Friday, April 13, 2012

The Good'ol'will

In high school I was the girl who always had to have name brand everything. If it wasn't popular, I didn't wear it. If I thought for one second I'd stand out (in a bad way), I didn't wear it. If it was a hand-me-down, I didn't wear it. And if it was purchased at Walmart, I definitely didn't wear it. Thank heavens I grew up-or at least out of that nasty habit.

As most girls realize when they age, things that are oh-so-important in high school aren't nearly as significant in the real world. No one really cares if you have the 2 crossing half-circles on the butt of your abercrombie jeans. In order to make up for lost time, I have gone the other extreme, buying much of my clothing from secondhand stores and, heaven forbid, even picking up a piece from Walmart on occasion. I definitely still have my splurges, but the beautiful thing is no one can really tell what I spent bucko bucks on and what I got for pennies. Or maybe they can and I'm just oblivious :) Regardless, life is so much better not fretting about brands and labels, let me tell you.

Now, it's not easy to be a secondhand shopper, it usually takes more time searching and a lot more creativity. But, if you purchase 3 items for 10 bucks, and you only end up loving one, it's still a steal.

A couple days ago, after rummaging through some "pre-loved" goodies, I brought home some beautiful new additions to my wardrobe. And then made my roomie take some pictures to prove that you can dress like a fashionista without spending like one.

His and hers

Lastly, you'll be tempted to disregard all washing/handling instructions because you're not going to pay 10 bucks to get those 6-dollar wool pants dry cleaned. But don't. Because you may end up with capris. Unless of course you like capris. In which case, go right ahead.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Extreme Planets

I woke up this morning with every intention of going bike-boating. For those of you who don't know what bike-boating is, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out...let your imagination run wild and you'll probably be right. Anyway, I went to print off the awesome deal I got from Groupon only to find that I would not be able to use the tickets until tomorrow. Tomorrow?! I have to work tomorrow! After pouting for a sufficient amount of time, I decided to find something else to do, and turned to the world wide web.

I've always been amazed by astronomy and love visiting planetariums. Now, I had heard that San Antonio College had a great one, and I'd been wanting to check it out for some time. So, I did what anyone does who needs information on something, I googled it. I was brought to a website for San Antonio College Planetarium and located the calendar of events to see that not only was there a show tonight, but it was a Magical World of Wizarding show (for any witch, wizard, or muggle over the age of 6). Perfect. Julie looooooves wizards, and I loooooove stars. I thought it was too good to be true.

I was right....sorta.

I quickly purchased the tickets which said "absolutely no late seating", and we were late-by about 10 minutes. And we had no idea where on campus the planetarium was. It was 8:40, and the show was to start at 8:30. So, we ran into the closest building and asked a kind gentlemen to direct us. After he pointed us in the right direction, we ran (sprinted) across campus, dodging trees and jumping off brick walls, until we found it: the dome. To our surprise there was a great big line still out the door! We high-fived each other for making it in time and tried to catch our breath as we waited, sweaty and hot, to see the Harry Potter-inspired star show.

Upon reaching the door, we looked at the line-up for the evening and noticed that the schedule was totally off. Extreme planets? 9:00? This makes no sense. Once we reached the doors, the man took one look at my tickets and made a lot  more sense of the situation. Apaaarantly there is a San Antonio College in California, at which we had tickets to attend a Harry Potter show at 8:30. He kindly informed us that even with the time difference, we would inevitably be late. Ha. Ah well. We were about to turn around, brokenhearted when the gentlemen gave us free passes to watch the show (which started at 9-no wonder we made it on time), "Extreme Planets".

It was no Harry Potter Star Show, but we were grateful nonetheless. We got to see an awesome display of some of the crazy findings of planets and the search for life in outer space. THEN we got to go out and see Jupiter through their massive telescope. After being sufficiently humbled (I always feel small after attending the planetarium), the emcee handed out some beautiful gold coins in red velvet bags to a few lucky attendees in celebration of the planetarium's 50 year anniversary we just so happened to attend. So, after giving one to a little boy who got 100% on his science test during the week, he gave two honorary coins to the two crazies who had tickets to see the show in California, and would not be able to make it.


Now I gotta go check out that website and see if it was completely obvious that the college was in Cali. Maybe it's better I don't look.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Less is More

One of my favorite sayings goes as follows:

“Too often we buy things we don’t need,
with money we don’t have,
to impress people we don’t like.”

I’m not sure who said it, but whoever it was knew a thing or two about people, especially American people, especially the rising generation, American people.

Too many of us have WAY too much debt, too many toys, clothes, and gadgets we can’t afford and all-in-all just way too much “stuff”.  I’ve always known this to be true, but I (like so many others), have fallen prey to the notion that you need to have more to be more; more popular, more respected, more successful, more happy. ..etc. How untrue that is. And how especially untrue that is when we have to move.

I don’t hate a lot of things, but there's nothing in this world I hate more than moving. “Easy enough,” you say, “just don’t move”.  No. Not that easy. You see, I love to move. Ha ha, let me rephrase that.  I love to be new places. I love to meet new people. I love to see new things. I love to sample new cuisine…and there’s no better way to experience a place than to live there. That’s just one of the things that have brought me to the conclusion than less may very well be more.

I’ve also come to realize that I’m much happier with fewer things that I really like, than loads of things that are okay. I care for them more, I use them more, and overall, I end up getting more of my money’s worth out of them.

There are a few things that spawned this way of thinking, one being an awesome Ted video that I watched this afternoon. So, I’ll end my little thought with this…

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Snake Farm

Maia's in town! ...and you would think (with it being her first time in San Antonio...or Texas for that matter), that I would take her to the Riverwalk, the Alamo, Seaworld...maybe even Six Flags...but no-I bring her to a snake farm.

We pass it every time we go up to Austin, or to New Braunfels for any reason, and it has always made me curious. Turns out it's just what it says...and more. It's chock full of exotic snakes, reptiles, monkeys, birds...and last but not least, a petting zoo, where if you pay $1.00 for a bag of food, you can be stuck inside a cage of 50 starving goats to be head-butted, trampled, cornered, and slobbered on. MY idea of a dream vacation.

We started out in the snake room where we quickly made friends with the fearless snake-charmer who later helped us save a poor tortoise from a completely unprofitable struggle out of the corner where he was wedged between the glass and a giant rock. We rooted for him for about 15 minutes until snake man came to the rescue, making me hold the friend he had wrapped around his arm, while he opened up the tortoise cage.

Then it was off to see the safari animals outside...I hung out by the monkey cage for most of the time, reminiscing on the love I had for them as a child. I had monkey socks, stuffed monkeys, monkey trinkets, monkey backpacks, monkey name it. I loved watching them play today and for a second, had the same thought I had every day of my childhood...I want one.

The petting zoo, though, was probably the most entertaining of all, for here is where we would meet the most ferocious of all the exotic animals...goats.

Don't be fooled by their apparent good nature (as was I).

And Ju Ju. 

Maia knew better. 

Yes, he is trying to clobber me.

What the? A llama?

So, we left the snakes unscathed and poison free, but we left the "harmless" goats covered in dust, slobber, and scratches :( 

It was worth it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I love to cook. I can spend hours on food blogs, searching for recipes. I love to roam Barnes and Noble with my frozen vanilla frappuccino (with hazelnut), perusing over countless "real" cookbooks and getting ideas for dinner. However, I am a safe cook. What is a safe cook, you ask? I don't mean the type that is sure to use hot-pads and always have a fire extinguisher close...though both things are a great idea. I mean the type that only cooks things that they know will turn out wonderful. Things that my friends/family have tried. Things that are made with only ingredients that will undoubtedly taste delicious together. Desserts that I can pronounce....etc. etc. etc. But. I love to eat new and exotic foods and I admire people so much that are willing to try (and sometimes fail), while trying out new recipes. My roommate is a prime example. She looks for dishes that are just outside her "scope of practice", and just goes for it. Because of her I have had things like shrimp gumbo, 40 clove garlic chicken (made with a whole chicken, mind you), and curried...well everything.

So. This week I decided to try a couple new things. Bright-eyed and hopeful, I carefully read the directions of how to use a charcoal grill. I adore grills. I generally love everything that comes off of them. But, with my grill-master of a boyfriend being thousands of miles away, I realized I had know idea how to start the thing. In hopes of preventing this becomming a "how not to grill" blog, I will spare you the details, but let's just say I have mastered the lighting of the coals, but have yet to learn the art of temperature control. So, I spent that evening eating a doughy pizza, charred black on the bottom.

My next challenge was to try a new ingredient. I found an awesome (looking) recipe with pasta, goat cheese, lemon, asparagus and herbs. Simple enough. I love all those things, except of course the goat cheese, which I haven't tried. How bad could it be?

Bad. Really Bad. Goat cheese is disgusting! So, instead of throwing away a whole dish, I rinsed the pasta and asparagus in hot water and put a "safe" alfredo dressing on it instead. And although my roommate loved it, I could still taste the goat cheese, so...I ate this:

After two failed attempts this week, I was feeling pretty down until I saw this on the counter:

And I remembered seeing this after coming home from work one day:

So, for all you safe cooks out there, don't give up! It's okay to make a disgusting thing or two! It's okay to burn things! It's okay to try new things and not love it! It's okay to experiment! And for all you amazing cooks who try new things and it always turns out make me sick.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

17 ways to make your girlfriend's day:

1. Drive 5 hours through the night after working all day to meet her in the Lolo forest even if you can only see her for a few hours.

2. Wake up after only an hour nap because she's anxious and wants to play. 
3. Make her an egg, bacon, and portabella mushroom breakfast (even if it means burning down the forest to do it).

4. Give her your brand spanking new mountain bike to ride because the old one is uncomfortable.

5. Let her wear your pants because she once again came overdressed for the occasion.
6. Ride with her up a mountain covered in wildflowers, and stop to rest in the shade when she starts to feel nauseated.

7. Whip out some healthy snacks while you wait for her to recover.

8. Amuse her by posing for pictures of the breathtaking view.

9. Tell her you love her hair when it's all sweaty and sticking up in all directions. 
10. Give her the old bike when at the top of the mountain she pops the tire on your brand new one (and don't complain for one second as you have to walk the bike all the way down the mountain). 
11. Build her a fire to keep her warm while you make grilled salmon with garlic and butter, asparagus, tortellini, more portabellas, grilled corn on the cob, and a grilled onion (yes, all for one meal).

12.Take her to a natural hot spring surrounded by evergreens and soak in the warmth while watching the stars.
13. Give her your wool socks to keep her feet warm after you get out of the pool.
14. Make her hot chocolate and popcorn over the camp stove.

15. Keep her nice and toasty with only the warmest of blankets.
16. Clean up the whole mess because she has to make it back to catch her flight.
17. Leave just in time to make in back to work in the morning.