Sunday, July 31, 2011


My brother starts his hardship tomorrow ... I know he will be ok. It's for his own good that he goes through whatever he needs to go through. I am praying. I know brother # 2 just came off a 7 month hardship and he told me last week it was the hardship that showed him what he needed to do and now he is doing it. He has never sounded so healthy.

In the meantime, it seems like this would be the perfect little "mind" getaway:

Probably not exactly practical, but it seems ... relaxing and awesome and totally attainable all at once.

Here is to a mind vacation!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Borders Bargains


I am so sorry I've been missing ... I got SICK SICK SICK.

Wednesday morning I woke up and felt really bad - made it through half a day of work, waved the white flag and went home. The next day I woke up with screaming pain in my ears and throat -- I could not stop coughing and sneezing. One nostril was stuffed up and one was running. On Friday I went in - and worked another half day ... and finally went to the doc. Viral infection. Could have turned into upper resp if I had kept at it but I've got some meds to just ease my pain ... today I've been in bed or on the couch all day. Conrad won't even let me fold a dishtowel. I'm on an "island" (the couch) and I can not get off!

Anyway, on the way home Friday -- I passed a Borders store. We have none where I live, this was the only one and I figured what the hay and I went on in. As you know, they are closing all stores should be a done deal by September or so. I went in looking for Christmas bargains but it turns out that's not to easy. First of all, most things are only 20% off right now. I'd rather catch some deals at 40% off or better ... and second of all, if I buy a novel or something to give away at Christmas, chances are people will already have read it by then ... so it was not such a great idea after all. Maybe only on things like cookbooks, games, kids books, coffee table books.

I did swing by the cookbook section. I have told myself from now on just ask for them as gifts, but I wondered if there may be a deal and there WAS!

As a person, I don't care much for Sandra Lee. She is her own biggest fan - she doesn't need us. On her shows, she raves about herself and her endless talent. I used to watch Semi-Homemade just to see what her kitchen was decorated like and how her outfits matched. Conrad and I would bet on it before we watched, based on the description of her show that day ... for seafood, sometimes her kitchen would be blue/white with sailboats on the curtains and she'd be in a striped naval shirt. Or the description would say she was doing easy home take-out --her kitchen would be red and black and she'd been in like an asian kimono ... one time her kitchen was like ... taken over by crayons for a kids birthday party theme and she was wearing rainbows all over her shirt.  

She is RIDICULOUS. She may even be CRAZY ... she made her fortune on QVC in the 80's with those plastic things you hung above your windows and pulled fabric through to make those PUFFY curtains. YES. But, she's a fairly good cook.

I have her Money Saving Meals cookbook and I like it. I like her giant pictures and the way the books are set up. As a cookbook goes, they are some of my favs.

Her cookbooks are $19.95 - almost always. So anyway I found her 20 Minute Meals and her Easy Weeknight Favorites there at Borders. Marked down from $19.95 to $4.99 - and then with the discount for going out of business, I walked out at $3 apiece. So that was WORTH breaking the "no buying cookbooks rule" ... I danced out of there with glee. For $3 for a nice cookbook like hers, it was ok to buy at 20% off. I felt like next time I went back, there would be no more.

If I felt better this weekend, I'd be cooking for sure.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We are back from a whirlwind trip to Greenville- an hour outside of Dallas. Conrad's sister, husband and family are moving to El Paso this Friday. So we needed to go in and see them off and help them pack up- if we could- etc ...

Blanca CRACKS ME UP. She loves to go on these trips - she really really loves little Kamden, our 4 year old nephew. I don't know if it's because for so long they were the exact same size, looking eye to eye or what ... but she loves to go. We get her all piled up in the car and she dances around with excitement. I laugh at her because I always put her bed in the car and she is able to sleep there and back .... on Saturday afternoon she and I both laid down and took a nap. She slept ALL Saturday night ... and on Sunday we left around ... 11 or so. We went to Conrad's grandmother's house and dropped B off so we could do a quick family lunch. B couldn't stay in the hot car! So she got a BIG giant comfy bed at Grandma's house for 2 hours ... and then she slept all the way home. She would wake up once in awhile to come to me for snacks or water. SPOILED.

BOY HOWDY if I could fit MY bed in the back of the car- I would have slept to and from Dallas too. So ... my question is WHY IS SHE SO TIRED?

This was her on Sunday night. Just tuckered clean out. I took Monday off - so all day Monday she laid on the couch and NEVER moved. She slept, she snored, she was OUT. ALL DAY.

It usually takes her 2-3 days to get back to normal when we go on a trip. She is so funny - but also this picture is just so precious. She is such a sweet baby, when sleeping !!


Monday, July 25, 2011


I deleted all my crazy ranting posts.
It doesn't help ... someone could see them and I don't want to make things worse.

Everything will be ok.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Simple Things ...

I like the simple things in life. I went to HEB on Saturday to grocery shop (yes RIGHT before the fridge broke) and I saw a pack of happy, neon straws. I had been wanting some straws for awhile. Oprah uses the stainless steel ones and I love those. I have them holding in my cart for - my birthday is almost here, so I should maybe ask for them. Anyway, so I wanted straws and I saw a bag of 275 for 99 cents. SOLD! There are pink and yellow, green, purple - etc- so many happy colors.

(and YES -- those are my fancy Mikasa drinking glasses! Conrad's grandmother had MAD good taste and she set him up in full Mikasa when he got his first apartment. He doesn't know what it is - so I have been reaping the benefits for years. We have been set up in a fine kitchen! )

I often remind Conrad how lucky he is. A wife who is happy with 275 neon straws? Doesn't want to empty out the bank account on clothes and shoes? Well I DO want to but I never do ...

and then later that night - we decided grilled cheese and soup was JUST the ticket. I made the Potato Cheddar soup from Tastefully Simple. Just 6 cups of water, the mix and 30 minutes on simmer. We added cheese and bacon bits. Simple!

I don't know why I take pictures of my food. It started when I ate at Paula Deen's restaurant. Sometimes it looks so yummy, I have to share!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

RND Rustic- Magnolia, Texas

So LAST Saturday Conrad and I were running around like crazy people, meeting builders. The timing was a bit off. We didn't have time to go home in between, but then again ... we really were sort bored and needed something to do between the meetings. I hate that. It's like ... afternoon weddings. Your morning is shot getting ready and getting TO the wedding and then after ... there's not enough time left to really DO anything else that day, but still ... enough time left that you sort of feel like you gave the entire wedding your day. 

So we were driving down this 1488 road that I rarely travel and I saw this cute store off to the side called RND Rustics. They had the wood porch furniture and rockers and stuff piled up by the door and I thought WHAT THE HECK - and pulled in. OMG you guys, HEAVEN. They have the NICEST stuff. If you like a tiny bit of western on yourself or in your decor, this place is for YOU. They have the cutest barbed wire plate set ... they had my Outlaw mug for $6!!! They had towels and the bathroom racks/rods/toilet paper holders. Pictures, serving stuff, tables, lamps, rawhide lampshades, funny cute stuff ...  the pillows, OH THE PILLOWS- animal print, leather, fringed.... They had furniture- really unique and comfy furniture. The couches they had blew me away. Such nice buttery leather - they had one couch for $850 and one loveseat for $650. I think that is a fair price for nice big comfy leather furniture. But what got my heart to singing were their sectionals. I have never seen one bigger. They had several colors.

It could seat me, Conrad, his sister, and BIL ... both their kids AND his mom and dad and I think that leaves even one seat left open. I mean that's like ... the best seating ever for something like Christmas where EVERYONE is over. It was $1800 which I think was a fair price. The two ends recline and it had a couple of fold down consoles with cup holders and little box like console things were you could hide the remotes.

I REALLY like their furniture. Conrad doesn't want to do the entire house Texas, of course, but he did suggest I could do my craft room upstairs as such - or at least a little bit of it. So I went up to the counter and asked if they did custom furniture and they said that was ALL they did. They said they could do me a nice, thick, black daybed with like a Texas star really tastefully burned into it in like ... 8 weeks. NICE!

When we move, we are coming back here for sure. We'll need one of these giant sectionals for the game room if nothing else. I am really loving their stuff. Also PERFECT place for me to shop for Christmas for the people in the family and friends that are into rustic. There are a few! ... they had loads of Texas A&M stuff, not much Longhorns ... they had the barstools that looked like saddles. I could seriously go on forever.

I HEART RND Rustics!


Friday, July 15, 2011



This week has FLOWN by. Work has been crazy, home has been crazy, meeting with builders, not exercising ... fabulous!

Anyway, even an Outlaw needs a Keurig!

I got this cup at my NEW favorite store, which I will post about later. It seemed to fit me AND it's big enough that I can use the large cup setting on the Keurig.... and I can remind Conrad I live a little outside the law and can be you know, a bit "off" ....  Everyone wins!


Monday, July 11, 2011

New Builder?

Conrad and I spent the weekend looking at new builders ... and we ran into one we had heard about a year or so ago. We didn't think we could afford him, so short of just looking at one of his spec homes when one popped up, we didn't consider him an option. However, I called him on Friday and he had us meet him this weekend at the house pictured above.


We found out we CAN afford him. All we have to do is cut down a little on the square footage. He builds all his houses the same- he does not scrimp on finishes or on lumber, etc. He is not a guy that says well you can do granite here and royal granite here and then up in this bathroom, do the cultured marble. No- he just said look, here are the finishes I use - I am a sq foot builder.

I really appreciated that honestly. He also showed us at least three areas of dead space in our current floor plan. We are going BACK to the drawing board because if I have anything to say about it, this man is builder our house!

His cabinets are absolutely to die for. For that alone, I would have him build my house !!!!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tastefully Simple

Many years ago- like eleven years ago- my friend started selling Tastefully Simple and I loved it. Life happened, she stopped selling it and I bought it once in awhile when I would be invited to a party or something ... but no major reordering.

My friend is back in the business (email me if you want her info) - and I had a party I think it was earlier this year ... maybe late last year and we had a good time. They do have a normal catalog they keep always and then they have seasonal items. So it changes twice a year. I never can WAIT when the new catalog comes out! I also gave out a ton last Christmas ... oh ok, so my party was late last year!

I had a lot of it on hand - and I got a hankering on Wednesday for some artichoke dip. I also love the beer bread. I make it with Blue Moon- you can use any beer - but I think the Blue Moon makes it really sweet.

The thing about TS, is that it never requires more than two ingredients for you to add. If you wish to spruce it up, or use in a recipe, then that's different ... but the only two items for the beer bread are beer and butter ... and of course the mix. So anyway - I made the bread and got it in the oven. Then I made the artichoke dip - on the sides of the box are all the variations you can use and one of them was to use actual artichokes and I did have some. So I made the dip and chose to go to "oven baked" route. I also then popped some frozen cheese raviolis in some boiling water and use up some sauce I had hanging around. The result was a DELISH dinner. (Hello Mikasa French Countryside plate! ... if you want to buy me a present, I could use their soup bowls -8 of them- and also maybe their serving platters- thanks!)

It was really quick too! The bread baked for an hour while I puttered around the house. 20 mintues before it was ready I put the dip in the oven and I started the boiling water ... and nuked the sauce. So .. I mean SERIOUSLY it was no time.

I really do recommend these products. I love most of it. The almond pound cake will make you cry. As will the corn and black bean salsa ... I totally dig all the jarred sauces and condiments like the teriaki sauce and the bourbon glaze ... good stuff! Conrad digs on the bread and he has pushed me out of the way every night as we re-heat our artichoke dip ... he LOVES LOVES LOVES the almond poundcake and gets near panic when we get down to one box. I never liked key lime anything- but the key lime cheese ball with the graham cracker twisties - is like my favorite thing in the world. If Conrad eats it, I glare at him the entire time. Those are MINE!

Tastefully Simple can turn you into a REALLY selffish person! Anyway - should you wish to find out more, please let me know so my friend can get in touch with you. They also have a website ...


Friday, July 8, 2011

My Precious Baby

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It is SO HOT HERE. So hot that I was actually driven out of the house, to Steinmart, to get some skirts. I got two - one is just your standard black - but this one was super cute and different. I never wear skirts. I am a capri girl - but I don't know, I feel like I need the wind to blow up my skirts to cool me down or something. We shall see how this experiment goes.

In the meantime, it's a cute skirt - and I'm excited to wear it. It does have yellow in it - and guess what color my last pair of shoes are ????


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th

We haven't even heard ONE firecracker. People are taking the burn ban seriously and YAY for that! Blanca is scared of them and every year she cries.

Normally I would do what my mom taught me - put a pork butt in an oven bag, salt, pepper and garlic salt. For four hours, then shred, the back in the oven with BBQ sauce for an hour - in a casserole dish.

But it's too hot. So this one went into the crockpot on low for 3 hours, then high for 2 hours. Then I pulled it out, shredded it and then put it in the oven with BBQ sauce for an hour.

SUPER yum on hawaiin rolls. Happy 4th!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chocolate Banana Cake

It's a long weekend and I'm feeling all domestic ... so I thought I would load up on pantry staples and spend the weekend with my little family here- making treats, reading books and watching movies. I REALLY need to slow down on my cookbook collecting. HELLO - I still want them for gifts but I have to stop buying them or at least paying full price for them. I have helped feed my addiction and also my bank account by renting them from the library instead. This weekend I got Tyler's Ultimate (Tyler Florence from Charleston, SC!!!!) ... and um, I'm disappointed. It's SUPER fancy. There really isn't anything I would make just for me and 'Rad - or even if we had people visiting. It's like a fancy french restuarant cooking ... So it turns out try before you buy at the library is a GREAT idea- cause I do not like this book ... BUT they did have a recipe for chocolate banana bread which is nothing I have ever heard of OR ever even thought about.

I buy bananas every week for the baby. She likes them and also I can grab one when I am heading out the door for work. But if you get a bunch of 7 or so - they go ripe and I won't eat them that way. We had 3 ripe ones yesterday and all the other ingredients, so I went for it.

This cake batter was SO messy. It calls for cocoa powder and melted chocolate. I had chocolate all over the kitchen, counters, sink ... it was everywhere.

See? On the counter- on everything!

The bad thing about silicone pans- they tend to break your stuff. They are very unstable, so when you pull them out of the oven, CRACK. But I like mine- they're pink. Here's my little powdered sugar secret. I got some tea set gift basket eons ago and I kept the little steeper thing. Never made any tea, but if you open it and stick it in a bag of powdered sugar and then do a little "shake, shake, shake" over your stuff, it's the PERFECT duster. I never did have to invest in a salt shaker to use for this purpose. We just don't powder sugar THAT much stuff!


This morning I got up, sliced some strawberries, got out the whipped cream, heated up my cake and poured a cup of coffee.

It was SO good this morning. I sort of wish the cake was a little more fluffy - it's very dense, but it's filling and it was GOOD. Chocolate and bananas are a strange combo - and I like it!


Preheat over to 350

In a bowl:
2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of kosher salt
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

In your mixer (or another bowl):
Cream 1 stick of softened butter
Add in 2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
4 oz. of melted bitter sweet chocolate (I used semi-sweet, it was what I had)
3 ripe bananas- all chopped up

Then you need to slowly add your dry to your wet and make the batter. Pour into pan and bake 50 minutes. Mine actually took a full hour.

Tyler says he makes this once a week and eats on it all week, with his morning coffee. I could totally see that because it's a hearty cake. It was a MESSY process so I'm not going to make it weekly, but it's worth it to make. Also, I maybe would have added nuts- like a banana nut cake.

You should try it!

Tomorrow's post? Pulled pork!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Skate Bootie


This is the "Skate Bootie" by Jeffrey Campbell and it can be yours for $199.95

Words fail me. THIS is why I am not a fashion maven. People are going crazy for these things on the fashion blogs. $200 for these? Do you know how many pairs of shoes and/or flip flops I could buy for that? Do you have any idea what they would do to me if I waltzed into work wearing those. I would look like Dorothy Hamil on steriods. Actually I don't know how you would waltz or walk in them. I would have to be wheeled in wearing my fancy skate shoes. Do people in New York City REALLY run out and catch cabs in such ridiculousness? I am completely cattywompus at the thought. Can your shoes GET termites?

Wow, this really did a lot for my self esteem this morning. Sometimes I look at my shoe collection in the morning and I think WHY don't I wear more heels? Why don't I have any puce colored shoes? Why don't I have more black sandals? Why can't I wear flip flops to work? ... and then I get sad. But then when I saw this - I felt better. I think I'm doing fine. Maybe bright yellow sandals and monkey shoes are really as far into "outlandish" as I really need to go.

At least I know I'm not crazy... liking these would be a good barometer ... and Conrad can rest in the fact our fashion budget is safe.... and that his wife doesn't look like Lady Ga Ga.


P.S. I can't stop staring at them ... and that revealed to me, if you look close, these have a PEEP toe. REALLY? Skate booties don't have toes. OMG. This is the most fascinating thing I have witnessed since Lady Ga Ga's "meat shoes". I am freaking out.  LOL