Sunday, December 27, 2015

My (reputable) Food Truck Experience

I have always (well, since they became popular) wanted to go to a gourmet food truck and try it.  I don’t ever seem them on the side of the road or parked anywhere so I haven’t gotten a chance.  

People say that they are all over, but I haven’t had the opportunity to go.  After my sad experience at a food truck festival this summer, I decided I didn’t want to go to a festival, I would only go to a parked one.

My dad and stepmom, Pie asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I am actually trying to de-clutter my life so I told them they could pick something on my bucket list and do it with me.  I would much rather have experiences than things any day, so that is a perfect gift for me!  They picked “eat at a (reputable) food truck”.

In Spring, there is a food truck park called Bernie’s Backyard.  I had heard about it several times but never been, so we went there.  We each got different items and we all split everything to share.  There are lots of tables outside where you can sit, but it was a rather cold (for Houston) night so we went inside the bar area where they serve drinks and got a table.  On certain nights they even have a band!

I got a frito pie philly cheese steak and mac and cheese wedges from The Naked Fry.

Dad got pizza from Rustica.

Pie got a Korean cheese sandwich and OMG fries from Oh My Gogi.  OMG, the OMG fries were AMAZING!

Everything was delicious!  Dad and Pie’s favorite was the pizza but mine was the OMG fries for sure!  We were all so full by the time we left.  It was a very fun treat to spend time with my family. :)

On the way home they got chicken tenders from Love Me Tenders for Justin since he was asleep when we left.  They said they were really good tenders but I didn't try them since I was so stuffed.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Soap Making Class

A few weeks ago I was browsing Groupon and I found a goat’s milk soap making class and I quickly signed up!  Oh wait, did I mention this was a Bucket List item???!!!!

The class was at Proverbs Farm in Alvin, TX with a very sweet woman named Tammy.

Anyway, I got to the location in Alvin but I wasn’t sure if I was in the correct place.  Does anyone else’s phone GPS take you to some weird locations?  The place was a residential building and I didn’t see any goats around.  Well, I called and it was the right place, it was just behind her home that she has her studio.  She showed me the studio while we waited for the others to get there. 

Once everyone was there we went to look at the goats.  There were even some baby goats that had been born that morning and still had the umbilical cord attached.  We were able to hold them and pet them if we wanted to.

After we got our baby goat fix, we went into the studio were we made soap!  She used to make goat milk cheese to sell at farmer’s markets, but she had recently stopped doing that.  BUT, she did have some for us to try and it was soooooo good.  She showed us the proper measurements for lye and the other ingredients.  Since lye is such a harsh chemical, she did that part herself and we added the ingredients.  One thing I found interesting was she added ice to the mixture to cool the lye down, instead of waiting for it to cool to the correct temperature.  Pretty cool short cut.

We were able to pick our color, our fragrance and our add-ins that we wanted. 

I picked glitter (duh!), pink color, poppy seeds for exfoliating, and a fragrance called “Love Potion” that smelled really good.

We made sure to measure everything properly and have the right tools (gloves and eye masks) when working.

We got to take our soap home with us.  It just needed to harden for about a week before we used it.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from the folks (ummm..OK, it's just me) behind!!!!

I will be leaving on a roadtrip to Marfa, TX to hunt for the mysterious lights and then flying out to Roatan, Honduras for New Year's Eve through the weekend.  I'm excited, I've never spent a holiday outside of the USA before!!

I want to leave with you 4 images of Christmas.

A Christmas future. This is the most important thing of all

 A Christmas past (Jabba looked like a Scrooge here...but he wasn't).  This set of pictures are probably my all time favorites of him.

 A CHRISTmas present.  Keep the Christ in Christmas this year.

And just for fun..

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happenings Lately-Holiday Edition

What I have been up to lately...Holiday Edition!

I made a chalk drawings with my mom and Kali in my parents back yard. :)

I attempted (along with lots of others) to break a Guinness World Record by reading to the most kids in a 24 hour period with Read Across the Globe.  Unfortunately, we didn't beat the record.  But I will say that the book we read was great!  I was like "who wants to read a book about farming?" (sorry, I'm a city girl) but once I read it I wanted to buy it for my children's book collection.  Check it out!

I sat in the live studio audience of Great Day Houston!

We decorated the Christmas tree and Kali decided that we needed 4 of the same ornaments on one branch.  It was too cute to move so we left it there. :)

 We built a gingerbread house and a certain 2 year old ate most of the decorations...

I took a 2 year old to the Woodland's Mall to see Santa and then to the playground inside.  She didn't want to leave.

I attended the FANTASTIC Christmas musical experience called Celebration at Houston's First Baptist Church with my friend Terrie, her mom (below) and granddaughter, Lila.  I bought the tickets back in November when they went on sale.  I actually went twice this year, once with Terrie and co. and the other with my Grandmother.  The show is amazing!

I bought a Christmas ornament with my niece and nephews name on it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Happenings

Once again...bad blogger about writing blog posts.  Here it is Christmas and I am just now writing about Thanksgiving. :/  #naughtylist

Over thanksgiving weekend I stayed at my parents’ house and hung out with my family.  On thanksgiving we did what we usually do, invite everyone over for food and we heat the pool for the kids to swim.  I had volunteered to help Downtown at the GRB to serve food to the homeless and less fortunate people of Houston.

City Wide Club hosted over 20,000 people this year for Thanksgiving at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  I helped out in the women’s clothing department helping find clothes they would want.  We organized everything by size and the women would come to the table and choose items.  Some of the clothes were really nice but some had holes in it.  There were a few teenagers that needed clothes.  There weren’t many options so we helped them shop.  We would go over the table to see what a teenager would want and then hold it up.  One of the girls I could tell if she didn’t like something, she would just shake her head yes (because she thought she had to take it but she didn’t have to) but when we found something she loved her face would LIGHT UP.  It was really fun to watch.  I liked helping people find clothes that they liked, not necessarily what was only available in their size.  I know that some kids get embarrassed with their clothes, but I tried to make sure they liked what they got!

Afterwards I went to my parents for Thanksgiving.  Everyone had already eaten but the time I got there (about 1:30) so I just sat outside and talked to everyone while they watched the kids in the pool.  It's a tradition that my parents heat the pool for Thanksgiving and Easter.  

I knew I would be late since I would be volunteering, so I told my parents to have everyone eat without me. Then we got out the sales ads and starting mapping out our plan of attack. :)

That night my sister and I went shopping (yes, we are THOSE people who shopped on Thanksgiving Day).  We hit up Palais Royal, Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s.  We had a scratch off for Palais Royal that we held up to the light and figured that we would get  $10 free.  While we were shopping there I went to the jewelry counter and there was an extra add sitting on the cabinet so I grabbed it.  It was worth $20 when I held it up to the light.  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bought some items with the $20 and Laura got something for our mom with the $10 one.  I had wanted some present bow Christmas earrings but couldn’t find them anywhere.  As luck would have it, I found them at Palais Royal and used my coupon.  I got two notebooks and my earrings for $26 ($6 after my $20 coupon).  Success.

We went to Kohl’s next with the $15 in Kohl’s Bucks for every $50 you spend. We are getting my mom a SURPRISE so I can’t say but it was on sale for $119 everywhere (you can probably figure it out).  My younger sister, Tori, gets a 20% discount at her work but we decided that the Kohl’s Bucks was worth it instead.  Plus I bought an extra SURPRISE items for myself so plus a present for Kali making we get $75 in Kohl’s bucks!  I have already spent it on a pair of yoga pants, three wall organizers, and a snowman scarf (that I have received a surprisingly lot of compliments on).

That was my Thanksgiving, how was yours?!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Feast of Saint Thomas

There is an old Swiss Tradition on the night of December 21st that is called the Feast of Saint Thomas.  I first heard about this on a Hallmark movie, Let it Snow.  I first watched the movie at the end of November or early December and I just KNEW I wanted to do it.  It might be silly, but whatever. :)

I forgot about it until Sunday afternoon when I was watching other Hallmark movies and then I remembered!  I actually thought I had missed it, but luckily, once I checked the date online, it was the next night.  Phew. It’s too late to do it this year, but all you single ladies out there put it on your calendar to do next year on December 21st! ;)

How to Dream About Your Future Husband on the Feast of St. Thomas:
1. Climb into bed using a step-stool 
2. Remove your shoes
3.  Spin around 3 times
4. Throw the shoes at your bedroom door
5. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed while your feet are propped up on a pillow
Follow all of these instructions and you will dream of the man you are destined to marry.

How did it turn out for me?  Well, I did it exactly like the directions said and fell asleep.  I woke up several times throughout the night, trying to remember if I dreamed of my ‘future husband’ but I always went right back to sleep.  One time I did dream of someone and I remember thinking “that is not someone I would normally be attracted to, but it’s supposed to be true”.  LOL.  We were holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes in the dream, so who knows. Haha.

Only time would tell.  I honestly don’t remember what he looked like other than I think he had dark hair.  It was just a fun thing to do. :) 

Let me know if it works for you.  I posted it on FB yesterday and I think several people were going to do it. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Back to Reality-Last Day In Las Vegas

Last day in Vegas (and last post about it!!!).  We had to get back to reality sometime I guess. :/  The guys left at like midnight in a rush and we woke up early about 5 am.  I wanted to try to be out the door by 7 am so we could get on the road to be back by 2:30 pm for Amber’s flight.  We had to stop at Starbucks (of course), get souvenirs, and check out of the hotel before dropping Clarissa off at the airport. We stopped at the Las Vegas sign to take pictures on the way to the airport. 
There are several pictures of the three of us, but I think they are on Amber's phone.  Elvis took them!
After we dropped Clarissa off, me and Amber headed to hunt for aliens in Area 51!  The drive from Las Vegas is about 2.5 hours and so pretty!  You are surrounded by mountain ranges on either side of the road.  

We stopped at a tiny gas station to get gas and beef jerky before we didn’t have any more places to stop.  The map that we used told us that at a certain spot we will not have cell service and there isn’t any more gas stations.  Right after we turned into the Extraterrestrial Highway (yes, that is the actual state approved named-look it up on Google Maps), we saw this sign…

And about a ½ mile after is the Alien Research Center.  The Center was closed but we were able to take pictures outside of it.

We kept following the map and saw a long dirt/gravel road to our left after a while.  The map said that you travel down this road for 20 miles and you will get to the front gate.  We weren’t sure if it was the right road or not (it wasn’t marked) so we turned around and figured we could just wait until we could ask at the diner called Little AleInn in Rachel, NV.  We got to the diner and took pictures!!

There is an area where you can buy alien themed souvenirs.  Can you guess what I bought?? LOL.

The lady in the store was really rude.  It was like she was annoyed with tourists…but she works at a tourist location!  Come on now.  We took pictures, bought some souvenirs and left.  There was a lady outside who was MUCH more helpful (super sweet actually) and said that there was a road about 1.7 miles from the shop that will take us to the back gate where we could take pictures but not go past a certain point.  Off we went!

We travelled down about 10 miles on the dirt road and hit a paved road for another mile or so.  The girl at the counter said (rather rudely) “You better make sure you have a spare or you will have to walk all the way back.”  We had one and were kind of worried about it since we had to catch our flights, but the girl that was outside said that we wouldn’t have a problem and the road was well maintained.  It was well maintained with no potholes but I can see why some people would get flat tires.  We sure had LOTS of rocks hit the back of the car.  Good thing we had damage waiver!!!

We got to the gate and saw the no trespassing signs and the guard gate.  There wasn’t anyone at the guard gate, but there were cameras everywhere!

We jumped back in the car and headed home with no incident!  Thank goodness.  I just wanted to mention how awesome the art is at the Las Vegas airport.  I had to ride the tram in between terminals and saw a set of art that was so awesome.  What made it even awesomer (is that a word?!) was that it was created by kids!  They take a bunch of smaller transportation pictures and create on large one.  So cool!

These butterflies were floating above the escalators.  I think they were in the shape of a butterfly, but I couldn’t tell from my angle.

These airplanes were telling you which direction the escalators were going.

These clay animals were coming out of the concrete.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 4 in Vegas

After the hike it was time for Britney Spears!!!!!  We were so excited about going but our feet and legs were killing us from the hike earlier in the day.  We were all slow walking to Planet Hollywood for the concert.   I had gotten a magnet the day before of Britney that I will make into a Christmas ornament for my travel tree because….going to the concert was a bucket list item!!!!!!  (I’m on track to complete 13 bucket list items this year!).  Right outside the concert area is a small Britney Spears store that sells magnets, posters, t-shirts, flip flops, etc of Britney items.  If I can’t find a Christmas ornament, I just get something to make one with, hence the magnet.

We had pretty far back seats but we still paid $120 each.  They should have some screens for the people who sit that far back.  Anyway, the show was full of energy and her greatest hits.  We had mixed reviews of the show.  Clarissa hated it, Amber loved it, and I had mixed feelings.  I’m sure everyone has heard of her song, Lucky (youtube it if you haven’t).  I feel bad for her because her life is like that song.  Who knows, she might be 100% content but I just get the feeling that she just wants to retire to her hometown away from all of the hype Hollywood has.

After the show we went back to the hotel and everyone went out to a club (except me).  The next morning (Sunday), I was going to drive to Area 51 but we decided to just have a late brunch with mimosas at Hexx in front of the Paris hotel.  The brunch was all you can drink mimosas for $20 plus whatever food you get.  I had these shredded chicken nachos called chilaquiles that were AMAZING!!  Brett and I both got them and we had the same reaction.

After brunch everyone went back to the hotel and I hung back to explore the hotel.  I couldn’t find any free attractions like they had at other hotels, but it was a very pretty hotel.  I could have gone to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I didn’t want to pay unless it was the real thing! :)  I walked around and watched a “hot” table of Craps but was totally lost!  A lady tried to explain it to me but it went over my head.  Her mom had just put $5 on a ‘fire bet’ and won $5,000. Must be nice!

 I witnessed a wedding in Vegas!  I am not going to count it as a bucket list item though because I kind of wanted it to be at a little chapel with drunk people.

Next, I went to the roulette table and tried to figure out that game.   A wonderful couple sat next to me and explained everything.  I wanted to gamble some money but not everything so I just got out $60.  I was doing pretty well and made $110 and thought “I will double my money and then stop.”  Famous last words because I lost it all. LOL.  Oh well.  After that I spent some time at the Bellagio fountains waiting for the show to come on.  I loved the fountains!!   Oh so pretty!

The guys were going to leave at 11 pm so we just stayed inside.  Hector was crashed out on the couch while we all went to the roller coaster outside of our hotel (New York New York)!!!!  The roller coaster passed right by our hotel rooms (we had adjoining rooms) and we waved at a sleeping Hector. :)  The roller coaster was awesome!  It really hurts your neck but it was still lots of fun.  They take about 3 photos of you before and during the ride, hoping that you will buy them, but we didn’t want them that bad.  FYI, if you are staying at NYNY you get a buy one get one half off coupon to the roller coaster by showing your room key.

Next up…Area 51 and some airport art!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Las Vegas Day 3

So, if you read yesterday’s post you will remember that we were late picking up Amber from the airport.  Our friend Hector had kept asking a ton of questions and I wasn’t sure why.  It turns out that he came to Vegas!  He had thought we were staying at the Flamingo (since I love flamingos) but we weren’t there.  Then he thought we were going to O but he missed us after the show so he was like “just come pick me up, I’m tired of walking”.  After years of traffic, we finally found him and who else did we see?????  Our other friend Brett!  They both ended up surprising us.  Hector decided he was coming at 6:30 pm and at 8:30 pm they were on a flight to Vegas!  How fun.  I love spontaneous stuff like that. :)

That night everyone went out to the clubs in town.  I didn’t go.  I am not a club person.  I can go to a bar all night, but clubs are not my scene.  I am not a dancing, strobe light kind of person.  They weren’t home at 3 am so I went looking for them. I figured that I could take an hour of dancing but that was it.  I  left the hotel and was almost to the end of the block when I saw Hector wondering the streets with a CVS bag full of Doritos and other snacks that he was munching on.  He was lost and now it was my turn to babysit him.  The girls had lost him and Brett at the club.  I will omit what happened between now and then but I found Brett wondering the streets lost too.  #whathappensinVegas
Me and my two babysitting charges.  Look how awesome my eye shadow looks!!!

The next morning afternoon was fueled by lots of coffee.  Clarissa went shopping for a new outfit and the rest of us went on the most intense hike ever!  I had heard of the Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs Hike (6 mile hike) by a local blogger and I knew that I wanted to do it.  However, I did not know how hard it would be.  They said you would have to use ropes to get down some parts, but wow, it was hard.  At first the guys didn’t want to go but after I said “hot springs at the bottom” for the gazillionith time they wanted to go.  Thank goodness they went because we would have not been able to get to the bottom or come back up without them.  Both Amber and I have some short legs and no upper body strength so unless you do, make sure to take a couple of (cute) guys with you. :)

The trail head is about a 30-45 minute drive outside of town, right by the Hoover Dam (it's the same exit).  The first part of the hike was easy with a few obstacles, the 2nd part was more challenging.  About 30 minutes into the hike you come to a water stop where people have put excess water for anyone who didn’t bring any with them.  We all brought some (because I told them to) but apparently there was someone who didn’t take water with them and they died.  There isn’t a guarantee that water will be there, so be smart and bring your own water!  It was a nice, breezy day when we went but there are signs warning people not to hike July through September.  After the water station the hike got harder.  I was able to do it but it would have helped with hiking boots (instead of tennis shoes) and hiking grip-like gloves.  There is not cell signal so you are pretty much screwed if you don’t come prepared.

There are spray painted arrows that show you the easiest routes to take and there are about 5 or 6 ropes that you can use to make you way up or down.  At one boulder obstacle, we were like “umm…let’s not do this since it’s impossible” but then we saw the arrow pointing to an “easier” path.  At one rope ladder area I freaked out and I am so glad the guys were there to help me.  On the way back Amber and I definitely had to have the guys help us by doing some hoisting and pulling.  I think it was the first obstacle going back up when I thought I was stuck and would have to live like a cave woman and wear mountain lion fur because I couldn’t get back to civilization. 

About halfway down you start seeing trickles of water and small pools.  At ¾ of the way down you will find pools deep enough for 2-4 people to get in, and the bottom is where you will find the largest pool plus the Colorado River.  The river was running really swiftly so I wouldn’t recommend getting in the actual river but Brett did get in the largest hot spring and enjoyed it.  I put my feet in and it was HOT.  It was so amazing after a long hike.

We weren’t sure how long it would take us to get back so we only stayed about 30 minutes at the bottom.  It gets dark around 5:30 pm so and we didn’t want to have to climb boulders in the dark.  We were at a really dangerous looking area on the hike back to the top and we thought we saw a way to go back through the cracks but I was afraid to go in first so I made Hector go in first. LOL.  “Hector, you go first and tell us if there’s snakes.”  He wasn’t too happy. :)

We finally made it to the end and were so tired, not to mention filthy!  As soon as we got back to the hotel the guys crashed but Amber and I had to get dressed for Britney!  Clarissa just looked at us like we were all crazy for hiking on vacation!  I wish we had had time to take a nap but we needed to get dressed.

Tomorrow you will hear all about Britney Spears!!!