Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting older…

On Saturday, I turned 25.
On Sunday, I hurt my back.

We had a classy little dinner to celebrate Chris and my birthdays' Saturday night, so the next day, as I was Swiffering up the evidence, I quite possibly pulled a muscle in my lower back.

Way to go, Jane.

So, not like I had planned to do anything else on Sunday afternoon, but I was pretty restricted to an uncomfortable position on the couch, and the heating pad on the floor. Going to sleep that night was the hardest, because it was really difficult to lie still, and required tremendous effort to move from one side to the other.

And I’d like to point out that I’ve been to FIVE Bikram yoga classes in the last two weeks and I’ve been out running THREE TIMES, not counting volleyball and soccer activities. So, basically… don’t clean without stretching beforehand…

I do feel slightly better today. I can almost walk without leaning forward slightly. But that’s not to say I look any less awkward.

Thankfully, I don’t have skin cancer, but I did have a mole removed yesterday. Underneath the band-aide is a little Frankenstein-esque, so as of today, I’ll take a nerdtastic band-aide over some spider web stitches.

All I can do is laugh at myself. Yesterday was the dermatologist, today I have an appointment with the eye doctor to get an even stronger contact lense persecription, and tomorrow I go back to the allergist for my weekly shot. Sheesh, when did I become so helpless? Oh man, I don't even think I've posted a story about my index finger!
This injury is from Labor Dave Weekend. That time I closed the car door on my finger. Not to fret, after nearly 2 months, it's ALMOST completely healed!

Growing old…always an adventure.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finally Fall.

But is it here to stay?

We opened the windows for two whole days last week, only for it to get back up to 89, forcing us to shut everything up and turn the AC back on. But then, hoping the forecast was correct, we turned it off and opened them up once more, and now… THREE DAYS LATER, our house still feels nice and fresh. I actually fell asleep last night without turning on the ceiling fan. WHAT?!

And, considering I just scheduled a meeting for OCTOBER TWENTY-SEVENTH, I’d say it’s about time, Texas, it’s about dang time!

No, but seriously, October is almost over? Holy moley that was fast.

But it’s not over yet! Happy Birthday to ME on Saturday. *Gulp*

I’m looking forward to relaxing, spending some time outside, and eating all of my favorite foods with some of my favorite people. No chores at all!

Saturday also starts the highly anticipated (at least among my family), Austin Beer Week. I'm trying to convince Chris to go to Draught House with me on Wednesday for the Hops & Grain premiere. FREE mustache glasses!

Check out the rest of the schedule here.

However tonight...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Visitors from Kansas

As I mentioned last week, this past weekend two of my best Kansas-friends came down to Austin for a weekend visit. Wildg had never been to Austin and KV had visited me once before, right after I graduated from UT.
Last time she was here.

The three of us had an awesome time touring around the city and hanging out with many of my Austin-friends. It was especially fun for me to check out so many places on my “to do in Austin” list. It seems like every time I cross something off the list, something else gets added on.

Because of their suggestions, and maybe because of Cup of Jo’s Guide to NYC, I’ve been inspired to add more Austin-centered places and events to my little blog. I know haven’t been everywhere, so it’ll be a work in progress for all of us.

Our weekend, in summary:

James’ house for the UT v. OU game – Although the result was unfortunate, it was a good setting for the girls to meet the framily* and witness first-hand, how insane the UT/OU rivalry is.

The Bats on the Congress Bridge – This is a MUST SEE for any Austin resident or visitor. The first time I saw them was standing on the side of Town Lake with my family back in ’05. It’s way cooler standing on the bridge. So many bats! I can’t wait to go back and see them again when my dad visits.
Hard to see them, but there's tons.

Jolvita’s to see The Eggmen – The Eggmen are Austin’s BEST Beatles Cover Band. I love them. And the hilarious 40-somethings dancing to them at Jolvita’s made for excellent people watching.

Sandy’s Frozen Custard – When I told my mom that KV and Wilg were coming she said, “Oh make sure to take them to Sandy’s for an ice cream cone!”
Taco Shack – They’d never had breakfast tacos before. EVER.
Kung Fu Saloon – Chris and I listen to Chillville almost every Sunday morning. We’ve heard the ads for unlimited game play, $1 mimosa, and the bloody mary bar countless times, yet this was the first time I’d been there. Needless to say, we will surely be back. FREE skiball. So fun.
The State Capital Building– How horrible is it that in all these years as an Austin resident I’ve never been inside the Capital building? Well, now I have. It was old. And quite large. Interesting fact: at the time it was built, Texas was unsure of its borders. Thus, they just have the star image everywhere inside, but the actual state outline is nowhere to be found.
First & Annie Street Art
Yay, we saw it!

South Congress – One of my favorite spots in Austin. Allen’s Boots, Uncommon Objects, Lucy in Disguise, Tesoros Trading… unfortunately the street vendors weren’t there (RAIN!) but SoCo is sooo the first thing on my list of places to take visitors.
Whole Foods – This is my dad’s favorite spot in Austin. We dined at the seafood area and grabbed a few things for Chris’ surprise birthday party that night. OH MAN I just remembered, they were giving out fresh baked ciabatta bread samples at the bakery. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Photo from The Statesmen.com

Tacodeli – The breakfast tacos were such a hit the day before that we… got them again! Please note, Tacodeli is my favorite taco spot (but I still haven’t had them all).

UT Campus –We wandered from north of Kinsolving down to the new SAC building. Shoot, I forgot to take them inside Gregory Gym. Then we headed west to see the ridiculous statue placement (image below) before crossing through the main mall and down to the Drag. We made a few stops inside the Co-op, Tylers, Whole Earth Provision Co., swung by the DG house for Wildg, and then headed up north toward Toy Joy.
Spiderhouse - Chris couldn’t believe I’d never been to Spiderhouse. But nope! Wildg summed it up when we walked through the patio and she said, “Oh, let’s sit at the table by the bathtub.” Only in Austin.
Madam Ma’ams – The last stop on our roughly 2 mile walk was for a late lunch. Although the service was troublesome, the meal was delicious (per usual). We headed off to the airport and I told them to grab some Amy’s just before taking off to really complete the trip (and make their plane-mates supremely jealous).

If only we’d had time for the Cathedral of Junk and Master Pancake at the Alamo. Until next time, I’m sure. And in conclusion, I leave you this little facebook finding in anticipation for the week to come.

*Framily: Friends who might as well be family.
Also, super thanks to Wildgen for all the photos!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bikram Yoga and Baked Panzanella Caprese

Last week my dear friend Jaime sent me an email saying she’d just bought a $10 Daily Deal for 14 days of unlimited Bikram Yoga Classes. She was looking for a friend to try it out with her. "Should I do it?" I thought. I have never tried Hot Yoga before, and I have heard mixed reviews… but 14 days of class for only $10!? AND at a studio located just minutes from my house. “Ok,” I told her. “I’ll do it.”

So, last night we went to our first class. The second I walked into the room I was overwhelmed with how friggin’ HOT it was! Holy moley. It’s reeeally hot. Then, they ask you to start moving around, oh right, yoga isn’t just sitting...you have to actually do stuff. Immediately after the first stretch the sweat poured off my body. I was drenched. And… it was awesome. I was totally shocked by how much I enjoyed it! But don’t get me wrong, I think I enjoyed the after-yoga shower almost as much as the class itself.

So, once I was all showered up, I prepared one of the most satisfyingly delightful post-workout dinners ever. Thanks to one of my favorite food bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats, for the inspiration and the photographs.

Baked Panzanella Caprese
(recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis @ The Food Network)
5 Roma tomatoes (on sale for $0.77/lb at Sprouts last week!) sliced ½ inch thick
2.5 large balls of fresh mozzarella (3-4 if you want to snack a little), sliced ¼ inch thick
Approximately ½ cup fresh chopped basil
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Approximately 4 fresh, whole wheat rolls, sliced into ½ inch cubes (you could use white bread, or ciabatta, or whatever, but I’d definitely go with the fresher stuff from the bakery section v. the mainstream sandwich stuff)

First, set your oven to 375. Then, spray a pan with cooking spray. Giada says to use a 9 x 12 inch pan, and Kristin used cute little ramekins, but well, all I had was a 7 x 11 inch one, so I just made a little bit less. Sad too, because this recipe only made enough for 2 (yes, I ate half a pan of food for dinner last night…) and we had 0 leftovers, but work with what you’ve got.

So, once you’ve chosen what size of pan you want to use, place the tomatoes down in a single layer across the bottom. Sprinkle them with freshly ground salt and pepper (or just pepper if your boyfriend is on a reduced salt diet), then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it. Next, layer the cheese in a single layer. You will be tempted to nibble on it, but I'd advise you to limit yourself to the leftovers and not eat so much raw mozzarella that you cannot cover your pan. Then, sprinkle on some minced garlic, basil, and more pepper. Then drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over everything. Next, place the bread cubes evenly over everything. And finally, sprinkle on some more salt and pepper, and olive oil over everything.

Put it in the oven for about 17 minutes (until it’s bubbling in the middle and crispy on top) and within minutes your kitchen will smell amazing. Watch a little TV...
drink a glass of water...
and FEAST.

This is surely one of my favorite meals yet. Next time I think I’ll serve it with a nice house salad. Yes, that means I will definitely be making this again.

In other news:
Tonight is Girl’s Night.
Tomorrow I plan to attend the Culture Map Launch Party.
Friday we have an (uuugh) 11:45PM soccer game. We’re thinking some more yoga before soccer on Friday will help keep us awake until at least 2am. Probably later. Nooot fun.
Saturday two of my very best friends are coming to visit me ALL THE WAY from Kansas. And OU still sucks!

May the adventure continue...