Random Austin: Majestic


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Texas State Capitol - Austin, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Texas State Capitol – Austin, TX


Just a Few More Links I Liked This Week


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As you can guess, it’s already pretty hot in Texas, and it’s not even August yet!

Bullock Texas State History Museum - Austin, Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Bullock Texas State History Museum – Austin, TX

So let’s start with an article from the Whole Foods Market website, which gives you Ways to Stay Hydrated in the Summer Heat.

I had no idea that ravens were so smart.

Maybe Rockwell should have read this article: The Psychological Explanation for When You Feel Like You’re Being Watched.

Do you want to know how much your favorite artists make? There you go: Billboard’s Top 50 Money Makers of 2016.

Everyone loves cheat sheets, right? Here’s one on social media: The Indispensable Social Media Cheat Sheet [Infographic]

Finally, does anyone think like me that this is a terribly sad song? It actually brought to mind the end of La La Land (this might kind of be a spoiler… kind of)…

Have a great week everyone!

Pizzeria Sorellina in Spicewood, Texas


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I love trying new things, and, of course, that includes trying new food and restaurants.

Apis Restaurant & Apiary and Pizzeria Sorellina - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Not too far from where we live, there is a very nice restaurant that opened a couple of years ago now (I think): Apis Restaurant & Apiary. We tried it a couple of times and enjoyed it very much… but this post is not about Apis. Not exactly at least.

More recently, Apis opened a second restaurant, a pizzeria, which was great news because we didn’t have any real one in the area.

Pizzeria Sorellina - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Pizzeria Sorellina offers “Italian tradition in the Texas Hill Country,” to quote their website, and it does it very well.

Prices tend to be a little higher than for your regular pizza, but the quality is well worth it. You come in, you order at the counter, wait for your food, and either take it home or enjoy on site.

The first time we went there, I wondered why all their little “Come & Take It” flags on the tables were at the bottom of their mast. Then I read the little sign about how to get the staff to “come and take” your order for additional food. Very funny. And smart.

Pizzeria Sorellina - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Our favorite pizza is the maitake mushroom – but they’re not currently serving it. Our second favorite is the n’duja sausage, which contains stracciatella – to the exquisite pleasure of our cats. Pizzas are baked to order with delicious and fresh ingredients and you can really taste the difference. They are also as crusty as can be.

Maitake Mushroom pizza, Pizzeria Sorellina - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

N’duja Sausage pizza, Pizzeria Sorellina - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

N’duja Sausage pizza, Pizzeria Sorellina - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

If you find yourself in the Spicewood area, west of Bee Cave, near Lake Travis, I highly recommend that you try it.

Pizzeria Sorellina
23526 Hwy 71 West
Spicewood, TX 78669
(737) 222-6061

Random America: Pittsburgh, the Former Steel City


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I had the opportunity to go to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in June, to attend a conference. I had little time to visit but was pleasantly surprised by how nice the city was. I will dedicate a couple of posts to my visit in the near future. Stay tuned.

[Click on the picture to see a bigger version]

Pittsburgh's Skyline | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Part of the skyline of Pittsburgh, PA, seen from Mount Washington – June 2017

Just a Few More Links I Liked This Week


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The first time I saw a raccoon was without a doubt in the Japanese cartoon Candy – which tells you something about my age!

(This is the French version of the theme.)

Although raccoons have been introduced in Europe, it’s very rare to see them in France. In fact, I had never seen a real one before moving to the U.S. This little American carnivore with a mischievous look is easily recognizable thanks to its striped tail and the black eye “mask” that covers its eyes. As you know, this mask, its naughty attitude, and its habit of stealing food, notably from our pets, earned him the nickname “bandit.”

(Don’t miss the end of the video!)

Of course, when I moved to the U.S., I was eager to see a real one! I know they are not always loved here, because they can carry rabies, be aggressive, and they steal food! Still, I can see how many people still find them cute in some way (Like this story demonstrates).

When we lived in New York, we could often hear them during the night. But my first real “encounter” with a raccoon was in Texas, after I had left some cat food outside.

Raccoon visiting | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

This picture was taken just before the “little” guy ran away, a December night. The next morning, I surprised the raccoon its hand in the bowl of kibbles. First the raccoon didn’t move, hand still in bowl, as if thinking “if I don’t move, she won’t see me!” but then the raccoon left.

I’m telling you this story because one of my favorite links from the week is a raccoon story: A Raccoon Broke Into a Car to Give Birth.

Other links:

From two weeks ago: I really liked this blog post on how sometimes you have to trust yourself, you have to realize that it is all it takes to go through challenges and accomplish what you want to accomplish. Ready good read for a Sunday morning, I think!

Do you want to know your future? Here are 16 words that tell the future.

Here’s an article about the importance of eating a balanced diet vs. just the goal of losing weight.

How much do you think your favorite singers lip-sync? This article seems to suggest a LOT.

Finally, for those of you that just can’t stop learning, here are “43 free career-advancing courses you can take (and actually finish) this summer.”

That’s all I have for this week. Wishing everyone a lovely Sunday and a productive week!

Happy Independence Day With An American Flag Pie!


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Today is America’s birthday. Happy Birthday, America!

To celebrate, I bought some flowers to make a red, white, and blue bouquet…

Red, White, and Blue Bouquet | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

…I let the kitten sleep on my hand while trying to blog…

Whiskey | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

…and I prepared an American Flag Pie!

Strawberries | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

American Flag Pie - Ready for the Oven | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

American Flag Pie | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

You can find the recipe here, on King Arthur Flour’s website. Since I could not find rhubarb, I only used strawberries.

I wish all my American readers a very Happy Fourth of July, and to all a nice day!

Just a Few More Links I Liked This Week


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Summer is here — has been here for a little while in Texas actually ;) — and I’m back on my blog. Traffic in Austin is getting a little bit lighter and it’s time for outside concerts and drinks.

Orval Beer at Jester King - Austin, TX | Books, Cucpcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

I thought I would resume blogging with a new kind of post. Since my job and my interests result in tons of reading, and I really like these posts on other blogs that share their favorite links, I’d like to try sharing my own favorite links. Links may differ from time to time between the English and the French versions of this blog, depending on interests and language, but you know that if you can read the other language, you can always go check the other list (Reminder: go here for the French version of the blog).

Let’s start with 5 links to articles, one to a video, and one to a website… because that’s what I have this week. This week, the list is the same on both versions of the blog, but I’ll try to add some links in French next week. Please let me know what you think in the comments and if you enjoyed the links!

Five Articles

How much salt do you need in your life? The Single Most Important Ingredient tells how important salt is in cooking.

Ever wondered how Times Square in NYC got its shiny and glitzy billboards? Times Square’s Glitzy Look was One Man’s Bright Idea tells you where to start.

Have you ever thought of a squirrel as a pet? No? Well, there was a time When Squirrels Were One of America’s Most Popular Pets.

Texas. BBQ. Enough said. The Golden Age of BBQ.

Would you like to be able to read more books? Check Ken Norton’s recommendations.

A Website

When you need to relax, breathing techniques can help. This website provides a helpful tool.

A Video

I just love timelapse videos!
(use full screen mode)

Wishing everyone an excellent week ahead!

Happy Belated Texas Independence Day and a Day Living in Austin


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Last Thursday, March 2, marked the 181st birthday of Texas. On March 2, 1836, Texas became a republic:

On March 1 delegates from the seventeen Mexican municipalities of Texas and the settlement of Pecan Point met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to consider independence from Mexico. George C. Childress presented a resolution calling for independence, and the chairman of the convention appointed Childress to head a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence. In the early morning hours of March 2, the convention voted unanimously to accept the resolution. After fifty-eight members signed the document, Texas became the Republic of Texas. The change remained to be demonstrated to Mexico.

The day was a gorgeous day. It started on my way to work with a gorgeous sunrise—one of the several reasons why I like leaving for work early, the other two being beating traffic and being more productive.

Sunrise in central Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

I also had to be in Austin early that day because I was attending a House committee hearing. The Texas Legislature is in session this year and it makes traffic downtown, both by car and on foot quite chaotic some days.

A funny thing happened on my way to Austin. I was on Enfied Rd, getting closer to 15th St, and I was trying to find a radio station that played music (and not a radio host babbling about the latest People Mag survey or any other subject with little importance). Then I heard the first notes of a familiar song… yet my brain needed a second to process the information: I was driving to work in Austin, Texas, USA, and, yes, this was Sylvie Vartan’s “La plus belle pour aller danser” that was playing on the radio as I arrived on top of the hill with the gorgeous view to the Texas Capitol which is the corner of Enfield Rd and 15th St.

To file in #KeepAustinWeird

The day was a beautiful one and went its course with people wishing themselves a Happy Texas Independence Day. Texans are very proud of their heritage and their state, and for good reason.

I went home in the evening and stopped for some barbecue at my favorite BBQ joint, It’s All Good BBQ. I also had the pleasure of witnessing the sun setting on the 181st birthday of the Lone Star State the only way it could set in the great state of Texas, with grandeur and a bit of drama.

It's All Good Bar-B-Q - Spicewood, TX | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Sunset on central Texas | Books, Cupcakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Sunset on central Texas, on Texas Independence Day – March 2, 2017

Did I mention I love living in Lone Star State? Happy belated birthday, Texas!

Random Austin: Typical Rush Hour Sight


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This picture was taken on North Lamar (Whole Foods is on my left) at rush hour time (and yes, at a stop… rush hour). The gorgeous sunset, the grackles on the transmission lines, and well, traffic, are all creating a good typical sight of Austin, TX at that time of the day.

[Click on pic for bigger size]

Austin at rush hour - North Lamar | Books, Cucpakes, and Cats Chasing Chipmunks

Austin at rush hour on North Lamar – February 9, 2017