Archive for September, 2010


It’s birthday week! A package arrived in the mail today from a “secret frend.”

She wrapped the inside of the box!

So beautiful! My bff is the best! (:

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Andrea presented me with this lovely gift when she asked if I’d be one of her bridesmaids:

There’s been a lot of squealing and hugging the past couple of days. And the date of the rehearsal dinner happens to be my five-year anniversary with the boy. What a wonderful way to celebrate! (:

In other news, Monday’s metro front.

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Andrea and Kevin. I love these two more than I could possibly put into words. And I’m going to burst with joy because THEY ARE ENGAGED!

Noble and I were there for the proposal. Honestly, I can’t say what it means that we were allowed a glimpse of such an intimate, special occasion (seriously guys, I’m overflowing with love here). They had their privacy though, because the boyfriend and I were watching from afar as the designated photographers.

It all went down at Lake Pflugerville, which holds special significance for the two of them.

The boys had made the voyage to P-ville last week to scope out the terrain and find a good place from which to take pictures. They picked this cozy drainage ditch:

Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. Noble and I found ourselves scrambling around when we arrived, because rain had left the drainage ditch completely full of water. We settled on a willow tree a little farther away.

Luckily, I had snagged my dad’s 55-200 mm lens for the occasion, so the extra distance wasn’t a total disaster. But the location change made it difficult for both of us to take pictures, so Noble wasn’t able to shoot. I threw on a poncho to shield myself from the dripping tree and camped out as close as I could without being seen, then took a million EXTREMELY paparazzi-style photos. Here was my point of view:

Most of the photos look extremely similar, because I was snapping away like a madman in an effort not to miss the big moment. Here are the highlights:

Then Kevin yelled that it was OK for us to come out of hiding.

What a fantastic mission — except for the part where Kevin’s car got stuck in the mud. We abandoned it so we could go to a celebratory meal, then came back at night (thanks for always being open, Wal-Mart!) to pull it out with Noble’s powerful Honda Accord. Wish I’d snapped some photos of that little fiasco, but I’d already lost one pair of shoes to the mud, so I just stayed in the car for this one.

I’m the most excited bridesmaid ever! Congratulations, my dear friends!!

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Walked out to the parking lot only to discover a flat tire. Oy.

But that’s not all! The back tire, which I had noticed was precariously low a couple of days ago, just couldn’t handle the stress. Sigh.

Oh, Taurus. Never a dull moment.

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What happens when you let your aerospace engineer boyfriend use your Amazon.com account to order textbooks? Your “recommended items” list starts to look like this:

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Stumbled upon these cream cheese marbled brownies on smitten kitchen and couldn’t stop dreaming about them. I could hardly wait for my day off today so I could make my dream a reality.

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325°F. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Beat cream cheese and two tablespoons butter in medium bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in one tablespoon flour. Set mixture aside.

3. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

5. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

6. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Pour cream cheese mixture over, then second half of brownie batter. Swirl the batters together decoratively with the tip of a knife. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 45 minutes, watching carefully for overcooking. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)

These ended up taking about an hour in my oven, but boy are they delicious. I’m not a huge sweets person, yet I ate three while I was cutting them. So there you go! (:

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I’m on design duty for four days this week. Here’s tonight’s work:

Metro & State, Sept. 12, 2010

I’m pretty happy this one. Plus, I worked ahead and had the entire front page designed before I went home last night, which made for less stress today, which meant I HAD TIME TO GO GET DINNER! I never leave to get dinner! (Also, I had been running late this afternoon and rushed out with bringing my leftovers, so the stars aligned on this one.)

Not sure why the rule under Kelso’s column appears to be doubled, but it’s not like that in print. Who knows. (:

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Lots of rain today. Thanks, Hermine!

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UT’s first touchdown of this season:

Houston was so fun last weekend! Hook em!

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