Saturday Link Lovin'

It's been a while since I've shared some links with you guys, so I figured today would be a good day to indulge you with some interweb goodies I have been accumulating.  


Swooning over this DIY Doily Wall Art.  Doilies are Victorian-cute & very classy!

Another DIY project on my list to try --> Vintage Vinyl Record Dessert Stand

A tale of three UO sweaters I want in my closet: one, two, three.

Two recipes I'm excited to try: Fried fish sandwiches & lemon meringue waffles.

I entered to win a $25,000 Dream Vacation to Spain & Venice presented by Travel + Leisure and American Express.  You should enter too!

Speaking of travel, here are the Best Apps & Websites for travelers.

Cool article about a Harlem restaurant that's made up, almost entirely, of vintage & recycled materials.

New album from noise-rock duo, Sleigh Bells, out very soon!

How to live like a local in Austin.  I like to think I already do...

ACL Fest will be here before we know it! You definitely want to get acquainted with local one-man-band, Shakey Graves.  He's playing the second weekend of the festival!  Watch the video of his performance of "Roll The Bones."  I promise it will blow your mind.


10 Desserts under 150 calories!


Happy Last Day of August to you!  Make the best of it!



Weekend Happenings

As you probably know, I work at a hotel so I don't work a typical Monday through Friday 8 to 5 schedule.  In fact, my schedule is a little all over the place.  I am off two days each week, just like everybody else, but my two days off are different each week depending on the needs/occupancy of the hotel.  It can be a little frustrating at times because most of my friends live in other cities and work during the week, so if I ever want to see them, I pretty much have to request to be off on Saturday and Sunday which is highly frowned upon at work.  It's a struggle I really don't enjoy, but it's important to see my besties every now and then, so I do it.  On the other hand, it's sometimes nice to have weekdays off because I can get my grocery shopping and errands done while mostly everyone else is working, so I don't have to deal with insane crowds and lines on Saturdays and Sundays.

The past two days were my weekend, and today is my Monday.  I go back to work this afternoon, and I'll work the next four days before I'm off again, and we leave for our much-anticipated trip to the PNW!  Work isn't so bad when there's a beautiful light beaming at the end of the tunnel.

Here's a little about my weekend:

On Wednesday, as per every 8 weeks, I got my hair trimmed and highlighted by Temera at J. Coco Salon & Day Spa.  I got my usual blonde streaks, but this time, since we're easing into Fall, I decided to get some copper streaks as well.  I'm really liking the dimensional color so far.  My hair holds red coloring really well since my natural color is a reddish-brown auburn.

After my hair appointment, I stopped by Old Navy to say hi to Jason and do some browsing.  I happily left with a sweet little denim capped sleeve dress, some fall-colored knee-high socks and some sunglasses on clearance.

I also ventured up north to the Domain to actually shop there for the first time.  I had been only once before just to meet some friends for dinner.  I went specifically to check out the new-ish H&M store, and to seek out a denim jacket for our trip since the high temperatures are in the 70s-80s up there and just to wear for Fall in general.  On my walk from the parking garage to H&M, I just HAD to go in Anthropologie and Altar'd State.  It would be silly to pass by them without a little peek, you know.  Of course, everything in both stores was WAY out of my price range, but I'll keep dreaming.  I did happen to find a super cute denim jacket at H&M, in addition to a light chambray shirt and a skinny hot pink belt.

That night, Jason made BBQ burgers for dinner, and we finished watching season one of Orange Is the New Black.  I'm super excited for season two!  That ending was wild...

Yesterday was a day of grocery shopping, wine drinking, making fun of my cats "bathing" themselves, watching Rocky Horror Picture Show and baking.  Oh, what's that?  You wanna know what I baked?  Just call me the Queen of French Macarons because, although some of them cracked, they came out pretty swell and crazy scrumptious!  Many thanks to Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky for providing the inspiration to try making these adorable, finicky little treats.

Overall, it was a really nice, relaxing weekend.  I feel pretty refreshed, and I'm actually looking forward to work tonight.  Mainly because I know I only have five days of it until my VACATION!

For those of you with "normal" work schedules, Happy Friday, and I hope you have a great weekend!



Found Treasures

I was going through pictures on my computer and came across these few snapshots from this past Mothers' Day.  I guess I had forgotten to share them on my post from that day.  This sweet little moment was captured early on in the day when Aunt Kandace (left in the picture) and Mikki (right) were showing Nana the progress of their homegrown backyard vegetable garden.  I feel like it goes without saying how much I love my family.  I mention them quite a bit on my blog because they are such a huge and crucial component in my life.  I know it sounds redundant and cliché, but I honestly don't know what I would do without each and every one of them.  Besides, how precious is my Nana? If you've ever met her, you know how hilarious, honest, strong and absolutely beautiful she is.  I wish I could see her more and that there weren't three hours of highway between us, but that just means, when I do get a chance to see her, it matters that much more to me, and I try to make each and every second count.


Fall Fashion Favorites

It's that magical time of year again when everyone starts chatting about fall fashion over coffee at their local coffee shops because they're pretending the outside temperature is actually beginning to cool off.  Well, maybe it's cooling off in certain parts of the country, but not here in Texas.  Actually, as I say that, I remember that we've actually had a slight cool front these past couple of days in Austin due to some light rain.  And by "cool front" I mean the high today was 99 degrees instead of 108, but there has been a lovely breeze which really makes all the difference.

I've never been one to actively follow a seasonal "code" of what and what not to wear at different times of the year.  I've always just worn whatever I felt comfortable in.  It's amazing that specific colors are assigned to each of the seasons.  If I want to wear a neon, floral dress in the winter, I am going to do that.  Who cares if I offend someone by my questionable sense of style?  Not me.  That being said, I have been dutifully studying my Vogue and InStyle Fall Fashion textbooks that arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and I'm realizing that it's actually kind of fun to see what trends have been popping up on high fashion runways.  Oh, and I'm pretty much obsessed with the thought that grunge is back.  Nothing makes me giddy like the '90s!

In addition to my Fall Fashion magazine manuals, I have been soaking up tips and tricks from a few of my favorite fashion bloggers, as well as a website or two.  Joanna of Keep Austin Stylish mentions beanies, emerald hues, knee-high lamb socks, leopard print, leather and slouchy pants.  I've never been fond of myself in hats, but something tells me I could rock a beanie into the ground, and I've always loved emerald. 
American Apparel via ASOS

Personally, I think knee-high socks are super hot.  I guess I should invest in some cute boots I can wear them with.  As for leopard print, I don't think it'll ever be not classy and sophisticated.  It's way too timeless. 

Kate Spade

Leather, however, is a different story for me.  This is a trend I don't think I'll ever be into.  I have never liked leather on me or on other people.  I just think it looks tacky.  And slouchy pants are definitely not the cutest piece of clothing out there, but they sure look comfy.

Urban Outfitters

Aside from these trends, I am also really into these styles for the upcoming Fall season:

Spanx skinny jeans (just released!)
Hunter boots


New House Wish List

For those of you who don't know our story, Jason and I met in college at Texas State, fell madly in love and decided to move in together just after graduation.  Yep, we graduated on the same day, which was absolutely amazing!  The day you graduate from college is a grand day in and of itself, but to have the person you love the most, right there with you the entire time, going through the same feelings of accomplishment, relief and happiness is just beyond words.  The fact that our families were there to share the special day with us and meet for the first time was the frosting on the cupcake.  I could seriously dedicate an entire post to that day, but that's not what I wanted to write about today.

Back to the point of this post -->  So, after graduation, I made the 3 mile move, with all of my belongings, to Jason's tiny two-room 450 sq. ft apartment where we remained from December of 2010 through the end of May 2011 before making the executive decision to move 28 miles north to the spectacular city of Austin.  After deliberating between apartment complexes and a few pro/con lists, we chose our current complex in Southwest Austin.  We originally moved into a 2 bedroom, 2 bath unit around 1,000 sq. ft, but at the end of our 15-month lease in August 2012, we received horrible news that if we wanted to stay in our current unit, our monthly rent would be increasing by about $200/month.  Not something we were giddy about, to say the least.  We weighed our options and decided that it would be smarter to stay in the same complex and just switch to a smaller, more affordable unit that way our hefty deposits would transfer and we wouldn't have to pay them all over again somewhere else.  So we moved to a 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a similar floor plan as the 2/2, just minus the extra bed and bath.  We've been fairly happy with this complex, aside from a few hiccups here and there, but we have come to the conclusion that we're both just sick and tired of apartments.  Between next-door neighbors constantly slamming their doors and the unorganized, impervious management team, we're just ready for the next step which, for us, is a rental home.

We've already been casually looking online at rental homes in the area to get a feel for our options come the end of September when we'll start actively looking for a place with a realtor.  We would really like to stay on the South side of the city because we've been really happy with the area, and it's only a 10-15 minute commute to work for both of us.

Thanks to House Hunters, and basically everything else on HGTV, I have been keeping a mental list of things I am hoping for in our rental home.  I know it's not permanent, because we will be looking to purchase and actually own a house in the not-so-distant future.  (We are choosing to just rent for now because our current occupations and financial situations will most likely be changing within the next couple of years).  I realize I am not going to be absolutely in love with every aspect of the house, and I will not be able to make any major changes, but here are a few things I am wishing for:

1.  Hard floors.  This is very important to me.  Every apartment Jason and I have lived in together has had primarily carpet floors, and when you have three pets, two of which vomit frequently, you get disgusted after scrubbing mess after mess out of the carpet and then having to look at reddish-orange stains all over the floor for the foreseeable future.  I CANNOT deal with carpet again - at least in the main living areas of the house.  It's fine in the bedroom; although, I would prefer hard floors throughout.  My first choice is obviously authentic, hard wood flooring, but even fake, laminate wood would be fine with me in a rental.  My second choice is stained concrete, and my third is tile.

2.  Laundry room.  An actual, WALK-IN laundry ROOM, not a closet.  We have so much crap piled up in our small laundry closet, and our stackable washer/dryer doesn't even completely fit.  We can't close the doors!  It doesn't necessarily look bad, but it would be nice to have a actual little room for all of that junk, out of sight and away from the main living area.

3.  A backyard.  This is something I don't Jason or myself will waiver on.  Our poor dog Fozzie hasn't had a real backyard in the longest time.  She is eleven years old and starting to show her age.  She absolutely adores being outside.  When we lived in San Marcos, we would let her out onto the balcony, and she would just sit and stare, mesmerized by everything going on out there for hours.  I really want her to be able to enjoy that outside time again.

4.  A fairly large kitchen with lots of counter space.  Jason and I both love to cook, and we like to be able to spread out our ingredients and cookware and feel comfortable in the cooking process.  We also have some large appliances and other items that we like to keep on the countertops - the Keurig, the regular coffee maker, the K-cup carousel, a couple of fruit/veggie bowls, the Crockpot and the toaster.

5.  Two or three bedrooms with at least two bathrooms.  I don't even care if there is only one full bath and a half bath, I just miss having two separate bathrooms and two separate spaces to get ready in. It takes twice the amount of time to get ready to go out somewhere when we both have to shower and get pretty!  Yes, people, I know it's shocking, but it takes a little time to look this good!

6.  Garage.  This definitely isn't at the top of my list, but I know Jason wants one, and it will be good for some extra storage.  It'll also be nice during these hot Texas summers when I'm climbing into my black-interior car in the middle of the afternoon.

These are the main draws for me in finding a suitable rental home when it comes time to move in early November.  I would be happy to hear your thoughts on the process because this is all fairly new to me. Is there anything else I should be picky about when house hunting?  Do you think I'm being too picky and should be more open?



Mixtape Monday

Ahoy, friends!  The music lover in me has been itching to bring back my playlist posts, but I've been having some technical difficulties with my little old Mac OS operating system.  I'm being super stubborn and refusing to pay for the new version of the software because I keep telling myself I'm going to just buy a new computer soon.  We'll see what happens.  I, myself, truly do not even know.  However, I have managed to work out a temporary fix until the magical day comes when I can afford to buy a new computer without feeling guilty and penniless.  Starting today, I am going to publish a recurring, weekly "Mixtape Monday" post with a different theme each time, unlike my previous playlist posts which tended to be on the random side.

So, here it is, in all its glory.  My first Mixtape Monday.  The almighty theme for this week's playlist is grunge/garage rock.  Each of these 16 songs have a raw, barbaric sound that is so real you can't help but wanna rage and riot.  Have at it, kids.

Track Listing:

1. "Jane" - Popstrangers
2. "Ripper" - Jeff The Brotherhood
3. "Think" - The Men
4. "Planet Of The Dreamers" - Jacuzzi Boys
5. "Block Of Ice" - The Oh Sees
6. "Pond Rot" - California X
7. "Get Along" - Mikal Cronin
8. "Mystical Portal II" - Jeff The Brotherhood
9. "The Coconut" - The Oh Sees
10. "Hours Of The Night" - Mrs. Magician
11. "Meet You Later" - Japanther
12. "Everyone's A Bitch" - Jaill
13. "Troubled And Done" - Balkans
14. "What's Mine Is Yours" - Sleater-Kinney
15. "No Demons" - Bass Drum of Death
16. "Jellyfish" - Paws

Listen on Spotify



Netflix Recommendation: Hit & Miss

Earlier this week, on an average, run-of-the-mill week day, I found myself bored, and consequently itching to get wrapped up in a new TV show because, let's face it, Dawson's Creek runs a little too deep for my liking.  Deep in the cheese factor, that is.  I thought My So-Called Life was rich with teen angst and drama...clearly I hadn't even begun to understand the real meaning of teen angst.  Many thanks to Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen, I now have a clear-as-glass understanding of it.  Get over yourselves already, people.  So anyway, I added a bunch of TV shows streaming on Netflix to my Instant queue, and decided to give Hit & Miss a try.  Boy, oh boy, am I ever so glad I did.  This show is an absolute gem.  Now, it is British.  I am typically uninterested in any and all things British, but this is too golden not to love.  Originally shown on British network, Sky Atlantic, the six episodes of the first and only season premiered in the U.S. via DirecTV's Audience Network two months later.  The show's creator, Paul Abbott, is known for his brutally over-the-top trashy tale of a large, uber dysfunctional South Side Chicago family in Shotime's Shameless, starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, which has won a number of awards and a respectable amount of critical acclaim.  I would describe Hit & Miss as pretty similar to Shameless, not necessarily plot-wise, but definitely in character personality and development.  

In the first episode, we are introduced to Mia (Chloe Sevigny), a pre-op male to female transsexual who also happens to be a ruthless assassin.  Mia quickly learns that she is a father to an eleven-year-old boy named Ryan with one of her ex-girlfriends, Wendy, who is now dying of cancer and wants Mia to look after Ryan and her three other children - Levi, Riley and Leonie.  Mia drives to Yorkshire from Manchester to meet her son and Wendy's other children, and ends up moving into the rural, poorly maintained farmhouse with them, despite their initial resistance.  She kind of forces them to accept her as a guardian/parental figure in a sweet, endearing way.  Surprisingly, she fits the mold quite well.  She is also completely upfront with the kids about her transsexual lifestyle, which they maturely digest and accept.  The following five episodes explore the challenges Mia and her family face as she juggles endless roles - transsexual woman, mother/father, protector, girlfriend, assassin and counting...

 I watched the show over a span of three days, but I could have easily made it an all-in-one-day obsession.  Hit & Miss is a magical, chilling and beautiful story that will make your heart both pound and stop within a few brief moments.  If the plot doesn't interest you, at least check out the soundtrack, because it is seriously one of the best I've encountered.


Last Night's Dinner: Salmon + Lemon Kebabs

Last night was one of those rare evenings that neither Jason nor I had to work so we were able to partake in one of our favorite activities - cooking dinner and actually enjoying a meal together at home.

Chicken and salmon are two of my favorite lean meats to fix as a main course, so I did a little online research and collected some new recipes to try out.  I was especially anxious to try these Grilled Salmon + Lemon Kebabs from SkinnyTaste, and they turned out marvelously paired with Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans, dairy-free corn pudding and a California Red Blend wine.

I was surprised by how easy it was make all three of these dishes simultaneously.  After pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees, I assembled the green bean bundles and wrapped them in a half-piece of bacon.  I placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with 100% pure canola oil cooking spray.  I sprayed each of the bundles with cooking spray before sprinkling them with cracked sea salt, black pepper and a little garlic salt.  

Next, I mixed up a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, a can of whole kernel corn and a can of creamed corn with two eggs and poured the mixture into a small pyrex baking dish with melted Parkay in the bottom.  Since the corn pudding takes 30 minutes to bake, I put that in the oven first, and then began cutting the salmon into small chunks for the kebabs.

Each skewer (soaked in water an hour prior to cooking time) fit four pieces of salmon and three folded lemon slices.  Once the kebabs were complete, I sprinkled each of them with a spice mixture of dried oregano, garlic salt, sea salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and sesame seeds.

By this time, the oven timer was down to about 15 minutes remaining, so I went ahead and added the green bean bundles to the oven, and then started prepping my George Foreman GRV120GM Electric Contact Grill.  My grandparents bought me the grill a couple of years ago for Christmas, and we have gotten some serious use out of this sucker.  I constantly refer to the little manual it came with to see how long I need to grill different foods according to how well done I want them to be.  It's really quite convenient for those who love to grill, but don't want to combust outside during those sweltering Texas summers.  The grill takes all of five minutes to completely heat up, so I quickly threw on the kebabs, and they were done in four minutes.  

I did run into a slight issue when my kebabs were done, but sadly, the corn pudding was still pretty runny in the middle and the bacon around the green beans was still raw.  I rapidly fixed my mistake by turning the oven up to 400 degrees and letting each dish cook for about 10 more minutes.  That seemed to do the trick because everything tasted perfect and made for the perfect weeknight dinner.

*For full recipes, click the links I have provided in my post!



Enjoying: All of this family time I've had with my cousins over the past week.  It was a blast meeting Sarah in Bastrop for a little lunch and some exploration last week, and I had the pleasure of seeing her again yesterday while she and her boyfriend, Austin, were in town for the Keith Urban concert last night.  We ate lunch at Z'Tejas on West 6th followed by some "honest ice cream" at Lick on South Lamar.  The day before yesterday I met Esther for sushi at Lucky Robot on South Congress, and then I introduced her to Sugar Mama's Bakeshop where I tried a Snoball cupcake and she went with the German chocolate.  Aside from loving every minute of cousin time, I also enjoyed getting to try all of these places (aside from Sugar Mama's) for the first time!  I highly recommend ALL of them, further proving my point that bad restaurants simply do not exist in Austin.
Watching: Orange Is the New Black - we're only on episode five because we hardly ever have time to watch anything together anymore.  Breaking Bad is back!  So far there has only been one episode, but it was definitely worth the year-long wait.  There are all of these theories floating around about who's going to die and who Walt's going to kill...it's driving me nuts!  I'm also still trucking my way through Dawson's Creek.  I'm now at the end of season three, and I've decided this has to be the most dramatic show EVER.  I'm still not completely sold on it, which is probably why it's taking me so long to get through.  Yes, I'm still watching True Blood.  I'm a Trubie for life!  There is only one more episode of season six, and this past episode had to be one of the best out of the entire show.  It was very beautifully, thoughtfully directed.  My jaw dropped on more than one occasion. 

Anticipating: our trip to the PNW!  In 19 days we will be boarding a plane to Seattle, then venturing down to Portland and San Francisco.  I can't wait to fill my belly with west coast seafood, explore some beaches and suck up that salty sea air.  The countdown has begun, my friends.

And, finally, hoping: my sister Micah had the absolute best fourteenth birthday yesterday!  I was sad that I didn't get to see her in person, but I made sure to wish her a happy birthday on every social medium.  My mom also helped by sending me snapshots of the festivities throughout the day.

Happy Friday to everyone!  Enjoy your weekend!


The Best Salsa Recipe Ever

For years upon years, I have wandered the earth searching for the perfect store-bought salsa.  Just recently, I realized there is no such thing.  Thanks to The Pioneer Woman, I learned that in order to put salsa in a jar, make sure it stays fresh and sell it in stores, it has to be preserved, typically using vinegar as a preservative.  YUCK!  I mean, I like vinegar in some things, but not my salsa.  That totally explains why I am never satisfied with store-bought salsa!  So again, thanks to that food goddess, The Pioneer Woman, I tripped upon an amazing recipe that I've been making now for almost a year.  I don't really use exact measurements, so it has a slightly different taste each time, but it still always turns out delicious, like a fresh, just-brought-to-the-table restaurant salsa.  

What you will need:

Can opener

1 can of whole tomatoes
1 can of Rotel (diced tomatoes & chilies)
Half of a medium-sized white onion, roughly chopped
Your choice of pepper --> I typically use 1-2 jalapenos, depending on their size
1-2 cloves of garlic --> I like LOTS of garlic, but you have control
Cilantro --> I am obsessed with cilantro, so I pretty much use 1 whole bushel (sans the stems)
1 tsp. sugar
Salt, pepper & cumin to taste

The instructions are simple:  Just throw it all in a blender and blend until you're happy.  I blend it up pretty good, but some people probably like their salsa a little on the chunkier side.  

That's one of the great things about homemade salsa...you have all the control.  If you wanna get creative and throw in some crazy extra ingredients, by all means, do it ya daredevil.  I have even made a green version of this salsa using canned tomatillos instead of canned whole tomatoes.  

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and remember, YOU have the power, my friends.



Cousin Lunch Date in Bastrop,TX

I am very fortunate that two of my maternal cousins (and good friends), Esther and Sarah, live in Giddings where they work at Camp Tejas, which is just about an hour and fifteen minutes east of Austin.  Occasionally they journey over to the state capitol for a dose of city life, to explore with their camp "families" and/or to get their Target fix.  I've been able to meet up with them a handful of times for a meal (food is key in any Kitchen gathering), ice cream and a much-too-quick catch-up visit.  Even if our time together is short, we still manage to have a blast!

Today was one of those days where I got to see one of them, and it was wonderful.  Sarah and I met halfway, in Bastrop, for lunch at Maxine's Cafe downtown.  I had never been to downtown Bastrop before, and it wasn't the most amazing place I've ever been to, but there was something very quaint and comforting about it.  Something beautiful that somehow gets lost when you live near a big city.  Maxine's was great!  I ordered the fried green tomato BLT with onion rings, and Sarah got the monte cristo sandwich with sweet potato fries, and of course, in pure Kitchen fashion, we had to share a piece of coconut cream pie.  And let me tell you, my friends, that was THE best coconut cream pie I've ever had, and I don't regret one bite!  Rich, creamy goodness.  Mmm mmm mmm.  Okay, enough dwelling on the pie.  Seriously though, if you ever randomly find yourself hungry in Bastrop, you know where to go.  So after lunch, we wandered around the town square and down to the river and the Kansas City Bridge, happily chatting whilst dying from unbearable Texas heat.  After a quick jaunt to Ross, we parted ways with promises to meet up again soon.  Here are some pictures from our afternoon:



Cupcakes For Breakfast

One of the classes, or sessions, I took during TxSC was called "From Blog to Book" lead by two incredibly talented and driven young women who have both published books.  Sitting there, listening to them talk about the ins and outs of the creative process and getting published simply blew my mind.  I don't necessarily have a formal "bucket list" as people are calling it these days, but if I did have one, writing a book and getting it published would be close to the top.  I have always enjoyed writing.  I was an only child until I was seven, and I've always been super independent.  I had friends, of course, but there were times when I really just wanted to play by myself.  I loved creating fictitious scenarios and stories for my barbies and paper dolls.  I had an extremely overactive imagination, if you will.  I could seriously entertain myself for hours upon hours every day.  From my elementary days well into high school, I would write poems (some of them embarrassingly emo), and I even started a few short stories, but they never held my attention long enough before I was on to the next fabulous idea that popped into my head.  I guess I just never had a good enough idea.  That one idea that I could take all the way to the top.  Since that TxSC session, the wheels in my mind have been creakily turning trying to come up with something I could write about.  Something I'm passionate enough about to write a lot of material and something I likely won't lose interest in.  This morning, I had a mini-cupcake - along with a grapefruit - for breakfast, and I watched my subconscious shake its head at me and giggle a little because I am the type of woman who will always have a partial little-girl mentality.  I'm afraid I will never fully become an adult, and honestly, that's fine with me.  Who wants to be a boring old grown-up anyhow?  I never want to forget the little things that meant the world to me as a child.  I want to be able to treasure those feelings of innocence and naivety for as long as possible, and if I want cupcakes for breakfast, I will HAVE cupcakes for breakfast.  So, to make my point, this idea of things that keep us young, that have kept me young, could be the sprout of a literary idea, and that makes me happy.

Have a happy Thursday!


My First (Not To Be My Last) Blogging Conference

Remember when I mentioned that I was going to the Texas Style Council conference a couple of weeks ago?  Well, it was this past weekend, and it was so much more than I had ever dreamed it would be.  When I think about all of things I learned and experienced, I am excited, overjoyed, enthusiastic, inspired and, most of all, overwhelmed (in a good way).  It's like my eyes were opened to this whole new beautiful world of women that are just like me.  I know it sounds so cheesy, but I've always felt a little strange compared to other members of the female population, sort of off balance or something.  It was just really nice to be surrounded by people who have very similar interests and ideas, but still each individual has their own identity and specialty.  I probably sound like a weirdo who isn't making any sense, but I swear it makes sense in my head.  Here's a quick rundown of my weekend:

On Saturday I attended five sessions:

Life Blogging 101 with Jenni of Story Of My Life, a fellow Austinite
Monetization 101 with Bethany of The Glamorous Housewife
Self-Photography 101 with Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky
Personal Budgeting 101 with Kelsey and Eric of Words of Williams
Create Your Media Kit with Tieka of Selective Potential

On Saturday night, all of the TxSC sponsors gathered in the Texas Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency for the ultimate Prom Party complete with 80s #1 hits, a rowdy dance floor, free schtuff, photobooths galore and a cash bar.  'Twas loads of fun.

And on Sunday I attended four more sessions and had the pleasure of hearing Elsie and Emma speak about what they've learned from blogging.

Children on the Blog & Social Media with Katie of Skunkboy (This will be relevant when I have kids because I do plan to continue blogging into motherhood.)
Do Your Dreams Now with Jessica of Noonday Collection
Handling Your Critics with Jen of Jen Loves Kev
From Blog to Book with Becky of Chipper Things and Megan of Greetings From Texas

(Top: Q&A Sunday Afternoon, Left: Elsie & Emma, Right: Katie from Skunkboy)

Every single session I went to was super entertaining and informative, and all of the speakers managed to hold my attention the entire time which is just astonishing.  Well done, ladies!