Week & End


Happy weekend! Are you up to anything exciting? It will be a low-key weekend around here, as it usually takes me a whole week to really get back into the swing of things after returning from Ghana (in fact, my jet lag typically hits me most acutely about six days after I've been home - what's up with that?!). Yoga and City Surf will definitely be in the mix, as will some recipe-testing (likely this salad chock full of summer produce and this fun twist on pasta salad) and maybe some tacos and margaritas for good measure. Lots of reading, too! I'm finally the next in line to pick up Go Set A Watchman at the library. I devoured J. Courtney Sullivan's novels, Commencement and Maine, while traveling to West Africa - highly recommend! Enjoy some links from around the web, and have a great weekend!

Is it just me or does this double-chocolate layer cake look in.sane? Now, to find a good excuse to bake it...

There are several new spots around town that I've been wanting to pop into - Local Press + Brew, Read Between the Lines, Rapscallion, and especially Set & Co., a gorgeous home goods store in Oak Cliff. Korena snapped the photo of the interior of the store shown above - isn't it heavenly? I want one of every item, please.

Allison sent me this article about wellness and I found it really, really interesting and accurate in so many ways. Check it out; I'd love to know what you think.

This home tour gave me some serious decor inspiration. The plants, the styling, the guest bedding, the gallery walls, the subway tiles in the kitchen - I love it all.

For the past couple of years I've been watching as Nicaragua grows as a tourist destination, and this post pushed me over the edge: I'm ready to plan a trip.

Photo by Korena Bolding Sinnett

Week & End


Happy Friday! This has been a wonky week; due to Callie's surgery, I stayed home to play nurse for a few days so it feels like time was simultaneously dragging on and flying by. Tonight we're meeting our dear friends Allison & Taylor for dinner at True Food Kitchen. Allison is due any day now, and we can't wait to meet her sweet girl, Ruby! The photo above is of the gorgeous (and beyond delicious) cake we feasted on at a celebration for Ruby last Saturday - isn't it perfect? Tomorrow we're meeting another set of beloved friends, Korena & Ian, at one of our favorite sushi spots in town. Other than that we'll be snuggling with our pups, reading books in the backyard (I am totally loving Picnic in Provence), and whipping up a treat or two in the kitchen. Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy some links from around the world wide web!

I trend toward minimalism as it is, possibly even obnoxiously so - I tend to get rid of nearly everything, sometimes even before someone is finished using it. Still, this 30-day minimalism challenge piques my interest. What do you think, would you try it?

Madewell + Sézane: the 2015 collaboration is HERE! I want everything, especially this, this, and this.

I loved this post that my friend Briton wrote about moving to Dallas. She just arrived from Boulder last month and she's adjusting to life in Texas. We were introduced by one of my closest friends, Erin, and it's been so much fun spending time together. I loved reading her sentiments on her blog; they reminded me so much of my emotional process when I moved here nearly six years ago. Her wisdom is inspiring!

While at the ranch last weekend, my sister-in-law and I went to Childress Farm to pick fresh peaches (more on that adventure soon!). I watched Ina Garten make fresh peach cake on her show and knew that was exactly how I needed to use my delicious produce.

Does anyone else follow Marnie The Dog on Instagram? She is a 12-year-old Shih Tzu and I'm basically obsessed with every photo (and hilarious caption!) that her owner posts.

Ina Garten

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLast night my girlfriends and I went to see Ina Garten speak at SMU. I have always loved the chef's show, Barefoot Contessa, so I jumped at the chance to snag tickets when we learned that she would be in Dallas. The only two words I can think of to describe how I felt as I listened to her speak are in rapt. I was totally captivated by her, this incredible powerhouse of a woman who is so completely intelligent, humble, talented, hardworking, and hilarious. I loved learning about her background (I had no clue that she was formerly a White House nuclear policy analyst?!), her sweet marriage to her husband, Jeffrey, the way she likes to spend her day (with coffee and oatmeal for breakfast, a morning walk to the beach, a day full of filming/cooking/editing, an afternoon yoga class, and dinner with friends), and her favorite recipes from her newest cookbook, Make It Ahead (the marinated feta and the chocolate cake with mocha frosting). One of the things that struck me most is how hard Ina works. I didn't realize that she owned her specialty foods shop, Barefoot Contessa (which was already called that when she purchased the store - I had always wondered about the meaning behind the name), for 18 years before deciding to try her hand at writing cookbooks and then, fortuitously, ending up in the world of television. She told us the tale of how her love affair with food began, and I have to recount it here because I found the story to be so fascinating. While traveling and camping throughout Europe on her honeymoon, Ina said that she learned that beautifully simple foods are the most pleasurable ones to enjoy. She and her husband, Jeffrey, were on a strict budget of $5 per day - if they spent $6 one day, they could only spend $4 the next. Though they experienced some cold temperatures at the beginning of their trip, they decided against purchasing a $35 camping heater because it meant they would have to cut their trip a week short. So instead of eating in expensive restaurants, they spent lots of time shopping in the affordable local markets, selecting freshly baked breads, oozing slices of Brie, and decadent peaches to eat as they picnicked in fields and on park benches. Those experiences taught her about the inherent beauty in simply prepared, local, fresh foods. This set the tone for how she cooked when they returned back in D.C., where she increasingly grew weary of her job at the White House. She found so much more joy in throwing dinner parties for her loved ones on the weekends than advising on nuclear policies during the week.

One day she read an ad in The New York Times about a specialty food shop that was for sale in the Hamptons. After discussing it with Jeffrey, the couple decided to put in a low bid on the store. The very next day, the shop owner called Ina and told her that her offer was accepted. She was shocked (I think she said her exact reaction was, pardon my French, "Oh, shit," which sent the audience into a fit of laughter), and she realized that her life was about to change in ways she couldn't imagine.

Ina bought Barefoot Contessa in March, when the Hamptons were devoid of visitors. For weeks, as she worked alongside the former shop owner, there was little cash in the register at the end of each day. They hardly made any sales, causing her to wonder what she had gotten herself into. She officially took over the store on Memorial Day Weekend, at the height of New Yorkers flocking to the Hamptons for respite from the city for the summer, and suddenly everything changed. On the Friday of that weekend, Barefoot Contessa sold every food item on the store's shelves. Every single one. Blown away, Ina asked the shop owner how they would ever be able to replenish their stock by the time the store reopened in the morning. Pointedly, the shop owner told her they would be staying up all night, baking and cooking and stirring and sautéing as they recreated all of the treats they put in the store's display cases, and that's what they did. Early on Saturday morning, after the women had cooked as much as they possibly could, Jeffrey went to the next town over and bought every muffin, pastry, and croissant at a local bakery, cramming all of the sweets into his Fiat and bringing them back to Barefoot Contessa to resell. Ina laughed as she recounted the tale, mentioning that she hopes she never runs into the family who ran that bakery. What she learned, though, is that in order to really and truly purse your wonderfully scary dreams, those amazing jobs or career paths that terrify you, you have to "jump off a cliff and learn how to fly on your way down," just like she did when she bought Barefoot Contessa. I love that sentiment - it's so brave and bold and beautiful, just like Ina.

I can't wait to dig into my copy of Make It Ahead (which came with a signed bookplate, so special!), and then I'll have to start a collection of all of Ina's cookbooks! Do you recommend any of her books in particular? She is my new favorite person, I think. I would love to meet her someday!

Book & Culture Club

d5cdc04762d6023a3d805d38e689d4f1I find it so dang cool that I have been a part of my book club in Dallas for four whole years. I have written about book club time and time again because I love it with my whole heart. We have read great books and enjoyed time together around the table, building a sweet little community that I cherish so much. I feel so grateful for the time we've spent together. Because of the experiences we have together on a monthly basis (born out of our shared love for books), many of us have traveled together, set up double dates with our manfriends, babysat each other's children (and dogs), and offered a shoulder to cry on. We've become a tribe. Last week Melanie, Elizabeth, and I met at Allison's house for dinner. We brought cookbooks, per the meeting's theme, and pored over recipes, snapping pictures with our phones so we could remember lists of ingredients and cooking directions. We drank wine and ate Allison's quinoa salad with autumn vegetables and popcorn studded with pretzels and M&Ms. While we read and drank and ate, we chatted about things we'd like to do as a group in the future - attend lectures, take cooking classes, see documentaries, visit special museum exhibits, go to plays. And suddenly a new facet of book club was formed - culture club.

Our idea is this: instead of simply reading books and meeting in one another's home on a monthly basis (which, don't get me wrong, we still love), we'll choose titles to read on our own and then pick fun activities in Dallas that we can do as a group. Occasionally we'll regroup in a home, gathering around the table for great food and fun conversation (about life and love and travel and recipes and the books we've read), but we'll be out and about more, experiencing so many of the exciting things that our sweet city has to offer.

So next month we'll be reading Amy Poehler's memoir Yes Please (I can't wait to get my copy!) and meeting for cocktails somewhere holiday-ish and fun. In January, rumor has it that we'll snag tickets to see The Book Club Play (because, c'mon, it can't get more fitting than seeing a play about a book club - talk about culture and books combining!), and in February, several of us have already committed to seeing the one and only Ina Garten speak at SMU. So many fun things are on the horizon!

I love watching our amazing group of women shift and grow, both as individuals and as a club. So onto new things, friends - three cheers for book & culture club!

Image via Brett & Jessica Donar for Camille Styles

Week & End

c12735c25dc99db51744e99506955f17Happy Daylight Savings Day, friends! I am thoroughly enjoying the extra hour we were gifted with today, aren't you? This weekend has been full of so much fall goodness - a pizza party at our house on Halloween (which included all of our guests passing out candy to cute trick-or-treaters), a backyard movie night and pumpkin carving party at a friend's house last night (complete with s'mores, local brews, and cool weather), and lots of long walks outside with Callie girl. I'm not ready for the weekend to be over, but I'm looking forward to a good week, which will include a cool workshop in Fort Worth, a lunch date with Korena, a crafting edition of girls night in (calligraphy and Prosecco will be involved), and lots more goodness in between. Enjoy your Sunday evening, and if you're in an exploratory mood, check out the links below!

Last night we watched A Nightmare on Elm Street, which I had never seen before. I loved it! I also loved this video that shared some fun facts about the movie.

Ina Garten is coming to Dallas in February! My girlfriends and I are planning on snagging tickets to see her speak - so fun!

Current titles on my to-read list: Yes Please, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, and The Forest Feast.

I absolutely loved this post on Wit & Delight about leaving social media behind in favor of pursuing the richness inherent in the present moment. My favorite takeaway - "Here's to less media and a more thoughtful way of being social." Amen!

I made my favorite cookies this week using this recipe (which calls for cream cheese instead of eggs) and was out of chocolate chips. Since we had a plethora of Halloween candy on hand, I decided to use chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups instead. This resulted in the best cookies I have ever made. Please try this recipe out for yourself asap!

Image via Instagram