Enjoying: this gorgeous Thursday off from work with Jason!  He flies out early tomorrow morning to Breckenridge, Colorado for our friend Corey's bachelor party/weekend getaway/snowboarding trip.  He'll be gone for three days; it's going to be so weird for me because I've never been alone overnight at home since we've lived together.  So crazy!  Today he has to grab a few last minute items for the trip, and I will happily accompany him so we can get out of the apartment together and enjoy this bright, windy day.  Later on this afternoon, I'm going to assist in the bottling process of his second batch of Green Belt Pale Ale and whip up some crockpot pulled pork tacos for dinner!

Working on: saving money!  I would really like to purchase a new MacBook soon.  My current one is slowly dying on me.  It won't even let me view videos because the software I am running is too outdated to update Adobe Flash Player.  I could go out and buy the newer software, but my disc drive has been out of service for a couple of years now and I'm planning on getting a new computer soon anyway.  I'm also trying to sell my iPhone 4 along with four phone cases on eBay so I can upgrade to the iPhone 5.

Listening to: my new favorite band, alt-J.  Thanks to KUTX, I've been hearing a lot of this up-and-coming English quartet, who happen to being playing SXSW this year!  I'm hoping to catch a day party  or two, so maybe I'll stumble upon one of their sets.

Watching: my current guilty pleasure, The Vampire Diaries.  I just cannot get enough of Stefan, Damon, Elena and their crazy dramatic love triangle.  I'm a little over halfway through season three, and I just know I will be super depressed when I've finished it.  The series started off kind of slow, cheesy and uneventful, but now it's actually got a pretty wonderful story-line with highly-developed characters that I've come to love.  I still have my fingers crossed that Ian Somerhalder (Damon) will be cast as Christian Grey ;)  Oh, and last night I watched the 1985 movie Mask and bawled my eyes out until my face was all kinds of red and puffy.  I had seen it before a loonnngg time ago with my dad, and I had remembered it being pretty heavy, but dear lord, I was a mess!  And oddly enough, I rediscovered my love for Eric Stoltz and researched him online for a while after the movie was over.  I didn't realize that he has dated some of the '80s all-time hottest actresses including Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda.  Wowie wow wow!  Smokin' HOT couples alert.

Anyway, I'm off to enjoy my day!  And you should go have a great one yourself :)


So This Is Love.

Love is what makes life divine.
Love is the frosting on the cupcake, the cherry on the sundae and every little beat of the heart.

It's so wonderful and crazy to think that this is my fourth Valentine's day to celebrate with Jason.  Every year we plan something fun and romantic, and it's truly a holiday I get so giddy over.  In 2010, for our very first Valentine's Day as a couple, we went to Palmer's in San Marcos partly because it's pretty much (or at least was) the ritziest restaurant in town and partly because we had never been and were interested to check it out.  Jason gave me a gorgeous silver necklace with a black and white diamond heart-shaped pendant, and I gave him a hand-painted picture frame with a picture of me with our dog Fozzie and cat Hunter.  The next year we celebrated our relationship in New Orleans, one of our favorite getaway spots!  We dined and drank to our hearts content and returned to Austin with a couple of, what I consider to be love-themed, street art pieces from Jackson Square.  For our third Valentine's Day together, Jason treated me to dinner and a movie at one of our favorite local spots, the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar.  For the holiday, the theater hosted a "Princess Bride Valentine's Day Feast" where they showed the classic love story, The Princess Bride, and served a four-course meal with drink pairings.  We had been to one of the Alamo's feasts before for New Year's Eve when they showed The Apartment, and we obviously enjoyed ourselves enough to try out another.  For Jason's gift, I reserved two spots at a Whole Foods cooking class where we learned to make some traditional southern comfort foods.  

This time around Jason was scheduled to work in the evening so we went out to dinner last night at Salty Sow, which I'm pretty positive is my new favorite place ever.  We ordered duck fat fries for an appetizer which were perfectly crisp the way fries should be and served with two soft poached eggs on top and bernaise sauce for dipping.  Jason ordered the candied pork belly, I ordered the petite bone-in fillets medium rare with red wine bone marrow sauce and mushrooms (OH MY YUM!) and we shared the bananas foster beignets for dessert.  Probably one of the best meals I've had in a long time.  I'm not a huge lover of red meat, but I do enjoy a nice bright pink fillet from time to time, especially when it's paired with a magnificent, flavorful sauce like that!  Oh, and if you ever find yourself at this lovely little eatery in east Austin, I highly recommend the house-made blood orange Blanche frozen margarita.  So, so heavenly.  As you can imagine, we were both quite stuffed and happy at the end of the meal.  When we returned home, Jason surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of red roses, a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates and a card in which I found the sweetest handwritten message that got me all teary-eyed!  I got him a couple of Dogfish Head beers, some candy and a sweet little card as well.  

It's such a treat to be so in love with your best friend and to be able to share something so intimate and personal.  No two relationships are the same; each one has its own qualities and reasons for survival.  I feel so lucky to have found love and to have made it to nearly four years with this remarkable guy.  Here's to many more Valentine's Day celebrations with him!

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day to you too!


Playlist Post: February 2013

Ahoy!  I present you with another playlist!  I totally forgot to post one for January, but, in my humble opinion, I believe February's makes up for my brain malfunction.  I think last February I posted a playlist comprised solely of love songs because of Valentine's Day and what not, but I decided not to do that this time around.  There is a healthy mix of old, fresh, electric, mellow, colorful, jazzy, slow-dancey, fast-dancey tunes to feed your every appetite.  So go listen!  Relish in this pure delight to the ears.


Music Haps Making Me Happy

1.  Jason Lytle's Dept. Of Disappearance.  Yeah, I know this album came out last October, but thanks to Austin's new public radio station, KUTX 98.9, I discovered and fell in love with it.  Jason Lytle is pretty much a songwriting genius that has been making music since the early 90s with critically acclaimed group Grandaddy.  The band went to great lengths to try to break through into mainstream muck, but never quite got there so they gave up in 2006.  However, much to my avail, Lytle has continued making music and recording albums so the beauty of his somewhat unconventional sound powers on.

Photo credit Pitchfork.com

2.  Jenny Lewis scoring Very Good Girls.  Jenny Lewis is a timeless beauty with an uncanny ability to write the most relatable songs and belt them out in a way you wouldn't think possible for such a tiny little woman.  She's amazingly talented and gracefully blossoms with each project she takes on throughout the years.  Her latest project involves scoring a new film that just showed at Sundance called Very Good Girls starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen. I can't wait to see it!

Photo credit zimbio.com

3.  SXSW 2013.  It's that magical time of year again...when all the professional hipsters that wished they lived in Austin come visit for a week and a half and leave our beautiful, clean city without so much as a morning-after breakfast or a kiss goodbye.  That was a tad dramatic, but slightly true.  People from all over the world invade Austin and treat it like their personal playground whilst the locals moan and groan about the worsening traffic and downtown congestion.  All of the negative stuff aside, it can be a relatively eventful and fun week if you know how to play it.  Which means don't spend your life savings on a badge or wristband when you can get into plenty of awesome shows and "unofficial" parties for free during the day.  I had to work everyday of the music part of the festival last year so I didn't get to join Jason downtown and partake in some excellent day-drinking, free food, free beverages, free sunglasses and t-shirts and whatever else goes at those events.  Hopefully things work out differently this year and I'm able to get at least one of those days off.  Click here for more info.

Photo credit visual.ly

4.  Two Upcoming Shows at Stubb's.  We are going to see Tame Impala at the end of this month and Grizzly Bear in April!!  Two of my favorite bands, neither of which I have seen before.  So much wonderful live music heading our way makes me one happy girl  :)

5.  Austin Psych Fest.  We have also already purchased tickets for the first day of Austin Psych Fest, which is only growing larger with each year.  This will be the sixth (and the best) one so far.  It's going to take place in late April at Carson Creek Ranch over off of 71 East right on the river, and there are available campgrounds over there for people who refuse to let go of the party.  We, however, will be driving the ten minute drive back to our comfy bed that night.  No camping for us at a music festival ever again.  Not after the "pee foot" incident of Coachella 2010.  No sir.  I am super psyched (hehe) for the performances though.  This will be our third time to see Bass Drum of Death and our first time in the presence of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (!!!!!!), The Soft Moon and Warpaint.  

I am simply overwhelmed.  Music-lovers bliss, my friends.  Pure, unadulterated bliss.




Happiest of Wednesdays, friends!  Now, I thought today would be the perfect day for a catch-up post, and let you all in on what I've been up to over the past week and a half.  As I mentioned before, Jason and I went on a little one-night trip down to San Antonio which is just a little over an hour south of Austin.  As much as we love Austin, it was nice to see some new sites and eat some REAL Mexican food at Acenar on the Riverwalk.  The restaurant was a little ways down the Riverwalk, sort of away from all the hustle and bustle, which was really nice, and we got to sit out on the patio overlooking the river - really relaxing and lovely.  The coconut margarita there is top notch, as well as the fresh fish ceviche and the little-bit-of-everything platter that Jason and I shared.  I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself hungry in San Antonio.  After dinner, we strolled along the river back to our hotel to drop off our leftovers before checking out some bars in our vicinity.  Pat O'Brien's quickly caught our attention because it's a staple on our New Orleans trips.  This location, however, not so much so we found ourselves meandering over to Teddy Roosevelt's old stompin' grounds, The Menger Bar, which was surprisingly super interesting and beautifully constructed with mahogany accents.  Following a few beers, we stumbled upon the Alamo where we took some pictures and read some historical markers/plaques.  Neither of us had been to the Alamo since we were kids so it was neat experience.

A couple of days later, we made our way north to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to visit friends and family.  We got to meet our friends' Chris and Evelyn's new little addition, Nathan, who is absolutely adorable!  I'm so excited to be able to watch him grow into a little gentleman!  We got to spend some quality time with Jason's Uncle Jimmy and his maternal grandmother, and Wednesday night we got to see pretty much the entire family at dinner in Arlington.  I got to meet two of Jason's cousins that I hadn't met before, and it was so nice to be around so much of his family all at once because that's what I'm used to with my large family always getting together.

On the way home from Dallas, we obviously had to stop at the Czech Stop in West for fresh-baked fruit kolaches, and we finally tried Quality Seafood in north central Austin for dinner.  Delicious raw oysters!  Mmm mmm.

Speaking of food, tonight I'm making a healthy version of chicken and broccoli alfredo with a creamy Greek yogurt sauce.  Hopefully it fills and warms our bellies deliciously!  I'll be sure to letcha know.