Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Couch Potato

This is the most accurate portrayal of the last week at our house...

{Me and Maddie glued to the TV and to the couch}
I did manage to get dressed and go to work each day, and there were shopping trips and dog walks. But mostly I was busy catching up on this:
 and this.
Andrew was sick with a cold, but he was still a lot more productive than me.
He has been writing papers (per usual), preparing for his qualifying exam in April, and communicating with colleges in San Diego to get teaching jobs lined up for the next school year. Hooray for employment!
It wasn't all work and no play for Andrew, we also watched a bunch of the movies that were nominated for Academy Awards including Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, and Lincoln. I think Les Mis was still my favorite movie of the year, but Silver Linings and Argo were really good. Lincoln was long. The Bin Laden movie was long and mostly boring. Life of Pi was pretty, but kind of a downer. Honestly after watching that, plus the Carnival ship disaster, I don't know when I'll feel up for my Mediterranean cruise. Ugh. First world problems!
The Oscars were... eh.
Why so long? I guess I normally watch them in California when they're over much earlier. The two hours in the middle just dragged. No offense to the "technical" award winners, but y'all don't put much effort into your Oscars attire and are taking up precious screen time. My favorite looks were obviously Jessica Chastain in that gold Armani gown. I loved her in The Help. And Amy Adams always looks flawless. Jennifer Lawrence looked a bit bridal, but very pretty. Most of the dresses were just ok. Normally I love Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, but this year they looked like they were going to the prom. 
And what the what Anne Hathaway?
If you know you're going to win, you've got to dress the part. Please tell me Rachel Zoe was not responsible for that hideous nipple dress. There had to have ben better choices on the rack. On any rack. Even Nordstrom Rack.  
End rant.
Guess I'll get back to my cozy spot on the couch, where I am currently sporting yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and a disheveled sock bun. Clearly I am the ultimate authority in fashion :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I Wore: leather and lace

Really pleather and lace :)  Nothing against fine leather items, I'm just frugal.
I tend to buy 5 faux items instead of springing on 1 nice one.
This week it was all about feminine lace dresses and fake leather jackets.
{Not pictured: the stretchy leggings I've been sporting since retuning from NOLA where I ate a year's worth of calories in 3 days. No regrets here, just lots of spandex!}
Peach lace dress in Jackson Square.
Light blue dress, camel jacket and the comfiest sandals ever.
I got this dress for $13 and the Guess shoes for $32 at Ross yesterday.
The jacket is super old, probably also from Ross. I promise it's not a child's jacket... I always buy things that are 3/4 sleeves so I can wear bracelets without them getting caught in my clothes.
 Black pleather jacket and black boots while sight seeing in New Orleans.
Boots are old and from Kmart - we don't have one in San Antonio so I go crazy at the big K when I'm back home. These were buy one get one free so I have the same pair in brown :)
Same black jacket with mint lace shirt.  Jeans were $10.80 at Forever 21.
I never bought jeans there before, but they're really cozy and a super deal!
And a picture of my tattoo. I actually got it a while ago, but all these photos are from the front and you never see it.
So here it is! 3 magnolias for me and my 2 sisters and a leaf for my mom.
My little sister drew it and we all got it on our right shoulder.
 Cream pleather jacket and same comfy (falling apart) black wedge boots that I ended up wearing more than any of the cute shoes I brought on the trip. Isn't that always the way it goes?
I feel like I look like Madeline in this outfit :)
I've been having a tough time figuring out what to wear these blue pointy silver toed heels from Target with. Not sure I like this pairing, perhaps just with skinny jeans and a t-shirt.
The collared shirt was $10 at Marshall's and the navy lace skirt was $10 at Abercrombie. I hate A&F. Hate how strong the perfume smells in the store, hate the practically naked pictures on the wall and am jealous of hate the skinny little models that work there. But if you can hold your breath for 2 minutes and make a bee line straight to the back of the store, there are often some killer deals.
Oh the sacrifices I make for clearance!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our Weekend in New Orleans

Powdered sugar lips from beignets at Café Du Monde
(we went there everyday!)

For my birthday present, Andrew whisked me away to NOLA for a couple days. Technically my birthday was a month ago, but with Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl, and work schedules this was the best time to go. I'm not complaining, I think every month should be my birthday :)
We left Friday morning at 7 and arrived in New Orleans at 3. We stayed at the Marriott Hotel in the French Quarter and our first stop was Café Du Monde for beignets and café au lait. Yum!

The rest of the day we walked around Jackson Square and rode the trolley to the Garden District, but it got dark pretty early so we went again the next day to take more pictures.
For dinner we ate Po' Boys and gumbo at Mother's and walked along the riverfront.

Then we walked down Bourbon Street where Andrew scored some beads.
(He didn't actually flash anyone to get them, I forced him to pose for a silly picture.)
The people on the balcony above us literally "ring tossed" them and they landed perfectly on his neck. Pretty sure they were some of the drunkest people I've ever seen, so we were very impressed they could pull off a stunt like that.
We were watching a jazz band perform at the Musical Legends Park when we heard someone say "IS THAT ANDREW?!" ..."WHERE'S BRENDA?!" We turned around and saw my Uncle Scott and Aunt Cindy (who are from our hometown in California and just happened to be in New Orleans for a friend's birthday.) None of us knew that we would be there at the same time so it was such a great surprise to bump into them amongst the millions of people on Bourbon Street. What are the odds?! So fun to see them! Y'all remember we went river rafting in the Grand Canyon with them back in 2008.  That trip took place in Nevada and Arizona... and, as fate would have it, we only ever see them when we are in states that none of us live in... kind of a cool trend, I mentioned that I'd like to see them next in the south of France. We'll see :) 

Saturday we got up early and met Scott and Cindy and their friends at Café Du Monde (the second of three times we ate there). That powdered sugar gets everywhere and it is soooo good!

After that we took some pics at Jackson Square and rode the trolley back to the Garden District to look at all the pretty mansions and walk through Lafayette cemetery. We also strolled down Magazine Street and looked at all the fun antique shops. 

After all that walking we were hungry and got muffulettas at Central Grocery on Decatur Street near the French Market. This was probably our favorite meal of the trip. The olive salad was phenomenal.
We walked around the riverfront and saw all the boats.
A cruise ship came into port, but don't worry it wasn't THAT cruise ship.

We walked up to Louis Armstrong Park, and took pictures at the pond and with some fun statues.

Then it was time for a dip in the heated pool which lasted all but five minutes because it was 50 degrees out and super windy. In hindsight going in the pool was a bad idea, but I had to get my moneys worth out of the hotel and we had only spent ten minutes at the gym (which is more than enough for me!) so pool it was.

After de-thawing from the pool misadventure and a quick nap, we did a little shopping trip at Canal Place and got some monogrammed mugs from Anthro.
We rode the glass elevator at the Westin to take some evening skyline photos.

We went to dinner at Coop's Place to eat jambalaya, gumbo, crab stuffed jalapenos, and shrimp creole. Good food, but the service was lame and the bathrooms were unacceptable. This is the only place we went that I would recommend skipping next time. But no biggie, after we left the restaurant we went across the street to listen to an awesome jazz trio and drink delicious hurricanes (the official drink of NO. We decided, anyway.)

Our friends recommended checking out the music clubs on Frenchman Street (the locals go here instead of Bourbon Street.) That was really fun, probably Andrew's favorite part of the trip besides the muffuletta. 

Walking back towards the hotel we saw this little gem. 
We call him "the beaded lad" because he had a British accent.
After splitting a hurricane drink on Bourbon Street, we went back to Café Dumonde for our third and final meal of beignets.  Sunday morning we went out to breakfast at the Ruby Slipper where Andrew ordered bananas foster French toast. I got regular French toast and of course, bacon. Another delicious meal.

Then it was time to pack up, check out of the hotel, pay $80 to pick up our car ($40 per day of parking) Geez, NOLA. I could have ordered 30 more plates of beignets for that! After this trip I measure all monetary amounts in terms of beignets. They are that good.

There wasn't too much shopping on this trip, that is until we stopped in Houston on the way back. FYI: Do NOT attempt an outing at the Galleria (biggest mall in Texas) at the same time as the NBA All Star game. I didn't even know what that was, but now I will never forget.

That and the Alamo are all I'll remember about Texas!

They actually had to shut down the mall because it exceeded maximum occupancy. For those of you who don't know me very well, that is very upsetting! Luckily we left before they kicked everyone out and we still got to shop and eat our favorite pretzels.

Oh, and there was one act of tomfoolery while we stopped at the gas station in Lafayette. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a stray stop sign laying on the side of the road. To Andrew's surprise, I exclaimed "Souvenir!" And ran out of the car and grabbed it. We were on Louisiana Street which fit perfectly with our Louisiana theme, and it was a free, abandoned, blown over, piece of garbage. It couldn't have been any more perfect and will make an excellent white elephant gift :)
Postcards and key chains are souvenirs of the past. Now I collect road signs.
Um, quick question... is it illegal to take those signs? Oh well,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What He Wore

We're mixing it up this week, as I am experiencing a "sooo bored with my closet" existential crisis. So today it's Andrew's turn to strut his stuff, or whatever.

A typical day for Andrew is spending a few hours at the school behind the computer typing endless papers, an hour or two at the UTSA Library researching literature type stuff, followed by a little time at the gym (free student membership! But he would tell you he only goes there to watch ESPN on the treadmill because we don't have cable at home. True story.) After that he goes to class (only a couple days a week) or comes home and completes whatever's on the "honey-do" list. This week it was yard work.

I promise (like anyone cares!) to get some fun photos this week while we're out and about and do a real post with outfits and purses and cuter shoes. Andrew refused to accessorize these ensembles. Shocking. Gracie (cutie in the photo above) was wearing an adorable outfit, complete with a tutu and pink polka dot leggings. Perhaps we'll get her to contribute to what-I-wore-Wednesdays in the future :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to win at packing

We leave for New Orleans in 2 days, 10 hours and 36 minutes. Can you tell how excited I am?!

I started packing today and thought I would share the method to my madness...

First: Check the weather report of the vacation destination.  60's in the day, 40's at night. No rain.

Second: Select your wardrobe options. For a 3 day trip you need 4 ensembles. Plus a nicer dress for dinner, 2 cozy outfits for travel, a sweater, a light jacket, and a heavier coat. So really like 8.

Here is what I picked...

The purpose of this trip is to relax and see the sights. So all of my outfits are comfortable/will not require spanx :)

Third: After selecting your wardrobe, think about shoes. I packed 2 wedges because I am going to be hoofing it all around the city and wedges are much more comfortable for that (obviously not more comfortable than sneakers, but sneakers don't go with anything and I need some height.) Honestly I'll probably live in those cozy black boots but I like to have options. I also packed one pair of black heels that are super impractical for walking but will look fabulous while I am single handedly setting the world record for most beignets consumed in one sitting at Café Du Monde. Yeah, that's happening.

Fourth: Jewelry and accessories.
I picked up this travel case at Ross for $4. Makes packing for a trip so much easier. My rule for accessories is no more than 3 per look. Some people can get away with wearing oodles of jewelry, but on me it looks like I'm losing at an Elizabeth Taylor look-alike contest. Less is best. I always wear my wedding ring, so that leaves earrings and a necklace or bracelet. Simple.

Fifth: Make-up and Electronics.
I know make-up and electronics don't go together, but they are equally 2 of the most important items to pack. You must take a camera with back up batteries, SD cards, and all the chargers you could possibly need. My DSLR doesn't film so I bought this little video camera at Black Friday and have yet to use it. Until now... packed and ready to go!  I also pack a lot of my electronics in make-up bags because they are water proof and cuter than Ziploc bags. For make-up, toiletries, and hair stuff try to stick to the basics and keep it travel sized. Nordstrom has free sample perfume spritzers and concealer containers that are perfect for packing. And Nordstrom owes me big time. I sold half a million dollars of bras and panties there, remember? Speaking of undergarments, I pack them with the outfits they go best with to keep dressing each day quick and simple.

Lastly grab your suitcase and some baggies and start cramming it all in! Shoes and bulkier items first.

Keep the following items in your purse:
cell phone, keys, medicines, camera, sunglasses x2 (mine always break on trips), ipod, kindle, extra make-up, cash, gum, snacks, tissues, pens, paper, GPS, maps, postage stamps for sending "wish you were here" postcards, and whatever else you like.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this is a quick weekend getaway and if I ever really forget something important I just buy it on vacation and then it's a souvenir.

Sometimes I forget things on purpose so I can get more souvenirs :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hello Monday

Hello to the loveliest week... according to the calendar anyway.
 This card makes me laugh because it's so true!
 Hello dinner
Super delish, but I say we just fry the chicken next time. Healthy shmealthy :)
 Hello ANOTHER week of winter. Brr.
Hello Birthday #80 for Grandma today!
Hope she made an 80 before 80 list and crossed off lots of things!
Hope your week is off to a great start!
Our week ends in NOLA and we can't wait for our mini vacation!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How not to garden

I know NOTHING about gardening. I have no one to blame but myself.

This is my Grandma's gorgeous garden:
The flower on the right is called a "daylily" it only blooms for one day. Are you kidding me?!

I get really excited about the bouquets she arranges.

And then there's my mom. who is excellent at EVERYTHING! You can't tell how beautiful her yard is because all these crazies are blocking it :) You'll have to trust me, it's green and lush and like a little vacation. You'll also have to trust me that this isn't even our whole family, just the "locals" that could make it. Just a typical family Thanksgiving! 

Anyway, the gardening gene skipped me. So for the last few weeks year that my lawn has been dead (Texans say it goes dormant in the blazing hot Summer, but comes back eventually. Yeah, right.) I have been waiting for it to magically turn green again. I am not very invested in this yard because we are just renting this house for a few more months, so I spent the bare minimum and bought a bag of "re-seed" for the lawn, a couple begonias for a little flower bed, and a gerbera for my "keep a plant alive for 30 days" goal. It has been 30 minutes and I think it's wilting.

I promise that next time I embark on a gardening adventure I will do more research beyond what the little tag says on the plant at the store. I will water my lawn more than once a season and I will actually pull weeds rather than just mowing them even with the grass. {Who am I kidding, I've never mowed a lawn!}

When we were done gardening we snapped a few Valentine's Day photos.
You can see in the picture that it's going to take more than "re-seeding" to put grass back in that yard.
How much is it for a can of green spray paint? Problem solved!