Come on, baby, let the good times roll

Monday, February 28, 2011

I made a Mardi Gras wreath!  Mom has had one for many years in honor of her Louisiana heritage and I've always loved it.  I wanted one of my own once I had my own apartment, but I've never pulled the trigger on one because I never liked what I'd find, or if I did, the options were either too expensive or Mardi Gras fell too close to Valentine's Day (because of course I have something for the door for V-Day, too) to warrant the purchase.  But not this year!  After I saw the wreath that my friend Julie made (check out her blog and her sweet kiddos here), I knew this needed to become the year I finally made a wreath of my own. 

Here's what I started out with:

That would be an 18" wreath form, a 12' Mardi Gras garland (I actually ended up using 2 of these), 3 strands of beads, and a mask (although there was a second one that isn't pictured in this shot).  Everything but the wreath form is from Party City; the form is from Michael's.

So I started by wrapping the garland around the wreath form.  I used a stapler to connect the ends to form, which worked great and was way easier than using a glue gun.  Plus, I'll be honest and say I have no idea if I still have my glue gun, and even if I do, I don't know if I have any glue sticks.  So the stapler was my lazy but easy way to go.

This is the wreath fully wrapped:

Kind of reminds me of a short version of the hoops we had in drill team for 2 of our field routines, but with shorter ribbon.  Because that's always a good sign.  But in this case, it actually works, so let's proceed.

Up next: affixing the masks and beads.  Both of these came with elastic, so I just untied one end of the elastic on each of them and then tied them to the wreath.  Then I strung the beads across the wreath.

Then it was time to hang it.  I don't favor wreath hangers- I don't like the metal showing on the front door.  I think it generally takes away from whatever you're hanging on it.  I prefer to loop fishing line through my wreaths and hang them on a nail via the fishing line.  Invisible, easy, and adjustable to fit the appropriate height of the door, instead of being locked into whatever height your hanger stops at.  Here's the final product:

So there you have it!  And all for less than $20.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Friday I'm In Love

Friday, February 25, 2011

I had some time to think about these earlier today so I thought I'd partake.

1. I am currently obsessed with my Nevin Morgan candles. Love their scents, particularly Gold and Winter Fig.  I can't stop burning Winter Fig these days.

2. Today I am a little bit tired because there was a mouse fiasco around 4 a.m. last night that caused me and L to be wide awake for a solid hour and a half.

3. The age I am is 30 and the age I feel depends on the day. Most frequently I think I feel about 24. I pretty much stopped feeling like I age when I moved to Austin.

4. My favorite place is hard to pick!! Austin and New Orleans are definitely at the top of my list of cities. Fern Lake is always on my list of favorite special places. And I can’t overlook any place with my family and my closest friends. But if I’m picking somewhere I can go any time, I choose my armchair in our little den/office.

5. Something I have been procrastinating about is finishing my college scrapbook. It’s a mildly daunting since I’ve only done fall semester of my freshman year.

6. The last thing I purchased was groceries (turkey and fruit for my lunch and the new Fage yogurt flavors for breakfasts) on Tuesday night.

7. The thing I love most about my home is that L is there with me. That’s cheesy and all, but it’s true. I’d be very lonely there without him and I’d be scared poop-less about the new mouse! If I’m picking an actual feature… uh…. I guess I’d say I like the color of the walls? I’m not blown away by our current abode. It’s cute and all, but not really anything that couldn’t be replicated elsewhere. Maybe I love our fireplace at Christmas. I’ll say that.

Awake My Soul

Here’s a fun little story for you. Last night, I got in bed around 11 and fell asleep around 11:45. I assume L feel asleep around the same time, but who knows. I was sleeping peacefully until 4:06. I woke up because I knew I was hearing something out of the norm, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I was pretty groggy, so I laid there listening, trying to make sense of what was going on. I was hearing something that sounded like material crumpling.

The noise stopped, so I took the opportunity to put on my glasses and get my bearings. This is what our nightstands look like:

My nightstand sits directly in front of a vent for the A/C/thermostat, and I keep a stack of magazines on the open shelf below the drawer. Occasionally, a magazine cover or page will ruffle and ripple with the breeze of the air coming from the vent, but that is usually much quieter than what I’d just heard. A few minutes later, the noise started again and it sounded like it was coming from under the bed or nightstand… definitely up close by our heads. And it was definitely something getting crumpled. I was pretty sure we didn’t have a robber hiding under our bed crumpling balls of paper, so I felt pretty confident that the noise-maker was of the unwanted animal variety. What’s a girl to do in a situation like this??? (It should be noted that I have a horrible imagination that totally goes off the deep end from time to time. It does not help that I saw When a Stranger Calls and When a Stranger Calls Back way too many times as a kid. The dude at the end of WASCB that’s painted to blend in with the wall at the end left an indelible impression on me and it STILL freaks me out. So of course there was a small- however improbable you may believe it to be- possibility that a man could have been disguised as carpet and waiting to grab our feet as soon as we got out of the bed.)

Obviously the answer is wake up your husband and scare the crap out of him. Here’s how I managed that! I wanted to make sure I wasn’t crazy and that the noise was real. I’d only heard it twice, and in normal circumstances (read: not at 4:00 a.m. when the house is usually silent), crumpling paper/plastic/cellophane doesn’t scare me. Because I’m not a crazy person (usually). So L needed to wake up and hear it, too, just in case he could tell if it wasn’t an animal and it really was a scary man playing mind games with us by hiding under the bed and crumpling stuff in order to wake us up before murdering us with a stuffed animal machine, a la that crazy lady in that one season of Nip/Tuck (btw, I miss that show, but only the good seasons. I totally didn’t watch any of the final season). Anyway, in an effort to be as non-jarring as possible and NOT clue in the crumpling bandit to the fact that we were aware of its presence, I laid my hand on L’s chest and whispered that he needed to wake up and not make any noise and be very still. In hindsight, that would probably have scared the DAYLIGHTS out of me because I would immediately have thought there was some sort of imminent danger, like an intruder prowling around our hallway, but oh well. Luck was on L’s side and it was just something making noise under the bed. I quickly explained to L in the quietest. whisper. EVER. what was going on and that I needed him to hear what it was. And of course the noise didn’t start again for a full 6 minutes (during which time I’m sure L was thinking I was insane for waking him up to hear nothing). We listened to the noise a couple of times before turning on the light and actually speaking in normal inside voices. We agreed it must be a mouse, but then neither of us wanted to look under the bed (especially not me since it was on my side!). What was baffling both of us was the idea of why a mouse would be in our bedroom (SICK) and what in the world it was crumpling up.

And then I remembered something. For Halloween, we’d gotten a mixed bag of Hershey’s candy, and one of the varieties was little packets of Hershey’s kisses. There are roughly 3-4 kisses per packet. We still had a couple of those in January and one day I thought I wanted a little chocolate, so I grabbed a packet and was going to do something with it (eat it?) and I put it on my night stand instead because I got distracted by something else (probably something shiny). So fast forward a couple of days and I was vacuuming and knocked the nightstand with the vacuum and the packet of kisses fell off the table and under the bed, behind the bed skirt. I meant to pick them up but I forgot to, so I told L about it and we both agreed that had to be what the mouse was eating. The closest we got to looking under the bed was moving our pillows and peeking between the mattress and the headboard to see if we could spot anything. We saw a little bit of the Hershey bag, but what we could see didn’t look damaged and we didn’t see any fur. The possibility was still there that it was a man dressed as carpet and eating our old Halloween candy.

L asked if I wanted to go sleep in the guest room. I considered this but the way he phrased it didn’t indicate that he’d be joining me. Plus, that would mean a smaller bed AND that we’d have to change those sheets this weekend, too. I decided I’d rather be in the same room as him (I can’t even fathom what would happen if this scenario played out in a room where I was all alone. I would probably be dead or at least paralyzed with fear). L insisted that I was just going to keep freaking out all night at any sound, but I told him I’d just turn the TV on and put it on a sleep timer and fall asleep to that instead of dead silence punctuated by the sounds of a rodent candy party. So after more hemming and hawing on it, we stayed in the bed, turned on last night’s Gray’s Anatomy, and watched the entire episode. We were both too wired to sleep. Somewhere in the last 15 minutes or so of the episode, we heard our new bunk mate scampering in the wall and up into the attic or on the roof (I feel pretty confident that we’re unlucky enough to have this dude residing in the attic). We finally fell asleep sometime after 5:30, which made for a super-sleepy morning today.

L worked from home today because he’s been feeling nauseous every morning this week (pretty sure he’s pregnant) and today he actually did barf. Poor guy. He’s feeling better now, though, and he went out and bought a mess of traps and mouse/rodent bait and then set them all up all over the house and attic. We’ll be filling gaps in the floor and baseboards with foil tonight and this weekend.

What are YOUR exciting weekend plans???

Don't Stop Til You Get Enough

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I gotta be honest.  I did not enjoy walking outside this morning and seeing this waiting for me.

I mean I know it's February and still winter and all, but the thing is, we're almost into March.  Can't we just be done with the snow?  I'm ready for spring and daffodils.  Last week we had a couple of days where I was able to crank open the sun roof and also finally get my post-winter car wash (psych!).  That was just enough of a teaser to remind me that I'M SO OVER WINTER!!  My fingers are crossed that this is the last of the white stuff for another 9-ish months.

And now, some thoughts from this week:

I saw Facebook status yesterday where a friend of mine announced that he had burned 924 calories in a 1-hour workout with a trainer. I'm quite inspired by this.  It's officially Work Out Week for me.  I had intentions of doing Bikram tonight but I managed to leave my mat and towel at home this morning, so my plan to go straight from work to yoga was foiled.  I'll start that another week sometime soon.  Instead, I'm hitting up the gym nightly and doing my best to reach, match, or exceed the 924 calorie mark.

I also recently discovered that I am now on the same workout schedule as a new guy (I'm assuming he's new because I've never seen him before and I haven't switched up my work out times) who will henceforth be known as Michigan State.  Michigan State is attempting to reach peak physical fitness by lifting weights.  You always know when Michigan State is lifting because he sounds like Monica Seles when she's out hitting balls on the court.  Total grunter.  Like, to the point where I can hear it THROUGH my almost-sound-proof headphones (I totally recommend Sony earbuds that come with multiple sized ear inserts).  It's ridiculous.  It's distracting.  It's annoying.  Seriously- who needs to grunt like that???  If it's that heavy, TAKE A FEW POUNDS OFF.  It's not impressive to see a guy with L's build grunting away on various weight machines.  Oh, that's a key plot point here.  He's not using a weight lifting bench or free weights or whatever.  He's using the same weight machines that I am, which makes it weirder.  Grunting is just never a good noise in pretty much any circumstance.

On the work out theme, I'm pretty sure that either there is something wrong with me and my heart rate or there is something wrong with most of the regular, traditional elliptical machines in my gym.  I used to just get on them and go! go! go!, but the last few times I've been, I decided to do the "fat burning" setting.  The idea is simple: you get on, start it up, enter your weight and age, and it gives you a target heart rate.  Then you start moving and it automatically knows when to stop the resistance to keep you heart rate at the target number, and if you exceed it, it tells you to slow down.  Every time, I hit the target heart rate within about a minute of starting up, and I'm not even going that fast.  So then I try and slow down to keep it at the target rate and I end up going so slow that the machine pauses.  Yeah, that means I'm going so slow that it thinks I'm stopping.  What the deuce??  It's surprisingly challenging to force yourself to go that slow and keep yourself controlled, but the goal here is to get a workout. Since every doctor I've seen in the last 2 months (not to mention my whole life) has told me that I have great blood pressure (very low, in a healthy way), I don't think high blood pressure is causing my heart to beat faster or anything.  I have no idea what the deal is.  Any thoughts out there??  Until I get it figured out, I'm either ignoring the flashing, "SLOW DOWN!" messages or using the other types of elliptical machines that work out other muscles, which I kind of like better, anyway.  Or maybe I just like that there's a fan by them.  It's honestly a toss up.

L joined FB.  Ask him to be your friend.

How do you not know when your breath is not fresh?  I find myself wondering this about one person in my life (not L or anyone in my family) quite often.  I can't escape it, either.  I find myself constantly trying to create as much space between us any time we interact.  I wonder how if this person notices (I'm guessing not, based on other observations of this person's general behavior and ability to read non-verbal cues).

I took a survey last week on my level of satisfaction with my sorority's alum group (with which I am not currently involved).  In it, there was a note about volunteering with Chapter Housing Corporations and how to get involved.  I decided I'd check it out in an effort to continue to try and get more plugged in and network etc. Now the current president of the CHC for my sorority's chapter at GWU is now trying to recruit me to be VP for the 2011-2012 school year and president the following year. All I can say is what the deuce??  I mean I was thinking it would be much less involved somehow than stepping in as president.  While I know it's not until Fall 2012, I don't care to be president, particularly when I don't know what the job entails.  I feel like there's got to be a reason why the current secretary and treasurer don't want to step into the VP or prez positions.  Plus, my contact was quite eager.  Almost... too eager.  I'd think she'd want to meet me before tossing out leadership positions, just to make sure I have the good sense God gave me.  I could be Crazy Pills, for all she knows!  Anyway, if anyone has any insight as to what CHC does and whether or not I should consider this, let me know ASAP.  I need to get back to this woman.

And on the sorority topic, I've decided that one of the girls on Teen Mom 2 slightly resembles a younger version of one of my pledge sisters.  I think she looks like she could be the younger, less attractive sister of the person I'm thinking of.  Also, I watch some really great TV, in case you haven't noticed.

And that's about it for a Tuesday evening.  Teen Mom is on and it's NEW!  And hooray for this week almost being half over!!

Hungry Like the Wolf

Thursday, February 17, 2011

For Valentine's Day, L planned a whole day of activities for me on Sunday.  I planned a "special" meal (which just means a slightly fancier meal than what I'd normally cook on a week night) for Monday night.  For our V-day dessert, I decided to make this cake:

Because why not?  I can't remember the last time I made a cake, and I'm pretty sure I've never made a full-blown cake entirely from scratch.  Oh, and that's not actually my cake (photo is courtesy of  Mine looks pretty similar, just no chocolate curls and shavings on top.  I stopped at ganache.  Every day this week I've had a small slice after dinner and I've taken even smaller slices to work for a little sweet bite after my lunch.  It's a rich cake, so a little goes a long way.  Based on the sizes of the slices L's cut himself and the speed with which he's consumed them, he clearly hates it. 

L had to go to Charlottesville for work yesterday and he called me tonight on his way back into town.  Prior to his departure, there was about 2/3 of the cake left (it's a 9").  He told me he and his co-worker were going to pick up food on the drive home, but then asked me if there was any cake left.  I know I like cake and I know I enjoy chocolate, but seriously???  How would one normal girl with a very normal appetite eat TWO-THIRDS OF A 3-LAYER CAKE IN 24 HOURS???

And that's what I asked L, which made him laugh, which made his co-worker wonder what was so funny about cake.  Apparently he was really just wondering if the cake was still good or if I'd thrown it out.  And now he knows to put more clarity around questions like that, because a wife doesn't want to feel as though her husband views her as the proverbial fluffy kid eating cake with icing smeared all over his or her face.

But seriously, this cake is really, really good.  Just don't think about what's going into it while you're making it and eat it sparingly once it's ready to be eaten.  Definitely worth the time and effort.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So, I know I talked a big game the other day about considering giving up meat.  I meant that.  BUT, it doesn't change the fact that our freezer is full of frozen meat of various kinds, and I'm not the type to let things go to waste.  Since we had some ground beef and sausage, I decided to make one of my newest favorite meals: grilled and stuffed bell peppers.  Yeah, we've all had stuffed bell peppers before, but something about these are just incredible- a total crowd-pleaser every time they've hit my table. (Bonus for those of you out there with dietary restrictions: it's gluten- and lactose-free!)
I got the recipe from Mr. FBI back during football season when he and Mrs. FBI came over to watch an A&M game.  He brought these as his contribution to our spread and accidentally left the recipe here.  Beyond that, I'm not sure who to credit these to, as the original print out doesn't say who wrote it.  Mr. FBI is an amazing cook, but I'm pretty sure he isn't the one who wrote this.  Regardless, it's time to share it with my readers! 
Grilled Stuffed Peppers

What you'll need:
  • 2 T seasoning blend of your choice (I've been using a mix of lemon pepper and a little seasoning salt, but use whatever you have on hand- Mrs. Dash or any other pre-mixed blend of spices will do)
  • 1 t salt (unless there's salt in the mix you're using)
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • 1/2 lb breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground lean beef
  • 1 C cooked rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 C parsley leaves, minced
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Oil
  • 3 bell peppers (recipe recommends green, but I use red) 
Yield: 6 servings
Cook rice according to directions on your package (if you're looking for amazing rice, my absolute FAVORITE brand is Tex-Mati.  Sadly, it's not available here anymore, but you better believe I buy it when I'm in Texas and bring it back on the plane.  It's that good).

While it cooks, start working on the rest of the stuffing.  I tend to start with the breakfast sausage.  I have a hard time finding it NOT in link form, so I buy the links and take them out of the casings on my own. 

Not the most fun (sausage casing grosses me out), but it's also quick and easy.  Here they are post-casing (note the gross casings in the background):

Next, grab your ground beef:

Mince two cloves of garlic (or use the pre-minced stuff in a jar to save time, like I did):

Scramble your egg in a small bowl:

Mix your seasoning blend in a bowl (or mix your own blend like I did as seen here):
Add your wine to it.  HOWEVER, if you recently severely cut your left pink finger, you may find that using a rabbit wine bottle opener is actually much more difficult than you'd ever imagine, mostly due to the fact that you still won't be able to make a tight fist.  You might end up not being able to remove the cork as easily as you anticipate.  It might only come out of the top about 1/6 of the way.  If that's the case, I don't know how to tell you to get it out.  What I do know to tell you is NOT to try and re-insert the cork screw.  If you do, you'll likely end up with this: 

Yeah, that cork is like a solid inch and a half INSIDE the bottle.  Awesome.  And then, if you try using a meat thermometer to spear it and pull it out, it won't work.  Neither will trying to use the rabbit corkscrew again.  If you try those, this is what will happen to the cork:

So if/when that happens, you might panic for a second, but then just relax and remember that as long as your bottle had foil covering the cork, it's not as gross as it seems and you haven't ruined an entire bottle of wine.  It's okay to go ahead and pour some into the bowl to mix with the seasonings. 

Then go ahead and pour yourself a glass and just decant the rest.  And if you don't have a wine decanter, I'd say it's perfectly okay to use a whiskey decanter.

(Note the Abita Strawberry Harvest behind it!  It's totally Strawberry Harvest time.  YOU'RE WELCOME!!) 

So where were we?  Oh yes.  Now combine the seasoning mixture in a large bowl with the meat mixture and the cooked rice.

Combine and mix it up with your hands until it looks like this:

Then set it in your refrigerator for at least an hour so that the flavors can blend and really come together.  You can kill the time by either cleaning up whatever mess you've already created or by going to the gym and working out.  If you do the latter, I hope you don't have to wait for 15 minutes for a parking spot to open in up in the parking lot that only has 26 spaces (side note: why the f is the parking lot at my gym SO SMALL??? If we lived in D.C., I'd be fine with this and probably feel lucky to have a parking lot at all, but we live IN ARLINGTON.  It's not D.C. but by no means is it the freaking BFE 'burbs.  GET IT TOGETHER, SPORT AND HEALTH.)

So when ample time has passed, return to the kitchen and heat up some oil in a pan over medium/medium-high heat, depending on how your stove settings are.  Mine does well over medium.  This is also a good time to either heat up your grill outside or pull out your grill pan if you're doing this inside, like I did.  Mostly because I was too lazy to go outside and knock the 3-week-old-snow-that-is-now-really-just-ice off the top of our grill. 

Add your meat mixture and let it brown on all sides, which should take about 5-6 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, take your bell peppers and slice them in half and remove any and all seeds and white stuff that is found on the inside of bell peppers.

Remove the meat mixture from the heat.  Spray a little cooking spray on your grill pan and throw your peppers on it, open-side down, over medium-high heat.
They just need to cook for a couple of minutes.  Then flip them over and fill them with stuffing while the back side cooks.

Continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until you see a little charring on the back of the bell pepper.  Then just plate and serve! 

A note about the pictures: I halved the recipe this time (first time to do that and it was successful- made about enough for 3 peppers), so if you make the full one, you'll have at least double the amount of stuffing than pictured.  (This is particularly noticeable in the pan and bowl shots.)  That said, you won't be sad about having more stuffing.  I've always had quite a bit left over, and it's great reheated and eaten just on its own.  Happy eating!!

I Whip My Hair Back and Forth

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yeah, I just referenced Willow Smith.  And I'm only slightly ashamed because it just fits for this post.

Finding a good hair stylist is hard no matter where you live or how long you've lived there.  I lucked out in Austin back in the day and found a great stylist on my first try due to a great recommendation from SRG (check out her blog here).  She's also how I found my colorist (for some reason, the salon where both my stylist and colorist were employed didn't allow their employees to do both cuts AND colors- they had specialties.  Which is incredibly annoying.  CHANGE YOUR WAYS, AVANT!).  I eventually switched to a different stylist for several reasons and I found him through my esthetician. 

Fast forward to living in Virginia.  I've had a time of trying to find a decent stylist that also doesn't charge astronomical prices.  In my experience, husbands appreciate wives who put effort into their appearances and they enjoy having a wife who feels good about herself.  What I have also come to realize is that husbands do not appreciate DC salon prices.  Especially when said husbands only spend $20 (including tax and tip) on their own haircuts.  I've never minded paying for good hair in the past and I still don't now, but when you're sharing money and trying to save for a future home, vacations, plane tickets to visit friends and family, etc., it makes you re-evaluate your stance when the cost of getting your hair cut and highlighted is the same as a good deal on a flight to Texas. Yeah.  There was some sticker shock there. 

I started out trying a place in Rosslyn last winter and ended up going there twice due to a special they were running.  It was fine, but nothing out of this world.  Honestly, the highlights were a little too white for me.  I'd prefer to be a darker blonde rather than change my color so much.  After that, I was able to score a cut in Austin with my old guy.  Then I tried another guy in Georgetown based on the recommendation of a friend here, and while I liked the highlights he gave me, I didn't enjoy the weird point he did with my hair in the back (basically it was cut in a v-shape) and I didn't vibe on his Frenchiness.  Kind of weirded me out.  Here's the thing: when I'm at a salon, I want to relax.  I want to use the time to pamper myself, whether it's a haircut, highlights, massage, manicure, etc.  It's my time to indulge myself.  Honestly, I could sit in the chair the entire time and not say a word and be fine just watching the stylist or manicurist work and/or reading a book or magazine.  That said, I can also happily chat lightly with my stylist, but until we have an established friendship, I don't need in-depth discussion and I don't want to feel like I'm there to entertain the stylist.  I sat down in this guy's chair and he immediately asked me what my biggest, deepest hopes and dreams were.  WTF?  Just tell me your vision of my hair and I'll gauge whether or not we are going to have an on-going relationship or a one-appointment stand.  After that, he wanted to know all about the book I'd brought with me (a biography of Harper Lee called Mockingbird, which was, sadly, so uninteresting to me that I never was able to finish it) and what a mockingbird is and who Harper Lee was and what To Kill a Mockingbird is about.  That was just too much for me.  Honestly, I think the reason I decided not to go back to him was that the conversation completely exhausted me and he just took FOREVER (like 3 hours) to finish me.  Not cool for a neighborhood where you're dealing with metered parking spots. 

Anyway.  So as of January, I'd tried 2 different places in the NoVA/DC area and managed to get cuts in Dallas and Austin several times.  But two weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and knew it was time to find another stylist to try.  I need some serious shaping and something to brighten my face up.  I started researching salons on Yelp and decided to call a salon called Kavenchy to get more details on pricing. After talking it over with the receptionist, I decided to try a junior stylist and after being placed on hold 3 times, I made an appointment for last Friday after work.  I went in and had an initial consultation with my stylist and immediately felt like things were off to a good start.  Ultimately, I left with a great cut and highlights.  I really liked it when I left and I'm still liking it 6 days later.  HOWEVER.  When I went to pay, I had a ball-park in my head of what I thought the bill might be based on the pricing schedule I'd been given on the phone.  Let's just say I was off.  By a significant amount.  Nothing that will put us in bankruptcy, but having to share with L over dinner what I'd just spent on my hair was not fun (luckily he really likes how it looks).  I'm so frustrated by this, though!  Now I feel like I can't go back because I just can't justify spending that much each time I get my hair cut, but I finally found someone I really like!  It's just like on Say Yes to the Dress when the salespeople tell brides not to try on dresses they can't afford.  You won't want to go back to anything less expensive.  I have no idea why the idiot receptionist didn't follow my request to put me on a junior stylist's schedule, but she sure didn't.  Ugh.  So irritating.  Also, what's the policy on tipping hair stylists?  Is there a standard amount?  I usually tip 20%, and that's part of why I can't afford to go see this stylist again.  Is that enough?  Not enough?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

Harder Better Faster Stronger

Monday, February 7, 2011

So, it's 2011.  Just in case you missed it.  I didn't make any official resolutions (hence no apparently obligatory post- as made evidence by most blogs I read- on what they would have been), but since we got home from our Christmas travels, L and I renewed our commitments to faith (as previously and briefly mentioned in another post) and physical fitness.  We joined a gym in August and up until the new year rolled around, L had only been one time, much to my chagrin (to be fair, he was working in NYC for 2 months, but he was still here on most weekends).  I won't claim I spent the fall filling every spare moment with cardio and weights, but my attendance numbers did put him to shame.  We've settled into a routine of working out together every Saturday morning, and I also go as many days as possible after work during the week.  You better believe that every time I'm there, I have my ipod with me.  L is able to take his or leave it at home and be fine either way, but I'm not kidding- it makes me panic a little if I ever forget mine.  I like the post-work out rush of endorphins I get but the actual process of working out is not always my favorite.  I need a distraction to help make the time pass.  

I started a workout play list on my ipod a couple of years ago and had been adding to it steadily as time went by, but my ipod locked up a few months ago and wiped out everything that was on it, including that play list.  But never fear!  I have some other OUTSTANDING workout music that I've switched to while I rebuild my play list, and the time has come to share it.  Enter Girl Talk.  No, not the game so many of us played in the late '80s and early '90s (nor its spin-off TV show).  Girl Talk is a DJ who puts together the BEST "mash-ups" of songs that are perfect for working out (or cheerleading routines if there are any cheerleading coaches or sponsors reading this).  Anyway, his newest album is called All Day.

And the best part: his albums are totally free due to copyright laws (unless you want to pay, in which case, he will happily accept whatever amount you deem his tunes worthy of).  He's so great at what he does and so creative with what he mixes and how he puts it all together.  There's old stuff, new stuff, fast stuff, slow stuff (mixed in so that it keeps the pace), stuff you love, stuff you forgot you loved for 5 minutes in 2002, and maybe even stuff some of you might hate, but I love it all.  It really makes my workouts just fly by.  My goal is always to work out long enough to get through a full album (none are that long) and possibly start a second, just depending on the day and what I've got going on after work. 

Go snag your own downloads here.  You'll need WinZip to open the downloads up, and if you don't have that on your computer already, just go download the trial version for free.  I guarantee your workout just got better! 

On an unrelated note, I'm half-watching an episode of Oprah on my dvr that just showed Lisa Ling touring a meat plant.  Vomit.  I just saw things that should not be shown on TV.  I think I may start re-thinking my choice to eat meat now.  I know my mom and at least one of my friends would tell me just not to think about it... but I can't unsee that.  Plus, as whoever her male guest is just said, if you're not willing to think about where it comes from and how it gets to your table, you probably shouldn't eat it.  Too true, unnamed man, too true.  And whoever the blonde vegan guest is... well, she has something kind of weird going on in her cheeks when she speaks.  But she's lovely, otherwise.  If all tofu tasted like the tofu on the salad that Samantha special requests at Vivo in Austin when he dines there, I'd seriously consider implementing it into my diet all the time, but I'll be the first to admit to a mental block when it comes to tofu.  Tofu comes from soy... soy is a BEAN that also creates milk and takes on countless other forms and flavors.  It's weirdly versatile.  And I don't understand where the name comes from.  But I'm down with fish these days, so who knows- maybe it's time to ween myself off the beef and pork.  Except that L might divorce me.  Or just have an illicit affair with his smoker.  We'll see what happens.  I make no promises here.  Except to remember that cows and pigs have feelings, too.  And that you'll love Girl Talk if you download his stuff!!
Knocking on Wood. Citrus Pink Blogger Theme Design By LawnyDesignz Powered by Blogger