Wednesday, April 2nd

Food, Apps, and My Journal

I’ve been really busy lately with work stuff, blog stuff, and social stuff. It seems like my schedule starts to get crazy around SX and doesn’t let up for a few months. Here’s an update on what I’ve been doing.

I went to a media event at the much-anticipated La V, and as promised, it was chic and delicious. The light fixtures alone are reason enough to visit. AFBA had their monthly happy hour at the new brick and mortar G’raj Mahal and the bloggers enjoyed bites and sips in the cute outdoor space out back.

I also went to the soft opening of new American Chinese restaurant in South Austin, A-OK Chinese. The staff was nice and I wish them the best of luck, but I’ll continue driving to North Austin for my Chinese needs. Just wasn’t for me.

A-OK Chinese Dumplings

 A-OK Chinese

Keeping with the American Chinese food theme, the people from P. F. Chang’s sent me a gift card to try out their new menu items. But when we ordered, only one item from that menu was available at the location we visited. It was the Shanghai Waldorf Salad and the dressing was incredibly spicy. It was a nice twist on Waldorf Salad, which is one of my favorites. We also had egg rolls, dumplings, Kung Pao Shrimp and Scallops, and Beef a la Sichuan.

P. F. Chang's Shangai Waldorf Salad and Egg Rolls

P. F. Chang's Dumplings

P. F. Chang's Kung Pao Shrimp and Scallops

P. F. Chang's Beef a la Sichuan

In an effort to organize how I…well, organize, I’m trying out the Bullet Journal method. I normally have three to five notebooks lying around with notes and lists pertaining to different projects. It’s been great for me to do something new and have a little guidance into capturing it all in the same spot. I like the idea of using this journaling technique to keep a record of what I’ve accomplished on certain dates and get an accurate picture of how much I can really accomplish on any given day.

Bullet Journal

I’ve also been using a couple great apps on my iPhone lately. Headspace is a guided meditation app that I just started. I’m also using Duolingo to learn French. Maybe I’ll be able to communicate better the next time I go to Paris. So far I’m finding the French easier than the meditation. I’m also digging the Animal Face app because tiger heads on human bodies are hilarious. I’m really breaking the rules by putting animal heads on other animal heads.

Animal Face

Another thing I’m trying to learn is accounting and it is way outside my comfort zone. I took an accounting class in college and hated it. Now that I’m trying to do it for real, with real money, MY money…I still hate it. Anyone have any accounting books to recommend?

My latest kitchen adventures are taking the form of veggie bowls. Quinoa topped with a number of good and healthy things like beans, cheese, pepitas and hemp seeds, raw and cooked veggies, sweet potatoes. Pretty much whatever I have on hand.

Veggie Bowl

Ulysses Press sent me a review copy of the 1990’s Coloring Book and I love it. It would make a great gift for those 25 to 35 year olds in your life. You can win one of your own by following Ulysses Press on Facebook or Twitter. Just leave me a comment to let me know you did it and then I’ll draw the winners name on April 15th.

1990s Coloring Book

What’s the cool stuff you’ve been into lately?

Monday, December 9th

Holiday Gift Guide

We’re in the countdown to the end of the year and if you haven’t started already, it’s time to get serious about your holiday gift shopping. Make this holiday season all about fun with colorful gifts, tasty treats, and stylish items to brighten the lives of those you love.

Holiday Gifts
  • In God We Trust NYC flask helps the partiers in your life carry their favorite sips for a mellow concert or a romantic stroll in the cold night air. Fill with Thorny Rose wine to warm from the inside out! $60
  • The ombre trend has never been easier. The New Black coordinates the shades for the lady in your life to just paint on each finger. $22
  • Fans of Bravo TV and Andy Cohen will love the Mazel flip tee-shirt, sure to steal the show! $28
  • A little Nate Berkus goes a long way. Jazz up the room with a neutral, fringed decorative pillow from Target. $25
  • Make sure the musician in your life is never without a pick again! $20
  • These sushi slippers allow your cold-footed friends to pad around in style. $34
  • Your turn to bring dessert to a holiday party? Try this Exquisitely Rich Fruitcake with Stout from Dean & DeLuca. $35

What’s on your shopping list this year?

Monday, November 11th

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving means so much to me and to my family. More than all the delicious food, it’s a time many of us who live far apart can be together. For some of my family, it’s the only day of year we get to see each other, so it’s even more special. We hang out with dogs. And new baby cousins. And carve a massive turkey.

Black dog and gold dog

Baby with onesie that reads Gobble Gobble

Carved Thanksgiving turkey

We fill our plates with traditional and innovative sides. We eat pumpkin pie. Some years we eat rice pudding. I take a bike ride with my Dad around the neighborhood.

Thanksgiving meal

Rice pudding

This year we aren’t making it home for Thanksgiving. We’ll be fending for ourselves in Austin, so I’m starting to think about my menu. Should we do a traditional meal or do something totally off the wall? Maybe we’ll make a healthy turkey soup. Or my famous turkey chili.

No matter what we eat, I’m planning a stylish table scape. Ombre glasses and colorful platters add sparkle and a festive atmosphere to one the year’s most important meals.

Pretty Platters at Target Bowls at Target How are you planning on making your Thanksgiving special this year? Share what’s going on your table in the comments! #MyKindOfHoliday

Disclaimer: Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.

Tuesday, December 25th

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the day off from work and celebrating in your favorite way. I’m relaxing, reading, making pancakes, and enjoying the mild weather in Austin. My dreams of a white Christmas faded years ago and have been replaced with flip flops and year round sunscreen application.

Anyway, the change of climate hasn’t dampened my decorating enthusiasm. Mr. Betty and I take pride in our rad ornament collection and last year I gave a rundown of some of our favorites. We added some new guys to our tree this year:

Cardinal

After not having a tree topper for as long as I can remember, we found this awesome cardinal. You can’t tell from the photo, but it’s huge. Like, as big as your head.

I’d like to think our new shark and sneaker reflect our personal style:

Shark Ornament

Sneaker Ornament

A couple nights ago we headed over to Mozart’s Coffee Roasters to check out their light show. While crowded, it wasn’t the insane chaos of the Trail of Lights.

Mozart's

Mozart’s is one of our homesick comfort spots. There aren’t a ton of places to sit on the water in Austin, and Mozart’s sprawling decks make us feel right at home. And they really go all out for the holidays, with lights dangling everywhere. It feels like a caffeinated wonderland. The light show starts at the top of the hour and lasts about 15 minutes. Each of the five or six songs had a different theme and little show. Very pretty, and the hot cocoa and cider were delicious. This lasts till New Year’s, so there’s still plenty of time to go.

Mozart's

Mozart's

Mozart's

Mozart's

Hula Hut

The palm trees are next door at the Hula Hut and worth the visit on their own. Aren’t they the coolest?

Tuesday, April 10th

Be Our Guest

What’s the key to ensuring your guests have an enjoyable visit? Um, nice towels. That’s all it takes.

guest basket

Okay, maybe it takes more than that. But fluffy spa towels are a nice start. Providing all the toiletries your guests may need takes the burden off them. Plus, that leaves more room in their suitcases to fill with gifts for you…from Trader Joe’s.

A nice little arrangement of bottled water, fancy soaps, and fun little treats lets your guests know they are special. That you care so much about them and prepared for their visit. And you want them to feel comfortable and pampered.

Planning a list of fun activities and some relaxing downtime helps your guests achieve the perfect vacation balance. Of course, in Austin it’s easy. Everyone wants to come here. Even if you had ratty towels, they’d come.

Guest bathroom

 

Friday, February 17th

She’s Crafty

My home office is an important space. Unlike my work office, I can have a comfy chair, chic desk, and place to take a nap. I believe all three are conducive to producing great work.

A frequent note-taker, I’m always scrawling ideas on little scraps of paper and notebooks. I try to keep them contained, but in truth they are everywhere. I’ll find notes months later reminding me that I wanted to try cold brewing coffee or dates of upcoming concerts. Notes that say things like find shoe or calories.

I need my notes right in my face. I like them hanging on the wall. So I wanted a new cork board. Here’s what I made last weekend:

It’s quite large and will hold lots of my scattered thoughts. Anyone can make this. You just need to hoard corks for a few years and know how to use a hot glue gun. Don’t use a cheap frame.

It took me a few hours to fit these in like a puzzle and then glue them in nice and tight. It was a nice walk down memory lane as certain corks reminded me of moments in my life. The winery where Mr. Betty proposed, the bottles of wine we shared in Italy, the dinner parties where we laughed with friends. Maybe this board will do more than hold my thoughts. Maybe it’ll inspire new ones. Either way, it’s a nice addition to my office.

Look at the pretty wine stains.

 

Wednesday, January 18th

Look what I made!

New year, new bed. Macy’s was having a huge sale on beds, so we decided it was a good time to upgrade. I searched everywhere for a headboard I liked, but couldn’t find one. But then the crafty part of me said, But what if you made one? And then the hungry part of me said, Can we go get dinner? I’m starving.

Mr. Betty and I decided to go for it. We ate dinner. But then after that we decided to make a headboard. Here are the supplies we used:

  • Untreated plywood
  • Spray adhesive
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Upholstery foam
  • Batting
  • Upholstery fabric

From Home Depot we got the adhesive, staples and gun, and had them cut a board to our measurements, 48×78 inches. A standard headboard is about four feet tall and two inches wider than your mattress width.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We bought the foam, batting and upholstery from a fabric store. Bonus, the most expensive part of this project, the upholstery fabric, was 50% off! Do not cheap out on the fabric. Make sure it is thick and of really good quality.

First, we sprayed one side of the board with adhesive and applied the foam. We stapled it onto the back, making sure to leave a couple extra inches on the top of the board.  Our foam and batting was in two pieces, but if you can get them in one, even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We repeated the process for the second step. Sprayed the foam with adhesive and covered with batting. Stapled the batting to the back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final step, lay the fabric on top of the batting and staple to the back. Don’t use adhesive this time. This is nice, because you can change the look of your headboard by just switching out the fabric. There were so many great fabrics. I can see myself changing it a few times a year.

I am so pleased with how this came out. It’s flawless, cushiony and chic. We used a solid fabric, but if you do this with a print make sure to line it up the way you want it.

Total cost for the headboard was $125, including $25 for staple gun and staples. I highly recommend trying this DIY headboard if you are looking to be creative or save a little cash.

Tuesday, December 13th

Cool Yule, Fool

Every year I love picking out a live Christmas tree and decorating it. I have some fabulous ornaments and building my collection is a year-round process. I always look for unique ones when I travel, so when I look at my tree it’s a reminder of how many cool places I’ve been. (And how lucky I am!) I’m going to show off some of my favorites.

I really love beach-themed ornaments. I hope to do an entire beach tree one day.

Horseshoe crab

Blue crab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sea gull

Octopus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life jacket

Lifeguard chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few travel ornaments:

Stained glass from a family vacation to Massachusetts

Snorkeling Santa from Key Largo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maple leaf from Vancouver

Hibiscus from honeymoon in Maui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This ornament from Vegas makes jackpot sounds

A little NYC for Mr. Betty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mermaid collection is one I hope to grow.

Fat mermaid

Skinny mermaid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flat mermaid

Two ornaments that represent us:

A wedding gift

This is what we actually look like. Handmade by a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some food-themed ornaments:

Olive

TV dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese food

Avocado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donut

 

And finally, a couple Texas ornaments.

Cow Skull

Glitter revolver. This is by far the largest ornament on our tree. Very silly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, to all my readers! (Both of you.) May your holiday be creative and colorful.