Window Shopping Wednesday – Fossil (watches for men)

Can you guys believe Christmas is just right around the corner?  I kind of hate that most of us seem to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas and treat Thanksgiving like the red-headed stepchild but that’s an issue for another day…

I was thinking about my husband today and although we’re not going to exchange Christmas gifts this year because we’re pooling our money to buy something we both want for the house (hint: you can find it in this post) I still like to look at different gifts I’d like to buy for him at some point.  I love buying gifts for other people.  There’s something so satisfying for me in finding the perfect something for someone.

One of my husband’s favorite things is watches.  He loves them.  He covets them.  He strokes them affectionately when he sees one he wants.  A couple of years ago I purchased him a Fossil watch that he loves.  It’s more the casual/funky side.  On our wedding day I presented him with a lovely dress watch from Citizen that he wears whenever he wants to dress up and feel snazzy.  I’d love to get him some more watches and in time, I’m sure I will.  In the meantime though, let’s peruse the Fossil website for all sorts of goodies shall we?

This weeks featured shop:  Fossil watches for men


Ansel Leather Watch – Black


Franklin Leather Watch – Brown


Cuff Leather Watch – Tan


Ansel Automatic Stainless Steel Watch – Black


Mechanical Twist Leather Watch – Brown


Keaton Leather Watch – Grey

Would your husband be a watch junkie if you let him?

August Date Night and some info about Labor Day

So I won’t lie – Augusts’ date night wasn’t much to get excited about.  Both the Hubs and I have birthdays in September and this year, we’ve decided to pool the money that we’d normally spend on each other for gifts in order to purchase something for the house that we’ve been wanting (more on that later).  In order to keep everything economical, we used this months’ date night as the Hubs’ birthday celebration.

So, we went to go see The Expendables 2 (movie review coming later) and went to eat at Red Lobster (he looooves endless shrimp and I love their cheddar bay biscuits… mmm mmm good).  I’ve gotta say, last time I was at Red Lobster I had their Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia and it was pretty good but not really dry enough for my tastes (I don’t like my fish mushy).  This time, I ordered the Fried Flounder and it was perfect.  Definitely yummy.

So yeah, that’s it.  Like I said – not too much exciting about our August date night.

On a completely different note – I thought I’d give you guys some info about Labor Day (since it just passed) in case you’re curious.  So here you go…

Labor Day – the first Monday in September – celebrates the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of America. On September 5, 1882, some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City to participate in America’s first Labor Day parade.  New York’s Labor Day celebrations inspired similar events across the country. Oregon became the first state to grant legal status to the holiday in 1887; other states soon followed. In 1894,Congress passed legislation making Labor Day a national holiday.

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance, A church filled with family and friends. I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for, He said one that would make me his wife. ~ Author Unknown

In a few months the Hubs and I will celebrate two years of marriage.  Part of me cannot believe that it’s only been two years but naturally, there’s another part of me that can’t believe it’s already been two years.  Isn’t that always the case? 

A friend of mine was over the other night and we were looking at a few pictures I’d taken (which were awful, btw) of her wedding and she said ‘the one thing I wish I’d done is get a photographer.  I don’t really have any pictures.’  Then today, I read an article on a blog I read called What Junebug Loves about how to incorporate your waggly-tailed furball into your wedding.  It was my original plan to have our sweet four-legged child walk down the isle with one of my bridesmaids and she would be ‘wearing’ a pillow which held our wedding rings.  In essence, she’d be the flower girl.  Unfortunately my pup has lots of medical issues that were just way too complicated to get around and we ended up not having her there on our special day.  I’d have to say that’s my one big regret that I have about my wedding.  I wish we’d found a way to incorporate her. 

The only other thing that I didn’t plan for was the photographer taking pictures of my wedding dress without me in it.  Did you know that there are these gorgeous hangers made specifically for this purpose?  Apparently that’s relatively common knowledge and I just totally skipped over that nifty idea when I was planning for my wedding.  My personal favorites are ones like these (click pictures for source)…

So, this got me to thinking – if you’re married and you had a wedding, what do you regret (if anything)?  Or, instead of regret, perhaps I should say, what would you have changed? 

Also – do you think that you and your spouse will do a vow renewal ceremony at some point?  If so, will it be a big to-do like the ‘first time’ or will it be something small and intimate?  When do you think it’s appropriate to do a vow renewal?  After 10 years?  25?  50?  Personally I love the idea of vow renewal ceremonies.  My dream would be to have all of my family and friends join my Husband and I for a destination renewal somewhere gorgeous and exotic (Greece or Fiji anyone?).  I think we’ll wait until at least 25 years of marriage before we plan this though!

Can’t wait to see what you guys have to say!

July Date Night

(photos totally not taken by me)

For our date night this month I decided to take the Husband out to Houston Motorsports Park for a little NASCAR racing.  Neither of us are really NASCAR fans but let’s be real here… do you know a single guy who isn’t thrilled at the idea of fast cars and the possibility of serious car carnage?  Nah, me neither.

Even though I possess absolutely zero Y chromosomes I have to say that I enjoyed this outing a lot.  It was H-O-T but hello, we live in TEXAS.  It’s basically always hot.  Fortunately there was a wonderful breeze that kept us from absolutely frying.  I knew enough about this place (having been there before) to know to bring stadium seats (you know, the foam kind so that your butt isn’t numb 30 minutes in) and most importantly, EAR PLUGS.  I have sensitive ears and having made the mistake of going to this type of event without ear plugs before, I was not about to repeat that disaster.  Not only did I bring ear plugs, I brought two types!  Foam and silicone!  And I even had enough to share with the family in front of us who didn’t have any for their young child. 

Here’s the great thing about HMP… it’s totally affordable and family friendly.  Tickets are $12 for adults and kids 12 and under are FREE.  When we went they were also doing $1 specials on beer, soda, and hot dogs.  This means that your family of 4 can go out and each get a drink and a hot dog and a ticket for a total of $32 or $8pp.  That’s less than a movie ticket people!  Even better?  If you don’t want to pay $1 for their specials you can bring your own food!  You can’t bring in coolers or grills but I saw tons of people with bags stuffed full of food and drinks (and you could always hide the cooler in your car and just take turns going out to get refills).  The show we went to had two parts with an intermission in between.  During intermission, they even bring out all the cars & their drivers so that spectators can go out on the track to talk to them and ooh and ahh over the cars.  What little boy wouldn’t absolutely love this?  I saw a small boy, maybe 6 or so, wearing a Cars shirt and absolutely jumping up and down and freaking out when he realized he could go out there and touch the cars.  It made me think of my oldest nephew who’s a total Cars fanatic.  He would LOVE to do something like that.  We’re definitely going to have to add it to the list of things to do when my stepsis and family come back in town. 

There was a pretty fair amount of car carnage.  One car wrecked pretty bad and started spewing gasoline backwards onto the windshield of the car behind it.  The car in front sparked and the whole thing caught fire.  Fortunately no one was injured but suffice it to say those cars didn’t race anymore than night.  There were several other fender benders and various needs for the caution flag to come out but when we left at intermission every person (not every car) was still in one piece.

Have you done anything fun with your hunny lately?  Have any suggestions for future date nights for the Hubs and me?

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Are you an Ikea fan?  I am.  I totally am.  Some of their stuff is cheap and not worth buying.  Other stuff though, totally worth it.  A while back mom and I were wandering through Ikea (I can’t even remember what for now) and we found this guy…

The Ikea Socker Greenhouse

Isn’t he adorable?!?!  I just *HAD* to have him.  So I paid for him and he went home with me.  I knew immediately what flowers I planned to put in him.  African violets.  Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment.  I went with Hubs to Lowes and we picked up 4 of them plus pots and special potting mix.

Here’s what I will say – getting this sucker together was not easy.  I totally had to stop at one point for fear of breaking it and get the Hubs to help me out.  Truthfully, if it didn’t entail a thirty minute drive, I probably would have exchanged the greenhouse for another one.  We kept getting snagged on a bent part and Hubs had to manually unbend it without ripping the whole thing to shreds.  In the end, he got it to work.  It doesn’t close perfectly but I’m ok with that.  He’s still freaking cute.

He’s hanging out right now in our dining room.

Close -up

His perch in our dining room.

Opening the top

Flower close-up

Truth is, I potted this sucker at least a month ago and guess what?  The flowers all died.  Just the flowers though… the foliage is still looking great.  I’m fairly certain the reasoning for this is a lack of humidity.  This is where the whole thing about this greenhouse being damaged from the get-go comes into play.  I’m going to try something different with them to raise their humidity level (filling the ‘saucers’ with rocks and water, then placing the plants on top).  Hopefully it’ll help.  If not, this may mean that I have to find another plant that will thrive.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Bloom Designs, Skip to My Lou, and Chef in Training.

As well as…


One Artsy Mama

Book Review: Over Tumbled Graves by Jess Walter

Hi friends.  Miss me?  As some of you may have guessed the Hubs and I went on vacation for the last week.  We were in beautiful Lake Tahoe with some other members of my family.  It was amazing.  The weather was just outstanding.  90s during the day but practically zero humidity and it dropped into the high 30s at night.  Why do I live in Texas again?  Anywho, my apologies for my blog absence but upon returning we had major technical issues with computers and we’re also just having a hard time getting back into the swing of thing after being gone.  It’s vacation hangover. 

So guess what that means?  More book reviews!  You’re thrilled aren’t you?  Ha!  Well I couldn’t just leave you hanging and not tell you about the books I read by the hotel pool.  So, here goes…

Excerpt from Barnes & Noble:

During a routine drug bust, on a narrow bridge over white-water falls in the center of town, Spokane detective Caroline Mabry finds herself face-to-face with a brutal murderer. Within hours, the body of a young prostitute is found on the riverbank nearby. What follows confronts our fascination with pathology and murder and stares it down, as Caroline and her cynical partner, Alan Dupree—thrown headlong into the search for a serial murderer who communicates by killing women—uncover some hard truths about their profession . . . and each other.

Rich with the darkly muted colors of the Pacific Northwest skies, Over Tumbled Graves established Jess Walter as a novelist of extraordinary emotional depth and dimension.

My first thought when I finished this book was ‘God that was depressing.’  Don’t get me wrong, I love murder mysteries but geez in the end I just sort of expected everyone to jump of a cliff or something.  Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows and it never leaves me with this down-in-the-dumps feeling.  Even though they find the guy in the end I still wouldn’t call it a ‘happy’ ending.  And what in the world is with all of the serial killers in the Pacific Northwest anyways?  Do people just go crazy because of all the rain or something? 

In the story two glory-hog FBI profilers are bought in and by the end of the book you basically just want to run them over with their cars.  They might be good at profiling serial killers, but they’re crappy people.  They’re way more concerned with the fame and getting their name in the papers than they are with the actual murders.  One guy doesn’t even want to get involved until the murders enter into the double digits!  Pompous ass.  I seriously hope that real FBI profilers aren’t that way. 

I liked the main character, Caroline.  She’s believable.  It’s nice that she doesn’t know it all.  She’s confused and she flounders and she’s real.  Her partner, Alan, kind of cracks me up.  He’s very sarcastic and sardonic but I get it.  I can totally see how being a cop for twenty-plus years could make you that way. I’m sure it’s his coping mechanism but it works. 

I will say that you totally don’t see the end coming, or at least I didn’t.  In that sense I truly enjoyed the book because it wasn’t predictable and I didn’t know how the book was going to end three chapters into it.  All in all, I’d say it’s a decent read but I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you’re having a bummer kind of a day… or if you live in the Pacific Northwest.

Movie Review: Drive

Have you seen this movie?  I honestly can’t remember what possessed me to decide to Netflix it but nonetheless it showed up in my mailbox the other day so the hubs and I decided to watch it.  Here’s the synopsis that’s listed on Netflix’s website … “A Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver is lured from his isolated life by a lovely neighbor and her young son. His newfound peace is shattered, however, when her violent husband is released from prison.”

SPOILER ALERT (stop reading this paragraph if you don’t want to know) – doesn’t that synopsis lead you to believe that perhaps the husband who comes home is pissed to find some guy with his wife and that they’re gonna duke it out?  That’s what I got from that.  Turns out, the husband isn’t violent at all.  He’s just an idiot. 

Ok, spoiler alert over. 

The movie is dark.  And violent.  And the violence is extremely unexpected.  It sort of shows up out of the blue.  When it did, Hubs turned to me and said ‘I didn’t realize this was THAT kind of movie.’  Well said Husband, neither did I. 

Drive definitely has a Sundance Film Festival feel to it.  It’s definitely more artsy than action-y even though there’s some action and violence.  Ryan Gosling, who plays the main character (whose name we never get by the way) has about ten words in the entire movie.  His character is very quiet and broody.  Honestly I couldn’t figure the guy out.  We get absolutely zero backstory on him.  Is he quiet because he’s just a quiet guy?  Is he harboring some serious anger and violent tendencies?  Is he half mime?  Who knows.  You never do find out anything about the guy. 

Personally, I thought the movie was dull and gory.  It got good reviews from critics but only so-so reviews from ‘the common viewer’ but I wouldn’t watch it again.  Guess that makes me a common viewer. 

If you saw this movie what did you think? 

Sidenote:  it’s really strange to see Albert Brooks play a bad guy.  Like a stab-someone-in-the-eye-with-a-fork bad guy.  The only other movies I know him from are Finding Nemo and The In-Laws.  In both movies he plays a cowardly geek of a father.  I kept seeing him in the scene in The In-Laws where he ends up in the hot tub with the gay arms dealer.  It was hard to see that guy as a bad guy. 

Side-sidenote:  what the heck was the costumer thinking in this movie?  What’s with the silver puffy quilt jacket with yellow scorpions on it that Gosling wears throughout the movie?  Does his character just have no fashion sense?  Does he secretly worship in a scorpion cult?  Does he have a poisonous stinger growing out of his bum?  I just don’t get it.  For a guy who is a tough guy he looks ridiculous in this outfit.

Movie Review: Battleship

So you know how yesterday I posted about going to a drive in movie theatre for our May date night?  (Well, the double feature that we saw was The Avengers followed by Battleship.  Now, I told you a few weeks back how much we loved The Avengers and I have to say, we didn’t mind sitting through it a second time in the least.  I didn’t possess a really strong desire to see Battleship except that the Hubs is ex-Navy so the moment he heard about a movie showcasing the Navy he was super excited and I knew we were going to go. 

The Hubs loved it, but I have to say I think he’s biased.  I thought it was mostly a fail.  Taylor Kitsch who plays the main character Lieutenant Alex Hopper is just sort of a putz.  You want to slap him.  A lot.  Also when their ship is hit and a lot of people die I also find it seriously hard to believe that a guy with six to seven years of experience is now the most qualified person on the ship and therefore becomes captain. 

There’s also some plagiarized scenes in the movie.  For the life of me I can’t find a picture or a clip of this scene but do you remember in the movie Titanic when Titanic is about to go completely underwater and they’re struggling to climb up the deck because it’s nearly vertical?  Then they climb over and hold on?  Yeah, it’s in there.  Oh!  And there’s a scene from Transformers 3 in there as well.  This scene was in all the trailers for the Transformers movie.  It’s where this office building gets cut in half and falls to the ground in slow-mo.  Yep, it’s in there too.

Basically it feels like they spent all of their graphic design money on these little spinny weapons of destruction that the enemy has.  That’s it though.  I realize that the aliens are supposed to be humanoids but really?  This was the best you could come up with?  An inbred face circa ‘Deliverance’ with lizard eyes and a porcupine goatee?

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Oh, and their great weakness is apparently sunlight except it’s used surprisingly sparingly against them. 

Rihanna does ok in the movie surprisingly.  I think what sort of irks me the most is the best actor in the entire movie is Liam Neeson and he’s only in there for about five minutes. 

I actually totally agree with this excerpt from a movie review website called Silver Screen Saucers the reviewer says this:

In December 2011, Peter Berg shared with journalists in Santa Monica the details of Battleship’s elaborate cinematic conception: “I went and talked to the guys at [toy company] Hasbro. I said, ‘I want to do a film about naval warfare, the modern navy.’ They said, ‘What’s the story?’ I said, ‘I’m not sure what the story is, but I’ll figure one out. But I’m your guy…’ [and]For some reason they were like, ‘Okay, you’re our guy.’” And that, apparently, is how two-hundred-million-dollar movies get greenlit in Hollywood today. As it turns out, Berg never did “figure out” a story for his big screen board game; but then, who needs a story when you’ve got Rihanna, massive guns, aliens, and Rihanna shooting massive guns at aliens? Alright, technically, Battleship does have “plot”, albeit a “plot” so weak that the word “plot” must, out of respect to real plots everywhere, remain in inverted commas throughout this review.

Honestly if you like reading movie reviews you should read this review (the one mentioned above).  This guy does a heck of a lot of research when he writes his reviews.  This one at least, is thorough and on point.  I have to leave you with yet another blurb from the aforementioned review that just totally cracked me up….

As 2,796 words is 2,795 more than Battleship deserves, I’ll abandon ship now with a desperate appeal: please, Hollywood, shining beacon of creativity and wonder that you are, end your relationship with the military – creativity and destructivity do not a good marriage make. And while you’re at it, end your sordid affair with ‘that’ toy company. To date, working side-by-side, Hasbro and the DoD have assaulted us with two G.I. Joes, three Transformers and a Battleship. One shudders to think what might be next…

May Date Night

Did you have a good holiday weekend? 

Friday night we went to Ikea to pick up a few things and then had dinner at The Macaroni Grill with my uncle.  It was good to get a chance to see him and catch up.  Considering that we live about twenty minutes away from each other and enjoy each other’s company a lot we see surprisingly little of each other.  Saturday we just putzed around the house until about 5pm or so and then we headed out for our monthly date night.

As you know, most of the time I don’t tell the Hubs what we’re doing for date night.  I basically just tell him what to wear and drag him off to do whatever random thing we’re doing.  He actually seems to like this a lot.  He calls them ‘our adventures’ and he tells me that I always keep him on his toes (in a good way).  That being said he was very concerned when I told him to wear his pajamas for this date night.  I swear he asked me ten times ‘are you sure it’s ok?’ 

Last month when we had our date night I mentioned that we were actually supposed to do something else but had decided to change our plans.  Well, we rescheduled it to May and that’s what we did. 

We went to see another movie just like we did in April but it’s the way we watched the movie that made it special.  We went to a drive-in movie theatre!  Have you ever been?  I never had (and neither had the Hubs) and I’ve gotta say, we’ll definitely go back.  If you live in Houston and want to check this place out all the information you need to know is here

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So Showboat (that’s the ‘theatre’) always plays double features.  Considering tickets are $6 for an adult and $4 for a kid I think that’s a steal.  Even if we go to the $6 matinee at our local AMC we’re technically getting to see a second movie free.  However, since most people go to the non-matinee showings and pay $10 per ticket you’re saving $28 just on two adult tickets.  Crazy huh?  The double feature does make for a crazy-late night but it was still fun and totally worth it.  AND you don’t have to stay for the second movie if you don’t want to.  I’d say about a third of the people there left after the first movie.  We stayed for both and left at about 1:30am.  It was a laaaaate night. 

Gates open at 6:30 and when we got there around 6:10 there were already quite a few people in line.  If you are going to go, I suggest that you get there no later than 6:10 if you want GREAT seats.  If you’re ok with so-so seats then it’s safe to get there later.  I did talk to one person who said that they’d showed up at 6:30 once and the ‘theatre’ was already full and they were turned away.  So, it’s a risk I suppose.  The movies don’t start until dusk though so that means that right now with it being summer and daylight savings time and all the movies don’t start until about 8:30pm.  This means you’re just chilling in your car for about 2.5 hours.  The Hubs and I are avid readers so this didn’t bother us one bit.  We rolled the windows down, put the seats back and read.  It was actually really nice to have some quiet time just to read (and not feel guilty for reading instead of doing laundry/cleaning the kitchen/etc).  Also, there’s a playground that was super popular with the kids who were there. 

There is a concession stand that has all the nibbles you’d normally find… popcorn, candy, sodas, nachos, corn dogs, hamburgers, etc.  The food was seriously reasonable.  The Hubs and I each got a corn dog and nachos and split a soda and I think it cost us around $11 or something.  Do you have any idea what that would cost at a normal AMC theatre?  About $25.  Remember that $28 you saved earlier on tickets?  You’ve now saved $42.  Not bad huh? 

I will say I was a little concerned about how good the viewing / hearing quality would be but I have to say, it surpassed my expectations.  The picture quality was just fine and we were able to hear fine through our car radio. 

Here’s the only part I didn’t like… no AC + windows down.  It was comfortable temperature-wise with the windows down however it’s outside in Texas which means there are BUGS (and we all know I hate bugs).  Surprisingly we didn’t have any mosquito problems but we did have random other bugs flying in the windows and crawling on us.  That made me jumpy and itchy and I spent the first movie slapping myself a lot.  During intermission we rolled the windows up and turned the AC on full blast.  When the second movie came on we just turned the car off (battery still on) but didn’t roll the windows down.  It was cool enough that we didn’t mind and I was much happier being bug free. 

The bathrooms were packed but clean.  I definitely suggest that if you need to go you don’t wait until the last minute because the lines (especially during intermission) can be 15 minutes long. 

Overall I definitely had a blast (Hubs loved it too) and we’ll definitely go back.  We will, however, either go in the winter (when we don’t have to roll the windows down) or we’ll get a fan with an adapter for the cigarette lighter so that, yet again, we don’t have to roll the windows down.  Boo bugs!

“Nature is by and large to be found out of doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

Do you ever go out shopping for something and just happen to stumble over something PERFECT that you’ve been looking for FOREVER?  Yeah, that totally happened to the Hubs and I this weekend.  You see, we had a $75 off coupon to Lowe’s and we need tons of supplies for our renovation project so we headed that direction to pick up a few things.  We were wandering through the plants & patio section looking for a few plants and some bags of mulch when we stumbled across this:

Image

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He may not look like much but OMG he’s perfect!  I love rockers/swings but this guy is also crazy comfortable even if you prop your feet up on a footstool/ottoman.  The padding is super think and soooo comfy.  I seriously just wanted to take a nap in him.  We’ve been looking for super comfy outdoor chairs for years and years and this is the first one we’ve found that we’ve both fallen head over heels about.  The only problem?  He’s $248.  And we need 2.  And $500 just isn’t in our budget right now.  So, we left our patio chair soul mate at Lowes.  *tear, sniff, sniff*