Archive for July, 2008

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!

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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

Just Say No to Pithy Oranges: Blog Challenge 2008, Day 5

(my) Theme: Write about the highlight of your day today, as well as something you’re excited for in the near future!

Alright, so if there’s a contest going on with our seven day blog challenge…..well I may have just lost. BECAUSE…we got home last night from a long day of running around and singing Happy Birthday that instead of going upstairs to post……I dropped into bed. ugh…..you win atown.

you usually do :-)

The highlight of my day today was skipping (driving) downtown with Alex, my friend Sonia, and friend Eduardo to Flip Happy. Remember…..the place that I couldn’t stop talking about here! This time I was on a mission since the last time we got all the way to the front of the line and had to leave because we had complainers in our groups. As I type I still get bitter.ugh….anyway, it was hot…..but we were in the shade and with good company as we waited a little over an hour for our three Cuban and one Moroccan savory crepes (all four of us got the nutella and strawberry sweet crepe). While waiting we enjoyed the folky tunes of a local guitarist as he sang in French (how fitting), Spanish, and English! And he wore a torn up cowboy hat…….perfect!

They called our names and we ran to pick up the wonderfully wrapped treats. The Cuban I enjoyed was fabulous (filled with pulled pork, white cheddar, mustard, pickles, and a hint of tobasco). And the sweet crepe, I don’t even have to say that I enjoyed it because you all know that I did :-)

I also made delicious strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese icing from scratch for my mom’s 52nd birthday celebration. So that was a welcome surprised that they came out so well!

As for things we’re looking forward to in the near future………I have lots. sorry. But I’m an excited girl nowadays. And Alec, you’re right, there was a reason for this topic today because…….as of late last week Alex and I have decided to build a house in Cedar Park. We’ve been doing the whole “house hunt” thing since before 2008 and we’ve finally found a solution that we can both live with. Cedar Park is a suburb of Austin just about 7-10 min. north of where we already live. The community in Silverado Ranch is planned and so cute. We even picked a lot already on…..wait for it……Henry Rifle Rd. Oh man, I’m still working on trying to embrace the name that reeks of Texan pride. Oy, our northern friends will NEVER let us live this one down!

Another reason why Alec and I are both twins is because I too am stoked for the Beijing games set to start on August, 8 2008. I watch pretty much every event. I am strangely drawn to sporting events that come around every 4 years…..the Olympics……the World Cup…you get the picture! Since I was a swimmer for a long time the swimming events are my absolute favorite. But I do enjoy watching gymnastics, track and field, diving, syncro swimming (for real), and even rowing. I’ve planned to have a Chinese themed opening ceremony party already…..dork!

And of course….ever since Alec said she was coming down the Texas way I can’t stop thinking about how awesome that trip will be! Knock on wood…..if everything goes as planned the new house will be done by then :-)

July 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm 4 comments

Just Say No to Pithy Oranges: Blog Challenge 2008, Day 4

(alec) Theme: a “discovery” you’ve made – something or someone you think everyone (cool) will be talking about soon. It should give you that feeling of “getting in on the ground floor.”

Well we’re about halfway there……today was rough. As we got home late from doing top secret things I’ll reveal once the blog challenge is over :-)

Okay so here goes. Because I can’t just pick 1 or 2 or even 3 “finds/discoveries” I’ve chosen three categories with a few of my “discoveries” per category!

Category 1: Ways I’ve “discovered” to make my life easier:

-When planning a dinner party choose main courses and desserts that can be made ahead of time and be stored in the fridge/freezer for a few days before guests arrive. Great examples would be items such as lasagna, casseroles, custards, etc. Also fresh fruit with a dollop of whip cream work awesome for low key/healthy desserts.

Another nerdy pre-dinner party “discovery” I’ve made is to set the table the night before…that way dishes and glassware don’t become dusty and it’s 5-10 minutes that you’ve saved already :-)

-Be a defensive driver. After being rear ended twice I never want to fall victim or cause an accident. Who does? right?!?!? Therefore, I’m always driving right on the speed limit or a little under and am aware and conscience at ALL TIMES. Rarely am I talking away on my cell phone or multi-tasking. Those who apply makeup, READ, or send/receive text messages in the car annoy me!

Catefory 2: Financial “discoveries”

-If living in a duo and if possible…live off one partner’s paycheck while putting the others away in your high yield savings account! Alex and I wish we would have started this earlier…it’s just money in the bank :-) Also look into high yield savings accounts such as HSBC (we just got one) or eTrade. You’re guaranteed a higher interest rate than having your money just sit in a regular savings account and you’re at no risk of losing money in today’s volatile market!

-If you’re not yet in a duo…pack your lunch instead of going out to eat. I allow myself one lunch a week with coworkers that I try to save for Thursdays or Fridays. Rather than paying $10 everyday for lunch you can put that money away for more important purchases down the road!

Category 3: Musical “discovery”

-Funny, I just caught a glimpse of this girl on MTV’s “You oughta know” just yesterday. Her name is Charlotte Sometimes and she’s sassy and molto talented. I really enjoy her track called “How could I just kill a man.” Somewhere down the road I’ll use the $10 I saved from packing my lunch one day to purchase the album on itunes!

July 12, 2008 at 3:50 am 1 comment

Just Say No to Pithy Oranges: Blog Challenge 2008, Day 3

(my) Theme: Pick a dream travel destination you’ve never visited and write a detailed account of your perfect day there!

Dream Day: Tel Aviv, Israel

Israel is a new one for my travel list. And it’s an extra dream location because I’m sure I’ll be apprehensive to even consider traveling to the wonderful land that is Israel for a very long time. Sad, I know. Sad, that war, violence, and hate are keeping so many of us from discovering beautiful countries and cultures. But enough about the sad and more about this dream day!

I would arrive in Tel Aviv fresh and lively….because I would have flown first class (with the seats that transform into fluffy beds of heaven [with chocolates on the pillows]) and been able to sleep the majority of the flight with my best girlfriend in tow.

Upon arriving to the airport we wouldn’t be greeted by uniformed IDF soldiers with machine guns, rather helpful airport attendants who helped us on our way into a cab. The cab heading of course towards the hotel that boasts the most luxurious pool and cabana area. We’d drop our luggage, grab a quick drink by the pool where we’d dangle our feet about and quickly set off on foot.

I think I’ll be hungry by now so we’ll meander to the Hakarmel Market in the heart of Israel’s most popular city. While there we’d stock up on olives, fresh figs, and pistachios while playing the “market” game with the boisterous vendors. The boardwalk along the Israeli Mediterranean Coast would be the next stop where we’d window shop for great swim suits for an upcoming swim and possibly the most perfect pair of Israeli made heels :-) Talking with locals (we’d be fluent in Hebrew of course) and admiring the look that all Israeli men have would be followed by snacking on street food like watermelon with chunks of feta garnished with mint and lemon juice.

A quick jump in the ocean would prompt hunger pangs. Back at the hotel we’d slip into our most fabulous cocktail dresses and frolick to Doxa, the chicest place to have a reservation in Tel Aviv. The menu is small but of divine quality. A main course that night would be something like ricotta/lemon stuffed ravioli with a light citrus reduction. Drinks would be expensive but extremely worth every toxic sip and dessert would be sweet, tart, and scandalous…………..in Tel Aviv.

July 11, 2008 at 3:17 am 3 comments

Just Say No to Pithy Oranges: Blog Challenge 2008, Day 2

Theme: Who is your favorite artist and why?

Well…..thanks a lot Barnesy, talk about a tough decision. I consider myself a very decisive person but get very indecisive when picking favorites…..of anything. I suddenly feel like I really need to nail my choice because it part encompasses who I am. And I don’t want friends or even total strangers to get the wrong impression of muah.

So here goes. Favorite Artist artist (this post will also include Favorite Music artist :-) is Chuck Close.

I had never heard of him until Freshman year of college in ’02 when one of our 2D foundation projects was based off his work style. Throughout college his name was referenced in many of my classes….probably due to the fact the the close by Toledo Museum of Art featured a decent amount of his work. I even had a Graphic Design professor who had an original Chuck Close hanging at the end of her hallway I noticed once at a dinner party.

What I like about him is the scale he works at. I love large scale artwork, it’s so bold and assertive. I’m also a fan of realistic portraits, which he is a expert with (I mean could the black and white portrait of himself look anymore like a photo…dang!).However, from far away so many of his portraits are spot on but when viewed close up you see that he created the piece by use of a grid that is completely abstract. There is so much more that I could blab on and on about but bottom line…the guy rocks!

Favorite Music artist:

This is another tough one. There are so many individual albums or even tracks of artists that I’m so in love with. But I’d have to say that my overall audio pleaser of choice would have to be Ms. Joss Stone. Her name alone is rock star…not to mention her buttery, soulful lullabies that send me into a trance every time. It helps that I was introduced to her while studying in Italy in ’04. So whenever I’m listening to her album “Mind, Body, and Soul” I’m brought right back to the cobblestone streets of Firenze!

Her newest album is equally fantastic and I never get tired of listening to her soothing and/or upbeat melodies. And she performs barefoot in cute little ensembles…you’ve got to lover her!

July 9, 2008 at 9:56 pm 3 comments

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