August 2012 Round-up

Did August fly by or what? It's time for my monthly round-up. (For my other round-ups, please go here.)

What I Read...
  • Harry Potter: I finished Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix this month. With the Olympics and traveling, it seemed to take me forever to read both of them. I've decided to take a break from my HP spree and return to the final two books in a few weeks.
What I Watched...
  • Hope Springs: Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell, this seemed like the perfect mother-daughter film while we were in Dallas. It wasn't quite what we expected, but Mom and I did giggle through several parts of it.
  • Sparkle: I saw this movie last Saturday. It reminded me a lot of Dreamgirls (girl group tries to make it big), but the earlier movie was far better. It was sad to see Whitney Houston in her last movie role.
  • Olympics: I lived in front of my TV during the early part of August. I also enjoyed watching some of the coverage on my computer — much less biased.
  • Regular TV isn't quite as interesting after the spectacle of the Olympics. However, I also watched Army Wives and Bunheads this month.
What I Want to Remember...
  • Spending the first weekend of this month exploring Austin with Paul and Esther.
  • Driving up to Dallas to spend the second weekend with Mom. It reminded me of old times.
  • Watching the Olympics. My favorite moments: Gabby Douglas winning gold, synchronized diving, Michael Phelps becoming the most successful Olympian in history, royal watching, Aly Raisman winning gold on floor, the American success on the track. (Please note: McKayla is not impressed with any of these.)
  • Sensing the light at the end of the tunnel at work. It's not here yet, but it's getting closer.
  • Finally getting caught up on Project Life.
  • Celebrating my two-year anniversary at work.
  • Spending a lazy Saturday reading as the rain fell outside. Those days have been few and far between recently.
  • Making it to Curves three times in one week (even if this only happened once this month).
What I Want to Forget...
  • Feeling sick the week after I returned from Dallas. I blame "work flu."
  • Getting stuck in traffic on my home from work this past week. Whose idea was it to work on 620 at 6:30 at night? At least I found a short cut.
  • Having my credit card number stolen again. Someone apparently bought gas in Spain with it.

Here are a few pictures from August 2012:

Olympic cupcakes

NorthPark Center


You call that a winning vault? Not impressed.

Flowers in bloom

Sammy at rest



August Weekends in Review

Note: I started this post earlier this week but never got around to finishing it until this afternoon. I've tried to update some things to make more sense. Apologies for not wanting to write after writing all day at work. :(

Last weekend I quite literally crashed. As in, came home from work a little after 12 on Friday, ate lunch, read for a little while, and then took the most glorious two-hour nap. I felt so refreshed after I woke up (the sign of a good nap). The rest of the weekend was spent catching up — reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, working on Project Life, and cleaning my kitchen AND master bathroom.

I needed last weekend. And I savored it.

However, the two previous weekends were wonderful and quite a bit more exciting. Three weekends ago (the first weekend in August) Paul and Esther came down to Austin to stay with me, and two weekends ago I met my mom in Dallas for some girl time.

The weekend with Paul and Esther was great. On Saturday, we did some of the things around Austin we always want to do but never have time for. Our biggest adventure was hitting up the food carts along South Congress. We each tried something different, and I got very brave and tried fried mac & cheese. It was surprisingly good (I don't know why I was surprised; everything fried is good). After sampling the carts, we looked around a few of the shops along Congress and then grabbed cupcakes from Hey Cupcake!

Later on Saturday we ate dinner at Matt's El Rancho and went to Zilker Park to see a production of The Sound of Music at the Zilker Hillside Theatre. We weren't expecting the theatre to be so crowded, but apparently it was a popular place to be on Saturday night. Once we finally found a place to sit, we had trouble seeing the stage at all. However, it was nice to meet up with two of my co-workers, Sarah and Michelle, and talk with them a little bit during intermission. We all ended up leaving at intermission because it was getting rather late.

On Sunday, the three of us went to church, had lunch at Fire Bowl, and then drove out to IKEA. Paul and Esther drove back to Tyler after that, and I came home.

Two weekends ago my mom and I met up in Dallas like we used to do all the time. On Friday we both arrived at the hotel a little after 12, so we ate lunch at the In-N-Out Burger nearby and then went shopping. That afternoon we went to Half-Price Books, NorthPark Center and Christmas Tree Shops (a little taste of New England) and ate dinner at Mi Cocina. We also tried to make a movie that night but couldn't make it to the theater in time. Even though it felt strange to turn in early, we came back to the hotel and watched the Olympics for a little while before going to bed.

The next day we felt revived so we decided to explore a few thrift shops and an antique mall in the morning. We ate lunch at a great burger place called Liberty Burger (we split the burger and shared onion rings) and then headed out to the Allen Outlets for some more shopping. The outlet parking lot was crowded, but we managed to find a place and find a few new pieces each. Later we went to a movie theater nearby to see Hope Springs. The movie wasn't quite what we were expecting, but that didn't prevent us from dissolving into giggles several times. After the movie ended, we stopped at Homegoods and Target, ate at Paradise Bakery, and drove back to the hotel.

On Sunday we went to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Chihuly exhibit. It was really amazing to see all the glass sculptures displayed throughout the arboretum; sometimes it was difficult to tell what was alive and what was glass from far away. We enjoyed wandering around the grounds for about two hours until it got too hot to stay outside. Once we left, we grabbed lunch at Humperdinks, drove back to the hotel to get my car, and went our separate ways.

As I mentioned earlier, the last two weekends haven't been nearly as exciting, but with Texas Longhorn football starting in less than a week (!), my weekends are about to be crazy once again.

July 2012 Round-up

Where did July go? (I'm being serious; the month flew by for me.) It's hard to believe it's time for my July round-up, but here it is.

What I Read...
  • The Golden Hour by Margaret Wurtele: This was my vacation book, and I finished it halfway through out trip. It took place in Italy during World War II, and I found it an engaging, easy read.
  • All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith: I LOVED this book. Not only did the book focus on Jane Austen, one of my favorite author, but it also involved travel to Central and South America. I've now added several other destinations to my must-travel-to-before-I-die list.
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Inspired by my last reading selection, I decided to reread Smith's favorite Austen novel. Sometimes it's fun to read books a second (or third) time because you notice something new, which brings us to...
  • Harry Potter: I decided to reread the Harry Potter books again in anticipation of the London Olympics. I've finished the first three and am about halfway through the fourth. One of the things that has struck me this time is how much more familiar I am with the movies than with the books. I keep thinking — that didn't happen in the movie! It's strange how that works. (I blame ABC's monthly Harry Potter weekends. If it's on, I have to watch.)
What I Watched...
  • DVD: I rented Albert Nobbs. It was...interesting.
  • Olympics: I've enjoyed watching the competition on both the TV and computer. (Well, I enjoyed watching it on my TV until last night. Time Warner, I'm looking at you.)
  • Before the Olympics, I watched some of my other shows, including Army Wives and Bunheads.
What I Want to Remember...
  • Watching the U.S. women win the Olympic gold medal in the team competition for the first time since 1996! I'm so glad I was able to see it on my computer yesterday morning.
  • Seeing Aly Raisman's face when she realized she had made the all-around (I feel bad for Jordyn Wieber, but Aly's been a rock for the U.S. team the last few years.)
  • Traveling with my parents to New York.
  • Finally finishing my Week in the Life photo book (I'll hopefully have pictures soon).
  • Walking up to Times Square to watch Good Morning America with Mom the last morning we were in NYC.
  • Flying first class for the first time on the way home from New York. It was wonderful, but I think it was pretty obvious to everyone that it was my first time.
  • Enjoying a lazy Sunday after vacation and before heading back to work. I went to church, picked up Chuy's for lunch, and treated myself to a mani/pedi.
  • Finding some dress pants and capris for great prices on an impromptu shopping trip (that never happens to me).
  • Rain. In July. In Texas. It really happened.
What I Want to Forget...
  • Losing my cable channels during the Olympic Games. Unacceptable, Time Warner.
  • Continuing to feel stressed at work. It has to end sometime, right?
  • The horrible shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. It's hard to put into words how sad it is.

Here are a few pictures from July 2012:

The cats of Catskill, NY

So much for the SI curse. :)

Friendly tissue

For my other round-ups, please go here.