Monday, January 25, 2010

Austin in January


View-from-Lamar-Bridge---Ca
Just for grins and giggles, I Googled Austin to see what one of the "Official Visitors Sites" had to say about us. I was happily suprised to see they actually have it pretty much on the money:

Austin's a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously. After all, you can’t have a motto like "Keep Austin Weird" and be buttoned-up. We’re laid-back, full of energy and, like no place else in Texas.



No-Puppies
I moved to the Austin area from NJ almost 10 years ago. I miss the change of seasons every Autumn, when you get that crisp fresh feel to the air , come January I am very happy to have a 75 degree day to go  enjoy the outside world!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Candlelight


22/365 Point and Shoot
This picture is unprocessed and just cropped a bit


22/365-Filter
I put a warming filter on it (the same shot)

I can't decide which I like better....Any suggestions???

Happy Weekend!




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beautiful Sunset

20/365-Sky
A beautiful end to a gorgeous 75 degree day in Texas

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Early Spring Day



Flowery-Self-Portrait
What a beautiful day in Austin for flowery photo shoot on the back porch.


Vase-Mirror
Dory and I found ourselves in the vase.

Flowery-Color
I love having the color that flowers bring!


Yellow-Carnation
.....is it Spring yet???

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tuesday at the Table - Green Beans and Peppers


Go visit Cole over at All the Small Stuff for more great recipes!


I am always looking for ways to make veggies taste better. Here is a quick and easy way to dress up fresh green beans.

Green Beans and Peppers

1 pound Fresh green beans
1 roughly chopped yellow, orange, red pepper or combo of any or all (I used yellow and orange)
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (I used Kraft)dressing

Trim green beans and toss with peppers
Green-Beans-Peppers
Add the balsamic vinaigrette and put in the microwave for 2(two) minutes or until your preferred crunch is reached (I like my green beans slightly crunchy).


Green-Beans-Peppers-cooked

Add salt to taste and serve!!

I am a VERY big fan of quick and easy!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday at the Table - Roasted Brussel "s" Sprouts



I never knew it was "Brussel with an s" Sprouts, did you??

My sister in law first introduced a nummy recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts a few years ago using olive oil and garlic. I modified it a bit to cut back on the fat and add a bit of sweetness and this is what I came up with! When cooked until they are crispy they can be addicting!


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 container Brussels Sprouts

1/4 cup baslamic vinaigrette salad dressing (I used Kraft Light Baslamic)

Olive Oil Spray (I used PAM Olive Oil)


at-375
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Trim up brussels sprouts to your satisfaction, cut bigger ones in half so sizes are consistent.

Brussels-Sprouts-Marinated
Toss the BS in the vinaigrette let sit for a bit(I marinated mine overnight)

Put-in-the-oven
Place on a foil covered cookie sheet that has been sprayed OR on the "non stick" type of aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour checking/tossing every 15 minutes or so they brown evenly.


Roasted-BS
Ta Da!! Roasted Brussels Sprouts!
Fairly quick and easy!
Go visit Cole at All the Small Stuff for more great recipes! 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

In Full Bloom

9/365

Afternoon-Roses

Open-Rose

Being accountable for taking a picture a day for the Blog Camp Picture of the Day on Flickr has me really looking and appreciating the simple and day to day objects! Here are the roses that I brought home Tuesday in full bloom.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good Luck Colt!!


Bevo-Hook-Em

That says it all!

Well, that and win or lose the Rose Bowl...thank you Colt McCoy. Thank you for being a good role model; for not taking your popularity for granted; for giving back and for not being afraid to declare your religious beliefs! You will be missed and consider my family automatic fans of whichever Pro Team is luck enough to pick you up.

Monday, January 4, 2010

If it is Tuesday, There must be Food!







Salad-Closeup

Tossed Salad with Pomegranate and Goat Cheese

I put this together as a quick side salad last night.

Baby Butter or Spring lettuce mix
Cucumber(I used a hothouse/seedless cuke)
Grape tomatoes
Avacado (1/8 large) cut into chuncks
Palm hearts (I used 1/4 cup canned)
Roasted red pepper (cut into strips)
goat cheese (2 oz crumbled)
pomegranate seeds (1/4 cup)
raspberry vinaigrette to taste
I also use "salad toppin's" for a bit of crunch

The pomegranate seeds add a touch of sweet and crunch...NUM!!!

Salad-time

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas in Las Vegas

Welcome-to-Las-Vegas_sm

Here is a little review/pictorial of my long holiday weekend in Las Vegas with my hubbie!
Travel

BeautifulDaytogotoLV

Early Christmas morning my husband and I took off for the airport. We have flown on Christmas Day before, but I don't ever remember it being so busy at the airport as it :t was at 7:20am on Christmas morning 2009. We tend to fly Southwest when we travel to Vegas, mostly because we earn free flights through our credit card. I must say that even though you don't have assigned seating, Southwest is definitely my favorite airline!
Southwest
Even with the long lines, everyone was happy and helpful. I finally got my luggage checked 15 minutes before the flight left, with a "we will do our best to get your luggage on the plane, but we can't guarantee anything" from the attendant that I left my bags with. I barely made it through security, and ran with my shoes, and computer still in my arms down to the gate. The flight was full,  the flight uneventful as we made our way to Las Vegas via a short layover in Phoenix. We landed in Las Vegas about 5 minutes late and were VERY surprised to see my luggage almost  first coming off the conveyor! That's right, both pieces of luggage made it to Las Vegas (and home) with no problem. On the way home, we had a non stop flight to Austin that landed about 20 minutes early.
You rock Southwest!!


The Hotel
GVR-Sign

We had received a marketing postcard from Green Valley Ranch earlier in the year offering a two nights stay free, along with a $50 voucher at any restaurant and $50 in chips to play. We had spent our last Vegas vacation at the Green Valley and really enjoyed ourselves so we took them up on their offer!  The upscale hotel/casino is way off The Strip in nearby Henderson, NV. Since we rent a car while we are in Vegas, this really wasn't an issue for us. We have stayed both on the Strip and off, and the lure of lower priced, more luxurious rooms led us to Green Valley Ranch.

Room-View

We had a wonderful big room with a king bed, big bathroom with a separate shower and a lovely view of the mountains and pool. Our total 4 night stay, including a $100 dinner that we charged to the room cost less than $300. Granted, in order to get these comps we had to gamble in the Green Valley Ranch Casino for a specific amount of time (less than 8 hours).

The Casinos
We aren't big gamblers, but  we enjoy blackjack, video poker and after a couple of cocktails you can most likely  find us at a craps table. We did do most of our gambling at the Green Valley Ranch. We could usually find a blackjack table with no one smoking, but did get stuck at a craps table one night next to a man who just lit one cigarette after another and then just put it in the ashtray to let it burn...ugh.  The nice thing about Green Valley Ranch is that they have a whole video poker/slot machine section that is non-smoking.

Whenever we travel to Las Vegas, I make ask my husband to take me to the Bellagio Botanical Gardens Observatory for a photo shoot.

Bell-Flowers

Spring-Flower

With camera in hand, I headed for the Observatory to take some Christmas flower pictures except....the place was MOBBED! This was my fault as it was Saturday afternoon and everybody must have had the same idea.  Note to self (and anyone else listening) that if you want to take premo pictures in the Bellagio Observatory do it in the morning light (between 9am and 11am in the spring)early in the week (Monday or Tuesday)like the ones taken above. The shots below were taken on a cloudy Saturday between 12pm and 1pm, I am not keen on the lighting, and because of the crowds it was hard to pick and choose what I wanted to shoot.

Bellagio-Amaryllis

Polar-Bear-Bellagio

Bellagio-Horse

Flower-House


We also stopped by the new City Center and the Aria casinos. Once again, MOBBED, so we made our way back to the car and took in some "off strip" casinos.

These included:
Terribles
Terrible's, a local casino with fun, local patrons.

Red-Rock

Red-Rock-Canyon
The Red Rock Casino -  outside of Red Rock Canyon

M-sign
3- The M - A newer hotel/casino on the outskirts of the city close to the mountains.

The Food
As always, I am in awe of the food and alcohol in Las Vegas. This trip we didn't venture far from Green Valley Ranch. They have an Original Pancake House where ate breakfast more then once. I adore their potato pancakes and my husband swears that their french toast in the very best he has ever tasted!  We enjoyed tasty Italian food one night, the Green Valley Buffet and I even experienced the Cheesecake Factory for the first time! Regardless where you go, it is hard to find bad food in Vegas. We also made sure to visit west coast favorites that we don't have in Austin like In and Out Burger and Rubio's Mexican.

Entertainment and Overall
This was a very relaxing trip, we didn't see any shows, there is a new Cirque de Soliel show featuring Elvis that just opened that is on my list of things to do. We have seen and loved  most of the other Cirque shows and would highly recommend any of them!

Overall, for a relaxing time I am all about staying off the strip and visiting the strip if and when you want to. For a short weekend trip (Fri/Sat) I would recommend staying on the strip and enjoying the excitement it has to offer. Regardless, this is an excellent time to travel to Las Vegas. The rooms are inexpensive, with many hotels and casinos offering special room rates.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

The holidays really took it out of me this season...and once again, I vow to not make as much work for myself next season!!

My first and only real "resolution" is to take a picture a day to post for a POD group that I found via Chez Spud and Moments of Perfect Clarity, two blogs that I have followed since I started blogging (or they started blogging). I am soooo looking forward to this!! Here is my first shot:

BC-POD-01-01-10

My biggest hope for 2010 include getting healthy and fit for my upcoming dive trip in March. I have a long way to go, but am working on building regular work out habits and am heading back to healthy eating after a few weeks of holiday eating.

We just got back from a fun filled long weekend in Las Vegas, and I hope to give you a review of this trip in the next few days. I really love to travel and this trip was no exception. It is always wonderful to spend a few well needed days away from home with my darling husband!

In the crafting arena I am looking forward to doing starting an art journal on the first of each month starting this evening! It promises to be tons of fun, and I can't wait to get started. It will be much easier to show you what my idea of journaling art is than just tell you so that also is going on my things to post in the future.

Looks like another fun year full of "stuff" to share....Here is to a wonderful, colorful and awesome 2010!!