Week & End

IMG_0013Happy weekend! Are you up to anything exciting? It will be a low-key weekend around here, as it usually takes me a whole week to really get back into the swing of things after returning from Ghana (in fact, my jet lag typically hits me most acutely about six days after I’ve been home – what’s up with that?!). Yoga and City Surf will definitely be in the mix, as will some recipe-testing (likely this salad chock full of summer produce and this fun twist on pasta salad) and maybe some tacos and margaritas for good measure. Lots of reading, too! I’m finally the next in line to pick up Go Set A Watchman at the library. I devoured J. Courtney Sullivan’s novels, Commencement and Maine, while traveling to West Africa – highly recommend!

Enjoy some links from around the web, and have a great weekend!

Is it just me or does this double-chocolate layer cake look in.sane? Now, to find a good excuse to bake it…

There are several new spots around town that I’ve been wanting to pop into – Local Press + Brew, Read Between the Lines, Rapscallion, and especially Set & Co., a gorgeous home goods store in Oak Cliff. Korena snapped the photo of the interior of the store shown above – isn’t it heavenly? I want one of every item, please.

Allison sent me this article about wellness and I found it really, really interesting and accurate in so many ways. Check it out; I’d love to know what you think.

This home tour gave me some serious decor inspiration. The plants, the styling, the guest bedding, the gallery walls, the subway tiles in the kitchen – I love it all.

For the past couple of years I’ve been watching as Nicaragua grows as a tourist destination, and this post pushed me over the edge: I’m ready to plan a trip.

Photo by Korena Bolding Sinnett

Around Here

Party DecorWow, time sure does fly – December 10th already?! I apologize for my absence on the blog lately – but then again, I don’t because so much goodness has been happening around here and I’ve stepped away from my online presence to soak it all in.

The holidays are such a magical time of year, aren’t they? We had an amazing time in Chicago for Thanksgiving, and last week was spent celebrating James and my birthdays, which are just four days apart (so fun!). My 29th birthday was on Wednesday, the 3rd, and Touch A Life has a policy that gives employees the day off on their special day, which is such a treat. I got my stretch on at yoga and my sweat on at City Surf, treated myself to my favorite juice and smoothie at The Gem, picked up some birthday goodies at J. Crew, and got a foot massage at my favorite place. James and I noshed on filet mignon, barbecue ribs, creamy spinach dip, and French fries at Houston’s for dinner, toasting with martinis (for me) and whiskey (for him). It was the perfect day.

James’s 30th birthday was on Sunday and I threw him a surprise party! It was the best. Nearly 35 of our closest friends came to celebrate James and he was so totally shocked when he walked into our house – we nailed the surprise! My super talented friend Bri took photos of the day, which I’ll share here soon. I had so much fun planning the decor (a few party remnants are pictured above), snacks, and drinks, and all of our friends pitched in with setting up, throwing James off, and keeping the secret about the party. It is the best party I’ve ever hosted, filled with so much fun, love, and good food. James had a fantastic time, which made me so happy.

Holiday events are in full swing, which I love! Tonight is a Christmas-themed girls night in at Korena’s, and tomorrow the Black Frames are playing at a charity wrap party hosted by Fullosophie. My dear bestie Becca and her boyfriend Mark are coming in from Nashville to attend a wedding this weekend, and I can’t wait to see them (and eat tacos at the best spot in town). Sunday night marks Laura, Kyla, and my fifth annual Christmas besties dinner, and the following day is my favorite event of the season (tied with the besties dinner, of course) – the Cone Christmas dinner at Patrick and Lauren’s, where Patrick cooks an entire holiday meal filled with delicious seasonal favorites. James and I are going to check out the Highland Park lights with Callie and hot chocolate in tow, and we’re scooting down to Austin the weekend before Christmas as a special treat to one another (also with Callie in tow, as we’ll be staying at my favorite hotel).

I’ve been cooking some of Shauna Niequist’s recipes, as I planned, so I’ll be sharing a recipe tomorrow, as well as some fun posts the rest of the month! But if I go MIA again, have no fear – I’m just enjoying all that the holiday season has to offer, namely the fact that we get to spend this month thinking of the amazing Christmas story and Jesus’s birth. What a beautiful season – I hope you are loving it as much as I am!

Taco Stop

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This morning was one of the really great ones. I felt invigorated and all sorts of hopped up on endorphins, thanks to an early personal training session with one of my City Surf instructors (who took pity on my measly ankle and offered me some one-on-one time to get me back into action). While on my way to the training site, I spotted a pretty little taco shop that I’d never visited (or heard of) before, and I knew that my post-workout breakfast plans were set. My instructor confirmed that the place was delicious, so after getting my sweat on, I excitedly drove a few blocks to Taco Stop.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Let’s pause and take a moment to appreciate the fresh, bright decor at this lovely little place. Doesn’t it look pretty in the morning sunlight?

photo 4

I ordered two breakfast tacos – one with bacon and eggs, and one with potato, cheese, and eggs – and one of each of the salsas (green and red, of course). I added a bubbly, refreshing Topo Chico to the mix and the kind gentlemen working in the kitchen threw in a fresh black coffee for free (!!!). The tacos were piping hot and, as expected, totally delicious. I liked that the tacos were on the smaller side, too – you know that I love me a beast of a taco like the ones that are served at Good 2 Go but I usually reserve those treats for weekends when I can take a nap afterwards. The smaller tacos are certainly way more conducive to having a productive workday (as is the black coffee, which I am slowly but surely acquiring a taste for) – they’re filling but not so rich that I enter into a food coma immediately after consuming them.

I took a minute to reflect on my morning as a whole while I noshed on my tacos. I felt invigorated by doing something out of the norm, even though it was something as simple as trying a new local spot. I savored the quiet time I had to sit and enjoy my breakfast as the world hurried on by. It’s nice to pause in the middle of the work week to  treat yourself to some peace and quiet (and coffee and tacos) every now and then, isn’t it?

P.S. I am going to continue bookmarking all of these recipe & restaurant-related posts in my Taste & Try folder on the sidebar but I’m going to remove the T & T verbiage from the blog post’s titles (just to keep things simple and clean). I hope you don’t mind! All of the content and foodie goodness and Taste & Try vibes will remain the same, I promise.

Week & End

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Happy Friday! I am so blessed to have a job that I love but I must admit that I very much look forward to my weekends. This week was full of greatness – Mambo Taxis at Mi Cocina with girlfriends to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, cooking adventures in the kitchen with James, a lunch meeting with our favorite videographer, one of my most favorite Girls Nights In to date at Korena’s (complete with build-your-own rice bowls and champagne on the roof), and the launch of Coffee & Tacos, of course! This weekend should be fairly low-key, as there’s not much on the calendar. I have a Skype Happy Hour date tonight with Erin, and I plan to go to City Surf tomorrow with Laura, celebrating our great workout with tacos and margaritas afterwards. I always love taking Callie on walks, especially since the weather has been so fantastic, and I am looking forward to soaking up some sun in the backyard while I finish up The Goldfinch. I most definitely will be poring over the wedding photos that Heather sent us, which we got this week – she is so beyond talented, and isn’t the way she packaged the photos so gorgeous?! It was such a treat that she gave us some actual prints, too! Happy early Mother’s Day to all of the beautiful mommas out there, especially mine!

This is not a new idea to those of you who are avid blog readers, but each Friday I plan to share some fun links from around the interwebs. I always love setting aside some time to scroll through blogs that post weekly recaps, which feels like a perfectly suitable activity for lazy Saturday mornings that include coffee and breakfast in bed and wearing pajamas for way longer than publicly acceptable. So enjoy these fun finds from this week:

I already sent Mom her Mother’s Day gift from Andrew & me (I hope she loves it!!) but if I hadn’t picked anything for her yet, I’d send her one of these gorgeous gift boxes. And then I would send one to myself.

My childhood friends Andrea & Natalie are just about to launch Yoga+ in Chicago. The concept, per their website, is this: “Our idea of the perfect friend date involves something active (yoga) + learning something new. Each month with Yoga+ we’ll offer just that! A vinyasa-style yoga class followed by an interactive educational event surrounding one of our other favorite hobbies or an activity that we’ve been itching to learn more about.” Their first event is a floral arrangement workshop – I wish I lived in Chicago so that I could go! I’ve already told them I would love to help host a Dallas event if they ever venture down to Texas because I think the idea is that fabulous.

I always come home from one trip ready to plan another (which, I recently read, is actually a good idea). Bri Emery’s travel posts on Tulum and Thailand have already got me daydreaming of new and exciting places.

Currently coveting this Salute the Sun pullover.

Okay, these house plant cupcakes are simply fantastic.