A tradition-worthy holiday

I’m a big fan of holidays in general, mainly because I love a good tradition and tend to surround myself with people who feel the same. In college, every time our group of friends did something we liked, one of us would exclaim, “A tradition!” And so it would be. This led to weekly cafeteria group dinners, Thirsty Thursdays (non-alcoholic at first, because we were cool kids), One Tree Hill nights, potluck dinners, brunches, swinging (on actual swings, like I said, cool kids) and more.

So with all of the tradition-packed potential of Christmas Eve and Christmas, it’s no wonder that it’s one of my favorite holidays. My family traditions include chili, driving to see Christmas lights and cheese & crackers by the fire.

This year also brought what is hopefully not going to be a tradition – sickness. It’s day 6, and I’m still heavily medicated so I can’t promise any lucid or particularly inspiring thoughts.

I just wanted to take this moment to say Happy (late) Christmas!

Oh careers. you pestering thing, you.

When I graduated college I was never really sure what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to work hard, be creative, and love what I did everyday. I knew I wanted to be independent and have great clothes. I knew I wanted to have a dog to run with and a car that would work. But beside that, I was clueless. I don’t think I knew what options were out there for a Marketing major. And the truth is, 3 years later (omg how has it been three years?), I’m still figuring it out.

I find it frustrating, though. I like the idea of having a life plan. Something to think on and know where I wanted to go and then figuring out the steps to get there. I want that so badly. But I don’t.

Over a month ago I made a big career jump and left my agency job for in-house marketing. I worked at a tight knit agency that felt like home and was surrounded by people that felt like family. I left for a big corporate job with longer hours, a pay bump, more responsibility and the ability to work more on the things that I’ve so far enjoyed. I’m still deciding if it was a good choice.

Man, it’s hard. It’s hard navigating your career. It’s so hard to know if the steps you are making are the right ones to get somewhere where you’ll be happy. I feel like it’s easy if you’re someone who is just looking for a job to pay the bills and for vacations. You look at each new job opportunity at face value. Do you like the responsibilities, company and coworkers? Then you’re golden. But for those of us tortured by the importance of our career to our happiness, even what seems like a great job might not be the right step on our career paths. There’s fears of being pigeon holed, being stifled, missing out and whatever else keeps us up at night tossing and turning over career decisions.

All we want is to be making the right career steps to get us to a place that we want to be – even if we don’t know what that is yet.  I don’t have the answer for this yet. But all I can do is follow my gut, listen to my mentors and maybe try not putting so much pressure on my career (easier said that done). Change can be good (although I tend to try to avoid it). I’m happy with a lot of things about my new job and I miss a lot of things about my old job. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed this all works out in the end?

The Whole 30 effect

So the husband and I have been on the Whole 30. Except our Whole 30 was more like the Whole 5 out of 15…Whole third? Anyways.

For those that don’t know, the Whole 30 is a cleanse diet/lifestyle of sorts that’s all about getting back to the basics of what we put inside our bodies – essentially paleo clean-eating. Friends (both autoimmune and not) have raved about how great it makes them feel; how it purges cravings, heals your gut and generally makes you an all-around better, tap-dancing, dream-achieving person.

She looks like the kind of person who does the Whole 30 successfully, no?   Photo: Pinterest
She looks like the kind of person who does the Whole 30 successfully, no? Photo: Pinterest

While you can’t exactly (definitely) call it a successful go, I did learn a few things. For example, I thought I’d have an easier time of it than the husband, seeing as I’ve already had to cut so many of the offending foods out of my diet. What I hadn’t counted on though was how much I relied on all the replacements for my restricted ones, which were just as hard to go without. The endeavor started so promisingly, but it quickly culminated in a sticky, half dozen donut binge surrounded by a haze of chocolate icing and hangry marital tension.

The whole thing got me to examine my cravings. I’ve often felt like I’m ruled by food, but maybe it’s actually my perspective. Reading about bloggers who “haven’t had a single craving in years!!!” fills me with a hope that I too might one day be freed from food if I just tried, planned, micro-managed harder. One day when I was miserable because all I wanted was the Mediterranean Quinoa at the Whole Foods hot bar and I was hungry damnit, I thought – maybe there’s a better way. Maybe it’s not about fighting every single gram of good-tasting thing because it will make me a healthier and therefore better and therefore happier person, but it’s just not punishing myself with a completely unrealistic standard that works for someone else. And that thought filled me with a new kind of hope. All that said, food nirvana is much easier said than done, though.

Have you tried the Whole 30? I would love to hear what you think!


A couple of years ago I did a half marathon and it was like..ya know..meh. I dreaded the training for it (“No sorry, I can’t do ANYTHING tonight.. I have to run 10 miles tomorrow..”) and then when the actual day arrived it took forever to finish and after I did, I spent the day laying on the couch unable to, well, move (shoutout to the parents for the care taking and brunch!). It was definitely one of those checklist items. I did it, so now I can move on.

But I liked the atmosphere. I liked pushing myself and racing against other people and trying to do my absolute best. When I started dating my boyfriend a year ish ago, he was just starting to get into sprint triathlons. This seemed mildly appealing due to the change of pace (not just running) and how quickly it was over. But, the bike investments and other gear kept me away. (how people train for biking while living in a city is beyond me, I’m far too afraid of cars).

This year he got into aquathons (swimming + running) due to our shared dislike of cycling (i.e. we weren’t very good, we like to be good at things). After months of talking me into it, I finally signed up and ran my first race. It was a 500m swim followed by a 5K. I signed up a week before, and swam and ran a few times before the big day (super prepared, clearly).

I ran with Five55 Series in Grapevine, TX. They have a really neat group of friendly faces that compete in these monthly races. A lot of people know each other from doing them and I look forward to joining the clan. It’s sponsored partly by FirstWave, a gym located in Southlake, TX dedicated to triathletes.

The race went surprisingly really well. They are still working on final stats (technical errors), but I believe I got 7th overall in the swim (men + women) and 2nd in women for just the swim portion. Hopefully the run times and final stats will be up sometime! I’m pretty addicted already. It was a rush to sprint at the end and try to catch the guy in front of me and so satisfying to take a cold sip of beer after all the hard work.

I can’t make the September race.. but you betchya I’ll be back for October. The added bonus of it NOT being 105 degrees outside is too sweet to pass up. Please enjoy my pre-race awkward thumbs up below. How else are you supposed to pose in the most unflattering of attire (one piece swimsuit)?

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Ring in the new season

nordstrom august fall 2014 catalog
photo: Nordstrom

September in Texas is hardly sweater weather, but I can’t help noticing the increasingly not-so-subtle shift on Pinterest from sundresses and bright-colored patterns to a rich fall palette of cozy sweaters and boots.

One look that is getting big for fall and has been growing on me in a big way is rings. I’ve never been one much for rings even before my nickel allergy diagnosis, but my wedding & engagement rings were a catalyst to reconsider. Like the effect of fresh nail polish, they make everything my hands do that much more fun, pretty and I’m pretty sure, poised (one can only hope). And bonus, they last much longer.

I’d like to reserve my left hand for wedding rings only, but my right hand deserves some fun, too….right? So an hour at Forever21 and a few bruised knuckles later, I am the proud owner of a few cuff and upper finger rings. If you have any questions about ring styles and sizes, my experience trying on every single ring Forever21 carries can probably help you out.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? My super crafty sister had a great idea. She bought two sizes of the same ring and wore them at different parts of the same finger. It was a perfect replica of the stacked ring / finger cuff look!

Some ring stacking inspiration:

Photo: Etsy / DurangoDreamDesigns
Photo: Etsy / DurangoDreamDesigns
Photo: Catbird / Moda & Estilo
Photo: Catbird / Moda & Estilo

And my all-time favorite:

Photo: Marie Claire
Photo: Marie Claire

I cooked! Lemon Zucchini Pasta

When I cook, it’s an event. It’s planned. The recipe is chosen a week in advance, the ingredients ready to be chopped days before it’s time. I ask the boyfriend to block of an evening, dedicated to my future masterpiece.

Last week I finally dug into a cookbook I received for my birthday, Food; Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCartney. So far, I love this cookbook. Although I’m not a vegetarian, there are still some great, tasty ideas. Plus, there are pictures for each recipe which I’m a HUGE fan of.

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I decided to go with the lemon zucchini pasta recipe, but also had the boyfriend pick up some lemon-y chicken from Whole Foods (pre-marinated because that’s how us lazy kids roll).

Here is what you need:

  • Pasta
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinkly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese (plus extra for more deliciousness)
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

I wish I had some special instructions for you or things that I did differently that improved the recipe. But, alas. I’m not there yet in my cooking. I follow instructions to the T. One thing I couldn’t figure out though was how to finely chop garlic? Instead we ended up with pieces of garlic in the final product.

  1. Open wine bottle
  2. Pour wine glass
  3. Cook the spaghetti according to your pasta box’s instructions (obviously)
  4. Once the pasta is done, set it aside and drizzle some olive oil in there so it doesn’t get all sticky
  5. Using the same pan, combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and zucchini and sauté for 4-5 minutes
  6. Pour second glass of wine
  7. Add in the garlic and herbs, mix well and sauté for a couple more minutes
  8. Add in the cooked pasta and yea through, mix in the cheese and lemon zest.
  9. Season with some salt and black pepper
  10. Add more cheese. I love cheese.
  11. Share wine bottle and food with friends

Below are some pics of my cooking process, in case it helps! I forgot to get a picture of the final product though, shame. My boyfriend and I loved this dish! It wasn’t creamy or heavy, so you leave the meal nice and full but with room for dessert. Enjoy 🙂

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Coffee Shops on the To Do List

I think I speak for both Sarah and I when I say that we are pretty picky when it comes to where we go to get our coffee house fix. It takes a lot to impress us. Atmosphere, patio, views, employees, chair comfiness, pastry selections (gluten free, please for Sarah..sufficient sweetness for me) and of course that coffee taste are all equally important.

Ascension Coffee
Ascension Coffee

My favorite coffee shop in Dallas is Ascension in the Design District. It’s my go to. The coffee is so delicious, and for me it was one of the first boutique coffee shops I knew about in D-town (having come from the land of Starbucks corners). Their perfectly sized small coffees are everything I need to turn a bad day into a great one.

But, I have a wandering eye. There are two new(ish) specialty shops in Dallas that if I don’t try in the next month I might die.


Houndstooth opened up about a week ago by Knox/Henderson. Originally from Austin, this shop has found its way North and I couldn’t be more thrilled! One thing I love is that they host frequent public coffee cuppings at their Austin N. Lamar location. This gives you the opportunity to try new coffees and learn more about their flavor, something I actually really enjoyed while working at Starbucks. At first you’re just like ‘ummm yeah this one tastes like coffee too…” but when you start trying several coffees and pairing them with foods, you start to notice the different flavors in each cup. So, Houndstooth. I’m hoping to see you tomorrow morning.

Davis St Espresso
Davis St Espresso

The second place I’m hoping to pay a visit to is Davis St Espresso in Oak Cliff. They just recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary, so I’m super late hoping on this train. Davis St. also hosts cuppings – a quality I think defines a dedicated coffee shop…just saying. Unfortunately this one is a little out of the way and difficult to get to and it’s closed on Sundays. But I’m determined! I’ll see them very soon.

A little book review or two

A few weeks ago I attended a Social Media Club of Dallas meeting in which a local content marketing expert Jerod Morris encouraged the audience to get out there and watch TV marathons, blog, and read. Generate ideas, get the creative juices flowing and be inspired. I took this to heart and made significant efforts to read more, this includes the design blogs I love so much, fashion bloggers to idolize, advertising and marketing articles and trying to keep up with day to day news and events (oh, I also treat myself to many a TV marathon on Netflix..for ya know, research purposes…). As a result, an amazing thing happened!

For us book nerds, there are few things greater than finding a story that you simply can’t put down. The kind that you read at traffic stops and make you consider canceling on happy hour for an even happier hour at home in bed turning the pages. They keep you up late and are quite time consuming, but you love them.

Well, I was fortunate enough to have two of those back to back. IT’S A MIRACLE.


The first was Lit, a memoir by Mary Karr. The story line follows her starting as a post high school grad drifter to her struggles with alcoholism to her marriage to her first child and how she got (and continues to get) through all of it. The story line itself was great and took an unexpected turn into her struggles with faith (unexpected because I didn’t read what the book was about before I read it) and how it eventually pulls her out of a darkness. Mary Karr wields words like nobody’s business. A poet at heart, her sentences grab you. They are so powerful, so beautiful. My mom had recommended the book to me, and I would often call her and read a line and just be so taken back by its power. Okay, so that’s Lit. Read it.


The next is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A book recommended to me by a friend. She was so determined to get me to read it, she immediately mailed me her copy straight from NYC once she finished. Like Lit, I didn’t read what the book was about before I started. OH MY GOD. Sooo good!! There’s very little I can say about the book without giving anything away. But let’s just say the twists and turns are incredible and that this was definitely one I read at stoplights. It’s basically about a wife that goes missing and her husband is left to face the police and the public… that’s about all I can say. That was a super vague review, but just know that you’ll love it.

Now I am on to Looking for Alaska by John Green (yes, author of The Fault in Our Stars). A brief summary:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

I started it just the other day and am loving it so far! What to read next though…

Feeling squared away

I had been listening to Kidd Kraddick in the morning since I was in 3rd grade and never fathomed the possibility of other radio stations fulfilling my need for idle morning chatter.

But then (by force, not by choice, ahem boyfriend), I was subjected to The Morning Musers on The Ticket. Although it’s a sports radio station and my knowledge and care for sports is minimal unless I’m the one playing, I’m completely obsessed with these three guys. Even when they are talking about football player’s names that go in one ear and out the other, their radio demeanor makes me love them and keeps me coming back morning after morning. (Don’t worry, I still get my daily dose of celeb gossip from the Kidd Nation app and podcast. Score one for technology!)

One day in particular, Craig did a segment on things you do that make you feel squared away and I couldn’t agree more with basically everything he said (although I can’t remember what he said specifically…and can’t find it online. You’ll have to take my word for it). Ever since, I’ve been thinking about what (as a 20-something girl) makes me feel put together. Like, if I do even one of these I feel I am succeeding in life overall. Here it goes:

  • Fresh mani/pedi
  • New or cleaned make up
  • Clean car (interior AND exterior)
  • Drinking a green juice
  • Meal planning
  • Good hair day
  • Creating a to do list
  • Hair cut
  • Waking up to a clean room and bathroom and kitchen (okay, a clean apartment)
  • Working out on on a weekend before noon (okay…maybe just getting out of bed before noon, let’s aim low)
  • Watering my plants (my green thumb is lacking)
  • Making appointments (and then keeping them)

That’s my list. What’d I miss?!

Oh,and by the way. I, picking at my nail polish as we speak, currently have none of these things going on. But there’s a green juice in my fridge, I like to think that counts for something.

Time to think

Number One Highland Park

Treating myself to a celebratory almond milk iced latte and grain-free muffin the other day, I stumbled across a thought-provoking article in Darling Magazine. Bre Scullark writes,

“Masking the motive behind our actions subconsciously gives us permission to live an inauthentic life.”

Leading an inauthentic life is the last thing I want, but I’ve found lately that it’s an easy place to get to. I’ve had a ton to process in the past half year: engagement, a new job and leaving a company that felt like home, ongoing health flare-ups, my grandmother’s passing, marriage, moving into a place with a guy (my husband, but still), my first and hopefully only lay off, another new job… That’s some hard work, ya’ll. That I haven’t been doing.

The article goes on to say that “when we numb our emotions we deny ourselves the opportunity to find acceptance and peace uninterrupted.” Compulsive behavior like eating, shopping and entertainment are all ways we continue this pattern of avoidance. Interestingly or perhaps fittingly enough, these are also all ways to consume rather than create. Producing creative work requires things like processing and feeling.

Since I got married a little over 2 months ago I’ve become fast friends with the consumption and distraction part of this equation. I’ve read 6 books and started 3 others, watched all 5 seasons of Brothers & Sisters, caught up on the full seasons of 4 other shows, spent two weekends out of town, added several blogs to my regular reading roster, pinned countless pins and obsessed about apartment decor with the receipts and return slips (and then receipts again) to prove it.

But when all these fun things aren’t balanced with any time to reflect or engage in creative outlets of my own, they become stifling. I have been learning firsthand that laziness and self-indulgence are not the same as rest.

This quote from Louis C.K. also hit me hard, talking about people’s need to constantly preoccupy themselves:

“And that’s why we text and drive. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”

It is hard. I’m slowly trying to take stock of my reactionary habits, to be more mindful about how I’m spending my time and why. After all,

tom ford quote - time and silence