Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Taking A Breath and A Break


The radio silence of this site these days has been ringing pretty loudly in my ears. A nagging feeling that why I knew I should sit down and really focus on creative content, somehow the list of other life things kept getting in the way. It makes me a little sad, but I'm taking a break from this space. 

About a year and a half ago, I started this teeny tiny slice of the internet as a creative outlet and to chronicle an exciting time in our life. Almost 200 posts later, we have covered everything from moving to renovating to running to so many things in between. I'd like to think I may come back and start again, but who knows what will happen in the future. Right now between balancing family and friends and work and running and life, I know that something had to give. As much as I love this space feeling balanced and present in my life needs to take precedent for now. I'm really happy with the journey of the past year and a half and love where life has me right now. The best way for me to enjoy our current stop on this journey is to take a step back from here and focus on enjoying it!

Major props of all of you out there who 'do it all' and are thriving at it! I'm in awe over you! Also major props to some of you who may be struggling with balance- I'm so impressed at your work ethic! I'm excited to still be an active reader of the blogs I love so much and maybe one day I'll be back as a blogger.

Most of all thanks for those who have taken a bit of time out of their day to stop in and see what was going on over here! It has been a pleasure to share a bit of sass with all of yall! 

Until who knows if/when,
Shay

Friday, May 20, 2016

5 for Friday: Meal Time Savers

This week has been bananas. Scratch that the last two weeks have-- wait, no actually the whole last month has been a 'hang-on-for-dear-life' ride full of to do lists, to do-right-now lists, and what-is-wrong-with-you-do-it-yesterday-to do lists. I'm really hoping that things are going to slow down (read: I'm going to try to prioritize my time better), but until then I've been leaning on these meal starters hard recently. I generally try to make everything from scratch or scratch-ish, but that is simply because I enjoy cooking and really like to know what I'm putting in my body. These little short cuts/ okay in some cases pre-made meals have been what gets food on the table while the dog is stealing neighbors toys, we are scrubbing our fingers raw to get the accidentally-purchased-oil-based primer out of our bath tub, and the work day drags into the work night.

1) Trader Joe's Spinach Tortellini
Fresh Spinach Tortellini
Throw this some spinach, ground turkey, garlic, and tomato sauce together for an easy 15 minute meal that tastes great and is budget friendly. Pair with a nice glass of dirty laundry or a serving of bills to be paid.

2) Tamales
Texas Tamale Company is always good, yet even better when there is no time to make a real dinner. I personally love the chicken and the spinach, but I heard that the black bean ones are delicious with a side of eggs for breakfast. Heat up some charo beans, slice some tomatoes and an avocado, and enjoy while trying to figure out exactly how to fold a fitted sheet or better yet hiding it in a closet minutes before company arrives.

3) Pre-Made Rotisserie Chicken
I love cooking whole chickens, I love the smell, I love the taste, and I love how fancy I feel pulling a whole bird out for dinner. However, I also love that buying the pre-made chicken at the grocery store means we can eat before midnight. I like mine with green beans and crescent rolls. Best served on clean dishes or paper plates, or straight from the plastic container. No shame.

4) California Pizza Kitchen's Frozen White Pizza
Confession: I've never actually been to CPK. Confession: I generally don't like pizza. Confession: This one may be going too far, but in grad school I would buy one of these during Fridays in lent and just eat this all day. There is a little spinach on it... so that must count for something. Love these suckers and piling on some kalamata olives and red pepper flakes. Best prepared in an oven. Pro tip: don't try to clean said oven while cooking pizza.

5) Crock pot anything!
I've been using thsi bad boy quite a few times recently to just be able to eat something with half the work.

What about you? Any meal time savers that you're digging?
-S


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Adding Another to the List

I have 13 home improvement projects spinning in my mind right now, 2 currently creating a crap ton of saw dust in our loft (so excited to hopefully soon share), 1 new set of DIY project parts headed our way in the mail, and I'm thinking of adding another to the list. Shhh... don't tell my husband. Or our awesome set of family and friends that spent a big part of the weekend and today helping whip up another DIY project into shape. 

I've shared a couple of our recent projects like our DIY board and batten dining room and front door upgrade,
 
 but behind the scenes we have spent a lot of time over the past year (literally) working our way from room to room. Our house is by no way done, but we are getting closer to having the house look like we want it to.

One of the things I was deadset on when we moved into the house was fixing up the living room's centerpiece: the fireplace. It isn't ugly. It isn't attractive. It just kinda sits there needing some love. I'm not a fan of the painted white brick and I think the whole thing is a little flat, but I also have a fond vivid memory of getting my gym shorts stuck to the wood adhesive while laying a hardwood floor, so I need a bit more confidence before whipping up some plans.  I don't have a easy photo available, but you can see some snaps of the not-lighting-my-fire-fireplace from the following two photos.



Yeah there are definitely dog toys in both of the photos. Oops.

I've been thinking of creating an easy DIY upgrade to make the fireplace really stand out as the center of the room. I've come up with two options.

1) Adding a floating mantle
How To Build a Mantel:
I love that we could make a real centerpiece out of the fireplace AND have more than just a couple inch shelf for pictures, candles, and all sorts of knickknacks. I'm a little nervous to negotiate adhering anything into a wall of bricks... and the holes that it would leave if we weren't able to manage that. BUT I do love the look.

great idea: paint a traditional fireplace screen a modern, bold color!:

This could be a fun way to bring in some more color into the space AND it has the added benefit of being entirely possible to do in an hour.

Thoughts? If you were secretly adding projects to a home to-do list, what would you pick?
-S

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Denver- The Good Part


Okay, you heard me mope and complain and sugar coat pretty much nothing about the bad symptoms part of our weekend in Denver, but that isn't fair. Up until the moment of... well of no return, the weekend was perfect. Since documenting the bad side has happened, documenting the good sign is absolutely necessary. My sister and brother in law are kinda like the bests hosts ever. Everything is so casual and easy when you stay there that you couldn't feel anything but at home. I mean seriously if you had 4 grown adults getting violently ill in your basement and that doesn't stress you out, I think you deserve a big gold star. That was my last mention of being violently ill... I promise.



One day we headed out for a quick hike. When we lived in California, we would go hiking almost every week so it was nice to get back out and away from everything. Also, can you check out that hiking-baby-carrier-thing (yes, definitely the technical term). Emilia has probably more covered more elevation in her year on earth than I have in my life.


There were storms in the distance and the sky was a beautiful deep shade of blue. These are definitely not Houston views.




And because I can't help myself, here is one picture of the star of the show. 


It was so much fun seeing how much she has grown in the past couple months since I've seen her. If I'm being honest, for the past year I've carried some irrational guilt about missing all the little things- the daily developments, the mega meltdowns, or the what-the-heck-do-I-do-how-am-I-the-mom moments. Growing up with a sibling, you don't miss anything. You're there when they learn to drive, when you play cooking show during summer break, you're there when you steal their clothes, or the annual family beach trip- you are around all the time. From the first time I met this sweet little babe it became crystal clear that so much of this stuff will be missed. I'll miss watching my sister and brother in law send her off to school for the first time, (hopefully will miss) the first time she is grounded, their summer trips, and everything in between. But before I let myself go down a rabbit hole of tears, I realize that  of course these moments will be missed. This new addition may have their own siblings, their own memories, their own inside jokes on how ridiculous her parents are. My sisters and I haven't lived under the same roof in well over a decade and that doesn't stop us from picking up/ picking on where we left the last time we were together. All I can hope for this sweet babe is that her family provides both roots and wings. Oh and I guess I also hope for a windfall of frequent flyer miles.

-S

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Babies Win 5 Out of 6 Times



Warning: This is the only photo that you will find today (you will quickly discover why).
Extra Warning: There is a 2% chance of complete sentences; read on if you dare.

Thursday:

I hightailed it out of the office for a late afternoon meeting.
Meeting ran later than expected and I scurried home to pack for a weekend trip to celebrate our favorite family member's 1st birthday and Mother's Day.
Packed a weekend bag, ate a frozen pizza, and cleaned the house in an embarrassing short period of time.
Went for a quick run while being highly impressed at the amount of drunk Cinco-de-Mayo-ers already out.
Showered.
Did some more work, put my away message up, and tried to block out the growing to-do list items that I knew would emerge.
Hopped on a plane to see my favorite little family in the world.

Friday:

Landed in Colorado, forced my sister to wake up to pick us up at the airport, oogled over their home renovations until we fell asleep.
Woke up to the best 1 year old that I've ever seen.
Forced her to hug me, tried to bribe her to dislike my other sister (road to #funaunt begins), and had a great time.
Cooked a bit, laughed a lot, and tried to acclimate to the altitude.
Had a fantastic Italian dinner, had about 7 fantastic Italian desserts, stayed up to late drinking beers on a patio.
Had a great day.

Saturday:

Woke up to the best 1 year old that I've ever seen.
Forced her to hug me, tried to bribe her to dislike my other sister (road to #funaunt begins), had a great time.
Got some exciting news from my other sister; although I'm still not retracting my niece bribery.
Got ready for a pretty wild 1st birthday party, talked shop with a fellow crime novel fan, was deterred from waking the birthday girl up from her nap to play with me.
THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET BAD
Got sick, got sick again, hid in the basement for far to long.
Woke up hours later just to repeat previous activities.
Lured people into my room only to see them wearing gas masks, thought that was funny, but it hurt to laugh.
Slept, got sick, slept, got sick.
Infected husband who also slept, got sick, slept, and got sick.
Used a heating pad to stay warm, laid on concrete to cool off, and basically was a delirious mess.

Sunday:

Woke my mom and sister up with graphic details of the illness from Hades (happy mothers day).
Slept in a basement all day.
Avoided human interaction; I'm sure actually all humans were avoiding me.
Tried to drink a Gatorade.
Decided to definitely not drink a Gatorade.
Didn't make flight to Houston.
Actually could barely even make it up the stairs.
Watched a cooking show (not a good idea on an empty stomach) and fell asleep.

Monday:

Tentatively made it up the stairs.
Tentatively ate more than 8 cheerios.
Tentatively saw the outside.
Slowly became human again (mostly to con the birthday girl to play with me).
Cloroxed the heck out of the room we had infected.
And (fingers crossed) are boarding a plane back home in a few hours.

That is what a vacation weekend looks like when the plague hits your family. Of the 6 adults visiting, 5 were struck down with this lightning bolt illness. Apparently in the contest between adult immune systems and baby viruses, babies win 5 out of 6 times.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Houstonians: 1 Year

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May 3rd marks one year in Houston. A year ago, we were just getting into town with (barely) enough time to make it to the first of what turned out to be 7820364810837 open houses. Give or take a hundred.

A year ago, we were both embarrassingly sad that we left our favorite pillows at the last hotel we stayed in during our glamorous 8 hour stop over in Lubbock.

A year ago, we didn't quite remember what the Houston humidity was really like. Now, I don't think we will ever forget this.

A year ago, all our belongings were either in a car or a storage pod. Neither were particularly well packed.

A year ago, we were living out of 1 suitcase each. Our naivete believed that we would find a house, buy a house, and move into a house before too long- so we didn't pack very well.

A year ago, I had no job! I'd just quit one that I'd loved, was doing a little freelance work, and was in the middle of 7 job interviews to get the job that I love now.

A year ago, we were one day away from going to our first Kickball game. A group of awesome new people that have become our go-tos and are so grateful for.

A year ago, we were tired, and scared, and had no idea what was to come.

I'm so grateful that we took the leap back to (at times what felt like the kiddie pond) home. Houston really is an awesome place to live, work, and play. I can't wait for another year.

No longer Cross Country Kulhas,
S

Monday, May 2, 2016

April Showers Bring May....


It is already May. No idea how that happened, but I will take it. April went by in a flash. It came with a vengeance and here in Houston is just rained and rained and rained. Then it stopped and then it started raining again. 

I had a big long list of things that needed to get done this past month, but very few things really got accomplished. In terms of consistency with posting on this little slice of the internet, it was the fewest number of posts in a month ever. I tried to write more consistently, but real life things took priority. Oh and netflix. Real life and netflix get in the way of so many things.

What was great about April? I got to attend a lot of arts events ranging from the symphony to a musical to a Greek play to a live printing demonstration. Andrew and I knocked off a couple Houston must-do's off our list. We spent a lot of time with family and friends. Had a blast checking out some restaurants (Uchi- I'm looking at you). Work has been challenging and fufilling. We may have just picked up a new training trick for Cal. And...

Andrew passed the Texas bar! When we moved from California where he was bar certified, we knew he would have to take the Texas again. The one thing we didn't know (or remember) was how trying the whole process to be. After months of him studying, a couple months of me worrying, and maybe a couple nightmares, he got the great news that not only did he pass it- but did great!

So April Showers are bringing big smiles so far this May,
Shay