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Pretty Little Things: Uncommon Objects

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Not so long ago, in blogging’s past, I wrote about Austin, Texas for-like-ev-er. Then, I honestly got tired of being a travel blog. So, I went into wedding-blog mode. Yeeup. Sorry about the identity crisis.

I hope you don’t mind. I’m heading back to Austin for the day. Back to South Congress, to my favorite little curiosity shop. Because I’m afraid I left you thinking it was just simply, well, weird. But it didn’t take a trained eye to find pretty little vignettes waiting for you throughout the store. And it made me wonder…

About the people behind these curiosities. You know, the people who spend heartbreaking hours staging every little inch of the floors and walls (ceilings, too)…. how do they feel when we sweep in and buy a part of that little vignette? This would be the worse job for me and my OCD. I’d most likely sit there and yell at every customer “No, you can’t buy that perfume bottle because without it, my display is incomplete!” Seriously. Remind me to tell you what I do with the Christmas presents under the tree each year. That’s a good story. ;) Want to know what my childhood temper tantrums were over? This exact debacle. Don’t credit me too much. I haven’t changed. I throw an internal fit when we have guests and they don’t remake the bed the same way I made it. I’m of the perfectionist sort. It’s true.

So what does a perfect little curiosity shop like Uncommon Objects do about all of our purchases? Gosh, it gives me anxiety just thinking about how many hours they spend after the store closes making everything look perfect again.

So, to all of the sweet shopgirls out there who devote their tender loving care to fabulous little curiosity shops, I salute you. And let it be known, that when I retire, I’ll volunteer my excess time to you. I, personally, consider myself an expert in the area of perfectionism. 

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Oh, P.S. Today is the last day to enter to win my pretty little thing along with the other Sisterhood handmade items. Go here and good luck!

I Love You So Much

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We survived our first year anniversary. It’s funny, really. Surviving. I got a text yesterday that said “Congrats on your anniversary.” Congrats. What is that supposed to mean, exactly? You didn’t kill each other? You still can stand one another?

But it’s really true. Year one wasn’t easy. We tested one another. There were a few curve balls, a couple of tragedies. But we made it through together. Stronger, too. It won’t get easier. It’s going to be tough. But we renewed our vows yesterday over 1 year-old wedding cake and a bottle of Claret straight from Veritas. And as silly as it sounds, that’s a pretty darn big deal.

Cheers. We made it. Congrats to us. 

(Oh, yeah, I’m still sharing Austin pictures…. of a silly little Austin landmark & a great cup of Jo’s….)

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Keep Austin Weird

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We just don’t have curiosity shops like this in Annapolis. There are antique stores. And there are rummage stores. But nothing like Uncommon Objects.

I have an unreciprocated love affair with this purveyor of curious belongings. I get lost in the tiniest little details.

The best part about curiosity shops is that Alex and I can spend hours inside, wandering around independent from one another, and meet up with completely different perspectives on the same square foot of space. There’s just so much to see!

Pictures cannot do this shop justice. Nor can words. As a matter of fact, I am at a loss of words. I could tell you about how overwhelming it was to turn each corner and see more and more and more. I could describe the overwhelming excitement of staring at the same wall for thirty minutes and still finding new items displayed. I could share with you all of the near-purchases we didn’t take home because they were either too large, too expensive, or too useless.

But for now, I’ll just tell you that if you need just one reason to visit Austin, let this be it.

*Filed under Wanderlust Life*

These Boots Were Made for Walking

I can, with confidence, tell you that I am awfully proud of my boot collection and have absolutely no desire or need to expand and/or replace my boots. Three pairs. All Frye. All broken in with love. Two tall and weathered, one short and distressed. Two brown, one black. They complete me.

But walk one foot into the corner of Monroe and South Congress and it doesn’t matter if you have ten pairs or no pairs. The enormous waft of leather, the click-clack of hefty heels against hardwood, and the hustle of busy-bodies hunting for their own very special, very expensive pair of cowboy boots. Allens Boots may be the sexiest store I’ve ever set one foot in. 

And then I stepped in with the second foot. It’s amazing what I can talk myself into thinking I need. Humming along with Nancy Sinatra as I waltzed down aisle after aisle in my 6 year-old rainbow sandals, I needed a lot of boots. Boots to stomp all over my ex’s, boots to strut across a bar, boots to compliment the daisy dukes I always never wear, boots to wear in a field of dandelions on a summer’s day…. boots! Boots! BOOTS!

It’s a good thing the guy’s in our tourist trap of a group were already one foot out of the door by the time I stepped completely into the store or else I wouldn’t have made it out alive. After all, like I said earlier, I’m pretty thankful and fortunate for the boot collection I’ve already made for myself. So I’ll store these pictures away for a day when I’m made of money and leave it at that….

Are you ready, boots? Start walking…

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Need to catch up on our vacation to Texas?

For a beautiful day in the park, go here. For amazing bbq and why I love red meat, go here. For margaritas and the Riverwalk, go here.  For an awesome date night, go here.

*Filed under Wanderlust Life*

Prickly Pears, Tequila and the Riverwalk

I would be perfectly content if I didn’t drink another margarita until Cinco de Mayo. Apparently every single place in San Antonio has “the best margaritas!!!” and we took it upon ourselves to set the record straight. Only one place can have the best margarita. And I’m here to tell you….

I have no idea whose was the best. They all sort of blended together. Vacation fail.

Not to mention I’m not your typical flavored, frozen, sugar on the rim girl… which is all I seemed to drink out there. From what I’ve gathered looking through the pictures, I kept ordering this prickly pear number and it always came out as this obnoxious fuchsia colored concoction which couldn’t be natural because the last time I checked, pears are anything but pink.

Gosh, if only I had found out that prickly pears are the fuchsia colored flowers at the end of a cactus plant before I went to Texas…. Salud!

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*Filed under Wanderlust Life*

Friday’s Letters Take 16

What a week. I miss vacation. Here’s to the weekend. Cheers!

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Dear Natalie Portman, I didn’t say anything to you. But all I wanted to say the entire time we I stared awkwardly at each other you at Snack Bar last Friday was this: “I don’t want to make a scene. But I just want you to know that Garden State is my favorite movie ever. Thank you.” Oh… and this “You have the most adorable, perfectly groomed dog ever. Adorable.”

Dear Ashley, Sometimes you read this. Hopefully you do this time. Hi. :) My hair dryer broke during our trip to Texas. And then you vlogged about Hana. I thank you. So do my CU Rewards Points. My husband, however, does not. But the credit card and my hair outweigh his thoughts. Thanks!!!

Dear Austin, You kind of rocked. I love you so much.

Dear Readers, I still have so many Texas adventures to share with you! Stay tuned!

*this next part has been updated because SOMEONE is using the internet on her honeymoon*

Dear Phuongnhu, Turn the computer off. You made the perfect bride. I’ve never seen you so happy. You were gorgeous, inside and out. But what’s new? You shouldn’t be reading this right now because you are on your HONEYMOON! We had a blast in Austin! And, yes, I stole this photo from Facebook because I didn’t do too well with taking pictures at your wedding. I was too busy crying I can’t-believe-we’re-all-grown-up-now tears. I love you.

Dear Fire Ants, So apparently I’m allergic to you. And no, I won’t be sharing any images of what you did to my feet with blog-land because it’s just too disgusting. And it’s more scary on this side of things realizing that I was heading toward anaphylactic shock. You solidified my beliefs that I do not belong in the south. Find a predator and go die off now.

Dear Prednisone, I hate you. Yes, I said that. You are the worse medicine I have ever had to take. However, it’s been four days now with you and my feet are finally starting to look like feet again. So thank you for that.

Dear Husband, Thank you for dealing with me and said prednisone this week. I am sorry I’ve been so mean. Well, mean-er.

Oh, and in case you missed any of this week’s posts:

My Birthday

A Lovely Stroll Through the Park with my Cousins

The Salt Lick

Our Most Recent Date Night

You know the drill. Peace out, girl scouts.

Love Notes: Places

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I like nice things. I’m a quality over quantity girl. Buy it once, buy it right. My poor husband. I’m never really a cheap date. Same theory. There’s no reason to waste calories and money on sub-par food. I’d rather stay at home where I have a pre-selected wine collection and can make a good meal for half the cost. Dining out is about the experience. And the quality, of course.

Alex and I took the Megabus (best public transportation experience of my life) down to San Antonio last Thursday. It really started as one of those “I’ve never been and we may never have a chance to go again” type of trips. Plus, two round trip tickets were $12. So off to San Antonio we went.

We have places. Most couples do. Places. They mean the world to us. And just the thought or reminder of these places brings us back to us. Seattle is one. As is the Shenandoah Valley. Michigan, of course.

Then there is Venice. We will never forget Venice. In fact, Venice decorates several of our walls. And so then we step down a small flight of stairs into the Riverwalk of San Antonio.

There it is. In a matter of seconds. That connection. That unspoken, overwhelming energy and sensation. You only get it from your places. It makes you feel home. No, not home home. Us home. Depressions and worries and current strains aside. Us home. San Antonio reminded us of Venice.

And we walked that Riverwalk all day. We had intentions of eating dinner at a great restaurant recommended by my cousins. But then, we kept walking past this gorgeous, quiet, fancy restaurant, Las Canarias, at the corner by our hotel. And gosh it stepped right off of a Venetian canal. Not to mention, a bathroom to die for. I’m a sucker for a fancy, sanitized bathroom.

Sometimes you just have to go with your heart. Sure, we had a prior reservation with great accolades to boost (sorry, Esquire). But you know what? We needed Las Canarias. We walked in pretending like we were back in Venice. And we walked out realizing that San Antonio wasn’t Venice at all…. it had become it’s own, separate place.

We ate veal. I haven’t eaten veal since I was a teenager in Switzerland who knew nothing of veal’s true existence. And we shared a bottle of Syrah. And we topped it off with a chocolate cake a la mode: cherry ice cream and a cola glaze. It tasted like cherry coke. And, no, there is not a single picture of it. We finished it like pros. We splurged. We took our time. We flirted and laughed and used our best manners.

Couples need this, you know. No, not an expensive meal at a prime view table overlooking a pedestrian-only canal. Couples need places. And to build memories off of these places. Because life gets in the way. And when it does,  a hike through the Blue Ridge mountains, a memory from our first real “trip” together to Seattle, a taste of Michigan air, or, in this case, a candlelit top tier dining experience overlooking the canal is all we need to find us again.

Even if we didn’t know we needed it.

Catch up on our recent vacation to Texas:

Barton Springs, Zilker Park and the Fire Ants that Nearly Killed Me

The Salt Lick and how amazing Texas BBQ Truly Is

Missed Love Notes? The 1st and 2nd installment can be found here:

On Compromise

Date Night

*Filed under Married Life and Wanderlust Life*

Why I Don’t Miss Vegetarianism

Meat. If you follow my blog you know that meat and I revived our relationship only a few months ago. Not a moment too soon, either, because this trip to Austin wouldn’t have been complete without some Salt Lick BBQ. So post-fire ant bites and our stroll through Zilker Park, my cousins took us out to The Salt Lick. Appetites are not needed. You eat anyway. It’s that good.

The ribs were my favorite. Followed by the turkey.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk Salt Lick. Apparently it’s made a name for itself. You’ll probably notice it from Man v. Food. And, in my case, anyone and everyone who has ever resided in Texas. Because they all talk about it.

This is the type of post that doesn’t really need many words. I mean, what do you need to know? There is an open fire pit with crackling pecans over oak wood. Wet, juicy BBQ and the heavenly smell of red meat. Portions are huge. Heart attacks are forgotten. And, oh, they let me take a peak at the back kitchen to take some pictures! Completely unprovoked.

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*Filed under Wanderlust Life*

The Great Outdoors: Zilker Park

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Take a good look at this photoset. Somewhere along the way, taking a pleasant evening stroll through Austin’s Zilker Park with my cousins, I got bit by bugs. Bigtime. On my feet. And all I know is it was not mosquitoes. After swelling to twice their size, and bringing my face and windpipes along for the swolen ride, I’m this side of a trip to Patient First, 3 prednisone pills, special steroid cream and rest. Things should be (hopefully) looking up in the next few days. Some say fire ants. Others say a plant. Others throw their hands up in the air and just say “ew”. I say. “Please get better soon, my little pieds” (and after looking at pictures of ant bites online, I think it was fire ants). Ugh.

Ironically, I snapped this ridiculous photo of my feet at the park. Obviously prior to my unknown killer’s attack. The irony.

Just a minor sacrifice to the travel gods in return for spending time with my cousin and finally meeting his absolutely amazing wife and daughter. God, I love my cousins. Despite the endless torture that comes with having solely male cousins for the better part of my childhood, they are the best cousins in the universe. Since the last time I saw John, he enlisted in the Army, got married, moved to Fort Hood, deployed, had a baby while deployed and surely grew up quite a bit. I guess I can’t call him John-John anymore. (Yes, I just blasted that over the world wide web.)

I may be hesitant in the future to voyage into the great, southern outdoors. I have absolutely no interest in coming in contact with fire ants ever again. But man, I did enjoy our jaunt around Barton Springs there in Zilker Park. Between dodging the runners on the path, searching for itty bitty little lizards, and playing around with my new camera, it was a great way to spend an evening getting to know John-John’s family.

So start getting used to seeing pictures of me with a swollen face (thanks, fire ants) because it didn’t stop me from enjoying, no loving, our trip to Texas last week!

Oh, and thank you for all of the birthday wishes! It was surely a birthday to remember!

*Filed under Social Life and Wanderlust Life*

Friday’s Letters Take 14

Did you get a chance to run outside and look up at the sky to see this week just fllyyyyyy by? Yea, me neither. Happy Friday! 

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Dear Me, Boy am I proud of you for not running straight out of the dentist’s office when he said “Okay, now my assitant is going to come in and separate your tooth from your gums and prepare it for the impression.” Yes, it h-u-r-t like a 4 letter word. But you were so brave, sitting in that chair, white knuckled and kicking your feet as if that would stifle the pain. You get a giant sticker (mainly because sticky, icky lolipops and temporary crowns don’t really go together that well).

Dear Mommy Dearest, Thank you for coming down for my birthday month! I loved seeing you and thanks for alllllll the help, too! What a surprise and how awesome was it to have a home cooked meal from you in my very own kitchen! And thanks for all of the other help around the house, too! You can come visit whenever you want, hehe!

Dear Daddy Dearest, Betcha didn’t think you’d be nursing me back from illness this late in life…. Thanks so much for saving my life by running over an old rX of narcotics and migraine medication the other night. Drugs can do powerful things….

Dear Hubcap, This week I’ve realized that you say “I love you” more than I do. I hope you know I love you just as much as the many times you tell me. It’s just that, sometimes, when you tell me, I’m asleep. And words just don’t come out as easily. But, I love you, too.

Dear Pre-K, GET IT TOGETHER. Oh my goodness. You are a tough group. Whew. It’s going to be a long year, but you are doing a real fine job of making sure I never forget you, that’s for sure!

Dear Phuongnhu, YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!!! JUST ONE WEEK!!!! AHHH!!!! SEE YOU SOON! YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BRIDE!!!!! (I’m not excited or anything….)

Dear Texas, Keep those temperatures dropping and the BBQ grilling. I’ll be seeing you on Tuesday.

Dear Readers, Oh, oh, oh! New post to the lineup!!! Get excited! I’ve got a little something something coming your way on SUNDAY! Sunday, you say? As in, the weekend?!?! I know, it’s not really something I do. That’s why I thought I’d warn you now. Check back on Sunday… I’m going to provide you with your Sunday morning coffeetime reading. In all honesty, it’s totally not that exciting.

But, either way…. Baci has a message for you:

Peace Out, Girl Scouts.