Thursday, June 30, 2011

Detox Do-Over

 So my previous try at the detox diet yielded AMAZING results.  My digestive system wasn't giving me any issues, I had more energy, and since I no longer felt bloated, I even looked a bit slimmer!  Unfortunately I didn't ease back into my normal diet the way I should have.  I started out gradually incorporating foods back and checking for a digestive reaction before incorporating the next, but then a bunch of holidays and traveling came about and I just started eating everything again, all at once.  Lo and behold, once again my digestive system is acting up, so I've decided to give this another try.
I'm not going full force this time, though.  I'm eating a mostly detox diet (chicken, fish, quinoa, brown rice, nuts, and fruits and veges, minus tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant, oranges, and bananas), however I'm not going to be a stickler about following it to a T.  From my last experience with the diet I know I'm okay with dairy, wheat, and sugar, so I'm allowing those in small portions every now and then.  For example, I had yogurt with honey for a snack today, and I had a bread stick with my ahi tuna lunch on Monday. 
I've only been back on the diet for 4 days and I'm already noticing a difference.  My digestive system is doing MUCH better.  That alone is a wonderful relief.  And I've been having fun coming up with creative recipes again.  I had brown rice pasta with ground chicken breast, zucchini, broccoli, and garlic olive oil earlier this week and on Tuesday I made quinoa with pistachios and shrimp. 

It is incredible the effect your diet can have on your overall well being!

(pictures from here, here, and here)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brooching the Subject

Bicycle | Antler | Paris
My love of all things vintage has spilled over into a new obsession: brooches.  Old, weird, quirky brooches.  I did wind up getting the bee brooch I wrote about previously, and I love the look it adds to an outfit, so I started scouting etsy for more.  Last week I bought an absolutely adorable set of veggie brooches, a tomato and a root vegetable.  My mom thought I was crazy when I told her, but they're so fantastic!  Here are a couple of the other ones I've been contemplating...
Phone | Rocket | Moose

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beach House

Yesterday was spent partially in the NASA Beach House for a full morning of meetings, followed by a late business lunch, chores at home, and then a movie at my friend's house.  I was quite busy, hence the lack of a post. 

The NASA Beach House is this quaint yellow and peach structure on the beach at KSC that the astronauts frequent when they are in town.  They come to the beach house to visit with their families before a launch and to pop open a celebratory bottle of wine after they return safely.  It is an iconic structure at KSC and yesterday was the first opportunity I had to actually visit it.  We held our TPS meetings in the upstairs conference room area and then half way through took a break to go play out on the beach.  I did a bit of wandering on my own and found an incredible conch shell that was quite large and still in one piece, which is pretty rare.  I also found turtle tracks and saw the signs of a turtle nest up on the bank.  After our second session of meetings we hung out on the large deck overlooking the water, chatting until we had to pack up.
The weather was a bit overcast, but it made the temperature outside much more bearable.  Add in the sea breeze and it was actually enjoyable.  The beach house is also ideally located such that all of the launch pads are visible, notably the Atlas and Delta unmanned rocket launch pads as well as, of course, the shuttle pad:
It was a wonderful day of "work", and I'm really glad I got to spend time at the beach house before I leave KSC...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Have a Relaxing Weekend

Hi all, sorry I was MIA yesterday, but I had more AC issues to deal with (and no, it's not fixed yet...) 

As for the weekend, I have plans to go see a movie with a friend, try to finish my watercolor painting (how long have I been listing this one???), and just relax as the week has done it's best to drain me of all energy.  I figure this weekend is my last chance to do nothing for a while as I'll be spending next weekend with family and the following weekend supporting the very last shuttle launch...

(picture from here)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Repeat After Me

I love this print!  In addition to having a background in one of my favorite colors, I just think the sentiment is so adorable!  I discovered it on Emily's blog, and it's available for purchase here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

90's Flashback

Have any of you heard of this?  Apparently in the fall TeenNick is going to start replaying 90's favorites on a late night programming block from 12am-2!!!  Favorites from our youth such as Rugrats, Pete & Pete, and my personal favorite Clarissa Explains It All will be added into the rotation.  I loved Clarissa's wacky wardrobe!  Now if they'd only add Hey Dude, Salute Your Shorts, Doug, and The Secret World of Alex Mack into the mix then I'd be in total 90's heaven...

(pictures from here and here)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Good Weekend, Bad Ending

I had a wonderful weekend down in South Florida with my family.  I got to hang out with my parents at the beach, see my cousin, who is like a sister to me, and play with her two adorable little girls, and have a wonderful Father's Day brunch with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  It was pandemonium as usual and I loved it!

Unfortunately the weekend came to an end with J informing me that the AC was broken again (it seems to have become a yearly ritual).  We made the most of it with dinner out on Sunday and all of the ceiling fans in the house running on high.  This was followed up, however, by my digestive system revolting.  I spent most of the evening curled up in the fetal position.  The combination of heat and discomfort did not bode well for my ability to sleep.

Today the repair guy came and jury rigged the AC until a new circuit board can be ordered and installed.  I'm sure the combination of parts and the labor involved in 2 visits will not be cheap.  At least the temp inside is below 90 degrees now, though...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day Weekend!

Well, the week is almost over and it has certainly been a busy one!  I got most of the stuff on my to-do list done, with the exception of the watercolor painting.  Maybe next week.  I also made some great food including mushroom gnocci with homemade tomato sauce and broccoli, baked lemon chicken with roasted potato and carrots, and last night I whipped up a quick chicken stir fry with brown rice, snow peas, bok choy, and mushrooms.  Yum!  I finally started working out again too. 

This weekend I have fun plans to see family and spend Father's Day with my dad.  I can't wait!  Hope everyone else has a wonderful weekend and a Happy Father's Day!

(picture from a card sold here)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stormy Weather

Well, it's official: summer in Florida has arrived.  This week the weather started getting into it's typical summer pattern of heavy afternoon storms.  There have been torrential downpours, strong winds, and as you can see above, lots of lightning.  This picture was taken at Pad B out here at KSC.  But don't worry, Atlantis is stationed at Pad A a little less than a mile away and hasn't been affected by the storms so far.

(picture from here)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Radio Interview

During the STS-135 roll out of Atlantis from the VAB I ran into Peter King, the CBS radio correspondent who interviewed me prior to the STS-133 launch back in February.  At the urging of a friend I approached him, reminded him of who I was, and then proceeded to ask whether it would be possible to obtain a copy of my radio interview.  He was completely friendly and helpful and promptly gave me his card so I could contact him at work.  Two days later I was in possession of the interview!  Here it is for your listening pleasure:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

High/Low Accesories

There are many things I lust after that are either priced out of my budget or not worth what they are listed for.  I've been lucky enough lately to run into cheaper versions that are nearly identical to the lust versions and I'm thrilled to share some of my finds with you:
High | Low
The high end bag on the left is by a brand called FleaBags and, despite the sketchy name, the bags are simple and gorgeous.  However, spending $440 on any bag, let alone one made of canvas, is simply not an option for me.  To be fair, I did find a version on sale here, but $289 is still more than should be spent on a canvas bag.  I recently discovered this more affordable version of the bag at, believe it or not, Home Depot's website!  They look so similar with the exception of the leather vs canvas bottoms.  And at $60, the tool bag version is definitely much more affordable!
high | low
I first mentioned this hair bow back in April in a post about French-inspired fashion, however I think that $67 for a hair barrette is ridiculous and so it was never purchased.  I recently found a similar barrette at Anthropologie (one of my favorite sites) for just under half the price!  Too bad I can't actually wear a barrette anymore since I recently chopped off 10 inches of my hair...
high | low
Chanel nail polishes tend to be the rage every season and they set the bar for what nail colors are going to be the most popular.  This spring that color was Black Pearl, a black base with pearlescent blue, teal, and purple tones.  But since nail polish inevitably chips on my nails within a day, $37 for a bottle of polish didn't seem worth the splurge.  I was meandering through my local Walgreen's the other day and I found a display with Revlon's new colors and sure enough a cheaper option (nearly identical despite the different appearances in the pictures above) was available for a mere $4.00!  I'm already wearing it on my toes and I love the color!  You can't buy it online, but check out your local drugstore.
Clockwise from upper left: high | low 1 | low 2 | low 3
I've also discussed these bracelets before in my DIY post where I write about modifying a necklace DIY into a bracelet version.  The upper left bracelet is the original inspiration for my DIY.  However, for those of you who don't have the time/inclination/significant other with a large supply of paracord, there are other options that don't cost the $150 of the Proenza Schouler original.  Low price options 1 and 2 are from Etsy sellers.  The stock from option 1 is empty now, but she works with some fabulous color combinations and it's worth checking back to see if the shop has been re-stocked.  Coming in at around $20 apiece, these are by far a more affordable option!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Although I definitely did get to spend a wonderful time visiting with my friend N, one of my college roomies, and her family this weekend, I didn't quite get everything else done that I was hoping to.  Rather, I didn't get anything else done this weekend (with the exception of a non-planned trip to the outlet mall in Orlando where I probably spent more money than I should have...).  So now I'm making it my mission to do the following this week:
  1. Get rid of old litter boxes (I got my cats an awesome new automatic cleaning one!) 
  2. Clean the floors and bathrooms
  3. Pick up piles of clothes littering my bedroom floor
  4. Make a fruity desert.  I might still go the crumble route, but I'm also toying with the idea of an apple tart similar to this one but using pre-packaged puff pastry - so much easier
  5. Do my DIY projects that have been building up.  Namely the lion belt and modified necklace/bracelet
  6. Finish the watercolor painting that I started nearly 2 months ago...
 It doesn't sound like a ton of stuff, but I also have to find time to try to start stretching/exercising so I don't pull another muscle and I'm on my own food-wise this week.  Let's see how much I can cross off my list!!

(photo from here)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Have A Lovely Weekend!

Sorry I was MIA yesterday - I threw out my neck doing yoga on Wednesday night and spent most of the day on the couch/in bed...  After a round of acupuncture, some icy-hot patches and lots of stretching I'm stiff and sore, but overall much better.  I'm hoping it's even better by tomorrow because I have a fun weekend of DIY's and visiting with friends planned and it would be nice to be 100% mobile again!  Are you doing anything fun this weekend???

(photo from here, and I REALLY wish they weren't sold out...)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Fruit

I'm trying to eat a bit healthier, i.e. less processed sugars and flours (except for today when I can't seem to stop stuffing my mouth with sour patch cherries...), and so I've been making most of my snacks and deserts fruit based.  Watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries specifically have been absolutely delicious lately.  The weather in Florida is overwhelmingly hot in the summer, but the summer fruits help to make up for it!  I've also been in a baking mood lately, but have yet to act on it. Therefore my goal for the remainder of the week is to bake a delicious fruit desert that I can snack on (semi) guiltless-ly!  The two options I'm considering are an apricot tart (or maybe peach or plum?) and a variation on this pistachio crumble recipe with blueberries instead.  I plan to substitute sugar and wheat flour with agave nectar and rice flour to help in the guiltless part.  Which desert sounds better to you?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


CERN has recently announced that not only have they been able to isolate antimatter, but they have been able to trap and hold it for nearly 17 minutes!  Read about it here and here!

Note to alarmists out there: antimatter has been isolated and the world hasn't exploded into a black hole yet...

Monday, June 6, 2011

What A Weekend!

I took Friday off of work to drive to south Florida with my friend R for night 1 of her birthday extravaganza weekend.  We met up with one of her friends for a delicious sushi dinner and followed that up with a live stage performance of one of my favorite movies: Hedwig and the Angry Inch!  It was awesome.
After the show we went out to a bar that was hosting a gay weekend (as most gay friendly establishements in Florida were doing due to Disney's Gay Days weekend) where we shmoozed with drag queens, drank, danced, and had a ton of fun!
We crashed at R's parent's place that night and drove back up on Saturday.  I was home for about 3 hours, most of which I spent napping, before I hopped back into my car and headed out to Orlando for night 2 of R's birthday extravaganza where the weekend theme of drag queens continued.  We went to a restaurant in Orlando called Hamburger Mary's, where they host a drag show on the first Saturday of every month.  The performances were all great, with my personal favorite being Lady Gaga:
After dinner and the show I declined another late night of partying and headed back home to sleep in my own bed.  I woke up semi-early (for me on a weekend at least) on Sunday so J and I could head BACK OUT to Orlando for the Orlando Farmer's Market, where the Top Chef tour was making a stop!  Despite the long wait list we actually managed to get into the tent where 2 of the chefs from previous seasons, Eli Kirshstein from Season 6 in Vegas and Kenny Gilbert from Season 7 in D.C, competed against each other in a 15 minute quickfire battle.
Here's a picture of Kenny and if you look to the left of the table, you can see J in a blue shirt and sunglasses!  We did get to taste the food and it was good, but J thinks the food we make at home is just as good.  The farmer's market is located next to Lake Eola so J and I stocked up on some snacks and drinks at the market and then went for a lovely and leisurely walk around the lake before heading home.  Overall it was a busy, but incredibly fun weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DIY Mecca

A while ago I discovered this blog, HonestlyWTF, and it is chock full of fantastic DIY projects and artistic eye candy.  I have gotten so inspired to get back into art and crafting since reading their posts that I've actually gone out and made a number of things on my own.  I also have plans to try out a few more projects that I haven't gotten around to yet.  Here's some of the great DIY projects they've made, inspired by high fashion designs:
This bracelet is actually one I've recreated myself to great results!  I went on to Etsy and searched for chain link or curb link bracelets and then used embroidery floss from the craft store and they turned out beautifully.
These necklaces were inspired by Proenza Schouler's recent jewelry line.  I've actually already bought almost all of the necessary components to make one of these myself, but I think I'm going to try for a bracelet design first...
I absolutely LOVE this belt!!!  I know it's definitely "different", but it's so cool looking and I've been a bit fixated on animal inspired designs lately.  Luckily the blog post lists where you can buy the parts!

The inspiration necklaces that this design was based off of are much busier and I sort of prefer them, but the instructions on making this minimized design are an excellent jumping off point for the larger configuration.  Once again, all of the components are easily obtained at a craft/fabric store.
These printing blocks are actually not from  DIY post, but rather in a post about Indian fabric artisans who carve the designs out of wood.  I am in love with the intricate designs and the bold colors they use.  I have block printing materials stored at home that I'm now planning to dig out of their hiding places so I can create my own designs inspired by these!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Last Time Ever - Shuttle Edition

Last night was a big night for shuttle "lasts" - Atlantis rolled out of the VAB for the last time to head to the launch pad.  Not only was this Atlantis's last roll out, this was the last time ever that a shuttle will roll out of the VAB for flight...
There were more people gathered at the center to watch this roll out than I've ever seen.  It was almost a carnival atmosphere until people started talking about why there were so many people and we remembered that none of us would ever have the opportunity to see it again.
The second "last" was the safe landing of Endeavour, finishing the STS-134 mission.  Endeavour landed around 2:30 a.m. and though I had every intention of waking up to hear the sonic booms, my body was having none of that.  This was Endeavour's final mission and the vehicle is already back in the processing bay undergoing preparations for "retirement". 
Finally, another video has been making the rounds here documenting the STS-134 launch.  There's some pretty incredible imagery and I suggest you check it out!