Celebrating new beginnings

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Like a crazy person, I insisted on cramming my move into a busy work week topped off with a “weekend jaunt,” as the boyfriend called it, to Austin. But even though I fell off the blogging map last week, my absence is responsible for plenty of upcoming posts as I settle into my new house and recharge from the weekend’s activities.

Only thanks to the fact that I have very nice friends, I am officially in my new M Streets home with boxes and furniture stacked throughout. After only 2 broken dishes and one bout of mild panic when I thought I lost half my closet in the move (now found, thank goodness), a new stage of life has begun – one that involves doors to close (revolutionary after loft-life, I tell you), waking up to sunshine and chirping birds in the backyard, running through the tree-lined neighborhood (it’s an option anyway) and most importantly, plenty of quality time with a girl who makes me think, hears me out, calls me out and dances without shame with me to High School Musical while deep cleaning every crack of said house.

We celebrated Day 1 at our favorite Rusty Taco. Between the shaded patio, $2 fresh tacos, clever t-shirts, frozen margaritas and swirls, which they call “splashes,” this is completely my go-to for a casual afternoon and solid yet cheap food. Are there better tacos out there? Some might say yes. But where else can you get an entire delicious meal and drink with absolutely zero pretentiousness for less than $10? And bonus, turns out my new place is just 5 minutes away from Rusty’s! You know where you can find me all summer…

Birthday brunching

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It’s a special day at Finding Tiffany’s…Lydia’s birthday! We celebrated with a perfect brunch at a new place for us, The Common Table. Covered patio, light breeze, friends, cheap mimosas and classic, well-plated entrees – that’s what I call a recipe for perfection. It’s actually amazing we haven’t been there before, as it turns out this affordably delicious patio and my go-to free parking for a night out in Uptown is one and the same (just don’t go stealing my spot now that I shared my secret!).

Now we’re off for birthday manicures. Sigh…don’t you just hate when celebrating someone’s birthday is such an imposition?

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Let the countdown begin

I recently came to the conclusion that teachers are smarter than the rest of us.

Not only do they get the satisfaction that comes from a noble, rewarding job and (hopefully) cute kids, but they also get the entire summer off to do whatever their hearts desire. Maybe I’m the only one that saw High School Musical 2, but since May has arrived all of two days ago all I can hear in my head is the semi-creepy whispering from the movie’s opening number: “summer summer summer.”

I’ve heard the magic of summertime is supposed to fade just a little bit post-graduation, but this 20-something girl can always make time for a little summer fun in her work day. Of course, Texas weather loves to remind me that I may be jumping the summer gun, as outside is now gloomy, windy and expecting temps in the 30’s. Minnesota is even in the middle of a snowstorm for goodness sake! But sitting at my desk in front of a space heater and looking at these fun (and free!) Paperless Post invites, I can’t help but get excited about all the upcoming opportunities for friends and sunshine. On Monday I shared that one goal for making the most of my current apartment before my impending move will be to host a going away pool party / cookout. Thanks to these loverly invites, I’m proud to announce, mission accomplished.

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Do you have any fun summer plans in the works or am I the only one counting down the days until we can make this summer thing official?

Eat good food. Om nom nom.

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I’ve had quite the delicious weekend. It began with a birthday dinner on Friday, the boyfriend and parents meet and greet on Saturday, and an amazing brunch today. I was so terribly spoiled. Although I did a terrible job of taking any photos while I ate, I feel a need to divulge my  #foodporn adventures nonetheless. I also had the added bonus of great company for each meal – see what I mean? So spoiled.

For the Friday birthday, we went to Lark on the Park.

We started with a few bottles of Prosecco before diving into our meals. I had the Wild Mushrooms House-made Pappardelle spinach, creme fraiche and Parmasan. It was so amazing. The pasta is homemade and thick. Lark also specializes in supporting local artist and has 6 huge chalkboards that feature selected artist. Every few months new artists and their work are selected, and the chalkboards are changed up. It has a very urban and modern feel to it, with relatively high prices to match. In fact, as an added bonus, the birthday girl had a piece of work up on the wall!

On Saturday the parents and the boyfriend went to Farnatchis.

Farnatchi’s is a family favorite. Whenever my parents are in downtown around dinner time, this is where they go. The place is small so there is usually just one or two fulltime waitstaff. My parents visited here so frequently that they got to know the waitress and she remembered their orders and name. The new waiter of the restaurant is also super friendly and good hearted. Which only adds to the positive experience. The food was heaven. I had the lemon chicken special and never looked back. The chicken was so tender and went delightfully well with the cabernet my parents brought. Not to mention, the family and the boyfriend got a long great- phew.

Sunday afternoon my amiga and I went to Odd Fellows in the Bishops Arts District.

When we put our names on the list, they told us it would be an hour. But a girl at one of the galleries assured us it was going to be well worth our wait. She wasn’t kidding. First off, this place is adorable. My roommate and Sarah have both raved about this place, so my expectations were high and were easily met if not exceeded! I had the eggs benedict. Oh. My. God. Luckily it was 2 PM and the only thing that was in my stomach was a 9 AM banana, so I had no problem fitting that whole plate into my tum tum (not that this is ever a problem for me if we’re being honest). The food was so amazing, that I enjoyed a fantastic food coma upon my return to my bed.

Now I am fully aware this doesn’t exactly go along with my dedication to the diet. But don’t you worry, I made up for my binges on my other meals and work outs. Who can turn down amazing food? Not this girl.

A super start

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When Lydia and I first started this blog, the first topic was obvious: What does Finding Tiffany’s even mean for us? Figuring out what my goals were and where my dreams lay took a lot of soul-searching, but I eventually settled on a version of my life “to do list”. Some of those dreams and priorities have shifted a little since, but it has still been a great diagnostic to hold myself accountable for making forward momentum in my life.

One of those goals involved more yoga, but not just any yoga anywhere. For months turning into years I longed to try yoga at Super Yoga Palace near downtown Dallas. After researching Dallas’ yoga offerings, everything I found about this place seemed like just what I was looking for – a casual environment that embraces the yogi lifestyle with a variety of classes that really teach every aspect, not just lead. It’s also aesthetically pleasing with a huge mural and indie music I’d listen to outside of yoga class. In addition to a happy hour after Friday’s class, they even have a class where everyone brings their favorite vinyls to play during the practice. Sold.

This morning I had my second class. Nothing like starting your day feeling physically accomplished, mentally (and literally) stretched and emotionally rested!

Not only is this a check on the to do list, but it has also inspired a new goal. I’ll be making this a weekly affair, hopefully even trying out another class or two. I’m excited to see how my practice improves and hey, the stress-reducing / fitness benefits don’t hurt either!

Meeting the neighbors

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One of my “semi-near future life goals” was to create more, and another related goal involved getting a camera and actually using it. While you’ve probably noticed from recent posts that I’ve indeed gotten the camera and actually started using it, there’s a huge difference between playing around and happening to get some decent shots with actually knowing what the heck is happening in my camera to get said shot. Luckily, I have a friend who was willing to lend some photography knowledge, so I spent my Saturday learning the difference between ISO, aperture and shutter time – just a couple basic slr settings.

I then headed over to my neighbor, NYLO, with my new-found knowledge. NYLO is a hotel and rooftop bar that opened up in South Dallas a couple months back, with an infinity pool that rumor has it, is going to be open to the public in the summer. Before you get all excited by their sign for an old-fashioned soda bar and tell all your friends about it as you picture how much fun you’re going to have sipping on all sorts of root beer float-esque drinks (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything), I might as well be the one to burst your bubble…it turns out “SODA” actually stands for South Dallas. Not actual soda.

Despite this minor disappointment, however, my earlier explorations also resulted in a delicious prosecco (of course) cocktail with a friend, so I knew this was going to be just the sort of space I felt right at home in. It also helped that their music selection is fantastic. It was like someone had stolen my favorite Pandora station. The kicker was stumbling across their brunch menu this time around. Ah, a good brunch….they found my Achilles heel.

On the bright side, this can only help me further accomplish my other earlier goal to brunch more.

Making the Most of a Rainy Day

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Can we all just agree that today was the shortest Saturday ever? I can’t believe the day’s nearly over. It’s been grey and misty in Dallas today, the kind of day where you just have no choice but to pull up the covers and and sleep in. Of course, one of the side affects of turning into an adult is now “sleeping in” only gets to me to about 9:30 a.m. tops.

I fought off a near-debilitating combination of laziness and boredom to find some comfy clothes and brave the Texas ‘cold’ for a working brunch. Now cozied back up in my apartment, I may be making a trip downstairs soon for some prosecco to keep me company for a night in with Project Re:Brief, a documentary pictured above about how a couple advertising professionals revisited their most iconic ads from the sixties to create engaging digital campaigns for today’s world. I might even go really crazy and throw in some Netflix. Look out, Dallas…

Today also solidified my previous suspicions that Company Cafe is my favorite brunch restaurant in Dallas. At some point I’ll have to branch out and try out the rest of the menu, but so far their pancakes, brisket tacos, breakfast tacos, gravy and as of today, french toast sticks are all amazing. And it’s all natural and gluten-free! Not just gluten-free, but great tasting and gluten-free, which is easier said than done. My post allergy-diagnosed diet is having me live wheat-less for a little while, so this is particularly good news for my carb-starved soul. Don’t worry, I’m no food critic and I know it, so you don’t have to fear some elaborate, overly descriptive story a la Yelp-style is going to ensue. Just know it’s amazing, and you should go. Plus, you’re supporting local farms and food suppliers, many dedicated to great social causes like Impact Foods, a gluten-free granola company that donates food packs to children for every bad of granola sold. Food that tastes good, makes you feel good and does good…how can you say no to that? (Plus, all their servers at both locations have always been nice, helpful and down to earth. Okay, okay…I’ll try to stop raving now.)

P.S. Lucia was amazing. I’ve fully bought into the hard-to-grab reservation process and high price tag after last night’s meal. Go there, too.

Inspiration: Media high + Finding freedom

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I have had the kind of work week that makes me incredulous that my job is actually considered a job. I got to go to digital media conference in Dallas for two days, which basically means I got to learn (yes!), hear different perspectives on the industry I love and meet new people. For an introvert, it’s amazing how exhilarating it is to walk up alone to a circle of people I’ve never seen before and not only make unawkward conversation (always a win), but also some new friends.

It’s given me a much needed refresher on work life this week and reminded me that I’m lucky to be where I am right now, even though I don’t always remember that. Maybe I’m an optimist (okay, I know I’m an optimist) but when I think back on the different phases of my life so far, no matter how much I struggled or thrived during them, my rose-colored glasses are definitely on. I don’t usually think, “wow this sucked” or “I regret doing this or doing it this way;” for the most part I think, “I’m so grateful for that time because ___.” It helps shift my perspective to tell myself how I’m going to look back on this time of my life and really appreciate it…so I better be appreciating it now!

Feeling ‘free’ has been a bit of a theme for me this week, as you might pick up on from my pinning spree below. These photographs and quotes have been reminding me to take a deep breath, rest a little then get out there and embrace life. I’ve been in a resting phase for a little while now, trying to avoid too many social plans, etc. Now I’m just ready for all that the very busy month of February has planned for me, starting with this weekend: Valentine’s/couples dinner at the very hard to reserve Lucia in Bishop Arts (!), freelance work and celebrating life with friends at a big post-church brunch. Can it just be Friday afternoon already?




Aside from my weekend routine of dog parks, yoga, and a cappuccino addiction, I really only have one interesting thing to share from this weekend.

A few months ago I read about an organization called The Stewpot. They were featured in an article by the Dallas Observer showcasing their art show they recently had at the Dallas Library. The Stewpot is an organization dedicated to helping the Dallas homeless get back on their feet, and art classes are just part of that. What was so beautiful about this art show was the unexpected (or should it be expected?) talent among the group. The Dallas Observer blogger, Betsy Lewis, described her reaction to one artist in particular’s wall of art work, Charles Williams:

Then I arrived at a wall full of work by an artist named Charles William

I kept saying, out loud, to no one in the room, “holy shit” and “Jesus” and, again, “holy shit.” I even wrote down “holy shit” in case I might forget it later. I know nothing about this person but I know he has mastered, MASTERED, Cubism.

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Around the same time I stumbled across the article, I had been feeling pretty selfish. My mind constantly revolves around where I’ll go next in my career, how I am going to afford Europe in a few months, and where the next coffee shop is opening up in Dallas. Me, me, me, me. I used to enjoy this. As a single 20 something, this is the time in my life I am allowed to be pretty selfish. But I wasn’t sure if I was giving proper thanks to where I was and what I had. If I was always looking to what’s next, how am I supposed to make sure I am appreciative of the today?

All that to say I was compelled to sign up to volunteer. Unforunately, apparantly everyone has these same thoughts around the holiday season so they were pretty booked for weekends through January. So I had to book pretty far in advance, but finally the weekend arrived!

Initially, I was kinda freaked. When I got there there were a bunch of ‘clients’ walking around and I  had no idea where I was going and it was still dark outside. I couldn’t help but entertain the idea of getting back in my car to my warm, cozy and inviting bed. Luckily a fellow lost volunteer found me and together we navigated the unfamiliar “bad part of Dallas” to find where we were supposed to be. After a brief orientation, I was assigned the task of walking around and filling up water cups with a pitcher. Frankly, I was nervous. I don’t think this is unusual. I had no idea what types of personalities I was about to encounter. Plus, I was nervous I would spill the water – waitressing was never exactly my forté.

In the end, I had a great time. While walking around filling water, I chatted with many of the clients and found so many of them to be warm, kind and genuinely good people. The volunteers were no different. They were engaging, fun, and again, genuinely good people. The place where the meals were served was called “The Bridge.” It felt like a campus. They had one huge hall for sleeping, a library, computer lab, showers and lockers. In my opinion, by Stewpot respecting and keeping “The Bridge” clean, their clients have equal respect for the place they call home and those that make it possible.

The best thing that Stewpot is able to provide this group is a feeling of community and safety. The provide it, and they do a great job.

For more information on Stewpot and how you can get involved, check out TheStewpot.org.

xo L

Friends for Life

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A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.  ~ Lois Wyse

I spent a slow-paced Sunday with a friend in downtown McKinney, an adorable area that looks like it belongs in a movie about a charming small town. Couples walked hand in hand, kids rode by on bicycles laughing as the wind blew in their hair. Literally. I thought I should probably take some pictures to prove it, but turning the camera on strangers made me feel a little on the creeper side. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I’ve been down there (or up there, rather, as it’s about 35 minutes north of Dallas) before for the occasional wedding or client meeting, but this was the first time I finally had time to explore. After stuffing ourselves with mimosas, caffeine, eggs benedict and deep conversation, we wandered into one vintage treasure shop after another.

Our afternoon reminded me how much I have to be thankful for…Some people just make your soul richer, and this girl is definitely one of those. We’ve both come a long way personally, romantically and professionally since we first met one year ago. Sometimes seeing that growth in others is easier than seeing it in yourself, and having friends to witness that growth in (and remind you of your own) is a beautiful thing! This week I’m making an effort to hold on to that encouragement and reach out to some friends I’ve been meaning to connect with. I even picked up some cute notecards at one of the shops to help me get started.

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