Tuesday, August 24, 2010

That Perfect Soap II

One of the things that inspired me to create this blog in the first place was L'Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Milk Soap. Indeed, it was the subject of my very first blog entry (for those of you who don't know the history...). Though I feel a bit sheepish, I am now moved to write a new entry amending that prior one. Do not misunderstand me - I still love the L'Occitane soap. I am just feeling a bit torn. You see, a friend gave me a bar of Aveda Rosemary Mint soap, which I just began using a few days ago... and whoa. This stuff is rich, smooth, exfoliating, and smells heavenly. While I won't elevate either of these luscious soaps to first billing over the other, I do feel the need to at least put the Aveda soap on the same pedestal as the L'Occitane. I've had ultra knotty and achy muscles for a while now, and in addition to the Aveda soap being lovely for cleaning and for luxuriating (odd, my spellcheck did not red-squiggly-underline "luxuriating")... it also works well to create a slick skin surface, making massaging achy muscles easy.

While I am feeling a little unfaithful to the L'Occitane soap, I just could not help but give the Aveda soap its due credit here. And, it's also a striking-looking bar on top of being functionally beautiful:

This soap is about twice the price of the L'Occitane. Even were it not gifted to me, I think I'd buy it myself. I'm sure I'll have to down the road, but luckily the bar is a mega-bar, so it'll thankfully be a while before I have to even think about that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

That Perfect Cheese Enchilada

I almost always order cheese enchiladas whenever I visit a Mexican restaurant for the first time. If those are good, then I may just frequent the place. Indeed, good salsa and good cheese enchiladas are far and away the most important factors in determining whether I'll be a fan of a Mexican restaurant. And, those who know me well know I am always up for trying a new Mexican place. My poor family was subjected to Mexican food every (and I mean every) time the restaurant selection was up to me as a child.

The most important thing about cheese enchiladas is that the cheese has to be just right. What does that mean? It's got to be that perfect uber-orangey cheese that melts everywhere. While typically I am an advocate of eating real food and not processed what-the-hell-is-it-food... I make an almost sacred exception when it comes to cheese enchiladas. We've all got our demons, and I freely admit that this is one of mine. They also have to get the flavors in the sauce just right - I usually go for a good chili con carne, but I am a little flexible on the sauce.

As you can tell, I've sampled many a cheese enchilada in my thirty-something years, many of which have been lived in Texas, so I am quite the connoisseur. I will be having Those Perfect Cheese Enchiladas for dinner this very night. It's time to crown the winner of the best cheese enchiladas: Matt's Rancho Martinez, which, very happily, is a mere 5 minutes from my house in Dallas.


Here they are:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

That Perfect Dichotomy

Cold, hard, glass, steel, granite, stop lights, cars, power lines, concrete, busy, work ethic, drive, fifty emails and I just got here. A hug, warmth, a hand-written letter, an old photograph, a long evening of talking about nothing and everything, telephone calls, airplane rides, overdue visits, there's simply never enough time with the ones you love.

Seems a bit of a mish mosh doesn't it? Well, it's exactly the dichotomy that pops in my head every weekday morning, at least for now.

There is this billboard; well, maybe that isn't the right word for it since it takes up the side of a whole skyscraper. This billboard strikes me and moves me every weekday morning on my commute to the office. Amidst the towers that compose the Dallas skyline, this highly personal statement is boldly proclaimed and daily confronts those of us plodding to work in our ritualized commutes. I am moved by the irony of this simple yet touching statement hovering over and becoming part of a place dominated by business and busyness. It gives me pause to remember those who I miss.

And somehow I also like that there's a little distance between my building and this touching adage. I work in the one all the way on the right in the photo below, while the sign is a bit over to the left. In light of the sentiment, it seems fitting to me that it is situated that way.

And here's a closeup:

Monday, August 2, 2010

That Perfect Most Beautiful Place

I am not sure why my mind wandered today to this place where I wandered about, oh, twelve years ago. I took a solo backpacking trip to Ireland after I graduated from undergrad, and it was an amazing trip in so many ways. Being alone and independently traversing another continent was exhilarating. And beautiful. I filled journals, drank many, many a Guinness, and met the most fantastic people. Six weeks of bliss. While the whole of Ireland has a very special place in my heart and holds many joyful memories for me, the most beautiful place I have ever traveled was Dun Aengus, a ring fort sitting atop these grand cliffs off the western coast of Ireland. It was misty and raining a little the day I was there, and everything looked and felt very grayish warmish blue. I passed a cute little man sitting under a striking red umbrella playing an accordion on the way up. The grass along the path on the way was so green, as is everything in Ireland. You couldn't see the cliffs until you were upon them. And they were glorious. I fantasized about building a small house somewhere near them just so I could keep returning to them. There was something that called me to them. I can't quite place it, but the peace, the beauty, the calm, and the coolness there was just incredible.

I wikipedia'd Dun Aengus just now and found something I find quite charming that I didn't remember about Dun Aengus as well - that it is not known precisely when this fort was built. There is something charming and ironic indeed about the ancient lacking its history.

Dun Aengus is on the largest of the Aran Islands off of the western coast of Ireland - Inishmoor. When I went, I stayed in a quaint and lovely hostel there, and a friend and I hiked the entirety of the island in one day (it's that small). The only poor showing of this part of my trip was that to get to Inishmoor, you have to take a ferry from Galway. Galway is quite lovely, but the ferry and I did not get along. You see, if you're me, apparently riding a small ferry over large waves to a tiny island leads inevitably to becoming overwhelmingly sea sick. But, even with that, it was so worth it for the moments of staring into the ocean over the rocky, craggy edge of those cliffs. And, I am remembering some music I had in my headphones while I was there... Clandestine (very sadly, a lovely band that is no longer together), their album The Haunting. Dunlavy's Castle is sticking out in my head. It felt kind of like that. Beautiful. Beauty full. Full.