A Delicious Meal with a Side of Embarrassment

Yesterday evening we enjoyed Jason's valentine's gift from me - two spots in a Whole Foods cooking class called 'Taste of the South.'  It was a first for both of us, and we left extremely satisfied with intent to return sometime soon.  The menu consisted of the creamiest chicken & dumplings ever, a wedge salad with homemade buttermilk dressing, braised spring onions, marinated veggies, black eyed pea salad and buttermilk biscuits.  With the exception of our biscuits, everything turned out beautifully.  I think we used a little too much flour when forming our biscuits, so they turned out a tad dry, but I am more than willing to give them another go.  I highly recommend one of these classes if you enjoy cooking.  They have tons of options from knife skills 101 to sushi demonstrations.

After the class, we met up with my friend Rachel and some others on 6th Street as a way to say goodbye to her because she's moving back to Fort Worth.  At last call, I got pretty emotional with the realization that one more friend is moving away.  So today I'm paying for my bad decisions of last night, but it's okay because I have nothing to do anyway and can just lay on the couch all day listening to the soothing voice of Jesse Lacey.  

The one time I saw Brand New live it was at La Zona Rosa here in Austin, and I left severely disappointed because it didn't even seem like they wanted to be there.  They just got on stage, played their set and got off without a thank you or any commentary between songs.  Who knows, maybe they were having a bad night.  I just found this video of Jesse Lacey performing my favorite song of theirs, "Coca Cola."  It's a little shaky, but I really like what he has to say in the beginning.  I wish he would have been like this when I saw them a couple of years ago.


More Music Please

photo credit: www.thelineofbestfit.com

I've been hooked on this song for about a week now, so I thought I'd share it with you.  Big Deal was a showcasing artist this year at SXSW and for a good reason.  For just being a band of two, they have got a powerfully mesmerizing sound.  Enjoy.




Happy Monday, kiddies.

I'm still obsessing over The Kills, this song especially:


A Delightful Treat

Sweet, sweet babies.  You just don't understand my relationship with Oreo cookies.  It may seem silly that I'm writing a blog entry about a snack, but as I was dipping them in milk and enjoying every bite just a few minutes ago, I started thinking about 100 years.  March 6th was their 100th anniversary.  It's just so crazy to me that people were eating Oreos back in 1912.  Did they dip them in milk or have a weird way of eating them as the commercials encourage?  I just can't imagine it.  This led me to google search Oreos.  According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Oreos were first produced by Nabisco in their Chelsea factory in New York!  How hip is that?  They are the absolute coolest cookies ever, being born in NYC and all.  Oreos have had seven different shapes and thirty-seven flavors over time.  Some of these flavors include GREEN TEA Oreos (in China and Japan) and Blueberry Ice Cream Oreos (in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand).  CRAZY.  These limited edition Birthday Cake Oreos are amazing, and I highly suggest you buy them before they're gone.  The cream filling is birthday cake flavored and has sprinkles.  Prepare to be in love.

Thank you for reading through that pointless post.



New Orleans Trip With My Love

It's so hard to believe Jason and I have been together for two and a half years already, and that this was our THIRD trip to New Orleans!  Just boggles my brain.  So the trip was fantastic as always.  We both agree that it's so funny when people ask us why we go to New Orleans, because we are absolutely head-over-heels in love with the city.  We can't understand why you wouldn't want to go to New Orleans.  Yeah, it might have a slight aroma of vomit, urine and trash in some places, but it just has this inexplicable energy and character that is unmatched, in my opinion.  Now, with that said, I have never been out of the U.S. so I'm sure my opinion would slightly change had I ventured out to Europe or Thailand.  But, as far as cities in the U.S. go, NOLA is tops, and I've been to A LOT of places in this country, lemme tell ya.  San Francisco and NYC are runners-up for me though.

So, our trip:  We left Austin early Monday morning, and after a mostly painless eight and a half hour drive, we arrived in New Orleans around 6 p.m.  It has turned into tradition that we go eat at our favorite crescent city restaurant on the night of our arrival- Cafe Giovanni.  Our first trip to NOLA was for my birthday back in 2010, and as a birthday gift, my dad made us reservations at this place and took care of our bill.  He told me to make sure we didn't get too crazy (this place is a bit pricey), but to make sure we each got a couple of beverages, an appetizer, entrees and dessert.  DONE.. you don't have to tell me twice, father of mine.  Haha.  Needless to say, we adored the food, the romantic Italian ambiance and the piano-accompanied Opera singers.  Now it's a treat we look forward to each trip.

We have stayed at a different hotel each time we've visited New Orleans.  The first time, we stayed outside of the French Quarter at an EconoLodge purely for "economic" reasons.  Go figure.  It was an awful experience mainly due to transportation issues.  We had to take a cab pretty much anywhere we went which ended up costing us way more than we had expected because all of the cabbies played us and tried to act like they didn't know where anything was!  The second time, we learned from our mistakes and decided to cough up the extra money to actually stay in the Quarter so we could just walk everywhere.  Thanks to my Aunt Kandace's recommendation, we chose Place D'Armes, a 200 year old gem located right on Jackson Square.  I loved its antique charm and history and it was so close to everywhere we wanted to go.  This time we picked Iberville Suites on Iberville and Dauphine on the edge of the Quarter.  It reminded a great deal of the hotel I work at- wow factor in the lobby and hallways, but the rooms themselves could use a little somethin'.  But, because I work in the hotel industry, I refrained from whining and complaining and just enjoyed my stay.  After all, the bed was pretty comfy and the shower pumped out hot water so I had little room to complain.

Back to the trip:  So Monday night we ate at the magnificent Cafe Giovanni, then headed out for a touristy night on the town (aka Bourbon Street).  The next morning we started the day off right with a delicious breakfast at Stanley on Jackson Square.  I ordered the Eggs Benedict Poor Boy which I highly recommend if you find yourself out there.  That afternoon we found ourselves watching a terribly cheesy IMAX film called Hurricane on the Bayou followed by lunch at The Gumbo Shop.  After a much-needed nap, we ventured back out into Quarter for yet another meal; this time at Drago's for their famous charbroiled oysters which were to-die-for.  That night we decided to check out some smaller dive bars outside of Bourbon Street so we stumbled into a couple of Yelp-worthy joints such as The Chart Room (super cheap drinks) and Boondock Saint (corny name, friendly service).  Our last full day in New Orleans was a bit of a tragedy as it rained the entire day.  But, we had packed our umbrellas so we didn't let the weather slow us down too much.  Wednesday, we found ourselves trudging through rain puddles, having lunch at Desire Oyster Bar at the Royal Sonesta, record shopping at Peaches Records and taking some time to dry off before going out to Market Cafe for pre-dinner cocktails.  Later in the evening, we wandered outside of the Quarter to R Bar down Royal Street, a more "local" bar that reminded us of some of our favorite bars here in Austin.  We finished off our night by sharing a monstrous deli sandwich called 'All That Jazz' that we picked up at a mini mart.  On Thursday morning we said our goodbyes and hit the highway back to home sweet home.

Basically our trip consisted of eating, drinking, more eating and more drinking, which is exactly the way we wanted it.  :)

Bourbon Street

Dueling Pianos at Pat O'Brien's

Hand Grenades

Mermaid hair...on a man. jealous.

Eggs Benedict Poor Boy at Stanley

some artwork outside of the W Hotel

a crazy tree net
walking in the rain

Pretty chandelier at R Bar


Happy Leprechaun Day!

Happy Saint Patty's Day!  I'm doing a little celebrating myself...me and Wolverine that is.  It's kind of funny how much I've always liked this holiday.  I am partially Irish, mostly Scottish, but that isn't really why I like it.  I remember when I was very young, one weekend I was visiting my grandparents, and we went to the grocery store and my eyes were immediately attracted to this section full of Saint Patrick's Day decorations and treats.  I simply mentioned that I liked the stuff, and before I knew it, my grandma was buying me green-frosted cupcakes and shamrock crepe paper.  I decided I was going to have a Saint Patty's Day party and invite all of my friends.  Pretty sure everyone ended up being too busy to come over, so I was left with 12 cupcakes and shamrock decorations all for myself....not too shabby.   :)

I'm currently just hanging out at home making shredded BBQ chicken in the crockpot, drinking my green beer and constructing a playlist for our nine hour road trip to New Orleans in a couple of days.  Jason's downtown in the madness partaking in the festival that I am surrounded by everyday at work and did not feel the need to be a part of this year.  However, right now as I read people's Facebook statuses and see the pictures all over Twitter, I do kinda wish I were there sweating my brains out and whining about the annoyances around me.  Ah well, the choice was mine to make.

How are you celebrating this fine Irish holiday?  I hope happiness, alcohol and little green men are involved.



Quick Visit to New Braunfels/Gruene

I had a blast yesterday and this morning visiting my Aunt Kelley, Uncle Steve, my cousins Kirby and Keller, and all of Uncle Steve's family in New Braunfels, a small town located on the Guadalupe River about an hour south of Austin.  Aunt Kelley texted me a few days ago to let me know they were all coming up from the Houston area to stay at a rental house on the river for their Spring break vacation and that I was welcome to come out for a visit.  I conveniently had yesterday and today off from work, so of course I accepted the invitation!

My Aunt Kelley and Uncle Steve have been together since they were in middle school!  It's the most incredible love story ever.  They grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same schools, and they began dating as preteens.  Uncle Steve's family relocated to Durango, Colorado when they were in high school, so they were forced to break up.  He sent my aunt tear-stained letters from Durango because he missed her so much!  Years past and Aunt Kelley was engaged to someone else shortly after college when low and behold, Uncle Steve moves back to Texas.  Of course, she broke off her engagement to that other guy to marry my uncle, and the rest is history.  So sweet!  Our (me and Aunt Kelley's) family and Uncle Steve's family have always been very close, so his family feels like my family- I've grown up seeing his sisters (Karen, Sharon and Becky) as my aunts, and they even used to babysit me when I was little.  So it was wonderful to get to see and spend time with all of them and each of their own families.

We shopped around the Historic Gruene District (a neighbor-town to New Braunfels) where there are antique shoppes and wineries a-plenty (aka- HEAVEN for me)!  We saw some antique rotary dial telephones, identical to a couple that Nana still has, selling for $90!  Outrageous.  Why does that stuff HAVE to be so pricey?  Yeah, yeah increase of value or whatever.  After we'd worn all the menfolk out with shopping, we went back to the house and lounged around watching the kids (and a few adults) run around the yard playing volleyball, kayaking in the river and shaking our heads in disapproval as my teenage cousin Keller hesitated for about 15 minutes before jumping off a rope swing into the not-so-deep water.

Things got a little crazier after the sun went down.  Drinks were poured, jello shots were taken, card and dice games were played and music was cranked.  Fun fun fun.  And all before 11 pm! haha



I just couldn't resist.  Today some coworkers and I discussed our love for George Harrison and his quirky lifestyle, so I just knew I had to post a song by my favorite Beatle.  Enjoy :)


Sunday Currently

me with my new hair & smokin' hot wolf shirt

Obsessing over:  Tattoos still.  I have GOT to quit talking about it and just do it already!  I know I'm annoying you because I'm definitely annoying myself.  I got my first tattoo at True Blue in downtown Austin, and although I love it and Jose did great work, I decided to research other shops in Austin and peruse a variety of online galleries.  Alas, nothing beats True Blue.  Just check out their website and see for yourself.  I read lots of reviews on Yelp about Rachel and her precision and perfection with shading, so I'm thinking I want her to do my next, which will prrrooobably be the victorian cameo on my forearm.

Working on:  Getting better at being fake-nice.  It's simply something you have to master when you work in the hospitality industry.  Especially during busy peaks like the one we're experiencing now.  It amazes me the things people think I care about.  I REALIZE you have to be downtown in ten minutes, but how is this MY fault and WHY are you yelling at me like I should hire a horse-drawn carriage to come pick your ass up?!  Oh, SXSW, you kill me.

Thinking about:  The lasagna I just put in the oven.  It smells overwhelmingly inviting.

Anticipating:  The end of SXSW and the demise of everyone attending it.

Listening to:  Widowspeak!  New favorite band for sure.  I just stumbled across them on Spotify one day and have been enchanted ever since.

Eating:  Well...about to eat Lasagna and caesar salad.  Yum yum.

Wishing:  It were the 19th, and we were on our way to New Orleans already!  

Peace & blessin's.



Weekend Links

Hello all.  Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday evening.  Aside from work, I have been inside my home, bundled in blankets on the couch all afternoon/night.  It's been a rainy couple of days in Austin, but I don't mind it one bit.  Rain is so comforting to me.  There's just something wonderfully calm in knowing you're safe and warm inside while it's windy, wet and cold on the outside.

I just have a couple of chapters left to read in Michael Ian Black's latest book, You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations.  It is such an easy, hilarious read!  I am loving every second of it.  If you don't already follow him on Twitter, you seriously should because reading his book is like reading a slew of his ridiculously funny-but-true tweets.  It was such a pleasure to get to hear him speak in person, and after reading his book, I feel like he's one of my good friends because he's so incredibly open and humble.

Courtesy of mediadecay.com
So, I just have a few links for you to check out.  I wasn't really on top of things this week due to high levels of stress regarding SXSW and the work world, but here's what I could muster up:

This video is kind of old news, but if you haven't seen it, check it out.  So cute!

These jelly pies on Katie's blog look and sound so scrumptious.

Thanks to Danielle, I've started reading this adorable new blog and can't wait to see what these two post next.

I tried this copycat recipe of the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes from The Cheesecake Factory, and they turned out really well!  They weren't as good as when someone else makes them for you, but Jason and I managed to both clean our plates.

These Lemony Cream Cheese Pancakes sound simply divine!

How cute is this tuxedo sweater?  Love MARC by Marc Jacobs.


Enjoy the rest of your night & don't forget to move your clocks up one hour for daylight savings time!



We Are Alone.

Good morning, ladies & gents.  At least, it's morning right now as I type this...it may not be to you now as you read.  Anyway, there are just a few things I felt like chatting about on this gloomy day.  (It's about to start raining at any moment here in Austin.)

First of all, the new Alamo Drafthouse location on Slaughter Lane is in the process of training their new servers so, this week, they're showing films that are almost out of theaters or about to be available on DVD and Blu-ray for just $2!  Yesterday afternoon Jason and I went to see Melancholia and check out the new location.  When you first walk inside the building, your eyes are immediately attracted to the awesome 'Alamo' sign above the ticket counter/box office.  It's made to look like it's cracked in half and the top is falling off to the side, sort of how the Titanic looked in vertical position as it was beginning to sink and people were sliding down it.  But the coolest parts of the sign are these eel-like green monsters coming out of the wall behind the sign.  These monsters are actually coming out of all of the walls in the main lobby area of the theater.  Pretty schweet.  However, that's pretty much the coolest part of the lobby area.  Other than that, it resembles your run-of-the-mill Cinemark or Tinseltown unfortunately.  It just doesn't have that Alamo Drafthouse character that you get at the other locations.  Inside of the actual theater where you watch the film looks pretty much the same though, except for one change of design.  Instead of long, counter-like tables that barricade everyone in which is sucky if you suddenly have to pee because you have to crawl under the table/counter (bad for dresses, skirts, tall people and/or those who do not like touching a dirty cinema floor), they decided to go with individual tables per every two seats.  This is much better because now there's a gap through which to exit when you feel you've completely filled your bladder with whatever beer was on the "Badass Tap" that night.

The menu is the same as the one at South Lamar, aside from a few different beverage options.  I tried the Circle Brewing Texas Hefe, a safe choice because I'll drink any Hefeweizen.  Jason ordered a pint of the Jester King rotating, but was sorely disappointed when he was served a barley wine, Old Guardian.  We brushed it off though since it was just the third day of training for the new hires.  We were both pretty happy with the large popcorn we shared, drizzled with melted butter and sprinkled with parmesan and romano cheeses.  Yum!

Photo credit: magpictures.com/melancholia
About the film, Melancholia.  I absolutely loved it.  It is by far one of the most emotional, as well as
one of the most beautiful, films I've ever seen.  It focuses on Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and their not-so-great relationship, mostly due to Justine's manic depression.  The severity of Justine's disease parallels the threat to life on Earth as the small, blue planet Melancholia moves closer and closer to our atmosphere.  My only complaints are that it is a little slow-moving at times, and I feel some things aren't explained quite as well as they could be.  However, it is breathtaking, though-provoking and extremely powerful, especially in the final moments.

Photo credit:  magpictures.com/melancholia



Okay, this is absurdly cool.  This combines one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time ("Knocked Up" by Kings of Leon) and one of my favorite artists, the lovely Lykke Li.  I was blown away when I came across this version.  The lyrics are sweetly enchanting and Lykke does a great job of giving the original a nice twist while still preserving the intended reality and mood of the song.  She's a genius.


p.s. - Love the tambourine! 



Obsessing over:  The amazing weather we've been experiencing!  Spring is here indeed.  Although Fall is by far my favorite season, I can deal with Spring.  The temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees with sunshine and cool breezes.  Plus, I love that there's little to no humidity in Austin.  Just one more reason to adore my city :)

Working on:  My health/fitness.  I'm serious this time, guys!  With all of the super cool fitness apps for iPhone (check out the Nike Training app!), a nice apartment fitness center literally footsteps from my front door and a beautiful park with lots of hiking trails right next to my complex, I have absolutely NO excuse.    I'm staying away from sugary drinks and trying to eat less red meat and enriched grains, so we'll see what happens.

Thinking about:  An Evening with Michael Ian Black - an event Jason and I are attending tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse!  For those who don't know of him, he's a hilariously dry comedian who has appeared in shows such as The State, Stella and Michael and Michael Have Issues.  He was also in the 2001 comedy Wet Hot American Summer about a Jewish summer camp.  If you have a Twitter account, you should definitely follow him - @michaelianblack.  I promise you'll be slapping your knee in no time.  So anyway, he's going to be at the drafthouse tonight and they're showing some of his best clips from the stuff he's been in AND everyone's getting a copy of his new book!  I cannot wait.

Anticipating:  Our trip to New Orleans in a couple weeks!  This will be our third visit to the Crescent City, and we're both so excited.  We've already made reservations at our favorite restaurant in the French Quarter, Cafe Giovanni.  We always eat there the first night of the trip as a way to kick off the fun!  

Listening to:  Blitzen Trapper.  If you haven't listened to this band - you must.  They are magnificent song writers and storytellers.  I know they'll be playing a few different shows at SXSW next week, so I'm really hoping I get a chance to see them at some point.  

Eating:  Cookies!  The other night I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies which were gone almost as quickly as the time they took to bake.  And I always keep a package of Oreos in the pantry...bad, i know.  I just can't help it!  I'm a sucker for cookies, especially with a glass of milk.  Irresistible.

Wishing:  People were nicer sometimes.  Today at work I witnessed a man talk down to one of my coworkers, and it just made me sick to my stomach.  There is nothing i hate more than when a person treats another like the trash they walk on.  It's so disrespectful and uncalled for.  People make mistakes, but nothing's beyond repair.  Now, lighten up and move on.

Now, time to get ready for an evening with MIB!  Thanks for taking the time to read my Currently post.



Weekend Links

This week has been fairly calm for me.  I'm quite thankful though because the chaos of the South by Southwest Interactive, Film & Music Festival will soon be invading the city.  I'm looking forward to it, don't get me wrong, but it is a slight burden when it comes to my job.  I work at a very busy hotel just about a mile south of downtown and we provide shelter to many, many SXSW participants and attendees.  The fun begins March 9.  I have yet to know my days off during the festival, but I definitely plan on attending some of the shows and free parties, especially the ones with free food & drinks!  Each year, a day-long show is held at Auditorium Shores, at South 1st Street & Lady Bird Lake.  They haven't announced who all is playing it yet, aside from Counting Crows.  Last year we got to see The Strokes play which was pretty fabulous.  It was our second time seeing them live, and although their shows have been short, they always put on a good performance.

I have the day off today, but unfortunately Jason had to go in, so I've just been lounging around the apartment with my furry little loves.  We've got the windows open, taking in some of this warm March air.  It's almost warm enough for a dip in the pool, but my body is so not ready for that yet!

I found this awesome fitness website full of encouragement and weight loss tips.

It's always fun to see Katie's outfits and hairstyles.  She's just so inspiring.

How cool does this vintage-inspired bar look?  I can't wait to check it out.

Mmmm!  A butterbeer recipe, finally.  I first tried one of these delish drinks at Alamo Drafthouse as part of their Harry Potter menu specials.

I love this idea for a quick, single-serving piece of cake to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Easy recipe for apple dumplings.  Yum!

Banana Republic is showcasing their Mad Men Collection once again...bye bye monthly savings.  I especially love this white eyelet dress.

I am absolutely using this Beginner's Guide to Running.  I've got to get running on my good side once and for all.

Well, it's back to work for me tomorrow, but to all who are not slaving away tomorrow, have a super weekend!



Playlist Post: March 2012

a recent photo, taken last night actually
Hi guys!  I worked on this playlist a little last night and just finished it up this morning.  I realize this playlist is heavily influenced by my recent taste - rap, hip hop, club remixes, etc.  It's a little different than the music I usually post and/or blog about, but it's a perfect reflection of what I've been enjoying these days, so I hope you like it anyway.

Because I used playlist.com to make a playlist and share it on here, they don't always have the exact songs from my original playlists I make on Spotify, so I'm going to post my original track list in addition to the playlist.com tracks so you can check out my original picks on your own.

My Original 'March 2012' Track List:
1.  Show Me Love (Stonebridge Club Mix) - Robin S
2.  Light It Up - Blood Red Shoes
3.  Never Stops - Deerhunter
4.  Modern Art - Black Lips
5.  Kill Me (Toxic Avenger Remix) - Make The Girl Dance
6.  Fireworks - Animal Collective
7.  Rack City - Tyga
8.  Plage - Crystal Fighters
9.  Mr. Rager - Kid Cudi
10.  Awesome (feat. The Cool Kids) - The Bloody Beetroots
11.  Dory - Grizzly Bear
12.  Erase Me - Kid Cudi, Kanye West
13.  Mind, Drips (Neon Indian cover) - Jesse Woods
14.  The Annexation of Puerto Rico - Pepper Rabbit
15.  Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover) - Widowspeak
16.  Thug - Slim Thug

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