Monday, December 30, 2013

How to Have the Best NYE Ever!

Source
Hey homies!  Getting excited for New Years' Eve, like I am?  I wanted to put together a how-to-guide for those of you braving the elements to celebrate with your friends or your significant other.  Just remember to be safe and have fun!

Step One - Assemble Your Team, Set Up Home Base

So gather your friends to make a party, don't expect a huge crowd.  NYE is notoriously hard for getting people and especially couples to get out and join you.  Keep it small, no more than 4 people and you will be able to move around more smoothly.  Also don't worry if its just you and your best friend.  I've had plenty of awesome NYEs with my bestie.

Set up a Home Base at someone's place or apartment.  A central location everyone can meet up at.  While you wait for others to arrive, make party crowns with colorful pipe cleaners! 

Source

Or you could get some cute little cat ears. Source

They have similar ones at Forever 21. Source

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Look Back - 2013 (Part Two)

Hola muchachos!

Welcome back to the real world.  Sadly, now is time to put away the cookies, hot cocoa, mashed potatoes, Christmas ham, and wrapping paper.  We must now go to back to our jobs, messy homes, and hope for a even better year to be on it's way.  Fear not, though.  Let's take a look back on what 2013 has brought us.  Or me, I guess, specifically.  (Sorry, I sound like a jerk)

2013 Books

I didn't end up reading too many books this year, mainly because the fourth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) was such a slog to get through.  While people who had HBO were freaking out over the Red Wedding, I was plodding through the boring adventures of Cersei Lannister and the Greyjoy Brothers, Theon's uncles.  A task to be sure.  So when I finally finished eight months later, 2013 was almost at an end.  I did manage to read two memoirs, a decent murder mystery and a young adult novel. (because I'm a nerd, we've been over this)


WHY GOD!?!

Recommended if you were born in the 80's and felt like an outsider.  Not recommended if you don't listen to rap which I don't.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Look Back - 2013 (Part One)


I hope your holidays are going well!  If you are already back at work or just bored sitting around at Grandma's, now is a good time to look at 2013 in review.  Specifically I'm talking movies.  You ever wait for the People Magazine or Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Movies/Books/Music/TV Moments/Smoothie Flavors of the year to come out?  I do!  I eat that sh#t right up!

Gotta catch up on the stuff I missed out on!  Next year I'll watch more movies, listen to more music, read more books...until I get too lazy by February and then just waste time playing Arkham Asylum again for the 90th time.  Well, a girl can dream.

I wanted to kick off Part One of my fabulous retrospective with MOVIES!!  I love movies, so much so that my degree is in Film but I won't go all obnoxious film school on you because that's dumb and boring.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Holiday (Press) Play List

I hope you all will be enjoying time spent with your families, eating decadent meals, and taking long naps in front of the fire.  My family usually does a game night Christmas Day but occasionally we will make it a movie night instead.

I have my own holy trinity of Christmas movies that I MUST WATCH every Christmas.  This always includes Batman Returns, Die Hard and A Christmas Story.

Blue eyes...

More blue eyes...

Blue eyes--I'm sensing a type emerge here
Batman Returns is my jam.  It was the first superhero movie I ever saw in the theater, the summer before I turned 10.  This is my Star Wars.  This is the movie I'll always defend until my last breath, as creepy and really unsuitable for children, as it is.  I love it and nothing will change my mind.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

(W)Reef Update #3


I have been finishing up some last minute Christmas wreaths as homemade presents for my family. I made a Texas themed wreath for my mom using seasonal decorations from Michaels that I got for 70 percent off. I used some decorative succulents, red berry sprays, white pine tree trim, and some star shaped wooden cut outs that I spray painted silver. I added some vintage blue ornaments and a red bow fashioned from a bandana, which I found directions on Pinterest. I used an oval wreath rather than a circular wreath to make it interesting and unusual.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sad Christmas


http://www.buzzfeed.com/tracyclayton/saddest-christmas-songs-of-all-time
Every once in a while, I think the nation needs to has a quiet, contemplative, low-key Christmas and I think it’s happening this year.  Last year was on track to be Merry and Bright and then Sandy Hook Elementary happened.  Shook us, as a nation, to the core.  A quiet burn in our hearts and mind.

This tragedy cannot, will not be forgotten.  Its long-reaching shadow reaches for subsequent holidays.  We are still healing.


This December, much of the nation saw an ice and snow storm that kept us house-bound for a few days.  The very tail end caught us here in North Texas.  Ice covered our overpasses and highways, ill –constructed for any type of winter weather.  I got three days of from work. During that time there was no shopping, no putting up Christmas lights outdoors, and no holiday parties.  And it seemed to strip the holidays to the core.  Home-bound with a cup of soup, alone in your house or apartment.  Thinking about the family and friends you’d eventually reunite with.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Music

I love Christmas music, almost every Christmas song.  It's my favorite part of the holidays.  I'll listen to Christmas music in the car, after Thanksgiving and even few weeks after Christmas.

My dad used to sing in the Christmas Choir at church when we were kids and one year I was able to sing with him, even though I have terrible voice, so I have fond memories of the music.

I like to compile my own Christmas playlists and have set ya'll up with my first playlist.

Enjoy 12 of my favorite Christmas songs!

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let's Decorate!


I live in Texas and occasionally we will have snow days or bad weather days due to ice storms.  I've been at home since last Thursday due to the ice storm that makes much of our roads unsafe.  Last night I decided it was time to decorate for Christmas.

I didn't do it the first few days of December because our weather was unbearably warm, topping at 80 degrees for the high.  This weekend I tried to start decorating as I was catching up on the Walking Dead.  Big mistake, homies!  That show will kill ALL your warm and fuzzies for approximately 48 hours.

Last night felt finally right.  So I dragged all my decorations from the attic to start.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Cards - Yay or Nay?

Image Source
I still love getting Christmas cards in the mail.  As a kid, my folks would receive cards from family, friends and acquaintances around the country.  My mom would hang a giant, long velvet ribbon from the top of the stairs and staple the cards in descending order.  The closer to Christmas, the more cards would appear.

My mom is also a big proponent of the yearly newsletter, which always accompanies her card.  She’ll call me early December to do a mini-interview.  She’ll ask about my achievements in work or on my house.  Asks for an update on her grand-dog, Lil’ Mama.  This year’s newsletter will be extra special as the first grandbaby arrived in July.  My little nephew is super-sweet and smiles ALL the time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Grapevine, TX - The Christmas Capital of Texas

Umm, yeah. 
Hello lovelies.  And dudes too.  I’m not trying to exclude.  I work in an office not far from the Dallas Fort Worth airport in a little town called Grapevine.  Grapevine is known for their charming Main Street area which is bustling full of wine shops, antique stores, boutique shops, restaurants, bakeries, a working train station and even a jewelry store that used to be a bank, which supposedly the real Bonnie & Clyde had robbed back in the day.  They like to have tons of parades and festivals, mostly centered on the various wineries that reside Grapevine.  But they like Christmas too.  LOVE Christmas.

They really just mean the Christmas season, obvs.

On my lunch break, I decide to walk down Main Street to view the decorations being put together for the upcoming Christmas Parade of Lights and share some of the d├ęcor ideas I come across.  Here we go.
Hot pink and orange.  Barbie would totes be having an "O" Face.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DIY Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Setting



I hardly ever act as the host for Thanksgiving dinner, I’m the oldest of three adult children but as yet I’m unmarried.  My mom is still quite young at 50 and LOVES to host.  She is our hub, she is our home base.  She has perfected her turkey skills over years of trial and error.  She makes the turkey with stuffing, gravy made with turkey drippings, cranberry cool-whip salad, strawberry pecan salad, rolls, and bakes pre-made pies.  My step dad helps her with the turkey and said pies. 

My mom is Thanksgiving to me.  And also Christmas, and Easter, and Halloween.  She still works full time as an engineer and has a side job as a Pilate’s instructor.  There is no stopping this woman.
However, once every blue moon, I’m asked to host a dinner or little Christmas party, or Mother’s Day luncheon due to the fact that I live close to the airport and can accommodate out of town guests with tight flight schedules. 

Sometimes this happens with very short notice.  So for my ultimate Thanksgiving DIY, I wanted to show how you can put together a last minute table setting with stuff you can find around the house.  I’m assuming you all are crafters like me and have spare yarn, craft paper, and felt.  If you don’t, I encourage you to have some on hand.  You can make a million little crafts for birthdays, holidays and other special events.  


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thank goodness for Thanksgiving!


The essentials.

Thanksgiving is not as flashy as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day or Fourth of July.   It stands alone as the least commercialized holiday in the United States.  There is no specific ceremony or opportunity to give gifts.  Of course it is still leaden with tradition, heavy with the expectation to gather with family.

Some hate Thanksgiving.  Hate the traveling woes or straight up hate their family.  We all have dysfunctional families.  We all have that one cousin or uncle that prefer to use the opportunity to air out grievances or use as a battlefield to incite new blood feuds.  Making the turkey course a little precarious right up through the dessert course, consuming pumpkin pie absolutely mortified.  This is the real reason there is a Kid’s Table.  Too much wine and too much turkey lead to the reveal of the family’s most salacious secrets.  That stuff is NOT for kids.

I used to dread what my family would say about my eventual weight gain, as it was customary for me to put on a few pounds after October.  I would hate having to squeeze into my nicest work clothes, as Thanksgiving was not special enough to merit a new outfit, unlike Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

I would hate the traffic to and from Austin to Dallas-Fort Worth for the Thanksgiving weekend.  Traffic once piled up so bad it took me 8 hours to complete a 3.5 hour drive.  We hate other people rushing around, with little regard to anyone else’s safety, to be with their own families.  Of whom we could care less.

But one Thanksgiving was different for me.  My father passed away days before.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DIY Movember Magnets



 I'm not really sure if No-Shave Movember is still a thing, kinda of like how Fashion Night Out died a quiet death.  But who doesn't love mustaches?  It's one of the many hipster mascots that out there, along with cats, birds, and nerd glasses.

Like one my favorite Portlandia skits "Put a Bird On it", you can put a mustache on ANYTHING.



Just check Pinterest for "mustache" and you find coffee mugs, t-shirts, stickers, nail art, and more.  People are insane for anything with a mustache.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

(W) Reef Update #2





It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..... no, seriously.  My office building has already put up a giant wreath over the entrance and the Christmas lights up.

I get people wanting a head start on Christmas.  To FINALLY be ahead of the curve.  I get it.  I do.  Less than 4 weeks is not enough time for all the decorating, shopping, baking and spending time together that most people want to enjoy in December.

So I definitely sense a trend of people starting way early.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DIY Pretzel Necklaces


In light of North Texas Beer Week, I wanted to provide a simple DIY for pretzel necklaces.  I like to make pretzel necklaces for brewery tours, beer festivals, beer tastings, and Oktoberfest.  Pretzel necklaces really have not caught on here in Dallas-Fort Worth despite our burgeoning craft beer scene.

You can simply string pretzels or go for a interlocking design like the one I made below.

You will need colored yarn, mini pretzels, and scissors.

Monday, November 11, 2013

B*tch

Image Source
I called a co-worker a b*tch the other day.  I muttered it under my breath.  AND was overheard.  AND was confronted the next day by her boss and mine.

No big deal, right? But see we don't work at a nail salon, or a restaurant or any other semi-casual setting in which name calling occurs on a regular basis, like it's no big deal.  We work for a privately owned investment company run by a small number of general partners, that in another life worked as lawyers, business men, or IT geniuses.  There is a total workforce of about 70 people in all.  There is an upstairs floor and a downstairs floor, with a working elevator. There are several meeting rooms with black leather chairs straight out of any 90's era movie about Wall Street.  There is a tasteful lobby entrance with glass doors and a marble countertop. 

I work downstairs, nestled in the back corner of a cubicle farm.  I have business cards, my own direct number, a company email address, and even a gold plastic nameplate.  I talk to investors, financial advisors, and financial institutions from New York to Hawaii, from 9am to 6pm, 5 days a week. If I had called someone a b*tch, it was a HUGE deal.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Office Birthdays

I am the queen of office birthdays.  I really like to decorate my co-workers cubicles and surprise them for their birthdays.  I'll pick a theme or a color scheme and go with it.  There is a certain method to my madness.  I like to use Pinterest to cull ideas based on a theme or color.

For one of my co-workers I was inspired by the color yellow and the theme of "Little Miss Sunshine". So I found a cute little wreath on this post and general inspiration here.




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Index Fest '13 Wrap-Up

Hola Amigos.  Reporting to you live from....actually reporting to you after spending last Saturday night at the Index Music Festival in Deep Ellum neighborhood in Dallas, TX.

In the cit-ay!
I saw the headliner Girl Talk, bands P.O.S., Warpaint, Sarah JaffeYear of the Bear, and Dark Rooms.

Girl Talk with onstage antics borrowed from The Flaming Lips

Monday, October 21, 2013

(W)Reef Update #1

I've been working on some more wreaths in my spare time and getting ready to open an Etsy shop, hopefully soon.  I just wanted to give you guys a preview.

I just finished a Baby Shower wreath for a co-worker for her baby girl.  This one is already out the door but I will provide variations for the Etsy shop in the future.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cronuts Fo' Sho' nuts


Some days when I'm not even expecting it, I'll have something wonderful and magical happen.  Kind of like when you find a $50 bill in the middle of an empty parking lot at the airport.  That absolutely happened to me once.  I was so upset I woke up almost too late to catch a flight that I was muttering, nearly in tears, with my head down when I spotted it.  It was almost like sign a from God, "cheer up Mags!  I promise your day will get better."

On this particular day I went for lunch at a bakery- bistro close to my work in Grapevine, TX.
They have scary good bread! Hahahaha!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

DIY Sugar Skull Pumpkins

Winter is coming!


Hahaha, but not before fall.  As you can probably assume from the blog name, I LOVE Halloween!  Who doesn't?  My birthday is in late October, so I've always had Halloween-themed birthday parties growing up.

I love to carve a little pumpkin, roast the seeds and listen to the Audio Book version of World World Z,  which you can buy here. It features the voices of Henry Rollins, Max Brooks, Mark Hamill, and Alan Alda and is amaaaaaaazing.

I decided to paint some pumpkins last year as sugar skulls, to go with my Dia de Los Muertos' themed birthday party because I really dig the bright colors as opposed to the more traditional black and orange Halloween colors.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

(W)Reef Shop

I'm currently working on some items for an upcoming Esty shop, tentatively titled (W)Reef Shop.  I'm still doing research on the Etsy Do's and Don'ts so I'm not even sure if they will allow a stoner-themed name at all.  I don't smoke but I just thought the name would be funny.  If anyone has Etsy tips or advice, drop a line in the comments below.

For now my open concept dining/living room is a mess.  I'm playing around making some "New Hire" and "Happy Birthday" occasion wreaths.  I know the felt and yarn wreath market is close to being over-saturated but I feel there is still some room for me to stretch my wings.  I want to make crazy awesome wreaths for the younger crowd.  I would love to get receive a cute little wreath to display in my cubicle from a coworker or friend.

In the meantime, here is my progress aka "Path of Destruction".


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pimento Cheese


I have never had real pimento cheese before.  Because the fake pimento cheese was really Cheez Wiz.  In a jar. With pimentos.  Growing up pimentos were short-hand for nasty crap.  Olives had pimentos.  Chicken a la King had pimentos.  Pimento loaf is bologna studded with pimento-stuffed olives.  Nasty crap.  As kids, my siblings and I, weren't exactly knocking back martinis with stuffed olives. 

Chicken a la King, despite it's regal name, is actually chicken breasts smothered in mushroom sauce with pimentos over a bed of white rice.  It's bland chicken with bland mushroom sauce, on plain white rice.  Instead of adding an extra kick with the pickled spiciness of the pimentos, the pimentos actually made the dish horrible to my childhood taste buds.  Ruined it.  Destroyed it. Like, kill it, burn it, bury it in the backyard; destroyed it. I no longer cared for anything with pimentos.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hello and Welcome!

Hi!  First post eva!  I don't even know where to start.

If you looking to be blown away by a slick, professional, designer blog you may want to look elsewhere.  This blog is going to be awesome but it is still a work in progress.  Like a teenage Wonder Woman in a training bra.  A little gawky, a little dorky-looking, but still kick-ass.

I live in the Dallas-Forth Worth area of Texas, so you will probably see me posting tons of local shizz.  I love the inherent glitz Dallas puts on and the tortured soul it hides within.

October means State Fair O' Tejas time.  Its a mecca of fried food, Texan culture, games, rides, auto shows, music and As-Seen-On-TV kitchen demos!  Seriously, it's the best.  This year was extra-special to me because we saw the return of  Big Tex after the old Big Tex erupted into flames last year.

Big Tex looking tan and well-rested.