Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Restaurant I Forgot to Mention

After I presented the list of Restaurants in Dallas that Greg & I have grown fond of, Greg quickly reminded me that I forgot a big one. Oops. So, here is an additional suggestion, not as an honorable mention, just merely #6 to my prior list.

6. Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar
  • This is an urban-sleek restaurant that Greg and I have visited on two different very special occasions: His Birthday and our 6th Month Anniversary. Whiskey Cake has an amazing atmosphere of wood, metal, dim lights and those cool lightbulbs where you can see the actual wires glowing inside. Not to mention, all of their veggies and foods come from local farmers so that it is as fresh as it can be. I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant. The atmosphere and deliciousness of the food sealed the deal for Greg and me. This one will definitely remain on the top of our lists of favorites in Dallas. **If you venture out here, you HAVE to try the "Three Little Pigs" on the appetizers menu. I actually eat them as my meal. TO DIE FOR!! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Wonderful Mother!

Today is my wonderful mother's birthday. I have been so very blessed by her over the years and I cannot express how thankful I am that I have such a God-fearing woman as not only a mother, but as a best friend and an example. She's loved me unconditionally through yelling matches, tears, heartbreaks, achievements, disappointments, and my "think I know it all" attitudes. I would not be half the woman that I am today (nor the one that I am becoming) if it wasn't for her leadership and her love. She is homeward in her orientation, always putting herself last (literally) and sacrificing her time and money to make sure that my father, brother and I were always taken care of before she was. There were times when I MADE her buy clothes or spend money on herself because she wanted so badly to give the money to me. She is kind, creative, intelligent, hard-working, loving, respectful, and wise. There are countless times that I remember walking into her room as a child and seeing her sitting in the rocking chair digging in to The Word of God, or there were numerous times when her first question to me is "Have you prayed about it?". She keeps me grounded. She always points me to Christ and always looks for the good in situations and other people. She always reminds me that this life is not about me, and has ultimately encouraged me to always be humble when I tend to be a bit head-strong.

Mom, I love you to the end of the world and back. I read Proverbs 31 and can't help but think to myself, "Yep, she does that. Yep, she does that too. Yep, even that." Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being a Proverbs 31 woman.

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

(Proverbs 31:10-31 ESV)



 Love you Mom.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

5 Dallas Restaurants You Should Visit

If there is one thing that Greg and I love to do all the time, it is definitely to eat. We love food. We love discovering new restaurants, trying new things, and just learning to appreciated the complexities of nice dishes and drinks. We currently live in a city that's 4.35 square miles (in the middle of Dallas), and in that tiny little footprint, there are over 170 restaurants. It's insane. So, because of that I just wanted to share some of the favorite places that we either frequent, or have visited and are dying to go back! In no particular order:

1. Uncle Julio's - Fine Mexican Cuisine
  • This has always, always, always been one of my favorite Mexican Food Restaurants. If you are craving some good fajitas, or queso, or even some delicious Sangria Swirls, I would recommend Uncle Julio's in a heartbeat! It is definitely a little bit more expensive that your average On The Border, but you WILL NOT be disappointed. When El Fenix was named "Best of Big D" for their margaritas and food, we were severely confused as our experience at El Fenix was sub-par. Regardless, Greg and I frequently go to Uncle J's and share some fajitas and some queso and it is easily enough to feed the two of us. This makes me hungry just thinking about it!

2. Houlihan's - Restaurant & Bar

  • This restaurant is located less than a mile from our house and Greg and I had driven by several times before we decided it was time to venture out and try it. Again, this restaurant offers an amazing assortment of good eats and drinks. When classifying or comparing this restaurant, I would say its similar to a Chili's in that it has a bunch of different types of dishes, but the quality and presentation is more like an upscale restaurant. YUM! We've only been there once, but I had one of the most delicious Entree Salad's that I've ever had in my entire life. I cannot wait to go back!

3. Nick & Sam's Grill
  • Not to be confused with the original Nick & Sam's Steakhouse, this is another "Upscale Chili's" that is to die for. Greg and I recently went here with our "Best Couple" from our wedding, Will and Neely, to celebrate Will's Graduation, Will's moving to Dallas, and just a celebration of good time with friends. I'm pretty sure that everything we tried, we loved! This can get pricey if you go all out (which we did in lieu of all the celebrations) but would make a great date night venue if you're looking for a upscale experience at less-than-upscale prices. 

4. The Pearl Cup - Coffee & Espresso
  • Oh My Goodness. Greg and I went here one day when we were visiting Milk & Honey Boutique as it was literally two doors down from the shop. It was a cold and rainy day and their signature Pearl Cup Latte was the perfect accessory for the weather. Voted "Best Coffeehouse" in Dallas, I could clearly see why. It was chill, modern, edgy, and quaint. This definitely reminded me of all the cool and trendy coffeehouses in Seattle and I fell in love. Their coffee was delicious! If this coffeehouse was closer to our house, we would be in trouble. We would spend WAY too much time there and consequently WAY too much money. If you haven't ventured to The Pearl Cup yet, its worth the trip. 

5. Bacci's Pizzeria
  • Bacci's is literally a hole in the wall pizza place near our home that I think we discovered on accident one day. My favorite. They have Chicago pizza, pasta, & sandwiches and they couldn't be more delicious! Not to mention, they are super affordable! Greg and I can go and get two massive slices of pizza with the toppings of our choice, two salads with their homemade house dressing, and drinks and make it out of there for around $15! That's almost as cheap as Chick-fil-a (Almost)! We love this place and it's perfect for a meal out when you're on a budget! 
We are always looking for restaurant and good eat suggestions! If you have any to add to this list, let me know! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Workout Plan: UPDATE!!

A little over a month ago, I blogged about starting a new Workout Plan, and let me tell you, it has paid off.

I committed to waking up at 5:15 every morning to hit the gym before 6 so that I had about an hour to workout and then come home and get ready for work. If you know me, and my undying love for sleep, you know that this was a MASSIVE commitment for me to make. No, but really. Having a new workout plan that was structured for each day gave me a mission to accomplish every morning when my alarm went off and I begrudgingly rolled out of bed. It gave me a routine and direction so that I didn't end up wandering around the gym aimlessly and without motivation.

My goal was to try out this workout plan for a month and see if I was A)seeing results and B)still motivated after a whole month of working out. Well, a month quickly turned into six weeks, and six weeks has now become 7. I've gotten incredibly stronger (I've been able to up my weights on almost every exercise at least twice during the last 7 weeks), and have become surprisingly toned. I've always been chastised for complaining that I needed to workout, but I enjoy being fit and feeling confident after a workout. I know that it's the middle of freezing January, I can say that I would have no shame in putting on a swimsuit where as a month ago, I would have been a bit more hesitant.

If you are looking for a workout plan to boost the downfall of your New Year's Resolution, I will 100% recommend the plan that I posted in December. If you can stick with it, it WILL pay off. Don't forget to reward yourself for hard work too. As a newlywed and recent college grad working an entry-level job, I have no money, so I decided to reward myself by capitalizing on my type-A personality that loves lists and things to check off. I highlight every day that I work out in my planner so that I can look back and feel totally accomplished. If I had spare dollars, I think I would give myself a dollar everyday that I worked out and make a list of things that I wanted and work hard enough to earn and pay for those things!  Do what will motivate you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Bedroom Facelift

So one of my next Pinterest inspired projects it to give our bedroom a facelift. When we moved in, we tried to use things that we already had to help decorate out house to make it feel more "homey" until we had the money to decorate the way we wanted. Well, thanks to the invention of Pinterest, it has become so easy to decorate with designer style in an affordable way.

This is how our bed looks currently:

This is a rough sketch of how I want to transform the look over our bed.

The new updated look consists of a Distressed White Shelf, which I hope to find in an antique store or make my own from a simple white shelf from The Home Depot. In addition, I hope to re-purpose the Coffee Filter Wreath that I used as Christmas Decor and add some depth and texture to our wall. We recently purchased a Living Social deal for a 11x20 Print to Metal frame that I want to print one of our wedding photos on and lean against the wall on the right side of the shelf. In addition, I want to try and make my own form of "galvanized" letters, similar to the ones found at Anthropologie, from cardboard letters and some spray paint. As far as the finishing touches.. I would also love to find some old antique glass bottles and put some baby's breath in them as a simple and sweet touch to finish off the look.

It's alot, I know, but here is some of my inspiration for the look.

Shelf above Bed with homemade "zinc" letters. 

Zinc Letter Inspiration

Distressed Shelf above the bed. Mine will have to be a bit skinnier.
Baby's Breath in Old Glass Bottles

Glass Bottle Love.

For the bed, I want to begin to incorporate a mustard yellow color to tie the whole look together: Grey, White, Salmon, and Mustard Yellow. In order to incorporate this color, I want to either purchase or make fun pillows as decor for the bed. These are currently what I'm Feeling...

For purchase:
DIY instructions:


A ruffled pillow to tie in our lamp shades

As the process begins, I hope to keep you updated on the new look!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

In honor of Allison Wiley's (now Marble) recent wedding, where I dined on a delectable Pink Champagne Cupcake, I decided that I was going to attempt to make some of my own. Conveniently timed was a birthday in our LifeHouse, so I graciously took on the task of preparing cupcakes to celebrate. This birthday proved to be the perfect excuse to try out the Pink Champagne Cupcake recipe that I found on Pinterest. **These would be a PERFECT treat for any loved one on Valentine's Day!**

Here is a list of everything that you will need:

For the Cupcakes: 
1 Box White Cake Mix
1 1/4 cup Champagne
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
4 drops red food coloring

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup Champagne
4 drops red food coloring

Making the Cupcake Batter

Before You Begin: Gather all of the ingredients above and attach the flat beater (used for all-purpose mixing) to your mixer to mix the batter for the cupcakes. 

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with cupcake liners.

I think its a must that you use "Pink" cupcake liners for "Pink" Champagne Cupcakes.

Step 2: Stir the cake batter and the champagne together until well blended.

Please disregard the empty frame in the background. Yes, we did get it for a wedding present.
Yes, we have been married for 6 month. Don't judge me. 

I left my mixer on the "Stir" setting until they were well blended. 

Step 3: Add the egg whites, vegetable oil, and food coloring. Mix on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes.

Step 4: Distribute the batter evenly to your previously lined muffin pan.

Step 5: As you can tell from the picture above, I made a mess when putting the batter into the muffin pan, so make sure that you wipe all excess batter off of the pan to avoid burning it onto your pan (and a burning smell!) while the cupcakes bake.

Nice and Clean. 

Step 6: Insert the cupcakes into the oven and bake at 350 degree for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. **Mine only took 17 minutes**

Making the Cupcake Frosting

Step 7: While the cupcakes are in the oven, it's time to start preparing your frosting! First up, change the flat blade on your mixer to the wire whip in order to ensure nice and fluffy icing!

Step 8: Gather and measure all of your ingredients for the frosting. 

Step 9: Combine all ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for approximately two minutes. 


When your icing is done, it should look nice and fluffy like this.

** This icing actually makes a thick and fluffy icing that is ideally for pairing with a fancy icing bag that allows you to pipe the icing on in a very pretty way. As you'll see as you scroll down, I don't own one of those fancy things, so my cupcakes aren't as pretty as they potentially could be. Oh well. Maybe next time? Today, I was able to master baking a fancy cupcake. Next time, I'll master icing the fancy-schmancy cupcake. :)

Step 10: When the cupcakes are done, pull them out of the oven and insert a toothpick or gadget of choice (I got an awesome "Cake Tester" as a wedding gift and its perfect as we don't keep toothpicks just laying around the house!).

Step 11: Once the cupcakes are deemed done, leave them in the muffin pan for 10 minutes to cool.

Good News, the Cake Tester came out Clean!

Step 12: After the cupcakes have cooled for 10 minutes in the pan, transfer them to a wire cooling rack and let them cool for an additional 30 minutes before attempting to ice them.

Step 13: Ice and garnish those babies however you choose!!!

Ta-Da! All Done and ready to go!

These were super simple and when I was able to finally take a bite of one, I was satisfied with how delicious they were! The original recipe without all my step-by-step pictures can be viewed here.


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