Food + Friend = Best Weekend Ever

I had one of my very favorite and very best friends visit a few weeks ago and we had the best time!!! She’s one of those friends that we can go go go and do a lot and have fun, or we can get a package of oreos and sit on the couch all day chatting and still have so much fun – don’t you love those? I feel like we had a good mix of both when Jen came to visit – we went and did fun things, but we made sure just to relax and enjoy each other’s company, too! I was joking with my roommate before she got here that most of our plans were food-based… and I was not wrong! We love trying to places and we HAD to make sure to get her a Sprinkles cupcake to celebrate her birthday!

The fun weekend started before she even got to town – I got a haircut! This really isn’t relevant, but my hair looked AMAZING and I was clearly feeling myself, lol. I get my hair cut twice a year, so it’s always a big deal to me when I go in and get it chopped. I got a healthy 3-ish inch trim and it still feels so good to get a little bit of length off.

Ok, now back to the regularly scheduled weekend recap. After some flight delays due to weather, Jen got in town just in time to go to dinner! We tried a new (to us) restaurant in town, Manny’s Uptown Tex Mex! We went there because I’d heard people say that they had good queso blanco, which is SO rare and SO hard to find here in Dallas. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s a sad truth about my city. They generally have trash queso and the people just accept it. So tragic. But this place was pretty good!! We liked the queso enough to finish the entire thing and enjoyed fun drinks and had a blast getting caught up in person!

 

We went to bed at a responsible time Friday night because the next day we had to wake up bright and early and do a 5K! We signed up months and months ago and I am here to tell you that we finished it!! We pretty much walked 98% of it but guess what you still get a medal no matter your time!! It wasn’t hot out, but it was 438% humidity and so sticky and muggy and gross, so even though the sun wasn’t shining, everyone there was sweaty and feeling slightly miserable.

After the race, we went back home and got ready for the day, and then headed out to our next food-related activity! Also it was time for lunch, so that’s what we did. We tried out another new-to-us place that had been on my list for so long – Biscuit Bar! If you’re imagining an entire restaurant based around the delicious buttermilk biscuits you usually see a breakfast, then you’re spot on because that is exactly what it is and it was SO DELICIOUS!!! We joked about getting like 8 biscuits to go after lunch because they were just that good. And I’m still kind of sad that we didn’t.

After the world’s best lunch, we went to check out an outdoor market in Frisco! It was a million degrees outside so we didn’t explore the entire thing (it was gigantic) but we did look at a lot of booths, try on some wildly expensive headbands that we both wanted until we heard the price, and made some fun purchases! There was one booth with a bunch of cute printed quotes and graphic design prints, and I loved this one from The Office!!

Same, Stanley… same. On our way back home, we stopped by Sprinkles cupcakes (yay more food-based adventures!) to get Jen her free birthday cupcake… and also a few more flavors so we could try them! (I got Jen the Sprinkles recipe book for her birthday, so OBVIOUSLY we had to test out a few flavors in order for her to know which recipes to try first. The answer was all of them.)

 

That afternoon Jen and I went to the movies! Since we had participated (again, walking still counts!!) in a race that morning, we thought it would be fun to see the movie Brittany Runs a Marathon. It was actually pretty cute – better than I expected! And it had a really sweet ending and I maybe cried a tiny bit which was very unexpected! We had popcorn at the movie, so when it let out we weren’t super hungry for a real dinner… so instead we did one of my favorite things on the planet- DIP DINNER!!!! It’s a very exciting concept (first encountered on my trip to Boston last fall) where you get some dips and chips and snacks (Oreos are a must) and make that your dinner. We spent the rest of the night snacking and laughing and watching part of a movie on Netflix and it was lovely!

We only had half a day together on Sunday as Jen had to fly home (boo) so we slept in a little bit and had a nice, lazy morning. We finished our Netlifx movie (someone got too tired and could hang the night before – it was me), started dreaming up where our next fun friend group trip would be, and got Jen all packed up. Before taking her to the airport, we had to get one last good meal together! She remembered me getting a fried avocado taco from her visit back in 2015 and asked if there was anywhere that had one, and I knew immediately that we would go to Torchy’s!! Those tacos. Their queso. So good. Then it was off to the airport after a full weekend of food and fun!!

2019 Resolutions Update

…or an alternative title should be “How Have I Been Doing This Year?!?!?” Turns out, better than usual!!

(p.s. I keep an updated version of my resolutions on this page!)

So what have I accomplished so far this year? Quite a few things!

  • I lost 30 pounds! Wow! One of my high-level goals for the year was to get healthier and be more active and I don’t care about an eventual number on the scale, but I did want to make sure that I had some metrics to track to in order to make sure that I was actually making progress. 30 seemed like an achievable number and by golly it was! Like my sister said to me last week, “wow, it’s like diet and exercise are actually good for something, huh?!? Who knew?!?” I think I struggled in the past because I lived alone and had zero accountability for what I cooked or how many times I went to Chick-Fil-A or how many mornings I hit snooze instead of lacing up my sneakers and working out, but now that I have a roommate and we encourage each other when we eat healthier (and don’t knock each other down when we have an occasional treat or crazy meal) it’s been great. She even comes with me from time to time when I walk/jog outside, and it’s nice to have some company!
  • I completed 2 Whole30s! Did I really need to do 2? No. But am I glad that I did 2? Sure! It’s just a good reset for me mentally and shows me that I don’t actually need sugar or coffee or all the bread on the planet. I just finished my most recent one last week, and I’m working on a post that will talk about how it went and what amazing recipes I made this past time, so be on the lookout for that soon!
  • I made a new baby blanket! This one took FOREVER (and you can see what it looked like here!) It might have been my biggest and most intricate baby blanket to date, and I need to make a serious mental note to NEVER MAKE ONE THAT BIG AGAIN. It just took forever but I was happy with how it turned out even though I kind of ended up hating the colors that I used… sorry little B!
  • I saw Hamilton on stage! TWICE! So amazing yes I cried yes you should see it, too. I went into a lot of detail on the post I linked, but even thinking back to it now, I’m just so impressed with the touring cast that I saw. They were seriously the best of the best and I was blown away by the chorus, the understudies, the main actors, everything! To be constantly moving and dancing and singing all at the same time for 2 hours – wow. I hope they’re getting paid so much money because every single one of them deserves it. (And yes I will probably listen to the Hamilton cast recording in the very near future now that I’ve been thinking about it!)
  • I began jogging again! I’ve never been a runner, like a serious long-distance type runner but I used to go jogging a lot! (To me jogging is just running for a few minutes and taking a walking break and repeating for a while, FYI. I’ve always needed walking breaks and I’m ok with that. And I also prefer to be outside while jogging – I’ve never been a treadmill fan. Just some background info that you totally didn’t ask for but there you go!) I live in a neighborhood that is GREAT to walk around AND I have a phenomenal nature trail RIGHT behind my house, so I’ve been using it! A lot! I’m still slow and I still need lots of walking breaks, but I can see myself making major progress and that is really exciting! My goal is to jog a mile without stopping by the end of the year and y’all I am SO CLOSE! #babysteps
  • I took a fun trip! My bestie and I met up in Minneapolis over the 4th of July and it was a blast! And as an added bonus, we were “featured” in AAA magazine from our trip there! We were photographed while playing mini-golf on the roof of the Walker Art Center and I was just tickled to see that we made it into the magazine! You have to squint and hold the page up close, but I promise that’s us!!

What resolutions do I have currently in the works?

  • Run 1 mile with no stops. See the jogging bullet point above. I’m so close and just need to build up a little more endurance and then give it a go! I use map my run when I jog outside so it will be easy to know when I finally reach this goal.
  • Make an England photo book. Oh my goodness this trip was OVER TWO YEARS AGO and I still haven’t done this?!?! I have all my pages “planned” but I just need to sit down and finish it.
  • Take a cooking class. I signed up for a cooking class at the beginning of October and I can’t wait to do it! It’s going to be making croissants and puff pastry so maybe it’s more a baking class but I still think it counts.
  • Tithe at church every month. I’ve been consistent so far! My church does a really good job of making sure you know what your giving goes toward, and that helps encourage me to keep up with this one. Plus, it’s not my money and it all belongs to God anyway!
  • Drink less alcohol and soda. The Whole30s really helped me out with this one! I have never been a huge drinker at home (I’ve had two bottles of yummy Scout & Cellar wine in the fridge since I moved into the house in May that are still untouched if that gives you any idea lol) but soda… I could happily drink root beer ALL THE TIME and be the happiest person on the planet. I’ve definitely cut back and plan to keep it up!
  • Learn a new piano song. I’m on my way with this one! I picked a gorgeous song and am memorizing it!! The song is…. incredibly repetitive…. so I might end up picking another one but for now here’s what I’m learning!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlkA0mOzzO4
  • Read entire bible in a year. I’m on schedule! I’ve been using a chronological plan and we’re still in the old testament and it’s going well! If you’ve never read the bible or never read certain books of the bible, I highly recommend it. Yes I am reading it from a spiritual/religious stance, but it has some crazy good stories in there! Like, crazier than a season of Game of Thrones type of drama in the old testament. If you’re like “oooh I like stories but reading the bible seems a little intimidating” then don’t worry, I have a recommendation for you! The podcast “The Bible Binge” is AMAZING at taking a look at stories and characters in the bible and making them approachable and easier to understand. They basically recap bible stories as if it were an episode of TV and the hosts are hilarious and if you’ve ever been curious about Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Moses, The Wise Men from the Christmas story, etc., go ahead and give them a listen!
  • Read 25 books. I’ve technically finished with this one! I made a book bingo board for the year and still have 2 more spots to fill in on it, but I’ve also read a few books on the side and so my total right now is exactly 25. Don’t worry, I WILL keep reading the rest of the year. I have to fill my commute with something!

What resolutions might not get completed?

  • Find a new hobby. I feel like I already have 942 hobbies, so do I REALLY need to throw another one in the mix? I’ve got a jack of all trades but a master of none vibe in my life and instead of starting a completely NEW hobby, I’m going to try and get better at some of the ones I know I already enjoy. Like watercolor painting. Or hand embroidery. Or baking (hence the cooking class I signed up for!)
  • Open an etsy shop. Meh. I just don’t think this is in the cards for me right now (or ever?), and I’m ok with that! Again, I feel like I’m a ‘master of none’ person and until I really focus on one thing long enough to get good enough at it to feel like it could go in an etsy shop, I’ll just keep making things for me and my family and friends and feel happy with that.
  • Chop off my hair. I’ve made the personal decision to keep my hair long through the winter and then make the big chop next spring. Or at least that’s the current plan. Usually when I chop it off the decision is made VERY spontaneously with little to no planning and so who knows, this could still happen!

So all in all I feel like I’m doing pretty well for the year so far! Back in January I was talking to a friend on FaceTime and he was saying that the best way to reach your goals is to look at them every single week. He suggested that I make a PDF of my resolutions and put it on the desktop of my work computer, and make looking them over the first thing I do every week. And so that’s exactly what I did, and I definitely think it’s helped me stay on track and remember what I wanted to accomplish this year! There’s still a few months left and we’ll see where I’m at by the end of the year!

Have you kept up with any of your resolutions from January? Are there any that you’ll try to accomplish by the end of the year?

 

 

My Townhouse Tour!

Now that I’m about to move out of my townhouse and I’ve already lived here for over 2 years, I thought I should finally share some pictures of where I’ve been living! (And don’t worry, I’m still staying in the Dallas area, it’s just time to move somewhere new and different! More on that later…)

This townhouse has been great and was EXACTLY what I was looking for when I was moving 2 years ago. I wanted something affordable (cuz ya girl is on a budget), without any neighbors above me (because I previously had a bartender living above me who would storm in at 3am and slam every door and cabinet possible meaning I also woke up every night at 3am), and in a safe neighborhood (just common sense, really). I seriously lucked out when I found a townhouse in my budget and the hilarious thing is that it was only ONE street away from my last apartment! Talk about a fast and easy move!!

Ok, let’s get started upstairs, shall we?!? Upstairs there is just SO MUCH SPACE! So much room for activities! I have the vanity, bathroom, and closet over on the back wall, but the upstairs is just gigantic. I feel like I have big furniture and it doesn’t even come close to taking up all the space!

One thing I didn’t like when I first moved in (this wasn’t the floor plan I was originally supposed to have, which I didn’t find out until about 3 days before moving in…) was that it is a loft-style townhouse, so the entire upstairs is open to the downstairs. It just seemed way too open to me, but once I got used to it, it became my FAVORITE thing about living there! I love that I can easily just toss something down over the rail, or (more fun/more challenging) throw something UP over the rail from the downstairs!

Now onto the downstairs! Again, I just feel like there’s so much space! I had to get a little bit creative around the fireplace – there are two pretty deep cubbies on both sides that I just didn’t know what to do with. (Mainly because again, I didn’t expect to be in this floor plan!) I love that my leaning bookshelf seemed to fit perfectly on the right side, and I found a great TV stand from Wayfair that fit perfectly on the left! There’s a great little Harry Potter coat closet under the staircase that has GREAT storage.

The kitchen is… fine… lol I didn’t pick this place because it was the nicest in town and that DEFINITELY shows in the kitchen, but it’s been pretty good for the most part! Except for a dying oven that doesn’t really heat that well. That’s not great. But everything else works just fine! And back at the back of the kitchen is a 1/2 bath which is wonderful. It’s so nice to not have to go all the way upstairs to use the restroom, especially when I have guests over!

I do also have a dining room with a table, chairs, and a little keyboard! However, ti’s currently a sea of boxes waiting to be packed for my big move, and we really don’t need a picture of that, now do we?!?

And that’s it! It’s nothing fancy or special, but I’ve really loved living here for the past 2 years. Now it’s back to packing and organizing – oh boy! Have a great weekend!!

Four Years in Dallas!!!!

Last week marked FOUR YEARS since I moved to Dallas! Which is crazy! How has it been FOUR years already?!?!?!? I feel like so much has changed and happened since I first moved here in 2015.

I actually have friends now (which it isn’t easy to make new friends when you move to a brand new city and know zero people there)!

My sister and her family live in Dallas now, too!

I like my job now (it took a while and it wasn’t great for a long time, but now it’s seems amazing)!

I finally found a church that I LOVE and got really plugged in there!

I’ve had lots of friends come visit – I love showing people around and giving my world-famous Kelly tour of downtown Dallas!

I’ve lived in 2 apartments that were 1 street apart!

Here’s some of my favorite snapshots from the last 4 years – I’m so excited to see what year 5 has in store! I’ve explored so much of the DFW area already, but there is still so much more that I need to see and do and try!

10 Tips and Tricks to Complete and ENJOY Your Next Whole30!

You guys! I did it! I’m done! I completed another round of Whole30!! I started this year wanting to commit to 30 days of eating healthy foods and eating food that would fuel my body (tho Whole30 does take it a bit far at times…) and I ended up going for 52 days!!! So would I call that a Whole52? Sure! Why not?!? I was just feeling so great after the first 30 days that I decided to be a crazy person and just keep going. So I did.

But why did I stop at such a random number? Did I just fall off the wagon or make a mistake or get sick of not eating dairy? Nope- it just worked out that way with my schedule. I’m currently at my company’s annual user conference where ALL our meals are provided, which is great on the budget, but less great when trying to control what foods you do and don’t eat. So I stopped at 52 days and I feel great about it!

This was without a doubt my MOST SUCCESSFUL round of Whole30 EVER. I’ve completed two before (you can read about my first one here!) but I didn’t super enjoy the process and the “during” for them. But I wanted this one to be different. I wanted to LOVE the “during” and thankfully this time, I honestly did. I feel like there were a few key things I did this go-round that made it wildly successful, and I wanted to share them so YOU can have your best Whole30 ever, too!

1 | Plan, plan, plan. When you think that you’ve planned enough, go ahead and plan some more. Having everything mapped out BEFORE I started was probably the main reason that I was able to complete it without going crazy. I planned out my meals FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH from the very beginning which does sound a bit intense, yes, but knowing what I’d be eating and what groceries I’d need to get and what days I’d need to shop and what days I needed to cook helped me stay on top of things without making last-minute 10pm trips to the grocery store because oops, I have nothing to eat for the next day.

2 | Mentally prepare for all the cooking. Maybe you’re already used to cooking every day, but if you’re not, you need to mentally prepare for spending a LOT more time in the kitchen. I thought I cooked a lot before, but during Whole30 I REALLY cook a lot. There’s no “I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll just grab Chick-Fil-A” option here! Create an environment where you ENJOY cooking and this will become something you start looking forward to. I listen to podcasts while cooking and it really helps the time fly by!

3 | Buy what you need to and don’t feel bad about it. Whole30 is super popular now, which means that there are a lot of products that you can buy instead of make yourself. And that can be SO helpful. There are some things that I do make myself (like mayonnaise) but there are other things that I’ve learned I’d rather spend a little more money and just purchase (like sugar-free ketchup and bbq sauce). Trust me, I’ve tried making my own Whole30 bbq sauce and it did NOT go well! I’ll have another post about my favorite Whole30 products in a few days, so stay tuned for that!

4 | Know your restaurant options ahead of time. Which pretty much means don’t eat at restaurants unless you can 100% guarantee that they cook things in a Whole30 compliant way. Which is so hard. Unless you’re going somewhere like Snap Kitchen that specifies which meals are included in Whole30!

5 | Keep your “why” in mind constantly. Most likely, there’s a reason why you wanted to do a Whole30 in the first place. Maybe you wanted to lose some holiday pounds. Maybe you have a dress you really want to have fit a little better. Maybe you are having stomach issues that you want to try and figure out. Maybe you just want to see if you can commit to something for an entire month. Whatever it is, keep your “why” in mind ALWAYS. Remembering why you decided to do this will help the days pass by quickly and get you excited to make it to the end.

6 | Keep track of recipes you loved. I’ve been keeping a DETAILED list (does that surprise you, tho?!? You know I love a good list!) of all the meals I’ve had during this Whole30 and I’ve been making notes like “took twice as long to cook” or “this actually makes 6 servings not 4.” It’s been helpful to know what recipes I enjoyed so I can make them again – and I’ve repeated a few of them already!

7 | Don’t get burned out on eggs too early. During my first Whole30, I was lost when it came to breakfast. I couldn’t wrap my head around eating broccoli and ground beef or leftovers so early in the morning, and I just assumed I’d have omelettes or scrambled eggs every morning. Which is what I did. And after about 9 days, I great SO TIRED of eggs and couldn’t stand to see them anymore (and I didn’t eat eggs for probably 4 months after that!) So don’t overdo it with the eggs.

8 | Listen to your body. It can be easy to feel like you have to stick to certain rules while doing a Whole30 – if you’re going to be strict about one area of your life, it can be easy to get strict about other areas, too. But seriously, listen to your body and do what you need to do. If you’re still starving after your planned meal, have a little snack. If you’re feeling stuffed after eating only half your meal, evaluate and maybe save the rest for later in the day. If you think you should skip the gym and get caught up on sleep instead, then by all means SKIP THE GYM AND SLEEP. This is a strange 30 days where your body is very confused, so just try to take care of yourself and listen to what your body needs. (Unless your body says it needs chocolate. You can ignore that.)

9 | Ease back into working out. Speaking of skipping the gym… as a general rule, I don’t workout for the first 2 weeks of a Whole30. If you feel up for it, then go ahead, but just maybe take it easy. Your body is going through a lot and trying to get used to the sudden lack of bread and sugar and things and I just like to give myself some time to get used to the new “normal” before going back to the gym. You do you, but again, listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard at the beginning.

10 | Keep track of little wins. This right here is what really kept me going and kept me excited during this round. Some of the little wins that I noticed were: I fell asleep SO FAST! Like, crazy fast. My pants fit a lot better (and a pair of workout leggings are now “too big”) which is always nice. I’m so much less bloated all the time. I haven’t had as many breakouts over the last 6 weeks. My willpower has gotten stronger. And more!


There you have it – my top 10 tips and tricks to help you complete and enjoy your next Whole30! I enjoyed this round so much that I’m already planning on doing it again in a few months!

Have you been curious about trying the Whole30? Do you have any questions you’ve been dying to ask before you give it a try? If you have completed a Whole30, let me know what YOUR best tips and tricks are!