Maybe It Was Memphis

My wee travel partner and I just returned from a quick trip to Memphis, and I cannot tell you how awesome it was – have you ever been? If not, walkdontrun straight to Memphis right now- what an outstanding city! :-)

One of the highlights of the trip for us was the Memphis Zoo, quite possibly the loveliest zoo I have ever seen. We visited with some panda bears, which was the Wee One’s favorite – and the giraffes were straight up adorable. Love! :-) Here are some pictures:

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We did some great eating while there – one of the standouts was a restaurant called Kooky Canuck, highly recommended by some locals, which featured Canadian food, if you can imagine! I was thrilled! :-) I had some poutine (because of course I did), Montreal-style hot dogs, and great Canadian beer – it was a delicious meal! :-) We sampled some Memphis-style BBQ, which we loved (especially since the place that we visited on Beale Street was a rockin’ blues club with two goats in the backyard – so awesome); another standout meal was at a place called Cafe Eclectic – everything there was yummy, especially my Elvis sandwich (grilled peanut butter and banana, ordered from the kids menu – so.good.).

Such a fun place!

Such a fun place!

Behold...poutine and DIVINE hot dogs!!

Behold…poutine and DIVINE hot dogs!!

An Elvis sandwich - grilled peanut butter and banana, drizzled with local honey. YUMMY!!!

An Elvis sandwich – grilled peanut butter and banana, drizzled with local honey. YUMMY!!!

Dry rub ribs, beans, coleslaw, and a roll....those ribs were the stuff of dreams, friends! :-)

Dry rub ribs, beans, coleslaw, and a roll….those ribs were the stuff of dreams, friends! :-)

Beale Street at night

Beale Street at night

The Southern Belle cocktail - I highly recommend it! ;-)

The Southern Belle cocktail – I highly recommend it! ;-)

One of the goats!!! :-)

One of the goats!!! :-)

Statue of WC Handy :-)

Statue of the Father of Blues WC Handy :-)

Speaking of Elvis…we visited Graceland! I was surprised by how much I knew about the King, and totally taken aback by how much I LOVED it! :-) We did the iPad tour (narrated by the lovely John Stamos – he can whisper in my ear any time he wants), which was very cool and informative – and the tour of the mansion and grounds was really great. I loved Graceland! :-)

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We also visited Sun Studio, where Elvis began his recording career. This wasn’t exactly the Wee One’s cup of tea, but I loved it a whole big bunch – we stood on the spot where the famous Million Dollar Quartet picture had been taken, I held the microphone Elvis sang in to, I touched the piano played by one of my musical favorites (and first concert I ever attended) Jerry Lee Lewis. The history there was magical, especially for a music lover like me – our tour guide Jane was awesome, and I loved the whole vibe of the place (did you know U2 recorded “Rattle and Hum” there? Neither did I!). Yaa! :-)

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We went to see the Broadway musical “Pippen” at the historic Orpheum Theatre – it was fantastic!!! :-) That’s a show that’s not to miss – the acrobats, the sights…it was great!! :-) We particularly loved the sing-along number (I didn’t see that coming!) – such fun! :-)
We visited the Peabody Hotel to witness the march of the historic Peabody ducks. This sounds silly, but let me tell you….it was fabulous! If you aren’t familiar with the story, here it is:

The Peabody Memphis Ducks

In 1933, Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. The men had a little too much Jack Daniel’s Tennessee sippin’ whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain.

Three small, English call ducks were selected as “guinea pigs” and the reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. Soon, five North American Mallard ducks would replace the original ducks.

In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke became the Peabody Duckmaster, serving in that capacity for 50 years until his retirement in 1991.

Nearly 90 years after the inaugural march, ducks still visit the lobby fountain at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day.

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We were only in Memphis a few days, but I can guarantee that we will be back as soon as we can – we loved it that much! Memphis is an absolute treat to see, the people are outstanding and the very best example of Southern hospitality that you could ever hope to find, and it has a warm, happy feel that will leave you a person changed for the better. I heart Memphis! :-)

xxx

 

Any Way You Want It

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What do you want out of life? This question is much harder than it seems on the surface. I thought about it and made a list the other day – here’s a few of the things that I came up with:

-A salary increase of at least $25,000 within the next 3 years

-Shorter working hours – down to 60 hours/week instead of the current level

-More time with my little one!! :-)

-A really pretty wardrobe (including appropriate accessories)

-Some work done on my house – I want my home to be my castle! :-)

-A LOT of work on my yard! (you’ve no idea how badly it needs it!)

-More opportunities (and funding!) to travel

-A writing career – even if it’s only part time, I want this so badly

-A promotion at work

-A healthy, happy love relationship

-A close relationship with my friends

-Love and Attention

 

From what I understand, the first step in getting the things that you want is to clarify exactly what it is that you want. While I know that the list above is by no means exhaustive, it is certainly a start. Here’s an article that I found that explains how to program your mind to get what you want….who doesn’t want that??! :-)

Decide What You Want
In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want — so they don’t even let themselves want it. 
Don’t sabotage yourself that way! What scientists now know about how the brain works is that you must first decide WHAT you want, before your brain can figure out HOW to get it. Once you lock-in your desires, your mind and the universe can step in.

Be Willing to Dream Big Dreams
As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, they compel others to want to play big, too.

Set Goals That Will Stretch You
Another value in giving yourself permission to go after the big dreams is that big dreams require you to grow in order to achieve them. In fact, in the long run, that is the greatest benefit you will receive from pursuing your dreams — not so much the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream (an expensive car, impressive house, loads of money and philanthropic opportunities), but who you become in the process.
As I’ve seen many times over, the outer symbols of success, can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end in divorce, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success. Motivational philosopher, Jim Rohn advises that “You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.”

Service to Others
Something else you’ll discover is that when your dreams include service to others — accomplishing something that contributes to others — it also accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.

Turn Your Dreams into Goals and Objectives
Once you are clear about what you want, you must turn each item into a measurable objective. By measurable, I mean measurable in space and time — how much and by when. For instance, if you were to tell me that you wanted more money, I might pull out a dollar and give it to you, but you would probably protest, saying “No, I meant a lot more money — like $20,000!” Well, how am I supposed to know unless you tell me? Similarly, your boss, your friends, your spouse, your brain — God, the Universe — can’t figure out what you want unless you tell them specifically what it is. What do you want — exactly — and when do you want it by?

Write Your Goals Down
Write your goals down in detail, and read your list of goals every day. This will keep your subconscious mind focused on what you want. For an even more powerful approach, close your eyes and focus on each goal and ask yourself, “What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?” Write down your answers and take those actions.

To help your reticular activating system begin finding YOUR wants in unexpected places, take time now to decide what you want and start writing!

Remember, don’t hold back!

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Now – when I look back on the few things that I jotted down up top, I can see that I have a lot of finetuning to do! I need to be more specific, I need to make my list of things more manageable, and quantify how I want these things to be. I need to sit down – and here’s the hard part – and create a list of goals that I want to have happen. I need to put these goals and dreams all over the place, and surround myself with them – they need to be more visible than just a spot in my work notebook. I need to make these things a priority for me, and I need to think on them every single day, making them part of the fabric of me. I can do this….I think I can, I think I can. :-)

 

 

xxx

Brave

I was speaking with someone recently and I asked them what was holding them back from doing the things that they wanted to do – their answer was: “Shackled by doubt, manners, ill-conceived notions of right and wrong, and mostly cowardice!” My response? “Be bold! Live bravely!!! Rawr!!!!” Not exactly my finest or most eloquent motivational speech, but…a start. I think that despite a number of obstacles, I’ve always managed to make my way through the world with some degree of boldness, even though I, too, have struggled to put my bravest foot forward every time. I have hesitated when I should have plunged in with both feet, and I have wasted many moments mentally weighing pros and cons instead of just living in those moments. Thankfully, I am getting better with this as I age – I think it’s the shocking reality of one’s own mortality that brings on these braver thoughts. You just never know when it’ll be the end of your time here, so it’s best to live life out loud, and never dull your shine.

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How do you act more brave? A quick Google search yielded this article, which I thought was pretty awesome:

Bravery isn’t only about heroic acts in unusual situations. It can also be as simple as the risk of trying something new. Here are 50 ideas to get you started.

Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.

Let go of people who continually let you down.

Look at yourself in the mirror with kindness.

Tell someone you love him/her.

Preach what’s in your heart.

Write your own story.

Share your thoughts.

Share your opinions.

Don’t wear make up. 

Risk being wrong.

Try something for the first time.

Trust your instincts.

Set boundaries.

Put pen to paper.

Sing a song.

Dance.

Play the ukulele.

Try Roller Derby.

Tolerate discomfort.

Make a mistake.

Follow your heart.

Say, “I don’t know.”

Ask for help.

Share your vulnerabilty. 

Face your problems.

Let the past be the past.

Allow yourself to be in a photo.

Take a picture of yourself.

Trust your ideas, even the crazy ones.

Stand up for someone who is being picked on.

Leave an abusive relationship.

Say goodbye to your gremlins.

Be your own beloved. 

Stand up against any kind of prejudice.

Say no to the things you don’t want.

Say yes to the things you want.

Wear something ridiculous just because you like it.

Be the first person to reach out after a conflict.

Give a stranger a flower.

Ask someone how they are, and really listen.

Let go of your need to control everything.

Embrace your weirdness. 

Don’t react to criticism.

Give someone a hug.

Give yourself a hug.

Say kind things to yourself.

Invite feedback.

Let go of being busy all the time.

Be open to changing courses. Remember, bravery is not the absence of fear.

Begin again.

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Great list, right? There’s a lot of things there that maybe aren’t totally brave, but the thought behind them is. I know that, for me, one of the bravest things I do (and I do it every day) is walk down the halls and into the cafeteria in front of hundreds of teenagers. If you’ve spent any time around teenagers, you know that they are the harshest, most judgmental audience you could ever hope to find…so it does take a certain degree of courage to stand in front of them every day, opening yourself up to their hate and scorn. I always figure that anyone who can stand in front of a tough crowd like that without shriveling up can pretty much do anything. :-) I used to feel self-conscious and let those feelings bother me – now I don’t even give it a thought. A couple of years ago, I fell (while wearing 4″ heels) in the cafeteria in front of everyone. It wasn’t a delicate little ‘whoopsy daisy slip’ either, I did a full-on face plant and had my dress over my head and my arse hanging out (because I’m classy like that)….you know me, go big or go home. I figure that if I can survive that kind of a shitshow, I can survive anything. :-) My attitude towards gaffs such as these has evolved over the years, thankfully – there was a time when I’d have been crippled and looking to join the Witness Protection Program following something so stupid. However, my give-a-shit has broken, it seems, so I really don’t sweat much of the small stuff anymore. Woohoo!! There ARE some good things about getting older!!! :-)

Another thing that has changed about me over the years is how I approach my interactions with others. Once upon a time, I’d have overlooked uncomfortable feelings and doubts that I had about someone and just pushed on, turning a blind eye to that which didn’t feel right – because being uncomfortable felt better than being alone. However, those days are so long gone their smell doesn’t even linger in the air anymore. When I feel that something isn’t right these days, I pause and carefully examine the situation. I don’t walk away or ignore it like I’ve always done; instead, I bend over and look really closely…I get down on my knees and study what is happening around me, taking it all in. I’m done ignoring things that don’t feel good to me – and I’m even more done being quiet about it.

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A great example of this happened this past weekend – I went and bought myself a diamond ring.  It’s a REAL diamond ring, not a little pinkie ring or a piece of costume jewelry. The main reason that I chose to treat myself was that I recently graduated from a long and grueling academic program, an accomplishment that is well worthy of a massive celebration. (NOTE: After all the blood, sweat, and tears that went in to that degree, I should perhaps refer to this ring as my own blood diamond!) As well, I believe that I deserve to have pretty things, and it’s a beautiful byproduct of how hard I work that I don’t have to wait for someone to buy them for me – I can tend to it myself (with a lovely, interest-free repayment plan to assist!). The woman at the store was really awkward, though, asking me why I was buying such a ring for myself, and was I just picking it up for my man, was I in a same sex couple, was I pretending to be engaged so that I could make someone jealous, etc etc etc. She was on my last bloody nerve with the crappy things that she was saying – however, I liked the ring and the amazing deal I was getting, so I wasn’t annoyed enough to walk away from the transaction. Rather than just being quiet and seething inside, I decided that I should let her know that I was buying it for myself to celebrate an academic accomplishment of mine, to celebrate a number of other wonderful things in my life (two years at my curent job! almost eight years in my home without moving away! Monday without work! hockey season starts next month! I didn’t tell her any of these things, btw)  – but mostly, I said, I’m buying it for myself because I’m bloody awesome and I deserve it. She just stared at me, so I seized this opportunity to lecture her on never assuming things based on what people purchase, and the importance of letting them share the circumstances of their life and shopping with her, rather than nearly breaking her neck jumping to conclusions. I know, not my place to lecture, but far be it from me to ever miss out on an opportunity to put a self-righteous snob in her place. :-) She looked mortified when I was finished, and tried apologizing a hundred times – I told her not to worry, that all was good. I am willing to bet when I return to pick up the ring (it’s being sized at the moment), that I find it difficult to move as her head will be right up my arse. As it should be. :-)

 

xxx
PS: I will post a picture when I pick the ring up…it’s fabulous! Like me. 😉

UPDATE: My ring :-)

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I Believe

This picture was waiting in my inbox this morning:

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If you can’t read the text (the picture copied weird – sorry), here’s what it says:

When I look around, what I see doesn’t represent me. I deserve more, I’m ready to share the spotlight. It’s time to see a change, to see a body like mine on a billboard and in magazines. I’m sexy, spirited and stylish with nothing to hide, worthy of being seen just as I am. It’s time to represent because my voice is one of many and I want to live in a world where we are all seen and celebrated. #PlusIsEqual It’s time for change, be part of it.

 

Isn’t that an awesome way to start a day? I thought so, too – I could not agree more. Hallelujah, sisters! :-) #curvyanddamnproudofit

 

Happy Tuesday! :-)

xxx

C’est la Vie!

I went to a cooking class at Sur la Table today – French macarons!! It was absolutely delightful, and such an excellent way to spend Labor Day. I went with a colleague who is in to cooking, and it was such good fun! :-) If you’ve never been to a cooking class with Sur la Table before, I highly recommend it – you get to try out a new menu, in a professional kitchen (that is SOOOO gorgeous!), and somebody comes behind you and cleans up. What could possibly be better? :-)

Our menu was Cassis Macaron with Blackberry Buttercream, and Cappuccino Macaron with Espresso Dark Chocolate Ganache. They were even better than they sound, hard as that is to believe! That blackberry buttercream is absolutely the stuff of dreams – I told the instructor that I’d roll around naked in that stuff and lick every bit of it off myself (I’m weird, sorry), and she agreed. It was THAT good. Yum. :-)

Here are some pictures:

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I am aware that they aren’t the prettiest macarons that ever there were, but holy sheepshit were they delicious!! The purple ones???!! Wowza!!! AMAZING!!!! :-) I can’t wait to try making them again – while they are rather farty and time-consuming, they are fun, delicious, and I loved every second of this. My favorite part was piping the batter into little circle shapes…everybody has their thing, I suppose. :-) I bought one of the Silpat mats with the circles marked on it, to encourage me to make them again – can’t wait!! :-) There was something very soothing about methodically going through the steps to make these things – this type of activity is good for the soul. I ought to do it more often. :-)

 

How have you spent your long weekend, my lovelies? I hope that you’ve had a wonderful, peaceful weekend full of fun and those you love. :-) Happy Monday, friends! :-)

xxx

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

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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!)

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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??! :-)

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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!!!! :-)

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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. :-)

 

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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:

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Bangers – one of my absolute favorites in Austin!

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Isn’t Bangers pretty at night? :-)

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

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Poutine – my very, very favorite :-)

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Duck and fig sausage – heaven in casing!

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

 

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This sign makes me happy :-)

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

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Sitting on the patio at Shady Grove

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Tamale Pancakes from Shady Grove – ridiculously delicious!

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Truffle Devilled Eggs from The Salty Sow

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

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Pork Belly – should get in my belly more often!

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Smashed new potatoes

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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!!!

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