Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sweet Ride

Today is the first warm and sunny day at the beach, so I will be taking the afternoon off (I have been working remotely this week to conserve my vacation days) and enjoying the sun.

I'd like to be cruising down the beach in my very own beach cruiser. How sweet are these?

If I Were a Rich Girl:
Cynthia Rowley, $550

Most Awesome:
Schwinn Windwood, $200 ($164 for pink)

Best Bet:
Cruiser Style, $99

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm on a Seafood Diet

...I see food, I eat it. (True, but this post really is about seafood. Note to self: standard New Year's diet starts Friday.)

Seafood, I love you so. I am so glad I have gotten to eat a lot of you lately.

Case in Point #1
On Christmas Eve, we were supposed to go to a get-together at my BIL and SIL's that was for her side of the family. (J's family had already done Christmas the week before since most of the siblings were going out of town for Christmas.) We set out, White Elephant gifts purchased in a mad dash that day all wrapped up in the backseat, but the roads were just so bad that we turned around.
You see, Dallas was having its first ever Christmas Eve snowfall, that while gorgeous, was horrible for driving since Texans don't know how to drive in snow and there was no sand down. (Or is it salt? See how much this Southerner knows?).
Instead, we went to the grocery store and bought 2 lbs. (!) of King Crab (!!) on sale (!!!), some quick veggie sides, champagne, and pomegranate sorbet. With visions of crab dipped in warm butter dancing in our heads (or at least my head, I love me some butter), we started to drive the two blocks back to our house when, driving downhill to a stop sign, our car would not stop and went straight into oncoming traffic on a busy road.
Thankfully (and maybe thanks to a little prayer I said the first time we set out that evening), both the cars in each of the lanes managed not to hit us. (As a side note, J's parents did go to the party, and had an even scarier experience sliding across 5 lanes on the highway, where luckily no one was around and they were fine.) That was my Christmas miracle.

So we gratefully made it home in one piece and enjoyed the most scrumptious meal, just James, me, and the pup. It was a great Christmas Eve, even if for the first time ever we didn't spend it with some family, and even though we didn't make it out for Midnight Mass, which I'm still bummed about.

Case in Point #2
Last night we went to a newly reopened restaurant on the island (hurricane damage), where we brought in some redfish that my FIL caught with a family friend as well as some fresh squid. They whipped up these off-the-menu items for us:

You can't tell the size from the photo, but this is 1 of 2 huuuuge platters

Redfish Enchiladas
Redfish blackened and rolled in corn tortillas and covered with a cilantro cream sauce, cheese, and crumbled redfish, served with especially-yummy avocado and more blackened redfish

Since there were only 7 seafood-eaters there, we have a ton of leftovers. Can't wait to break this out again tonight!
What about you? Had any delicious meals lately? Or any close car accident calls?
Also, do you dislike the phrase "om nom nom nom" as much as I do? I feel like I see it used any time I read a blog post involving food, and for some reason, it just bothers me.

Oh What Fun!

Hope everyone had the happiest of holidays! I didn't realize quite how much we had going on, but looking back, there was a lot of wrapping, holiday partying, friend and family enjoying, and other general merrymaking in the last few weeks, and I didn't get the chance to post anything.

I did get a request to see which holiday card we ended up choosing, so here it is:
(Our names are off-center since I deleted out the last name.)

(I left some room so I could write a little personal message to everyone - hopefully everyone turned it over!)

Address Labels
(Left over from last year, but I still think they're pretty cute if I do say so myself.)
This photo (a result of playing around with the effects in Picnik) makes me wish it weren't over already. We're down with J's parents at their beach condo this week, and they just took down the Christmas tree and lights. I think when we get back I'll go lie under our tree and look at the twinkly lights for a little before taking it down. (Since I am lazy, it will probably not be put up right away anyhow.)

How was your holiday? Any exciting plans for New Year's Eve?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Help a Procrastinator Out

1. I don't know why I wait until December 15th to order Christmas cards. One would think that since I looked at designs before Thanksgiving that I would not wait until weeks later to try and get a puppy to pose for photos. Who knows why I am such a procrastinator.
2. I don't know why I waste so much time picking out a design, photo, and adjusting fonts. One would think that it should be a pretty quick process. Who knows why I am so indecisive.

1. Which one do you like better and why?
2. Is the message lame, cute, or too cute? (It won't hurt my feelings. And if you didn't think it could get even better, the non-religious option I just came up with is "Peace, Love, & Puppies". Preference?)

Option 1:
Option 2:
Option 2 with 1's photo:

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Outfit

Back in October, I was lucky enough to win a copy of the Feather Report iPhone app, which included a customized outfit to be posted on Feather. Melissa posted mine today, so go check it out! I just adore the dress.

The Feather app is now on sale for $1.99, so get it if you don't have it yet. It's how I check the weather these days. (Since I've never been good about checking the forecast and realizing that I need a coat, this has helped my dressing-for-the-weather impaired self.)

For any iPhone-owning readers, any new apps I should know about? An email landed in my inbox today about one called iWore, free for a limited time. It lets you upload phone pics of your outfits and mark the occasion you wore it on and who saw you in it. Since at least once a week I grab something from my closet and can't even remember if I wore it the previous week, this could really help me out. (This is actually a problem I have, and may be an excuse I should use to do laundry at an even lower frequency.) I see the best usage out of it for special occasion outfits that you may want to recycle but can't remember which group of friends has seen you in it three times already. You can also share your outfits via Facebook or email, which I would probably only do if I was as stylish as these chicas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wipe Your Feet, Please

My daily email from The Bargainist featured this personalized initial doormat as Walmart's "Value of the Day" for $16. Free shipping if you want to pick it up in-store, but I sprung for the additional $.97 shipping charge. (Anything to avoid going into a Walmart. Sorry if you're a fan.)

I don't know yet about the quality, but custom doormats can run a lot more than this, and it's hard for me to pass up something personalized. Although I am a little worried - after you enter the initial and name and verify that it's correct, you don't see it again anywhere during the checkout process or if you try to edit your shopping cart. I'm crossing my fingers that it comes out right.

What do you think? Is it dangerous to share your last name on your front stoop? We live in a gated community, so we don't get solicitors, but I don't know.

In other news, I can't believe I just wrote a post about doormats.

Here's something to spice up this otherwise boring post. I caught Lady Gaga on Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating, and Babs brought up that there was a controversial line in the lyrics to "Poker Face".

I thought it was going to be "Russian roulette is not the same without a gun" since I think that's tres dangerous. But no, it was "bluffin' with my muffin". (If Barbara Walters can say it on national TV, then I think it's okay to post. And now that I know the meaning, it was so funny/weird to hear BW say it.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Polka Dot Tights

When I was out Christmas shopping shopping for myself tonight, I bought several items that I am sure to return*. One item was a 2-pack of Betsey Johnson tights: black-on-black patterned and a bright purple. Why return them? I want new tights. If my dresser was a union member, it would be picketing for tights' rights.

However, my heart belonged to another. A pair of black-on-black polka dot tights:

via for me, for you found on Copenhagen Street Style

I've seen similar ones sold online, but I'm not going to pay shipping for a pair of tights. Then I saw that Express has them for $16.50, and I also have a $15 of $15 coupon that I didn't know if I was going to use or not. Cha-ching! Polka dots, here I come. (Please be available in-store.)
* I don't know why I am having so much trouble buying things for myself. I've been good all year, but my purchases from my last few shopping expeditions are all waiting to be returned: 3 pairs of shoes from Endless**, a ruffled cardigan (cute but don't need) and black sweater dress (looking for a better one), and tonight's items: a purple BCBG sweater dress ($30 from $240, but I may be too fat hippy to pull it off), a blue-green ruffled shirt (cute and will probably keep), and a UT hoodie (something warm to wear to watch the BCS National Championship impulse buy, I have plenty of Texas gear, but it was only $16...).

** I totally love Endless and Zappos, but they probably hate me as a customer. I return way more things than I keep, as I never know what will fit or if I will like it in person. And they seriously mean it when they say 365 day return policy. I shipped back a pair that didn't make the cut for my wedding shoes but I did plan to wear in my friend's wedding 11 months later. I didn't end up wearing them then either, so back they went...about a week before my 365 days were up. Woo hoo!

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Need a Visual

Check out all of these cool posters available from the Visual Aid Shop. I love that you can order in any size - from 8x10 ($8) up to 60x40[!] ($68).

Sorry for the long post; I couldn't pick just a few favorites. As I looked through all of them, I kept thinking things like "ooh, these anatomy prints are perfect for a doctor's office", "this diagram of ____ would be great in a classroom", or "I should totally get this for ____ whose hobby is ____."

These would be so cute in a kiddo's room...

More how to's...

For the musically inclined...

Perfect to hang in the bar area...

What's your fave? I can't decide!

Breaky for Dinner

Last night, James suggested breakfast for dinner, which made me super excited.

You see, I'm not normally that big on breakfast foods.

It's good, just not my favorite. (Unless it was socially acceptable to only order a big pile o' bacon and cinnamon raisin toast.)

I think it's mostly because I'm not a fan of eggs, which are in pretty much every brunch menu item.

But he whipped me up the most delicious eggs (to go with my bacon and toast with grape jelly.
And I may be changing my mind.

Sunny side up from's flickr photostream

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I May Look All Sweet and Innocent

Trixie: "Aren't I like, so adorbs?"

Mom: "What do you have in your mouth?"

Mom: "An eyeball! For shame!"

Frog: "I feel so violated."

Trixie: "What's it to you?"

Found My Tartan

This is the tartan for my clan, yo
(Scottish maiden name)

Do you think I could find it in a ballet flat?
The Scottish Weaver via {frolic!}, ballet flats from Gap

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Digital Brain

Do you have as much trouble saving and organizing all of the inspiring goodness you come across on the interwebs as I used to? Are you frustrated by having notes scattered everywhere? Boy, have I got the app for YOU! Everyone loves Evernote! You'll have fun organizing up a storm with your new notes and at a moment's notice, find exactly what you're looking for!
How's that for my infomercial pitch? But really, I have found Evernote so helpful. The first time I tried it was when I downloaded the iPhone app, and I didn't really get its usefulness and ended up deleting it off my phone. (Green elephant, I'm so sorry.) When I ran across some articles about its functionality, I gave it another try and am so glad I did - I feel like I finally have a system to keep notes for everything in my head: to do lists, decor inspiration, recipes, gift giving ideas, shopping finds I want to remember for later...

Some of my fave features:
  • Notebooks and tagging

    I've always saved some shelter mags and pages from catalogs, but wedding planning was when my need for some kind of organizational system to store ideas exploded. I ended up using Google Notebook to store all of my wedding p0rn, as opposed to saving images to my hard drive and then trying to decide what to name the file so I could find the website where I got it from again as well as which folder to store it in so I could even find it. (Which led to the creation of whole folders for crazy things like "Reception Decor - Cocktail Napkin Ideas", full of personalized, mouth-wiping goodness. Never mind that I never got around to ordering said napkins.)

    I liked having the ability to access my notes from wherever I was browsing, but it's hard to move them around and quickly view them in G-Notebook. I've tried tagging and starring things in G-Reader as well, but also found them cumbersome to remember/retrieve. (Google, I still love you.) Evernote has the same concept as these, but it's easier to look through everything because you can see the preview of all notes for a given notebook or tag as well as search across your notes. (Since Google is no longer developing Notebook, If you're an existing user, here's a tutorial on how to import existing G-Notes into Evernote.)

  • Clipping website content

    This is where the real genius comes in. You're browsing a website and you want to save off an image and/or some text. You use the clipping feature, and voila, your note is auto-created with a title and a link to the original website. This is great for blogging, where you want to provide credit back to the source. Here's a video of how it works:

  • Image text extraction

    If an image has text on it, Evernote somehow magically extracts this and makes it searchable. The example they tout is taking a photo note of all of your business cards. You can then search through your contacts and recycle the cards. Geek Sugar just did a post on using Evernote to track your spending by taking photos of your receipts. I don't think I'll use that in terms of tallying expenses (Quicken, you're my main man for that), but I think I'm going to start trying to snap photos of my receipts for item returns, warranties on big-ticket items, and come tax time. You can sort chronologically to find the newest one, and there's less worry about losing an important one. (And many can go straight to recycling!)

It's a free service, with a monthly upload limit usage (I've never reached it), or you can pay a nominal monthly or yearly fee for the premium version. You can download the desktop version and one for your phone, as well as just going straight to the website, so you can enter something on your computer and bring it up on your phone later. If your phone is GPS-enabled, it will capture your location, so if you're out at your favorite restaurant and want to bring up the pic you took of the bottle of wine you had last time so you can order it again, it will find you the notes taken in that location.

Right now I have 3 notebooks: a general one (my default), Decor Inspiration, and Recipes. (You could accomplish this just as easily with one notebook and just use tags to find everything.) I'm trying to figure out how to better categorize everything so the tags don't get out of control.

How do you keep your life organized? What kind of categorization do you use?

(By the way, I'm not being compensated in any way to promote Evernote, but just wanted to pass on something I've found helpful. Let me know what you think if you try it out. Here are some tutorials to get started.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Goodbye, November

Whoops, I totally fell off the blogging wagon over the Thanksgiving break. I had a great break and am refreshed with some blogworthy ideas for December. I didn't meet my goal of posting every day in November, but I did have close to 40 posts, so I am letting it slide. I read somewhere that comments are like crack to bloggers, and I am so thankful that I am getting comments with more frequency. Please keep 'em coming!

What did I think of my break?
  • Niece's dance-off party: awesome. (And yes, I was too self-conscious to participate.) The best moment for me was a toss-up between my seventeen month old nephew constantly jumping in trying to replicate his uncle's somersault and my pregnant sis-in-law spinning on her back break-dance style.
  • Thanksgiving: yummy. (Missing dessert? Sad - darn you, cramps!; Missing helping to clean up? Mildly guilt-inducing) I forgot to do a post in advance of the holiday of things I am thankful for this year, so if you don't mind reading another one after the fact, I will post it later this week. I have so much to be thankful for.
  • Shopping: guilt-inducing. The only items I purchased this weekend were for me, and I will probably return them. (I think I can find better versions of the short-sleeved sweater dress and the ruffled cardigan.)
  • Friends' engagement party: fun. (Almost) makes me wish I could do it all over again. No worrying so much about the budget and people-pleasing this time!
  • Meeting up with The Hubs's high school friends: always great. He went to a small, all-male school, and I love how close they are. And how they always hug hello and goodbye.
  • Putting up the Christmas tree: Victory is mine! We didn't get around to putting it up last year (shocking!), so I was determined to do so this year.
  • Relaxing and Napping with The Hubs: fabulous! He worked several days of 14-hour overnights at the hospital before the break, and we were both having a hard time of it. (I actually cried at work over some frustration coupled with the comments of an insensitive coworker. Googling "med school spouse" helped.) He had off Thursday-Sunday, and it was so, so nice to get to be our "normal" selves.

How was your Thanksgiving break? Did you score anything on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? I'm wishing there was a Cyber Week, because I couldn't even tell you how many emails flooded by inbox today with ONE! DAY! ONLY! DEALS! I didn't look at any of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pretty Tea Towels

So many cute tea towels out there, so few that "go" with my current kitchen. (Grey countertops, cream, grey and terra cotta tile backsplash...can't really deviate from that without clashing.)
My dream kitchen right now is all white with fun punches of color. These cute ones from Martha would work great in said future kitchen!
Macy's, $10 for 3

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've Got Moves You've Never Seen

The theme for my 9 -year-old niece's family birthday party this week is a dance off. How fun is that? (Although being the shy one that I am, I'm a little terrified of actually participating.)

Thank goodness for YouTube to remind me how to do The Pizza and the Q-Tip:

Of course, I could try to memorize the Evolution of Dance:

Or maybe Lisa P's Adventureland dance:

Got any tried and true moves to share?

On a side note, I just love hanging out with my nieces. When I asked them after Halloween why they didn't save me any Starbursts, they left this for me at my in-laws' house. How sweet is that?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

That Face!

Do you ever look at little kids and think of what beautiful adults they will someday be? I am smitten by this little girl.

I wish I knew how to knit. I started learning once but only produced an uneven half-scarf.

Available here. (The cowl/poncho, not the cute munchkin.)