Friday, July 27, 2012

Coffee life version 2.0

I am alive. I know you all thought I was dead (at least via the internet), but alas! I have just been living at work. I don't blog about work often for a couple reasons: putting your work biz on the internet is usually not professional, and it would probably be boring for you all to read about. BUT, since I have done pretty much nothing but work for the past couple weeks, allow me to shed a little light into my work life (work friends who read this blog, I apologize. I know you know what's up).

If you are new to this little blog (or just clueless about what I've been up to for the past year) I work at a coffee shop and I love my job. Seriously. I wont go into the details, but it's a blast and everyone I work with seems to suffer from awesomeness.

I started out with the company a little over a year ago as a barista right after we moved from Austin. I kind of went out on a limb taking the job and took a pretty significant pay cut from waiting tables, easily by half. BUT, I had a good feeling about it and it ended up being a great decision. In December I was promoted to a supervisor position and about a month ago I was promoted to assistant general manager opening a new store with a seriously great general manager (Roger, don't let that go to your head). From basically minimum wage to salary in a year? I'll take it, I worked my butt off!

Anyway, we officially opened the new store today! We are the 8th store in Texas and this is the second store I've helped open. I was originally hired to open the 6th store, so it has been so awesome to be able to open another store, this time as management. Opening a store is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot, I mean A LOT, of work. I have never worked so hard in my life. Ever. I can't remember my last day off. I am far and beyond exhausted, my feet (and body) are killing me, but it has all been a blast and so worth it.

So that's what I've been doing. And here are a few pictures of it all via my phone because who has time for a real camera these days? Not me.

The best part of opening a new store? Writing on everything. And labeling everything. And putting everything where you want it... okay there are a lot of good things.

I don't know what you know about espresso machines, but that bad boy is a beauty.

We have a chalk board wall. How cool is that? Of course I jumped all over that nonsense.

In case you're ever wondering what I look like 75% of my life.

Beautiful flowers my dad and step momma sent!

Last night we had a preview event and gave away a gazillion free drinks. It was so busy! But so fun! My mom and sister came all the way up to watch me run around like crazy, those sweeties. And I got to see all my homies (yes, homies) from other stores, you are all the best for coming and supporting us! 

Putting a store together is seriously rewarding, seeing it go from an empty shell to a fully stocked and functioning shop is surreal. And I am so fortunate to work for and with such fantastic (and FUN) people!

And for those in the know:

The biggest RAD order I've ever seen (although I've heard rumor of bigger). And... there was no invoice.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Little Legal Sister

Forgive me internet, I have been a bad blogger. My life has been absolutely insane lately, but in the best way. Life has been busy and work has been EXTRA busy. This deserves its own post later.

So here is one of the recent events in my busy but wonderful life, Thursday my baby sister Julie turned 21!! Can you believe it? I sure can't! But I'm glad she is legal, so now we can go for drinks!

Brendon and I headed down to San Marcos Thursday evening to celebrate with her and my momma. We had tacos (always a good idea) at a little place on the square and then went to the coolest bar ever, Zelick's. This place was awesome. I wish it was in Austin, because I would be there all the time. Not that I drink a lot (because I don't, at all, excluding this night, which I will discuss soon), but that the atmosphere was just great. It was all outdoors with lots of seating, it was super cute, and there were all kinds of yard games. We played bean bags! Turns out Brendon is pretty good, and the rest of us are not. I loved that place and plan to return!

So here are some scenes from the evening, but first, a warning. As I stated before, I don't really drink. I used to do so quite a bit, but I just can't hang anymore. The last time I was drunk (before Thursday night) was last November. I enjoy beer and will have one or two, but I don't get drunk. BUT, I did on my sister's birthday. Not like a hot mess or anything, but drunk enough to feel pretty crummy the next day and remind me why I stopped drinking. I blame the shots. If you see me with a shot, slap it out of my hands and tell me to go home.

Continuing on.

Julie and one of her presents, a map! And check out that sweet dress she's wearing. Guess who made it. You're right, it was me! Clever readers you are. I made this dress basically in one night. Like I said, life has been cray, and I am an excellent procrastinator, so of course I had to crank it out in an evening. And I did! I was beyond exhausted when I started and I don't really remember finishing it, so I'm not sure how I managed to knock it out successfully (minus one pocket a little awkwardly placed), but I'm a big fan of it. It's the seersucker dress pattern I made before just slightly shortened and with an added collar. Julie picked out all the fabric and I love the way it turned out. It's so retro and adorable. And of course, because everything does, it looks great on her!

What's going on with my hand? At the taco place with drinks that are mostly not ours.

Sorry Jules, I don't think professional bean bag tossing is in your future.

 Defining "paleness".

 My mom is cooler than I am. By a lot.

Shots were a bad choice. I took two. Julie's friends Anthony and Ryan came to hang out. They were fun!

Did I marry that man?

It was a really great night. It was super relaxing and super fun, and pretty much worth the slight terribleness in the morning. Hanging out with my mom and sister was wonderful! Julie continued onwards after we called it a night (because we are old farts), and I hope she enjoyed the rest of the evening! I had a blast on her birthday and I hope she did too!

And as seems to be customary, I will leave you with a photographic gem:

I love you Jules. Thank you for beings so fun, sweet, and for making that dress look so good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let them eat cake

I love baking. The end product is yummy, the batter is yummy, and it makes your house smell yummy. My newest obsession seems to be cakes. With berries. It's a summer thing I guess. I made this most recent cake for a friend's birthday today and I have to say, it came out pretty good. This is the second cake I've made from scratch. It's a little more time consuming than one out of a box, but there's no preservatives and they're damn good! Plus you can improvise way more. Although boxed cakes are good too.

This little baby was just two plain white layers with strawberries and blackberries pureed with a little fresh orange juice in the middle. The icing was my favorite part. It was cream cheese icing (yummy by it's self, I'll have to share the recipe sometime) but I added a little (okay, maybe a lot) of orange zest. WIN. It was delish. Threw some berries on top and it was done.

I'm a fan of baking cakes. And eating them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The pretty version of us

A couple weeks ago (on the hottest day of the year) we met up with the adorable Jenni from Story of My Life on South Congress and she took some pretty pictures of us. And I mean real pretty. We don't look this good in real life y'all, girlfriend has skills. She is super sweet, hilarious, and a bad ass with a camera. Thank you for being a rockstar and sweating it out with us Jenni, we had a blast!


We did this shoot just for fun, I wanted some more recent photos of us and I mean who doesn't love having their picture taken? (Brendon.) We ladies love it. And nice to have these pictures to look back on, so when we're all old and wrinkly we can say, "hey we were young once, see!".

Of course all these lovely photos are courtesy of Jenni, and you can see more of our faces on her blog! She's super awesome and I highly recommend her if you are in the Austin area and in need of a photographer. She'll make you laugh and look good, bonus!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Arkansas - part 3

It's the last installment of our little vacation y'all! Here is part 1 and part 2.

So for our last day/night in Hot Springs, we stayed in a hotel. We had a hard time choosing. There are three types of hotels in Hot Springs. There are the historic hotels downtown, there are old funky motels everywhere, and there are new chain hotels in the actual city of Hot Springs and near the lake. I wanted to stay in a historic hotel, however I have a slight problem/phobia with hotels/staying anywhere but home. It has to be clean. I'd prefer to think that no one other than myself has ever stayed there. The bathrooms and the beds are the worst. I've suffered many a panic (or is it anxiety...) attack in environments that I felt were unclean. It's ridiculous. And it's all in my head, but in the moment it doesn't matter. It's like life or death. If you've had a panic/anxiety attack, you know what I'm talking about. You feel absolutely insane and you know you're being crazy but it doesn't matter because YOU HAVE TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.

SO, after much debate, we picked a slightly (like built in the 60's?) historic hotel downtown. Not the one I wanted, but it was just fine. Only had a slight moment where I thought I'd lose my cool but I held it together. I am proud. We stayed at the Springs Hotel and Spa. I'd recommend it. It's a good deal, it's nice, although a little old, and you get free breakfast at a bad ass place down the street called the Colonial Pancake and Waffle House. Eat there if you are in Hot Springs. Seriously.

We checked in early and immediately headed to the pool for a bit, because it was sunny!

The pool overlooked downtown and had a great view of the mountain across the way. Our room had the same view, it was pretty sweet. After pool time we headed up to our room and showered. And it was amazing. It felt so damn good to finally be clean.
 Post shower, feeling so fresh and so clean!

Then we went to take those old timey old west photos. You know the ones I'm talking about. Where you dress up and pose in a saloon. I have always wanted to do that, and IT WAS SO FUN! And the pictures are amazing. It was outrageously overpriced but so worth it. I will share them soon, they are awesome.

I'd like to quickly discuss the city of Hot Springs. It's an interesting place. There are a lot of abandoned and empty buildings. A lot. Abandoned buildings from the early 1900's as well as from the late 1900's. A lot of emptiness and a lot of businesses gone. It was kind of creepy. A lot about this town creeped us out a little, but I kind of liked it. It was like a ghost town. I'm not sure if it's because we were there during the week versus the weekend but the town just had this empty feeling. It's hard to explain.

This hotel (the Majestic) went out of business in 2006, and I think it was built in like 1902. We walked up to it and it was trashed on the inside. I would LOVE to explore the rooms.

There were a lot of buildings like this. Beautiful century old building just sitting there empty. But, for all the emptiness downtown there was also a lot of life. There were tons of cute shops! And everything has such an old charming feeling to it, I love it.

For dinner that night we ate at a little German place (we love anything German!) that was absolutely empty (I think we were one of two tables the whole time we were there) but the food was fantastic.

Creepy husband!

We spent our last evening in Hot Springs hanging out on our balcony, enjoying the view, and people watching.

The next morning we got up early to go on a little hike before we headed back home. This hike was literally up a mountain! My buns and thighs were a burnin', it was a little intense!
 Crossing a very pretty newly paved road.

 This seemed like a good pose, but it's not.

The view from the top was pretty great. We could see for miles and miles, plus we had a great view of downtown! The trail took us around the whole mountain as it winded it's way to the top.

This is what post-hiking-up-a-mountain looks like.

We ran our way back down the mountain. The trip up took us probably over half an hour and the run down took us maybe 5 minutes. It was kind of scary running downhill (with lots of trees to run/fall/roll to your death into), but extra fun. It reminded me of skiing, you feel like you're out of control and are going to crash at any moment, but you don't and it's a blast.

After breakfast and packing up, we headed back to Texas. Our drive back was fairly uneventful. We took major highways back so we didn't have anything pretty to look at. It was good to be home, although I wasn't quite ready to head back to reality. I want to be on vacation with Brendon forever. It is just so good and so fun. We have the best adventures. Plus it was beyond wonderful to have nothing but nonstop time together, we don't get enough of that. We need to win the lottery so we can vacation permanently!

I thoroughly enjoyed Hot Springs. I love being out in the woods and being in a small laid back town was nice too. It was hard coming back to this wild city. As much as I like Austin, I think I'd prefer something a little quieter. I miss nature. I loved camping and hiking and getting sweaty and stuck in the rain. Which is weird because a couple years ago I would have hated it. I guess as you get older your preferences change! The good thing about Austin is that even though we are stuck in the middle of this modern mess, we are just a short drive away from nature. We just need to escape to it more often!

Arkansas - part 2

Okay, here we go, Hot Springs round two! Round one is here. So as I mentioned at the end of my last post, our sunny day was interrupted by rain as soon as we set up our tent. And it continued to rain on and off for the majority of our trip. We have awesome luck like that. But I am thankful. Arkansas was experiencing record breaking heat wave and drought before the rain rolled in, so I am glad that it did. And the temperature was great, nice and mellow. I doubt it got above 90 the whole trip, and I sported a sweater quite a bit!

The campground was not at all what we expected. It was in a little valley with a creek running through it. It was very very very small and the camp sites were squished together. Seriously squished. Our neighbors were extra close. Like we could throw roll a stone to them. And what interesting neighbors we had! A few of them were actually living there I think. Very interesting characters, I'm not going to lie, we were a little scared of some of them at first. But regardless of their oddness, everyone was incredibly nice. There was an older lady next to us from Florida that was traveling/camping across the country (I'm assuming) with just her dog. She was so sweet. And a family across from us had a cat, a kitten, and a snake (in a terrarium) traveling with them! Too cool. There was also this terrifying dog next to us who would lunge and bark whenever anyone came near. Not so cool.

Our humble abode:

 Hiding out during one of the frequent rain showers. 

 This creek was right next to our tent. So pretty.

Camping in the rain is interesting. We stayed relatively dry the first night but by the second night all our blankets and pillows were fairly damp just from the constant humidity. We were sticky and pretty stinky by day three. And there were no showers. None.

 Sleepy heads after our first rainy night.

Our second day at Hot Springs we continued exploring. We walked "the promenade" downtown which is a paved path that's kind of on the side of the mountain and was full of hot spring fountains and one pretty legit waterfall. I can't say enough how beautiful it was here. So many trees, and even though they were in a drought everything was so green!

The water coming down this waterfall was so hot there was steam in the air. You could feel the heat radiating off of it just by standing near it!

In a brief lapse of rain, we cooked out for lunch. We had all kinds of plans for grilling all our meals, but unfortunately the rain had other ideas. We did manage a chicken fajita lunch with roasted marshmallows for dessert though!

 Hungry Marie is grumpy.

 Marie with dessert is happy!

Oh, and Brendon brought an axe? And threw it into a tree?

After our grilled lunch we went for a little hike in the drizzle. The creek was so pretty. Nature is amazing.

We also went for a longer hike along the side of a mountain and once again I was blown away by how beautiful everything was. I get why they call Arkansas "the natural state".

 Don't tell the hippies, but we carved our initials into a tree. 'Cause we're corny like that.

Once we got to the end of the trail, it started raining. Big time. We had our camera with us, that we weren't too keen on getting wet, and we still had to turn around and go all the way back. So we ran, on a trail, on the side of a mountain, in the rain. Brendon carried the camera wrapped up in his shirt. It was so fun. I missed running, and running on a trail in the woods is far more interesting than running on the sidewalk in the city. But we were soaked when we got back. I guess we took a natural shower. We were seriously in need of a real one.

This was my hair at the end of the night. I have pretty dang straight hair. It doesn't do much of anything ever, except hang there and get bushy. BUT LOOK AT THOSE WAVES. My hair has never gotten that wavy before. Ever. That's how humid it was.

After sleeping in a seriously damp tent our second night, we were extra ready to head to civilization. We stayed at a hotel our last night and checked in early so we could shower. Because we needed it. Badly.

The Xterra helping our tent, sleeping bags, and tarps dry off. Everything was soggy. Us included.

Next, we return to civilization and do a little more exploring in the town. And man I cannot stress enough to you how good it felt to shower.