Thursday, February 28, 2013

Currently Listening...

Life has been crazy at work! One of the things actually helping me focus is constantly keeping music playing. For some reason, that helps me drown out the sounds going on in the rest of my suite (I work in the Office of the President & Dean with him, his assistant, three associate deans, and their assistant, so we get a lot of traffic!)

I have said it on twitter a million times, but if you aren't using Spotify, you are missing out. I love that I can have any song I want on demand, at my fingertips. So, go sign up. It's free for computers. Have you done that?

Okay, good... moving right along...

I have been reading Lullaby Lubbock for a while now. Allison and Kristen are the cutest girls with adorable kids and they throw THE BEST parties (seriously ladies, can one of you move to Houston?). Late last week, Kristen included what she has been listening to in one of her posts so I made a Spotify list with her songs and I really love it. Check it out here. (And I had never heard of Blind Pilot before, but now I really like them, and they came on my Pandora today on the way home. Definitely check them out!)

So, since I think they are the coolest, I wanted to copy Kristen and let you know what was on the other playlist that I can't get enough of (seriously, the one with Kristen's songs are called "New" and this one is called "Not Sick of Yet." It's only 40 minutes long but I listen over and over...

Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding
Dancing on my Own - Robyn
Suit and Tie - Justin Timberlake
Lost in my Mind - The Head and the Heart
Flowers in Your Hair - The Lumineers
Wrong Song - Nashville Cast (I KNOW this is lame but it's SO catchy!)
Live and Die - The Avett Brothers
Best of You - Foo Fighters
Unnamed - Leona Naess (kept popping up on my Pandora and I can't get it out of my head)

So, that is what's been keeping me focused this week. Any of these on your iPod/Spotify/whatever? Any favorites to suggest? I am always looking for something new!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Typical Me

So, I'm still new here. I have been trying to figure out how to do this and be interesting, and engaging, and have good content.

But it's time to show you a little more of me.

I plan events for a living. I swear by checklists. If I need help from a colleague in completing my job, I over inform them. I am thorough. Except when I'm not.

I'm currently working on planning something with our alumni that requires a specific certificate from the Texas Supreme Court. There is a link on the Court's website with info on how to obtain the certificate. Alums keep calling and emailing me to get the link.

One woman emailed me last week, and I thought that I sent her the link she needed, but apparently I had multiple tabs open in my browser. I realized this past Friday that I had not sent her a link to the Texas Supreme Court and instead sent her a link to.... my blog. Yup. It couldn't have even been one of yours, or to my facebook (which is pretty locked down), or one of the other sites I visit throughout the day. So, she was specifically sent to my blog. I think it was the one where I talked about my Fossil flats. I hope she likes my taste in shoes.

After I realized it, I simply apologized for my error and sent her the right link. Hopefully she hadn't gotten around to clicking the link yet and won't even notice. But if you did, ma'am, I am very sorry to have accidentally brought you here. Let's never speak of this again.

So, I tell you this to teach you a lesson. Always double check your work emails. And I guess it shows you something about me - as put together as I may ever appear, I've always just recently done something dumb...

Have you ever embarrassed yourself at work?

Friday, February 22, 2013

High Five For Friday: Vol. 3

Wow, I am closing out my third week of blogging, so I think it's time to join the link-up fun. Third time is the charm, right?

I think I finally have the hang of this. I need to tell you five things that I am loving this week.

It's with another Lauren who likes cats and sleep and didn't like her name for most of her life. We have lots in common; I think I'll  have to catch up on her blog over the weekend!

1) CARPOOLING! I live in Katy. Husband works near 59 and Hillcroft, and I work downtown. Poor guy works from 6:45 - 5:00 and I work from 8:00 - 4:30 (perks of working in higher ed), so he drives to his office, then I take the car and either go out for coffee (sometimes with a friend) or go to work and read blogs  until my work day begins. As long as I leave my office at 4:30, I can get him at 5:00 and we can take the HOV home together. It is making me SUCH a happier person!

Instagramming on the way to work with my hipster coffee (folliwing? Laurenm10)

2) PicMonkey. I had never heard of it until I started paying attention to people's blogs. As you can see, I use it all the time. I prefer it to posting five photos in a row but I will try not to abuse it and have collage overload.

3) Ooh La La Cupcakes. Probably my favorite in Houston. My husband brought me one after a long day earlier this week and it turned my mood right around (the thought moreso than the cupcake but cupcakes never hurt...)

I like cupcakes so much, one of my coworkers bought me a cupcake stand. I might have a problem.

4) The Oscars are on Sunday! I am a sucker for award shows, red carpet and all. I am not a big movie person but I have seen several of the films nominated for top awards this time around (Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty) so I have an opinion about several of the categories. Of those, Argo was definitely my favorite and Lincoln my least favorite (though Daniel Day Lewis is incredible).

Hope I didn't offend, but Alan Arkin's character was hilarious and I loved their catchphrase!

5) Blogging. I have been a blog stalker for 3+ years (beginning with getting married, and I loved blog reading in high school), and as dumb as it sounds, it's harder than I ever thought it would be. Going beyond a "here's what I did yesterday" post takes some effort, and photos, and photo editing (at least an attempt), and sourcing. But, I keep seeing different posts about the blogging community and I am hopeful it's ready for one more member, because I'm planning to try to stick around awhile!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chicago, My Kind of Town

In January, I had the opportunity to attend the Academic Event Professionals Conference followed by The Special Event in Chicago. Even though it was freezing, I had always wanted to visit Chicago. I learned so much and my company paid for my stay, so it was worth bundling up for the cold temps!

The Academic Event Professionals Conference was a great experience. I am the first events person that my school has ever had and it was great to hear how other schools run their events offices and to relate to one another over limited budgets and big ideas. The Special Event was a trade show coupled with events education. A lot of the education was too basic or too specialized, but there were lots of amazing ideas - just ideas that would be hard to implement in higher education!

I had six days of conferencing, solo. I met some women at AEP and hung out with them for dinner one night at El Mercado and drinks at Pop. My husband said not to eat any good food before he got there, but I couldn't resist. Rick Bayless' food is one of the things I had to eat while there and I had a torta and churros one night for dinner. I also had deep dish one day for lunch. Besides that, I just walked along the Magnificent Mile every night. It was so cool to have so much shopping in one place, but I didn't buy much because we do have a lot of those stores in Houston.

Chicago at night on one of my shopping trips | Tacos at Mercado (they were okay; Texas does it better!) | Champagne cocktail at Pop! | Damn good torta from Xoco | Xoco churros (they were each about 12" long - one was breakfast the next morning!)

Andrew flew in the last day of the conference. We went to Little Goat Diner, owned by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard. I loved it! We could actually see Stephanie in the kitchen and tried hard not to stare. We went to another Rick Bayless restaurant, Frontera Grill, for dinner. It was jam-packed with tables but the mole was great and definitely worth it if you're a fan (though I loved Xoco too...).

Me, in front of The Bean | Holding it up (all the other tourists were doing it) | From far away | Skyline | Andrew and I standing in front (excuse his shifty eyes... it was windy)

We went Xoco for hot chocolate on Saturday and then waited for nearly an hour for donuts at The Donut Vault. These are apparently THE best donuts in Chicago, but we weren't super impressed. Good, but not worth the wait in the cold. We went to the Bean in Millennium Park to kill time before we visited the Art Institute. The Bean is so cool and definitely something to see! I love how it mirrored the skyline of the city. I'm not that into art but I kept hearing that I needed to go to the Art Institute and I'm glad we did. It was HUGE and full of art from artists you have actually heard of - Monet, VanGogh, O'Keefe, as well as furniture, pottery, and all kinds of stuff. Great way to spend an afternoon. We worked up an appetite and went out for deep dish after.

In front of Chagall's windows | American Gothic | Monet | VanGogh | Miniature Room. An entire exhibit full of rooms smaller than those found in a dollhouse. 

We headed to Balena for dinner that night. The pastry chef there is from Katy and was on Top Chef Just Desserts and the restaurant was just named a semifinalist for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. The restaurant is away from the touristy part of Chicago but it was so cool inside and the food was great. There was an anchovy spread with the bread that was to die for and the housemade magic shell was rich and amazing.

The next day was kind of a bust - we went for brunch to this place with great reviews, and it wasn't that great, and then we took a super expensive taxi ride to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was a little too kid-friendly for my taste. We left there and went to Au Cheval, which is a bar known for its cheeseburgers. We drank until the kitchen opened, and then had dinner. After that, we headed to the James Beard Award Winning Mindy's Hot Chocolate where we had our best bite in Chicago - coffee ice cream with cocoa nibs. It was perfection and I hate that I can't have it whenever I want!

Pork Belly Pancake | Los Drowned (both from Little Goat Diner) | Pizza from Lou Malnati's | Dessert at Balena | Cheeseburger at Au Cheval

Overall, I loved Chicago. The public transportation looked easy to navigate, though I didn't try, it was clean, and people were pretty nice. I definitely recommend going if you ever get a chance!

Any cities you were dying to visit that lived up to the hype?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Food for Thought: Oxheart

This weekend, I finally had the chance to try Oxheart. You may not have heard of it; I realized that most of my coworkers have not when I told them what my Valentine's Day plans were. Oxheart was recently named one of the Best New Restaurants in 2012 by Bon Appetit and mentioned in this weekend's Wall Street Journal article about a weekend in Houston. The Chronicle's food critic also listed it as the No. 1 Restaurant in Houston. It was also just announced as a semifinalist for the James Beard Award (Best New Restaurant - Southwest). So, I guess if you don't actively follow the food scene, this place may not even be on your radar yet.

I am a very plain eater; I love mac and cheese, burgers, and pizza. I didn't eat seafood until I met my husband, I still hate shellfish, and I don't really care for lamb. I think veal is mean and I try to avoid it, and "weird" meats like sweetbreads or tongue are completely out of the question. So, I am always nervous about going to restaurants that food critics love. Add to that the fact that Oxheart has set menus daily with little wiggle room, and I was very hesitant to try this place. But, my husband was dying to, so away we went.

Here's what I wish I knew about Oxheart before we went - it's in the warehouse district downtown (near UH-Downtown) so there is no valet or obvious parking lot. Apparently there is a small shared lot, but we never saw it. We had no problems finding parking for our 5:30 reservation (it was the only time available), but you might if you go later. I was really concerned about dress. I wore jeans and boots, but I should have worn heels or even a dress. I didn't feel completely underdressed, but I think I could have dressed up more. Finally, there is no sign (that we could see) outside the restaurant. Just know that the address is 1302 Nance and look for the address above the door to know you're in the right place. Also, you push the door (don't pull like we did, think they weren't open yet, and stand outside like idiots. Oops.).

The place feels like it has fewer than 20 seats, though I didn't count. The kitchen is open, the walls are exposed brick, and it is very tiny. A completely different feel from any other restaurant I have been to. The tables were custom made with drawers built in the sides that have all of your silverware and napkins. That was a little different, but I liked it. The tables are really close together. This is not the place to go for a private conversation or with someone you have nothing to talk about with, because the awkwardness will be obvious to the tables next to you. I thought it was really nice that if the wait staff was otherwise occupied, the chef just brought the food out himself and explained how it was prepared and which farm it came from.

Andrew and I both opted to try the Winter Menu with beverage pairings. When I saw that the proteins were fish and turkey and heard that the wines were all white (I don't have a palate for red. I've tried) I was relieved I wasn't going to have to force myself to try anything out of my comfort zone.

The first wine we had was a rainwater Madeira (I thought they said it was made from rainwater but my husband thinks I made that up) and was very sweet. The sommelier explained that the sweetness would be nice with the bitterness of the soup in the first course. I thought that the beverage pairings were a great deal and definitely recommend them. We didn't get a full glass with each pour, but the plates are small enough to where the portions of food and beverage were perfect. The soup was a warm sunflower seed soup with puffed rice. The puffed rice was mixed with dill and was on one side of a shallow bowl, and there was some herb-y oil in other portions. The soup was poured into the bowl at the table and we were told to eat around the bowl, not mix together. Each part of the bowl was different and unlike anything I have ever eaten before. It was my husband's favorite dish of the meal.

The soup. All photos are via iPhone because in a place this small, real photography should be a crime.

The bread course was amazing. It wasn't listed on the menu so it was a surprise. I was bummed when I was told it was English muffins, because I normally hate English muffins because to me, they have no flavor. These were small English muffins that had been finished in a cast iron skillet and they were served with herbed lard. When we heard lard, we both looked at each other. Lard? I'm supposed to eat that? I know that it is what goes in refried beans to make them taste good, but I have never just eaten it before. I cut open a muffin and put a tiny taste of lard inside. I think the bread was that much better because I was expecting fat spread on cardboard (no offense, Oxheart. It was nothing you did. Just my preconceived notions of both ingredients). I didn't want to be done with those bites, and I was half tempted to ask for more. I didn't snap a photo initially, because it was "just bread," but after I realized how much I loved it, I had to take a pic before I ate my final muffin. It was my favorite part of the entire meal and I probably could have eaten at least ten of those little doughy little bites. English muffins - 1, Lauren - 0.

OMG bread

The second course was a fish course: grouper that was just caught the day before and brought to the restaurant earlier in the day. It had a roasted garlic sauce and another sauce made with bonito flakes (which Andrew tells me are fish scales) and kale with it. Here's the thing - it didn't taste like fish at all. It was steamed and perfect and flaky and the garlic was flavorful but not IN YOUR FACE garlic. My only tiny issue was that I couldn't neatly cut the kale with my butter knife (probably due to user error), but this was my favorite course of the meal.

So pretty and the kale was so bright.

The final savory course was turkey- both breast and thigh. I believe the thigh was sous vide. It was served over mustard greens cooked down with dijon and a sauce made from a Vietnamese herb. It was turkey unlike I have ever had before (you know, roasted, fried, or smoked and served with mashed potatoes) and I really enjoyed it.

Not your average turkey.

For dessert, we were served an almond financier with orange sorbet and ginger foam. My general rule with dessert is "if it's not chocolate, I don't want it," so I didn't have high hopes for this. I'm just not a fruity dessert kind of person. However, the sweetness of the cake and the tartness of the sorbet (along with its coldness) and then the light, ginger foam was unlike anything I have ever had. The textures, temperatures, and flavors were so completely unique that I didn't miss not having chocolate in my final course.


Would I go to Oxheart again? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to a friend? It depends on the friend. You really have to be open to new experiences here. I happened to get lucky with a menu featuring more traditional ingredients, but as my husband said on the way home, it really is a place that will cook good food well, but in the manner that the chef wants to cook it. It isn't huge portions and there aren't white tablecloths, so depending on what you expect from a "nice" dinner, this might not be the place for you. I think that is why their Yelp reviews are kind of negative (it definitely isn't due to the food in my opinion!) But, if you are looking for a new experience in both ambiance and cuisine, then I think it's definitely worth a try. We will be back, for sure.

{ETA: My husband emailed the restaurant for more info about the Madeira that he enjoyed and got a response back from the chef that night with additional info on where to buy it. Amazing customer service! And, if somehow you found my blog by googling Oxheart due to all the recent press it received, please keep an eye out here because I am looking forward to ruminating some more on Houston's restaurant scene.}

Do restaurants like Oxheart interest you? Do you  have a favorite place that I should try?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TV Loves

My husband and I love TV, possibly more than the average person. We wrote our own wedding vows, and in mine I promised to love him "like  Penny loved Desmond, like Amy loved Ephraim, and of course, like Pam loves Jim" (referencing Lost, Everwood, and The Office, respectively). Watching our shows is a big part of what we do together.

There are the shows that everyone watches, and then there are the shows that you don't even know about until someone tells you. I also think you can tell a lot about a person by what's on their DVR. Here are some of the lesser-watched shows on mine.

1) Bunheads on ABC Family


I know I am closer to 30 than my teenage years, but I also know that Gilmore Girls was the formative show of those years. This is by the same creator and has a lot of the same fast, witty, pop culture-peppered dialogue of Lorelai and Rory. Emily Gilmore is a co-star and there are cameos from Zach, Kirk, Gypsy, Mitchum Huntzberger, and more recently, Paris. 

2) The Americans on FX

This show has only had two episodes, but I was hooked from the beginning. It takes place in the 80s and Keri Russell and Kevin (the gay lawyer brother) from Brothers & Sisters are married KGB Agents living next door to an FBI Agent. They are pretty much badasses but the husband loves his family more than the job and struggles with fear of being caught whereas the wife holds her job and mother country above all else. I am really interested to see where this show goes.

3) Hart of Dixie on The CW

Again, I am too old for this, but it has Summer Roberts from The OC and Jason Street from Friday Night Lights and another small town that I would love to live in. It has silly plot lines and I won't be surprised if it gets cancelled, but if you grew up on WB shows, this has the same feel. Netflix it sometime when your significant other isn't around.

4) Girls on HBO

Oh, Girls. It is such a different show. It's not idealized; the characters are flawed and have realistic problems, but there are also situations that most women will never see themselves in. The four women all have unique personalities and I think in a few years, rather than being a Carrie or a Miranda, you will have to decide if you are a Hannah or a Marnie (Shoshannah is my favorite, for what it's worth). Critics love it and so do lots of normal people, but since it's on HBO, I'm counting it for my purposes as having a smaller audience.

I have lots and lots of other favorite shows; this was just a starter. Have you watched any of these? What are some of your favorites?

Monday, February 18, 2013

my weekend - aka don't take diet tips from this girl

So, this weekend wasn't super exciting but I did try to take pictures of a lot of things for blogging practice. Yes, my husband did make fun of me the whole time. Does anyone else's do the same?

Friday we carpooled to work and stopped at my mom and step-dad's on the way home with a bottle of champagne. My step-dad just got a new job and it was cause for celebration! We ate a little over there but since we both had light lunches, ordered a pizza when we got home and caught up on DVR.

On Saturday I got my hair cut. Nothing drastic, but enough to make me feel like less of a bum! That night we went to Oxheart for dinner, which was great. I think that should be another post on its own.

Before and after. Subtle, but I forgot how much I like having bangs.

On Sunday we were pretty lazy in the morning, went and ran errands, came home and cleaned up, and then Andrew made the "World's Best Lasagna" according to . It was really good, but it was a TON of work so I don't know how often he will make it (I should probably take this opportunity to mention that I don't cook. At all. I can't. I have no patience for it and touching raw meat weirds me out. I help my husband as much as I can, but I usually try to do other semi-productive things [like playing with the dog] while he cooks.).

Papa John's Pizza (not my favorite) | Bauer being sweet to Andrew (never happens) | Watching TV with his mama (Presh) | World's Best Lasagna (leftovers for days)

So, that was my weekend. Please don't judge me by my over-consumption of Italian food. 

Have you ever eaten too much bad food and not realized it until you tried to write a blog post about YOUR weekend? 

Friday, February 15, 2013

High Five for Friday: Vol. 2

I am ready for Friday this week and I really shouldn't be because a) I was out sick on Wednesday and b) this semester hasn't even begun to get busy yet... But, I am, and here are a few things for me to be happy about:

1. No trip to ATX is complete without Frankin BBQ | 2. Fossil flats. Shoulda IG'd them. Rookie blogger mistake | 3. Free 'bucks on my desk as I type | 4. Bauer keeping the couch warm for the Shameless marathon (I will take any and all opportunities for cat pics).

1. Haircut! I do NOT get haircuts regularly, especially now that I have been trying to grow out my hair for the better part of a year. But, I know it looks so much better after new layers and a trim, so I have one scheduled for Saturday and I am so looking forward to it!

2. The Lumineers in Austin! My husband says I love you with technology and experiences. He isn't a flowers/jewelry/perfume guy. For Valentine's Day, he surprised me with tickets to see The Lumineers in Austin in April. We aren't seeing them here because it's on a Wednesday. I think a road trip will make it even more fun!

3. Fun flats! I am not a high-fashion girl and I don't put a ton of effort into getting dressed in the morning, so when I find something that I love that seems fashion-forward, then I am all about it. This morning I am wearing my favorite "pop of color" Fossil flats (found at Ross for <$30! Did I mention that I love a bargain?) with a cream sweater and gray pants to make my outfit a little less blah.

4. Free Starbucks! When I first created my Starbucks account, it was with a Christmas gift card. My October birthday was too far away to receive my free birthday drink, so I decided to make my birthday February 2nd. That card is the one I kept adding to to reach Gold Status and you can't edit your birthday so I had a free drink waiting for me this morning.

5. Shameless! Have you watched this show? We have just started to get in to it and it's so weird but I like it. Definitely a dysfunctional family. I know we will be marathoning that over the weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day, Singles' Awareness Day, or just plain February 14th... Hope you are having a great day, whatever you are calling it!

My husband hates pictures - I don't think we've taken one together since Christmas. Blogging about him will be tough!

As I mentioned earlier this week, we celebrate our dating anniversary with V-Day, so we are planning dinner at Oxheart on Saturday. I never know what to get A and he is just as bad at picking things out for me, so I think we are going to forgo gifts this time around. However, if he wanted to surprise me with something sweet from one of my favorite dessert places, I wouldn't turn that down! I also have a rule that we have to give one another a card each year for Anniversary, Valentine's Day, and Birthdays, so I better have a card waiting for me when I get home this afternoon!

What are your V-Day plans?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just please don't call me a foodie...

So, first of all I want to say THANK YOU to the people who read my previous post! Just seeing that counter jump up the tiniest bit was a great push to keep spending my lunch hour writing!

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, my husband attended culinary school. Upon graduation, he realized that he loved me more than he loved the idea of spending long hours working in a restaurant (awwww...), so he works in a completely different field now. But, the things he learned in school have stayed with him and have turned the simple act of eating a meal into a hobby.

We plan vacations around meals. We follow food trucks and other sources of food news on twitter and text one another with breaking stories. We plan what to order well before we go to dinner somewhere new. There is very little "Let's go grab something quick" in our house. Every meal is an opportunity to try something great.

Max Brenner, Chocolate By the Bald Man, | NYC 2010

My sister-in-law lives in Atlanta. We have visited her twice before and are going back again for Memorial Day Weekend. My husband has already chosen at least three restaurants that we must sample while we're there.

Moscow Mule from Haddington's | Austin, TX 2011

I'm telling you all of this so you can see what a big role food plays in my life and in my relationship with my husband (see also: I plan events for a living. And what do people either love or loathe at most events? The FOOD!). So, since I want to blog to connect with others, and I need blog content, I thought that a big part of what I document should be where we go eat and why I like it. Usually my likes go beyond the restaurant; I like to focus on the decor, service, and all of the tiny details that create a great experience.

John Philippe Patisserie | Las Vegas, 2009 (we had truffles from here as a wedding favor. All-time FAVORITE!)

I definitely want this to go beyond pictures of food. Because really, I have instagram for that (laurenm10 if you want to follow along). And please don't call me a foodie. My palate isn't expansive enough for that. I prefer Food Enthusiast, if you're into titles.

Any favorite restaurants you want to share? Maybe we have a few of the same?!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Seven Years Ago Today...

Seven years ago this past January, I heard about a guy who thought I had a cute laugh. I worked in radio and had made friends with a listener. She gave him my radio IM screen name.

Me in my radio days! My hair was so short and I look so young. Pretty sure this is James Blunt but it could be another random songwriter of the time...

Our first conversation on AIM lasted four hours. He gave me his phone number, and I quickly gave him mine back and told him that I would never call a boy.

The next day, he called me. I was listening to the John Mayer Trio CD and he challenged me to sing it to him. I declined. We spent the better part of a week and a half talking on the phone and texting whenever we could.

By the time the 2nd weekend of our acquaintance rolled around (and after which I discovered that he went to high school with my cousin and was not a creepy serial killer), I told him we should meet. He didn’t want to, he explained, because he was in dire need of a haircut. At the time, he worked nights, slept all day, and hadn’t had time for an appointment. I told him I didn’t care and that I would be at the West Oaks Barnes and Noble studying that Saturday Night if he wanted to meet me.

He showed up (in a baseball hat) seven years ago today, with a newly-purchased Jason Mraz Live CD that he told me I needed to listen to in lieu of the traditional first-date flowers. I put my books in my car, got in his truck, and we proceeded to drive… We drove around for over an hour, just talking. We stopped for dinner at Champp’s because neither of us had a preference. The Winter Olympics were on, and I watched ice skating over his shoulder instead of making eye contact. We shared an appetizer, and he asked if he could double dip.

We got back in the car and drove and talked more. It was so comfortable, so natural. We went south on Highway 6, nearly to Galveston, before we turned around. He mentioned that he wanted to bake a cake the next day. It was the best chocolate cake he had ever tasted, he told me, and I needed to come and try it.

A cake I baked him for his 30th Birthday using THE recipe... and I added a dinosaur for flair.

The next day was Sunday. I went to his house, met his dog, and we baked a cake together. And it was a delicious cake. And after that weekend, we never went more than 48 hours without seeing one another.* And two and a half years later, we’re married. We played Jason Mraz at our wedding. We still point out the Champp’s every time we drive by it. And we still make the cake for special occasions. It’s still one of my favorites.

Jason Mraz wasn't playing - it was actually "Need a Little Christmas." In June.

 So, Happy 7th Date-iversary, Honey. Love you lots, and I still can’t believe you got me in the kitchen on our second date!

If you're married, do you still celebrate the date-iversary? We lump ours in with Valentine's Day...

*We have broken the 48-hour rule three times; when he went on a culinary school trip, when he went to visit his dad, and when I went to Chicago. But, I think that is a pretty good streak when we were not living together!

Friday, February 8, 2013

High Five for Friday: Vol. 1

It's Friiiiiday! I know this is typically done in link-up fashion, but I'm not ready for that yet, so let's just call this a practice round, okay? Here are some things I am loving right now:

1. Mumford and Sons' The Road to Red Rocks. My husband recorded the special last weekend and I normally hate watching concerts on TV but I thought this was great. I already love the songs and the added energy of a live performance makes me love this.

2. My new iPhone 5. We are an Apple house and I have wanted an iPhone since before my last smart phone but it wasn't available through my carrier at the time. Maybe my old phone was a bigger piece of junk than I want to recognize but it's been a week and I am LOVING this phone more than I thought.

3. The Grammys are on Sunday! I find things like this so much more fun now that I actively use twitter (follow me? @lauren1031). I am hoping that Mumford and Sons win for Album of the Year, the Lumineers win Best New Artist, and I am excited to see Justin Timberlake's performance.

4. The END of football season! I married a Giants fan and enjoy watching them play (nearly) every Sunday, but my husband is football obsessed (multiple fantasy teams for money) and so he devotes every Sunday to the TV. That means no brunch, no errands, and no fun for me. It's nice to get my Sundays back... at least until August.

5. Staring to Blog more. Three posts in three days... not too shabby. I will spend the weekend coming up with ideas and possibly drafting posts. Oh, and making sure to take pictures of anything I do so I can document it here. I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Name Game

Remember when kids would play the name game as a kid? You know, the song with "Fanana Fana Fo" in it? I used to hate that game, because I was Lauren Lauren Bo Borin'. Hurt my elementary aged feelings... but that is neither here nor there.

I have noticed that a lot of blogs have identity crises currently. That was one of my many commitment issues in doing this - what am I going to call the thing? A (my husband, who I vow to never call "hubs" or "hubby" - no offense, just not my thing) and I like to sing "Movin' Right Along" from the original Muppet movie and I liked the sentiment, so that is what is currently in my header.

A bear in his natural habitat... a Studebaker.

But I am neither footloose nor fancy free. I am a lot high strung and try as I might to REIGN.THAT.IN (because nobody likes a crazy B), I fail. So, it was kind of a misnomer before it began. I started thinking about things that I say a lot and ways to describe me and I think I have something.

I work in non-profit event planning for a law school. I work on everything from weekly lunch meetings to multi-day competitions to an upcoming fundraising event to book signings to commencement to staff events. My position was newly-created so I am the first one to do so many events; previously, different people handled different events. So, I had the luxury to create methods (see where I'm going...) to execute all of the things I have going on at any given time.

Fourth of July centerpieces that I made at work one summer.

I have a great group of coworkers who are willing to help me out at any time, whether I am sick, on vacation, or have multiple events in a day. I always leave them with checklists, diagrams, proposals, and the like. I don't know if my preparation always makes sense to them initially, but though their own abilities and a dash of my crazy (i.e., methods)... it all comes together in the end.

Alice and Wonderland-themed Retirement Party. Mushrooms were not my creation.

As for the things I do being called madness, well.... I am using the term loosely. No one wants to read a blog called "the methods to my usual successes but can always find room for improvements," do they?

Full-sized cupcakes. People still talk about this set-up.

So, I feel like my life is like that. Like there are all of these things in my head and often, as I try to get them out, they make little to no sense. But, so far, it has all worked out in the end. So there's a method somewhere in this mass of experiences known as my life. I hope I can provide some insight into what I do and how I got there through writing in public.I also hope I can remember how I created my header in the first place so I can attempt to create a new one!

What about you? Does everything seem crazy until it's complete? Am I the only one who is a little afraid to hit "publish" even though I only have one follower and I'm not sharing this until I'm sure I'll stick with it? Are you hungry for cupcakes now?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Commitment Issues

I want to start a blog. I do. But where do you find the time? In the 7 entries this blog has, I think I have examined that question at least two other times. But now is the time that I think I need to MAKE the time.

Yesterday I read Whitney's post at The Observant Turtle. She talked about how she moved to Houston and had to focus on making new friends because she didn't know anyone here. Completely understandable, right? Well, I am the opposite - I have lived in Houston my whole life and I am still in search of adult friends. Before I start to sound like some weirdo who can't have relationships with another human, let me give you some background on me...

No one likes a post without pictures so I am just going to use some random phone pics because this is my blog and I am pretty sure that's allowed. We were staying at the Four Seasons here and taking full advantage of the amenities.

I grew up in Houston. Moved schools and got a new friend circle in 8th grade, so bye-bye early childhood friends. During my junior year of high school, they built a new school that I was forced to attend while all of my friends stayed at the whole school. Remember high school, and how the world revolves around what is right in front of you, and how we didn't have facebook and only a few of us had cell phones? So yeah, that happened. I stayed friends with many people, but once college hit, we all went our separate ways. A few BFFs were made at the newly-built school but, long story short, I never really found a good place to fit in there.

Out on a walk with Duncan

College rolled around, and instead of going to UT, I went to UH-Downtown. Hellooooo, commuter school! I never made friends beyond study buddies there. I began working an unpaid internship in radio during my freshman year that took up a ton of time, and I made friends with other people my age who worked at the station. Those were my college buddies. A fracture happened in the group right before I met my now-husband. One girl thought I spent too much time with him, and I was basically ousted from the group (ouch). He had been in a long(ish) term relationship pre-me, so a lot of his friends were through her and therefore no longer in the picture. So we are kind of a lonely couple. Don't get me wrong, we have people in our lives, but we don't have a group that gets together regularly. And we still pretty much have "his" friends and "her" friends and not "our" friends.

Bauer - Now you have met the whole family!

So, I want to up my game. Get over my commitment-phobia of the amount of time it takes to blog. And I just want to do it. If no one reads, then it wasn't meant to be, and I still have my husband, and my "my" friends, and life will go on with our jobs and our pets and our food-centric lifestyle. But if I can find more people to share adventures with, clue you in on some good places to eat, and find a place to document what we do with our time, then even better.