Dirty Thirty

So the husband turned 30 like a year and half ago, but I was pretty proud of the gift I got him – a truck load of dirt to put into the raised-bed garden he built at the new house. Dirty Thirty – pretty clever, eh? The sign says “You’re older than dirt!”

And I think his little garden turned out quite nicely. So far we have enjoyed our own garlic, lettuce, pumpkins, loofahs, herbs, okra and jalapenos (not to mention several glasses of wine on that little bench).

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San Antonio Swagger

A few Septembers ago, the Husband took me to San Antonio for my birthday. I took my law books for good measure, but they were mostly dead weight. We had such a great time. We did the traditional tourist things like the Alamo and the Riverwalk, but we explored a little more of the city too:

  • Ate burgers at Chris Madrid’s – A 35 year-old, laid back burger joint/cantina in Mid-town San Antonio (I wore my cowboy boots). The burgers were excellent (almost as good as Fred’s), as were the margaritas.

  • Two-stepped at Floore’s Country Store to the Josh Abbott Band in Helotes.
  • Drank a 60oz. margarita and ate fajitas at Café Ole on the Riverwalk and followed that with a nap. (Are you noticing our margarita trend?)

  • Had dinner at Ounce Steakhouse (the hubby really knows how to treat a girl) where we both had Akaushi beef. Texas is the only place outside of Japan that Akaushi beef is raised. The phrase “melt in your mouth” now has new meaning. The best part was my birthday dessert – cotton candy with a sparkler – yes, you heard me correctly. It was amazing.

We also went to this little bar a few blocks from our hotel that served the best Irish coffees. Unfortunately, neither one of us remembers the name of this. So if any of you know of a San Antonio bar that has exposed brick walls, a bistro-feel and the best Irish coffees around please let us know. Since forgetting its name, we have vowed to take better notes on our trips.

Wedded Bliss Part 5

Attorney Nuptials: We had a tight-knit group of four in law school and coincidentally, three of us got engaged and married in those three years. Both of Kathryn and Saniya’s weddings were a lot of fun and had a lot of charm.

Wedding # 13 – Fall Fete in Childress

Kathryn is one of my most artistic and creative friends and her wedding was a creation entirely of her own. She made the elaborate centerpieces herself, hand-rolled about 100 candles in glitter, and her dad even made the most delicious Groom’s cheesecakes. Her family has been attending the church where the ceremony was held for generations, and the reception was held at her family’s beautiful house. We danced a lot and enjoyed the nice West Texas weather (which you can’t always say).

Wedding Favorites: (1) Her dad’s famous cheesecakes. (2) the details sprinkled through Childress. (3) The fall centerpieces – especially the gold glitter-rolled candles.

Wedding #12 – Saniya’s September Soiree

Saniya’s wedding was nothing like I had ever experienced before. It was amazing, elaborate and so much fun. She let us take part in every event and it was so special. The dancing was out of this world, the food was delicious and Saniya was absolutely breathtaking at every event. There were 3 nights of events and the next one was even better than the last one. I am going to see if Saniya can send me some of her actual wedding photos because her photographer – Joseph Mark – was amazing. I included one of her engagement shots because I loved them so much.

Wedding Favorites: (1) The colors – everything was bright and beautiful. (2) The videography and photography was out of this world. (3) The outfits – Saniya let me borrow sarees for two of the nights and they were beautiful.

Coveted Style of the Week: Adding a Little Edge to the Work Wardrobe

A co-worker of mine has this awesome leather skirt that she wears to work and it looks so fun, but still professional. I thought I found a similar one at Buffalo Exchange recently, and got really excited, but of course it didn’t fit, so I’m still on the quest for the perfect leather pencil skirt. The same look has popped up on Inspired Design a couple of times:

Since I’ve put myself on a tight clothes budget (which is not easy my friends), I will probably invest in a synthetic leather skirt (it sounds better than pleather) like this one from Zara (that is of course sold out) first. I apologize in advance to my friends that are adamantly against the “synthetics”.

Not okay, Valentine’s Day. Not Okay.

Okay, if you’ve been on my Pinterest, you’ve seen my kid’s party board named “My Mom Threw The Best” and that is because my mom did throw the best parties as a kid…we had luaus, huge slumber parties, elaborate themed cakes…Mom also made a big deal about the little holidays. So, every Valentine’s Day we got a little present and Sweethearts. I loved the Sweethearts, like really loved the Sweethearts. That is why yesterday I was outraged to discover that Necco changed their flavors in 2010. Instead of pure sugary, delicious chalk, they are now fruit-flavored chalk, and not in a good way! This person summed up my feelings very well – http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/sweethearts_2010/

[Pic from JenGray]

I’ve never been a big V-Day fan – probably because I was single for several years pre-Joel, and now they have gone and changed the one thing about Valentine’s that I like. The only thing that is redeeming V-Day this year is these cute little matches that Anne from Annechovie posted yesterday.

Dear Mom,

If you still believe in making the little holidays magical, please buy me these matches.

Love,

Me

Christmas Paint Project

Okay, I don’t know why I feel like I have to give you a 2-year backgrounder on my life. Probably because (a) the last two years have been awesome and fun and I’ve learned a lot; and (b) because I’m a random thinker and will probably refer to these events in the future. BUT…this is the stuff I really want to blog about. I read about 30 blogs a day and they give me so many ideas. I love suggestions and new ideas on how I can update and organize our great little house.

So I pestered the Husband for months about painting the living room another color. I think the urge to re-paint probably started when I joined my new addiction, Pinterest.

The mother-daughter flip team we bought our house from painted the whole house in beautiful and bright colors – the Husband calls them “Potterybarn colors.” But, the dining room and the living room were both a clay, red/orange color that I like, but wasn’t crazy about. I found it really hard to find accents pieces that worked with the color without it feeling to earthy.

Before: (Pardon the “glow” of Modern Warfare 3)

Anywho…Pinterest made me obsessed with gray rooms so I begin a search to find the perfect gray. I didn’t want it too light because I still wanted it to make a statement. I didn’t want a blue tint. I didn’t want a brown tint. It was intense. I finally settled on Valspar’s Chimney Sweep and it turned out great. See the before and after. It feels much more modern and versatile now. Now I’m saving up for curtains, couches, a big beautiful rug and matching bookshelves….ahhh…we’re getting there.

After:

Two things I learned from this project – (1) stick to the Behr Premium Plus paint. Valspar’s version just wasn’t as good and we had to paint several coats to keep the red from showing through; (2) Don’t start a project like painting your living room the first week in December. I totally stressed myself out and had to paint around the Christmas decorations.

Home Sweet House!

The Monday after our Boston trip, my little gem of a husband-to-be, surprised me with a house. Not just any house…my favorite house. He had a big beautiful doormat printed with our last name and the year, did all the paperwork and surprised me after class. I’m pretty sure the realtors and title crew wanted to know if he had brothers. This is the perfect first home for us and we are having a ton of fun (and a few arguments lol) getting it just how we like it. Luckily the Husband is super handy.

Cute Welcome Gift from Our Realtor

Beautiful Boston

After our marathon of weddings and a trip to Vegas with the family, we hit the road once again to visit Boston. I got to meet more of the Husband’s family and we were there for St. Patty’s Day. We stayed at the Bay Back Hotel that used to be the old Boston Police Station (which was a total accident but made it even more special to us). It was beautiful, in a great location and affordable thanks to Priceline. It is very likely we will stay there again.

Attending the Southie St. Patty’s Parade has been on the Husband’s bucket list forever, so even though the weather was miserable, we forged on. But, I’m not going to lie…the entire 10 blocks (it felt like 10 miles) we walked through the pouring, cold rain, I was mentally cursing-out the Husband and could physically not bring myself to speak to him for like one hour. But his excitement (and a few Guinesses) finally rubbed off and we watched the Parade (me from the window inside, the Husband from the street outside).

We ate at one of JFK’s favorites, the Union Oyster House. The Husband was in love with the food and I loved the old word décor, complete with dark wood booths, exposed rafters and narrow wooden staircases. We went to countless other bars and restaurants around the city and next visit I promise to do a more thorough recap.

After spending a few days in the city, we went out to Weymouth and the surrounding ‘burbs to visit his family. We stayed with our friends/family Chris and Hope and they were the most gracious hosts a person could ask for. They gave us a car so we could explore while they were at work, let us use Chris’s coveted coupon book to save us a dime and took us out at night. It was awesome. One of my favorite nights was just staying in with them and drinking way too much wine and playing games. We went to Plymouth the next morning to see the sites, but couldn’t get started until we had a major hangover breakfast at Persy’s Place.

Chris gave us a driving tour of the greater Boston area including Abigail Adam’s house (I was reading about First Lady’s at the time so I loved this) and several other little gems. Actual St. Patrick’s Day was during the week so we went to the very laid back Union Brewhouse and had a great time. It is here I discovered my favorite beer (that of course can’t be found in TX) – Wassachusetts Blueberry.

One of our last days to do touristy stuff, we decided to explore Quincy where the Husband’s mom grew up. We went to see her old houses and where she went to school and church. Half way between our planned stops in Quincy, JP decided he wanted to stop for a pint. This ticked me off because we already had lunch scheduled with Chris and Hope in the harbor and it was going to make us late, but he was insistent.

Little did I know he needed the liquid courage to do this:

It was the perfect proposal. I was one happy camper and it made the rest of the trip even better. We immediately met Chris and Hope for a delicious lunch on the harbor (I think! I have no idea what I ordered…I was way too excited). We then spent the evening in the city and had dinner at Top of the Hub with the most stellar views of the city. Oh and the food was out of this world. The Boston family threw us a Lobster Boil the next day and helped share our new excitement.

We are headed back to Boston this October to attend Chris and Hope’s wedding. I of course can’t wait!

Trip to Raiderland

Okay, so I read through my blog entries yesterday just to see how it was shaping up and found myself fiercely bored. I mean, I love weddings, and have been to some great ones, but this is where that diverse interest thing should come in. We need a wedding break.

This past weekend we went to Lubbock to visit my siblings (all three of us are Red Raiders) and tried two really great restaurants that were new to all of us.

The first was The Funky Door, a cute, modern wine bar on 82nd Street with good food and a great wine selection. My favorite thing we ordered was the “cheese sticks.” These were not your normal fried mozzarella sticks, but instead a blend of creamy cheese filled pastry dough sticks served with pesto. Now the men at our table were a little disappointed by this, but I thought they were delectable (and really want to remake them – I’ll let you know if it’s a success or a disaster).

We tried one of their Italian wines (in preparation of our trip in May) – The Catina Zaccagnini Montepulciana and it was an excellent, very drinkable wine. The best part is that its only $11.99 when you buy from a retail store. I am a sucker for a cheap bottle that doesn’t taste cheap. (Our friend/sommelier at Goody Goody repeatedly tells us that the best finds are $20 bottles with $50 mouths 🙂

Speaking of cheese sticks, if you’ve lived in Lubbock for any amount of time, you’ve been to Spanky’s and you’ve tried their signature cheese sticks. Well Lisa West, the owner of Spanky’s also owns the Double Nickel Steakhouse on Slide Road that for some reason my family has never tried (even though its been there since at least 2006).  The Double Nickel has nothing in common with Spanky’s except they serve a giant Spanky’s-style cheese stick with your steak.

My family is carnivorous. We’ve probably tried 50+ steakhouses over the years, so we tend to be kind of critical regarding our beef, but I must say the Double Nickel was a solid steak. The atmosphere was nice and definitely great for fine dining in Lubbock, though the service was a little over-the-top (they said Lisa West’s “insert famous dish or restaurant here” like 50 times and re-suggested a wine to us), but was overall a great experience and a great birthday location for my brother.

My sister just moved back to Lubbock from Missouri and is settling in a cute little 3 bedroom house. Hopefully she’ll let me post some photos soon on how she has personalized it.