Birthday Surprises


I have been basking in my 30th birthday celebrations for nearly three weeks now, reveling in the thoughtfulness of my loved ones, all of whom made me feel so incredibly special on my big day. First of all, I have to announce that the $30 for 30 campaign raised $2,500 - I am so blown away! Thank you, thank you to those who gave to Touch A Life - your gift means the world to me and to the amazing children in our care. My birthday party itself was an absolute joy. Kyla and Laura planned a gorgeous evening that started with Mambo taxis, chips, and guacamole at Mi Cocina, where we sat in a special secretive bar area on the top floor of the restaurant. When I walked in, I was so stunned to see my mom there - she had flown in from Chicago just to celebrate my birthday! I was so excited. Isn't that such an amazing gesture? It meant so much!

After noshing on beverages and snacks, we made our way over to Rise for soups, soufflés, and Champagne. We got to sit in the most gorgeous part of the restaurant, a cove of sorts surrounded by birch trees encircled in sparkly white lights. I looked around the table in awe as I thanked God for the amazing women who have become my home team here in Dallas. I felt so blessed.

The girls presented me with the most thoughtful gift - a darling clutch filled with 30 letters from 30 special people in my life. I struggled not to cry as I thanked them for this amazing gesture. Since birthdays should last all month long (right?!), I have been reading one letter every day, and I am seriously overwhelmed by the kind things my loved ones have written.

On my actual birthday, the 3rd, Mom joined me at the ESPA at the Joule Hotel, which was the perfect birthday treat. I hadn't been to the spa since my bachelorette party and I had been dying to go back, and the whole day was made so much better with my mom in tow! We had coffee and donuts at Weekend Coffee before spending four blissful hours at the spa, indulging in our treatments, our bento box lunches, and the complimentary shortbread cookies that seemed to continually reappear at our sides. It was dreamy.

That night we spent a low-key evening in with James and the pups, noshing on pizza and drinking wine and reflecting on the whole whirlwind celebration. Loved ones near and far made me feel so incredibly spoiled; it was almost difficult to take it in. I couldn't have asked for a better way to enter my 30s. Cheers to an amazing year ahead!

Around Here

Party DecorWow, time sure does fly - December 10th already?! I apologize for my absence on the blog lately - but then again, I don't because so much goodness has been happening around here and I've stepped away from my online presence to soak it all in. The holidays are such a magical time of year, aren't they? We had an amazing time in Chicago for Thanksgiving, and last week was spent celebrating James and my birthdays, which are just four days apart (so fun!). My 29th birthday was on Wednesday, the 3rd, and Touch A Life has a policy that gives employees the day off on their special day, which is such a treat. I got my stretch on at yoga and my sweat on at City Surf, treated myself to my favorite juice and smoothie at The Gem, picked up some birthday goodies at J. Crew, and got a foot massage at my favorite place. James and I noshed on filet mignon, barbecue ribs, creamy spinach dip, and French fries at Houston's for dinner, toasting with martinis (for me) and whiskey (for him). It was the perfect day.

James's 30th birthday was on Sunday and I threw him a surprise party! It was the best. Nearly 35 of our closest friends came to celebrate James and he was so totally shocked when he walked into our house - we nailed the surprise! My super talented friend Bri took photos of the day, which I'll share here soon. I had so much fun planning the decor (a few party remnants are pictured above), snacks, and drinks, and all of our friends pitched in with setting up, throwing James off, and keeping the secret about the party. It is the best party I've ever hosted, filled with so much fun, love, and good food. James had a fantastic time, which made me so happy.

Holiday events are in full swing, which I love! Tonight is a Christmas-themed girls night in at Korena's, and tomorrow the Black Frames are playing at a charity wrap party hosted by Fullosophie. My dear bestie Becca and her boyfriend Mark are coming in from Nashville to attend a wedding this weekend, and I can't wait to see them (and eat tacos at the best spot in town). Sunday night marks Laura, Kyla, and my fifth annual Christmas besties dinner, and the following day is my favorite event of the season (tied with the besties dinner, of course) - the Cone Christmas dinner at Patrick and Lauren's, where Patrick cooks an entire holiday meal filled with delicious seasonal favorites. James and I are going to check out the Highland Park lights with Callie and hot chocolate in tow, and we're scooting down to Austin the weekend before Christmas as a special treat to one another (also with Callie in tow, as we'll be staying at my favorite hotel).

I've been cooking some of Shauna Niequist's recipes, as I planned, so I'll be sharing a recipe tomorrow, as well as some fun posts the rest of the month! But if I go MIA again, have no fear - I'm just enjoying all that the holiday season has to offer, namely the fact that we get to spend this month thinking of the amazing Christmas story and Jesus's birth. What a beautiful season - I hope you are loving it as much as I am!

Hotel La Tosca

header_1-3Recently James and I have been daydreaming about taking a trip to Europe next year as a celebration of our first anniversary and of our 30th birthdays (James hits the 3-0 mark in a few weeks and it's my turn next December). There are so many gorgeous places to see, but for our inaugural trip to Europe (there will be many more, I promise!) we each picked a place that we'd like to return to with one another in tow. For me, that's France. I want to spend time in Paris, reliving the amazing memories that Kyla, Laura, Lauren, and I made on our trip three years ago (read about it here, here, and here), and then I want to go to southern France, exploring a place I've never been before. All the while I want to eat cheese and pain au chocolat and steak frites, each meal paired with an ice-cold flute of Champagne. header_1-2James wants to travel around Italy. He studied abroad in Florence in college, and he wants to return there to show me his old stomping grounds. I love this idea. We both also love the idea of exploring Italy further, perhaps traveling to Capri and finding ourselves snuggled up at the gorgeous Hotel La Tosca. This is a gem that I found on my friend Natalie's blog and I swooned over the photos the moment I saw them. Aren't they gorgeous? If I got to stay at the Hotel La Tosca, I may never come back...

3_d.20140919130414There are so many plans to consider (and dollars to set aside!) to make this daydream become a reality but the dreaming is half the fun, right?

Images via Hotel La Tosca & Capri.net