Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Carolina On My Mind

I made it back from my little weekend vacay to North Carolina!  I had a great time and NC surprisingly made the extremely short list of places I would move if I were to ever leave Texas- which says a lot! However, the traveling part was a bit eventful to say the least...

On the way there:
  1. All flights out of Dallas were delayed three-ish hours resulting in pandemonium at Love Field.
  2. My first flight took twice longer than expected since we had to circle Little Rock for an hour waiting for another storm to pass. 
  3. Delays = every seat taken on every leg. Nothing like trying to get comfortable with an arm rest hog next to you.
  4. The flight attendants didn't serve drinks on either of the first two legs due to weather. This was loads of fun after 42 beers at the airport and issues 1-3.
  5. I was supposed to get in to Raleigh at 10:50pm. Made it there at 3:00am. Rental car company counter closed at 11:00pm. Murphy's Law at its finest.
On the way home: 
  1. Left my wallet in Emily's car the Sunday night and had to meet her at her work on my way out of town the next day to pick it up. 
  2. Checked only the time and not the flight number in Chicago and ended up waiting at the wrong gate and missing my connection. Luckily, after frantically sprinting back and forth like a ping-pong ball between gates B2 & B15 at Chicago Midway, I was able to get on the flight I thought I was supposed to be on in the first place with no problems.
  3. Had my honor defended when my seatmate and I were discussing me almost missing my flight and some douche in front of me piped up that it was "because I was a woman". Seriously. I thought my born-and-raised-in-West-Texas-and-all-that-that-entails seatmate was going to throw a legit right hook at this dude but instead told him that "when he got older and wiser he would learn to cut that chauvinistic shit out". In other news, I am now looking for a husband from West Texas. Only not the one I almost had. He doesn't count.
  4. The same chauvinistic jackass from above later asked if I could drive him to his hotel when we got in at 11:00 since the shuttles would no longer be running. Um, let's see, first you insult me and now you are creepily asking me where I'm from and how far I live from the airport... how about not only "no" but "HELL NO". There's a little thing called taxis... try one. 
I'm definitely not whining about it- it was just more comical than anything else. Especially since a good portion of the issues were self-inflicted! I kept in good spirits though, mostly thanks to my mom's instructions to "buy food to take on the plane with you even if you aren't hungry". Why are moms always right??

However, it was well worth it. Emily is my oldest friend (BFF's in second grade) and it was so good to see her, meet her husband, and catch up. We hadn't seen each other in 10-15 years so I was a bit nervous going into it. I didn't know if we'd have anything in common still or if we'd have anything to talk about. But it really was like picking up where we left off. It's interesting how we are attracted to the same types of people throughout our lives, because I could totally see her in Dallas fitting right in with my girls from college.

Sadly we only got probably five pictures total- this is me with her husband, Thomas, after a long Saturday night hitting the town in Charlotte.

She and Thomas were high school sweethearts (adorable). It was cool to see her with married and very obviously happy. For some reason it was amusing to me to see someone you used to play "house" with in second grade as an adult, with a husband, and thinking about having babies. It doesn't seem like that long ago that we were tormenting our second grade teacher, Mrs. Bartley.

She lives in the cutest neighborhood I've ever seen. I called it Stepford the whole time because it was so picture perfect:
Wisteria Lane meets Stepford. 
 We sat up here in those rocking chairs drinking red wine on Sunday night.
Their cute little house.

Like I said, while I am a Texas girl through-and-through- I could definitely live in North Carolina. It is so beautiful. The hills, the huge trees, the wildflowers. Loved every bit of it. I really fell head over heels for Chapel Hill. It was one of the cutest little towns I've ever been to:

The houses on sorority row were probably my favorite:
I know, I'm a dork, but I had to! The Chi-O house wasn't the best looking one on the block but it was still pretty cute!

AND they have Dean & Deluca in Charlotte. I for sure hit up two locations (mainly because my foodie shopping extravaganza was slightly deterred on Stop One by a missing wallet). The score I am most excited about is a tube of Umami paste. I've never used this before but I can't wait to try it out in the next couple weeks! Maybe I'll even get back to posting Foodie Friday (gasp!). 

I was happy to get home, but even happier that I went. I'm hoping that we can get together more often than once a decade now that we've caught back up.

Emily, thanks again to you and Thomas for being wonderful hosts- I had such a great time! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fun with Google Analytics

I love website analytics. Not only do they give me valuable insight into my clients' businesses at work, they also give me plenty of laughs at home.

I have google analytics to keep track of how much traffic this little site gets day-to-day. My favorite section is the one that includes the keywords that people type into search engines that somehow land them on my blog. I haven't looked at it in awhile but checked it the other day and there were some goodies.

My favorites:
  • I hate schnauzers                                            {from this post} 
  • moose wearing a sombrero                              {from this post} 
  • America's Next Top Model dominatrix              {from this post}
  • How do people lose things?                             {from my life in general, unfortunately} 
  • Damages if one wears high heels 24/7             {I'm assuming from this post} 
  • Help raw egg broke in my purse                      {from this post}
And funny enough, the third most searched for term that lands people on my blog (right behind "moose and lulu" and "") is "je veux te manger" (from this blog post). So happy I can help the world one inappropriate french translation at a time...

I'm not sure what the above list says about me, but for some reason it just seems so fitting. 

Anyone had any keyword doozies lately? 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Things I'm Loving

  1. A new website I found called the Bauble Bar. I saw it on Possessionista and clicked over to find the cutest jewelry!  From what I understand, if you like something you have to buy it quickly because their inventory is constantly turning over and they don't restock. The upside to that is that they should constantly have fun, new stuff. Here are some of my favorites
  2. That I am heading off this afternoon on a little weekend getaway to North Carolina to see a friend I haven't seen in probably 15 years. We had originally planned on the first weekend in May, but kind of forgot that was Mother's Day weekend. I can't wait to catch up on her life and get out of Dallas for a few days. Love mini-vacations (especially with old friends)!
  3. JogFM. I may have mentioned this before but since I can't remember for sure, here it is again! It's a playlist generator for your runs. Basically, you go to this website, enter in your average pace per mile and it creates a playlist of songs that match the beat of your feet hitting the ground.  There's nothing worse than running and having a song come on that throws your mojo off. It's also great for adding a few songs that are faster than your average pace if you want a little motivation to speed up. 
  4. I don't have a new favorite song for you, but in the spirit of being in North Carolina (because I forgot to post this before I left), here is one of my favorite songs from my past by a local NC band called Weekend Excursion. My hostess for the weekend actually introduced me to this band when I was in high school, and I wore this song in particular out for the better part of 1999. Apparently being in a long distance relationship + angst-y teenager = Weekend Excursion on repeat. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jodi Leibovitz

I have to take a moment to brag about one of my best friends, Jodi.

This girl never does anything half-assed. When she decides she's interested in something, she doesn't just dip her toe in the water- she pitches her entire body into the deep-end with zeal. It's something I admire the most about her and a quality I wish I could emulate.

Jodi is also my Goddaughter's mama and when Madison was born, her husband gave her a fancy pants dSLR camera as a "push present". True to form, she has wasted no time learning everything there is to learn about the camera and photography in general. She found local classes, blogs, and books to brush up on her skills. And it's definitely paid off- she has some breath-taking photos of her little one scattered throughout their home.

I have a couple of things going on right now that required me to provide some current headshots and full-length photos (more on this later, I have been sworn to secrecy for the moment), so of course I called Jodi to see if she might be able to take a few for me to use. The next day I had a shot list, outfit suggestions, and pre-scouted location options in my email box. Why she isn't doing this for a living yet, I'm not sure. If I have any say in it- it will only be a matter of time.

While I realize the following walks a dangerous line of turning this blog into an Ode to Narcissism, I just had to share a few of my favorites with you.  If you are in Dallas and would like to contact her to do a portrait session, she can be reached through her blog here.

She is probably going to kill me for that one!

That last one was just for fun- we couldn't resist. ;)

JJ: a huge THANK YOU to you for being my camera-clad, champagne toting, Annie Leibovitz. Especially since what was supposed to be just a few shots turned into a full-day event and over 500 photos. You are so talented and need to at least start a little side business. I think I know someone that might be able to do a little marketing for you. Guess I sorta just did, huh? ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Movie/Book vs. Book/Movie

The blogging world is seemingly full of avid readers- which would make sense, usually if you like to write, you like to read and vice versa. So I have a question for you... which do you prefer- to read a book and then go see the movie, or see the movie and then read the book?

I ask because in the last two weeks I have seen two of my favorite books-turned-movies and, while I liked both, I always get so frustrated at the short-comings of the movie versions.

I completely understand that if they were to include all the excruciating detail and intense character development that most books have in the movie, it would be five hours long.  And no one has the patience for that. BUT, I don't think there has been a single instance where I have walked away from a movie thinking "that was SO much better than the book". Or even "just as good" for that matter.

I've never (that I can remember) seen a movie first and then read the book, but I'm thinking about switching. I think it might take away that frustration over the lack of character development and those situations where the people cast don't match with how you pictured them in your head. BUT, will I get bored with the book since I already know the outcome?  That is one of my favorite parts about reading- not being able to put the book down because you just have to know how it ends. 

Anyone out there with the same frustrations? Have you tried switching to movie first, book second?


For the curious among you, the two books/movies I'm talking about are Water for Elephants and Something Borrowed

Water for Elephants was my favorite out of the two movies. I thought they did a great job sticking fairly close to the book- I even was okay with the slight change to the ending. But I saw the movie literally about two hours after I finished the book, so it just lacked that detail that was fresh on my mind. 

Something Borrowed I honestly didn't expect to like. I loved the book, but I had heard others say they were underwhelmed by the movie. So I think going into it with that expectation helped. Even though it was a significant deviation, I loved the change to the storyline with Ethan. I thought John Krasinski brought a lot to the movie.  Wish I could say the same for the chemistry between Ginnifer Goodwin and Colin Egglesfield. 

Speaking of Something Borrowed, how gorgeous did Kate Hudson look at the premiere? 

Okay, rant over. I'll get back to reading Bossypants. Tina Fey is hilarious, but the book is so scattered that I doubt they'll be making a movie out of it anytime soon. With my last two experiences, I'm beginning to think that could be a good thing!

Friday, May 13, 2011

On the Move!

In light of recent events, the roomie and I have decided that we should probably start looking at other living situations. "Recent events" mainly being several unannounced Realtors showing up on our doorstep resulting in a mad dash through the house shoving shit into laundry baskets. Not fun and we're over it.

So, the new plan is to start looking around and shoot for an end of July move-out date/beginning of September move-in date. What are we going to do for the month of August, you ask? Well, for part of it we'll be galavanting around Italy practically FREE since we won't be paying rent for that month. I know, brilliant plan.

I'll be gone for a little over two weeks, so if we waited it out and our house happened to sell right before I left we (I) would be screwed. I can't imagine having one week to pack up, find a new place, and move out. One of our main reasons for staying (Julie living so close I could chunk a rock and hit her house) is no longer a reason because she's moving in June. And honestly, we're just done with the showings. Especially since the disruptions have no benefit to us what-so-ever. I completely understand being willing to show your house as many times as necessary when it's your house that you are going to benefit from selling. To us it's just annoying.

Since there will be a month gap in-between moving out and moving in (if everything works according to plan) we can't really just hire movers unless we want to do it twice. Enter THE POD!

Basically they deliver these suckers, you load it up, they store it for as long as you want and then they deliver it to your new place when you're ready! Such a great idea!

I figure it's definitely a long-shot to make all of this work out timing-wise. I tend to craft these elaborate plans that have a way of blowing up in my face, but I think it's actually a pretty solid, financially-responsible plan.  And we'll be able to enjoy Italy without worrying about the repercussions to our bank accounts!

Anyone used a POD before? Good, bad, ugly?

Here's to house hunting!! Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wish Granted!

Lookie what I just got...

I am so excited/nervous/honored!! The next step is to go to Wish Granter training on June 11th and after that I'll be qualified to have a Wish Child assigned to me (and a partner).  The entire goal of Wish Granting is to take the idea the child has and blow it up to make it larger-than-life. I think my creative side and love of event planning will be very helpful to ensuring our kiddo has an incredible experience. What an unbelievable honor!

Pour Me Another

Love, love, love this. 

I'm a sucker for beverage dispensers. 
(you can't have a proper party without a large batch of theme-appropriate cocktails)
And I'm a sucker for clean, modern design. 

Sadly, $298 is a tad ridic. 
Seriously, Anthropolgie. Thanks for nothin'. 

*Beauty found via the Kitchn

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April in Pictures

 Happy Birthday, Moose!  His birthday is on April Fool's day. My mom helped him celebrate with a Whataburger with cheese. 

 I decided that a few of my 30x30's are looking a little bleak (not get into a car accident for one- that was done for six months in). So I am going to come up with a few alternatives. Enter learning to do the splits. Kind of silly and I know it's not learning as much as stretching, but it's something that I have always wanted to do, but never put enough effort forth. So here is my starting point. 

 I don't know how I managed to get catch this moment on camera, but we were at the dog park and this damn chihuahua PEED on moose!  WTH!  He was kind of a jerk and definitely had small dog syndrome (which is saying a lot coming from a wiener dog owner). Moose sure did get a bath when we got home.

Sweet baby Addison, Wylie and Caroline's two month old daughter. She is so laid back and let me hold her for such a long time. Shortly after this was taken I was holding her twin brother, Tyler, and he vommed an entire bottle all down my chest. Good future training, I suppose. 

Date night to see Burn the Floor with Ross!

 My parents were supposed to go to Napa in April, but my mom got a sinus infection and couldn't fly. So we went to Coal Vines and had a bottle of wine at lunch the Friday they were supposed to be gone. I think that is The Dot's "this ain't no Napa, but it will do" face. Some of you may remember me talking about that wine- it's called Line 39 cab and I love it.

 Um, genius!

The boys at the Lone Star Park horse races. I bet once and lost. So I spent the rest of the afternoon cheering on everyone else's horses. I would much rather lose my money playing blackjack. Despite losing there was a big group of us that went and we had a really fun afternoon.

  My favorite part of the races was when this horse (Morning Glory, I think?) jumped the gun and charged out of his stall without his jockey. It was his very first race ever and he had no clue what he had done. Instead of stopping, he ran and ran as fast as he could aaaaall the way around the track with no jockey and no other horses on the track. By the time he reached the stands it was very apparent he was in it for the long haul so everyone just cheered as loud as they could for him. It was really cute! 

 I love this time of year before it gets so hot. I spent one Sunday afternoon at a park close to my house stretched out on this blanket re-reading Something Borrowed on my iPad. It was a lovely, lovely day. Speaking of, who else is excited for the movie to come out this week?!

 I saw this stop sign on my way home from the park and had to put it in reverse to take a picture. I want to get a stencil and a can of spray paint and make all the stop signs in my neighborhood this cool. But I won't. Because with my luck, I would get arrested. And bail is expensive.

I had heard dozens of people rave about the "marshmallow soup" at this Dallas restaurant called Rise. I thought it was a bit odd, but I met The Dot and my Aunt there for lunch and we decided if it was that popular we should try it. Um, yeah- not a single marshmallow in it. It is tomato soup with mini goat cheese souffles made to look like marshmallows floating in it. So there ya go: I'm saving you the confusion. 

Yay!!  References, secured. Application, completed. Number nine on my 30x30 list, mailed.
I am so excited and will be honored if they approve me to be a Wish Granter. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about the emotional heartache of working so closely with a terminally ill child, but I have heard so many stories about how these little ones have a way of teaching you so much about life and changing you forever.

Similarly sappy, I passed this massive tree on an 18-wheeler on April 24th and secretly hoped to myself that it was on its way somewhere really special to be the focal point of a huge Earth Day Celebration. Yep, I'm openly admitting this. It doesn't get much dorkier than wishing a tree luck on its big day while driving down 75. 

On a funnier note,  Alex and I were headed to her car after grocery shopping when she ran over something that made a loud cracking noise. We looked down and she had rolled over a set of false teeth with the cart. In the parking lot of Kroger. How do you lose your teeth in the parking lot of grocery store and not notice?!? Gross.

I love this. Quick way to make me a huge fan of your restaurant is to include drink pairings for all of your entrees. One of my Deep Ellum favorites, Local, does this but is a bit too pricy for frequent visits. I was excited when I recently had dinner with some friends at The Common Table and saw that they do this as well. 

 And their bar looks like this. Need I say more?

My sweet baby cousin, Cameron, turned one! Here she is opening her new "laptop". Looks like hers isn't the only laptop I will be purchasing since the macbook died. 

Fancy toad-in-a-hole Easter brunch at Charlie Palmer.