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!

Week & End

47973f8e4e7597b1289a1ad1324f3c20Happy Saturday, all! How is your weekend going so far? The weather is so blissful here, which means we’re spending lots of time outside. We’re taking our highly anticipated coffee brewing class this afternoon (so excited!) and then meeting friends for Dallas’s best barbecue and, for dessert, ice-cold beers. Tomorrow I’m having brunch with girlfriends and trying this recipe. So much loveliness!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy some fun links from around the web!

I think these produce tips for storing, cleaning and using fruits & vegetables are super helpful! I need to print out this list and keep it handy in my pantry.

It’s that time of year: Christmas gift-hunting season! I love, love, love buying gifts for my favorite people – I like dreaming up perfect present ideas, hunting down deals, writing cards, the whole she-bang. But sometimes less is more (and by that, I mean spending less = more), so this recipe for homemade cookie butter looks like the perfect and cost-effective addition to my holiday gift list. Wouldn’t it be a great treat for loved ones, hostesses, and coworkers alike?

This has been all over the world wide web this week so it’s probably not news, but I am obsessed with the Madewell x Sézane collaboration that debuted on Tuesday. I want every single piece in the collection, especially this, thisthis, and these.

In case you missed it, our wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty on Wednesday and our favorite date nights were featured on Southern Weddings yesterday! I’m so very thankful for these fun opportunities to share the photos that we’ll cherish forever.

Okay, this 1-minute coffee cake in a mug looks like the coziest (and easiest!) way to indulge in a fall breakfast. I plan to make both the regular and pumpkin versions of this treat soon and very soon.

Image via Silver blonde

Mondays

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Even if you love your job (like I do) and even if you consciously attempt to express and practice gratitude at every chance you get (like I do), Mondays can still be shrouded with a cloud of gloom. Weekends are just so delicious, after all, making the Mondays that follow them a little hard to swallow.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I was inspired by Camille Styles’s post about looking forward to Mondays instead of dreading them, so I tried item #1 on her list: schedule a lunch date at a fantastic spot with a darling friend. I woke up so excited to spend time with Heather and catch up over a midday meal at CBD Provisions. After some meetings, calls, and e-mails, I headed to the Joule Hotel, the chic spot that houses both CBD and Weekend Coffee, the latter of which, as you know, I have been dying to try. I was a bit early so I popped into the coffee shop for some journaling and a cappuccino (which was the best I’ve had in a very long while – so creamy and delicious), enjoying the beautiful space and the tasty caffeinated beverage (pictured above on that super cool wooden tray, which, of course, now I want). I moved along to CBD to meet Heather and her adorable baby boy, Finn, for lunch, and we caught up over spicy quinoa bowls, which were unbelievably good. The entire adventure was the perfect midday treat, and the whole experience – spending time with a great friend, exploring a new place, enjoying delicious goodies – gave me such a great boost, motivating me to accomplish my tasks for the rest of the day, a goal that can be tough every afternoon but especially on Mondays. I’m thinking that this kind of special event could become a permanent fixture in my game plan for Mondays to come…

Happy Fourth of July!

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Fourth of July is here, hip, hip, hooray! The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday – kind of surprising, right? I absolutely love Christmas and Thanksgiving (and my birthday, too, if that counts) but the Fourth of July encompasses so many of my favorite things (fireworks, barbecues, ice-cold margaritas, time with family and friends, afternoons on the water, American pride) during my very favorite season (sweet, sweet summertime). This year is especially great because Fourth of July lands on a Friday, giving us three whole days to celebrate America’s independence. Since I’m not near an ocean or a lake this year (and since I think that spending the Fourth near water is 100% required), I plan to pool-hop my way through Dallas. Laura and I are going to soak up the sun at FOE tomorrow after meeting for tacos, and we’ll reconvene on Saturday at Kyla’s pool, where I’m planning to make this guacamole and these margaritas. Fun in the sun awaits indeed, folks. Have an amazing holiday weekend!

P.S. Just in case you’re in a blog-reading mood, here are some fun links from around the web:

I made this  raspberry granola today and it turned out so deliciously! I think that next time I would put the granola on two baking sheets instead of one – I like my granola crispy enough to withstand some almond milk or yogurt, and I think some of mine didn’t get cooked thoroughly enough – but I’m pleased with the result nonetheless.

Laura found this great deal on Gilt Groupe for Weekend Coffee (remember how I said I’ve been wanting to go there?) and a group of us united forces and signed up for a private coffee brewing class – so excited for that!

I love using Airbnb when I travel (I’ve used it in Palm Springs, New York & Austin) and I’ve always wanted to utilize the service during a trip abroad. Jordan Ferney’s post on booking an Airbnb accommodation in Paris is bookmark-worthy – I am definitely using this on my next trip to France!

Not that I really need any more reasons to love tacos, but this simple little recipe (of the breakfast variety) is another one to add to the list.

Speaking of food, I love Fourth of July treats so much that I wrote a blog post about it. And now I’m craving baked beans & broccoli slaw in a major way.

Photo via Coffee in the Mountains

Week & End

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Friday already?! I guess time really does fly when you’re cooped up in the house for a few days – once I got back into my routine after I started recovering, I feel like I blinked and each day was over in a flash. What’s on your agenda for this weekend? Tomorrow James & I are going on a Stand Up Paddleboarding adventure at White Rock Lake with some friends (preceded by breakfast tacos and followed by margaritas), and then I’m heading to Victor Tango’s for a birthday dinner to celebrate my dear friend Kristen. James & I embarked on a major closet clean-out last week, and we’re nearly finished – I think on Sunday we’ll have just the time we need to conclude the decluttering process. It feels so good to be organized and not weighed down by so much stuff, don’t you think?

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

I saw the poster above on Bri Emery’s Instagram this week and I wanted it for our house (the reminder is so, so good and I love the color scheme)…then, lo and behold, I discoverd that it’s available for free in Yield Design Co.’s shop – FOR FREE, PEOPLE! All you have to do is pay $2 shipping. What are you waiting for?!

I have been longing to check out two fabulous-looking new(ish) coffee shops in town: Weekend Coffee & The Wild Detectives. I need to hit up these spots soon (and very soon).

I love this peek into the refrigerator of Courtney McBroom (of Momofuku Milk Bar fame).

As a celebration of the closet-clean out (I seriously got rid of so many shoes – I can’t wait to sell them at our garage sale), I figured that these gorgeous Joie sandals had to find their way into my collection (thanks, Mom!).

Got a birthday coming up but not quite sure how to celebrate it? Consider donating your special day to Touch A Life. In lieu of gifts, ask your loved ones to support Touch A Life’s work in Ghana. Host a party so you can celebrate your birthday and thank your family & friends for their giving spirits!

Image & poster via Yield Design Co.