Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Randoms

Last night I checked out a new restaurant, with a couple of girlfriends, that just opened around the corner from my apartment. The service was impeccable- any time a waiter will let me try two different wines before ordering a glass gets a thumbs up on my in book-- and the food delicious. If you live in the Austin area, I recommend checking out the Foxhole Culinary Tavern in North Austin. I had a delicious Pinot Noir and flat bread pizza with fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes.

Yesterday I also finished one of my summer reading books, Swimsuit, by James Patterson. It was just meh. I find Patterson can be hit or miss. Sometimes I'll pick up one of his books in an airport and finish it before I land. Two examples of this would be Beach Road and Honeymoon. But Swimsuit reminded me of a weak thriller written by Danielle Steel. A little too much glam and a weak plot ending.

Speaking of books, something crazy happened on Tuesday evening. I walked into Half Price Books and only left with one new book. I think the self restraint had to do with my existing bookshelf with about 20 books I have not started yet. I really shouldn't buy anymore books until I finish my summer reading list.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Just Hit Publish

Lately I find myself writing a lot of draft blog posts and then not publishing them. It pretty much started after myself, this blog, and lifestyle bloggers were bashed on social media by someone I knew. I started being more aware of how people can be critical of lifestyle bloggers. I worried anything I wrote would be taken out of context or the wrong way. And quite frankly, it feel crappy. The joy I took in blogging faded. Sure I kept blogging, but my heart just hasn't been in it as much as usual.

But quite frankly,  I'm not sure who appointed any one individual to deem what is 'good content' on a personal blog, but it has been effective in making me less willing to open up on here. And I'm not just talking about the incident I would like to forget I mentioned above. Just this past week I read an article on the Huffington Post making fun of lifestyle bloggers, and quite frankly, I got really annoyed.

The blogs I love to read the most-- they don't have a gazillion readers, they are not aiming for social media fame, lots of web traffic, or income. They share photos from their iPhones and don't worry about everything looking perfect in a post. These bloggers are ordinary, yet special people, who just write about their every day lives with no ulterior moment. How grand is that? No motive other then to share whats is on your mind. And the freedom to do so because of a wonderful thing called a blog.

So today, I'm saying enough. Enough worrying about who reads my blog. Enough worrying about if something I post is taken the wrong way. Enough of holding back with y'all.

And so today, I'm sharing a post I wrote recently with a bunch of different thoughts, but was scared to publish. Well f' that. I'm sharing. And I am humbled that anyone out there may read it.
I start grad school soon and there is a tiny bit of doubt that I'm working to ease. Just a slight twinge in the back of my head questioning if this is right choice, that a two year commitment will be worth it, and that my future will be bettered by this journey.

But then about think about some dreams I have. Like moving somewhere a little off the beaten track. Find a nice little farmhouse, in a small little town, maybe get a small farm-- where I can grow my own food, not see neighbors outside my window, and not be so dependent on city conveniences. A place where the small things in life are appreciated: like a back porch swing, the beauty of flowers and vegetables growing in a garden, and the spectacular way a sun rises over a newly plowed field.

But I know in order to achieve my dreams, I will have to work a little harder than I am right now to achieve them. This master's degree will give me the freedom to work just about anywhere. It will provide even more financial security and peace of mind. I will be doing something that helps people and makes a difference. Those are all good things to keep in mind.

I've also been giving a lot of thought about marriage and family. I find it harder to swallow the single pill as I get older. I start wondering if children will ever be in my deck of cards. If there will be one man I settle down with and spend the rest of my life with and really ever experience true love. I am careful not to dwell on this topic for too long, as it can be a real Debbie Downer, but the negative thoughts do pop into my head sometimes, and usually at a really inconvenient moment. Like when I'm shopping in Marshall's and pass the children's books or baby clothes section. Getting choked up in a discount store is not my idea of a good time. But it has happened recently. Low point.

I could also probably chalk all this stinking thinkin to some good ol' fashioned summertime blues. Here is Texas we are about to enter the HOT portion of the summer. For the next few weeks it will a scorcher and even being in a pool or in the lake doesn't make it easier.

I think I'm ready for cooler weather, fall decorations, and sipping hot chocolate in a sweater.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Recap

Friday Night: A date that may rank as one of my top bad ones of all time. I was happy to high tail it out of there and go home. I deleted my online profile on POF and will not be using that site ever again.

One of my sweet guy friends invited me out for a drink afterwards, to bid away my dating woos, but I declined, and was content to go home and get a good nights sleep.

Saturday: I slept until 10am, which felt great. I then met a friend for a cappuccino and some girl talk.

Afterwards we went shopping. I found a couple of new lace shift dresses at Ross, along with a stripped Calvin Klein blouse. A couple stores later and I had scored a cute striped dress and pair of shorts from Old Navy. But the best find of the day was a dress for my brother's wedding, found at Nordstrom Rack. 

Confession: this was my first time visiting a Nordstrom Rack. It was really crowded and I had to dig the racks, which isn't always my cup of tea, but it ended up being worth it. Check out the $200 dollar dress I picked up for $29.98! I'm really insecure about my arms and I love that this is a a formal dress with a 3/4 length sleeve. Problem area hid!

At first I wasn't sure if it was a little too dark for my brother's outdoor wedding, but after adding a new statement necklace from Sam Moon and pair of black heels- I knew I had a winner. PS: it has pockets which I find totally charming.

After a six hour shopping marathon, I was beat. So I did something I hate to do-- sent my last minute regrets to a friend hosting his birthday party that evening. I opted to stay in and enjoyed some of my favorite Pinot Noir, grilled steak, and two Redbox movies. It was the most relaxing Saturday night I've had in forever and just what I needed. Incidentally, Heaven is for Real was pretty good and Winter's Tale was not.

Sunday:  I woke up early and pursued my Pinterest boards for recipes. I was hosting some friends for our Fantasy Football draft and wanted to try out a couple of football foods for future gatherings. Here's what I picked:

All three were super easy to put together, budget friendly (if you have most of the staples), and have been added to my must have football party foods. The Ham and Cheese sliders are out of this world.  Links to recipes below. Note: I don't do miracle whip or minced onions on sandwiches-- so I used mayo instead and omitted the onions for the sliders.

***And not pictured, but necessary for any football gathering:  Sweet Tea. Now I know everyone has their own way of making this southern staple, but here's how I do mine. Put water into a large pot- I measure the water in the pitcher I am going to use, leaving room for my simple syrup (about 2 cups). Cook on high heat until almost about boil. Remove from heat and add three large Lipton Ice Tea bags (that's right Lipton, I personally prefer it over Luzianne- gasp!). Let the tea steep for 12 minutes. While the tea bags are steeping, combine 2 cups of boiling water (from a tea kettle but you could microwave it) with 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix until the sugar has dissolved, resulting in a simple syrup. Remove the tea bags from the pot and stir in the simple syrup mixture. Let this sit and cool before pouring into a glass pitcher or the heat may crack or break the glass. I let mine sit for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. I then pour the tea into the pitcher and place in fridge until ready to serve. ***

Around 1:30 my friends came over and we entered draft mode. Fantasy football has really made me love the NFL and fantasy football is a lot of fun to play with friends. I did a lot of research this year and was ready to go when it started. 

Two hours later, a lot of smack talk, and the teams were drafted. We then took to the pool for an afternoon swim before calling it a day.

I ended the evening with reruns of Downton Abbey Season 3-- I simply never tire of the show.

How was your weekend?