Category Archives: Things I Love

Labor Day Brewskies

This weekend was full of adventure for Aaron and I. He was pretty much my assistant while I covered the Sun City Music Festival for Visit El Paso, we also had a little cookout and made a batch of beer. If you haven’t been reading my blog for very long, Aaron is my long-time boyfriend and a lot of what happens in my life is very intertwined with his.

While he was attending his last semester at NMSU, Aaron took a brewing class that changed his outlook on life and fostered a deep love for brewing. He’s made several batches since then but just transitioned into grain brewing recently. He’s starting with an IPA.

This is the first time that I have played an active part in the brewing process – and it was definitely interesting! A lot of steps are involved, lots of different equipment is used and the recipes are surprisingly simple, in my own opinion.

Aaron and I have been talking a lot about opening a brewery in the future, since beer making has become a major passion of his. My role would be more of an administrative / marketing position in the grand scheme of things, not really so much of the production, although I may participate in that from time to time. Together, we’re planning on picking a location, the construction or renovation and then a menu. Our model would follow something along the lines of High Desert Brewery in Las Cruces, NM.

I’m excited about this venture! There are a lot of elements to consider and this is certainly in it’s planning stages but it’s definitely something we’re planning on doing. For now, we’re just going to stay low on the radar until we have a physical location, a signature brew and a definitive brand identity under our belt!

In 1986, the World Was a Different Place

Today, I saw a post from my friend Diluted Thought, that begged for a click.

Miguel

I went to the website and went on an instant nostalgia trip. What surprised me is not only how long it went, but how well written and engaging it was.

I was born on August 27th, 1986 and below is what the site enlightened me with. You can find out too, by going to: http://whathappenedinmybirthyear.com/

In 1986, the world was a different place.

There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. Or Stumbleupon, for that matter.

In 1986, the year of your birth, the top selling movie was Top Gun. People buying the popcorn in the cinema lobby had glazing eyes when looking at the poster.

Remember, that was before there were DVDs. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.

Do you know who won the Oscars that year? The academy award for the best movie went to Platoon. The Oscar for best foreign movie that year went to The Assault. The top actor was Paul Newman for his role as Fast Eddie Felson in The Color of Money. The top actress was Marlee Matlin for her role as Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God. The best director? Oliver Stone for Platoon.

In the year 1986, the time when you arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was It by Stephen King. Oh, that’s many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it? Look at the cover!

In 1986… Spain and Portugal enter the European Community, which later becomes the European Union. The Province of Flevoland is established in the Netherlands. The United Kingdom and France announce plans to construct the Channel Tunnel. The first PC virus, Brain, starts to spread. The first federal Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., is observed. The Voyager 2 space probe makes its first encounter with Uranus. The Today national tabloid newspaper is launched in the United Kingdom, pioneering the use of computer photosetting and full-colour offset printing, at a time when British national newspapers still use Linotype machines and letterpress. A treaty ends the Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. American college basketball player Len Bias suffers a fatal cardiac arrhythmia from a cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after being selected 2nd overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA Draft. Greg LeMond wins the Tour de France. The cargo ship Khian Sea departs from the docks of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, carrying 14,000 tons of toxic waste. It wanders the seas for the next 16 months trying to find a place to dump its cargo. Average per capita income in Japan exceeds that in the USA. Australian singer John Farnham releases the album Whispering Jack, which becomes the highest selling album in Australia’s history. The video game of the day was Arkanoid.

That was the world you were born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.

The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to Wole Soyinka. The Nobel Peace prize went to Elie Wiesel. The Nobel prize for physics went to Ernst Ruska from West Germany for his fundamental work in electron optics, and for the design of the first electron microscope. The sensation this created was big. But it didn’t stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which you would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which you also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn’t it?

The 1980s were indeed a special decade. The Soviet-Afghan war goes on. Eastern Europe sees the collapse of communism. Policies like Perestroika and Glasnost in the Soviet Union lead to a wave of reforms. Protests are crushed down on Tiananmen Square in China. Ethiopa witnesses widespread famine. Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown. The AIDS pandemic begins. The role of women in the workplace increased greatly. MTV is launched in the US. There is opposition against Apartheid in South Africa as well as worldwide. Heavy Metal and Hard Rock bands are extremely popular. The rise of Techno music begins. Originally primarily played on campus radio stations, College Rock enters the scene with bands like the Pixies, REM and Sonic Youth. The Hip Hop scene continues to evolve. Teletext is introduced. Gay rights become more widely accepted in the world. Opposition to nuclear power plants grows. The A-Team and Seinfeld are popular on TV. US basketball player Michael Jordan bursts on the scene. Super Mario Bros, Zelda’s Link, and Pac-Man gain fame in video games. People wear leggings, shoulder pads and Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Do you know what was on the cover of Life that year?

Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Pearl Harbor. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Fallin’ by Alicia Keys. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember?

In 1986, 15 years earlier, a long time ago, the year when you were born, the song Rock Me Amadeus by Falco topped the US charts. Do you know the lyrics? Do you know the tune? Sing along.

Amadeus Amadeus, Amadeus
Amadeus Amadeus, Amadeus
Amadeus Amadeus, oh oh oh Amadeus
Er war Superstar
Er war populär
Er war so exaltiert
Because er hatte Flair
Er war ein Virtuose
War ein Rockidol
Und alles rief:
Come on and rock me Amadeus

There’s a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn’t care about time. It doesn’t know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. You were once that kid.

When you were 9, the movie The City of Lost Children was playing. When you were 8, there was The Next Karate Kid. When you were 7, there was a Disney movie out called The Lion King. Does this ring a bell?

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… it’s 1986. There’s TV noise coming from the second floor. Someone turned up the volume way too high. The sun is burning from above. These were different times. The show playing on TV is The Real Ghostbusters. The sun goes down. Someone switches channels. There’s The Hogan Family on now. That’s the world you were born in.

Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1986.

No no no, 1986 there’s Roos on my feet
I’m riding in the back seat
Staring at the back of my momma’s head
I’m daydreaming my day away

That’s from the song 1986 by Discover America.

In 1986, a new character entered the world of comic books: The Tick. Bang! Boom! But that’s just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1986, Amanda Bynes was born. And Lindsay Lohan. Charlotte Church, too.

And you, of course.

Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.

It’s 2013.

The world is a different place.

What path have you taken?

The Story of How We Met

Herein follows a sappy post. If that’s not your thing, stop and head over to Imgur right now. Now.

Still here? Alright…this is a ‘special edition’ of ‘Weekend In The Life’…read on.

In June 2012, I went to an ongoing, monthly party in Downtown El Paso called ‘La Parada – First Fridays‘. I hadn’t been in a relationship in years and I was enjoying the success that my freelance writing was bringing me. Every time I went to ‘La Parada’, I met new friends, enjoyed new music and the atmosphere was something that I looked forward to every month.

That particular month though, a creepy, drunk, older man was following me around. He kept on flirting with me and I continued to politely turn him down until all I felt that all I was doing the entire night was avoiding him – I couldn’t focus on having fun.

Suddenly, I saw a brawny, Hispanic guy pulling that creepy older guy up. As the brawny guy passes by, I tugged on his shirt and told him ‘Hey your friend is really drunk. He’s been bugging me all night.’ He apologizes and offers to get me a beer so I follow him inside, accept the beer and start chatting it up.

We ended up dancing swing for the rest of the night. As we were talking, I learned that his name was Aaron and that was going to leave to Spain the very next day for 30 days as a part of a study abroad program that he was a part of through NMSU. I didn’t think that I would see him again but I enjoyed our evening together and I left him with my contact card.

Normally, the muscular guy isn’t my type. Previously to Aaron, I had assumed that all beefy guys were jerks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He’s a hard working guy, just graduated with three degrees, puts family first and can build just about anything he sees.

I love him because he accepts me more than anyone else has ever accepted me in my entire life. He has no preconceived notions of who I am and doesn’t see me as a stepping stone. I can tell him anything and be silly around him. I can cry and know he’s the best person to comfort me. Best of all, we’re both explorers of life: we love trying new foods, seeing new places and planning weekend excursions together.

I wrote this post because I’ve really never discussed my relationship before and this is, after all, my personal blog. It’s something nice for us to look back on and remember the early days & years of our relationship.

Our anniversary, July 6th, went great! He bought me a dozen roses, hand made me a coffee table humidor, inlaid with some of our favorite memories together this past year and made an awesome valet for me.

We went to La Parada as an homage to having met at the party a year ago and caught a live performance from The Lusitania, a local El Paso band. He took me to eat at his favorite spot, El Rincon de Cortez, which just as quickly became my favorite for authentic Mexican food.

My gift to him was that I bought him an introductory flight course at Francis Aviation soon to be Blue Horizon Aviation and hand drew him an Aries art piece. I’ll be posting about the art piece soon!

aaron

Great memories made this past year & weekend! Looking forward to what the future brings…

A Weekend In The Life… [4]

What I do in my day to day life is a reflection of a simple philosophy of being grateful for life and enjoying my surroundings – wherever they may be – to the fullest capacity. This weekend was no different and I enjoyed it with the peanut butter to my jelly – my beau, Aaron.

Friday night started out with a long bike ride for Critical Mass. The ride started in San Jacinto Plaza and went around Bassett Place, Western Refinery and back to Downtown El Paso.

Critical Mass RideThe next morning, we went to the Ardovinos Desert Crossing Farmers Market, a long-time favorite of mine. The market takes place every Saturday from 7:30 AM till noon and there really is so much to take in – the venue is GORGEOUS, the vendors have amazing crafts & food to sell and they offer some exquisitely delicious organic coffee served fresh from their 1969 Coffeestream trailer!

After the Farmer’s Market, we took a drive to shop for a new truck for me. Summer is here and I’d really love for my son to spend the summer here, but in order to do that, I need a vehicle. I found something I might be able to buy by the end of the month, if it’s still available by then…fingers crossed!

Going along with the theme of ogling at vehicles, we dropped by Hudson’s Grill on the Eastside and checked out a classic car show! Temperatures in El Paso are climbing steadily, so we went inside for a few malts.

After this, we went to Cinemark: Tinseltown and watched the new Star Trek movie which was bloody good…definitely recommended! Came home and treated my darling to a pot roast I had cooking in the slow cooker all day. I used THIS Coca-Cola recipe and it turned out AMAZING!

The next day, we headed to the Fox Plaza Flea Market & I bought myself some turquoise & onyx earrings and a really cool black leather belt from Mexico. Aaron needed to clean up the rest of his old apartment in Las Cruces, NM so we took a drive up there after the flea market.

If you live in the region, you HAVE to try out High Desert Brewing Company in Las Cruces! The atmosphere is really chill, the food is great & all the beers they sell are brews that they make! I had a few Hefeweizens & a Brown Ale while Aaron had a few Black IPA’s.

Ended the Sunday evening with a drive up to Scenic Drive in El Paso, a spot known for it’s spectacular views of El Paso & Juarez, Mexico. We chatted about the weekend, plans for the week and tried to spot my apartment.

El Paso Scenic Drive How was your weekend? You can follow me on Twitter @CrystiCouture to keep up with my own adventures or better yet, follow the El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau social media to get nearly UNLIMITED ideas for Real Adventure!

Till next time, readers!

A Weekend In The Life… [3]

The weekends lend themselves to be excellent canvases for El Paso excursions and as usual, this past weekend was a whirlwind of awesomeness. It’s been a while since I’ve shown you a glimpse of a typical weekend for me through a blog series I like to call “A Weekend In The Life…” so I thought I’d kick things into gear again with a fresh post!

Friday

IMG_2590

♥ I took my other half to a new(ish) restaurant in the Union Plaza called Cafe Italia. I had “The Fernando” which is a sandwich filled with goat cheese, prosciutto and other noms along with a glass of Bombshell Blonde Ale – a personal favorite. Unfortunately, the price was a little ghastly – I ended up spending $55 on what was supposed to be a simple lunch for two. It was absolutely delicious, though!

♥ The late afternoon was spent working at Alfresco Friday’s. If you aren’t local or aren’t familiar with Alfresco Friday’s, it’s a really cool, free concert series put on by the El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau, my awesome employer. I took some pictures that night, handed out gifts to the first 50 bicyclists and headed home.

IMG_2609♥ After this, my beau, his mom, brother & I took a little scenic drive to Canutillo, TX & enjoyed “The Best Exotic Hotel Marigold” on a projector screen at Zin Valle Vineyards. I bought dinner – a plate filled with assorted Indian cuisines – and puchased two bottles of Sangue di Guida wine.

Saturday

IMG_2611♥ This was a special day for all of us! The beau’s family and I helped him move some of his things from Las Cruces, NM to El Paso. I’m exceedingly proud of him; he’s just graduated from NMSU with 3 degrees (!!!) and now he’s moving back home to be with his family.

♥ Before we started with the heavy lifting, we stopped for a few pints at High Desert Brewing Company, a place I whole heartedly recommend for anyone with a penchant for craft beer.

Sunday 

IMG_2624♥ The day started a little lazily. We started the day with a few episodes of Game of Thrones. Then we got our asses up and headed to the Fox Plaza Flea market on our bikes. There, we bought some lunch from a random BBQ stand, walked around & did a whole lot of people watching.

IMG_2625♥ After we got home, we got ready once again and this time went to Feast in the Middle East and watched a bunch of folks get down with Arabic dancing.

♥ Of personal importance, after Feast in the Middle East, we drove to a neighborhood here in El Paso called “Sunset Heights” and just walked around, explored & had some really amazing conversation…including making up stories of the people who might live there.

Alright now your turn: What adventures will you have this week?

Check out my previous Weekend Adventures:

A Weekend in Ruidoso

My other half and I are quickly approaching the year mark, which isn’t a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still very nice to celebrate. Valentine’s Day also just passed and I’ve always been the type to prefer something memorable rather than something material when it comes to gifts.

So, we decided to take a trip up to Ruidoso for Valentine’s weekend! I had most of the trip planned out but we mainly just left off the spur off the moment!

The road from El Paso, TX to Ruidoso, NM is US-54 and that runs up from Northeast El Paso through Orogrande, NM, Alamogordo, Tularosa and Mescalero. There’s a really great little pistachio farm right between Alamogordo and Tularosa, so we took a little pit stop and bought a few bottles of their award winning Arena Blanca Winery ‘Rogue Red’ and sampled some of their flavored pistachios.

Once we made it into Ruidoso, I’m certain I had a face full of wonder and amazement. Sure, I had been to Ruidoso countless times before, but never for leisure. We were pretty famished at this point, so we stopped by ‘Cant Stop Smokin’, a really picturesque old style BBQ joint housed inside a magnificent looking cabin-style building. What captured me was the giant wall next to the restaurant bearing messages from passerby’s.

After we filled our bellies with some of the most delicious meat I’ve ever had (stahp!) we left on our long-ass journey to the summit of Ski Apache deep within the Alto Mountains. It felt as if the road just went on and on but damn it…so beautiful.

The beau is a much more experienced snowboarder than I could ever be, so while he was off enjoying the slopes, I took a beginners course and proceeded to fall on my arse a million times while laughing and getting hit on by the instructor. He eventually gave me his number; the beau saw this as a compliment.

Snowboarding is kind of a big deal for me. I tore my ACL getting off a lift when I was 14 and since then, it sort of ruined my ability to be as physical as I would like to be. I’ve had 2 ACL surgeries and I’m pretty much missing a meniscus, so getting on that lift was a little nerve-wracking.

When the day was done and we headed down to our cabin at High Country Lodge, we stopped off at a scenic point and took a ton of photos. General mushiness abounds:

It was a great and memorable trip! Can’t wait for our next big outing!

Through Proust, I Deliver My ‘Self’

Know thyself.”

The concept of ‘self gnosis’ has been around for ages but it’s apparent to me that we fail to realize our own potential. Firstly, it’s important to understand the concept of ‘gnosis’. The word is of Greek origin and is defined thusly as ‘knowledge’ though in a more spiritual or ethereal way.

Religions and philosophies of the world, save for monotheistic religions such as Christianity, teach that Man is a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the Universe; that we are vessels of godly power that can be tapped into at any time, that is, if we know how to do it. Ergo, by understanding the ‘Self’ we can better understand the Universe.So, in a fun little posting, I thought I would fill out the ‘Proust Questionnaire‘.

This survey was created by Marcel Proust – a French Writer- in the late 1800’s and has been used liberally ever since. Below are my answers, reflecting the world as I see it now. If you’re a blogger, I’d love to see your own responses. Leave a few answers in the comments or link to your own Proust post!

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I imagine that the lowest form of misery would be to be alone and unloved.

Where would you like to live?
I would love to live in Taos, high up in the mountain; with a house full of books, the land full of snow and the warmth and comfort of my thoughts and my loved ones.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
To be in the company of those people that I genuinely enjoy.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
One of my favorite authors is J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve yet to read his entire catalogue, but so far, Frodo Baggins is my favorite hero.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Niccolo Machiavelli. His philosophies just click for me and his raw bluntness is admirable.

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
I would have to say that Cindy Gallop, who is a brilliant entrepreneur, a wild woman and lover of fashion, would be my favorite heroine. Continue reading Through Proust, I Deliver My ‘Self’