Aquathon

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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It’s time to summer

I’ve lauded summer before on Finding Tiffany’s, especially given that the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Any time I’m encouraged – no – expected to eat plenty of hot dogs and light things on fire I’m all in.

But what does this summer hold? I feel some goal-setting coming on…

More pool days at FOE. It’s basically the epitome of the neighborhood pool in every quirky, indie movie, which is awesome. And as the husband said, it’s a place where the poolside currency isn’t abs, but tattoos.

Photo by Jason Acton, D Magazine
Photo by Jason Acton, D Magazine

More walks to our new Design District neighbors. I’ve been meaning to walk down the Hi Line shops, try the Taco Stop and bike on the Trinity Strand Trail.

I've got some exploring to do.  Photo by International Business Times
I’ve got some exploring to do.
Photo by International Business Times

Nesting the new home. We comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we’re New-York-in-training, as we’re already spending more than we wanted to on not enough space. Despite the fact that this leaves my Target shopping spree decor budget waning and Ikea nearly broke us up, we’re now the proud owners of some new boxes of furniture and a whole lot of ideas.

Photo by Buzzfeed
Photo by Buzzfeed

Hosting a housewarming party. I can only hope we complete the apartment in time to throw a summer housewarming party. I love to plan and host, the husband loves to cook…we may have found our real life calling.

paperless post new address card
Photo by Paperless Post

Pineapple nail art from Ms. Patty. I’m not too worried about not completing this one. Ms. Patty is the best, and Beauty Bar’s deal for $20 nail art + cocktails by day is only rivaled by their epic dance parties by night. Also, I’ve decided pineapple prints will be the next summer trend. You heard it here first.

wondrously polished - pineapple nail art
Photo by Wondrously Polished

 

 

Allieology

Next up, 2014

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live life quote

Last year I decided on themes from 2012 and set ones for 2013, and it turned out to be one of my favorite posts. From time to time, I would look back to see how I was doing at my resolutions or if, most likely as I feared, I had forgotten about them entirely. I’m probably way too proud to say I really did accomplish last year’s goals, so I decided I would do the same style this year.

2013 was the year of…

Creativity. I made great strides as a budding amateur photographer and even won the Innovator Award at my agency’s annual peer-voted awards ceremony for the most creative strategies, ideas and campaigns (and tights, due to my daily variation of colors and patterns).

Relationships. Last year I was excited to announce the return of one of my best friends (now roommate). This year I had another lifelong friend move to the DFW area and managed to make some pretty huge strides in my romantic relationship. November 2012 I was sure I was on the brink of a break-up, yet somehow we grew together in a way I didn’t see coming, leading up to our engagement November 2013. Crazy! No offense meant to the rest of you guys, but I’m pretty sure I’ve locked down the most caring, intelligent, witty, handsome guy out there.

Travel. My real goal, if you haven’t caught on yet, is to make every year the year of travel. In 2013 I visited El Paso, Washington D.C., Austin, Chicago, Wisconsin, Tulsa, New York (twice!), Istanbul and Atlanta. What a great year!

Health. After battling what appears to be food allergies in the form of super swollen eyes and lips, I finally have the uncomfortable issues and itchiness under semi-control. I reached a pretty low place when my physical issues were leaving me ugly and sleep deprived, but I have been so blessed with a loving boyfriend, compassionate boss, tireless parents, understanding friends and the BEST DOCTOR EVER (aka Dr. Crawford). I also got to experiment with new recipes and restaurants in line with my new gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut, bean – free diet.

2014 will focus on…

Engaging. Recently I realized that my natural inclinations to keep my head down in the grocery store and zone out to the tune of my to do list at work are just not what’s important. Life is not at all about me, and I want the way I live to reflect that. Some ways I plan on doing that include smiling more, asking questions, complimenting others, inviting people to coffee and lunches (heck, actually taking lunches) and dedicating one night a week to catching up on message replies, texts, maybe even a “hey, how’s life” phone call or snail mail note. I’ve let far too many close friendships grow distant and opportunities to connect with strangers fall by the wayside. No more.

Using time intentionally. This looks like lining up podcasts for my daily commutes to hear from Ben Stewart, the Bible app, TED talks or Italian lessons. This also looks like using my nights and weekends to pursue others and my interests, rather than pick up dinner at Whole Foods only to waste away on Netflix (no matter how good Sherlock, Parks & Rec and White Collar are). For instance, I have been promised a trip to Italy once I become fluent. Motivation, secured. I came across this quote the other day by H. Jackson Brown Jr.:

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

Rediscovering reading. When I was younger I read multiple books a week. Now, the same length book takes me at least a month. This year I want to read more, in turn increasing my appetite for even more books. Reading also has the side effects of inspiring creative juices and providing much needed rest, both of which I can always stand more of. I also really, really want to start a book club. I’ve been talking about this for at least a year, and enough is enough. If you’re in the Dallas area and love books and brunch, you should probably think about joining. More info coming soon as I figure out just what this looks like, but I’m très‎ excited.

Traveling. Up next is a road trip to Marfa, a leisurely beachfront long weekend in Maine, Austin for SXSW (and most likely my bachelorette party), another trip (or two, or three) to New York City and of course, our honeymoon. Right now, Italy’s Amalfi coast and Naples or Spain’s islands and Barcelona are in the lead.

That’s it! I could go on and on when it comes to goals and to do lists, but hopefully these themes give you a good idea of where I’ve been, where I’m at and where I’m going.

What have you got planned for 2014?

New Years Resolutions

2013 is already coming to a close – can you even believe it?

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I’m a little sad to see 2013 go, it was a pretty solid year in the life and times of Lydia. Sure there were some downs with tears and disappointment, but who wants to focus on that? Instead, I like to take the time at the end of each year to see how my life has changed, how I’ve changed and check in on my life priorities.

Last year I made the perfectly vague resolution to spend more on experience and less on things. I also vowed to be healthier in both mind and body. Although I’ve made great progress in those resolutions, I think I’ll stick to them for 2014.

But I’d also like to add making a resolution to be more thankful and count my blessings more often. To take a moment each day to remind yourself what you have to be thankful for, especially on those crummy days. 

I’ll be ringing in 2014 with a great group of friends, champagne, good music and a kiss from zee boyfriend. It couldn’t be any more perfect! How will you ring in the new year?

A series of unfortunate events

Let’s go back to last Friday. A coworker was just telling me that Klyde Warren, a personal favorite and very cool downtown Dallas park, opened an ice skating rink. As any big city-starved and New York-obsessed girl, visions of sliding through crisp air surrounded by twinkly lights and the beautiful juxtaposition of trees and tall buildings swarmed my head. As not good as the movie Serendipity was (sorry Lydia), I’ve also never been able to lose the mental image of the Central Park ice skating scene and hope that I too might find my own adorable, quick-witted John Cusack to enjoy it with.

So with fiancé and high expectations in tow, I made my way downtown.

All seemed good as we walked up and laced up old fashioned-looking skates. People of all ages were lacing up their own skates, and the twinkly lights were ready for my movie moment. I was even wearing my favorite winter coat (even though I’m pretty sure it was 60 degrees today). And then we stepped on the…not ice.

Not sure how they got away with all the media placements touting the arrival of downtown “ice skating” (gotta love the power of a good publicist), but there was no ice to be found. Instead, our skates came to a screeching halt on plastic, yes, plastic, that required footwork not unlike an elderly penguin post-hip replacement surgery. Definitely no skating, sliding or speed of any kind here. Upon further inspection, our skates actually had just a flat metal strip where the blade would be.

Now, I’m a huge fan of the Klyde Warren. We even threw it out as a potential wedding location due to our support of and excitement for the space from Day 1. So this hurts me to say more than it hurts you, dear park: this “ice skating” is a waste of money, both for participants and the park itself.

After a few attempts at waddling we needed a change of scene, stat. It seemed like a nice night to finally check out Hoffman Hots, a fifties-inspired hot dog restaurant in Trinity Groves. Sadly, this was a severe disappointment both in food quality and atmosphere. And that’s saying something because I LOVE hot dogs. We also figured out we could buy 8 10-packs of hot dogs from a grocery store with what we paid for our 4 “gourmet” hot dogs, which really instilled confidence in our ability to make financially sound decisions for our future.

While this blog might sound like one long complaint, I have to be honest: We actually had a lot of fun tonight lamenting how “Dallas” aka “shiny on the outside/not so hot on the execution” the whole thing was….But if someone asks you to go ice skating in Klyde Warren you might want to tell them you prefer the Galleria.

Scones for brunching

Well friends, I made up for the prior weekend’s purposeful antisocial agenda by emerging from my cocoon as a full-fledged social butterfly this weekend. Celebrating a friend’s birthday at The Foundry, treating Lydia’s cousin to a one-night version of the Dallas Experience (drinks overlooking the skyline at NYLO followed by late-night early morning Velvet Taco), hot dogs behind home plate at a Rangers game, North Park shopping and a Teavana splurge followed by Rusty Tacos with a visiting Fort Worth friend, Sunday brunch with Lydia and our loverly friends…whew.

I’ve also recently become a tad addicted to Instagram as of late so you can even see the discrepancy for yourselves.

Last weekend:

jennifer lawrence vogue

This weekend:

the foundry - chicken scratch dallas

the rangers ballpark in arlington

flowers

strawberries and cream scones

Which leads me to the below recipe, found at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. It was pretty delicious while, like all things gluten-free/vegan baking, pretty trial and error. For example, I subbed Bob’s Red Mill baking flour for her flour blend in an effort to be financially and time efficient (read: cheap and lazy). This led to more of a cupcake-like batter consistency than cookie-like, resulting in a first round of very flat, wide wanna-be “scones.” Using only about 2/3’s of the called for coconut milk and adding in a little more flour definitely helped the next time around!

gluten free vegan strawberries n’ cream scones

  • 1 3/4 cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend (Or in my case, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (For me: 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced (Even more is better!)
vanilla glaze
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons So Delicious barista style coconut milk french vanilla coffee creamer

They ended up being a pretty big brunch success, and testing two batches means I get to start my mornings all week long with baked sweetness I can actually eat. We also enjoyed White Peach Gin Fizz cocktails, which fit my gin phase and peach craving quite nicely. So nicely in fact, that I forgot to take a picture in all the excitement of actually drinking them so you’ll just have to take my word for it or try the recipe out for yourselves…

Dallas Restaurant Week commences

Dallas Restaurant Week is upon us. Do you feel the sudden shift in the weight of Dallas citizens? I can promise you that I sunk our city a little deeper after last night’s glutenous meal. I woke up still full this morning from too much tastiness! Anyhoo, last night my roommate and I set out to Hibiscus, fully dressed for the occasion (an excuse to wear her Birchbox red lipstick and me to wear my new heels? Sold!).

For those that don’t know, Dallas Restaurant Week is a time where us normal folk get to dine at Dallas’ finest restaurants. For just $30 or $45, you get to enjoy a full meal at your choice of dining bliss. At Hibiscus, for example, we paid $30 for a shared appetizer, shared side, individual entrees and a shared dessert. It would’ve been wise of me to actually calculate the real cost of the meal versus the Dallas Restaurant Week cost…but alas, I…didn’t. Dallas Restaurant Week also begs the question, just how does one articulate a happy squeal in simple words? A YAY! or a HELL YES! simply isn’t sufficing. So let’s just say I’m SUPER stoked.

Our choice, Hibiscus, is located in the Knox-Henderson area, across from Velvet Taco.  It’s the kind of place that doesn’t list their prices online and the hostesses are so dressed up that you start to wonder what their salary is and if you should change career paths. The atmosphere was amazing. It’s narrow and split up into three rooms, with just a curved passage away as the entrance. This made what is actually a huge restaurant, feel small and cozy. Well, almost cozy.

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So, in the hope of making your mouth water, here’s what we had…

To start, we had the Baked Dungeness Crab Dip with wood fired crackers.

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For my main course, I had the Spit-Roasted Fran’s Fryer Chicken with local kale, spring veggies and lemon-capers. As our side we had the Deep Dish Mac & Cheese (omg).

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And then to top of our calorie count for the day, we had the Classic Chocolate Cake (devils food fake with truffle ganache, cocoa frosting and morello cherry).

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Needless to say, I had to be rolled out of there and into my car. I used my full (and happy) tummy to steer me home so that the rest of me could enter a deep food coma. Only kidding (kinda). I’ll be day dreaming of that meal every time I eat my boring protein shake dinners or my hard boiled eggs at lunch. *Sigh*

Not to fret though, my other planned Dallas Restaurant date is right around the corner. The beau and I are headed to The Grape next week to pig out a little more. Om nom nom. Wish me and my almost-there-abs some luck!

Ps. The photos of all the delicious food are courtesy of my roommate, Brittany. Her pics made me strongly reconsider my dedication to my trust iPhone in favor of a Droid *gasp*

Birthday brunching

the common table brunch fruit platebirthday present i was told there would be cake by sloane crosleyfinding tiffany's lydia boyce

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?

audrey hepburn birthday card

What would you like to do right now?

downtown Dallas
Home…right now.

Today Marthe from The Freedom Experiment (always a favorite read) asked her readers what they’d most like to be doing right now. After another losing battle with morningtime, I can tell you that driving to work with another day of zero coffee ahead of me was not exactly high on my list. But imagining my perfect day really has pulled me out of a slump before, so I let her question sink in only to find a somewhat surprising truth to snap me out of my haze.

latte coffee
Oh, how I miss you…

Because the truth is, I’m really quite happy with what I’m doing, and I’ve got a lot of exciting times ahead. As I admired the downtown Dallas buildings and great weather last weekend after a “so Dallas” evening on the Katy Trail Ice House patio, I thought “You know what, I have to say, I maybe sorta actually kinda like it here.” This might not seem like much of a confession to you, but Dallas was the last place I saw myself living, not to mention liking. But somewhere along the way this place became home….for now anyway. There are far too many great places in this world for me to settle down just yet.

Keeping the Dallas momentum going, though, this weekend I’ll be seeing the Nasher sculpture museum for the first time (it’s about time) and catching their Air Review concert and outdoor screening of Life of Pi, all in my new neon windbreaker. Plus, there’s my upcoming moving out pool party/cookout followed by actually moving out…and into my new adorable house. And on top of that, I have a foodie trip to Austin, weddings for people I like a whole awful lot and my first ever trip to Chicago (hello, new year’s resolution being met!).

So now I’m passing it on, what would you most like to do right now?

Today I’d Rather Be….

getting-back-to-meg beachvespa travelingstanding in the ocean

If you can’t tell by all these pictures of other places I’d like to be, I’ve been feeling a little restless lately.

I realized, after months (and months) of getting settled and exploring, I feel like I can finally say I know Dallas. I know how to get where I’m going…although my apartment is still the first location to auto-populate in my Google Maps search thanks to all too frequent direction searching. I’ve explored a lot of the major neighborhoods, eaten at a different restaurants, gone out to some different bars, even managed to find multiple different coffee shops, which is quite a feat in a world now overrun by Starbucks’ on every corner. Some people might find all this comforting, but I was always the kid shoving furniture around my room every couple months to have “new” surroundings, living vicariously through often multiple book characters a week, and asking to go to a boarding school so I could have some adventures of my own.

Adjusting to life in one place and without the limitless flying privileges I used to be privy to while still a student is definitely, well…an adjustment. So to me this feeling means it’s time to a) go somewhere new and/or b) get creative.

Luckily, I actually do get to go somewhere pretty soon. Like Lydia, I’m also “planning” a trip, albeit much shorter and not quite as exciting as Europe…I will be celebrating my birthday weekend in Washington D.C. next week. The word planning is in quotation marks because (to my boyfriend’s chagrin) my idea of trip planning involves quite a lot of vague, general ideas about activities and destinations. I’m happiest when I’m just wandering around somewhere new, soaking it all in and stopping at places based on a providential mix of happenstance and locals’ recommendations. I’ve found countless great coffee, cupcakes, shops, and even some celebrities this way. All that said, I am quite excited to be somewhere I have to get on a plane to get to, and I would love any recommendations for cool, must-see (aka must eat or drink) local places.

As for the getting creative, I’m sure there’s plenty of new places in Dallas…now I’ll just have to find them.