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Chicago, Illinois
The Good
All of my favorite shows started their new seasons this week.  Yipeeee!!!

The Bad
Waking up in the middle of the night, after watching Criminal Minds while searching for Star Wars themed presents for the boyfriend, because I had a nightmare where a serial killer offed people who looked just like me and then put a Darth Vader mask on them.  Off to the kitchen I went for some water, where I smashed into the dish washer so hard (my sister left it completely open) that I flew over it and landed like a squashed frog, face down on the floor, water everywhere.  After laying there convinced I had broken my leg, I realized that it was not broken, but there was a definite chunk of leg missing.  I have this ultra seductive pirate walk going on right now.

The Ugly
 Last week, Ryan Gosling was at the University of Texas.  In my building.  At my school.  In my halls.  Perhaps even touching the same doors as me.  hyperventilating.  I was at school ALL DAY and somehow I missed this magical encounter.  I know that there are more important things going on in the world, but I really don't deserve to be called his stalker number one fan president of his fan club admirer if I am oblivious of his magical presence within a one mile radius.  Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and technology as a whole, you have failed me.  If you were not created to facilitate stalking, then I don't really know what your purpose in my life is.  We are no longer speaking.
Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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To the Batmobile!!

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Shirt:  Gifted
Pants:  Old Navy ($15)

Anyone that knows me closely knows that I am a giant geek.  HUGE.  

I was recently at a party where everyone was talking about the Dark Knight trilogy, and it was with great shame that I admitted I had not seen the last movie.  The response was such shock and shame that, had I known, I would done the laugh-and-smile-and-say-I-know-right maneuver, but I did not want the movie spoiled before I saw it.  I was told that maybe I shouldn't be wearing my batman shirt.  Nerds can be so cruel.

It wasn't for lack of trying, but either people had already seen the film or I was busy when they were going to see the movie.  Apparently I missed out on some large, pivotal moment in society.  I guess the only alternative is to download the movie illegally go and rent the movie like a good citizen.  Until then, I hate you guys, and I don't want to play with you anymore.  You know who you are.  Just kidding.  Call me.  I have cookies.
Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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On the topic of kitty doo doo

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I guess I could have chosen a lovelier title, but, honestly, I am too excited!!!  This weekend I stopped at a local thrift store and found the most amazing thing, but I am getting ahead of myself.  First things first.

My Persian cat is the sweetest creature on this side of the Mississippi.  I love her to bits, but I can't stand her cat litter (tracking, the smell, it's ugly...the smell), and letting her go outside is simply not an option.  She would be easily stolen, and she has zero survival instinct.

Because I hate the litter issue so much, I bought this gorgeous creature:
It has worked valiantly for over four years.  Sadly, it is starting to malfunction, and a lot of stinkiness has ensued.  Gross.

Additionally, in the new home that I am living in, the bathroom is teeny tiny, and it takes up way too much room.  I have decided to retire it to the attic for a bit.  Threatening its life always seems to reset it back to working mode anyway...do you hear me robot?!

In the meantime, I have been using pine pellets ($6 for about 50 lbs.), which are amazing.  I have tried two types, the kitty pellets sold at an escalated price at places like Petsmart and the pine pellets sold for horse bedding in feed stores.  Both have the same exact results, so I have continued to buy the humongous bags from a feed store. 

I clean the litter box frequently, and there is no smell.  THANK GOD!!!  ...but it still looks ugly....so, sooo ugly.

On my trip to the thrift store today to look for a new desk chair, I found this lovely litter box cover shoved under some tables and covered in boxes.

Litter Hider
I always though it was sleek and gorgeous, but, honestly, I was not in a hurry to spend close to $300 on a box.  I purchased mine for $15!!!  Now, I don't have to look at gross litter box every time I enter the bathroom.
Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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For the love of a foodie

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 This handsome and not-at-all-embarrassed gentleman is a foodie of the best kind.  He loves to cook great food and loves to try out all kinds of restaurants.  He is convinced I cannot cook because of one tragic and scarring rice incident that happened last year.  It was horrendous, so terrible that I am certain it is responsible for some serious food poisoning that happened afterward.  Because of this, he is usually the one that cooks when we are together, my favorite being his lemon butter shrimp.  I am salivating just remembering them.  

Stand back ladies.  He's taken.







Last weekend, he treated me to Korean barbeque on a lunch date.  We both had hot rice bowls that were incredibly delicious.  I was not fast enough with the camera.  Before I realized it, his pork bowl was already under attack.  I had a beef bowl with steamed brown rice, vegetables, and a runny egg on top.  I fully recommend these for anyone in the area.

Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Seeing stripes

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Dress:  French Connection ($15)
Shoes:  The Shoes Department ($20)


The best part of having a little sister is having someone that is almost exactly the same size as you...except prettier, more muscular, and more likely to survive the zombie apocalypse...Apparently there is a plan to sacrifice me to slow down the zombie attack for the sake of the survival of the rest of my family members.  I wasn't going to survive anyway, I hear.  You know, in case the world ends via zombie attack at the end of 2012.  Thank you guys.  I feel so safe.  And loved...but just in case zombies never come to life (clearly crazy talk) having her around essentially doubles my wardrobe.  I guess I'll keep her around even through that blatant betrayal...Besides, normal people are overrated.  I love that little weirdo.

Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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tgif

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Garner State Park
What a week...To say it was stressful is an understatement.  I had exams, but it was also one of those weeks where everything seems to go wrong.  Nothing went as planned.  I am shaking it off and starting fresh this morning.

Here's to a wonderful weekend everyone!!
Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Style Envy

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tgif

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Garner State Park
The Good
 -  I have met so many new and beautiful people this week.  Kind, happy, genuine people have a way of making me smile from the inside.  Especially when they send some of that kindness and happiness in my direction.
-  Teaching someone how to say the word kitchen.  Far more gratifying than it sounds.
-  Greek yogurt...HELLO DARLING!  Where have you been all my life!?
-  Odd compliments.  EXHIBIT A:  Oh yes.  I remember you because of your eyebrows.  EXHIBIT B (on the topic of job search):  You would make good money as a stripper.  
I am only 70% certain that these were compliments, but I will take them!  I live for this type of awkwardness.

The Bad
-  Being the weirdo on the bus with the twitchy face because I am trying really hard not to start laughing by myself when holding on to pieces of cloth dangling from the overhead bars because I am too short to hold onto the actual metal.  Every time the bus jolts and I clutch on tightly for dear life, I can't help but feel like a monkey, and in my head, go WEEEEEEE and want to burst into giggles.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  Age has clearly brought me grace and maturity.
-  Running to class and getting there exactly on time.  You are mentally fist pumping when you discover you've confused the dates, and you are in the wrong building. 

The Ugly
 -  Oy Vey.  My name is Linda, and I am an accident waiting to happen.  Near you.  You sitting there four seats away, YOU ARE NOT SAFE!!  After boarding the Metro bus successfully for two weeks, IT happened.  I always put my purse behind me on the seat of the bus to make sure that when the reckless hurried bus driver (not all of them, just one that I can identify) jolts the bus around like a mad man, it won't rip my arm off or go rolling down the seats.  Well, Bus Driver started moving the bus before I sat down.  I hurried to sit down and started to put my purse behind me when the bus driver slams on his breaks (thank you person who ran the red light and almost ended us all).  I flew across the seats onto the gentleman sitting four seats away, flashing my panties to all that could see.  I was wearing a very prim and proper dress, very appropriate for my Paris Hilton moment.  Thankfully he managed to stop me by holding onto my left chesticle.  If only the earth could have opened up and swallowed me whole....
Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Keep It Simple

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 Top:  Steve Madden via T.J. Maxx
Bottom:  Gap
Shoes:  Steve Madden

Some days it's just better to adhere to the K.I.S.S. rule, don't you agree?  I spent most of the day in school, making phone calls and going to classes, and my mind was just not on the aesthetic.

Guess what?  The work force does not seem to be ready for me.  As in they won't have me.  That's cool.  I didn't want to get paid anyway (extreme sarcasm)...I will volunteer if I have to!!!  ...and that is exactly what I will be doing at two different locations.  I will be working with bilingual autistic children at one site and with stroke survivors at another starting tomorrow.  I am verrrry excited, not about being rejected by about a hundred jobs that I was "overqualified but inexperienced" for.  No.  That still stings a bit, but at least I will get to be doing something that I love...and beg at the streets at night for food.

Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Pork Potstickers

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Graduate school musings

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Top:  Old Navy 
Shorts:  T.J. Maxx
Shoes:  Vans-  DSW

It's that time of the year!!!!  It is time to decide on graduate schools...TUN TUN TUNNN.  When I first moved to Austin, my heart was basically set on its graduate school but recent events have me confused.  I am basically torn between Houston, Austin, and San Marcos.  I guess at this point, I just have to roll the dice and see where I stand.  THEN I can worry about where I will be going once I know who will actually take me.

Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Frills

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Grr....Flash, why you no cooperate?!
 Dress:  Old Navy ($5)
Shoes:  Sam Edelman- Thrifted ($5)

I wore this dress today around campus.  I had been wearing jeans all week like a sucker, hoping not to stick out by overdressing, but you know what?  I don't care.  I am twenty-five, and I will do what I want. *stamp food like a grown up*  Just kidding.

I actually wanted to take the time to let some of you guys in on some little secrets...well, national, not very advertised secrets.  Every once in a while, old navy has 50% off clearance items, so you can get items for dollars.  Obviously these aren't heirloom pieces but who doesn't need a basic t-shirt for $3 or an equally priced sweater?

In other news, anybody tune in for the Democratic National Convention today? ....don't lie.  You know you were watching the MTV Awards...

Have a wonderful Friday everyone!


Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Creepers....

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On my last trip to the Round Rock outlets, I was convinced I was not going to purchase anything.  Clearly I have no will power because I found me some shoes...in Naturalizer.  Now, normally I don't think that any college student goes to the outlet and runs to Naturalizer, but I think that this is exactly why a lot of the younger-looking shoes were extremely marked down.  There were GORGEOUS pumps for $11!!  Made of leather, people!!!  I have a poor single-digit dwindling bank account, so I was forced to be rational and get the comfortable flat shoe that I could use to walk around to my heart's content, which was definitely the right way to go, but I wish I could have taken them home with me and given them a loving, nurturing place to call their own....If any of you are stopping by, you should definitely take a look.






Top:  Old Navy (old)
Pants:  Express (old, $15)
Belt:  J. Crew (thrifted, $2)
Shoes:  Naturalizer ($17)

In other news, everyone that goes to UT knows how difficult it is to find parking... and how expensive it can be!!  Today, I found the holy grail of parking....FREE.  PARKING.  Not just free, but right to the door step of the Communications building.  In other words, I found Parking Nirvana, courtesy of the Metro bus, which is clean and air conditioned in case anyone was wondering.

It was while I was waiting for the bus that the incident happened.  I was sitting there, minding my own business, wondering if by the time the bus got there I would have melted into dust, when I realized some man had just stopped his vehicle in the middle of the congested street and was taking pictures of me, who was standing alone at the bus stop.  Let me just be clear, there was no turning lane.  He just parked his vehicle in the middle of ongoing traffic and pulled out his camera.  

This is not the story of how I got discovered into some model agency.  Puhleassseee, my nickname to some people is "pigmy" or "forehead", and I hold no delusions of being the prettiest girl in any room.  This is the story of the creeper who freaked me out completely for no good reason.  Call me paranoid, but I saw Silence of the Lambs.  If anyone is going to wear my skin, I will not be going quietly.  I don't know what his intentions were, but I was doing mental stretches to prepare for what I believed be a run for survival, while screaming my head off, into the Walgreens, when the bus pulled up.  I saw his car drive away, from the safety of the bus window.

I think I will be finding a different, more populated bus stop from now on....


Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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Red Velvet Cheesecake

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I hope everyone is having a lovely Labor day weekend!!

On Saturday, my sister asked me if I could make her a cake that she could take to school and share with her coworkers, so I decided to make my personal favorite red velvet cheesecake.  It has one layer of cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of red velvet cake covered in cheese cake frosting.  YUUMMMMMM!

Be warned that if you do not make sure to lock your electric mixer, it could just pop open and spray the whole kitchen with cheesecake frosting.  Instead of running for the mop, I ran for my camera and got back to this.


It doesn't make me a bad pet owner does it?  Nevermind.  Do not answer that.

Oh and if you look closely, you can see frosting on my poor Maya's face. 



I was also covered in frosting.  In fact, there was so much in my hair that I looked a little like this:


Without further ado, here's the cake:






Sorry guys, I did not take a picture of the sliced cake.  It is all gone now, so there's no going back.  You are just going to have to take my word for it.  It is amazing!!

For the Cheesecake:
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1¼ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and then tightly wrap the outside with heavy duty foil. (I find that double-wrapping helps prevent leaks in a water bath.) Put a pot of water (or a tea kettle) on to boil.  Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and beat until completely incorporated.  Pour the batter into the springform pan; place the springform pan into a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until the water comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.  Bake until the cheesecake edges are set but the middle still jiggles a bit, about 45 to 55 minutes. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour. At this point, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place the springform pan on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator until well-chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the Cake:
3 1/3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Creamy Vanilla Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.  In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.  In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overheat.  In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.  Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.


Level the tops of the red velvet cake layers with a serrated knife or cake leveler so that the tops are level and not domed. Place one layer of the red velvet cake on your serving plate. Spread a very thin layer of the cream cheese frosting over it. Top that with the cheesecake, and again top with a very thin layer of frosting. Add the second red velvet layer.  Using the remaining frosting, cover the cake in frosting and decorate as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and refrigerate any leftovers.





Posted by : Linda Jauregui
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