Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Kid's Day!

I like to include as many holidays and reasons for celebrating in my life as earthly possible. To do that, I find in necessary to celebrate holidays from around the world. 

Today is kid's day in Mexico. Feliz Dia del NiƱo!! Lots of kiddos will be getting gifts and having parties today - rich and poor alike. I'm no longer a kid (big shock there), but I think it's necessary for us to celebrate the kid in all of us. 

So here's what you do:
  1. Go to Eeyore's birthday party; if you're in Austin.
  2. Go to the park, get on the swings, and play
  3. Eat an ice cream cone
  4. Find a coloring book to color! (I love to color; it's so relaxing!)
  5. Play a board game
  6. Do a puzzle
  7. Run outside
  8. Listen to music
  9. Dance
  10. Spend time with a real kid (the fastest way to feel like a kid yourself)
Have fun spending time with your inner child! And, if you have the time, think about the kiddos near you who need someone to spend time with them. Volunteers are always needed at nonprofits; you can help so much! 

Have a lovely Saturday and Happy Kid's Day!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sunny Tidbits

Hi! Hope everyone is having a great after Easter week!

 - This reminds me of the Easter outfit that Jessie picked: (Adored Austin)

 - Clothes! (This is Glamorous)

 - Here's wishing it would rain in Austin: (Making it Lovely)

 - I am very anti-cheesy things, and even I love these pictures: (Austin Eavesdropper)

 - I need a new book to read; this might be good: (Lainey Gossip)

 - More Easter goodies: (m loves m)

 - I've been wanting to do this forever... maybe next weekend! (The Doctor's Closet)

 - Beautiful pictures! Something to aspire to do. (the glamourai)

- Words of wisdom: (La Vie Boston)

 - Yum! (Hungry meets Healthy)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Good morning! Easter just might be my favorite holiday. Not for any religious reasons or because I'm a huge fan of Cadbury eggs, but because it's the most stress-free holiday - full of colors, flowers, and kids in their nicest clothes.

When I was younger, we used to do the traditional egg hunt. We'd clean out, decorate and fill real eggs with confetti or flour. After we found these eggs, we would run around and try to crack them over each other's head. Needless to say, the clothes wouldn't stay spotless for long!

That picture is from an Easter here in Austin many many years ago. I couldn't find the original, but I remembered my mom turned this picture into a mug a couple of years back (that's why it looks curved). I'm the one in the front right  staring down at an egg and making a pouty face.

In college, I spent Easter with my best friend's family. Her mom would make beautiful baskets for each of us and hide malt chocolate eggs all over the house along with big plastic eggs with money. We'd spend the first part of the day with her brother and sisters trying to be the easter egg hunt winner. I'm happy to report that I won at least once!

Easter isn't as fun now, but I still love it. I love hiding the eggs for my cousins and spending time with my family. I hope you have a great one!

Weekend Wear: Sunday

{Guest Post}: Jessie
Easter Sunday
1....Straw hat only
1. Urban Outfitters...$39.00
2. Anthropolgie...*on sale $49.95
3. Nine West...*on sale $135.00
4. Forever 21...$4.80

Have a beautiful day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekend Wear: Saturday

{Guest Post}: Jessie
Holy Saturday
1. Charlotte Russe...$24.99
2. Delia*s...$24.50
3. Timberland...*on sale $59.99
4. Fossil...$58.00
5. Urban Outfitters...*2pack $8.00



1. Charlotte Russe...$24.99
2. ModCloth...$57.99
3. Endless...$123.80
4. Zara...$89.90
5. Francesca's...$14.00
6. Asos...$35.86

Have a beautiful day... & night!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the Bright Side - Olivia Restaurant

Last week was restaurant week. A friend from work invited me to join her and her friends at Olivia, a cute little restaurant on South Lamar. I was a little nervous about going to dinner with people I don't know, but I am new to the city so it's not like I really know lots of people. If I don't try to meet new people, I'll be sitting home alone forever, no? I was thrilled with the invitation so, of course, I said yes.

I realized, later that weekend, how excited I was to have a reason to wear something nice. Moving to a new place naturally reduces your social calendar, and although, I'm lucky enough to have had plenty to do, not very many events let me play dress up. I enlisted Jessie's help and raided my closet through ichat. We finally agreed on this little number from Forever 21.

Cute but still casual.

Playing dress up took a bit longer than expected, and I was running a little late. Parking at Olivia didn't help with my running late. I couldn't find parking in the tiny lot and ended up parking at the CVS down the street (Oltorf and Lamar - not my favorite intersection). The restaurant itself, though, greatly makes up for the parking and the sketchy intersection. It has a lovely outdoor seating area, and the interior feels airy and uncluttered even with all the tables and people.  Once I got inside the place, my friend told me that we were, in fact, an hour early - she had the time wrong. Good! I hate being late, but am perfect with being early enough for a pre-dinner drink!

I was thrilled when everyone else got to the restaurant. They were all so nice and funny! I relaxed immediately and focused on the difficult part - deciding what to eat. The restaurant week menu was a 3-course menu with 2 or 3 choices for each course plus the option of having a wine pairing with each course. Decisions, decision! After seriously considering the pros and cons of each dish, I decided on the following:

 - Pork belly with apple butter and cheese fondue (my favorite dish of the night!)
 - Mushroom risotto cakes with fresh veggies
 - Chocolate brownie
 - Wine pairing with all courses

My goal was to take pictures of each dish, but I only managed to take a picture of the pork belly before I became increasingly distracted by eating the amazing food and enjoying the company.

The meal was delicious! It was, in no way, economical, but the taste and the atmosphere made it absolutely worth it! I had a great time.

So, here's a tip for those moving to a new city - accept invitations to hang out. You might meet some pretty great people and discover a nice place to hang out. I know that I did!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Asian Chicken Noodle Broth

I cheated on Meatless Monday yesterday. In fact, I completely forgot that it was Monday until today - when I realized that today is Tuesday.  I'm blaming the never-ending cold / sore throat that I haven't been able to completely shake off for my oversight! On a positive note, I was able to make an excellent dish with absolutely no problems!

The Asian Chicken Noodle Broth recipe from the Jamie Oliver book made me nervous at first. The description said something about multitasking, which gave me chills! Fortunately, the multitasking just meant that I had to warm up the broth and cook the chicken at the same time in different pans. I added the chicken to the Foreman grill and, instead of using a store-bought broth like the recipe recommended, I boiled some water and added Knorr bouillon (soup with Knorr reminds me of my mom's cooking). I didn't change anything else on the recipe except that, I didn't add the baby corn (I'm on a corn-ban after watching the Food, Inc. movie on Monsanto. At least until I go to Mexico and get tempted with some corn in a cup!)

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don't buy pre-made broth. Knorr is so much better!
  2. Toast the cashews and pumpkin seeds when the pan is barely warming up. Always keep your eye on them; they burn easily!
  3. When all of your ingredients are white and green, buy red chiles. They look prettier

The cooking score: 1 lose, 2 wins.

I'm getting better!!

Sunny Tidbits

Hi Everyone! I hope you're having a great week!

 - I have to do this to my room (Decor8)

 - Something from nature (

 - Porcelaine china, tea sets and scones... Almost time for the royal wedding! (This is Glamorous)

 - Easter is this weekend! Doesn't this post remind you of that? (Secrets of a Butterfly)

 - Speaking of Easter; here's some Easter food! It's not torrejas, but it works! (Joy the Baker)

 - Packing a lunch is usually either boring or stressful. Here are some ideas that are neither: (The Kitchn)

 - Cute, but I can't pull this off: (m loves m)

- Hate the process of straightening my hair but LOVE having it straight. Maybe this is the answer! (Adored Austin)

 - A good interview with a pretty interesting local artist: (Austin Eavesdropper)

 - I can't believe that the series is almost at an end: (Lainey Gossip)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Butterflied Steak Sarnie

When I bought my new cookbook, I decided that my first recipe was going to be the butterflied steak sarnie. The reason for this was 1) this was the 1st recipe in the book, 2) it sounds fancy,  and 3) it was listed as being made in under 20 minutes. In addition to that,  4) I only needed 3 ingredients to make it - filet mignon, portobello mushroom and watercress. I'd never had watercress before (it reminds me of the book "The Trumpet of the Swan"by E. B. White), but I love steak and portobello so I figured I would really like it. That was the plan, anyway. Unfortunately I got sick and made that horrid soup (the horrid part was entirely my fault; not Jamie Oliver's!), so, in the end, the steak sarnie was not my first recipe. 

This afternoon I remembered that I had bought an awesome piece of steak that I never used. At first I freaked out a little bit because the meat had been in my fridge for over a week. I don't know how long meat lasts before it expires! I called my mom for a quick consult, and she reassured me that I was probably ok. I should just check to make sure it wasn't green or slimy (yuck!) and wash it off before grilling it. My grandmother also chimed in that with a bit of lime juice, I didn't have to worry. Armed with the reassurance of the ages (and a ton of lime juice), I set to following the instructions. These were actually fairly easy! I only had to add spices, grill the mushroom and then grill the steak. I have an amazing foreman grill so that was done incredibly quickly. The only glitch (beside the whole bad meat thing) was that the recipe also called for some grilled ciabatta bread. That, unfortunately, didn't hold up as well as the meat so I had to throw it out.  

The end products came out pretty good! And it tasted good too!!!! I am very impressed with myself!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Butterflied Steak Sarnie is a great, super quick meal. Plus, it sounds and looks fancy so it works for guests!
  2. I need to either cook or freeze fresh meat as soon as I get it. Also, bread doesn't stay fresh for long.
  3. Watercress is great (and not just for swans)!

By the way, I am having the hardest time photographing food. Somehow the pictures never do the food justice. I'll get the hang of it eventually though; promise!

The cooking score is officially: 1 lose, 1 win.

Am I a good cook yet? Well, I can cook meat on a grill. Does that make me any good?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm reading! - Bossypants

My plan for last weekend was to go to the Louisiana Swamp Thing & Crawfish Festival in Buda. I could already taste the cajun crawfish and was excited to walk around and listen to George Clinton in person. Unfortunately my body had other plans, and I ended up "under the weather" all weekend. I had enough energy to drag myself from my bed to a quick walk around the block with my dog and finally to my inflatable mattress for the rest of the day. My main distractions: the season finale of "Being Human" on the BBC and the new Adele album as well as the random stuff collected on my DVR. Luckily, when I picked up my new cookbook, I had also stumbled across the new Tina Fey book, "Bossypants". Her book saved me from watching every single "House" episode ever made.

I'm a huge "30 Rock" fan and love that Tina Fey is famous for her intelligence and wit as opposed to so many celebs that are famous for being a bit dumb and scandalous. "Bossypants" didn't disappoint. I laughed out loud at least once every page - or every two pages if the chapter was a little bit slow. I am actually pretty relieved that I read this at home without any witnesses because I was laughing alone like a crazy person very often!

The best thing about this book is the familiarity - it's easy to identify with many of the situations that she describes: lame high school parties ("The Greatest New Year's Eve Party of All Time"), the fear of curfew ("I was notorious for freaking out when it was time to go"), unrequited crushes (one of hers ended in a night hike with someone falling off a mountain), bad jobs (the YMCA), weight gain ("Nothing to be ashamed of. Like puberty or slowly turning into a Republican"), and weight loss ("I was cold all the time"). She writes about the things that we sometimes won't even admit to ourselves - like not enjoying things that are "supposedly fun" and (for all you mommies out there) the stress of breastfeeding your baby. It's amazing that she was willing to own up to these and many other stories without trying to play down her awkwardness or dorkiness. And while she is incredibly funny, her humor is not pretentious or annoying. She's funny in the way your close friends are funny - a bit sarcastic, witty, and very honest.

So, read this if you don't understand what the fuss is over the ex-SNL alum or if you want an in-depth view of the amazingness that is "30 Rock". But also read if, like me, you usually don't care what people think although, every once in awhile, a stupid comment brings you to tears. Because Tina Fey is great at encouraging us to not "f*cking care if [they] like it" (through an Amy Poehler story, of course) and inspiring us to see the funny side of everything that happens. Read it for the entertainment value and the name-checking alone if you must, but read it!

Let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sunny Tidbits

Happy Tuesday! I feel the need to redeem myself from yesterday's cooking mishap. I need to let you know that I made something that I couldn't possibly mess up: frozen fruit smoothie! It was delicious and kept me satisfied all morning. I'm very proud!

On that note - time to take a look at the blogging world:

 -  I want to do this to my desk area... whenever I buy a desk. (Decor8)

 - This living room and balcony area remind me of my apartment (freshome)

 - A beautiful garden party (Keen and Fitting)

 - Love the fun, quirky style (art & ghosts)

 - I actually really like this dress, without the shoes; the shoes are not good. (gofugyourself)

 - Interesting, but can't really bring myself to wear used clothes (Adored Austin)

 - LOVE the colors (This is Glamorous)

 - When does this movie come out? I want to watch it already! (Laineygossip)

 - Still a little nauseas from my soup fiasco, but this made me hungry (closet cooking)

 - Road Trip! Without the ugly car, of course (misohungry)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Meatless Mondays

I'd heard about the Meatless Mondays campaign a couple of years back. At the time, though, I was in the middle of a short-lived vegetarian phase and didn't pay much attention. Now that I'm eating meat again and learning how to cook (hopefully!), I figure I should take the challenge: no meat on Mondays and, to make it even more exciting, keep it low-carb. This means: no meat, bread, pasta, tortillas, corn or sugar. I am allowing myself rice and potato, so I don't go insane!

My dish for today, from the Jamie Oliver cookbook is a spring vegetable and bean soup. I chose this dish because I was a bit sick all weekend, and when I'm sick, all I want is a good soup (even if it is 90 degrees outside)! So, I wrote up my handy grocery list and headed to Fiesta Mart, a local grocery store that a friend recommended. After I got over the fact that Fiesta Mart is Austin's version of an El Globo or Soriana (including the second-hand clothing store with its gems hanging on a clothesline right in front), I noticed that I only paid $4 for all my veggies! $4! And I made it out without buying any tacos; although I might be back this weekend to try the carnitas. Off to a good start!

I got home incredibly excited, ready to peel and chop with abandon. I did the carrots, celery, onion and garlic perfectly. Then I got to the part about the cannellini beans. The recipe said to drain the can before adding them to the broth, simple enough, right? Well, apparently, I wasn't paying much attention to the wonderful grocery list because I bought raw beans instead of the cooked ones. I decided to cook them. It took 2 hours. I hadn't eaten all day. They did not turn out well.

I ignored the fact that the beans were a little bit nasty and finished the soup. Once it was finally ready, the soup was ok, I guess. The beans were a bit undercooked and incredibly starchy (According to Google, you should let them sit in water overnight before cooking them. Seriously? Who has time for that?) I really didn't care at that point, though; I added some cheese, which makes everything better, and ate.

Lessons learned:

  1. I don't like cannellini beans! Next time, I'm skipping the beans and making white rice instead. (Actually, I'm probably going to drain the beans from the soup if I want more of this batch. I might not be as forgiving of them when I'm not starving; I probably won't want more.)
  2. 1 3/4 quarts is not the same as 1 3/4 cups - the broth should cover the veggies. It is a soup after all! 
  3. Fiesta Mart is the perfect place for fruits and veggies.

Am I a good cook yet? Nope! How can you mess up soup? But... it is my first recipe in the book and it is somewhat edible! I can't be too hard on myself!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weekend Wear: Saturday

{Guest Post}: Jessie

1.2.*Cardigan only...
1. Gap...$49.50
2. New York & Company...*B1G1(Buy 1 Get 1) 50% off $46.95
3. Express...$34.90
4. Zappos...$139.00
5. Forever 21...$18.80


1. Zara...$39.90
2. Express...$34.90
3. Aldo...*sale$49.98
4. Nordstrom...$28.00
5. Anthropologie...$32.00

Have a beautiful day!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

full stomach, happy heart

There's a saying in Spanish: "barriga llena, corazon contento" that literally translates to full stomach, happy heart. The idea behind it is pretty self-explanatory - you are usually more content when you aren't hungry. I agree with this saying 100%. The easiest way to see me grumpy is to make sure I don't get fed - or enough sleep, but I guess that doesn't matter right now. I am not responsible for my actions when I'm hungry, but I'm also not the best cook in the world. That is incredibly hard for me to admit since I come from a family of amazing cooks. My grandmother, mom, aunts, and cousins all cook delicious, fairly healthy, completely original food. I'm the black sheep of cooking, but I CAN bake!

I've decided that in order to redeem myself in my family's eyes and keep on with the whole getting-my-life-in-order process, I have to become a good cook. I figure the best way to do this is to buy a good cookbook and make all the recipes. Sounds easy, huh?

Anxious to start, I made my made my way to BookPeople this morning to find the perfect cookbook.

First of all, there are a million cookbooks! Everyone from the food network people to Gwyneth Paltrow and Jerry Seinfeld's wife has a cookbook, including Eva Longoria. (Why does Eva Longoria have a cookbook?)  I spent quite a long time browsing and making a mental list of what I need in a cookbook. I decided that I need a book that has 1) healthy food with some low carb options to help me get ready for summer, 2)  easy to find ingredients, 3) easy to follow steps, and 4) pictures to let me know how the end product is supposed to look.

I finally decided on "Jamie's Food Revolution" by Jamie Oliver.

It satisfies my list, and I love his "pass it on" idea to revolutionize the way people eat. This is my way of passing it on. To Jamie, I pledge to learn at least one recipe from each chapter and teach it to two or more of my friends and family. To you, I promise that I will attempt every recipe in the book and share pictures and interesting tidbits from the experience. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunny Tidbits

Happy Tuesday! I'm currently working on a new post. Meanwhile, here's some of what you might have missed on other blogs.

 - LOVE the Cori Dantini prints: (Decor8)

 - I've been having a pink moment too: (delights by design)

 - Inspiration for anyone making a change: (escapade)

 - On a quotes kick; this is another good one: (Cherry Blossom)

 - Colors! (a creative mint)

 - Such beautiful pictures: (le blog secret)

 - My weekend project: (

 - Austin Style: (Adored Austin)

 - This made me hungry: (Austin Eavesdropper)

 - Some Royal Gossip to get us ready for the big wedding: (LaineyGossip)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekend Wear: Saturday

{Guest Post}: Jessie

1. with... 2.
1. Asos...*on sale $43.03
2. Banana Republic...$39.50
3. Forever 21...$4.50
4. Forever21...$4.80
5. Aldo...*on sale $34.98

1.with...2.*jacket only
1. Asos...*on sale $43.03
2. Zara...$129.00
3. Francesca's...$24.00
4. Forever 21...$10.80
5. Forever 21...$12.80
6. Steve Madden...*on sale $69.95

Have a beautiful day!