Sunday, January 24, 2016

January Recap

We hit the ground running in 2016 and have been the best kind of busy so far this month.  We rang in the new year in east Texas with three other couples and a weekend full of games that had us all laughing until we cried, duck hunting for the guys, an abundance of food, a NYE bonfire, and potato cannon adventures.  The next two weekends took us to Austin and San Antonio for weddings.  And most recently, my precious Jackson friend Rebecca came to Dallas for a visit.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is in full swing, and we had a fun night at the rodeo for "Bulls Night Out" last week with Matthew and Mallory.  We met for burgers at Rodeo Goat beforehand - so good!

As I was transferring pictures from my memory card, I came across my most recent favorite house update - these feather prints I stumbled upon at Target (where else?!).  Not the best pic, but I'm sure Mom wants to see where we hung them :).

And my favorite indulgence of 2016 so far - keeping greenery (usually eucalyptus) all over the house, especially on our hutch.  Not sure I ever blogged about this beauty joining us, but I finally unpacked my china and several other wedding gifts in October when we got this little guy.  So glad to have a great spot for these pretties!  Only 4.5 years after our wedding...

My friend Rebecca is so good about making sure to take pictures when we're together, so thanks to her I had enough pictures to put together a blog post.  Shortly after I moved to Jackson for law school, I met Eleanor, Cam, and Rebecca at my wonderful church home there - First Baptist Jackson. Cam and I both moved to Texas in 2011, and Eleanor moved here in 2015, so Rebecca had three great reasons for a Dallas trip this weekend - and it was Eleanor's birthday!  It was such a wonderful weekend getting to catch up with some of my favorite people.

I hosted Eleanor and Rebecca for brunch on Saturday morning before a day of leisurely popping into shops all over Dallas.  Rebecca came bearing gifts - the 2016 Mississippi Wedding Register, which I started flipping through today after church.  She knows me so well!  On the brunch menu: lemon and orange scones, fruit salad, sausage and grits casserole, and baked french toast.  Santa tucked that little nest charm for my Nora Fleming platter in my stocking, and I've just been dying to use it.

Austin brought home some pretty pink tulips for me on Friday night, and they were the perfect simple centerpiece for our brunch.  Had to use the McCarty vase for my Mississippi friends!

Cam joined us for Eleanor's birthday dinner Saturday night at Public School 214 followed by Paciugo gelato.  I loved my time with these three so much!  Lots of laughs when we're together.  

Today we had a great morning at church, I took a delightful Sunday afternoon nap, caught up on some housework, Austin built me a cozy fire, and it's almost time for Downton Abbey - pretty perfect Sunday in my book!    

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015 was fast and furious and I can't believe it is already over!  We traveled to see my family the weekend before Christmas and then spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Austin with Austin's family.  We managed to celebrate a little bit here at home, too.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is adding an Old World Christmas ornament to our tree each year.  This year we decided on a gondola to commemorate our first ski trip together earlier this year.  

Wrapping gifts is almost as much fun to me as giving them.  Since our tree was mainly blues and greens, Austin insisted on a little bit of red in our wrapping... the boys got red plaid ribbon and the girls got my pick of gold and pine cones.  

Blue and green are my favorite colors and are pretty much the only colors in our house, so I decided this year I wanted our tree to be filled with blues, greens, and neutrals.  I loved it.  Austin is begging me for more red next year...

When Christmas cards started rolling in, I decided to use mini clothespins and gold ribbon to display them on our pantry door.  The ribbon quickly filled up, and I quickly ran out of mini clothespins - washi tape to the rescue.  This door was such a merry sight all December!

Our trip to my parents' house was super quick, but we managed to fit in three delicious meals, an afternoon of present opening, and one game of Catan.  Mom's decorations were stunning as usual, and our celebration there got Christmas week off to the best start.

Our pretty cross-stitched stockings. 

 Mom and Dad sent us these adorable "kissing balls" this year - we hung ours in a doorway, but I loved Mom's hanging from her dining room chandelier. 

 Dad's smoked pork tenderloin with apple onion chutney, roasted potatoes, cheddar biscuits, and salad with homemade blue cheese dressing

My favorite gingerbread cookies, Mom's fun drink station, and cherry pie with a very festive crust.

These cookies are as photogenic as they are delicious.  
And the leftovers are all tucked safely away in my freezer :)

MK's perfect gift for Mel - a Riley portrait! 

Riley's festive garb was out in full force. 

On Christmas Eve, we headed south and started our festivities in Austin with a Christmas Eve service.  I got one good picture outside the church, and then barely picked up my camera for the rest of our visit there.  I will be picking it up more soon though, thanks to a new lens from my in-laws!!  

More good food and family time followed, and we loved getting to see so many friends and family.  We had a lively game of white elephant on Christmas Eve with extended family, a fun Christmas morning unwrapping gifts and eating two tasty breakfasts, and more family time on Saturday.  We also squeezed in a breakfast date with our favorite Austin friends, Billy and Carly, on Saturday morning.  Thankfully, we made it back to Dallas safely Saturday evening despite the horrible tornadoes and storms that ripped through DFW.  We're staying warm and dry and taking down our decorations this afternoon.  I love a clean house to start the new year!       

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve!

I have high hopes for getting caught up on our December during these next few days off from work, but I couldn't resist popping in for a quick Christmas Eve post.  Merry Christmas Eve to all!  

This morning I'm enjoying this view, attempting to organize pictures from our Christmas celebrations so far, and looking forward to sharing our December fun here over the next few days.  Hope your Christmas Eve is filled with peace and joy.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

This Thanksgiving was wonderfully relaxing and dampened only by the fact that I was sick for our entire visit with my family.  As luck would have it, I started feeling a little off on Wednesday afternoon, and I progressively got worse on our trip to my parents' house that evening.  A Thursday morning visit to an urgent care clinic for a steroid shot that helped a tiny bit, and I did get to enjoy Thanksgiving lunch (what I could taste was delicious as usual!) and lots of laziness on Thursday afternoon.

We took a few pictures Thursday afternoon, and Mom, Mel, and I all had high hopes of getting a shot for our respective Christmas cards.  I think we got some good ones.  Thursday was rounded out with two of our favorite games: Headbanz and Shanghai.  

Friday, we headed to The Woodlands so that Austin and I and my grandparents could see Melanie and Clark's new house (not that new any more, but none of us had seen it yet)!  It was adorable, just as I expected, and I can't wait to go back.

December is absolutely flying by, and I can't believe Christmas is so close.  Since Thanksgiving, we've been busy shopping, wrapping, and decorating.  We're celebrating Christmas early with my family, so I'm off to wrap a few more gifts!  Hoping to pop in next week with some peeks of Christmas at our house.           

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nashville in November

We are back in Dallas after a wonderful weekend trip to Nashville with our pals Trip and Lindsay.  T&L lived in Nashville for three years while they were in law school at Vanderbilt, so they were the perfect tour guides for our first visit to Music City.

We got to Nashville fairly early on Friday morning and kicked off the day with coffee and popping into a few shops.  At the tip-top of my Nashville list was Draper James, of course.  And it was even better than I imagined it would be - pretty much the perfect store!

After I found the world's most perfect dress that I carried out in the world's most perfect shopping bag, we moved on to continue our exploring.  The guys were very sweet and patient to endure my squealing throughout the Draper James experience.

The joys of being out of the office on a Friday...

We had lunch on Friday at a Nashville institution - Arnold's.  It was so fun and SO GOOD.  As a major lover of cafeteria-style restaurants and meat & threes, Arnold's was right up my alley.  I wish they sold their turnip greens by the gallon.

After lunch we drove around Belle Meade, which was absolutely gorgeous.  Trip and Lindsay took us to a great little spot where we were able to stretch our legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy some pretty fall foliage.

We regrouped at our Airbnb before dinner at Husk, which went entirely unpictured.  We were still a bit full from Arnold's, so we split several apps.  Husk was one spot we didn't make it to on our Charleston trip a few years ago, so it was a treat to make it to the Nashville location, and it certainly did not disappoint.

After dinner we headed downtown for the Opry at the Ryman which was full of Aggies and such a treat.  This was such a fun thing that I'm so glad we got to experience in Nashville.  Lee Greenwood closed out the show with "God Bless the USA" which was so great!

Saturday morning we headed to brunch at another Nashville institution, Monell's.  The family style setting was really neat, and once again, we were surrounded by Aggies.  Also once again, the food was so good, and I wished I could have just kept eating and eating!  We wound up being seated with two couples who go to church with Mary Katherine in College Station.  On our way out, we ran into two other groups of Ags that we knew - so fun.  Everyone must have gotten the Monell's memo.  

We did a little more exploring around downtown and at Centennial Park before it started raining a bit.  To get out of the rain, we popped into a fun coffee shop, Fido, for a giant, warm chai tea latte.  It definitely hit the spot.

The A&M vs. Vanderbilt game initiated our trip to Nashville, and Austin and I were excited to attend our first away SEC game.  Before the game on Saturday night, we bundled up with as many layers as we could stand, popped into Rotier's for a quick bite (where we ran into more Aggie friends - so crazy!) before heading to the stadium.

We nearly froze to death, but the Ags came out on top, and I think my toes have finally regained feeling.

All in all, it was a super trip with great friends exploring a fun new city.  I see more SEC road games in our future - I would love to make it to games in Athens, Columbia, Starkville, Tuscaloosa, and Oxford.