for lots of things today:

My antique watch - they were able to fix easily and it runs well and it is ready to pick up! When we bought it they said, well, it was working when we got it, and I was sure we were being scammed and the watch hadn't worked in decades. But that was okay because I would just use it as a bracelet (who really needs a watch to tell time?) But then we opened it to look and see the name on the inside and the inside was incredible clean (and pretty). So we brought to Austin Watch and Jewelry for repair because they had great reviews and, yay, we pick it up today fixed! One more quick thing about my watch - the adjustable metal clasp says patent pending and lists a patent number, which we looked up and the patent was filed in 1931! I love it! I just keep wondering about who wore it; I wish I knew the history.

Rome! From Monday to Monday. But then I realized that since we are driving our 12 hours today and Sunday that only leaves tomorrow to pack! I started yesterday. I'm a little scared about pickpockets or something going wrong, but I'm still pretty excited and feel a little better after reading that Laurie had the same worries and was fine. From what you read, there is no one who escapes Rome with their wallet un-stolen and purse un-slashed, but she did so there's at least one person. I also don't want anyone to squirt mustard on my favorite jacket just to try to steal my purse - I will be so mad if that happens!

I am really a great packer. I've got this down to a science and that is the only reason I am not freaking out right now. This trip is longer than usual and more out of the country than usual, but after Amsterdam, I believe that the people are going to speak English, and it doesn't seem so foreign. I never carry more than one small carry-on and my "weekender" which is big but not so big that I don't sometimes carry it as a purse. Inside of that is a small bag that I use for just my camera and phone when we go out exploring. I'm only bringing one pair of shoes, my moto boots, because they are comfy and work with jeans and dresses. I'm bringing a few pairs of tights because they are tiny to pack and can be worn alone or layered under jeans if it's too cold. Pretty much the only thing I'm worried about is being cold, because I am never sure what the weather will feel like, but I'm bringing enough layering that I should be ok. You know, maybe I should just make a packing post.

Hair cut! Thank goodness I finally dragged myself to a salon. I swear, I hadn't went in eight months or more and my hair was soooo long and split-end-y and gray root-y. Every time I went in front of a mirror, all I could think was I need a haircut. Well, I got one! My neighbor recommended it, and the online reviews were really great. And I love it, she did a great job listening and giving me what I wanted, and I love that I actually want to go back (and it is easy to get to), so maybe I won't have this same problem in eight months. This is going to sound really stupid, but this is the first time I went by myself to get a haircut in 3 years. And I am a grown women. Unbelievable, right? First, not having a car for a few years, and then not having a place I wanted to go. I feel like more of a woman now!

Oh, this is and old yay! but I don't think I posted it before. It is an old cigar box that my sister made into a decorated music box and sent me a year ago, and I use it as my jewelry box. I keep a few everyday earrings in my night stand, but this is where I store the not everyday stuff. It's so pretty to look at, I love seeing it everyday.

mardi gras part 2

The only parade we actually made it too was Hermes on Friday night, seen here from Don's point of view:

and mine:

It was so freezing cold and crowed and miserable (and I almost got blinded by getting hit in the eye with a pair of beads, seriously, it hurt so badly) that we watched him ride, then immediately returned to the hotel room for room service... Crabmeat Caprese Salad:

and Drunken (on Abita Turbodog, in case you were wondering) Shrimp and Grits:

Yeah, I got back from Mardi Gras, and realized that most of my pictures are of food! Not sure what that says... On this vacation, we mostly strayed towards desserts for meals. Evidenced by Saturday's breakfast:

Eclairs, baklava, and milk- and white- chocolate turtles chosen from this array:

You see?

We skipped the parade crowds:

(This was many hours before any parades were due.)

And strolled through the antique shops on Royal Street:

Where I fell in love with this antique art deco watch and realized (in enough time to justify it's purchase) that the next day was Valentine's Day:

It's now at the watch repair in Austin, since it actually didn't run...

We also headed to Canal Place shops where Don picked up his Valentine's Day thorn necklace from Mignon Faget. Close to roses, right?

At least we didn't come home with any signed guitars, tempting as they were:

After shopping, on the way back to the hotel, we caught the parade by mistake at the perfect spot - the very end where there are no crowds and the riders are unloading the last of their throws:

We wound up collecting a decent amount of stuff, including these sunglasses:

that I absolutely did not realize were toilet bowl seats.

Lots of fun. Speaking of, have you ever seen a beer drive through?


Some pics D. sent me while they are getting ready for the parade:

Mardi Gras vacation part 1

On Wednesday, we took off for our annual trip to Mardi Gras, starting with pancakes at the Kettle Restaurant, snow (or maybe just frozen rain) in San Antonio, and big bull ball keychains (next to novelty beer bongs) at a random Texas gas station:

Traffic was clear the whole way, except a tiny bit in Baton Rouge and a 2 hour sitting still delay for no apparent reason about 19 miles outside the city.

Even so, we got in early enough to walk to Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter and have 3 dozen raw oysters (so good!) and crawpuppies (so good!).

Out of all of the great New Orleans food and restaurants, this is the one I miss absolutely most. So much that the next day for lunch, I only wanted to go back for more raw oysters. Acme was too crowed, so we tried the oyster house next door:

I pretended to slurp one off of a shell, but the truth is the only way to eat raw oysters is to put each on a saltine cracker with a decent dollop of sauce (cocktail sauce mixed with lots of horseradish) and put the whole thing in your mouth:

So good! But with oysters, corn and crab soup, and shrimp po-boy, we decided to skip dinner for dinner and have dessert for dinner instead that night:

Decadent! Creme brulee cheesecake and white chocolate bread pudding with some kind of cognac-y dessert liquor drinks.

It's been pretty cold (in the high 30s, low 40s) with occasional sleety mist and rain, so all of the parades so far have been canceled, although I think tonight's will roll. D. is riding tonight, he is in the French Quarter right now in a walking parade but I decided to stay cozy in the hotel room until my sister should be comes in a little while to keep me company. (I can't wait.)

The hotel room here is pretty nice, with a huge private patio really high up, that you can just barely see down to the parade route, the most pillows I've ever seen on one bed:

and Mardi Gras decorations in the lobby:

new cds

Yes, we are getting music inspiration now from RockBand. Embarrassing, but true. Still good bands though:

(Lacuna Coil - Our Truth)

(Dinosaur, Jr. - Feel the Pain)

chocolate pumpkin muffins

Apparently, there is a recipe for everything. I wanted to quickly use up some eggs this weekend, noticed that I also had a box of chocolate cake mix and can of pumpkin. So I googled chocolate cake mix pumpkin and came up with this recipe:
  • 1 package dark chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and spice evenly. Add pumpkin, eggs, and oil for 3 minutes using a mixer on medium speed. Pour into the muffin pan with liners.
  • Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Same as linked recipe except I added an egg, doubled the oil, and added two teaspoons of pumpkin pie mix, and cooked with paper muffin liners for 20 minutes, and didn't frost. Oh, and my cake mix was dark chocolate fudge.

They came out very moist and light and very chocolate-y, but not too sweet. They were not at all pumpkin-y, although you could smell the spices.


Yay for Saints, via my brother's head:

(At least it's not a tattoo.)

In other news, I keep visiting the Rodarte for Target line whenever I'm around the Humble store. It's now on 30% clearance, apparently Texas did not get the memo that this stuff is supposed to sell out, as it has apparently everywhere else. I keep trying to like it, but not really my style.


Yesterday, I made a huge pot of chicken noodle soup and it is all gone today. I love cooking big pots of food, and I really love when it gets eaten up instead of wasted. My chicken noodle soup is almost too easy to call homemade:

Heat two big cans of chicken broth (49.5 oz each) in a pot on medium high heat. Add chopped carrots and celery (about 1 cup each?). I usually spend one day chopping, then freeze the stuff in ziplock bags measured for my recipes for whenever I get around to cooking - makes it really easy. While that's cooking, heat a little olive oil and cook about a pound of chicken tenderloins in it. Then tear it up into tiny pieces, add to the broth, and boil it all for about 20 minutes. Then add about 3 cups of uncooked medium egg noodles and cook for about 15 more minutes. Done! I like a lot of stuff in my soup, but you could cut down on the noodles and carrots and stuff if you don't.

Today, is another driving day, so we might be the only Americans not watching the Superbowl. On Friday's drive, I wore purple tights with my motorcycle boots... I love the 90s!

pearl harbor

I rented Pearl Harbor last weekend thinking it would be a good action movie to watch with the boys. I remembered it being good when I first saw it at the theater, but didn't remember exactly what happened in it until about 20 minutes into it. It was so sad I cried (again), but I still think it is the perfect combination of boy/girl, action-y and still so romantic.

Plus, I love Kate Beckinsale. She is one of my favorite actresses of all time, and so beautiful especially with the retro look. I love her makeup and hair and clothes in this movie:

She was retro gorgeous in The Aviator too: