Friday, June 28, 2013

Have a Fun Weekend!

It's been a busy week!  Last night our bowling team ditched the league (we did pre-bowl on Sunday) and went out for an AWESOME dinner at Rudyards.  The last Thursday of every month they host a special five course dinner and beer pairing, cooked by the awesome Joe Apa (we've had his food before at the St. Arnold's Spam event).  It started out with a ceviche made with locally caught gulf fish paired with a "freestyle pilsner" from the Santa Fe Brewing Co (they provided all of the beer for the evening).  Second course was a cornmeal gordita with a hatch chili salsa and a spicy corn and squash salad paired with an IPA.  S doesn't usually like IPAs and even he said this one was good!  Third course was quail served over a salad made with a black IPA vinegarette and the ripest melon balls I've ever had served with the same black IPA.  Fourth consisted of S's favorite, a java stout served with coffee rubbed beef cooked up medium rare with a riff on mashed potatoes and green beans: mashed hominy (a type of corn) and sliced nopalitos (cacuts!!!).  And the final course was a chocolate flan (made with eggs, so couldn't partake :0( but I was told it was quite tasty) with a tender, crumbly, sweet praline and Santa' Fe's Chicken Killer Barley Wine.  Since I couldn't have the flan, Joe was super sweet and gave me an extra praline!  We all enjoyed the food, beer, company and free swag (we got really nice beer glasses to take home!) so much that we're already planning to go back again - maybe in August?

Now, with a tummy full of yummy food, it's on to an exhilarating weekend!  I just found out my good friend D is in labor!!!  They decided wait to find out the sex of the baby, so I can't wait to hear if they have a little girl or boy!  Also I get to see my brother this weekend!  SO exciting!

(image from here)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Painting Again...

My go-to gift for various events (weddings, new houses, etc) tends to be art.  Lately I've taken to just purchasing it for people, though.  In fact, I couldn't even remember the last time I'd painted with oils or acrylics.  Even the last time I used watercolors was over a year and a half ago.  I was dabbling in crafts and DIY projects, but I wasn't setting any time aside to really get deep into a work of art.  I used to stay up all night, I would get so lost in my projects, and then all of a sudden look at the clock when I was done and realize it was 4 am.  I haven't done that in AGES. 

Well my little youngest brother (he's hardly little anymore...) bought a house a few months ago and I'm finally getting to go see his new place!  And of course, my housewarming gift is art.  I bought one piece for him and had it framed really nicely, and I printed out a photo my mom took last fall of the leaves changing color on the street where we grew up and framed that for him too.  But I was determined that this time I would actually paint something too. 

I'm planning to give him a set of three abstract acrylic paintings.  I just finished one last night.  It was wonderful to paint again, though I probably would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't on such a time crunch.  But I'm going to try to space out the other two a bit so I don't feel so rushed and I can enjoy it a bit more.  I'm really looking forward to it.  So my little bro will be the first recipient of my foray back into the world of painting!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So Much to Do, So Little Time!

The housewarming party last weekend was a hit!!!  People loved the bar, my friend R pretty much lived on the slip and slide, there was darts, beer pong, and cornhole, we pretty much tapped the keg, the pudding shots were nearly decimated, and the bar itself is pretty darn well stocked now!
A lot of good friends showed up and even a few of S's friends that I hadn't met yet.  It was really great to be able to put faces with names!
I perhaps over planned a bit with the jello shot supply - we have over half of them left.  But to be fair, most people preferred the pudding shots (especially the butterscotch - yum!).  Not that it's a bad thing as we now have an excuse to invite people over again!
EVERYONE said they had a good time, which is pretty much all you can ask for when throwing a party.  So thank you friends for coming to celebrate with us, being generally awesome, and for stocking S's bar with some pretty choice liquors!
And now it's back to the grind!  We got the house mostly clean (need to invest in a swiffer wetjet for those floors....), I've started up my acupuncture treatments again for my headaches, we're TRYING to eat healthy and exercise, our bowling league is in full swing, and we're working through our list of things to do and places to go in the city...  Things never seem to slow down much, but luckily we're having fun doing most of it!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Have a Fun, Summery Weekend!

We have a major weekend planned including friends in town and S's HUGE housewarming party!  The slip and slide has been rented, the kiddie pool purchased, over 250 jello and pudding shots have been made - this is going to be fun!  I'll be sure to take some pictures to share next week!

In the meantime, have a fun first weekend of summer!

(picture from here)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

To the Moon?

My friend C emailed me this morning asking what my take was on the current House Science Committee proposing NASA scrap its asteroid mission and work instead on returning to the moon.  My personal thought is that the current generation of astronauts has never been higher than 240 miles above earth (the orbit of ISS).  The moon is 240,000 miles away.  Big difference.  How can we go to Mars or anywhere else when they have no experience traveling to or working on any foreign body?  It makes so much more sense to me to go back to the moon first.  But politicians are completely self serving and support of NASA was only strong in the 60s because of the role it played in the cold war.  That's the only reason we went to the moon then.  There's no political reason to go now, only scientific.  And NASA is underfunded, so obviously politicians don't care much about scientific impact.  In fact, the bill the committee members are currently discussing would actually cut NASA's budget.  So even though there is some political support and my fingers are definitely crossed, I kind of doubt that there will be strong enough support from congress to fund NASA for the type of money it would take to make a moon and Mars mission feasible within a near-term time frame.

All of it makes me just want to go on a Neil deGrasse Tyson level rant about the state of our current space program.  Here's my latest favorite (it's really good but also pretty long, recommend playing in the background while you do something else):

(image from here)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Party Planning

We had a busy week and a busy Monday getting ready for the big housewarming shindig at the end of the week.  Rooms have been cleaned, supplies have been purchased, and food and entertainment prep is in work!  Last night I made a whopping 100 jello shots - and tonight I still have about another 60 to go (I ran out of the lids for the cups....)  I also made about 10 dozen cookies last night.  Yea, you read that right! 
In addition to those shown above (to "bribe" the neighbors into not calling the cops on us if we get a little loud....), S ate a few and I still have 4 dozen more for the party itself.  It was a busy night!  S spent his evening hanging the dart board, which was a pain since the studs in the wall are not standard distance apart, and starting on plans to get his projector (for the movie room) and sound system hooked up.
Tonight we're going to get busy getting the rest of the jello shots banged out and making all of the pudding shots (me) and getting the speakers hooked up and the garage cleaned up (S).  It's a lot of work, but it's going to make for an awesome party!  Also, with the exception of the food, it's stuff that we'll enjoy long term in the house. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Have a Lovely Weekend and a Happy Father's Day!

We have a big weekend planned NEXT weekend, so this weekend is all about relaxation and prep work for us.  S is throwing his housewarming party next weekend and it's going to be quite an affair.  Plus I have friends coming into town to visit (my old roomie R and her bf T!) and I want to show them all around my new city home.  So this weekend we're going to hang up artwork and dart boards at S's place, shop for folding tables, solo cups, etc, plan out food and how to bribe the neighbors into not calling the cops at 10 pm (I'm thinking cookies?), and shore up our energy with lots of sleep.  We also plan to spend some time with S's family on Sunday for Father's Day.  Overall we're excited about this weekend and the plans for next, so it should be a fun time!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there!

(beautiful long exposure photo of fireflies from here)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fight For Space - We Must Go

I found two videos on YouTube today that do my work on writing this post for me.  One is the trailer for a documentary that I would without a doubt go see called Fight for Space (and it exceeded it's goal on it's  kickstarter campaign, so apparently other people agree.  They also have a blog where they're documenting some of their progress).  It gives a brief overview of the current state of our space program, which is sub par, and briefly goes into what we need to excel.  The trailer covers statements from politicians and experts in the space field (including Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson) - it becomes very obvious where the disconnects are...
The second video shows what is being worked on, but is struggling to meet goals in the face of poor political support and underfunding.  We need to get these craft to work to continue our goals in space exploration - we must go.
So please - support space exploration.  Let your politicians know you do.  Increase the awesome...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Superheroes and Taco Binges

Friday night's yelp party was a lot of fun.  I dressed up as a vintage nurse and S went as Frank Castle of Punisher fame - some of the other costumes we saw were pretty phenomenal, though.  One guy was dressed as Quail Man from Doug (my fave) and there was a girl dressed as Rogue from X-Men (the white streak in her hair was real!) to name a few.  There were lots of good drink companies present, our favorite being the Deep Eddy Vodka booth (you seriously can't tell there's vodka in their sweet tea and grapefruit mixes....) and a bunch of local restaurants serving samples of things like sushi, tamales, pasta, and gelato.  Plus the Children's Museum of Houston is kind of awesome!  We got two free tickets to go back and we're psyched!  Fun party Yelp!
On Saturday we headed back over to S's place to get some stuff done around the house.  The bar is finally unpacked and looking awesome!  I also whipped up some crockpot cheddar beer tacos and a berry crumble and we had S's brother and nephew over for dinner.  The tacos smelled incredible but the taste didn't quite live up to the scent, so I think next time it needs a touch more salt, a more flavorful beer, and some fresh garlic...  And the crumble?  Holy crap, berries are INSANELY sweet and delicious right now - it was almost a sin to bake them, they tasted so good fresh.  But the crumble turned out wonderfully and also made a tasty (and slightly naughty) breakfast the following morning...
Sunday we hit up St. Arnold's Brewery for their 19th Anniversary party.  The barbecue was from Goode's and the brisket melted in my mouth.  I made it to round 3 of the Rock Paper Scissors tournament before being knocked out immediately by my last opponent.  We also made friends who had brought Cards Against Humanity and also happened to be from Chicago - go Chi-town connection!  Afterwards we hung out a Liberty Station with them and played some cornhole and giant jenga.  Overall a fun and productive weekend!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Have a Fabulous Weekend!

I have a few fun plans this weekend including a superhero themed Yelp party at the Houston Children's Museum (obviously never been there before, so I'm excited to check it out!).  S and I don't have any classic superhero costumes so we've decided to raid my costume bin and we're going as a nurse and a cop, modern day superheroes! 

Saturday is a blank slate right now.  S wants to get the last of his unpacking done, wireless internet set up, and his "new" supercomfy but not fully functional movie room couch working.  I need to make some artwork that was promised to my brother as a housewarming present.  But nothing is definite yet.  I also need to sleep.  So I guess that is definitely on the agenda...

On Sunday we're headed back to our old fave St. Arnold's Brewery for their 19th Anniversary Party complete with barbecue, beer, and a Rock Paper Scissors Tournament!  No plan for Sunday evening yet (more sleep???)...

What about you?  Anything fun planned?

(picture from here)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Puerto Rico, You Were Lovely

My long weekend in Puerto Rico was amazing.  It was so nice to get away from work and just relax and enjoy myself.  My goal this trip was to just go with the flow and have fun.  Relieve stress.  And it worked.  I spent most of Thursday on a plane, which kind of sucked, and which culminated in me flying as one of 6 people in this little puddle jumper in order to get to the island of Vieques:
I thought I would be terrified and motion sick but it was actually pretty thrilling.  It's way closer to the ground (so a great view!) and way closer to the feeling I imagine a bird would have while flying (as opposed to the feeling of walking upright through giant pressurized metal tubes that soar above the cloudlines).  Vieques was awesome.  We stayed at the W resort (quite posh) and had an ocean view room (see the first picture above).  The pool had latin music playing underneath the water another wading pool had incredible little lights in it that at dark looked like you were swimming the sky with constellations.  Every night they had free drinks at 6, and you could also borrow chairs and snorkel equipment for free.  Plus they had a firepit...
The first night we were there we ate at a delicious restaurant called Tin Box (you HAVE to get the bacon.  just trust me....) and then after a wrong turn and adventurous detour to a dead end road we met up with our tour guide back at the hotel and went on a night time biolumenescent kayaking tour on Bio Bay.  It was pretty spectacular, though unfortunately un-photographable...
The other cool/weird thing about Vieques?  Wild horses everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  Drinking out of the little decorative fountain next to our hotel room, rolling in the hotel's manicured grass, standing in huge fields, and even walking along the side of the road.
It wasn't quite what I had pictured when I heard "wild horses on an island" (I think I've read too many trashy romance novels....) but it was pretty cool none the less.  And we saw them everywhere.  The picture above is on our way to a gorgeous semi-secluded beach for an afternoon of relaxation after our late morning of snorkeling (more pictures of that when I get them from the other girls.  it was pretty awesome.  we even saw a sea turtle!!)
This is the gorgeous beach with the powdery sand, turquoise waters and rocky outcrops that created beautiful sprays of ocean water.  I slathered on some SPF 50 and pretended to tan/nap for a while while listening to the waves crashing against the shore (we had a similar soundtrack when we went to sleep at night as we kept our sliding door open and the sounds of the ocean lulled us to sleep).  It was SOOOO relaxing.
From there we spent our evening bar hopping in one of the nearby little towns.  Lots o' rum was consumed on this trip.  Each bar has their own special rum punch that we felt obligated to taste test and compare.  On our way back to the car we happened upon "LA NASA" of Puerto Rico and I just had to get a picture.  It was too perfect.  That evening we ate at the hotel restaurant, drank some rum and juice from the stash we kept in the room, and went and chilled out by the constellation pool until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore.  The next morning we got up and read by the pool for a bit while we snacked on pastries and locally grown bananas.  More sweet, sweet relaxation.  Then we hopped a ferry back to mainland and swung by the rainforest to see some waterfalls and Jurassic Park sized trees and vines.
On our way out of the rainforest (El Yunque) we ironically enough got caught in the rain.  A deluge if you will - we were soaked when we got back to the car!  We drove back to San Juan, changed into dry clothes and then headed out to Old San Juan for some ceviche and more rum!
The following day we nursed our hangovers and then explored more of Old San Juan.  We stocked up on souvenirs, padded our tummies with breakfast and guava pastries, and even got to see some street music that was quite the event.  People were literally dancing in the streets!
Then it was back to reality.  My flight into Atlanta (a layover) was late and I literally had to sprint to my flight in the next terminal, which was already boarding when I got there.  My flight to Houston got in after midnight and the next day it was back to the grind.  I've almost forgotten how relaxed I was for a whole 3 days this past weekend.  But it was certainly a lovely trip.  The company was fantastic, the beaches beautiful, and the fact that I was blissfully stress free was sublime...