Birthday Trip #1

Destination: FLORIDA.

mae-west

I’m not quite sure why everyone is afraid of getting older.  It definitely beats the alternative.  Despite how you feel about birthdays, they are definitely a time to reminisce and reflect about your life.  Notice I didn’t mention mope, regret, lament, or anything else negative?  What’s the point?  Sure you can beat yourself up and wallow in regret and self-pity until they swallow you whole.  But life, in my humble opinion, is about living.  It’s about doing.  It’s about dreaming.  It’s about learning to forgive yourself and move towards happiness.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to admit that I’ve wallowed in self-pity while sitting in bed eating ice cream and watching Lord of The Rings so many times that my discs are now starting to skip.  But birthdays are not a time for moping!

Although admittedly, I was looking at a BIG birthday and I’m not going to lie: the thought of wallowing sounded nice and comfortable.  Who doesn’t like jammies and Netflix and ice cream?  But I realized I can do jammies, Netflix, and ice cream anytime.  What I haven’t done in over 3 years was TRAVEL somewhere new and I thought it was about damn time! Since it was for a BIG birthday–which, btw, I lovingly renamed Not Forty, But Fabulous (and I encourage everyone to join in!)–I decided to do it BIG!  Nope, I’m not talking about a big oversees trip (although, that would have been amazing as well), I decided to see more of this country.

The first birthday trip was to: Florida!  Of course this is not a big surprise, if you actually read the line above the great advice offered by the fabulous Mae West, follow me on Twitter (@epicurioustexan), Instagram (@epicurioustexan), or Facebook Epicurious Texan (shameless plug and hopefully you noticed a trend–I’m pretty easy to find)!

Ahem.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, Florida!  I arrived late Wednesday night and had a very relaxing Thursday morning hanging out with the pupcicle nieces while BFF and BFFH worked until about noon.  The condition for me coming south on this little sojourn was to go somewhere new–so when BFF & BFFH got off of work, we loaded up the car, left the pupcicles in good hands, and took off on a road trip south–to KEY WEST!

Did I mention that Florida is really FLAT??

Did I mention that Florida is really FLAT??

As I mentioned yesterday, our first stop (after checking into the B&B) was at Fat Tuesday for the Official First Drink!  Everything after that was a bit of a blur.  KIDDING!  just kidding…kinda…

It was a great weekend, filled with lots of laughter, lots of fun, and of course, lots of beer…and booze…oh, and food and maybe some more beer.   So grab a margarita (or two) and stop in later to read more about it.

Here’s a preview: chickens.

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yeah, yeah…I know it’s a rooster.

 

 

Easy as ABC…

Now that you have The Jackson Five playing background music in your head, I have a confession.  You know those silly/annoying emails that circulate every couple of years in which you answer questions about yourself?  Yeah, I’m one of those annoying people who not only fills them out, but sends them to nearly everyone in my email address book.  I’m a details kinda girl and I love collecting tidbits of information about people.  Who knows what you might learn about your friend that you’ve had since the 2nd grade or some great blackmail information on the annoying coworker 4 desks down?

A couple of months ago I saw a getting to know you post in the format below.  It’s been a long time since I filled one out (probably because everyone on my email list has a secret pact with each other to NEVER EVER send me another!).  Aaaaand it is different than any other that I’ve seen, so I thought I’d give it a go!

How is it different?  Why, thank you for asking: rather than answer questions, you simply list (although WARNING: I never list–I always have to explain!) 26 interesting things about you, each item starting with a letter in the alphabet.  While I’m horrible at explaining, I know that you’re brilliant and by the time you get to “A,” you’ll have it figured out!

One last thing before I begin: individuals did not make this list.  So if you are just reading this in search of your name stop right now and go back to work, uh, I meant lunch.  Don’t pout–invariably I’d leave someone out and then I have to endure years of guilt trips.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  And honestly, how am I supposed to pick between Bubba and beer?  Although, actually that’s rather easy because I’m 250% sure that Bubba (aka my brother) would agree it should be beer.

Now, back to the task at hand.

The ABCs of Shez:

A is for Addy, my darling pupcicle (you know, in case you weren’t aware that I had a darling pupcicle whom I adore!)…and before you call me out on it, yes, I broke the “No Individuals” rule, but it’s the ONLY time I promise.

B is for Beer…mmmmmm….beer (I hope you heard that in a Homer Simpson voice!).  I don’t think that needs further explanation.  Plus you should have seen it coming.

C is for coffee.  Again, no further explanation is needed, especially those who have had the “pleasure” of seeing me in the morning before coffee–it ain’t purty!

D is for dogs.  Pupcicles are special because they bring so much love and joy into our lives–in so many ways.  Of course, it ain’t all sunshine and roses, particularly when you live in NYC and have to pick up poop for a very large dog.  But they make our lives whole with their amusing antics and unconditional love.  PS–if you’re wondering how much I love dogs, I picked them over dessert!  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is!

E is for Eso se que es, which literally translated is confusing so I like to go with the loose translation of “it is what it is” and whenever I say it, people look at me like “did you just say socks in the middle of my rant?”  No, but yes.  Anyway, it is a reminder that life is bigger than all of us and that any time you think everything is perfectly mapped out, the Fates will take the opportunity to intervene so they can laugh at you.  Thus to keep sane, I like to remind myself of three things: eso se que es, que sera sera, and Lord give me coffee to help me change the things I can, and wine to help accept the things I can’t.

F is for FOOTBALL!

G is for Grace.  By that, I don’t mean elegance or beauty or charm.  Did I mention I was clumsy?  Well, I am.  I come by it honestly (right Auntie K??).  As such, my Ome would always call me Miss Grace (as in, I am anything but).  To this day whenever I hear the word grace, I think of my Ome.

H is for Hamburgers.  Preferably ones with cheese and bacon and avocado and served with onion rings….but any ol’ burger with cheese will do! 😉

I is for Ice cream.  And anyone who doesn’t think it should be on EVERYONE’S list is just wrong.

J is for Jigsaw puzzles.  I love to put them together–although I haven’t put one together in a long time.  Why?  Well, whenever I find one that I love and makes me want to set up a card table and put it together, I remember that I live in a house with Princess Adelaide Grace, who is so named because like me, she is anything BUT graceful…

K is for Kaas (Dutch for cheese).  I couldn’t leave cheese off the list, thankfully the Dutch helped me out a bit.  And before you accuse me of using Google Translate to find a language where cheese started with a different letter than C, I will have you know that I was a Rotary Exchange Student to The Netherlands.  How does this relate to cheese?  I used to live about 6 miles from Gouda and would go on Thursdays to the cheese market…because…how can you go wrong with a cheese market???

L is for Laughter, because it truly is the best medicine–unless you have TB or malaria or something like that, then I would highly recommend medication.

M is for Molasses cookies, my favoritest cookies in the world!

N is for Nelson, as in Willie (and Waylon and the boys).

O is for Oven–I love baking and roasting and I can go without a lot of things, but an oven ain’t one of them!

P is for Peckish.  For most people, it means slight hungry.  But I’m never slightly hungry, so when you hear me say peckish know that it means “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider, but I don’t want you to think me gluttonous, so I’m going to just pretend that I’m kinda hungry and then either eat all of the snacks you foolishly set out or go back for seconds and thirds when we do eat.”

Q is for quixotic, which is just fun to say…quixotic, quixotic, quixotic!

R is for reading and don’t ask me to pick a favorite book.  I’m still trying to narrow my list down to 10 so I can post it on FB (and we’ll just pretend I wasn’t tagged to do it a month ago…sorry Becca!)

S is for Shiner…and failing that, Stella (and don’t tell me it’s cheating because I’ve already listed beer…it’s MY list!)

T is for Tolkien.  You thought it would be TEXAS! didn’t you?  I just wanted to share a line in a poem in Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, which completely sums up my life:  All those who wander are not lost.  I do hope, though, that you appreciate that I was still able to work TEXAS! into the T slot 😉

U is for umbrellas.  I totally have Mary Poppins to thank for my love of umbrellas.  Ironically, I hate using them in NYC.  People here are oblivious when using them and tend to poke other people in the head, repeatedly until I feel an urge to grab the umbrella out of their hands and give them a good smack with it.  I refrain, of course, but I know that I’m one huge rainstorm away from needing bail money.

V is for vino.  What?  It’s a word.  It is in my house….and that’s all that matters.

W is for wanderlust.  The reason wine is called vino in this list.  Traveling is truly my passion.  Even more so than eating and drinking.  Luckily, I consider imbibing in the local food and drink an integral part of traveling!  I was bit by the wanderlust bug when I went to The Netherlands (see K is for Kaas) right after high school–and I have no plans to stop any time soon and “I haven’t been everywhere yet, but it’s on my list.”

X is for Xi, which is one of my favorite words to play in Words with Friends.

Y is for Yoga, something I’ve recently started doing.  Who knew stretching and finding on your inner zen could be so draining?  Please don’t write in and tell me yoga is more than stretching and finding your inner zen.  I know it is, but when you’re watching others it looks so relaxing and graceful.  I’m here to tell you for me it is neither relaxing nor graceful, but I do enjoy blundering through class–even if I look like a bull in a china shop.

Z is for zazzy.  And yes, you have to say it like Sheldon.  And if you need further explanation, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore (if you’re worried about it, I can totally be bought with wine, beer, and cheese….but not crappy cheese–if you’re trying to bribe me, it had better be aaaaaaa-mazing cheese!).

And that’s me in a nutshell!

For the record, this was a lot more tedious than I thought it would be, so not as easy as the Jackson Five would have you believe!

Thanks for indulging me!

hey mom are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

hey momma are you done with the stupid laptop yet?

 

A Peep at My Sweet Tooth

One of the earliest memories I have is going with Granny to the nursing home to visit her father, Pa.  We never stayed long, just a few minutes (probably because she had a little rugrat in tow!)–just long enough to say hi, ask how Pa was doing and hand over a bag of candy.

My great-grandfather, you see, had a sweet tooth–and not just one either!  He could easily eat a large bag of candy in one sitting.  In order to make the candy last longer than 2 hours, Granny would give the bag of candy to the nurses and asked them to ration it out so the bag would last all week.  Of course, Pa was having none of that: once his daily ration was consumed, he would then start raiding candy stashes of everyone in the nursing home.  Apparently, Pa was quite the candy thief.

It is, therefore, little surprise that his great-granddaughter inherited his sweet tooth.  I’m not a big candy fan–I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like candy and will happily indulge–but I much rather prefer cake and ice cream and pudding and pie and cheesecake and cream puffs and…well, you get the picture: things made with love–not in a production line (although, yes, I will concede everything I listed can be made in a production line).

EXCEPT one thing.  It’s completely irrational and totally disgusting and why, why, why I love them I’ll never know, but I do.

Peeps.

Yes, marshmallows dipped in sugar.  I’m not proud, but there you go.  Take a minute to make that face.  Yes, that face–you know that scrunched-up-I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-hearing-this face you make it whenever you come across the rare individual that actually admits to liking Peeps.  You know, the same one you make when you hear that someone likes Vegemite. The BFF tries her best to indulge my predilection for Peeps (she will NOT under any circumstances acknowledge my voracity for Vegemite, except to say that I’m gross!).  She tries to get me Peeps for every holiday where they make an appearance (which, anymore is ALL OF THEM), such as for example:

HALLOWEEN!

HALLOWEEN!

And in case you’re wondering, NO, I did not eat the entire package in one sitting, much to Pa’s dismay.

Carpe Cupcake!

Apparently the new job is big on celebrating birthdays. Fine by me, especially when birthday girl happened to mentioned she liked ice cream cakes. I’d like to also mention there is a Cold Stone Creamery within walking distance–12 blocks, to be exact, and not of the avenue-block variety (if you live or been to NYC, you know that there’s a big distance difference between a street block and an avenue block!)

We got on the website to try and figure out which flavor birthday girl would like when we discovered ice cream cupcakes in an assorted pack: problem solved!

After the singing and the wish-before-you-blow-out the candles, it came time to choose a cupcake. Birthday girl went for chocolate decadence, but I went for the birthday cake cupcake.

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One bite and I was hooked! First of all when I went to take off the wrapper, I realized it wasn’t paper. It was CHOCOLATE!!! Seriously. CHOCOLATE!! And maybe some of you aren’t shocked and this is common knowledge, but not to me–the only other time I had ice cream cupcakes, they had wrappers.

On the bottom of the cupcake was a smaller layer of red velvet cake, then the rest of the cup was filled with birthday cake ice cream, topped with pink icing and, naturally, sprinkles.

One word: scrumptious! Honestly, ice cream is never anything that even enters into my brain when someone asks what kind of cake/cupcake I like, but I think that will definitely be changing!!

Oh and before I dip into a sugar-induced nap, Happy Birthday, Ainsley!!

I Scream, You Scream…

…we all scream for Clear River Pecan’s Mexican Vanilla ice cream!!

I scream, You Scream, We  All Scream for Mexican Vanilla

I scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Mexican Vanilla!

You think I jest, but no.  It’s the only thing other than coffee I had copious amounts of when I was home.  They have other flavors–their Amaretto Peach Pecan is pretty darn tasty.  But it’s hard to pass the Mexican Vanilla.  I’ve heard tell that the chocolate is divine, but I am and always will be a vanilla ice cream girl and I have yet to find it anywhere in the world as delicious as this.

It’s simply decadent.  It has a richness that is reminiscent of homemade ice cream.  You know, the kind that your arm nearly fell off from turning the crank?  But after like 17 hours of labor, you were rewarded with that uber-sweet victory that you haven’t been able to find anywhere since reattaching your arms.  That’s how good it is.  And then, if you want to blow your mind, get a Mexican Vanilla Root Beer Float.  I could have sat there and drank 26 of them, but I refrained…although it does seem like a worth challenge for my next trip home.  26 MVRB Floats.  Mmmmm, my personal slice–or rather sip–of heaven!