Beautiful

My high school English teacher – Ms Scott – was eccentric as hell. Her methods were unusual, and I had a rather difficult adjustment period to her and her strange ways, but once we got into the swing of things with each other, all was well…and I learned more from that brilliant, batty woman than any other teacher that I had. Not a day goes by that I don’t do something that makes me think of her….her effect on me has been very profound.

image

Ms Scott loved to analyze literature with us, and when she would ask us to interpret something, we’d trot out every big word we could throw at the page in front of us, hoping one metaphor or allegorical onomatopeia would stick (I know that allegorical onomatopeia is not a thing – so please don’t send me messages telling me that I’m stupid – it’s a joke….I’m in on it ;-) ). More often than not,we’d be entirely wrong, and we’d sound like raging idiots…the answer would turn out to be something very simple. Ms Scott would rail at us about the need to stop overcomplicating things, the dire importance of simplicity,and just how very beautiful that can be. Simplicity is beautiful, she’d repeat over and over…and it’s an idea that I keep revisiting in my life. I find that life gets too complicated, that the pace of the world around me just gets too much…and I feel swept away. But how do you simplify in an increasingly complex world?

image

I’ve been working really hard at life simplification lately. I’ve been saying no to more and more invitations, only going out when I really want to – and not just going for the sake of going. I’ve made it a practice to turn off my phone sound no later than 10:00pm, because I just need the time to unplug from the rest of the land, and be with myself and my thoughts. I have been reading more, watching TV less, and I’ve even gone so far as to cancel some magazine subscriptions lately, which is a shocker. While I love reading magazines like nobody’s business, I just find that I don’t have the time needed to keep up with all of them, and they clutter up the place. I’ve tossed out countless garbage bags of things I don’t use anymore (by toss I mean donated….I don’t want to be wasteful!), and I’ve even been sorting through the pantry to get rid of outdated food stuff (a job I loathe with every fiber of my being). Every day lately has had at least 15 minutes devoted to declutterization (not a word, but totally should be)…and I still have so far to go. I want to keep simplifying my surroundings, getting rid of things that I don’t truly need – because what’s the point in having them if they aren’t serving a purpose, right? :-) Simplicity is beautiful. :-)

A few months ago, I had a bunch of work done on my house – carpet changed on the stairs, new flooring installed in the play room, and a new paint job…what a difference! I can’t remember if I posted some after pictures or not (and I’m too lazy to go and look)…but here’s what the main living area in my house looks like now: (DISCLAIMER: The light looks totally weird in these…I just took them, and I’m not sure what happened. The living room is super cute – trust me. :-) )

These owl pillows make me SO happy! :-)

These owl pillows make me SO happy! :-)

image

Weird lighting in this one...but you can still kinda see what's going on through the fog and mist, I hope? ;-)

Weird lighting in this one…but you can still kinda see what’s going on through the fog and mist, I hope? ;-)

 

It’s not quite where I want it to be, but dammit if we aren’t getting closer! :-) The Wee One and I chose a new chair for the living room recently – it’ll be delivered this week, and we are SO excited!! :-) Here’s a picture:

image

 

I’m so happy with how things are turning out here at home…I remember hearing Oprah talk about the importance of turning your home into your sanctuary from the world – and, I don’t know about you, but when Oprah talks, I bloody well listen. (NOTE: You should as well) I have lived in this house for just over seven years, which is a record for me – I’ve not stayed in one place longer than two years since 1989. For reals. So this whole “staying put and making the house a home” thing is pretty revolutionary for me – and I’m kinda liking it. :-) I feel that this settling in, staying where I am thing is part and parcel of the life simplification stuff I was talking about – instead of doing what I always do, which is run/bolt/move on when things get tough and/or I get bored (and I’m sure as hell not known for my attention span, friends), I’ve planted my feet firmly on the ground, looked around me, taken stock of all that’s there…and chosen to try to live my life as best I can by looking in the face of things that I would rather avoid and hide from (and there’s plenty on that list, let me tell you!). I’ve decided that I’m not going anywhere, my darlings…it’s simply too beautiful around here to miss. :-)

 

xxx

 

 

 

Hot Stuff

How was your Christmas, my lovelies? I hope you had a fab time surrounded by those that make you happiest, and I hope that Santa was super-good to you as well. :-) As we charge towards the end of 2014, I want to do a wee round up of some of my favorite stuff from this past year. Are you ready? Here we go! :-)

1) The LG G3 Phone

LG G3

LG G3

I got the Samsung Galaxy 5 when it was released amidst a flurry of hype and hope in April…and I bloody hated it. Completely. Totally. Hated. It. :-( So, I wasn’t terribly bummed when I tripped and dropped it in August, breaking the screen – with no insurance replacement available. I did some maneuvering and worked my way into a new phone – this time, I let the sales guy talk me into the G3, and I’m pretty glad I did. I kind of LOVE this phone – the camera is awesome, the Bluetooth sound quality is really good, and it’s overall pretty damn decent. I use my phone for EVERYTHING, so I tend to be very hard on them…but this one is holding up remarkably well so far. I’m optimistic, friends! :-)

 

2) The new show “Girl Meets World” (the theme song, in particular)

image

I am SO happy that my child can watch this show, that she can revel in the offspring of Cory and Topanga and that she gets to partake in a character with the name of Farkle. Love. ❤️ (PS: Bonus points for the Christmas episode – Shawn and Cory were reunited!!!)

 

3) The Instagram Stream of Beth Stern, Howard’s Very Lovely Wife

Yoda when they first rescued him - and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

Yoda when they first rescued him – and Yoda now. See the difference love can make? :-)

My Wee One and I are obsessed with the lovely Beth and her foster kittens – we love their names, the kitten room, their adventures…the whole nine yards. Love. The big love story of the year has been Yoda, a fluffy white cat that they took in; he was abused, sick, in terrible shape, and suffering from a heart condition. The Sterns nursed him back to health, and they gave him a purpose – he raises their foster kittens, giving them baths, caring for them, and showers them with love. It’s just gorgeous to watch via Instagram – Beth wrote a children’s book ‘Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens’ which my Wee One got for Chistmas. It’s a sweet book, and raises money for the North Shore Animal League, so a very worthy cause. Yoda is straight-up the most adorable cat ever…and Beth’s Intagram is guaranteed to make your heart feel as fuzzy as Yoda’s tummy. :-)

 

4) Andy Cohen and his book “The Andy Cohen Diaries”

image

I knew who Andy Cohen was because I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” (don’t judge me), but I’ve never seen his show and I knew zero about him. Then I heard an interview with Andy on Howard Stern, and got really interested in him and decided to give the book a read…I friggin’ loved it!! LOVED IT!!! Andy is my spirit animal and has the life that I want!! No lie!! I think he’s got a hell of a gig, his work is varied and so bloody interesting it’s not even funny…and his social life is the stuff of my dreams. For. Real. And don’t even get me started on his dog Wacha. Love. ❤️ (***Note: I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” for a very stupid and selfish reason – while these people are much thinner, richer, and more beautiful than I will ever be…the majority of them are DUMB, and very, very ugly on the inside, which brings me unspeakable joy and makes me feel better about myself in a really shallow, superficial way. I’m horrible. I know. Sorry.)

 

5) Trader Joe’s

image

I continue to be madly in love with every single thing from Trader Joe’s…the food, the wine, the cleaning products, the everything. Madly. In. Love. It’s ridiculous. The Wee One and I make trips there all the time to stock up on bags of teeny apples (that she worships), bottles of wine (that I worship), and all sorts of goodies. :-) They have magical chocolate, an assortment of appetizers that’ll change your damn life, and don’t even get me started on the cheese. I could live in the cheese cooler there forever and die one happy (though constipated) girl. ;-) If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go and check out the affordable goodies – you won’t be disappointed! :-)

 

6) Vinatarta

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

God bless the Icelander who thought of this!!

This Icelandic Christmas cake would make the list of my favorite things every single year for the entirety of my life, no exaggeration….I love it THAT much. :-) It’s made of layers of sugar cookie-type rounds, with a slightly sweet prune filling (which sounds gross to people, but SO isn’t – trust me on this one). It also contains the tears of angels, and every good memory of my childhood. Vinatarta was a staple in my largely Icelandic community growing up, and to me, it’s not Christmas without one. Luckily, I got one sent to me from home (yaaaaa!!!!!), and I’ve been eating that bad boy like it was my bloody job (which it should be – I am damn good at it!!). I love vinatarta, and all the beautiful memories that each bite conjures up. Now, if I could just master the art of making the brilliant Icleandic pancakes called ponnokukur, we’d be set! :-)

 

7) Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume

Heaven :-)

Heaven :-)

I got a bottle of this perfume for Christmas this year, and I had forgotten how much I loved it. I had it a few years ago, and thought it was gorgeous…and I am even more in love with it now than I was before. Beautiful!!! :-) ❤️❤️❤️

 

8) The Documentary ‘REM by MTV ‘

Click on the link for REM's amazing "Losing My Religion" :-)

Click on the link for REM’s amazing “Losing My Religion” :-)

This 2014 documentary, made by MTV, spans the amazing career of music greats REM, a band that’s often overlooked…but really ought not be. They made a lot of great music, including the soundtrack of my life for about ten years, and watching this program took me right back to the late ’80s – late ’90s…and how I longed for it again. The fashion (those bloody baby doll dresses call to me every single night in my dreams, I want them so badly), the hair (although, let’s be real – my hair today is still pretty bloody big, so….perhaps I’m still doing ’80s/’90s hair. But, like I always say, ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God!’), the deep lipstick colors….I bloody love it all. The documentary featured extensive interviews, footage of shows, everything….it was fantastic. You really ought to check it out! :-)

 

9) What I’ve Been Reading

Love the book - LOVE the man! :-)

Love the book – LOVE the man! :-)

Reading is always awesome, but this has been a great year for books – I’ve read a bunch of awesome ones! A real highlight was the Neil Patrick Harris ‘Choose Your Own Autobiography’ – such a great read, and a seriously clever concept. Written in the style of those choose your own adventure books from your childhood, the book was such good fun, with more than a dose of cheek and great stories. I loved it! I love him and think he is the very best example of what a person should be – such a gentleman, and so much talent! :-) Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes, Please!’ is great, too…a really good story of the long build to success, and not having your big break happen over night. I also left Amy’s book with a really strong sense of the importance of  believing in yourself – she always knew that she was doing precisely what she was meant to be doing, and she never deviated from that, even when success seemed about a million miles away. I friggin’ LOVE that self-belief, don’t you? I need some of that. :-) Apparently I’m getting old or something, because the bulk of my reading this year was non-fiction: autobiography, biography, that sort of thing. I have ‘The Goldfinch’ ready to go on my Kindle, but haven’t got to it yet….I will. :-) After that, I’ve got nothing lined up to read, so….I’m always looking for great book recommendations – fiction and non, so if you’ve got some great reads to share, send ‘em my way!!! :-)

 

10) What I’ve Seen At The Movies

image

I’ve enjoyed some great movies this year – probably because I completely changed up my approach to movie going. I’ve pretty much stopped going to see big budget movies at regular theaters (unless they are based on books I liked – like ‘Gone Girl’ or feature actors that I absolutely adore), and I’ve stuck with going to see smaller movies at the Bijou Theatre here in San Antonio – and I could not be happier with my choice. I’ve seen GREAT movies, there’s no cell service down in the theaters (so nobody bugs me – yaa!!), they serve me wine while I watch the movies (always a good idea), and the place is never crowded. Win win WIN, friends!! I saw ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ there and loved it with every ounce of my being (I just watched it again this week – loved it again), ‘Boyhood’ (a friggin’ filmmaking revelation if ever there was), ‘Birdman’ (so so SO good), and ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Eddie Redmayne’s performance was breathtaking)…I would go there every week if my schedule would allow, I love that place – and the experience it offers – that much. It’s just so bloody pleasant and civilized – something that I find is becoming increasingly rare these days. I’m sure that makes me sound snotty, and forgive me if it does, but it’s true. I was in Starbucks today waiting for my coffee order (Tall Skinny Peppermint Mocha) when two kids started a fistfight in front of me – they weren’t rough housing, they were fighting, while their stupid parent was oblivious. I forgot that I wasn’t at work, put on my educator voice and barked, “Oy!!! What are you doing? Stop it! Now!!” They froze, moved apart, muttered, “Yes, ma’am”, and shuffled back to their parents. Now, while I was pleased that I hadn’t lost my touch in the week away from work, why should I need to sharpen my skills in a coffee shop on a pair of hooligans in training while their parent is stood right there? Uncivilized. I just don’t get it. Sorry…that was a rather long aside. Anyway – if you aren’t checking out the smaller movie scene, do yourself a favor and give them a look. You won’t be disappointed – and if you see me at the Bijou, be sure to wave. :-)

 

So….this was just a sampling of the things I loved about this year – this list could have easily been about 1479 items long, no joke. Not a day has gone by that I’ve not seen a bunch of things to love, I’ve tasted amazing food, consumed insanely delicious drinks, heard gorgeous music, smelled beautiful smells….there’s just a lot of beauty around us, folks. The magic is found in taking the time to look around and notice it. Thank you for taking the time to stop by Pretty Things and share some great moments with me – I treasure and value every second we spend together. :-) I’m looking forward to a brand new, shiny sparkly year full of great things for us to love. :-) Happy New Year, my lovelies!!! :-)

xxx

In The Pink

Do you get embarrassed easily? I don’t….for most things. I am the lethal combination of possessing no filter and zero shame, so…there’s usually all sorts of wreckage smoking by the time each day is over, and I’m rarely bothered about any of it. However, there are certain things that embarrass the living hell out of me – and they are SO weird. Let’s take a look, shall we?

1) Dancing in public

There was a time when I was a public-dancing fool, when I shook my arse (and everything else) at the slightest provocation, and I did that shit like it was my job. I looooved dancing, and it mattered not one iota to me that I had two left feet and no rhythm whatsoever…who cares???! Dancing was awesome!! However, I moved away from my sweet little hometown, home of dancing greats such as Sandy B, Colleen A, and their aerobic Jane Fonda-esque moves…and Lisa L, originator of the great arm roll (a dance move where you lean forward, arse wayyyyyout, bob up and down at the waist like a chicken, and roll your arms over each other like a barrel in front of you – the reality of it is even better than this description, for reals)…and found real people of rhythm. I knew that I was out of my league. I wasn’t at the Community Hall anymore, purposely shaking my groove thang next to these dancing spastics in the hopes that I’d look better by comparison….what was I going to do? I’ll tell you what I did – I quit dancing. Done. No more rump shaking for me (probably a good thing by public safety standards, as I’ve got A LOT of rump and all that shaking could be dangerous). I kind of miss it. When I’m in my house, I jig all over the place, frequently bouncing around the house like Meredith and Cristina from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (if those women had jiggly bits)….but in public, I’m the master of the head bob. That’s it. It’s dumb of me, I know, but I think that I resemble Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’ when I dance, so I don’t do it. See Exhibit A:

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

Click on the image to see what I look like when I dance! :-)

 

I think I should embrace this philosophy instead:

Click on the image for the video :-)

Click on the image for the video :-)

 

 

2) Farting in bed

Remember this hellacious momen from ‘Sex and the City’? I do. It scarred me for life…because it’s happened. More than once. To Me. Ugh. I die.

 

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don't, there's something wrong with you.

Click the video and prepare to giggle. If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you.

 

3) People you don’t know serenading you with music

There are restaurants in San Antonio that I avoid because, despite their good food, they also have roving mariachi bands…and I don’t know what to do when they come near. Do I look at them? For how long? Do I continue eating? Talking? Drinking? I don’t know what to do and it stresses me out!!! Argh!!! A few years ago, a former student invited me to a concert she was doing – she performed with a mariachi band, and sang beautifully (she had CDs and everything!). While at the performance, she announced that she had a special guest of honor there – her teacher and her family! The crowd cheered, I gave a little wave and wanted to die of embarrassment, and tried to get back to chowing down on my flauta. However, the surprises weren’t over – she announced that brand new band singer Juan was going to celebrate my honored attendance by singing a song to me.  I didn’t know what to do, or where to go…so I sat, smile frozen on my face, and prayed it would be over soon. Juan was about 14 years old, dressed in mariachi finery, and on bended knee in front of me singing a romantic song….me, old enough to have birthed him. It was mortifying, I didn’t know where to look – and I didn’t have a hot clue what he was singing about because it was en espagnol. The worst part was that the bloody song lasted 12 minutes (could have been the Spanish version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ perhaps?). It was torturous….but bless Juan’s heart for having the fortitude to keep staring romantically at me for all that time, and for not falling over whilst on bended knee. I bet that Juan will make a kick-ass husband some day! :-)

Not Juan, sadly.

Not Juan, sadly.

 

4) Bad manners

I find poor manners to be so totally embarrassing….I can hardly stand it. I get really irritated when people exhibit no manners or class, but then I get so embarrassed if they are with me and do it in front of others. Argh! Case in point – a number of years ago, I invited someone that I knew to spend a holiday dinner with my family and I. This person exhibited such a complete and utter lack of manners that I was totally appalled, and SO embarrassed. No explanation was offered…nothing. I eventually wrote the following email to this offender (this is an excerpt – there’s far more to it):

I have been waiting to see how long it would take you to reach out and talk to me about things, and I have come to the conclusion that the answer is a very long time to never, so…I guess I will take the initiative.
I was really hurt by what went down when you came over to my house. Do you know why I told you that I preferred to do the cooking myself? It was because you had been so critical of me and my ideas for dinner whenever I shared them with you. I spend most of my days being critical of myself – I don’t need to hear it from you. I was pretty embarrassed, I will tell you honestly, with things that day. Did you happen to notice that no matter what I asked you, offered you, etc , that you NOT ONCE said ‘please’ or ‘thank you’? You did the same to my parents…and guess what? I noticed – as did everyone else. I simply don’t know what to say about a lack of manners…I don’t get it. I understand that as a Canadian I am probably more obsessed with etiquette and manners than the regular person, but…you know that about me already. Is it so hard to be polite? I’m doubtful. Perhaps you don’t feel that I deserve thank yous, is that it? I paid for a dinner that we had shared a couple of days before this family gathering…and you said nothing. I thanked you for having dinner with me – and you said NOTHING. You didn’t even have the decency to say thank you for dinner.  I was so shocked that I couldn’t leave quick enough – I’m sure you noticed. I just don’t get it.

The funny thing about this email? I never sent it. I didn’t see the point…but I kept it to remind myself of how this felt. Truthfully, anyone who exhibits such a complete and utter lack of class wasn’t worthy of my attention or thought. Grr. Whatever. This taught me to be thoughtful – and only reinforced my idea that manners are important, and that people without them are not the kind of people that I want to be around. Ick.

 

5) Looking stupid

I get very embarrassed when I think that I look stupid and that people are laughing at me.  I don’t mean all the time….I mean when I’m sharing emotions or the few rare times that I’m actually being serious. Most of the time, I act kind of silly and goofy, using lightheartedness and humor to mask what I’m really feeling. Very rarely, however, I will lay my heart out on the table….and look out if I think I’m being mocked.  I get so embarrassed, shut down completely, and try desperately to hide (not unlike Carrie when she burrowed under the blankets in shame post-fart up there in that video). This is very stupid thinking, I rationally know….I need to learn to own my emotions and be up front about it all, but….I’m pretty sure I need years of therapy to get to that place. Anyone interested in taking on a new patient??! ;-)

 

image

Now….how about you? What gets you blushing, friends? :)

 

xxx

 

Broken

The funk continues. I think something has broken inside of me – I want to stay home, I don’t want to see anyone or talk to anyone (apart from the Wee One)…I just want the world to go away. This is certainly not the norm for me, I’m usually super social – but I’ve got a serious case of the Rhett Butlers: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. About much. Ugh.

This time hibernating at home has given me some happiness, though – I found a few things online that warmed my increasingly cynical heart:

1) The microphone died at a Toronto Maple Leafs game the other night as the singer sang the American national anthem – not to fear, though, the Canadian fans stepped up and sang along. Nice. :-)

Click on the picture to see the video! :-)

Click on the picture to see the video! :-)

 

2) A teacher in New Jersey set the world record for most pull-ups (chin ups) in a 24 hour period…and he did it to raise money for cancer research in the name of a former student of his who passed away from the disease. If that isn’t the most awesome, hard core thing – love it! :-)

So. Awesome. Click the picture to visit an article with the full story :-)

So. Awesome. Click the picture to visit an article with the full story :-)

 

3) A bunch of pictures that have been sent from the picture heavens to make me feel better. I think. I hope.

This.

This.

Dolly is my spirit animal.

Dolly is my spirit animal.

Love this :-)

Love this :-)

I need to learn this

I need to learn this

 

4) In-n-Out Burger finally opened in San Antonio on Thursday – and I could not be happier. I love In-n-Out, and have been going nuts waiting for their arrival here….imagine my joy to find that their first location is a three minute drive from my work!! This will undoubtedly mean bad things for my already-wide arse, but….who gives a shit? Life is too short to miss out on even one Double Double Animal Style! :-) A really cool thing happened on Thursday – my secretary and I were chattering about our excitement for the grand opening, and a parent who was dropping stuff at school for his daughter heard us. He returned to the office 45 minutes later with a bag of burgers for all of us in the office – how AMAZINGLY kind is that??! I am still blown away by such kindness, and can’t believe that I was not only the witness to such a gesture, but the recipient. Mind blown….heart full.

Good people do exist :-)

Good people do exist :-)

Love love LOVE  ❤️❤️❤️

Love love LOVE ❤️❤️❤️

 

I’m not entirely sure what it’s going to take to get me out of this ditch that I’m wallowing in…and I’ve no idea how long it is going to take. I just know that I feel like a ball of exposed nerves, everything rubs me the wrong way – and I’m not exactly fit for human consumption. I feel like I exist for others to take advantage of, and that I give and give and give – and get nothing in return. I’m sure that I should be okay with that – but I’m just not. :( On Friday night, I went to see the movie “The Theory of Everything” starring the brilliant Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking. His performance was mind-blowing – and the story was pretty great, if perhaps a smidge too sweet. It’s hard to even imagine the triumph of the human spirit as shown in that film, and the story of Stephen and his wife – and what she did for him and their family – is nothing short of incredible. I hope that you’ll go and see this movie – it’s wonderful. :) I doubt that I could be as graceful as Jane under such circumstances!!

I’m off work this week, and all I have planned is cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family, and a few get-togethers with friends (provided I can tear myself from the couch). I plan to spend the rest of my time plowing through good TV and movies, drinking some Beaujolais Nouveau (or Tito’s Vodka – my heart belongs to Tito’s), and just enjoying the peace and quiet of my home. Perhaps this time will be just what I need to heal me, and help me glue the pieces of me back together. I just need to get a broom and a dustpan and sweep them all off the floor – now, where’s the Crazy Glue?

 

xxx

 

 

 

O Canada

What happened in Ottawa yesterday broke my heart…I hate senseless acts of violence anywhere (who doesn’t?), but I really really hate it when it happens in the homeland. I watched news coverage online, and marveled at the brilliant way the Canadians dealt with it – calmly, gracefully, and with class. The CBC coverage anchored by veteran newsman (and longtime awesome possum) Peter Mansbridge is basically a how-to for journalists on handling a crisis. He was – as always – right dipped in awesome sauce. :-) Check this out: Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame.

 

The dude. :)

The dude. :)

 

Three cheers to the good people in the Pittburgh Penguins organization for singing O Canada prior to last nights game against the Philadelphia Flyers. These folks are classy. :-) Here’s video:

Pittsburgh-Penguins-Fans-Sing-O-Canada-in-Tribute-to-Ottawa-After-Tragic-Shootings-video

Click on the picture to see the video :)

 

Think good thoughts for the people up north…Canadians are globally quiet people who don’t tend to make a lot of noise and fuss…but they are people who can always be counted on in moments of tragedy, no matter where in the world a helping hand is needed. Send them your love and support.

 

xxx

Yummy Yummy Yummy

I had an AMAZING meal recently….can’t wait to tell you all about it! (Disclaimer: This is a common theme with me, I know….I eat lots of good meals, which explains my caboose. Oh well. ) I visited the restaurant Cured at the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio. First – let’s talk about the Pearl….what a great, great place. There’s so much to see and do there, everything is really beautiful, and it’s such a great area to be in. I frequently dream of selling the house and buying a condo down there, just to be in the thick of the action (but the commute to work would be a bitch). Love it. :-)

Anyway…Cured! The building is looooovely (built in 1904, it was originally the administration building for the brewery), as was the menu. This charcuterie-themed place is certainly not for vegans (she says in the understatement of the year!), and if you are a meat and potatoes traditionalist, you might be in trouble. However, if you have a slightly adventurous palate and a LOVE of amazing food…then you are in for a treat!! :-) Here’s what I ate:

 

image

Welcome to Cured :-)

Some sort of marrow thing...I can't recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Some sort of marrow thing…I can’t recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Behold the charcuterie plate...there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes...I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

Behold the charcuterie plate…there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes…I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

This is their version of poutine....pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can't even tell you how fabulous this was...yummy!!! :-)

This is their version of poutine….pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can’t even tell you how fabulous this was…yummy!!! :-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle - my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle – my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Sweetbreads. Google them....delicious. :-)

Sweetbreads. Google them….delicious. :-)

 

Doesn’t everything look AMAZING???? It absolutely was!!! The service was excellent (attentive, but not up my keister) – the manager came to chat and invited me back for Happy Hour sometime (you should see me do Happy Hour….I’m pretty good at it!!;-) ), regaling me with tales of drink specials and a burger that’s 20% bacon and 80% beef (if just the thought of that doesn’t get your mouth watering, then there’s something wrong with you and you ought to see a specialist ASAP)…the whole experience was top notch. :-)

 

I can’t wait to go back!!! :-)

xxx

Arabian Nights

It is not much of a secret that I love food – I’m always writing about restaurants or recipes or bowls of Lucky Charms that I scarfed (which happens a lot – no judgment). I love trying new places and types of food, and there’s pretty much nothing I won’t try (eating a delicious dish of sheep brain in Greece pretty much cured me of being precious about what I ate!) ….I love food. I’ve never eaten Moroccan food before, so I was pretty pumped to recently visit San Antonio eatery Moroccan Bites to sample their tasty morsels…however, I must admit to being somewhat nervous, having never partaken in the glories of Moroccan food before. Do you remember that scene in the movie “Along Came Polly” where Ben Stiller eats Moroccan for the first time on a date with Jennifer Anniston, proceeds to basically explode out his arse in the bathroom of her apartment, resulting in tons of shame and the need to use a loofah to try to unplug the pot? I did not want to have that happen to me. :-(

Good news, folks….my meal was a success!!! (And no loofahs were harmed in the course of the evening) Here’s what I had:

 

 

My dinner - Kefta Tagine....HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

My dinner – Kefta Tagine….HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

 

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

 

Mint tea...it's my jam. I'm almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

Mint tea…it’s my jam. I’m almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

 

The restaurant was really cool, and I’m right in love with Moroccan decor. (Fun Fact: I desperately want to redo my bedroom into a Moroccan-themed, hot Arabian nights kind of boudoir…sounds fun, eh? :-) ) Here are a couple pictures:

These lights belong in my bedroom!

These lights belong in my bedroom!

 

unnamed

Pretty, eh? :)

 

I've got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I’ve got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I can’t wait to go back here…the pastries are insane they are so delicious, the mint tea is friggin’ divine….and the food. Yum. The food. :-) Check it out, friends! You won’t be disappointed. :-)

xxx

Falling

Even Grover is ready for fall!! :-)

Even Grover is ready for fall!! :-)

It’s fall now…my favorite season. :-) The sights, the smells, the crispness in the air, the excitement of things to come…I love it all. :-) While most folks associate spring with new beginnings, I’m more inclined to think of fall as a time for fresh starts: a new school year, a new wardrobe, new notebooks and pens (I’m such a nerd), and new changes. This year, I’m really embracing this idea – I’ve had the flooring changed on the stairs and in the playroom upstairs, the kitchen/living room/dining room are being painted, and the house smells like cinnamon, pumpkin and apple candles. I’m hoping to go and do some winery tasting tours in the nearby Hill Country in the next month or so, and I would love love LOVE to find an apple orchard to pick some apples and make fresh apple crisp. :-) (anybody in the area know where I can go?)  I’m so excited for the pumpkin patch to open, I want to go to a corn maze, and I’m hoping to check out Lost Maples State Park, to actually get to see changing leaves!! Imagine!!! :-) Bring on the fall!!! :-)

Last year's pumpkin patch picture...can't wait for this year!!

Last year’s pumpkin patch picture…can’t wait for this year!!

I’ve been really trying to cut back on the hours that I spend at work lately – this past week wasn’t my best (it was Homecoming weekend, so I had a ton of responsibilities – and a miserable cold which left me feeling like crap and sounding like Kathleen Turner), but I think I’m in a much better place than I was last year. I’ve been having more time to see friends, I’ve been getting out for some lovely meals, and I’ve been feeling happier and not so overwhelmed. I’m feeling so much more settled at work, as if I’ve finally caught up and am no longer required to run around like a headless chicken all the time. This coming week will be my one year anniversary at my new job, and I’m so excited to celebrate! :-) I’m so happy to have had this amazing opportunity in the first place, I’m super excited that I haven’t screwed up too terribly badly (although that probably depends on who you ask), and I’m so proud of the good things I’ve managed to accomplish. I am so lucky that I get to work with some truly fantastic people every day, and this job has introduced me to some majorly amazing people that are changing my life. :-) I’m so very, very lucky. :-)

Pretty :-)

Pretty :-)

Whats your favorite season? What are you most looking forward to this fall? :-) I hope you can find time to do the things you want to do…and let me know if you want to join in on my pumpkin patch/winery tour fun! :-)

xxx

 

Spanish Walk

IMG_20140917_185532

I love going to Tapas bars – and not just for the excellent sangria. I love Spanish food, I love sharing things around the table and trying bits of everything…and I always feel like meals eaten this way facilitate good conversation and fun times. I clearly put too much thought into this kind of stuff, but…oh well. Whatevs. Anyway, I visited San Antonio tapas restaurant and bar Espana recently – and had a gorgeous meal! I’ve been here a ton of times, but it’s been over a year since my last visit…and I can’t think of a single reason why I’ve stayed away so long. It was delightful!! Here’s a couple of pictures of the place:
image

My obsession with light fixtures continues...I'm SO the daughter of an electrician!!

My obsession with light fixtures continues…I’m SO the daughter of an electrician!!

Let’s talk about the food! :-) (it’s really no wonder that my caboose isn’t narrow…I love food, I love going out to eat great meals, and I have such an appreciation for taste and flavor. Oh well….I’d rather be happy than skinny ;-) ) I ordered my first sangria as soon as my arse hit my seat – and I didn’t look back. First up was a cheese and spinach dip served with chips – the cheese used in this masterpiece was manchego….meaning I was a happy girl. :-) Manchego is YUM. :-) I had a piece of an Espanola pizza made with manchego again (happy happy) and some gorgeous Serrano ham, chorizo, and fresh tomato. It was lovely, but not the highlight of the meal. Here’s the manchego and spinach dip:
image

 

Next up was a hot sampler, which included paella, tortilla espanola, albondigas (which are meatballs smothered in a garlic white wine sauce with fried potatoes – these things were the absolute bomb, no lie….AMAZING!), croquetas (crisp fried shells with a creamy center of cheese and Serrano ham), and pollo al jerez (beautifully cooked strips of chicken breast and green olives sautéed with sherry). I liked a lot of stuff on this platter, but the real deal was the final item – the meat and cheese platter. It was a beautiful mix of manchego cheese, Serrano ham, chorizo, and a third meat (which reminded me of Italian soppressata), with grapes and apple slices on the side. I LOVED this! :)

 

The hot tapas sampler :)

The hot tapas sampler :)

 

Mmm....cheese...meat.... :)

Mmm….cheese…meat…. :)

 

All in all, yet again another lovely meal (I eat like a queen some days, I know….sorry) – the atmosphere, the food, the people, the sangria. It just couldn’t be beat! Hope to see you soon at Espana! :)

 

xxx

Working Man’s Cafe

I saw the movie “The Hundred-Foot Journey” recently, and pretty much loved it to pieces. Have you seen it? It’s probably not for everybody, but if you, like me, love France, French culture, food,  Bollywood, and korma sauce – then you’re going to totally dig this movie! :-)

image

 

The reviews for this one have been largely mixed, with most everyone criticizing the simplistic nature of the story, and hammering the director for taking the easy route with the tale. While I agree that it wasn’t the most thought-provoking movie I’ve ever seen, it was visually stunning and completely sweet and pleasant….and, considering the amount of things that I have going on these days, sometimes sweet and pleasant is precisely what the doctor ordered. The movie is about an Indian family that moves to Europe for a fresh start following a fire that destroys their beloved family restaurant, and kills the family’s matriarch. They end up in a beautiful French village, and decide to open an Indian restaurant across the street from a Michelin star, Classic French restaurant run by Helen Mirren. Much hilarity ensues as Mirren tries her hand at sabotaging the competition, the father of the Indian family fires back with his own bag of tricks…plus, there’s lots of really yummy looking food. I found the movie to be visually stunning, and thought that the performances were all solid as well.  Helen Mirren is always wonderful, and the rest of the cast rose to the occasion as well. The village they shot in reminds me so much of some of my favorite places in France, and I was left feeling wistful for the dog days of summers past spent sitting in a cafe on the town square, drinking wine and coffee, watching the world pass me by. Did I mention the food? ;-)

 

I fancy the hell out of a chicken korma, naan bread, and mango chutney right now!! :-)

xxx