Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bet

Life Sized Edward Cullen, anyone?

If anyone is to blame for my slightly embarrassing vampire obsession, it would be Jodi. Two years ago I threw a Tech vs. OU game watching party and she left early.... TO GO HOME AND READ TWILIGHT.  She has not lived that fact down since.  However, it did push me over the edge of curiosity and led to me to read this 'damn book that is apparently better than one of my parties'.

Long story short, I loved it.  And it has become kind of 'our thing' ever since. She went with me to see Twilight when I finished the book (the last weekend it was in theaters) even though she had already seen it. And we saw New Moon together. Twice.  :)

So obviously it was an unspoken plan that we would be doing the same thing for Eclipse.

We had dinner a couple months ago and she mentioned this baby shower that "we" went to awhile back.  I knew I had never gone to this girl's shower but Jodi swore up and down that I was there.  So we made a bet.  She would ask the girl if I was there and if she was right, she could pick my outfit for the Eclipse premiere, and if I was right, I could pick hers. 

I got an email the next day and the subject line was simply "Damn".  The body was an email confirming that I was not in attendance.  WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!

So I have been harassing Jodi ever since about my plan for her outfit.  For those of you that don't know, these little preteens go crazy- especially in the way of attire.  I'm talking photoshopping their faces on Bella's body and making a t-shirt out of it, while wrapped up in their Twilight fleeces with their New Moon pillows because they have been camping for three days, CRAZY LIKE A STRAW!

Case in point:
(and also a really funny link comparing Twilight fans to Apple Geeks, thanks Maggie!)

So I let Jodi choose her 'team' and then I went from there.  My original plan was to ask for three tickets so I could have her carry a life-sized Edward cutout with her and sit him the seat next to her during the movie. That plan got nixed due to my fear that we might get our asses kicked by a teenybopper that wasn't fortunate enough to abuse her professional media connections to get prescreening tickets. 

We saw the movie Monday night. I think I ended up keeping it pretty tame. She was definitely a good sport for wearing it.  Especially since the crowd didn't seem quite as fanatical as usual. (maybe due to the audience winning tickets vs. camping out for them?  Who knows...)
J. Cullen
Team Edward

The funniest moment was when this older lady (that could have been our moms' age) walked by us wearing one of these shirts:
And gave Jodi props on her team choice and corresponding attire. I believe it went something like "heeey Team Edward, right on... *insert two thumbs up here*"  It was so funny. Little did she know that Jodi was wearing it begrudgingly. All in good fun! 

And for those of you that care, the movie was really good! Parts of it were super cheesy. Parts of it were a little too K Stew angsty. But all in all, we both really liked it.  It's interesting to see how the movies change as each new director puts their stamp on it. The special effects were 50/50- the wolves looked really good, but the dead vampires looked like the mannequin trash bin outside of Nordstrom after a tornado. And I just have to say, he might only be 18- which makes this so creepy of me to say, but Taylor Lautner is too cute. 

I heard some theaters were showing all three movies back to back yesterday. Anyone braving the madness to go see it?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back in Action

Hello strangers!  My apologies for the brief blogging hiatus- our contract on Dish Network was finally expiring after two years so we had our cable switched over to Uverse last week.  As a result, I have been sans interweb for the better part of a week.  TV, I can live without; Internet, GAH!!  Not fun. 

On a related note, AT&T Uverse is my new best friend- which is saying a lot from a girl that can live without TV. I adore being able to watch shows I have DVR'ed from anywhere in the house- my preference is obviously from the coziness of my bed.  And the cherry on top? Uverse + corresponding iPhone app. I know this has been around for a bit, but I just can't get over the fact that I can control my DVR from my phone.  So cool!!  I realize it has been geek city around here lately.  I will try to revert back to attempting to convince all you fine folks of my uber coolness at a later date. 

Hope everyone has had a great week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moose Monday

The back window of my car is moose's new favorite place to ride while we're on the road. I'm guessing it's because it makes him feel taller.

He's all about it until an idiot driver* forces me to slam on my breaks and he goes flying into the backseat. Which I have to admit is kind of funny sad. We'll stick with sad.

* "Idiot driver" in most cases being myself, obviously. I'm sure it doesn't help my already dismal driving skills that my rearview is obstructed by a rather obese wiener dog.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ahhh Summer

Spent time with my precious baby cousins.
Wandered around the farmers market and got juicy, local tomatoes.
Cleaned my car out, top to bottom.
Now relaxing in the sun with a cold beer.
Love, love, love summertime...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sfuzzi Review

One of the things I love most about reading blogs are the recommendations/reviews from other bloggers. Whether it is an amazing sale, a great new recipe, a different varietal of wine, etc. it's nice to hear what other people out there are loving. While I try to keep things fairly positive around here, I also believe that the flip side of reviews can be helpful.

Note: below is a rant which is probably only interesting to those that live in Dallas and might dine at the establishment referenced below.  If this is not your situation, feel free to abandon this post now.  No need to bring the room down with my geographically specific negativity!

Photo via urbanspoon

I love venturing off my normal roster of favorites and trying new restaurants in my neighborhood.  So I was excited when plans with the girls led us to Uptown's newest hotspot, Sfuzzi.

In the words of America's favorite redhead... Big mistake.  BIG.  HUGE. 

Sfuzzi hostess service, fail.
Sfuzzi bar service, incompetent.
Sfuzzi waitstaff, horrible.
Sfuzzi food, mediocre at best.  

We arrived at 6:30 and finished eating at 9:00.  That's two and a half hours.  And that wasn't by choice because we were leisurely enjoying our night with good food and good wine. Quite the opposite:
  1. We were told the wait would be 20 minutes and it ended up being twice that.
  2. The bar service was awful.  Overcharging us for drinks during happy hour and taking a ridiculous amount of time to close our tab.  (So long that the hostess came up and asked us if we still wanted our table... the one we'd been waiting 40 minutes for.) 
  3. After being seated, the waitress disappeared for 20 minutes.  When she finally came back and sensed we were thirsty/hungry/frustrated she defensively stated that she had been to our table several times but "didn't want to interrupt" which we knew wasn't true since we were tucked back in a corner where we wouldn't miss her and had been actively looking for her.  
  4. The bread for the bruschetta was incredibly tough and almost impossible to eat.  There's crusty bread that is intentionally chewy and then there's just old bread.  This was just old. 
  5. The red wine was served HOT*.  Not room temperature, hot.  But straight out of the un-airconditioned storage room out back in the Texas summer heat, hot.  
  6. While the menu looked good, the execution was largely bland and unoriginal.  As someone that loves to cook, I am my own worst critic when it comes to the food I serve and I could have made the pasta I had with one arm tied behind my back, blindfolded.  It was unimaginative, disappointing, and overpriced.  
  7. The staff doesn't know what they are talking about.  Apparently one day a week they have half priced cocktails and pizza.  We ran into a friend there that had called that day and was told it was all week.  When she got there she was told it was only on Mondays.  Yet another source said the special was only on Sundays.  
So there you go.  Dallasites, if you would like mediocre food coupled with horrible service** and hot wine, by all means, check out Sfuzzi.  It seems to be the new place of choice for the young Uptown crowd.  But you better hurry because my prediction is that won't last long since there are so many other places in Dallas to go that have delicious food with amazing service. 

*After a quick google search, it seems like "hot" is the preferred serving temperature for their wine.  Check out this review where the server commented on the temp of the bottle before serving it and then suggested a glass of ice when the woman complained(!)

**Waiting tables in college gave me a sincere appreciation for those in the service industry- I strongly believe everyone should wait tables at least once in their life- however, bad service is still bad service. I'm sure there are some Lubbock residents that are still boycotting On the Border to this day due to my inept waitressing skills.  But bad service with an attitude... come on now??

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Newest Obsession

My parents' favorite place in the country (quite possibly the world) is Napa.  They usually go twice a year and if my brother and I are lucky, we get the occasional invite.  Unfortunately, we had no such luck on their most recent trip.  I guess we can forgive them since it was their 35th wedding anniversary. (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!) However, being the sweet parents that they are, they usually come back with a few bottles to appease us when we are so rudely left at home.

This last trip they came home with something better than wine.  And y'all know it takes a lot for me to give something a higher priority than vino:

Hop Kiln's Ipa Sweet Fire Mustard 

I'm not a mayo lover at. all. Anytime I open a jar of mayo I picture the caloric content making my thighs resemble something similar to the jiggly nastiness inside the jar.  Not to mention that it just doesn't taste good.  Blech.  So anyways, mustard all the way for this girl.  This stuff from Hop Kiln Winery takes mustard to whole new level.

It's spicy, tangy, and sweet all at the same time. Simply delicious. I should emphasize the SPICY though as my roommate just about died when she tasted a tiny bit. It makes turkey sandwiches taste so much better and is a great dipping sauce for pretty much any carb I happen to find in my kitchen.  

I am only slightly ashamed to say that I have gone through about a 1/4 of the jar in two weeks.  I started to panic a little until I did a quick google search and found out that Hop Kiln winery has an online gourmet shop where they sell this, along with a whole plethora of other delicious looking varieties (I think Zinfindel/Garlic & Horseradish are next on my list to try).

In addition to mustards, they have vinegars, oils, vinaigrettes, pestos, and dessert sauces.  Speaking of dessert sauces... the website has something in a jar called "Strawberry Champagne Decadence" that sounds ah-mazing but is currently sold out (only making me want to try it that much more, naturally).  I am definitely going to order some as soon as it's restocked.  

They also have fun gift boxes as well as a gourmet club that sends shipments three times a year.  At first I was thinking that would make a great gift for a foodie newlywed, but I doubt that there are many other people out there that would be as excited as I would be to get twelve jars of mustard delivered to their door.  We all have our priorities, I suppose. 

As much as this may seem like a sponsored post, Hop Kiln has not asked nor paid me to write this post. However, HOP KILN, I will happily accept product shipments of wine and/or mustard in exchange for future reviews. *kisses* -Natalie

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'll be the one in the tent on the 10pm news...

I am really, really good at rationalizing shopping purchases.  It's quite the skill, but I have had to jerk it into check in the last few years as my early twenties and aforementioned talent have caught up with me and I was forced to learn my lesson and to live within my means (not fun on any level).

However, I do tend to revert back to my old ways when it's something that I am really lusting after.  I am a self-proclaimed tech nerd*, so this definitely falls into that category:


Despite my tendency to lose, crush, drown and otherwise destroy iPhones like it's going out of style, I have had my current phone for over a year.  Which is definitely a record. As such, it's an old model (3G) and won't be able to handle quite a few of the upgrades that are coming out next week.  So I've rationalized my little heart out to deem this as The Year I Shall Upgrade.

Here are my top five rationalizations:
  1. My family is full of Apple nerds as well, and they will most likely be upgrading.  I certainly don't want to be the only one left out of this Facetime business.  Although I'm not sure how cool video calls are going to be when the guy I'm dating calls and I'm rocking last night's makeup and a stained sorority shirt from '01.  Not that I ever do that.  But you know, if I did.
  2. Current iPhone will not be able to multitask which is super annoying when I'm running.  I use runkeeper on outside runs and if I want to change the song, I have to close out of runkeeper which stops the clock. As infrequent as my runs have been lately, I would like to count every single footstep, thankyouverymuch.  BUT this won't be an issue if I upgrade since the new ones have Nike+ built in. 
  3. The camera(s).  My current iPhone has a 2MP camera.  iPhone 4 has a 5MP camera.  Since my track record with destroying digital cameras is worse than my iPhone track record, the phone is currently my only camera.  More than doubling the quality of pictures I can take would be fantastic and much needed (not to mention the flash).  I also think moose and lulu could benefit quite a bit from having video recording capabilities 24/7.  If my friends weren't scared before, they should be now.  
  4. Two words: Engineered Glass.  I have no idea if this stuff is as durable as they say it is, but Apple is touting that it's what is used for the windshields of trains and helicopters. Apparently it's 50x harder than plastic. So if it's strong enough for a high speed train, it should in theory hold up in my wear-and-tear, right?!  If not, buying a new one would mean that I would have my current phone as a back up, just in case. 
  5. I just found out that Best Buy will be selling them.  I just so happen to have several BB giftcards stashed away from Christmas making this purchase a not only a no-brainer but pretty much free.  
Since upgrading is the plan, I'm all about sooner rather than later.  I figure that between my brother's wedding and Jules' bachelorette party, that video camera function just might come in handy in the next month!

*I sure did follow the WWDC via live tech blogs.  Yep, total nerd.  Told ya.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shower Surprise

This last weekend I was supposed to head to San Diego for my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party.  Which was actually perfect timing because a few weeks before I had received an invitation for the same weekend to a wedding shower for my friend Rachel- and the hosts for the party included the ex-fiancé and his new girlfriend.  Annnd, the shower was being thrown at the ex-fiancé's house.  The house we bought to start our married life together.  The house I moved out of two years ago.  

Never in my life have I ever more quickly and gleefully picked up the phone to decline an invitation as I did that one.  

Fast forward to last Saturday.  There were some circumstances that prevented my trip to San Diego.  But at that point I was thinking that I probably still wouldn't go to the party here.  I had already RSVP'ed no. Rachel had no idea I was still in town. If I wanted to get away with playing hooky, my odds were pretty good.  I decided this should be further contemplated poolside with cold beers and good friends. So I packed up and headed out to meet Trey and Erika at their pool.

This is where it gets dicey. I walk up to the pool to find not just E & T, but no less than five other people that will also be at the shower that night.  My odds of getting away with not going were crashing faster than the stock market the day that dude hit the wrong button. {SERIOUSLY HOW DO YOU HIT THE WRONG BUTTON?!} A few beers later, people start asking me if I was going to go.  A mixture of wanting to celebrate with the happy couple and defiant pride led me to start to consider it:  

Pros:
  • Two of my best girlfriends would be there with me (aside from the bride since she would obviously be working the party).
  • Since I hosted their engagement party I would already know pretty much everyone there.
  • I could surprise Rachel and her fiancé since they thought I was out of town.
  • We'd been out at the pool all day so I had a nice sunburn glow. 
  • A cute, new H&M dress had been hanging in my closet for months waiting for me to be tan enough to wear.  
  • Liquid courage.  I'm not gonna lie.  This was a fairly decent contributing factor.  
  • No one would expect me to have the balls to show up.  Making it all the more fun.  
Cons: 
  • Potential for the house/him to bring back memories that would mess with my head.   
  • Potential awkwardness.  Although, let's face it- probably not any more so than this
  • Potential for drama.  
As you can see, I decided to go.  Rachel was extremely surprised (I think) and it was a great party.  I got to mix and mingle with friends, spend time with the happy couple, and celebrate.  I am so glad I went.  

My mom always told me that the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference, and I think with every run-in I get a little more indifferent. I've obviously seen him several times since the break-up, but this was a little different- I was nervous about seeing him in the house.  Our house.  

I was scared that it would bring back good memories until I realized that the house is where everything ended. To me that house wasn't about happy times, it was about me living by myself five days a week while he worked out of town.  It was about extravagance that I never asked for and never really wanted (it was beautiful- don't get me wrong, but it was ridiculous for a young couple to be living in).  It was a substitute and a bribe meant to take the place of a relationship. It was lonely. It was where I made my decision to leave.  

The cherry on top?  He hired an interior decorator to redo it after I left and everything is super traditional.  I am more of a Crate & Barrel, modern furniture, clean-lines kind of a gal myself. 

In the end, I'm happy we both got what we wanted. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moose Monday - Bella Edition

Moose has been put on the backburner this week in honor of my parent's dog, Bella.  She went to doggie heaven last Monday after being with my parents for seven years.  Seven is pretty young for small dogs like dachshunds, but we think she may have been sick for awhile.

Bella was a Lubbock girl. My parents adopted her when they came to visit me at Tech for Dad's weekend.  We've always teased her for being a little "repo" dog because the breeder took her back after her first owners decided they didn't want her. We think that maybe they abused her, because Bella was never very fond of men and while she loved my dad, it did take her quite awhile to warm up to him.

If you knew her though, she was very sweet.  If you didn't... maybe another story.  Just ask my parents' neighbor- who she may or may not have bitten on the ankle at one point.  "Bit the neighbor" sounds so harsh though so we usually to refer to the incident as "she tasted" the neighbor.  It makes it sound so much nicer, don't you think?

Despite her flaws, she was a good dog and lived a happy life.  Rest in peace Miss Bella.



Thursday, June 3, 2010

une fille mignon et une fille folle

When I was about 19 or so and flailing my way through what I had hoped would become a minor in french, we took a trip to San Francisco and ended up sharing an airport shuttle with a french family obviously visiting the states on vacation.  I remember so clearly watching as this little three year old rattled up a storm to her parents, perfectly enunciating this language that was so difficult for me.  I have never been so jealous of a toddler.  It just seemed to come so easy to her.

So last night I was blog surfing and ran across this youtube video of this adorable little french girl* telling a story that could only be derived from the imagination of someone her age, and it completely brought back memories of that little girl in San Francisco.  Not sure if you'll get the same kick out of this that I did, but here it is regardless:


On a somewhat related note, I realized yesterday that my LinkedIn profile had our old agency name behind me in my profile picture, so I went to facebook to find a replacement.  And while clicking through my profile pictures I saw that one of them had a ton of comments from me, and only me.

I scrolled down and apparently it was the picture that Pierre had originally left that "sapapaya" comment on which led to the english vs. french/sexual innuendo grammar lesson.  Only sometime between January and now, frenchie went on and deleted all of his comments.  But obviously he couldn't delete mine.  So all that was left were about nine comments, only from me, on my own profile picture, in french.  I looked like a total nutjob who was rambling to myself in a foreign language. Awesome.  Thanks for that, Pierre.

*Isn't she adorable?  I want to kidnap her.  In a noncreepy way, of course.  I would just feed her cookies and listen to her stories all day and as a result learn to properly pronounce hippopotamus and crocodile- you know... all the useful vocabulary to know while traveling abroad.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May in Pictures

A birthday party, an engagement party, and a trip to San Diego didn't leave much time for anything else, but busy is good.  So here we go, May in Pictures:
As should be no surprise, Alex and I had a little bit of childish fun blowing up all the balloons for Erika's birthday party.  Let's just say that Alex's "girls" are definitely slightly enhanced in this picture...
Moose playing with Maggie, Sadie, and Daisy at the dogpark.  We decided to make an afternoon out of it complete with mimosas orange juice and blankets.  {According to a Dallas City Ordinance champagne is strictly prohibited in dog parks.  So we'll stick with the orange juice story for the purposes of this post.}
Maggie hung herself on the middle console on the way home.  I'm not sure if this was to cool off her backend or so she could be closer to her mom who was driving, but either way, it was pretty funny. 
Byron Nelson, anyone?  No, I did not quit my dayjob and become a ticket scalper.  We had these for a client promotion.  Needless to say, you give me $4,500 worth of anything and I get a little nervous.  Especially small, destructible stacks of paper.  
Y'know just another afternoon at Top Golf and embarrassing the boys.  Okay, so maybe not embarrassing since I only beat him by one point.  And since his record score is about 100 points higher than mine.  And since my handicap is about twice his.  BUT STILL.... I have to celebrate the small victories.  And you better believe I haven't let him forget this one yet.

Katy and Alison at the Arboretum.  If you haven't been to Cool Thursdays yet, it's such a relaxing and fun way to spent a Thursday night.  This is one of my favorite things about summer. 
Did I mention that it's BYOB and bring your own food?  This was our spread for three girls.  Just a tad excessive.  This is a lesson in why you don't go to Whole Foods while hungry, kids. 
Moose wanted to go San Diego with us.  His chubby butt would have probably put my bag over the weight limit though, so he was forced to stay.
Mmmm... martinis and breezy sea air.  Gotta love SD.
So I think I've written about how I think those hidden pocket panel pregnancy jeans are the perfect solution to Thanksgiving since they really do look like normal jeans.  However, as a cheaper but slightly more conspicuous solution, the folks at Walgreens bring you the Perfect Fit Button.  As seen on TV!!  Kidding.  Kind of.
This was probably the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Alex spotted this guy while we were grocery shopping wearing the pants version of a mullet- in reverse.  This dude had on pants that were half jeans, half khakis.  Party in the front, business in the back, anyone?  We affectionately termed them "jackis".  Annnnd proceeded to slyly circle him like sharks in seal infested water to get a decent picture.  All while stifling giggles.  I have no doubt we weren't nearly as sneaky as we thought we were being.
Jules and Brent at their first shower.  This was the only shower I've helped host where we have had the food catered.  I gotta say it was kind of nice!  I was definitely much calmer at this one.  With the small exception of my macbook eating the slideshow 10 min. before the shower started.  (For future reference: an iMovie slideshow can be made in less than 20 minutes with some quick work and patience. And cursing. Lots of cursing.)
The only thing I brought food-wise.  Caprese skewers stuck down in styrofoam covered in clear jewels.  Jodi and I tried to do this for Rachel's shower and I'm not sure if it was the improved presentation or just the different crowd, but so many more of these were eaten at this shower.

Al, me, E, Flynn at the shower.
 Jen and DK won a DJ at a charity auction and decided to use her for the shower.  She was definitely a hit at the party. And here's Megan entertaining the crowd with her moves.  I wish I had one tenth of the energy that that girl has. It's always a fun night when she's around.
 Remember my grand plans to have my bougainvillea look like something out of the French Riviera?  Um.... we're having some slight issues with that.  I was advised to go light on the watering, but I'm thinking I may have gone a little too light.
My new favorite wine bar, Crush.  We went here Saturday after dinner at the pizza place next door.  They have five or six touch screens with eight different wines at each one.  When you touch the wine label on the screen, it tells you all the characteristics of it.  They give you a card and then once you select the wine you want, you swipe your card and it debits it automatically.  Very cool.  They had Prisoner which I've been wanting to try without buying a whole bottle.  And Mark bought this handy gadget after me only slightly singing it's praises.  In his words "I know you drink a lot of wine, so if you think it's good, I need one."  Ha.
Me and my favorite little ham sporting our sunglasses at the dinner table.  Not very appropriate, but it was only for a brief photo op.  So cute!