31 May 2010

Weekly Wows!

Skinny Cow Mint Cones are my new favorite dessert. The creamy mint ice cream is studded with pockets of rich fudge, and the inside of the waffle cone is lined with chocolate too! These little treats are so decadent you don't even miss the fat. :D

I got a tetanus shot on Monday. I went to the doctor for a routine check-up and discovered a tetanus shot was overdue. Unfortunately the nurse forgot to mention all the soreness I would experience because I let her give me the shot in my right arm! Then I proceeded to experience the gamut of symptoms - weakness, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain. Man, it was terrible! Let's just say any ungratefulness for my right arm has now been cured.

People are weird. I mean, I was aware of this fact (hey - I'm a weirdo), but my experience on Saturday took "wierd" to a whole new level. My husband and I were just leaving the grocery store with the goods for our Memorial Day cookout when we noticed a young lady in the produce section. Apparently she thought a swimsuit and her beach towel were appropriate grocery shopping attire. And if that weren't enough, she proceeded to open her towel and resecure it around her! Yikes!

I became an aunt (or "Auntie J" as I will be called)! My husband's twin brother and his wife welcomed their first, a baby boy, into the world this past Friday. Our weekend was full of family and fun, all to celebrate this new little bundle of joy! Here they are being welcomed home by the "paparrazi" (aka the family):

I have also discovered the Hipstamatic application for my iPhone, which I used to take the above picture. Isn't is so fun and vintage-y feeling? I just love it - and I think there are even more styles of film to add!

I have finally finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - all 725 pages of it! I have read a lot of books in my life, but this one is by far the longest and most mind-bending book I have read. Not so sure it qualifies as a "summer read" though I would definitely recommend it when you're feeling a little more intellectual.

Tomorrow is the first day of June. Where has this year gone?!!!

Now, tell me what's wowing you. :D

22 May 2010

Number Four

My dear, sweet husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary this weekend. We alternate who plans the anniversary festivities, and this year it was my turn to spoil Clay. I mean, he doesn't get to have all the fun. ;)

He requested a nice dinner at home rather than going out to eat (can't fault him for loving my cooking!). I made pasta and meatballs, tossed salad, and homemade breadsticks for dinner on Friday night. After clearing the dishes, we headed over to get our 1 1/2-hour massages. 1 1/2 hours, people! Absolute heaven.

I decided to extend the celebration into Saturday (why not?!). We began with cinnamon rolls and the Saturday paper, two of Clay's favorite things.

Then we headed over to the newly remodeled Museum of Science and History. The two of us felt like little kids looking at all of the neat exhibits!

After that, a quick picnic lunch - and a Jones Soda toast (just like our wedding day toast!). Then we went to see Van Gogh: Brush with Genius at the IMAX Theater. What a HUGE screen!

It is hard to believe that four years ago we were standing under a sunset sky at Erinshire Gardens, hands clasped and hearts beating as we said our "I dos." The time since then has certainly flown past, but each day I love my husband more and more. God has truly blessed me with an amazing man who teaches me so much and who constantly makes me laugh.

I cannot imagine anyone else I would rather have my adventures with than you, Clay. I love you!

19 May 2010

Book Report: Kabul Beauty School

Summer is almost here, which is my favorite time of year for two reasons: sunshine and summer reads! I just cannot wait for summer to officially begin, so I decided to commence with the reading bit a little ahead of schedule. :D My selection: Kabul Beauty School, which was lent to me by my mother-in-law, Karen. (I love that we have such similar taste in books!)

Kabul Beauty School follows the story (albeit scatteredly) of Deborah Rodriguez, a new divorce who goes to Afghanistan to work with an NGO in the wake of insurgent attacks and *SPOILER ALERT* ends up starting a beauty school in Kabul. Upon arrival, Deborah quickly realizes that her skill set is not, well...as useful as she had thought. All the others with her aid group are doctors, nurses, and engineers. She, however, is a hairstylist. But she soon learns that hers is a very valuable skill – diplomats, aid workers, and travelers begin seeking her out in droves to get a decent haircut. Eventually she gets the idea to start a beauty school to help Afghani women earn a decent living and support their families.

As she embeds herself in the Afghani culture, Deborah learns the plight of women in Kabul and their very limited options for survival. The political turmoil makes it even more difficult for women to support their families. It was absolutely fascinating to me to learn about the cultural expectations of women and the consequences for going against the grain. I knew about the practice of wearing burquas and that the Middle East is a very male-dominant, patriarchal society. But some of the “taboos” she mentioned – like single females living alone – were so completely foreign to me (not that I know what it’s like to wear a burqua, but you get the idea)! Reading this book has definitely made me thankful for the freedoms I’m allowed here in the States.

It also made me aware of some scary similarities too, like stereotyping a person because of their race or social class. Even victim blaming, the practice of placing fault on the victim of sexual or domestic abuse, is something that is done in America too.

My main criticism of the book would be its scatteredness – Deborah barely finishes her sentence before jumping into a new thought! There are many wonderful and poignant anecdotes, but they probably could have been organized a little better.

I love books that stretch my thinking and challenge me to look at the world in a different way. Kabul Beauty School definitely did just that. I would most definitely recommend this book, especially if you like a little adventure. :D

Next on the list: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. And yes, I am intimidated.

Let me know your favorite summer reads – I’m always up for something new!

13 May 2010

Weekly Wows!

I'm a little confused here - am I in Houston? I mean seriously. It is much too hot and sticky to be Fort Worth! This may also be attributed to the fact that we have not re-installed the window unit in our living room, which means our house can be like a sauna at times. Fingers crossed we can put it in this weekend!

100% Cran-Grape Juice has returned to Target! For the past few months (which have seemed like an eternity), I have gone to my neighborhood Target in search of some cranberry-grape juice. But alas - there was none to be found! No name brand, no off brand, no nothing. Every other cranberry juice blend? Yes. I was seriously beginning to think it was some kind of conspiracy (or maybe the grapes went on strike?) and then I turned onto the juice aisle yesterday and there it was! I almost did a happy dance...okay, maybe I actually did.

I have the sweetest husband in the world. In an earlier post, I mentioned a photography book by Audrey Heller (whom we saw at the Main Street Arts Festival) that I really wanted. I had already used up my spending budget for the month on the photography class and did not want to go overboard by purchasing this book. But dear, sweet Clay ordered it on the stealth and surprised me with it yesterday!

BUNCO! Some girls and I are getting together for a rousing game tonight. Nothing like food, friends, and fun to brighten your day. :D

My schedule for the past few weeks has been a little off-kilter, so I haven't been making it to the gym as much as I usually do. This week things have magically cleared up and I've gone to some pretty intense exercise classes the past two days. I did not know it was humanly possible to be this sore! No pain, no gain, right? Let's just say I am really looking forward to yoga today.

Now tell me about what's wow-ing you this week!

09 May 2010

Photography Class

For a long time, I have wanted to get more familiar with our Nikon D70S but the instruction manual just wasn't doing it for me. The past two weeks I have been taking a digital photography class for beginners through TCU's Extended Education Program. I have learned SO much through this short course - but I still have so far to go!

I thought I would share a few of the fun photos I took while practicing some techniques for class. :D (Keep in mind, this was a beginner's class.)

A little blur action, playing with the shutter speed. Clay was such a doll and kept spinning in the chair even though he had a belly full of Uncle Julio's fajitas.

My favorite: stop action. Or, Clay practicing his Jedi skills. :D

Another blur action shot using extended exposure. Clay surprised me with this sweet little message!

Look forward to improved pictures in the coming posts. :D

Something's Fishy

I LOVE fish tacos. Love, love, love. So when I ran across a recipe for grilled halibut soft tacos with orange salsa, I knew I had to try it.

We had them for dinner on Thursday night and the results were great - even Clay gave them a thumbs-up!

For the fish:

Combine 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp chile powder, 1 tsp lime juice, salt and pepper with four 4- to 6-ounce halibut fillets in a Ziploc bag and shake to coat. Place the fillets in a preheated skillet, skin side down, and cook until fish is white and flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, for the salsa:

Peel 2 oranges and 2 limes, then remove the membranes and chop finely. Also dice one medium serrano pepper. Combine with 1 tsp chopped cilantro, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Divide cooked fish equally among 8 6-in corn tortillas and top with orange salsa and feta cheese.

If you're feeling a little fishy this week, these should definitely fit the gill. :D

To Market, To Market, Jiggity Jig

Last Saturday my sister and I took a trip to the Dallas Farmers Market. It was so good to have some girl time and get to visit a little on the drive there and back.

Talk about a feast for the eyes - not to mention the stomach! Many of the vendors were happy to share samples of their produce, and I definitely took advantage of that. :D

There was also quite a bit of space dedicated to flowers and bushes, or landscapery as I like to call it.

Thanks, Rachel, for suggesting this little day trip to to the market!