From Random Thoughts



This weekend we attended our very first ACL Festival. After over ten years of living in Austin, we finally went – but only because a friend gave us free VIP passes for the Friday shows. :) We had a great time wandering around, hanging out in the VIP Grove, snacking on foodstuffs, and listening to awesome music. It’s hard to decide on my favorite – Vampire Weekend was incredible live, but my favorite memory was at the end of the evening, when we decided to head home, and were caught up by an amazing show by Kaskade, along with a rainstorm that left all of us dancing, drenched, and happy. It was something I’ll never forget.

We also got to see The Book of Mormon at Bass Concert Hall, which was hilariously irreverent, with amazing performances and themes that were thought-provoking. Overall, it was a fantastic weekend.

In other news, I watched Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, which I had been meaning to watch since the Austin Film Festival back in 2010, and only got to tonight. It’s hilarious, and it’s a lovely ode the the horror cabin-in-the-woods genre. Definitely worth watching (especially if you’re a huge fan of Alan Tudyk.)

Here in Austin we’ve had lots of rain, and cloudy days, and a bit of fall-like weather, though we’re still a ways out from boots-and-sweater time. At least I can wear jeans without sweltering.

Oh! And I’ve fallen in love with Trader Joe’s, as probably everyone assumed I would do. It’s like a Whole Foods or a Central Market, but less expensive, and with more awesome convenience ingredients. I can buy pre-chopped organic Tuscan kale, peeled and diced fresh butternut squash, autumn-spice tea and speculoos cookies, miso-ginger broth and inexpensive organic, cage-free eggs. AND they have cheap bubbles, which we have renamed chubbles. And best of all, it’s just a few minutes from our house, so I can hop on over any time.

Other recent things:

  • I read The Name of the Wind, the first in a trilogy of long but amazing fantasy novels about a badass named Kvothe. Book two is waiting for me at the library, and I plan to start reading it tomorrow.
  • I’ve started reading The Tender Bar after a strong recommendation from a man named Peter who we met at the bar at Jeffrey’s one evening. This is why I love dining/drinking at the bar – there is so much potential to meet and talk with amazing people. And find new books to read.
  • I’m slowly working my way through the first season of House of Cards. I love it, even though it is so much darker and skeevier than The West Wing. Somehow I am rooting for the bad guy, and I feel okay about it.
  • I bought Nigel Slater’s newest book, and I’m slowly devouring it as I did The Kitchen Diaries, and Ripe, and Tender. God I love Nigel Slater.
  • I got a new fall haircut, with bangs! I’m super excited about it, because it’s exactly what I wanted, it’s easy to style, and it feels fantastic. I’ll try to post a photo soon.

I hope you all have a fabulous Columbus Week! ;)

The words that inspire me


Some of these are printed and posted on my inspiration board. Some are just written in my little pink journal that fits in my purse.

Once he saw her shaking a walnut tree, once he saw her sitting on the lawn knitting a blue sweater, three or four times he found a bouquet of late flowers on his porch, or a handful of chestnuts in a little sack, or some autumn leaves neatly pinned to a sheet of white paper and thumbtacked to his door.

–– from Fahrenheit 451

You are not in charge of the universe. You are in charge of yourself.

––A. Bennett, or some tumblr somewhere

I love all wastes and solitary places.

–– from Honey From a Weed

At the end of the day, it’s just food, isn’t it? Just food.

–– Marco Pierre White, via Bon Appetit

Love is infinitely more durable than hate.

–– Ernest Hemingway

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.

–– Ernest Hemingway

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

–– George Eliot

And most importantly…

I can’t think of any better way to spend money than on champagne.

–– Ernest Hemingway

And yes, I adore Papa Hemingway.


I cut my hair – it’s slowly growing into an even length! I also went for a chocolatey-red color. The receptionist at Vain said it was “cherry Coke.” Which reminds me of a lovely moment in Steel Magnolias, when Sammy makes Annelle the “best cherry Coke in the history of the world.”

I’ve also started walking more. I walk to the coffee shop before work to get an iced coffee, and today I walked on the treadmill at the YMCA while watching an episode of Castle. I had a physical this week, and I am not happy with the number on the scale or the numbers on my lab tests. Nothing is actually technically high, but it’s all too close for my comfort. So! Walking it is!

The other night I helped my friend David at an event. I bartended with my friend Joe – it was a really fun and really tiring night! Joe was sad because he got a $1 tip, and I got fives and twenties. Being a woman has its benefits. Though at the end of the night, I had no idea where the tip money went. Hopefully it was donated to the event’s charity.

Sometimes I get obsessed with things. Especially things I don’t understand.

  1. I read an article somewhere about the popularity of plastic surgery in Korea. I found this site, which shows before and after images, and I can’t stop looking at it. It fascinates me that plastic surgery is such a no-big-deal option, that so many young people feel that it’s necessary for success, and that the trends are always forehead implants, jaw trimming, nose jobs, and double eyelid surgery.
  2. Then I read this article about how some kids in Korea study seven nights a week to become K-pop stars. This is apparently a viable, reasonable job option for these families. So then I looked into some K-pop groups. I can now say I’m a fan of Big Bang and Girls’ Generation. Their videos are so crazy to me – so many group members, such a fun mix of Korean and English, and fantastic fashion.
  3. Japanese street style. OBSESSED.

Two colorful tasks I had at work recently – arranging flowers for an event and picking up smoothies for the chefs for lunch.

Two books I’ve read and loved recently – The Picture of Dorian Gray and Eleanor & Park.

I adored Oscar Wilde’s writing, and Dorian Gray is just so creepy and awesome. I immediately rented the BBC version from Netflix, and I wasn’t disappointed. Heebie jeebies.

I fell in love with Rainbow Rowell’s writing in Attachments, and so I was excited to read Eleanor & Park, which was equally lovely. I cried. And laughed. And I love Park.

We had dinner at Rachel & Logan’s last night, and Logan made a feast. There was paté and pickles, melon and prosciutto, steak and spinach, panzanella, and an awesome peach galette. It’s pretty awesome having chef friends.

I thought this was pretty good reading. Have a great weekend!

In my head

Lately my head has been super-full. Ironically, it’s full of things like, “I should meditate to clear my mind. I should practice yoga. I should eat well and exercise and be a better person and yada yada.”

Do you ever have these thoughts, throughout the day? And late at night when all you want to do is fall asleep? They keep me awake, all these shoulds. I should be the perfect wife/daughter/employee/friend. I should eat healthy foods and exercise and do creative things. I should take walks and take photos and write letters and read more books and save the world.

Food is a biggie for me. Blame it on my nutrition degree. Blame it on my fear of diabetes and heart disease and colon cancer and breast cancer. Blame it on Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan and Walter Willet. Blame it on me. But every day, the first thing I think about is what I’m going to eat that day. Every little choice becomes a big one – I have a bad habit of thinking in extremes, in long term, and not living in the moment. I absorb so much food stress – and right now it seems like the whole world is talking about food.

One day last year, I saw a woman walking down the street, eating an ice cream bar. She looked so calm and happy, just enjoying the sun and the ice cream and life. And I felt so sad – when is the last time I allowed myself to enjoy an ice cream bar? A good old-fashioned, Nestle Crunch ice cream bar? When I think about it, my mind is filled with words: Processed. Fake. Fatty. Too sweet. Not local. Not organic. Not cool.

I want to quiet that voice. I want to eat whatever the hell I want to eat, and not worry about what the food police would say (who are these food police, anyway?). I want to eat hot dogs with bright green relish without an ounce of guilt.

I often feel angry about it all. I am not overweight. I am not unhealthy. My diet is probably better than most Americans. But I beat myself up about every food decision, and I can never meet these crazy goals of mine because I don’t even know what they are. One day it’s organic, another day it’s local. Vegan, omnivore, 9 fruits and veggies a day, no processed foods, home-cooked, at local restaurants, natural, no preservatives, hormone-free.

I am tired, internets. I am tired of all the voices telling me what I should eat every day. I want to eat my food without apologies, without wishing it were more photogenic and bloggable, without cringing at the lack of greens and hemp and chia seeds. I just want to eat. Why is that so hard?

And so I’ve decided to turn down the anxiety dial on food. (Because I also worry about work and money and friends and family and world peace. If you need someone to worry for you, I can do it! I excel at worrying.) It has been AMAZING. Yesterday morning Justin made sausage and potato tacos, and I ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And then I had bubbly and a Hershey bar. Today I’m enjoying a mocha from Starbucks. And you know what? I feel fine.

I saw this today on SwissMiss, and it feels just perfect for this moment. Just dance, just live, just have a great weekend.