july 2013

by Nicole on August 2, 2013

Wow, can’t believe it’s already August! (Seriously, how cliché do I sound???) July went by so fast. We mostly hung out around the house, but it was still a fun month.

*We had the day off for the Fourth of July and decided to just be lazy. We grilled flank steak for tacos and ate them outside, then went swimming. No fireworks or anything since we had to go to work early the next day.

*We went to J. Mueller Meat Co. with Adam and Jenni for their legendary barbecue. We got in line at 10 AM and there was already a line! They opened at 10:30 and gave everyone free beers as we waited for our orders to be taken. The food was incredible, especially their brisket.

*We have become pretty apathetic about cooking lately, I guess because we’re focusing on other hobbies right now. Most of our cooking this month was quick stuff like rice & beans, eggs & toast, tacos, etc. We also went to some great restaurants, including old favorites like The Steeping Room (I’ve become addicted to their crème brûleé steamer) and new favorites like Contigo (great food and cocktails, would be super fun to hang out with a group there).

*I’ve continued sewing and reading a lot of sewing books this month. I finished my popsicle dress and debuted it my company’s Fourth of July potluck. I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out and got a lot of compliments. The fit is slightly wonky in the shoulders/neck, but I’m almost positive that’s because I picked the wrong size when I started it. I learned this month that you shouldn’t pick a pattern size based on the actual measurements if you’re larger than a B-cup. Explains why some of the commercial patterns I’ve made in the past have always been like tents on me! If you’re larger than a B-cup, you should pick a size based on your “high bust” (above your boobs, basically under your armpits) since that will give a better fit in the shoulders/neck and then you’d do an adjustment called an FBA (full bust adjustment). Still, the dress is cute, even if it’s not a perfect fit.

*I also made an easy top from a pattern I’ve had sitting around for a while. I altered the sizing a little since I was between sizes, and this was my first time ever making changes to a pattern. I think this pattern would look a lot better on someone tiny. There’s just not much shape to it except for a waist tie and darts in the back, so for someone with large hips and a large bust like me, it just kinda hangs there. Still, it was a quick make and the fabric had been sitting around for forever so I was glad to use it up.

*I also bought a few shirts from Goodwill with the intent to refashion them. One is a chambray shirt with no shape at all, so I’m going to put in a few darts and take the sides in. The other is a three-quarter sleeve striped shirt that was a size XXXXL. I hacked the sleeves off, keeping the circular yoke, and then added some darts, and took the sides in a ton. I still need to bind the armholes and then it will be ready to wear!

 *One weekend, we watched NPR Tiny Desk Concerts for probably five hours straight. Our favorite discovery was Lucius. Seriously incredible. If they ever come tour in Austin, I would die for tickets! Stupid embedly won’t post the video, but you can watch the concert over on YouTube.

*We also went to the Blanton Museum for the first time. We had breakfast on campus, walked around for about an hour, then went to the museum. Their “Lifelike” exhibit was great, and was both of our favorites. Also, I learned I really don’t like abstract art very much.

*We found out that Adam & Jenni’s baby is a BOY! He’s due mid-November.

*I started waking up early each weekday to workout. I do 30 minutes of a different video from Fitnessglo.com each day. Love that website! The early morning workouts are awesome. They give me so much energy and I think they also set a healthy intention for the day. Darius has been going on long walks after we get off work, but it’s been 100+ lately, so he’s taking a break until it cools down a little.

*And we went craaaaaazy watching movies and shows this month. My favorite of the month was The Descent. Darius’s favorite of the month was either Cloud Atlas or Ballad of Narayama.

Here’s what we saw this month (my comments are in parentheses, Darius’s comments are in italics below each movie title):

1. Pacific Rim (didn’t really like it; effects were incredible, but the story is so played-out!)

People often complain about characters not being “likable” but I think it’s more of whether they “engage” you into the story or not. Often what I like about characters are the way the play off or subvert common stereotypes. These characters felt like reflections of Saturday morning cartoon heros when I was expecting something more human or vulnerable I guess.

2. Insidious (pretty good horror movie)

2Everything2Terrible: Tokyo Drift (funny, like everything from Everything is Terrible)

Duane is my personal lord and savior!

3. The Ballad of Narayama (really liked it; great shot composition and editing, and a really interesting story)

Wow, what an incredibly honest period film that showcases both the horrors and beauty of life.

4. Killzone S.P.L.

The I Luv Video caption boasted the best Chinese fight scene of the year. It delivered, pretty unrelentless.

5. Nine Dead (one of those movies that’s so terrible it’s awesome)

Winner of best convoluted bad-guy motive award!

6. Waste Land (interesting documentary)

7. Cabin in the Woods (first re-watch since we saw it in theaters; one of our favorite horror movies)

8. A Talking Cat!?! (another so-terrible-it’s great)

9. An Easter Bunny Puppy (by the same director as A Talking Cat!?! And with much of the same cast)

I have no idea who the intended audience is for these movies. Cutesy family-fun setup, magical talking animals, innuendo to suggest proposed threesomes, ungodly long montages involving dying easter eggs and then finding easter eggs. On one hand it seems to be incredibly self-aware but on the other hand it’s some of the most inept filmmaking imaginable.

10. Cloud Atlas (although I hate hate hate Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, I still really liked this movie)

11. A Man Named Pearl (watched half, interesting but the movie was kinda boring)

12. Tees Maar Khan (ridiculous and funny Bollywood movie)

If anything, watch the intro credits and dance scene!

13. Man of the House (watched half, mind-numbingly boring and dumb)

Did Rick Perry and UT produce this film?

14. Dragon

This movie starts out so strong but the ending was just okay to me. I love how they show the same fight from two different perspectives and explain the “science” of wuxia type superpowers! The first fight is one of my favorites!

15. Mulan (one of my favorite Disney movies which Darius wasn’t all that familiar with)

Really good. I think I just kept wishing that it was live action and starred the best Chinese martial artists instead!

16. The Matrix (I had never seen this before; I liked it, but I still don’t get the obsession some people have with it)

I will at least never forget how much 13-year old Darius had his mind blown by this movie.

17. Silver Linings Playbook (ugh, no, didn’t like this; tried really hard, but just no for us)

18. Whores’ Glory (really good documentary)

 19. The Descent (Really creepy, and I loved the acting and the music. On my list for favorite horror movies now! )

*We also started re-watching King of the Hill from episode one. That show is so funny! Darius started Batman Beyond. I tried to start New Girl, but man, that show was not funny at all to me. I really dislike Zooey Deschanel. I did, however, watch The Great British Sewing Bee and LOVED it. BBC shows are often so much better than their American counterparts.

And here’s a cute picture of Lentil just because!

june 2013

by Nicole on July 8, 2013

Sheesh, June went by so fast, and it already seems so long ago. June was sort of a weird month for us…working on getting everything back to normal after the break-in, feeling very exhausted and just kind of blah about things like cooking and cleaning and working out which turns into more exhaustion, and experiencing that feeling that everything is just moving way too quickly. I wish time could just sloooooow dowwwwn (except M-F 8-5, please go ahead and fast-forward yourself).

Anyway, here’s what we did in June!

-Cooked very little. The best thing of the month was this corn pizza from The Sprouted Kitchen.

-Saw my mom, my brother Parker, my sister Emma, and my sister Hannah when they came into town for my brother Micah’s graduation (which we sadly missed, as it was right after the break-in). Hadn’t seen my mom/Parker/Emma since January, and hadn’t seen Hannah for maybe two years? Had a fun dinner at Central Market, complete with crazy birds flying low to steal a fry or two.

-Got a new TV to replace the stolen one. This one is actually a little bigger and comes with 8 pairs of 3D glasses (our old TV was 3D also, but we didn’t have glasses). And I believe in HD now.

-Dinner at Lenoir for the first time. Were really looking forward to the crispy goat terrine, but sadly it wasn’t on the menu when we went. Our favorite was the soft-shell crawfish with sour pork sausage, thai herb salad, and fish sauce vinaigrette.

-Brunch at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, also for the first time. Had biscuits & gravy, silver dollar pancakes, migas, fried chicken & pork tenderloin, mac & cheese, pastries, and more. Didn’t end up eating anything else until 7pm that night!

-Lots of Lentil time! We kind of really want another cat already, but we’re going to wait a little longer. We want to make sure Lentil is totally re-settled from the break-in before we spring something else on her.

-Lots of pool time! I used to always think above-ground pools were trashy, but not anymore! Having a pool in your backyard during the hot summer is the best thing ever, even if it is only 10 feet wide.

-Started the summer semester of classes. Just taking one class this term–Legal Environment in Business. Sounds really boring, but it’s actually semi-interesting.

-Rooted for the Spurs in the NBA Finals, although they sadly lost. We’re definitely missing basketball now that it’s over.

-Picked up my popsicle dress sewing project again. I’m suddenly motivated to begin sewing again and trying more complicated projects. I got two new sewing books, “Fit for Real People” and “The Collette Sewing Handbook” and really enjoyed both. Unfortunately, I read them after already being well into the popsicle dress, and so I realized too late that I made some mistakes in my popsicle dress.  I’m currently trying to learn more about good fit and making alterations (to both fabric and patterns). I’ve always been a sewist focused on getting my project done, but I’m trying to take a more mindful approach now. I’m committing to slowing down, really making sure I get each step right instead of doing a rush job, thinking about how a piece I sew will fit into my wardrobe, etc.

-Got a pretty new picnic table for the backyard. Now if only we could figure out how to get rid of our mosquitos, our backyard would be near perfect.

-Threw a little summer shindig. Had Adam, Jenni, Grace, Joey, and Abby come over for swimming at our house and a picnic (deviled eggs, poblano & corn salad, hot dogs, ice cream/popsicles, grilled bread with pesto & goat cheese).

-Went to Mount Bonnell to surprise Darius’s boss for her birthday with his other coworkers.

-Got a WiiU to replace our stolen Playstation 3. It’s super fun! We’ve been playing Trine 2, Wario, Mario Brothers, and Nintendoland.

-Watched the rest of the most recent season of Game of Thrones (why, “Red Wedding” episode, WHY?), the third season of Boardwalk Empire (about halfway through), Holy Motors for the second time (probably my favorite movie of the past year), Stoker, Kill List, V/H/S 2, and Sinister. I guess since Darius was playing Wii and I was sewing, we didn’t watch all that much this month.

may 2013

by Nicole on June 11, 2013

Obviously, we’re blogging less and less lately (sorry, but Instagram is just too easy). So we thought it would be fun to start a monthly series that would recap the more interesting things we did that month. Only a few weeks late, here’s May 2013!

-Celebrated Darius’s 27th birthday with dinner at Sway, which is a newish Thai fusion place in Austin. Our favorites were the “son in law” and “tiger cry”.

-Finished up my first semester of University of Minnesota’s online accounting program with a 4.0. It was way harder than I anticipated.

-Went to Jester King Brewery for the second time, this time with Grace & Joey, Adam & Jenni. All the beers were really sour/fermented this time (in a good way, but still, could have used some variety).

-Watched lots of basketball. Darius rooted for the Spurs; I was torn between Spurs and Rockets. Rockets are out, but Spurs are in the finals.

-Took a weekend trip to Port Aransas with Adam & Jenni. Stayed a few blocks away from the beach in a cute little cabin that smelled like bleach when we first arrived. Snacks and margaritas on the beach for lunches and grilled outside our cabin for dinners. One night we went into town and had really bad ice cream sundaes. Also went to Beach & Station Street Grill, which was my favorite meal of the trip–lunch was cold beers, raw oysters, fried seafood, gumbo, and french bread.

-Went to brunch at Tacos & Tequila with Grace & Joey. The buffet was pretty good and the complimentary mimosas sure didn’t hurt.

-Took Lentil to the vet for an ear infection. Giving a wiggly kitty ear drops twice per day is quite the task.

-Went to Darius’s parents’ house in Winnie, TX for his dad’s retirement party. Ate good BBQ at the party and went in on a fancy pair of binoculars as a retirement gift. Oh, and there were many cupcakes eaten…chocolate-peanut butter and salted caramel! But for me, the highlight of the weekend was taking the boat out the day after the party, pulling up alongside some wild dewberry bushes, and picking huge bowls of the little gems. We ended up making ice cream with them.

-Drove home from Winnie to discover our house had been broken into and almost all of our electronics were stolen. Thankfully Lentil was hiding under our bed and didn’t run out the wide-open, shattered back door. The last week of May was a blur of getting the door repaired, installing a security system, making a renter’s insurance claim, and waiting for things to get back to normal. People always say they feel violated after something like this, and I honestly always thought, “But it’s just STUFF.” But really, you do feel so violated, and it has nothing to do with what was stolen. My mind was especially filled with worries about them returning and about what they did to Lentil.

-Bought some popsicle fabric to start a summer dress for myself with princess seams and darts and sleeves and zippers, my most ambitious sewing project to date. Started it, but then the robbers randomly stole the pieces of the bodice that I had completed. I’m still confused as to why someone would steal them. Definitely not too happy about it, since it took me six times to get those princess seams right!

-Watched the new season of Arrested Development. We looked forward to it so much, but we were pretty underwhelmed.

-Some favorite meals of the month:

Baked falafel wrapped in collard greens

Coconut & ginger soup with spring vegetables

Baked sweet potato with greens, black beans, fontina, and a fried egg

“Wet burritos” at Casa Ole