Monday, August 31, 2009

Calling All Vancouver Fans!!


As you know, I'll be spending a couple days in this gorgeous city and would LOVE some recommendations for places to eat, shop, and hang out! I really only have about 1 1/2 days to explore the city, and unfortunately, I need to spend some of that time working. So I'd love to know of any fun coffee shops (with free wifi!). I also love baked treats (think cupcakes), fun boutique shops and bookstores!!


Oh and um, the forecast for this week is RAIN, highs of 59-62 and lows of 52. After 2 straight months of 100 degree weather, I am in for a serious SHOCK. Leggings and TranquiliT hoodies, here I come!!!
P.S. FYI - just learned from my cousin that he lives in Fairview, very close 2 downtown.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Recap

This weekend, I...

- Built 2 more Billy Bookcases for my living room and now, for the first time, I have more space than books! You know what that means... MORE BOOKS!!



- Had the most amazing brunch at South Congress Cafe with dear L who was in town visiting: crab cakes "benedict", carrot cake french toast (basically just carrot cake), and white wine sangrias infused with delicious watermelon juice




- Got my first "cake shake" at The Holy Cacao (red velvet + vanilla ice cream = pinkish shake). Laura got a frozen hot chocolate (although it wasn't very frozen). Cake was gooooood, but a little too liquid-y for me. Must try another time!





This week is a short one for me as I leave for Vancouver on Thursday. BUT there are some exciting things happening on Hang On Little Tomato this week as well so stay tuned!! Getting pampered on Tuesday with a much-needed pedicure and cut & color. Yay!

Hope y'all had a wonderful, relaxing and divine weekend. :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apt Therapy



I've been bitten by the design bug once again, and I can't stop drooling over gorgeous interiors, particularly those with multitudes of whites. As such, I am (naturally) contemplating such painting in my petite abode. My apartment's gone through countless transformations over the past 20 months, and while I don't intend on doing a dramatic overhaul, I am eagerly looking forward to some fresh change.

Mostly? I want to declutter, simplify and downsize. Luckily I recently became the owner of a storage unit across the hall from my apartment (negotiated with my apt manager since, um, THEY RAISED MY RENT), and today after work, I'm going to pick up the key and start hauling crap over there. Eventually I hope to sell or donate the "crap" I'm "storing", but that all takes time, and for now, I want it out of my apartment.

As for painting, there is a loooong wall that spans the entire length of my apartment (entry/dining/living room) that has never been painted. The current color is grey-ish (my apt is "loft"-y), which doesn't bother me too much (since it ain't beige), but I want a crisp clean white. I love white walls and white furniture with POPS of color. I have oodles of color in my apartment already, so a long white wall would fare nicely. Do you have any recommendations as to a good white paint? I'm a fan of Benjamin Moore. I also want to paint my bed white, but you knew that already. ;-)




I recently stumbled across Jennifer Ramos's lovely house tour. I love her home because it's so real, but still personalized, design-worthy, and beautiful. I also love her prints and recently made her I Love You, Blogs and Coffee one mine. I framed it over the weekend and will post pics as soon as I get my new dining table (that is currently sold out at IKEA - grrr).



I particularly love her office and *SO* wish I could get rid of all my standard (and BROWN) office furniture. Yuck.



What's your design aesthetic when it comes to your home?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Congratulations!!

Major CONGRATULATIONS to the darling Nina of naturally Nina! She got engaged to her adorable/incredible/super sweet/handsome Simon this past weekend, and I couldn't be happier for them. :) How cute are they??



Friday, August 21, 2009

My Weekend


indian takeout and vegging out on the couch


phone date avec dear amie from college


IKEA (woot!)


seeing Julie & Julia (yes, again!) avec another dear amie at my fave Alamo Drafthouse


yoga & running


seeing Wicked avec my the adorable Momma Park (who STILL reads this blog)!

*Wishlist*

I'm so extreme. On the one hand, I'm uber excited about downsizing and decluttering (these thoughts literally kept me up until 4 a.m. last night/this morning). On the other, I find myself trolling various blogs and retail sites finding all kinds of goodies. So, um, for the sake of some Friday fun, voila my wishlist!

Fuji Instax Instant Camera



First read about it here, then found it here whilst perusing Urban last night. Swoon indeed! This darling, DARLING camera is like a petit polaroid. I want!! Now, I know I bought that pink Holga awhile back and have yet to develop any pics, but that's because I need to finish the roll. I started it on my bday at Barton Springs, but want to take it to some fun Austin hotspots before I finish. See? It's not going to waste...

Crate & Barrel Colette Bed


I am so over my Hemnes bed. Unfortunately it was a biatch to assemble, and I've only had it for about 2 years, sooo I won't be getting rid of it anytime soon. But when it does come time for me to buy a new bed, I'd love the Colette Bed. You might be thinking, "wow that's a bit tame for Carolyn's taste," and well, you'd be right. But this bed ain't cheap, and I'd want it to last forever. The classic shape + super fun nailhead trim would be tres chic for decades to come.

Note: I might paint my bed a fun glossy white comme ca. Oh Domino... I miss you.

Taschen's Travel Books
You've probably spotted these babies at Anthropologie. Everytime I see them, I die a little. (Drama queen, much?) Because they ain't cheap (around $50 a pop), and I want all 3!

Paris & London Maps





And speaking of my fave European cities, I've been eyeing these darling Paris & London maps since they hit the world wide web. But again, I want both, and at $50 a pop plus shipping, they're just not in my budget right now. Le sad I am.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Journal + Crafts

As a child I began journal after journal (normally of the Sanrio variety avec adorable locks and keys and maybe 6 lines per page), but usually abandoned them after a couple of days. My intentions were sincere, but well, as a kid I preferred riding my bike and playing with barbies.

I didn't take another serious stab at journaling until my 2nd year of law school. It was the Spring of 2007, and I just had recently returned to school after a semester of withdrawal. I thought, what better time than now, as a recovering depression-holic to start a journal? Looking back I'm pretty unimpressed with my first choice - a boring black spiral-bound one from Barnes & Noble that had a tree and quote on the cover. Since then my journals have gotten prettier, and I've amassed quite an interesting collection. There have been ebbs and flows, naturally, but I've been an avid and consistent journaler since that Spring. I'm hooked.

Recently I've taken my journal in new and (exciting to moi) directions. I've started collaging, painting un peu, and even doodling in them (je suis a terrible artist). Today I stumbled across this journal on etsy and kicked myself for having missed out on the chance to purchase it for myself.



But as I looked at it, I realized hey, this is something I could sort of attempt to make my own. I mean, I'm a smart gal. And avec the magic that is the google search engine, I could make a pretty fun and fab and customized journal! Then a fellow Tweeter tweeted about this fab etsy shop and got even MORE ideas! I mean check out this fun French Market Vintage Journal kit -

Isn't it sooo fun? I adore all her petit embellishments, and I think I might indulge in some. :)

Anyhoo, have you guys ever tried something like this? How hard is it to, um, punch holes in bookcovers?? And what other fun (and EASY) bookbinding techniques are there? I know there are some that involve sewing, and I gotta say, that's not my cup of tea (yet). I'd love any ideas/suggestions you have, my darlings!!

Oh and speaking of gorgeous things, how much do you adore PaPaYa Art? I LOVE all their stuff!!! And they have a gorgeous workspace and warehouse which you can see here at decor8. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's Cookin'?

In the spirit of cooking and delicious food and all things Julia Child (I'm currently reading My Life In France and seeing Julie & Julia again this weekend!), here's a glimpse into what I plan on making in the next couple of weeks...

This AMAZING corn soup & roasted corn guacamole recipe from Bunny Bites. I love love LOVE corn, and it's been my favorite food for as long as I can remember. (Weird, huh?) I've never made any sort of corn soup or chowder before, but this looks easy enough. Yum!



Right up there in my "favorites" category is goat cheese. Oh how I adore le chevre, and for moi, the strongier/tangier, the better! When I stumbled upon this gorgeous tomato & goat cheese tart on one of my fave food blogs, fresh365, I knew I had to add it to my repertoire.


And finally, I find myself strangely fascinated with red lentils lately. I've never cooked with lentils of any variety before, but I've been hearing an awful lot of good things about them. And since I'm no longer eating meat, I need some good sources of protein. A simple google search pulled up this yummy-looking & seemingly easy recipe for red lentil curry. The uber fabulous City Girl also shared avec moi 2 of her favorite red lentil recipes (Curried Lentils with Sweet potatoes and Swiss Chard and Masoor Dal) both of which sound delectable.


Have you cooked with lentils before? Do you know where I can find curry paste??

Are you hungry yet?

Monday, August 17, 2009

City Dreams

UPDATE: I added one more - I can't believe I forgot it! ;-)

I *love* Austin, I really do. It truly is the gem of Texas with its rolling hills, amazing local community, relatively cheap real estate, and fun music festivals. But having been here for 8 years and in the South pretty much my entire life, I often dream of moving to one of these cities...











And you know, perhaps someday I will. ;-)

Et vous? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Oh and speaking of Austin, check out NY Magazine's travel story on my beloved city. Look and sound familiar?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Late Night Musings


Is it really already Sunday night? I guess I can't complain too much seeing as how my weekend was delightfully chill and sans any set-in-stone plans (aside from my Spa time, but that doesn't count!). It's amazing how much I crave open space in my planner. I used to be such a social butterfly, and yes, I often love looking into my planner pad and seeing oodles of appointments/lunch dates/evenings out. But as soon as I start to feel overwhelmed (and yes, I've been feeling un peu overwhelmed these days), I want nothing more than to cancel everything and hole myself up in my petit pink paradise. Why is that?

Also, I'm having a tres difficult time balancing work-play now that work has gotten busy. :( I've made the executive decision to forego both book clubs this month, seeing as how they both meet this week, and I'm nowhere near finishing either book. On top of that, I have oodles of work to do in the evenings, and I really don't want to neglect yoga + running as both make me feel *so* good in my body. So, au revoir book clubs for now. Perhaps I can rejoin next month.

The good news is that I still made time today to have breakfast at my fave coffeeshop (banana filled pancakes, bfast taco & iced coffee), take a 2 hour nap, spend time avec my planner pad, create a weekly menu, go grocery shopping, whip up another homemade spinach/goat cheese/tomato pizza, work for a few hours AND fit in my C25K run. Wow, this weekend I went to a (killer) yoga class, got a deep tissue massage and ran?? I wish all weekends could be that way!

But now it's Sunday night, and oh my, this week is going to be jam packed. Fingers crossed for sanity! Oh and before I forget, voila my weekly menu (only suppers):

Monday - leftover pizza
Tuesday - asparagus & leek risotto (yum! haven't made risotto in ages and i looove it)
Wednesday - korean ramen & my mom's delish kimchi
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Clay Pit takeout (been craving Indian food, and I've decided that Friday nights are my stay-in personal nights)
Saturday - dinner out avec bonne amie
Sunday - dinner w/ Momma Park b/c she's coming for WICKED! yayyyy

Okay i should really go 2 bed since it's wayyy past my 11 p.m. bedtime. ;-)

P.S. CONGRATS to Melita who won 2 tickets to The Cove! Melita - email me, and we can figure out the details. ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

THE COVE


Wow. Has this been the summer of animal cruelty or what? First there was Food, Inc. (which was not in itself violent but led to me watching the preview of Earthlings which was, well, scarring), and then last night I went with my dear Matty to see The Cove, the preview of which I first saw before Food, Inc.

Truth be told, when I saw the preview, I wasn't entirely sure what the premise was. I knew there was some controversy about dolphins and Japan, but I didn't know any specifics. After doing a little research, I discovered that the town of Taiji, Japan harbors a deep and very, VERY dark secret. Because the fishermen in Taiji engage in the massive slaughtering of thousands upon thousands of dolphins every single year, and no one seems to know anything about it. No, not even the Japanese.

Apparently this all began with the creation of Flipper. Once people discovered how much money they could make training dolphins for show, it was all over. Most of the dolphins you see at Sea World or aquariums, held in captivity, are from Taiji. Basically the fishermen use sound techniques to scare the dolphins into this area along the coast of Taiji. They then close off the area and dolphin trainers come and choose the ones to buy/sell (aka the Flipper look-alikes). As for the rest of them, they are herded into a small hidden cove where they are, I kid you not, slaughtered in one big giant pool of red. It's horrifying and unbelievable. I didn't actually think they'd get live footage of the slaughter, but they did. And oh my god, oh my god, I couldn't believe my eyes.

Because here's the thing - we Americans do the same. We slaughter all kinds of animals in inhumane, awful ways. But our excuse has always typically been food. Cows, pigs... this is their fate. But dolphins? Dolphins are the sea equivalent of dogs, everybody loves 'em! They "smile" and do fun tricks and protect you from sharks and all that good stuff. Right? So HOW on earth could Americans stand for this massacre of dolphins that occurs every year in September in this small coast town of Taiji?? Because they don't know, well, they didn't know, that is until this film.

Things I learned from The Cove that I didn't previously know:

- The dolphins being held in captivity at aquariums/Sea World/etc. are fed all kinds of medication (sound familiar?) to treat/prevent ulcers. Why? Because to the massive amounts of stress these dolphins feel (due to their captivity), they develop ulcers. More often than not, these dolphins die from the stress. Can you imagine dying from stress??

- Dolphins are self-aware creatures. Just. like. us.

- The dolphin that played the first Flipper essentially committed suicide. Because she was depressed and stressed.

- Japanese people do not consider eating dolphin meat to be normal and/or okay. Plus? The toxicity in dolphins is unbelievably high so eating it is extremely dangerous.

- If the fish trade continues at the current rate, in 40 years, there will be no fish left.

- Money really is the root of most evil.

- Dolphins are not smiling.



I urge you and everyone else to go see The Cove. It's *SO* well done, really plays out like a suspenseful Bourne Identity-esque thriller, but it's 100% authentic. Is it difficult to watch? Sure. There are some very sad and painful scenes. But believe me, you've seen worse on the movie screen so you can deal with this one. The point is, the film is chock full of truth. And it sends a message that unless we do something, this will continue happening. The world organizations aimed at preventing these kinds of horrors aren't doing a damn thing. It's totally up to us.

I have never been an animal activist, but films like this are quickly changing that. The veil has been lifted, just as it was in Food, Inc., and I'm so shaken up that I'm not sure what to do. I'm struggling to understand my feelings, process this information, and figure out just what I can do to make a difference. Please go see The Cove. I've said it before and I'll say it until I'm blue in the face, ignorance is not bliss.

I've decided to do another giveaway, and this time I'm giving away 2 tickets to The Cove. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, and I'll randomly select a winner on Sunday evening. Good luck.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Table for 1


Hello and welcome to my difficult blog post.

I'm pretty open and honest on this blog and probably write a lot of things I don't want my family/friends/employer/random strangers to read. But my blog doesn't have a theme or a niche, my blog is all about moi. So for me, honesty and a little intimacy is key.

That being said, there are a couple of topics that I have avoided for the most part, and this post is about one of them - being *gasp* single.
I have technically been single for almost 4 years now, but truly, I've only really been single for about 2, and that's because I spent the first 2 of those years obsessing/crushing/dating/whatever-ing with one boy or another (all inevitably ending in heartbreak or admitting and finally recognizing that "HE'S GAY"). I was really good at crushing, always have been (with girls too - love me some girl crushes!), and since it's been so long since I've had a crush, an object of my affection and attention and obsession, it's been... weird. Disconcerting.

And for some reason, in the past year, I've started feeling "pressure" from friends and family (and yes, perfect strangers) to find "the one." Or, at least, someone to date. One friend told me, "I think you've just been single for long enough. It's time to put yourself out there!" My mom and dad drops hints (okay they're not really hints, more like boulders) every time I see them. Even Ma Soeur makes comments like, "NO Carolyn, you are not allowed to get another dog until you have a boyfriend!" Okay... To say that I'm less than pleased with these comments is an understatement. But until very recently, I hadn't truly figured out how I feel about being single, and so my responses have been limited to, "But... there's no one out there" and "Boys are ugly" and "I'm TRYING!" (Fact: The last is so not true. I haven't been trying at all.)

Last week I went to an event with Christine Arylo, the author of Choosing Me Before We, who was recently featured in a podcast avec the lovely Kimberly Wilson. I went to this event unfamiliar with Christine's book and figured it was all about finding yourself, loving yourself, respecting yourself, etc. Well, it is. BUT. It's a lot about doing all those things in order to be in a healthy relationship. And that, my friends, is the problem.

I don't want a relationship.

Did I just say that out loud?

I like being single.

How many times have you heard someone say that and knowing it not to be true? It's why I find it so difficult to say. I'm afraid I'll get the, "Oh... well good for you! Ahem... yeah." Because people assume that every woman is happier in a relationship than not in a relationship. And I assumed so as well! Everytime I read a blog about an adoring boyfriend (like Nina's Simon, I mean, how adorable is he??) or heard about someone's engagement, I thought I had to be depressed about it. Oh woe is me, the single one, sans boyfriend/partner/lover. But it was only when I was smacked in the face with reminders that I'm single that I got depressed about it. The rest of the time, I have been happily and obliviously living my single life with, well, joie de vivre and completely sans boyfriend. I may think my life lacks, but I rarely think it lacks because I don't have a man.

And all this, all this truth and realization, hit me during that event with Christine Arylo. Because I was in a room with women who were so obviously not okay with being single. And it made me sad for them, but very very happy for moi. Because I was okay. I AM okay. Not just okay, I'm FABULOUS! My life is wonderful right now. Sure it has its ups and downs, but I wake up every morning a little happier. That's the truth. And I just have this gut feeling that 26 is going to be an INCREDIBLE year, my best yet! How exciting is that? And how GREAT is it that my happiness is a result of moi and only moi? This has never happened to me before.

Because? Confession: I used to be a serial monogamist. Here's a summary of my relationship history: high school sweetheart, other boyfriend, then high school sweetheart again, with no less than weeks in between. At different points in time, I thought I was going to marry both of them. (I also broke both of their hearts and have been convinced that bad relationship karma was headed my way). But my point is, I was the girl who was always in a serious relationship. And no, I wasn't blissfully happy all the time, but I never had to deal with wearing the "single" label. And let me tell ya, it's a tough label to wear, especially in this society, and especially in the south. Being 25 and single in Texas is the equivalent of being 40 and single everywhere else. (Yet another reason I need to leave...)

So, this is me. And friends and family, if you're reading this (and i know some of you are...), please stop. Because I am happy. And I know you love me and want me to find my future husband and all that (and yes, I do too, just not right now), but you don't have to worry about me. I am just fine on my own. I'm discovering myself in all kinds of new and shiny ways, and I am loving each and every second of it. It's divine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bonjour, 26!

Bonjour, my lovelies! Oh you've all been so divine with your birthday wishes, and I sincerely thank you. You totally made my day (and week!). I've been so blessed with love this birthday, and so unexpectedly, that I've spent the majority of the last few days with a huge smile on my face. It's so funny to think that one month ago, I was dreading my 26th birthday and wanting it to pass quietly. (That's so not moi... i should've known better!) Anyhoo, I'm so behind on thank you notes, thank you tweets, thank you emails, and thank you facebook messages and hope to catch up at some point this weekend. Not to mention catching up on blogs and blogging!

Yesterday I began my 26th bday with a fun and challenging yoga class. I don't know what it was about yesterday, but I was fearless! I kicked up into handstand for the first time ever without assistance (and actually hung out there for a few seconds!), *finally* felt what it was like to balance in headstand, did backbend push-ups (had no idea I had the strength), and even attempted some scorpion-esque poses (all near the safety of a wall, of course!). It was intense and fun and felt SO good.

Afterwards, mon amie C & I went home to pack for Barton Springs, picked up some yummies from Central Market, and then hit the Springs. It was UNBEARABLY hot with little to no breeze, but luckily the water in the Springs is freakishly cold so we spent 3 hours alternating between laying out and jumping into the freezing pool. Next time I am bringing a float! Voila a glimpse into Austin's beloved Barton Springs -



Divine, isn't it? I can't wait to go back avec float and more H2O!

After the Springs, we got sushi at a fun new sushi restaurant mere steps from my apartment, had some wine and oodles of laughs. Topped off the day with delicious peanut butter froyo. Mmmmm delish. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday.

Of course now, I'm exhausted and soooooo did not want to wake up and get dressed for work this morning. Luckily I woke up to this sweet face, which somehow put me in a better mood:



Don't her legs look freakishly long? That's because they are! Oh how I love my little (giant) Lola bear!!

How are you darlings?? I'm missing you masses!! Tell me what's been going on!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Too Much?



I don't know how you people with multiple kids or multiple jobs (or both!) manage! Le sigh. I was working on my planner pad tonight (one of my SWIM goals) and began realizing the daunting weeks (months?) I have ahead. There's too many to-do's, appointments, obligations, and even "fun" events that are starting to feel like a burden. I also have some difficult decisions to make and emails to write, which is never pleasant. On top of that, work is FINALLY busy so every spare moment I have will be spent attempting to catch up on hours. *Yawn* I'm exhausted, and my week hasn't even begun.

Oh and did I mention I'm turning 26 on Tuesday? Remember, embrace embrace embrace.

E-book Review: Discovering Your Right Livelihood


I had the immense pleasure of being offered a chance to check out this fabulous e-book from the amazing and inspiring Ana of Creatuitive Coaching. As someone who is on a (seemingly) constant quest to carve my authentic path, I was more than delighted to indulge in this interactive workbook. As I'm sure many of you know, there are oodles of books on the market aimed at this sort of self-discovery. The thing I love the most about Discovering Your Right Livelihood, and what I think makes it so valuable, is that it is an affordable and eco-friendly 14-page e-book that you can (and will) actually complete. How many times have you started a self-help book, with the highest of intentions, only to find it 8 months later, covered in dust and under your bed? Exactly. Another wonderful about Discovering is that because it is an e-book, you can complete it time and time again. The exercises inside it are as appropriate for the first timer who decides it's time to discover her passions as well as for the well-seasoned regular who engages in self-exploration on a full-time basis. I highly recommend it!

Also, right now Ana is offering a special reduced price 60-minute coaching session via phone with the purchase of her e-book. Find out more about it here.

Merci beaucoup, Ana, for this delicious gem!!

 
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