Tuesday, September 28, 2010

sad day

As you may or may not have heard, there was a shooting on the UT Campus this morning. It's a terrible tragedy that someone would bring, and much less fire, firearms onto that beautiful campus. There are so many young, intelligent and promising students there and to endanger any of their precious lives leaves me speechless.

This is too near to my heart to not let it shake me up a little. I went to that school. I walked all over that campus. And I worked in the library where the shooter took his own life. I shelved books on the 6th floor, where his body now lies. Now, I'm sitting here, at work, three hours away, shaking. My boyfriend is on that campus. He's there recruiting students for his company. My boyfriend is in lock-down across the street from where everything took place right now. He saw the shooter. He saw him. My boyfriend had to sprint into the business school building, while an armed crazy person walked around with a gun.

I'm sorry, but I can't quite digest all of this right now. Please cherish life and your loved ones and keep the students and campus of UT in your thoughts today. Stay safe Austin, I love you.

Where I worked last year and where the gunman took his own life today:

Friday, September 24, 2010

a book I love

To anyone who believe's in the power of books, or any written word, Nicole Krauss's second novel The History of Love explores this concept in an original and fascinating way, entangling multiple lives that finally intersect at the end. A novel within a novel, The History of Love brought two people together in Spain, left a girl searching for the character she was named after, and revealed to another author who his biological father was, but all without the author's knowledge.

Simply put, "He fell in love. It was his life." The fictional tale of a man who wrote The History of Love without any expectations is deeply moving. Every endearing character is described through stories of their own life experiences, because, ultimately, isn't it the stories that make up a person? He touched many lives with lasting and overwhelming influence, by simply pouring his heart out on the page, without hesitation. To let go, to feel, to love.
I just finished this book, and could not wait to share a quick, little review of it, the book just left me so giddy inside. There are times the plot gets a bit confusing (switching points of view, timelines, entangling relatives), but plow through and it will all come together. The reward is great!
I recommend to everyone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Death of English

To English majors or grammar nerds:
Below the Beltway

This article will make you cleverly laugh. To say anything else would be to spoil the article. I'm also a little self-conscious of my own grammar right now.

It was not immediately clear to what degree the English language will be mourned, or if it will be mourned at all. In the United States, English has become increasingly irrelevant, particularly among young adults. Once the most popular major at the nation's leading colleges and universities, it now often trails more pragmatic disciplines, such as economics, politics, government, and, ironically, "communications," which increasingly involves learning to write mobile-device-friendly ads for products like Cheez Doodles.

Many people interviewed for this obituary appeared unmoved by the news, including Anthony Incognito of Crystal City, a typical man in the street.

"Between you and I," he said, "I could care less."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bill Hicks - It's Just a Ride

"Don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because it's just a ride."

It's Fall! Let's eat!

It's the last day of summer! Which calls for some fall goodness. Here are a few fall recipes I've tackled over the past couple of days...

Pumpkin Enchiladas!
Now pumpkin has always been a favorite of mine, but it's usually in a sweet variety (pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes!). So, this recipe intrigued me. Could my favorite flavor also come in a hearty variety? Yes, ladies and gentleman, it can. Last night I gave it a shot, and the result was phenomenal!
I fell in love, Jeff fell in love, George, well, George wanted to fall in love. It's super simple, healthy and only took about 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

The Details:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz can of enchilada sauce
1 can pure pumpkin
10 oz chicken, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. (at least) cumin
1 tbsp. cayenne (or chili) powder
3 or 4 tbsp. Siracha Sauce
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Mexican Blend cheese
1 package whole wheat tortillas
1 avocado (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Sauté onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil.
Stir in enchilada sauce.
Add pumpkin and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper (or garlic pepper).
Add cilantro, cumin, cayenne powder and siracha sauce (yummy)!
Spread a light layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
Fill tortillas with an even amount of sauce and chicken.
Roll tortillas and place in the pan with the folded edges facing down to keep them closed.
Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
Serve with fresh avocado.
Next up. Macaroni and Cheese!

I've had this recipe for a while and finally made it on Sunday. It's a little more labor intensive than the Enchiladas, but definitely worth it, if you can spare some patience and coordinate multiple saucepans.

Wild Mushroom Macaroni and Three Cheeses with Truffle Oil (or a little taste of heaven)
1 1/2 c. mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
3 cups milk
4 oz. herb chevre
4 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
4 oz. parmigiano reggiano, shredded
1 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. fresh sage, minced
2-3 tbsp white truffle oil
2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup panko
10 oz elbow pasta
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large saute pan with 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for 7-10 minutes or until the mushrooms are fully cooked and slightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper then deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar. Allow all of the vinegar to cook out, then remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.

Begin the cheese sauce. Add 4 tbsp butter to a medium-sized sauce pan and place the pan on the stove over medium heat. Once all the butter is melted and hot, whisk in 4 tbsp flour. Cook the flour, whisking, for about 30 seconds and then add the thyme, rosemary, sage, and red pepper flakes. Continue stirring and allow the herbs to saute for one minute. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking continuously, so the milk incorporates smoothly and there are no lumps. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer (it won't gain it's full thickness until it does), stirring occassionally.

While waiting for the sauce to come to a simmer start the pasta. Liberally salt the pot of boiling water, about 1/4 cup. Add the pasta to the water and cook the pasta for two minutes less than the suggested time on the box.

Once the sauce has reached a simmer, stir in the chevre, cheddar, 2oz of parmigiano reggiano, and truffle oil until all the cheese has melted. Turn off the heat and and taste the sauce for seasoning levels. Season with salt and pepper as necessary. In small mixing bowl, mix together the panko and remaining 2oz of parmigiano.

Strain the pasta and in a mixing bowl, toss the pasta, cheese sauce, and mushrooms together. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a deep glass or ceramic loaf pan and sprinkle the panko/parmigiano mixture evenly across the top. Bake the mac-n-cheese in the upper part of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden and the cheese sauce is bubbly. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What happens without your consent?

Two things...

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
And this was replaying in my head all weekend for some reason:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. "
-both quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fashion Friday

If today was payday there are a few things I would splurge on. Well, I would splurge on the entire Alexa Chung for Madewell collection, but it's already sold out :( lame.

So here they are:

Wool origami sheath dress

Washed silk shirtdress

Cotton Blakely dress
Great work dresses that I wouldn't mind catching a happy hour in after a long, busy workday.

It's the weekend!! well, almost, but that's good enough for me!
Tacos and Margaritas, here I come!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

tales from last night

This is a true story.
Last night, on my way home from a meeting, I decided to stop at the grocery store to grab some Carr's Whole Wheat crackers. So, I grab my crackers and wait in the back of a long and slow express lane. Someone gets in line behind me, and then...

"I love that dress, where'd you get?"

I turn around to find a possibly homeless guy(?), and respond, "I think GAP."

"Oh, I love it. You're cute. How old are you?" In a "I'm a pimp" sort of way.

My phone is out and my back is turned to him, "Um, 24."

He, not being very good a context clues, continues, "When I was 24 I was in jail, and 21, 22, 23, and I got out when I was 25, but then I was in jail at 26 and 27 and then I got out again at 28." And then he smiles thinking about all he's accomplished.

By now my over-reactive mind is in full-swing and all types of conspiracy theories are going on in my head, about how this person is about to follow me to my car and everything bad. Jeff was on speed-dial and I was walking straight through the center of the parking lot in the most lit path.

Safe. As soon as I drove out of the parking lot (with my doors-locked)
I laughed.

But then I saw a lady with a FORENSICS jacket on walking down the street.

And I vowed never to drive in that neighborhood again, or at least alone.
even for Carr's crackers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

on a wednesday afternoon

A few randoms: I really want some mac&cheese and I love you Wednesday because you make it almost Thursday.

I need to re-create this outfit. As fall approaches in Texas it becomes nearly impossible to dress in fall fashion with the temperature still hovering around the 90s. So, layers are necessary, allowing the perfect work outfit that is both season and temperature appropriate. After work I often throw off the cardigan and open the sunroof, it's like a modern-day freedom experience. I hit the open road, or the open parking lot until I hit the inevitable rush-hour traffic, bummer.

But all this aside, dresses always work, and cardigans always work, which means I need this outfit.

I think I'll make some homemade mac&cheese tomorrow,
as long as I go to yoga first.

Monday, September 13, 2010

letting go is the hardest part

"The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness."
Do you think this is true? I am not sure. It makes sense at first, and there's no sense chasing happiness, for it usually likes to rest gently on your shoulder as you appreciate life.
But, I like to think about how to live a happy life and be mindful of what creates happiness within. I think some attitudes are happier than others and recognizing a happy characteristic is important to enjoying life. But maybe it's not necessary to be aware but simply appreciate.

Maybe I will try this approach and see what happens, but then am I thinking? and, in result, pursuing?

Letting go...

I think there's something to that.

Once you let go, there's nothing holding you back.

...and I think it all boils down to this.

Friday, September 10, 2010

thank goodness

Weeeekeeend...so happy about this!
It's the perfect time to go out with friends
Grab some brunch
Sleep in late
Finish a book
Catch up on the DVR
Catch some final sun rays (thank you TX weather)
Listen to music
Watch some Dexter
Cook Dessert
and eat all of it!

girl talk

There was a wine tasting in my neighborhood last night. So, a friend and I went for a few sips and then, obviously not satisfied, walked over to a nearby wine bar to relax, catch up, and enjoy a few more sips.

The night was fantastic, lots of stories and hilarious people-watching moments, but the real revelation came when we recognized/realized the root of all unhappiness, because we are incredible efficient philosophers. Obviously these may be simple, over-generalized observations, but, the idea makes sense and is at least something of which to be aware.

What disrupts a person's happiness?
1. Expectations
2. Regret
3. Assumptions
(I'm not entirely sold on #3, but it's worth a mention)
It's easy to miss the here and now while worrying about the could've, would've, should've and it disrupts the present happiness. I'm a pretty happy and positive person, but I find it fascinating and helpful to think about the why and why not. Maybe I'm the only one, but it's interesting to ponder. Also, if it isn't pondered while one is happy, will one be able to ponder accurately when unhappy? Not likely.
I could go on, but I won't, you're welcome.

In other news, it's finally time...
Fashion's Night Out
While, I'm not attending the New York fashion night out, Dallas is having events to somewhat makeup for that fact. I've been eagerly awaiting Fashion's Night Out since I put it in my calendar and tonight's the night! I can't wait to see what all the fuss is about. Appetizers, drinks, makeup and fashion, what more could I ask for?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finally, I made it to yoga yesterday! It felt good to finally check that off my list and now I just need to turn it into a regular habit. The workout was great and I'm sore today, but I don't think I will be going back to this particular studio after my month of classes is over.
The instructor wears a microphone, which I found the peaceful, zen state a bit disrupted when there are speakers projecting someone's voice over me. But it was a great work out, different muscles, stress relief, and an all-around positive experience.

My new personal goal is to start going at least twice a week.
Which, of course, means I need a yoga outfit.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

adventures in nail polish

Lippmann Collection Ruby Red Slippers Nail Lacquer
This is fabulous. Accurately titled, Ruby Red Slippers by Deborah Lippman. A few months ago, as I sought a surprise for my nails, this color crossed my path. Reminded immediately of my favorite childhood shoes that rekindled dreams of Dorothy, I bought the pricey bottle with little hesitation.

After the first coat, I regretted the adventure. There is a black base that darkens the original intent of flirty red sparkles. I have a day job and this is most definitely a night job nail-color, I thought.The first-coat was already committed to my nails, so I pressed on with coat-two. Not so bad, I thought quietly. But was I just trying to calm my nerves?

Then, the third-coat. The little bottle of nail polish started to work its magic. More red sparkle than solid black, but not the Dorothy sparkle of my childhood shoes. It was sophisticated, a sparkle that moved subtly with the motion of my hand.

Surprise yourself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

fall coats with flair

After the chilly San Francisco winds, and the rude intrusion of September, I've been on the coat search. These two, from TopShop, have stolen my heart.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RHNJ, two days later

Confession, I love the housewives. The Real Housewives of New York, New Jersey and the O.C., in that order, L.O.V.E. them. So, naturally, I was watching the reunion special on Monday night. O.M.G.

Never has the word “nephew” struck such a chord as it did Monday night on the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” reunion special, catapulting Teresa Guidice to unleash on Danielle Staub and rewarding reality TV fans everywhere.

In case there was some family emergency and you missed it, Danielle bluntly asks Teresa, “Did you acknowledge your nephew? Did you?” To which Teresa confirms, and then launches off the couch at Danielle. She hurls the host out of her way. Out of context she resembles a crazy person, but, in context, this is New Jersey and every viewer of RHNJ has wanted to do the same to Danielle all season.

The new development, which I heard on the radio this morning, is that Teresa's husband has a love child, or "nephew." Excuse me, what?! I almost had a wreck trying to wrap my head around this theory. Could it be? It's being reported that Teresa's husband is supporting his mistress and love child in an apartment somewhere and that was the "nephew" of who Danielle was referring. Apparently she found this out through the private detective she hired because she's an insane lunatic.

Danielle maintained her victim stance proving to be more irritating than entertaining, as the other three cast members took turns venting their Danielle frustrations. Part 2 of the reunion is set to air next Monday, and I will be there with popcorn.