Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Shopping Haul

I hadn't been to CVS for a week or two due to being pretty busy.
But it is a pretty good week for getting CVS bucks. You can view the weekly ad online here.
I had $12 in bucks leftover from a previous shop, and when I scanned my card today I got a $10 off $50 purchase, so instead of doing several transactions like I was planning, I decided to buy everything together.
Unfortunately the store I went to was out of the Olay ProX cleanser which was $10 get $5 back, so I had to quickly change some of what I was going to buy to bring the total (before coupons) up to $50.
Here's what I got:
We were needing Brita filter refills, so it was pretty cool that they just happened to be a special this week. $14.99 but a $1 off coupon and got $5 bucks back.
Got two Oral-B cross-action toothbrushes on sale for $4.99 each, get $2 back (and used $3 off coupon each)
Bought the Secret deodorant for $3.50 which allowed me to use a $5 off coupon on the Olay bodywash which was $7 but you get $3 bucks back.
The two Speed Stick deodorants were $3.49 each and you got $3 back when you bought 2.
The Aquafresh was just because it is the only brand my husband will use, and I needed to push the total up (had I been more prepared there is a coupon for, I think, $.75 off)
And finally the Schick Hydro refills were $8.99 get $4 back. There is a $4 off coupon from earlier this month, but I had already used mine, and I still felt like it was a good deal.
So after the coupons, the $10 off $50 CVS coupon and my $12 in CVS bucks I spent $21.02 and got $19 CVS bucks back. Not the best I could have done, but I had to make do with what was in stock.

You can find a list of this weeks CVS deals here and here.

Going sane

Yesterday over 5,000 people gathered at the Texas Capitol in solidarity with the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restory Sanity and/or Fear.
And I was one of them.
Apart from being able to watch Dexter, the only other reasons I miss not having cable or satellite is not being able to watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report every night. Sure I could stream them online, but I much prefer watching things on tv rather than my laptop with not so great speakers.

I spent a bit of time brainstorming what to write as my poster for the rally. I was intending to do something random and silly like "I Like Turtles."
Eventually I settled on "Simmer down now," which was a popular quote from a recurring SNL sketch with Cheri Oteri.

I got a lot of pictures taken of me and a lot of compliments for the sign. I'm not sure how many people related it to SNL or whether they just liked the sentiment. Husband and I were also interviewed soon after we arrived, but I don't know by who or whether we'll make the final cut of the video, since they said we were their first interviewees, and our answers were kind of lame.

Lots of other people got really creative with their signs. I was cracking up reading them all.
Signs are an impractical medium for discourse

I am a tad concerned

I hate crowds
Some of my other favorites that I didn't get pictures of:
"I drove all the way from Austin to be here"
"Don't craze me bro"
"Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble"

it's like I was really there
Apart from streaming most of the D.C. rally on a jumbotron and having some Texas politicians (the mayor, a congressman,  etc) speak, they also had cut-outs you could get your picture taken in.

and they had people writing prescriptions for sanity. I picked up a couple.

It was a really fun time, but I wish that they showed the D.C. rally in full. I understand wanting to feature Austin things, but they cut out some appearances like Tim Meadows. Eventually husband and I got some pizza and sat in the shade streaming the main rally on his ipad.
All in all had a great time, and apparently it was the biggest rally at the capitol since 1984, which I don't know if that is a good or bad thing.

And I feel like it is my duty to end this by urging you all to vote on Tuesday, no matter your affiliation. :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eye Candy

When there aren't any calls coming in at work, I enjoy browsing the blog for Hostess with the Mostess. It is always so colorful and happy!
Sometimes I wish I had the creativeness (and not to mention money) to recreate some of the dazzling party themes.

Recently there was a post with some beautiful ideas for a more grown-up Victorian themed Halloween Party.
Check out how pretty some of the desserts are!

The site features all kinds of party ideas and themes, along with real-life parties by ordinary people. One of my favorite photos that they recently posted was from a wedding where the bride and groom folded hundreds of colorful origami paper cranes:
Check out the whole post for other pretty photos

There are loads of Halloween photos right now if you need any last minute ideas!
What I also love is that on many posts there are instructions or printables available to help you recreate some of the things you see. For example, here is a post with some printables to recreate their champagne and cider bar.

Now I need to invite people over for a party!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler

I have been a fan of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart for almost 9 years. I can't make it to Washington, D.C., so I'm am happy that Austin is organizing a sister rally for the Rally to Restore Sanity this Saturday at the Capitol starting at 11am. You can RSVP and get details here.

There is also a March to Keep Fear Alive that will be marching from Zilker Park to the Austin Rally to Restore Sanity, so whatever side you are on there is something for you!

Foreign Visitors

So after not having been to a concert for several months, I went to two in a week (the Sufjan one being the first)
On Saturday we went to see Los Campesinos!, Johnny Foreigner, and The Authors.
We had seen Los Campesinos at Emo's about a year ago? But I had never seen Johnny Foreigner before, and my husband is a pretty big fan of theirs.

And he had committed to letting them sleep at our place after the show.
I didn't find out that they were for sure coming until Friday evening, so after I got off work at 11pm, I was up cleaning for several hours.
On the plus side, our place is cleaner now than probably about since we moved in!

As for the concert itself, I had never heard The Authors before, but they are an Austin band and had gotten a pretty good write-up on Austinist. I ended up really liking them! I pretty much always listen to opening bands at concerts because a) it's the nice thing to do and b) I like being near the front, but am not a jerk like some people - my view is that you either get there early and get a place or stand at the back. Don't shove people out of the way.
The problem is that at a lot of the shows I don't care much for the opening bands. After The Authors' first song I liked them but was still hesitant that maybe it was a one off, that maybe they played their best song first and it would be downhill from there. But it was not so! I enjoyed their whole set.

Johnny Foreigner Tour t-shirt. Husband would not let me take a photo of his face.
Next was Johnny Foreigner, and I feel I must admit that I only knew one song before seeing them. They were a lot of fun, and I enjoyed that they had a screen with video projections on during their set, however I can never decide what to watch when bands do that. Do I look at the singer? At the video? Oh hey, the drummer's getting into it! Ooh, a keytar! Where do I look? Where do I look?!?

Next Los Campesinos! came on. When I first saw them I didn't really enjoy the show, through no fault of theirs. I was tired and the weather wasn't great, so I ended up sitting on the bleachers at Emo's Outside and half fell asleep. 
This time it was totally different. Had some coffee before the show, La Zona Rosa is indoors and air-conditioned, and the crowd was really into it. Everyone was dancing and singing along, so there was a really good vibe. The night before the show they had posted on their twitter:
 "NONE OF US ARE WELSH" (they formed in Cardiff, so I guess people just assume they are Welsh) so I joked that we should have made a really big poster that said "Croeso i Austin!!!" which is Welcome to Austin in Welsh.

After the show Kelly came back to our place with me, while Lee and the guys went out. I think my cat Henry was in heaven having someone else giving him attention.

I hope the bands enjoyed Austin, and hopefully they'll come back on tour again in the not too distant future :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Free Food on Tuesday

I always have Tuesdays off from work, and I usually end up scheduling to do a lot of things that day because it's my day off! and so I should take advantage of all that free time!
Except then I end up feeling like I didn't even get a day off.
But that's ok! I like being busy!
Tomorrow (10/26) there's some free food events going on.
For lunch, Pei Wei will be giving away some chicken lettuce wraps, coconut rice, and Thai coffee to the first 250 people at Republic Square Park (4th and Guadalupe)
I'll probably ride my bike since it is just down the street. I don't really eat meat, so I'll save the actual wrap for my husband, but I do love Thai iced coffee!

For dinner, Jo's Coffee will be having an event from 5pm-6pm with free frito pie and cheese samples:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My new bicycle! Seeing Sufjan Stevens!

I have been wanting a bicycle for a while now. Well... a bicycle OR a Vespa. My husband has adamantly said no to the Vespa, but he finally agreed that buying some bikes would be a good idea.
So I eagerly waiting for him to come home from work all day so we could go shopping. Originally I said let's just go to Wal-Mart and get whatever is cheap, because I'm not looking to compete in races or commute to work on it, but there are about a bazillion local bike shops in a mile radius of our place, and my husband wanted to support a local business.

We ended up at Bicycle Sport Shop on S. Lamar. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of the girl who helped us, but she was wonderful with letting us try out several bikes and explaining the differences between them. When she first asked us what we were looking for I had to tell her that I had no idea about bikes and hadn't ridden one since about age 10.

We definitely spent more than we would have at Wal-Mart, but considering we had to try three different size frames and raise and lower the seat and let me zoom around the parking lot on many different styles, the service is definitely better than we would have received, and I will probably ride this bike for years and years.

Take a look at my beautiful baby. All that is missing is a basket for carrying kittens or flowers or silly things like that. (disclaimer: I would never actually carry kittens around in a bike basket. heh). It even has a bell on it!
Another benefit of buying from Bicycle Sport Shop is that we get two free tune-ups in the next year, so that's pretty handy.

In the evening we met up with my brothers and headed to the Long Center to see Sufjan Stevens. The last time I had seen him was in 2006 when he was here around ACL festival time. I saw him at the Paramount Theatre and tape his Austin City Limits show. (<--- click to see a performance of Casimir Pulaski Day from that show).
So I admit that I have kind of fallen behind in staying up with music ever since I graduated university, so I hadn't actually heard anything off this new albums. And boy was it different than the last time I saw him!
He had a light show and a screen with animations featuring the art of the 'Prophet' Royal Robertson who he was inspired by and whose artwork appears on his Age of Adz album.
The concert also featured Sufjan dancing. Oh yes. It was awkwardly adorable and caused many screaming fan girls to go crazy.
Since the Long Center typically hosts plays, orchestras, and other types of art, my brother was jokingly tempted to ask the old ushers if they had ever seen so many hipsters in one place before. I said they probably don't know what the word hipster means.
Although most people completely disregarded the signs prohibiting cameras, flashes, and using cell phones while in the auditorium, I didn't bother trying to use my camera. So no pictures. Sorry.

^one of the stand out songs from the concert and the new album, in my opinion.

I headed out to Waterloo Records today and picked up the album, which I currently have stuck in my head at work.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cupcake Bash at Sugar Mama's

I already wrote about Sugar Mama's in this post, but I thought I would let everyone know that they are having their 2nd birthday party this Sunday!
You can RSVP at their facebook event page

I start work at 3pm that day, so I can go for a little while right when it starts. And it benefits Austin Pets Alive and Keep Austin Dog Friendly! How can you *not* go?

Look at some of the delicious treats I bought from them last weekend when I had some friends over.
Cupcakes, s'more bars and chocolate mint bars! They were a big hit!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

*NOT* a food post... unless you count the cat food

I love reading fashion-y blog where the girls post photos of their outfit of the day.
I was hoping my blog would be something like that.
Instead all I seem to post about is food! I can't help it that there are so many good places to eat around here.
Also, I don't have a tripod, and due to conflicting work schedules I don't see my husband 4 days a week, so it's hard to get photos of what I'm wearing.

Anyway, a weekly shopping post!
In between today and the last post I had gone back and bought several bottles of Revlon nail polish for $3.99 each, receiving $3 each back. I gave away the polishes to some friends who were over on Saturday, but kept the $18 in CVS bucks I got back.

Today I used that $18, plus $1.88 of real money, to get this:
And got $8.98 in CVS bucks back.
The Friskies cat food is buy 1 get 1 free, so I used two $1 off coupons to make it $4.49 for two bags.
The Purex 3-in-1 laundry detergent/fabric softener/dryer sheets were also buy 1 get one free, so I used two $3 off coupons to make them $3.19 for the two (which is about $1.50 more expensive than other prices at other CVS stores people have reported them being, but can't really complain)
The Colgate total is $2.99 get $2.99 back (limit 2) so I bought two and used 2 $1 off coupons.
And the Biore face wash and John Frieda products were $6 each, but I had $2 off coupons for each and if you bought $10 worth of them you get $3 back.

I always buy a newspaper on Sundays, but this past Sunday I bought two in order to get two of the Purex coupons.
I keep all my coupons organized by the date that they come out in a folder, and use this coupon database in order to see if there are any coupons out for things that are on sale in the CVS ad.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

deux macarons, s'il vous plaît

For lunch on my day off I met up with my good friend Lena at La Boite, which is one of my favorite places to take people for a quick bite.

In the last couple years there has been an explosion of food trailers in Austin, but La Boite is unique for being a shipping container.

(This was the first time I'd seen the Texas Cuban pressed sandwich trailer to the side. Now it's on my list of places to try!)

La Boite serves French pastries (croissants, brioches, etc), sandwiches, coffee, homemade sodas, and the reason I first visited them - macarons... NOT to be confused with macaroons.

We both went with the caprese sandwich, which is fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, and basil. It is so, so good. We also had blackberry sodas to go with, although I was considering some coffee.

And for dessert - macarons, of course!  They vary what flavors are available, but every time I've gone they have the Fleur de Sel (a salted caramel flavor), and it is my favorite, so we got one each.
I would love to eat several in one sitting, but I'm sure the sugar content would be terribly unhealthy.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun sitting out eating now that the weather is getting cooler. I can't wait until it stays cool for more than just a couple days at a time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seeing Salado

When my in-laws were visiting we took a (half) day trip to Salado to browse the shops and have lunch at the Ambrosia Tea Room, which I had heard really good things about.

I was very impressed by the decor of the place and by the presentation of the food and drinks. There were vintage dresses on the walls, shoes hanging in the bathroom, and the centerpiece for every table was a wire hat stand with a unique old hat upon it. The napkins were folded and stuck either in a lacy holder or in white gloves.

Maybe the decor and presentation of our drinks got my hopes up, or maybe it was the price on the menu compared to what we got, but I couldn't help but be a little disappointed with the actual food. I ordered the cucumber and cream cheese sandwich with tomato soup. The menu said that all sandwiches come with chips and fruit.
Well... it was canned fruit (except for a grape or two on top) and round tortilla chips. Sure, the plate looked pretty, but for almost $10 they couldn't have used fresh fruit? Or even plain chips instead of tortilla chips with nothing to dip them in?
Also, maybe it is just me, but a brown bread option would have been nice.
Husband got the sampler, which had all four sandwich choices.

The place was nice to check out for the decor, but I probably won't go back or take other visitors in the future.

After lunch we walked around the town a bit and bought some mint fudge from "Sir Wigglesworth's Homemade Fudge" at Mud Pies Pottery. There were probably about 30 different types of fudge to pick from, and it was hard to choose. Now *that* I would go back for.

Eventually it started to pour, and we decided it would be a good time to head back to the shelter of the car and home to Austin. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beans, beans, the magical fruit...

Sometimes I am illogical.
For example, although I fell in love with Heinz baked beans while living in the UK, I won't pay the imported prices to buy a can here every once in a while for beans on toast or a fry-up.
But I will pay even more to have someone here make me beans on toast with Heinz beans.
Go figure.

Several times over the last couple months Husband and I have visited Full English at the local farmer's market so he can purchase some sausage rolls. He had also been keeping his eye on their website, updating me often on how they were coming along with opening their own cafe. Well, it is finally open, and we made our way over there to try it out.

Since there isn't a menu posted online at the moment, we spent the ride over speculating what they might have. I was very happy to see that Heinz beans were available on the menu, since we had been to a British food place in Round Rock and they did not serve Heinz with their breakfast. Husband has the full English breakfast, of course, and I ordered a cheese and onion pasty AND beans on toast.
The place was cute with couches all about and tables of old trunks.
I was greedy (and hungry!) and took a bite out of the pasty before taking a picture, which Husband chastised me for. The food was pretty good. It is a good thing that I love black pepper because there was a lot in the pasty, which made Husband glad he didn't order one.

The beans on toast were lovely, but it would be nice to have an option for cheese on it too.
All in all it was nice and satisfying.
I think they should add jacket potatoes (with beans and cheese, obviously, and tuna with sweetcorn) next.

Being Social

  This past Tuesday on my day off my good friend Patricia and I went shopping around The Domain. I hadn't been there in almost a year, but she told me that a massive Forever21 had opened up, so of course I had to check it out.
  I could probably spend half a day there, but on this day we just generally browsed around for nothing in particular.
 I don't tend to wear loads of jewelry, and I don't tend to have many different shoes, but I ended up buying a necklace and shoes. Success! Expanding my choices!
The necklace is a cuckoo clock with a little bird charm below it, and I've already worn it several times since buying it.
I'm sure the shoes will make an appearance on here sooner or later. I spent this morning before work trying to break them in a bit.

After shopping we went for burritos at Freebirds and cupcakes at Lick It Bite It or Both. I had seen them advertised on some Austin deal sites before, and some co-workers brought some of their cupcakes in one day during our training, but this was my first time at their shop. I had the mimosa cupcake while Patricia has a strawberry one. They were delicious, and I was kicking myself for not having my camera to take pictures of all the pretty cupcakes they had out for show to let you know what flavors were available. It is also fun that they have cupcake wrappers on the tables with markers that you can decorate and hang on the wall.

That evening husband and I went to see The Social Network at the Alamo Drafthouse. I enjoyed it as a film, but I can't help but not like films (or the book as well, for that matter) that take so much artistic license with events that happened so close to the present. If you were doing a biopic on George Washington or someone from way in the past, sure! take some artistic license because you don't know the situation for sure, but all the people involved in Facebook are still alive and around today. As long as you look at it as primarily a work of fiction and just a good movie, it is great, but as for a biopic... not so much.
Just my $0.02.