Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chewie and Abby
Pictures from over the past couple of weeks

Monday, August 30, 2010

Purdy Dresses
I didn't watch the Emmy's on Sunday night, I had better things to do like watch True Blood :) On Monday I did check out the interwebs to see who won and what people wore. I can't look at a dress and say "so and so made this dress" but I know what I like and what I don't like. I picked a few dresses that I like and a few that I thought were bad choices for your delight today.
I have no idea who this person is but I totally love this dress. I need to go to an event where I can wear this dress. This color red is my all time favorite.
I like this black dress for it's simplicity yet detail.
This is my 2nd favorite dress... Love the detail on the bottom of the dress and I like the flowy top. Normally I'm not a fan when a dress isn't uniform on both sides, but this dress works for me. So shit... now I need to find another fancy party to go to so I can wear this dress and rock it out.
And now here are my least favorite dressed. I see this dress below and think Junior High Dance. There is far to much poof and random parts that are flaring away.

I'll start with the positives... I like the color. Hmmmm.... guess that is it. This looks like a failed dress from Project Runway. I'm sorry, but I just don't like it.

I'm going to say that I hate this dress, but I just feel like it wasn't finished. Like the dress make couldn't decide what they wanted to do so they draped this white fabric over it to complete it

To me, this dress appears that she was really late to the party. She was in her cab sitting in traffic in the rain when she decided to jump out and run the rest of the way. During her flight she ran through many puddles that stained the bottom half of her dress

I don't necessarily think there is a ton wrong with this dress, but I'm not loving the lacy fabric. A little to Scarlett O'Hara for me

I think when you have to much fabric for the dress, you cut it off and call it a day. This designer decided to hang it on her hip... cause you know women are totally fine with their hips and hauling extra fabric on them!

I hope you enjoyed my commentary :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time for a change

Lately when I sit in our living room, I think that it is to dark and a change would be fun. We don't have great lighting in there, we have dark floors and medium dark walls. Plus my creative juices are flowing, so having this project would be fun. I just have to balance it with budget because it is such a big room I want to get the biggest bang for my buck. So I have started looking at different color patterns to get an idea of what we can do. I'd like to go with a lighter paint color, but because the living room is right off of the dining room, I need to make sure the colors are complimentary.

I have so many ideas swirling around that I don't know where to start. I suppose I should tell the husband of my ideas, but I want to have everything planned out before I have to start convincing him that it is a good idea :) Last year at this time I changed the color in our den while he was at his Fantasy Football draft (which lasted 2 days at a lake house). Since he is at his draft tonight (he will only be gone over night) I'd like to make some changes, but I started to think about it to late. Hmmmm... what to do!!?? :)

I searched around the internet for some ideas and I found pictures of these rooms. I am drawn to the lightness of the room, the clean lines and the modern/contemporary feeling of the rooms.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

White Wine Sangria

This drink is perfect for summer. It is light, fruity and a little fizz to it and you can change up the fruit that you use as well as the type of wine. Lots of options and we will be making this again!!


1 bottle Spanish white wine (we used New Age wine, see picture below)
1/4 cup super fine sugar
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 cut up peach
1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes, sliced in 1/2
1/2 cup peach nectar
1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves
Splash of triple sec
Pinch salt
1 12oz can of Sprite
Ice cubes


In a large pitcher combine the wine and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the remaining ingredients, except the Sprite, and mix well. Put the pitcher in the refrigerator and let the sangria sit for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the Sprite and ice cubes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our babies
It is getting hard to find outdoor activities with the kids when it is so damn hot outside!! Even our early morning walks leaves the dogs panting, so we are keeping activities at a minimum right now. HOWEVER, throw a little water into the mix and you get two DAMN happy dogs that want to stay all day long. Seriously, we had to pull them out of the water. Instead of heading to Town Lake (maybe one day I'll feel comfortable calling it Lady Bird Lake) to get some water time we headed to Peace Park. They have a little stretch of leash less area (24th street to 29th street, off of Lamar) which includes Shoal Creek. I thought this would be a good area to let Abby really get a feel for the water because it isn't to deep.
It took her all of 30 seconds to realize that she LOVED the water. She had a huge smile on her face and was sprinting all over the place. We ended up having to get the leash and calming her down a bit, we are still over-sensitive/protective about her knee. The last thing we want is another hurt body part.
I love this photo... I knew I had seconds before I had to move because I'm pretty sure she would have run right into me if I had stayed in the same place

We probably stayed about 30 minutes before we decided to head down the trail. I look forward to the day where we can have Abby off of the leash and have her listen to us. We let go of her leash at the water (left it on her) but we were on both sides of the water making sure she didn't get to far away from us.

Not a great photo, but you can see the height difference of Chewie and Abby... she is gaining some ground on him! She is 6 months old.
Last weekend, I spent some time outside with the kids and the wide angle lens.
Abby is not very lady like... she loves to sleep like this, which leaves her,,, ummm,,, whooo-ha out in the open
Aaahhhhhh!!! Love this photo! Chewie is okay with her laying on him, as long as she isn't a freak and start licking him to death. This was the night after swimming, so they were both pretty tired

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Houston Food

During my travels in Houston, I took pictures of my food so I would remember to blog/yelp about them. Of course, I do this in Austin as well, so I guess it isn't any different than normal :) I was a little concerned about taking pictures of my food in front of my classmates but I did it with my iPhone to be stealthy. Since I did take them with my iPhone it means that the quality isn't the best, especially since there was low light in some restaurants.

Bellaire Coffee Shop

5422 Bissonnet St

Bellaire, Tx 77401

My first lunch there was at a little hole in the wall type place. I knew my stomach was in the mood for breakfast, I decided on going with the turkey and bacon sandwich with fries. When I first walked in I was motioned to sit where ever I wanted but then I sat there for a few minutes without anybody else coming over to check on me. Eventually a sweet little lady, who kept calling me Hon, came over and got my order. The sandwich came and it was a simple yet tasty sandwich. I wish I had gone with breakfast but i did enjoy my sandwich.

I cannot for the life of me remember the name of this restaurant, but as soon as I check my expense report I'll post it. As we were driving over to this restaurant, the one bit of advice that one of my classmates gave me was to not get the chicken. She said the last 3 or 4 chicken dishes that she has ordered were always dried out and lacked taste. Taking her advice and staying away from the chicken, I ordered the fajita beef tacos. The beef was tender and had a slight taste of citrus which was a nice surprise. The beef (which was plentiful) was wrapped in home made tortillas, yum!! Luckily for me, the 2 tacos were enough to fill me up. For my sides I ordered rice and grilled veggies. I ended up with beans but waiter eventually brought me rice, which was bland. I was so hopeful for the veggies, they had nice grill marks and looked to have spice on them. I realized my disappointment after my first bite. The veggies were luke warm and had zero flavor. The chips and salsa were tasty and my tacos were really good so I would recommend this restaurant but would issue some warnings about the chicken and the veggies!

Benno's on the Beach
1200 Seawall Blvd
Galveston, Tx 77550

I drove down to Galveston one night after training. I didn't really have a plan, I just knew I wanted to get out of town and go hang on the beach. Unfortunately Houston traffic is insanely crazy busy so it took me about 1.5 hrs to get to the coast. I loved every minute of it and don't regret it for a minute. While I was on the ferry to East Island I yelped restaurants in the area and this one popped up and looked promising. For whatever reason, I have been wanting to try fried oysters. I decided on the fried oyster and shrimp platter with fries and coleslaw. For $13.95 I received a big platter of fried food. The shrimp were cooked perfectly (tender not dry and chewy) and had a nice season to them. The fries were okay, definitely needed some salt. I can't really review the oysters because I didn't really care for them, but I think it is my issue not the oysters fault. There was a cornmeal coating on them that was nice a crispy and the oyster inside was... an oyster. Not my cup of tea... I have always said that frying food makes it better but apparently frying oysters does not make it better according to my palate :) I was glad I made the stop at this casual restaurant. They are located right across the street from the gulf so I bet during the day you have an awesome view while you enjoy your food.

Charlies Bar-B-Q in Bellaire
4803 Bissonnet Street
Bellaire, Tx 77401

I really didn't know what to think as I walked into this tucked away restaurant. I had looked up the Yelp reviews and it didn't look good. But my classmates decided to give them a try so I was stuck going here. I ordered the St. Louis rib plate with a side for around $7. My ribs looked dark so right off the bat I was a little worried. However, when I took a bite of the rib, I was pleasantly surprised! It was very tender with a slight smoky taste. I had them put the sauce on the sauce because I'm more of a dry rub rib girl.. The sauce was on the thin side but it didn't lack in flavor. The potato salad was okay, kind of tasted like the kind that you can buy at HEB. If I was back in the area and craved BBQ I would be willing to give them another try.

Cafe Express
1101 Uptown Park Blvd
Houston, Tx 77056

During training I depended on my classmates tastes for lunch. I let them choose where to go since they were familiar with the area and luckily for me they picked some good places! :) Cafe Express is a bustling little restaurant where you order at the front and you get buzzed when your food is ready. I was all set to order from the breakfast menu (their frittata sounded awesome) but they stopped serving breakfast at 11am. BOOO. I went with my second choice, the Rustica chicken sandwich. The sandwich had sliced chicken, sun dried tomato's, pesto and dressed greens all on a focacicia bread. Everything tasted really fresh and the chicken was tender and not dried out. I can't remember the price, but it was around $9 or $10 for the sandwich and fries. A little pricey to do every day lunch, but it was good. Other classmates ordered a couple of other sandwiches and pastas and it all looked really good. To bad I didn't know they better or I would have asked them for a bite :)

La Vista
1936 Fountain View Dr
Houston, Tx 77057

I was in the mood for pasta on my last night in Houston, so I went in search of an Italian restaurant. I found a couple near the hotel, but they looked more on the fancy side, and I wasn't in the mood to get dressed up. I found La Vista which looked promising and after I looked at their menu I knew I needed to eat there. I was drawn to two different dishes: Linguini Gamberri (shrimp and scallops with sun dried tomato's, tomato's, garlic and balsamic vinegar and their Shrimp and Grits (spicy prosciutto wrapped shrimp over cheesy polenta with Grand Marnier). Once I got there I decided on the Shrimp and Grits and I am glad that I ordered it. First, I was given a cheesy garlic bread with herbed olive oil for dipping. I had to stop myself from eating all of the bread in front of me, it was excellent. I then had my Cesar salad, which honestly was just a Cesar salad nothing special. Shortly after finishing my salad my shrimp and grits was delivered. The shrimp were huge, spicy, cooked perfectly and as promised on the menu, the grits were cheesy. I wish I had a bigger stomach because I didn't want to stop eating until it was all gone. The sauce around the grits was a perfect flavor to enhance the shrimp. All of the employees were very polite and made sure that I was attended to without being overwhelming. I am very glad that I found this restaurant (Thanks Yelp!!) to eat at while I was visiting Houston.

Daily Grill
5085 Westheimer Rd
Houston, Tx 77056

For breakfast all week I was eating at Panera Bread… bagel and coffee. I like a substantial breakfast but didn’t want to eat that heavy every day. So I decided that on my last morning in Houston I would splurge and get a nice breakfast. The hotel I stayed in didn’t have a restaurant connected but across the mall hallway was a Daily Grill that was a part of the hotel. I checked out the menu and decided on the Eggs Florentine (2 poached eggs on sautéed spinach and an English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce). I started off with coffee which was good, strong enough and not burnt tasting. My breakfast was placed in front of me and I thought “this is going to be good”. Well… I was disappointed in my breakfast. Everything lacked seasoning, the hollandaise sauce was solid but it wasn’t enough to help the eggs and spinach. The first egg stack was decent, but as soon as I cut into the 2nd egg stack I knew I wasn’t going to be happy. The English muffin was soggy, which meant either the poached egg wasn’t properly strained or the spinach had way to much liquid in it. Blech. I pulled off the egg and ate it by itself. I was hoping for a better breakfast to celebrate my last day of class but I didn’t get it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My week in Houston
I had to go to training in Houston this week. I wasn't exactly excited but it was for work so I didn't have much of a choice. I did take my camera with me in case I had some extra time for fun, and I am so glad that I did. On my drive to Houston, I had my eye on the sunset. I knew it was going to be excellent so I pulled to the side of the road in Giddings and waited for it. I found an empty warehouse (right off of the main road) and took photos. I am very pleased with these photos. I didn't stick around for the complete sunset (which I am kicking myself for not) because I didn't want to get into Houston to late.

Sunrise from my hotel balcony

One day we got out of training early so I headed down to Galveston. I didn't have a plan, I just knew I wanted to put my feet into the Gulf and enjoy the beach. The beach was pretty busy, but I stayed at the end that wasn't as busy. Lots of seagulls, fresh smelling ocean air, and warm gulf water made it worth sitting in rush hour traffic to make it down to the Gulf while there was still day light.

I had a friend mention a ferry that they took when they were in Galveston, so when I passed a sign that said ferry, I followed it :) I drove my car onto it and off we went, over to East Island. I have zero idea what is on East island, but I had fun on the ferry!
These birds were CRAZY for the bread the people were throwing at them. I got dive bombed a couple of times, guess the birds were trying to figure out what the camera was.

I figured that as long as I was on the island, I would drive around a little to see if I found anything neat. Can't say I saw anything on the island that appealed to me (very barren) but I had my eye on the sunset. I was driving around looking for the water, but couldn't find a public area. So I might be slightly trespassing here, but there wasn't anybody around and I wasn't planning on staying long. This was a boat dock, with plenty of fishing/shrimping type boats floating around.

This picture really doesn't do the sunset justice, it was simply beautiful. The sun was fireball red as it set, and one of the best sunsets that I have ever seen.

I finally found this beach after the sun had set, but the clouds still had a great color to them


Ferry back to Galveston

Hmmmm... I don't think I would fit into this evacuation hole. :) Okay fine... so maybe this was a door
I wish I had a little more time to take photos around town, but unfortunately work came first :(