Week & End

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe made it to Friday! This week felt especially long since I’ve been living in memories and whispers of last week’s trip to the California coast, so I’m really ready for a low-key and relaxing weekend. Tonight I think I’m going to make this soup – it’s going to be rainy here and this seems like the perfect thing to have for dinner. Tomorrow I’ll go to yoga and giggle with Kyla over lunch, then hopefully squeeze in a nap and maybe, if I’m feeling ambitious, some organizational projects. I’m so excited for Sunday, which is when we’re going to have a Friendsgiving celebration with our small group! I’m making stuffing and a harvest salad – yum. On Monday evening (which is certainly not the weekend, I know, but thanks to a short work week, it will feel like an extension of it), James and I bought tickets to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!

Happy Friday, and enjoy some fun links from around the web!

My latest post is up on Darling Magazine’s blog! It’s about ways to take in culture in your community. How do you get a dose of culture in your hometown? Dallas is full of museums that I love to wander through, and there are so many great ethnic restaurants that (literally!) give me a great taste of culture, too.

Given my passionate love for Mexican food, this cookbook would be the perfect edition to my repertoire.

Speaking of food, this salted honey pie looks like an incredible addition to any Thanksgiving meal (via Camille Styles).

Okay, more food for thought – wouldn’t a popcorn bar be a fun feature to have at a party?

I need to hop into Goop’s pop-up shop in Highland Park Village soon and very soon! Probably not on Saturday when Gwenyth Paltrow will be there to sign her cookbooks – because it will be a ZOO – but definitely before the pop-up shop leaves Dallas in the middle of December!

Image from our time in Big Sur – more to come soon!

Nashville

IMG_0520While I’m working on my photos from my trip to northern California, I thought I’d share some fun pictures from my fabulous trip to Nashville last month. I was in Music City for work but I got to spend my spare time playing with one of my very best friends, Becca, who lives in the popular 12 South neighborhood, right in the epicenter of everything fun and exciting and delicious. We dined at Silo, hiked around Radnor Lake, and ate lunch at Mas Tacos Por Favor. We drank lattes and ate homemade Pop-Tarts at Barista Parlor. We checked out Pinewood Social and ate my favorite meal at 404 Kitchen. We took lots of photos by the I Believe in Nashville mural (obviously), licked ice cream cones at Jeni’s, enjoyed Southern-style cuisine at Husk, and caffeinated at The Well. We had happy hour at the Oak Bar and barbecue at Edley’s, and we shopped for jeans at imogene + willie. We spent more than one afternoon at 12 South Taproom (my cousin, Sean, met us there once!) and we mingled and laughed with many of Becca’s fun friends.

I hadn’t been to Nashville in five years so it was so good to be back, and it was even better to see the city through the eyes of my best gal. Becca was the perfect tour guide – she made my trip absolutely fantastic. I’m ready to go back!

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Eat Well & Travel Often

il_570xN.470461853_4kg5I have the print pictured above hanging in our kitchen, and I love the way it inspires me every time I wander in for a cup of coffee or a glass of water. I consider it my mantra, a motivating phrase that lifts my spirits any time I ponder the thought. Eating well and traveling often, as surely you’ve noticed, are my two favorite hobbies, the experiences in my life that are the richest, partly because, in and of themselves, they are two of the best ways I can think of to spend my time and mostly because they are activities typically spent with people I love. All of my favorite memories revolve around what we ate and where we went, and all of my daydreams consist of delicious meals and faraway places.

As you may imagine, I’m experiencing massive withdrawals from my recent trip to northern California, and I plan to regale you of our adventures in San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, and Big Sur just as soon as I get my photos uploaded and sorted. It was an incredible trip, and I’m missing the coast in a major way (though not as much as I’m missing Mom & Andrew). Stay tuned!

Photo & print via chloevaux

Northern California

8042030463_4c12575850_bToday I am headed to San Francisco to meet my mom and my brother for a little getaway, and I am so, so excited for the adventures that await! On Friday we’ll stay in Half Moon Bay for an evening, and then dreams will come true as we spend a few days in Big Sur, a place I’ve been dying to visit. I’m looking forward to exploring new communities, eating delicious food, drinking California wines, and spending tons of time near the ocean. I can’t wait to share photos when I get back!

Happy Thursday to you and yours! See you next week.

Image via Rob DeGraff

Tortilla Soup

IMG_2141The Arctic cold front is blowing through Dallas today and it’s making me crave warm, autumnal things – cozy blankets, fall-scented candles, toasty beverages, and tortilla soup. My boss, Pam, passed on this recipe to me, and while I’ve made so many other delicious soups and chilis, this is the one I always revert back to, my very favorite. It’s so yummy and so dang easy. It’s the perfect workweek meal because James and I never get tired of serving up a hearty bowl of leftovers, and it’s a great dish to give to friends who have just had a baby/are going through a rough time/need their fridges stocked. Paired with tortilla chips and sour cream (and sometimes red wine or a Blood & Honey beer), it can’t be beat. I’ll admit that I like this soup so much that I’ll even make it in the summertime - gasp. It’s that good, y’all.

Pam’s Slow-Cooker Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 1 box of chicken broth
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 2 cans of ranch-style beans – I’ve learned that this is a regional treat that can’t be found everywhere. I will mail you some ranch-style beans if you ask me to because I think they make a huge impact on the flavor of this soup. If you can’t find them, pinto beans are a great substitute.
  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 bag of frozen corn

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the crock pot. Yep, that’s it.
  2. Simmer on low for six hours or on high for four hours.
  3. Top with tortilla chips, grated cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, avocado – whatever you prefer – and serve.

Monday Inspiration

diy_marble_vase_still_61I’m rereading one of my favorite books, Bread & Wine, for the millionth time, and something I love about rereading a great book over and over again is that I can read the same pages and paragraphs and quotes and yet each time I read them, if they’re from a really rich, layered book with lots of depth, I come away with something new, a page or paragraph or quote that strikes me differently this go around. The quote below really jumped off the page at me today, so much so that I had to share it with you as a little inspiration for your Monday:

“I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of roundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can’t, that he’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning. Extraordinary, indeed. More than enough.” – Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

Image via My Dubio

Book & Culture Club

d5cdc04762d6023a3d805d38e689d4f1I find it so dang cool that I have been a part of my book club in Dallas for four whole years. I have written about book club time and time again because I love it with my whole heart. We have read great books and enjoyed time together around the table, building a sweet little community that I cherish so much. I feel so grateful for the time we’ve spent together. Because of the experiences we have together on a monthly basis (born out of our shared love for books), many of us have traveled together, set up double dates with our manfriends, babysat each other’s children (and dogs), and offered a shoulder to cry on. We’ve become a tribe.

Last week Melanie, Elizabeth, and I met at Allison’s house for dinner. We brought cookbooks, per the meeting’s theme, and pored over recipes, snapping pictures with our phones so we could remember lists of ingredients and cooking directions. We drank wine and ate Allison’s quinoa salad with autumn vegetables and popcorn studded with pretzels and M&Ms. While we read and drank and ate, we chatted about things we’d like to do as a group in the future – attend lectures, take cooking classes, see documentaries, visit special museum exhibits, go to plays. And suddenly a new facet of book club was formed - culture club.

Our idea is this: instead of simply reading books and meeting in one another’s home on a monthly basis (which, don’t get me wrong, we still love), we’ll choose titles to read on our own and then pick fun activities in Dallas that we can do as a group. Occasionally we’ll regroup in a home, gathering around the table for great food and fun conversation (about life and love and travel and recipes and the books we’ve read), but we’ll be out and about more, experiencing so many of the exciting things that our sweet city has to offer.

So next month we’ll be reading Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes Please (I can’t wait to get my copy!) and meeting for cocktails somewhere holiday-ish and fun. In January, rumor has it that we’ll snag tickets to see The Book Club Play (because, c’mon, it can’t get more fitting than seeing a play about a book club – talk about culture and books combining!), and in February, several of us have already committed to seeing the one and only Ina Garten speak at SMU. So many fun things are on the horizon!

I love watching our amazing group of women shift and grow, both as individuals and as a club. So onto new things, friends – three cheers for book & culture club!

Image via Brett & Jessica Donar for Camille Styles

Week & End

c12735c25dc99db51744e99506955f17Happy Daylight Savings Day, friends! I am thoroughly enjoying the extra hour we were gifted with today, aren’t you? This weekend has been full of so much fall goodness – a pizza party at our house on Halloween (which included all of our guests passing out candy to cute trick-or-treaters), a backyard movie night and pumpkin carving party at a friend’s house last night (complete with s’mores, local brews, and cool weather), and lots of long walks outside with Callie girl. I’m not ready for the weekend to be over, but I’m looking forward to a good week, which will include a cool workshop in Fort Worth, a lunch date with Korena, a crafting edition of girls night in (calligraphy and Prosecco will be involved), and lots more goodness in between.

Enjoy your Sunday evening, and if you’re in an exploratory mood, check out the links below!

Last night we watched A Nightmare on Elm Street, which I had never seen before. I loved it! I also loved this video that shared some fun facts about the movie.

Ina Garten is coming to Dallas in February! My girlfriends and I are planning on snagging tickets to see her speak – so fun!

Current titles on my to-read list: Yes Please, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, and The Forest Feast.

I absolutely loved this post on Wit & Delight about leaving social media behind in favor of pursuing the richness inherent in the present moment. My favorite takeaway – “Here’s to less media and a more thoughtful way of being social.” Amen!

I made my favorite cookies this week using this recipe (which calls for cream cheese instead of eggs) and was out of chocolate chips. Since we had a plethora of Halloween candy on hand, I decided to use chopped up Reese’s peanut butter cups instead. This resulted in the best cookies I have ever made. Please try this recipe out for yourself asap!

Image via Instagram

Hotel La Tosca

header_1-3Recently James and I have been daydreaming about taking a trip to Europe next year as a celebration of our first anniversary and of our 30th birthdays (James hits the 3-0 mark in a few weeks and it’s my turn next December). There are so many gorgeous places to see, but for our inaugural trip to Europe (there will be many more, I promise!) we each picked a place that we’d like to return to with one another in tow. For me, that’s France. I want to spend time in Paris, reliving the amazing memories that Kyla, Laura, Lauren, and I made on our trip three years ago (read about it here, here, and here), and then I want to go to southern France, exploring a place I’ve never been before. All the while I want to eat cheese and pain au chocolat and steak frites, each meal paired with an ice-cold flute of Champagne.

header_1-2James wants to travel around Italy. He studied abroad in Florence in college, and he wants to return there to show me his old stomping grounds. I love this idea. We both also love the idea of exploring Italy further, perhaps traveling to Capri and finding ourselves snuggled up at the gorgeous Hotel La Tosca. This is a gem that I found on my friend Natalie’s blog and I swooned over the photos the moment I saw them. Aren’t they gorgeous? If I got to stay at the Hotel La Tosca, I may never come back…

3_d.20140919130414There are so many plans to consider (and dollars to set aside!) to make this daydream become a reality but the dreaming is half the fun, right?

Images via Hotel La Tosca & Capri.net

Bolsa Mercado

7c8474060d53ede52bac0ad967e95533Kyla, Laura, and I met at Bolsa Mercado for dinner a few weeks ago. It was a Monday night and it felt right to kick off the week with a cozy BFFs dinner. I had grabbed lunch at Bolsa Mercado a few years ago but hadn’t been back to check out their new menu. The Mercado is owned by Bolsa, the delicious new American restaurant located down the block. The market is the more casual version of the romantic, dimly-lit restaurant, a place where patrons can come for a delicious bite to eat, something lovely to drink (ranging from Topo Chico and fresh squeezed juices to wine and beer), and lots of goodies and treats to peruse through while relaxing on vintage furniture.

Laura frequents Bolsa Mercado often, as it’s located a stone’s throw from her office, so she recommended that I try the pulled pork sandwich. It seemed like an interesting choice, considering that the menu focuses more on deli-style bites and delicious salads. But I’m so glad I trusted her selection because it was absolutely fantastic – my mouth watered just now as I’m thinking about it! I chose a green salad as my side dish, which was a nice complement to the flavorful barbecued treat. Based on some reading I’d done on the blogosphere prior to our besties date, I knew that I wanted to have a booze-infused juice to go along with my dinner. I had such a good cocktail – kale, pineapple, orange, lime, jalapeño + tequila. It was like nature’s margarita – so good!

The three of us lingered at the table long after our meals were over, laughing and chatting all the while. This is such a sweet place to post up with cherished friends – it’s comfy, cozy, and there are delectable treats galore. What’s not to love?

P.S. There were no good photos online of Bolsa Mercado and I forgot to snap one while we were there, so this gorgeous image from pharmacie_la’s Instagram account will have to suffice!