January Letter To You

January 31st, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Hello my loves,

I hope everything is going well in your life.  I miss you terribly.  Seriously, though.  I haven’t seen most you in too long.  I wish there were more hours in the day so that I could spend just a few moments catching up with each and every one of you.  I love you all so very much and I am so grateful that you are a part of my life.  <3

This new year has been more than wonderful thus far and I wish the same for you.  To give you some updates, my job at the Law Office in West Lake is still keeping me busy and happy.  I really couldn’t ask for a more fitting job at this point in my life.  I love my bosses and the work that I do for them.  It’s a relatively stress-free environment and I am more financially affluent than any moment in my past, which is so freeing.  (:

My boyfriend, Ethan consumes most of my out-of-work hours and I still wish we spent more time together.  He is one of the sweetest, most attentive, appreciative, sincere, and loving people I have ever met.  I could not have created a better boyfriend for myself.  His acting career has started to really blossom this month.  He has had quite a few auditions, meetings with different agents, acting/improv classes, and networking mixers.  He is making a solid start for himself.  I have so much pride in him and his dedication.  Also, I am more than happy to currently be his manager.  Yup, it’s my second job and I love it.  I am constantly finding a submitting him to casting calls and finding classes and events in Austin that correlate to his acting career.  We make a great team and I am so very excited to see where our future goes together.  <3

On the weekends, I have been going to see my new baby nephew, Arthur for a few hours.  He is a little over a month old and just snoozes/snores little baby snores in my arms.  He is sooo cute and brings so much pure innocent joy.  I am so grateful to be a part of his life.  <3

During this last month, I have celebrated some personal triumphs/changes, and though it may seem like TMI, I think that they are worth sharing.  First, I got the Mirena, a cervical implant birth control that is progesterone-based.  I haven’t been on birth control in over five years, so my body initially freaked out, but now things are settling back to normal and I am so grateful that I have taken the preventative measures to not get pregnant for up to five years in the future.  Can I just comment on how fortunate I am to have this option available to me and that I am 100% covered by my health insurance?  Yeah, that’s pretty fucking awesome.  Second, and also fucking awesome, I passed a 6-month mark of ending a previous destructive habit of mine and I am so proud of myself for this.  Yes, that is vague in wording, but it literally brings tears to my eyes to know that I am passed all that and that I won.  :D

In relation to that last statement, I want to comment on how much I miss my previous job and bosses/co-workers.. they were some of the best friends I have ever made (ones that I shared my last victory’s struggle with) and I wish I was able to spend time with them on a daily basis like I used to.  Not to mention, the empowering job of fighting for environmental justice, which I still do in my own way, but there is nothing like knocking on doors to gather support in passing legislation and holding corporations accountable/ changing their horrid policies.  *Mental note, I need to make time to see them, ASAP.*

Well, I suppose that about sums up what all has developed over the month of January.  It’s crazy to realize the first month in this new year of 2014 is already behind us.  Can’t wait to talk to you next month; it’s my b-day month!

Yours very truly,

Betty Leigh Verbeke

XoXo

December Days & Ending 2013

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 2 Comments »

I would like to start by saying that I am one lucky girl and that I am so so so very grateful for my life.  <3

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  This one is going to be the best one yet, I know it!

The month of December seemed to go by extremely quickly … time flies when you’re having fun, right?  Well, this is how I spent those precious moments that zoomed by:

Dec 1 – I met up with my old friend, Chontelle that I haven’t seen since I was attending UT in 2009.  Needless to say, it had been a while.  Over the last few years we have been in contact via FB, but this was our first time to sit down face to face.  We met up at Spider House Cafe and chatted over a few drinks about life and Jennifer Lawrence (who I apparently remind her and everyone else of, haha).

Dec 2 – Marked 3 months of my boyfriend, my love, my Ethan, being in my life. <3

Dec 4 – I went to Curra’s Grill on Oltorf with my friend Molly!  It is our ritual to nom on Mexican food and margaritas about once a month to catch up and girl-chat like you wouldn’t believe.

Dec 7 – Ethan tried Indian food for the first time at G’Raj Mahal on Rainey Street, one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Austin.  It was freezing outside by this awesome little food trailer, but they had heat lamps, we had beer, and when the table next to us left, they gave us their blankets as well as some of their left over beers.  Of course, when we left, we passed on the blankets and those beers to the new table.  Tis the season for giving!  After we were happily stuffed, we went to see Ethan’s friend, Steve play a show with his band at Beer Land in downtown Austin.  They were one of the opening bands, but I thought they were the most fun and best on stage of the night!  (:

Dec 8 – I went to Ethan’s acting workshop in New Braunfels and got to meet his acting coach, Gino, who I liked very much, as well as a few of the other potential talents.  Once back in Austin, we stuffed our faces with yummy Vietnamese food at Hai Ky on Oltorf.  Mmmm.

Dec 12 to Dec 15 – Ethan and I were in Dallas for Ethan’s acting showcase!  I don’t think I could possibly express how proud I am of him and how well he did!  (:  I learned here, among many things, that there is a lot of confidentiality when it comes to acting, so expect lots of vague yet giddy posts in the future, haha.  Dec 15th was also the 2-year anniversary of my sister, DonNell and her husband, Vladimir (and I am honored to be the one who united them in ceremony)!

Dec 16 – This may be too taboo for you to read, but I think it is important: I found a new lady-doctor and I really like her (Dr. Jukes on Bee Cave Road)!

Dec 21 – DonNell, Vladimir, and I went to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar to buy Christmas gifts!  Every year my sister and I shop for each other while we are together, which makes picking out gifts a stress-free event.

Dec 23 – I spent some time with my friends, Jessica and Kelly!  They still had all of their art up from the art show they held earlier in the month while Ethan and I were in Dallas, so I got to see what it was all about and purchase some of their art!  Also, they treated me to an impromptu dinner because they are awesome friends.  (:

Dec 24 – My friend, Amanda and I spent a quick minute catching up with each other at my apartment before I got ready for the evening.  That night, Ethan and I had a lovely Christmas Eve at Ethan’s parent’s house with his family.  They are so sweet and accommodating!

Dec 25 – Ethan and I had Christmas dinner with my family (Mom, Dad, Sister, and Brother-in-law) and then went to the Moviehouse & Eatery to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The dinner was delicious, and the movie was definitely an inspiring one!  I can’t wait to travel more!

Dec 26 – Ethan was super sweet and came to my work to replace the brake lights on my car (we got pulled over on Christmas because of this… luckily we only got a warning) and he met all of my co-workers.  Of course, they gave him great reviews once he left, as I knew they would.

Dec 28 – My sister had her baby!  My little nephew, Arthur is now in the world and is oh so cute!  I went to the hospital and got to hold him for a few hours.  <3  He is just a little bundle of love.  I cannot wait to be a part of his life while he grows up!

Dec 29 – I snuggled with my nephew for a few more hours!

Dec 31 – Ethan and I brought in the New Year on Rainey Street!  First, we went to Icenhauer’s, where we gulped down a beer while listening to not the greatest music in the world, haha.  We then quickly closed our tab and crossed the street to The Blackheart.  This venue had a much more chill vibe and way better music.  Here, we counted down the seconds to the New Year and kissed at midnight.  <3  We stayed till 2:30-ish, talking about various adorable couple-y things and left when they finally took away our drinks and were kicking people out.  Afterward, we tried to go to an after-party that I was told was going on, but when we got there, the house was dark and everyone was passed out, haha!  So, Ethan and I went back to my apartment and stayed up till about 9 in the morning chatting and such.  (;  I could not have asked for a better way to spend this NYE and I hope that 2014′s NYE is spent with this wonderful man of mine as well.  <3

XoXo – kisses and hugs to all of you!  I wish you all peace, love, and happiness in every moment of every day!  Cheers!

Vegan Noms!

December 5th, 2013 Posted in Food I've Made | No Comments »

Yikes, I haven’t posted in this category for over a year….

Literally, it’s been a year and a few days.

You and I both know damn-well that I have made plenty of vegan dishes between then and now.

Especially since I cook 6-ish out of 7 days a week.

And all of my tasty creations are worth sharing, I’d have to say.  (;

 

Anyway, this dish is a new one that I made up and I am so in love with it, I had to blog about it, haha:

 

 

The base is spaghetti squash, which is easily the best vegetable on the mother-f-ing planet.  :b

But seriously.  It’s a vegetable in the shape of pasta.

It’s filling and good for you and it’s a vegetable in the shape of pasta.

It’s a little sweet (which pares well with savory), and is “al dente” in texture.

AND IT’S A VEGETABLE IN THE SHAPE OF PASTA.  HOW COOL IS THIS?!

So basically you buy this squash, poke a bunch of holes in it, and then bake it until it’s tender to the touch.

After you let it cool for a quick minute, you cut it open and scrape out the insides with a fork.

Ta-da!  Simple.

 

On top you see a stir-fry of portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion, and garlic, cooked in lite olive oil, with salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning blend.

Also, I steamed some little broccoli heads for a few minutes ’till they were tender, then mixed them with the stir-fry.

 

That saucy deliciousness that is coating the entire thing is what I am most proud of.

It’s a vegan cheese sauce.  Yes, a VEGAN CHEESE SAUCE.

It’s made with heavy coconut milk, water, salt, black pepper, and a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

All I had to do was bring it to a boil, then let it simmer on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly till it was the consistency I wanted.

 

And if you know me at all, you know that no dish of mine is finished without Sriracha.  Haha.

 

Noms!  <3

 

PS, I’d like to make a shout-out to a food blog that I currently follow.  Not only it is vegan, it’s hilarious!  So check it out:  http://thugkitchen.com/

See Ya Next Year, November! XoXo

December 3rd, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Well, as you can probably guess from all of my tweets and facebook updates, this month was full of time spent with Ethan.  <3  I couldn’t ask for anything more.  There are not enough adjectives to describe the depth of how I feel for him.  <3  Plus, he did me the great pleasure of not shaving the entire month for No-Shave-November!  Haha.  Beards are awesome.

Anyway, on to the highlights of what happened this November:

Friday, the 8th, I met up with my friend, Kelly Joy for a fish-free sushi meal at Haiku.  We had a lovely time catching up with each other, giggling and girl-chatting our corner of the restaurant.  During our dinner, Kelly spotted one of her coworkers sitting at the sushi bar and sent her a hello-text and smile from across the room.  Her coworker replied with a bottle of sake sent to our table!  So nice.  (:

Saturday, the 9th, Ethan and I met up with my friend Meggan and her boyfriend, Freddy for a fun-tastic night in Austin.  We started at Luster Pearl, getting warmed up with drinks and snacking on some tasty noms from the little food truck parked in the back patio area of the bar.  Then we found our way to The Hideout Theatre for a hilarious competition-based improv show where we all heckled the actors and laughed heartily and downed more than enough beers to last us the rest of the night.. but of course we didn’t stop there!  After the show, we went back to Rainey Street to give our livers a little more to filter at Bangers (our go-to while in the down-town part of Austin).  Once Meggan was officially cut off from the bar (which she was more than ready, so no big) we decided to bounce out.  Ethan and I then grabbed our second round of food at Magnolia Cafe (yes, we ate there twice in one day) and safely found our way back home to sleep through the night and most of the following Sunday.

Sunday, the 10th, I had a late hung-over lunch with my friend, Jon at Polvos.  This was Jon’s first time eating there, and I’m proud to have given him that experience, suffering from the night before or not.  Haha.  Polvos is probably my favorite Mexican restaurant in Austin, strictly because of their outstanding and unlimited salsa bar.  Plus, their micheladas are kick-ass!  Anyway, I was glad to hear that Jon was back in Austin and canvassing strong with TCE.  Man, do I miss that group of people.  <3

Wednesday, the 13th, I had dinner at the Clay Pit with my friend, Ronnie.  If you like Indian food, then you like the Clay Pit.  Haha.  They are delicious and not over-priced, which sometimes can be the case when it comes to Indian food.  Also, they have perfect serving sizes.  I was pleasantly full at the end of the meal, but not miserable by over-consumption of sinfully-rich foods.

Thursday, the 14th, I hung out with my friend Kara for some much needed girl-chat!  I love this girl so much and she is the queen of holiday decorations!  Seriously, her little apartment is decked out with more holiday decor than some houses.

Friday, the 15th, Ethan and I hung out with my friends Laura and Sean.  They invited us over for dinner (thank you, the tacos were delicious!) and we brought over some yummy beer to share.  It was a chill evening.

Sunday, the 17th, I went out to lunch and went shopping with my Mom.  These days are always appreciated.  <3

Thursday, the 21st, was my sister, DonNell’s birthday!  To celebrate, Mom, Dad, DonNell, Vladimir, Ethan, and I went to see the second movie in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire at the Moviehouse & Eatery off of 620.  They have a full menu and leather recliners as every seat.  It’s pretty swank and definitely worth the few extra bucks.  Catching Fire is an action-packed film, for sure, is a quick 3 hours long, and leaves you at a cliff-hanger for the third to come out.. and according to my family, friends, and tons of strangers, Jennifer Lawrence is my doppelganger.  So if you liked the first movie, go see the second and see me in action!  Haha.  By the way, not only was this day my sister’s b-day, it was also Ethan’s first day to meet the family.  <3  And of course, I got the “stamp of approval” from them all.  (:

Saturday, the 23rd, Ethan and I went to go see a house my Dad is finishing for a client.  It has a posh retro decor, which fit the style of the house, being that it was located right off of 35th St. and Mopac.  The counter-tops in the kitchen alone cost more than what I make in a year.  I can see myself in a house like this in the future.  :D  It’ll happen!

Sunday, the 24th, I went to a SoLDier meet up hosted by the lovely Emily!  We ordered Conan’s vegan pizza and took shots of vodka while filling out some good-vibes worksheets provided by the infamous Kelly Cree and Jessica Mullen.  The evening was divine!

Tuesday, the 26th, I popped Ethan’ Poetry Slam cherry!  Haha.  We went to the Spider House Ballroom to see a wonderful and inspiring group of poets.  I absolutely love this venue and the poets that slam here.  I think they are some of the most talented and creative people.  I used to go to this particular slam all the time with my friend Dan (go team Red Fish, Blue Fish! haha), way back before I worked for TCE.  I am so grateful I have the schedule available to start going to again!

Thursday, the 28th, was Thanksgiving (duh, like you didn’t know) and I spent the day with Ethan’s family.  <3  It was my first time to meet them all.. and unlike my small family, I met a ton of his extended relatives, probably close to 30 people in all.  It was a stimulating day, full of love and good food.  Ethan’s step-dad’s mom was so sweet and made me a delicious vegan stir-fry and Ethan’s mom bought me Sriracha to go with it!  I couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving meal (I also sampled some vegetarian side-dishes and deserts… mmm, thank you holiday food)!  It was so nice to get to see where Ethan comes from.  His family is not unlike mine, in that they are very kind and can do a fair-share of shit-talking, haha!  We wrapped up the night with a bonfire in the back yard and I relished the smoke smell being soaked into my jeans for the next few days.  Funny story to go along with this: I was cooking some apple-caramel-pecan-pastries to bring to this Thanksgiving dinner at 2 in the morning, the day of (yes, I know, so smart) and I ended up falling asleep while baking them and woke up around 4 am with burned pastries and an apartment full of smoke.  Haha, oops.  Turns out my fire alarm doesn’t work.  Anyway, I ended up just scraping my little muffin pan into my sink while deliriously laughing my ass off and airing out my apartment before going back to sleep for a few more hours.  I was a nervous wreck the day of, but it all turned out fine.  I just hope I got that same “stamp of approval” from his family.. we shall see.  (;

Friday, the 29th, was my friend Cuuhhhrriiisss’ birthday!  :b  Ethan and I joined Chris, Kaitlin, DonNell, Vladimir, Keith, and Greg, for dinner at Uchiko!  Holy mother of all that is fabulous, that dinner was so good!  We let our waiter take the reins on what to brings us to eat.  Yes, the bill was a bit scary at the end of the meal, but we had about 10 courses of decadent Japanese tapas-style dishes.  The way I would describe everything is with the oxymoron lightly-rich.  After the meal of a life time, Ethan and I went to my friends, Jessica and Kelly’s apartment for a quick visit.  We chatted, took shots of vodka, and drew art with our non-dominant hands (it’s silly fun, you should try it sometime).  After our chill visit, we wrapped up the night at Bangers and talked and talked and talked till the early morning.

Saturday, the 30th, Ethan and I woke up more hung-over than I have been in a long time and decided to sober up a bit a Kerbey Lane Cafe, our new go-to place for weekend brunch, even though we have to wait like an hour every time we go, it’s so worth it.  Kerbey was the only place we went to on Saturday.  We spent the rest of the day cuddling and saying sweet things to each other in his apartment.  (Ya, I know, get a room and shut up about it already, but I can’t help it, I’m in love. <3)

Haha, well, that about sums up the month.  I can’t wait to see what December brings!  So grateful for this life!!!

Naked Diver

November 13th, 2013 Posted in My Writing | No Comments »

Naked Diver by Betty Leigh Verbeke

 

standing on a cliff’s edge

the tide beckons below

wanting you to dive in

wearing nothing but skin

 

the waters crave to rush over you

and find each crevice

to leave specks of salt

in all pores

to compress your lungs

till they are completely absent of air

 

traces of sensation

from your last plummet

moons ago

remain in the shadow of your mind

 

you know you can swim

and will surface again

but there is no predetermined measure

on how deep you’ll get this time

 

you may touch bottom

and want to stay

 

terrifying and thrilling

you want it badly

trusting how it can hurt yet soothe

 

contemplating the leap

may take seconds or days

ultimately

you start to undress

 

taking off your shoes

one lace at a time

then socks and pants

off goes the jacket

discarded in the wind

and the blouse you wear follows

 

the waves lap against the rocks

singing your name

willing you to dance

 

a few more steps

and sways of the hip

panties fall to the dirt

feeling vulnerable

hands rub up your body

and to your back

bra unclasps

and slides off your shoulders

 

completely raw now to the eye of the ocean

it roars angry with lust

 

dive, please, dive

it pleads you

 

breathe deep

before you submerge

it reminds you

 

no matter how far down you go this time

it’ll be ok

it lulls you

 

inhale

 

run

 

exhale

 

jump

 

inhale

 

crash

 

it’s alright

naked diver

you will surface again

if you want to

the sea reassures you

 

icy warmth pricks every inch of flesh

the immediate panic of calm sets in

swimming till you feel nothing

but your inner radiant light

filling the darkness

 

you enjoy the rush

the comfort

the love

the unknown

of the ocean

 

<3

 

October Overview

November 6th, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 1 Comment »

So, I believe in my last post, I ended with the beginning of October..

But just to mention it again, because it is awesome, on the 1st of October I celebrated my 2 year veganniversary!  Cheers to 2 years of being completely fabulous and in love with my body, giving it healthy, nutritious foods instead of junk.  (:  Not forgetting, spending my dollars wisely and not supporting a horrific/gargantuan industry of terror for animals, people, and the planet. Ok, I’m officially stepping off the soap box… for now. Haha.

Shiner’s Holiday Cheer Beer is currently in season!  If you want to taste the entire Holiday season composed in a single tasty beer, you have to try it!  Also, I’ve been cutting down on my caffeine intake (hooray!) and now Dandy Blend is my new favorite thing to drink!  I tried it for the first time at the Herb Bar in South/Central Austin when I went with my friend, Marissa.  It’s an herbal drink made with dandelion and chicory.  It is caffeine free, gluten free, rich in flavor, and tastes like a smooth cup of earthy coffee.  I am in love.  <3

 

So, product placement aside (sans payment for advertising I might add), we can now start with the deets of my October outings:

During the weekend of the 12th of October, my boyfriend, Ethan and I went to go see Silence of the Lambs, Master Pancake style, at the Ritz location of the Alamo Drafthouse. Needless to say (if you’ve ever been to a Master Pancake show) it was hilarious! Before the show, we hung out at the Buzz Mill for a bit and enjoyed each other’s company along with a few brews. The Buzz Mill is a new little coffeehouse/ bar off of East Riverside. You wouldn’t ever expect such a cute bar to be located there. They are kind of a lumberjack-themed venue with a decent drink selection, neat decor, and a large patio in the back with food trucks and a stage for live music. They are original, and rustic, and it always smells like a big camp fire and bbq there… both smells I greatly enjoy and salivate over (yes, even being vegan, I can’t deny that bbq smells delicious, haha). After the Buzz Mill, and trying to waste time before the movie, Ethan and I went to Banger’s. If you’ve never been, go. It’s a sausage house & beer garden on Rainey Street and they have over 100 beers on tap! Here we met up with some of Ethan’s friends from work and had a few more drinks and shared a jar of boiled peanuts. The peanuts were weird, kind of mushy, and very salty, but they satisfied our tipsy cravings for a snack before the show.  (;  After the movie was over, and after killing a few more beverages and eating some yummy Alamo Drafthouse grub, we went to Easy Tiger to end the night. Easy Tiger is a bake shop & beer garden right off of IH35 and 6th St. They are a pretty chill place, also having a decent selection of drinks, and a nice patio with a stage for live music, as well as ping-pong tables located next to a little area of Austin that resembles the San Antonio River Walk. Have I mentioned that it was raining profusely basically the whole night? Because it was. And after we left Easy Tiger, Ethan was very sweet and carried my heavily tipsy and soaking wet ass back to the car to go home.  <3  Haha.

On the 15th of October I visited a place called in.gredients in North Austin. They are a small little neighborhood grocery store focusing on local and fresh foods, eliminating food waste, as well as having a selection of beer, wine, and sun-dried items. I went for my friend, Dobbs’ 30th birthday get-together. When I was there, I was too busy socializing to enjoy the store, but from what I saw, it seemed to be a sweet place.  I need to remind myself to go back there at another time and actually look around/ shop.

The following weekend was full of birthdays: my friend Cliff turned 24, my friend Marissa turned 30, and my Dad turned 29(x2), haha.  (:  Love y’all!

Thursday, the 24th, I met up with my friend, Veronica for a drink at Dog & Duck, a pub located just South of UT Campus.  She surprised me by giving me a comic book titled “Betty and Veronica,” which is apparently a popular Archie Comic that I hadn’t heard of ’till now.  I thought it was a pretty cool gift!

The following day, Friday, I went to my friend, Kara’s place and met up with a few friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  It was nice to catch up and chill like old times.  <3

Saturday, the 26th, I spent with Ethan, and Sunday was my sisters, DonNell’s baby shower!  I got to see lots of her friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time and I think she and her husband, Vladimir enjoyed themselves.  It was a casual baby shower located at a park and men and women were invited.  I liked that she didn’t have silly baby shower games and that she asked for mostly baby books as gifts.  My nephew is going to be an avid reader of Dr. Seuss!  (:

Halloween night was surprising calm and casual.  Ethan and I went to go see his friend, Steve play an acoustic set at a bar in Georgetown.  After that, we went to the Hide Out Pub in North Austin and stayed there till almost closing time feeding the jukebox our dollar bills.

Friday, November 1st was the party night!  I went as “lumberjill” and Ethan went as Batman.  I got to see tons of my old coworkers and friends and Ethan got to meet all of them for the first time.  The party was a huge hit!  There were tons of people, and never-ending drinks.  At midnight, there was an epic metal show in Sean and Laura’s living room.  And I mean epic!  Haha, it was the most metal Halloween I’ve  had yet!  After the party died down some, we went back to my place and crashed, hard.  But before the wonderful deep drunken sleep started, I caught Batman peeing in my dryer.  Hahahah, oh yes, that made for a morning full of laughter and blushing cheeks.  He will probably love that I’m putting that on here.  (;

Saturday and Sunday (the 2nd and 3rd of November), I also spent with Ethan.  He pretty freaking wonderful.  The more I hang out with him, the more I fall for him.  <3

Anyway, that’s all I have for now in updates in the life of Betty Leigh Verbeke.  :D

To sum it up, as always, I am so very grateful to be alive and am so in love with my life and all of the endless wonders that fill it.  <3

10.26.13

October 30th, 2013 Posted in Photos Of Me | No Comments »

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changesss!

October 6th, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Hey there, loves!  Wow, so my friend Marissa had sweetly pointed out to me via facebook that I had not posted on my blog in a while…  She was definitely correct in that, since my last blog post was June 30th!  Yikes!  Looks like it’s time for a hefty update, and needless to say, because of the ever-so-clever name of this post (haha), there have been many changes since last time I was on here.

Let’s start where we left off (with the beginning of July), naturally:

On the 4th I went to a Round Rock Express baseball game with my Mom, Dad, DonNell (sister), Vladimir (brother-in-law), and Chris (good friend, also known as Cuuhhrriiiiisss, haha).  We had a drunkenly good time and watched fireworks at the stadium when the game was over.  I think this is one of the most “American” 4th of Julys I have ever had.  :b

At the end of July I moved into a new apartment (thankfully, with the help of family)!  Oh my goodness, it is so very nice living on my own again!  I never have to worry about roommate drama, and for those of you who know me or have read my previous posts, you know that I am extremely grateful to not have roommate drama anymore, haha.  A few reasons why I picked this place are 1) the price was right, 2) the entire thing was remodeled right before I moved in, so it came with all new wood floors and new carpet, 3) it has nice updated appliances in the kitchen, and 4) it came with a laundry room, so now I have my very own washer and dryer to use, which is awesome!  Plus, this apartment is so me.  <3  My old apartment was furnished with furniture owned by the complex, and my new place is completely decorated by myself (but my sister, DonNell, did let me take her sweet futon/couch that is now in my living room).  I love the way my apartment reflects who I am.  All of the art decorating my walls are original pieces made by myself or by friends of mine, & constantly being surrounded by such beauty and creativity and friendship is a wonderful thing.  (:  Another perk about living alone is I can keep the apartment at whatever temperature I want and wear as little clothing as I want.  Haha, isn’t that always a benefit of living alone… being able to roam around your home with no clothes or cook in the kitchen with only an apron on?  :b  Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure:

On August 24th I had my first Roller Derby experience & loved it!  Haha.  My friend, Marissa, and I went to a game to support my friend, Lani, who plays for the Cherry Bombs!  We went and met up with a bunch of TCE friends (Lani is the office manager for TCE) and had such a fun time!  They played at the Palmer Event Center and totally kicked ass and won the game!  If you have never been, it is definitely something to add to your “bucket list.”  :D

On the 25th of August, I went to Austin’s Hot Sauce Festival with my friend, Jon.  This was definitely a HOT experience, but unfortunately, I am not referring to the salsas that we tried, haha.  It was over 100 degrees outside and there was no shade or breeze to cool us at Fiesta Gardens (the venue where it was held).  Also, Jon and I tried to use the ATMs 3 times (we did not come prepared with cash on hand, note to self for next time) and never got one to work for us… they were either out of order or out of money.  This killed our plan of drinking cold beer while we waited in a 30 minute line to try 15 to 25ish salsas, which to my spicy-loving standards were not nearly hot enough to even be considered entered at a “Hot Sauce Festival,” but I am kind of insane when it comes to spice tolerance.  Meh, maybe next year it will be less hot outside, hotter in spice, and more cold beer available for me.  Haha, a girl can hope, right?

August 31st, my friend Keaton and I went to see the band, Article play a show at Maggie Mae’s!  They were really good and I like the Maggie Mae’s venue.  I had heard about the group because one of the members also works at the Freebirds on Riverside I used to go to quite often.  Their music is like The Black Keys, mixed with Sublime, mixed with Reggae, mixed with some other stuff, so if you enjoy any of those, you would probably enjoy their music.  Plus, they have this bunch of cute girl groupies that are friends with the band mates, which makes for a sight to see when they all get up and dance, haha.  (;

I went to the Austin Pride Parade on September 7th and had a fabulous time with some of my friends from TCE!  I showed up a little late, but I got to see the second half of the parade, which was loud and colorful and amazing and took up so many streets of downtown!  I love that Austin has a Pride Parade and that it was glorious!  Haha.  :D  I also enjoyed a few shows at a little venue, one of which was performed by my friend, Mel, with her adorable band.

The following day, on the 8th, Mel and I went and got professional massages at Massage Harmony off West Gate.  This was a much needed experience for the both of us and I am so glad we made/ went to the appointments!

On the 11th of September, I caught up with my good friend, Amanda!  It was her 24th birthday and I had not seen her in over a year.  She was one of my first friends when I moved to Texas back in 2001 and I am so happy we are still in contact with each other.  We went and celebrated with drinks and dinner at El Alma off Barton Springs and then came back to my place for a few more drinks before we called it a night.  I love her so much and I am so happy she is enjoying her life.  (:

September 16th was my first day at my new job!  I am now an assistant for two attorneys and a paralegal at an office in West Lake.  They practice Family Law, so we mostly deal with divorce and child support cases.  I love my new job so, so, so much!  :D  I enjoy the work, the people I work for, the professional atmosphere (I get to wear such cute business dresses and heels every day and I loveee it; feeling pretty at work is a fantastic thing), the hours, the pay, and everything else about the job!  Well, the only small down-side is I had to get rid of my nose ring, which I had for over five years, so that was like ending one of the longest relationships I’ve ever had, haha, but it was more than worth it for all the positives that come with the job.  Since I have started the job, my boss, Lawrence, has treated me to lunch at least once a week, which has been very nice, as well as become a Notary Public!  So if you ever need something notarized, you now know who to contact, haha.  (:  Also, I want to say I definitely loved working at my old job, TCE.  I was there for 18 months for good reason, but it was definitely time for a change.  Environmental advocacy is something I will always have close to my heart.  I know that when it comes to environmental policy in Texas (and in other states), there would not be anywhere close to the amount of progression if it weren’t for grassroots non-profits finding support in all communities, holding business accountable to taking responsibility for the end-of-life of their toxic products, and holding senators and representatives accountable to making responsible decisions when it comes to passing legislation (or not passing horrible legislation) during the legislative sessions.  I am so grateful I had to opportunity to work for TCE and that I had the ability to travel all over the great state of Texas, as well as New York (twice!) and New Jersey.  Not only was this an amazing job experience, but through it I have found so many friends that will forever be my life.  <3

On September 24th/25th, I bought a new car!  I now own a 2008 Mazda 3i!  It’s adorable and red and has a sunroof and I love her so much (haha, yes, her, but she doesn’t have a name yet)!  I found her on craigslist through a guy who is now retired and buys cars at auction to repair and sell, so I got a great deal.  I had my dad and my brother-in-law, Vladimir, to come look at the car with me just to make sure it was a legit deal.  Vladimir is a mechanic and gave her the thumbs-up after looking her over and going on a test drive to check out everything.  She is so wonderful and I am so grateful to have a car again!  I have been sans-car since last November when I lost my old Honda Fit due to a large deer committing suicide, haha.  Honestly, I am happy I got to live the car-less life for almost a year.  I now have an appreciation for the Austin public transportation system that I would not have had if I didn’t have a car for so long, and I can truthfully say I will continue to use it when needed.  And since I talked her up so much, I have to post a pic or two of her:

My friends, Marissa, Sarah, Kara, and I went to the Roller Derby Championship on September 28th!  It was bad-ass!  The Cherry Bombs (Lani’s team) won!  They took the title from another team that had held the Championship for the last four years, so it was a huge victory and was a great game to watch!

On the 1st of October I celebrated my two-year veganniversary!  Haha, yup, I have now been vegan for two years!  Of course, there have been a few meals along the way that weren’t 100% vegan, but I would estimate 95% of my last two years of eating has been vegan, and I have loved every second of it.  Going vegan was one of the smartest and healthiest choices I have ever made in my life.  I would like to thank my Business Ethics and Philosophy of Ethics professors for giving me the knowledge and the passion to do more research as well as my friends Jessica and Kelly for giving me the initial consideration and inspiration for making the transition.  <3  I love y’all and am so grateful I have you in my life!

This last weekend (October 4th through to today, October 6th), was spent with my friend, Ethan.  (:  It was his birthday weekend, and on Friday night we went to House of Torment!  It was entertaining, but not nearly as fun as I remember it being in years past.  It probably had something to do with the amount of annoying high school kids that were in front of us the entire time, oh well.  Saturday we went down to the Rainey Street area to go to the bar, Bangers.  He and his friends had never been there before.  It is pretty sweet if you are a beer drinker – they have 101 beers on tap and a few bottles to choose from as well!  They also had a cool live band playing; possibly German music, not too sure, but they were keeping us amused.  Haha, I think the funniest part of this weekend was us trying to go to Kerbey Lane Café, twice.  Saturday morning and Sunday morning (today), we went, asked how long the wait was, and left both times because it was “too long” for our impatient and hung-over selves.  However, we ended up just driving around looking for a place to eat during the time we would have been waiting and both times we settled for places that were not nearly as good as I know Kerbey can be.  Ethan has now been there twice and has never eaten there, haha, but the food is delicious (& they have vegan options), so next time we will just wait out the wait!

Finally, I’ll end with a preview: at the end of the month, my sister, DonNell is having a baby shower!  She is having a little boy and I am so excited to bring my new little nephew into this glorious world with so much love and fun with all of our family and friends getting together to celebrate his arrival!

Well, I guess that brings this update up-to-date and officially makes this an odyssey of a blog post, haha.

Here’s till next time, my loves!  Best wishes and good vibes to all of you in all that you do!  XOXO  Love you and so grateful you are part of my life!  <3

 

Mini Update!

June 30th, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 2 Comments »

Hello loves!

So here’s what has happened since my last update in May:

FM Retreat with TCE!

The Dallas, Austin, and Houston Field Managers for Texas Campaign for the Environment had a retreat weekend in the Piney Woods!  This was a relaxing weekend of doing a whole lot of nothing.. such as reading, meditation, and chillin in the woods.  <3  Lovely, and much needed.

I won some free vacations!

Last month, I went to the Pecan Street Festival with my friends Jessica and Kelly.  While we were there, we all filled out a slip to enter in a “win a car” contest.  A few weeks later, I got something in the mail saying I had won a guaranteed prize from that contest if I go claim it at this time-share/resort located in New Braunfels.  So, I dragged my parents to go to New Braunfels with me..  Yes, there were sales people trying to sell the time-share to everyone, but in the end, with out purchasing anything, I won two vacations!  One of them is a 4 day cruise and the other is a 4 day island vacation!  So excited to use them!

I served jury duty!

Honestly, this was really cool.  On the first day (a Monday), there were 55 potential jurors who showed up and both sides of the case had a chance to ask us all questions.  Then each side chose 6 people and that was the final 12.  Obviously, I was chosen out of the 55 and served on the panel for the next 4 days.  It was a bland civil case between shareholders of a company, nothing crazy.  One of the shareholders was butt-hurt about how the business was being run even though he was supposed to be a “silent investor” and everything the other 2 shareholders were doing was in accordance with the law, though it may have seemed a little sneaky and under-handed in some of their decision-making.  It took 2.5 days to show us all the evidence and 1.5 days for us to deliberate the settlement.  Naturally, I decided to be the mediator for the jury panel!  (:  And damn, do 12 strangers have strong opinions.  Haha.  In the end, we used analytic thinking based on the evidence to come to terms in the settlement instead of using emotions like the one particular shareholder was using.  I am so grateful I was chosen to serve on this jury panel and that I decided to be the mediator, because I am not so sure it would have turned out the way it did if I was not there.  I definitely feel like I did my civic duty to serve on a jury and I hope if I’m ever in need of a trial by jury I have a set of people who look at the evidence and think with their minds and not their emotions because when it comes to settling a case based on the evidence presented, that’s what needs to be done.

TCE Staff Retreat!

All of the staff from the Austin, Dallas, and Houston office got together for 3 days of drunken debaucherous fun at Colorado Bend State Park!  I spent most of this time the same as the FM retreat.. chillin.  Haha.  It was also very lovely and much needed.   (:

Spending time with friends and family!

Every chance I get I’ve been trying to spend with friends outside of my work circle (it is important to keep up with those relationships, though my work friends are very fun).  Also, almost every weekend I’ve been spending with my parents/family.  They are so very awesome and I love them so much and want to make sure I don’t look back on life wishing I had spent more time with them.  <3

I read some books!

The first book I finished was “Ishmael”  by Daniel Quinn.  This book is a must-read.  For anyone.  Yes, it is philosophy based, but it gives a big picture of how we have just been completely depleting our planet of its resources, raping it for what we can, when we should be living in harmony with it (or doing as much as we can) so that it will be here for more generations to come.  <3

The second book was called “For Fucks Sake,” written by Robert Lanser.  This is a funny and fucked up book about multiple horrible relationships this one man has.  Makes me feel grateful for what I do have.

The third, the one I just finished over staff retreat, was “Paint It Black” by Janet Fitch.  She wrote “White Oleander,” which is one of my favorite books of all time.  I really love the way she writes.  Her books are all very messed up when it comes to twisted plot, but she creates it so beautifully with her use of imagery and metaphors.  I will probably end up reading this one again at some point because the last few chapters were read in quite a haze.  Haha.

I’m looking for a new place to live!

My lease is up at the end of July and I have contacted some apartment locators to help me find a one bedroom apartment in Austin, but none have them have contacted me back so far..  I’ve also been looking on my own, but it’s been a slow start to finding what I’m looking for.  I do have multiple options though.. one of my old roommates, who I love dearly, would like me to move into a house with her and her friend.  I am deeply considering this even though I do very much so want to live on my own again.  Also, I am being offered to live in an apartment that is paid for in full till February and is located right next to my work, but it does not have the amenities I am looking for, though it is convenient and I would be saving money by living there.  Blah!  Choices, choices.  I have 4 weeks to find something or decide on those options.  Wish me luck!

This is the bare-bones update on how things have been going.  I’ve also been sorting through lots of thoughts and feelings on some personal matters that I don’t feel are appropriate to mention on here, but don’t worry y’all, things are great and I’m happy to be alive and grateful for all I have.  <3

XOXO Till next time.  I love you lots!  (:

6.7.13

June 30th, 2013 Posted in Photos Of Me | No Comments »