Friday Favorite- Bon Jovi Concert

Last week we went to the Bon Jovi concert. I had been looking forward to this concert for years. We saw Bon Jovi at the Rodeo about 6 or 7 years ago. They completely rocked...and then they did two random cover songs that sort of ruined the rest of the rocking. Anyhow, I promised myself we'd go again if they came into town and THEY DID. And, then we ended up with extra tickets and there was all this drama BUT... we went and it was AWESOME.

AWESOME. The concert definitely goes down as a Friday Favorite!

The concert was like going back in time. Bon Jovi has a great song book and pretty much all of them rock. The people watching was awesome; everyone from middle aged mullets to partying 60 year olds and everything in between. We had such a great time rocking out that I was inspired to convince my friend Karla to go to "Rock of Ages" next week. I can't wait!

Summer Pesto Pasta

We had one of our favorite dinners tonight and I had to share it. It's our summer Macadamia Nut Pesto. I got this recipe at one of my Bridal showers from Tammy, a friend we haven't seen in far too long. I wonder if she knows how often we use her recipe? We love it. Our girls are still undecided-it's green, mama! Be warned, the recipe makes a TON of food. I think you need a ton because this is better the second and third days. It supposedly freezes well for up to 3 months; although it's never made it that long in our house.

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves (fresh makes a difference)

3/4 cup olive oil

4 ounces macadamia nuts

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

4 peeled garlic cloves

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp crushed red pepper

In food processor, combine all above ingredients until a paste forms. You can eat the pesto as is on bread or make it a meal by adding grilled chicken, cut into cubes, and combine with pasta.

Ch-Ch-Changes and Pretty Pictures

We're in the midst of some exciting changes here at casa Elzabelz. The changes have kept me and my family moving for the past few weeks. I've been working on a huge project, bigger than any party I've planned or any room I've tried to's exciting and a bit scary. Until I have something to show you, how about a few photos from my trip to New Orleans?

Just in case you missed it, make sure to check out my snazzy new banner, courtesy of Brenda. She was a dream to work with, I highly recommend hiring her.

Friday Favorite- The Vampire Diaries

Vampire Diaries and Vampire Diaries Pictures

I'm veering away from highlighting something you can buy to something you should be watching. "The Vampire Diaries." This show is consistently SO good. I LOVE the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for all sorts of reasons like a strong female heroine, quippy writing, kick butt action, the awesomest musical episode in the history of television. I even watched "Angel" for years because it was a Buffy spin-off. After Buffy, every other vampire show or movie paled in comparison (Ha ha- paled, because of vampires. Dude, I SLAY me. Ha ha-again!). I tried. Really, I did. But, I do not understand the Twilight phenomenon. A vampire with a soul in love with a normal girl? Yeah, Buffy did it first, better, and their vampire was Totally Hott. I even passed on True Blood. Not interested. I tried and discarded every vampire, supernatural show...until...some internet friends started going on and on about "The Vampire Diaries." I really didn't believe it. A vampire show has to be really good to interest me. I think I was bored one night and thought, "Eh, OK, I'll give it a shot." And, holy heck 1) The writing is excellent, 2) The writing is quippy, 3) They have a vampire in love with a normal girl (actually they have two) and one of them is SO HOTT. Both are believable story lines, 4) Major eye candy, 5) The show is not afraid to kill people, vamps, werewolves. One episode they killed like 12 people and 2 vampires. Awesome. 6) They came up with a Vampire-Werewolf. That is super interesting. I wish Joss Whedon had come up with that first. I don't even consider the show a guilty pleasure, it's just awesomely good. I don't care if the main demographic isn't old enough to drive-I don't care. Watch this show. Trust me. You won't regret it.

"The Vampire Diaries" is over for the season, which makes it the perfect time to catch up on the show. You will not be sorry. This show has quickly surpassed all others in terms of what I HAVE to watch. My Friday Favorite TV show- "The Vampire Diaries."

Pants That Fit

My friend Heidi has been trying to rebuild her wardrobe for several months. Today she went looking for pants and, things did not end well. I was kind of afraid for the salespeople since she had just finished shooting at the range. Since we don't want anyone to get hurt, let's establish a few shopping rules when shopping for pants. *I freely admit that finding great pants also frustrates me, which is probably one reason I prefer to wear skirts and dresses.*

1) Allow yourself plenty of time. The key to finding clothes you love is taking the time to find what you like and what you don't. That means you have to physically try everything on in all sorts of sizes. The last time I looked for jeans, I tried on jeans for at least an hour or two. Really look at what you are seeing-with pants and jeans, take a look at the front (is anything pulling or whiskering), look at the rise in the back, look for gaps in the waistband. And, of course, the jumping and squatting tests are crucial to finding a great pair of pants.

2) Do NOT pay attention to sizes. Sizes vary wildly from store to store, and even style to style. This is especially important if you have an in between body- for example, I am tall and fairly skinny. While you may think that is desirable when pants shopping, I assure you it is not. Almost all my pants are altered because I have yet to find a pair that instantly fit. If you have wider hips or larger thighs, look for pants that are cut curvy or wider in those areas and alter them to fit your waist.

3) Look for the silhouette. To the extent you can, try not to look at what is trendy or pay attention to price, find something you like and that flatters you and buy that. It is a lot easier to buy clothes once you know what silhouettes work for you. I like straighter legs and a tailored pant, so I look for those types of pants. If you have size issues with your hips, thighs, or butt, go for a flared leg pant. Flared legs provide balance between your top and bottom. Look for words like- "shaped hip and thigh" or "relaxed through" leg and read the reviews.

4) No crops. Ever. This is a piece of fashion advice I have long believed in, even more since Tim Gunn thinks the same thing. Cropped pants do not look good on most people and tend to cut women at weird points. Unless Heidi Klum is reading this, do not wear cropped pants.

Heidi is looking for jeans and khakis-though I argue against khakis. I think black or gray pants are a much better purchase. She asked for some places to shop. Normally I stick with J Crew for pants. (I used to swear by Banana Republic and Gap, but I had a terrible customer service issue with their pants and will never shop there again.) I suggested expanding her search to: Nordstrom-awesome shopping service, Lands End Canvas, Eddie Bauer, The Limited, Zara, and Ann Taylor Loft. Here are a few styles I found at those stores: Blakely Fit from Eddie Bauer; The Limited Wide Leg Cassidy. If you have a great pair of pants, leave them in the comments. I know Heidi will read them!

The most important shopping rule- It's not life or death, it's just pants.

Friday (Saturday) Favorite-OPI Texas Nail Polish

Images via SpoiledPretty

As you may know, Blogger was down yesterday, so my Friday's Favorite is now a Saturday favorite. It all worked out since I had time to discover something TOTALLY AWESOME today. Several months ago I promised my girls that we'd get our nails done at the salon once M's finger healed. Her finger has been 100% for some time now, so today seemed like a great time to make good on my promise. I was looking for a fun purple and choose Pamplona Purple. I decided to try to get the shade for touch-ups and discovered something better, "Houston--we have a Purple."

Come On. That's genius! An entire collection of OPI shades based on Texas and named for Texas, including an (Longhorn) Orange. Oh yeah. As usual, the OPI names are almost as good as the colors; Austin-tatious Turquoise, Guy Meets Gal-veston, Do you Think I'm Tex-y. From the reviews I've found on the internet, the Texas colors are sorbet based and, it seems, that they may be very sheer. I plan on buying several colors or maybe the whole collection as soon as the shopping ban is over. C'mon June 1st! Please tell me I'm not the only one who gets excited about new make-up and nail polish lines?!

OPI's Texas Nail Polish Collection is my Saturday's Favorite.

What I've Learned

You may have wondered where I've been lately. I've been learning lots of new things. Things like:
Always keep a plastic bag in the back seat.

When your gut tells you to buy car cleaning cloths and wipes for the car, don't doubt it because you've never bought them before. Buy them---you will use them twice in one week.

Oprah was right, you are wearing the wrong bra size. Yes, even you. You don't even want to know how wrong I was...

When your New Year's Eve starts off with a kid vomiting, your year will likely be full of lots of kid vomit.

Despite the fact that there are 4 very prominently displayed calendars in your house, your husband does not see them. Any of them.

Even that one right above his desk.

Cookies really do make everything better.

Don't ever drive behind an open dump truck with the word "waste" on the side if you ever feel like eating again.

Real Life Bloggers

Courtesy Megan

I've been fortunate to meet lots of amazing "real life" bloggers-I can't even list them all (but most are over there on my blogroll). I'm doubly lucky to now call these women my friends. With very few exceptions, the bloggers I've met have all been amazingly smart, funny, and interesting women. And, most of the women bloggers I come across are gorgeous--the same for the men (just in case Ron or Fred is reading ;)). A couple weeks ago, I was able to meet up with another group of amazing women bloggers, this time all Houston based (or mostly Houston since Cyndy drove in from Lufkin!). Emily and Megan did a great job of arranging everything. I've followed both women on Twitter and through their blogs for some time, so I was SUPER excited to meet them. They were even more awesome than I expected. As was Emily, who I was really excited to meet. She seemed so cool, clever, and witty and seemed like someone I would hang out with in real life. All true. Emily even met me out for a DEFINE class (you know how much I love that studio, right?! LOVE!). Hopefully she's still talking to me because the "stretching" part of class was just as hard as the "strengthening" part of class. Ow. Anyway, seeing her again reminded me that I never told you guys about meeting these awesome (yes, that is the best word) ladies. I'm not going to list everyone here because both both Emily and Megan have great recaps with complete links (and took pretty pictures of me-bonus!). I encourage you to go visit all the awesome Houston bloggers I met- especially since Elsa is going to post her cardboard chair-how, what??

This picture has nothing to do with the post. I just think it's funny and Mir could use a laugh. Plus, it's just funny. I wonder how long it will take her before she finds that I hid it here?! ;) This could be a fun new take on Where's Waldo- Where's the blogger picture?!

Friday Favorite- Sofft Shoes

I bought a pair of Sofft shoes before I left for Mom 2.0 at DSW. They may be one of the best shoe purchases ever. I can't locate the pair I bought online, they are similar to the ones pictured, but a little less gladiator. You can find Sofft shoes just about anywhere, but DSW prices were at least $40 cheaper than what I am seeing online. Finally a "business sandal." Before I bought them, I was adamantly against sandals in the office, but these shoes changed my mind. Dressy enough for the office and comfortable enough to wear out on the weekend. My shoes are so comfortable that I wear them pretty much every chance I get. In fact, I'm going to wear them today to work. They gets tons of compliments each time I wear them- which is a good measure of a shoe purchase! So comfortable. So soft.

Sofft shoes are my Friday Favorite. Just because I'm not shopping doesn't mean I can't still talk about shopping, right?!

No Shopping Challenge-May

There are lots of shopping challenges out there-see Liz for an amazing amount of willpower. A year-no shopping-a year-I have no words. Other than Bravo! My friend Pam did a closet challenge a few months ago and tried to get me on board. I like the idea of putting something out in the internet for accountability. But, I don't want to limit my clothing options; I like my clothes and don't want to just choose 15 items-that's just crazy talk!
If you know me in real life, you know I am constantly battling myself about shopping (I'm a saver at heart, but love a good deal). I don't necessarily WANT to buy new things, but they are so, so pretty. I've tried giving up shopping for a month and for Lent (Fail) many times before and hate it. Let me be clear, I do not have a crazy shopping habit. I am careful about what I purchase and think before I buy. But, I feel like the time is right to just take a breather and come up with new ways to wear my clothes. I also think it is a good exercise to spend a few months a year not shopping. So, I am following Kim's lead and not shopping for the rest of May. The rules are here and summarized below. I like this challenge because it's not as austere as some, while encouraging accountability. I'll update you as things go-hopefully I will be successful. Wish me luck. Now, just have to delete all those "deals of the day" emails I get...

The challenge commences Wednesday May 4, 2011
~ Challenge will run through May 31, 2011 *I like this, it's not too long, but long enough to hopefully make a difference)
~ No buying clothing/shoes/accessories for the rest of May
~ You are allowed one cheat item. This can be your ban breaker. Something you've been waiting to go on sale, one thing you must buy before the end of the month, etc.

Big News- Trader Joe's is coming to Texas!

Yes, that IS a big announcement. I LOVE Trader Joe's and am not ashamed to admit that I plan trips around the nearest Trader Joe's. I heard this morning through Twitter (first Twitter breaks news about Bin Laden and now Trader Joe's) about Dallas getting a Trader Joe's. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be able to shop to my heart's content. My poor friends will no longer have to send me food (Amanda, those chocolate things were DELICIOUS). You can find more information at the Dallas Morning News. From what I could google, it looks like the store in Dallas will open within a year, closely followed by Austin and Houston. That seems reasonable since they need to establish distribution centers. Trader Joe's in Texas. Trader Joe's in Texas. Woo-hoo!!! Finally!!!

*Completely unrelated, the Define Body studio I've raved about before is today's LivingSocial deal. I highly recommend it if you live in Houston. $25 for unlimited 2 weeks, doesn't expire until November (new or fairly new cutsomers only!). Get it now. Email me if you need an invite to Living Social.

Thank You, America

The only thing I can post today, is "Thank You." Once again, a thank you to the armed forces for continuing their mission to protect our freedom. Osama Bin Laden is dead. I give all the credit to the Navy Seal special ops and the men and women on the ground and working intel to find him all these years later. Some have turned this into a political victory or defeat (half of Twitter did last night), it's not political to me, we are safer because of regular Americans who carried out orders. While I'm not celebrating Osama Bin Laden's death, I am breathing easier. One less crazy crackpot in the world. I believe the world is safer today and I am thankful.

"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done." -Former President George Bush

"The operation shows those who commit acts of terror against the innocent will be brought to justice, however long it takes. So this is a huge achievement in the fight against terrorism but we know the fight against the terrorism and the ideology that Bin Laden represents continues and is as urgent as ever." - British prime minister David Cameron.