Monday, September 30, 2013

my sort-of unplugged weekend

This post is going to be full of Houston food stuff, so if you are neither from Houston nor a lover of interesting food, scroll down a ways for my thoughts on being kind-of unplugged this weekend (also, what are you doing here? Kidding.)

So I attempted to be unplugged from the time I left work on Friday through the weekend. My rules to myself were pretty loose: I just wanted to get away from having my phone in my hand every free second. In the first ten minutes of the experiment, I noticed a building near my office had been painted and wondered where to look after giving the homeless guy on the corner a polite half smile while waiting at a red light. Also my friend texted me a pic of her and Zachary Levi in NYC and I wanted to check his twitter to see what he was doing there but I didn't let myself (I asked her and apparently he is starring in a play there that is great. Any other Chuck fans?). So I was missing social media already.

There's a pastry chef working in Houston who sells all of his interestingly-flavored ice creams to upscale restaurants in the area. His business is called Cloud 10 Creamery. Well, he opened a shop last week so naturally we had to be among the first to try it after work on Friday. It was fantastic. I took pictures but could not tweet them. I got a cup with cafe sua da, toasted rice, and nutella with marshmallows (my favorite was the cafe sua da); Andrew got a banana split that had nutella powder. It was a magical powder that tasted like nutella. There was also jam and magic shell in it and honestly, I just need to get it into my life again. Luckily for Bre we were texting Friday and I told her about it so she experienced it this weekend, too. I know because I still checked Instagram. I am looking for any excuse to go back and try the maple butter flavor, so Houston friends, who needs an ice cream fix? The shop was small but really cute, the soundtrack was louder top 40 songs, the staff was generous with samples, and the prices were definitely reasonable for ice cream shop ice cream.

Can you see all that awesome Nutella powder? No words...

On Saturday, I needed to get myself back on track, fitness-wise. I got to the gym just as BodyPump was about to begin. I had always been too nervous to try it but I felt like I should and have heard it was a great workout. I walked in and two really nice women helped me get out everything I would need and set up a bar for me with 5 lbs on each side since I told them I didn't lift weights regularly. It was the first day of this class (each class is done for three months before they switch it up), so songs and some of the moves were new to everyone. I made it through the class pretty well and wished I had pushed myself farther with heavier weights. Then four hours later my arms felt heavy and on Sunday, it hurt to sit down. So I would say it was an awesome workout. I will definitely try it again!

We had plans to go to dinner Saturday night at Oxheart. If you have been reading for any amount of time, then you're probably thinking "Again??" and honestly, I was too, but it isn't the #1 restaurant in Houston for nothing (read about previous trips here and here). I got the four course garden (vegetarian) menu with wine pairings and Andrew got the seven course tasting menu without wine. Our waitress is the same one who has been with us the past two times and recognizes us by now. She let Andrew try two of the wines that came with his meal at no charge. I like to think it's because we are good customers but really, I think it's because Oxheart is that great of a place. My Thai-spiced potato dish and Andrew's chicken guinea hen with crispy chicken skin and creme fraiche wrapped in squash were my favorite dishes of the night (I went into this weird laugh-almost-cry thing when I took a bite. It was so good I didn't know how to react!). We had a great time. This is the kind of restaurant where the tables are really close together and you can hear your neighbors' conversations and both tables talked about the Book of Manning special that was on ESPN last week. We of course watched it and wanted to chime in but used our manners and didn't. Pretty funny coincidence, though.

New potatoes under those leaves with Thai spices and yogurt sauce | Roasted and fried okra with pimento sauce | oyster mushroom "stew" with sauerkraut (also on tasting menu) | sourdough muffins (shared) | chocolate layer cake with pear gelee

Muscadine grapes with jelly and bay leaf | Eggplant with smoked avocado and crunchy quinoa | all you need to know is that there is three egg sauce and I would like to bathe in it | best bite: described above | pancake with beef fat served with roasted butternut squash | peach tart with frozen peach mousse

Sunday was a bum day and it was perfect. Since I was home, I gave into the temptation of social media. Preceding about 11 a.m. Sunday, I had only kept up with Instagram, mostly while brushing my teeth. I perused Twitter one night before bed, but stopped after a few minutes and didn't make myself catch up as I am normally inclined to do. I tried to make a conscious effort to skim over tweets from entities that weren't important at that moment (I had no desire to go out and catch up with any food trucks, for example, so I skipped those). And before I picked up my phone, I thought twice about it. Had I touched it in the past fifteen minutes? If yes, then I tried to do something else. I was really able to see that I use it as a crutch and I am not taking enough time in my own head. It was nice to be away, but I missed the community and interaction that comes naturally with being connected. It just makes me think twice, that's all. It was something I needed to do for me and I'm glad I did. I definitely recommend a short break if you are ever feeling the same way.

Now, how about that Breaking Bad finale? I thought it was fantastic - I like my finales all neatly tied up in the end, personally!

Linking up with Sami and Leeann!

Friday, September 27, 2013

unplugging

My brain is cloudy and I am jumping from task to task. I can't go more than a few minutes without grabbing my phone or refreshing my gmail window and seeing what's going on. I feel overwhelmed if I leave twitter alone for more than a few hours because I know it will take me at least an hour to catch up and read everything that I've "missed."

... I need to unplug.

I love love love blogging, but I find myself TOO into it. With more blog friends comes more time spent reading twitter and checking out Instagram. I am infinitely glad that I made the decision to keep blogging and facebook separate because it's one less site to check (facebook makes me bonkers... another post for another day). When Andrew and I are driving together, instead of staring out the window in moments of calm and silence, I get on my phone and use it as twitter time. And I think that contributes to the cloudy feeling. Instead of being in my own head, as I call it, I am filled with what's happening with other people. That could be anything from liking a cute cat photo to wondering why my hair never looks as good as anyone else's. (Aside - I was legit wondering this morning what used to fill my thoughts pre-blogging. Obviously I thought things, but I had no concrete answer.)

So I'm not making apologies for what I am going to do - I firmly believe that we are all entitled as humans and bloggers to have whatever schedule we want - but rather I am going to proclaim this as the weekend I unplug. Step away from the phone and the internet. Let the 30 starred emails pile up - they aren't going anywhere. And it's kind of a bummer because I am going out for a fun dinner tomorrow night but guess what? I will probably have more fun if I don't invite you guys on date night with me! (However, there will be photos taken because my husband is more hooked on that aspect than I am). And I think I will be better next week because of it. I can look around real life for inspiration. I can read blog posts without having seen the pics on twitter before and having already tweeted you my "good" comment (does this happen to anyone else?). It's different and I'm looking forward to it. And it will give me something to blog about on Monday.

Anyway, if you are still reading, thanks. This post is rambly and fueled by a cinnamon dolce latte and a very good representation of how I speak in real life. Also, I wanted to add that unplugging isn't happening during the finale of a certain show on Sunday night. I wouldn't miss tweeting about that for anything.

Snuggling with this kitty and not caring that the photo is grainy is high on my to-do list this weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

because I am going to see if The Secret works...

Were you guys big Oprah fans? I was. From the time I got my own DVR in college, I would record her show every day and catch up on it whenever possible. I didn't watch every single episode, but I had plenty. When Andrew and I moved in together, I think it was one of his least favorite things but I didn't care. I loved her! (We won't talk about OWN... it never caught my attention so I don't watch it but I'm still an O supporter, in theory).


Anyway, several years ago she talked about this book called The Secret all the time and had bunch of shows about it. I never read it because I was a broke college kid who would rather spend money on Forever 21 tops than books, but the gist I got was that you should envision yourself doing great things and you will end up living the life you envision. So today we're gonna give it a try.

Ladies, I want to hang out with Aaron Paul in L.A. this weekend.

What? You don't know who that is? Well, if you remember my love of Breaking Bad then this post will make a lot more sense. Basically Aaron Paul plays Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad and he seems like the coolest celebrity ever. His character says "bitch!" all the time, so the actor will say it to people who run into him in the airport or whatever. He is having a contest right now and the winners get to go to LA on his dime to watch the BB finale with the cast. How cool would that be? And no, this post isn't part of me trying to win - it's a random drawing - but it IS me trying to envision it happening to see if The Secret works.

Okay, so in the name of envisioning, here is how it would happen. Aaron Paul would call me himself and be all "Bitch! You're going to LA!" I already told my boss that there is a tiny likelihood of this happening so I can take a few days off work next week, easily (yes, seriously, I told her). So I would freak out because I have nothing to wear and probably tweet like a mad woman for fashion advice and end up wearing like, jeans and a t-shirt and Target shoes but whatever. Andrew and I would land in LA and be greeted by Aaron Paul and his wife, also named Lauren, and then we would go to some cool hotel like the Roosevelt. Isn't that the one that Lindsay Lohan lived in while she was having all her issues? So yeah, we would go there and order room service and hang out with Jesse Aaron and his wife. And seriously, they are the cutest married couple ever and we would probably become BFF, but let's keep the envisioning simple, shall we?

This is pretty much what it would look like, but I would encourage Andrew to dress up a little more. We'll be the four best friends that anyone could have!

Part of the prize is that you get to cook something in an RV with him, so I would want to cook something easy like mac and cheese but Andrew would make it difficult and want to make coq au vin or something ridiculous but I would go along with it so we could hang out with AP more (can I call him that, do you think?) Then we would get to go to this cemetery and watch the pilot and the finale with the cast. I would ask them all riveting questions, I'm sure. I would have to ask Dean Norris how he went from a great show to Under the Dome (bleh, that show was terrible) and RJ Mitte what he thought of ol' Miley (he used to be on Hannah Montana... why do I know this but I can't point to major countries on a map?). Mostly I would want to follow around Aaron Paul and wife Lauren because they are adorable (yes, I have stalked her Instagram to prove this, and IG doesn't lie). Oh and I would watch the finale and probably freak out and then watch all the actors watching themselves. So crazy. Then we would party all night and while we were hanging out, Andrew and I would impress everyone with our amazing food knowledge and the whole cast would promise to call us if they were ever in Texas. Yeah, that's how I would want it to end.

So, Universe, now it's up to you. I am hoping that The Secret wasn't just a load of junk and by clearly envisioning winning this contest, I am making it so. Somehow I'm doubtful, but you never know...

(Also, I am writing this post Wednesday night. Winners are chosen in a few hours, so this may be a moot point by the time you read it. Oh well, at least I tried!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

how to get kicked outta my reader

You're all pretty amazing. It seems that every blog I read, you read too, and I know because I see you commenting on them. And then I see you tweeting, liking on Instagram, and then commenting on a post from a blogger that I just found like you are already BFFs. And it is impressive. I don't know how you do it. There are tons of great bloggers out there. When I realize I'm not following more bloggers than I am following, it blows my mind that there are so many awesome posts I'm missing out on. But I feel like I read enough already. Time is of the essence and comments are a hot commodity, especially if you are a blogger who opens herself up to sponsored posts. Basically, what I'm sayin' is - you gotta earn it. I know I am just one set of eyes and completely replaceable, but here's my opinion on what gets a blog removed from my reader.

1) "Now I want you to meet my friend, _____" at the end of every post: I get it. You want to make some money. That's cool. But when the end of every post is an introduction to another blogger, I feel a little swindled. Like those paragraphs that came before solely exist to make you some money rather than to let me into your life. I understand doing it every so often, but when it feels like the post is just getting good and I see another blogger's face, I get a little less interested.

2) Referring to your significant other, pets, or friends by derogatory names: Your pet can be a jerk, I'm sure. Mine can, too. But if you constantly refer to your dog by a rude name, then I totally judge you. It's a pet and you chose to have it. Not cool. And calling your significant other something awful or constantly shaming them? NOT OKAY. Like pets, I'm sure they can be jerks too sometimes, but especially when dealing with humans, it's best to keep real problems off the internet.

3) All babies, all the time: This is probably not true for your mom-blogger friends, but I'm not one of them. I respect that you're a mom, but I like when you sometimes talk about shopping, girlfriends, TV, wine, food, yourself... anything but your baby. If the kiddo makes an appearance sometimes, I get it (and I probably like it), but if your blog turns into a scrapbook of your little one, then I no longer feel like we have much in common. It's nothing personal and should I ever become a mom, I will add you right back onto my list!

4) Posts that are too easy: Am I the only one who would rather get no post than a photo with a sentence or a youtube clip? Maybe. But too much of that and I will mark as read 'til I wonder what made me read in the first place.

5) When I leave lots of love... and get none in return: I try really hard to comment as much as I can. Not always, because who can do that? But if you never come visit me or respond to my comments with anything more than "thanks," I feel a little ignored and like our friendship is one-sided. I have made it clear that my blog is all about building relationships, and if we can't get a little something going, that's okay, but I may not check in on you every single day.

Am I harsh? Am I crazy? I feel like with work picking up, my blog time is even more limited. What gets a blog kicked out of your reader? I don't want to be TOO negative, so soon I will let you in on what gets a blog into my reader to see if we agree. To those of you commenting: thank you for being awesome and chances are, you are firmly in my reader. No worries there.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

we should go on a break

Where to shop and what to wear came up a lot this weekend while hanging out with friends at BlogElevated. I mentioned that I had this post in my drafts and was encouraged to post it, so here it is. Where are late 20-somethings supposed to shop for non-work clothes?

Dear Forever XXI,

I remember when you first opened in my mall in middle school. Your mannequins were faceless and your clothes were cheap. Though I was a far cry from 21, your prices were right and I was outgrowing Limited Too, and thus, a love affair began.

After my job at American Eagle in college ended, you and I were serious again. I could always rely on you to provide a top to wear for a night out (but not pants. Never pants. Have you ever sold pants for a girl shorter than 5'8"?). Sometimes I could even piece together a decent outfit for a presentation at school amidst the sparkles and the corsets that dominated the racks. When a brightly lit, two story Forever XXI opened up in a nearby mall (only known as XXI then), I thought that my solution for where to shop for the rest of my life was through. In your multiple stories with three sets of fitting rooms, I didn't think I would ever have a reason to go elsewhere.

But, my dear XXI (Twenty-one? ex-ex-eye? What are you really called now? It's like I barely know you!) - I think we have grown apart. I have gotten older, but you have stayed the same age (name that movie). Your tops fray at the seams and shrink in the wash. Zippers get stuck and black t-shirts are see through if I end up in a photo while wearing one (not that I have embarrassing photographic evidence...). The music is too loud and the stores are so bright and I am well beyond 21. Sure, you're good for the casual thrill if I want a trendy accessory - I am human and not beyond the call of your siren song - but I think we should break up. Or at least go on a break. I'm tired of cami straps breaking in the wash and the gold from your necklaces disappearing. I've gotten older, and it's time to spend real money on some real clothes. Clothes that aren't considered high-low, have actual linings and come in numbered sizes.

But you better believe, if I decide that I need some booties or some plaid this fall, I will come back and beg your forgiveness.

xoxo XXI,
Lauren

All dresses from Forever 21. Why oh why do I not know where else to get dresses? 
Wedding shower (ick) | Friend's graduation party (not my Louboutins... and I kind of still like this dress) | In Austin looking like I belong on a farm or something.

Monday, September 23, 2013

the weekend I spent at BlogElevated

So you guys all know that I went to the BlogElevated conference last weekend here in Houston. It was a tiring experience with lots of people to meet and things to learn! Overall, I really enjoyed it.

First, let me say that is was very well run. I know that isn't what you are looking for in a recap but there were a lot of moving parts and the organizers made it look so easy!

The conference can best be divided into Opening Reception, Day One, and Day Two. I posted my pics from the Opening Reception on Friday but I didn't post pics of my blog business cards that I picked up that night - I love them! I have no design skills, so I just used my blog header on the front and then I took six instagram pics that I feel sum me up pretty well for the back. I opened them in pixlr.com and just uploaded the image onto moo.com. I am super impressed with the quality and got lots of compliments!



I had to miss part of Day One but I arrived in time for a panel on working with brands as a blogger. There was lots of interesting info, but I didn't feel like it applied to me - I am a very tiny fish in a huge pool of awesome bloggers with thousands of followers. But I kept reminding myself all weekend that I write for me - and for  you, who have found me here and keep coming back every day and leave a comment and email me back when I respond to your comment and tweet to me and text me and are becoming my friends in real life. Would I love it if a company like Kroger agreed to like, pay for my grocery trip so I could blog about what I Andrew makes for dinner? Uh huh. And do I think that some of you might go buy a product that I recommend just because you know I love food and wouldn't steer you wrong? I kind of do. But my reach isn't that strong right now, and I know that. But there was a great emphasis on being passionate and staying true to myself and my readers and that was definitely a message that never gets old.

Lunch came right about this time and the conference organizers had worked out deals with restaurants in the development that housed the conference (City Centre) for meals and gift cards for everyone. It was really cool! I got to try Flora and Muse, which I have never been to before. I got to chat with bloggers who I kind of knew but not well (Chelsea and Whitney) and got to know them better and I met Kelly (who founded Houston Moms Blog) and her sweet baby Hadley. It was a great lunch and a fantastic idea.

Appetizers to share | Pear and Gorgonzola flat bread | Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

I next went to a session on vlogging. Holy cow! I never spend any time on YouTube. Do you? I mean I might click a link but I don't have an account or a playlist or anything. So I learned that a whole 'nother world exists over there that I know nothing about. Crazy.

One topic I was really interested in was SEO - my blog gets a good amount of traffic for dosants in Houston, the Austin 360 Amphitheater, and visiting Oxheart, so I wanted to see how I can do more of that. Basically I need to register my own domain and switch to wordpress. Noted. That just sounds like a lot of work! I also learned some tricks for SEO that I am going to use to think of content, which is fun for those days when I have no blogging ideas (which is like, three days a week...). This session was a ton of great info that I need to process, but I think it will make more sense if I ever switch to wordpress.

That night, it started pouring. A bunch of us needed a coffee break, so we went to Sweet for caffeine. Then we got ready for the dinner and dance that night! They were going to announce the winner of the Woodlands Staycation contest that I entered via this post and you had to be present to win. Wellllll the people at the Woodlands Resort are awesome and decided to give a trip to all eight people who entered! How awesome is that? So I will be having a little staycation very very soon! The rain was pretty awful that night so I left early but I hear it was a great party!

At Sweet with new friends and old friends: Amber, Sarah, Rachelle, Miranda, me, Whitney (photo stolen from Miranda's Instagram) | Me with Puffy the Pinecone from the Woodlands Resort | Me, Miranda, and Sarah (stolen from Sarah's Instagram)

Oh Day Two. Day One was intense, but I was really looking forward to the speakers on Day Two. The first session was about having a brand ambassadorship - again, I had to ask myself what I was doing wrong for that not to even be on the horizon for me. I was in a room full of people paying rapt attention (and the speaker was fabulous!) but it was a feeling of "this doesn't apply to me." Does that make sense? Like I was listening to an amazing lecture on biology but I don't want to be a biologist, I want to plan events. There was tons of great info, but I'm just not there yet and I'm not sure how to get there or if I ever will. When you hear that you need 1000 twitter followers and at least 100 blog followers, you know it's true but it just emphasizes that brands aren't looking at you yet. But, I learned about a lot of cool tools for getting noticed and again, there was a huge emphasis on being yourself. And I am the best me I've ever seen. So there's that.

The second session I went to blew my mind. The speaker went over a ton of social media tools that I didn't know existed. I would share them with you but I haven't processed them yet. They are intimidating because they may either save me tons of social media time or cause me to spend more time on the internet - I am excited to see which is the case. After that I went to a session on Google Analytics - bottom line is I need to play with it more. A bunch of us had a fun lunch after that at Grub Burger Bar. YUM.

Darby, Bre, and me | Selfie with Bree (stolen from her Instagram)

The afternoon is when I started to really get tired. I had a long week at work and my brain was filled with tons of info! But, I wanted to get all I could out of the conference and I hate feeling like I missed out! I went to a session on Google Plus that changed my opinion of that site completely. I really want to get into it more. I know a few of you have me in your circles. Do you use it often? Do you like it? Teach me where to start! The final session was by Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.com. I knew her name because I'm a huge fan of The Bloggess and I just had a feeling that whatever kool-aid she was selling I was going to buy. It was like a friend of my friend is my friend (clearly I am not actually friends with The Bloggess but after reading her blog for several years and her book I feel like I "know" her and that she wouldn't be friends with anyone who wasn't completely amazing).

So basically, this was the presentation I had been waiting for. I learned so much at this conference, don't get me wrong, but a part of me questioned myself. That's just my personality - always a tiny bit insecure. I felt like I was wrong for not making money from my blog and not taking every opportunity and for frankly, almost not caring that I wasn't seizing all the opportunities because blogging as a business is HARD! And basically Karen (can I call her that?) got up there and said that her talk wasn't about getting followers - it was about community. Boom. That was the message I needed. That I need to have a purpose for my blog, that I set the tone, and that I will get back what I put out. I love that I have people who I can expect to hear from at least weekly via my blog. I love that I see you all commenting to and tweeting with one another now (not necessarily because of me, obviously) and it feels like we are all in this together. I feel like we are our own little club, and really the more the merrier, but if we can just claim each other as our own then we are doing pretty well. Community. I think I'm doing it right. If I never make a penny off of the internet, then I will still feel successful as a blogger. And that is what I wanted to get out blogging. It just took a really great talk to remind me of that.

As far as networking, I don't think I did so well. I met a lot of bloggers but didn't always exchange info. I got to spend a ton of time with bloggers I've only met once or twice and kind of realized that I am really good at knowing Houston bloggers. If we met this weekend, please say hi. If you attended this weekend, say hi so that I can read your thoughts on the conference. And if I knew you before this weekend and I didn't find a pic online of us to steal, I am super sad! I still have so much to review and process but honestly, the last thing I wanted to do on Sunday was blog! Instead I enjoyed the beautiful fall-ish weather and decorated the house, went to breakfast, watched the Giants lose, the Emmys, and Breaking Bad (O-M-G!!!), and just generally hung out. Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Linking up with Sami and Leeann!

Friday, September 20, 2013

five on this fabulous friday

Today I'm busy learning lots of stuff about blogging but it has been a great week. Surely I can find five things to celebrate, right?

1) Mumford and Sons on Tuesday. Completely amazing. I can't believe there was no Babel or Hopeless Wanderer and the woman behind me would not stop singing loudly and off-key, but the experience was great. Nothing beats the experience of seeing them in Austin but Andrew and I both agreed this was money well spent. I say next tour, we go see them at Red Rocks or somewhere just as cool.



2) This Walter White latte art. It might be fake but like Icona Pop, I don't care - I love it. I could talk about this show's amazingness forever and I probably will after the finale (only two more episodes!). I would love to see Heisenberg in my coffee is all I'm saying.



3) I am obsessed with the Top 100 Restaurants in Houston list and I scratched another off my list on Thursday - Cafe TH on the outskirts of downtown. Super cheap and yummy. $6 for a bahn mi, coffee, tax, and tip? I will take that deal any day.

4) I'm also recently hooked on Foursquare. Anyone else on it? I want to become the mayor of something, haha.

5) The BlogElevated opening reception and swag bag was pretty cool. I got to hang out with ladies I already knew and meet a few more. Hopefully I will get to know even more the next few days! All my thoughts will come next week, to be sure!

Miranda, Rachelle, me, Nini Kat | Jazz Hands, obviously | Bre and Me

This weekend is going to be a tiring one but great for sure! I hope my fantasy football team wins, the Giants win, and my house magically cleans itself while I'm gone. I can hope, right?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

best of me

Tonight the Blog Elevated Conference kicks off. I'm hoping that I meet lots of new bloggers who decide to click on over here for their first time. I started thinking about what I want them to get as their first impression of me and here's what I came up with:

I often think it's more fun to go against the crowd than with it.
I am fiercely loyal to people, things, and ideas that I love.
I often speak and write in run-on sentences but I have a good grasp of grammar, I promise.
Food - from ordering it for work to trying new restaurants to photographing pretty plates - plays a huge role in my life.
I'm not good at keeping my opinions to myself, good or bad.
I try to be the same on my blog as I am in real life: open, a little silly, sometimes sarcastic, and always with something to say.

Every post needs a picture so you get one of my fat kitty and me.

Since I've been blogging for over six months, I actually have some posts to choose from as favorites. I will add them to my About Me page soon, but for now, they can just live here. 

Love and Marriage: How We Met and Our Proposal

Several posts are pretty old, but there are a few from when I was super brand new that I still like!

Is there something that you always look for when getting to know a blog for the first time? Is there something that immediately draws you to a blog? I am partial to Houstonians and cat ladies, personally...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

a letter to my possible future child

I don't know if I will ever become a mother to a human child and this is definitely not an announcement, but when I saw that Sarah was hosting a link-up to write a letter to your future child, I wanted to write one. I have to admit that Andrew and I are "those people" who are childless and tend to get a teensy bit judgey when we are out and see a child doing something that we swear we will never do. I know, it all changes when the kid is yours. But allow me this letter to make some proclamations in a mostly non-serious way and if I ever do have a human child, you can all go back to this post and tell me how wrong I was. Sound fair?

Imagine a baby that looks like these two kiddos combined. Also, I still adore this pic of Andrew and yes, I pretty much look the same now as I did when I was two.

Dear Traditionally-Named Baby M,

Hi. Welcome to our house. If we are lucky, you will come out of the womb mostly potty-trained and with a sense of humor matching that of your mom and dad. There will be no lullabies for you; no, you will be raised with a strict musical repertoire including but not limited to The Beatles, the Lumineers, and maybe a few Blink 182 songs that don't include bad language if Daddy gets his way (and some crappy pop music if Mommy gets hers). Regardless of if you are a boy or girl, your favorite color will be Giants blue and you won't even know that any other football team exists, especially that damn Dallas team. Oh, and you better get some teeth early because you will have to be dad's chief brisket taster early on. Mama is tired of red meat.

Little baby, your dad already swears that you won't know what chicken nuggets are. He has already vowed that he will tell you that only bad kids get to eat at McDonald's. Same with those racecar carts in the grocery store - he is going to tell you that those are used for punishment. I'm going to let him because I'm not a fan of either. What will you get from me? A fondness for naps and cupcakes, first and foremost. You will rarely meet a dessert you don't like, unless it's tres leches. Who likes soggy cake? Not us.

You will surely have pale complexion for someone with your Latin last name and spend your life explaining to people that you are a quarter Mexican, a quarter Puerto Rican, and half "white," whatever that means anymore. If you are a girl you will have long hair and if you are a boy, you will go to the same hair lady that your dad and grandpa have gone to for the past 20 years and probably have a haircut similar to theirs. Mom will instill in you a love of reading Harry Potter and Dad will want you to be a baseball player - mostly if you're a boy, though he wouldn't oppose a softball player if you're a girl. Hopefully you'll have your mom's ability to stay slightly cooler under pressure but your dad's quick wit and amazing memory.

Kid, you will have no choice but to love pop culture. We will watch Sesame Street, but only the segments with celebrities. You'll think that SportsCenter and HGTV were made for kids and go to sleep with articles from Entertainment Weekly dancing in your head. But we will teach you to think and talk about these things and be a constant source of entertainment for us. Mostly, we would hope that you are happy, healthy, and a fun addition to our family. Your four-legged brothers are already pretty awesome, so there are some pretty high standards waiting for you.

xoxo.

So, what would you say in a letter to your potential future kid?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

a brief history of me

I saw that Robin and Ashley (and probably a few others who I am forgetting) recently did this post looking at their histories and I wanted to take a look at my history, too. I have an awful memory so this was pretty tough for me!

Ten years ago...

  • I was 18 and started College.
  • I had my first "real" boyfriend and subsequent first "real" breakup.
  • I spent my birthday watching Waiting to Exhale at a friend's house which took our high school friendship into the college years.
  • I got my first job at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
  • I finally started driving regularly (I hated and still hate driving and waited to get my license, mostly by choice!)


Eight years ago...

  • I was 20 and still working on my degree full-time.
  • I worked in radio and got to meet celebrities.
  • I spent my nights and weekends with radio friends going to clubs and being young and carefree.
  • I worked as a nanny for a short time for kids who were 14 and 16... awkward!
  • I was in a long distance relationship that didn't work out.
Just hanging out with Hootie and the Blowfish at work one day, no big deal haha. Which one did Monica on Friends make out with, do ya think?



Five years ago...

  • I was 23 and done with school!
  • Andrew and I got engaged that year! (story here)
  • I had my first big girl job, which I absolutely hated.
  • We adopted Bauer.
  • I channelled all my extra energy into wedding planning.


Three years ago...

  • I was 25.
  • I got married and went on a honeymoon that left the both of us incredibly sick.
  • We went to three whirlwind weddings in three months in three cities and I got to experience NYC for the first time.
  • I took care of my extremely sick husband after his appendix burst... six months after our wedding!
  • My father-in-law moved in with us while we were still newlyweds... and stayed for six months.
In Brooklyn


Two years ago...

  • I was 26.
  • We lost one of our dogs (sad story here).
  • We celebrated our first anniversary by visiting tons of wineries in Texas.
  • I traded in the car that got me through college for one that is supposed to get me through the rest of my 20s and beyond.
  • I spent my first Christmas away from "home" visiting my father-in-law in Delaware.
Texas can be pretty too!


So far, this year...

  • I spent most of the year being 28 (my birthday is next month).
  • I got to attend my first professional development conference in Chicago.
  • I travelled to the US Supreme Court for work and made the most of my time in DC.
  • I started blogging and met so many great ladies!
  • We looked seriously into putting our house on the market

Some years were hard to remember and I could have written a novel on others (2008 and 2010 were good, especially!) What's your history like?

Monday, September 16, 2013

weekend of simple pleasures

Sometimes a good real life doesn't equal a good blog life. Things have been pretty good lately but naps and rest and watching Friends reruns don't really make for a good blog post. That said, this weekend was good and this recap will be short.

The Bronze Age, Just Picked (my favorite!), and Mallrat | Fat Cat Creamery Ice Cream | Mozzarella | Bleu | Bauer was not loving the exam table

Friday we tried to make a dent in the Houston Chronicle's Top 100 Restaurants of 2013 list. Last year when the list came out, I had been to 16 restaurants. This year, I have been to 35, so definitely an improvement. We went to Chinatown to have beignets for dinner, but the place was cash only, we had none, and traffic was too terrible to go get some and go back. Sad trombone. No beignets for me.

We ended up going to see The Spectacular Now. I thought it was pretty cute. It's not a guy movie at all. But, there was craft beer and frozen sangria so the night wasn't all bad.

Saturday was Bauer's vet appointment. My vet told me a lot about how the act of giving cats shots can cause tumors (whether it's an immunization or just saline solution) so his lump is something to watch but not something to worry about now. So I won't. It was likely due to the steroid shot he had a few weeks ago (he has asthma...) Thank you all for your reassurances and for caring about my kitty!

I got a haircut on Saturday afternoon. I have been trying to grow my hair out and I was doing so well, but I think she cut more than she needed to! I tried a new place that has been highly recommended. I pre-paid for the haircut when I made my appointment online. Well, when she finished my cut and I went to check out, I was told there would be an additional $20 fee for getting my hair blow-dried and because it was longer and thicker than usual Um, what? No. So I asked to speak with a manager, she said there was a miscommunication, and they sent me on my way. Lesson learned, it never hurts to be a pain and ask what happened. You may save yourself $20.

Dinner Saturday night was kind of the star of the weekend. Andrew made pizzas - one with roasted potatoes, bleu cheese, and basil and another with mozzarella, proscuitto, and butternut squash. YUM. We ate that and some locally made ice cream while we watched The Five Year Engagement. I thought it was cute but very long.

Sunday was errand running and watching football at the gym. I finally went and checked out Wet and Wild nail polish that Joey highly recommended and I love it so far! You can't beat $2 a bottle. Also my fantasy football team isn't sucking nearly as bad this week and I just might win!

Do you ever feel like you surround yourself with too much noise? That's how I felt late last week, like I just needed a break from email and to take it easy. So I didn't blog on Friday. And I learned that the world didn't end and that all of your lives went on just fine without me, and hopefully we are still blog friends. It was nice and I highly recommend it. I really love blogging, but a day away here and there is great, too!

Linking up with Sami and Leeann!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

why I need a staycation

I really can’t and shouldn’t complain. My life is pretty good. My husband and I both have jobs, we have a home, and us and our pets are happy and healthy. But, who among us wouldn’t love to get away from the monotony of daily life for a little pick me up every now and then?

Our summer vacation plans didn’t really go as I had hoped. We did to go Atlanta for Memorial Day, and that was fun. We planned to celebrate our anniversary in Austin with Mumford and Sons and spend some time at a resort, but our stupid AC unit had to die, cutting our trip short. I could have been basking in the sun (or under an umbrella, I don’t need any more freckles!) and sipping a fruity cocktail, but instead I was in my 90+ degree home with the AC repairmen. I am grateful we got the problem fixed, but it was definitely not perfect timing! Or an expense I wanted to see. Do you know how much air conditioners cost? If you don’t, you don’t want to know. I could buy a small, used car with that much money! So that kind of thwarted any expensive fun we were going to have in July.

In August, a coworker asked if Andrew and I wanted to go to Las Vegas with her and her boyfriend and stay in her parents’ timeshare. Even though the boys had never met, we said yes! I was so excited. I created an itinerary… and then her mom was unable to secure a two bedroom room. Cue the sad trombone. We decided that it was best not to spend money on a vacation right now, especially since we are looking to move. Oh yeah, and we did have that little vacation from reality called the two week flooring debacle in which we confined our activities to one bedroom and ate out for every meal, but that wasn’t the break from real life that I was hoping for!

But, it may not be too late for me to get a break that I wanted! We love us a good staycation. You can read about a fun one we had in downtown Houston here. When I learned that The Woodlands Resort was offering a staycation to one attendee of BlogElevated, I had to get on board and try to win it for Andrew and me. The Woodlands is a northern suburb of Houston. It houses the amphitheater where all the big concerts are (going to see Mumford and Sons there on September 17th, woo hoo!). It has a cute Town Square with some of my favorite shops – I actually spent my birthday there one year. Oh, and I have been dying to try Jasper's, but I know if we go, there would be wine involved and one of us would not be able to enjoy it because the Woodlands is about 40 miles from Katy (!!! Houston is big, y’all!). If I won a staycation, I would probably save it to use for my birthday weekend, which would be in late October. But, their pool looks amazing so I mayyyy have to use it sooner rather than later to take advantage. I mean, hello, pretty!

All photos from The Woodlands Resort

If we were to go in the fall, at least there are s’mores. Outta my way, kids. I’m bigger than you are and I need my chocolate fix.



So basically, what I’m saying is that the summer was kind of lame and I could use and would fully take advantage of a staycation in The Woodlands. It is hands down the prettiest part of Houston and definitely an area to have fun in. Wish me luck!

So cozy! Wish I were there now!

some sunshine

You know I love me a questionnaire, especially when it makes for an easy blog post. I stumbled across Cait's blog, realized she lives in my parents' neighborhood (only twenty minutes away), and basically decided that once her wedding planning and nursing school life settles down, we are going to be west side of Houston BFFs. Oh, but I didn't tell her that last part. Surprise! Earlier this week, I got an email from her that she nominated me for a Sunshine Award meant for the bloggers whose posts brighten your day - how sweet! So now I will proceed to play along.


The Rules
1. Include the award logo in your post.
2. Link to the person who nominated you.
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link the nominees to your post and notify them!

Cait's Questions for Me


1. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
On a good day, Bauer hears my alarm and jumps in bed to snuggle until the second alarm goes off. Otherwise I doze or check twitter. I like to see if there was any breaking news overnight!


2. What is the 3rd picture on your phone? Share it!
I am going to the third pic I ever took with this phone, which happens to be latte art, probably from Blacksmith. Who's surprised?



3. What TV show are you most excited about returning this fall?
NEW GIRL! It's back on Tuesday. I have so missed Schmidt this summer! Do you watch it? Can we quote it together?

If you know exactly how he pronounced "youths" here then we can officially be friends.

4. What is something really popular that you secretly (or not so secretly) loathe?
Pumpkin spice lattes! I think they're gross. Beer. College football. Many things.

5. Do you have any pets? Tell us about them! Bonus points for pictures.
You all know about Baby Bauer and Duncan the Dog by now and if you don't, then this must be your first visit here. Nice to meet you! My cat makes me happier than he should and my dog thinks he's a lap dog but he's 75 lbs.

Random pics of them already on the computer so you've probably already seen them.

6. If you could put together one outfit that represents you perfectly, what would it be?
A black t-shirt, skinny jeans, and my Target faux-Toms. Maybe a cardigan for good measure. Oh, and some Kendra Scott Elles. Still not over those. I have four black t-shirts at least and I suck at fashion, so this is pretty much me.

7. What is your favorite adult beverage?
Sweet white wine or anything frozen - margarita, bellini, screwdriver, sangria. All good!

You mean you don't have enough pics of frozen drinks on your phone to create a collage? Oh.

8. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Crappy pop music. I jam to Miley Cyrus and One Direction in the car. I worked at a tween store and have a selection of Jonas Brothers songs that I like to listen to when the mood strikes. And my inner, angsty tween can't get enough T-Swift.

9. What are 3 positive words to describe you?
Friendly, silly, loyal

10. How excited are you to be nominated?
Super excited, obviously.



My Questions:
1) What's currently on your want-list for your next gift-receiving holiday?
2) Suggest a blog for me to read that I may not have read before.
3) What's the most wrong opinion of you that someone has ever had?
4) Tell me about a time you laughed and couldn't stop.
5) Favorite TV show of all time?
6) Starting with the oldest picture on your phone, what is the 10th photo you have saved?
7) What was your first AIM screen name?
8) What's something that you wish would go away?
9) You're in a terrible mood. What song would you play to change that?
10) What is your favorite post you have ever written? I want to visit it.

Nominating people is hard. I don't want to leave anyone out! Pretty much if you get a comment from me pretty regularly, then your posts brighten my day - and if you don't get a comment from me, I probably don't know you're following along, so say hi. I'm gonna keep it easy and nominate the ladies on my sidebar - Ashley, Rachelle, Heidi, and Sara - as well as a few bloggers who are way too quiet lately - Catherine from Life in the Big State of Texas and Amy from Pumpkin and Pi. Y'all need to post more so that my day can be even brighter! Oh, and Mandy because she is my only IRL friend turned blog friend. That's seven and I'm a rebel so that's it.

And if anyone wants to answer any of the questions in the comments, I would love to hear it. Especially your AIM screen name! Mine was Ducky9999 since I loved rubber ducks at the time. I was so cool. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

gratitude

Bloggers like to post about the fall so I am pretty sure they will also be all about gratitude and thankfulness once November hits. Since I like to be ahead of the trends, I am going to have a gratitude post in September. Also, every Wednesday when I see Steph's Insta-Gratitude link-up, I get mad at myself for forgetting to participate. I think you're supposed to have IG pics to go with all, but I failed at that part.

Currently grateful for:

HH #1 with Rachelle doing her trademark face | HH #2, which was also the work event | Sweet kitty | That's who I am going to see in concert... you may recognize him from this post.

:: Sweet words of encouragement about my dear kitty. I will definitely keep you guys posted, whether you like it or not!

:: Moments of feeling really good at my job. I get paid to make sure things run smoothly and people have a nice time and when it all works, it's worth it.

:: My $4 grocery store pink roses that still look awesome and the fact that I don't have to give a second thought to throwing a $4 unnecessary item into my cart.

:: A super exciting week next week. A concert, a conference, and meeting new people!

:: I am starting to *gasp* not hate working out. I didn't say I like it, but I don't detest it.

:: Two nights of happy hours in a row (NOT the norm for me, at all!)

:: I am just having such a nice week, y'all. Work is busy and I didn't see my husband at all Monday and traffic is horrendous but I just feel like things in life are so much better because I have so many great people. Total cheesefest, I know! Emails, texts, tweets, plan-making, and most all of it with blog friends turned IRL friends. Even on days I don't think I have anything to say, I want to come to this daunting, blank page and put something out there just to "check in." To make the effort. Because on days I don't blog, I feel like I'm missing my friends. Anyone else, or have I just lost it?

I hope you're having a great week so far and that you have lots to be grateful for today!

Insert Classy Here - Gratitude

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

my non-bucket list

A lot of you guys have goals. And goals are great! But I'm not so good with the longterm, so Bucket Lists aren't really for me. Recently I saw an article about a non-bucket list... things people would never do. And I am much more likely to not participate than I am to participate, so a non-bucket list is something I can totally get on board with.


- Get a tattoo. I have nothing against tattoos. My husband has one, my step-sister has lots, hell, you probably have one too. But not me. Combine my fear of pain with my indecisiveness and I can pretty much guarantee that I will never end up getting "inked," as they call it.

- Go Bungee Jumping: What if the cord snaps? I'm just saying, that would be my luck, and that is not the way I want to go.

- Ride in a Charity Bike Ride: These are awesome and look like so much fun. However, I learned to ride a bike at the ripe old age of 12 and never completely mastered it. I once ran my bike into a 12 year old walking down the sidewalk... and I was like, 25. So a lengthy distance isn't for me, unless my fellow riders don't mind being run into.

- Start a Charity: This is such a noble cause, but do you know how much red tape is involved? I am working on a charity event right now and it's just plain hard. I'm perfectly content to donate to already existing charities, thanks.

- Scuba Diving: My lack of athleticism is making this list really easy for me. I am an awful swimmer and the mask freaks me out so I just don't think this is something I need to do. I mean it looks cool but I would probably wuss out.

- Cook an entire holiday meal: We all know that I don't belong in the kitchen. While I'm not opposed to, say, baking a pie from scratch, I think an entire turkey plus sides and dessert would put me over the edge. It's better for my sanity that I not attempt this one.

- Attend the Running of the Bulls: Bulls are big, and they make sure to piss them off before the annual running of the bulls in Spain. Now, I would never, ever run with the bulls, but I wouldn't care to be a spectator, either. It would be my luck to somehow get gored by one. Just watching this go down on TV is all the entertainment I need.

- Give up bad words: I try to keep it pretty PG on the internet, but in real life I can let the trucker words fly. And I don't think I will ever swear to stop. It doesn't hurt anyone, and sometimes other words just aren't expressive enough.

There it is. Some things i don't think you'll ever catch me doing. What's on your non-bucket list?

Monday, September 9, 2013

a surprise and a scare

It's weekend recap time, but I'm trying to watch the Giants game while I blog, so I'll keep this one short.

On Friday, I picked up the cat to make him sit with me like I always do. I felt a noticeable lump behind his shoulder blade and told Andrew. I was freaking out but trying not to and luckily, he started googling and was able to tell me that it was probably nothing to worry about. I tweeted about it and sweet Joey texted me to say the same thing. I called the vet Saturday morning and was told yet again that it is likely noting to worry about. Bauer already has an appointment next Saturday, so we will get it checked then. But for about ten minutes, there was panic. Crazy how much we love our pets, right?

I also got a nice surprise on Friday. The doorbell rang; it was UPS. I didn't pay attention to the package because I assumed it was just the Giants baseball hat Andrew had ordered. He opened the box and I saw a flicker of a very distinct blue. Last weekend, I confessed to him that I had lost my favorite Tiffany bow necklace that he gave me for Christmas when we were still dating. I like to joke that I knew how cute bows were before Kate Spade did. I realized it was missing in the spring, but with my track record of being a mess, I didn't really want to tell him, and I have enough jewelry that he never noticed. Last weekend after thoroughly cleaning out my jewelry box, I was convinced it was gone for good. Well, he ordered me a new one. I didn't realize how much I missed it but now I am so, so happy it's back!

Saturday was pretty uneventful - I had a good day at the gym, went grocery shopping, and had dinner at my favorite Thai place, Vieng Thai. That place is so kitschy (disco ball, rope lights, feels like an old person's house) that it makes for an even more entertaining night.

On Sunday, football came back. My fantasy football team really let me down! DirecTV also hugely failed with their football on your phone promotion - nothing about their website worked. You have to laugh when someone's marketing is so effective that they can't fulfill their promise.

I was too excited about my present to photograph it before opening so here it is with one of the pretty pink roses I had to have this week |  Andrew is making BBQ for something at his work and Bauer was really into it. It was pretty cute.

This week and next week feel so jam-packed and I'm ready for it. How was your weekend?

Linking up with Sami and Leeann!

Friday, September 6, 2013

i heart hou*

*not a typo. Say it aloud. I like it.

I am a huge fan of my city. In fact, if you rant about your hatred of Houston, I almost take it personally. Does the traffic suck? Absolutely. Would I rather have straight, pretty hair instead of a frizzy mess? Uh-huh. But do we have the best medical center in the country, an amazing, up-and-coming food scene, lots of jobs, and a low cost of living? Yes to all. So while I gripe about the traffic with the best of them, Houston is pretty great. I'm fortunate enough to be attending the BlogElevated conference right here in my city and I'm excited to welcome so many people here who may not have had a reason to visit before. I know the conference will keep us all pretty busy, but hopefully on your way into or out of town, you'll have time to visit one of the places I list below (and if you're coming to Houston for any other reason, this list is a good place to start planning your trip!).

Houston sign | an art car | Funnel Tunnel | President Heads |  Underbelly, yum | Inside OKRA

1) Pappasito's - There once was a family called Pappas who went and opened a bunch of pretty good restaurants. Pappasito's is my favorite. It's right by the venue for the conference, so skip the Tex-Mex place in the center and get yourself here for fajitas and margaritas. The plates sizzle and the margaritas are usually strong. It's loud and crowded and a real Houston experience. Everyone I know who has visited Houston or had to leave and come back for a visit has this on their must-list.

2) Underbelly/Provisions - Two of Houston's buzziest restaurants by far. Both cater to people who love food. I have never had a bad meal at Underbelly (some thoughts here) whereas Provisions has been a little more hit or miss but the cocktails are amazing (mostly hit - I am already planning to have my birthday dinner there!). Go to Underbelly if you want a ridiculously good food experience, but head to Provisions with your new conference friends to enjoy some yummy cocktails.

3) Check out a Museum - The Houston Museum of Natural Science is so fun. I love the butterfly exhibit. There are also tons of free museums if you have lots of time to kill. Bonus: If you go to the Menil Collection or are near the Museum of Fine Arts, there are usually food trucks in close proximity!

4) Drinks at Anvil. Or OKRA. Or Hay Merchant - If you have going out time, please go check out a cool bar. There are so many! Anvil doesn't believe in vodka, OKRA gives its proceeds to charity, and Hay Merchant has loads of beer on cask and on tap and a great food menu.

5) See the artistic side - I am in love with the Houston sculpture on I-10. There are also president's heads on the same freeway. There's a new tunnel thingy on a median. There's an entire museum dedicated to art cars, which are pretty much my favorite things ever. Basically, just get out and do something and you are bound to find something really cool to see.

This just scratches the surface of things to do in Houston. Have more time? Check out the Galleria. Sticking close to the conference? Ooh La La is one of my favorite cupcake places in the area. And you know that I am borderline obsessed with coffee from Blacksmith. No one paid me or asked me to write this post; I just really love my city and I want to give you reason to love it, too.

What's your favorite thing about your city? Any parts of your visit that I can help you plan? I have about a million more restaurant recommendations.

Linking up with Lauren and these ladies! Have a great weekend!

Venus Trapped in MarsTHE GOOD LIFE BLOG

             

Thursday, September 5, 2013

a few thursday thoughts

Lots has been on my mind lately; things longer than a tweet but shorter than a blog post. So, inspired by Steph, I think some Thursday Thoughts are in order.

:: Facetime. Am I the only one who finds it strangely intrusive? It's like coming to my house, unannounced. You can text me and ask if we can facetime, but if you just do it, I will decline every time. You don't want me to put the phone in my lap as I drive so you can see up my nose or for me to answer at the gym, do you? Also, it is my dad that I am constantly declining. Daughter of the Year, right here.

:: Big things happening in the world, y'all. I don't like to get too political as a whole so allow me this brief second and if you're only going to read one thought from me today, read this one. I remember in school learning about the Holocaust and wondering why other countries did nothing and said nothing about it. The answer I got is that people didn't realize what was going on. With the exception of North Korea, we get a pretty damn good look at the rest of the world in this day and age. And some terrible, awful stuff is happening in Syria. I admit to being ignorant to world news so I had no idea what the whole story was. This article really gave me the basics and it's worth your time. As for what the U.S. should or shouldn't do? I personally am glad that I'm not a member of Congress who has to decide. Just be informed.

:: I am newly hooked on Chobani Flips and they went and recalled them pulled them off of store shelves this week. Tears. Carly and I (fine, mostly me) are so upset we've been emailing. Does anyone need to join our support group?

:: Are you shopping with ebates? If you online shop and you have not signed up, you will want to kick yourself. If you use this link I will get a referral credit and I promise to buy myself something nice to blog about. Basically it tells you all the coupons that are out there for where ever you want to buy and you get cash back on stuff you're already buying. Win-win. Also, this week when I realized that Travelocity and Expedia are on there, I had to kick myself because I never thought to use ebates for that. UGH.

:: Football season starts tonight. I'm kind of excited, especially because I'm playing Fantasy Football this year. But I'm kind of annoyed that the Giants play the Cowboys on Sunday at the same time Breaking Bad is on. Don't they know I can't watch two things at once? I vote for BB, Andrew of course votes for football, so it will be a late night on Sunday. Also, let's see how excited I am at about week six...

That's enough thoughts. Since every post needs a picture, I will leave you with one of Bauer because he is the cutest tiger striped baby I've ever seen.

Why yes, he does crawl in bed next to me when my alarm goes off and snuggles until I wake up to pet him.