Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

HOPPY belated Easter! See what I did there? Clever girl. Mr. Hogan and I both worked, nothing new, and as per tradition, we dyed eggs, admired them for two minutes, and then peeled and ate them. Deviled of course. This has been going on for years. YEARS. I can't remember when we didn't do this. I remember dying eggs and giggling late at night in our tiny kitchen in Denton wearing bunny ears. The same ones I wore yesterday.

We were kind of on top of it this year, meaning that we at least had the whole rainbow of dye to choose from. However, we definitely bought eggs the day before and left them in our car for 6 hours. So I was that girl, at Walmart on Easter, buying eggs. I was at Walmart because HEB is closed for Easter, because they're nice. I hate Walmart.

SOPHIE! She hasn't graced the blogs presence in a while, so here she is, in all her majesty.

These eggs might look kind of MEH, but they're actually the prettiest we've made in a while. Sad, I know, but that's what you get without an egg dying kit. We do it the old fashioned way.

I have a thing with these kinds of pictures. I think it's like, here, let me hide my face with something so I don't have to worry about looking decent.

Typical Easter in the Hogan household! So typical, that the posts from 2013 and 2012 are eerily similar. Except I'm cuter back then. Fun fact, this blog celebrated it's three year birthday this month. WOOOO!

Usually the next step for Easter related things for us would be to raid the Easter aisle at CVS for clearance candy. However, we are attempting to give up packaged candy, so merp, none of that. Maybe. We don't celebrate Easter at all, aside from this, but this year I really had a hankering for an Easter egg hunt. Why don't adults partake in this? Why do the humans under 4 feet get to have all the fun? Another reason to reproduce? Or not to?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Unofficial Austin Caffeine Crawl

Saturday a few coffee loving ladies and I went around Austin for a little caffeine crawl. I of course was the decaf taster. We hit up four shops, Houndstooth, Caffe Medici, Cenote, and Brew & Brew. They were all really great and I had never been to any of them before! There are SO many awesome coffee shops in Austin, it's such a competitive market. Trust me, I know. But they're all different and it was cool to check some new ones out. I'll definitely be back to a couple of them!

First we hit up Houndstooth, which happened to be my favorite. I LOVED the space. It was clean and open and well furnished. Also, yay natural light! So many coffee shops are like little caves, which is a plus for some, but I love my windows. And the espresso was delicious. That cappuccino up top was from Houndstooth and I looooved it. Also, that's a Mexican chocolate donut. It was spicy! They actually carry pastries from the same local bakery that we do, although I'm not sure where their fancy donuts are from.

Next up was Caffe Medici (the original), which was my least favorite. Not to hate on them at all, it was great! I just preferred the other shops. It's in a cute little house, with unfortunately, limited seating. It's in a cool (and very cute) neighborhood, Clarksville, that I haven't really explored much at all. I got a macchiato (that cute little heart baby down there) and it was very good!

Heeeeyyyyy, ladies! How cute is this picture?

Next up was Cenote, which was on the east side, also in a very cute house. This place had killer outdoor seating and the weather was PERFECT for taking advantage. They've also got a decent looking menu of real food (not just pastries!) if you're hungry. People were brunchin' like crazy. I had an iced americano and it was deeelish and incredibly refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed sipping on it on their patio. Also, giant octopus sculpture?! (I stole the group shot from Lauren's facebook, thanks girrrrrl!)

The last stop on our list was Brew & Brew, which was probably my second favorite, just because of the space. I'm a real sucker for ambiance. This place was on the east side as well, and had this awesome garage door that was open so we could enjoy the weather. They are called "Brew & Brew" because they have a large variety of beers as well as coffees, and they do pairings with the two! How neat is that? I had a pour over decaf coffee because they didn't do decaf espresso, whomp whomp. This place is serious about their coffee, hence, the lack of decaf. I tried to joke with the girl at the register and she did not crack a smile (the downfall of places like this. I promise, you can take your craft seriously and still give good customer service!).

That's a terrible photo, but LOOK AT THEIR ESPRESSO BAR! It's basically UNDER the counter! They really just have fixtures for their groupheads and steam wands, like a faucet or a tap. So simple and very pretty. Not sure how functional it is (how would you handle a morning rush with just two group heads?) but it sure is nice to look at.

And speaking of terrible photos, here's a real bad group shot. Because standing with the light behind you is ALWAYS a good idea.

I had a really good time with these ladies and was very impressed by each shop we visited. These shops are seriously passionate about their coffee, and it shows. Someone made a comment that it was nice to go to a coffee shop with people who really appreciate coffee. SO TRUE. Bless Brendon's heart, but that boy just doesn't appreciate a good coffee shop like I do. Although he begrudgingly goes along with me, and pretends (sometimes) to enjoy it, it's just an expensive way to caffeinate yourself to him. Which is true. So it's no fault of his at all, it's just lovely to go with people who know the trade and are passionate about coffee. Even if you're drinking decaf.

This must happen again! Soon! There are SO many coffee shops to try! And I need mas girl time!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Sunday, Brendon and I got to go to the MotoGP finals at the Circuit of the Americas here in Austin! It was our first time going to anything like this and we HAD A BLAST. Oh man it was SO fun. If you ever have a chance, go go go! It's a three day event, but we just went to the last day. We had general admission tickets, so we didn't have seats, you just go any where you want and pick yourself a spot of grass to chill on. Definitely the way to go I think. We brought a little blanket to sit on and sat at a different spot for each race, so we got to see lots of different sections or turns. The course is HUGE. It's a winding 3.4 mile track that was built for Grand Prix races, the first in America! It's neat just to see the place! It's a monster of a complex! And although it looked like rain all day, it didn't do it! And the clouds kept it nice and cool.

As you might remember, we are proud motorcycle owners! We have a little Kawasaki Ninja 250. Although the bike, Little Darth Vader, is technically mine, I never ride it (ever), so it's really more Mr. Hogan's. He rides Darth every day. So we are into motorcycles! Brendon says next year we WILL be taking our motorcycles to the race. That means, we need another bike (ha), and I need to start riding again (HA). We'll see if that happens.

Before the races started they had some guys doing jumps on ramps. It was insane! Those dirt bikes can fly! These dudes were doing flips and crazy moves in the air, it was extra entertaining. The X Games will be in Austin this summer, I think that would be a lot of fun to check out!

If you drive a Ducati you get VIP parking in the middle of the event. There were just a few of them (sarcasm) and one of them was pink! Most of them were red and black though, mix up those colors Ducati.

And something must be said for the vegetarian options... there were SO MANY! I guess because it's Austin, but there was so much food to chose from, food trailers everywhere! We had lots of choices and that is rare, especially at an event. It's outrageously priced of course, but we were just so thrilled to have options that we didn't mind. And since they were established food trailers from town, it was all delicious!

There were three races Sunday, the Moto3 (250cc), Moto2 (600cc), and MotoGP (1000cc). My favorites were the Moto3 and MotoGP. I loved the Moto3 because these riders were teenagers. Seriously. Like 15, 16, 17 year olds. They guy who won was 19. So impressive. There was a 17 year old GIRL killing out there in this class with all the guys. I loved it! You go girl!! I also like the Moto3 class because that's the size bike we have! Wooo, baby bike!

The MotoGP race was obviously way more intense. There were two guys, on the same team, that slayed the course and were like a minute ahead of everyone. The guy in first held the lead by a whole lot the entire time and then almost ate it at the very last turn into the grandstands. He kept it together though and it was actually kind of hilarious. Also, there was a guy that went too early (poor dude!) at the start and had to do a penalty lap through the pit, but he ending up coming up from the back, passing half the folks out there, and getting 10th place! So cool. I loved it all. I loved how much fun they seemed to be having! They do a victory lap after they're done, and it was so sweet, they waved to everyone aaaaall the way around those 3.4 miles and would do wheelies and tricks for the crowd! Even the guys who didn't do well! It was the coolest thing, people just happy to do what they love for a living. And even though there were multiple wrecks, no one was seriously injured! Yay!

Hands down, one of the coolest things we've done in Austin so far. I can't wait until next year. And it definitely was incentive for me to get my weenie butt back on my bike! If a 17 year old chica can fly around those turns with all the guys, I can meander through Austin traffic!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"You've Got Mail"

I love this movie. I think it's common knowledge. It's my go to feel good movie, and I watch it MULTIPLE times a year. Like, more than I'm going to admit to the internet. It just makes me happy. It's charming, I think that's the perfect word for it. And it's such a good seasonal movie! I watch it in the fall, in the spring, and around Christmas. And everywhere in between. Because it spans almost a full year, you can watch it whenever and relate to it. Kind of. Except I'm in Texas and not New York and we don't have seasons like they do. BUT NEW YORK!

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms."

Ugh, if there's any movie that makes me long to live in that city, this is it. I know the New York of the 90's is probably long gone, but it's just so... New York. And I'd love, for even just a few years, to live there. This movie is also such a lovely glimpse of the 90's. I was 10 when this movie came out, and boy does the styling take me back. Such a simpler and happy time for me. I had a good childhood, and this snap shot of the 90's (and Meg Ryan's ridiculously masculine khaki pants) makes me all warm and fuzzy. But for the most part, khaki's aside, Meg Ryan's wardrobe is on point. Classic. I'd wear some of those things today! There's a velvet jumper thing I'd kill for. But really, the AOL and dial up internet connection noises are the sweetest. That nonsense was hip back then. And of course there's the Starbucks. Oh how I can relate.

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino."

Nora Ephron, I like you. This movie is so simple and sweet and cute and it's really just about two people connecting, with words. Sharing nothing and everything and becoming crazy about each other and even though things get mixed up and messy, the connection is so good that it wins out over the craziness. And it's happily ever after. I love happily ever after.

"I would have asked for your phone number and I wouldn't have been able to wait 24 hours before calling and asking, "How about coffee, drinks, dinner, a movie, for as long as we both shall live?"" 

And of course there's Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and their adorable on screen chemistry. I also am an intense fan of Joe Versus the Volcano. Sleepless in Seattle isn't bad either. I've got this soft spot for Meg Ryan. She's just the cutest thing, and we're the exact same height. We slightly above average height girls gotta unite. Also, shop girls unite! I also run a shop!

Well, yes. That was just a blog about You've Got Mail. Ahem. It makes me happy, so there. That picture up there is from this site, which goes into serious detail about Katherine Kelly's brownstone. Wouldn't we all love to call that place home?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Run the Ranch 5k

Spring in Texas, huh? Look at that sky! Sunday Brendon and I ran the "Run the Ranch 5k" in Steiner Ranch. If you are not from Austin, you probably don't know where or what Steiner Ranch is, so let me lay it down for you. Steiner Ranch is a GIANT suburb wedged in a U-bend of Lake Austin and Lake Travis. It's hill country for sure and it is beautiful. I worked out there for over a year, and although I enjoyed it and the commute is pretty breathtaking, I am happy to be working back in the city.

Steiner Ranch is a very affluent area, and this was definitely the most... family friendly? 5k we've ever run. There was basically one demographic represented, if you catch my drift. We were some of the only people without kids there, gosh, SO MANY KIDS. Totally logical as it is a suburb, but dang. Fast kids too. Dang kids and their endless energy.  

The course was basically just out through a little neighborhood and back. Did I mention that Steiner Ranch is hilly? The whole race was hills. Thank goodness that's all that's around our apartment! We did pretty good though! We placed 5th and 6th in our age group (18-35 both males and females, and as a disclosure, this was not a big age group. Most of these folks were parents, in the next age group.) and finished with a better time than we usually get running 3.1 miles. Our first mile was 8:44, our second was 9:04, and our last was like 9:55. The end was this stupid long hill that seriously seemed to last forever. No pro times of course, but I'm proud of myself! Felt good to stomp all over those hills.

All and all I liked the race. Not sure we'll run it again, just because we felt so out of place being young and childless. And it was slightly unorganized (this was only their second year) and such a looooong production. However, SO well sponsored. They had lunch! Hamburgers of course so we were out of luck, but hey, they provided lunch! And coffee and bagels and fruit and froyo! I mean they went all out with the local businesses. Freakin' Randall's was giving out free roses! The goodies were awesome. Especially since I think registration was only like $10? So maybe we will run it again!

It felt good to run a race, especially now that I've been training decently. I love the excitement and atmosphere! It also felt good to be back out in Steiner Ranch, as odd as that sounds. It's so pretty out there, I miss it!

Next up is the Autism Speaks 8k at the end of May. I imagine it's going to be pretty hot. We're trying to get used to running in the heat, but man we went out the other day when it was like 85 and I thought I was going to die. Seriously, pass out and puke at the same time. I'm hoping my body acclimates quickly. Texas heat/humidity is not playing games. AND THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Yesterday was my birthday, y'all! I turned twenty-six! Heading into to those late twenties, how crazy is that?

I had a wonderful day. Really, very, very, wonderful, because of some wonderful people. I had to work, but my sweet coworker had our desk all decorated with birthday goodies (balloons everywhere!) and she had a caffeine free diet coke in my hand before we even turned the lights on. And then my dad surprised me at work with flowers! He drove all the way up to Austin to see me at work. Sweetest thing ever.

My sister and I snuck in a little birthday run (she rocked a 5k! She was all, "ehh I wont be able to run the whole thing", KILLS IT.) and then we hung out at home with Brendon for a bit before it was time to go to dinner. Brendon wouldn't tell me where we were going, but we ended up at Chez Zee (have you been? OMG the dessert!) where a few of our friends and my momma were waiting to surprise me! Sneaky husband of mine. Such a lovely surprise! We ended the night with presents and then we watched Tangled. Because I love Tangled, and my sister had never seen it!

Seriously, such a good birthday. I am really fortunate to have such amazing people in my life who are all so good to me. My family and friends are the greatest and man, that guy I married. He's a good one. He spoils me rotten. My Princess Complex is spiraling out of control.

So far 26 feels just like 25, but I am looking forward to another year of life and the surprises and adventures it will bring! 25 was such a great year, I can only imagine 26 will be as well!

And here are the photos from home. There aren't many, because we have been severely slacking on the photo game lately. Also, I was exhausted. Excuse my sleepy face. And who sits like this?

Julie's signature face. Miley has nothing on this, Julie's been doing it for years. And I leave you with this:

That's a jar of tahini! We'll be making hummus soon.

Kite Building

As mentioned in my last post, I made a kite for the Zilker Kite Festival, in hopes of flying it with the 100 bazillion other people in Zilker. However, the festival was cancelled. And this was AFTER it was moved back a weekend. Whatever. I got to fly my baby at the beach and it was awesome.

Making a kite is actually really easy, if you have a sewing machine. If you don't I'm sure some amount of tape would work. You just need fabric, thread, dowel rods, two bic pen caps, and one metal grommet. I used ripstop nylon fabric, in hot pink with neon green accents. Because, the 80's. A year or so ago I picked up this home sewing craft book from like 1993 at Goodwill that is mostly all a waste of paper, but there were instructions for a kite in there! And it worked out really well! I wouldn't say the instructions were easy to follow, but once I deciphered them throwing the thing together was cake.

Look at me all about to sew that pin!

So after some measurements, some cutting, and a few stitches, BOOM, you've got a kite! The form is made with dowel rods, and the center removable rod is held in place with BIC PEN CAPS! I was like what the heck when I read the instructions, but it works perfectly. Who knew!

I made the delta kite, but there's also instructions for a rounded kite. That required soaking a dowel rod in water and then bending it to your required curve, and I was like, NOPE. But it might be worth trying someday when I have... more patience.

And the winner of the most awkward kite flying stance goes to... So I definitely used some string meant for crocheting, because where do you get kite string? It worked just fine. That kite flew like a champion. I had so much string, it flew so high! And didn't fall once! That might have been from the perfect kite flying wind at the beach, but whatever. It was successful! I want to take it out to Zilker soon so I can show it off here in Austin.

Yay for kite building! Such a fun and quick project, with such awesome and usable results! I mean that kite is SOLID. So much better than the plastic business you get at the store. Perfect craft if you've got (older) kids. I'm thinking of making another for next year, but getting creative with the colors! Maybe a manly one for Mr. Hogan.