Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend: Devine

It's not really Monday again already, is it? Wow. The weekend was a whirlwind. Coffee is definitely my friend this morning.

Saturday, I had a nice afternoon with my girlfriend at her coffee shop. The iced caramel lattes and the girl talk were flowing. Later, I met up with Steve to look at costumes for an upcoming event we have in April (more details to follow eventually). There is a wonderful costume shop in North Austin with many antique items and clothing from actual movies. It's a really fun place to browse, even when you're not actually needing anything!

Saturday night, Steve and I met back up with my girlfriend for dinner and drinks at a restaurant/bar called Opal Devine's (apparently an Austin staple), which I had never been to before. The menu was fabulous, and their drink menu was just as elaborate. We had a fun server who offered lots of good suggestions. I tried the mojito, at his recommendation, and it was very fresh and delicious. For dinner, I had what they call "Susan's Salad", complete with spring mix, dried cranberries (my favorite!), and walnuts, among usual salad ingredients. It came with their "prickly pear vinaigrette", which had just a touch of sweetness. I loved it. We all look forward to going back there soon!

Steve tried a Blonde Ale. Also really good!
My mojito. Loved the presentation!

We followed dinner with a night at our favorite local karaoke bar. They weren't particularly busy for a Saturday, so we got to sing quite a few songs. It was a really fun night, but I definitely stayed up too late, and perhaps drank a bit more than I should have. They were mixing perfect apple martinis, so it was definitely hard to say no to additional rounds!

I slept relatively late on Sunday and finally forced myself to really wake up and get moving just in time for an Academy Awards watching party at a friend's house. It was a fun little get together, but Steve and I headed out at a reasonable hour to get home for a much needed good night sleep.

How was your weekend? Did you watch the Oscars?
Hope you have a lovely Monday!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Venturing out for the weekend

Happy Weekend!
What fun plans do you have for today? Right now, I'm headed out to spend some time at a local coffee shop with one of my good friends.
I've made up my mind to stay off my computer as much as possible this weekend. My eyes need a rest! Have a fabulous day and I will see you on Monday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Keeping the Peace

Good morning!
So, yesterday went from busy and stressful to productive and accomplished, and I couldn't be happier. And, I'm determined to hang on to this feeling! I really needed sort of a breakthrough in this rut and crabby mood I've found myself in too often this week. Meeting work deadlines can be hectic enough, but even more so when you're struggling with a crash-happy laptop! I spent the first half of my day fighting with mine, wondering how I was ever going to get anything done, and finally (though I don't know how), I won.
Aside from my current work project, whose deadline is early next week, I've also had a couple auditions pop up for next week, which I've begun to prepare for. I've been trying to get all these things as ready and/or completed so I can have as free as weekend as possible, and also enjoy the middle of next week when my sister comes for a visit! I've also been trying to eat well (and if that doesn't put you in a crabby mood, what will? Ha.) and working out everyday.

My boyfriend ended up having to work quite late, so it gave me some extra time to catch up on the work I missed during the "laptop battle of 2011" (I spent the "restart" time doing dishes and laundry, so at least I used the time wisely!). I think maybe I concentrate better in the evening (it probably takes me that long to fully wake up), so I made some great progress working until about 8:30pm. I also stumbled into completing some other tasks that had been nagging me for a while now. They also went well, and I feel so much better with those weights off my shoulders!

This morning I'm enjoying a cup of hot tea (taking a break from my usual coffee) and an english muffin with cinnamon and sugar. I hope you've had a lovely morning. Here's to a productive Friday and a fun weekend!

Photo Credit: , an awesome new blog I found!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Questa è la vita

 I overcame the dreary day yesterday and ended up getting a good amount of work done, plus an awesome work out. I went for a jog late in the day, after the weather had warmed up a surprising amount. I felt great when I got back, especially to know that my work was already virtually done for the day. Sometimes a simple change of routine is really nice. I took a relaxing shower and slipped on a jumper, which I love, because they feel so comfortable but still look really cute and put-together.

Love this one!
Mine is a little more like this, but light gray.

Sometimes it's the little things that get you through a stressful week. Steve and I had a yummy homemade spaghetti and meatball dinner, with a little red wine, and some Siviero Maria brand lemon gelato for dessert (authentic, from Italy, and only 130 calories per cup!).

I don't know what Steve does to season the meatballs, but they are AMAZING. We paired the spaghetti with a spring mix salad with cucumber and feta cheese, and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. I ate the gelato too fast to get pictures. Ha!

It's pouring down rain right now, but it sounds beautiful outside my open balcony door. I stepped out there with my coffee this morning and it felt wonderful. I think I will definitely go sit out there and do some work today. How is your week shaping up??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February hanging on

My mood seems closely tied to the weather lately.
I had a stressful day yesterday, though it wasn't because of anything too serious. I was happy to reach the evening, get out of the house, and escape to Steve's soccer game and then out for a few beers and dinner with friends from the team.

Late last night, I felt determined for a fresh start on Wednesday, but as I slowly opened my eyes towards my bedroom window this morning, my spirits lowered. It's a horribly dreary day today and much cooler. The weatherman is forecasting rain. It doesn't help facilitate motivation for a work out, that's for sure, let alone much else. Where did my lovely Spring weather go?

Coffee is brewing, and I'm going to try to make the best of today, but I need some brightening up! Hopefully this stuff will inspire you, too:

A unique pop of color.

The ever sexy, ever beachy-looking Bridget Bardot.
Fresh fruit = delish

Adorable and fresh!

A snuggle makes everything better.

We're half way through the week! How are you coping with your everyday woes?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pink on the patio

When did I become such a pink-loving girl?!

 The warm weather seems to be bringing back a resurgence of my pink obsession, and totally by accident. Pink clothes, pink nails, pink seems to be a reoccurring theme around here this week. Hot pink is such a fun color to take advantage of in the summer. But wait, it's only February! Ah, Texas is good. I'm enjoying this sunny, mild weather to the fullest extent, especially before the extreme humidity really sets in.

I forced myself through a very hard-headed, unmotivated attitude yesterday and went for a walk/jog (I stayed out a really long time, because I was enjoying exploring the neighborhood so much) and got some errands done. I spent much of the rest of the day working, and actually got a good amount done.
Late in the day, I needed a pick-me-up, so I decided to take the laptop out onto my patio/balcony to finish up a few more things. I wished I had spent more of the day out there working! The change of scenery and the warm, fresh air, definitely helped with some motivation and focus. It felt so nice out, I decided to stay and give myself a manicure, and I enjoyed some "V8 V-Fusion" raspberry tea (quite good, very healthy, low-calorie, and yes - pink!). I think I may enjoy my morning coffee out there today, although it's a little cooler and cloudier this morning.


The life!
I can't wait until I can buy some patio furniture and fully decorate the balcony. I'd love to have a lounge chair, as well as a table and a few chairs so I can literally set up a work area when I want, but also have meals out there sometimes - hopefully with friends! It'd be great for entertaining. I'd love to string up some lights, too, to create a little atmosphere.

I want!

I want again!

Hopefully today will be as productive for me. Go on, comment and tell me how your week is shaping up! xx

Monday, February 21, 2011

FULLy Fun Weekend

I must have had too much fun this weekend, because I feel a bit rough this morning!

The weekend turned out to be more eventful than I expected, but that was just fine with me. Unfortunately though, with all the running around, time flew! I woke up Saturday, worked out, and did some cleaning around the apartment. Then I met one of my best girlfriends for a lunch at Panera Bread. We had lots to catch up on, and there just never seems to be enough time before one of us has to leave! Never-the-less, it was a really nice little get together.

I always look like this when I dye my hair.
Back at my apartment, I put on a Tegan and Sara album and got to the hair-dying process, as planned. Soon after, my boyfriend came over. We chilled on the couch and watched TV (including some Manchester United football/soccer). I sat with my laptop so I could multi-task and get a little work done, too.
Unexpectedly, my girl friend was able to stop by later that evening and she, my boyfriend, and I had a fun night drinking, chatting, and watching movies. We also happened to catch Paul McCartney on Saturday Night Live - score!

Sunday morning was spent lounging in bed, and then at Dunkin Donuts (for an egg and cheese English muffin and an iced caramel latte - my favorite!) until Steve had to go to soccer practice. I stayed behind to go for a walk/jog. I found that Sundays are a great time to walk around the adorable neighborhood behind my apartment complex, as three different places for sale were holding "open houses". Of course, I had to take a peek! I absolutely love looking at houses and it's fun to do a little role playing and pretend you really are in the market. Ha.
Later that afternoon, Steve and I went to Guitar Center, because he was finally ready to take the plunge and buy an acoustic guitar. Then we hurried to a local brewery to have a beer with some of the soccer team, who had gone there after practice.

Sunday night, we went to our second open mic night at a nearby comedy club, where a friend performs stand-up occasionally.

Today, it's back to the routine -especially eating better; I definitely pigged out this weekend. Luckily, I went grocery shopping a few days ago and stocked my kitchen with some healthy options.

Comment and tell me how your weekend was! What does this week hold for you?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekend Plans: Adjust your Mindset, not your TV set

Congratulations! You made it to the weekend. What do you have planned?

I had a nice morning with my boyfriend, and then he was off to spend some time with the guys. I'm going to take the day to squeeze in an extra work out for the week (I've been trying to get back on track over the past few days). Then, I'm going have coffee with one of my best girl friends, who I haven't seen since she returned from her two week trip to Australia! I know we have a lot of catching up to do.

I'm due for a girl's day!

Creating a cozy work area helps me focus, even on a Saturday!
 I'll also have to do some work today, as I got caught up in other things yesterday and didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped on my new assignment. 

 If I have some extra time this afternoon, I think I'll also do a slightly overdue dye job on my hair. I still dye and cut my hair myself, and over the years, I've gotten quite good at it. I have trouble trusting other people with my unpredictable, super-thick hair, and once can't beat the price when you make it a do-it-yourself project! I also really enjoy it. In case anyone is curious, I'm naturally a redhead, but I've been a blonde phase for a few years now. My go-to hair dye is Herbal Essences XL1 "Bleach Bum" or XL0 "Blonded by the Light".

Hopefully I'll beat the rain on my run. I love running when it's totally overcast and a just little cool. Exercise isn't something that comes very easy to me, but I am trying to adjust my mindset a bit. Occasionally I can click my brain over into fitness-mode and stick with a good routine that lasts me a while. It usually helps if I take the "getting skinny" angle out of it and exercise simply for my mental health - the escapism, breathing the fresh air, taking time to think and de-stress, etc. Getting in shape, in that case, just happens to be the bonus.

Every now and then I get into a bit of a rut, so getting in shape and having "new" hair might be just what I need to perk things up a bit.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love your space

Within the last couple years, I've gotten really interested in interior decorating. I'm currently in the nicest apartment I've ever lived in, and I kind of lucked out in creating some pretty cozy rooms without really buying anything substantial when I moved. However, I'm coming up on my two year mark here at the end of June, and I'd really like to put some more effort into decorating, whether I decide to stay in this apartment, or find a new one. I really like the feel of my place, but the major things I really just haven't splurged on yet are a new sofa (and maybe an arm chair) and art work. Hopefully, this will happen soon.
I like what I call sort of a sophisticated/bohemian style - fun, but still adult, with unexpected accents and colors. Here are some looks I've come across lately that I really like (I'm sorry I don't have sources for all of these!):

This whole room is cool. I love this style of sofa paired with vibrant pillows. I have a little bit of a sofa-pillow obsession at the moment.

This look would be super easy to create in my apartment without spending a bundle.

Source: House and Home. I love the mismatched chairs, and the unique wall color with a more edgy piece of art.

Emily's (of the Cupcake and Cashmere blog) mini bar in her dining room. I am really wanting to have a nice, well-stocked mini bar and wine rack in my place soon.

Source: House and Home. Edgy, yet bright and cozy. The green in the painting provides a really nice pop of color.
 I'd love to hear your thoughts below!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Positive messages

It's a dreary day and I'm feeling pretty "blah", but you know what? I've got a new work project to continue on, a work-out to go do, and a weekend to look forward to, and nothing's going to stop me from owning this day!

My Facebook newsfeed seemed overwhelmingly negative this morning, and it's starting to bring me down! So at the risk of sounding preachy:
Let's make up our minds to see the positive, even just for one day. We all have stuff to appreciate and enjoy if we just adjust our mindset a little. See your uncertainty as a freedom of choice and options. See your monotonous 9-5 job as a reason why you should plan something fun and unexpected this weekend. If something's not working for you, change it! But most importantly, no matter what you're going through, just remember to always:

 We've got this! Have a fabulous day. Because you CAN. Really.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Little things that make me smile...

 Here are some things that are making me happy:

Ah, yes.

 Freshly washed sheets: This changes the whole feel of my bedroom, and they feel so nice when you crawl into bed that first time afterward. My roommate has been sick, so I've been cleaning and disinfecting religiously, in hopes of not catching anything! On the bright side, my apartment looks fabulous. I went ahead and switched out my heavy comforter in favor of a light blue, knit blanket, as it feels like (for now at least) Spring is here. I also love when I can turn off the heat or AC and just leave the windows open.

Practically the same thing.
Yummy/easy desserts: The other day I came across "Jell-O Temptations" pudding cups. I pointed them out to Steve because they had a lemon meringue flavor (one of his favorites). We decided to give it a try, and also picked up a package of the "French Silk" flavor, which is a chocolate dessert. Both flavors have a whipped, creamy topping, too. It seems like in recent years, yogurt and pudding companies have tried to up their game by creating more indulgent, dessert-like variations, but I've never been all that impressed with them. However, the Jell-O Temptations were really surprising! The lemon meringue tastes exactly like lemon meringue pie, right down to the texture. It ended up being my favorite, while Steve actually went more for the French Silk, which also had a nice texture and flavor and, with it's Cool-Whip-like topping, trumps regular old chocolate pudding any day. I feel like the size of these cups are a little bigger than regular pudding or Jell-O cups, too. Don't you always feel like you want just a little more when you're done with those? Ok, a lot more. But these make you feel more like you're getting a whole dessert. And another bonus: all of the flavors (and there are more than the two we tried) are between 100 and 140 calories. Win, win, and win!

Woo hoo!
Good mail days: I always get a little excited when I open my mail box and find my new magazine for the month or something else a little unexpected. The other day I received not only my Cosmopolitan, but a little box of Valentine's candy from my Grandpa (aww), and Dunkin Donuts coupons! I don't know about you, but for me, something like that just puts a nice spin on my day right from the get-go.

Welcome mats: I have a little mat outside my front door, which I got from IKEA for 99 cents. Unfortunately, with the way the wind comes through the breezeway outside my third floor apartment, I usually end up finding the mat at the bottom of the stairs each day. I need to get one that has some real weight to it. I've been noticing some really fun, less conventional mats lately, and I can't wait to purchase one! Here are some cute options:

Ok, I don't think I'd ever actually use this one. But, it's pretty hilarious.

Happy Wednesday! xx

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Better late than never

Wow, after trying to post all day and receiving error messages, I finally decided to try things on a different browser. Success!

So, one thing I couldn't post about yesterday was the fact that I had a surprise Valentine gift basket being sent to my boyfriend at work. I decided to create my own mix - fit for a guy! I bought a small, dark blue cloth covered basket and filled it with his favorite beer (Corona), Valentine candy, and a bag of steak flavored potato chips, which he had been eyeing a few days before. I also included a framed photo of the two of us for him to keep on his desk at work, a card with a little note, and even a rose (when do guys ever get flowers??).

I truly love planning surprises for other people even more than getting them myself.

Hope everyone is having a good start to their week. Kind of feels like we're back to normal life now, doesn't it? This might be a good time to break into the:

Alright. I promise this ends my Valentine's-theme posts for the year! As long as Blogger is still up and running smoothly (fingers crossed), I will see you all tomorrow. Have a great evening.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

First things first, I just want to say Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful boyfriend, Steve. I feel like such a lucky girl to have him in my life!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. Mine turned out spectacularly, but it went by so quickly! Steve had a surprise date planned for me on Friday night. He picked me up after work and whisked me off on a mini-road trip. Turns out, we were headed to a planitarium about an hour and a half north of Austin, where they were putting on a star and lazer/light show set to music by The Beatles and Green Day - two of my favorite bands! I have always loved looking at stars. It was such a fun and different thing to do, and I love that Steve planned such a cool surprise for me. It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Ok, I may have had a little too much fun getting ready for the date. :) I wanted to look cute!

Saturday morning, we woke up a little extra early to go film cameos in a comedy sketch for two friends who are in the independent film industry here. The video has a Valentine's Theme, but it's not what I would call... "romantic". You can view it here (please be aware, it contains some strong language).

After we wrapped up filming, Steve and I headed to a little BBQ spot for lunch. I'm not a huge BBQ fan, but I've been really pleased with the places I've tried so far since moving to Texas, and this place was really delicious! Steve and I usually like to walk off a big meal, so we headed to a couple stores for some browsing afterwards. It's sort of a nice tradition we have.
The beautiful bottle of champagne
we brought to the dinner party.
Later on, we went to a Valentine's dinner with some friends. It was a really nice evening, complete with a steak dinner, plenty of wine flowing, and great company. We also had the most delicious Oreo cookie dipped strawberries for dessert. The first half of the night had the tone of a lovely Valentine's dinner party, but later into the night, we changed into our comfy pajamas and settled down to watch a movie that was decidedly against a Valentine's theme (A-Team. Haha). So we had the best of both worlds!

We woke up Sunday to an absolutely gorgeous, warm, sunny day and headed to a park downtown for Steve's soccer practice. I got to sit and enjoy a little picnic while watching the team play. Afterwards, Steve and I headed to a nearby hiking trail for a little more exercise.

How was your weekend? Do you have any Valentine plans for today? Are you more traditional when it comes to Valentine's Day or do you tend to go the other direction? I've seen a ton of bars in the area that are throwing "I hate Valentine's Day" events, and I've heard there is even a Valentine's Day haunted house in Austin! If you're in one of those moods when it comes to Valentine's Day, make sure you check out the comedy video I was in. It should be right up your alley.

No matter how you celebrate the day, I hope you have fun! xoxo

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's the date?

Friday is here!
I slept much too late today. I've been tossing and turning the past few nights, not able to really fall asleep until about 4am. I'm a night owl by nature, but this is getting to be a bit much, and it makes me feel groggy even when I sleep late. I'm brewing some coffee now (just cracked open my new Dunkin Donuts ground coffee...mmm. I may never want to go back to Maxwell House.) and trying to get my day started. A shower sounds amazing right now, but I think I'll squeeze in at least a small work out first to help energize me.

Since Valentine's Day falls on a Monday, I'm gearing up for a weekend filled with fun activities. Tonight, Steve is taking me on a surprise date. I know that it involves a small road trip, but I have no idea what city we're even going to, let alone what we'll be doing when we get there! I'm very excited! Now...what to wear?

If the weekend keeps me as busy as I think it might, I will see you all on Monday with a full report on the fun events. Have a lovely day!