Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From the Foodie in Me: Popsicles and Paletas

I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I lived in a predominately Hispanic (Mexican-American) neighborhood. One of the best things about my neighborhood were the Paleta Men. A paleta is a Popsicle made of fruit. They are so awesomely Delicious and refreshing on a hot summer's day. Paleta Men push carts around the neighborhood selling paletas. When I was about 12 they switched from carts to bicycles with carts.

This is a typical Paleta cart.

This is what a coconut paleta looks like.
My favorite flavor is cantaloupe, followed by watermelon.
A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to my my own paletas. It's basically like making lemonade, but you can use all different kinds of fruit instead of just lemons. I used lemons for this recipe, because it's the only thing I had on hand.
The first thing I did was microwave my lemons for 30 seconds. I know it sounds weird but if you microwave any citrus fruit before you juice it you will get more juice out of it. Try it, I promise it works.
My microwaved lemon cut in half.

Next I fork my lemons.
This is another way to get as much juice from them as possible.

Now in a saucepan, over medium heat I combine my lemon juice, 1 cup of water, and 1/8 cup of sugar. I heat it all up until the sugar is dissolved.

Next I pour the mixture into my molds. I used 2 popsicle molds, but I also made some ice cube molds from the mixture. I can used these flavored ice cubes to jazz up my iced tea later on.

Frozen lemonade popsicle to enjoy!

Love, Tina Marie

Friday, June 25, 2010

Snowcones! (I found them!)

I heart snow cones, like a lot. In Dallas there is a wonderful snow cone stand I grew up with called "Aunt Stelle's". It was only open in the summer and they have the most wonderful snow cones I have ever had (or maybe that's fond childhood memories talking?).

When I moved to New Orleans I learned they didn't call them snow cones, they called them snow balls. Crazy New Orleanians. But I had a place there, a tiny little shop called "Plum Street Snow Balls".

Now that I live in Virginia it is nearly impossible to find a snow cone. They sell the pre-made manufactured ones on the mall, but it isn't the same. I wanted a fresh snow cone.
A few weeks ago I was driving on Columbia Pike, and I saw someone with a snow cone! I almost stopped my car to ask them where they got it. I knew that in the parking lot of Food Star existed a lot of food carts. Yesterday I decided to check these carts out to see if one of them held the elusive snow cone...


I got banana and strawberry. The woman who ran the stand only spoke Spanish, but she was very nice and there is a nice little English to Spanish chart for the flavors. I wanted to take a picture of her cart, but she got very nervous about me taking pics, so I stopped.

Once I started eating my snow cone I got another surprise, all her syrups are homemade! You get actual pulp from the fruits you're eating! Cost was $3 but totally worth it.
The snow cone stand is on the corner of George Mason and Columbia Pike, in the Food Star parking lot.

Love, Tina Marie

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NYC in a Weekend

Sorry I haven't posted the last couple of days. My mind and body have ganged up against me, putting me in a state of mental and physical exhaustion.

But I'm back!

This past weekend was the end of my monthly weekend travel. I was in NYC with Tamsin, we were visiting Theo. Day one started out in typical Theo fashion, we grabbed coffee and Starbucks. We took our breakfast to Battery Park.

The view of the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park.

After that we went to the Guggenheim. The whole thing is a spiral upwards. I wish I could have shot a better picture, but my camera is dead and I desperately need a new one. For now the camera phone will have to do.

After the Guggenheim we walked around Central Park for a bit. This is a pic from the Jackie Kennedy O'nasis Reservoir.... Whew! What a mouthful!

After meandering for a bit we went to the Met. We decided not to take a tour because we had to go get ready for our Broadway show!

We saw Promises, Promises! It was fantastic!
Did you know Kristen Chenowith is a Gamma Phi Beta?!
I am positive my friends get tired of me telling them that factoid. :)

This is the really cool chandelier inside the theater.

I have no idea why, but I really love blurry pictures of myself laughing.
I'm a weirdo...

After the show we went to a really awesome champagne bar called "Flute".
I wanted to take a pic of all our glasses clinking... Theodora decided to be a creeper...
It was a fabulous weekend! I definitely have to go back soon! Theo, how about Columbus day?
Love, Tina Marie

Friday, June 18, 2010

Random Funny

This is my life:

Allie: his house is close to the levee
so I can run along the mississippi
I love it

me: it looks like there are too many "e's" in the word levee
but there arent

Allie: lol

me: it's like you dont know when to stop

Allie: lmao
like bananananas

me: lmao
nailed it

Follow Friday: Hyperbole and a Half

Today's follow Friday is the funniest blog I have seen in a loooooong time.


Go there, now. Read it. Laugh till you wet yourself.


Love, Tina Marie

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From The Capitol: National Capitol BBQ Battle

It's no secret that I am from Texas. This means certain things are instilled in my from birth: I love football, I know that the best parking spaces aren't determined by distance from your end location but by amount of shade given, and I LOVE BBQ.
There is an awesome place in Dallas that I go to for all my BBQ needs, Hardeman's BBQ. It's pretty much the best BBQ ever made. As a general rule of thumb I don't eat beef BBQ anyplace but Texas. I just know I'll be disappointed, so I stick to pork or chicken. BUT the National Capitol BBQ battle brings out people from all areas of our great nation. I know that I will be able to find some good Texas BBQ.

The BBQ Battle is a fundraiser for The Boys and Girls Club of Washington DC. Tickets are $10 and include free samples of BBQ. There are also many vendors there selling BBQ and other sundries.
For more information go to: http://www.bbqdc.com/

I hope to see you there!

Love, Tina Marie

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tina's Favorite Things: Spray Paint

Can I just say I LOVE spray paint. No... really, it's the most awesome thing ever.
I first discovered it when I was refurbishing my headboard. It went from brass to a medium charcoal grey. This is where my obsession began. Now I have discovered all the wonderful things Krylon Spray paint can do for you.

Tina's Favorite Things: Books

Oprah has a favorite things list and I think I am just as, if not more, entertaining than her. ;)
This is the start of my favorite things, today: Books.
I have written posts in the past about how much I love books, but I can't help but bring it up again. There is nothing more satisfying (to me) than finishing a truly great book.
These day's I've been reading a lot of chick lit, which isn't exactly mind motivating, but it's entertaining. I do however have my all time favorites:

Number 5
Fahrenheit 451

This book was so sadly beautiful it made me cry. It's about a world where books are forbidden, and banned. The book initially was meant to symbolize how television is ruining the literary world, but since its debut has become an anthem for all people who fight against censorship. I think this book really hits home because one of the worst nightmares I have ever had is about all my books being burned. (I know I'm a HUGE dork). This book sort of epitomizes all that books are to me.

Number 4
House of Leaves

I can't even begin to describe this book. I have never read anything else like it. It's a beautiful love story surrounded by a horror story. The book is written in an interesting style. There are two stories simultaneously being told. Other stories also enter the realm through footnotes that go on for pages and pages. There are references to books that don't exist. You almost get lost in trying to decipher what is "real" and what is "fiction". I have never been so entranced by a book. I wish I could do a better job explaining it, but it's one of those books that you just have to read to appreciate.

Number 3
To Kill a Mockingbird

I can't count the number of times I have read this book. I first read it in 8th grade and I have kept a copy on my bookshelf ever since. I think it's the first book I have ever truly LOVED. Whenever I'm feeling a little nostalgic I can pick this book up, flip to any section, and immediately become entranced in the world of Scout and Jem.

Number 2
The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead is the first book I ever read by Ayn Rand. I cannot explain in words how much I love this book. I want to meet Rand and be her friend, that's how much I admire her work. This book was my favorite at one point.

Number 1
Atlas Shrugged

Who is John Galt? This is the best book ever written hands down. I welcome people's opinions on other books that are better, and I would love to read them, but this is it for me. This is the bee's knees. The end all and be all of books. Galt's 50 page monologue is so beautifully written, it commands the reader to almost read aloud in order to fully capture all that is being said. I absolutely LOVE this book. I can't think of another literary work, except the Bible, that is so wonderfully written.

These of course are my favorite books today, but I reserve the right to change my mind at any time :)
What are your favorite books, and why?

Love, Tina Marie

Monday, June 14, 2010

Columbus Ain't so Bad

This past weekend I "road tripped" to Columbus, Ohio to meet up with my friend Mike. We had a blast. We visited German Village, saw THE Ohio State University, grilled out, watched the US world cup game, went to a farmers market, and saw the replica of the Santa Maria. I learned 2 things.
1. I will NEVER drive west from DC again. It was the most BORING drive ever.
2. Columbus is a pretty cool place. There is a decent nightlife, and enough touristy things to do so that we kept busy for a weekend.

Droid Montage as my real camera died a watery death...

Pics aboard the Santa Maria:

Christopher Columbus... Hey, that's who the city is named after!

Bottom part of the ship...Galley? I'm so not a sailor...

The living quarters.

Me and Mike! You can't tell but we are totally on the ship...

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492...

Hey! That's me!

Mike is a pirate! Arrrr...

Pics at THE Ohio State University:

We wandered up some random stairwell at the stadium and I snapped the shot above.
This is the main entrance to the stadium

All around the athletic fields/centers they had these egg/pod like sculptures. They were indentations of people doing various exercises. This is Mike doing a squat.

It was graduation weekend at THE Ohio State. They had an open house on the field and let us go up to the suites... UT's suites are better.

THE Ohio State University Football field.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Follow Friday

Moving away from my crafts blogs I recommend mint.com
Have you ever tried it?
You can keep track of your money and finances all in one place.
It's a great service that will allow you to stay on a budget.

Love, Tina Marie

Thursday, June 10, 2010

From the Foodie in Me: Texans Eat Flour and Milk

But we call it Biscuits and Gravy.

Have you ever had cream gravy? I know it's a southern thing, and not all people from the north have tried it. It will basically blow your mind. It's sooo delicious.

Here is a simple recipe for cream gravy:

3 tablespoons drippings (you can just use regular oil, but you'll get more flavor if you use drippings)
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Heat drippings in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk together until you form a rue. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until a light shade of brown. Gradually add milk and continue to whisk over medium heat until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ate at "Kitchen's Restaurant" in Mineola, Texas.

I think they gave me enough gravy...

Love, Tina Marie

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Caught the Bouquet... Again.

I went to a wedding this past weekend. My favorite cousin tied the knot in Dallas. It was a beautiful wedding. The ceremony was outside at the Dallas Arboretum. The reception was indoors at a restaurant. Of course we did the typical bouquet toss... now here is where it gets dicey.
In March of 2008 I was a bridesmaid in my friend Nicole's wedding. Nicole also did a bouquet toss. I stood in the back. Nicole tossed the bouquet... it hit me in the face. No joke. Her bouquet hit me square in the face. This is what we shall refer to as "Toss 1"

Again in March 2008 I was a bridesmaid. A few weeks after Nicole's wedding I was in Annie's wedding. Let's take a look at the montage:

I'm on the left. My hands are touching.

Look at all the other girls, they are ready to strike, hands up in the air...

The bouquet is tossed! Look at everyone leap for it... everyone expect me. My hands are still touching, in a clapping motion... A couple bounces and...

Yep. That's me with the bouquet. It bounced off 5 sets of hands and landed right in mine.

Let's call this "Toss 2"

So, now let's fast forward to Jackie's wedding this past weekend. We gathered on the dance floor... only this time my sister was there. My 19 year old sister. There was no way I was letting her catch that bouquet. I also knew she was my only competition. All the other girls were tiny Koreans (Jackie's husband is half Korean). I knew I could take them. Tiffany (my sister) and I battled for it... but, I have a good 6 inches on her. My jump was higher and voila. I caught the bouquet... again.

I think the wedding God's might be mocking me at this point, but that's okay. I have a nice little dried flowers collection going.

Love, Tina Marie

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Follow Me.. A Desperate Plea for Attention

I know a lot of you all read me in your google reader, or just visit my site sporadically.
But here is my desperate plea: Please follow me.
All you have to do is click the follow button on the right hand side.
You wont get annoying emails, or anything like that. You'll just officially be a "follower".


Love, Tina Marie

Friday, June 4, 2010

Follow Friday

Today's follow friday is another crafts blog.


First of all I absoltely LOVE her name. She is from Hawaii, but now lives in Salt Lake City.
I think it's absolutely genius.

I hope you enjoy her as much as I do. Have a great weekend!
I'll be sure to have pics from my Dallas trip when I come back next week!

Love, Tina Marie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

From the Foodie in Me: Crawfish Boil

While at the beach this past weekend, the Louisiana contingent took the time to ship up crawfish.

We had it FedEx delivered overnight. Here are the little critters in all their glory:

That's right. They are live. Those of you from the North should think of them as mini lobsters.

We had about 40lbs shipped up to the beach house.

We only had one pot, so we cooked about 8 lbs at a time.

We used Zatarains Crawfish boil. This is a mixture of all sorts of spices. You put it in the boiling water to make everything super tasty. Being from the south we also added a heck of a lot of Zatarain's Cayenne Pepper. (7 ounces per batch). We made the batches spicier as we went.

They were delicious.

We also threw in corn, sausage, onions, potatoes, and a lemon into each batch.

We were definitely "those" people in our cul de sac. We has the boil in the front driveway... a little redneck, but I'm from Texas, so I guess it's to be expected.

All in all we had a fabulous time.

Here are the recipe and directions for 40 lbs of crawfish... please remember we cooked the crawfish in 5 batches:

2 and a half sticks unsalted butter
5 boxes of Zatarains crawfish boil
10 pounds of #1 red potatos, cleaned but not peeled
40 pounds live crawfish, cleaned
18 ears of corn, shucked and cut into halves

Sausage, andouille or your preference

2 and a half onions

5 lemons

Divide everything into 5 equal batches.

Special Equipment:
A 20-gallon crawfish pot with basket and lid, or equivalent pot used for frying turkeys
A lifting hook to lower the basket into the cooking pot
Propane burner
2 large ice chests with drain plug


Place the cooking pot with its basket on the propane burner and fill about halfway with water and bring to a rapid boil. This should be about the right amount of water to protect against spillage when the potatoes or crawfish are added later.

Once the water is rapidly boiling add the 1 batch of veggies, crawfish boil, and butter. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes.

Place the bag of crawfish in 1 of the coolers, and hose down until the water runs clear, about 5 minutes. This is called purging. Crawfish are mud dwellers and you have to clean them before cooking. Open the bag and pour the live crawfish into 1 of the coolers. With the drain of the cooler open, continue to rinse the crawfish for 5 minutes or until the water runs clear.

After the veggies have cooked for 10 minutes, pour one batch of the crawfish into the cooking basket and lower the basket into the pot. Cook the crawfish for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the crawfish to simmer in the liquid for an additional 15 minutes (the longer you let simmer, the spicier the crawfish will be).

Remove and serve. Repeat for each batch of crawfish. If the crawfish are too spicey for your taste do not add more bags of boil to the water with each additional batch.

Traditionally, the crawfish is dumped onto a newspaper covered table (we ate on the driveway covered in newspaper). Additional spice mix can be sprinkled on the crawfish, if desired... we used tony chacere's, a NOLA favorite.


Love, Tina Marie

Framed Art

If you're a 20something like me you know that decorating your apartment/home is no easy feat. Putting things on the wall that are a step above the posters you had in college is definately something to invest in. The problem is that art can get very expensive, very quickly. When you have several walls to decorate, it becomes a challenge.

I really enjoy black and white prints. They are often cheaper than buying paintings, and still bring that "adult" feel to your home. Still, at $5-50 each, they too can add up. This is where you can easily Do It Yourself (DIY). DIY projects are fun and cheap.

For this project I visted my local bookshop. I found a book of children's nursery rhymes, that had been illustrated with black and white watercolors. I used the razor from my papercutter to evenly cutout pages from the books.

---And yes, I know I am going to get a lot of flack for cutting up books. Trust me, I had my qualms about it as well---

I chose 5 different prints. I, luckily, have many many picture frames with mats from other various projects. I got most of these frames for under $5 each. Another option would be to use only mats. They are much cheaper and still give a finished look.

I always also try to come up with an interesting way to position the pictures. Doing prints all in a row can get boring. Always remember, when hanging pictures, it's best to use odd numbers. Odd numbers give a sense of balance (yay high school art class coming in handy).

Here you can see the finsihed product hanging above my bed. On the right you can see a solitary frame. In this frame is the first page of the story "Cinderella". It's from a different (color) children's fairy tale book. On the other side of the window (not pictured) is the picture of Cinderella from the book.

I hope this inspired you to go out and do some framing of your own!

Love, Tina Marie

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness

As a fairly girly blog I feel like this is a subject that I can address given how many of my friends are involved in fundraising efforts.

I have two friends doing the Susan G Koman walk this weekend, and they would be happy with any/all donations. Every little bit helps the cause.

Tamsin Ayre is a friend of mine from college. We are in the same sorority, and both from Texas.
The link to Tamsins fundraising page is:

Rebecca Soll is a friend of mine who I met in DC thru a mutual friend.
The link to Becky's fundraising page is:

Breast Cancer is a serious issue. The Susan G Komen site has a great video on early testing for breast cancer. http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/BreastSelfAwareness.html
Check it out.

Thanks, for reading, and I hope you'll consider a donation.

Love, Tina Marie