Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Thrifty, Oh Yes I Am!

I love going to thrift stores and have always wanted to go to flea markets. There is something about going through pre-owned things that gives me a thrill. I may be considered as somewhat thrifty, but I just love vintage stuffs. They have personalities and stories and when you wear them, you can never be bland. 

Last Sunday I found precious treasures among the rummage of CAP (Citizens for Animal Protection) Thrift Store on Highway I-10 and Dairy Ashford. All profits go to CAP for the benefits of the animals. So I got to purchase really cool vintage stuffs and donated. Isn't that just great? Anyway, I found 3 items that immediately earned my heart. They are a handbag made from what looks like ikat weaving and two pairs of flat shoes. The bag cost me $2, the shoes were $3 and $4.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunny Saturday and Kemah!

It was a wonderful sunny Saturday (yesterday) in Houston. It was warm and the temperature was just perfect. So, obviously, we need to go outside and embrace the sun. And we did!

We started the day by taking the dogs out for a walk. This time, further than we have ever gotten. The two dogs were excited indeed. It was a good workout for me and my husband too. We met Scrappy, a boxer and his owner, Juan that live in the same areas as us. The dog was walking without a leash, but he didn't go frantic over people. Juan said that Scrappy never bark. That was how nice Scrappy was.

Later in the afternoon we decided to go to Kemah Boardwalk with two other friends. Kemah Boardwalk is a seaside destination that is filled with restaurants, hotel and amusement rides. They have 11 m carousel, 20 m ferris wheel, railway, and the Boardwalk Bullet which is a really big a wooden roller coaster. It used to be the next big thing after the Six Flags in Houston. Since the Six Flags is now closed, Boardwalk Bullet is the one to beat right now. Kemah Boardwalk is only an hour away from Houston.

We had dinner at The Flying Dutchman and ended the night with a cup of coffee. I had Broiled Seafood Platter. The dish had crab cake, fish, shrimps, scallops and crab legs in it. It was served with rice and boiled vegetables. It was pretty good for a $21 something dish. I cleaned the plate. Obviously.

I also had 1/2 dozen fresh oysters as appetizer. The dish had a clean taste and no foul after taste. The garlic and chili sauce helped making it even more delicious. My husband had Rib Eye Steak. We ate on the seashore, in a seafood restaurant with endless options of (what looked like) delicious seafood dish on the menu and he ordered.... steak! The man is a hardcore carnivore indeed.

Overall, it was a fun day. Especially because before going home, I bought Funnel Cake for dessert. It is a standard food in any American amusement park. It is basically some kind of doughnut batter, poured upon really hot oil and then served with lots and lots of powder sugar. I don't have the pic though. It was finished in a heartbeat. Next time. Promise.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Girls, Cupcakes and Sake

Good girl friends, yummy dessert, sushi, two glasses of sake bomb, and endless conversation on a wonderful afternoon are answers to brighten up my day in Houston.

As the new girl in H-Town, it is best for me to take every invitation offered. So I did. On weekdays when our husbands are at work, Asa and Mimut, my new girl friends and I usually opt to catch up over coffee or cupcake. And sometimes sushi and sake. A small Japanese restaurant called Oishii has Happy Hour after 3 pm and yes, drinks are half price too. So go figure.

As far as cupcakes go, the best one I've tasted so far is located here in Houston. The store is called Crave Cupcakes and it is one of the cutest store ever. The cupcakes are a bit expensive, but absolutely delicious. They charge $3 and up for a single cupcake. I am right now addicted to their Red Velvet Cupcake. It tastes just right. Perfection. Please check out their website here.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rita's Cafe

Houston has endless food options. It has foods from all over the globe! Yesterday I got to taste some handmade Lebanese cuisine at Rita's Cafe, a small cozy restaurant near my house.

Cafe Rita is run by a couple of middle aged folks, man and wife, George and Rita. They are Lebanese and have been here in Houston for 31 years. The restaurant itself has operated for 14 years. They used to have another branch, but it was closed.

The restaurant has an old-school-no-fool vibe to it. The owners obviously don't really care that much about the decor or theme. In pride of their heritage, they have pictures and flags of the country they originated from. The most striking personality of the restaurant comes from George himself. He is absolutely a delightful old guy with an accent that makes him even more interesting.

"Hello lady, what do you want to have today? We have beef shawarma, kebab, and you can choose two side dishes if you choose shawarma," George greeted me right away as I entered the restaurant. I went for the beef shawarma (Greeks called this dish "gyro"). The dish had rice with vermicelli, grilled beef and yogurt sauce. I chose fried eggplant and hummus as my sides and enjoyed the hummus with flat bread. I love the hummus. I then ended my meal with Finger Baklawa as the dessert. It is a small and very sweet Lebanese cookie, sprinkled with pistachio on top of it.

I will definitely come back. Yes, for the hummus, baklawa and George.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Are You Smarter Than a Dachsund?

Apparently, I am not.

Here's the thing. We do not trust our dogs being inside the house without our supervision. A few accidents have become proves of how these two are not to be trusted. So when we go out or when we go to bed, we cage them inside the kitchen. We used to only use a cardboard to attain them in the desired area, but as days gone by, they, our little Dachsund Trippy to be precise, has found ways to escape.

So last night, we built a barricade of sofa, chairs, bar stools and even human sized punching bag to keep our dogs inside the kitchen. Our corgeagle (corgi and beagle) was trying hard to jump and escape, but failed miserably. Trippy was rather cool about the whole thing. A bit panicked, but mostly focused on her new rawhide bone. And then we went to bed feeling rather victorious.

At 5.00 am our alarm rang. I turned to my husband and there she was, our beloved Trippy. Laying face up, snuggling between the two of us, trying to keep herself warm. The pooch didn't even move when I woke up, feeling pretty pissed off. She just kept sleeping with a somewhat, victorious face.

The baricade was still intact. Sausage was in the kitchen, looking devastated. I really don't know what I should do now. I'm going out with a friend this afternoon and I refuse to let the dogs roam my house freely. No way.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Money Talks

Back home, people could get away with almost anything. Tickets for reckless driving included. 

What speed limit? There's a stop sign? What does a stop sign even mean? Screw the pedestrians! And Mr. Police Officer sir, please let me go, I really don't have time to go to court, and I'm new in this area, and I'm really in a hurry, and I'm blind, and I'm a woman, and I really don't give a damn, and I only have twenty thousands rupiah (approximately $2) with me. Will that work for you?

Yes, money talks in Indonesia. No matter how hard some people try to shush it, it still yaps. Sad but true. Well, almost 180 on the contrary, money talks here too, but through channels that are making the government and hands of law have pride and dignity towards its people. My husband and I just paid $146 for a ticket that he got for speeding. Ten percent above the speed limit that is. We paid the ticket online and plead guilty for the charge, so we can just skip the trial altogether. Yes, he was indeed guilty. Guilty for speeding and making us spend $146 for something that could be avoided. 

My house is a mess today. I skipped any cleaning activities during the weekend. Now I shall reap the fruits of my labor (or lack there of).