Taking Back My Twenties

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Thoughts from a Thursday

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 | 2 comments

Current obsession edition:

1. I go through a chip and hummus combo every few weeks – right now it’s these pumpkin crisps with jalapeño and cilantro Hope Hummus.

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2. I got a new iPod after my nano from college stopped keeping a charge. It was a tiny one that couldn’t hold all of my songs at once. I put a bunch of old country music on the new one and I’m enjoying driving around with the windows, down pretending I’m in high school.

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3. Kath introduced me to this foundation a few months again and I just love it. It took a while for me to get used to it because I think my skin was addicted to Clinique, but now I’m really happy with the color and moisture.

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4. This weather. I know some people like to get right to boots and coats, but 70’s are just fine with me. Plus, when temps have been in the 100’s forever and ever, 70 feels pretty darn cold.

5. The stuffed squash at Origin Kitchen – this may been the best vegetarian dish I’ve ever had. Matt and I were both in love with it when we had it last Saturday night. Acorn squash, crispy kale, wheatberries, pomegranate, and a walnut syrup….

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6. Entering my 30th year. My 29th is this weekend, and I’m in a good place at this age. There have been so many transitions in my 20’s – grad school, moving for Matt to go to grad school, getting married, moving for Matt’s career opportunity, and a long, frustrating job search. But for the first time in a while, I’m just living my life, going to work every day, and not gearing up for any major change (knock on wood:))

Happy weekend!

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Sonoma Photo Dump

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 | 3 comments

Hello!

How is it Thursday again? The work weeks are already flying by! We had our open house tonight – lots of nervous parents and lots of questions. And man, people sure dress to the nines for open houses these days:)

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But on to the fun stuff. We were lucky enough to get to spend Labor Day weekend in wine country. My sister and I have been planning this trip for well over a year – I can’t believe it’s come and gone already. Kath and her husband are Sonoma experts, so we were glad to have them show us the ropes!

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We rented a wonderful little house near the Sonoma Square, complete with a backyard and hot tub. I wish we had been able to spend more time grilling in the chilly (!) temperatures, but it was a short trip and were busy tasting pinots and zins!

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On our first day, we headed straight from the airport to Sausalito for lunch. The bay breeze were soo incredible – I miss water when I’m in Dallas. Then we ventured on to Lagunitas for beer! What a cool spot. I ordered a kombucha since I was the DD for the day, but I had a few sips of IPA.]

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For dinner, we walked to the famous Girl and the Fig, where I had a lovely fig bourbon drink. We shared a cheese plate, and Matt and I ordered pork belly and quail.

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I didn’t snag pictures of our dessert and port, but everything was wonderful.

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Our second day was spent in the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys with a picnic mid-day.

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Chalk Hill was one of my favorite wineries of the trip!

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We made our way to Healdsburg and ended at the La Crema tasting room – another favorite in terms of wine!

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We killed some time shopping for dessert and walking around the square and then landed at Chalkboard for dinner. Oh my goodness – this was amazing.

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I think we ordered 10 small plates?

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Highlights were the pork belly cheddar biscuits, the beef sliders topped with short rib, and the crab tater tots.

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Saturday was a big day because we did a wine tour – I would highly recommend Dean from Woody’s Wine Tours!

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The highlight of the day was definitely a lunch at the owner of Montemaggiore’s home!!! When Dean told us he’d be arranging for lunch at a winery, I had no idea it would be a private tasting with incredible views in someone’s home. Boy, were we spoiled!!
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At the end of the day, we ventured to a pub for a casual dinner.
We were a little tired of drinking by Sunday, so we took it easy and just visited two wineries before retiring to the house! William Hill over in Napa and was another favorite because of the views!

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We had one last dinner in the town of Sonoma at La Salette. It was Portuguese and the food was delicious! I had a stuffed pork tenderloin paired with a Sonoma red!!
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We bought ten bottles of wine while we were there and I can’t wait to drink them over the next few years and think of this special vacation!

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It was the trip of a lifetime and I am so thankful that we were all able to go together. And a very special thank you to my parents who took care of little Mazen (my nephew) so that we could make it happen!

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Bodrum Birthday

Posted on Jul 14, 2014 | 8 comments

Hello!

I’ll spare you the details of my low-key weekend at home and share the last of my Turkey pictures!

After our time in Istanbul, we traveled to the beach town of Bodrum along the Aegean coast. I was really, really excited about this part of the trip, but after the whirlwind of the city, I hadn’t thought much about it. I think Matt and I were both blown away when we arrived and saw how ridiculously beautiful it was. We didn’t stay right on the water to save some money, but our hotel had a breathtaking view from a hill overlooking the city and harbor, so it was fine with me!

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I knew the town was old, but I didn’t realize how much history there was until we started walking around the city and learning more about it. On our first day we explored and visited the ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world! We probably could have spent another whole day going to historical sites (the castle looked so neat), but we had a birthday to celebrate!

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We walked down to the harbor on our first night and discovered tons of waterfront bars – reminded me of the cove we’d go to in Mykonos every night before dinner on our honeymoon!

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One thing I forgot to mention in my previous posts are the cats in Turkey! They were everywhere and the locals and people working at restaurants kept them well-fed and gave them attention, so it wasn’t a sad situation (or at least didn’t appear to be) like some of the other places I’ve visited where the animals are thin and sickly.

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This was the view from our dinner table down to the docks where the cats were waiting for scraps of seafood.

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Anyway, back to the birthday. Matt turned 30 on the 3rd, so I wanted to do something extra special for him. It didn’t take much research to discover that renting a gulet, or a traditional wooden boat is a big thing in Bodrum. A friend of mine had also done this and highly recommended it, so I made arrangements with a wonderful lady to hire the Adorya gulet for the day.

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Matt didn’t know a thing about it until the morning of, when I gave him a pair of sunglasses and a card that explained the surprise. He was one happy 30-year-old!

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The boat was absolutely amazing and the day was right out of a fantasy….by far the best excursion I’ve ever done!

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We sailed into quiet coves and swam in the brisk water,

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we snorkeled (but didn’t see much),

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we drank beers while floating on noodles,

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and jumped off the top of the boat.

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Our captain prepared an incredible fresh lunch of salad, fruit,

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and fish caught that morning.

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Of course, I arranged for a bit of cake:)

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It was seriously one of the best days of my life.

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After the boat trip, we rested and then strolled into town for dinner. We took a break from Turkish food and had dinner at a Spanish restaurant called La Pasion.

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We sat in a beautiful courtyard and had tapas. I think we ordered 7 and all of them were phenomenal. I’m so glad we found this gem!!

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We went to this one bakery every night in Bodrum to pick a dessert to take back to the hotel. I think Matt’s birthday is about the only day he’s willing to eat dessert with both lunch and dinner!

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On our last day in Bodrum, we took a bus over to the beach side of the town and spent the day at a beach club.

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The view was great! We had crazy winds, so we wrapped up in towels to stay warm and watched the huge beach pillows blow into the water. It was cozy.

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We had one last dinner in the harbor, and then it was back to Istanbul for the long trek home.

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Looking back at these pictures, it’s like the whole trip was a dream. I know I am very fortunate to be able to travel and I’m so thankful that Matt and I had the opportunity to visit such an amazing part of the world and celebrate a fun milestone on a gulet:)

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Rooftop Fun

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 | 0 comments

We had a very nice weekend over here! We didn’t do a whole lot, but we did get to hang out with friends both Friday and Saturday nights. And meet a one month old baby!

Friday, one of Matt’s coworkers was promoted, so we went to a happy hour celebration at the W Hotel, complete with champagne! We had planned on cooking in on Friday, but time got away from us at the party and we ending up eating bar appetizers for dinner.

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On Saturday, we met friends [with dogs] at the rooftop of HG Supply Co. Matt and I have eaten there before, but have never been on the roof – oh my, it’s amazing! It’s a giant space with fireplaces, string lights, mist, and views of the city skyline.

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We had a couple rounds of beers and paleo-style bowls for dinner. Matt and I shared a burger bowl and a Mexican-inspired bowl with spicy pulled pork (so delicious).

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It was a beautiful night and so much fun!

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We had plans to go swimming on Sunday (Matt’s training for a tri), but it rained all day long. We hadn’t had a rainy day like that in a while, so we took it easy and were productive around the house. And then we watched the USA game with some friends, of course!

Another week begins and this one is a short one! See ya

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BBQ Birthday and San Salvaje

Posted on May 19, 2014 | 1 comment

Happiest of Mondays to you guys!

We did a whole lotta nothing on Friday and Sunday so that we could go all out on Saturday! For the first time in a while, we didn’t even put any effort in Friday dinner – we just had leftovers and went to bed.

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Saturday, we drove out to the burbs to celebrate the adorable Rosco – he turned one! Time is flying – I can’t imagine how fast it moves when you’re a parent!

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You’re telling me this whole cupcake is just for me?
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We enjoyed a lovely bbq buffet, adult beverages, and Texas breezes out on the patio. It was great to catch up with a bunch of friends who all moved to Dallas after Duke!
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We got home just in time to change clothes and walk downtown to try San Salvaje – the new Stephen Pyles restaurant!. I was pumped to try it because it’s South American fusion and reasonable priced for downtown Dallas. I somehow snagged a reservation before it had even opened last week. We arrived a little early and tried a flight of pisco from Chile and Peru at the bar. All three were slightly sweet, but sooo strong! We made it through half of each glass and then I added a few drops of agave and some lime to turn these into mini pisco sours. I guess I’m a wimp:)

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I was so excited to see the wine list because they had many bottles for $25-$32!! I love this restaurant just for that! We splurged for this bottle of malbec and it was wonderful!

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We skipped the entree and just ordered a few small plates. Less is more these days.

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This is the pork belly tacu tacu (lentil cake) with fig compote. It was absolutely perfect and the pork just melted in my mouth.

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Next, the lobster sweet corn tamale with fried avocado – also fabulous.

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The duck tacos were probably my favorite and they came with two salsas, cilantro, and a little tower of limes for seasoning!

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Last of the small plates was the crab arepa.

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The waiter talked us into desserts too, which were incredible: the sweet banana tamale (holy moly, so good),

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the sweet potato donuts!!!

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I was already completely in love with San Salvaje and then Chef Pyles stopped by our table to chat!! He’s been traveling to South America for years and created the restaurant based on his experiences. We’re hoping to plan a trip down there in the near future and got his recommendations for cities. He was so sweet and even went into the back to look up some names of restaurants in his notes and came back to share them with us later. He was down-to-earth and friendly, and now I’m an even bigger fan:)

Have a good week.

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Finally

Posted on May 4, 2014 | 8 comments

Thanks for your sweet comments!

I was sick all week long and spent a lot of time on the couch watching Dawson’s Creek, eating pancakes, and sleeping. But the whole time I was smiling! After 61 cover letters and interviews for 13 different positions, I am finally done. I have accepted the role of Learning Specialist at an independent school! The position is brand new, so I will be spearheading the development of policies and procedures surrounding the academic support program, coordinating support services for students with learning differences, and acting as a resource for parents and teachers. My role will be similar to what I was doing last year as a school psychologist, except that I won’t be testing students to determine special education eligibility (because I.D.E.A. doesn’t apply in private settings), and I’ll be working in ONE SCHOOL! I am pumped for this challenge, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be working with an amazing group of professionals. I substituted on Friday and only got more excited to be back in a school setting with the kiddos. I don’t start until the new school year, so I will continue working at Equinox in the meantime.

Needless to say, Matt and I celebrated this weekend.

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We popped open a bottle of Prosecco that’s been in my fridge since December.

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We drank it in the park by our apartment while the sun was setting and then ordered Thai takeout. It was a wonderful evening.

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Saturday morning, I was finally feeling up for some exercise afer 4 days off – I took Matt with me to a spinning class and then tried out the steam room for some relaxation afterwards. Felt so good to sweat!

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Matt let me pick our Saturday evening dinner destination, and I went with Komali because of the incredible Mexican-inspired menu – seriously my dream menu. We walked to dinner in the glorious 80 degree temps.

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Cheers! I ordered a tamarind margarita with a spiced rim and it was amazing.

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For appetizers, we ordered the goat cheese with morita chile and piloncillo,

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as well as the PEI mussels with pasilla chile flakes, cilantro, and tequila – whatever crema was on the toasted baguette was out of this world.

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For entrees, we ordered the pan seared scallops with cauliflower poblano rajas, apple compote, and ancho chile glaze,

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and the poblano pepper stuffed with beef tenderloin and dried fruits & nuts with toasted walnut sauce and cilantro.

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And lastly, the pumpkin tres leches with candied pepitas and cinnamon whipped cream.

Everything we ordered was amazing – I’m kind of in love with Komali now. We definitely went all out, and the dinner made for one hell of a celebration!

Hope y’all had a lovely weekend.

PS: thank you for the continuous support this year and for bearing with me during these past couple of crazy months!

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