Friday, December 19, 2014

because the two of us can get together.

mid-week date nights should be a "thing." just throwing that out there. generally speaking, boyfriend and i usually plan on getting together/going out on friday or saturday. this is fine and dandy and all good; we usually have the most energy then and are removed enough from our work weeks that we can enjoy ourselves. when we do get together during the week, it usually involves the mindy project or survivor or american idol. ain't no party like a zoning-out tv party. 

(side note: has anyone else been watching + loving the mindy project this season?! mindy is i need her entire collection of plaid sweaters, alongside her stellar career. also, wreath witherspoon was the most brilliant thing i've heard in a while. you go, positive female role model, you.)

andddd, bringing it back to: tuesday! the krohn conservatory was doing their krohn by candlelight night and in the spirit of christmas and the spirit of doing things, we went. 

the krohn conservatory is a great place to be during the winter. frosty outside, warm and balmy inside. if they allowed sleepovers in there, i would park a sleeping bag next to the waterfall and pretend i'm sleeping in the rain forest, sans monster bugs and things that eat you. (krohn: contact me. i will plan the heck out of this event. i'll put the thrill-seekers in the cactus room.) it is especially nice this time of year though - all the twinkle lights, the poinsettia towers, and every single train in the tri-state area. plus, live music! and dimmed lights! and flickery candles! 

i am, admittedly, spoiled. when boyfriend lived in columbus, we went to the conservatory there and it's bigger and just beautiful all over. but, cincinnati's will do just fine when you need a blast of holiday cheer and warm air, combined.

after we'd strolled through, we looked at each other and said: tacos? so predictable. so wonderful. we tried a new place (!) in a new part of town, so all the imaginary points to us for being adventurous.

we made our way back home and remarked that we love cincinnati every time we go there and maybe we should become city mice instead of suburb mice, someday. i could get behind that, i think. and our tuesday date night was done, but not forgotten. because i blogged about it. the end.

(anyone else taking advantage of fun holiday things happening in your neck of the woods?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

buzz, your girlfriend, woof!

hello, tuesday! and, hello december. has it really been almost a month since i've been here? oops. too many spoons in the pot, i think. sally cat and i both; we've been spending our time elsewhere. she: snoozing under the christmas tree. me: daydreaming about making life changes and the clean slate that 2015 will bring. also, the christmas season! we are in full swing!

so many things to do this time of the year. most of them are happy and covered in twinkle lights though, so only good things. i've been busy and soaking in all the fun that the holiday season brings. my new year's eve plans are set (louisville, i'm coming back for you!!), there's a trip to visit the boyfriend's family out west this weekend, and all the normal family things, alongside work and responsibilities. 

boyfriend and i spent the weekend tackling his mother's sugar cookie recipe, which was an all-day affair. the shopping, the mixing, the baking, the decorating. the recipe was a monster and called for TWELVE cups of flour, so we halved it. still a massive undertaking. they turned out delicious and we had a blast huddled over our decoration stations together, christmas music in the background and his wassail brewing in the crockpot on the windowsill. we cooked a late dinner, put on home alone, and ate + watched by candlelight.

my sisters are back from college break, which is a good thing when you (still) live at home with your parents. it's so nice to have them back in the house and down the hallway. there's always someone to talk to, to scheme with. sisters are built-in besties. littlest sister had her boyfriend over last night; we all piled around a pot of spaghetti and meatballs and played scattergories on the carpet with white christmas in the background. 

i've been trying to do a better job of being content and appreciating life's smaller, beautiful moments, and they're all right here in those two paragraphs. even when not everything is perfect, there will still be moments that are.

i've still got all my wrapping to accomplish. i read in a magazine (probably six years ago) that martha stewart can wrap a gift using only three pieces of tape. i have been trying to master that method ever since i read that article, but am never close. my presents always look like i wrapped them tipsy which, depending on how much wine i'll consume while wrapping, might actually be the case this year. seems like a good excuse, at least.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

blank space baby // mazunte

happy (almost) thanksgiving, turkeys!

i am keeping this lighthearted today. no serious thanksgiving posts (that will probably pop up next week), and no discourse on current events (although, i have opinions, as always). instead, i'm keeping this simple in that i ate some tacos over the weekend and nobody said i couldn't be thankful for that. if i were to do an alt-thanksgiving feast, you betcha that it would be nothing but tamales and tacos and, now that i think of it, why can't we eat that on thanksgiving? because mashed freaking potatoes and dressing, that's why. maybe another year, another time.

instead, enjoy this second installment in my life's greatest work: searching for the best fish taco in a land-locked state.

enter, mazunte. and, these kind of sketchy-looking photos.

who... my partner in crime. at some point on saturday, i ended up smushed onto the couch as i connected with the second bridget jones movie. boyfriend bribed me into getting up by suggesting tacos, like the real-life mr. darcy he is.

what... tacos. they had tamales on the menu and i wantedddd, but i refrained. this is what most adults refer to as focus or restraint. this is what i call hard choices. ain't got nothing on me, hillary. but, i was on a mission. three tacos -- two fish, one steak. 

when... november 22, 2014. 

where... mazunte. located in a strip mall right off 1-71. which, actually, begs the question: are the best tacos located in strip malls? i think some people might be turned off at the idea of strip mall dining (?), but when i think of strip mall dining now, i just think: yum. also, perhaps this is a good time to point out that this place was named one of cinci's best new restaurants of 2014. this officially means i am trendy, no takesiesbacksies. 

why... obvious.

taco thoughts... so, the steak one was nice. it had goat cheese on it, but there was also some kick to the sauce and i thought the goat cheese tempered it nicely. (i've been watching too much top chef judging, okay?) this was not why i was here though; fish tacos only. and, the fish tacos were good! although, they did have a real sweetness to them and i wish there had been more heat. there was a mango-habanero salsa and when i get tacos, i generally want spicy spicy spicy, but i mostly picked up on the sweetness. what might be a plus for some was a distraction for me. the fish was good though, but was it my favorite ever? eh. probably not. i'm not going to knock it too hard though, because i enjoyed that nice dollop of guac.

ambience... this place wins. i want to take all my friends and just have a massive mazunte party. the thing is, it would be crowded, as this place was at 6pm on a saturday night (duh). after you order at the counter, they don't put your order in until you've found a place to sit, which can be a little while depending on the crowd. we set up camp at the end of a long table outside, next to a big group who turned out to be from our hometown. luckily, it was warm(er) that night, so we could do so, but this place isn't the biggest and you might end up awkwardly standing around waiting for a table.

it almost felt like a backyard barbeque though, which i loved! you grab your drinks from a big cooler and pour out your sangria/margs from big tubs into your plastic cups. if you've opted to pay the $1.50 for the salsa bar, then you go to the chip station in the corner, where someone is just constantly making fresh tortilla chips and spooning out fresh salsa. the murals, the colors, the music, the tight space. it all kind of equated to a fun get-together. major props, mazunte. i'm definitely going back, but hope i can grab a space at the counter so i can watch the chefs pound out tacos.

final score... i just realized i have no official scoring system. maybe one jalapeno slice for the steak taco, but none for the fish. good for people who can't take the heat, bad for me. all the ¡olés! (out of however many there are) for the atmosphere and chips, which turned out to be a surprise. usually, chips are kind of just a gimme, but these were awesome! $1.50 for the salsa bar, and refills on super hot, kind of greasy, break-apart-with-your-hands tortilla chips that were perfect. don't pass them up, for real; pay the buck fifty. (the queso was delicious too).

in summary... i recommend! next time, i'll probably get a tamale though. also, the fun group at our table went wild for the pozole, if you're so inclined. i think mazunte would make a great place for a night out with a laid-back group of friends, or a fantastic date place for the younger crowd.


as i said before, these posts are totally ridiculous and hilariously awkward.
enjoy them, and if you know of any great hidden taco gems, let me know.

hugs and kisses. have a great thanksgiving, all.
xx, the padma lakshmi of tacos. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

i, from the sky, said the snowflake

it snowed on sunday/monday.

does anyone else feel like their weatherman lies to them? the only one who's ever really pulled through for me was derek beasley, and i'm not even sure he works in cincinnati anymore. he told us to take shelter when a tornado passed by a few years ago by making a big deal about a weather pattern that was "the claw (!!!)" and we all ran to the basement to watch blue hawaii, because elvis is always a good distraction. god bless derek beasley, wherever you are. you are the only person on television i trust.

long story short - when the weatherpeople said a winter storm warning was in effect on sunday night, i wasn't paying much attention. fool me ten thousand times, shame on you, weatherpeople. fool me ten thousand and one times, and shame on me. i was driving back from fort wayne, indiana after a very nice weekend with boyfriend's parents (boy, did i luck out on that one) and not paying much attention to the weather. mid-november is too darn early for winter storm warnings, that's why. 

and so i fell asleep with delusions about the forecast, and woke up remembering that when you live in the midwest these things happen and you have to shovel yourself out before work/you can give up and work from under your electric blanket for a while.

the rest of the week has just muddled along under a blanket of snow. the dark + cold combination has me wanting to go to bed early or puttering around the house searching for the warmest spot. usually, mac (the dog) and i end up laying on the floor next to the gas fireplace. we're buddies. i've been to the movie theatre more often than normal; boyfriend doesn't normally like going, but we've seen gone girl, interstellar, and big hero six all in the past two weeks. more movies than i normally go see in a year!

gone girl made me rethink marriage. interstellar made me rethink wtf we're doing here on earth/how matty mcconaughey went from fools gold to this blockbuster. and, big hero six made me rethink what i'm doing with my life, because being a superhero would be way more fun. (real talk though: all of them were great!)

in other news, i'm irrationally excited about thanksgiving. it is my favorite day of the entire year and it is just one week away. not that i want to hype it too much, but it's the best. does anyone else have a set of little traditions that just makes the day? i am a great big macadamia nut for the macy's parade. i can't talk about it too much because it's still a week away and i'm trying to ration my excitement like a kid rations a pillowcase of halloween candy. so, i'm done. right now. for now.

all of this really to post photos of my dog and the snow.
like there was ever any other reason.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

i am the one who knocks

more joe fox moments. this week has been a chore. have you ever had one of those weeks? nothing really comes together and you fight through the days in a haze of purple and at the end, you think to yourself: what did i do today? how did i get to this point, here, where i get to crawl into bed? this has been me this week. maybe it's the change in the seasons. tomorrow is the last day of october and i almost can't believe it. i have a sexy date with the charlie brown halloween special tonight and that's about it. i am wearing jeans tomorrow and when people ask me what i'm dressed as, i will tell them i'm a baby attorney still living with her parents and it will be the scariest costume of all. 

it is also supposed to maybe snow tomorrow? fine by me, except i will be at a local high school football game (extreme rivalries!) so i need to plan ahead and bundle up. maybe if i sweet talk, i can wheedle my way into some hot chocolate with mini marshmallows? this is my "snow" word association: cold, snuggling, mini marshmallows. halloween is too early for snow, right? unless you are a skanky snowflake? but november first would be okay, probably. does everyone realize that christmas music will be on the radio on saturday? i'm on a one-woman mission to raise awareness.

i got some flowers a while back, and here they are.

this is a free-form blog post, by the way. someday, free-form blog posts may become the highest form of written artistry, and this blog post will be lauded as "paving the way" for that art form. but, i am 99.9 percent positive that this will never happen. just in case though, i called it here.

things i've been reading this week? --

- this article; an excerpt from amy poehler's new book. it is fantastic.
- the bon appetit thanksgiving edition. i need some mashed potatoes.
- procrastinating reading fight club. has anyone read it? i start, i stop, i start, i stop.
- finally scrounged a copy of gone girl, so maybe that's next.

gawd, this is the boringest.

i realize i usually write about fun weekend things, but this past weekend was dominated by a local band competition and then a disgusting amount of breaking bad on sunday. i am about two years too late on the breaking bad train, but i am halfway through season four right now and if anyone slips and tells me the ending i will lose it. i mustered the self-restraint i never knew i had and haven't spoiled the ending for myself, so go me.

in closing, enjoy this photos of leaves. everyone loves a photo of some good leaves.

happy halloween, all.

p.s. is my post title clever, or what? tying in my recent breaking bad marathoning with halloween because, ahhhh, little children knocking on doors, right!? trick or treat, bitch!

i'm really done now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

have you come to sing pumpkin carols

i got lucky in life and ended up with two little sisters. we can drive each other crazy and i know middle sister has some sweaters i would like returned, and littlest sister has my nail polish and probably my tan striped shirt, but these are small things. mostly, we just love each other. sisters of a feather flock together.

i am the jo + meg march hybrid, middle sister is the beth, and littlest sister is the amy. each of us with our little personality quirks and way about tackling the world. littlest sister turned a whopping 19 this past weekend. nineteen. she is the baby, and somehow she is now 19 and i got started feeling old. 

so, we took her to a pumpkin patch. was it the most sincere? i don't know, but it was cute until it started raining on us and we peaced out to go home and eat dinner/fall asleep by the fire. we looked at pumpkins but got one at the grocery store instead and never had time to carve it, so i still have that left as something i'd like to do this fall. at this rate, i will be carving a turkey into a pumpkin somewhere around the middle of november. 

no big deal. life isn't a series of checklists. cool your jets, self. and, now that i think of it, a turkey pumpkin would actually be kind of cool. why do people stop carving pumpkins after halloween? could i be anti-establishment this year and carve a pumpkin pilgrim? big life thoughts over here these days.

where we failed in carving, there was face painting of the pumpkin variety.

and we stepped inside the farm store to grab cider and parked ourselves outside on a log because cider and the outdoors. midwesterners gonna midwestern. actually, i will be honest and say that a good 40% of my time is spent thinking: uggghhhh, the midwest. but, it has its charms. festivals and brutal winters and high school marching bands and such.

littlest sister has a photo of all of us together and, although she promised she would send it to me, she has not yet done so. so, this post will be selfie-less. there were also awkward prom poses in front of pumpkins, but those didn't make the cut. and goats! if there are goats or sheep or llamas, littlest sister will find them and be in your purse before you know it to squirrel out a quarter to feed them. it is her superpower: "feed the goats girl."

there is something really special about this time of year. everyone putting on their layers and venturing out on the weekends, searching for all the same things: apples, changing leaves, pumpkins. i've seen so many mentions of anne of green gables and her: "i'm so glad to live in a world where there are octobers." 

there is a gladness to it. october is beautiful, in all her quiet, crisp glory. and i'm also glad for my little october sister. happy birthday, boo.

p.s. sorry i was sick and fell asleep at 7:30.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

if i hadn't been fox books

you've got mail discussion ahead:

first and foremost, you've got mail is one of the greatest movies of all time. this is not up for debate, it just is what it is. there may be a few of you out there rolling eyes and thinking: not this shit again; do you talk about this movie every day? and my answer would be: if i'm given the opportunity, yeah, duh. but, really truly, it is one of the greats. kathleen kelly is my 90s spirit animal and joe fox is just the best and the two of them together? cinematic magic.

and, all in all, joe fox was a really wonderful guy. the daisies? the emails? the godfather references? the golden retriever named brinkley? the boats and books and mochaccinos? the part where he asks for oh, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie for as long as we both shall live and then he says don't cry, shopgirl and, seriously, every girl watching cries? (or, is that just me?)

point being: this movie needed to be celebrated here today, but also it took joe fox a little while to become the joe fox we all know and love. he struggled in the beginning and could be a slight jerk to our lovely heroine and sometimes, when i'm being bratty, i think to myself: i'm having a joe fox moment.

and, what i'm referencing is the bit of dialogue where joe fox writes to kathleen kelly thusly:
do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself? that a pandora's box of all the secret, hateful parts - your arrogance, your spite, your condescension - has sprung open? someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on, you zing them. "hello, it's mr. nasty." I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about. 

well, joe fox, i do know what you're talking about.
i've been having some joe fox moments lately. the worst version of myself.

and, really, this was all just a front to talk about you've got mail, but also this: when you're having a joe fox moment (or, a string of them, in my case), my advice would be to get out of your rut and/or get out of town and do something nice.

which brings me to: over the rhine. (hereinafter referred to as: "otr")

this past weekend, in an effort to battle my joe fox moments, i told boyfriend we were getting out of the burbs and heading to cinci to bop around otr for the night and have fun, gosh darnit. and, the mission was accomplished and this is what happened.

our objective was to go to the eagle otr, a place where hip people go and order fried chicken and comfort food. we put our names on the list at 6:45pm and were quoted a 2.5 hour wait, so we headed out among the people to bar hop. (ed. note: we later found out that our 6:45 check-in was the last one they took that night, so be prepared to go earlier and/or wait and/or be turned away).

we went to kaze bar first and sipped on cocktails until we left to get margaritas and stand at the outside patio at bakersfield. that one sentence was short, but in real time it was approximately 2 hours. so, we headed back to the eagle in anticipation of our wait time and parked ourselves at the bar until we were called. and we waited, and waited, and waited and i think it really ended up being closer to 4 hours by the time we sat down, but we are chill people and it didn't bother us too much, except that we were hungry and had been at bars all evening and well, you know.

but, the chicken, omgggggg. we got fried chicken with drizzed hot honey and we split spoonbread and mac and cheese and succotash and whoa, nelly. please to enjoy these next, grainy photos, taken with an unsteady hand.

and so ended our saga of being hip and cool, and we drove back to the suburbs, stuffed.

in closing: nurture your joe fox moments. go to the mattresses with them, and then feed them fried chicken and mac and cheese. if you are cinci-bound, feed them at the eagle otr, specifically. or, if you don't have fried chicken, look at these photos, whimper quietly, and whisper: i wanted it to be you. i wanted it to be you so badly.

whatever works for you.