Wander Woman

Texas Bluebonnets

by Wander Woman on Apr.22, 2014

I am required to prop my child amidst a field of bluebonnets and snap a million photos, because that’s what Texan moms do.

She looks pretty cute playing/sitting/grimacing in the wild flowers…

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Herb + Goat Cheese Souffle

by Wander Woman on Apr.16, 2014

I have always wanted to make a soufflé.

There’s something so elegant about a dish that intimidates even the most experienced chefs, takes forever to prepare, poufs up like a hot air balloon, and is so light and airy, it hardly puts a dent in your appetite. It’s a snooty, uncooperative dish, and after making it for the first time, I’m smitten.

I made Jacques Pépin’s savory Herb and Goat Cheese Soufflé, because my manpartner gave me his cookbook as a second-tri pregnancy gift forever ago and I hadn’t yet made anything from it. And because finding ways to shove more goat cheese in my diet is a daily priority (at least it should be).

After whipping eggs, chopping herbs, melting butter and goat cheese, carefully folding in ingredients, and baking it in the oven, here’s my thought: Soufflés are really not that difficult. This dish was herbacious, cheesy and all-around stunning… but did it pouf the way it was supposed to? Was it too soft in the center?

I have no idea since this is my first experience with a soufflé. But the consensus at the table was that it tasted good. Really, really good.

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Happy Half Birthday, Peewee!

by Wander Woman on Apr.13, 2014

Our ball of magic, Jassy Rae, hit her six-month milestone this past weekend…

For her first few months of life, I couldn’t wait for Jas to grow bigger (so I wouldn’t be so terrified of dropping/breaking/losing her).

But now that she’s a beefy six-month-old who listens, studies, turns over and belly-scoots daily, I want her to stop growing! I could cry thinking about how tiny she once was and how nearly full-grown she is now. All the sounds and sights of the early baby days—the newborn grunts and clicks, the awkward alien body that could fit in my hand—those days are nevermore. I kind of miss them (…never in a million years did I ever think I’d say that).

Yes, we are totally, utterly obsessed with our little monkey, and, at the moment, I want to do everything I can to keep her little.

I’ll probably change my tune the next time she wakes me at 3 a.m., screaming for a bottle.

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Happy Birthday, Purnie

by Wander Woman on Apr.07, 2014

Our not-so-little pooch turned 11 this past weekend.

We feted Purnie with his usual birthday treat: doggie peanut butter ice cream, which he inhales quicker the older he gets!

And we devoured tiramisu.

We had hoped to treat the Purnster to a haircut at the groomer’s before his big day, but it didn’t happen. Just in case you’re wondering why he looks homeless…

Next weekend, bud. I promise.

Happy birthday, old man! We love you.

Here’s Purnie’s last birthday, and his party the year before.

Update on Jassy Rae: This is what teething looks like…

Drool, fussiness and still no first tooth!

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by Wander Woman on Apr.04, 2014

An engagement gift for a special couple…

I thought basic enameled tin mugs engraved with “Bride” and “Groom” would be neat. (I know, not the most unique idea, but on tin mugs it is!)

When I took the tin mugs to the engraver, he pretty much refused to cut into them, muttering that there was no way legible, perfect letters could be etched into colored tin. I begged and pleaded and cried that it didn’t need to be perfect—a rustic look is what I was after.

A couple of days later, after he engraved “Bride,” he called and said that it looked terrible and he should just stop the project. “This is a mistake,” he groaned.

But he pushed on and engraved the second mug, because I squealed that, from the picture he sent, the mug looked outrageously PERFECT! Just as I had imagined.

This poor engraver said these were the worst engraved pieces he’s ever cut, because the letters are chipped and uneven. “I’ll never work on anything like this again. Bring me something normal to engrave,” he whined.

No way. These are pristine.

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Stripes + Open Dining

by Wander Woman on Mar.24, 2014

Our kitchen dining space is one part of our great room, and it was a naked part. The white walls had been slowly driving me insane for the past six months. I knew I couldn’t do anything too devilish to them because they had to flow with the other parts of the open space (the neighboring marbled/grey granite kitchen and the soaring family room).

So what to do with boring white walls?

Simple wooden stripes seemed to be the answer! My hiz and I ran out to Home Depot and bought thin moulding, grey paint, wood glue and a miter saw, and got to work.

We glued the painted moulding to the walls…

The dark grey color we picked turned out to be not quite right. So, in a fury, I painstakingly painted over the dark grey with a lighter, more silvery shade of grey.

After the color was corrected, it became abundantly clear that the dark table we had in the space was all wrong. A new rustic dining table with an “antique grey finish” was dropped in its place.

In all honesty, I’m still not feeling the dining table. I’m hunting for a funky, lighter-toned, round kitchen table that will better complement the chandelier.

But for now, this works!

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The East Side

by Wander Woman on Mar.21, 2014

There are too many awesomely cool industrial-chic bars on the east side of Austin. By “too many” I mean Can’t decide which to go to because they’re all so damn lovely.

This joint, East Side Show Room, is one of them.

I heard the owner of the place, a certified welder, crafted every funky lighting fixture and piece of furniture in the resto-bar. In fact, she opened the bar mainly as a vehicle to showcase her art.

The cocktails at ESSR are pitch-perfect (I had a Japanese whiskey with Strega and lemon… mmm) and the food, though I’ve never tried it, is pretty good too.

Check it out if you’re ever on East Sixth Street.

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5 Months + Baby’s First Bites of Food

by Wander Woman on Mar.12, 2014

Today, my little monkey turned 5 months old.

She’s such a husky thing! She can grab, pull, push, and, of course, toot like a full-grown man. So far, our most exciting milestone has been graduating from milk and adding mushy baby food to her diet…

Jassy Rae knew exactly what to do when the spoon came toward her gullet! (Probably because she had been watching us eat from her Bumbo, which we keep plopped in the middle of the dinner table.) When I aimed the spoon at her mouth, she opened wide and lapped up every last bite… although half of the food slid right back out onto her chest. (After a few more feedings she learned how to keep the food on the right side of her piehole.)

Some nights we feel too tired to feed her real food—because her bottled milk has all the nutrients she needs and she drinks plenty of that—and we think, Ah, we’ll skip baby food tonight! But then she’ll stare us down and grind her mouth in a slow chewing motion.

This girl loves food, and now that she’s had butternut squash, peas and green beans, she’s hooked.

Our mini foodie!

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Barbecue Pilgrimage

by Wander Woman on Mar.11, 2014

A weekend ago, we trekked to the hallowed grounds of Franklin BBQ—a divey Austin restaurant that has made every single “Best Of” list in every major food publication since the moment it opened two years ago.

To have the privilege of noshing on this spiritual barbecue, we had to wake super early on a Saturday morning and stand in line for 5 hours (which is totally cray, because I wouldn’t stand in line for more than an hour to meet dead Johnny Cash himself).

It was pretty much a big tailgating/drinking party all morning, and by the time you got to the front of line, it wouldn’t have mattered if they fed us Goodyear tires or melt-in-your-mouth brisket—whatever they gave us was bound to taste heavenly.

Objectively, this truly is mind-blowing barbecue…

And the Bourbon-Banana Pie was seriously tasty.

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Supper Club

by Wander Woman on Mar.04, 2014

My all-time fave food truck threw an uber lovely supper party in a vintage rental warehouse…

Hearty, elegant food and all-you-can-drink libations set amidst glowing candles, weathered wood and whimsical, swoony furniture.

Plus, a souvenir shot as a parting gift…

A dreamy and delicious night.

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