Posted by: Clare | May 4, 2010

Ten on Tuesday (12)

It’s been a while since I participated in Ten on Tuesday. Go visit Chelsea and check out how freaking cute she looks pregnant. I can only hope that I look more like her and less like Verouca Salt post meal-in-a-stick-of-gum consumption when (if) I am ever pregnant.

1. Do you prefer markers, crayons, or colored pencils?
Probably crayons, though I like all of them. When I was a kid I liked colored pencils the best because I could color neater with them. I was a perfectionist when it came to coloring.

2. As a child, how did your parents celebrate your birthday? (Parties, cake, you pick the dinner, etc.)
Every year from my 6th birthday to my 11th, my mom would get a really cool cake (I mean, seriously cool. One looked like a big wedge of swiss cheese with a mouse standing next to it wearing the uniform for my school. Another year was a square cake with a full-on 3D fondant teddy bears picnic happening on top of it) made by Fitzbillies and I’d share it with my friends at school. With the exception of my 7th birthday when I had an American Flag ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins and my 11th, when I had a giant cookie cake. My birthday was somewhat of a big deal at that school because a boy named Alexis had his birthday on the same day, so I would bring the cake and he would provide some other treat and our class would have a party. On our 10th birthday our teacher took our class to Alexis’ house (he lived a block from the school) and his mom threw us an actual party instead of a double class period. On our 11th birthday we had crashers from other classes trying to get in on the awesomeness. My birthdays went downhill after 11 because I went to boarding school the fall before I turned 12. The tradition there was for everyone to sing happy birthday at breakfast. There is very little I hate more than people singing happy birthday to me, I get very awkward, embarrassed, and pretty much hate life.

3. How do you feel about leggings?
I have issues with leggings-worn-as-pants (with shorter tops). And I have issues with leggings on me. In general, I think that there are many people who wear them that probably shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m anti leggings.

4. How do you prefer to follow directions? With a map? Words?
Words! For the love of God, words! Descriptions which include landmarks are helpful. If you use “North/South/East/West” in your description I will likely not make it to the planned destination anywhere near the scheduled time. I love Mapquest/Google Maps for their word descriptions (although Mapquest needs to get its act together on the “slight right”‘s, what does that mean?!). If I’m taking a really long trip (as in, cross country or something) I like to have a map for reference. More so I can say “yay, look I crossed these state borders” than anything else though.

5. What do you eat for snack?
Whatever is convenient. Fruit, toast, a one piece of bread sandwich, crackers and cheese… it totally depends on what is available.

6. Have you ever ordered anything from an infomercial or bought any As Seen on TV products?
I think I bought an As Seen on TV cleaning product at Bed, Bath, Beyond once. I don’t remember it blowing my mind.

7. What’s your favorite thing about summer?
Long evenings. Sunshine. Lake days. Pool time. Having a tan. Cookouts. I love summer!

8. Do you have a tattoo? What and where is it?
I do not.

9. Are you good at journaling?
No, and I’m not good at blogging either!

10. What’s your favorite way to eat a hamburger?
I cut it into quarters (or halves if it’s small) and then eat it like a regular sandwich after that. A full burger intimidates me. As for what I like on my burger: cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles. I can deal with lettuce but if you try and put tomatoes or onions near it I will not be happy. I like a good bbq cheese burger every now and then, too. Well done, always well done.

Posted by: Clare | April 17, 2010

week in pictures.

Every time I think I have something to write about, something else happens that takes up my time and then I forget to write a blog. Mostly I have been doing homework, going to work, going to class and…yep, that covers it. In other words, not a whole lot of fun. I have 3 weeks of this semester left though, and then I start my LAST semester of my MBA. I think I just heard choirs of angels singing. Actually I just heard a giant clap of thunder because Austin appears to be experiencing tropical storm 2010…hopefully that is not an omen for next (or the rest of this) semester.

So, since my brain is pretty much blank right now on account of copious amounts of homework, I give you a selection of random pictures I have taken in the past week.

OK, I lied. This was taken on March 27. At one of my new favorite places, Abel’s on the Lake, where I spent a relaxing Sunday early afternoon with my friends Monica and Erin drinking mimosas and bloody marys, soaking up the sun and people watching.

And onto this week.

I made PW’s Baked Lemon Pasta, and it was delicious. It was also delicious for another 4 meals (I cook for myself and don’t bother to adjust recipes to account for this). For one of the leftovers meals I threw in some feta cheese, I recommend that addition.

I also made Poppy Seed Bread from Kitchen Belleicious. It didn’t work out for me. I have no idea where I went wrong, but it just didn’t taste right. Not bad, necessarily. just not right. I found that I was picking at it anyway just because it was there, so I ended up throwing it out to save the calories from mindless eating. Maybe I will attempt this again another time.

I also made warm fruit compote to eat with ice cream. As you can see I was all kinds of unhealthy this week. This would be much healthier if you ate it with non fat frozen yogurt, but I couldn’t find a brand that looked good to me in the store so I went the ice cream route this time. It was amazing.

While we are on the subject of all the unhealthy things I made this week, I need to tell you about the sandwich I made. White bread (the more “rustic” the better, but I just used Nature’s Own or some other grocery store brand), Camembert cheese, whole cranberry sauce, a dash of balsamic vinegar. Grilled. BEST. SANDWICH. EVER. It is more of a fall/cold weather taste I think, so I may stash those cheese calories away until September or so, but it is definitely my new favorite sandwich. Tied with the veggie sandwich minus the mayo (sick) from Russel’s Bakery.

OK, back to the pictures.

Please excuse my unmade bed, ill fitting sheet, and the fact that I use a can of Raid as a door stop. Also the bad lighting of the picture. I just really needed to share the “freaky light globe incident” with you. On Wednesday I came home to eat some lunch, to find the following.

The white thing on the floor at the front of the picture is the globe thing that goes over the ceiling fan bulb in my bedroom, which you can partially see up there through the door. Somehow the globe fell from its spot in the ceiling fan (which by the way is not above the bed, it is above the floor) and traveled diagonally (sort of around a corner in fact!) through a door before breaking. I am still clueless as to the physics of this.

I love Spring. I love it even more in climates that have “real” spring, but in Texas we have a glimmer of it. This picture of wildflowers was taken through my car window (at a red light) on my commute to work one morning. Beautiful.

As I mentioned earlier, we had a tropical storm tonight (it seems to have died down now as far as I can tell). I went to my office for a few hours today, leaving at around 7.30pm. The combination of the storm and sunset made the sky all glowy and the trees really green. The pictures don’t do it justice, it was an almost other worldly atmosphere. The fact that I was the only person around definitely added to that vibe

Posted by: Clare | April 9, 2010

I wonder if there will even be snacks

A couple of days ago I bought my plane ticket to go to Costa Rica for a week in June for my global business class/capstone project. Wait, have I mentioned before that I am going to Costa Rica? I’m not sure. If not, hi! I’m going to Costa Rica in two months! This whole MBA program thing does not entirely suck! And I am saying this after being a zombie at work all week because I am running on approximately 1 hour of sleep a night due to paper writing! Costa Rica!

Anyway, have you bought a plane ticket recently? I travel a fair amount, but I maybe haven’t been looking at my receipts for plane tickets or something. Because yesterday I was forwarding my itinerary to my mom (you know, in case I disappear and someone is all, “well m’aam where was she last” – my mom can check my email and know at least which country I might be in. It’s a start). As I scrolled down to hit “send” on the e-mail I noticed this:

Fare Breakdown
Airfare: 387.00 USD
U.S. Security Service Fee: 7.50  
Costa Rica Tourism Arrival Tax: 15.00  
Fuel Surcharge: 240.00  
U.S. Customs User Fee: 5.50  
U.S. Immigration User Fee: 7.00  
U.S. APHIS User Fee: 5.00  
U.S. Federal Transportation Tax: 32.20  
Costa Rica Common Area User Charge: 4.23  
Costa Rica Security Fee: 2.62  
U.S. Passenger Facility Charge: 10.50  
Per Person Total: 716.55
eTicket Total: 716.55
The airfare you paid on this itinerary totals: 387.00 USD
The taxes you paid on this itinerary total: 329.55 USD


I mean, I haven’t been living under a rock or anything, I’m aware that airlines have been having problems, and I drive a car so I am fully aware that gas is expensive, but $240 for fuel surcharge? On a ticket worth $387? This blows my mind, y’all.

By the way, I have an English accent (well, it’s pretty much a mix at this point. English people swear I sound “so American” – which I do – and people here will say after about 5 or 10 minutes of talking to me, “do you have an accent?” – which I do – as long as I don’t sound like Madonna, I don’t really care that I have a hybrid accent), so it’s pretty hilarious when I write or say y’all. I write it far more than I say it, because I am fully aware of how weird it probably sounds coming from me, but sometimes it just makes the most sense.

Anyway, taxes of $329.55 on a $387 ticket? I kind of get the feeling that Continental is laughing all the way to the bank in this situation.

Posted by: Clare | April 7, 2010

Easter Treats!

I was a part of the Bunny Swap hosted by Pippy at Pippy’s Perspective, and today (USPS didn’t want me to get treats in time for Easter, apparently) I got my basket from my partner Christina at Our Happy Little Family. I have never received (or made) an Easter Basket before, so this is somewhat of a Big Deal for me.

Before I get to showing off my treats, I want to publicly apologize to poor Christina, my first time making an Easter Basket I was so excited that I completed it two weeks before Easter. It then sat in my fridge (I live in Texas, chocolate melts!) until after Easter. Fail. So it was mailed this week, and hopefully she will forgive me for my Easter faux-pas.

Onto the treats!

Cute Easter bag. I love the pom poms on the handles!

A little yellow chick dish and dish towel.

decals, you can’t see the bottom ones as well in the picture but they are gel decals in the shape of bunnies and eggs. Adorable!

Candy! bubble gum eggs, jelly beans and a super cute marshmallow kabob. I don’t want to ruin the kabob by eating it!

coasters (LOVE!), egg ornament paint set, cute little note pads, and a bunny that will grow when I put it in water.

Also in the basket (for some reason the picture won’t post): a hollow plastic bunny with 2 tiny containers of bubbles inside, a windup hopping bunny, 2 grape flavor lip balms and 2 body sprays.

I am spoiled. Thank you Christina! I hope you enjoy my basket as much as I love yours. I was hungry when I went shopping for yours… you will probably be able to tell.

Posted by: Clare | April 5, 2010

I’m not good at dating, either.

It has occurred to me that looking for a job is exactly like dating.

As an example, I applied for a really great sounding job on March 2nd. One week later, on March 9th, I called and left a follow up message to my e-mail and snail mail resume/writing sample submissions – expressing interest and hoping to hear from the company soon. Two weeks after that (three weeks after the initial application), on March 23rd, I called again and left another voicemail expressing interest and hoping to hear back from them. Tomorrow it will be five weeks since I e-mailed my application documents, and I have heard nothing back. So of course I have run countless scenarios in my head: they are really busy, they already found someone (but I stalked them on facebook their website and their status still says single the job posting is still up, which I take to be a good sign), etc., etc.

In reality, there legitimately are any number of reasons why I have yet to hear anything (positive or negative), and why am I so bothered by it anyway?! if they stretch out the process it actually works in my favor (assuming I am not immediately in their reject pile, which is of course possible), since I’m not available to start work outside of Austin until August.

I feel like I am dealing with a dating situation. I am interested, and I want them to know I’m interested. But I don’t want to seem desperate or pushy because that’s a turn off. Yet I don’t want them to think I’m no longer interested. So how many follow up calls and/or e-mails is enough? How many is too much? It’s such a fine line! And since not all companies even send that standard rejection letter or e-mail these days, at what point do you give up and accept that he’s just not into you?

Posted by: Clare | April 2, 2010

What she said.

I am lifting this directly from Leah at a Girl and a Boy. I tried to think of a way to say the same thing in my own words, because it is how I feel a lot of the time, but there isn’t a way I can think of to make it better. The simplicity is perfect.

Caring about politics doesn’t mean talking about them all the time.

Having an opinion doesn’t mean voicing it at every opportunity.

Being angry about something doesn’t mean becoming an angry person.

Being a good parent doesn’t mean trusting no one when it comes to your child.

Being part of a group doesn’t mean being defined by the group.

Being part of a group doesn’t mean you should expect the group to represent you down to the tiniest detail.

Being friends doesn’t mean always agreeing.

Disagreeing doesn’t mean we’re not friends.

I was told last Thursday that I am very close to losing my job. They just can’t justify having two admins in the Austin office any more. I had a feeling it was coming, I was just hoping that it wouldn’t happen until after I have graduated/found a post-graduation job. There’s still a chance that it may not happen until then, but realistically I could become unemployed at any moment from April onwards. It’s definitely not fun living with such great uncertainty, and financially I really am not in a stable enough position that losing my regular source of income would be okay in any way. However, I had my little cry about it, and I’m hoping that I can stay calm and focus on doing my best at work for as long as I do have my job, doing well at school, and of course finding a new job.

I’ve applied for three jobs so far. Ideally I’d be pumping out dozens of applications every week, but those cover letters and application things take way longer than you’d expect and school/work also take up a crazy amount of time! That, and I really am not finding many positions relevant to anything I can or want to do. Which is crazy because I’m open to (almost) anywhere in the country so my search isn’t all that limited. One of my applications was rejected (actually, funny story – I got a rejection e-mail before I had even submitted the application through their online system. Good thing I didn’t have my hopes and dreams pinned on that one!). That was for one of THE consulting firms, in their Los Angeles office.

The two outstanding job applications are for companies located in Ann Arbor, Michigan (I applied a month ago, waiting is not fun…but no news is better than bad news, right? I hope) and Burbank, California. For obvious internet-search related reasons I will only be referring to my applications by location in this and future updates on my job-hunt. I’m really excited about both of these jobs, for totally different reasons. I’m both excited and terrified for the future – not knowing where I will be living or what I will be doing by the end of the year is very strange.

School is intense right now. In fact tonight I will likely be pulling my second all-nighter of the semester. I am way too old for this, I need my sleep these days in a way I just didn’t when I was doing my undergrad.

Last night I took an “Aerial Static” class at Trapeze Austin with my friends Meaghan and Suzanne. I had no idea exactly what this would entail until I got there, we booked the class after I saw a 50% off coupon on Living Social and thought a “trapeze class” sounded like something fun and random to try.

As a side note before I get into trapeze-ing, that Living Social site is pretty cool. They e-mail you deals every day for your city, and you can either purchase them or not (a lot like the more well known Groupon, which I also just started using but haven’t bought any coupons from yet). So far I have bought two coupons from them, the 50% discount for the trapeze class, and one for $20 worth of food for $10 from a restaurant near my office that I split with a co-worker. They have a bunch of different cities on there. If you sign up for e-mails, do it through this link, and we both get some “deal bucks”!

It turns out that an “Aerial Static” class is intense! It was an amazing workout (my triceps are still burning, yay!). Picture Cirque du Soleil and all of the cool stuff they do on those fabric hanging things (“silks” is the technical term, I think), ropes, and trapezes. Then scale it wayyyyyyyyy back. That’s sort of what we were learning. But not exactly, because we are the equivilent of pre-kindegarteners at this sport (or maybe I should call it an art? it’s a bit of both I guess), so we were starting at the VERY beginning (which as Julie Andrews would tell us, is “a very good place to start”).

We got to try climbing a rope circus style, hanging from/sitting on/standing on/doing a couple of “tricks” on a trapeze, and doing some random trick type things with silks. I came into this endeavour fully aware that I have very little upper body strength, however I was not aware just HOW little. It was very embarrassing. Luckily our teacher was really patient and nice, and I have good friends that didn’t make me feel stupid, so I still had fun. I would definitely recommend trying something like this, and I plan on going back sometime (after working on my upper body strength so that I can get even more out of it). We are going to try the trapeze class next time, which is apparently a little less of a workout because a lot of it is momentum, but you get to fly around in the air (over a net, and I think strapped to a safety harness also) so it looks really fun and circus-y!

Posted by: Clare | March 22, 2010

Oh wow, I have a blog.

Sorry for neglecting this for a little while, it is currently that part of the semester. You know, the time when there are so many homework assignments you don’t know which to start first, so you procrastinate by watching reality TV and trying to sleep. Only you can’t sleep because you are stressing out about all that homework, so you watch more reality TV. So then you are just really tired and know more about the current Real World cast and Kendra Wilkinson than any self respecting 27 year old should know, and you still haven’t finished your homework. That part of the semester? Just me? So anyway, no excuses, I am a bad blogger and a really bad procrastinator of doing homework. But an excellent trashy TV watcher. You can’t win them all I guess.

On the subject of TV (and radio, which we weren’t on the subject of, but I’m throwing it in anyway), let’s talk commercials. Specifically, a couple of commercials that grind my gears.

Yoplait seamstress commercial

SERIOUSLY? This woman needs to just tell the poor seamstress what the heck she is talking about! “I ate this new awesome yogurt and it helped me lose a bunch of weight, so I need to take in all my clothes”. You did not eat all those delicious yet fattening things you just mentioned, lady – you ate a yogurt.

Any local car dealership commercial. Just annoying. If you live in the Austin area, the one I have in mind is the Kia guy. “If I can’t beat a new car Kia deal in Texas, I’m just gonna give it to ya”. Shut up, please.

The “Justin Case” Safe Auto car insurance commercials. The ones on the radio annoy me the most, but only because I haven’t seen it that much on TV. “Justin’s” smugness irritates me, as does the “clever” name. And no, “Justin”, you did not get hired for whatever position you claim to have been hired for in your radio commercial, and no people do not all love you and want to be your friend on facebook. YOU ARE A COMMERCIAL GIMMICK!

I’ll leave you with a less annoying one. This one makes me laugh every time I see it. Particularly the part where he says, “How about not.”

Posted by: Clare | March 10, 2010

Ten on Tuesday (11) on Wednesday, again

This week is insane for me. I have homework assignments due all over the place, doctors appointments, and of course my body has chosen the time I have the most going on to give up on me and get sick. Fabulous. I am running behind on pretty much everything, and probably shouldn’t even take part in Ten on Tuesday this week but I want a break. Visit Roots & Rings, the ToT host. And tell her how beautiful her baby ultrasounds are! (they are).

1. Of your current hobbies, which would you choose to spend more time, money, and effort on? Why?
Would we call working out a hobby? If so, that. I would spend more time, money and effort on that. Time and effort because I need to – I want to lose weight and be healthy. Money because if I could afford a nicer place to work out, a trainer, or new kinds of classes maybe I would enjoy it more (and then want to do it more).

2. List the two other hobbies/habitual activies (not chores) besides the one listed above that you regularly do now and didn’t choose in question one.
Read books, and blog.

3. Why are you spending time on the above two hobbies/habitual activies at all if you really wanted to spend your time on the first one you chose? …or to put it another way, what are these two hobbies/habitual activities fullfilling that the first one doesn’t if you don’t want to put all your effort into the first hobby?
I enjoy them more, and I don’t have to leave my house to do them. Blogging is fulfilling a need for social activity and communication that I have been lacking because I spoend so much time at home doing homework that my social life is a little neglected, so I love the interaction this gives me. Reading is actually something I would do more of if I had more time, but the little that I currently do helps rest my mind before bed, which is much needed.

4. Read John 3:16 in the bible… In what way does this passage affect you? What are your feelings towards these words, positively or negatively?
I think it’s beautiful. Whether you believe the bible literally (or at all) or not, it is just a beautiful concept. A parent giving the ultimate sacrifice for the good of their children.

5. M&M’s: nuts, no nuts, or peanut butter?
I don’t like American M&Ms (the chocolate tastes very different than English ones)…and actually I’ve never really been an M&M fan in general. But I am sad that I did not know the existence of peanut butter M&Ms! I need to try them.

6. Putting away the feeling of pride being a bad thing; what secretly/openly are you proud about yourself?
Moving to Austin on a whim without having been here, knowing anyone here, having a job or a place to live, and making it work.

7. Given one room in the house to do with what you want, not changing the actual size of the room and with all the money you would need, what would you do, and be specific? (this can range from bouncy floor,walls & ceilings; to hard wood floor with wood paneling and purple ceiling with a chair; to nothing)
Since I rent and can’t actually change fixings, etc. (if I could I would makeover either my bathroom or kitchen), I’ll say that I would redecorate my living room. Change out all the furniture and make it look totally different and be more comfortable.

8. What’s the next movie you’re going to see? Not what you’d LIKE to GO see, but the next movie you realistically are going to watch.
The next movie I plan on seeing at the theater is the new Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. There are a couple others I want to see but I will probably end up waiting until they are on demand or netflix. The next movie I watch at home will be the Hurt Locker, I’ve been meaning to buy it on demand for a while now, and want to even more now that it’s won all those awards.

9. Use the keyboard only and make your best smiley/funny/cool face –> like this! 8^)

10. What makes you cry? What makes you pray? What makes you laugh?
I cry very easily. I think my hormones are imbalanced right now for some reason, so I have been crying even more than usual, at absolutely nothing. It’s not fun! I pray about a lot of different things, and I laugh when I find something funny, or when I am uncomfortable. I love to laugh, I don’t think I do it enough.

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