Thursday, December 18, 2014

Memphis Nosh: Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

I've talked about how I'm not a *huge* fan of restaurant Mexican food. 

I love Las Delicias, and I like my own Mexican food, but that's about it.

Except for Las Tortugas

It's kind of far from my house, but Kyle and I were waiting for an appointment at the Apple store, so we headed up the parkway for some amazing Mexico City-style Mexican food. 

Las Tortugas is in a small strip center on Germantown Parkway - the sign just says "Deli Mexicana" so keep an eye out for it, it's easy to miss!

From their "About Us" page:

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana was opened in 2003 by Jose “Pepe” Magallanes.
Our restaurant strives to preserve the integrity of Mexican cooking and cuisine by refusing to Americanize the process or presentation. The philosophy of purist methods and techniques and self sourced fresh food should be obvious when you eat!
They're very big on making authentic food - no melted cheese, no refried beans, none of the icky stuff I don't like. It's perfect. 

Here's our "pre-gorging selfie" - I figured (correctly) that we would both be so full after we ate we wouldn't be quite as cute!

Kyle got (I think) the filet mignon torta. Steak, bread, cheese, tomatoes (which he picked off, but they looked amazing), with tortilla chips and pico. 

He said it was really good. He spoke about 3 words the whole time we were eating, and all three were yum so I think he liked it.
I had the Carnitas de Mexico City tacos - "hand carved Newman Farms Berkshire pork shoulder, braised in a copper 'olla' pot with whole orange, bay leaf, jalapeno, and allspice. They came in four tortillas with cilantro and fresh avocado slices, with a little salad of lettuce and cucumber, a cup of pico, a cup of spicy salsa (the amazing salsa de aguacate tayde), and tortilla chips. 
Oh. My. God. 
The only thing I would change about this is some more sauce - maybe something tangy, like pineapple salsa or even a bbq-type sauce (yes, I know...I'm a Memphis cliche). Or maybe another lime slice, or salt. But that's literally the only thing I would change - and I'm pretty sure they would give you another lime slice if you asked!
The interior is interesting, with lots of turtles and interesting signs, but it is small, so be prepared to wait, sit at the bar that runs along the windows, or get an embarrassing amount of food and eat in your car.
Not that I've ever done that.
The daily specials are always fantastic, and the guacamole and queso fundido alone are worth the drive. If you're out in Germantown, or just really want some great, authentic, Mexican food, go.
And invite me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

OOTD: Last Day of School!

Everyone does a "first day of school" outfit post. 

But the thing is, the first day of school is so much easier to dress for.

You're not behind yet. 

You're optimistic.

It's usually either hot (the end of August is still summer in Memphis) or at least mild when school starts, so you don't feel like this:

(Although, in Memphis, December could still be flip flops and shorts weather. But this particular day it wasn't.)

No one has really done anything stupid or made you mad or forgot to refill the printer paper.

You have brand new pencils and pens and notebooks. 

Even for PhDs, who never really get "breaks" from school, the first day of school usually sees us less stressed than the last day. 

Dressing cute on the first day of school = cake.

Dressing cute on the last day of school = NOPE.

But I did it!

(I totally went to the mall after class. No shame.)

Shoes//Jeggings//Tank//Cardigan//Scarf (Similar)//Purse (Out of Stock but all Francesca's purses are great!)//Phone Case (Similar)

Let's talk about that cardigan and scarf for a minute.

The cardigan is from Loft, and it's unbelievably soft, warm without being too warm (seriously why do people turn the heat up to 80 in the winter? Moderation people.), and such a great color. Yeah, I wear a lot of grey. But it's easy and always so nice looking.

The scarf is a Tilo scarf that I got in my Popsugar Must Have box a few months ago. I am NOT one of those people who is like "oh this cost such and such." But it was a great deal. A $125 scarf in a $35 box? Sold. Especially because it's pretty, huge, and, like the sweater, warm but not like...sweaty...warm. It's a pretty ombre, and can match almost anything. Seriously - if you have a chance to get one of these, do it!

So who else is done for the semester? Any big break plans? Wanna invite me? :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon, Onion, and Cheese

So I have a theory about food. 

If it has potatoes, I'll probably like it. 

I mean, this is one of my favorite things I bought in London:

And if it has cheese, I'm definitely in. 

I mean, this is my football team: 

(via #GoPackGo!)

Add bacon and you've taken things over the top. I'm yours. Forever.


So roasted potatoes, topped with cheese (and green onions), cooked with bacon?


Here's the recipe (by popular demand!):

3lbs (or whatever will fit on your pan!) russet potatoes, cubed into about 1/2 inch cubes - you want them to all be about the same size
1 red onion (you can use white or yellow if that's what you have - they really mellow out so don't worry if you're not a huge onion fan)
1 package bacon*
1 package (?) green onions (what do you call this? A bunch? I am not a trained chef, y'all.)
Shredded mozzarella cheese**
Cavender's or some other spice mixture
Italian seasoning
Olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 425F. Try to make sure you oven rack is somewhere around the middle.

Cube your potatoes - about 1/2 inch is good, just make sure they're all the same size. Then rinse them.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. This makes cleaning up much easier.

Put cubed, rinsed potatoes on the baking sheet.

Cut a package of bacon into smaller pieces - again, about 1/2 inch, but just make sure they're the same size. 

Put the cut up bacon on the sheet, on top of the potatoes.

Dice the onion. 

Put the diced onion on top of the bacon (which is on top of the potatoes).

Sprinkle on a little salt (bacon is salty already), lots of pepper (or not if you don't have a serious pepper problem like I do), a little Cavender's or other spice mix, and a little Italian seasoning. Really this is very to taste - you can always add more later, so don't be too worried about underseasoning.

Now, drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the whole thing.

Take a spatula (plastic works better) and kind of stir everything around. It should look close to the picture above, just (obviously) not cooked (or covered in cheese/green onions).

Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take out, stir everything around (add more olive oil if it's sticking badly), and put it back in for 25 minutes.

Take it out and test the potatoes - they should be fork tender. Basically a fork should slide in but it shouldn't just fall apart. This is a good time to take a bite for seasoning/to make sure the potatoes are done.

(And then take a bunch more bites until your boyfriend comes around the corner and catches you eating food out of the oven...)

Now comes the fun part. 

Grab your cheese and sprinkle it all over. It's totally up to you how much cheese you use. Don't be afraid. Go crazy!

Now put the whole thing back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Chop your green onions.

Pull it out (turn the oven off!) and sprinkle the green onions over the top.

Praise your various deities for all the ingredients. 

Then practice the sin of gluttony.

Seriously, this is amazing. I served this with some baked chicken thighs, but it's fantastic with steak, chicken, pork chops, anything - or even by itself!

To reheat (ha, if you have leftovers!) just put some on a plate, nuke it for a minute or so, put some more cheese on, blast it for another 30 seconds, and love your life. 


*Please use real, pork bacon. Turkey bacon just won't crisp up, and you need that mix of fatty and crispy for this. If you MUST use turkey bacon, cut it much smaller. And, of course, you could easily make this vegetarian by taking the bacon out completely. I would maybe add some more potatoes, or even some other roasted veggies, but that's totally doable.
**I love pretty much all cheese, but I find mozzarella compliments this the best. I've seen similar recipes with gorgonzola (which is a little too tangy for me) or gruyere (okay moneybags) but, honestly, this is with a $2 bag of shredded mozz from Target. You can add whatever cheese, or no cheese, or no green onions, because that's what makes cooking so wonderful, but mozz is my choice!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Memphis Nosh: Sam's Donuts (Collierville)

My boyfriend lives in Collierville, and, as much as I used to be a little skeptical about the suburbs, it's actually a really cute town!

(And they won an award for having an amazing main street this year!)

(And I'm from THE COUNTRY so it's not like I hate the suburbs/country in general. People in Memphis just tend to get kind of uppity about living in the suburbs, and more than one person has asked me if I really feel safe living in Midtown, and then gotten really judgmental about it. I met a girl downtown one time who told me she carries pepper spray anytime she comes inside the loop because "everyone in the city will try to rob you." Ugh.)


Our semi-regular tradition on his days off is to sleep in, and whoever gets up first goes to Sam's to get a shameful amount of donuts.

Don't judge us. 

Sam's is in a small, kind of uninspiring, strip mall on Byhalia, by the Target in Collierville, and it's kind of sparse inside (and it's cash or check only - plan accordingly!). But don't let that fool you - grab a chocolate milk from the case, order an embarrassing amount of donuts (or pretend they're for more than 2 people...), and go home, sit in bed, guard your donuts from your crazy dog, and watch cartoons. 

It's the best.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holiday Wish List

So, first things first - I'm free!

Well. Sort of.

I turned in a couple of chapters, but of course I have basically the rest of a book to write, so I'm not "free" so much as I don't have anything looming right this very second. I want to have another chapter to my advisor by March 1st (this one on my favorite, James II, and his family!), but I'm taking a few days to do other school stuff and read a book that isn't about Henry VIII, and next semester I'm on fellowship, so I don't have any grading or teaching to do.


Since the holidays are looming (and several people have asked me!), I thought I would go ahead and do my annual "things I totally would love getting for the holidays" list!

It's no secret that I LOVE this movie (I have 2 posters with quotes from it in my house), and yes, I realize it is historically problematic (I'm having my USII students do a film analysis of it and it's wacky Reconstruction representation), but it's just so good. Also, I feel like every man in the world is intrinsically an Ashley (BOO) or a Rhett (Hello, Sailor), and every woman is a Melanie Wilkes (ugh...what a wet blanket) or a Scarlett (BAMF).


I have a great (and cute!) Target suitcase that I got about 3 trips to Europe ago and, while it's still holding up, I would love a new suitcase - especially with spinner wheels, which would be so much easier to move! I always get patterned bags so I can find them easily if I have to gate check (and so no one takes mine) and this pattern is fantastic! It's a little pricey, but good luggage is an investment in future gifts from my travels. :)

LOVE this tee from I will wear this immediately if someone gets it for me.

I've loved the crushed diamond/bezeled look forever - my gramma gave me a crushed diamond necklace when I was a teenager, and my parents gave me one when I turned 18. My favorite dream engagement ring is even this non-traditional type of setting (also I've clearly been on an Etsy kick lately...). And rose gold is so beautiful - I tend to be a silver kind of girl, but rose gold is really growing on me. 

These earrings are amazing. Absolutely the embodiment of my style.

One of my absolute favorite games, ever. It's so horrible, and offensive, and disgusting, but my lord it's fun. And I don't have it. That needs to be fixed.

I mean. Yum. I love this blog, and I've heard the cookbook is amazing. 

I like both prints but OMG LOOK AT THE ELEPHANTS!!!


I love this print from Lilly, and, while I think $30 for a candle is a bit much, I will absolutely reuse the jar forever.

LOVE this. Really anything Arkansas shaped (necklace, earrings, whatever) and I'm in.

Yes, I already have this album, on CD and vinyl, but this is the mono release, with no digital manipulation, taken from the original mono recording (the primary recording) and...okay I'm a nerd. But this is awesome.

That's all I can think of as far as specific things, but here are a few things I always love - and that the almost-thirty grad students in your life will probably love too!

Gift cards (girls like Target, Sephora, and Amazon...just saying)


Books that you recommend - it's so special to get a book someone has loved!

Knitting stuff

Fun pet stuff (Petunia looking stylish = me looking stylish!)

Scarves/Cardigans - my staples in the winter

And, it sounds tacky, but you can never go wrong with a nice card and some moola!

I hope this helps anyone looking to shop for me or anyone else!

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Easy Early Fall

It's finally, maybe, possibly, sort of, kinda, fall in Memphis.

Like, frost on the ground, kind of warm this afternoon, but maybe I can wear a sweater and not die of heat stroke kind of weather. 

Since Thursday is my loooooong day, I wanted something comfortable, low-key, and transitional (both for weather and all the stuff I have to do today).

And something I didn't have to think about too hard.

Enter my favorite fall outfit. 

early fall

I'm serious. I would marry those shoes if I could.

This is my basic fall outfit - flats (or boots if I'm not on campus all day - I swear this building is like an oven), tank top, boyfriend cardigan, and jeans/jeggings. Not terribly inventive, but it works.

Here I am in a fantastic elevator mirror shot:

(Why do we have such reflective button things? No idea. But this is way better than my mirror at home!)

(Also - seriously - are those shoes not the cutest? I feel so snazzy.)

(Finally - I do not know why my arms look so big. Angle? Crazy funhouse elevator mirror?)

(Carry on.)

And here's my FOTD to go with it, including my newest beauty obsession, BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Buttercream Lipgloss (here in Forbidden Nude - and no, I won't lie, I buy things just for the name sometimes):

(With BareMinerals concealer and powder, with the Urban Decay "Naked Flushed" blush/bronzer, benefit "They're Real!" Mascara, and benefit "Gimme Brow" eyebrow gel - also, the gloss is only available at Ulta, but everything else you can find at Sephora too.)

This is not a fancy look. But, as you can probably see behind me, this is not a fancy place. Just a solid, not scaring children, maybe looking like I work here kind of makeup routine works.

Now if only we could get to boot and coat weather, I would be even happier.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Writing...and writing and writing and writing and writing...

I've been a little absent lately.

I blame this:

Yep, Im in full-on dissertation writing mode, with a chapter due to my advisor the end of this month. 

I have a few posts in the works though, so pray to the dissertation gods for me and I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Memphis Style: Fall Fashion

Anyone who knows me (especially those unfortunate few who have seen my closet) knows that I have a...problem...with clothes. 

I have too damn many of them. 

And too many purses.

And shoes.

And jewelry. 

So even though the seasons are about to (hopefully) change here in Memphis (please please please let it get cooler soon), I'm trying not to buy a bunch of "fall" stuff.

But I still want to look fashionable and have fun with my clothes!

Here is one of my favorite fall looks, including all but two pieces I already own:

Fall Style

I have a long tan boyfriend cardigan like this, several pairs of these American Eagle jeggings (like stretchy skinny jeans - good for those of us with little butts and giant calves!), my very favorite boots of all time, that fantastic San Lucido printed purse from Francesca's (which I have gotten compliments on every day I've had it), and that cute arrow bangle (I got it from The Attic here in Memphis). 

I have a ton of little gold necklaces (I'm more of a gold wearer in the fall) but I think this is gorgeous! Anyone wanna get it for me! :)

The one piece I would like here is the sleeveless top from Maurices. What a great layering piece! Especially when I'm at school, it's super hot inside while being chilly outside, so a cute top that could stand on its own while I'm working in my office would be fantastic.

Is anyone else embarking on the "Stop buying so many clothes and start wearing what you have you dummy!" fall challenge?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vacation Recap: Laughlin and Las Vegas

My vacation is, sadly, over.

But it was amazing!

My boyfriend truly terrible ex-boyfriend got an offer from Harrah's Laughlin (southern Nevada - about an hour and a half south of Vegas) to fly out and stay, for free, for 5 days. It was for two people, and I think he sort of likes me cheated on me for a year, including while we on this trip, but I didn't know that at the time, so I went. 

Plane essentials.

With our boarding passes we got free drink vouchers!

(As Sookie Stackhouse says: "They're like booze for dolls! They gave me 10!")

The view from our room. This is the Colorado River - we were on the Nevada side, but we landed on the Arizona side. So now I've been to Arizona!

Harrah's Laughlin is really gorgeous. It's a little older, and certainly a little less flashy, than the new Vegas hotels, but the area is beautiful, it's very well-maintained, and everyone is really nice.

(My yelp review of Harrah's is finally up too!)

They even have a private beach!

So I didn't win any money gambling (well, I did, but I gave it all back - damn you slot machines!). Kyle did, but I still feel like I won because I found a Dolly Parton slot machine that played her music continuously. Bow before her!

Kyle isn't really a breakfast person, so while he played in a poker tournament (which he won!) I got some breakfast and read.

This is the breakfast special. It's hash browns, topped with bacon, topped with eggs, topped with sour cream, topped with green onions. It's everything I love.

They also have amazing pancakes at the cafe in Harrah's, so I got those too. 

Hey, it was vacation!

After breakfast I went down and laid on the beach with my book, a pretty frozen drink, and lots of sunscreen!

Kyle and I ate a lot. He is a dinner person. On Thursday, we decided to go a little crazy and eat all the food.

It's vacation!

On Friday, we rented a car and drove up to see his parents. (Yes, on our vacation I met his parents for the first time! Thankfully they're awesome!)

And a Statue of Liberty made out of chocolate. (In the Hershey's store in New York New York)

And a replica of the Brooklyn Bridge.

And the hotel/casino I knew we HAD to go to - The Paris!

We stopped to watch the water show at the Bellagio, which just happened to be set to one of my favorite songs, "All That Jazz" from "Chicago."

This was one of my favorite things on the Strip. I had a horrible headache (I'm sure the total lack of vegetables for 3 days didn't help...) but I really enjoyed this.

The Paris was definitely my favorite casino we went into. Like New York New York, it's set up to look like you're actually in that place. Very cool.

Back at NYNY we ate some pizza and lost some money on this ridiculous True Blood slot machine.

Leaving on Saturday we found the only street sign with my name on it I've ever seen.

(Which we did not steal. I'm proud of us.)

We also went to Freddy's, which is sort of like a Steak 'n Shake, on our way back to Laughlin. 

They definitely said we should have this. It's a funnel cake under frozen custard topped with powdered sugar and strawberry or chocolate. 

I don't even have words.

On our way back to Laughlin, we saw some gorgeous scenery.

(And a lot of bugs clearly.)

We actually missed our exit and drove across the border to California (another like 2 minutes) and turned around. So on this trip we actually went to 3 states!

Back in Laughlin, we decided to check out some of the other casinos. 

The Colorado Belle was pretty cool, and it had a little river walk that connected it to the next casino over, which was old and dingy and where we won the most money.

There's a "Tropicana Express."

And a genuinely terrible casino (I've never had people be so rude) with a very cool sign.

It's hard to see here, but outside Pioneer we saw a GIANT raccoon.

Later that night Kyle had his first In N Out experience.

We were too excited to take pictures.

Sunday morning I took the car back, and then we went for breakfast.

I had pancakes again, because I have a problem.

But I also got a side of bacon, because bacon is never a problem.

(Post edited to remove said ex, like three years later -oops)