Monday, November 14, 2011

please visit!

Please visit me at

You will be redirected there momentarily.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

i've moved!

In person and on the web...

J and I now live in Dallas (woohooo), and I've moved to Come visit!

Monday, July 4, 2011

best of madison

Tonight, on a walk down to the dock nearby, J and I reminisced on our time in Madison, and came up with a comprehensive list of our favorite restaurants and bars in the area. Originally, we were trying to come up with a "top ten" list, but we quickly realized that we love too many local places. So, without further delay-- our favorite spots in Madison, listed in no particular order:

Best sandwich spot-- H: the West of the Andes at The Weary Traveler (on Williamson St.) A tender steak sandwich with avocado and chipotle mayo... delicious! J: the Cajun Spiced Chicken sandwich at Dotty Dumplings Dowry.
Best sushi-- Takara. I usually (ok, always) get the spicy maki combo, J gets chicken teriyaki, and we usually split a Philadelphia roll before dinner. :) This is my favorite place to head to for special events... it's slightly on the pricey side, but definitely worth the splurge every once in a while.
Best brewpub-- (yes, the designation may be a little vague, but it's the best descriptor) The Great Dane. This place is great for just about anything. Since there's one a little less than a mile from our apartment, we often take any visitors there. They have great food, a great ambiance, and delicious beer. (The location in Fitchburg also has a great outdoor patio.)
Best brunch-- The Old Fashioned. I love the Bagel and Lox, and J usually gets the Daily Scramble. They also have a great selection of sandwiches and burgers.
Best eclectic selection-- Bluephies. This might just be my favorite restaurant in all of Madison (we go there often enough to be known by the hostess... haha). Their crab benedict is the best I've ever had in WI (the best ever was at Cappy's in San Antonio), and their "ooey gooey pasta" is a favorite for dinner. J and I both also enjoy their salmon BLT, though I prefer mine without the apple. They also have a "vodkatorium," which is a fancy way of saying that they have many awesome mixed drinks and a fantastical liquor selection. Top selections include the "purple rain" martini, the "fat boy bloody mary," and the "Monroe Street Mule," which includes vodka, ginger beer, sweetener, and lime juice. I know the last one sounds weird, but it's one of the best drinks ever created. So, in conclusion... Bluephies= best place ever.
Best Indian food-- Taste of India. I love the lamb masala there, but in reality, everything we've ever tried has been amazing. J and I usually share some garlic naan, and J loves the chicken vindaloo. In addition, the service is always impeccable-- they are incredibly welcoming and polite.
Best Loatian and Thai-- Vientiane Palace. J and I first started going here six-ish years ago (thanks Betsy!), and we literally get the same thing every time we go. I get the pad lao with chicken, 1 star (only a little spicy), and J gets the noodles with soy sauce, with chicken, 2-3 stars (very spicy). It doesn't look super impressive from the outside (on Regent or Gorham), but the food is amazing, and we usually pay less than $20 for a ton of food (we nearly always have leftovers to take home). Give it a shot!
Best lounge-- Opus. J and I stumbled upon this gem about three years ago. It has a fantastic ambience, and some great tapas/appetizer-style foods-- the antipasto, crostini, and bread and butter plates are especially delightful. They also have some nicer drinks than most bars in town... it's nice to try 2-3 on a low-key night out.

I'm probably missing some, but I'll post more as we think of them. I can't wait to discover my favorites in Dallas. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

fun in madison

So, in an effort to do as much in Madison as possible, including all the things we've been putting off for years, J and I finally planned a ton of stuff for the rest of the summer.
First up-- this weekend we're headed to the cottage for Saturday, including one of N's awesome Bloody Mary clinics... everyone brings their favorite Bloody Mary recipes and we "vote" on the best one. :)
On Sunday we're headed to the Dells for a day of bowling, go-karting, and bumper cars. And since we've been talking about going to Wollersheim for as long as we've been legal, we're gonna stop there on our way to the Dells. Yes... this will likely be at 10:30. We are not concerned-- it is on our list, so we're doing it. 

Further summer plans include a trip to Chicago, a beer and wine tasting at Fromagination (on the square), Third Eye Blind at Summerfest, a Mallards game, a kickboxing class (it'll be interesting, haha), and various other fun things (like a visit to the new Union South). 

What about you? Any fun plans? Any suggestions for last-minute Madison fun?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

more ugly things

More awesome finds from our Kohls trip last night:
Apt. 9 Two Tone Bead Cuff Bracelet
Because we all like to sound like reindeer in July.

Apt. 9 Gold Tone Bead Charm Stretch Bracelet
Seriously. How do you get things done with this monstrosity weighing you down?!

(In the same vein...
Apt. 9 Gold Tone Bead Multistrand Necklace
Wow. Just wow.)

Apt. 9 Gold Tone Bead and Starfish Charm Swag Necklace
For grannies aspiring to bling out like Mr. T. 

Apt. 9 Gold Tone Simulated Pearl Bead Charm Cluster Stretch Ring

I'd love to show you more, but apparently they're reserving some of their ugliest designs just for in-store customers.

I think one (or more) of their designers may have been spending too much time at a retirement beach resort... 

heat v. mavericks

I. J is convinced the Mavericks will take the series. I'm rooting for the Heat.

II. Normally, we'd bet each other $5-10 and never end up actually doing anything about it. So for this bet, I decided to make it interesting.

III. Yesterday, in lieu of going home and hiding in our closet from the not-tornado, we went to Kohls to pick up some Keurig coffee. Naturally, like every time we go there, we first stopped by the jewelry section to make fun of all the ugly things. (Seriously, it's a lot of fun... especially when there are a bunch of old women around and J loudly announces his disgust at things with colorful descriptions.)

IV. Among other things, we found this charming piece of "jewelry":

Perfect for tweens who think it's cool to wear caked-on makeup and let their thongs hang out.

V. If the Heat wins, J has to wear this delight to work for a day. Ditto for me if the Mavs take it.

(I think it's a fair trade.) 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

no gender?!

So I just read this article about parents who are keeping the gender of their 4 month old a secret.

Yes. It's as weird as it sounds. The kid is named "Storm," and his/her parents wants to give the kid a chance to be who he/she wants to be.
(That sentence was a pain in the ass to type... how do you talk to someone else about your kid?!)

[Not related at all to the story, but notable nontheless...This non-disclosure of the poor kid's gender is not even the most crunchy granola thing about his family. His/her brothers are "unschooled," a version of homeschooling, which promotes putting a child's curiosity at the center of his or her education. Wow... just wow. How do they plan on working in the real world someday?]

I don't know about all this. I'm all for people making all sorts of decisions about their lives, but I can't help but to think that this will have disastrous consequences on the poor kid's life. When did it become such a terrible thing to celebrate being one gender or another? I like being a girl. I like dressing up, wearing high heels and makeup, curling my hair, and smelling like flowers. I don't feel like my parents forced me to be "girly" by buying me some dresses and dolls, nor did they make a big deal out of telling me I could do anything I wanted. I was just a kid who happened to be a girl.

In the end, I don't think that not disclosing "Storm's" gender will have the intended consequences-- I think by drawing attention to not wanting to characterize him/her as one gender or another, these parents are implying that one of the genders is potentially shameful. (For the record, I feel the same about people talking non-stop about how all races are the same. If race truly doesn't matter, it shouldn't have to be addressed all the time. But why are we trying to squash any type of distinctive characteristics?!)

It's time to stop being so PC, and start celebrating the very things that make us who we are. Most of all, parents need to stop projecting all their insecurities about the world on their poor children.

Friday, May 20, 2011

in case of zombies...

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has issued a Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Guide...
which is awesome.
Image of zombie
See details here.

Even better? The writer, Ali Khan, is an Assistant Surgeon General with both an MD and a MPH.
Who said being a government professional had to be boring?!

I totally trust this guy to help me deal with zombies!

how J and I know we're adults

1. We eat gummy vitamins.

2. We have groupons to go play Laser Tag, and for a day of unlimited go-kart and bumper car rides. (Separate places, separate times).

3. We eat Chocolate Cheerios like the world really is ending.

*** To be fair, at least J eats the Cheerios plain... he used to eat Frosted Flakes with sugar on top. Puke.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

splitting the blog

Earlier tonight, I texted various friends and siblings to help me come up with a new blog name. I felt like my old title (for better) was more indicative of who I was in January... someone who was still very much stuck in the college cycle, and unable to think past it.

And since I was presented with two names that I liked-- "honk honk! it's Harriet!" from Joe, and "wine, words, & weekends" from my darling J, I decided to split my ramblings into two blogs. One will focus on my musings on the world in general, and the ridiculous things in particular ("honk!"), and "wine" will focus on my thoughts on books, movies, and (of course) my favorite wines.

To get the ball rolling on the ridiculous...
I present to you-- the woman who rear-ended a truck while shaving her... well, why don't you read it and see what she was shaving.

As a teaser, her mugshot

Winner, no?

i'ma sip moscato

I'm having a great dinner... I was starving when I got home tonight, and I was tempted to just eat 
Cheddar Ruffles.

But instead I whipped up this beauty
Lots of romaine, with cubes of fresh mozzarella and lots of tomatoes. Plus some chopped fresh basil. :)

Inspired by this beautiful appetizer made by my love and me over the weekend
(Fresh bread, basil, tomatoes, and mozarella... with a sprinkling of garlic olive oil, freshly ground pepper and some sea salt. Très délicieux!)

Tonight's dinner is rounded out with a couple slices of fresh sesame bread, and this delight... 

re: purse

Yes, I know that I wrote a post a couple of days back about how I'm so happy to be getting rid of stuff all over the place. And it's very much true!

I've actually been looking for a while to replace my current purse because it has a giant tear in it, and one day when I reached in for a lipgloss I was nearly cut to shreds by a mysterious rusted-looking metal wire, which I later determined was from the top (inside) of the bag... meaning it travelled around the entire inner lining of the purse in order to give me tetanus scare the living daylights out of me.
(During the last week of classes, my low-on-sleep brain jumped to the conclusion that some creepy guy slipped some rusty metal stick into my bag-- I'm clearly paranoid about the intentions of my fellow students.)

Thus, I truly am trying to get rid of stuff... I just happen to need a new purse.

Plus, starting Friday, I want to see if I can go an entire week without spending money on impulse buys. [And no, just because I say I'm "planning on going to TJ Maxx" doesn't mean those purchases are planned for.] But more on that later...


I opened my computer with the intention of writing a blog-post about how I think I spend too much money.

And instead I bought a new leather handbag.

My bad. (In black.)

I'll try again tomorrow?

Monday, May 16, 2011


I am not a patient person. (J, I know that's an understatement.) But lately, it has gotten out of control-- when watching movies on Netflix, I sometimes google the movie and read the plot on wikipedia. Crazy, right?! It completely ruins the notion of watching a movie, and more often than not, once I know how the movie will play out, I'll move onto the next. J and I have gotten to the point where we need to put away our computers if we're planning on watching a movie together... this bad habit is particularly ruinous when watching scary movies.

I dreamt last night that I met someone who works on the set of Glee, and I demanded to know who dies in next week's (or tomorrow's) episode. This struck me when I woke up-- I wonder how often I ruin things for myself because I'm too impatient to just wait it out.

That being said, it makes me really anxious not to have any clue as to what we'll be doing and where we'll be in August. This whole graduation thing just highlighted how unprepared I am for the real world, and how aimless I feel. I wish I wanted to become an accountant, or a pharmacist, or something that I could have been prepared for through school. My own schooling hasn't prepared me for anything specific... just broad, vague ideas of things. 

I wish I could google my life and see how it turns out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

living with less

Selling our "gently used items" (see: "junk") via Craigslist has been (mostly) great. We have gotten rid of quite a number of things, and thus far, there haven't been too many creepers e-mailing me. We also took a bunch of books to Half Price Books and got $45... and no, I don't even want to think about how much those books cost to begin with. I'm just happy to have less. Fewer things to pack up when we move, fewer things to feel burdened by-- it's refreshing to realize that we don't just have to accumulate things over the next twenty years and eventually be buried underneath all the crap that comes along with building a home.

The biggest lesson I've learned is that there's no reason to hold on to things because we "might use them someday." When it really comes down to it, we only use maybe 20% of what we have, and there's no reason to keep holding on to things that we may or may not need 5-10-15 years from now.

And while we still have quite a bit more than we need at this point, I'm really happy we're taking steps to pare down. That way, if we ever choose to go live in another country for a period of time, we don't need to attempt the massive task of getting rid of 5-10 years' worth of junk... or pay for 3 storage units so that we can come back and say "what the hell is all this?"

Speaking of living in a different country, check out this amazing villa in Italy--
Interior designed apartment near Gubbio

Italian kitchen apartment 6 San Vittorino

Communal swimming pool
What I wouldn't give for such simplicity...

Seriously. I don't understand those people who have their houses, and various storage units for all the crap they're not currently using. How is there not a point where you just feel suffocated by all the stuff in your life? And think of all the money-- paying for a storage unit alone is expensive, and for what? Keeping things that you don't even know you have?!

I think I have a unique perspective on the issue of keeping things that aren't immediately necessary or useful. When we moved here in 1998, we each brought a suitcase of clothes and a stuffed animal or two. My parents had a container of some furniture shipped over, but that didn't arrive until we were here for about 6 months. Thus, prior to leaving, we literally sold or donated everything else.

That sentiment has stayed with me-- every once in a while I will purge all the non-essentials. And though I will occasionally still build up stores of things I don't use (see: junk room post-wedding), I always rediscover how much happier I am with less.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(finally) getting rid of stuff

I've been moving things out of our "junk-room" and taking pictures of stuff for sale for the past 3 hours. 
I have discovered a couple of things though...
J has at least two pairs of shoes in there that he didn't know he had. Now, I have a hard time understanding this particular notion, but I guess we shop differently, and they may also have been Christmas presents somewhere along the way. 
Either way, we're getting rid of a ton of stuff.
Like this:
We used it for the wedding, and while I love it, we really just have no use for it. I hope it finds a happy home.

I also discovered other various dishes that we used for the wedding... and I love them as much as I did when I was shopping for the wedding. [For not really wanting to have a big to-do for the wedding, I really enjoyed running all over Madison to the various TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores to find all the bowls, platters, and serving dishes.] And I'm sad to get rid of these little bowls, but they are more appropriate for dips than for eating out of, and we really just don't have dip that often.

Oh well. I'm actually really glad we don't have a house at this point-- I'd be tempted to keep all of this stuff, and I really don't want that life. Here's to getting rid of stuff and reducing clutter!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

more flowers/ he's baaaack!

First: it really is spring now. There are flowers everywhere, and I snapped some of these Saturday on my way home from the farmer's market...

It's wonderful to have so many bright, colorful flowers everywhere. It really brightens my day. :)

And, finally... he's back!

 (He's so good at posing for pictures!)

 I picked up J from the airport on Saturday, and the rest of the weekend was wonderful. Yesterday we got to see some of our favorite people... grilling with Dave and Justinery, and finally seeing Joe and Molly's kitchen was a great way to celebrate being DONE with everything!! (Still hasn't really sunk in, I'm expecting panic within the next 72 hours.)

The next week should be quiet-- I'll still be working part-time, but I'll be applying for jobs all over the place. It's a little scary, but I am excited. :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

tulips everywhere!

I wish they were around for longer... they're gorgeous. :) It finally feels like spring!!!

 (End of Willy St.)

All the rest are Siri's beautiful tulips... I love the inside of the red ones. I hope to someday have tulips everywhere, but given my terrible luck with growing anything, I won't hold my breath.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

61 hours

After (too) many semesters, I'd like to think I have the finals routine down. 

How I make it through:

Also helping me get through learning tons of stuff I'm never going to use again...

Looking forward to seeing this kid

And possibly these lovely people

I'll be done in 61 hours!