Tuesday, February 28, 2012

scones: take 2 & a personal best

I shared with you last week how much I love these skinny chocolate chip scones. Well, I made them again this evening and this time added a little twist. Craisins. I have a friend who calls them "gushers for adults." I can't eat very many of them plain, but they add the perfect touch to these scones. A little sweet. A little tangy. Perfect compliment to the chocolate. Anyway, to alter the recipe I cut the chocolate chips down to 1/2 cup and a little more than 1/4 cup craisins. I couldn't wait until morning to try them (plus they are sooo delicious hot out of the oven), so I can already tell you, you're going to want to make these.

Switching gears--I'm taking a class this semester called "tone and flex." It's all about using your body weight mixed in with some hand weights and body bars to tone and sculpt strong and lean muscles. I love it. I'm not someone who can just walk into a gym and get an excellent workout by myself. I feel like I don't really know what to do, how to do it properly, and how to get a dynamic workout. That's why I love taking classes, but after this class I've come away with some useful information that I can use on my own at my house or in a gym. That's what's great about doing a workout that doesn't require a ton of space or fancy machinery.
Our grades in the class depend on how well we preform in physical timed tests: push-ups, sit-ups, wall sits, stretching, etc. I hate push-ups. Even the girl kind. Or at least I used to. We did a test run the first day of class to see where we start so we can monitor how much improvement we are making throughout the semester. I got 15 girl push-ups in 2 minutes the first day. How embarrassing!! I have no upper body strength! I think that's something girls forget about. I don't want my arms to bulk up so I don't work them out...ever! Turns out it would be almost impossible for me to bulk up my arms naturally and there are so many awesome exercises to tone your arms. Push-ups especially! And, they not only work your arms and entire upper body, if you do them right, they are an excellent work out for your core! Yes or yes?
So, now for my PB :) today we did another test to see how much we've improved and I've moved up to 39. Take that, push-ups! I'm not scared of you anymore. In fact, I kinda like you now that we've gotten to know each other a little better. I also love the extra push that comes from working towards a goal. To get the top grade, girls have to do 55 push-ups in 2 minutes. Whew. Hmm...wow. That's a lot. Even for girl push-ups.
55, I'm coming for you.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

hair chalking

Meet my new bff, hair chalking.
The process is really easy and cheap and the outcome is excellent. There are a ton of youtube videos explaining the details, but I'll share some basics and tips for those looking to try it.
1. This hair color method comes with basically no commitment. For those of us who have dropped some major cash to permanently alter the color of our hair, it's perfect.
2. I'm a blonde (obviously), but I didn't get it from my momma. This blonde spawns from many hours in a swivel chair and half a roll of aluminum foil. My hair is also fairly long (ie, I have a split end or two, or 5,000). With that, I thought my hair might be more susceptible to retaining the color a bit longer. Wrong. The color washed out the first time I washed it (I shampooed a few times to make sure).
Ready to get started?? 
3. I used Faber-Castell brand soft pastels (not oil pastels). I bought a 24 pack at Michael's for about $16. There was a cheaper option but it didn't have very good colors. I washed my hair the night before (only because I don't wash it every day).
4. Start with dry hair and a squirt bottle, cup of water, or a really wet paper towel. Take a small section of hair and get it fairly/very wet.
5. Choose a color and apply it to the wet section of hair in a downward motion. The wetter your hair is, the easier it applies. I did a two tone with lighter blue on the top and dark purple on the bottom. When your hair dries, the color looks lighter, so when selecting your colors, go a shade darker than you want it to turn out.
You'll probably want an old towel or something to cover your clothes during these steps. Do as many or few as you want. I ended up doing quite a bit.
6. As your hair dries, it will begin to seperate. I used a thick comb to separate the strands once they were dry to almost dry. Some of the color comes off, but that's okay.
7. When you feel confident that your hair is completely dry, set the color with a curling iron. I used the magical Remington curling wand. The color itself acts as a fairly strong hairspray, but I used a bit just in case.
The heat makes it not rub off very easily. I slept in it that night and didn't get any blue on my white quilt. I also wore a white shirt all day the next day (how better to show off my new blue hair??) and it didn't rub off on my clothes at all.
So, indulge your inner Katy Perry for the day! I'm really a fan of the two toned, though it's a bit hard to differentiate with two colors that are so close. Hot pink with purple tips next. Yes or yes??

The 36th AVENUE

Thursday, February 23, 2012

graffiti with punctuation

Have you seen Contagion? If you have, you'll recognize that my title is about my blog in its entirety :) but it also happens to apply to the subject. Don't worry, I'm not some a super Contagion fan (it was good, intense, scary, a thinker, etc), we just watched it last night.
Anyway, I live  right across the street from a double train track. I can see it from my bedroom window. For a while I thought it was creepy, especially the open box cars, but over time I started to really like it--and really like train graffiti. A few days ago there was a particularly spectacular train full of old box cars sitting outside when I got home, so Rhett and I took a walk and I took pictures of my favorites.
**Disclaimer: Some of these are very hard to read, and all of them mean absolutely nothing to me personally. They are just images and not meant to represent anything else.
Rhett and I just finished the first season of Dexter, so I thought this was appropriate.
Of course I snapped a few pictures of my gorilla juice head in this art gallery of sorts.

In completely unrelated news, I made these skinny chocolate chip buttermilk scones yesterday and they are delicious. Not too sweet, so they are perfect for breakfast with a glass of milk or coffee. YUM
Speaking of coffee, my tassimo was included in the recall and I STILL haven't received the new part!! Is anyone else having this problem?? I continued to make coffee after I submitted it in the recall until is spewed hot water and coffee grounds all over me AGAIN last week. Pretty sure my eyes have looked like this lately...

So as not to leave you on such a negative note, here is my sweet one-year-old napping on the ottoman. (if you look closely, you can see he woke up right as I was taking the picture:)

...and this beautiful sunset over Texas :)

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

homemade sushi

For Valentines Day I got Rhett a sushi kit. Tonight we tried out hand. Rhett was the sushi chef and I was the sous chef (normal).
We used avacado, cream cheese, crab, raw salmon, spicy mayo, and teriyaki (the ones that look brownish have teriyaki sauce in the rice). It's easy, really yummy and relatively cheap.
We've spent a few hours of QT with our airstream this weekend mostly just poking around, taking pictures, and chatting about our plans. Hopefully we'll get the title tomorrow and can get it checked out by the mechanic.
We also went to a fightin' Texas Aggie baseball game during their opening series this weekend. The new stadium looks great and the weather finally cleared up today so it was nice to spend a couple of hours outside.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

we bought an airstream

Yesterday I took the day off and Rhett and I headed up to Ft. Worth to check out an 1978 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht. A few hours later we were towing it back to College Station!
I have been a closet airstream lover for a while, so I cannot wait to fix her up. There are so many possibilities. She needs to be basically gutted and rebuilt from the floor up. Rhett has a custom car place that does trailer work and they're going to do the body work, electrical, plumming, etc. Hopefully before too long we will get to start on cosmetics! We spent an hour or so today cleaning her out (the previous owners lived in it and then left it to sit in their driveway for a few years). 
**Use your future's eye when looking at the following pictures**
She is 31' long, so the living area in the front is very large. We are going to build a wrap around bench in the back and side. We'll also put in wood laminate floors.
The kitchen will be completely re-done. There isn't a cook top, fridge, or microwave, so we will add all of those, change the sink, counter and cabinets.
The bathroom is a nightmare, but the bedroom is an open canvas. The previous owner painted it navy blue. We'll keep everything light colors (white, gray, light blue) to open it up.
The exterior is in pretty good shape as far as leaks and rust goes. There has been some oxidation, but the owner of an rv storage place in town told us to go to a place nearby that does and acid wash and then we can apply a special clear coat.
We've got a lot of work to do! I contemplated not putting these pictures up, but it will just make it look THAT MUCH BETTER when we're done!!

If you're an airstream owner/lover I would love to hear your thoughts/experiences! There is quite a bit of work that must be done before we can start working on the interior, but I will keep yall updated! 


Happy Valentines Day to US! I can't wait to start our National Park tour. And take her down the west coast. Be still my heart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Banks!

Today is my sweet Banks' first birthday! It took him a few minutes to realize he could actually sit with a birthday hat on (similar to the Christmas sweater incident). Cats don't understand birthday hats, but he was a trooper while I snapped a few pictures this morning.
Before realizing his head wasn't weighed down :) And, yes, I decorated the table.

Two other exciting happenings today:
1. I get to see my beau after a whopping 20 days! You never know what holidays you get to spend with your oil field man, but we've been very lucky with days off this year! We'll be celebrating our Valentines Day tomorrow since he doesn't get back until late this evening.
2. I won a giveaway from The 36th Avenue blog! I'll soon be making my own number stenciled mugs!! Super excited.

Happy Valentines Day, loves! Have fun with your special someone :) I know I can't wait to see mine!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

never once

I heard Matt Redman's song Never Once for the first time a few weeks ago and it really resounded with me. I feel like there is a huge and daunting mountain in front of me as I try and finish my master's and look towards the life that the last 20 or so years have lead me to. It's such a relief to remind myself of this message--never once did I ever walk alone. The video below is the song with a slideshow of the words.
Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did you leave us on our own. You are faithful. God, You are faithful. 

I started actually writing my thesis today. Seems a little late, huh? It's strange how writing just a few pages makes this task feel doable. It's tough when you talk to people about your timeline and you can tell they're doubting you. They say things like "Keep me updated on schedule changes" and "You should know I'm not going to be around much of August" like they've already given up on me. Thankfully my excellent advisor is always positive and my family and friends are encouraging and supportive. Lately when I'm feeling down, I listen to Matt Redman's song and it gives me a boost. Prayer for discipline and perseverance is much appreciated! Also, Rhett is currently in searching for opportunities that bring him back to Houston, so please pray for open doors for him.

You guys are the best :)


Sunday, February 5, 2012

the fold over clutch obsession

Remember the fold over clutch from the photo challenge?? Well, I've since made many more (following this and this tutorial). I snatched up a few cute patterns and some hot pink linen at Hobby Lobby and made a small and large bag for a couple of my out-of-town friends.
I love the bold geometric pattern and the tan/hot pink/white/navy combo. I may or may not have made this exact one for myself :)
The houndstooth actually has a cute story behind it. My friend has an adorable dog, Bella, with a sassy alter-ego known as Stella. Her favorite jacket is houndstooth with gold buttons, so I made Bella Stella a matching clutch because diva's don't carry their own things. :)
I also made each one a smaller version of the opposite pattern.
These are so fun and easy to make (even for beginning sewers like myself!). I have several and I use them all the time. Don't be cautious about the zipper, either! Go for it! I didn't use a special foot or fancy technique. The tutorial tells you everything you need to know :)

The 36th Avenue
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