Weekend Trip

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHappy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I am heading to Louisville to visit Erin and I am so, so excited. It’s been a great week full of puppy snuggles (Coach came home on Easter!), fun lunch dates, baking this cake from scratch (and eating leftovers every single day since), and celebrating our anniversary, of course! Even though the week was full of so much goodness, I am totally ready for the weekend, and I can’t wait to gallivant around Lou with my best girl.

P.S. Here are some fun photos from my last trip to Louisville to visit Erin + some favorite picture from our adventures at the Kentucky Derby. We’ve made the best memories together – cheers to millions more!

One Year Anniversary

filmscans089Monday was our one year anniversary, which I can hardly believe. It feels like such a cliché to say that it seems like our wedding was just yesterday, but that really is the truth. The past 365 days have absolutely flown by, and I feel so grateful to have shared in them with my perfect partner.

filmscans024 IMG_9047I remember every detail of the day so vividly. I remember going for a run with my brother in the morning and enjoying breakfast tacos, coffee, and green juice with family and friends at Jo’s, all of whom had traveled to Austin for our special day (I thought that was a fun fact – not one person on our guest list lives in Austin, so it was a true destination wedding for everyone involved, bride & groom included!). I remember feeling pampered as I had my hair and make-up done while my bridesmaids and family got ready in our amazing suite at the Hotel San José. I remember rocking out to a playlist I had made specifically for our wedding day, and I remember feeling overwhelmed with love for my best girls, my parents, and my brother as we drank mimosas together and noshed on snacks. I remember excitedly piling into the limo to head to Le San Michele and dancing the whole way there (everyone got particularly stoked about singing along to “Timber”).

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rachelandjames 0544I remember bursting into tears as we pulled up to the venue because it was all really happening. I remember seeing the floral arrangements for the first time and being astonished by the weight and beauty of my bridal bouquet. I remember putting on my dress and feeling like I was floating on air. I remember waiting anxiously for the ceremony to start, sipping champagne with my bridesmaids while peering out the windows as the guests arrived and took their seats.

filmscans029rachelandjames 0352 rachelandjames 0357 rachelandjames 0378rachelandjames 0428I remember the sound of the string quartet as they played “Make You Feel My Love” while Dad walked me down the aisle. I remember seeing the first glimpse of my groom’s sweet face as he started to cry, watching his bride walk toward him. I remember every detail about the ceremony, about our brother-in-law’s incredibly thoughtful presentation as he officially deemed us husband and wife. I remember Callie sitting at our feet, posing like the perfect flower dog she was.

rachelandjames 0348 rachelandjames 0411 rachelandjames 0510 rachelandjames 0475I remember taking photos all around the property after the ceremony concluded, basking in the energy and glow of the evening. I remember having a few stolen moments with James, enjoying margaritas and appetizers and reflecting on the fact that we were married. I remember listening in rapt to the amazing toasts read by my dad, James’s dad, Karli, Erin, and Andrew. I remember inhaling more green chile macaroni and cheese than anything else, and I remember how delicious our chocolate wedding cake (appropriately named the James Brown cake) tasted, especially when paired with an ice-cold flute of champagne.

filmscans084 rachelandjames 0510 rachelandjames 0536 rachelandjames 0742I remember the dance party – oh, the dance party! – that ensued after dinner, concluding with my favorite people forming a circle around James and me as we got down to one of my all-time favorite jams, “Forever” (thanks to Karli requesting that the DJ play it as the final song of the night). I remember running to the getaway car with James and Callie, so overwhelmed with love and joy. I remember crying once again in the car, feeling so grateful to be embarking upon our new life together but just a little sad that our special day was over already. I remember it all, and I’m so thankful.

So, to my husband – thank you for being my person, my love and my life, today and always. Here’s to a million more years together!

Photos by the amazing Heather Hawkins

On Writing

tumblr_n4crhlHAVh1rjezt2o1_1280In February I read this compelling blog post by Jen Hatmaker and I was totally drawn in by the first few sentences:

“Just to be clear, let me see if I’m describing you right: You love to read, you always have. You think words are powerful and beautiful and devastating when used correctly. You have a story, ideas, a lot to say. These things rattle around in your brain and if you don’t get them on paper, YOU JUST MIGHT DIE. You’ve always been a good communicator; you prayed for an essay test over those devil-sanctioned multiple-choice scantrons. You stare at your laptop like a frenemy. If you could just sit down with it for an extended time and write your words, or maybe if you could just set it on fire and be free of it, or both, you would finally be happy. And, of course, there is teeny tiny, oh so tiny part of you, so tiny you have to whisper it, tiny tiny little bit that says I want to be published because that will make me real.”

The words coursed through my veins, lighting up my insides. It was like Jen Hatmaker knew me or something, especially in regards to the part about the essay test vs. the multiple-choice scantrons. (An aside – I did get to meet and HUG the incredibly talented, hilarious, and insightful author & speaker at a conference in Dallas at the end of March and it easily made my week. So now I sort of do feel like we know each other.) Writing can be such an isolating activity and it helps to know there’s a community of established writers out there who are willing to impart wisdom and advice about the process. Here are a few gems from the post that really encouraged and inspired me:

“Don’t disqualify yourself from writing before you even get started. A writer is a person who writes words. The end. Do you know who asked me to write my first book? Zero people. No one said, you should do this hard thing or we really want to hear from you in print form. Writer: 1, People Who Asked Me to Write: 0. I wrote for two reasons: I wanted to and had something to say.”

“If you want to and have something to say, write…Writers don’t wait for someone else to tell them they should or can. You should and you can.”

“I am devastated to bring this bad news, but writing requires work. Kind of hard, brutal, sanity-threatening work. All the writing dreams in your head have to transition to your ten fingers on a keyboard, and I’m afraid there is no other way. (I’m sorry. Take your time.) Work requires time, which of course, you have none of. This is the writer’s dilemma. You will not miraculously become a writer by carrying on exactly like you are. It’s a whole thing and you have to make room for it.”

There is so much goodness in the post; what I showcased here will just give you a little taste of all that Jen’s post has to offer. Head on over to her site to read the post in its entirety, and I’ll leave you with this, my very favorite part:

“Do not become immobilized by good writing already out there. Stop that this instant. Literature is not an exercise in scarcity. The world always needs good writing. There is room for you. Don’t be intimidated by successful writers; be inspired by them. Every good writer wrote his or her first piece at one point. Do your time; there is space for you at the party.”

Image via Design Savvy

Bluebonnets

IMG_5080Each year I get so excited for April for a myriad of reasons – because it stays lighter longer, because it’s porch season in Dallas, and (now!) because it’s the month of our wedding anniversary. But maybe my favorite reason of all is because it’s bluebonnet season in Texas. These gorgeous blooms sprout up for one month each year and they cover miles and miles of territory in the Lone Star State, making them a natural choice for our state flower. Two years ago Kyla and I spent an afternoon traversing the Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis, a small town about 45 minutes outside of Dallas. We were itching to go again this year so we made a plan to head out there this afternoon, this time with a picnic and our puppies in tow! Zillions of photos to follow, I promise, but for now, enjoy some pictures from last time’s adventure (silly faux senior portraits included).

P.S. Remember this video that Laura made of us frolicking in a field of bluebonnets on our way home from Austin?

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Asparagus Tart

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Last Sunday, Korena and Ian came over to celebrate the arrival of spring in Texas with a backyard barbecue. James used his Big Green Egg grill to smoke some heavenly ribs while I whipped up some icy margaritas for cocktail hour. Korena brought a yummy potato salad studded with poblano peppers and corn and, as a starter, an asparagus tart from our mutually favorite cookbook, The Forest Feast. The appetizer was beyond delicious. The asparagus was tender and the capers, pine nuts, herbs, and garlic packed such a flavorful punch. Korena used goat cheese instead of the recommended brie as the base of the tart and it added the perfect hint of decadency. Find the recipe here and if you try it out, let me know if you enjoyed it as much as we did. It would pair perfectly with a cold glass of rosé and a salad full of spring produce. And check out these gorgeous photos that Korena snapped during our barbecue and posted on her blog – aren’t they beautiful? (Sneak a peek at more of her pretty pictures here.)

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Stuck In A Rut

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Even though I adore the holidays, I always welcome the calm, quiet, peaceful spirit that follows afterward. In January and February, I find myself craving alone time more than usual, and I like hunkering down at home to work on projects, take long naps, and try new recipes. But when March rolls around, I start to feel antsy. Even though we don’t experience frigid winters here in Dallas like others do around the country, we still do get a healthy dose of yucky weather that confines us to our homes just as I’m feeling the itch to get out and about. Last month I really felt stuck in a rut – I wanted to plan nights out with friends and check things off of my to-do list and embark on more adventures, but at the same time I felt low on energy and enthusiasm. I had to remind myself that it was okay to feel a little stuck, and I actually channeled that sentiment into a piece I was writing for Darling Magazine. I started actively pursuing ways to reenergize myself and get back into the swing of things. Going to Florida and New York helped immensely – travel always gets my creative juices flowing – but if you can’t hop on a plane, I tried out some other surefire ways will help you feel rejuvenated. I found that taking a walk, focusing on my hobbies, changing my scenery, and stepping away from my devices helped me immensely, and I wrote all about it on Darling’s blog here. I think that, to date, this may have been my favorite piece to write – it was not only an interesting topic to think about but it also helped me snap out of my own winter-themed funk!

Image via Emma Lucy Watson

Career Feature on The Everygirl

www.nbarrettphotography.comI am so, so, so excited to share that I am featured on The Everygirl today! I am still pinching myself that this dream has become a reality. I read The Everygirl on a daily basis, so, without sounding like a total narcissist, it’s unbelievably exciting to see myself on the home page. Most importantly, I’m thrilled that this post showcases Touch A Life, the amazing organization for which I serve as the Director of Project Development. I hope readers will be inspired by the story behind the foundation, and maybe even a few people will want to get involved!

I am so totally overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for this post – thank you to my amazing family and friends for cheering me on today! Thank you, too, to the incredibly awesome and talented Natalie Shelton for taking these special photos. And, of course, thank you to The Everygirl for being such a wonderful place where women can be encouraged and inspired every single day.

Head on over to The Everygirl to read the post and my interview, and check out some of Natalie’s fabulous photos below!

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Back in the Swing of Things

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetHello, friends! I am finally caught up on my life’s to-do list (I think) after returning from amazing back-to-back trips to two of my favorite places on the East Coast (Florida + New York). As much as I love traveling and exploring and shaking up my day-to-day routine (okay, and sleeping in), I’m excited to get back into the swing of things, especially as far as my blog is concerned. A more consistent posting schedule is on the horizon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this photo of James & me as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan last Saturday (trip recap to come!). I’ve decided that it’s one of my new favorite snaps of all time, so I hope you like it as much as I do.

Happy weekend!

New York

IMG_2388I know, I know – I just got back from Florida, but today James and I are heading to New York! We’re visiting some dear friends of ours in Brooklyn for five whole days – I am so, so excited. James has never been to New York so I can’t wait to explore with him and take him to some of my favorite places (perhaps for a meal in Soho here). The only thing that will be missing is Callie (oh, and Coach, of course!).

‘Til next week, friends! Lots of travel recaps to come.

Photo from my last trip to New York

Meet Coach!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe are so excited to be adding another furry friend to our family – meet Coach! Like Callie, he is an English mastiff and he was just born in the middle of February. Is he the cutest puppy in the world or what?! We absolutely love the breeders we found – they have been so kind to us, letting us visit Coach in his puppy phase. When we bring him home in April, he’ll be twice the size he is now! And by May, he’ll be the size of the pup you can see giving me a kiss below (wowowow). These photos were too cute not to share. Enjoy!

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