Lately

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetHi, hi! I’m sending my sincerest apologies to my dear sweet Coffee & Tacos, this amazing outlet and space for creativity, for not gracing its presence in far too long, but I am back! I think after I wrote this exciting post I wanted to let everything sink in for awhile. It is so surreal and amazing that we are going to be parents!

IMG_3412 IMG_3425Since my last post, James & I traveled to both Seattle and Florida as part of a whirlwind, just-what-we-needed anniversary trip. We had originally scheduled a trip to Puerto Rico that got thwarted by the Zika virus, but God knew that we’d have a much better time eating and exploring our way through Seattle with our bffs (seriously, there is nothing cooler than being pregnant at the same time as your bestie) and then spending a relaxing week in Florida sans plans, agendas, and to-do lists. Baby girl made an appearance in some beach photos and James & I had so much quality time together during our lazy days spent swimming in the gulf, eating at the beach bar, reading good books, walking through the mangroves, and watching the sunset. The whole adventure was good for the soul.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset Processed with VSCO with c1 preset Processed with VSCO with c1 preset Processed with VSCO with f2 preset Processed with VSCO with g3 preset Processed with VSCO with c1 presetLaura got married in the most gorgeous wedding ceremony of the year at such a cool local venue. She was a knockout bride who was so calm, cool, and collected. She and her husband, Curtis, are the perfect match, and I felt so honored to be a part of their special day. James got to play in a band during the reception and he had way too much fun – he’s such an amazing performer. I blame it on the pregnancy hormones but I got a little emotional when he whipped out his violin for a cover of Wagon Wheel – he’s so dang talented! The band wore rust-colored tuxes that nearly stole the show.

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We’re trying to pack a few more trips into our calendar before I can’t fly anymore, so we’re heading to Palm Springs to spend this weekend with my family – I am beyond excited. I haven’t been to Palm Springs since this amazing girls trip a few years ago, and I can’t wait to go back. We rented a super cool house and we actually haven’t made any real plans, so I know the weekend will be a perfect blend of relaxation and activity. Plus, I can’t wait to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mama and my baby girl!

The following weekend we’ll be spending time in Chicago while our dear friend, Patrick, shoots a legacy video that will feature my incredible great-uncle and his twin brother, my grandfather, who passed away when I was very young. It’s a project our family has wanted to work on for such a long time so I’m grateful it’s coming together now. My great-uncle John is nearly 95 years old but doesn’t act a day over 30 – he is truly a rock star with so many incredible stories to tell.

I had a lovely case of strep throat that I battled last week but thank goodness preggos can take Zpack and the unseasonably cool Dallas weather was conducive to spending hours in bed reading good books and waiting for James to bring me tacos (naturally). I finally started feeling like myself again on Monday, so I’m grateful I feel better in time for our fun trip.

There’s so much more to catch up on so stay tuned. It feels so good to hop back into a writing rhythm. Happy (almost) weekend!

Santa Monica & Malibu

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLast weekend my mom and I snuck away to the best coast for a girly getaway. Santa Monica and Malibu are two of our most favorite places in the world, and while we love exploring new spots, sometimes it’s so comforting and relaxing to revisit an old haunt. We both agreed that we love doing this because even though there’s always new sights to see and restaurants to try in LA, we don’t feel pressured to do anything new because we’ve already been to the city so many times. It truly feels like home at this point (and it was my home for five whole years), so coming back for a relaxed weekend was an absolutely perfect plan.

IMG_2361We checked into our favorite hotel in Santa Monica on Thursday night and we were feeling a bit worn out after a few travel delays, so we cozied up in our plush robes and ordered one of our favorite treats, the famous salad pizza from Abbot’s Pizza Company. Topped with greens, feta, vinaigrette, and the ripest avocados (and accompanied by the most delectable spicy sauce), this pizza is such a special culinary experience.

IMG_2374We both woke up super early on Friday morning thanks to the time change (a daily occurrence for Mom, a rarity for me) so we lingered over breakfast by the pool, enjoying eggs and crispy potatoes with caramelized onions and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and New York-style bagels and grapefruit that tasted better than candy. We headed out for a long walk on the beach – the weather was truly perfect and I am always so inspired by the nature and colors on the best coast. It was such a great way to kick off our first day.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAfterwards, we took a beautiful drive north on Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, the city that stole my heart 12 (!!) years ago when I started college at Pepperdine University. Our first stop was cult favorite Lily’s for the best breakfast burritos (appropriate to eat during any time of day) that you will ever have in your life. They’re made with refried beans, scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese and they’re wrapped in the softest flour tortilla known to mankind. The burritos are served with the most delicious spicy green sauce and a mild red salsa. The flavors are just amazing. We needed another long walk after such a delectable treat so we headed to Westward Beach to watch the (huge!) waves and stick our toes in the sand. It was heavenly. As an added bonus, we popped over to my gorgeous alma mater, Pepperdine, to hike around the campus (and if you have ever been to Pepperdine, you understand why I’m using the word hike) and take in some gorgeous views of the ocean. We capped off our Malibu day with frozen yogurt before heading back to Santa Monica.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_2408 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_2416Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetEven though we had intended for our weekend to be a girls getaway, of course we couldn’t exclude brother-bestie Andrew, who lives in LA. He met us for dinner at cute, cute Pono Burger (I just salivated thinking about their fries + dipping sauce) before we all crashed at the hotel for the night.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_2477 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOn Saturday we had a super fun and inspiring outing at The Broad, LA’s newest contemporary art museum. Curated and financed by the Broad family, this gorgeous museum is free to the public. You do have to reserve tickets in advance, but Andrew was able to score some from a friend who was no longer able to use his. Truly, this museum is the most perfectly curated space I have ever seen. I really do love most modern art, and the collection The Broad has is so interesting and amazingly displayed. My favorite pieces were every sculpture by Jeff Koons, the mind-blowing Infinity Room, and the hauntingly beautiful “Visitors” video installation by Ragnar Kjartansson (those vocal harmonies!). A note for potential visitors: we had to sign up to get a spot in line to go into the Infinity Room, as each person gets to go in alone for 45 seconds, making it take nearly an eternity to earn your turn. Our estimated wait time was legitimately five hours, so we thought we would just skip it. We ended up heading out for a quick Parisian-inspired lunch at Pitchoun Bakery and as we were finishing up, we got a text message that our turn was coming up two hours earlier than anticipated! Since The Broad kindly allows visitors to exit and reenter the museum, it was no problem to hop back in to take advantage of our time in the special exhibit. I wished I had 45 minutes to spend inside of it instead of 45 seconds, but the experience was so neat nonetheless.

IMG_2453 IMG_2553 IMG_2499 IMG_2471 IMG_2488 IMG_2451 IMG_2558Afterwards we retired at our beloved hotel for the night. Mom and I caught the sunset and we all agreed that, even though Mom and I had just enjoyed salad pizza two nights prior, it was in the cards for us as we planned on having a low-key evening in. We watched The Martian (I loved it!) and noshed on our pizza before drifting off to dreamland.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOn Sunday Andrew had an early soccer game so he snuck out before I was awake. It was really rainy and windy, so Mom and I had breakfast at the hotel and then I curled back up in bed to read for two hours (I was so sucked into Room that I couldn’t put it down). When the weather started to clear a pinch, we headed to Abbot Kinney, one of our favorite parts of Venice. We put our name in for lunch at The Butcher’s Daughter and had an hour to spare. We sought refuge from the rain at Salt & Straw for the creamiest ice cream (dessert first, right) and we perused the TOMS store (now I want these and these), Cuyana, and lots of pretty home decor stores. Our meal at The Butcher’s Daughter was impeccable (cauliflower grits with cheddar cheese and mushrooms, the best ever avocado eggs benedict, green juice, the tastiest flat white) and the interior design was so inspiring – I wanted the staff to come make over my house!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset It was time for me to head home to Dallas after that. The weekend felt too short, as usual, but it also felt packed with so much love, delectable food, memory-making, and time with the best mom and brother in the whole wide world. I am grateful!

 

Lake Tulloch

IMG_8154Happy Labor Day Weekend! We are jetting back to the best coast to spend the long weekend at Lake Tulloch, one of our most favorite places in the world. Karli’s family owns the most gorgeous lake house in northern California, so our core of best friends from college and our spouses gathers there annually to soak up the sun and play in the water together. We always have the most perfect time, so I’m counting down the seconds until we arrive! Enjoy some photos from our last trip, and have a wonderful weekend!

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Weekend Trip

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetHappy Friday! What are you up to this weekend? I am heading to Louisville to visit Erin and I am so, so excited. It’s been a great week full of puppy snuggles (Coach came home on Easter!), fun lunch dates, baking this cake from scratch (and eating leftovers every single day since), and celebrating our anniversary, of course! Even though the week was full of so much goodness, I am totally ready for the weekend, and I can’t wait to gallivant around Lou with my best girl.

P.S. Here are some fun photos from my last trip to Louisville to visit Erin + some favorite picture from our adventures at the Kentucky Derby. We’ve made the best memories together – cheers to millions more!

Los Angeles

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James and I had such a good time visiting Andrew in Los Angeles with my parents a few weekends ago. It’s always such a treat to soak up the California coast with all of my five senses – taking in the rich hue of the ocean, inhaling the salty breeze, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, listening to street musicians, and, of course, tasting so many delicious treats. Andrew moved to Culver City in the spring and it was our first time visiting him in his new ‘hood. He works downtown L.A. and it was fun to have him give us a tour of his favorite spots around his office, especially since the downtown area of Los Angeles has been revitalized so much since I moved away from Santa Monica five years ago.

James and I arrived in Los Angeles super early on Friday morning, and Mom and Dad had come in the night before. We checked out our digs at The Culver Hotel and waited for Public School 310, the cute restaurant across the street, to open for lunch service. We enjoyed tons of good bites before heading to the beach to soak up the sunshine and watch the waves crash against the sand. It was a bit of a trek to make it out to the water, thanks to the notoriously bad L.A. traffic, but it was so, so worth it. The four of us just sat on a bench on the pier for a good long while, gazing out at the water and nearly nodding off as we relaxed in the sun.

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While waiting for Andrew to get off of work, we had cocktails and appetizers at the hotel. The menu at the hotel is fantastic and the quality of the food and beverages is so, so good. We loved the popcorn, the ahi tuna, the hummus, and every delicious drink on the bar menu. We met Andrew at his apartment for homemade happy hour (round two), and we walked down the street for dinner at a sushi restaurant that had a bustling outdoor patio. It was so good to all be together!

On Saturday, we slept in before heading out on an adventure to downtown L.A. Andrew took us to so many cool spots, like Grand Central Market, Guisado’s, his gorgeous office building, and Pershing Square. We peeped into the Ace Hotel, Aesop, and Bottega Louie along the way, taking photos and scoring treats at the French bakery for a mid-afternoon snack (think dreamy bites like macarons, lemon tarts, and chocolate chip cookies). Andrew then took us to Perch, a beautiful bar that overlooked the whole city. It was so cool to sit amongst the skyscrapers, relaxing under umbrellas with ice-cold drinks as a light breeze cooled us off.

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From there, we made a pit-stop in Koreatown at The Line Hotel and, well, you know how I feel about our time at The Commissary. Oh my, it was magical.

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The Commissary

Totally stuffed to the gills, we opted against a formal dinner. Instead, we invited my best friend Karli and her husband Nick, who are also Culver City residents, and Andrew’s best friends, Tanner and Taylor, to have snacks and sips with us at The Culver Hotel. It was so, so much fun to catch up with Tanner, Taylor, and Nick (who I hadn’t seen since our wedding!) and to cozy up with Kar to catch up on all of our recent adventures, including her amazing five-year anniversary trip to Europe.

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The next morning we brunched at Akasha and the food and atmosphere were both divine. As an aside, a word about pumpkin spice season: I know it is totally overrated and overdone, but if you find yourself breakfasting at Akasha this fall, please do yourself a favor and order the pumpkin spice latte. It is so dreamy. From there, we went to one of my favorite spots on the West Side: Abbot Kinney Boulevard. We browsed the perfectly curated shops and paused for photo ops, lingering over our last few hours together with refreshing lemonade and lots of laughs.

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There you have it! What a wonderful family weekend – our first with James as an official member of the crew! Until next time, sweet, sweet Los Angeles…

Weekend Trip

Nashville

I’m so sorry for not sharing a Week & End post on Friday but time got the best of me! I’m in Nashville for work (and play – I get to stay with one of my very best friends, Becca, who is the best tour guide) and I’m loving every moment in this sweet southern city. I head back to Dallas tomorrow and I promise to share a great recap of this Tennessee gem soon.

Happy Monday!

The Commissary at The Line Hotel

The Commissary

Considering that eating is one of the Johnson family’s favorite hobbies, it should come as no surprise that we consumed so many delicious treats at plenty of wonderful restaurants while in Los Angeles this past weekend – kale salads and Mexican Cokes at Public School 310, baked coconut bites and green juice at Grand Central Market, chicken tinga tacos and limon agua fresca at Guisado’s, tuna tartare with avocado & wonton chips and fresh cucumber mint martinis at The Culver Hotel, polenta cake Eggs benedict and pumpkin spice lattes at Akasha. But if I had to pick a favorite place, my vote would be cast in honor of The Commissary at The Line Hotel.

I noticed photos of the beautiful restaurant on social media outlets recently (it’s designed to look like a gorgeous greenhouse so it’s hard to miss) and was intrigued not only by The Commissary’s space but by The Line Hotel as well, seeing as it’s the newest hipster hang-out in Koreatown (and home to a Poketo outpost, a fantastic shop that sells gifts, home goods, and accessories). Andrew gave us a fantastic tour of downtown Los Angeles on Saturday (including visits to his super cool office, the aforementioned Grand Central Market and Guisado’s, and Perch for rooftop cocktails overlooking the city) and we were preparing to wind down before making a last-minute impromptu stop to peek into The Commissary.

Mom, James, and I all saw (and loved!) Chef, and the visionary behind The Commissary is none other than Roy Choi, the culinary genius who Jon Favreau’s character is loosely based upon in the film. So it was no surprise that the food was at the restaurant was absolutely stellar. We only intended on having a late-afternoon cocktail but we were so drawn in by the menu (which is comprised only of pictures, so you can choose what you’d like to eat but the preparation ultimately ends up being a supremely delicious surprise) that we tried a few snacks…before having a few more drinks…and then eating a few more snacks. Check out the menu below – isn’t the choose-your-own adventure a fantastic concept?

Commissary Menu

We noshed on the corn, French fries, hash browns, deviled eggs, grilled cheese sandwich, and club sandwich (don’t worry, we ate a few extra salads and drank green juice to counterbalance these fabulously carb-laden choices throughout the rest of the trip) and everything was so tasty – if pressed, I would choose all of these selections again, and then on top of that, I’d get the carrots, the fish, and the tomatoes, as well as several more flutes of the delicious sparkling Bordeaux that I drank (that was served icy cold, just the way I like it).

The vibe of the restaurant itself was just mesmerizing. For someone who loves clean lines and plants everywhere you look, The Commissary is heaven. There is seating outside of the greenhouse space as well, and the back section of the restaurant opens up to the hotel’s gorgeous pool. Everything about the restaurant, down to the mismatching glassware and creatively crafted dining chairs, is perfectly curated and lovingly  decorated. It’s basically something that I wish I could recreate in Dallas! (Or just in my backyard so I could be the only patron at all times…because I’m selfish.) If you’re heading to LA soon, I highly recommend that you check out The Commissary. Dare I say it’s my new favorite restaurant…ever?

The Best Coast

The Best Coast

James & I got home from Los Angeles late last night and I’ve been mourning our departure from the best coast ever since. I absolutely love visiting California, and I get especially sentimental when I spend time in L.A. I lived in Malibu for four years during college and in nearby Santa Monica for one year after I graduated, and I made so many irreplaceable memories in those cities. I met my best friends in those places, and I faced some of my most formative experiences on that coast. And don’t even get me started on the amazing scenery. The ocean is truly restorative to my soul. When I’m on the best coast, I love nothing more than sitting outside and relaxing near the water, pondering life (and, okay, sometimes dozing off). There’s something about the expanse of the ocean that is simultaneously profound, inspiring, and relaxing. If I’m being honest, I feel closest to God when I’m near water – the ocean just has a spiritual impact on me me.

Anyway, you get the idea – I love the ocean. And the West (or, in my opinion, best) Coast A LOT. Coming next – a recap from our amazing weekend together in Los Angeles!

Week & End

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Hey there, folks! This Week & End post is coming at you a little earlier than usual because James & I are headed to Los Angeles bright and early tomorrow morning to visit my favorite brother in the whole world! My parents are already there and they’ve posted up at The Culver Hotel, a great little boutique spot that is just around the corner from Andrew’s apartment. I absolutely cannot wait to be on the best coast so that I can breathe in some ocean air and spend time with the most amazing family on the planet.

Enjoy your weekends and have fun checking out these links from around the interwebs!

I got a quick start on my School Year Resolutions by volunteering today at the Circles Conference. What an amazing event! I was so inspired by the presentations I heard and the people I met. I’ll share a more thorough recap soon!

I popped into J.Crew to return a few items last week and I got totally distracted by their new line of perfumes. Since I typically gravitate towards more masculine scents, it was no surprise that I totally fell for No. 57, which has hints of whiskey, cinnamon, and cedarwood. I picked up a rollerball version of the perfume and I have been loving it already.

I really enjoyed reading Bon Appetit’s post about redefining the Freshman 15. Erin and I were chatting about this article and we felt über distinguished to have developed a taste for so many items on this list (good bread & butter, fish, marcona almonds, and especially good wine and burrata) during our college years (all while still staying true to our addiction to Funfetti cake, of course).

*I’m cutting my number of shared links short this week because, frankly, I have to finish up some work e-mails and pack my suitcase for LA – apologies, friends. Catch you next week! 

Week & End

Succulents Desktop

Three cheers for Friday! We are headed to the ranch this weekend and I’m looking forward to quiet time, lots of reading and plenty of naps in the hammock, delicious home cooking, and fresh air. Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads out there, especially mine! Now for some links around the web…

The image above is one of the newest free computer desktop backgrounds via designlovefest’s monthly Dress Your Tech posts. I love the cute little succulents, don’t you? You can download the image here.

This week we found out that our wedding is going to be featured on Style Me Pretty! We are so excited & honored to have Heather’s glorious images of our special day showcased on such a well-known and respected site. I’ll let you know when the post goes live – so fun!

I love enjoying a glass of fizzy, refreshing (and healthy!) kombucha (this brand is my favorite), especially on a hot summer day. Mixing it with Texas-based Tito’s Vodka is something I wish I would have thought of myself, as I love the idea of adding a little kick to my kombucha for a special treat. I definitely need to make this cocktail asap.

Our book club totally copied Joanna Goddard – we are going to read this book over the summer and see the film adaptation of the novel (starring Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Jane Fonda, Jason Bateman & Adam Driver) when it comes out in September. I always love the thrill of starting a new book, and I’m especially excited about this one. Do you have any other good summer book recommendations?

Last week my parents, James & I booked a family trip to Los Angeles to visit Andrew, who recently moved back to the Best Coast to start a new job. We’re thinking of staying at this neat hotel, which is located close to Andrew’s apartment, and I can’t wait to try new restaurants, breathe in the ocean air, and spend time with my sweet family.