Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

image

For whatever reason, I never watched “Gilmore Girls” when it was on – I’m not sure if I didn’t get the channel in Canada or what, but…the entire thing went right over my head. I know that I didn’t see it on British TV when I lived in the UK, and by the time I moved to the US it was nearly over, so…totally missed the boat. Over the years (and especially as my Muppet has gotten older) many people have commented on how the Wee One and I have a relationship that’s not that different from the one between Lorelai and Rory. I hoped that this was a compliment, but was never entirely sure – until a few weeks ago. During a particularly raucous bout of cryptospiridium poisoning (which is nowhere near as fun as that flashy title sounds), I was stuck at home for days. I wasn’t chained to the pot in my bathroom, but things were pretty damn close. I did nothing but lay in bed, wishing to perish a quick and painless demise – it was vile. I passed the time by finishing all five seasons of “Alias” (another show I had missed out on – what fun! Bradley Cooper was so dreamy!!), the “Wet Hot Summer” series on Netflix (featuring the ageless Paul Rudd, that bugger), and the first few episodes of “Gilmore Girls”. And…I’m hooked. I friggin’ LOVE this show – it’s so awesome. I want to move to the town of Stars Hollow yesterday, and I could become very accustomed to having the lovely Luke make me my coffee every morning. Lorelai and Rory’s relationship is kind of similar to the Muppet antics that go on at our house…while I hope that I am slightly more mature and responsible than Lorelai, I do certainly think that my attitude towards things with the little one is not that far off from hers. I am crazy for this show – so awesome! :-) Even though I’ve never seen it before, there’s something so familiar about it…it reminds me of home. :-) (Plus, I’m mega-nostalgic for the 90s these days for some reason, so….yet another reason to binge-watch!)

image

I’ve been feeling really homesick lately, and longing for small town life…words I never thought I would utter. The traffic here in San Antonio has absolutely plummeted down the shitter this summer, and it’s wearing me down. I’ve taken to planning my social life around traffic patterns, which is a practice I absolutely loathe – and something I swore I’d never do again after my years living in traffic purgatory (AKA Washington, DC/Northern Virginia). The start of the school year has not helped our already craptastic traffic patterns, as every fool (and their dog) are on the road at the same time, and nobody is getting anywhere. It’s terribly frustrating, and really cramping my style – I’m over it! I told someone the other day that I want to move to a small town, work at a school there, and have livestock be the only traffic barrier that I contend with….wouldn’t that be nice??! :-)

image

 

The other alternative is move to a metropolis, put the car in storage, and go public transportation all the way. While grocery shopping would take some major adjustments, I think I could SO adapt to this way of life. I love having other people drive me places (probably because it rarely happens), I like looking out the windows and watching the world go by. I love being in cities where you can walk everywhere (which never friggin’ happens here in San Antonio – things are so far apart, and since it’s hotter than the depths of hell here for half of the year, walking isn’t an option), I love sitting on benches and people watching…all of the things that I bet I could do if I moved to a bigger urban center. My beloved New York would be nice!!!! :-)

image

However, despite my longings for new beginnings and change, I guess I will have to stay here for now – wandering is tough when you’ve got a Muppet in tow. Time to pretend that San Antonio is just a slightly overgrown Stars Hollow (I wish!).  I wonder if the longing to roam and wander will ever leave my system…highly unlikely, I imagine – but I think I’m pretty okay with that. :-)

xxx

I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing

The start of a new school year is an exciting, chaotic time….I tend to lose myself in all of the excitement of new students and new notebooks, rarely stopping to take time to smell the roses or the aroma of the binding on said new notebooks. However, I took a five minute time out today, sat under my desk (it’s my happy place :-) ), and thought about a few of my favorite things these days. Here you go:

1) The song ‘S.O.B’ by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats:

This song is EVERYTHING. EV-ERY-THING. Love. :-)

If your hiney isn’t up and dancing, then you need to consult a medical expert…there’s clearly something wrong with you.

 

2) These shoes:

image

I ordered these babies from Italian shoe campany Tipe e Tacchi….at least I think I did. I fell in love with them when Kat from Rock’n’Roll Bride shared a picture of them on Instagram, and I knew that I HAD to have them. The damn shopping site is only in Italian, and while I can holler ‘gelato’ and ‘manicotti’ with the best of them (think Kevin Kline in “A Fish Called Wanda”), I still remain uncertain if I did indeed order them or not. I check the post hopefully each day…because those are some seriously fab shoes that I think will be perfect on my feeties! :-)

 

3) Speaking of awesome things, behold my new Betsey Johnson bag:

image

Yep…it’s a hot pink typerwriter bag. With chain straps. It’s AMAZING!!! I love it with all my heart! Yaaa!!! It really doesn’t take a lot to have me excited, does it? 😉 (NOTE: This is the annual First Day of School picture of the Wee Muppet and I – could she be more gorgeous??! I doubt it!!)

 

4) My Bando Agenda:

This thing is everything for a planner nerd like me – I love it SO MUCH:

image image

 

I’ve always delighted in a good planner, but man alive is this one ever a life changer. I don’t know how people survive without a good planner!!

 

5) This:

image

I’m a graduate again! Yaaaa me!!! :-)

 

What are you excited about these days?

xxx

Austin

I spent some time in Austin recently…there aren’t words to express how much I love that town – it’s so awesome!! :-) Here are some highlights from my trip:

I stayed at the Hotel Ella, a place that was SO BEAUTIFUL I cannot recommend it enough – gorgeous! The staff were outstanding, the place was stunning, there’s incredible artwork all over the property…I could have stayed there forever. Love. :-)

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

 

Don’t you want to just sit on that veranda and drink cocktails all day long? I know…me, too! :-) I did some amazing eating (and drinking!) while I was gone – I visited The Salty Sow, which was really great…and The Odd Duck, which I absolutely LOVED!!! I can’t remember having a meal that I enjoyed so much! Delicious!!!! :-) Here are some highlights:

image

Bangers – one of my absolute favorites in Austin!

image

Isn’t Bangers pretty at night? :-)

image

My new favorite summer drink…Crispin Apple Cider with a splash of raspberry! Yum!

image

Poutine – my very, very favorite :-)

image

Duck and fig sausage – heaven in casing!

image

This was antelope and venison sausage…I can’t recommend it enough! So good!!!

 

image

This sign makes me happy :-)

image

No visit to Austin is complete without visiting the bathroom at Craft Pride! Woohoo!

image

Sitting on the patio at Shady Grove

image

Tamale Pancakes from Shady Grove – ridiculously delicious!

image

Truffle Devilled Eggs from The Salty Sow

image

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese – SOOOO GOOD!!!! :-)

image

Pork Belly – should get in my belly more often!

image

Smashed new potatoes

image

Bananas Foster Beignets…a highlight of the weekend!

A Moroccan dish from the Hill Country Food Truck Festival in Luckenbach

A Moroccan dish from the Hill Country Food Truck Festival in Luckenbach

Parker House Rolls stuffed with pig face - that's what the menu said, so I had to order them. You don't walk past pig face, friends.

Parker House Rolls stuffed with pig face – that’s what the menu said, so I had to order them. You don’t walk past pig face, friends.

Meet the pig face!! It was INCREDIBLE!!!!

Meet the pig face!! It was INCREDIBLE!!!!

Eggplant fritters in house-made ricotta...delicious!

Eggplant fritters in house-made ricotta…delicious!

Grilled okra - I'm not much of an okra fan, sadly.

Grilled okra – I’m not much of an okra fan, sadly.

BBQ shrimp - divine!

BBQ shrimp – divine!

Twice baked potato with cheese fondue and goat - holy crap for yummy!

Twice baked potato with cheese fondue and goat – holy crap for yummy!

This is the business - it's a pizza with jalapeno, red onion, mango, and lamb bacon on top. You read that correctly - lamb bacon. Who even knew that was a thing? It was friggin GORGEOUS - so yummy!!! :-)

This is the business – it’s a pizza with jalapeno, red onion, mango, and lamb bacon on top. You read that correctly – lamb bacon. Who even knew that was a thing? It was friggin GORGEOUS – so yummy!!! :-)

 

If you’re assuming that all I did in Austin was eat, you would be assuming correctly…the food there is magical! I am not a lover of chain restaurants and generally do all that I can to avoid them – and doing that was super-easy in Austin, as there was a wealth of great choices to pick from. I can’t recommend the above dishes enough – yummmmmy!!! :-)

I did a few things other than eat and drink while I was there (not much, though) – I went kayaking, which I absolutely LOVED, acquired a new tattoo (woohoo!), and visited the art gallery at UT Austin. There were a few exhibits there that I was interested in, and I loved the museum a lot! :-)

My foot!

My foot! :-)

Isn't this cool?

Art is cool :-)

LOVE :-)

LOVE :-)

 

I don’t know why I don’t go to Austin more often (probably because I whoop it up a lot when I’m there and that gets costly!)…but I need to visit more often. I love that place – and, I can’t be certain, but I think that Austin loves me, too. :-)  What’s not to love, eh?

xxx

 

Follow Your Arrow

This summer has been decidedly different for me – the Wee One and I have stayed home, and spent a lot of time together…it has been lovely. We have done lots of fun things, and we’ve been getting out a fair bit – but we have taken time to relax, chill, and smell the roses, too. While I’ve missed having one of our great ‘fancy girl trips’ that we love so much, we have had such a good time together…and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. The end of the school year was rough, and frankly I was in desperate need of some time to just slow down and take it easy – which is exactly what I’ve done. In one day in May, a young girl had a drug overdose in front of me (she’s fine, thank god) and a dear friend and colleague suffered a heart attack and collapsed in my arms (she’s okay, too)…followed by a second colleague entering the hospital the very next day with a mystery illness that’s still not been diagnosed – two months later. This trifecta of misery reminded me of the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of us, and of our mortality…and I realized that I could not keep up the pace that I’ve been operating at – or I would be the next to drop. As Kacey Musgraves sings in her excellent song “Follow Your Arrow”, ‘Say what you think / Love who you love / ‘Cause you just get / So many trips ’round the sun / Yeah, you only / Only live once’. Life is too short to not enjoy yourself….it’s not worth it. So….this is what I’ve done! I’ve hardly gone in to work on my time off, I’ve turned down quite a few social invitations, I’ve only said yes to that which matters to me – and I’ve done a lot of nothing. I have been binge watching a bunch of great TV, watching my kid swim at her swimming lessons, and done a ton of good eating at great restaurants. This is how summer should be! :-)

Deviled Eggs from Whisky Cake - yum!

Deviled Eggs from Whisky Cake – yum!

I've been on a quest to learn to like Brussels Sprouts...these ones at Whisky Cake are damn respectable! :-)

I’ve been on a quest to learn to like Brussels Sprouts…these ones at Whisky Cake are damn respectable! :-)

The Twice-Fried Chicken Wings from Hot Joy are what dreams are made of. DIVINE!!!!

The Twice-Fried Chicken Wings from Hot Joy are what dreams are made of. DIVINE!!!!

Smashed Cucumber salad from Hot Joy - I am aware that it looks rather odd, but....SOOOO GOOOOOD!!!

Smashed Cucumber salad from Hot Joy – I am aware that it looks rather odd, but….SOOOO GOOOOOD!!!

I've spent a fair bit of time kicking back, not fussing with my hair/makeup, and enjoying wine - yaa! :-)

I’ve spent a fair bit of time kicking back, not fussing with my hair/makeup, and enjoying wine – yaa! :-)

The Wee One had a gift card from her favorite store - instead of buying herself a cute outfit, she chose to get us matching sparkly unicorn necklaces that say BFF on them. My heart is so full. :-)

The Wee One had a gift card from her favorite store – instead of buying herself a cute outfit, she chose to get us matching sparkly unicorn necklaces that say BFF on them. My heart is so full. :-)

 

I’m well aware that these images are nowhere near as exciting as most people’s summer vacation pictures, but….they mean the world to me. They are visual representations of time well spent with the people who love me most – and what could possibly be better than that? :-)

xxx

 

Viva Las Vegas!

The Spring Break road trip continues for the Wee One and I – we left the beautiful Santa Fe in the wee hours of the morning, and made the drive to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, we witnessed the most gorgeous sunrise coming up as we made our way through New Mexico…I doubt there’s a more beautiful way to start a day. Simply stunning. :-)
When we got to the canyon, I don’t think either of us were fully prepared for the majesty of the views. Every direction we turned was more beautiful than the last, and we thoroughly enjoyed the quiet, calm, peacefulness that’s in the air….despite the throngs of people walking around. There was snow on the ground (good news – I still possess mad snowball-making skills, despite the years that have passed since I moved away from Canada!), we took a ton of great pictures, and did a lot of hand-holding. This was a great place!

Gorgeous :-)

Gorgeous :-)

Doesn't this just take your breath away?

Doesn’t this just take your breath away?

My little sass-pants in the snow!

My little sass-pants in the snow!

Love :-)

Love :-)

 

After we left the park, we drove straight through to Vegas, baby! I know it’s a bonkers thing to take an 8 year old to Sin City, but I figured she’d get a kick out of the lights and the sights, and man alive was I right!! She LOVED Vegas, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the ticket during their next mayoral race…she thinks Vegas, in all its sparkle and twinkle, is HEAVEN. She makes me laugh. :-)

 

The view from our room...not too shabby at all!

The view from our room…not too shabby at all!

Us girls ready for a night on the town!

Us girls ready for a night on the town!

This is so pretty :-)

This is so pretty :-)

The lights are so beautiful at night!

The lights are so beautiful at night!

The Wee One was crazy for the Bellagio fountain show...and I'm crazy for her! :-)

The Wee One was crazy for the Bellagio fountain show…and I’m crazy for her! :-)

Her first night on the Strip and she's already eyeing up her mama's beer! That's my girl!

Her first night on the Strip and she’s already eyeing up her mama’s beer! That’s my girl!

A lot of people find the glitz of Vegas to be way over the top and tacky, and there’s something to be said about that. However, personally, I find this town to be brimming with hope and possibility – everyone here is on the cusp on becoming something different; this is a place that celebrates stepping outside of the mundane and embracing a life more glamorous than the one you’re currently leading….now, tell me how that is bad? It isn’t – Vegas is fun. Walking down the street with a cocktail in your hand in broad daylight and not having to endure the judgey stares of passersby is a great thing, the plethora of sequins is magical, and the whole shine of the place makes me believe that God loves us and wants us to be happy. :-) Viva Las Vegas indeed!!!! :-)

 

xxx

Santa Fe

Chili peppers everywhere!  :)

Chili peppers everywhere! :)

The Wee One and I are on a short road trip for Spring Break…and we are having a great time so far!! :) Our first stop – Santa Fe, New Mexico! I hoped that I was going to like this city, but I had NO idea how much….LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! It’s gorgeous!! :) Here are some pictures:

Beads, Beads, Beads! :)

Beads, Beads, Beads! :)

My love affair with light fixtures continues! :)

My love affair with light fixtures continues! :)

My little love :)

My little love :)

0308150853a

Our hotel! :)

Our hotel! :)

IMG_20150308_145602

Around every corner there’s something beautiful to see! :)

I love this place! :-)

I love this place! :-)

So pretty :-)

So pretty :-)

image

Our hotel

Our hotel

Love is all around :-)

Love is all around :-)

 

I am SO SMITTEN with Santa Fe…it’s insane!! Love it!!! Have you ever been here? Tell me how much you loved it, too!!!! :-)

 

xxx

Luck Be a Lady

Lady Gaga announced her engagement to her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney, on Instagram today…look at her ring! :-)

I. Die.

I. Die.

 

Stunning, right? So. Gorgeous. :-) I love love to pieces, and few things thrill me like a happy couple living a happy life on their own terms. I wish there was more of that to go around! :-)

The Happy Couple :-)

The Happy Couple :-)

 

xxx

Amazing Grace

Did you watch the Grammy awards on Sunday night? It was good, full of performances and interesting attire…exactly what I’m looking for in a music awards show. One of the night’s highlights was the loooooovely Ed Sheeran melting my heart with his performance of “Thinking Out Loud” (one of my favorite songs of all time, no lie), backed by the very handsome John Meyer on a hot pink guitar. Sigh. That was a lot of awesome on that stage at one time. Fantastic! :-) I loved watching my one true love Paul McCartney clapping and dancing along to the music, the divine Sam Smith duetting with Mary J. Blige (holy hell that’s a lot of talent happening there)….there were some really great moments. And then there was this:

image

There’s no denying that her body is in tremendous shape, especially for her age. However, there’s something so hard and sinewy about her, don’t you think? Yikes! She doesn’t look like a 56 year old woman – at least not like any 56 year old that I’ve ever seen. As well, whatever she’s done to her face has changed her appearance so much…it just doesn’t look natural. (Ladies – let this be a lesson to you: if a woman like Madonna with all the money and resources possible at her disposal can’t get work done on her face that looks natural, what hope do you have?? Stop messing with your faces!!!) I miss how Madonna used to look…during the Evita years, I thought she was the most stunning woman ever. Her performance on Sunday night didn’t really do it for me, either – which is completely shocking, as I have loved Madonna for 30+ years!! Her music now doesn’t seem to fit for me, either…I’m not sure why. It feels desperate, and like she’s trying way too hard…and she doesn’t need to. She’s Madonna. Needless to say, the entire situation left me wanting a more mature performer, one who has grown and aged as she should have….and thankfully that arrived, in the form of the looooovely Annie Lennox!! She came out to join Hozier on “Take Me To Church“, a song that I love a whole bunch – Annie was bloody radiant, she looked deliriously happy, natural, and LIKE HER SELF. She sounded fantastic, she was appropriately dressed (meaning I didn’t have to see her arse hanging out) – it was such a stark contrast to the image Madonna had painted earlier, of a woman raging and fighting against growing older. There was Annie, laugh lines and wrinkles telling the story of a life well-lived. It was fantastic – and did the heart some good. There’s no shame in getting older, and I’m really bloody tired of the society today that makes it sound like there is. It’s been nearly a year since the Wee One and I went to Paris, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t remember the women that I saw there and the beautiful, natural way that they looked…and I long for it. I don’t spend a whole lot of time fussing with my appearance – it is what it is, and I have come to accept that.  However, I wish that I could head out into the world some days without makeup on…but I don’t dare. I always run in to people that I know, and I can’t  risk frightening them like that! I wish that I lived in a place and time where it was okay to show the grey that exists in the litttle hairs around your temple, the crow’s feet around your eyes, and the shadows that sometimes show up when you haven’t had quite enough sleep.

 

Maybe someday. :-)

 

xxx

 

 

A Change is Gonna Come

I have been working harder than usual lately – the work demands have been unholy, and everything else has been piling on, too. It’s kind of been a lot. However, I’ve decided that I need to focus my attentions on starting some new projects and taking my interests in a few new directions. I know that I don’t have a ton of time to devote to these pursuits, but I also know that unless you try new things you will never have new experiences, and guess what? I am so done with a lot of the things that I currently have going on – it is time for some changes. It’s time for me to change. :)

This is the cover of my book. MY book. I have written a book. Holy shit.

This is the cover of my book. MY book. I have written a book. Holy shit.

So….let’s start with this one: for those of you who are interested and have been asking, I have finally sat down and put together your favorites from Pretty Thing over the years, and ta-dah!!! We have us a book!! :) Yes, my darlings….I have written a book! :) This little beauty right here will be available for Kindle purchase on Amazon beginning on Saturday, February 14th (but please feel free to click on this link to pre-order now!), and the real print version will be ready for your hot little hands shortly thereafter (I will keep you posted). Deciding what to include was fun – I ended up choosing the posts that you all liked the best, the ones that I thought were kind of fun/funny/touching/strange/interesting/entertaining/all of the above, and the ones that spoke to the essence of who I really am. That’s really been the point of all of this from the beginning – I have shared the real me with you, and through your messages and feedback, you have shared parts of you with me. So….thanks! :) I’m unsure if anyone will read this collection, and it’s going to be okay if they don’t – it was just something that felt important to me to do. Sooooooo…….MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. :) I – this girl right here – have written a book. Imagine…another item to check off my list of 50 Things To Do Before I’m 50. Woohoo!!!!! :) If you don’t remember the magical list that I wrote on the day of my 21st birthday, here it is (the ones in bold are the ones I have completed!):

1. Own a house 26. Write a book
2. Have a child (or 2) 27. Ride on a pogo stick
3. Get my Masters degree 28. Learn to cook Thai food
4. Scuba dive somewhere tropical 29. Play strip poker
5. Go to New Orleans 30. Go to Las Vegas, baby!
6. Learn to salsa dance 31. Dance in the moonlight
7. Visit a hot spot for a vacation 32. Be kissed on a beach
8. Learn to play guitar 33. Try on a pair of expensive shoes (Manolos)
9. Master the recipe for Moules Marinières 34. Learn to knit or crochet
10. Golf under 100 on 18 holes 35. Go to a spa for a facial
11. Try surfing 36. Be debt free
12. Drink beer through a tube attached to a hat 37. Own a vehicle out right
13. Learn to play tennis 38. Swim with dolphins
14.  See KISS live in concert 39. Plant a tree in my own yard
15. Learn to make vinetarta 40. Learn to play the bagpipes
16. See Willy Nelson perform live 41. Take a cross-country road trip for fun :)
17. Go camping 42. Sing karaoke
18. Own a pair of cowboy boots 43. Have someone feed me grapes
19. Learn to make balloon animals 44. Convince a man to wear a kilt
20. Learn yoga 45. Visit the Grand Canyon
21. Have a dog 46. Throw a costume party
22. Put all my pictures in albums 47. Send a message in a bottle
23. Drink tequila in a shot glass off someone’s body 48. Take a picture a day for 365 days
24. Wear a tiara out for dinner 49. Visit New York City
25. Learn a bit of Spanish 50. Have a star named after me :)

 

I looooooove my list SO MUCH!!!! :) The problem is that I still have 21 to go!! And less than 10 years to get them done!!! ARRGGGHHH!!! Who’s up for a costume party?!??!?! :)

I love nothing more than having things to look forward to….I’m a girl who loves a plan. I like making plans with people, I like to feel the tingles of anticipation, and I love to look back and celebrate on things that have gone well. I’ve really not had much to look forward to, lately – there’s been a lot happening, and most of it has not been the greatest. I’m trying to put some plans in place for a few days get away with my Wee One over Spring Break – I treasure every moment she and I have together. So that’s a great thing. :) As well, I recently downloaded a super cool book called the 2015 Life Workbook from the divine Leonie Dawson – you can order the paper version, but I didn’t want to wait, so I downloaded mine. I’ve been looking through it, and it’s an amazingly beautiful way to look at the year that has been (2014), to celebrate those accomplishments, and plan for an even better and brighter 2015. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and I’m really excited to take the time to use it. I had planned to just fill out the digital version, but I’m probably going to print it and fill it in by hand…seems somehow more precious to me that way. I’m weird that way. If you have a moment to take a look at her site sometime, you will be dazzled. Everything is colorful and beautiful – and all of her ideas are damn smart. For realz. LOVE her. :) I hope that someday I will become the kind of person that has meaningful stuff to say (instead of the useless drivel that I torment you all with), maybe even someone that peeps turn to for guidance on things (besides shoes). Someday. :)

 

xxx

 

 

PS: Please click here to be taken to Amazon….and get your own copy of Pretty Thing! :-)