Taking Back My Twenties

Posts Tagged "Family"

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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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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 Weekend in NC

Posted on Jun 17, 2014 | 10 comments

I had a wonderful trip east! It was so nice to be back in NC and see so many family members and friends. I visited my grandma in Baltimore first, where I met up with my mom. We did some shopping and lots of eating. I was even able to see Matt’s mom who drove up and joined us for dinner!

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On Friday, I headed down to NC to my childhood best friend’s wedding.

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After a year, it felt so good to be home, and it was nice timing with father’s day!

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The wedding was out on a farm and the scenery was just beautiful. The ceremony was in a meadow and then there was dinner and dancing in a restored barn.

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The bride did a wonderful job with all the little details!

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The ceremony was very romantic and there were many sniffling guests.

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I got to catch up with most of my high school friends throughout the evening – hadn’t see these girls since my wedding last year:(

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There was an incredible dessert bar!!! I tried about five things and all were delish. I took a piece of carrot cake to go and it was divine:)

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My sister was able time come home on Sunday, so we all went out for a grand father’s day bbq brunch at the new Pit in Durham!!

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The food was incredible and made me really miss NC style bbq! Mr. Mazen showed off his perfect table manners by carefully buttering his biscuit – too cute!

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A belated happy father’s day to my dad, my new father-in-law, and all the dads out there!

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Heading Home + Dirty Products

Posted on Jun 10, 2014 | 11 comments

It’s a short week for me because I’m heading to Baltimore to visit my grandma tomorrow! After that, I’m traveling home to NC for a wedding. It will be the first time I’ve gone home since I moved to Texas, so I’m pretty excited. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I’m pumped to see family and do some celebrating with friends.

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I wanted to post about cleaning up my beauty routine because I think it’s an interesting topic. Since reading this post on my sister’s blog and this blog, I’ve been trying to clean up my products. And boy is it hard! Partly because it’s difficult to find affordable products and partly because switching products means breakouts and bad hair days in the process. I also didn’t want to switch everything at once, because that would simply be too expensive, so I’ve been slowly trying samples of things. I made the mistake of trying a bunch of stuff at once, and my skin got really irritated and dry, and then I didn’t know which thing was causing the problem! Same with greasy hair (my hair is just blah in general these days – might be time for a big cut).

Anyway, this is what I’m using as of now:

Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum – I’m liking this so far, although it stings my face at times, so I’ve started using it every other day.

Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser – Love this!

Paula’s Choice Hydralight Lotion – I’m still having some dry skin, but I think I like this. My skin craves my old Aveeno some days and I give in and put a little on the dry spots.

Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Blush (Leigh) – I like this a lot so far, although it might be a bit rosy for me – there are lots of colors though.

Acure Moisture Repair Shampoo and Triple Moisture Repairing Conditioner – I love the price point for these ($8.99) and love that I can get it at Whole Foods. I really like the conditioner, although it only feels like it’s working when I comb though my hair in the shower. I’m not crazy about the shampoo, simply because I think my hair looks dull when I use it. And I’m not a fan of the smell!

Finding a better shampoo and a foundation with sunscreen are next on my list.

I’d would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!!!

PS: here’s a Paula’s Choice referral link if you want to get $10 off – I used my sister’s link to buy my first samples and that’s how I got hooked!

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East Coast Easter

Posted on Apr 21, 2014 | 10 comments

I got to spend Easter with the family! I headed to my sister’s house in Charlottesville, VA, and both my parents and Matt’s parents came from their states to join us!

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No visit with my brother-in-law is complete without a beer tasting! Kanz brews his own beer and is always interested in feedback/discussion. We kicked off the weekend by comparing two different years of barleywine with the Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine. All were delicious!

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My mom and dad are pretty incredible grandparents to little Mazen and offered to take over the parenting responsibilities so the four of us could enjoy dinner on the town.

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We walked to Bang! on the Charlottesville mall – it felt freezing to my Texas blood and I wore a wool coat and scarf:)

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We sat at the bar while we waited for a table – I sipped on a cocktail made with bourbon and lemongrass simple syrup – delicious!

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I think we ordered nine small plates for the four of us. I won’t bore you with descriptions of all of them, but my absolute favorites were the pork spring rolls,

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the Thai beef with soba noodles, bok choy, and cilantro sauce,

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the sesame tuna,

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and the tempura haricot vert!

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On Saturday, I went to a crazy athletic conditioning class with my sister – it was hard, but pretty similar to my regular Saturday morning class, and I felt incredible afterwards!

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Matt, my parents, and I headed out to the countryside for some wine tasting mid-morning. I think we all have our eyes closed in this picture. We met Matt’s parents at Barboursville and enjoyed tasting some great Virginia wines.

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And a picnic!

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Great Harvest sandwiches, crab chips from Maryland, and a dry riesling made for the perfect lunch.

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Saturday afternoon, we all retired to my sister’s giant yard for bocce ball and conversation.

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Our hosts cooked an awesome spread of pulled pork, beet salad, mushroom and pea risotto, and Virginia rolls fresh from the bakery!

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But some of us were most excited for dessert!

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Cupcakes, peanut butter fudge, and chocolate truffles rounded out Easter dinner, and I went to bed stuffed.

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We all gathered on Sunday morning for brunch, and then it was back to the airport to start the long trip home:(

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Hope yall got to relax this weekend too, if you celebrate the holiday. It’s always sad saying goodbye, but there’s lots going on here this week! Positive vibes are always welcome if you want to send them my way:)

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