Blog, Life

Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe that two years ago my best friend and I said our “I do’s”. For those who don’t know, as soon as we got married we started living apart in the fall. Mike had just started law school, and I was beginning my PhD program. Has It been super hard? Absolutely. Would we do It all over again the same way? You bet. Why? Well, It’s been incredibly hard having two houses and distance between them, but us attaining our goals is just so important, and having each others’ support just makes It even better. We miss each other most at nights, but we still see each other nearly every weekend. Although we have two houses (three now if you include Mike’s apartment in Dallas), we only have ONE home–HOME is where both of us are together, and it’s our favorite place to be. We try to encourage each other as much as we can. Even though times get difficult and stressful, we always try to say how much we appreciate each other and the hard work that is being put in. We only have one more year left of school, so all of this will be totally worth It, and we will have both achieved our goals.

No, we didn’t have the big, show-boat of a wedding with hundreds of guests. Instead, we had a very small, intimate wedding with our closest friends and family in my mom’s yard. We knew that we didn’t want to have a big wedding (and our wallets thanked us later!), because It wasn’t about the wedding, It was about being married. Too often I see couples getting too caught up in the “show” and don’t focus on what will happen the day, weeks, months, years, lifetime AFTER the wedding. So, for those preparing for your wedding, just stop for a second and think about what really matters! A MAJOR shoutout to our incredible wedding party! They were our best and closest friends, and man did they all look amazing! Mike’s groomsmen even got the “sorority squat” photo down! (Check out the pics below).

However, Mike and I were so caught up in our happiness that day, that we actually FORGOT to take pictures together! It totally ended up being okay seeing that It was a June wedding and It was SO hot. We ended up taking pictures later in October which gave us a reason to put back on our wedding attire. I must say It was not as stressful and considerably cooler than our wedding day! Although most people would just like to have their pics on their wedding day, taking them at another time actually turned out great!

I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband that supports me, keeps up with me, and balances me out. Here’s to a lifetime of adventure with you, Mike! I love you always!

Cheers,

Kelly

Blog, Travel

Visiting Magnolia Market

The weekend that we arrived in Dallas, It just so happened that Mike’s parents were also visiting family in Texas. Halfway between where his family lives and Dallas is Waco, the home of Magnolia Market. For those who don’t know what the Magnolia Market is, perhaps you’re more familiar with the show Fixer Upper on HGTV–Magnolia Market is owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, the personalities on the show. What’s so neat about this place is that rather than tearing old buildings down and/or building a new building, it is built around a historic grain barn, and the silos give It so much character. Also, It has driven a lot of business to the city (or town I should say) of Waco. We arrived around 9 AM and the parking lot was already full! Also, parking is FREE and so is admission!

Magnolia Market is a shopping complex complete with a shop where you can buy items that Joanna uses to decorate, food trucks with picnic tables, and a lawn area. We really wanted to go to Silos Baking Co., but the line was so long! You also have to stand in line to get into the store, too. My favorite part about Magnolia Market is the garden which has a smaller shop called Magnolia Seed Supply. The beds were filled with flowers and seasonal produce. The garden shop has gardening tools, growing kits, and really neat pots and vessels to use for planting.

If you want to visit downtown Waco (there really wasn’t much to It, but I can see that It’s growing!), there is a free trolley that you can hop on. I highly recommend going to Hey Sugar which is a really cute candy store. They have all sorts of candy, ice cream, different flavors of popcorn (I really loved the dill pickle!), and in the back is a wide assortment of sodas!

We went on a Saturday, so that’s probably why It was sooo busy and crowded. It was incredibly crowded in the store (and I tend to get a bit claustrophobic in big crowds), so I wasn’t really able to check out all of the neat home items in the store. So I would suggest that, if possible, try going on a weekday. There are also a lot of cute photo ops, but It was really hard with so many people around! We had such a blast! I encourage everyone to check It out!

Blog, Travel

Macarons of Dallas

Everywhere we travel, I am always on the hunt for macarons. Ladurée still holds the title for best macarons, but It’s hard to even compete with its macaron perfection. I have thought about attempting to make my own macarons, but It seems like an intimidating process and that the stars and moon have to be perfectly aligned to get them to have the right consistency and look. Ladurée was my very first macaron and I’m not a picky eater, but their macarons spoiled me and I now hold all macarons up to their standard.

So what makes a perfect macaron? The cookie-to-filling ration should be 1:1 and 2:1. I hate biting into a macaron that has a glob of filling in It that squishes out of the side. Also, the texture and surface of the cookie should be smooth, and the crust should be thin. The texture of the crust should be just a little chewy. And the flavor and sweetness needs to be balanced and not overly sugary.

While in Dallas I searched for their top macarons. I still haven’t gone to all of the locations listed in a very helpful article that ranked all of the macarons in Dallas (Check It out here!), but I did manage to go to top 3 listed on Google: JOY Macarons, Haute Sweets Patisserie, and Chelles Macarons.

First, we went to JOY (@joymacarons) in Lower Greenville (1927 Greenville Ave.). Several people had mentioned this place so I had to check It out. The store was little and so fun! They had several flavors and I got a (super cute) box of 6 for $12 I believe. I always get a pistachio for Mike and vanilla for myself for a true test. This time I got French Vanilla, Pistachio, Lavender, Salted Caramel, Lemon, and Raspberry. Now, I was most excited to try Raspberry because It is my favorite at Ladurée, but I must say the jam was a bit too tart. The others had great flavor, but the cookies were all hollow. Also, they were all different sizes (which seemed weird to me).

Next, we went to Haute Sweets Patisserie (@hautesweetspatisserie) (10230 Northwest Highway). This shop actually won Best if the Big D 2016 for Best Bakery. The customer service was incredible and everyone was so nice! They really nailed the flavors and the consistencies were really nice! They have some pretty great chefs and some have been featured on Food Network and TLC! I would definitely recommend going here!

Finally, we checked out Chelles Macarons (@chellesmacarons) in the Dallas Farmer’s Market (920 South Harwood Street), and we unknowingly saved the best for last. They were out of the cute boxes, so we only got 2 (Pistachio & Earl Grey). Let me just say that Chelles NAILED It. The flavor, consistency, and texture were perfect. These honestly are ranked after Ladurée on my list now. The Earl Grey was absolute perfection–they were thin and light, and the flavor hit the mark! I highly recommend checking Chelles out. I believe they have another location, but if you go to this one then you can also spend several hours at the awesome Dallas Farmer’s Market!

I still need to check out the rest of the bakeries in Dallas, but It seems like Chelles takes the trophy for being the best macaron bakery in Dallas!

Blog, Travel

Weekend Trip: Dallas

This weekend we drove 12 and a half hours from Tallahassee, FL to Dallas, TX, and boy was It a LONG drive. Mike has an internship in Dallas this summer, so I decided to go with him to help him move in. It was Memorial Day weekend so we had Friday-Monday to explore the city and get familiar with It. Being from the south we are used to the heat, but WOW, Dallas was SOO hot! So if you visit in the summer, be sure to pack accordingly!

I’m just going to tell you about the highlights of our weekend, and then in later blog posts I’ll go more in depth about certain places, eats, and experiences! Our first mission was to go to visit Dealey Plaza to see the spot were JFK was assassinated, and to pay our respects. It’s definitely worth seeing and it’s in downtown Dallas. Downtown Dallas is really neat, but it shuts down after 5. We visited the Woolworth, which used to be an actual Woolworth story, and the Mitchell, which is a smaller bar but was SO pretty inside! But if you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out the Eyeball! It’s so cool! Dallas is about an hour and a half from Waco, TX where the Magnolia Market is, which is run by Joanna and Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper. We met up with Mike’s family who was also visiting! When we got back to Dallas, we checked out Deep Ellum which is an art district with tons or really cool wall art and restaurants.

Deep Ellum wasn’t really our style, but we came across a really nice pocket of town called Lower Greenville which is FILLED with a lot of bars and restaurants. There is a Trader Joe’s there, JOY macarons (which I’ll talk about in a later post), the Truck Yard (our favorite!), and best of all the area is super dog friendly. Mike wanted to bring our rescue dog, Sutton, with him for the summer, and Sutton got lots of attention everywhere we went. (Sutton was also able to handle the long car drive like a champ!!) We also drove up to Highland Park to check out the high-end shopping. I was mostly interested in visiting Draper James to try on some things from the new line. There were several other incredible shops, but the houses in that area were incredibly immaculate–that’s probably because they were the homes to Jerry Jones, George W. Bush, etc.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting the Dallas Farmer’s Market (I’ll talk about this in a later post!). It looks like they’re adding more to It, so I am excited to go back when I visit again. We walked around a massive, gorgeous nursery called Ruibal’s Plants of Texas and were able to take some pretty cool pics. In the Farmer’s Market are several awesome bars and restaurants, and my (now) favorite place to get macarons in Dallas, Chelles Macarons (I’ll talk about this in a later post!).

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, Travel

Weekend Trip: Pensacola

After every semester I’m given about a week of “vacation” time–with vacation time meaning “time to catch up on busy work” time–but I usually try to make the best of my “time off”. My husband is from Pensacola, and as soon as he finished his law school finals we headed to his hometown.

Mike always reminds me how much history is in Pensacola. It was actually the first settlement in the US but was wiped out by a hurricane, and now “St. Augustine gets all of the glory”. Most people think of the beaches when they hear Pensacola, and while It has beautiful, white sand beaches, downtown Pensacola is really where the fun and food is at!

Our favorite place downtown Pensacola is Global Grill. It’s an AMAZING tapas bar, so don’t mess up and order a big entree. The tuna cubes are to DIE for, and so is the charcuterie board. Always be sure to ask for the specials because they switch them out often! We did, of course, go to the beach because I absolutely love being near the water when possible. So, if you are near Orange Beach, AL, avoid going to the tourist traps and the Flora-Bama (although going to the Flora-Bama on Sunday is pretty fun!), and go to Cobalt. It’s an awesome restaurant on the water that has amazing Apalachicola oysters, food, and drinks. Also, I’m always on the hunt for macarons and I found this bakery called Adonnas that had some. They were definitely tasty, but there was too much filling. However, a local talked me into getting the earl grey flavor and It was absolutely delicious! I will definitely be on the lookout for those in the future!

I was absolutely excited to take pictures in my new Kiel James Patrick Summering dress. I really wanted the yellow, but you can never go wrong with classic blue pinstripes. The detail on this dress is perfect, from the ruffled collar to the white contrast sleeve cuffs. It’s perfectly light and airy, and can be dressed up or down! And best of all….IT HAS POCKETS!!!

Blog, Crafts, Featured

DIY Kentucky Derby Hat

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Wow! It has been a few weeks since I have posted, but I assure you that I have been nothing but busy at working hard to accomplish goals! I am SUPER proud and excited to announce that I passed my preliminary examination defense, and I am officially now a doctoral candidate! It is so rewarding to be recognized for hard work and to know that I am one step closer towards getting my Ph.D.! The past few weeks I have been busy with prelims, finishing up coursework, grading, and managing research projects. My favorite way to take a break from the chaos and relax is by crafting! I know it’s just more work, (and trust me I definitely took some “self care” time to binge watch shows on Netflix!), but it keeps me busy and makes me happy!

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The annual Kentucky Derby is always the first weekend in May. I have actually discussed with Mike that once we are both finished with school that I plan on having an annual derby party/brunch that will be a formal and classy affair. My Pinterest board is already filled with awesome recipes and ideas. My favorite part about the Kentucky Derby is the classic, preppy style that perfectly syncs with my idea of how we should always dress. All of the pastels, seersucker, florals, and sundresses are essential to derby style. Guys should deck out in seersucker and bow ties. I even made sure that my dog, Cotton, was derby ready and have him sporting a seersucker bow tie from Crew La La.

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The most important piece for ladies is the derby hat. I have seen simple to extravagantly creative derby hats. Most are wide-brimmed sun hats with a sash and flowers (fascinators are another option, too!). I wanted to have a simple hat, but something that was unique and classy. If you know me, I stand by Jackie Kennedy’s quote that “pearls are always appropriate”, so although I have never seen pearls on a derby hat, I thought it would be a “pearl”fect addition to a hat! I also wanted my hat to match my dress from Vineyard Vines, so I actually had some really pretty pink pinstripe fabric lying around. I absolutely LOVE this dress, mostly because it has pockets! I don’t know what it is about a dress with pockets, but I always get so excited when they do! And no outfit is complete without pearl jewelry. My absolute favorite is from Kiel James Patrick.

Here are DIY instructions for how I made my own derby hat!

Materials:

  • Sun hat (I got mine at Walmart for less than $5!)
  • Pearl strands ($1ish each at Joanne’s in the jewelry section, I bought 4 but only needed 3)
  • 6 x 50 piece of fabric (I wanted seersucker, but I already had a pink pinstripe fabric)
  • 3 x 50 piece of fusible (iron-on) interface
  • Hot glue gun
  • I used a sewing machine, but if you don’t have one, fusible glue and tape are available now and I am sure that would work just fine.
  1. First you need to iron your 6 x 50 piece of fabric in half (it should be 3 inches now).
  2. Lay the interface on top of the fabric and sew down the edges.
  3. On each end (depending on how “sharp” you want the tips to be) measure about 1-2 inches from the side and make a mark.
  4. From the tip of the edge that you just sewed, draw a diagonal line inwards towards the folded side of the fabric. Do this on both ends.
  5. Now, sew along one of the diagonal line and reverse over it to make it stable.
  6. On the other end, only sew about halfway to 3/4 of the way and leave an opening.
  7. Trim excess fabric and interface close to the sewn edge, but not too close!
  8. Now, the tricky part. I have this amazing loop-turning tool that you can just insert and hook at the end of the piece and pull it out so the seams are on the inside. I absolutely love this tool and they’re super cheap. If you don’t have one, I suggest getting a safety pin and attaching a piece of string to it. Let the safety pin drop all the way to the sewn end and hook it to the fabric. Now, just pull the string and your piece should be flipped out!
  9. Iron the “tube” to make it flat and crisp.
  10. For the small opening, I used permanent fabric glue to seal the end.
  11. Now, find the middle of your piece and fold and make a crease so you know that’s the middle. This will help to make your bow even!
  12. Think of an “awareness” ribbon (like for breast cancer awareness) and fold your piece like that. There should be a loop at the top, and the ends should be crossed.
  13. Pinch this all together to the center mark and take a small, clear rubber band to secure it all together.
  14. Pull and twist your bow to your liking.
  15. When you get the bow just how you want it, make a small middle piece of the same fabric and glue a dab on the back of the bow. Place the middle piece on this glue and wrap it around towards the front and then to the back. Glue the end down.
  16. I then just took the pearl strands and glued them to the edges of the “head” of the hat. I left a small gap where I knew the bow would be.
  17. Glue the bow to the hat.

There you have it! You’re own simple, yet classy derby hat! I can’t wait to see everyone else’s derby dresses and hats!

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Blog, Style

Live Life in Full Bloom

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Happy belated Easter everyone! I can’t believe that I didn’t post sooner! So, this post will serve as a two-fer. In a recent post I talked about that Easter marks the season of wearing white, and I am SO happy! Nearly half of my closet is white, so I feel like a weight has been lifted off of having to figure out what to wear every day.

I’m going to start off with talking about spring outfits that are appropriate for work or the office. With the weather warming up and the spirit of spring and summer fashion, necklines and sleeves disappear and hemlines rise with the temperature–basically, skin is in. However, although these outfits and sundresses are adorable and to die for, and are just simply comfortable, they may not be “work appropriate”. In the work setting, you want to exude confidence and be comfortable, and nothing checks both of these boxes like spring and summer wear. But, you still need to consider, “is this outfit professional?” I get it, though. We want to show off our best assets and be trendy, but there is a time and place for everything. As young professionals, our closets aren’t filled with corporate office attire, but rather items we wore in college and on weekends. However, don’t panic if your spring and summer closet isn’t “work appropriate” because with just a few essentials, you can still wear them, be trendy, and rock them at work.

Spring style is about wearing bright, fun colors, florals, and other prints. Like I have said before, I think wearing one item that pops is key to a great outfit, and spring definitely offers so many opportunities and options for that “pop”. That “pop” also goes for physical features as well. It is my rule of thumb to only “feature” one body part in an outfit. For example, just show off your legs, cleavage, shoulders, waist, or booty (for those of you who have one!). Now, for the office, showing off too much cleavage or booty or even waist is a big no-no. But, since we all have items in our closet that do these things, you can still wear them, just be sure to layer a blazer over the top, wear cute pants, and wear flats to tone down the outfit.

Now, back to that spring “pop” of color. I’m so happy that I can officially wear white again, because it pairs SO well with bright colors, prints (Lilly prints especially), and florals. In this outfit I am wearing a floral lace shell by Kate Spade over a white tank top and I paired it with a pair of awesome pink ankle pants from J. Crew Factory (Winnie Pant Style) and flats by Frye. I got so many compliments on the color of these pants and this outfit!

Now to Easter! My best friend and I threw on our Lilly and bunny ears to celebrate spring and Easter! We had so much fun! My dress is a great example of what not to wear to work, but Hailey’s dress is perfect! What did the Easter bunny bring everyone??

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