Archive for July, 2008

Farewell Scrabulous…

…it’s gone. One of my many forms of online entertainment. My friend Alec and I have played multiple joyous games since she introduced me to the application some 6-8 months ago. Hasbro, the makers of Scrabble have sued the makers of Scrabulous because of its similarities to the actual board game.

I’ve heard that I shouldn’t worry too much though as the scrappy Scrabulous peeps are trying to find a loop hole in the system. Let’s hope!

…and not to stir up the flames again but the following articles were interesting and proved my point even further:

Beijing’s Olympic Dress Code

-My favorite part:
“The book advises that there should be no public displays of affection, feet should be slightly apart or in the shape of a V or Y when standing, and a handshake should not last more than three seconds.”

Internet Ban

These are shaping up to be “The 2008 ‘No-Fun’ Summer Games”

July 31, 2008 at 6:54 pm 4 comments

Heartwarming.

I saw this clip and story on the Today Show this morning. Meredith Vieira warned me to grab a tissue before watching it…..I didn’t and was reminded that the back of my hand is not absorbent.

July 30, 2008 at 2:57 pm 3 comments

For Sunday brunch…

…we visited one of my favorites. I love this place so much…the location, the ambience, the dishware, and most importantly THE FOOD! Ya know, the very thing that fuels 85% of my blog posts :-)

South Congress Cafe boasts such an impressive array of choices….the menu, well it’s dynamic and the recipes described are always crowd pleasers. What sounds better than Carrot Cake French Toast or (beyond creamy) roasted bell pepper and potato pancakes? We took along friends Kearney and Robin who had never been to SoCo Cafe and (I think) converted them to believers :-)

I always start my meals there with a cup of their Kona decaf (which comes in the purple mug), we all munched on their mini corn bread muffins and enjoyed the view from our street-side booth. For brunch I ordered their omelet special….stuffed lovingly with prosciutto, roasted bell peppers, asparagus, and queso blanco. On the side was that divine potato pancake mentioned above and fresh fruit (unwilted, just peeled fresh fruit). Alex ordered the venison meatloaf, which was of course bueno. And because each table must have ONE, Robin ordered the carrot cake french toast (it tastes like candy) and allowed us to savor its goodness :-) Next time I’m wanting the crab cakes….

Afterwards we walked around the trails of Zilker Park and happened upon the dog park. While there we talked about how awesome dogs are and uttered phrases like, “oh, look at this little guy” or “puppy puppy puppy!”

The rest of the day turned into a super lazy Sunday that involved napping under rapidly moving fans, taking walks after the sun has set, and watching the Food Network.

July 30, 2008 at 2:43 am 3 comments

As the 2008 Beijing Games draw closer…

…I ask myself why oh why are they in Beijing, China. At first I ignored all of the anti-China protests and dubbed them as over-dramatic. But the more I learn and the more I think about it….it seems weird that the Olympics, an event that promotes peace and world unity are taking place in a country that is guilty of so many acts against humanity.

The fact that China still rules over the Tibetan people and many petty crimes in China are punishable by death seems to be such an unfitting place for the Olympic Games to take place. I just see a lot of hypocrisy arising which angers me.

Furthermore, Beijing has been unfortunately dubbed one of the dirtiest cities in the world. The country’s pollution problem is being held accountable for the deaths of approximately 50,000 newborns each year….that is some stank air if you ask me! Rightfully so a lot of red flags are being raised with questions about how the 10,000 some athletes are going to fair with such conditions. Those who compete indoors are safe, however, those competing in marathons, track and field, and cycling events are screwed if they have asthma or even slight aversions to smog/dust/smoke. Especially if you take into account how much more oxygen an athlete performing at their peaks take in with each breath. Oy!

Anyway, what’s done is done. I’m sure the world will enjoy a safe….and hopefully somewhat “clean/green” Olympic Games. I just find it all puzzling!

July 29, 2008 at 6:15 pm 7 comments

Down Home Texas BBQ

This morning (around 10:30) Alex and I hopped in the car along with my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend. The plan…go try out the #3 rated BBQ in Texas. It’s called Smitty’s and has been serving finger lickin’ good barbecue since around 1900 (although under different management). Kreuz Market (the rival BBQ joint) was no less than 4 minutes down the road and is ranked #2 in Texas. We decided to try Smitty’s though because they had side options…whereas Kreuz Market is all about the meat!

The building is old and unassuming. Upon walking in your smacked in the face with a plume of smoke that smells heavily of mesquite trees while you walk down a long, dark, ominous hallway. At the end of the hallway you see the smokers, fueled by burning logs, and stock full of some serious TX BBQ! We walked in and my dad was so overwhelmed that he made us all sit first and have a “plan of attack” meeting.

PL (Papa Lewey): “Alright, alright……what does everyone want?”
in unison: “Meat!”

We ended up getting an offensive amount of meat consisting of beef ribs, brisket, sausage, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, and plenty of lemonade. You had to ask specifically for barbecue sauce as most prefer not to disrupt the purity of their beef. The ribs were by far the best I’ve ever eaten (even though I usually prefer pork ribs) they were sweet and crispy on the outside and fell off the bone. Everything else was excellent as well…although we found ourselves saying things like, “yeah, Rudy’s sausage is much better” or “I like the baked beans at Salt Lick better.”

The eating area on the inside was no frills and filled with locals….and a handful of good ‘ole boys wearing sweat stained baseball caps and tight jeans. We sat there for quite some time, polishing off most of the meat (besides one sausage) and letting our food settle afterwards. A walk around the Lockhart city square was in order upon leaving, and not long after that we hopped back in the car to make the 45 min. drive back to Austin.

It’s been 4 hours since we finished eating and I’m still suffering from the meat sweats and food coma :-) Tonight will consist of resting, swimming, and eating lots and lots of fruit!

July 26, 2008 at 8:49 pm 3 comments

Today for lunch…

…I was craving Thai summer rolls and HAD to have them! I ventured to the closest/most convenient place to get them, Firebowl. And even though my experiences there in the past have been pretty lackluster, today I left so excited about how great my two summer rolls and huge bowl of tom kha gai were. My first tom kha gai experience was at a Thai cooking class that Alex took me to for my birthday! It was good…but the lemongrass in it was way too overpowering and the chicken was tough. Today the soup was so light and refreshing and the chicken was cooked just right :-) So it was delicious and economical since I have dinner for tonight….or Alex has dinner for tonight. I like to share my food finds with the husband!

If you’re expecting a “what I had for lunch for tomorrow” I can speak pretty accurately to the fact that it’ll be pb&j, yogurt, and some almonds. Such a killjoy from today’s excitement…

July 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm 1 comment

Sold

Here Alex and I are with the KB Home Sold sign out in front of our lot…..2400 Henry Rifle Road! This Friday we have our final appointment at the design studio where we’ll sign off on our final “design” decision! Then they’ll order the materials, make a plot plan, and then….begin construction!

They say we’ll be in sometime in November….we’ll see, Alex and I aren’t counting on that. And since our lease is good ’til the end of January we’ll always have a place to call home :-)

July 23, 2008 at 5:05 pm 9 comments

new find…

Last week after going out to dinner with my mom for her birthday we walked into the new Indian Grocery Store in the same shopping center called Apna Bazaar. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website yet…and it’s still very very new so I wasn’t able to find any online reviews on it. I’ll be the first to review it though.

The very unassuming store in the Spicewood Springs shopping center reeks of savory spices and a passion for Indian Cuisine. Apna Bazaar is small but brimming with quality ingredients, everything you’ll need to cook an authentic meal is there. I was especially pleased with the low prices and the many options for cooking quick, no frill meals. The owners were incredibly genuine and helpful. The owner’s son, no older than 13, showed me around the “quick cooking” section of the store where there were many “meal packets” that were incredibly easy to prepare and sooo delicious. Upon leaving I bought a jar of Vindaloo paste, paratha, a spice packet for making Chicken curry, another for making Tikka Masala, and two of the best Samosas we’ve ever eaten.

Last night when we walked back into the apartment after a long day out we noticed that it smelled of curry!

July 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Mama Mia!

Today is my mom’s 52nd birthday. We had a small fajita/strawberry cupcake celebration on Saturday. Tonight I’ll be spending some more quality time with my mom along with our good friend Ravi….I call him my “second brother” :-)

Alec and I both kind of failed the blog challenge……and on the last day. But instead of saying we failed I think we should focus on the positive. We DID blog 6 days in a row. Something I’ve never done before….it was rough at times. Especially when the clock would strike 10:30 pm (almost my bedtime) and I still had yet to post.

It’s a little bit of my fault as well since my last blog theme was overly complicated and a lot of work. woe is me.

Nothing really new happening except for all of the exciting house talk. Alex and I come home from work and talk about mortgage/down payments/decorating/property taxes all evening long. Tomorrow evening we’re meeting with KB’s “money guy” to talk about getting our house loan and all that jazz.

I’m sitting over here with fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly!

July 15, 2008 at 8:17 pm 3 comments

Just Say No to Pithy Oranges: Blog Challenge 2008, Day 6

(alec’s) theme: the story of Saci. (For me it’s the story of Mika, but “The Story of Saci” has a ring to it, almost like a 70’s TV-movie.) Like how you got her, your first day with her… you know.

This is my favorite blog theme to date! Good one Barnesy :-)

The story of Saci is a very special one. We had the name “Saci” picked out for quite sometime…she’s named after the art school we studied at in Florence called Studio Art Centers International (SACI)! Upon talking to a long time friend who deemed “Saci” the perfect pet name, I tucked it away safely in a special place until we found the whiskered love of our lives!

Alex moved to Austin on January 1st, 2007 (Happy New Years to us) and we moved into our wonderful apartment together. I wanted a dog right off….I come from a long line of individuals that treat dogs as members of the family (it gets a little weird at times). Alex on the other, being the voice of reason, said it’d be best to wait 4-6 months until we were used to living with eachother.

Fine.

One day in late January 2007 (not even a month after he moved here) Alex called me on my lunch break. I was elbow deep in a sales bin at Express when Alex informed that “[I’d] be so jealous because [he] was playing with puppies” at Petco’s outside adoption day.

I was jealous….but I was also trying on awesome tube tops. He called me back seconds later while in the dressing room to inform me that he’d found her. She was a basenji mix sitting in the corner of a cage while obnoxious puppies bit her hears and annoyed her.

“Get her……just come home with her” I said. He was surprised asking if I wanted to meet her first. I knew that this was my chance to get a dog though and I really trusted his judgement.

That evening I left work and went straight towards the nearest Petco. Alex and Saci met me there moments later. My first glimpse of her was her sitting all proper (she still does this) in his backseat looking straight ahead out the front wind shield.

We’ve been a tremendously happy family of three ever since! She’s so docile and sassy, she’ll calmly lounge with us on the sofa while watching our favorite shows or “get crazy” as we throw her toys around for her. She is always a fan favorite with guests as they can’t get over how calm she is and the fact that she hardly ever barks. We joke that she barks “once a month” after which we reset the timer for another 30 days.

We still need to work on socializing her with other dogs. As her first reaction is to nip and growl, after which she’s totally cool. It’s interesting really, I guess she’s telling them, “hey I’m Saci, I’m tough….please don’t take advantage of me!” We also need to work on taking walks and her not pulling our shoulders out of the socket.

Nonetheless we both feel as we have the perfect, little 2-year old girl….one who likes to snuggle with us before bedtime…….drink wag-a-latte coffee drink……and lounge in the sun on the back patio!

P.S. she’s my mom’s first grand child and gets sooo spoiled at Grandma’s house!

…..it’s the story of Saci!

July 14, 2008 at 3:14 am 2 comments

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