Snacks, Sales, Swords.

This evening after work, I met up with some lady friends at Snack Bar for dinner and drinks. Snack Bar is one of those quintessentially “Austin” kinds of places – foodie-friendly, creative menu & drink selections, locally-sourced ingredients as much as possible, dogs on the patio… you get the idea (in fact, I should probably just let the first page of their menu do the talking for me).  I like the vibe of the place and the food a lot but for some reason, I hardly ever find the occasion to eat there so it was a welcome treat.

Last time I was at Snack Bar, I had a shandy (beer & lemonade) so I decided to keep the beer-mixing thing going and picked a concoction called Oats & Apples (Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout and apple cider) from the drink menu. I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect from the order but the server brought me the bottle of beer and a glass about 3/4 full of the apple cider. The stout literally blackened the cider as I poured it in so I was a little nervous (especially since I have only recently came to the realization that I like dark beers) but it ended up being a delicious combo. Now, speaking of delicious combos – I had the Scallop & Belly Ramen and oh boy:



Yes, that’s pork belly, scallops, noodles and a soft boiled egg in one beautiful, delicious bowl. I can’t even begin to describe how happy this made my belly. Before I even took my first bite, I apologized to my friends because I was going to have to be obnoxious and take a picture of my food  (but trust, I only do that when it’s really good). It was a little pricier than I would normally spend on a meal out with friends but it was totally worth it. The best kind of comfort food.

Prior to us finalizing plans for a lady date, I had found out about this clearance event at Maya Star and their sister (brother?) store, Co-Star and had suggested we check it out. I really like Maya Star as they carry a lot cute clothes, shoes, accessories and tchotchkes, they haven’t minded the couple of occasions I brought Cooper in the store with me and it’s a fun mix of higher end labels (ex. Rebecca Minkoff) and things that even I can afford.



I highly recommend checking it out. The longer you wait, the better the savings, although, I guess there’s no guarantee that all the good stuff isn’t going to be gone by Sunday! As for me, I got this sweet little black triangle necklace…


…and this badass sword bracelet!





All in all, a pretty successful Thursday night. So much so, I almost forgot that I still have another whole day of work ahead of me before the weekend. -__-

Asking for an Asskicking (A Belated New Year’s Post)



(Cupcakes c/o our friend Alexis at our house on New Year’s Eve)

I am really good at word games like Scrabble, Word with Friends, Scramble with Friends, Boggle, etc.* You get the idea. I don’t say this to brag (I mean, for real, who would be impressed by someone bragging about that? That’s like saying you’re really good at checkers). It’s just something that I’m known for among friends and family. While I don’t win every game, I’ve beat plenty of people enough that they just flat out refuse to play with me anymore (as well as warn others who may challenge me).

Have I possessed some sort of innate, exceptional aptitude for looking at a random group of letters and making words out of them since before I could hold a Scrabble tile? As amazing/weird as it would be to be some sort of Scrabble prodigy, I’m afraid not. While I’ll say that I was always pretty good at it, it’s something that I got really good at with lots and lots of practice.

Back in 2007, I worked a job as the contracts manager at a travel club. I had a dungeon-like office space that I shared with the office manager, Carmen (who eventually became one of my dearest friends) and we had a lot of downtime. Carmen liked to challenge me to bouts of Literati on Yahoo! Games and Lexulous on Facebook (bringing it back, y’all) in between timeshare presentations. She was really good. She knew that sometimes making the highest scoring word wasn’t the most important play; sometimes you needed to strategically block your opponents from high-scoring tiles. She had memorized  the list of acceptable of two-letter words and Q-without-U words, whereas I knew nothing of these potential ringers. She repeatedly kicked my ass. Over and over and over. For months on end. And where some people would have thrown up their hands, deciding that getting their ass kicked repeatedly was not fun and quit playing the game, I became more and more determined to beat her. We worked together, 40 hours a week, for a year and a half and eventually, I did beat her. In fact, I was beating her fairly consistently (she was still beating me most of the time, though). So I became the sad person Scrabble boss you see before you today.

I wrote all that to say, as we are just at the beginning of a new year, I intend to approach 2013 the exact same way. I have realized that I’ve been able to take on a lot of amazing opportunities due to luck and being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people and my brilliant personality. I’ll admit that my life is pretty great right now and when you’re comfortable, it can be so easy to just be content with what you have and coast. But I really want to challenge myself and put my ass out there to be kicked more often, both in the professional and personal areas of my life – because in many instances, that’s the only way I’m going to get better, faster, stronger. So here’s to 2013 kicking my ass. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish.

* Oddly enough, I’m terrible at Letterpress.

Shots Fired

On top of the many other sweet perks from my job, I get to meet and work with a lot of smart, talented, generous people from the Austin tech community. It is really inspiring how everyone helps each other out and supports one another. Last week, one of our factory-mates volunteered to do free headshots for anybody on the floor who wanted them, to use however we like! How awesome is that? Here’s how mine turned out:

It’s too bad about my face but at least my hair looks good (although, I will be getting a cut in a couple weeks). Big thanks to Danny Hotea!

Sorry about your arms, bro.

I actually wanted to a pre-Halloween reveal of my costume here on the blog but then I… just didn’t. So you get these after-the-fact photos, which is still cool. Alex and I decided that I would be Michonne from the comic/TV series The Walking Dead (which, if you’re not watching and/or reading, come get your life because it is crazy good) and he would be one of my zombie pack mules. If you’re not familiar with the series or wanting to get into it, I’m not really spoiling anything by telling you that Michonne is a dreadlocked, katana-wielding badass who has managed to survive alone and has a couple of “walkers” chained to her at all times as a deterrent from the rest of the undead. “But Bri, how does she keep them from attacking her?”, you may ask (no one asked). Because she’s CHOPPED OFF THEIR ARMS AND TORN OFF THEIR JAWS, that’s why.

My costume was fairly easy to put together – almost every piece of clothing was already in my wardrobe. The final three pieces of the puzzle were a cloak, a sword and the hair. The sword was easy, one of my roommates is a collector. The cloak took a little bit of hunting but I found one on eBay. It arrived and I realized it was wool and thought, “Great, I’m going to melt in this thing!” as at the time, we were still experiencing high temperatures in the mid to high 80s. But as luck would have it, a cold front came through Halloween weekend so I was nice and warm under my cloak as it dipped into the 50s that night.

For the hair, I thought about doing yarn braids in my hair for a more authentic look but I ultimately decided that it would end up taking too long, I’d probably get done with a quarter of my head before I said “(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻” and the whole thing would just be a waste of time and opted for a wig. I thought a dreadlock wig would be fairly easy to find but after hitting up several Halloween/party stores, I was disappointed by the selection. There were dreadlock wigs available at most that I went to but they ended up looking 1) cheap and terrible and not at all what they looked like on the packaging and/or 2) they were attached to some kind of “generic rasta guy” hat. Not exactly the look I was going for. My first choice should’ve been supporting a local business (especially since they’re literally down the street from me) because Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds hooked me up with a decent wig AND the guy who helped me also suggested this big chain for Alex to wear around his neck! I ended up taking one of the links apart and making it into a leash, so it was perfect. As Halloween got closer, I ended up going back to Lucy in Disguise for a cheap plastic sword, because I didn’t want the real one to get confiscated by cops if we ended up downtown later. The only thing left was the matter of figuring out how to get all this under a wig to avoid Predator-head (answer: wet hair, lots of twists, lots of bobby pins and a stocking cap).

Put it all together and what have you got? I don’t know, you tell me. Here I am with a floppy-ass plastic sword:

Photo credit: Me!

Photo credit: Noelle Shelp

Then I remembered the real sword!

Photo credit: Justin Turner Arthur

Also check out Alex’s makeup, which I applied following the official Walking Dead zombie makeup tutorial. I obviously couldn’t hack off his jaw, but he had the brilliant idea to at least simulate being unable to attack with a bandage. Of course, this made eating/drinking an adventure but I admire his commitment. He also had a perfect zombie shuffle.

Photo credit: Justin Turner Arthur

Photo credit: Justin Turner Arthur

After the party, we went downtown for a bit, where the few people that seemed to get our costumes were very enthusiastic. A couple people even asked for pictures. Is this what ComiCon feels like? Halloween: where everyone’s a cosplayer and the world is your con.

P.S. I got a like on Instagram from the official Walking Dead (the TV series) Instagram, which I didn’t know was A Thing until they liked my picture.