Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Another Reason NASA Shouldn't Have Retired the Shuttle

It was reported yesterday that an improperly run pre-flight test has caused an issue with the service module of the Russian's Soyuz spacecraft that was supposed to launch in March.  This delay will also push back the next scheduled mission as well.  Not that the shuttle wasn't prone to delays, but it seems like the Russians are having more issues with their Soyuz capsules now than they ever did when we were still launching. 

It's interesting now that I'm on the ISS side of things, seeing how these delays can affect the on-orbit operations.  We're on a single-fault system for keeping the ISS manned now...  I still maintain that the US shouldn't have canceled shuttle.

(sorry for the depressing picture, but it's a sad fact that this is what NASA's pride and joy of the last 30 years has been reduced to....)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Apartment Pictures!

I finally got my iphone to properly transfer pictures to my computer, so I can share some of my apartment decorating pictures with you!
Sunday was my lazy day this weekend.  I didn't actually start doing anything productive until about 3:30, but then I was uber productive!  I actually got most of my pictures and paintings up on my art wall!  I was at it for about 4 hours, including artwork that I finally got hung in the guest room and guest bath.  I was a hammering machine!  There's still more to go, but that was a huge chunk (about 80% or so) of the wall, so I'm thrilled!
This is my first take at styling 2 of the many bookshelves in my apartment.  The one on the left is kind of a clone of my mini-library that I had in the guest room at my florida place.  It is, once again, in the guest room and currently a holding area for a lot of randomness, but you get the general idea.  The bookshelf on the right is the built-in in my  living room and so the bottom is chock full of all of my dvd's and vhs tapes (yes, I still have some of those...).  The glassware will hopefully get re-directed to the dining room when I get that area set up, so still a work in progress...
And I did wind up getting those awesome chairs I found 2 weekends ago.  They look fantastic in the apartment, and the kitties are pretty big fans as well ;0)

As for a little catch-up on my Friday and Saturday, new job is going well so far - a lot of new acronyms and systems to learn but I like the general environment, my coworkers are all really nice (most of them are around my age, and there's a big Chicago connection here!), and I think I'm going to enjoy the actual work too.  They're already training me up to support the on-orbit operations of the ISS, which is pretty cool, and I'm going to learn how to speak Russian!
As for my weekend, I finally did some solo exploring of Houston.  I found a funky new salon on Living Social and hit them up for a really great hair cut on Saturday, followed by some light shopping (I didn't intend for it to be light, but I guess I got lucky and just didn't find too much that I liked :0P), and then dinner out with J and B at Masa Sushi.  We topped the evening off with a continuation of our Dexter marathon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wedges and Sandals and Loafers, Oh My!

Spring shoes are in!!!!  And they are fun and colorful and I'm trying really really hard to hold my pointer finger back from clicking "add to cart" and "buy" on so many different pairs.  I think I may have an online shopping addiction.  And I think the ladies who work the front office at my apartment complex, who see me almost every day when I stop by to pick up package after package would agree...
Clockwise from upper left: d'orsay kitten heels | aqua striped wedges | gold t-straps
red striped TOMS | coral wedges | blue woven wedges | turquoise loafer | chunky satin heels
At least some of them are affordable, right?  I'm thisclose to caving on those aqua striped wedges and the turquoise loafers...

Oh, and tomorrow is my first day of work at the new Houston job so I probably won't have time for a post.  Everyone have a good weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Green/Brown/Black Thumb Test

Sorry I was MIA for the last 2 days.  On Monday I was home with a nasty headache and my post yesterday was a failure.  I attempted to upload some pictures of my new place from my new iphone 4s and the pictures just would not send properly.  Technology quite obviously hates me...
My weekend was quite delightful.  When I was over at my friend L's house on Sunday for craft night I was shown plants that people with brown thumbs were actually able to keep alive (now granted, my thumb is black, not brown...) and I've been once again been bitten by the gardening bug.  My little meyer lemon tree (version 2 - first one, naturally, died) is actually doing quite well despite a move from Florida to Texas and has started to blossom again - really hoping I actually get some fruit this time (picture above from here, not my tree...).  So I can't be completely hopeless, right??
I've decided to give container gardening another try in some pots that I currently have gathered out on my patio.  I'm thinking tomatoes, swiss chard, radishes, and herbs like basil and dill.  I found a number of these on this etsy site and I can't wait to (hopefully) turn my patio into a rainbow filled land of actual live plants.
I have also heard that air plants are pretty much kill-proof.  In an effort to test that theory out I've decided to buy of those as well for interior decoration, inspired by the picture above. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Free Time?

My weekend, starting with the end of my workday today, is PACKED!  One of the amazing aspects of moving out to Houston is all of the friends I have here and all of the fun things to do.  It is seriously a 180 from my life in Florida (as of when I left) and although it limits my ability to unpack all of the boxes in my apartment in a timely manner (ridiculously minor as the only downside), I am loving my new social life!  Here's the plan:
Tonight I am leaving from work to check out these amazing chairs at a nearby antique shop.  Keep your fingers crossed that they're as awesome as they look!  After that I'm headed to a friend's house for our monthly (nerdy) game night.  I had never played most of the games before (like Settlers of Catan, which made a hysterical cameo on Big Bang Theory last night), but I'm having a blast learning them and it's a fun, inexpensive way to spend quality time with friends.  B has demanded that after game night I head over to her place to continue our Dexter marathon with season 5.
Saturday I get to sleep in a bit before I head over to my friend L's house so we can head out on an IKEA run.  I already have more furniture than I can handle, so for me it's going to mostly be an accessorizing trip: cabinet pulls, a rug, curtain rods, some decorative vases, etc.  After that I head home and get all gussied up for a night out on the town in Galveston with J and B.  We're going out for dinner and then seeing a performance of Spamalot!  I'm sure afterwards there will likely be drinks involved too...
Sunday I need to whip up some snack foods and then head towards downtown Houston to pick up a pair of yoga pants (a holiday gift from B) that I had hemmed at LululemonAnthropologie and BHLDN are across the street so I'll likely be making a side trip there as well, time permitting.  Then I'm headed back to L's house for the first monthly craft night!  There are 5 of us (although B is bowing out this month due to the NFL playoffs) that are going to trade off houses monthly and have a potluck snack/crafting session that I'm really looking forward to!  This week it's shrinky dink accessories and knitting

Phew, it's going to be a fun, but exhausting, weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yee Haw! The Houston Rodeo is Coming to Town!

For all of you who have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to come visit me, here it is!  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is coming to town February 29-March 18!! 
It's over 2 weeks of cows, pigs, bucking broncos, barbecue, concerts and carnival and it's the perfect time to get the Texas experience while seeing yours truly :0)  I know some of you horse lovers might be interested in the horse show too, which starts on the 23rd.  So let me know if you want to come visit!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vintage Obsession Continued

I just discovered a fantastic shop on etsy called Vera Vague that sells the most incredibly curated selection of vintage clothing.  It's a bit on the pricy side, but the styles are all spot on and totall wearable.  I want it all!  Right now I'm torn between this cropped blouse, a peacock embroidered shirt dress, a 60's style houndstooth shift, and a gorgeous 50's cardigan.  Decisions, decisions...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking Good at the Globes

I love award season, not for intellectual reasons such as the thought provoking movies that win, but for the completely shallow reason of the red carpet fashions.  And although there were definitely some questionable choices at the Golden Globes this year (Jessica Chastain and Lea Michelle come to mind), there were some truly mind blowing dresses that I would gladly sell a kidney for (and would probably have to based on how expensive designer and couture fashion are...)
My top red carpet pick is Emma Stone (she's been killing it lately fashion-wise).  Her two tone Lanvin frock with the awesome belt totally won my heart over.  I also really really loved Elie Krieger's Golden Globes POST PARTY dress, which is pretty rare for me as the post party dresses aren't usually as spectacular, but the cut, pattern, and color of this slightly retro frock slay me.
Runner ups for the evening are Claire Danes (front is simple, back is awesome), Julie Bowen (the pastel and metallic ethereal princess look gets me ever time), and Angelina Jolie (not my personal preference, but stunning on her).  An honorable mention goes to Glee's Diana Agron's controversial red number.  While agree that the bottom of the dress is too much, the laser cut bird motif on the top is gorgeous and the color is phenomenal on her.
All pictures from fabsugar.com

Friday, January 13, 2012


2012 is proving to be a big year what with the elections, my 30th (golden!) birthday, and the olympics.  The elections are already annoying me, and I'm still not really sure how I feel about turning 30, so lets concentrate on the latter, shall we?  I've usually only watched select events previously, but this year I'm living in close proximity to my friend B, who is olympics obsessed and watches every single event that she can in the evenings and on weekends, so I'm sure the excitement will be contagious.  Anticipation is already ramping up around here as the Olympic Marathon qualifying race is being held in Houston tomorrow.  I actually know someone who is running, so my friends and I are going to head downtown and participate in the festivities (As in watching, not running.  I don't run.) and cheer on the athletes.  Should be fun!

(Map from the official Houston 2102 Maration Olympic Trials webpage)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Space Updates

Despite the cancellation of the shuttle program (*tear*), there is actually still a lot happening around the world in the field of space exploration.  I was just browsing on a few of my favorite space sites and found some interesting articles to share:
According to data from NASA's Kepler mission, there are at least 100 Billion planets just in the Milky Way galaxy!

NASA has gone a bit crazy "reclaiming" Apollo era memorabilia.  These unprovoked acts of crazy include a granny selling a sliver of moon rock, a notebook used on Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell, and a handful of other belongings belonging to the now elderly Apollo era astronauts (whom have been heralded as American Heroes).

And speaking of the moon, China has their sites set on our little orbiting neighbor too.  But they, wisely, are looking to the future of moon travel, not the past...
There have been some pretty awesome ISS related pictures coming down lately too.  Check out the incredible image above of the ISS passing by the moon.  So cool.  And the picture below was taken from an astronaut on the ISS of a nearby comet.  It looks like a much closer call than it actually is!
And a former astronaut combines two of my favorite things - space and art - I can certainly understand where he gets his inspiration from!

Now if only we could start launching some vehicles again and create some good news...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Moro

If I had to pick a favorite citrus, Blood Oranges (also called Moro Oranges) would win, hands down.  I love the color and the ever so slight raspberry taste.  And with all of my moving and job switching and landlording, I had completely forgotten that IT'S BLOOD ORANGE SEASON! 
I was happily reminded when my nerdy friends and I, who just finished a 2 season Dexter marathon (seasons 3 and 4), decided to create our own "Dexter Breakfast" last weekend based on the opening credits of the show, which includes blood orange juice.  You can watch for yourself below.  We had a blast making it, but like I said - we're nerds...

I immediately got excited when I found that blood oranges were, in fact, in abundance in the grocery store and so I stocked up on some for my own pantry as well.  I can't wait to start using them and I've found a great round-up of recipes:  Blood Orange, Beet, and Fennel Salad, Blood Orange Sorbet (I've made a version of this before - so good!), Blood Orange Mimosa, Blood Orange and Pummelo Marmalade (pummelo is like a monster sized mutant grapefruit...), Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake, and Blood Orange Tart
And will all of the leftover peels I can make a Blood Orange redux of my wildly successful Chocolate Covered Candied Orange Peels.  YUM!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In With the New!

I took the time this weekend to take stock of my apartment and start writing up to-do and to-buy lists.  I've already picked up some boring stuff like a new silverware drawer organizer (old one was too big), a shower caddy (didn't need one at my last place), and cleaning supplies (yay fun).  I've finished unpacking and putting away the functional stuff and finally started to get to the decorating phase.  This has resulted in an incredibly fun buying frenzy! 

One of my major needs is a door mat as all of the dead leaves littering the ground outside of my apartment have been hitch hiking in on my shoes.   I really like the word play on this one.  I also left all of my window treatments at my townhome for the new tenants so I needed something for my bedroom.  This awesome dip dyed design just went on sale at anthroplogie, and although the length is longer than I need I think adjusting it will be an easy fix.  To be honest, I havent actually bought these yet as I'm also considering an even cheaper DIY version, but my fingers are hovering over the "buy" button...  I did buy the awesome curtain tie backs already.  These were hardly a need, but I really liked them and they'll go with my new bedding (I bought the DwellStudio duvet cover I was coveting!).  The awesome coat rack will help even out the visual weight of my piano against my art wall (plus my awesomely huge closets are kind of inhibiting access to my coats, so having a few handy by the door will be nice).  I found this new Diver Lovers art print by Banksy that I'm completely and totally enamorred with so I had to buy it. I found a cheaper version on ebay, but it's also available here.  Since all of my art is headed for the art wall, I'm thinking I may save this one for my naked bedroom walls :0)  And finally, my huge master bathroom is screaming for some decoration, which is new for me as I've only ever had mini-bathrooms before.  I'm planning to get an oriental rug for next to the sink and I bought this cheeky decal for my shower door.  I can't wait til it all arrives and I can start decorating!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake!

I just found these cake pictures online and am kind of obsessed - aren't they pretty?!? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekend Goals

1. Try to finish as much of my unpacking as possible.  I have a majority of the boxes unloaded and all of the furniture is mostly in place.  I have a few more boxes to go, and then it's time to start hanging and decorating - my favorite part!  Pictures will definitely follow...

2. Take some time to relax.  Between working, unpacking, paperwork, yesterday's morning fiasco, and the fact that my disgruntled kitties have been exhibiting their displeasure on the floor, I am exhausted.  Seriously looking forward to sleeping in and chilling with friends.

3. Try some new recipes!  I just discovered a new blog with some pretty phenomenal ideas that I can't wait to try out (I'm thinking Saturday morning will start with a modified version of avocado toast).  She has some fantastic recipes for slow cooker meals like this, and I'm always looking for a tasty egg-free version of rice pudding.  Yum!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wasted Morning

No, not that kind of wasted.  I wish.  Actually, after my morning alcohol is sounding better than usual.  You know all of that paperwork I mentioned in Tuesday's post?  Yea, I'm still living that hell.  I just wasted my morning waiting in line at the DMV to register my car.  It turns out that one of the two zillion forms I brought in was filled out slightly incorrectly and therefore they were unable to actually register my car.  So now I have to fix my form and then find time to go back and wait in line.  Again.
 This was followed by a trip to the Johnson Space Center badging office to get my NASA badge reinstated (which I was pretty excited about).  Turns out that they won't accept my temporary paper Texas driver's license - they need the official plastic one.  So I was 0 for 2 and basically my entire morning was useless.... blah.

(image from here)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Living on the Ledge

I don't know if you noticed in the picture from my last post, but in the great room of my new apartment there is a ledge that runs along the wall over the kitchen and entry way.  This is potentially a fantastic decorating opportunity, but I have to make sure I don't get too kitchy or cheesy with it.  I already have some large vases that pretty much won't fit anywhere else anyway that I plan to use and I have a great moroccan lantern that I plan to use somehow as well.  Now what to use in the rest of the space?  Here are some ideas that I'm mulling over:
Clockwise from left: birdcage | book mobile | illuminated letter
brass gazelle | stained glass window
I would probably rather go vintage with the stained glass, although I do love the colors in this one.  Any large brass animal would do, but I'm struggling with size vs shipping costs.  And I really like the idea of using the ceiling as vertical space by hanging a mobile.  I've been eyeing this book one for a while...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season and may 2012 be a wonderful and exciting year for you!  My holidays were busy busy busy, and 2012 has already started off with lots of exciting news. I spent my holidays mostly back in Florida.  As soon as I flew in to Ft. Lauderdale my parents and I headed up to my old stomping rounds to pack up, paint, and recarpet my townhouse.  It was exhausting and we had to spend the second day and night we were there with no furniture, just blow up matresses.  But it got done and I then spent the next 5 days in South Florida lounging on the beach, playing board games, and just chilling with family.  I got back to Texas on Wednesday night and then spent the next three days bogged down in paperwork: signing my new lease, getting a new driver's license, signing the lease as the landlord for my townhouse (someone is renting it already - yay!!), signing paperwork for my new job, etc...
What's that - new job?  Yup, I went ahead over the holidays and accepted a new job to work directly for Boeing as opposed to as a contractor!  I will be switching departments and buildings (still near JSC in Houston though) in about 2 weeks and will then start working environmental controls for the International Space Station. 
I celebrated the new year with friends at J and B's house.  We made fancy finger foods, lasagna, had dirty martini's, and celebrated just after midnight by relaxing in the hot tub.  Ahhh.  Then my movers showed up with all of my stuff yetserday so I spent the second day of 2012 unpacking.  I'm about 1/3 done and it's nearly liveable, but I'm completely exhausted!  Here's the before and during pictures, I'll be posting the after pictures as part of some home decorating posts in the next few weeks...
(Top 3 pictures from here, here, and here)