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!

Week & End

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Weekend, weekend, weekend! What are you up to? This week was full of lots of goodness, including several girly evenings – dinner with a dear college friend on Tuesday, our monthly Girls Night In at Korena’s on Wednesday (which included takeout Thai food, a late-night Pinkberry run & wine on the rooftop), and a going-away party for our sweet friend, Karen, at HG Suply Co. last night. This weekend holds so much promise because there’s literally nothing on our calendar. Lots of sunshine, food, friends, reading, puppy loving, and rest will be involved, that’s for sure.

Enjoy some great links from around the web!

My newest post on Darling Magazine’s blog is up! Need inspiration for a Father’s Day gift? Look no further than this fun guide that I put together. P.S. Word on the street is that Darling’s quarterly print publication is now being sold at Nordstrom – too cool!

I’m not a huge shopper but I have spurts where I can’t stop browsing the interwebs for cute pieces to add to my wardrobe. Though I am coveting these sandals in a major way, these Target shoes would be so much kinder for my wallet (and right now, they’re buy one, get one half off!). Speaking of deals, Korena wore this lion smock dress to Girls Night In and I want it so bad (it looked amazing and comfy on her, win-win). It’s even 25% off! Is that a sign?

I feel ridiculous even mentioning this because if you are a person living in America you already know, but I am so excited that The Fault in Our Stars comes out today. My book club gals and I read John Green’s incredibly riveting novel and we’re waiting for the dust to settle before heading out to see the movie in a couple of weeks (we’ll be having cocktails here first). My best gal, Becca, got a chance to see a screening in Nashville this week and she said that she was glad to have read this review ahead of time – it set her expectations in just the right place because, after all, it can be a bit nerve-wracking to a see a movie about a book you truly love. Will it live up to the hype? Stay tuned.

This recipe is a really creative (and healthy) twist on one of my favorite weeknight meals, the burrito bowl.

I got to meet with my friend Lauren this week to dream up some ways to partner together with Touch A Life, and we got sidetracked and started talking about a ridiculously amazing photo shoot she got to do in Paris this spring. These images are jaw-dropping (you can see them herehere) and I am going to follow Lauren’s lead and book a shoot as a treat/souvenir for myself the next time I’m in Paris (whenever that may be…le sigh). Of course, I am also going to be copying the tulle look whenever this mythical trip to Paris occurs (I also love LBK’s honesty – like, “no, I don’t own this outfit & actually it was basically stapled together.” So good.)

Image via designlovefest

Week & End

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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.