Friday, December 20, 2013

last five on friday of 2013!

Knowing that I have two glorious weeks off has made this week crawl by, even though it was filled with work parties - seriously, I haven't bought my own lunch once! I think it's totally appropriate to wrap up my week, and even a little bit of the year, with five things today.

I love when the sky goes from blue to orange and I didn't take many pics this week so this is what you get.

1) I had a serious case of the blues this week - anyone else? My work life is always busy in December with the opportunity to work late and make extra money and planning graduation and the staff holiday party. Family life was in full swing with my nieces visiting for Christmas extra early and Andrew's dad coming to town. That, on top of gift-buying just had me in a terrible mood for about four days (and also caused blog silence - if you noticed, it wasn't you, it was me). I am an awful gift-buyer because I hate to get you only what you asked for and I hate to get things that I think are boring. Christmas shopping stresses me out every year. Luckily, the blues are gone, the shopping is mostly under control, and I think I can finally start to enjoy the Christmas season... well, what little is left of it! (This also happens every year and has me super sad when it's time to take down the decorations...)

2) Speaking of holiday parties, they have all been great. I may at times get frustrated with things at work but the holiday season brings out so many good traits in people that often get overlooked in the day-to-day. On Monday, my suite had a party with a white elephant gift exchange. The gift I brought was stolen a few times and I stole a gift from the Executive Vice President - a two gallon mason jar for serving drinks at parties. It's cute. Tuesday was the all staff party at Lucky Strike, which is a nice bowling alley/bar. We had Wii, Kinect, and pool on top of bowling and though a few people complained, most of the feedback was great! Wednesday was lunch with one of the deans who always asks us to bring items to donate to a nearby shelter instead of exchanging gifts while he takes us to a nice lunch and gives us a gift. It is so far beyond what anyone expects of him, plus we all get to leave feeling like we helped someone else.

Thursday was lunch with my boss and her other employee - the three of us are the only non-deans in our suite. We went to Haven, another restaurant on the Top 100 in Houston list. I had never been before but I loved it! I peeked at the inside and it was beautiful, but we sat outside and enjoyed Houston's current winter temps in the high 60s. I had chicken confit with bacon spaetzle (a mix between pasta and dumplings) and crispy brussel sprouts - the brussel sprouts were the best part! My boss insisted we get dessert so I had the chocolate ice box pie. While it was nothing amazing, I definitely want to go here again. My boss got coffee and I said "Oooh, I love French press" to which the waiter responded "We're in Texas. That's a freedom press." I thought it was funny and I will be calling it that from now on.

My meal. Yes the photo is wonky but my coworkers don't know about my blog and my need to get a perfect pic would have caused too many questions.

3) I am definitely looking forward to the next two weeks. This weekend, Andrew and I are making marshmallows to give as gifts to my family. On Monday we are having Christmas with my dad. We are going to wake up and have Christmas Morning together on Christmas Eve since we are flying into Baltimore to drive to Delaware to see his dad on Christmas Day. We'll be in Delaware for a few days, then drive to New Jersey to spend our days in New York City. I'm looking forward to a change of scenery, yummy meals, and real, cold weather at Christmastime!

4) Since it's Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth) (name the movie!) can we speak for a minute about how great starting to blog has been for me in 2013? Really, I am out of words to describe how great this community is. How I scroll back on twitter as far as my phone will let me so I can see what I missed with you guys during the day. How new comments never get old, how new readers make me so happy, and how good posts I read keep me thinking all day, or longer. Gchatting has become a new hobby, blog friends are now real friends, and it just makes me.... happy. So thanks to all of you who have stopped by, said hi, had email conversations with me, tweeted me back, whatever. Let's keep it up next year!

5) And, since I think it's kind of an unwritten thing that the blog world will be quiet til the new year, I am going to do what many of my blog friends have done and leave you with some of my favorite posts from the past to give you poor souls stuck at work next week something to read...


So, friends, let's stay in touch via twitter and instagram. What is this snapchat thing - do I need that, too? Two weeks feels like a long time to be away but I know it will fly by. I hope you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and the chance to relax and spend time with family. Or away from family, if that's what you need. Cheers to 2014!

                                                         THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

best bites of 2013... so far

Does it surprise anyone that my sweet husband suggested that I compile a list of my best bites of 2013 for the blog? Does it surprise you that he suggested it in August? Needless to say, I have been anticipating this post for a while and I think it's perfect for today's linkup. A little disclaimer, though: I am going to NYC before the end of the year so a few things may get removed in favor of things I try there. Actually, if nothing I have there makes the list, I will be pretty disappointed.

So here, in chronological order to the best of my memory are my best bites of 2013. Many of them are common enough dishes, but these showed me how great these dishes could be. Of course, everything is subjective and I could most definitely change my mind about any of it if you ask me tomorrow.



1) Bread plate with Anchovy Spread at Balena in Chicago: We went to Balena because its pastry chef was on Top Chef: Just Desserts and is from my suburb. The entire meal was delicious, but the standout was the anchovy spread that came with the elaborate bread plate (I believe there were five types of bread and three spreads). Neither of us typically like anchovies, but this was beyond amazing, to the point that we were eating it from the dish with a spoon to get every last bite. Salty, creamy, and rich, yum.

2) Coffee Ice Cream with Cocoa Nibs at Mindy's Hot Chocolate in Chicago: I heard about Mindy's from watching Food Network many years ago and wanted to visit if I ever got to Chicago. It's a tiny restaurant in a strip center. We were crowded at the bar and ordered ice cream when it was beyond freezing outside. But the ice cream was creamy as it should be, tasted like good chocolate, and the cocoa nibs added enough texture to take this beyond anything I have ever had before. I wish this was a franchise!

3) English Muffins with Herbed Lard at Oxheart: I got to enjoy this on my first ever trip to Oxheart, so I didn't know there was a bread course. When it was put in front of me, I wasn't interested. I hate English muffins and ew, lard is gross. But since the meal was expensive, I decided to give it a try and I think Andrew and I both locked wide eyes immediately on trying it. The lard was buttery smooth with a strong herb flavor. The muffins weren't like the ones in the bread aisle of the grocery store: the outside was almost fried and the inside was thick. The muffins were tiny- only slightly larger than a half dollar, and we had four. I could have eaten so many more.

4) The Papaya Salad at Vieng Thai: I have said so many things about Vieng Thai, but I love the papaya salad so much. It isn't something I would have ordered without a recommendation, but the combo of fruit with red pepper should be enough to interest almost anyone. Sometimes it's super spicy, but I love it the most when there is just a hint of red pepper and I can taste all of the components of the salad individually.

5) Vegetables at Underbelly: We went to Underbelly in late December or early January and ordered vegetables with fish sauce just to have something green on the table. They were fantastic. We went a few months later and ordered a roast that came with brussels sprouts. Normally Andrew and I both hate brussels sprouts, but upon trying these, we were fighting over them. They were roasted and amazing. We went to Underbelly again last week and the vegetables happened to be broccoli. We both hate broccoli but couldn't get over how good this was. I considered ordering a second bowl of it, but I had to save room for #6 on this list...

6) Caramel Popcorn Pot de Creme at Underbelly: I had this for the second time last week and it was as good as I remember. After chocolate, caramel is my favorite flavor. The creamy caramel custard is served in a small mason jar and topped with fried pieces of soft pretzel and vanilla ice cream. I love the textures of everything and the subtle popcorn taste in the custard, but honestly, the pretzel is my favorite part.

7) Cream Cheese Croutons on the Caesar Salad at Graffiato in Washington, DC: I visited Washington, DC by myself for work and was afraid of public transport, so I had to visit restaurants in walking distance of my hotel. Luckily, I was game for walking and the weather was beautiful because Mike Isabella (from Top Chef) had a restaurant fairly close by. I sat at the bar and had dinner alone for the first and only time in my life. I started with the Caesar and decided to go all out - I wasn't going to hold the anchovies, even though I wanted to. The star of the salad was the croutons. They were made from lightly fried cubes of cream cheese with the slightest crunchy outer layer. When I bit into them, they broke apart in a warm, gooey mess. I wish DC was closer.

8) Macaroni and Cheese at Pecan Lodge in Dallas: Full disclosure: my note about this was actually about the burnt ends of the brisket that were a special the day we visited Pecan Lodge, but due to a nice coworker of Andrew's, I have gotten to experience the mac and cheese more recently, so I'm including that instead. The mac and cheese is really thick but doesn't taste chalky. It has enough cheese to not taste like queso and green chiles added in for a little something extra. My favorite part has to be the bacon crumbled on top. I know that in the food world, bacon is becoming passé and too much of a good thing, but I still love it.

9) Blacksmith's Iced Coffee: Blacksmith is another favorite that I get to go to all the time. I hated iced coffee until I tried theirs this summer. It's dark and strong. I like to add two packets of raw sugar to it and a splash of milk but really, it's still good when my ratios are off. Now that it's cold outside, I have to force myself to get a hot drink. I crave coffee on a daily basis, but I crave this specific coffee as a special treat all the time.

10) Cloud 10 Creamery: Okay, this one is kind of a cheat. There are many components of things at Cloud 10 that I love, but I have never had them all in the same dish. I love the nutella with marshmallow ice cream. It actually tastes like nutella, not weak chocolate like so many nutella-flavored things taste like to me. I love the Cafe Sua Da ice cream - it's coffee ice cream but so much better. The coffee is less dull than other coffee ice cream. And of course, I love nutella powder. What's not to love? It's unique and it's tasty and it's the best banana split topping I've ever heard of.

So, those are some of my best food memories from 2013. Can't wait to see what makes 2014's list!


That's What She Read

Friday, December 13, 2013

five things for my 200th post!

Hey hey, who knew I would make it this far? This is my 200th (published) post but since there has been wine involved, I worry about becoming a sentimental mess. Why don't I just keep it simple with a Five on Friday instead?

1) This was most definitely a week of too much food. We went to a favorite, Underbelly, for dinner on Tuesday and ate 18 month dry-aged beef. It has its own twitter account and everything. It was tasty but I really didn't get it. When you smelled it, it was stinky like bleu cheese. It had the texture of an Italian meat. I would eat it again if it was placed in front of me, but I don't have to have it again. The broccoli roasted in fish sauce won the night for me, and I hate broccoli. I loved the gratin and the papaya salad too, though - maybe I just wasn't in a meat mood. The coffee was also OMG amazing and I have been dreaming of it since.

"Allen the Leg" (yes, the waitstaff called it that) | Wagyu Beef Skewers with Papaya Salad (yum) | Sweet Potato Gratin | Broccoli and Pork Leg | Broccoli roasted in house-made fish sauce. I hate broccoli but I could have had this for dessert!

2) I just started following Anna's blog and the other day she talked about cat health. You know I love Cat Bauer more than I ever thought I could love a cat, so it really got me thinking. Bauey gets steroid shots every quarter that can cause long term effects, but that seemed to be the only thing that eases his hacking caused by feline asthma. Anna's post made me do research and switch him to gluten free food. A lot of websites were Jenny-McCarthy-vaccines-are-bad crazy, but I did find some things that made me think getting rid of grain for him might help his respiratory problems, so I figure it's worth a shot. We are only on day two so it's too early to tell. But it is damn expensive! Have you ever switched your pet's food for its health? Tell me it's worth it!

3) Speaking of following blogs, how come now when I follow a blog on Bloglovin', I follow the blogger too? I mean I like you guys but I don't need to know every blogging move you make. It's too much and I unfollow you (but not your blog) right away. Is there something I'm missing or is this as annoying as I think it is?

They always have interesting mugs! | Andrew and I each got our own caramel popcorn pot de creme since he told me he wouldn't share | My FIL got a fried sweet potato pie and it was amazing.

4) Politics aside, I loved this article. Texas, feel free to put a Festivus pole in your Capitol. This voter will support it. I really feel that I would excel in the Airing of Grievances! (Hmmmm... post idea for next week - maybe Thursday? Who's with me?)

5) I have pretty awesome Microsoft Paint skills. I know you are jealous but don't worry, I would be happy to draw you something, too. I was gchatting with my friend Joey and we were talking about her gallbladder (it's basically an a-hole) so I had to draw it. I have no idea why - I had probably been in a quiet office too long and needed to entertain myself. I have no idea what gallbladders look like at all, for the record. So, now when things get scary or uncertain, I will just draw them in paint and make them less threatening.


It's the last real weekend to shop of the Holiday Season. I have so much to do. Hope you have a great weekend!


                                                         THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

wednesday confessions, number one

I am still in a food coma after five consecutive days of amazing meals, so what better thing to do than link up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions? I like to spout off opinions in a sentence or two so here goes.

If you didn't follow me on the Blog Baton last week, this Bauer/Mama selfie is new to you!

- The stupid Geico commercial made me hate the term "Hump Day." The incessant quoting of that has died down a bit, so hopefully I can tolerate it again soon.

- Twitter makes me crazy when The Voice and now The Sing Off are on. Damn you NBC for encouraging people to clog my twitter feed with who you should save or whatever.

- I am counting down the work days until I am off for nearly two weeks and really looking forward to all of the work parties happening next week.

- I love Christmas time and don't mind giving gifts but man I loathe the shopping part. And the wrapping.

- I am on the hunt for new blogs to love and read obsessively over Christmas break (hello, archives). But man that stuff takes time. I mean I don't want to add someone to my Bloglovin' and then realize they aren't for me! Being unfollowed makes me sad, y'all, and I feel so guilty when I have to unfollow someone else.

- One of my friends knows about my blog and was asking me about it and it was so weird to talk about it with a non-blogger and how some blog friends are like, actual friends and stuff. If you don't do it, you don't understand!

- I wait until I am out of an essential article of clothing (jeans, work pants, underwear) to do laundry pretty much every time. This results in five loads, minimum, and I hate myself every time.

- I have yet to even purchase Christmas cards so will anyone be all that sad if I just don't send them this year?

- I have dirty second day hair today and we have a Board of Directors meeting which should mean I look my best. Oops.

- I check the Bloglovin' Up and Coming list more often that I should admit. How do you get on there? (Also - it is a good place to find the aforementioned new blogs to follow.)

Well that feels confess-y enough. What are some things you want to get off your chest?

Dateless in Dallas

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

going beyond french fries

I consider myself to be relatively open-minded when it comes to trying new foods, but up until recently, if you suggested French food, I would probably wrinkle my nose and ask if we could go somewhere else.

Why? French food often seems pretentious. It involves a lot of eggs (which I mostly hate). There is duck, which I will only eat when I have to (blame my rubber duck collection for this one) and liver (not a fan) rounded out by yummy things like crepes and croissants. But sitting through weird mains with unpronounceable names just to get to something I could get at a bakery without going through a whole meal was not something I was interested in.

Enter La Balance. It's a French restaurant that opened in my suburb, which is a big deal! I am thirty miles west of downtown Houston so having something near me is amazing. And then the place got a great write-up by Houston's only food critic worth listening to. And then it came up on groupon. The stars aligned and plans were made. The more I looked into their menu, the more I wanted to go.

On Friday night, Andrew and I tried it out. Though it was in a strip center, the interior was cute and updated. There was a case of desserts that I made mental note of to grab as birthday surprises or hostess gifts in the future. I had a glass of wine and started with a fig and prosciutto salad; Andrew got the green pea soup. He liked the soup and I loved the salad. I am a huge fan of the salty/sweet combo and I thought it was a generous portion for a starter.

Pretty Lights | Fig and Prosciutto Salad

Going in, Andrew told me I should order boeuf bourguignon. He made it in culinary school and knew I would like it. In the (edited) words of Joey Tribbiani: Meat... Goooood. Onions... Goooood. Carrots.... Gooood. So I was about to, and then he pointed out that we were going to a steak house the next night, I don't like red meat that much, and maybe I should switch it up. So I got the salmon with asparagus and mushroom cream sauce and he got the boeuf bourguignon. Upon tasting his dish, I immediately regretted my decision - mine was good, but his was amazing! It was a cold night and the warm, rich stew was exactly what I didn't realize I wanted. We WILL be going back, even if we just get two boeuf bourguignons to go! The bread served with the meal was also yeasty and amazing and I could have easily had more of that too. It was served so hot it almost burned my fingers in the best way.

Boeuf bourguignon | My salmon with mushrooms | The other dessert

You can't go to a French restaurant without trying the chocolate souffle, so we did. It came with a hazelnut cream sauce and dark chocolate ice cream. I haven't confirmed this, but I think souffle is French for "lava cake" because that is kind of what it is. Not really, but close. It takes lots of time to make and has to rise properly to be fully enjoyed but when it's good, it's amazing. We also got another dessert that I didn't like very much. The texture was weird and the passion fruit sauce on the plate wasn't my favorite. But it looked pretty! The coffee they served was also delicious. Judging a restaurant by the quality of its coffee is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do.

I was too full to fully enjoy this but it was so good.

So basically, I loved this place. We will be going back. And knowing that there is nothing weird about boeuf bourguignon made me more eager to try other French restaurants. When you know there is a "safe" dish on the menu, it's far easier to try new places.

Have you ever tapped into your inner Julia Child and made boeuf bourguignon? If you want to and you need a taste tester, I'll be happy to help you out....


     Glossy Blonde                                                     

Monday, December 9, 2013

busy family weekend

This weekend was so good in so many ways. So let's get to recappin' because I think this is going to be a long one.

Friday night we checked out a new French restaurant in our 'burb called La Balance. It was fantastically good and I think it warrants its own post, mostly because you might be thinking "Ew, French food, too fancy." And I want to prove you wrong. We got home and I cleaned and wrapped gifts and didn't stop til midnight which didn't make for a super fun Friday.

After getting Bauer his steroid shot for his asthma (high maintenance cat), we went to my mom's to have Christmas with my step-sister and nieces. They currently live in Louisiana and are moving to Oklahoma during the girls' Christmas break off school so we had to celebrate early. My grandparents came over too. It was so fun to watch the girls open their gifts, especially the five year old. She got a robot dog and it was awesome. I got her a knock-off Rainbow Loom, which is apparently far too advanced for an adult to figure out. My boss' kids have them and she knows how to do it, so I am going to get lessons! My grandparents came over and we made s'mores on my parents' fire pit which has become our holiday tradition. The sweet five year old clearly knows her Aunt Lauren well - she came over to me and whispered in my ear "Remember last time I came, and you took us to Chik-fil-A? Can we go there again?" I would have gladly taken her, but my mom was making lunch for everyone so I promised that I would next time. It's a date!

OMG she's 13 and she was drinking coffee. I can't. | Twinsies! | She was drinking hot chocolate | Love my first niece so much. Also, don't mind her crazy hair. Apparently she thought it would be fun to let her friend cut it for her and she went to get it cut by a professional later that day...

We left around 3:30 to pick my father-in-law up from the airport. He and Andrew are so much alike in their sense of humor that it cracks me up. We went to have dinner at Killen's Steakhouse (my 42nd restaurant on the Top 100 in Houston) and it was fantastic! That will probably be another post of its own. We picked up our new TV later that night - it's a SmartTV. Have you heard of these things? I said we didn't need one but Andrew wanted it and after cashing in American Express points, it was less than $100. It is awesome and super high tech. You can stream Amazon Prime by just hitting one button. If I disappear from Blog Land, it's safe to assume that I have fallen into the black hole of streaming all five seasons of Parks and Rec.

V with her s'mores - she is a marshmallow roasting pro | My grandparents. They have been married 58 years this month. Can you imagine? | Andrew and I - this is almost SO Christmas card worthy but the jerk wouldn't look at the camera! | V's marshmallow kept catching fire, but Uncle Andrew blew it out for her | M is almost as tall as I am. How did she get so grown up?

Yesterday I did get up and go to the gym - to try to counteract all the food that's been happening - and then we went to brunch at Hugo's. It's a Mexican buffet (not Tex-Mex) and I have mentioned it before and it was excellent, as always. I am a sucker for cinnamon so when they told me about some Mexican coffee that they make in a pot with cinnamon and sugar, I was sold and it was fantastic. I spent the rest of the day on the couch napping through football and catching up with my blog friends. Stellar Sunday, for sure.

Thank you guys for liking my pics on The Blog Baton! I tried to show a piece of my life and let me tell you, it was intimidating to go from my number of instagram followers to the several hundred the baton has. If you are participating in it in the future, let me know and I will be sure to like all of your pics!

Linking up with Sami and Leeann!

Friday, December 6, 2013

five on friday: presents and food!

Why does the holiday season fly by? This week is no exception! Here are my Five on Friday, and if you want more of me, don't forget to check me out on Instagram on The Blog Baton today!

1) I am loving twitter this week. I think I say that pretty often but this week it's just extra fun. The interaction during the day just adds a little something to the monotony of work, don't you think?

2) I always like Spotify, but moreso during the holidays. Are you on it? Let's be friends! My username is my first name and last name, no spaces (I don't want to write it out for google purposes but if you don't know it, ask and I will share). To find any user with their username, type in spotify:user:username in the search bar and there they'll be!

3) I got to try a new to me restaurant, Jus' Mac. I have been wanting to try this place for forever but as I am never impressed with mac and cheese, Andrew hasn't wanted to go. Luckily, some friends wanted to go so we did and I really liked it! I thought the prices were reasonable for the portions, the texture was great, and it had flavor. Some mac and cheese just tastes like flour and is too thick. Not this place! I was really impressed and I will definitely go back! I had one with poblano peppers and pepper jack cheese. Next time I want to get The Big Easy that has bell peppers and andouille sausage!

Top: Rachelle's Chicken Mac | Left: Sarah's Mexican-ish Mac with tomato and avocado | Right: Miranda's Frito Pie Mac | Bottom: My Poblano Mac

4) Good friends! I can't stop bringing up how happy I am that this blog has brought me girlfriends. I never knew how badly I needed them until I had them. Somehow, Miranda, Rachelle, Sarah and I spent three hours at Jus' Mac - no drinks, just dinner and lots of girl talk. I love that we are four people with little directly in common besides the fact that we blog, but somehow we work. And there were presents! Rachelle made us all a pretty handmade card and a little notebook with a glittery gel pen that we all fell in love with (seriously, it was like 8th grade all over again). Sarah made yummy oreo balls and packaged them all cute with holiday gift tags that you can print for free on (one of) her blog(s)! Since we didn't talk gifts, Miranda and I both showed up empty handed, but we think that our uncrafty selves should make something for them together. I'll update you if that ever happens.

The photo doesn't do any of it justice but our lady date was long and I still had to type up this post! I am in love with the embossed envelope behind the card!

5) Family time. My step-sister and nieces are coming to town this weekend and I am so excited to see them. It's a quick trip and I will only get to spend part of Saturday with them but it will be great. The little one just started Kindergarten so I can't wait to see how grown up she seems! My father-in-law is also coming to visit and let's just say that Andrew has filled out our meal plan with yummy places quite nicely... updates to come next week for sure!

                                                         THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Thursday, December 5, 2013

gifts for my blogger friends

Hey hey hey, I no longer have one of those .blogspot names - check out who finally got her own URL! I had to pick a blog name so that I could buy one and now it's done - welcome to www.eatdrinkandbelauren.com. I also have a new button to celebrate. With an actual photo of me, if you're into that. The plain one with text is there too, and if you have my button and I don't have yours, let me know - I would love to support you!

Also exciting this week - I am going to have The Blog Baton tomorrow, Friday the 6th. Don't know what that is? Find out here, follow along, and please please please like some of the pics I post? I don't ask for much but nothing will be worse than holding the baton and having no likes. It's Friday and you won't want to pay attention at work anyway. I have some fun food plans in the works if that will entice you any...

Now, I bet the title of this post grabbed your attention, and sadly, I will not be doing any giveaways today. After seeing an item on Instagram that I thought would make a good gift, I went to urbanoutfitters.com to try to find it. I have never really shopped there but I do like to check it out when I'm near one because they really have cool stuff. As I was looking for the item in question (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation pint glasses that have since sold out), I kept scrolling past things that made me think of bloggers in my life. No, not family and friends, but online friends. You guys are a big part of my life too! So, I thought I would share what I saw as well as include a gift idea for any blogger you might be looking to buy for this year. Bonus: I may just have helped you meet your new favorite blogger. You're welcome!

This isn't a post sponsored by Urban Outfitters or any of the bloggers below - just my real thoughts while online browsing!

All images but the cookbook from urbanoutfitters.com

So first, if I was buying a gift for the always honest and sometimes slightly traumatic Kathy (read her post on childbirth, then commence never having a baby), I would definitely include this snowman card. No woman uses the word boner the way she does.

Then I saw this cool book and thought of Jess - I have already asked her about twenty questions about being a vegetarian (she has a post on this but I CAN'T find it!), but I'm not sure if she has Trader Joe's in her area or not. I love that place, so I bet this would be awesome for her!

My sweet friend Joey mentioned to me one day that she really likes totally hates the phrase "like a boss." So now, anytime I can slip it into conversation, I tell her that I am doing things like a boss. Eating lunch like a boss. We have matching rugs because we shop like a boss. She would love to drink her coffee every morning like a boss - I just know it!

I think Steph  has a graduate degree in both finding perfect someecards and knowing when to say eff this ess (still keepin' it PG-13 here, y'all). I totally thought of her when I saw this (also - go check out her giveaway for $25 to a charity of your choice!)

I could get all gushy about Heidi and how I feel like I have known her forever when we haven't met but that might be weird for her. She is one of my many cat lady friends and I love this so I think she would, too. I would get it for her in addition to two one-way tickets back to Houston (or anywhere in Texas, I guess) so her and her husband can live here and we can let the kitty marriage between Bauer and Fancy finally happen.

I first learned about the Supaboy on Kathy's blog above, but when I saw it again I thought of Nadine and Ashley (come back, friend!). They both love video games and I would even love one of these if my mom still has my Super Nintendo games somewhere!

And finally... because I don't want to leave anyone out... how about a Selfie for all my blogger friends? Someone can hold the phone and someone else can hold the button? I don't really get the point of this so I think I'm missing something but if there is one thing bloggers like besides coffee and wine, it's selfies. So picture me like Oprah giving an imaginary one to all of you! Selfies for everyone!

This is from Oprah's "You get a car!!" moment in case anyone wasn't a huge fan of hers!

Do you find yourself thinking of blog friends nearly as often as real friends, or do I just need an extra hobby?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

lady dates I will decline

I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me that she was invited to another friend's house for pizza, but at the almost last minute, the hostess informed her that she would be serving eggplant and spaghetti squash instead. What.the.heck. So of course I freaked out and said that a lame food switch like that was totally grounds to ditch the lady date, but my friend is a kinder person than I, attended, and ended up getting pizza in the end when the veggie dish didn't cooperate. But that got me thinking (now I sound like Carrie Bradshaw...) - what types of lady dates would I decline?

It's the only Carrie at the computer gif I could find.

No matter how much I like you, I will decline an invitation to:

- Go bike riding

- Play a sport of any kind, really

- Attend a heavy metal concert

- Binge-watch CBS sitcoms

- Eat at Chili's, TGI Friday's, or any other chain restaurant that makes me cringe

- Search with you through a million stores so you can find one specific dress/top/shade of eyeshadow you have in mind

- Go to an event where I have to google what the dress code means

- Listen to the opera

- Knit

- Cook

For the record, I enjoy sitting and talking over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, eating (obviously), failing at painting pottery or canvases, Bingo, shopping with no real end in mind, pedicures, and just plain talking the day away with no end in sight.

Are there any lady date activities that you would refuse?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

things I want to ban from instagram

People are all in an uproar because there are instagram ads now. I rarely ever see them, so honestly? They don't bother me. But there are lots of things I see on instagram and facebook that I wish I could ban forever... or at least mostly unsee.

someecards.com - I'd pay $1 billion for you to stop sharing your Instagram photos with me
Okay, maybe not a billion but...

1) Animal carcasses: I get it. I eat meat, too. That doesn't mean I need to see the gory details of how that venison got on your plate. I'm squeamish, I have never shot a gun before, and to me that is still Bambi. Just because you did it doesn't mean everyone wants to see it. Save that for a direct email or text messages to your friends who understand the work or effort or whatever went into it.

2) Breastfeeding babies: I am probably going to catch hell for this, so come at me. I have no issue with breastfeeding at all and how you raise your child is totally up to you. Buuuuut... when  your nipple is on my instagram, I'm just not a fan. When little Johnny is a freshman in high school, won't it be a little traumatic for him to see his cute little baby face and mama's bathing suit area in the same shot on the internet for the world? Bond with your baby, feed it however you please, and even photograph it - but really, there is no need to run it through Toaster or X-Pro to see how many likes you'll get. I promise, your baby will do way cuter things that won't make him turn as red when he finds your outdated Instagram account in 18 years.

3) Starbucks cups: For the love of all that is holy, I drink Starbucks, you drink Starbucks, we all drink Starbucks (because we all shop at Target and it's so convenient, duh). I do not need to see your Starbucks cup. I don't care if it's red. It might be kind of funny if they spell your name wrong, I'll give you that. But for the most part, $4 coffee trips can totally be kept to oneself.

4) Shop My Closet Sales: Can you just use twitter for this instead? Please?

5) iPhone notes, instagrammed: There's this cool thing called Twitter that you probably have. Yeah, I know 140 characters is hard sometimes but it forces you to be creative and succinct. I like that. This especially bothered me when the default Notes font was so Comic Sans-esque. You have twitter, Facebook, and probably a blog. Say what you need to say there, please!

Honorable Mention: I really, really hated Instagram video til my smart friend Sarah told me I could stop them from playing automatically. You're able to build up a lot of rage when you are too lazy to dig into your settings.

So, these are a few of my least favorite Instagram things. What do you hate to see there? I hope it isn't food or cats or else you probably hate following me... But if you're into that, find me here.

   Glossy Blonde

Monday, December 2, 2013

long thanksgiving weekend

Well, wasn't that a great, unexpected vacation from pretty much everything?

I didn't go to work for five days. I don't think I have had that much time away from work since Christmas and New Year's 2012. It was lovely. Since I wasn't at work, I wasn't in front of a computer. Now I have lots to catch up on, and I want to catch you up on me.

Thanksgiving was nice. We spent it with my mom's family, at my aunt's house about 45 minutes away. Our contribution to the meal was homemade vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream, candied pecans, and a cinnamon chocolate sauce. It was a hit!

We went and saw Catching Fire. I loved the Hunger Games books but didn't care much for the first movie (honestly? I fell asleep). I didn't want to see Catching Fire but there was nothing else going on Thanksgiving night so we did. The internet was so OMGCRAZY over it and I liked it, but it wasn't the best thing ever. I think it's a very faithful adaptation of the book so perhaps I just wasn't wowed?

Lots of lazy time with this snuggle muffin, who is clearly tired of his mamarazzi.

There was nothing we had to have on Black Friday, so we went out for breakfast at Pecan Creek Grill (one of my favorites) and out looking for some deals. There was surprisingly little traffic and not a ton of people in the center we were in. It was a pleasant shopping experience! I also finally watched Pitch Perfect and this is another thing that I am going to have to agree to disagree with the internet on. I mean Fat Amy was pretty funny but the songs mostly got on my nerves and I felt like the entire movie was trying too hard to be quotable.

On Saturday, Revival Market was doing kolaches. They do a different breakfast item every weekend and kolaches are by far my favorite. This time, they had lemon and cream (too tart, which was a bummer), apple-pecan (amazing and my favorite), boudin (yum) and sausage and cheese (also really good, but kind of small). We killed time until the liquor store opened because Andrew was looking for a certain beer, had no luck, and then just came home to hang out. I watched This is 40 (we have free HBO this weekend, I should mention) and wow, it was kind of depressing. I mean the characters' fights were so real it was like watching an unscripted reality show. It kind of went nowhere and just felt like an excuse for Judd Apatow's crew to get together, have fun, and get paid. It isn't the worst thing I ever watched and there were a few funny parts, but I don't need to see it again.

Kolaches to share and a flat white for Andrew, so pretty!

So that just about catches you up on what's happening with me. I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you...

Linking up with Sami and Leeann!