Always Aubrey: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween... #Gangnam Style

I love a little Halloween fun... so this year I dressed as Korean rap YouTube sensation Psy!  Gangnam Style...



And I voted, too!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Liebster Blog Award @carolinesday


My friend Caroline nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award!  While I don't have 11 other blogs to nominate, I wanted to go ahead and post some facts and answer Caroline's questions.

11 Facts About Aubrey
1.  I was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, home of Jay & Silent Bob's Secret Stash.
2.  I have lived on three different continents... North America, Asia, and Europe.
3.  I am half Korean.
4.  Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are pretty much my favorite singers.
5.  I have a shopping problem, but mostly surrounding deals at Forever 21 and Target.
6.  I could eat at Moe's/Chipotle or Panera every single day.  And sometimes I eat there a few days in a row.
7.  I spent 5 years Active Duty in the Army, and went to a military college!
8.  I secretly enjoy reading Young Adult fantasy... with a skew toward paranormal romance like Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.
9.  I want to wear costumes.  I am this.close to becoming a cosplay person because I just want to dress like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey or Joan from Mad Men, every day.
10.  I am terrible at riding bikes.  And bowling.
11.  I don't like fireworks.  They are loud, and boring after a few minutes.

Caroline's 11 Questions

1. Who is your celebrity fashion icon?  Kate Middleton, hands down.  I love sleeves, knee-length dresses, and practical wedges and boots.
2.  If you could only eat one specific meal for the next 5 years, what would it be?  Since it's a "meal", I am assuming courses.
3.  Leggings: Still in or back out??  Still in.  I mostly rock these to airports with boots, but I also wear leggings to make shorter summer dresses transition to fall and stay appropriate for work.
4.  Where did you grow up, and what is your favorite thing about your hometown?  Bloomington, Indiana... I love the quirky people.  It's a young and diverse town due to the university influence, and the culture (food, arts, and more) is unparalleled for a Midwestern town.
5.  What is the top item on your Christmas/Hanukkah wish list?  New sheets for my bed, with a high thread count!  I really have everything I want/need, so I have started to ask for very practical holiday/birthday gifts... for one birthday I got an awesome Rowenta stainless steel iron!
6.  Favorite classic read?  Pride & Prejudice.  It is cliche, but I legitimately love it and am not a poser.  I re-read it all the time and it still makes me giddy.
7.  Favorite trashy mag?  People.  It is the most respectable of the trashy mags, and I trust it more for accuracy than I would In Touch or Star.
8.  What random food does your family eat during the holidays that isn't "traditional" holiday fare?  Hmm... my aunt makes a fantastic Red Velvet Cake that we pretty much have at every celebration year-round.  It's not a traditional dessert in the seasons of pumpkin pie and whatnot, but it's my favorite and very festive where it's July or December.
9.  Why did you start blogging and blogging advice?  I've been blogging on and off since high school, in various incarnations.  I love to write almost as much as I love to talk, and this allows me to virtually shout my opinions at the world.  My advice to bloggers is just to be honest.  And if you want to be a financially successful blogger with sponsors and a large following, FOCUS and provide quality content.  You need to fit into a subject niche, and you need beautiful photos and a simple blog layout.  Unless you're like me, and you just don't care about getting a book deal and whatnot... then keep shouting at the world. :)
10.  What is your least favorite Halloween candy?  Twizzlers.  I can't stand licorice at all.
11.  Strangest nickname given to you by someone?  This one was tough... I guess I'd have to say "Frau".  In middle school, my basketball nickname was "Flash" because I was very quick down the court, and my friends' nicknames were "Skittles" and "Mayo".  We evolved them into Fraulein Flash, Senorita Skittles, and Mademoiselle Mayo, and for a while they shortened my name to "Frau".

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eating #Chicago

Yum... I'll regret that later.
Apparently, I don't buy groceries anymore, because I'm always on-the-go!  Work took me to Chicago twice in two weeks, but I wasn't complaining.  I mean, I got to shop at Zara and H&M!  But being the foodie I am, my inner fat kid was in paradise in Chi-town.

For one of the trips, I stayed at the swank W Lakeshore, which was conveniently located to our work functions at Navy Pier.  We definitely had some great wine and cocktails at the hotel bar, and I treated myself to a dessert martini that was the perfect nightcap.  Two other great drink/appetizer spots we hit were The Hubbard Inn (super loud but great for people-watching and match-making with the upwardly mobile) and at the top of the Hancock building at Signature Room at the 95th.  (I drank a Skyscraper; it seemed appropriate.)

View from the Signature Room
I ate a couple of times at Navy Pier, including Harry Caray's Tavern (American pub food) and America's Dog.  The hot dog I had included bacon and macaroni & cheese.  Doesn't that just scream AMERICA!  (And obesity... which is the same thing, right?)

I had fantastic steak dinners on both trips.  We had a feast at Chicago landmark Tavern on Rush, and I loved the dessert at Nick's Fishmarket.  Both had delicious filet mignon, which I ate at the perfect medium pink.  Nick's also served me a creme brulee trio... totally after my francophile heart.

But perhaps one of the best dinners we had was a private tour we scheduled... a Chicago Dine-Around progressive dinner!  We boarded our bus (with engaging tourguide) and explored Chicago at night, plus some fun trivia.  We had Mediterranean appetizers at Reza's, chicken parmigiana and penne pomodoro at Scoozi, and Asian fusion desserts (mochi!) at Ai.  Everyone had a blast, and switching restaurants encouraged people to sit by different folks each time, so we got to know each other a little bit better as we interacted.

Mediterranean at Reza's

Dessert at Ai... mochi!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rodeo

Back in September, I went home to catch a rodeo with my parents... Here are a few favorite pics!  I like to watch the barrel racing best, but bucking broncos and bulls are exciting too. :)




Sunday, October 14, 2012

Arkansas... Crystal Bridges and Fried Chicken

Walmart Visitors Center
I travel pretty regularly to Arkansas for work.  Yes, Arkansas.  And you know what?  It's actually a pretty great place.  Northwest Arkansas, while kind of tough to fly into, is full of brilliant people, good food, and some interesting sights.

During my last couple of visits, I've visited a few noteworthy spots.  The Walmart Visitors Center, in downtown Bentonville, is free admission and pretty fascinating.  You can see Sam Walton's office, displayed exactly as it was the day of his death.  You can see his old Ford truck, which reminded me of my grandfather.  You can see his wife's wedding dress too, and learn about the history of the company. For an organization that has only been around for 50 years, it's hard to believe how big it has become, and how humble the beginning was!

Also in downtown Bentonville is Table Mesa.  I love this modern latin cuisine!  There's fusion like Korean BBQ tacos, or a burger with chorizo and a fried egg, which is what I chose.  Yum.

Crystal Bridges

More recently, I visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  The Walton family built this incredible, world-class museum honoring American artists, and it's exquisite.  Seriously.  I've been to museums all over the globe, and I want to come back to this one.  I ate lunch in their cafeteria and had time only to explore the contemporary exhibit, but everything from the architecture to the setting (tons of nature trails!) seems to transport you from the Arkansas countryside into another world.  Oh, and admission is FREE thanks to the Waltons!

Crystal Bridges - Contemporary Art
One last spot worth mentioning in Arkansas is the Monte Ne Inn.  A few of the folks I work with are fried chicken aficionados, so we headed out to this hidden gem.  You guys, this is a pretty awesome place.  I was embarrassingly overdressed in a dress and heels, but I dove headfirst into their all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of chicken, potatoes, corn, bread with apple butter, and homemade cobbler and cake.  Yowza.  It's delicious food in the middle of nowhere, and totally worth exploring.  Home cooked goodness!  Don't miss it!

Can't wait to share more Arkansas foodie and fun adventures with you in the future!


Monte NE Inn Chicken Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 12, 2012

Iowa!

Antique Archaeology
Duke and I drove up to Iowa to celebrate the wedding day of two wonderful people, HD and KH!!!

We stayed at the posh Hotel Blackhawk, which was conveniently walking distance to all of the festivities.  Our first night, we grabbed dinner with friend CP/HP at Front Street Brewery.  Their sugary sweet potato fries tasted like funnel cake... delish.  Then we met up with the bride & groom (and more friends) at Barrel House 211 for drinks and a bit of college nostalgia.

The next day, Duke and I indulged in a little Chipotle (and spotted the ladies of the bridal party doing the same!) and headed out to see the American Pickers' original shop, Antique Archaeology in LeClaire.  It was very small, but had quite a few tourists milling about.

Then it was wedding time!  The lovely ceremony and reception were in one place, the River Music Experience.  Everything was so personalized to the bride and groom, so you know that everything had their unique touch.  It was so good to see my college friends after over five long years, but we talked like nothing had changed at all!  I loved having a chance to reminisce.  We even had a bit of an after-party together at Blackhawk Bowl & Martini Lounge, in the basement of the hotel.

I am privileged to have such phenomenal friends.  For real.  These people kick butt at life.  And they are MINE.  :)  Oh, and KD and HD made me an honorary "groomsman" of sorts by adding me to the wedding party photos.  I was totally OMG-over-the-moon.

http://www.wizofozphotography.com

I had a blast this weekend, and loved introducing Duke to my friends... but that long car ride back home was brutal, and I was relieved to be back in my own bed!

Me & Duke

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New TV Review: @Nashville_ABC

ABC
Since I live in the Nashville area, a few people have asked what I think about the new show, "Nashville", premiering on ABC tonight.  My opinion?  I LOVE IT.

I actually already watched the pilot, because the luxury of Hulu Plus (a steal at $8 a month for being my version of DVR) allowed me to watch it well in advance!  The verdict?  I love it.  Sure, it's basically the plot of Country Strong in terms of the old classic being shoved out by the new hot thing, but the acting is great.  I loved Connie Britton in American Horror Story, and I'm a fan of Hayden Panettiere from Heroes and Bring It On: All or Nothing.  But overall, I really love the entire cast of characters, the soapy drama, and the MUSIC.

Nashville has the legs to stand on that Smash doesn't.  It's great storytelling, which is why I love country music after all.  I also like that they film on location and reference real places in Nashville (Bluebird, Capitol Grille, etc.) and that the actors have to sing.  I hate when actors dub singing.

Premise (via Wikipedia):  The series stars Connie Britton as Rayna James, a legendary country music superstar, whose stardom begins fading. Her producers offer her a joint tour with the up-and-comer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), the young and sexy future of country music. But both singers are pursuing their goals. Juliette wants to take the place of Rayna. Rayna thinks that a few songs written by talented author Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen) will help to revive her success. Rayna's father is Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe), a powerful politician in Nashville, who forced her to marry Teddy Conrad (Eric Close), who lives on her money.

WATCH IT TONIGHT!  I think it's the best new drama on TV this fall.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Random Internet Purchases

Sometimes I buy random things online.  Here are two such items:

Merry Pet Washroom:  I love my cat.  But the litterbox is an eyesore.  There just isn't a good place to put that thing, you know?  I saw something like this in Skymall once, and decided that if I could get it for the right price (about $60 once I shopped around), it might be good for my apartment.


I found this "washroom" for Cally to be easy to put together and WAY better in looks than the old litterbox.  It looks like furniture right?  Two thumbs up... I recommend a litterbox with high walls to place inside, to keep it from getting too messy in there.

Autochron Automatic Wall Switch Timer:  My apartment doesn't have a security system, and so I like to make it look like I'm in my apartment even when I'm not.  So I bought a pair of Autochron timers on Amazon to install for my porch light and living room light.

LOVE IT.  It goes over the switchplate (i.e. no wiring) and is powered by battery.  The mechanism that flips the switch is a bit loud, but I love the programmable switch for when I'm traveling.  It's way better than a lamp timer, because this switch uses lights that people would assume you can only turn on from inside the apartment.  I don't know why, but this definitely makes me feel a bit safer!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Movie Review: #Looper

I have a thing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  First it was (500) Days of Summer.  Then Inception, 50/50, and The Dark Knight Rises.

So when I saw on Twitter that he had a new movie coming out, with Bruce Willis, time travel, and lots of action, I dragged Duke out for a cinematic adventure.

That movie was Looper.

OMG.  Loved it!  I don't know why, but my brain was totally Inception-y. I don't want to ruin the plot, you have to check it out for yourself.

P.S.  Why are there so many movies and TV shows coming out that show our future as a weird, grungy post-apocalyptic wasteland?

P.P.S.  I want to dress my boyfriend in a tie and vest because Joe is so adorbz.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gleek Peek: Breakup

source
Okay, so I forgive Glee for the crap it was last week...  because THIS. EPISODE. WAS. GLEE.

I mean, I was so emotional watching this thing... it was so real and refreshing!  The music was awesome!  The storyline was poignant and raw!  It all worked!

Look, it's called Breakup.  But I can't spoil it for you, just know that there are couples on the show that don't make it to the end.

Songs I'll Download:  "Give Your Heart a Break", "Teenage Dream",  "Don't Speak", "Mine", "The Scientist" #Glee

I just have to leave you with this video... this depicts everything that it was.




P.S.  I stopped watching Project Runway.  It isn't on Hulu and that is basically all I watch.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sarah Polk & the DAR

I've been working on my application to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the local chapter has welcomed me with open arms!  Recently, they invited me to visit the James K. Polk Ancestral Home to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit about First Lady Sarah Polk at the nearby Polk Presidential Hall.

It was a great event in the courtyard, with the First Lady of Tennessee (Crissy Haslam) giving the keynote.  I met up with KD and SM, two ladies I'd met at a previous meeting, and really enjoyed the evening.  There were some great folks, and I loved the house and exhibits.  We got to explore as much as we wanted, and it was great!  I love history and historic homes.

It's definitely worthwhile to stop in Columbia if you're ever on a historic site tour in Tennessee.  That plus the other nearby sites in Murfreesboro and Franklin are perfect if you have the history bug!



Friday, October 5, 2012

Movie Review: #PitchPerfect


Um, of course I went to see Pitch Perfect tonight!

Pitch Perfect =

  • a ripoff of the predictable plot of Bring It On
  • the a cappella goodness of The Sing Off
  • occasional raunchy girl comedy a la Bridesmaids
  • the awesome mixup music magic of Glee


All in all, an okay movie with tons of crap I LOVE!  Can't wait to get the soundtrack.

I also loved the cast.  Anna Camp (I pretty much love every little role she gets), Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, and Rebel Wilson (she brings the LOLZ) were great, and Skylar Astin (Spring Awakening alum, hello!) has grown into a total hottie.  You gotta check it out!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gleek Peek: Vogue and such...

FOX
This episode was mostly centered around Blaine and Kurt, in their new respective locales.  The storyline was highly unbelievable, and the music a bit unexciting for me.  There was a Sarah Jessica Parker appearance as the ridiculously nice boss of Kurt at Vogue.  I thought Conde Nast was cutthroat?  Maybe they've remade their image since interns started demanding money for their pain and suffering?

Blah.

Only good part?  The cliffhanger at the end.  And even though I'm so over Finchel, I want to see what happens.

Songs I'll Download:  The Way You Look Tonight/You're Never Fully Dressed

P.S.  Did you know Sarah Jessica Parker was the original Annie on Broadway?
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