Taking Back My Twenties


Birthday Weekend

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 | 2 comments

I had a fabulous birthday weekend – feels like each year gets better! Since the real day fell on a Saturday, Matt planned the day. I told him I wanted to relax and eat cake!

First, I took Matt to my favorite gym class at Equinox, and then we showered and headed out on foot for cupcakes. We stopped at two different bakeries and acquired 5 cupcakes for the evening. We also ducked into a fun salad place for lunch and did a little shopping at boutiques.


After lunch, we got a couples massage! The experience was fantastic because we got a cold stone facial, foot scrub, and hot stone massage too! It was heavenly, and one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. Then we headed down to Bishop Arts for dinner at the very famous Lucia. We got in off the waiting list only hours before dinner. It was fate!


We grabbed cocktails at Stock and Barrel before dinner – this was a lovely twist on a bourbon sour made with passion fruit.


We kicked off dinner with a bottle of Argentinian wine – Lucia is Italian, but I couldn’t resist this recommendation by our waitress (and I believe it was a collaboration between two winemakers). Side note: the service was phenomenal! And, oh my goodness, the olives!!


We ordered two of the foie gras stuffed prunes – who can resist a $1 menu item? I thought I had gotten adventure-some enough for foie gras, but no! I hated it and washed the bite down with wine:)


Our first plate was pork belly with pear and gorgonzola – this was divine, and a generous portion!


Next up, some sort of Italian pork with sautéed mushrooms – also delish.



We ordered two small pastas: the squash risotto with rabbit meatballs and brussels (above) and an interestingly shaped pasta with squab ragu (below). Both were perfect and rivaled the meals we had in Italy!


The real star of the night was the braised lamb with red pepper, cilantro, and an olive tapenade. The meat melted together with the sauces and it was seriously a top ten entree.


Despite the cupcakes waiting at home, we had to try the Italian donuts with squash and caramel!


Clearly, the meal was superb! And the restaurant is so romantic:) I’m already dying to go back!


We ended the weekend festivities with Sunday brunch with some friends at Vagabond. We had [more] donuts – these were basically apple-stuffed fried dough!


I had a grilled cheese benedict, but I also shared Matt’s burger and it was great! I hear Vagabond is quickly becoming famous for it.


Thanks to Matt and my lovely friends and family for a wonderful birthday!

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To NC and Back

Posted on Aug 19, 2014 | 1 comment

Hello! I’m back from a quick trip to NC! The timing couldn’t have been worse for this wedding, but I couldn’t bare to miss the opportunity to see friends and family. I flew in late Friday and back on Sunday. I got to see both my sister and Mazen and my parents for Friday dinner! We hit up Tyler’s in our old stomping ground in Durham. I enjoyed a beer and a pork belly sandwich before heading over to the welcome party for the wedding.


The wedding was held at the beautiful Duke gardens. It was a hot day, but it felt soo much cooler than Dallas and I loved it.


The bride looked stunning in a fitted lace dress and the gardens made for a beautiful backdrop.


My bff’s from high school were all therel!!


We enjoyed drinks on the patio and then moved inside for a lovely dinner and dancing.


The food was so fresh! Apparently the NC trout had been caught that morning and the pistachio chicken was hot off a charcoal grill.


We danced for hours and popsicles were passed around the dance floor – what a great idea! I had a salted caramel pop that was excellent.


Sunday morning, I had a long brunch with my parents at Foster’s in Durham. It was an awesome weekend until my flight was cancelled on Sunday. I was re-routed through Pittsburgh where I spent 6 hours in the airport before I finally made it back to Dallas at 2am. Arg. Needless to say, I’m happy to be home and ready for a week of good night’s sleep. I’m so excited to meet the students this week! Adios.

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A New York Minute

Posted on Aug 5, 2014 | 7 comments

Our trip to New York felt so fast because we packed a ton into 2 days! We were in the city for the wedding of two of my Davidson friends – they fell in love when we studied abroad in Cambridge!


We arrived Friday afternoon, and after walking around for a couple of hours while Matt worked, we headed to Chelsea to meet friends at Buddakan – this has been on my list for a while because I love fusion + small plates. The pork belly above came with buns and was probably my favorite plate.


We had chili shrimp and deviled tuna tartare,



and prawn and mushroom noodles (also a favorite) and broccoli in a brown sauce. Dinner did not disappoint and the space, cocktails, and service were great as well. After dinner, we stopped by the wedding welcome party and then called it a night. I sure can’t stay out like I used to.


Saturday was a wonderful day! The weather was iffy, so instead of going for a run, Matt and I went to a nearby Equinox and took a spinning class. I rarely have access to good classes while traveling, so it was great to start the day with a solid workout.


We found out at the last minute that Matt’s parents were going to be in the city, so we met them for a lovely brunch at The Little Owl – another restaurant that’s been on my NYC list. We obviously started with the beignettes with nutella and raspberry sauce.


I had the chilequiles, which were somewhat deconstructed. The flavors were very unique and I really enjoyed the dish, but I think I prefer my chilequiles in a big bowl:) Matt had the burger which was amazing!


After brunch, we strolled through the Chelsea market and along the Hyline, chatting the day away – we ended up having great fall-like weather so it was a very pleasant afternoon.


We said farewell to Matt’s parents and got ready for the wedding at the Harold Pratt House.


The venue was beautiful and I loved that we moved to different rooms for each phase of the wedding.



The happy couple!


After the ceremony and cocktail hour we had a seated dinner catered by Daniel.


The food was divine!!! Our first course was lobster with sweet corn. I LOVED that each course had a specific wine pairing!


Our second course was braised short ribs and beef tenderloin – both meats were melt-in-your-mouth good and were paired with a pinot noir.


The dessert course was a chocolate coulant paired with champagne! The middle was like a gooey raw brownie.


There was an awesome live band who played both really good classics and new music. A few hours into the dancing, the bride and groom cut the cake for round two of dessert. They also brought out sliders and hot dogs at the very end for anyone who had worked up an appetite dancing.


It was an absolutely perfect wedding until the Rolls-Royce that was supposed to take the couple to their hotel caught on fire! Luckily, they were out of the car and the staff was able to put out the fire pretty quickly. Scary!

The weekend ended with brunch on top of the Nomad Hotel. This was such a nice touch for out-of-town guests and the food was fantastic.

What a lovely end to a whirlwind summer. I still have one more wedding to attend back in NC, but it’s after I start work next week. See ya.

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Memory Lane

Posted on Nov 20, 2013 | 17 comments

A little entertainment for your Wednesday morning…

Jason Andre of Seven Season Films put together a GORGEOUS video of our wedding on Bald Head Island! We had debated hiring a videographer, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that we did. Jason was easy to work with and professional and the final product was worth every penny. It is fun to see the ceremony from our guests’ perspective and I’m thrilled to be able to relive that perfect day at any moment.


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Wedding Memories

Posted on Aug 21, 2013 | 21 comments

The wedding feels so long ago. Even though I’ve already blogged about it and shared pictures, all of the snaps were from Kath’s DSLR. The pictures from our photographer, Theo Milo, were ready once I got back from the honeymoon and they are fabulous!!!! But I had to wait for the disk to make its way to Texas before I could share them. I love them so much and am thrilled with how they turned out. Theo was super easy to work with and clearly very talented!

All that’s left are these memories. So here’s a photo dump to brighten your hump [day]!

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The Wedding!

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 | 14 comments

Hi Friends,

Although I don’t have any official pictures back from our photographer yet, I wanted to do a more detailed recap of the wedding day. My sister was able to capture some of the day with her awesome camera, so she shared all of these photos with me!

June 1st started around 8am for me. Despite being woken up by a strange garage door around 6, I had a wonderful night’s sleep. I went for a jog by myself just long enough to break a sweat. I’ve found that regardless of the length or type of exercise, I always feel more energized when I exercise in the morning, so it only made sense to do so on my wedding day. I accidentally ran into a huge group of the guys (including the groom) around a bend, but was able to sprint away before an encounter. It was fun!


When I got home, some of the bridesmaids had already arrived for the first hair appointments. We had a hair and makeup artist come to our beach house for the day, which made everything super relaxed. My sister put out a spread of salad, fruit, cheese, and Great Harvest goodies. We had champagne and peach lemonade as well, but I was too worried about a headache to really indulge.


Matt’s mom joined us to get her hair done!


Right before it was my turn, a messenger delivered a special gift from Matt! We had a strict no gifts rule on the wedding day (we figured we had spent enough money already and didn’t want one person to feel bad, which is why we made the policy!). But, Matt broke the rule and made me this awesome scrapbook! It had all sorts of mementos from things we’d done together – vacations, dates, meals, events – all the way back to 2006!


I kept it together for most of the day, except when my Grandmother called and when I read Matt’s beautiful letter:)


We finished hair and makeup around 3, and after getting into my dress, Matt arrived for our ‘first look.’ The photographers positioned him under the trellis with his eyes closed and I came around from behind and tapped him on the shoulder. It was such an intimate moment and I’m so glad we did it! We ultimately decided to see each other before the ceremony because I was afraid of sobbing through the ceremony (which I know looks TERRIBLE) and seeing each other beforehand calmed both of our nerves and emotions. We were also able to knock out most of our pictures, which meant we got to enjoy more of our already short reception.


Then all the bridesmaids and I took our pictures together on the porch. We really lucked out in getting such a beautiful beach house because it made the perfect backdrop for the pictures.




After pictures, we had almost an hour to kill, since we didn’t want to show up at the church until the last minute. Since Bald Head Island is golf carts only, we couldn’t ride to the ceremony in a limo, which meant there wasn’t a good place for us to wait while guest arrived without being seen….


We killed time and then I gave all my bridesmaid’s their gifts – custom clutches from Etsy and a simple gold necklace with their first initial! There was a message embroidered inside the clutches and a different fabric inside each one. I got one for myself too and I’m planning to use it on the honeymoon!


Then it was time to depart! Despite all the free time beforehand, we still managed to be 10 minutes late to the ceremony because the whole wedding party had to use the bathroom. Whoops!


I wish I had some pictures from the ceremony, but I asked for no personal photographs inside. The service itself was performed by the minister from my parents’ Presbyterian church back home, and he did a wonderful job! We wrote our own vows (but still had the minister say them and we repeated) and chose the readings and a hymn, but we asked the minister to say some words about marriage. He has a big, booming southern accent and his words were beautiful. I didn’t think I would like having to stand up in front of everybody, but the ceremony was definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.


We did pictures with the family immediately after the ceremony and then took some pictures with the wedding party out on the beach. My dress filled up with sand which took forever to clean out, so I hope those pictures are worth it!
Cocktail hour was held on the porch outside of our venue. Sadly, we missed most of it because of pictures, and then opted to take a moment to breath by ourselves out on the oceanfront porch when we were finally finished with pictures. The staff brought us drinks and some appetizers to enjoy while we reflected on the wedding.


For escort cards, I made pinwheels out of pretty paper and put a table number and a name on each. The men ended up wearing their pinwheels in their suit pockets:)


For the first dance, Matt and I took three lessons at Fred Astaire. I didn’t realize how hard learning and remembering a choreographed dance in a wedding dress would be and I was secretly dreading this part all weekend! We opted to do it before dinner to get it over with:) But it turned out great and I didn’t fall over in my dress. We danced to the Andrea Bocelli cover of ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love.’ Then my dad and I did our father-daughter dance to Greg Laswell’s ‘Embrace Me’ since we went to a Greg concert together back in the day and loved it!

dip picture.jpg

Dinner was served buffet style on the porch. Here’s the full menu!

Miniature crab cakes | lemon-basil aioli
Bacon wrapped scallops | maple-pepper glaze
Cuban pork spring rolls | key lime ponzu glaze
Grape and roquefort truffles | chopped pecans
Domestic & imported cheeses | fresh fruit
Dip trio: smokey shrimp, bacon pimento cheese, & black bean | crostini & tortilla chips
Chimichurri flank steak | smoked tomato aioli
Pork shoulder | peach-brandy bbq glaze
Shrimp & Grits
Mixed baby greens
Orzo salad | baby shrimp, tomato, & feta
Broccoli salad | bacon & roasted peanuts
Fennel & orange slaw
Carolina dirty rice
Sweet potato hash


I’m not sure why there were mashed potatoes! One of the staff members made a plate for me, and I ended up going back to the buffet after picking at the first plate. It just didn’t taste that good. The second round was so much better – there’s just something about making your own plate and being able to get the amount of sauce, ect, that seems to make it taste better. Overall, I was really happy with the food, but it wasn’t outstanding. The bacon-wrapped scallops were excellent, and the shrimp and grits, pork, and steak were all really tasty.

A few notes about the decor: I had custom napkins made on Etsy (it was cheaper than renting linens!) and I had menus and programs printed through Zazzle.
My wedding coordinator is also a florist (Courtney from Kickstand Events, who I highly recommend, btw) and she set-up all the decor. She happened to have the beautiful bluish-green recycled glass vases, so each table was topped with a few of those and various orange and coral flowers. She provided the candle holders as well and I bought the teal tapers.
The teal, coral, and white lanterns are from Luna Bazaar. I lovvve color and needed lots of it at my wedding:)


The cake was gorgeous!!!! Anna Echols from One Belle Bakery did a fabulous job because the flavor was incredible as well – we had yellow cake with raspberry chambord filling and buttercream and carrot cake with cream cheese filling and buttercream icing.

Sadly, we learned the hard way that when you offer two flavors, people eat more! Despite ordering an extra kitchen cake so that we’d have leftovers, nothing was left and I only had one small piece:(
After the cake-cutting, my dad, sister, and one of Matt’s groomsmen all did toasts. Again, this was one of the highlights of my night – all three were so sweet.
At this point in the night, we only had a little over an hour left! Everyone told me it would fly by, but it was even worse than expected. We got behind schedule somewhere in the evening and didn’t get as much time for dancing:( So Matt and I made sure to dance the entire last hour, only taking small breaks for bourbon:) I changed into a short white reception dress for the last hour – I’m so, so happy I did this because my dress was starting to feeling really tight and I was soaked in sweat.


After the last song, Matt and I escaped to our room in our decorated golf cart. We ended up venturing back out to the after-party, where we continued to dance until 4am!! It was truly a perfect day, and I think it actually exceeded all my expectations. I had mentally prepared myself for something to go wrong – I mean everyone kept telling me something would go wrong – and nothing did!!


I feel so lucky to have married the man of my dreams with such a beautiful wedding from my generous parents with my best friends in the world!

Time to honeymoon!

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