Friday, February 26, 2010

Aw yeah, homey

When writers get a hold of Photoshop, nothing good happens.
February 26, 2009: I closed on my house. After I signed the papers, I went to McDonald's, my car loaded with painting supplies, the vacuum and toilet paper, got a Big Mac and rushed to my new house to enjoy my first meal there. It was a moment for me. Me, alone with my cheap lunch and my wonderful house. Then, I got down to business and painted the kitchen cabinets before hubs (then boyfriend) even got off work that night. We got off to a good start!

To celebrate our house-a-versary, we're going to make something tasty and have a quiet dinner at home (the house is 65 this year, after all) and hug the walls.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One Thing Thursdays: Volume Two

Brussels, Belgium

A few years back, when I was a carefree backpacker, traversing Europe with a rotating pack of ladyfriends, we stopped for two days in Brussels. Mostly because flights from there were much cheaper than Amsterdam, where we had just been. A few hours on the train between the two cities gave us just enough time to consult our dog-eared guidebooks and take a quick nap, slumped over our hulking backpacks.

No one expected Brussels to be overly exciting, so we were desperate to determine the sites. This leads me to my one thing:
A picnic on the grounds of the Atomium

Yuck, I need a new scanner.

Now, I’m sure that if I was an endeavoring individual (read in the mood to type a few letters into Google), I could figure out why someone built a giant atom on the outskirts of Brussels. The whys of the matter notwithstanding, the Atomium is awesome. Toward the end of the subway line, it’s a giant atom-shaped building plopped into a lovely residential park. My friends and I ducked into a store for some Hoegaarden (it’s possible we first ordered it because we found the name hilarious, only to have our whole souls rocked by the lemony awesomeness of this beer), bread and fresh feta cheese. We spent the afternoon lounging in the grass, people watching and learning to love Brussels.

If you have time for two things: Hit up one of the antique/flea markets in the many squares of the city. I scored some lovely vintage postcards at one right near a chocolate museum that offered free tours….in French. I missed the finer points of this tour because my French vocabulary isn’t vast, but there were samples at the end and chocolate transposes any language.

American gypsies at a chocolate factoy.

Been to Brussels? Did you pony up the 7 euro to go up in the Atomium? Because I didn't.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My people are cranky old grammarians

Yesterday, the following e-mail appeared in my inbox:

These are your people.

He knows the quickest way to my heart involves oft forgot grammar rules and quirks. It was the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up for a gal who publicly rants whenever possible about the ridiculousness of the serial comma. Heck, compared to the sticklers in the article, I'm a gra-metuer (grammar amateur!). Ba dum ching.

Happy hump day, funnyfaces.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alexson versus Queso

If you read this blog with any regularity (hi, Mom!), you know two things: 1)I love cheese and 2)dips leave me weak in the knees. Naturally, then, the pinnacle of my cheese + dip love is white queso. But, I have never made it at home.


Oh, lordy. Indulge me, please, in a quick haiku ode to queso:

Seems very easy
Perfectly smooth and melty
It is elusive

We have tried to make queso three times in my house.

Attempt one started with shredded Colby Jack, a can of Rotel and no double burner. It ended with a trip to El Mariachi and us admitting failure.

Attempt two started with Monterrey Jack, fresh cut ingredients and (again) no double burner. It might have ended in tears. And a trip to El Mariachi.

Attempt three started with me making my own cheese on a Friday night, meticulously reading and researching queso recipes that didn't involve Velveeta and (finally) a double boiler. It ended with what appeared to be a bowl of cat vomit. Homemade cheese does not melt well. And women who make homemade cheese might resort to putting taco seasoning in sour cream and calling it a dip in a sad attempt to satiate their hunger for a dip for dinner. Anything is possible.

We don't usually fail this many times at cooking. I mean, queso is melted cheese and veggies, right? I can make bagels from scratch, I whip up lovely chicken salad and have been known to build some of the most fantastic nachos west of the Mississippi. Yet, melting cheese and making a dip worth eating eludes me. Pathetic.

Therefore, I am declaring war on queso. Shredded MJ cheese, half and half, a double boiler, and I will best you yet, you demon cheese.

Can you make queso? Any tips? Also, want to come to a potluck?

Monday, February 22, 2010

For never was there a tale of more schtick than that of Alexson and her swizzle stick

Yeah, I just copped some Shakespeare to discuss my signature craft item. It's been a long week, what can I say?
Last fall, after all my crafting dreams for the wedding where realized and waiting patiently in boxes waiting for their moment in the sun, I realized I didn't want to be done with making handmade touches for the big day. I had seen a really cheap and easy idea in one of the many, many ridiculously creative wedding blogs I read - flagged sizzle sticks.
One ribbon scouting trip to Archivers, two packs of kebab sticks and a few hours later, I had these.Nevermind that I had more than 200 of these bad boys for a 150 person wedding or that we only had one mixed drink on our bar menu. Let's especially ignore the fact that now, almost four months after the wedding, I still have 198 swizzle sticks in my basement. Please, focus on the prettiness.
Anyway, faced with another beer-centric event, naturally I am resurrecting my beloved swizzle sticks. They are so simple to make, it'd just be wrong to leave them off the guest list for our annual St. Pat's shindig.
Step One: Rally the troops. The troops in this case are scissors, ribbons, kebab sticks cut in half and of course, a trusty glue gun.
Step Two: Cut ribbon strips.
Step Three: Glue 'em up!
Step Four: Wrap the ribbon around the stick.
Step Five: Bevel those edges, ladypants! Without the bevel, these things are just sad.
Step Six: Perfectly frame the cat while taking a supa' fly photo of the festive swizzle sticks your friends will ignore as they sip beer.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chicken fever

A lot of ladies in my world have the fever. Baby fever. Though I’ve dodged that bullet for the time being, I have sadly come down with another and entirely more disturbing illness: chicken fever.

People, I want backyard chickens so bad! I mean, it’s hilarious and tasty and totally in tune with the planet, man. Three things I love. Plus, I already have names picked out (shut up). Fresh eggs and clucking ladychickens wandering around our yard sounds delightful. Legally, you can have up to 30 backyard chickens in the city of Des Moines. I’m only talking about two measly chickens, here!

This plan is not without naysayers, though, hubs among them (though I’m pretty sure he can be persuaded by fresh and tasty omelets). Chickens are messy and loud and prone to being violently attacked by roaming predators (including one husky white feline who will remain anonymous). Still, I’m convinced the positives outweigh the negatives.

Do you know any chicken people? Do their neighbors hate them? Do they curse the day they brought a chicken home? Or are they super awesome and always smiling because their breakfasts are extra delicious?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beware the stairs

As a lady who has ungraciously face-planted up, down and across numerous flights of stairs, these from TAF Architects (as seen on Design Sponge) scare the bejeezus outta me. Can you imagine maneuvering these things in heels? Or stumbling up them after a few too many champagne cocktails? Or rushing down them in footie pajamas to see what Santa left under the tree? All three scenarios end very, very ugly in my mind.

True, they are very pretty. My eyes love these stairs, my uncoordinated legs and feet, however, are quivering in fear.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One Thing Thursdays: Volume One

I've been wanting to inject a little structure into this here blog for a while. Sometimes these words all feel so wobbly and disjointed, so a little stalwart post of regularity each week seems like a nice addition.

Here's what I've come up with: One Thing Thursdays.

You see, I love to travel and because I'm not a glamorous globe-trotting diva with endless amounts of time and dollars, a lot of my trips are pretty short. Making the most out of my time in a city is pretty important when I'm only there for 18 hours. I'm not super interested in most touristy things and (as you can guess), the tops of my travel to-do lists often include exotic foods. One Thing Thursdays will give you a heads up on something you wouldn't want to miss, whether you find yourself driving through rural Colorado or with an hour to spare in Belfast. I'd also love to hear your One Things about each location. Let's commune, y'all.

Let's roll this ball!

One Thing Thursdays: Tybee Island, Georgia

Photo by me, Getting Artsy with Driftwood and New Rings

Inspired by the Lettered Cottage post on a lovely reno on Tybee, I figured this would be as good as place as any to start. Hubs and I honeymooned in nearby Savannah last fall and took one afternoon to take the short drive to Tybee and soak up some beachiness.

My One Thing: $1 koozies at the Crab Shack
Please don't be turned off by the Rachel Ray endorsement. I believe the Bigger, Better, Best stamp of approval overrides it anyway.

The Crab Shack is really a dump. Close your eyes, imagine a crab shack. Imagine that it sits on stilts over a bay, is a ramshackle blend of several buildings, is overrun with stray cats and somehow has potholes in a gravel parking lot. Plop exactly what you imagined in a southern beach town and voila! Miraculously, all these things work for the Crab Shack. It can't hurt that the food is amazing (hubs and I took down several pounds of fresh, buttery seafood on the Captain Crab's Sampler platter) and koozies are just $1 with the purchase of a beer. Seeing as how the Shack is open-air, a beer without a koozie just wouldn't be right. Not to mention, they serve Yuengling, an East Coast beer that is near and dear to my heart. We all need more koozies, right?

Photo by hubs, After the Captain Crab's Sampler

If you have time for two things: Walk on the beach, duh. Chase some seagulls, see some dolphins, sit on a swing.

Photo by me, Hubs on a Swing

Been to Tybee? Whatdcha do? Something better than a $1 koozie?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Green, mean craftin' machine

With Valentine’s Day safely behind us, it’s time to get crackin’ on decking the halls for my favorite holiday of the year: St. Pat’s. Having spent six months “studying” in Cork, Ireland, I have a serious nostalgia for that silly little island and it pangs me especially hard on March 17th. And what better cure for nostalgia pangs than crafts? Am I right? Can I get an amen? A-men!


I’m going to start by sprucing up our fireplace with some bunting, like this, but decidedly more Irish:

But, wait! I found some knitted bunting that melts my little ruddy face with awesomeness.


I couldn't resist. This project is already started. My flags are a little taller and more narrow and I currently only have two, but these pupies fly off the needles, so I'll be set in no time!

Why, is that a festive swizzle stick in your drink? You know it.


My knitted coozies are also getting better, so maybe I'll whip up a few to keep our Murphy's cold (even though we drink them from pint glasses, lovingly pilfered and imported by yours truly, and never ever from the can because of that little foam-producing magic ball thingy).

And I want to get many kinds of crafty on the table. Maybe even spray paint something. Ooo girl, get crazy!

Do you get crafty and homemakery for random holidays?

Optimism is hard work

Alright, Iowa. Last month, I waxed poetic about why I love living here even when we are in Mother Nature's death grip. And that opinion remains unchanged, but my patience is wearing thin.

I'm not mad at Iowa. After all, it's not Iowa's fault it's so northern and flat and prone to taking a serious El Nino beating. So, Iowa, as a state, your weather-related crimes are expunged.

I don't want to get too catty about Mother Nature or that damn Nino, either, though. They've both smacked us all with their wrath before, so my strategy is just to keep my head down and plow along. No fight-picking here, no ma'am.

I suppose I could get all ticked at the poor TV weatherpeople, but I feel bad enough for them. And I just can't be mad at anyone who shares a profession with Al Roker.

So, stripped of scapegoats, I've been going the optimistic route. That was all fine and dandy the first 65 days we had 12+ inches of snow on the ground, but I'm plum tuckered out.

I am a Winter Grump. And I will be until we get a 70 degree, sunny Saturday. Let the record show, I tried really hard this year.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fancy fingerwork

Dear readers, please meet Scarf Number Five.

It's OK, I see that hole, too. Not only do I see it, but (gasp!) it was planned!

Oo la la, oui? This fancy patterned number is heading to STL to delight (and hopefully not confuse) my Nana for her birthday. Who wouldn't be thrilled with this yummy chocolate keyhole scarf? If such a lady exists, I hope we never cross paths.

With my confidence bolstered, I'm hoping to whip up a few more patterned scarves this week. I really can't stop.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Triple digits

100 days ago, I ate muffins with hoards of family and friends stuffed in my tiny house while hairs got did and faces got primped and aunts oooed and ahhed. I got laced into a big pile of pretty ruffles, stuck my mom's veil in my hair and rushed to get two blocks away to the church. We took deep breaths. I took a short walk with my dad and held hands and shared a dirty tissue with my best pal while our people played on bingo cards made just for that day. We got married and kissed and walked through the sunshine. We saw other people who'd just done what we did and handily beat them in a sipping contest. We made our way up three flights and into a room of happy people. We ate cheese and drank homebrew and toasted with heirloom cognac and sang loud and danced like maniacs and laughed.

And that was just the beginning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Embracing hoosier

(Note: Hoosier, by St. Louis definition, is characterized by trashy ways and all around ghettoness. Totally different from Indiana.)

I was driving around yesterday, when I realized it was a choral show on my trusty NPR. Not that I'm not a seriously cultured woman, but choral performances just doesn't get my veins pumpin'. So, I flip to a country station.

And I hear Willie Nelson, crooning that I was always on his mind. I get excited because normally country stations don't play old songs. My mind gets all settled in to enjoy the rest of the ballad. (You see, I love Willie Nelson. I struggle daily to balance a deeply rooted inner redneck with a supposedly classy and erudite woman. Underneath a facade of hot glue, foie gras and New York Times articles, I'm hiding "extra" Arby's sauce packets, an Alan Jackson CD, and a deep and abiding love for getting sunburnt and rowdy at lakes.)

But, wait! A booming announcer's voice interrupts the melody.

"Experience it live: Willie Nelson and Family, coming to the Seven Flags Events Center on March 28th."

GAH! Pulse quickens. That's semi-nearish to my house. And. Oh. Holy. Cow. It's on my birthday. Sold.

Now, I need Wheel of Fortune to film in Des Moines that day, too and I just might be the hap-hap-happiest girl in town.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Scarves near and far

Another lovely scarf off the needles! This one is for my buddy Brittney (aka the lady of the manor/wrangler of the Chiweenies at Our Poverty with a View). It's pink, if my amazing photography skills are beyond your eyes' grasp.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, 80% of people I know will likely be sporting these scarves in the next year (if they know what's good for them).

Up next, one for my Nana's birthday! This one involves an actual pattern, requiring concentration and counting, which I have yet to fully comprehend. Details or wild, maniacal ranting to follow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Makin' do

We go to the grocery store a lot - like three times a week. Considering there are just two people in this house, it's a little extreme. So, this week, we decided to make do with what we had. Turns out, armed with Google and some flour, we are pretty crafty animals.

We resorted to some old standbys - nachos, hummus, pasta - but, we had some serious high notes.

Like these easy, buttermilkless biscuits (hell yes we added cheese!) sprinkled with some herbs and melted butter to accompany a pasta dinner and then repurposed to become from-scratch biscuits and gravy for a weekday breakfast (are we good Midwestern folk or what?).

I also used our last remaining egg to make some bagels. A mix of everything and Swiss cheese toppings means these can pull triple duty as breakfast, part of a lunch or a snack. And I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you hubs claims these are the best bagels I've made yet. I'd also be remiss if I didn't tell you I couldn't agree more.

I'm planning one more carb-loaded treat this weekend, Pioneer Woman's buttered rosemary rolls, making the dough from scratch. (Where would I be in the kitchen without Pioneer Woman? Rolling on the ground, covered in flour, weeping? It's possible.) Hubs will also be making a big batch of refried beans because we just now discovered how good they can be when they aren't from a can.

I'm sure Valentine's Day at our house will be just dripping with romance - two bloated, bean-stuffed newlyweds and a 19-pound cat. Fine by us, we sit this holiday out as a matter of principle each year anyway. Because we like being snobby snobs that don't get caught up in commercial lovefests.

What are you cooking up this weekend?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The change of plans

This past weekend, it was what we call “nice” in Iowa in February – sunny and 30 with about two feet of snow still on the ground. So, hubs and I decided it was a great afternoon to take advantage of the snow and head out back to walk out plans for our paver patio.

We trudged back and forth through the snow, marking where the boundaries to the new patio would be, measured and came up with a few alternatives. Since we’re also planning on replacing the aging deck with something newer and more our style, we measured that too and headed out to Menards.

In their decking section, they have a super handy kiosk that lets you plan out your deck and then gives you a supply list and estimate for materials. It also makes really annoying thud noises anytime you press a button, but I guess that’s the price we pay for convenience.

So, we put in our deck plans and got a very pretty 3-D drawing and a very pretty price.

Na├»ve and energized by this, we moved forward and put our 23x25 paver patio stats in the magic machine. It spit out a kind of ugly drawing and a price that deflated our spirits. Not to mention, the materials list called for over 35 THOUSAND pounds of rock to plopped in our yard. Um, we’re all for DIY, but let’s be honest, laying 2,665 paver bricks was not how we planned on spending our summer. Apparently 23x25 is an absurd size for a paver patio. Bigger, better, best failed me again as a philosophy.

Our initial planning adventure does end on a happy note; hubs came home and pulled out graph paper and colored pencils and together, we crafted a pint-sized paver patio that will still suit our needs and won’t have us auctioning off our first-born or spending the rest of 2010 leveling and laying bricks. The revised plans call for a 25x12 patio with some curves, some benches and lots of perennial native plants and grasses.

With the Des Moines Home and Garden show coming up this weekend (yeah, we’re spending Valentine’s Day there!), we’re sure to find lots of good ideas to make the most of our new plans.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lahve, lahve, lahve, I want your lahve

Oh, Lady Gaga. You're officially in my head.

As I'm starting to run more, I've found that I need some serious music slamming through my eardrums to get going. Lately, that means playing the three Lady Gaga songs I own at top volume on repeat for a mile or three.

Turns out, I Pavloved myself.

Today, innocently working at my cube, Bad Romance came on Pandora. Instantly, I wanted to run. As in, running sounded fun at that moment and, in fact, for the rest of the afternoon. The need to run continued until I hauled my sorry booty out into the cold and over to the gym where I hopped on a treadmill and busted through a run that had me at my top speed.

Yay science! Yay wigs! Yay sweat and lip-syncing!

Stand by your man(doline)

Hooray! When I came home from work, check out what I found:A lovely Valentine's Day swap package from Ms. Faith at Poppycock and Sunshine! All part of the second annual V-Day swaparoo from Amanda at First Milk. I got two lovely House Helpers, thoughfully knit in a cheery yellow to match my kitchen, which has appearded in this blog a time or two. Faith even sent the pattern so I could make more of these cute little guys.

A super cute card.

And, oh yes, a CD of Italian mandolines. Bellisimo!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Giggle at this

My cat, the honorable Trip Aloysius, a few summers ago when I took him to the cat salon. Do you see the tail pouf? How about the chest hair? Or, my favorite, the leggings. What you don't see is his little beer gut that is normally obscured a bit by fur. Uncovered, it's a force of nature that wobbles and sways mightly. (Health note: T-Biz is currently on a diet and exercise plan to combat this comical feature.) For the record, yes, we will be doing this again. It's a) hilarious and b)practical. The dude sheds like it's going out of style.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I won!

I emerged victorious in my battle with the blonde wood. Let's reflect a moment on the state of the hallway before we got all ambitious one weekend.
Yuck. No me gusta. I must say, though, the 50s wood was a formidable component. I sanded all Thursday night and painted not one, not two, not even three coats one all those doors and trim - my friends, I painted four gol-dang coats of paint on those thirsty things before they looked presentable. It was tough, but I persevered.

Now, look how lovely! The same toffee brown we used in the side entry way is also warming up the hall walls. The trim and doors took on a bright white (Pittsburgh Paints' White Chocolate from Menard's, a steal at about $19 a gallon). The hid.e.ous light fixture was replaced with a pretty faux oil-rubbed bronze dome that lets out dappled light and makes the hall feel almost like you might be in a courtyard (can you tell it's my favorite part of the mini-makeover?). The lame travel art was replaced with what will become a giant gallery wall. Right now, we started with some cheap white frames from Target and photos from trips to Italy and Savannah, as well as one of hubs' grandpa smoking a pipe because it's just a cool picture. I'm hoping to add more family photos, while he prefers landscapes. It's an eternal struggle every time we frame something.

Not too shabby right?

Friday, February 5, 2010

No surprises here

I love the Superbowl. It's one of my top ten favorite annual events. You know why. Photo credit

The Superbowl is dip's finest hour. It's the day every man, woman and child grabs a chip, a cracker or a carrot stick and enjoys a creamy scoop of our kitchens' finest. Be it a simple sour cream, a healthy hummus or a green guac - dips make our Superbowl experience delightful.

We're heading to a friend's to watch the game and place a few friendly wagers on little details like the exact length of the national anthem as well as the bigger stuff like which team ends the night covered in confetti and champagne and smooches. Hubs is making an epic 7-layer dip. His plan is to fill the 9x13 Pyrex with deliciousness and knowing myself and the crowd, I'm guessing that dip won't make it past halftime.

What's your favorite eating holiday?

Turtle neck warmth

(Wheel of Fortune, before and after...anyone? Anyone? OK.)

Below, the scarf I finished en route to Tejas by way of MO. It's now traveling to Maryland, to my mom, making this the second most well-traveled scarf I have ever had in my possession. Congrats, purple scarf!
Below, Bingo the turtle. Bingo just had a birthday - the big 1-9. Bingo was known as Tennessee for the first 15 years of life. I got him for free when I used to sell classified ads at the paper (oh, the life of glamour I once led!). This was before I Googled red-eared sliders and discovered they live for upwards of 70 years. Happy birthday to my accidentally lifelong turtle partner!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

C'mon in!

A few weeks ago, I took a three-day weekend to spruce up the small, forgotten spaces of our house: the side entry way and the hallway. You've seen the before pictures of our hideous hall, and I'll get the afters up as soon as the sun comes out long enough for me to take a picture that isn't shrouded in darkness, as the one below is.

Meanwhile, here is the side entry (it leads from our driveway to the basement and kitchen) in all its glory. Before, this was a pretty boring spot with off-white walls and a ceiling to match (no before pictures, sorry, I'm new here). I took a brighter white to the ceiling and a rich toffee to the walls. I also touched up the existing white trim to be a cleaner white.

Our old light fixture was a basic dome light that didn't play up the height of the ceiling, so we took that down and replaced it with a nice (and cheap!) pendant that brings in the red of our kitchen.

Aren't you rather amazed that our window covering matches so well? Not a coincidence, my friend. This fabric is also used in the Roman shades in our kitchen and came with the house. Thank you, previous owners! Points scored for working with what the house gave me.

Also, ignore that creepy red glow, in real life the effect is a lot more cozy-warm-so-glad-I'm-finally-inside (see below).

Hope you like the colors, you'll be seeing them again in short order!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Swip swap swak

I think I found Amanda's lovely blog via A Practical Wedding (the only wedding-related blog to remain in my reader post-big day). So, when she announced her second annual Valentine's Day swap, I e-mailed her right away to hop in on the fun. I started crafting a pretty swell little gift last night, but I thought you might like to see my first attempts:
Yikes, right? Don't worry, these koozies won't be making their way into any unsuspecting swaplet's mailboxes anytime soon. I'll be keeping them safe in my koozie drawer (yes, really. An entire drawer.) where no one will judge them.
But, I'm pretty sure there is a future here, I just need thinner yarn and more knitting prowess. Everyone loves koozies, right?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A full weekend

Hubs and I spent last weekend flitting around to visit my far-flung sisters.
  • After work, we pile in the car and drive toward Kansas City. My youngest sister, E, goes to school near KC so her apartment was our first stop. Sadly, the roads were really slushy and small college towns in rural MO apparently don't plow as diligently as regular cities. So, we spend the night holed up, watching Dolly Parton's Straight Talk, counting the nuggets of advice she gave (for the record, it's 18, none of which I remember today).


  • Breakfast: Hoping to stuff ourselves to the point that we wouldn't need lunch at a ridiculously expensive airport restaurant, we head to a cute diner for a hearty pile of carbs. We order biscuits the size of our fists and drown ourselves in gravy and coffee. Then, we drive to KC to catch a flight for Austin, to visit middle sister L.
  • Lunch: We managed to skip, in preparation for what was to follow.
  • Afternoon flight: I finish a soft aubergine scarf for my mom, which was perfect because silly me thought it would be 70 degrees in Texas. It was cloudy and in the 40s mostly, but in hindsight, it might have been that cold, yucky weather that allowed hubs, L and me to survive the barrage of food we encountered. I wear the scarf the rest of the weekend.
  • Happy hour: After we land, my sis takes us to our hotel and we enjoy a delightful complimentary happy hour in the lobby. And Goldfish. Yum.
  • Dinner: We head down to 6th Street for margaritas and Mexican food at Iron Cactus. Here, our party of four (we added L's roommate to the group), managed two appetizers and three entrees pain-free. I discover I can eat Serrano peppers and not even realize it (like running, I'm learning to be a spice-eater).
  • Drinks: We meander down the street, stopping at a few places before settling on Union Park and its frozen mojitos. Delicious! And, the frozen-blendedness got rid of my least favorite part of mojitos - the big, soggy mint leaves.
  • Back to the hotel: L works at the hotel we stayed at and her coworker kindly sent a bottle of champagne and some snacks up to our room! Hubs and I might have sipped some bubs while watching the roast of Jeff Foxworthy on Comedy Central. Gangsta, right?


  • Breakfast: L brings us kolaches from Shipley's. Kolaches are breakfast sausages, cheese and jalapenos wrapped in a savory doughnut. I eat one and a half.
  • Brunch: La Taverna has amazing food and $1 mimosas. We eat a hearty brunch and I think I see a girl I went to high school with.
  • Shopping break. I discover a tiny bottle of perfume and fall in love because it smells like fancy suntan lotion.

  • Snack: As you well know, hubs and I adore cheese. Especially in a melty state, on a nacho chip. We went to Doc's on Congress for queso. The bar had garage doors and a patio; if it wasn't freezing, it would have been a great place to sit in the sun!
  • Lunch: Right on the lake, Hula Hut has a weird mix of Mexican and Polynesian food. Hubs and I order Mexican martinis, which are really just margaritas with a splash of olive juice. I make the nearly disastrous mistake of ordering shrimp rolls - shrimp, cheese and bacon fried in a wonton wrapper. We power through.
  • Yarn-buying break. Since I finished my mom's scarf, I needed more yarn to start a new one for our return trip. Knitting during flying trumps reading.
  • Drinks. At a posh outdoor shopping center, we spot this: and head to Joe DiMaggio's to take advantage of their happy hour and high-end cocktails. Our stomachs are ready for the grand finale.
  • Dinner. At North. Oh, goodness. A five-course Italian meal that blew me away. And the light fixtures at this restaurant were super cute.


  • Breakfast at the hotel. Just fruit and yogurt for me, thanks. I'm lucky my jeans fit this morning.
  • Flying back to KC. I realize I've reached the point where we fly so frequently (to visit people, for the honeymoon, etc) that I don't get nervous during take off. Hooray!
  • Lunch: We land and decide the eating doesn't need to end; we are still on vacation. We consult the Garmin, which points us toward Smokebox BBQ near the airport. With a nice waitress and dark red BBQ sauce, we were able to end our trip on a high note.
  • We get home and declare that we'll both be hitting the gym ASAP.

How was your weekend? Did you do any major artery clogging like we did?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Signs I Might be Crazy, Installment Three

We are meeting with our tax guy this weekend. While dear old Dad has done a real whiz-bang job since I first started scooping ice cream at age 15, the time has come to bring in a professional. I mean, I changed jobs, bought a house, got a fatty first-time buyer’s credit, used that to get some blissfully draft-free, tax-credit-eligible new windows, and got married.

Taxually, that boggles my mind. The mister and I could not even fill out our new W4s without a quick call to the tax man.

Why is this a Sign I Might be Crazy?

I’m really looking forward to spending Saturday morning with the tax guy. I’m ridiculously excited to see how my withholding changes and (most importantly) what our return will look like. I’m no math genius, but I sure do like big numbers on checks made out to me.
Blog Directory