Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays

I have several half-finished blog posts, but have been swamped with work and studying these past few weeks. I'm taking the PHR exam over MLK weekend, so it's time to seriously get my study on and pass the test. Within the past two days, my knuckles have started hurting from typing so much. However, the holidays are upon us. I get tomorrow off work. Christmas is on Tuesday. It's almost time to relax a little bit and see Les Miserables. SO. EXCITED.
So, before it's all over, I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday! Enjoy your homes, families, friends, televisions, books, crafts, or whatever you're into as of late.
I'm back at work on the 26th, and will post my annual Favorite Things and framily video (hopefully) later that week.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Card Display

When we returned from Kansas, I was delighted to find our first Christmas card in the mail. Of course the Hutson's would be miles ahead of everybody else this year, they have a new baby to show off. Receiving our first card reminded me that I had wanted to create a Pinteresty display for this year's cards. Last year, my Martha-est friend created something similar to this for her dining room table.
Yes, Stephanie trumps us all, again.
(image via Marthastewart.com)
Not wanting to steal her idea, or take the time required to make it, I searched Pinterest for something easier.
source
image via countryliving.com
And, after almost buying 30 clothespins for $6 on Amazon, I decided to use something I already have lots of, binder clips! Behold, my creation:
I had made that paper wreath sometime last year, so all I had to do was clip some shiny silver binder clips onto the ribbon. Genius, I tell you.

Now, more people just need to send us cards! I promise they will be on display in our dining room for all to enjoy.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Garbage Truck Incident

This year, I am thankful for not being crushed by a garbage truck.

Because I came close.

Chris and I had a wonderful trip to see my friends and family up in Kansas this past week, however we also nearly got smushed by garbage. It’s a sucky story, and I wish it hadn’t happened. But it did, we are fine, but the miata is not.

This was taken while the car was on the tow truck. According to the police, it was not drivable. The steering and the front left wheel weren't communicating correctly. The police officer gave the garbage truck driver a ticket for an improperly executed right-turn, so technically I was not at fault. But still, be careful out there.

Besides wrecking my mom's car, our Thanksgiving break consisted of visiting with lots of people I love, eating many delicious foods, and seeing tons of Kansas.
We toured the Boulevard brewery.
Made a trip out to Lawrence
Feasted with the Kapka/Farris family.
And made it back to Austin in time for Nate's deep-fried turkey.

The weather was perfect for most of the trip (we had one 20 degree day) and I got to see most of the people I wanted too. It never feels like there's enough time to see everybody. I should be back there around Easter, but for now, cheers to the rest of 2012, sure is flying by.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Easier Than Pie Halloween Treats

How was your Halloween?

At work, we invited all the kiddos up to the office to trick-or-treat from cube to cube. Seeing kids in their costumes on Halloween is one of my favorite things ever.

It's probably against some kind of OSHA compliance to post photos of other people's children on here. Darn. I actually stole the idea from Chris' office, (who I think stole it from AMD) so we always come home and talk about what costumes were popular that year. Spiderman, princesses, and ladybugs seem to be the top picks.

I made these two super easy treats for the kiddos and my coworkers. Thought I'd share.

First, for our dessert potluck, I made these Witches Brooms.
Reeces PB Cups and Pretzels

Then, for the kids to put in their Halloween bags:
Spider Attack!
I both ideas on Pinterest, and repinned them right away. I have lots of pipe cleaners and googlie eyes left over from the Reinbeers last year. These took me no time at all to create and the kids loved them!

Last night I stayed up way to late making togas for Chris and me to wear to the Texas Renaissance Faire this weekend. Photos to come.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's Still Summer in Austin

Quick! Let me update you on the past few weeks. I promise I haven’t been that busy, but I have lost a little of my drive for blogging. I'll get it back, soon enough.

Chris and I celebrate our four year anniversary with South Congress, sushi, and a little stay-cation. It was perfect.
Surprise, We're staying here for the night.
I took a quick girls trip to Houston for lots of wine tasting. Sometimes weekends away are exactly what you need.
The kind people from the Fried Olive stand pretended to be my friends so Chris wouldn't wonder why I was all alone in the rain.
I met my one UT football game a year quota.
Unfortunately UT lost that one, but we had a terrific time. Shout out to Debbie! So great to see you.
Then Chris celebrated his 28th birthday. There were many surprises: steak, beer, and a new office chair.
Staying out past midnight on a work night, sheesh!
We ACLed it up with the Nerickas, Wolfes, Daileys, Johnsons, Jaime, and many more.
framily love
Oh, and the sweet Wolfe Pack informed us that they’re moving back to Arizona in mid-December. Tears of sadness and unselfish excitement for the next chapter in their lives.
Ellie, even though you're too little to remember me, I will really miss watching you grow up.
And maybe the most exciting news of all, I bought a bike! Per usual, it takes me about 2 years of thinking about things I really want to buy before I will finally buy them for myself. Maybe next I’ll bite the bullet and invest in a food processor... But for now, I’ll ride around in my new Fuju Crosstown. I love it.
Most recently, I turned 26 whole years. We celebrated with a sinus infection (but I’m better now, fiiinally!) bike accessories, grilling at home, and a pumpkin-painting craft night.
Silly, scary, and cute.

One week remains in October. Cheers to more bike rides, Cards Against Humanity, and another epic Halloween Party.

November brings camping at Ren Fest, visiting Chris’ parents in Houston, and a trip home to KC. For the both of us! Chris hasn't been back in years, it will be a blast. Hey, Kansas, please keep your leaves colored until we get there. Don't fall off yet. Just hold on for a few weeks more, please!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Musical Discoveries

What are you guys listening to these days?

I'm been suffering through a dry spell of new music lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of all the pop-folk bands like The Head and the Heart, Givers, Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe, Lumineers, etc. etc. but even though I dig their stuff, it all sounds very similar. Sometimes I'll have a day or two where I just want to listen to the later Beatles or other classics and the past two days I've been continuously streaming Dave Matthews Band's new album, Away from the World (check it out!) but I am now, more than ever, needing something new.
What do you recommend?

My primary source for new music is a blog I know I've mentioned before, Austin Bloggy Limits. He gives a solid rundown of the bands playing around town, most of which I've never heard of. Then I'll use Spotify to check them out.

What else do I need to hear?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I Ate Last Weekend - Dining in Kansas City

Last weekend (why am I always so behind on my posts?!?) I visited my friends and family up in Kansas to make sure everybody was still doing well and hadn’t forgotten about me. It was the first trip in many trips that my mom didn’t feel like cooking for me, so we went out to eat so many times! Everywhere we went was someplace new and everything we ate was delicious. Kansas City is becoming pretty hip. I like it.

Friday, brunch at Chez Elle
My dad is totally digging this random intersection just west of downtown, around the corner from the Boulevard Brewing Company. When I was home for Easter, he took me to The Blue Bird Bistro, but this time, he picked this adorable creperie around the corner. The restaurant is in the old Summit Theatre, and there are condos for sale above. You could rent a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath for under $2,000/month. What a bargain.
Friday, dinner at Martin City Brewing Company
My mom’s been talking about “The Pub” since it opened and was delighted that I had the time and energy to check it out with her during this trip. Martin City is this tiny little town along the train tracks about 10 minutes southeast of Leawood. Growing up, we went there for gymnastics lessons, mini golf, or Sonic, and then later for Tropical Sno (mmm shaved ice). Martin City Brewing Company hasn’t been open for very long, and they aren’t selling their own beer quite yet, but the current selection of microbrews and the not-bar-like menu were fantastic. I highly recommend the scallops and risotto balls.
Saturday, brunch at The River Market
If you’re ever in KC on a Saturday morning, I highly recommend the trip to Downtown Kansas City’s River Market. For locals, there’s tons of fresh produce, flowers, spices, and other amazing things for sale. The prices we totally reasonable, and the samples were delish. After our coffees, my Mom and I had some spinach pies from a little Indian bakery. They were served with tzatziki, which spawned a lengthy conversation about Dahv Dahv, making your own yogurt sauce, and eating gluten free.
Saturday, dinner at Swagger’s
For my last night in KC, my mom wanted to take us all to Jack Stack, one of her standbys for a tasty spinach salad. Apparently a lot of other families were craving the same thing... Rather than wait around for a table we walked across the parking lot to the brand new bar and grill, Swaggers. While the name is less than desirable, the menu and beer selection was surprisingly vast. I chose a Swagger’s Light Lager while Reg spent about 20 minutes scouring the menu for the beer with the highest ABV. To eat, I tried convincing the bros to get The Dead Texan (knowing Chris would have ordered it, had he been there) but everybody choose slightly more reasonably, but still gigantic burgers and sandwiches, many that had been featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Cool!
Some Kapkas, just before heading to the airport

And thus begins a seriously overdue health food binge.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Things a lot of other people like that I don't really.

Unless you're really, really good at blocking our what's happening around you, you've probably heard such mumblings as "first string," "coaches," "injuries," and of course, "Tebow." Ah yes, football season is just around the corner. It's not that I dislike football season, I just really enjoy not-football season. There are so many other things to talk about! Thus, as I say farewell to my boyfriend's free time for the next four months, I thought I'd put together a little list of some other things I don't particularly like, but that a lot of other people seem to really like.

Sorry to offend anybody who doesn't live in Texas, but as hard as a try I will never think Uggs are cute. However, I hear they keep your feet warm and cozy. That's good.
I like watching The League, and I like hearing my friends trash talk one another, but I don't care who wins or loses the game and I don't want to spend my after-work hours researching players and setting my roster. I've played for the past few years and I will merrily enjoy not playing from now on.
Living in Texas would be loads easier if I liked country. Buuut I don't.
I don't have an iphone and I don't have an arm-band for my Android phone, but I don't think either of those things need to join me on my runs. Everytime I attempt to use my phone as a music player it stops working mid-song, just as I'm getting in the groove. I'm sick of trying. I want music to run, and I want to go home and track my run afterwards, but I don't want to take my phone running.
Eh, sorry guys. I'm one of the biggest television fans I know, yet Modern Family just never really stuck on me. I tried watching a few episodes back in season one or two, but it never really made me laugh.
no thanks, vanilla please!
Granted, I've only been there once, so I think I need to give it another try. But, when I visited NYC it was crowded, cold, and I was scared of being mugged the entire time. I've been to Chicago twice and liked it a whole lot more both times. PS: I also really liked every city I've been to in California and both major European cities I've visited (Paris & London). NYC definitely deserves a second chance.
I like all my friends who like Forrest Gump, but I would rather watch almost any movie except for this one. I think it's sad and scary and I don't want to talk about it anymore.
On Sunday I had the privilege of dining at Franklin's for the first time. The company was excellent, and the food was too, but I realized on my drive home that I'm just not the biggest fan of barbecue. I won't say no, I'd just prefer a meal with more cheese and veggies than meat and meat.
I don't care what you put in the shot or how "not shot-like it is." I don't want to take it and peer pressuring me into taking it isn't going to make anybody's lives any better. Just buy me a drink in a normal-sized glass and I'll drink it at whatever speed I want. Cheers!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Splendid Seattle

-I started writing this post weeks ago. I blame The Olympics, Canyon Lake, and an HR Certification course I started taking for the delay. Better late than never though.-

Seattle was wonderful. Seriously people, there is nowhere on earth like the Pacific Northwest. While Chris and I sweated through our errands last weekend, I couldn't help thinking how much more amazing errands would be in Seattle's weather. It was the perfect escape.

We went to Seattle for Chris’ friend from childhood Bryce’s wedding. It was the first time either of us has actually been in a wedding, and Chris had nothing but good things to say about the experience. And, because of his wedding party duties (suit fitting, chair setup, partying...) I was on my own for a portion of this trip. It was so great! Spending time apart from your loved one while on vacation is an excellent idea. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed my alone time.
The trip began with lunch on Thursday at Eastlike River Bar and Grill. I met the bride, Kristin, and the groom’s family for the first time. After leaving the fellas to try on their suits, the groom’s sister-in-law and I headed out for a several mile exploration of the University of Washington campus. Years ago, as an oblivious high school junior, I considered attending UW for college. Why? Eh... I knew I wanted to get away from Kansas and live in an urban environment... but I’m really glad I didn’t end up there. The campus was gorgeous, surrounded by lakes and ocean, but it definitely would have been too far from home.
In the springtime, this would have looked like this:
Guess I have to go back and see it, right?
That night we met up with our men and caught the party bus to Ray’s Boathouse for the rehearsal dinner.
This was also the first rehearsal dinner we’ve attended. It was excellent to hear the speeches, get to know the bridal party, and enjoy an outstanding meal.
The biggest piece of salmon I’ve ever had.
After dinner some of the youngin’s went to The Zoo for ping pong, darts, and more fun. I heard very good things about the bar, but alas, I was fast asleep in my cozy bed at The University Inn.
On Friday, the day of the wedding, I woke up to a cloudy and 60 degree day. It was so relaxing! Even though I’m a huge fan of sunshine, the typical-Seattle day was lovely. I started my day with a quick run along the Burke Gilman Trail followed by brunch with the wedding party at Portage Bay CafĂ© (that toppings bar, wow!). From around 1pm onward, Chris was on wedding duty, so I set out to explore the city with my backpack and a book.
A few hours were spent meeting up with the Sy family on Foster’s Island and at the Seattle Arboretum.
All in all, I walked nearly 7 miles around the city. I never would have been able to do that in Austin. With the heat and humidity, that trek would have been miserable.
The ceremony and reception that night were also amazing. Bryce and Kristin were so happy. It was perfect.
Hey there, groomsman.

Chris and the happy couple
You’d think we’d be done after that, right? But no! They’d planned a Friday night wedding so that all of their out of town visitors could join them on Saturday morning for one of their favorite activities, a hike!
About 20 of us drove 3 hours north to North Cascade National Park to hike to Cascade Pass.
Absolutely perfect weather.
So many hikes in the same month, what is happening?
I think I’d compare hiking to spinach... I hated it when I was little, then I was too afraid to try it... but now that I have the freedom to do it when and however I want, it’s great. Same idea. More hikes = healthier Jane!
We finished the trip with a fantastic meal at Ivar's and a night in, watching the Olympics. I already can't wait to go back (hopefully for Sasquatch 2013).