Things I love today!

So, things have been going pretty well lately.  My hair is behaving, I've been better about eating right and getting some exercise (even though I've gained weight I've actually gotten smaller!), and my tan has developed quite nicely over the last couple of weekends (yes, I wear SPF30, but still tan thru sunscreen - don't hate).

Today I want to share with you some things that have really made me happy lately:

  • Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque - this stuff is the shit, y'all.  My ends tend to get kinda crispy even though I have my hair keratin treated, and the crispiness comes on quicker in the summer months when I'm swimming a lot.  Last weekend my hair felt pretty dry after swimming on Saturday, so I slathered this all over from roots to ends.  The tangles pretty much fell out, which is very impressive considering my hair was like one big knot when I got in the shower.  After I blowdried, it felt like silk.  The instructions say not to use it more than twice a week, but I swam a lot on Sunday and used it again that night, and my hair felt even better.  No crispy ends at all!
  • Poshe Fast-Drying Topcoat - want a bulletproof manicure?  OK maybe you're not dodging bullets.  How about a washing-dishes-by-hand-proof manicure?  I applied this in place of my regular crappy topcoat Saturday night, and by now my polish is usually flaking off in huge shards.  Not today!  So far I just have a teeny bit of wear on the tips after swimming, dish washing, house cleaning, hair washing, and laundry doing.  If I get to tomorrow w/o a single chip I'll be officially blown away.
  • supersolano Original Hairdryer - I used to have a Conair dryer before this that I thought was good.  However, now that I've been using the Solano for over 6mos I can say this - comparing my Conair to the Solano is like comparing a flamethrower to a wind tunnel.  The Conair got plenty hot, but just didn't blow very hard, and it was actually cooking my hair.  The Solano doesn't get quite as hot, but blows HARD - which I think is actually better b/c I'm not nervous about burning my scalp with it.  The Solano dries faster as well.  Overall I'm very happy with it and would definitely buy it again.
  • 24oz Tervis tumbler - now my iced coffees and Coke Zeros don't get all watered down and grody in the hot summer sun.  I have the Cherry Blossom one but when I was at Bed Bath & Beyond the other day they had one w/ Bluebonnets for all us Texas girls!  I might have to go back for it - hey, might as well have a spare if one is in the dishwasher, right?
  • Houston Restaurant Weeks - Y'all know I love food, and I sure have been indulging during the month of August.  Dinners at fancy-ish places that include an appetizer/salad, entree and dessert for $35?  And benefits charity?  Yes please!  If you live in the Houston area you owe it to yourself to try out some new foodie haunts - and you can feel good about doing it, too.  Hurry - Restaurant Weeks are during August only.
Amy hasn't been so angry lately - and that is a good thing.  I need to look pretty, have caffeine, and be well fed.  Let's hope this trend continues. ;)

Let's talk about fashion, shall we?

Or, rather, the frustration of it all.

I live in the Houston area and we have 90-100+ temps in the summers.  Of course this summer is no different (except today it's raining so it's a little cooler, but generally speaking, it's really freaking hot here).  So, whenever I'm forced to go outside I wear sleeveless dresses or shorts with sleeveless tops b/c like I said, it's HOT - and then I scurry back into another air-conditioned area as quickly as possible.

In the last week I've gotten catalogs from Nordstrom and Anthropologie, and am catching up on my magazine reading (Vogue, InStyle, Women's Health, Self).  And guess what I'm seeing?

Jeans.

Blazers.

Layering.

WTF?

Yeah yeah, I "get" that they're showcasing fall fashions.  However, "fall" here is about 3 seconds long.  And even when the spring lines came out earlier this year, they were also full of layering and seasonally inappropriate items considering the audience.

Layering is not "cool" here (pun intended).  If I stepped outside for a lunch date wearing jeans and a blazer in July, I would look like this:

Melting Nazi in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."  I did not take this picture.
I have way more clothes appropriate for wintertime in Houston than is healthy.  My closet is better suited to someone who lives in Colorado or some other northern-ish state that gets snow in the winter.  Don't give me that crap about air conditioning indoors either - a normal home temperature differential is 20 degrees cooler than the outside temp per the companies we collected bids from when we were shopping for a new HVAC system.  So let's say it's 100 outside, that means it can only reasonably be about 80 inside my house (which sounds about right).

It sucks to want to buy clothes for the past, oh, 6 MONTHS and not be able to because everything for sale is fugly or not seasonally appropriate.  Get with it, fashion designers.  We girls in hot climes want to look cute too.

Well...we can't all be awesome at everything!

I've always been into the Continental Breakfast.  I simply must have coffee and a pastry in the morning, every morning.  Don't get me wrong, I love a lumberjack breakfast (or cowgirl breakfast I guess would be more appropriate) as much as the next food lover, but when I'm half asleep I have absolutely no business going near a stove.  I'd set my hair on fire or something.  This is why I now have a single-serve coffeemaker - I need only to push the button and COFFEE COMES OUT.  BRILLIANT!

So, Ms. Dairy-and-Carbs Lover over here decided to buy a new cookbook with nothing but muffin recipes.  600+ muffin recipes, to be exact.  Y'know, b/c I was tired of the muffin recipes in my other 31 cookbooks (well to be fair, not all of those had muffin recipes.  But I'm sure there are pastries of some sort in all but the sushi one).  This is what I bought:


What prompted me to buy a muffin cookbook was pistachio muffins - er, lack of pistachio muffins.  I love pistachios and HEB sells these wonderful muffins in the bakery that are a radioactive shade of green, with an almond-y flavoring and nuts mixed in and a crunchy sugary topping.  I thought they were really great until I looked at the label and saw they didn't even have pistachios in them - they had WALNUTS.  Which are tasty and all, but not what I wanted.  HEB is a bunch of liars.  I Googled up a couple of recipes before buying this book and wasn't totally impressed with those for various reasons, and decided to splurge on cookbook #32.

So I got this cookbook and there is no dedicated pistachio muffin recipe, but there are several I could tweak to get what I wanted - particularly the Almond Muffins.  I made these swapping pistachios for the almonds and skipped the food coloring, and they were glorious.  The Cheesecake Muffins with a blob of sweetened ricotta on top were great too.  Then came attempt #3...Butterscotch Muffins.  These include a box of butterscotch pudding in the mix, so I thought MMMM those are going to be SO GOOD.  They called for butterscotch chips which I had conveniently eaten, but I had chocolate chips and that was an approved variation according to the book.  I was also out of muffin tin liners but the recipe said greasing thoroughly was OK so we were off to the races.  And they were easy and smelled so good, until I started unloading them from the muffin tin.

Baking FAIL
Every one of those motherfuckers stuck in the pan.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  They look like birds pecked them all over the bottom.  AND, the tops spread all over the pan so I had to cut them apart from each other and they weren't pretty.  They tasted fine, but they were the fugliest muffins I ever saw.

So, I shan't be making these muffins again.  It's OK, butterscotch was never my favorite anyway.