Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

It's the June edition of What's Up Wednesday.
Which means June is almost over.
Which means 2016 is half over. 

How on earth have we already been through half the year!? I promise these years get faster and faster. 

Okay, so let's see what's up. 

What I'm Eating This Month

Well, this month was birthday month. And birthday month means I let my healthy guard down. Birthday month means lots of ice cream. And while you may think Blue Bell, this birthday month appeared to be "sponsored" by Baskin Robbins. Who woulda thought? You can read all about said birthday eating here

There was also that weekend in Mississippi where I ate a whole lotta southern cooking...

What I'm Excited About

One. Week. From. Today.
I'll be moving to Australia for nine weeks. 

So what am I excited about? Nuff said.

What I'm Reminiscing About

Since I'll be on another continent for two months, I'm reminiscing about all the family/friend time I've soaked up this month - and there's been a lot of it! I took a Father's Day trip to St. Louis with my dad, spent my birthday brunching and playing with my mom, spent a weekend (eating) in Mississippi with my grandmama, and then last weekend I spent some time with my sister, niece, and nephew at the waterpark :)

And the pup snuggles. Oh the pup snuggles. There has been a serious amount of pup snuggles.

I'm really going to miss my family when I'm over there. It makes my heart sad to think about it.
So I'm just not going to.

What I'm Dreading

This is where I would likely put that I'm dreading my impending 17-hour flight next week, but I'm viewing it as a mental game. Mind over matter. So we can't let my mind know I'm dreading it. Promise you'll keep my secret :)

What I'm Working On

Getting all my ducks in a row. Last week I did a lot of this:

...and then last weekend I did a lot of this:

And so this week I'm doing things like pharmacy runs, packing, dry-cleaning runs, etc.
There are just so many little things to do! Every time I cross something off my list I think of something to add!

What I'm Watching/Reading

If you were here last Friday, you know I've been binge watching one of my favorite TV shows:

I'm seriously obsessed with this show. Like have dreams about this show. Please call my Katy Walker. 

And as far as what I've been reading, you can check out my June Book review here!

What I'm Doing This Weekend

This weekend Kelsey and I are making one last roommate trip to the lake for July 4th! It's a yearly ritual for us, and since she'll be living in Charleston when I move home from Australia, it's like our last "hoorah!"

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Go follow "Australia" on instagram. I did that yesterday and haven't been able to stop smiling since. 
Looking forward to it is an understatement. 


And that's what's up! 

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Trim Down Tuesday: Veggietales

Today we're talking Veggietales. 

But not the "Larry the Cucumber" kind. 

This past weekend I made some pretty unfortunate eating decisions (wamp wamp), and decided that by Sunday night, all I needed was a hearty dose of veggies. 

Now, normally I'm not a "veggie a la carte" girl. I'm more of a meat + veggie + starch/carb kinda girl. You know, based on the food pyramid you learned in 2nd grade. Eating a plate full of veggies as a meal just never really crossed my mind. My Shape magazines tell me that all the skinny people we see on TV (Jennifer, Carrie, Kate, etc.) do this often. So I decided to channel my inner skinny girl (she was on Mars) and give it a go. 

The result? This masterpiece.

What are you looking at? You're looking at sauteed garlic mushrooms on a bed of steamed kale/spinach, roasted butternut squash, and roasted colorful carrots. Yes, people. Orange, yellow, and purple carrots. Lisa introduced me to these puppies the other week, and when I saw them in Trader Joe's, I decided to give them a try. 

Here's another thing: this entire meal was seasoned with nothing but olive oil, salt, and pepper, but it was beyond flavorful and delicious. Like the "eat a little more when you're packing up the leftovers" kind of delicious. And it's easy, too!

What You'll Need:
Organic Colorful Carrots (I use TJs)
Butternut Squash, cubed
Some type of leafy green (I used a spinach/kale/chard combo)
Garlic, salt, and pepper to taste

What You'll Do:

Carrots: Cut the end off the carrots, cut into halves or thirds (to make the carrots about 3-in long), and then halve each of those carrots lengthwise. Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

Butternut Squash: Since cutting raw butternut squash is about as easy as doing a back-flip on a balance beam, I buy the Trader Joe's pre-cubed butternut squash. Bless the person who thought of that. Once the squash is cubed, just place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. 

Note: I roasted the carrots and squash together - easy peasy!

Mushrooms: In a medium skillet, saute olive oil and garlic clove. Mix in sliced mushrooms and stir until cooked. 

Greens: Place fresh greens in a bowl and microwave for 20 seconds, 3 times, stirring in between. 


And that's it! A delicious, easy, and extremely healthy meal. All kinds of wins. 

Even if you're a meat-eater, give it a try. You won't be disappointed! And you might even put it in your regular routine. Never know until you try :)

AND - to see other Trim Down Tuesday recipes, click here

Have a great Tuesday!

Until next time,

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Favorites


In my past Friday favorites, I usually comment on how the weekdays drag on and on....but lately? Lately these weeks have been fuh-lying by. I mean, I leave for Australia in 12 days. T.w.e.l.v.e.

It's kind of funny when people ask me if I'm ready. 
Define "ready."

Emotionally? I mean yes I'm pretty excited.
Physically? Yes, so over the heat. Gimme all the 60 degrees.
Actually? No. Not packed, not prepared, and the to-do list is still quite long. 
Bless my heart.

Anywho - I'm just taking one day at a time. And today? Today we're talking favorites. 

Let's begin!


1 - Trader Joe's Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I feel like for as many little gems I find at TJs, I should probably just do a themed "Friday Favorites of Trader Joe's" post. This is my latest find (thank you, Mercedes) and it is amazing. Now, I'm not naive. I know replacing dairy milk with coconut milk doesn't mean it's healthy, but for those of you who are trying to limit your dairy intake - I promise this tastes fantastic. I'm not saying it's better than Blue Bell (my loyalty goes back to birth), but I'd pick up a carton or six of this. It comes in both chocolate and strawberry. I've only tried the chocolate, but I'm sure the strawberry is delicious too!


2 - Brothers and Sisters

I love binge watching TV. Not that it's new news around here, but I just needed to reiterate. Kelsey and I started (re)watching Brothers and Sisters from the beginning last week, and our scheduled "roommate" nights before I leave primarily consist of watching 5+ episodes of this show. No, really. The night before my birthday we watched until 2:30 in the morning. 

I thought long and hard about what TV show I wanted to put on my {30} Before Thirty list, and I have zero regrets about choosing this one. If you are a Parenthood watcher, you need this show. It's dramatic, funny, and makes you want to be a part of their family. Or have 5 children. One of the two. 

And I love Sally Field. She is just a gem.

I'm actually considering buying an iPad just to be able to continue my binge watching on the plane :)


3 - Favorite Quote

Kristie sent this to me yesterday and I yelled "preach!" outloud and told her this was most definitely going to be a favorite today. What I would give for an hour of sweatpant yoga. 


4 - Kendra Scott "Scottie" Choker

...I promise this blog is not sponsored by Kendra Scott. Though it totally should be now that I think about it. Anyways, since it's birthday month, my mom and I went into KS to do a little perusing of what I might want my 50% birthday month discount on. And after much deliberation, we decided on the Scottie choker. It's much different from your "token Kendra" items, and I'm kind of in love. 

It's gold with tiny little cubic zirconia stones in the middle. And my favorite part? It's adjustable. You can make it a true choker or a longer necklace. And if you make it a choker, the pretty adjustable chain hangs down your back. I wore it to my birthday dinner with Jeff and made him take pictures for y'all! 


5 - "Thy Will" by Hillary Scott

This song tugs at my heart strings. If you're going through anything...and I mean anything, this song will speak to your soul. Hillary Scott is the female singer in Lady Antebellum but she rocks this solo song, too. She (and her hubs) wrote this song after going through a miscarriage last fall. And quite frankly, the words are raw enough to where you just know they're coming from someplace real. I love those song. Give it a listen, you won't be sorry!


And there are this week's favorite five! I hope you have such a wonderful weekend!

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Game 6: Father's Day in St. Louis

Yesterday I shared my birthday weekend wrap-up, and (as it always has), Father's Day fell into that weekend! And if there's anyone I'm willing to share my birthday weekend with, it's my dad. :) 

In fact, you can read all the wonderful reasons why I just think my dad is the sharpest tool in the shed here

Ever since I moved to Dallas (so 5 years ago), I started this tradition of inviting my dad up to Dallas for a weekend. The weekends are full of new restaurants, long walks, ice cream, and always always a Rangers game. You can read about last year's game here. So the annual Rangers game PLUS our {30} Before Thirty goal of 10 games in 10 out-of-state stadiums means one thing and one thing only:

My dad and I eat a lot of hot dogs. 

So this year for Father's Day, we decided to combine the annual Father's Day Rangers game with the out-of-state stadium bucket list. We took off to St. Louis for the day to see the Rangers take on the Cardinals at Busch stadium! 

And in true form, we took a plane selfie on the way there. :)

Now, for those of you who are thinking "you went to St. Louis and back in a day?!" ....calm yourselves. It's just an hour and a half flight each way. Not too shabby at all for a 1:00 game. 

We left Dallas around 10:30, landed at noon, and took a little ride on the metro to the ballpark. 

Hello Busch Stadium! 

My dad has always been a Cardinals fan (the man has many teams; the man just likes baseball), so he was pretty excited for this one. He'd been to "Busch Stadium" before, back in 1959, but that was two Busch Stadiums ago. So it was good to be back! 

We really liked this ballpark. Inner-city, solid skyline background (including the arch), and our seats were in the shade (praise thee to the Lord), so we were all around pretty happy campers!

Another plus of this game? It was quick-moving with a good amount of action. The Rangers started out in the lead, but the game kept getting tied up, then the Cards pulled ahead, then the Rangers pulled ahead, and then at the bottom of the ninth the Cards had the bases loaded with two outs and it was a downright nail-biter. BUT the Rangers pulled through and I was the only one in my section who cheered. :) 

Game 6 - Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals - June 19, 2016

At one point during the game, post-hot dogs, my dad said he was going to scout out the ice cream and report back to me. Then at one point I just happened to look behind me, and here comes Don :)

Then dad tripped over me climbing back into his seat and almost (as he puts it) "plummeted to his death" and I couldn't stop laughing. I know that sounds awful but you just had to be there. I laughed so hard I cried. And then when I thought about it on the plane I laughed so hard I cried again. Aaaaand I'm still laughing now. Oh man. So many good times on these trips. 

And naturally, we had to take a 7th inning selfie :) 

Another highlight - we got free socks! We knew the promotion for this game was getting a free pair of Cards socks if you were the within the first 30K people. So leading up to the game we were pretty pumped to get these new socks. And they came in handy on the chilly plane!

Sadly, that was our last out-of-state game for this year.
Good thing we've already started planning next year!

See game 1 recap here.
See games 2 and 3 recap here.
See games 4 and 5 recap here

AND - just for fun, here's a little look back at all of our Father's Day games :)




I love you, dad!

Until next time,
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Birthday Weekend Wrap Up


So not to 'rinse and repeat' from last week, but I really had honest to goodness intentions of posting this yesterday...

....but I had a case of the sleepies. And after you see this birthday weekend wrap up, you'll understand why. 

Also, just for the record - this weekend made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I have the best group of people EVER in my corner, and I know that as long as I have them, year 28 is going to be juuuuuuust fine :)

The "weekend" kicked off on Wednesday night (my actual birthday was Thursday), with roommate night and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake. This has been my favorite ice cream cake since I was a kid: mint chocolate chip ice cream with a chocolate cake. Yeah buddy. 

And you know what else we did? We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching episode after episode of Brothers and Sisters. Because that's what 28 year-olds do. They binge watch TV on a "school night" and feel really cool and rebellious.

The next morning, my sweet mama drove up to take me to a birthday brunch and play! We had brunch at Mercat Bistro in downtown Dallas, followed by apartment looking and a little West Village shopping :)

Isn't she the prettiest?! 

OH - and then because I had Baskin Robbins on the brain, we did a little more celebrating. 
With a little more mint chocolate chip.

After my mom left, I got all dolled up for a dinner with my sweet man. He showed up and showered me with flowers, gifts, and pasta. 

Rest assured, no meatballs were thrown at me. I more mean that he took me to an Italian restaurant I've been wanting to try for forever (#gimmeallthenoodles), and boy did we eat our little hearts out. 

I kinda like him a lot :)

Then we had chocolate cake (candle included) and it was the perfect ending to my food coma.

No seriously. After an appetizer, pasta, and dessert, the waitress asked me what my plans were for the rest of the night. I quickly replied with "go to bed." :)

I'm a wild and crazy 28 year old, y'all.  

Friday night was a milestone for the family. It was Brooklyn's first dance recital! And let me tell you - my heart all but exploded. I was basically squealing when she was on stage. In fact, the whole family was. We were quite the loud (and proud) obnoxious bunch. 

Seriously - look at this lil bunny. I can't even. 

And now for the post-recital family photo shoot. Because that's just what you do.

We're pretty smitten with this little one :)

 Okay fine. They are too.
Okay fine. We all are!

 Two former dancers and a new one on the horizon!

Saturday morning, my sweet girls and I got together for a little brunch action. We hit one of my favorite spots and ate the heck out of it. Then we went to the rooftop for some mimosas and a Dallas skyline picture :)

Ohmygosh I love these girls so much. 

And then, naturally, we walked down the street to get popsicles. Because once you turn 28, your birthday brunch ends in popsicles. 

By the way, if you're in the Dallas area and haven't tried Steel City Pops over on lower Greenville - you must go soon. It will be your summer go-to.

Whew. Are you tired yet? I'm getting there. But we have to rally. Because Saturday night we had a wedding to attend!

Two of our favorite people from work got hitched on Saturday night, so we celebrated and danced and rang in the newlyweds. 

She made such a classy and beautiful bride! We love you Megan!

My cute and favoritest dancing partner :)

Aaaaand maybe my favorite picture of the night. I love a good glowstick handout at a wedding.

Sunday was FATHER'S DAY, and while we celebrated up right, I'm saving that for another post. Because quite frankly, this one is getting a little lengthy and it deserves its own post. 

But I am glad I postponed this blog post a day, because last night I went over to Lisa's to see her new house, and not only did she make me dinner, but she also got me a birthday cake. Have I mentioned I have the bestest friends? Seriously. The best.

Pardon my appearance. It was a Monday.

And that was the birthday weekend of 28! And I couldn't have asked for more :)

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Until next time,
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

{30} Before Thirty - Year 1 Update!

I turn 28 today. 

Turning 27 'bout put me in the loony bin (it seriously freaked me out), but for some reason I'm okay with turning 28. Probably because it's an even number. #dontdoodds

-- This is likely the part where my mom and sister both have mild heart attacks because the baby of the family is turning 28 --

Last year, I put together a {30} Before Thirty list. Thirty things I want to accomplish before I turn 30. That gave me three years to do everything on this list, so average of 10 a year, which I thought was pretty reasonable. SO, on each birthday until I turn thirty (2018), I plan on giving a little recap to see how my progress is coming along. 

I've included a link by each one I've accomplished so far, so if you missed the happenings, just click to catch up! :)


1. Write my book - I've at least started....
2. Go to Nashville - how have I still not done this?
3. Take a cake decorating class
4. Go dancing at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth - Check!
5. Play one of my original songs on my guitar
6. Make homemade bread
7. Buy something David Yurman
8. See Carrie Underwood in concert....again. - Set for September!
9. Go to a blog conference
10. Cook a rack of lamb
11. Go to 10 baseball games in 10 different out of state stadiums with my dad - halfway there! Game 1, Games 2 & 3, Games 4 & 5
12. Go to CMA Fest in Nashville (different from #2)
13. Make chocolate croissants from scratch
14. Have a picnic in the Dallas arboretum
15. Go to movie theater and watch two films back to back
16. See another Broadway show in NYC
17. Visit Charleston, SC - set for this fall since my roommate is ironically moving there
18. Take a photography class
19. Go on a girls trip with mom and sister
20. Refurbish something for the home
21. Travel Overseas (more than once is okay!) - Check!
22. Cook an entire holiday meal (Thanksgiving or Christmas)
23. Learn how to do the Dirty Dancing jump
24. Treat my parents to an overly nice dinner - also set for this fall
25. Force my immediate family to go on another vacation
26. Take a sabbatical from work
27. Treat myself to a spa day
28. Rewatch the entire 'Brothers & Sisters' Series - started last week...
29. Join a small group at church
30. Perform on stage... as much as possible
I am not impressed with my progress! I have two things crossed off. TWO! So based on my average of 10 per year I am WAY behind, people! Granted, I've started a few more and some will happen this fall but holy toledo. 

I've decided I need someone to write this list out for me so I can put it somewhere visible (cough, hint hint, cough, LISA, cough). Because quite honestly, sometimes I just forget about it. For instance, on a Friday or Saturday night when I have nothing to do - why not make chocolate croissants from scratch or bake homemade bread? Some things will take time (i.e., forcing my family to go on another vacation), but some things I just don't think about on a regular basis. 

Oh great. Now I'm starting 28 all stressed.

Not really. 

But I totally slacked off at age 27 - but I'm older and wiser and more mature now, right? 28 will be a much more productive year. 

On a positive note, Don and I are rocking #10. In fact, game 6 is happening on Sunday. Maybe I've just been so focused on #10 (which in itself is 10 things so technically I'm doing 40 before thirty), that I just haven't really thought about the others. 

Well time to get cracking. 

Let's do this 28!!!!!
Until next time,