Friday, October 14, 2011

Las Vegas

When my in-laws were here a couple of weeks ago, we all took a trip to Las Vegas. Even though I have traveled extensively through Europe, I have barely been anywhere in the US.

The views from the plane were amazing. The furthest west I had been before this was maybe 2 hours outside of Austin. I had never seen deserts before, nor canyons like what we could see from the windows.
I think the majority of pictures from this trip were shot from the plane.
Of course we had to get a picture in front of the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. It is a bit of a walk, though, from the main part of the Strip. Luckily mid-September wasn't terribly hot, but I was starting to wonder if it was worth it about halfway there.
Although tour buses were bringing people by the dozens, everyone was surprisingly polite and queued up so each person could take a picture without other people in the way. 

The first night we walked up and down the Strip watching the different free shows outside the casinos - the fountains at the Bellagio, the volcano eruption at the Mirage, and the Sirens at Treasure Island.

Although my plan was to stuff myself silly with food, it didn't take much before I was sick of eating. The first buffet we hit was at the Paris casino, but I barely managed some soup, bread, and crepes. I think if I ever go back to Vegas, I would stay at the Paris. I really liked the feel of the place. Of course everything on the Strip is so manufactured and fake, but if you squint hard enough, it could look like you were on a Parisian street on the inside.
Husband and I made it back there the following night because we had wanted to go out at least one evening and visit a club. We saw The Chateau advertising that Rupert Grint would be there for his "birthday party", so we thought "why not?".
Inside the club was really crowded, but their outdoor gardens were really nice, and provided a great view of the city. We were also right across the street from the Bellagio and could watch the fountains going off every 15 minutes.
Here is my one stalker photo of him. He came a couple hours after it opened and mostly just stayed at his VIP area. 
On the Sunday we were there we mostly just walked around more of the casinos. At the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace there is a little show about the Fall of Atlantis and behind it is an aquarium. I liked the stingrays because it always looked like they were smiling for the camera.
In the evening we got to see a Cirque du Soleil show - Mystére. I had never seen one before, and it was amazing! There is a show coming to Austin early next year, and I'm debating whether to get tickets.

I think three days was enough of a visit to see everything. We did so much walking that I don't think I could have bared any more
On the way back to Austin we had a stopover in Salt Lake City. I found it funny that they put black squares (typically reserved for dirty magazines) in front of ones such as Maxim and Cosmo.
The city looked nice, though. It was surrounded by mountains, and the pictures around the airport made me want to go back and visit some of the state parks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Working my way back

Hello, old friend!
So... how have you been?
My laptop broke several weeks ago. And that was lame. Then I got a computer, but had nothing on it. Then my in-laws came to visit for two weeks.
So things are now settling down. And I actually have pictures to post.
But, I think I'm going to end up going backwards, since my most recent photos are the easiest to access and upload.

On Sunday we went to visit Fredericksburg, which has been on Husband's and my list of places to take a day trip to. We have been meaning to go around Christmas the last two years, but have not made it. Instead, we took his parents there on their last day in the country.

This shop is in Johnson City right where you turn to follow 290 towards Fredericksburg. We liked the look of the place even if it does threaten trespassers with gun violence

We parked in a randomly chosen space on the main street, in front of a candy shop that sold fudge buy 4 get 2 free. So Husband's mother treated us to several pieces.
I didn't know what to make of this M&M out front. It looks like he has eaten one too many pieces of candy and feels a bit like throwing up. Chocolate drunk.
yee-haw
We checked out the grounds of the Pioneer Museum, but not inside since it is closed on Sundays.
Apparently the peace treaty between the Fredericksburg settlers and the Penateka Comanches is the only known peace treaty in US history that was never broken.

Next we had a look around the little shops and boutiques that line Main Street (or at least the ones open on Sunday mornings). I enjoyed the quaintness of the area and all the old-timey signs. Especially this one:
... Don't you want things? for your room?
Garlic man with garlic babies
For lunch we went to the Fredericksburg Brewing Company
Husband and I both tried the sampler of their different beers. I think I liked the Peacepipe Pale Ale the best, and the Pioneer Porter just reinforced that I do not like porter. For food I tried their cheddar ale soup, but it was like eating a whole cup of lukewarm queso. It would be good on some chips, but a cup of it was way too much on its own.

After lunch the temperature was creeping up, and it had been a long two weeks, so we headed back to Austin. We've talked about going back for Oktoberfest this weekend, but we'll see if I feel up to driving there after our soccer match on Saturday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Party Like It's 1898

Over the weekend a friend of mine from South Korea was in town, and we got a chance to hang out on Saturday.
One of the places I took her was Uncommon Objects on S. Congress.

Their door says 'no photography please' and even though I saw other people sneaking photos with their iPhones, I'm a big rule abider, so no actual pictures of the current offerings on display, but I can show you the amazing book I got:

Eighty Pleasant Evenings was published in 1898 by the United Society of Christian Endeavor, Boston and Chicago.
As the title suggests, the book is a guide for throwing various parties and socials.
I said to Husband that I want to throw all 80 in the space of a year, but after doing the math and seeing it works out to about 7/month I realized that people would probably stop responding to facebook event invites and might even drop me off their friend's list completely.

But, really, who wouldn't want to attend A Dime Social?
"Music and two or three bright recitations or reading may open the evening, after a general conversational time, while the guests are assembling. A paper or talk may be given on the process of coining. This may either precede or follow the "dime game", which we quote from The Household.
See that each person present is provided with a United States dime and a lead-pencil, also a sheet of paper upon which the following list has either been written or printed, with numbered blank spaces for the answers. When these have been distributed, announce that a certain length of time will be given in which to find upon the face of the coin the following articles.
1. Fruit of a tropical tree.
2. What the Siamese twins were.
3. What a lazy man seldom gets.
4. The division of a country.
5. The cradle of liberty.
6. Another name for an isthmus.
7. Something a schoolboy makes.
8. Something a bootblack wants to give you.
9. What we love to sing.
10. What a self-conceited man does.
11. What you might do if very angry.
12. Part of a river where the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet is sometimes found.
13. An instrument to catch sound.
... [then there are more clues for the reverse side of the dime]...
KEY.
Articles found upon the face of the dime:
1. Date 2. United. 3. Ahead. 4. States. 5. America. 6. Neck. 7. Figures. 8. A shine. 9. America. 10. Knows (nose). 11. Stamped. 12. Mouth (Greek letter, Delta). 13. Ear.

Some slight reward may be given to the one having the most correct answers.
For refreshments have cake and ice-cream, peanut sandwiches and lemonade, or strawberries and cream, and charge a dime; also, if desired, have a long table on which may be arranged various articles for sale at that price."

Now doesn't that sound fun?
And who could resist A Washington's Birthday Social!
"Invitations are worded in the usual form, with the word "Costume" in the lower left-hand corner. These costumes may be simple or elaborate, the essential points being powdered hair for all, kerchiefs, and black court-plaster patches for the ladies, and for the gentlemen long hose, knee-breeches, buckled slippers, and lace ruffles in coat-sleeves. Hanging in a conspicuous place should be a life-size portrait of George Washington, framed in evergreen or in red, white, and blue. Flags and draperies of bunting may be added as decorations, wherever desired. Pin the name of some famous Revolutionary character to the back of each guest, and require him to guess his own identity by means of conversational hints from various sources.
  Sheets of paper, dainty pencils attached by means of narrow parti-colored ribbon, should be previously prepared. The first page may be decorated with a flag and a patriotic motto. On the inner pages are eight or ten questions or topics for conversation, each numbered, with a space below it for the name of a partner. Each guest engages, or is engaged by, a different partner for each topic. When arranged, all converse five minutes on each topic, beginning, ending, and changing partners and topics at the tap of a bell. 
  Peanut-shells may be provided, split and tied with narrow ribbon, and containing slips of paper on each of which is written half of the name of a State. These are passed and matched to find partners for refreshments. Just before serving the cake, coffee, and ice-cream, a march should be introduced; and the evening may close appropriately with the singing of patriotic songs."

In all, it's a really humorous look into the past. I was surprised at how people today are still playing similar games, such as the icebreaker where you put some famous' name on people's back and they have to guess who they are.

And rest assured: I will definitely be throwing at least one pleasant evening.
But there's just so many to choose from.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

"*sigh*... Austin never put this much effort into their soccer team" is what Husband muttered upon seeing the setup for the Lonestar Rollergirls (not that he's still bitter the team moved to Orlando, or anything). It's true. The Rollergirls had a large, enthusiastic crowd, boisterous announcers, and a camera crew so they can stream the games online. But, they have also been around a lot longer than the Austin Aztex were.
We finally decided to watch a roller derby match since we had heard so much about it and since it takes place so close to our home.
 Every match, a huge track is constructed at the Palmer Events Center, along with bleachers for the fans, a stage for bands, and stands for the announcers. The seating appeared to be first come, first served, so get there early to get a good seat as people save entire rows for friends coming later. You can also stand to the side of the track for a closer view.
I haven't seen the film Whip It or the show Rollergirls and didn't really know anything about the rules, apart from the description on the website: "Four 8 minute periods played between two teams"
Hmmm... 8 minute quarters. That's a pretty short game!
 Wrong.

It lasted 3 hours (not including the time waiting for it to start).

Although a jam can last up to 60 seconds, some are shorter. They stop the clock in between. And every time someone is injured. And during penalties.
For a major penalty, the player had to go sit in the penalty box. Which was sponsored by the Dunham Law Firm. So every time someone would go to the penalty box the announcers would shamelessly plug "and when you find yourself in the penalty box of life... JAIL... called the Dunham Law Firm at xxx-xxxx..." which made me laugh.
For minor penalties, they would spin a wheel to determine what the player had to do.
 As you can see from the fan signs, some of the penalty (?)challenges(?) were pillow fight or two lap duel or tug of war or arm wrestling, and a player from each team would compete. Most of the ones this match ended with one girl on top of the other attacking them. It got pretty messy.
Before the match and during halftime they had bands play, which was a nice addition to the night. I don't remember the band who played at halftime, but The Bipolar Bears opened the night, and I enjoyed their set.
The next match will be this Saturday, August 6. You can buy tickets at the door for $15 or go here for more options.

I'd be up for going again, but I think it'd be more fun in a group of people. I should also probably pick a team to root for, rather than just clap for everything.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Mooovelous Sight to Behold

Discow
Tonight at the Long Center there was a preview of the Cow Parade which has been held in 75 cities in 30 countries around the world.

Mazy Moo

Artists create the cows which will be displayed publicly around the city through October at which point 50 will be auctioned off for charity.
Moolah
The Austin event is supporting Dell Children's Medical Center and the Superhero Kids Fund.
Cowcyle

Also on display was Micheal Jackson's Thriller jacket which was recently purchased for $1.8 million by Austin philanthropist Milton Verret who arranged for $100k of the winning bid to go to the Superhero Kids Fund
The jacket is going to go around the world on tour to raise money for charities that help sick children.
Check out a map here of where you can see the cows on display

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hello Old Friend

I'm alive!
I've been around, just not much on blogger.
Ever feel like everything is going wrong? That's how the beginning of June felt, but then things got better. Even so, I just didn't really have much to update on or talk about. I've barely taken any pictures of anything recently.

Things I have been obsessed with lately:

McFassy (some things on that tumblr might be NSFW, fyi)- I've seen X-Men: First Class twice, and I love it and the fandom that has developed around Magneto/Charles and the actors that play them.

Roswell  - the whole series is available on Netflix instant streaming and I'm just a little bit addicted to it. My sister swears that I used to talk about watching it all the time in high school, but I can't recall ever seeing an episode. One of us has lost our minds. I'm not sure which one.

Magnum Double Caramel Ice Cream Bars - I remember seeing ads for Magnum ice creams everywhere in Spain and many commercials featuring Eva Longoria. Magnum ice cream only just became available in the US and our local supermarket had a bunch of coupons for $2/off, so I was getting boxes of them for $1. I've eaten way more than I should lately.

And speaking of consuming sugary things, there have been several birthdays in my family in the last month, and my sister has been making some incredible desserts, including this 14-layer cake:
 She made four kinds of cookies for my dad's birthday and these thin mint inspired cupcakes for my brother's birthday:
Tomorrow I'm going over to her place to try the butterbeer cupcakes she made this evening.

Earlier this month we took a friend of mine out for her birthday to try Frank since she and Husband had both had it on their 'need to try' lists.
Near the entrance I cracked up at a flier:
It says "Have you seen our cat?                                   And do you want to buy our record?"
The pull tabs have the website haveyouseenourcat.com
(For an explanation watch this)

Anyway, for lunch I tried their [non-alcoholic version] ginger cherry limeade
It was very, very tasty.
For my main I had the veggie chili cheese waffle fries. It was alright, but I wasn't in love with the chili. I wish it had had beans or vegetables (apart from some chopped onions) or just a little something more to it.
What I was very excited about was dessert.
They had whoopie pies on the menu!
So I ordered one
"Oh, sorry, we don't sell those anymore"
"but....but....they're on the menu :'( "
So I went without
But Husband got the bacon chocolate chip cookie
It was a pretty big cookie for $1

I'm very excited to see Harry Potter soon, and have been guffawing over the gif and macro party over on ONTD. (some commenter's icons and things might be NSFW. you have been warned)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Food and Film

Hey Internet!
Last we spoke a friend was visiting from the UK.
Some other things we did:
Cupcakes from Lick it Bite it or Both
I like how they display all the flavors
One wall is covered with decorated cupcake liners. You can color and add your own.

We went with my siblings to Pluckers' trivia night at the Pluckers in Round Rock. We won 1st place!
We shared a serving of fried Twinkies. They're pretty sickening, but you've gotta have them at least once in your life!

On Thursdays the Blanton Museum of Art is free!
Right now they have a portraiture exhibition that explores portraits throughout the ages in different mediums.
You can view a Farrah Fawcett portrait by Andy Warhol up close.

We saw The Hangover 2, which was alright. Pretty much the same as the first one.

Since our friend left I've spent a bit of my free time running around taking photos for an Austin scavenger hunt (but more on that later).

Husband and I saw Super 8 the other night, and it was fantastic! I'm not one for scary movies and this one wasn't that scary, but there were a number of times when I jumped and shrieked a little.
In case you've been away from the internet for the last week, I've been loving the new Alamo Drafthouse Don't Talk PSA (this is the uncensored, NSFW (due to language) version)

I'm trying to convince Husband to go with me to see X-Men First Class.

What have you been up to, Internet?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And that's why you always leave a note!

Monday I had to work during the day, but in the evening we went to The Highball, along with one of my brothers, for their TV Dinner night. This week they were showing 4 episodes from season 1 of Arrested Development (season 2 is next week and season 3 the week after). 
I hadn't been to a Highball event before, so we got there early to get a table just in case it got crowded.
I had the garden salad while Husband had the Thanksgiving sandwich with onion rings.
Our friend had the Dr. Pepper ribs and an order of fries, which ended up being a lot of food.
The food is good, but nothing that makes me say 'ooh, we have to go eat at the Highball!', and it is a bit pricier than other places I like around here. It is a nice place to go to every once in a while, though, for the atmosphere, or for the free karaoke during happy hour.

Before the show, the hosts handed out paper and challenged each table to make a Bluth family crest.
After the third episode each group presented their crest and audience applause determined the winner.
We didn't win, but I love our finished design
We have Buster's hook, some bananas, a segway, a glass of wine (since Lucille is always drinking), a loose seal, the yellow part is supposed to look like the stairs from the company truck, and some never nude shorts on the bottom. Then we tried to translate "I need a favor" as best we could into Latin at the bottom.

Our friend, who is visiting from the UK, did win a free drink from the one trivia question they answered. Whoo!

This morning (Tuesday) we rented a kayak from Zilker Park. I'm always amazed at the number of turtles I see each time.
We saw quite a number of little baby ones, and even a tiny one riding a bigger one while we were out in the water.
I am completely lacking in upper body strength, so we didn't stay out too long.

I picked up the new Friendly Fires album from Waterloo Records, and it is soooo good! I already knew several of the songs from seeing the band a couple times during SXSW. The standout tracks, for me, are Show Me Love, True Love, and Blue Cassette.

Later this afternoon we went to see Bridesmaids at the Alamo Drafthouse Village, and I didn't realize it was Baby Day until we arrived, but it was the only time that worked for us, so we stayed. The babies in our theater actually did pretty well, only crying a couple of times and nothing too distracting. I do like that the Drafthouse does give parents a way to see movies without having to splurge for a sitter, but also keeping other showings quiet and free of children. It is a good compromise, and they let you know if you show up for the film and did not realize it was a Baby Day showing, they are happy to change your ticket. I cannot speak highly enough of the Drafthouse, and it is the only theater I will give my money to.
The movie was just as funny the second time around. I mentioned Kristen Wiig's wardrobe on here the first time I saw it during an advanced screening, and now that the film is officially released, I have seen loads of other people writing about it. It seems a lot of people are in love with her outfits, and rightfully so!

We ate dinner at home this evening, but afterwards we went to Gourdoughs, where I always try to take people who are visiting Austin. After learning from my first one, I don't attempt to eat one on my own because they are just so huge. Husband and I let our friend choose which one to have (and since we can go whenever we want since we live here). He chose the Black Out (which I last ate here) which consists of brownie batter, fudge icing, and chocolate covered brownie bites on the doughnut. 
It's a good thing we're working out tomorrow!

Weekend Roundup

On Thursday a good friend arrived from the UK so I have been pretty busy taking him around places in town. I love showing off Austin  to people, and since he has been once already, we could skip places like the Capitol. I am, however, feeling pretty exhausted. Husband went with him to see White Lies tonight, so I have some time to get things done around the house and on here.

On Friday we woke up early and took out the bikes to one of the Bike to Work Day breakfast stations.
We opted for breakfast tacos and bananas, although there were also bagels and muffins.
From there we road around the Bouldin Creek neighborhood which is full of fun, unique houses that I would love to live in, but they are so, so expensive. Then we headed down to the river and across Lamar before a flat tire caused us to return home.

We went and browsed around Barton Creek Square Mall, then spent most of the afternoon watching recent Saturday Night Live episodes on Netflix.
 In the evening we headed to Waterloo Records for an in-store by White Denim. They played a pretty long set (for an in-store) with songs from their new album.

By the time the in-store finished Husband was home from work, so we picked him up and went to the food trailers on South Congress.
I had been wanting to try The Mighty Cone for a while, and after reading about it in a book on food trailers at Waterloo, I decided that it was going to be my dinner. I had the veggie slider, since I don't really eat meat. Husband got the beef slider because the other cone meals came with ancho sauce, and he thought that meant anchovy sauce. He is under the impression that most Americans like anchovies, and although I told him ancho sauce doesn't have anchovies he was wary until he looked it up online after ordering.
I also got the fried pickles, which were my favorite part of the meal. They were rolled in their Hot 'n' Crunchy breading which consists of sesame seeds, almonds, chili flakes, sea salt, sugar, and corn flakes. The slider was good as well, but the patty wasn't as firm as I would like, so it fell apart while eating. The ketchup we were given for the fries was pretty good and tasted like it was homemade by the restaurant (definitely wasn't Heinz!).
I'd go back again for the pickles for sure.

After dinner we walked around South Congress a bit and found what I am stating right now to be the MUST HAVE bag of the summer:
Don't you want to run out and buy 5 right now!?
No?
Fair enough.

On Saturday we had our last soccer game of the season. I was so muggy outside that it was like we were playing in a swamp. Even though we were down our best player we still managed to tie 1-1.

After a quick shower we walked to the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery to have lunch at Torchy's Tacos. I almost always get the migas tacos along with the green chili queso, which is one of my favorite quesos in Austin.

Then we headed to the Renegade Craft Fair.

As soon as I saw the cat coaster by Handmade Julz I had to have it. I am a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady and our two cats are -you guessed it - orange and grey.
everybody say 'awwww'
Apart from the cat one, it was hard to narrow down which other coasters we liked because there were many designs and all of them were cute.

Husband really liked the items from pixelparty and said he wants the fire flower whenever we actually live in a place with a yard.

Of course we visited the Magnolia photobooth for a photo

We bumped into Maybe This Door and also made sure to say hello to Betsy & Iya.

Some of the other memorable items were:
The monster hoodies from Cutesy but not Cutesy
Cookie vs. Wookie by Paul Friedrich
The Conan O'Brien knit doll by CraftyisCool

After Renegade we headed to my parents' house to swim then have dinner with my family.
Later that night we went out to Barbarella for their indie/electro night which I can't really go to much anymore now that I wake up for work at 5am, but I was happy I have most of this week off and could make it.

Sunday we spent at Schlitterbahn, and it was the perfect day to go because there were almost no lines and it was a bit overcast so we didn't have the sun constantly beating down on us all day.