Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I won!

I just got back from the Downtown Resident's Council meeting (the first one I've been able to attend in many months)...and I won a door prize!! There were several handed out, but I won the perfect one for me. The meeting was held at Elevation Fitness Club in the office building catty-corner to our apartment (we can see it from our kitchen window), aka Carie's building cuz that's where she works. My door prize was....a 1 month membership to Elevation and a free personal training session!!

I am really super excited about this prize, and it couldn't have come at a better time. I had already decided that March was going to be the month I got my butt back in gear about shaping up and losing weight...and then this falls in my lap! It's definitely a sign. I have no idea whether I'll continue my membership after the month is over. Dues aren't too bad, but if I'm going to pay to go workout somewhere, I'm kinda leaning towards the downtown Y, because they have a pool....something our apartment building is sadly lacking. So we'll see...a lot depends on how much I enjoy working out over there and how good their class offerings are. I can't wait though...this is beyond perfect!

And I think now that I've put it out there that I'm going to start shaping up in March...I can't back down now! That's some motivation there. :)

Along with the personal training session, we also had some wonderful and informative talks from several downtown stakeholders...including DART, Hamilton Properties, and even Jason's Deli, which just opened a location in downtown last year, and just started staying open for residents (meaning, past 5:00 PM on weekdays) a month ago. Downtown Dallas is making strides in becoming a better residential neighborhood...but we still have a long way to go. It's nice to feel like a part of something special though. And winning a nice door prize doesn't hurt, either.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hilariously funny

Love it.

Got this little gem from my friend Smash. Yep, I steal lotsa goodies from her. Content provided by the Friday fill-ins blog.

My answers are in a lovely shade of green.

1. Give me good queso and I'll make sure it gets eaten.
2. Whenever I see a baby, it makes me want one. Pronto.
3. I wish we could move to NYC and magically afford to live there, plus have family close by.
4. Chicken flautas from Sol Irlande's (last night's dinner) was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.
5. To live in this world is better than not living!
6. Other than this one, Carie's blog is the last blog I commented on.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to see a movie, tomorrow my plans include being lazy and Sunday, I want to be lazy some more!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day

(The note I left for Branden on Friday...just had to make sure all and, ya know?)
I know lots of people think Valentine's Day is a silly, manufactured holiday...and a day to be dreaded if you don't have a date. I definitely see those points of view, but I do enjoy a good Valentine's Day celebration. I have to say, the day's been pretty good to me the last few years. Valentine's Day 2006 was the first time Branden told me he loved me, by writing (and reciting) a poem. We've had a couple other good Valentine's days in between then and now, but this one, we both agreed, was our best yet.

The afternoon began while Branden was doing a basketball PA announcing gig at a local community college. I took advantage of the time alone in the house to set up a little presentation for my gift to him.

I also attempted to make heart-shaped cookies. Because the local grocery store didn't have premade sugar cookie dough, and I didn't allow enough time to make any from scratch, I had to go with peanut butter cookies. I knew it wouldn't be a perfect substitute, but I was in a pinch. They tasted great, but they came out a little puffed up. Oh well...I guess you could say, in lingo I learned online, that I "super puffy heart" my husband. (Cheesy, I know).

After everything was set up, I patiently (or not so patiently) waited for him to come home and see it all! The reveal was a great success, and he even had a present for me...

Beautiful roses! Love them!!!

We left the apartment a little after 7:30, headed to our mystery destination. This year, I did most of the planning...we felt like a very enlightened, modern couple, and it was nice to be the one doing the treating. Plus, I just love planning things like this!
Our first mystery destination was Daddy Jack's Wood Grill in Deep Ellum. They had a three-course special which we both enjoyed. Branden started with lobster bisque, had an entree of rib-eye steak, and finished with a death by chocolate pastry. I started with an appetizer of quail with cous cous, had a lobster tail entree (yum!), and finished with the heart-shaped chocolate cake. It was all quite delicious, and the atmosphere was great, complete with a jazz trio playing in the adjoining dining room. At first I was a little disappointed that we weren't closer to the music, but it ended up being perfect, because it was just loud enough to be background music, and we could still make conversation without yelling at each other.
After dinner, we still had an hour to kill before our next destination, so we got some hot chocolate at a coffee shop/church in Deep Ellum. Would you believe that two such combination coffee/worship shops exist in Deep Ellum? Crazy, huh?
Here we are, dressed in our V-day finest:

That wrap, by the way, was made by my mom! It was originally intended to be worn on our carriage ride leaving our wedding reception...but that didn't exactly happen. I wore it anyway, on the exit to the town car. That's a story for another blog...
Back to the date...our final activity of the night was a trip to Ad-Libs for their late show. I can't give them enough raves. We both had a blast. I've always loved improv comedy, so I don't know what took us so long to check this out. Now that it's only a few blocks away from us in Deep Ellum, we definitely plan to check it out more often! Several of our suggestions made it into the show, which always feels a bit gratifying...and I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard!!
All in all, a wonderful night. We're still basking in the afterglow today. Even if it is a manufactured holiday, I'm glad for a day to take time out and celebrate love.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sushi & an interview

Let me just say that I love sushi. I just adore it. I cannot say enough good things about the wonderfulness that is sushi.

Even better than good sushi is having good sushi with good friends. Tonight I got to experience just that, when I met some great people out for dinner at a sushi place just a couple of blocks from my office. Incidentally, the restaurant (Sushi Sapporo) is the exact place where I lost my sushi-virginity. It was way back in the summer of 2004 (yes, I'm still relatively new to sushi, but that doesn't mean my love for it isn't pure and true and oh so strong). I met my climbing buddy, Mitzi, at that very restaurant, and she helped me through the experience. I was hooked from the very first bite. I have moved on from Mitzi, and even from climbing, but to sushi I remain true. Tonight I had salmon sushi and the jalapeno roll, my first stab at a fried roll (yum!). Oh and boy was it HOT! Loved it.
So here I am with my lovely ladies, Ashley and Christina:

In honor of the occasion, I came home and put on my sushi socks:

Yes, I have sushi socks. Doesn't everyone? I got them at Nordstrom's, with a $20 gift card I'd been carrying around for years. Finally one day, on a trip to NorthPark with my mom, I decided to try to spend it. I joked with her that the only thing I'd be able to get at Nordstrom's for $20 was a pair of socks. Well, I actually got several pairs of socks, so I guess I was a little off.
**************************SUBJECT CHANGE*****************************************
(Subtle, huh?)

Interview time! I got the following "meme" (if you've been following my blog, you'll know what that means...if not, well, it's basically a fancy word for "survey") from Smash. If you'd like me to pass along the interview meme love, just let me know and I'll think up some questions for ya. :)

1.) What is your favorite building in Dallas? I have two answers for this one. My favorite skyscraper in Dallas is Fountain Place. I love how it looks different from every angle. Oh and the fact that it was designed by I.M. Pei doesn't hurt, either.

My "other" favorite building in Dallas, for sentimental reasons, is the Old Red Courthouse, where we got married. Yes, I'm shamelessly using this question to show off yet another wedding picture. I'm proud of sue me.

2.) What is the best thing about being married, so far? The worst? Best thing so far is the security in knowing I have a husband...someone who loves me enough to commit his life to me. That is an amazing feeling. The worst is trying to live up to my own standards of what a good wife is. I wonder if I'll ever get there! But there's no harm in trying, right?
3.) What is your favorite tv show of all time? I'm really struggling to come up with an "all time" favorite. I have a few that I really like, but none that seems to absolutely come out on top. My favorite game show is Press Your favorite reality show is Amazing favorite sitcom is probably Friends, or maybe Sex and the City (or is that more of a drama?) favorite currently airing drama would have to be Grey's Anatomy...and my favorite guilty pleasure show is Gossip Girl (though I'm still on season 1).
4.) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would you do for a living? I would live in NYC and run an organic/earth friendly baby boutique. I think that would be awesome.
5.) When you make a sandwhich, do you cut it into triangles or in half? Actually neither. I just put it together and start eating it! The sandwich I had for lunch was cut in half diagonally, so I guess that's triangles, but not quartered...but that was a Jason's Deli sandwich, so that doesn't count.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fall down go boom!

Yep, that's what I did last night.

It all started when I was fussing with the baby gate at the bottom of our stairs, before bed. Branden told me to go on upstairs and he'd put it up. The gate is there to keep the dogs out...otherwise Jock will peruse the litterbox for treats, and Pepper has been injuring himself going down the stairs (such steep steps are hard on a basset hound's short little legs). Anywho, Branden got the gate up, and we went upstairs. Then I realized that the heater was still turned up, and since heat rises, the upstairs area is always around 10 degrees warmer than downstairs. So I headed down the steps to adjust the thermostat. It was dark, and I wasn't really watching where I was going. I got to the gate, and swung my leg over as I usually do. Except this time, the gate was up higher than normal - right up against the bottom step. So the ground was much further away, and I lost my balance and pitched forward - way forward. Faceplant onto the (fortunately carpeted) landing. OUCH!!!!!! Pain, oh the pain. I landed on my right hat part is pretty sore. And twisted at the my lower back, especially on the left side...that part hurts a bunch too. I feel all kinds of sore, like you would the day after an auto accident. Ugh.

Branden was great...he immediately ran down to check on me, and helped me back upstairs before he went to fix the thermostat. He called this morning to check on me. And his co-workers even got me a get well soon card, signed by several of his fellow officers, and a box of chocolates. So sweet!! It was exactly what I needed after a very stressful day at work. I won't go into the details of it here. I'll just say, I miss the old days at the DWS, where I had autonomy to work on projects myself and I didn't feel like such a drone. Where my opinion actually counted for something. I cry a lot, I'll admit...but not often at work. Today, I did just that. Thank goodness my awesome work-buddy Julia was there to help out! We went out and had greasy hamburgers at Hunky's for lunch. It's amazing what a little fattening food will do! Afternoon at work wasn't much better, so it was great to come home to the card, the chocolates, and my wonderful husband, who took me out to dinner at Jason's Deli before heading off to class. I'm now hanging out in bed with my computer in my lap, my cat next to me, the dogs hanging out at my feet (yeah, I let them upstairs...just this once!) and LOTR: The Two Towers on the DVD player. Nice, relaxing evening. In fact, I think I'll go pay more attention to the movie now...and work on feeling better.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Wedding Video, and other such happenings

So we finally got our long-awaited, much-anticipated Wedding Teaser Video from the wonderful Adam Kegg w/Random Pictures Productions. He stresses that this is just a rough edit, but I'm already super excited and can't wait to get the full DVD from him, hopefully this weekend!

Feast your eyes on this...

Courtney and Branden's Wedding Highlights from Adam Kegg on Vimeo.

In other news, I've been working on Valentine's Day for Branden, and I think he's really going to enjoy it. I can't say anything else...but I'll definitely let you loyal blogreaders know how it goes after the fact!

Work is going well...I'm just swimming in numbers and spreadsheets as I continue my transition into something resembling my department's de facto liaison with Finance. It's enjoyable, but turns me cross-eyed after spending an entire day staring at Excel!

In book news, I've gotten through almost my entire stack of books I checked out at the beginning of January (basically all those residing on my shelfari over there). So far, I've really enjoyed the whole lot. Every single book I've read has captured me in one form or another. Even Marley and Me, which has gotten mixed reviews from some of my peers, really spoke to a part of me. Well, a couple parts of me - the animal lover part and the wants-to-have-a-baby part of me. I found it delightful and charming and even insightful.

My latest finish was Something Blue, which I just adored. I never thought I'd like it as much as Something Borrowed, but lo and behold - I like it even better, if that's possible! That Emily Giffin is a clever one, the way she can twist characters and make you love them even when you're not supposed to or don't want to. According to OperaWife and confirmed by Emily Giffin's website, Hilary Swank has purchased the film options to both of those books. I'm very excited to see how they turn out, but I'm really hoping she won't be starring in either of them. She doesn't really fit the image of Rachel, and she's definitely not a Darcy. I found a suggestion online that Malin Akerman would make a good Darcy, and at least from the looks of her, I'd tend to agree. No idea what her acting chops are like though, and Darcy would take some...especially going into Something Blue.

By far the meatiest of the books on my list was Water for Elephants. Whereas I feel like I'm dining on ice cream...really, really good ice cream, like the $4 pints from Ben & Jerry's (Peanut Butter Cup is my favorite). But reading WFE, I felt like I was having a really hearty meal. It wasn't a hard read, by any shade of the just felt much more substantial and meaningful. And I lurrrved it.

I think I've rambled on enough for now. Enjoy the video, and I shall blog again soon!