Thursday, April 12, 2012

Visit my photography blog

I kinda keep up with that one a little better :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I left my heart in Austin

My first Austin experience... and let's just say I may have found my next home.  Some very dear friends from California came to visit.  Life is so much sweeter with friends that you've known for ages... and they still happen like you.  Now, like others have said, Austin is a lot like San Diego... with a Texas flair (and heat).

We stayed at the Driskill.  Highly recommend.  In the heart of downtown- walking distance to all sorts of fun and kept in vintage flair.

After a dip in the Barton Springs (also another rec, although beware... it is a top optional kind of place if you get what I mean)
We had to have BBQ!  Enter Salt Lick.  Heart {and stomach} be still.  

What a cool place with phenomenal food.
But more special was the company.
6th Street was so much fun.  Piano bar... dancing... bikers... whatever your heart desired, it was there.

What a great weekend.  I might be saving now for a move- their prices are also similar to San Diego's. =)  Keep Austin Weird.  That's why I belong.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pool fun... and a lesson in tact.

Our best friends, the Tates, came down for a visit.  We're still trying to convince these Okies that Texas is the place to be. Ain't that right?!

We enjoyed play time, pool time... tried to enjoy in-n-out (we're originally californians) but that wait was ri-di-cu-lous! No food is worth waiting TWO hours for.  hmmm... I may take that back.  Mom's food is ALWAYS worth waiting for. Rewind: no "fast" food is worth waiting 2 hrs for.

Well anyway, they are the NICEST people you could ever meet.  Kind, considerate... 

So my hubby and I thought it would be good to make a quick trip to our neighborhood pool.

and we brought our adorable doggies. Well... someone didn't think they were all that cute.  A mother decided it was a good idea (instead of talking to me nicely/calmly... maturely) to immediately start yelling at me and cussing about bringing the dogs.  So, lesson #1: if you don't wanna see nice people in your face, do NOT cuss in front of their children.  I am embarrassed for you, and your family quickly moving to the other end of the pool.  Lesson #2: clearly we are neighbors since you need a key to get in.  You just made it totally awkward.

Moral of the story: Had you just talked reasonably, I would have understood your concerns and immediately left with no hard feelings.  Why are so many people inept at confrontation? Common sense?  All I can say is that you will not be getting any of my baked goods or homemade jams.  Sad.  That's the mature me, because I seriously contemplated leaving turds on your doorstep.  Now that wouldn't help you to try to love dogs... or your neighbors, would it? I'd be doing the same thing...

Besides, looking back, how on earth could you be rude and mean with this lil face staring at you?  Okay, maybe I will give you goodies... can't we all just get along?

the end.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes & Elizabeth's Strawberry Filling

CUPCAKES!!! My adorable hubby went to the cooking store all by himself and bought me these adorable liners.  He's so sweet I decided to bake him some sweets.  You always have to start with cute. It's more motivating... and less calories. Definitely less calories.

Now, I typically look for recipes that 1.) have ingredients that I'm craving (ie vanilla bean in this case) and 2.) with most, if not all, of the ingredients I already have on hand. Keep it simple. The less trips to the grocery store the better.

This is what I found (thank you, bustybaker, for sharing! I'll be using this as a base often):

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Original Post:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tin with liners; set aside.
2. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds to combine; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. (Or pulse a few times with mixer to combine.) Add butter, mixing on low until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (It’ll look a bit like the start of pastry dough.)
4. Add half of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until dough is moist and thick (a bit like cookie dough). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add remaining milk mixture and beat until combined. (Mixture should look more like batter now.)
5. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling with 2 tablespoons of batter each. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

I also happened to find this AMAZING baking store. Dangerous.  Elizabeth's Cakes in Euless, TX... they have THE BEST filling {among other baking delights} and each huge sleeve is only $5. Get Some.  It's not only great for baking... but in yogurt, used as jam for spreads/cheeses etc etc.   Check them out:

So I squirted a bit into the cupcakes. And maybe a little for myself.  A little for the cupcakes. A little for myself. You get the idea. YUM.
I tried a strawberry buttercream frosting (I'm the type of person that always scrapes it off- I'm very picky).  This recipe was from someone else (who will remain nameless, which is why I didn't include the recipe) because I was not impressed.  If you have a recipe you adore for frosting- send it my way!!
Delicious! Thank you bustybaker.  They were devoured instantaneously.  
Adapted from Baked by Rachel  And Brought to you by The Busty Baker (
Makes 12 cupcakes

Happy Decoration Day! Belated...

Not that decoration... I've been lagging on my posts, I apologize.  Memorial Day! It's not about the start of summer... not bbqs, a 3-day weekend... but a time to reflect and appreciate the sacrifices our military makes for us.  THANK YOU!  My heart goes out to those serving, have served, and to the families that make those sacrifices as well.
Your dedication is appreciated.
Thank you, Toady, for serving and for making us proud.  Not that Memorial Day is for you... you have a long life ahead of you (besides, Mom already made baby blankets for the babies you don't have with a wife you have yet to find). ;)  Just thought I'd take a moment to let you know I always think about you.  I boast with pride and love.  You are my hero!

Love you, Airman. Stay safe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My First Tornado Storm

Who says summer school isn't exciting?  In the middle of class... we get interrupted to head down to the library for the impending storm.  If that wasn't already scary, my husband sends me this text picture (which is near our house):

Gee, that makes me feel so much better, honey.  We are exchanging texts... and it looks like all will be good. The two tornados forming near Blue Mound/Saginaw/Ft. Worth have gone and never touched.

I decide it would be okay to head home.  Well, probably not the smartest of ideas.  I grew up in Cali! Earthquakes are so much easier to deal with (much more south than Northridge).  Anyway, hail starts... and I'm getting phone calls from classmates that another tornado is expected to head downtown (Ft. Worth, where the school is located) and that I need to head back to the library.  I made the decision to continue to drive and pray like crazy that it will be okay.  So I'm a little more dramatic- I call my husband freaking out. He's such a good man.

I get home safely and am just in awe of the lightening.  Everything else was calm.  No rain, no hail... no noise. Just bursts of lightning like it was a movie screen.  What a magnificent thing, nature.  Makes you realize how small you are, and how much He is in control.  It was an inspiring moment for me.

Well, after I kiss my hubby hello... I grab my camera and head to the backyard.  I am SO thrilled I did.

That was right above our house.  Isn't it beautiful? Maybe it means more to me because I know how difficult it is to capture lightning (I know because I've been trying... without results).

Settings for you camera geeks:  tripod necessary- although I hand-held the exposure (no remote)
125 ISO
Canon 7d, 24-70 2.8L Lens (set to infinity)
aperture 4.0
shutter: 3''
set dial to "B"


Help Joplin

How to Help Tornado Victims in Joplin

  • The Joplin United Way is a great place to start. 100% of donations will go directly to Joplin United Way, with ZERO overhead. Follow this link to donate via PayPal, call 573-443-4523 or text “Joplin” to 864833.
  • The Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery Facebook page is dedicated to aid efforts and contains the latest, up-to-date information on news and how to help.
We will continue to pray.
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