May 31, 2017

I think there’s so much divisiveness between what country people belong to, what country people should stay in, and what country other people don’t want people to come in to that I just want to promote the idea of us living in one big city called the world. That sounds really dumb, but I do. How can I help people think a little bit differently, not in terms of borders? I feel borderless in a way.

Rick Owens when interviewed by Vogue

Congratulations Rick for achieving the highest honor in the fashion world, the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award! Please continue to design and enlighten our minds 🙂


May 30, 2017

The girl said “Yes” when I wasn’t ready. I kissed her lightly and got so dizzy I had to sit down.

-Antonio Banderas

For all you folks out there worried about their first spring kiss: you ain’t the only one who has had awkward moments. Besides, it’s much more fun to tell an awkward kissing story than a perfect one. xD

Argentina Bakery – Irving, TX

Every Memorial Day weekend, my family and I try take a mini road trip. We’ve done New Orleans once, Houston various times, and Fredericksburg once. This time around, the family and I went to Dallas. A family friend is in from California and my little sister’s best friend is staying with us before she goes back to Korea for the summer.

The first time when we went to Dallas, about 8 years ago, we coincidently found a bakery called Argentina Bakery. It had delicious pastries and a nice atmosphere. After that, we could never find it. Until now!

The place is just liked we remembered: cozy, small and the bright colors of the pastries popped against the dark wood.

My plate is the bottom one, a cannoli and an alfajore. First, a review on the alfajore. An alfajore was is an Argentine Oreo cookie. Two shortbread cookies are glued together with Majo Blano, a carmelized condensed milk. You can cover it with powdered sugar like a think blanket of snow, or roll the border with coconut. It wasn’t that great, which is unfortunate (Le sigh). The majo blanco is supposed to be soft and gooey goodness. This cookie’s majo blanco was stiff. The cookie could have used a few more minutes in the oven also. 2/5

My guess is the cookie was not fresh.  I took a bite of the cannoli which instea of cannoli cream, it was filled with majo blanco. The majo blanco in the cannoli was the soft warm gooey goodness that is loved by all pastry lovers. The shell gave a nice flakiness. The proportion to of shell to majo blanco was nice (no hollow air). The ends had dark chocolate which countered the sweetness of the majo blanco. 5/5

My sister and her friend got tiramisu mini cakes, which were the size of a CD and the height of my Anna Karenina book (on its face). I, sadly, couldn’t get a picture because they devoured it in a hot second. I did manage to sneak a spoonful. That was goooooooood stuff. If you are a coffee lover, you’re in luck. The tiramisu had a punch full of coffee. It was creamy and fluffy. They didn’t use lady fingers but cake and mousse. 4/5

Overall, it was pretty good and nice to finally find the place that we thought was lost so long ago.

Want to try it for yourself? Check out Argentina Bakery in IRL at 3401 Airport Fwy # 112, Irving, TX 75062 and online at

Curtis Ramstedt

Curtis Ramstedt, local ATX artist and founder of Esplosivoism, is at it again! For those of you who don’t know Ramstedt or Esplosivoism, you are in for a treat as the two go hand in hand. Esplosivoism, in my mind, is taking a pound of Salvador Dali with a couple gallons of modern psychedelic strokes, a pinch of political statements and a whole lot of bold style. For a concrete definition from the founder himself, please read:

“Esplosivoism I describe as [the] pragmatic marraige between the modern and the classical. I use modern techniques such as emphasis on shape and bright color. I do have the same birthday as Henri Matisse [December 31st], but I also use philosophy, symbolism and Renaissance-esque themes like classical art.”

Ramstedt is taking the ATX by storm, even been recently featured in Gorrie’s Perspective.

(For my ol’ Your Way With Words followers, you may know this man by a different name with a different art skill: Curtis Des Marias, the poet. Remember “I, Sisyphus”? How about that villanelle, “Pour Ma Jolie”?)


The quirky man with a crazy sense of fashion and art has revealed his latest painting, “Catholica Scientiam”, one of the biggest projects he has undertaken. I at first thought it was multiple canvases that he cut up and glued together but boy was I wayyyyyyyy off. It’s a build-able canvas that makes a statement between Catholicism and science.

The cover. (Courtesy of Curtis Ramstedt)

I feel like I’m in 1970s galactic disco with a bunch of floating grapes (this is why I’m the writer/math in the group and not the art curator hahaha).

The right inside flap. (Courtesy of Curtis Ramstedt)

I feel like I’m on the border of three different dimensional wormhole portals. The contrast between the left and the right is quite significant. I wonder if he meant to put the creative side on the left and the logical, black/white side on the right to match the personalities of left-handed and right-handed people. I asked him and he had this to say:

“[It’s a] relation between culture and economic systems and human rights and scientific progress.”

Yep, I’m off. But that’s the joy of art. You can interpret it any way you like.

The inside (Courtesy of Curtis Ramstedt)

When you open it, the relation is made much more clear. Though I still feel like I’m in a fancy palace with naked pregnant lady that is being observed by a bunch of scientists.


Curtis Ramstedt is an interesting guy. He’s come a long way from his start in 2013. He is inspired by things in his life and, according to Ramstedt, the random “thoughts [he has] at the day…[his] brain never shuts off.”

“Jazz Party” – Ramstedt

Fun little fact: the girl in the paining is moi. Yes, moi. Back in 2014, Ramstedt was looking for something to paint and I told him to paint a jazz party. That was one of the last conversations we had for almost two and a half years (aka my “disappearing act”, a story for another day), so I didn’t get to see the painting until we reconnected in March. A few weeks later, I bought the painting. Don’t go criticizing or judging on vanity. You’d do the same. 😉


Want to see his art in person? You can check it out at the Kasbah Moroccan Lounge in West Campus.

Like what you saw? Follow/Like Ramstedt on Facebook. Post about it on your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Make sure to use #ramstedt and #z&h when you share. 😀

Want to buy one of his pieces? Check out his website, Please note he also does custom paintings.

Curtis Ramstedt. Once he’s in your life, no matter how hard you try to disappear, you can’t seem to get rid of him. He adds color to life with a stroke of a paintbrush…and a corny joke or two :).


Friendships Age Too

Dear Alysha,

I am in my early 20s and you are SO RIGHT! I graduated a year before my friends. When we were all in college, it was pretty easy to navigate the lag times between classes to grab a coffee and have girl talk (or guy talk if you count the dudes). Then I get my first big-girl job and it’s the robotic tendency of the 8-5 life. No more 2 PM coffee breaks and even a single thought of sticking around downtown during rush hour makes me cringe. Now that we are all on the same playing field of finding/working in the big people’s world, things will be easier to manage. 😀 Love the post and love the truth you put into it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bug my friends about making a road trip xD


A new fan of your blog.

*****P.S. Alysha: you have a category called “Life as a Texan”. Where in the Lone Star State are you at?

Alysha Kaye

Everyone always talks about romantic relationships and how difficult they are–the compromising, the settling, how hard it is to be single, how hard it is to be married, blah blah blah.

No one ever really spends too much time gabbing about how difficult friendships can be. Friendships are supposed to be easy, right? Comfortable, lasting longer than any romantic relationship you’ve ever had. I guess that used to be true.

Somewhere around Real Adult Life (not Fake Adult Life), you realize how tough friendships can actually be. Hangouts no longer consist of last minute happy hours that turn into long, carb-filled dinners that turn into late-night pillow talk and accidental sleepovers. Hangouts now have to be planned weeks in advance. Alcohol and carbs are out because someone is on an insane diet. Late nights and accidental sleepovers are out because someone has to wake up early for work or get…

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Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints

It’s here! After months of patiently waiting, the list is finally here! Texas Monthly, the National Magazine of Texas, unveiled it’s “Top 50 BBQ Joints” today as part of the release of their June 2017 issue, aka The BBQ Issue. Theories have been swimming around Texas BBQ joints as well as around the office since forever. For those of you who are Franklin fanatics, you are in for a treat.

(Read the full article at

But wait. There’s more! Yes BBQ lovers and connoisseurs there is indeed more!

Local ATX favorite YETI partnered up with Texas Monthly to create the beautifully designed wormhole of everything Texas BBQ related: the YETI BBQ Passport. This includes short notes from Texas Monthly staff members, including BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn and everyone’s favorite Texan, the Texanist (aka David Courtney). There’s wonderfully created map and challenges brought to you by YETI to complete for your chance to win YETI prizes (coolers and mugs and hats oh my!). You can grab a passport by buying the June 2017 TM issue at your local bookstore or grocery store, visiting one of the Top 50 BBQ joints on the list, or, for any of you Austinites, at the YETI Flagship store in Austin.

(Don’t have access to a print copy of the mag or passport? Click here to get your own passport:

Also, don’t forget to check out the stories in this month’s issue. There’s an inspiring personal essay from John Nova Lomax about his son joining the US Army (“The Green Machines”), an interesting story on Dallas Police Chief Brown during the moments of the Dallas shooting (“The Empathy of David Brown” by Michael J. Mooney), and a story on a hippie Catholic Church in Southeast Austin. Yes, you read that right, hippie Catholic Church. I’m talking a priest who has a hubby, women being ordained and the awesome feeling of being truly all-inclusive (“Critical Mass” by Robyn Ross).

If you need me, I’ll be in my car driving all the way Lexington, Texas for some amazing ass BBQ (hint hint cough cough :D).

Share and comment below your experiences with these BBQ Joints and don’t forget to follow Texas Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

The Twelve Olympians in the Zodiac

Found this cool article on the Zodiac and the Olympic Gods. Each section is informative. I knew Scorpio was ruled by Ares/Mars, but didn’t know Artemis ruled Scorpios as well. Scorpios, where you at? 😀


“Pallas (Minerva) watches over the Woolbearer (Aries);
Cytherea (Venus) over Taurus;
Phoebus (Apollo) the shapely Gemini;
You, Cyllenius (Mercury), over Cancer;
and Jupiter, you yourself rule Leo with the Mother of the Gods;
Virgo who bears ears of grain belongs to Ceres;
and the forged scales to Vulcan;
quarrelsome Scorpio clings to Mars;
Diana cherishes the hunting man part horse (Sagittarius);
and Vesta the contracted stars of Capricorn;
opposite Jupiter is Aquarius, the star of Juno;
and Neptune acknowledges his own Pisces in the upper air.”

– Manilius

Given the fact that the western Zodiac is composed of twelve signs, and that it’s more recognisable form dates to the classical world, involving the Olympians in it is not surprising. However, there is surprisingly very little literature about the gods and the signs. I suspect that this is in part due to an assumption that the signs = planetary gods. Suffice…

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“Why astronomers are scrambling to observe the weirdest star in the galaxy this weekend” – The Verge

I read an article by Loren Grush on The Verge about a strange star, dubbed the “alien megastructure” star, whose light fluctuations is unpredictable and unexplainable. Astronomers have been watching around the clock to see what the weird star will do next. Wishing I had a telescope right now to observe the star too.

(Read the full article at

Slake Cafe – ATX

Working in Downtown Austin has many perks, including easy access to some pretty cool lunch spots. Yesterday, my coworker and I decided to venture the two blocks to Slake Cafe for lunch.

Before trying any place, it is always best to check their menu. Common sense I know, but just saying. When we found out they had delicious sounding tacos (brisket tacos anyone?), we had to try it (we’re going through a major BBQ phase and tacos are always a must).

Slake Cafe is a basement cafe as you had to walk some steps down to get to the counter. It’s decor is modern and colorful. They have a bakery case with baked goods including giant cookies, cupcakes and doughnuts. Their daily specials are displayed on the back wall. They serve Austin Roasting Coffee, FYI for anyone who is a fan. 

I was in the straight-up mindset of tacos. Then I saw the board. “Mac of the Day: Brisket Mac.” :O

The world caved in. The indecision and doubt flooded my mind. Do I go with the taco or the Mac? Decisions decisions. I asked the cashier for recommendations. I was stuck between the Pollo Boracho taco- a grilled chicken taco with corn slaw, melted Gouda, avocado and red pepper on a corn tortilla – and the Brisket Mac – mac’n’cheese with brisket, green onion, collars greens, tomato sauce and cheese. The cashier wasn’t much help as she had trouble deciding too. She mentioned the Mac came as a side so I made the ultimate decision: I got both.

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Let’s go with the bad news: the taco was not at all impressive. The chicken was bland. It was also hard and took wayyyy too long to chew. There was no cheese. It was a decent sized taco but it was not worth paying $5.95 plus tax. I can make a better taco at home for free. 4/10

Now the glorious news: Brisket Mac was the holy grail of mac’n’cheese. It’s fighting with lobster mac’n’cheese for my top Mac. The side was the perfect size for me because it filled me up. The pasta was cooked to perfection. The brisket was shredded but the flavor it provided made little cherubs sing “Ode to Joy” in my ears. The creaminess of the dish! Not a single dry spot. The side came with two mini loaves of bread and I dipped that stuff and ate it as if it were chips & salsa. My coworker had a bite and she said she was going to call Slake every day until they have that dish again. The only thing I would change about the dish is the size. I wish I got the bowl instead of the side. I was in a damn good happy food coma for the rest of the afternoon. 10/10

Agree? Disagree? Have any Slake recommendations? Comment below!

Slake is located at 120 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701, past the Intercontinental Hotel.

35 books that will change how you see the world | indy100

My friend John sent me this article from indy100 yesterday. I was surprised to know this was beyond books you would typically read in high school English class, listing works such as All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class by Tim Shipman and The 9/11 Commission Report.

I was glad to know some of the books on my 30 for 3 Book Challenge made this list (i.e. Le Petit Prince, Anna Karenina and 1984). Not for bragging rights or to boast how cultured I am. That’s just stupid. I just like knowing that people also share the same opinion about these wonderful works (I have received much support from various coworkers when they discovered my journey through the 700+ page beast that is Anna Karenina).

Thoughts on the list? Agree? Disagree? Read any of the books or report? Comment below!