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Rachael, Kristin, Kaylan, and Kari

Rachael, Kristin, Kaylan, and Kari

Writing a novel is the best thing I’ve ever decided to do.

It’s hard work. It’s frustration and tears. It’s learning about myself one sentence at a time.

At this point I don’t care at all if anyone else loves it the way I do.

 

So, most of my spare time is in some way, shape, or form, given over to this writing project. When I’m not actually sat down at my desk or a table at Starbucks filling blank digital pages with the words in my head, I’m thinking about a character and the way they smell, or talk, or wear their hair. Or I’m thinking of what I need to go back and re-write, what needs to be added, a detail that I didn’t know until I had written this far. Honestly, it’s work that is very hard to step away from and for the first time in my life that’s a really good thing.

Last night I did take some time to step away, though, and I had dinner with my sisters.

All of them. Including my sister in-law.

We had dinner at Abuelos in Austin and then coffee and desserts at Mozart’s after.

It was a beautiful and fun time together.

I figured I’d better enjoy it while I can because someday I’ll write a novel about all of them and then they’ll all hate me. Ha! =)

This week I’ve been doing a lot of… adjusting. Changing some things that needed to be changed, or prioritizing my thoughts. That sort of thing.

One big factor in that has been complexion makeup. It’s summer now and Texas is HOT.  I listen to people complain all of the time about their “faces” melting off and my question is, then why wear it?  I know this sounds like blasphemy coming from a person like me, who eats, sleeps, and breathes makeup.  But seriously, if you’re going to sweat it off, why not give your skin a break, why not use the time and heat as a reason to give your skin some love instead?

The first thing I started ditching was bronzer… I know, summer is a bronzing blur for most. But I have fair skin, bronzer all over my face, I suspected, might not be as attractive as just being able to see my skin.  Survey says I was right.

Next up and cut -way- down on the complexion products I’m using (hello extra half hour I never realized I was missing before!). In this picture I am without bronzer, I have the tiniest bit of foundation in some targeted areas, and a little powder, that’s it.  I think it looks alright! Today I’m going to matify a little better… I have shiny skin… I’m not oily, which is weird, but anyway. There it is!

I’ve been a bit scattered lately, and for that I apologize. Over the course of the last 3 weeks I’ve been dividing my time between here and Austin. My mom is still in the hospital, unfortunately.  It has been really nice to be back in Austin, however.

Austin

I’ve been able to spend some quality time with my family, and that’s been really nice… for the most part =P.

My brother weights tables and tends bar at The County Line. He works at the location on the lake,  and its a cozy place to hang out and unwind. And trust me, over the last several weeks we’ve all had plenty to need to unwind from.

I never really understood how much Austin had influenced  me as a person until I moved to Dallas. I’ve always heard that people from Texas are more proud to be Texans than they are to be Americans,  but I think people from Austin even more proud that they are from Austin than they are that they are Texans.  I might even been one of those people.  I’m awfully proud to be a native, and I can’t help but feel a little self-satisfied when people oooh and ahhh when I tell them I’m from Austin (even though technically I was raised in Georgetown and Georgetown does have its own, distinct, personality apart from Austin). At first people’s reaction to my affection for trees and being outdoors was frustrating, but now I get the “oh, you’re from Austin” and I can admit, I feel a little smug about it.

I said it before, but I’ll restate it now. When I lived in the Austin area I had all the energy in the world for dressing up,  and for heels, but since I moved to Dallas, every pair of heels I own has been resting comfortably in the top of my closet.  Another thing I’ve noticed, Dallas ladies are fond of their accessories. I kind of enjoy it actually. I love the idea of accessories… I love seeing them used correctly, and I’ll hand it to the women here, for the most part, they do a wonderful job! In a city full of botox, breast implants, and more teased hair than I’ve ever seen before in my life ( I didn’t even know women still teased their hair!), you’d think that the use of accessories would be oppressive, but surprisingly not.

Yesterday I missed my PrettyGood Eats post, and so I’m going to add it onto the end of this one. Yesterday was a busy day. I washed my car (quite an undertaking, cleaned my house from top to bottom, and cooked. I cooked a lot… for me anyway.

I beheaded this pineapple.

When I went to pick up a few groceries, I came across a bin of pineapples and for whatever reason, I felt like I couldn’t live unless I had pineapple to eat, so I took one home. Once I got it home, however, I realized I had  no idea how to properly cut a pineapple.

This was one of many times a day I thank God for Google. I found a video that demonstrated how to properly choose a ripe pineapple (try pulling one of the leaves from the center, if it comes out easily, it’s ripe!) and how to cut it up.  The first step, which I thought was a really good thing to know, is to let your pineapple sit for half an hour or so upside down, because all of the sugar settles at the base of the pineapple and you’ll get a better taste out of it if you give it time to sink back into the rest of the fruit. The next step I was a little wary of… the (rather large) man in the video instructed viewers to remove the leaves, all at once, by just twisting and ripping them off.  Sounds simple enough, right? For a big dude, sure… but I could just barely get my hand around the leaves, so I had doubts that I would be able to manage without the help of a knife.

In triumph!

Fortunately I apparently have special fruit beheading powers! The picture to the left is meant to feature my super human strength. (you can also see that washing my car resulted in a slight sunburn) =)

After managing the pineapple (which ended up being simple after the first two parts, cut the peel off with a knife, done.) I made a salad and ate more pineapple than I should have.

Next on list was stir fry for dinner… which I’m skipping completely because, well it was good, but the great part comes after. Next up I  made chocolate chip banana bread!  I was on a roll!

It had to be chocolate chip because I had left over chocolate chips from the oatmeal cookies I made last month and they have been haunting me. I’ve been resisting the urge to eat them by themselves for weeks, so I figured now was a good time to get ride of them. Also, I have issues with cooked nuts, they make my throat itch unbearably, which is weird because raw nuts are fine.  Anyway, the chocolate chips were a nice alternative.

I was a bit worried that my lack of proper pans was going to result in bad bread, but it turns out the baking dish I did have worked out just fine!

The best part is that the recipe is super simple (1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 3 mashed bananas, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp soda, pinch of salt)  and it tastes great! I’m so happy with the way it came out!

I know I have been a bit absent here the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been trying to adjust to my surroundings, and I think I’ve found a rhythm that will allow me to adjust and write at the same time.

I know, always excuses.

A couple of days ago I was talking to my sister on the phone and she was asking me about the differences in the people here vs. the people in Austin.

I can admit when I moved here I didn’t really expect there to be that much of a difference. I would tell people from Austin that I was moving and they would nod and wish me luck and things like that. So it never really occurred to me to think that things would be different.  I was wrong.

The first thing I noticed upon being in Dallas was the rush, people move around fast here, whether they are walking, driving, talking, doesn’t matter, they are always in a hurry.  I suppose if you grew up in a bigger city, something like that might not really phase you the way it did me, but after that realization there were many more to come.  I’m not going to list them all here, but one I do want to focus on is the way the women of Dallas dress.

Now, before I get into this, I feel it’s only fair to warn you that I am about to really show my roots, which might be shocking to you, as it shocked me when I came face to face with it.

Previously I thought I was pretty chic, I love dresses and skirts, and taking an hour to get dressed. Being a short girl, I do have a deep love and appreciation, and a high tolerance for wearing high heels. I’ve put a lot of effort into wearing them, I’ve done research on how to wear them correctly and comfortably, I’ve done laundry, dishes, vacuuming in heels just so that I could walk gracefully in them when I went out.

Then I came to Dallas.

Imagine for a moment how horrifying it was to suddenly find myself upstaged by 14 year-olds. Oh yes, women in Dallas wear heels… all day, everyday, no matter what the weather, the event they’re going to, or what the rest of their out-fit might otherwise suggest would be appropriate.  I should also mention that by women I mean anyone female and able to walk, a couple of days ago there was a 6 year-old in my store wearing a pair. 6 YEAR-OLD.

Not only are these women always (I can’t stress that point enough) sporting an extra couple of inches… but they are also always dressed (you know what I mean.) I hesitate to say “dressed up” because to me that implies a certain element  of class, and forgive me Dallas readers, but a good many of the ensembles I’ve seen have been decidedly class-less. However, there’s no denying that a great deal of thought and planning went into these elaborate outfits.  To top it all of, they wear more makeup than I ever believed possible… which you’d think would be kind of thrilling. Ha.

My first impulse was to feel a little challenged and like I was going to have to step up my game, and then to my totally shock and amazement, what I felt next… which is completely unlike me given my tendency towards competitiveness… was exhausted. Absolutely and utterly exhausted.

Instead of going home and plotting how I would live up to and exceed these (ahem) high standards, I found myself wearing less makeup (!?!?!!?!) , and coming home to put on jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my dresses and come real summer time, that’s what I’ll be wearing, but as of this moment my heels are still packed safely in their boxes and I feel absolutely no desire to pull them out, slip on a pair and tidy up the house.  I don’t have time between work and taking walks to the Home Depot nursery to look at new plants I want to add to my ever-growing container garden.  Because that’s another HUGE difference between Dallas and Austin. Apparently people in Dallas don’t care about plants. I first learned this in a training session at work in which I was very relieved to find out the Oak used in a particular product comes from a tree farm and no trees are harmed in the process of retrieving the part of the bark they use, and I looked up to see my co-workers looking at me like I had 3 heads.

I have been cutting my primping time short these days, and spending time learning about how to take care of my plants, making a small compost bin out of a bucket, and doing yoga.

I’m from Austin. I might be a tree hugger. I might turn out to be scary plant lady when

This is the compost bin I made and one of my little plants.

I’m old. But what I can say for sure is, in years to come when the ladies of Dallas have osteoporosis and their faces are frozen in a Botox smile, at least I’ll still be able to walk to Home Depot in my flip-flops and sundress.

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