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Menu Plan Monday

This week's plan is again cut short due to my work travel schedule (when is it gonna stop?!). I'm off to Chicago early this week for our annual Region Sales meeting. These meetings never disappoint - just need to get my game face on to be "on" the whole time. If you are in sales, you know exactly what I'm talking about. When I get back, I plan to whip up some yummy meals for my sweetie!

Monday: Cubs game :)

Tuesday: Dinner in the City!

Wednesday: Return home - Grilled Pineapple Turkey Burgers & corn on the cob

Thursday: Date night! Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Friday: Kabobs on the grill!


Wedding Rewind: Rehearsal Dinner

We hopped in cars from the Wildflower Center and headed over to Mercury Hall. I’ve never seen a downpour quite like the one we were driving in. We literally couldn’t see the car in front of us. It was coming down in sheets, no, more like waves. My handsome beau dropped us off at the front with an umbrella and I headed to the restroom to touch up some curls before greeting all of our friends and family that had come so far to be with us and celebrate us. All of my AZ girlfriends popped into the bathroom with me. It was so good to see them. It made things feel more normal and calm. It was time to celebrate.

My family and friends begin to flood into the beautifully decorated room. The Parrish family did an incredible job setting up the venue and transforming it into something even more beautiful. Mercury Hall was an old Baptist Church that was relocated to South Austin. It had beautiful white wood, and a fabulous lawn. Ruth and company (with the creative assistance of Shannon Jex) created amazing touches to make our Texas Affair come to life. Ruth beaded small mason jars that lined the stained glass windows, Shannon wrote our names in rope on an old wooden fence that welcomed our guests, there were painted boots, personalized with all of our favorites and yummy goodies and beer to snack on before the BBQ was served. It was perfect. They did an incredible job. All the hard work paid off. I can’t believe they put in so many hours of prep for us. So special. Honored.

How cute are all those amazing details that the Parrish family put together?

Family by family – people trickled in, trying to avoid the rain. For most, it was the first time I had seen most of them since they arrived in Texas. It was a sweet blessing to be surrounded by so many loved ones. Some made me tear up when I saw them for the first time, others brought huge smiles to my face. It was a good day. Joy.

Paul and Ruth kicked off the evening welcoming all of our guests from near and far. They laid down some of the “ground rules” of the venue and toasted us. Paul’s sweet words telling me that I am, “As smart and I am beautiful” made me feel loved, welcomed and happy to be a (almost) part of their family. I was taken back by gratefulness. Ruth had a special gift for Blake as well. She had boxed up and wrapped her cut apron strings that she was ready to hand over. She had done the same thing for Paul Jr. when he went off to college. Blake’s came a bit later :). Touched.

Then we ate. It was delish. Texas BBQ is simply the best. And Rudy’s no less. I tried to stomach as many bites of brisket and sausage as I possibly could – but the nerves were brewing in my tummy. I forced a few more bites of beans. Mac said I had done a good job (good enough anyway) and I was allowed to push my plate aside. Butterflies.

We jumped into the pile of gifts we were set to give out to our family and wedding party. It was fun to honor and recognize them. The girls looked perfect in their pretty pearl necklaces and the boys were all set in their sweet sunglasses. They had their party faces on. We had a blast shopping for the flower girls and ring bearer’s gifts. It’s so fun to buy for kiddos. Their huge bag of goodies was hopefully enough to keep them entertained for most of the weekend. They were so cute and gracious. Our sweet friends and family then toasted us. We were humbled by the kind and thoughtful words people communicated to us. Blessed.

There were gifts and toasts and hugs and tears....

And then we danced......

And we danced some more....

Oh boy did we dance!
The square dance callers were hilarious. They got everyone up and out of their seats (my definition of a good party!). The kids loved it. I think the biggest fans were Natalie and Kate Taylor. They never left the dance floor. It was such a fun way to mix and mingle our friends and families together and have everyone celebrate a day before the big day together. Most of the boys congregated on the back patio to smoke some cigars and drink a few beers in their new sunglasses. Grandparents and tired aunts and uncles watched from the peanut gallery that was forming around the dance floor. Sweaty and tired from being in our boots all night the evening came to a close. Content.
I gave my love on last kiss for the evening and he walked me out to make sure I got my beauty sleep for the next day. The next day! The next day! Our wedding day! My parents generously got my sister and I a room to ourselves for the night before. I wanted to badly to stay up with all of our guests and party in my parent's hospitality suite with the best of them. Being a good MOH like she was, Mac gave me 10 minutes and then scooted me off to bed. Cared for.
I was getting married tomorrow.
To be continued.....

If you want to catch up you can start by reading about


Featured on Wedding Chicks!

I'm so excited and simply honored to share our wedding day feature on the Wedding Chicks blog today! It's so fun to see the outcome through photos of all of our planning, prepping, sewing, creating, painting, crafting, adorning for so many months. So many long distance phone calls were filled with the details of our plans. I'm overwhelmed with how they actually did come together into something so beautiful. Despite rain, gloomy skies and an almost-indoor-only plan it all turned out. So much credit goes to the skillful hands of my parents (both mom and dad!). I am also so grateful for (almost) all of our wonderful vendors that brought our vision to life. Another hug goes out to my fabulous girlfriends and family who pitched in when my wedding coordinator was MIA to get it all set up in time. SO. GRATEFUL. Enjoy the feature!


Menu Plan Monday

This week's effort is to clean out my freezer and refridgerated condiments and spend as little as possible on my groceries, using what I already have in the fridge/pantry. I like a little challenge to spice things up!

Monday: slow cooked pulled chicken (cooked in some salsa/enchilada sauce) with caramelized onions. served with stuffed zuchini (frozen corn and canned black beans)

Tuesday: shrimp and spinach whole wheat pasta with lemon white wine sauce (frozen shirmp and spinach)

Wednesday: goodbye to steve and brett - BBQ shredded chicken in the crock pot!

Thursday: Asain Stir Fry (use the Trader Joe's frozen edemame medley) with ginger root (in fridge) over brown rice with chicken

Friday: Jet setting again!


Menu Plan Monday

Well friends, this week I won't be cranking out gourmet meals for me and the hubs beacuase once again, I am traveling. Lots of left overs from the shower we threw this weekened are in store for B while I'm away. I promise to have some creative ideas brewing for the next couple weeks!


Ashley in AZ!

My sweet friend Ashley is coming to visit me this weekend. I couldn't be more excited! Ashley lives in the Czech Republic and is on staff with Young Life there. She has been serving there since we graduated college -faithfully and diligently. She LOVES LOVES LOVES the Lord. Her heart bends toward Jesus and she loves others with passion and grace. Ashley and I have been friends since high school. We are birthday twins too!

Ashley is home for a few weeks to see her brother graduate and be a part of one of her friend's weddings. I am so honored that she would choose to come and spend some time with us in Phoenix. I will cherish the short but sweet time we have together! Here are some fun pics of us through the years....

Ash and I at Thanksgiving at the Brown's our Senior Year of college
Ash visited me in Austin all the way from Mizzou!

This picture is just funny now.....ohhh how things have changed. (This is the night where Blake and I realized we had a little spark that we never knew about!)
I can't wait to spend some quality time together and show her a great time in the Valley of the Sun!


Bangs...Would You or Wouldn't You?

After growing out my hair since I got engaged at the end of May last year, I'm really wanting a change. My hair was super short last summer - with a cute A line bob. A perfect summer haircut. After a year's worth of growing I am not about to chop it off all over again. I love having a length that I can pull back and try fun things with (waves, curls, straight, braids, twists, etc.) but I think I'm in need of more of a style rather than just and in-between look.

I have adored Zooey's bang for a long time (center top), but I also feel like it's a big committment with such a thick bang that starts so far back on your head. Here are some other celeb bangs that I think are super flattering. I particularly love Reese's. But what doesn't look good on that gal?

To bang or not to bang? (Pretty hilarious innuendos two weeks in a row. I didn't even plan that!) That is the question. What do you think? Yes or No to some summer bangs?


Wedding Rewind: The Rehearsal

McKenna and I walked back to the hotel on Congress. A few of the bridesmaids continued to call and text and update me on their status of arrival. The butterflies were starting to flutter in my stomach. Again, it was like my tummy knew what was going on but my head was totally not tracking. We headed upstairs to our hospitality suite where the dads had made a giant CostCo run to make sure we had enough food, drink and adult beverages to last us for months (yet we were only going to be there for 3 days)! Not only was the suite beautiful, overlooking the Austin downtown skyline, the suite was full of people. I was a bit overwhelmed. But maybe overwhelmed in a good way. I made my way around the room. I was so excited to see all these faces of the family I love so very much and hug them and catch up. My aunts were helping my mom stuff goodie bags and the dads were organizing the bar (really the bathtub full of multiple varieties of beer and liquor). I then realized I had about 1 hour to get ready for the rehearsal - so I headed off to my room. Hustle.

After I got out of the shower I peeked out the window and saw that it was now pouring down rain outside. My heart sank - thinking about how we were going to pull our outdoor garden wedding off in the rain. Mac helped me pull myself together (no tears) and I continued getting ready to make sure we could leave on time to meet our coordinator and pastor a bit early. Mac did a fabulous job on my make up (she really could quit her job and become a make-up artist if she wanted to) and I put on my new Anthro dress, chunky necklace and wedges. I'm not gonna lie - I felt pretty fab in my new outfit. Even in the Texas humidity and downpour, some how my curly waves turned out. (I think it was the anti-humidity hair spray Mac was packin). My boots were loaded up for dancing later in the evening. I was ready to go. Let's do this.

I walked downstairs to head toward the car and finally got to see B. I hadn't seen him since we left Houston separately. After all the hustle and bustle since we have been in town - just being with him gave me an overwhelming sense of peace. He is the reason all these things were happening. He is the reason I said yes, I would marry him. He is the reason I planned a wedding. Oh how good perspective feels. We all hopped into the car and drove to the Wildflower Center. We were going to our rehearsal?! Really? I could barely believe it! I hopped in the front seat and the girls piled in the back with B at the wheel. I held his hand the whole way there. I didn't want him to leave my side. He really has that calming effect on me. The rain kept pouring...but it wasn't going to rain on our parade. Peace.
We met our coordinator and our pastor along with all of our other bridesmaids, groomsman and ushers under the awnings of the WFC. It was so exciting to hug those girls who I hadn't seen in such a long time since we all live far apart. It was so special to see each person of our wedding party walk up to us. So special that they all made the trip for us. So special that they love us they way they do. So special that they were all there - huddled together out of the rain. Honored.

Heath started our rehearsal by praying for us and for our day. It truly was the perfect way to set the tone for the focus we wanted to have during our ceremony and wedding. It was our hope and our prayer that people would see our relationship with Jesus through the events of our wedding. He lead us through the flow of events and talked us through what each person's role was and what to expect. The actual rehearsal was done in two parts....part one: inside for our back up plan and part two: outside where our Plan A could potentially take place, weather allowing. To be honest, it wasn't super smooth or seamless (mostly because our wedding coordinator turned out to be a total bust)- but I knew that everything would just fall into place the next day. Trying to let go. My flower girls and ring bearer were too cute for words dressed up in their western attire. At least they would be an adorable diversion if everything fell apart! One of my favorite moments was where Liz rehearsed the song she planned to sing during our ceremony the next day. It was such a sweet moment filled with quiet time to connect with Jesus and hearing the voices of everyone I love in one room singing praises to our Father. My mom teared up. I think that was a good thing for her. Release.

Beautiful ladies with their ribbon bouquets all in place to stand by my side....
The boys striking a pose in line...
My adorable husband-to-be. Not sure what he is doing here....but probably something to make me smile or laugh!
Such a proud dad. He's held it together without any emotion this far. The whole time I was thinking, "he's totally gonna loose it tomorrow and be an emotional wreck!"
At the end of the rehearsal a moment happened where everyone happened to be crowded around us huddled under an awning after we had finished running through the ceremony. My sweet sister circled up all of our wedding party and had them pray over us - laying hands on us- and blessing our marriage and day tomorrow. She is a blessing. It was a blessing. Humbled.
Then we were off to party.....
To be continued.

If you want to catch up you can start by reading about



Menu Plan Monday

I'm living a single-girl life this week so more left overs and less cooking at home. Nothing too glamorous or exciting to take note of....sorry!

Monday: Cooking with Lex..who knows what we will come up with!

Tuesday: Nicose Salad

Wednesday: Cooking with Brit...another surprise!

Thursday: Ash is in town! Dinner out! Most likely Postino or LGO.

Friday: Left overs!

On another note...last week's meals turned out great. It was really fun to try some new ideas and pull in some fun ingredients to make some tastebud-happy meals! Our two favorites (and most innovative) meals were the Paella and the Sweet Potato/Black Bean Enchiladas. After a couple requests for my recipes, I thought I would at least point you in the direction that led me to these dishes. I made a few notes of what I added or changed to get you started. You know the way I feel about sticking to a recipe....

Easy Paella (Inspired from Rachel Ray)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups enriched white rice (For half of the rice, I used a bag of saffron rice)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (I substituted this for the saffron rice because of the price of the threads)
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken broth or stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into thirds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 pound chorizo, casing removed and sliced on an angle
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, 24 shrimp
1 cup frozen peas
2 lemons zested
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 scallions, chopped
Lemon wedges

In a very wide pan or paella pan, preheated over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, add rice and saute 2 or 3 minutes. Add saffron threads, bay leaf, broth, and thyme and bring liquids to a boil over high heat. (I also added the scallions and parsley early on to flavor the rice) Cover the pan with lid or foil and reduce heat to simmer.
In a separate nonstick skillet, over medium high heat brown chicken on both sides in 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add peppers and onions to the pan and cook 3 minutes longer. Add chorizo to the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
After about 13 minutes, pour in peas, scatter lemon zest over the rice and seafood, then cover the pan again. Stir rice and seafood mixture and lift out bay and thyme stems, now bare of their leaves. Arrange cooked chicken and peppers, onions and chorizo around
the pan. Top with parsley and scallions. Serve with wedges of lemon and warm bread. Yum!

*This was extremely yummy. The perfect date night dish for our Saturday night. I also think this would be ideal for a large group. It made MORE than enough for 6+ servings. I missed the crust that you can get around the edge of traditional paella - but with a great glass of red wine we felt like we escaped to Espana! Ole!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced * I added a little extra (as usual)
Fresh lime juice from 1 big juicy lime
2 heaping cups cooked diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chopped roasted mild green chiles (I used 2 cans)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I at least doubled this)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder mild or spicy
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8-10 Whole Wheat Tortillas
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can red enchilada sauce

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Choose a baking dish that would hold 8-10 rolled enchiladas. For the Enchilada Filling, using a mixing bowl, combine the drained black beans with minced garlic and lime juice. Toss to coat the beans and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the cooked sweet potatoes with the chopped green chiles; add the spices. Season with sea salt and pepper. Pour about 1/2 cup of red enchilada sauce in the bottom of your dish. Lay the first tortilla in the sauced baking dish; wet it with the sauce. Spoon 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture down the center. Top with 1/8 of the black beans. (I also added a small bit of shredded cheese) Wrap and roll the tortilla to the end of the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top with the rest of the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the enchiladas are piping hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

*I added 1/2 diced onion into the black bean mixture. We love onions in this household. I also topped with some fresh sliced avocado. Blake loved these enchiladas and normally is not crazy about vegetarian dishes. He thought it was hearty and satisfying and didn't even need a protein other than the beans. Definitely worth trying!


And so it begins....

By the looks of the thermometer in my car, summer is officially here. Ouch.


Wedding Rewind: The Week Before

Since I took a little break from blogging during the month before and after my wedding, I wanted to take a little time and put all my thoughts on paper so I can remember every detail I possibly can to archive it all. I'm not much of a journaler these days....I think my blog is turning into my journal for the most part. I'm more of a verbal processor - so this can be my keepsake mostly for me - but also for anyone else who might be out there reading our story....

The week before the wedding B & I headed to Houston to be with our families and prepare and prep for the upcoming festivities. We actually flew home on my dad's birthday. I rarely get to spend birthdays with my family since I live so far away, but it was really special to actually be able to celebrate him in person. When we got into Hobby, Paul and Whit picked us up and we all decided to grab some lunch together and catch up. We ate some sliders and sat outside on a very cloudy and windy day. I don't' think it really hit me that I can come to Texas this time as a single girl and I would be leaving as a married woman. It had finally arrived, we had finally arrived - but it didn't seem like it was here at all. All I really could think about was the to do list in the back of my mind and the looming dooming weather forecast that I incessantly kept checking on my iphone. Anxiety.

Our dads ended up joining us for lunch after they had spent the morning racing their mustangs together. It's amazing what great friend they have become and how many similar interests and passions they have. Some people say that this is one of the biggest challenges in getting married, but for us we have been blessed to have an extremely easy merger of our two families. They have become close friends during our dating years and it's been so fun to watch. Thankful.

The next few days were spent in Kingwood. My mom and I wrapped up some last minute projects. We honestly didn't have a ton to do because of my parents incredible efforts to organize, reorganize and inventory every single piece of decor we had DIY'd together and separately. We got plucked, pedicured, waxed (torture) and spray tanned - all of those girly things a bride and her mom must do to get ready for the big day. It almost felt like we were getting ready for homecoming or a dance competition like we used to in high school. We shopped for finishing touches for our rehearsal dinner outfits and just spent some much needed girly time together. It was so nice to spend some one on one mother daughter time. I had missed my best friend - the world feels right with her by my side. That's what moms do for us. Grateful.

Unfortunately, the wedding stress seemed inevitable for all of us. We had been working so so hard on this "event" for the last 11 months and we wanted all of our hard work to come to fruition. To be honest, I think the dreadful forecast was the biggest stressor. My dad was our rock and our glue during those days. We came close to high stress-near breakdowns but he was able to put things in perspective for his two emotional ladies, calm us down and help us tackle what was left to be done. He's so constant in his emotions and so amazingly rationale and logical. I'm thankful for that in him. So many of those characteristics I can find in B too...I guess people say you marry someone like your dad. :) I ran to let my stress out. Boy did I run. I'm not usually much of a stamina runner, but it was the perfect way for me to clear my head and focus on what was truly important - Jesus and the fact that He lead me to this week where I was going to get to marry Blake. That's all that really mattered. Exhale.

Mid week B & I got to have one last date night together as an engaged couple. Our friends Jordan and Chris did this and we thought it would be a great idea to do the same. It was so great to step away - not talk about wedding details and have some quiet time together. Over a glass of wine and some fish on the lake we sat across the table, grinning from ear to ear about what was about to happen in a matter of days. Giddy.

My Uncle Don had called us and asked if we wanted to come up a day early to Austin. He thought it would be a good idea for us to have a little extra time to get all the things we had planned to do done before our guest started to arrive at the hotel. Mindy & Nathan were kind enough to open their home for us once more. We toyed with the idea and then decided to take him up on his advice. Wednesday night we packed up the car with all of the bins, boxes, bags and wagons full of decor and gifts and made the trek to the ATX. It's starting.

The drive was incredibly beautiful. I was in Austin 5 weeks prior for my bachelorette weekend and everything still looked dead and suppressed by winter. This was so different, what a contrast. My mom best described it as if, "God had taken a paint brush and placed splashes of vibrant color on a sea of green." The wildflowers were eye popping beautiful. Even if we did have a gray & rainy wedding day - we were going to have a colorful one as we were getting married at the Wildflower Center. We worshiped Him and His creation during our 3 hour drive. I know he knew we needed to see His beauty. He's so good to us. Awestruck.

We were greeted by excited cousins, aunts, uncles and God children. It gave me so much peace to be with my family as soon as we arrived. I jumped on the trampoline with my second-cousins and held my God-daughter. Not the most "bridal" thing to do - but having to redo my nail polish for wedding day was well worth the giggles and laughter and time with those sweet kiddos. We got calls from more family that had gotten into town. Excitement was building. It still didn't feel like they were all here for me and B. I felt like someone else was getting married or graduating and everyone happened to be in town for the event. Could this really be for us? Surreal.

Avery let me sleep in her bedroom so I could get a good night's sleep. Everyone knows that it is the princess room according to miss Avery. I guess being the bride gives you special treatment. Again, it just didn't feel like all this excitement, planning, travel, and fuss was supposed to be over me. Humbled.

I was up the next morning early - restless with so much running through my mind. I broke open my computer, cleared out a few work emails, checked the forecast (still not looking too promising) once again and then starting writing B the card that I had planned to give him on our wedding day before I walked down the aisle. Tears were flowing. I just couldn't wait any longer to be his wife and they day was almost here! I was so so so ready to have all of the wedding to do lists and tasks behind me and just be his wife. That's what I really wanted from day one of our engagement. It's amazing how much we had to get through and get done in order to get to this day. It does seem silly in hindsight. I calmed my stomach with some out of this world breakfast tacos (Austin's specialty) and then my mom and I jumped in the car to go drop off my dress to be pressed and then check into the hotel. On the way out the door the kids joyfully and proudly handed me some pictures they drew for me. Carter had drawn B & I at the alter on our wedding day and Caroline & Avery gave me some beautiful shapes and scribbles on pink and purple paper. Too sweet. I'm ready get this show on the road. Here we go.

We got to our room and checked out the suite and waited for the dads to arrive with the bar supplies and snacks for our guests. Mac arrived in ATX after her drive from Houston this morning. I was greeted with a huge hug and a well stocked survival kit - what a fabulous maid of honor. It was so good to finally get to see her. We grabbed a tea and a latte and she and I walked to a nearby nail salon to fix up the mess I made the night before and get some sister time before the chaos started. The lovely ladies of my bridal party were on their way from their various cities. The texts were flying in. I was so excited to get to see them all and have so many people that I care about in one space. I was truly trying to savor every moment. It still didn't feel real - entirely. The butterflies were starting but my head and my stomach hadn't yet connected and to let me in on the fact that this was actually happening. The last of my quiet moments were wrapping up... deep breaths.

To be continued.

He's a Keeper

My hubby had these pretty lillys waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday. I can't wait until they all open up and their sweet smell fills our house. Let's be honest, every girl feels like a million bucks when her man is thinking of her and brings home flowers. (Boys - if any girl ever tells you she doesn't like flowers, she's lying). I think he's a keeper.

We are loving married life. Learning a ton about each other and learning a ton about ourselves. Working to find the balance of what the other person needs - from downtime to quiet time to social time. Even in the learning and in the change -life just feels like it's the way it's supposed to be. Finally under one roof, waking up together and doing life together day after day. It's so fun to dream about our future, knowing we are going in the same direction. I feel incredibly blessed.


the romper....would you or wouldn't you?

The romper seems to be this season’s hot new style. I’m not sure I buy into it quite yet. In a sea of frilly ruffles, high waisted skirts and feminine dresses I can’t seem to part with my dinero and buy something that feels super trendy when there are so many other adorable things I have my eyes on (hello Anthro and J Crew’s summer collections). Loren sported a very cute one this weekend from Urban when we were out at night with some fab coral heels and fun accessories.

Not sure I can pull it off.

We spotted quite a few delightful rompers in the city as well this weekend. I’m getting more and more tempted. I think I’d be down for a more casual look with fun sandals or flats instead of the evening look with heels. At least it would be a cool solution for the intense AZ Summers. Here are a few other fun finds that I came across. Let’s see what goes on sale. I’m never one to drop a lot of cash on a trend that I doubt will be around the next season.

To romp or not to romp? That is the question. What do you think? Yes or No for the romper this season?


I love date nights at home.....

....a slow cooked meal, a glass of affordable, yet tasty red wine and candlelit dinners with my love.

The Weekend in Review: Memorial Day Weekend in DC

This weekend I headed to DC to visit my dear friend Loren for the holiday weekend. I have never been to the city before, so it was a real treat to spend some quality time with a good friend from college and take in some of the sights in our Nation's capital. It was extremely special to be there on Memorial Day weekend, to see the way our veterans were celebrated and embraced for all they have done for our country.

I arrived late Friday night after a 5+ hour flight and we headed out to get some sustinance and a couple beers and some of Loren's favorite local joints. I got the chance to meet a few of her friends (mostly people she teaches with) and see her adorable neighborhood near Capitol Hill.

The next morning we started our day off pretty early with an iced coffee and an egg and cheese bagel from a local shop (so happy that Loren finally decided to like coffee) and walked through Eastern Market. I could do some serious damage at the market. Between the fresh food and the fabulous jewelry finds - living nearby could prove to be dangerous for my wallet! We then headed out on our sightseeing adventure. Loren was a great sport and wanted to show me as much as possible in my 3 day trip. We ventured over to the Capitol building, down the mall and passed all of the incredible monuments and memorials. We also popped in the Air & Space Museum and the Natural Science Museum. After watching National Treasure (one of my favs) on the ipod on the way over, I made sure to let Loren know that I wanted to check out the National Archives. We walked from the Lincoln Memorial over to the Georgetown area and the waterfront. I loved the quaint streets, lined with flowers, and small, unique bars, restaurants and shops. The waterfront was a perfect people watching spot and I indulged on the best crab cake I have ever had. At this point we had probably walked at least 7 miles (we later mapped it out) so we cabbed to China Town to visit the National Portrait Gallery and grab some fro-yo. I loved the gallery. It has such a diverse grouping of portraits and housed the presidential portraits as well.

After we cleaned up after an 8+ mile trek around the city we headed out for dinner in Dupont and then met up with some friends of Loren's for a night on the town. Quite a packed day!

The next morning began back in Eastern Market where we met a friend of ours that lives in the city for brunch. I dined on some amazing crab eggs Benedict. So yummy! I couldn't get enough of the crab there! We all caught up a bit after not having seen each other for quite a long time and then walked through the market again. I bought a really unique necklace made of blue glass from Loren's favorite merchant. I think it might be the summer staple around my neck.

Next we hoofed it over to Union Station. Unfortunately, the station was closed due to a suspected leak of sorts and we weren't able to check out the inside. Instead, we took the metro to Georgetown and met up with some of Loren's pals for a ride on their boat on the river. Loren and I laughed at how no one swims or wake boards like they do in Texas, but just cruises up the river in the sun with drinks in hand. After spending the afternoon on the boat, we cleaned up and grabbed a dinner (we were absolutely famished!) at Old Ebbit Grill, the oldest restaurant in DC. We also walked over the the White House - which was beautiful all lit up at night - and then headed over to the W Hotel for amazing views and excellent dessert and drinks to unwind at the end of our day.

My trip went so fast, but it was so great to spend some time with Loren one on one and see her life on the East Coast. I loved the chance to have deep converstaion and be able to reconnect after living so far away for so long! Thanks Lo for all you did to make it a fabulous weekend and show me all of DC in such a short time! Love you friend!

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