Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Houston Talk - OKRA

I've decided to start a new series called "Houston Talk" where I'll share about local restaurants, bars, hang-out spots and things to do in the area.  I feel like we eat and drink quite a bit around the city, so why not share it with you guys in case you are local and want to compare notes or in case you are ever visiting and looking for places to go?!
Last night, I met up with my sister in law for dinner and drinks at The Original OKRA Charity Saloon.  The concept of this place is so cool!  The proceeds go to a different charity each month, which is decided on by the patrons.  Every time you buy a drink, you receive a ticket to vote on the charity of your choice between the four nominees for the following month. 
As you can see, the interior of the building is awesome - arched exposed beams, distressed brick walls with flickering gas lit lanterns and then to top it off an open skylight at the back of the bar that reveals a bricked building with ivy covering it.  All very simple yet charming!  The red curtains cover the voting box.

We ordered these drinks below that I don't know the name of, but it was champagne, ginger and grapefruit juice.  Delicious!  We also shared a panini with parmesan waffle fries and fried OKRA!  No, no we didn't eat all of that!  A to go box packed up the remaining items to send home to my brother in law.  The panini we had was made with tomatoes, avocado and arugula.  It didn't disappoint.

I would like to say that my SIL and I thought that each of the four charities were all equally deserving and that we just couldn't possibly pick one.....but that's not totally true. After a couple of these delicious drinks and lots of chatting, we got side-tracked and walked out without voting. But most likely, all of the charities are truly wonderful, and I'm sure the proceeds will be put to great use at any of them!
I will be adding this place to our list of favorite happy hour spots.  It's located in downtown Houston, which makes it easy for my husband and a lot of our mutual friends to meet up at after work.  The food was on par with other bar food, but the drinks were amazing, and hey, you're drinking for a great cause!  Who can argue with that?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Birthday Recap

I need to catch you up on the last two weekends, or what I would like to the think of as my birthday week.  The Saturday before last was my 31st Birthday! I would like to say at this point that it really hasn't been so bad being on this side of 30.  ;) 
We spent my actual birthday weekend celebrating with friends and family.  The Friday night was spent at a surprise birthday party for a great friend.  We have quite a few mutual friends, so it really was kind of like my birthday party too.  I'm sure he didn't mind sharing with me!  This is what I wore to the party:

The next morning, we went to brunch for bottomless mimosas with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and two of our closest friends.   After brunch, we continued the day with my SIL and BIL.  It was a rainy day, so we did some shopping and continued to drink mimosas.  I also received the following free dessert to share with the table.  Mmmmm!  Let's just say the day continued from there with more drinks and more food and more drinks....

I have to also mention how absolutely spoiled I am too!  I didn't even have a birthday wish list this year, but I received some of the best gifts EVER!  Seriously, you guys all outdid yourselves!  Here's a snap of a few of my presents!
{TB boots, Kendra Scott Necklace, Wine Canteen, Lululemon Pants}
But the birthday fun didn't stop there.  Fast-forwarding to this past weekend, I went down to stay at my sister's for a night before we met up with our cousins and a fun group of girls for my cousin's bachelorette party.  Before leaving for the party, my adorable nieces had made a sign for me, sang me happy birthday, gave me the sweetest cards and made me birthday jello.  Jello for breakfast, why not?!  I didn't snap a picture of their spread for me (darn it), but it was the sweetest.
The rest of the day was spent lounging by this pool, taking in the view and partying it up Saturday night with my cousins. 

I've missed seeing these beautiful faces!
(from left to right: my sister, Ashley; my cousin, Jessica; Me; my cousin, Morgan; & my cousin, the bride-to-be, Angela)
I know so many of you are saying how ready you are for Fall and for the cooler weather to be here, but this gal is not so sure.  I mean I love that time of year, but I'm still enjoying the sunny weather and soaking up the sun!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Adult Version of Red Light, Green Light

Did you ever play the game "Red Light, Green Light" when you were little?  If you aren't familiar, it's a really simple game.  The way we played it was a group would line up as if about to run a race, and someone would stand at the finish line and when they said, "Green Light", everyone would take off running towards the finish.  When "Red Light" was yelled by the announcer, everyone had to freeze in their spot and wait for "Green Light" to be said again and so on until someone made it to the finish line. 
I feel like this is how I live my life...mainly due to my job.  I'm a CPA and do financial reporting for a company in downtown Houston.  I actually really like what I do, and to top it off, I work for a great company, have a wonderful boss and like the people I work with.  The only downside are the cycles of reporting as we get busy after every year-end and every quarter-end and tend to work long hours during these times.  This is when I feel like my life gets put on hold a bit.  So there are about five months out of the year that I'm in "Red Light" mode.  We don't make plans much on the weekends as I need to be in town and available to work if I need to.   I am usually at work late and eat dinner in the office, so when I get home, I get ready for bed and sleep, and then wake up to the daily grind the next day.  After quarter and year-end reports are filed, I feel like someone yells "Green Light," and I take off running trying to fit in everything that I've put on hold.  I try to see all the friends and family I can, meeting for dinners, happy hours and other social events, and also I try to catch up on housework and a mile long to-do list of errands that will have inevitably built up during my busy time at work.  I then seem to exhaust myself by doing all of these things, although the social parts are fun and I feel better when I've scratched all of the items off my list.  However, by the time I get caught up on life and start to relax again, it's time for our busy time at work again.....and so the cycle continues.
Why am I telling you all this?  I felt like my little blog here was a good place to sort of dump these feelings.  Like I said, I like my career of choice, but I seem to struggle at times with keeping it all together and maintaining a balance... but I know most everyone understands this as it applies to everyone in different ways.  I just sometimes wish for a more stable routine with regular hours on an on-going basis.  I sometimes am envious of friends that are able to have their evenings free and never have to consider whether it's a quarter-end or not. I feel like I'm always telling people I can't make it to some event or dinner because "we'll be in quarter at work" or "it's our busy time."  I'm sure my friends get tired of hearing that from me as well.  It's the nature of my job, and I must accept it.  I know that.  It's what I've chosen, and I'm happy with my choice.  Also, now you all will know that when I've seemed to have disappeared from writing my blog that I'm either in my "Red Light" mode and don't have time to blog as when I have any free time, I'm probably sleeping.  OR that I'm in my "Green Light" mode and running around as fast as I can so that I'm not taking the time to blog.  I'd like to try to start blogging on a regular basis and make it more of a priority.  I really do enjoy blogging, and it's actually a form of stress relief when I make the time for it.  It's a way to share and connect with people and in a way, for me, it's a bit of an I can go off to BlogLand for a bit and get out any thoughts or feelings I want or dream and look at pretty pictures, and then step back into my reality. 
Thanks for reading...if you still are.  I'm usually not so personal or this chatty on here, but I thought a change for once was okay.  Hope all of you lovelies are having a wonderful week. 

Let's end on a fun note.  Here are some (somewhat blurry) pictures from my phone of outfits I've been wearing to work this summer.