Blue Christmas

November 30, 2010

This past Sunday, my father and I attended a service at church appropriately titled "Blue Christmas".  We attended last year too.  As horrible as it is to be missing someone during this season, I am comforted to know that we are not alone.  People go through this every. single. day.  And they get through it and they eventually find some sort of new happiness again.
Even though I know this Christmas will be a teeny tiny bit easier to get through than last year's was (it will be year #2 without my mama), it still feels like there's a huge gaping hole during the holiday season that I'm struggling to fill.  With what? I'm not sure.  I take comfort in the fact that our last Christmas with her was nearly perfect.  Our family did the usual:  sit around the tree while drinking coffee, play the parades on tv and mute the sound, put Christmas records (Bing Crosby anyone?) on while we opened presents, shared smiles, and allowed my mom to take pictures of us.  She loved taking pictures. 
I guess I'm just trying to figure out our new routine for the holidays.  Do we scrap everything we did before and start all over?  Come up with some new tradition to carry forth into future Christmas's?  Probably not, but it is hard trying to find a balance between new and old.  And I'm still trying to find the meaning in this season that brings so much happiness and sadness our way, all at once. 

Fabric Woes

November 29, 2010

I am still in the process of making our living room less manly.  This project is dragging- partly due to the holidays, partly due to the fact that we have suddenly become super busy, and partly due to the fact that I'm indecisive.  Since I ended up not purchasing a colorful floor rug (*sad face*), I am planning on adding color to the room via throw pillows. I've finished sewing half of the pillow covers, using this fabric*:

*It's actually more of a light greige in person.

For the remaining pillows, I decided to use a teal/blue fabric.  Originally, I found some teal, linen look-alike fabric from JoAnns, but I recently decided that I didn't like the color or texture. So once again, I am searching for fabric.  I ordered these two prints, in the colors shown below, from here:

I love, love, love this print and I was really hoping that the colors would have worked (even though deep down, I knew better), but the first was too neutral and the second was too dark.  However, I will definitely be using these in another sewing project soon.  It actually comes in yellow too, which is very tempting.... Can you tell I'm a fan of Alexander Henry fabrics?

Then today, while I was browsing for Cyber Monday deals, I came across these two prints- Dwell Studio for Robert Allen Home, found here:

I am crossing my fingers that I like this fabric when I finally get it.  I love the print and I think the color is what I've been looking for.  Plus it's decorator weight!

I also found this Rosemarie Lavin fabric here:

I'm not really a "red" person, but again, I really loved the print.  Since we just put our tree this weekend, I am all about getting in the holiday spirit.  I know the print isn't very "holiday", but the color is.  In other words, I will find a way to include this print in my holiday decor.

And finally, I found this Kitty Yoshida print (also found here):

Teal? Yes, but I'm not sure if the texture is what I'm looking for.

Hopefully I'll have a solution to my fabric problem within the next week or so!

The Best Hot Cocoa. Ever.

November 28, 2010

Prior to my introduction of this product, I made my cocoa the old fashioned way:  Swiss Miss.  Little did I know what I was missing, until I met my husband who pretty much laughed at my prepackaged, individualized, chocolate powder with mini dehydrated marshmallows.  Now I know better, so I wanted to share my love my this chocolate treat with y'all.

Usually Abuelita can be found in the hot tea/coffee section or the Mexican food section of your local grocery store.  Each container of Abuelita contains about six of these paper-wrapped chocolate rounds:  I usually split mine in half because 1) it's easier to make half a batch of cocoa and 2) I don't feel quite as bad for consuming it all by myself. 

They're kind of hard, so cut them in half with a knife.  Bring 2 cups of milk to a boil and add half the chocolate to your pot.

Stir your cocoa until all of the chocolate is dissolved and your mixture is nice and warm.  Now get out your blender (this is KEY).  Pour the cocoa into the blender, until it's about half full.  

Grab a towel (that you don't mind getting dirty).  Hold the lid on with your towel and blend. (Liquid shouldn't come spewing out of the top, but during the blending, hot liquid will hit the lid of your blender and it's HOT- I may or may not speak from experience).

Here's the result:  Foamy, chocolate-y goodness.

Pour into your favorite mug. Add cinnamon and marshmallows.



It's the Holiday Season

November 27, 2010


Black Friday

November 26, 2010

So this year, we decided NOT to hit up the 4 a.m. sales at the stores. After doing some online research, we thought it just wasn't worth it and instead enjoyed our coffee at home, in our pajamas. We did venture out in the afternoon to scoop up some holiday candles at Bath & Body Works (snow apple mint and twisted peppermint- yummy, it smells so festive in our house now!!). We also indulged in Turkey Day leftovers and visited with family. I think tomorrow we'll be taking down out harvest decor and putting up our tree!!!


November 25, 2010

I am so grateful for the many many blessings I have in my life. It's once to have a day to remember this, however, I realize how important it is to see these blessings each and every day. Above all, today I am thankful that my family was able to spend time together and that I was able to see those close to me genuinely happy. I only wish there would have been enough time to see all the people I love. I hope everyone had a very enjoyable holiday!!

Happy Turkey Day!!

November 24, 2010

Hope everyone is enjoying the start of their Thanksgiving holiday. I kicked off mine by baking pies and listening to holiday tunes. Its not cold here yet, but I'm hoping the cold front arriving tomorrow will bring on the holiday spirit a our house :)

Holiday Cards

November 23, 2010

I really want to send out holiday photo cards this year.  I wanted to send them out last year too (a good excuse to use our wedding photos).  But after the wedding, time seemed to disappear and before I knew it, the new year had arrived.  So this year, we're absolutely taking a family portrait (Oso and Kingsley included) and sending them to our loved ones.

Although I've never ordered from Shutterfly, I've heard many good things about them from people who have.  I'm in the process of organizing an anniversary photo album through their site and just need to find the time to finish it!  In addition to photo books, they do photo printing, calendars, and they have a great selection of cards.

Here are some of my holiday favorites:

I like that 10% of the sales of this card are donated to the American Lung Association.  I think it would be a great way to include pictures of us from throughout the year.

Love the simplicity of this one:

And I like these because they're a little more colorful and festive:

Now I just need to decide on which one I like best!

* I will be receiving 50 free cards from Shutterfly for writing this post.  However, the thoughts and opinions posted here are my own.



November 22, 2010

So, I finally purchased my sweet sister purchased photoshop CS5 with her student discount and is letting me borrow it (permantly).  I had a really really old version before this (version 7, anyone?), so it's nice having software that other people actually use.  Also I thought it was time to invest in some nice software to pair with my DSLR camera.  I had a lot of fun Thursday, going through the Pioneer Woman's photoshop page and practicing the tutorials.  I know it's going to take some time and effort, but I think I would rather learn through this method as opposed to taking a class.  I like the idea of going at my own pace, at my own time.
So my question is this:  What other online photoshop tutorials have you found helpful? 

The Weekend in Review

November 21, 2010

Friday night X and I went to the IMAX to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So long awaited and so good! I've read the books a number of times and I was impressed with the way the events were portrayed. Although I do wish there would have been more coverage on Fleur's wedding :)
Saturday was spent lounging around the house. On Sunday we had lunch at the Salt Lick and caught up with a good friend of ours. And finally we ended the weekend by visiting our parents and watching our Sunday night shows. A very nice weekend, overall. I'm looking forward to a cold front later this week and, of course, Thanksgiving!!

iPhone Hipstamatic

November 20, 2010

I discovered this app today and I have to say I love it. I hope everyone is having a fun and relaxing weekend!


November 19, 2010

I have a really difficult time dealing with stress.  I get incredibly anxious over simple matters.. in hindsight, it's really silly.  I know there are things that can help with this, but I have trouble finding the time fitting them into my schedule (meaning:  I find other, better, more fun things to do).  My most recent experience with this may cause a change in my lifestyle.  For the last month I've been feeling really anxious/ stressed out about various stuff going on in my life (sorry to be vague, but it includes both professional and personal items).  As a result, I had been experiencing a horrible back pain near my neck that would not go away.  Until yesterday, when a majority of the stress/anxiety I had been feeling finally subsided.  Last night I slept through the entire night, without being woken up by pain.  I can't remember the last time I was able to do that.
As of now, I haven't had any serious side effects from the stress I put my body through.  I know that it's possible this will not always be the case.  I'm realizing the importance of setting aside a specific amount of time each and every day to simply relax my mind and body.  I'm going to try to accomplish this through meditation and exercise, so we'll see how that goes.  I've tried some yoga, and, though I really like it, I worry I'm doing it wrong.  So, I may take a class to make sure I'm not causing additional damage.  In the past, I would talk to my mom about stress.  Obviously, this isn't possible anymore, so I need to adapt and try to find other outlets for venting.  If not to my husband, then to a friend or counselor. 
I know I'm probably not the only person that has a difficulty with this.  Anyone else have suggestions for managing stress?

Computer Problems

November 18, 2010

Sorry all, I am having a few problems with my computer and will not be able to post anything today :(  I hope to get these fixed this evening and have some posts up tomorrow.  Hope everyone has a great Friday!!!

Sofa Pillows

November 17, 2010

I finally started sewing some pillow covers for some throw pillows I'm adding to our sofa. Tutorial soon to come (seriously, the easiest sewing project ever!!)

Tall Chairs

November 16, 2010

I came across this page in the new issue of House Beautiful that was in my mailbox today. I. Am. In. Love. They all remind me so much of Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter's tea party. I think more than one or two is probably overkill, but I think they would make great eye candy for any room. I love the bottom center chair- it's purple!!

It's Only Monday....

November 15, 2010

But I am sooo looking forward to this next weekend.

1. X and I are going to see HP at the IMAX on Friday!! (and I think I'm going to make a Gryffindor scarf in honor of it- sewn, not knitted/crocheted).

2. It means only a week is left until Turkey Day. We haven't finalized our plans just yet, but my MIL is ordering food from Central Market. Enough Said.

3. Whether the cold weather stays or not, I'm hoping to pull out our fire pit and make some s'mores.


Sunday Night Shows

November 14, 2010

X and I have a regular routine of cozying up on the couch Sunday evenings to enjoy some of our favorite shows. We loved True Blood and Mad Men.  But now that they've ended, we've transitioned to Boardwalk Empire and Dexter.  I'm really not a regular TV watcher- most nights are spent away from it- but I do love this routine of watching our returning series once a week. It's a nice way to end the weekends.

What's your favorite way to end your weekend?

Nordstrom Finds

November 13, 2010

A while back I entered a giveaway over at the Happy Hour with a Housewife, and I won!  I found some items on Nordstroms' website that I really liked, but I decided to pay a visit to their store front to scope out any other goodies.  Here's what I ended up finding:

Three shirts:  

They're all the same style, but they were on sale (yay, Nordy's Half-Yearly sale!).  Actually only one was really on sale, but since the other two were on the sale rack, they honored the sale prices.

Love the pretty patterns.

A cardigan, also on sale:

I also ended up picking up a tank to wear under the shirts and the jacket I posted about earlier.  I'm sad I didn't find any shoes I ended up loving, but overall, I'm really happy with my purchases!

Happy Friday!!

November 12, 2010

I think Fall has finally landed here in Austin, or at least that's what I'm hoping.  I'm looking forward to a weekend filled with sweaters, cocoa, and crafts!

I hope everyone has a relaxing, enjoyable weekend!


North x Northwest

November 11, 2010

This past weekend, X and I were in North Austin to run a few errands, and we decided to stop by a restaurant/brewery I've been wanting to try for a loooonnnngggg time:  North by Northwest.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the interior or exterior, but it was a very nice atmosphere for lunch (and I think would be for dinner too!).  I had a burger + garlic fries:

The fries were so, so good.  Garlic usually doesn't appeal to me, but it was just enough to add the right amount of flavor.

X ordered the pulled pork sandwhich + garlic fries:

Very tasty.  It came with a mango salsa on top, which made it a little sweeter than I've tried before.

And of course, we couldn't stop by and not try their locally brewed beer.  No pictures :(  But I had the Northern Lights (an light beer, tasting similar to Amstel Light) and X tried the Bavarian Hefeweizen (a pretty typical hefeweizen with a hint of banana- sounds weird, but it soooo was good). 

We were both really impressed with this place and only wish they were a little farther south so that we could visit it more frequently!


Just a Reminder...

November 10, 2010

Tomorrow is the start of the Gap (includes Old Navy & BR) 30% off sale that will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The sale is only valid for in-store purchase and you can find your coupon here. 

A few of my favorites:

Plain black ballerina flat that can be dressed up with handmade shoe embellishments (think fabric or beaded goodies).  I've been looking everywhere for plain black flats, this might be them:

I have this skirt in navy and I love it.  So comfortable and can be dressed up or down.  I might need a second one in grey, hmmm...

I love this sweater dress, and it's price.  Now if only it would get cold enough here to wear it.


The Red Cup

November 9, 2010

I'll admit, I love the anticipation that comes along with the approaching holiday season. I could do without the fact that jingle bells and Christmas lights start showing up in retail stores as early as July; but, overall, their presence brings me that warm fuzzy feeling. One item that especially puts me in the holiday spirit is Starbucks' red cup. Although this year I have to say I'm less than impressed with their holiday cup design:

Last year:

This year:

Sad face.

A tisket, a tasket, a white colored jacket...

November 8, 2010

For some reason this Fall, I'm really into jackets.  And coats.  Nevermind that I'll only make use of them maybe once or twice this winter ( and every winter that follows as long as we live in Texas).  So, on Friday, during my gleefull shopping trip at Nordstrom's, I ended up coming home with this:

It also comes in ivory:

After much internal debate, I ended up choosing the ivory over the navy color.  I love the military style and the fact that it fits a little longer on my torso (a quality hard to find!).  I also think the style will go well with my existing wardrobe.  Plus after I tried it on for X, he said he loved it and suggested I go back and get the navy too (wha?....).  I need two jackets much less than I need this one. 

Anyways, I loved it so much, until the next day.  Then doubt started creeping over me:  Ivory- doesn't it get dirty? How often will I end up dry cleaning it?  Will I even wear it? 

Any one else own a white-ish coat?  Is it a staple for your wardrobe or could you do without it? 


Sneak Peek

November 7, 2010

Friday afternoon, I headed over to Nordstom'a to return a few items and make use of my giftcard. Unbeknownst to me, their half yearly sale just began! Luckily, I was finally able to cash in my giftcard for a few items that I really love. Including this:

More images soon to come :)

Things I love...

November 6, 2010

Right now I would love some sweets for Hey Cupcake :)

Happy Friday!

November 5, 2010

 Hello Friday!  We're planning to keep this weekend low-key and, of course, we look forward to enjoying the extra hour we're gaining on Sunday.

Have a great weekend :)

My Dog, the Bully

November 4, 2010

This is Oso, my brother-in-law's pup.  He lives with us and we love him. So, I guess that makes him my adopted dog? my nephew dog? or maybe just my dog too (watch it BIL, you may not get him back :P).  He's old and sweet and follows me around.  He loves being in the same room as either X or me.

This is Kingsley.  He lives with us too.  He is our first "together" pet, our child, our baby.  He looks incredibly cute, but don't let his sleeping innocence deceive you.  He's extremely stubborn, kind of loud, and mostly likes to be alone, except during thunderstorms when he FREAKS out.  Then he wants to crawl in your lap, in which he does not fit.

Bed time routine around our house usually goes like this:  I get ready for bed, round up the dogs and herd them to their respective dog beds, X leaves for the gym, I go to sleep.  This evening, Oso was already curled up and comfy on Kingsley's bed.  Kingsley was in our guest room, sleeping on top of the guest bed, which I think he's claimed as his own too.  After much prodding, X finally convinced him to get up and come into our room.

Kingsley walked in our room, looked at Oso, and then proceeded to crawl in his bed on top of Oso.

And there he stayed.  I'm sure Oso was thrilled.

"Uh, what just happened?"

I'm sure you can guess who won.