Birthday Surprises

IMG_1937 (1)I have been basking in my 30th birthday celebrations for nearly three weeks now, reveling in the thoughtfulness of my loved ones, all of whom made me feel so incredibly special on my big day. First of all, I have to announce that the $30 for 30 campaign raised $2,500 – I am so blown away! Thank you, thank you to those who gave to Touch A Life – your gift means the world to me and to the amazing children in our care.

IMG_1939My birthday party itself was an absolute joy. Kyla and Laura planned a gorgeous evening that started with Mambo taxis, chips, and guacamole at Mi Cocina, where we sat in a special secretive bar area on the top floor of the restaurant. When I walked in, I was so stunned to see my mom there – she had flown in from Chicago just to celebrate my birthday! I was so excited. Isn’t that such an amazing gesture? It meant so much!

IMG_1866 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset IMG_1816After noshing on beverages and snacks, we made our way over to Rise for soups, soufflés, and Champagne. We got to sit in the most gorgeous part of the restaurant, a cove of sorts surrounded by birch trees encircled in sparkly white lights. I looked around the table in awe as I thanked God for the amazing women who have become my home team here in Dallas. I felt so blessed.

IMG_1820 IMG_1938 IMG_1812The girls presented me with the most thoughtful gift – a darling clutch filled with 30 letters from 30 special people in my life. I struggled not to cry as I thanked them for this amazing gesture. Since birthdays should last all month long (right?!), I have been reading one letter every day, and I am seriously overwhelmed by the kind things my loved ones have written.

IMG_1845 IMG_1858On my actual birthday, the 3rd, Mom joined me at the ESPA at the Joule Hotel, which was the perfect birthday treat. I hadn’t been to the spa since my bachelorette party and I had been dying to go back, and the whole day was made so much better with my mom in tow! We had coffee and donuts at Weekend Coffee before spending four blissful hours at the spa, indulging in our treatments, our bento box lunches, and the complimentary shortbread cookies that seemed to continually reappear at our sides. It was dreamy.

That night we spent a low-key evening in with James and the pups, noshing on pizza and drinking wine and reflecting on the whole whirlwind celebration. Loved ones near and far made me feel so incredibly spoiled; it was almost difficult to take it in. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to enter my 30s. Cheers to an amazing year ahead!

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Week & End

325348c2dc8ccaf7872e680798ef5960Happy Friday! We’ve had dreary weather here in Dallas lately but the forecast has taken a turn – the high is supposed to be in the 70s for the next week! So that means tomorrow Callie is going on a long walk at White Rock Lake with her furry friend, Franklin (Kyla’s sweet pup). Tonight I’m meeting my girlfriends at Mi Cocina for our favorite Mambo Taxis, which I think is just the most perfect way to cap off the work week.

Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy some links from around the world wide web!

Last week, the daughter of Touch A Life’s co-founders, Tatum Cope, wrote an incredibly moving blog post about meeting her birth mom in Vietnam this past summer. You’ll have to keep reminding yourself that she is only 16 years old – her wisdom definitely transcends her age.

I enjoy maintaining a healthy lifestyle, one that focuses on consuming wholesome, quality, unprocessed foods and exercising daily, but I always like to treat myself (see: Mambo Taxis). In this day and age, it sometimes feels like a crime to enjoy an occasional dessert, a beautifully-garnished cocktail, or, my favorite, a glorious pizza binge. So on that note, Sarah Yates’s hilarious definitive guide to healthy eating cracked me up. The blogger is actually a very clean eater (her healthy diet is a tool she uses to fight against Crohn’s disease, a condition from which she suffers) so to see that even she is annoyed by the contradictions present in everyday media was a relief. I think she sums it up best here: “There is no one right answer, no one right way, no one size fits all approach to health.” Amen!

Kyla was the first person to tell me that, in spite of my (mostly) outgoing personality, I am actually an introvert because I gain energy from being alone (vs. being with others). I found this to be quite the revelation, so I’ve shared the insight with others, including Korena, who realized that she is an outgoing introvert, too. She sent me this hilarious link and I confess that it. is. so. me. Especially #3, #4 (sorry, Mom!), #6, and #7.

I have been slowly but surely making the transition to using more natural beauty products, and based on this recommendation, I snagged Thayers Witch Hazel Toner with Rose Petal. I love it already!

Last night we made these black bean burritos and they were delicious (we also learned how to make quick-pickled onions – who knew it was so easy?!). The bean filling would be good with just about everything. In fact, I used the mixture to make a quick breakfast taco this morning – so tasty!

Image via lark & linen

Week & End

IMG_8696Happy weekend! What are you up to over the next couple of days? Becca and Mark get in from Nashville late tonight, so James and I are going to eat the yummy pot roast we put into the crock pot this morning and snuggle with Callie until they arrive – I can’t wait to see them! Becca and I are taking a City Surf class in the morning, then the boys will join us as we meet some friends from college for lunch at Good 2 Go Taco. In the afternoon, when Becca and Mark head to a wedding, Laura and I are going to meet up to attend the Camille Styles Entertaining book party! I’m so excited – all of Camille’s other parties have looked so beautiful, and I’m sure the Dallas event will be no exception. On Sunday, we’re going to eat more tacos and Tex-Mex, and in the evening, Laura and Kyla will come over for our annual besties Christmas dinner. We’re going to whip up some of this festive punch to drink alongside a harvest salad, tortilla soup, and pie. There’s so much goodness to look forward to!

Have a great weekend and enjoy some links from around the interwebs!

I saw this carry on cocktail kit on Instagram the other day and thought that the idea was brilliant. The packaging is so dang cute, too.

It might be time to face the facts: I am addicted to Serial. Like, want-to-cancel-all-of-my-plans-so-I-can-listen-to-more-podcasts addicted. Becca sent me this great link that helps listeners associate photos with the characters in the real life story, and while I love the way the podcasts force you to really hone in and listen actively, it’s nice to have a visual of the people mentioned throughout the episodes. I also love that friends and even local businesses have been hosting listening parties – it conjures up images of fireside chats and evenings spent listening to programs on the radio. So good.

My friends Natalie & Andrea posted a gift guide on their blog and I love everything they selected! I especially adore the shout-out they gave to me and the Clare Vivier coin purses that I gifted to our bridesmaids at our wedding. Their sweet words about our special day were so touching – thanks, gals!

Per our birthday tradition, Erin sent me our favorite Momofuku Milk Bar B-Day Truffles and they are unbelievably delicious. I actually can’t believe that I still have a few left – it would be so easy to devour them in minutes – but I’m glad that I saved some so that I can enjoy one (or two) for dessert after tonight’s pot roast.

As is typical this time of year, there are so many amazing movies coming out. I want to see The Imitation Game, Exodus: God and Kings, Wild (I read the book last year), and Unbroken (I’m reading the book now), to name a few. P.S. We saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay before Thanksgiving and loved it – definitely a must-see!

Photo by Briana Wollman for James’s 30th birthday party 

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.