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Posts from the ‘Architectural Design’ Category

The best day, in the best city…New Orleans.

I spent 3 1/2 glorious days in my new favorite city – New Orleans.  This is a post about just one of them.

I went to NOLA once before years and years ago.  It was the millennium and everyone was too afraid of the pending Y2K apocalypse to do anything super exciting (like, LEAVE THE HOUSE).  Let’s put it this way, I remember seeing the Ponchartrain and the inside of a house party.  And, really – if we were all going to die in a Y2k explosion, why the hell weren’t we partying like crazy and having fun and being the last people to see Jackson Square?  Lame.

This trip was anything but lame.  And, yes – it has everything to do with my sweet boyfriend (“darlin’ man” – you remember from other posts) proposing to me within hours of arriving.  Everything was tinged a bit sweeter with that development, I will say.  That city is just vibrating and brimming with excitement and possibilities.  Getting engaged, starting a whole new life with someone you love like crazy is possibly the most exciting thing I have ever experienced – so appropriate that it happened there.  It was awesome.  (I am totally resisting the urge to put about 100 exclamation points right HERE)

Thanksgiving day (the day after the proposal) we got up at the crack of dawn (literally) and went down to have breakfast at Cafe du Monde.

We made all the phone calls to our family and close friends to tell them the happy news.  We walked around a still waking, French Quarter.  Picked up the spiciest Bloody Mary I have ever tried to drink at a hotel,  and just walked down the street with it.  Just like that!  Walked down the street with a Bloody Mary!  I love NO.  Note: do not tell the NOLA bartenders that you would like it mild.  They make it hotter.  DOH!

We went back to the hotel – The Frenchman.  Changed clothes and walked over to Brennan’s for our non-traditional Thanksgiving Day lunch.

I loved that guy above.

Later that afternoon we took a nap, changed and went to watch the Longhorns actually win a game.  Then..THEN… THE BOUNCE.

New Orleans Bounce

That was about the most fun I have ever had in my entire life.  All these people get together and dance their asses off… Literally.  The dudes are incredible.  The women are absolutely amazing.  They are so athletic, it is crazy.  There were impersonators.  I got dragged out to the dance floor TWICE to shake, shake, shake by one of the leader guys..

And, no – I can’t do that shake-y shake-y thing AT ALL (too white).  It is pathetic how little coordination I have.  Why God, why couldn’t I be graced with just a little of that..  THAT??

Big Freedia – Y’all Get Back Now

When we left, we got po’ boys and humongous beers at a gas station for our walk back to The Frenchman.

God, I love that place and I love those people.

I think that was probably the best day of my life.

So, see –  “Darlin” it doesn’t take much.  Just lots of booty shakin’, a new sparkly ring, and the finest food to make me happy!

You can see more pictures of our trip in the slideshow below:


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Photoshoot with Sarah Stacey from Sarah Stacey Design and Sandy Carson

Something that I used to do more of when I lived in Los Angeles, and definitely want to do more of here in Austin, is style photoshoots.

I got the awesome opportunity to work with my friend and wine drinking partner,  Sarah Stacey and a fantastic photographer named Sandy Carson a few weeks back.  We got the images back and I am pretty pleased with the way the clothing looks.  We had a great time pulling and doing the fitting the day before.  One word – mimosas!

Gotta say that it TOTALLY helps that Sarah is completely photogenic, easy to work with, adventurous and has a great eye (she’s an interior designer afterall).  And Sandy is a totally freaking amazing photographer.  So fun and relaxed and had such great ideas.  Check out his website here.  You can get to Sarah’s interior design blog here.  And you can access the website for her interior design business – Sarah Stacey Design here.

Thanks for lookin’!


Shop Talk, Power Bars and Women.Design.Build

I went to this really cool workshop the other night presented by a great little non-profit here in Austin called Women.Design.Build.  They have once monthly events “shop talks” that my friends and I really like to attend.  It is all women, and the shop talk lessons are about anything from power tools, to learning how to work on your car, to what we did this week – learning the different elements in design around plating and presenting food.

The girls at Women.Design.Build do a fantastic job introducing interesting topics and always find approachable, fun professionals to present.

So, in this Food Design Shop Talk we met with the owner/head Chef at Portabla, Chef Jon Shea.

Apparently there are 5 elements in food design: height, tightness, negative space, asymmetry/symmetry and color.  Who knew?  He gave us vivid examples of each and then started the meal with salads.

After our first course, we teamed up with our neighbor and tried our own hand at plating using the 5 elements.  Chef Jon set up our mise en place and we got started on creating our own Portobello mushroom masterpieces..

*And for a moment of full disclosure…I have no idea if i used mise en place correctly in that last sentence.  I grasp the concept of mise en place, but throwing the French word in a (probably) grammatically incorrect anglaise sentence might have made it weird.  This is where I ask for your patience and also for your imagination.  I am new to mise en place-ing.

This was my team’s shot:

Not bad, right?  There we have delicately laid the sliced Portobello on a bed of tangy and savory marinara with roasted garlic.  Garnished with fresh chopped basil and mozzarella (dairy-free), breadcrumbs (gluten-free) with a drizzling of balsamic reduction.  Yep.  Fancy!  Still didn’t win, however.  Which, incidentally my partner and I were just a tad bit preoccupied with..  We wanted to win the gift certificates to Portabla they were giving away, dang it!

This is who won.  I think, anyway.  I had a glass of wine or two by then..

Then, we designed dessert.  So…. Here’s the deal.  When I went to this I was trying to be gluten-free.  My friend, who was also my partner is gluten-free as well as dairy free.  My other friend who is a gluten-free/soy-free/dairy free chef was also there.  So, our dessert options in situations like these are limited in a way.  Bring in gluten-free “bars”!  What are these? They are kinda weird-looking, and needed an explanation – I think.  You know what they tasted like?  Remember when Power Bars first came out in the 90s?  They were chalky and…and…and..I don’t know.  Something.  That is what these reminded me of.

Anyway..  Here was our shot at dessert…with the weird gluten-free/dairy free chocolate bars. We didn’t win with this one either.  My chef-y friend did with her architectural, gluten-free masterpiece.  Another drink down and I didn’t take a picture of the winner..


Have to tell you though, the other teams got the Portabla chocolate cake because they clearly didn’t have high maintenance food issues like Team Jessica over here..  And, it looked amazing.  And, they said it was amazing.  And, we were all a bit jealous.  But, thankful that we got to play like the rest of the kids because the sweet ladies at Women.Design. Build made concessions for us.

A shot of the whole group with Chef Jon delicately critiquing our use of the elements:   (Mise en place in full effect in the foreground.  Can’t get enough of that.)

I also thought I would use this as an opportunity to show how cute my friends looked that evening.  I think it takes real talent to look good in 150 degree heat like we are STILL having here in Austin..

Sarah is on the left – you can find her and more information about her earth-conscious interior design and consulting company at: Ecologique Design

You should try her recipe for homemade deodorant.  Aluminum and paraben free!

And Celina is on the right – Find out about her and her bakery, called Food Smarty, here.

To get your hands on her baked goods, go to the contact page of her website, or visit The Barton Creek Farmers Market, Taco Deli, People’s Pharmacy, and Zhi Tea.  Coming soon to Whole Foods!

Check out Women.Design.Build when you get a chance.  And, for you chicky Austin-ites – come next time!


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