Friday, January 29, 2010

Flew By

{This is my cousin's new baby Otis- he's so glad it's Friday. Being two-weeks-old is hard work, you know.}

It looks like an entire week has passed and I posted one lame excuse for a blog post (ie. mostly pictures and few words).

This week kind of flew, but I'm glad because I need some quiet-time. And by "quiet-time" I mean concert-time. Let's hope I have a second-wind hiding up my sleeve.

Winter has returned to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, so I will have a good excuse to read and watch movies and try some new recipes. I may even run to the liquor store because I'm on a new Sidecar-drinking kick. Sounds like something served during Prohibition, doesn't it? They are delicious but I haven't attempted making one on my own.

I'll let you know how my experiments turn out- I'm considering whipping up some homemade granola and fried chicken as well. We shall see!

Happy Weekend.

There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until the gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends.
-Arnot Sheppard

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vegas in Pictures

{That's the dress on the right- you can't really tell but there is practically a jigsaw puzzle's worth of beading on the front. I liked it. A lot.}

Vegas is a funny place. Funny and ridiculous, cheesy and entertaining. It's like people cross into the desert and see slot machines and suddenly they exchange common decency for poker chips, yard-long margaritas, tiny dresses and impossibly-high heels.

KH and I had a great time relaxing at The Mirage, where we were staying, seeing Garth Brooks at the Wynn on Friday night and the Cirque du Soleil show "O" at the Bellagio on Saturday night. It was fun to see two completely different shows and we were big fans of both.

KH is only 2.5 years younger than me, but growing up it seemed like a bigger gap because her brother and my brother are in-between us. Our moms are sisters and have similar mannerisms which we make fun of ourselves for mimicking; our dads are both hard-working, more reserved men and we have their similarly dark features (though she is ridiculously more tan than I am right now). Our personalities are very different but we have an understanding of each other and her role in my life in irreplaceable. She is the closest thing I will ever have to a sister.

It's fun.

We came, we saw, {we ate, we shopped}, we conquered.

I check the odds
And I place my bet
I pour a drink
And I pull the blind
And I wonder what I'll find
I'm leaving Las Vegas...
-Sheryl Crow, Leaving Las Vegas

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vegas Attire

So I'm going to Las Vegas this weekend.


My cousin KH and I will be flying there tomorrow afternoon and will be there through Sunday evening. She is a senior in college (translation: legal) and newly single so we have some fun plans in mind, but I'm also hoping for quality time with my pillow, a visit to the spa, yoga by an infinity-pool (just seems very Vegas, right?) and some leisurely book-reading and brunching.

I am selective about the way I like to plan things and what I actually take time to plan. I like to plan outfits and menus most of all. I put things together in my head so that I don't destroy my room every morning picking out something to wear for work. I successfully make a mess anyway, mostly with the 11 pillows on my bed that end up on the floor, but that's neither here nor there.

I began my Vegas wardrobe planning earlier this week because I've been to Vegas before, but only for work. Based on my experience, work clothes and Vegas clothes may as well be opposing forces. Business professional does not overlap- in any universe- with lucite platform heels that have goldfish swimming inside of them.

I'm a pretty modest person. I'm 25 now, and a frayed denim mini-skirt circa 1998 Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't really scream "I take myself seriously" now does it? I also don't believe that modest has to translate to homely. Modest can be sexy, it's just a different kind of appeal.

When I looked at what I wanted to pack, it ended up being various forms of black, gray and white. Black blazer, black cardigan, white cardigan, gray tank, white tank, black boots, dark jeans etc. This completely works for me on a daily basis and after all, it's still January. I needed something fun, something different from my every-day staples to wear, and after taking stock of my closet a bit better, I noticed that I completely prefer color in accessories. I love a bright pink clutch, my ubiquitous blue wrap or my quilted yellow Tory Burch Reva flats. I had good choices but still wanted one new dress or piece to wear for the trip.

I started looking and most everything of color that I found was not my taste, for example the neon-orange strappy cork-wedge heels with metallic studs all over them which made me want to run in fear back to J.Crew to hide behind their ruffly cardigans and tailored City pants.

After that initial defeat of finding only offensively bright items, I remembered a dress I had spied right after Christmas. It was an unusual Phillip Lim 3.1 shift that was colorful in a striking way. I remembered wishing at the time that I had a New Year's Eve party to attend that would be worthy of such a number.

{Insert Vegas trip.}

I located said frock and ended up purchasing it, and the print reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting. It is perfectly modest-sexy; the pièce de résistance to my Vegas wardrobe.

Pictures will come- since we all know that what happens in Vegas ends up on the Internet.

Alan Garner: Can I ask you another question?
Lisa: Sure.
Alan Garner: You probably get this a lot. This isn't the real Caesar's Palace, is it?
Lisa: What do you mean?
Alan Garner: Did, umm... did Caesar live here?
Lisa: No.
Alan Garner: I didn't think so.
-The Hangover, 2009

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

25: The Aftermath

Turning 25 ended up being all it was cracked up to be after all.

I received an out-pouring of love and well-wishes from all over via hugs, calls, texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, cupcakes, gifts, cards, flowers, carrier pigeons, telegrams and airplanes spelling out 'Happy Birthday' in the clouds.

You get the idea.

I ate delicious Italian food at Nonna on Saturday night with friends and went to The Grape on Sunday night with my family.

What wonderful people I have in my life.

I am not young enough to know everything.
-Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 17, 2010

{Literal} Scoreboard Victory

I am a Dallas Maverick's basketball fan. There have been a lot of improvements to the program since Mark Cuban bought the team, over 10 years ago now I believe, and one good shift during this time has been the move to the American Airlines Center.

I have never met Mark Cuban, but based on everything I have heard, he is very much in the trenches making decisions for his team. He's a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy who prefers sitting next to the bench on the floor rather than in a suite, removed from the action. Before this season started he had huge new four-sided HD screens erected above the middle of the court, and there are also boards on the walls at both ends of the court that have team statistics updated throughout a game.

I was at the Maverick's game played against the L.A. Lakers on Wednesday night of this past week with my dad, and when looking up to see the points and fouls of the different players, I noticed that everything for the Maverick's was in a blue font, and everything for the Laker's was in white. In past experience, even earlier this season, the scoreboard font was all white. The white was fine to read but the blue I found impossible. It made me cross-eyed and squinty, which I'm not accustomed to experiencing unless I'm not wearing my corrective lenses. In fact, if you ever see me doing anything without glasses or contacts on, it should only be because I am sleeping because otherwise I am a total hazard.

So I mentioned my difficulty in reading the blue on the scoreboard to my dad, who was also finding issues with it, and he suggested I email Mark Cuban and give him feedback. He claimed that Mark had his email address on the team's website for the purpose of being accessible and that he likes to respond to each one.

I found the email address easily and emailed Mark the next day and informed him of my issue, to which he responded in seven minutes and let me know that the feedback he has received actually says the contrary, that people prefer the blue font. He also said that he actually agreed with me though.

He thanked me for my email, there was nothing to indicate a change being made, but I had mentioned that I would also be at the game the Friday following (two nights ago) and upon arrival I quickly noticed a difference.

This photo was taken at the game Wednesday night. Notice the blue font on the right and the white font on the left at the top of the scoreboard:

This photo was taken at the game Friday night. Notice the white- the score itself is in blue, but the names of the players and their point and foul numbers have all changed to white from the Wednesday picture:

See the difference? It's so much easier to read, and that was because of me! Little ol' me!

To be honest, I actually have no confirmation of my influence over the scoreboard change, but I'd like to think I had something to do with it. Apologies to all of my friends who are reading this and were with me upon making this discovery Friday night, or one of the other seven times I told this story this weekend.

I just like thinking my voice was heard; my email was read. And somewhere out there, someone listened to a small sports-related opinion from a woman.

It's about time.

Victory is won not in miles but in inches.
-Louis L'Amour

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I am 25-years-old today.

There is nothing particularly momentous about this age or any trappings that come with it, but the number means that I have lived a quarter-century of life. Yesterday I went back and read posts from my 24th and 23rd birthdays and got to remember where I was and what they were like for me.

I look at my life and where I am today and I can't help but feel incredibly fortunate. I am a blessed individual. By contrast I see the pictures and read the stories of what is going on in Haiti this week and just think that nothing I have ever experienced could compare to what those people are dealing with right now. This is my 179th post on this blog and I generally talk about myself and my life and ME, but today my heart is elsewhere.

I look around and I wonder why it is that I have countless daily luxuries and yet don't always see them as the privileges but obligations. Why is it that there are people who already live in a third-world country and who are suffering to an even greater extent because of this huge tragedy? There are many questions and prayers that could be lifted up at this time, and are, but obviously there are other immediate needs for humanitarian aid efforts in Haiti. Many of us have already heard about making financial donations, but I have also heard about the need for Red Cross blood donations, so I took a big gulp and swallowed my dislike of needles and seeing blood in general to find out where I might go to get poked. Eligibility criteria for donating blood can be found here, in case you were wondering.

I think we all can forget that even when news stories slow down following a tragedy, the aftermath remains. Just because you don't see a headline, doesn't mean that people's lives are stable again. This story will soon wane from our daily viewing but the devastation will be far from gone.

I praise God for the 25 years I have spent on earth and I pray that I can live in a way that honors and pleases Him for the next 25.

I helping God's people in Haiti is a good start.

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.
-Betty Reese

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


i am enjoying...

looking for old hardbacks of classics at half-price books

reading the names of paint colors in design magazines

cold weather, warm drinks and soft blankets

seeing something i like, a gift idea for someone or a recipe and actually remembering to write it down

the abundance of restaurants in dallas making refined southern food

friends collaborating to cook over the past week: taco salads and football, dinner party with homemade ribs, bacon-wrapped meatloaf on a monday

the young victoria

my new boots

inspiring words

discussing and planning what our front room will ultimately look like

a quick weekend trip i have coming up soon

the cowboys in the nfl play-offs

my quarter-century mark which is rapidly approaching

I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there is no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.
- Charles R. Swindoll

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Honey, I'm Home

My roommates and I have different schedules, making the time we do get to spend together restful and something we all look forward to.

KS is home at the most off times because her time is split between school and working for an interior designer in Dallas. For the first six months or so of living together, whenever MG and I returned home from work, KS was typically there. I became accustomed to returning home to lamps on in our cozy house and KS and Ruby there to greet me on the couch. She always asks how our days have been, and usually gets a cursory "fine", "good" or "it's over" from us.

We are such joys to be around, let me tell you.

Recently though, with Christmas followed by a trip to Jamaica, KS has returned to a full work schedule. This means she is working until about 7pm some nights and MG and I come home to an empty house. No lamps on, no news program on a low volume in the background, no KS and Ruby on the couch.

After coming home consecutive days to a lonely, empty house that looked much like it did when I left for work the same morning, I asked MG if it ever feels like something is missing when she comes home and finds herself alone. We laughed because we agree that KS is treated as the wife of the house and we have grown accustomed to having her there all the time, so when she's gone, we notice.

I always thought it was kind of funny when I was younger that my mom made a point to greet my dad when he came home from work. She still does it too- a hug and a kiss and dinner ready or in the works for him when he walks in the door. It seems like a simple ritual, but for him it makes coming home a welcoming experience every day.

As a working adult I now I see the value that having someone smiling at you on the opposite side of the door can have at the end of a long day. I think we all sometimes forget that enriching daily life in small ways can actually make it so much more enjoyable. You don't have to wait for grand gestures- a great opportunity lies simply in asking a question and sticking around for an answer.

"So how was your day, after all?"

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
-James M. Barrie

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fredericksburg, Texas

My friends and I woke up January 1 in the year 2010 only to pack and get going for a road trip.

I'll give you three guesses of where we were going or more appropriately, for what purpose.


The only reason I go anywhere is for weddings, so if you guessed anything other than that, you must be new around here.

We traveled to Fredericksburg, Texas this past weekend for the wedding of our friend KK. We got there via Secret Service detail (three black Tahoes) which transported us 280 miles southwest of Dallas. We coordinated last week which was helpful because otherwise we would have ended up with about nine cars across the state for no reason at all. If you think that's ridiculous then you have no idea what we are capable of. We listened to enough country music in those 10+ car hours and spent enough time on Texas backroads to twang up our accents and convince a less-discerning ear that we grew up in tiny triple-digit population towns rather than the Dallas and suburbs of our youth.

MK, LB, KR, BF and I were all staying at a B&B for the weekend. The owners were attentive to the point of asking about food allergies and showing us the proper way to close the icebox. We used six-inch voices the entire time we were there, but we had a great time and drank all of their coffee.

So the wedding itself was planned in eight weeks. This is a tall-order on it's own, so the fact that everyone was in place and the couple were pronounced man and wife after all was said and done was nothing short of an accomplishment. While some of our friends had wedding party commitments, the rest of us got to go to dinner together Friday night. Apparently a couple owns the restaurant; the wife is Greek and the husband is Cajun and the it's in Middle of Nowhere, Texas with Zagat ratings, so you can imagine how great the food was. Our friend AH pointed out that we made it through several bread-baskets and a bottle of olive oil with gusto, and likewise we managed quite well through salads, entrees and dessert. The place was very honky-tonk burger place looking, but if you used their same menu in any big city and put white tablecloths down, no one would ever know the difference.

The B&B girls got up Saturday morning and were served breakfast by the owners, which was great, then we went and tooled around Main Street in Fredericksburg for a few hours. The church where the wedding was to take place was about 30 miles from us, in Hilda, Texas, so we were showered and dressed and had our hair did and heels on by 2:15 PM. The church was even more remote than our restaurant the night before, but we found it and parked on the side of a narrowly paved stretch of road next to the church. Amid the gravel and rugged terrain in my patent leather heels I was thinking "why didn't I consider wearing hiking boots with this BCBG dress before?" which suddenly seemed like a valid option.

KK and her fiance had already decided they would see each other before the wedding and AH, the photographer coordinated to have the wedding party out at a family friend's ranch to take pictures the afternoon before the ceremony, so when we walked up they were taking more photos and seemed to be enjoying themselves. We made our way into the church and were shown to our seats by a bevy of 8th grade boys. NS, the groom, has been their Bible Study leader for the past few years, and one of their parents drove them down to the wedding to participate. They were very uniform in their blue blazers and even though were was some confusion over the proper way to escort a lady to her seat, they managed very well for being so young.

MG had an arsenal of bobby pins with her when we were seated because she had been on hair-duty all day with various members of the wedding party. Fifteen minutes before show-time she got another call and disappeared to the parsonage-looking house next to the church where the bridal party was waiting. The ceremony went well even despite a brief moment when the pastor put his left hand on the back of the groom's head and his right hand on the back of the bride's head to pray over them, and every girl on our pew let out a collective gasp because he was bear-clawing her chignon. I mean, thank goodness for hairspray.

We returned to Fredericksburg for the reception where we were greeted with delicious food and blue margaritas. We ate dinner and had wine and of course ended up at the table next to the 8th graders. KK's uncle and his band, who play country music from the 1960's and 70's were the entertainment for the evening. The music was great but the dancing required a partner, so after joking about it amongst ourselves I actually ran into the group of boys after a trip to the bathroom. They were sitting in a semi-circle of chairs and it did not take any convincing for me to get them out of the chairs and back into the reception room after I promised that my friends and I would dance with them. After a trip down middle-school dance memory-lane, complete with sweaty palms and non-reciprocated questions, the boys parents acting as their chaperones for the evening thanked our group saying that the dance "made their week" as the boys were finding the groom to high-five him and yelling "score!" If only guys our age were so easy.

Our night ended with a detour to Dairy Queen and a Mariah Carey sing-along before the carpool dropped us off at the B&B, only we were detained for a few moments by siren lights and a very serious police officer. Turns out MG had forgotten to turn on her lights after the DQ stop, which necessitated research that most likely included her SAT score and blood type because it took about 15 minutes and resulted in only a written warning.

On the way home the next morning CC, MG and I were driving back together, taking the scenic, non-I35 route and explained to every other driver poking along on the road or barreling through blind turns with a trailer hooked up to their Dodge Ram that they needed a seminar on road etiquette. Every time we passed one of them MG accounted for their bad driving by declaring "that explains it" regardless of the driver's gender, age or nationality.

We returned home to regale KS with tales from our weekend before crashing face-first into our respective beds. No one else crashed? That was just me? I would have taken my shoes off but my shoes were actually my Ugg slippers so there was no need. I couldn't help but think that a tornado must have whirled through my room while I was gone because surely I did not throw around the contents of my closet in such a reckless fashion on Friday morning.

I probably also thought I would never dance with another 8th grader after graduating middle school.

I love thee, I love but thee
With a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars grow old...
-Bayard Taylor