Apr 30, 2010

Texts From Last Night

I'm not going to link to this because it isn't 100% appropriate and I think some co-workers/Girl Scout volunteers might read this.

But I am going to give you some highlights of Texts From Last Night (the website, not my life).

positive spin of the day: since my nose is blocked from allergies cleaning the puke this morning was much easier
yup, got lost on my way to the final. maybe i should have gone to this class all semester
Awww. A guy on the train just took his coat off so his girlfriend could throw up into it. Who says chivalry is dead?
And mine and Ross' fav for the night...
He just kept yelling woof and then threw money all over me...
Want more? Google it. Seriously. Google it.

Apr 28, 2010

Seattle and the Junior League

loweC_1038Yay Val! Big congrats to Val! She's decided what to do with her life - or at least, the next three years of it. I say that like she's some kinda slacker as opposed to the massive over-achiever she really is. She may already have a master's but this fall she's starting at the University of Washington for law school.

The significance of this is really that now I am going to Seattle in 2011. Woohoo! (Right yeah, like that's the only significance. I suppose Val getting yet another degree and becoming the most employable person I know might be significant too. I kid you not, that girl can do ANYTHING.)

Another thing that I'm looking at for 2011 is the Junior League. While I'm not looking to join until maybe next year, would you believe that I could already be behind the curve? And I'm a planner to the nth degree! I hear that you must know a member for a year (or something crazy) before they can recommend you for the group. I don't know any Junior Leaguers and 2011 is only 7 months away. My mother-in-law however knows the whole world. I've put her on the case. My guess is that by lunch tomorrow I'll know a Junior Leaguer.

Apr 27, 2010

Flip Flops, Texas Monthly & Bliss

The Flip Flop Code
When I was growing up, our dog, Boopie (don't judge) knew the word "walk." She also knew "mailbox" meant she was going for a walk. I think she even learned "W-A-L-K." Lexi can't spell yet but in our house Mama putting on her grungy comfy black flip flops means puppy is getting a walk. She goes crazy! She literally jumps up and down and sorta does the twist. And the little nails go click-click-click across the wood floors to her leash by the front door. She is so ready to go! Tonight on our walk, the whole neighborhood was alive. Now that it is light 'til after 8 p.m., the people are coming out of the woodwork. It's great! We saw kiddos, grown-ups, cats, dogs, birds, you name it, we saw it. Very exciting walk through the little neighborhood.

Texas Monthly
I hit the sophomore slump in college hardcore. Remedy: subscribe to Texas Monthly and watch lots and lots of college football with Janine (Delta & 'Bama fan). I really don't think I had ever read a Texas Monthly before then but somehow, my inner Texan knew that would solve everything. And I fell head over heels in love. (Tangent: I think one of the times I've seen Age and Jane laugh the hardest was when month one of living together I received my issue of Texas Monthly with high-kicking Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders across the cover. Every preconception about Texas, fulfilled.)

Since then, I've been a sporadic reader, each time remembering what a GREAT publication it is. If you aren't from here, let me tell you, it is not all Texas loving.  Like any piece of journalism worth it's salt, Texas Monthly takes both sides. I've read flattering articles about up-and-coming politicians but also scathing features about our education system or budget issues. And the Top 10, 20 and/or 50 Lists are the cream of the crop. You put the mag down pretty pleased that by the grace of God, you are a Texan...if for no other reason than you can laugh at the bad and grin at the good.

Enough with the lovefest. Suffice it to say I'm jazzed about my new subscription to the magazine. And after reading the mini-restaurant reviews, my desire to write restaurant reviews is renewed. In an attempt to prep myself for my days as a Texas Monthly reviewer, here's what I have to say about a couple of my recent food adventures.
  • Sweetish Hill Bakery & Cafe on West 6th gave Brittany and I a Le Madeleine or Au Bon Pan with local flavor outing. Order your cafe fare at the counter while you drool over the selection of fresh baked goods. Pick a pretty day for this treat and enjoy your meal outside as Austinites meander up and down West 6th.
  • ZuZu's in Westlake was anything but pretentious. Located in one of Austin's, ahem, more resource intense, parts of town, it's just plain old Tex-Mex with counter service. Order your $6-12 lunch, hit up the soda fountain, stick your number on your table and wait. For Tex-Mex, and fast Tex-Mex at that, the food was surprisingly fresh. Only the menu selection indicated that you were in one of the pickier and more selection parts of town. Not every Tex-Mex spot includes quite as many veggie options and inclusions!
48 hours ago I blissfully crossed the quarter-century threshold. I spent Saturday celebrating in a most girlie fashion beginning with a hair cut and style, moving on to lunch with Brittany (see the Texas Monthly style review above), filling the afternoon with shopping at Barton Creek and topping the day off with happy hour at Trulucks in the Aboretum.

Sunday Ross came home from the firestation and fixed my me favorite breakfast, chicken in a basket. I think it should be called eggs in a basket since there is no chicken involved but whatever, what do I know. Then we took Lexi down to Auditorium Shores. Uh oh, I feel a Texas Monthly style review coming on

iphone_picAuditorium Shores along the Colorado River, also known as Lady Bird Lake, is puppy nirvana. Roughly a mile of leashless riverside park is open to all dog loving Austinites and their mutts. Don't wear a short dress like the poor woman Lexi jumped on did; its bound to turn out poorly for you. Do wear shorts and running shoes to chase your mutt in when they inevitably run away. Also bring your calm go-with-the-flow demeanor and its sure to be a good day for all.

In short, taking Lexi on her first leashless dog park experience was good. I think we graded her with a B. She struggled at first but finished strong. Then it was off to South Congress for lunch at Doc's with Lexi perched in the shade of our picnic table. Then I got crazy ambitious and planted some yucca in our backyard flower bed before we had a late dinner of grilled mahi mahi. It was really a blissful birthday.

Also blissful is just how stinkin' cute our little house is now that the yard is starting to come together. Slap a white picket fence around this place and it would be almost sickeningly cute!

And how cute Lexi is sitting on our front porch in front of the little Americana welcome sign. Don't  you laugh at my sign. My birthday is past making it officially summer and summer seasonal decorations are all centered around the American flag. Hello Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day, we're ready!

I know that is a really long blog post. But now that I am working in fund development about 60% of the time, my creative writing is significantly less. I need this little blog here to get my writing fix.

And besides, I have to spruce up my review skills for the job that Texas Monthly is going to offer me one day.

Apr 23, 2010

Dang, that's the worst

Usually our life is full of butterflies and rainbows. Pots of gold and sparkley stars. Cute puppies and newly built patios.

But every once in a while there is a dark moment.

Specifically when you open a bill and instead of the mildly obnoxious amount you normally pay, you find a new, horrific terrible amount. This is what happened to us today when I opened our three day old mail.

"No! It can't be!" I cried, horrified.

So I called. And y'all, sad sad truth, it was totally accurate. Don't ya just hate that? You are CONVINCED beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Man has done you wrong and with the right amount of fussing at customer service, some lovely person on the other end of the phone will realize that as well. No, no amount of fussing convinced the very polite customer service person that I was right and their evil corporation was wong.

What made it even worse, they were really right. I mean I tried. God knows I tried but after a good explanation I realized we really do just have to pay that terrible figure or find ourselves a new service provider. Bummer right?

Fortunately we CAN pay it (whew!) but its definitely a little salt in the wound. And dang, that's the worst.

Apr 20, 2010

Third time's a charm

You know you are a huge communications dork when you write two blog entries, just to, at the very end, delete them. Yes y'all this is my THIRD attempt at a blog entry tonight. How ridic is that? This time, what you see is what you get.

In essence, I've been writing about all the cute little babies coming into the world brand spankin' new this year. I'll be totally honest - I am loving all of y'all having these cute bundles of joy but at the same time, remember total honesty here, it kinda freaks me out.

Clearly because it freaks me out a little, Ross and I are no where near ready to have kids. Like light years away.

At the risk of sound 40-50 years older than I am, I'll say it - where did the years go!?

S8000858.JPGI swear to you, it was just yesterday that my friends and I were partying college kids celebrating Marathon Monday. I think back on that amazing, ragtag group and laugh "no way any of them are ready to be parents!"

But alas, totally wrong. Amanda is due in June and is going to be the best mommy. The total best. Like a rockstar of a mommy. In fact, she could not be more ready to be a mom. And I cannot wait to meet little baby girl or baby boy Renaud.

And with my 25th birthday pending this weekend, I must admit, I really am a grown up. For real. Husband, house, career, health insurance, retirement plan. Equi-distance between 20 and 30. A real live grown up.

When did that happen!?

It reminds of when Mom was going back to school for her masters and said "When I grow up I want to be..." Back then I thought she was nuts. When she grew up? Hello! She was already grown up! Kids, husband, house, career. I probably rolled my eyes, super mature teen I was. But now in some wierd way, I feel like I'm wearing the same style shoe. "When I grow up I want to be a mom."

It makes me laugh. When I told Mom that being old enough to have babies kinda freaked me out, I actually heard her roll her eyes over the phone. I seriously think she told me to get over it. My own mother! But now I think back to my eye rolling about her "when I grow up..." statements. HAHA - I guess I really am my mother's child!

PS Why doesn't blogger have smiley faces I can insert? I really needed the winking one.

Apr 16, 2010

The Great Compromise

Months ago I accepted the fact that I was not going to make it to Jess and Rob's wedding in July. It is in Boston and I, sadly, am not.

Enter Ross' burning desire to get yet another new TV. Please recall that in November we agreed to splurge on an amazing HDTV for the living room. At that time I said repeatedly "this is it on the new TV front for at least five years." Yes, yes, he agreed.

Until about Monday. On Monday he calls me at work, 8 a.m., asking to buy a new TV. It gets worse. A new TV for his game room, for playing video games. Apparently widescreen is optimal and the 32inch non-widescreen he had just wasn't cutting it. He couldn't see the video-game-zombies sneaking up on him for the kill. Are. You. Kidding. Me.

I told him no way. Absolutely not. No No No. You want one, use your spending money. You oh so conveniently came up with this spending money plan. Use it. I believe being beaten at your own game is how you would describe that.

Flashforward to today. Ross has $300 figured out, including a 2 month advance on his spending money (approved by yours truly). We go to Walmart and he's checking out a 26 inch widescreen HDTV. I take one look at that and know with all the certainty of a wife who knows her man, that this TV will be "too small" in less than 5 months.

So I make the man an offer: Why don't you just get this one (points to more expensive 32-inch HDTV), and use our joint money, and we'll buy me a plane ticket to Jess' wedding in exchange?

Ross: DONE.

Marriage really is all about compromise after all.

Apr 13, 2010

Birthday-ous Carnivorous

ross_bryRoss' birthday is today! 29 for the first time! Yay Ross! Happy Birthday!

For our 29th and 25th birthdays respectively, Ross and I are becoming carnivores. We are going to pull the anti-Oprah and keep the meat industry, especially the beef industry, in business. In very lucrative business.

Friday we had the impromptu BBQ at the house which resulted in pounds of ground venison being left in our fridge as a gift. (ie John has done too much hunting and Erin said get this stuff outta my fridge. At least that's my hypothesis. Whatever the reason, it's here and it's delicious.) Sunday we went out for BBQ. LOTS and LOTS of BBQ. Like left over brisket in the fridge. Sunday I also decided we needed to try turkey stuffed bell peppers and mahi mahi this week so we have all that meat. Today my parents' birthday gift to Ross arrived: Omaha steaks. Lots of wonderful beef in the form of steaks, burgers and more. Never have I received a cubic yard of meat in the mail before. But I would be totally willing to do so again.

Now let's get one thing clear: these are not complaints. Like cute shoes...especially three-inch peep-toe heels, there is no such thing as too much good meat in a person's home. In fact, you might say we are in carnivore heaven.

If you'd like to join us for dinner, come on over. We'll supply the protein. Could you consider something green as your contribution?

Restuarant Review Cliff Notes

I've slacked off the restaurant review element of my blog. This does not bode well for my future as a food critic. But here's the cliff notes for the few places I've tried lately.
  • Trulucks: Delicious Italian dish that I cannot pronounce with seven types of seafood in a thin tomato based sauce. Yummy looking and according to Ross equally tasty jalepeno salmon. Great atmosphere. Fun to dress up for. Looking forward to birthday happy hour there in a couple weeks. (One flaw: not enough lobster in the lobster bisque. But unless there's a whole lobster tail in there, would I ever really identify it as having enough?)
  • Salt Lick: Great low key sittin' in a better verison of my own yard atmosphere. Good sturdy picnic table style eatin'. Moist delicious meat and sauce so good we actually bought $30 worth to bring home. Almost as good as the food: that it is BYOB and with no corking fee.
  • Tequila Grill: Does not serve tequila. False advertising. Did not work out for our happy hour attempt a few weeks ago. FAIL.
Whew, this hubby-at-the-fire-station plus all-the-deltas-blogging situation has really inspired my inner writer lately. But no more for tonight. Sleepy time!

Apr 12, 2010

This Bud's for you Jane

S8000692.JPGBud or blog post. Whatever. Jane "blames" me for getting her into the blogosphere. However with two posts in one day, I secretly think she's thrilled to have people who wanted to read her blog. In fact, you could say I did her a favor. See her blog here - http://acceptanceenergyhappiness.blogspot.com/.

As her very first blog post she did a little survey. And because I apparently "peer pressured" her into blogging, I get to do said survey as well (Anna did it too). Good thing I like my Big and am willing to take one for the team (wink).

Hi, my name is: Cheryl

Never in my life have I been: to Europe, darn it!

The one person who can drive me nuts is: Ross and my dad, and given how similar they are, it's no surprise that they can both drive me nuts and that I love both of them dearly.

High school: CLHS (btw Jane answered "was fun, but was a long time ago." Clearly we interpreted this one differently.)

When I’m nervous: I get really hot and sometimes sweaty, gross I know. This is why I always carry a hair tie.

The last song I listened to was: hmmmm...dunno

If I were to get married right now my best man/maid of honor: Melissa/Brittany ...again. Although this would be traumatic since I just walked down the aisle!

My hair is: about to get washed

When I was 5: I hung out with my Grandma a lot :)

Last Christmas: insane. Holy cow.

I should be..: eh... I can be doing this. Nobody is requesting me and dinner isn't quite ready yet.

When I look down I see: my big beautiful white Ikea desk

The happiest recent event was: getting my engagement/wedding rings cleaned yesterday and rediscovering thier immense sparkle capacity

If I were a character on ‘Friends’ I’d be: I hate to admit it, probably the neurotic Monica. If I lied, I know you would all call me out on it. (HA! All 2 of my readers.)

By this time next year: I'll be just days away from my first Women of Distinction event and probably realizing that I've not bought Ross a 30th birthday present and only have 4 hours to go!

My current gripe is: Whose the Boss?

I have a hard time understanding: Why I had to pass two college math courses to be a communications major. As discussed last night with the Turners, I have still not used a drop of that. What would have been much more useful is Personal Finance 101 with chapters in applying for a mortgage, 401k v 403b, Bank of America online banking challenges and filing taxes. Yes, I have put a great deal of thought into this.

There’s this girl I know that: doesn't like it when "that" is used but it should be "who." As in "There's this girl I know WHO..."

I like you when: bring me delicious chocolate things and then tell me there are magically no calories.

If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be: Ross and Mom

Take my advice: Life's short; eat dessert first.

Photo: Jane and Anna, who also did this survey. In fact, who started the trend.

Apr 11, 2010

We ain't got dem fancy thangs here

You've probably picked up on the fact that I have been bitten by the travel bug hardcore. And my husband, well, he has not. I guess when we were dating and he said he wanted to "travel," what he really meant was "I want to go to the same beach, Port A, every year with my buddies to fish." Seriously y'all, I might have considered high-tailing it outta there right then if only he'd been so articulate.

Since his idea of a vacation is massively boring (hey it's my blog, my opinion), he also doesn't get excited about planning or daydreaming about vacations. Sigh. Fail. So earlier this week when he was at the fire department for the 800th time this month, I started daydreaming online about vacations to Europe. Hotels in Athens, hotels in Rome, beaches in Greece, beaches in Italy, visiting the Vatican. I nearly peed my pants when I realized we can stay in Italy or Greece for $100ish per night. Are you kidding me!? Why am I not there right now!? And of course, these are beautiful hotels overlooking 1000 year old landmarks, the milestones of civilization. (Enter huge history dork...now.) But I had to reign myself in with the reminder that Europe=2012; not 2010 and not even 2011. To really save up to have a good, no-skimping 10-day European vacation without eliminating our savings account, we should probably wait two years. That's the smart responsible blah blah blah thing to do.

Until 2012, it's Port Aransas, Texas, here I come. In the spirit of reality, I decided to pick out a fun hotel for us to stay in Corpus Christi one night. (The compromise is we go on Ross' Port A trip for 2-3 nights with all the friends but we also stay in Corpus Christi 1 night, just us and do touristy things.) Excited that I could potentially book this hotel in the next couple days, I logged on to hotels.com, searched Corpus Christi. In anticipation I waited to see...

5 Star Hotels: 0

What!? The whole city of Corpus Christi, a beach town, has not even one 5-Star Hotel?! Wind out of my overly-inflated European-daydreaming sails. I can't even say for sure we were going to stay in a fancy 5-star hotel. But it might have been nice to check one out. I was envisioning a pretty hotel on Corpus Christi Bay. Sure, it's no beach resort in Crete, but for 2010, it's what I can do.

There's an Omni, a Sheraton and a Marriot in Corpus. We're likely to stay in one of those...or heck maybe even a Holiday Inn. What I'm more concerned with actually is a trip to the Texas State Aquarium (check) and a nice dinner out someplace (still not check). Suggestions for a delicious Corpus Christi dinner are welcome. Fun things to do in addtion to the Aquarium, also welcome.

Despite the lack of fancy, interesting hotels and ancient ruins, I am really looking forward to our trip to Port A. I am in desperate need of a vacation and as a beach bunny, some fun in the sun sounds pretty awesome. We'll be gone for a long weekend but I'm taking the full week off of work. I intend to come back relaxed and very very tan. I might even go get a new bikini for the affair.

And really, it's OK if we just ain't got dem fancy schmancy hotels in (Corpus Christi) Tejas.

In other news...
  • iphone_picThe patio set from Nancy and Jack for our birthdays is all set up. We even enjoyed an impromptu BBQ party on it Friday night.
  • Today is family birthday dinner with the Turners. We're going down to Salt Lick, THE Austin BBQ spot. I've not been so it's quite the exciting adventure this afternoon.
  • I made three social arrangements for this month. Super exciting! Lunch with Haila at Chuy's, birthday happy hour at Trulucks and farewell party for Stephanie at Trudy's. All Austin institutions. It is a very Austin month.
  • Ross is off at the fire department again this morning, but only for a few hours. He's working on the Fill the Boot campaign to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. As the guy who planned this year's campaign, we figured he ought to have a shift in it.
  • Finally a couple years ago, I decided Ross and I should pick a charity to give to each year. For 2008, it was the American Cancer Society as I was on the planning committee for the local Relay for Life. In 2009 we took separate paths, me to YNPN Austin and him as a very active volunteer at Sam Bass FD. I'm still looking for our 2010 charity or charities. He's most passionate about animal welfare and I'm most passionate about cancer research. Since we've had a cancer year, I think it's time for an animal welfare year. And even though I work for an NPO and know that special events aren't the most effective way to raise money, I gotta admit, as a donor, I still like them. I like to engage with the organization but have a hard time committing to an ongoing volunteer role. So if you are or you know of an animal welfare organization in Austin that has a one-time engagement/donation opportunity, give us a shout out. We'll likely give you money and hang out for the day.

Apr 7, 2010

New job!

It's official! On May 1 I will exit the world of Girl Scout communications and enter the world of Girl Scout fundraising.

As part of our council restructure, I am happily moving into the about-to-be-vacated role of Development Executive for Corporate Giving & Special Events. My first event is S'more Soiree in November. Its Girl Scout camp with a grown up twist. The twist being massages, martinis, yoga, gourmet cooking, etc. It's a blast! Our goal is to raise $80K and have 175 attendees. There's no time like the present to register! Seriously, because from now through June 30 you can go for cheap cheap cheap. What is usually $500 is on special for $325 when you book with a girlfriend.

My other event is Women of Distinction. Since the 2010 event is in just about two weeks and the current Dev Exec is staying long enough to wrap that up, my first Women of Distinction will be a full year from now, April 2011. But start thinking of what amazing Central Texas women you'd like to nominate now. We'll start accepting nominations in September or October.

And that's the scoop! I'm really excited for the new gig and gaining some much desired fund development experience. Since I really do want to work in the nonprofit world for a long long time, fund development is what I need. And what can I say, I like sparkley events.

Apr 3, 2010

I didn't know it could get better

bridesmaidsI really didn't know it could get any better, but y'all, it just did. Jess and Rob have a family blog now! YES! Check it out Meet the Porters as they inch closer to their wedding day in less than four months.

So I don't want to use the word "old" but my friends and I are sorta starting to get there. Amanda and Joe are about to have a baby. Heck, Kate & Amanda LaMartina already have babies (see the LaMartina blog). I'm married. Obviously Amanda and Joe are married...now if they could just get a blog. Ben and Anna are getting hitched, and have a blog. As if that wasn't enough blog goodness, there's Emo & the City (who is also about to be married - hurray!).

And I gotta say, I think blogs are my new fav way to keep tabs on all my friends. I love love love to read them and get all the dirt on whats going on in their lives. It's hard to keep up but all these lovely blogs sure do make it easier.

If you don't have a blog yet - ahem, Amanda, Val, Emal & Jane - I think now would be a swell time to start one. I mean really, all the cool kids are doing it.

Photo: Val, me & Jess - as in the lovely about to be hitched Jess who just started her own blog, like a cool kid.