Friday, March 30, 2012

Things are looking up!

Well after my sucky week last week (overcharged for accupuncture, maintenance guys basically trashing my apartment, dealing with "landlord" crap, etc), things really could only get better.  And boy have they!  In addition to the fact that I started my week on vacation in Florida and had a shortened work week, I discovered that putting tin foil on the floor will stop my cat from urinating on the carpet (now I just have to get the remnants of the smell out - at least it's not getting worse, though!)  My diet is going really well,  I'm right on target to meet my weekly goal and feeling really great about it!  Also, I just found out yesterday that my exception request to get my previously unacceptable relocation expenses reimbursed was approved!  Hello money!  I've started looking up places (mostly restaurants and bars so far) that I want to go to in Houston - I really want to start exploring the city more - and I've already compiled a fantastic list that I'm really excited to get started on!  I got my birthday coupon in the mail from Anthropologie (woo hoo!).  I'm planning to pamper myself with a pedicure this afternoon. And finally, this weekend I'm going to go bluebonnet viewing with some of my friends - yay flowers!  If only Ohio State would win their final four game tomorrow night, that would simply be the cherry on the top of a pretty darn good week!

Have a great weekend!

(picture from here)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weird Wallpaper Obsession

I blame Kate Spade.  If they hadn't resurrected Florence Broadhurst's Japanese Flower motif and gotten me completely and utterly obsessed, then I doubt my attentions would have turned to Florence's other patterns and in turn, her 100% INREDIBLE wallpaper selections.  Now I'm desperately trying to figure out how on earth I can temporarily wall paper even just one wall in my apartment - an absolutely ridiculous endeavor. 
Pale Egrets | Black and White Egrets | Silver Japanese Floral | Graphic Japanese Floral
These are the two patterns I've been eyeing, Egrets and Japenese Floral in two different colorways.  I actually found a place that sells "removeable" wallpaper in Florence's patterns.  Once the glue has completely dried (it takes 6 weeks) the wallpaper can be peeled from the wall and reused even.  Not sure what kind of residue it leaves on the wall, and to make the issue even murkier, the paper is over $300 a roll - ouch.
Horses Stampede | Gold Spotted Floral
So then I thought, what if I just bought a remnant or sample of the wallpaper and framed it?  Less effort/committment/money, but I'd still get my Florence Broadhurst.  I did find a place that sold such remnants, but of course they didn't have the two patterns I'm obsessed with.  They did have these horse and gold flower patterns which are kind of awesome too and at only $25 each, they're MUCH more affordable.  I may still do this, but it doesn't quite satisfy my desire for the full on wallpapered effect, which I can't really do in my apartment anyway. Right?
Teal Moroccan | Blue and Coral Alto
Maybe not .... while hunting for wallpaper options I think I may have found the solution: Tempaper.  It's this incredible newish product that is actually temporary (think static cling) wallpaper!  While the teal and gold moroccan style on the left really should be a slam dunk for me (love teal, love gold, love moroccan influence), I'm not totally in love with it.  I think it might be a bit too much.  I'm heavily considering the option on the right, though. The caribbean blue and coral red in a cool art deco motif rock my world.  So now I'm thinking Alto Tempaper in my bedroom hallway (small area so it doesn't overwhelm and since it's temporary it's definitely apartment friendly) and some framed Florence Broadhurst just so I can indulge in her incredible patterned genius.  Still not super cheap, but at least I'll be able to take both with me when I move out.  What do you think?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Weekend Vacation

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, but I just got back from a 4 day extended weekend in sunny Florida last night!  As part of my relocation package when I accepted my current job with Boeing I was allowed a house-finding trip.  Since I already lived in Houston at the time, they instead gave me a "reverse home finding trip" in which I could fly back to Florida if needed.  I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and flew in to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night to spend time with the fam (my parents were in town for spring break and my brother J was down to string rackets at the Sony Ericsson Open).
I got to spend some time at the beach on Saturday followed by a trip to the theater with my parents and cousin to see Hunger Games (I thought it was pretty good - stayed mostly true to the book, although I found it harder to get emotionally involved the movie.  Character development wasn't really there...).  On Sunday we hit up the pool and then went to my little cousin A's 5th birthday party at Plaster Carousel we we had kosher pizza and painted plaster figurines.  A is the oldest of my cousin C's two daughters and I love both of those little girls to pieces!  Although I have to say that a gaggle of 5 year olds and a toddler at an establishment that is filled with plaster and paint is a tad on the stressful side.  It was so nostalgic to be there with C, though, because we used to go all the time when we were little too - around 20 years ago!  I went back to my Aunt's house afterwards and got to spend more time with them there too - loved it!
On Monday my parents and I drove down to Miami and picked up my brother J at his hotel (he had finished his stringing gig on Sunday) and we then proceeded to spend the whole day at the Sony Ericsson Open watching some of the best tennis players in the world including Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Juan Martin Del Potro, Victoria Azarenka, and Mardy Fish.  The whole thing is pretty high brow - tennis sponsors tend more toward the luxury companies and so there were a bunch of crazy expensive cars on display like the Audi R8 and the Ferari FF, plus cars by Maserati, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche, and McLaren. 
Other sponsors are Bombay Saphire gin, Bacardi, Lindt Chocolates, and Veuve Clicquot (my favorite tent had Champagne and Sushi!)  Kinda crazy! I also got to meet one of my brother's stringing coworkers who used to work on the Russian space program - we got to trade a few space stories and I even practiced a bit of my Russian with him! 
Tuessday I hung up some pictures that had been sitting in my Florida bedroom for ages while my dad and brother got in a golf game and my mom went to the gym.  Then I packed up and we went out errand running, to get some italian ice (I got black raspberry - yum!), and to visit with my grandparents before I had to catch my plane home.  Overall it was a fun and relaxing weekend in the sun with family!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Have a Lovely Weekend!

I tracked down my best friend K on pinterest and, lo and behold, she had this picture of one of our future trips together (because now that I've seen the picture, I absolutely have to see it in real life!)  Thailand is definitely on my top 5 list right now...  Here's to spending the weekend taking in the gorgeous weather and day dreaming of awesome places like this!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Incredible Video from ISS


Check out this incredible video from the ISS.  You can see star fields (SO many stars!!  and those are only the visible ones - you can't tell me somewhere out there one of those stars doesn't harbor life...), the milky way (!!), the northern lights, lightening storms on earth from space, and also pieces of the ISS moving around the the frame.  It's fantastic!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weight For It

I usually don't put much stock in "weight" - if my clothes fit me and I feel healthy then that's good enough for me.  Until yesterday that is, when I went to check out a new doctor/accupuncturist and during my consultation I glimpsed down at the scale... Say what!?!?  I knew I needed to lose a little because I'm down to only 4 pairs of pants that actually fit me, all from the "larger" end of my closet.  I'm not naming numbers, but I was kind of appalled at how much more I weighed than even just three years ago.  And I don't really get it because, for the most part, I eat healthy!  I go to the gym 3 days a week for spinning, yoga, cardio, and free weights!  The point is, my vanity took a huge kick in the ass this week and so I'm now attempting to be more proactive about my food intake. 
Yes, I eat mostly healthy, but I don't pay as much attention to portion size as I should and I like to snack.  Enter a food journal.   I'm attempting to track every food and drink item that enters my mouth in hopes of making even more informed food decisions.  I started yesterday and had to cut out my afternoon snack and desert to meet my caloric goal that I set in hopes of losing 2 lbs per week.  It was painful to end the day without ice cream.  Today I cut back a bit on my lunch portion in hopes of filling the mid afternoon void that is my stomach with an actual snack.  I'm really not used to this calorie counting but I need to do something, as my status quo obviously wasn't doing me any favors.  More to come...

(images from here and here)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

To me, spring means flowers, and I LOVE flowers!  In Texas the blue bonnets are blooming and online, my favorite organic flower shop just announced that my all time favorite flower, Ranunculus, are available!   Just looking at them makes me smile - so pretty!

Monday, March 19, 2012

SXSW and the Houston Rodeo!

Sorry I didn't post on Friday, but I had a Extended Texas Weekend!  And there are a TON of pictures of it all!
It started on Thursday night when I went to the Houston Rodeo with some friends!  We started our evening with some baked potatoes stuffed with barbecue pork and topped with cheese, scallions, and sour cream.  It was artery-clogging goodness! 
Then we headed in to the stadium for the big event! It was my first rodeo and while I thought it was really cool to watch the events, there's a little bit of animal abuse in there that I wasn't as big of a fan of (using spurs to rile up the horses/bulls and jumping off of a horse to throw a calf to the ground...).  The animals all seemed to be 100% fine afterwards, though, which went a long way toward enhancing my fun-level!  I also saw my very first country western concert, Jason Aldean, whom I had never heard of before that night.  I'm not really a country fan, so I had more fun watching the light show and the people's reactions. 

Then Friday morning I hopped into my car and drove out to Austin for the SXSW music festival!  On the way I caught some of the beginning of Bluebonnet season (the Texas state flower), and they were such a pretty color!  Can't wait until they're in full bloom in a couple of weeks!
Once I got to Austin I met up with my friends and we headed out for free food, drinks and music!  We headed to the Yelp's Backyard Blowout party first and snacked on tacos and smoked black bean hummus while drinking Texas based libations with awesome mixers such as lavendar and cucumber sodas and St. Germain liquor!
There were a couple of decent bands there too including a female performer named Sydney Wayser and a band from Seattle called Hey Marseilles that was filled with multitalented musicians that played: guitar, cello/bass, violin, keyboard/accordian, trumpet/sax/bass clarinet, and drums.
video
 From there we headed further into the city and got caught up in the craziness that is SXSW - I could not believe the number of people that were filling the streets and bars!
We didn't wind up going to any more concerts that night.  Instead we went to the bar at the W hotel, where my friends knew the bartender.  We just chilled on the couches and chatted while friends of ours danced with an old man who REALLY liked to clap...
video
And we finished off the night at a karaoke bar where we gorged on cheese balls and "danced" in our roller chairs.  The next day was a bit of a late start.  We finally made it out of the house and headed into the thick of SX to see a band called Ramona Falls.  I definitely liked them and my favorite part was when they started playing percussion on the metal light scaffolding!
After that we found our way to a bar called Kung Fu that offers free vintage arcade games, skeeball, and has a picture of Chuck Norris painted on the wall.  On the way we ran into these guys:
Check out those awesome hipsters in spandex!!!  Eventually we made our way back into the madhouse of the main SXSW drag to listen to The Soldier Thread - who I really liked! And then we met up with a bunch of people to listen to Humans, but I was losing fuel by this point.
 Sunday was sleeping in, getting brunch, hitting up Austin Art Garage where I bought this awesome guy:
and then chilling at a sports bar to watch college basketball before hitting the road and heading back to Houston.  Overall an AWESOME weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roses are Red, My Hair is Not

I totally wish I could pull off red hair.  Look how gorgeous these ladies look with their warm ginger locks!  Unfortunately I've tried redder tones in my hair before and they did not compliment my skin.  And when I dye my hair darker it just immediately fades back to my standard brown color.  So unfortunately, with as much as I like to experiement with my tresses (I understand that I get this from my grandma who had every hair style and color possible in the 50's through 70's ish....), coloring my hair will never be a way in which I can do so.  Which is really unfortunate because I just LOVE the way red hair looks!

(images from here, here, here, here, here, and here)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Venting

Oh the joys of being a landlord.... I seriously think my face must be red, bright cherry red, right now.   I am SO FURIOUS!  Apparently my property managment company doesn't feel the need to clear expenses through me - for example: the dishwasher that served me adaquately for 7 years apparently wasn't sufficient for my new tennant.  Fine, it wasn't a great dishwasher and my service contract company confirmed that it was a POS.  My property manager called me and said he knows people that can find a full functional used replacement model for a good price and he will call me when they find a suitable model to clear it with me first.  Great.  Next thing I know, it's a month later and I'm getting a bill in my email for $250 that I never approved... 
Plus there was an extra little bill tacked on for a $65 toilet repair.  $65 to fix a toilet????  Those definitely weren't broken before I left - what did she do, stuff a towel down the bowl?  And you can freaking replace a toilet for $65 - WTF!!!  I've almost spent more money on this f-ing townhouse in the 4 months since I moved out than I did in the last 7 years I owned it!!!


(images from here and here)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Wolowitz Approximation

Any Big Bang Theory enthusiasts out there?  I love me some nerd humor, so I'm definitely a fan.  Although today it occured to me that, aside from the gender difference, I have a lot (perhaps a bit too much) in common with one character in particular: Howard Wolowitz.  Observe:


















I may not live with my parents, but I'm also not an Astronaut, so I think that cancels out.  The main reason I was thinking about this is today I had to be at work at 6:30 this morning to sit on console to support space toilet operations (we're trying to configure a urine analysis system) and I realized that it was just one more thing Howard and I have in common...  Kinda scary, huh? 

If you haven't seen the show yet, your really should - hysterical stuff!

(pictures from here, here, here, here, here, and here)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Azalea Trail

On Saturday, J, B, and I went on Houston's River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail in which people are invited to walk through the super expensive/expansive gardens and homes of 6 of Houston's well-to-do.
I love looking through other people houses (a little voyeuristic, I know...) and I love flowers so this was appealing to me on many levels.  Two of the homes were actually donated to art centers of Houston and are open to the public on a regular basis.  Could you imagine: "I'm so ridiculously wealthy that I think I'll just donate one of my mansions...."  Crazy. 
I actually didn't love those as much as the privately owned homes, though.  The first one we went into was owned by art collectors and the decor was insane.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, otherwise this post would probably just be about that house.  This picture is from their backyard, though.  I want an incredible bronze statue in my backyard (first need a backyard, though...)
I also appreciated the nod to "Texas style" in many of the homes.  For example, this (hehe) lovely long horn topiary:
My favorite garden, though, was the last one we walked though.  The house was this fantastic little mid century style building.  And I do mean little, it only had one bedroom and the living area was quite small, though decorated impeccably.  Despite the house size, though, the owner was obviously quite affluent because the house was built on an expansive yard that overlooked one of Houston's bayous (basically a river - so waterfront).  The owner was billed as a landscape architect and it was obvious because the garden was beyond incredible. 
Definitely a fun, and unique Saturday adventure!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sleep Deprived

It's only 12:30 in the afternoon and I've already been up for 11 hours.... that's right.  Do the math.  I was up at 1:20 am this morning to support repair and problem resolution procedures in the ISS MER.  To add insult to injury, I had to be in yesterday at 5:00 am.  Needless to say, I'm super tired and my interal clock is all out of whack.  While I was on my, probably, 3rd wind this morning there was a comment made over the net that solar flares will be causing some amazing Northern Lights for the astronauts up in space to view over the next few days.  It got me thinking about some of my goals before I die, since seeing the Northern Lights in person is definitely one of them.  Here's how my list is shaping up:

1. See the Northern Lights.  Here's the astronauts view from the ISS.  Pretty incredible!
2. Learn how to blow glass:
3. Be able to drive a stick shift/manual car
 All good things to ponder while I sleep through the upcoming weekend :0)

(pictures from here, here, here, and here)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Inspiration

These Pinterest items have caught my eye, and I keep going back to them.  Hence I have decided that they will be my style guidelines for the upcoming spring!
Classic Bridget Bardot look with teased, yet relaxed hair that, when paired with some sultry winged eyeliner, gives off the perfect easy going yet styled look
I don't know that I'll go with this colorway, but I love the alternating chevron pattern.  I just splurged on an at-home gel nail kit and I'm thinking if I can get my nail art to last for 2 weeks then I'm going to be much more likely to give it a try!  I'm thinking burgundy and nude...
Strappy wedges with a LOW HEEL!  Please, please, please become a major trend, because I love them!  They're sexy, give a little lift which does wonders for my legs, yet I don't tower over every other person, and they're actually comfortable!  These, naturally, are sold out, but I plan to hunt them down and wear them to pieces this spring...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Addicted

I swear - girl scout cookies must be laced with crack.  And some sort of diet drug.  Otherwise how else could I eat 4 of them, feel like I've eaten none yet simultaneously feel the need to polish off the rest of the box?  I was doing so good on eating healthy and reducing portion sizes all week last week and then I pick up a couple of boxes from a coworker yesterday and BAM!  I eat 10 in one day.  Grrrrr.  And obviously I'm not the only one who feels this way - see what I've dug up on the interweb:
Right!?!?

(images from here, here, and here)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Projecting Last Week (and Weekend!)

I have been a busy little DIY bee lately!  I finally got around to starting a bunch of the projects I've been wanting to try.  A bit help in this was my weekend girls' craft night yesterday at my friend H's house where I finally got around to gold dipping and etching glass!  Check out the final products below (my versions are on the left, originals on the right)!
This is my ampersand project, inspired by the original is on the right, which can be found in pretty much every Kate Spade store (such fun little places to go visit and spend buckets of imaginary money!)  I upgraded mine with a little bit of glitter...
Speaking of glitter (my new favorite thing, which can now be found in every nook and cranny of my apartment due to the laws of glitter), here are some boots I made last week based off of this DIY tutorial, which was inspired this original pair at Barneys and are somewhat reminiscent of my favorite Miu Miu pair from last season.  My final product isn't spot on, but they're still pretty fantastic!

I've blogged about these gold dipped wine glasses a couple of times and I'm so excited that I finally got around to them!  I love the way they look displayed in my dining room!
And while I was knee deep in gold paint, I went ahead and made a version of this little gold rimmed bowl too, which is now happily holding pendants on my dresser!
Moving on from gold to my second favorite theme of the week: hearts.  I made a news print heart wall hanging based off of the designs of this etsy artist.
And for my second heart project, I hand felted little heart elbow patches on to a slouchy grey cardigan, inspired by this DIY from one of my favorite blogs, Honestly WTF.
And for a final ode to Kate Spade, I etched polka dots onto champagne saucers that I got at Goodwill for about $2.00, a la the Kate Spade Larabee Dot Fete Mini Champagne Saucers (that go for $75 for a set of 4!) that I've been wanting for ages.  I think this one was my favorite!  Score!