Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring Shoe Love

clockwise from top left: black pointed sandal | silver thong sandal | nude kitten heel with neon accents | black and rose gold sliver wedge | red and nude sliver wedge | color block kitten heel | nude and gold ankle strap kitten heel | tan, snakeskin and gold block heel sandal | nude and silver pointy kitten heel
So you may have noticed that despite the fact that a chunk of the country is getting socked with snow (not Houston, though - come visit if you need a warm weather fix!) the stores have all already started stocking up on their spring lines.  This means airy, pastel dresses, light weight sweaters, pretty blouses, and my favorite: shoes.  It seems that the style gods have heard my prayers and this spring 2013 season is chock full of fantastic flats, sliver wedges, and kitten heels all in stunning neutrals and metallics with pops of color.  They're all so gorgeous!  I'm thinking I may have to splurge on at least one pair so that I don't just snap one day and blow my budget on all of them.  Which ones should I get?!?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dining Room Reveal!

I've officially finished decorating my dining room!!!  The other rooms are coming along as well, but seeing at least one room completed is SO gratifying.  I'm 100% in love with my black walls.  Even S, who thought I was nuts when I first told him my plan to paint the walls black, admitted that it looks really cool.  I've re-used the dining table, 2 of the dining chairs, the 2 directors chairs, and of course the piano that I've had since my Florida place.  I kept  the two moulded plastic chairs that I got in my last apartment to keep things from getting too weighed down.  The ombre curtains are from the bedroom in my last apartment and all of the artwork and objects on the shelves and the piano are items I've been collecting over the years.  New to this room are the gold curtain rods and grey linen curtains, the awesome gold shelf that I showed off here, and the persian-looking rug (that I got at IKEA for only $80!).  I also got a great deal on some curtain rings at IKEA that I spray painted gold a couple of weekends ago to match the curtain rods - they turned out perfectly!
Those curtains were a bitch to hang.  I think I've figured out the best way to approach it now, so I'm still planning to curtain the rest of the rooms, but it was a frustrating endeavor...  Also, I don't technically have the bar cart I want yet, but I've been using an old nightstand from the Florida house as a makeshift bar cart in the meantime. 
It actually works really well and I'm contemplating painting it a glossy red and changing out the knob and just keeping it there.  We'll see...  I also absolutely love the painting I hung in that corner (I got it at Pike Place market in Seattle).  I love all of the artwork in this room to be honest.  My little three-eyed guy from Austin is next to the gold shelf and my el gato gomez space scene is camping out over the piano:
I had a lot of fun styling the shelves and piano top too.  I used the tips and tricks I've acquired from my decorating idol Emily Henderson (here) and I feel like it's much more curated than my belongings used to be.  I still have some shelves to fill on the gold shelf, but if I use the small table as my bar, then I won't have room for all of my alcohol bottles (I'm not an alch-y, it just accumulates over time...) so they may find a home on one of those lower gold shelves instead.  So a little more work, I guess, but it's 95% finished and I just absolutely adore the entire space.

What do you think??

Monday, February 25, 2013

Giant Game Weekend

I had a fantastic weekend!  And oddly enough, it was chock full of giant games... weird.  On Saturday S and I went to his parents house where he changed out the oil on his car and I utilized his dad's power tools to (quite belatedly, I admit) make a giant jenga game for J and B for their holiday present.  I know, I'm two months late.  The game was fairly easy to make.  I cut down five 8' planks of whitewood into 11" segments, then used a wood file to get rid of splinters and slightly bevel the sharp edges, and finally took some fine grit sandpaper to ensure that the outer sides and edges were all smooth and splinter free.  It definitely took some time, but the result was spot on! (see our first experience with the game here)
That evening we went to J and B's house for their son A's birthday and I brought the giant jenga.  After the party (which was a blast as well: make-your-own-pizza, Taboo, and Catch Phrase!) we moseyed out to the backyard to test out the new game.  I'm shocked at how long we kept that tower standing!  We actually reached a point where there were no more boards to remove and stack on top - we beat the game! 
The weather was so fantastic the next day that we decided to walk over to one of our favorite local eateries, Eatsie Boys, for their chef's choice brunch.  I ordered the chicken tamale with black beans, fresh cheese and avocado crema and S had the pork loin rolled with chorizo and jalepeno cornbread.  We seriously haven't eaten anything there yet that we haven't loved.  After brunch we went next door where there's a giant chess game on the patio.  Neither S nor I had played chess in a while, so it wasn't exactly a riveting game.
I do well with my defensive strategy, but I'm not so great on the offensive.  So we kept the game going for a while, but I wound up losing in the end.  Need to practice more!  And after giant chess, since the weather was still impossibly gorgeous, we proceeded to walk around the Montrose area.  It was phenomenal.  I love my new neighborhood!  Sunday evening we accomplished a bit of productiveness around the house (the dining room is complete!  Pictures to come tomorrow!) and then hit up Torchy's Tacos for a yummy dinner.  If you ever go you MUST try the Independent and the street corn - they are insanely good!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Have a Relaxing Weekend!

I can't believe it's already Friday!!!  This week just did not give up - I was busy non-stop!  I'm seriously looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow (and Sunday).  And then I have a birthday party to attend on Saturday, which I'm really looking forward to as I haven't spent much time hanging out with my friends lately.  I have just a few finishing touches to put up in the kitchen and dining room too, so I'm hoping to get those done this weekend.  And then I plan to just relax.  I need it after the way this week kicked my butt...

(picture from here)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Another Busy Week

Yeah, I'm missing posts left and right these days.  At this point my goal is three in one week.  Things have been really busy at work.  This week I'm on console and still performing my MCA lead duties, and as I've said before, something big always happens on weeks like this.  Sure enough, yesterday we lost communication with ISS for a few hours (you can read about it here) and things were just insanely busy.  Some of our systems shut down, but they reacted the way they were supposed to, so it's not like we had any unplanned failures.  But it was busy. 

And in the evenings for the next week a I have to be home to give Zoe more kitty Prozac so she stops using my floors as a littler box.  We're one week in and it seems she's just stopped, but I need to have her on the meds for a full 2 weeks before I can taper down to every other night.  So I've been trying to fit in visits with S in the evenings and going to the gym, then hanging artwork at home and making food.  Lots to do and my crazy kitty is throwing a wrench into my post work plans...

(picture from here)

Monday, February 18, 2013

It was a Fun and Even Semi-Productive Weekend!

The weekend flew by almost as quickly as last week did!!!  On Saturday we, blissfully and necessarily, slept way in.  I did get up around 9:30 and whip up a gourmet breakfast of five grain toast topped with scrambled eggs and sauteed mushrooms and shallots with a side of bacon and a fruit salad of fresh pineapple, banana, strawberries, and mango.  Food is one of the few things that motivates me on weekend mornings...  That afternoon we made our way up to the Heights for the White Oaks Pub Crawl sponsored by St. Arnold's brewery.  It was kind of insane because the weather was so nice and the bars were so close together.  The sheer number of people spilling out of the bars was incredible.  But because of the weather and due to the fact that a handful of the mass of people were friends, it was a lot of fun.  After the pub crawl was over we headed around the corner to Pink's Pizza, voted one of Houston's best pizzerias and I got to cross them off of my list.  The pizza was excellent.  And then we met up with some new friends from the pub crawl at Hay Merchant where I had my new favorite drink: a Shandy made with house-made lemon ginger soda.  OBSESSED!
On Sunday I managed to be productive for most of the morning.  We went to Eatsie Boys for their ever changing "chef's special" Sunday brunch where I, for the first time in my life, ate fried chicken for breakfast.  It was served on a biscuit with honey butter and it was quite delicious.  I really wanted to try the quiche with sweet potato and kale, but alas, quiche is made with egg yolks...  S had the blueberry and bacon pancakes and said they were quite good.  Then we swung by Half Price Books and I snagged a few new cookbooks from some of my favorite celebrity chefs (Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer and Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa at Home) and then made our way back to my place where I FINALLY finished painting the dining room!  I also got my new rug laid out and the furniture all pushed back into place.
Despite my promise on Friday, I still need to style the shelves, hang curtains, and hang artwork, so final pictures aren't quite ready yet.  Here are a few sneak peaks, though and I'll try really hard to get it all done this week!  That wasn't the whole weekend, either.  After an early dinner of leftover truffled mac and cheese we headed back out the door and headed to the Houston House of Blues for the Flogging Molly concert (see the first picture)!  It was my first foray into Irish Rock and it was a lot of fun!  Those fans really get into the dancing and crowd surfing and (typical Irish) some heavy drinking!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Have a Delightful Weekend!

That week went by quickly!  With 2 days spent on an airplane and only 3 days of real work it seems like time just flew!  Not that I'm complaining.  It was a fantastic week filled with visits with friends, a walk along the Pacific, and a beer and cheese pairing event last night (it was yummy! and it turns out there's a giant warehouse of cheese right here in Houston - be still my heart/stomach!!!)  And now the weekend is here and my plans include a pub crawl up in the Heights with a bunch of friends and a concert on Sunday!  I'm also hoping to FINALLY get the kitchen and living room decorating complete so I can FINALLY show you some pictures of the new place!

Speaking of new places, a big CONGRATULATIONS to my youngest brother, who just closed today on his very first house!!!

Hope you have a fun, busy, productive, and delightful weekend!

(picture from here)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

California Girl

Sorry I missed posts this week.  I was out in Cali on business.  Flew out Monday, had a meeting all day Tuesday, and flew home yesterday.  While out there I got to visit with Br once again - we had lunch at this great brewery/gastropub and then he toured me around his office at Nickelodeon and showed me how a cartoon is made - pretty cool!  Monday night I hit up my favorite tapas restaurant, Viva Madrid, in Claremont Village. 
Like I said, Tuesday was a work day.  On Wednesday I left my hotel super early anticipating ridiculously horrible traffic on my way to the airport, as tends to happen in LA.  To my delight, the traffic was less sucky than usual and I made it to the airport area 4 whole hours before my flight!  I didn't want to sit in the terminal for that long, so I detoured down to Hermosa Beach for some breakfast and a walk on the pier.  Delightful!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sneak Peak

Saturday went pretty much as planned, but Sunday's plans were bumped to a later date due to the miserable grey, rainy weather that swept through Houston (and persisted into Monday...)  So instead of a day of fresh air and sea shells, I spent most of my day running errands and making progress on the decoration of the "new" place.  I say "new" because I've already been living there for 2 months, but with the holidays, 2 weekend trips, a nasty cold, and work I've barely had time to get my decorating goals accomplished.  I still have a decent chunk of things on my to-do list, but here's a sneak peak at one I've nearly finished.  I'm SOOOO freaking excited about the way it's turning out!!!

Can't wait to get this room finished off!  I'm a couple of shelves and a few paintings away from having the kitchen done too.   Final pictures coming soon!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Have a Fun Weekend!

I just discovered this new site Daily Dishonesty, that turns the little lies we tell ourselves every day into cheeky artwork with fun typography and I immediately tagged this one as the motto for my weekend!  This one (never true) and this one (ahhh, chocolate) are some more of my favorites.  You can actually buy prints of them here!

Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?  I'm meeting some friends for brunch (the inspiration for today's picture...), helping S hunt for a new abode, and hopefully getting a few more things hung around the house tomorrow.  Sunday will be a trip to the shore near Galveston for some seashell hunting and a picnic on the beach!  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

NASA Remembers

Did you know it's been 10 years since the Columbia accident?  Ten years.  Wow.  I still, very distinctly, remember the moment I saw on the news that the shuttle had burned up on reentry and thought of those brave astronauts.  Less than two years later, I became a member of the team that was responsible for making sure the heat shield on the vehicles never failed again.  The space program has become a part of me (I still say my job working on the shuttle program is the best job I have ever and will ever have) and I have become a part of the space program.  And being so involved in it I can tell you, there is a LOT of risk.  Those astronauts are climbing into tiny pressurized cabins strapped to explosives, the vehicles seeing over 3000 degrees in some places, all in the name of science and discovery.   And once they get up to the ISS, they are completely reliant on canisters of air and technology for their life support.  That's it.  These are brave individuals. 

Obviously NASA has learned from their mistakes over the years.  They've improved and gotten better, which in turn has allowed the technologies filtered down to the rest of the population of Earth to improve as well.  But it wasn't without loss.  Increasing the awesome has come at a price.  Last Friday, NASA had it's national Day of Remembrance for the astronauts that gave their lives for science and discovery:

(picture from here)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Great Lengths

My hair is getting really long and, amazingly enough, I'm not itching to chop it all off yet.  I like that I can attempt to do all of the fun hairstyles I see on the blogs I read and Pinterest, like this one, this one, and this.  Want to know how many of those I've actually tried?  A big fat zero.  I wear my hair in a ponytail or bun almost every day (to be fair, I have tried this one a couple of times, and I do dress up my ponytails like this).  BORING!  So when I saw this hair tutorial for a braided crown on Cup of Jo yesterday, I decided to give it a whirl today.  The braids are tiny, so working the bobby pins was a bit difficult. and the first braids I made were a little too small so I added another little braid on each side and wound it around the original braids for my own take on the style.  I'm absolutely loving it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Taste Buds' Favorite Day

That's right - it is once again World Nutella Day!  Who decided this should be a yearly event?  Because I want to send them a giant tub of Nutella in gratitude.  Today is the day that the interwebz is chock full of mouth watering nutella recipes to try.  And though I'm perfectly happy to just consume this tasty chocolate hazelnut spread by the spoonful straight out of the tub, being able to eat Nutella in a socially acceptable manner outside of my kitchen is a definite perk! 
So here are some of the tasty options I've tracked down this year: a Nutella Banana Smoothie, then there's the dish that started my love: Nutella and Banana crepes (they do make a great pairing) - I'd make mine with this yolk-free crepe batter recipe, and while it's certainly easier to just buy some Ferrero Rocher and call it a tasty day I also think these Nutella Truffles sound absolutely divine.  And the plus side to cooking/baking with Nutella is you get to lick the bowl clean...

(top image from here, where you can also find a tasty looking recipe for Nutella-Date Pudding Cupcakes!)

Monday, February 4, 2013

And I Didn't Even Fall!

S and I went on a long weekend trip to Winter Park, Colorado this past weekend.  It was my first time skiing out west and his first time snowboarding/being near large quantities of snow ever!  We flew into Denver Thursday night and rented a SUV to drive out to Winter Park ourselves.  It was snowing in the mountains, so the drive was a little stressful, but we made it to our place just fine.  We rented a great little one bedroom condo about 5 minutes from the mountain and then spent two long and incredible days of skiing.  The weather couldn't have been better - fresh powder on Friday and Saturday and weather in the low 30s.  On Saturday and Sunday the sky was clear blue and sunny.  Perfect. S spent Friday in a snowboarding lesson and I combed most of the green runs on my own.  Skiing in the powder was fantastic!  I made about 7 or so runs that day.  The first one was was short, just to make sure I had my ski footing still.  I did okay so I tried some of the longer ones after that.  It was huge that I could spend 20 minutes skiing just one run as I'm used to skiing smaller mountains in the UP of Michigan.  I got a little lost on my 2nd to last run and wound up on the far side of the hill.  Getting back to base took me nearly half an hour on that one!  That night we made soup and sandwiches at the condo, drank some spiked hot cocoa in front of the fire, and then crashed hard.  We were exhausted!
This was the view from the condo on the first morning.  A little eerie and "Narnia-ish", no?  There was a huge field of fresh snow right outside our front door, which we made good use of on Saturday.  Saturday morning we got a bit of later start, but we spent the whole day skiing together.  I was SO impressed with how easily S seemed to pick up snowboarding (I tried once and after 3 hours and a concussion gave up - it's hard!).
We made one short run and 2 long runs that morning and then stopped for a lunch break.  After lunch we did a medium run and a long run and then called it a day.  Our muscles were screaming!  So we headed back to the condo to play in the snow!
Since playing in the snow was a new concept to S, I showed him how.  We started with snow angels and then moved on to a snowman!
Unfortunately, making a snowman with powder snow is not as easy as with wet snow.  You can't use the traditional method of rolling balls of snow and stacking.  So instead we made a massive pile of snow (similar to the method I used to make this guy back in Feb '11), and then shaved the snow off to make the shape.  Arms were branches from nearby trees and the eyes and nose were pine cones! We got lots of thumbs up as people drove by and had a lot of fun!  That night we went to Hernando's Pizza Pub for dinner where the walls and tables are plastered with decorated dollar bills.  I was a huge nerd and had to do the math on just how much money it was.  The waitress confirmed my work - over $30,000 in dollar bills was decorating that restaurant!!!  We finished up the night with hot cocoa in front of the fire and then crashed hard once again.
Sunday we got a bit of a late start.  We only had about 2 hours to kill before we had to head back towards Denver to catch our flight home and that coupled with the $100 price tag of a lift ticket and our super sore muscles deterred us from skiing that day.  Instead we decided to try some snow tubing!  We tied our tubes together and got flung down the hill for about an hour (lots of fun!) and then went and got some soup for lunch before we headed out (I got cheddar beer with sausage - it was REALLY good!).  Overall it was a fantastic weekend - the company was great, we had fun playing in the snow, the fireplace was a great way to end our evenings, and the skiing out west is really just phenomenal (and I didn't even fall!)