Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's All Downhill

So S and I are currently planning a ski trip to Colorado!  I haven't been skiing in a couple of years, and even then it was up in the UP of Michigan.  My brother informs me that the powder out west is a completely different animal and so, especially since it's been so long since I last skied anyway, I should expect to fall multiple times (at least the landing's soft!).  I'm debating whether I should get my skis from my parent's house when I'm home in January or just rent when I get out to the mountain.  We're also not sure yet where exactly we want to go.  Aspen?  Breckenridge? Vail?  Telluride?  Since we are both unfamiliar with Colorado, we'd love some input on the best places to go, renting vs hauling my own equipment, and any other helpful tidbits you might have!

(picture from here)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gowning Around

I have two important weddings coming up in 2013, my brother's in this summer and my cousin's next winter.  Since I'm in the bridal party for my brother's wedding, my dress situation has already been decided upon for me (shimmering, strapless, purple).  But my cousin's wedding is going to be a Saturday night, super fancy affair in New York City.  I know I've got lots of time until next winter, but my mom and I were just talking on the phone about it last night, plus the winter sales are going strong and so I've just been browsing a bit.  What do you think of these???
Clockwise from top left: Halston Heritage beaded crepe halter | ML Monique Lhuilier satin trim gown | ABS belted gown | Rebecca Taylor strapless gown.  I'm personally digging the backless Halston halter dress.  We'll see....

Monday, December 17, 2012

What an Awesome Weekend!

I just had the most phenomenal weekend!  It all started off with sleeping in on Saturday.  Perfect.  This was followed by the first part of an awesome tour de foodie.  On the way to a new restaurant, we happened upon the Monster PB&J truck, which we'd been wanting to try, over by the Menil Collection (an art museum that I still need to check out).  I know that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches hardly sound gourmet, but they were delicious!  I got wheat bread, almond butter, blueberry jam, and banana slices, all toasted and then we picnic-ed on the lawn of the museum.  Yum!  S and I then made our way on to the originally planned destination of Eatsie Boys new brick and mortar restaurant (they used to operate solely out of a foodtruck as well) where we shared a matzo ball pho and then each tried one of their gourmet ice cream flavors.  The sweet corn was good, but the glazed donut flavored ice cream was kind of mind bending - it tasted exactly like a glazed donut!  After that it was back to my old apartment because the piano guys came to move my big, honkin upright piano.  It wasn't easy, but they did an excellent job.  Unfortunately, in the tuners expert opinion, my piano is beyond help when it comes to tuning it (it would cost over $1000!!!), so that was a bit of bad news.  This was followed by some major cleaning/errand running to get ready for my holiday/housewarming brunch the following morning.  Did you know that  Houston liquor stores close at 9 on Saturday???  So ridiculous.  We also went out for dinner at a nearby tapas fusion restaurant called Ambrosia.  The food was good, abut the best part was we could walk there from my place!  The perks of city living!

Sunday was an incredible whirlwind.  I was up around 9 to get the fixings for my brunch ready.  I served pancakes with a variety of toppings and a few different types of fritattas (bacon, jalepeno, and cheddar; tomato, spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese; and ham, shallots, mushrooms, and gruyere).  Friends brought fruit, vodka (lifesavers!), orange juice, etc and we all had a delicious time.  We finished up the gathering with a white elephant christmas exchange!  After everyone left, I indulged in a brief nap and then it was time for more food!  There was a holiday food truck festival that S and I hit up where I found my dream food truck: Golden Grill.  It's an entire truck dedicated to grilled cheese!!!  I was also a fan of Bernie's Burger Bus - not super unique flavors, but just really good burgers.  And they had the most insane truffled french fries.  Yum!  S also hit up his favorite truck - the Waffle Bus - where he got the Strawberry Irish Cream Creme Brulee waffle sandwhich.  Crazy right?  Our weekend wrapped up with a trip to see the Houston Symphony Orchestra and featured performer Ashley Brown perform at their annual Pops Holiday Concert.  Such a fantastic weekend!!!!

(top image from here - I really need to start photo documenting weekends like this on my own....)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have a Fantastic Weekend!

Sorry I didn't post again yesterday - it's been another busy week.  Almost all of the things are moved out of the old apartment and into the new duplex.  I just donated a big carload of stuff today and I have some recycling and then about 1 carload left at the house.  Plus the piano which (hopefully) will be moved by a piano moving company tomorrow - I still need to call to confirm...

This weekend I'm going to be keeping pretty busy as well.  Tomorrow includes a well deserved morning of sleeping in and snuggles followed by the piano move and then shopping for Sunday.  Sunday I'm throwing a holiday/housewarming brunch complete with frittatas, pancakes, and a bloody mary bar, then we're heading out to a food truck festival, and ending the evening with a night of holiday music by the Houston Symphony Orchestra!  I can't wait!

Here are a few space related randoms for your weekend as well (to make up for the lack of an Increasing the Awesome post yesterday....):

I met the guys who own this website a few weeks ago when I toured them around JSC and lo and behold, I've made their roundup of Daily Afternoon Randomess! (Why yes, that is an astronaut suit grabbing my butt!)

Apparently NASA wants to get in on the Gangnam style - NASA Johnson Style!  And it's a surprisingly entertaining video...

Hope you all have a great weekend!

p.s. I tried a version of the hot cocoa affogato I posted about on Wednesday except I used mint cocoa and vanilla ice cream - delicious!!!

(picture from here)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Getting Cozy

We finally got a nice cold front through the area (for a couple of days at least) and the chilly temperatures have me craving lots of snuggling as well as warm comfort foods (and drinks!).  Unfortunately I haven't had much time to cook lately due to my move (which is still going well, but is not yet photograph-able), but here are a few of the recipes I plan to whip up the next time we get a cold snap here in Houston:

Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup - pure hominess in a bowl.  And I've had a big thing for lentils lately.
Moroccan Chicken Stew - I'm thinking slow cooker on this one!
Winter Pasta with Chorizo - hearty and warm
Hot Apple-Ginger Toddy - I've been just a little obsessed with hot toddy's lately and this one sounds delish.
Hot Dr. Pepper - must add rum!
Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Cocoa "Affogato" - *drool*

Let me know if you wind up trying one of these!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More Stories from Landlord Hell

I think I may need a new management company on my Florida townhouse.  I called today to see if my current tenants had renewed their lease and it's all been downhill since then...  First, they didn't know if she was renewing despite the fact that the lease ends at the end of the month.  Strike one.  Second, she apparently paid her rent 10 days late this month because she just had a baby.  What?  Last I heard she was a single mom with 2 boys and now she's married with a new baby?  Ok, it's not like I'd notify my landlord if I got knocked up, but a baby does not take 10 days to be born, so rent that late is not acceptable.  Strike two.  And here's the coup de grace - despite the fact that my lease states that she owes $50 the first day her rent is late and $25 per day after - which totals around $300 in late fees - the managment company told her (wait for it.......) that since it was the holidays and she just had a baby that they were going to WAIVE THE LATE FEE?!?!?  Without even checking with me and despite the fact that I have a legally binding lease?!? Strike three!!!!  I'm livid!!!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

I was SO busy with my move this weekend that I had completely forgotten that Hanukkah started on Saturday!  I'm not celebrating with the family until we're all down in Florida at the end of the month, so it didn't really hit me until today.  My mom did text me over the weekend, but I was in heavy unpack mode so it sort of slipped by me unnoticed (sorry mom!).  I do plan to break out my awesome Jonathan Adler menorah tonight, though.  So Happy Hanukkah everyone!!!  May your latkes be crispy, your dreidel spins result in gimel, and your eight nights of celebration be memorable!

As I said, most of my weekend was spent on "The Move".  Some of my awesome friends chipped in on Saturday to help me move all of my big pieces of furniture to the new place.  It only took about 2 hours (though I'm pretty sure everyone was cursing the stairs at my old apartment the whole time), we celebrated afterwards with gatorade and homemade lasagna, and I'm now officially living in the city!  I've managed to get most of my kitchen and bedroom unpacked/set up so far.  Though the kitchen does still need some organization help.

My next big project is the bathroom, which desperately needs to be cleaned and also requires a toilet paper holder, new toilet seat, and curved shower rod.  All were purchased yesterday and will be installed today.  I'd also had an issue with the hot water smelling like sulphur (nothing like leaving the new place smelling like a rotten egg....)  I just heard from my property manager that he fixed the water heater for me today, though, so I should have a fully functional bathroom by the end of the day today!

There are still boxes and other piles of "stuff" everywhere, so no pictures for you  yet.  But they will be coming along soon!  I have another busy week ahead of me!

(top image from here)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Have a Spectacular Weekend!

Sorry I didn't get around to posting much this week.  Work has been busy and I've been spending pretty much all of my free time moving and painting.  The new place is coming along beautifully!  The kitchen is nearly done and the difference in appearance is mind bogglingly fantastic.  I can't wait to show pictures once I get the finishing touches in!  I have most of the smaller items in my apartment moved.  There's admittedly still a bunch of crap left in random closets, but the important stuff like kitchen supplies, artwork, toilet paper, etc., is all there.

Tomorrow is the big furniture move and this weekend I will officially be taking up residence in the city!

Since I missed yesterday's Increasing the Awesome post, I figured I'd give you a little snippet today.  NASA has compiled a new, cloud-free view of the Earth at night made with data from the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite.  These are the clearest, highest resolution photos taken of the night lights of the earth to date!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quirky Gift Guide

I know a lot of magazines and blogs do gift guides, and I usually absolutely love reading them to get new and unique ideas for "off the beaten path" types of gifts.  And frequently stuff for myself too....  So I decided to try my hand at compiling a list of fun, nice, and potentially odd gifts that maybe you wouldn't have thought of otherwise as well.  Here's what I got: clockwise from the top left, a mustache pacifier to give any baby that Tom Selleck look, beautifully delicate Catherine Weitzman branch earrings, a weird but wonderful ceramic pig planter, Jonathan Adler's squirrel match holder (so random!), a modern porcelain and walnut catchall for a stylish desk space, J. Crew's iPhone backup batteries in fun patterns (I'm pining for the polka dotted one!), Charley Harper is an artist obsession of mine and in addition to his books I recently discovered this fabulous memory game, Rummikub is the current king of games in my family's house (it's so fun!), druzy rings are an awesome way to get maximum sparkle for your money, and finally my go to gift for the person who has everything, or who you just have no good ideas for: food - I'd start with this cookie and brownie gift box from Zingermans.

Well I hope I've been able to inspire your holiday shopping just a bit.  If nothing else, at least I hope I entertained you with randomness!  Hope your holiday season is going well!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sneak Peak

My lease has officially started on my duplex in the city!!  And boy, are my plans for the kitchen WAY more work than I had anticipated.  I was at it all weekend and I'm still not done.  But it's looking SOOOO much better!  Here's a quick sneak peak:
This is quite obviously the before.  The wood is old, in bad condition, dated, and makes the space look super tiny.  And here's after a coat of primer:
There's definitely a lot more work to do (splotchy white isn't the design aesthetic I'm going for).  But how much better does it look already?!?!  Even the scallops along the top piss me off less.  And the green counter/backsplash looks way better with the white too.  B came over to help me with the first coat of paint last night (it's about 80% done) which was a HUGE help.  I've also brought over 4 stuffed-to-the-gills carloads of stuff so far.  There's a lot more to do, and after the amount of work I've put in so far (I'm tired and sore all over) the rest is still intimidating.  But it's going to be worth every aching minute....