a way that says “I know you’re full of crap right now” or “I can’t believe you just did that” and while filled with disgust, their love and respect and commitment does not diminish from witnessing the messy parts of you, because the good parts are worth it.

So, happy anniversary, to my messy, hilarious, smart, often gross and inappropriate partner in crime. I hope every year of our lives is like the last five. Except maybe with less student loans 😉

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Takeover.

I have one day remaining on the longest business trip I’ve ever taken away from Aaron and the doxies (11 days to be exact). So thankful everything thus far has gone well, and I seriously can’t wait to get home. Not only because Saturday is our FIFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY (can’t believe it) but because I miss my “family.”

Aaron and I try to video chat every couple of days or so, and over the past week it has become obvious that one particular family member misses me the most:

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Yes, eventually it was just Oscar and I. Chatting it up. Using words like “puppy treats,” forcing Aaron to get up and over to the kitchen to deliver on the offer.

Father’s Day Gifts

My dad is the best dad ever. Everyone says so, but they’re all liars. Except my sisters. I could write a whole novel on what makes me right about this, but let’s stick to something Father’s Day-related that can be said in just a few words.

Buying my dad presents is impossible.

Like most, he always says he doesn’t want anything and doesn’t want you to spend money. He says he could use perhaps a new pair of shoes, but will not want to shop for them. Dillard’s gift cards will grow dusty. Expensive items are accepted begrudgingly because the cost (even if he didn’t pay it) is a killjoy for a man raised by depression-era parents.

I’ve learned that the key to the perfect dad gift is to appeal to his values as much as his interests:

  • Value. He cares about getting value for what you pay. IE, paying as little as possible.
  • Wit.  We both share a love of novelty. We’re all about the fun and geekery.
  • Practicality. He’s got that engineer brain.
  • Love. He’s the most genuine person I know in believing it’s the thought that counts.

With these in mind, yesterday I surprised him with the perfect gift (or what I hope is the perfect gift, since I am writing this a week out and scheduling this post in advance…)

  • Awesome Star Wars Yoda Lego clock bought on clearance for 90% off the original price/what people are paying at Target
  • Reusable cups for his Keurig (a Christmas gift he begrudgling accepted, but we all know he loves) so that he can save money by buying ground coffee instead of K-Cups.
  • Inexpensive gift wrap with “handmade” touches

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Serial Killer.

You know how serial killers sometimes keep momentos from each victim? (Think Season 1, Dexter) Well, here are mine. Most of these are dead. Even the ones with the ironic names like “Forever & Ever Azaleas.”  Let’s hope the “Summer Survivors” live up to their name….

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Finishing the Bottle

So, like most of my projects, this resulting blog post really serves more as an incident report than it does as a DIY tutorial.

Either way, here’s what happened:

Started by soaking to get the labels off

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When that only worked on about 30%, I broke out the Goof Off (which I suppose was a poor man’s Goo Gone, since it didn’t work too well) then sacrificed my cute piggy scrubber to finish the job. (I now know that sacrifice was in vain…)

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It deteriorated from there…

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…until finally I brought out the big guns and decided to use my 100% acetone nail polish remover, which worked frighteningly well considering I use this on my own skin.

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Then, after inhaling acetone and Goof Off fumes and downing a couple of glasses of wine, I decided it was the perfect time to read a complicated instruction manual and assemble something requiring sharp objects.

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Eventually, it was time.

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After running the hot water, the cold water, the hot water again and observing nothing but a small, incomplete crack, I began to observe a similar crack in my psyche, which led me to lightly tap semi-slam the bottle against a towel on the countertop, which resulted in what you see below.

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Round 2 – Perrier bottle

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Perfection. Which by this time my overworked, slightly inebriated brain decided that this was me getting the hang of things, and not what I later realized was incredible beginner’s luck.

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Attempts three through six. Abysmal.

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Apparently, there’s really no way (that I can find) to ensure that the glass cracks along the score line all the way around.

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Results? Annoyance, and a lot of recyclables.

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Lessons learned:

  1. This guy doesn’t know what the fudge he is talking about
  2. When the man says hot, what he actually means is boiling. If you think you can just brew up a cup of plain hot water in your keurig, you would be wrong. Or something.
  3. When he says cool water, what he actually means is practically ice. Which is super easy, when your fridge doesn’t have an ice maker and you really don’t feel like thawing all your frozen smoothie fruit.
  4. On the instruction manual for the glass cutter, they’re realllll serious about making sure you have a right angle before scoring the glass. And by right angle, they mean impossibly perfect angle that takes infinite adjusting so the sharp end doesn’t just slide dully across the glass.
  5. There’s a lot more to making this DIY work. Or else the secret is Perrier bottles, because that was the only one that turned out. Since I bought the Perrier on a fluke and didn’t even like it, the world may never know.

Treasure Hunting

Every single thing in this blog post added together was less than $35:

3 shirts, $4 total.

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shirt, Banana Republic wool pencil skirt, $7 total

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Two craft supplies grab bags, $6

(Grab bag also came with 20 scrapbook pages perfect for my project, plus more seam binding and elastic bands than I know what to do with. Granted, any amount of seam binding is more than I know what to do with. Might have to ask my friend Dixie DIY if she wants any of this….)

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Juicer, $1.29

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Butcher block knife holder (perfect for lamp-making) $1.49DSC_0957

Solid wood mail center, $12

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Now, I can hear my husband in my head right now saying “you paid too much,” but I’m in love with everything above.